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Going For Galt's Gulch
The Autonomist ^ | 05/27/05 | David MacGregor

Posted on 05/27/2005 3:55:57 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief

Going For Galt's Gulch

by David MacGregor

Galt's Gulch is a high-tech retreat in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged—a 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 other—a 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 spot—an 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 world—and more importantly, your place in it.

Galt's Gulch portrays what could be possible in a rational society—and 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 floated—and 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 even—but 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 course—like in Robert Heinlen's novel—The Moon is a Harsh Mistress—where an Earth colony on the moon rebels, and declares its independence. And that is still a possibility—although 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 exist—and appears to be impossible to create, under the existing notions of national sovereignty.

It could be possible to "lease" sovereignty from some existing nation—say 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-seeker—an 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 picture—about 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 fact—the privacy shield that lies overhead.

The sky shield creates the illusion that there is nothing in the valley below—so 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 purpose—that 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 society—a 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 internet—like the USA stopping its people from gambling offshore, or China stopping its people from visiting—but 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 channels—now 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 others—where vast amounts of private business are transacted. And of course, the internet is littered with every type of interest group—political, 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 space—if 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 space—at 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 organisation—without the use of force. The more people interact with the net, the more they are confronted by self-organising systems—whether business or private—where 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 order—to 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 experiences—opportunities for people to actually come to grips with the idea that they, as individuals, can create their own wealth—that 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 university—but it is available on the net. And people are soaking it up.

Take another example—my own private cyber-community for those seeking more practical freedom— On the face of it, this may not seem like a revolutionary hotspot—but 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 pitfalls—all 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 people—and so are ideas are spread.

Of course, to read your average newspaper, you'd think nothing was happening—that 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 ignorant—or 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 change—the internet.

Like when the Berlin Wall collapsed—bringing to an end the totalitarian monstrosity that was the Soviet Union—the present order is not nearly as robust as the purveyors of nonsense would have you believe. Change can happen—and it can happen fast. All that is necessary is a catalyst—a 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 Gulch—and place of respite from the silliness of political pontificating; a place to recharge your life battery in the company of like-minded souls—and a place to learn the strategies of making your life as free as you want it to be.

Don't underestimate the power of ideas—or 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:

Copyright 2005——
All Rights Reserved.

SovereignLife Enterprises, 126 Aldersgate St, London, EC1 A4JQ, Great Britain

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: aynrand; aynrandlist; freedom; galtsgulch; individualism; internet; liberty; objectivism; practicalfreedom; pt
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To: Netheron
"Reading the book all the way through will answer nearly all of your questions."

As I said I have read it numerous times, I believe you have confused me with the person to whom I was responding.

81 posted on 05/29/2005 6:14:31 PM PDT by gorush (Exterminate the Moops!)
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To: A. Pole

LOL! That is one method I suppose. ;)

82 posted on 05/29/2005 6:33:04 PM PDT by antidisestablishment (Our people perish through lack of wisdom, but they are content in their ignorance.)
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To: Honcho Bongs

"Is there a brewery in Galt's Gulch?"

Yes, I'm running it.

83 posted on 05/29/2005 6:40:33 PM PDT by dljordan
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To: Tailgunner Joe

"Atlas Shrugged" is all about how commies want to ruin civilization"

I'm willing to bet you've not read this book.

84 posted on 05/29/2005 6:43:46 PM PDT by Lurker 50001
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To: Hank Kerchief

What, no cheap floozies???

85 posted on 05/29/2005 6:45:27 PM PDT by The Las Vegas Hoodlum
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To: Lurker 50001

The good part of the book is Rand's criticisms of the left. What she offers as an alternative is where she comes up short.

86 posted on 05/29/2005 7:17:02 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
what ingenious plan do the objectivists come up with in response? They shrug their shoulders and let the commies win.

... and the Libertarians would allow Galt's Gulch to be overrun by an unlimited number of immigrants who would then vote in socialism.

87 posted on 05/29/2005 8:08:17 PM PDT by SandyB
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To: sarasmom
Unable to answer a simple question and quite irate that it was even asked! Check your own six, you are quite vulnerable to any and all simle attacks.

Well, at least I'll give you an A for tenacity (to go along with your Fs in epistemology, logic and coherence).

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To: Tailgunner Joe

"The good part of the book is Rand's criticisms of the left"

No, she treats the left and the right, as we know them, with equal disdain. Her main thrust in the book was about the evils of communism. What torques most conservatives about her work, is she went after the mystics, those who preach the word... the Jim Jones', the Tammy Fayes, and Jim Bakers.

Of course we all know Jim Jones was a good guy except for that little koolaid incident, and the Bakers were pretty good people if you over look a little corruption.

