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Was the strike, a purge? 
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Post Was the strike, a purge?
For those that read Atlas Shrugged,

In Galts speech, he specifically speaks at one point to "those who desire to live" (stating on p.1166)
"withdraw your sanction"
"go on strike - in the manner I did" and "let them drown; your sanction is their only life belt."
and
"when the advocates of the morality of sacrifice perish with their final ideal - then and on that day we will return to the world. We will open the gates of our city to those who deserve to enter."

So, the strike is a way of purging the world of said people?
A way of exterminating them?
Recall: "To the gas chamber - go!" from Chambers 1957 review of AS.

Galt speaking earlier in the novel:


"Ever since I can remember, I had felt that I would kill the man who'd claim that I exist for the sake of his need - and I had known that this was the highest moral feeling."

"That night, at the Twentieth Century meeting, when I heard an unspeakable evil spoken in the tone of moral righteousness, I saw the key to it and the solution. I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it."

So, at the meeting, instead of killing the speaker, becoming a shooter, he became a striker.
Recall Chamber's review of AS:"To the gas chamber, go!"
In rethinking this it's really not that far off the mark. Think about it.
In Galts speech he says go listeners "Perish with and in your own void."
The strike essentially created one giant gas chamber all they had to do was close the door of Atlantis behind them, and wait until those in the gas chamber had gassed themselves to death, wait until the "road was cleared", or rather until the air was cleared, wait until they had perished enough by their own code for the strikers to return to the world.

So Galts desire to kill a certain speaker wasn't the solution this was:
Create the chamber step safely outside of it, wait till enough perished and till the air was cleared.

And apparently it didn't take that long either, so not only was that his solution, but it was a brilliant one. He didn't have to take responsibility polity for any of their deaths like he would have if he'd of killed the speaker fulfilling his desire kill a man that said that.

So, the desire to kill a man that said that was th highest moral feeling, then what kind of feeling did this give him?

Instead of killing the speaker he says "I will stop the motor of the world"
Read: I will create the gas chamber, your code will be the gas.


What do you think?


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Last edited by Mr A on Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
More of my thoughts on this:



To me, instead of standing up that night at the meeting and teaching them a lesson, he set out to really teach them a lesson.

To me, instead of Galt killing, he found a creative way to get them to die.


He clearly wanted to bring death and destruction to them, not life; as in, Galt could have tried to speak to the world then about his Morality of Life, of his code, his philosophy, but never did then. Not even a single word of it. For he set out to show. I'll show them. "I propose to show the world who depends on whom[…] who makes whose livelihood possible and what happens to whom when who walks out" I'll show them. I'll show them all the proof around them with the death toll, all the dead bodies of men, women, children, in the amount of destruction that results... "O my brothers, am I cruel? But I say: What is falling, we should still push."* Frisco did. He was explicit about it, "I was out to speed up the destruction." "the destruction of d' Anconia Copper, of Taggart Transcontinental, of Wyatt Oil, of Rearden Metal."

Galt had to have been thinking along this line that night at the meeting, I think: "He whom you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall faster."* I'll teach them. I'll teach them not with ink on paper, but with blood on ground. And speed up its spilling. And without having to get any of it on my own hands.

Galt was no fly swatter.** Just go where they cannot fly to. And after they die, return.

"I am a prelude to better players, o my brothers! A precedent! Follow my precedent!"*


*quote from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Walter Kaufmann translation.
** Rand wrote: "I am haunted by a quotation from Nietzsche: 'It is not my function to be a fly swatter.'"



(Rand said, "Nietzsche […], as a poet, he projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man’s greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual, terms.")


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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
Further thoughts:

The tramp speaks to Dagny in regards to Galt: “We began to think of him whenever we saw another collapse in the world” “I’d like to think that I am wrong” “that there’s no conscious intention and no avenger behind the ending of the human race.”
Galt in speaking with Dagny, says, “It was the three of us who resolved to avenge this country”
So there was a self-described avenger and a conscious intention:
“Eddie speaks of Dagny: “She thinks there’s a system behind it, an intention, a man. There’s a destroyer loose in the country, who’s cutting down the buttresses one after another to let the structure collapse upon our heads. Some ruthless creature moved by some inconceivable purpose” “She knows nothing about the destroyer. She has no clue to his identity, no evidence of his existence - except the trail of destruction.”
Destruction, indeed. The “economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists”, so says the book description inside the Centennial edition. So it’s collapsing as a result of said buttresses being watched by Galt and pulls them out at just the right time. So he certainly pushes that which is falling, Frisco was explicit about speeding up destruction, and let me turn now to the 3rd avenger, Ragnar. He, too, speeds destruction up, pushes that which is falling, as he sunk or seized certain ships depending what they had on them and blew things up… here are his own words about it, he “seized every loot-carrier that came within the range of my guns, every government relief ship, subsidy ship, loan ship, gift ship, every vessel with a cargo of goods, taken by force from some men for the unpaid, unearned benefit of others.” He was on his own “personal mission” “I’ve chosen a special mission of my own. I’m after a man whom I want to destroy. He died had many centuries ago, but until the last trace of him is wiped out of men’s minds, we will not have a decent world to live in.” That man would be Robin Hood. He looks forward to the resulting “ruins”, “”When we are free and have to start rebuilding from out of the ruins, I want to see the world reborn as fast as possible.”
Dagny, too, “looked ahead. The earth would be as empty as the space where their propeller was cutting an unobstructed path - as empty and as free. She knew what Nat Taggart had felt at his start and why now, for the first time, she was following him in full loyalty: the confident sense of facing a void and of knowing that one has a continent to build.”

