(Denver Post, April 24) “To the Colorado renaissance.” That’s the oilman’s toast to the steelmaker and the railroad mogul in the new film version of “Atlas Shrugged.” As Ayn Rand’s epic novel of capitalism finally comes to the screen, more timely now than when she wrote it in 1957, our state has a starring role. You never saw the aspens so golden, the individualism so heroic, the bureaucrats so villainous.
Audiences applaud as the movie ends – with Ellis Wyatt having set his own oilfield on fire and gone off with the rebel messiah John Galt. His signboard of defiance to big government, “Take it. It’s yours,” brings railroader Dagny Taggart to her knees. Washington central planner Wesley Mouch has either killed Colorado’s ascendancy or delayed it. We’ll find out in Part II, next April 15.
The book is not great literature, and this isn't great cinema. But as an indictment of false collectivist compassion, it works. Let’s hope millions see it and wake up. My column of March 2009, entitled “When will Atlas shrug?”, foresaw stiff resistance to Obama’s redistributionist guilt trip. With the John Galt message in theaters, Americans’ defense of our liberties may stiffen more.
So far so good. Yet after emerging into the spring night and reassuring myself there was no smoke on the horizon from the torching of Wyatt Oil, I wondered how much real difference there is between the “Atlas Shrugged” movie and the sensationalistic sci-fi stuff like “X-Men” and “Priest” that we had just seen trailers for.
Fantasy is fantasy, after all: diverting at best, narcotic at worst. The energy time warp that could make Taggart’s trains dominant over trucks and planes by 2016, and the magic technology that could power Galt’s miracle motor, both of which “Atlas” asks us to believe in, only provide a stage backdrop for the superhuman intelligence, virtue, and charisma of John Galt himself.
It all requires the myth-spinner’s precondition, suspension of disbelief – and someone will have to tell me how that is helpful. The only basis for getting anywhere politically, economically, culturally, or morally, is practical realism about the limitations of the human condition and the imperfections of us all, not hero-worship and panacea dreams. Thirty disillusioning months of Barack the Great have surely taught us that.
Remember his megalomaniacal boast upon securing the Democratic nomination? “I am absolutely certain,” Obama said, that history will record “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. This was the moment when we came together to remake this great nation.” Right. Even if we did need the nation remade or the planet healed – and we don’t – this president has done neither.
Messianism is messianism: foolish at best, hypnotic at worst. The grandiosity of Barack Obama and the will to power of Saul Alinsky cry for relief. The country must be rid of them, and soon. But the antidote is not John Galt and Ayn Rand. The messianic similarities are too close. One political panacea can’t cure another.
The novel’s final scene (coming on film, year after next) tells how Galt “raised his hand and traced in space the sign of the dollar,” while nearby one of his disciples rewrote the Constitution. No sign of the Cross for the atheist Rand; no great reverence for the Founders either. Her secular religion, Objectivism, would improve on both. Right.
There is no political panacea, and most Americans know it. Those now observing Easter and Passover know it best. Keeping faith, civically and spiritually, honors liberty better than any cinematic shrug. It will not be the “Atlas” sequel on Tax Day, but the president’s dismissal on election day, that heralds our 2012 renaissance.
(CCU Student) Valentines weekend treated the economically inclined individuals very well this past weekend with the release of a movie trailer that has excited all the believers of supply side economics. On April 15, 2011, or "tax day", many individuals will be placing their full efforts towards mailing in the controversial 'income tax' mandated by the federal government. This year, director Paul Johansson introduces a film adaption to one of the most powerful novels of all time, Atlas Shrugged, which displays mere irony to the significance of its release date. The awareness of this novel is a gem in the advocacy of expanding your free market ideology; in addition, this movie will deeply challenge each and every individual in their understanding of history and political economy.
Written in 1957 by author Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged tells the story of Dagny Taggart, a railroad heiress that attempts to maintain the integrity and profitability of her family business in a politically corrupt era of government intervention. Dagny feels the forces of government and society pressuring her to abandon her free enterprise, and she faces the daunting task of making sense of the disappearance of fellow private industrialists one by one. As free choice and competition begin to slowly decay, Daphne seeks revelations that will ultimately challenge her views, and force her to decide between fighting in her world for economic freedom, or leaving behind everything she has ever valued.
Many economists notion the writing of this novel as a foreshadowing of modern United States economics in a world that is currently portraying similar attributes of those displayed of government in Atlas Shrugged. While this movie has been broken down into two parts (Most print versions consist of over 1,300 pages), Part 1 will without doubt leave its audience on the edge of their seat for the final Part; to be released undoubtedly in the near future. For any student that is looking for a movie that will challenge the very basis of your understanding paradoxical relationship between the government and the market, I could not recommend your viewership any higher. Through this on screen adaption of Rand's free market principles, you will see capitalism in a new light, and comprehend the immediate dangers of a socialistic society. This is an excellent opportunity to expose yourself to arguably the most influential economic wonder of all time coming to theaters on April 15, 2011.