ARE YOU JOHN GALT?

August 13, 2012

Mitt Romney's announcement of Paul Ryan as his running mate, excited the conservative base, rallied the tea party and brought about a string a smear attacks from the Obama campaign which are unparallelled in American history.

The Romney-Ryan ticket will make this 2012 campaign more about ideological differences between the Democrats and the GOP, than it will on the failed policies of the Obama White House.

That said, let me move on to a captivating comment which is sure to cause heads to spin. The Romney-Ryan ticket is not one that John Galt would support, but he probably wouldn't encourage his band of objectivists to strike against them.  John Galt, if he were a real person, would have led the striking crusade on January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was sworn in.

Okay, Okay, I seem to be hooked on Ayn Rand's John Galt character of late and for that I make no apologies. Rand wrote her novel Atlas Shrugged in 1957 at a time the U.S. and the Soviet Union were speeding up the arms race and the Communist infiltration into the American culture was becoming apparent.

The book was Rand's magnum opus and illustrated her worldview of objectivism, a philosophy which says reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness and that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez faire capitalism. 

Rand characterized objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth," grounded in reality, and aimed at defining human nature and the nature of the world in which we live."

In short, Rand was anti-communist. She was anti-collectivist, something which our current President and most Democrats oppose today.

John Galt, as you may recall from my column last week, represents societies most productive citizens who refuse to be exploited by increasing taxation and government regulations and go on strike. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the minds that drive society's growth and productivity. In their efforts, these people "of the mind" hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where every person is a slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society.

Having identified John Galt, now I ask the question of his presence. Where is John Galt? Perhaps the Romney-Ryan team will allow for the question -- certainly team Obama won't. Where is the entrepreneur who best illustrate Rand's fictional hero? Certainly, emulating Galt is a challenge as he is a fictional hero who seems larger-than-life. But it is hardly an impossible feat; the late billionaire co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was a true-to-life John Galt.

If you are an entrepreneur, I challenge you to pick the role model you most identify with—Galt or Jobs—and take action before you lose your profits, freedom and ability to innovate.

Entrepreneurs can no longer stand by and “take it” when the federal government unveils excessive taxes and regulations. Instead, they must push Congress for their overhaul.

Repeat this loudly if you are an entrepreneur: "Get the hell out of my way!" This was Galt's response to the government puppets trying to control him. Jobs, a lifelong Democrat, also took this attitude toward the federal government. Jobs told Obama that he needed to ease up on regulating businesses and catering to unions or American jobs would inevitably flow to China. He also challenged Obama’s notion that every American should get a (taxpayer-subsidized) four-year college degree. Galt too balked at how higher education was becoming a branch of the state.

Both Galt and Jobs believed that entrepreneurs, not the federal government, should retain ownership and oversight over production. If the government is telling you as an entrepreneur how to run your business or if you are spending more time filling out forms for government inspectors than you are growing your business, then you must speak up.

‘The guilt is ours… If we who were the movers, the providers, the benefactors of mankind, were willing to let the brand of evil be stamped upon us and silently to bear the punishment for our virtues—what sort of “good” did we expect to triumph in the world?’ steel magnate and friend of Galt, Henry Rearden, ponders in Atlas Shrugged.

Rand’s philosophy is that when someone creates something, they have a moral obligation to oversee its production. For example, when the government tries to use Rearden’s metal for a mystery “Project X,” he says: “I do not wish to sell my Metal to those whose purpose is kept secret from me. I created that Metal. It is my moral responsibility to know for what purpose I permit it to be used.”

If you don’t speak up, and your company achieves success, the government will use your name to try marketing socialist policies to the American public. The government stooges in Atlas Shrugged did this with a gun to Galt’s back as they pitched the “John Galt Plan.” President Obama essentially did this when he used Steve Jobs’ name (after he was dead and could no longer defend himself) at the 2012 State of the Union Address where he pitched socialist policies like the Buffett Rule as a way to create “…the next Steve Jobs.”

You can’t protest the federal government alone. You must recognize and recruit other entrepreneurs and bring out the best in them. Encourage them to push themselves, be courageous and join you in defending entrepreneurial freedom in the marketplace. Both Galt and Jobs did this.

When Galt walked off the job at a company (Twentieth Century Motor) that had become a socialized bureaucracy, he said: “I went out to become a flame-spotter. I made it my job to watch for those bright flames in the growing night of savagery, which were the men of ability, the men of the mind—to watch their course, their struggle, and their agony—and to pull them out… I gave them the pride they did not know they had.”

Galt brought his ‘men of the mind’ into a secluded community called Galt’s Gulch to rest, preserve their ideas and innovate freely before they would return and restore American capitalism: “The road is cleared. We are going back to the world.”

Likewise, Jobs recruited the best and brightest into Apple—a company that created wealth, jobs and built products that revolutionarily improved the lives of countless ordinary Americans. One of his employees, Debi Coleman, explained Jobs’ charismatic management style thus: “You did the impossible, because you didn’t realize it was impossible.”

Jobs also rallied his fellow Silicon Valley tech giants like Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg, John Chambers, Larry Ellison, Carol Bartz and Reed Hastings; he organized a meeting where they attempted to advise Obama on how to be more pro- business.

Galt’s motor. Jobs’ iPad. Both innovators had a vision—which they executed in a virtuous way—thereby attracting other talented people to their vision and revolutionizing the world. Now, go. Be like them.

Keep this in mind,...to be like John Galt is to defeat the collectivist mind of the Democratic Party. To be like John Galt is to oust Barack Obama in November. Are you John Galt?


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