Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Hits the Screen, Makes an Intellectual Call to Arms

Atlas Shrugged

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I have only one thing to say regarding Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and the philosophy it demonstrates.  It represents mankind as we are meant to exist, and consequently, it may just be the most important insight from any single human being in the course of history.  This is a bold statement, so why do I posture it with such certainty?  Simply stated, Atlas Shrugged, written half a century ago, is the closest representation to the social, moral, and intellectual destruction we see today.  Reading Atlas Shrugged is frightening to say the least, because it is like reading a live teleprompter that is reporting, in a strikingly succinct conceptual narrative, the broader trends happening in America.

For those unfamiliar with the novel’s theme, it lays out Rand’s philosophy – Objectivist Epistemology – which seeks out man as a heroic being.  More precisely, this means man as a thinking, judging being that uses his mind to identify the abstract concepts that form the basis of our reality.  It denies all forms of mysticism, and perhaps most importantly, making decisions based on emotions rather than rational thought.  The novel’s primary characters – termed the movers or producers – go on strike both intellectually and physically.  They eventually escape to Atlantis, a city they have built from the ground up, while society falls down around them.

If you are reading this blog, then you are very aware of not just the financial crisis of 2008, but the implications of events leading up to the crisis as well as developments in the name of economic recovery and future stability.  Such developments mirror those events in Rand’s novel.  And it is her philosophy that we must use to connect the dots, for the picture they compose is alarming.  Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, comments in a recent review of part one of the film version of Rand’s magnum opus that it is our ideals we must question.  We must “Rethink our convictions and philosophy of life from the ground up. Without doing so, it [Atlas Shrugged] argues, we won’t escape further crises.”  Consequently, the 2008 crisis is a poignant reminder that our ideals are fundamentally flawed.

Some more recent events include Obamacare’s claim that health care is a “right,” along with recent government action against Boeing to move production because people “need” jobs.  Since the Great Depression, the 1980s savings and loan crisis, the dot.com bust, and now the Great Recession, our diplomats have reassured us that reforms were the answer and that additional legislation would ensure future economic stability and prosperity.  Yet we still see more of the same, and in the meantime, each successive set of reforms place more power within the halls of Congress and the executive branch, while our free market system continues to dwindle into dust.

According to Rand, contradictions cannot exist.  Something cannot be A and not A at the same time.  If this appears so, check your premises.  I implore you to do so.

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About Jeremiah Dow
I have a B.S. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Economics. I finished school in 2010 and am currently working on independent research in various areas including political and economic philosophy, government, and history. I am also currently looking for work in research, particularly the social sciences dealing with public policy work. I aspire to a top-level graduate institution, but would first prefer some professional research experience. Some of my primary influences are Ayn Rand, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn among others.

3 Responses to Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Hits the Screen, Makes an Intellectual Call to Arms

  1. Pingback: Rand’s Philosophy Needed to Guide Budget Reform…and Much More « kapitalcon

  2. Pingback: Gold, The Only Objective Standard of Value « kapitalcon

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