Summary and Analysis
Part 3: Chapter 7
The nation panics when Rearden retires. Under the looters' control, the newspapers print contradictory stories. Some papers say that he has quit, some that he was tragically killed in a car accident, and some that he is still working at his mills. But with Rearden gone, the output of the American steel industry drops precipitously. People despair for the future. Gangs of raiders terrorize the countryside, and acts of random violence proliferate. In response, the looters announce repeatedly that Mr. Thompson will speak to the country regarding the current crisis by radio broadcast on November 22. But at the appointed time, the Head of State is preempted. John Galt goes on the air instead and addresses the world. He tells the American people about the strike he has organized, including the reasons for it.
The moment is right for John Galt to address the American people. With the imminent collapse of the American economy, his strike has served its purpose. The truth is now visible to everyone: The men of the mind create abundance. In their absence, all prosperity vanishes from the earth.
Galt explains the reasons for the strike — what he and the strikers stand for, and what they fight against. Galt presents the tenets of a revolutionary philosophy. He believes that reason is the only means by which human beings gain knowledge and create prosperity. He rejects faith and emotion as tools of cognition. He maintains that the universe is intelligible — that its fundamental principles are eternal, lawful, and immutable. He rejects the belief that the universe is created by and/or subject to the commands of any being, including a god, society, or some individual. Galt also argues that human beings must be rational in order to prosper or even survive on earth — and that they must choose to be rational. Man isn't a thinker automatically, nor is he sinful by nature, nor is he necessarily a whim-driven creature dominated by irrational desires. Man chooses between rationality and irrationality, between good and evil.
Galt believes that people must pursue their own self-interest — that the requirements of a person's existence necessitate that he seek his own values. Galt opposes any form of self-sacrifice or the renunciation of one's values. In Galt's philosophy, living by sacrificing one's values is impossible; life requires attaining those values. The code of self-sacrifice — whether the sacrifice is to God, society, or something else — is the code of death. Men who try to live by self-sacrifice end up destroying themselves.
Galt states that man needs political freedom to apply his intellect to pursuing the values that his life requires. He defends laissez-faire capitalism as the only political/economic system that recognizes man's need for liberty and the only system that protects his right to use his mind independently. Galt is opposed to socialism, fascism, communism, or any other type of system that tyrannizes the mind of man. The essence of his philosophy is that the mind is the source of human well-being, and the mind must be free.