John Galt is wrong.

Posted by Korben_Rage 11 months, 2 weeks ago to Going Galt
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I'm an Ayn Rand fan, but I think in her character of John Galt and in particular the strike and gulch she was incorrect.

Both are in many ways no different then Marx and his utopia. An unrealistic fantasy, and ultimately just another form of altruism.


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  • Posted by  $  blarman 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    I liked your post. I considered it thought-provoking (which is what this site is about regardless of agreement/disagreement) so I up-voted you.

    My comments:
    1) "Atlas Shrugged" is fiction. The questions you are getting at involve a hypothetical which emphasizes how Rand saw a particular philosophical principle exercised. As good as Rand was at philosophy, however, she wasn't a great novelist nor was she a competent physicist. While I prefer my sci-fi to be built upon solid science, my imagination is enough for me to overlook all but the most egregiously false in order to concentrate on the story-line. I didn't find either Galt's generator or the shield to be particularly egregious violations to me - even if the ideas aren't likely to be headlining an upcoming issue of Popular Science. If you're going to get hung up on the science in Atlas Shrugged, you'd be missing the greater philosophical points to be made.

    2) Galt's character in the book is more alluded to than explicit. Until very late in the book, he is in many ways larger than life. Many a folk hero or philosophical leader has begun this way, so I can understand your criticism. The question, however, comes back to principles. Did both Marx and Galt envision a utopia? Marx certainly did, but I'm not so sure that the Gulch was a real utopia to Galt. The way I see it, Galt's utopia was in the rising of a new nation - after the complete devastation caused by the looters - which the sequestered producers would help rebuild. To me, the Gulch wasn't the end-product, but merely a temporary necessity until reason could once again be re-introduced to the world.

    3) Galt vs Marx and reality vs fantasy. I'm not sure you can really make a comparison between the two which sticks. One is a fictional character, so the only things about him are cut out of whole cloth to begin with. There is very little backstory and zero character development - probably because most of the character development hinges on Dagny. But that's perfectly okay within a fictional work. Marx was a real person and so one can study his life and backstory - not just his philosophy. If you want to make a real comparison, you'd have to have two real people to compare, and Objectivism offers no shining example I am aware of. Even Rand herself has actions that raise the eyebrows.

    The other primary problem is that much of what Marx advocates he, himself did not embody. Whatever the perceived deficiencies, I can at least credit Galt with being true to himself. Marx was the typical leftist hypocrite: advocating a "for thee, not for me" philosophy of elitism.

    4) Regarding your assertions of altruism, I think your analysis is flawed. Remember not all remuneration comes with the magical dollar sign. The key to looking at the disappearing producers in the book is not to analyze merely what they gave up (in monetary terms), but whether they valued their personal integrity and principles even more. Action is always based on the value proposition of perception: that one's future state will be better than one's present given a particular course of action. But because these perceptions are inherently personal, to attempt to claim on behalf of someone else that we know better... That is altruism right there. True freedom allows for people to make decisions and then face the consequences - to either have their perceptions validated or invalidated based on the results. One of the things that makes this difficult to truly judge is that the book doesn't cover the rebuilding process in which the realization of future benefits would have taken place. This prevents any kind of objective (pun intended), third-party evaluation on behalf of the characters. In absence, the resulting limbo is somewhat hard to swallow.

    Anyway, welcome to the Gulch and thanks for the intellectual stimulation.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      1a) Completely true, however I think mildly off point. The goal in pointing out that the tech that made the Gulch possible is sci-fi is to help point out the futility of actually trying to "go Galt"

      1b) I'd never considered it before but I realized while thinking about your post that the gulchers are looters. Looters in the same way a squatter would be. The Gulch is located within the territory and protection of the United States. By staying hidden, avoiding government and avoiding taxes they are avoiding paying for that protection. Much like a looter would avoid paying rent by avoiding the landlord.

      2a) Galt's character, you're right about it being alluded to, but it's alluded to a lot with good accuracy. True you don't hear much from him until later, but just like real people what they say is the least important part of their character. We learn about Galt via his actions and friends.

      2b) "The way I see it, Galt's utopia was in the rising of a new nation - after the complete devastation caused by the looters"
      - And that's different from many marxist/communists how? You're right it's not exactly what Marx himself described, but it is what many of his followers have attempted/thought in the real world.

      2c) I was going to argue that it's an unrealistic fantasy, and it may be. But it also struck me that it's kinda what happened in the Soviet Union. When it collapsed those with money and influence bought everything at pennies on the dollar. Course you have to already be positioned, they wouldn't have been. It's an entirely different argument to decide if that's a good thing, what Galt envisioned, etc.

      2d) More on point though it's that it's an unrealistic and unnecessarily hard plan. When totalitarian societies collapse they don't suddenly become good. They become more often then not more totalitarian, more violent, and more desperate. Secondly moving would have accomplished the same thing in a better way faster. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for a group with those means to all move to the same State/Country and work to take it over. There they could not only continue their trade but they'd serve as a beacon for those of similar mind. This would speed the exodus of minds from the looter nations. This is far from extreme, it's the free state project, it's what drug cartels, oil companies and the us government has done.

