Why Go Galt?

Posted by jrsedivy 7 years, 11 months ago to The Gulch: General
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For those of you who have chosen to "Go Galt" or plan on doing so, I am curious as to why you have chosen to do so. What is your motivation for going Galt? How is going Galt different from just moving or retiring to a scenic locale? What ultimately led to you taking action?


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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 years, 11 months ago
    "Going Galt" seems pretty vague. Thanks for the links. I have a review here of Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" (1973) and that book was inspired by "Atlas Shrugged."

    1973 was 16 years after "Atlas Shrugged" came out. I had been part of a libertarian retreatist cell: live in the courtry; grow food; be your own mechanic; etc - and was out of it But the idea remained and more and more people continued to find the book.

    The 60s and 70s were a time of "Going Galt" part of the cause - more than the cheap paper money - of the downturn in the economy. Bell Telephone, GM, the entire corporate Wall Street world expected young people to enter the ranks of business. Many did. But not the best and brightest. "Tune in. Turn on. Drop out."

    I know an accountant who walked off his job at a bank when President Nixon froze wages and prices. He never went back or looked back. But not many people did that - certainly not even those libertarians and Objectivists who read the books and agreed with them. Most of them just did what everyone did - kept working. Myself, at that moment, I was already working in a factory. There was nowhere downer to go.

    The computer revolution and the Reagan Revolution combined to give people a chance to work for themselves with their minds in a less-regulated economy. My training at that time had been in transportation management. President Reagan denationalized trucking with the stroke of a pen - acting like President Obama does now in disregard of the Constitution; but for good, not for evil. I went into computers.

    Some people here do live in rural or maybe even "wilderness" areas, outside of cities. As for people living in other countries, almost no one does, but they are highly visible. I have looked at other countries several times since 1973 and no place seemed better than here. Just consider, the Lower 48 is 3000 miles wide and 1500 miles tall. That's a lot of miles. You don't get that in Costa Rica. Where will you run to? Mexico? Honduras? Venezuela? Same with New Zealand, a sort of libertarian kind of place.

    "How Many Bricklayers Did Galt Invite to the Gulch?"
    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/ad...

    That inspired "Building a House and Other Necessary Skills"
    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/b3...
    in the Producers Lounge.

    Obviously some people enjoy mounting up a horse, riding into the mountains, shooting an elk, dressing it, and hauling the meat back home. 300 million people cannot do that, even if they could: as hunter-gatherers, humanity might hit a couple of million. Farming depends on cities: tractors are not made on farms. Even horses and horse-drawn plows require metallurgy.

    And we live in a global economy. I saw a local yahoo with a Dodge Ram truck with a bumpersticker: "American made." I just wanted to grab him, open up the hood and make him read what is on those parts. Go to Google, call up Maps or Earth and look at The Port of Los Angeles. Do you think that is all going to stop just because of Obamacare's Website?

    Even the world of 1958 was bigger than that. But surely, now, if you want to get yourself free from the looters and moochers, you will have to make your own integrated circuits for your homemade cell phone. ... or else reduce your lifestyle to some previous level.

    Even in the book - and it was dramatic fiction - the producers in the Valley, being the hard-working geniuses of industrial manufacturing were able to bring the current level of technology to their new homes. The sculptor was making model for the machining of a drill head for an oil well. They did not fall back to the Medieval Era and live like Robin Hood in Sherwood.

    Unless you have a Deflecting Ray Screen - not impossible - there is nowhere on Earth you can hide a community. About 15 years ago, working on the Space Coast, I watched a lot of NASA-TV. A commercial camera will reveal features six feet across on Earth. There is nowhere to run to. You have to hide in plain sight.

    Myself, "going Galt" means picking an choosing my work and where I spend my money. And for me, Objectivism is more than the plot-theme of Atlas Shrugged. It is a philosophy for personal happiness here and now.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      Interesting insights. I had no idea that Nixon actually froze wages and prices. Thank you for the book reference and links, the skill assessment discussion will be some good reading as it will be interesting to see the types of backgrounds/skills the people in this community have.

      I know what you mean about being frustrated with the whole "American made" thing. What exactly does that mean anymore? Where the parts were created? Where the parts were assembled? Where the shareholders reside or where the profits end up? I wonder if there truly is an American made car anymore, at least in a strict sense. Yet, you continue to see the American Made stickers, and their owners looking down upon others who own a "foreign" brand.

