Going Galt

Speaking of Aynworld, I enjoyed this Will Wilkinson riff:

By the way, Atlas buffs, the point of Atlas Shrugged is not that you are John Galt. The point is that you are not John Galt. The point is that you are, at your best, Eddie Willers. You're smart, hardworking, productive, and true. But you're no creative genius and you take innovation -- John Galt -- for granted. You don't even know who he is! And this eventually leaves you weeping on abandoned train tracks. 

I think Obama's policies will be bad for innovation, but not because higher marginal tax rates will lead our best and brightest to retire from the field of endeavor. I'm rather more worried that our best and brightest will follow the incentives and go Robert Stadler. I'm worried that our money, which might otherwise have gone to capitalize real innovation, will be confiscated in order to finance government directed "investment" instead. Our economy can readily absorb a passel of drop-out Willerses (though Eddie never quits!). It's the misdirected capital embodied by the Stadlers and their Project Xes that really hurts.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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