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FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, Their Brothers Keepers
A Publius Essay | 4 July 2009 | Publius

Posted on 07/04/2009 7:26:32 AM PDT by Publius

Part III: A is A

Chapter V: Their Brothers’ Keepers


In California a copper wire breaks on a Taggart phone line. The last replacement wire has been sold to black marketeers with government connections, and no one will report anything because of possible repercussions from those with pull. An employee calls Dagny in New York to report the break, and Dagny asks Eddie to have their Montana people ship copper wire to California. Jim says cryptically that there soon won’t be any problems with copper.

Jim complains about an uncoordinated transportation policy. Dagny judges that the Rail Unification Plan has failed, but Jim sees it as an act of sabotage by the bankers who won’t carry their fair share. Dagny senses Jim is stalling her in his office, and she notes he has changed since Cherryl’s suicide, but not necessarily for the better.

Dagny knows that there are issues with a lack of transportation, but the friends of Cuffy Meigs don’t have this problem, nor the friends of Orren Boyle nor the friends of others with pull. Pull now has been compartmentalized into people with specific pull in specific areas. Dagny won’t give Jim the reassurance he wants; she said all she had to say three years ago. When Jim asks for a solution, Dagny tells him to get out of the way and let those who can fix the problems do so, but Jim wants her to accept the reality of the current system. He wants to be president of the railroad, and Dagny has an obligation to supply his wants; Jim has the right of weakness. Dagny walks out in revulsion, but Jim holds her back to hear a radio news broadcast; it’s the reason he’s been stalling her.

The legislature of the People’s State of Chile voted to nationalize d’Anconia Copper’s properties in cooperation with the People’s State of Argentina. This is what Jim expected to hear – but not what follows. As the vote was concluded, explosions were heard at the harbor. Not only were the d’Anconia properties in Chile blown up, but every d’Anconia property all over the world. Even the d’Anconia ore ships had been scuttled, while every employee had been paid a half hour before the destruction. All the key personnel of the company have disappeared – including Francisco.

Jim calls the Chilean ambassador and screams at him on one phone while he screams at Orren Boyle on another. Jim has lost his shirt. Dagny now perceives Jim’s game and the money he and his friends had committed to it.

Dagny and Hank dine out, and Hank understands that Francisco did in fact keep his oath to him: Francisco acted in the defense of his friends. He tells Dagny of his meeting with Ragnar, but she already knows. Hank now understands that Ragnar was an agent of The Destroyer, and Dagny makes it clear that so was Francisco. Now his talks with Francisco make sense: he was being recruited!

Hank is not going to be able to deliver much more to Dagny; he is selling black market Rearden Metal to various sections of the country to stave off total collapse. It’s all about saving the wheat crop in Minnesota, lest New York and other cities starve. Of course, whatever Hank saves this year, the looters will devour next year. Hank wishes he could go to Francisco and apologize.

At an adjoining table, a diner reacts violently to the d’Anconia Copper destruction, saying, “We can’t permit it to be true.” A government worker says it was just a series of accidents, all coincidental, and it is unpatriotic to believe otherwise. Then the calendar display on the office building flashes a message, “Brother, you asked for it!”, signed by Francisco with his full Spanish name. Hank cheers while the diners degenerate into hysterics.

In Montana a copper wire breaks, idling a copper mine adjoining a Taggart spur. The station agent strips out the station wiring and puts the mine back to work. Dagny tells Eddie to send Minnesota’s wire to Montana. Jim has procured every piece of government paperwork to get wire rationed to the railroad, but he hasn’t been able to get the actual wire.

California passes a confiscatory tax to help the unemployed, causing oil companies in the state to go out of business. Washington assures Hank that this legislative insurrection will be taken care of in short order, and Rearden Steel has absolute top priority in the rationing of oil. Hank can’t believe that the bureaucrats are actually trying to placate him.

Philip shows up at the mill asking again for a job because he needs one. He can’t perform any real tasks, but he is entitled to a livelihood. Hank throws him out.

Hank’s divorce from Lillian goes without a hitch. It’s too easy, and his lawyer thinks the Aristocracy of Pull wants something from him.

At the plant, the Wet Nurse asks for a job – a real job at the mill; he is tired of being a leech. Hank would happily offer him a job, but the Unification Board would never allow it. The Wet Nurse thinks that something is up: the government is bringing in goons to fill empty employment slots, and he thinks they are going to pull something.

