Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GO already.

I'm reading lately about a lot of people who think they need to "Go Galt" -- people who are appalled at President Obama's intention to allow the top tax rates in the US to return to what they were before Bush lowered them. He'll allow them to return to the levels they were at during the 1990s, that horrible period of economic malaise and hardship that nobody in their right mind ever wants to repeat. What does "Go Galt" mean? Well, who knows, really. It refers to the colossally stupid premise of the colossally stupid, and yet oddly revered by right-wingers, book by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, in which all the rich geniuses who run things pack up their stuff and go off to live in their own little rich Shangri-La while the rest of us all go belly-up or something. Yeah.

I'm reminded of something I was always taught when I was in restaurant management: when an employee, any employee, either threatens to quit or actually does quit, you always let them go. Nobody is ever irreplaceable. Nobody. The answer to the ultimatum-droppers was always the same: "Tomorrow morning we're unlocking those doors and serving our customers and running our business whether you are here or not." Well, the same thing applies to all the would-be John Galts out there: when you go, nobody's going to much miss you. Your positions will be filled and the world will go on.

So, please, if you really want to Go Galt, then by all means, go. Have a nice time. Enjoy cleaning your own hotel rooms and cooking all your own meals and growing your own food and building your own roads to drive on and everything else. By all means, go. More for the rest of us.

Here's DougJ from Balloon Juice on this:

These are good points, but I think there’s been too much emphasis on what idiots these people are and not enough on how childish they are. Quitting work because of a slight tax increase isn’t akin to anything from any sort of philosophy, not even one as crude and simplistic as Ayn Rand’s; it’s more akin to a child’s decision to take his ball and go home. It’s probably worse, though, since when a typical ten year-old gets home, stops crying, and wipes his nose, he doesn’t then fantasize about how the world will now suffer from the loss of his inestimable brilliance. I don’t know if Vincent Gallo is a Randian or not (it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he was), but this quote summarizes Galtism in its current form perfectly: “I stopped painting in 1990 at the peak of my success just to deny people my beautiful paintings; and I did it out of spite.”

(Wow, is Vincent Gallo an ass or what? How many people out there actually feel as though their lives are lessened because he stopped painting? And he's from Buffalo. Oh well, we can't win 'em all.)

Of course, by "Going Galt" they're not actually going anywhere. Some are talking about scheming to make less money so they won't get taxed at the "new" rate (which, I point out again, is merely a resumption of the old rate). How dumb is that? If someone is actually scheming to make less money than they otherwise could because of some tax thing, it makes me wonder just what kind of genius they are in the first place.

The Right really needs to start fetishizing some better books.


Anonymous said...

Did you actually Read Atlas Shrugged? From my take on your post and as a guy who has read it perhaps 30 times, and who had a free copy given to him by the Ayn Rand Center to replace a copy lost in Aug 2007 Flood, is that you have not.

DavidS (Read Space Viking)

Anonymous said...

The ecomonics system your post suggests you are a believe in Mercantilism

DavidS (Read Space viking)

Anonymous said...

Your analogy of letting the waitress, busboy, dishwasher go is very very weak. No Skills, no-brainer entry level jobs can be let go any time. I could do the job, You could do the job, Out of high school kid could do it, College Student do it, Divorce College Professor could do it frankly most anybody could do those jobs so letting them go is not a big managerial- executive leval decision, they could be replaced tomarrow hell, today with min. level of training and still have the same level of service

but lets crank up the analogy a notch

A Doctor at a Hospital specializing in treatments that might have someday cured little Quinn, Is not being compensated by insurance companies or by medicare to make it worth is while to contiuning practicing in his specialized field. So he gives it up $500K a year, and opens a 9-5 clinc giving flu- shots and earns only $200K but misses what he loves most. But Hey Why should a guy like that put his should increadably skilled highly educated shoulder to the medical grindstone if he is not getting some of the flour being ground.

So its good he gone out of that specialized field right? The Hospital is better, the comunity better? Plus a new open slot, but does the new Doctor replacing him realy specializing in tha our is just a 'Foot in the Door" to another postion, dont worry I am certain the new guy will be equally determed to treat cases like Quinns? or will he?

But hey thats OK right? there are plenty of Doctors Specializing in Quins condiction right? And getting appointments easy right? Next week?? Try Next Fall, but dont worry Im sure you live till then.

Class Warfare and envy are very distructive to the logical and rational thinking

DavidS (Read Space Viking)

Kelly Sedinger said...

Number one: The fact that my opinion of a book differs greatly from yours does not imply that I didn't read it. I did. I thought it sucked. Now, I read it more than fifteen years ago, so I'm not at this point equipped to break it down plot point by plot point, but my experience of Ayn Rand was that she was an awful prose stylist, an appalling observer of human behavior, and a staggeringly bad logical thinker in terms of philosophy. That's my view and I'm sticking with it. I read it, and judged it crap. Lots of other people have done the same.

