Oleksandr

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

50 posts in this topic

Here's the section from Atlas Shrugged:

After a long moment, he 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."

So far posters have raised some interesting issues about this exchange, but as I recalled and reading it again, I don't see the strike or Rearden as the main issue here.

I read it as Galt testing Francisco in order to evaluate how much Rearden meant to him. Likewise, with regard to Dagny, Galt's inquiry was meant to test whether he meant more to her than Rearden did.

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So far posters have raised some interesting issues about this exchange, but as I recalled and reading it again, I don't see the strike or Rearden as the main issue here.

I read it as Galt testing Francisco in order to evaluate how much Rearden meant to him. Likewise, with regard to Dagny, Galt's inquiry was meant to test whether he meant more to her than Rearden did.

Great points. I thought that the "Pity, Francisco?" line was in this section regarding Hank Rearden! But since no one mentioned it, and I didn't look it up to confirm, I thought that maybe I had remembered that incorrectly. The relationship between Francisco and Rearden is one of my favorite parts of the novel.

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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.

Something is very fishy here. Would you also say that a beggar on the street forces me to give him money, when the context of my benevolent nature is not dropped? How can my nature change the nature of an act performed by someone else?

What is the definition of "force" that you are using?

(note: your last two posts after mine make more sense to me, so I'm jumping back into discussion).

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

Can you explain more how exactly she forced them to defend this value? and how it is this value, and not another value, that they needed to defend as a result of her actions?

What were the actions which you think she forced them to take?

If Dagny crashed her plane outside the valley (somewhere in the mountains), what do you think would have been their actions, and would these actions be forced on them as well?

So far posters have raised some interesting issues about this exchange, but as I recalled and reading it again, I don't see the strike or Rearden as the main issue here.

I read it as Galt testing Francisco in order to evaluate how much Rearden meant to him. Likewise, with regard to Dagny, Galt's inquiry was meant to test whether he meant more to her than Rearden did.

How do you conclude that the question of "who means more to Dagny" was present for Galt? Do you think that wanting to inform Rearden the truth about her state would have meant valuing Rearden more than Galt? Because I don't see it (in the text or as logical consequence of other things).

What I do see is that Galt was testing both Dagny and Francisco for their morality - for how much they stick by their principles. Now the question for me is, what are those specific principles in this case, and were they applied correctly in the decision making?

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How do you conclude that the question of "who means more to Dagny" was present for Galt? Do you think that wanting to inform Rearden the truth about her state would have meant valuing Rearden more than Galt?

This is the exchange between Dagny and 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 the 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.

The use of the word "treason" indicates there is an issue of loyalty here. When what Rearden wants and what Galt wants are in conflict, who will she side with?

Galt gave her the opportunity to ask for an exception, which she could have done, and then was "watchful, unmoving, implacably perceptive" as he awaited her answer. Dagny aswered "No." while deliberately holding his glance as if to tell him, "I won't ask you to do something you don't want to do for Rearden's sake because what you want is more important to me."

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Something is very fishy here. Would you also say that a beggar on the street forces me to give him money, when the context of my benevolent nature is not dropped?

Since benevolence is not a cause, but an effect -- it would not force anyone to give money to a beggar.

How can my nature change the nature of an act performed by someone else?

If a person consistently holds certain principles, he is forced by the power of these principles to either act in accordance with them, or take the consequences of failing to do so. And particularly in a book by Ayn Rand, once a character has been shown to have certain principles, my idea was that it would be impossible for that character to inexplicably proceed to act in a manner contrary to the principles he has been shown to have.

What is the definition of "force" that you are using?

The definition of force I am using is:

1 d Power to persuade or convince or impose obligation; pertinancy; validity; special signification; binding effect; as, the force of an appeal.
Can you explain more how exactly she forced them to defend this value?

