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Atlas Shrugged

Monday, July 2, 2012


 source

Fransisco "If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"

Rearden "I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"

Fransisco "To shrug.” 
pg 422

"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
John Galt
pg 979

During the summer I like to read what I want to read, instead of trying to learn as much as I can for a test that ends up having nothing to do with the book and then forgetting everything the next semester...

I've found it very hard to stop learning, to stop feeling like the summer is going to end. I feel like there is some imminent danger or uncertainty coming that I can't quite put my finger on.

Maybe because I spent most of my week reading instead of doing anything else? Feeling like I was back in freshman year not wanting the summer to end and just wanting to keep living in this fictional world of wonderful books?

To be fair to myself, I only did this on Tuesday, half of Thursday, all of Friday, and most of tonight. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I have this energy that I haven't felt for awhile, the drive to get things done. One of those things was to finish reading this book, again. I couldn't fall asleep...as I laid there I thought well I might as well do something...lets tackle those last 200 pages. I don't know when I finished, but it's now 4:19 am Monday morning. I might have started Monday morning, or Sunday night, it was somewhere between that blurred period of 11pm-1am, so I don't know how long it took me...and cleaning out my email for the first time in a week took awhile, anyways...

I am tired of trying to explain to people what this book is all about and why I love it. I get all flustered, I start rambling on, and then they look at me like I'm crazy as I'm talking about the end of the world and who will put us there and why. People think I'm an extremist. I'm an extremist only in theory, but a lot of my extremist views I'd like to put into practice as much as they possibly can. Part of the reason I'm an extremist is because of this book, and my religion. You can't be on both sides of the line, there is no middle ground, you can't expect something for nothing, you can't have your cake and eat it too, you can not serve two masters...A is A. In order to be compatible with any of these extreme statements you have to be somewhat extreme, in my opinion. 

So here is what I gather about Ayn Rand and her masterpiece Atlas Shrugged. She created a new kind of philosophy called Obectivism, which I don't fully agree with just like I don't fully agree with any kind of philosophy or any other political faction, but there are some very good points that I do live by.

There are six basic principles of Objectivism summarized at the end of the book (there are other books written on Objectivism which I'd like to read). Some of this is the authors words, and some of it is in my own words. It's all kind of jumbled, so I didn't cite it like I would normally do because I didn't want to.

(1)
Metaphysics
A is A, facts are facts, things are what they are and not what you'd like them to appear to be. Our consciousness is meant to perceive reality, not create or invent it.

(2)
Epistemology
Our reasoning is fully able to understand and know the facts of reality. Reason is our only means of gaining knowledge. This denounces anything taken on faith, or feeling, or skepticism (that certainty or knowledge is impossible).
-This might come as a shock to some people with religion, but not to me. Maybe because my faith is based on reason? I have studied the human body, and other things that have been created like the internal combustion engine. I know that a couple nuts and bolts didn't crawl together of their own accord and turn into a car. The human mind did that, someone's mind put it together and figured out how to make it work. Why should it be any different with anything else? Like us? Why is it so unreasonable to reason that if everything we've created has a creator, why shouldn't we? Why should we rule out the existence of a God? Just because everyone hasn't seen Him? Isn't that the thinking of the old days? Like people who didn't believe in gravity, or that the earth was round or revolved around the sun instead of the sun revolving around the earth because they couldn't see it or understand it? I'm not saying anyone is stupid, I'm just asking people not to call me stupid for believing...Anyways, this is one point I agree and disagree with, or do I since I just called faith reason? This is too big of a discussion for one little paragraph. This needs a book.

(3)
Human Nature
Man is a rational being, but exercising reason is a choice, you have to choose to be rational.

-Here is where I have another disagreement. I'm pretty sure they saying that there is no such thing as a spirit or a soul, that it's a consciousness instead. I like to think that it's your spirit/soul that gives you your conscious.

You have the freedom to think, and it's your choices that control your life and determine your character.

-Here they reject God, fate, upbringing, genes and economic conditions. I agree with most. Of course I don't reject God, but I don't think that He controls our lives, I think that He asks us to do things and we have agency and can choose to either do it or not, and this agency we've been given means that we accept the consequences. Don't even get me started on genes, economic conditions and upbringing. That's a very long and scientific discussion.


