I Am John Galt
When Paul Ryan was announced as the Republican Vice President nominee, much of the early news focused on his association with the philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand. Here is one representative article Everything Ayn Rand Taught Paul Ryan on Huff Post Business.
At about the same time, I stumbled across this book co-authored by Donald L. Luskin and Andrew Greta. As described on Amazon, this book “It’s been both a cry in the dark and a call to arms for generations of readers of Ayn Rand’s great novels—which brilliantly portray a world like ours, a world of both great achievement and great crisis. This book answers that question. I Am John Galt introduces you to the real-life titans who’ve lived their lives like Rand’s fictional heroes and the malefactors who’ve lived like her fictional villains.”
This is a great book and a perfect primer to & reminder of Ayn Rand’s (AR) philosophy of Objectivism. This book’s goes well beyond philosophical theory by presenting current day application examples that compare the Villains and Victors from her two works of fiction – first Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged.
[Note: AR does not use the term Victor. These are my term s that I use to describe the three states of chosen existence – Victim, Villain or Victor].
Bill Gates-Henry Reardon (Atlas Shrugged)
T.J. Rodgers –Francisco d’Aconia (Atlas Shrugged)
Milton Friedman-Hugh Akston (Atlas Shrugged)
Paul Krugman-Ellsworth Toohe (Fountainhead)
Angelo Mozilo-James Taggart (Atlas Shrugged)
Barney Frank-Wesley Mouch (Atlas Shrugged)
Alan Greenspan-Robert Stadler (Atlas Shrugged)
The book opens with a sixteen page introduction that concisely presents Objectivism and insights about Ayn Rand along with descriptions of her two seminal works. The chapters alternate between the Victors and Villains. The Afterword summarizes each character with suggestions on how to exemplify the Victors while rejecting the Villains.
Only two of the Victims/Villains appear to have actually directly subscribed to Ayn Rand’s philosophy – John Allison and Alan Greenspan. Others illustrate the precept that fact & fiction can seamlessly intertwine.
John Allison is bank president turned college professor/respected thinktanker. While a bank president, each employee was required to read Atlas Shrugged and use the following ten values.
- Reality – acceptance v denial
- Reason – “active mind”
- Independent Thing – to be responsible for yourself
- Productivity – a gut level commitment to getting the job done
- Honesty – ethical conduct 24/7, complete transparency
- Integrity – always acting consistently with one’s philosophy
- Justice – award superior performance and deal with nonperformance
- Pride – live the values consistently
- Self-Esteem – doing excellent work, “IF you do not want to work hard, work somewhere else.”
- Teamwork – “traders principle”
Each great book always leads to more excellent reading. In this case here, the next book is Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. A companion PBS mini-series can be watched on YouTube. Then at some point in the near future, I need to re-read Fountainhead then Atlas Shrugged.
John Galt’s Oath
The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man,
nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine.
I submit that there is a little of John Galt in each of us who hold life, liberty and freedom dear.