17

How Many Bricklayers Did Galt Invite to the Gulch?

Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 9 months ago to Culture
362 comments | Share | Best of... | Flag

Galt went around inviting famous artists, noted business leaders to the Guch, but once there, who built their houses? Who paved their streets, dug their sewer lines?

This isn't a class warfare argument; the building of a house, for example, not only takes a skilled architect, but also skilled craftsmen and industrious laborers.

If the criterion for admission is a belief in "trading value for value", surely Galt should and would have invited "ordinary" workers to the Gulch as well as luminaries like Wyatt and Danagger?

Such people exist lower down on the ladder; people who believe in trading value for value, but lack the creative ability to invent a new motor or miraculous metal. People who didn't inherit an already successful railroad or copper mines, but would be able to get a day's worth of coal or copper dug in a day's worth of hours for a day's worth of pay. Maybe they lack the ambition to go through the headache of running a company when they get more satisfaction from digging coal out of the ground. Maybe they lack the self discipline necessary to see their visions to reality, but are still able and still believe in trading value for value.

What Utopians always underestimate in their rhetoric (no disparagement of Ms Rand intended) is the example America set before them. People's abilities and worth are not necessarily evidenced by their position in life. All the creative brilliance in the world will not get a brick wall built. A brick wall built without knowledge and skill won't stand, but the most creative and brilliantly designed wall will never exist without someone to lay it up brick by brick. Someone whose creative skill may be shrouded by prejudice toward his position in life.

There may not be a place in the Gulch for someone like me. But that would be Galt's loss.


Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • 17
    Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 5 years, 9 months ago
    The brakeman from the train was in the Gulch. He was apprenticing to Halley when he was there and working in the world in some capacity that met his basic needs when he wasn't. There were skilled people in the Gulch, not just the big industrialist.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 5 years, 9 months ago
      Of course. Now he served as a brakeman in the outer world, because he was taking the lowest job he could find, on Galt's instruction. Eventually he repaired to the valley permanently. As did everyone, except only the Triumvirs, in that last year, because Dagny would not join the strike at once.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • 14
    Posted by ColdTater 5 years, 9 months ago
    This post seems to miss the point of Atlas Shrugged. Rand does not disparage the worker doing his best at what he/she does. The objection is to those who ask for others t provide them an existence simply because they feel entitled. From what I've seen over the last number of years I do not see a lot of criticism of the workers in society, but demonizing of the "Minds" and creative powers and risk takers that create the jobs for these "lower down the ladder" people is rampant. While I would agree that there are sometimes abuses of power by those in higher authority, by and large there contribution to society far exceeds the government. I don't know if you have read the book, but nearly all those who meet at the Gulch held jobs in the world as "down the ladder" people. Galt himself was a track walker for the railroad. So most of those there had the skills to build where they lived. Galt never criticized those who worked, only those who mooched and felt entitled to do so. And yes if you are a hard working person doing the best you are capable of, then there would always be a place for you in the Gulch.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by texastoast61 5 years, 9 months ago
      Galt was not originally a track walker. He was a brilliant electrical engineer who was the first to bring attention to the public that good men were becoming scarce. Hence, "Who is John Galt ?" He didn't start the strike, just joined it later. In a way, he became a sort of recruiter, on the lookout for those who were ripe to join the strike. In that endeavor, he became a track walker to be near Dagny. To watch her struggles and wait for the right time to confront her. Dagny upset that plan when she crashed in the gulch. I don't know if the book describes who recruited Galt after he left the motor company. I'm presently re-reading the novel for the sixth time to see if I might have missed it. Wouldn't surprise me if I did. Every time I read it I learn something new.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by kdk741 5 years, 8 months ago
        John Galt did start the movement, when he left the 21st Century Motor plant run as a communal factory. He saw the evil in that idea, not to work to better yourself and your family, but to provide for others, and their families.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
        Galt was the second man to walk out of Starnes when the Starnes heirs put the "from each..to each" plan into play at 20th Century, saying he was going to stop the motor of the world. The first man was his boss, William Hastings.
        ---someday someone will do an AS compendium, so I can look up these pesky quotes when I want them. The information was given to Dagny in answer to "Who is John Galt?"

        Every time I read it, and that's a couple of pages every day, I get something new and deeper.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • -3
        Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
        Yeah, that's all that Atlas Shrugged really is. The story of a stalker who destroys the world out of his self-centered lust for a woman on the lookout for the most-alpha male.

        I was fine with Galt forming his own little world when he didn't approve of the way the real world was working. But when he started actively torturing Dagney by taking away people she needed in order to save *her* little world, just to *coerce* her into becoming his... the he was no different than the progressives he was fighting against.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by mwolff 5 years, 8 months ago
          Hiraghm, Your "stalker" is not the one destroying the world, but rather providing a place where productive people are able to actively "live" when the world of political correctness saps their very being. Even pack mules can be driven to their limits or death. The real destroyers of the world are those that force people to “volunteer" their earnings so the money can be redistributed to enslave those that have unfulfilled “needs”. Those same destroyers make rules to destroy productivity by regulations, like where, what, why, how and whom to sell their products to and if that not enough even to regulate what has to be in the product, now much to pay for labor and now what type of health insurance to buy.
          Accusing Galt of torture, coercion or even possession of another goes against the entire concept of such men presented within the book. Coercion, torture, theft of property, is left to those that are destroying the world. Without productivity and the rewards associated with those efforts, the world will collapse and then what will the thieves/moochers do except force people to work under threat of death.
          Like water, productivity, jobs, and prosperity for those that work, comes from a point of least resistance.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by lizilu 5 years, 8 months ago
          Hiraghm,
          Your theory is quite a stretch. Did you actually read the book? Let's give it one more try. Read the book, or read it again, and tell us who really destroys the world.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by red82991 5 years, 8 months ago
          Do you really think that Galt took those people away from Dagny to torture her? She was one of the strongest, the people who would fight the inevitable collapse of the world and maybe even go down with the ship. John Galt had to show her that she couldn't change, bargain or reason with the looters of the world. She had to see that the world she was trying to save was only supported by the prime movers.

          And you're wrong to say that Galt did it out of lust for her. His "lust" as you call it, for her is a manifestation of his love for life, Dagny being one of the kind of people who make that life worth living. It was that same love for life that led him to take it out of the hands of those who sought to destroy it. You've confused cause and effect.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by texastoast61 5 years, 8 months ago
          I don't believe Galt was "torturing" Dagny. He was merely trying to open her eyes to the reality of what the "moochers" were up to. He wanted Dagny to join the strike and stop sacrificing herself to those who would do her harm. And in the end, he was correct. Galt FELT Dagnys pain. And he tried to alieve it by pointing out the futility of her struggle against a system that wanted more and more at a cost to her.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • -1
      Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      "The worker"? You mean there's a "The worker" class? You know who a worker is? Someone who *works*. And someone who works with his back can be just as "of the mind", just as politically astute, just as intellectually gifted as Galt himself.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by texastoast61 5 years, 8 months ago
        You touch upon something I preach religiously. That the "worker" is much more important to everyday life than any Wall Street trader. I broke it down years ago to two type of people....bean counters and worker bees. Worker bees are just that.. workers. The people who physically get s--t done. The people who make the lights come on. The people who make sure water comes from the tap when you turn it on. People who carry away the trash you generate. People who make sure there is food on the shelf at your market. You can survive without the "trader" (bean counter) but the worker bee is what makes your day to day existence possible.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by lizilu 5 years, 8 months ago
          Preacher,
          You just echoed the looters' assertion that it's the laborors who built the modern world. When the inventors and innovators go on strike, the laborors are not able to take over and run those businesses. Will the laborers be able to run Apple, ExxonMobil, railroads, steel-making, railroads, etc. The answer is no. The world needs both the inventors and the laborers to be successful.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 4 months ago
          Not true. Even the bees need a queen to focus and direct their activities so as to maximize efficiency and productivity. You need ALL workers to help keep things going - and that includes management, accounting, IT (especially), etc.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • 11
    Posted by  $  Temlakos 5 years, 9 months ago
    Ladies and gentlemen, please!

    Who said anything about bricklayers?

    I do recall that Galt did invite someone who was just a truck driver in outside life, but one who did not want to stay a truck driver. That's just one example. I believe Dagny Taggart did not meet one-tenth of the inhabitants of Galt's Culch. If the Gulch were actually the Uncompahgre or "Hot Springs Valley," where now lies the town of Ouray, Colorado, remember that Ouray, even now, has a population of a thousand residents!

    Now I did read the book. So let me give you my backstory of it:

    Ouray, CO, died twice. First as a mining town, and then as the tourist trap it became, when the Recession killed the tourist trade. So Midas Mulligan bought the Uncompahgre Valley and determined eventually to turn it back into a mining center.

    Then came the Runaway Constitutional Convention that scrapped Congress and the Presidency in favor of the unicameral Legislature and the Head of State.

    And, of course, the case of Amalgamated Service Co., Lee Hunsacker, et al. v. Mulligan Bank and Midas Mulligan.

    After the Illinois Appellate Division reversed Judge Narragansett, Midas Mulligan liquidated his bank and everything he had, repaid the mortgages he had on the Uncompahgre Valley, bought livestock and heirloom seeds, and retired to the Valley. Where he built a log house with his own hands. Log, not brick. Read the book. And I believe he personally hewed every stick of furniture in the place, except for the artistic rarities he bought here and there and brought to the Valley to install in his house.

    Then when Judge Narragansett had had enough, Midas invited him to come out. Maybe he hired himself out to the judge to build his farmhouse. From the start, Midas determined to build a trading relationship. No favors, no "village planning," none of that junk. However it happened, Judge Narragansett built his own house, also out of logs. As did Richard Halley. As, by the way, did the Triumvirs: John Galt, Ragnar Danneskjöld, and Francisco d'Anconia.

    From that day forward, a few people would trickle in, and maybe the Triumvirs would hire themselves out to build their houses for them in the June Vacation Month.

    And then came the destruction of Colorado.

    And by then, Dick McNamara was already on the scene. He was a contractor. He it was who organized the laying of the sewer line. And he hired these obscure people to do skilled labor. Including, I remind everyone, pipe layers and electrical linemen. It's all in there. Read it.

