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Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Ayn Rand Novels

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This year, the Ayn Rand Institute held a weekly online reading group for Atlas Shrugged called The Atlas Project. Please select your level of familiarity with this program:

How interested are you in learning more about Ayn Rands ideas?

How likely would you be to participate in a video contest on Atlas Shrugged compared to writing an essay?

An important early event in the novel is the destruction of the Phoenix-Durango. What factors make its destruction possible? How does this issue relate to the meaning and theme of Atlas Shrugged? In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1962 essay The Pull Peddlers.

Capitalisms defenders usually appeal to the public good as the moral justification of capitalism. Contrast this approach to defending capitalism with Ayn Rands approach in Atlas Shrugged. In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1965 essay What Is Capitalism?

Francisco dAnconia and his teacher, Hugh Akston, advise more than once: Check your premises, because contradictions do not exist. Identify at least two major apparent contradictions that the heroes of Atlas Shrugged encounter, and explain, with reference to the novel, what premises they need to check and correct in order for them to understand that these contradictions do not exist.

Have you checked to ensure that all personally identifiable informationhas been removed from your essay?

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Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Ayn Rand Novels

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand – Movies – The New York Times

Whether Ms. Jolie, who has called herself something of a Rand fan, will bring the novels heroine, Dagny Taggart, to life on screen, or merely wind up on a list with other actresses who sought or were sought for the role including Barbara Stanwyck, Faye Dunaway, Raquel Welch, Farrah Fawcett and Sharon Stone remains to be seen. Until now, at least, no one in Hollywood has figured out a formula that promises both to sell popcorn and to do justice to the original text, let alone to the philosophy that it hammers home endlessly, at times in lengthy speeches. (The final one is 60 pages long.)

But Mr. Baldwin said he believed that Mr. Wallace and the rest of their team were up to the task. We all believe in the book, and will be true to the book, he said.

Easier said than done. Published in 1957 and set in the near future, Atlas Shrugged plots the collapse of American society after thinkers, industrialists, scientists, artists and other innovators Rands kind of people go on strike and disappear, refusing to contribute to a collectivist world. Dagny, a railroad heiress, tries to save the country from starvation and total collapse, while falling in love with the mysterious John Galt, who she later learns was the man who started the strike. The novel ends after an apocalypse.

During Rands lifetime, her Objectivism, which celebrates rational self-interest and capitalism, was widely dismissed by academia and disparaged by both the political right and left. The reviews for Atlas Shrugged were not much kinder. It howls in the readers ear and beats him about the head in order to secure his attention, Granville Hicks wrote in The New York Times, and then, when it has him subdued, harangues him for page upon page. It has only two moods, the melodramatic and the didactic, and in both it knows no bounds.

Yet Atlas was a best seller. Six million copies have been sold over the years, and it remains a popular title, particularly among college students, according to Penguin Group, its publisher. Many of those copies wind up on shelves on Wall Street, where the book has been affectionately referred to as the Bible of selfishness.

Hollywood took notice of the novels popularity from the start, but Rand refused to consider movie offers: she had been burned, she felt, by the experience of turning her earlier (and, at 720 pages, comparatively short) novel, The Fountainhead, into the 1949 film starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.

Rand had adapted it herself, but she battled with the director, King Vidor, over changes to her screenplay. In the end a single line was cut from a six-minute speech by Coopers character, Howard Roark, reportedly leaving Rand embittered by the experience. She vowed that Warner Brothers would not be permitted to adapt Atlas unless the studio recut The Fountainhead, returning the edited line to its rightful place, said her biographer Jeff Britting.

In 1972, 15 years after the novels publication, Mr. Ruddy, fresh from producing The Godfather, decided to make a run at Rand, who was already in her late 60s. Atlas Shrugged, lets face it, was probably the most important novel of the 20th century that was never a film, he said.

Rands agents warned him to expect rejection, he said, but reluctantly set up an appointment. He recalled meeting her in a room with one small love seat and many empty chairs. Mr. Ruddy, 6-foot-4, squeezed in next to the petite aging writer on the small couch and commenced to woo her.

I knew from Atlas Shrugged that she dug men, that she was a lusty woman, he recalled in a telephone interview. We start talking. Its instant love. Before long, he said, Rand was telling him, in her heavy accent, I want you to do Atlas Shrugged.

Mr. Ruddy said he warned Rand that it was not her ideas that interested him. Forget philosophy, he said. The abstract of the story is quite lovely: the power and the sustainability of the great individual, of the creative person, of the entrepreneur. Rand, he said, thought that was brilliant, because thats how she saw her book, as a story first.

Mr. Ruddy said he looked past most of her eccentricities; she insisted on flying only by private plane, for example, because she feared that if the Russians found out that she was on a commercial airliner, theyd hijack it, he said.

But Mr. Ruddy refused to grant Rand final script approval, and their courtship quickly broke off. Its a fools game to spend a lot of money and time only to have her say, I think you should take this out, he said. So, he recalled, he told Rand that he would wait for her to drop dead and then make the movie on his own terms.

With Mr. Ruddy out of the picture, Rand began fielding new offers from movie and television producers. In 1978 Henry Jaffe and his son Michael negotiated a deal for an eight-hour mini-series on NBC. Michael Jaffe, now a partner at Jaffe/Braunstein Films, obtained script approval for Rand, and they hired Sterling Silliphant, the screenwriter of the Sidney Poitier movie In the Heat of the Night, to adapt Atlas Shrugged. Rand was unsatisfied with his script; she called Mr. Silliphants writing too naturalistic and drew a line at his insertion of the word just into a single line of dialogue. (Mr. Jaffe, in an interview, took up Rands defense: It made the sentence become ambiguous, he said. Her characters didnt say ambiguous things.)

Yet it was a regime change at NBC specifically Fred Silvermans ascension to the network presidency that killed the project in 1979. The network suddenly viewed Atlas Shrugged as too burdened with philosophy, its characters as too black-and-white, its subject too ponderous.

At the end of her life Rand tried to write her own script, as she had done for The Fountainhead, but she died with only a third of her hoped-for mini-series finished.

Rand left her estate to a longtime student, Leonard Peikoff, who eventually sold an option to Michael Jaffe and Ed Snider, a friend of Rands who owned the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. But Mr. Peikoff refused to approve the script they developed. Leonard had huge problems with it, Mr. Jaffe said. He wasnt Ayn. But he wanted to exercise her control.

Other producers came and went, and in 1992 a New Jersey investor and Objectivist, John Aglialoro, bought an option to make Atlas Shrugged, eventually paying Mr. Peikoff more than $1 million in exchange for full creative control.

Under Mr. Aglialoros sponsorship a succession of writers and producers developed at least four scripts. One writer was Mr. Peikoffs ex-wife, Cynthia Peikoff, who had been Rands typist. Some of the scripts, she said, were too sci-fi, others reduced the novels characters to caricatures, and she was told that her own attempt was no better than workmanlike.

In 1999 Mr. Ruddy resurfaced, cutting a deal with TNT for a four-hour mini-series version. A dream come true, he called it at the time. But a threatened actors strike delayed production, and the project was dropped after AOL and Time Warner merged.

Then 9/11 worsened the climate for films with apocalyptic visions. I could have stayed with it and kept pushing it, Mr. Ruddy said. But now people start jumping out of their seats when a building blows up.

Mr. Ruddys exit opened the door to the Baldwins, who optioned the rights to Atlas Shrugged from Mr. Aglialoro while running the billionaire Phil Anschutzs Crusader Entertainment. (Mr. Baldwin, oddly enough, had once been a ticket manager for Mr. Sniders Flyers.) James V. Hart, who had written Contact, developed a draft of the first installment of a three-movie series, but the Baldwins could land neither stars nor financing.