I cannot explain more exactly that this: Simply by showing up before-times, Dagny forced them into a decision regarding what to do about her presence there. They had to persuade her, by reason, to stay there of her own accord. Or if that failed, they had to take her out of the valley.

and how it is this value, and not another value, that they needed to defend as a result of her actions?

By "this value" I guess you mean either, rational human life, rather than some other value, or Dagny's life. Either way -- the reasons are that she and the strikers are rational human beings; and that Dagny crashed through the (visual-technological) barriers they had devised in order to protect themselves and their property from anyone who had not been invited there. These are the reasons why this particular value (Dagny) had to be considered by the strikers.

What were the actions which you think she forced them to take?

Assuming the absence of some irrationality on the part of the strikers, e.g. a desire to keep Dagny in the Valley against her will -- they had to either convince her to stay of her own volition, or take her out of the Valley. Or, even if you don't agree that these were their only choices -- even on a very simple, concrete level -- if they didn't want the wreck of the plane to sit rusting in the field where it crashed, they had to move it.

If Dagny crashed her plane outside the valley (somewhere in the mountains), what do you think would have been their actions, and would these actions be forced on them as well?

I don't know what their actions would have been in that case.

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The use of the word "treason" indicates there is an issue of loyalty here. When what Rearden wants and what Galt wants are in conflict, who will she side with?

I always read that "treason" to be some inner conflict, when she wishes for something that goes against some principle she holds (which Galt holds as well), and the treason would be to that principle. And that when Galt was asking her if she wants to ask for a special exception, he was examining her morality.

I think this because of the watchful gaze, and also because I think Galt already knew and was certain of Dagny's emotions for him, and the choice she would make about who to have as her lover. This certainty also reflects in other dialogs between them.

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I always read that "treason" to be some inner conflict, when she wishes for something that goes against some principle she holds (which Galt holds as well), and the treason would be to that principle. And that when Galt was asking her if she wants to ask for a special exception, he was examining her morality.

I don't think so. Galt already knew what her morality was and it was never in doubt considering he had watched and loved her for years.

He offered, and she refused, a "special exception" and I don't think it would have been immoral for her to take Galt up on his offer -- IF she valued Rearden more than Galt.

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Since benevolence is not a cause, but an effect -- it would not force anyone to give money to a beggar.

I don't understand what you are saying here.

If someone holds benevolent behavior as a principle, and acts consistently according to that principle, then

If a person consistently holds certain principles, he is forced by the power of these principles to either act in accordance with them, or take the consequences of failing to do so.
and then a beggar on the street is forcing him to either act by his principle or to take the consequence of failing to do so. No?
I cannot explain more exactly that this: Simply by showing up before-times, Dagny forced them into a decision regarding what to do about her presence there.

I'm still not clear what you mean by "force". Is this the same force as when I beat someone up? Or is this the same force as "The weather today forced me to cancel the trip" (or "by standing in the middle of the street he forced me to change my path")?

The last two examples are of occurrences that do not involve violation of right, but they "force" a man to choose his actions, by the power of living in reality and being affected by events.

I agree that by crashing into the valley Dagny forced the strikers to deal with the broken plane, with her physical presence on their territory, and this was in violation of their rights. However, she did not force them to protect her and provide her transportation in the sense that these actions were expropriation of their property, and were forced on them in the same way that a thief is forcing his victim.

page 360 of OPAR:

An individual can be hurt in countless ways by other men's irrationality, dishonesty, injustice. Above all, he can be disappointed, perhaps grievously, by the vices of a person he had once trusted or loved. But as long as his property is not expropriated and he remains unmolested physically, the damage is essentially spiritual, not physical; in such a case, the victim alone has the power and responsibility of healing his wounds.
They had to persuade her, by reason, to stay there of her own accord. Or if that failed, they had to take her out of the valley.

They did not have to take her out of the valley. It was their choice, because they valued Dagny's fully informed presence in the valley.

I also don't understand how "the value of rational human life" would have been destroyed if they didn't provide Dagny the chance to go back.

-- To be continued --

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I don't understand what you are saying here.

