Chapter 14   
           TO SHRUG - AN ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE FOR AN INDIVIDUALIST 
   * Underlying Philosophy  
   * Historical Precedent  
   * Implementation of Shrugging  
   * A Different World-View  
   * Escape from the moneylenders  
   * A suitable dwelling  
   * Lifetime supplies  
   * Income reduction  
   * Occupation  
   * Security  
   * The Moral is the Practical  
   * Recommendations  
   * Bibliography  

   Throughout all my writings, I use the word "Shrug" (always capitalized) 
to designate a certain activity. That activity is described precisely in the 
book ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand. 
   This essay is a consideration of some aspects of that activity. If you 
have not read ATLAS SHRUGGED, you will probably find this essay to be 
somewhat obscure. 

    
   * Underlying Philosophy 
   All civilization rests upon the productive achievement of creative 
individuals. Without that productivity, the amenities of civilization would 
be little, if anything, more than a cave, a bearskin and a chunk of raw 
meat. Observe that totalitarianism is not creative. A Sherman Tank is not a 
tool of construction, nor is the revolver on a policeman's hip an instrument 
of productivity. A totalitarian regime can exist only if it is able to to 
obtain economic support from the productive members of society. Without that 
support the regime will collapse or dissipate, as there is no other means of 
maintaining its economic existence. The evil is that which is destructive 
and life negating. The good is that which is productive and life sustaining. 
Evil is impotent - literally impotent - in a very fundamental way. The only 
power evil has is the power it gets, one way or another, from the good. 
Consider any evil action which you can conceive of, and take a real hard and 
deep look at it. What were the means by which that action was perpetrated? 
What is the basis (particularly the economic basis) upon which the 
perpetration rests? If you look far enough into the matter, you will find 
that somewhere, sometime, something good must have happened before this evil 
could have come into being. To take only one example (but a rather blatant 
one): A thief cannot steal from me that which I do not possess. His act of 
theft presupposes my act of producing that which he would steal. If someone 
has not produced it, he cannot steal it. It is only my sanction that gives 
him his power. Without my good, he is impotent. Without me, he can not even 
exist. This is true not only of the simple act of theft but of ALL acts of 
evil, no matter how complex they may be in their insidious manifestations, 
and no matter where or how they occur - materially, intellectually or 
spiritually. As you can see, this is the basic theme of ATLAS SHRUGGED. 
   All that is required for the defeat of evil is that good men stop their 
unwitting support of it. 
   A productive person who uses his creative energies in support of 
totalitarianism is acting according to an irrational morality - he is 
providing sustenance for an evil that tends to destroy him. The remedy is to 
STOP SUPPORTING THE EVIL THAT AFFLICTS YOU. The functioning of your mind - 
the creative application of your intelligence - is something that is 
entirely under your personal control. Most things you own can be forcibly 
removed from your possession. The one thing that cannot is your creative 
ability. This cannot be touched without your sanction. The guns of a 
dictator, though they may destroy you, cannot compel you to think (Thoreau 
and Gandhi taught us this). It is simply not possible to enslave a free 
mind. Your body can be enslaved regardless of your personal choices, but the 
creative power of your mind can be manifest only if you choose to express 
it. 

    
   * Historical Precedent 
   The idea of Shrugging was not unique to Rand. Its advocates include such 
other illustrious names as Thoreau, Lane, and Ghandi. 
   Thoreau: "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote 
himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may 
still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at 
least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not 
to give it practically his support.... Cast your whole vote, not a strip of 
paper merely, but your whole influence." 
   In 1943 Rose Wilder Lane implemented yet another exercise in subversion, 
which was an attempt to reduce her income below taxable levels. It was 
merely the next logical step in her exercise in self-sufficiency combined 
with political resistance. 
   Ghandi's policy of satyagraha can be viewed as an "activist" expression 
of Shrugging. 
   Judge Learned Hand (1934): "Any one may so arrange his affairs that his 
taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern 
which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to 
increase one's taxes." 

