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Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on March 24, 2023

Sixty years ago, Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged. The book is set in a dystopian United States on the brink of economic collapse. Exhausted by a corrupt government, the hero, John Galt, packs his things and starts a self-sufficient community in an isolated valley, hidden — and separate — from the U.S. He recruits the nation’s business leaders to quit their jobs and populate his utopia.

The book was a hit, especially among disaffected people who felt the U.S. was on the wrong track. Sales spike whenever America experiences a downturn. In 2009, following the Great Financial Crisis, half a million copies were sold. Ayn Rand’s message: Government is rigged, America is broken, and you should quit. She eventually became a conservative icon, and Atlas Shrugged, the quitter’s bible.


Quitting used to mean being anti-government. But social media has morphed the message into something larger. There are now multiple ways to quit — and multiple gurus, communities, and schools of thought to guide you.

Libertarianism is one path: an entire political party dedicated to going it alone. Or you can take more extreme measures. One Republican representative recently suggested a “national divorce.” That we quit on this whole “United” States thing and split the country across political lines. Some of our most influential media personalities support the idea, and an increasing share of Americans are flirting with it.

Others are resigned to all-out apocalypse. Four in 10 Americans are either actively prepping for a Doomsday scenario or have plans to. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, that number is 6 in 10. For tech billionaires, the quitting menu is more expansive. Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, bought a 477-acre bunker in New Zealand in preparation for a U.S. apocalypse, and was given citizenship after spending 12 days in the country. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, made a pact with Thiel that they’d fly to New Zealand together when the collapse arrives. If that falls through, Sam will be fine: “I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defense Forces, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to.” This is what it means to quit — on the eve of the apocalypse, load up the Gulfstream with guns, and leave.


When did things get so extreme? How did we go from anti-government Reaganism to apocalyptic secessionism? The movement has roots in the Valley.

In 2013 a former general partner of Andreessen Horowitz named Balaji Srinivasan gave a talk at Y-Combinator, the nation’s premier accelerator for tech startups. The talk was titled “Silicon Valley’s Ultimate Exit.” Srinivasan opened with a question: “Is the United States the Microsoft of nations?” The thesis was the U.S. had become outdated, brittle, and slow. He offered two solutions. “You can try to reform” — change the system from within — or, his preferred option: “You can leave.”

In Balaji’s view, this was Silicon Valley’s destiny: to secede from the U.S. and form a techno-utopian state, free from government regulation and any duty to serve the needs and interests of the rest of the country — the “ultimate exit.” It was also, he divulged, the dream of many other prominent tech leaders. Balaji cited Larry Page’s interest in “setting aside a part of the world” for unregulated experimentation, Marc Andreessen’s prediction that the world would see “an explosion of countries in the years ahead,” and, of course, Elon’s mission to colonize Mars.

Balaji predicted that when that time comes, there will be pushback from the “Paper Belt,” a term used to describe America’s less technologically advanced cities — D.C., New York, Boston, and so on. But he believed Silicon Valley would persevere. “We’re putting a horse head in all of their beds,” he said. “We’re becoming stronger than all of them combined.” Technology would be the tool that would let the elite secede from the union without having to pick up a gun.

The speech was an enormous hit, and a precursor to a movement among Valley elite to begin seceding from America via shitposting government, financing MAGA campaigns, catastrophizing on Fox News / Twitter, and demonstrating a general disdain for our country. Several tech startups have emerged dedicated to the secessionist dream. The Seasteading Institute, co-founded by Thiel and Milton Friedman’s grandson, is building politically autonomous floating cities. Prospera bought a plot of land on Honduras’s Roatan Island where you can pay to be an “e-resident.” Nation3 is working on an “online-first, zero-tax nation with its own jurisdiction, court, and system of law.” The list goes on.


It’s no coincidence that the guy who feels Silicon Valley will secede is also pushing crypto. Last week, Balaji made headlines after he bet $1 million that Bitcoin would reach $1 million within the next 90 days. Sort of. The real wager is that the U.S. will enter a period of “hyperinflation” within 90 days — his proxy for that scenario is Bitcoin breaching $1 million. Consider what that means: In his view, the price of Bitcoin is directly proportional to the likelihood that America will experience a catastrophe. Put another way, he’s long Doomsday … via Bitcoin.

People have capitalized on catastrophes before — political coups, short selling, etc. — but in the history of humanity, there’s never been an asset class whose value is predicated on collapse. Bitcoin has risen 30% since Silicon Valley Bank’s crisis threatened the banking system. The cryptocurrency has historically been marketed as a “hedge against inflation,” but it’s really a hedge against catastrophe. Which is to say, a bet on catastrophe. Crypto is becoming the ultimate libertarian scheme — the world’s first asset class that encourages you to stop investing in America, and quit.

The Dots

Guns, bunkers, private islands, crypto, secession … connect the dots. The venture catastrophists now have a vested interest in the nation’s decline. They’ve invested too much in Doomsday not to root for it — maybe even catalyze it. Balaji has a million dollars on the line;  Andreessen Horowitz has $8 billion.

