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Until a whole country gets converted to a true capitalism, I would like to live in a sort of Galt's Gulch: a place where I do not have to pay any taxes and all property is private. In the book, the place was hidden with an science-fiction optical illusion screen. Is there a realistic way to do this today, to effectively hide an area?

Or, is there a pen way (legal way) to cloak a Galt's Gulch ? Note that any barter transaction between individuals is taxed.

asked Mar 29 '15 at 20:41

Bop's gravatar image


edited Mar 30 '15 at 00:12

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Galt's Gulch in Atlas Shrugged is fictional concretization of "life as it might be and ought to be," and of the underlying principles that would make it possible and practical. The course of action which those principles imply is to speak out in support of those principles and in opposition to their opposite, in order to aid the progress of Objectivist principles. Another way to help the spread of Objectivism is to contribute financially to organizations like The Ayn Rand Institute that are engaging in such intellectual advocacy. It is only if speech has been prohibited through government censorship (as depicted in Atlas Shrugged, for example) that it becomes rationally appropriate to withdraw from the world as it collapses.

Is there a realistic way to do this today, to effectively hide an area [using advanced technology]?

Not that I know of. There simply are no shortcuts. To build Atlantis, one must work for it. One must work to spread the right philosophy.

Or, is there a pen way (legal way) to cloak a Galt's Gulch ?

This formulation doesn't make sense. What is "a pen way (legal way)"? Cloaking an area seems to refer to a technological way. "Pen way" would seem to refer to intellectual advocacy, but how would that "cloak" anything literally, not just figuratively? In real life, one will not achieve a value like Galt's Gulch if one starts out by giving up.

If "cloak" actually is intended to mean hiding the true nature of something in plain sight, but keeping it unnamed and intellectually undefended, it would be a self-destructive course of misrepresentation and deception, constantly leaving one in fear of exposure and vulnerable to public condemnation upon being exposed as a fraud for pretending to be something that one isn't. Note that even in the controlled, censored society in Atlas Shrugged, Galt spoke out very publicly as soon as he had a suitable opportunity. So did America's founders in our Declaration of Independence.

This question has actually been asked countless times by many readers of Ayn Rand's works, although I couldn't find a previous instance on this particular website. The fact that Galt's Gulch has such strong appeal to rational readers is a testament to the power of Ayn Rand's writing and the fundamental philosophy from which she wrote.

Update: Establishing Capitalism

In a comment, the questioner asks:

Do you think if we get enough people we could annex some territory from USA (or some existing country) and set it up as capitalism?

That's not exactly what Galt's Gulch in Atlas Shrugged was, and certainly not how it was created. The story of how it was created is presented in detail in Part III Chapter I, which spans pp. 652-699 in my Signet paperback edition of Atlas Shrugged. On page 694, Dagny is hearing from all the major strikers about how they decided to join the strike, and how they eventually established vacation residences (or full-time homes) in Galt's Gulch. Dagny asks Midas Mulligan the following question, and he explains the background to her:

"It was you who established this valley?"

"Yes," said Mulligan. "It was just my own private retreat, at first. I bought it years ago, I bought miles of these mountains, section by section, from ranchers and cattlemen who didn't know what they owned. The valley is not listed on any map. I built this house, when I decided to quit. I cut off all possible avenues of approach, except one road—and it's camouflaged beyond anyone's power to discover—and I stocked this place to be self-supporting, so that I could live here for the rest of my life and never have to see the face of a looter. When I heard that John [Galt] had got Judge Narragansett, too, I invited the Judge to come here. Then we asked Richard Halley to join us. The others remained outside, at first."

This is followed by discussion of quitting one's profession but continuing to pursue it secretly; meeting other strikers occasionally; eventually becoming able to vacation in Galt's Gulch for a full month out of each year; each striker building his own house in the Valley; and eventually most of the residents becoming able to live there full time. On p. 695, Mulligan reinterates:

"We are not a state here, not a society of any kind—we're just a voluntary association of men held together by nothing but every man's self-interest. I own the valley and I sell the land to the others, when they want it...."