(4)
Ethics
Reason is man's only judge of values, his only guide to action. Rationality is our basic virtue, and our three fundamental values are reason, purpose and self-esteem. Man must live for his own sake, rejecting any form of altruism-the claim that morality consists in living for others or for society. As Ayn Rand demonstrated in Atlas Shrugged, an altruistic society is doomed to fail. Those that believe that others live so they can live do not support themselves, relying on others to support them. The supporters will eventually stop supporting, and everyone will die claiming that his brother should have supported him, that it's his brother's fault he's dying, instead of doing something about it.
-This form of thinking, I think, rejects charity. I agree and disagree. I also don't like the way people think about charity now a days. I think that giving chances are good, giving help when needed, but only in order to help them help themselves. For example the welfare system. I don't like how many people use the system as just free money, without getting a job (or a better job) or going to school to get a better job or learning how to budget and instead getting fancy cars clothes eletronics eating out all the time (living extravagantly on someone else's hard earned dollars) etc (not that everyone does this)...It should be temporary, not a lifestyle...etc. Again, huge discussion that needs larger than a paragraph.

(5)
Politics
No man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force. We have the right to use force only in self-defense. We must deal with each other as traders, giving value for value with free mutual consent for mutual benefits. Capitalism is a system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, and the only function of the government is to protect individual rights, to protect men from those who would initiate the use of physical force. Objectivism rejects any form of collectivism such as fascism or socialism, or a mixed economy where the government regulates the economy and redistribution of wealth.

(6)
Esthetics
Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. The purpose is to concretize the artist's fundamental view of existence, a romantic realism. Ayn Rand is romantic because she depicts what man ought to be, and realistic in that they can exist here, now, and on this earth. 

Quotes
Here are some of my favorite quotes, and seriously this book has given me strength when I face some of the stupidest people or ideas...

Book 1
James Taggart: ch1, pg 17
"Ellis Wyatt is a greedy bastard who's after nothing but money...It seems to me that there are more important things in life than making money."
-There are more important things in life, but in business? If you don't make money your business will fail.


James Taggart: ch1, pg 18
"We can't help it [the railroad falling apart] if we're up against destructive competition...Nobody can blame us."
-Competition pushes businesses to become better, by pushing each other and doing better than the other to get the customers. He's blaming his railroad failing on the fact that the Phoenix Durango, his destructive competition, can provide trains better than he can. Does that even make sense? No!
-Blame...don't even get me started. Yes you can be blamed. The policies that you support and the decisions you made led your railroad to the point of death, which means it is your fault and you are to blame.

Dagny Taggart: ch1, pg 26
"There were not many firms in the country who delivered what was ordered, when and as ordered. Rearden Steel was one of them. If she were insane, thought Dagny, she would conclude that her brother hated to deal with Rearden because Rearden did his job with superlative efficiency; but she would not conclude it, because she thought that such a feeling was not within the humanly possible."
-Jim goes on to say it isn't fair to deal only with Rearden, that Orren Boyle needs the orders too and that by only buying from Rearden they're supporting a monopoly. No. Orren Boyle has not delivered their steel for over 6 months now, and when you need it right now to keep your business going you need to purchase it from someone who will provide on time and with good quality. If Orren Boyle wants the business, he has to compete with Henry Rearden, he has to start providing good quality steel and on time instead of making excuses about how Rearden is amazing and so it's unfair to you that everyone goes to him.

Dagny Taggart: ch 1, pg 29
"Ellis Wyatt is not asking anybody to give him a chance. And I'm not in the business to give chances. I'm running a railroad."
-There are people out there that will complain that no one will give them a chance and that is why they don't succeed. What about the chances that are just there? Every business has chances, and if you don't go take them then it's your fault, and no one is to blame but you.

Henry Rearden: ch 2, pg 42
"He despised causeless affection, just as he despised unearned wealth."

Henry Rearden: ch 2, pg 46
"He had sent Philip through college, but Philip had not been able to decide on any specific ambition. There was something wrong, by Rearden's standards, with a man who did not seek any gainful employment."

Orren Boyle: ch 3, pg 49
"The only justification of private property...is public service."
-Private. Private. Not public. Private. Men who believe this and many of the other things Boyle and Jim believe will ruin our country if we let them.

