“Atlas Shrugged” comes to the movies

After decades in limbo, Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand’s magnum opus about an increasingly collectivist society and corrupt government that punishes the successful business person and industrialist, and thereby causing the world’s producers to go on strike – is finally headed to the Silver Screen. 

Rand’s work, published originally in 1957, and which has enjoyed steady sales ever since, has received increased attention in recent years due in large part to massive government bailouts, mounting government debt, and debates over increased taxes – all issues identified more than half a century ago by Rand as factors in the demise of America’s historic free enterprise system and the progress that accompanied it.  Signs with the phrase “Who is John Galt?” – a question appearing throughout Rand’s novel – has become a common theme at tea party rallies across the country as concerned Americans protested Big Government, as exemplified by last year’s federal health care law. 

Sales of Atlas Shrugged have skyrocketed. Forbes recently noted that 125,000 copies of the book were sold in 2007, but by 2009 sales exceeded 450,000 – putting Rand’s most well-known novel back on the best-seller list more than 50 years after its original publication. 

This is not the first time a film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged has been attempted. Rand was first approached with the idea in the early 1970’s by Albert Ruddy, producer of The Godfather. But Rand wanted to ensure that her philosophy promoting individualism and rational self-interest was properly represented in film. Ruddy rejected Rand’s demand, and the project died.  A plan to turn the book into a miniseries fell through the cracks in the late 70’s. Rand was working on a screenplay when she died in 1982. 

In recent years, there have been rumors of a high-priced adaptation starring some of Hollywood’s most famous actors. However, producer John Aglialoro, who bought an option to make the movie in 1992, has opted to go with a low-budget approach, dividing the more than 1,000 page novel into three parts. 

There has been some skepticism about the film among fans of Atlas Shrugged.  The film’s main actors are not among Tinsel Town’s most well known – Taylor Schilling will star as Dagny Taggart, the novel’s heroine, with Grant Bowler appearing as industrialist Hank Rearden. 

In a July interview with Reason.tv, it was made clear the actors and director Paul Johansson all seem to understand the importance of the message in the new film, is to personify through their performance the nobility of man as a rational being. 

Johansson explained the reason it has taken so long to bring Atlas Shrugged to film, is because people either do not understand its message or have been intimidated with prospect of bringing such iconic characters to life. In response to concerns about the lack of big name stars or action sequences, Johansson says, “this movie isn’t about that.” 

It is fitting the movie is set to be released on Friday, April 15th, a day synonymous with government coercion, as Americans are traditionally required to file and pay their income taxes on that date. 

Rand’s work has helped mold philosophical and political viewpoints for well over half a century. Let’s hope Aglialoro and company got it right in this cinematic depiction of a philosophical celebration of individual liberty and rational thought.

- by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

137 comments Add your comment

Jared Ballowe

January 19th, 2011
6:22 am

I am glad that this is being published, as far as it goes this and Nietzsche are the top forms of atheistic views of thinking today. I do not beleive it will be successful though, too deep for people to understand fully. Either that or it will be worshiped as a bad-ass character much like the Nietzsche inspired Joker is with the Dark Knight.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 19th, 2011
6:30 am

Good morning all. I look forward to the movie. I perceive the movie depicts “producers” as they are, as normal people who work hard. Thus the icons will not be larger than life, although they will be stronger than all around them. I am encouraged that the movie will be divided into thee parts; the harrowing world at the end of part one will look familiar to all of us.

jt

January 19th, 2011
6:53 am

- If men want to oppose war, it is *statism* that they must oppose.

Ayn Rand – Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal p. 42

ajkpoin

January 19th, 2011
7:03 am

The Dems are going to hate it.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Barr and others. Bob Barr said: Barr Code: “Atlas Shrugged” comes to the movies http://bit.ly/dXQb8j [...]

Tim

January 19th, 2011
7:12 am

Double feature with something from Roger Moore ? Fair and balanced.

Donny Corleone

January 19th, 2011
7:17 am

The producers probably had to go with unknowns. The socialistically leaning “elite” actors of Hollywood probably couldn’t act well enough to convince us that they were supply-siders. Those would be performances beyond Oscar quality.

liberal libertarian

January 19th, 2011
7:28 am

Just remember, if you take away government, your liberties will be stolen by those people in power… the wealthy, the business owners, the powerful. If you want to maintain your liberties be wary of the government as well as all of the elites who wish to take it away.

Joel Edge

January 19th, 2011
7:32 am

Just read the book. Hollywood will screw it up, as usual.

Jimmy62

January 19th, 2011
7:37 am

Will the movie have the monologue? That’ll be a good time to go take a piss.

Darwin

January 19th, 2011
7:55 am

Who is John Galt? He is the collection of Wall Street greed that people who ran Enron. He is supported by the Republican party in their continued effort to consolidate the wealth and leave the citizens with just enough to make their monthly payments. Red state Georgia may revere John Galt, but he will give you enough of the rope to hang yourselves.

Tedd

January 19th, 2011
8:04 am

Darwin, is your last name Toohey?

devildog0300

January 19th, 2011
8:05 am

Hollywood changed the timeline of the Old Testament in filming Noah’s Ark. Why would they leave Atlas Shrugged alone?

bill

January 19th, 2011
8:07 am

well now we know both darwins were wrong. My friends, coworkers and golf buddies cannot understand the voicing of self interest. It does sound unkind to the uninitiated but…There is nothing wrong with self and family first attitudes.

BC Alum

January 19th, 2011
8:10 am

I don’t need to read the book or see the movie, I can just read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia.

Darwin

January 19th, 2011
8:10 am

In the early 1950s, Alan Greenspan began an association with famed novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand that would last until her death in 1982. Rand stood beside him at his 1974 swearing-in as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

In a congressional hearing on October 23, 2008 Greenspan admitted that his free-market ideology shunning certain regulations was flawed. However, when asked about free markets and the ideas of Ayn Rand in an interview on April 4, 2010, Greenspan clarified his stance on laissez faire capitalism and asserted that in a democratic society there could be no better alternative. He stated that the errors that were made stemmed not from the principle, but the application of competitive markets in “assuming what the nature of risks would be.”

Well, at least we can add the epilogue to the movie.

CJ

January 19th, 2011
8:15 am

No Darwin, John Galt was collective image of people who had an idea and through hard work made that idea a reality in the form of a business or industry. He is the one who provides goods and services, creates jobs and raises the standard of living for society. He is the one that the elites in Atlas Shrugged detest because he earned his success. The symbol of greed in the book is not John Galt, it is the government that wants control of what was created by others. You should read the book.

Darwin

January 19th, 2011
8:18 am

“…while in high school she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human attribute.”

Put that in your bible belt.

CaribouRancher

January 19th, 2011
8:21 am

The fact that it’s being released in April tells you that the studio does not think it’s a great movie. That said, it will still be on my “must see” list.

blackbird13

January 19th, 2011
8:28 am

Philosophy aside, a poorly written book; and the philosophy isn’t so different from what the Nazi’s espoused.

Suckers

January 19th, 2011
8:30 am

Won’t hold a candle to the novel, and now every idiot that sees the movie will think they have an understanding of Rand’s message.

