Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who is John Galt?

I hadn't planned on doing a post on Atlas Shrugged until I finished the book and the movie came out on DVD. (In sincerely feel I will need to watch it at least 3 more times before I do a review of both the book and movie.) However, I've been reading some reviews of the movie and of Rand's philosophy and I feel the need to make my opinion known, especially since the reviews from liberals have left me feeling that they either A.) never actually read the book or B.) Read it through a lens that was so skewed by liberalism that they missed the point entirely.

Here's a line from one such review.
Her [Rand] view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between "moochers" and "producers," with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The "moochers" were more or less everyone else, leading TNR's Jonathan Chait to describe Rand's thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism.
I've read this same sort of statement in at least a dozen reviews and every time I find myself banging my head into a table repeatedly. I've only seen the movie twice and I'm only about 450 pages into the book, but that's enough to let me know that these moronic reviewers really have missed the point entirely. It's the comment about the "moochers" (which is not the word Rand uses, it's "looters" in both the movie and the book) that upsets me the most. Rand never portrayed all the people, other than the "titans of industry", as looters. She only called people looters if they expected the rich to bankroll their way through life.

I'm not a titan of industry or fabulously wealthy, but under Rands philosophy I am, by no means, a looter. I've never asked the government for a handout to make my life easier. I have worked and worked hard and I get a paycheck for that work. A looter wouldn't want to work for a paycheck, they just want the rich to float them along while they produce nothing of value. Looters are the Lillian Rearden's and Wesley Mouch's of the world.

Let me see if I can break this down more simply for you. Into a story that we all recognize with ease. A story that has been made into countless movies, books, plays and musicals about men in tights, over the years.

The story of Robin Hood.

You may be thinking "How can she break the story of Atlas Shrugged down to fit any aspect of the Robin Hood story?" You would be right to wonder. From the outside it looks like the liberal fairy tale. Stealing from the rich to give to "those less fortunate". It seems to be a liberal fairy tale, unfortunately for liberals it's a conservative story under all the trimmings.

Here's why.

Forget historical context. I don't care about King John or Richard the Lionheart and who was a better king. Let's talk producers, looters, taxes and John Galt.

Who are the producers in this time period? Why, they are not rich CEOs and "titans of industry" that liberals seem to hate so much. They are farmers, hunters, blacksmiths, cobblers and seamstresses. They produce the goods that feed and clothe the peoples of Great Britain...or at least Nottingham and the surrounding area.

The story. They are being taxed and controlled to a degree that is making them destitute and unable to provide for their families. In walks John Galt...er...Robin Hood. A rich man, who has lost his riches (stolen from him by the looter that goes by the name of Sheriff of Nottingham) and he decides it's time to take back what was stolen from the producers.

He begins to lead a group of former producers who were driven out by the law of the land because they were trying to provide for their family. He doesn't tell the producers to stop producing, because they would starve and freeze if they did, but he does begin to steal back the tax money from the Sheriff.

And watch how it destroys the political system of Nottingham and, if it had continued, it would have done the same to the rest of Great Britain. The entire economic system of Nottingham was based upon placing ridiculously high taxes on the producers so that people like the Sheriff and the church could have their comforts, while doing nothing to earn them.

Who is John Galt? Robin Hood is John Galt. And which of us wasn't taught that Robin Hood was a hero when we were children? I know I was taught to see Robin Hood as a hero.

Why should John Galt be any different?

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