Posted by: Debby Durkee | April 13, 2011

Atlas Shrugged the movie reflects today.

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Atlas Shrugged the movie – reflects today.

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s epic novel has finally been made into a film. Part one of a planned three-part movie is out Friday, April 15 in around 300 (so far) movie theaters around the country. April 15 is an appropriate date since Rand’s novel centers around entrepreneurs who are being hounded to death by an out of control government.

Hank Rearden, metal magnate, faces a bureaucrat from the State Science Institute across his desk of burnished steel. The bureaucrat tells Rearden that he would be wise to sell his amazing new amalgam, Rearden metal, to the government. Rearden refuses. The bureaucrat presses him: Why can’t he see the benefit of selling to a government that can and will condemn the metal as unsafe if he refuses? Rearden replies with cool contempt: “Because it’s mine.”

Mine: rhymes with Ayn. So goes an old joke about the adopted name of Ayn Rand, the Russian-born novelist who invented Hank Rearden and his fictional metal.

The previous paragraphs are from Brian Doherty of Reason Magazine. He goes on to tell the amazing story of how many times many different filmmakers and television producers attempted to get this novel to the screen. You can read the rest of his story here:

Now that the movie is finally here, even though its existence has been spread mainly by social media and word of mouth and, right now, doesn’t have wide distribution, it could become an instant cult classic. This is from Brian Calle of The Daily Caller.

Though taken from a book written a half-century ago and set in the year 2016, the movie is eerily similar to the world today, bearing a particular resemblance to the United States and the societal and economic depreciation of states like California, where manufacturing industries have collapsed, economic liberty and entrepreneurialism are eroding, and productive members of society seem to be rapidly disappearing, or rather, run out of business by bureaucratic red tape and unreasonable regulations.

…(Ayn Rand’s) philosophical peregrination…questions which society is preferable for mankind — one of rational self-interest or one meant to level all individual output — … ought to stoke the debate about free society and the role of government.

Not only is the film a winner for holding firm to Randian philosophy, it also brazenly and refreshingly brings a political perspective that is almost universally absent from the big screen; so much so in fact it could become a cult classic, especially among Tea Partiers and their admirers, not to mention hordes of libertarians.

The film, true to the book, is set in the United States in 2016, with a global economy in shambles, conflicts in the Middle East disrupting oil supplies, massive oil spills, pronounced class warfare, demonization of private companies, overly powerful union bosses, bureaucrats and special interests, empty factories, fleeing entrepreneurs and innovators, overreaching government regulations and businesses ever more subservient to government bureaucrats. Does this dystopian society seem familiar? If not, perhaps you have been hiding in some utopian village in the Rocky Mountains the rest of us do not know about.

With all this against them, some creative business-types are still trying to innovate, produce, and make money, namely Dagny Taggart, Ellis Wyatt and Hank Rearden.

Taggart, the assertive young idealist heroine with a pronounced zest for entrepreneurialism, runs a railroad, Taggart Transcontinental. Wyatt is a wealthy oil man whose company is responsible for the one economically viable and prosperous state in the union, Colorado. Rearden is the inventor of Rearden Metal, a fictitious alloy used in railroad tracks that is cheaper, more durable and stronger than steel.

In the film, government is devoted to economic equality. Bureaucrats seek to thwart the growth of thriving companies, like those of Taggart, Wyatt and Rearden, because society “cannot afford to allow the expansion of a company that produces too much and might replace companies that produce too little.” To the government (and broader society), such expansion would “create an unbalanced economy.” That is, the most productive and capable members of society would enjoy a disproportionate share of the society’s resources.

Of course, these ideas mirror the rhetoric coming from many in Washington, where the prevailing wisdom is that profit is bad, profiteers are greedy, and meritocracy in the marketplace is contemptible.

A telling quote comes from a lobbyist who later becomes a government economic czar, Wesley Mouch (who bares a resemblance to Democratic Rep. Barney Frank): “Everybody needs to share the burdens.” That sounds like something an Obama speechwriter would write. Actually, while addressing the National Governors Association a few weeks ago, Obama made “shared sacrifice” the theme of his talk.

In the movie, the government imposes a national tax on Colorado, the one state whose economy is thriving, in an effort to equalize the national economy and achieve that shared sacrifice. Other rules are made, such as oil distribution based on need, and a ban on companies moving to wealthier states. Snip –

Capitalism, personal responsibility and individual liberty are the philosophical foundations of a free society. When the creation of wealth and the freedom to make personal decisions is attacked by government do-gooders and utopians, civilization and quality of life decline. In the film, most of the oppressed people simply leave for greener pastures. In the real world, the ideological battle rages on.

Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is not your typical slick Hollywood blockbuster or artistic independent film, and it doesn’t have to be. Rather, it is a movie about big ideas, whose subject matter stands alone, released at a time when the ideological direction of the country sparks intense debate. The movie is a catalyst for critical thinking about worldviews competing in today’s body politic.

This movie could very well be a much-needed corrective to the prevailing wisdom that is being pushed by Obama and his supporters and is reflected in the union-controlled public schools. Americans need to stand tall and fight for freedom – not just on some distant shore, but right here and right now or we will surely lose it. Read it all here:

You can see videos of Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 and a list of movie theaters where it is appearing here:

Why you should see Atlas Shrugged.

The author of this piece has some stellar arguments, and some that are a little over the top. I’m highlighting his best reasons for everyone to go and search out the movie Atlas Shrugged. This is from Ron Hart over at The Daily Caller.

The trajectory of this country over the past six years has been troubling to those of us who understand the power of individual freedoms. Encroachments on individual and corporate liberties, such as making us buy health insurance while exempting favored unions, go almost unnoticed by the average person. That is why the debut of the movie “Atlas Shrugged” is so important.

“Atlas Shrugged” warns of the indifference of government to individual freedoms in favor of the “hitchhikers of society.” And how vilifying the true heroes, entrepreneurs, slowly kills a society. Sound familiar? It is about the spirit that has made America great. Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America, called it “American exceptionalism,” and we are on the brink of losing it.

Our elitist, narcissistic, condescending president is all too happy to squelch the individual and entrepreneurial spirit of Americans, who he thinks rival him in importance. When it is about you and me, it cannot be about him. And it is only about us in his rhetoric every four years, when he is up for election.

As government takes more and more control of our lives and of the economy, the creeping incrementalism which it uses to gain power over us is often not noticed by the average citizen. It is hidden in the false promise of what an all-powerful government will do for you.

Our education system has pandered to the lowest common denominator and has resulted in falling math and science test scores when measured against rival countries. If we know too much and are allowed to think for ourselves rather than as part of the teachers’ union collective brainwashing, we might question government’s power.  Snip –

See the movie “Atlas Shrugged.” If not, pay attention to Washington, D.C., as we seem to be living in Rand’s novel.

We must remember Ronald Reagan’s warning now, more than ever. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Read it all here:


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