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  • Posted by Freedom2 2 years, 2 months ago
    This is a GREAT issue for Objectivists -libertarians! Forget the religious connection, because I believe government issues licenses to be able to be able to track legal connections for contracts and other matters [rights of children etc.] One of the MAJOR failings I se in U.S. society is the basic 'no fault' or easy out to a marriage, WITH the person pushing the divorce carrying no penalty! Now if I contract with you to servie my car, or mow my lawn or for a business tp sell me certain products at a certain price and time, AND you do not live up to the contract, courts will issue damage claims. A divorce will have two sides, BUT if one person STILL has the emotional connection [love] and the other has lost it, then, assuming no significant hurt has been done by the person wanting to keep the marriage, He/she IS OWED DAMAGES, and probably damages GREATER than a commercial transaction would involve! Just as penalties might encourage a business NOT to renig on a contract, so too might penalties on a marriage contract - a much more significant document! Mostly however, damages are due where damage is caused
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    • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
      I can't agree with you more. My situation is your exception you mention of "assuming no significant hurt has been done".

      My situation involved my ex-wife of 13 years having affairs. After giving her opportunities to stop, she chose not to, so I filed for divorce. She did not want the divorce (wanted her cake and eat it too). In my state we have No Fault laws, so not only did I not have the opportunity to recover any damages, but I had to give her half of my life savings, buy her out of my business, and pay her alimony. We split custody of our children 50/50, however I pay for 100% of their expenses (private school, healthcare/insurance, etc), AND I have to pay her child support.

      Bottom line, I am the one who ultimately pushed for the divorce. She fought tooth and nail to not let me divorce her. It ended up setting my retirement age back 10 years.

      The good news is that my current wife of 7 years is fantastic!
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      • Posted by bassboat 2 years, 2 months ago
        I see this all the time, the lopsided divorce decrees from the judges. They, the judges, pander to the voters but the result is you have many men who cannot pay the judge's rulings and end up being "dead beat dads'.
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        • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
          She was a "homemaker" while I worked throughout our marriage, however we had a maid come once a week and ate out a lot. Her homemaking consisted of laundry and picking the kids up from school for the most part, oh yeah, and shopping.

          The problem with our divorce laws is that they are antiquated. When these laws were written, a traditional divorce consisted of a man leaving his "kept woman" who all but wasn't allowed to go to school or work. She would end up with the kids full time with little help from the father. While that still often happens, many scenarios have changed dramatically. Women can easily take advantage of the laws the way they are written, with no worry of recourse.

          Funny thing about my ex wife is that she always claimed (and still does claim) to be very much against entitlements. She had no problem taking as much from me as she could get her hands on every month for years. Even though she is remarried to a fairly successful realtor, she still has no problem taking plenty of child support and not paying any of the kids expenses, even though they are only with her half of the time. The laws are pretty messed up.

          Can you tell I'm a little bitter about the laws? ;)
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    • Posted by Eyecu2 2 years, 2 months ago
      In principal I agree with your position. However, there are 2 sides to every story and there is a reasonable argument. That the reason 1 party is no longer in love with the other party is that the other party has not lived up to their promises. Even when evidence is not producible it is still possible. Example denial of affection or other attention. In cases such as this it is likely that the 2nd party would be the one receiving the damages award when honestly the opposite would be justified.
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      • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
        Yes, there are 2 sides to every story, but sometimes it is pretty cut and clear. My ex wife had completely lied to me about her background while we were dating and into the marriage. The amount of sexual promiscuity she had prior to our dating was seriously off the charts including prostitution, but she led me to believe she had barely lost her virginity... There is not a man on the planet this woman would not cheat on.
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  • Posted by walkabout 2 years, 2 months ago
    So two people marry in the Gultch, they create a contract with the responsibilities of each party to the other specified. Maybe it has a time limit, with options to renew. Before you start you agree to how it will end at the term. Renegotiation is possible. As is the contractual end. If the original marriage contract did not specify an end period or a method for ending under certain circumstances, then negotiations to end could be initiated. If necessary the parties could hire an arbitrator if/as necessary.
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    • Posted by jdg 2 years, 2 months ago
      That's how I see it, too. Marriage is a contract, either a kind of employment contract or related to it. Thus I would certainly give either party the right to quit, but the potential of owing damages. I would also like to see freedom of contract in general extended farther than it is now. Why shouldn't the partners be allowed to insert (for instance) a cause setting a large penalty for adultery?
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  • Posted by coaldigger 2 years, 2 months ago
    If you and your partner are truly an Objectivists there should be no concern about marriage or divorce. You should be able to rationally determine who owns properties and how any jointly owned property should be split if either party decided to end the relationship. From a rational view, you would acknowledge that human children are dependent for a relatively long time and your decision to create them carries the responsibility of tending to their needs during their dependency.

