Tape No. 140 - Report By Ella Rose Mast
ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
This is a big, big book. Thus hard for many to read, the title of this book in the beginning was ‘The Strike.’ The theme of the story:-- ‘What happens to the world when the prime movers go on strike?’ It is pictured as tho the world, like a car, with its motor shut off. Thus, before you start the review, then who are the prime movers of our civilization and why are they pictured as thus, and how do they function? Who are their enemies and why? What are the motives behind the hatred for and the enslavement of the prime movers, the nature of the obstacles placed in their way and why, and the reason for it?
This novel was written in 1957. But in 1936, she wrote ‘We the Living.’ And then in 1943, she wrote ‘Fountainhead.’ From the first book, do you get the picture that maybe she knows something interesting and has written it just as a novel so as to get it published?
In her book ‘Fountainhead,’ she brings out this theme of the ‘prime movers’ and the enslavement of those listed as such and the emphases is on the world, the prime movers, the parasites, and the world’s people. There she shows how the world is moved forward by certain people while others live as parasites on these who move the world forward, and build a good civilization. And stresses that without such people, the world will decay.
Ayn Rand, over these years, was able to see the world picture as men of stature moved the civilization of the advanced nations forward while certain men as parasites, also road on their backs. And the world society slowly sank lower and lower toward chaos. Not only in the moral field, but the political, as well as the religious field, and the economic field.
When reviewing her book, you soon gather that she is telling the story in fiction as to how the World Shrugged it shoulders as this decay set in, and did nothing to stop this descent into chaos. In otherwords, we would say that money became the god of the World Order and many, even of our race, under false teaching and illusion, fell for this same idol. Here today, we have the feeling that as our author looked into the future, she saw what was happening to America as the years went by and ‘Big Brother’ behind the scene, was manipulating the United States of America and the whole Aryan world for their profit. And now we have even seen the YEAR OF THE WOMAN, and ‘Big Sister’ on the same stage. And then the Woman on the Back of the Red Beast surfaced and the downward slide of our nation picked up speed.
Our author writes this as fiction perhaps for a purpose. For this is not a popular theme in the modern world. The characters are James Taggart, a man of about fifty years of age, who is now the president of a railroad which is slowly deteriorating. As a young student, he studied at the modern college which was by that time teaching that most of the old values were obsolete. It was even selfish for acquiring wealth and passing it on to their children and grandchildren. This was how he had acquired this great railroad system which covered the United States. And he is not having much luck at running the system in his blinded state which he acquired in college. Thus, he is listening to the parasites and not looking backward to his father and his grandfather who established this great system of rails for the nation. Therefore, he is not keeping up with the competition in a growing nation and his railroad which his grandfather put together and his father held together, is going down the drain. The job seems to be too much for this wealthy playboy. But he has a sister who is vice-president of the Empire and she is very accomplished and interested in the Empire, and her name is Dagny Taggart.
In the early part of the story, she comes to her brother’s office to report to him what she has been learning as she rode the rails to check out the why of this dying empire, and also to tell him that she is taking over because he is not doing his job. Not only is she taking over the management of their inherited railroad empire, but she is also throwing to the wolves, their so-called old friends and companions in business who have brought this state of affairs to this great railroad empire. They had talked her brother into building this Mexican line which was supposed to have been built to help the Mexican nation, but which is about to be taken over by Nationalization. Because parasites behind the scenes were busy (we would say) setting up their kind of controlled world system. And they had led James Taggart down their path. James Taggart cannot go along with what he considers his sister’s hard headed approach to business, as she thinks of saving their railroad empire by joining those her brother considers as the enemy of his way of life, meaning those men of business who are the movers of society. The men of industry that made this nation move forward are thus the enemies of this way of life preached by Liberalism, as tho they have found the Utopia of thought as they yearn for change from the old values. Thus, brother and sister of this inherited empire are at loggerheads from this point on. Altho her brother also knows that most times, she is right. But he does not seem able to rise above this philosophy he learned in college-- ‘there is neither all good, or all bad. It has to be something in between.’ Whereas we would say that you do to compromise with evil.
As Dagny takes over more responsibility at the office an old employee is called to her office. He is quitting his job and she tries to get him to reconsider. But he will not. As she asked the question as to why he will not stay with the company, which he has worked for so long, the old gentleman paused and with a strange smile as tho it held secret amusement and heartbreak,---and yes, an infinite bitterness, he answered, ‘Who is John Galt?’ This expression seemed to have been going around but no one quite knew what it meant.
