Ayn Rand Followers Don’t Even Know What “Going Galt” Actually Means!March 12, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Posted in American politics | 32 Comments
As hilzoy notes over at Obsidian Wings, right wingers who are currently claiming they are “going Galt” in reference to John Galt of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, don’t even understand what it means to “go Galt.” It isn’t a matter of lowering one’s efforts to ensure not getting taxed more. It isn’t laying off your employees either as a commenter suggested in a previous post of mine. Hilzoy:
That’s not what Rand meant by Going Galt at all. In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt decides to withdraw his creative and productive efforts from society. He is going on strike, and he convinces other creative, productive people to follow him.
THAT’S going Galt. You up and leave. You go on strike. You do it to spite those who are, in your opinion, enslaving you and raping your talents. For those on the right to “go Galt,” they would have to step away from their creative work and not let the world around them benefit from that creative work. This is why I really do look forward to the day when conservatives actually DO go Galt. Please, all you Rand followers out there. Please Go Galt! Do us the favor. Go find Gault’s Gulch in Colorado and just stay there, shut your mouths and do your creative work just between yourselves and spare the rest of the world your “creativity.” Hilzoy:
John Galt did not need to go on the air to make his point. He made his case in private, to creative and productive people like himself. They went on strike, and as a result the world was plunged into crisis.
That’s not a minor point. It’s essential to Rand’s entire view. Here’s why Galt says that he decided to withdraw:
“Then I saw what was wrong with the world, I saw what destroyed men and nations, and where the battle for life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality — and that my sanction was its only power. I saw that evil was impotent-that evil was the irrational, the blind, the anti-real — and that the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it. Just as the parasites around me were proclaiming their helpless dependence on my mind and were expecting me voluntarily to accept a slavery they had no power to enforce, just as they were counting on my self-immolation to provide them with the means of their plan — so throughout the world and throughout men’s history, in every version and form, from the extortions of loafing relatives to the atrocities of collective countries, it is the good, the able, the men of reason, who act as their own destroyers, who transfuse to evil the blood of their virtue and let evil transmit to them the poison of destruction, thus gaining for evil the power of survival, and for their own values — the impotence of death. I saw that there comes a point, in the defeat of any man of virtue, when his own consent is needed for evil to win — and that no manner of injury done to him by others can succeed if he chooses to withhold his consent. I saw that I could put an end to your outrages by pronouncing a single word in my mind. I pronounced it. The word was ‘No.'”
By withdrawing, Galt was, essentially, testing this view. If he was right to think that an inverted morality could triumph only with his sanction, and that the parasites around him were helplessly dependent on his mind, and could survive only with the aid of his self-immolation, then once he and others like him withdrew, that fact would become clear. If not, not.
Hilzoy notes why, most likely, right wingers won’t actually go Galt, no matter how they try to convince others to do so:
As I said above, the three most obvious answers are: (1) they do not believe that anything they do is in fact creative or productive, or (2) they are urging other people to do something they don’t have the guts to do themselves, like scam artists who convince people to invest their money in schemes they themselves steer clear of, or (3) they have not bothered to think about what they are saying, even to the limited extent required to see that there’s a conflict between their words and their actions.
I lean on number two. They are not principled, or they would actually have the courage to follow Galt to his cave no matter how foolish they may look to the rest of the world. Ironically that’s one of the characteristics of Rand’s protagonists. They don’t flinch when the rest of the world mocks them. They stand on their principles regardless the price. Are today’s Rand followers truly willing to do the same as their supposed heroes? Will they stand on their principles regardless the price? Will they withdraw their creative work from the benefit of the world no matter the cost? Of course not!
See, Rand supporters are far more realistic than Rand’s ideology was or is. They understand that a scenario like the one played out in Atlas Shrugged is completely unrealistic. They know that it is impossible to withdraw the creative talents of this world all at the same time to inflict the proper pain on the rest of the world to beg them to come out of retirement. There are simply too many people, too many talents who don’t believe in Rand’s ideology who will very simply take the place of those who went on strike. Rand’s followers know this, which is why they will never actually withdraw their talents from productivity. Furthermore, this is a matter of propaganda (ironic for anti-Soviet Rand followers). These guys pushing for “going Galt” will never actually withdraw themselves because of another reason. They want to CONTROL the information; they wish to remain the speakers, the Voice of the Right. If they withdrew, that would simply leave an opening for some other fanatical group to become the influencing voice among the rabid followers. They wish to take a stand on a principle which will actually require them to silence their mouths if they really actually followed the principle as proscribed. This they cannot do.
hence why they are easily mocked, easily ridiculed, easily called stupid.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.