Those who are in Galt's Gulch are there by invitation only. Dagny crashed the gate, but was clearly still on the future invite list. However, I find it interesting who got invited to Galt's Gulch and why. The obvious invitees are the high-performing titans of industry such as Hank Rearden, Dagny, Ellis Wyatt, and Ken Danagger.

But the more-surprising invitees include the following:

  • the young brakeman of the Comet
  • the nameless writer -- "fishwife" in the valley (possibly an autobiographical insertion)
  • the young woman who owned the bakery shop and her two sons
  • Kay Ludlow (the actress)

None of these were industrialists nor titans of industry. Though, we can safely assume that they were ideologically sound, which is to say they believed in meritocracy, capitalism, objective reality, etc. But if ideology is the only criterion, then is Rand suggesting that the few hundred people who lived in the valley were the ONLY people on earth with that ideology? Seems doubtful. Were they just lucky to have been discovered by one of the agents or a member of the valley? An elite few who had the right ideas and were lucky enough to know someone in Galt's secret network?

1 Answer 1

  1. They had all four qualities: they had the right ideas, they had the talent, they had networking (by accident or not) with Gulch recruiters, and they were willing to take the Striker's oath.

    You can see that in the example of the baker you mentioned, when discussing her children:

    “They represent my particular career, Miss Taggart,” said the young mother in answer to her comment, wrapping a loaf of fresh bread and smiling at her across the counter. “They're the profession I've chosen to practice, which, in spite of all the guff about motherhood, one can't practice successfully in the outer world.

    Based on Dagny's observations of the children, the woman seems to be an exemplary mother - not just a person who had kids, but a parent who managed to shape them into the bright, inquisitive, non-beat-down little humans.

    I believe you've met my husband, he's the teacher of economics who works as linesman for Dick McNamara. You know, of course, that there can be no collective commitments in this valley and that families or relatives are not allowed to come here, unless each person takes the striker's oath by his own independent conviction. I came here, not merely for the sake of my husband's profession, but for the sake of my own. I came here in order to bring up my sons as human beings.”

    In other words, she:

    • Believed in the right ideas and was committed to rationality

    • Had the right connection to be aware of the Gulch (her husband) and thus have an option to be invited

    • Was willing to take the Striker's oath.

    Please note that the connection/networking is likely important for another reason: the person you are connected to has the best ability to judge whether you are a genuine fit for the Gulch. Nobody would know the difference between Hank Rearden's wife and McNamara's wife more than their husbands.

  1. It shows that Rand didn't just fall into "the only worthwile people are engineers or managers" trap. Anyone who is rational, creative and talented, is a good fit. Thus, Kay Ludlow and Richard Halley.

    Dr. Akton points this out to Dagny:

    “Don't be astonished, Miss Taggart,” said Dr. Akston, smiling, “and don't make the mistake of thinking that these three pupils of mine are some sort of superhuman creatures. They're something much greater and more astounding than that: they're normal men—a thing the world has never seen—and their feat is that they managed to survive as such. It does take an exceptional mind and a still more exceptional integrity to remain untouched by the brain-destroying influences of the world's doctrines, the accumulated evil of centuries—to remain human, since the human is the rational.”

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.