Sunday, January 20, 2013

#18.16 Gleanings from the John Galt Speech – Part 16

John Galt continues,

Neither he nor the rest of us will return until the road is clear to rebuild this country-until the wreckage of the morality of sacrifice has been wiped out of our way.

Could we get rid of this bourgeois morality of sacrifice? Would it make any difference? We think not. We suspect that the answers lie elsewhere, like setting up an alternative to the present monetary system that disallows limited liability from the outset, that forbids the practices of usury, that limits the terms of indebtedness, that solves the issue of poverty once and for all and that maximizes the freedom for those who would be hero industrialists and farmers, to rise once again to the prominence they deserve.

A country’s political system is based on its code of morality.
We will rebuild America’s system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground,
in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself,
not the means to the ends of others, that man’s life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right.

... also his right to issue his own money, with which to settle split barter trades with others who agree to accept it. We declare that we also have the right to reject someone else's money as a means of payment, that someone else being a private central bank that has interjected itself into the affairs of every nation. It's time to declare independence.

You who’ve lost the concept of a right, you who swing in impotent evasiveness between the claim that rights are a gift of God, a supernatural gift to be taken on faith, or the claim that rights are a gift of society, to be broken at its arbitrary whim-the source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A-and Man is Man.

Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, his right to act on his own free judgement, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.

... which means is illegitimate and the proper response is and should be ... “come out of her, my people.” If rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival and we accept the validity of this simple statement, then that includes the right to issue money for his subsistence.

Rights are a moral concept-and morality is a matter of choice.

That is one chooses to do good or to do evil whether one wants to hide from the consequences or not. The good in Rand's morality promotes man's life, the evil, man's death.

Men are free not to choose man’s survival as the standard of their morals and their laws, but not free to escape from the fact that the alternative is a cannibal society, which exists for a while by devouring its best and collapses like a cancerous body, when the healthy have been eaten by the diseased, when the rational have been consumed by the irrational.

As we've attempted to show throughout, the diseased and irrational are most likely to be found among the elites rather than the poor and the John Galts stand somewhere in the middle as paid well enough to stay in place but discarded as soon as a structural technical change takes place.

Such has been the fate of your societies in history, but you’ve evaded the knowledge of the cause. I am here to state it: the agent of retribution was the law of identity, which you cannot escape. Just as man cannot live by means of the irrational, so two men cannot, or two thousand, or two billion. Just as man can’t succeed by defying reality, so a nation can’t, or a country, or a globe. A is A. The rest is a matter of time, provided by the generosity of victims.

The generosity of victims being that value surrendered without adequate compensation of value.

Just as man can’t exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality-to think, to work and to keep the results-which means: the right of poverty.
No, the right of property, and make that private property too as responsibility is always far less when anything is deemed public.

The modern mystics of muscle [collectivists] who offer you the fraudulent alternative of ‘human rights’ versus ‘property rights,’ as if one could exist without the other, are making a last, grotesque attempt to revive the doctrine of soul versus body. Only a ghost can exist without material property; only a slave can work with no right to the product of his effort.

Yes, but I'm sure many can see clearly the great lengths Rand is going, to shoehorn her philosophy around basic common sense. These matters of soul vs. body are immaterial to someone forced to live at the edge of starvation and are likewise more the playthings of those with too much money and time on their hands.

The doctrine that ‘human rights’ are superior to ‘property rights’ simply means that some human beings have the right to make property out of others; since the competent have nothing to gain from the incompetent, it means the right of the incompetent to own their betters and to use them as productive cattle.

Who exactly is using whom as productive cattle? The first sentence presumes a scarcity that may not exist or is being used as a red herring. Anything they can get to make you believe that someone, the poor aided by those evil mystic collectivists, is after your stuff and deflect your attention away from the people who have always had an eye on your stuff, that eye at the top of that pyramid on their money, certainly not the eyes of the hungry and poor or those the system maimed during one of their wars and has now discarded.

Whoever regards this [transfer of wealth] as human and right, has no right to the title of ‘human.’