Empty of what? The people that would not get the hell out of their way? As if that’s even a question, recall:

Dan Conway to Dagny: “I suppose somebody’s got to be sacrificed.” “The right’s on their side. Men have to get together.”
Dagny, trembling with anger, exclaims, “If that’s the price of getting together, then I’ll be damned if I want to live on the same earth with any human beings! If the rest of them can survive only by destroying us, then why should we wish them to survive.” “Nothing can make it moral to destroy the best.”

Recall Galt: “when they have no pretense of authority left, no remnant of law, no trace of morality, no hope, no food and no way to obtain it - when they collapse and the road is clear - then we’ll come back to rebuild the world.”

I wonder what the population census was when the strikers went back to work on the rebuilding of the “ruined continent” the “desolated earth.”??

Was the strike, a purge?

Additional questions:
Why didn’t Galt at that meeting that night try educating, instead of depopulating? Did he think that he couldn’t teach them to fly because they simply did not have the wings for it, so he tried pushing them to fall faster?

Professor Akston: “ - in such a world, the best have to turn against society and have to become its deadliest enemies.”
Later, nearing the end of the novel, when speaking to Akston:
“Galt chuckled - in the tone of a student proudly presenting a completed task of homework as proof of a lesson well learned -”


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Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:17 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
John Galt wrote:
"I propose to show the world who depends on whom[…] who makes whose livelihood possible and what happens to whom when who walks out"


Hi Mr A, thanks for continuing the Rand discussion. I would like to focus in on this quote from your post, as it illustrates my understanding of Atlas Shrugged as a parable about what would happen if the USA had a communist revolution.

Atlas Shrugged is eerily prescient about the implosion of the Soviet Union under the weight of its economic contradictions, due to its denial of the real market incentives that govern human decisions. Russia did not collapse because it was attacked from outside, and nor would the dystopic ‘politics of pull’ described in Atlas Shrugged collapse as a result of more enlightened reform efforts. It has to be allowed to exhaust itself, to lose the moral legitimacy of consent. Buckminster Fuller had a relevant observation here, that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” That is what John Galt is doing, building a new model.

As Rand saw, the Russian communists failed to see “who depends on whom”. This phrase “who, whom” is among the most famous quotes from the communist tyrant Lenin. It comes from a speech he gave in 1921 available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... oct/17.htm in which he summarises the question of politics as “Who Will Win, The Capitalist Or Soviet Power?”

Rand is quite deliberate in putting this ‘who whom’ idea in the words of John Galt, as an ironic inversion of Lenin’s opinion. Lenin thought that socialist politicians could dominate industrial producers through central planning. Rand thought that freedom of industrial production driven by market profit is the key to the pursuit of happiness. Her concept of the capital strike is based on the idea that helping a fundamentally wrong method to work better is immoral, and over time causes greater suffering by delaying real change. This is a tough judgment call, and is discussed in AS as a key moral dilemma.

By focusing on building the new, Galt and his allies put themselves in a position to implement their views when the existing system collapses. If Galt focused on fighting against the system, he would have nowhere near the clarity and energy required to build a new system when the time came.

These fictional scenarios involve questions of real principle. It is possible for sects to convince themselves of their isolated purity when they shun the world, and then to be tyrannical when they gain power, as the Bolsheviks did. It is hard to tell if the Galt model is workable, or if he is a fanatic. Purging in politics often throws the baby out with the bathwater, as the act of implementing a purge distorts the vision of the decision maker.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:19 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
Quote:
Recall Chamber's review of AS: "To the gas chamber, go!" In rethinking this it's really not that far off the mark. Think about it. In Galts speech he says go listeners "Perish with and in your own void."

...To me, instead of standing up that night at the meeting and teaching them a lesson, he set out to really teach them a lesson. To me, instead of Galt killing, he found a creative way to get them to die. He clearly wanted to bring death and destruction to them, not life...

