What do you get when you cross Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, bitcoin and Chile?
Galt's Gulch, a new community in Chile inspired by one of Rand's most famous characters.
For those familiar with the works of the uber-Libertarian author and Tea Party icon, you may recall that John Galt was the cranky industrialist hero of her “Atlas Shrugged” novel.
But the project's website pictures Galt thusly, "With the oppression of the overregulated, overtaxed, war riddled and welfare riddled society consuming the world, Ayn Rand's famous protagonist character, John Galt, came to conclude that he would not use his talents to support such a society any longer...driving him to create a community where scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and many others would come together to escape from the confines of their daily lives to not only be free...but to thrive. In today's world, it is becoming more and more difficult to find true freedom from very much the same oppressive forces Ayn Rand wrote of... which drove John Galt and others to a place where they found their freedom, success and peace of mind."
Anyway, the Economist reports, "A group of self-described anarchists, libertarians and Ron Paul supporters fleeing the crumbling world economic system have founded Galt's Gulch, a community in Chile inspired by Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged” — and with an economy based entirely on bitcoin. Or that's the goal, anyway."
Ken Johnson, the group's founder and a former real estate agent, told the magazine that he'd like to make bitcoin the project's currency but that local farmers still prefer to earn their daily bread in the peso.
Johnson moved to Chile in 2012 and now plans to live full time at Galt's Gulch, according to his bigraphy on the project's website.
The magazine further explains, "Set in a secluded valley 17 kilometres from Curacavi, Chile, on the road between Santiago and the luxurious beach resort of Viña del Mar, Galt's Gulch is a mere 45 minutes by car from the Santiago airport, but, as Mr Johnson says, "it feels like you're at the end of the Earth." Yet his goal is not isolationist, he adds. "We're not trying to hide from the world. In fact, we want people to find us.”
While the fate of the project remains uncertain, the Economist does bring us up to speed on Johnson's literary tastes and habits. "Johnson admits he never finished 'Atlas Shrugged'.” 'I'm not actually much of a reader,' he says. 'Watched the movie and skimmed the Cliff's Notes, though. Good stuff.' "