When John Galt quit the Twentieth Century Motor Company, he made it his mission to search for the men of ability – “those bright flares in the growing night of savagery” – and to convince them that they should withdraw their talents from an ungrateful world. Midas Mulligan, who bought the valley piece by piece as a private resort, decided to throw the gates open after Galt persuaded him to join the strike. At first it was just a vacation retreat, but as the collapse of civilization accelerated, they decided to turn it into a permanent, self-sufficient home.
There’s an annihilating irony here that Ayn Rand was totally oblivious to. Her philosophy is the supreme exaltation of selfishness and individualism – the fierce rejection of the idea that human beings have any moral responsibilities or commitments toward each other. But in spite of all that, she’s scripted a plot where, in order to succeed, her heroes have to engage in collective action. To defeat the evil looters, they have to agree to work together and to subordinate their individual selfish desires to the greater good of the group.