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John Galt is the man who is luring all of Americas brightest minds and making them

disappear into thin air. He is a brilliant inventor and scientist, yet works in anonymity as a clerk for
Taggart Transcontinental. John Galt is the man whose identity remained a secret until its triumphal
reveal during a radio speech. Galt is all of this, but any attempt which aims to describe him in these
terms fails to capture his nature, and what he represents in Atlas Shrugged: the archetype of the
individual who lives according to Objectivism. He is the one who affirms life in all its senses. He is
the one who is committed to judge by reason alone. And he is the one who understands the value of
following objective moral rules. It is only by the analysis of these three intertwined notions that one
can draw a precise picture of who John Galt really is.
To Galt, Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. [p.
926] And to achieve perfect mastery of this tool, three principles must be observed: the principle of
non-contradiction, the principle of excluded middle, and the principle of identity. Observing these
principles is not a matter of instinct, as they do not come naturally to man. John Galt recognizes that
man must, by his own unbound will, decide to act in accordance to logic. If a man refuses to
recognize the pivotal role played by the principles of logic in sound reasoning, he will be unable to
act morally and will, thus, commit himself to the denial of life. "To the extent to which a man is
rational, life is the premise directing his actions. To the extent to which he is irrational, the premise
directing his actions is death. [p.931]
Galt is the man who never denies the existence of what exists. He does not try to subvert
reality, he does not try to ignore facts and he recognizes that pain and suffering lead inevitably to
death. Morality to Galt may only be obtained by introspection, as it is almost synonymous with
rationality. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments. [p. 932] Societys
approval or disapproval has no bearing on what one should or should not do. There is no amount of
public opinion that can change that which may only be discovered by reason and embraced through
ones free will. It is both rational and moral to affirm of a thing that exists that it indeed exists. This

is nothing but accepting the logical principle of non-contradiction: A is not not-A. If man accepts
reality as it is, and directs his actions without ignoring reality, he will be life affirming. Any
deviation from this path will lead man to pain, suffering and, ultimately, to his own death.
Galt is the man who recognizes that self-sacrifice only brings pain and suffering to the
individual. He does not sacrifice himself for the sake of others, nor does he demand that others
sacrifice themselves for his own sake. He recognizes that there are no obligations between men
which do not arise from their unconstrained will. No man is obliged to serve the public good, the
welfare and needs of others, or to give something without expecting anything in return. Bargain and
trade are the only instruments of the man who wishes to convince others to engage in contracts with
him; and logic alone will determine the outcome of contracts. It is only with their mind that I can
deal and only for my own self interest, when they see that my interest coincides with theirs. [p.
Galt is the man who knows that the use of force is the way of looters and brutes, and that
the weapons of the rational man are his thinking and his ability to negotiate. Force can only serve as
self-defense: It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its
use. [p. 937] Galt accepts self-defense as a legitimate answer against those who initiates an
aggression. It is for this reason that he would never pass judgement unto Ragnar Danneskjld, who
uses his naval competence to commit acts of piracy in order to recover wealth which had been
stolen by taxation from its rightful owners.
But Galts commitment to non-violent means is adamant. When he realized that twisted
politicians, corrupt businessmen and people from all walks of life were turning against rationality,
individuality, and morality, his response was not to take up arms and fight the aggressors. Yet he
could have justified this attitude through his own set of beliefs. Instead of doing that, he started his
plan by hiding his most ingenious invention, one that could have made him rich and revolutionized
the energy sector. Then, he pressed onwards by convincing like-minded men to deprive the world

from their abilities. The minds on strike offered no terms, they had no demands. They went on
strike to show the world that if it continued to refuse the natural right of every man to acquire and
keep wealth by hard work and intelligence, it would perish. They refused to bestow their intellectual
achievements upon those who were unable to value them. They highlighted that those who act as
forces of destruction are entirely dependent upon those who create wealth. The strike lead by John
Galt showed the superiority of rationality over irrationality.
It is most ironic that the question Who is John Galt? was repeatedly uttered throughout
the novel as short for don't ask questions nobody can answer [p. 23]. This meaning betrays the
very nature of John Galt. He is the one who denies the existence of unanswerable questions: When
a man declares: 'Who am I to know?'he is declaring: 'Who am I to live? [p. 931] Declaring the
existence of unanswerable questions is submitting men to the whims of nature. Therefore, there is
an answer to the question Who is John Galt?. A contradictory or paradoxical answer would be
false under any circumstance, and as such it is entirely incorrect. A contingent description, which
can be either true or false depending on the circumstances will always be incomplete. It is then a
tautology, logics most cherished class of propositions, that serves as an answer. A tautology is true
under every interpretation, and to deny the validity of a tautology is to defy rationality itself. An
thus, just as A is A, John Galt is John Galt.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. 50th Anniversary Edition.