Wolf DeVoon

What doesn't make sense about Objectivist values

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

1. Rearden romanced and married Lillian. Instead of having children, he adopted her brother.

2. Francisco laid Dagny only once or twice and never touched another woman.

3. Taggart Transcontinental was privately held and profitable.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

7. Galt jammed every transmitter in America and broadcast on the same frequencies.

8. A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

9. ...with the expectation that they could rebuild everything later.

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It is a work of fiction Wolfe with archetypal metaphors as the character structure.

As one Missourian rhetorician commented,

...the appeal of the archetypal metaphor is contingent upon its embodiment of basic human motivations. Vertical scale images, which project desirable objects above the listener and undesirable objects below, often seem to express symbolically man's quest for power. Such basic motivations appear to cluster naturally about prominent features of experience and to find in them symbolic expression. Thus, when a rhetorical subject is related to an archetypal metaphor a kind double-association occurs. The subject is associated with a prominent feature of experience, which has already become associated with basic human motivations.

There are a lot more elements that make no sense in both this novel and the Fountainhead.

So, am I not understanding the point you are making?

Seems like your statement cries for some flesh on those bones...

A...

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It's a novel and has to be read as such, not a tract of philosophy*. The main characters aren't 'Objectivists', rather singular, rational and volitional individuals. Similarly to the partial divide between Rand the artist and Rand the philosopher, I think one has to distance philosophy from the author's made up reality and allow her artistic licence any writer needs. Novels are one place a novelist can indulge himself in wishful thinking of men and women as he would want them to be. *(Apart from the interlude of the Speech).

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

As to 4. I think it was clear that he loved Cheryl Taggart;

As to 5. I would hope that he paid Galt a user fee for his blanketing Stealth screen for his battle cruiser.

As to 6. Again, the Screen would keep it secret, however, I am reasonably sure that Midas had a shadow buyer own the "useless mountain land" and paid taxes through the straw buyer.

Midas seemed pretty smart about becoming a missing person and he had the money to cover his trail well.

A...

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This is in Drudge today...how apropos...

gettyimages-488372918.jpg?w=640&h=360&cr

SALT LAKE CITY (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — A New York man is building his own sovereign nation called Zaqistan on a remote piece of land in Utah.

Zaq Landsberg has created a yellow-and-red flag, official-looking passports and a border patrol gate guarded by a giant robot sentry for the realm, KSL-TV reported.

“The conceptual goal is I want it to become a real country,” said Landsberg, its president. “I mean, that goal is not going to happen. It’s impossible, but going through the motions, (I’m) trying to make that happen.”

He’s even created a motto for the land of Zaqistan: “Something from nothing.”

“Zaqistan works the best, I think, when it’s wedged up against the real world, and when the passports circulate,” he told KSL.

http://lasvegas.cbslocal.com/2015/10/26/utah-zaqistan-sovereign-nation/

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

1. Rearden romanced and married Lillian. Instead of having children, he adopted her brother.

2. Francisco laid Dagny only once or twice and never touched another woman.

3. Taggart Transcontinental was privately held and profitable.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

7. Galt jammed every transmitter in America and broadcast on the same frequencies.

8. A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

9. ...with the expectation that they could rebuild everything later.

Ok, I will try to give my answers. Please excuse me for inaccuracies, it has been a few years since I read the book. In general I agree that there are few parts which are a bit unrealistic, but that is probably intentional. I think Ayn Rand's intention was to make a point, rather than to make sure everything is extremely realistic.

1. Rearden wasn't an Objectivist when he married Lillian, he only became one after Galt taught him. As for not having children, this was a theme with all the heroes in Atlas Shrugged.

2. Was it explicitly stated that he did not have sex with other women, or did you assume it? I assume he did have others but they were not mentioned. But in case he did not, I guess he loved Dagny and could not find anyone else her equal. Anyone find it curious that there are lots of male heroes in AS, but Dagny seems to be about the only female one?

I actually found it slightly troublesome that Francisco just gave Dagny to Galt, and not fight for her. But I think Ayn Rand made it like that specifically to make a point which she further elaborates in "There is no conflicts of interest between rational men".

3. What about this? As I recall, the conditions for Taggart Transcontinental got continuously worse as the story progressed, as it did for the whole economy. So it likely was not profitable at the very end, in fact it probably went bankrupt. Isn't the last chapter about a Taggart train stopping and Eddie Willers on it?

