Atlas Shrugged: There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

HumanPyramid

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IJust as Dagny and John Galt prepare to set out, they have a visitor:They were finishing breakfast when she saw Mulligan's car stopping in front of the house. The driver leaped out, raced up the path and rushed into the room, not pausing to ring or knock. It took her a moment to realize that the eager, breathless, disheveled young man was Quentin Daniels."Miss Taggart," he gasped, "I'm sorry!" The desperate guilt in his voice clashed with the … [Read more...]

How We Built the Ghettos, Why We Built the Ghettos

BaltimoreMap

In the wake of the protests and riots that convulsed Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, there was unexpected and welcome news: state's attorney Marilyn Mosby moved quickly to indict the police officers who let him die in their custody. I was surprised and pleased to see that she threw the book at them, including by charging one with second-degree murder.But even if the indictment sticks, even if the officers are convicted, there's a deeper problem which hasn't been touched. The tide … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Only a Flesh Wound

Stethoscope

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter ISince Dagny was injured in her crash landing and can't walk, John Galt romantically carries her from the scene. (Helpful tip: The best way for one person to carry another is a fireman's carry, but somehow I don't think Rand pictured her slung over Galt's shoulders like a sack of potatoes.)He was carrying her down a narrow trail that went winding to the bottom of the valley. On the slopes around them, the tall, dark pyramids of firs stood immovably … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: April 18

Coffee

The National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon is almost here again! If you've got a few dollars to spare and want to help strike down barriers to choice, please donate to my wife Elizabeth and her team, At Your Cervix.• The construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is being blockaded by protesters who believe the mountain is sacred because of a Native Hawaiian myth stating that the world was created starting there.• Just for laughs: The Journal of Universal Rejection, … [Read more...]

On Financial Independence

Via this interview on Vox, I came across an intriguing blog by a writer who goes by the unlikely appellation of Mr. Money Mustache. MMM, as I'll call him for short, argues that an ordinary person can save enough to retire after as little as ten years of full-time work, without winning the lottery or coming into a windfall inheritance. He did it himself, and he's happy to explain how. Much of his advice struck a chord with me, and I've found a lot in what he says that should make humanists sit up … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Thank You For Riding Taggart Transcontinental

RailroadAd

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XHaving heard the tramp's conveniently about-to-be-relevant tale, Dagny drifts off to sleep, puzzling over what it might mean. When she wakes up, it's to a sudden, disorienting silence: the train has stopped moving.The sweep of her hand pressed the light switch and the bell to summon the porter. The electric light came on and brought her back to a rational world. She glanced at her watch: it was a few minutes past midnight. She looked out of the rear … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Sixteen Tons

Scrip

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XThe tramp on Dagny's train reveals how the mysterious meme "Who is John Galt?" came into being, and why he fears he might have been the one who started it:"Well, there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There were three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run the factory. They let us vote on it, too, and everybody — almost e … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Work-Life Balance

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXDagny returns home from her first day back after the destruction of the Taggart Tunnel:The silence of her apartment and the motionless perfection of objects that had remained just as she had left them a month before, struck her with a sense of relief and desolation together, when she entered her living room... She had left the office earlier than she intended, unable to summon the effort for any task that could be postponed till morning. This was new … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Buy Local

Farmer's Market

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VIIIWhen the villains put Directive 10-289 into effect two chapters earlier, Dagny quit her job and flounced out. This chapter opens with her living in hermetic solitude, at an old rural cabin in Woodstock that she inherited:The sun touched the tree tops on the slope of the hill, and they looked a bluish-silver, catching the color of the sky. Dagny stood at the door of the cabin, with the first sunrays on her forehead and miles of forest spread under … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Mythical Golden Age of Religious Charity

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Do Right-Wing Christians Want People to be Destitute? It's about the conservative politicians who want to slash the social safety net, claiming they want to go back to a time when churches and private charity provided for everyone's needs, and the evidence showing that the actual effect of that policy would be to throw millions into destitution - and its backers not only know that, they're counting on it. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the … [Read more...]


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