Carlos

John Galt reference on icecap.us

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This is reprinted from Robinson's newsletter Access to Energy, Vol 35, no. 12, July 2008 (he is several months behind schedule). He is a scientist who has been very active in fighting climate change hysteria and other viro restrictions on energy use and production and has frequently written about valid vs. fallacious scientific method. He organized the Petition Project, which is still active, in 1998. This has been discussed here on the Forum previously.

Robinson also referred to Atlas Shrugged in the lead article "Atlas and Prometheus" in his Sept. 2007 issue of his newsletter (early last year), in which he began:

In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, "men of the mind" -- the innovators and technologists who improve and maintain our civilization -- become so disgusted with socialism and elitism that they quit. The mythical Atlas who carries the world on his back, shrugged.

Ayn Rand erred, however, in that she misunderstood the depth of love that true scientists, engineers, and technologists have for their work. In the decades since Ayn Rand wrote this classic novel, socialism in the United States has steadily risen and freedom has greatly diminshed -- especially for technologists. Oppressive government taxation, regulation, and litigation have reached levels that Ayn Rand could only dimly have imagined.

Anyone who understands Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's thoughts and knowledge can clearly see that Robinson did not -- including the plot, the theme and what she could have "imagined" after living through it in the Soviet Union.

At least in his latest article he seems to better recognize the crucial role of the "Atlases" and that they are in fact partially "shrugging" to some degree in practice and that it doesn't mean that they don't love their work as much as ever. He doesn't discuss his understanding of the novel in this latest article to show if there has been an improvement, but it is good that he has brought it to the attention of some who may read or reread it and understand it better.

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From the article: "The John Galt Effect"

In reality, most men of the mind never withdraw. They love their work too much to stop and -- most of them -- love their fellow men too much to desert them. The forces of tyranny depend upon this. Without these people, even the small technological advances required by Marxist and Socialist societies would not occur. Yet, while the men of the mind do not fully withdraw, they have families and other loved ones for whom they are responsible and to whom they are more devoted than to the state.

I think this is a real important point to make, especially with regard to the USA as we are steeped in 200+ years of a tradition of optimistic freedom. Because of that, only a very few of these men and women of the mind will decide to completely separate themselves - and by the time our country reaches the place the Soviet Union got to - it may be too late to create a place of sanctuary - a "Galt's Gulch" if you will.

There is nobody going around talking to people in such a manner that they then decide to quit and disappear - it appears instead to be a slow fade.

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This is reprinted from Robinson's newsletter Access to Energy, Vol 35, no. 12, July 2008 (he is several months behind schedule). He is a scientist who has been very active in fighting climate change hysteria and other viro restrictions on energy use and production and has frequently written about valid vs. fallacious scientific method. He organized the Petition Project, which is still active, in 1998. This has been discussed here on the Forum previously.

Robinson also referred to Atlas Shrugged in the lead article "Atlas and Prometheus" in his Sept. 2007 issue of his newsletter (early last year), in which he began:

In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, "men of the mind" -- the innovators and technologists who improve and maintain our civilization -- become so disgusted with socialism and elitism that they quit. The mythical Atlas who carries the world on his back, shrugged.

Ayn Rand erred, however, in that she misunderstood the depth of love that true scientists, engineers, and technologists have for their work. In the decades since Ayn Rand wrote this classic novel, socialism in the United States has steadily risen and freedom has greatly diminshed -- especially for technologists. Oppressive government taxation, regulation, and litigation have reached levels that Ayn Rand could only dimly have imagined.

Anyone who understands Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's thoughts and knowledge can clearly see that Robinson did not -- including the plot, the theme and what she could have "imagined" after living through it in the Soviet Union.

At least in his latest article he seems to better recognize the crucial role of the "Atlases" and that they are in fact partially "shrugging" to some degree in practice and that it doesn't mean that they don't love their work as much as ever. He doesn't discuss his understanding of the novel in this latest article to show if there has been an improvement, but it is good that he has brought it to the attention of some who may read or reread it and understand it better.

Thanks for the info. I figured he probably wouldn't understand Atlas Shrugged or Ayn Rand's philosophy correctly, but that is a pretty bad gaffe of misunderstanding on his part in that second paragraph.

