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Dagny Taggart Explaining What 'They' Mean by Being 'Unfeeling'

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"You know, Miss Tag -- Dagny," she [Cherryl Taggart] said softly, in wonder, "you're not as I expected you to be at all... They, Jim and his friends, they said you were hard and cold and unfeeling."

"But it's true, Cherryl. I am, in the sense they mean -- only have they ever told you in just what sense they mean it?"

"No. They never do. They only sneer at me when I ask them what they mean by anything...about anything. What did they mean about you?"

"Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling,' he means that that person is just. He means that that person has no causeless emotions and will not grant him a feeling which he does not deserve. He means that 'to feel' is to go against reason, against moral values, against reality. He means... What's the matter?" she asked, seeing the abnormal intensity of the girl's face.

"It's...it's something I've tried so hard to understand...for such a long time..."

"Well, observe that you never hear that accusation in defense of innocence, but always in defense of guilt. You never hear it said by a good person about those who fail to do him justice. But you always hear it said by a rotter about those who treat him as a rotter, those who don't feel any sympathy for the evil he's committed or for the pain he suffers as a consequence. Well, it's true -- that is what I do not feel. But those who feel it, feel nothing for any quality of human greatness, for any person or action that deserves admiration, approval, esteem. These are the things I feel. You'll find that it's one or the other. Those who grant sympathy to guilt, grant none to innocence. Ask yourself which, of the two, are the unfeeling persons. And then you'll see what motive is the opposite of charity."

"What?" she whispered.

"Justice, Cherryl."

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