If someone holds benevolent behavior as a principle [...]

Benevolence is not a principle, but an emotion. Emotions are the effects of ideas, and for Ayn Rand, benevolence was more than a passing emotion. It was a fundamental metaphysical emotion that she had with regard to life. But as an emotion, although it might effect what one chooses to do -- it is not a fundamental driver of action, in the way that principles are. Principles are ideas.

I'm still not clear what you mean by "force". Is this the same force as when I beat someone up?

Or is this the same force as "The weather today forced me to cancel the trip" (or "by standing in the middle of the street he forced me to change my path")?

It's most like the "standing in the middle of the street" example.

The last two examples are of occurrences that do not involve violation of right, but they "force" a man to choose his actions, by the power of living in reality and being affected by events.

Okay, but force does not always mean rights-violation. For instance, "if I want to earn money, I'm forced to work." That kind of thing. The formulation is usually "IF I want X, then I have to do Y." Of course, no one has to do anything. But since doing nothing as a principle leads directly to death, for anyone who wants to live, doing nothing is very often not a principled alternative.

I agree that by crashing into the valley Dagny forced the strikers to deal with the broken plane, with her physical presence on their territory...

This is part of what I was referring to. It was the initial event which caused them to have to make further decisions.

However, she did not force them to protect her and provide her transportation in the sense that these actions were expropriation of their property, and were forced on them in the same way that a thief is forcing his victim.

I agree that she did not intend to force them, as a thief intends to force his victim.

They did not have to take her out of the valley. It was their choice, because they valued Dagny's fully informed presence in the valley.

Yes, it was their choice, because they were rational. And no, it was not a choice; because again, what other (actual, rational) alternatives did they have?

I also don't understand how "the value of rational human life" would have been destroyed if they didn't provide Dagny the chance to go back.

Any other alternative I can think of results in some sort of situation that, so long as everyone involved is rational, is not acceptable to the strikers. If Dagny stays there only because she will die if she tries to leave, she would be staying there against her will. If she tried to escape and did not succeed, she would be dead. If she tried to escape and did succeed, she would know how to get to the Valley.

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Benevolence is not a principle, but an emotion. ...

Ok, I can forget about the benevolence thing now. I was just asking it to get a better understanding of what you mean by "force", but I already got that answer in the rest of your reply.

The last two examples are of occurrences that do not involve violation of right, but they "force" a man to choose his actions, by the power of living in reality and being affected by events.

Okay, but force does not always mean rights-violation. For instance, "if I want to earn money, I'm forced to work." That kind of thing.

Okay, this makes sense in the context of giving Dagny transportation.

They did not have to take her out of the valley. It was their choice, because they valued Dagny's fully informed presence in the valley.

Yes, it was their choice, because they were rational. And no, it was not a choice; because again, what other (actual, rational) alternatives did they have?

They could have told her "Dagny, we value your life, but we will not give you a value that will work against us. Therefor, we agree to let you stay here, trade with us and earn a living, but we will not agree to trade with you (or give you) the means to go back". By doing this, they would have let her face the consequence of her own actions. No force would be involved (they will not be keeping her prisoner, but simply let het face the consequence of her own actions).

I think they (whoever provided her all the values while staying in the valley) would have more to lose than to gain by this, since she would be like a soldier stranded out of battle she believes she should be fighting. She would still remain rational, however not as complete about living in the valley as she could have been.

But in any case, I don't think that in order to remain a rational society they had to provide her transportation. I think that they did provide it, because of that extra special value that they had to earn by it, which is Dagny (the whole of her) and the wealth she can create in the valley.

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They could have told her "Dagny, we value your life, but we will not give you a value that will work against us. Therefor, we agree to let you stay here, trade with us and earn a living, but we will not agree to trade with you (or give you) the means to go back". By doing this, they would have let her face the consequence of her own actions. No force would be involved (they will not be keeping her prisoner, but simply let het face the consequence of her own actions).

