Saturday, March 14, 2009

Initial Thoughts on Going Galt

I've seen a lot of references to Going Galt in the blogrolls lately and I've only done a cursory review of it all but it seems to be a movement consisting of people who don't quite understand what Galt was all about. The focus seems to be primarily on curtailing productive activity in response to the actions of the Obama administration, but there are a couple key bits of contextual backdrop that a person may be ignoring if they're talking about going on strike:
  • Do you have a wealthy friend that owns a hidden valley where you can hide out while the world burns?
  • What purpose you hope to achieve by your productive curtailment other than your own martyrdom?
  • Is this action what best serves your own rational self-interest given that we still live in a semi-free society? (We still have freedom of speech, even if we are being deprived of the product of our work)
In a superficial approach to the act of of "Going Galt" you may fail to live up to the fundamental principles that John Galt represents: Rationality, reliance on the independent judgement of your own mind, self-interest, moral certainty, creativity and productivity. Capitalism. This is what Rand has presented in John Galt.

Galt's strike, which the "Go"-ers seem to be inanely focused on, was based on a fundamental thesis of Ayn Rand. That thesis is that evil is metaphysically impotent and can only exist when it is accepted and supported by the efforts of good men. And she defines good men as those who live their lives for their own sake, neither sacrificing themselves to others or others to themselves.

The chief problem that these men have is that in the prevalent morality of society, self-interest is considered inherently evil, and thus men guiltily work for themselves while undermining themselves each step of the way by attempting to live an unpracticeable morality: Altruism. (I'll come back later and insert some concrete examples).

In each instance of a man joining Galt's strike, the event represents an epiphany on the part of that man where he comes to understand the evil that Altruism represents and what his role is in making that evil possible. By going on strike, they withdraw what Rand terms accurately, "the sanction of the victim". That is, they withdraw their willingness to do the work of the mind on which the survival of mankind depends - always, always, always. Their work, in addition to serving their own self-interest, secondarily supports a society and government that does not appreciate them and even punishes them for the good works that they do. To strike is to no longer accept the role of willing martyr.

"Going Galt" should mean so much more than a curtailment of productivity. It begins approaching life with an active mind and never placing anything above fact as integrated by your rational faculty. In analyzing man's nature and the role of his mind in his survival, you come to understand why this mantra is worth knowing and living: "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." When you have the correct philosophical basis, the rest follows.

I can support the idea of "Going Galt" only if it means to stage a revolution in morality for the recognition of self-interest as necessary and good. That's the only thing that will save this country. It would be a return to the principles on which this country was made. That Rand's ideas are making the media is good publicity. But if the publicity spreads a diluted or subverted version of Rand's ideas then it will only serve to give power and credibility to our enemy. Consistency is key (to hell with Emerson).

In my attempts to "Go Galt", I have chosen the path of intellectual activism. That is, to exercise my right to free speech and to advocate the right kind of ideas. It's still a free country and I maintain that the only alternative to a revolution of force is a revolution in ideas.