    You can teach a creative man to lay brick. You cannot necessarily teach a bricklayer to design a building or to contract to erect it.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      You're not understanding my point.
      Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, so Mulligan might have built his house out of moonrock he scaled in himself.
      It's not as easy as one might think to build a house out of logs or to hew furniture; and the result isn't going to resemble a ski resort.

      And, btw, one cannot necessarily teach a creative man to lay brick. Steven Hawking is brilliant and will never lay a single brick. Some people simply lack the eye-hand coordination for the work. It takes decades to make a master mason, which is more than simply slapping rectangles of dried clay on a wall. The same for master carpenters, plumbers, electricians (of which they were going to need a freaking ton).

      But my point has been missed. It takes no creative skill at all to learn to dig a ditch, even a straight one. But it does take *man hours*. The time Mulligan spent building his log cabin was time he wasn't spending doing what HE does best, time he wasn't spending exercising his creative skills. He's free to waste his time however he chooses, but if one is going to build a city, it's going to take manpower. Manpower that isn't as monetarily valuable as designing the city, for tasks that are a waste of the more valuable time of people who can invent doubletalk drives.

      I'm trying to imagine what building his own log cabin did to Richard Halley's hands.

      Galt et al simply would not have had the time for their nefarious schemes to lure the productive away from the world, to keep a job at Taggart Transcontinental, and build homes that were fit to live in, except by the standards of 19th century western settlers.

      Did they build everything out of logs? The linings for the sewer pipes, the electrical conductors to carry electricity to the houses; were the lightbulbs made out of wood?

      Unless the Gulch was a magical place with immense deposits of natural resources undetectable by satellite, they're not going to have the copper for wires, for example. That will take mines, refineries, machine tools to draw the wire, spools to wrap it on, crops and livestock to feed them while they're working, and likewise farmers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers...

      And most of these people are not creative elite who design doubletalk drives over a weekend or compose a symphony on the back of a napkin.

      You *will*, inevitably, if you are to provide the raw manpower necessary, get some people, possibly a measurable percentage of people, who still support, to one degree or another, the collectivist philosophy dominant by the time of directive 10-289.

      Galt's Gulch can only work through segregation; segregating the objectivists and libertarians from everyone else. And I don't think such segregation is possible and still build the city.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 5 years, 9 months ago
        I think you have missed my point.

        Now I can only reply to your discourse, not to where I think that discourse comes from. You say it's impossible for that writer or that econ prof to learn how to lay brick or pipe or string a high-rise electric line.

        And that is simply not correct. I'm not saying you're lying; I'm saying you're mistaken. Hey: if I can learn how to camp out and cook a meal on a fire in the out-of-doors, I can learn to lay brick, or logs, or whatever, or string an electric line, or lay pipe for a water main or a sewer. But can everyone learn to do what I do? No. That's why people become bricklayers: because they can't learn to do anything higher than that.

        The whole point of Rand's work is that the mystical/altruistic/collectivist/statist system assumed without warrant, even decreed, that there was no such thing as any person smarter than any other person. And on that basis they decreed equality of economic result.

        So John Galt stood up in that factory hangar and said, in so many words: "All right. You think we can't get along without you? We will show you we certainly can. And then let YOU try to get along without US."

        Now the only thing missing is this: how do you treat the one who never went along with the looters' state, but who cannot design electrostatic motors, as John Galt did (or reverse-engineer them, as Quentin Daniels did)? Or invent a new substitutionary/interstitial alloy of iron, copper, and carbon, as Henry Rearden did? The answer: John Galt removed the prime movers first. Then he declared, "All others who see our point, decamp from the looters' society now!" And they did, and formed their own camps. And maybe they didn't lay any bricks. Maybe they lived as the Native Americans ("Indians", "Amerinds") did.

        But Galt's Gulch was never to be a permanent settlement. It was a place of refuge. That it turned into "the rallying center for such outposts of civilization as [others would] build" was only because the society collapsed faster and sooner than John Galt even thought possible.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by plusaf 3 years, 12 months ago
          Agreed! I got a degree in Electrical Engineering. A few years later I thought radio-controlled model planes were neat, so I built one from a kit. I asked an experienced pilot to fly it the first time and he reported that he'd never flown a newly-built plane that needed so little trim adjustment.

          Some years later, some guys in my department were working on a light-weight electronic circuit to drive a welding rod. I watched a short demonstration and asked if I could take it for a spin. I ran a 2-3" bead between a couple slabs of soft steel. When they broke the oxide layer off, one of the experienced welders said it was one of the nicest beads he'd ever seen. "How long have you been welding?" he asked. I held up two fingers about 2-3" apart. "About that long," I replied with a smile.

          I started wood-turning just 2-3 years ago and have produced some really beautiful works. "The Knack" Dilbert video is a reference from my woodworking page.

          Lots of folks can do lots of things; even bricklaying and ditch digging. I installed a long cellar drain pipe from Mom's basement to the street... close to 75' or so and did a great job. I cemented Z-Bricks up to a plywood façade in my first house and when a neighbor/contractor took his first look at the finished product, his first question was, "Where did you learn to lay bricks that well?!"

          Or, in other words... http://www.plusaf.com/falklaws.htm#2nd


          I wrote the HTML for that, too... :)
          :)

          Oh! Thanks, Eric_in_CO for the reminder... one of my co-workers taught me how to solder copper pipes for household plumbing and drainage. When my hot water heater failed some year or so later, I had to solder about a dozen and a half joints to get it reconnected. All were sweat-soldered joints and none of them leaked at all.

          http://www.plusaf.com/falklaws.htm#2nd
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Eric_in_CO 5 years, 8 months ago
        If I may chime in, and anyone is paying attention, may I please prove your point wrong. I am 37 years old, hold an Engineer job and am a 9 year veteran helicopter pilot. I now own a business and hope to grow that to be my final career.

        I can and have done the following trades at the professional level (master is what is required to hold a license). All residential and commercial electrical, residential plumbing, carpentry, concrete work, kitchen and bath remodeling. I’ve designed and built a roof truss with my own hands. With the exception of electrical, I learned all by reading books and I made a good bit of money when I was laid off in construction management in 2008 by doing this all myself instead of un-employment. I can also fly helicopters and airplanes, make beer and wine from scratch.

        I’ve spent a lot of my career around trades. Most do great work, but very few are willing to do the research and self teaching required for a free society to pay them more. Few will teach themselves to own a business or write a contract. A free society will reward those that do achieve what few will with more value. Without that reward, even fewer will reach for high achievement.

        I don’t say this to be cocky, but to prove that business owners and innovators can easily teach themselves to do manual work and do it wall.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 8 months ago
          Nicely done, Eric. This same point was made, over and over and over and over and....well, you get my drift. The OP never budged, and then went away.
          Welcome to the Gulch!
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
          "easily teach themselves to do manual work and do it well".

          yeah, I guess my entire family for 5 generations has been just a pack of incompetent boobs, since it took YEARS to learn to become a master mason (based upon what a master mason called me, not on what a government department licensed).
          "Jack of all trades, master of none" means exactly that.
          Gee, I've written software in 3 different languages and even sold some of it. Does that make me a "master" programmer? Hardly.
          What you are is a professional middle-manager.

          I have no respect for anyone who does a number of professions and claims to be master level at them all.

          Business owners are often just as stupid, lazy, foolish and incompetent as common laborers. Television programs such as "Bar Rescue" and "Restaurant Impossible" are tributes to that truth.

          And Ayn Rand herself pointed this out... James Taggart was a businessman, as was Orrin Boyle.
          In the movie it was, for me, a very significant scene when Mouch goes around the table to his core group; the actors played their parts, perfectly, as Mouch lectured them that their businesses were suffering, without saying why. Why does business need government as a caretaker? Because those running the business are incompetent.

          I'll tell you another truth I realized recently; as companies get big enough, they begin developing all the failings of government. Bureaucracy, CYA, the Peter Principle, etc.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Eric_in_CO 5 years, 8 months ago
            If you mean a master stone mason, that that is actually a rare skill at this point and more of an art. Think what you want, but in the past, people have hired me for my physical skill and seen the value in the transaction and re-hired me. An electrician takes 4 years of night school. I've managed them, it takes some work and studying, but 9 out of 10 can do it.

            I am fine with being called a middle manager, but I am not even that.....yet.

            You miss the point. don't watch it on TV. That is a stage. Stupid, lazy and incompetent business owners become x-business owners every time.

            And FYI, I have little respect for people who don't learn a number of skills so they can do things for themselves. I am not a master of any with the exception of maybe helicopter pilot. But plenty of time and plenty of learning to do.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by  $  Susanne 5 years, 4 months ago
              Very well said... One does not NEED a master designation to build a log ski resort - nor even architect or run the job, or design or install the many subsystems - and do a spectacularly good job. I've redone electrical jobs "done by journeylevel electricians" that were scary not right. Built (in most cases, overbuilt) structures and other structural elements. Am I a framer, a carpenter, an electrician? Not even. But I do know the principles, have read the applicable codes, and studied the "how" to do it and do it right.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by 4 years, 8 months ago
              A 'stone mason" is a subset of a "master mason". A master mason can build with any masonry material, or he's not a master.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Eric_in_CO 5 years, 8 months ago
            Just to clarify the point. 2 of my brothers and my father and grandfather are all master electricians. They reached the pinnacle of their skill years ago. None of them expect to invent a new light bulb. Their work is admirable and valued by society but a free society will not value them more than the man or company that invented the LED. And it is also more likely that we can teach a man who invented an LED to wire a house than my dad to invent an LED.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 9 months ago
        OK, I get it that you pride (value) the time a craftsman devotes to the development of eye/hand coordination and seem to resent the gains (or wished for gains based on individual contribution value) the 'producers' of Rand's story obtain from the mind/application skills they've developed while also providing a means for the craftsman to gain..
        I also get that you resent the concepts Rand tried to present and demonstrate (and did very well in my opinion) in her book. But I fail to get or see any real depth or desire on your part to try to understand why or how others such as myself can find meaning, even enjoyment, from her writing.
        The Gulch was indeed a 'magical place' built in Rand's mind to provide a place for her producers to escape the demands of the collectivists and the needy takers, while forming a society in which each gained from the value of each contribution rather than from each existence or need.
        I find it telling that you finish by insisting on the need to segregate the 'objectivists and libertarians' from 'everyone else,' rather than segregating the needy takers and utilizers of force from 'everyone else.'
        But you have provided a reason for some of us to think and refine our thoughts and for that I thank you.
        KYFHO
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by doubledok 5 years, 8 months ago
        Your assertion remains understood AND totally rejected. Best summary of that rejection found in the Temlakos' comment "You can teach a creative man to lay brick. You cannot necessarily teach a bricklayer to design a building or to contract to erect it."

