Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?
Those who denounce Ayn Rand the loudest have never read her.
Much the same could be said for those who made the movie, Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?
Granted, I understand that movies have time constraints and budget concerns, and cinema is different from the printed word, but I hate this movie every bit as much as Ayn Rand would have had she lived to see her novel abridged and reconfigured.
Rand wrote three novels: Anthem, which she described as good vs. evil, and evil wins!; The Fountainhead, where good fights evil and good wins; and Atlas Shrugged, as battle lines are drawn between the good vs. the good, and Rand identifies who is who!
Crony capitalists welcome government regulations. The pragmatic capitalists want things both ways through a mixed economy. The emotional altruists worship self-sacrifice but are just as willing to sacrifice others to their whims. There is no place for them in the Objectivist advocacy of laissez-faire free trade capitalism! Period! To Rand, unless the U.S. denounced altruism it would not survive.
Since when did Ayn Rand become a Republican? Or a conservative, for that matter? Outspoken against both Nixon and Reagan’s economic policies, Rand supported abortion rights stating that the rights of the actual supersede the rights of the potential. She saw racism as a primitive form of collectivism, which she despised.
Evil is neither right wing nor left. Rand’s target was an appeal to those who used their mind to think! John Galt, her heroic spokesman in Atlas Shrugged, says “You think the world is a mixture of good and evil, and one must compromise with evil, and you’re sick of that, so you’re giving up on the world? Nonsense. Evil, by definition, is impotent… It cannot stand in our way – unless we permit and help it to do so.” The compromise, the middle of the road, is the territory of evil.
Yet in Atlas Shrugged Part III, the two commentators presented as defending Galt are Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck! If there had been an honest attempt to appeal to the thinking mind, wouldn’t better choices have been Leonard Peikoff, her philosophical heir and talk show commentator, or Neal Boortz, a Libertarian who knows her works? Hannity has misquoted her on occasion. Beck is too Mormon. Rand hated mystics as much as she did statists!
There is nothing in her books to recommend home schooling, yet in this movie there’s a discussion. Why? ONLY to appeal to a targeted audience that home schools for political or religious reasons! This has nothing to do with Rand, or her philosophy, in fact she was a supporter of the Montessori method!
And while all this is featured in this movie supposedly based on an author who saw her novel as a means to establish the principles behind her Objectivist philosophy, John Galt’s speech is given the bum’s rush!
Let’s be clear: It took Rand three and a half years to write Galt’s speech which encapsulates Objectivism. It takes up 60 pages in the book itself. So, making concessions for time constraints and limited attention spans, I figured the speech should occupy thirty minutes of a two-hour movie – MINIMUM!
Instead, Galt’s speech takes up three and a half minutes!
That would be like discussing American history without including the Bill of Rights as its centerpiece, or Christian salvation separate from original sin.
Galt’s speech is a call to arms from those who have permitted the moochers, the imitators, the second-handers to trap the rest of us in their chaotic world, which has proven to be unworkable from the years of irrationalism and collectivism heaped upon us. So we, those who can still think for ourselves, are embroiled in a civil war with ourselves, which is precisely where the parasites want us – functioning only enough to support this vicious mess of altruistic crap.
None of that is included in those three and a half minutes!
And what of altruism? It’s hardly mentioned in this movie, yet to Rand, it IS original sin!
A sense of honor and integrity and self-confidence are not social by nature, because they can’t be bestowed or granted by anyone other than the individual. Do you place your trust in anyone and everyone other than yourself? If so, join the Manson Family! If you consider yourself an entity of value, then altruism – the placing of others above oneself – is a destructive conceit.
And then there are the characters that have been left out, namely James Taggart’s wife. A conniving and mediocre talent who subsists off his sister Dagny, James Taggart seeks out the single most insignificant woman he can find to marry: Cherryl, a dime store clerk. She has always been one of my favorites because she is most of us! Totally devoted to her husband, she defends his every action; that is, until it dawns on her all that he represents and she walks off a pier and drowns herself! To enable parasites means we are already drowning in their red tape and mediocrity.
Instead, we get a brief glimpse at Cherryl as the voiceover narration explains her disillusionment and she grimaces as if James had just broken wind! There is indeed something rotten in Denmark!
The scrupulous Eddie Willers is the first person we meet and one of the last characters left at story’s end who hasn’t either disappeared or compromised. Eddie is the inbetweener! An important figure in that he’s neither bad nor heroic, he serves as the voice of reason to the enablers.
There is no race ascribed to Ayn Rand’s characters in her novels because her themes are universal. Yet, as was the case in the two previous installments, Eddie is portrayed by a black actor. Why? I’m sure the filmmakers were hoping to avoid any criticism for having an all-white cast. I’d have preferred the entire cast to have been black, if the goal was to avoid controversy. The story would work as well because it’s a universal issue. But by making Eddie the solitary black character, the filmmakers altered Rand’s character as he was created.
In her book, Eddie is left sobbing behind the gears of the last car in the Taggart line. Angry and unable to think, he is not one of the innovators, not one of the men of mind that will move the world. Like so many of us, while a good person, Eddie has no place in Galt’s Gulch. In Any Rand’s stable, there are no leaders or followers, only creators! Eddie is a follower. So why, then, in this movie does Galt say, “There is one more I have to save – I’m going back for Eddie”?
And the only presumable reason for this is that Eddie has been cast as black and the filmmakers were willing to alter the story to, again, avoid criticism! Those who willingly compromise with the moochers or benefit from the unearthed are shut out, yet in this movie, favoritism determines Galt’s actions, not philosophy.
Atlas Shrugged is a novel that speaks to the world of blind chance where jobs are held by fraud, not merit, and where grotesquely ludicrous celebrities spout mindless views. Atlas Shrugged declared you’re on your own.
At this point, Atlas isn’t the only one shrugging!