Oleksandr

Was it Just to let Rearden think that Dagny was killed?

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A short background from Atlas Shrugged:

Dagny crashes into Atlantis. Rearden learns of the crash and thinks she is dead.

At this time Dagny and Galt are in Atlantis. Francisco joins them, and learns that Dagny is not dead.

Francisco indirectly asks Galt if they could let Rearden know that Dagny is alive.

Galt explains to Francisco that the answer is no.

Question:

Was this good to do? Was is it just to do? Would it be unjust to do otherwise?

My Thoughts:

My "feeling" is that it is just and right, though it results in Rearden's pain. Of course, feeling of justice is not enough. I am building a complete logical chain, but I have not completed it yet.

Does anyone have thoughts or links that would help me? Thanks.

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Here are the relevant snippets from Atlas Shrugged:

Pages 763-764: (Dagny talks to Galt.)

Then she heard her own voice asking suddenly, involuntarily, and she knew that this was the treason she had wanted to escape, "Do you permit any communication with outside world?"

"No."

"Not any? Not even a note without return address?"

"No."

"Not even a message, if no secret of yours were given away?"

"Not from here. Not during this month. Not to outsiders at any time."

She noticed that she was avoiding his eyes, and she forced herself to lift her head and face him. His glance had changed; it was watchful, unmoving, implacably perceptive. He asked, looking at her as if he knew the reason of her query, "Do you wish to ask for a special exception?"

"No," she answered, holding his glance.

Page 769:

After a long moment, he [Francisco] turned to Galt. "John," his voice sounded peculiarly solemn, "could we notify those outside that Dagny is alive . . . in case there's somebody who . . . who'd feel as I did?"

Galt was looking straight at him. "Do you wish to give any outsider any relief from the consequences of remaining outside?"

Francisco dropped his eyes, but answered firmly, "No."

"Pity, Francisco?"

"Yes. Forget it. You're right."

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Here is my logic so far.

The world outside is out to drain people of ability to death. Galt starts his quest, and builds with fellow "warriors" a safe place where they can live. One of the rules is "No communication with outside world." Dagny breaks into their world. Galt decides to hold her there for a month. Dagny is still one of outsiders, and so is Rearden.

Now, a key point is that Rearden's grief is the consequence of his choice - to remain outside and to "feed" the looters. This is where I have a problem.

How come it is not morally good to let Rearden know of Dagny's well-being so that he doesn't suffer and doesn't risk his life flying a plane in the mountains? It is Galt's choice to hold her hostage after all.

My thoughts are that Rearden by remaining outside is working against Galt and for looters. Thus, his actions are morally bad. Whatever he suffers from it is his own fault. Now, this is simple with material things and "looters." But what about those who are aware of Dagny's and Rearden's situation?

It seems (I'm not sure yet) that the main reason is the rule set in the Gulch. By breaking into it, Dagny had become the "scab," and Galt is morally good in following the rule and letting Rearden suffer his consequences. Furthermore, it seems that it would be unjust to let Rearden know of Dagny until she either goes back to the world or Rearden shrugs.

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My thoughts are that Rearden by remaining outside is working against Galt and for looters. Thus, his actions are morally bad.

Rearden's is an error in knowledge, not a moral transgression.

As to Galt, why not just take him at his word? It is for the safety of all the valley members that outside communication is not allowed.

However, I do think there might be a secondary issue in this regarding Galt and Dagny when he says to her: "Do you wish to ask for a special exception?" Perhaps he is also testing Dagny's commitment to Rearden in a way.

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Olex, it seems as though you have answered you own question. With the exception of your use of "morally", which Stephen pointed out above, I see nothing wrong with your explaination. But I also think that Stephen has a very valid point in that by asking Dagny if she wants to make a "special exception", Galt is testing her feelings for him and (as Stephen said) commitment to Rearden. Remember that this is in the very early stages of the relationship. Personally, I would imagine that he is looking for clues, so to speak, about her personal life to see if their relationship will develop or not. She is involved with Rearden at this point, and Galt needs to know whether or not she truly loves him. It also, though less importantly, makes Dagny choose whether to put the valley in danger or not, which gives Galt a hint as to whether she will join their side or not. Ultimately, you're right: it would have been wrong for them to tell Rearden that she was alive.

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Rearden's is an error in knowledge, not a moral transgression.
Ouch. I missed this point. Yes, of course, it is not a moral transgression. Thanks for pointing out.
As to Galt, why not just take him at his word? It is for the safety of all the valley members that outside communication is not allowed.
I can see and agree on this point. I do not have a problem with it.

But in the discussion between Galt and Francisco I see another reason why they didn't do it:

"Do you wish to give any outsider any relief from the consequences of remaining outside?"
Here, I am not fully certain. Here, the reason isn't protection of the valley, but the justice of having Rearden face the consequences of his own actions. I do not full see that. His actions are not the only ones that led to him thinking that Dagny is dead.

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But in the discussion between Galt and Francisco I see another reason why they didn't do it:
"Do you wish to give any outsider any relief from the consequences of remaining outside?"

Here, I am not fully certain. Here, the reason isn't protection of the valley, but the justice of having Rearden face the consequences of his own actions. I do not full see that. His actions are not the only ones that led to him thinking that Dagny is dead.

As I understand this passage, Galt seems to be underscoring a philosophical point to Francisco, that of pity vs justice, as applied to a man who Galt knows Francisco loves. But I do not see the focus to be on exacting justice, as if some positive steps are taken to hold Rearden accountable, but rather the wrongness of a negative is emphasized, the presence, perhaps, of pity.

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. . . But I do not see the focus to be on exacting justice, as if some positive steps are taken to hold Rearden accountable, but rather the wrongness of a negative is emphasized, the presence, perhaps, of pity.
Could you clarify your message for me? I do not understand what you refer to by "negative." Is it a negative in relation to "taking steps" or to "justice" or something else?

