Atlas Shrugged _ Just Another Movie?

Shout Bits, a blogger you will find on my blogroll, thinks the movie could have a tremendous impact on the political scene. Maybe a world changing impact. Theo Willem writing for American Thinker wonders “Will Conservatives Defend Atlas Shrugged This Time Around.

It’s hard for me to believe that any conservative has not read Ayn Rand’s epic novel, “Atlas Shrugged“. But I suppose it is possible. Millions of people have credited this book with changing their lives. I’m one of them. I was 16 when I read the book in 1961. For the first time I became interested in the world outside of my “blue-collar” neighborhood in Flint, Michigan. Both my parents were staunch UAW members and always voted for “the working mans party, the Democrats. For the first time I began to question the maxims of live my parents had drilled into my head. For the first time I began to pay attention when election seasons came around. Yes, Ayn Rand’s book did change my life. For this reason, I was delighted to learn that the book was being make into a three-part movie and would be released in April of this year.

Shout Bits believes that the movie may also change a lot of lives. Here is some of what he had to say:

While documentaries like The Cartel and Waiting For Superman are fine, the Atlas movie is a vivid depiction of the individualist ideal. Atlas is a story with characters that are surprisingly relatable after fifty years. The Atlas movie is a tool to speak to the hearts of independents who would listen but for the tedium of libertarian obsessions with economics and the US Constitution.

An interesting observation. What I think Shout Bits is saying is that maybe in our efforts to convince the independent voters of the errors of the liberal/socialist path the country is on, we have relayed solely on economic and constitutional arguments and not enough on the moral principles of capitalism and individualism. Do you think he may have a point?

Let’s look at his closing arguments:

Just as An Inconvenient Truth forced reluctant Dem pols to pledge themselves to global warming in 2006, the Atlas movie can force GOP pols to commit to liberty, capitalism, and to keeping government as a servant to these ideas. The GOP has long given lip service to individualism and capitalism, but has almost never delivered. The GOP’s slow march to socialism is due entirely to an ill informed and unmotivated base that has not been clear about its values and priorities.

Even in 2008′s leftist perfect storm, and running against a hapless Sen. McCain, Obama only won by 9.5 million votes. By 2010, despite record union spending, the leftist wave evaporated. 2012 will be a vote for the survival of the US because 2013 is the last year in which Obamacare and Frank-Dodd realistically can be repealed. The timing of the Atlas movie could not be better. If the Atlas movie convinces just one million people that individualism and capitalism are moral values that must be defended, the balance of power in the US will be shifted in 2012, and yes, Atlas Shrugged will have changed the world.

I, for one, would like to believe that Shout Bits is right. My quess is that is that Theo Willem would agree. However, the focus of his essay is entirely different. Mr. Willem starts off with this:

  On April 15, tax day, the movie Atlas Shrugged will be released, and the attacks from the Left have already begun.  The trailer of Atlas Shrugged (Part I) has already over a million hits on YouTube.  The Left at least knows who their enemy is.  The real question is whether conservatives will defend Atlas Shrugged this time around.  Or will they remain silent? 

“Or will they remain silent? ” What is that about?  Mr. Willem relates how Ayn Rand and her book were received by the left at that time and the lack of support from the right. Here are some excerpts:
At the 50th anniversary celebration of the book Atlas Shrugged in Washington DC, October 06, 2007, Barbara Branden, a long-time friend and biographer of Ayn Rand said the following:

We were prepared for negative reviews.  We weren’t prepared for what seemed like an outpouring of hatred and of distortions and lies about the book.

I mean, to hear a woman – whose main political idea was that no man may initiate the use of force — to hear her be called a fascist . . . we almost couldn’t get it into our head that this was possible.

But what was even worse, according to Barbara Branden, was the lack of public support that Ayn Rand received.  There were no public voices supporting her.  There were prominent public figures who had written Ayn Rand privately, but they were silent in public.  Ayn Rand had defended so many people, especially businessmen, but no one had defended her, at least not in public.  It was that silence, according to Barbara Branden, that was unbearable for Ayn Rand.      

One would think that when Atlas Shrugged was released in 1957, conservatives would at least have supported her.  That didn’t happen.  In fact, one of the worst attacks  came from The National Review, written by Whittaker Chambers, entitled “Big Sister Watching You,” in which he wrote: “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: To a gas chamber– go!”