      3)"Galt vs Marx and reality vs fantasy" You're right and that's in part my point. First in the aspect that Galt is fantasy thus attempting to emulate this fantasy makes doing so also a fantasy, it isn't a workable plan. But also there's that Galt is an extension of Rand, in that way Galt can be used to contrast Rand and Marx.

      4) Yes it's true that "not all remuneration comes with the magical dollar sign. The key to looking at the disappearing producers in the book is not to analyze merely what they gave up (in monetary terms), but whether they valued their personal integrity and principles even more." But what were those principals and what else did they give up. Ayn even goes into this, some are tortured by this decision. For example she shows that some care very deeply about their employees. In going on strike they are abandoning their employees, this would cause a great sorrow in many of these producers. They're taking on that guilt for what?

      We're getting into the weeds a bit, my main thrust is to argue that Galt is a poor example for us in the real world to follow. Yet there's many who take that example and decide to check out. That this is a very bad thing and something I'd like to prevent.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        1a) Granted.

        1b) An interesting twist I hadn't thought of. Certainly worth some discussion. Of course the argument can just as easily be turned around using one sentence that starts off something like this: "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations..."

        2a) Agreed.

        2b) If you judge a revolutionary based on the fact they want a revolution, you can equate George Washington with Josef Stalin. It's a false comparison. What matters is not that they advocate for change, but what kind of change they advocate in favor of. That is what is relevant.

        2c) Agreed. And there are many who argue that this is precisely what the Fed is trying to orchestrate in the United States - and with some alarming reason.

        2d) Certainly a possibility, no doubt. The other is that those with a bent for totalitarianism exterminate each other leaving the remaining to pick up the pieces. One can certainly argue that this is the course Galt advocated for, with his group of Producers coming back out of the Gulch to help with the rebuilding. It is one of the reasons he was having Judge Narragansett re-examine the Constitution. As I stated before, without a Book Two which goes into it, it is hard to see how Rand would have envisioned such a process.

        3) Agreed. It's certainly worth a good discussion!

        4) I think you raise valid points. Any good business relationship is going to invest in the people involved - not just the ability to make money. And that certainly extends to the employer-employee relationship. A good employer is going to be looking out for the welfare of his employees because he knows that in doing so he gets a more productive employee. This has been been shown in several psychological studies and is the reason many employers now offer amenities such as free coffee in break rooms and even day care. Many employers are also beginning to recognize that despite today's constantly "plugged-in" society, that it is psychologically beneficial for employees to leave work at work - especially when leaving for vacation.

        In conclusion: can we really "Go Galt" ? I have a tendency to agree with you that from a practical perspective the notion sounds far-fetched. I don't see it happening on this planet, to be honest. But I can certainly see a planet-wide depression hitting a la "Atlas Shrugged" which bring upon everyone the calamities similar to those described in the book complete with a totalitarian regime. From there, who knows where things go.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          1b) Maybe if I haven't pissed everyone off and aren't banned in while I'll bring that up. I need to think on it, I don't think your rebuttal works.

          2b) Yes and no. I didn't explain well but I wasn't thinking the Stalin type, more the 70s commune, anarcho/communist, and some modern survivalist type. They want or at least expect a collapse. They intend to insulate themselves from it and then take advantage.

          It's also a question of means justifying ends. It's of course true that often the ends do justify the means. But do they for the gulchers? Say we want to end the fed, does that justify assassinating Jerome Powell? Of course not, while the intentions may be good, it's neither moral nor effective.

          As for actually "going galt", simple fact is that a person of means has more options and influence then a person without. And the act of going "on strike" harms ones ability to acquire those means. Sure things can get worse, but who would you rather be when they do.
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    You are dead wrong and probably never lived under communism, let alone absorbed what Marxism was about.

    Galt never wanted the ego-destroying submission that is a central tenet of Marxism, provided you are the "proletarian mass" and not the elite. Make no mistake, the same rule does not apply to both.

    BTW, what is your reason of joining this portal?

    I for one are not interested in your posts, that are not adding anything to the level of this forum. I am seeing too many of your type on the WSJ or other publications, with the only goal of posting something that generates a lot of replies, taking it as a sign of importance. Believe me, it is not.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      You should read some more of the discussion that has already occurred

      Lived under communism, no but I guess that depends on how you define communism. Absorbed marxism, again, relative.

      "Galt never wanted the ego-destroying submission that is a central tenet of Marxism"
      - Never said he did, only implied that both Galt's gulch and Marx's utopia are equally unrealistic.

      "BTW, what is your reason of joining this portal?"
      - So far to have interesting and fruitful discussions. I'm very much an objectivist, I just disagree with Galt's tactics. That they are unrealistic and foolish, and thus should not be followed.