Much of their catastrophizing is in response to elements of U.S. society that are legitimately broken. The first block of Bitcoin ever mined is encoded with a message that reads, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” — a reminder that Bitcoin was born in response to the failures of our banking system during the Great Financial Crisis. Post-Dodd-Frank, we still have issues. Silicon Valley Bank was mismanaged, and many banks are fragile. The government is gridlocked, parties polarized, teens depressed. There’s a lot wrong with America, and we have reason to be upset about it.

The question is: What do we do about it? For too many, the answer is quit: Instead of fixing the Fed, start a different currency. Instead of healing our divides, split the nation in two. Instead of making this planet more habitable, colonize other planets or put a headset on that takes you to a meta (better) universe. But here’s the thing: We’re stuck here, and with each other.


History’s greatest leaders aren’t quitters, but reformers. Abraham Lincoln felt it was his “duty to preserve the Union,” not to accept its division and cauterize the wound. Despite the headlines, and all the work to be done, our nation’s arc still bends toward bringing groups together. From Civil Rights to gay marriage, America still strives to bring people closer under the auspices of a shared belief in a union that offers liberty and the pursuit of happines. We have lost sight of our achievements. The U.S. is responsible for more than half of the world’s Nobel science laureates and has provided more than a trillion dollars in non-military foreign aid. Inflation is high, but not as high as our developed peers, and our economy continues to grow. We can and will be the first society in history to be a truly multicultural democracy. It comes down to this: Do we invest in Mars or Michigan? Are our most fortunate business and elected leaders citizens or survivalists?

When I was in elementary school, we performed Duck and Cover drills to prepare for a nuclear attack by the Russians. A flash of light from the detonation of a thermonuclear device? No problem, just duck and cover, and you’ll be fine. Spoiler alert: No matter how many rough-cut gems you can shove up your ass or how plush your bunker, there is no escaping the fallout of our democracies failing. Because our democracies are largely capitalist and accept, if not idolize, people who aggregate the wealth of small nations. If shit gets real — I mean real — bunkers will likely become easy targets in the recalibration of society. The previous sentence is a pedantic way of saying the best bet (by far) is to double down on a society that already has Netflix, Nespresso, and Girl Scouts. Citizenship is not just an obligation; it’s also a trade. In the case of America, the best trade is to invest in each other and what MLK called our “beloved community.” We need reformers, not quitters.


The 2003 M. Night Shyamalan film The Village is about a group of people who secede and develop an alliance with creatures who keep villagers in line by terrorizing them. Spoiler alert: The creatures are just villagers in costume. The threat is still real, but it’s exaggerated in order to serve powerful people’s objectives. In the U.S., our threats are also real, but powerful people are dressing them up to suit their own nihilism and self-interest. These anti-citizens do not see dead people (a much better film), but tear at the fabric of what is, and continues to be, the great experiment that is the U.S. They should be called out for what they are: cowards.

Life is so rich,

P.S. Last week on the Prof G Pod, I spoke with Bill Burnett, co-author of the New York Times bestseller “Designing Your Life” and co-director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. We discussed how to understand your talent and what to do when you feel stuck. Listen here.

P.P.S. Make your team more strategic — sprint together with Section. In April we’re teaching Problem Solving, Platform Strategy, Writing for Impact, Inclusive Leadership, and Investor Mindset. Ask for a demo now.



  1. Bob Williams says:

    You were born in 1964 according to Wikipedia. You were therefore in elementary school in the early 1970s. We were not doing “duck and cover” in the U.S. or in Los Angles in the early 1970s. I think you are trying to use borrowed interest from an artifact of the 1950s and early 60s cold war era for literary effect and it was something you did not personally experience and it does not reflect well on you.

  2. Covah says:

    “failures of our banking system” NOT “our” but Republican deregulation. “There’s a lot wrong with America, and we have reason to be upset about it” IT being Republicans. Republicans embrace Ayn Rand as the alternate to Keynes, Repubans are blockheaded reactionaries who contribute nothing.

    • Josh says:

      I might be wrong about this, but didn’t Bill Clinton deregulate the banks?

  3. Dorothy says:

    Excellent, excellent essay. And ironic that Peter Thiel and others who are “leaving” are largely responsible for the cause.

    • Sean says:

      The king of cowards – little Pettie T. Similar to trump, the only reason they got where they are, in the safety and security and relatively fair-minded society provided to them. easily the worst kinds of citizens….kick them all out !!

  4. John says:

    Very thoughtful article with only a few things that stick out to me.

    Would the founding fathers be seen as quitters for wanting to leave the British Empire?
    Would people who have been called Nazi white supremacists want to unite with the ones who called them that?
    Would I trust the bankers and the regulators to actually change crisis after crisis?

    What brings people together more than an accessible (becoming more accessible by the day) currency that isn’t controlled by people who have failed time and time again?