As the story continues, we come in contact with the Hank Rearden Enterprise. And journalists are saying that this man, Hank Rearden, sticks his name on everything he touches. He is as his industrial product, a man of steel, a product of the Industrial world and one of the movers of civilization.
Do you then remember the time when we saw the rebellion of the trained contenders that our nation was all wrong in everything we did? Many of those former students, trained, or as we would say ‘brainwashed’ in their college years, would thus be resentful of such men as Rearden who by hard work and total dedication, made a success of his Enterprise. He, however, now is also not to be understood by even his own family on whom he has spent much money in trying to make life easier for them. His younger brother would be also a product of the school where he was taught that his brother’s dedication to his work and his rise in the financial world would be wrong. He should give it all to the poor of the world. He had never considered what would happen to his mother, or even himself if his brother had not worked as he did to support them as well as his wife. Perhaps if they had not joined the world of the ‘idle rich’ then he would have felt differently.
Dagny Taggart was only nine years old when she decided she would one day run the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. She was sixteen when she went to work for the railroad. Her father permitted this and watched her progress with a smile. She worked nights after going to school in the day time. He began taking over different departments when no other of responsibility seemed available. And she did this even before she was given the power of the office. Her brother James Taggart, began his career with the railroad at the same time but he started as a son, in the department of public relations. Their father dies when Dagny was twenty-one years of age. And her brother was left the controlling interest in the company as was the custom in families and he then became President of the railroad.
Another person in our story was Francisco D’Anconia, who was at that time the Copper King of the world. He was thirty-six years of age and the last descendant of one of the noblest families of Argentina. He bought miles of bare mountains in Mexico which became known as the San Sebastian mines. And this was the place where James Taggart had built a railroad line to, hoping to share in the wealth thought to be there. James Taggart, in his thinking, could not envision that there was an movement of power brokers in Mexico who were forcing that nation to Nationalize all their industries. This was also happening in many of the other South American countries. Dagny was against this move, and besides, the railroad needed all its resources to rebuild the Rio Norte Line out of Colorado, but could not do both. But James Taggart was the railroad President and altho his sister and some of the board members were against it, still James Taggart was the boss and the line was built. He had fallen for the line that the Mexican people needed help to industrialize their nation and it was the United States which owed them this chance. After all, they spoke as tho, it was impossible for one country to prosper in the midst of a starving world. (We ask, ‘Where have you heard that before?’)
Thus, the Rio Norte line out of Colorado, was allowed to go to pieces. And the line into Mexico was built before there was any use for it, while the business over the Rio Norte line was picking up steam. A depot of reinforced concrete with marble columns was built amidst the dust of an unpaved square in a Mexican village, while a train of tank cars carrying oil went hurtling down an embankment and into a blazing junk pile, because a rail had split on the Rio Norte line. Thus, Dagny was to interfere in her brother’s work and see what she could do to save their empire.
Nathaniel Taggart, the grandfather of this brother and sister, had been a penniless adventurer who had come from somewhere in New England and had built a railroad across the continent in the days of the first steel mills. He had set a goal and moved forward. He had never sought any grants or legislative favors from the government. No penny of his wealth had been obtained by force or fraud. There was a statue of him standing in the railroad yards and Dagny always paused there as she left her office. He was a tall gaunt man, the body of a young man, with an angular face. He held his head as if he faced a challenge and found joy in his capacity to meet it. All that Dagny wanted from life was the fulfillment of this desire to hold her head as he did.
Tonight, as she left her office, an old gentleman who has a small news stand at the corner of the main entrance, seemed to know what she was thinking and he said to her, ‘Miss Taggart, I don’t like what is happening to people. I have watched them for twenty years and I have seen this change. They used to rush thru here. It was wonderful to watch men rushing thru here. It was wonderful to watch men who knew where they were going and eager to get there. Now they are hurrying because they are afraid. It no longer is a purpose which guides them. It’s fear as tho they were escaping from something. They do not look at one another. Oh, yes, they smile too much. But it’s sort of an ugly sort of smile. I don’t know just what is happening to the world.’ Then he shrugged and said, ‘Oh, well, who is John Galt?’ Dagny replied, ‘I don’t like that ugly piece of slang. What does it mean and where did it come from?’ ‘No one seems to know,’ was the old gentleman’s reply. ‘But why does it disturb you, Miss Taggart?’ ‘I do not like what they seem to mean when they say it.’ ‘I don’t either, Miss Taggart.’
