Who is Our John Galt?
By Howard J. Warner
Who is John Galt? In 1957 Ayn Rand published her final novel, Atlas Shrugged. This magnum opus describing her philosophy of “objectivism” sought to call attention to the danger of socialism and communism and demonstrate the virtues of freedom and capitalism. Rand came to America from Russia following the 1917 communist revolution led by Lenin, which destroyed the social norms.
Who is John Galt? He is the leader of the resistance to the statists of a dystopian United States. Galt has created the intellectual and emotional genesis for unravelling the suffocating government. He has secretly organized leaders of the private corporate society that recognize the power, poor decisions, and destruction caused by incompetent government officials. They seek to withhold their expertise in a strike hoping to crash the power and control of government bureaucrats and their regulations. Rand describes how easily private entities can be coopted by corrupt government officials as they try to maintain their businesses.
Who is John Galt? He has designed a motor that can function from static electricity. Ayn Rand based her characters upon individuals she observed. Perhaps Nikola Tesla was one such model, with his motor design and Tesla Coil. Tesla rejected the rigidity of the Edison labs which stifled his innovations.
Why would government officials prevent innovation? One reason is depicted in this book: control of the populace through government power and prevention of individuality. Hank Rearden (perhaps like Andrew Carnegie) is a steel magnate who has developed a new and lighter steel which will make others obsolete. His alloy is rejected by government regulators. Dagny Taggert (perhaps like Cornelius Vanderbilt) runs the family railroad which uses Rearden metal to build her “John Galt” line which is condemned by regulators. Rand admired creative, innovative entrepreneurs as opposed to mediocrities.
John Galt is captured by officials and tortured until rescued by his supporters. Galt’s threat to their power cannot be tolerated by the officials. In China, the communist government refused to acknowledge the danger of the coronavirus. They silenced doctors that tried to warn the world, lied about the virus’ infectivity (human to human), and refused USA CDC professional help. The Chinese government allowed the whistleblower to die. They are the end result of accumulated power by politicos.
John Galt is not perfect, but he takes a stand. Donald Trump is not either. Trump tried to calm the hysteria that the media helped whip up. As he lost control of the narrative, he adapted to the realities and changed the focus to ramp up the national response. Flexibility is his strong suit. Political acumen is another quality that he possesses. His poll numbers have increased due to his handling of this crisis.
Will the coming recession or depression lessen Trump’s re-electoral prospects? He has determined that the health of Americans must come first. John Galt decided his life paled when compared to the health of the nation. His movement must continue if he was lost. Trump has created a movement that must be sustained whether he wins re-election or not. Trump’s leadership on this crisis will be judged in November. Despite this tumult, he will prevail.
In January Trump halted air travel between the U.S. and China. He was excoriated as a racist for this action. This may have been the most important tactic in reducing infectivity. He soon declared a national health emergency. Early on he tried to allay fears by downplaying the seriousness at the time. The press now attacks him for that effort, as sending mixed messages. By mid-February the narrative from the press became alarmist. Parents started withholding their children from school and public events. As March approached, it was apparent that panic was overtaking the nation. Stores found it difficult to stock shelves adequately. This encouraged more fear.
The past three weeks have moved a warp speed. The governors have great control over health care within the states. Since ObamaCare was passed, the financial pressures upon our private health-care system have been enormous. Scarcity of resources can be managed by reduced services and facilities or by increasing the price for these services. As the government takes greater control over our healthcare it places additional pressures to reduce costs (it must pay through taxes). Hence there are now insufficient beds and IC units (with ventilators) to care for the coming COVID-19 burden. This is not Trump’s fault, but the governors that limited operating costs.
Use of the Defense Production Act of 1950 nationalizes industries. Trump (as Galt) prefers to allow voluntary private efforts to be utilized first. If problems arise then the White House can use the DPA to effect change. The press and opposition do not see this since they prefer a statist approach. While for three years the press called Trump a dictator, now they want him to be more dictatorial. There is no getting it right in their eyes.
Governing is a balancing act. Trump became wealthy by innovation. He had some failures along the way and had to shed gambling hotels when there was a downturn in the economy. If one approach fails, then another must be tried. The media questions his judgement and statements regarding the use of masks and trials of medications because they are not flexible or creative. They are the mediocrities that Rand warned about. Mobilizing the federal resources does not mean instantaneous production.
It takes time to move from a normal economy to one geared for warfare. The ability to shift factories from alcoholic beverage production to hand sanitizer may seem easy, but it requires regulatory changes that the White House quickly arranged. So much for governmental control. The same issue concerns building ventilators which is technologically different from automobile production. Again, the White House will facilitate the change.
Trump has desired to devolve centralized power from federal authority to states and localities. During this endeavor he has giving governors freedom to manage their states as suits their circumstances. The federal government functions in a supportive role. When FEMA is activated the agency again supports the localities. The conflict between Democrats and Republicans over the third legislative piece demonstrates this difference where Democrats seek greater influence over economic segments. Eventually a compromise will be reached.
Who is John Galt? My daughter suggested that Donald Trump is John Galt. Donald J. Trump faces a news media that falsely depicts him and American Society, much in the way John Galt was pitted against the anti-capitalist regime in Rand’s manifesto. Just as Galt rose up with the help of ingenious business owners, Trump will do the same to overcome this epidemic. Partnerships with the private sector will give us a positive outcome. In the end he will succeed in reversing the influence of the left, the media, and socialist leadership within the Democratic party. Trump is a determined man.