Wednesday, March 09, 2011

After the Gulch

Thinking about it, I was rather unfair to the denizens of Galt's Gulch, the richest 400 people in America. After all, they have 50% of the assets of America, they can certainly afford to bring with them all the materials and farm tools they would need in order to make a nice home for themselves in Galt's Gulch. A few of them even have theoretical knowledge of how to use these, and a few of them -- in the technology industry, mostly -- have even used a few small hand tools themselves, though not recently. For example, founder Jeff Bezos has actually used a screwdriver. Granted, he was only 18 months old at the time, but at least he knows what a screwdriver is, unlike Cindy Walton.

Still, the end result will be starvation and death for the denizens of Galt's Gulch. Even with all the farm tools in the world, if you've never farmed before the likelihood of managing to grow a crop is pretty slim. And the 400 have no practical skills in how to repair farm equipment, not to mention that they can't even fuel their tractors and bulldozers without paying money to the hated peasants outside the Gulch, which they have foresaken doing because the peasants are just leaches and dimwits beside their obvious brilliance. So it might take six months, or a year, or two years, but eventually the last denizen of Galt's Gulch shall perish from hunger, likely after gnawing the last shreds of meat off the raw carcass of the next-to-the-last denizen of Galt's Gulch (raw carcass because, again, the 400 richest people in America may have a *theoretical* notion of how to light a fire and cook meat over it, but the number of said richest people who've actually done so is not likely to be very high).

So anyhow, enough of Galt's Gulch. So what happens to the rest of the world once the denizens of Galt's Gulch go into hiding in their hidden valley? Well..

At your local Wal-Mart, the trucks come in with merchandise as usual, and the workers unload them and stack them on the shelves as usual. The store managers walk their stores as usual and approve hiring of workers and accept resignations of workers and the store's computers send the day's sales to Walmart Bentonville every day, and the computers at Walmart Bentonville issue orders to their suppliers every day. The supplier relations specialists in Bentonville keep contacting their equivalents at their suppliers to negotiate pricing and availability as contracts expire. At suppliers, the product managers continue developing new products and getting approval from the VP of Marketing to put them into production, and selling these products to Wal-Mart.

Then one day, it's time for the monthly board of directors' meeting, and neither Jim Walton nor Robson Walton show up. The CEO asks, "Has anybody seen Jim or Rob?" Nobody has. "Oh well, we don't need them for a quorum, let's get the reports from our operating units and make any decisions we need to make." And they do.

Ten months later, it's time for the annual shareholder's meeting, where the board of directors has to be re-elected by the shareholders and... err... the biggest shareholders, every single one of the Walton family, are missing. Neither hide nor hair has been seen of them for almost a year now. The board shrugs, and renominates themselves as well as two more people to take the board positions of the two Waltons who are no longer around.

At some point someone asks, "Sayyyy.... nobody's seen the 400 richest people in America recently. Is something going on? Have they been kidnapped or something?" The FBI goes to the homes of the top five people on the Forbes 400 list, and manage to badge their way past the guards and ascertain that the guards have not seen their employer in over a year and that their employer's business manager continues signing their paychecks as usual. Said business manager says she hasn't seen her employer either but assumes said employer is at one of their other homes. The FBI gets a court order to search the home under reasonable suspicion that a murder or kidnapping may have taken place, and find clues to where the Galt-goers have gone. They go to Galt Gulch and find all 400 corpses plus the corpses of their spouses and heirs, many horribly mangled due to cannibalism. The world is agoggle about how horrible it was that the 400 went to such extremes to remove themselves from the presence of their "inferiors" yet came to such a terrible end. And then...

... the world goes on, as it's been going on for the past year without these "masters of the universe". The 400 took their spouses and heirs to Galt's Gulch with them and there were no survivors and they left no wills, so the ownership of the properties and corporate shares that they owned devolves to the unclaimed property division of the states the 400 resided in, which then auctions them off and has plenty to pay off their state's entire debt plus any deficits caused by recessions. New owners take over and let the employees continue running the companies, as has been true for the past year that the owners were nowhere around. In the end, all that happens is that the 400 proved just how little they contributed to the economy, which didn't even notice they were missing until the FBI found the gory evidence of a Donner Party Event in Galt's Gulch.

