Skip to comments.Going For Galt's Gulch
Posted on 05/27/2005 3:55:57 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
Galt's Gulch is a high-tech retreat in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shruggeda place where all the "disappearing" productive people can meet, relax and recharge.
John Galt, the hero of "Atlas", is a brilliant engineer who has decided he will not support a corrupt system. He will not allow his mind, his talent, or his efforts to prop it up. He plans a strike like no othera strike of all those who are the engine of civilisation, the creative producers in every field. His mission is to persuade each and every one to disappear, to simply remove their support, and thereby bring about a collapse of the existing society.
Galt's Gulch is their private hideaway spotan anarchic, free community hidden in the mountains. It's protected by a high-tech invisibility screen, which is designed to prevent the place from being found.
It's a "retreat for the rational", a place to reenergise and spend time with like-minded people.
If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged, then I urge you to. It has the power to revolutionise the way you see the worldand more importantly, your place in it.
Galt's Gulch portrays what could be possible in a rational societyand in each new generation of readers it inspires hope, and shines like a beacon pointing to a different world.
It has also inspired speculation as to how such a society may be created in reality. Usually, this has lead to ideas like how to create a new country, or sovereign territory. Many such ideas have been floatedand come to naught. The main obstacle being the impossibility of achieving sovereignty over any existing territory. It's all spoken for. Sure you can buy land and build a city evenbut you cannot buy the actual sovereignty, or true independence.
This vital ingredient of freedom is apparently not for sale. Every existing nation jealously guards its existing sovereignty, and has managed to seize every piece of real estate on earth.
You could go off-planet of courselike in Robert Heinlen's novelThe Moon is a Harsh Mistresswhere an Earth colony on the moon rebels, and declares its independence. And that is still a possibilityalthough probably far-off.
This leaves us in a quandary. Freedom-loving individuals would simply love a place to call their "own". Trouble is, such a place does not existand appears to be impossible to create, under the existing notions of national sovereignty.
It could be possible to "lease" sovereignty from some existing nationsay a poor nation in need of cash. But such a move is very likely to draw the wrath of the nation state club particularly if it were to buck the system in other ways. However, this option is also very unlikely, as the only places that may even consider it are probably a bit of a hell hole.
So, where does that leave a motivated freedom-seekeran individual who is serious about claiming his birthright, and not content to just put up with the status quo?
A clue lies in the physical specifications of Galt's Gulch. Much has been said about the nature of that private society, but the novel is more properly concerned with the big pictureabout transforming the world as a result of the "strike". However the nascent free society, that is Galt's Gulch, is able to exist because of one essential factthe privacy shield that lies overhead.
The sky shield creates the illusion that there is nothing in the valley belowso any spying aircraft flying overhead will not see it. It is designed specifically to hide the existence of the place and to allow it to survive and achieve its purposethat of offering a refuge to those who are on strike, until it is time to return to a transformed society.
This is where the internet comes in. The internet is like an alternative societya place outside the normal societal structures. It's a place which is effectively uncontrolled by government. In other words, it's a place which has moved beyond the sovereignty of any individual nation. Sure, some nations try to control elements of the internetlike the USA stopping its people from gambling offshore, or China stopping its people from visiting BBC.co.ukbut at its core, the internet is free space.
It's also a very public space. But it has the capacity to be as private as you want it to be.
More importantly, the internet is the basis of a new type of community. You can see this by watching how it has developed. Whereas you used to just read newspapers and news from the official news channelsnow you can read/create blogs, start your own podcast service, create and sell your own book, start your own newsletter. Then there's the buy/sell communities like eBay and otherswhere vast amounts of private business are transacted. And of course, the internet is littered with every type of interest grouppolitical, economic, hobbies, sexuality. You name it and there's a group for it. It's also revolutionised how people find work, arrange travel, book hotels, and do banking. In fact, the internet has become the global, no barriers, free market. And for now, it's not taxed!
It is in this cyber-environment that a private society can be born. Any group of people can create a virtual community with its own privacy shield. Privacy, on the internet, is created by technological means. You can shield your email communications using PGP. You can shield your internet movements using an anonymising service. You can shield certain types of financial transactions using alternate value-exchange systems like e-gold. In other words, you can create a virtual privacy shield.
You can, potentially, move entire chunks of your life into this private spaceif you choose. You can communicate, you can do business, you can play, you can inform and be informed. You can even find love.
