Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 Chapter 7: The Moratorium On Brains

Posted by nsnelson 8 years, 6 months ago to Books
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Summary: Eddie Willers told John Galt where Dagny was staying. Rearden, walking home, was accosted by Ragnar Danneskjöld, who returned some of Rearden’s looted money in the form of a gold bar, and spoke of Robin Hood. Kip Chalmers, campaigning for California legislature, was riding the Comet with some friends when it broke down in Colorado on his way from Washington to San Francisco. They tried pulling it through the Taggart Tunnel, but crashed into the Army Freight Special, after Rand summarized the views of 16 passengers.

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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, 6 months ago
    “The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 16, was a humanitarian who had said, ‘The men of ability? I do not care what or if they are made to suffer. They must be penalized in order to support the incompetent. Frankly, I do not care whether this is just or not. I take pride in not caring to grant any justice to the able, where mercy to the needy is concerned.”
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    • Posted by VetteGuy 8 years, 6 months ago
      Hi NSN,
      I thought this chapter was a great summary of the book. The train serves as a powerful metaphor for all the types of looters & moochers in the world.

      And some of the crew mentioned provide a nice catalog of the type of "producers" that are not business owners or entrepreneurs, but still have the proper and reasonable values.
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The woman in Roomette 10, Car No. 3, was an elderly school teacher who had spent her life turning class after class of helpless children into miserable cowards, by teaching them that the will of the majority is the only standard of good and evil, that a majority may do anything it pleases, that they must not assert their own personalities, but must do as others were doing.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “Bill Brent knew nothing about epistemology; but he knew that man must live by his own rational perception of reality, that he cannot act against it or escape it or find a substitute for it – and that there is no other way for him to live.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “Dave Mitchum knew nothing about the philosophy of law; but he knew that when a court is not bound by any rules, it is not bound by any facts, and then a hearing is not an issue of justice, but an issue of men, and your fate depends not on what you have or have not done, but on whom you do or do not know.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 15, was an heir who had inherited his fortune, and who had kept repeating, ‘Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to manufacture Rearden Metal?’”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 14, was a professor of philosophy who taught that there is no mind – how do you know that the tunnel is dangerous? – no reality – how can you prove that the tunnel exists? – no logic – why do you claim that trains cannot move without motive power? – no principles – why should you be bound by the law of cause-and-effect? – no rights – why shouldn’t you attach men to their jobs by force? – no morality – what’s moral about running a railroad? – no absolutes – what difference does it make to you whether you live or die, anyway? He taught that we know nothing – why oppose the orders of your superiors? – that we can never be certain of anything – how do you know you’re right? – that we must act on the expediency of the moment – you don’t want to risk your job, do you?
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The woman in roomette 9, Car No. 12, was a housewife who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing, to control giant industries, of which she had no knowledge.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, ‘I don’t care, it’s only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children.’”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Roomette 2, Car No. 9, was a professor of economics who advocated the abolition of private property, explaining that intelligence plays no part in industrial production, that man’s mind is conditioned by material tools, that anybody can run a factory or a railroad and it’s only a matter of seizing the machinery.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The woman in Roomette 6, Car No. 8, was a lecturer who believed that, as a consumer, she had ‘a right’ to transportation, whether the railroad people wished to provide it or not.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Seat 5, Car No. 7, was a worker who believed that he had ‘a right’ to a job, whether his employer wanted him or not.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Drawing Room A, Car No. 6, was a financier who had made a fortune by buying ‘frozen’ railroad bonds and getting his friends in Washington to ‘defreeze’ them”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Bedroom H, Car No. 5, was a businessman who had acquired his business, an ore mine, with the help of a government loan, under the Equalization of Opportunity Bill.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 4, was a newspaper publisher who believed that men are evil by nature and unfit for freedom, that their basic interests, if left unchecked, are to lie, to rob and to murder one another – and, therefore, men must be ruled by means of lies, robbery and murder, which must be made the exclusive privilege of the rulers, for the purpose of forcing men to work, teaching them to be moral and keeping them within the bounds of order and justice.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion ‘for a good cause,’ who believed that he had the right to unleash physical force upon others – to wreck lives, throttle ambitions, strangle desires, violate convictions, to imprison, to despoil, to murder – for the sake of whatever he chose to consider as his own idea of ‘a good cause,’ which did not even have to be an idea, since he had never defined what he regarded as the good, but had merely stated that he went by ‘a feeling’ – a feeling unrestrained by any knowledge, since he considered emotion superior to knowledge and relied solely on his own ‘good intentions’ and on the power of a gun.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it’s masses that count, not men.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The trainmaster knew nothing about political philosophy; but he knew that that [i.e., “the people” didn’t want to hear about how Directive 10-289 led to the trainmaster’s brother’s suicide] had been the moment when he lost all concern for the life or death of any human being or of the country.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “The road foreman…knew nothing about the philosophy of ethics; but he knew suddenly – not in words, but in the form of a dark, angry, savage pain – that if this [i.e., “self-immolation…the virtue of sacrificing to others that which was one’s dearest”] was virtue, then he wanted no part of it.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    “Hell, yes!” said Kip Chalmers. “We’ve got so many rules regulations and controls that those bastards wouldn’t dare not to be safe!”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    To Danneskjöld: Rearden smiled contemptuously. “Aren’t you one of those damn altruists who spends his time on a non-profit venture and risks his life merely to serve others?”
    “No, Mr. Rearden. I am investing my time in my own future. When we are free and have to start rebuilding from out of the ruins, I want to see the world reborn as fast as possible….”
    “Why?” whispered Rearden.
    “Because my only love, the only value I care to live for, is that which has never been loved by the world, has never won recognition or friends or defenders: human ability. That is the love I am serving – and if I should lose my life, to what better purpose could I give it?”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    Danneskjöld: “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.”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    Danneskjöld to Rearden: “I cannot compute all the money that has been extorted from you – in hidden taxes, in regulations, in wasted time, in lost effort, in energy spent to overcome artificial obstacles…”
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  • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
    Danneskjöld: “What I actually am, Mr. Rearden, is a policeman. It is a policeman’s duty to protect men from criminals – criminals being those who seize wealth by force. It is the policeman’s duty to retrieve stolen property and return it to its owners. But when robbery becomes the purpose of the law, and the policeman’s duty becomes, not the protection, but the plunder of property – then it is an outlaw who has to become a policeman.”
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