Dagny Taggart: ch 3, pg 55
"The adversary she found herself forced to fight was not worth matching or beating; it was not a superior ability which she would have found honor in challenging; it was ineptitude-a gray spread of cotton that seemed soft and shapeless, that could offer no resistance to anything or anybody, yet managed to be a barrier in her way."

ch 3, pg 62
"In his lifetime, the name 'Nat Taggart' was not famous, but notorious; it was repeated, not in homage, but in resentful curiosity; and if anyone admired him, it was as one admires a successful bandit. Yet no penny of his wealth had been obtained by force or fraud; he was guilty of nothing, except that he earned his own fortune and never forgot that it was his."

Dan Conway: ch 4, pg 80
"You can't build a railroad where there's nothing for hundreds of miles but a couple of farmers who're not growing enough to feed themselves. You can't build a road and make it pay. If you don't make it pay, who's going to?"

Ellis Wyatt: ch 4, pg 82
"No. I have no interest in discussions and intentions...Those who wish to deal with me, must do so on my terms or not at all. I do not make terms with incompetence. If you expect to earn money by carrying the oil I produce, you must be as good at your business as I am at mine."


Dagny Taggart: ch 4, pg 85
"...it's more than that. There's something worse than stupidity about it."

ch 5, pg 89
 "Eddie asked him once, 'Francisco, you're some kind of very high nobility, aren't you?' He answered, 'Not yet. The reason my family has lasted for such a long time is that none of us has ever been permitted to think he is born a d'Anconia. We are expected to become one.'"
-We are not entitled, we must earn.



Francisco: ch 5, pg 92-93
"His attitude was not: 'I can do it better than you,' but simply: 'I can do it.' What he meant by doing was doing superlatively...Two things were impossible to him: to stand still or to move aimlessly."


Francisco: ch 5, pg 116-117
"'I don't find it amusing. Your brother James and his friends knew nothing about the copper-mining industry. They knew nothing about making money. They did not think it necessary to learn. They considered knowledge superfluous and judgment inessential. They observed that there I was in the world and that I made it my honor to know. They thought they could trust my honor. One does not betray a trust of this kind, does one?'

'Then you did betray it intentionally?'

'That's for you to decide. It was you who spoke about their trust and my honor. I don't think in such terms any longer...I don't give a damn about your brother James and his friends. Their theory was not new, it has worked for centuries. But it wasn't foolproof. There is just one point that they overlooked. They thought it was safe to ride on my brain, because they assumed that the goal of my journey was wealth. All their calculations rested on the premise that I wanted to make money. What if I didn't?'"


Hank Rearden: ch 6, pg 123
"When a problem came up at the mills, his first concern was to discover what error he had made; he did not search for anyone's fault but his own: it was of himself that he demanded perfection."
-Robbie has several business books, and sometimes I read them with him. One of the marks of a good business man is that he looks on himself first; where did he go wrong so that something else down the line went wrong. Look in the mirror first.



ch 6, pg 125
"The editorial said that at a time of dwindling production, shrinking markets and vanishing opportunities to make a living, it was unfair to let one man hoard several business enterprises, while others had none; it was destructive to let a few corner all the resources, leaving others no chance; competition was essential to society, and it was society's duty to see that no competitor ever rose beyond the range of anybody who wanted to compete with him. The editorial predicted the passage of a bill which had been proposed, a bill forbidding any person or corporation to own more than one business concern."

-What??? No. What's the point in competing if you can't grow?


Dr. Pritchett: ch 6, pg 127
"'The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life, but to prove to them that there isn't any...It is this insistence of man upon meaning that makes him so difficult...Once he realizes that he is of no importance whatever in the vast scheme of the universe, that no possible significance can be attached to his activities, that it does not matter whether he lives or dies, he will become much more...tractable...Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free.'"
-How else can I say this is so wrong, and such a contradiction? But people really do believe that they have no purpose or meaning in life.


Francisco: ch 6, pg 137
"'I turned it over to a mining specialist. He was not a very good specialist, but he needed the job very badly. Isn't it generally conceded that when you hire a man for a job, it is his need that counts, not his ability? Doesn't everyone believe that in order to get the goods, all you have to do is need them?...There was a time...when I did not believe that anyone could take it seriously. I was wrong.'"


