Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 Chapter 2: The Aristocracy of Pull

Posted by nsnelson 8 years, 7 months ago to Books
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Summary: September 2. “The destroyer” is taking more minds, but Dagny continues to work with Daniels on the motor. Dagny learns that the cigarette is extra-terrestrial. Rearden move forward with Metal for Danagger, then Lillian collected him to attend James Taggart’s wedding to Cherryl, a Cinderella story. James calls money the root of all evil. Cherryl confronts Dagny, the man of the family. Rearden pondered the meaning of life, as Lillian made an alliance with James. d'Anconia usurped the conversation, and spoke on the meaning and value of money, and then revealed part of his plan to Rearden.

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 especially like, and voting down first-tier comments that are not quotes of the featured book.)

NB: I labeled d'Anconia's speech on money by paragraph, because I know these are going to get out of order as they are voted up or down. Some I thought worth splitting up, others I skipped. If you add one that I skipped, I recommend labeling it as I have.

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 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 4B: “Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? ….Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.”
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 8 years, 7 months ago
      4 and 4B is my favorite quote from this lot.

      In the speech when he says "money" I'm not always clear if he's talking about the medium of exchange or the wealth itself. I think of it as being wealth but since money quantifies wealth, they're used interchangeably. It's kind of like "potential difference" being called "voltage" b/c we measure it in volts.

      We need to serve one another to live an affluent life with specialized products and services. As the speech says, we either serve one another for free exchanges (usually involving money) or under threats, lies, manipulation, etc.
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d'Anconia of Money 4: “But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d'Anconia to Rearden: “Any refusal to recognize reality, for any reason whatever, has disastrous consequences. There are no evil thoughts except one: the refusal to think.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 14: “Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters… They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “He [Rearden] cried to himself: You made a contract once, now stick to it. And then he thought suddenly that in business transactions the courts of law did not recognize a contract wherein no valuable consideration had been given by one party to the other. He wondered what made him think of it. The thought seemed irrelevant. He did not pursue it.”
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    • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
      He was thinking of his marriage contract with Lillian. But the implication probably applies to moochers/looters in general: "agreements" to serve others without reciprocity, even if we passively "accepted" them, are not binding.
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “He [Rearden] lost, for that moment, all the days and dogmas of his past; his concepts, his problems, his pain were wiped out; he knew only – as from a great, clear distance – that man exists for the achievement of his desires, and he wondered why he stood here, he wondered who had the right to demand that he waste a single irreplaceable hour of his life.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    A conversation observed by d’Anconia and Rearden: “Well, I don’t know. All of you are crying about rising costs, it seems to be the stock complaint nowadays, it’s the usual whine of people whose profits are squeezed a little. I don’t know, we’ll have to see, we’ll have to decide whether we’ll permit you to make any profits or not.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 22: “Yet these were the words [to make money] for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters’ continents. Now the looters’ credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt.”
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    • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
      This is great. Several times in this book, Ayn Rand uses contrasts and reversals like this to highlight what she sometimes calls an Inverted Morality. It's like opposite day!
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 21: “If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity – to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 20: “To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 18: “When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men….to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 17: “Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 16: “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against him, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 15: “Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitch-hikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 13: “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 11: “Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men…. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 10: “Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 9: “Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. Did you get your money by fraud? …If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 6B: “Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 5B: “And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 5: “To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 7 months ago
    d’Anconia on Money 3: “Have you ever looked for the root of production? …Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.”
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