        Philosophically you assume a Triumvir identity and deserve the mediocrity that your Socialism begets. Nothing you post deviates from this fundamental flaw in conceptual ideology and the "mental disorder"* of Liberalism.

        *Dr. Michael Savage
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
      P.S. The "bricklayer" reference is in the title of the original post.

      I like a great deal of the backstory, with the exception of the last sentence - and I think it's sitting on an unclear premise. If a man is laying brick, does that make him A Bricklayer? Not necessarily - that's what he's doing now. A number of people, both in AS and out, are doing work which is not what they ARE - if you're on strike, you take your mind off the market, but many people still need to earn a living. The job does not define the man.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 5 years, 9 months ago
        I mean to suggest only one thing: some people do define themselves by the job they trained for, whether in university or in trade school.

        The original author seemed to suggest that John Galt was in error in refusing to reach out to anyone who trained himself to lay bricks--especially if he had all the baggage that would have made him VOTE to RATIFY a runaway Constitutional Convention. (I admit I invented that. Rand didn't go into great detail on why "Congress" became a mere "Legislature" and the "President" was now a "Head of State." She said she did not want to sully those institutions by attaching them to the story's villains. And the book was already too big to have that kind of explanation. But if I were writing a prequel, I would use that device.)

        Of course one who lays brick is not necessarily a bricklayer by trade. And Rand makes the point in the novel. Notice that an awful lot of university professors, who resigned or got fired for trying to teach the truth, turned to laying brick because no one else was available, and they didn't have a university for them to teach in. Only a few were fortunate enough to continue in their former professions or lines of work. (Ragnar Danneskjöld is a special case. Instead of laying brick or sawing clapboard in Galt's Gulch, he is seizing loot carriers on the high seas. I wanted to see more of thim than the mentions in the newspapers.)
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
          Oh, thank you for that example of Rand's elitism.
          See, back in the early 1980s, there was this 4th generation master mason, a contractor with 37 years experience and who'd taught countless bricklayers their trade over the years (including myself) who was doing a contract job to make a university handicapped accessible.
          Being friendly with the staff, he got word that they were going to hire someone to teach a masonry vo-tech class over the summer. He applied for the position, but was refused because he lacked a piece of paper; a college degree.
          The job went to a professor at the college who had spent a summer as a mason-tender.

          When Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged, bricklayers were making more per week than most white collar workers; until the illegal alien invasion, it was, as were all the trades, a respected profession. Except by those who spent their lives in academia.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Luxomni 5 years, 8 months ago
            Remember, we are looking at this through 21st Century eyes. At the time this was written, people's educations still included actually doing and touching things. On a hillside near my home north of New Hope, PA, stood a pretty small tudor framed brick cottage. I remember it well. It was the student project of a Princeton architecture graduate. Universities used to teach Renaissance Men, now they are just an attempt at a short-cut to the top - a passport to the elite where they will never have to actually touch anything ever.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by LetsShrug 5 years, 9 months ago
    Have you read the book?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  brewer37 5 years, 9 months ago
      Good point. On page one, I don't have it in front of me... but Rand wrote something like, 'The bus rounded the corner and was steered expertly.' She had plenty of respect for honest skilled workers. But Galt's mission was to halt the motor of the world. He was doing that by stopping the most tremendous producers. Galt's Gulch was just a place for them to go and be themselves. It wasn't the goal. Turning the world into Galt's Gulch was the goal.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by LetsShrug 5 years, 9 months ago
        And Kellogg...he wasn't top dog, but a value for value hard worker and he was recruited by Galt. The bum on the train was recruited by Dagny to work for TT....I never felt (ohwhoawhoa) that the Gulch was only for rich business owners or that class level was ever an issue.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by kdk741 5 years, 8 months ago
          This is an absolute truth. When she had the burger at the diner, before knowing who was cooking it, she admired the competence of the person doing it. Competence is something she referenced in many books. We the Living, by virtue of it being very rare, Anthem in the lack of it again, and Howard Roarke spent a great deal of time as a stonecutter in a quarry in the fountainhead. Surely this was her way of focusing on the important issues and letting us work out the messy details, as were there dedicated bricklayers in The Gulch.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by SD86 5 years, 9 months ago
          Galt recruited Kellogg partially to take him away from Dagny and continue undermining Taggart Transcontinental. Many of Galt's recruits were to take them away from businesses and cause said businesses to crash and burn... including Rearden Steel...
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Lucky 5 years, 9 months ago
        Brewer37. Yes! That is on page 2 of my edition.
        A very significant incident, it is not referred to anywhere later, I only got what it meant on my second reading.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
        I don't care how brilliant Galt or Danagger or Midas Mulligan were... they couldn't build their own houses or build the sewer system on their own. Not and do what all else they were doing to destroy the world, as well.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • 11
          Posted by DixieGeek 5 years, 9 months ago
          The problem is your basic premise is wrong. You assume that because they were magnates in their field, they were incapable of performing any other task. How do you know they couldn't build their own houses, pave streets or dig sewers? There is no evidence of this in the book? They may not have been skilled at those tasks, but in my experience, those people who are self-made, can do most anything when they want to.

          Being successful is not based upon what someone has trained you to do, but upon what you've trained yourself to do. Success breeds success.

          For instance, I'm a Software Engineer, self-trained and taught. I earn a very good living being a Software Engineer, but I know that I could build my own house should I need to do so and want to do so. I've always done my own plumbing and wiring and am sure with the correct tools, could install a septic system or pave my driveway (concrete or asphalt, take your pick). If I needed to and with the right tools, I could pave the road in front of my house.

          Don't assume that because someone has specialized in a particular task, they are incapable of performing other tasks. Harrison Ford was construction worker before he became famous as an actor. Do you believe that since he became an actor he could no longer work as a construction worker?

          However, the real question is not could they, but would they. Successful people can do most anything, but their real talents is in finding those people who do things better than they can and employing them for those tasks. That frees up time for the successful person to do what they are best at. So, undoubtedly, Galt's Gulch had laborers and others who were better and more efficient at their chosen skill than the main characters would have been. I for one am glad that Rand didn't expound on this subject; the book is already long enough!
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by newtlove 5 years, 9 months ago
            "...You assume that because they were magnates in their field, they were incapable of performing any other task."
            Exactly! When Dagny "dropped out," she went to her cabin and started in on manual labor tasks.
            Somebody is being a linear thinker (reader).
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Got_it 5 years, 9 months ago
            I agree - the premise is wrong. In my case we started at 18 (married then) knowing how to do basically nothing.

            Figured it out fast - no help from parents or friends. Later in life I did get support from others besides my wife, just not between 18 - 21.

            Ended up in USAF (navigator) for 6 years (draft eligible 1A), attended college (two bachelors and two masters), software design engineer --> program manager.

            Retired early. Married 45 years, same bride.

            Electrically wired daughter's new construction home (no inspector gigs) having never read a single electricians "code" - ever.

            Did a frame off on a 75 Olds (still chirps in second) and finally built and flew a 200 MPH metal (14,000 rivets) airplane (RV7A).

            You can learn and you can compete on many levels. That is what life is all about - pushing yourself to just do it.

            No Feds needed. We will soon be forced to go Galt when the economy dies. I am ready though. Are you?
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by jtrikakis 5 years, 9 months ago
              Good for you. I am very much like you, but still working because I love what I do (IT Networking). I've lived and worked on farms, planted crops, bailed hay and wheat, clean pig coops, and shoved more pig crap that should be allowed.When America falls (it will), I am prepared.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by  $  Susanne 5 years, 9 months ago
            Precisely! While my current job is in the Disaster Response field, I've also built a workshop, have rewired a number of shops (above and beyond code, BTW!), paved my share of roads, worked as a mechanic, cook, and baker to name a few... when you read the book, you notice that Rearden (and likely the rest of the strikers) started from the bottom (or near to it) and worked their way up, gaiing and developing skills they would use later. Just because someone owns a major company or is CEO of a multinational corporation doesn't necessarily mean their manual skills are lacking... Who knows what Midas Mulligan did before he started his first bank, or Judge Narragansett did before he went to law school...

            Additionally, I noticed that a good number of the striker's employees followed them to the gulch... while the focus of the book is on the elite, it appears that a lot of "underlings" (also bringing their own set of skills, practiced or prelearned) who met the requirements of residence were there as well... Of course, it would have been nice had Ayn touched on this a bit more than she did, but given that the Gulch had been populated and worked on over the 10+ years before the story line kicks in, it would make sense that either Midas et al hired competent contractors to lay the foundations of the village early on, or attracted/recruited them to "the cause"...
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by seput1978 5 years, 9 months ago
            I also believe that what they built would be simple structures, they were not into the "trappings' and structures of wealth and stature, they were there to create and live.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by shultquist 5 years, 9 months ago
            This is precisely the point.

            Many of those who had developed into those turning the engines of the world welcomed the opportunity to go back to the simpler production of building a house, cooking a meal, or planting some food. Heck, I know *I* welcome those opportunities! The simplicity is in knowing that your neighbors are doing the same and not expecting you to work for their sakes, too. We can certainly share our skills amongst one another in exchange for value in return, but never forced, coerced, or otherwise taken under duress. The distinction makes all the difference.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
          • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
            I believe that Ford would be a fool or a dilettante to go back to carpentry after making millions as an actor.

            The difference between an amateur craftsman and a professional craftsman is both the quality of the work, but more importantly, the proficiency. You may well, in a reasonable period of time, learn to lay up a brick wall that might not look to bad or be too far out of plumb. It might take you a week to get it built, however, when it would take a professional half a day.
            Of course, that wouldn't teach you to lay flagstone, or build a natural fireplace chimney, or even alternate bonds. It wouldn't teach you to recognize the necessary consistency of mortar, how or why to tool various joints, or a thousand other little things that a professional learns over time.
            Meanwhile, while you're screwing around with playing amateur construction worker, you're not busy recruiting people to come to the gulch; you're not busy stalking Dagney Taggart; you're not busy inventing (out of thin air) magical force/invisibility fields.

