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FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, Atlantis
A Publius Essay | 6 June 2009 | Publius

Posted on 06/06/2009 7:23:17 AM PDT by Publius

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To: jdub

“giving something to someone who can afford to pay what its worth is not charity, its an insult. the point is that it is not immoral to charge a fair price for a good or service.”

I didn’t insult anyone with my banana bread today. And I’m sure they all could have paid for it.

It wouldn’t be immoral for me to go into the banana bread business, of course not. But there should be room for daily, regular, course of life giving to others without keeping a tally sheet.


51 posted on 06/06/2009 5:42:33 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: woodnboats

“And it is voluntary.”

And here is where we meet. It is VOLUNTARY. Socialism and communism are nothing but theft, and I do not support either.

But I don’t think someone who feels righteous due to the fact that they charge for every little thing is a person to be emulated.


52 posted on 06/06/2009 5:44:42 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: Publius

“To return to Heinlein’s science fiction, prospectors on asteroids had no hesitation in giving air to someone in an emergency situation. However, once things were stabilized, it was customary to pay for the consumption of that air.

It has nothing to do with atheism.”

Well, we are dealing with sci fi, presumably air was a commodity, like gas. If I ran a gas station, I’d charge everybody for gas, at least normally. But every once in a while, if I felt it was the kind thing to do, I’d discount or give some away.

It’s the biblical principle of gleaning, I think. The legitimate land OWNERS and farmers are instructed not to get every last bit from their fields, but to leave some to glean. The poor could come and glean, and not pay. No hard feelings. That was God’s law, and the principle remains.

In re: gas, I don’t own a gas station. But my son told me he was unable to get to Sacramento this week, as he is out of money until the 15th. I told him, if he needs some gas money, let me know. I will give him some money, because I have some. No debt sheet, no interest, and I’ll probably forget that I did it within a few weeks.

Desperately toting up every little transaction does indeed have something to do with atheism. There is no concept of grace, no acknowledgement that ultimately all you have is God’s blessing to you; that you arrived here naked and without possessions, and will leave here the same way.

This is not to endorse the theft of socialism or communism. It is just to reject extreme self righteousness that Ayn Rand pushes so heavy handedly in her works.


53 posted on 06/06/2009 6:02:28 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: r-q-tek86
Actually, I thought that the Gulch was more of a ‘waiting place’, where the producers could wait out the collapse - let the world let the socialist statist crap go till it crashed (without the thinkers and producers), then after the collapse the “alpha's” of the gulch could go back out into the world and build it again (without keeping the looters as a necessary but distasteful part of the system).
54 posted on 06/06/2009 6:55:51 PM PDT by Kay Ludlow (Government actions ALWAYS have unintended consequences...)
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To: Marie2

>>But there should be room for daily, regular, course of life giving to others without keeping a tally sheet.

But there is a tally sheet, whether you think so or not. If you have a group of friends, say 8 or 9, and one consistently never hosts a party, never brings anything to a party, never bakes, cooks, offers to clean-up...what happens? They don’t get invited because they are FREELOADERS (looters in Atlas Shrugged). This happens all the time.


55 posted on 06/06/2009 8:10:08 PM PDT by Betis70 (Keep working serf, Zero's in charge)
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To: Betis70

“If you have a group of friends, say 8 or 9, and one consistently never hosts a party, never brings anything to a party, never bakes, cooks, offers to clean-up...what happens?”

Socially, you are correct. This is the usual course of events. This behavior shows ingratitude, and we don’t like that. The LEAST you can do is express appreciation, help clean up.

But I have done things for people who can never pay me back, and more often, people have done things for me.

For instance, my friend runs a horse camp. We can not and probably will not, for many years, be able to send my kids to horse camp. Waaaay out of our budget. She invites my girls a few times a year, no charge, so they can enjoy themselves. What is my contribution? Sometimes I send them with some cinnamon rolls. We say thank you. That is about it. It’s all I can do. She is not being “paid” equal to what she is giving, not by a long shot.

