Who is John Galt?
In Ayn Rand’s classic, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt decides to protest the actions of those who take from the producers to “spread the wealth around” by stopping work…”stopping the motor of the world.”
What would happen if that actually occurred?
Now, I don’t want to step out of my lane here, but if it were possible, the results might be very interesting for some, and downright unpleasant for others.
Several months ago in Phoenix, Arizona, protesters of a recent employer-sanctions law (which held companies responsible for hiring illegal aliens by imposing fines, etc.) promoted a “day without an illegal”. The concept was similar to John Galt’s actions…illegal aliens, and presumedly their supporters, would stay home for a day. I think it made the local news.
But as far as I could tell, that’s about as far as the impact when, at least for me. However, I did notice a substantial improvement in the traffic flow, heard of fewer accidents on the news, and didn’t see anyone hanging around the local home improvement centers. I didn’t go to any restaurants, hotels or construction sites so I can’t gauge the impact on those businesses, or if there was an impact.
But I will say that it was a nice day to be driving around given the lighter traffic.
This example, however, focuses on a very small part of our country’s labor force. So what would happen if everyone who “produces” something took the day off. Your coffee shop would be closed, as would your dry cleaner, the super-market, gas station, restaurants…many of the places that real people frequent on a daily basis. And many of these places supply significant tax revenues to local, state and federal government agencies.
How long could the United States put up with a general strike? How long would the government?
I think that the American populace is getting angry, and not just at “Wall Street”. They are angry with the entrenched political establishment that bailed out failing business, is forcing banks to take bailout money even if they don’t want to, and now says that the three-quarter trillion dollar bailout package won’t work as quickly as people want.
Really? Even I knew that…why didn’t they say anything when they were passing it? Perhaps because the American people would have screamed even louder against the idea?
I think there’s a large number of Americans who normally just go-along-to-get-along when it comes to government action and taxes/spending. But the bailout awakened a sleeping giant, in my opinion. A giant that may not go back to sleep until after November 4th.
If it does.
So, who is John Galt? He is none of us. He is all of us.