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Unintentional Going Galt

Posted by tkstone 3 years ago to Culture
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While reading the news the other day, my wife interjected out of the blue that she appreciated the fact that she no longer was supporting the system. Our kids are grown and we have down sized our lifestyle to the point she no longer has to work outside the home. We live a homesteader's lifestyle by choice and enjoy the slower pace of life. She is currently reading AS for the first time and her comment just surprised me. She felt relieved that she no longer was supporting directly the social system that cripples us. She recognizes that indirectly she still is by my efforts, but just felt better knowing we have gone Galt in increments. I have enjoyed the conversations some have had recently concerning Rand's views on going Galt, but have to say that my desire to get away is of my choosing because of the disgust I have for the system and I know the only person I control is me and I am quickly approaching the time when I have had enough. I wish society operated with more freedom but the fact is it doesn't and I tire of fighting.


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  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
    A lot of us are disgusted. Productive people have always silently quit, cut back on their efforts, or changed jobs or careers because the effort was no longer worth it -- or more actively moved to another region or country (usually to this one) to avoid repression. As a cultural phenomenon in this country it is becoming more common. Perhaps everyone on this forum has done some part of it to some extent at a personal level, though not intended as a "strike". Ayn Rand described it in "Is Atlas Shrugging" over 50 years ago in 1964, published in her anthology Capitalism the Unknown Ideal.

    But Ayn Rand was an intellectual who advocated the spread of betters ideas, particularly philosophical ideas, as the fundamental means to influence the course of the country. That is what much of the discussion here has been about because there have been misconceptions about the meaning of the plot in Atlas Shrugged. She opposed the notions of attempting reform by dropping out of society entirely, trying to emulate the fictional Galt's Gulch of Atlas Shrugged, going on "strike", trying to start new countries, etc., let alone calling for a revolution to bring down the country. None of that would make any improvement without the spread of proper ideas of rational egoism and individualism.
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    • Posted by 3 years ago
      I applaud the attempts to enlighten society, but I lack the energy to maintain the fight. Mainly because I see it as a losing proposition. Asking someone to use sound reason is like asking them to use Sanskrit.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
        You can only influence those who do use reason, one person at a time. If no one could use sound reason the country would have collapsed into a new Dark Age long ago. Americans don't give up. It would be much, much worse once the entrenched ideas accepted have become even worse and so emotionally ingrained that you literally can't touch it -- the way it was and is in primitive societies and entrenched totalitarian and socialist societies, and in the first Dark Ages. It can get a lot worse.

        That doesn't mean you shouldn't recognize what is happening and be disgusted by it, and it doesn't mean you have a duty to sacrifice yourself to it or spend your whole life fighting it rather than pursuing such personal goals as you can. You have to choose for yourself what values you pursue.

        Whatever any of us does, if only to try to prevent an even worse collapse within our own life span or perhaps another generation of this one's children, it has to be philosophical, but it can't be entirely theoretical. Philosophy can only be implemented by real people taking action in the real world, including influencing government policy to be, if nothing else, less worse.

        "Is there enough of the American sense of life left in people—under the constant pressure of the cultural-political efforts to obliterate it? It is impossible to tell. But those of us who hold it, must fight for it. We have no alternative: we cannot surrender this country to a zero—to men whose battle cry is mindlessness.

        "We cannot fight against collectivism, unless we fight against its moral base: altruism. We cannot fight against altruism, unless we fight against its epistemological base: irrationalism. We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something—and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason, and a view of man as a rational being.

        "These are philosophical issues. The philosophy we need is a conceptual equivalent of America's sense of life. To propagate it, would require the hardest intellectual battle. But isn't that a magnificent goal to fight for?" -- Ayn Rand, conclusion of "Don't Let it Go", 1971.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
          We can surrender this country to a zero. In fact, we already have. It is not a magnificent goal to fight for a country if achieving your goal is completely unrealistic. This is precisely why so many people left the countries of their ancestors.

          Changing one mind at a time in a society that votes its leaders into power when your opposition indoctrinates a few million minds at a time through the government school system is a futile effort. Shrugging is the proper answer.

          You may call this pragmatism, but fighting for an unachievable goal is a waste of time.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
            "We" have not "surrendered" to "zeroes". Speak for yourself. We do not seek "unachievable goals". Your utopian drop-out "shrugging" mentality is not a solution to anything, will not change the course of this country, and is not what Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged advocated. Ayn Rand's "Don't let it Go" was addressing those with a sense of life and a philosophy that you are not part of.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
              Dropping out is not a solution. On that we agree. At this point, however, I have never cared less for the US. It is not worth saving anymore.