And what does Jesus say?

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13

It should come as no surprise that some of Rand’s values stand in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ. Her atheistic values come out. Not all of her ideas are objectionable. But she has no concept of grace.


56 posted on 06/06/2009 9:07:12 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: Publius
With regards to this one, We’ve seen Rand’s ideal Objectivist society operating in Galt’s Gulch. How well would it work in the real world? It would be a farce. The characters of Atlas Shrugged exist to make a point, not to illustrate reality. They are men who can squeeze trains full of oil from a dead field, or how to craft an alloy that can stand twenty times the load of current steel. It is impossible to believe that men of that ability would not grasp the need to control politicians. However, lazy, incompetent, jeaalous imbeciles like James Taggart, Owen Boyle, Paul Larkin, and Robert Stadler seem to be experts at it.

First of all, the men like Ken Dannagger know when to hire experts to do something they can't do. Hank Rearden's only failure is addressed in this matter. He hires the aptly named Wesley Mouch to lobby for him. Rearden also meets with Dr. Potter of the State Science Institute and Potter attempts to extort him. Rearden threatens to kill Potter over it. But then Mouch steals the money Rearden paid him to lobby for Rearden Steel, then helps to get a law passed that persecutes Rearden, then joins forces with the looters who are trying to destroy Rearden's fortune. Rearden does nothing.

This only exists as a plot device, and no matter how many times Rand tries to explain Rearden's psychology, it never convinces. Rearden is supposed to be a man who could mine iron ore, run a steel furnace, and build an empire across the scale from raw materials to finished goods. When he gets ripped off for tens of millions of dollars, he espresses no desire to get it back, nor to get even with those who stole it. He's supposed to be modeled after Nat Taggart. Nat Taggart strangled a banker who tried the same thing. Rearden doesn't even hire another lobbyist to try to get the law repealed, and the unemployed masses wander around asking about John Galt instead of venting their anger on the elected representatives.

In the real world, we have the recordings of Abscam Jack, who at least understands the meaning of jobs in his district. In the real world, no matter how noble a man, he is still subject to spite and hate, as well as irrational beliefs. Rand's world is a good way to illustrate a point, but it's also a Greek Tragedy. The lead players are supposed to be gods.

57 posted on 06/06/2009 9:34:46 PM PDT by sig226 (Real power is not the ability to destroy an enemy. It is the willingness to do it.)
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To: Marie2

In general I align more with you.

But watching an interview with Rand, it seems she has no objection to people giving to others *of their own free will*. I don’t think it comes through in AS, but her general way of expressing it is if you think of it as a sacrifice, it really isn’t freely given.

I personally get a lot of satisfaction from giving to others when I want to. But giving because some government official tells me to, or some United Way rep comes around to my cubicle and tries to shame me into giving, no thank you. They support things I would never freely give to, so instead I give to things I value: the BSA or cancer research for instance.


58 posted on 06/06/2009 9:47:20 PM PDT by Betis70 (Keep working serf, Zero's in charge)
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To: woodnboats; Marie2
I’m afraid I don’t see what this has to do with not believing in a god.

I agree with you. And Rand's atheism hasn't seemed to be a factor in the story as much as it may be when she's discussing the straight philosophy in it's own regard (where her use of "rational thought" seems to carry hints that one should acknowledge nothing which is unproven).

But still, solid unbending objectivism could be nothing else, though that wouldn't necessarily exclude one from practicing morals and ethics like those taught in religion. And she may or may not have connected atheism with her other beliefs, I don't know. She must have known or expected her vision of society would have to be compatible with belief in God, since the vast majority of people do have some kind of religious beliefs.

59 posted on 06/06/2009 9:50:59 PM PDT by Clinging Bitterly (He must fail.)
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To: sig226
It is impossible to believe that men of that ability would not grasp the need to control politicians.

Now that's food for thought. In Rand's world, the unions control votes. The looters control power via the bureaucracy. People like Hank and Dagny may hire lobbyists, but they don't have the clout to control poliicians. They don't set policy.