There was also some thought that Mr. Anschutz, whose movies are often designed to accommodate a religiously devout audience, may have lost enthusiasm for the project when he learned that Rand was an outspoken atheist, but an Anschutz spokesman called this a misunderstanding. In any case, when the Baldwins left Crusader in 2004 to set up their own production company, they took the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them

Last spring in a twist that might have amused Rand and Mr. Anschutz, the latest deal for an Atlas Shrugged film project had its inception during Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Beverly Hills.

Mr. Baldwin said that a fellow parishioner, Michael Burns the vice chairman of Lions Gate approached Mr. Baldwin and his wife right under the nose of the priest, whispering to them about the rights to Rands novel and asking to meet right away.

Mr. Burns who remembered the conversation taking place outside, after Mass said he had first read Atlas in high school and has given as many as 100 copies as gifts over the years.

I think it solidified my capitalistic thinking, in that I believe very strongly that people are generally selfish, but that selfishness can ultimately benefit many, many people, Mr. Burns said.

The Baldwins used Mr. Harts script to interest Ms. Jolie in the project, through her manager, Geyer Kosinski. (Mr. Kosinski said Ms. Jolie declined to comment.) Together the Baldwins, Mr. Burns and Mr. Kosinski, who is also to be one of the producers, quickly approached Mr. Wallace about a new adaptation. And in what Mr. Wallace called an uncanny coincidence, he had recently read Atlas for the first time, when he and his college-age son had swapped their favorite books.

The challenge, Mr. Wallace said, was immediately tempting. As for how he is distilling Rands novel and its Castro-length monologues to a two-hour screenplay, Mr. Wallace insisted he had the material under control and was on course to deliver a finished draft this month.

I can pretty much guarantee you that there wont be a 30-page speech at the end of the movie, he said. I have two hours to try to express what Rand believed to an audience, and my responsibility is not only to Ayn Rand, but to the audience, that this be a compelling movie. More people will see the movie than will read Atlas Shrugged. And the movie has to work.

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Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand – Movies – The New York Times

Atlas Shrugged 2 (2012) Full Movie Watch in HD Online for …

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Railroad owner Dagny Taggart and steel mogul Henry Rearden search desperately for the inventor of a revolutionary motor as the U.S. government continues to spread its control over the national economy.

Country: United States

Duration: 111 min

Quality: HD

Release: 2012

IMDb: 5.4

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Actors of “Atlas Shrugged 2”

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John Putch

Birthdate: 27 July 1961, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Creators of “Atlas Shrugged 2”

Brian Patrick O’Toole

Birthdate: 2 May 1963, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Critic Reviews of “Atlas Shrugged 2”

October 15, 2012

Seriously, if this is the best promotion of itself that the free market can manage, it really would benefit from the help of a Ministry of Culture or something.

October 15, 2012

Director John Putch struggles to find balance or generate a single spark from the clunky mix of romance, political diatribe and thriller.

October 15, 2012

The producers are going to have to hire a better director if they want moviegoers to be curious enough about this Galt guy to buy a ticket for the presumptive third and final chapter.

October 13, 2012

It’s consistent with its predecessor as a somewhat awkward translation of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel to our current era, handled with bland telepic-style competency.

October 13, 2012

A disaster as a film, Atlas also is laughable in its presentation of Rand’s ideology.

October 13, 2012

If the novel Atlas Shrugged is ultimate libertarian porn, then the first two installments of the screen adaptation are soggy softcore.

May 03, 2015

A greedy billionaire’s most feverish nightmare realized with all the amateurish panache of a daytime soap opera.

June 09, 2013

There are ironic footnotes in cinema history because they champion the free market yet fail miserably in it.

November 05, 2012

The Bad Boys II of ****ty propaganda films, morally and aesthetically corrupt yet compulsively watchable in the broad strokes. Somewhere, in heaven, Eisenstein is laughing. Hard.

October 19, 2012

The film’s excruciating unwatchability transcends politics.

October 19, 2012

Atlas won’t be the only one to shrug off this tiresome load.

Gallery of “Atlas Shrugged 2”

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Atlas Shrugged 2 (2012) Full Movie Watch in HD Online for …

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – IMDb

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It was great to be alive, once, but the world was perishing. Factories were shutting down, transportation was grinding to a halt, granaries were empty–and key people who had once kept it running were disappearing all over the country. As the lights winked out and the cities went cold, nothing was left to anyone but misery. No one knew how to stop it, no one understood why it was happening – except one woman, the operating executive of a once mighty transcontinental railroad, who suspects the answer may rest with a remarkable invention and the man who created it – a man who once said he would stop the motor of the world. Everything now depends on finding him and discovering the answer to the question on the lips of everyone as they whisper it in fear: Who *is* John Galt? Written byRobb

Taglines:Who is John Galt?

Budget:$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA: $1,686,347,17 April 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA: $4,752,353

Runtime: 97 min

Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1

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Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – IMDb

Atlas Shrugged | AynRand.org

Reason and freedom are corollaries, Ayn Rand holds, as are faith and force. Atlas Shrugged showcases both relationships.

The heroes are unwavering thinkers. Whether it is a destructive business scheme proclaimed as moral, the potential collapse of the economy, or a personal life filled with pain, the heroes seek to face the facts and understand. To them, reason is an absolute. Politically, therefore, what they require and demand is freedom. Freedom to think, to venture into the new and unknown, to earn, to trade, to succeed and fail and pursue their own individual happiness.

The villains, by contrast, reject the absolutism of reason. They want a world ruled by their feelings, in which wishing makes it so. James Taggart, for instance, wants to be the head of a railroad without the need of effort. No amount of thinking can bring such a world about he must attempt to bring it about by force. As Rand puts it elsewhere, Anyone who resorts to the formula: Its so, because I say so, will have to reach for a gun, sooner or later.

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Atlas Shrugged | AynRand.org

Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition) by Ayn Rand, Paperback …

INTRODUCTIONby Leonard Peikoff

Ayn Rand is one of Americas favorite authors. In a recent Library of Congress/Book of the Month Club survey, American readers ranked Atlas Shruggedher masterworkas second only to the Bible in its influence on their lives. For decades, at scores of college campuses around the country, students have formed clubs to discuss the works of Ayn Rand. In 1998, the Oscar-nominated Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, a documentary film about her life, played to sold-out venues throughout America and Canada. In recognition of her enduring popularity, the United States Postal Service in 1999 issued an Ayn Rand stamp.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies of them are sold every year, so far totaling more than twenty million. Why?

Ayn Rand understood, all the way down to fundamentals, why man needs the unique form of nourishment that is literature. And she provided a banquet that was at once intellectual and thrilling.

The major novels of Ayn Rand contain superlative values that are unique in our age. Atlas Shrugged (1957) and The Fountainhead (1943) offer profound and original philosophic themes, expressed in logical, dramatic plot structures. They portray an uplifted vision of man, in the form of protagonists characterized by strength, purposefulness, integrityheroes who are not only idealists, but happy idealists, self-confident, serene, at home on earth. (See synopses later in this guide.)

Ayn Rands first novel, We the Living (1936), set in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union, is an indictment not merely of Soviet-style Communism, but of any and every totalitarian state that claims the right to sacrifice the supreme value of an individual human life.

Anthem (1946), a prose poem set in the future, tells of one mans rebellion against an utterly collectivized world, a world in which joyless, selfless men are permitted to exist only for the sake of serving the group. Written in 1937, Anthem was first published in England; it was refused publication in America until 1946, for reasons the reader can discover by reading it for himself.