Number two: Please refrain from trying to emotionally goad me by attempting to tie your hypotheticals to my personal life. That crack about your Randian Super Physician curing my son is strongly testing my general inclination to not delete comments. I'm not sure if this is a typical Objectivist gambit, but I've seen this kind of thing before on other forums where I've come up against Randroids and I'm not about to entertain it on my own blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry and will refrain in the future.

Its just I have seen first hand what happens when some of these specialists are not around. I have a distant cousin in England who is dentist and he stopped seeing people who would be paying him through the "free" national health system

and my wife has an aunt in England with severe Dental problems who cant Find any one to treat her. We finally paid her treatment through my cousin at Xmas.

(Thats why I go on and on about Dentist in some of my posts. When I first became aware of the problem, I thought the system over there was absolutely NUTS. And I have complety and fully heard Both Sides of the problem)

My oldest 1st cousin was an Oil engineer in Venezuela who left when it was nationalized. He still goes every six months or so to visit friends.(he lived there 8 years) every time he visits he tells me more an more are gone, moved to Columbia or Panama, and those that are there are going on and on how bad it is and production is declining. These are the local people, the Engineers he worked with and other skilled oil roughnecks

Finally my father, He will be 90 at end of the month, His was (Heck still is) a Farmer (I am blessed that he is in good health as he is) any how his skin is tanned leather There is one skin doctor in our town, 6 month waiting for appointment. And Everytime And i do mean everytime they take something off his face, neck forehead arms or chest.

Well he retired. The next nearest Doctor a hours drive away is not taking new patients, he now drives 2 1/2 hours to see his new Doctor actually I and or my brothers and their wives drive him (My Mother says if my Father had his way he would only go to the Barn, Rotary Club and Church)

Again I apologize and wont use your personal life info in the Future.

And truly Best Wishes to You and Your Family

DavidS (Read Space Viking)

LC Scotty said...

Wow. Just wow. It really takes stones to try an argument like that with someone you've never met. Since Rand was such an advocate of reason as a moral virtue, I find it really ironic that Space Viking is using such an emotion laden appeal.

Jaq, we've hashed this out repeatedly over the years. I agree (mostly) with the ideas Rand tries to convey in "Atlas Shrugged", but going Galt is not much of a threat. The people threatening it are not the star doctors, Hank Reardons and Dagny Taggerts. Why? Because they don't exist-they're idealized figures (is caricatures appropriate here?) created to make a point. They are the limiting case as used in a mathematical analysis to test a hypothesis.

I'm not going Galt, because even with higher taxes, I still have more at the end of the day working 2 jobs than I would working 1 or none. I'm mad as hell about a lot of what our President is spending our money on, but we can work on fixing that in 2012.

This word verification is "homeshelc" Also sounds like it should be a word. You know, when you're writing and are stuck for made up words, this might be a great resource.

LC Scotty said...

Of course Space Viking apologized while I was typing...

Anonymous said...

I am not a Randian by any means but I do find it a great read.

I first read it in High School when my principle made me read it in detention. As a natural born speed reader I zipped through it in 2 days and passed a one on one quiz with him to get out of the rest of my detention

I got absolulty zero out of that read. I was just showing off

My teachers could not understand at the time why an A student was such a hellion.

A few years later At University i saw the movie "Fountainhead" and thought if this is based on a novel, I want to read it because I thought there was allot more back story there So I read Fountainhead and then Atlas and enjoyed both and have re-read them yearly ever since

As for the Ayn rand Center, one of their people ordered some stuff from my e-business, well she mis-entered some info and i emailed her and she said she would fax the info from work. Right after i got the fax she called to see if I got it...and I gushed about how I enjoyed Atlas etc etc

She asked me when the last time I read it and I told her about Aug 2007 Flood and lost 99% Books and papers for the last 30 years. How throwing away the books were harder than anything, because I had read and re-read and treasured the written word so much. So she offered to send me a set free of charge. I took up her offer.
So I felt honor bound to return the favor so I took a 1 year subscription to their newsletter.

That why I like this site so much any guy with stacks of books is somebody i like to talk too

And I read anything and everything. Walk me blindfolded in to a library and have me pick out a book 99 44/100 of the time I will enjoy it

You often see these web contests ' what character are you?

