The novel Atlas Shrugged has been made into a movie, and because certain events over the past ten years are so surreal to a large segment of the American public, Ayn Rand‘s question, “Who is John Galt?” has been asked again and again.
Sometimes it’s a satirical shorthand, sometimes it’s rhetorical.
Certain fictional characters in the book lend themselves to real life people. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE is a perfect crony capitalist, just like Jim Taggert. George Soros could also be Taggert. Wesley Mouch can easily be Barney Frank or Tom DeLay. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Steven Jobs could substitute for any of the industrialists. And so it goes.
But Who is John Galt?
In Ayn Rand’s novel, John Galt is an Adonis. He is a muscular, blonde, perfectly formed person. Sharp dresser, ingenious inventor. Rugged individualist. At the end of the novel, he raises the consciousness of the people. That was Ayn Rand in 1957.
John Galt isn’t a person. Galt is not even one human in a sense. Galt in 2011 is the internet.
The internet is driving change through every facet of American society. No surprise, but the government hasn’t embraced it yet. The internet has spreads the warm light of sunshine on all the roaches and insider deals, all the warts of crony capitalism. The internet shines sunshine all on all the big companies and keeps their feet to the fire. The internet destroys companies and structures that are weak, and quickly lifts up new structures and companies that empower and are meaningful for individuals. The internet empowers the individual. We are shifting from a one size fits all society in virtually every product, to a fully customizable, individualized a la carte culture. The individual can now overpower anything.
Going a la carte empowers the individual over large corporations, and over the government. Information is cheap, reliable and easily accessible. Every business needs to transform itself into a service business, even if all they do is manufacture goods in a B2B supply chain.
John Galt is each and every one of us. Via the synapses of the internet we can collaborate with any one in the world. All of us acting and interacting for our own self interests overwhelm the centralized planning of government and huge companies.
John Galt is similar to the Tea Party movement, that seeks to return government to its previously limited bounds outlined by the US Constitution. John Galt doesn’t care about segmentation, and delineation of differences in groups. Galt favors flat structures, destroys and takes on hierarchy. John Galt values each and every individual, and empowers each and every individual with the same rights. Galt knows what you do with those rights is up to you, not some over arching structure.
You are the internet. John Galt is you. You are John Galt.