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Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10) 
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Post Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)

Please use this thread for discussing the above chapters. You're welcome to create your own threads too.



Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
I think the thing I've enjoyed most about this book is that it deals with how people exploit laws and authority for their own use and how that changes society. The Unification Board is a widely hated government entity but people accept it and use it as a threat to get what they want. -ultimately everyone is advantage seeking and if they can't change the system then they do what they can within that system. That may mean supporting a system which they hate but have no means alter.

As the society has shifted towards communism the veil of brother-love has vanished completely. The people seeking power have made explicit their demands for it and have gained near complete control through emergency powers. I think we've seen here in the United States how fear can work magic and how the press can influence the masses. Those in Rand's book employ the same methods to get what they want.

I know the nature of this book and I appreciate it very much. I like any books which show how government can degenerate into a disservice and how people have the potential to pay for and support systems which keep them down. I think that's an extremely interesting and important subject to study.

I'm starting to see Rand is rounding everything out and I was wrong about some things that I thought earlier in the book.



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Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:54 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Hey Pres, commenting on your description of the Unification Board as "widely hated".

This board is established through populist demagoguery, by people who are able to spin lies to the ignorant masses in order to implement evil policies aimed at achieving central political control. Only those who can see the evil firsthand come to hate the UB, and this of course includes the heroes of the book, Dagny, Rearden and all the Galtians. Those who believe in initiative, innovation and reward for merit see the UB as a deranged Stalinoid monster eating the live entrails of the US economy like a malignant cancer.

Political correctness creates a mad web of lies in which facts are not allowed to get in the way of a good story. So we get these crazy people in Atlas Shrugged spouting pure idiocy about the need for communist values. People don't worry about these jokers until they attain power through the UB and implement their insanity. Even then, the media is brainwashed to only spout propaganda, so people who can see the evil have no way to communicate with the public. It is a nightmare of despair and collapse, like Russia.


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Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:04 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
The newspeak, the playing dumb, dodging of responsibility, selling out your peers for political favor or benefit,... this is all very interesting to me.

I think people have a feeling of the monster they're creating but aren't fully aware of it until it was fully formed. People like Dagny and Rearden did not stop what was happening initially under their noses - didn't even want to acknowledge it...

Can this be seen as an attack on Democracy? That people shouldn't be allowed to vote because of how easily they were swayed by their own laziness, faulty logic, and the media???

Can this happen here today... is it happening... This really makes me think of the fabled middle class. Listen, if this were a country of people who ran their own business - rather than a country of employees, I think it would make this kind of situation more unlikely to become a reality.

Rand has read Aristotle. I think she knows his politics and disagrees with a lot of what he has to say about women but I wonder what she would say about his feelings towards a strong middle. Aristotle says that a very healthy middle will reduce the likelihood of oligarchy and the dangers of democracy, namely the reallocation of wealth.

The blanket is what erks me a little about the book. That and her flare for the dramatic. Dagny fly a plane? When has this lady had lessons? Why not sneak that in there to let me know that she has flown a plane before. That would be very reassuring for me to know because if you don't, and you start writing about how she's able to fly all about mountains in weather, and find an airport some hours away without resource to instrumentation... I start to wonder how many holes are in your philosophy. I start to go back to wonder about the very beginning of the book where Dagny decides to risk the lives of the passengers of her train in order to move ahead.....

I see one message in the book that's meant for me. I perk when people discuss their own subjugation by their own means. I LOVE IT. Some of the rest is just a little hokey... and part three is already shaping up to be more fantasy.



Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:21 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
I seem to be focusing a lot on unusual emotions of the main characters. Hope I'm not creeping out too many people, but here's more sex weirdness from Reardon.
Quote:
You're as vile an animal as I am. I should loathe my discovering it. I don't.

...I want no pretense about love, value, loyalty or respect. I want no shred of honor left to us, to hide behind. I've never begged for mercy. I've chosen to do this—and I'll take all the consequences, including the full recognition of my choice. It's depravity—and I accept it as such—and there is no height of virtue that I wouldn't give up for it. Now if you wish to slap my face, go ahead. I wish you would. P. 195

..."Did you like sleeping with him?"
"Yes!"
The laughter in her eyes made it sound like a slap across his face, the laughter of her knowledge that this was the answer he dreaded and wanted. He twisted her arms behind her, holding her helpless, her breasts pressed against him; she felt the pain ripping through her shoulders, she heard the anger in his words and the huskiness of pleasure in his voice: "Who was he?" P. 206



Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:55 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Every one of Rand's virtuous characters seem to be attracted to Dagny... and the more genius they are, the more she's attracted to them. The attraction seems to lean towards something very primal. But we can't accept pure physical pleasure. The attraction, although intense, is definitely not "Man's... ignoble cunning for satisfying the needs of his body."

I wonder how many times slap is written in this book. Closet sado/mas? Most likely. Rand likes it rough. :twisted:

They talk a big one but the bottom line is that Rand's virtuosos are more loyal, trustworthy, yada yada, and so when Rearden is faced with making his statements a reality by treating Dagny as a whore - he does the complete opposite. When forced to confront the truth and spare no one, he doesn't. Rearden rarely lives up to anything high-handed he has to say about the people he truly cares (human emotion) for (Dagny, Francisco, Ragnar).

"What I feel for you is contempt. But it's nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I don't love you (he already does)...I wanted you as one wants a whore - for the same reason and purpose."


