John Galt exited, and the world shrugged

This is an embarrassing incident that happened in 2006: My wife and I went to see the remastered version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at a local theater, I want it say in Bozeman, but the memory feels more like Billings, Montana. There were five people in the theater that night. We sat in the back, and several rows in front of us were three who, as the movie went along, were able to recite every line.

The embarrassment is that we went to see a movie whose time had long passed, the importance and humor of which was exaggerated in my mind.

I imagine that others had a similar experience as the movie Atlas Shrugged played to immense empty houses in 2011.

Which reminds me: A certain man I know, let’s call him Bob Bilby, made a profound life choice in 2007. Bob is an engineer, and helped design and build bridges and tunnels. Fed up with what he called “leeches and bums” feeding off of his enormous wealth output, Bob decided to “go Galt,” and retire to a cabin in the mountains at an undisclosed location.

He began to notice something from his cabin retreat – bridges and tunnels were still being built and widely used. And … no one was looking for him.

In 2009, Bob Bilby quietly rejoined society, and now authors a blog.

I make fun of Rand and Randians. A post from years ago, “Was Ayn Rand a Sociopath?,” still draws readers and comments. But I am familiar with a certain element within our ranks – people who live off of the output of others. They are called “children,” “disabled,” “students,” and to a smaller degree, trust babies and lazy bums.

Our output is enormous, large enough to support all of them, so we do not have a problem with stretched resources. Distribution of those resources is a problem, as by luck and happenstance a large percentage of our wealth ends up in a few hands.

Those who enjoy good fortune and are able to amass a fortune often imagine that luck and happenstance had nothing to do with it. They imagine themselves not just more talented, but immensely so, and not lucky, but rather entitled.

Sometimes they go Bob Bilby on us. I imagine once retired to their cabin in the woods, they begin to grow in depth and humanity, and become the anti-Rand versions of themselves, humbler, more welcoming and accepting of people as we are. They begin to realize that we’re all part of one being, all in various stages of development, many in need of a reboot.

Then they start their own blogs.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
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8 Responses to John Galt exited, and the world shrugged

  1. Big Swede says:

    Went back on your past post on Ayn. Good stuff. Whereas Ayn was a teller of tales her assumed psychological state can’t possibly pose a threat to the general public. Going Galt is harmless, why if Bilby had retreated early before making all that money there wouldn’t have been any resentment toward him and his lucky happenstance.

    The mentally unstable we all should be concerned with is politicians. They’re not just story tellers.

    Twenty years ago, a newspaper headline asked the question: “What’s the difference between a politician and a psychopath?”

    The answer, then and now, remains the same: None.

    There is no difference between psychopaths and politicians.

    Nor is there much of a difference between the havoc wreaked on innocent lives by uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, irresponsible, parasitic criminals and elected officials who lie to their constituents, trade political favors for campaign contributions, turn a blind eye to the wishes of the electorate, cheat taxpayers out of hard-earned dollars, favor the corporate elite, entrench the military industrial complex, and spare little thought for the impact their thoughtless actions and hastily passed legislation might have on defenseless citizens.

    Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars, glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and shallow.

    Charismatic politicians, like criminal psychopaths, exhibit a failure to accept responsibility for their actions, have a high sense of self-worth, are chronically unstable, have socially deviant lifestyle, need constant stimulation, have parasitic lifestyles and possess unrealistic goals.

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Democrats or Republicans.<<<-Zero Hedge.

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    • There is probably a large overlap of sociopaths in politics, but narcissism plays a huge role too. Zero Hedge is beating the tribal drum with its bullet point, that it does not matter if you are talking about Democrats or Republicans. Of course that is true! I’ve been saying it for years – one hand washes the other.

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      • Big Swede says:

        Same article.

        Political psychopaths are all largely cut from the same pathological cloth, brimming with seemingly easy charm and boasting calculating minds. Such leaders eventually create pathocracies—totalitarian societies bent on power, control, and destruction of both freedom in general and those who exercise their freedoms.

        Once psychopaths gain power, the result is usually some form of totalitarian government or a pathocracy. “At that point, the government operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups,” author James G. Long notes. “We are currently witnessing deliberate polarizations of American citizens, illegal actions, and massive and needless acquisition of debt. This is typical of psychopathic systems, and very similar things happened in the Soviet Union as it overextended and collapsed.”

        In other words, electing a psychopath to public office is tantamount to national hara-kiri, the ritualized act of self-annihilation, self-destruction and suicide. It signals the demise of democratic government and lays the groundwork for a totalitarian regime that is legalistic, militaristic, inflexible, intolerant and inhuman.

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        • It all sounds reasonable. If there is one thing that people who presume to understand politics do not understand, it is the nature of power. I’ve written about it, to no avail – people insist that elections matter and that power didn’t know first to fix them before moving in to other things. They do not matter. I grimace as people imagine these phony contests count for something.

          So “electing a psychopath to public office” presumes that “public office” was not stripped of power before the psychopath even got there. Elections have long been rigged, the politicians have long been mere actors. That is my point for years now on this blog. To no avail. I think people have a hard time dealing with reality.,

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  2. steve kelly says:

    It goes far beyond elections. When institutions established to maintain social order break down, becoming enablers, there is no where to turn. Victims are re-victimized as psychopaths run wild with no real societal deterrent remaining. We have passed the tipping point. Jails are full of the wrong people. Courts are increasingly ineffective, rendering laws and lawmakers meaningless in a lawless, bureaucratic free-for-all gone berserk.

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