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Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

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9 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

The guard was not killed in revenge for anything, nor executed for having committed an offense against a power that be, nor murdered in a fit of rage. He was exterminated dispassionately like you do when you step on a cockroach or swat a fly.

And ya' think Dagny felt a twinge of guilt later?

Hell no.

Of course not.  Dagny was part of a commando raid  to rescue Galt.   The ends (in that case) justified the means (in this case  killing the guard).  The Mission determined the tactics.  

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14 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Fountainhead, yes. Atlas, no.

Yup, as a novel, I agree. Atlas had to be an enormous, national canvas, painted in broad brushstrokes by necessity. Something had to give, like the close attention to the individual's acts, career and character depicted in TF (and in WtL).  What a huge task Rand set up for herself when you take her theme for AS:  "The role of the mind in man's existence". (AR). You don't ever find a higher abstraction than that. Her more down to earth, concrete "plot-theme": "The men of the mind going on strike against an altruist-collectivist society" (AR) - would be a daunting enough abstract to any other author, not so?

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20 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

I don't know if I have written about this before, but there is a throughline with Dagny that is well delineated that led her to this. It ends in her contempt and hatred for those who don't use their minds, but whose existence threatens her own and that of those she values.

I once floated this idea with Barbara Branden and she was horrified. :) But, in my enthusiasm, I probably, expressed myself poorly. Barbara's fangs used to come out when people mentioned hate. :)  She never had any trouble hating hate and never saw the inconsistency. (God, I miss her...)

Here's my idea. One of Dagny's spiritual journeys was to get to the point where she could say the oath about swearing to live for her life. But to get there, Dagny had to let go of her attachment, so to speak, to humanity in general as an innate good (meaning the unthinking and malevolent folks were included). She wouldn't let go but she had to for the oath to mean anything.

You can trace her growing dissatisfaction with this attachment from the beginning of the book all the way to her taking time off to be by herself after she went on her own brand of strike (after Directive 10-289). At this time, although on strike, she still wasn't there with her attachment. It still existed in her soul. So when Francisco showed up and almost got her to the crossover point, she learned of the tunnel disaster on the radio and fled back to normal society. But after the Taggart bridge was blown, she saw the gun on Galt at the televised dinner table as he said, "Get the hell out of my way," and then she learned they planned on torturing him, her attachment to any vestige of humanity in them was finally completely severed. She was able to call Francisco to get her out of Dodge. That's when she said the oath.

To me, there's a clear line from Dagny's love of humanity in general at the beginning to her cold dispassionate hatred and dehumanizing contempt for those who were life-sucking parasites. To be clear, at this end point she didn't hate all humanity. She divided it into us against them. "Us" deserved to live and share (or trade as she would say). "Them" were vermin and parasites. The only choice they ever made was to feed off the lifeforce and very bodies of productive people like her with only injury in return. So, like all vermin, if they got in the way, they were to be exterminated. 

As Rand did not believe in presenting an abstraction in fiction without concretizing it through an event the reader could witness, Dagny shot the vermin after giving it a chance to not be vermin. (Maybe I should have said "he" and not "it"? :) ) Her demand that the guard choose to get out of the way was her way of verifying he was vermin and not human in any way she could relate to anymore.

Galt had said, "Get out of my way." Dagny took that to heart and the guard chose to stay in the way--by not making a reality-based choice, even with a gun trained on him. So she removed him by exterminating him. She had had it with people like him when the love of her life was being tortured and he was in the way.

I find this perfectly in line with a spiritual throughline in the book (in Dagny) and perfectly in line with Rand's thinking (especially "love is exception-making" when considering nonviolence), although it does indicate a pretty nasty slippery slope. That's how I found my peace with this scene.

But it's a toughie because of the cold-blooded murder by the top Randian heroine. That's why I think it gets discussed to death in O-Land. It's pure cognitive dissonance that has not been resolved to everyone's satisfaction all the way up to today. 

