Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another useful entry in the literature on Ayn Rand: You have to like passages such as this:

"‘Who is John Galt?’ the novel [Atlas Shrugged] begins: the question is rhetorical, an expression of despair. The setting is, loosely, America in the 1940s – Washington, Wisconsin, Mexico are mentioned, as are diners, bums, hamburgers, negligees – but film-set-thin and vague and flat. Everything is running down: typewriters break and no one can fix them, mines and smelters lie idle, and out West, in an image experienced as the ultimate horror, a farmer is spotted using a plough. Men of talent, composers, industrialists, financiers, one by one destroy their businesses and disappear. Faceless governments pass progressively more anti-business legislation: the Equalisation of Opportunity Bill; the Anti-Dog Eat Dog Rule.

"Across this blasted landscape strides the beautiful Dagny Taggart, her body ‘slim and nervous’, her planes ‘angular’, her instep ‘arched’ – her only desire to get the trains of Taggart Transcontinental to run on time. In this, Dagny believes John Galt to be her enemy, and she goes on believing this for many hundreds of pages. But Galt is in fact a great scientist and inventor, the greatest the world has ever known: disgusted by its values, he has retreated into a perfect society, deep in the Rocky Mountains, from where he and his collaborators plan a global strike of all great minds. The story ends with Dagny and Galt standing on a mountain-top, their hair blowing and blending together; Galt traces the holy sign of the dollar over the desolate earth."

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