Ernest Hancock

Freedom is the Answer,... What is the Question?

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Atlas Shrugged - Movie Review +

Early in the movie I made a point to evaluate the emotion that was building up in my brain… it was sadness. I endorse viewing the movie and was very happy that the film makers and cast were able to bring the spirit of the book to the screen, but the sadness kept building and evolved into a sort of resignation, that we are certain to be going through all of the worst that collectivism guarantees.
When the great minds of humanity are needed the most and asked (or demanded) to produce, they’ll ask “Why?” (or you may get an immediate and simple “No”) and I don’t think anyone will be able to provide a satisfactory answer. If you know what to look for you know that the process of ‘Going Galt’ has already begun. Thanks is due the movie makers of Atlas Shrugged for providing an educational tool that will only be fully understood by the masses when it’s time to rebuild their lives after the failure of a system that is on display in Atlas Shrugged Part I.
In 1994 at the age of 33 I was "assigned" Atlas Shrugged as reading material by my new libertarian friends. Many people reread Atlas Shrugged on a regular basis and I understand why. With every passing day the novel continues to morph into a documentary/history book.
Over thirty years after its original publication, Atlas Shrugged had two characteristics that immediately were very impactful to me. First, were the detailed observations of the individual characters. What type of personality would justify a feeling of entitlement to another's abilities and/or labor, how is it that they perceive themselves as entitled, what were their motivations to seek dominion over others, even when there was no direct benefit to them personally? The second major impact I remember Atlas Shrugged having on me was the clairvoyant chronology of how American society will devolve at all levels, and why.
We're in the last pages of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and unchartered territory lay ahead. But for the first time in human history we have the ability to document and evaluate the worldwide destruction of a global system in real time. Any individual with an Internet connection can participate or just watch and learn, and I have no doubt that every effort will be made to prevent such access to this information, but that genie has left the bottle.
Atlas Shrugged, the movie, is likely to be much more popular than the movie industry believes/hopes. And with a budget of only $10 million for Part 1 of 3 I suspect that there will be enough demand for Parts 2 and 3...; even if the freedom/libertarian/r3VOLution movement has to raise the money themselves. But it will be for selfish reasons ( Ayn would be proud :)
The LOVEolution surrounding the 2008 election cycle has been difficult for many outside the movement to understand. Its anarchist/agorist/voluntarist/LeaveMeAloneist constellation of individuals that are connected only by temporary and mutually beneficial alliances that communicate in real time doesn't provide the targets of consolidated power that The Bad Guys are use to dealing with as threats to their existence.
They, Them, Those
"There are those that just wish to be left alone,... and there are those that just won't leave them alone... which one are you?"
Often in conversation we use the word "they" as a pronoun depicting a whole group of 'won't leave us alone' individuals and entities made up of individuals. In response to the predictable, "They.... who are they?" I often use the above definition of who "they" are. And 'they' are everywhere!
And 'they' can not sustain themselves without the efforts of those that they flog on a constant basis. The concept of, "the beatings will continue until moral improves" is no longer a joke in the minds of 'law makers'. Ironically it is the most productive minds of society that have the ability to go on strike and maintain their standard of living without the looting of others.
Neither a Slave nor a Master of Slaves
The decision to no longer be a slave is made even easier once it is realized that humanity is suffering a prolonged infection being feed by the fruits of their abilities and efforts.When both selfish desires and a love for humanity encourage the same realizations, you can expect the most productive and inspired human beings to stand up... by just sitting down.

5 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ann Yard
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Probably because they are purposely and grossly mislead by haters of the ideas advocated by Atlas Shrugged, many people make minor but important mistakes about the story and theme of Atlas Shrugged.

#1:  John Galt (and his collaborators like Francisco) are out in the world looking for everyone who is honest, ethical, hard-working and highly productive... and they are tracking the intellectual understanding these people progress through which eventually will convince them to stop supporting the predators and parasites.  This is largely why they are usually successful in convincing these people to go on strike... because they are intellectually "almost there" already, and only require a tiny push.  Furthermore, don't you think an offer to join the most highly talented people on earth is something highly intelligent, productive, driven people would respond to?  Of course they would.  Galts Gulch makes their transition "outta here" so much easier.

#2:  Even on the surface level, the "heros" of Atlas Shrugged and the people recruited by John Galt and friends are not all "owners of monster businesses".  Dagny is only a "director of operations".  The employee she so regrets losing to John Galts recruitment hasn't even achieved a management position in her organization.  Hugh Atkson is a philosopher, not a business person at all.  And so forth.  Perhaps these mistaken ideas are re-inforced because Rearden and Dagny both work at a reasonably large corporation, but look closer and you shall see that "position" is not what it takes to make a "John Galt" type, or to be a "hero" in this story or theme.

#3:  It is amazing how many people have bought the BS claim that Atlas Shrugged is "pro business" or "pro huge corporation".  That is completely laughable.  First of all, most of the business people in the story are portrayed as EVIL... because they run to government to get favors, special advantages, special consideration, special permissions, to destroy their competitors, etc.  Please do NOTE that James Taggert is the PRESIDENT of Taggert Transcontinental, and he is a VILLIAN.  So is Reardens lobbyist ("man in DC") and his wife and brother (the main beneficiaries of Reardens work).  What Atlas Shrugged admires, praises and promotes is honesty, ethics, productivity and individualism.  And that is why the predators-that-be and predator-class hate Atlas Shrugged.  Of course the parasite-class also ate Atlas Shrugged because they want the predators-that-be to steal from the producers and give to the parasites in exchange for their votes and support.

