We know nothing is sacred anymore. How else could a book, a movie about ethics, reason, written by a woman who epitomized the American dream, a woman who fled a totalitarian state, who championed individual rights, fall prey to Tea Party propaganda, liberal denigration and other distortions that go on and on depending on one's political beliefs or disbeliefs.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the recently released movie based on Ayn Rand's magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, -- hijacked. Director Paul Johansson, actors: Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler and Jsu Garcia, among others, bring Rand's characters to glorious life across this magnificent country of ours from East to West, coast to coast, evoking just what Americana is. This story hits us today, resonates just as it did when published over 50 years ago, its relevancy seemingly eternal. Why? Celebrating individual freedom, the power of one's vision, the power to create, to risk for what one believes, to work hard and make a good life, doesn't this represent classic American values?
Atlas Shrugged, still in print, reported to have sold over 25 million copies to date, proves Ayn Rand had and still has her finger on the proverbial pulse of not only America, but also the aspirations of world. When Atlas Shrugged was first published the majority of critical reviews were less than favorable. Obviously the people spoke and overrode the critics. It's time to speak again.
To quote Ayn Rand: "You don't have to see through the eyes of others." Why then are we seeing through the eyes of critics, naysayers, political propagandists, and falling victim to others' agendas. This is missing the point of Ayn Rand: individual freedom. Ayn Rand saw firsthand, experienced firsthand what happens when that freedom is denied. Lionized, demonized, she stood for individual freedom above all else because she personally experienced living under a repressive regime, under a philosophy of control that extended from dominating the world, the economy, religious thought, all aspects of life, our individual expression -- and yes control of our thoughts. Atlas Shrugged was created in response to these early formative years growing up in the Soviet Union and the fear that this system might prevail.
What was she espousing? The glory of man, the glory of the individual, the infinite possibilities we possess, can manifest, the power we have within us to be creators, doers, thinkers. In my opinion she wanted to open minds, hearts, show us how to think, to transcend dogma, politics, mores, cultures, to see all points of view not to stifle them, not to say this is what you should think. We all know to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, then others. How can we help others if we ourselves are a burden? So we take care of ourselves first so we can take care of others if necessary. We rely on ourselves first before we seek a handout. Isn't this what America is all about? Why our ancestors came to this great land? Why Ayn Rand left her native country for our great shores.
Individual freedom means we are all entitled to our opinions. We all have varying tastes, likes and dislikes. Some may see the movie and hate it. Others come out raving. Personally when I was present for two screenings, the audience was ecstatic. I would say 98 percent of those who attended loved the movie. They were fans of the book thrilled to finally have Dagny Taggart, Hank Reardon and Francisco D'Anconia up on the big screen and excited to see the next installments.
In the spirit of Ayn Rand, let us not go quietly into the night. If we can agree with Ayn Rand and advocate the morality of rational self-interest, then don't sell yourself short. Judge for yourself. Go see the film. Don't let the hijackers get away with it.