ewv

"Going Galt"

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... ... Ayn Rand of course promoted her ideas but it was not her core motivation and she was not particularly happy with the results near the end of her life.... ...

I can personally testify that at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston in November 1971, Miss Rand (in spite of the downbeat topic of her talk, "The Moratorium on Brains") appeared totally positive, upbeat and cheerful during the entire speech and hours-long meeting with her fans. She appeared mentally youthful, optimistic and benevolent.

See my account at http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?showtopic=124 .

She always was. She never seemed to be unhappy with the results of what she had done, but her evaluation of the state of the culture and its contemporary trend was also clear, and still is from what she wrote about it, even while she kept speaking out with certainty and intensity.

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John Galt continued to pursue his own values, even after going on strike.

Indeed.

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I can personally testify that at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston in November 1971, Miss Rand (in spite of the downbeat topic of her talk, "The Moratorium on Brains") appeared totally positive, upbeat and cheerful during the entire speech and hours-long meeting with her fans. She appeared mentally youthful, optimistic and benevolent.

See my account at http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?showtopic=124 .

I am glad to hear that. I surmise that she was extra happy to be around thoughtful individuals who (to varying degrees) understood and appreciated her ideas (and her) - in distinct contrast to the subject of her talk and the general context of cultural decline. I wish I could have seen her in person, but she was gone by the time I first encountered the ideas.

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Do you think she would have opposed ARI, as Leonard Peikoff was initially skeptical of it?

I really don't know. I think it's safe to say she would have been very wary of it, and I have long thought that she would not have wanted it named after her, but after Objectivism, so that the focus was on *ideas*. And I think the reason she would be wary of it is the ongoing potential for misrepresentation of her ideas or attracting power-lusters wanting to capitalize on her name/philosophy, both of which occured at NBI. I also do not think that she would have been happy to see people associated with such an organization implicitly asserting that they are the e.g. "Objectivist authority on physics" or other non-philosophic areas.

I think the key for any organization promoting Objectivism to retaining integrity is to always stay focused on presenting Ayn Rand's ideas precisely as she wrote or talked about them in her lifetime.

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I think the key for any organization promoting Objectivism to retaining integrity is to always stay focused on presenting Ayn Rand's ideas precisely as she wrote or talked about them in her lifetime.

I wonder if calling it the Ayn Rand Institute has played any role in doing this? So many people have tried to claim ownership of her ideas that even though she may not have approved of the use of her name, it does remind people whose philosophy it was.

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There is a lot of talk about what shrugging could mean - let me bring up a more concrete example (no more colbalt atom bomb examples :wacko: )...

Today there is much discussion going on about the "Mileage Tax", a new scheme to tax productive people when they are driving their cars. Basically we are talking about a GPS based device attached to the car. Hacking, enclosing the device in a Faraday cage, etc. would be a form of "shrugging" against a blatantly evil scheme. In fact hacking the government and hamstringing it with it's own bloated regulations is both useful and entertaining.

I guess you might call this "Monkey Wrench" shrugging - if done with intelligence and creativity it could be done is such a way as to demonstrate both the impotence of socialistic schemes and make you laugh.

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I guess you might call this "Monkey Wrench" shrugging - if done with intelligence and creativity it could be done is such a way as to demonstrate both the impotence of socialistic schemes and make you laugh.

That's not what "shrugging" means. To "shrug" is a complete withdrawal from the reach of government, so that it cannot directly or indirectly benefit from your values. Direct benefits would be tax revenue and market growth from your material production. Indirect benefits may be intellectual, any ideas that could be used to minimize the damage caused by the state. A “shrug” necessarily means hiding from the government and denying contact to anyone still under its authority. While I think this new phrase, “going Galt”, is a healthy reaction to the outrageous intrusions of government into the economy, I agree with ewv that these people don’t really understand the meaning of the strike in Atlas Shrugged. There’s a reason why Rearden and Dagny resisted to the idea so strongly. To save their values they had to be willing to destroy their life’s work, without knowing when or if it would be safe to resume it. This is not the kind of choice anyone, if they really understand it, should endorse so easily or with such a superficial motive as “sticking it to the man”.

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I think the key for any organization promoting Objectivism to retaining integrity is to always stay focused on presenting Ayn Rand's ideas precisely as she wrote or talked about them in her lifetime.

I wonder if calling it the Ayn Rand Institute has played any role in doing this? So many people have tried to claim ownership of her ideas that even though she may not have approved of the use of her name, it does remind people whose philosophy it was.

The same thought occurred to me. After all, those from whom Ayn Rand explicitly disassociated herself were/are behind TOC, and naming that organization 'Objectivist' clearly does not indicate understanding and advocacy of Ayn Rand's ideas. So maybe naming ARI was sort of like Ayn Rand using "Objectivism" rather than Existentialism to name her philosophy. She did that because Existentialism was already associated with a philosophy in diametric opposition to her own. In the same way, it may be that the decision to name ARI after Ayn Rand, instead of Objectivism, grew out of the desire not to be confused with an organization run by enemies of Objectivism, despite its name.

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I guess you might call this "Monkey Wrench" shrugging - if done with intelligence and creativity it could be done is such a way as to demonstrate both the impotence of socialistic schemes and make you laugh.

