Who is JOHN GALT? and Who is Phil Kurtz?
John Galt is a character in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) Coincidentally the year Phil Kurtz was born.
The book's opening line, "Who is John Galt?", becomes an expression of helplessness and despair at the current state of the novel's fictionalized world. The book's protagonist, Dagny Taggart, hears a number of legends of Galt, before finding him. In one legend Galt seeks the lost island of Atlantis, in another he discovers the Fountain of Youth. After eventually joining Galt's cause, Taggart learns that all of the stories have an element of truth to them. She names the Colorado spur of her railroad line the "John Galt Line" which surprises many people. When asked "Who is John Galt?", she replies "We are!"
Like the character in Ayn Rand's Novel, Phil Kurtz is an engineer and businessman. John Galt believes in the power and glory of the human mind, and the rights of individuals to use their minds solely for themselves. He serves as a highly individualistic counterpoint to the collectivist social and economic structure depicted in the novel, in which society is based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces mediocrity in the name of egalitarianism, which the novel posits is the end result of collectivist philosophy.
Near the end of the novel Galt takes over the airwaves, delivering a lengthy speech that explains what he sees to be the irrationality of collectivism and offers his own philosophy as an alternative. Galt speaks against what he sees as the evil of collectivism and says that should be replaced by voluntary association and adherence to rational self-interest. Seeking Galt after the speech, Dagny accidentally leads the authorities to him, and he is arrested. She and his supporters rescue Galt as the government tortures him. They return to Galt's Gulch and prepare to rebuild the rest of the world, as the collapse of the incompetent government nears.
Although libertarian philosophy and Ayn Rand's objectivism have some differences, many Libertarian's find the illustration of the collective bureaucratic dystopian United States depicted in the book in which private businesses suffer under increasingly burdensome laws and regulations to be prophetic and a harbinger of today's over-regulation and government overreach.
So Who is Phil Kurtz..... WE ALL ARE!