      "I for one are not interested in your posts, that are not adding anything to the level of this forum. I am seeing too many of your type on the WSJ or other publications, with the only goal of posting something that generates a lot of replies, taking it as a sign of importance. Believe me, it is not."
      - Then don't reply, nobody forced you to reply, yet you did so, maybe you need to ponder that.
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  • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    With the Gulch as it was, John Galt was not wrong.
    A basic question is, what would the producers in Atlas Shrugged do if the fruits of their production was continuously exploited and there was NO other place to go where they could be free to trade value for value?
    It would have likely been a very different book. Although I truly believe, if back some time ago nearly all men had learned to use reason as the primary way to find truth, we would have the kind of technology today that only the sci-fi writers can dream of. We’d even have the affordable flying car.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      "With the Gulch as it was, John Galt was not wrong"
      I disagree but it's moot, the Gulch is more then fiction it's sci-fi.

      "A basic question is, what would the producers in Atlas Shrugged do if the fruits of their production was continuously exploited and there was NO other place to go where they could be free to trade value for value?"
      - Now that there is the real question. A question I wish Ayn had explored more in the book instead of the sci-fi. But it is there in Atlas Shrugged as well as in her other works.
      - It's in the dealings between Reardon and Dannager. It's in Reardon's trial. It's in the John Galt Line and the triumph of Wyatt Oil. It's in Ragnar sinking aid ships and blowing up factories making Reardon Metal.


      Finally men do "use reason as the primary way to find truth". We do it better then any other known intelligence and we do it better now then ever before. The reason we don't have flying cars is that there's nothing reasonable about it.
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      • Posted by MinorLiberator 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        Still losing me on this "sci-fi" thing...I've been reading sci-fi for 50+ years...I see zero elements of true sci-fi in Atlas, The Gulch or John Galt. The only thing that comes close is Galt's Motor, and the shield to protect the Gulch. Both of which are examples of technology within the realm of reality and technology, like getting oil from shale.

        Not even in the same universe as Asimov's brilliant but truly impossible "Psychohistory"...now that's sci-fi...
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          You're in the weeds arguing the term sci-fi, I'm not going to join you. I'll say one last thing on the matter. Those things don't exist and there's no clear path to them, thus they are fiction.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    Perhaps you should explain in detail how you came to those conclusions. Then a rational response might be possible.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      Happy to, this site is kinda clunky and I can't edit. Hard to make a long post initially.

      The character of John Galt and "the strike" have two fatal flaws.

      1st, it's an impossible example to follow. Most of what made it possible was the Gulch's ability to hide using Galt's shield.

      2nd, it's an altruistic collective, they might as well have called it Galt's commune. Yes within the Gulch it's a capitalist utopia but for each member to get in they had to sacrifice most of what was most important to them. Galt convinced them this wasn't altruistic but it ultimately was. No matter what it was still a personal sacrifice that was at least in some part motivated by the greater good. A sacrifice that only worked as a collective, Galt alone couldn't do it. Nor could the three, it only worked as a collective. They were effectively a union, and there's nothing objective and capitalistic about a union.
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      • Posted by MrSmiggles 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        1st: It's never impossible when humans are pushed to the edge. Look at history and all the points where people were to the point of starvation and death, you'll find uprisings all over.

        2nd: It's not altruistic as people were doing it for selfish reasons, not because "it was the right thing to do and that's what I should do". Galt just opened their eyes to show them they had an alternative, one that wasn't war/violence based like their opposition. At any time those who went to the Gulch could leave of their own free will based on their own selfish desires.

        Selfishness is the point of the book I don't believe you understood. That selfishness can be a good thing, not a sin.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          1st, Yes the mother of invention is necessity. However necessity doesn't excuse the laws of physics. The point isn't that an uprising is impossible, it clearly is. The point is that Galt's technology is impossible. Thus because the Gulch couldn't have been possible without it the Gulch isn't possible.

          2nd, That's simply not true, Galt convinced them it was in their best interest but was it. Wyatt is a great example of this, he largely had it made when Galt came to see him. How at that point was going to the Gulch better? He's also a great example of someone unable to leave the Gulch. He quite literally burned his bridges on the way out. He couldn't have gone back to his old life, and if he tried would likely have been arrested.

          Of course I understand that the selfishness is good. The point is that "the strike" wasn't in their and more importantly isn't in our self interest.
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          • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            I see the Gulch as what was required to make the events in book possible. Similar to the philosophy of Star Trek. Where warp drive engines, replicators and transporters were required to create a system of space exploration that used no money and no bathrooms.
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            • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              Exactly, and just like nobody is seriously trying to join star fleet nobody should be seriously going Galt.
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              • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                I do like rational discussions that truly challenge my thinking.
                I already had personally determined that there is unlikely to be any safe haven “Gulch” on the planet. And a different point: If there was, would I be invited? I’m guessing the simplistic answer would be, that depends.
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                • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                  "I do like rational discussions that truly challenge my thinking"
                  - As do I, I'd hope and expect that to be a common trait among those that have read Rand. One doesn't read Atlas Shrugged on a whim, and one certainly doesn't finish and absorb it if they don't like a mental challenge.