    Objectivists base all decisions using reason which eliminates most of the causes of the poor selection of partners and divorce. If you choose a partner because you like and respect their mind and their character, you will be disappointed far less than if you select them based on their physical characteristics.

    I married my wife because I thought she was a good person, intelligent and I liked being with her. I decided that she would be the best mother to our children and friend to me. We are not religious and are strong advocates of individual rights. We married when she was 20 and I was 21 which was soon to be 55 years ago. We have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. I claim that everything we own is hers and she says, no it is mine. I base my claim on the fact that I want to dispose of it all and bum around the world together and she won't let it go.
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  • Posted by  $  2 years, 2 months ago
    I noted that bringing a spouse into the Gulch, by a striker, was acceptable, because of the mutual benefit in such a relationship.

    My question is, what would happen to the spouse if the couple were to divorce and he or she had no other marketable talents?

    Many years ago, I was stationed on the island of Okinawa. At one point, another Marine "discarded" his wife who was 6000 miles from home (this loser ended up in the brig). I'm sure the Marine Corps sent this young lady home (at her ex's expense), but how would this be handled in the Gulch?

    Obviously, you couldn't simply send the spouse away...they would know too much about the Gulch. You could send them both away, but the striker may have a critical job within the Gulch.

    I was hesitant to ask such a question, but something like a Galt's Gulch would, inevitably run into such a situation. I just thought I would see how a true Objectivist would handle it.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 2 months ago
      "he or she had no other marketable talents?"
      Other than what? I'm asking genuinely, not snidely, because people with no marketable talents will struggle in almost any situation.
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      • Posted by dark_star 2 years, 2 months ago
        Excellent question which leads me to wonder:
        What happens to anyone who becomes an invalid without adequate financial resources saved up for long term care? Let face it, many people (young and old alike) become invalids requiring 100% care through no fault of their own i.e. accidents, disease or simple old age....
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      • Posted by  $  2 years, 2 months ago
        Such was my point. For example, the husband is a plumber, but his wife has always been a homemaker. If they divorced, the husband would retain his job, but his wife would now need to support herself, as there is no unearned income in the Gulch.

        Unless the ex-wife is able to obtain independent employment (or get re-attached)...what happens to her status in the Gulch?
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 2 months ago
          Thanks for the interesting question.

          If you don't have any wealth and cannot provide goods or services to trade, how do you provide for yourself and happens to your status anywhere? It is just a fundamental fact of life that if you want people to do stuff for you, you have to do stuff for them, assuming you don't steal.

          If the spouse really is a homemaker, doing work making the home run well, helping the other partner get to work, recover from sickness, deal with life's stress's and sorrows, the partners could (and should IMHO) make a deal to share all the wealth they produce 50/50. The partners are free to work out some other deal, perhaps based on the approximate going rate of everything they provide one another, but that strikes me as meretricious.

          The fact they were married distracts from the main issue of what happens to people unable to provide goods/service to other but want others to provide them goods/services. That's never a good situation.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 2 months ago
    When it comes to brains and wit, there is no one superior to A.R. When it comes to love and marriage - not so much. The "and they lived happily ever after" is "aconsumation devoutly to be wished" but it is no longer often the case.Just as there are not two humans exactly alike, there are not two humans who will like or dislike all the same things.In reality, so long as there is love and an agreement on the major philosophical items, there is a chance of success. However there are two basic issues that stand out in my experience when it comes to divorce and it's causes. The first is the ability to weather the storm, and the second is sexual infidelity.

    The first of the two problems comes about because the philosophic connection is not strong enough, and as a result small problems loom large and large problems become insurmountable. That is why a courting period should last for a long enough time for the couple to truly know one another. When sex is involved, it should take up to less nor more importance than the couple has agreed upon. Yes, I know that sex can promote powerful feelings and that rationality should not be governing it. WRONG! Once again, agreed upon compatibility will make many problems disappear.Sex can be an expression of love where one party offers the other their greatest gift -- themselves. Or, it can merely be a bodily function. Which one is best? I needn't tell you.Infidelity is not negotiable. Unlike Rand's personal life, there is no way to participate in it without psychologically damaging the partner. If a new love overshadows the current partnership, then take it out of the lies and shadows and deal with it honestly. There is still pain, but at least deception is not a part of it.
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  • Posted by mudirikwa 2 years, 2 months ago
    The nuclear family no longer exists as a legally enforced institution, and is only socially enforced among upper middle class white people and a few weird religious groups. Either party to a marriage may leave at any time for any or no reason, and may break the marriage vows without penalty.