That's not what "shrugging" means. To "shrug" is a complete withdrawal from the reach of government, so that it cannot directly or indirectly benefit from your values. Direct benefits would be tax revenue and market growth from your material production. Indirect benefits may be intellectual, any ideas that could be used to minimize the damage caused by the state. A “shrug” necessarily means hiding from the government and denying contact to anyone still under its authority. While I think this new phrase, “going Galt”, is a healthy reaction to the outrageous intrusions of government into the economy, I agree with ewv that these people don’t really understand the meaning of the strike in Atlas Shrugged. There’s a reason why Rearden and Dagny resisted to the idea so strongly. To save their values they had to be willing to destroy their life’s work, without knowing when or if it would be safe to resume it. This is not the kind of choice anyone, if they really understand it, should endorse so easily or with such a superficial motive as “sticking it to the man”.

Agreed. The current John Galt fixation, though certainly welcome, is a decidedly mixed-bag affair and for precisely the reason you mention -- that is the convenience of superficial motivation. I would add, however, that one ought not to dismiss out of hand the possibility that, for some, a decision to "shrug" at the present time may well be one that is thoughtfully and rationally considered. This is necessarily a very personal process. To extend a blanket of censure over all who choose to "shrug" today is to deny the possibility of thoughtfulness and rationality on the part of all who make that decision. To do so is inappropriate. To substitute the context of one's own particular experience for that of another person -- especially for another person with whom one is not intimately connected -- is doubly so.

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I should add that while I am dismayed by some of their recent actions (and inactions), I am certainly a supporter of ARI/ARC. No other organization comes close to the job they're doing in promoting Objectivism in America.

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I would rather fight for my values and lose, than hide away somewhere and never have tried to achieve anything.

Are those the only alternatives? How about persuing one's values in a way that does not enrich the looters? I know at least one person who's doing exactly that, and succeeding.

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I guess you might call this "Monkey Wrench" shrugging - if done with intelligence and creativity it could be done is such a way as to demonstrate both the impotence of socialistic schemes and make you laugh.

That's not what "shrugging" means. To "shrug" is a complete withdrawal from the reach of government, so that it cannot directly or indirectly benefit from your values. Direct benefits would be tax revenue and market growth from your material production. Indirect benefits may be intellectual, any ideas that could be used to minimize the damage caused by the state. A “shrug” necessarily means hiding from the government and denying contact to anyone still under its authority. While I think this new phrase, “going Galt”, is a healthy reaction to the outrageous intrusions of government into the economy, I agree with ewv that these people don’t really understand the meaning of the strike in Atlas Shrugged. There’s a reason why Rearden and Dagny resisted to the idea so strongly. To save their values they had to be willing to destroy their life’s work, without knowing when or if it would be safe to resume it. This is not the kind of choice anyone, if they really understand it, should endorse so easily or with such a superficial motive as “sticking it to the man”.

Shrugging indeed can mean that, not only am I not going to cooperate with the governmental system per say and withdraw from it, but indeed can mean to actively fight against it with those same intellectual and material values. I don't see why you would think one could not go with the other - case in point from AS, Francisco.

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Shrugging indeed can mean that, not only am I not going to cooperate with the governmental system per say and withdraw from it, but indeed can mean to actively fight against it with those same intellectual and material values. I don't see why you would think one could not go with the other - case in point from AS, Francisco.

Francisco did not remain outside of the Valley in order to fight against the culture. He remained because he had produced too much to safely leave it behind. This is the reason he took the role of the playboy, to tend to the destruction of his business personally without raising suspicion. If he had simply abandoned his work, it would have been nationalized by the looters, negating the whole point of "shrugging".

To be clear, I am not advocating this choice today and certainly not saying that this is one's only option. My point is that other options, including the one you mention, do not qualify as shrugging. The term is not something you can redefine to mean "fighting the government", because that's not what it means.

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Also, you may want to reread Atlas if you do not understand this point. The revelation in the novel is that none of the destruction was possible without the sanction of the victim. To "shrug" means to remove that sanction, to refuse to produce the means by which your enemies are able to destroy you. Think of Atlas, suffering under the weight of the world. How does he get rid of this suffering? (hint: not with a colbalt atom bomb)

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Also, you may want to reread Atlas if you do not understand this point. The revelation in the novel is that none of the destruction was possible without the sanction of the victim. To "shrug" means to remove that sanction, to refuse to produce the means by which your enemies are able to destroy you. Think of Atlas, suffering under the weight of the world. How does he get rid of this suffering? (hint: not with a colbalt atom bomb)

The atom bomb was somewhat tongue in cheek, although it certainly would serve as an effective deterrent: "I'm shrugging now...and leave me the hell alone, or else"

Your describe shrugging as "removing the the sanction of the victim" - My initial point was that I was not only going to remove the sanction, but where necessary chop off the hand that reaches out to take it back from me. Perhaps it would be better called "shrugging with attitude".

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Ed Cline, one of the wisest and most astute commentators around, is heartened by the extent of the protests and stirrings that have occurred:

... The world seems to be emerging from a moral and intellectual coma, perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. It is discovering that other ideas have other consequences, as well, ideas that promote life, promote prosperity, promote ambition and personal success, and that they are possible only in political freedom, and that this freedom has been violated, abridged, and nullified by the first set of ideas. True, politics is the last thing to be affected by a philosophical revolution. But one cannot help but be pleased with how startled the collectivists and altruists are now by the knowledge that they have not successfully pulled a fast one on Americans. These Americans have come knocking on the doors of elitists or leaning over the café railings or invading their legislated smoke-free bars and restaurants to ask: What in hell do you think you are doing?

Read it all at http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5463

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