Tychus Findlay

January 19th, 2011
8:30 am

It appears that we finally agree on something, CJ.

Darwin

January 19th, 2011
8:41 am

You want free markets? OK, to eliminate government control of the economy let’s start with Lockheed Martin and other corporations which exist only to build weapons for the government. Stop runaway spending on military, Social Security, and Medicare. I dare you to run for political office on that platform. Rand was a product of the Russian Revolution. There is no similarity between Rand’s life in Boshevik Russia and the U.S. Her philosophy is simply not relevant.

carlosgvv

January 19th, 2011
8:46 am

Atlas Shrugged is a long book with a simple message. The author’s ideal world is a everyman for himself society with the strong prospering and the weak falling by the wayside. In other words, it is far-right Republican.

Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
8:49 am

It will be interesting to see this book made into a movie, but it should be made in black and white, since that would pretty much reflect Rand’s simplistic worldview.

Buzz G

January 19th, 2011
8:54 am

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the public school teachers who forced their students to sit through Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” would themselves be forced to sit through a showing of “Atlas Shrugged.”

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
8:54 am

Darwin, save your breath. any reference to Ayn Rand or Atlas Shrugged produces a Pavlovian foaming of the mouth amongst the “rationally self-interested” sect. like most “rational” folks, I read quite a bit, and I have twice tried to read Rand’s infantile prose (she was an amphetamine-gobbling, script-polisher, which makes her more Jack Kerouac (”On the Road” also published in’57) than Adam Smith. and that’s not to say she was not a talented writer, but as with Keruoac (or Dylan, or Cobain, or any other literary icon), she was a purveyor of fiction and her use of the words “rational self-interest” in lieu of narcissism is, well, by defintion the essence of pathological narcissism. here success or failure in terms of populare culture is moot. she is the 1957 version of Lady Gaga and little else.

Joseph Szala

January 19th, 2011
8:57 am

@Darwin – Only if you choose to hang yourself. With that rope, I’d build an empire. Freedom means having the right to make choices and live, or die, by them.

Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
9:00 am

The thing that bugged me the most about Atlas Shrugged was that Rand seemed to think these godlike industrialists sprang fully formed from the earth, like gods, and she never acknowledged that whatever success they had deserved to be attributed, not just to their own efforts, but to the blood, sweat and tears of labor, to the strength and security of community, and to the genius of countless minds who came before.

Also, she portrayed these industrialists as perfectly fair and ethical beings who, of course, would need no government regulation. But we know that just because you lead a business, it doesn’t mean you are fair and ethical or even competent.

The truth is, if there were no government regulation, business leaders would clamor for it. Not for their own business, you understand, but for the businesses that they do business with. They would want to be protected from each other, just like the citizenry needs to be protected from them.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
9:04 am

Here’s some tea party word association: Atlas Shrugged – Passion of the Christ. Ayn Rand – Mel Gibson. Dabny Taggart – Jesus.

Donovan

January 19th, 2011
9:08 am

Lord, Almighty! I can only imagine the knashing of teeth and the howling from all the Looters within the Democrat Party. I only hope that it will be done right and that it will become a smash hit. You don’t suupose that the Accademy Awards Board will nominate any of the proposed actors, do you? Naaaaaaah….

q

January 19th, 2011
9:17 am

Politicians respond to crises that they created by spawning new programs, laws and regulations. These inturn, generate more havoc and poverty.. Benevolent sounding programs like the “Anti-Greed Act”. That would be Charlie Rangel’s “Soak the Rich Act”. The “Anti Dog Eat Dog Act” aimed to restrict cut throat competition and bankruptcy.

The central idea is, the more incompetent you are in business the more handouts the politicains will give you. That would be the 2 trillion of subsidies doled out to keep insurance companies solvent.

Finally, the solution to all the economic chaos, abolish the income tax and fire all the government employees. The President wants the opposite, raise income taxes and hire more employees.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
9:21 am

OK Randians, you need to stop drinking the tea-flavored Kool-Aid. the evil leftists in “Hollywood” are far more self-interested and far more “industrial” (as in ‘the film industry’) than any fictional railroad tycoon. the irony is palpable (true, real world industrialists “producing” a film about fictional industrialists and taking it to market). who is John Galt? I think he’s the head of Warner Brothers or Paramount. let’s leave the world of fiction for a moment. as I have repeatedly averred, plutocrats are not ideologues. plutocrats employ and conscript (many times unwillingly) ideologues to ’sell’ their self-serving (self-interested) social order. for the love of Pete, Ronald Reagan tried to cite Bruce Springsteen as a political “brother” in 1984. again, Atlas Shrugged is no more valid than The Wizard of Oz, the Hobbit trilogy, the Godfather, or any other 20th century novel in terms of socio-economic/political commentary, and as noted, it is far more ponderous and indigestible than many of the aforementioned tomes (fyi, couldn’t handle Tolken’s prose, or the film adaptations, either)

Daniel Boone

January 19th, 2011
9:22 am

Carlosgvv

Are you capable of an original thought other than your factless, anti republican, anti corporate rhetoric? Maybe you are really Cynthia Tucker who isn’t capable of an original thought either.

Common Man

January 19th, 2011
9:24 am

Bob – Now that you are into films, perhaps on Friday you can give us your review of the recently released movie The Green Hornet. Loosen up your thumbs.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
9:24 am

oh, and you’re all fools if you think the “industrialists” who produce Atlas Shrugged will not benfit from any number of tax breaks, government subsidies, and other forms of corporate welfare. again, people, there’s the real world and there is “somewhere over the rainbow”. things are a bit less ‘dreamy’ here in the real world. if I only had a brain?

Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
9:25 am

It’s been a while since I read the book, so I don’t remember the exact details, but another thing that bugged me about Atlas Shrugged was that one of the “heroes” in the book was a saboteur who deliberately went around disrupting the flow of people, goods and materials. Yet the overall philosophy of the book held that what prevented free enterprise from working perfectly was government interference.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
9:37 am

Citizen of the World, or as Richard Nixon once said; “…when the President does it, it’s not breaking the law…” the problem with Rand’s observations, as has been noted by Darwin, Donovan and a few others is; in the real world, the very “government” vilified by Rand in Atlas Shrugged, is in fact an agent or facilitator for the (rational self) interest of business. I suspect the sabateur was “pardoned” by Rand because in her narrow mind, any law (destruction of private property, murder, rape, child molestation) were de facto “regulations” which prevented sabateurs, rapists, pedophiles, and murderers from excercising their “rational self-interests” in a truly free-market. and you know what the best part is; I’m something of a closet anarchist, and when the poop hits the fan, people like Dabny Taggart will be the first to be raped, murdered, and likely eaten by the more dominant “industrialists”. or as Axyl Rose and GnR observed, “you know where you are? you’re in the jungle baby, you’re going down…..”.

Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
10:05 am

Joe, you mention the jungle, which reminds me of “The Jungle,” by Upton Sinclair. Anybody who reads Atlas Shrugged should also read The Jungle to see where unbridled free enterprise leads. It gave rise to the FDA, one of the first regulatory agencies.

The big government that the right so deplores was given rise by big business and big wars. It’s all getting rather unwieldy, and it would be great if we could take big war out of the picture, but at any rate, we need big government as a countervailing force against big business.

