So… I haven’t talked much about the growing “go John Galt” movement that is making the rounds on the “intellectual” conservative blogs. More and more I am reading posts and comments from serious minded, well spoken (or written) conservatives who state that they are absolutely going John Galt. Many have outlined their current and past activities to do so.

I have to say I’ve been doing a bit of John Galting myself. Not in any big way, but in small ways. Probably the biggest John Galt thing I COULD have done is forego the Cosmic Clan’s vacation plans this year, but I guess I’m just not that committed since I just made reservations for the trip last night.

I’m not sure everyone knows what “going John Galt” means. “Atlas Shrugged,” from which the term is derived, is a difficult read for many people, and the concepts in the book are not simple ones, although the overriding concept is very simple.

Ayn Rand originally intended to use the title “The Strike” instead of “Atlas Shrugged.” That would have made things more explicit for sure, but I’m glad she went with the title she picked. It’s a great title. Anytime you get a Greek Titan in your title, that’s a good thing. One of these days I’m going to write a book called “Prometheus’ Gamble” or something like that. 😉

The fundamental concept of Atlas Shrugged is that society truly has “givers” and “takers.” The “Givers” are those who produce wealth. The “Takers” are those who absorb wealth. In “Atlas Shrugged” business leaders, innovators and industrialists are the Givers. Politicians, Labor and Entitlement recipients are the “Takers.” In the book a “tipping point” is reached where the Takers have voted themselves so much of the productive output of the Givers that the Givers, led by the mysterious figure “John Galt” begin to systematically stop providing their leadership, effectively going on strike. The result is a rapid disintegration of society’s infrastructure and economy as the “Takers” find there isn’t enough of anything to go around anymore. As the Takers legislate more and more draconian means to appropriate the productive results of the Givers, more and more Givers join John Galt, leaving less and less for the Takers to take. The end result is a total collapse of the world economy and a return to near stone-age culture everywhere except the enclave (in Colorado, no less) John Galt has set up for the Givers to plant the seed for the new renaissance where Givers are no longer made slaves of the Takers.

Going John Galt can be dramatic or subtle. The dramatic approach is obvious. Cash in all your stock, close all your business dealings, live off the interest on your assets and simply watch from the sidelines as society crumbles around you. Of course to do this you would need to have resources such that you could live off the interest on your current assets. Most of us can’t do that, so the subtle approaches are more likely.

Examples of subtle “John Galting” would be:

  • Pull all your money out of any nationalized bank.
  • Refuse to purchase any product that is created by a nationalized business. For example, buy no GM cars.
  • Forego any purchases beyond what is needed to maintain your lifestyle. That 60″ HDTV? Do you really NEED it? If not, live with your 47″ TV for now.
  • Apply for any government hand out that you can conceivably qualify for. Grants, food stamps, whatever. Put as much strain on the spending side of things as you legally can.
  • Aggressively pursue every possible tax loophole. Defer as much of your income as you can possibly manage. Put as much strain on the tax collection as you legally can.
  • Take advantage of any “incentive” program which forces the government to spend money. Need new windows? Make sure you get government subsidized windows. Spend a premium on your electricity bill to use “green” energy to force the government to spend more money subsidizing wind or solar energy. Use ethanol as much as possible. If you buy a car, buy one that gives you tax breaks or has a government subsidy or both. Preferably buy these from non-state owned car companies.
  • When nationalized health care is instituted, push it to its limit. Visit the doctor for any conceivable allowable reason. Got a sniffle? Get a flu regimen. Got a splinter? Get some anti-biotics.

Of course the result of going John Galt is the complete and utter destruction of the economy and infrastructure. So maybe you don’t really want to do that. The hope of most who are going John Galt is not that they will precipitate an economic acopalypse, they hope that doing so will demonstrate the failure of the socialist state, and return the nation to a capitalist foundation.

In some ways it is a dangerous game. If enough people pursue this stuff, it could very well push things to a tipping point where things could spiral out of control.

However things turn out, I predict that this “John Galt” thing is going to gain a LOT of traction this year. This is just the beginning.