I’m working on a project involving Atlas Shrugged. This means I am re-reading Atlas Shrugged. I shan’t be saying a lot about this project here, it’s still in its infancy. I will, however, post a quote from the book that I read today, a quote that filled me with the sort of dread and horror the characters in this book supposedly feel when faced with the moral outrage of, say, charity:

The boy had no inkling of any concept of morality; it had been bred out of him by his college; this had left him an odd frankness, naive and cynical at once, like the innocence of a savage. (AS 342)

I know that’s what college did for me! And it’s certainly what I tried to do when teaching college! Woooooo! Let’s all hear it for savage innocence!

Actually, let’s talk about “savages” for a moment. Who’s a “savage,” according to Rand? Well, Native Americans, for one (all quotes from a lecture at West Point Academy in 1974):

[Native Americans] had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages.


What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence; for their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched–to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it’s great that some of them did. The racist Indians today–those who condemn America–do not respect individual rights.

Uh? So what did the whites do, when dealing with these savages living “like animals or cavemen” all over the place?

The white man did not conquer this country. And you’re a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn’t know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights–they didn’t have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal “cultures”–they didn’t have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using. It’s wrong to attack a country that respects (or even tries to respect) individual rights. If you do, you’re an aggressor and are morally wrong. But if a “country” does not protect rights–if a group of tribesmen are the slaves of their tribal chief–why should you respect the “rights” that they don’t have or respect?

Holy mother of fuck.

So the question “who is John Galt?” is asked repeatedly in Atlas Shrugged for various reasons; I think a better question is “who is Ayn Rand?” Well, friends, these quotes do a lot to answer that question. This is Ayn Rand.