All very true, but it sure would have messed up the rest of the book, plot-wise.

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I think it was entirely proper for Galt to offer assistance to Dagny to get her out of the valley. After all, her plane was wrecked, not because she had done anything wrong, but because of an invisible force she had no means of knowing. There were no signs saying "No Trespassing".

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--------------

All very true, but it sure would have messed up the rest of the book, plot-wise.

Which brings up a very good point that is often missed when discussing events in novels. Often the "choices" that the characters make are the choices that the author has selected for the purpose of furthering the plot, not necessarily the choices that real people who may be in similar situations would make. The author has to make the character's choices realistic and objective within the context of the story; but the character's "choice" is really the author's choice of which events to portray. So to answer the question of which choice a real person would make in a similar situation as in the novel, one would have to confine one's context soley to the events in the novel. Real people rarely do that; they typically bring in their own context of experience and knowledge, which would most likely change the ultimate decision.

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They could have told her "Dagny, we value your life, but we will not give you a value that will work against us. Therefor, we agree to let you stay here, trade with us and earn a living, but we will not agree to trade with you (or give you) the means to go back". By doing this, they would have let her face the consequence of her own actions. No force would be involved (they will not be keeping her prisoner, but simply let het face the consequence of her own actions).

I think they (whoever provided her all the values while staying in the valley) would have more to lose than to gain by this, since she would be like a soldier stranded out of battle she believes she should be fighting. She would still remain rational, however not as complete about living in the valley as she could have been.

But in any case, I don't think that in order to remain a rational society they had to provide her transportation. I think that they did provide it, because of that extra special value that they had to earn by it, which is Dagny (the whole of her) and the wealth she can create in the valley.

All very true, but it sure would have messed up the rest of the book, plot-wise.

:)

This seems at least implausible to me, because she never (and if she didn't want to stay, could not have) voluntarily agreed to the rules of the valley. They would have had to force their rules (like non-communication with the outside world) on her. And this (in my view, highly controversial) decision would have required the universal voluntary agreement of all the strikers, which I consider highly unlikely. As it was, no enforcement and no universal agreements were necessary. John Galt just flew her out of the Valley. And they couldn't have (rationally) stopped Dagny from getting away, had she been able to discover and/or devise some means of doing so on her own.

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This seems at least implausible to me, because she never (and if she didn't want to stay, could not have) voluntarily agreed to the rules of the valley. They would have had to force their rules (like non-communication with the outside world) on her.

I disagree that there would be any force involved. It is her misfortune that she is stuck there, she brought it on herself. If she decides to accept their offer and live on their land, she has to agree to their rules, just like any guest has to abide by the rules of the house in which he's staying. No force involved, it's a trade.

And this (in my view, highly controversial) decision would have required the universal voluntary agreement of all the strikers, which I consider highly unlikely.

I suppose they could vote on this (since they didn't yet elect a representative to decide on foreign policy), but since it's in every one's interest of physical survival to keep the knowledge of the valley secrete, I would actually be very surprised if anyone voted against it.

This way, by staying, she would have to agree to keep the existence of the valley secrete. From then on, she would be free to trade with them.

As it was, no enforcement and no universal agreements were necessary. John Galt just flew her out of the Valley. And they couldn't have (rationally) stopped Dagny from getting away, had she been able to discover and/or devise some means of doing so on her own.

Dagny is no aeronautical engineer, or even a plane mechanic. The chance she would be able to build a plane with her own two hands (or fix the plane she crashed with) is slim. But even if we put this possibility aside, it's enough to cut a deal with her that she must keep their secrete to live on their land to ensure their safety (since she is the kind of person that keeps her word, and the strikers can justly rely on that).

They could have told her "Dagny, we value your life, but we will not give you a value that will work against us..."
All very true, but it sure would have messed up the rest of the book, plot-wise.

