Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You're Going to "Go Galt?" Oh yes PLEASE!

I'm loving the way a bunch of right-wing pundits have been threatening lately to "Go Galt." At first I was worried that they were planning to move to the CITY of Galt -- which is just a few kilometers away -- but when I found out they were getting all Rand-happy I could only laugh with glee.

I read "Atlas Shrugged" while I was in University, sometime around 1992. I can't remember every detail of the book but I DO remember that it tried to build simple archetypes around complex human traits.

In Rand's world you were either a creator or a parasite. The creators were brilliant, inventive capitalists who forged their own way through the business world, sort of like Paul Bunyan with a briefcase. The parasites were dim-witted, simpering socialists who used government intervention in order to latch on to the creators, growing fat off the work of others.

When the creators in "Atlas Shrugged" decided to go on strike -- by disappearing to a secret compound -- they removed all the best minds from society and left the parasites to die.

One thousand libertarians reached the last page and ejaculated. The End.

One of the problems with Rand's outlook is that she equates self-interest with both brilliance and social health, as though the wealthiest capitalists were somehow both intelligent AND unreservedly good-for-all-of-us. She seemed to think that successful businesspeople must automatically be super-intelligent AND have an automatic benefit to society as a whole (and be gosh-darn handsome to boot).

Another of her oversights is the hilarious idea that businesspeople and industry tycoons are both "inventors" and "capable of existing all on their own."

Now, imagine all the corporate CEO's of all the banks decide to withdraw all their money and then start their own society. In Rand's world, these CEO's would suddenly be inventing amazing new gadgets and curing some REALLY cool tobacco, meanwhile magically providing each other with electricity and plumbing and food.

What's amusing about the rightwing bloggers threatening to "Go Galt" is that they actually seem to think that THEY are innovators TOO, and they don't seem to be aware of where their word processors, clothing, and panini bread actually comes from, let alone who carries their clubs at the automatically landscaped golf course.

So it's laughable enough to think that the richest people on earth could actually survive (let alone thrive) in total isolation, but it's downright HYSTERICAL to imagine these armchair pundits doing so.

I can't help wondering what these people will do when they reach Galt's Gulch, particularly until a brilliant investment banker invents the "static electricity motor." Who's going to cut Michelle Malkin's hair? What services can she offer to their little society, and what happens if Ann Coulter proves herself BETTER at offering those services? Who's going to build their church? Will we REALLY get to imagine Instapundit doing his weekly stint purifying sewage, and...hey, doesn't it all sound a bit like communism anyway?

Oh please! PLEASE go to Galt so we'll all realize how much we miss you while you're gone! Search engines will weep when they run out of "Islamofascist" hits, and CNN anchors will have to talk to blank video feeds. Would society fall apart? Would you bring about hell on earth? Perhaps heaven.


R.M. Lupo said...

If you like video games, and like video games that have a compelling story, Bioshock basically takes Rand's utopia and does a fun thought experiment with it.

HATE Ayn Rand.

Syd said...

Every year or so a bunch of Libertarians try to start a commune of sorts in Texas by buying desert land and building their paradise, but they immediately collapse because of petty disputes over property value, infrastructure, and landscaping.

Adam Thornton said...

What a coincidence, Tricky! A few months ago, blogger MadKevin said exactly the same thing to me. Unfortunately I don't have a system which can run Bioshock.

I just love it that ANYBODY could be so isolated and ignorant of the world that they'd believe Rand's ideas to be workable.

And though I didn't mention it in the post, "Atlas Shrugged" just wasn't a good book even WITHOUT the heavy-handed, simpleminded politicking.

Adam Thornton said...

Syd, wonderful!

Like, when the Railroad Tycoon and the Ex-Senator both arrive in paradise, and they discover only one hill with a great view of the river, how do they decide who gets to build their mansion on it? Do they stage a duel?

Deluded, deluded.

Hilda said...

I never read "Atlas Shrugged" but the scene you describe is the opposite of the storyline in the 2004 movie "A Day Without a Mexican" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Day_Without_A_Mexican)

Great movie!

Adam Thornton said...

I'll check it out, Hilda!

And next time you're looking for a book to read, maybe you could check out Beryl Bainbridge's "An Awfully Big Adventure." I understand they've made it into a movie too...

Anonymous said...

I guess I should Myob but I was confused. I thought libertarians was the same as anarchism. Which IS pretty cool! :-)


F.—I.W! Myob! obs!.