Atlas Shrugged Chapter 14: The Sanction of the Victim

There’s a governor’s race going on right now in Michigan. One of the leading candidates, Rick Snyder, is running as a Republican but presents himself as a non-politician. Today, I saw an ad for his that talked about cutting taxes and ending “silly regulations” in a tone that made it unclear whether “silly” was restrictive (i.e., not all regulations are silly, and he just wants to cut the silly ones) or non-restrictive. I hope the former; I fear the latter.

Chapter summary: The focus of this chapter is Hank’s trial for illegally supplying Ken with Metal. The reference in the title is to Hank’s stand in trial that he refuses to participate in what he sees as a kangaroo court, that is, he refuses to sanction being victimized by a corrupt judicial system. After his lofty words and some jeering from the gallery, the justices decide to let him off with a slap on the wrist, and decide not even to slap him. Hank also meets up first with Dagny to tell her he’s going to switch out some steel with Metal in an upcoming shipment, and then with Francisco to discuss getting copper, in the past tense, and Francisco reveals not quite enough; the copper is pirated.

I wasn’t fond of this chapter. It felt unrealistic and convenient and full of financial testosterone. I am growing fonder of Francisco at the same approximate rate that I am growing less fond of Hank, so that may explain my distaste. The message I got out of this chapter, though, is that if you disagree with the law, you ought to be free to simply not act lawfully, and if you puff up your chest and humiliate the powers that be sufficiently, they will (and should) cave in and let you do what you want.

Perhaps I’m just feeling excessively cynical, though. I fully acknowledge, as any reader ought to, that I am bringing my own impressions and shadings into my interaction with this work. As indicated by my first paragraph in this post.

I am unclear as to whether Rand deliberately intended the chapter title to be a double entendre.

In other news, I am quite surprised that I am nearly a week ahead in the reading.

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