                  I've heard of several groups trying to create enclaves of one sort or another. So far none have been options for me. But they do exist, and there's more being created all the time.
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          • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            Flight was considered impossible, too. It isn't. Tomorrow the equivalent of Galt's technology (which of Galt's technology you are referring to is not clear) may be announced. The "laws" of physics are guidelines that change as knowledge increases.
            Your opinion is that the strike wasn't in their best interest or ours. You weren't convinced by Galt's argument (one that you never heard.) You feel that it's in your best interest to resist the system in a less radical way. I have seen that argument made by hundreds of people in the past 50 years and many people have made such attempts. The result has been bigger government and less liberty.
            Take your best shot. May you succeed where others have not. Perhaps Trump's administration will restore the constitutional limits, punish the corrupt, and you will help Make America Great Again.
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            • -1
              Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              Flight was never considered impossible, we could see a bird and know it's possible.

              Galt's tech, the static engine and shield over the gulch.

              The laws of physics don't change easily or often and even then not much. They refine more then change. Galt's tech is essentially a perpetual motion machine and bending light with electricity. Neither even have a realistic theory.

              So then what's the result of going on strike?
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              • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                Oh, you thought I was talking about bird flight. I'm glad there is finally someone here can speak for the millions of deceased people prior to the 20th century who considered flight by man possible. Perhaps if you had lived then you would have felt it was possible, but the great majority of people believed it would never happen, and that included many scientists prior to the 20th century. They couldn't conceive of the power needed being available and being properly applied.

                I'm glad to hear we agree on the fact that physics "laws" do change.

                The result of going on strike is that one is being true to his principles and is no longer supporting his enemies' attempt to enslave him.
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                • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                  "The result of going on strike is that one is being true to his principles and is no longer supporting his enemies' attempt to enslave him."
                  - Suicide accomplishes the same thing, the strike is just slower.
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                  • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                    I believe I understand where you are trying to go with this. But, in the context of the book, would you say suicide is true to Galt’s principles?
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                    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                      That's a very interesting question. Certainly not his stated principals. But maybe if one could use his actions to assign a subconscious principal then maybe.

                      It's interesting it occurs to me I don't recall Galt ever making any statements about what to live for. His motto "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” is about what not to live for, not what to live for. One could of course say that it implies living for yourself, but he doesn't say that, nor is it really human nature.

                      Good people live to create for themselves, a fortune, a family, a home, a life of experiences, etc. But that doesn't exclude living in part for others. An artist may live solely to create art others enjoy. And that's ok as long as it's what the artist wants and doesn't expect others to support it.

                      But what does Galt live to create? Sure he invented his motor, he created the gulch. But he spent at least as much time and effort working to destroy.
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                      • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                        I suspect disscussing, “What John Galt lived for?” would make an excellent new topic.
                        For each of us, our answers are different. Unless you’re somehow tethered to some collective mind, like in the movie, “Avatar.”
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          • Posted by MrSmiggles 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            1: Don't even write off something as impossible. Many physicists have been slapped in the face of reality when it comes out they were wrong about something that didn't fit into a mold. Research Bernhard Rust.

            2: You shot yourself in the foot here: "Galt convinced them..." Galt, using his reason was able to show people what they had never realized before. Upon thinking about what he said, they chose out of self interest to follow along with someone who had a plan. They were not pressured or forced to do so. You keep confusing Choice with Force. Galt showed people that yes, the strike is in your best interest because what you've known as The Norm is actually really screwed up and wrong. Hence his convincing made them realize this. A good example: North Korea forces you to do everything it says or you are punished in a horrible way. That's The Norm in that country. If you convince the people, more especially the mid-high ranking ones that this system isn't in their best interest and there is a much better alternative you'd see a change in the country. It's not an over night solution, it'll take years. But the end result would be a mass exodus to a better solution.
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            • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              1st, There's a big difference between technology that hasn't been developed yet and things that are impossible. A Star Trek transporter for example, nobody credible argues that it's possible. Galt's tech is no different, using static electricity, there's simply not enough of it. An invisibility shield, if that was even thought possible in the 50s we'd have it.

              2nd, Yes convinced them, many rational intelligent people have been convinced something is good for them that actually isn't. Happens all the time to people at every level. And yes convinced, not pressured or forced, simply talked into it.

              One could say there's even proof of this in the book. It has two elements to it. First that many even after being sold by Galt struggle with it. Second that almost nobody plans their exodus. If it's so great then they'd be at peace with it and could take a few months to convert their holdings to gold and take it with them.
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              • Posted by MrSmiggles 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                1: We did think it possible, but we knew more development in other areas was necessary. You have a very obtuse mindset about technology and the history of.

                2: Then you agree your were incorrect in your original statement by agreeing to mine. Glad that's settled.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        It appears that Galt hasn't spoken to you yet and you don't recognize that the only way to work for your own best interests is to stop producing under rules that force you to act against your interests.
        In a free market I produce for my best interests and it may simultaneously create a better life for others. In a free market if I want to be successful my production must be something that other individuals choose of their own free will to exchange their production for. It's trade- a voluntary fair exchange. There is nothing altruistic required. Everyone in the Gulch operated on a free market basis with others and they came to the Gulch because that was their creed. Yes, they recognized that trading with other producers voluntarily was superior than trying to produce everything themselves. That is not a collective; it's a free market. They did not pool their resources and production was not apportioned based according to need. Each producer traded only voluntarily with other producers. They did so in the Gulch after recognizing that outside the Gulch they could no longer trade their production freely and voluntarily.

