The defining moment of Atlas Shrugged comes when Galt hijacks the airwaves of America and gives a speech that explains the purpose of the strike of the great intellectuals and the value of objectivism. With this post I am continuing my critique of Atlas Shrugged with particular focus on this part of the book which is perhaps the defining moment of the novel.
‘Man’s mind is his basic tool of survival. To think is an act of choice. Man exists for his own sake and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose. Existence is identity, consciousness is identification.’
‘Man’s virtues pertaining to the to the relation of existence and consciousness are rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.’
These are the strengths that empower man through objectivism. They trump altruism to the core. For me these virtues are what makes a man achieve his purpose in life and embrace my abilities that promote high self esteem. Rationality grants me the perception of reality and I am responsible for judging my own actions. Independence gives me the identity of who I am that makes me proud to show the courage and resilience of my being. Integrity is the recognition of fact and that I can not fake my consciousness and what the matter of myself. These two attributes of integrity show what I hold in order to avoid sacrificing myself for the wishes of others. Honesty is the fact that the unreal is unreal and that real is real. The only person you are able to fool is yourself so be sure that you are free from the stupidity of others. Justice is a value that is important in the seeking of the truth. It recognises that you cannot fake the character of men as well as nature. Every person must be judged for what they are and treated accordingly. Productiveness is accepting the morality that you live with by choice and the way that your consciousness controls your existence. It’s a process of acquiring knowledge and creating matter to fit one’s purpose. Pride is the recognition that you are of the highest value and that your achievements show that you have earned it. You are responsible for creating your own character.
John Galt berates the government and the people’s state for using fear as a weapon and for bringing death to man as his punishment for rejecting their morality. The morality of these illiberal statesmen is negative and counterproductive. Progressing the state and it’s citizens to a world where his life as a collective is more prized than his own imagination. If they reject their thinking they refuse him peace, life and liberty. Galt on the other hand offers the people life for their reward for accepting there ability and as betters to guide them to a brighter tomorrow.
There are certain things in this world of Atlas Shrugged where the liberal theologians and Marxist scholars have indoctrinated people to embrace the benefits of government control. This has created a society of destructive and negative thinking about people. Claiming that they can’t trust themselves to be independent of their society. Galt tells them ‘Why do you moan complaints about man’s impotent and the futility of human aspirations? Because you were unable to prosper by seeking destruction?’
Perhaps the greatest problem with big government is that they make life unbearable for it’s citizens. They operate with a mystical wisdom which exists by running a protection racket and that is what makes life unbearable. When the government takes over the industrial plants or any means of production they seek to take over human thinking. In the post war consensus of Great Britain the government combined with the unionised workforce dismissed creativity, intelligence, self esteem and bettering themselves as naïve and wasteful. Using this mystical belief that they were supposed to be working for an end rather than a means. Their purpose is to ‘deprive people of the concept of which man’s mind, his life and his culture depend: the concept of an objective reality’.
Mysticism is the energy of a dictatorship, it puts a strain on the spirit human values that tries to break them down into cells that can be rejected. The truth of these horrors propagated by this government and masters are their ends.
‘Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life.’ Galt seeks to show people a better way of life by showing them that they need to make the most of their lives rather than put up with the constraints of what socialism offers. The rights of man are to survive and it should not be up to the government, social justice warriors or liberal theologians to decide their destiny. ‘Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.’
Dedication is what is worth fighting for. You need to brake from the world of your past with that doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person, fight for the virtue of your pride, fight for the essence of that which is your soul. This is a strong powerful sermon of objectivism.
One of Galt’s followers Dagny Taggart tells her people of what objectivism means to her. I believe that all people should follow this example. ‘I swear – by my love and my love of it – that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.’ Say it to yourself and think of your destiny. You are responsible for your own freedom.