            So, Galt brings in some of this otherwise worthless cattle to employ in order to free himself up to do his world-saving... and they re-introduce all the hated aspects of the society-at-large that he wished to escape in the Gulch.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by DixieGeek 5 years, 9 months ago
              Again, you missed the point. And while Rand was writing about ideas and philosophy, you are overwhelmed with the lack of minutiae. It's a book, more precisely, a novel, as in fiction. It was NOT conceived and written as a detailed plan for a new civilization. As a work of fiction, you must give the writer some creative license to be imprecise and inexact, while the writer assumes the reader will have enough imagination to conceive of the world presented in the work without the need for excessive, unnecessary detail.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • 10
          Posted by  $  kathywiso 5 years, 9 months ago
          Galt enacted a plan for saving Capitalism. He also built a motor that would change the world. I believe he could figure out how to build a brick wall with his mental skills that would stand forever and with his own bare hands if he wanted to, and that is the point. Building brick walls may not be something he prefers to do :) I must have read Atlas Shrugged differently. I thought it was excellent in showing what happens when you remove the government regulations that stifle the mind, any mind. If you are free to make your happiness real in your own life, you can do anything you choose (sewer pipes, brick walls, developing a revolutionary new motor) Your life is YOURS !!
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
          • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
            Nonsense.
            I don't care how badly I may want to, I'll never be able to be an NFL quarterback. I lack the *physical* ability. You can't just learn to lay brick because you want to, no matter how brilliant you are. It takes years of training to become proficient at it.

            And my whole point was nicely summed up by you... "Building brick walls may not be something he prefers to do". In point of fact, doing so would be a waste of his real abilities and time.

            There's a reason why the Antebellum South was dependent on slave labor, and why the Industrial North was dependent on immigrant labor (who in may cases were treated worse than the Southern slaves).

            No amount of brilliance is going to get a physically demanding job done in a reasonable amount of time, particularly and leave the brilliant one time to do his brilliant thing.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by DragonLady 5 years, 9 months ago
              I'm with you, Hiraghm. Just yesterday, I paid out big bucks to fix a major plumbing problem in my 114 year old 4-flat. The plumber had to do a major repair and replacement job in a main pipe from the second floor apartment to the first floor apartment. Took the better part of the day. This guy wasn't just someone who had opened up a shop, he was a master workman, a true professional. I'm sure that Galt (or someone like him) would have needed several days to get the same job done. We all have different talents, and I believe there's a place for pride in one's abilities and work no matter where those skills may lie. It's not WHAT you do, it's HOW you do it!
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by FUDC 5 years, 9 months ago
            Galt was attracted to and recruited the best of society. They were attracted to the Gulch, because they were all sick of the lazy, worthless, greedy, statists. When you recruit the best managers and thinkers... they will always want to hire the best craftsmen, and honest and skilled workers for EVERY task.
            Many people around the country are establishing their own "gulch" and plumbers, builders, craftsmen, and experts in every field are sought out.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by gblaze47 5 years, 9 months ago
          I don't believe they were trying to destroy anything, What Galt was doing was removing the people who held up the world and would let the world implode by itself. If anything he just let nature take its course.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by LetsShrug 5 years, 9 months ago
          "destroy"?
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
          • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
            yes?
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by lmarrott 5 years, 9 months ago
              None of the "heroes" in the book were destroying anything. Well other than Francisco. What they did was to stop contributing their leadership to their businesses. While this contributed to the destruction of the world that wasn't their goal. Their goal was personal freedom, satisfaction, happiness, and maybe just plain preservation.

              That's besides the point of saying none of them are capable of doing manual labor. At least to a certain extent. I think Galt, Francisco, Hank, Danagger, Dagny, etc, were all plenty capable of doing manual labor and doing a good job. They had the mind and the work ethic to figure it out.

              However, you have a point that because that isn't the path they chose to follow in life they aren't going to do as well as a producer who did go down that path and has the history of experience to make them do the job better.

              So would they be capable of doing the manual labor work in the Gulch. Sure. Would the quality, at least initially, be the same as someone who was already working in those industries at the levels starting at the bottom going up? Probably not. Over time if they had to continue, I'm sure they would catch up.

              And finally, as plenty others have said, just because the strikers in the gulch that get highlighted are the names we have been introduced to, that doesn't mean they weren't there, or if discovered, wouldn't be welcome.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
              • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
              • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
                "I'm going to stop the motor of the world". That's pretty much a declaration that one is going to destroy the world. Picture a wheel spinning on an axle. If one jams a metal rod in between the spokes, one may well intentionally destroy the wheel.
                However, if one intentionally removes the bolts from the axle holding the wheel in place, thus letting the wheel careen across the room and smash against the wall, one is still intentionally destroying the wheel.

                An example of such destruction is the Obama administration. Sworn to "fundamentally transform" the country, his policies must, intentionally or not, destroy the country as it is in order to transform it into what he envisions it to be.

                I just don't see where Galt has the right to do that any more than Obama does.
                Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
                • Posted by lmarrott 5 years, 9 months ago
                  I agree that his statement does imply, and his goal to a certain extent, is to destroy the way the world has become. However his only actions are to convince people to stop hanging on and being a part of it. So nobody is actively destroying the world, they are passive, and letting it destroy itself.

                  At the same time the moochers and politicians are not intentionally destroying the world, but they are taking action after action to further their goals, which cause the destruction of the world. It is Galt and his ilk who postpone the destruction, he is just asking them to stop preventing it.

                  Comparing to Obama is a comparison to the moochers and politicians in Atlas and not a comparison to Galt because once again he is making active choices to influence his change. Galt is just choosing not to contribute to the world in it's current state.
                  Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by VBBob 5 years, 9 months ago
          "they were doing to destroy the world"

          Excuse me? "destroy the world"!!!

          What on earth are you suggesting? That the innovative entrepreneurs are somehow destroying the world?

          Who has been brainwashing you? Washington politicians? Leftist professors (excuse the redundancy)?

          It is such thinking that has lead to the quagmire of regulation that stifles innovation, raises costs for everyone and reduces job opportunities.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
          I don't get "destroy" from anyone's actions. Would you cite what makes you think that's what's happening?
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
          • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
            I can point to a scene from the movie, wherein Dagny says to Eddie, "It's as if some Destroyer is sweeping up everybody who could dig us out of this mess".

            Or Galt's own words, "I will stop the motor of the world". You think he didn't know the results?

            What AS part III almost certainly won't show is the millions who will die as a result of Galt's campaign.

            As I understand it, society does eventually collapse. It does so as a result of Galt's efforts.

            How do I know this? Look at the real world that is very much like the world of Atlas Shrugged... minus the John Galt. It's becoming less and less free, yet it's not collapsing. Communist China is, while un-free, prospering, not collapsing.

            This is not events that I wish to transpire, but to suggest that Galt is not intentionally destroying the world is willful blindness.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  ajp 5 years, 9 months ago
          Galt recruited Howard Roark who designed and built everything in the Gulch! ;)

          .....who knows - maybe Dominique decorated everything too.

          (that's the way it happened in my fantasy, at any rate)
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Tom_of_the_Missouri 5 years, 9 months ago
            Roark could also do and didn't mind manual labor. He worked in the quarry hammering and chipping rock when he could not get honest work as an architect. This tells me that Rand had no antipathy whatsoever to manual work. It is all in the attitude and world view, not the job. Not all manual workers are of the socialist/communist/labor union variety. Good ones don't have to be socialist for there is always demand for their work in a free market economy. The holder of the premise to the question clearly does not understand Ayn Rand.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
              This is all well and good. But unless Roark was also The Flash and Iron Man both, he couldn't build the Gulch by himself. Unless Galt et all are septuagenarians when the events of part III transpire.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by highlander999 5 years, 9 months ago
            I love it ... Roark would be perfect to design GALTS GULCH!
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
              Like I said, there wouldn't be place for me in the Gulch. I LIKE traditional architectural styles, and would want my home to be possibly colonial or georgian in design. I have some specific creative ideas for how I want the home I'm going to live in, but since Roark only builds what the flock HE wants to build, I'd be on my own to build it.
              Never was there a less professional professional than Howard Roark.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
              • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
                oh, please.
                I notice you've skipped through the thread, sprinkling discord where possible, and whining about why there wouldn't be a place for you, despite the multitude of examples that you are given FROM THE BOOK to refute that position.

                I don't want you in the Gulch because the persona you have projected here is obnoxious, whiny, indifferent, weaselly, supercilious, class-driven, derogatory and generally a pain in the ass.
                If that was your intention, congratulations, you made it. If it wasn't, sit down and shut up open up your mind and your ears [eyes?] and do your best to learn something.
                Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
              • Posted by Tom_of_the_Missouri 5 years, 9 months ago
                I think you are right. They likely would only allow us modernist. Copying traditional reproductions of colonial or Georgian designs is not very creative. If Reardon thought like you his rails would have been made of cast iron. ;-)
                Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
                • Posted by Tom_of_the_Missouri 5 years, 9 months ago
                  P.S. I don't think it is unprofessional to only build what you want. Those are simply the terms of the two way voluntary contract that Roark offered. Such are the terms and the prerogative of those that are most talented and in high demand. Do you tell your doctor what advice to give you? How about your lawyer? Like the latter two, with a good architect, you should be able to state your problem, and he will give you his recommended solution. If you don't like a professional's advice you should change professionals, not tell them how to do it. In fact, it would be unprofessional for them to sacrifice their principles or lie to you just to get your business. If you read the Fountainhead or other writings by Rand, I think you missed the point.
                  Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 years, 9 months ago
          I agree that they were trying to destroy the world or at least let it fall under its own weight.. Through most of the book Dagny opposed them. She was fighting to fix the problems in the world. She found giving up unthinkable until things really turned to worms and she saw too many people not pulling their weight or trying to bully producers into producing under threats of torture and death to them and their families.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
      I put the audio book on my phone so I can listen to it at work (other people listen to rap, so wth).

