Skip to comments.John Galt's Speech (Vanity tribute to Joe)
Posted on 10/17/2008 12:51:48 PM PDT by mnehring
For twelve years you've been asking "Who is John Galt?" This is John Galt speaking. I'm the man who's taken away your victims and thus destroyed your world. You've heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis and that Man's sins are destroying the world. But your chief virtue has been sacrifice, and you've demanded more sacrifices at every disaster. You've sacrificed justice to mercy and happiness to duty. So why should you be afraid of the world around you?
Your world is only the product of your sacrifices. While you were dragging the men who made your happiness possible to your sacrificial altars, I beat you to it. I reached them first and told them about the game you were playing and where it would take them. I explained the consequences of your 'brother-love' morality, which they had been too innocently generous to understand. You won't find them now, when you need them more than ever.
We're on strike against your creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. If you want to know how I made them quit, I told them exactly what I'm telling you tonight. I taught them the morality of Reason -- that it was right to pursue one's own happiness as one's principal goal in life. I don't consider the pleasure of others my goal in life, nor do I consider my pleasure the goal of anyone else's life.
I am a trader. I earn what I get in trade for what I produce. I ask for nothing more or nothing less than what I earn. That is justice. I don't force anyone to trade with me; I only trade for mutual benefit. Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world. One may never force another human to act against his/her judgment. If you deny a man's right to Reason, you must also deny your right to your own judgment. Yet you have allowed your world to be run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical.
You've allowed such men to occupy positions of power in your world by preaching that all men are evil from the moment they're born. When men believe this, they see nothing wrong in acting in any way they please. The name of this absurdity is 'original sin'. That's inmpossible. That which is outside the possibility of choice is also outside the province of morality. To call sin that which is outside man's choice is a mockery of justice. To say that men are born with a free will but with a tendency toward evil is ridiculous. If the tendency is one of choice, it doesn't come at birth. If it is not a tendency of choice, then man's will is not free.
And then there's your 'brother-love' morality. Why is it moral to serve others, but not yourself? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but not by you? Why is it immoral to produce something of value and keep it for yourself, when it is moral for others who haven't earned it to accept it? If it's virtuous to give, isn't it then selfish to take?
Your acceptance of the code of selflessness has made you fear the man who has a dollar less than you because it makes you feel that that dollar is rightfully his. You hate the man with a dollar more than you because the dollar he's keeping is rightfully yours. Your code has made it impossible to know when to give and when to grab.
You know that you can't give away everything and starve yourself. You've forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn't built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth.
Then it began apologizing for its greatness and began giving away its wealth, feeling guilty for having produced more than ikts neighbors. Twelve years ago, I saw what was wrong with the world and where the battle for Life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality and that my acceptance of that morality was its only power. I was the first of the men who refused to give up the pursuit of his own happiness in order to serve others.
To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil.
If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it.
The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath:
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 the sake of mine.
We Are Joe!
...a plumber is the guy he's (McCain's) fighting for..
On that, Mr, Obama, you are right. We Are Joe! Joe is the every man. Joe is John Galt.
Bump for Wyatt’s torch!
The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath: 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 the sake of mine.
Not even for ones children?
after all these years, I STILL haven’t gotten through John Galt’s speech.
IMO it’s presumptuous to assign the fictitious John Galt’s characteristics and beliefs to Joe the Plumber. Joe’s life may have been one of great sacrifice to others, we don’t know. Some people seek success, so they can be empowered to help others. IMHO.
We are Joe!!!
I’m stealing the tagline too.
I thought his Speech was slightly longer. Great Book by the way. I am astonished how God used Ayn Rand Atheistic attitude to take away the argument of brotherly love in the name of God.
Then one can declare any one or thing to be one’s own, as far as sacrifice is concerned?
Now I'm really confused.
Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle.
If you think John Galt is Everyman, you didn’t read and appreciate what you posted.
John Galt was ‘fighting’ to make a world he could live in. He wasn’t fighting for anyone else, although he DID show others how they could fight for themselves. NOT what to fight for but, rather, how to fight effectively.
Even in this somewhat simplistic paraphrasing, above, this message ought to have been abundantly clear.
I don’t see myself as a god, or even an angel, just a humble being near the bottom of a hierarchy of universal intelligence with God at the top. It doesn’t bother me. Good things will come of it. We learn and grow.
am astonished how God used Ayn Rand Atheistic attitude to take away the argument of brotherly love in the name of God.
I beg your pardon, all you sirs...
I Am Dagny!!!!!
He is the everyman in that the everyman wants this for himself. John wasn’t fighting for the everyman, he was exposing the innate desire of the everyman.
Nope, sorry. You are not your children; your children are not you. Indeed, Ms. Rand's entire philosophy founders on the topic of children. Rand insists that moral systems must be based on evidence adduced from reason or observation.
Rand also claims that "Manevery manis an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life."
There is no room for "living for children" in her assertion.