        I agree that with the power of the enemies of such a free market today, in order to establish a real Gulch there must be a counterbalancing force of some kind.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          "It appears that Galt hasn't spoken to you yet and you don't recognize that the only way to work for your own best interests is to stop producing under rules that force you to act against your interests."
          - Well it's true Galt hasn't spoken to me yet, he doesn't exist, I've only read all of Ayn's words. As for the rest no. The premise that one must "stop producing" in order to not produce "under rules that force you to act against your interests." is incorrect and counterproductive.
          There's many ways to avoid working under those rules. Cheat, break the law, succeed, change the rules, etc. In the books even this was done to decent success. Hank and Dagny defied them left and right, his trail was pivotal. Ragnar blew up factories that produced Reardon Metal, Howard blew up his building, etc.
          If they'd been able to work together as a team against the looters they likely would have had quite good success without resorting to the strike. But because of the strike this was made nearly impossible.

          "In a free market I produce for my best interests and it may simultaneously create a better life for others. In a free market if I want to be successful my production must be something that other individuals choose of their own free will to exchange their production for. It's trade- a voluntary fair exchange. There is nothing altruistic required. Everyone in the Gulch operated on a free market basis with others and they came to the Gulch because that was their creed. Yes, they recognized that trading with other producers voluntarily was superior than trying to produce everything themselves. That is not a collective; it's a free market. They did not pool their resources and production was not apportioned based according to need. Each producer traded only voluntarily with other producers. They did so in the Gulch after recognizing that outside the Gulch there was no longer a free market."
          - This is all completely true, except the last line. The point is why the Gulch, why the strike, and why leave behind their life's work. Compared to staying put, or many other options this was an altruistic choice. They sacrificed all they had spent their lives building and all that they could have produced in the larger market, for a false hope, a story, a lie.

          The real "gulch" is a power all of us have, a power that again Hank embodied well. The power to say no. That's all it takes, saying no I will not follow your rules. A few key people or enough little people saying no and the looters have a real problem. Mover publicly saying no tells others it's OK to do so as well.

          One of my favorite books is called The Secret Freedom Fighter by Jefferson Mack. He outlines quite well the power of individuals saying no. He calls them bad citizens, that it's bad citizens who keep nations free. It's something Americans do well, we cheat on our taxes, speed, trade illegal goods, etc. These things are common, accepted and become big business. In doing these things we are saying no we will not follow your laws. In doing these things we force the looters to capitulate, to make no progress, etc. You really think the national 55MPH speed limit was repealed cause people went 55. That pot is getting legalized because people weren't smoking it. The concept of the strike is akin to giving away your car to protest the 55MPH limit.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        I can't see that the site is a problem for typing your thoughts/arguments unless you are trying to post them from a phone. Then it's the tool not the site. Once you have put in a new topic, the original poster cannot edit it unless he has become a "producer" by paying a monthly fee. I am not a producer and several times I have had to delete and redo a topic to get it the way I actually wanted it, but that must be done right away, before others have replied. It isn't ideal, but you can add posts to it any time (as anyone can) to elaborate or more fully explain your topic.
        On a computer there is "formatting help" available to the lower right of the text box that you type into, but this is not a word processing app so that is limited to italics and bold.
        MrSmiggles suggestion is a good one, too.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          Yeah I get it, I'm not here to talk about site issues. I was just my first post. Wasn't aware that the small initial "note" box was all I got and that I couldn't edit it after. Now I know and if I start a second discussion I'll do so differently.

          But again, not the point, the point is two fold. First to feel out this site to see how involved I want to be. And secondly to do so by challenging an article of Randian faith that I think needs to be challenged. A concept that this site clearly believes in but that I think is the single biggest mistake Ayn made. A concept that I think has done a lot of harm to objectivism.

          The concept of the strike has caused many to check out, to withdraw from the battle. It's convinced too many that the best course of action is to withdraw your influence and wait for the world to die. This is antithetical to the rest of Ayn's work.

          Even if the strike could work, if Galt's Gulch could actually exist it wouldn't produce it's stated goals anyway. The idea was to withdraw and let them fail, then re-emerge and rebuild. That's like saying I need to remodel my bathroom so I might as well burn the house down. No matter what the seeds of altruism and socialism will always be present, letting the world fail will not eliminate it. What will minimize it however is to show it as a bad choice, to show how much better capitalism is. Just like how the success of Hong Kong had a huge influence on the opening up of the market in China.
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          • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            I can only talk about my personal views, but I’m not withdrawing from the battle. I am where I want to be. I am living my life. I am researching the situation. I’m informing others. I’m donating to small but effective causes. I’m writing a book. I am paying my taxes, which mostly hurts the cause. (Brutali coercion is savagely effective.)
            I for one do not expect a Galt’s Gultch to suddenly show up. Therefore I will be doing my part in America.
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            • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              You're not wrong, it's clear you have a good head. I question two lines though.