4. I understood Eddie Willers to be example of a character who was a "good person" with good intentions, but not smart enough to grasp the concepts which the "men of the mind" grasped, and thus he had to be left behind. Dagny probably felt some sympathy for him, but he could never be taken into Galt's Gulch for example, because he did not understand "what was wrong with the world".

5. This does not seem logical, if you look at US Navy today (or naval fleets of other countries). My assumption is that collectivism/mysticism/irrationalism had proceeded to such a level that no nation could organize or fund a proper navy anymore. Pirates in modern times is not a far fetched concept, as we have seen with Somalian pirates in recent years.

6. You mean Galt's Gulch, or something else? I understood the Gulch to be inside a mountain, not some space of open land that people would normally buy.

8. I think the point was specifically that the average people destroyed the world, not the heroes. The heroes merely withdrew from society, but did not actively destroy it (other than their own respective companies).

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

1. Rearden romanced and married Lillian. Instead of having children, he adopted her brother.

2. Francisco laid Dagny only once or twice and never touched another woman.

3. Taggart Transcontinental was privately held and profitable.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

7. Galt jammed every transmitter in America and broadcast on the same frequencies.

8. A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

9. ...with the expectation that they could rebuild everything later.

10. Frisco went off to college and didn't share with Dagny, the love his life, the identities of the two wonderful new friends he had met at school, or all of the great ideas that they were learning and discussing. Why? Because, for the sake of the novel, they had to remain mysteries even prior to Frisco's knowing that the two would later plan to stop the motor of the world and therefore that their plans would be better served if their identities weren't revealed to Dagny.

11. Along the same lines, Frisco, for no valid reason, didn't do everything possible to inform, educate and convince Dagny to join in the efforts to stop the motor of the world. Why? Because the novel's predetermined plot had to be served, and therefore realistic human behavior had to be sacrificed.

J

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Your memory is a bit faulty on number 6

6. You mean Galt's Gulch, or something else? I understood the Gulch to be inside a mountain, not some space of open land that people would normally buy.

Out in the open of the valley with the John Galt Stealth Screen that caused Dagny's crash when she pierced it and it killed her engine...lol - stopping it's motive power...

A...

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Wolf writes:

A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

A dozen dumb ones are already doing that right now.

Greg

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Wolf writes:

A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

A dozen dumb ones are already doing that right now.

Greg

Almost a philosophical jury...9 SCOTUS, 1 President, 1 Speaker of House and 1 Majority Leader of the Senate...= 12, still using the old math.

A...

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Your memory is a bit faulty on number 6

6. You mean Galt's Gulch, or something else? I understood the Gulch to be inside a mountain, not some space of open land that people would normally buy.

Out in the open of the valley with the John Galt Stealth Screen that caused Dagny's crash when she pierced it and it killed her engine...lol - stopping it's motive power...

A...

You are correct, I was thinking that the place was surrounded by mountains, not that it was actually "inside" a mountain. So, not an open area in the sense that some passerby would accidentally walk in there, as the mountains would block their path. That was my line of reasoning.

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In some limited ways, Atlas Shrugged is a science-fiction or speculative fantasy novel. The reader can 'suspend disbelief' about details when to their eyes the narrative energy is strong and firm and exciting. Once the book is laid down, some readers can spend their time picking apart the narrative for clunkers and anomalies and screamers -- in order to degrade the appreciation felt by others who are not picky at all. Those nasty readers tend to be poorly represented at OL.

I could be quite wrong -- perhaps some folks captivated by the energy and purpose of the narrative can apply a cold critical lens to the text, resulting in clunkers perceived -- but in the final analysis irrelevant to their enjoyment and inspiration. Any iffy parts (like, say, the motor) are not impediments to judging the work as genius, enthralling, spellbinding and so on.

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The reader can 'suspend disbelief' about details

Atlas Shrugged was important to me in 1973. If Warren Buffett, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs, Sergei Brin, Larry Ellison and Sam Walton had been "destroyed," Atlas would have been a true story -- but instead of Galt we got Greenspan.