    
   * Implementation of Shrugging 
   On dealing with the immorality of government, here are five courses of 
action to consider: 
   1) Refuse to engage in any implementation of your personal creative 
ability which benefits the State. Take your brains off the statist 
marketplace. Act so that only those who add to your life, not those who 
devour it, comprise your creativity marketplace. Do not abandon creative 
productivity, merely deny it to all who advocate statism. Reserve your 
achievements for yourself and those who will join you in the endeavor to 
build a sane and sensible world. This is the main ingredient of Shrugging. 
As Robert Ringer observed: "I am in favor of complete freedom of trade 
between companies and people throughout the world, but not under the 
umbrella of political partnerships between governments." Thus my attitude is 
that I will use my creative abilities on behalf of people who are STRIVING 
to act outside the authority of government, but I will not permit government 
to benefit from their use - either directly or indirectly. I will not use my 
abilities in any way that requires a tax to be paid, and I will not help 
other people to pay or to collect a tax. 
   2) Arrange your circumstances so that the State benefits as little as 
possible from whatever sort of menial work you do. 
   3) Propagate the philosophy of libertarianism. Make these ideas known to 
others who are seeking a means to combat totalitarianism. 
   4) Actively oppose the State in a political manner. 
   5) Contribute in a positive way to the establishment of a new 
civilization. Establish for yourself a lifestyle which will demonstrate that 
rationally moral behavior is in fact eminently practical in one's personal 
life. 
 
    
   * A Different World-View 
   Ayn Rand never advocated Shrugging (in fact, she was firmly opposed to 
the action) so there has never been any discussion of the nitty-gritty 
aspects of "how to do it." Nobody told me what to do after I Shrugged. I had 
to figure it out for myself. Most of my life's work since I Shrugged has 
been devoted to finding how to live an economically comfortable and secure 
existence while denying the State any benefit from my creative ability. The 
result of this has been the implementation of a lifestyle that maximizes my 
standard of living while minimizing my exposure to the oppressive elements 
of society. 
   I have been disappointed with most other libertarians because they 
manifest very little of any practical use - because they seem to want only 
to TALK rather than really DO anything to achieve freedom. To object 
verbally while non-violently submitting to (and economically supporting) an 
aggression is the behavior of a hypocrite whose talk and actions are 
diametrically opposed. My own goal has always been to eschew collective 
activities in favor of better ideas to apply to individual life, firmly 
believing that society will not be changed by people hollering and shouting 
in and about nation-wide mass movements, but will be changed only by people 
who choose to alter their own personal lives to live in accordance with a 
rational morality. 
   If there is ever to be a society of free men, there must first be free 
men to comprise that society. Assembling them into a society would be an 
interesting proposition, but the act of becoming free is the individual's 
self-responsibility, not mine. 
   I believe the best path to a free society is not via the alteration of 
government, but its abolition. Although I am in sympathy with those 
libertarians who seek freedom by means of social reform, my own primary 
focus is on the achievement of individual liberty and economic self-
betterment. I am not concerned with getting other people to adopt 
Objectivism, but rather in reaping the rewards of living an Objectivist life 
myself. I think it unfortunate that other people do not accept this kind of 
life, but I do not consider it my job to induce them to practice good health 
- either physical, mental, economic or social health. I think also that it 
is rather a waste of time to try to do so - after all, the Libertarian Party 
has been at work since 1972, but still gets only about 1% of the votes. And 
too, it is over a third of a century since the publication of ATLAS 
SHRUGGED. Those mature adults who are intellectually self-responsible will 
have learned by now of the existence of the Objectivist philosophy. I have 
neither hope for nor interest in the others. If the vast majority choose to 
be fools, I can say only "Let them live with the consequences of their 
foolishness." 
   Most people who ask the question "Is there any hope for saving society?" 
will settle only for an answer that by its nature would enable one 
individual to make singlehandedly a mammoth immediate alteration in the 
situation. This, of course, is impossible. Sadly, the fact that one 
individual alone cannot put a complete end to an evil is often used as an 
excuse and justification for accepting and supporting the evil. While 
realism tells me that I cannot fix all the problems of the world, my 
idealism tells me that my inability to do so does not preclude me from 
addressing those individual imperfections that I CAN affect. I view the 
situation, and my approach to it, as a physician would view a society 
suffering under a catastrophic epidemic. He would not sit back, wringing his 
hands in dismay, lamenting the fact that he alone could not produce an 
immediate and total cure for the epidemic. What he WOULD do is simply pick 
up his little black bag and commence to treat as many afflicted individuals 
as he possibly could. I believe society is suffering from a disastrous 
epidemic of irrational morality, and that the remedy lies in the practice of 
a rational morality by each individual - especially by a certain type of 
individual: those capable of a high degree of productive achievement. (For a 
much more comprehensive treatement of this phenomenon, see THE AYN RAND 
LETTER, 3Jan72.) 
   While you are trudging through the world with your little black bag, keep 
in mind that the difference you make can be negative (by withdrawing your 
contribution) as well as positive.  
   
