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Re: Part Three, Chapters V–VI (5 - 6)
Part 3 ch. 5
Here we see further devastation to society, when need is still held as a claim on those of ability, Dagny thinking:
Did it matter— she thought, looking at the map— which part of the corpse had been consumed by which type of maggot, by those who gorged themselves or by those who gave the food to other maggots? So long as living flesh was prey to be devoured, did it matter whose stomachs it had gone to fill? There was no way to tell which devastation had been accomplished by the humanitarians and which by undisguised gangsters. There was no way to tell which acts of plunder had been prompted by the charity-lust of the Lawsons and which by the gluttony of Cuffy Meigs— no way to tell which communities had been immolated to feed another community one week closer to starvation and which to provide yachts for the pull-peddlers. Did it matter? Both were alike in fact as they were alike in spirit, both were in need and need was regarded as sole title to property, both were acting in strictest accordance with the same code of morality. Both held the immolation of men as proper and both were achieving it. There wasn’t even any way to tell who were the cannibals and who the victims— the communities that accepted as their rightful due the confiscated clothing or fuel of a town to the east of them, found, next week, their granaries confiscated to feed a town to the west— men had achieved the ideal of the centuries, they were practicing it in unobstructed perfection, they were serving need as their highest ruler, need as first claim upon them, need as their standard of value, as the coin of their realm, as more sacred than right and life. Men had been pushed into a pit where, shouting that man is his brother’s keeper, each was devouring his neighbor and was being devoured by his neighbor’s brother, each was proclaiming the righteousness of the unearned and wondering who was stripping the skin off his back, each was devouring himself, while screaming in terror that some unknowable evil was destroying the earth.
Why do people think that need is a claim on others? What happens when they can no longer get things off those others? It’s becoming increasingly hard to in the novel, isn’t it? Many of those of ability have gone on strike, and what is left, is for the ‘vultures’ to pick over.
What were they thinking now, the champions of need and the lechers of pity?— she wondered. What were they counting on? Those who had once simpered: “I don’t want to destroy the rich, I only want to seize a little of their surplus to help the poor, just a little, they’ll never miss it!”— then, later, had snapped: “The tycoons can stand being squeezed; they’ve amassed enough to last them for three generations”— then, later, had yelled: “Why should the people suffer while businessmen have reserves to last a year?”— now were screaming: “Why should we starve while some people have reserves to last a week?” What were they counting on?— she wondered.
So Taggart asks Dagny what do you want me to do?
“Give up— all of you, you and your Washington friends and your looting planners and the whole of your cannibal philosophy. Give up and get out of the way and let those of us who can, start from scratch out of the ruins.” “No!”
Then D’Anconia Copper right before it’s nationalized, was destroyed intentionally:
The People States of Chile and Argentina are left with a pile of rubble and hordes of unemployed on their hands.
And right after hearing all of the news Dagny thinks to herself:
Thank you, my darling— thank you in the name of the last of us
And what Dagny and Rearden essentially do, in regards to the wheat farmers and the coming harvest, him trying to get his metal to them on credit, so they have equipment to harvest:
We’re helping producers […] We’re supporting ability, not need.
Speaking of ability vs. need, here comes Rearden’s brother to the mill wanting a job:
Rearden pointed to the figures of men in the steaming rays of the furnace. “Can you do what they’re doing?” “I don’t see what you’re—” “What will happen if I put you there and you ruin a heat of steel for me?” “What’s more important, that your damn steel gets poured or that I eat?” “How do you propose to eat if the steel doesn’t get poured?”
So Philips “need” is not a claim on a job at Rearden steel. Ability is. Sound business practice, isn‘t it? If you unable to do a job, or are unwilling to do the job when hired, why should you even have the job, simply because you need it? How would you run a business like that, with a bunch of incompetents on a job not there based on their ability to do the job?
And then we see what happened when governmental intervention in the economy did to the wheat harvest. Instead of the full amount of cars intended for the wheat harvest, many were redirected by government, elsewhere. To soybeans.
“Well, after all, it is a matter of opinion whether wheat is essential to a nation’s welfare— there are those of more progressive views who feel that the soybean is, perhaps, of far greater value”— and then, by noon, she stood in the middle of her office, knowing that the freight cars intended for the wheat of Minnesota had been sent, instead, to carry the soybeans from the Louisiana swamps of Kip’s Ma’s project.
Just think, what would have happened if Rearden and Dagny were left alone in the market place, what their profit motive could have done for not only themselves, but to the nation.
