Posts Tagged ‘Atlas Shrugged’

It was an old fashioned frame building, this headquarters of the great Danagger Coal Company. Somewhere in the hills beyond the window were the pits where Ken Danagger had once worked as a miner. He had never moved his office away from the coal fields.

When she glanced at the clock on the wall of the anteroom, she caught the secretary glancing at it at the same time. Her appointment was for three o’clock; the white dial said 3:03.

“Please forgive it, Miss Taggart,” said the secretary, Mr. Danagger will be through any moment now. Please believe me, this is unprecedented.”

When she raised her head to glance at the clock again, the dial said 3:06. Dagny looked at the closed door of Danagger’s office. She could hear the sound of a voice beyond the door, but so faintly that she could not tell whether it was the voice of one man or the conversation of two.

“How long has Mr. Danagger been in conference?” she asked.

“Since a few minutes before three,” said the secretary grimly. “It was an unscheduled caller.”

The door was not locked, thought Dagney; she felt an unreasoning desire to tear it open and walk in. She realized that she was thinking of Hugh Akston. She had emailed him at his diner in Wyoming. The email had bounced back from a new spam filter. She told herself angrily that this had no connection with the present moment and that she had to control her nerves.

Dagny asked the secretary slowly, as a demand, in defiance of office etiquette, “Who is with Mr. Danagger?”

“I don’t know, Miss Taggart. I’ve never seen the gentleman before.”

“Did he give his name?”


“What does he look like?”

“I don’t know,” she answered uneasily. “He’s hard to describe. He has a strange face.”

They had been silent for a short while, and the hands of the dial were approaching 3:08 when the buzzer rang on the secretary’s desk — the bell from Danagger’s office, the signal of permission to enter.

They both leaped to their feet, and the secretary rushed forward, smiling with relief, hastening to open the door.

As she entered Danagger’s office, Dagny saw the back exit door closing after the caller who had preceded her. She heard the knock of the door against the jamb and the faint tinkle of the glass panel.

Ken Dannager (from Atlas Shrugged part II)

He did not rise when she entered — he looked as if he had not quite shaken off the reality of the prior caller and had forgotten the proper routine — but he smiled at her with such a sarcastic twist that she found herself smiling in answer.

“How do you do, Miss Taggart,” he said. “Forgive me, I think that I have kept you waiting. Please sit down.”

“I didn’t mind waiting,” she said. “I was exremely anxious to speak to you on a matter of urgent importance. I came to speak to you about your indictment.”

“Oh, that? Don’t worry about that. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to pay off the judge by making a big donation to one of his favorite ‘charities’.”

She sat still, feeling nothing. Her first movement was a sudden jerk of her head toward the exit door; she asked, her voice low, “Who was he?”

Danagger laughed. “I have no idea! Some sales guy I assume. He was apparently talking about some property he wanted me to invest in — Galt’s Gulch, can you believe that? Trying to cash in on that whole ‘Who is…’ meme? He had some kind of rationalistic morals appeal and said it was some kind of perfect Nirvana!”

“Oh God, Danagger!” she moaned.

“You’re wrong, kid,” he said gently. “I know how you feel, but you’re wrong. Oh, it sounded great — like most of those guys sound — but I told him it wasn’t ‘practical’. I have my business here and I’ve spent years building it up, I can’t retire now! I’ve almost paid off my condo and I want to buy that new boat next spring. And I have to think about my kids! I have to get them into the right schools after all!” And at that he laughed.

Dagny nodded.

“I wonder if he was the same guy Wyatt told me about. Some guy hit him up too, trying to get him to burn his oil fields and go to some remote place in Colorado for goodness sake! Wyatt said with his new fracking method he can pull out enough oil in North Dakota to make this entire country energy independent in just over 5 years — well that is if he can get that pipeline built and get the permission to drill in that national park where he says the big deposit is located. And of course, he’s dealing with all the red tape from the EPA and the BLM.  They’re giving him some song and dance about a rare field mouse in the area. But I’m sure they’ll come around, right?”

Danagger just shrugged.

“OH, can you do me a favor. If you’re heading back to your office in the next few days, can you drop this check off in Washington?”

She picked up the check and could see the 5 zeros on the sum next to the words ‘Republican National Committee’.

“What is this?” she asked.

“Oh, just a donation to someone’s favorite ‘charity’ — I want to make sure they get it in time to make good use of it for Christie’s 2016 run against Hillary….

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

Q: Do ‘you’ support socialist reforms?