Judging by Francisco's reply, it was pity:

"Pity, Francisco?"

"Yes. Forget it. You're right."

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Could you clarify your message for me? I do not understand what you refer to by "negative." Is it a negative in relation to "taking steps" or to "justice" or something else?

By the difference between "positive" and "negative" in this context I meant the difference between taking an action to ensure that justice is exacted -- a "positive" step -- and not taking an action which would alleviate just consequences -- a "negative" step, refraining from action. After all, it is not as if Galt is gloating over Rearden's pain and seeks to bring him more as justice, but rather that Galt recognizes the justice in what is happening and reminds Francisco of that. Anyway, that is how I read that whole passage.

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By the difference between "positive" and "negative" in this context I meant the difference between taking an action to ensure that justice is exacted -- a "positive" step -- and not taking an action which would alleviate just consequences -- a "negative" step, refraining from action. After all, it is not as if Galt is gloating over Rearden's pain and seeks to bring him more as justice, but rather that Galt recognizes the justice in what is happening and reminds Francisco of that. Anyway, that is how I read that whole passage.

I disagree that there is justice in Rearden thinking that Dagny is dead. "Justice" implies some reward or punishment to a deserving individual. For example, when looters lost the money they invested in the D'ankunia business, there was justice in that. When Dagny had Rearden sleep with her for the first time, there was justice in that. When Dagny flew over the mountains and crashed her plane, there was no justice in that - the events are neutral in terms of justice - things happen, but there is no way to evaluate it in terms of justice as far as I can see. Things are just the way they are.

The case with Rearden thinking that Dagny is dead, is of the same type of "neutrality" as the last one I described: it is just the way things happened. Rearden did not "deserve" it, and there was no justice (or vice) in this occurrence.

If anyone can correct me on that with an explanation, please do.

I will now proceed to discuss the "positive" action part:

In friendship, when you value someone, such a "positive" step becomes the default when your friend is in danger.

The logical consequence of valuing someone is to act in order to keep that value (and/or gain it).

Keeping value would mean providing assistance in case the friend is facing some physical or mental danger; like teaching him a better philosophy, giving him moral support at rough times, giving him information that would save him pain and save him from risking his life.

This investment of effort in keeping/gaining a value of this nature should be according to how much of a value it is, and how much is the cost compared to the value.

In this case however, of special circumstances, when Rearden is also an enemy, certain values should not be given, and one (like Francisco or Galt) can't act consistently to keep this value (Rearden).

There are certain things that a friend will not want to give to Rearden, even if it contradicts the goal of keeping Rearden and enjoying his friendship.

Certain benefits and values cannot be given away; which are values that might be used to defeat one's war, which one is fighting against Rearden.

So according to this logic:

Not letting Rearden know that Dagny is not dead is rational only if this value is from that type which can serve to defeat one's war, because the default is to want to keep the value which is Rearden.

If there was no war, rational selfish choice would be to act in order to keep the value (Rearden).

I can certainly understand, that a man like Rearden, would not have given up easily. Had he been given a note that Dagny is still alive, he might have brought with him search teams and would put the valley people in great danger.

In this case, certainly the value of letting Rearden know the truth about Dagny would have the potential to cause much more harm than good, and the rational, selfish choice would be to not tell him a thing.

However, the justification that Galt gives for not letting Rearden know, is not about the possible negative outcomes, but seems to be about a principle that "giving any relief to outsiders is bad". (Galt to Francisco: "Do you wish to give any outsider any relief from the consequences of remaining outside?").

Now here is my problem:

In this case, giving Rearden knowledge that Dagny is not dead, will not affect (or more accurately should not affect) Rearden's decision about going on strike or continue working. The knowledge of Dagny's state is irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work.

I can't imagine Galt wanting to achieve victory (getting Rearden to strike) by having Rearden break down and stop working because of pain which is not related to his work. Such tactic seem to rely on a person's emotions instead of his reason, and do not seem appropriate for Galt to want to use or rely on. The logical tool for Galt to use would be to have Rearden go through stages of realizing his errors, and not having Rearden break down under pain. Especially not pain from another source (unrelated to his philosophy or decision to work).

Therefor, if there is a way to let Rearden know that Dagny is alive, without jeopardizing the well being of the valley people, this would be the rational choice, since the effort of sending a note far exceeds the value of Rearden's mental and physical health (which might both be damaged as a result of thinking Dagny is dead).

Yet Dagny, Galt and Francisco all seem to agree that there is some justice in not making an effort to let earden know, and don't even attempt to think of a way to do it without jeopardising the valley people.

(and in fact, there is a way to do this: Dagny could have sent Rearden a note saying she fell in love with someone, and will only go back in one or more months. This option would actually bring more safety to the valey people, because then Rearden would not even fly over the mountains searching for Dagny).

Dagny even thinks that the wish to inform Rearden has some betrayal in it. I just don't see what that betrayal is. Applying Galt's principle of "no relief to outsiders from consequences of their actions" does not make sense for me in this case, for the reasons I specified.

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

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Justice: "that one must never seek or grant the unearned and undeserved, neither in matter nor in spirit" (Objectivist Ethics, Virtue of Selfishness, PP. 28)

Pity: "Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another."

-The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved April 18, 2007,

from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pity

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Relevant quote from Atlas Shrugged: "Do you wish to give any outsider any relief from the consequences of remaining outside?" -Galt to Fransisco.

The only question that brings up for me is: Why did Dagny get a note? It caused both joy and despair for her, and some releif from the consequences of remaining outside. (for Reference it's Page: 917. -Centennial Edition & 35th Anniversary Edition).

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I believe the root of the problem with your view is contained here

The knowledge of Dagny's state is irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work. I can't imagine Galt wanting to achieve victory (getting Rearden to strike) by having Rearden break down and stop working because of pain which is not related to his work.

