“Who is John Galt” : A superhero for the Intellectual Producers

The question that everyone is asking no matter what side of the political aisle they find themselves on is Who is John Galt, because of the new controversial film Atlas Shrugged Part II. The answer is that John Galt is a superhero to the productive intellectuals who have for many years enjoyed other superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Spiderman and many others without having a specific hero rooted in reality that articulates their views. John Galt is a superhero because without weapons, special powers, or any interplanetary aid he holds within him the ability to save the world. He is able to do this with the personal realization that he alone is responsible for his own life, and due to that reality he is able to unleash tremendous creative potential that others benefit from. Through his life, the level of creative potential that is sapped off of humanity through collective philosophies is increasingly evident. John Galt with only his independence and his intellect is able to unlock a treacherous secret that has befuddled humanity since its inception, the tendency to revert philosophically backwards after great technological breakthroughs had been achieved. John Galt is the ultimate superhero because it is his intellect that crushes his enemies without ever declaring war, but by simply preventing them from robbing his merit in life, to sustain themselves.

The controversy over John Galt however is that his enemies are unfortunately all too real in the day to day lives of the modern world. When people proclaim that “They are John Galt” they are declaring their right to their own minds, their own creative potential, their own lives independent of the collective whole of society. By doing this they actually strengthen civilization in ways that humanity has never before realized, because the act of such a proclamation places the responsibility of living squarely on the shoulders of those doing the act and not allowing collective bodies of society to hide the faults of their unproductive lives. John Galt is the creative force that breaks through the unspoken barrier which restricts the intellectual producers who for so long been ridiculed as “greedy,” “selfish,” “right-winged,” “bourgeois” and “upper class.”

This whole idea of John Galt as a superhero of course infuriates all the advocates of collectivism. Unlike the traditional superheroes mentioned above who have villains using diabolical powers in an attempt to take over the world, the villains of John Galt could be the next door neighbor who roams around the neighborhood collecting fees for their homeowners association proclaiming that a homeowner is in violation of the rules because their garage door is open. The enemy could also be the school levy advocate who demands higher taxes on a community so their child can have a free education but in doing so they feed a tyrannical labor union advocating socialist teachings to the children and society at large. Or perhaps the villain is a family member who wants to know why their loved one dropped out of college to pursue an entrepreneurial enterprise instead of brown-nosing alums for a future job in a future office cubical of no real productive worth. The villains of Atlas Shrugged are too real for the masses that live their lives through collectivism and they often feel guilty upon reading Atlas Shrugged the classic novel, or watching the films that are currently being released. So their reaction to the material is anger, and castigation.

The collectivists deep in their minds, because they have not done as John Galt has–and that’s take personal responsibility for the quality of their lives, feels deep guilt when they realize how much they rely on other people. They lack the courage to face the trials and tribulations of daily life alone, and this makes them a burden on the intellectual producers who create all the jobs in society, and drive all the materials that produce the best culture. They hide their personal fears behind collectivism and mental evasion. The message of the superhero John Galt is one that personally calls collectivists out and puts the light on their behavior, which goes against the entire reason they built their lives around collectivism in the first place. When Galt declares at the end of the Atlas Shrugged, to “get out of my way,” he is saying that he does not need anybody, that he alone has the ability to do the job at hand if only the parasites of intellectual ineptitude would get out of his way and allow him to live to his full potential.

To understand what Galt is talking about, the best comparison would be to consider three hikers who are backpacking 10 miles into the rugged mountains of West Virginia. Everything the backpackers need would have to be placed inside the backpacks for the week that they would remain in the mountains. Each backpack would weight between 20 to 40 pounds. Metaphorically speaking John Galt is one of the backpackers and before starting out, he volunteers to carry the tent for all three hikers because he is stronger than the other two. They resent the fact silently that Galt thinks he is stronger than they are, but they say nothing because they don’t want the extra weight on their own backs.

