Saturday, January 30, 2016

Writing of the John Galt Speech in Atlas Shrugged

According to ‘The Journals of Ayn Rand’, Ayn Rand began working on the John Galt’s speech on July 29,1953, and she finished writing the speech on October 13, 1955. She worked continuously for more than two years to ensure that the speech was dramatic, emotion-charged and perfectly suited to deliver her philosophical message.

In an interview (quoted in ‘The Journals of Ayn Rand’) that Ayn Rand gave in 1961, she has recalled her thoughts as she approached writing the John Galt’s speech: “I knew it was going to be the hardest chapter in the book… I thought that it would take at least three months. Well, it took two years.”

In the same interview, Ayn Rand has given a short description of the process by which she developed the John Galt’s speech: “I started by making an outline of the issues to be covered. First as a general listing of material, then in approximate order of presentation. But I couldn't stick to that outline; it had to be redone many times. I originally began the theoretical presentation with metaphysics, starting with existence exists, going from metaphysics to epistemology, then planning to go to morality. After writing quite a few pages, I had to stop because I knew it was absolutely wrong. That is the logical order in non-fiction, but you can’t do it in fiction. The speech had to start by presenting the morality, which is the real theme of the book, and where Galt would the to begin his explanation to the world. So I had to rewrite the whole thing.”

(Source: The Journals of Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman; Chapter: ‘Notes While Writing Galt’s Speech’)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"The Common man" is one of the worst slogans of Communism

"The Common man" is one of the worst slogans of Communism—and too many of us have fallen for it, without thinking.

All men are equal under the law. Therefore, if anyone is classified as “common”—he can be called “common” only in regard to his personal qualities. It then means that he has no outstanding abilities, no outstanding virtues, no outstanding intelligence. Is that an object of glorification?

In the Communist doctrine, it is. Communism preaches the reign of mediocrity, the destruction of all individuality and all personal distinction, the turning of men into “masses,” which means and undivided, undifferentiated, impersonal, average, common herd.

~ Ayn Rand

(Source: ‘The Journals of Ayn Rand’— From the notes that Ayn Rand prepared during the 1940s while working on her novel, Atlas Shrugged.)

Are you an author?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


"Your great-grandchildren won't thank you when the state is all-powerful because we didn't fight."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Three Nietzsche quotes from journals of Ayn Rand

In the The Journals of Ayn Rand it is stated that once Ayn Rand seemed to have considered prefacing each part of The Fountainhead with a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche. She had copied these three quotes from Nietzsche in her journal:

“Vanity is one of the things which are perhaps most difficult for the noble man to understand: he will be tempted to deny it, where another kind of man thinks he sees it self-evidently. The problem for him is to represent to his mind beings who seek to arouse a good opinion of themselves which they do not possess—and consequently also do not “deserve”—and who yet believe in this opinion afterwards.”

"Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for "equality": your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus in virtue words."

“But from time to time do ye grant me—one glimpse, grant me but one glimpse only, of something perfect, fully realised, happy, mighty, triumphant, of something that still gives cause for fear! A glimpse of man that justifies the existence of man, a glimpse of an incarnate human happiness that realizes and redeems, for the sake of which one may hold fast to the belief in man!” 

(Sources: The Journals of Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman; Part 2; Chapter—Notes While Writing)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ayn Rand - On why she wrote 'We the Living'

Ayn Rand began working on her novel ‘We the Living’ in 1930, at the age of 25. Her working title for the novel was ‘Airtight’. This is an excerpt from an autobiographical note that she sent to her publisher:

“I have been asked why I wrote this novel. I think the answer is obvious. I have seen Soviet life as few writers outside Russia have seen it. And while the world at large is deluged to the saturation point with minute accounts of Soviet Russia, including all the latest statistics up to the every single tractor produced by the “great experiment,” very little has been said about actual life under communism, about living beings, not slogans and theories. Theories against practice—that’s something too often overlooked in every important question today. With due apologies to good manners, I don’t give a damn about theories. I do give a good deal about human beings. No, not all of them. Only those worthy of the name.

