Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 - the Tramp becomes a railroad worker.



The story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company is changed so much in the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 2 that it's almost unrecognizable, and so Lord High Objectivist David Kelley has to explain its meaning as Communism analog.

The clip above has a worker - not the Tramp on the train as in the novel - tell Dagny about the TCMC. It's an incredibly truncated version - the Tramp's monologue takes half a chapter of the book compared to the worker's 60 seconds in the movie. So we don't get to hear the full TCMC story including the anecdote of a drunk man bashing in a little girl's face, and more importantly, the true reason behind the owners of the company forcing collectivism on the workers. The Tramp is describing Ivy Starnes, the head factory owner to Dagny:
She had pale eyes that looked fishy, cold and dead. And if you ever want to see pure evil you should see the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who'd talked back to her once and who'd just heard his name on the list of those getting nothing above basic pittance. And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
I've blogged about this before, but it still blows my mind - how can so many people read this book and not be immediately stopped dead by the absurdity of it? This is the premise for the entire book! Is it a reading comprehension problem? Or they actually believe this is the real reason for Communism?
...if you ever want to see pure evil you should see the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who'd talked back to her once... And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Rand could not make it any clearer what she considers the real motivation for Communism to be nothing so complex as socio-economic and historical forces. No, she blames it on nothing except sadism. Period. It's utterly crackpot in spite of Rand's constant howling about rationalism. How could anybody take her body of work as some kind of actual philosophy?

I think there needs to be a dramatization of the story of the collectivization of the Twentieth Century Motor Company in order to make clear the incredible absurdity of it all.

To my great gratification and amazement, the addition I made to the Wikipedia page entry for "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" adding the quote above from Atlas Shrugged, has been up for several days now, escaping the wrath, or more likely the notice of the infamous Wikipedia editors.

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