Taxes & Spending

To Protest Tax Day, Go See “Atlas Shrugged” The Movie

“Great men can’t be ruled.” — Ayn Rand

America is in decline.  Like most Americans, I’m a natural-born optimist and problem-solver, but the United States faces serious hurdles in the next decade. 

The worst case scenario is outlined in Ayn Rand’s blockbuster novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” where the economy gets so bad that all the most gifted capitalists give up and disappear to “Galt’s Gulch.” 

We haven’t reached that point yet, but we could if Obama and the statists have their way in killing the golden goose.  One bad sign that entrepreneurship is lagging:  The number of IPOs in the United States has plunged by over 80% in the past five years. 

If you haven’t read this 1,000-page novel (now #1 novel on Amazon), I suggest you go see the movie, “Atlas Shrugged,” now in theaters, to give you a taste for the philosophy and plot.  Last night my wife and I attended the premier of the film in New York City, sponsored by the Atlas Society. 

The film, the first in a trilogy, was rushed into production because producer John Aglialoro was about to lose his long-held rights to the novel, and that’s a pity.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 6% positive review rating so far. 

While the film itself is heavy on dialogue, and is a disappointment for those of us who expected a big budget/celebrity cast, it is a thrill to see Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) and Hank Reardon (Grant Bowler) in action, fighting the evils of incompetent competitors and government agents.  Part I ends after a shadowy figure convinces another prominent business leader to disappear, and everyone is left asking “Who is John Galt?”

The script is true to the philosophy of Ayn Rand’s novel, and Randian devotees, such as David Kelley and the Atlas Society, were consultants on the film. 

The message of the film (and the novel) is clear:  If the government intervenes too much in the economy, things can only get worse.  As Ludwig von Mises stated, “Middle of the road policy leads to socialism.”  In the movie, the action takes place in 2016, when the Dow has fallen below 4,000, gas prices exceed $37 a gallon, and the infrastructure is collapsing.  Naturally, government officials and statist economists (Paul Krugman types) blame the troubles on greedy selfish capitalists. 

At my big show, FreedomFest, in July, we are going to have several panels and debates on the film, and whether America is suffering from “stalled technology” and economic stagnation.  Experts will include Peter Thiel (co-founded of PayPal and a member of the Forbes 400 Richest List), David Boaz (Cato), George Gilder, Steve Forbes, and John Mackey, among others.  For more information, go to www.freedomfest.com.

Meantime, celebrate tax day by seeing the movie, “Atlas Shrugged.”  If anything, it may encourage you to read the Ayn Rand novel.

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