Ayn Rand wrote in a highly calculated literary style intent on achieving precision and luminous clarity, yet that style is at the same time colorful, sensuously evocative, and passionate. Her exalted vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth, Objectivism, have changed the lives of tens of thousands of readers and launched a major philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

You are invited to sit down to the banquet which is Ayn Rands novels. I hope you personally enjoy them as much as I did.

About the Books

Atlas Shrugged (1957) is a mystery story, Ayn Rand once commented, “not about the murder of mans body, but about the murderand rebirthof mans spirit.” It is the story of a manthe novels herowho says that he will stop the motor of the world, and does. The deterioration of the U.S. accelerates as the story progresses. Factories, farms, shops shut down or go bankrupt in ever larger numbers. Riots break out as food supplies become scarce. Is he, then, a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why does he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies but against those who need him most, including the woman, Dagny Taggart, a top railroad executive, whom he passionately loves? What is the worlds motorand the motive power of every man?

Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, and charged with awesome questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a novel of tremendous scope. It presents an astounding panorama of human lifefrom the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy (Francisco dAnconia)to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction (Hank Rearden)to the philosopher who becomes a pirate (Ragnar Danneskjold)to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph (Richard Halley). Dramatizing Ayn Rands complete philosophy, Atlas Shrugged is an intellectual revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent eventsand with a ruthlessly brilliant plot and irresistible suspense.

We do not want to spoil the plot by giving away its secret or its deeper meaning, so as a hint only we will quote here one brief exchange from the novel:

“Idont know. Whatcould he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”The Fountainhead (1943) introduced the world to architect Howard Roark, an intransigent, egoistic hero of colossal stature. A man whose arrogant pride in his work is fully earned, Roark is an innovator who battles against a tradition-worshipping society. Expelled from a prestigious architectural school, refused work, reduced to laboring in a granite quarry, Roark is never stopped. He has to withstand not merely professional rejection, but also the enmity of Ellsworth Toohey, leading humanitarian; of Gail Wynand, powerful publisher; and of Dominique Francon, the beautiful columnist who loves him fervently yet, for reasons you will discover, is bent on destroying his career.

At the climax of the novel, the untalented but successful architect Peter Keating, a college friend of his, pleads with Roark for help in designing a prestigious project that Roark himself wanted but was too unpopular to win. Roark agrees to design the project secretly on condition that it be built strictly according to his drawings. During construction, however, Roarks building is thoroughly mutilated. Having no recourse in law, Roark takes matters into his own hands in a famous act of dynamiting. In the process and the subsequent courtroom trial, he makes his stand clear, risking his career, his love, and his life.

The Fountainhead portrays individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in mans soul; it presents the motivations and the basic premises that produce the character of an individualist or a collectivist.The novel was made into a motion picture in 1949, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, for which Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay. The movie, available on video, often plays on cable TV and at art-house cinemas, where it is always received enthusiastically.

We the Living (1936), Ayn Rands first and most autobiographical novel, is a haunting account of mens struggle for survival in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union. In a country where people fear being thought disloyal to the Communist state, three individuals stand forth with the mark of the unconquered in their being: Kira, who wants to become a builder, and the two men who love herLeo, an aristocrat, and Andrei, an idealistic Communist.

When Leo becomes ill with tuberculosis, Kira strives to get him the medical attention needed to save his life. But she is trapped in a society that regards the individual as expendable. No matter where she turns, she faces closed doors and refusals. The State tells her: “One hundred thousand workers died in the civil war. Whyin the face of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republicscant one aristocrat die?”

Kiras love for Leo is such that the price of saving his life is no object. To pay for sending him to a sanitarium, she becomes the mistress of Andrei Taganovwho is not only an idealist, but also an officer of the Soviet secret police. The gripping and poignant resolution of the love triangle is an indictment not merely of Soviet-style Communism, but of the totalitarian state as such.

During World War II, an Italian film of We the Living was produced without Ayn Rands knowledge. Largely faithful to the book, the film was approved by Italys Fascist government on the grounds that it was anti-communist. But the Italian public understood that the movie was just as anti-fascist as it was anti-communist. People grasped Ayn Rands theme that dictatorship as such is evil, and embraced the movie. Five months after its release, Mussolinis government figured out what everyone else knew, and banned the movie. This is eloquent proof of Ayn Rands claim that the book is not merely “about Soviet Russia.”

After the war, the movie was re-edited under Ayn Rands supervision. The movie is still played at art-house cinemas, and is now available on videotape.

Anthem (1946), a novelette in the form of a prose poem, depicts a grim world of the future that is totally collectivized. Technologically primitive, it is a world in which candles are the very latest advance. From birth to death, mens lives are directed for them by the State. At Palaces of Mating, the State enacts its eugenics program; once born and schooled, people are assigned jobs they dare not refuse, toiling in the fields until they are consigned to the Home of the Useless.

This is a world in which men live and die for the sake of the State. The State is all, the individual is nothing. It is a world in which the word “I” has vanished from the language, replaced by “We.” For the sin of speaking the unspeakable “I,” men are put to death.

Equality 7-2521, however, rebels.

Though assigned to the life work of street sweeper by the rulers who resent his brilliant, inquisitive mind, he secretly becomes a scientist. Enduring the threat of torture and imprisonment, he continues in his quest for knowledge and ultimately rediscovers electric light. But when he shares it with the Council of Scholars, he is denounced for the sin of thinking what no other men think. He runs for his life, escaping to the uncharted forest beyond the citys edge. There, with his beloved, he begins a more intense sequence of discoveries, both personal and intellectual, that help him break free from the collectivist States brutal morality of sacrifice. He learns that mans greatest moral duty is the pursuit of his own happiness. He discovers and speaks the sacred word: I.

Anthems theme is the meaning and glory of mans ego.

About Objectivism

Ayn Rand held that philosophy was not a luxury for the few, but a life-and-death necessity of everyones survival. She described Objectivism, the intellectual framework of her novels, as a philosophy for living on earth. Rejecting all forms of supernaturalism and religion, Objectivism holds that Reality, the world of nature, exists as an objective absolutefacts are facts, independent of mans feelings, wishes, hopes, or fears; in short, “wishing wont make it so.” Further, Ayn Rand held that Reasonthe faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by mans sensesis mans only source of knowledge, both of facts and of values. Reason is mans only guide to action, and his basic means of survival. Hence her rejection of all forms of mysticism, such as intuition, instinct, revelation, etc.

On the question of good and evil, Objectivism advocates a scientific code of morality: the morality of rational self-interest, which holds Mans Life as the standard of moral value. The good is that which sustains Mans Life; the evil is that which destroys it. Rationality, therefore, is mans primary virtue. Each man should live by his own mind and for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor others to himself. Man is an end in himself. His own happiness, achieved by his own work and trade, is each mans highest moral purpose.

In politics, as a consequence, Objectivism upholds not the welfare state, but laissez-faire capitalism (the complete separation of state and economics) as the only social system consistent with the requirements of Mans Life. The proper function of government is the original American system: to protect each individuals inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

Objectivism defines “art” as the re-creation of reality according to an artists metaphysical value-judgments. The greatest school in art history, it holds, is Romanticism, whose art represents things not as they are, but as they might be and ought to be.

The fundamentals of Objectivism are set forth in many nonfiction books including: For the New Intellectual; The Virtue of Selfishness; Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution; Philosophy: Who Needs It; and The Romantic Manifesto. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, written by Ayn Rands intellectual heir Leonard Peikoff and published in 1991, is the definitive presentation of her entire system of philosophy.

