There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build…

- King Solomon

“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.”

- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

[In Part I of this series, I laid out some of the conceptual ideas and events behind peaceful protest, the Tytler Cycle, the economic vector of the US government, and"Going Galt". In Part II, I will be exploring the strategic choices that would most humanely - and perhaps, most holistically - enable a small enough "tipping point" of people to push us into the step-change required to reset the cycle.

Please realize, this is all exploratory in nature, and that I am not necessarily adcovating this course of action at this point in time. My hope is to gain the wisdom of other voices to see if this avenue is a) fruitful; b) possible; and c) a better way forward than passivity. Some folks may not wish to comment, but can send me feedback via my Facebook mail account.]

As I have been pondering the concept of how to humanely “Go Galt” – realizing that this may actually blunt the degree of its ’success’ – I think there are a number of basic principles that should be considered, along with some key strategies that would sit on top of those principles:

The Laffer CurveShifting the Laffer Curve

Probably the KEY concept to making “Going Galt” work – remember this, if you remember nothing else – is to ruthlessly and quickly drive the “Laffer Curve” down on anything that is taxed.

Let me say that again, and emphasize it:

The KEY concept to “Going Galt” is to ruthlessly and quickly drive the Laffer Curve down on anything that is taxed.

Who Pays Taxes?Since the institution of individual income taxes in the 1900’s, the “rich” have paid an increasingly lopsided share of all taxes collected in the US. Right now:

While this disparity has been rightly viewed as unjust by reasonable observers, “Going Galt” would actually leverage this disadvantage into a huge advantage in short order.

Want an example?

New York State recently enacted a number of measures to increase taxes on the rich, but lo and behold, the expected income has not come in, and revenues are even further down than predicted. Why? Some of the rich curtailed their investments in NY, while others (including some high-profile millionaires) just left the state. Good for them! Hopefully more will follow suit.

I plan to delve into “whipping the curve” in much more depth in later article(s).

Obeying the Law (of Unintended Consequences)

First, and foremost, I think that – if we were to pursue “Going Galt” – it is of key importance that – so long as it is stable and functioning – we strive to follow all laws – including, especially, tax laws. Biblically, Christians are admonished to follow the laws of their civil leadership, so long as those laws do not force them to commit sinful acts. Adherence to the law isn’t only moral, though, it also avoids tainting the legitimacy of participants after the chains of bondage are broken.

In fact, it is that ‘adherence to the law’ that should drive the statists & moocher-classists crazy. The left has demonstrated for years how the Law of Unintended Consequences circumvents the spirit of the byzantine laws and regulations pouring out of Washington. As a law-abiding, subversive movement, “humane Galts” would be much better able to survive, because the government would have to punish all members of society – producers and moochers, alike – if they cannot be easily distinguished from one another.

Perhaps using their own methods against them to produce perverse results is one of the keys to making it all work.

Leaderlessness

I think it goes without saying that the “Going Galt” movement should be a leaderless movement. As Ori Brafman and Rob Beckstrom explore in The Starfish and the Spider, leaderlessness is one of the key success factors to subversive movements. Without leaders, the movement cannot be personified, contained and vilified in an iconic individual or small set of individuals.

The Dreaded HydraThis operates very much in the same way that the Native Americans did against those settling the west, how the independent militia operated against the Redcoats in the US Revolutionary War, how the VC operated against the US in Vietnam, and how Al Qaida operates within the borders of their enemies. (How Many Al Qaida #2’s have we killed off to date? Would AQ cease to exist if we caught OBL?)

Like the legendary Hydra, in a leaderless organization, if you remove one of its heads, two more grow up in its place. Thus, it needs to be an easy movement to identify and engage with, but scalable and de-centralized … which brings us to:

Scalability & Sacrifice

If we were to “Go Galt”, it should be a set of behaviors that citizens of all social classes could – at some level – participate in. While a cube-rat, like myself, may not be able to have the impact that a millionaire would have in withdrawing “food from the beast”, these behaviors should be scalable to my level – both above and below.

Also, we should be willing to sacrifice a number of things, for the betterment of our children, grandchildren and beyond – much in the same way as our forefathers in the “Greatest Generation” sacrificed for us. We should be willing to give up a great deal of our consumerist tendencies, our living space and our comfort.

Ironically, I believe whole-hog “going green” – just like the statist nannies have been begging us to – can accelerate the Galt Effect. This is something I’ll explore in a later article. Additionally, the current winds of economic change will drive people toward Galt-ish behavior, anyway, so intentional “Galt-ism” is just an accelerator, rather than an engine – a much easier role to play.