“Also, if one takes even the swiftest look at the world today, one cannot help but see the greatest, most urgent conflict of our times: the individual against the collective. That problem interest me above all others in my writing. No country on earth offers such a startling and revealing view of the conflict as Soviet Russia. Hence—‘We the Living’. The plot of my novel is entirely fictitious. The background and circumstances which make the plot possible—are entirely true.” ~ Ayn Rand
(Sources: The Journals of Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman; Chapter—We The Living)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

How Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ got its title

“The most brilliant inspiration for a title of mine is Frank’s suggestion of Atlas Shrugged, which is almost a mystery to me. I do not know how he made that integration, but it is brilliant, because it names in two words the essence of the book. When I asked him how he came up with the title, he could not explain it. It was purely inspirational; titles usually occur that way.

“Atlas Shrugged was not my original title for the book, and it was a big regret in my life that I could not use my original title, which was ‘The Strike’. As I wrote the book, however, I realised ‘The Strike’ gave away too much. But the drama behind that title was this: I first conceived of the book shortly after the publication of The Fountainhead. This was in the heyday of the New Deal, when strikes were fashionable and they were all by the Left. Today, they are passĂ©—taken for granted. If you see pickets, you take them as part of daily life. We have completely mixed economy, so each pressure group uses means of that type to gain something. But in those days it was a collectivist, definitely a leftist phenomena. At the time, I thought that there would a certain drama in having a novel with that title by me, who after The Fountainhead was well known as a “reactionary.” I was being slightly subjective in that I was counting on the reputation of my previous novel. The change in the title is actually a monument to how long it took me to write the book. If the novel had been published within the first five years, ‘The Strike’ might have been all right. But from the perspective of the ages, it would have been dated, and it would not be a good title even now. But the main consideration was that ‘The Strike’ gave away too much.

“I did not change the title to ‘Atlas Shrugged’ until about four years after Frank suggested it…. I weighed the choice carefully, but each time I considered the issue, its appropriateness and enormous condensation made me conclude that there was no better title for the book. [Atlas Shrugged] names everything and gives away nothing.” ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: ‘The Art of Nonfiction’ by Ayn Rand; Chapter: ‘Selecting a Title; Page-169-170)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How Ayn Rand selected ‘The Fountainhead’ for the title of her book

“First, let me tell you abut the mistitling of The Fountainhead. This is not the original title, and I still do not particularly like it. The original title was ‘Secondhand Lives’. Everyone disliked it, including my agent and all the publishers I heard from. But I wanted that title, because it named a completely new idea featured in the book, i.e., that many people, such as Peter Keating, live by the opinions of others. Then Archie Ogden, my editor at Bobbos-Merrill, said something that changed my mind instantly: “If you use that title, you are featuring Peter Keating.” This horrified me. I had missed that implication entirely.

“So now I had to search for a title that would feature Howard Roark. The title I choose next was ‘The Prime Mover.’ But my publisher objected that most people, seeing the book in a store window, would think it was about movers. He was right, though I would have taken the chance, because I do not care about what superficial people might think. Still, the expression “prime mover” is not well known enough to convey the grandeur it would to someone acquainted with philosophy. Only a dedicated Aristotelian could appreciate it.

“I next choose Mainspring, but discovered it had already been used. So I took a thesaurus and started looking for words. Finally I found “fountainhead.” What I dislike about it is that the metaphor is too poetic for the nature of the book. Mainspring would have been better, because it suggests engineering.” ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: ‘The Art of Nonfiction’ by Ayn Rand; Chapter: ‘Selecting a Title; Page-169)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pay for Emotional Baggage

Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson & The Fountainhead

In The Art of Fiction Ayn Rand talks about the advise that she received from Isabel Paterson (Author of God of the Machine) on the manuscript of The Fountainhead:

“In my original manuscript of The Fountainhead, I had references to Nazism and communism, and even to Hitler and Stalin. [Novelist and political writer] Isabel Paterson, to whom I showed the abstract speeches before the book was published, said to me: “Do not use those narrow political terms, because the theme of your book is wider than the politics of the moment. Granted that the book is directed against racism and communism, you are really writing about collectivism—any past, present, or future form of it. Do not narrow your subject down to the particular figures of the moment.”