#4:  The ideas and heros of Atlas Shrugged are dangerous.  This is a truly amazing assertion!  Watch the movie (or read the book).  Now tell me, exactly what does Rearden or Dagny do that harms anyone?  One makes high quality steel so oil and other products can be delivered to a store near you and everyone else.  Another moves the steel and oil and other products to every city and town near you.  They do not harm you physically.  They do not steal your money.  They do not require you to buy their products.  They do not tell you how to live your life.  These are the ideas that the mainstream consider so... DANGEROUS ???   Sure, they care about their jobs, so much so that they work their butts off and have no time to enjoy a life of their own.  Where is the danger?  There is an answer, of course.  If you intend to NOT be productive your whole life, and you expect the predators-that-be to steal from the productive to buy your vote and thereby keep you alive, then anyone who claims "my time and money is mine" is a threat to the criminal enterprise you are a party to, and advocate of.

So much about Atlas Shrugged is purposely misrepresented by the predators-that-be and their apologists, the mainstream-media-that-be.  The values and characters advocated by Atlas Shrugged are all benevolent.  And that's what the predators-that-be and predator-class do NOT want people to recognize.  If they did, their scam would fall... which it must if we are to prevent the world from becoming a permanent slave planet.

Comment by Ryan Gauger
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I haven't read the book Atlas Shrugged, so I went to the movie without the expectations a reader might have regarding how characters look, sound, and act.  It was all new to me, except for the underlying political concepts and a basic idea of "Who is John Galt?"

When I saw the previews months ago, I was not impressed at all.  I thought, "made for tv, or straight to DVD."  However, I was not disappointed at all after I saw Atlas Shrugged in the theater.  The acting ranged from bearable to quite good, the cinematography was very well done.  Most importantly, it was getting its message across.

I'm probably biased in favor of the movie because of the points it's making on government and industry, freedom and the law.  I'm not sure how an average moviegoer would rate the movie based on the usual criteria.  There wasn't really much action.  The movie is based on conversations about politics and character development.  There was some suspense and intrigue, which may help it's case with the common man, but it's not a summer blockbuster.

For me, this movie was better than Rand's other novel-turned-celluloid, The Fountainhead, which I saw earlier this year.  The actors in Atlas Shrugged came across as more human, somehow, despite their unknown status compared to Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.

The tendrils of government controls enveloping industry, the layoffs and unemployment, and the absurd acts of Congress portrayed in the film are all too real today.  The fact that more and more people, from Tea Partiers to Anarchists, are looking to escape the looters is real as well. 

 But, I did find one aspect of the movie to be quite unrealistic:  If a real John Galt were trying to recruit libertarian-capitalist elitists to his colony of escaped producers, I think he'd have difficulty finding even one who would join him.

I admit that my knowledge of the hearts and minds of industrialists rests in the realm of absolute ignorance, however, my observations of what pass for industrialists today (do industrialists even truly exist anymore), is that on the whole, they are in compliance with the looters, or worse, accomplices to them.  The government-industrial complex reigns absolute in America today.

Is there one mega-corporation in America that is not "owned", even to the slightest degree, by the federal government?  Is there one small-to-medium sized corporation in America that is not paid, supplemented, or contracted by a local, county, state or federal entity?

It seems to me that the top of the business world is overrun with James Taggarts.  They play ball with the government because THAT is their business.  Less the actual production of goods and services, sold on a free market, and more the production of laws and regulations and price fixing and resultant nationalized monopoly. 

 The super-elite of the business-government complex are not pressed under the weight of tax burden and regulation, they are enriching themselves using their biggest partner, Uncle Sam, and transferring the burden on to the tax payers.

 Uncle Sam's pockets may seem to be bottomless to many, but that will change.  In the meantime, Atlas, to me, is every man and woman who pays taxes and receives little to no benefit.  If I were to imagine a John Galt of today, looking to populate his Atlantis, I would picture him sitting behind a computer writing articles, painting signs, making videos, and spreading the word in any way he could, to as many people as possible: There is another option to the State.

In that regard, the producers of the movie Atlas Shrugged are some of the John Galts we need.  It's not going to be only the elite producers, but any producers, from those who live meager lives of self-sustenance to those who work from 8 to 5 (which translates sometimes to 12-16 hour days), for whom the weight of the looters has become unbearable, who must be indoctrinated in the message of freedom, recruited to the philosophy of freedom, and finally and inevitably, they must shrug.

Comment by Michael Kielsky
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This movie was excellent, and delivered what was needed from a movie trying to stay true to the book.

If the producers had another $100 million to spend on the production, the only difference would have been 1 or 2 high-priced stars.

But, don't take my word for it, go see the movie, if you want to get a glimpse that is near-true-to-life of how our economy and freedom are being destroyed, and the characters who are driving the destruction (and their character), you should see this, and take your friends.

Alternatively, if you just want to piss off the collectivists, the second-handers, the looters, the non-productive, those who just won't leave you alone, help make this movie a huge success -- they will hate you for it.

Comment by G Cone
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I'd like to see this movie done as a period piece set in the '50s and in black and white. 

Comment by G Cone
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I didn't think the movie was that great. The acting was flat and it just didn't seem that interesting like the book. I think it could have been done a lot better. It wasn't horrible, but not great either. 

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