Francisco: ch 6, pg 140
"'If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception. The person who craves a moral blank check of that kind, has dishonest intentions, whether he admits it to himself or not.'"

Hank: ch 6, pg 142
"'To me, there's only one form of human depravity-the man without a purpose.'"

ch 6, pg 147
"'I know who is John Galt...Do you know the legend of Atlantis, Miss Taggart?...The Isles of the Blessed. That is what the Greeks called it, thousands of years ago. They said Atlantis was a place where hero-spirits lived in a happiness unknown to the rest of the earth. A place which only the spirits of heroes could enter, and they reached it without dying, because they carried the secret of life within them. Atlantis was lost to mankind, even then. But the Greeks knew that it had existed. They tried to find it. Some of them said it was underground, hidden in the heart of the earth. But most of them said it was an island. A radian island in the Western Ocean. Perhaps what they were thinking of was America. They never found it. For centuries afterward, men said it was only a legend. They did not believe it, but they never stopped looking for it, because they knew that that was what they had to find.'

'Well, what about John Galt?'

'He found it...John Galt was a millionaire, a man of inestimable wealth. He was sailing his yacht one night, in mid-Atlantic, fighting the worst storm ever wreaked upon the world, when he found it. He saw it in the depth, where it had sunk to escape the reach of men. He saw the towers of Atlantis shining on the bottom of the ocean. It was a sight of such kind that when one had seen it, one could no longer wish to look at the rest of the earth. John Galt sank his ship and went down with his entire crew.'"

Dagny: ch 7, pg 156
"'I've hired you to do a job, not to do your best-whatever that is.'"


Dagny: ch 7, pg 167
"She could not tell whether the four at the counter were beggars or working men; neither clothes nor manner showed the difference, these days."


ch 7, pg 168
"'What is morality?'
'Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price.'"


ch 7, pg 169
"'I know who is John Galt...An explorer...the greatest explorer that ever lived. The man who found the fountain of youth...John Galt spent years looking for it. He crossed oceans, and he crossed deserts, and he went down into forgotten mines, miles under the earth. But he found it on the top of a mountain. It took him ten years to climb that mountain. It broke every bone in his body, it tore the skin off his hands, it made him lose his home, his name, his love. But he climbed it. He found the fountain of youth, which he wanted to bring down to men. Only he never came back...Because he found that it couldn't be brought down.'"


Hank and his mother: ch 7, pg 196
H:"'But he knows nothing about the steel business!'
M:'What has that got to do with it? He needs a job.'
'But he couldn't do the work.'
'He needs to gain self-confidence and to feel important.'
'But he wouldn't be any good whatever.'
'He needs to feel that he's wanted.'
'Here? What could I want him for?'
'You hire plenty of strangers.'
'I hire men who produce. What has he got to offer?'
'He's your brother, isn't he?'
'What has that got to do with it?'
...'He wants to be independent of you.'
'By means of getting from me a salary he can't earn for work he can't do?'
...'You're the most immoral man living-you think of nothing but justice!'"
-So, justice is immoral? I don't think so.

ch 8, pg 216-217
This is how the conversation should have gone with the union man, they botched it in the movie. It's a little too long to put in here.


ch 8, pg 226
"Wasn't it evil to wish without moving-or to move without aim?"

Hank Rearden: ch 8, pg 263
"'The man who could work that mine wouldn't need me to teach him. The man who'd need me, wouldn't be worth a damn.'"

Dagny: ch 9, pg 281
"She could not function to the rule of: Pipe down - keep down - slow down - don't do your best, it is not wanted!"

Lee Hunsacker: ch 10, pg 293-294
"'That was the kind of setup I wanted, the kind of opportunity I was entitled to...I worked like a dog, trying to get somebody to lend us the money.'"
-Setup I wanted instead of setup I built, opportunity I was entitled to instead of opportunity I created, working to get someone to lend them money instead of working to make money...Everything about this man and how he views work is wrong.

Book 2

Dr. Ferris: ch 1, pg 322
"'You see, Dr. Stadler, people don't want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they'll bless and follow anyone who gives them a  justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue-a highly intellectual virtue-out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt.'" 


ch 1, pg 328
"'I don't think that such a motor should ever be made, even if somebody did learn how to make it. It would be so superior to anything we've got that it would be unfair to lesser scientists, because it would leave no field for their achievements and abilities. I don't think that the strong should have the right to wound the self-esteem of the weak.' She had ordered him out of her office, and had sat in incredulous horror before the fact that the most vicious statement she had ever heard had been uttered in a tone of moral righteousness."