“I had to think this over for two days before I absorbed the idea; I was so used to the other method that it took quite an effort to cut out those journalistic references. But it was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever got in regard to writing. Imagine reading The Fountainhead today with references to Hitler and Stalin—it would not be the same.” ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: 'The Art of Fiction' by Ayn Rand; Chapter - ‘Particular Issues of Style', Page: 163)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Discovering Your Passion, Creating a Career - Keith Schacht

What Ayn Rand learned from Cecil DeMille!

In her book "The Art of Fiction" Ayn Rand on how she learned few things about the development of good story from the legendary filmmaker Cecil DeMille:

“At the start of my career, I had a valuable conversation with Cecil DeMille. It was my first year in Hollywood, I was twenty-two, and I had already developed a strong plot sense; but although I could recognise a good plot story, I had not consciously identified what characteristics made it good. DeMille told me something that clarified the issue for me.

“He said that a good story depends on what he called “the situation,” by which he meant a complicated conflict [a plot-theme], and that the best stories are those which can be told in one sentence. In other words, if the essential situation (not the whole story, of course) can be told in one sentence, this makes for a good plot story.

“He told me how he happened to buy the story for one of his most successful silent-day pictures, ‘Manslaughter’. It was originally a novel, and a friend of his wired him in Hollywood advising him to buy it for the screen. The friend included only one sentence about the story: “A righteous young district attorney has to prosecute the woman he loves, a spoiled heiress, for killing a policeman in an automobile accident.” This is all DeMille knew about the story, and he bought it.

“This kind of sentence contains all the elements of a good story—because it gives you the conflict. Once you have this much, you can tell what kind of events you must construct in order to lead the characters to the setup, and what kind of events are possible consequences. You will not grasp all the events immediately, a great many choices are involved—but you see the possibility of a dramatically constructed progression.” ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: 'The Art of Fiction' by Ayn Rand; Chapter - ‘How to Develop a Plot Ability', Page: 57)

Liberals Plan to Transform the World into Gigantic Post Office

Monday, January 18, 2016

On the public figure who served as a reference for the character of Ellsworth M. Toohey

“In regard to villains and characters who are neither particularly good nor bad, I find it helpful to focus on some acquaintance or public figure—not on the details of this person, but only on the essence. In the case of Toohey, I had in mind four living journalists and writers. I did not think of any one of them in specific detail, nor did I study their writings or lives. But my total impression of them gave me valuable clues to the manifestations of certain basic premises. These figures were the concretes that helped me to hold it all in my mind. This was the preliminary gathering of material.

“Then, one day, some acquaintances invited me to a lecture by a liberal at the New School for Social Research. I felt that it would be immoral to go; but they insisted that the lecturer was not leftist, that he was a brilliant speaker, and that they had already brought the tickets, so I went. And there was Toohey in the flesh, in personal appearance and manner. [The speaker was British Labour Party politician Harold Laski.]

“When he spoke, that man projected infinitely more than the specific content of his ideas. It is true that he was not particularly liberal—that is, he was the most vicious liberal I have ever heard in public, but not blatantly so. He was subtle and gracious, he rambled on a great deal about nothing in particular—and then he made crucial, vicious points once in a while. My foolish acquaintances did not know what going on, but I did, and I thought: “There is my character.”” ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: 'The Art of Fiction' by Ayn Rand; Chapter - ‘Characterization', Page: 87)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Alan Greenspan on Ayn Rand's writing style

Alan Greenspan once gave this eloquent complement to Ayn Rand — “You do with words what Rachmaninoff does with music. Rachmaninoff’s compositions are complex; he combines so many elements in his music that one has to stretch one’s mind to hear them all at once. You always try to do the same in writing.”

(Source: 'The Art of Fiction' by Ayn Rand; Chapter - ‘Style: Descriptions of Nature and New York', Page: 143)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ayn Rand on the motto of every writer

"A sentence in Atlas Shrugged that is applicable to all rational people, but particularly to writers, is the one where I say that Dagny “regarded language as a tool of honor, always to be used as if one were under oath—an oath of allegiance to reality.” in regard to words, this should be the motto of every writer." ~ Ayn Rand

(Source: 'The Art of Fiction' by Ayn Rand; Chapter - 'Literature As An Art Form', Page: 10)

Socialism's Legacy Alan Charles Kors

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wealth, Poverty, and Politics ~ Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell discusses poverty around the world and in the United States. Poverty in America, he says, compared to the rest of the world, is not severe. Many poor people in poverty in the United States have one or two cars, central heating, and cell phones. The real problem for the poor is the destruction of the family, which Sowell argues dramatically increased once welfare policies were introduced in the 1960s.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club."