The problem arises when, as you note, big government becomes an agent or facilitator for the self interest of big business and does not prevent them from, but rather aids them in, abusing the worker, screwing the consumer and raping the environment.

This all makes it even more important that the other countervailing forces — the citizen/consumer and free press keep a close eye on what’s going on and hold these two powers accountable. Yet we continue to elect crooks and watch sensationalized opinion rather than thoughtful news and commentary.

Davo

January 19th, 2011
10:15 am

I tend to tow the libertarian line; however I can’t stand this book and the following it gets. Mostly because it’s too long, too boring and has characters that are paper-thin. The message itself is what really irks me because as a Christian it’s message is in direct opposition to teachings of Jesus. I don’t see how anyone can embrace both philosophies and not be considered a hypocrite.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
10:15 am

Citizen, I agree, with one exception. I question your use of the word “need” as in “we need big government as a contervailing force against big business.” we can “need” all we like, but such dreams are as pointless as Rand’s dream of a world without regulation. “big business” and “big government” are what make a plutocracy. ergo, we really don’t “need” either. in fact, any plutocracy “needs” citizens/consumers to serve its own (rational) self-interests. I find it interesting that Bob referred to “The Godfather”. the Godfather is a great 20th century novel, which has become part of American popular culture because of “cannoli” and “make him an offer he can’t refuse”. I tend to look to Micheal’s comment to (corrupt) Sentaor Geary (in the begining of Godfather II): “…senator, we’re both part of the same hypocrisy (plutocracy)…” that said, I don’t view Mario Puzo or Francis Ford Coppola as anything other than screenwriters and directors.

carlosgvv

January 19th, 2011
10:16 am

Daniel Boone

Almost everything on these pages has to do with politics, money and business so of course I write about it. If you think what I say is factless, why don’t you factually refute it. If Cynthia or Bob or Jay want to talk about life on Mars, I will write about that. Since your intellect is obviously limited, I hope this is not too hard for you to understand.

BC Alum

January 19th, 2011
10:27 am

this article has really brought the pseudo-intellectuals out of the woodwork!

zeke

January 19th, 2011
10:29 am

Fitting day of release! Fitting because the theme of the book has arrived! The federal government, and in fact, the state governments have become what was the theme of terror in her book! WE MUST LEGALLY MAKE THE GOVERNMENTS GO BACK TO ONLY STRICT CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY!

zeke

January 19th, 2011
10:32 am

the USA is not a democracy, but, A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC! DESIGNED AS SUCH BY THE FOUNDERS! THE GOVERNMENT RUINED THAT BY CHANGING THE WAY SENATORS ARE ELECTED! AS ORIGINALLY SET UP, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WERE ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE AND WERE THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE! THE SENATE WAS ELECTED BY THE STATE LEGISLATURES AND WAS THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE VARIOUS STATES! WHEN THAT WAS CHANGED, IN EFFECT THE STATES HAVE NO VOICE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! THAT IS A CRIME AND NEEDS TO BE RECTIFIED!!!

snoortz

January 19th, 2011
10:44 am

i hope the bigoted mel gibson directs, he sure can get all the hater arses in the seats

Dr. Pangloss

January 19th, 2011
10:53 am

Ah yes, Ayn Rand: the writer for people who want to think that they’re thinking but can’t.

Anna

January 19th, 2011
11:02 am

Atlas Shrugged is my favorite novel; I love it. I’m excited to see how the movie turns out (if it plays near me). Hopefully it is done well enough that people will be interested in going and reading the book.

Important Hollywood Executive

January 19th, 2011
11:06 am

Sean Penn is slated to play John Galt.

Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
11:23 am

BC, actually, I think “pseudo intellectual” is an accurate description of the prolific Ms. Rand

Tom

January 19th, 2011
11:27 am

No doubt this film will be as hackneyed, trite, tendentious and tedious as the “novel” upon which it is based. Since no one has yet quoted the most trenchant of all criticisms of Atlas Shrugged, here goes: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

killerj

January 19th, 2011
11:29 am

The option is not to play.

BC Alum

January 19th, 2011
11:30 am

@Joe the paleo: Maybe you’re right, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not one.

Davo

January 19th, 2011
11:39 am

“…involves orcs.”

Now that is funny! I’m thinking the director should have gotten Sarah Palin to play the part of Dagny, being as her political career is over. But who am I kidding…she would have quit half-way through.

LeeH1

January 19th, 2011
11:51 am

William F. Buckley said Ayn Rand was the intellectual’s pornographer. She did a good job of portraying women who scrape and grovel at the feet (more or less) of powerful men in this and her other writings. Borders on the S/M.

After she died, Gary Jennings got the title. Now I don’t know who has the title, “Intellectual’s Pornographer”.

Clifford Notes

January 19th, 2011
11:52 am

If you don’t have the time or patience to read a thousand pages of Rand repeating the same idea in different ways–sometimes even in the same way–I’ll summarize Atlas Shrugged for you in three words: F*** everybody else!

atlpaddy

January 19th, 2011
12:38 pm

Great, now those who can’t read can be bored to tears by ‘Atlas Shrugged’ on the big screen! There is nothing more thrilling than one-diminsional cardboard characters spouting psycho-babble gobbledegook written by egotistical Russian amphetamine freak.

Personally, I would like to see Victoria Jackson play Dagny Taggart and Kirk Cameron as John Galt. Jonathan Lipnicki should come out of retirement to play the smart-aleck, but lovable kid.

atlpaddy

January 19th, 2011
12:40 pm

Rush can do the soundtrack.

Sam

January 19th, 2011
12:42 pm

Burn in big-brother collectivist controlled hell statists!!!

Haywood Jablome

January 19th, 2011
12:50 pm

Wonder if the movie will suck as much as the book and its message do?

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
12:56 pm

BC, there, I fixed my typo. that aside, I never claimed to be an intellectual of any sort, but if you want to place me in the pseudo intellectual space, it’s better than non-intellectual in my book. Buckley nailed it with the “pornography” tag. use whatever adjectives you like; trite, ponderous, infantile, shallow, etc. and with all due respect to atlpaddy, had the novel been adapted to film in the 90’s, Victoria Jackson would have been a decent “Dagny” but I’m thinking Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, or some other pop tart/actress du juor is a better choice. better yet, let’s have a “reality TV” show where relatively unknown losers can ‘audition’ for the role.

AmVet

January 19th, 2011
12:58 pm

To dogpile onto that 12:50, the salient question appears to be, “Will the movie be as mind-numbingly boring and unreadable/unwatchable, as the book?

JoeFann

January 19th, 2011
1:03 pm

Ayn Rand was a novelist with an agenda, not unlike the posters here, myself included. I’ve always thought that “Atlas Shrugged,” in combination with “The Fountainhead,” provided an interesting alternative view to our seriously entitled society. I though it important enough to require both my kids to read it in high school and to discuss both its pros and cons. I don’t think any “rational” person desires to see Ms. Rand’s complete vision become reality here, but there is much in her books that points out how irresponsible we’ve allowed our elected officials to become, and what our future might resemble if we allow them to continue unchecked. Her books are the opposite end of the spectrum from the Marx and Engels tripe that was so hailed throughout much of our planet. We need LESS government intrusion, but not NONE. The Constitution authorizes the federal government to PROTECT citizens, not PROVIDE everything for them. Keep us safe–from attack, inside or outside, from abuse, personal or corporate. Does that have a price for taxpayers? Of course, it does. The question is how much and what should we be paying for? I provide for my own AND I help others, too. If enough of us do that, we don’t need the government to do it and wouldn’t have to pay more for it to do it.

