The Final Put Option
Galt's Gulch Does Not Exist
Those of us who have read Ayn Rand can sometimes get too caught up in applying fiction to current reality. Yes, the state is overburdening, yes it will get larger and more obnoxious in the decade from 2010 to 2020. Finally, the man who would lead said state into a new era of statist dictates, doesn’t exactly surround himself with people who view America through a positive frame of reference.
All of that stipulated up front, its enough to make paranoid people, well, more paranoid and more and more ready to Chuck the whole thing and light out for The Territories. As Dr. Helen asked in a recent post on Pajamas Media, “Is it Time to ‘Go John Galt?’”
My answer would be not just yet and probably not ever, if it is at all morally justifiable to do so in the first palce. Just who is this John Galt character anyway?
Quite simply put, he’s the man who exercised the final put option. He was a man who believed so totally in himself that he felt his absence from America diminished America’s prospects more than his own. It wouldn’t be completely harsh or unfair to consider John Galt a legend in his own mind.
One man’s egoism is another fellow’s arrogance. Ayn Rand, as described by Alan Greenspan in his autobiography Age of Turbulence, must not have always been the most welcomed guest at a cocktail party. Nonetheless, that desire to light out for Galt’s Gulch sometimes besets even me after a frustrating day of headlines on Drudge or RCP.
Dr. Helen tees up what many of the most frustrated in America feel about the current run of political fortune. She frames the criterion or, if you will, the Strike Price, at which the put option becomes the least rancid entrée on life’s unpleasant buffet table.
Perhaps the partisan politics we are dealing with now is really just a struggle between those of us who believe in productivity, personal responsibility, and keeping government interference to a minimum, and those who believe in the socialistic policies of taking from others, using the government as a watchdog, and rewarding those who overspend, underwork, or are just plain unproductive.
Obama talks about taking from those who are productive and redistributing to those who are not — or who are not as successful. If success and productivity is to be punished, why bother? Perhaps it is time for those of us who make the money and pay the taxes to take it easy, live on less, and let the looters of the world find their own way.
So when Huey “The Kingfish” Biden tells us that a patriot wants to pay more taxes to help pump up “the little guy” it seems that confiscatory socialism looms. When Barack Obama actually uses Senator Long’s old bromide that America should “Share the Wealth”, perhaps success does become a misdemeanor punishable by confiscatory fines known as “progressive taxation.”
It may be enough to make more and more people agree with the old Socio-fascist firebrand-Senator from Louisiana and decide that “Hard work is damn near as overrated as monogamy.” Should a critical mass of the working population ever decide that way, a Chernobyl-like series of reactions ensues. At the end of this meltdown, everyone expects their portion of the wealth spread, but only a truly ingenuous sucker would be stupid enough to produce more than what biological subsistence required.
Before that sad day could occur in the Home of The Free and The Land of The Brave, a lot; a major, humongous lot, would have to go wrong with the fundamental basis of US society. I feel we have a long way to go before hard work stops being rewarded. Even in a economic policy throwback to The Carter Administration. If nothing else, breaking rocks in the hot sun does wonders for both your gluets and your pects.
Fundamentally, the wealth we earn from our work and our investments is property. Property rights are sacrosanct in America, or as close as anything secular can get to so being. It may not just be guns that a redistributionist Congressional majority would have to pry from our cold, dead fingers. Even those of us who don’t have much, do derive a lot of our patriotic sentiment and our peace of mind from the fact that what is ours, is quite simply, ours, damnit!
Cynics will laugh at this sentiment as naïve wishful thinking. They will recommend that I pay a visit to Mrs. Kelo’s abode in New London, Ct. Oh, that’s right. I can’t visit The Kelos’ house in New London.
The town council confiscated it because their per capita strip mall density just wasn’t high enough to raise adequate municipal revenue off of. Furthermore, small business owners in Oakland have had similar range wars with Dominus et Maiorus, Jerry Brown. The implication of this dialogue would be, the extent to which your overlords let you believe you really own anything depends upon which lever you pull this November.
Another bulwark against rancid, creeping statists is the Australian Secret Ballot. The elite may not like the average American very much, however, they do have to respect the iron will of the ballot box. Assuming things go the way everyone in the polling business currently portends, the Democrats have an open field to run through for two years. Then, they had better have results in line with the expectations of the great American Heartland. Lest they be voted back to their think tanks and personal injury law firms.
Again, the cynics demur and laugh up their sleeves at my ignorant cheerfulness. 105% of Indianapolis, Indiana didn’t register out of civic duty. They tell me I must believe that Mickey Mouse is a calculating swing voter or something. So maybe the whole system has been gamed, measured and rigged to propel America on a dubious road to tyranny and social equalitarianism.
So assuming the game is rigged and that we only own what our liege lords don’t confiscate from us and haul back to Castle Inverness to reward their flunkies with, what does “Going John Galt” actually entail? It wouldn’t be easy, it wouldn’t be pleasant. One of Dr. Helen’s commentators gives us a taste of the process. See if you enjoy the flavor?
I sold my business.
I sold several properties, two of them to my children at a significant “loss.” (Ka-Ching!)
I’m raising a great deal of my own food and have taken to raising sheep and poultry. All for personal consumption, not sale.
I live in a rural area, so while Andy and Bob and Charlie might buy some sheep to be raised by me, Andy is buying swine, Bob is buying beef, etc.
For the nonce, I don’t believe I’ll be joining Calamity Pete atop Ruby Ridge. Things are bad in America, for the next six to ten years, they will get progressively worse. Yet, despite my own pessimistic belief that the glass is half-full – of pure, unadulterated horse-urine, we are way better off than the vast majority of the world.
We simply don’t live the same history that prior generations of Americans had to suffer through. We can still change this country for the better. The road back from serfdom will require a steady driver. We, those of us who still believe what Conservatives believe, need to be ready to fire up that bandwagon.
We can’t make America better off by abandoning it for Galt’s Gulch. We should stand where we live, fight for what we believe in, and not activate our final put option out a frustrated fit of pique. Our great nation deserves far better than any of that.
Cross-Posted At: THE MINORITY REPORT