Randian Collective Action

March 10, 2009

You know, in principle, I agree with the “Go Galt” crowd. I think its a brilliant idea to seceed, to withhold your labour and finacial support from the state. Hell, Agorists in particular and left-libertarians in general have been calling for this for ages.

My problem is, of course, is that the “Go Galt” crowd isn’t actually going to “Go Galt”. Rather than advocate refusal to pay taxes, or to disobey unjust laws and regulation or to participate in the counter-economy (and thus maintain their standard of living), they advocate what can only be described as class warfare. And their target is not the state, but, seemingly, those who aren’t “rich.”

For instance, Dr, Helen Smith, wife of Glenn Reynolds has called for the rich to stop spending, stop tipping wait staff and instead to leave them nasty notes. I’m curious how “stop spending” doesn’t equate to “stop eating in restaruants” but rather “screw over the hard working person who served you your food when you ate out in a restaruant”. I guess the revolution shouldn’t be inconvenient, eh?

Another aspect of the meme seems to be finding itself expressed in a fake “Letter from the Boss”. Yes, the “productive class” should help other’s “Go Galt” even if they don’t want to, even if those whom they are coercing into “going Galt” are members of the “productive class” themselves, who perhaps had the wrong bumper sticker on their car or supported the wrong candidate (becasue we all know John McCain would never support the kind of government action Obama is doing…right?).

It seems to me that this is merely a perversion of Rand’s ideas in order to serve the partisan political battles of statists. In other words, those who may take Rand’s words, through the character of John Galt to heart, are being duped and used by those who themselves do not believe them.

In the interests of clarity, perhaps people like Smith, and Michelle Malkin (who, it seems, never saw a Bush program she didn’t like) what their new found heroine had to say about conservatives:

The conservatives want freedom to act in the material realm; they tend to oppose government control of production, of industry, of trade, of business, of physical goods, of material wealth. But they advocate government control of man’s spirit, i.e., man’s consciousness; they advocate the State’s right to impose censorship, to determine moral values, to create and enforce a governmental establishment of morality, to rule the intellect…The conservatives see man as a body freely roaming the earth, building sand piles or factories—with an electronic computer inside his skull, controlled from Washington.

Seems to me the latest machinations about “Going Galt” are only exposing the Conservatives as the authoritarian partisan hacks they are and ironically proving Rand was right in her assessment of them.

And the irony of calling for collective action in the name if John Galt is just too delicious.

6 Responses to “Randian Collective Action”

  1. Robert Paul Says:

    Great post. Modern Randians, let alone conservatives, seem to have taken Rand’s flaws and amplified them tenfold. By the way, what is the history or connection with the “Rational Reasons” blog? Pardon my ignorance; I’m new here.

  2. theconverted Says:

    Thanks Robert.

    “Rational Reasons” is my other blog, one that I had when I was still a statist, social democrat. I still post there, but I’m trying to post here a lot more.

  3. Jeremy Says:

    Well said. I had planned a response to that “letter from the boss” that’s been going around. The sense of entitlement that flows freely from the capitalist class – without any reflection or sense of deeper thought – is astounding. Yes, government taxes business – but business gets a lot of privileges in exchange for those taxes. Yes, you’re providing people with jobs – but those people are also providing you with labor.

  4. theconverted Says:

    Jeremy,

    Yeah and the best part is, its a fake letter. Its been around, apparently, since at least 2004, where it was Kerry stickers instead of Obama stickers.

    So really, its elitist conservative fantasy porn, for mental masturbation.

  5. Kevin Carson Says:

    Maybe the first to be laid off should be the ones who, I don’t know…

    …gutted human capital, stripped assets, and hollowed out long-term productive capability to game their bonuses and stock options, wrote smarmy Hallmark Cards mission statements about “extraordinary customer service” while downsizing customer service staff, engaged in management featherbedding, consumption on the job, self-dealing, etc.

    It seems like most of the would-be “John Galts” threatening to go on strike are the very fuckups, the James Taggart types, we’d have been better off paying to stay home in the first place.

    BTW, how’s this for a letter?

    “Dear Pig:

    “I didn’t know how to choose whose bleeding heads to put on pikes, so I looked for everyone with CEO after their name and decided they’d be the first to get marched to the guillotine.

    “Sincerely,

    “Wat Tyler.”


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