Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 Chapter 10: The Sign of the Dollar

Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago to Books
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Summary: Dagny’s Comet is heading to Colorado, contemplating the slave labor she has taken part in, when she finds a stowaway tramp (aka, Jeff Allen). Jeff Allen tells Dagny about the 20th Century Motor Company, and the disaster that socialism was. After another nap, she woke up to a ghost train, and goes off with Owen Kellogg to get help. Dagny discusses societal issues with Kellogg, and then finds a plane. She flies after Daniels, but loses control and prepares for a belly-landing.

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.)

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  $  MichaelAarethun 4 years, 2 months ago
    just for fund of knowledge from the German 'thaler' pronounced doller or taller.
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    • Posted by not-you 4 years, 2 months ago
      The American version evolved from the Dutch usage in New Amsterdam (later New York) as the leeuwendaalder or lion dollar spread to all Thirteen Colonies. Shortly after the American Revolution, the word, "dollar" was adopted as the name of the US monetary unit. hence, "Dollar"
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 4 years, 2 months ago
        Dutch is a Germanic language as is Norske. In Samoa the money is the taller pronounced with a hard 'd' Samoa used to be a German Colony. The locals delight in quoting a price and one most be careful as they don't tell you which currency. I always handed over their currency then they wanted to change the price. A merry old round of price negotiations followed. That was in the country of Samoa. In American Samoa they just charged high prices.

