Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who's Afraid of John Galt?

Do you ever wonder what some writers are smoking when they try to interpret what you say in a blog post? Today, Glenn received a copy of Mother Jones magazine at his office with a note attached that there was an article he might be interested in. The article, entitled, "And the Rand Played On" was about "Right-wingers heading for the hills" by "going Galt." Unfortunately, it does not seem to be on the web, at least I couldn't find it at their site.

Anyway, the article begins by talking about me and states that I am a blogger for the "conservative Pajamas Media network" --newsflash to the author Amy Benfer: I am a blogger on blogspot, not at Pajamas Media-- but why get bogged down with too many facts? Benfer goes on to say that I liked what Joe the Plumber had to say and this "semi-employed, blue-collar media darling" reminded me of John Galt, and this is how I came up with with the "Going Galt theme." Huh? I don't remember doing this--if you can deduce how Joe the Plumber reminded me of John Galt from my "Going Galt" post, let me know.

Most of the article focuses on attempts to discount or insult anyone disagreeing with the author's worldview. I am seen as "confused," Right-wingers are "heading for the hills" and stars such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who dare read Ayn Rand's books are "Celebrity fans of the cult of selfishness."

But I have to say that I like it that Mother Jones is so intimidated by the "Going Galt" theme that they have dedicated three pages at Mother Jones to it and seem quite put out that Rand's book Atlas Shrugged is flying off the shelves to the tune of 200,000 copies in four months. If I can tie up that much lefty attention with so little effort on my part, I'm doing pretty well!



Blogger Cham said...

As a liberal democrat I went Galt several years ago during the heyday of shrub. If you go Galt I suggest growing some really thick skin, I mean like titanium.

Our American culture is hooked on certain parameters much like an addict is hooked on crack. If you veer from the expected middleclass course of action people get upset, really upset. They don't get it, they don't want get it and they get something from being angry and pissed of at the Galt goer, because they have been indoctrinated that one lifestyle is the correct lifestyle and all others are evildoers and anti-American.

If you choose to go Galt expect to lose some friends and acquaintances in the process. Expect to be talked about, and it won't be a good kind of talk.

I proudly proclaim this truth from the back of my minivan in the hotel parking lot in which I plan to spend the night. Today's vacation expenditure was $1 for a fudge sundae. ;)

8:14 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for the advice. I agree that going Galt, like blogging, requires a thick skin. Hope the sundae was good, actually, it sounds great right now....

8:17 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger smitty1e said...

Have you considered hiking the Appalachian Trail for, say, four days?
That seems a ticket to even greater heights of press coverage.

9:35 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

Congratulations, seriously. I think they really do look for movers and shakers, and they must see you and the topic as such. As for making sense... well, that is why they are the left. Reality isn't the issue, pointing and slogans, perhaps, but reality isn't a part of their worldview or they wouldn't be "liberal". I have some lefty friends and family. I sometimes don't think they can understand the words out of my mouth, or theirs.

Pretty cool. And, being noted in a lefty organic piece of Americana is sort of neat too. Who cares about the rest, as long as they spelled everything correctly?

9:42 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger Jason said...

Just how Galt can a law professor and a child psychologist go? ;-)

10:53 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

What in the heck is Mother Jones magazine? It sounds like some type of druggie publication.

11:59 PM, June 23, 2009  
Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

It's natural that leftists will blanch and / or counterattack whenever the message of freedom starts to pick up steam. Their message is so thoroughly disproven that all the tread has worn off it. They have nothing to offer anyone except hatred, envy, and bribery.

It's becoming quite clear that the American electorate in 2008 did not vote for the Democrats but against the Republicans. The consequences are beginning to sink in.

If there was ever a time for a full-throttle push for a new, Constitutionally oriented political party, that time is now.

5:03 AM, June 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a room. In it is say....305 people.

About 270 of then have health insurance. Paid for by their employer and their own out of pocket expense. Somewhere between 12 to 15 of those people don't have health insurance. They don't want it. They can afford it, but they just don't have it. I didn't bother to get it until I got married, for instance. Somewhere between 15 to 18 of those people also don't have health insurance. They can't afford it because they won't or can't work. Some of it is temporary, but the numbers aren't actually straight up. We know how statistics are played.