Later in the chapter, Dagny sees Galt, then her follows her underground, they have sex and then talk afterwards:
Atlantis is hidden from men by nothing but an optical illusion—
That actually sounds both a literal (as in the light rays shielding the valley) and a figurative statement.
_________________ "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly
Joined: Oct 2012 Posts: 243
Thanks: 2 Thanked: 24 times in 23 posts
Re: Part Three, Chapters V–VI (5 - 6)
Part 3 ch6
Rearden and his family, this is an illuminating scene, see how dependent they are upon Rearden, he is to them merely a host they can feed off of:
“We’re not as smart as you are, not as strong. If we’ve sinned and blundered, it’s because we’re helpless. We need you, you’re all we’ve got— and we’re losing you— and we’re afraid. These are terrible times, and getting worse, people are scared to death, scared and blind and not knowing what to do. How are we to cope with it, if you leave us? We’re small and weak and we’ll be swept like driftwood in that terror that’s running loose in the world. Maybe we had our share of guilt for it, maybe we helped to bring it about, not knowing any better, but what’s done is done— and we can’t stop it now. If you abandon us, we’re lost. If you give up and vanish, like all those men who—”
He figures out that not only his family is trying to hold him, but Washington using those three as hostages, so to speak, to hold him.
Then Rearden talks with the men in Washington:
And they spring the Steel Unification Plan on him:
“Our Plan is really very simple,” said Tinky Holloway, striving to prove it by the gaily bouncing simplicity of his voice. “We’ll lift all restrictions from the production of steel and every company will produce all it can, according to its ability. But to avoid the waste and danger of dog-eat-dog competition, all the companies will deposit their gross earnings into a common pool, to be known as the Steel Unification Pool, in charge of a special Board. At the end of the year, the Board will distribute these earnings by totaling the nation’s steel output and dividing it by the number of open-hearth furnaces in existence, thus arriving at an average which will be fair to all— and every company will be paid [/b]according to its need[/b]. The preservation of its furnaces being its basic need, every company will be paid according to the number of furnaces it owns.”
(bold face mine)
So that really is just more implementation of - from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
You sit there, trembling, because you know, that I’m the last one left to save your lives— and you know that time is as short as that. Yet you propose a plan to destroy me, a plan which demands, with an idiot’s crudeness, without loopholes, detours or escape, that I work at a loss— that I work, with every ton I pour costing me more than I’ll get for it— that I feed the last of my wealth away until we all starve together. That much irrationality is not possible to any man or any looter. For your own sake— never mind the country’s or mine— you must be counting on something. What?”
Look around you. All those damned People’s States all over the earth have been existing only on the handouts which you squeezed for them out of this country. But you— you have no place left to sponge on or mooch from. No country on the face of the globe. This was the greatest and last. You’ve drained it. You’ve milked it dry. Of all that irretrievable splendor, I’m only one remnant, the last.
Then comes one of the most important realizations of all, he is the guiltiest one in the room, why?, well:
It was he who had made it possible. From the first extortion he had accepted, from the first directive he had obeyed, he had given them cause to believe that reality was a thing to be cheated, that one could demand the irrational and someone somehow would provide it. If he had accepted the Equalization of Opportunity Bill, if he had accepted Directive 10-289, if he had accepted the law that those who could not equal his ability had the right to dispose of it, that those who had not earned were to profit, but he who had was to lose, that those who could not think were to command, but he who could was to obey them— then were they illogical in believing that they existed in an irrational universe? He had made it for them, he had provided it. Were they illogical in believing that theirs was only to wish, to wish with no concern for the possible— and that his was to fulfill their wishes, by means they did not have to know or name? They, the impotent mystics, struggling to escape the responsibility of reason, had known that he, the rationalist, had undertaken to serve their whims. They had known that he had given them a blank check on reality— his was not to ask why?— theirs was not to ask how?— let them demand that he give them a share of his wealth, then all that he owns, then more than he owns— impossible?— no, he’ll do something!
Then he got up and left.
Then when he finds the Wet Nurse shot, we come upon a passage about children and education, if you want to know more, read Rand’s article “The Comprichico’s”:
He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly— yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of Convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.
Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival— yet that was what they did to their children.
Mind, to Rand, is man’s basic means of survival.
But a different breed of teachers had once existed, he thought, and had reared the men who created this country; he thought that mothers should set out on their knees to look for men like Hugh Akston, to find them and beg them to return.
I would recommend anyone wanting to know further about Rand/Objectivism and education, see this school that takes an Objectivist approach to education: http://www.vandammeacademy.com/
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