-- Badtux the Fiction Penguin


  1. Sadly, the 400-next-richest people have probably also read Rand.

    In fact, the idea of going Galt has always amused me, since the top 400's positions could be adequately and quickly filled by at least 280 million other Americans.

  2. Re: difficulty of growing food -- went to the meeting of our local garden club last night. Nice turnout, about 30 people, solid middle-aged Canadian citizens, mostly those who want to grow their own veggies because they taste better, cost less and give the satisfaction of a job well done. Not many paranoid freaks like us, although the guy that was giving a talk on "Why raise vegetables?" did mention "food security" as one of the motivations.

    I was surprised at how much I do not know, and how much I can learn. Mrs. Bukko, who did the hippie thing with backyard farming in the Cole Valley section of S.F. in the late 1970s, is also behind the curve. Plus, there's a lot of hands-on physical work involved that you just can't do properly on the first go-round, as you can sense from your forays with flowering plants. If TS ever does HTF, I don't want to be depending on my inaugural, inexperienced efforts to keep myself alive.

    So those soft hands attached to selfish minds of the Galt 400 wouldn't have a chance. To bad a plane-load of 'em couldn't go down on a deserted island, a la "Lord of the Flies" or "Lost." (How DID the survivors on "Lost" get food, anyway? I never saw the show aside from snippets on TVs in patients' rooms. It was popular in Australia, due to the Aussie references and their fascination with anything having to do with desert islands. They live on one, a quite large one, after all.)

  3. What a fabulous imagination you have :)

    I had a bit of a different scenario in mind, but with similar results, lol.

  4. In Galt's Gulch self-sufficiency is always a better possibility because it's integrated into the philosophy. Your 'piece' denies the fact that there will always be able men and those that are appreciative and want to learn new, better ways.

    *Here, Emperor Badtux dresses in Phillip Rearden's new clothes*

    Sorry to disappoint the 'cannibal' faction but a self-sufficient motor to go with the self-sufficient ego now exists and so, a Galt's Gulch has been built around the concept. We're discreet because we want to keep the looter/moocher faction at bay and the cannibals?...well, they'll never get nor deserve even a sniff.

    Thanks for the reaffirmation of our need to be selective.

    A $ A

  5. ROFL! You're not one of the 400 richest men in America, GGR, you're just a survivalist with delusions of grandeur using the work of hundreds of thousands of the "little people" that you despise (the computer you typed you missive on -- and yes, I'm one of the people who likely designed part of that computer) to deride those very same people. My ancestors survived the Great Depression as subsistence farmers in the hills of a rural state, and even they couldn't be 100% self-reliant despite having access to a local salt mine (to get salt for preserving the pork they got from the pigs they raised in the oak bottoms) and having their own sugar cane press to press their own molasses from their own sugar cane. They still had to raise a cash crop of cotton to sell to get things like fabric to sew clothes out of, and farm tools to replace those that wore out, and they lived a *much* harsher life than you -- no electricity, no running water, heat in the bedrooms at night was a hot iron (heated on the wood stove in the living room) tossed under the covers 30 minutes or so before bedtime to warm things up a bit, a bath during the winter happened once a month at best because it required hauling bucket after bucket of water out of the well *by hand* and laboriously heating each bucket of water on the wood stove, meaning that they were mostly dirty and smelly and itchy (and washing clothes didn't happen often in the winter for the same reason, making their aroma especially pungent)... while putting together an oral history of where one elderly relative who'd been a young wife during the Great Depression had lived, as she was talking about the way she lived, I asked her "would you ever want to go back in time and be young again?" She looked around the comfortable double-wide mobile home in the woods that she lived in, with its climate control, automatic dishwasher, hot and cold running water, etc., and said "No. That was a hard life."