    Since women have the unique biological role of bearing children, and since they are not permitted to divest themselves of their "reproductive rights" by marriage or otherwise, they have total, unilateral authority over all family formation decisions, irrespective of their partners' wishes, whether married or not. A woman can marry you, abort all your kids against your wishes, fuck other guys, have the other guy's kid, tell you it's yours, threaten to abort it to manipulate you into whatever she wants that day, put the kid into state custody over your objection, admit that she did all of that, and that she did it because she thought it would be funny, and it will not affect her parental rights or her rights to equitable division or support and maintenance.

    The result of this is that now, about a fifth of all human fetuses in this country are aborted, and about two fifths of those who are born are born to unmarried women (of course, some of the married women's children are not the offspring of the men they are married to, but it's hard to get numbers on something that would produce no legal consequences anyway). Even when children are born to a married couple, the parents divorce before the children are grown a large fraction of the time. The nuclear family was destroyed long ago, to the point that when gay marriage became an issue, you didn't even have a fucking clue that marriage had anything to do with children. Gay marriage wasn't the beginning, it signaled the end, for all time.
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  • Posted by chad 2 years, 2 months ago
    The relationship of a marriage can be a very complex arrangement. To enter into a contract is to try to be specific about something that may be transitional despite efforts to manage it. Would you enter a contractual friendship? The idea of renewal or just a simple if you do this then we won't be clause. Children greatly complicate the contract. I would rather not see the government involved in this agreement and certainly not under the auspice of providing tax breaks and other incentives for providing new slaves for the state.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 2 months ago
    It all depends on your basis for marriage in the first place. If it's all about convenience, it can be dissolved by that same convenience. If it's about something more, then there's that. Really what your question strikes at, however, are the repercussions of breaking that contract - both to the individuals and to those affected (especially children) - and who is responsible for managing the breakup.

    To be quite frank and honest, any society which treats marriage and family creation as just another "contract" will collapse in upon itself. If marriage is nothing more than two people wanting to have sex, that becomes the foundation of what the children learn and that becomes the society we have today - no respect or care for how others are affected by our choices. Rome fell as much because of its moral leanings as its flawed tribute-state model. So have many others. And those who suffer the most from divorce are children.

    My wife's parents got divorced only a few years after we got married and that was a hard couple of years for us as well as them. My father-in-law openly admitted that he had contemplated suicide afterward - and that was about as amicable a divorce as one is going to find. My brother-in-law divorced his wife when she went off the deep end and abandoned him and their three children. Their children have been a wreck ever since because of the conflicting values between biological mom and biological dad. Then there's some of my kids friends just down the street where their father and mother divorced because the father wanted to go shack up with other women. Guy was a moocher extraordinaire and I could tell stories about him worthy of anything out of an AR novel. But those poor kids - good kids just trying to get past it - are conflicted as a result. Then there are my next door neighbors: a grandmother who runs a daycare in her home because she's stuck taking care of her twin granddaughters born to a drug-addicted mother and dead-beat father. These two can barely read despite being nine years old.

    I've seen way too much divorce and its products to treat it with any kind of cavalier attitude. To me, it goes to the very heart of civilization and philosophy. Any society which views with dispassion the method of its very perpetuation will wonder why it collapsed even in the midst of the rubble.
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    • Posted by  $  Dobrien 2 years, 2 months ago
      "Any society which views with dispassion the method of its very perpetuation will wonder why it collapsed even in the midst of the rubble" Bravo !!
      Commitment required by both partners. Responsibility for your actions. Flexible and openness to change. Build a strong foundation for when the winds of changes shift. Divorce is a traumatic event for all children involved, and sometimes it is just the best solution. I think the grass is always greener folks maybe weren't committed from the start.
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    • Posted by kddr22 2 years, 2 months ago
      I think the real issue are the values people use to make the "contract in the first place". What is it they we each value... The better a choice matches ones true values the better the match long term. I agree that worst aspect of many divorces are the effects it has on the children.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 2 months ago
        Agreed, and this is where the philosophical aspect comes into play: what are the values one should choose? Short term/long-term, religious/non-religious, save/spend (just FYI, but most divorces are on differences in monetary values - not religion - up to 57% according to one source).

        In the bigger picture, the question is the general values society adopts as a whole toward marriage and children, as that is where the whole debate around marriage licenses originated in the first place.