    This problem is not going to be fixed by voting in people who have shown not to care. Obama and Trump both were seen as a change from the status quo and the discourse did not get better under either of them.

    Fixing an abusive relationship means leaving the abusive ones.

    • ben says:

      > Would the founding fathers be seen as quitters for wanting to leave the British Empire?

      There’s a huge difference between running away and running towards.

      > Would people who have been called Nazi white supremacists want to unite with the ones who called them that?

      If they could both prosper they would tolerate their differences and soften their stances. Betrayal myths are being weaponised to divide, which is an effective trick which is cheaper than ever, but didn’t last much beyond 1945.

      > Would I trust the bankers and the regulators to actually change crisis after crisis?

      Depends on the frequency and depth of these crises. When they become perpetual or threaten enough of those with power, things will change.

      > What brings people together more than an accessible (becoming more accessible by the day) currency that isn’t controlled by people who have failed time and time again?

      The sort of material you’ve just read: an enquiry after deeper meaning and social value. Crypto is answerable to nobody: it has little meaning and negative social value.

      > Fixing an abusive relationship means leaving the abusive ones.

      Some examples of abusers are clear outliers; others are muddier. If you are to live, where would you draw the line?

  5. Andrew says:

    Nailed it, again! Thanks, Scott. We all need this motivation to double-down, reach-out, refine, and build upon our great democratic experiment.

  6. Michael says:

    Marvelous, you manage to be accurate and positive at the same time. Kudos to “Dan” who misses a civics class in school much as I do. AZ is trying to make public schools disappear.

  7. Sam says:

    Bravo Scott… well said and here here. Either we stick together, or we shall certainly all fall apart. Silicon Valley Veteran + and US Navy Veteran = John Galt with a Community Conscious

  8. John says:

    I choose to double down!

    Keep it rocking!

  9. Noel Murphy says:

    I find all of this disingenuous from a guy who bailed from the high tax states of California and New York and went first to Florida. And then ultimately bailed to London. And you made your cash with the same sick narcissists you criticize.

    • Dave says:

      Warden Buffett is top 3 wealthiest people in the world. He has a moral compass just like Scott. You can be successful and a good person at the same time. They aren’t mutual exclusive. Not all successful people are a like.

  10. Dan says:

    Excellent article Scott. And completely spot-on. Our country was in trouble the moment the majority of our schools quit teaching civics. It will take a national crisis on an existential level to force a change in course.

  11. Jim says:

    Thoughtful and provocative. Maybe John Galt is moving to Idaho, or SLC , Austin or Miami in 2023. California seems to be hell bent on driving out producers. Bullet train or 1/2 trillion in reparations with a 25 billion deficit. Pay your fair share, tax unrealized gains, The weather ain’t worth it folks. If Biden can get elected from a basement and still has a 30% approval rating and Fetterman is Pennsylvania’s best contribution to our body politic,
    I fear for our Constitutional Republic. So why not gamble on Bitcoin, Biden Powell and Elizabeth can’t invent more of them.

  12. Richard says:

    What a thoughtful essay, thank you for this much needed and sobering read.

  13. maren says:

    After reading the comments it is obvious that there is not any chance to reunite the country.

  14. Shott3r says:

    Rather than “cowards,” I prefer “traitors.”

  15. James NYC says:

    My guess is that Balaji pulled this bitcoin bet stunt to distract attention from his craven squealing about the need for the whole country to rally around a rescue of his buddies with funds at risk at SVB.

  16. Paul Peczon says:

    Connecting politics with the population would greatly benefit from drastic campaign finance reform. It can seem so hopeless now that yes, the fantasy of running away seems lovely. But this isn’t Snoopy Come Home. Out in the boonies the locals are more like cartel heavies, just waiting for long pig. Stay home and fix stuff Dorothy.

  17. Sean McCarthy says:

    “History’s greatest leaders aren’t quitters, but reformers.” Thanks Scott .That’s it in a nutshell. It’s right up there with, “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the nose…’ The “smart” money that smugly delivered our latest bank crisis are congratulating themselves for being able to weather the whirlwind they have sown by putting it beneath the wings of their Gulfstreams. Delusional. How about responsibility over market share? Building society up instead of tearing it down. Trust instead of blame. Acknowledging that most of the work that goes into knitting our world together is quiet, routine, and will never get you on a magazine cover. “Move Fast and Break Things” isn’t aging well…

  18. Christopher Portillo says:

    How dare you , Life was supposed to be a rose garden . Sunshine is all your guaranteed….live with it.

  19. George Emerson says:

    “We can and will be the first society in history to be a truly multicultural democracy.” Too late to be first, Scottie. The Loyalists who fought against the slavers (Jefferson, et al) in the War of Independence left the USA to create what became the first multicultural democracy. It’s called Canada. You’re welcome, anytime, Scott. We love your kind of wit. Our motto: “Welcoming exiles from American civil wars since 1783.”

