henry_cameron

making the strike a reality

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Brant,

We only know what the dude says about himself. And we know what he does. (Actually, I checked his IP and it is from Russia, so that has been verified.)

We've gotten people like I described before, so I don't regret saying what I did. If this dude's on the level, I'm sure I will get an opportunity to stop wondering and give him most cordial interaction.

Michael

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Brant,

We only know what the dude says about himself. And we know what he does. (Actually, I checked his IP and it is from Russia, so that has been verified.)

We've gotten people like I described before, so I don't regret saying what I did. If this dude's on the level, I'm sure I will get an opportunity to stop wondering and give him most cordial interaction.

Michael

{sob} How about you and me, Michael? When do we get to cordially interact on the Internet? {sob} I try, but . . . {sob, sob, sob}

--Brant

waiting for Cordialisticity

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Subject: always look for the most benevolent interpretation

I thought it was just a normal newbie question. I'm with Phil on this one.

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How did you come to reading Ayn's works

Reading Ayn Rand is not so rarity in Russia as you probably imagine. :) All four her novels are translated to Russian and published, also at least four collections of non-fiction articles are published in Russian ("The Apology of Capitalism", "The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism", "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal", "The Morality of Individualism"). Reportedly, Andrei Illarionov, the former adviser of president Putin, claimed that he saw "Atlas Shrugged" in the Putin's private collection of books. This of course doesn't necessarily mean that Putin read it, but nevertheless this means something. The very fact that the Putin's adviser was an admirer of Ayn Rand, or at least was influenced by Ayn Rand, means something (Illarionov is a libertarian, not an objectivist, now he is working for the Cato Institute).

So, no special story about how I came to reading Ayn Rand. First I heard about it and was interested.

and what career are you pursuing in Russia?

I am a mathematician.

Are there any good hidden valleys in Russia?

There are plenty of valleys, but I am not sure about whether they're hidden. Nowdays that we have satellite surveillance, it seems that any hidden place must be underground or somehow otherwise schemed to be undetected, I don't know.

What's wrong with a fiction book being fiction?

Everything is wrong with it. It is appropriate here to give a quote from Ayn Rand herself:

"My personal life is a postscript to my novels; it consists of the sentence: 'And I mean it.' I have always lived by the philosophy I present in my books --- and it has worked for me, as it works for my characters. The concretes differ, the abstractions are the same."

Notice that Objectivism is not a philosophy of self-sacrifice.

I know it. But strike is not a self-sacrifice.

Consider Objectivists Paul Ryan, representative from Minnesota, and Rand Paul Senator from Kentucky, The Tea Party, and others. You could argue for withdrawal and survivalism, political activism, or ever revolution, but don't burn out just yet.

Change is coming.

I am not sure what kind of change this would be.

You call Rand Paul an "objectivist", but this is hardly true. Among other things, look for example this video:

where he describes the disagreement between Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard as "minor and petty differences". In the meantime, Murray Rothbard is an anarchist, he is in favor of abolishing police force. If by "change is coming" you mean anarchy, then no thanks. It seems to me that all these libertarians and tea-partiers do not bother to delve into basic ideas. Change without knowing what to change, how, and why, could be bad change. Change without proper philosophical grounds could be a slippery slope to "hope and change" and "change we can believe in".

And, by the way, Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin, not Minnesota.

Now back to the original topic of making the strike a reality.

Welcome to OL. You're from Russia, wow.

Ayn Rand answered basically the same question in the Q&A period following her talk “Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World”. Here’s a link where you can listen for free. I’m not sure where in the Q&A it was, but if you’re new to her work (I gather that’s the case) you’ll certainly enjoy the whole thing.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ar_faith_and_force

Thank you! I enjoyed indeed.

So, she said that the situation is still not so bad.

Anyway, I think it is worth at least bear in mind the possible options. Libertarians in recent years acted at least in three directions:

1. Free State Project,

2. Seasteading,

3. Crypto-anarchy.

Maybe it is time for objectivists also to consider something like this. I am not saying that we must do something immediately. Rather, we need to carefully think all this over.

For example, instead of crypto-anarchy (we are not anarchists after all), is it feasible to establish an independent state within internet? Maybe not, but anyway I think it is at least worth discussing (from our, objectivist, perspective). The same with the FSP and seasteading --- we need to analyze the experience of our libertarian friends.

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Mikhail:

Good to see your reappearance. Nice clip from Randall [?sp] Paul.

