Dagny appeals to Conway, a fifty year old self-made man who lives and breathes the railroad. She vows to fight with him to overturn the rule. Conway, to her great dismay refuses. He laments that the world is in a terrible state, but men need to get together. He will honor his oath and the majority rule. She understands honor, but have they the right to twist a promise of working for the common good into an oath to commit professional suicide?

“’If that’s the price of getting together, then I’ll be damned if I want to live on the same earth with any human beings! If the rest of them can survive only by destroying us, then why should we wish them to survive? Nothing can make self-immolation proper. Nothing can give them the right to turn men into sacrificial animals. Nothing can make it moral to destroy the best. One can’t be punished for being good. One can’t be penalized for ability. If that is right, then we’d better start slaughtering one another, because there isn’t any right in the world!’”

Dan, however, is defeated, tired, and bound to a promise of compliance. He can’t bring himself to think it’s right – he worked way too hard for this…but…“Who is John Galt?”

Might as well go back to his line in Arizona. Maybe take up fishing or read a book,

Dagny assures him this isn’t personal pity, or charity – both of which she reviles – but a sense of the right way to do things. She had looked forward to the fierce competition over Colorado. Now she doesn’t even want to look at the Rio Norte – “Oh God, Dan, I don’t want to be a looter!”

He says that she should have been born a century ago and implores her not to abandon Ellis Wyatt; that it will be harder to serve him without the spark of competition. Don’t feel guilty. The work is well cut out for her.

She wonders what destroyed this man…it couldn’t have just been her brother…

Rand is either loved or hated. I haven’t seen a single objective bit of writing on her. Bloody ironic as hell, very good point you have!

There is no perfect world; nor will there ever be. Rationally speaking it is as impossible as “true” peace. Why, some may ask; because people are not perfect. Thus we find another SNAFU in Rand’s synapse; rationally objectivism (by her definition) CAN NOT WORK due to the fact that no human is infallible. Not one of us is omniscient, we can not be; thus any individual “truth” we come to is potentially fallible, liable to change and morph as we learn more (if one chooses to continue learning that is).

Rand refuses the concept of fallibility in objectivism because she is not only arrogant enough but, deluded enough to believe she really has some superior thought process to us mere humans.

It’s as if she believes some humans (most especially herself) are gods among men. While in an individual here and there that’s not dangerous to the world as a whole but with Rand it becomes dangerous because her “true belief” followers pretty much set up shop at the church of Galt.

If mass amounts of people were to begin using objectivism the whole world would break down to anarchy in the newer sense of the word: total chaos.

Hank was perfect because of his imperfectness and that he knew he wasn’t perfect. Dagny was beautifully done, in the beginning. Her and Hank together were the superheros in the story before it fell apart; fighting it all on both sides. What’s sad is in the book they could have won if Dagny hadn’t fell victim to Galt. What’s terrifying is thinking that maybe at our current speed and condition Rand’s ending may well be what we’re heading for unless the “superhero” types, as you so eloquently said; ” <…> make like the cartoon end of Animal Farm and KICK ASS!”

~C.K.

The relevance of Rand’s work is not that she’s proven pure individualism is the only morally right thing, though I suspect that’s what she thinks. She’s actually struggling with that other spectrum — good vs. evil.

It’s not that her philosophy is accurate — [tangent: if you consider philosophy as a science where we have to guess even more than we do in psychology (tangent: this gets to another issue of our blindness to intention — is this person good or evil? We can never see, only infer)]

It’s that she’s got good, hard working people whom the industrious can identify with.

The individualism=good conclusion is wrong, invalid, impremised, etc. You can’t build trains or revolutionary materials alone. That’s silly.

The value is that she effectively communicates the frustration and injustice perpetrated on those who get up and don’t bitch and get the damn job done, every single time, and are leached upon by complete wastes who take advantage of the goodness of their hearts.

The danger is that she effectively rationalizes those people stooping down to the level of the idiots around them. Only these are the strong, the ingenious, the powerful. Basically, she’s duped herself into the part of the almighty Empress, who’s offered justification for all the white knights to make like Darth Vader…

…and a major challenge we have, in society as a whole — mostly because we cannot see another’s intention, only infer — is that we’ve mixed up the Individual-Collective spectrum with a “I’m good you must be evil” mentality, which is what makes our two-party political system so foolishly vitriolic, because each side there’s a critical mass of people equating individual-collective with good – evil.

Rand is often held up as a conservative manifesto, but clearly the greater problem, is that society as a whole seems to be lost in this fallacy.

…which is why it’s relevant and important to consider Rand differently than she ever seems to have been — See, Rand’s one of the most well-known and polarizing figures in pop philosophy. People either love her or hate her…

Noone ever looks at her objectively.

Ironic, right? It’s high time we practiced some Objectivism.

Let’s attempt (humbly, please) to inject some rationality. Shall we?

July 31, 2012

I’ve been thinking about Ayn Rand. Something about her and everything going on now has me jittery, like I’m waiting for all hell to break loose. Maybe it’s all I’m seeing and hearing around me coming out of normally intelligent people’s mouths. They sound like a Rand novel. The other day, as an example, one was saying the people who succeed do so because they work hard and they deserve what they have and it shouldn’t be taken from them and given to people who haven’t earned it. The other was saying, yeah but if you didn’t hold sole ownership of an idea and it was given to everyone, no one would be in this position now!

I guess I’m half waiting for Galt to show up. Which leads me to, who is this Anonymous running the 99% idea? This is a person, (or persons) I want to talk to, know about. I want to know where he comes from. I want to know what his intent is. All I know is I guarantee this person (or persons) has read Rand and is either like us or like Galt.

I want to know which one.
~ C.K.