Jeez, you people act like it’s all or nothing, politically. As usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle. We simply haven’t protected ourselves often enough–at the ballot box. At the risk of repeating myself–fire them all. Start over.

Patriot

January 19th, 2011
1:09 pm

The same folks that don’t get the book or the philosophy also don’t get that the power and corruption that enable business to exploit so much come directly from the power of government and not from some innate quality of business itself. Businesses do not embrace government to protect them from the ravages of the businesses they deal with, but rather to protect them from the competition they are unable to stand up to. Violations of land, water, air, offenses such as fraud, theft, and the like are all given a pass through the “regulatory” and licensing apparatus of agencies like the FDA, EPA, DEA, FCC, ICC, and the alphabet soup that is our government.

Ayn Rand certainly had her faults. She ascribed no value to altruism (though most who give freely of themselves discover the blessing of intangible rewards), she was ruthlessly dogmatic, she praised the horrible behavior of the state of Israel and would offer no criticism of their clear lacks of freedom, and many others.

But a clear understanding of the need for both personal freedom and personal responsibility were not among them.

It is clear from most of these posts that any argument in favor personal freedom, personal responsibility, or diminished government power is far too scary for most folks to even deal with, let alone understand. Our society abandoned all of these priciples way before most people were born, and the corporatist/fascist/socialist government/society/economy is all they know.

It would be nice to think that the release of this movie will get everyone thinking, but the government schools have pretty much destroyed even that basic ability too.

Haywood Jablome

January 19th, 2011
1:09 pm

Thanks for the lecture, JoeFann. It was very enlightening.

Please consider changing your screen name to I-Know-Much-More-Than-You

JoeFann

January 19th, 2011
1:15 pm

Gee, Haywood, thanks for the tip o’ the lid, but I doubt that everyone else would think that appropriate. But as long as you do, I’m honored.

EJ Moosa

January 19th, 2011
1:45 pm

@Darwin,

You are right that Greenspan’s Free Market Capitalism was flawed. He didn’t trust it and tinkered with the rates when he did not need to.

Greenspan was the flaw, and not Free Capitalism.

itpdude

January 19th, 2011
2:09 pm

Ragnar (yes, I know he was the Viking guy in AS), what the hell do you produce? You are on the AJC message boards all day. Really, what do YOU do for a living?

Next, Atlas Shrugged is horrible. I read that whole thing when I was a dumb teenager. It inspired me to go for a philosophy degree (later changed to econ). Funny enough, not one philosophy prof took Rand seriously. Education is the great killer of Objectivism. It is not a viable philosophy. It is Nietzsche with capitalism.

I am looking forward to the film being released. The lines will be filled with moochers. Objectivists are generally on disability (generally fraudulent) or computer geeks who can’t get laid and smell funny.

Bob Barr, I love ya, but Atlas Shrugged is a turkey of a book and it’s going to be a turkey of a movie.

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

JoeFann, I don’t disagree with you on a very basic level (encouraging you children to read and discuss Rand), but LSD and peyote “provide an alternative views” to our society. do you encourage your children to ingest mind altering substances? the problem with the Rand worshippers is they have venerated her to the level of free market goddess, and he works are presented as some sacred text, when she was merely a self-absorbed, chemically-addled, loathesome hag. as I said, I enjoyed reading Kerouac’s “On the Road” (he was a much better writer), which was published the same year (1957), fueled by the same substance (amphetamines), and embraced by the left (”Beats” and “Hippies”), as Rand’s tome(s) has been embraced by the faux-libertarian right, I find Keruoac’s observations no more immortal or divine than Rand’s. so as I said, bully for you for exposing your kids to diverse world views, but hopefully your discussions involved the concept of context and fact vs. fiction.

Nude-o Intellectual

January 19th, 2011
2:20 pm

Cheers to JoeFann’s 1:03 pm comment. And he’s right about some folks’ black and white political views. That’s one of the major problems with Atlas Shrugged, as Citizen of the World so aptly noted at 8:49 am.

Personally, I thought The Fountainhead was superior to Atlas Shrugged. It certainly was much more pleasurable and inspiring to read.

Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
2:25 pm

Patriot says that “any argument in favor personal freedom, personal responsibility, or diminished government power is far too scary for most folks to even deal with, let alone understand. Our society abandoned all of these priciples way before most people were born, and the corporatist/fascist/socialist government/society/economy is all they know.”

I’d like to know when in U.S. history he thinks these principles we now have abandoned were so prevalent? Until the Emancipation Proclamation, we had slavery. There was at one time indentured servitude. And let’s not forget Jim Crow laws that kept black people in their place. And the systemic anti-semitism that kept Jews, Irish, Germans, Muslims and others on the outside looking in depending on what was going on politically and culturally. So much for personal freedom.

And we could talk about personal responsibility, but absent personal freedom, that’s pretty much a moot point. Could a slave take personal responsibility? And where did you learn personal responsibility — perhaps from the example of your parents or the prevailing culture in your community? What about people who grow up without any options and advantages?

As for limited government, is this the kind that codified discrimination and even today wants to tell gays they can’t get married or a woman that she can’t terminate a pregnancy?

There’s this prevailing myth that things used to be great and everyone succeeded or failed on their own merit and the government just stood back and watched it all happen.

As I said before, yes, between big government and big business, it’s all become a bit unwieldy, but let’s stop pretending that there was ever a time when “personal freedom, personal responsibility and limited government” ruled the day.

JoeFann

January 19th, 2011
2:44 pm

Joe (the other one)–The decision on chemical recreation is theirs, not mine, as they are beyond the age of majority. I simply wished to give them a more accurate world view than the one loudest cried. The major point of Rand’s work that I emphasized was the juxtaposition of consumer against producer, that actions breed reactions and consequences, and that ultimately, each individual is responsible for producing more than they consume. I also taught them the virtue of using your excess to build up those around you, certainly not a Rand idea, as opposed to being exclusively self-involved, which I believe, frankly, is the major fault in our society. In my case, I reserve “worship” for only One.

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
2:46 pm

Citizen of the World, very true. Americans would do well to read some of the writings of Thomas Paine (Common Sense, The Rights of Man, African Slavery in America, The Age of Reason, etc.). to wit; there was NEVER a time when personal freedom, responsibility and limited government ruled the day. who brought up the Buckley/pornography observation? some may “value” and consume porn as part of a larger entertainment marketplace, but it doesn’t make commercially produced copulation an academic study of human sexuality or biology, now does it? just as we all know JFK was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, but it doesn’t make Oliver Stone (or the Warren Commission) an expert on the subject.

Granny Godzilla

January 19th, 2011
2:50 pm

I don’t know the originator of this quote, but I offer my applause…

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

I started Rand at that age….and have re-read both Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead a number of times in the 40 years since.

