Freewill is the tenet on which men founded the United States of America, and the glory of "America the Beautiful" stems from the unlocked potential of its people. The callused hands of the laborers sip from the cup of American wealth, not the lazy plowman demanding government help. The inventor's mind synthesizes, theorizes, and designs the American dream, not the indifferent, insolent mechanic. The steel will of the industrialists propels the nation to greater heights, not the selfish arrogance of the beggar. The men who carry the weight of the world, Atlas and his proteges, do so by their incredible strength, not because of weakness, just as Ayn Rand asserts in her novel, Atlas Shrugged.
Full of heroes and villains, Atlas Shrugged demands much from an intelligent reader. As global forces scheme to destroy various characters, Rand's continually acid wit and ironic tone set the stage for the various battles.
One of the central characters in the novel, Hank Rearden, a steel magnate and tireless worker, invents a metal alloy that beats out all other steel alloys on the market. Naming it Rearden metal, Hank plans to storm the marketplace with his life's work, and make a bundle of money in the meantime. Dagny Taggart, a woman sharing with Rearden a vision of an America run by ingenuity, energy, and hard work, is the Vice-President in Charge of Operation for Taggart Transcontinental, a thriving railroad company. The two join forces, hoping to profit from their genius the old-fashioned way, by earning their fortune.
Unfortunately, America refuses to allow these industrialists to follow their dreams. A creeping disease has infected the spirits of many A...
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...l, purely logical absolutes leave no room for opposites to exist within them, and the defining characteristic of such absolutes are then lost. For example, absolute heat will not tolerate cold, yet how can we describe any heat without some reference to a colder temperature? By giving an example of Rearden's philosophy that works well despite the uncertainty of life, Rand reaches out to every man who has struggled for ideals.
In reaching out to humanity through "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand strengthened her argument about the basic goodness and extraordinary potential she believed all men could reach. Because this book takes incredible concentration to comprehend, understanding is left to individual effort, and Rand's permanent lesson for humanity is open to all seek her knowledge.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, Inc., 1957.
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