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At the age of nine, she decided to make fiction-writing her career. In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave the USSR for a visit to relatives in the United States. Arriving in New York in February 1926, she first spent six months with her relatives in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles.

On her second day in Hollywood, the famous director Cecil B. De Mille noticed her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his silent movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra and later as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank OConnor, whom she married in 1929; they were happily married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various menial jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at RKO, she sold her first screenplay, “Red Pawn,” to Universal Studios in 1932 and then saw her first play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and (in 1935) on Broadway. In 1936, her first novel, We the Living, was published.

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the Ayn Rand hero, whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as “he could be and ought to be.” The Fountainhead was rejected by a dozen publishers but finally accepted by Bobbs-Merrill; it came out in 1943. The novel made publishing history by becoming a best-seller within two years purely through word of mouth; it gained lasting recognition for Ayn Rand as a champion of individualism.

Atlas Shrugged (1957) was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy of Objectivism in an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized early that in order to create heroic characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles which make such people possible. She proceeded to develop a “philosophy for living on earth.” Objectivism has now gained a worldwide audience and is an ever growing presence in American culture. Her novels continue to sell in enormous numbers every year, proving themselves enduring classics of literature.

Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, at her home in New York City.

Recollections of Ayn RandA Conversation with Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D.,Ayn Rand’s longtime associate and intellectual heir

Dr. Peikoff, you met Miss Rand when you were seventeen and were associated with her until her death, thirty-one years later. What were your first impressions of her? What was she like?

The strongest first impression I had of her was her passion for ideas. Ayn Rand was unlike anyone I had ever imagined. Her mind was utterly first-handed: she said what no one else had ever said or probably ever thought, but she said these things so logicallyso simply, factually, persuasivelythat they seemed to be self-evident. She radiated the kind of intensity that one could imagine changing the course of history. Her brilliantly perceptive eyes looked straight at you and missed nothing: neither did her methodical, painstaking, virtually scientific replies to my questions miss anything. She made me think for the first time that thinking is important. I said to myself after I left her home: “All of life will be different now. If she exists, everything is possible.”

In her fiction, Ayn Rand presented larger-than-life heroesembodiments of her philosophy of rational egoismthat have inspired countless readers over the years. Was Ayn Rands own life like that of her characters? Did she practice her own ideals?

Yes, always. From the age of nine, when she decided on a career as a writer, everything she did was integrated toward her creative purpose. As with Howard Roark, dedication to thought and thus to her work was the root of Ayn Rands person.

In every aspect of life, she once told me, a man should have favorites. He should define what he likes or wants most and why, and then proceed to get it. She always did just thatfleeing the Soviet dictatorship for America, tripping her future husband on a movie set to get him to notice her, ransacking ancient record shops to unearth some lost treasure, even decorating her apartment with an abundance of her favorite color, blue-green.

Given her radical views in morality and politics, did she ever soften or compromise her message?Never. She took on the whole worldliberals, conservatives, communists, religionists, Babbitts and avant-garde alikebut opposition had no power to sway her from her convictions.

I never saw her adapting her personality or viewpoint to please another individual. She was always the same and always herself, whether she was talking with me alone, or attending a cocktail party of celebrities, or being cheered or booed by a hall full of college students, or being interviewed on national television.

Couldnt she have profited by toning things down a little?

She could never be tempted to betray her convictions. A Texas oil man once offered her up to a million dollars to use in spreading her philosophy, if she would only add a religious element to it to make it more popular. She threw his proposal into the wastebasket. “What would I do with his money,” she asked me indignantly, “if I have to give up my mind in order to get it?”

Her integrity was the result of her method of thinking and her conviction that ideas really matter. She knew too clearly how she had reached her ideas, why they were true, and what their opposites were doing to mankind.

Who are some writers that Ayn Rand respected and enjoyed reading?

She did not care for most contemporary writers. Her favorites were the nineteenth century Romantic novelists. Above all, she admired Victor Hugo, though she often disagreed with his explicit views. She liked Dostoevsky for his superb mastery of plot structure and characterization, although she had no patience for his religiosity. In popular literature, she read all of Agatha Christie twice, and also liked the early novels of Mickey Spillane.

In addition to writing best-sellers, Ayn Rand originated a distinctive philosophy of reason. If someone wants to get an insight into her intellectual and creative development, what would you suggest?

A reader ought first to read her novels and main nonfiction in order to understand her views and values. Then, to trace her early literary development, a reader could pick up The Early Ayn Rand, a volume I edited after her death. It features a selection of short stories and plays that she wrote while mastering English and the art of fiction-writing. For a glimpse of her lifelong intellectual development, I would recommend the recent book Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman.

Ayn Rands life was punctuated by disappointments with people, frustration, and early poverty. Was she embittered? Did she achieve happiness in her own life?

She did achieve happiness. Whatever her disappointments or frustrations, they went down, as she said about Roark, only to a certain point. Beneath it was her self-esteem, her values, and her conviction that happiness, not pain, is what matters. I remember a spring day in 1957. She and I were walking up Madison Avenue in New York toward the office of Random House, which was in the process of bringing out Atlas Shrugged. She was looking at the city she had always loved most, and now, after decades of rejection, she had seen the top publishers in that city competing for what she knew, triumphantly, was her masterpiece. She turned to me suddenly and said: “Dont ever give up what you want in life. The struggle is worth it.” I never forgot that. I can still see the look of quiet radiance on her face.

The Fountainhead

We the Living

Anthem

a) “It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think.”

b) “I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning.”

c) “I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them.”

Objectivism

Related Titles

Fiction in PaperbackAnthem (New York: Signet, 1961).Atlas Shrugged (New York: Signet, 1959).The Fountainhead (New York: Signet, 25th anniv. ed., 1968).Night of January 16th (New York: Plume, 1987).We the Living (New York: Signet, 1960).

Nonfiction in PaperbackCapitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1967).The Early Ayn Rand: A Selection from Her Unpublished Fiction(New York: Signet, 1986).For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1963).Philosophy: Who Needs It (New York: Signet, 1964).Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (New York:Meridian, 1999).The Romantic Manifesto (New York: Signet, 2nd rev. ed., 1971).The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet, 1984).

On Ayn Rand and ObjectivismThe Ayn Rand Reader, edited by Gary Hull and Leonard Peikoff(New York: Plume, 1999).Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman (New York:Dutton, 1997).Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff(New York: Meridian, 1993).

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Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition) by Ayn Rand, Paperback …

Atlas Shrugged Movie (Official Site)

04.19.18

Little Pink House is in theaters Friday, April 20th!

02.01.18

Watch the new “Draw My Life” video, featuring Envy, from The Atlas Society.

12.13.17

The Atlas Society warns us all of some very serious diseases: STDs (Socially Transmitted Diseases).

11.24.17

Midas Mulligan’s Black Friday Sale is back for its 7th year!

10.14.17

Read a speech by Atlas Shrugged Producer John Aglialoro.

09.28.17

The Atlas Society founder, Dr. David Kelley, is retiring.

08.31.17

Anthem is being made into a graphic novel!

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Atlas Shrugged Movie (Official Site)

‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years – WSJ

Some years ago when I worked at the libertarian Cato Institute, we used to label any new hire who had not yet read “Atlas Shrugged” a “virgin.” Being conversant in Ayn Rand’s classic novel about the economic carnage caused by big government run amok was practically a job requirement. If only “Atlas” were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I’m confident that we’d get out of the current financial mess a lot faster.