To help me explore this... Rearden accepts the consequences for his actions and doesn't intend for Dagny to pay for it through loss of reputation. He signs away what he's worked for because Dagny's reputation, Rearden's choice in love, his real wife, means more to him than his life's achievement and the remuneration it's sure to bring.

Ragnar only meets him for a brief period but he goes against what he says by not turning him in.

Rearden grows throughout the book. His character is probably the most developed character in the book, besides maybe James Taggart, in my opinion. He's one of the only characters that isn't static - he's struggling to find out about himself and about what he wants as a human being beyond his assertions of right and wrong with respect to property rights.

Why didn't he challenge Ferris and the system by admitting his affair with Dagny? Because of love. It's a self sacrifice. Would he have done it if Dagny left him prior to the meeting? I'd like to think he would have. Why? How is this reconciled with the view the public gives about these type of people and what does Rand want me to think of her mythical, all-righteous, ubermensch?

Rand, a highly emotional and dramatic crazy wench, lives in outer space and drinks the same kool-aid Tulip sips on a regular basis and that's the only answer I've been able to come to as of yet. :drama:



Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:49 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
President Camacho wrote:
drinks the same kool-aid Tulip sips


All my opinions are open for debate, and as far as I can tell are based on scientific evidence.

I have no interest in belief that cannot withstand critical examination.


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Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
I'm all for scientific evidence but when in doubt I have no trouble with my own critical insemination of whatever topic is currently being discussed.

I feel like you want to slap me.



Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:35 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
aw pres, why would I want to that just because you compare me to Jim Jones?


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Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:34 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Would you prefer Indiana Jones?

...on further reading it looks like I'm already wrong about the loyalty thing.



Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:02 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
I think I'm in the right thread for finishing up the discussion of part I, as the part I (chapters 9-10) is blank but in reading through some of the posts I'm not quite as far along in the book as others so forgive me if my comments don't make sense or some of my questions are answered later in the book and I just haven't gotten that far.

These two chapters to me were interesting but a bit drawn out (which I know shows Dagny's persistance) as Dagny finds and then tries to hunt down the inventor of the new motor. The end of chapter 9 was good with Dagny and Rearden seeing the few sad candles lit in the deserted village below, meanwhile they have found a great technological inovation that was abandoned and could have helped all mankind (at least they believe it can). Chapter 9 also has the scene with James Taggart and the sales girl which is interesting side of his character in seeing what he thinks of himself and what he lets/wants other people to think of him. This is even more important to Taggart's development as a character when we learn in the next chapter that what was to be Dagny's success is becoming her failure and James' success.
Quote:
The John Galt Line--it was to her honor that they had entrusted their money, the saving and achievement of years, it was on her ability that they had staked it, it was on her work that they had relied on their own--and she had been made to betray them into a looters' trap: there would be no trains and no life-blood of freight, the John Galt Line had been only a drainpipe that had permitted Jim Taggart to make a deal and to drain their wealth, unearned, into his pocket, in exchange for letting others drain his railroad


I liked that we finally found one of the characters that "disappeared" - Prof. Hugh Akston. He like Frisco tries to steer Dagny away from what she is doing and advises her that it will only cause her pain and she doesn't understand him either. Prof Akston seems to be one (maybe the only character at this point) who has a good grasp of what is really going on. He states he is proud of his students Ragnar and Frisco who currently the majority of the country hates and Dagny and Rearden are currently incapable of understanding why they are doing what they are doing. He knows who Dagny is and clearly knows what is going on and even gives her advice...I'm waiting for him to disappear. Speaking of disappearing we find two others who disappear in this chapter both who were extremely fed up with the government's policies and overstepping - Midas and Ellis Wyatt. Still waiting to see where they disappeared to, though. And of course another question raised in these chapters; who built this fantastic new motor - John Galt, Frisco, Ragnar? I guess I'll have to keep reading to see.

The character of Rearden is finally beaten down so to speak in these chapters and its not all the laws or the people standing against him, but the comment by a small town mayor that Dagny is not his wife. I find it odd that after all the things that have been done to try and stop Rearden and all the things people have done to him it is this one off hand comment that wasn't even really meant as an insult that brings him down mentally. From the posts above I'm assuming we will get better insight into Rearden's character in Parts 2 and 3.



Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:33 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Hi Sal,

I'm nearly done with the book - a little over a hundred pages to go. So I'll try not to give anything away. The scene when James meets Cheryl almost seems like the same scene as when Stadler visits Dagny. Both are looking for something that they don't really deserve - that they're fighting against and want to see brought low. The whole relationship between James and Cheryl begins with a lie - a false premise - which creates a contradiction. The values Cheryl has and those that James has are immediately apparent and can be analogous, somewhat, to the marriage of the Reardens.

Akston HAS disappeared. By withdrawing his mind he has 'disappeared'. He's really offering nothing to society which he once did through his intellect. He's making sandwiches - something any a$$hole can do, albeit he (of course!) makes the most delicious food and smokes the best cigarettes ever made EVER!

Rearden's character is my favorite.



Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:08 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
I'm curious to hear your take on Objectivism Camacho. Especially after reading Atlas Shrugged.


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Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:37 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Wait until you get to Galt's rant. It's excruciating. If this is objectivism, I've been officially raped by it.



Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:24 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters IX–X (9 - 10)
Hi Pres, I see what your saying that Akston has disappeared at least to society but he has disappeared because they no longer value independent thinking or really thinking at all. He has given up the fight as hopeless while Dagny and Rearden are still trying. I'm assuming in vain but will know soon enough once I get to the end. I now will be on the look out for Galt's rant.



Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:05 pm
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