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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Galt’s Gulch Is Not An Endorsement of Anarchism

The "free-market anarchists” or ”anarcho-capitalists” claim that the lack of government in Galt’s Gulch can be seen as Ayn Rand's endorsement of a no-government society.

So how did Rand herself view the political structure of Galt’s Gulch?

In Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A, she is asked: “Why is the lack of government in Galt’s Gulch (in Atlas Shrugged) any different from anarchy, which you object to?” In her response, Rand repudiates the anarchist position.

Let me quote her:
Galt’s Gulch is not a society; it’s a private estate. It’s owned by one man who carefully selected the people admitted. Even then, they had a judge as an arbitrator, if anything came up; only nothing came up among them, because they shared the same philosophy. But if you had a society in which all shared in one philosophy, but without a government, that would be dreadful. Galt’s Gulch probably consisted of about, optimistically, a thousand people who represented the top geniuses of the world. They agreed on fundamentals, but they would never be in total agreement. They didn't need a government because if they had disagreements, they could resolve them rationally.  
But project a society of millions, in which there is every kind of viewpoint, every kind of brain, every kind of morality—and no government. That’s the Middle Ages, your no-government society. Man was left at the mercy of bandits, because without government, every criminally inclined individual resorts to force, and every morally inclined individual is helpless. Government is an absolute necessity if individual rights are to be protected, because you don’t leave force at the arbitrary whim of other individuals. Libertarian anarchism is pure whim worship, because what they refuse to recognize is the need of objectivity among men—particularly men of different views. And it’s good that people within a nation should have different views, provided we respect each others rights.  
No one can guard rights, except a government under objective laws. What if McGovern had his gang of policemen, and Nixon had his, and instead of campaigning they fought in the streets? This has happened throughout history. Rational men are not afraid of government. In a proper society, a rational man doesn't have to know the government exists, because the laws are clear and he never breaks them. 
It is noteworthy that Rand says that libertarian anarchism is “pure whim worship.” If you said that of any anarchist, you will be accused of making an ad hominem argument. But the truth is that they are using Rand’s concepts to make the case for a no-government political position which she has emphatically rejected.

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