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John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged 
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Post John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
HERE


Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:14 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
He's good. And I like the comments there too.


Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:57 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
Scalzi is good at making points.

I pointed out to someone of the right political persuasion that "going Galt" has no point unless the individual taking low employment or retiring is of magnificent intelligence and crucially necessary to the continuation of a business or industry. For anyone else it's a hilariously overinflated gesture.

Fine for a point in fiction, laughable in the real world.


Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:48 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
PeterScott wrote:
He's good. And I like the comments there too.

Scalzi is good - but I think he's got the interpretation of John Galt as a "genocidal prick" wrong because he's misrepresented something that was, really, explained quite clearly in the book: John Galt did not "instigate" the collapse of the economy and the suffering of millions, he (and Francisco d'Anconia and Ragnar Daneskold, unindicted -- in Scalzi at least -- co-conspirators) did not even accelerate the collapse he saw happening around him: he simply refused to participate iin it.

That is, a better interpretation is John Galt found a way -- a drastic way, but, then, for this all ways are drastic -- of not being in a pathological and codependent relationship. I have found through frustrating experience that the only way not to perpetuate or be in a codependent relationship is not to be in it.

Although Atlas Shrugged is philosophically useful for having stated one position very clearly, so that it's easier to see other positions and critique them, and the book does a bang-up and unarguable job of creating a world that is pleasurable (for some values of pleasure) to live in, so that it can be read and re-read with pleasure, the prinicipal use I have made of the book over the years is as an object of technical study in writing long narratives.

That is, Rand took a type of story that was popular at the turn of the last century (the melodrama), and expanded it to unbelievable proportions -- a technical feat somewhat comparable to the sextet in Nozze de Figaro. So the book is a textbook example of the devices that keep a story going and connected and coherent over a very long narrative.


Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:15 am
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
"Long narratives" is quite the euphemism from one point of view. But I must admit it held my attention all the way through on the one reading I have given it. Even the famous Speech, although I spent most of the time sharpening my blade for hypothetical riposts.

(I wonder whether Heinlein was influenced any by Rand's characters' speechifying? He has a similar penchant for long didactic dialogues and monologues. Although his are far more entertaining than hers.)

I saw Shrugged as the biggest strawman of all time. It's not that I disagree with her main points, it's that she casts all holders of opposing viewpoints as evil or ignorant and never allows them to make any of the decent counterarguments, thereby implying that there aren't any. When they get some air time, I am drawn to more moderate conclusions.

But without Shrugged, what would college students have to talk about? It is practically a rite of passage.


Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:37 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
This always made me chuckle whenever Atlas Shrugged is mentioned.

http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif


Rob


Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:30 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
I have seen it said that taxes are the price the wealthy pay for the proletariat not revolting. There's a lot to be said for that.


Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:17 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
PeterScott wrote:
I have seen it said that taxes are the price the wealthy pay for the proletariat not revolting. There's a lot to be said for that.

There's probably a lot to that. It's when the proles come to believe that they are somehow carrying the rich that the problems start... like now.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:04 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
Well Jim, it is because we are coming to the end of a generation of percentage raises. When everyone gets 10%, the guy making 80,000 gets a whole lot more raise than the guy making 10,000.

But programming percentages is so much easier than dealing with pay tables that the lazy way has been in effect a long time -- and it shows. And at the end of 10 years of this the 10,000 guy is making 26,918, and all thanks to the fact that the base shifts every year.

I told someone in City personnel years ago that the system was going to fail one day. Good old Heinlein and the Newdollar.

We are headed there.


Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:54 pm
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Post Re: John Scalzi critiques Atlas Shrugged
TinaBlack wrote:
Well Jim, it is because we are coming to the end of a generation of percentage raises. When everyone gets 10%, the guy making 80,000 gets a whole lot more raise than the guy making 10,000.

Well, Tina, we were talking about taxes, AFAIK, and last time I looked we didn't have a flat-tax structure. Mr. TenKay's tax load is probably near zero. The other guy is probably paying more than the first guy's whole income.

We also aren't talking about some sort of mass-communist situation where everyone gets the same *snicker* raise every year. You can average the numbers into some figure, but there are way too many variables, individually and collectively, for such a claim to mean much.

Not arguing whether it's fair or not or balanced or not - just keeping the argument kumquats to kumquats.

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:47 pm
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