   At an early age I started developing a world-view that can see outside 
the normal American lifestyle. I was in my early 20s when I went shopping 
for a house in the suburbs. I looked at a couple houses, noted the prices, 
and learned about financing arrangements. At this point I paused and the 
mathematical wheels in the back of my brain cranked round a couple times. I 
said "Hey! over the course of a 15-year mortgage I will be paying almost 
TWICE the purchase price of this house! I'm not gonna do that!" The real-
estate agent just gave me a funny look (I've been getting that funny look 
all my life) and terminated his presentation. And I began thinking about 
alternative lifestyles. 
   It didn't take me long to discover that there are also other people 
interested in alternative lifestyles - and not much longer to learn that by 
and large they are a bunch of losers. They don't drop out to find a better 
life; they drop out because they can't cope with the life they have. The few 
exceptions to this are those who drop out because of their environmental 
concern. A laudable motive, but these people throw the baby of technology 
out with the bathwater of pollution by renouncing any use of civilized 
technology in the primitive lifestyles they establish. People interested in 
a "natural" lifestyle seem to have no concern at all for any of the 
technological prerequisites of a decently civilized life. Many appear to see 
not much further than grubbing for roots and cooking over an open wood fire. 
Even Thoreau did a lot better than that! Our conflicting motives and 
disparate goals precluded much collaboration at all between myself and these 
people. 
   I think the best of the lot that I encountered was the Back-To-The-Land 
SIG in Mensa, but even they were a considerable disappointment to me, their 
primary focus of attention being the collecting of recipes on how to prepare 
natural foods. I wasn't interested in learning 47 different ways to cook 
organic turnips. My concern was "What am I gonna cook them WITH?" I was also 
surprised at how very few of them actually had any genuine intention of 
converting their daydreams into real life. They were almost all city 
dwellers who had no notion of any practical procedures for getting Back To 
The Land, and no genuine motivation to find or create such procedures. 
   I had a philosophical motivation (based on my decision to Shrug) and also 
the economic motivation that I described above: I was strongly opposed to 
spending the major part of my life supporting the moneylenders. 

    
   * Escape from the moneylenders 
   The first element of my economic strategy was to escape from the 
moneylenders. 
   When most folks begin their working life they immediately start making 
payments on a car, paying off a mortgage (or paying rent, which is probably 
worse in the long run), and in other ways making long-term committments to 
moneylenders. They get economically locked-in to this syndrome and then find 
themselves in a situation which is very difficult, if not impossible, to 
break out of. They HAVE to live where and how they do, in order to keep 
making payments so that they can continue to live where and how they do. I 
call this the "white collar squalor" syndrome. You GOTTA stop paying other 
people for the use of their property (rent) or the use of their money 
(interest). If you're not accumulating wealth, you're dissipating your life.  
   The procedure for breaking free of the moneylenders would be quite 
different for people whose financial situations were different. One man 
might need to scrimp and save for a long time, whereas another might only 
need to divert immediately available resources from one area to another. But 
unless you can get out of this "white collar squalor" syndrome you will 
never be truly free. 
      