              Prior to reading Atlas Shrugged, I was an optimist and full of life. Now I wonder why I worked so hard. I can afford to retire early, and am very close to doing so despite the fact that I love my job.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                It's a shame that you got the wrong message from Atlas Shrugged. The heroes of her novels never, even in their worst circumstances, resigned to your negativism. You repeatedly show in your posts that you do not understand what her philosophy is.
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                  I am not negative. America has chosen an improper path that I will not go down. When a place exists that rewards capitalism properly again, I will once again become the optimistic producer that I was. Until then ... being a professor is my idea of a shrug job in my lame attempt at humor (Those who can't do ... teach.) when I know I can do ... and have done.

                  You are correct in saying that Rand and her heroes never resigned themselves to negativism. Perhaps they should have. I consider the end of Atlas Shrugged completely unrealistic ... in any period of time. It was the only part of the book that I did not like.

                  The idea that the world would let Rand's heroes have their way without returning to their looter/moocher ways is utopian and is contradictory to everything in Atlas Shrugged that came before it.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    jbrenner: "I am not negative... Rand and her heroes never resigned themselves to negativism. Perhaps they should have."

                    jbrenner previous post: "I have never cared less for the US. It is not worth saving anymore.

                    "Prior to reading Atlas Shrugged, I was an optimist and full of life. Now I wonder why I worked so hard. I can afford to retire early, and am very close to doing so despite the fact that I love my job"

                    You are nothing like the heroes in Ayn Rand's novels. You don't understand the novel, its purpose, or her philosophy. Atlas Shrugged was not "contradictory".
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                      That is being realistic, not negative. You yourself wrote, "A lot of us are disgusted. Productive people have always silently quit, cut back on their efforts, or changed jobs or careers because the effort was no longer worth it -- or more actively moved to another region or country (usually to this one) to avoid repression." That is the correct response to the current situation.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        You just told us that reading Atlas Shrugged sucked the life out of you, that the US is not worth saving, that fighting for our rights is a waste of time, that the only "answer" is to "shrug", that perhaps the heroes of Atlas Shrugged should have resigned to negativism, that you are teaching students how to achieve out of "lame humor", and that you don't like the success depicted in the plot Atlas Shrugged, which you regard as unrealistic at any time. That is negative. That you insist it means "realistic" puts the negativity at the level of a malevolent universe premise. (Meanwhile you're out there supporting the Libertarian Party, which does nothing to change policy.)

                        A small number of good people have fought very hard against great odds over the years, despite the frustrations and the fact that people are being hurt, making a real difference that makes your lifestyle now possible so that you can flippantly talk about shrugging in it to practice lame humor. "We", contrary to your cynical accusation, have not "surrendered to zeroes", and you are benefiting from that.
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                        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                          Reading Atlas Shrugged did not suck the life out of me, but it did make me realize precisely what Francisco for a long time tried to convince Hank Rearden.

                          Fighting for our rights was not always a waste of time. That is a relatively recent phenomenon. For me, it was 2008/2009 when government decided to favor my competition over me. The US could have been saved in the election of 2012. When Americans re-elected President Zero, they surrendered to a Zero, and at that point, the number of moochers exceeded a critical level where the chance that producers could be protected from moochers electing looters to take our properly earned wages and savings became slim, if not none.

                          Yes, things are not as bad here as in Communist countries. I have been to Communist East Germany. It did not take long to realize how depraved a society can get. America has gone too far down that path to reverse itself. ... Did you notice that Trump is considering a national debt restructuring? 20 trillion in debt is beyond the point of no return.
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                        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                          I have fought for many years against great odds and have said, "Enough". Period.

                          I am not benefiting from anything, nor would I ask anyone to. I will not carry others on my back anymore. I come here and expect to go to the LP Convention because I am interested in having relationships with other individuals who think rather than feel, who enjoyed times when the virtues described in Atlas Shrugged were common, and who are, in your words, disgusted now. That pretty much describes most of the people who participate in the Gulch.