Good story, silly selfish theory.

I hope the movie has that same brooding dark quality of the Gary Cooper/Patricia Neal film of the Fountainhead.

Brian O'Toole

January 19th, 2011
3:23 pm

As the primary screenwriter on the ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 1 film, I want to thank you for taking the time to write about our film. I found the comments left very intriguing, but unfortunately there is some misinformation.

I invite everyone to visit our official Facebook fan page for the latest information regarding our production. The address is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlas-Shrugged-The-Movie/144777702200729

I personally try to answer any questions and concerns left by fans about our production.

Again, thank you for your blog piece and helping us to get the word out about our wholly independent film.

Best,

Brian O’Toole
The Strike Productions

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
3:34 pm

JoeFann, sounds to me like “chemical recreation” might have been necessary during some of your discussions (that’s a joke). again, I don’t know that it is possible for a parent (or anyone) to present or offer a “more accurate world view”. who is responsible for calibrating the “world view barometer” and who defines or determines what consitutes “accuracy” when discussing life itself? I don’t know that I buy into your take on Rand (”the juxtaposition of consumer against producer, that actions breed reactions and consequences, and that ultimately, each individual is responsible for producing more than they consume.”). so, when XYZ corporation decides to manufacture and sell widgets, it builds a plant, hires workers and operates freely… until the PCBs and mercury produced by the process contaminate the drinking water (in a community, which has no say, because there are no zoning regulations, and there is no local, state or federal EPA). of course, by the time the lawsuits are filed by the surviving family members (birth defects, cancer deaths, etc.), Dagny and her pals have taken their golden parachutes and jumped-ship, XYZ shareholders have lost their investments, and the retired XYZ rank and file (those still alive) have lost their pensions/retirement benefits neogtiated when the dangers of producing widgets were not known (to anyone beyond the Dagny and the board). now I know this is an extreme scenario, and completely hypothetical fiction, but as I said, so is Atlas Shrugged. and finally, is Dagny Taggart a “producer” or “consumer”? her railroad sure “consumed” a fair amount of labor (hers included).

JD

January 19th, 2011
3:41 pm

6 financial firms control more than 60% of GDP — Atlas Shrugged is a red herring… Goldman Sachs is not exactly quaking over govt control…

Jake

January 19th, 2011
3:46 pm

Seems that many people missed the other important theme in the book – Self-Interest as opposed to living for others.
Why is that so important in today’s society to do “community service”? Just try to get into a good college if you dont put on your application that you performed a number of hours of beach combing, homeless feading or some other such service to supposedly help “community”,,,,
Why is that that the values of living for someone else is so heavily promoted as a self-evident truth ?
Ayn Rand has a lot to say about that ….

dbm

January 19th, 2011
4:15 pm

@ Joe the paleo-neo-Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
9:37 am

You obviously don’t understand Miss Rand’s views on government and individual rights. Try reading “Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government”, both reprinted in both The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal.

You also don’t understand self interest very well.

dbm

January 19th, 2011
4:18 pm

@ LeeH1

January 19th, 2011
11:51 am

Are you sure that what you were reading was Ayn Rand’s work? What you say certainly doesn’t apply to Dagny Taggart. It doesn’t really apply to any of Ayn Rand’s female characters.

dbm

January 19th, 2011
4:20 pm

@ Citizen of the World

January 19th, 2011
2:25 pm

Certainly our system has always had serious flaws and inconsistencies. However, there was a time when government came a lot closer than it does now to leaving business alone and letting people take responsibility for their own lives.

Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
4:22 pm

Jake, I have an idea, why don’t you remove the word “important” from your first sentence. Oh, and you have to help me out, as I am a mere pseudo intellectual, but it seems to me that those who embrace “self-interest” require OTHERS to live for them (excuse the “irrational” prose). as I said earlier, ’self-interest’ is a code word for infantile, petulant, narcissism; they idea that the ’self’ is the center of the universe. homo sapiens are social creatures. we (well, the healthy ones anyway) form social units (families, clans, neighborhoods, communities, etc.). I know “co-operation” sounds a lot like “co-operative” and “social unit” sounds dangerously close to “socialist” but as I said, Rand’s narcissistic world view is infantile. who fed her as a child? who clothed her and protected her from disease, predators, and her own ignorance? it is nothing short of AUDACIOUS for people like Rand to benefit from progress; then selectively and subjectively (as opposed to “objectively” PUN INTENDED) opine about what is wrong with “progress”). people like Rand are sel-absorbed “horders” of the human experience. it’s no wonder she was chemically dependent; ALL narcissists are first and foremost addicted to their own egos.

Shmoe the paleo-bla-bla-bla-whatever

January 19th, 2011
4:22 pm

Joe man you are a really smart guy to be so dang impractical. You’ve got astounding arguments but you’ve got no solution. You’re spouting fantastic jargon but it all just leads to nowhere. Take a look at the world around you, what would you have it do? Purge ourselves of big business in order to cleanse and reduce government? How many flags you feel like living under in your lifetime? One’s enough for me. You offer cynicism in boat loads, you make some very good points about the problems of our society, but you offer no alternative. Let’s hear the fix bro. Dont’ dance around the subject, i wanna hear some clear cut answers. And for the record, I’m no Rand fan. I read Anthem as a teenager but reading Atlas Shrugged was like trying to pull a bag of heavy rocks up a steep muddy hill. I bailed.

nora

January 19th, 2011
4:24 pm

Cool! Looking forward to it. When I was reading it, I always pictured Demi Moore as Dagney Taggart.

dbm

January 19th, 2011
4:24 pm

Patriot

January 19th, 2011
1:09 pm

Actually Ayn Rand did not object to voluntarily helping others or giving to others as long as the recipients were worthy and the giver could afford it. What she objected to was the altruist morality, i.e. the notion that helping or giving is an obligation or a primary virtue.

Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
4:38 pm

dbm, I am no longer a paleo-neo-Plutocrat. as amended, I am now a paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat. I have not read either of the texts you recommend. be that as it may, I have my own opinion of ‘the nature of government’ (Plutocracy) and the nature of “rights” as it relates to the United States (if these “rights” are by virtue of a Creator, and I do not believe in a “Creator” I have a hard time understanding the concept of “rights”). you watch (socially organized) animals behave? I’m talking everything from ant colonies and bee hives to a herd of elk, a pack of wolves (hunting the herd of elk), a pride of lions or a colony of feral cats. words like “justice” and “rights” and “producers” and “consumers” do not exist. and yet, these creatures can be a ruthless, soul-less, “ammoral” and duplicitious as the most shallow Randian politician or “industrialist”. there is not “self” in the word “community”. self-interest produces corruption and cheating, as opposed to “progress”. “self-interest” is a parasite which feeds off a host communtiy. I’m not saying this is fair or unfair, but the idea that excercising one’s self-interest makes us all equal or improves the lot of the entire herd is, again, infantile.

Hemispheres

January 19th, 2011
4:49 pm

This is an interesting either or argument. But it really comes down to checks and balances. I have to fall back to the message I heard as a young man when listening to the Rand influenced group – Rush (specifically Neil Peart). The battle is to seek balance between the heat and the mind. Unfettered government and unfettered free-enterprise both lead to the loss of life, liberty and eventually sanity. I agree to an extent that goverment’s job is to check business, but if government gets out of balance who checks it? Current events show that government cannot be trusted to check itself.

Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
5:02 pm

Schmoe the paleo-blah, blah, blah. wow, you have placed upon my shoulders the burden of resolving or answering the fundamental riddle of mankind; why can’t humans treat each other humanely? no freaking idea, and I doubt there is an answer. ever heard of a cat named Adam Smith? faux “free market” capitalists view his work The Wealth of Nations as the definitive treatise or “Bible” of capitalism. but prior to this, he wrote a screed called “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” (I think), which observed that “sympathy” (”moral sentiment”) was the glue which held societies together (not “self-interest”). he further suggested that “labor” is the key to building wealth (as opposed to mercantilism). think he was silly? consider relationship between the manufcaturing jobs which have left the USA and are now producing “wealth” in China. also consider that it is rationally self-interested mercantilists like Rand’s heroine Dagny Taggart, who place their own “self interests ahead of those of the herd. you’re right, I’m rambling and unfocused. were I ever to dial-in on this stuff and study it with some passion, I’d find Rand’s grave and go take a dump on it.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

Dear Patriot @ 1:09, well-written.

Dear Brian @ 3:23, if you check back in, when my younger son was an 8th grader I gave him a copy of the book and told him there was a $100 bill for him at the end. He practically memorized it, quoting long sections and citing minor characters in conversation even today, 12 years later. He and I both anticipate your movie with great hope. (And if you wrote the first section, you had a grim task indeed – unrelenting social deterioration.) Talked with a friend earlier today who is going through Atlas for the first time now, and he is picking up on all the nuances in the book. I should sit down with it again.

LeeH1

January 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

DBM 4:18:

Try “Kira Argounova” in “We the Living”, who has her dress lifted up by the Communist student who thinks she’s a whore.

In “The Fountainhed,” Dominique sleeps with Roark, Wynand and marries Keating, but spends the first wedding night with Roark.

There are a number of scenes between Dagny and Francisco, and Dagny and Galt. She appreciates that Galt takes her as his right, rather than letting his friend woo her instead.

She wanted to break the bougeoise sexual mores as much as the fiancial mores, and wrote well on both subjects.

If you missed all of this, you haven’t been reading Ayn Rand very carefully. You can’t change financial transactions without changing society.

Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

Hemispheres, have you (Rand or Neil Peart) considered the circular logic of your position? any form of government is contrary to the concept of a “free market” and a free market is contrary to the concept of government. my beef with Rand and her followers is; it ignores reality. for example, the United States of America is presented as a republic, or ‘Constitutional democracy’ when in reality it is a plutocracy. so, half the folks yammer about encroaching, overly zealous government (and their fears are valid). the other half warns of the dangers of an unregulated private sector, and their warnings are equally valid. so who is to blame? look up the word PLUTOCRACY and report back. as I said, if you (and Rand) want a true unregulated world, you’d better be prepared for Mad Max stuff. ironically, this is what we have (those with power excercise it for their own self-interest). we just wrap the whole thing in the Constitution and the flag and talk about “god and country”, which makes it easier to swallow. kind of a form of sociological foreplay.

jconservative

January 19th, 2011
6:57 pm

“Rand’s work, published originally in 1957, and which has enjoyed steady sales ever since, has received increased attention in recent years due in large part to massive government bailouts, mounting government debt, and debates over increased taxes…”

Remarkable. For a former Republican, you Mr Barr, have just written one of the biggest indictments of Republican rule I have ever read.

“…massive government bailouts…” A Republican plan created by the Bush 43 administration. But continued by the Democrats.

“…mounting government debt…” A creation of the Reagan administration when the Republicans cut taxes and allowed spending to mushroom beyond anything imagined before 1981. But continued by the Democrats and every administration since Reagan.

“…debates over increased taxes…” I have not seen much of a debate on this item but will give you the benefit of the doubt. What little debate there has been would give the Republicans the edge on the side of “Read my lips, no new taxes”. (Oh darn, my bad, he did raise them didn’t he?) But they would probably lose the edge on reducing spending in practice – that’s practice, not rhetoric.

But nice column. Enjoyed it.

Tom

January 19th, 2011
7:38 pm

Ragweed @ 5:07: It’s really a wonderful idea for you to reacquaint yourself with Rand’s worthless novel and ludicrous “philosophy.” That would mean you’re only squandering your own time and not that of all of us.

GB

January 19th, 2011
8:01 pm

The Republicans should hate it as much as the Democrats, Both are guilty and this film, if done right, will expose both for the looting charlatans they are.

Preston

January 19th, 2011
9:06 pm

Can’t wait for this movie to release although I’m sure it won’t do the book justice. Movies never do. But due to my understanding of the general public’s unwillingness (or just plain laziness) to take the time to read a 1,000+ page book, I’m hoping it will be strong enough to get the intended message out there to the masses. Ayn Rand wanted to oversee the production so she could see to this but she died before finding a producer willing to give her that much control. She even wanted Farrah Fawcett to play Dagny Taggert back in the 70’s because she came to know her from being a fan of Charlie’s Angels. Angelina Jolie has expressed interest in playing the same role recently but the producers decided to go with a very low budget and obviously couldn’t afford her price tag. Knowing the significance of this movie, it would have been nice to see Jolie either donate her talents to this project or work for the same money that Schilling did. At any rate, for the first time in my life, I can’t wait for April 15th!

Preston

January 19th, 2011
9:09 pm

GB, you’re right. Dems are evil but Reps aren’t much better. They just talk a better game. We need an Objectivist Party.

jrock

January 19th, 2011
9:18 pm

There’s a phrase I read somewhere, I wish I could remember where: “They hiss and bare their teeth at you from their rat holes . . .”

I am always reminded of that phrase when I encounter the seemingly endless stream of spittle directed toward Ayn Rand, one of the true heroes of the 20th century.

Tom

January 19th, 2011
10:24 pm

jrock @ 9:18: That’s truly hilarious. Ayn Rand thought of herself as Aristotle, when she was really just L. Ron Hubbard.

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Preston

January 19th, 2011
11:02 pm

Tom, that’s ridiculous. Rand was a fan Aristotle’s philosophies but never gave the impression that she was an equal to him. If you’re a collectivist that’s fine but don’t come to a public forum that’s celebrating the long overdue film of the best novel from the brilliant mind of Ayn rand and spew your BS. Hubbard was an idiot and your attempted likeness of Rand to Hubbard is baseless. Scientology is a cult, not Objectivism. There is no REASON in scientology.

Preston

January 19th, 2011
11:17 pm

Tom, how could any rational minded person compare Rand to Hubbard? Scientology is a cult. Objectivism is a philosophy that asks people to look within themselves for REASON and INDIVIDUALISM. If you’ll take a second to think about it, scientology is a group of kooks that are directed to live by irrational rules and behavior. Objectivism only asks people to live by a moral code that doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s basic human rights.

jt

January 20th, 2011
6:58 am

Most of these government-indoctrinated dummies just don’t get it.

If you rationally live just for yourself, then you ARE giving back to society. In a more effective way than all of the gun-point charity that government steals from you combined.