I disagree that Dagny, her state, and how Hank Rearden feels about her are unrelated to his work. How Hank Rearden and Dagny feel about their work is intimately connected to the feelings they have for each other. That's why they sleep together after fighting for and winning a difficult achievement. The connection for them between their work and their love is irresistible, even if Hank Rearden is not consciously aware of this connection throughout most of the story.

Ayn Rand's view was emphatically against the view that man is (properly) a compartmentalized being, with his feelings for his work in one compartment, and his feelings for his romantic partner(s) in another. But she saw that in real life, there is often exactly this split (often because of the error of consigning sexual attraction to a man's "lower" nature, as Hank Rearden wrongly did).

In Ayn Rand's journals, in 1958, when she was considering how to present her philosophy to the world in prose, she wrote:

It will help me to think of my job as "philosophy for Hank Rearden."

A man as great as Hank Rearden can never hope to be fully happy so long as he ascribes his sexual attraction to his "lower nature," and believes that his sexual attraction to the woman he loves is unconnected with his feelings for his work.

Also, Galt does not use this opportunity to try to get Hank Rearden to strike.

In this case, I think that all one has to do is imagine that -- just this once -- the strikers break their rule and help a great man who is still an outsider, i.e. one who is not yet ready to join them. Even if communicating with him from Galt Valley had not been the efficient cause of its discovery and destruction (and it could have been); they would have relieved Hank Rearden's pain. But as far as you're concerned, that's the point right? That's why they should do it, right? Wrong.

Relieving Rearden's pain would, in turn, have allowed him to focus all his extraordinary abilities on continuing to feed the looters and parasites. The point of the strike is to protect the strikers from the predation of these creatures, not to assist evil in any way. And this is so, even if it means failing to help a man who is helping the parasites; no matter how much they love him, and how emotionally difficult this decision is.

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I said: "The knowledge of Dagny's state is irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work. I can't imagine Galt wanting to achieve victory (getting Rearden to strike) by having Rearden break down and stop working because of pain which is not related to his work."

This does not mean that I think that one's sexual life and career are not related. You must have taken what I said out of context to reach this conclusion.

Your argument, later, is that allowing Rearden to suffer pain, no matter what the source of this pain, is a good thing for the strikers.

I can disprove it from two angles:

One is that even Ayn Rand didn't think so: For examples, see Ragnar giving the gold to Rearden, letting him know that no Rearden metal will be produced by looters. Think of Francisco, giving Rearden moral support when Ken Dannager left, or Dagny getting a letter from Rearden when he was in the valley, or how the people of the valley gave Dagny help in getting back to NY. They could have just not provided her with transportation: this would have killed TT much faster. Instead, they provided her the choice to go back. Why?

According to your logic, this would be most unreasonable. Dagny is certainly there as a result of her own actions, and the pain, or psychological damage she might endure from not working to save TT should be of no concern to the people in the Galt Valley, since she brought it on herself, and they should not provide any assistance to outsiders.

But the answer is (and this is the second angle), that having her there, both mind and body, was a greater value to them than destroying her mind by keeping her there, along with the faster destruction of TT.

Similarly, having Rearden reach the decision to quit his work by reason and observation is a value, but having him break down under pain from any random source is not.

It is his fully considered presence in the valley that they are after. And this cannot be achieved unless Rearden has gone through the stages of realizing the erros in both his philosophy and observations about the world. It can only be achieved if Rearden is alive, and emotionally functionable. Thinking your loved one is dead is not some minor emotional nuisance: it has the power to destroy a man.

Allowing him to believe in the false idea that Dagny is dead would have caused psychological damage, it could also cause him physical damage (because of flying over the mountains looking for Dagny).

Therefor, because Rearden, as a whole being (mind and body), is more important than having his steel mill break down a month sooner, the logical thing would be to act in order to keep him mentally and physically healthy.

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I said: "The knowledge of Dagny's state is irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work. I can't imagine Galt wanting to achieve victory (getting Rearden to strike) by having Rearden break down and stop working because of pain which is not related to his work."

This does not mean that I think that one's sexual life and career are not related. You must have taken what I said out of context to reach this conclusion.

Well, you know what you meant then, by bringing that up. I believe that, in direct contradiction to the sentence above, that "Dagny's state is" not "irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work." And I think this for a very simple reason, i.e. Hank Rearden was spending his time looking for Dagny, rather than working, as usual.

Your argument, later, is that allowing Rearden to suffer pain, no matter what the source of this pain, is a good thing for the strikers.

I can disprove it from two angles:

Before I can agree that anyone has 'disprove[d]' 'my' argument, I require that he know what it is. Therefore, I request that my words are quoted if/when 'refuting' 'my' argument. Recasting another's words in one's own, and proceeding, at great length, to "argue" against that, is totally invalid.

I will be specific here, in case this is not understood or adhered to as a general principle: I never mentioned anything remotely like this: "no matter what the source of this pain" nor did I say or mean anything like this: "allowing Rearden to suffer pain [...] is a good thing for the strikers." [emphasis mine]. There is an enormous difference between action (or inaction) which one finds necessary in order to stave off a negative, and some action taken to achieve some positive value(s).

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Rose Lake, your entire response feels like you are "yelling" at me. I didn't do anything to deserve this tone.

Now to my response:

I believe that, in direct contradiction to the sentence above, that "Dagny's state is" not "irrelevant to his knowledge and decision making about his work." And I think this for a very simple reason, i.e. Hank Rearden was spending his time looking for Dagny, rather than working, as usual.

The idea that having Rearden fly over the mountains, risking his life, is more of a value than having his steel mill produce less during that time seems ridiculous to me. But I will address this later in this post, and discuss the source of misunderstanding about this between us.

