TUESDAY, June 7, 2011 7:00 to 7:30 PM Arrival Time

Explore Atlas Shrugged Session 17
Podcasts and  discussion questions on Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged
We will discuss the questions.


Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Chapter 7
Part 3, Chapter 7: This Is John Galt Speaking
First Half of chapter
Pages 1000-1069 in the larger Hardcover or Softcover, break at 1035
Pages 927-993 in the smaller Mass Market Paperback, break at 951


These discussion questions and podcast were prepared by Diana Hsieh for
ExploreAtlasShrugged.com for people interested in creating their own Atlas
Shrugged Reading Groups, as well as for anyone wishing to study the novel in
more depth. They may be freely used for the study and discussion of Atlas
Shrugged, provided that this paragraph remains intact in any reproduction.

The listed page numbers are for the larger edition, softcover or hardback.

Part 3: Chapter 7: This Is John Galt Speaking

Section 1 (1000-1069)
What is Dagny’s response to the news that Hank Rearden has quit?  What does it mean to her?  What does it mean to Jim Taggart, the other looters, and ordinary people? (1000-3)
– Why does Hank Rearden send the message that he does to Dagny from the valley?  Why is the message so important to Dagny?  (1002-3)
– Why was Dagny Taggart invited to the radio broadcast?  Why does she refuse to participate?  (1005-7)

Speech: Overview (1009-1069)
What is the purpose of John Galt’s radio speech? Who is his intended audience? What does he hope to accomplish? (1009-69)
– What was Ayn Rand’s purpose in writing full text of speech into novel? Why do the readers of the novel need to hear the speech too? (1009-69)

Speech: Introduction (1009-1011)
How does John Galt motivate and intrigue his listeners? What does he tell them that’s news to them? (1009-11)

Speech: The Morality of Life (1011-1025)
Why and how is morality necessary for life, according to Galt?  Does man have an automatic knowledge of or desire for survival?  Why not? (1012-5)
– What is the standard of value? Why? What is the alternative to that standard? How is the contrast concretized in the novel? (1012-15)
– What are the three basic axioms?  How are they fundamental to thought and life? What role have they played in the events of the novel? (1015-6)
– How — and why — is a person’s use of his mind fundamental to morality? What does it mean to think — or not? How is the refusal to think different from ignorance?  How do Hank Rearden and Robert Stadler exemplify that difference? (1016-8)
– What are the basic virtues identified by John Galt?  What is the basic meaning of each virtue and how does it promote a person’s life and values? What is an example of each virtue in action (and its opposite vice) from the novel? (1018-21)
– What is the proper role of emotions in life?  How are emotions shaped by choices? How does a person achieve happiness? (1021-2)
– What is Galt’s view of a person’s obligations to others?  What does it mean to trade with others in matter and spirit? How has that been dramatized in the novel? (1022-3)
– What is the initiation of force? How does that “negate and paralyze [a man’s] means of survival”? What examples of that have we seen in the novel? (1023-4)

Speech: The Morality of Death (1025-1034)
What is the doctrine of Original Sin? Why does Galt condemn it? Why does he discuss it? (1025-6)
– What is Galt’s view of the idea that mind and body are antagonists?  What are the moral implications of that view?  What characters have illustrated the mind-body split in the novel? (1026-7)
– Who are the “mystics of muscle” and the “mystics of spirit”?  How are they different?  How are they similar?  Who are the best examples of these mystics in the novel? (1027)
– What does Galt mean by sacrifice?  Why does he reject sacrifice as immoral? What is the goal and result of the morality of sacrifice?  (1028-9)
– How — and why — is the morality of sacrifice impossible to practice? How and why does it ultimately demand the sacrifice of virtue to vice? How and why does it poison relationships between people? What events of the novel have dramatized that?  (1030-3)
– What does Galt think of the ideal of universal brother-love?  Why?  What is the proper view of love?  (1033-4)

(Recommended Break between Sessions 17 and 18)

Speech: The Teachers of the Morality of Death (1034-1047)
How have the mystics of muscle and mystics of spirit convinced people to adopt the morality of sacrifice? What is their “single holy absolute”? How does that violate the axioms? (1034-7)
– What is causality?  How is it related to the axiom of identity?  How do the mystics of muscle and spirit attempt to deny it?  How do they attempt to reverse cause and effects?  How is that illustrated in the events of the novel?  (1037-8)
– How is the mystic like a savage, yet worse? What is the essence of savagery, according to Galt? (1038-45)
– What is the relationship between the dictator and the mystic?  What does each aim for? Who is their mutual enemy — and why?  How has that been illustrated in the novel? (1044-7)
– What is the conspiracy of the mystics? What is their ultimate goal? Why is no compromise with them possible? (1046-7)
– Why does John Galt speak at such length about these teachers of the morality of death? Why do Dagny and Galt’s other listeners need to know so much about them? (1034-1047)

Speech: Choose the Morality of Life (1047-1069)
Why does John Galt explain his own choice to go on strike? (1047-8)
– Why does Galt directly address the looters? What does he say, and why? What will be their fate? Is that fair? (1048-52)
– What is Galt’s basic purpose in speaking directly to the people who retain some shred of love for their lives? What is his overall message? What are the major points he covers — and why? (1052-69)
– What is wrong with the view that the moral is opposed to the practical? What are its effects on a person?  How has that been illustrated in the novel? Why must people reject it? (1052-4)
– What are the other wrong views that people must reject? Why must they reject them to reject the morality of sacrifice? (1054-8)
– What advice does Galt offer to people seeking to live by the morality of life? What must they do, in concrete terms? How have those principles been illustrated by the events in the novel? (1058-60)
– When the strikers return to the world, what principles will govern their society and government? What is the basis of those principles? What kind of society will they produce? (1060-5)
– In a free society, how and why do the more capable people benefit the less capable more than vice versa? How is that illustrated in the novel?  What is the common opposing view?  (1063-5)
– What concrete steps does Galt recommend to his life-loving listeners? How will that benefit the strike? When will the strike end? (1066-8)

Whole Chapter
What is the significance of the title of this chapter?


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