Well there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There was three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run their factory. They let us vote on it too and everybody - almost everybody - voted for it.The moocher US government in Atlas Shrugged is so incompetent that it can't even force Communism on factory owners - the factory owners have to collectivize themselves!
Naturally the collective becomes a moronic hellscape. The point of the story is to explain who is John Galt, but The Bum has to ramble on for page after page to get around to that. It was unpleasant getting through his story, and made even worse by Rand's own special brand of cruelty:
There was an old guy... who had one hobby: phonograph records. Well they didn't give him any allowance for records - 'personal luxury' - they called it. But at that same meeting, Millie Bush, somebody's daughter, a mean ugly little eight-year-old was voted a pair of gold braces for her buck teeth... the old guy turned to drink instead... one night he came staggering down the street, saw Millie Bush, swung his fist and knocked all her teeth out. Every one of them.And thus we learn the dangers of socialized medicine.
Now since the old guy wasn't given an "allowance" for the innocent pleasure of listening to records (and you just know his favorite composer was Dagny's favorite composer Richard Halley) you may ask, well how did he get the money for alcohol, since this closed-system collective was operating in the middle of a capitalist currency-based society? Rand has an answer for you, my friend:
Don't ask how we got the money for it. When all the decent pleasures are forbidden, there's always ways to get the rotten ones.So there you go, you parasitic moocher. Don't ask for a reason-based explanation for how, although the old guy isn't actually forbidden from buying records but instead is just denied the money, is nevertheless able to find money to buy alcohol. Who do you think you are, questioning your highest value?*
And then there is the matter of an old guy coming down the street encountering an unaccompanied eight-year-old at night. But I guess in a world run by self-looters that's how things are. So this old drunk guy punches a little girl in the face so hard that it knocks out all her teeth. Every one of them.
There have been boxers who have lost teeth in fights. Boxers who were punched very hard by very strong, non-drunk boxers. And they lose only a few teeth at a time, at most. If you were punched in the face hard enough to knock out every one of your teeth, your brain would be liquified, gold braces or no.
And Rand thinks that this eight year old girl deserved to be viciously assaulted because the collective decided to pay for her orthodontistry and because she was mean - and as we know an eight-year-old is fully responsible for their ethical beliefs and behavior and that's why we always try them as adults.
But most importantly the little girl was ugly. And in the world of Atlas Shrugged that makes her pure evil.
And lest you think that Dagny Taggart is guilty of compassion for a scummy old bum trying to mooch a free ride off her train, be assured, Dagny had her reasons to spare his life. The bum is about to be ejected from the train "to his certain death" when suddenly:
It was (the bum's) laundered collar and this gesture for the last of his possessions (a small dirty bundle) - the gesture of a sense of property - that made her feel an emotion like a sudden burning twist within her. "Wait" she said... let him be my guest."
That emotion was probably "empathy" but since Rand has so little experience with it, it strikes her as a "burning."
And if the bum had lost his bundle and had tucked in his collar Dagny would have gladly allowed him to be turned into coyote food.
Holy shit I hate Ayn Rand. And so apparently does either the screenwriter or the director of Dirty Dancing. Suddenly I want to watch this movie.
And thank my lack of God I am finally on Part 3 of this sociopathic wet dream of a novel with only ten more chapters to go.
*Ayn Rand is your highest value