    
   * A suitable dwelling 
   "To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, but so to 
love wisdom as to live according to its dictates....The philosopher is in 
advance of his age even in the outward form of his life. He is not fed, 
sheltered, clothed, warmed, like his contemporaries. How can a man be a 
philosopher and not maintain his vital heat by better methods than other 
men?" .... Thoreau 

   The biggest expense most people have is the cost of their housing, so I 
gave a lot of thought to what kind of dwelling would be suitable to the 
lifestyle I wanted. 
   I had no intention of giving up the comforts of a civilized life, 
especially since my philosophical principles require no such sacrifice. It 
is not at all necessary to settle for what Rand described as Galt's dingy 
little quarters: 
   "a long, bare garret with a bed in one corner and a gas stove in another, 
a few pieces of wooden furniture, naked boards stressing the length of the 
floor, a single lamp burning on a desk.... the wooden rafters of his 
ceiling.... the cracked plaster of his walls, the iron posts of his bed." 
   Extending the idea of "escape from the moneylenders" to include escape 
from other institutions that have economic control over everyday life (the 
foremost among them being the utility power companies), I concluded that 
what would be appropriate to my goals would be an inexpensive, energy-
independent, mobile dwelling possessing the comforts of modern technology. 
   I considered living in a motor home, but I quickly discovered that motor 
homes and travel trailers are NOT designed for permanent residence, and are 
even less than not designed for living in a cold climate, [I went to college 
to learn how to write like this?] and are certainly not energy-independent, 
or even energy-efficient. I wanted a home that would be inexpensive to 
construct and maintain, be mobile, and still have all the amenities of a 
civilized existence. So I decided to create one myself. I began by doing 
renovations of vehicles - converting them into little "rolling homes." I 
gradually figured out how to use my knowledge of physics and engineering to 
convert an old van, truck or bus into a very nice little house - an 
inexpensive, energy-independent, non-polluting, transportable dwelling - for 
a whole lot less money than the cost of a new house, or even the cost of a 
new motor home. After building several such dwellings - and living in one of 
them myself for a few years - I came to realize the truth of Thoreau's 
observation: 
   "Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are 
actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they 
must have such a one as their neighbors have." 
   Either as a permanent alternative to a fixed-box type dwelling, or as a 
temporary transition between the city rat-race and a rural existence in the 
country, a motor home can offer an inexpensive and comfortable lifestyle. 
   As a transition device, a motor home offers the city-dweller the means by 
which he can get out of the city in whatever spare time he has (weekends, 
vacations, holidays) and travel about in the country seeking land and 
housing suitable to his desired rural lifestyle. If he does find land 
without a dwelling on it, he will have a temporary living arrangement after 
he has left the city and is building his permanent home on the land. 
   It is an excellent way to test your ideas about independent living: you 
load up your motor home and trundle up into the mountains. Find a nice, 
secluded place and live there for a few months, making a list of all the 
things you discover that you don't have and all the things you can't do. 
Then you trundle back down into civilization again and start crossing things 
off that list. When the list is gone, you are ready to live an independent 
life. I want to stress the importance of DOing it experimentally before you 
make a full committment. The actuality is never just what you expect it to 
be. 
   As a permanent residence, I think this sort of home is a wonderful way to 
beat the housing racket with its multi-kilobuck lifetime mortgages for 
shoddily constructed boxes with built-in and almost irrevocable dependence 
on the energy companies. A nice little home can be built in an old school 
bus for a modest amount of money and, if carefully done up, will keep you 
cozy and warm in the coldest climates (I have lived quite comfortably 
through 20 Wyoming winters). 
   It's amazing what living in a Rolling Home does for your economic 
situation. Gone are the mortgage payments. Gone are the rent payments. Gone 
are most all of the utility bills (a small house takes much less energy to 
heat, and if, like me, you don't drive it too much, gas is a small expense). 
Gone are the huge tax bills laid on a stationary house. Sure, there are 
still some living expenses but they are a tiny portion of the expenses 
associated with a "regular" house. I can live on a MUCH smaller income than 
I needed before. 
   And then, of course, there are all the benefits of mobility. If I don't 
like it here I can always fire up this old clunker and trundle off down the 
road, seeking warmer climes, more congenial neighbors, or even just a 
different view from my window. 
   