In a few days, came the death blow to the Taggart dream of rebuilding the continental Taggart Empire which Dagny had been dreaming. The contractor for the Diesel engines, so desperately needed, just quit their contract, just quit working and disappeared. As Dagny walked out of the building that evening, she stops at a book store window and the title of a book stands out in her view-- ‘The Vulture is Molting.’ This was the novel of the century. She glanced at the movie theater half a block away, and for the first time, she noticed the name of the movie, ‘Should a Woman Tell.’ She walked past a night club, and a couple came out. The girl in a beautiful ermine wrap was staggering. Her escort was guiding her by the grip on her arm. And his face was not the face of a man anticipating a romantic adventure, but the sly look of a boy out to write obscenities on fences.
As Dagny walked on, she was thinking, what did she expect to see? This was all she had seen for many years. She had just not paid any attention before, as she dreamed her dream of restoring this railroad empire she and her brother had inherited. She had no friends, no life beyond the office other, perhaps, her apartment with her music. As she arrived home, she put on a Richard Hadley record and sat down to listen to this wonderful music. But this was his fourth concerto, his last work---this was a crash of cords. It was as tho he was saying no to something, to someone who was taking away not only from him, but his part of the world. One critic has said, the music of Richard Hadley has a quality of heroics. Our age had outgrown that stuff. The music of Richard Hadley is out of key with our times, who cares for ecstasy now days, said another.
The next morning as Jim Taggart was dressing, he got a call telling him that the government had taken over their property, that the San Sebastian mines were empty. This was all a bad joke. To save himself, Jim Taggart then stood before the Board of Directors and told them not to worry and laid claim to all his sister had done as she moved the bad equipment to Mexico so that they did not lose as much as would have happened if Dagny had not moved and did as she had done. But now, it was time for dog to eat dog. And the Directors would stand with her brother, as the companies involved would try to feed off of each other.
Dagny than moved to get the Rio Norte Colorado line working at a profit to save this company. And she would do this in spite of her brother. However, in this dog eat dog world, she had not planned on airplanes being built of metal which could fly so fast, and that would cut into their business.
The newspapers carried the story of the climax of the D’Anconia, as the Mexican government took over the mines of San Sebastian. And they found that these mines were empty. There never had been anything there, nothing to justify the five years of work or the millions of dollars spent. The government of Mexico then felt cheated. Why had this farce been carried out? Francisco was not a fool. He could not have made such a mistake. But why? Dagny was beginning to understand. She phoned asking to see Francisco and was told that she should come any time. She then headed to his hotel. And on the way, she remembers that the parents of Francisco and her, were old friends. The children had played together and studied together when they were young. Sebastian D’Anconia, the ancestor of Francisco, had left Spain many centuries ago, when Spain was a very powerful country and he, one of Spain’s proudest products. He left because the Lord of the Inquisition did not approve of his way of thinking. And at one of the court banquets, had suggested that he change. Sebastian had thrown the content of his wine glass in the face of the Lord of the Inquisition. Then before he could be seized, he had fled the country and came to the new world of Argentina. He left behind all of his estate, his marble palace and the girl he loved. Fifteen years later, he sent for the girl. And when she arrived, he had built a marble palace for her and had made a fortune from the red ore in the mountains.
Now, these two would meet again after their growing up years were over, and Dagny remembered that when he was twelve, and she was ten, Francisco had slipped away to work as letter boy at the Taggart rail road terminal so he could say he worked for Taggart Railroad before she did. In their growing up years, always in anything attempted, Francisco would do the best of all the children at play, and she remembered he had said, ‘Had they met, our ancestors would have loved each other, for there was this spirit of competition, this spirit of love of their race, and spirit of adventure in both families.’
All of these things were going through Dagny’s mind as she walked to his hotel to meet this old friend who has one more time, bested her brother. Only this time, in a business way that hurts the company she is trying to save. What could be the reason? She remembers that the boys of the D’Anconia family were always taught to leave the family fortune as well off as when they inherited it, one after the other. And Francisco was the last. And she thought he had managed to be the same. Was he teaching her brother a lesson? She knew that Francisco’s ancestor had built his empire in Argentina using the labor of his own countrymen who had also fled from the old country. He did not use the peons of the new country. Only those with MIND from his own race.