On p. 697, Dagny says to Galt:

"What do they call this place," she asked.

"I call it Mulligan's Valley," he said. "The others call it Galt's Gulch."

Note that Galt's Gulch was never intended as an alternative "capitalist" society. It was just a vacation retreat, where strikers could come for some temporary relief from the collapsing society around them on the outside. The ability of so many of the strikers eventually to live there full time came much later, and was intended to last only until the moral code of the looters collapsed and opened the way for the strikers (or their descendants, if the strike outlasted the strikers) to return.

The exact story of the Valley in Atlas Shrugged really ought to be studied in far greater depth by those who are quick to dream of fleeing to an alternative, parallel society while the existing, corrupt one and especially its moral code still exist and have any lingering appeal to the general public.

answered Apr 01 '15 at 00:14

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Apr 04 '15 at 23:43

What would it take to create an country / autonomy? Do you think if we get enough people we could annex some territory from USA (or some existing country) and set it up as capitalism?

(Apr 03 '15 at 23:57) Bop Bop's gravatar image

Seasteading is probably the most reasonable option if you want to go that route. Openly annexing territory that is already claimed by a recognized nation would get a lot of backlash from that country and/or the rest of the world.

Doing it would take a lot of people or a lot of money (on the order of $100 million would maybe be enough, more if you wanted the seastead to be mobile, which would probably be a good idea; if you wanted to build it without buying outside help the number of people would depend on how skilled they were).

(Apr 04 '15 at 09:50) anthony anthony's gravatar image

With that said, depending on what you want to do there are plenty of cheaper ways to carve out a life fairly free from government, though not totally free from it. Most of them do involve renouncing your US citizenship, at least if you intend to have a lot of possessions or a lot of income, though.

(Apr 04 '15 at 10:02) anthony anthony's gravatar image

How does renouncing US citizenship help? Would I renounce the citizenship and stay within USA borders, or would I have to move to another country -- in which case the territory is still not mine.

About sea steading, would it have to be far from the coast to be a separate country, and if so maybe there is an unclaimed natural island already or one that is claimed byt can be bought ?

(Apr 09 '15 at 02:31) Bop Bop's gravatar image

The United States is one of the few countries that taxes citizens on their worldwide income. If you want to earn more than maybe $80,000/year in income and legally not pay any taxes, you pretty much can't be a US citizen.

Another problem with being a US citizen is that most foreign banks, especially the ones which are more respecting of people's privacy, won't even give accounts to US citizens, because of the draconian financial regulations which the United States has.

(Apr 09 '15 at 08:51) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Presumably you would move to another country, or more probably several other countries (many countries have laws which kick in only after a non-resident stays more than X continuous days in that country).

As far as "the territory is still not mine," what I said was this would be a plan which would minimize government interference. It wouldn't eliminate government interference completely.

Really, what your best move is depends on what exactly it is you want to do. Many people can carve out a decent life in the place where they were born. Some can't, but that's for various reasons.

(Apr 09 '15 at 08:55) anthony anthony's gravatar image

As far as an unclaimed island, there pretty much are none. I say pretty much because I suppose if you want to live in Antarctica you can find an area which is sort of claimed by no one and sort of claimed by everyone. But living in Antarctica is probably even harder than living on the high seas.

As far as buying an island, sure, you can buy an island, and you'll own that island. But some country will still claim jurisdiction over that island.

(Apr 09 '15 at 09:00) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Again, it really depends on exactly what it is you want to do. There are plenty of places in the world where you can be left alone if you keep a low profile. On the other hand, there are no places in the world (including the high seas) where you can be left alone if you plan on running an international drug cartel.

(Apr 09 '15 at 09:01) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Asked: Mar 29 '15 at 20:41

Seen: 595 times

Last updated: Apr 09 '15 at 09:02