Two miles into the hike one of the two weaker backpackers complains that they don’t think they can keep pace with Galt because he is going too fast for them. They ask Galt to slow down so they can keep up. This forces Galt to walk slower to appease the weaker hiker. Another two miles into the hike the other hiker complains that the straps on their backpack are hurting their shoulders. They have incorrectly packed their equipment putting not enough weight on the hips, leaving most of the heavy lifting done incorrectly by the shoulders. John Galt then volunteers to take away some of the weight and carry it himself to relieve the pressure on the fatigued hiker. Another two miles in both of the weaker hikers complain that Galt’s pace is too brisk, that they need to stop and rest once in a while to catch their breath. Of course this irritates Galt. The weak hikers tell Galt that if he has so much energy then why doesn’t he carry the weight of both their packs so that they can keep up with Galt, then they wouldn’t have to stop so much over the next four miles. They rationalize that each according to his ability each according to their need, that Galt has an obligation to take away their burden since they are not as strong as he is. Galt then tells them that they will never become strong themselves if they don’t learn to carry their own weight, and to fight through their struggles for their own good and benefit. But this sounds too hard to the two weak hikers, so Galt in frustration throws off all the extra weight he had been carrying and proceeds on without them.

As the sun sets much later that day after 10 more breaks from the two weak hikers they arrive at the camp that John Galt has already set up. They discover that Galt had arrived 6 hours earlier, had pitched the tent, found enough wood to build a fire, start a fire, begin cooking dinner, and read two chapters of a book he had been studying. Galt well rested and content could only manage a smug wave at the two weak hikers as they staggered into camp sweating profusely, overcome by exhaustion. The hikers demand of Galt water since they had depleted the contents of their canteens. Galt points to the creek that runs alongside the camp, as if the solution should be self evident, yet the tired hikers complain that they are too tired to filter the water for themselves and they complain that Galt is so selfish for not spending his extra time filling jugs of water for them since he obviously had time instead of wasting his time reading a book.

For those who are the intellectual producers, not the parasitic intellectuals that we find in our public schools and colleges, but the actual producers of society—John Galt is their superhero–their kind of representative in the art of literature and now motion pictures. Of course for the two hikers and the others who think like them John Galt is a terrible person who has treated them unfairly because he thinks his “shit doesn’t stink,” that he “considers himself superior.” They find the message of John Galt appalling, because John Galt makes them realize what burdens they truly are, and how parasitic they are to the creative minds of existence. Those who hate Atlas Shrugged with great passion are no different than the two hikers who wanted Galt to carry all their equipment for them, to move through the hike at their pace, so that they could believe they are equal to John Galt as they would all arrive at the camp at the same time. Since they outnumbered Galt two to one, they believed they held the majority of opinion which compelled Galt to carry their gear and make them feel included in the successful experience of a hike into the mountains, instead of a couple of weaklings who packed too heavy, were not determined to carry their own weight, and showed no interest in arriving at camp in good time so they could fill their minds with the contents of a good book in the rustic mountain setting, as was Galt’s goal.

The name of John Galt does incite anger among those who know they are parasites to creativity and if a genie could grant these people three wishes of anything in the world that they could want or desire, they would spend all three continuing the illusion that collectivism works so that they could hide their true worth from the eyes of the true producers—the intellectual producers of individualism. The reason is that no amount of money can hide the value of these people. These types could be given $10 million dollars and within 5 years they would have spent every bit of it on women, homes, boats, cars, and charity because their minds are not equipped to think on their own, they are the weak hikers of our lives and will not be able to carry their own load through the mountains of West Virginia even with the help of money, because they lack the intellectual capacity to do so.