      Yesterday I listened to the story of the 20th century motor company (again) and heard something that made me realize that Ayn Rand wasn't being elitist, even though all her protagonists do seem to be ubermenchen.
      "...but you don't all stand working at an acetylene torch 10 hours a day, together"

      "...there was one young boy who started out, full of fire for the noble idea, a bright kid without any schooling, but with a wonderful head on his shoulders". She seems to understand that "bricklayer" isn't a genetic type, and neither is "businessman". Some here don't seem to have grasped that yet.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by jsw225 5 years, 9 months ago
    It actually goes both ways. There were skilled workers in the Gulch plying their trades, as well as Big Shot Industrialists doing work "Beneath" them. D'Anconia himself swung a pick axe carving out the new D'Anconia copper in the gulch. Andrew Stockton ran his own foundry by hand, even if it was very small. Galt himself was a simple handy man.

    But at the same time Dick McNamara is a straight construction contractor who joined the strike.

    Just like a real economy, as it grows the ability and performance for individuals or small businesses to generalize their skills and job tasks shrinks, while specific contractors take on specific roles. Dwight Sanders won't have time to fix and create Aircraft AND run a pig farm as the strike gets bigger. He'll have to pick one or the other. AND he'll have to do it better than everyone else, lest he get run out of business.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by samnjoeysgrama 5 years, 9 months ago
    Too many people buy into the "brilliant, yet fundamentally incompetent" line of though that they saw in their college professors. Many people who become architects either start by working on building sites through college or have some kind of background in actual manual labor. My dad worked his way through college and ended up with two PhDs. He could drive a road grader, build/frame a house, lay brick, fix a car, ...you name it. Part of that line of thought is pushed by colleges who hire "great thinkers" with no actual, real world experience and pass them off as being brilliant. Some people have much better eye-hand coordination, as well as an ability to watch someone else do a job and be able to copy the process. I believe the producers of the world fall into that group rather than the "think great thoughts" group operating in a total vacuum with no real world application of those fabulous thoughts.
    We are all speculating on Galt's Gulch and Rand's attitude toward the "average" worker. I think you find that spelled out very clearly when she has Dagny stop a hobo from being thrown from her moving train. He had badly worn, but clean, well mended clothing. His pride in self caught her attention.
    It is all a question not of abilities, either physical or mental, but a question of the tenacious grasp of "self". Pride, integrity, independence, industry, all are aspects of the "self". John Galt set out to stop the motor of the world. To do that he took out the biggest, most difficult to duplicate cogs. All the parts were necessary, but there was no way it could run with out the biggest cogs. And it had more PR value for Galt's goal than pulling out the bricklayers and truck drivers.
    And, BTW, I'm a 64 year old grandmother with a business degree from TCU where I graduated cum laude. I can use a chain saw, a nail gun, and drive an F750, 26ft box truck as well as a large John Deere tractor. Being intelligent and successful doesn't mean you can't lay brick. So when you say they didn't build their own homes, I call BS on that. Dagny built the terraces in front of the cabin where she stayed. I built my log cabin in Colorado.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  terrycan 5 years, 9 months ago
      You speak volumes in a few short paragraphs. Most skilled trades can be mastered in about four years (apprenticeships). People who belong at the top of the pyramid often master most skills quickly and move on to the next opportunity.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
        Once through an apprenticeship, one becomes a journeyman. after many years, perhaps decades, one then may become a master once one has mastered all aspects of the craft.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  terrycan 5 years, 8 months ago
          Mastered may have been the wrong word. I completed a NYS Model Maker Apprenticeship. For people in machine tool based apprenticeships "the test" happens around 3.5 years of the four year program. You are expected to be qualified to do any job that arrives in the shop. Apprentices that fail tend to wash out early. In the machine tool world a man peaks around ages 35 to 45. After that, age starts to affect your ability to do the job. I could on but that would take us of subject.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
      congratulations, you're a helluva man.

      I didn't say being intelligent and successful meant you can't lay brick.

      Anybody can lay brick, or do carpentry.
      But it takes years to make a craftsman at either trade.

      I can make my own paper, but I buy it at Wal mart, because it's not worth my time and effort, and the quality is better. To make it myself would cost somewhere around $10 a sheet, if I included per-hour labor for my time. Buying it from the specialists via the shelves of Walmart, I can get an entire pad for a dollar.

      And you will (or won't, I don't care at this stage) forgive me if I sneer at your "I built my log cabin in Colorado" statement.

      I'm only 51, but in my half century I've seen so very many jackasses who claimed to have built their own home when they merely contributed some minor portion of labor, so many jackasses who claimed mastery of a craft because they could actually complete the actions to build something minor, however incompetently.

      I call BS on the whole concept of a city of self-reliant persons. You lose all the advantages of specialization and gain no advantages of self-reliance. And I call BS on it for the most fundamental reason:

      History.

      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by ProudProducer 5 years, 9 months ago
    It's about Producer vs. Looter.
    It's not about Genius vs. Rest Of The Crowd

    And yes, it is that simple.

    You produce something of value? So you are welcome.

    You don't want that? You only want to get something for free, be it by exercising brute force or because of your invaluable holy pure existence? Then you're not.

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      History demonstrates that the most that has been acquired has been by conquest, not by mutual, equitable trade. The most successful form of society in history is the empire, not the collective or the democracy. Like it or not, it's a simple fact.

      But it's not that simple.
      "produce something of value".

      Well, I poop every day. That's fertilizer, so I'm welcome in the Gulch, yes?
      Terrific, I'll come move in to the Gulch, with my poop, and with my sociological baggage that led the real world to its sorry state. How long before the Gulch follows?
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by  $  stargeezer 5 years, 9 months ago
    Don't assume that they didn't build their own homes themselves, or even lay their own bricks themselves. To assume the "they couldn't have" might be construed as reverse class warfare.

    Before I went on strike myself, I owned a business and taught at university level, but I grew up as the child of a carpenter and followed him and my grandfather around with a hammer from the time I could carry one. I designed and built the home we live in, acting as my own general contractor and doing all the landscaping myself. Right down to the concrete work with a trowel in my hand.

    I can build a radio from a couple old style TVs, wire a substation or a home. And I actually built a airplane twenty years ago. There are tools in my shop for welding, machining, woodworking and I'm a real, honest to goodness potter who can make a set of dishes or a flower vase. I'm also a VERY good shot and I can feed my family from the bounty God gave us - you see, I know where food comes from and it's not a super market.

    Don't sell us strikers short - we've got skills, crazy skills. That's why we are on strike.

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by BenchRest 5 years, 9 months ago
      Nice to meet you stargeezer we have a lot in common I believe

      My hobby is BenchRest. Of course being a stupid bricklayer I'm not smart enough to use a micrometer while manufacturing ammunition to specs no factory can therefore i will die soon.

      Crazy skills;)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  stargeezer 5 years, 9 months ago
        I'm much more of a benchrest shooter than a hunter too, but I can do whatever needs doing. My most recent acquisition was a lefthanded Savage 10BA in 308, topped with a poor mans Nightforce (A Millett). Not too bad.

        Somehow, I think you do all right in the ammo dept. :D

        Keep your powder dry Brother!
        Larry
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
      Nonononononono...

      you build that house? you mill every stud, you form every nail, you wire it, you drywall it, you carpet it, you roof it, every last bit of it yourself.

      If you don't, then you have to import the labor, as you did. The sheer volume of labor needed to build a city will not allow you to restrict membership to tested, proven objectivists.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  stargeezer 5 years, 9 months ago
        So, you've never read the book, have you? If you did, you missed the point. Go have a beer with your union buddies at the hall. I'm sure you'll enjoy the uplifting conversation there as you all tell each other how smart you are.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
          jackass.
          I have no "union buddies". They tend to stay away when you say to them "get the fck away from me before I beat you to death you slimy union sack of shit".
          Kind of my reaction ever since they tried to burn my father alive.

          Yours is the kind of insular, ignorant, presumptuous comment I would expect.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by Rocky_Road 5 years, 9 months ago
          Hey, guys!

          Let's take a deep breath, and do some introspective analysis here.

          Don't we cherish reason, above all else?

          And...isn't Hiraghm simply applying reason to the logistics of actually building the Atlantis, as shown, in the novel?

          Ayn Rand could have resolved this with more detail, but she didn't. It is, therefore, rational for us to subjectively 'flesh' out the missing details...just as the OP has done.

          His opinion has a much weight as mine, or yours, since Ayn Rand left that to our imagination. We can disagree with his conclusion...but should support his right to state his case, especially since he has answered every post with arguably rational examples.

          To do any less, would be the poster child for hypocrisy.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by  $  stargeezer 5 years, 9 months ago
            Actually, I think he's trying to justify the perpetuation of a failed labor system that wants to equate a laborer who wants to accomplish nothing more to the man who designing and bringing to reality a city. It doesn't take a village to build a village, it takes a man with a vision and the drive to make it happen.

            I do agree that among the world outside of objectionist reasoning, building the village without the help of scabs would be impossible. The rules, zoning, inspections, permits and all the rest of collectivist society are setup to make it impossible to do anything without those that bind the hands of those who seek to achieve, excel and prosper.

            WE can build it with tested, proven objectivists, just as I did my home. And we'll offer no comfort to those who remain outside.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
              You take your man with vision, and you build your city.

              The Pharoah couldn't have built a pyramid without tons of the most successful labor system in history; slavery.

              "without scabs"? You use a derogatory UNION term, Mr Objectivist?

              So far all you're teaching me is that objectivists are nothing but big-mouthed self-important egotists.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by RicksCafe45 5 years, 9 months ago
    Heinlein once commented - though one of his characters about what a person should be capable of

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
    — Robert Heinlein

    I suspect you'll find you can do more than three or four things on that list, and it's not conclusive. Most people can do more than just their specialty. I've help build 3 houses, everything from digging the hole for the foundation, to pouring it, building walls, roofs, painting, making cabinets, wiring, plumbing, etc. I don't work in construction, I spent most of my life sitting at a desk programming computers. I can also rebuild an engine, and I could and would do all my own maintenance, if I could justify the cost of the necessary tools.

    I've worked as a Firefighter, and EMT, an Electronics tech, a landscaper, a Handyman, and probably a dozen other things. I'm not an expert in any of them but it wouldn't stop me from doing them if it were necessary.

    I've never fought a war, I've never planned an invasion - well actually I have, but it was only a game, I'm still alive so dying gallantly is unchecked but everything else on the list I've done. Oh, it wasn't a hog, it was a deer.

    I see no reason to think Galt, or Wyatt, or Rearden were any less capable, I'd say significantly more capable (although fictional).