  20. Rodley Moser says:

    Inspiring! I saw you on Real-time the other night. Was so impressed with your breadth of knowledge. And before you even got to it, I knew that the problem with all these sick young men was “no father figures”. Not one of them had one, at least no too many.Keep speaking out about what we need to do to appreciate and improve our culture and our nation!

    • Covah says:

      I’ll read Scott’s book when I get a chance. I hope he says public schools are female-dominant institutions that demonize males and promote female arrogance in the name of empowerment and liberation. Few male teachers because women say, this is women’s work, you do not belong here. Same as a fire station in the olden days but now males told straight out diversity is important and leave the women alone. Women are never told that males are important in schools.

  21. Andrew Uerling says:

    This maybe a rerun of previous divisions in society, only now everyone has access to ‘info’ via the internet/smart phone etc. Is it worse than before or just grifters taking advantage of the standard individual that doesn’t have the time or energy to inform themselves with common sense?

  22. Bill Lyon says:

    Scott, always appreciate your thoughts, but would also appreciate a deeper dive into what is driving the loss of faith in the US Government, hence the quitting scenario. Why are people considering this – could it be that the MSM has quit its traditional role of being an independent voice that holds government responsible for its policy errors – transitory inflation (someone should have been fired), the Afghanistan debacle, the Biden family business dealings in Ukraine and China, sky high energy prices, deteriorating economy, and soaring crime rates. These are inconvenient truths that no one in the MSM is addressing or even acknowledging, yet Americans are seeing these mistakes in real time and wondering why nothing is seemingly being done to address these issues. Instead the protectors of the status quo find meaningless “bright shiny objects” to rail against. Who cares about succession when people aren’t safe in their homes, when they pay outrageous prices for almost everything, when their children are indoctrinated and not educated in their public schools. Let’s start digging into those questions, as these are growing problems that are experienced by Americans every day.. space ships and succession as the number one concern, really??

    • Covah says:

      You argue against yourself. Every one of your criticisms is incorrect. No such thing as “the Afghanistan debacle, the Biden family business dealings in Ukraine and China, sky high energy prices, deteriorating economy, and soaring crime rates”. Your “transitory inflation” transitory, right, would you prefer a ten-year recession instead? “meaningless bright shiny objects to rail against” such as drag shows, oh the horror, now let’s blame gun deaths and inflation on Democrats. “Space ships and succession as the number one concern, really??” Yeah really, when the rich are so rich from Republican tax cuts and labor dereguation they can buy their own space ships and America-hating right-wing media have been promoting secession for decades.

  23. Oliver says:

    Scott, imagine that your article was published in 1750 and talks about American settlers, all of whom were “quitters” from their country. Would you change anything in what you wrote?

  24. J White says:

    Good comments on the quitter mindset of the entitled class. I listened to Prof G #241 that also had some very good advice. However, the final thought about “masculinity” equating to steadiness in the face of challenging circumstances was extremely offensive. That you apparently don’t see it is interesting. You obviously aren’t a woman of any age. Being a 70+yo woman, having lived through a lot, and known, and been curious, about the lives of women from ancient times to the present, I feel it’s a blind spot you might want to investigate. Framing that steadiness as a “masculine” trait is a trope that men perpetuate. Open your mind, Scott.

  25. BBloom says:

    Better we hang together, lest we each certainly hang separately…we need a ‘left’ and a ‘right’, did you ever notice that in most creatures the head, heart and gut are in the middle.

  26. Bill Magill says:

    Just when you thought Scott couldn’t be more on target, couldn’t offer up situations clearly and break them down through astute (and quite acerbic) analysis, we get this. Chapeau, continued evidence of who is the best observer society in our media at the moment.

  27. marvin says:

    Prof G, Until watching you on Bill Maher this evening I had developed a good deal of respect . Your America first attitude neglects that the best option is intelligent cooperation with China , and not a nationalistic paranoia . The goal is to create a better , sustainable organization for cooperative development. China’s policies have been more defensive , and those of the U.S. more aggressive than you seem to realize.

  28. Cam says:

    Thanks Prof G – incredible post. Ironically, I’m currently reading ‘the sovereign individual’ which is in many ways the manifesto of many who view the demise of the ‘modern nation state’ as inevitable. I’ve found reading it enlightening, but also it’s vision of the future unsettling. I, like you, believe in America, and the idea of America. Keep helping and encouraging people to solve problems, and to innovate within our communities. The work you do is important!

  29. Patrick says:

    Another well crafted essay. I am curious though, what were your motivations to leave the USA for the UK? I concur there are many challenges here, but why leave?

  30. Eric Monacelli says:

    Great read but felt strange to read knowing it was written by someone who recently moved to the UK.

  31. Matt Smith says:

    Wow. The man who quite the United States for another country telling us all to stay in the US and fix it. Breathtaking!

  32. Mark Goldman says:

    One of your best. Ever!