Dagny's state is not irrelevant to whether or not Rearden will work (or the efficiency of it), but it is irrelevant to his long-term decision making about it, in the sense that as a rational being he should not base his decision on whether or not to go on pursuing other values, on pain, but only on arguments of why doing so is just. The pain from losing Dagny is not such an argument ("I will stop working now because I feel pain" is not a rational way to make long term decisions).

I should have added "long term" before "decision making" to make my sentence more accurate. I grant that for the short term it is rational to make a decision about your work based on your emotions.

So the misunderstanding here seems to be that I was thinking about long term decisions, while you were thinking of short term influences.

When a rational man has a goal in mind, he should pursue the goal and try his best to overcome emotional difficulties.

The ideal would be to go on pursuing values despite a negative emotion (which is not related to those specific values). The irrational, bad attitude, would be to let your emotions dictate whether you work or not, and stop during times of emotional difficulty.

I think that most admirable example of a such a rational women is Betsy Speicher. She's admirable, in fact she's my new hero, perceisely for her incredible ability to continue pursuing her values despite such pain.

And she summarized this rational approach in a powerful sentence: "life goes on".

(I'm sure we both agree that this is the ideal attitude. I was just clarifying what I meant by "pain irrelevant to decision making").

Before I can agree that anyone has 'disprove[d]' 'my' argument, I require that he know what it is. Therefore, I request that my words are quoted if/when 'refuting' 'my' argument. Recasting another's words in one's own, and proceeding, at great length, to "argue" against that, is totally invalid.

It is not invalid if the person is actually responding to the arguments. However, you are right. I should have provided a quote. So here is what I was relying on:

Relieving Rearden's pain would, in turn, have allowed him to focus all his extraordinary abilities on continuing to feed the looters and parasites. The point of the strike is to protect the strikers from the predation of these creatures, not to assist evil in any way. And this is so, even if it means failing to help a man who is helping the parasites; no matter how much they love him, and how emotionally difficult this decision is.

This essentially means that allowing Rearden to suffer pain is a good thing for the strikers, as far as I can see.

You said that you did not mean it, but it seems to follow directly from the quote above.

I am aware that this would be a negative step, which is why I used "allow" (and not "cause"). And you said that refraining from action in this case is a good thing for the strikers, because this is the action you suggest. Perhaps I could replace "good thing" with "best possible course of action (or lack of action) from all those that exist.

In any case, my response was directly to your suggestion that this is the best (or least worse) course of action (or lack of action), and I showed why it is not so.

Here is my response from my previous post:

"the people of the valley gave Dagny help in getting back to NY. They could have just not provided her with transportation: this would have killed TT much faster. Instead, they provided her the choice to go back. Why?

According to your logic, this would be most unreasonable. Dagny is certainly there as a result of her own actions, and the pain, or psychological damage she might endure from not working to save TT should be of no concern to the people in the Galt Valley, since she brought it on herself, and they should not provide any assistance to outsiders.

But the answer is, that having her there, both mind and body, was a greater value to them than destroying her mind by keeping her there, along with the faster destruction of TT.

Similarly, Allowing Rearden to believe in the false idea that Dagny is dead would have caused psychological damage, it could also cause him physical damage (because of flying over the mountains looking for Dagny).

Therefor, because Rearden, as a whole being (mind and body), is more important than having his steel mill break down a month sooner (or produce less), the logical thing would be to act in order to keep him mentally and physically healthy." (And working to "get him").

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I didn't do anything to deserve this tone.

Aside from writing on light topics, and with no claim to infallibility, I am generally very careful with the words I use. Therefore, I dislike replying to responses in which a poster addresses (especially at great length) some meaning(s) not contained in my words, and proceeds to tell me the true meaning of what I've written in his own words. There is more of the same in this post, which unfortunately, I feel obliged to point out. This amounts to little more than unpleasant excavation work for me, after I see my words and meaning effectively buried under re-statements of them.

Now to my response:

The idea that having Rearden fly over the mountains [he chose to do this -- the strikers did not "have him" do this], risking his life, is more of a value than having his steel mill produce less during that time seems ridiculous to me. But I will address this later in this post, and discuss the source of misunderstanding about this between us.

Comments in brackets and bold emphasis are mine.

I never said it was a value to the strikers.

The principle of the strike is a commitment not to aid evil in any manner. The strikers also take positive action to undermine efforts of the "mistaken good" outsiders that help the looters and parasites. At this point, any positive action on the part of the strikers to help Hank Rearden, would amount to a positive action to aid evil, because it would help Rearden to continue working -- so their choice is not to help him. They are not his keeper. What he feels and does is not under their control.

Dagny's state is not irrelevant to whether or not Rearden will work (or the efficiency of it), but it is irrelevant to his long-term decision making about it, in the sense that as a rational being he should not base his decision on whether or not to go on pursuing other values, on pain, but only on arguments of why doing so is just. The pain from losing Dagny is not such an argument ("I will stop working now because I feel pain" is not a rational way to make long term decisions).

As sheer emotionalism, I agree that "I will stop working now because I feel pain" has nothing to do with reason. However, I want to point out here that John Galt chooses moments to convince men to strike, when a man is experiencing pain that is directly related to government action against him.

Pain is a warning sign. It is not a natural consequence of a man's virtue. And I believe that this is why John Galt generally waits until a moment when a man's greatest virtues have brought him enormous pain; because the looters have, by force, acquired control over some important value he has created. At that point, the man will be most receptive to understanding that one cannot continue to voluntarily choose to deal with men who have control of the government, in a nation where the politicians' methods of interacting with other men are only via the initiation of force.

I should have added "long term" before "decision making" to make my sentence more accurate. I grant that for the short term it is rational to make a decision about your work based on your emotions.

So the misunderstanding here seems to be that I was thinking about long term decisions, while you were thinking of short term influences.