It's interesting that Rand didn't foresee K Street or the power of industry and high finance to own and operate politicians.

60 posted on 06/06/2009 10:04:32 PM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius
* The word “give” is banned in Galt’s Gulch. Doesn’t an Objectivist society demand the redefinition of the concept of charity?

I don't think so. It seems compatible with my definition, at least, where it is not taking from one at gunpoint and appropriating it (not giving, a thing which is freely done) to another. She might have chosen a better word than "give", but she had no doubt seen plenty of usage in her Soviet Russia upbringing similar to the way it and the companion "ask" have been so famously used by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and so many others of the political class.

* We’ve seen Rand’s ideal Objectivist society operating in Galt’s Gulch. How well would it work in the real world?

It does seem to be carried to an extreme in the gulch, there's no doubt about that. In any functional society there will always be some measure of forced behavior and (dare I say) socialism. Here, our constitution is the agreement of the collective creating a government and spelling out those things we expect it to do, and in essence those are things we expect it will force us to do. Of, by, and for the people, after all.

* Dr. Hendricks, one of America’s best surgeons, left the profession because the government nationalized the health care system. Is there a cautionary tale here?

I have no doubts. I don't know how it is in most places, but in my town the medical community circled their wagons long ago and developed a general business model that maximizes their personal financial benefit. Even though the area's major medical center is a "not for profit" enterprise operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the professionals, doctors and nurses, are among the most financially successful in the nation. I imagine a good number of them would not take kindly any efforts to limit that.

61 posted on 06/06/2009 10:33:25 PM PDT by Clinging Bitterly (He must fail.)
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To: Betis70

“But giving because some government official tells me to, or some United Way rep comes around to my cubicle and tries to shame me into giving, no thank you.”

I assume we are all in agreement on that. I do not like the shakedowns. I don’t give to them, either.

I can’t go grocery shopping any more without being asked for a donation at the checkout. If the grocery store wants to be charitable, why don’t they donate? They take all these donations at the cash register, then say “Safeway gave $23,492 to Juvenile Diabetes last month!” I go to several different grocery stores, too, including Costco. They all do it.


62 posted on 06/06/2009 11:28:21 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: Marie2
I have a business that provides a service to other small businesses. Right now many of them are in trouble, some hanging on by their fingernails. What I do is not a major line item but it is not insignificant either, even in the best of times. It is something that is necessary and scheduled. They plan for and accept it as a cost of doing business. We have a large number of long-term accounts and most of my people have been with me for years..

I have strict instructions that if there are any signs of a problem with an account I want to have the account on my desk pronto. Dodging or delaying appointments, late paying on an invoice, anything at all, I want to know. Right now, for a great number of accounts, I am billing light or not at all. I'm in a position that I can do this. I'm not desperate for the money. I wish things were better but they aren't. I am erasing one problem from the huge pile that my customers face.

If we do have a customer with a problem we take care of him anyway. I use any plausible excuse. I'll show up with a toolbox and tell them “Hey, I'm in the area and I've got time to kill, if you let me do it now, I won't have to bill you.” or “I've got a six pack in the car. Help me drink it and I'll do this while we're talkin'.” I will drop it in conversation that a lot of my accounts are in trouble and I really don't give a damn if a payment is late, short or not made at all. I'll handwrite across an invoice “Information only. Catch me when you can.”

Will they be grateful? In a word, no. I will lose most of these accounts. I know that. They will be uncomfortable around me. They will bolt at the first opportunity and blame it on me. Gratitude is not what I am after. I get my reward when the look of anxiety comes off a customer's face or when I see his family in Church on Sunday or his kids on the ball field on Saturday night. I am giving these guys a little more room to cope and that is what I am after. I am big enough to handle the detritus.