Confidence and Intent

One of the key catalysts to the health of the economy is “consumer confidence“. This is often quantified, but it points toward the emotional state of the consumer. As such, both the index and the emotion can be fooled, and can “tip” from good-to-bad or bad-to-good in a hurry, with a disconnection from reality.

By playing with “consumer confidence” through our own spending (or, more importantly, saving) patterns, we all have a say in this system. By “pulling out” of specific key indicators (such as ‘new housing starts’), small changes can shift the winds of emotion and drive the economy south in a hurry.

If this is done artificially, it is much easier to recover, than if it is a slow, downward spiral. Thus, it seems that short-circuiting the slouching-spiral with an artificially-induced one is actually the more humane way of approach.

Gimme my Obama money!Moving On Out

Another key mover of public mood is the mainstream press. As such, at least two aspects of the MSM are of strategic interest -

  1. It is city-centric (particularly big cities on the east coast)
  2. It is addicted to hype and fear – the negative aspects of stories

This, coupled with the current economic winds, plays to the favor of Galt-ism. Why? When tax dollars, employment, and desired goods ‘dry up’, the first areas impacted tend to be city centers. When this happens, all hell breaks loose in all sorts of ways, just like it did last week when ‘Obama Money’ got handed out in Detroit. And – because the media is so metro-centric – it will get much more MSM coverage than similar, and more long-standing conditions in rural areasespecially if/when it reaches East Coast cities, particularly NYC.

In addition to this, the current governmental structure is very metro-centric. With the 2010 Census coming up, flight (real and artificial) out of the cities will impact the tax dollars available in the public trough for them, further exacerbating the problem. Anything we can do, Galt-wise, to encourage demographic shifts to the rural “fly-overs”, will decentralize and (because of the panic-sensistivity of the DC power structure) destabilize congressional power – pitting in the House more against the Senate and vice-versa (rather than in concert against the people).

The Place for the Church

And last – as a place of honor, not significance – is the place for the church in a society where the producers have largely ‘Gone Galt’.

There is HUGE opportunity for the church to actually be “salt and light” – the hands and feet of Christ – during economic hard times. When the government systems fail, and people’s faith in Caesar wavers, the church has historically been – and should be – the place of refuge. It is the place where the needs of the poor, displaced and homeless should be met – starting with its own members, and then out to the community.

This is the time to plant the seeds of Spiritual Faith that grows as Bondage is thrown off, to balance the temporal needs and the eternal ones.

In light of this, it is important that the church NOT be an organizational force behind the “Going Galt”. Even though Galt is just accelerating the somewhat inevetible for a positive end, the body politic is not likely to see it that way. On the flip side, the church should not become just another beggar at the gates of Washington, clamouring for the government to “do something”. Rather, it should be there to help pick up the pieces and to take back on the responsibilities it should have had before they were gladly handed over to the bureaucrats.

[Next Up: Moving to tactical ideas in the health-care arena]

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 8:18 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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14 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

I reject “going Galt”. I suggest “going Jesus”. :cool:

2   M.G.    
October 14th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

As a law-abiding, subversive movement, “humane Galts” would be much better able to survive, because the government would have to punish all members of society – producers and
moochers, alike – if they cannot be easily distinguished from one another.

When the government systems fail, and people’s faith in Caesar wavers, the church has historically been – and should be – the place of refuge. It is the place where the needs of the poor, displaced and homeless should be met

The cognitive dissonance is stunning.

And it is the direct consequence of drinking from the cesspool of Ayn Rand…

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

“When the government systems fail…”

They never succeed. Unless you are saying that when some prosper while others suffer, then that is considered success by the prosperous. Only the church has the responsibility, the calling, to minister to people. The Scriptures teach that government administers justice, however it is the subject of money that draws the attention of the church – just like the lost.

Abortions continue by the millions and we will be against it. But when we see our money being trifled with we will have nation wide tea parties and we will be sucked into watching carnal talk show entertainers who care nothing for God or men.

The church continues to be a wild ass snorting in the air and kicking up her heals about her personal possessions while people around the world suffer and die. It is just the minor league “health and wealth” theology.

4   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 11:14 pm

The cognitive dissonance is stunning.

And it is the direct consequence of drinking from the cesspool of Ayn Rand

***rofl***

thank you, MG…

I’d note that the two quotes you’ve chosen are from different time periods. I’d rather take a couple of ideas from Rand than sit back and be content with Orwell…

“When the government systems fail…”

They never succeed. Unless you are saying that when some prosper while others suffer, then that is considered success by the prosperous.

No, I’m saying that “when the systems actually cease to function and are dumped…”

5   M.G.    
October 14th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Perhaps I didn’t make my point clearly. In Rand’s world, there are two types pf people, intelligent producers and stupid, worthless consumers. If you’re poor, it’s because you’re stupid.