In Minnesota a copper wire breaks at a grain elevator. Dagny has Eddie send the Taggart Terminal’s stock of wire to Minnesota – and nails, paint, light bulbs and tools. People are scavenging railroad hardware to sell on the black market.

Dagny gets a phone call from Minnesota. The rail cars set to haul that state’s wheat have not shown up, and the massive harvest will rot in its silos. People there are beginning to feel genuine terror. The caller says that once he hangs up, he is going to become a deserter. Dagny’s investigation within the railroad shows that every necessary form has been filled out, but the grain cars are not going to Minnesota. She finds that the paperwork has been falsified, and Cuffy Meigs is sending the cars to Louisiana to carry Emma Chalmers’ soybeans, now deemed more important to the government bureaucracy than wheat.

Minnesotans riot and burn down government and railroad buildings, while the Mainstream Media clamps a lid on the story. The railroad rounds up every kind of car imaginable and sends them all to Minnesota, and grain slowly begins to move. When Minnesotans take matters into their own hands, the State Chief Executive asks for the Army to intervene, and the Aristocracy of Pull finally gives Minnesota a higher priority than Emma Chalmers. But it’s too late; the cars are in California where the soybean processing plant is located. Minnesota degenerates into civil war as the wheat rots, and the soybeans turn out to be unfit for human consumption.

Dagny dines with Wesley Mouch, Eugene Lawson, Dr. Floyd Ferris, Clem Weatherby, her brother Jim, and Cuffy Meigs. The Aristocracy of Pull now wants to abandon the rest of America’s rail service to serve Minnesota. Dagny tries to bring reality into the discussion by asking that Taggart save the eastern US while other carriers handle their own areas. Let the Atlantic Southern handle transcontinental traffic. They don’t listen. California’s threat to secede has them flummoxed. Ferris and Lawson suggest abandoning America’s industrial plant and becoming more like India; it’s time for some serious privation. Meigs thinks it’s time for a North American Union by conquering Canada and Mexico; it’s time for some serious looting.

In the bowels of the Taggart Terminal a copper wire breaks, choking traffic. Dagny receives a call about the wire and leaves the meeting in relief. Her employees are clueless as to what to do, so Dagny calls her counterpart at the Atlantic Southern and asks to have their Chicago terminal signal engineer fly to New York. She sends out a crew to recover whatever copper is available on the Hudson Line despite not having the permission of the Unification Board to abandon it. She asks that all available laborers come to the terminal and operate the switches and signals manually. And one of the men who comes is John Galt! After giving the orders, Dagny walks down the tunnel near the vault where the motor is stored, knowing that John will follow her. He does, and they take each other brutally on a pile of sandbags. In the afterglow, Dagny discovers that John was the mysterious person who visited her at the John Galt Line’s offices that night. He tells her he knew about her affair with Hank, and he admits he has been an anonymous track worker at the terminal for the past twelve years, ever since leaving Twentieth Century Motors.

Dagny and John state their love for each other. She intends to stay because she thinks the looters are cracking. John knows they aren’t, but she needs to see that for herself. He asks her not to search him out, but when she is ready to leave for Galt’s Gulch, she should chalk a dollar sign on the pedestal of Nat Taggart’s statue. He will be there for her within 24 hours. John leaves to become a human lamppost in the warrens of the Taggart Terminal.

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To: Publius

“Steel for a company in Nebraska is diverted to Illinois because the Nebraska company is doing well, while the Illinois company is a failing concern in a failing town. The town is too important to fail, and thus so is the company. In the end, both companies fail. Where do we see this today?”

The auto industry, for one. The banking industry for another.

“People were at first willing to just seize a little of the wealth of the rich. Now they want it all. Cuffy Meigs wants to go all the way and seize Canada and Mexico. Do dying nations become predatory when the money runs out?”

It seems to be happening here; cap and trade, anyone?

“The diners in the restaurant reacted to Francisco’s destruction of d’Anconia Copper by trying to deny its reality. Dr. Simon Pritchett might have added, “Can you be sure that Francisco d’Anconia ever existed?” Where does this denial of reality have a parallel in today’s society?”

