Thursday, August 16, 2012

Who Is John Galt?

File Under: "What did Paul Ryan know about Ayn Rand and when did he know it?"

If you are unfamiliar with the name "John Galt", one wag once described him as:
"...a two-dimensional, stamped-out-of-chipboard Ayn Randite protagonist whose Pimpernellian exploits on behalf of poor, oppressed capitalists are shot through a vast, steaming heap of bad science fiction called "Atlas Shrugged" like veins of undigested corn."
Which is, of course, unimpeachably true.

"John Galt"  is also the pivot on which Ayn Rand's infamous, behemoth novel turns, every bit as much as "What is the 'Matrix'?" drives the plot of "The Matrix" and the search for the meaning of "Catch-22" propels the book and movie of the same name.

During the novel's first 2 million pages or so, John Galt remains largely a phantom, slipping in and out of society and spiriting away it's hero capitalists, leaving behind hordes of increasingly desperate moochers and "mystics" to cry into their rapidly-souring collectivist milk. We learn somewhere along the way that John Galt was once an engineer at an automobile plant the "20th Century Motor Company"* (which I previously and mistakenly elided in my head into the "20th Century Motors Company") who (entirely on his own with no help from anyone else, thank you very much!) discovered a hitherto-unknown domain of physics, worked out all the details (again, entirely on his own) and then (after apparently mining, forging, refining, milling, stamping and tooling all the materials necessary entirely on his own) constructed a prototype engine from scratch which generated electricity literally out of thin air, thus creating -- single-handedly -- the world's first clean, portable and limitless supply of electrical power.

So far so good, right?

But then (because this is "a vast, steaming heap of bad science fiction" and not the real world) rather than ending up a celebrated multi-billionaire on the cover of every business magazine in Christendom, John Galt is instantly beset by a gang of two-dimensional, mustache-twirling villains (union thugs and "collectivists", naturally) who attempt to steal his awesome invention and treat him so rudely that instead of hanging around one minute longer (to, say, single-handedly invent a cheap box fan capable of generating the tiny breeze necessary to blow these strawmen back into the little piles of hay from whence they came), he immediately gives up on humanity generally and storms away, taking his unique knowledge of his miraculous engine with him (so complex and tricksie is it that it cannot not be understood or reverse-engineered by anyone else on Earth) and promises to "Stop the motor of the world".

(Which, when you run it through the Adolescent Boy Tantrum Translator, comes out as "I am an unappreciated genius in a world full of loser assholes who shit all over me.  Fuck you, world!", thus explaining why "Atlas Shrugged" is very popular with smart, angry adolescent boys.)

As the novel slouches ever more slouchily onward (towards Bethlehem Steel to be born, one presumes), the phrase "Who is John Galt?" (the verbal shrug of exasperated hopelessness spoken talismanically every time some poor producer gets tangled up by the incomprehensibly evil traps and snares of Big Gummint, Unions or Religion) becomes so ubiquitous that by the time one has threaded through vast armies of straw men and traversed thousands of mile of leaden prose it becomes so blindingly obvious that Answering! This! Question! is the whole point of the novel that even a skeevy collectivist parasite like me figured it out all by myself without having to ask my Communist Party handlers to explain it to me even once! 

And in the most sustained slab of screechy, pedantic, Manichean writing in the entire book, Ms. Rand helpfully answers that question.  And whether you're an acolyte who gets that dreamy, fuck-the-poor, Objectivist glint in your eye every time you think of "The Speech", or you are a normal human being who recalls it dimly as "that interminable, godawful, blunt-force-trauma screed that seemed to go on and on and hellishly on forever" it is the one part of the novel that everyone remembers.


(Hell, it's the primary reason why, about 10 seconds after Barack Obama took the Oath of Office, the Right whipped itself into another of their trademarked fake-apoplectic frenzies, threatening this time to "Go Galt!" by walking away and leaving their batshit blogs untenanted. Or something. According to legend this "strike" by America's leading Conservative  "producers" ended once someone explained to the likes of wingnut welfare queens such as Rich Lowry and Michelle Malkin that copying and pasting RNC talking points was not actually the same as inventing the Bessemer process or building an aircraft out of bicycle parts, sailcloth and resin.)

