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Who is John Galt?

 
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:22 pm
Bill: I had decided not to stir a discussion of Ayn Rand and so dropped it.
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:25 pm
I was trying to be polite about it.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:26 pm
Ah, I see. You do seem so friendly... and the ensuing debates I've seen develop over Rand frequently are not. Makes sense.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:31 pm
ehBeth, my response to Edgar was written before I saw your post, and was in reference to other threads. Embarrassed I have not seen you be impolite in any way, shape or form, ever. I apologize if I've offended you.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:48 pm
It's my understsanding that "Ayn Randism" would be the equilalant of R Reagan's "rugged individualism"
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 08:52 pm
objectivism and collectivism are extreme opposites. The only reasonable stance, to my mind, is dead center between them.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 09:31 pm
Book didn't change anything in me - I can barely remember it - the cover - with its propaganda art - is a good indicator of the contents, I believe.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2004 11:52 pm
I found the book a long, pretentious bore. Ayn Rand was another writer who, in my opinion, needed an editor.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 12:04 am
here is a useful little sliver of Galt's thinking:


Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy?a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.

Just as I support my life, neither by robbery nor alms, but by my own effort, so I do not seek to derive my happiness from the injury of the favor of others, but earn it by my own achievement. Just as I do not consider the pleasure of others as the goal of my life, so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others. Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires?so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal's lust, men who neither make sacrifices nor accept them.

The symbol of all relationships among such men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot are traders, both in manner and spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder, or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit?his love, his friendship, his esteem?except in payment and in trade for human virtue, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the trader and held him in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of the sneers: a trader is the entity they dread?a man of justice.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 12:14 am
I read it years ago, and was impressed. The philosophy sounds much like enlightened self-interest, a phrase which I believe was coined by
Adam Smith. Still, I've known a few hard driving businessmen, and the idea of some of them willingly paying a fair price for anything, just to insure a mutual benefit just boggles the mind.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 01:10 am
I agree with Aquiunk. It is pretty simplistic and preachy.

I held it as gospel for a few years of my misguided adolesence.

There are two passages that I found particularly memorable. One is one of the few interesting monologues (of many) that are contained in the book. It talks about the philosophy and history of money -- and even though the author revels in greed, it is interesting philosophically.

The other is a particularly distorted interpretation of the legend of Robin Hood. She casts the Sheriff of Nottingham as a virtuous victim and Robin (stealing from the rich to give to the poor) as a villian.

If you want to understand Ayn Rand's philosophy, I would suggest her essays -- in particulary "The Virtue of Selfishness" is clear and interesting.

Atlas Shrugged is way too long and feels preachy. Except for those who subscribe to a fundamentalist libertarian viewpoint, I don't think it will be interesting to many people past high school.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 01:31 am
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 05:34 am
The problem with Rand, was that she used the medium of fiction to illustrate her philosophy. As a result, her characters often appear stilted, and tend to go off on long winded discourses.

She herself tended to be absolutist in her thinking, which, IMO was a grave mistake. As a result many people were turned off by her writings.

I think that if you can get past the pedantry, you will find a wealth of sound, practical, RATIONAL ideas.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 06:01 am
Yeah! What she said. :wink:
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 08:37 am
Rand is like half a train ride. You are left stranded half way to your destination.
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Jim
 
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Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 08:57 am
I first ran across Ayn Rand my freshman year at college. We were assigned to read "The Fountainhead" in English Class.

Either you love Ayn Rand or you hate her.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 08:58 am
Enlightened self interest is a laudible goal. So is enlightened collective interest.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 10:58 am
Maybe it's the enlightened bit that counts?
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2004 02:17 pm
By George...
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genius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2012 06:33 am
Trivia using the name: I was surprised, this week, when I noticed the return address on my Omaha Steaks mailouts. It was 10909 John Galt Blvd, Omaha, Ne. Then I was reading Wikipedia on the Gallup Poll only to find it, too, on John Galt. I have only seen Part 2 of Atlas Shrugged.
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