I'll take what I can from our culture though... I'm just glad that a good scientist referenced Miss Rand and her novel to describe the problems of rising Statism today, and that it resonated well with other commenters on this website (the comments like "everything happening is just like in Atlas Shrugged")

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From the article: "The John Galt Effect"
In reality, most men of the mind never withdraw. They love their work too much to stop and -- most of them -- love their fellow men too much to desert them. The forces of tyranny depend upon this. Without these people, even the small technological advances required by Marxist and Socialist societies would not occur. Yet, while the men of the mind do not fully withdraw, they have families and other loved ones for whom they are responsible and to whom they are more devoted than to the state.

I think this is a real important point to make, especially with regard to the USA as we are steeped in 200+ years of a tradition of optimistic freedom. Because of that, only a very few of these men and women of the mind will decide to completely separate themselves -

In his original article Art Robinson incorrectly claimed that Ayn Rand was wrong, as if Atlas Shrugged had said the opposite. In fact Ayn Rand never advocated a strike, let alone that people give up the work they love, but recognized that in reality individuals of ability were gradually and to different degrees "shrugging", without any explicit philosophical or organized motive, against government abuse. The strike in the plot of Atlas Shrugged was only a fictional device to show the theme of how society depends on the best minds by illustrating what happens when they are withdrawn. That is a lot different than advocating a strike as a strategy, and a strike is a lot different than people becoming discouraged and backing off one at a time by degrees in the face of government punishment of success.

In the plot of Atlas Shrugged, the strike never portrayed the men of the mind as giving up the work they loved. The strikers,witha few exceptions like Ragnar, continued in their professions even as they withdrew the benefits of their work from society. The contrast between the strikers and, until near the end, Dagny and Rearden, clearly showed a tension in the plot over dropping out of the economy, not giving up the work they loved. The descriptions of Dagny and Rearden epecially emphasized how reluctant those who love their work are to drop out at all.

It' hard to imagine an intelligent person reading the novel without understanding that, and then concluding that Ayn Rand was wrong.

- and by the time our country reaches the place the Soviet Union got to - it may be too late to create a place of sanctuary - a "Galt's Gulch" if you will. There is nobody going around talking to people in such a manner that they then decide to quit and disappear - it appears instead to be a slow fade.

A sanctuary like the Valley was a fictional device that is not possible in today's world regardless of when anyone decides to drop out. It wasn't possible in a totalitarian society like the USSR either, and many scientists and engineers -- of those who were not murdered -- continued to work in their fields, attempting to psychologically isolate themselves from what was going on around them by concentrating on "theoretical" issues. But the benefits of creative work were clearly withdrawn and destroyed by the nature of the society, and Soviet society eventually collapsed.

The same thing is happening here. People give up, one at a time, then as the government grows the economy supports less creative practical work, there is less possibility for anyone who still wants to try, and the destruction of values feeds on itself in a downward spiral.

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Here are two more from The Washington Independent.

Congressman: We’re Living in ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” told me today that the response to President Obama’s economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 52-year-old novel.

“People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” said Campbell. “The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit the rest of us, are going on strike. I’m seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they’ll be punished for them.”

...

Battling Obama by ‘Going Galt’

3314554139_f9caf97e1b_b-300x200.jpg

”Do you ever wonder,” wrote Dr. Helen Smith, “after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election, if it’s getting to be time to ‘go John Galt?’”

It is Oct. 12, 2008, and inspired by Barack Obama’s curbside debate with Joe the Plumber — and the likelihood of his election to the presidency — Smith, a forensic psychologist in Knoxville, Tenn., was tossing the readers of her blog a serious question. It had been years since she had read “Atlas Shrugged.”

“I had to refresh my memory with the Cliffs Notes,” she said Thursday in an interview. But the themes of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, and the themes of the climactic 40-page speech by self-imposed social outcast “John Galt”, had stuck with her.

Image by: Matt Mahurin

Image by: Matt Mahurin

The themes had stuck with her readers, too. Within days, Smith had collected nearly 200 comments and a steady stream of e-mails from readers who were responding to the possibility of a Democratic victory by brainstorming ways to pull out of the economy. Four months later, Smith — a host of “Ask Dr. Helen” on the right-leaning web site PajamasTV — is collecting stories and suggestions from readers scattered across the country, all of them using the “Atlas Shrugged” analogy as a rallying cry against President Barack Obama’s economic policies.

...

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