Many of us who know…

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‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years – WSJ

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – Rotten Tomatoes

Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) runs Taggart Transcontinental, the largest remaining railroad company in America, with intelligence, courage and integrity, despite the systematic disappearance of her best and most competent workers. She is drawn to industrialist Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler), one of the few men whose genius and commitment to his own ideas match her own. Rearden’s super-strength metal alloy, Rearden Metal, holds the promise that innovation can overcome the slide into anarchy. Using the untested Rearden Metal, they rebuild the critical Taggart rail line in Colorado and pave the way for oil titan Ellis Wyatt (Graham Beckel) to feed the flame of a new American Renaissance. Hope rises again, when Dagny and Rearden discover the design of a revolutionary motor based on static electricity – in an abandoned engine factory – more proof to the sinister theory that the “men of the mind” (thinkers, industrialists, scientists, artists, and other innovators) are “on strike” and vanishing from society. — (C) Official Site

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Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – Rotten Tomatoes

About Atlas Shrugged – CliffsNotes

Introduction

Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s masterpiece and the culmination of her career as a novelist. With its publication in 1957, the author accomplished everything she wanted to in the realm of fiction; the rest of her career as a writer was devoted to nonfiction. Rand was already a famous, best-selling author by the time she published Atlas Shrugged. With the success of The Fountainhead a decade earlier and its subsequent production as a Hollywood film starring Gary Cooper in 1949, her stature as an author was established. Publishers knew that her fiction would sell, and consequently they bid for the right to publish her next book.

Atlas Shrugged, although enormously controversial, had no difficulty finding a publisher. On the contrary, Rand conducted an intellectual auction among competing publishers, finally deciding on Random House because its editorial staff had the best understanding of the book. Bennett Cerf was a famous editor there. When Rand explained that, at one level, Atlas Shrugged was to provide a moral defense of capitalism, the editorial staff responded, “But that would mean challenging 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition.” Their depth of philosophical insight impressed Ayn Rand, and she decided that Random House was the company to publish her book.

Atlas Shrugged furthers the theme of individualism that Ayn Rand developed in The Fountainhead. In The Fountainhead, she shows by means of its hero, the innovative architect Howard Roark, that the independent mind is responsible for all human progress and prosperity. In Atlas Shrugged, she shows that without the independent mind, our society would collapse into primitive savagery. Atlas Shrugged is an impassioned defense of the freedom of man’s mind. But to understand the author’s sense of urgency, we must have an idea of the context in which the book was written. This includes both the post-World War II Cold War and the broader trends of modern intellectual culture.

The Cold War and Collectivism

Twentieth-century culture spawned the most oppressive dictatorships in human history. The Fascists in Italy, the National Socialists (Nazis) in Germany, and the Communists first in Russia and later in China and elsewhere seriously threatened individual freedom throughout the world. Ayn Rand lived through the heart of this terrifying historical period. In fact, when she started writing Atlas Shrugged in 1946, the West had just achieved victory over the Nazis. For years, the specter of national socialism had haunted the world, exterminating millions of innocent people, enslaving millions more, and threatening the freedom of the entire globe. The triumph of the free countries of the West over Naziism was achieved at an enormous cost in human life. However, it left the threat of communism unabated.

Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 and witnessed firsthand the Bolshevik Revolution, the Communist conquest of Russia, and the political oppression that followed. Even after her escape from the Soviet Union and her safe arrival in the United States, she kept in close touch with family members who remained there. But when the murderous policies of Joseph Stalin swallowed the Soviet Union, she lost track of her family. From her own life experiences, Ayn Rand knew the brutal oppression of Communist tyranny.

During the last days of World War II and in the years immediately following, communism conquered large portions of the world. Soviet armies first rolled through the countries of Eastern Europe, setting up Russian “satellite” nations in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere. Communists then came to power in China and North Korea and launched an invasion of South Korea. Shortly thereafter, communism was also dominant in Cuba, on America’s doorstep. In the 1940s and 1950s, communism was an expanding military power, threatening to engulf the free world.

This time period was the height of the Cold War the ideological battle between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union ruled its empire in Eastern Europe by means of terror, brutally suppressing an uprising by Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956. The Russians developed the atomic bomb and amassed huge armies in Eastern Europe, threatening the free nations of the West. Speaking at the United Nations, Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev vowed that communism would “bury” the West. Like the Nazis in the 1930s, communists stood for a collectivist political system: one in which an individual is morally obliged to sacrifice himself for the state. Intellectual freedom and individual rights, cherished in the United States and other Western countries, were in grave danger.

Foreign military power was not the only way in which communism threatened U.S. freedom. Collectivism was an increasingly popular political philosophy among American intellectuals and politicians. In the 1930s, both national socialism and communism had supporters among American thinkers, businessmen, politicians, and labor leaders. The full horror of Naziism was revealed during World War II, and support for national socialism dwindled in the United States as a result. But communism, in the form of Marxist political ideology, survived World War II in the United States. Many American professors, writers, journalists, and politicians continued to advocate Marxist principles. When Ayn Rand was writing Atlas Shrugged, many Americans strongly believed that the government should have the power to coercively redistribute income and to regulate private industry. The capitalist system of political and economic freedom was consistently attacked by socialists and welfare statists. The belief that an individual has a right to live his own life was replaced, to a significant extent, by the collectivist idea that individuals must work and live in service to other people. Individual rights and political freedom were threatened in American politics, education, and culture.

An Appeal for Freedom

Rand argues in Atlas Shrugged that the freedom of American society is responsible for its greatest achievements. For example, in the nineteenth century, inventors and entrepreneurs created an outpouring of innovations that raised the standard of living to unprecedented heights and changed forever the way people live. Rand, who thoroughly researched the history of capitalism, was well aware of the progress made during this period of economic freedom. Samuel Morse invented the telegraph a device later improved by Thomas Edison, who went on to invent the phonograph, the electric light, and the motion picture projector. John Roebling perfected the suspension bridge and, just before his death, designed his masterpiece, the Brooklyn Bridge. Henry Ford revolutionized the transportation industry by mass-producing automobiles, a revolution that the Wright Brothers carried to the next level with their invention of the airplane. Railroad builders like Cornelius Vanderbilt and James J. Hill established inexpensive modes of transportation and opened up the Pacific Northwest to economic development.

Likewise, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone during this era, Cyrus McCormick the reaper, and Elias Howe the sewing machine. Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process that made rubber useful, and George Eastman revolutionized photography with the invention of a new type of camera the Kodak. George Washington Carver, among myriad agricultural accomplishments, developed peanuts and sweet potatoes into leading crops. Architects like Louis Sullivan and William LeBaron Jenney created the skyscraper, and George Westinghouse, the inventor of train airbrakes, developed a power system able to transmit electricity over great distances. The penniless Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie built a vast company manufacturing steel, and John D. Rockefeller did the same in the oil industry.

These are a few examples from an exhaustive list of advances in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ayn Rand argues that economic freedom liberated these great creative thinkers, permitting them to put into practice new ideas and methods. But what would happen if economic freedom were lost?

Atlas Shrugged provides Ayn Rand’s answer to this question. In the story, she projects the culmination of America’s twentieth-century socialist trend. The U.S. government portrayed in the story has significant control over the domestic economy. The rest of the world has been swallowed up by communist “Peoples’ States” and subsists in abject poverty. A limited degree of economic freedom still exists in America, but it is steadily declining, as is American prosperity. The successful are heavily taxed to support the poor, and the American poor are similarly levied to finance the even poorer people in foreign Peoples’ States. The government subsidizes inefficient businesses at the expense of the more efficient. With the state controlling large portions of the economy, the result is the rise of corrupt businessmen who seek profit by manipulating crooked politicians rather than by doing productive work. The government forces inventors to give up their patents so that all manufacturers may benefit equally from new products. Similarly, the government breaks up productive companies, compelling them to share the market with weaker (less efficient) competitors. In short, the fictionalized universe of Atlas Shrugged presents a future in which the U.S. trend toward socialism has been accelerated. Twentieth-century realities such as heavy taxation, massive social welfare programs, tight governmental regulation of industry, and antitrust action against successful companies are heightened in the universe of this story. The government annuls the rights of American citizens, and freedom is steadily eroded. The United States of the novel the last bastion of liberty on earth rapidly becomes a fascist/communist dictatorship.