The only example I can think of today is the “shrinking” polar bear population and the “melting” icecaps. The mainstream media aren’t interested in reporting the truth, and an awful lot of people in this country don’t seem to want the truth anyway.

“In dire straits, California decides to levy predatory and confiscatory taxation on the state’s oil wealth. Are we approaching this in California and elsewhere?”

I’m one of the many that voted down Props 1A-1E. We might not quite be there yet, but we’re close, and the CA legislature isn’t limiting itself to the oil industry.

“Emma Chalmers believes in soybeans, and the wisdom of Asians in eating them, in preference to wheat. No doubt it will lead to a more sustainable lifestyle. As a government bureaucrat, she is imposing soybeans on America and destroying the Minnesota wheat crop as a result. In the end the soybeans are inedible. How are believers in pseudo-science with power leading us down this path today?”

Two words: global warming. It’s somewhat ironic that AS uses soybeans as an example of “sustainable” agriculture; in fact the cultivation of soybeans requires a lot of chemicals and pesticides. Not to mention at least a couple environmental groups have complained about how parts of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed in order to grow soybeans.

“The Aristocracy of Pull considers shutting down America’s industries to become an agricultural society like India. On our time line, America’s industries were shipped to India and the Third World decades ago because of American wages pricing American goods out of the world market, something Rand never envisioned. Is it at all rational to de-industrialize a country? What could possibly justify such a decision?”

I wouldn’t consider such an action rational, and the only justification I could see is to ease the creation of a nation of serfs. (Wow, that sentence looks awkward!)

“Minnesota degenerates into civil war. California threatens to secede. As things get worse, will the bonds of Union sunder due to a central government that cannot perform the tasks it has promised the people?”

It’s still too early to tell, but if enough states remember that the Federal government works for them the Union could collapse.

21 posted on 07/04/2009 9:55:57 AM PDT by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Whoever coined the term "foolproof" underestimated the ingenuity and determination of fools.)
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To: Publius

I like them, the fourth question in particular.

22 posted on 07/04/2009 9:59:16 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
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To: Publius
Actualy, the Truthers also fit here.


There are two very different versions of reality at play, and that determines how one looks at the world.

Well, not exactly. There may be many differing views of reality, but reality is absolute. We may even ALL be deluded, but reality is what reality is, hence the whole "real" thing. I'm sure we're probably in agreement on this and just having a semantic debate. I responded earlier to your post, but was having some Internet problems and I guess my response got lost in the ether[net].

23 posted on 07/04/2009 10:08:39 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Publius
As things get worse, will the bonds of Union sunder due to a central government that cannot perform the tasks it has promised the people? If so, why, and how would that improve the situation?

It would be beneficial in that Washington has gone too far in obliterating state autonomy. The states are legally entitled to that autonomy and the resulting heterogeneity and competition is, IMHO, good for the freedom of the residents of ALL the states.

Dissolution would be BAD in the sense that the remaining 1-50 states (in the nation-state sense) would be far less intimidating to prospective tyrants and empire-builders the world over. A coalition of more politically independent states bound to each others' defense might work the best. Surprise, surprise, just what the founders ordered.

24 posted on 07/04/2009 10:15:12 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers
"Cap-and-trade" is not exactly the answer I was looking for. Cuffy wants to annex Canada and Mexico. For the past decade, a plan for a North American Union and a new currency, the Amero, has been percolating within the Foreign Policy Community. They have couched it as the next logical step in globalization, but is there an ulterior motive? Is a dying nation becoming predatory and couching it as "best for all concerned".

Concerning the diners reaction to Francisco, I was looking for more. An event takes place, and the government attempts to spin the event by altering the reality of the event. "Everything was coincidental, and it is unpatriotic to believe otherwise, so please ignore your lying eyes." While global warming fits the pattern, so do other, more egregious things. For example, what really happened at Waco?

The Aristocracy of Pull considers de-industrialization in the book while we have already de-industrialized. While price pressure was part of it, are there those who would view America as a possible piece of future wilderness by concentrating people in the cities? Certainly the UN's Agenda 21 fits into this picture, but why would America's elite buy into such a plan?

Concerning the sundering of the bonds of Union, there is the fact that the central government hands out a vast amount of checks to people, and many live or die by those checks. That complicates the sundering because it creates a ready-made client class in support of the central government. To gain the support of those on the dole, states wold have to mimic the role of the central government. This is the complicating factor I was hinting at.

