Response to Attorney Tom Creasing's Comments in The Libertarian Enterprise
By Mark Cashman
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
If there's one key component of Objectivism that is confirmed by
Mr. Creasing's comments, it is that interpretation of ideas outside of
context is dangerous.
Mr. Creasing claims that Ayn Rand's conception of Galt's Gulch [in
her novel Atlas Shrugged] is elitist and pessimistic and that the
society of L. Neil Smith's alternate world history [The Probability
Broach] (in which Rand was once President, by the way), would be
However, it is essential to understand the complete nature and
context of Galt's Gulch.
First of all, Atlas Shrugged is a novel of resistance to
collectivism through the withdrawal of the support of the men of the
mind. One of its primary themes is that collectivism is only
sustained by the efforts of its victims. Thus, Galt's Gulch, by the
necessity of the theme and its plot, must be a retreat for these
Secondly, the only entrance requirement for Galt's Gulch is to
take (and mean) the Oath*; not, as Mr. Creasing claims, the attainment
of wealth. In fact, Dagny meets a truck driver in Galt's Gulch, whose
response to her query about his greatness in the outside world is "but
that's not what I wanted to remain", demonstrating Rand's belief that
Man's ambition to rise and improve is at the heart of the productivity
that drives the world, and that one's particular status at any given
time is not a measurement of one's worth.
Indeed, supporting the ideas of "status" and "elite" in the sense
apparently intended by Mr. Creasing, would be a contradiction, since
it would vitiate her clear opposition to the "second-handers" of The
Fountainhead, whose desire was only to attain the approval of others
-- others whom the second-hander perceived as the "elite".
Smith's anarchic society, on the other hand, is the sort of
society which can exist when the ideals of Galt and the inhabitants of
the Gulch have been attained, but not before. His novels do not
address the destruction of the state, the moral code which supports
the statist ideal (except in the person of the Hamiltonians, whose
philosophical underpinnings are not examined in detail), or the
integrated context of philosophical resistance to collectivism.
In some ways they must be considered a "utilitarian" elaboration
of libertarian philosophy, since what one finds in these novels is a
clear picture of libertarianism leading to greater happiness and
wealth, but relatively little of the philosophical components on which
that success depends. There is definitely more to that success than
just the Non-Aggression Principle.
Like Mr. Creasing, I wouldn't mind a home in Laporte. But I also
admire the heroes of Galt's Gulch, and how their unyielding integrity
and indomitable productivity would make such a world possible --
either here, or beyond the Broach.
Mark Cashman, creator of "The Temporal Doorway" at
http://www.geocities.com/~mcashman -- original digital art, writing,
and more -- is also the author of science fiction novels available at