State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Atlas Shrugged –Movie Review

I just saw the movie Atlas Shrugged, based on Ayn Rand’s book with the same title.  The movie has divided the book into three parts and this was the first of the three parts.  I thought the movie did a very good job and stayed true to the book.  I purposely did not re-read the book before I saw the movie.  Like almost any movie, the book is better than movie.  The way the characters looked in the readers’ mind are never the way they look in the movie.  My wife thought the acting was just okay, but it did not detract from value of the movie.  The theater I saw the movie in was about 75% full (mid day) and there was a hearty round of applause at the end.  As you would expect, some of the speeches and characters will immediately strike you as being based on people in today’s news.  For instance, Wesley Mouch looks like and talks like a Barney Frank.  The speeches about “shared sacrifice” sound like our communist president’s (Obama) speech on the budget, April, 14, 2011. Rand’s rational selfishness and the absurdity of altruism are as clearly delineated,  as in the book.  The movie ends with a very dramatic scene, providing a good ending point, and whetting the appetite for Part II.

One thing that struck me was how the State Science Institute’s propaganda against Rearden Metal is almost exactly like the Global Warming debate today.  While the Luddite attitude toward genetically modified food might seem like a better analogy, it does not have the same political dynamics – at least not yet.  The scientist, Dr. Robert Stadler, justifies his unscientific position (lying) because it is necessary in order for the State Science Institute to continue to receive government funding.  I remember that when I read this passage in the book 25 or so years ago, I was reluctant to accept that science could be perverted by politics.  However, the last 25 years have provided me with numerous examples where so called “science” is really propaganda- funding from the federal government to ensure that the organization continues to receive funding from their political masters.  For instance, the manipulation of data by Climate Change advocates to ignore the medieval ice age (little ice age) among numerous other lies.  This is just one of many examples where these so called scientists ignore or manipulate the data to fit their conclusions.  This is not science, it is propaganda.  Note both sides of the political spectrum behave in this moral depraved activity – see Creationism.  Not surprisingly, the religious right was no more a fan of Ayn Rand than the religious left.

If you approach this movie as a separate artistic piece from the book you will find it highly entertaining and enlightening.  I hope that people in their 20s and 30s can transcend the focus on industrial technologies opposed to  the information age.

You will love this movie if you understand the value of freedom and reason.  If you are an intellectual or economic leech, you will hate this movie.

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April 15, 2011 - Posted by | Innovation | , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. I’m an intellectual economic leech who does nothing but push paper all day long (a.k.a. patent practitioner) as opposed to spending time in the garage building the next Galt Perpetual Energy Motor.

    I have never bought or read much out of Rand’s Capitalist Manifesto.

    Nonetheless, I’m hoping to see the movie just to get a taste of what bizarre thoughts run through the minds of the rabid Rand fans. 😉

    Thanks for the movie review.

    Comment by step back | April 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Property rights are key to the functioning of capitalism. According to Rand they are the most fundamental of all property rights. According to me they were the key to escaping the Malthusian Trap. So I don’t think being a patent practitioner makes you a leech.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. My biggest issue with Rand is that she has no room for other people. You’re either one of her elites, or your some kind of moocher or scab. The rest of the world comes in shades of gray and we all have to get along! It was nice amid all the hoopla to see Rand getting hers.

    Comment by Where's the Charity? | April 20, 2011 | Reply

    • I disagree. If you read Atlas Shrugged carefully, a number of non-elites also go on strike. I think that to make the novel compelling and to get the broad theme across, she necessarily focuses on the bigger than life characters.

      The shades of gray argument is an excuse to accept evil. When you have a choice between good and evil, why would you choose some sort of mixture – gray?

      Comment by dbhalling | April 20, 2011 | Reply

  3. God help me, I put aside a whole afetronon to figure this out.

    Comment by Ricky | July 15, 2011 | Reply


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