How many years of film, television, and newspapers filled with representations of businessmen as shifty, at best amoral, or just plain plodding, soulless materialists, can a scene like THAT redeem? I have no objective measure, but I can tell you that, somewhere within me, the scene dynamited away all that debris of envious sniping by midgets of the wide screen. And I felt something like the start of tears to see, made real on the screen, ideas many of us have worked and lived to keep alive in our world.
A scene like that can carry so much. That single scene is also the dramatic answer to those who would point to the pull-peddlers, sycophants, and mere manipulators on Wall Street or elsewhere in the business world and ask: how can you admire them? Here, in one arresting scene, is James Taggart, who represents businessmen who scheme to "take" their wealth by political pull and connections–and who cause catastrophes–and Dagny, who represents those who "make" their wealth by productive genius, dealing with reality in the only way it can be mastered: by the virtues of rationality. Here is the contrast, and who can miss it: the president and vice president, the brother and sister. The scene portrays one as heroic (and very beautiful) and the other as despicable. Your handy guide to clarifying a central confusion in today's business and political world.
John Aglialoro, whose incredible dedication and investment over 18 years made the Atlas Shrugged
movie possible, introduced his fellow producer Harmon Kaslow and several other individuals essential in producing the first part of the movie. They then participated in a panel discussion moderated by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal
. Stephen Moore, also of the Wall Street Journal
, who wrote an article about Atlas Shrugged
that has become the most-Googled, most-read WSJ
feature in two years, discussed the political significance of Atlas Shrugged
in the Tea Party movement and among senators and representatives recently elected to Congress.
The Atlas Society's David Kelley advised on the script.
Concluding this part of the evening, Frank Bond and Jay Lapeyre, past and present chairmen of the Atlas Society and themselves successful company builders, said something that I would like to second, here. The Atlas Society has worked for two years to set the new directions, and build the resources, to enable it to increase the philosophical, cultural, and political impact of the Atlas Shrugged movie. The Society's new Web site has every capability for reaching the movie's audience, at their crucial moment of openness to new ideas, with interpretation, amplification, and, yes, defense of the movie's personal significance for every viewer and its significance for the future of capitalism and freedom.
This will be both an intensive and extensive mission. The Society must be prepared for an intensive campaign of information, explanation, and reinforcement during the weeks the movie is in the theaters. But because the movie is in three parts, each separated by approximately a year, this is an opportunity for a sustained campaign to build understanding, excitement, and impact.
There is no organization in a better position to do this. John Aglialoro is a long-time trustee and major supporter of the Atlas Society, and David Kelley advised on the script. That guarantees close and continual cooperation between the Atlas Society and all other elements of the movie's publicity and marketing team. In this context, the special and indispensable role of the Atlas Society is as an interpreter of the movie's philosophical import. With David Kelley, Edward Hudgins, William Thomas, Roger Donway, and dozens of other Objectivist intellectuals–and all the resources of an interactive Web site, The New Individualist
magazine, seminars and conferences, speaking engagements, TV talk-show appearances, op-ed publishing, and book publishing–the possibilities for catalyzing the intellectual and cultural impact of Atlas Shrugged
The possibilities for catalyzing the intellectual and cultural impact of Atlas Shrugged are limitless.
The only limit to what the Atlas Society can accomplish is on financial resources to build, strengthen, and extend every capability for reaching the audiences of the movie. If you want to be involved in this opportunity for spreading our ideas–surely the greatest such opportunity since the publication of the novel–then become a member and supporter of the Atlas Society. If you choose to do so, or if you already are a member, then give some thought to what the intellectual, cultural, and political impact of the Atlas Shrugged
movie is worth to you, personally. Then, please make your contribution
–financial and intellectual, in money and time–at that level.
I have been a trustee of the Atlas Society since the beginning, watching it struggle, grow, achieve its goals, and prepare to build on success. Now, all that hard work, experience, and marshaling of resources may have their greatest payoff.
I personally made a financial contribution–a very significant one, in my context–on the day of the Atlas Shrugged preview. I intend to keep contributing in weeks and months to come at a level commensurate with the importance that Ayn Rand and her work have had in my life, at a level worthy of my commitment to seeing those ideas come into their own–as they must come into their own if we, our children, and our country are to have a future.