The tyranny of niceness
by Andrea Elizabeth
End of Chapter 3 of Atlas Shrugged
“She had always flet that the concourse looked like a temple. Glancing up at the distant ceiling, she saw dim vaults supported by giant granite columns, and the tops of vast windows glazed by darkness. The vaulting held the solemn peace of a cathedral, spread in protection high above the rushing activity of men.
Dominating the concourse, but ignored by the travelers as a habitual sight, stood a statue of Nathaniel Taggart, the founder of the railroad. Dagny was the only one who remained aware of it and had never been able to take it for granted. To look at that statue whenever she crossed the concourse, was the only form of prayer she knew.”
Con, of course, idolizing a business.
Pro, she can be used as a parable of true, committed worship. How often does Jesus compare seeking after the kingdom of heaven to how committed people are to business ventures, whether investment or agricultural? How does the one parable treat unprofitable servants? Even what they have will be taken away.
Rand’s belief in freedom over coercion: “Dagny regretted at times that Nat Taggart was her ancestor. What she felt for him did not belong in the category of unchosen family relations. She did not want her feeling to be the thing one was supposed to owe an uncle or grandfather. She was incapable of love for any object not of her own choice and she resented anyone’s demand for it. But had it been possible to choose an ancestor, she would have chosen Nat Taggart, in voluntary homage and with all of her gratitude.”
Again she’s being fluid in her reactions – regret turns into voluntary homage. Or is Rand unknowingly contradicting herself? I wish she had said why she initially regretted him. I don’t think you can take it for granted that she didn’t like his end-justifies-the-means behavior described earlier.
Rand seems to want permission to admire the people she admires, and to not admire those she doesn’t. To call a spade a spade, as it were. I believe there is room for her blantant honesty and belief in freedom. So, lets go ahead and call some people enemies, instead of all the pc feel goody language many believe is the Christian way, which I believe is the tyranny of niceness. People are afraid to hate the sin nowadays. That isn’t true love. True love desires perfection. But what to do with those enemies? How to love enemies is the hardest thing. Not so much because we don’t want to, but because of the how’s involved. Like what do you do if he’s endangering your children, spending your money destructively, causing havoc in the marketplace, lying about God, etc? It’s not so simple. Placing someone in time out, at least, and calling out the wrongness of the behavior isn’t hating them. The tyranny of niceness spoils people, and that isn’t love.