And Ms Ayn was not against government. Government exists ONLY to protect your property. Anything else is tyranny or theft.

It REALLY is that simple.

Kilgore

January 20th, 2011
8:45 am

I hate to pop your balloon (payment), Bob Barr, but the phrase “individual liberty and rational thought” is meaningless.

You can’t represent that generic mantra on film. You can’t project it with acting. You can’t narrate it with story. This movie will stink big time because of that fact. We are rebels only when we were rebels: 1776! (when it was appropriate to rebel against something). Look, If you sees a rebel, then ax him what he’s rebeling against. If he sez, “Whadya gots?”, then you knows you’re talking to a moron.

Secondly, Atlas Shrugged’s premise is incorrect and convoluted. We have had a debt crisis for two hundred years, and it hasn’t mitigated our growth ever. If anything, it accelerated it.

There are only four forces in nature, and only four truths in man’s quest to define his existence: We are born. We get older. We fall behind in our taxes, and then we die.

Four. Count ‘em. 4

It’s what our country is all about, and I think it’s in our preamble. But people needs to sells books and movies and then we all get to be punctured by writers like Rand, and because we all love a doomsday story, (which justifies our live for the moment borrowing), we listen to “wise old writers” like Bob Barr and his Chicken Little/Soylent Green/ tummy tomes.

EJ Moosa

January 20th, 2011
9:28 am

jt,

you are more than right. If they cannot read the dozen or so words on a cigarette pack and get that message, how would they be able to grasp the themes within Atlas Shrugged?

People are threatened by anything or anyone that may take away something that they feel they are entitled to yet have not earned. And for that reason, they attack anything that may require themselves to take on additional responsibility for their own benefit.

dbm

January 20th, 2011
9:37 am

@ Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
4:38 pm

I do not believe in a “Creator” either. The foundation of rights is the recognition that we get the best results in our dealings with other people when we refrain from initiating the direct or indirect use of physical force against them.

A rationally self-interested person approaches other people in the spirit of a trader who exchanges value for value. A rationally self-interested person recognizes that it does not make sense for either party to an interaction to sacrifice himself or herself for the other.

dbm

January 20th, 2011
9:41 am

@ LeeH1

January 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

None of these women were scraping or groveling. Dominique had a serious psychological problem, but eventually overcame it.

dbm

January 20th, 2011
9:47 am

@ Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

Miss Rand recognized that government does have a legitimate role to play, namely defending each of us against the initiation of direct or indirect physical coercion.

The way to get away from plutocracy is to restrain government so that it will not be a tool for plutocrats and will not make rich people think they need to become plutocrats in self-defense.

Dave from GT

January 20th, 2011
9:52 am

Look at all the comments, Barr hit a home run this time. I wish that he and Cynthia Tucker would hook up on a joint column, what a shot that would be !

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
1:15 pm

dbm, my issues are not with Rand as a philosopher or observer of the human condition in an academic sense. my issue is with her as a purveyor of trite, shallow fiction, which has been presented as some sort of libertarian dogma. at its core, objectivism or “rational self-interest” is a Utopian fantasy; it is a theory, or “hope” at best. your observations about the ‘way to get away from plutocracy’ is only half correct. we need to “restrain” the self-interest of business. as I noted to Hemispheres, the Randian model is circular, a Catch-22 at best. have you read any Adam Smith? he basically gave “Ike’s” farewell address (warning of “unwarranted influence” and the “disasterous rise of misplaced power” in the “Wealth of Nations”. He did warn of the Military-Industrial complex, per se, but he did warn of private industry currying the favor of government – privtae industry “regulating” government, as it were. unlike Smith, Rand specifically targets governement as the “boogeyman” but as I said, in a plutocracy, the plutocracy is the boogeyment, and the plutocracy is a hybrid beast of both government and business interests. it serves its OWN (self) interests, which is like calling “checkmate” to Rand’s “objectivist” fantasies. perhaps I would be less critical, were I to read her non-fiction. last time I checked, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, et al didn’t write novels. as I noted yesterday; I do not believe Oswald acted alone, but I tend to favor the observations of the late Jim Garrison and othe historians, as opposed to the fictional musings of Oliver Stone, who is a film-maker and not a historian.

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
1:30 pm

dbm, and how has “trading” (or “mercantilism” in Smith’s era) worked out for us? generally leads empires, which ultimately leads to wars (and the entangling foreign alliances, Washington warned of in his farewell address). in order to “trade” (in Smith’s era) the seas must be secure, and laws must be enforced? upon whom should merchants rely to provide such services? he DoD or Blackwater Secrurity? did Haliburton not benefit from Bush’s decision to go to war? I’m not saying that goverment is not a necessary evil, but in the plutocratic model, so is “trading” because it is in the “self-interest” of a trader or merchant to exact additional value in a transaction, and more often than not, history has shown that “situational ethics” (or outright corruption) trump “rational self-interest”. I am by no means an expert on Smith (or Rand), but it seems to me Adam Smith was not offering a judgment or thumbs up/thumbs down, he basically was saying, “here’s the tricky part…” or as Franklin observed upon leaving the Consitutional Convention; “…you have a Republic, if you can keep it…” sadly, I don’t believe we have, and I simply don’t see Rand’s fantasies as viable alternatives, or germane in terms of restoring the republic. Oh, and I misspoke earlier. I am more inclined to listen to James Garrison, as opposed to Kevin Coster, who played James Garrison in JFK. the fact that Dagny Taggart is even mentioned in this blog seems a bit silly to me.

dbm

January 20th, 2011
1:53 pm

@ Joe the paleo-neo-pseudo intellectual Plutocrat

January 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

There is no circularity. The Randian position on government is built up from a recognition of the nature of government and of the moral principles that must be applied to physical force. This is explained in the two essays I already recommended.

An economic analysis of the benefits of a free market can also be carried out in a noncircular manner.

What complicates these issues is that there has been a historical tendency to blame the free market for problems caused by wrongful government interference, and to use those problems as a pretext for more government interference.

dbm

January 20th, 2011
1:55 pm

@ Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
1:30 pm

We get empires and wars because people introduce physical force into economic dealings. The solution is to keep physical force out by limiting government to its proper function of defending against direct or indirect physical aggression.

Roark

January 20th, 2011
2:04 pm

Ayn Rand is the architect of the future. If you want to know where we’re going, study her work.

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
4:25 pm

dbm, is your last name Rand? whom do you think “introduces physical force into economic dealings”? do you think armies go to war because they’re bored, or just like picking fights? did Rand even acknowledge the existence of a military-industrial complex? or did she simply believe ALL armies should be private enterprises. armies go to war to protect (interests) or steal wealth and it is not too much of a stretch to make wealth an extension of mercantilism (trade). I am all for ExxonMobil and Haliburton paying Blackwater to further their interests in the Middle East, but why would these marvelous “free market” “private sector” models of efficiency and wealth-building “buy the cow when they can get the milk for free” (US taxpayer)? now, if Ayn Rand wants to pine for a world (free market) in which everyone plays fair, well as I said, such pining is infantile and delusional. did you not read my comment about the “free” (generous term) markets ‘regulating’ government? the truth is, BOTH forces, when unchecked (regulated) drift (or run full speed) to into a world of situational ethics (which means no ethics). it just doesn’t work that way in the real world.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 20th, 2011
6:09 pm

We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another … our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others …

That one concise yet all encompassing Ideal changed my life in 11th grade. It’s the core principle of my existence, and my adherence to it has only strengthened in the 9 years since. The inept attempts by liberal collectivists to sling arrows at it during college were easily rebuffed by the sheer perfect logic of the principle. Others needs or wants does not constitute a duty or mortgage upon ME, nor do my needs or wants constitute a duty or mortgage upon others.