    People who think of themselves as self-reliant, as productive, are generally capable of doing any number of things they've never tried, even if the first attempt fails.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
      " I'm not an expert in any of them but it wouldn't stop me from doing them if it were necessary. "

      Thank you for finally making that concession. Doing is not the same as mastering.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
      Okay...

      Now tomorrow go out and do ALL of those things.

      *At the same time*.

      And be done by supper time.

      Being able to do something and mastering it are two different things. Heinlein may have believed in the jack of all trades, but that's not consistent with history.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  johnrobert2 5 years, 8 months ago
        Oh, really? What about Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, or any number of lesser knowns who mastered several disciplines as a way of furthering their own well-being? Hmmmmmm?
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
          Compare them to the hundreds of millions who were not da Vinci, Jefferson, etc.

          Exactly what trades did da Vinci master? Knowing how to do something and mastering it are two different things. He certainly sucked as a helicopter manufacturer.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Rocky_Road 5 years, 9 months ago
      In short: We are all capable of doing things that we could never envision ourselves doing...until we are faced with the challenge.

      Nothing inspires more than necessity....
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by khalling 5 years, 9 months ago
      RIck, welcome! I'm in love! best comments of the day! such great points. I was just introduced to Heinlein yesterday on another post about science fiction vs scifi. I'm gettin a book! lol love it!
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
        Remember that Heinlein had, essentially, 2 careers: his "young adult" works, which are worthwhile to everyone, and his "more adult" works, which started with Stranger. He was also dealing with a getting-enough-oxygen-to-the-brain problem and dwelling on death for a while. The medical problem was solved and he wrote many more great things. Try "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", I want to know what you think of it. I'll look up my favorite young adult one [I want to say "Space Cadet", but that seems wrong}. I envy you, reading him for the first time.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by RicksCafe45 5 years, 8 months ago
          There were a few in the middle that got a bit odd, then the few at the end which he did with a lot of tongue in cheek.

          Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my favorite. Followed by Friday. The young adult stuff was fantastic and was primarily responsible for me becoming an bibliophile. My favorites of the Young Adults which I still read now and again, The Menace From Earth, Have Space Suit - Will Travel, and Space Cadet.

          The term SciFi seems to have a slightly derogatory connotation for some folks. Probably due the the BEM (bug eyed monster) movies.
          The current favored term is I believe more accurate and does a better job of describing the genre - Speculative Fiction, fiction based on What If?

          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 8 months ago
            <in old codger voice>
            I was raised calling it science fiction, the authors I know who write it call it science fiction, and don't like changing the names of things to make them more "accurate" which actually makes them less clear.
            <old codger voice out>
            We need to move this to a Heinlein thread in books, not here. If it's not already done, I'll do that now.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by  $  johnrobert2 5 years, 8 months ago
          Try Starship Troopers. MIHM provides a very Libertarian POV but ST is very value for value oriented. You might also try Citizen of the Galaxy. Think about 'Renshawing' a student.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by clive12000 5 years, 9 months ago
    There are two mistaken premises in this question. Firstly the abstract use of the class ladder, because in this context it is what is implied, regardless of the deceptive earlier comment that "this isn't a class warfare argument"; It is merely a question of applied effort, and a brick layer, no matter who, ought to apply himself to the best of his effort, just as Galt would with his own work. So both men would be equal in terms of effort, but Galt's ability would have a greater impact of which other men would stand to gain more from his efforts.
    The second mistaken premise is the use of the term Utopians. Objectivist philosophy has never stated that it would lead to any form of Utopia, just as Capitalism does not lead to guaranteed success. Who's Utopian rhetoric are you quoting? and why would you then attribute their comments to Ayn Rand whilst lightly backpedaling. Aside from those two mistaken premises, what makes you think that even if bricklayers etc were not brought in to the Gulch, and I see no reason why they wouldn't be; between the people that are there; the men(people) of the mind, why would you think that they couldn't build a road or a house from scratch? They may even be able to build vehicles that do not require roads. Do you think Howard Roark couldn't build a fine cabin ( I realize he is from another story)? Or perhaps between them they'd know which tradesmen they'd like to approach as and when they needed to. This question can only have been posed by someone that has not understood Objectivism.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      To know how to build a cabin and having the physical skill and training to do so are two different things. The world is full of middle-managers screwing up the work of their underlings because they never learned to actually do the job but think they know better than the person who had to learn it by doing it.

      I am fully confident that Howard Roark would never live long enough to build a four-lane highway from San Diego to L.A. From scratch. By himself.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by khalling 5 years, 9 months ago
      or someone new to Objectivism. For instance, they saw the movies and haven't read the book yet. Encouragement, por favor. But your points are well taken.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Rocky_Road 5 years, 9 months ago
        Nice counterpoint.

        The last sentence, "This question can only have been posed by someone that has not understood Objectivism.", was a little too judgmental, in my humble opinion.

        But: What do I know? He is getting the votes...! ;-)
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by clive12000 5 years, 9 months ago
          Yep..but I stand by by judgment. Even if they are new to Objectivism, they still have not understood it. I think the line that set me off was use of the word Utopians, because it distances the author by saying "you guys think your so perfect", meaning there are things that we don't know but you claim you do, meaning you claim knowledge about a non-reality, which is an attempt to reduce the philosophy to another form of mysticism. And if I really wanted to be paranoid I would say that the subconscious effort behind that is that if O'ists could be shown to be mystical in any way, then A=Non A and then entire philosophy is destroyed.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Rocky_Road 5 years, 9 months ago
            New folks here sometimes get caught up in an overaggressive effort to come across as cerebral, and word things not in keeping with their true convictions.

            It happens too often, and they get dissed to the point that we never really get to know how they really feel...since they leave.

            I'm not saying that this is one of those cases, and your post was spot on, until you stated that he/she was Objectivism ignorant.

            That is all I was pointing out....
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by clive12000 5 years, 9 months ago
              "stated" ignorant? No. Mistakenly implied perhaps, although suggestion of ignorance was not my goal. My goal was laziness not ignorance. However, I do take your point now, in that I see it as somewhat counter productive to frighten off newbies being, as you say their "overaggressive effort to come across as cerebral". I will bare that in mind when posting in future. Thank you.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      "both men would be equal in terms of effort"... hardly. A professional bricklayer would bury an amateur, by definition... at laying brick.

      It's not a class warfare argument, because I'm not talking about the value of Galt's labor vs the value of a physical laborer. I'm not talking about the value of labor at all.

      Get this through your skulls... there is a REASON why there are professions. Because an amateur CAN'T do it all. Not as well as a professional, which means not as quickly as a professional.

      An amateur bricklayer can lay brick just as well as a professional... but not nearly as fast. or he can do so just as fast but not nearly as well.

      Again, this isn't about class warfare but about TIME and ENERGY.
      Sure, maybe Galt could have build the entire Guch by himself... given a thousand years. But in any reasonable time frame, he couldn't. And it would utterly disrupt their plans for them to do the common labor work that doesn't require brilliance to do. So who's going to do it?

      They're going to have to recruit common laborers from the real world to do this work. And once they do, the Gulch is screwed. Because it is the common laborers who have embraced the progressive philosophy of Galt's enemy; they're what have made the transformation of society possible.

      So, he'll have introduced, out of necessity, the snakes into his Garden of Eden.

      Objectivist philosophy REQUIRES a Utopia, that is, a place that does not and cannot exist. It requires a world where everyone thinks like an objectivist and holds the same values as an objectivist, and there's no way on God's green Earth that's ever going to happen. The second you get a radical like me in there, Galt's Utopia will never be the same. You think the U.S. naturally evolved into its present state? No, it was consciously sabotaged over decades to bring it to this sorry state. By "radical" I mean someone just as brilliant as Galt, but resentful of any progressive who tries to control, guide or plan-out a society's path.

      The other problem with Rand's philosophy and Galt's speech is the elevation of reason. Reason is great. But anyone who thinks to rule himself or the world by reason alone is an idiot.

      As I understand it, objectivism places one's own happiness as the highest moral principle. Happiness is an emotion not subject to reason. It's the same mistake that makes the Vulcans of Star Drek such a joke.

      Roark may pursue happiness by building buildings. Mother Theresa may pursue happiness by feeding the poor. A sadist may pursue happiness by throwing kittens on rooftops and watching them splat on the concrete below. "Reason" doesn't enter into any of these.

      A person who tries to live purely by reason alone has no reason to live. The instant he is motivated to do something, he's driven by emotion, not reason. Spock may reason that he should be a programmer; but if his happiness is derived from flying shuttlecraft, reason has failed to achieve his highest morality.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by clive12000 5 years, 9 months ago
        There are so many mistakes in here, I'm not able to devote my time to clearing up the mess you've laid by all your mistaken premises. In short, before I address this in small part. YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE NOT GRASPED THIS PHILOSOPHY AT ALL.
        Your first line that quotes me " "both men would be equal in terms of effort"... hardly. A professional bricklayer would bury an amateur, by definition... at laying brick" Is ludicrous. Why would you be measuring a man skilled in one area against another man performing the same task whose skill is in another area. The premise means to apply your own effort within your own area of expertise...it is on this basis that their respective efforts are equal. Shall I now mention how that bricklayer would be incapable of laying a single brick. Have you assumed that the bricks just popped into existence? Have you any idea what is required for a single brick to be a brick? Have you discounted geologists, chemists, physicists, the tools required to quarry and how those tools came to be. I don't know what to tell you.. go look up how a brick is made and for each item used start listing the creators required for each element to come into existence so that industrialists and investors could collaborate to erect a plant that would produce bricks cheap enough to be affordable, that a tradesman could spend a few months of his life learning the ropes in order that he may become a bricklayer. The minute you understand that the bricklayer has benefited by the many brilliant individuals, whose combined efforts made a brick possible, you may start to see the world differently, and for what it is.