On a number of occasions recently I have found myself explaining various choices in my life that for lack of a better way of putting it have been akin to the ‘Life of Galt”. Even true fans of Rand will still point out to me that “it’s simply a work of fiction”, to which I explain that they were choices I was making even before reading the book.
What kinds of things am I talking about? Well here’s a short list of examples:

  • I have not watched more than 30 minutes of ‘network’ television or purchased a mainstream newspaper in going on 4 years
  • I no longer have any bank accounts or credit cards. My money is tied up in either tangible assets, utility based assets and a couple of money market accounts (not run by ‘banks’). I do have debit-cards tied to the money markets but seldom use them.
  • I only purchased one ‘new’ vehicle in my life time and probably never will again. I take my time when I need a new car, buy used and pay cash.

There are plenty of other items I could list, but I just want to set a basis for what I am about to address.

OK, so what?

A lot of folks that could be classified in the ‘hard working’ and ‘honest’ category of life complain about government, socialist reforms, taxes, etc. They should! They work hard for what they earn and people with political power are taking increasing portions of it.  The current complaint is about increasing social welfare or, in essence, socialization of America.  It is important, however, to examine the cause.

Ideas like socialism don’t exist because poor people want what belongs to the rich. “Crime” exists because poor people want what belongs to the rich. Socialism is proliferating because rich and powerful people either allow it or promote it – and the two are distinct and separate groups (the allowers vs the promoters). Then, in turn, socialist reforms ‘succeed’ in gaining support for the obvious reason: the poor like how it sounds… “Free stuff!”

When making arguments against socialist reforms, the ‘hard working’ folk implore the beneficiaries (welfare recipients, etc.) to ‘do for themselves’. If the implication is that the recipients of social welfare are lazy, then would it not stand to reason that ‘working’ to them would be tantamount to a ‘sacrifice’? If you don’t like work, and someone is handing you free stuff… why work???

But guess what, free stuff isn’t free. It has to be paid for.

And who’s paying for it? The hard working folks!

And why do you work hard? Any number of reasons;

  • to get what you need or want,
  • for the sense of achievement,
  • to achieve specific goals or gain respect,
  • to achieve enough wages and goods to feel more secure

any or all which equate to “it is of value to you to earn for yourself”.  So why are you upset? Because another beyond your control is taking what you find of value.  Did you ever stop to think that maybe a lazy person in some twisted or subconscious way finds value in their laziness?

For right or for wrong, therefore, asking them to ‘work for themselves’ is asking them to give up their value to seek your value in ‘working for yourself.’  It just makes sense right?  OK, so why then are you are not willing to give up your value (the sense of achievement, security, property, etc.) to stand for what you believe as well?

ManCarryingBoxOnBackI may not be the best at communicating this concept, but it just strikes me as odd that the achievers are asking (rightfully so) for those in the position of receiving social welfare to do what can amount to a ‘lot’ (overcoming various hardships, social stigmas, adverse circumstances and simple ingrained patterns of behavior) to arrive at their (the achievers) ideal… but at the same time the achievers will just blindly accept being enslaved to support policies they abhor just to maintain their own sense of right.

Does this sound extreme?  In essence it is saying ‘stop achieving!’  Most would not think of it – it goes against all they believe.  Or does it?

Has anything else you have tried done anything to achieve your desired ideal? Complaining about it has done little to slow the growth and support of social reforms as the last century or more can attest. More and more people are gaining an ‘entitlement’ mentality. Going to the voting booth hasn’t seemed to slow it either.

The reality is, those that ‘achieve’, support the growth of socialist policies!  And whatever power(s) they have left are doing little to abate the growth of further social reforms.

Would it not make more sense to re-examine your ideals, re-visit the realities of this growing movement, consider your own role as it’s enabler and then figure out how you can make ‘personal sacrifices’ (free choices) as not to be it’s willing participant?

If weeds are growing out of control in your garden because you put down fertilizer to feed your plants, would you continue to fertilize the whole thing (and thereby promote more weeds) or would you find a way to kill the weeds first?

Think about it!  Any man (or woman) that is resourceful enough to excel in art, science, business, etc. should be able to find more than enough creative ways to not allow the ‘system’ that is growing out of control to make them a willing participant.

When the greek god Atlas challenged the status quo of the gods of Olympus, he was relegated to use his strength to support the entirety of the heavens and the universe at the behest of Zeus. Rather than continuing to defy the gods, he accepted his fate carrying the burden of all existence on his shoulders.

But what if Atlas had merely shrugged?

(see also: “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad“)

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Originally posted to Facebook Notes

Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent but by compulsion, when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing, when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods but in favors, when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you, when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed.

– Ayn Rand (Francisco D’Anconio to Hank Reardon in Atlas Shrugged)

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