Going Galt: on my planet we call it “striking” by mattsteinglass
March 13, 2009, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Conservatism

Hilzoy has another good post on the bizarre misinterpretations of “Atlas Shrugged” that are going around. I’ve never read the book. And I’m not going to; I read “We the Living” once, when I was 15, and I found it immature and derivative. But I still find it baffling that a supposed icon of laissez-faire individualist ideology apparently rests on a scenario in which a bunch of people form a league and all quit working simultaneously in order to demand higher pay and better working conditions. Where I come from, we call that “organizing a union” and “going on strike”.

I guess Rand’s insight was that when regular workers go on strike and show society it can’t function without them in order to demand better compensation, something that happens every month, that’s just “looting and mooching”. Whereas if the richest people in the world were to form a union to do the same thing, that would be a triumph of the human spirit. Of course the rich, unlike regular workers, have never actually tried to show the world that they’re indispensable. Which is probably because they’re not.* What’s that you say – Vikram Pandit is refusing to run Citibank anymore? Hm. I imagine an adequate scab or two will soon cross that picket line.

* Except for Steve Jobs, obviously.


2 Comments so far
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Dude, your point doesn’t make sense, based on the events that take place in the book. The people don’t “go on strike.” They move and build their own “utopia,” in which they continue to work, but only for one another. This utopia obviously doesn’t make sense (it’s fiction), but the point isn’t that people just stop working altogether. I disagree with Rand about many, many things, but you really should be familiar with a work before you invoke it in order to criticize.

Comment by anon

Based on the fact that Rand’s original working title for the book was “The Strike”, I would disagree.

Comment by mattsteinglass

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