        (Just FYI, but government control and intervention in marriage didn't happen until after the Civil War. Whites were still bitter towards blacks and wanted to prevent inter-racial marriages, so they dreamed up the notion of having to apply for a marriage certificate in order to prove one was married. The government of course liked the control and extra revenue so they were happy to oblige.)
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  • Posted by peterchunt 2 years, 2 months ago
    I think divorce is made to be too easy to get. Yes, there are situations (see unitedic comments) but if you don’t get along, get a divorce. I have been married for over 45 years. Did we agree on everything, no but we always worked to come up with a solution that we could both live with. Before we go married we had long discussions on philosophy. This was our common bond, and for us meant that we cold get over anything else. How many people ensure that before marriage they truly have a common philosophy to ensure compatibility for the longer term?
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  • Posted by walkabout 2 years, 2 months ago
    The only role for the government is to maintain a secure file cabinet to keep a copy of the original contract --0 an optional component if you want to register your contract. If the marriage has a set period (5 year renewable for instance) and has specified how the assets will be divide before hand, then most of the issues inherent to divorce are managed. If you cant figure out how to divide things up before you are married -- while you presumably like each other -- you won't when you no longer do (and all you will do is make some boat payments for your lawyer). At end minus one year you can start negotiating the next time period (if it has worked well, you can might want to go 10 years the next time) I'm thinking if we knew the reality of the end, we might treat our marriages and our partners better. We might also be less troubled by it as we could plan for it.
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  • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 2 months ago
    The Rand books feature “cheating” (as described in this thread) and in real life Rand "cheated." Which demands the question: Does the Coolidge effect apply to Objectivists?
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    • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
      Ayn Rand's novels do not "feature cheating" and she did not "cheat" in her own life.
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      • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
        eww- I have to disagree. Henry and Dagny's affair was a very significant feature in Atlas. It is also common knowledge that Rand likely had an affair with Nathaniel Branden. Yes I said likely, but it is a very common belief even amongst her supporters. Apparently they were fairly brazen about the relationship.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
          None of that "featured cheating" and Ayn Rand did not "cheat". The relation between Rearden and Dagny featured two strong characters rationally and honestly pursuing proper values, one of whom, as part of the plot, had not yet discovered why he should have much earlier jettisoned his nihilistic wife because he was still clinging to a conventional ethics of duty without regard to context and rational goals.

          The plot and characterization showed Rearden as conflicted with unearned guilt as he pursued what was in fact right, not as a cheater by nature, denying reality. They were also the last two major characters to understand the logic of the strike. That development of the characters in the plot, discovering proper principles and overthrowing false premises leading to unearned guilt, is what was significantly "featured", not "cheating". Don't switch the featuring of Rearden and Dagny's relationship in the plot to the ugly accusation of "featuring cheating".

          Ayn Rand did not cheat in her personal life. Her affair with Branden was done openly with their spouses' full knowledge. It was badly rationalized, not "brazen" (and Ayn Rand later denounced the practice as unworkabley improper), but it was not intentionally dishonest and not cheating. Branden's dishonesty came later after the affair was long over, and his betrayals led to his being expelled and permanently repudiated. See James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics.

          These kind of fictional devices and personal choices are frequently exploited by cynically snarling haters of Ayn Rand to smear her, including inflammatory one-liners liners like the context-dropping "cheater" accusation (and similar misrepresentations of "rape" in The Fountainhead). Don't fall for it.
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          • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
            Not sure if Escepito's term of "featured" in describing the cheating in Atlas is the best descriptor, but it happened in the book well before Reardon tried to divorce his wife. I agree that we should not cling to a conventional ethics of duty without gaining benefit to ourselves, but marriage is a contract. The contract could and should have been broken in their situation, no doubt, however it should have been made known prior to the affair. You are trying to justify that having a secret affair on your spouse is fine if they are a terrible person and "deserve" it, or if your own happiness will suffer if you do not have an affair. In my opinion, Hank should have voiced his intention of leaving Lillian prior to his affair with Dagny. This has to do with honoring contracts, not moral convention.

            I am not overly familiar with the details of Rand's own affair, however the timing of her husband's knowledge of the affair would be critical in my not being distracted by her actions.

            Let me be clear, I adore Ayn Rand, what she accomplished, and what she stood for. Just because there is one action of her personal life that I may not agree with, does not make her less of an influence on my life and countless others' lives. I also very much love Atlas Shrugged, even with the "distraction" (in my opinion) of adultery between the two main characters.

            Rand was a human being, much more rational than a typical human, but still fallible. There does not need to be an excuse made for any irrational behavior she may or may not have exhibited at times.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
              The relation between Rearden and Dagny was a rational pursuit of legitimate values, undermined by unearned guilt because Rearden clung to a false duty to the irrational. The development of the characters and their intellectual understanding was not about a floating abstraction of a "contract".

              Adhering to the irrational "contract" with Lillian was in fact a moral issue, but a consequence of adhering to the false duty-morality underlying it, which was part of the story. Lillian Rearden's behavior for years before that was inexcusable and was not the basis of the original marriage. Of course he should have told Lillian, far before Dagny, and dumped her. The plot was about why he didn't because of the destructive nature of his false traditional premises, not "justifying secret affairs". That he didn't was a deliberate point of tension in the plot until it was resolved with an understanding of the proper morality near the end -- just like the rest of the plot about the 'strike' and the intellectual development of the heroes who had rejected it. The description of the divorce at the end of the Lillian saga was included for a dramatic, climactic illustration of Rearden's new understanding and his sudden change in putting it into unequivocal action.