I discussed several things in relation to this, some of which were broad, and some immediate ("short term"). As a general rule, please refrain from re-stating my thoughts in your words. It is fine to ask: "Did you mean so and so?" But do not tell me what I mean.

I should have provided a quote. So here is what I was relying on:

Relieving Rearden's pain would, in turn, have allowed him to focus all his extraordinary abilities on continuing to feed the looters and parasites. The point of the strike is to protect the strikers from the predation of these creatures, not to assist evil in any way. And this is so, even if it means failing to help a man who is helping the parasites; no matter how much they love him, and how emotionally difficult this decision is.

This essentially means that allowing Rearden to suffer pain is a good thing for the strikers, as far as I can see.

You said that you did not mean it, but it seems to follow directly from the quote above.

I am aware that this would be a negative step, which is why I used "allow" (and not "cause"). And you said that refraining from action in this case is a good thing for the strikers, because this is the action you suggest.

More telling me what I said and what I meant.

Perhaps I could replace "good thing" with "best possible course of action (or lack of action) from all those that exist.

In any case, my response was directly to your suggestion that this is the best (or least worse) course of action (or lack of action), and I showed why it is not so.

I don't agree that these responses have been to what I actually said, nor that it was shown why Ayn Rand should have had the strikers choose something other than what they actually chose.

Here is my response from my previous post:

"the people of the valley gave Dagny help in getting back to NY. They could have just not provided her with transportation: this would have killed TT much faster. Instead, they provided her the choice to go back. Why?

According to your logic, this would be most unreasonable.

I can see that my logic is not known to you, so please refrain from telling me that something or other is "according to [my] logic."

Dagny is certainly there as a result of her own actions, and the pain, or psychological damage she might endure from not working to save TT should be of no concern to the people in the Galt Valley, since she brought it on herself, and they should not provide any assistance to outsiders.

But the answer is, that having her there, both mind and body, was a greater value to them than destroying her mind by keeping her there, along with the faster destruction of TT.

Similarly, Allowing Rearden to believe in the false idea that Dagny is dead would have caused psychological damage, it could also cause him physical damage (because of flying over the mountains looking for Dagny).

Therefor, because Rearden, as a whole being (mind and body), is more important than having his steel mill break down a month sooner (or produce less), the logical thing would be to act in order to keep him mentally and physically healthy." (And working to "get him").

The strikers do not "allow" Rearden to think anything. They simply choose not to risk communicating with him in order to tell him that she is alive.

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As a general rule, please refrain from re-stating my thoughts in your words. It is fine to ask: "Did you mean so and so?" But do not tell me what I mean.

Alright.

Here is a question: The people of the valley gave Dagny help in getting back to NY. They could have just not provided her with transportation: this would have killed TT much faster. Instead, they provided her the means to go back. Why?

(Notice that providing her transportation eventually certainly aided evil, by bringing her back to working at TT).

Also: This is a case that the strikers can choose to refrain from action, which would lead to destruction of Dagny's mind (brought about by her own actions, and not theirs), along with a faster destruction of the looters.

In this sense, this case is exactly like Rearden's.

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Alright.

Here is a question: The people of the valley gave Dagny help in getting back to NY. They could have just not provided her with transportation: this would have killed TT much faster. Instead, they provided her the means to go back. Why?

(Notice that providing her transportation eventually certainly aided evil, by bringing her back to working at TT).

I don't see an alternative. Keep her prisoner there? By flying her out of the valley, they ensured that she would be unable to return there without permission. If she'd found her own way out, she would have known where it was.

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I don't see an alternative. Keep her prisoner there? By flying her out of the valley, they ensured that she would be unable to return there without permission. If she'd found her own way out, she would have known where it was.

I don't see how your answer relates to my question.Can you please express your answer in the form "The reason the people of the valley provided Dagny help in going to the outside world is __ " and specify the value gained by it?

Just one remark about your answer: There is no chance that Dagny would have found her way out of the valley by herself. Even if no one kept her prisoner, it's enough that they would not agree to sell her anything to make any attempt of getting out of the valley futile. No ropes needed. Without their help, she would have been in a state worse than an animal's. Not providing her any help at all (like food, medical care, etc) would have ensured their secret AND prevent her from working for the looters.

I would welcome anyone else who would like to answer the problem I presented with the comparison between assisting Dagny and not assisting Rearden under similar conditions.

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I don't see how your answer relates to my question.Can you please express your answer in the form "The reason the people of the valley provided Dagny help in going to the outside world is __ " and specify the value gained by it?

Speaking for myself, the reason is clearly stated in Atlas. This is made explicit in this scene (Part 3, Chapter II, "The Utopia of Greed"), where Dagny is with the heroes in the valley and faced with deciding to stay or go back:

"There's only a worn thread holding that continent together. There will be one train a day, then one train a week—then the Taggart Bridge will collapse and—"

"No, it won't!"

It was her voice and they whirled to her. Her face was white, but calmer than it had been when she had answered them last.

Slowly, Galt rose to his feet and inclined his head, as in acceptance of a verdict. "You have made your decision," he said.

"I have."

"Dagny," said Hugh Akston, "I'm sorry." He spoke softly, with effort, as if his words were struggling and failing to fill the silence of the room. "I wish it were possible not to see this happen, I would have preferred anything—except to see you stay here by default of the courage of your convictions."

She spread her hands, palms out, her arms at her sides, in a gesture of simple frankness, and said, addressing them all, her manner so calm that she could afford to show emotion, "I want you to know this: I have wished it were possible for me to die in one more month, so that I could spend it in this valley. This is how much I've wanted to remain. But so long as I choose to go on living, I can't desert a battle which I think is mine to fight."

"Of course," said Mulligan respectfully, "if you still think it."