-If we were worried about being unfair because we thought of something someone else didn't, we wouldn't ever progress.


ch 1, pg 333
"'...do you know the hallmark of the second-rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own...'"



Hank: ch 1, pg 345
"'They sit there, waiting for this place to give them meaning, not the other way around.'"
-But it is the other way around. Things are just things, until you give them meaning.


Quentin Daniels: ch 2, pg 354
"'...if there's something that I won't take, it's something for nothing...I'll gamble on my own mind. I won't let anybody else do it. I don't collect for an intention. But I do intend to collect for goods delivered.'"

Francisco: ch 2, pg 380-385
His speech on why money is not the root of all evil. Very good, very true, and very long.
"'Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters; the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it...America...a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement...fourtunes-by-work...the greatest worker, the highest type of human being-the self-made man-the American industrialist...when we'll see men dying of starvation around us, your heart won't be of any earthly use to save them. And I'm heartless enough to say that when you'll scream, 'but I didn't know it!'-you will not be forgiven.'"

Ken Danagger: ch 3, pg 414
"'They do not need me, they say, they only need my coal. Let them take it.'"
-And then when I'm gone, and my coal used up, they will know that they need me...

Hank and his brother: ch 4, pg 433-434
P: "'But don't I have any freedom of speech?'
H: 'In your own house. Not in mine.'
'Don't I have any right to my own ideas?'
'At your own expense. Not at mine.'
'Don't you tolerate any differences of opinion?'
'Not when I'm paying the bills.'
'Isn't there anything involved but money?'
'Yes. The fact that it's my money.'
...'You've always known my...my political views. You've never objected before.'

'That's true', said Rearden gravely. 'Perhaps I owe you an explanation, if I have misled you. I've tried never to remind you that you're living on my charity. I thought that it was your place to remember it. I thought that any human being who accepts the help of another, knows that good will is the giver's only motive and that good will is the payment he owes in return. But I see that I was wrong. You were getting your food unearned and you concluded that affection did not have to be earned, either. You concluded that I was the safest person in the world for you to spit on, precisely because I held you by the throat. You concluded that I wouldn't want to remind you of it and that I would be tied by the fear of hurting your feelings. All right, lets get it straight: you're an object of charity who's exhausted his credit long ago. Whatever affection I might have felt for you once, is gone. I haven't the slightest interest in you, your fate or your future. I haven't any reason whatever for wishing to feed you. I you leave my house, it won't make any difference to me whether you starve or not. Now that is your position here and I will expect you to remember it, if you wish to stay. If not, then get out.'"


Francisco: ch 5, pg 478
"'John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains-and he withdrew his fire-until the day when men withdraw their vultures.'"

Eugene Lawson: ch 6, pg 491
"'The people need it. Need comes first, so we don't have to consider anything else.'"
-Excuse you? How about considering a plan on how to meet the "need" without dangerous consequences.

ch 6, pg 512
"Rearden paid a higher wage scale than any union scale in the country, for which he demanded-and got-the best labor force to be found anywhere."
 -You get what you pay for.

ch 6, pg 517
"It was proper that they should now call it 'Miracle Metal'-a miracle was the only name they could give to those ten years and to that faculty from which in their eyes, the product of an unknown, unknowable cause, an object in nature, not to be explained, but to be seized, like a stone or a weed, theirs for the seizing..."

Rearden: ch 6, pg 522
"'I believed that love is a gratuity, not a reward to be earned just as they believe it is their right to demand an unearned wealth.'"

ch 7, pg 524
"He works very hard at making sure that no decision can ever be pinned down on him, so that he won't be blamed for anything. You see, his purpose is not to operate a railroad, but to hold a job."

Ragnar: ch 7, pg  532-533
"'Robin Hood...It is said that he fought against the looting rulers and returned the loot to those who had been robbed, but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived. He is remembered, not as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became the symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don't have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does...Do you wonder why the world is collapsing around us? ...Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive.'"