   Some comments on technology: many people seeking an alternative lifestyle 
reject technology. I think this is a mistake. I have a very high regard for 
technology - insofar as it is the practical application of human 
intelligence and creativity to the problems of living a SANE and SENSIBLE 
life in the environment of this planet. What I greatly object to, however, 
is the use of technology in irrationally insane manners that inhibit decent 
human life and contribute to the destruction of earth's environment. The big 
difference between me and many other environmentally concerned people is 
that unlike them, I do not advocate the destruction of a pricelessly 
valuable tool (technology) just because it is being used by some vicious 
people for improper purposes. (Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!) 
   So I integrated two usually disparate ideas - a profound love for the 
ecology and an equally great respect and admiration for technology - and 
thereby established a style of life that incorporates all the stated 
objectives of the most enthusiastic environmentalist with all the comforts 
and conveniences available from modern technology. 
   I worked on the technological problems of self-sufficient living for many 
years, concentrating on the use of solar energy as the primary source of 
household power, and I found that a motor home - or a trailer house - makes 
a splendid dwelling if it has been designed and constructed to be energy-
efficient (very well insulated) and frugal in its use of heat, water, and 
electricity. The operating expenses of such a home can easily be reduced to 
a few hundred dollars per year (assuming it stays parked in one place). 
   
   The lifestyle I have developed consists of more than just an unusual 
dwelling; it is a comprehensive set of practices that have led me to 
substantial economic success while reducing the extent to which I am 
victimized by the government. Through the practice of this lifestyle, I have 
lowered my living expenses to not much more than what I spend in the 
supermarket, and an income of less than $200 per month (in 1994) can support 
me very comfortably indeed. I have a higher standard of living than anyone 
else I know, but my income is so small that I pay no income tax. 

    
   * Lifetime supplies 
   After I had reduced my housing expenses to just about nil, I had all that 
"mortgage money" to spend on other things - and I soon found a lot of other 
things to spend it on. As I observed in Chapter 4, there is a critically 
important distinction between being rich and being wealthy. One of the most 
economically successful things I have ever done was to implement that 
distinction in my personal life. Whenever possible, I have opted to acquire 
merchandise rather than money - or to turn my money into merchandise. 
   See reference 
   It really doesn't take much money (or much storage volume) to acquire a 
lifetime supply of X. For X, just substitute anything that you need to live 
comfortably and that can be stored away indefinitely. Socks, for example. If 
you have a few dozen pairs of socks in the back of your closet, then you 
don't have to be at all concerned that the price of socks is increasing 
continually - or that those socks may vanish off the marketplace entirely. 
Recently I took a brand new pair of trousers out of my storage trunk. While 
I was ripping off all the tags I noticed the price tag attached to the 
waistband. I thought it might be interesting to see how much the price had 
risen since I bought them, so I stopped in at the store where I had 
purchased them seven years ago, and was told: "Oh, those pants aren't being 
made anymore - they're no longer available!" I'm sure the lady thought I was 
completely crazy, because I burst out laughing. 
   If you save dollars, the government simply eats them up via its inflation 
of the money supply. But if you convert those dollars into books, tools, 
clothes, or even just cans of beans, then you beat that inflation. The 
government will eat your dollars, but YOU will eat your beans! 
    