  33. Suzie Kidder says:

    And I thought I couldn’t hate these people any more than I already did. THEY are the ones who have hollowed out our Economy and created the financial mess with which the rest of the “little people” are struggling. And when the “Excrement Finally Hits the Rotating Device” … they climb into their private jets and head off to New Zealand or equivalent. One or the other Boys, “Either Create the Mess and Stay and Deal w/It along with the rest of us,” or quit destroying the Economy “for the rest of us.” Meanwhile, “Enjoy Opening Night at the Metropolitan Opera,” and don’t forget that “When the Apocalypse finally comes down … there probably won’t be ‘Any Place to Hide.” We have ONE PLANET and ONE CLIMATE and ONE FUTURE. And there’s only so much anyone can do to survive when the “BILL FINALLY COMES DUE.” And when that happens … THERE WILL BE NO PLACE TO GO & NO PLACE TO HIDE.

  34. Jim Gillis says:

    I agree! 1). We need to treat running for office like a small business – because it is. We need to build a 2-sided marketplace connecting candidates and voters directly – no ads, no boosts, no bots. Just candidates pitching voters and voters favoriting, endorsing, and sharing…. There is no 2) because when you take big money / special interest out of elections you take big money special interest out of politics (for the most part). This is how we get the best people to run for office. This is how we get the best people to run the country. We have already built such a platform and I’d be happy to demo it any time. Thanks, Jim

    • Steve says:

      I totally agree, but think maybe i should hedge my bet with the “guns, gold, potassium iodide” stuff. Small investment, negligible value, but who knows?

    • Tim says:

      Why not just ranked choice voting, which has already proven itself to be the antidote to our most acute electoral dysfunction (the party primary system) in Alaska? Why do we need an app?


  35. Miyaa says:

    It’s a very thoughtful essay. I do believe we are at the point where some institutions are so corrupt, it needs less reform and more of a resurrection. Look at how corrupt police are globally, whether it is the militarized police in America or the recent findings of a report into the London Metropolitan Police where not only does it not protect women but actively recruit the kinds of bullies and stalkers who exploits their powers against women and then protect. The other problem is with the overarching climate emergency ongoing, there maybe not be the amount of time necessary to make such reforms. Hence the attractiveness of hiding until the apocalypse blows over and then groups can start over in their own ideological images.

  36. Rocky says:

    Another post for the ages Scott. Timely, and prescient – we’re in interesting times indeed…

    I’d like to recommend we all consider if we can up our stakes in democracy. Our politics can use more thoughtful, and fearless people in the hot seat(s) as we chart new courses for humanity. I’m looking both in the mirror, and at you Mr. Galloway.

  37. Lo says:

    Excellent piece, especially with the Ayn Rand commentary.

  38. Jarvis says:

    What happens to crypto when the grid goes down? Those crypto Doomers make me laugh

  39. Matt M says:

    Wow. This was your best post so far (and that is saying a lot). Thanks for the incredible perspective, Scott.

  40. Mark says:

    Interesting graph on age v preppers. As a member of the 55+ cohort I’ve been around long enough to remember a steady stream of cataclysmic events that never happened.

    I am however a believer in the old saw “follow the money.” The doomsday prophets may preach like Isaiah, but they are all trying to make money off of it.

  41. C Cook says:

    The message from Ayn Rand? The woke/left see it through their lens of collectivism, she is a coward. But, Rand DID correctly call the ‘future’ ruling elite as they are now. Fake liberals in s self-absorbed lifestyle funded by inherited wealth and privilege.

    If alive now, no doubt she would be calling out elitist college profs who teach consumer manipulation as a Masters Degree. Or those who gather to ‘save the planet’ in exotic locations. Tell us to take the bus, and eat bugs while the fly in private jets and enjoy $100 steaks.

    The idea that we should all live together now means we should all live as serfs to the WEF elite. A world described by Ayn Rand decades ago.

    • Freddy says:

      Spot on.

    • Edcu says:

      Rand was a parasite who wasted all her money and lived her life out on Social Security and Medicare. The exemplar of a libertarian hypocrite.

    • BarbWire says:

      What’s funny about Ayn Rand fans is they really think they’re real-life Howard Roarks and John Galts or Dominique Francons and Dagny Taggarts—but they mostly resemble Peter Keating and James Taggart—the saddest, most mediocre of second-handers, and Elsworth Toohey’s favorite whipping boys.

    • pb says:

      Yes she did, except got the source of the ruling elite exactly backwards.

  42. George says:

    Incredibly and devastatingly accurate. Well said!!

  43. Juan Carlos Wandemberg Boschetti says:

    Cowards indeed. Most people -without a higher sense of purpose in life- are!

  44. Lainie says:

    Interesting how macho the quitter worldview is and how much violence they anticipate and almost seem eager for. This might seem mockable to many, but what we might need just as much, as we did in Covid’s early days – is people who know how to sew and how to grow and cook food, use medicine and care for people, build things and repair things. Analog, human skills.

    • Lo says:

      Human, rare to hear we are all human and those skills, management critical for future planning. Basic is better often.

  45. Dale says:

    You best post – among many excellent ones. I’m a social reformer by head, heart and heritage. Hi ho, hi, ho!