Ragnar: ch 7, pg 534
"'Are you thinking that death and taxes are our only certainty, Mr. Rearden? Well, there's nothing I can do about the first, but if I lift the burden of the second, men might learn to see the connection between the two and what a longer, happier life they have the power to achieve. They might learn to hold, not death and taxes, but life and production as their two absolutes and as the base of their moral code.'"

Francisco: ch 8, pg 570
"'They know that you'll bear anything in order to work and produce, because you know that achievement is man's highest moral purpose, that he can't exist without it, and your love of virtue is your love of life. They count on you to assume any burden. They count on you to feel that no effort is too great in the service of your love.'"


ch 9, pg 608-618
The story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.
"'He stood like a man who knew that he was right. 'I will put an end to this, once and for all,' he said...Gerald Starnes cried suddenly after him, 'How?' He turned and answered, 'I will stop the motor of the world.'...You see, his name was John Galt.'"


Owen Kellog: ch 9, pg 627
"'God damn him...He probably didn't feel like attending to his job, and since he needed his pay check, nobody had the right to ask that he keep the phones in order.'"


Owen: ch 9, pg 628
"'Do you know that the United States is the only country in history that has ever used its own monogram as a symbol of depravity? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself how long a country that did that could hope to exist, and whose moral standards have destroyed it. It was the only country in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only country whose money was the symbol of man's right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself. If this is evil, by the present standards of the world, if this is the reason for damning us, then we-we, the dollar chasers and makers-accept it and choose to be damned by that world. We choose to wear the sign of the dollar on our foreheads, proudly, as our badge of nobility-the badge we are willing to live for and, if need be, to die.'"


Book 3

Ellis Wyatt: ch 1, pg 661
"'They're all aristocrats, that's true...because they know that there's no such thing as a lousy job-only lousy men who don't care to do it.'"

John Galt: ch 1, pg 686-687
"'When the creed of self-immolation has run, for once, its undisguised course-when men find no victims ready to obstruct the path of justice and to deflect the fall of retribution on themselves-when the preachers of self-sacrifice discover that those who are willing to practice it, have nothing to sacrifice, and those who have, are not willing any longer...then we'll come back to rebuild the world.'"

John Galt: ch 2, pg 732
"'if men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn't.'"

Cherryl Taggart: ch 4, pg 802
"She learned, in the slums of her childhood, that honest people were never touchy about the matter of being trusted."


Cherryl and Jim: ch 4, pg 810
"'All you welfare preachers-it's not unearned money that you're after. You want handouts, but of a different kind. I'm a gold-digger of the spirit, you said, because I look for value. Then you, the welfare preachers...it's the spirit that you want to loot. I never thougth and nobody ever told us how it could be thought of and what it would mean-the unearned in spirit. But that is what you want. You want unearned love. You want unearned admiration. You want unearned greatness. You want to be a man like Hank Rearden without the necessity of being what he is. Without the necessity of being anything. Without...the necessity...of being.'"


Dagny: ch 4, pg 814
"'Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling,' he means that that person is just.'"


Hank and his brother: ch 5, pg 849-850
H: "'This is a factory, Philip, not a gambling joint...We don't take chances or give them.'
P: 'I'm asking you to give me a job!'
'Why should I?'
'Because I need it!'
'I needed that furnace, Philip. It wasn't my need that gave it to me.'
'Everybody is entitled to a livelihood...How am I going to get it, if nobody gives me my chance?'
'How did I get mine?'
"I wasn't born owning a steel plant.'
'Was I?'
'I can do anything you can-if you'll teach me.'
'Who taught me?...What will happen if I put you there and you ruin a heat of steel for me?'
'What's more important, that your damn steel gets poured or that I eat?'
'How do you propose to eat if the steel doesn't get poured?'
'...I'm entitled to it!'

'You are? Go on, then, collect your claim...Collect your job. Pick it off the bush where you think it grows...You mean that it doesn't? You mean that you need it, but can't create it? You mean that you're entitled to a job which I must create for you?...And if I don't?'"

Steel Unification Plan, ch 6, pg 897-902
"'We'll lift all restrictions from the production of steel and every company will produce all it can, according to its ability. But to avoid the waste and danger of dog-eat-dog competition, all the companies will deposit their gross earnings into a common pool, to be known as the Steel Unification Pool, in charge of a special Board. At the end of the year, the Board will distribute these earnings by totaling the nation's steel output and dividing it by the number of open-hearth furnaces in existence, thus arriving at an average which will be fair to all-and every company will be paid according to its need. The preservation of its furnaces being its basic need, every company will be paid according to the number of furnaces it owns.'