              "I am paying my taxes, which mostly hurts the cause. (Brutali coercion is savagely effective.)"
              - Can't fault it, you gotta do what you gotta do. But do you have to. Let's say you owe $10,000, is it not better to give that 10,000 to a tax lawyer vs. the government. Maybe he says best to just pay, maybe he hassles them down to 5 and keeps 5 for his trouble. The point being that even if costs you the same in the long run, better to not only make them work for it, but also employ the opposition.

              Don't give the gov a free loan. If you work for an employer odds are they'll automatically withdraw and pay your federal income tax. That's what the IRS says they have to do. But you can fill out a W-4 claiming exempt. By doing so you're telling your employer that you expect to owe no taxes and they'll stop deducting. You'll owe that money on tax day. By when paying out of your paycheck your giving them a free loan and depriving yourself of those funds through the year.

              "I will be doing my part in America."
              - Please be cautious of this kind of thinking. What is doing your part, what is America. There's a lot to be said for being responsible, but it can quickly turn into a duty. These are two very different things. A responsibility is something you take on yourself for your own reasons. A duty is something expected of you for others reasons. Then what is America, is it you, is it people, is it the state. The United States is a great country, and it's right to feel a responsibility to it. But for your own reasons, it's a tool of your freedom and prosperity. You owe nothing to a tool except enough care to ensure it works when you need it.
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              • Posted by  $  Solver 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                I am part of the human race. It make sense to resist tyrannical forces indirectly. It is not some “duty” dictated by some higher power. America got many basic things right in its overall philosophy. I’d hate to lose those. America is not perfect but it still is based on the respect of individual rights that all individuals already have. This leads to voluntary trade and association. This leads to individual responsibility. This leads the right to ownership. And the most important ownership, yourself.
                I enjoy solving problems. All sizes. Short term and long term. America is where I plan to do my part in the fight against collectivism. That is unless America is truly lost. By that time it will likely be too late anyways.
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  • Posted by MinorLiberator 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    Succinct reply for now: I have an MA in Economics. I read all of Rand before going to undergrad: University of Detroit, Jesuit therefore rabidly Marxist, and then NYU Liberal Arts (many "Austrians" on the faculty". Very different from the Econ. in The School of Finance.) .

    Thus armed, I made sure I took every course in Marxism I could at U of D, and got my Capitalism from mostly outside reading of Rand, Mses etc., with definite sympathy and support at NYU.

    The Gulch and a Marxist Utopia could not be more opposite:

    1. The Gulch was not a Utopia. Is was a reality-based, small, voluntary Capitalist enclave. Utopias are all non-objective fantasies with no basis in reality.

    2. Marxisms most fatal practical flaw is having no private property, no price system or private monetary system to enable trading and therefore a true market. The Gulch has all..

    3. Marxism tries to fix this with Central Planning, which can't work (see 2.). The Gulch has zero central planning.

    4. Implied in all of the above is the lack in Marxism of the key organic foundation of the free market: individual trading. Which was the basis of life in The Gulch.

    5. I can't respond to "altruism", as I see none in the Gulch at all.

    Happy to engage further.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      1A. I did not say the gulch was a utopia, I said it's an unrealistic fantasy. Though if you want to get technical 'utopia' simply means a perfect place, the gulch would fit that definition for many.

      1B. "Utopias are all non-objective fantasies with no basis in reality." So is the gulch, it can't actually be done as described in the book, thus is not objective. It only exists as a fantasy in the book, and has no basis in reality.

      2. Agreed, and then some.

      3. Mostly agreed, some central planning is needed and the gulch certainly had some.

      4. We don't disagree

      5. The altruism is in the strike, it's in those who gave up most of what they cared about for the dream of a better future for others.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    Nothing altruistic about Galt, it was in his/our/the cast of characters self interest to attain maximum freedom with a healthy dose of moral and ethical responsibility...and all that equals Mega Creativity and prosperity.

    It may seem like a "Utopia" because only a small percentage of the worlds population could achieve such a state of being.

    That's my take and I'm sticking to it unless you can convince me otherwise.

    Respectfully...Balls in your court now.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      It's an admirable goal to attain maximum freedom if that's your desire. But what "moral and ethical responsibility"? To whom, why do they have it, how is it not altruistic?

      I use the term "utopia" not because it seems like one, but because like Marx it's an idealized fantasy that does not, and can not exist. Moreover in this way objectivists on strike are no different then classical marxists. Both are sacrificing for a future that is nothing but fantasy.
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        You would think, Max freedom would be everyone's desire...unless one is bicameral, indigent and physically handicapped, but even animals in captivity need freedom. A unicameral, (conscious) being demands it and Conscious beings naturally have empathy, mutuality of which morals and ethics evolves from...it's instinctive behavior in humans, It is derived at the cellular level but only a Conscious Human can express it to the fullest extent.

        It also makes rational self interested sense to behave, create value and do business based upon ethic and morals.
        Case in point...many big corps today do not operate with ethics and morals...they knowingly or unknowingly endanger the end users of their products and services...how dumb is that?!

