Skip to comments.FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, The Man Who Belonged on Earth
Posted on 03/28/2009 7:39:14 AM PDT by Publius
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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.
This is more fun.
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.
Actually, Billthedrill is Hugh Akston. I’m just Eddie Willers trying to keep a railroad running.
...Hank wont 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.
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.
It's as much about morality as it is about power. That's Rand's genius.
Philosophy is Greek for Math, and music is an extension of same.
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!
“...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.
LOL! Naw, I'm the bum in the first chapter. "Will check premises for $$$." BTT.
See my post 114
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
...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, Stadlers and Akstons 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!
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!
You know, Mr. Rearden, there are no absolute standards. We cant go by rigid principles weve 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?
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.
Right you are my fluffy, absorbent friend.
(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.
I sometimes wonder if Hank Rearden and his company are modeled after John Rockefeller and the Standard Oil trust.
Some interesting parallels there.
You are the first to refer to my rather odd screen name. I see you are truly ‘Still Thinking’!
First time visitor to this thread.
Good to have you. Go to Post #2 and check out all the other threads that lead to this one.
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.
Naah, Wesley Mouch = Barney Frank