    
   * Income reduction 
   The best way to gain economic freedom is to cut expenses. People who 
squander their prime years on excessive work to pay unnecessary expenses, 
and then spend the remainder of their lives working just to stay sheltered 
and fed, can't enjoy much freedom. 
   As part of her exercise in subversion, in 1943 Rose Wilder Lane began an 
attempt to reduce her income below taxable levels. My own implementation of 
this has been a great success. As of 1992, the base (federal) taxable level 
of income in the USA is above $5000 per year. This represents over twice the 
amount necessary for me to live comfortably. For the final 14 years of my 
working life I worked two 8-hour shifts per week at or near the minimum wage 
(as dishwasher/janitor in local restaurants). My standard of living rose 
continually during that time, mainly because almost the entirety of my 
income was "disposable income." I had followed Ms Lane's example and reduced 
my living expenses to just about nil. 
   My standard of living has been rising continually since 1975, when I had 
fully implemented my lifestyle. Whether I consider the amount of material 
wealth that I possess or the amount of leisure time available to me or the 
amount of time I must devote to earning my living or the amount of economic 
security I have. In all these respects I am better off now than I have been 
at any previous time of my life. 
   An interesting thing about all this is that I believe ANYBODY could do 
what I have done. Anybody in America could work 10 years at minimum wage and 
then retire for life. As screwed up as it is, this is still the richest 
society the world has ever seen. 
   
    
   * Occupation 
   After I had thought about Atlas Shrugged for a while, I realized that 
Shrugging is appropriate not just to someone at or near Galt's level of 
productive capability, but to anyone who is concerned with the ethical 
propriety of his life. I believe that even though there are immense 
differences between Galt and a track walker, they are differences in 
quantity, not in quality. Thus Mr. Walker may well have just as legitimate a 
concern for the ethical nature of his behavior as Galt has for his. When I 
contemplated the question "If Galt steps down to the level of the track 
walker, what would the track walker step down to?" I identified this as the 
essense of Shrugging: do not pay tax on your creative ability. I believe 
that EVERY person has some creative capacity, and that the proper way to 
respond to government is to deny it the benefit of that creativity.   
   "Physical labor as such can extend no further than the range of the 
moment. The man who does no more than physical labor, consumes the material 
value-equivalent of his own contribution to the process of production, and 
leaves no further value...."  Rand 
   Consider that it is not just taxation per se that supports 
totalitarianism, but the exploitation of productive achievement. No 
government could survive merely by taxing ditch diggers, track walkers and 
dishwashers. These people do not create civilization (although I readily 
admit that they do help maintain it); civilization is created by those whose 
productivity generates the need for ditch diggers, track walkers and 
dishwashers. The taxes imposed on a dishwasher will not support a 
totalitarian state, simply because the dishwasher does not generate wealth. 
He merely manipulates the wealth generated by someone who is functioning at 
a considerably higher level of productivity. If this "someone" were to stop 
generating wealth, eventually there would be nothing for the totalitarian 
State to tax - and it would perish. If you wish to strike at the State then 
strike at its root - deprive it of its economic foundation. The functioning 
of your mind - the creative application of your intelligence - is something 
that is entirely under your personal control. The guns of a dictator, though 
they may destroy you, cannot compel you to think.   
   
    
   * Security 
   There are three major aspects to my security. 
   The first is that my house is both mobile and energy-independent. Even 
though I have not moved my little house in over ten years, I could readily 
do so if the need ever arose. Since my domestic utilities are almost 
entirely solar-powered, I am not dependent on outside hookups. I do not have 
blackouts or brownouts; I am not subject to power rationing, and they can't 
raise my rates! 
   The second element of my security is that I have provided for my future 
in ways that are linked as little as possible to money. I own my home, and 
it is quite capable of housing me for the rest of my life. Thus I will never 
have to worry about getting money in order to provide myself with shelter. I 
have sufficient clothing and other household goods on hand to keep me 
comfortable for longer than I expect to live. Unless all this property is 
physically destroyed, I will never have to obtain money to replace any of 
it. I have, in my parlance, "pushed self-sufficiency all the way to the 
bananas." All the way to those things that I cannot provide for myself 
and/or cannot lay up a lifetime supply of (such as bananas). I am as 
unaffected as I can be by the government's continual destruction of the 
American economy. 
   The third element of my security is that my philosophy, and and the fact 
that I actually LIVE by it, are so unthinkable to stateolatrists that I am 
essentially invisible to them. I call this the "Thompson Invisibility 
Syndrome" (see ATLAS SHRUGGED Part3 Chap8). This syndrome is their response 
to someone who is so far removed from their frame of reference that they 
literally cannot perceive him as a genuine philosophical entity. They can 
ignore me, or they can ridicule me, but they CANNOT take me seriously. Rand 
was quite wrong about the need for secrecy: their ignorance and self-
blindedness are my shield. My knowledge is their weakness. 

