Atlas Shrugged Chapter 28: The Egoist

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s obviously not one of Dagny’s trains, since those tunnels have all collapsed.

Chapter summary: Following John’s speech, the antagonists decide to fail to address the event at all, neither sanctioning nor sanctioning it (I love contranyms!). The President puts a tail on Dagny, hoping she’ll lead them to John, which she eventually does. He tells her to pretend she’s his enemy so that they don’t torture her to get to him, which she does. John is arrested, and steadfastly refuses to cooperate. Eventually, the antagonists hold a press conference to pretend he’s cooperating, holding him at gunpoint during so. The chapter ends with him revealing the gun and saying, “Get the hell out of my way!”

This chapter felt somewhat like Rand had put so much effort into working up to Galt’s monologue that she doesn’t quite know where to go now. After Galt’s grandiose speeches earlier about how terrible it is to live by lies, he tells Dagny to lie so that he can live. Gone again is the brilliant speaker of chapter 27, back again is the petulant genius who won’t play along unless he gets to do everything, absolutely everything, his way. Innocent people can starve to death, he won’t do anything to help them unless Thompson and company “get the hell out of my way.”

It’s easy to see in this chapter why Tea Party Conservative Randians hate Obama so much, though. Thompson is depicted much like Obama, as a pacifist compromiser who wants to find a middle ground. Of course, with Rand’s bias, Thompson comes off as wishy-washy and weak. Given the situation that he’s been placed in, by both Mouch and friends on the one hand and Galt and friends on the other, there’s little wonder there’s nobody competent willing to take that role.

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