Michael

I think I'm in line with this, with maybe a few differences of degree, not kind. Also that cognitive dissonance should be dissolved when one considers what Rand was up to, ultimately - her clear vision of what altruism has forever been doing to individuals and societies - and the nature of fictional art. I have to ask why it is that in this time of gory, gratuitous movie violence we take for normal fare, readers should take even partial exception to the incident in Rand's novel. Is it because a reader knows that "a moral philosopher" is the author? IOW, whatever she writes is prescriptive to our actions - literally and morally? Yes, to morally, transposed to our real lives, but not "literally". I've thought before Objectivists may tend to be over-derivative from Rand's fiction, which they'd probably not think of doing with other writers. Although we know all she wrote came from the same source, I feel there needs to be a clear distinction kept.

Compare to a common sort of film plot, a woman had her child snatched by a brutal gang; when she comes to rescuing him/her, she turns from a usually mild, compassionate person into a wild hell cat - we know from general experiences of most women. She'd shoot down anyone who got in her way without a thought, and the audience cheers her on. People think that completely acceptable and moral. But so it is with Dagny, who's highest (I assume) human value is in danger. The "bigger picture" still plays - Rand was expressing, in a sub-theme I think, that those who are complicit in evil, a sacrifice of others' minds and lives (which objectively amounts to the same) aren't innocent bystanders. While this is a minor incident of the plot, linked to a grand theme of sacrifice and self-sacrifice. What would 'you' NOT do if 'your' greatest (objective) value was suffering and in mortal danger? Sacrifice is giving up or losing your greater value for a lesser one or no value: here, the guard's life is the lesser value. Nobody accepts this sort of fictional "emergency scenario" is commonly true to reality, do they? We implicitly grant any author license, their creative leeway. Not that having to weigh up two lives and two values, life or death, could *never* happen to *somebody*. Just that the altruist arguments depend on the extreme and improbable, reality in existence or consciousness is not their concern.

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Compare to a common sort of film plot, a woman had her child snatched by a brutal gang; when she comes to rescuing him/her, she turns from a usually mild, compassionate person into a wild hell cat - we know from general experiences of most women. She'd shoot down anyone who got in her way without a thought, and the audience cheers her on. People think that completely acceptable and moral.

Tony,

That's perceptive.

Rand's difference is Dagny's lack of emotion and her blah blah blah--that is, Dagny taking time out of her urgency to make the guard choose.

Here's another way of expressing the way I see this throughline. After Dagny verified that the person in her way was vermin and not human (according to her "man of the mind" criteria), she did the equivalent of saying:

"But I don't think of you."

Boom.

:) 

From what I've detected over the years, people with a parasitical nature sense this in Rand and it scares the hell out of them...

Michael

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21 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

 

I once floated this idea with Barbara Branden and she was horrified. :) But, in my enthusiasm, I probably, expressed myself poorly. Barbara's fangs used to come out when people mentioned hate. :)  She never had any trouble hating hate and never saw the inconsistency. (God, I miss her...)

 

Michael

 

Michael, recently TAS  has put NB's lecture series online (great!) so yesterday I went to Barbara's lecture in there. What a terrific, crystal clear voice heard for the first time by me. Nathaniel when younger sounds very stilted. You will have known her much better, I had one little conversation with her here, read several of her posts and can see how missed she, her mind and grace, will be always.

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On 6/9/2018 at 9:33 AM, anthony said:

Yeah, shocking. Horrid. I get that it is unpleasant for squeamish pacifists or NAP'ers, that Rand could "kill" an innocent guard in a piece of fiction. Ha! Except, it's essential to abstract the act into a bigger picture: I.e., Everyone who even tacitly or actively supports a totalitarian regime is part-responsible for the results. A statist dictator doesn't just 'arrive', despite the people - but because of (many of) the people. Though not having read AS for over 20 years, I certainly think that illustrating this was Rand's intention. (A background the reader might infer, were the "oceans of blood" created by the Soviets and Nazis which were made possible by the "ordinary" guy who can't think and won't judge, just goes along).

So the "murdered" guard, who would whine - it's not his fault, he didn't know what was going on, he was only following orders - and so on, is culpable, too. He's on the immoral side of a moral war. He is also "a being of volitional consciousness" (the mainstay of Romantic Realism - from Rand) and each one's moral and immoral choices have consequences. But he chose to self-sacrifice his mind to others and to the Authority. And (in a fictional work), he gets his comeuppance. That infamous remark "To the gas chambers, go!" (in criticism of AS) and charges of sociopathy about AR were a total inversion of a fact: one import of Rand's novel was a searing condemnation of those dictators and 'ordinary' people who invented, built and filled concentration camps and the gas chambers. 

