Going Galt

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me and a bunch of stupid assholes are going to start a community in the middle of the desert to either die or prove a very important point

"Going Galt" is a right-wing fantasy that if you impose any kind of regulation on the rich, they will simply give up making money and go live in a hole eating dirt. It completely ignores the fact that most rich people are rich because they like running businesses, engaging in deals, and generally making money.[note 1] The name derives from the writings of Ayn Rand, an imaginative but eccentric Russian-American novelist and darling of basement-dwelling libertarians.

It became a catchphrase for right-wing bloggers to describe a fantasy response to changes in American tax policy proposed by former President Barack Obama. The idea is that having to pay 4.9% more in taxes on income above $250,000 per year constitutes such an intolerable burden that affected people should deliberately cut back on their business to lower their income to $249,999 per year (which is truly indicative of how little they understand the American tax bracket system), or flee the U.S. altogether.[2]

It is largely promoted by idiots who can't do math (or can't be bothered to), and by scaremongers trying to take advantage of those idiots.

Who is John Galt?[edit]

As the name implies, this is inspired by the "hero" John Galt of Ayn Rand's Objectivist doorstopper, Atlas Shrugged, who destroys civilization to avoid paying taxes.[3] They apparently think this is a good idea, and hope to follow in his footsteps.

In the novel, John Galt declared his opposition to collectivism by starting a community called Galt's Gulch.[note 2][note 3] He expressed his opposition to organized labor by organizing (what else?) a strike; the original working title of the book, incredibly enough, was The Strike.

In real life, there are, coincidentally, a number of people named John Galt, such as notable Scottish novelist John Galt,Wikipedia who was the first to write a biography of Lord ByronWikipedia and tried and failed to colonize Upper Canada, and actor John William Galt, who voiced Lo Wang in the 1997 video game Shadow Warrior.Wikipedia In reality, though, Rand's Galt was likely based her husband, Frank O'Connor,[4]:56 who is obviously not named John Galt.[citation NOT needed]

How it usually ends up[edit]

Eric Dondero, a man deemed too crazy for the Ron Paul campaign, has proposed going Galt, going so far as to recommend people should quit their jobs if they work for a Democratic voter.[5] So much for capitalism, eh?

In practice, though, if anyone has actually gone Galt, it's had no measurable effect. As a result, the usual response to a Galt-going threat is "so go already". In 2013, however, a Galt's Gulch in Chile was announced by anarcho-capitalist Jeff Berwick.[6] You too can reserve a spot today (Unless you're a dirty collectivist, that is)! Turns out all is not well in Rand's realized capitalist paradise — seems good old-fashioned greedWikipedia got in the way of idealism.[7]

Why it's not going to happen[edit]

If you ask a left-winger, they'll tell you that business people like having power, making deals, crushing trade unions, appearing in Forbes magazine, going to galas, hanging out with celebrities, and preparing a Presidential bid. If you ask a right-winger, they'll tell you that business people like creating jobs, building businesses to pass on to their children, and making America great again. None of these things can be done while living up in a tree in the Amazon rain forest.

Gone Galt?[edit]

A number of US companies and individuals are already based abroad, or have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, etc. Most of these are megarich people, not well-off wannabes. The results of dozens of corporations gone Galt can be seen in the US economy today.

As any U.S. passport will remind one, though, "All U.S. citizens working and residing abroad are required to file and report on their worldwide income." Expatriating citizens must have been tax compliant for the past five years and must pay exit taxes and fees before they can renounce their U.S. citizenship.[8]

On a happier note, some survivalists who have disappeared into the wilds have done civilized society a great favor. Enjoy the undercooked bear burger, folks![note 4]

Fun fact[edit]

The phrase is seldom if ever used in Scandinavia, because in Swedish galt means boar (male pig), while in Norwegian and Danish, it more specifically means a castrated one. Also, in the latter two languages, galt is a form of the adjective for mad, or crazed, also used to say that something has gone wrong.[note 5] So if you announce you are going Galt, and a Swede looks confused or a Norwegian or Dane more worried, it's not because they feel the collapse of the socialist system approach.[note 6]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. And in at least some cases, screwing over the working class.
  2. Not to be confused with Galt's Gulch, Chile, a laughable libertarian failure.
  3. Ayn Rand also had an organization of devoted followers.
  4. Assuming, of course, that the bear didn't eat you.
  5. In Swedish, however, the same adjective form looks a little different: galet instead of galt as in Norwegian and Danish.
  6. Whatever you do, don't proclaim you're going Galt to a Swedish The Legend of Zelda fan while holding a trident.


  1. https://https://twitter.com/dril/status/435373709344251904
  2. "Ask Dr. Helen: Is It Time to ‘Go John Galt’?" Oh, Pajamas...
  3. "Atlas Shrugged 2: Shrug Harder"
  4. "Who Was John Galt? The Creation of Ayn Rand's Ultimate Ideal Man" by Shoshana Milgram (2009) in Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Edited by Robert Mayhew. (2009) Lexington Books. ISBN 0739127799
  5. The end of liberty in 'Merca!
  6. "Ayn Rand's Vision of Galt's Gulch Has Become Reality as of Today"
  7. Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org "Ayn Rand's Capitalist Paradise Is Now a Greedy Land-Grabbing Shitstorm"
  8. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/08/28/u-s-hikes-fee-to-renounce-citizenship-by-422/