25 posted on 07/04/2009 10:15:52 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius
Is a dying nation becoming predatory and couching it as "best for all concerned".

It's the converse of my last post. I said in effect that tyranny is more difficult with more local/regional autonomy. Some founding Communist said that Communism would only truly work if imposed worldwide. The proles, who own everything and for the benefit of whom every state decision is made, must have nowhere to run or hide or they'll break the system. Makes sense to me. The more monolithic they can make worldwide government the more totalitarian they can be.

26 posted on 07/04/2009 10:20:58 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Still Thinking
There may be many differing views of reality, but reality is absolute.

Not exactly. Here in Seattle, I am actually contested when I assert that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War, in combination with Margaret Thatcher and the Pope. I am corrected by those who assert that Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Cold War by trying to change the system to make it work and bring it in line with what Lenin originally wanted. Had Carter and Mondale served in the White House, nothing would have changed. Reagan was simply a dangerous cowboy.

What is reality? Here we have two conflicting opinions, one believed to reality by the Right, and the other by the Left. It is the interpretation of facts that creates a mindset and a reality. (I love debating stuff like this with our local Lefties. It drives them crazy.)

Rand is quite good at tracking how a mindset causes people to come to conclusions that take them down a wrong path. Her rejoinder to the reader is, "Check your premises!"

27 posted on 07/04/2009 10:25:08 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius

No, reality IS absolute. One or the other of you engaging in that discussion is wrong, or else the two of you are defending beliefs which are non-contradictory but you don’t realize it. The word “reality” refers to that which is real. There can be no multiple realities, at least not in one universe at one time. As Rand points out, reality tolerates no paradoxes.

28 posted on 07/04/2009 10:31:39 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: definitelynotaliberal

Yeah, I needed to add some intellectual heft. Thank you for setting me straight.

29 posted on 07/04/2009 10:31:55 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Still Thinking

All right. I’ll buy that.

30 posted on 07/04/2009 10:34:39 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius
Howdy, Pub’!

Chapter 25, “Their Brothers’ Keepers,” finds us watching the decline of the country accelerate under the benevolent guidance of the Unification Board whose members have arrogated to themselves the right to dispose of the wealth of the entire country. Here we have a fictional version of the end game of socialism. It began with a false premise – that profit was greed and that the capitalist class was exploiting the people for its own gain. That class was dispossessed of its wealth by a political class, who took over the direction of their enterprises in the name of the people, turned that profit, not into further economic investments, but into their own pockets just as they had assumed the original owners did. To the looters it’s baffling – everything is being done for the noblest and most politically correct of reasons and still the enterprises are failing. The original premise remains unchecked – it cannot be checked, for to do so is to undermine the entire worldview that defines the political class.

Jim Taggart can’t figure it out.

“Things are, it seems to me, going wrong,” he said. There appears to exist a state…of confusion tending toward an uncoordinated, unbalanced policy. What I mean is, there’s a tremendous national demand for transportation, yet we’re losing money.”

They’re losing more than that. The entire system, cobbled together from theft and fraud, is failing. A single strand of copper wire failing has taken the Taggart Pacific branch out of communication. The last decent machine tool operation in the country has had the shipment that would have kept it staggering along expropriated and diverted to a well-connected and incompetent competitor. Both close their doors.

The people of [the town supported by that company] had been placed on national relief, but no food could be found for them in the empty granaries of the nation at the frantic call of the moment – so the seed grain of the farmers of Nebraska had been seized by order of the Unification Board – and Train Number 194 had carried the unplanted harvest and the future of the people of Nebraska to be consumed by the people of Illinois. “In this enlightened age,” Eugene Lawson had said in a radio broadcast, “we have come, at last to realize that each one of us is his brother’s keeper.”

There is a quiet horror in that paragraph that may not be readily apparent to those of us who have never known anything but agricultural plenty, an unending surplus that takes us through bad harvest years as if nothing had ever happened. It is a tiny pinpoint in human history. For most of it, a bad harvest meant universal hunger for a year or more, one reason men were willing to fight to possess productive land before they had taught themselves to read. But if the seed grain is gone, the game is over. There will be no planting, no harvest, no food, and no amount of wishful thinking or political haranguing can stave off starvation.