The one thing you can't do is live in a physical free spaceat least not yet. However, this in no way downplays the significance of what can be achieved on the net.
At its root, the net is quite subversive of the present order. It provides proof of alternative means of organisationwithout the use of force. The more people interact with the net, the more they are confronted by self-organising systemswhether business or privatewhere order is developing, evolving and functioning.
The significance of this "education" should not be minimised because it is allowing individuals to discover a world that works without the gangster class called government. It is a prime example of what can be achieved when people work together for their mutual benefit.
This re-education is a crucible for change. It has the power to fundamentally alter the social orderto cause a mind shift.
Let me give you just one example. The net is full of business opportunities. Now, many of these end in tears. But look at the larger picture. Many of these provide valuable learning experiencesopportunities for people to actually come to grips with the idea that they, as individuals, can create their own wealththat they are not entirely at the mercy of someone else who may or may not want to employ them.
Now, this type of education is NOT available at school or universitybut it is available on the net. And people are soaking it up.
Take another examplemy own private cyber-community for those seeking more practical freedomSovereignLife.com. On the face of it, this may not seem like a revolutionary hotspotbut in fact it is. You see, by attracting like-minded individuals it sets in process a "meeting of minds", and allows for interchange between those wishing to expand their life options. Somebody joins up and wants to learn more about how to open an offshore bank account, or how to get another legal passport, or how to start a business online. At once they are able to communicate, in private, with others on the same road. This community allows for exchange of ideas, inspiration, new strategies, advice on common pitfallsall of which is invaluable, and which can shorten the learning curve that would normally be expected.
In being part of such a community, a member is exposed to a variety of thought-provoking ideas, and given the freedom to respond, ask questions, make suggestions and take action.
Over time, this type of freedom community builds a commitment to the very idea of personal freedom. It strengthens the foundations of each participant's desire to lead a freer life. And each of these people know other people, who talk to other peopleand so are ideas are spread.
Of course, to read your average newspaper, you'd think nothing was happeningthat the world is as it has always been. But that's because the average newspaper, TV channel and politician are living in a bubble. You only have to listen to any leader of any nation to realise they're either stupid or ignorantor both. And certainly, they have no idea what is really happening beneath the surface of their perceived world. They may believe they are the movers and shakers, but the reality is quite different.
Desire for freedom starts in the mind. It then looks for actual expression in the real world. The real world is much more than what you hear on TV. It is emerging and evolving at the cutting edge of social changethe internet.
Like when the Berlin Wall collapsedbringing to an end the totalitarian monstrosity that was the Soviet Unionthe present order is not nearly as robust as the purveyors of nonsense would have you believe. Change can happenand it can happen fast. All that is necessary is a catalysta sudden event that can shake the foundations of the present order. If that happens, and you already have alternative social organisational systems in place, then the resultant social transformation could be sudden and profound.
The internet provides the type of space for a virtual Galt's Gulchand place of respite from the silliness of political pontificating; a place to recharge your life battery in the company of like-minded soulsand a place to learn the strategies of making your life as free as you want it to be.
Don't underestimate the power of ideasor the capacity of individuals to self-organise to achieve their goals.
P.S. Why wait for the "big bang". Get started now, be prepared. Go to: http://www.sovereignlife.com/kickstart.html
SovereignLife Enterprises, 126 Aldersgate St, London, EC1 A4JQ, Great Britain
I'll meet you there, if I can ever get Dagny out of the beauty parlor.
One question about Ayn Rand:
Where are the children?
Eddie Willers, too?
I was wondering who serves as the garbage men and sewer workers in Galt's Gulch? Even free, technologically gifted supermen produce human waste.
If you insist.
Where are the pets?
The morons who are currently "serving the public" as Deputy Assistant Undersecretaries in the Department of Redundancy Department.
And they're getting gigantic pay cut.
Is there a brewery in Galt's Gulch?
Pets and kids...Looters to the core...
That is not to say that the Internet isn't a commodity that, like any other commodity, cannot be paid for by the user. But it often is not. Take, for example, the fellow who programmed and maintains this particular FR web "space." Who pays him? Well, the users do. Some of us, anyway. And are we paying him an amount commensurate with what we receive? And if not, are those of us who do not also in the position of the moochers?
Pets and kids there just so altruistic.
Pets and kids just take and take.
Looters! Moochers to the core!