              If you don't understand what you call a "distraction" of the relation between Rearden and Dagny and how the conflict evolved and was ultimately resolved in the plot, you are missing a big piece of the plot and theme of the whole novel -- and Ayn Rand's philosophy that made it all possible. It was not about sanctioning religious conservativism or a-philosophical libertarian "contracts".

              No one is making "excuses" for the Ayn Rand/Branden affair. She did not "cheat" in her personal life as was falsely accused.
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              • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
                You bring up some good points. It has been quite some time since I last read Shrugged. You have convinced me to dust it off and give it another go with a new perspective to consider. Since I was on the receiving end of an unfaithful spouse, my perspective is going to naturally be skewed by this topic. I cannot blame Hank for falling in love with Dagny, but as you stated, he should have dumped Lillian long before his relationship with Dagny turned physical.
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    • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
      Since I did not get married for any religious reason, the only reason I married was to contract the idea that my wife and I would be exclusive. Exclusivity gives me many benefits, including stability and the knowledge that I cannot contract an STD. Humans have the ability to control their sexual urges, unlike most other species.

      Rand's personal cheating is the only thing I know of her that causes me to lessen my respect for her. I am one of the few people I know that thinks that Readon's cheating in Shrugged was not only unnecessary, but it distracted me from having the respect for Hank that the book intended us to have for him. I have no problem with Hank leaving his wife, but he should have done it before he hooked up with Dagny. I don't see marriage as a permanent trap, but while you are under that contract, you had better damned respect that contract. Control your damned urges until you end the contract. Objectivists are supposed to be abide by contracts, that is a major part of our philosophy. If people choose not to abide by contracts, then Objectivism can never work.
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 years, 2 months ago
        Unfortunately, I find myself largely in agreement
        with you on that. If I married, I would be faithful. I
        would also absolutely demand that the husband be
        faithful, and if he were not, I would divorce him.--
        In extenuation of Rearden, I think maybe he would not have been able to get a divorce in Pennsyl-
        vania at the time the book was written (though I
        don't know, I don't know all that much about
        Pennsylvania); there are a few things in the mar-
        riage vows besides fidelity, such as "love, honor,
        and cherish", which Lillian was not doing when
        she traded away his bracelet. But he still could
        have given her a sort of notice, for instance,"Since
        tha's what you think of me and my efforts, I div-
        orce you, I divorce you, I divorce you, and from
        now on, I'm going to do what I d--- please!"--And
        does it affect your orpinion of Dagny for allowing
        him to mess with her when she knew he was
        still under that contract?
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        • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
          Rearden didn't give Lillian notice and try to divorce her because he was still conflicted with unearned guilt from unquestioned bad conventional moral premises of 'faithful duty' no matter what. Divorce was legally difficult at the time (for the same reasons), but false morality, not difficult legality, was driving his actions.

          When he did finally bolt after Lillian made the necessity so snarlingly obvious, he did what it took to get the divorce despite the improper legal obstructionism:

          "He had handed to his attorney a signed blank check and said, 'Get me a divorce. On any grounds and at any cost. I don't care what means you use, how many of their judges you purchase or whether you find it necessary to stage a frame-up of my wife. Do whatever you wish. But there is to be no alimony and no property settlement.' The attorney had looked at him with the hint of a wise, sad smile, as if this were an event he had expected to happen long ago. He had answered, 'Okay, Hank. It can be done. But it will take some time.' 'Make it as fast as you can.'"
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 years, 2 months ago
            I don't blame him for using that bribery; he was op-
            pressed, and held in chains, as Ayn Rand said.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
              You aren't supposed to blame him. The proper reaction is, without reservations after seeing the philosophical reasons so vividly illustrated, to cheer him on for "seeing the light" philosophically and dramatically acting on it. It's much more than someone finally ending a bad marriage. He paid a lawyer to do whatever it took to end the marriage without payments to Lillian, defying the philosophically corrupt laws, for the same reason he ended his claimed duty to sacrifice to Lillian.
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          • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
            So Henry traded one "guilt" for another. The guilt of actually breaking a contract and having a secret affair should outweigh the guilt of telling your spouse you want to end your marriage. He had every right, responsibility in fact, to leave Lillian so he could pursue his own self interest. Once he made his intentions of leaving his wife clear to her, then I would see no problem pursuing the affair, even before the divorce is finalized. Waiting on a legal or government action should not hinder a man from pursuing self interest. While she may have broken the marriage contract through her actions of not "honoring" her husband, what does it say about Hank when he does the same thing on his end by sleeping with Dagny before making his intentions clear of leaving his wife. This is the rationale of typical irrational people living in every neighborhood in the United States now. Let's just go have an affair to pursue our self interest, marriage contract be damned. What good is a man's word if he can't even uphold a marriage contract?
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        • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
          If divorce was not an option, and if Hank proclaimed his "divorce" like you suggested, then I would have had no problem with his actions. Lillian was a terrible wife, and Hank had every reason to leave her.