As Jim Taggart and Francisco D’Anconia went to college, she had noticed that a change came in their philosophies. Jim Taggart had come out of college with the idea that there was social responsibilities, which money inherited, was not for your pleasure, but in trust for the benefit of the under privileged and the poor. That a person who does not believe like this, is a most depraved type of human being. On the other hand, Francisco thought they were teaching a lot of drivel in school and he believed that a man without a purpose was not a man. With Dagny and Francisco, it became a contest to see who could do the best at their jobs in each instance.
Francisco’s father died and Francisco went to Buenos Aires to take over the D’Anconia estate. Dagny did not see him for three years. But then she was always busy. But when he came back, he asked a strange thing.-- ‘Dagny, what would you say if I asked you to leave Taggart Transcontinental and let it go to hell, as it will with your brother taking over?’ Dagny had been outraged. And she does not understand why he says such a thing. He then tells her not to be too hurt by what he will now have to do. And he leaves and does not come back. And she reads of his changed life style and still does not understand. Thus, she buries herself in her work. Then came this work of her brother in Mexico with the San Sebastian mines owned by Francisco. Her brother is shown up for his non-management ability and she is left holding the bag as she tries to rebuild the company they inherited.
In the arguments between Dagny and her brother, she learned that her brother and his friends had thought to use Francisco’s brain to make money thinking he also would think only of money. And he had thus taught them a lesson. Here then walked Dagny to his hotel to once more meet this old friend. And now they were no longer sweethearts as they had been when younger, but now they were merely competitors in business. For him now, he must also best her in the business world and she could not accept that. He was of the old school, wherein the man was the head of the household and provider for his family. Dagny had never been happy unless she was striving to accomplish her dream. She could not quite understand why her brother had fallen for that theology while in college, that wealth of the movers of civilization was wrong. Now you were to think about redistribution of that wealth and giving to the poor. But in that case, you would have no goal wherein you would strive to do your best. And if there is more than your family needs, then you invest that amount and that moves the economy forward and builds a civilization. Thus, Jim Taggart was a loss to the civilization which his father helped build. But his sister, this was a different piece of steel. For she would strive to build the line in Colorado which she named the John Galt Line. She then appealed to Francisco for help. And he turned her down. She also failed to understand. But she realized that it seemed to be agony for him as he faced her, and then turned down her plea for help.
The government now in the hands of the Looters passed a law entitled ‘The Equal Opportunity Act,’ which was to give those who never had a chance to get into the industrial puddle, so it was said. Government would now loan to any and all who wished a fling in business. And hoped in the process to bring down the old line companies. Why would they to this? They must have known it would wreck the economy. Were there men behind the scene who would welcome this? Was this what was going on in the South American countries as well? This was hard for Dagny to believe as she pushed ahead with now a few men of other industries following her. Can they bring this nation back to its place in history as a great nation, a great civilization and a rising nation?
Dagny is not able to see that men like Jim Taggart would still be there, brainwashed into thinking that we should be more interested in building up Red China to our level even if we had to reduce the American way of life to do it. Taggart would say that it takes years of study in the higher reaches of intellect to come to this conclusion that nothing is good if it comes from achievement, from goals set and hard work for men. He is talking as a wealthy Liberal bored with the world, who is now in charge of the industrial world since inheriting it from a hard working father and grandfather, who had sent him to college, as other fathers did, to learn---so it seems---to destroy what they had built with such hard work and vision.
Jim Taggart and his friends could not be happy with the success his sister had made as she and Rearden Steel had rebuilt that Rio Norte line and the new bridge which they were so proud of. No. They would pass a law---called ‘The Fair Share Law,’ wherein no steel mill could produce more than their neighbor. Then someone in Washington D.C. would decide just how much each factory could produce. Washington D.C. would decide what was fair for each and everyone. And if you disagree, then that would be unlawful and old fashioned. Someone was TURNING OFF THE GREAT TECHNOLOGY OF THE RACE, AND OF THIS AGE to reduce a nation to dust. Why? Men of vision were being crowded out of leadership positions not only in our nation, but in the industrial world as well. All of the great inventions which would have moved the civilizations forward were being discarded, closed down. And the men of genius gradually were quitting and disappearing from the industrial scene. Did these Looters not know that this idea of love for your fellow man being greater than everything else made it impossible to keep the civilization growing and improving? Did they not know that the mind of men is the root of all goods produced and of all the wealth produced that ever existed on this earth. Money is not the root of all evil, it is a measure of exchange. The man who has damned money has obtained it dishonorably. The man who respects it has earned it. Did these men like Jim Taggart, forget this? For surely, they once knew it. Run, if a man tells you that money is evil, for here comes a Looter.