The result, in Rand’s fictional universe, is a collapse of American prosperity. Great minds are shackled by government policies, and their innovations are either rejected or expropriated by the state. Thinkers lack the freedom necessary to create new products, to start their own companies, to compete openly, and to earn wealth. Under the increasing yoke of tyranny, the most independent minds in American society choose to defend their liberty in the most effective manner possible: They withdraw from society.

The Mind on Strike

Atlas Shrugged is a novel about a strike. Ayn Rand sets out to show the fate that befalls the world when the thinkers and creators go on strike. The author raises an intriguing question: What would happen if the scientists, medical researchers, inventors, industrialists, writers, artists, and so on withheld their minds and their achievements from the world?

In this novel, Rand argues that all human progress and prosperity depend on rational thinking. For example, human beings have cured such diseases as malaria, polio, dysentery, cholera, diphtheria, and tuberculosis. Man has learned to fly, erect cities and skyscrapers, grow an abundant food supply, and create computers. Humans have been to the moon and back and have invented the telephone, radio, television, and a thousand other life-promoting technologies. All of these achievements result from the human application of a rational mind to practical questions of survival. If the intellectuals responsible for such advances abandon the world, regression to the primitive conditions of the Dark Ages would result. But what would motivate intellectuals to such an extreme act as going on strike? We are used to hearing about strikes that protest conditions considered oppressive or intolerable by workers. The thinkers go on strike in Atlas Shrugged to protest the oppression of their intellect and creativity.

The thinkers in Atlas Shrugged strike on behalf of individual rights and political freedom. They strike against an enforced moral code of self-sacrifice the creed that human life must be devoted to serving the needs of others. Above all, the thinkers strike to prove that reason is the only means by which man can understand reality and make proper decisions; emotions should not guide human behavior. In short, the creative minds are on strike in support of a person’s right to think and live independently.

In the novel, the withdrawal of the great thinkers causes the collapse of the American economy and the end of dictatorship. The strike proves the role that the rational mind plays in the attainment of progress and prosperity. The emphasis on reason is the hallmark of Ayn Rand’s fiction. All of her novels, in one form or another, glorify the life-giving power of the human mind.

For example, in The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand emphasizes the independent nature of the mind’s functioning that rational individuals neither conform to society nor obey authority, but trust their own judgment. In her early novelette Anthem, Ayn Rand shows that under a collectivist dictatorship, the mind is stifled and society regresses to a condition of primitive ignorance. Anthem focuses on the mind’s need for political freedom. The focus of Atlas Shrugged is the role that the human mind plays in human existence. Atlas Shrugged shows that rational thinking is mankind’s survival instrument, just as the ability to fly is the survival tool for birds. In all of her major novels, Ayn Rand presents heroes and heroines who are brilliant thinkers opposed to either society’s pressure to conform or a dictatorial government’s commands to obey. The common denominator in all of her books is the life-and-death importance, for both the individual and society, of remaining true to the mind.

Objectivism in Action

In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand presents, for the first time and in a dramatized form, her original philosophy of Objectivism. She exemplifies this philosophy in the lives of the heroes and in the action of the story. Objectivism holds that reason not faith or emotionalism is man’s sole means of gaining knowledge. Her theory states that an individual has a right to his or her own life and to the pursuit of his or her own happiness, which is counter to the view that man should sacrifice himself to God or society. Objectivism is individualistic, holding that the purpose of government is to protect the sovereign rights of an individual. This philosophy opposes the collectivist notion that society as a whole is superior to the individual, who must subordinate himself to its requirements. In the political/economic realm, Objectivism upholds full laissez-faire capitalism a system of free markets that legally prevent the government from restricting man’s productive activities as the only philosophical system that protects the freedom of man’s mind, the rights of the individual, and the prosperity of man’s life on earth.

Because of Ayn Rand’s uncompromising defense of the mind, of the individual, and of capitalism, Atlas Shrugged created great controversy on its publication in 1957. Denounced by critics and intellectuals, the book nevertheless reached a wide audience. The book has sold millions of copies and influenced the lives of countless readers. Since 1957, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has gradually taken hold in American society. Today, her books and ideas are becoming widely taught in high schools and universities.

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About Atlas Shrugged – CliffsNotes

Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? (2014) – IMDb

Edit Storyline

Approaching collapse, the nation’s economy is quickly eroding. As crime and fear take over the countryside, the government continues to exert its brutal force against the nation’s most productive who are mysteriously vanishing – leaving behind a wake of despair. One man has the answer. One woman stands in his way. Some will stop at nothing to control him. Others will stop at nothing to save him. He swore by his life. They swore to find him. Who is John Galt? Written byOfficial site

Budget:$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA: $461,179,12 September 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA: $830,210, 28 September 2014

Runtime: 99 min

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Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? (2014) – IMDb

Atlas Shrugged Movie – About Atlas Shrugged

Joan CarterAssociate Producer

Vice President Atlas Productions, LLC

President Atlas Shrugged Movie Merchandise, LLC

Co-Founder/Owner UM Holdings Ltd.

Joan is immediate past President of the Union League of Philadelphia (voted #1 private club in the USA) – the first woman to hold such office in the League’s 150 years of existence. She also serves on the board of Penn Mutual Life Insurance company, Lourdes Health System, and her alma mater, The College of Wooster.

Joan is responsible for administration and the merchandise activities of Atlas Productions.

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Atlas Shrugged Movie – About Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged: Part II (2012) – Rotten Tomatoes

The global economy is on the brink of collapse. Unemployment has risen to 24%. Gas is now $42 per gallon. Brilliant creators, from artists to industrialists, continue to mysteriously disappear at the hands of the unknown. Dagny Taggart, Vice President in Charge of Operations for Taggart Transcontinental, has discovered what may very well be the answer to a mounting energy crisis – found abandoned amongst the ruins of a once productive factory, a revolutionary motor that could seemingly power the World. But, the motor is dead… there is no one left to decipher its secret… and, someone is watching. It’s a race against the clock to find the inventor before the motor of the World is stopped for good. Who is John Galt? — (C) Official Site

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Atlas Shrugged: Part II (2012) – Rotten Tomatoes

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SparkNotes: Atlas Shrugged: Plot Overview

In an environment of worsening economicconditions, Dagny Taggart, vice president in charge of operations,works to repair Taggart Transcontinentals crumbling Rio Norte Lineto service Colorado, the last booming industrial area in the country.Her efforts are hampered by the fact that many of the countrysmost talented entrepreneurs are retiring and disappearing. The railroadscrisis worsens when the Mexican government nationalizes TaggartsSan Sebastian Line. The line had been built to service FranciscodAnconias copper mills, but the mills turn out to be worthless.Francisco had been a successful industrialist, and Dagnys lover,but has become a worthless playboy. To solve the railroads financialproblems, Dagnys brother Jim uses political influence to pass legislationthat destroys Taggarts only competition in Colorado. Dagny mustfix the Rio Norte Line immediately and plans to use Rearden Metal,a new alloy created by Hank Rearden. When confronted about the SanSebastian mines, Francisco tells Dagny he is deliberately destroyingdAnconia Copper. Later he appears at Reardens anniversary partyand, meeting him for the first time, urges Rearden to reject thefreeloaders who live off of him.