The left and the government's answer? Force it on everyone. Those who are paying for it now will still be paying for it, except we will be paying much more for much less. Some who don't want it because they don't want to pay for it, will be forced to pay for it. The one's who don't have it at all, who can't afford it, and also don't pay taxes, will basically be getting it for free.

And that is only one reason out of many for going Galt.

5:43 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

What is interesting to me is that there used to be a back to nature get off the grid vibe to Mother Jones. Without the political differences, the Galters would be co-travelers with MJ.

But the folks over there are liberals, so thinking is not their strong suit, reacting is.


9:19 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Trey hit my thoughts. Mother Jones was born from the "turn on, tune in and drop out" generation. Sounds a lot like "going Galt." But now they're the establishment they hated so much 3-4 decades ago.

10:02 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger delagar said...

Didn't I just read a post on this blog like five minutes ago about how evil women were for wanting to work less?

Oh yeah, here it is:


So if women do it, it's socialism, and if y'all do it, it's bold brave and going galt?

You think, and liberals react.

Okay, then.

10:38 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

But you DO blog for PJM. In fact, you posted one a few days ago:


Additionally, you host a program on PJTV.

10:58 AM, June 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that: you use Blogger to post but then like hubby, your material often shared with PM

seems you are seriously nit picking to make an unimportant point.

As for Mother Jones, like it or not, it has been around for some time now and so for a reader to ask what it is is silly: search and skim and find out for yhour very own self...that is what we learn in school

11:02 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

delagar --

Going Galt is about working less and knowing and expecting to be rewarded less.

The post you linked to isn't about women going Galt, but basically wanting more for the same renumeration.

11:26 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


I write a column and host a show at Pajamas Media--and I am very proud do so-- but I am not a blogger there. Are you saying that being a column writer and tv host is the same as being a blogger? If so, then Dr. Phil is a blogger, as is anyone who writes a column/and or hosts a show for any outlet. My point was that the author of the Mother Jones piece did not do her research very well.


You are mixing up what "going Galt" means in my book. It simply means making less income and paying less tax because one does not want to fund Obama's agenda or have their labor or work used to fund programs and pay down debt they did not want in the first place. I am not sure why you are so threatened by this. You are welcome to pay for these things. No one is trying to stop you. Last time I looked, indentured servitude was not a requirement for being a citizen of the US.

11:29 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

When you post 39 articles on PJM and have your own PJTV show, I think that Mother Jones can safely make that statement.

As Fred points out, you're splitting a non-existent hair to make a dubious point.

11:45 AM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


Again, the point I was making is that the author of the Mother Jones piece does not know the difference between a blog and a column. Perhaps she is just not very new-media savvy? In which case, she should study up a bit.

12:03 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Ken said...

Well, let's see. Someone wrote a magazine article about Dr. Smith, about which she found out when the issue of the magazine was handed her.

It is reminiscent of the passage introducing Bertram Scudder (his magazine article "The Octopus"), is it not?

At that, the analogy probably gives too much credit to Amy Benfer.

12:11 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

You're making a distinction without a difference. To the extent that your work appears with some regularity on PJM and PJTV, the descriptive sentence used by Mother Jones is accurate.

12:16 PM, June 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lady write a piece for a maghazine that is also ONLINE. She refers to your p[ieces which have run on a magazine that is online. Your response is that she does not know the difference between a colum and a blog? Perhaps, just perhaps, she has read you in PJmedia and not at this site and so she may well know the diff but is referring to that which she has seen and read. You are, alas, being very very picky and childish in your "accusation." You surpirse me in this.

12:21 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger jimbino said...


Obama means to force Jehovah Witnesses, Amish, Adventists and John Galt into his universal healthcare system. John Galt will not be able to escape, even if he flees to some far-off Tepui in Venezuela, where no healthcare is available, because the USSA taxes all income of all Amerikans wherever earned. The only way out for Galt will be to renounce his US Citizenship, not a bad security move either, nowadays.

12:24 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

Helen, I can perhaps shed some light on how your opinion of Joe The Plumber and Going Galt MAY have gotten conflated:

Person who is unable to sufficiently compartmentalize reads something about Joe The Plumber (maybe your post, maybe not), then a short time later reads your post on "Going Galt". Person still has thoughts about how dumb Joe The Plumber is while reading your column, and thinks everything she is reading is related to Joe The Plumber.

I have seen this happen at home. There are more facets of my wife's illogical mental facilities which are still opaque to me, but this one I have worked out by observation and questioning, when similar fallacious assumptions have emerged.