        To the conscious human it is against his own rational self interest. He lives to create value for himself and therefore others as a consequence of his actions.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          "You would think, Max freedom would be everyone's desire.."
          - You may think that, I don't, and it clearly isn't. There's many many people who do not desire true freedom. True freedom requires responsibility, it requires an active mind, and work both physical and mental. Many don't want that, they prefer the bliss of a caged bird, of being cared for by others, of not having to take responsibility for themselves. For this they are willing to trade their freedoms, and sadly in doing so they often trade away ours as well.
          - It could be said that the above is a common trait of femininity. Even Ayn with her contrarian nature, stubbornness, bluntness, and sharp wit was still quite submissive. She showed this in her female characters, in particular Dagny and Dominique. Both strong women outwardly who were nonetheless intimately very submissive.

          "It also makes rational self interested sense to behave, create value and do business based upon ethic and morals."
          - This is off point, but yes however not for ethical or moral reasons. It's rational self interest for a business to behave within the moral compass of it's customers.
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          • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            Bicameral's prefer to be kept, either by rulers or a god like figure.
            I know 60% of the global population have yet to achieve self introspection, therefore they have also yet to make a connection to a mind.

            So, Conscious beings do demand freedom and naturally have a sense of morality and ethics...non conscious entities do not as a rule.
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            • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              Do you know many women?
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              • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                Not many that I would categorize as awake...the hormones play a role here I think...meaning: the motherly instinct demands the automatic split brain remain active at all times.
                I have met a few that were awake and a pleasure to have discussions with.
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                • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                  IDK about this whole bicameral thing. I just know there's a lot of intelligent strong women that prefer to be kept. Many, I among them would argue it's the natural order of things.

                  I'm confident so to would Ayn. Even Dagny was quite submissive when it came to Male/female roles.
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                  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                    It's difficult to maintain a productive, supportive relationship when both partners hold high profile jobs.
                    Some think: House wives, but that's not it at all, there is a whole lot more that goes with it, like, efficient planning and finances...not to mention challenging supportive interactions...the latter is what I crave...I can cook and keep house myself, My wife doesn't support my writing career.

                    Laughing, we each want our partners to have it all...
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  • Posted by Abaco 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    Interesting.
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    • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
      That's what I was going for.
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      • Posted by Abaco 11 months, 2 weeks ago
        Yeah, well I assume that newbies are trolls. We've had a few come and go in a flash while whipping up the regulars. But, I am intrigued by your point here. I don't agree with it. But, if there's one thing I've learned about Atlas Shrugged, it's that almost nobody reads it the same way.

        Your point seems to hinge on altruism. If you want to know who Galt is loyal to, it's himself. In reading what you initially said it made me reflect. In my life: I sold my business last year, am streamlining my finances, am planning to get way under the radar (as much as a family man can in America these days) in the near future. May settle outside the country. I am going to withdraw. I'm not a tycoon by any means but I'm very capable and fairly accomplished. And, I'm looking forward to doing something like driving the short school bus (disabled kids). Why? A couple reasons. I think the prog left will win, that Trump is just a speed bump. Once they get their claws in us again after his tenure this nation will quickly turn to scroad. Why have skin in the game? Qui bono? Certainly not my family. Most Americans don't realize that they're just livestock. If I'm wrong, it still works out great.

        In AS, I wasn't convinced that John Galt wanted the collapse. That question has been asked here before - did he try to hasten it? I don't think so. Oh...and Marx? Marx wanted death. And, by accounts I've heard it sounds like he was a very dysfunctional weirdo in his personal life. Marx had zero appreciation for the sanctity of life, of self. I think I jumped when I read that comparison - haha!

        Anyway, I'm blabbing. Haven't finished my first cup of coffee. Welcome to an interesting forum...
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        • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          Not so sure progressivism will win this time. Have read a bit of a book that outlines an 80 year cycle going from a "Me" generation (very, generous, productive/creative) to a "We" generation, (a collective of equal outcomes)...this is where we are at now and will soon turn the tide into a Me generation, ..but!...by no means do I think they are going away...they will regroup and double down...after all, there seems to be no cure for psychopathic behavior...maybe That's what we should be working on.
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        • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
          An interesting reply, thank you for that.

          "Yeah, well I assume that newbies are trolls. We've had a few come and go in a flash while whipping up the regulars."
          - Perfectly reasonable, I fully admit that's in part what I'm doing. I started with a contrarian post to shit test the site. To tell me if this is a site full of rational people or agentic followers. I do as well believe what I say. It's clear to me that Ayn was 95% right in her assessments and works. It's also clear that she has had a net positive impact. But I think the concept of the strike has done harm to her cause and to those who take it on as their own.

          "But, I am intrigued by your point here. I don't agree with it. But, if there's one thing I've learned about Atlas Shrugged, it's that almost nobody reads it the same way."
          - Thank you for at least considering it. Also I can't say I've spoke to a large enough sample to judge that conclusion but it would appear to be true.

          "Your point seems to hinge on altruism."
          - Yes and no, I focus on altruism in making the point as it's Ayn's focus in the book. While I agree with her assessment of altruism it's not my main point or goal. My main goal which is of course completely selfish is one of tactics and strategy. I don't want people trying to follow John Galt's example by trying to go on strike. I think we are all much better off both individually and as a group fighting on our own grounds. That withdrawing only ensures defeat and misery both individually and as a nation. It's in my self interest,and I'd argue yours as well that people like you continue to fight.

