Atlas Shrugged – Makers vs. Takers
Humanity at our best and our worst.
Two of the last noble captains of industry fall in love and try to save the world while their ungrateful friends, relatives, and government heap insult and injury upon them. Therefore …
Atlas Shrugged is a dangerous movie. It exposes and subverts the dominant struggle of recorded history, which is the war of the takers against the makers.
In the war of the takers against the makers, Atlas Shrugged champions the makers. In the war of style over substance, Atlas Shrugged champions substance. In the war of hype over reality, Atlas Shrugged champions reality. In the war of authority over the individual, Atlas Shrugged Champions the individual. In the war of corruption vs. integrity, Atlas Shrugged champions integrity.
Most people won’t get Atlas Shrugged because we have been programmed to see the world the way the Takers want us to see it; therefore, you’re supposed to hate this movie, but see it anyway and let the healing begin. If you weren’t choking back tears when they crossed the bridge, then your soul is definitely sick.
The technique is perfect. It makes hundreds of points by simply letting us watch the lives of the characters, and the characters don’t bore us with pedantic words like “capitalism” or “socialism”. I don’t even recall them using the word “government” – how refreshing.
The main point is how those who simply pursue their own self interest with honesty, boldness, and confidence help the world immensely; whereas, those socialists and crony capitalists who claim they want to help the world by forcing others to provide that help are causing the world more harm than good. This is not to say that all socialists are takers, many socialists are makers who serve as useful idiots for the takers, thus working against their own self interest.
Atlas Shrugged exposes the reality of government vs. the Free Market:
Government is a zero sum game; whereas, the free market is a win-win.
Government redistributes wealth – the Free Market creates wealth.
Government redistributes the same pie – the Free Market makes a bigger pie.
Government retards innovation – the Free Market maximizes innovation.
Government rewards failure – the Free Market rewards success.
Government authority is force – Free Market authority is reputation.
Government is a monopoly – the Free Market is unlimited competition.
Government is out of control – the Free Market is self regulating.
For all of recorded history, the takers have ruled the makers, but since 1776 the makers abruptly had the takers back on their heels for the first time in history. A majority understood that they owned themselves and thus had a right to keep or trade the fruits of their own labor. A majority understood that government was a not-so-necessary evil that burdened our innovation and corrupted our character. As a result, many among the wealthy acquired their wealth through the fruits of their own labor for the first time in history.
Of course, style, hype, corruption, authority, and hence, the takers, have been enjoying a resurgence for at least 100 years. As a result, the makers have been so corrupted by government that one now finds the makers hard to distinguish from the takers. Another result of the Taker resurgence is that few today have the background or the critical thinking skills to understand Atlas Shrugged.
Baby Boomers and Generation Y seem lost already – hence the election of Barack Obama. Perhaps 10% of them will get it, but I suspect that more like 70% of Generation X will get it. Hence there is reason for those individuals of substance and integrity – those makers in touch with reality – to hope for change.
The Takers Strike Back
The media are dominated by useful idiots for the Takers, so it is not too surprising that the critics hate this movie and that they are so out of sync with the people.
Of course, this feeble attack by the critics was only the first of many. As soon as the media and the leaders of special interests learn more about this movie, expect to see more backlash. Imagine what will happen to the people’s side of this poll when Obamatons start getting chain emails with links to help them stuff the ballot box. Perhaps at the moment, the Takers don’t want to draw the attention of their Obamatons to this movie for fear they may actually watch it – and that could be dangerous.
Each day after I wrote my prediction that the Obamatons would try to stuff the ballot box, I have noticed that the number of “User Ratings” has remained frozen at 7,431. Perhaps the web site detected that Obamatons (a.k.a. useful idiots) had begun their campaign to stuff the ballot box on the same day as I predicted they would.
Jim, we miss you at NW Montana Patriots!
Today several of us are going to see Atlas Shrugged and your Review makes me feel I will get more than my nickels worth? I heard the actors are being blacklisted by Hollywood and the media, but they don't care…( my kind of people!)
Will post another comment after viewing the film today! Linda J
Hi Jim, Thanks for this site. It is vital for us to communicate.
I saw "Atlas Shrugged" at the Libertarian Party of California Convention two weeks ago. It was stunning. I cannot wait for the next two installments. The producer, owner of the rights and actor who played Dagny's brother were on John Stossel last week and they said Part Two will be released April 2012, Part Three April 2013. The film and actors are superb. I will see this one again. Thanks for your diligence. Liz Cain Whitefish Montana Patriot
Actually, Atlas is showing the consequences of a controlled economy. Capitalism vs fascism/communism/socialism. When you say "government vs free market", you are giving a false alternative since you can have both. You could say, "regulated vs free market," or "government vs consumer controlled market," but Atlas does NOT say "government" is the enemy.
It seems that your either/or statements could use a closer look to make sure that they are mutually exclusive.
@Josh, I do often go back and edit my work for such clarity, but in this case, I think that when I said "government," I meant "government" – for all practical purposes. I am however, thinking primarily of "central government" – not local government.
A free market can provide charity, insurance, police, arbitration, regulation, money, roads, a postal service, national defense, education, health care, retirement, jobs, etc. If government is providing these products and services, then we still don't have a free market.
Anything left would not be government as we know it. It would be a government that existed primarily to prevent a more powerful government from arising, which would include preventing local, state, and foreign governments from violating our rights, and which would exist secondarily to react to an unusual emergency, imminent doom, etc. that somehow was not getting resolved – for example, a kind of tragedy of the commons.
Obviously, even a government so limited as to be almost unrecognizable as a government could eventually grow into monster like we have today. We know this because America started with government that was, under the Articles of Confederation, even more limited than I prescribe. Then we defeated the British Empire. Then we created a government having somewhat more authority than the limited version I prescribe when we created the Constitution, but even the kind of federal government authorized by the Constitution would be less than 10% of what we have now.
Although Atlas Shrugged was not directly advocating such a small government, that is the logical conclusion of its philosophy.
"Small vs big government" would be a valid alternative. I do not see a governments growth to the size today as inevitable, if the proper role of government is outlined and it's hands tied from expanding outside that, even if there was a 100% agreement by the people. If there was such an agreement, the people would have to change the role of government, explicitly.
FYI, the proper implementation of government is 1) military 2) police 3) courts. Those stem from it's proper role which is the protection of it's citizens individual rights. The military's job is to protect it's citizens from foreign infringement of thoses rights. The police protect from infringement by other citizens and inforce the punishment found to be proper by the courts. The proper rights come from the individuals right to his own body/mind and the products of his labor. Initiation of force is the only thing that negates his mind which is his means of survival. Proper government is created to hold the power of retaliatory force to insure fair and equal punishments are given to only those that initiate use of force.
What we have now is the initiation of force on citizens and there is no recourse because it is done by our protectors.
My issue is with the ambiguity caused by term "government" which is a concept that includes the proper system of government. It can be construed from your article that you believe Atlas to be supporting anarcy, which it is not.