1:07 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

Also, Cham - you just live in the wrong area. I work with a man who owns his own farm, which provides him with meat, milk, eggs, honey, and most of his produce. His wife also uses the farm products they don't consume to make other things, such as candles, lotions, lip balms, and soaps. No one comments on this, because it's not exceptionally odd in this area.

On the other hand, the fact that it is very much a "Red State" area might just have something to do with that.

1:14 PM, June 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delagar sez: "Didn't I just read a post on this blog like five minutes ago about how evil women were for wanting to work less?"


I think the difference is that the people who just want to be taxed less will either put up with less material goods or they will make them themselves.

The women in the other article were going to do it on the back of a man - they weren't going to cycle down any in terms of having material stuff, they were just going to take the time-honored route of putting more of the responsibility for payment on the back of the man.

1:42 PM, June 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lefty version of "going Galt" is "going unibomber"

2:45 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger . said...

Well, Big Ears ain’t afraid of John Galt! Is there nothing Obama can’t do?

3:05 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger gemma said...

You go girl!!! Amazing what we can do by just doing what we do. This is the craziest world ever. And those people are so not on this planet.

6:14 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger orthodoc said...

Mother Jones is still in existence? Anyhow, Ms. Benfer's body of work is about what you'd expect from a freelancer writing for Salon - lots of liberal palaver with a fairly serious bug up her butt about men in general. Nice to see that she can read stuff from the dark side, though.

7:26 PM, June 24, 2009  
Blogger Anaximander said...

Oh dear:


12:20 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger Micajah said...

Maybe this article in March inspired the Mother Jones writer:


"”Do you ever wonder,” wrote Dr. Helen Smith, “after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election, if it’s getting to be time to ‘go John Galt?’”

"It is Oct. 12, 2008, and inspired by Barack Obama’s curbside debate with Joe the Plumber — and the likelihood of his election to the presidency — Smith, a forensic psychologist in Knoxville, Tenn., was tossing the readers of her blog a serious question."

12:57 AM, June 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I saw an issue of Mother Jones was in a trash can at a camp ground when my kids were small. I used it to start a fire to roast marshmallows for smores.

It ain't about going "Smith", although someone is trying to make it so. What is this, rule number 12 or something? Hell, I'd feel honored.

6:27 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...

I re-read the original Galt blog and it didn't conjure up any Plummer Joe images for me.

Re-reading my own comment, I realize now that I didn't go "full Galt" -- I went golfing and am still on the course.

8:15 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


I don't think one has to go "full Galt." I think small changes, a little less taxable income is all that is needed. At least that will be a start to "starving the beast" or at least make it more likely that taxes will start to impact everyone. As long as only the "rich" are soaked, no one will do much but once all see the impact that creeping socialism has directly on them, they might start to see the light.

9:19 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...

Don’t worry Helen, my tax liability for '08 (haven't filed yet) will be close to $0.00; other than taxes which will be generated by converting an IRA to a Roth IRA, taking advantage of my currently low tax bracket. In the long run I believe this action will produce fewer taxes than I would otherwise pay.

For '09 I will be doing the same thing with another IRA. Anyone else in my situation should consider doing the same thing.

This statement is not to be construed as legal or tax advice. Before taking any action, consult your attor...... blah, blah, blah.

I realize that I am fortunate to be able to weather this out so far, but I think I think there are quite a few others in my situation; in fact I meet quite a lot of them on the golf course and out rock-climbing or hiking in the mountains.

I developed a theory over the weekend while watching the U.S. Open golf tournament. I haven't actually explored the statistics, but it seemed to me that a lot more relatively unknown and amateur players were way further up the leader board than usual.

My theory is that many of these guys, a lot just out of college, others unemployed or underemployed, have decided not to waste their time looking for jobs and are pursuing dreams of becoming professional golfers. My dad, who died in January by the way, was Captain of Stanford's golf team in the early 50's. He could have easily gone pro, but his depression era parents talked him out of the idea, the job market for engineers was good at the time, so he went straight to work.
As for his golf, he just settled for being club champion every year; and later running a large Jr. Golf program. I guess I will go ahead and reveal my true identity by showing his obituary:


I have also seen a lot of college graduates while out rock climbing with my son. Hundreds of them are just bumming around going climbing all over the country. A lot of them ask me if I know how they might get a job, or tell me that their parents are pestering them about it; but my response is that it will be a long time before they will enjoy the opportunity, the health, and the freedom from responsibility which will be lost once they get wrapped up in "the game". Better to use this unique time in history to follow their dreams, not just a paycheck.

