Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 Chapter 3: The Top And The Bottom

Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 7 months ago to Books
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Summary: In a skyscraper barroom, James Taggart, Orren Boyle, Wesley Mouch (Rearden’s “Washington man”), and Paul Larkin discuss the social danger of Rearden Metal. Flashback to the childhood of Dagny, James, and Francisco d’Anconia (real time age 36), who inherited his copper fortune at age 23. Dagny, at age 32, became Vice President in Charge of Operation, completed the San Sebastián Line, and then began limiting its operation. Real time: Dagny recalls her break-up with Frisco 10 years prior. Eddie Willers tells John Galt about the contractor for the Rio Norte Line, Dick McNamara.

Start by reading the first-tier comments, which are all quotes of Ayn Rand (some of my favorites, some just important for other reasons). Comment on your favorite ones, or others' comments. Don't see your favorite quote? Post it in a new comment. Please reserve new comments for Ayn Rand, and your non-Rand quotes for "replies" to the quotes or discussion. (Otherwise Rand's quotes will get crowded out and pushed down into oblivion. You can help avoid this by "voting up" the Rand quotes, or at least the ones you think people should see, and voting down first-tier comments that are not quotes of the featured book.)

Atlas Shrugged was written by Ayn Rand in 1957.

My idea for this post is discussed here:

http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts...


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  • Posted by 4 years, 7 months ago
    "He [Nathaniel Taggart] was a man who had never accepted the creed that others had the right to stop him. He set his goal and moved toward it, his way as straight as one of his rails. He never sought any loans, bonds, subsidies, land grants or legislative favors from the government. He obtained money from the men who owned it... He never talked about the public good. He merely told people that they would make big profits on his railroad, he told them why he expected the profits and he gave his reasons. He had good reasons... 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."
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 4 years, 7 months ago
    "You're unbearably conceited", was one of the two sentences she heard throughout her childhood, even though she never spoke of her own ability. The other sentence was, "You're selfish."
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    • Posted by $ Susanne 4 years, 7 months ago
      Always bugged me that while Nate Taggart had a prominent role in the book, and in Dagny's life, you didn't hear a lot about her parents, and what the envorinment was that allowed her to become a strong and independent woman. This kind of alludes to the upbringing, and tells me her parents were not the powerhouse and inspiration Nate was; perhaps more akin to the anti-heroes than the heroes. While they kept TT alive and afloat, they gave the railroad not to the capable, selfish, and business minded "girl", but to the socially expected (and horribly inept and incompetent) "boy". In a way, it wasn't unlike the planned devestation of business all thoughout the book - as a result of not doing what was Right but what was Politically Correct. Perhaps a foreshadowing of what is to come in the book... and that one good leader can thwart the denegration and deliberate destruction created by a general public mindset of sheeple-ism and acepting mediocracy and half-assedness as the norm.
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      • Posted by Mamaemma 4 years, 7 months ago
        I agree. I do remember that Dagnys mother was puzzled by Dagny, and just couldn't understand her at all. Also, when her father died I seem to remember he told Dagny (paraphrasing here), that she would be the one to save the railroad. I took that as an unconscionable betrayal of Dagny.

        Edit:correct word
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 7 months ago
        Sounds like that is exactly how one would perpetuate a kakistocracy. Dagny was just the opposite. That is our problem in this upside down paradigm. We are divided by 180°.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 7 months ago
      I marked that in my book. I think what follows is a good reminder:

      "The other sentence was, 'You're selfish.' She asked what was meant, but never received an answer. She looked at the adults, wondering how they could imagine that she would feel guilt from an undefined accusation."

      This is a theme that comes up later. The "sin" of submitting to a morality of someone else, which you do not understand, accept, or embrace.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 7 months ago
    "Many stories were whispered about him [Nat Taggart]. It was said that in the wilderness of the Middle West, he murdered a state legislator who attempted to revoke a charter granted to him... Nat Taggart was indicted for the murder, but the charge could never be proved. He had no trouble with legislators from then on."
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    • Posted by 4 years, 7 months ago
      I have seen critics of Ayn Rand appeal to this to show her hypocrisy, that these big business industrialists that she prizes built their empire through fraud and violent coercion. But this is absurd, given Rand's ethic of never initiating violence. Nat Taggart's alleged "murder" was just a rumor. Of him, Rand says, "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."
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  • Posted by 4 years, 7 months ago
    "It's been proved that every business depends upon every other business," said Orren Boyle. "So everybody ought to share the burdens of everybody else."
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    • Posted by $ Susanne 4 years, 7 months ago
      To me, the character of Orrin Boyle is Rand's archetypical portrayal of Leninist/Marxist values in the first person. To me, this phrase spelled that out succinctly - the whole "From those with ability, to those with need" on a grand worldwide scale.

      Even though the section about 20th Century Motors and it's decline to a soviet business model (whcih to me was like making the same point with a bullhorn at full volume at 3 inches) couldn't be as elequant as "Boyle's Law". I'm actually surprised that some professor at some big state unicversity somewhere hasn't started a coursework on "Boylean Business Econoics" and sold it (along with his students) to the sheeple down the river.
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