Greenspan.jpg

"It did not go without notice that Ayn Rand stood beside me as I took the oath of office in the presence of President Ford in the Oval Office. Ayn Rand and I remained close until she died in 1982, and I'm grateful for the influence she had on my life. I was intellectually limited until I met her." [The Age of Turbulence, p. 52]

transfer-payments-income.png

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4. I understood Eddie Willers to be example of a character who was a "good person" with good intentions, but not smart enough to grasp the concepts which the "men of the mind" grasped, and thus he had to be left behind. Dagny probably felt some sympathy for him, but he could never be taken into Galt's Gulch for example, because he did not understand "what was wrong with the world".

Eddie chose to stay behind, against Dagny's protest. Many people misremember and think that Eddie wasn't invited, so apparently the final scene between Dagny and Eddie was too short for it to "stick" with a lot of readers.

Adam, I don't know where you got the idea that Eddie loved Cherryl Taggart (post #4). He declares his love for Dagny in the final scene between him and her.

Re point 1 in the opening post - the brother who lived with Hank and Lillian was his brother, Philip, not hers. His mother lived with them too.

Those nasty readers tend to be poorly represented at OL.

There's been loads of picky picking at Atlas on OL, starting from the first month of OL's existence.

I could be quite wrong -- perhaps some folks captivated by the energy and purpose of the narrative can apply a cold critical lens to the text, resulting in clunkers perceived -- but in the final analysis irrelevant to their enjoyment and inspiration. Any iffy parts (like, say, the motor) are not impediments to judging the work as genius, enthralling, spellbinding and so on.

I was noticing "clunkers" plus details which didn't sit well with me psychologically from about the third page onward.

Ellen

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Wolf writes:

A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

A dozen dumb ones are already doing that right now.

Greg

LOL

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

1. Rearden romanced and married Lillian. Instead of having children, he adopted her brother.

2. Francisco laid Dagny only once or twice and never touched another woman.

3. Taggart Transcontinental was privately held and profitable.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

7. Galt jammed every transmitter in America and broadcast on the same frequencies.

8. A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

9. ...with the expectation that they could rebuild everything later.

All kinds of ways to enjoy the novel. Don't get brain freeze.

--Brant

you might be able to make a list of a hundred--a thousand?--such things (it's a work of art)

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I don't care how it's explained away. This stuff is daffy.

1. Rearden romanced and married Lillian. Instead of having children, he adopted her brother.

2. Francisco laid Dagny only once or twice and never touched another woman.

3. Taggart Transcontinental was privately held and profitable.

4. Eddie Willers never loved anyone but Dagny from afar.

5. Ragnar's pirate ship never encountered the Coast Guard or US Navy.

6. Mulligan bought land in Colorado that no county tax assessor knew about.

7. Galt jammed every transmitter in America and broadcast on the same frequencies.

8. A dozen smart people brought down the government and destroyed a society...

9. ...with the expectation that they could rebuild everything later.

10. Frisco went off to college and didn't share with Dagny, the love his life, the identities of the two wonderful new friends he had met at school, or all of the great ideas that they were learning and discussing. Why? Because, for the sake of the novel, they had to remain mysteries even prior to Frisco's knowing that the two would later plan to stop the motor of the world and therefore that their plans would be better served if their identities weren't revealed to Dagny.

11. Along the same lines, Frisco, for no valid reason, didn't do everything possible to inform, educate and convince Dagny to join in the efforts to stop the motor of the world. Why? Because the novel's predetermined plot had to be served, and therefore realistic human behavior had to be sacrificed.

J

Francisco was convinced Dagny so loved her work she could only be persauded through time and experience. To have tried to inform her would have risked his cover. The biggie was why he would give her up for anything? That as a practical matter there was no need to destroy the copper industry for the sake of a "strike" for it would shrink on its own in the face of a declining demand for copper is irrelevant. The pirate business was even sillier and I think that's why the author mostly kept Ragnar in the background. There is no way to improve this novel in any significant way without collapsing the entire plot structure. Of Rand's three novels it's only The Fountainhead I'd consider reading from cover to cover again. I read AS now in bits and pieces, cracking the covers randomly or going back to something memorable to me. I read it twice cover to cover in the 1960s except the first time I skipped Galt's speech. (I went back and read it when I was finished.) The second time I read it in sequence for it does belong there in that place literarily speaking. I read We the Living once, but don't care to again for the characters are Russian. That's why I stopped reading The Brothers Karamazov 2/3rds or 3/4ths the way through. I was bored.

--Brant

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Hi Brant. The topic was values, primarily the notion that a dozen people could take down the U.S. government.

