Atlas shrugged. And so did I. . .To be clear, I'm no fan of Rand's novels. But I believe in not what merely sounds good, but rather sticking with what works--and individual self-determination expressed through market capitalism works.
In "Atlas Shrugged-Part I" a drink is tossed, strong words are bandied, legal papers are served, more strong words are further bandied and, finally, near the end, an oil field is set on fire, although we don’t get to see this up close. There are many beautiful panoramas of the Rocky Mountains for no particular reason. And the movie’s title carries the explicit threat of a sequel.
But I will not pan "Atlas Shrugged." I don’t have the guts. If you associate with Randians--and I do--saying anything critical about Ayn Rand is almost as scary as saying anything critical to Ayn Rand. What’s more, given how protective Randians are of Rand, I’m not sure she’s dead.
The woman is a force. But, let us not forget, she’s a force for good. Millions of people have read "Atlas Shrugged" and been brought around to common sense, never mind that the author and her characters don’t exhibit much of it. Ayn Rand, perhaps better than anyone in the 20th century, understood that the individual self-seeking we call an evil actually stands in noble contrast to the real evil of self-seeking collectives. (A rather Randian sentence.) It’s easy to make fun of Rand for being a simplistic philosopher, bombastic writer and--I’m just saying--crazy old bat. But the 20th century was no joke. A hundred years, from Bolsheviks to Al Qaeda, were spent proving Ayn Rand right.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
P.J. O'Rourke's Wall Street Journal review of the new film of Ayn Rand's famous novel: