Going John Galt… quietly.

The idea of “Going John Galt” makes me a little bit uncomfortable, to tell the truth.    John Galt essentially said screw them all, and shut down knowing that a whole lot of people would be hurt.    It was about the only way he could make his point and make it stick.

Maybe we could do this without shutting down the economy?

But, as I think about it, a protest citing John Galt and out and out telling people what is going on might be a good idea, because people are going to go John Galt… quietly.

And I have no faith at all that anyone who now thinks that it’s a good thing to make the rich pay are going to understand what happened any more than Chavez or Mugabe understand what happened (or is happening) to their economies.

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14 Responses to “Going John Galt… quietly.”

  1. on 01 Nov 2008 at 10:56 pm bains

    Given the tenor of this and Lee’s thread, I feel compelled to correct a common misperception regarding Rand’s hero.  John Galt was not seeking to punish society as much as he, and others chose to remove themselves from a society that was increasingly punishing them.  What ever happened to society as a result of their exit was secondary to their self preservation (of worth and identity).

  2. on 02 Nov 2008 at 10:39 am John Donohue

    The “rich” (dropped in by Synova with the usual marxist penumbra) are already paying for everyting. Obama just wants to:
    1) preserve the illusion that everyone is already hooked into the Social Democratic ‘contribution’ cycle, when 45% of people pay no income tax;

    2) increase the soaking of the rich full spead ahead.

    John Donohue
    Pasadena, CA

  3. on 02 Nov 2008 at 11:51 am Synova

    Whatever John Galt sought to do, or why, is incidental to the the talk, now, of “going John Galt” in the face of increased socialism.    If people decide to do something to make a point or not, they will react to incentives.   If people are punished for hard work and productivity and rewarded for the opposite, the trend will be away from hard work and productivity.

    And again, I’d ask those of you who think that pointing out and recognizing the ways that we all actually are dependent on each other is socialism:   Have you *ever* grown your own food?  And do you have any notion whatsoever how much work that is?

    The higher moral stand of not trying to deliberately influence the political and economic sphere with something so crass as a “movement” is made possible by all of the people who provide the trappings of a modern life of convenience for you.

  4. on 02 Nov 2008 at 6:31 pm bains

    So why Rand had Galt et al removed themselves from contributers to another’s vision of utopia is incidental, yet whether or not I can grow my own food is significant?  Synova, you’ve a serious misunderstanding of Rand.  Socialism and Communism were the words of the day, the boogymen if you will, but what Rand was really railing against was the classic definition of fascism – a political regime that elevates a specific group above the individual, and that imposes severe economic and social control for the benefit of that group, and to the detriment of all others, lead by an alleged vanguard of preferred group.  This can, and has, come from either the right or the left, but most recently it has been the left that embraces fascistic tendencies.  Rand railed against anyone seeking to subjugate an individual into forced labor for another’s benefit.

    This is what going Galt means.  I willingly remove myself from the governments ledger.  I chose not to sell my services/wares on markets subject to government control.  I have skill others value, and I will negotiate with them directly for what compensation I find equitable.  It is not about punishing any one, it  is about choosing not to subject myself to cavalier punishment from an increasingly dictatorial government.

    Have you ever designed and built your own house?

  5. on 02 Nov 2008 at 11:04 pm Synova

    Socialism isn’t just another system that works, except that it demands that one group support the others… it’s an unstable system, as is communism.    What is going on with Chavez in Venezuela isn’t injustice due to fascist tendencies forcing some people to support others… it’s an economy spiraling down and taking everything with it.   

    You can take yourself from the government’s ledger with little  affect on anyone other than yourself.   Enough people do it (and they probably will in proportion to the disincentives felt by anyone making enough to get *on* those ledgers) and stuff starts falling apart.

    Saying “not my concern” is saying that you really *can* live without what other people provide… you can find a place to grow your food and build your house and make your free agreements with others to provide and exchange of services.  

    In truth, though, you can only do that when things *aren’t* bad.

  6. on 03 Nov 2008 at 7:31 pm bains

    Synova, my last comment was not particularly well written.  What I am trying to stress is that if a President  Obama does as he has said, there will be many people such as myself going a “soft” John Galt.  I am self-employed, meaning, I pay all my bills myself.  FICA, unemployment, health insurance, E&O insurance, etc.  If Obama enacts a national health insurance, you can be damn sure I’ll cancel my own coverage.  I may in fact go on unemployment.  (All is dependent on cost-benefit analysis.) 

    I don’t need to grow my own food, just as my neighbors don’t need to know how to design a new house (or addition, or garage, or an ag-barn).  All we need is a skill or service that others need and are willing to trade for.  The beetle-kill pines on my property are traded to a friend who has a mill – he is also a hunter who has killed an antelope and a elk – his neighbor, who wants a storage shed has a drill rig that can get water – a friendly local farmer needs a new water well.  I design a storage shed built out of wood milled from trees felled on my property.  In return, I get a freezer full of game and several bushels of wheat and corn. 