    
   * The Moral is the Practical 
   Before Ayn Rand, there was a perceived dichotomy between being good and 
being practical. This put morality in a dilemma because "how should I act?" 
rested on two antipathetic goals: to be "moral," or to be "practical." It 
was thought that to flourish you needed to be immoral to some extent, and 
that the actions which make you moral inhibit flourishing. Now that Rand has 
given us the basic science of a rational morality, the pretext for thinking 
this has been eradicated. 
   The principles of Objectivism give rise to a set of guidelines for 
practical actions. If those guidelines are followed, the result will be a 
successful life. Objectivism is not a mere philosophical assertion, but a 
living, concrete procedure by which a rational individual can learn the laws 
of the universe and implement them in his personal life. It is, as Rand 
observed: "A Philosophy for Living on Earth." This living, concrete picture 
is itself profoundly convincing: the observation of my personal life has 
produced conversions and induced a commitment to the idea of rationality in 
other people. As this conversion and commitment spread to more and more 
people, it will, hopefully, become a movement, adherence to which will 
distinguish one as enlightened, and ignorance or denial of which will mark 
one as intellectually retarded or superstitious. Those who reject 
Objectivism are akin to those who renounce computers, thus depriving 
themselves of humanity's most powerful instrument of literacy. Both groups 
are doomed to a stunted level of intellectual capability. People who ignore 
Objectivism are simply going to become irrelevant and, eventually, extinct. 
People who accept and use it are, like me, going to prosper. 
   Whether you are a rocket scientist today or a hunter-gatherer of 25,000 
years ago, the extent of your failure to live by rational principles is 
reflected in the extent of your failure to flourish. The more you use your 
mind properly, the more you'll flourish - succeed at survival. As the 
economy of America becomes more and more fouled up by government, those 
people who can bypass their dependence on this economy can function more 
efficiently, but those who continue to live within the mainstream will have 
their economic efficiency diminished by a parasitical government. 
   "You have been using fear as your weapon and have been bringing death to 
man as his punishment for rejecting your morality. We offer him life as his 
reward for accepting ours." John Galt 

   Nothing encourages ethical practices so well as a practical, profitable 
alternative to evil. We can't make people want to be poor. If we want to 
clean up the Earth and establish a free society, we'll have to show people a 
way to be wealthy without harming the environment or depending on the State. 
   Not only must we demonstrate how to live well, we must show how to make a 
profit. As one investor remarked: "As soon as the environmental sector 
starts producing profits, we'll start investing." 
   A lifestyle should be adopted on the same basis as the advocacy of an 
environmental issue: If you object to pollution, the first thing for you to 
do is to stop your own polluting behavior. If you advocate the conservation 
of some natural resource, the first thing for you to do is to diminish your 
own consumption of that resource. And if you want to contest the tyrannical 
system you must reject tyranny in your own personal lifestyle. 
 
   I have proved in my own life that he who actually lives by the morality 
of Objectivism can thereby have a HIGHER standard of living than the large 
majority of people in America, who are hobbled ethically and economically by 
circumscribing their lives within the authoritarian frame of reference, and 
that the adoption of such a lifestyle is much less expensive and much more 
technologically feasible than most people surmise. Amidst a population of 
individuals employing one strategy, I employ a different strategy which has 
a higher payoff. It is a strategy which delivers tangible benefits TODAY, 
not "someday" or "when we win." As Rand repeatedly asserted, "the moral IS 
the practical." 
   And I can look into a mirror and know that I did not work all my life to 
help make possible the burning of babies in Philadelphia and Waco. Can you 
say the same?        

