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FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, The Man Who Belonged on Earth
A Publius Essay | 28 March 2009 | Publius

Posted on 03/28/2009 7:39:14 AM PDT by Publius

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To: Publius

I’m a comp sci major with a minor in chemistry. Never used the chemistry in my professional career, just wanted to take P-Chem for giggles.


101 posted on 03/29/2009 11:52:56 AM PDT by Explorer89 (Could you direct me to the Coachella Valley, and the carrot festival, therein?)
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To: Explorer89
I put aside chemistry for a living when I saw how little chemists made. I junped into programming and stayed for 31 less than happy years.

This is more fun.

102 posted on 03/29/2009 11:55:35 AM PDT by Publius (The Quadri-Metallic Standard: Gold and silver for commerce, lead and brass for protection.)
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To: Publius

I’m starting to suspect that you may actually be Hugh Akston undercover. (Not sure who Billthedrill is, yet.)

This chapter is the start of what I believe makes AS so beautiful. Rand starts to guide us through The Effects of jiggering with the steady-state of the free market. What happens when you tell industry what they must produce? You get the Chevy Volt, which nobody wants. So the the Big Three are telling Washington that they should artificially inflate gas prices so people will want their stupid car.


103 posted on 03/29/2009 12:06:55 PM PDT by Explorer89 (Could you direct me to the Coachella Valley, and the carrot festival, therein?)
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To: Explorer89; Billthedrill

Actually, Billthedrill is Hugh Akston. I’m just Eddie Willers trying to keep a railroad running.


104 posted on 03/29/2009 12:10:21 PM PDT by Publius (The Quadri-Metallic Standard: Gold and silver for commerce, lead and brass for protection.)
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To: Publius
Hank is visited by a paramilitary...

...Hank won’t provide that answer and refuses to sell anything to the Institute for any purpose. The paramilitary explains that Hank must obey the law; Hank tells him to arrest him and steal whatever he wants...

So we finally have someone challenging powers that be. Contrast this with the scene where Hank stood up to his mother and her demand to provide employment to his brother.

Hank tells the paramilitary-

"Don't try to send me payment- I won't accept it... ... you have the guns to seize it, go ahead."

At this point I find it important to understand what 'police power' is (it may not be what you assume) and how it is being applied to Rearden. He seems to understand that he can't stop what is happening as he did with his mothers demands.

105 posted on 03/29/2009 12:59:43 PM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: Still Thinking
Much of what you're seeking is contained in Post #34 without spoilers.

Stadler and Akston competed for the attention of 3 great students at Patrick Henry U.: Francisco d'Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjøld and a third unnamed man. Check Post #34 to see why Stadler fears that John Galt is still alive. It's all about guilt.

A soul should have a high sales price, and Dr. Robert Stadler may have sold his short.

106 posted on 03/29/2009 1:50:41 PM PDT by Publius (The Quadri-Metallic Standard: Gold and silver for commerce, lead and brass for protection.)
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To: whodathunkit
The police power arrayed against Rearden is pretty much absolute due to the constant state of emergency. But the government fears a negative reaction from the public and seeks the sanction of the victim before making its move. The victim must agree that he deserves to be punished.

It's as much about morality as it is about power. That's Rand's genius.

107 posted on 03/29/2009 1:53:32 PM PDT by Publius (The Quadri-Metallic Standard: Gold and silver for commerce, lead and brass for protection.)
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To: tstarr

Philosophy is Greek for Math, and music is an extension of same.


108 posted on 03/29/2009 2:29:53 PM PDT by patton (If Hawai'i seccedes, is Barack Obama still an illegal alien?)
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To: fella

Now that’s an impressive line up of ammo.

Too bad that the Federalist Papers are such a difficult read.

Didn’t someone translate them to modern english recently?

Keep up the good work!