However, for the fusspot who lives to look things up, the specific citation is Chapter VII of Part III, entitled "This is John Galt Speaking".

The speech begins as follows --
"For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing-you who dread knowledge-I am the man who will now tell you."
-- runs on for 64 more pages, and it is why, in addition to being a two-dimensional, stamped-out-of-chipboard Ayn Randite protagonist and the pivot on which "Atlas Shrugged" turns, John Galt is also the big, shiny, public petard* tenterhook from which Paul Ryan now finds his career dangling;  the smoking-gun proof that Paul Ryan is, beyond any doubt, a first order pathological liar whose sudden, magnetic-poles-reversing-themselves denials about Ayn Rand are so...tectonic...that he genuinely "out-Herods Herod".

Or at least out-Romneys Romney.

Here is the video where Ryan publicly cuts his own throat by violating the first rule of effective lying:  keeping your damned story simple-simple-simple.

Here is a partial transcript for those who have better things to do than watch  doddering old whore Brit Hume obediently deliver his softballs by slow freight (emphasis added):
Brit Hume, FOX News: What is your view of Ayn Rand? Are you an Ayn Rand disciple?

Rep. Paul Ryan: No. I really enjoyed her novels, Atlas Shrugged in particular. It triggered my interest in economics. That's where I got into studying economics. That's why I wanted to study the whole field of economics.

I later in life learned about what her philosophy was, it's called Objectivism. It's something that I completely disagree with. It's an atheistic philosophy. But I think what she's done is she's showed -- she came from communism. She showed how the pitfalls of socialism can hurt the economy, can hurt people, families and individuals and that to me was very compelling novels. Which says freedom, free enterprise, liberty is so much better than totalitarianism and socialism. Those novels, I thought were interesting. But her philosophy, which is different, is something I just don't agree with.
And right there -- right at the point where Paul Ryan states categorically that "Atlas Shrugged" (which Paul Ryan "really enjoyed" so much that he made his staff read it and handed copies of it out as Christmas presents)  is "different" than Ayn Rand's philosophy "called Objectivism" (with which Paul Ryan "completely disagree[s]") -- is where Mr. Ryan knowingly tells what may  be the biggest and most consequential lie any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate has told in recent memory.

It's not just that "Atlas Shrugged" was written by Objectivism's inventor and chief spokesperson.  Oh my no.  It's that the novel's philosophical apogee and most memorable element -- that deadly, long-ass "This is John Galt Speaking" slab of awful that swallows up 64 pages of its  pages -- was consciously designed by Ayn Rand to be a comprehensive introduction to her Objectivist philosophy -- a philosophy which excoriates those who claim to act out of a religious faith that teaches charity and mercy as mere dictators and degenerate "mystics" whose only "craving is to kill" and whose "only satisfaction is to torture": 
“Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims-as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force-he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason. Reason is the enemy he dreads and, simultaneously, considers precarious: reason, to him, is a means of deception, he feels that men possess some power more potent than reason-and only their causeless belief or their forced obedience can give him a sense of security, a proof that he has gained control of the mystic endowment he lacked. His lust is to command, not to convince: conviction requires an act of independence and press on the absolute of an objective reality. What he seeks is power over reality and over men’s means of perceiving it, their mind, the power to interpose his will between existence and consciousness, as if, by agreeing to fake the reality he orders them to fake, men would, in fact, create it. 
“Just as the mystic is a parasite in matter, who expropriates the wealth created by others-just as he is a parasite in spirit, who plunders the ideas created by others-so he falls below the level of a lunatic who creates his own distortion of reality, to the level of a parasite of lunacy who seeks a distortion created by others. 
“There is only one state that fulfills the mystic’s longing for infinity, non-causality, non-identity: death. No matter what unintelligible causes he ascribes to his incommunicable feelings, whoever rejects reality rejects existence-and the feelings that move him from then on are hatred for all the values of man’s life, and lust for all the evils that destroy it. A mystic relishes the spectacle of suffering, of poverty, subservience and terror; these give him a feeling of triumph, a proof of the defeat of rational reality. But no other reality exists. 
“No matter whose welfare he professes to serve, be it the welfare of God or of that disembodied gargoyle he describes as ‘The People,’ no matter what ideal he proclaims in terms of some supernatural dimension-in fact, in reality, on earth, his ideal is death, his craving is to kill, his only satisfaction is to torture. 
“Destruction is the only end that the mystics’ creed has ever achieved...
Question:  How do you know this?

