On The Hill’s blog, Rep. John Campbell discusses the newly popular term “going Galt.” I responded in comments:
“Let’s hope I am wrong, and let’s hope President Obama has a change of heart.”
This vain hope reminds me of the begging that had been done to George III to defend Americans from Parliament’s intolerable acts. Eventually, the colonial American legislators recognized the futility of appealing to paternalism and commenced to legislate in defense of individual rights. How the quality of our legislators has degenerated!
Regarding the references to Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, Galt’s strike was not political but moral. Consider his oath, “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” The productive joined Galt’s strike after they understood and rejected the morality of altruism; in striking, the producer denied that other men held a claim upon their life based upon the needs of others.
Our past election continued the rhetorical Orgy of Sacrifice, which characterized the Bush Administration. Fundamentally, that election was a choice between a candidate that said that individuals should be immediately forced to sacrifice to others (Obama), and another that said that such force should only be used after individuals failed to volunteer themselves for sacrifice (McCain). As elections have consequences, it should be no surprise that our new President and Congress have accelerated the rate of compelled sacrifice as chosen by the electorate.
During the election, then-Senator Obama made the moral choice clear when he ridiculed the virtue of selfishness, the title of Ayn Rand’s text on ethics. Now, individuals are choosing to act morally, to act in their own rational self-interest, and rejecting the moral code that claims that they should be sacrificed to the needs of others.
What is a modern legislator to do, when individual citizens refuse to be sacrificed to their fellows as mandated by law? To paraphrase Ellis Wyatt, another character from Atlas Shrugged, get the hell out of our way! To put it less colorfully, in order to save our lives and our republic, the Congress must begin by undoing what it has previously done in violation of our individual rights.
Given so many past legislative sins, where to begin? Instead of focusing on targeted tax cuts to empower governmental manipulation of individual’s choices, Congress should systematically repeal previous regulations, such as the dangerously ineffective Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Community Reinvestment Act. Further, Congress should extend legal protections against executive power overreach by replacing the overly deferential Chevon standard (arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to statute) with a statutory right to substantive due process in the judicial review of agency actions.