It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing “compassion” for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.

The wonderful places where you are supposed to go to do “public service” are as sheltered from the brutal test of reality as you have been on this campus for the last four — or is it six? — years. In these little cocoons, all that matters is how well you talk the talk. People who go into the marketplace have to walk the walk.

Colleges can teach many valuable skills, but they can also nourish many dangerous illusions. If you really want to be of service to others, then let them decide what is a service by whether they choose to spend their hard-earned money for it.

Source: Thomas Sowell in National Review

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Hunter S. Thompson had a way with insults

Here is a rejection letter for Rolling Stone that Hunter S. Thompson wrote to some author named Anthony Burgess:

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Creed (Author Unknown)

I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can.
I seek opportunity … not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
Humbled and dulled by having the State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk,
To dream and to build. To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done.
All this is what it means to be an Entrepreneur.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

T. S. Eliot's letter to George Orwell rejecting Animal Farm

13 July 1944

Dear Orwell,

I know that you wanted a quick decision about “Animal Farm”: but the minimum is two directors’ opinions, and that can’t be done under a week. But for the importance of speed, I should have asked the Chairman to look at it as well. But the other director is in agreement with me on the main points. We agree that it is a distinguished piece of writing; that the fable is very skilfully handled, and that the narrative keeps one’s interest on its own plane—and that is something very few authors have achieved since Gulliver.

On the other hand, we have no conviction (and I am sure none of other directors would have) that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time. It is certainly the duty of any publishing firm which pretends to other interests and motives than mere commercial prosperity, to publish books which go against current of the moment: but in each instance that demands that at least one member of the firm should have the conviction that this is the thing that needs saying at the moment. I can’t see any reason of prudence or caution to prevent anybody from publishing this book—if he believed in what it stands for.

Now I think my own dissatisfaction with this apologue is that the effect is simply one of negation. It ought to excite some sympathy with what the author wants, as well as sympathy with his objections to something: and the positive point of view, which I take to be generally Trotskyite, is not convincing. I think you split your vote, without getting any compensating stronger adhesion from either party—i.e. those who criticise Russian tendencies from the point of view of a purer communism, and those who, from a very different point of view, are alarmed about the future of small nations. And after all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm—in fact, there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed, (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs.

I am very sorry, because whoever publishes this, will naturally have the opportunity of publishing your future work: and I have a regard for your work, because it is good writing of fundamental integrity.

Miss Sheldon will be sending you the script under separate cover.

Yours sincerely,
T. S. Eliot

Source: Letters of Note

Altruism is not kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others

What is the moral code of altruism? 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.

Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.”

Ayn Rand in “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World”(Philosophy: Who Needs It)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

“Odd-Even Rule" is the New War on Middle Class

The leftist elite has imposed the bizarre “odd-even” rule for cars in Delhi because they hate the sight of any middle class person travelling comfortably in cars. If the leftists have their way, the middle class will cease to exist in India. They want India to be like any typical communist country where there are only two classes of people — the politically connected elite at the top and the oppressed and starving poor class at the bottom.

Before the 1990s, in the pre-economic reform era, India was a leftist paradise — the small politically powerful elite misruled from the top, while majority of the people lived a life full of hopeless poverty and ignorance. The real agenda of the “odd-even” formula is to take India back into the pre-economic reform era. The bogey of air-pollution is just an excuse for fooling the middle class in the city to give up their cars, give up all hope of improving the quality of their lives.

What’s wrong with the air quality of Delhi! The life expectancy of people in Delhi is much higher than that of the people who live in the villages, which are almost completely free of the cars that the leftists are demonising. Hundreds of poor people are migrating to Delhi from villages everyday—why are they coming here if the quality of air is lethal!

