The term “Going Galt” is a reference to Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged. In the book, John Galt is subject to forced unionization when the founder of the automobile company for which he works dies and his liberal children inherit the plant. John responds by leaving the company, but also by starting an underground movement to encourage the best and the brightest to withdraw from the corrupt society which was leeching the value from their lives.
Eventually, most of the “strikers” made their way to a hidden valley in Colorado, colloquially referred to as “Galt’s Gulch.” Not all of the strikers did that though. John stayed in New York City and traveled extensively to recruit new members. Francisco d’Anconia traveled the world, living the life of a genius playboy, as part of a larger plan to bankrupt corrupt businesses and governments. Ragnar Danneskjöld took up piracy on the high seas as a method of liberating tax money from governments and giving it back to the legitimate owners. Hugh Akston gave up his position as a professor of philosophy to become a cook at a roadside diner.
When Is The Right Time to Go?
Many people looked into Going Galt under Barack Obama, and some did, due primarily to the Democrat’s polices of excessive taxation. However, Ayn Rand specifically listed free speech as the indicator of when it was time to Go Galt:
“So long as we have not yet reached the state of censorship of ideas, one does not have to leave a society in the way the characters did in Atlas Shrugged…. But you know what one does have to do? One has to break relationships with the culture…. [D]iscard all the ideas – the entire cultural philosophy which is dominant today.” – Ayn Rand
Donald Trump certainly has no love for the First Amendment, and has spoken many times regarding his desire to use the legal system to censor his opponents. He has spoken in favor of changing the law to forbid criticism of public officials and has threatened to revoke the broadcasting licenses of stations critical of his presidency. Is now the time to Go Galt? You’ll have to make that decision for yourself.
It is difficult even to estimate how many people have already Gone Galt. There is (thankfully) no registry where you are required to sign that you are no longer working. Moreover, many components of Going Galt involve actively avoiding scrutiny from the surveillance state. One statistic we do have is the number of Americans who officially renounce their US citizenship. The numbers consistently hit record numbers during the Obama administration — and continue to do so under Donald Trump. In 2016, 5,411 Americans renounced their US citizenship. In the first two quarters of 2017, 3,071 have done so. If that trend holds steady, we will end 2017 with 6,142 renunciations — a new record.
What Exactly Is “Going Galt”?
Clearly, “Going Galt” does not mean the same thing to all people. Going Galt is a very individual expression. Your method of Going Galt depends upon your own interests, skills, resources, and opportunities. The current state of surveillance technology makes living together in a Colorado valley unfeasible. You may decide to make your own gulch overseas or, like John, your gulch may be a hidden room in a dingy New York City apartment.
After discussion with a large number of individuals who are either in the process of Going Galt or who have already gone, I have determined that most “Going Galt” activities fall into four major categories:
- Earn Less Taxable Income
- Reduce Expenses and Pay Less Sales Tax
- Civil Disobedience
- Prepare for the Collapse
Earn Less Taxable Income
Income taxes are the governments number one tool for confiscating money from its legitimate owners. The best way to limit the power of a government is to reduce its access to cash.
These are some of the methods modern day “strikers” are using to restrict government leeching of their incomes:
- Contribute the maximum allowable amount to your 401k plan.
- Contribute the maximum allowable amount to an IRA.
- Contribute the maximum allowable amount to a Health Savings Account.
- Barter goods and services with your neighbors when possible.
- If you have current investments, hold them long-term to avoid short-term capital gains taxes.
- Avoid selling investments until capital gains taxes are reduced or eliminated.
- Relocate to a state which charges lower or no income taxes.
- Move overseas to take advantage of the expat tax deduction.
- Change your work schedule to part-time and use the extra time to work on your own projects.
Reduce Expenses and Pay Less Sales Tax
Everything you buy is paid for with a small amount of your freedom. Reducing your expenses lets you keep more of your freedom. As a bonus, reducing your spending also helps keep money out of the hands of government.
Here are the strategies people are using to reduce their expenses and keep money in their own pockets:
- Don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely have to buy.
- Repair and reuse when possible instead of buying replacements.
- Barter goods and services with your neighbors when possible.
- Plant a garden to grow foods and spices instead of buying them.
- Hunt large and small game for meat when possible.
- Eat at home instead of paying a lot more to eat at restaurants.
- Buy used goods whenever possible, to avoid sales taxes.
- Buy over the Internet when possible, to avoid sales taxes.
- Hold a yard sale to help your neighbors avoid buying new products.
- Stop supporting leftist Hollywood by watching their movies – read books instead.
- Walk or bicycle whenever possible instead of driving to avoid gasoline taxes.
- Relocate to a state which charges lower or no sales taxes.
Prepare for the Collapse
The socialist systems under which we currently toil continue to survive only by leeching off of a dwindling number of productive citizens. This is unsustainable — eventually these systems must collapse. The decision of productive individuals to Go Galt will only serve to accelerate the inevitable. When these corrupt governments collapse, generations of humans who have no experience in providing for themselves will be left to steal, beg, or starve.
Here are a few steps you should be taking to prepare for the coming collapse:
- Stockpile water, food, and ammunition to prepare for coming shortages.
- Practice canning and dehydrating food for long-term storage.
- Invest in small amounts of physical silver and gold.
- Put together a good first-aid kit, including antibiotics, medicines, local anesthesia, scalpels, and suturing equipment.
- Train in basic health care to prepare for rationing.
- Train in self-defense and tactical skills.
- Fortify your home to protect your family against looters.
- Connect with like-minded individuals to prepare for the coming crash together.
This is where things get serious. This isn’t just trying to escape from a corrupt society and let it collapse; many of these steps involve making active decisions and taking risks that could negatively affect your personal liberty. Nonetheless, many people feel that the hope of living in a truly free world is worth the risk.
Here are a few tips to frustrate the tyranny of bureaucratic authoritarianism:
- Comply with government orders as slowly as possible.
- Fill out government forms incompletely and illegibly.
- Pay all taxes and fines at the last possible legal moment.
- Make it difficult for the government to enforce all unconstitutional or immoral laws.
- As a juror, exercise your right to nullify unconstitutional or immoral laws.
- Take multiple copies of all printed government forms to increase their costs.
- Take a job with the government, and then don’t do it.
- Boycott government propaganda outlets such as PBS and NPR.
- Get your money invested offshore while it is still safe and legal to do so.
The corrupt regime under which you live may not collapse in your lifetime, but these steps will help you to retrieve the maximum amount of your freedom from their clutches. In addition, following these “Going Galt” strategies should help to improve your security, lower your stress level, and build your personal self-confidence.