1916 WHO IS JOHN GALT?
Over the weekend- my habit is now to watch a couple of documentaries from Netflix.
I always got into them- but with the Rocu thing- I can start a few at a time- and then pick up right where I left off.
I’m watching the Cosmos- Carl Sagan [excellent by the way].
Just started Greek Civilization- narrated by one of my favorite actors- Liam Nessen.
And I caught a short one on Ayn Rand- the now famous author of Atlas Shrugged.
I have never read any of Rand's stuff- she is a novelist- and I don’t read them.
But- she is also a philosopher- the founder of the system called Objectivism.
And her works and thought are more known right now because a movie was made about the book- Atlas Shrugged.
Rand taught a system that said mans main purpose in life is the pursuit of his/her own happiness.
Now- she was not a strict Hedonist- she also taught that man should be productive- should be a contributing member of society- and should be free to excel- to ‘make it’ without the state making the rich guy feel bad about it.
Yes- back to the 99 versus the 1.
As you can see- that’s why her work has made it back into the collective consciousness at this point in time.
The other day we went to see my friend John at the hospital- I took Henry [John Henry], John from Arlington- Andy- and of course myself.
The day before we went to the bookstore- and I met father John- a nice Catholic Priest.
The guys were calling John [from Arlington] Joe.
I told Henry 'no- his name is John’.
Henry quipped ‘too many John’s’
In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]
Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.
These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.
Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.
‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.
There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].
He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.
The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.
The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.
So- he shrugs- and walks away.
A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.
She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.
Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.
She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.
She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.
But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].
She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.
To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.
But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.
Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.
I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.
In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.
In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.
We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.
Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.
The state- govt. - according to scripture- has the right to tax.
Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.
Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.
In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.
From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.
That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.
But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.
No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.
In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.