Sunday, September 17, 2023

John Galt: Ayn Rand’s world-destroying, world-conquering conquistador

John Galt was the postmodern conquistador who happily presided over the slaughter of tens of millions of people and the destruction of an entire civilization to create a social and political vacuum which would be filled by a mythical way of life based on his own philosophical and political opinions. 

He was convinced that he knew what was the best possible way of life and that he had the moral right to decide how every other human being should think and live. 

In the climax of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, John Galt and his acolytes destroy all the major industries, they facilitate bridge collapses, plane crashes, rail accidents and nuclear explosions, they engineer the collapse of the monetary system and the political establishment, they decimate the law & order machinery, and they become indirectly responsible for the death of tens of millions of people. 

In Ayn Rand’s convoluted worldview, these mass murderers were the good guys. They were the good guys because they did their destruction and killing in the name of Ayn Rand’s so-called values—the values of reason, atheism, individualism, freedom and capitalism. 

Ayn Rand was a big fan of Columbus, Hernán Cortés and the conquistadors who had wiped out the native population of the Americas to create space for the rise of modern America. In her historically-ignorant and morally-decrepit essays, she has denigrated the Native Indians and suggested that they deserved to die. She believed that America had lost its way in the early 20th century and that a new band of conquistadors must arise to utterly destroy society and pave the way for the development of a new world in which every human being would accept and live by her values.

She did not preach violence but she realized that most people in the world would NEVER accept to live by her set of foolish values, and give up their religions and traditions, unless they were demoralized and tyrannized by large-scale social and economic collapse and mass slaughter. This is what John Galt and his acolytes (conquistadors) set out to achieve in her novel. The conquistadors of the 16th and 17th centuries killed by swords and spears, but Ayn Rand shunned violence, so she got Galt and his men to destroy by words.

In Atlas Shrugged, Galt is the smooth-talking pseudo-philosopher who brainwashes people with his words and gets them to do the dirty work of destroying and killing. In the final part of the book, he gives a long speech, of around 60-pages, which is an elucidation of Ayn Rand's rather silly and insane philosophy. The tone of speech is hectoring and dictatorial. He is clearly stating that either you accept everything that I say as the ultimate truth or you will be left to rot and die. Every human in the world is given a stark choice: dreary death or slavery to Ayn Rand’s values. 

Ayn Rand is seen as a philosopher of classical liberalism and libertarianism, but she was not a philosopher. Her knowledge of philosophy and history was atrocious—this is obvious from the naive and laughable comments that she has made on Aristotle, Plato, Kant and a few other philosophers. She was a mediocre fiction writer and politically, she was a tyrant. She believed that the world belonged to “only one type of people”—those who lived by her system of thought. 

In the last three decades of her life she tried to start a movement. She attracted a small ragtag bunch of semi-educated and ill-experienced youngsters. The intelligent ones in this bunch quickly saw through the contradictions in her thought and they fled from her, never to come back again. Only the mediocrities stuck with her. She spent the final years of her life in the company of these mediocrities, who pampered themselves with the notion that they were like John Galt. They venerated her as their God and her movement became a cult.

1 comment:

Ajit R. Jadhav said...

Dear Anoop the Rajiv Malhotra's book-reader:

Are you conversant with the OpenAI ChatGPT?