The Bible, though, talks of taking care of the poor, how the rich and powerful often exploit the poor, and how God opposes the proud but gives grace the humble.

How can you reconcile these two philosophies? Rand is just rehashing Nietzche for a popular audience…

6   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

MG – Perhaps you’ve read too much into my use of Rand (specifically Atlas Shrugged), as I wouldn’t take it that far, though I do believe that there is an increasing portion of the public which has become addicted to spending money they don’t have – particularly other people’s money – be they “the rich”, “the capitalists”, or (more accurately) “our children and grandchildren”.

Tytler and Rand were both right in that particular aspect – even if Rand was wrong about a class of people as “worthless”.

Personally, I see the coming crash as a wake-up call for both ‘producers’ and ‘moochers’, alike – one that could inspire the “haves” to simply serve and the “have-nots” to give up their entitlement mentality. A different endpoint than Rand (because I think she’s wrong on that point), but a similar process in getting there…

I’d just rather see it accelerated than prolonged…

7   nc    
October 14th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

my mentor during undergraduate was a woman who wasn’t too keen on church, but even she said that Rand would probably see Jesus as her nemesis.

8   nc    
October 14th, 2009 at 11:45 pm

#6.

that comment was too the point and now i see what you’re getting at Chris L.

i still hate the use of Rand and everything she stood for.

but i actually agree with what I think is your ultimate point.

it would be better to get on with ripping off the bandaid rather than slowly pulling it up…

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

And one of my mentors (a 60’s draft-card-burner) at the small Christian college I attended did his best to try and get me to read Atlas Shrugged. He thought a number of her ideas were hampered by her atheism, but that she had a clearer vision of personal responsibility than most Christians.

My only interest in Rand is parallel to my interest in Alinsky – the use of civil disobedience and subversive obedience to beat the statists at their own game – and, in doing so, creating a gap where Caesar is dethroned and the church can fill the gap…

10   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 14th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

I’d also note, that for all of his nagging, I’ve still never read all the way through Atlas Shrugged

11   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
October 15th, 2009 at 10:03 am

Chris L.,

This is a lot to consume in one blog post.

Honestly, this all sounds rather complicated to me. Let me ask, have you read Claiborne’s book that I am reading now? Where do you think your ideas fit into the gist of his ideas? For the most part, I like his ideas very, very much. (I’m a little concerned that 150 pages in and I don’t think I have seen the word ’sin’ yet, but still….) What do you think?

I don’t think Claiborne is advocating absolute passivity; maybe he is. I still don’t know how I feel about being catalysts or even lubricants for this. The church should always be planting seeds, but it has been pointed out that we cannot force kingdom growth. All we can do is plant, and plant, and plant, and plant…

And should the church just ’stand by waiting to pick up the pieces’? Should our only hope of revival and influence be when things inevitably fall apart? Should we better salt and light, hands and feet, then than we are now? Or should there be consistency to our witness?

Don’t get mad, I’m thinking through this with you (and frankly, trying to make sense of much of it along the way). I have Rand’s book in the house. I’m going to get it and read it.

jerry

12   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 11:23 am

Jerry,

Sorry for the ‘overwhelm’ there – I’ve probably got 20 blog-posts worth of material in my head for this one, but I’m probably too impatient to give them as full a fleshing-out as they probably need, so I’ve decided to get the bare bones out and expound on them as time goes by.

In reality, I think that ‘ripping the bandage off all at once’ only requires amplifying the existing forces, in the direction they’re already headed. And – beautifully, I think you’ll see – what is required, action-wise, is highly aligned with much of what we should already be doing (though maybe to a short-term extreme)…

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 11:30 am

And should the church just ’stand by waiting to pick up the pieces’? Should our only hope of revival and influence be when things inevitably fall apart?

For better or for worse, the church most often functions best when conditions are at their worst, and grows complacent and loses focus when times are good.

Revival happens one person at a time. That is what we should hope for.

When people hit bottom – whether that comes from their own doing (like with addictions and infidelity) or from external forces – is when they are most likely to say “I can’t do this on my own”.

Our church had 97 baptisms a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. While I hope it would be that way every week, I know that most weeks we have one or two. We need to be there, and hope that God will have us ready when we are needed, whether there are two people in need of revival or two-hundred or two-thousand.

Should we better salt and light, hands and feet, then than we are now? Or should there be consistency to our witness?

It’s not an issue of consistency – it’s an issue of scale. We should be as ready now are we would be three weeks from now.

Maybe, though, its time to look for ways to live day-to-day that stop propping up a system that leads men to trust Caesar over God…

14   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 11:46 am

“Should we better salt and light, hands and feet, then than we are now?”

Please, please God.