Hi Tony. Well it's June 16th and a week later. Thanks for your remark. It's a good one too, and reading it makes me feel guilty because the USA is much closer to a total police state than the ideal noted by Jefferson in his inaugural speech:

Quote
  • "A wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

 Like John Galt who willing to kill himself to save Dagny from torture, perhaps a committed Objectivist  philosopher should think about pedagogy, but of course they do, so by extension those who willing to support in some manner their activities are less culpable.

Quote

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” 
 Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Maybe that my enjoyment of chatting here on OL isn't an application the second handiness fallacy would lend to me a freedom to hang out more often, but then again if indeed the USG goes full on Stalinist, I'll be one of the disappeared or so I would hope he quipped as he whistled past the metaphorical graveyard of bad ideas. 

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On 6/9/2018 at 10:24 AM, Brant Gaede said:

Murder consequent to an act of war isn't murder. She killed an enemy combatant who would not submit. In real life there would be no conversation except if necessary to get close enough to kill the guard. But Rand believed in yammer, yammer, yammer.

At the end of We the Living the guard does the killing. So at the end of Rand's magnum opus it's reversed. That's no coincidence.

I do not have the slightest idea how to improve on how Rand handled Dagny's killing the guard. The whole novel is steeped in bigger-than-life artificiality. The same can be said about Galt's speech. The asseverating moralizing--lecturing--simply has to be done the way she did.it. And it has to be long.

--Brant

This is what I love about this message forum. You guys are way smarter than for which you give yourselves credit. Be that as it may, I'll take the bait. Dagny's action was a criminal act of murder because there was no act of succession or declaration of independence to form a new political body by the minions of Midas Mulligan's valley despite that they'd bugged out. Merely bugging out to the valley did not form a new country. Countries can only be formed by express declaration . They were still citizens of the dystopian disfunctional United States depicted in AS and hence still subject to its legal jurisdiction. There was no war. Just because a cop is an ass hole doesn't justify killing him even if he's doing something really bad. If you kill a cop, you go to death row. As you pointed out, the guard was just being stupid, and as satisfying as it sometimes seems to want to strangle the life of some stupid shit, doing so will earn one a long stretch or a place on death row. Of course Ayn Rand recognized that the moral ethical paradigmn of government is it's most important aspect. When a government losses the support of the people while robbing and enslaving them it losses raison d'etre; nevertheless, the guard's life was still protected by law, if not US law, then by State law, and if not State law, then the ancient English common law. Dagny should hang.  Galt refused the job offer. He could have taken Wesley Mooches job as economic dictator to impose laissez faire capitalism by eliminating harmful regulations and taxes, but Rand had him hold out for anarcho-capitalism. Let us conceptualize how fan fiction squeals might go.

The strikers in the valley would probably hire Ragnar Danneskjold to provide security. This mother fucker has pissed off a lot of people. In the wake of the collapse of the United States in an anarcho-capitalism social system, others would form security services using weapons obtained from the former US military. Some of those would want to see Dagny, Galt, and Ragnar swing from a gallows. They'd be keen to form alliances with those who hold Galt responsible for not saving the United States by taking the economic dictator job. They'd be able to use the sort of rhetoric the Bernie Bros use to gin up support for an attack on the folk in the Valley. The screen would no longer be in use to hide the strikers because they would be engaged in trade and barter. The people outside the valley would not have gold and their paper money would be worthless and useless without the FED or USG, so to get resources the strikers would have to barter. Their position would then be known, so the pissed off persons who saw then as enemies would have ample opportunity to put ordinance on target.  The families of the guards would want revenge on Dagny. The owners of the shipping sunk by Ragnar would want to see him rot. The socialists of the many People's polities would want to pillage the Valley. Internecine tribal war would almost surely break out. Eventually the strikers would be defeated.  Enter a Conan character to do a bit of the ole Gehghis Khan.

  

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On 6/9/2018 at 12:56 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Brant,

Like after sex, too. See the scene of the first time between Dagny and Hank...