"If you want to know the one reason that's taking me back, I'll tell you: I cannot bring myself to abandon to destruction all the greatness of the world, all that which was mine and yours, which was made by us and is still ours by right—because I cannot believe that men can refuse to see, that they can remain blind and deaf to us forever, when the truth is ours and their lives depend on accepting it. They still love their lives—and that is the uncorrupted remnant of their minds. So long as men desire to live, I cannot lose my battle."

"Do they?" said Hugh Akston softly. "Do they desire it? No, don't answer me now. I know that the answer was the hardest thing for any of us to grasp and to accept. Just take that question back with you, as the last premise left for you to check."

"You're leaving as our friend," said Midas Mulligan, "and we'll be fighting everything you'll do, because we know you're wrong, but it's not you that we'll be damning."

There is more, of course, but I won't paste everything. (Both before and after this passage.) The parts that I bolded represent the key point here. The value they (particularly Galt, who loves her and will risk his life to stay in the outside world solely in order to be near Dagny when she gets it) hope to gain is Dagny's presence as a fully informed striker who grasps the irredeemable corruption of the outside world.

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Even if no one kept her prisoner, it's enough that they would not agree to sell her anything to make any attempt of getting out of the valley futile. No ropes needed.

This sounds to me like keeping her prisoner.

I don't see how your answer relates to my question.Can you please express your answer in the form "The reason the people of the valley provided Dagny help in going to the outside world is __ " and specify the value gained by it?

No I can't, because not every volitional rational action creates some specific value. In this case, the actions taken by the strikers are a kind of damage-control, i.e. the result of having to deal with the consequences of Dagny's unintended plane crash into the Valley. During the month in which travel to or from the Valley is prohibited, they fail to convince Dagny to stay of her own volition.

And even though the strikers forbid her to leave during that month, they required that she earn Valley-money as soon as she was sufficiently recovered physically to work, since those living and working in the Valley would not have had any use for her non-Valley money.

After the month is up, and she has decided that she can't stay, the only rational choice I see for them is the one they made, i.e. to take her out of the Valley and return her to the outside world (blindfolded, so that she can't come back without permission).

Without their help, she would have been in a state worse than an animal's. Not providing her any help at all (like food, medical care, etc) would have ensured their secret AND prevent her from working for the looters.

Do you mean that they could literally have starved her? Sorry, it hadn't occurred to me that the strikers would have considered literally starving Dagny to be a rational option.

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Speaking for myself, the reason is clearly stated in Atlas. This is made explicit in this scene (Part 3, Chapter II, "The Utopia of Greed"), where Dagny is with the heroes in the valley and faced with deciding to stay or go back:

...

The value they (particularly Galt, who loves her and will risk his life to stay in the outside world solely in order to be near Dagny when she gets it) hope to gain is Dagny's presence as a fully informed striker who grasps the irredeemable corruption of the outside world.

Yes! Exactly.

There was a big price to be paid from helping her go back - a much slower destruction of the looters, but Dagny was a worthy price.

Galt's philosophy is that each man must pay for the consequences of his own actions and choices. Above this basic idea, one can decide to take actions that will relief someone from suffering the consequence of their choices if one has something to earn by doing it.

Here is an example from AS, from the night before Dagny left the valley (I'll have to translate from Hebrew, so it's not going to be exactly like the original):

Dagny: "Are you sure that my decision is wrong?"

Galt: "I'm sure"

"Do you believe that a man has to be responsible for his mistakes?"

"I do"

"if so, why won't you let me face the consequences of my own mistakes?"

"I am letting you, and you will face them."

"if I realize, once it's too late, that I want to go back to this valley - why must you take a chance to keep the door open for me?"

"I don't have to take that chance. I wouldn't have done so, if I didn't have a chance for personal value"

"What is that personal value?"

"I want you here"

Giving Dagny transportation and allowing her to get back to the outside world was similar. If Dagny was left to face the consequence of her own actions, literally, with no one helping her, she would have probably starved there. 99% chance she would never be able to get back to her work.

The Galt valley people helped her because they had a personal gain from doing so. The gain was "Dagny's presence as a fully informed striker who grasps the irredeemable corruption of the outside world."

My point was that they seek the same thing from Rearden. They want him in the valley as well, in the same way. As a result, Rearden's well being is a value to them.

Because it is a value, the next thing to consider when deciding their actions, is cost vrs. gain.

I then proceeded to compare the cost vrs. gain in providing Dagny transportation (instead of letting her face the consequences of her actions), and sending Rearden a note that Dagny is alive (instead of letting him face the consequences of his actions).

No one has yet challenged this comparison, or showed why it is essentially false.

This sounds to me like keeping her prisoner.

Refraining from action can never be considered keeping someone prisoner, since there is no force involved.

Are you expecting me to accept what "sounds to you" as a logical argument? If not, what is the point of writing just that without an additional explanation?

Can you please express your answer in the form "The reason the people of the valley provided Dagny help in going to the outside world is __ " and specify the value gained by it?

No I can't, because not every volitional rational action creates some specific value.

PhilO has already showed what the value which is sought to be gained by this action. Do you disagree with him?

In this case, the actions taken by the strikers are a kind of damage-control, i.e. the result of having to deal with the consequences of Dagny's unintended plane crash into the Valley.

By "damage control", do you mean actions taken to defend existing values, but not actions taken to gain new values?

Do you mean that giving her transportation back to the outside world is an action meant to keep (defend) values, but not an action to gain a value?

Because if you do, I think that both PhilO and I have already shown that this is not true.

After the month is up, and she has decided that she can't stay, the only rational choice I see for them is the one they made, i.e. to take her out of the Valley and return her to the outside world (blindfolded, so that she can't come back without permission).

How is this relevant to the discussion? I was asking about the reasons for taking this action. I never argued whether this choice is rational or not (I think it is, in case it wasn't clear).

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Yes! Exactly.

