Kelley Cap Ideal slides

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Published on December 17, 2009

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Slide 1: The Capitalist Ideal The Moral Vision of Atlas Shrugged David Kelley Center for the Study of Political Economy  Hampden-Sydney College  October 18, 2007 The Russian revolution : The Russian revolution The storming of the Winter Palace, October 1917 (a re-enactment staged as a civic spectacle on the third anniversary of the action). Vladimir Lenin Alyssa Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand) : Alyssa Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand) Alyssa Rosenbaum (left), with sisters Atlas Shrugged : Atlas Shrugged The capitalist ideal—Outline : The capitalist ideal—Outline The story The heroes, the villains, the world The John Galt Line Death by regulation Producers of the world, unite! The themes The glory of production The morality of self-interest The justice of trade Heroes and villains : Heroes and villains Dagny Taggart, Taggart Transcontinental, operating VP Hank Rearden, Rearden Steel James Taggart, Taggart Transcontinental, president Orren Boyle, Associated Steel Wesley Mouch, “Washington man” Floyd Ferris, State Science Institute The John Galt Line : The John Galt Line The capitalist ideal—Outline : The capitalist ideal—Outline Story Themes The glory of production The morality of self-interest The justice of trade “The best within us” : “The best within us” “You ought to do something great...I mean, the two of us together.” “What?” she asked. He said, “I don’t know. That’s what we ought to find out. Not just what you said. Not just business and earning a living. Things like winning battles, or saving people out of fires, or climbing mountains.... The minister said last Sunday that we must always reach for the best within us. What do you suppose is the best within us?” Rearden Metal : Rearden Metal Rearden’s drive to create : Rearden’s drive to create The one thought held immovably across a span of ten years, under everything he did and everything he saw, the thought held in his mind when he looked at the buildings of a city, at the track of a railroad, at the light in the windows of a distant farmhouse, at the knife in the hands of a beautiful woman cutting a piece of fruit at a banquet, the thought of a metal alloy that would do more than steel had ever done, a metal that would be to steel what steel had been to iron. Motive power : Motive power Motive power—thought Dagny, looking up at the Taggart Building in the twilight— was its first need; motive power, to keep that building standing; movement, to keep it immovable. It did not rest on piles driven into granite; it rested on engines that rolled across a continent. Motive power : Motive power They are alive, she thought, because they are the physical shape of the action of a living power—of the mind that had been able to grasp the whole of this complexity, to set its purpose, to give it form. They are alive, she thought, but their soul operates them by remote control. Their soul is in every man who has the capacity to equal this achievement. Should the soul vanish from the earth, the motors would stop, because that is the power which keeps them going—… the power of a living mind—the power of thought and choice and purpose. The capitalist ideal—Outline : The capitalist ideal—Outline Story Themes The glory of production The morality of self-interest The justice of trade The altruist tradition : The altruist tradition Karl Marx: “None of the supposed rights of man, therefore, go beyond the egoistic man, man as he is, as a member of civil society; that is, an individual separated from the community, withdrawn into himself, wholly preoccupied with his private interest and acting in accordance with his private caprice.“ Beatrice Webb: Socialism is the attempt "to transfer the 'impulse of self-subordinating service' from God to man." Rearden’s defense : Rearden’s defense I work for nothing but my own profit—which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs. I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage—and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner. . . .” What is altruism? : What is altruism? Rand: “The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value.” Comte: “[The religion of Humanity] sets forth social feeling as the first principle of morality....To live for others it holds to be our highest happiness. To become incorporate with humanity..., this is what it puts before us as the constant aim of life. ...In the positive state..., the idea of Right will disappear. Everyone has duties, duties toward all, but Rights in the ordinary sense can be claimed by none.” “From each… To each” : “From each… To each” Exaggerating needs, minimizing ability Penalizing responsibility—and vice-versa Suspicion, meddling Power congeals Brain drain The capitalist ideal—Outline : The capitalist ideal—Outline Plot Themes The glory of production The morality of self-interest The justice of trade Trader principle : Trader principle A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their own independent judgment….. In spiritual issues, a trader is a man who does not seek to be loved for his weaknesses or flaws, only for his virtues, and who does not grant his love to the weaknesses or the flaws of others, only to their virtues. The Virtue of Selfishness The pyramid of ability : The pyramid of ability The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of 'exploitation' for which you have damned the strong. Summary : Summary The glory of production The morality of self-interest The justice of trade Slide 23: The Capitalist Ideal The Moral Vision of Atlas Shrugged David Kelley The ATLAS SOCIETY 202 296-7263 www.atlassociety.org

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