Labor Unions had come to the front of this nation. And their asking for more and more brought the business world to its knees. Government rules, shortages and delays of shipments of equipment because of government interference, was to blame for this as well.
Dagny realized that the railroads are finished and she goes to the mountain cabin she remembers and tries to put her life together. Because of her, the Looters and Parasites have won. Her dream of the reestablishment of the railroad empire which she and her brother inherited, is over. Then a great wreck on her railroad brings her back to work, but not for long. She will go in search of men of vision. Where is that dreamed of engine which would rescue the industrial world? She goes in search of the man who may be working on it, and in the process, her plane is wrecked high in the Rocky Mountains. But she also finds those she is looking for high in those mountains---the men with minds---who are on STRIKE. Let the Looter and the Parasites run the world. Don’t help them for a little while, then you can go back and rebuild. Thus, she begins to understand that the Looters, the Parasites way of life is to fawn on the worthless rotter and call him a friend. They think he is safe, for they believe that evil is safe and incompetence is practical.
Our author then tells us that the rebirth of the World (New Age) has to start in the United States of America. This country is the only country in history born, not of chance and blind tribal warfare, but as a rational product of man’s MIND. This country was built on the supremacy of reason. And for one magnificent century, it redeemed the world. And it will have to do it again.
Here in the high mountains of Colorado, Dagny found that men of vision were working on such a dream which the outside world declared---dead, and all vision gone, a land now of drugs, welfare and misery. The only thing to brag about, was what we had done for the homeless? These men, the sons of those ancient ancestors, the Movers, of this civilization, would not accept this system that said that the property they earned by hard work and vision was to be theirs by permission only. They felt that the day is coming when once again out of the root of this great nation, that the mines, the smelters, all the industries will grow again and they will rebuild. Dagny now understands what they are trying to tell her. That the kids who inherited wealth, then lost it by becoming passive. Or as our author says, Atlas (the world) Shrugged, when they saw the Parasites take over. And those kids who still retained their minds, would now take a stand. They would not allow this to continue. It would have to come to a screeching halt and they would then be allowed to rebuild their nation. And if not them, then some of their children who retained also their minds, would again stand upon their feet, and deny this mess we have allowed to build in our nation, and will see a new day. For there will remain a spark of this great race, and its destiny.
Our author tells us that it takes an exceptional person in this day and age to remain untouched by the brain destroying influence of the world’s doctrines, the accumulated evil of centuries, which is now called ‘Change.’ Which also is what destroys the world.
After one month in the mountain valley with these men and women of vision, Dagny Taggart made her decision as to whether she would stay here or go back and use her intelligence to fight for what she had left in this modern world. She decided to go back and fight, not leave it until all collapses and then come back to rebuild. She would promise not to reveal the secrets of this valley, or the people in it. And they would promise to help when she would get in trouble as they were sure she would. Thus Dagny came back to fight for her inheritance and her place in this nation.
Dagny as present when the government, run now by the destroyer, announced and showed the project of the atomic beam, showed its destructive power which had been built using the notes of the beloved old scientists who had taught some of these men in the past. And who knew nothing of the use of his theory by the world, as he still struggled to teach Science in his classroom. But now, Dr. Robert Stadler would surrender to the World Order pressure and his old students high in the mountains would watch and shudder.
As Dagny returns to work, she learns that all railroads have now been turned over to a national review board under the National Unification Plan. Here at Taggart Transcontinental, her brother had not been able to resist this government grab. She hears people who are whispering that all big companies have now quit. And there seems to be panic out there as people keep disappearing. Dagny is then ordered to give a speech to the nation, to reassure them that she is back and has not disappeared as some had thought. She does as her brother wishes, but as she began to speak, this is not what those in power want to hear. For she is telling the people the truth about their situation. So the T.V. is shut off and they explain it as a power failure.
In South America, the Parasites were doing the same thing. They were taking over everything. They were nationalizing all industry. And as they were announcing the take over of D’Anconia Copper, all places of this industry were suddenly blown up. The most efficient of the staff of the thousands of D’Anconia employees had also disappeared and were no more. And D’Anconia accounts were not found in any banks anywhere.
