October 2, 2012 -- In 1957, Ayn Rand wrote her masterpiece achievement, the novel ATLAS SHRUGGED. The working title of the book was called “THE STRIKE” until she changed it just before completion of the final manuscript.
“THE STRIKE” says to the world in an 1100 page warning …”money is the root of all good … it is the barometer of a society’s virtue. But when you see that in order to produce money, you need permission from those who produce nothing, you will know your society is doomed. “ Therefore, she implies, do not assume that producers will always be there … creating wealth and jobs and prosperity. If the producer’s reward is denigration, under-appreciation, and wearying governmental roadblocks, our producers may just decide to shrug and to go on strike, leaving the job of creating prosperity to the rest of society including … god forbid… the politicians.
In the years following the successful release of the novel, the Aristotle-based philosophy of “Objectivism” was conceived, a philosophy which is Ayn Rand’s testament to ethical self-interest and applied reason.
Objectivists believe your life is not owned by anybody or anything … it is owned only by you. While you are living, your life is the most important in the universe, and your job is to honorably fashion it to be the happiest possible, constantly seeking the best within yourself. Objectivism maintains that individual and responsible self-interest is the best way to secure a better world for all.
If the producer’s reward is denigration, under-appreciation, and wearying governmental roadblocks, our producers may just decide to shrug and to go on strike.
To an objectivist, philosophically speaking, our enemy is altruism, which is a concoction of self-denial and selflessness (according to Webster, selflessness is “doing for others at the expense of yourself”). Altruism is the mortal foe of individualism. Altruism is forced duty, forced morality, self-sacrifice through guilt. Altruism must not be confused with benevolence and charity which are highly noteworthy actions, but only when they are voluntary and on your terms.
After the death of Ayn Rand in the early 1980s, the setting was ripe for organizations to spring up dedicated to perpetuating the objectivist philosophy of Rand. The first of these was founded by Ed Snider (CEO of Comcast Spectacor). With the blessing of Ayn Rand’s legal heir, Leonard Peikoff, Ed financed and launched the Ayn Rand Institute in NYC. ARI currently operates in the LA area and is run by Executive Director, Yaron Brook. The newer and next largest intellectual organization dedicated to Objectivism is The Atlas Society where I am proud to serve on the Board of Trustees. The founder and true intellectual hero of this movement and my friend, is with us tonight, Dr. David Kelley, who I will shortly introduce.
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 was greenlighted on Ayn Rand’s birthday 2-2-12 at this year’s annual Reason Foundation gathering in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our opening target date was 10-12-12. As soon as the announcement was made … as in Part I … the rush to production was on. There was no time to waste if we wanted to get a really good film in to theaters before the November 6th Presidential election. In regard to that initiative, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our Executive Producer, Bill Dunn and his wife Rebecca – whose commitment was part of the reason the 10-12-12 timetable was possible.
Objectivism is a philosophical movement, not a political event like November 6th elections. But to an Objectivist a minimally acceptable political candidate must be morally bound to capitalism – someone who believes in individual property rights as sacrosanct, someone who recognizes that growth and prosperity require a government that is constitutionally limited, and someone who believes buyers and sellers must have economic freedom – that markets must be separate from political tinkering (similar to the separation of Church and State).
By the way, it is no secret that Ayn Rand was a secularist – an atheist. But she was also an advocate of religious freedom – provided that the mandate of the separation of church and state be applied as it is in America. I also believe, however, that the religious community should be tolerant of secularists who are prospectively great allies of the right – and also growing in number. Secularists can be steadfast friends in the fight for liberty and traditional constitutional values – something Republicans should keep in mind. And, therefore, the religious right should not fear to embrace Ayn Rand. (Paul Ryan – are you listening?)
Now, as far as the movie, Atlas Shrugged Part II, is concerned and opening box office numbers, I don’t expect a lot of positive endorsements from the academic/media complex nor from the MSNBC crowd, who are the handmaidens of the now-governing political class. These are people who have childishly dismissed Ayn Rand out-of-hand with no serious analysis or investigation – similar to their comrades in arms – the movie critics!
The critics, en masse (42 for 42) immaturely bullied Atlas Shrugged Part 1 mercilessly – not because the cast and producers made a technically or artistically poor movie. But because of its philosophic message of individualism. The critics prostituted their profession for politics. They want a screener? I have three words for you. “Buy a ticket!” Why should we give the critics the sword they will use to decapitate the movie?
Lastly, you should know that the movie you will see is adapted faithfully from the novel … and that the book to cinema transition is skillful – and is to my liking, and hopefully, it will be to your liking also.
David Kelley received his PhD in philosophy at Princeton University and has been a steadfast advisor and script consultant to me for over 15 years and more than a handful of Atlas Shrugged movie scripts. … David.
John Aglialoro optioned the film rights to Atlas Shrugged in 1992. After numerous prior efforts to adapt the novel, he produced Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and now Part 2. He is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated a variety of businesses for the past 30 years as chairman and co-founder of UM Holdings Ltd. of Haddonfield, New Jersey. UM currently is a major shareholder in Cybex, a manufacturer of commercial exercise equipment, where Aglialoro serves as CEO. He is also chairman of Executive Health Exams, a UM business headquartered in Manhattan that provides physical examinations to corporate clients.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism was set forth in her epic novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and in her brilliant non-fiction essays. The Atlas Society promotes Objectivism and its core values: reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom.