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    Ayn Rand may be one of the most controversial figures of the free market movement.  Her ideas have inspired and influenced generations of many seeking a freer society.  Some conservatives and even libertarians, however, take issue with her moral philosophy of Objectivism.  At a time when the expanding role of government and its ill effects on society have never been more hotly debated, a series of films based on Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged have hit theatres.  National Journalism Center’s Matthew Taylor pulled no punches in his  review of the second movie in the series for American Spectator. Ayn Rand Ayn Rand answers questions about Atlas Shrugged on the Mike Wallace Show in 1959

    Taylor adopts a Buckleyesque tone in finding flaws in both Rand’s philosophy and the film itself.  He opens with:

    Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike, the second movie in a trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, is tolerable as a popcorn film -- that is, if you like fairytales about evil governments, objectivist CEOs, and cursory allusions to metal bondage.

    On the same lines as Taylor’s review this week, William Buckley’s National Review five decades ago published Whittaker Chambers’ scathing review of the original novel.  Buckley later wrote of Objectivism that it revolved around a “hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding dogmatism that is in itself intrinsically objectionable.”  Taylor builds on this critique by observing that “Rand’s characters lack the greatness of soul that goes along with a consciousness of tragedy, the failure of hope, and the death of good things.”

    Taylor also wonders if Rand herself would appreciate the spirit in which the film was made.  She said of the Libertarian Party that “they’re a group of publicity seekers who rush into politics prematurely, because they allegedly want to educate people through a political campaign, which can’t be done.”  Taylor points out that Atlas Shrugged II tries to do precisely that, with its timely release.

    On a larger note, Taylor speculates that when the producers of the movie spent more making the film, they indulged in altruistic self-sacrifice, a serious no-no in Rand’s moral philosophy. 

    In the year 2012, the country does face many of the evils described in Atlas Shrugged.  As conservatives and libertarians propose solutions to the problems of big government, cronyism, and their corrupting nature, they have to weigh whether she who prophesied the problems also holds the solutions. 

    Taylor’s review of Atlas Shrugged II and of Rand herself, much like the writings of Chambers and Buckley, contributes to the conversation of how to apply ideals of ideology and philosophy to our desperately real problems. 

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