    
   * Recommendations 
   Keep in mind that Shrugging doesn't have to be one big jump - it can be 
done in stepdowns, thus avoiding traumatic shock to your present lifestyle. 
   I believe the best way to go about implementing the lifestyle I have 
described would be to start by buying a pickup truck as your first (or next) 
vehicle. 
   When you are financially ready to do so, buy a camper to put onto the 
truck - or a small trailer to pull behind it. 
   Spend weekends, vacations, and as much time as you can living in this 
thing. This will prepare you for later full-time residence, and teach you 
what domestic facilities you should modify or add in order to create a 
satisfactory situation. 
   If you are the adventurous type and want to skip this intermediate 
preparatory step, then buy a large gooseneck trailer-house. You might want 
to consider buying a gooseneck flat-bed trailer and building your own house 
on it. 
   I have lived for over 20 years in a 30-foot school bus and find this 
plenty large enough for one person (and three cats) to live in. 
   If I were to do it over again, I would opt for a truck/trailer 
combination, as that makes for more transportation convenience. When you 
want to stay parked in one place for any length of time, it is convenient to 
just detach the truck for your occasional trips to town. (I use a bicycle.) 

   Once your little house is fully prepared, take the next big step by 
moving permanently into it. At this point your economic situation should 
take a big leap upward as you begin to reap the benefits of the 
rent/mortgage money that you no longer have to pay out. 
   Two things you should consider doing with that money are stocking up with 
supplies of merchandise (such as the socks I mentioned above) and investing 
in a pension for your future years. It shouldn't take much to convince you 
that the government's Social Security scheme is of dubious value. There are 
other ways in which you can provide for your future. The best I ever found 
is: 
   Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association 
   College Retirement Equities Fund 
   730 Third Ave  New York City 10017    Phone: (800) 226-0147 
   To initiate your participation in TIAA-CREF it is not necessary that you 
be a teacher. It is only necessary that you be employed, in any capacity, by 
one of the many educational institutions that comprise the Association. Once 
you have become a participant, you remain so for life regardless of your 
subsequent employment. 
   During the late 1960s I invested several thousand dollars into this 
scheme. That money was put into a wide array of commercial and industrial 
enterprises (not into government bonds!). Today, about thirty years later, I 
can begin drawing an annual pension that will pay me, each year for the rest 
of my life, an amount of money greater than the sum total that I invested so 
long ago. 
   
   Keep this in mind when you are considering investments: The crazy thing 
about investing is that there's really no such thing as absolutely bad news. 
Whether an event is good or bad depends on where you've got your money. 

   When you have got yourself set up in your new lifestyle you can begin to 
think about changing over from full-time work to part-time work. For the 
final 14 years of my working life I worked only part-time (as a dishwasher 
and janitor). I usually worked one or two days a week - and had a five- or 
six-day "weekend." 
   This free time enabled me to pursue my education to an extent that never 
would have been available to me if I had been working full-time all my life. 
   I went into full retirement at the age of 48, and have been living quite 
comfortably ever since. 
    
    
   * Bibliography 

   From   Loompanics Unlimited  Box 1197  Port Townsend, WA  98368: 
   THE ALPHA STRATEGY by John Pugsley 
         Convert your money into merchandise. 
   FREEDOM ROAD by Harold Hough 
         How to establish life in a motor home. 
   HOME IS WHERE YOU PARK IT by Kay Peterson 
         How to live in a travel trailer. 
   TINY HOUSES by Lester Walker 
         Inexpensive, self-sufficient little homes. 

   ROLLING HOMES by Jane Lidz  A&W Publishers, 95 Madison Ave, NYC  1979 

   J.C. Whitney Co  Box 8410  Chicago IL  60680 
         Parts, accessories and appliances for cars, trucks and RVs. If you 
intend to build your own motor home, this company is an excellent source for 
parts and equipment. 



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