Chapter 30: In the Name of the Best Within Us
Dagny, the only one amongst the heroes who is still officially in the world, goes up to the sentinnel guarding the entrance to Project F. She gives him the ultimatum of "to think (thus live) or to obey (blindly)," when she demands entrance. Because the guard utters the insidious bromide, "who am I to think?"--which implies who am I to live--and because when faced with the danger of a gun, the gun terrorizes him less than the act of choosing to stand down instead of obeying the late (mentally) Ferris' orders--that he would choose to exist without consciousness--Dagny shoots him.
Dagny, Rearden, d'Anconia and Danneskjold are the first of many others in Galt's Gulch to reach Galt. They, the force guided by mind, effortlessly manage to bypass the armed guards--brute force without mind. When Dagny reaches him, Galt has obtained the one value he wanted to win from the outer world. The other Gulchers who risked their life to save him did not do so at a sacrifice, either. Galt is too big of an asset to leave in the hands of the looters, and, in full consciousness of his superlative value, they would risk their lives to save this asset.
Eddie Willers finds himself stranded in the middle of nowhere when the diesel of the last Taggart Comet dies on him. A band of men traveling by means of horse-drawn wagons offers him and the passengers a ride, whilst telling him the news that the Taggart bridge had fallen. Eddie had previous found out that Headquarters isn't responding. He refuses to join the band of men who have resorted to the primitive, as if he were a sea captain who would rather drown in his ship, rather than be saved by savages rowing in their canoes.
In his fall to desperate mindlessness, Willers realizes the exact nature of the best within us--it is that in men which makes business and making a living possible. His desperate panic loses coherence, when he calls out--in the name of saving it, the best within us, he had to get the train going. He does not allow himself to accept that it cannot be saved in the outer world; and thus, because of this negation of mind, however slight, he is doomed to perish.
The final section of this book is supposed to convey the sense of an immense deliverence of freedom of release and tension of purpose, of space swept clean, leaving nothing but the joy of unobstructed effort. The heroes plan to repopulate and remake the world. This has to be because A is A, and the world they are to create will be the one for man qua man. (man by virtue of being man)