  46. Renee Hill says:


  47. Barry Weinman says:

    Scott you are clearly on the left. I am on the right. It’s easy for you to preach cooperation because the left has already won. The left owns the mass media, the Law School at Stanford, and other schools. I am in my 80s, a retired VC from Palo Alto. If I were in my 20-40s I would be heading to New Zealand as fast as possible.

    • Edcu says:

      So go. New Zealand is a socialist paradise, and your trip there would prove that you are wrong. As does your desire to stay in the bosom of the quasi socialist US

    • Bill Lyon says:

      Barry, you bring up too many inconvenient truths for this audience. What Americans are seeing on the ground in realtime are at odds with the “shiny objects” those who identify as progressive push as important. I forget who said it, but when truth is ignored, raw power and violence prevail (See Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, etc.). The question is why aren’t sensible people addressing inconvenient truths (sky rocketing crime, high energy prices, indoctrination vs education, etc.), and why the emphasis on railing against “bright shiny objects” that are easy, but meaningless targets.

  48. Peter Rincione says:

    I like that you thought its getaway day and a last chance at the Valleys whiskey (an even better movie). You trigger me like no one else. You fire me around the cosmos like that Korean lady in Everything, Everywhere, only to return me to the safety of an IRS audit. Thanks a lot.
    Anyway, my daughter (getting a masters at NYU in SLP) is getting some shit from a bureaucrat in the channel about placements. They are a degree requirement and NYU’s placement office sucks at helping. Any suggestions about work arounds?

  49. Sean Tyson says:

    You touch on Microsoft up top, but you could come full circle. Just like Lincoln felt it was his “duty to preserve the Union”, Satya has reincarnated MSFT and show the positives of sticking together.

  50. Ed says:

    Ann Rand wrote one thing and lived another choosing to accept government entitlements while promoting total independence. Many of today’s billionaires do the same thing: promoting their own vision of radical self-reliance while they are the biggest beneficiaries of government subsidies. There is no “elsewhere”: we are all in this together. Take the money and run is not a solution. It’s just a way of saying “now that I have what I want from you, I’d rather not give back”.

    • C Cook says:

      If you are referring to ‘Government entitlements’ as Social Security or Medicare, you are incorrect.
      Those are FORCED payments into a annuity and a healthcare plan. Neither are ‘entitled’ but expected benefit of the years of pay-in. Similar to buying a private annuity or private healthcare. Both are managed by the government as you would expect, badly.

  51. Ozzie Gontang says:

    We speak of our rights. More often than not overlooking our obligations, duties and responsibilities.

    We don’t see the world as it is.
    We see the world as we are.
    Lee Thayer

  52. Gabrielle Carver says:


  53. Mark says:

    Identifying as libertarian is just a shorthand way of saying you are a selfish, money-grubbing sociopath who is happy to suck off the teat of government and broader society but feel you have no responsibility to contribute anything back to society other than your own fetid disdain and smugness.

  54. Eric says:

    One of your best pieces, Scott. A deserving takedown of the failed ideologies of the Ayn Rand acolytes, and a refreshing reminder of the importance of investment in the collective — in civics, our children, our institutions, our shared resources, and shared values. Those have been, and will continue to be, the avenues to progress in America, unless we foolishly choose to abandon them.

  55. Paula says:

    ‘Scuse me, but didn’t you just move to London? Who’s zoomin’ who?

  56. Ryan Giordano says:

    Wonderful & inspiring post, Prof. This is the message more folks need to contend with. You’re got a keen eye and a powerful idea. I intend to play a role in helping this catch on.

  57. Bob Koncerak says:

    Excellent read. Americans have much to be proud of. Doesn’t help that our news media has become an industry of provocateurs. I remain optimistic!
    Favorite paragraph:
    From Civil Rights to gay marriage, America still strives to bring people closer under the auspices of a shared belief in a union that offers liberty and the pursuit of happines. We have lost sight of our achievements. The U.S. is responsible for more than half of the world’s Nobel science laureates and has provided more than a trillion dollars in non-military foreign aid.

  58. sato says:

    In order for their fantasies to be realized, there must be preconditions to make them a reality, and preconditions to support those preconditions, and preconditions to support those preconditions. Thus, there are difficult problems that cannot be cherry-picked to stand on their own.

  59. Kev M says:

    Excellent article and spot on. They are all cowards and anyone who isn’t ready to focus on all that we have in common, that binds us in this great country can leave. Go to your island in Honduras, good luck with that. We have more to gain by coming together to solve problems and help the younger citizens to understand what a great country they live in and it is worth preserving at all costs. Many of us who have served in the military and have travelled widely recognize just how beautiful and special this country is. Slowly we will come together but only if we all work together. Don’t look for a minority of loud mouthed cowardly politicians to help, conversely they will be obstructionists but they are weak and we all, the union, shall persevere.