Kamchak

January 20th, 2011
6:25 pm

Ayn Rand is the architect of the future. If you want to know where we’re going, study her work.

I read all of her work before the age of 18, then I grew up and realized that she is just a narcissistic sociopath that can pen just so-so romance novels.

It wasn’t until later that I found out that she was a paranoid methamphetamine addict then it all made perfect sense..

jt

January 20th, 2011
7:03 pm

Kamchak

One doesn’t need Ayn Rand to know the truth,

nor to rationalize.

Look at Haiti or Detroit for your Wesley Moochniesque schemes.

We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another … our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others …

Kamchak

January 20th, 2011
7:07 pm

We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another …

And stay on strike if it pleases you. The world will not notice it one way or another.

Joe the paleo-neo-John Donnest

January 20th, 2011
8:08 pm

as I said, Rand’s philosophical observations may be worth discussion, but her prose were trite, infantile (perhaps adolescent – I stand corrected) nonsense. agle, anyone wanna hear a “concise, yet encompassing ideal that extends beyond high school? check out this drivel:

“if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

as Kamchak said; you want to go on strike, go on strike. Oh, and is in the use of the words “we are on strike…” a “collectivist” affirmation? and please explain how people on strike are no “existing” for the sake of another (actually, a whole bunch of “anothers”)? as I said (like 15 times), the logic and reasoning is circular and profoundly narcissistic. but hey, narcissists are the center of the universe, ergo; all the “anothers” “exist” for the sake of the narcissist.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 20th, 2011
8:37 pm

Strike simply means I will not contribute Re: taxation, volunteerism, or even giving a damn what happens when local state and federal governments default on their debt as is currently on the precipice(sp) for states such as Obamanois and Democratifornia. It does not mean I will quit making money, being self sufficient, and become a clayton county style mooch.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 20th, 2011
8:38 pm

..And others not noticing is part of the plan..

Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
9:06 pm

Trisha, I urge you to look up the word PLUTOCRACY. all your questions will be answered. as I said yesterday, you (and Ayn Rand) can rant all you like, but you are a citizen of the United States and you aversion to paying “local, state, and federal” taxes is moot. and you cause is noble, but you lose points with me if you have ever flown a commercial airline, listened to commercial radio, traveled on any local, state or public road/highway; or purchased gasoline.

jim skinner

January 20th, 2011
9:54 pm

There is no one who could really understand what Dagny Taggert is thinking because of ayn rand’s obcession with sex. It detracts from the overall story because rand has to put Dagny in bed on every other page.

the original and still the best John Galt

January 20th, 2011
9:57 pm

Any mention of Rand or her novel brings out the Statists in droves and causes them to drag out all the usual brickbats. I am certain the movie won’t equal the novel, but if it causes even a few people to refuse to live as serfs and to wake up and begin to fight, it will be an outstanding effort.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 20th, 2011
10:00 pm

Maybe the obsession with sex is why Bill Clinton’s rambling lip bitting anecdote laced eulogies for such deceased sacks of liberal biomass as: coretta king..Ron Brown..Teddy ‘the keg’ Kenedy, and Dick Holbrooke, never seem to make sense..or come off as sincere.

Kamchak

January 20th, 2011
11:03 pm

…rand has to put Dagny in bed on every other page.

Same thing with Dominique Francon in The Fountainhead which, coincidentally was on TCM this morning. In an odd bit of role reversal, Ms. Francon was the bed-hopper while all the men were strangely, monogamously devoted to her.

Roark! Roark! Just give up architecture, I’ll keep house for you and we can live in the country together on daddy’s money!

Too funny!

Oh, and the scene where Gail Wynand can’t find anyone to work for The Banner for “any amount of money”? I just can’t buy that. Only in an author’s controlled reality would that happen.

marko

January 21st, 2011
6:14 am

Ayn Rand takes on Glenn Beck, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTf6NK0wsiA
Tea Baggers of the world sit down together, talk things over, and get back to us when you decide just what the hell it is you want.

dbm

January 21st, 2011
9:30 am

@ Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
4:25 pm

I didn’t say there were any innocent countries.

dbm

January 21st, 2011
9:36 am

@ Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
9:06 pm

It is impossible to live in the world we have today without becoming entangled in improper government interference. This does not mean we should give up and die. It means we should make sure we lead basically productive lives. It means we should not support any of the improper government interference.

dbm

January 21st, 2011
9:41 am

@ Joe the paleo-neo-psuedo intellectual Plutocrat

January 20th, 2011
1:15 pm

If we had a properly limited government, private industry would not be able to regulate it in an improper way. If we had a properly limited government, private industry would not have temptations dangled before it. If we had a properly limited government, private industry would not have to “regulate” it in self-defense.

Slap Maxwell

January 24th, 2011
6:56 am

Darwin, you’ve alread exposed the fact that you haven’t read the book and fail to understand the phiolosophy. Why continue to make yourself look like a fool by continuing to point out to us your failings? Just curious….

Slap Maxwell

January 24th, 2011
6:59 am

Jim Skinner is another person who hasn’t read the book, apparently — or read it and hopes enough other people haven’t so that his misrepresentations will be taken as fact by the ignorant. Try to quit projecting your own fantasies onto a fictional Dagney, son, and your life might actually turn out to mean something.

Properal

January 24th, 2011
6:55 pm

@ Darwin
It is interesting that Alan Greenspan blamed the free market for the damage he did while he was chairman of an institution prescribed in the fifth plank of the communist manifesto.

saywhat?

January 24th, 2011
7:29 pm

It is always so funny to see the Rand worshipers defensively accuse her critics as being unable to “understand” her work. Those libertardians have such a lovely smarmy way about them. If only we were their intellectual “equals”, we would “understand” all the “nuances” of an adolescent fantasy book. Right.

dbm

January 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

@ saywhat?

January 24th, 2011
7:29 pm

People who attack Ayn Rand tend to make statements that are false. The falsity of these statements is clear to anyone who understands her work.

I see a lot of statements that Ayn Rand’s work is “immature” or “adolescent”, but I don’t see any proof.

Have you read any of Ayn Rand’s nonfiction?

Eric Rhein

January 25th, 2011
7:27 pm

Great article, Rep. Barr. Nice blog too. Thanks.

Marty

January 25th, 2011
9:37 pm

Now that we have heard from the pseudo intellects — probably of the 30’s something crowd — who did all their research on Goggle– maybe those of us — who have been aware of the crisis for years — and are truly of the 60s — and read “Shrugged” — we can take pride in knowing we knew all along ! And by the way evolution intellects — if we evolved from apes — why are they still here ! back to your Star War mentality !! MHG