What the two hikers, and all the people who hate John Galt, Ayn Rand, or the great book Atlas Shrugged fail to realize is that their lives were enhanced greatly because Galt made them carry their own load up the mountain, that he did not deny them the experience of the merit of their labor. Because deep down inside, as does every intellectual producer, they all know that in the next morning when the sun rises that the weak hikers will be sore to their bones, but the water they scoop out of the stream will taste so good, because they earned it, and it wasn’t given to them. People like John Galt live every day in this fashion, so when they declare “I am John Galt,” they are saying they understand what John Galt is, what he represents, and why he is important.

In the reality of the real world, this is why John Galt is considered a superhero, because it takes superhuman strength to resist the temptation of succumbing to the weak hikers of the world, to the parasitic collectivists, and help them when they cry and beg for it. It takes superhuman strength to know, over their protests, that if collectivists are forced to carry their own weight, that they will be better people for it and that by helping them, you actually hurt them more than their little minds can fathom. It takes superhuman strength to resist the comfortable blanket of collectivism when the entire world advocates it, except for those few who understand fully who John Galt is, and why he’s so important.

So the answer to “Who is John Galt” is known easily to those who are intellectual producers. The answer will infuriate those who are not intellectual producers, but John Galt is not a superhero for those types of minds. He is not interested in the collective acceptance of their opinions. He is a superhero functioning from an inner strength that is completely foreign to them, John Galt knows that the way he can help the world best is by dropping the extra gear he’s carrying on their behalf and moving ahead at his own pace so they can benefit when they finally arrive to where he is mentally, and enjoy the experience of the camp site he has already built. By dropping their gear, the metaphorical John Galt can provide them with a nice tent to lay in to rest their bones, good food to eat which they didn’t have time to prepare on their own since it took them all day to hike up the mountain, and the inner victory of forcing them to hike the mountain on their own, in their own time without robbing from them the wonder of a drink of water of which they fully earned through the struggle of their labor. It takes a real superhero to do all of that and know inwardly that it was the correct thing to do when the only thing the hikers could say in kindness to him was a complaint at having to get their own water when they first came into camp exhausted.

John Galt is a modern answer to the welfare culture that has allowed politics to rob from them the benefit of living their lives. John Galt is a superhero in a culture of collectivists who wish that John Galt would just carry their gear up the mountain so they can pretend they are also intellectual producers who are important to the world. That they can also climb up the mountains of life and arrive at camp at the same time as John Galt. Only their strategy is to hold the John Galts of life back from arriving too early so the complacency of their existence is not shown in the light of their lives. Rather than struggle to become more like John Galt, and the other intellectual producers who know and love the message of the superhero John Galt, they instead complain that their water should have been given to them upon arrival, and that Galt was a selfish, mean man who forced them to toil needlessly out of pure spite.

That’s when John Galt, the superhero did the unthinkable, the most courageous thing a man in his position could do—he encouraged the men and women who thought like he did to drop the gear of society and to stop carrying them on their backs, and show the world where they were wrong in their subscriptions to collectivism. It truly takes superhuman strength to say NO, but in John Galt’s case, and increasingly more intellectual producers are beginning to acknowledge in spite of the howls of protest, they are beginning to say NO too, to the collectivist who require the work and effort of the “producers” without being able to contribute equally the other way with the efforts of their own lives. Without John Galt’s refusal to say NO to the looters in his own life, the parasitic nature of those in a collective society never are addressed, and society arrives late to it’s destination of achievement, which is a crime against everything that breaths. John Galt is a superhero because this is the crime he fights, the one where collectivists become parasites on the fate of the human race and hold it back only so their feelings aren’t hurt with the realization that they are not like John Galt, but are the un-intentional enemies to his very existence.

Who is John Galt? He is everyone who realizes that they are the intellectual producers who make the world move. They are the creators of the world’s campsites. It is through them and by them that everything happens. And it is they who have to help everyone become better by forcing them to carry the weight of their own life, keeping them from the slavery of their own philosophy, because the waters of life taste best when it is earned through the effort of one’s own existence and not the unspoken debt to another human being.

Rich Hoffman

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