 A little latter we find this:

Toward the end of her later life, however, Ayn Rand became disillusioned with the society and culture in which she was living.  She didn’t hear anybody defending America; she didn’t hear anybody fighting for America ‘s ideals — as the country seemed to be slipping deeper into a real version of Atlas Shrugged.          

In a similar way, so many conservatives today are disillusioned with the Republican Party.  For two years under the George W Bush Presidency (from 2002 to 2004), the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.  Yet what did they accomplish?  Which bloated government departments were eliminated or reduced? What alternative vision was offered?  Government only expanded. 

Mr. Wilhem wraps-up his essay, which I hope you will read, with this:
 If there is to be an American revival, can there be one without a philosophical argument in favor of America ‘s founding principles and its political-economic system of capitalism?  And can Ayn Rand’s name be left out of the equation?



Or is it time to embrace Ayn Rand as a great American?  Time has shown to be on her side, but patience with the status-quo conservative movement and the Republican party is running out. 

So, what do you think? Could this movie be the tool we need at this critical point in time? Will conservatives come to the defense of Atlas Shrugged this time? Interesting thoughts, I would say. It will be some time before I will be able to see the movie here in Venezuela, but I hope you all will get to see soon and will let me know how it was received by the American public. We can be sure that the liberals will attack it with everything they have and that may not be a bad thing. They say in Hollywood that any and all publicity is good publicity.



15 thoughts on “Atlas Shrugged _ Just Another Movie?

  1. We are fighting for the middle. We’ll never get the left. The thing about Atlas that will stun those not familiar with the book is how closely it reflects our reality. I think that the revival that “The Road to Serfdom” experience in the last several years was the same type of thing.

    The far left will deride Atlas. The question is, will the middle watch it and say, “Well… this is too close for comfort”? I think they will. Against the background of big government, supposed do-gooders, driving us to bankruptcy, the vast middle will see Atlas and say, “You know, the lady has a point.” I think it is important that those of us who’ve seen the light already help them to understand that point.

    By the way… my book “The Tamarack Conspiracy” is inspired by “Atlas Shrugged”, and contains an overt tribute to “Atlas Shrugged” at the beginning. I wrote it for those of us who know and love Atlas, and what I did was make it a couple of things that Atlas isn’t: a far less intimidating length, and I gave it a little bit of humor. My goal was to get our message out there in a way that could rally our own “tea party” types, and that could also influence those in the middle who could recognize the consequences of continuing to follow the arc the progressives/liberals have put us on.

    What we need a strong majority of Americans to recognize is what is exposed in “The Road to Serfdom” and “Atlas Shrugged”–that for all it’s lovely rhetoric about helping the little guy and doing what is right for the downtrodden, progressivism/liberalism is ultimately cruel to everyone but the elites who foist it upon us and end up with all of the money and power.

  2. Great post. It is the first film I am looking forward to in a long time. I wonder if any demonstrations against it will be organized? But then that would give it attention.

  3. Nature’s way is equilibrium. No matter in which direction the pendulum swings, its momentum is eventually spent and it seeks return. Maybe Atlas the film will provide a push in the right direction.

  4. I can’t wait to see this movie and I hope that it will have some effect on the election in 2012. But then again, the only people who are going to go see this movie are those that already agree with the premise so I don’t know that it will change many minds. However if the movie ends up doing well perhaps it will send a signal to Republicans to stop screwing around.

    1. The hope that I have, Steve, is that there are a lot of people that never heard of Atlas Shrugged or Ayne Rand, But if there is enough publicity, good or bad, these people will want to see it and they may be surprised.

  5. I don’t mind libertarianism, but only to a point, i like the small government part of it, but i must say, there is a cold, indifferent side to it that doesn’t sit well with me.

    Many think that libertarianism is the polar opposite of socialism, but in many regards, they share common ground. On things like homo marriage, abortion, immigration, foreign policy, Christianity and religion, they’re quite similar in the ultimate end goals. They only differ on the ways to get there.

    1. You and I would probably agree on Libertarian views. But I never related Ayne Rand or “Atlas Shrugged” with Libertarianism but instead with cpitalism, free markets and, most of all the rights of the individual rather than the collective.

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