This sounds like a plan B (of answering the question this thread is about) :)

Before I start asking about how the considerations of writing a fiction novel go hand in hand with presenting an integrated philosophy, I want to ask you to evaluate the choice of refraining from telling Rearden the truth about Dagny as a real life situation, without the context of it being part of a novel.

Also, Do you agree that the decision about providing Dagny transportation and the decision about sending Rearden a note are essentially the same (in terms of the principles and type of values involved in the decision making)?

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Before I start asking about how the considerations of writing a fiction novel go hand in hand with presenting an integrated philosophy, I want to ask you to evaluate the choice of refraining from telling Rearden the truth about Dagny as a real life situation, without the context of it being part of a novel.

Observe that Galt gave both Dagny and Francisco the choice as to whether, in the context of why communication with the outside world was forbidden, he should make an exception and tell Rearden that Dagny was alive. Both Dagny and Francisco agreed not to have Galt make an exception, so it was their choice. Since Galt gave them the option, I assume he would have allowed communicating with Rearden if either had chosen otherwise.

Also, Do you agree that the decision about providing Dagny transportation and the decision about sending Rearden a note are essentially the same (in terms of the principles and type of values involved in the decision making)?

Not really. The first was a personal issue between Galt and Dagny and Francisco while the secord was a political issue.

Dagny was a gate-crasher and trespasser who had no right to be in Galt's Gulch at all. The people in the Valley had every right to kick her out and, since they valued her and their own security, the way they chose to do it makes a lot of sense.

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I disagree that there would be any force involved. It is her misfortune that she is stuck there, she brought it on herself. If she decides to accept their offer and live on their land, she has to agree to their rules, just like any guest has to abide by the rules of the house in which he's staying. No force involved, it's a trade.

A trade requires mutual voluntary consent, which was not the basis of the relation between Dagny and the strikers at this time.

And this (in my view, highly controversial) decision [an agreement not to help Dagny leave the Valley] would have required the universal voluntary agreement of all the strikers, which I consider highly unlikely.

I suppose they could vote on this (since they didn't yet elect a representative to decide on foreign policy), but since it's in every one's interest of physical survival to keep the knowledge of the valley secrete, I would actually be very surprised if anyone voted against it.

But your surprise is not an argument. And nothing changes the choices the strikers have when Dagny will not voluntarily stay in the Valley from the time of her crash for the duration of their strike. And it is a contradiction to argue that she would be choosing to stay on the strikers' terms if she had no rational alternative.

This way, by staying, she would have to agree to keep the existence of the valley secrete. From then on, she would be free to trade with them.

An agreement assumes a choice. If someone “has to” agree, there is no choice, and no agreement.

As it was, no enforcement and no universal agreements were necessary. John Galt just flew her out of the Valley. And they couldn't have (rationally) stopped Dagny from getting away, had she been able to discover and/or devise some means of doing so on her own.

Dagny is no aeronautical engineer, or even a plane mechanic. The chance she would be able to build a plane with her own two hands (or fix the plane she crashed with) is slim. But even if we put this possibility aside, it's enough to cut a deal with her that she must keep their secrete to live on their land to ensure their safety (since she is the kind of person that keeps her word, and the strikers can justly rely on that).

A deal is an agreement, so the same argument as above applies.

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Just a small note, because I was participating pretty actively in this thread...

I decided to stop pursuing it for now. Not enough time for it.

Sorry for posting something unrelated to the topic, but I feel it is civil to write a note about it.

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How do you conclude that the question of "who means more to Dagny" was present for Galt? Do you think that wanting to inform Rearden the truth about her state would have meant valuing Rearden more than Galt?

This is the exchange between Dagny and 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 the 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.

The use of the word "treason" indicates there is an issue of loyalty here. When what Rearden wants and what Galt wants are in conflict, who will she side with?

Galt gave her the opportunity to ask for an exception, which she could have done, and then was "watchful, unmoving, implacably perceptive" as he awaited her answer. Dagny answered "No." while deliberately holding his glance as if to tell him, "I won't ask you to do something you don't want to do for Rearden's sake because what you want is more important to me."