:)

Michael

Well back to why Peikoff had a heart attack upon learning that Branden and Rand had been banging each other. So if Peikoff thought of Rand as his mother, did he think of Frank as his father? And that Frank was a slacker must have bugged him? If so, then how could he not expect that Rand would have been playing the field to find what she couldn't get at home? And how did Branden hook up with Rand in the first place; he was just a kid during the War and wasn't old enough to buy beer when Rand was writing AS. Did she hustle him from some venue for young people? Was she out hunting for some young stuff? Or did they meet at the collage where Branden was a student?

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Well back to why Peikoff had a heart attack upon learning that Branden and Rand had been banging each other. So if Peikoff thought of Rand as his mother, did he think of Frank as his father? And that Frank was a slacker must have bugged him? If so, then how could he not expect that Rand would have been playing the field to find what she couldn't get at home? And how did Branden hook up with Rand in the first place; he was just a kid during the War and wasn't old enough to buy beer when Rand was writing AS. Did she hustle him from some venue for young people? Was she out hunting for some young stuff? Or did they meet at the collage where Branden was a student?

Robert,

LOL...

You're in need of a biography.

The entire story is in:

The Passion of Ayn Rand by Barbara Branden

My Years with Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller

Each of these books bears a different perspective, of course. Barbara's bio is colored by her being a top insider for almost two decades, than apostate. So she includes parts based on witnessing Rand and other parts not, but all based on deep research. (The movie with Helen Mirren is not all that good and does not reflect Barbara's book in hardly anything, but other than that, it's OK. :) ) 

Nathaniel's bio is actually a memoir-bio and Rand's role is diminished as she is one of four different NB women he wrote about: Barbara, Ayn, Patrecia and Devers. (btw - The acronym of the title is My War. :) )

Anne's book is a traditional bio and a good one. Well researched and well written.

The orthos hate these books (being orthos and all), but as time goes on, these books have become accepted by the general audience as interesting works on Rand, and reasonable at worst.

Unless you want to suffer a severe case of impotence from a massive attack of soul-sucking boredom, stay away from the attempted rebuttal by Valliant of the books by Barbara and Nathaniel. PARC is like watching paint dry while sharp fingernails scrape across a blackboard. Seriously. I've known men who have lost all feeling in their penis from reading it. One did recover after four years, though. But then he went mad and had to be institutionalized. :) 

A couple of women I knew fared worse, they committed suicide...

Michael

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20 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

This is what I love about this message forum. You guys are way smarter than for which you give yourselves credit. Be that as it may, I'll take the bait. Dagny's action was a criminal act of murder because there was no act of succession or declaration of independence to form a new political body by the minions of Midas Mulligan's valley despite that they'd bugged out. Merely bugging out to the valley did not form a new country. Countries can only be formed by express declaration . They were still citizens of the dystopian disfunctional United States depicted in AS and hence still subject to its legal jurisdiction. There was no war. Just because a cop is an ass hole doesn't justify killing him even if he's doing something really bad. If you kill a cop, you go to death row. As you pointed out, the guard was just being stupid, and as satisfying as it sometimes seems to want to strangle the life of some stupid shit, doing so will earn one a long stretch or a place on death row. Of course Ayn Rand recognized that the moral ethical paradigmn of government is it's most important aspect. When a government losses the support of the people while robbing and enslaving them it losses raison d'etre; nevertheless, the guard's life was still protected by law, if not US law, then by State law, and if not State law, then the ancient English common law. Dagny should hang.  Galt refused the job offer. He could have taken Wesley Mooches job as economic dictator to impose laissez faire capitalism by eliminating harmful regulations and taxes, but Rand had him hold out for anarcho-capitalism. Let us conceptualize how fan fiction squeals might go.