Well I finally made it to Galt's speech, about half way through it. So obviously I'm not done with the book, but if the above is part of the moral revolution that Objectivists are pushing, it's pretty sick. It smacks of religious apocalypse: If you disagree with my morality, the streets will become rivers of blood!



Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
More of my thoughts:


At that meeting that night, they voted for the plan. It was at that moment Galt cwould have stood up, aimed, and fired intellectual ammo off at all 6,000 minds there, as an attempt to get them to wise the fuck up, or he could have simply quit the company, but no!

He says: "' I will put an end to this, once and for all,' he said. His voice was clear and without feeling."

This does not make sense to me as he didn't even try to put an end to it, instead he walks out to put an end to theirkind altogether. He watched for hiskind in the world and he would approach them when he thought that they would be most open to joining him.

There was no gas chamber before, it was just the world before Galt struck.

Instead of Galt trying to appeal to people's minds that night, he went to bring it all collapsing down upon their heads.

Those that really drove the economy were bringing it to an abrupt halt, throwing 'theirkind' off head first onto the pavement, plus any "neutrals" as Galt called them, which I am assuming are children, babies, etc.

Nothing I see could possibly have indicated to him that night, that those at that meeting were not open to reason, open to being taught, that their wings has been so mangled that they could never fly and so push them to get them to fall faster getting them the he'll out of his way. Yet push he did.


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Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:15 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
LanDroid wrote:
if the above is part of the moral revolution that Objectivists are pushing, it's pretty sick. It smacks of religious apocalypse: If you disagree with my morality, the streets will become rivers of blood!

No, that is a misreading. The free market attitude that Ayn Rand promotes suggests that societies who defy market realities will collapse from their internal contradictions, as happened to the Soviet Union. It is an accurate critique of socialist thought. Rand does not promote a Chile-style fascist revolution, but rather education about politics and the errors of socialist thinking. It is a highly emotional topic and one that is hard to understand, especially when people present it in terms of violent conflict. Rand advocates a peaceful non-violent approach.


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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
He becomes a walking delegate of the victims rebellion. He's wants hiskind to join him, does not even consider the rest of mankind, like trying to appeal to them ininitially, so Why even do a speech later?

When he did come back to speak to the world, it was almost like "Ha, Ha, I told you I would stop the motor of the world." It was never let me try to change their minds about the code that they practice, accept, teach, etc., it was never him trying to convert theirkind before the speech he made. I didn't think he was trying to convert them THEN either during his speech. It was all way more about purging theirkind, not converting them, at least to me.

Just a note, not one single person, Objectivist, or otherwise, sees the strike the way I do. So keep that in mind.


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Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:53 am
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
Mr A, you seem to misuse the term purge.

A purge is when something is flushed from the system, as when Stalin killed all the old Bolsheviks and the military high command in the Great Terror of 1937.

The strike in Atlas Shrugged is a removal of the brains from the system, and not a purge of the sick elements within the system. The theory is that by withdrawing support, the cancer of socialism will grow and explode, enabling capitalists to rebuild on the wreckage.

Apparently you can remove the brain from a cockroach and it can live for weeks. (According to this Scientific American Report) That does not work for an individual human, but it can work for a society, which can continue on autopilot even when its most intelligent members have left.


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Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
I hear what you're saying Mr. Tulip, but I think Mr. A is on to something. Remember Galt's group is not totally passive towards what happens to the rest of society, merely waiting for a collapse caused by others. No, they were hastening the collapse by actively destroying their own companies, unleashing financial panic, stealing property, even sinking ships - and considered themselves heroes for doing so. Also consider the vicious hatred Galt's group expresses for those with opinions different from their own; they're barely sub-human, therefore ripe for a holocaust.



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Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:27 pm
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
LanDroid wrote:
I hear what you're saying Mr. Tulip, but I think Mr. A is on to something. Remember Galt's group is not totally passive towards what happens to the rest of society, merely waiting for a collapse caused by others. No, they were hastening the collapse by actively destroying their own companies, unleashing financial panic, stealing property, even sinking ships - and considered themselves heroes for doing so. Also consider the vicious hatred Galt's group expresses for those with opinions different from their own; they're barely sub-human, therefore ripe for a holocaust.


What is interesting is how people become similar to what they oppose. In her vision of communist totalitarian ideology as the great evil of modern history, I wonder if Rand herself expresses some concealed totalitarian tendencies?

You are right that the piracy of Ragnar Danneskjöld and the destruction of the d'Anconia copper company are active rather than passive.

Since Rand constructs Atlas Shrugged as a morality tale, she makes the baddies around Wesley Mouch very slimy, encouraging her readers to hate everything associated with socialism.