I don't exactly agree, and I just understood why.

Reading the entire relevant passage of AS, here is what I understood, and I am certain I got most of it right this time: The explanation for Dagny's "treason" is not exactly loyalty to Galt vs. loyalty to Rearden - it is so only on the superficial level. The real treason was whether she would make a sacrifice out of pity for Rearden. (man, I'm so happy I've discovered this!)

This whole thing starts before Galt comes back home, after she meets Calog who tells her that Rearden thinks she is dead.

It was in the first moment of returning to Galt's house, of standing alone in the silent, sun-filled room, that she faced the full meaning of what she felt. She looked at the window, at the mountains barring the sky in the east. She thought of Hank Rearden as he set at his desk, now, two thousand miles away, his face tightened into a retaining wall against agony, as it had been tightened under all the blows of all his years - and she felt a desperate wish to fight his battle, to fight for him, for his past, for the tension of his face and the courage that fed it - as she wanted to fight for the comet that crawled by a last effort across a desert on a crumbling track. She shuddered, closing her eyes, feeling as if she were guilty of double treason, feeling as if she were suspended in space between this valley and the rest of the earth, with no right to either

The primary treason was the temptation to sacrifice - to put agony above happiness. To fight for Hank instead of staying for her own happiness with Galt. If she went to Rearden to spare him the pain, she would not be worthy of Galt. And on the other hand, if she stayed with Galt for her happiness, she thought she would be unworthy of Rearden (because of deserting him in a time of need). This has to be the double treason.

So, I don't think it's as simple as which man would she choose (Galt knows she chose him, and cannot choose otherwise)- but the core of the treason is based in the urge for self-sacrifice (putting somebody else's pain above her happiness). This also explains why she feels the following:

She wondered why she felt a sudden reluctant to look out, why she felt as if she wanted to cling to the golden patches of light on the wood of the table,... - to cling as to a small island on the edge of a void.

Her feeling was bigger than feeling of being unworthy of Galt. This represents some inner conflict in her own morals. If Dagny always strives to do what's right, and she thought, in some way, or felt, that it was right to fight Rearden's and the comet's fight, then it would make sense she would feel like everything else is vanishing.

(I may only reply after Sunday, when I'm done with my tests, in case anybody wishes to have some conversation about this).

(quotes from Atlas Shrugged, page 763).

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The primary treason was the temptation to sacrifice - to put agony above happiness.

I disagree. Dagny thinks of both Rearden's struggle and the fate of the Comet, because her desire to fight for them is based on the same error, the sanction of the victim. She still doesn't see that by remaining outside and producing, she is giving her destroyers the tools to use against her. She wants to leave, not because she is putting agony above happiness, but because she still believes that happiness is possible on the outside if she fights for it.

But notice that she feels a "double treason", that she has no right either to Rearden's world or Galt's. The valley is everything she ever wanted, it's how she thought life should be, and of course Galt is her ideal man, but by staying she feels she would be abandoning her values when she should be fighting for them. She has abandoned Rearden and her railroad, and left them to meet a fate at the hands of the looters. Yet neither does she belong in the valley or with Galt as a scab.

Her feeling was bigger than feeling of being unworthy of Galt. This represents some inner conflict in her own morals. If Dagny always strives to do what's right, and she thought, in some way, or felt, that it was right to fight Rearden's and the comet's fight, then it would make sense she would feel like everything else is vanishing.

Not at all. Her conflict is due to an error of knowledge, not a "conflict in her morals". She is not struggling over whether she should pursue a value or sacrifice it, but whether she would be in fact sacrificing her values by withdrawing from the world. What both she and Rearden fail to see at this point is that the suffering they experience is of their own making, that by working with the looters and accepting their terms, they have enslaved themselves. The sacrifice is to remain in the world, but she doesn't realize that until the end.