We do not accept the reality that a usurer can acquire someone else's property as just, we regard it as a crime. Likewise we regard all the other aspects of the current banking and financial system as criminal. We likewise regard anyone who has aided and abetted this criminality to be as guilty as the chief perpetrators, it's called misprision of felony. If you know that someone has committed treason against your country, which is against your people, your community, your family and yourself, and you know of any who have helped him, they are all guilty and deserve the same justice. But let's be perfectly honest, shall we? We will never see justice in this system for those who deserve it, the way it has been taken over and made to serve their interests. The only recourse is Galt's; walk out and never return and encourage everyone as far as possible to do the same.

The source of property rights is the law of causality.
All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man’s mind and labour. As you cannot have effects without causes,
so you cannot have wealth without its source: without intelligence.

Wealth, is that which produces a stream of income. Wealth is the outcome of accumulated value, itself the result of a string of virtuous actions. Rand is correct, you cannot really have any wealth without someone bothering to figure it all out. That is intelligence.

You cannot force intelligence to work:
those who’re able to think, will not work under compulsion:
those who will, won’t produce much more than the price of the whip needed to keep them enslaved.

But they have us where they want us. They don't need or want anything more form us as the production problem has been solved by cheap labour from overseas. They don't care about the quality and workmanship because even that sooner or later they'll get right with their value added new technologies, etc. Here is the modern world's answers to Rand:

You cannot force intelligence to work: So we'll obsolesce intelligence replacing one John Galt with the next one to roll off the university assembly line. He'll speak three or four languages as well too, and cost half what the first John Galt cost. Next-

those who’re able to think, will not work under compulsion: Sure they will, as their travel will be restricted, we may take hostages from among their family too and in any event what choice do they have? They either work for us or starve. Next-

those who will, won’t produce much more than the price of the whip needed to keep them enslaved. Oh, these people are conditioned by hundreds of years of servitude to do everything exactly as ordered, we have better product at less cost than ever.

Don't think for a minute that the elites are completely stupid. Yes, among them are those who are supremely crazy and irrational and have some pretty weird personal habits and fantasies, but they know every possible aspect of buying cheap and selling dear at every last turn, they know how to lie, cheat and steal to make it all happen and they have endless pools of liquidity with which to operate. Who can endure the beast! Our message remains, “come out of her, my people” and plan to do it for yourselves, your families, your communities, your peoples and nations. There is another way that's better and some of us who have stumbled upon it after it nearly fell through the sands of obscurity, want to let as many people know about it as possible. We care about standing on the side of man's life and against his death. We champion the work of E. C. Riegel, the autodidact economist, who dared tell us the truth and was nearly forgotten.  [Alas, though we owe a fathomless debt of gratitude to Spencer H. MacCallum for saving Riegel's works, we are at present forbidden to use Riegel's name for the new money that must replace the old, due to the misguided, selfish and frankly quite stupid actions of Lawrence Gilbert!]   

You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner’s terms,
by trade and by volitional consent.

They get around this by buying the patent and often times cheating the inventors, so Galt can complain all he wants about the owner’s terms knowing full well that the owners are usually not the inventors.  [We still wonder who is standing in the wings ready to buy out Laurence's patents?]

Any other policy of men toward man’s poverty is the policy of criminals, no matter what their numbers.

They are the policy of criminals, no matter what their riches. As for a man's poverty, what chance has one made poor by circumstances beyond his control, where the intention of the “masters of the universe” is to enforce an artificial scarcity guaranteed to produce failures and those whom the system would rather ... just go away somewhere and die quietly?

Criminals are savages who play in short-range and starve when their prey runs out-just as you’re starving today, you who believed that crime could be ‘practical’ if your government decreed that robbery was legal and resistance to robbery illegal.

Pish-posh, Mr. Galt! The robbery you speak of is of the rich preying on everyone else. Rand's automatic equation of the rich with the intellectually gifted is a stupendous oversight, which wouldn't be made less laughable were it not for the fact that they paid her to write all this stuff.

The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence.

