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...]

Atlas Shrugged: Goldbuggery


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VIIRagnar Danneskjold continues explaining his business plan:"I have been selling the cargoes I retrieved to some special customers of mine in this country, who pay me in gold. Also, I have been selling my cargoes to the smugglers and the black-market traders of the People's States of Europe. Do you know the conditions of existence in those People's States? Since production and trade — not violence — were decreed to be crimes, the best men of Europe had … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Living Wage


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VIAt the end of their conference, the villains agree to put Directive 10-289 into effect. When Dagny reads about it in the morning paper, she bursts into Jim's office, announces that she's quitting, and storms out:The newspaper was twisted into a roll by the time she stood before him. She threw it at his face, it struck his cheek and fell down to the carpet."There's my resignation, Jim," she said. "I won't work as a slave or as a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Make the Trains Run on Time


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VThe band of crossties swept in wide curves around granite corners, clinging to the mountainsides of Colorado. Dagny walked down the ties, keeping her hands in her coat pockets, and her eyes on the meaningless distance ahead; only the familiar movement of straining her steps to the spacing of the ties gave her the physical sense of an action pertaining to a railroad.Dagny and Hank have traveled to Colorado. Ostensibly it's to buy and ship out any … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Homo Economicus


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VI've said that, in the name of being fair to Ayn Rand, I'll point out the passages in Atlas that struck me as good, effective writing. This part has one of them, a suitably moody and atmospheric description of what's happening to New York City:In the second week of February, for the purpose of conserving copper wire and electric power, a directive forbade the running of elevators above the twenty-fifth floor. The upper floors of the buildings had to be … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: No OSHA Compliance


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIAt the end of his workday, Rearden is looking down on the factory floor, musing on Dagny's story of Ken Danagger's disappearance and the strange force that's causing business owners to abandon their jobs. Rearden wonders, with a touch of envy, why they didn't come for him as well; but in the next instant he angrily thinks that he'd murder anyone who tried to persuade him to give up his steel mills.Finally, he turns to go, but he finds Francisco … [Read more...]

Repost: The Box Office Shrugs at Atlas Shrugged

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from March 2013.]Way back in 2011, I wrote about the hilarious box-office trainwreck (see what I did there?) that was Atlas Shrugged: Part I. Inexplicably, Ayn Rand's dense, multi-hour soliloquies in defense of capitalism failed to translate well into the medium of film. The last news I heard after the movie's belly-flop was that its producer, heroic rich guy John Aglialoro, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Glory Days of Child Labor


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIWhen she hears that Hank Rearden and Ken Danagger have been indicted for illegally doing business, Dagny rushes to Pittsburgh. For reasons she can't fully explain, she's certain that Danagger will be the next to vanish, and she's desperate to reach him and convince him to stay before he's taken away by the "destroyer" - her term for whatever force or entity is causing all the country's great capitalists to disappear without a trace.Her appointment with … [Read more...]