Everyone who produces and pays taxes is living for others to some degree. Their time, which is their life, supports the salaries of government workers and the entitlements of tax consumers.
In Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, a group of producers withdraw their talents from a parasitic society so as to speed along its collapse in order to rebuild on the ruins. But Going Galt doesn’t need to be a strategy for social change. It can be an individual choice and a strategy that increases the Galter’s freedom, quality of life, and self-respect. It doesn’t require leaving society for an isolated community or ceasing to fight for general freedom – for example, through writing and other activism. Going Galt as an individual choice simply means withdrawing support from parasites in a process that resembles a private boycott or secession. The withdrawal can be partial or it can be total; the extent of Going Galt depends on many factors including the comfort level of the individual.
The parasites fall into two basic categories: the state and the state-aligned segments of society. The state includes all politicians and government workers. The state-aligned segments of society include crony capitalists who receive state privileges (e.g. banks), people who accept entitlements (e.g. welfare recipients), workers who choose to join unions, those who argue for government intervention (e.g. mainstream media), and people in the ‘private’ sphere who make a living through the state (e.g. many lawyers). Galters remove their political and economic support from both categories because both victimize them for being productive; they remove the sanction of the victim.
The most common form of Going Galt is a financial disconnect from the state due to high taxes, a crushing burden of paperwork, or hyper-regulation. An industrialist may decide not to run a factory, a doctor might cease to practice medicine and retire early to spend time with family or hobbies. When taxes are progressive, there is a point at which it is folly to work and earn more because taxes become so high that making more can result in keeping less.
The following specific steps are a handful of the many tactics that individuals can use in Going Galt.
Removing Political Support
The state functions through the implied consent and legitimacy it receives whenever people use its services, participate in the political structure or obey unjust laws without protest. Consider adopting the following behaviors instead. (Note: few will adopt – or, perhaps, agree with – all the behaviors listed below. Most are suggestions with no necessary moral force behind them.)
–Do not donate to, vote or campaign for any politician. Do not register to vote, do not register for any state function or process that is avoidable.
–Refuse to fill out state forms or do so in an incomplete, illegible or confusing manner.
–Do not call the police or use the court system. Using the state legal system lends it legitimacy, places you under its active scrutiny, and rarely produces justice.
–Do not use so-called ‘benign’ state services such as the post office or the public school system. They are far from benign and they are paid for through the theft that is taxation. Pay bills online and home school children instead.
–Make yourself as independent as possible from the necessary services that the state has usurped. Medical care is an example. Learn basic first aid and maintain your health through exercise and other common sense measures.
–Do not support state-sponsored charities or businesses. Do not attend their events. Explain the reason why and gravitate to truly private ones.
–Do not socialize with people who work for the state, including ‘private’ contractors who are paid with tax money. Ostracize them from your life and politely explain the reason why if the subject should arise.
–Do not socialize with those who accept entitlements from the state.
–Do not socialize with people who willingly join a union. Modern unions are a product of state privilege and a main bastion of Big Government.
–Consider using alternative currencies, such as bitcoins or precious metals, in order to escape the state’s monopoly on currency.
–Do not accept entitlements from the state.
–Relocate to a state that charges low or no income taxes. Or relocate outside of the United States.
–Practice civil disobedience to unjust laws. Unjust laws are easily identified; they punish people for peaceful behavior.
Removing Economic Support
Going Galt is also called “Starving the Beast” because the state depends upon the flow of taxes and tribute (e.g. fees) to sustain itself. Inflating the money supply and borrowing can only provide so much of the state’s requirements. It needs to plunder the productive sector in order to acquire genuine wealth. Consider adopting the following behaviors instead of paying up.
–Earn less to make your income fall into a lower tax bracket.
–Profit invisibly so that visible income falls into a lower tax bracket. For example, learn how to barter goods or services and who to barter with in your local area. This also avoids sales tax.
–Couples should consider one person staying home to increase the quality of life for both. Often the taxes and other work expenses (e.g. commuting) almost offset the amount of money that would be gained from a second job.
–Cut back on possessions that you do not use or do not value. For example, sell a house that is far larger than needed and so reduce property taxes.
–Buy good quality items that are used. Not only are they far less expensive but they are also sales tax free. Used goods avoid putting money in the hands of corporations that lobby for tax funds and other state privileges.
–Maintain property and fix broken items.
–Try to deal with people on a one-on-one basis. This may mean buying and selling locally when convenient. Try to find people with whom it is possible to conduct a handshake deal.
–Pursue alternative investments such as start-up businesses, including one of your own. Think outside of the box because that area is less like to be taxed and regulated.
–Get out of the stock market. It is a game rigged by insiders and traders in which the ‘little guy’ is often victimized even if a stock does well.
–Seek alternatives to having an account with a large bank or other financial institutions that function as arms of the state. Credit unions are a better option. If a credit union is not feasible, then prefer small, local banks.
–Minimize use of credit cards, preferring cash or alternative currencies. Every time a credit card is used, a database record is created and it can be used by the state.
–Do not borrow. If you must raise money, try crowd funding or another innovative method. And get out of debt.
–Do not buy union-produced goods.
Going Galt is a step-by-step approach to a voluntary society in which people live and trade in freedom and good will. There is no need to wait for a repeal or a roll-back of the state in order to live more freely. Many of the decisions in which freedom resides are under your control right now.