Answer:  Because Ayn Rand fucking well said so!   

Question: But why should we take your word for it, driftglass?  After all, isn't this just the sort of thing that a skeevy Liberal collectivist parasite such as yourself would lie about?

Answer: Well, duh!  Fortunately you don't have to take my word for it.  In fact, any idiot with a browser and access to the internet (I'm looking at you, David Gregory) can look these exciting facts up for themselves because the good people at "The Atlas Society" -- the organization to which Paul Ryan delivered the following speech in 2005 during which he explicitly states that he "goes [back to] the 64-page John Galt speech" whenever he needs to check his ideological bearings (at around the 3:30 mark) -- 

-- has an entire page devoted to painstakingly tongue-bathing John Galt's speech and explaining its Pure Objectivist Awesomeness in excruciating detail (emphasis added):
In Atlas Shrugged, the hero, John Galt, makes a radio speech to the nation revealing the strike of the producers and explaining its rationale. The speech resolves the philosophical mystery of the plot: Why are the most productive people leaving their work and disappearing from society? As such, it provides a comprehensive introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy, though one that is tailored to the events and characters of the novel. In later works, Rand presented specific elements of her philosophy in nonfiction terms.

Ayn Rand regarded Galt's speech as the shortest summary of her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. "I knew it was going to be the hardest chapter in the book," she told an interviewer in 1961. "I underestimated. I thought, with a feeling of dread, that it would take at least three months. Well, it took two years." Rand began outlining the speech on July 29, 1953; it was not completed until October 13, 1955. Her biggest challenge was not the speech's philosophical content but its literary requirements. In a novel, she could not present her ideas in the form of a dry, systematic treatise; she had to state them dramatically, in the form of a revolutionary leader's manifesto and challenge to a corrupt society.

"I started by making an outline of the issues to be covered," Rand explained. "I originally began the theoretical presentation with metaphysics, starting with existence exists, going from metaphysics to epistemology, then planning to go to morality. After writing quite a few pages, I had to stop because I knew it was absolutely wrong. That is the logical order in non-fiction, but you can't do it in fiction. The speech had to start by presenting the morality, which is the real theme of the book, and where Galt would have to begin his explanation to the world. So I had to rewrite the whole thing."

Though the speech is written as a single, continuous presentation, it can be divided into three sections. In the first, Galt presents the moral code of reason and individualism (The Morality of Life) that the producers embrace. In the second, he explains and attacks the opposite moral code of mysticism, sacrifice, and collectivism (The Morality of Death), showing how it has always been used to exploit the producers. In the third section, he explains the strategy of the strike -- the withdrawal of "the sanction of the victim" -- and urges his listeners to reexamine their moral assumptions. This section also presents the political ideals that follow from the moral code of rational individualism. 
Or to put in in terms any novitiate Randite would understand,  ("Atlas Shrugged" = Objectivism) as clearly and unambiguously as (A = A), and anyone who has ever read and "enjoyed" "Atlas Shrugged" and says otherwise is either a pathological liar or mentally ill.

So who is John Galt? 

Well, if we had any honest national political journalism left in this country, "John Galt" would be fiery wreck that ended Paul Ryan's public career, and the iceberg that finally sank Willard Romney's presidential dreams once and for all.


* UPDATE:  Thank you to both people who corrected me on my use of "petard", as well as the individual who corrected me regarding John Galt's place of employment.

Why yes, the author of this post would be delighted to take your money!


Anonymous said...

So the chubby middle-aged government teat-sucker teabaggers on Youtube screaming at the poor fucker with Parkinson's disease that they won't pay for parasites like him actually think they are Galtian heroes?

Deborah Newell said...