  60. Joel De Gan says:

    Love it—but you should have mentioned that you have already left the country, and us, behind…

    • Chris Moore says:

      I think he’s in the U.K? Things aren’t exactly rosey here, mate.

      • Joel De Gan says:

        It’s still worth mentioning in a newsletter—literally, about the topic.

        • Chris Moore says:

          I think within the context of the article it’d only really be relevant had he moved to a remote, underground fort in New Zealand, rather than into a population experiencing collective psychosis, disintegrating living standards, all while resentfully grimacing at an actual royal family their paying for. You got rid of Trump, we’re still living in Brexitland and are being told to shut-up, and eat flags and turnips. Just across the channel, the French are showing us how its done – and they’re only getting started. When the penny finally drops here, after centuries of servility and self-masochism, it might make France look tame.

    • Ryan Giordano says:

      He spoke openly about this on his podcast last year.

    • Paula says:


    • Matt Smith says:

      I agree, there should have been some disclosure by the author. There are words to describe people who say one thing and do another.

  61. Dutch says:

    Totally agree – and when the world ends, these bozos will find it is not worth surviving. Too many of them equate good fortune with genius. They are living at a time where a confluence of events allowed them to become wealthy and they believe they created it. They want to see it destroyed and most likely they will be beaten and eaten by post-apocalyptic cannibals and zombies. Nothing will protect them as they age and their supplies dwindle

  62. Rob says:

    Thank you for taking this stand. Definitely something shady about Sam Altman being both an extreme prepper AND the CEO of the company “moving fast & breaking things” in ushering in the AI revolution.

  63. Jim Romanelli says:

    Yes, a pox on the quitters. And on the corrupt politicians who have brought us to 31T in debt; who propose a budget that would increase the debt to 53T by 2033; and who have used Social Security receipts to fund the federal operation budget so that they will be re-elected (republicans and democrats alike).

    Attacking Ayn Rand is signature for you Scott. Instead of understanding her core themes of individualism and ownership of one’s work you create a caricature: “a quitter’s bible.”

    You will not contribute to healing our country’s divide, and our failure to understand each other in this fashion. It is more reminiscent of a reference to those who “cling to guns or religion….”

    • Raul McDuffie says:

      Exactly. If all the good Prof got from Atlas Shrugged was quitting as a theme (I doubt he even read the book) then he’s missed the mark by a mile!
      As other posters have mentioned; this thesis is quite hypocritical coming from someone who “fled” the U.S.!

  64. Jim Lierow says:

    I am a half-ass prepper. At least the generator we own kept our lights on while the Goobers in Austin, TX couldn’t. You need to be a little prepared and most are not.

    You need to be prepared for China’s war and that’s not a fear. I didn’t see the pandemic coming, but we have plenty or warning signs about China.

  65. JoelJulius says:

    What a great segue into your appearance tonite. Please bring this up! This isn’t you, this is me: the next time a Republican says they were the part of Lincoln that freed the slaves, point them to MTG and how she’d basically like to undo everything Lincoln did. “Party of Lincoln” is a GOP trope anymore.

    I remember getting about 50 pages into Atlas Shrugged and thinking, “what a piece of garbage, how do people take this seriously?” Rand was a pseudo-intellectual subject to actual intellectual ridicule in her own time. That she has a place in today’s culture is pathetic.

    • Dutch says:

      And Alan Greenspan was her acolyte – I am sure along with flawed nihilist Milton Friedman, both of whom created so many problems and corruption.

  66. Chris Moore says:

    Another great article. A way of addressing the problem might be to try and tackle the horrifically bad mental health present throughout society – literally personified by the likes of Peter Theil and Sam Altman, not to mention their circle of ‘gilded butlers’ “advising”/”helping”/enabling/feeding off them. These people are truly tragic figures who, as human beings (whether they like that or not), deserve pity and help. No-one needs the vast amounts of money they have. Getting evermore only feeds what are obviously some very serious emotional dysfunctions and pathologies. While there are far more deserving people in need of help, addressing the chronic personality disorders of the hyper wealthy minority might be a good place to start since their actions (conscious or otherwise) are indirectly (or otherwise as the article suggests) responsible for the destruction of the planet, pushing people further into poverty and misery. A society based on compassion and rationalism (in that oder) rather than shame, greed, anxiety, and fear might avoid the likes of Theil, Altman, and Musk having to face a reckoning, perhaps from whichever humans they depend on to live, when their delusions come crashing down on everyone else. We cannot continue worshipping “wealth” without defining what wealth truly means in the most compassionate and rational sense.

  67. David Mattson says:

    Outstanding piece Professor Galloway. You are a gift. Always taking down the bastards so well.

  68. Fix the Fed says:

    The Fed can’t be fixed. Most people don’t even know the origins or that the Fed now causes these bubbles. The very nature of the Fed is what supposed liberals are supposed to be against. Large Banks in bed with the government.

  69. Jeffrey L Minch says:

    “Duck and cover” really? You were born in 1964 and the Cuban Missile Crisis — the instigator of hiding under one’s desk to survive a nuke in Mr. Knowles’ 4th grade — was in 1962.

