Atlas Shrugged

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Going Galt

What does it mean?

Going Galt

By Edward Hudgins

"Tea parties." "Going Galt." You've probably seen a growing number of references to these in the media, online, and on signs at rallies reacting to new government spending and controls. The Boston Tea Party was a rebellion against excessive government. Today's "tea parties" say "no" to spending without limit and the government takeover of our lives. "Going Galt!" If you've read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, you appreciate the parallels between today's disintegrating world and the events depicted in that prophetic novel. Atlas Shrugged is the story ofhow productive people went on strike, withdrawing their services in protest against a society that damned them for being productive and expropriated the fruits of their labor. 

The ideas in Atlas Shrugged can be powerful moral weapons to roll back the forces of repression and irrationality. The Atlas Society is your premier source for information on those ideas. We've compiled this page to help you understand the whole "Going Galt" phenomenon.  

What is "Going Galt?"

  • "Going Galt" doesn't simply mean getting angry. That would be "Going Postal." It means having righteous indignation at the injustice of a political system that bails out individuals and institutions for irresponsible behavior and at the expense of those like you who prosper through hard work and personal responsibly.
  • "Going Galt" means asking in the face of new taxes and government controls, "Why work at all?" "For whom am I working?" "Am I a slave?"
  • "Going Galt" means recognizing that you're being punished not for your vices but for your virtues.
  • "Going Galt" means recognizing that you have a moral right to your own life, the pursuit of your own happiness, and thus to the rewards you've earned with your labor.
  • "Going Galt" means recognizing that you deserve praise and honor for your achievements rather than damnation as "exploiters."
  • "Going Galt" means recognizing that you do not need to justify your life or wealth to your neighbors, "society," or politicians, or bureaucrats. They're yours, period!
  • "Going Galt" means recognizing that the needs of others do not give them a claim to your time, effort, and achievements.
  • "Going Galt" means shrugging off unearned guilt, refusing to support your own destroyers, refusing to give them what Ayn Rand termed "the sanction of the victim." It means taking the moral high ground by explicitly rejecting as evil the premise of "self-sacrifice" that they sell to you as a virtue— in fact "self-sacrifice" is an invitation to suicide.

Tools for Fighting Back

We at The Atlas Society want you to fight back, to express both your moral outrage and your hopes for a better future, and to be more effective by helping us to help you. 

Make a difference by visiting and supporting our Business Rights Center. The BRC is dedicated to defending businesspeople who are wrongly defamed by the media and unjustly prosecuted by the government. The Business Rights Center also strives to expose and challenge the false premises of today’s post-Enlightenment, anti-business intelligentsia.

Throughout our website you will find a wealth of information and insight about Atlas Shrugged. You'll find clear explanations of Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, by expert writers. You'll find an arsenal of intellectual ammunition needed to prevail against the assault on your freedom. And we're devoting all our time and attention to a new website that, like cruise missiles, will better delivery moral bombs to the targets of envy and resentment. 

Atlas Shrugged is still incredibly popular, five decades after its publication, because it offers a dramatic moral defense of the right to individuals live for their own sakes and a vision of a benevolent society based in reason, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Atlas Shrugged at 50: A Tribute

All about Atlas Shrugged: expert analysis, plot synopses, and more 

The revolt against taxes: collected Atlas Society commentary

Is Atlas Shrugging today?

"Ragnar Shrugged" - by Ed Hudgins

"Atlas Chased" by Ed Hudgins

"Atlas Forced into Early Retirement" - by Ed Hudgins

"Is John Galt Venezuelan?" -by Thor Halvorssen

The "Going Galt" Phenomenon

 Helen Smith got it all started with this post.

Megan McArdle took note in The Atlantic online: "Atlas raised his Eyebrows"

Chris Sullentrop surveyed the "Going Galt" scene for the New York Times.

"Going Galt" means a Return to Revolution in The New Individualist, Spring 2009 issue. 

David N. Mayer, "Completing the American Revolution" 

William R Thomas, "Individual Rights: The Objectivist View" 

David Kelley, "The Fourth Revolution"

 > Click here to help spread the ideas of Atlas Shrugged


Edward Hudgins writes on political and social issues. He is the editor of Freedom to Trade: Refuting the New Protectionism, Space: The Free Market Frontier, and two books on postal service privatization. His latest collection is entitled An Objectivist Secular Reader. He is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.