Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Chapters 1-3 Essay

Total Length: 1400 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

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Page 1 of 5

Galt's Gulch and a strike of the mind is possible? Do we choose not to believe it or the philosophy because we might not be one of them or do we truly not believe in top down economics?

In theory a strike of the mind such as the one perpetrated by John Galt and his colleagues at Galt's Gulch seems like a logical idea; smart people would just have to get together and agree not to use their brains to help the government or those people who were in an undeserved position of power. All the members of the intelligentsia could be rounded up and unite in their refusal to participate in a corrupt status quo. They could disappear and build a utopian society based on individual responsibility. However, in the real world, such a disappearing act would be very difficult to carry out. Technology has advanced society to the point that even if someone wanted to disappear from the face of the earth, it would be relatively easy to track them down. Galt's Gulch would not be allowed to subsist in a world like the one that we live in. Secondly, the people in Galt's Gulch feel self-righteous. They believe that they are doing the right thing by stepping away from society and waiting until complete social chaos before they emerge. These are men of principles, although their opinions may be deluded and their purpose not at all altruistic. They are willing to sacrifice large paychecks in order to do what they feel is socially and morally responsible. There are not many people who would give up large sums of money, even if it meant that they were perpetrating crimes for either the government or the looters in charge or both. The next point is that people do not really believe in top-down economics. There is no guarantee that once someone has achieved financial success that they will feel any burden to spread that wealth and better the lives of their employees.

2. Why would you agree or disagree with Ragnar's methods, with his concept of striking, and his theory behind their roots?

The character of Ragnar in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is essentially a pirate.
He and his cohorts travel the sea in search of bootie. Once they find something valuable the pirates take it. Some of the treasure they take for themselves and some they hand back to other strikers. The reason he acts the way he does, or so he says, is as a form of protest. For him, the strike is about refusing to accept the governmental control over mind and potential for future success. Anything that removes some of the government control, as he does through his act of piracy, is therefore part of the strike. The governments and the looters have taken money from him and his colleagues at Galt's Gulch in order to fund their corrupt regimes. In his opinion, his actions are no more unlawful than the strikers' refusal to participate or to benefit the government. Therefore he feels that he is only taking back what rightfully belongs to those who are receiving his ill-gotten gains. This is an understandable reason and the reader can side with him in this. However, it gets more complicated when you take into account who is being punished by his actions. Ragnar is not robbing government ships bringing oil or gold into the United States. Rather he is pirating the ships which are going from the United States to the people of Europe who desperately need the materials inside the boats in order to survive. There are starving people and he is robbing them of the beneficence granted them by the United States of America. He is taking back what he feels is his, but he is harming others far more than he is the corrupt people who he claims to be targeting. This understanding makes his actions seem far less Robin Hood-like. He himself states that he is not exactly such a figure because he robs from the poor to give to the rich. Gulch states that one of the principles of the strikers is that they ask no man to sacrifice….....

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