Is this counter to what Rand is saying? I don't think so. In a way it reinforces it. It makes some of my customers feel like moochers. Old friends will avert their eyes or avoid me. It will take years to reestablish bonds that I am breaking by my “charity”. The language, or at least my command of it, is inadequate to explain how the relationships have changed. At times like these I wish I had a few more IQ points to explain the contempt that I am generating. If I could explain it it might go to the contempt that the moochers in our society can have for the hands that feed them.

63 posted on 06/07/2009 1:39:28 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: Publius

I will be very interested in your publication if it comes to fruition. Your observations have been very inspiring to me.


64 posted on 06/07/2009 2:48:12 AM PDT by DownwardSpiral (Downward Spiral is where the (socialist) liberals are taking us!)
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To: Explorer89
I agree with you and I think that this Galt’s Gulch is fantasy. But once it is accepted that it is a fantasy, Rand still gets her point across.
65 posted on 06/07/2009 3:22:51 AM PDT by DownwardSpiral (Downward Spiral is where the (socialist) liberals are taking us!)
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To: Publius
Here is an article about Rand and some interesting comments.

http://www.wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=60289&catid=181

btw, I loved this chapter. Loved, loved, loved it. After spending so much time reading and guessing about what was going on, it was the reward. It was worth it.

66 posted on 06/07/2009 5:13:44 AM PDT by WV Mountain Mama (Let's go Pens!)
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To: r-q-tek86
The trick is to keep the core principles while devising appropriate rules of the game.

In that sentence, you've just defined the American Experiment. It started out with a series of compromises that most of the founders deemed deplorable, until it was found to work and evolve. It was never perfect, but for the first 200 years, it proved better than anything tried before by any other country.

And now we find ourselves with a President and Government that is willing to throw all of the principles and founding assumptions of our great Republic out the window while pursuing its own view of the great Socialist State. Very depressing.

67 posted on 06/07/2009 5:27:46 AM PDT by ReleaseTheHounds ("The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.")
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To: Betis70
...or some United Way rep comes around to my cubicle and tries to shame me into giving, no thank you.

Charity begins at home. When I'm asked I reply that I've already given and let it go at that. It's the truth.

68 posted on 06/07/2009 6:03:33 AM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: Publius

I was out of town, over on the coast, which is why I’m late replying.

I would argue that envy and greed are not necessarily sins, if applied correctly.

It is okay to envy your neighbor, then put in the work to equal or surpass his achievement. However, if that envy is used to take from your neighbor, then, that is frowned upon.

Greed is much the same way. One can work and acquire material goods. Nothing wrong with that. If, however, the acquisition of material goods is coupled with unethical behavior, fraud, murder, etc., then, greed is bad.

I contend our current society has a lot of greed and envy. However, the greed and envy is used by our political class to justify taking from those who produce and giving to those who envy through greedy redistribution policies.


69 posted on 06/07/2009 6:32:12 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: Publius
A ship without ballast is gyroscopically unstable

I am troubled by this metaphor. Gravitationally, would be a better fit. Gyroscopically would better describe a rudderless ship. The allusion that the ballast of debt to keep the fiscal ship upright is good, in that, without the debt, there is little to keep the ship in service except the need to service the debt. Gyroscopically would imply an inability to get to the destination.

The ownership of a house, forces one to pay the mortgage and upkeep on it. Without that assumption of debt, people would pickup and move on.

Unfortunately, I see the government removing the ownership of property and distributing it on a temporary and arbitrary basis to favored constituencies. The government will assume the debt and convert it to an asset it bestows, removing the ballast from the people, leaving them to flounder at the whim of government.

70 posted on 06/07/2009 7:16:33 AM PDT by depressed in 06 (For the first time, in my life, I am not proud of my country. Thanks ZerO.)
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To: jonno
Today the attitude is exactly reversed. There seems to be a righteous expectation of the handout. Instead of humbly going down for relief, we now hear only complaints when "my check" is late.

The attitude of society toward the giver has deteriorated as well. Take away the voluntary aspect and today they're viewed anywhere from a communistic "you have more, therefore you can afford it", to a more antagonistic attitude where the possession of wealth is evidence that it was taken illegitimately from the Jerry Springer devotees.