 'Well, let me see,' said Rearden.'Orren Boyle's Associated Steel owns 60 open-hearth furnaces, one-third of them standing idle and the rest producing an average of 300 tons of steel per furnace per day. I own 20 open-hearth furnaces, working at capacity, producing 750 tons of Rearden Metal per furnace per day. So we own 80 'pooled' furnaces with a 'pooled' output of 27,000 tons, which makes an average of 337.5 tons per furnace. Each day of the year, I producing 15,000 tons, will be paid for 6,750 tons. Boyle, producing 12,00 tons, will be paid for 20,250 tons. Never mind the other members of the pool, they won't change the scale, except to bring the average still lower, most of them doing worse than Boyle, none of them producing as much as I. Now how long do you expect me to last under your Plan?...How long do you expect me to be able to produce at a loss?...To hell with your faith! How do you expect me to do it?...How?...All you want is production without men who're able to produce...'

'Conditions will change.'

'Who'll change them?'"
-Ask the tough questions. Who. What. When. Where. How. If they can't be answered, you're going to fail.


I cried when the wet nurse died. He was so young, and was just beginning to learn the truth.

ch 6, pg 910-911
"From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. 'Don't ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!' - 'Who are you to think? It's so, because I say so!' - 'Don't argue, obey!' - 'Don't try to understand, believe!' - 'Don't rebel, adjust!' - 'Don't stand out, belong!' - 'Don't struggle, compromise!' - 'Your heart is more important than your mind!' - 'Who are you to know? Your parents know best!' - 'Who are you to know? Society knows best!' - 'Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!' - 'Who are you to object? All values are relative!' - 'Who are you to want to escape a thug's bullet? That's only a personal prejudice!'
Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival-yet that was what they did to their children."


John Galt's speach to the Nation. Ch 7, pg 923-979. So good.


Ch 8, pg 993
"'What are we to do, Miss Taggart?'
'Start decontrolling...Start lifting taxes and removing controls.'
'Oh, no, no, no! That's out of the question!'
'Out of whose question?'"

Ch 8, pg 1006
"'Okay, we're ready to give in. We want you to tell us what to do.'
'I told you what to do...Get out of the way.'
'That's impossible! That's fantastic! That's out of the question!'
'You see? I told you we had nothing to discuss.'
'Now, wait! Wait! Don't go to extremes! There's always a middle ground.'"
-No. There isn't a middle ground.

Ch 8, pg 1010
"'I want you to think!'
'How will your gun make me do that, Mr. Thompson?'"

ch 8, pg 1018
"'How can you be so sure you're right?' cried James Taggart...'How can you take it upon yourself, at a terrible time like this, to stick to your own ideas at the risk of destroying the whole world?'
'Whose ideas should I consider safer to follow?'
...'You're no better than anyone else!'
'Then why do you want me?'"

-When you force a man against his will you force him to stop thinking. Even here, at the end, they cling to not talking straight, not saying what they actually mean, saying Galt's theory is just theory...But their theory has been put into practice and it didn't work. Even at the end, when they've admitted to themselves they'll perish if something doesn't change, they won't give up big government and still want more.



ch 8, pg 1029
"'The John Galt Plan...will reconcile all conflicts. It will protect the property of the rich and give a greater share to the poor. It will cut down the burden of your taxes and provide you with more government benefits. It will lower prices and raise wages. It will give more freedom to the individual and strengthen the bonds of collective obligations. It will combine the efficiency of free enterprise with the generosity of a planned economy.'"
-Ask yourself the big questions, especially because these are all contradictory. How? How will you cut taxes but have more government? How will you lower prices but raise wages? Where will the money come from? How will you make that work? You can't.


Eddie Willers: ch 10, pg 1067
"...business and earning a living and that in man which makes it possible-that is the best within us, that was the thing to defend..."


I hope you like my favorite quotes. There is so much, so much more that's so good in the book. Good luck.

ps...there's also a really good documentary on netflix right now, I'm sure you could rent it at the library too...maybe...it's called Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged

 
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