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
As I said I have read it numerous times, I believe you have confused me with the person to whom I was responding.
LOL! That is one method I suppose. ;)
"Is there a brewery in Galt's Gulch?"
Yes, I'm running it.
"Atlas Shrugged" is all about how commies want to ruin civilization"
I'm willing to bet you've not read this book.
What, no cheap floozies???
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.
... and the Libertarians would allow Galt's Gulch to be overrun by an unlimited number of immigrants who would then vote in socialism.
Well, at least I'll give you an A for tenacity (to go along with your Fs in epistemology, logic and coherence).
"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.
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?
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 nation...how 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.
So commies don't want to ruin civilization?
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?"
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.
My guess is that technologically gifted supermen would find a way.
The closest answer is probably "Who was Eddie Willers?".
There where children in Galts Gulch.
Read the book (again).
Rand's point was that John Galt and his fellows were well-rounded individuals who had the ability to handle any challenge.
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).
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.
They were all subjected to Galt's two hour long soliloquy and died of boredom.