exadyne wrote:J Thomas wrote:scrdest wrote:exadyne wrote:I've never read Atlas Shrugged, but I'm told there is a passage where the train full of new copper collides with a passenger train. I'm also told there is long diatribes (probably not 60 pages long, but there) about how horrible it is that the new magic copper is destroyed. The dead passengers, they are just there to be a reason for another train to be on the track, not say, a huge tragedy of lost life, at least not compared to all that special copper (was the magic copper what allowed an engine to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as I said, I haven't racked up resolve to force myself through a book with a 60 page long radio address). A philosophy that makes someone write this way immediately makes me suspect on that alone. I think others pointed out Fountainhead involved blowing up a building without anyone worried about how that could destroy the water, power, and sewer line for everyone else, but hey, that's still OK because the building used a design that had been compromised against the original designer's will.
Ugh, that's what happens when you get informations from fourteenth hand. That's an... impressive mixup you got here. Now, I understand you didn't read the book, but being proud of your ignorance is not a good sign. You are on the Internet, and you are WRONG. You know what that means.
Now, I'm typing this from memory, so everything falls under IIRC. What happened was a huge pileup, involving an army transport and a politician's train, incompetent higher-ups and employees threatened with being fired without possibility to find another job. Long story short, the employees were coerced into using a coal-powered train in a badly ventilated tunnel. Cue carbon monoxide death. Then it got worse, as another train, filled with ammo, crashed into it. As you see, no mention of any magic copper.
The thing is, in what I think may have been an accident involving too much meth (hey, it was legal back then, and Rand did take it to write faster), instead of dwelling upon the pointless deaths, Rand decided to be optimistic and basically say: "Hey, don't worry people, they were as good as dead either way" and a million walls have head-shaped holes ever since. Same with the Fountainhead's building-blowing.
I did a quick lit search and found a reference to Reardon rescuing a load of copper from an Atlantic Southern train crash on page 205. This is probably a different train crash from the one you're talking about. Exadyne might have been talking about that crash, or a mixup between the two crashes.
In the process I looked at a sort of synopsis of some of the story, and it looks like Dagny decided to do a normal freight run on a brand new railroad bridge before any testing because she was sure it would work. She rides the train herself on the first test run; she feels safe because she understands how it works, not because she has faith it will work. If my reading of the synopsis is right, I'm really really glad Dagny was not a software engineer.
I believe you have the right crash, J. As someone said about it,In two of the most unwittingly hilarious sections of the book, trains crash, giving intriguing insights into Ms Rand's psyche as they do so. In the first TERRIBLE TRAGEDY of the book, a train carrying copper collides head-on with a passenger train on a hillside, spilling PRECIOUS COPPER everywhere. Hank Reardon surveys the terrible tragic waste of PRECIOUS COPPER spilled over the tracks, before gritting his teeth at the hellish awfulness of it all, and heroically organising alternate transport so his PRECIOUS COPPER can get there on time, without so much letting an emotion slip out because of all the tragedy of the PRECIOUS COPPER. Because that's the kind of heroic guy he is.
**IT HIT A FREAKING PASSENGER TRAIN HEAD-ON. THE HILLSIDE WOULD BE LITTERED WITH DEAD PEOPLE. RAND DOESN'T EVEN MENTION THIS ONCE.**
The time people DO get killed in the train, of course, in the collapse of the tunnel, they have pretty much asked for it, by dint of being teachers, social workers, journalists, humanitarians, mothers etc. They knew the risks of living in a society that wasn't based on fascistic capitalism, so screw them, right? They're only useful to make a point. Screw them.
So yes, there is ambiguity about which crash. The first one, the copper crash, is confusing because apparently, everyone glosses over the train it hit, but it was a passenger train. Rand waxes poetic over that loss, and ignores the human life involved in a copper shipment hitting a person's train.
The second crash scrdesteluded to. Looking it up, I've seen quoted text saying the people on the train "deserved" it and a defender of Rand using the fallacy of ambiguity to say the word deserved could mean a lot of things. He then kind of glosses over blowing up the building in the Fountainhead with people were as good as dead anyway. I said there would be water, sewer, and electric lines in progress to the building. Now, maybe I'm pessimistic, but I think setting off explosives on something that might be attached to a sewer, a sewer that carries away things like gases that can sometimes explode, hence modern toilet design, is probably a bad thing.
As for saying I am proud of my ignorance, scrdest, you read to much negative into your opponent. I admitted not reading the books because I'm honest, and if I'm wrong and the train carrying copper didn't hit a passenger train and it didn't involve having a liturgy for copper but glossing over the passenger train, I'll be glad to be informed. I find it interesting though, someone saying I'm proud of ignorance, but if I don't feel like reading a book that in chunks I've seen I won't like, isn't that a form of rational self interest? Isn't my time better served doing something I'd like to do more? Well perhaps you'd argue that it would open my mind and make me an objectivist (beyond doubtful) and therefore better me. On the other hand, I've heard every Objectivist decree anyone who's read Atlas Shrugged as not understanding Objectivism.
Damn, I accidentally the tab.
Who's reading too much negative here? I admitted that the way the crash was written was awful. I also admitted that if you blew up a whole goddamn building, you realistically would have been dangerous to innocents, which was overlooked. Jokingly, I attributed these to Rand's usage of meth during writing, which is a fact. I was trying to speak without being too confrontational. What I didn't do was cheering for deaths of the train's passengers or the destruction of the building, or handwaving them.
Secondly, I didn't quite remember AS that well, so after J posted his crash, I did some research myself. Unfortunately, you are wrong. There was only one crash that involved multiple deaths, the Taggart Tunnel one, causes of which I explained in my previous post and, again, admitted that the way it was written is facepalm magnet. So, feel informed.
That leads straight to another point, it seems that you either did not actually read any 'chunks' of the book, only second-hand relations of it, or you should work on your reading comprehension skillz (or, well, both). I won't ask you to read the book, because:
a) it is not my job to preach
b) you will do whatever you want either way
I accused you of being proud of your ignorance, as you attempt to criticize the book without reading it at all, and that would be pretty pointless at best. You can discuss the ideas as much as you want, it's fair game. But if you want to talk about the book, do some research. Pretty please? And if you are discussing the ideas, stay away from mentioning enormous monologue, trains crashing, laws of thermodynamics, etc.
Grammar Nazi here: I think the word 'liturgy' (for copper, in your post) doesn't fit here