The strikers in the valley would probably hire Ragnar Danneskjold to provide security. This mother fucker has pissed off a lot of people. In the wake of the collapse of the United States in an anarcho-capitalism social system, others would form security services using weapons obtained from the former US military. Some of those would want to see Dagny, Galt, and Ragnar swing from a gallows. They'd be keen to form alliances with those who hold Galt responsible for not saving the United States by taking the economic dictator job. They'd be able to use the sort of rhetoric the Bernie Bros use to gin up support for an attack on the folk in the Valley. The screen would no longer be in use to hide the strikers because they would be engaged in trade and barter. The people outside the valley would not have gold and their paper money would be worthless and useless without the FED or USG, so to get resources the strikers would have to barter. Their position would then be known, so the pissed off persons who saw then as enemies would have ample opportunity to put ordinance on target.  The families of the guards would want revenge on Dagny. The owners of the shipping sunk by Ragnar would want to see him rot. The socialists of the many People's polities would want to pillage the Valley. Internecine tribal war would almost surely break out. Eventually the strikers would be defeated.  Enter a Conan character to do a bit of the ole Gehghis Khan.

  

The blood of tyrants . . . 

Semantics--respecting what is and isn't "murder"--is a poor foundation for an argument. So, what they were doing to Galt was legal and therefore proper and what Dagny et. al did to them was illegal and improper?

There wasn't, btw, any state left to speak of.

You need more of a focus on morality. There is right and wrong respecting the law and right and wrong respecting morality. They need to be integrated prior to a more general evaluation. You jumped the gun.

--Brant

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3 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

You need more of a focus on morality. There is right and wrong respecting the law and right and wrong respecting morality. They need to be integrated prior to a more general evaluation.

Brant,

The passage with Dagny shooting the guard becomes a bit clearer if we put the story in Nazi Germany and make the guard a concentration camp guard.

(And Godwin be damned.)

:) 

The way Rand constituted Dagny, she would have felt this intensely about it. What's more, the guard as Rand wrote him had the perfect mentality of the Nazi concentration camp guards ("I was just following orders...").

That ties into you point.

Michael

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22 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Unless you want to suffer a severe case of impotence from a massive attack of soul-sucking boredom, stay away from the attempted rebuttal by Valliant of the books by Barbara and Nathaniel. PARC is like watching paint dry while sharp fingernails scrape across a blackboard. Seriously. I've known men who have lost all feeling in their penis from reading it. One did recover after four years, though. But then he went mad and had to be institutionalized. :) 

A couple of women I knew fared worse, they committed suicide...

Oh Criminy! I must vote for this passage as best laugh of the week. 

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Brant,

The passage with Dagny shooting the guard becomes a bit clearer if we put the story in Nazi Germany and make the guard a concentration camp guard.

(And Godwin be damned.)

:) 

The way Rand constituted Dagny, she would have felt this intensely about it. What's more, the guard as Rand wrote him had the perfect mentality of the Nazi concentration camp guards ("I was just following orders...").

That ties into you point.

Michael

Well, in service of conversation I had to do my best to defend the protection of law and basal order of political bodies to facilitate interactions of juxapositioned Homo Sapiens some of whom may be Human or qualify as Man. Of course you're correct. The moral basis of politics once eliminated, renders protections of law of no effect or so I would think the dystopian fictional world of AS's United States would operate. However, in a fan fiction squeal I think using the idea of separate legal jurisdictions qua Federalism would lend literary gravitas to such a plot device as having the State police force be employed in hunting down Ragnar, Dagny, Galt, and their fellow conspirators. Perhaps the murdered guard's brother is a State Police station command staff officer, a Lieutenant, who wielding the respect of his officers can enlist them in an effort to bring the Strikers to Justice, for so doing will reward them with confiscated booty. Gotta love the Rico Act. See it might go sort of like if a family member of one of ship owners victimized by Ragnar's piracy or a relative of someone murdered by a roving gang of Maoists who blames Galt and was a Federal official who then deputizes the State Police lieutenant into US service.  Their trajectory would take them to capturing the Strikers and putting them on trial; the plot would advance due to the police characters interacting with the seized journals of Hugh Akston; tension between a patrol officer who reads and discusses with his suck-up Corporal who is tight with the Lieutenant and the Federal official. The resultant courtroom drama would be in the Randian tradition with a defense attorney urging them to throw themselves on the mercy of the court. Meanwhile the Strikers would steadfastly maintain they have an inalienable right to defend Galt by rescuing him from the clutches of the evil Dr Ferris and his renegade gang of thugs who were acting outside the authority of the United States. They'd be saved by the patrol officer finding a legal defense that would sway the jury while exposing his bosses as exploiting their power under color of law.