        Jumping and skipping over a few things. Ayn Rand stated that there is no requirement for everybody to be an Objectivist, only that no one should impede the men that innovate on moral terms (no force) and if a man wishes to choose another way of living, then that is perfectly fine, but he has no right to claim that another man should have to have a mortgage on his life because he needs it. I cannot state it enough, no Utopia required. I've already given the example of capitalism in terms of a fully unregulated, laissez-faire economy..also not a utopia.
        I'm not prepared to give any more time. Accept you're wrong in that you have not yet grasped the philosophy, and if you choose to learn about it, do it with: not a closed mind, not an open mind, but with your own active mind. I shall not be commenting further on this post.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by JNYoungberg 5 years, 9 months ago
    Current education "leaders" imply that "blue collar" talents and "white collar" talents are mutually exclusive. I believe that to be very different from what Ayn Rand portrays in her heroes. These are men and women that are well rounded, worked from the bottom up, and developed self reliance, from a life of discipline.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by  $  sagavia 5 years, 9 months ago
    I see some silly comments about how hard it is to build houses and plumbing, I assume from people who have done neither. Both construction and plumbing take some care, knowledge and time, but no part of either is difficult. We can notice that great cigarettes and hamburger were not difficult for the gulch residents. A competent person can master whatever they need to. As I recall, the gulch was primarily a refuge for people for who the outside world was too dangerous due to their notoriety.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
      It's hard to build houses and plumbing.

      It takes lots and lots of physical effort to do so.

      Roark could have designed the great pyramid at Giza. He couldn't have built it in his lifetime.

      This is what I've been trying to get at; no matter how brilliant you are, building these infrastructures takes time and physical effort. If the only labor source is brilliant, objectivist minds, people, even from all walks of life, who got fed up and "went Galt", they aren't going to be able to do it on their own.

      And the instant you import a labor force *not* adherent to the Objectivist philosophy, not fed up with the outside world... you've introduced an element that will disrupt the harmony of the system.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by JossAmbrose 5 years, 9 months ago
      I've no doubt that I could build a house, complete with plumbing etc. What stands in my way is regulation. I've watched 'the authorities' thwart the plans of a close friend with a similar aim, & for no good reason. I won't waste my time feeding 'their' lust for power.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by BenchRest 5 years, 9 months ago
        No idea where you live but in my state (CT) there are no laws forbidding the owner from building any structure without formal licenses. IE you do not need an electrical license to wire your own home. Same for plumbing,carpentry,masonry, septic etc, etc, etc. You do need a license to drill a water well though.
        Good chance your friend got bamboozled by a Mouch.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by JossAmbrose 5 years, 9 months ago
          I'm from England. Regulation is pretty tough over here. It would be illegal for me to wire a house from scratch. It's permissible however to replace wiring which is already there. I suppose feasibly, I could re-wire an entire house, provided I copied the original wiring exactly. Who would know anyway??

          And yes, my friend (a skilled builder of 30+ years) has been screwed over royally by the local council control freaks, about six times I think. He gave up trying about a year ago. They refuse to budge. It pisses me off. It's HIS F***ING LAND!
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
        I could do it, too. But it wouldn't function as well as one built by professionals, and it surely wouldn't be built as fast.

        Things may have changed around here in the past 20 years, but it was my understanding back then that you could build your own house without following regulations... but you could never, ever sell it.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
      Well, that's a new one. When was the last time you read the book?
      You know that the working title of it was "The Strike", right?
      Can you cite anything that supports the assertion about refuge because of notoriety? I'm fascinated as to how you could get that from this book - and I want to re-read the same passages and see if I see what you see.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
        I see that I asked you the same question last night as I'm asking you today - support your argument with relevant material, please.

        and you're still not doing it.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Firebricki 5 years, 9 months ago
    I've been a bricklayer for 39 years. At an early age I knew i did not want to be behind a desk and I wanted to work with my hands. I'm very proud of what I do and have made a comfortable life for myself. I believe in the free market system and know that if I'm going to make money, the company I work for has to make money.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      I did it for 27 years, 5th generation in the trade. Before I got fed up with the crooked businessmen hiring illegal aliens for the cheap labor with which I could not honestly compete (shades of Dagny, "I won't be a slave; and I won't be a slave driver"), and went Galt. There were other reasons, but that's the only one relevant to this conversation.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by BenchRest 5 years, 9 months ago
    As a bricklayer I find this thread most interesting. As expected those who truly understand Rands philosophy have got it right. There's no reason to believe a lowly mason such as myself would have been excluded from the gulch simply because society concludes I work with my hands and not my mind. That I haven't amassed riches and fly job to job in my private jet.
    If both Rand and I had the good fortune to have met there would be a chapter devoted to masons:) only kidding.
    Building a home,road or sewer is not exactly rocket science. Any person who actually desires to do so can, emphasis on desire. If there's no will failure will surely follow. The OP either hasn't read the book or hates the message. I would suggest the OP never attempt to build their own home. Without the desire to achieve there's only failure left.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by  $  5 years, 9 months ago
      I've built thousands of homes, hospitals, schools, churches, shopping centers, office buildings, and so on.

      I don't hate the message. I hate Galt. I'd kill him on sight, and for the same reason I'd kill Mouch on sight. Both think themselves superior to those around them.

      I fully understand Rand's philosophy, I just disagree with it. Hedonism is not a viable basis for society, and when the highest morality is one's own happiness, the utopia she describes isn't possible.

      Everyone keeps pretending that this is a laborer vs management argument, thus revealing their own preconceptions.

      I don't give a damn how smart you are; you can have an IQ of 147,362 and a half... that's not going to get the PHYSICAL LABOR DONE that needs doing to build a house.

      And people with the... mental agility, for want of a better term, to design the house are not going to be recruited as part of a labor gang whose only requirement is a strong back; they also have better things to do. And once you import that labor gang from the real world to the Gulch, they're going to pollute your utopia with collectivist ideas.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 5 years, 9 months ago
        Is your premise that those who do the physical labor are only hired from the neck down?
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
          most of the time, yes. But not merely that. Craftsmen, in spite of some opinions expressed here, have to be able to think, as well. But, most craftsmen don't have that ambition to be in charge, to be self-reliant. Especially as it's not necessary. I don't have a freezer and cupboards full of food I grew/hunted and prepped myself, because I can go down to the grocery store a lot easier. They specialized.
          Most people who stay in a craft long enough to become journeymen lack the ambition and drive to do more... even if they have the mental faculty for it. I'm not speculating; I grew up in the construction industry, remember.
          In fact, without specialization, trading value for value becomes much less possible, now that I think about it.

          If Rearden can mine his own coal, wtf does he need Danagger for? If he can build/run his own railroad, what's he need Taggart for?

          Part of my aggravation here is the idiotic notion that because it is hypothetically possible for Galt to build his own home, by himself, from scratch, that's they way the Gulch does/should work.

          Would Wal-mart even be possible if Sam Walton did it all himself? I've no doubt he could do any job in any of his stores, after all he set the standards and practices in his company. So why hire anybody? Just do it all himself, in all... what is it now, 1500 stores?

          No, he has to hire people. Someone above a certain level of competence is not going to take a job stocking shelves for $1 above minimum wage (I have to phrase it that way to account for the inflationary effect of minimum wage, sorry). Even if they are bright and competent, they may, like me, lack the self discipline or ambition to be fodder for citizenship in the Gulch. But, if there's to be a Wal-mart in the Gulch, (or a 7/11, or a McDonald's), you're going to have this quality of person to do the work, because anyone more able/ambitious will be doing something else.

          And I repeat yet again, these are exactly the kind of people who would swallow Mouch's arguments.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 5 years, 8 months ago
            I disagree with you. I too come from a construction family with master carpenters, general contractors and designers. You do not get to be a master craftsman by not thinking.

            Rearden didn't own his own coal mine, but he did own his own ore mine. Some things are more efficiently and profitably purchased from someone else, whether material or labor, but that doesn't mean you don't know how it's done.

            I disagree with your premise that 'someone above a certain level of competence is not going to take a job stocking shelves for $1 above minimum wage.' I currently applied for a job that is below my skill level and only about 10 hours a week. Why? Because I want something to do and I don't want to feed the looters and moochers. Besides the bit of extra cash will be used profitably by me, for me.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by BenchRest 5 years, 9 months ago
        So it's your contention that people with high IQs cannot perform physical labor if they wish?
        You seem to also believe those who labor have no ability to reason and are subject to collectivist thoughts.
        Sounds to me like you've made a habit of hiring from the bottom of the barrel. No surprise you wouldn't understand Rand.
        FWIW I built my own house by myself. Took two years of working every night and weekend. A very nice post and beam if I do say so. Milled my own siding in my personal design. All wood interior and made all the trim work myself. If your the builder you say you are you should realize even a common laborer can do it IF they desire it enough.
        A man who makes his living with a shovel or trowel is not necessarily regulated to using only those tools. A man with an engineering degree can have other skills besides engineering. Why would you not know these simple truths?
        PS it never looks smart to threaten murder upon fictional characters or real humans for that matter.
        You may want to seek counseling.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
          Yeah, well hiring PHDs in aerospace engineering didn't work out so well, long term. They tended to want more than I could afford to pay, and didn't stick around all that long in any event. Go figger, huh?

          So you built your own house in two years.
          Most houses, at least in the midwest, are built in as many months (actual construction, not including preliminary bureaucratic BS). By professional, specialized crews.

          It may seem I have a low opinion of construction workers, but then again I grew up around them, so I should know.

          there's a reason why low-wage workers tend to also be unthinking (not necessarily dumb, but inept at rational thought, or at least uncomfortable with it). There's a reason low-wage workers tend to lack ambition and/or self-discipline. It's quite simple; anyone with anything on the ball moves up the ladder, and/or has better things to do.
          Oh, and there's a difference between being an academic and having a high IQ. Just as there's a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

          I'm not here to look smart, or dumb, or look any way whatsoever.

          Invoking Godwin's Law, would you kill Hitler if you were thrust back to 1932 and met him, knowing what he is? That's also a fictional situation. People who think they know better than others how to run their lives are dangerous. They lead to Hitlers and Stalins and Obamas.
          People who believe in progress are dangerous, in that they don't really value freedom... for others.
          People who wish to impose their own vision of utopia on others are likewise dangerous, for the same reason.

          And that is why Galt is, in my view, no better than Hitler, or Stalin or Obama.