But they didn't. It took down itself. They only speeded up history. I believe Rand herself knew for the sake of the story she was actually compressing several generations of time. She was naive. The government sticks around unless there are torches and pitchforks. She thought--see the Playboy interview--that the Cuban government would collapse with an economic blockade. And consider the governments of Haiti, Venazuela and Zimbabwe.

--Brant

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Wolf writes:

Hi Brant. The topic was values, primarily the notion that a dozen people could take down the U.S. government.

That dozen couldn't do it without the political support of millions of unproductive failures who share heir values.

LFP%20Participation.jpg

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Hi Brant. The topic was values, primarily the notion that a dozen people could take down the U.S. government.

But they didn't. It took down itself. They only speeded up history. I believe Rand herself knew for the sake of the story she was actually compressing several generations of time. She was naive. The government sticks around unless there are torches and pitchforks. She thought--see the Playboy interview--that the Cuban government would collapse with an economic blockade. And consider the governments of Haiti, Venazuela and Zimbabwe.

--Brant

Recently, I have been thinking about this a lot.

What is happening in Europe right now is establishing the beginning of the end for mainland Europe..,

It may be that Ayn was right on the money about the Peoples States of Europe needing the extras like food, fuel and medicine from us Imperialist Capitalist Americans...

Account Overdrawn Europe

A...

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Recently, I have been thinking about this a lot.

What is happening in Europe right now is establishing the beginning of the end for mainland Europe..,

It may be that Ayn was right on the money about the Peoples States of Europe needing the extras like food, fuel and medicine from us Imperialist Capitalist Americans...

Account Overdrawn Europe

A...

As much as some people would like to see a "fast collapse", which would maybe enable the proper rebuilding of our nations, what we have is a train wreck in slow motion which will take decades still. It is the slow grind of the collectivist/mysticist/altruist ideology that has been the norm throughout history, except for brief moments in time. But yes, for all intents and purposes, the "Peoples States of Europe" are a reality.

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Recently, I have been thinking about this a lot.

What is happening in Europe right now is establishing the beginning of the end for mainland Europe..,

It may be that Ayn was right on the money about the Peoples States of Europe needing the extras like food, fuel and medicine from us Imperialist Capitalist Americans...

Account Overdrawn Europe

A...

As much as some people would like to see a "fast collapse", which would maybe enable the proper rebuilding of our nations, what we have is a train wreck in slow motion which will take decades still. It is the slow grind of the collectivist/mysticist/altruist ideology that has been the norm throughout history, except for brief moments in time. But yes, for all intents and purposes, the "Peoples States of Europe" are a reality.

I have an Oriental mind set when it comes to politics.

Once the breach has been made the spread will be incremental and I agree that three to five decades is the time frame.

The breach has occurred from numerous holes and the populace has no clue how to deal with it.

Soon "global warming cooling climate change will hit and you will have starving freezing young men foraging and ya ain't got no guns, so, it is time to get medieval.

A...

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Hi Brant. The topic was values, primarily the notion that a dozen people could take down the U.S. government.

But they didn't. It took down itself. They only speeded up history. I believe Rand herself knew for the sake of the story she was actually compressing several generations of time. She was naive. The government sticks around unless there are torches and pitchforks. She thought--see the Playboy interview--that the Cuban government would collapse with an economic blockade. And consider the governments of Haiti, Venazuela and Zimbabwe.

--Brant

Recently, I have been thinking about this a lot.

What is happening in Europe right now is establishing the beginning of the end for mainland Europe..,

It may be that Ayn was right on the money about the Peoples States of Europe needing the extras like food, fuel and medicine from us Imperialist Capitalist Americans...

Account Overdrawn Europe

A...

I don't think statism will overcome general human progress which is for the better. I never believed enough in what I think of as "Randian metaphysics," which was the world of Atlas Shrugged. Her "metaphysics" are what I now think of as Russian-American. The statists don't understand that they are engaged in Ruddian sleigh-riding: throwing out goodies hoping hoi polloi won't eat them. Statism regimes can retain their form, but they are consuming their own stolen substance. Communism in China, for instance, has turned into political flotsam.

Statism has no left over vitality/ability to impose a 20th C. totalitarian regime, not even in Muslim countries, bad as they are. This doesn't mean there aren't horrors galore going on apropos religious divides such as are being visitied upon Muslims in Burma (now known as something else) or Jews left over in Muslim countries.

--Brant

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