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I'm currently rereading Atlas Shrugged with an eye toward certain questions that have nagged at me. Among them is this: Why do good things happen to bad people? Is slavery profitable? How does a looting elite maintain itself? Ayn Rand struggled with this question. Her answer is generally described as the sanction of the victim. Throughout the novel, Dagny, Hank and others are constantly sideswiped by politicians. They are willing to move mountains to stay on schedule when building the Rio Norte line and related promises, but are ignorant of politics and regard it as beneath them. And, needless to say, there is never an armed insurrection. But, interestingly, neither do we see any jackbooted thugs. There is no mention of taxes, confiscatory or otherwise. To some extent this is merely artistic license. Rand has a story to tell and she guides events and characters toward a designed climax. But as Rand was not merely a fictiin writer and as this was her magnum opus, I wanted to open a discussion to explore Rand's thoughts and to better understand how the world works. I'm trying to sort out Rand's artistic license from her philosophical and political views on the question. Any assistance would be welcome.