Greg Salmieri and Ben Bayer discuss the following questions for Part III, Chapter 7, of Atlas Shrugged: “This Is John Galt Speaking” (part 1 of 2).

Special note: Participants should try to read the whole chapter, including the whole speech by John Galt. The following questions focus on the first half of the speech (up to p. 1034 in the standard edition, p. 947 in the latest mass market paperback, or p. 165 in the reprinted speech in For the New Intellectual).

  • Question 1: . What are different characters’ reactions to Rearden’s quitting? What do their reactions reveal about these characters and about the state of the society?
  • Question 2: Why does Galt give this speech? Whom is he primarily addressing, and what is his purpose, at this point in the novel, in addressing them?
  • Question 3: How are human beings like and unlike other living things, according to Galt? How does each of these similarities and differences factor into human beings’ need for a moral code?
  • Question 4: Galt says that a single axiom is the root of his moral code. How does this axiom relate to the three values and seven virtues Galt discusses? (Early answerers, please focus on a single value or virtue at a time; as the discussion proceeds, we can try to sum up.)
  • Question 5: What does Galt think is the standard of value behind the morality his listeners have been taught? On what grounds does he think this?
  • Question 6: What other questions or observations do you have about Part III, Chapter 7?


For additional information on the course, explore the Resources page.



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