As the government turns on Hank Rearden, he finds as he tours this nation, that there is not much grain left in storage. The parts for the tractors are even in short supply. Do they aim for the food supply to run low? Food could not be hauled because of the shortage of steel and transportation. Hank Rearden tells those who are also pressuring him, that they have given away the blessings of this nation to all the world. What will they do when they have milked this nation dry? What will they do after they have also destroyed the steel mills? They could not answer. Then one night, the steel mill was burned and now Hank Rearden also is among the missing.
Dagny knew where these men of MIND were. And that they were on strike against the Looters. The Parasites, who were draining this great nation. Then one night, on the airwaves, came the voice of John Galt. And he was talking to the people. And no one in government seemed to know how to stop this frequency of air wave that he is using. No one but Dagny understood how he had used his power to manipulate the air waves. He was telling the people that these Looters and Parasites have been using fear and guns to loot this nation. That the men of vision would not work under those conditions. Thus is comes down to the fact that they could not put this nation together again without the men of vision and they would not work in this situation. Thus---our work or your guns---you cannot have both.
Those in Washington were frantic. Here was this one called John Galt speaking and telling the people exactly what those in power were doing as they bled this nation and her people. He called them parasites in nature, who expropriate the wealth created by others. They even plunder the ideas created by others. This destruction is the only end these parasites have ever achieved. And WE, THE LIVING, are no longer going to save you from the effects of your chosen beliefs. You have been living on borrowed time. And we have now called in your loan. John Galt continued speaking as the powers that be, were running around demanding that someone find a way to turn him off. John Galt then said, ‘For twelve years I stood in my factory and heard you declare that the motor that I had invented which would have raised the efficiency of every installation using power was declared to belong to you, to be used for the good of the world. I was sentenced to death because I would not give it to you. I heard three Parasites say that my brain and my life were their property. Thus, I quit your world, and have helped others with a MIND to escape your world for now. For you who are incompetent to run your own lives are surely not thinking that you are competent to run the lives of others. Your symbol of man is much different than most in this nation.
You have been wanting to know who John Galt is? I am the first man to say NO to you. I am not the first man of intelligence to go on STRIKE against you. For this has happened before as men of vision have always finally won and moved forward. The dark ages was an era of intelligence on strike against you. Men of ability went underground and lived and worked, studying in secret. Only a few of the bravest of martyrs kept the race alive in the visible world. This time, I have called out on strike the kind of Martyrs who have never deserted you before. I have taught them that ours is the morality of life. They, the great victims, have produced every wonder of humanity. They have known that theirs is the power which moves the world. I have shown them that theirs was also the Glory. You, who have plundered even pennies, yet honor a fortune teller before a fortune maker, are a cult of death. Do not for a minute pretend that you will perish for a noble deed. You will perish as fodder for the haters of man. You, who grew up to believe that moral law bears no relation to the job of living, that man’s existence is an amoral jungle where anything goes and anything works, that robbery is practical,---no wonder you live without dignity, love without fire, and die without.
There are two sides of every issue. One side is right and the other wrong. You try to walk the middle pretending there is no choice or value existing, and YOU PEOPLE WHO HAVE WATCHED THIS PROCEDURE AND MADE NO MOVE TO STOP IT. (Suggestive of Jim Taggart), we throw these Parasites to the people like a great millstone. These men of MIND will not be back until you men awake, rise up to see what you have allowed to happen as---ATLAS(the world) Shrugged. You allowed the Looters to think for you when they have not the mind to think for themselves. The sign of the $ is our signal to you people who think. We will help you to reclaim this nation of ours. Those who choose, may join us. Hoards of savages have never been an obstacle to men who carried the banner of the MIND.
As we reclaim our nation, you will be able to rise in the morning with the spirit known in your childhood. We will be waiting to help you. Watch for our signal. Watch for us and respond.’
As the voice of John Galt died out, those in power were still in a frenzy trying to find someone to blame. They kept saying, ‘someone tell us what to do?’ A woman then spoke up and said, ‘I can tell you, give up, get out of the way, you are thru. Leave men free to exist. There is nothing ahead of you now to want to gain, to reach. Get out of the way if you want a chance to live. Let men take over who know how to create an environment for people, for obviously, you do not know.’
A cry came from someone on the speakers stand saying, ‘do something, she is talking treason. Do something. Somebody.’ But the lady---Dagny---walked out leaving confusion behind. And her brother sat there still in blindness not joining her. The Looters then turned on each other. But finally, they calmed down as the professor said, ‘Trail Miss Dagny Taggart, for she will lead us to John Galt, and sooner or later then you can kill him.’ Other said, ‘Oh, no, he will get us out of this mess we are in. Find him and we will make a deal. You will never see a man who won’t make a deal with us, sooner or later. So find him.’
