Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Why There Never Was A Sequel To Atlas Shrugged

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 17, 2013

Some of you may be wondering why Ayn Rand (real name: Alisa Rosenbaum) didn’t continue her epic story of John Galt and his epic system-smashers as they prepare to be the rulers of a society from which they absented themselves, causing it to fall into a chaos they think they will easily be able to exploit.

A Daily Kos diarist explains:

There’s just one teeny-tiny little problem: Rand never really follows up on the logical consequences of total societal collapse, at least not explicitly. The world Galt plans to return to is one where nothing works any more. Millions have died in starvation, civil strife, disease outbreaks, and worse. Where there isn’t total anarchy, there are pockets of petty tyrants and warlords ruling over neo-serfs; feudalism is perhaps the best possible outcome for many as desperate people trade away everything for a little security and a bare hope of survival – but nothing more.

      There’s no power grid, no transport systems, no web of laws to keep order, no education system, no healthcare… It’s the world of Mad Max It’s the embodiment of the conservative’s Hobbesian world view, where life is nasty, brutish and short.

      And that’s on a good day.

      Rand doesn’t dare look too closely at the objective cost of what it would take for John Galt’s vision to be realized, the tremendous toll of lives, loss of resources, and damage it would take generations to undo. John Galt, with his superior morality backed by his superior intellect (and his magical free energy machine) has coldly calculated this is the price that must be paid – and he’s good with that.

      Because, after all, the victims have only themselves to blame for not bowing to the unassailable rightness of his views, backed up by the entire power of the Natural Order of Things (as explained by Galt at length in the book.) Besides – Galt had to destroy the world. It was a simple case of self-defense. It’s kind of hard to turn it into a Happy Ending if you include all the nasty details though.

        It’s a fantasy world, and it’s easy to see why it still appeals to certain types. People with power fantasies, egomania, and a certain kind of paranoia about the world not recognizing just how special they are, live and breathe this stuff. The blood, the bodies – not their problem. These guys nearly wrecked the world back in 2008 and yet you can read something like this in 2013, and it’s not snark. (And what kind of a name is Harry Binswanger? I swear you can’t make this stuff up.) The people currently doing their best to destroy government today are all on board with it. They don’t see the inherent contradiction in destroying something to ‘save’ it. They believe!

By the way, Anton Szandor Lavey (real name: Howard Levey), founder of the Church of Satan and a fixture among the Hollywood set, admitted freely that he took his basic schtick from Ayn Rand. From Joe Carter (via Crazy Eddie):

Perhaps most are unaware of the connection, though LaVey wasn’t shy about admitting his debt to his inspiration. “I give people Ayn Rand with trappings,” he once told the Washington Post. On another occasion he acknowledged that his brand of Satanism was “just Ayn Rand’s philosophy with ceremony and ritual added.” Indeed, the influence is so apparent that LaVey has been accused of plagiarizing part of his “Nine Satanic Statements” from the John Galt speech in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Devotees of Rand may object to my outlining the association between the two. They will say I am proposing “guilt by association,” a form of the ad hominem fallacy. But I am not attacking Rand for the overlap of her views with LaVey’s; I am saying that, at their core, they are the same philosophy. LaVey was able to recognize what many conservatives fail to see: Rand’s doctrines are satanic.

Res ipsa loquiter.

7 Responses to “Why There Never Was A Sequel To Atlas Shrugged”

  1. supergee said

    http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/393124.html

    • It’s funny to see the number of butthurted Randians (or maybe just the same Randian posting anonymously over and over) showing up to attack Hicks’ relentlessly logical post.

      Because he’s right: The end result of Atlas Shrugged would be a fierce determination on the part of the survivors to do anything they possibly could to avoid being like the satanic Strikers, a goal that Rand shows in the society described in Anthem.

      • Stormcrow said

        I just figured this out a few minutes ago:

        David Drake already wrote up the logical conclusion to “Atlas Shrugged” as a short story, “The Guardroom”.

        It isn’t a pleasant read.

        But Drake isn’t in the habit of soft-peddling anything. One of the reasons I like him.

        Another is his insistence on sticking to the facts, insofar as he knows them. He wouldn’t write up his homage to Kuttner’s novel “Fury” on Kuttner’s Venus, because it’s inconsistent with the Venus that had emerged from probe data by the time he wrote it. So he started from the Venus the facts limned, and worked out how that could turn into something close enough to Kuttner’s vision to work in the novel.

  2. Charles II said

    Interesting that point about the Satanism-Rand link. People imagine that evil is exotic and attractive, when it is really narcissistic and boring. Contra the Randians’ narcissistic delusions of being great creators, most of the wealth of this world is created by scientists and engineers who will never get a minute fraction of the wealth they have created, not because of governments and taxation, but because of employers, venture capitalists, banks, and other non-governmental overlords.

    Yes, they’re hypocrites, who don’t count the blessings they received from government, be it a good educational system or a country where public health eradicated many of the most deadly diseases, be it the legal system that allows them to go to a venture capital group rather than to the local dictator or the transportation system that gets their product to market. But the larger irony is that they are so blind they can’t even see who stole and continues to steal their cheese.

    • Charles II said

      And, expanding on the Satanism connection, what does the Forbes contributor say in comments?

      Harry Binswanger, Contributor 2 weeks ago

      I’m a moral atheist. Christianity is indeed the major source of the notion of a “duty” to help people in need. And Christianity is built on faith, not reason.

      I say that your life is your highest value. There is no afterlife, so it’s this life or nothing. To live your life to the fullest, respecting the rights of others to do the same, is your highest moral obligation. And, since man’s life is the life of a rational being, living it to the fullest means using your reason to the fullest, rejecting faith and self-sacrifice.

      I keep trying to tell my nominally atheist and agnostic friends that Christianity is not the enemy, though its misuses certainly may be. But they aren’t atheists or agnostics. Look at what a true atheist looks like; Binswanger:

      It is “the community” that should give back to the wealth-creators. It turns out that the 99% get far more benefit from the 1% than vice-versa.

      For their enormous contributions to our standard of living, the high-earners should be thanked and publicly honored. We are in their debt.

      Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

      That’s what someone who doesn’t believe in anything larger than himself looks like. Narcisstic, grandiose, selfish, and boring.

      • Stormcrow said

        No.

        You’re generalizing from a single instance. This is so elementary a logical fallacy that it should require no explanation.

        And I find this particular generalization personally offensive, since you’re tarring me with the same brush.

      • Charles II said

        The founder of the Church of Satan is a hell of a single instance, Stormcrow. That’s who PW is citing.

        And what are the principles of that Church? Well, number one is:

        Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!

        Now, there are reasons to indulge and reasons to abstain. Jesus made wine for the wedding at Qana and abstained from it at the crucifixion. But the Randians would indulge their own appetites and never abstain for any reason. Not even so that others might simply live.

        So, go ahead and be offended if it will make you feel better. But unless you are a Randian, or someone who doesn’t believe in anything larger than himself looks like, I am not tarring you with the same brush. As I have repeatedly said, I count anyone who believes in truth and justice and compassion and lives his/her life to uphold them as a member of my church.

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