Peter Foster, writing in the National Post has a very mixed opinion of the movie Atlas Shrugged Part I, which is based on Ayn Rand's famous novel of the same name. First published over 50 years ago and recently enjoying its best sales ever as government interference in the economy wreaks havoc, it is both a mystery novel and an explanation of a proper philosophy for man's life on Earth. Being generally an advocate for capitalism, I expected Peter Foster to celebrate the fact that such a movie has been made at all in the face of a film industry mired so deep in what Rand called the altruist/collectivist/mysticist philosophy that is awards Oscars to junk science pieces like "An Inconvenient Truth".
During her life and still today, Rand was and is the strongest defender of individual rights (capitalism in economics) the world has ever seen. Her philosophy, known as Objectivism, holds that man is an individual being whose LIFE depends on his unique faculty of reason and that to survive he must have LIBERTY to exercise his reasoning to produce the values he requires and to have complete ownership of the PROPERTY thus produced. All the rest of her philosophy proceeds from the basic concepts of reason, individualism and freedom.
In Atlas Shrugged she wrote over a thousand pages to produce a story to project the ideals of human life and perfectly distilling such a detailed and deep story into a three-part movie is impossible. The movie will necessarily reduce the story to illustrate its core concepts and provide the essence of the messages the novel has plenty of space to explore. Any fan of Rand's novels and philosophy will recognize the impossibility of the movie equalling the novel and be satisfied to see that the movie was made at all, having taken over 50 years to reach the screen.
Peter Foster closes his piece saying: "Ayn Rand's ideas about the iron laws of economics and the sleazy accommodations of politics, and why they make uneasy bedfellows, remain eternally relevant. Her books are still well worth reading. Whether this movie will attract new fans is another matter." The economic mess of the last few years has led to amazing sales numbers for a novel published in the 50's and even if the movie is half as good as the novel it will certainly motivate many people to discover some of Ayn Rand's works and think about the world in a different way.
In a time when society desperately needs to discover a philosophy of reason and try the ideal economic system that has been sampled but never given a fair chance, capitalism, every effort to spread the ideas of freedom should be celebrated. My copy of the movie was ordered weeks ago.