      In terms of Going Galt I wasn't really thinking about wilderness, medieval lifestyle, or running, although if that is the motivation of people Going Galt I am interested in hearing those stories as well.

      I guess as an entrepreneur my mind automatically shifts to building something, whether it is a physical business, a website, community, team, etc. I like the idea of operating in an environment that is "friction-free" or near "friction-free" where one can build in peace without frivolous distractions. Also, the idea of a community of individuals committed to their profession and strive for excellence in said profession is of great appeal.

      There is the saying that the truth is often stranger than fiction. While reading Atlas Shrugged, and later watching the movies, I found the concept of Galt's Gulch to be very appealing. This may or may not be achievable, or it may have already been achieved. Or perhaps as at least a few in this community have stated, The Gulch only exists in one's mind. However, even then many ideas start in one's mind and are later implemented with great success.

      Thank you for your insight as to what "Going Galt" means to you. I agree that it is extremely important to be able to choose your work on your terms. A speech by Howard Roark in The Fountainhead comes to mind, when he was explaining his position to The Dean if my memory serves me right. I also agree that it's very important to vote with your dollars, a very powerful act that few recognize.
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  • Posted by mckenziecalhoun 7 years, 11 months ago
    As a professional teacher I'm designing a school that is modular, based on the newest research, designed to grow in ways private and public schools in the past have not, and because of my unique difficulties (IQ 179, borderline autistic as a child - though little trace of it as an adult save intense concentration, ability to enumerate all possibilities for a given circumstance, and extreme lateral thinking skills) I am enjoying myself extensively doing so OUTSIDE of the system. I am creating and producing and it goes to Galt's Gulch, whether I get invited or not. The school system is a 'huge tractor' covered with well-intentioned 'ants' all trying to drive it in their direction. The educational juggernaut is not a dynamic system any more, but a behemoth of rules and regulations meant to sustain the status quo save under extreme pressure. Watching my kindergarten daughter, age 6, tested at grade four in reading and 2.5 in math (her lowest subject) and moved to FIRST grade to deal with the "problem" was the last straw.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      Your modular approach sounds interesting. I understand in designing a system or product modularity has definite benefits, and it makes sense that a modular educational system would share these benefits. It sounds like you are creating something novel and I look forward to hearing more as you progress down this difficult, yet rewarding path.

      I recently became aware that some refer to the current education system as "The Blob." This was during an interview with the founder of the Khan Academy. I have recently started visiting their site and really quite enjoy it. It seems as if he is fighting the educational system as well. Here is the video as it might be of interest to you:

      https://www.khanacademy.org/talks-and-in...
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  • Posted by johmah 7 years, 11 months ago
    I have been sharing GG with my friends. One of them suggested I also add Stephen Molyneau's comments because Bit Coin can do so much more than simply replace FED bankster notes via encryption.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4HGVJjqD...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_...

    Another interesting argument: I don't have this down in the mouth negative belief. I merely present it as a "remote possibility".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYkl3XlEn...
    John
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      I finished "The Truth About Bitcoin" video, really interesting information. I really liked the historical information concerning Bitcoin and predecessor digital currencies. The Bank consolidation chart was incredible. Imagine receiving bailouts to purchase your competitors!
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      I have become increasingly interested in Bitcoin. I find it strange how many miss the true value of a decentralized, digital currency. I recently watched a great segment on Bloomberg TV called the 12 Days of Bitcoin. Questions that continued to arise on this segment, such as how can a currency not have value without the backing of the government and what about value fluctuations continue to demonstrate that many simply do not get it. I have a learning flow on Gibbon that I created that has the complete collection of the 12 Days of Bitcoin segment if you're interested:

      https://gibbon.co/jrsedivy/bitcoin

      The cool thing about the 12 Days of Bitcoin is that the host literally starts out knowing nothing about Bitcoin and shares his journey over 12 days.

      Thanks for providing the Bitcoin videos and I look forward to watching them in their entirety.
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  • Posted by RobReeve 7 years, 11 months ago
    What is "Going Galt"?

    I still work, but I make decisions every day based on objectivist reasoning. I choose not to participate in charity; I feel since government is already taking half of my earnings and giving it to second handers, why should I?

    Three years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to become a Civil Service worker, with a pretty high pay grade, as they decided to convert my contract position. I turned it down and found work elsewhere. I just couldn't stomach working for the Federal government. I think that is Going Galt.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      It's interesting in that it seems like "Going Galt" means different things to different people. One of the things that stood out in your response was your attitude towards charity.

