People’s State of Mexico: We just nationalized the railroads!
Dagny Taggert: Told you so.
Railroad Association: We’re going to create regional monopolies, but NOT to jack up our prices and gouge people, but because we are commies!
Disbelieving World: Railroad men are commies?
Ayn Rand: Yes!
Disbelieving World: I have no response to that.
Continue reading Atlas Shrugged EXECUTIVE Summary, Chapter 4
Evil Commie Business Cabal Chorus: Mexico need railroads that go from nothing to nowhere! Because reasons!
Dagny Taggart: I’m so proud that my ancestor didn’t take gubmint money! He never profited through force or fraud . . . except that time he killed a congressman, and that other time he threw a dude down some stairs! He only ever earned his money, though! He didn’t force anything!
Kit Bradley: C’mon! You’re not even making sense inside the same damn paragraph, Ayn!
Continue reading Atlas Shrugged Review, Chapter 3
Ayn Rand: INDUSTRY IS GREAT! Smokestacks, fuck, yeah!
Hank Reardon: Hi, I’m Hank Reardon! I’m thin and tall! I was just sexily brooding while watching metal being poured, and this makes me happy! Yay!
Lillian Reardon: Why weren’t you at dinner? You’d said you’d come.
Hank: You’re pretty, except your eyes are vacant! I was working! Yay! Working makes me happy!
Lillian: You said you’d be here.
Hank: Everyone should be happy because I’m happy! Waaaaaa! I don’t care that I disrespected your efforts and our friends and family by saying one thing and doing another! Waaaa! Can’t you see how much better I am than you! Waaaaa! But now I’m happy because I’m smarter than you! Yay!
Lillian: But you said you’d be here. And I think that psychologists call this a “mixed state” . . .
Hank: Waaaa! Now I’m not happy because you’re all worthless! Waaaa! I’m not responsible for keeping my word to you because you’re worthless! Waaaa! Good thing that soon I’ll meet some thin girl with nice legs and have rough sex with her because our IDEAS love each other! Yay!
Lillian: I’m not sure you know how sex works.
Philip: Who is John Galt?
Dagny Taggert: Hi! I’m Dagny and I have great legs and stormy gray eyes!
James Taggert: I don’t care if the train line fails because we’ve got to HELP PEOPLE. (<- things said by no railroadman in the history of railroadmen)
Dagny: I ordered rails from the OH-SO-DREAMY Hank Reardon! And they’re not steel! They’re REARDON METAL. Despite being an alloy, it’s cheaper than steel and lasts longer!
James: Uh, that’s not what the scientists say.
Dagny: I FEEL that it’s special! And I saw the Reardon Steel reports and no company would EVER lie about their reports, nope, no way, and scientists are eggheads. Who needs ’em?
Bum: Who is John Galt?
One of the interesting things about Objectivism is that its primary method of transmission is novels – particularly Atlas Shrugged, but to a lesser but still serious extent The Fountainhead.
I don’t like philosophical novels. I don’t mind books with philosophy in them, as a sort of undercurrent, but when the characters start preaching platitudes, my eyes glaze over. So, one of my favorite novels is Dune by Frank Herbert, but by the time we get over to God-Emperor of Dune, I’m just bored. Leto’s long, dull as speeches rehashing a primitive Nietzschean fantasy are uninteresting. So, unsurprisingly, I’m also not fond of Atlas Shrugged and its even longer, even more overtly philosophical speeches. But, philosophically, they’re a trick and nothing more.
Continue reading The trick of philosophical novels is that they’re not philosophy
I just started Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul by Gary Weiss. Thankfully, and I must have know this when I ordered it, it isn’t another biography. It’s about how Rand has gained so much influence in the exact areas that I spoke about, with some bitterness, in my review of Goddess of the Market – business and politics.
Ayn Rand Nation literally starts with Weiss wondering about why the assholes who wrecked the economy in 2008 were so damn selfish. He goes on to say, “Hey, who is this old woman with Alan Greenspan and the President?” So, he’s not going to try to do anything “balanced”: his plan is to chart out why Rand’s philosophy of greed and selfishness, an inversion of normal values (he says Western, but they’re not – altruism is as universal a human value as exists), is so powerful in actual government and economics. Not important to politically impotent libertarians, upset that we have driver’s licenses (true thing), but in one of the two major parties, and in all business.
I suspect we’ll get on fine, this book and I.
I’ve been reading about early America, colonial days up to the American Revolution, mostly. Of course, before the English got around to exploring things, the Spanish were the most prolific North American explorers.
Continue reading Why write a satire of Atlas Shrugged?