Sunday, February 13, 2011
If you only see one movie this year, SEE THIS MOVIE - S.L.
What happens to a society when the successful are punished?
What happens to a society when the government controls the economy?
What happens to a society when the will of the mob triumphs?
Who is John Galt?
Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957. It was Rand's fourth and last novel, also her longest, and is considered her magnum opus. The book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society. The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, Operating Vice-President of Taggart Transcontinental, a giant railroad company originally pioneered by her grandfather, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry, while society's most productive citizens, led by the mysterious John Galt, progressively disappear. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the "minds" that drive society's growth and productivity. In their efforts, these "men of the mind" hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where men are slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society.
Unlike the novel, the film opens with the disappearance of Midas Mulligan, before jumping forward twelve years to the dystopian United States. For twelve years the country has endured difficult economic times and public sentiment is rife with collectivism and calls for increasing government intervention in the economy. Dagny Taggart attempts to keep the company alive while her feckless brother, company president James Taggart, refuses to make difficult choices. Dagny meets the industrialist Hank Rearden – a self-made steel magnate of great integrity, who has recently developed a powerful new metal alloy called Rearden Metal – and Ellis Wyatt – a young, self possessed, hard working oil tycoon – and solicits their help in repairing and maintaining the rail network. As economic conditions worsen, corrupt government officials continue to extend their control of successful businesses. Added to Dagny's existing troubles is her gradual realization that the most able and diligent workers of her company – as well as of society at large – have been disappearing without a trace. A general malaise and sense of powerlessness spreads throughout the weary citizenry, encapsulated in a new phrase expressing helplessness and despair at the current state of the world, "Who is John Galt?" As the country's best and brightest continue to vanish, Dagny and Rearden go in search of the creator of a radical invention that could alter industry permanently. The film ends with Wyatt himself vanishing, leaving Dagny and Rearden the only egoists left in a now totalitarian country.
TEA Party = Taxed Enough Already