Defining the character of the State Police Lieutenant and the antagonist Patrol Officer and the process of how their psychological states develop and how the reader is informed of them without recourse to an omniscient narrator as Rand  blundered in AS would be a task for a master story teller.  (Oh look, there's a sign post up ahead: 'Next Stop: Character development'). 

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4 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

The blood of tyrants . . . 

Semantics--respecting what is and isn't "murder"--is a poor foundation for an argument. So, what they were doing to Galt was legal and therefore proper and what Dagny et. al did to them was illegal and improper?

There wasn't, btw, any state left to speak of.

You need more of a focus on morality. There is right and wrong respecting the law and right and wrong respecting morality. They need to be integrated prior to a more general evaluation. You jumped the gun.

--Brant

Good points Grant.Thanks. Without rule of law, one guys freedom fighter is the next guys terrorist.

//There wasn't, btw, any state left to speak of.//

In the fictional dystopian world of AS, there were States mentioned. In Part 3 C.10 there's the scene where Midas Mulligan is planning his investments in New York and Pennsylvania, so even at the end the story presupposed Federalism. The States still existed so did the Country and the question of morality is irrelevant. 

Dagny murdered the guard. Ragnar committed piracy and is depicted as a terrorist. It's a matter of fact within the story. Morality is thrown under the bus in the story. Rand borrowed from Howard and put a bit of Conan into Dagny and the Strikers. Ferris, Mooch and Taggert were acting outside the Law. But killing the guard was also outside the law as well as immoral. There was no self-defense involved. That Dagny had a thing for Galt's penis does not morality make.  Rand contradicted her principles and acted inconsistent. Denying that is to deny a fact. The moral thing for Rand to have her characters do was to file Habeas Corpus for Galt and plead for an injunction to cease and desist. The guards would have had to have honored the Court order, or else the US Marshals would have stomped on them using the proper power of the State.

//Semantics--respecting what is and isn't "murder"--is a poor foundation for an argument.// Actually it is a good argument. 

//So, what they were doing to Galt was legal and therefore proper and what Dagny et. al did to them was illegal and improper?// Nothing I wrote indicated that. In the story, Ferris, Mooch, and Taggert were acting illegally. So were Dagny and Ragnar and the Strikers.

Gosh I love chatting with you because you make me think. Me Thinks. 

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On 6/16/2018 at 6:18 PM, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Merely bugging out to the valley did not form a new country. Countries can only be formed by express declaration.

It always surprises me, the ideas people hold.

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23 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

... to an omniscient narrator as Rand  blundered in AS...

Robert,

We're still talking about this until today.

:) 

So I disagree it was a blunder.

Blunders do not cause that amount of cognitive dissonance. They are recognized as blunders and laughed at or dismissed. Like the saying goes in Hollywood:

Q: Why did XXXXX happen? That doesn't make any sense.
A: Because if it didn't, there wouldn't be a movie.

:) 

Nobody ever remembers those blunders because they are blunders. Can you recall, off the top of your head, a blooper? You have to think about it to come up with one. In other words, it doesn't stick in memory.

Not so with a passage that causes cognitive dissonance. It stays on the forefront of memory. It thus causes a person to engage in moral reflection, off and on, all by itself.

In one book on the interpretation of parables I read (it was about the parables of Jesus, in fact), a parable that lasts the ages causes cognitive dissonance, not just portrays a moral truth. That's one reason the parables of Jesus are still told today. They challenge--by contradicting in an effective manner--entrenched ways of thinking and believing.

It's reasonable to apply that observation to AS, which is a symphony of archetypes, symbols, hidden meanings, morals of the story, modern-day mythology, inverted truisms, etc., much of which causes lots of super-effective cognitive dissonance...

Michael

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18 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Good points Grant.Thanks. Without rule of law, one guys freedom fighter is the next guys terrorist.

//There wasn't, btw, any state left to speak of.//

In the fictional dystopian world of AS, there were States mentioned. In Part 3 C.10 there's the scene where Midas Mulligan is planning his investments in New York and Pennsylvania, so even at the end the story presupposed Federalism. The States still existed so did the Country and the question of morality is irrelevant. 