          As far as Dagny, it isn't as significant to me, because she did not enter any contract of marriage. It wasn't her contract to break. I have never personally been a fan of someone who interferes with another's marriage, but it is ultimately the married parties who are responsible. So, I guess it only made me feel sorry for Dagny that she had to go and fall for someone already "committed." I feel like she loved Francisco more than Hank, but he was a prick, so she ended up with the married guy instead... ha!
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 years, 2 months ago
            Well, Francisco wasn't really a promiscuous "p****",
            if that's what you mean, he was only pretending to
            be, because of his mission--a sort of camouflage.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
              "'If you care to glance over those front pages, you'll see that I've never said anything. It was the women who were eager to rush into print with stories insinuating that being seen with me at a restaurant was the sign of a great romance. What do you suppose those women are after but the same thing as the chaser—the desire to gain their own value from the number and fame of the men they conquer? Only it's one step phonier, because the value they seek is not even in the actual fact, but in the impression on and the envy of other women. Well, I gave those bitches what they wanted—but what they literally wanted, without the pretense that they expected, the pretense that hides from them the nature of their wish. Do you think they wanted to sleep with me or with any man? They wouldn't be capable of so real and honest a desire. They wanted food for their vanity—and I gave it to them. I gave them the chance to boast to their friends and to see themselves in the scandal sheets in the roles of great seductress. But do you know that it works in exactly the same way as what you did at your trial? If you want to defeat any kind of vicious fraud—comply with it literally, adding nothing of your own to disguise its nature. Those women understood. They saw whether there's any satisfaction in being envied by others for a feat one has not achieved. Instead of self-esteem, their publicized romances with me have given them a deeper sense of inferiority: each one of them knows that she's tried and failed. If dragging me into bed is supposed to be her public standard of value, she knows that she couldn't live up to it. I think those women hate me more than any other man on earth. But my secret is safe—because each one of them thinks that she was the only one who failed, while all the others succeeded, so she'll be the more vehement in swearing to our romance and will never admit the truth to anybody.'

              "'But what have you done to your own reputation?'

              "Francisco shrugged. 'Those whom I respect, will know the truth about me, sooner or later. The others'—his face hardened—'the others consider that which I really am as evil. Let them have what they prefer—what I appear to be on the front pages.'

              "'But what for? Why did you do it? Just to teach them a lesson?'

              "'Hell, no! I wanted to be known as a playboy.'

              "'Why?'

              "'A playboy is a man who just can't help letting money run through his fingers.'

              "'Why did you want to assume such an ugly sort of role?'

              "'Camouflage.'

              "'For what?"

              "For a purpose of my own.'

              "'What purpose?'

              "Francisco shook his head. 'Don't ask me to tell you that. I've told you more than I should. You'll come to know the rest of it soon, anyway.'"

              -- Atlas Shrugged Part Two / Chapter IV "The Sanction Of The Victim"

              "He took her hands and pressed them to his lips and held them, not moving, not as a kiss, but as a long moment of rest, as if the effort of speech were a distraction from the fact of her presence, and as if he were torn by too many things to say, by the pressure of all the words stored in the silence of years.

              "'The women I chased—you didn't believe that, did you? I've never touched one of them—but I think you knew it, I think you've known it all along. The playboy—it was a part that I had to play in order not to let the looters suspect me while I was destroying d'Anconia Copper in plain sight of the whole world. That's the joker in their system, they're out to fight any man of honor and ambition, but let them see a worthless rotter and they think he's a friend, they think he's safe—safe!—that's their view of life, but are they learning!—are they learning whether evil is safe and incompetence practical!… Dagny, it was the night when I knew, for the first time, that I loved you—it was then that I knew I had to go. It was when you entered my hotel room, that night, when I saw what you looked like, what you were, what you meant to me—and what awaited you in the future. Had you been less, you might have stopped me for a while. But it was you, you who were the final argument that made me leave you. I asked for your help, that night—against John Galt. But I knew that you were his best weapon against me, though neither you nor he could know it. You were everything that he was seeking, everything he told us to live for or die, if necessary.… I was ready for him, when he called me suddenly to come to New York, that spring...'"

