Ayn Rand, Edition: 1st by Mimi Gladstein, John Meadowcroft, Mimi Reisel Gladstein

By Mimi Gladstein, John Meadowcroft, Mimi Reisel Gladstein


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Francisco is speaking again, this time specifically to Hank Rearden, one of those self-made American Industrialists he had lauded in his speech at the Taggart wedding. This speech is directly tied to the title imagery. The underlying concept is that industrialists and inventors such as Hank Rearden are, contemporary versions of the Titan Atlas, and like him, they are holding up the world. Francisco explains to Rearden that rather than giving thanks and being appreciative, the world only makes itself heavier and heavier, expecting more and more of the Atlases.

Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of the next man’s dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected” (128). Consequently, although the group began as hard working and able, the cream of the country’s laborers, working under this system that punished productivity, eventually turned them into chiselers, trying to outsmart the system. Theoretically, the underlying moral law is to love one’s brothers as one’s self. In practice, when one’s brothers are bums, loafers, moochers, cheats, or just plain incompetent and one is expected to become their beast of burden, to make one’s virtues the slave of their vices, then rather than love, one begins to hate—to hate them for their constant needs, for their illnesses, or if they found love because that might add a new burden to the group.

Speaking for Rand, Francisco questions the old bromide that love is blind and impervious to reason. He states instead that he can tell a lot about a man by what he finds sexually attractive and that the woman he sleeps with is a good indicator of his evaluation of himself. Thus if a man chooses the highest type of woman, a woman he admires and finds strong and hard to conquer, then he is demonstrating his attraction to a woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself. A man of self-esteem chooses a heroine.

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