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The primary treason was the temptation to sacrifice - to put agony above happiness.

I disagree. Dagny thinks of both Rearden's struggle and the fate of the Comet, because her desire to fight for them is based on the same error, the sanction of the victim. She still doesn't see that by remaining outside and producing, she is giving her destroyers the tools to use against her. She wants to leave, not because she is putting agony above happiness, but because she still believes that happiness is possible on the outside if she fights for it.

But notice that she feels a "double treason", that she has no right either to Rearden's world or Galt's. The valley is everything she ever wanted, it's how she thought life should be, and of course Galt is her ideal man, but by staying she feels she would be abandoning her values when she should be fighting for them. She has abandoned Rearden and her railroad, and left them to meet a fate at the hands of the looters. Yet neither does she belong in the valley or with Galt as a scab.

Her feeling was bigger than feeling of being unworthy of Galt. This represents some inner conflict in her own morals. If Dagny always strives to do what's right, and she thought, in some way, or felt, that it was right to fight Rearden's and the comet's fight, then it would make sense she would feel like everything else is vanishing.

Not at all. Her conflict is due to an error of knowledge, not a "conflict in her morals". She is not struggling over whether she should pursue a value or sacrifice it, but whether she would be in fact sacrificing her values by withdrawing from the world. What both she and Rearden fail to see at this point is that the suffering they experience is of their own making, that by working with the looters and accepting their terms, they have enslaved themselves. The sacrifice is to remain in the world, but she doesn't realize that until the end.

I agree. They both still think that they have got to fight harder (part of which consists in enduring the suffering longer) and that to give up the fight would be a weakness. For Dagny staying in the valley would be easy (and, therefore, to her an unearned reward). While she respects the other strikers and does not blame them, she still sees them as having weakened. She thus sees herself, and Rearden, as having the last and greatest strength, which must not be betrayed if civilization is to survive.

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So, I don't think it's as simple as which man would she choose (Galt knows she chose him, and cannot choose otherwise)- but the core of the treason is based in the urge for self-sacrifice (putting somebody else's pain above her happiness).

I don't understand, why is it a sacrifice to regard somebody else's pain? What if they matter that much to you? She didn't regard Rearden merely because he was "some guy in pain".

The real treason was whether she would make a sacrifice out of pity for Rearden.

Also what's wrong with making a "sacrifice" (poor choice of words) out of pity for Rearden? Pity is not a moral crime.

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So, I don't think it's as simple as which man would she choose (Galt knows she chose him, and cannot choose otherwise)- but the core of the treason is based in the urge for self-sacrifice (putting somebody else's pain above her happiness).

I don't understand, why is it a sacrifice to regard somebody else's pain? What if they matter that much to you? She didn't regard Rearden merely because he was "some guy in pain".

No, it's not a sacrifice as such. But if she came back to save him this pain, then it would be, because she would be giving up her own happiness and time with Galt - essentially living her life for someone else and not for herself.

It's not always a sacrifice (don't drop the context).

Got to go.

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No, it's not a sacrifice as such. But if she came back to save him this pain, then it would be, because she would be giving up her own happiness and time with Galt - essentially living her life for someone else and not for herself.

Right, in that particular situation it would've been, but in general, it is quite possible to save a dear one's pain, and deny oneself joy with another dear person. I'm not dropping any context, and nothing you particularly said is being disputed here, but I'm just making a clarification that there is no dichotomy between one person's pain, pity for them, and your happiness. One's happiness could quite well be served by relieving that pain; and to always go for the benefits to one's literal self would be an improper, popularly derided, kind of selfishness.

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No, it's not a sacrifice as such. But if she came back to save him this pain, then it would be, because she would be giving up her own happiness and time with Galt - essentially living her life for someone else and not for herself.

It's not always a sacrifice (don't drop the context). Got to go.

That sounds like the correct answer.

To FC: recall how Rearden told Dagny later that there can only be one reason for not letting him know where and how she was.

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