I first read Ayn Rand's novel, "Atlas Shrugged," 46 years ago. I found it so fascinating that I couldn't lay the book down. I stayed up all night and read the full 1,000-plus pages in one sitting.

My first view of this novel was more toward thinking it an interesting piece of science fiction rather than a serious representation of how a society could crumble due to government suppression of creativity. Besides, as I thought at the time, Rand was just reflecting upon the Stalinist Russian society in which she was raised.

Who would think that such extreme destructive meddling by government into business and personal affairs could actually happen in the United States (as I now reflect on the political activities in 1965, I realize that the socialist underpinnings had already begun.

President Lyndon Johnson was beginning his "Great Society," rewarding families with no father living in the household with a larger welfare check than those with an intact family ... socialism at its finest)?

Nearly a half-century later I was thrilled to see that "Atlas Shrugged" was finally going to be made into a movie.

Since right-wing topics are frowned upon in leftist Hollywood, it took nearly 40 years before investor John Aglialoro was able to initiate production (with mostly his own money). Production for the movie began in June 2010, was directed by Paul Johansson and starred Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden.

The movie, because of the enormity of the book, has been broken into three segments, with Part 1 released on April 15.

Apparently the movie offends the finer sensibilities of liberals, as media reviewers rate it at 7 percent. People who paid to see "Atlas Shrugged" Part 1 rate it at 85 percent.

Aglialoro was very disappointed by both the media ratings and relatively poor box office turnout (15 percent of the viewers thought it "too wordy," I guess no shoot-em-up chase scenes to keep them awake). Initially, Aglialoro thought of not going on and making Parts 2 and 3. But, egged on by offensive media reviews, Aglialoro decided to go forth: "They're (the reviewers) lemmings," he said. "What's their fear of Ayn Rand? They hate this woman. They hate individualism" ... but it's "my money" (to appreciate why "my money" is amusing you'll need to see the movie).

I'll not synopsize the plot here ... I want you to see the movie.

So go and observe the smugness of government officials opining that they know better than you how to run your business (or family). And using warm-and-fuzzy wording such as "equal participation" to prevent competition except by the "chosen ones."

Perhaps you will come away frightened by what you see. Perhaps more of you will come away amused. After all, that couldn't happen here.

But those of you who follow the unexpurgated news sources will know that the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) recently filed a complaint about the opening of a Boeing assembly plant in South Carolina, because it will be a non-union shop (South Carolina is a right-to-work state). Never mind that Boeing is hiring still more employees in Seattle.

As long as a government robs Peter to pay Paul, that government can always count on Paul's vote. That is the situation we are in right now. When Peter runs out of money...

• Jim Thompson designs custom microchips and has been a resident of the Valley for 48 years, the last 16 in Ahwatukee Foothills.

(1) comment


While I understand that this is a novel and the producers won't withdraw from society, they will indeed start pulling in the reins on productivity as it just won't be worth it either from a risk or aggravation point of view. It is no surprise that the critics would find the movie in an unfavorable light and the Atlas Shrugged fans love it but that does not matter one iota as the cat is now out of the box. If Aglialoro would only turn this classic into a prime time soap it would surpass Dallas, the time is ripe. There is much to be learned from Ayn Rand and her writings.

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