109 posted on 03/29/2009 2:32:08 PM PDT by sneakin (Remember, always pillage BEFORE you burn.)
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To: Publius
Why is there the profession of Grant Writer? Isn't that just a Defreezer by a different name? My first job after college was working as a research technician for the head of the Endocrinology Dept. at the University of Rochester. He did good research, nothing groundbreaking, but he was in demand throughout the U. for his grant-proposal writing skills. Ya gotta know how to get the Federal dollar to survive in education or government. PS: I can't figure out how to get a line feeds, now.
110 posted on 03/29/2009 2:33:13 PM PDT by woodnboats
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To: whodathunkit
...Hank won’t provide that answer and refuses to sell anything to the Institute for any purpose. The paramilitary explains that Hank must obey the law; Hank tells him to arrest him and steal whatever he wants... Reminds me of Mary Richards' job inteview with Lou Grant: she tells him he's not permitted to ask her age, and he replies, "Wanna call a cop?" Funny, but poignant, especially in the mouth of ultra-lib Ed Asner.
111 posted on 03/29/2009 2:40:28 PM PDT by woodnboats
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To: mick

“...maybe I just wanted to survive and save my ass.”

That’s why Ann Rand wrote this book. You should be thriving. You should have multiple buildings doing what you do, and hundreds of employees. Of course you wanted to save your ass just as you wanted to make money. Why shouldn’t you? The shame lies in the looters, not you.


112 posted on 03/29/2009 4:32:48 PM PDT by villagerjoel ("Gun control is a prerequisite for genocide." - Unknown)
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To: Publius
Billthedrill is Hugh Akston. I’m just Eddie Willers trying to keep a railroad running.

LOL! Naw, I'm the bum in the first chapter. "Will check premises for $$$." BTT.

113 posted on 03/29/2009 4:57:48 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Still Thinking; tstarr
Also note that when you use any of these tags, a "return" no longer works to break a paragraph. You have to use a <p> or a </br> to get a new paragraph
114 posted on 03/29/2009 5:12:33 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 (The U.S. Constitution may be flawed, but it's a whole lot better than what we have now)
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To: woodnboats
PS: I can't figure out how to get a line feeds, now.

See my post 114

115 posted on 03/29/2009 5:20:44 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 (The U.S. Constitution may be flawed, but it's a whole lot better than what we have now)
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To: Billthedrill
I would like to ask for a clarification about the chapter name "The man who belonged on earth."

Quoting your post...

The chapter title is “The Man Who Belonged On Earth,” an invocation of an individual yet nameless but whose identity we finally learn in this chapter

and...

...He picked up the book and let it drop into the wastebasket. …And thinks of the Man Who Belonged On Earth:...

And this Man Who Belongs, Stadler’s and Akston’s ex-student, who Stadler found himself hoping to be dead? It is John Galt, of course.

Now quoting AS...

(Stadler)"Why did he want to waste his mind on practical appliances?" (Dagny)"Perhaps because he liked living on this earth"

So I see why you think the reference is to John Galt but...

...later in the chapter Dagnys thoughts about Rearden...

Again quoting AS "...He belonged in the countryside, she thought-he belonged everywhere-he was a man who belonged on earth-..."

I hate to appear obtuse but what was Rand trying to convey? Are both of them 'The man who belonged on earth?'

Your insight into the parallel of Objectivism and the motor was intriguing. Thanks!

116 posted on 03/29/2009 5:54:45 PM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: whodathunkit
Yes.

LOL! Sorry. That's outstanding, and you are probably right on both accounts. Well done, very well done indeed. Without getting too far ahead of the book (and boy, is that ever a temptation with this one!) I think it is Rand's thesis that those people who recognize the moral laws driving human progress belong on earth - the people of life - and those who deny their existence do not, the people of death if you like.

But I confess I missed that clear reference to Rearden. That's just nicely done. Thank you!

117 posted on 03/29/2009 6:58:27 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

“You know, Mr. Rearden, there are no absolute standards. We can’t go by rigid principles…we’ve got to…act on the expediency of the moment.”

Bill, the above can also be applied to laws that are currently used against people, based on a completely subjective interpretation.

We can’t go by rigid principles as it were.

For example: as it now stands, as long as someone “feels” they’re working in a hostile environment, they have the ability to sue for compensation.

A lot of sexual harassment is subjective. It’s amazing how much trouble one can get in based on the opinion of the person claiming harassment.

Sadly, if one presses forward with a claim in either of the above, more than likely, they will be offered a settlement, known as “cost of defense.” (My ladyfriend is a legal secretary, she probably has lost count of the number of cases she’s seen settled in just such a manner)

Hank Rearden is in a “cost of defense” position. He could have allowed the government to “buy” his metal and government would let him alone. Instead of paying, though, Hank chose to fight.