I think this is exactly the problem today. Philanthropic societies were created by those "with' to help those without. It was understood that there was a benefactor-beneficiary relationship. If you found yourself without - in deep need - you went with your hat in your hand - a humbling event - and requested aid.

Someone was lauding FDR [spit] the other day that he was motivated to make the US communist (my hyperbole, not his) because he saw the indignity of poor houses. Moron. It was supposed to be humiliating! That way if you were able you wouldn't go there.

71 posted on 06/07/2009 8:04:49 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Betis70
These are all world-class alpha dogs, and there are always disagreements about getting your own way in such a group.

Not if they're libertarian first and alpha dog second. Libertarians are absolute tyrants about their own lives and if they're intellectually honest, disinterested in the corresponding decisions others make about their lives. Now I'm not necessarily saying that the Gulch society could be functional overall, because I probably have to agree that it would probably not, just addressing this one particular issue.

72 posted on 06/07/2009 8:12:24 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Billthedrill
It is, incidentally, one of the few dated moments in this 50-year-old novel, this “ray screen” business that kills “magnetic,” by which one hopes Rand means “reciprocating” engines.

That annoyed me too. I could see it killing her alternator (did they use alternators or generators in 1957?) and obviously her compass, and probably her radio, but her motor and flight controls, which probably would have been cables and linkages, should have been clicking along just fine.

73 posted on 06/07/2009 8:18:54 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: r-q-tek86
Teams are not required to recruit to match a defined racial mix.

I've used this in argument with affirmative action believers. If they're willing to include professional and college sports, then I'll discuss the merits of affirmative action with them. If they're going to pick and choose where it applies, they're not honest enough to debate.

74 posted on 06/07/2009 8:32:55 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Marie2
I can’t go grocery shopping any more without being asked for a donation at the checkout. If the grocery store wants to be charitable, why don’t they donate? They take all these donations at the cash register, then say “Safeway gave $23,492 to Juvenile Diabetes last month!” I go to several different grocery stores, too, including Costco. They all do it.

While I admit I don't like being asked for a donation at checkout, at least if everyone in town is doing it, I still prefer that to Target's model. They do what you suggest and give their own money, but it's still mine in a way. I'd bet dollars to dimes everything they give money to is something a liberal would approve of, so it means that into every purchase I make is in effect built in a donation to a group supported by only half their customers. Better if they lower their prices by that percentage and maybe Cato, or GOA, or some conservative Congressional candidate might get the money instead of some home for hags that think all men are rapists because they have penii, yet somehow they're not all prostitutes.

75 posted on 06/07/2009 8:50:11 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: MARTIAL MONK

I think you are doing the right thing, anyway.


76 posted on 06/07/2009 9:21:16 AM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: Still Thinking; Billthedrill
...that kills “magnetic,” by which one hopes Rand means “reciprocating” engines

I think the reference was to the magneto type ignition system which uses magnets to generate electricity and therefore spark. The magneto system is used in aircraft due to it's utter reliability, permanent magnets being very dependable.

Reference Wiki-"The magneto is now confined mainly to lawnmowers, chainsaws, and internal-combustion aviation engines."

77 posted on 06/07/2009 9:26:42 AM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: whodathunkit

Thanks, Kirk! Learn something new every day.


78 posted on 06/07/2009 9:29:10 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: whodathunkit

Oops, NOT Kirk. Mixed you up with woodnboats.


79 posted on 06/07/2009 9:30:29 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Marie2

“But I don’t think someone who feels righteous due to the fact that they charge for every little thing is a person to be emulated.”

Well, I think here AR is simply making the point that the books must balance, whatever the commodities involved in the trade. A bit overdone, perhaps.

Kirk


80 posted on 06/07/2009 9:56:53 AM PDT by woodnboats (Help stimulate the economy: Buy guns NOW, while you still can!)
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To: Publius; Billthedrill

Apropos of nothing...