              -- Atlas Shrugged Part Three / Chapter II "The Utopia Of Greed"
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      • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 2 months ago
        But, Does the Coolidge effect apply to Objectivists?
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        • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
          It applies to the point of "yes the biology exists" in Objectivists. I guess you are getting at whether Objectivists should take action from those biological tendencies. My answer would be, if you want to let biology control you to propagate with multiple baby makers, then by all means. If you willingly enter into a contract of marriage that includes monogamy, then absolutely not. I don't see the act of having sex (and even producing offspring) with many partners as any sort of moral defect at all. I see nothing wrong with it, as long as the parties you are having sex with understand your intentions. To add to that, I don't see anything wrong with consensual polygamy either. I personally think it is weird, but nothing about it goes against my view of Objectivism.
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 years, 2 months ago
            Polygamy is something I would never tolerate if I
            were to be married; I believe that self-respecting people stick to one at a time. But I would make
            that clear before getting married. Also, I would not act as Lillian did, constantly putting her husband's career down, and refusing to give him
            any satisfaction even in the sex act itself. (I
            understand that this was deliberate on her part).
            In fact, she was glad when she found he was
            having an adulterous affair, not objecting until she found it was with Dagny, somebody who was not a slut. She enjoyed the idea that he had done something that caused him to feel guilty. I really have not much sympathy for her at all.
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            • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
              I don't really get the polygamy thing either, but to each their own.

              I certainly don't have any sympathy for Lillian. I was only disappointed with Hank's decision to break his contract without giving notice of his intent to do so. Secretly breaking a contract behind someone's back is not rational in my mind.
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              • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
                Being caught in the contradictions of accepting a duty to sacrifice is not rational. He had to correct that error before getting out from Lillian. It wasn't about contracts treated as a floating abstraction.
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                • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
                  Yes, he was a slow learner I guess... Ha! As I mentioned earlier, I will reread Atlas with this new perspective in mind. Thanks!
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                  • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
                    Rearden wasn't a slow learner; like countless others he had absorbed the false moral premises spewed at him from all directions with no challenge from the intellectuals. As a man of exceptional integrity he took it more seriously, with concomitantly more serious destructive consequences.

                    Part of Rearden's exceptionalism was his devotion in his career in metallurgy and manufacturing, but that single minded focus left him vulnerable to philosophical ideas he didn't know to watch out for. Like so many other good people in science, engineering, medicine and other fields of intelligence not focusing on fundamental philosophical ideas that are crucial to their lives, he didn't know to 'check his philosophical premises'; he let the ends of his productive achievement be turned over to his enemies. It wasn't just his relation to Lillian -- you saw it throughout the novel in his sacrificial alms through his brother and how he was one of the last to join the strike.

                    Rearden wasn't alone; we see it everywhere. Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged to correct it by showing the necessity for a revolutionary new ethics and its content. Her primary purpose in writing the novel was to show in fictional form her vision of the "ideal man", with the plot-theme of the role of the mind in human life. It took someone with exceptional ability, like John Galt in the novel (and Ayn Rand in reality), to sort out the bad philosophy and replace it with proper ideas, then fight for them throughout the conflicts portrayed in the plot. That took a lot more than just not being a slow learner.

                    In a lecture presenting her "The Objectivist Ethics" at MIT in 1962 Ayn Rand included a special introduction for "the students who are to be America's scientists", reprinted as "To Young Scientists" in her anthology The Voice of Reason. In that introduction she focused on the "alleged dichotomy between science and ethics" in which the results of rational thought are turned over in principle to the irrational in the name of ethics. In Atlas Shrugged Hank Rearden illustrated the unwitting acceptance of that scam. He learned and corrected it. Robert Stadler did not, and choosing to not face it destroyed himself -- the fast learner who chose not to think.
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                    • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
                      The slow learner comment was meant to be a joke. His character was obviously meant to be shown as a brilliant, hard working man with the struggles you described..

                      I understand your viewpoint on this and intend to reread Atlas with this in mind, however I still believe the same point could have been portrayed by his character simply telling off Lillian and storming off to fall into the arms of Dagny, in that order. To me, that would have proven his integrity even more. Like I have said before, I lose respect for those who cheat in a relationship that is perceived to be committed by the other party, no matter the circumstances.
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                      • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
                        If all the heroes had in their first confrontation of abuse told off their persecutors and stormed off there would have been no story. Atlas Shrugged showed why so many good people put up with so much and what it takes to answer it. Rearden had to realize that he was right and find the explanation. The "cheating" was the result of false premises, for which he suffered with unearned guilt; he didn't think with or have the motives of the mentality of a cheater.

