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Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Views of the Movie "Atlas Shrugged"

View One. The Tea Party Express.

Normally we're not too focused on what movies are playing in local cinemas, but the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie (based on Ayn Rand's monumental book) has become a seminal event in the tea party movement.

And we've got some good news to report to you on the success of this movie that has liberal film critics up in arms.

In its debut weekend, Atlas Shrugged surprised everyone, grossing more in ticket sales per movie screen than any other movie save the hit family movie, "Rio."

And this week, Atlas Shrugged expands - from 299 screens last weekend to 423+ screens this weekend.  You can find the closest movie theater showing the film near you - FIND MOVIE THEATER HERE

The movie, like the book, serves as a wake up call to the dangers posed when governments take on too much power and subvert the will and freedom of the individual.  Specifically, it showcases what happens when entrepreneurship and free market principles are deemed to be unseemly and unacceptable to Big Government.

When you watch the movie you'll feel like you could be watching the real-live events of today, not a fictionalized account written by Ayn Rand some 60+ years ago.

And the fact that this movie touches on many of the problems we face today, and that we in the tea party movement are fighting, explains why so many liberal movie critics have slammed this movie and urged people not to see it.   They don't want you to see this movie, because they don't want you to see the truth about what is happening in America today.

Michael Phillips, writing in the Los Angeles Times, complained about the film's "tea-stained politics."
Peter Travers in RollingStones vented, "Who's the idiot responsible for this fiasco?" Roger Ebert gave the film just 1-star and whined:  "And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault."
Peter Debruge incorporated a swipe at Fox News Channel in his review for Variety, writing that: "...Atlas Shrugged" becomes a series of polite policy conversations interrupted by Fox News-style updates whenever exposition is called for..."

Yes, we get it, liberal film critics.  You all can't stand free markets, and you can't stand that there is a film out there that echoes many of the same evils that the tea party movement here in America is fighting against.

You can see the movie for yourself this weekend, and in the process angry a Big Government, autocratic, liberal.  Watch it again, even if you've already seen it once.  Oh, and  be sure to take a friend with you too.

To find the nearest cinema showing "Atlas Shrugged" - JUST CLICK HERE.

View 2.  The Washington Post.

By Michael Gerson, Thursday, April 21, 8:00 PM
The movie “Atlas Shrugged,” adapted from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel by the same name, is a triumph of cinematic irony. A work that lectures us endlessly on the moral superiority of heroic achievement is itself a model of mediocrity. In this, the film perfectly reflects both the novel and the mind behind it.
Rand is something of a cultural phenomenon — the author of potboilers who became an ethical and political philosopher, a libertarian heroine. But Rand’s distinctive mix of expressive egotism, free love and free-market metallurgy does not hold up very well on the screen. The emotional center of the movie is the success of high-speed rail — oddly similar to a proposal in Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. All of the characters are ideological puppets. Visionary, comely capitalists are assaulted by sniveling government planners, smirking lobbyists, nagging wives, rented scientists and cynical humanitarians. When characters begin disappearing — on strike against the servility and inferiority of the masses — one does not question their wisdom in leaving the movie.
None of the characters expresses a hint of sympathetic human emotion — which is precisely the point. Rand’s novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”
If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand’s achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne.
The appeal of Ayn Rand to conservatives is both considerable and inexplicable. Modern conservatism was largely defined by Ronald Reagan’s faith in the people instead of elites. Rand regarded the people as “looters” and “parasites.” She was a strenuous advocate for class warfare, except that she took the side of a mythical class of capitalist supermen. Rand, in fact, pronounced herself “profoundly opposed” to Reagan’s presidential candidacy, since he did not meet her exacting ideological standards.
Rand cherished a particular disdain for Christianity. The cross, she said, is “the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. . . . It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture.” Yet some conservatives marked Holy Week by attending and embracing “Atlas Shrugged.”
Reaction to Rand draws a line in political theory. Some believe with Rand that all government is coercion and theft — the tearing-down of the strong for the benefit of the undeserving. Others believe that government has a limited but noble role in helping the most vulnerable in society — not motivated by egalitarianism, which is destructive, but by compassion, which is human. And some root this duty in God’s particular concern for the vulnerable and undeserving, which eventually includes us all. This is the message of Easter, and it is inconsistent with the gospel of Rand.
Many libertarians trace their inspiration to Rand’s novels, while sometimes distancing themselves from Objectivism. But both libertarians and Objectivists are moved by the mania of a single idea — a freedom indistinguishable from selfishness. This unbalanced emphasis on one element of political theory — at the expense of other public goals such as justice and equal opportunity — is the evidence of a rigid ideology. Socialists take a similar path, embracing equality as an absolute value. Both ideologies have led good people into supporting policies with serious human costs.
Conservatives have been generally suspicious of all ideologies, preferring long practice and moral tradition to utopian schemes of left or right. And Rand is nothing if not utopian. In “Atlas Shrugged,” she refers to her libertarian valley of the blessed as Atlantis.
It is an attractive place, which does not exist, and those who seek it drown.

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