Like the extreme prep stuff, the idea of going Galt is one of those seductive ideas that a lot of libertarian-conservatives go for and which I can never embrace fully.
Part of it with the prep stuff is the vague discomfort of having seen this before in the seventies, when it turned out not to be needed. Now, I realize things are much different and in many ways far more serious, and I’ll agree that there’s a much higher chance the sh*t hits the fan this time. However, the body learns, the animal learns, and making it unlearn it is very difficult. When the animal is sure that “it will turn out just like last time”… well… I’m fighting it.
And yet, I realize I sound as a friend said yesterday, like someone she talked to who said that “It’s not going to happen. The country always is all right. It’s always been.”
So I’m not stupid, and I’m doing the prep stuff I can afford to do. This is limited, of course, because we’re not wealthy and well, we have real world NOW obligations.
Which brings us to going Galt.
Going Galt is a very seductive idea, of course, as is any resistance to force and theft. But it is an idea only suited to certain people at certain times in life. Perhaps the most obvious example of “going Galt” (written by a liberal) is the Rex Stout novels. When Nero Wolfe hits the point at which his earnings will no longer accrue to him, he stops working.
He’s in the perfect circumstances to go Galt: he is self employed, that I know has no mortgage due, and of course, has no dependent children. Also he makes enough that cessation of work doesn’t mean starvation or penury.
We… not so much. Oh, sure, some years, when I see my money creep up to where, on top of Dan’s salary and with social security double contribution, I end up keeping less than a third, I call my editor (or in other days the agent) and say “Can you delay that check a couple of months?” Something they’re never averse to doing. Mind you, not near it this year but that – sigh – is something else again.
Most of the time I have to work as much as I can, because kids have tuition, and house needs repairs, and well… it is what it is.
As for the idea of buying a bug-out shelter, a place to go to and live off the grid, we might have managed it ten years ago, but now it is a pipe dream and likely to remain so, unless my current books hit really big.
And yet – as I described before – one wants to do something. One wants to feel one is engaged in small acts of rebellion, something to both keep the spirit alive and make us feel like we’re preparing, to an extent, should the unthinkable happen and everything break down.
Well, partly out of necessity (have ya’ll seen the prices in the stores?) I’ve come up with a mini-galt strategy.
1 – spend as little as you can. This doesn’t mean cutting out ALL discretionary spending. Heinlein said one should always budget luxuries first, and to an extent he was right. When we were really broke we used to still try to buy a book or go watch one of the (dollar, back then – second run) movies, just out of giving yourself a break now and then.
a) we’ve cut out most eating out. We still go to Pete’s when we visit Denver, though, because it cheers us up.
b) I’m doing strategic shopping. Buying whatever is on sale, chopping up, freezing. This is a lot of work, but as expensive as meat is, it’s also worth it. If you don’t have a deep freezer, consider one. You probably can get a used one, cheap.
c) Entertainment is going to be of two kinds. First, we have Amazon Prime, which I honestly wish we’d had when we were young and stone cold broke. It’s cheaper than cable, and we get free streaming videos. You also get a ton of free books every week, some of them traditionally published. (Though I just discovered an indie mystery series that way. That is I loved the first which was free a few months ago, and I’ve just bought the second – just out – for 3.99. If it holds up, I’ll blog on it.) But even if I buy those books, they are relatively cheap and don’t add to the clutter.
d) Second, if you can buy memberships (to museums, to zoos, etc.) that are tax deductible, you’re both buying entertainment for a year and reducing your tax bite. Double plus. (Of course, most of those institutions are leftist, though I’ll note Wings Over The Rockies, in Denver, isn’t.) (We might yet cultivate a taste for long walks in scenic surroundings… though not till spring.)
e) On money making, as I said there isn’t much I can do, though I MIGHT shift some of it to the next years, should we come to a point when “I’ve made enough money.” Or I might write for the drawer for a while – but this is REALLY hard for me, because writing is communication, and one writes to be read. At any rate, for us, other than the wonderful AMT coming at us with both barrels in January, making too much money is not something we can even figure out yet. Even with the AMT – adjusted for family, I assume? I really don’t know – if adjusted for family, we’re still well under.
I will, of course, if opportunity offers, exchange services with friends. No, not short story writing, kids. I mean, if you guys want a story written for you and want to do something for me in return, I’ll entertain the offer, of course. Some adults, for reasons known only to themselves like stories written about them (don’t get me wrong, redshirting and its milder twin tuckerizing are tons of fun, both to give and to receive. I meant more, though, writing an entire story around them/their situation. I’ve heard of writers writing short stories so a guy can propose to his girlfriend with it, for instance. For hire, of course.) And you know, other than hard core erotica, I could probably do that. But this being a story, it’s all “copyright weird” and all. I mean, the other stuff I can do: paint walls, refinish furniture, and yeah, draw people. It might take me three runs up to it, but I’m not a terrible portrait artist. And I’d totally trade for stuff like proofreading or other stuff I need. This type of exchange is of course unofficial and hors-de-taxes. (It occurs to me a listing for exchanges of services might not be a bad idea. It would work well with an idea I’ve been mulling for some time, with getting an indie-exchange going. “I scratch your manuscript/cover, you scratch mine” sort of thing for those of us (most of us?) in strapped circumstances.)
We’re calling this mini-galt, though it could as easily be called “Galt on the discount plan.” I’m sure it’s not the last word in Galting it, and that some of you have more ingenious ideas. This one just applies to our situation. Does it apply to anyone else? I don’t know. And what else have any of you come up with – always staying on the sunny side of the law, of course.