                        Besides, "storming" and "telling off" are not the behavior of rational people. When you see someone contemptible you recognize it for what it is and go back to your own values, not dwelling on it with the self-punishment of wallowing in it. If it's an injustice perpetrated by force or fraud, then you deal with that rationally. But what good is throwing a fit over it? Why waste energy and time on the contemptible through emotional self-explosions? There is so much more to life.
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          • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 2 months ago
            Actually, that was not my point, but I can see how you might think so. Too often I understand Objectivists to say things to effect that humans have no instincts, etc., yet the Coolidge effect is pretty well established in mammals and we are mammals. I am aware of few writings in which the issue of monogamy is addressed as a moral issue. Rand seems to say in her Playboy interview that it is okay if all agree. Will Thomas a number of years ago wrote a short piece on it, but in the article he made a number of assumptions that I do not consider to be valid. If you know of an article on the subject, I would like to read it.
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            • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 years, 2 months ago
              What is the Coolidge effect? "I do not choose to
              run" or "The business of government is to let busi-
              ness alone"? I don't recall ever hearing of a "Cool-
              idge effect" before.
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              • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 2 months ago
                The Coolidge effect deals with sexual activity of animals --- including humans. In biology and psychology, the Coolidge effect is a phenomenon seen in animal species whereby animals (males and females) exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new receptive sexual partners, even after cessation of sex with prior but still available sexual partners.
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            • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
              Actually I think we are on the same page here. I thought I got your point and responded as such. Yes, I believe humans are subject to the instinctual inclinations of the Coolidge effect. That is pretty clear to me biologically and psychologically. As an objectivist, I am not concerned with morality in the traditional Judeo-Christian sense. I don't see monogamy as a moral issue at all. The central Capitalistic theme of Objectivism is based around ethical, rational selfishness. The ethical, rational portion is where contracts become the backbone of this philosophy. Without honoring contracts, then things turn into irrational selfishness. Bottom line, choosing the number of partners is an Objectivist's prerogative, responsibility in fact, to pursue self interest. However, all parties involved should be subject to any existing marital or partnership agreement, whether it be formally written (marriage certificate) or simply spoken. If a person has made no commitment to anyone, then all is fair in love and war.

              I am not aware of any articles though...
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 2 months ago
    Recall that Henry Rearden famously divorced his wife after she pulled one snide stunt too many, i.e., laid information with James Taggart about Rearden's affair with Dagny. And he likely could have made a very good case that she didn't live up to the terms of the marriage contract herself.

    Divorce likely did not happen in the Gulch because membership in it was by invitation only. So everyone was on the same page.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 years, 2 months ago
    Odd question..I could be wrong, but isn't 'marriage' more of a religious construct? If this institution derives from mysticism isn't it against objectivist philosophy? Divorce would be moot, no?
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    • Posted by  $  TomB666 2 years, 2 months ago
      Today, here in the US, marriage is more about benefits and rights then religion. For many years married people got a tax break, but then it changed and there is a marriage penalty tax wise for some at least. Health and/or auto insurance can also influence whether you get married or not. Not saying these are reasons directly, but it might happen that you are happily living with someone and then a law changes things and you both benefit by having that paper saying you are married. Conversely, you might be married, but both benefit by a divorce, even if you continue to live together. As with most things when the gov'm't gets involved it complicates things.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 years, 2 months ago
        He is very confused. Marriage is not religious. Religion took it over politically and ideologically to the extent that religion became dominant. It did not create the concept of marriage and marriage does not "derive from mysticism".
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 2 months ago
      In Atlas Shrugged, Ragnar Danneskjold and Kaye Ludlow were married by Judge Narragansett. The situation of married strikers coming with their spouses was also mentioned in the book.

      I have to assume that marriage "contracts" would exist, in the Gulch, and, possibly, divorce.
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      • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 years, 2 months ago
        And yet Dagney paired with Reardon by choice despite marriage. I'd think voluntary partnerships would be more consistent to objectivism between two people (value=value) where will would determine the couple more so than a momentary contract designed to assure surety based on emotion. Further, the couple could then dissolve the pairing simply because one or both no longer saw value in the other and decided to move on.

        To me that sounds much more aligned with objectivism than a voluntary enslavement enforced by law for 5, 10, 20+ years.
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        • Posted by  $  RobertFl 2 years, 2 months ago
          You still have have assets, co-signed contracts (credit card debt, mortgages, etc), Children, that must be equitably divided.
          Have to De-mingle, the co-mingled property. Don't use the term "marriage", use civil union, now the discussion is just a legal dissolution of a contract.
          Reduced to that, love has no part of it.
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          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 years, 2 months ago
            I agree with the term civil union for anything aside from a religious spiritual bond. Then no people should force the matter on institutions that do not support deviant forms of marriage and conversely no institutions should prevent others from their form of binding.

            As far as stuff, no amount of stuff would keep me where I didn't want to be.
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            • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 years, 2 months ago
              Whoever took a point please explain...the right of either side of the issue should be respected, no? As for my using the word deviant, look it up. Its not a slight just an accurate adjective.
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    • Posted by unitedlc 2 years, 2 months ago
      There are many non-religious reasons to get married and divorced. Divorce isn't moot if you have children I can assure you. Divorce is simply a way to structure the breaking of a contract. Definitely necessary with kids and with divvying up assets.
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