The other thing that seems to hit home is the laws issue, that there is no gain in ruling honest men, that the government must pass enough laws to make most of the population criminal in order to extort money from them.

"What she offers as an alternative is where she comes up short."

And just what does she offer as an alternative?

I still say YOU have not read this book.


89 posted on 05/30/2005 5:42:00 PM PDT by Lurker 50001
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To: Lurker 50001
I read the book almost twenty years ago. My memory may be a little rusty. Why do you think I haven't read it? Because I said it's about how commies want to ruin civilization? Isn't it? Or is it just that no one who had really read such an obviously illuminating text could ever disagree with it?

What torques most conservatives about her work, is she went after the mystics, those who preach the word... the Jim Jones', the Tammy Fayes, and Jim Bakers.

Being religious does not make one conservative, but then nor does being an atheist. Conservatives definitely have loyalty to things other than themselves. Their nations for example. Is loyalty to one's nation a quality appreciated by objectivists? It is by me.

And just what does she offer as an alternative?


90 posted on 05/30/2005 5:56:40 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

I do not think Ayn wanted to put industry under the control of labor, but I think she wanted to put the government under control and make the individual supreme in dealing with the government...wait where have I heard this before?

"Why do you think I haven't read it? Because I said it's about how commies want to ruin civilization?"

That's about it, I'm hard pressed to see how anyone could come to that conclusion after reading Atlas Shrugged.

"Conservatives definitely have loyalty to things other than themselves. Their nations for example."

Loyalty to their do you choose, is it the nation that was given to us, or the nation we have now, or the nation it will be in the future? It would seem that your loyalty at some point along this path would be considered betrayal.

91 posted on 05/30/2005 6:26:33 PM PDT by Lurker 50001
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To: Lurker 50001
Her main thrust in the book was about the evils of communism.

So commies don't want to ruin civilization?

92 posted on 05/30/2005 6:55:19 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The commies had already ruined civilization so badly by the time that John Galt et. al. came on the scene that the current one was unrecoverable. The members of Galt's Gulch were destroying the old one to create a new one. The old one was inevitably going to destroy itself no matter what they did. The only question was "Should people hang on in a futile effort to preserve it, or take the best of the old and reboot the system?"

93 posted on 05/31/2005 4:50:24 AM PDT by Netheron
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To: Netheron

That's called defeatism. I'm not interested in such a pessimistic philosophy. I want conservatives to take this country back and undo the damage socialism has done to it. I do not expect them to join the communist cause of destroying it. Commies also believe in the "inevitability" of their predictions and that the old rotten civilization must be torn down before the new utopia can be created. That's just anarchist nonsense.

94 posted on 05/31/2005 10:55:17 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
I was wondering who serves as the garbage men and sewer workers in Galt's Gulch?

My guess is that technologically gifted supermen would find a way.

The closest answer is probably "Who was Eddie Willers?".

95 posted on 05/31/2005 11:34:12 AM PDT by jonno (We are NOT a democracy - though we are democratic. We ARE a constitutional republic.)
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To: Vicomte13

There where children in Galts Gulch.

Read the book (again).


96 posted on 05/31/2005 11:41:25 AM PDT by jonno (We are NOT a democracy - though we are democratic. We ARE a constitutional republic.)
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To: jonno
Probably Quentin Daniels, since they seemed to make the new guys do the the menial jobs until they worked their way up. And one of the main points of Galt's Gulch was that the technological innovativeness of its inhabitants had rendered a lot of menial labor obsolete. And men like Hank Rearden had worked in their industries for years, and knew (rather unrealistically) how to do every job on the factory floor as well as handle the executive offices.

Rand's point was that John Galt and his fellows were well-rounded individuals who had the ability to handle any challenge.

97 posted on 05/31/2005 11:49:56 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Violence never settles anything." Genghis Khan, 1162-1227)
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To: B-Chan

Good humor is based in truth.

If you had read the book you know that Dagny not only CAN cook (and clean, etc.) but considered it a high honor - for thosed she loved.

Thus, no humor in the cartoon (IMHO).


98 posted on 05/31/2005 11:51:03 AM PDT by jonno (We are NOT a democracy - though we are democratic. We ARE a constitutional republic.)
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To: MarkL
If you want to see a city breakdown quickly, stop the pickup of garbage. While it's been many, many years since I read Atlas Shrugged, I believe that he was getting everyone who society depended on and who was good at what they did. But I could be wrong.

The only reason things break down quickly during garbage strikes is because the union thugs prevent, through sabotage, intimidation, and threats, anyone from doing the work that they are refusing to do.

99 posted on 05/31/2005 11:54:05 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: Vicomte13
Where are the children?

They were all subjected to Galt's two hour long soliloquy and died of boredom.

100 posted on 05/31/2005 11:54:11 AM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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