But the seed grain can be stolen back; in fact, that’s the only real recourse. And this applies to more than seed grain. As long as the bag of loot stays full the thieves may indulge in an obsession over the social justice involved in ensuring that each has his proper share. The bag had better not empty. And unfortunately, it isn’t being replenished.

But as long as the thieves can find an additional victim, the game may continue. And that’s what Jim Taggart and the rest of the Aristocracy of Pull have up their collective sleeve. Copper is scarce? Seize it!

And so the plan comes to fruition. D’Anconia Copper is to be nationalized worldwide, its assets to replenish that bag of loot and be squabbled over by the political class. Jim makes certain that Dagny is listening to the radio broadcast of the event, but his triumph is short-lived. Francisco has finally liquidated, but on his terms, not on theirs.

…the sound of a tremendous explosion rocked the [legislators of the People’s State of Argentina] hall. It came from the harbor…the chairman averted panic and called the session to order. The act of nationalization was read to the assembly, to the sound of fire-alarm sirens…the explosion had broken an electric transmitter – so that the assembly voted on the measure by the light of candles…every property of d’Anconia Copper on the face of the globe had been blown up and swept away.

It is a haunting image that frames an astounding feat of destruction, accomplished with an actuarial precision, no one hurt, everyone paid off, and the authorities unable to find the cream of Francisco’s people, who seem to have disappeared mysteriously. Those who sought to profit from the inside knowledge of the theft are left drastically overexposed, Jim Taggart numbering high among them. The shock wave circles the planet. In New York, a message appears on a skyscraper, projected on a great screen where normally appears the day’s date:

There, written across the enormous page, stopping time, as a last message to the world and to the world’s motor which was New York, she saw the lines of a sharp, intransigent handwriting:

Brother, you asked for it!

Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia

Hank Rearden is the only one laughing, and he’s roaring. But his turn will come and everyone but Hank seems to know it. His divorce slides through the court so easily that his attorney, and old and trusted friend, wonders,

“Say, Hank,” he asked as sole comment, “is there something the looters are anxious to get from you right now? The thing went too smoothly…looks to me as if orders had come from on high to treat you gently and let you have your way. Are they planning something new against your mills?”

Another warning comes in the form of Hank’s brother Philip, who once again requests a job at the mill, and is once again refused. As before, his motives are murky, but at this point Hank is too disgusted to care. Yet another warning comes from another job applicant, one whom Hank does not want to refuse but must. It is the Wet Nurse, the young metallurgist turned political tool and spy. He understands the game now and it revolts him. He has, all by himself, come to the sort of moral epiphany that might qualify him for a garret in Galt’s Gulch, but although he wants to leave the corruption of the system, the system isn’t going to let him go. It already owns Rearden’s Metal, it doesn’t need Rearden’s talent, it does need his name and reputation, and it covets his factories.

“…they’ve been watching every opening here,” [says the Wet Nurse], “every desertion, and slipping their own gang in. A queer sort of gang…real goons that I’d swear never stepped inside a steel plant before. I’ve had orders to get as many of ‘our boys’ in as possible. They wouldn’t tell me why…All I know is they’re getting set to pull something here.”

They are certainly getting desperate enough to do so. Starvation looms in the country, but after two difficult years Minnesota has a bumper crop of grain that might just save the day. (Rand was an expatriate city girl, a New Yorker by passion and conviction, and occasionally it shows in minor details such as this, as well as the typically modest New Yorker conviction that The City is the “world’s motor”). Minnesota is, in fact, tenth among the fifty States in wheat production at roughly 18% of the production of the largest, which is Kansas. Nebraska (ninth highest and the next one up the list), as we have seen, was plundered even of its seed grain in order to feed another state’s hungry. But this year Minnesota is the country’s granary. All it will take to bring it to market and to give the country’s ruling class the time it needs to retain power for one more year is transportation. Rail transportation.

And that’s really too bad, because the Unification Board has other priorities. The worst of these priorities is a real character study in self-appointed expertise, the mother of the political figure who died in the Taggart Tunnel disaster.

