Tuesday, July 13, 2010

John Galt Sez...

On my way into the bank this afternoon, I walked past a van with two bumper stickers. One read "Don't Tread On Me" and featured the familiar serpent. The other said
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 mine. -John Galt
My initial thought was to wonder what kind of fantasy world people like this live in, and I'm still wondering that.

In the first place, there is not and never has been a John Galt who swore on life, love, God, or anything else. He's a fiction -- a character in a novel who never actually risked anything, sacrificed anything, or did anything at all. He's an invention of Ayn Rand, a woman whose psychological well-being depended on acolytes who sat at her feet and nodded solemnly at every banal pronouncement she made.

Anyway, I wanted to tell the owner of this car, you live in something called a society, which by its very nature implies mutual interdependence. For example, you're depending on me not to punch you in the face because I don't like your stupid bumper sticker, and should I give you a right cross, you're dependent on societal good will to sanction me.

That van you're driving? It's safe because another man fought for safety standards.

Remember that first house you bought? In all likelihood, you purchased it through a government-sponsored lending program that limited your down payment, put a ceiling on your closing costs, and made a favorable interest rate available -- all enabling you to buy a better home in a nicer neighborhood than you would have otherwise.

Every day, poor people pay for the lifestyle you enjoy.

Do you have health insurance? Your co-payments are subsidized by the uninsured. Those nice suburban hospitals? You get to use them because health care is a zero-sum game, and the suburbs have modern, up-to-date facilities in part because inner city hospitals are falling apart.

Those clothes you're wearing? You couldn't afford them unless they were made by underpaid, exploited workers in a Chinese factory.

Same with the produce you eat: All harvested by underpaid, exploited migrant workers.

You like drinking and bathing in clean water? What about eating safe food? Or sleeping soundly at night? Other men and women serving as police officers, soldiers, and sailors protect you. What about your Constitutional rights? People have died so that you can fire your penis pistol at the local shooting range.

Do the world a favor: Grow up and stop the Nathan Hale wannabe thing. It's really quite pathetic.

20 comments:

bayoucreole said...

I agree...it's quite pathetic.
Some folks on facebook have that same mentality and use their status to blast that nonsense.

Steven said...

Too true. Now, if only these people would practice what 'John Galt' preached and go away, never to depend upon the rest of us. But they won't. They love having the best of both worlds; the fictional and the real deal.

John Hayes said...

Bravo! Well said!

Roy said...

Amen! Preach it, Brother K!

The idiot with the bumperstickers seems to have forgotten that there was another flag from the Revolutionary War period, and that one said "United we stand, divided we fall."

And thanks so much for the Joe Cocker at Woodstock. I still think his version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" is the best one!

K. said...

Guys, I gotta tell you: At first I laughed it off, then my blood started to boil. The guy was probably an engineer from Microsoft who has read one novel in his life, which happened to be Atlas Shrugged. Now he knows everything there is to know about everything from a single third-rate book. If only he had read The Jungle or Invisible Man or Catch-22...

K. said...

Roy, I'll see your "united we stand" and raise you "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

And Joe is great!

Annette said...

I love it K, great answers to stupid questions.. I get so sick of hearing this crap from some of the wingnuts out there... Thanks for posting this.

John Hayes said...

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Ben Franklin

K. said...

Annette: It wasn't exactly my pleasure to post this, but it was nice to get it off my chest. Who knew a bumper sticker could cause a blood pressure spike?

John: The best pun since Shakespeare!

T. Clear said...

Brilliant, husband!

tnlib said...

Way to go. I'd love for all these people to have to give up all these things they complain about or claim they don't have - at least for 24 hours.

Love Cocker's "A Little Help . . ."
Have always wondered if that was his real name.

K. said...

tnlib: According to Wikipedia, Joe was born John Robert Cocker.

Apparently, Ayn Rand has become one of Amazon's top selling authors.

paula said...

Well put! I'll probably get hate mail for this but I'll say it anyway: You'll find many of these wingnuts in NH, where people "live free or die." That means they don't pay sales or state income tax, and don't get good state roads, good schools, good hospitals, etc., unless private colleges and rich people in leafy neighborhoods pay for them (as in Dartmouth-Hitchcock MC, and school districts in NH-sections of the Boston burbs). I don't find that anything to be proud of, myself. And, it sets a very unfriendly tone in a community, when the prevailing ethos is to not be willing to help a neighbor.

K. said...

Here's one for you, Paula!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwZhN-PFBv4&feature=related

Jerry Critter said...

Great post, K. People who say this shit should try going off by themselves, maybe in the mountains someplace, and try living without any benefits of our society.

Want to take bets on how long they will survive?

K. said...

They'd survive about as long as it would take them to drink a canteen of water. Vegas wouldn't gives odds on anything more.

paulah said...

K--thanks! There are soooo many reasons not to live in the Granite State, or any place that values isolationism. It's hard to remember something like that when you have a gun in your hand, I guess.

Darlene said...

In the beginning of the video Joe Cocker looks like he just heard Sarah Palin was elected president. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

To understand the logic of your points requires intelligence and the guy with the bumper stickers, and his ilk, obviously don't have any.

Christine H. said...

While not typical of all Americans, I think this is a very American viewpoint, which goes along with the "I'm a free man, so I can do whatever I want" viewpoint. Our national emphasis on the individual rather than the community probably helps to nurture a lot of geniuses and success stories in business, science, music, and industry, but it also has a dramatic downside.

K. said...

Darlene: Thanks! We try!

Christine: I've been thinking about your comment, and it deserves a better response than I can give here. So, look for a blog entry soon!