      I had worked for a gentleman who had the very same attitude. He was near retirement age and was raised in the South and mentioned that he recalled when growing up that if someone in the community had a challenge, say a fire that destroyed their house, the community would band together and resolve it quickly. There was no centralized emergency response, the community simply sprung to action out of a genuine desire to help the member of their community. He had mentioned that over time he had noticed that people had become significantly less charitable because big brother would take care of it. As you said, if "government is already taking half of my earnings and giving it to second handers, why should I?" Besides, with government filling the role there is not a need, or at least that is the perception.

      At the time I recall this made sense to me, and continues to do so. However, by having big brother handle such things we may be missing something in our communities, not a forced altruism, but a voluntary benevolence.
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  • Posted by bassboat 7 years, 11 months ago
    For those who have great ideas but will not start up a company because of taxes, regulations and overall government interference there is a Galt's Gulch available. It is Puerto Rico. There are no personal or corporate taxes and a 10% capital gains tax there. It is a US protectorate and uses the same currency and laws. I learned about this last week at a party and could not wait to get home to google it to see if it were really true. It was. If there is a negative you have to spend 1/2 the year there but if you are starting a business that seems to me to be the best of the choices plus the cost of living is much more reasonable than living in the US.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      I had also heard that Puerto Rico has the benefits of the U.S. without the downside. The only challenge that comes to mind is efficiently shipping physical products globally, however that may be the case with any international country. Thank you for the information!
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  • Posted by DaveM49 7 years, 11 months ago
    Moving or retiring can be "Going Galt"--everything depends upon the motivation and attitude. "Galt's Gulch" is not a place. It is a state of mind. Once you reach it, you are free.
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    • Posted by Boborobdos 7 years, 11 months ago
      Excellent Dave.

      I've been heavily involved in volunteer work for many decades.

      Not so much anymore. I got really tired of idiots giving orders for no practical reasons simply because they could. IOW, trying to regulate what's already working.
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      • Posted by DaveM49 7 years, 11 months ago
        I do the same. I have a very accomodating "boss"--should that change, I will go elsewhere or stop. There are a number of direct and indirect benefits--they feed me almost every day and give me food besides, not to mention that the workplace provides me with a number of items, tangible and intangible, which I am able to use in my "real" business.

        "Going to work" in a blue collar town where "so where do you work?" is a common greeting also keeps me invisible. People see me "at work" and do not question. None has asked and I see no reason to volunteer information.

        I do not "deprive the world of my skills", but I use them only on my own terms, and for those who are willing to deal with me honestly. By doing so, I am "evangelizing" in a sense, and dealing with people who may well be valued assets in the future as well as in my present dealings with them. Some may be future strikers. Some may be honest traders in a time when that will be a lifesaver.
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      • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
        I have noticed this as well, the tendency of those who are not accustomed to leading, to micromanage things that aren't broken. I thought this sort of thing wouldn't happen with volunteer work, but it seems worse in those environments. Perhaps many forms of volunteer work attract individuals who seek power over men?
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      This makes sense. I guess my original statement/question was simply a means to distinguish from the many people who are just retiring, looking to relax in a lower cost tropical paradise and aren't really familiar or interested in objectivism.

      The motivation/attitude/state of mind aspect is intriguing.
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        Posted by Boborobdos 7 years, 11 months ago
        Even in the purest sense I doubt Ayn Rand's fictional society could sustain itself. There are too many who claim to follow Objectivism and at the same time say "ain't my problem." Just look around here.
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        • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
          Fair enough. Although perfection isn't possible, striving to perfection may get you to a better place. Keys to success might be continually reinforcement of culture and careful selection of early members. Once standards are lowered and values slip, things will go downhill.
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          • Posted by Boborobdos 7 years, 11 months ago
            Down hill? Not all slopes are slippery. There is in most stuff a point of diminishing returns.

            For example, working on low-carb Atkins and trying to make a perfect diet out of it really sucks after awhile. I like meat a lot, but without an occasional hot dog in a bun (don't get me going on the GMOs) just hits the spot.

            With the diet it's possible to get so wired to it that little else comes into focus. That can quickly turn a lot of otherwise pleasurable stuff into just getting through it.

            So, I eat the occasional hot dog or ice-cream treat and move forward from there.