As Dagny and Eddie walk away from this strange meeting, do you get the feeling that the author is telling us that Dagny of this fiction story represents Israel of the scripture? After all, she does not give up her place in this world order, for she was sent here to occupy until HE comes. And then, could John Galt be the man to bring out the other side of the story? Let’s wait and see what happens.
Dagny and Eddie walk away planning a time of silence so that John Galt will not be found. Dagny thinks if she hangs on just a little while longer, that the Parasites will be gone. As a few days went by, more homes and factories were closed and people just seemed to vanish. But the leaders of the Looters were still trying to fool the people. They were urging calmness, and saying they were trying to find John Galt, then he would set everything right. But behind the scene, they were frantically searching. Rewards were offered to any applicants to fill managerial jobs, to skilled technicians. But no one came forward. Then they started the rumor that John Galt was in Washington to conference. But behind the scene there was no trace of him. There were rumors of people traveling at night. That the $ sign was turning up in many places. The Rearden Mills had been nationalized, but there was no one to run them.
The head man of the government, Mr. Thompson, summoned Miss Taggart. But she could not help him in finding John Galt. Then they asked, ‘What shall we do?’ And Dagny replied, ‘Start de-controlling. Start lifting taxes and remove controls.’ Oh, they replied, ‘We can’t do that, the country could not take it. The other boys of this group are ready to move to Force the people to do as we say. Nothing, they think, will make our system work unless we use force.’ (Communism)
Dagny is about to the end of her strength, and she finally takes a chance and trying not to be followed, she goes to John Galt’s old rooming house, and she finds him there, along with that famous machine which can revolutionize industry. And John Galt knows that the time of silence is over for of course, they have followed Dagny even tho she saw no one. Then comes a knock on the door, but Dagny has been coached by John Galt before this as to what to say and to do. So as she will be protected. She then identifies John Galt, and the authorities start searching the apartment. The laboratory door has been locked but finally they break it open and there is not only dust behind that locked door.
John Galt is taken to headquarters to meet Mr. Thompson who offers a deal. John Galt lets him talk. They say the economy is in shambles, food production is running low, nobody is producing anymore. So, okay, we are ready to give in. You tell us what to do.
John Galt replies, ‘Get out of the way.’
‘Oh, that is impossible,’ replies Mr. Thompson, ‘people aren’t ready for that. The State (Communist) must still rule. We will compromise. You give the orders and we will split 50%. You run the country, so as to produce, and we will give the orders and use our power to see that they are carried out. Bring back your men of vision, lead us to a peaceful and scientific industrial age and to prosperity (but under Communist rule?).’
And John Galt just laughed saying, ‘It will not work.’
The Looters said, ‘You can make it work. I don’t know how, but I know you know how, or I would not have sent for you.’
‘Alright, start by abolishing taxes.’
‘Oh, no, we can’t do that. How would we pay our government employees?’
‘Oh, no, I can’t do that. We will give you any amount of money you ask, just take over and work for us.’
John Galt smiled, and replied, ‘You hold the gun, Mr. Thompson. What are your orders?’
‘I want you to save the economy of this country.’
‘I don’t know how, with you in charge.’
Thus, the argument went back and forth. And finally, John Galt was left locked in a room while the Looters consulted among themselves.
Six days of front page stories suggested that the country’s leaders were working with John Galt to shape new policies, but no results showed, and more factories were closed every day.
The Looters consulted again. They will not accept John Galt’s philosophy and admit that they have been wrong all along. They must not have anything happen to him, for fear of what the people would do.
Dagny had played her part well as John Galt had coached her. She also demanded the reward of $500,000.00 for leading then to John Galt. She received the check, but of course, she would never cash it. That evening as she returned home, there was a note under her door and it read:-- ‘Dagny, sit tight. Watch them. When he needs our help, call me at OR6-5693.’
In the guard room, with John Galt, they delivered appeals from school children, from a home for crippled children, from a minister representing two hundred different faiths, from mothers of the country, all crying for John Galt to save them. John Galt did not read them. Was he to follow their blindness and not his mind?
Then came the time to get tough. And they were suggesting that because of the shortage of food, that maybe they would have to give an order for every third child under the age of ten to be put to death and every adult over the age of sixty years, be put to death so that others might survive.
