John Galt

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The magical libertarian of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, even more implausible than her other characters. A Prester John figure presiding over a fictional libertarian utopia.


Who was (the real) John Galt? [More...]
Ayn Rand stole this name, as well as Objectivism. "In the literary world he is known as a Scottish novelist who specialized in irony and sarcasm. To those of us who live in Guelph, he was a colonizer and the founder of our city who ran into difficulties with the company he had organized."


And deserts—the fact that some people deserve what they have and others do not? That idea never made any sense to Adam Smith, for he saw that the overwhelming bulk of our wealth is our joint product through our collective division of labor, rather than the individual creation of some Randite John Galt, who if truly left to stand alone on his own two feet without the social division of labor would soon have his bones bleaching in some Colorado canyon.
Brad DeLong, "Shrugging off Atlas"
[...] in Ayn Rand’s world, a man who self-righteously instigates the collapse of society, thereby inevitably killing millions if not billions of people, is portrayed as a messiah figure rather than as a genocidal prick, which is what he’d be anywhere else. Yes, he’s a genocidal prick with excellent engineering skills. Good for him. He’s still a genocidal prick.
John Scalzi, What I Think About Atlas Shrugged