Emma Chalmers…was an old sociologist who had hung about Washington for years, as other women of her age and type hang about barrooms. “The soybean is a much more sturdy, nutritious, and economical plant than all the extravagant foods which our wasteful, self-indulgent diet has conditioned us to expect…an excellent substitute for bread, meat, cereals, and coffee – and if all of us were compelled to adopt soybeans as our staple diet, it would solve the national food crisis…”

Compelled, indeed. We are all acquainted with ostensibly well-meaning nutrition tyrants who would happily dictate our diets for our own good. Emma – “Kip’s Ma” after the late and unlamented political martyr – is one of these, and has decided with all of the agricultural expertise that a degree in sociology can confer, that her California soybean fields are the dietary future of the country. And that’s where nearly half of the rail cars necessary to transport the Minnesota harvest have been sent.

It is a disaster. Dagny is made aware of it by an anonymous caller whose warning is the last act of his employment. She hangs up to an already dead line.

”Every shed, silo, elevator, warehouse, garage and dance hall along the track is filled with wheat. At the Sherman elevators there’s a line of farmers’ trucks and wagons two miles long…”

But there is no transport and – city people often forget this but Rand is aware, possibly from the horrors of the Ukraine in the 30’s – little storage on the farms for the wheat they harvested. It is milled, or it is lost. Dagny’s desperate effort to load the stuff into coal cars contaminates the crop, and into passenger cars sends it reeling off the tracks when those cars, never designed for such a use, fail. There is rioting, and the crop ends up rotting or in flames. At last Dagny pounds the seriousness of the situation into the dense heads in Washington,

But by that time, it was too late. Kip’s Ma’s freight cars were in California, where the soybeans had been sent to a progressive concern made up of sociologists preaching the cult of Oriental austerity, and of businessmen formerly in the numbers racket…the harvest of soybeans did not reach the markets of the country: it had been reaped prematurely, it was moldy and unfit for consumption.

And so will Minnesota starve, then? No, it will not. Where there is grain there are flour mills enough to support local demand. Kansas, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho; the top wheat producing states will have bread for themselves. Nebraska will starve unless somehow it can get seed grain from the others, and one suspects that even in the current state of total systemic breakdown that will happen just as Rearden found men to sell him coal. But the cities will starve. New York will starve.

Dagny demands that the government retrench, pulling back in the way of a retreating army, around the defense lines of the industrial east. They decide, on the contrary, to expand in the face of even worse destitution elsewhere. It is madness.

Another copper wire breaks, this time plunging New York’s rail system into darkness and stopping the traffic in its unguided tracks. Dagny rushes from the meeting with the Aristocracy of Pull dressed in formal clothing to the grit and the ashes of the underground tracks. She and the few elite employees she has left can guide the trains to their destination after the ancient method of hand-written orders and manual signals. Slow, crude, and entirely insufficient to the needs of a modern railway, but it will prevent paralysis until the signal wire can be fixed. If it can be fixed. It is an all-hands-on-deck evolution, and as they are passing out lanterns to the crews she spots the track worker named John Galt.

She found herself descending the stairs, slipping away from the crowd, not toward the platforms and the exit, but into the darkness of the abandoned tunnels. You will follow me, she thought – and felt as if the thought were not in words, but in the tension of her muscles…you will follow me, if we are what we are, you and I…

Her first tumble with Galt takes place on a pile of sandbags in an abandoned granite vault, evening clothing torn off, and oh, yes, as we have known for 900 pages now, Dagny likes it rough.

…then she felt her teeth sinking into the flesh of his arm, she felt the sweep of his elbow knocking her head aside and his mouth seizing her lips with a pressure more viciously painful than hers…

And so on. At this point it is hardly over-imaginative to conclude that Rand’s sexuality is as kinky as anything in 50’s literature: the chain on Dagny’s wrist, the submission, half-naked vulnerability in a room full of tuxedoed men, possession, servitude in Galt’s house, an acceptance of Rearden’s violence, and now taken at last, her evening clothing scattered among the filthy canvas sandbags in her own railway tunnels. “We are not animals,” Dagny stated some chapters ago. Yes, actually, we are.

It is a wonderful contrast to consider Rand’s pious asseveration that sexual intercourse is the highest expression of intellect, with the consummation of her principals’ relationship, bloody, violent, and covered with dust in the primordial dirt of a man-made cave. On a theoretical level it is not necessarily a contradiction, on a level at which A really is A, we know perfectly well that Rand has been putting us on. Her astringent theorizing has failed there in the cries echoing through the granite tunnel and we thank God it did.

