Rearden Metal - watching Atlas Shrugged continued.
In Atlas Shrugged, rearden metal is supposed to be stronger, lighter, more enduring than ordinary steel. Yet early on in the story its structural integrity is questioned by authorities associated with the Government's Science department. Rand sees this as a plot twist that exposes a sinister plot. Yet in reality metals are tested by scientists, both by the industry & regulator & safety is an objective measure. It is implausible that they'd question the safety and efficacy of "Rearden Metal" unless it failed those tests. So the whole plot twist is absurd.
Anyone can say that their metal is superior. It's like "flex seal" or "My Pillow," part of the sales. Yet safety regulations are part of demonstrating that an assertion is more than a sales pitch. Can you cut a boat in half, seal it with flex tape & then sail it good as new? That is what testing does. Libertarians take the dark view that Ayn Rand describes in "Atlas Shrugged" that science is political.
She paints safety regulations as unnecessary bureaucracy when in fact the testing & replication of science is what makes our lives actually in fact better. In Atlas Shrugged Rearden metal might well have been actually in fact superior to other forms of steel. But in real life, that is a fact that can be proven or disproven with tests. It is something that can be falsified.
I was going to write a parody paralel under account where rearden metal turned out to be an alloy made from spent reactor rods, highly toxic & corrosive, and so brittle it would fail the moment sufficient weight was put on it. In that scenario the behavior of the Engineers Union and authorities would have been not only merited but virtuous. The point is the goal is better production actual in fact & scientific based regulation is the business friend not their enemy. Assuming that regulation is the enemy of business, sounds good to those who reject science. But force of will alone cannot make railroads carry the weight of a 50,000 lb locomotive.
Ayn Rand's book is fantasy
In Ayn Rand's book, Rearden metal is truly strong. If she were a realistic writer she'd have had him at least attempt to produce test results in defense of its use. But she was doing propaganda, and "facts aren't facts" when one is promoting an agenda.
Her spiritual successors have banned scientists from discussing issues like global warming, or produced fake studies in order to claim that it is not caused at all by human activity. The anti-science attitude involved in this behavior was planted by Ayn Rand in her cadres of true believers. Ironically science goes into the studies of what messages will fool the public and the people paying to deny global warming, are preparing to a; make money off of it, and b; mitigate its effects on their own fortunes.
The funny thing is that there are people who believe that Rearden metal is a real thing.
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