There was a big price to be paid from helping her go back - a much slower destruction of the looters, but Dagny was a worthy price.

Much slower than what? Than if (somehow -- it has never been specified how such a decision would actually have been implemented among rational men) every striker in the Valley (somehow) voluntarily agreed to deny Dagny food, or any other value for the purpose of preventing her from helping the looters? The idea that one would even consider that anything of this kind was an actual choice that rational men would consider -- that they ever would or could have chosen to act in such an irrational manner -- is a completely preposterous idea. And since it is, since this course of action was never a real alternative for the strikers, and since Dagny did not choose to stay -- I continue to hold that taking her out of the Valley was their only choice.

Galt's philosophy is that each man must pay for the consequences of his own actions and choices. Above this basic idea, one can decide to take actions that will relief someone from suffering the consequence of their choices if one has something to earn by doing it.

[...]

Giving Dagny transportation and allowing her to get back to the outside world was similar. If Dagny was left to face the consequence of her own actions, literally, with no one helping her, she would have probably starved there. 99% chance she would never be able to get back to her work.

The Galt valley people helped her because they had a personal gain from doing so. The gain was "Dagny's presence as a fully informed striker who grasps the irredeemable corruption of the outside world."

This was only a potential gain at this point. There was also the possibility that Dagny would be the cause of Galt's destruction (and possibly the cause of the destruction of all the strikers).

My point was that they seek the same thing from Rearden. They want him in the valley as well, in the same way. As a result, Rearden's well being is a value to them.

Because it is a value, the next thing to consider when deciding their actions, is cost vrs. gain.

I then proceeded to compare the cost vrs. gain in providing Dagny transportation (instead of letting her face the consequences of her actions), and sending Rearden a note that Dagny is alive (instead of letting him face the consequences of his actions).

No one has yet challenged this comparison, or showed why it is essentially false.

But they were forced to make some decision with regard to Dagny, because she crashed into the Valley. They were not forced to deal with Hank Rearden in the same way, and they didn't.

Refraining from action can never be considered keeping someone prisoner, since there is no force involved.

Are you expecting me to accept what "sounds to you" as a logical argument? If not, what is the point of writing just that without an additional explanation?

I guess not. However, I am taking the rationality of the strikers as a given. Therefore, any "refraining from action" must be voluntary. And, there is no way that an entire group of rational men would (somehow) collectively, in this story, voluntarily choose to deny Dagny every value.

PhilO has already showed what the value which is sought to be gained by this action. Do you disagree with him?

No, I don't.

By "damage control", do you mean actions taken to defend existing values, but not actions taken to gain new values? Do you mean that giving her transportation back to the outside world is an action meant to keep (defend) values, but not an action to gain a value?

Sort of. But there's a little more to it. Given that a man wants to live, there are actions which are forced upon him. And Dagny crashing into the Valley forced decisions on the strikers. Dagny had no intention of forcing anything on anyone, yet she did (accidentally) force decisions upon rational men; which they would not have had to make had she not crashed into the Valley.

Because if you do, I think that both PhilO and I have already shown that this is not true.

I'm not too clear about what it is that you believe you've shown to be untrue.

How is this relevant to the discussion? I was asking about the reasons for taking this action. I never argued whether this choice is rational or not (I think it is, in case it wasn't clear).

My comment was to reiterate the idea that the strikers had just one rational choice, and that they made it.

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I disagree that there is justice in Rearden thinking that Dagny is dead. "Justice" implies some reward or punishment to a deserving individual. For example, when looters lost the money they invested in the D'ankunia business, there was justice in that. When Dagny had Rearden sleep with her for the first time, there was justice in that. When Dagny flew over the mountains and crashed her plane, there was no justice in that - the events are neutral in terms of justice - things happen, but there is no way to evaluate it in terms of justice as far as I can see. Things are just the way they are.

[snip]

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

Francisco raises the same issue in a slightly different way: he wants to let anyone who might be still searching know that Dagny is alive, so that they don't have to go through what he had to. What is John Galt's reply? (I don't have a copy of Atlas with me at the moment.) He asks Francisco if anyone should not have to face the consequences of remaining outside--meaning that they were outside because of choices they had made which meant they had not been invited in. Because even someone like Reardon has not yet been invited in to the valley it IS just that he has to deal with the full meaning of living on the outside.

Justice is wider than you are thinking. If Dagny maneuvers her plane so low she hits a barrier and crashes--it is still a just event. Justice means that you get full payment for your actions, even when you do not know what all of the consequences are. When Dagny climbed into her airplane and took off, she was agreeing to take responsibility for all of her actions and to accept all of their consequences. It is just that she received everything she did, including the chance to lay in John Galt's arms a short time later.

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Much slower than what?

Much slower destruction of TT (and the world) than if Dagny never came back to her work, but stayed in the valley.

Than if (somehow -- it has never been specified how such a decision would actually have been implemented among rational men) every striker in the Valley (somehow) voluntarily agreed to deny Dagny food, or any other value for the purpose of preventing her from helping the looters? The idea that one would even consider that anything of this kind was an actual choice that rational men would consider -- that they ever would or could have chosen to act in such an irrational manner -- is a completely preposterous idea.

I never suggested that this is a rational course of action. I was merely pointing out that if all they had in mind was never to help evil in any way, under any circumstances, and never helping an outsider, and letting outsiders suffer the consequences of their own decisions, this would have been the result (that Dagny would not have been given any help).

My purpose was to show that "not giving outsiders relief from staying outside" is not the sole principle that the strikers follow.

You said:

The principle of the strike is a commitment not to aid evil in any manner. The strikers also take positive action to undermine efforts of the "mistaken good" outsiders that help the looters and parasites. At this point, any positive action on the part of the strikers to help Hank Rearden, would amount to a positive action to aid evil, because it would help Rearden to continue working -- so their choice is not to help him. They are not his keeper. What he feels and does is not under their control.