This is the best thing I've read all summer. *bows* Off to Tweet it to my slowly-but-surely growing Tweephood. Thank God for you and BlueGal. If I get a job anytime soon, I promise I'll send a few bills (the good kind) your way. In the meantime: Thank you thank you thank you. XXX D.

jim said...

For someone who supposedly repudiated Rand's Objectivism, Ryan continues to obey her dogma as well as any basement-dweller Galt-wannabe ever did. Note that had Rand been a good practicing Catholic like himself, Paul Ryan would've kept right on worshipping the woman who once sincerely adored the exploits of a psychopathic child-killer & strenuously despised all forms of charity. Jesus Vomited.

Oh, how the Atlas Society schmucks chortle along when Ryan refers to "personalizing" Social Security! See, it's funny because what he really wants is to abolish it! Elderly Americans probably have a hard time seeing the yucks there ... but unless they're rich, their opinion is obviously a mere externality, because the nice lady with the drugged-out darty eyes told them so. Oh, if only Teh Olds' Social Security savings could've all been privatized & flushed away into Wall Street back in the summer of 2008 like Bush wanted - just imagine the FUN.

Also pretty hilarious to hear Ryan decry "the victimization narrative," coming as he does from the same GOP that has adopted the Bush Dolchstoss narrative with such gusto - its linchpin, the "Bush was a Big Government liberal" meme, fails the laugh test with flying colours. Is it not also the same GOP that considers any form of critique as verbal violence & came up with "not intended as a factual statement" & "anyone who quotes what I said yesterday is a liar"?

How very strange that just a few years after Ayn Rand's faithful acolyte Alan Greenspan transformed the Federal Reserve into his personal UNICEF-For-Billionaires, another life-long Randroid is now vying for a position a heartbeat away from the Presidency ... & not being summarily laughed off the national stage.

Who is John Galt?

John Galt is the Messiah Of Assholes.

Habitat Vic said...

Rand's enduring appeal is the "Justification for Being a Selfish Asshole." Sadly, there's always a market (if nothing else, backed up by greedy millionaires) for this claptrap.

Coming clean, I was into Rand in my early 20s, even having a pretty extensive collection of her published works (reading most, but not all of them). That said, even as a young, full-of-himself Republican MBA, I still thought she was full of shit. Fountainhead was a better novel, and even in my best caffeine/alcohol/drug fueled focus, I don't think I ever managed all 64 pages of Galt's radio address. I clearly remember reading of Kira in We The Living and thinking "OK, Ayn has some real emotional problems going back to her childhood that taint all her writings."

Thirty years hence, I look back with embarrassment on my brief infatuation with Ayn Rand. She, and her acolytes, are a bunch of selfish fucking assholes trying to hide/justify it behind a veneer of philosophy. Fuck 'em.

Cirze said...

Who is John Galt?

He's you.

And all others who head to the polls to vote against their own political/economic interests.

With gusto!

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Outstanding post.

But with regard to the photo illustration, should it be Romney as the person and Ryan as the ventriloquist's dummy, or the other way around? Actually, aren't both of them highly complicit dummies, with the plutocratic, corporatist, military-industrial-security-governmental complex ultimately controlling them both?

Unknown said...

I feel I know better than many how much of a liar Ryan is being in his current Rand-denial, because I once took an interest in her "philosophy" and what it might have to offer the intellectually curious. The answer turned out to be "not fucking much". As an avid reader of science fiction, I read her short story "Anthem", with some interest. I was led to further read up on her when I learned that "2112", one of my favorite Rush albums, was loosely based on the same story. I am by and large a glass-full kind of person, so I guess I mentally cherry-picked her stuff somewhat, seeing it merely as a celebration of the individual in the face of tyranny. It took a good friend who towers over me intellectually to point out that she had a darker side, which I was quick to see upon reading a few web pages...How ANYONE could base an ENTIRE CAREER on that dreck is thankfully beyond me...

TheStone said...

Who built Galt Gulch?

Anonymous said...

"to, say, single-handedly invent a cheap box fan capable of generating the tiny breeze necessary to blow these strawmen back into the little piles of hay from whence they came"


Anonymous said...

Impressive, Mr. Driftglass.

