Who Is John Galt?

Who Is John Galt?
Vol: 90 Issue: 18 Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In 1957, author and atheist philosopher Ayn Rand published her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. The book has never been out of print, and sales (oddly) go up instead of down over the decades.

It sold 70,000 a year in the 1980’s (the decade she died), 95,000 copies a year in the 90’s and is up over 100,000 copies annually so far this decade.

But in the two months since Obama was elected, sales of “Atlas Shrugged” have more than tripled. As of this morning, it was ranked at #224 in sales on Amazon.com.

Type “Atlas Shrugged” into Google’s news aggregator this morning and you will get 185 different hits — on a book that was first published in 1957!

The headlines include “Who Is John Galt?” “The Dapper John Galt” and “The Going John Galt Movement.”

So, who is John Galt, anyway? And why is he headline news 52 years after being introduced to the literary world?

John Galt is a pivotal character in the novel, which fictionalizes a dystopic American future where government intervention into the economy has wrought further economic turndown that extends and deepens the depression.

In looking for someone to blame for their ills, the leaders of the country and those who are suffering begin to blame the rich. They chastise them for their ideas, their high profits, and their wealth.

These attacks prompt these people, led by John Galt, to go on strike – to stop producing and stop manufacturing new ideas and new products.

They still work, but instead of inventing new medicines or new inventions, they work shoveling coal or as a brakemen on railroads.

In Atlas Shrugged, all countries outside the US have become or are becoming throughout the course of the novel “People’s States”, which survive mainly through aid given by the United States.

The US regime in power in “Atlas Shrugged” decries socialism even as it practices it. It doesn’t resort to outright nationalization of banks and industry — instead it so heavily controls and regulates industry that it accomplishes the same thing.

Ayn Rand separates American society into different classes, moochers and looters on one side, and inventors, workers and ‘the rich’. Is this starting to sound familiar?

The looters are those who confiscate others’ earnings “at the point of a gun” often because they are government officials, and thus their demands are backed by the threat of force.

The moochers are the ones who demand the earnings of others because they claim to be needy. Even as they beg, they curse the rich and hate them for their wealth.

Although the moochers seem benign at first glance, they are portrayed as more destructive than the looters they destroy the productive through guilt and often motivate the “lawful” looting performed by governments.

The government itself demonizes the rich and the productive and coddles the moochers and looters because they form the base of their political support.

Now is it starting to sound familiar?

The question, “Who is John Galt?” is asked throughout the novel by various characters but the answer doesn’t come until near the end.

John Galt is an inventor and industrialist who finally had enough of income redistribution and declares, “Enough!”

He leads a quiet revolution in which all the inventors and producers decide to adopt the old Soviet line of “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us” and go on strike.

Each man eventually comes to the conclusion that society hampers him with unnecessary, burdensome and expensive regulations and undervalues his role in society.

In Rand’s world, government confiscation of profits, justified by demonizing the profit-makers and their reputations results in the producers and inventors quietly disappearing.

The idea was to starve the socialistic government of tax revenues that it was taking from the producers, thus hurrying along its collapse.

Later, we learn that they all joined John Galt in a place called “Galt’s Gulch” somewhere in Colorado.


Ayn Rand, the Wall Street Journal reports, died more than a quarter of a century ago, yet her name appears regularly in discussions of our current economic turmoil.

Pundits including Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli urge listeners to read her books, and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, is selling at a faster rate today than at any time during its 51-year history.

There have been some 200 ‘tea parties’ across the country of late – although you wouldn’t know if from the mainstream media. The MSN reserves its coverage for demonstrations favoring gay rights, abortion rights, and anything that tends to empower the moochers and looters.

In a classic instance of life imitating art, the only time that the MSN concerns itself with the producers in society is when one of their number does something to confirm the stereotype of “the rich” as grasping, greedy and over-indulged.

To the moochers and looters, “the rich” aren’t paying their “fair share” — even though most of the taxes paid each year are collected from the top two percent of wage earners.

The simple fact is that if the government confiscated EVERYTHING earned by EVERYBODY who made $75,000 per year, it would only amount to $4 trillion. (I say ‘only’ because the National Debt just topped $11 trillion.)

The American entitlement system must certainly collapse — it is a Ponzi scheme no different that the one that let Bernie Madoff make off with as much as $100 billion in full view of the federal regulators.

For example, Social Security is broke because it operated exactly the way that Madoff’s scheme did. Those already invested in the system collect benefits paid for by new money coming in.

When the new money coming in becomes less than the money obligated to be paid out, the scheme collapses, which is how Madoff ended up getting caught.

But Madoff’s scheme worked for at least two decades on only $100 billion. Social Security is working with numbers in the trillions, but it’s been around five decades longer.

The policies of the Obama administration seem like they were lifted directly from Rand’s novel. Enough so that all across America, people are beginning to ask the same question: “Who is John Galt?”

And where is he now that we need him?

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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