    This happens because the cost of doing business within normal channels becomes so onerous that the punishment of my participation far outweighs the benefits.  That is the point.  My participation within normal channels will be limited to providing minimal contribution, thus maintaining my citizenship (responsibilities) within the country.    I’ll pay my property taxes (funding schools and local essential services), my sales taxes (providing non-essential but desirable local services), my gas taxes (which should be paying for the transportation infrastructure), and entitlement taxes (FICA etc.)  But you can be damn sure I won’t put myself into the tax bracket that funds all of promises and dreams of Obama’s new America. 

    That this may cause severe hardship for others is of secondary concern to me.  Particularly when those others (politicians of any stripe) have promised gifts (goverment largess) extorted from the toils of my labor.

  7. on 05 Nov 2008 at 7:14 am Weisshaupt

    “These are the two principles that are the eternal struggle between right and wrong. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time and will ever continue to struggle, one of them asserting the divine right of kings that says you work, you toil, you earn bread, and I will eat it. It is the same old serpent, whether it come from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his nation, and to live upon the fat of his neighbor, or whether it comes from one race of men as an apology for the enslaving of another race of men”. Abraham Linchon – Lincoln-Douglas Debates

  8. on 07 Nov 2008 at 6:53 pm matt

    The slow “movement” is already under way. Just like john’s lab when the troops tried to force open the door, everything turned to dust. The room was a symbol for the mind. If you force the mind all you will find is dust. The thinkers, doers, and achievers are slowly withdrawing their support from the looters and moochers.Look at the stock markets. directive 10-289 will take place under obama.

    Oh well don’t blame me I’m getting the hell out of the way.

  9. on 07 Nov 2008 at 7:00 pm Lee

    Must be the top of the hour, I hear a cuckoo.

  10. on 28 Nov 2008 at 2:18 am Consumer Unit 5012

    It’ll be Atlas Shrugged II all over again!


  11. on 09 Mar 2009 at 8:55 am JackDoitCrawford

    I think business owners should “Go Galt” on tax day to protest the call to sacrifice, to show who is important to our everyday life, and that we will not tolerate tyranny. Shut down the economy for one day.

  12. on 12 Mar 2009 at 4:28 pm wild magnolia

    the john galt of “atlas shrugged” had invented a motor that ran off of static electricity, not unlike tesla’s dream of  harnessing standing waves in the planet earth. this is fantasy. such an invention would make a man more wealthy than gates or rockefeller at their peak, and certainly more powerful. the idea of leaders of the financial or corporate going on strike and actually being missed is also fantasy. the world would collapse if all the actual plumbers and garbage men quit.  

  13. on 10 Apr 2009 at 3:00 pm ds80

    It’s my guess that there are a lot of people like myself who are not Objectivists, who don’t think Atlas Shrugged should have a revered spot in the canon of Western Literature, … but are just fed up with the heavy hand of government taking, taking, taking and spending, spending, spending, redistributing my income by force. Who are fed up enought to “Go Galt” in a small personal way, just on principle, not caring if it’s noticed.  So – I am doing all I can to keep my income out of the ever-taxing grubby hand of government.  Hey – if that means someone has one day less of unemployment insurance or two bucks less in food stamps, it’s not the business og government in the first place to arbitrate and dictate charity. I’ll give what I can afford, to whom I wish, thank you very much.

  14. on 30 Sep 2009 at 7:55 pm jana

    just found this site.  hope someone’s still out there.  have thought for some time that Atlas Shrugged was a suggestion by Ayn Rand as to what producers should or could do to protect themselves as the US moves toward socialism.    i don’t think it has to be as dramatic as starting our own hidden society in the Rockies or adopting a barter system amonst ourselves.  I own a business and have thought to downsize; keep my income the same but pay fewer employees and maybe even work on a consulting basis so i can effectively close for the year when staying open would send me to the next tax bracket.  Real estate tax rules can be manipulated to avoid showing a profit on an income property.   As long as we know what the tax rules are before they go into effect, we can minimize our contributions to the welfare state.

    I have even considered starting a nonprofit; use my business skills to get funding for government grants; could set it up so that i get paid for administrating all the “public good” i’m doing; perfect John Galt except that i do have some moral issues about taking other tax payers”  money .  Maybe if the nonprofit does actual good it could rely on private donations.   Could buy cheap home somewhere before inflation hits, invest in real estate to generate modest profits (possibly not taxable due to depreciation of  properties) and draw small salary from nonprofit to cover living expenses.  Property will appreciate with major inflation that is coming and  by the time i need to sell it, hopefully the tax rules will have changed and i’ll have plenty of money.  That is of course if government doesn’t start confiscating income property; i hear during the depression, FDR confiscated privately held gold due to the “national emergency”

    My true hope is that virtually every producer will go a little soft John Galt as disincentives for making money go into effect.  When the projected tax revenues don’t materialize, the powers that be may realize that probusiness and lower taxes are the way to go and the pendulum may swing back.  the other possibility is that taxes will be raised even more…maybe at this point shift some money to offshore accounts and take a long vacation.

    For now, i will keep working until i see what the new rules are; i must confess that i like what i do and prefer not to become less productive if i have a choice.

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