Dr. Stadler, this old science teacher who had taught three boys in those earlier times, John Galt being one of them, taught the value of the human mind,---was now forced to bow to the Looters, and sent to John Galt’s room. And as he enters, he is begging his old pupil to forgive him, and to surrender now, for he cannot win.
Three evenings later, three men came, dressed Galt in dinner clothes and took him to the Grand Ballroom of the Wayne-Falkland Hotel where he was seated at the speakers table. Dagny is also seated at one of the tables as is her brother Jim and his usual crowd. An announcement was being made. Of all things, it was ‘the John Galt Plan’ to save the nation. The speeches were long and flowery as to what this man could do, and how the Looters welcomed him. John Galt was warned by the feel of a gun in his side, not to say anything until later and then only maybe a ‘hello’ to the people. At last, the speeches were over, and they were ready to hear from John Galt.
John Galt moved swiftly and the camera caught the glimpse of a gun. And the T.V. sent this picture to the world. Then John Galt said to the invisible viewer, ‘Get the Hell out of my way.’
The T.V. went bland. The Looters--many of them in blindness who had followed the parasite lead--were now resigning, getting away if possible. Dagny heard the leader, Mr. Thompson, say, ‘Do something. Do anything you want,’ as he spoke to his followers. Dagny realizes that they now will plan to kill John Galt. That is the only way they can hang on to their power. Then make sure the people never know what happens. Dagny now ran to make a call. And on the other end of the line, Francisco answered, giving her instructions as to what to do. Pack a bag, warn clothes, bring anything of value that you can carry, and meet him at a certain location. The door burst open and the Chief Engineer of her railroad rushed in telling Dagny that her railroad bridge over the Mississippi River has been blown up. No longer can Dagny know what to do. She is to quit fighting and let Francisco take her out of this area.
John Galt was brought to Project F. He was now bound and was given orders to take control of the nation on their terms or else. Dr. Ferris and Wesley Mouch sat in arm chairs as did James Taggart, as this order was given to the confined John Galt. They were now to use the electric shock treatment on him to make him obey. Twice they shocked this man. And still he did not answer. They began to mock him telling him they also understood the ways of electricity. Some would think he had enough but one would demand more. Not only obedience, now was demanded, but belief in their way. Now he was to be a dictator for them. But wait a moment. The machine had quit. What was the matter with it? The three men did not know. But at last they knew what they did not know.
The engineer was ordered to fix it. But he said he did not know how. The man strapped to the table raised himself as far as he could and said, ‘It is the vibrator that is out of order.’ The men swung around as he continued speaking. Take it out and pry off the aluminum cover. You will find a pair of contacts fused together. Pry them apart. Then take a file and smooth up the fitted surfaces. Then replace the cover and plug in the machine and it will work.’
The engineer stared at Galt in amazement, and then ran out of the room. It was then that Jim Taggart, who had wanted to go ahead, to continue until Galt screamed, who suddenly seemed to see himself. He had walked down this long wrong path so long. But now he sees all the wrongs he has done and the consequences. And he began to moan saying, ‘No, No.’ But John Galt looked at him and said, ‘Yes.’ And he collapsed. The two men escorted Jim Taggart out of the cellar. He could hardly stand. Surely, he was of no use to them now.
Rescue of John Galt was sudden and was performed by three men and Dagny. And then they were in Francisco D’Anconia plane flying west and talking on an unknown frequency to the other planes out of the valley which contained the second line of men if these four did not succeed in this rescue which had taught the world (order) that the brutes private or public who think they can rule the world by force, learn what happens when brute force meets force and mind.
As they were flying, they noticed the lights of New York, (the headquarters of the Parasites). And all of a sudden, all the lights went out in that large city. Dagny remembered that Francisco had once said, ‘You have to extinguish the lights of the World (order) and then the lights of New York will go out.’
Dagny, from her point of view said, ‘It is the end.’ She had failed in her plan to stay in the ‘world order’ until rescued by a higher force. But John Galt said, ‘No, it is but the beginning.’
Later, as Dagny and John Galt walked the trail in their mountain village he spoke, ‘We are going back to the world. Dagny will run the trains, Hank will run the smelters. And they will build the rails and the civilization will come alive. The parasites are gone. The people are now free to help in the rebuilding of their continent.’
Ayn Rand had this to say to all the readers who discovered ‘The Fountainhead” and ask about the wider applications in the present novel.-- ‘I want to say that I am answering thus. The Fountainhead was only an overture to ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ I trust that no one will tell me that such men as I write about do not exist. That this book has been written and published is proof that they do.