Afterward, they’re speaking of their love, of Galt’s ten years of watching her, of how they must now resolve their conflicting aims.

“No, Dagny, you’re not my enemy in mind – but you are in fact. My actual enemies are of no danger to me. You are. You’re the only one who can lead them to find me. They would never have the capacity to know what I am, but with your help – they will.”

Galt is both right and wrong about that, as we shall see. It is he who will tell them what he is, but yes, it is she who will lead them to him. But still she cannot give it up.

…he sat up and asked, “Would you want me to join you and go to work? Would you like me to repair that interlocking signal system of yours within an hour?”

“No!” The cry was immediate – in answer to the flash of a sudden image of the men in the private dining room of the Wayne-Falkland.

He laughed. “Why not?”

“I don’t want to see you working as their serf!”

“And yourself?”

“I think that they’re crumbling and that I’ll win. I can stand it just a little longer.”

“True, it’s just a little longer – not till you win, but till you learn.”

“I can’t let it go!” It was a cry of despair.

“Not yet,” he said quietly.

And he sets a conspirator’s terms.

“Don’t seek me here.” But she does. “Don’t come to my home.” But she will. “Don’t ever let them see us together. And when you reach the end…just chalk a dollar sign on the pedestal of Nat Taggart’s statue.”

Then he walked away, down the vanishing line of rail, and it seemed to her that both the rail and the figure were abandoning her at the same time.

It seemed to her only that she kept seeing a figure with a raised arm holding a light, and it looked at times like the Statue of Liberty and then it looked like a man with sun-streaked hair, holding a lantern against a midnight sky, a red lantern that stopped the movement of the world.

Have a great week, Publius!

31 posted on 07/04/2009 10:41:48 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Publius


32 posted on 07/04/2009 10:42:25 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: Publius
Britain's most profitable rail line to be nationalised
33 posted on 07/04/2009 10:47:29 AM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: Billthedrill
“…they’ve been watching every opening here,” [says the Wet Nurse], “every desertion, and slipping their own gang in. A queer sort of gang…real goons that I’d swear never stepped inside a steel plant before. I’ve had orders to get as many of ‘our boys’ in as possible. They wouldn’t tell me why…All I know is they’re getting set to pull something here.”

Which is puzzling given the course of later events. [ / spoiler ]

34 posted on 07/04/2009 11:12:36 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Billthedrill
" one of these, and has decided with all of the agricultural expertise that a degree in sociology can confer..."

Excellent line!

"...that her California soybean fields are the dietary future of the country."

I thought her soybean fields were in Louisiana. [ / quibble ]

35 posted on 07/04/2009 11:16:05 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: SpaceBar

Nationalize, denationalize, then renationalize. I’m getting dizzy.

36 posted on 07/04/2009 11:45:27 AM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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To: Publius

Sounds suspiciously like identify, freeze, isolate, escalate! ;-)

37 posted on 07/04/2009 12:12:20 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Publius
Pondering the imponderables..

From my flawed understanding..Marxian philosophy eliminates the class of bourgeoisie in order that the working class rise up and become owners of the means of production thus ensuring equality for all.

The reality of it was Soviet Union, China and virtually every other place it was tried succeeded in recreating feudalism. Politburo or what ever ruling elite was called was the top tier with all the perks and everyone else was owned by the state.

In terms of our current situation..Those “enlightened” politicians in DC are trying to ruin the middle class through impoverishment while pretending elevate the poorest.

In actuality they are squandering the wealth of the nation while making their inside deals to assure their own personal wealth while all the rest of us will be ground into the dirt.

One wonders how long it will take before they don powdered wigs, stretch pants and pointed toed shoes and start spouting..” Let them eat cake”.

The French have been right about a few things in life. Wine and cheese come to mind.

38 posted on 07/04/2009 1:24:07 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I can identify with her too when it comes to dealing with the clueless. Could I be on the ping list if I am not already?

39 posted on 07/04/2009 2:15:34 PM PDT by wally_bert (My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre)
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To: wally_bert

Consider yourself on the list.

40 posted on 07/04/2009 2:17:32 PM PDT by Publius (Gresham's Law: Bad victims drive good victims out of the market.)
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