Dagny murdered the guard. Ragnar committed piracy and is depicted as a terrorist. It's a matter of fact within the story. Morality is thrown under the bus in the story. Rand borrowed from Howard and put a bit of Conan into Dagny and the Strikers. Ferris, Mooch and Taggert were acting outside the Law. But killing the guard was also outside the law as well as immoral. There was no self-defense involved. That Dagny had a thing for Galt's penis does not morality make.  Rand contradicted her principles and acted inconsistent. Denying that is to deny a fact. The moral thing for Rand to have her characters do was to file Habeas Corpus for Galt and plead for an injunction to cease and desist. The guards would have had to have honored the Court order, or else the US Marshals would have stomped on them using the proper power of the State.

//Semantics--respecting what is and isn't "murder"--is a poor foundation for an argument.// Actually it is a good argument. 

//So, what they were doing to Galt was legal and therefore proper and what Dagny et. al did to them was illegal and improper?// Nothing I wrote indicated that. In the story, Ferris, Mooch, and Taggert were acting illegally. So were Dagny and Ragnar and the Strikers.

Gosh I love chatting with you because you make me think. Me Thinks. 

The context of this discussion is the world of AS. Not back and forth that world to this one. In that world there was an overt strike encompassing one generation start to finish. In that world Francisco gives up Dagny to go on strike? In this world none of that would be so/ is so. A higher level of abstraction is needed to bridge the gap.

--Brant

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Is it just me or has this thread wandered off topic?-)

Here are some random thoughts on the "rape" scene in The Fountainhead.

  1. At Ford Hall Forum one year AR was asked if her sex scenes were drawn from her real life experiences. Her reply, "No, wishful thinking."
  2. Someone (BB?) claimed that FO never initiated sex with AR.  Maybe by the time she was writing TF she was starved for a little male assertiveness;-)
  3. From what I recall of her affair with NB, he showed mild sexual interest and she hit him over the head and dragged him off to bed.  Perhaps understandable -- I suspect he was the only man who ever expressed any sexual interest in her. 
  4. The overarching conflict in TF is between HR and DF over whether it is worth it to pursue ones values in the corrupt culture in which they lived.  DF thinks not, but desperately wants to be convinced otherwise, perhaps by someone stronger than she.  Hence the "rape: scene encapsulates the main conflict of the entire novel and wraps it up in sex.  Pretty effective writing I would say;-)  And I suspect Atlas Shrugged was supposed to draw AR's personal Galt/Roark out of the woodwork to show her life was worth living, but that did not happen, and she grew hopeless and stopped writing. She once described DF s "me in a bad mood".
  5. I am sure that in AR's mind HR and DF were a perfect match, and you can see some reasons why as the novel progresses, but what did they know about one another at the time of the "rape" scene? 
  6. I do not see any signs of a sadistic trait in Roark elsewhere in the novel.  Do you?  Certainly some of DF's behavior could be on a S/M continuum. 
  7. I think BB said Rand's novels were written from a woman's perspective.  I had not noticed that, but one could say they show Rand's own sexuality. 
  8. I could never understand HR being interested in DF at all during the early parts of the novel.  I really identify with HR, but in the scenes leading up to the rape, were I in his shoes, I would regard DF as a spoiled, neurotic rich bitch that I would want nothing to do with.  I have to wonder if this was Rand's fantasy that some strong male would overlook the many things she did to drive away men and people in general and fall in love with the invisible "real her" inside.  (For example, while she said she wanted a hero worshiper, she restricted her circle to those who worshiped her.) 

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7 hours ago, bob_hayden said:

Is it just me or has this thread wandered off topic?-)

Here are some random thoughts on the "rape" scene in The Fountainhead.