Mathematician, well that answers the back channel message that I sent you.

"The Apology of Capitalism" ???? is this a translation "issue"?

I am extremely interested in your concept of "establishing an 'Internet state'" and the advantages to establishing a quasi state in the ether.

Adam

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"The Apology of Capitalism" ???? is this a translation "issue"?

I don't think so. The title in Russian is "Апология капитализма", which can be literraly traslated to English as "The Apology of Capitalism".

Here is the book: http://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/1555152/

By the way, there are actually some problems with translations to Russian of Ayn Rand's works. For example, the title of the first part of "Atlas Shrugged" is translated to Russian as "Непротивление", which means "Non-resistance".

I am extremely interested in your concept of "establishing an 'Internet state'" and the advantages to establishing a quasi state in the ether.

This is not my concept. For example, there is a book "Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias" edited by Peter Ludlow. This book is actually a collection of articles covering a number of topics including establishing a state in internet. I am not endorsing the content of this book, I haven't read it (yet), I just indicate its existence. Maybe your caustic attitude to this topic is justified, I don't know.

Edited by henry_cameron

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"The Apology of Capitalism" ???? is this a translation "issue"?

I don't think so. The title in Russian is "Апология капитализма", which can be literraly traslated to English as "The Apology of Capitalism".

Here is the book: http://www.ozon.ru/c...ail/id/1555152/

By the way, there are actually some problems with translations to Russian of Ayn Rand's works. For example, the title of the first part of "Atlas Shrugged" is translated to Russian as "Непротивление", which means "Non-resistance".

I am extremely interested in your concept of "establishing an 'Internet state'" and the advantages to establishing a quasi state in the ether.

This is not my concept. For example, there is a book "Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias" edited by Peter Ludlow. This book is actually a collection of articles covering a number of topics including establishing a state in internet. I am not endorsing the content of this book, I haven't read it (yet), I just indicate its existence. Maybe your caustic attitude to this topic is justified, I don't know.

Что такое капитализм? The first chapter translates as What such is Capitalism.

Права человека Rights of the man.

Объективистская этика This translates as Objectivist Ethics which is the second section.

Природа государства Nature of the State

The Virtue of Selfishness maybe...

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What's wrong with a fiction book being fiction?

Everything is wrong with it. It is appropriate here to give a quote from Ayn Rand herself:

"My personal life is a postscript to my novels; it consists of the sentence: 'And I mean it.' I have always lived by the philosophy I present in my books --- and it has worked for me, as it works for my characters. The concretes differ, the abstractions are the same."

Notice that Objectivism is not a philosophy of self-sacrifice.

I know it. But strike is not a self-sacrifice.

Mikhail,

Glad to see you return.

To your point, I notice that Ayn Rand did not go on strike in her life. And she paid her taxes. She even spoke at West Point late in life.

So what am I missing in your reasoning?

Michael

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To your point, I notice that Ayn Rand did not go on strike in her life. And she paid her taxes. She even spoke at West Point late in life.

Yes, I know that, and I asked why. This was exactly my original question.

So what am I missing in your reasoning?

In my reasoning --- nothing.

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To your point, I notice that Ayn Rand did not go on strike in her life. And she paid her taxes. She even spoke at West Point late in life.

Yes, I know that, and I asked why. This was exactly my original question.

Mikhail,

You also said, to me when I asked what is wrong with letting fiction be fiction: "Everything is wrong with it."

If you know everything is wrong with it, you know at least something. (I'll interpret the claim of "everything" as a rhetorical excess for now.)

So are you asking a real question or making an affirmation, something to the effect that Ayn Rand was a hypocrite?

btw - If you are making an affirmation, I believe there is a problem in your reasoning. In Objectivism, it is called a concrete-bound view. In this case, it is when you look at a plot line in a fiction work which is used to throw certain principles into dramatic emphasis, replace the principles with the plot line in your argument, then complain (or insinuate) that the principles have nothing to do with reality. That's a switch-off of concretes, not an understanding of principles and how they are derived from reality. It's actually not a very good understanding of fiction plot-lines, too.

Michael

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Mikhail,

You also said, to me when I asked what is wrong with letting fiction be fiction: "Everything is wrong with it."

If you know everything is wrong with it, you know at least something. (I'll interpret the claim of "everything" as a rhetorical excess for now.)

