Who is John Galt? In the classic novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand described a future world in which proliferating regulations and restrictions progressively rob the world’s most productive people of the fruits of their labor. One such person (John Galt), offended that he was denied the rewards of his work, swears that he will “stop the engine of the world.” And he does — by disappearing and taking the world’s best producers with him. Without society’s most productive members, world systems begin to fail. Utilities, transportation, and manufacturing become unreliable.
“Who is John Galt?” is a question becoming relevant for us. Our systems are slowly failing before our very eyes.
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Our supply chain has been failing for months — and we’re only now becoming aware of it. I fear that our leadership still is unaware of this failure’s seriousness. Fully loaded cargo ships languish off our coast for weeks, waiting to be unloaded — while store shelves sit empty for lack of the products on those ships.
Energy costs are skyrocketing. The price at the pump is forcing families to make hard decisions. Natural gas has increased in price so much that the government is predicting a cold, expensive winter for many Americans. Yet we live in the most energy-rich country in the world. With such an abundance, why is it so hard to make fuel affordably available?
Crime is rampant. Police face retribution (and even prosecution) for enforcing the law if it’s caught on the wrong cell phone camera. Their response has been predictable. They’ve stopped doing anything proactive. They’re happy to investigate crimes that have already been committed. But they’re not going to do anything to stop criminal acts in progress — It’s too personally risky.
We have an extreme shortage of health care workers. People are being turned away from hospitals for lack of beds and staff. An yet millions of doctors, nurses, and technicians are prepared to leave their jobs rather than comply with a requirement to take an experimental vaccine — a vaccine that appears to be only marginally effective and for which the long-term side effects are unknown.
We’ve also just been given a preview of what will happen to domestic travel when those vaccine mandates become the law of the land. A relatively few pilots brought an entire airline (Southwest) to its knees by failing to show up at work. They made it clear that should they be forced to take the vaccine, their absence will be permanent.
California can no longer keep the lights on reliably. The people running that state ignored the advice of experts and committed to renewable energy sources. As a result, the richest state in the Union suffers periodic “brownouts” and occasionally has to shut down the grid the prevent wildfires. Alarmingly, Californians seem to have accepted that this is the “new normal.”
Confidence in government is collapsing. With personal freedoms canceled in the name of COVID, unequal application of criminal law, and questionable election integrity, citizens are no longer confident that the government is upholding its part in our constitutional pact. Without a mutual commitment to that pact, we can expect an explosion of corruption and civil disobedience.
Why is all of this happening? Partly because the government is picking winners and losers — both industrially and politically. In some cases, it’s doing so in violation of the Constitution. The best producers can no longer be confident that they will be rewarded for their efforts.
The government is also providing incentives not to work. Why should one work when he can make more staying at home watching reruns on TV?
Government deficit spending is contributing to massive inflation. The value of our money is shrinking before our eyes. What we toil to earn today will become less valuable tomorrow — through no fault of our own. In addition, taxpayers are now supporting more government debt than they are debt for themselves (such as a mortgage). How does any of this incentivize people to work hard — and subsequently pay more taxes?
Commerce is the engine that makes America run. It’s more complex than any single person can comprehend. But it’s kept running by an army of unseen workers — each committed to keeping his portion of the machine running. Its machinery has always been more delicate than politicians and bureaucrats have presumed. There’s a reason why third-world countries have always had trouble keeping the engine of commerce running. It is easily broken, and without a commitment to capitalism, it is unreliable at best and nonfunctional at worst.
As we have drifted away from our founding principles and toward socialism, we have been starving the commerce engine. We’ve choked it with:
- Demonization of those who service it (the top producers)
- Social engineering (insisting that the engine be serviced by those unqualified to do so)
Has our response to COVID finally stopped the engine? Is what we are experiencing a sign that it is just coasting down now? Forced shutdowns and vaccine mandates are robbing the commerce engine of its most essential element: a workforce with the expertise and dedication to keep it running.
Let’s go back to our original question. Who is John Galt? John Galt is
- the pilots who provide transcontinental travel at speeds unimaginable only a few decades ago
- the police who maintain order on our streets
- the doctors and nurses who care for us when we’re ill
- the longshoremen and truckers who deliver goods to our communities
- the farmers who put food on our tables
- anyone involved in the production of the countless millions of products we rely on
We need these people. But for a variety of reasons, they’re quitting. Four point three million workers have dropped out of the workforce in the past several months.
We’re fond of calling government employees “public servants.” They are nothing of the sort. They are a necessary evil at best. The real public servants are those who keep the engine of commerce running. Without them, the engine stops — and we die.
By John Green
John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Idaho. He currently writes at the American Free News Network (afnn.us). He can be followed on Facebook or reached at email@example.com.