The State Science Institute issues a denunciation of Rearden metal,and Taggarts stock crashes. Dagny decides to start her own companyto rebuild the line, and it is a huge success. Dagny and Reardenbecome lovers. Together they discover a motor in an abandoned factorythat runs on static electricity, and they seek the inventor. Thegovernment passes new legislation that cripples industry in Colorado.Ellis Wyatt, an oil industrialist, suddenly disappears after settingfire to his wells. Dagny is forced to cut trains, and the situationworsens. Soon, more industrialists disappear. Dagny believes thereis a destroyer at work, taking men away when they are most needed.Francisco visits Rearden and asks him why he remains in businessunder such repressive conditions. When a fire breaks out and theywork together to put it out, Francisco understands Reardens lovefor his mills.

Rearden goes on trial for breaking one of the new laws,but refuses to participate in the proceedings, telling the judgesthey can coerce him by force but he wont help them to convict him.Unwilling to be seen as thugs, they let him go. Economic dictatorWesley Mouch needs Reardens cooperation for a new set of socialistlaws, and Jim needs economic favors that will keep his ailing railroadrunning after the collapse of Colorado. Jim appeals to Reardenswife Lillian, who wants to destroy her husband. She tells him Rearden andDagny are having an affair, and he uses this information in a trade.The new set of laws, Directive 10-289,is irrational and repressive. It includes a ruling that requiresall patents to be signed over to the government. Rearden is blackmailedinto signing over his metal to protect Dagnys reputation.

Dagny quits over the new directive and retreats to a mountain lodge.When she learns of a massive accident at the Taggart Tunnel, shereturns to her job. She receives a letter from the scientist shehad hired to help rebuild the motor, and fears he will be the nexttarget of the destroyer. In an attempt to stop him from disappearing,she follows him in an airplane and crashes in the mountains. Whenshe wakes up, she finds herself in a remote valley where all theretired industrialists are living. They are on strike, calling ita strike of the mind. There, she meets John Galt, who turns outto be both the destroyer and the man who built the motor. She fallsin love with him, but she cannot give up her railroad, and she leavesthe valley. When she returns to work, she finds that the governmenthas nationalized the railroad industry. Government leaders wanther to make a speech reassuring the public about the new laws. Sherefuses until Lillian comes to blackmail her. On the air, she proudlyannounces her affair with Rearden and reveals that he has been blackmailed. Shewarns the country about its repressive government.

With the economy on the verge of collapse, Francisco destroys therest of his holdings and disappears. The politicians no longer evenpretend to work for the public good. Their vast network of influencepeddling creates worse chaos, as crops rot waiting for freight trainsthat are diverted for personal favors. In an attempt to gain controlof Franciscos mills, the government stages a riot at Rearden Steel.But the steelworkers organize and fight back, led by Francisco,who has been working undercover at the mills. Francisco saves Reardenslife, then convinces him to join the strike.

Just as the head of state prepares to give a speech onthe economic situation, John Galt takes over the airwaves and deliversa lengthy address to the country, laying out the terms of the strikehe has organized. In desperation, the government seeks Galt to makehim their economic dictator. Dagny inadvertently leads them to him,and they take him prisoner. But Galt refuses to help them, evenafter he is tortured. Finally, Dagny and the strikers rescue himin an armed confrontation with guards. They return to the valley,where Dagny finally joins the strike. Soon, the countrys collapseis complete and the strikers prepare to return.

Part One, Chapters III

Originally posted here:

SparkNotes: Atlas Shrugged: Plot Overview

Synopsis of the Plot of Atlas Shrugged

Author of Plot Synopsis:Robert James Bidinotto

Atlas Shrugged is structured in three major parts, each of which consists of ten chapters. The parts and chapters are named, and the titles typically suggest multiple layers of meaning and implication.

The three parts of the book are each named in tribute to Aristotle’s laws of logic.

Part One is titled “Non-Contradiction,” and appropriately, the first third of the book confronts two prominent business executives, Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden and the reader with a host of seeming contradictions and paradoxes with no apparently logical solutions.

Part Two, titled “Either-Or,” focuses on Dagny Taggart’s struggle to resolve a dilemma: either to continue her battle to save her business or to give it up.

Part Three is titled “A Is A,” symbolizing what Rand referred to as “the Law of Identity” and here, the answers to all the apparent contradictions finally are identified and resolved by Dagny and Rearden, and also for the reader.

The tale is told largely from the point of view of Dagny, the beautiful, superlatively competent chief of operations for the nation’s largest railroad, Taggart Transcontinental. The main story line is Dagny’s quest to understand the cause underlying the seemingly inexplicable collapse of her railroad and industrial civilization and simultaneously, her tenacious, desperate search for two unknown men: one, the inventor of an abandoned motor so revolutionary that it could have changed the world; the other, a mysterious figure who, like some perverse kind of Pied Piper, seems purposefully bent on luring away from society its most able and talented people an unseen destroyer who, she believes, is “draining the brains of the world.”

A major subplot follows steel titan Hank Rearden in his spiritual quest to understand the unknown forces that are undermining his career and happiness, and turning his talents and energies toward his own destruction.

In the shoes of Dagny and Rearden, we gradually learn the full explanation behind the startling events wreaking havoc in their world. With them, we come to discover that all the mysteries and strange events of the story proceed from a single philosophical cause and that Ayn Rand poses a provocative philosophical remedy for many of the moral and cultural crises of our own world.

The time is the late afternoon of September 2. The place: New York City. But it’s not quite New York City as we know it.

It’s a city in the final stages of decay. The walls of skyscrapers, which once towered sharp-edged and clean into space, are cracked, soot-streaked, and crumbling. Hundreds of storefronts, even on once-prosperous Fifth Avenue, are boarded up and empty. Along the littered sidewalks, street lights are out, windows are broken, and beggars haunt the shadows.

Eddie Willers walks these desolate streets, feeling a sense of dread he can’t explain. Perhaps it’s the newspapers, which are filled with ominous stories. Factories are closing and the nation’s industrial infrastructure is falling apart. The federal government is assuming dictatorial emergency powers. Meanwhile, rumors circulate about a mysterious modern pirate ship on the high seas, which sinks government relief vessels…

As Eddie approaches the Taggart Transcontinental Building headquarters of the great railway system where he works as Dagny Taggart’s assistant he ponders the system’s latest train wreck…the steady decline of its shipping business…and the puzzling loss of its last workers of competence and ability. In fact, these days it seems that everywhere, the great scientists, engineers, and businessmen are either retiring, or simply vanishing…

Abruptly, a beggar steps from a darkened doorway and asks for spare change. As Eddie digs through his pockets, the beggar shrugs in resignation, and mutters a popular slang expression. It’s a phrase whose origins no one knows, but which somehow seems to summarize all the feelings of pain, fear, and guilt now gripping the world. The beggar’s words give voice to Eddie’s own mood of dread and despair:

“Who is John Galt?”

These words from the nameless beggar to Eddie open the first chapter, and also close it hinting at the basic mystery of the plot. Only at the end of the novel do we realize that the reasons for the disintegrating world, for the disappearing men of ability, and for the motives of men such as the story’s villains, all lie in the answer to that single question: “Who is John Galt?”

We meet Dagny Taggart en route to New York by train. She is roused from sleep by the sound of a young brakeman whistling a compelling tune. When she asks about it, he replies casually that it’s Richard Halley’s Fifth Piano Concerto. She is startled: she knows that Halley had quit composing and mysteriously dropped out of sight after writing only four concertos. She confronts the brakeman on this, and he abruptly reverses himself, saying he misspoke; but Dagny senses that he’s trying to hide something.