Recently, I got in a discussion with a good friend of mine over the cost of drugs. The end of the conversation reminded me of Francisco’s speech and the woman who “felt that Francisco was wrong.”

The friend of mine, who is a staunch Republican, got one of those emails detailing the cost of ingredients in prescription drugs. It was one of those emails slamming big pharmacy for charging hundreds of dollars for a drug that cost pennies to manufacture.

I pointed out the drug in question very likely cost the upward of a billion dollars to bring to market. That cost has to be made up at somehow. I also pointed out the limited window that drug companies have in order to recoup R&D costs.

Anyway, bottom line is that she let her “feelings” get in the way of facts and couldn’t agree with the points I made.

I’ve come to the conclusion that “I think, therefore I am” has been supplanted by “I feel, therefore you are wrong.”


81 posted on 06/07/2009 10:26:59 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: MARTIAL MONK
Is this counter to what Rand is saying? I don't think so. In a way it reinforces it. It makes some of my customers feel like moochers.

Several chapters back, Hank gave Eddie Willers a delay in paying for Rearden Metal because the railroad was in trouble financially. (Dagny was off building the John Galt Line at the time.) Eddie felt badly about accepting the delay because it would help Jim Taggart, but he appreciated it anyway. Hank simply thought it was good business for his company.

So I think you're right.

82 posted on 06/07/2009 11:09:40 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: WV Mountain Mama
Excellent article. You might want to post it to FR if you haven't done so already.

I also loved this chapter. All but one of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, and that last piece falls into place in a few more chapters. It's satisfying to see the mysteries solved and almost everything explained.

83 posted on 06/07/2009 11:17:22 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: ReleaseTheHounds
It started out with a series of compromises that most of the founders deemed deplorable, until it was found to work and evolve.

And those compromises defined the loose construction versus strict construction debate that ended with the War Between the States -- but has been revived of late with the return of a movement toward genuine federalism.

The names of Marshall, Jefferson, Webster, Clay, Hayne, Jackson, Calhoun, Crawford -- and the very elderly Madison -- figure in here.

I would strongly suggest a reading of Forrest McDonald's States' Rights and the Union to examine what you've brought up in deep detail.

84 posted on 06/07/2009 11:24:13 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: stylin_geek
However, the greed and envy is used by our political class to justify taking from those who produce and giving to those who envy through greedy redistribution policies.

That one's a keeper!

85 posted on 06/07/2009 11:25:56 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: depressed in 06
First, thank you for catching that error in metaphor on my part. This is what peer review is all about, and FReepers excel at that. I've changed the text that will go to the publisher if we get a book deal.

Unfortunately, I see the government removing the ownership of property and distributing it on a temporary and arbitrary basis to favored constituencies. The government will assume the debt and convert it to an asset it bestows, removing the ballast from the people, leaving them to flounder at the whim of government.

Very, very perceptive. The asset then gets packaged with derivatives (insurance) that cannot be priced accurately, which compounds the problem. It's recipe for collapse.

86 posted on 06/07/2009 11:29:57 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Still Thinking; jonno

At the beginning of the chapter titled “Anti-Life” there is an incident that corresponds directly to the points you are making. In a few weeks, I’ll expect you to work on the discussion topic I’m building around that incident.


87 posted on 06/07/2009 11:33:17 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Still Thinking
...hags that think all men are rapists because they have penii...

Actually, the word penis is 3rd Declension Masculine, which means the plural would be penes. (Not to be picky, but I had three years of Latin.)

88 posted on 06/07/2009 11:36:28 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius

Well, it needs some editing.

Perhaps:

“However, greed and envy is used by our political class to justify taking from those who produce, and giving to those who envy, through greedy redistribution policies.”

Without the comma, it looks like I’m saying those who envy, envy because of the greedy redistribution policies.


89 posted on 06/07/2009 11:38:19 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: stylin_geek

Polish it until it’s ready to be used as a tag line.