                          I even put forth a considerable effort last summer to see whether it was worth risking my savings on building a place fit for Gulchers. When it became clear that the number of people who wanted to participate in a physical Gulch was too small to make the investment worthwhile, that is when the entire mood in Galt's Gulch Online soured. Now we get "I'm bored"., etc. from many longtime Gulch participants. Such people had a chance for something more, and did not capitalize on it.
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    • Posted by term2 3 years ago
      Absolutely. This is exactly the reason why its useless today to support an objectivist candidate for president. They CANT be elected.
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      • Posted by fosterj717 3 years ago
        That may or may not be true however it must be pointed out that one can never err when voting one's conscience! The outcome of elections such as this are pretty much preordained and for the most part out of our hands anyway. I for one have learned to trust my instincts and sense of integrity because they have always gotten me through, allowing me to hold my head up high and not having to apologize.
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        • Posted by term2 3 years ago
          I dont blame you for having that position. It feels good to vote your conscience. I would point out that when one has a chance to slow down statism or accelerate its takeover- I would rather slow it down. I think Trump is our best shot at doing that right now. If not Trump, we get crooked Hillary, $15/hour wage, more health care control, stupid foreign policies, etc.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
            It is always best to vote with your mind and not your feelings. But it isn't clear that Trump would slow anything down. They are both crooked and both philosophically corrupt. Clinton has a more explicit collectivist-statist philosophy; Trump at least implicitly accepts it as underlying his fascistic Pragmatism and has a life-long record of supporting politicians like Clinton. He could do even greater damage without Republican partisan opposition to his same policies from the other party, as well as serve to discredit the 'tea party' thanks to those who believe in him out of wishful thinking for the Pied Piper and no understanding of individualist principles. That is no compliment to Clinton. We are in for an entrenchment of some very hard times thanks to the mindless default of Republican voters.
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            • Posted by fosterj717 3 years ago
              Unfortunately his entire candidacy at this point has convinced people to believe in the fact that he means what he espouses. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing in his history that backs up his "red meat" conservative rhetoric. Again, it seems a great many people are voting with their hearts and ignoring the empirical data available.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                I don't like his "red meat conservative rhetoric" either. I don't like any "red meat rhetoric".

                But it's hard to tell what he means because he doesn't know himself -- except that he thinks he is "great", everyone who questions him is "terrible", and "eminent domain is wonderful". He will generally say anything to promote his self image of a Pied Piper demagogue and any "deal" selling anyone out on anything. His frustrated followers are, to say the least, engaged in a lot of wishful thinking despite his record and despite -- or perhaps because of -- his crude bullying antics.

                There have always been people like Trump. This is more a matter of the state of the culture that now openly supports it as strong arm "man on a white horse" posturing as a Savior. It is truly frightening, both for the phenomenon it is and that this is the Republican alternative to a Clinton, both leading to a Clinton rule. Such is the vacuum left by the default of the intellectuals.
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          • Posted by fosterj717 3 years ago
            I totally understand your point of view, its just that at this point in time, having a Congress that stands on principle and not waiting at the beck and call of its useless "Establishment" centered leadership is of greater importance. These are the folks that must be convinced to do what "We the people" wish.

            That is why I am not as concerned about who is president at this point being that it is a "done deal", but rather how can we motivate the Rs that are already there, drawing their salaries and doing little on our behalf. That is why at this point, I really believe that with the candidates that we now have, working on Congress is all we really have left, unfortunately!
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            • Posted by term2 3 years ago
              I agree actually. Maybe Cruz can work on getting more support for his positions within congress. He has a somewhat antagonistic attitude which makes the other senators seem to hate him, which is unfortunate. a little less bible thumping and pedantic preaching might help. The division of powers means each of the houses of congress and the president have essetially equal power. At least Trump might be able to get some good things through, with his management and leadership style. Time will tell. He wont do worse than Hillary though by any means.
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  • Posted by term2 3 years ago
    Very inspiring actually. I think "going galt" is typically done in small steps, mostly because to just go cold turkey isnt practical for most people. It takes much planning to maintain a decent lifestyle outside of the mainstream system.

    I used to be a medical device manufacturer, but when the FDA came in and regulated it to death, I sold my business and got OUT of medical devices. Since then I am working in other businesses with little or no regulations. When the government regulates those, I will move on to something else. By then, I hope to amass enough money to be able to just move somewhere where statism hasnt reached the levels in the USA.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years ago
    You speak for many retirees, and to an extent for myself. I'm not entirely out. While I'm all paid up with home, car, etc. I still live in a community. True, it is a suburban village, but still, there are the taxes, the multitude of laws and regulations, but I'm no longer on boards, or president of anything, or even arguing in the supermarket. If it wasn't for the Gulch and my friends and family, chances are I would become a 4 bedroom, 2 car garage troglodyte.
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    • Posted by term2 3 years ago
      I know what you mean. Its pretty disgusting listening to all this statist stuff on the news, all the negativity, the guilt trips over "helping the poor", etc. Not to mention the bums asking for money.

      If I actually get accosted by bums asking for money, by the way, I always ask them "Let me get this straight- I should go to work to make money so I can give it to you so that YOU dont have to work. Where did you get THAT idea?"

      They walk away.
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