"Who Is John Galt?"

When I was reading that book, in high school or college, I thought the writing was good, but jeez, yes, we get it. We get it already! Stop making the same point over and over again! We get it, OK?

Then, I got to the 90 page radio speech, once again making the exact same points over and over again, and about 10 pages in, I just skipped to the end of the speech. I remember thinking, OK, when does this end…what, it’s still going? <flip, flip flip> WTF? <flip, flip, flip> Holy crap!

When I found the end, I’m pretty sure it was 90 pages long in the paperback version I was reading.

Only Randians truly like Ayn Rand, they can’t get enough of it. And apparently they existed before she did, they just needed someone to feed them.

Eric Starvo Galt was one of the fake names used by James Earl Ray. After Dr. King was murdered, the name was widely publicized; his actual name was revealed after he was nabbed.

Give the lady a break. She was born on Groundhog Day.


Ah, it all makes sense now.

What, they can’t feed themselves?

Too much regulation of the various food industries. It’s a wonder any of them lived long enough to receive her Truth.

My then girlfriend gave it to me to read when I went out on submarine patrol. Two months underwater with nothing else to do. I seriously resented the time reading those godawful monologues that I could have spent staring at the bulkhead or greasing the relative bearings.

Another patrol I read Satanic Verses and developed a nuanced appreciation for the fatwah. That book wasn’t blasphemous; it was just profoundly boring.

The “who is John Galt?” element in the novel seems to me emblematic of Ayn Rand’s general lack of insight about human behavior. The grandiosity of the conceit that a planet-full of people (or at least a nation-full) would be obsessed with one person is a narcissist’s bad reading of how people actually do think.

Of course my dim view of Rand may be influenced by my experience of Rand fans. The guy in graduate-school housing who never, ever cleaned up after himself, and never, ever stopped talking about how Superior Randian persons such as himself were above such things, may have soured my opinion a bit.

I’d say John Galt is Nicola Tesla, based on the fact that the ‘motor’ is obviously Tesla’s electrostatic turbine. Tesla ended up in an engineering rabbit hole trying to transmit electrical power without wires. John Galt ran off to establish a commune where elitists somehow became workers.

In 1949 I attended Galt Joint Union High School in Galt California. Maybe John ended up in wine country and got a school named after him.

Last week I saw a car with a “Who is John Galt?” Bumper sticker. I wonder what that person is trying to say. Maybe E believes E is one of those rare geniuses to whom we should all defer?

FWIW a co-worker of mine’s car sports a ‘Who is John Galt?’ license plate frame. He’s very much an “I’ve got mine” type who fears the government is going to take his money and give it to the poor. ( his words ) and is pro-worker ( as opposed to pro-business ) only as it applies to his situation.

Eh, I not only enjoy it, it’s in my pantheon of novels. A 1950s science fiction drama where the science doesn’t work (and, really didn’t work in the 50s either, lol), but the fascinating thing to me is that it… in my experience… is the only apocalyptic end-of-civilization story I read where civilization is failing because of philosophical contradictions.

I even enjoy its faults - Ayn Rand is possibly the worst writer of sex scenes in serious literature, for a minor criticism, and, of course, her philosophy is laughable and she completely misses the point about what makes men evil… but, then, as mentioned below, she’s working through issues. She thinks she’s being logical, but she’s working through issues.

And there’s Ms Rand herself, a Russian emigre who was so pissed at how her family was treated that she decided to learn English, establish a new philosophical train of thought, effectively working through her personal issues via philosophy-dense science fiction novels, all while starting a cult of personality. What a life!

The last five years have been especially enjoyable to me, getting blocked by Trump-supporting Randian after Trump-supporting Randian by asking questions like “So, is Jared Kushner Wesley Mouch… or is that Steve Mnuchin?” or “When Trump uses tax money to enrich his properties, is he being a Randian ‘moocher’ or a Randian ‘looter’? I’m confused on this issue and want some clarification, thx!”. Given that Atlas Shrugged provided much of the Libertarian justification for their beliefs, and that having a “businessman” like Donald Trump as President was the closest thing to having John Galt take over, a lot of Rand fans were also Trump fans, even though he was precisely what she argued against. And I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. It’s the smell of Conservatism.

And, to close it off, I will quote something I said in one of the Rush Limbaugh threads:

Buncha people who adore a novel where business owners nationwide decide to no longer work, preferring to do odd jobs in Galt’s Gulch, are now freaking out that their ex-employees have decided to no longer work for them anymore, preferring to do odd jobs in America.


I’m tempted to read The Satanic Verses now. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and another book one summer I forget the title of that was some mash of scifi and philosophy and I feel like Satan was the narrator/hero/grandpa telling stories. I remember the title being “Lies my grandfather told me” but Google searching didn’t turn up any results about a book like that.

I figure The Satanic Verses would be a fitting third book in a trilogy of philosophical books that I rue having read.

Since this is bumped anyway…

Galt Toys is still going. I think I’ve bought a few of their products over the years.

Yeah, Rushdie is a good teller of fables but his long novels don’t really hang together. He should stick to things like “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”, tbh.

As for “Who is John Galt?”, it’s like “Who is Q?” - the answer for both is “A fictional entity promoting a highly delusional and dysfunctional worldview and adored by a lot of petty selfish idiots with fewer critical thinking skills than your average dustmite”.

If ruing is your objective, one of my shipmates gave me The Prince before he left the boat (I would say that I don’t know what he was trying to tell me, but I know exactly what he was trying to tell me). It wasn’t bad, but there was not nearly as much back-stabbing and poisoning as you might hope for from a 16th C Italian political intriguer.

Yet another patrol, I read a collection of early-20th-C LifeHaxx. The only one I remember [*], and which I still use thirty years later, is to never use water or shaving cream when I shave. The theory being that nicks come from dull blades and dull blades come from corrosion and corrosion comes from moisture (the book went on for pages about this in a quaintly serifed font). It’s probably unmitigated BS, but I only change the cartridge in my razor two or three times a year and I absolutely never cut myself anymore. It has been pointed out to me that I’ve had a full beard for most of that time, but if I don’t regularly shave my neck and cheeks, I look like a tumbleweed.

Lest anyone think I’ve lost track of what thread we’re in, I sometimes wonder if I’ve stumbled upon a secret stash of razor blades forged from Rearden Metal. Perhaps these immortal shaving cartridges are the gateway to the hours of tedious speeches and violent, dysfunctional sex that I’ve been pining for.

[*] There was something else in there about bad vision being caused by wearing glasses and that the key to perfect sight was to stare intently at the spaces between words… or at the periods… or something…

I never did get that one to work.

Questions of quality aside, I wouldn’t really compare Satanic Verses to Atlas Shrugged. SV isn’t meant to be didactic. It’s not a lecture about Islam disguised as a novel, it’s a novel about a person struggling with schizophrenia and a disconnection with his Indian Muslim heritage, who has frequent hallucinations involving Islamic religious imagery and history, including a lot of parallels to the life of Mohammed. It’s certainly possible to read those parallels as saying that Mohammed, himself, was probably also just a crazy guy, but I don’t think that’s the author’s actual intent. Rushdie is a post-modernist and a magical realist, and ambiguity and subjectivity are major themes in his work, which generally make them poor vehicles for delivering an ideology.

Hell, stereo records didn’t exist when this thread was created !!

Those never worked for me. I never found a player that could play both records at once.