    Good read.

    You are writing about nations and countries to describe behavior that is tribal.

    Silicon Valley has created gobs of wealth and wealth buys time to think — not always good thoughts.

    None of this apocalyptic stuff is going to happen.

    What is real is things like pure evil like Ukraine and Russia/China/Iran/North Korea. Eliminate these guys and the world is a much better place.

    What is also real is government corruption. Park your politics for a second — a sitting VP takes sonny boy on a trip to China on AF #2 and sonny boy comes home w/ $1.5B, Chinese guys are sending money to relatives of a VP/POTUS, sonny boy gets gobs of money to sit on a board in bloody Ukraine, and nobody thinks this is corrupt behavior?

    Come on, man.

    Knock out the evil, the corruption, and the crime and this is a peachy place.

    Have a great weekend.


    • Jim Lierow says:

      I am a big fan of Scott’s, but I called bullshit on the Duck and Cover line. You should check ChatGPT’s output before publishing.

      • Julie says:

        Sorry to correct you. Born in 1966 Buffalo NY and in elementary school went in the hallway and curled into little balls with our hands over our heads to practice protecting ourselves.

    • Dutch says:

      I was born after him and we did duck and cover drills in NYC …

      • Marc Milgrom says:

        We also did them growing up on Long Island in the 70s. Hell, “The Day After” aired in 1983.

    • PD says:

      You mean Jared, right? Taking gobs of Saudi $$

  70. Henry says:

    Through enjoyed the article, even if I am from the Great White North, I couldn’t agree more. I’ll bet on earth and making society better, more inclusive and the ability to deal with the challenges we face.

  71. Stephen Wayhart says:

    Scott, this is one of your best. As I was reading your essay, one word kept creeping in my mind and then there it was…your very last…cowards! Spot on! You never disappoint. Keep fighting the good fight. America and the world need voices like yours. Thank you.

  72. Leonard Steinberg says:

    THANK YOU! Brilliantly written and expressed.
    Please run for President, or at least get active in Federal policy.

  73. The Big Orange Meanie says:

    Once again, zip up your pants, your liberal bias is showing. Fox isn’t the only one preaching a message of catastrophe. Your favorites: CNN, MSNBC and Mother Jones, among others, do the same thing. In fact, they are WORSE because their message based on nothing but feelings/emotions, lies and zero facts.

    • George says:

      If your immediate impulse is to defend the proven liars at Fox News, I think you’re missing the broader point.

  74. James Hammond says:

    I’d predict a spike in sales of Atlas Shrugged after next week, but I think an HBO or Netflix series would have to come first.

  75. Dan Kunsman says:

    Peter Thiel is the ultimate coward. And he showed it, for all the world to see. May his New Zealand enclave be sitting on a shallow fault line.

  76. Dahn Shaulis (Higher Education Inquirer) says:

    History’s greatest leaders are visionaries, not reformers. And neoliberalism does not have a vision–other than to continue to blithely believe in technology as a source of solving everything. No change in values, beliefs, norms. Not replacing GDP for Quality of Life (QOL). Just continuing to spend and consume as sea levels rise, people starve and die of dehydration, fires rage, hurricanes become for destructive, viruses take hold, conflicts and wars lead to millions of refugees…

  77. Jerry says:

    Great read, Scott. We need a Presidential candidate that can preach this – not quit us. The GOP front runners are opportunistic quitters-griffters. They don’t give a shit. Biden is alone in some regard. His age will hold him back. Keep it coming.

  78. Ian Clark says:

    Given you are (or at least very recently were) living in the UK I would be really interested in a comparable ‘take’ on the UK post-Brexit, post-Johnson and Truss and given stuff like the UK’s recent slide down the World Happiness Report top 20.

  79. Darrell says:

    I love your work Scott. You’re one of many solid signals that I focus on amongst all the noise.

    Interestingly for me, many of the catastrophists you name, are also signals that I consider valuable. Are they extreme – yes, as are you at times – but your overall story arc is about bringing us together. I appreciate that immensely. In the current world, it’s the edges that get attention. You do that, and then bring us closer to the middle where signals are simply lost.

    I am digesting your input amongst many others. I agree we are in a messy place, but trending upward contrary to the doom & gloom. However, I believe parts of society are broken and need to be replace or repaired. The question is, which approach works in what situation.

    As one, you said “Instead of fixing the Fed, start a different currency.” How do you suggest to fix the Fed? It’s sclerotic and has done some crazy shit. Is it changeable without significant external pressure and leadership change? I agree that BTC isn’t the answer, but it could potentially put pressure on to force the repair/replacement.

    Big thanks for what you do – all around.

  80. bn says:

    great post scott.

  81. Jay Bee says:

    Good piece. No hiding anywhere at doomsday. Billionaires bunkers will be ransacked or starved out. The sooner they get it the better. I lived through the 75% stock market collapse in 1974. Few survived.

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