        Which brings me to another favorite quote. "We accept nothing but objective values." That implies understanding definitions.
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        • Posted by not-you 4 years, 2 months ago
          You are exactly correct that Dutch is Germanic in origin--as is English. Both evolved from Low German or Low Saxon ( "low" meaning the tribal variant spoken in the plains areas as opposed to Bavarian uplands ). "d" and "t" are speech fricatives produced by the exact same mechanical process with the only difference being that the "d" is voiced and the "t" is not. However this was not always so and not consistent from tribe to tribe. When I studied linguistics we had a most informative tour of how consonant sounds such as "d" and "t" & "p" and "b" subtly changed as the old Low German evolved to Middle German and further adaptations spread across the channel as tribes migrated. Which makes it feasible that when the retained spelling is "thaler" but the "t" has that voiced "d" sound of "dollar." Boy did all that sound pedantic (yuk)!! Seriously though, as an undergraduate history major, I took some of the most fascinating elective courses and structural linguistics was one . It took graduate degrees in other areas to make myself $ marketable, but history undergrad gave me a serious edge when playing the old Genus Edition of Trivial Pursuit. [Talk about digressing, I need to get back on topic of thread.]
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 4 years, 2 months ago
            b and v sounds in Spanish are a problem for the gringo ear. r and l to many asians sound the same. my kid wanted to grow up and be a pilot and make the bad peoples walk the prank. People in Sonora do not hear the difference between their pronounciation from people in Yucatan. We do. and you are right. back to the purpose of the thread. But listening Rand on the Wallace interviews I could not put her version of English and she worked hard at being understood with her writings - perfectly written and a command of the English language that is far from usual.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Kellogg to Dagny: “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.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “She had pale eyes that looked fishy, cold and dead. And if you ever want to see pure evil, you should have seen the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who’d talked back to her once and who’d just heard his name on the list of those getting nothing above basic pittance. And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who’s ever preached the slogan: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’”
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "And if you ever want to see pure evil, you should have seen the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who’d talked back to her once and who’d just heard his name on the list of those getting nothing above basic pittance. "
      She was the most memorable villian in the book for me.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “The one accusation we feared was to be suspected of ability. Ability was like a mortgage on you that you could never pay off.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “It was decided that somebody hadn’t delivered ‘according to his ability.’ Who? How would you tell it? ‘The family’ voted on that, too. They voted which men were the best, and these men were sentenced to work overtime each night for the next six months. Overtime without pay – because you weren’t paid by time and you weren’t paid by work, only by need.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars – rotten, whining, sniveling beggars all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family,’ and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ – so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher., listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because it’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm – so it turned into a contest among six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s.”
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher., listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because it’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm"
      For some reason, this is one of my favorite quotes of the book.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “I don’t think it will be any use. But there’s nothing to do in the East except sit under some hedge and wait to die. I don’t think I’d mind it much now, the dying. I know it would be a lot easier. Only I think that it’s a sin to sit down and let your life go, without making a try for it.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Dagny to Kellogg: “I know that this stands for something.”
    “The dollar sign? For a great deal… It stands – as the money of a free country – for achievement, for success, for ability, for man’s creative power – and, precisely for these reasons, it is used as a brand of infamy… Incidentally, do you know where that sign comes from? It stands for the initials of the United States.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Dagny to Kellogg: “Where are you going?”
    “West.”
    “On a ‘special assignment’?”
    “No. For a month’s vacation with some friends.”
    “A vacation? And it’s that important to you?”
    “More important than anything on earth.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Dagny to Kellogg: “You’re still working for a living, aren’t you?”
    “Yes.”
    “You don’t seem to be making very much.”
    “I’m making enough for my needs – and for nobody else’s.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Dagny to Kellogg: “Have you ever heard of a woman named Ivy Starnes?”
    “Oh yes.”
    “I keep thinking that this was what she would have enjoyed – the spectacle of those passengers tonight. This was what she’s after. But we – we can’t live with it, you and I, can we? No one can live with it. It’s not possible to live with it.”
    “What makes you think that ivy Starnes’ purpose is life?”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Dagny to Jeff Allen: She remembered that money inside a man’s pocket had the power to turn into confidence inside his mind; she took a hundred-dollar bill from her bag and slipped it into his hand. “As advance on wages,” she said.
    “Yes ma’am.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    “What about us?” snapped the nervous woman.
    Dagny turned to her, answering in the formal, inflectionless monotone of a business executive, “There have been no cases of raider gang attacks upon frozen trains – unfortunately.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “He stood like a man who knew that he was right. ‘I will put an end to this, once and for all,’ he said. His voice was clear and without any feeling. That was all he said and started to walk out. He walked down the length of the place, in the white light, not hurrying and not noticing any of us. Nobody moved to stop him. Gerald Starnes cried suddenly after him, ‘How?’ He turned and answered, ‘I will stop the motor of the world.’ Then he walked out.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    “The man [Jeff Allen] had spoken as if the burden of his years of silence had slipped suddenly out of his grasp… It was as if the life he had been about to renounce were given back to him by the two essentials he needed: by his food and by the presence of a rational being.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “At our last meeting, Ivy Starnes was the one who tried to brazen it out. She made a short, nasty, snippy little speech in which she said that the plan had failed because the rest of the country had not accepted it, that a single community could not succeed in the midst of a selfish, greedy world – and that the plan was a noble ideal, but human nature was not good enough for it.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “By the time we saw what it was that we’d asked for, it was too late. We were trapped, with no place to go. The best men among us left the factory in the first week of the plan. We lost our best engineers, superintendents, foremen and highest-skilled workers. A man of self-respect doesn’t turn into a milch cow for anybody. Some able fellows tried to stick it out, but they couldn’t take it for long. We kept losing our men, they kept escaping from the factory like from a pest-hole – till we had nothing left except the men of need, but none of the men of ability… The alms we got kept falling, but the cost of our living went up. The list of the factory’s needy kept stretching, but the list of its customers shrank. There was less and less income to divide among more and more people.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “God help us, ma’am! Do you see what we saw? We saw that we’d been given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it – for observing it. The more you tried to live up to it, the more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger reward you got. Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of the next man’s dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected. The honest lost, the dishonest won. How long could men stay good under this sort of a law of goodness?”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “Any man who tried to play straight, had to refuse himself everything…But the shiftless and the irresponsible had a field day of it…what the hell, ‘the family’ was paying for it! They found more ways of getting in ‘need’ than the rest of us could ever imagine – they developed a special skill for it, which was the only ability they showed.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “What was it they’d always told us about the vicious competition of the profit system, where men had to compete for who’d do a better job than his fellows? Vicious, wasn’t it? Well, they should have seen what it was like when we all had to compete with one another for who’d do the worst job possible. There’s no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “Do I have to tell you what happened after that – and into what sort of creatures we all started turning, we who had once been human? We began to hide whatever ability we had, to slow down and watch like hawks that we never worked any faster or better than the next fellow. What else could we do, when we knew that if we did our best for ‘the family,’ it’s not thanks or rewards that we’d get, but punishment? …So we did our best to be no good.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “We’re all one big family, they told us, we’re all in this together. But you don’t stand, working an acetylene torch ten hours a day – together, and you don’t all get a bellyache – together.”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there’s a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forty-eight, then fifty-six – for your neighbor’s supper…for anyone anywhere around you – it’s theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures – and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end…From each according to his ability, to each according to his need...”
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    Jeff Allen to Dagny: “They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal… We voted for the plan – and what we got, we had it coming to us… What is it that hell is supposed to be? Evil – plain, naked, smirking evil, isn’t it? Well, that’s what we saw and helped to make – and I think we’re damned, every one of us, and maybe we’ll never be forgiven.”
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