          "If you want to know who Galt is loyal to, it's himself."
          - Of course, but is it solely to himself, are his beliefs his, are his actions completely selfish, are they completely rational. No I don't think so, there's an element of egotistical narcissism to him. The speech is a great example of this. Galt's speech served a purpose for Ayn, it was a great literary tool to sum it up. But what purpose did it serve for Galt? It goes against the secrecy of his strike and is full of self aggrandizing.
          - There is a motive one could attribute to Galt that I don't recall Ayn ever addressing. Simply put he wanted a market for his motor that wouldn't steal it from him. That the only way he saw to do that was to eliminate those who had the desire and power to steal it from him. But is that a correct assessment, I'd argue no.

          "In reading what you initially said it made me reflect. In my life: I sold my business last year, am streamlining my finances, am planning to get way under the radar (as much as a family man can in America these days) in the near future. May settle outside the country. I am going to withdraw. I'm not a tycoon by any means but I'm very capable and fairly accomplished. And, I'm looking forward to doing something like driving the short school bus (disabled kids)."
          - That may be your best course of action and it's certainly not my place to tell you otherwise. I'd only point out two things. First that by withdrawing you help the looters win. They may not loot you, but they will find it easier to loot everyone else. Secondly is it really the best thing for your family. There's a lot of advantages to being well off in the United States, advantages that you'd be lessening. Maybe it's worth the trade, only you can judge, but take a full stock of what your giving up. Does it depress you to give up the fight, will your children have fewer resources going forward, will your children have less freedom going forward, etc.

          "I think the prog left will win, that Trump is just a speed bump"
          - FWIW I think the worm is turning so to speak on that one. Hard to put in context, harder to predict. I'd try if you wish me to expand on it though.

          "In AS, I wasn't convinced that John Galt wanted the collapse. That question has been asked here before - did he try to hasten it? I don't think so. "
          - Of course he did, all three of them worked actively to hasten it. Not only did both Galt and Francisco say it. But more importantly they all put a lot of efforts into hastening it.
          - Galt said so in his speech in the very first paragraph "I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world". Secondly his recruiting actions were clearly designed to hasten the collapse by taking key people at key moments. There's a few instances where it likely would have been easier to recruit at a low point, but instead he waited until they were important enough, until their disappearance would have the greatest impact. Wyatt is the best example of this. If Galt had seen him when he was down, when he went to New York to berate Dagny he would have been easy pickings. But no, he waited until they had their moment of triumph. When the impact of him going on strike was greatest.
          - For Francisco the proof is in the San Sebastián mines. Not only was the entire scheme designed to hasten the collapse but IIRC he said so when eventually explaining it to Dagny.
          - For Ragnar the proof is in sinking every shipment of D'anconia copper destined for Reardon.

          "Oh...and Marx? Marx wanted death. And, by accounts I've heard it sounds like he was a very dysfunctional weirdo in his personal life. Marx had zero appreciation for the sanctity of life, of self. I think I jumped when I read that comparison - haha!"
          - An interesting thought, did Ayn believe in the sanctity of life, do I, is it correct. Is there sanctity in an irrational, immoral life, no I don't think so.

          "Welcome to an interesting forum..."
          - Thank you, I do agree so far that it is indeed interesting, not many places one can have this kind of discussion. Even fewer places where it doesn't devolve into logical fallacies, insults, etc.
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          • Posted by Abaco 11 months, 2 weeks ago
            I do think Galt's speech is excessive. I don't think it's a good idea to stand and fight. I've seen too many pay a big price for that. I've, unfortunately, been in the right place at the right time (I think the wrong place/time) and have seen some truths that the general public doesn't know about. We'll see how that pans out in the next few years. But, either way...it's going to get ugly.

            One term that sticks in my head is "reasonable self-interest". This gets mentioned once in a while in Objectivist forums. It's certainly worthy of discussion...
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            • Posted by 11 months, 2 weeks ago
              " I don't think it's a good idea to stand and fight. I've seen too many pay a big price for that."
              - For the most part I agree. What's done secretly and what's done publicly must for most of us be different. Though there are some who can take strong public positions that put them at risk. And we need to applaud that. #FreeTommy

              For some thoughts on that there's a book I'm constantly recommending. The Secret Freedom Fighter by Jefferson Mack, here's a link to a pdf of it, though it can be bought on Amazon. https://freedom-school.com/books/secr...

              "either way...it's going to get ugly"
              - No doubt there. I see big ugliness on the horizon for 2020.

              "reasonable self-interest"
              - interesting, sounds at first elementary though. Is there an unreasonable self-interest position in opposition to it?
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              • Posted by Abaco 11 months, 2 weeks ago
                The Tommy Robinson story is a big deal. How in the hell can this happen? Get really frustrated about immigrants raping little girls and you get sent to the can. Very good example of what I'm talking about. There are some really bad people in very high places. All the way over here in my neighborhood in California somebody has put a "Free Tommy!" sign up on their property. This story is big...while our mainstream media here won't say one peep about it. I'll be shocked if Tommy survives this...

                Thanks for the link to the book.
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