Well, the evidence (such as Rand would accept) says that evolution is real and objective, and thus any "correct" moral system must account for it.
In that system, an objective observer would validly conclude that one's sole moral purpose is the survival of one's genetic heritage, using whatever means possible. By that reasoning, man's highest moral purpose is his offspring, not himself.
LOL!!! Just a bit. It's about 70 pages in the hardback version. This is just the first page or so...
I wouldn’t even know where or how to begin ...
You come across like one of those ‘new age’ preachers tearing off their feel-goods from Scripture and claiming that that is what He would say if he were just here today to say it.
What you said is NOT what Ayn Rand wrote or intended. Period. Full stop. Besides the original text, there ARE valid references available that make that clear. You might try looking into it sometime.
Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle.
If "living for children" is of your own free choice, then yes. It breaks down when one lives for others based on what society forces or another decides for you. It also breaks down if it is simply for altruism- something Rand spoke often against in that there is no such thing as 'selflessness' and living based on altruistic attitudes means you are deceiving yourself to your own selfish goals. As Rand also said: In the normal conditions of existence, man has to choose his goals, project them in time, pursue them and achieve them by his own effort. He cannot do it if his goals are at the mercy of and must be sacrificed to any misfortune happening to others. To say that man cannot choose a goal of "living for his children" for selfish reasons, is contradictory to the objectivist goal. Where the misstep in logic comes in is when one forces an action to be altruistic or not altruistic based on if it helps another. One can help another, and not have the self deception of altruism because you understand the personal benefit of that action.
The key is freely making the choice.
Not disagreeing with you but I would offer that the post intends to highlight the stunning similarities between Atlas Shrugged and the times we seem to be entering. Obviously, there are differences but one cannot be struck by the parallels.
It would, in my opinion, be best to encourage those who have not read the book to grab a copy or even to put the audiobook on an i-pod. I have the edition on cassette tape (!) narrated by Edward Herrmann. Great stuff.
I think that Atlas will soon become required reading by folks like us while simultaneously disappearing from the High School curriculum.
Who is John Galt?
I suggest you read The “Conflicts” of Mens Interests chapter in The Virtue of Selfishness by Mrs. Rand.
Very true for my original intent, but like with most discussions of Mrs. Rand's philosophy and writing, it always seems to veer to one's own Rorschach Test. I actually was chatting with a UT Arlington student the other day who swore up and down that Objectivism was a pure Communist principle and was the antithesis of a Capitalistic society. Of course, he got this from one of his professors. Needless to say, it was an interesting discussion. It also is a sad commentary on the state of our University system.
This speech stirs my heart. Thank you for posting.
Sorry, even re-reading it, I failed to find the ‘stunning similarities’. Perhaps this is what mnehrling meant by a person’s ‘own Rorschach Test” ?
That an Atlas Shrugging Strike may be indicated as a timely and appropriate response to current conditions is one of the on-going trials we all must face, from time to time.
Personally, I have been more or less ‘on strike’ for some time. I just don’t make an issue of it nor do I undertake to enlist more strikers. We all get there, more or less, on our own or we don’t get there at all.
At least, that’s how I see it.
Sorry, I loaned my copy to a young friend who seemed equipped to benefit from the exposure. Thus, I have none handy to refer to.
If you want to assert some particular point, please feel free. Understand I would be responding from memory and first principles but I’m willing to try, if you are ...
( I sense we are some distance apart in our individual apprehension of the material but perhaps the horizon doesn’t entirely cut us off from each other. )
What say you ?
There is the rub, and probably where our points of view are diverging. I don't see the goal as the 'strike' that Galt undertook, but in living ones life for one's own joy. Galt went on strike, so to speak, because he couldn't live his life for his own joy. The comparison is, Joe the Plumber wants to live his life for his joy, through the goal of buying the business. He is at the point of 'striking' because Obama's plan will take his work, and redistribute it to others. He will not be working for his own joy, but for Obama's taxes.
You where looking at it from the perspective of Galt who made his own strike from the society I was looking at it from young Galt who wished to live is life for his own joy. It is almost as though, I was looking at this as chapter 1 and you where looking at this as chapter 30 of Joe the Plumber's own story.
But the problem is that Rand insists on a morality based on facts, "independent of mans feelings, wishes, hopes or fears." (We'll ignore for the moment the fact that Rand is hoist by her own petard on this point by insisting that "happiness" is man's highest moral purpose....)
If we talk about facts and evidence in Rand's world, we cannot ignore scientific evidence just because it's inconvenient. And this we must address the scientific evidence in favor of evolution. That evidence strongly suggests that you have no real choice in the matter of your children: it you don't protect your genetic heritage, you're a moral failure. According to the scientific evidence, one might conclude that the sole moral component of your life is ensuring that your genes survive to the next generation. IOW, your life is not your own -- it is your children's.