11:08 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...


I agree with you 100%. 2 years ago I decided to take my dream vacation crossing the country and going hiking...and not working while I was doing it. My parents had a huge problem with this idea. They told me that I should work as long as possible and I can go hiking after I retire. That's all well and good but most serious hikers that I know that are over 65 have hip and knee problems and often can't hike very far. The way I saw it that when (and if) I made it to 65 I might not be in the physical shape to accomplish what wanted to accomplish on the trail. I think that if it is your heart's desire to be a golf pro then be a golf pro. The engineering schools will always be waiting for you if you ever decide you can't make it on the links. Live your dream while you can.

11:58 AM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger Quasimodo said...

It's all about the emotion. A lefty reads the words "joe the plumber" and has a negative emotional reaction and transfers the negativity to anyone who approves of him in almost any way. Ditto John Galt. So what the author did was multiply the negative message about you times 2 without even needing to say a negative word. An effective way to 'discount or insult anyone disagreeing with the author's worldview.'

1:00 PM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger ballyfager said...


I'll bet the woman never read the book. A lot of people who are critical of Rand and/or Atlas Shrugged never read the book.

Hell, most people in our society never read ANY 1160 page book in their lives.

1:02 PM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...

I have a lot of friends, family, and acquaintences here in Ventura County, California and in South America like Yvonne Chouinard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvon_Chouinard Doug Tomkins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Tompkins and Rick Ridgeway http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/nov/09/rick-ridgeway-ojai-resident-and-adventurer-over/ just to name a few.

While I personally don't agree with what I believe to be their extreme environmentalism, their is no way I can argue that the financial success they have enjoyed is anything other than the result of deciding to follow their dreams, rather than joining the heard.

5:04 PM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...

That last comment was for you, Cham.

5:05 PM, June 25, 2009  
Blogger Micajah said...

Since the March article's statement about you, Galt and Joe didn't spark your curiosity, try this.

Your October 12, 2008, blog entry about Galt was apparently posted in the morning; but Jake Tapper didn't seem to know about the "spreading the wealth around" statement by Obama much later that same day:

How did you know about Obama's statement to Joe, if Jake didn't?

None of the people who posted comments about your entry mentioned Joe until several days later--after he was often mentioned in the debate and became the subject of attacks by the Dems.

How did you know on Sunday morning about Obama's comment (which was perhaps made after you posted your blog entry)? How come your readers didn't know?

It seems that you and Joe were understanding the same thing about Obama's campaign positions before Obama ever said the "spread the wealth around" bit to Joe. Note this part of your October 12 blog entry:
"Obama talks about taking from those who are productive and redistributing to those who are not -- or who are not as successful. If success and productivity is to be punished, why bother?"

In answer to your question ("Huh? I don't remember doing this--if you can deduce how Joe the Plumber reminded me of John Galt from my "Going Galt" post, let me know."), you couldn't have been reminded about Galt by a statement that either Obama had not yet made to Joe or you had not yet heard Obama make to Joe.

But, the March article noted in my first comment could either be an independent "discovery" of this link or the inspiration for the Mother Jones writer's "discovery."

Since you were interviewed by the writer for the March article, did you leave him with the impression that you had been inspired to think of Galt when you heard of Joe and Obama's statement to Joe? The article says: "“I had to refresh my memory with the Cliffs Notes,” she said Thursday in an interview."

4:40 PM, June 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tomcal, I am sorry to hear about your dad passing. I still miss my dad, who passed 19 years ago.

6:26 PM, June 26, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...


Thank you. No matter how much you expect it, it takes a lot of wind out of your sails for quite a while.


5:43 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


Add me to the list of those sorry to hear about your dad. Thanks for the link to his obituary.

6:19 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger tomcal said...

Gracias Doctora.

9:12 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger MensaRefugee said...

Historically persecuted people invested in skills with mobility. Jews are a classic example. Emphasis on education, (which, short of killing them, you cant take away), low on material property, (that can be confiscated).

Sadly, the education system is a socialist heaven too.

1:48 PM, June 28, 2009  

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