Atlas Shrugged

I watched the film finally on my ipad and while I could see room for improvement it was certainly an acceptable film in terms of quality. Could have used more humor and snappier dialog. But it did a fairly good job of showing the kind of statist take over of business we’ve been seeing in the last three years. Its certainly a timely movie. If you haven’t read the novel by Ayn Rand this is just part one of three. Its hard to say if the other parts will be finished but they certainly gave it a good effort here and one thing struck me as ironic about it. The plot involves a railroad baroness trying to update her railroad lines with metal against government wishes, The state is trying to put the squeeze on her company and Rearden steel which has some new super-metal that might put steel companies out of business. So in the film the state is trying to stop a high speed rail project while in real life the state of California is trying to shove one down the people’s throats in the middle of a budget crisis.

The problem I have with Rand’s story is it makes some good points but is missing a larger point about government. It colludes with companies favoring some at the expense of others. In Rand’s story successful companies are punished so the failures can prosper. The reality is a little more complex. But as we saw with the corrupt bailouts of GM and Chrysler all kinds of sick favoritism went on and the public had their money wasted on the Volt, a car no one wants.

This week we get to see if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare another case of the government overreaching its power and destroying industries. Hopefully the film makers of this series get to finish what they started.

Here’s John Stossel talking about the film and why its relevant

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  1. I always saw the book being less about failures conspiring to stop successful businesses, and more about the cronyism that you spoke of in your post. Orren Boyle’s company wasn’t a “failure” of a company; it was simply a large company that became non-innovative and treated its clients like dirt (lots of talk about materials being on back order and never coming in, etc.). In my opinion, it would be the equivalent of the RIAA paying off legistators to kill electronic music services like iTunes, Amazon’s music service, Google Play, etc. because of the loss of album sales, as opposed to what’s actually been happening.

    I gotta be honest though, the concept car version of the Volt was pretty damned slick; I’d buy two of them if they turned out that cool-looking. Check out the differences: 

    • In the film they imply that Reardon is a threat because of his successful metal so they want him shut down. 

      The Volt is an decent looking car, its just too expensive and cant go very far. It doesnt matter how cool it looks. I like the concept look a lot better, like you do. But if it had the same problems as the one for sale. I doubt the sales would be that much better. 

      • As you say, he is a threat because of his game-changing product. That’s why they want either him out of the picture or to buy the patent directly off of him (remember when Armin “Quark” Shimerman shows up with a blank check?); they don’t care about him so much as they care about his innovations, which they see as a threat to their well-being. In the auto industry, guys like Preston Tucker had similar issues a good 5-10 years before this book was published. 

        I don’t want to get too far into the book (so as not to spoil too much), but if you notice, the folks disappearing are all not only “job creators” or what have you; they are all either at the top of their field, or, if not, highly innovative people (imagine Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, John Lasseter, George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Norman Borlaug, and so on all simply leaving private life in their personal prime, almost having vanished). Where to, I won’t say – those of you who don’t know will have to read the book. 

        Out of curiosity, have you seen any of the stuff that Honda’s working on for it’s “green” car – the Clarity? It runs primarily on natural gas, I believe, and, while strictly in testing for the next few years, could be pretty big (and, if it took off, could become a great deal cheaper to fill up; right now, filling up a tank with natural gas costs about the same as filling up with gas). Just curious – they did a  segment on Top Gear UK a few years back, and Jay Leno guested on it.

  2. The movie was fairly decent in a TV movie of the week kind of way right up until Dagny and Rearden found the air motor. I’m betting this was where they ran out of money, because those scenes are amateur and kinda embarrassing.

    Check out successful leftist advocacy films. They always have beautiful cinematography,  interesting scripts and superb production values because not only does the left have the best technicians but leftists will spend money to see them.

    The most effective left wing film of the last decade was Wall-e. Done during the huge AGW push when Gore and company were spending hundreds of millions to convince us that our SUVs were killing the polar bears. Yet most conservatives not only didn’t notice, they eagerly attended and ate it up as they brought their kids in to learn about Gaia worship from the brave little robot.

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