I sympathise with Rand, just on the basis of the Biblical injunction "to those who have will be given" in the parable of the talents. It is far more productive to build upon success than to tear down capable people. But the other side of the parable of the talents is also in Matthew 25 'what you do to the least you do to Christ'. How I see it is that capitalist growth provides the resources for charity and peace. So we need a free market, with a social safety net.


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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:43 am
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
LanDroid wrote:
Also consider the vicious hatred Galt's group expresses for those with opinions different from their own; they're barely sub-human, therefore ripe for a holocaust.


I don't see hatred as coming across.


More of my thoughts:


In the 1968 introduction to The Fountainhead, Rand writes, "It is those that move the world and give life it's meaning - and it is to those few that I have always sought to address. The rest are no concern of mine."

Galt addressed only them, too. The rest were seemingly of no concern of his. He sought only hiskind.
Those that "want to live" in which He tells them to go to the wilderness, be a rallying point, etc. it's just another way of getting theirkind to perish by getting others still out there to leave them to perish.
He also spoke that the "gates" of the city will only be open to this that deserve to enter it, as in - hiskind.
The goal all along was to get theirkind to perish. That is how to do it. A moral way, easier way, than outright open violence or war against theirkind to get them the hell out of their way.

"To my goal I will go - on my way; over those who hesitate and lad behind I shall leap. Thus let my going be their going under."*

It was.

"Everywhere the voice of those who preach death is heard; and the earth I full of those whom one must preach death […] if only they pass away quickly."*

Perish! In and of your own void! Perish! In and by your own unreality! Galt preaches death to them.
Why did Galt not teach them the Morality of Life in the beginning? Not one single word. Why even do his speech later to them?


*Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Walter Kaufmann translation)


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Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:39 am
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
The core moral theme in Atlas Shrugged is the centrality of creative freedom to human existence, with the highest creativity that of the entrepreneur. Rand argues that free creative business spirits are stifled by the conformity of the socialist state, and are naturally unleashed by a free market, so their productivity can bring others along with them.

The identification between creativity and capitalism is an interesting philosophical proposition. It is a genuine question whether creativity requires individuality, or whether a person who expresses a collective sentiment can also be truly creative. There are many creative people who do not find a market for their art. Rand sees the greatest art as utility, using creative genius to makes something that people will want to buy because it is useful. Hank Reardon is her portrait of an artist.

Rand seems to have contempt for artists whose work does nto achieve popularity in their lifetime. I wonder what she would think of Van Gogh?


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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
"If you desire ever again to live in an industrial society, it will be on our moral terms."
"We offer him life as a reward for accepting ours."
And if you don't, perish in and of you own void; you will not stop us.
"We do not need you."
We just need you to get the hell out of the way, "until the wreckage of the morality of sacrifice has been wiped out of our way"
"You will not sneak by with the rest of your lifespan."
"I have foreshortened the usual course of history."
"You had been living on borrowed time - and I am the man who had called in the loan."
"you will mot stay much longer on this earth, which we love and will not permit you to damn."
"Yes, you are bearing punishment for your evil."
"This country will once more become a sanctuary for a vanishing species: the rational being."
Hiskind, his "brothers in spirit", heroes, traders, men of the mind.
The rest, well, they "are not a concern of mine."
Only those that "deserve will enter" "by the rules and term of my code"
And when in "You will live in a world of responsible beings, who will be as consistent and reliable as facts."
Remember, "If you desire ever again to live in an industrial society, it will be on our moral terms." "choose to perish, or to learn" it.
"For centuries[…] no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it."
Galt: I didn't either. I'm only saying all this to you now, when so many have perished so much has collapsed, so its easier for mykind to be liberated at last from theirkind. We even have rewritten the Constitution in order to take over, I mean, fully liberate, separate. Remember only those that deserve will enter, "choose to perish, or learn" I could have taught you before, but I didn't want to! Ha Ha Ha, thus laughs John Galt. I, too, could have taught you, Ha Ha Ha, thus also laughs Hugh Akston. Ha Ha Ha, thus laughs Ragnar at this too.
Go on strike, those among you that want to live, against the very last of theirkind: thus shrugging and shaking off the last of them with us!!!
"All-too-many live, and all-too-long they hang on their branches. Would that a storm came to shake all this worm-eaten rot from the tree! Would that there came preachers of quick death! I would like them as the true storms and shakers of the trees of life!"*
Live by our terms or perish!!!! thus spoke John Galt.


*Thus Spoke Zarathustra(Walter Kaufmann translation)


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Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:48 am
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Post Re: Was the strike, a purge?
Mr A, mixing Nietzsche and Rand in that way could be deceptive.

None of the Rand quotes are like Nietzsche's prayer for preachers of quick death. Nietzche found his dark angels in Hitler and Stalin, not Rand. Rand argues that modern society will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, not that it needs a purge. Atlas Shrugged argues that people will eventually beg Galt and Dagny to take over.


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