I read Rand (Atlas Strugged, The Fountainhead) when I was in high school. I was 16. Maybe just 17. I was nerdy & my family had money. Talk about your target audience! I liked it at first.

Then I fucking grew up.

Alatea said...

I was one of two people in my senior English class who read Atlas Shrugged for one of our reading assignments. It was 44 years ago and I can honestly say that I don't remember anything about the book at all - except that it was really, really boring; really, really long; and featured the tag line "Who is John Galt?". I also remember that by the end of the book I really, really didn't care. ;)

I enjoyed this post very much and I am enjoying the spectacle of the Ryan-Romney lie-a-thon. I only hope the American people will wake up one of these days - or we may find ourselves living out one of my favorite GOOD science fiction stories, "The Marching Morons" by Cyril Kornbluth.

blackdaug said...

I can remember being thrilled at 16 (1977) to find out my high school would be offering an elective course in Science Fiction. I was mostly thrilled because when I glanced at the reading list...I had already read all of the books (The Foundation Trilogy, some Heinlien, some Larry Niven, Dune etc..), except for one...Atlas Shrugged. Unlike some, and perhaps because I had already been exposed to a lot of good fiction, I can distinctly remember reading A.S. and thinking: This may be the worst thing (outside of a text book) I have ever been forced to read. Of course, when it came time to discuss the books, it turned out that the teacher was a Rand freak, who had basically got the whole course started
just to expose our young minds to this important "philosophy". She didn't particularly like my report on her favorite book (noting in her critique of my critique that perhaps I was too young to understand it's many salient points as they related to our society at the time). Thus I received a B in a course where I only actually had to read one book, and a really bad one at that.
Oddly enough, my outside reading that year, consisted of the entire available works of Solzhenitsyn.
(I can remember thinking that the world would have benefited if Rand had spent some quality time in a Gulag.)
But, hey..I was a young collectivist hippy what did I know....

Anonymous said...

I've always had this inkling that Galt was a stand-in for Rand's father (Zinovy Sakharovich), with the story of Atlas Shrugged a do-over for when Rand's father's pharmacy was confiscated by Lenin & the Bolsheviks. I believe Freud called that the defense mechanism of reaction formation and/or "undoing".

Now, who else do we know that developed a storyline/policy/invaded a country on behalf of Papa?

Rand - Sakharovich - Lenin - Galt
W - H.W. - Saddam - [Producers]

All by themselves. Of course, clever libruls will take the oppty to reconfigure the analogy to equate Lenin with the 'Producers' wrt confiscating homes, pensions, municipality solvency, etc. It makes all the -isms irrelevant. What difference does it make whether it's the state or the private sector (or both operating in concert) to undermine and destroy self-determination and free enterprise?

[Wiki Excerpt]
Rand was born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum (Russian: Алиса Зиновьевна Розенбаум) on February 2, 1905, to a bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna Rosenbaum, largely non-observant Jews. Rand's father was a successful pharmacist, eventually owning a pharmacy and the building in which it was located.[6] Rand was twelve at the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917, during which her sympathies were with Alexander Kerensky. Rand's family life was disrupted by the rise of the Bolshevik party under Vladimir Lenin. Her father's pharmacy was confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and the family fled to the Crimea, which was initially under the control of the White Army during the Russian Civil War. She later recalled that while in high school she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human attribute. After graduating from high school in the Crimea, at 16 Rand returned with her family to Petrograd (the new name for Saint Petersburg), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving

Bisham said...


To repeat the history of many commentors on this topic, I also read A.S. 30 years ago and it didn't make much of an impression. Sure, the contrast of a John Galt producer vs. the moochers in society has merit, but the rest of it? Whatever.

What is amazing is the vast number of Randian believers that don't see themselves on the wrong side of it. Paul Ryan being the perfect example...a life in government? I particularly liked "copying and pasting RNC talking points was not actually the same as inventing the Bessemer process or building an aircraft out of bicycle parts, sailcloth and resin."

Kathy said...