So are you asking a real question or making an affirmation, something to the effect that Ayn Rand was a hypocrite?

btw - If you are making an affirmation, I believe there is a problem in your reasoning. In Objectivism, it is called a concrete-bound view. In this case, it is when you look at a plot line in a fiction work which is used to throw certain principles into dramatic emphasis, replace the principles with the plot line in your argument, then complain (or insinuate) that the principles have nothing to do with reality. That's a switch-off of concretes, not an understanding of principles and how they are derived from reality. It's actually not a very good understanding of fiction plot-lines, too.

Michael

You know, Michael, I am starting to be irritated.

Of course I asked a real question! Furthermore, I obtained a real answer. Specially for you I reproduce this answer once more: Ayn Rand did not go to strike because she thought that the situation in America was still not so bad. In this still-not-so-bad situation it is appropriate to live not like John Galt, but still like Howard Roark who also didn't go to strike and also payed taxes.

As for the alleged problem with my reasoning, I let readers to decide themselves which of us does not have a "very good understanding" of principles, concretes, and fiction plot-lines. You are talking to me in a haughty manner, which I am not going to tolerate.

Edited by henry_cameron

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So, has Ayn Rand ever thought of making the strike a reality? Of actually stoping publishing books and going with a bunch of businessmen to a valley in Colorado mountains?

And now, shouldn't we all instead of discussing ObamaCare go to strike?

Because if not, then it turns out that all this Atlas Shrugged thing is just fiction, nothing more, and has nothing to do with reality, isn't it?

You know, now there are thousants (if not tens or even hundreds of thousants) people in the world who claim to be objectivists. So what? The first thing one would hope to read on this forum is the discussion of an appropriate place for valley. Yet, I do not see anything like this.

Mikhail,

I wouldn't have dropped in here if you had not written "Let your readers decide..."

MSK is quite capable at arguing for himself.

I re-read the thread, and the central thing that stands out is your question of whether Rand would go on strike. (Then, or now.)

To which I thought: it's either a rhetorical query; or a literalist and hide-bound one; or an inflammatory one.

From your protestations I gather that you take your AR novels very seriously, but too literally. "Concrete-bound", as MSK puts it.

This happens a lot in my experience.

There is a larger principle at work here.

If I am in an argument with 'x', and he disagrees with me because he thinks I don't understand his argument - and goes to pains to explain repeatedly - then, in my mind, he is recognizing my lack of knowledge, (or lesser intellect) and accepting that I don't know what he knows, am misunderstanding, and he is giving me the benefit of the doubt. In short, he only blames me for 'error of ignorance'.

This is benevolence in action.

Conversely, if 'x' quickly implies the 'error of evasion' - of knowing, but denying - when he cannot, in the slightest, know that for sure at this point - his is a conclusion of faulty, knee-jerk, judgment.

This is egotistical arrogance.

I think that Michael was right to ask what he did, given your opening remarks. And right in his conclusion.

But, it does not matter much who is right, it matters that Objectivists with the knowledge and intellect you have, will go into superior 'judgment mode', whenever they get a chance, and all within a half-dozen exchanges. That lack of benevolence bothers me.

Tony

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Mikhail,

I'm not going to play games with you.

If you have control issues, that's not my problem.

If you find that irritating and intolerable, move on.

For now you are free to come and go.

Please read the posting guidelines if you want to post here.

Michael

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Mikhail,

I want to be fair and I think I've been a little too harsh with you.

You're opening post came across as extremely abrasive.

I'm not sure if it's a language issue, but I got the impression that you were dumping on people you call Objectivists because they don't do what you think they should do. In fact, you practically said they are disconnected from reality. By extension, that includes the people on this forum.

That left a hell of a bad first impression. People who do that normally are playing games.

If that is not your case, and if it was simply a matter of expressing phrases in a different language, I apologize. I have no wish to be hostile to someone who comes in good will.

But if what I originally imagined is your case, be well in life and I wish good things for you, but we are not going to get along.

Michael

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Hi - This forms my first post here.

Let me begin by saying that I have great affection for Atlas Shrugged, and I am so looking forward to seeing the movie tomorrow.

Thoughts about "making the strike a reality." If you think about the strikers in Atlas, every one of them was a top tier person in the industry or trade from which s/he withdrew. Not a single Eddie Willers amongst them. I mention Willers because he was much more the "everyman" then any of the strikers. Yet without the Willers of the world, the strikers would have had no bandwidth to get anything done. And without the hierarchical systems of social organization that go on in every multi-person organization, including families, companies, charities, and, yes, governments, you could not have a civilization that sprouted ipads, microwave ovens, national highway systems, the weekly removal of your garbage, and flights to the moon circa 1969. No John Galt and his merry band of strikers would have the brain power, let alone the horsepower to do all the things that require man-DECADES to get done.

If what I say here has any merit, then Atlas needs to be understood as an allegory - not a straight up understanding of reality. A very good allegory, but an allegory nonetheless. I don't find any other interpretation that I can personally accept.

Example: none of the court cases in Altas had the checks and balances that American courts routinely have. Rules of evidence, rules governing the proceedings, etc. As incompetent as American jurisprudence may be (and I acknowledge that it is so often so flawed that I would be first in line to throw rotten tomatoes at some judges and lawyers if opportunity permitted), Atlas' court proceedings were caricatures of real court rooms.

Which is fine if we're dealing with fiction, acknowledging that it's fiction, that there are object lessons to learn from it (same as Aesop's Fables or the Horatio Alger stories), and that she DOES draw the lines between good and evil; between producer and parasite with wonderful clarity.

But then we come to reality, and I know that I am much more like Eddie Willers than John Galt. I despise Wesley Mouch, and thus many of those in the Obama Administration who so much resemble Mouch that I wonder sometimes if the villains of Atlas were made incarnate! Nevertheless, for me to join "the strikers," society would have to be far worse than it is (even given how troublesome it currently is), and I'd have to know that the people I love and care about would not be left with shrapnel in their hides as I made off to some secret location.

One more point... Even Rand acknowledges this when she has Galt *urgently* asking Dagney to lie about knowing him lest she be tortured in front of him. He knew that he would be absolutely powerless to stop them from such an atrocity and that his dreams would not be fulfilled.

I am not John Galt. I am Bal Simon. I know that my life is deeply embedded within the fabric of American society and culture and that dissolving the bonds would create huge amounts of havoch for me without improving society or grinding it to a halt even fractionally.

I am a patriot. I love America fiercely. I do not like our current government. I do not like much of what passes for culture. But I am a firm lover of the First Amendment and much of the culture I don't like falls well within the ambit of that Amendment.

Thus, much as I love Rand's Atlas, I'm not going anywhere. :)

- Bal

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> Atlas needs to be understood as an allegory - not a straight up understanding of reality.

Yes. The word she often used for her fiction writing was "stylized". She was trying to show archetypes, pure situations and people stripped of non-essentials. Not at all a 'naturalistic' approach to literature.

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Welcome to OL Bal:

You make valid points and most of us are clearly closer to the Eddie Willers structural level. However, Ayn did have a number of non John Galts in the valley. One man who was a truck driver, I will try to find the exact page reference.

Also, as you will see in the movie, the Owen Kellogg scene will provide another example. The tramp from the 20th Century Motor Company who Dagny hires.

If fact, there is the extended references to the thousands of folks who vanish without any contact by the Strikers. The "frozen trains," the folks who just did not show up to work after the freeze was put into effect.

I truly respect your reservations because of people you value being left behind and because of this incredible country we were born into. I share your concerns. However, at the rate we are going, that tipping point is actually visible to me on a nearer horizon than I ever thought would be possible.

I hope I am wrong.

At any rate welcome. What do you do to support the state? Worker slave or student slave in training?

Adam

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Hey Adam and Philip,

Most of my adult life (I'm 56 now) I worked as a worker-bee in various companies; ranging from a resume writer to a sales rep to a technical writer. My last gig was as a contractor in a major aerospace company doing technical writing for their procedures. Right now, I'm semi-retired, by choice.

There truly are lots and lots of very competent people in America. I am blessed to be an American citizen, and tipping point or no, that will never change. This country is still far bigger than the parasite class that knows no limits. For awhile I was very worried because it seemed America checked "its" brain at the door and decided to vote on the simple principle that Obama wasn't Bush - as if that's a rational view. (I would warn against voting for "anyone but Obama" on the same rationale.) But when the 2010 elections swung the pendulum back toward the center, I found myself relieved and far less worried. I LOVE the American political pendulum - even though it means that there are stretches where the government really pisses me off. Far better that than a dictatorship.

I think that by and large, most people are NOT parasites. To the extent that Rand ever seemed to imply that they were, to that extent I'd say she got it wrong - at least so far. And I'm guessing she never did really make that her thesis. But there are many people out there who think she did, and it is important to acknowledge that most people are decent enough - just want to pursue their lives; bring up their kids, and be decent members of the society in which they live. They don't want to make trouble. I don't know ANYONE who wants to receive government money if it means that someone else is getting ripped off by the government. (That's what was so wrong with "Cash for Clunkers.")

I like being able to go to local coffee shops and order a supply of coffee from a waitress who is thrilled to be my server because it helps her fill her day and helps her provide for her family. I think there is great value in the society we have formed, and I am NOT ready to chuck it just because I am very unhappy about some pretty important things. If that had been the way of my ancestors, I would not be here today.

- Bal

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Bal:

Understood. We do not disagree.

It is interesting that you perceive the Tea Party swing being back to the center.

I am sure that you are aware of the recent release of the data that close to half of the US population is receiving subsistence from the government.

Do you think that we can survive as a society that is half productive and have non-productive?

Sounds like a very tinny Lincolnian refrain.

Additionally, do you believe that we can extricate ourselves from the national, state and local debt weight that currently exists?

Adam

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I have an almost mystical belief in America. Most un-objectivist of me, but I acknowledge it to be true.

I don't say that the Tea Party is centrist, though I am much closer to the way of thinking that I hear coming from their members than from virtually any other political "side."

To answer your question, let me respond with a remembering from Atlas: I remember (I think correctly) a scene where Dagney and Hank are on the Galt Line, and Dagney is concerned about the parasites acting as though it was they who accomplished great things, not acknowledging the roles of the Producers - the creative forces that made it possible. Rearden replies, "We have more than enough power to carry them along." Or something to that effect. I remember the feeling of electricity surging through me as I read that. I remember that as the moment when I could begin truly distinguishing people who produce - who create and those who are the leeches, the sycophants, etc.

The ENTIRE Obama Administration, as near as I can tell, consists of no creators. No producers. Only leeches. Only villains. Only minds so small that you couldn't find them with an electron microscope. They have no real power. The power lies with, as it always has, with We the People. If the followers of Rand make a mistake, it is this: that the only solution is withdrawl. The Tea Party proves that this need not be the case. No - they are not at the political center. They are to the right of center. And thus they - and others like them - are what moves the pendulum from the Left. The center isn't strong enough to do it. But the passions on the Right are.

We are a "swinging" - perhaps a lurching country - neither Left nor Right. We shortsightedly think that a particular position on taken up by the pendulum is the end-all be-all. It is not. It is the pendulum itself that makes this country so dynamic.

My fear - my only real fear in terms of social evolution - is that too many people lose their allegiance to the ideas and the ideals of America. Out of that social problem emerges a host of economic ones - including economic ruin. But if those who provide value to society are not bled dry by those who provide nothing, who merely take up space, and not in a good way, then yes - this country will go through a period of decline that makes the past couple of years look like the Roaring 20s.

Even so - I believe in America. I believe She is strong, despite all of the crap we see right now; despite the evils inflicted upon Her and upon us by the current misbegotten resident of the White House. We have been through bad times before; we have been through worse before. And we have come through. This is the source of my faith - even if it be a bit sentimental and perhaps irrational. I believe, because I don't want to believe the alternative - because believing the alternative creates the possibility of an unnecessary self-fulfilling prophecy.

On that basis, and out of a deep affection for America and the good people who populate her, I remain an optimist.

- Bal

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Bal:

I am about eight (8) years older than you are and I am also in love with America. I have been all my life. I am also very political which certainly sets me apart from many here on OL, who, justifiably, do not see much hope in the electoral process.

I do not mind getting my hands dirty and have been in politics since I was about ten. I love the intensity and as Allan Drury explained in one of his fine novels, it is capable of honor.

I will go down fighting if necessary, but I will not give up just yet, but I also have always been ready to strike and walk away.

Glad to have you aboard.

What state do you fight your battles from?

NY City boy here currently in exile in NJ with our fine Governor Christie.

Adam

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Glad to be aboard. Thanks! I look forward to further discussions.

I hail from the once-great state of California, but seeing the writing on the wall about 20 years ago, decided it was no place to raise a kid. So when he was 1½ we moved to Washington State just outside of Seattle. Weatherwise, I live in paradise. It rains 2/3 of the time here, it very rarely gets hot (though 2 years ago we had a super-intense heat wave (even by Los Angeles standards) and no one had air condition. I could do without that kind of thing again. So far so good. :)

Politically, Seattle is about 20 years behind Los Angeles, though definitely moving in that direction. But by the time it's intolerable for me, I'll likely be dead an buried. It will be my son's turn to fight the good fight.

- Bal

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Bal,

Welcome to OL.

I share many of your sentiments.

Don't worry about not sounding Objectivist enough. Bal straight-no-chaser sounds just fine from where I sit.

(I know you don't worry about that, but I thought I would say it anyway. :) )

Michael

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Bal wrote:

Thoughts about "making the strike a reality." If you think about the strikers in Atlas, every one of them was a top tier person in the industry or trade from which s/he withdrew. Not a single Eddie Willers amongst them.

End quote

Welcome Bal. I echo Michael’s sentiments.

It has been years since I read it, but I remember the selectivity of those chosen for Atlantis and that many of them took menial jobs there, for small salaries paid in tiny gold coins. Immigration standards were strictly enforced. Imagine the U.S. borders if the Mexicans could not find them! It would be worse than finding your car at the Alamo Shopping Mall in Dallas at Christmas time. “Amigo? We have been by this Barnes and Noble book store three times now.”

I think that a character who is a top industrialist is more stylishly and clearly defined than a person who is a top garbage collector. The collector could not do the industrialist’s job, but the industrialist could collect garbage. The qualities to do a top job automatically imply more admirable talents. How long a driven, talented person with credentials would do the garbage collecting job is debatable. If Atlantis were to survive as a separate *territory* then sooner and not later, the Eddie Willers of the world would be admitted. And the undocumented, but pretty Mexican maids too : o )

No one who reads Ayn Rand is comfortable saying they are more like Eddie than Hank Reardon but 9,999 out of 10,000 Objectivists are. Eddie’s potential was probably higher than executive assistant, which reminds me of Star Trek The Next Generation, when Commander Riker passes up a chance to be a ship’s captain to remain on the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Jean Luc Picard.

"Eddie Willers types" weigh the benefits of being a driven executive or a family man and choose spending more time with their families. This does not mean that we Objectivists scorn the billionaires. Some of us just have different values and goals.

Peter Taylor

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Hi Peter,

I really do need to re-read Atlas for what you said about the others who were not captains of industry finding their way to Galts Gulch and being allowed to live there does ring a bell.

That said, I'm not so sure that a "good industrialist" could also be a "good garbage collector." While it seems that it would be so, the fact is that a person's health and physical qualities also enter into it. Other "biological" foibles do too. For example, if someone falls asleep while dealing with masses of numbers, odds are s/he's not going to make a good accountant (how my CPA does this for me is a major mystery of life!). Hitting the nail on the head - perhaps trivially, but nonetheless accurately: someone with Tourette's Syndrome is likely NOT going make a good clown to entertain little kids in front of their parents.

When I worked at an large aerospace company, the administrative assistant was virtually a lynchpin for the entire group that I worked with. The manager - who was also excellent, very likely could not do the admin's job, nearly as well as the admin did. Rand certainly recognized that people have different talents, abilities, etc.

You wrote: "No one who reads Ayn Rand is comfortable saying they are more like Eddie than Hank Reardon..." In my original post here, I specifically stated that I am much more like Willers than Rearden, Galt or Taggert. The problem with "Randians" is that they, like me, forgot that "bit players" did make it to Galt's Gulch. But unlike them, I acknowledge that societally, I currently participate as a bit player. And given the way my life is set up, my desire to remain relatively anonymous, my desire to be able to go to a local Denny's and enjoy a two-hour cup of coffee, to be part of a bowling league, etc. - all of these mold my life to be a "bit player."

But I am no more upset by that than the fact that I will never be Superman or Doctor Who or Thor (coming to a theater near you soon). I like to believe that I would not be choose to remain in the desert standing by a decrepit, derelict of a train in the middle of nowhere, esp. if I was offered a lift. But then, if I saw my entire world crashing around me, if I knew that the odds were that no matter where I went, everywhere would be like Los Angeles and there'd be no getting to Galt's Gulch, maybe I would stay with the train. I wonder.

- Bal

Addendum: On re-reading my original post, I see that I didn't specifically say that I was more like Willers than Rearden. I kind of implied it though when I said that I was not John Galt. Just making the implicit more explicit. :)

Edited by IamBalSimon

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