The purpose of the example of Dagny was to show that this is not the sole principle ("a commitment not to aid evil in any manner"). That this principle is a basic attitude, but that above it (or maybe below it, deeper), there is another principle which they follow (I claim it is actions decided on by considerations of cost and gain).

I showed that like in the case with Rearden, the strikers were facing the option of taking a positive action, or refraining from action which would lead to a destruction of Dagny or Rearden. I showed that in both cases, Dagny's or Rearden's bad situation was brought on them as a result of their own actions.

And since it is, since this course of action was never a real alternative for the strikers, and since Dagny did not choose to stay -- I continue to hold that taking her out of the Valley was their only choice.

I could similarly claim that letting Rearden know that Dagny was alive was their only choice as well, because otherwise they would be facing the danger of losing Rearden, which is inconceivable, unthinkable etc' etc', and therefor letting him know was their only rational option.

Point is, just saying "this is rational, this is not" without an integrated explanation for why it is so, is not promoting the discussion at all.

As for the claim that Dagny was forcing decisions on the strikers - This would only be correct if Dagny had the power to threaten them. However, in her position she was at their mercy more or less, and did not have the power to force them into defending position. The main thing she "forced" them to defend - the main value which they were defending by taking care of her and providing her transportation back to NY - was Dagny herself.

Anyway, it seems like despite my many efforts to get across the point of the similarity in the situation with Rearden and the situation with Dagny I am still unable to communicate this subject with you.

Therefor I would rather discuss it with someone else and stop my repeating efforts at explaining my point.

This isn't personal - I just find myself investing more time in this and getting nothing in return.

I would reply if I find something good or helpful, and I hope no offense is taken.

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I was merely pointing out that if all they had in mind was never to help evil in any way, under any circumstances, and never helping an outsider, and letting outsiders suffer the consequences of their own decisions, this would have been the result (that Dagny would not have been given any help).

My purpose was to show that "not giving outsiders relief from staying outside" is not the sole principle that the strikers follow.

But no one, including me, has ever claimed that this one principle constituted the entire mental content of the strikers; i.e. that they had no other principles, like, for instance, the commitment to life and rationality. I was not treating that one principle as a floating, context-free commandment, with no relation to life. When a principle is treated in this manner, i.e. as disconnected from reality, some pretty strange ideas can result, as I think has been evident in this case.

And not only that, this statement of the principle of the strike was my own off-the-cuff formulation. I was not even necessarily treating it as the only principle of the strike itself; and certainly not the only principle the strikers followed, period. It just seemed to me to be the main principle of the strike.

On top of that, this principle is a prescription for a negative only; so it can not help in determining what action to take when some action is necessary (as in the case of Dagny's crash into the Valley).

You seem to be implying that some action was necessary in regard to Hank Rearden, based on deeper, positive principles. And I will give you this: Their inaction in this case definitely seems hard to me. Very hard. But it was their decision, and I believe that it was a rational one; while you seem to think that they had a better alternative.

The purpose of the example of Dagny was to show that this is not the sole principle ("a commitment not to aid evil in any manner"). That this principle is a basic attitude, but that above it (or maybe below it, deeper), there is another principle which they follow (I claim it is actions decided on by considerations of cost and gain).

I think I addressed this above.

I showed that like in the case with Rearden, the strikers were facing the option of taking a positive action, or refraining from action which would lead to a destruction of Dagny or Rearden.

I consider this to be a package-deal of two things which are fundamentally different, i.e. of one person who, by her action, forced some action upon rational men (Dagny); and another person, Hank Rearden, who did not.

I showed that in both cases, Dagny's or Rearden's bad situation was brought on them as a result of their own actions.

But, again, the difference (as I see it) is that one of them took an action which forced some compensatory action upon other rational men, and the other did not.

I could similarly claim that letting Rearden know that Dagny was alive was their only choice as well, because otherwise they would be facing the danger of losing Rearden, which is inconceivable, unthinkable etc' etc', and therefor letting him know was their only rational option.

Yes. This is what I thought you've been saying.

Point is, just saying "this is rational, this is not" without an integrated explanation for why it is so, is not promoting the discussion at all.

I guess I am to suppose that you believe that this is what I've been doing.

[i've had to break this post in two to accomodate the number of quote blocks.]

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[continued from previous post]

As for the claim that Dagny was forcing decisions on the strikers - This would only be correct if Dagny had the power to threaten them.

I disagree, and believe that saying that the strikers were not forced to do anything drops the context of their rationality. If they are rational, which they are -- this event forced them to make a decision with regard to what to do about Dagny.

However, in her position she was at their mercy more or less, and did not have the power to force them into defending position. The main thing she "forced" them to defend - the main value which they were defending by taking care of her and providing her transportation back to NY - was Dagny herself.

Put more simply, the main thing that she forced [<--no quotes] them to defend was rational human life -- on principle.

Anyway, it seems like despite my many efforts to get across the point of the similarity in the situation with Rearden and the situation with Dagny I am still unable to communicate this subject with you.

I see why you think the situations are similar. But I see a fundamental difference between the two, as I've stated.

Therefor I would rather discuss it with someone else and stop my repeating efforts at explaining my point.

And I hope that you feel free to do that.

This isn't personal - I just find myself investing more time in this and getting nothing in return.

This is personal for me (most things are). But not to worry. This does not mean that I take personal offense. It means that the irony of this, for me, could not be more funny/sad. Believe it or not, I intended to help you. But I admit that I had a little inkling (of the warning variety) about attempting to do so. I felt the same as you (investing time/effort for < nothing). But I realized that I had to take the consequences of my initial decision, even if it may have been a mistake.

I would reply if I find something good or helpful, and I hope no offense is taken.

Okay. And as I said, no offense taken.

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