          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 9 months ago
        how about some EVIDENCE for your position? Here, I'll start it out for you:
        "I see Galt as thinking himself superior to those around him, as Rand shows in the episode......"
        and you finish the sentence. If you can.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 9 months ago
        I'd believe hundreds, thousands I doubt. As for 'built', maybe laid the bricks for, but built? As for laborer vs management, I haven't seen that in these posts and replies. What I've seen is producer vs. taker and value for value vs. value for hours spent or just presence.
        If as mentioned in a statement above, the mason could be replaced by an unskilled immigrant laborer, maybe we're starting to approach the hub of the hate for Galt. Maybe it's not so much hate for Galt removing himself and those of his same contribution levels from the society that values force over true value, but maybe an envy for his available options and reasoned choice to remove himself rather than being removed.
        From personal experience I can attest that trying to explain why one laborer, craftsman, or professional is of more value when the pay-rate or continued employment decision must be made over another of equal or even greater supposed position of the ladder is a reasonable, even necessary action to take, is an extremely difficult one to accomplish.
        I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to discuss these types of issues with those opposing and I don't wish to imply that reaching an appreciation of a certain philosophy is a simple thing to do nor that society doesn't need or benefit from the contributions of all. But I do insist that those contributions be comparitively valued and any level of force against the individual for any reason is obscene.
        Please continue to comment. I enjoy thinking about your issues and points.
        KYFHO
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
        • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
          They, illegal aliens, weren't subject to the RULES, being government sanctioned looters. No minimum wage. No taxes. No unemployment insurance, social security, etc.

          The law of supply and demand was, and is, being short-circuited by crooked politicians and crooked businessmen. Why is it you can accept crooked businessmen like James Taggart in Atlas Shrugged, but presume all businessmen to be honest and only interested in trading value for value in the real world? I call horseshit.

          Ever since the 1970s in the U.S. quality has not been in demand; cheap has. Back in the late 18th and the 19th century the law of supply and demand in labor was short-circuited by lax immigration policy. Work men, women, children to death in (northern) factories; more will get off the boat tomorrow.

          The illegal alien situation has repeated the formula. Yes, foodstuff and housing are much cheaper than they would be if the laws restricting honest citizens interested in trading value for value weren't being short-circuited... but prices would adjust, they always do.

          Heinlein having been invoked, btw... he had an absolutely abysmal opinion of the house building trades, in many ways justified.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 8 months ago
            I appreciate your comments on illegal aliens, but I thought we were talking about unskilled immigrant labor. As for crooked politicians and businessmen, and a presumption that all businessmen are honest, I'm sorry, but I don't know where in my responses that you've found that. IMO, businessmen are no more honest or dishonest than any other grouping of humans. By the way, I don't really accept such labeling or groupings as generalizations of anything.
            I don't really think that US quality hasn't been in demand since the 70's. I found just the opposite in the business I formed and managed. But on the other hand, reduction of costs in most goods has drastically expanded the standard of living, particularly of all in the US. Nearly every home has a large screen TV, air conditioning, internet service, cell phones, refrigerators, and etc. Access to the luxuries of life, even if not the top in quality, is greater than at anytime in history. I just don't agree with the fact that the takers have used the threat of violence against me to take from me in order to pay for all to have those things.
            I'm not sure that lax immigration policy had as much to do with changes in the law of supply and demand as did the change to mass production which made things affordable to more, but altered the essential values of craftsmanship- to a price for hours of labor servicing the production line. But even with that, a market remained for quality craftsmanship, even in complicated items such as automobiles and aircraft.
            I'm unsure of the brunt of your complaints or statements, particularly in reference to Rand's writings plotted around the philosophy she took and helped to define. She was simply a child growing up in a society at the time in which the collectivist/takers took over her world. She escaped that world to come here only to see some of those same influences beginning their sprouting here. It resulted in the book, AS, which I find to be prophetic and beautiful, as well as particularly fitting my own self developed philosophy.
            I quite simply enjoyed her writings and find my self in agreement with most of the philosophy she describes in admittedly dramatic fashion. I'm particularly pleased to see the book made into a movie which serves to distribute much of what's in the book to new generations that don't read that much.
            As for Heinlen, another prolific and great futurist writer that I've enjoyed very much. But he, as Rand, and all writers are no more perfect as humans, than are any of us. I don't worship any of them, I just enjoy their writing and I'm always pleased to find in any writing, ideas, scenarios, personalities, and even philosophies that I can relate to. That's all.
            KYFHO
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by ColdTater 5 years, 9 months ago
    This post seems to miss the point of Atlas Shrugged. Rand does not disparage the worker doing his best at what he/she does. The objection is to those who ask for others t provide them an existence simply because they feel entitled. From what I've seen over the last number of years I do not see a lot of criticism of the workers in society, but demonizing of the "Minds" and creative powers and risk takers that create the jobs for these "lower down the ladder" people is rampant. While I would agree that there are sometimes abuses of power by those in higher authority, by and large there contribution to society far exceeds the government. I don't know if you have read the book, but nearly all those who meet at the Gulch held jobs in the world as "down the ladder" people. Galt himself was a track walker for the railroad. So most of those there had the skills to build where they lived. Galt never criticized those who worked, only those who mooched and felt entitled to do so. And yes if you are a hard working person doing the best you are capable of, then there would always be a place for you in the Gulch.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by mack 5 years, 9 months ago
    I have had the rare opportunity to know a man such as John Gault. He is swift and agile in his thoughts and actions, so much so that the rest of the world seems to move in slow motion. I have seen that he takes great passion in any task what so ever. Yes, there are many men and women of skill and integrity in the Gulch who share his passion. They are a well oiled machine of highly detailed productivity. Mostly I have seen him dressed in work clothes, with dirty hands, working along side them, he is one of them, even though he could easily spend his time on one of many leather laden jets. He is a man of reason and integrity, a man of action, with no need of an ivory tower or a comfortable chair.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by davecusenza 5 years, 9 months ago
    Most self made men had to work hard to get to where they are. In high school I apprenticed under a painter who taught me how to do almost anything that needs doing, plumbing, electrical, masonry, carpentry, on top of painting. That is how I worked my way through college. Since then I have worn many hats, large and small, have flown jet planes and helicopters, and yes run my own commercial product design business for the last twenty years, but I still take pride in doing my wife's honey do list around the property. A self made person is self sufficient by nature so do not assume just because a person it at the top he didn't work his way up from the bottom. Ayn Rand never dismissed the workman, only those people who wanted unearned gains from the hard work of others. That is the true definition of greed.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by franklyspeaking 5 years, 9 months ago
      Before working in a lab. I have managed a hatchery, been a ashphalt paving technician, a house framer, I designed floor plans and lot plans for my Dad who was a general contractor. Growing up he made me work for many of the subcontractors. LOL
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by iroseland 5 years, 9 months ago
    Remember the truck driver. Dagney asked him what he does. He replied that he was a truck driver but wanted to be more than that. The book follows Galt and the industrialists because that would be easier to write the story around. But, you bet there was a bunch more going on that is not mentioned because it was not part of the core of the story. Just look at where Dagny met Hugh Akston. At the diner in Colorado, but the copper mine that was going out of business. I have often had the impression that his presence was the reason the mine was going under, there was no one left with any brains to operate it. So, there he was every day serving lunch and wisdom. As for the "trades" the difference between a a skilled craftsman and a general laborer is that the craftsman knows that he is using his hands to make the world in the image that his brain has determined. The brains plus skill means that they can do amazing work and faster than the unskilled folks who are not thinking about what they are doing.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 5 years, 9 months ago
      The craftsman can look at the raw materials and see the finished product in his mind. That skilled craftsman can pass on his knowledge by directing and training the less skilled.

      I hadn't thought about Akston brain draining the copper mine, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
        No.
        No craftsman can pass on his knowledge by training the less skilled.

        He can only pass on his knowledge to the less experienced.

        Think of "Amadeus". Mozart could teach Salieri for years, and Salieri would never develop Mozart's skill.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by khalling 5 years, 9 months ago
    it wasn't meant to be an alternative existence, but a sanctuary to recharge one's batteries. Mulligan bought up the land, right? He could have hired any number of people to improve it. Like any society, it started slowly and built up over time. The force field probably wasn't the first infrastructure put in place. It wasn't a planned community....
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by  $  stargeezer 5 years, 9 months ago
    "Quote; There may not be a place in the Gulch for someone like me. But that would be Galt's loss. "

    That last lines expresses why you fail to understand us. Your point of view is that Galt would owe his existence and the existence of the valley to your always capable hands - what you miss is that nobody has a right to place that burden on any other person.

    For example, BO is certain that nobody will have healthcare without his intervention - the truth is that the vast majority of people were doing just fine before BO and Nancy P screwed things up beyond all possible workability.

    The collectivist in chief keeps trying to fundamentally transform our once great nation into a socialist wet dream, but with each step he takes, more and more discover just what Rand was writing about - and know that the final crash is one day closer.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by patricking 5 years, 9 months ago
    Of course you're taking an allegory to a place not intended, but okay, I'll play.

    True genius does not apply to only one skill. These people, architects, writers, financiers, Wall Street moguls, were never above hard work. As Howard Roark proved in the Fountainhead, he could plan the most beautiful buildings in the world, but when he was rejected he could also break the rocks that go into those buildings.

    They were their own bricklayers.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by hvance 5 years, 9 months ago
    To assume that Galt or in reality, Midas, would have singled out bricklayers or any other trade is not in keeping with the ideals of the Gulch. This presupposes that the Gutch would have been a stratified society with each person being stuck in his/her place of ability. The Gulch is all about freedom, talent and the personal ambition to achieve all that one can in life. There are obviously to me people of all different kinds in the Gulch but as a group have the common thread of being able to fend for themselves at whatever level they think is good for them.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
    • Posted by 5 years, 8 months ago
      There is a short story called "And Then There Were None", by Eric Frank Russell.

      It suggests a very Gulch-like society.
      Unfortunately, the author was biased, and therefore made the society seem successful.
      http://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php

      Harry Turtledove's "The Last Article", to my mind, provides the most rational, and historically consistent (in that in past societies this solution was most often successful) solution to the problem presented in "And Then There Were None". http://turtledove.wikia.com/wiki/The_Las...
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by RBA 5 years, 9 months ago
    Very strange post on "Bricklayers".... early in the book it discusses lots of folks of competance or doers that vanish......

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by mkkTampa 5 years, 9 months ago
    Perhaps it's been too many years since I've read the book, but my recollection included teachers, musicians, artists, and other non-tangible contributions.

    I work in telecommunications - and had the opportunity to work with a union employee. Long story short - her comment was: Think about is like this - we do data entry. We don't get paid to think.

    I actually see value in unions in today's environment ... unless the end result is this mind set.

    It made me sad ....
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo