During a meeting with some governmental officials that precipitated him joining the Strike, Hank Rearden demanded to know why they thought that their policies would work:

"Who will improve [conditions]?"
"Mr. Rearden, people don't just stand still!" cried Holloway. "They do things, they grow, they move forward!"

Compare this to the discussion of Directive 10-289, which mandated that everything remain as it was. After learning that labor leader Fred Kinnan would have substantial power over the structure of the economy, Jim Taggart commented "I don't care. It doesn't matter. He'll have to hold things still. Everything will have to remain as it is. Just as it is. Nobody will be permitted to change anything." When Fred Kinnan asked how things were supposed to improve if everything was supposed to stay the same, Wesley Mouch's response basically boiled down to "don't be so cynical."

Why the sudden change here?

  • Do you mean "Why" as "Why did the characters do that, in-story?" and/or "Why did the author have the characters do that, out-of-story?"
    – bobble
    Apr 26 at 2:17
  • @bobble I was originally thinking in-story. Apr 26 at 14:41

"Mr. Rearden, people don't just stand still!" cried Holloway. "They do things, they grow, they move forward!"

I believe Holloway's statement is a brilliant example of a looter contradiction. One of the main themes in the story is that the looters live with lies, they lie to themselves, and they contradict themselves. A theme statement in the book is "contradictions do not exist".

On one hand, the looters want the capitalists to work like slaves. On the other hand, the looters resent the capitalists' productive abilities. But the tone of the looters change. Early in the story it's "stop being so greedy, stop producing so much that you make others look bad". Later their tone is "please oh please produce more so that we don't all starve". Directive 10-289 is nothing less than a desperate attempt at keeping production where it is at, rather than diminishing down to nothing.

So I think his statement is one example of a looter contradiction.

  • So, the idea is to forbid them to change and then demand that they do anyway? Jun 2 at 17:30
  • No, it's to forbid them from going on strike, which they (the looters) failed to do. Jun 3 at 19:28

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