90 posted on 06/07/2009 11:40:39 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius

Actually, I was kidding, and didn’t actually think penii was correct. Even so, I didn’t know penes was correct and appreciate the education. Thanks, Pub, your varied background never ceases to amaze!


91 posted on 06/07/2009 11:51:06 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Still Thinking

Aw, shucks. (blush blush)


92 posted on 06/07/2009 11:52:39 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius; stylin_geek
How about:

"Greed and envy: From mortal sin to political paradigm in under 100 years!"

93 posted on 06/07/2009 11:55:54 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Still Thinking

Very good. As they say in the movie business” “Cut! Print it!”


94 posted on 06/07/2009 11:57:01 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius; Still Thinking

“Greed and envy allows our political class to exploit the rich and poor.”


95 posted on 06/07/2009 12:06:01 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

I like it!


96 posted on 06/07/2009 12:25:52 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Still Thinking; Publius

Or:

“Greed and envy is used by our political class to exploit the rich and poor.”


97 posted on 06/07/2009 12:41:55 PM PDT by stylin_geek (Greed and envy is used by our political class to exploit the rich and poor.)
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To: stylin_geek

Political hucksters mine greed and envy to make citizens into serfs.


98 posted on 06/07/2009 12:47:09 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: stylin_geek
I’ve come to the conclusion that “I think, therefore I am” has been supplanted by “I feel, therefore you are wrong.”

That's a keeper right there. You just conjured up the memory of a conversation I had with a neighbor a few years ago that convinced me that Rand's villains are real. In my Seattle days I used to work for a biopharmaceutical firm - Publius may even recall which one - that made the Big Strike and came up with a very effective and successful drug. That one cost between $350-500 million in R&D - the amount is indeterminate because your R&D doesn't stop once the drug hits the market, you have to keep researching to unearth unexpected effects. (This particular drug turned out to be harmful to active tuberculosis patients, for example - best of luck figuring that one out in a test population).

So this neighbor of mine confronted me one day about how much the drug cost and I explained that it was really expensive to produce due to the process being sort of exotic and she says, "Well, you should find a way to make it cheaper." Yeah, I said, that's what process science is all about, but in the meantime there are patients who need the stuff, and anyway the R&D for that new process would cost us money...she wasn't listening. She was absolutely convinced that the whole thing was a plot to squeeze money out of sick people.

My mistake was mentioning our next drug, one that looked promising and (worst case) didn't fail until very late in the process, costing us maybe another half a billion, and she was outraged that patients using one drug should have to pay money to develop other ones. I told her we had to do that or the company would fold and there wouldn't be any new drugs for anyone, and her reply was, "Well, that's what you get for soaking your patients."

She participated in a drive somewhat later to turn the successful one into a generic so the prices would go down. Remember what Orren Boyle did to Rearden Metal? That's exactly what she wanted to do. What was scary was that this woman actually wanted to hurt people - I'm not kidding, "the government" seizing the company, the bank accounts (that's where the filthy profits were), making the researchers and manufacturers work for free (yes, slave labor) in order to make up for the exploitation we'd committed - I got to thinking that if this woman were ever in the position to do that stuff, she would, and would feel perfectly justified about it.

Atlas Shrugged didn't come to mind at the time but it probably should have because she's in there. The psychological mechanism was very simple - she thought she'd found "injustice" and therefore anyone having anything to do with it needed to be punished. You read AS and you think hey, it's a novel, people like these are caricatures, but they're not, they're all around us. You can never be disarmed in the presence of these people, they will kill you, or order someone else to kill you. And feel great about it.

99 posted on 06/07/2009 1:56:33 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
I told her we had to do that or the company would fold and there wouldn't be any new drugs for anyone, and her reply was, "Well, that's what you get for soaking your patients."

There's cognitive dissonance for ya. You tell her the consequences of NOT doing the way it is today, and she equates that with the consequences FOR doing it that way. Moron.

100 posted on 06/07/2009 2:00:55 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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