Much of the so-called pollution in Delhi is caused by road dust, coal or fly ash— cars are not responsible for this. The thousands of trucks that pass through Delhi everyday are responsible for immense amount of traffic snarls and pollution. The cars or two-wheelers have nothing to do with the quality of air in Delhi. Even if all the cars in Delhi were to be banned on all the days, it would not lead to the slightest improvement in the quality of air.

Why is the life expectancy in Delhi higher than in the villages, if the air of Delhi is poisonous, as the leftists claim? The Times of India, the biggest drummer boy of unworkable leftist ideas in India, has made it a habit of publishing that stupid cartoon that says, “Let Delhi Breathe” on a regular basis. If Delhi’s air is not fit to breathe, then why doesn't the Times of India shift its offices to some godforsaken swamp where the air is more breathable?

The primary problem that Delhi faces is one of overcrowding, bad sewage facilities, bad roads, footpaths that are encroached upon, and the massive poverty and corruption. For these, problems the leftists don’t have any answers. They are not even interested in finding the answers to these problems. All they want to do is destroy the middle class by taking away the small luxuries (like cars) that the middle class has. 

Ayn Rand acting as an extra for Cecil B. Demille

Ayn Rand acting as an extra for Cecil B. Demille.
September 1926.

Ayn Rand - How to Rule Mankind

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism? (by Robert Nozick)

Nozick attributes left-leaning intellectual’s animosity to capitalism to the difference in value judgments between formal schools and capitalist society at large.

It is surprising that intellectuals oppose capitalism so. Other groups of comparable socio-economic status do not show the same degree of opposition in the same proportions. Statistically, then, intellectuals are an anomaly.

Not all intellectuals are on the “left.” Like other groups, their opinions are spread along a curve. But in their case, the curve is shifted and skewed to the political left.

By intellectuals, I do not mean all people of intelligence or of a certain level of education, but those who, in their vocation, deal with ideas as expressed in words, shaping the word flow others receive. These wordsmiths include poets, novelists, literary critics, newspaper and magazine journalists, and many professors. It does not include those who primarily produce and transmit quantitatively or mathematically formulated information (the numbersmiths) or those working in visual media, painters, sculptors, cameramen. Unlike the wordsmiths, people in these occupations do not disproportionately oppose capitalism. The wordsmiths are concentrated in certain occupational sites: academia, the media, government bureaucracy.

Wordsmith intellectuals fare well in capitalist society; there they have great freedom to formulate, encounter, and propagate new ideas, to read and discuss them. Their occupational skills are in demand, their income much above average. Why then do they disproportionately oppose capitalism? Indeed, some data suggest that the more prosperous and successful the intellectual, the more likely he is to oppose capitalism. This opposition to capitalism is mainly “from the left” but not solely so. Yeats, Eliot, and Pound opposed market society from the right.

The opposition of wordsmith intellectuals to capitalism is a fact of social significance. They shape our ideas and images of society; they state the policy alternatives bureaucracies consider. From treatises to slogans, they give us the sentences to express ourselves. Their opposition matters, especially in a society that depends increasingly upon the explicit formulation and dissemination of information.

Keep A-Goin'! (by Frank Lebby Stanton)

  Ef you strike a thorn or rose,
    Keep a-goin'!
  Ef it hails, or ef it snows,
    Keep a-goin!
  'Taint no use to sit an' whine,
  When the fish ain't on yer line;
  Bait yer hook an' keep a-tryin'—
    Keep a-goin'!

  When the weather kills yer crop,
    Keep a-goin'!
  When you tumble from the top,
    Keep a-goin'!
  S'pose you're out of every dime,
  Bein' so ain't any crime;
  Tell the world you're feelin' prime—
    Keep a-goin'!

  When it looks like all is up,
    Keep a-goin'!
  Drain the sweetness from the cup,
    Keep a-goin'!
  See the wild birds on the wing,
  Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
  When you feel like sighin' sing—
    Keep a-goin'!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Berton Braley - The Thinker

'A Psalm of Life' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

New Beginnings for the New Year: Johnnie Walker - Dear Brother

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

In this New Year take the first left turn, after that keep taking 'left’ at every turn and you will soon reach 'nowhere', where the leftists want to take everyone.

Happy New Year!