  1. At Ford Hall Forum one year AR was asked if her sex scenes were drawn from her real life experiences. Her reply, "No, wishful thinking."
  2. Someone (BB?) claimed that FO never initiated sex with AR.  Maybe by the time she was writing TF she was starved for a little male assertiveness;-)
  3. From what I recall of her affair with NB, he showed mild sexual interest and she hit him over the head and dragged him off to bed.  Perhaps understandable -- I suspect he was the only man who ever expressed any sexual interest in her. 
  4. The overarching conflict in TF is between HR and DF over whether it is worth it to pursue ones values in the corrupt culture in which they lived.  DF thinks not, but desperately wants to be convinced otherwise, perhaps by someone stronger than she.  Hence the "rape: scene encapsulates the main conflict of the entire novel and wraps it up in sex.  Pretty effective writing I would say;-)  And I suspect Atlas Shrugged was supposed to draw AR's personal Galt/Roark out of the woodwork to show her life was worth living, but that did not happen, and she grew hopeless and stopped writing. She once described DF s "me in a bad mood".
  5. I am sure that in AR's mind HR and DF were a perfect match, and you can see some reasons why as the novel progresses, but what did they know about one another at the time of the "rape" scene? 
  6. I do not see any signs of a sadistic trait in Roark elsewhere in the novel.  Do you?  Certainly some of DF's behavior could be on a S/M continuum. 
  7. I think BB said Rand's novels were written from a woman's perspective.  I had not noticed that, but one could say they show Rand's own sexuality. 
  8. I could never understand HR being interested in DF at all during the early parts of the novel.  I really identify with HR, but in the scenes leading up to the rape, were I in his shoes, I would regard DF as a spoiled, neurotic rich bitch that I would want nothing to do with.  I have to wonder if this was Rand's fantasy that some strong male would overlook the many things she did to drive away men and people in general and fall in love with the invisible "real her" inside.  (For example, while she said she wanted a hero worshiper, she restricted her circle to those who worshiped her.) 

I agree with number 6.

--Brant

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Bob Hayden wrote: I do not see any signs of a sadistic trait in Roark elsewhere in the novel.  Do you?  Certainly some of DF's behavior could be on a S/M continuum. end quote

Agreed. For the sexual union to be moral, it would be required that Howard Roark knew what Dagny was thinking and that she would welcome the encounter.  Otherwise it was rape. So, was Howard able to read minds, or precisely know what a woman was thinking from her words or body language? Good luck with that, all you teen boys. Obviously, he did according to Rand, because I see no evidence of Roark being a Don Juan who had had thousands of sexual encounters. He just knew.

What horse crap. What "elitist" horse crap. And I not condone a predator using his position to violate a woman and then saying, “She agreed because she wanted the role.” It is borderline criminal and unethical in a business sense. Mixing sex and business should get anyone fired. Peter  

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18 hours ago, Peter said:

For the sexual union to be moral, it would be required that Howard Roark knew what Dagny was thinking and that she would welcome the encounter.

Peter,

It would also be required to be in the same book.

I don't know how to make that one work for the reader with two different books.

:)

Michael

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OOps! I will just say protagonist from now on since I have trouble remembering names.

And I wrote "I not condone a predator . . . ." I should have written in true cave man fashion, "Me not condone a predator."

  • Haha 1

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I think I am on to something though, in the "He must have had ESP," "50 Shades of Gray" sense. Was Hank Howard Williams the main character?  

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I think there is plenty of evidence that lots of women have rape fantasies, but usually they want to be raped by Robert Redford or whoever is the current heart throb.  Not many want to be raped by an unknown quarry worker.  Sometimes women do "ask for it" but it's much more common for men to interpret to their advantage on that topic.  These days many say, "no means no".  I wish it were that simple.  If you are only asking women you know well and care about then "No" usually means, "I'd like to but you have to ask and be turned down five times before I can say 'yes' because I don't want you to think I'm cheap."  (I may be dating myself here;-)  As long as people are not forthright there will be misunderstandings. 

I'll repeat my rhetorical question as to what HR and DF knew about one another at the time the "rape" scene took place.  My guess is that Rand knew both of them and knew their union made sense (in her mind) but I am not convinced she made that clear to the reader.  As a result I think many readers got a rather strange idea of what constitutes an ideal sexual union.  (The later consensual unions between these two were pretty strange as well.)  Fortunately, I am not aware of many young women who read the book buying horse whips and striking guys they wanted. 

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Well said Bob. I think Rand's narrative relied on each character somehow knowing what the other was thinking, based on a lot of body language. I am sure all of us, males and females, have been in a flirtations exchange but with no desire to pursue "an affair." Sometimes the other person doesn't get it. 

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