Funny, I read just about any book I could get my hands on; War & Peace, all of GB Shaw's plays, GWTW, all Heinlein, most Asimov, (didn't like Arthur C Clark's "surprise" endings), all of Georgette Heyer, a lot, tho not all, of Dickens....even Shakespeare, and the Odyssey, etc. etc. etc. I divided my spare time between the local chain bookstore and the local "used" bookstore. I saw a LOT of "Atlas Shrugged" books lying about these stores. Glanced thru the pages to see if any scene could catch my interest. Nope. Not one. BORing. STUpid. NASty.

Unknown said...

Not an automobile factory. The rest of this is on a similar level of inaccuracy.

Grung_e_Gene said...

I never got around to Ayn Rand's two works until my mid-twenties. And having trudged through the long hard slog of Atlas Shrugged the most pertinent fact about the book, to me, was which character I most readily identified with.

I know I am not a Ragnar Danneskjöld super engineer able of crafting a Super Stealth Ship, or have the chess mastery of Francisco d'Anconia to undercut and play a 20 year deep Global Game of Intrigue, or possess the Hank Reardon intellect to invent an entirely new alloy, or the comic book super powers of John Galt himself so I identified with Dagny Taggart's loyal assistant, Eddie Willers.

Eddie represents the common man in Rand's book and philosophical worldview. And it clearly shows that Rand views the common man (humanity) as dogs, hard-working enduring and loyal creatures but not possessing many other positive traits and with the ability to be turned to good or evil by how they are treated. Dagny Taggart was obviously Ayn Rand herself.

And how does Dagny (Rand) treat her loyal assistant, the common man, as the "evil" society crumbles? She leaves him to fucking die on the train tracks! Because that is what Objectivism holds the mass of humanity is nothing and the few brilliant beautiful people are everything. And even amongst the select few there exist a pecking order. Amongst the elect there are some even more Objectively Superior and those people need to be allowed special privileges.

I wonder with whom Paul Ryan identifies?

Anonymous said...

Only because this is so brilliant it needs to be even more brilliant: a petard is not something one can dangle from. It is a bomb, an IED if you will, which if mishandled can explode and ``hoist'' one skyward.

Unknown said...

You know . . . I used to answer the question "Who is John Galt?" with Edward Hickman. But after reading this blog specifically "
(Which, when you run it through the Adolescent Boy Tantrum Translator, comes out as 'I am an unappreciated genius in a world full of loser assholes who shit all over me. Fuck you, world!'...)", I have come to the realization that the correct answer is Tommy Wiseau.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the best way to think of a petard is as a tiny, fat cannon, a bit bigger than a coffee can propped directly against something. Given that the name comes from Old French and Latin for "fart", I've always thought of the phrases "hoisted on his own petard" and "like a fart in church" linked in my mind. (But, I have a very sick mind.) "Hoisted" means "thrown [into the air]", not hung.

I had the opportunity to read "Atlas Shrugged" (the movie was a flaming pile of shit) in high school, but I noticed that all of the people giving me crap for being smart and not reading it were assholes. College was no different. I remember at work, when I was in college, a "young republican" type who always came to work in a tie (the rest of us wore jeans and polo shirts) tried to explain the virtue of the book to me after explaining why the roads should be privatized. I remember how frustrated he became as would just look at him and say, "G~d, that's awful! Society can't function like that! *Everyone* should be educated! *Everyone* should have healthcare! *Everyone* should be able to drive on the roads!" and he would shake his head, sigh, and try another round at me. A friend of mine eventually said, "If roads were privatized, eventually everything would be bulldozed and there would be a hundred roads to everywhere!" The answer was, "And what's wrong with that?"


nunya said...

I scanned parts of "Atlas Shrugged" and thought "Hijole, what dreck!"

Anonymous said...

What I always found peculiar about Galt's invention was that, taken at face value, it would essentially destroy capitalism. Given enough "free energy", even alchemy's goal of transmuting lead into gold can happen:

Anonymous said...

This probably won't get through your filters but you must realize that to moderates, you loons on the left sound just as nutty as the extremists on the right. You are no better, in fact, the more extreme you get the more you start sounding eerily similar. Yes, it's still to the point that some of the rubric is different, but the tone and paranoia is quite similar.

RockDots said...

"Adolescent Boy Tantrum Translator" for the WIN.

