Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Atlas Shrugged (the novel), Two readings from Part 2

This is the third of a multi-part series in which we review the struggle between individualism and collectivism with the help of the richness and clarity that Ayn Rand set forth in her magnum opus.

This show covers two special passages in Part 2 of the book, a couple of monologues (yes, Rand was famous for them) by two characters. They are absolutely delicious to those of us who despise the immoral illogic of collectivism.

The first passage is Francisco d'Anconia's famous speech about money. In answer to the weary challenge that, "Money is the root of all evil," he rises to ask, and then answer, the question, "What is the root of money?" Although we all know that nobody, even someone uncommonly brilliant, can speak extemporaneously in this way, it is nonetheless an inspiring reminder of what it is that creates value in the first place, and how the simple genius of free trade not only makes the world go 'round, it is also inherently virtuous.

The second passage is the "train hobo's" monologue (a bit more believable as a speech) recounting the immorality and illogic of the Twentieth Century Motor Company as it is taken over by the collectivist descendants of its original founder. The seemingly idealistic precepts of this crew, that "We're all in this together," are revealed in this speech to have done nothing less than to loose the darkest impulses of mankind, a would-be Midas touch that emerges as a malevolent leprosy of the mind and spirit.

Yummy reading to those of us who respect the morality of individualism and despise the moral corruption and fiscal failure of collectivism.

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