            Still lose weight and lately maintain, but I'm bunches happier without an absolute situation.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 years, 11 months ago
    It depends on what you mean. Do you mean working at the least you have to go get by, while depriving the world of your intelligence? The word for that is "slacker." I mean, if it were Bill Gates or George Soros or some who mattered ... As long as Mark Cuban, Ed Snider, and T. J. Rodgers, are on the job, I have heard no call for a Strike.

    Do you mean the retreatists, survivalists, "preppers" (not from Andover Academy), and such? John Galt lived in New York City, but only vacationed in The Gulch.

    Do you mean not working for your destroyers? For two years 1973-1975 and for two years 1991-1993, I was a full time W-2 employee. Usually, I am a part-timer or a contractor. I pick and choose my work. I have worked for the US Army, the US Department of Defense, and for NASA. I would never work for the IRS.

    Do you mean not sanctioning your destroyers? That's a bit harder to live up to. When I fill up the car, I don't care if the gas station has a picture of Jesus behind the counter. Maybe I should; but I don't. We all have our limits; and I see no reason to get a Cosco membership. In fact General Motors moved their data center here to Austin and are a Hoover Vacuum Cleaner for IT workers. But I just did not apply. I did some contracts in Detroit, and that was hard enough, but with the Bush-Obama Bailouts, I just want nothing to do with them.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      That's a good question. Since joining this site I have heard at least a couple of people mention that they have Gone Galt. From what I have seen thus far it means leaving the U.S. and pursuing their own individual happiness. I was simply wondering if more people were doing this and what was their motivation, beyond perhaps the obvious state of things.

      Since hearing the term I did a bit of research and discovered an interesting article from The Atlas Society called "Going Galt: What Does It Mean?"

      http://www.atlassociety.org/atlas-shrugg...

      And a book on the subject called "Going Galt: Surviving Economic Armageddon"

      http://www.amazon.com/Going-Galt-Survivi...

      Partly I am intrigued by what people will come back with. It seems like there are a number of interesting people on this site and I am thinking maybe there are people out there further along who have traveled a different path in their independent pursuit of happiness.

      Sorry to be so vague, but part of it is that I will know it when I see it :)
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      • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 11 months ago
        Perhaps I decided to Go Galt in 1970 when I opened my first leather shop while a sophomore in college, rather than pursuing strudies that would lead to admission to a law school.

        I had already giving my Galt-like speech in 1969, in the form of a letter to the editor of the ISU newspaper:

        http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/6a...

        I did not leave the USA in 2000 (to live in Mexico) because I was Going Galt. I wasn't going Galt in 2006 when I moved to Buenos Aires. I did have the expression in mind when I moved to my present location in 2010.

        My greatest inspration for the move, however, was not anything Ayn Rand wrote.

        It was what Glenn Beck was saying on his radio program.
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        • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 11 months ago
          I chose my present location, not because it was scenic (though it is), but rather because it was exactly what I was looking for: a "casa quinta" (country home) that was in a semi-rural location, close to local shops as well as very close to nearby cities and town (8 and 20 KM).

          As I note in my "Going Galt In Argentina" blog, I was looking for a place where I could grow my own food and live in peace with dogs and horses.

          The words "invest in land and grow your own food" as said by Glenn Beck were ringing in my ears as I searched for and bought the property.

          There is no way I could afford a property in the USA that is anything like the one I have in Argentina. Utilities are reasonable ($25 per month for electricity and about $30 for LP gas). Property taxes for 10,000 sq. meters with 250 meters of construction (house and outbuilding) are less than $150 USD per year.

          Unless I actually start a business (something I will not do), I am free to do almost anything I wan't without asking permission. I can start new construction as well as fill in areas of the property that occasionally have standing water after a heavy rain. The latter would be a violation of EPA regulations in the USA and could result in criminal prosecution (the drones are watching).

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          • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
            Glad to hear from Argentina as our earlier discussion and your blog were a couple of threads that led me to this question.

            Thank you for sharing your speech, it was very inspiring and Galt-like in form. I am familiar with Glenn Beck but haven't watched his show, so the clarification in the second comment really helped.

            It sounds as if your move to Argentina was a journey of sorts. If you don't mind sharing, what was different in the latest move when compared to your past moves? Was it strictly the inspiration from Glenn Back or other considerations?

            Your life in Argentina sounds like it will be great. The ability to sustain oneself at a basic level, low expenses and minimal regulations within a scenic locale sounds like a great deal.

            Any idea how much red tape there is to start or at least operate a business there? Or is it simply a matter of asking permission?
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