On a less ivory-tower note, we properly recognize that those who concentrate on themselves, and thereby fail to make certain sacrifices for their kids -- food, time, money, eductation -- are ring-tailed bastards whose selfishness not only hurts their kids, but also often leaves the rest of us having to deal with the messes made by the screwed-up kids.
So in that case, empirical evidence (in the form of life experience) tends to negate the idea that "man -- every man -- is an end in himself," and instead to support the opposite, when kids are involved.
In popular usage, the word selfishness is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word selfishness is: concern with ones own interests.
This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with ones own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes mans actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.
The ethics of altruism has created the image of the brute, as its answer, in order to make men accept two inhuman tenets: (a) that any concern with ones own interests is evil, regardless of what these interests might be, and (b) that the brutes activities are in fact to ones own interest (which altruism enjoins man to renounce for the sake of his neighbors).
For a view of the nature of altruism, its consequences and the enormity of the moral corruption it perpetrates, I shall refer you to Atlas Shruggedor to any of todays newspaper headlines. What concerns us here is altruism's default in the field of ethical theory.
There are two moral questions which altruism lumps together into one package-deal: (1) What are values? (2) Who should be the beneficiary of values? Altruism substitutes the second for the first; it evades the task of defining a code of moral values, thus leaving man, in fact, without moral guidance.
Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for ones own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral valueand so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.
Hence the appalling immorality, the chronic injustice, the grotesque double standards, the insoluble conflicts and contradictions that have characterized human relationships and human societies throughout history, under all the variants of the altruist ethics...
Bump for John Galt!
You have no idea where I’m at based on this brief dialog.
Being ‘on strike’ is not an end in itself, merely a policy for dealing with intolerable conditions. ( The terms and methods for exercising said policy is beyond the scope of this discussion. ) I’ll hold my position so long as the intolerable conditions pertain.
I am SO living my life for my own happiness / joy / fulfillment — whatever term may apply. I own it; I provide for myself and my own; I own my own outcomes and don’t look to anyone or anything else to provide for me and mine.
I simply choose to limit my participation in this decadent and dysfunctional world to a tolerable minimum because I can and must for my own sake.
Further deponent saith not ...
No -- I'm taking Rand at her word that "true morality" is objective; i.e., that it is not something that is subject to opinion, but must instead be derived from facts and reason.
The facts and reason of reality as science seems to show them, suggest that at a very basic level our moral imperatives center on the propagation and survival of our genes to the next generation, which is pretty much the antithesis of "selfishness" as Rand would envision it -- summed up, again, by her "man is an end in himself" clause.
We can thrash about on the topic of altruism, self-interest, and so on, and probably to good effect. But the fact is that evidence -- as strong as science can make it -- points to that one, fundamental and therefore fatal flaw in Rand's philosophy.
Specifically, the scientific evidence of evolution implies that, in essence, we are a means to our children's end, not our own.
Rand's blindess in this regard (which I believe was partly intentional and dishonest) may well result from something about which Whittaker Chambers was most likely correct: "in life, children probably irk the author and may make her uneasy."
Not thinking much about children, and having no experience with them for herself, I might charitably suggest that Rand failed to address the logical implications of children. However, given what they mean to her basic premises, I begin to believe that Ms. Rand's oversight was intentional. After all, the only kids in Atlas Shrugged were little more than short adults; indeed, genetically predisposed to be midget versions of the adults they would become -- looters or heroes even before they could talk.
Allow me some clarification...Some conservatives did not like Atlas Shrugged due to Ayn’s atheism through out the book. At first I was dismayed, but then realized, that good meaning people will invoke the name of God to control people. The atheistic approach effectively takes this arguement off the table.
Ayn Rand tells of folks using guilt to subdue other people into self sacrifice. All this for brotherly love or the ultimate guilt phrase: the greater good.
I recently reread Atlas Shrugged to find the similiarities between the moochers and looters and Obama. The similiarities are pretty similiar, in approach and psychology.
I beg to differ. The events of the day are almost exactly analogous to the basic premise of Rand’s novel.
The sneering condesention heaped upon Joe the Plumber by the media hyenas in concert with the Obama forces bear a mighty resemblance to the behavior of the looters and moochers in Shrugged.
The dismissal of one so lowly as a plumber belies the seminal role that they play in our society. Before the advent of sanitary plumbing systems society was regularly rocked by epidemics such a cholera. The systems mastered by humble folk such as Joe go largely, if not completely, ignored by those who take such things for granted - usually on the left. Extrapolate my example outward to all manner of trades and professions and you see what I mean.
I think it best to discuss Rand while holding your faith at arm’s length. Her philosophies are indeed atheistic but, nonetheless, important to contemplate as they explore the realm of man’s free will. I understand that Rand was childless, thus I expect nothing of consequence on the issue of parenthood. I hold that portion of the discussion neutral. One has to carefully choose from one’s mental toolbox when moving between the religious, the secular and the intellectual. An important brick in a much larger wall, if you will.
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