So, since there is always a price to be paid when one doesn’t play the game by the rules set by government, what price is Hank going to pay down the road? What price will government exact for his non-cooperation?


118 posted on 03/29/2009 8:33:04 PM PDT by stylin_geek (Senators and Representatives : They govern like Calvin Ball is played, making it up as they go along)
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To: stylin_geek

And hate crimes (a really really stupid idea in the first place). The laws are written neutral and supposedly criminalize crimes motivated by “gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, etc.” But you notice they almost never (I think I’ve heard of it being done once) charge as a hate crime if the vic is a white straight male Christian, and the perp is a black Muslim lesbian, only the other way around. Interpreting the law on the spot to fit the desired outcome, much as you’ve described.


119 posted on 03/29/2009 8:44:57 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: Still Thinking
Yeah, so far at least I see Stadler as kind of a wussified Galt. He knows what’s right, but is too willing to compromise due to some belief in the futility of fighting what’s going on.

I suppose a lot of us are in those same shoes right now, so I shouldn't judge him too harshly ;)
120 posted on 03/29/2009 9:38:27 PM PDT by CottonBall
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To: Explorer89
Never used the chemistry in my professional career, just wanted to take P-Chem for giggles.

You do have an odd sense of humor!
121 posted on 03/29/2009 9:39:24 PM PDT by CottonBall
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To: CottonBall

Right you are my fluffy, absorbent friend.


122 posted on 03/29/2009 10:06:32 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: stylin_geek
What price will government exact for his non-cooperation?

(Fist stuffed firmly in mouth) - you are so right. I just re-read that chapter. Let's just say that it's very much in character for the guys doing it.

I'm doing my best to stay only a couple of chapters ahead this time through so I won't pepper the thread with spoilers, and it's getting harder and harder. I can see why people give up on the novel - it's taken, what, 500 pages to get the characters in place and the plot established to where you actually can anticipate move and counter-move. But we're there at last. The novel is like one of Dagny's trains, slow to pick up speed and impossible to stop once it does.

123 posted on 03/30/2009 9:10:32 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

I sometimes wonder if Hank Rearden and his company are modeled after John Rockefeller and the Standard Oil trust.

Some interesting parallels there.


124 posted on 03/30/2009 9:55:09 AM PDT by stylin_geek (Senators and Representatives : They govern like Calvin Ball is played, making it up as they go along)
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To: Still Thinking

LOL!

You are the first to refer to my rather odd screen name. I see you are truly ‘Still Thinking’!


125 posted on 03/30/2009 3:56:07 PM PDT by CottonBall
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To: Publius

First time visitor to this thread.


126 posted on 03/30/2009 8:17:25 PM PDT by Ciexyz (I heard Joe the Plumber speak 03-30-2009.)
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To: Ciexyz

Good to have you. Go to Post #2 and check out all the other threads that lead to this one.


127 posted on 03/30/2009 8:18:16 PM PDT by Publius (The Quadri-Metallic Standard: Gold and silver for commerce, lead and brass for protection.)
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To: Billthedrill
I'm doing my best to stay only a couple of chapters ahead this time through so I won't pepper the thread with spoilers, and it's getting harder and harder. I can see why people give up on the novel - it's taken, what, 500 pages to get the characters in place and the plot established to where you actually can anticipate move and counter-move. But we're there at last. The novel is like one of Dagny's trains, slow to pick up speed and impossible to stop once it does.

Well put, Mister Thedrill... I made comments myself similar to those upthread, that Rand 'really needed an editor' and such. But I found myself later in the book increasingly enjoying the very longwindedness of it. The last chapter was agonizing inasmuch as I knew that the story was at long last going to have to stop and I really didn't want it to. I wanted it to just keep going. Like Dagny's trains indeed.

128 posted on 04/02/2009 3:11:03 PM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Publius

bookmark


129 posted on 04/07/2009 6:22:18 AM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: demsux
Wesley Mouch = Barak Obama

Naah, Wesley Mouch = Barney Frank

130 posted on 04/18/2009 3:43:56 PM PDT by RedStateGuyTrappedinCT
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To: r-q-tek86
Part II, Chapter II: The Aristocracy of Pull
131 posted on 08/14/2009 6:09:54 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 ("A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom." - Ayn Rand)
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