That's why there are none in Ayn Rand's worlds (either her novelistic ones or her real life: she died childless).
And from what I read with noone at her bedside.
..the antithesis to Shrillary, sKerry and their Ilk....all looters.
I like the cigarettes, $$$$$.
I think I'll die in a train.
"Atlas Shrugged" should be a must read for any elected official. As relevant today if not more, than when it was written. I'm a little partial though....
There are children in Atlas Shrugged, and a very important passage has to do with a mother and her children in Galt's Gulch.
This is an infomercial....
We believe in free enterprise and free trade. Fundamental to all free transactions between individuals is information. Call it what you like--I call it liberty and the exercise of free speech. Hank
Well Hank, c'mon over. I may be the only current resident of Galts Gulch around here. The county requires anyone with a driveway over 300' long to have it named, and the owner may choose the name. Hence, I live in Galts Gulch. Ya'All are always welcome to drop in & share a brew, which we unfortunately must import.
There is no Galt's gulch.
And if there was the government would find it and Waco them all.
You will be assimilated.
Atlas Shrugged ping
I'm an Ayn Rand fan with kids and grandkids, and I think your question is incredibly, bizarrely, outrageously inane, let alone irrelevant. Rand put out an ENORMOUS amount of work; A.S. alone took 12 years of 16-hours-a-day intensity, and she explained that, since such productivity was her goal, that it would have been unwise, let alone unfair, to have kids in the face of all that.
I believe that she has brought over 4 million Americans (including myself) over from the Dark Side -- (and W. would have lost if she hadn't). So DO try to develop a little realistic perspective, and appreciate the positive, won't you?
I just go to Las Vegas...it's as close to Galt's Gulch as we're ever going to get in America today. ;)
There is definitely a "shrugging" feeling in Vegas, especially when they clean me out at the tables.
Children are not inconsistent with Objectivism.
There are many rewards that come from having children-- financial, emotional, spiritual. They are an investment that pays off over time, and then a whole bunch at maturity. It is not a totally safe bet, but people will continue to try- we are wired that way.
Now, Ayn Rand and Objectivism would certainly have a problem with the Looters taking someone's money to pay for someone else's children. But as long as each family is taking care of their own, there is no problem.
I also do not see a big problem between Objectivism and charitable giving, as long as it is freely given. Religion is also outside of the realm of her philosophy.
Just because Ayn Rand was a childless atheist that had some big personal issues does not negate her basic philosophy which holds that man should not be coerced at gunpoint to give to others.
Man has to be coerced at gunpoint to obey law.
Otherwise there is no law.
So is George Gershwin's "Concerto In F"
He said he was inspired writing that music by the sounds of the "Broadway Limited" when he was riding it during that compositions difficult birth.
Rand said the law should be to protect man's real rights. You don't have to coerce a rational man to leave his neighbors alone, just as he would want to be left alone. The law should PROTECT against the initiation of force, fraud, or coercion in general, NOT TO DO THE INITIATING.
BTW, I notice you have posted nothing on your profile page; I'm suspicious of people who post nothing personal, let alone nothing at all. Could you be a troll in disguise? An agent-provacateur? A puddin'-stick?
My local taco shop puts cute little quips on their sign each week. One that fits your situation:
They say money talks. All mine says is Adios.
Funny. Until very recently, I didn't have anything on my profile page either and I've been here since shortly after the invention of the wheel.
In Michigan, those who live in the northern part of their lower peninsula are sometimes called "trolls", because they live "under the [Mackinac] Bridge.
I once lived in northern Michigan for a time, so in that sense I am, or at least was, a troll.
Otherwise, I have posted far and wide here for some time on many topics, particularly things concerning France and Catholic religion.
I have little to say on my profile page.
I do not wish to reveal who I am, but I do not wish to lie either.
Thanks for the ping.
If there isn't, then start one. If there is and you think you can do better, compete with it.
Sorry, didn't know you were humor impaired.
If five or more objectivists could actually agree on a location for a Galt's Gulch, they would immediately have to set up tribunals for the daily excommunications of the not-objectivist-enough among them (Tibor Micham, David Kelly, Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, etc.).
Some of Ayn's protagonists like Dagny Taggert remind me of the self-obsessed, childless, over-achieving Yuppies we have today who can be found in Starbucks all over America sipping lattes while banging away on their laptops and working into the night.
Not that there's anything wrong with that...