Well i m the guy from the Twilight Zone episode who is in a library vault during atomic holocaust, but then breaks his glasses

DavidS (Read Space viking) I will get something new because You did tell me you read it

I know!!! (read Star Fire by Ingo Swan)

Now Star Fire is a real trippy book and Ingo Swann is a very nutty fellow. But as a fanstasy novel, It is one hell of a fun read. This is a book I picked up in mid 70's and I re-read every couple of months

Now here is why (Semi Spoilers below)

The premise is that from out of nowhere a guy with psychic powers emerges, reads minds etc break down crystals all the regular novel cliches you seen before in books of this kind. only this guy has like 1000 times more power than averge psychic

Anyhow her is the real kicker. the guy uses this power to 'psychic" out passwords to government computers, Americans, Russians and tries to get the world to dis arm.

Sounds pretty conventional right, Hack the internet right??

Well this was written mid 70's the internet was big room full mainframes, electronic tape mainframes, pre- personal computer days when the only computers in town were at the big university and big corporations and military even your "mini" computers were the size of 2 desks and the idea of personal computers was laughable

This was the first book I read that described the internet or the web to me as we now know it. And as a plot device for the time it was mind blowing because it was true! In the 70's the internet was 100 big (for those days) computers around the world interconnected, And if You could psychic passwords and hack in the system as it was at that time you realy were "Ruler" of the world.

I guess this shows my age there was a guy on Conan Obrian talking about rotary phones and how if you had zeros in the number you would whine about the "work" of dialing all that extra way. Am now they whine they only have 3 bars of coverage

if you find a copy read it


Unknown said...

I suspect the chances of that segment of society "going Galt" will be roughly equivalent to the number of Hollywood stars and entertainers who "went Canada" when George Bush was elected.

Few and far between.

Anonymous said...

Well it the disincentive to work or to achieve your fullest potential that is disheartening I had a good friend in High School who was just simply ultra talented as a builder carpentry, electrical, plumbing he could just do it. He had allot of books that you would find in the “how to’ section of the library. Its not like he grew up with it he worked summers mowing the golf course. His father was a mail man

In school the rest of us would build a bookshelf in shop He would produce a glass door book case out of antiques roadshow. He would build the sets for the school plays and wire the lights, he would just do it. When I left for College He went into the building trades After my first year I came back, he had passed his Contractors test When I had graduated He was driving a BMW and had a wife and a big custom built home

And the houses he built and the stuff he worked on was just perfect, beautiful finished in exquisite detail a very talented craftsman through and through.

His only problem was he was a gutter degenerate gambler, Not Vegas the illegal bookies types, in few years he lost it all & divorced

But he had great skills and talents, people who knew that were glad to pay for it. He started over and in a year or so. Big House Car etc

After this he lost it all again, and again it was to Bookies etc except this time to get them off his back he robbed a bank and a day later he was arrested—the money never recovered.

3 years in prison

Let me tell you How he lives now

He lives in a Government subsidized (meaning You and I are paying for it) 2 bedroom apartment he drives a 3 year old used car.

I watched the Super Bowl at his place. It is small but big enough for his 52 inch brand new Plasma TV with Home Entertainment system and top level Cable on demand. His furniture tastes run toward IKEA. He always has the very latest Cell phones. I had a great time (It was a great game, that’s how superbowls should always be right to the finish)

He eats at all the best restaurants around and his causal ware clothes are the best.

He has dedicated his life since he got out to doing as little as he can that is viewed as income by the government. He claims he cant get work as “an ex-con” he is still in demand for his talents but it is strictly cash up front he takes just a hand full of jobs that pay in checks an very carefully reports his taxes. He told me about his income threshold. He had very very carefully figured out his visable costs car, car insurance, cable, cell phone. And has just enough income to cover that. He pays cash for absolutely everything
He has several rules,(1) no credit cards just cash. (2)Another is if you buy anything and the cost with taxes is over $2999,99 don’t buy it. And (3)never Fly in the USA (4) Never fill out warranty or rebate cards

I had a good time watching the game with my friend he seemed in good health well tanned and rested, He had been in Belize since December, Oh I forgot that part about every 2-3 months He will go on vacation 2-3 weeks sometimes a month or more and pay cash (overseas or Latin America) before the game he fired up his PC and plugged it in to the Plasma Flat Panel and showed pictures of the resort he stayed at and how far the dollar went there, Also allot of Pics of women clothed or not (never go bareback is another rule---wise man)

I enjoyed the game My friend told me the jobs he was going to do starting the next day and for the next month he had several kitchen renovations bathroom redos and laying a brick patio all cash, all earning him more money than I make 2-3 months.

Well he is worth his hire, but he could be back on top Big builder employing dozens of people having a big office.

He says “Why bother?”

I can’t wait to watch the Superbowl with him next Year. He always buys a New TV for the event. He sells his old ones to his friends. I got his 1 year old 46 inch flat panel for 100 bucks. I wont tell you what I paid him to install the Wall mount in my living room, but it was worth it.

I happen to be his landlord

DavidS (Read Star Fire Ingo Swan)