How good does a government have to be to accomplish that, Mr. Galt? There are no guarantees these days. But there really never were. Because you see, all the civility we enjoy anywhere in the civilized world is the result of masses of people acting rationally, and nothing else. It didn't take any government FORCE to keep people from behaving irrationally and just going berserk everywhere. The very thought of that happening if there weren't governments is itself pretty laughable too. What really keeps people sane is being sane and everyone knows what that is.

A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defence, and, as such, may resort to FORCE only against those who start the use of FORCE.

OK, Mr. Galt. But what happens when the government itself starts by initiating FORCE on others? What then, Mr. Galt?

The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.

It's actually the last part of this with which most people have the most trouble. We consider that property protection is the primary responsibility of the property owner and secondly of the owners of the property adjacent. As far as contracts, breach or fraud have to be specified by rules which forbid them. In the case of all forms of usurious contracts, there is never any attempt to establish whether they are fraudulent or ever to call any of their well known formulas into criticism. Objective law means something to a usurer and another to most everyone else.

But a government that initiates the employment of FORCE against men who had FORCED no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defence.

Sure sounds like what we have right now.

Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbour, provided your gang is bigger than his.

That's majority rule democracy isn't it? Three foxes and a hen deciding what's for dinner.

Only a brute, a fool or an evader can agree to exist on such terms or agree to give his fellow men a blank check on his life and his mind, to accept the belief that others have the right to dispose of his person at their whim, that the will of the majority is Omnipotent, that the physical FORCE of muscles and numbers is a substitute for justice, reality and truth.

Yeah, but that's what it is, Mr. Galt. There are no other terms but theirs and theirs are getting fewer by the day.

We, the men of the mind, we who are traders, not masters or slaves, do not deal in blank checks or grant them. We do not live or work with any form of the non-objective.

Then ask yourselves these questions, all you men of the mind? With what money are you being paid? Whose is it? Are you aware that you are paying for its use? What makes you so sure that they will keep their promises to you? Are you any more special than those whose lives have been ruined, snatched from them by broken promises? Do you even know whether anything you think you own is really yours? How do you know? To what extent do you own any real property? We could go on. You men of the mind had best do some real thinking for a change.

So long as men, in the era of savagery, had no concept of objective reality and believed that physical nature was ruled by the whim of unknowable demons-no thought, no science, no production were possible. Only when men discovered that nature was a firm, predictable absolute were they able to rely on their knowledge, to choose their course, to plan their future and, slowly, to rise from the cave.

This is the "progressive" supposition of history in a nutshell.

Now you have placed modern industry, with its immense complexity of scientific precision, back into the power of unknowable demons-the unpredictable power of the arbitrary whims of hidden, ugly little bureaucrats. A farmer will not invest the effort of one summer if he’s unable to calculate his chances of a harvest. But you expect industrial giants-who plan in terms of decades, invest in terms of generations and undertake ninety-nine-year contracts-to continue to function and produce, not knowing what random caprice in the skull of what random official will descend upon them at what moment to demolish the whole of their effort.

Oh, but who manipulates these ugly bureaucrats, her word not mine, and from whence do their directives come? They come from more powerful interests intent on taking what that farmer or industrialist has managed to scrape together. If compliance isn't forthcoming, these same forces connive to get the farmer's or industrialist's property. It's a buy out, you take it or you get ruined. We know plenty about this as it is happening right now across America and elsewhere in foreign countries that have fallen behind on their debt payments to them.

Drifters and physical labourers live and plan by the range of a day. The better the mind, the longer the range. A man whose vision extends to a shanty, might continue to build on your quicksands, to grab a fast profit and run. A man who envisions skyscrapers, will not. Nor will he give ten years of unswerving devotion to the task of inventing a new product, when he knows the gangs of entrenched mediocrity are juggling the laws against him, to tie him, restrict him and force him to fail, but should he fight them and struggle and succeed, they will seize his rewards and his invention.

That is the current way of things, but it isn't the governments, Mr. Galt, it's the people behind the governments, people that set policies, people that fund campaigns, people who seek to ruin others and steal their properties, Mr. Galt. These people think of themselves as businessmen too, just of a higher order. They don't believe they need you anymore, Mr. Galt, so what are you going to do about it? They'll say something like this with a certain smirk on their face, that sad sad smile or false regret. You have just been consigned to their concentration camp.