    But go on playing and pretending like it's possible to be 100% self sufficient without those "leeches" like me who create the technology you use without understanding. Survivalists give me a kick, because not a one of them have a clue of just how stupid the notion is if they intend to have any sort of lifestyle other than a desperate scramble for survival where every hour of every day is spent on survival, with nothing left for anything else. The true survivalists are out there, but none will ever post here. They're in the jungles of the Amazon or on the small subsistence farms of Nicaragua and none of them will ever have a light bulb in their home in their typical life time, much less an entire working computer. And even there, the Nicaraguan will likely have at least *some* interaction with other people and a cash crop to get the cloth and metal tools that make subsistence farming bearable... he's a subsistence farmer because he has to be, not because he wants to be. And he'll be there long after you and I die in the desperate struggle for survival after technological civilization collapses.

    - Badtux the Practical Engineer Penguin

  6. You're free to think and reminisce all you want Mr.BadTux but the concept that you and the rest of the world have to wake-up to is that it's a whole new ball game... make that civilization - yeah, verily the first. The one that recognizes man's mind as the primary, everything else follows from that. It still astonishes me how hard it is for you outsiders to get that --- no matter, that's why we choose to live (and thrive) away from the looter/bloodsucker common culture - Note: you have to understand the difference between survive & thrive (your response above shows no inkling of it.

    Anyway, my role is just as a recruiter/flamespotter. I just post here and there; where I see it appropriate, letting those that see the errs of past human ways know that there is hope for the men of the mind - you know like an escape hatch. Thanks for the use of space on your page - you just may have saved a soul or two - and that's something that may raise you one or two rungs in hell.
    Reason not cynicism, will guide the future of the world, Miss Rand set the philosophy straight - although your composition is quite amusing to your readers capitalism does not, as you and others imply, lead to cannibalism, gas-chambers, slavery, bankruptcy or disaster. In fact, it solves these age-old dilemmas. Young readers acquire pre-conceived bias precisely because of dishonest twists of the truth. Maybe, just maybe, I can save one or two souls in the process as well.
    You see folks, it's not subsistence/survival when you withdraw from their moral code because when you do, you bring with you, all the wealth and resources in your possession -since production is integrated into Miss Rand's Philosophy as a virtue - but all that you really need bring is your free-thinking mind.
    It all begins here:

    or email me here:

    G $ G

  7. Ha ha Tux! You got a live one there. One of the more amusing delusional dingbats I've seen in a while. I'd hope Galt's Grinch gets to live in the world he fantasizes about, except for that to happen, it would mean that MY world gets dragged into the dirt too. Whatever happens, I'll be living in a land where people have decided to live TOGETHER, instead of dreaming about an adolescent fantasy of 14-year-old boys who want to build forts in the woods.

  8. Or as John Rogers put it, "There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

    My doorbell rang a few minutes ago, and I stepped out and my latest shipment from the Science Fiction Book Club was on my front steps. The thing is, I recognize when I'm reading fiction that it's fiction. I don't confuse the imaginary universes contained within there with the *real* universe, where the 400 richest people on earth got to be that way by grifting the wealth that others produced, not by themselves producing wealth with their own two hands (wealth, remember, is goods and services, *not* toilet paper with pictures of dead people on it).

    As for the second post, it is a violation of blog rules in that it's spam, he's trying to raise his blog's scores in the Google search engine. But just for the entertainment value I think I'll let it stay, and just laugh at him instead.

    BTW, I've done the closest to "going Galt" that you can do in today's world. I don't work for one of the 400 Grifters. I have worked my entire career for smaller employers that compete with the Grifters. I don't have a mortgage with one of the Grifters. I rent a small paid-for duplex from an individual landlord who bought several of them with money he made from the first Silicon Valley boom, back in the early 80's.

    Unfortunately the grifters own 50% of everything (despite having created *none* of it with their own two hands), including 100% of some things, and so you can't avoid them unless you're intending to live the way that peasants in Nicaragua live. I've lived that way for short periods of time, but *voluntarily*, while carrying my house on my back. I come back to civilization each time with a better appreciation for the niceties of life, such as hot and cold running water, warm showers, modern kitchens, and climate control.

    - Badtux the Gone Galt Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

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