Rand's Atlas Shrugged Hits the Screen, Makes an Intellectual Call to Arms
I have only one thing to say regarding Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and the philosophy it demonstrates. It represents mankind as we are meant to exist, and consequently, it may just be the most important insight from any single human being in the course of history. This is a bold statement, so why do I posture it with such certainty? Simply stated, Atlas Shrugged, written half a century ago, is the closest representation to the social, moral, and intellectual destruction we see today. Reading Atlas Shrugged is frightening to say the least, because it is like reading a live teleprompter that is reporting, in a strikingly succinct conceptual narrative, the broader trends happening in America.
For those unfamiliar with the novel's theme, it lays out Rand's philosophy - Objectivist Epistemology - which seeks out man as a heroic being. More precisely, this means man as a thinking, judging being that uses his mind to identify the abstract concepts that form the basis of our reality. It denies all forms of mysticism, and perhaps most importantly, making decisions based on emotions rather than rational thought. The novel's primary characters - termed the movers or producers - go on strike both intellectually and physically. They eventually escape to Atlantis, a city they have built from the ground up, while society falls down around them.
If you are reading this article, then you are likely aware of not just the financial crisis of 2008, but the implications of events leading up to the crisis as well as developments in the name of economic recovery and future stability. Such developments mirror those events in Rand's novel. And it is her philosophy that we must use to connect the dots, for the picture they compose is alarming. Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, comments in a recent review of part one of the film version of Rand's magnum opus that it is our ideals we must question. We must "Rethink our convictions and philosophy of life from the ground up. Without doing so, it [Atlas Shrugged] argues, we won’t escape further crises." Consequently, the 2008 crisis is a poignant reminder that our ideals are fundamentally flawed.Continued on the next page