Look past the range of the moment, you who cry that you fear to compete with men of superior intelligence, that their mind is a threat to your livelihood, that the strong leave no chance to the weak in a market of voluntary trade.

Let's set a few things straight: The only real markets of voluntary trade are tiny and not regulated, all the rest are rigged. We'll get into this more on a paper on markets. Intelligence, superior or otherwise, has nothing to do with it, superior money power has everything to do with it.

What determines the material value of your work? Nothing but the productive effort of your mind-if you lived on a desert island. The less efficient the thinking of your brain, the less your physical labour would bring you-and you could spend your life on a single routine, collecting a precarious harvest or hunting with bow and arrows, unable to think any further.

Notice the direct connection Galt / Rand make between desert island and unable to think any further.

But when you live in a rational society [as opposed to a desert island], where men are free to trade, you receive an incalculable bonus: the material value of your work is determined not only by your effort, but by the effort of the best productive minds who exist in the world around you.

Actually the difference between one and the other is the presence of money. Money is used to split the barter for everything therefore allowing maximum exchange of value for whatever is offered for sale to be purchased with that money.

When you work in a modern factory, you are paid, not only for your labour, but for all the productive genius which has made that factory possible: for the work of the industrialist who built it, for the work of the investor who saved the money to risk on the untried and the new, for the work of the engineer who designed the machines of which you are pushing the levers, for the work of the inventor who created the product which you spend your time on making, for the work of the scientist who discovered the laws that went into the making of that product, for the work of the philosopher who taught men how to think and whom your spend your time denouncing.

That's only because there have been so many bad philosophers. But how much work in America is factory work these days? And what factors went into making that labour structurally obsolete? I also note that one type of person is omitted from her list, the banker who lent the manufacturer the money to build the factory, at compound interest of course, such that it is up to the bank to call in the loan, because the factory has become obsolete before its time, due to competition from abroad, in which that same banker has an interest.

The machine, the frozen form of a living intelligence, is the power that expands the potential of your life by raising the productivity of your time. If you worked as a blacksmith in the mystics’ Middle Ages, the whole of your earning capacity would consist of an iron bar produced by your hands in days and days of effort. How many tons of rail do you produce per day if you work for Hank Rearden? Would you dare to claim that the size of your pay check was created solely by your physical labour and that those rails were the product of your muscles? The standard of living of that blacksmith is all that your muscles are worth; the rest is a gift from Hank Rearden.

... and a gift from Hank's banker, according to the story they want the average guy to get. But the average guy's place as a cog in the machinery is far from guaranteed, though they certainly don't want average guy to quit before they're done with him. Maybe average guy had a few bad habits, maybe he's overweight, maybe his people were prone to heart disease, whatever. Everyone will feel great if they can get off paying for average guy's retirement, hope he dies the day after he's retired. That's what really goes on, and it will go on in places like China just the same as it ever did in any other industrialized country until the factory workers worldwide know what the market for their skills happens to be and what they are worth. Obviously (the or an) VEN would eventually supply this kind of data to its members.

Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but it’s only the degree to which he thinks that determines the degree to which he’ll rise. Physical labour as such can extend no further than the range of the moment. The man who does no more than physical labour, consumes the material value-equivalent of his own contribution to the process of production, and leaves no further value, neither for himself nor others. But the man who produces an idea in any field of rational endeavor-the man who discovers new knowledge-is the permanent benefactor of humanity. Material products can’t be shared, they belong to some ultimate consumer; it Is only the value of an idea that can be shared with unlimited numbers of men, making all sharers richer at no one’s sacrifice or loss, raising the productive capacity of whatever labour they perform.

This is all by this time, garden variety claptrap to any informed anybody anywhere in the world. We're just going to strike down each of these Horatio Alger like statements:

Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, No he isn't. Only those on the inside track are ever free to rise in the present economy and on into the future if it is allowed to morph into full blown totalitarian tyranny, so this is a LIE.