Toward the end of my illustrious college career (*hic*), "Atlas" was recommended to me by the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. But even with all kinds of youthful, umm, incentive, to really really like it... I just couldn't make it through The Big Speech. I distinctly remember thinking, "NOT WORTH IT."

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

I have never heard the phrase "loons on the left" used by anyone except someone who considers Bill O'Reilly a news show, which is not someone who should pretend to be a "moderate centrist".

And how is calling "Atlas Shrugged" gawdawful dreck pretending to be science fiction which lauds selfishness somehow equivalent to "paranoia"?


Steve From Virginia said...

John Galt is Carl Panzram.

Look him up ...

Anonymous said...

Atlas Shrugged: Ponderously massive waste of time. Rand was an incredibly uninteresting boor and an insult to narcissists everywhere.
And to call it science fiction is an affront to Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, Bradbury, et al.

Les Fox said...

Like Liberals / Democrats who see no merit in anything Conservative / Republicans have to say maybe "we" - meaning elected U.S. Government politicians from both parties - have spent just "a wee bit too much" on everything, the military, entitlements, foreign aid, etc. ($16 trillion too much to be precise), those who see no merit in Atlas Shrugged choose to ignore the truth at their own peril. There is certainly exaggeration and overkill in Ayn Rand's masterpiece (p.s. the movie sucked), but there are also lots of revelations and warnings of the danger of allowing an ever-more-powerful government to control its citizens and pretend that individuals do not create and development innovation. Can the government be helpful? Sure. But they enjoy a conspiracy with powerful individuals, and corporations, that often tramples the rights of people who are just trying to be successful. To anyone who thinks Atlas Shrugged is nothing but a bunch of lies supporting rich folks, and who think that Warren Buffet is nothing but a nice guy, you're missing the other side of the story. Helping and protecting the poor, the middle class and the needy is a human responsibility. It's also the responsibility of the U.S. Government. But blaming everything on George Bush, and now blaming the wrong future on Mitt Romney while Mr. Obama is Mr. Perfect, is like reading Atlas Shrugged in a room without light. Did George Bush create "the worst economic mess since the Great Depression"? Or did Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and lots of other politicians contribute to this mess by igoring the gigantic errors perpetrated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and allowing banks, stock brokers and real estate agents to profit by encouraging homeowners and investors to participate in the Democratic-Republican sponsored super-inflated mortgage and real estate craze/ debacle.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the left and the right are full of extreme views these days.
Atlas Shrugged is NOT science fiction by any stretch of the imagination. However I've always looked for a kernal of truth in whatever I read no matter how boring or ponderous and Atlas Shrugged is both.
But Rand's cartoonish characterizations of a declining fictional America has a lot of somewhat disturbing signs and elements in today's reality.
Only fools on both the Left and the Right summarily dismiss what is happening in the real world as being unimportant while they keep quoting there mantras of liberalism and conservatism.

If there is any one constant it's that the government, no matter which party is in control, is never your friend and never should be considered one.
From the encouragement of a social welfare culture at a personal level to the encouragement of the corporate welfare culture the gov't has never been successful in it's intention of "helping" our society.

Although I am not a Randian supporter by far I do recognize her basic message, that we cannot rely on others to decide what's in our own best interests. We all need to take personal responsibility for our own welfare and our own success, it's not being selfish to do that, it's called being a responsible citizen.
What I've come to see in today's world is the "collectivism" on both the Left and the Right sides of the political spectrum and the idea that the gov't knows what's best for all of us.

To me John Galt is a cautionary metaphor against both collectivist communism and unrestrained capitalism in the hands of gov't.
Too bad today's general population are so unsophisticated in their tastes, where reality television is the main barometer to popular sentiment and popular psychology.

The modern western world doesn't so much resemble Rand's decaying America in Atlas Shrugged as it resembles the world as depicted in the Max Headroom TV series!

The most frightening words anyone will ever hear are "I'm from the government, I'm here to help...".

Anonymous said...

Interesting how so many "I'm not a Randian but" types have turned up here in the comments spouting perfect Randese. Just like the "moderate centrist" who knows FOX and RNC talking points like the back of his hand.

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