Who is John Galt?

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Submitted by Pistol:

This quote is from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. After reading this book my mind seemed to be opened to a world I had been searching for but was incapable of finding myself. A place where people are respected for their virtues, not for their vices. Where ability is placed above need.

People constantly ask me what it means, who he is. It is difficult to articulate all of Ayn Rand’s beliefs and philosophies. After all, there is a 1200 page book based solely on the answer to this question. In short, it is a cry of desperation and a beacon of hope in the dark. I just pray some day an attractive man comes up to me and, after reading it, tells me what an amazing novel it was so we can get married and live happily ever after. It’s ok to dream isnt it?


  1. Parker says

    Sure, it's OK to dream, as long as you are hoping to marry a self-serving narcissist who admires the pseudo-intelligence of a moronic gasbag like Ayn Rand. Rand's Objectivist "philosophy" exalts self-centered greed and narcissistic solipsism over concepts like decency, justice, and society.

    Who is John Galt? He's George W. Bush.

  2. says

    Now there's a tattoo: "Ayn Rand is a moronic gasbag". Personally, I've never read any Ayn Rand, so I am neutral on the matter. However, it seems a little mean-spirited (and not in the spirit of this blog) to be so critical. Then again, there is that pesky freedom of speech conundrum.

    As someone uninformed on all matters Rand, I will say I think it's a cool tattoo.


  3. says

    I wouldn't go as far as saying that Rand "exalts self-centered greed and narcissistic solipsism over concepts like decency, justice, and society" because she doesn't. She believe that the three 'virtues' you mention are wrapped up in personal achievement and ability, not mooching off those that are better than you.

    That being said, I would definitely agree that Rand is a bit of a gasbag, though certainly not moronic.

  4. Pistol says

    Thanks to Ian for the defense… as for you Parker, any comparison between Galt and Bush proves your ignorance and inability to grasp the general concept of the novel. If Bush were to be compared to any of the major characters in the novel he would more likely be James Taggart. Just look at his past actions… Haliburton and the Iraqi War are just a few… in the mean time… society is suffering.

    As far as the windbagginess of Atlas Shrugged and her fictional works, all of which i've read, I can only think of about 20 pages that could have been omitted (all of Galt's speech past the first 3 pages)

    In addition, just because someone is self-aware, takes pride in their actions and how that reflects on their character, doesn't make them self centered but rather more conscientious of their peers.

    But anyway, thanks for the posts.

  5. Maytacera says

    I loath how people choose to use "Self-Serving" like it's a dirty word.

    Who better to serve than yourself? If you believe that it is a virtue to serve others, you are expecting others to in turn serve you. Now THAT is idiotic. It's slightly more idiotic to compare John Galt- A genius who refused to work for others at the expense of his own self interest- to George Bush.

    I personally like the tattoo a lot…I will admit, I actually found this article because I was browsing the web LOOKING for "who is John Galt" tattoos (I want one myself you see).

  6. drunkkidcatholic says

    see you had me until you stated your dream was to find some handsome man to marry you. i thought you said you were enlightened and it opened your mind. a beacon of hope in the dark? well if your prayer is to find some attractive dude with similar taste to marry you and live happily ever after with then you may have missed the mark. i've never read this myself but if the point is to find happiness with yourself no amount of attractive guys will do the trick.

  7. says

    Pistol – First and last response I've ever posted on the internet. Was looking for a way to get a dickens line into a picture for next tattoo and saw yours. Laughed out loud at the brilliance of the particular line you chose in all of the literature you obviously have at your disposal and the fact that 1 in 5,000 might be able to recognize it with one in 30,000 capable of forming a coherent opinion as to a question rhetorical in its nature [and no...George Bush is not the answer, simpleton]. Felt a moment of kindred spirit upon so easily recognizing said question as, though not my favorite author, one whom I appreciate for the grandiose nature of her intellect. Then enjoyed the fact you lumped intellectual with handsome and came out with love. Most simply go for the latter. Were I to have met you a few years ago. And just in case my ideological crush wasn't solidifed enough, you wrote your response dated August 15th. Well said. And to the majority of people who responded, please take note – we all know big words and can speak eloquently; that's how we got to this site. You're only impressing yourselves with such naked narcissim. You're not being graded. I get the impression you're the type of people who sincerely enjoy the sound of their own voices. You are probably in the minority.

    Pistol – Continue to seek what you wish and relish the search. It is nice to see intelligence so gracefully combined with candor.

    "It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener."

  8. RR says

    Pistol, I wish you success in your quest for a soul mate.

    From a broader perspective, it seems the question took on renewed meaning to many of us this past week. I wish that I could be as optimistic as Steele in placing the odds.

  9. Blievenfiction says

    That's funny, have that on my wrist and I have always said I would marry the person who loves and understands it.. Also have the "I swear by my life.." on my ribs.. To this day they always remind me of who I am and where to head in my life. Ayn rand is my favorite author, I know alot of people don't prefer her style but I will swear by the outlook on life presented in atlas shrugged.. When people hate on her, just shrug..

  10. russ says

    In the words of Gordon Gecko " Greed is Good" post pics of the other tattoos. very intrested. Thinking of getting the first stanza of the declaration of independance on my forearm.

  11. Ben says

    personally have "a is a" on my wrist. my penchant for the obscure led me to taking the lesser known route. :D

  12. becky says

    your tattoo is brilliant! I'm not surprised that it has sparked such debate; however, a debate retains greater integrity if the opposer's have actually read the book and understand what Rand is speaking of. The book is about learning to live, and not making apologies. It's not about compromising someone else's happiness for your own, it's about raising us all up to the standard which we are capable of achieving. It's about making things happen for yourself, and not being guilted into carry anyone along with you. It's ironic, the negative comments seem to reflect the exact mentality that Rand has attributed to the Washington characters. George Bush? Disgusting. Maybe they should stick to Shel Silverstein and the likes of him. You will NEVER regret that tattoo. I applaud you. When someone asks 'who is john galt', just say 'exactly.'

  13. Elmo says

    It's a great tattoo and an alright book, one that's beautifully spare, but completely unecessary – we don't really need Ayn Rand encouraging people to be selfish, for better or worse, they already are.

  14. says

    As an attractive male that does think Atlas Shrugged was an amazing novel, I share your dream. For those that are finding issue with your requirement for your mate to be 'attractive', I would direct them to the Fountainhead, another of Ayn's amazing novels (though, I still prefer Atlas Shrugged) — Dominique found Roark attractive, when, by standard convention, he wasn't an attractive man. He was heroic, had sharp contours and exuded confidence. This is the attractiveness that I seek as well. A woman with values that are based in reality and that she achieves. The admiration of those values and her ability to meet them is the basis of my love for that woman, and what makes her attractive to me.

    I do not have any tattoos at this point.. and while I would love to have Francisco's 'Money Speech' embroidered on my back, I think I'll stick to either a dollar sign or 'a is a' for simplicity.

  15. Chas says

    To all of those posting comments along the lines of this one: "the world's going to look a little different once you're through with community college," I would just like to say that you will never regret that tattoo. Only someone who has never possessed the integrity required by Rand's philosophy could have such feelings of regret. I will stop here, because I take no pleasure in trying to convert such hopeless cases as yourselves. The only reason to continue now would be to forestall other such comments, but, I Will let what I've written so far speak for itself. Enjoy your lives, altruists.

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