But it’s only the degree to which he thinks that determines the degree to which he’ll rise. This too is a LIE because even if you have enough brains to be inventive enough to catch the attention of the elites, all they'll do is let you live as well as you can for a while until they gain control over your work and then they owe you precisely NOTHING as they have stolen your very birthright from you. They say they will honour their agreements to pay your retirement, but as is the case with many microbiologists, accidents do happen. So don't count on anything from the elites. As I said earlier, any meeting between them and you is like that between a shark and its prey.

Physical labour as such can extend no further than the range of the moment. If that were the case, then all the buildings we still use for anything that were built even several hundred years ago, would have no value and of course they do have value, so this too is primarily false and seeks to denigrate physical labour and hence get away with saying that physical labour should cost them less than non physical labour. The question for you to answer is who indeed wants to see the world this way and why?

The man who does no more than physical labour, consumes the material value-equivalent of his own contribution to the process of production, and leaves no further value, neither for himself nor others.  

This of course is a key statement which discloses much about the elites and how they view things. They seek a way to feed off the efforts and resources of others, without themselves doing any physical work. Therefore their view of things is that physical labour should never be paid more than the food they consume. I would very much like that thought to sink in really deep too, because any of you out there, the John Galts who put up buildings, who work with anything heavy that requires you to do physical work, need to recognize exactly how these people see you. Since you're no better than the food you eat and presumed to do no serious thinking about what you do, which is also a LIE, then you can be replaced with those who would eat for less money. Get that? Understood? We will definitely express ourselves on this theme in a future paper, believe me. It is very important for any stable future and pertains directly to (the or an) VEN.

But the man who produces an idea in any field of rational endeavour- the man who discovers new knowledge- is the permanent benefactor of humanity. I sense here an appeal to the pride of the John Galt out there, who thinks he's discovered something and thinks the highest aspiration is to become famous enough that one's name becomes immortal, remembered long after one has passed. OK, but who does the thinker's idea chiefly benefit, but the financier, the elitist who owns his patents through the corporation the John Galt signed up to work for, etc.? So this too is at the very least a figment of the imagination.[Are you getting this, Laurence?  By securing a copyright over that to which you were not entitled, you have made your patent a point of leverage for the elites who would certainly like nothing better than to secure the rights to the Riegel name, etc.  You may try and convince us that you'd never sell out, but every man has his price. You assumed no doubt that a copyright would protect you (from what exactly?), when it only serves to create a means to buy you out. Good luck, Mr. Founder, happy foundering.]  

Material products can’t be shared, they belong to some ultimate consumer; What is sharing and why is it important to the elites? We know that in the securities business a share is a piece of some business that can be bought or sold in a securities market. So a share of anything is an important concept to an elitist. It is here asserted that it Is only the value of an idea that can be shared with unlimited numbers of men, unlike a building which can be used only by a limited number of people. Let's consider a recording of a pop hit song. It can be sold to potentially millions of people whereas a share in a building to very few. Obviously there will be a corresponding cost differential between the price of a single recording and the share of the use of a building. The elites obviously prefer the former business situation if they can make it happen, which is called “making a market” and that too will be discussed further on the forthcoming paper on markets.

The final statement is also misleading, making all sharers richer at no one’s sacrifice or loss, actually as all recording artists know from hard experience and many great composers knew as well in their times, those who obtained the patents or copyrights got far more than the original artists did, so in fact the artists were forced to compromise their birthrights away; sacrificed, or starve or go unknown. Then casually it is averred raising the productive capacity of whatever labour they perform as if to suggest that as long as this excess above the cost of food is shared, that it benefits all. Well, in countless industrial shops across the world, we can observe that those using more advanced tools can greatly increase production even beyond the point the business can remain profitable. But how much did the inventor receive from everyone using his invention? How much as a percentage did the financier get? That's right, the John Galt inventor got screwed.  [That goes for you too, Laurence!]

It is the value of his own time that the strong of the intellect transfers to the weak, letting them work on the jobs he discovered, while devoting his time to further discoveries.

This is the grand illusion of Plato's Republic, that certain people should do all the hard labour while others were allowed freedom to think and to RULE. What did they think in their spare time? New ways to enslave others, cause wars, lie, cheat and steal to earn their daily bread? To be continued.

David Burton

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