Almost forgot about DougJ’s need to understand Atlas Shrugged. I believe Foucault or Derrida wrote an essay about this once – since I can’t find it right now, I’ll summarize from memory:
A post-modern reinterpretation of the text as a paean to Dagny’s frustrated sexuality and Hank’s borderline impotence is the only way to truly understand Rand’s magnum opus. Dagny tries to sublimate her sexuality into her work, but the appearance of Hank, who is cut from the same bolt of distant, quasi-rapist cloth as her dearly departed father, makes her long for the kind of semi-fulfillment that she can only find in the arms of a uninterested and dispassionate lover. Sadly, Hank is unable to perform even to her low expectations, and thus begins the perfection of “Rearden Metal”. Though ostensibly used to create rails for Dagny’s railroad, it’s real use is for a cock ring so that Hank can finally rail Dagny.
The train metaphor is thus extended throughout the book, culminating in the famous “train” and “tunnel” sequence. There, the failure of Rearden Metal causes Hank’s failure, and the whole sexual escapade blows up in a smoky dirty mess. Because Rand is using the railroad as a sexual metaphor and needs to express frustration in similarly metaphorical terms, it’s obvious that the only solution is the Objectivist response to any complex human problem: proles must die. And die they do, choking to death on smoke that represents not the failure of welfarist socialism, but rather the limpness of Hank’s member.
A careful deconstruction, therefore, shows us that what appears to be the central question of the text, viz., “Who is John Galt”, is merely a MacGuffin that Rand cleverly uses to disguise what is clearly a deep and forward-looking meditation on female sexuality.