It’s the summer of the chunkster! A group of us decided to read Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) this summer and we have hit our second milestone which was to complete part two by July 31st.
“There are no evil thoughts except one: the refusal to think.”
— Francisco d’Anconia
In part two, the world’s greatest thinkers and producers give-up and then disappear. Wyatt sets all of his oil fields on fire so now there is a major oil shortage. Hammond disappears and he was the last producer of railroad cars for the industry. Dannager of Dannager Coal eventually closes shop. What is going on with these people?
A few thoughts:
- This book is blowing my mind!
- As Dagny struggles to hold the railroad together, she is the center of attention for many of the men in the story. A lot of drama in the relationship department. As another blogger said, “Pick a man, already!”
- The idea that these “thinkers” are being picked off by “destroyers” of humanity is an interesting thought.
- A very special cigarette, not of this world, makes an appearance. What is THAT about? Aliens? An alternate dimension?
- What is with the clock above the city? Only one character seems to see it and in each reference, it floats above the city. What?
Question to ponder:
There are two teams in this book. One team believes that whatever you do, should be for the good of the people. The other team believes that everything you do, should be done for yourself and only yourself. In the beginning, I sided with the do-gooders. But now, I am siding with the selfish folk. Can you think of an instance when being selfish is best?
The size of this book is not an issue for me. At 1200+ pages, I’ve had absolutely no trouble getting into the story and have in fact, read ahead of schedule. I have to make myself stop so that I don’t get too far ahead because this is a read-along, after all.
For those reading with me, what are your thoughts so far? Two of you are already done with it and I know a few of you just finished part one but overall, what are your thoughts about what you’ve read so far?
If you are curious about the comments going back and forth on Twitter, search on #AtlasRAL for some good entertainment.
If you need a page breakdown of the book, click here for a visual.
Next up, finish the book by August 15th. We are in the home stretch!
12 thoughts on “Atlas Shrugged Read Along (#AtlasRAL) – Part Two”
You go, Ti! (This is me, waving pom-poms, lol 🙂 Siding with the selfish half, you say… Yeah, I guess we all do it now and again. I can’t think of anything specific, sorry. But we’re human, so we’re bound to err like that.
What if I told you, that I was being selfish for the sake of art or science or something along those lines? To remember the passion behind invention and not who it serves in the end? Would that make it more attractive to be selfish? Hahaha!! See? Not so clear cut.
Finally finished pt 2, phew! I sided with the selfish ones from the beginning not for them, but because I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of the ‘public welfare’ shouters. They were being more selfish, passing their dog-eat-dog policies and insulting anyone who did a better job than them, ugh. But I can see where the honest selfishness is ‘more good’, especially after Allen talked about the factory and the plan that made them all moochers and users when out loud they were supposed to help each other as a common good kinda thing. (am I the only one who hears “Greater good – greater good” echo from Hot Fuzz every so often while reading? 😉 )
I expected more drama from the bits on twitter for Dagny and the mens. Though Frisco messes with her heart, she really never gave him an option of wanting to be with him currently, and she doesn’t even know what Eddie tried so hard to hide. Glad that Hank got rid of that damn wife too!
Dagny must be one hot commodity for allllll these men to be so gaga over her. Yeah, she’s smart and strong and her legs are as long as football fields (Rand keeps mentioning her legs) but she’s a little wishy-washy when it comes to men. I think that if she actually ends up with anyone she’d be less attractive to all of them. LOL.
There are political groups in the U.S. that look to this book as inspiration for how the country should be run…guess which group they are part of.
In the US? I imagine they are the supposed do-gooders who feel everything should be done for the good of the people.
No, it’s typically conservatives who feel that people who ask for assistance are just lazy.
I agree with you. I don’t think anyone in Atlas is asking for help though and if they are, it’s not obvious to me. It seems the Taggarts of that world just assume people need help and so they’ve taken upon themselves to shove it into their hands.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear that you are enjoying this book. I do think it has a good message, albeit a bit extreme. Then again, I will admit to leaning towards the political party for which this book is its anthem. There is just a bit too much “what is in it for others” these days for my comfort.
Individualism vs. collectivism. The whole ‘problem’ is not with selfishness but selfishness at THE EXPENSE of others and not playing ‘by the rules’, at least in my eyes.Rand’s good guys (the brains/industrialists) only want fair value exchange and not step-on-you-to-take but fair exchange of goods with brains of what to do with the raw materials being the ‘value add’ – thus creating wealth. One example of “selfishness” that I either heard/read somewhere or thought of is when the airlines tell parents to put on the air masks before putting on their kids air masks – no good way to help the kids if the parents die before being able. So people with the brains to create and build wealth should get to keep their wealth and decide for themselves if they want to share and be a do-gooder. If ‘the govmint’ can take all they can for the “benefit” of the ones who can’t think for themselves, when and where will they stop? How can we trust that the government (who obviously aren’t the smartest tools in the shed, thus they go into politics) — how can we trust them to spend and share wisely? THUS the lessons of this too long book.
She was also just trying to get selfishness to not be the ‘bad’ word but an honest word. If you can be ‘selfish’ and still share, are you that bad for being selfish? She would rather define selfish to be “self-interested to want to work and be ‘justly rewarded'”. IMHO
Exactly right. If it helps any, this has always been considered the Libertarian party anthem. Rand Paul didn’t just get his name out of the blue…
Interesting comments. I do think the word Selfish can be defined differently depending on the situation. For someone who wants to lessen the negative stigma of the word itself, she sure uses it a lot in the book.