She returns to her office, the battleground where she is fighting to save the family business that her brother, system president James Taggart, seems hell-bent on destroying. Like the rest of industrial society, her railroad is falling apart as its most talented and able men inexplicably quit and disappear. But while Dagny struggles to salvage dying branches of the crumbling system, from Jim she gets only a bewildering evasiveness, a whining resentment of decision-making responsibility, and furtive hostility toward men of achievement. Over Jim’s heated objections, Dagny decides to replace the crumbling Colorado track with new rail made from Rearden Metal, Hank Rearden’s untested but revolutionary new alloy. At day’s end, she receives an appointment from one of the system’s most promising young men, Owen Kellogg. He surprises her by quitting, without explanation, despite her offer to promote him to head the Ohio division. Asked why, he answers only, “Who is John Galt?”

On a deserted road, Hank Rearden walks home from work on the day he has just poured the first heat of Rearden Metal. In his pocket is a chain bracelet the first thing ever made from the Metal: a gift for his wife, Lillian.

Rearden is serenely confident in his work, but bewildered by the irrationality of people around him. When he gives Lillian his gift, she and his family mock it as an act of selfishness. This response is nothing new: though dependent on him economically, his family constantly belittle his achievements and values. Yet Rearden silently tolerates their hostility. We are left wondering exactly who is chained to whom, and why.

As he ponders the mystery of his family, family friend Paul Larkin warns him vaguely, almost apologetically, about the loyalty of his Washington lobbyist, Wesley Mouch. Rearden wonders what Larkin is driving at. Unknown to Dagny and Rearden, James Taggart has been conspiring with Mouch, Larkin, and rival steel company president Orren Boyle, to use their political pull to pass laws that will crush a competing regional railroad in Colorado, and eventually cripple Rearden’s steel operations as well.

The destruction of the regional railroad forces Colorado oil man Ellis Wyatt, whose oil fields fuel the nation, to ship with Taggart Transcontinental instead. But the Colorado line of Taggart system is in total disrepair. Wyatt issues Dagny an angry ultimatum: either be ready to handle all his freight within nine months, or face economic ruin. “If I go,” he vows, “I’ll make sure that I take all the rest of you along with me.”

Enter Francisco d’Anconia, the brilliant, spectacularly successful owner of the d’Anconia Copper company, and Dagny’s former lover. Years before, he had abruptly ended their relationship without explanation. Then newspapers began to report that the incomparable creative genius that she’d once loved had become an irresponsible international playboy.

When Mexico suddenly nationalizes Francisco’s copper mines, everyone is stunned to learn that they were empty of copper and utterly worthless. Knowing that Francisco would never make a poor investment, Dagny suspects that he had concocted the whole debacle. When she challenges him about it, Francisco gaily confirms that he had expected the nationalization and had consciously let himself lose millions, simply in order to ruin his major investors, including Jim Taggart and Orren Boyle. He adds, without elaboration, that his ultimate target for ruin is Dagny herself.

At a wedding anniversary party for Rearden and his wife, a pack of prominent intellectuals invited by Lillian loudly damns all the values and virtues that Hank Rearden embodies: reason, independence, self-interest, and pride in productive achievement. Only Francisco d’Anconia, the contemptible playboy, dares to approach Rearden respectfully and thank him for those virtues. Rearden is mystified yet privately grateful.

When Rearden refuses to sell all rights to Rearden Metal to the State Science Institute, they retaliate with a public statement questioning the safety of the metal. This causes work on the Colorado rail line to grind to a halt. Dagny implores renowned physicist Dr. Robert Stadler, who heads the Institute, to retract the indefensible statement. But Stadler refuses, fearing that a public reversal would put his Institute in a bad light. “What can you do when you have to deal with people?” he says.

To justify his cynicism, he tells her about his three most promising students years ago, when he taught physics at Patrick Henry University. One, Ragnar Danneskjold, became a pirate who robs government relief ships. A second, Francisco d’Anconia, became a worthless playboy. And the third dropped out of sight, not even making a name for himself; but before leaving, damned Stadler for launching the State Science Institute.

To continue work, Dagny forces Jim to temporarily “sell” her their Colorado branch line as separate company. She names it “The John Galt Line,” in defiance against the widespread despair that the popular catch-phrase symbolizes. However, without warning, the conspirators’ secret machinations result in a new antitrust law that forces Rearden to surrender ownership of many of his subsidiaries, including his ore mines.

Still, despite enormous opposition and obstacles, Dagny and Rearden complete the John Galt Line before the deadline Ellis Wyatt had given them. To prove the safety of Rearden Metal, they ride in the locomotive on the first run to Colorado. As the train speeds triumphantly across America, the two silently share their victory over years of adversity and irrationality. And with each passing mile, the undercurrent of sexual tension grows between them.

That night, at Ellis Wyatt’s home, Rearden’s wall of reserve finally cracks, and the two begin a secret, passionate affair. But Dagny is disturbed by Rearden’s derisive comments about their immorality. His words suggest an inner conflict yet to be resolved.

They decide to take a vacation together. Driving through Wisconsin towns that have reverted to preindustrial primitiveness, they happen upon the empty ruins of the 20th Century Motor Company a once successful factory that had been destroyed by worthless heirs who implemented a socialistic pay scheme. There Dagny makes a startling discovery: a few remnants of a revolutionary motor that had once converted static atmospheric electricity for human use. But there’s no clue as to its inventor, how his machine worked or why he would have abandoned so monumental an invention.

Upon their return to New York, they find that political pressure groups are clamoring for even more laws to punish success and productivity. While Rearden works feverishly to get the ore he needs, Dagny begins a private search around the country for the inventor of the motor. The trail from the 20th Century Motor Company leads her from one parasitical heir to another, until she learns that the inventor had been the brilliant young assistant of the factory’s chief engineer. But she can’t learn his name.

In despair, she enters a local diner, where she is amazed to find Dr. Hugh Akston a once-great philosopher at Patrick Henry University flipping hamburgers. He refuses to explain why he left his profession, or his current presence in so lowly a job. He also admits that he knows who invented the motor, but refuses to reveal his name. Instead, he tells Dagny that while she won’t find him, someday he will find her.

Akston who, like Stadler, had taught Francisco and Ragnar Danneskjold at Patrick Henry University concludes by giving her the same advice that Francisco once had: if she finds it inconceivable that such a motor would be abandoned, or that a great philosopher would work in a diner, she should remember that contradictions can’t exist in nature and that she should therefore check her premises. “You will find that one of them is wrong.”

Returning to New York, Dagny learns of a new series of dictatorial directives. These limit companies’ productive output to the average of their competitors, order them to provide all consumers “a fair share” of their products on demand, forbid them permission to relocate, and outlaw quitting one’s job. A heavy new tax is placed on Colorado industries in order to help needier states. These directives will cripple Taggart Transcontinental, rob Hank Rearden and the bondholders of the John Galt Line, but she realizes with horror destroy Ellis Wyatt.

Dagny remembers Wyatt’s grim ultimatum and races by train to try to reach him. But she arrives to find the fields of Wyatt Oil ablaze and Wyatt’s handwritten message:

“I am leaving it as I found it. Take over. It’s yours.”

In the wake of the new directives, the nation’s oil industry has collapsed, and like Wyatt, many other Colorado industrialists vanish.

Dagny meets again with Stadler, asking him to read the fragmentary notes left behind by the inventor of the motor in order to try to learn his identity. Stadler is amazed but angry because the unknown genius had decided to work for industrial applications rather than pure theory, and piqued because the man had never approached Stadler personally to share his path-breaking theories. Viewing the remnant of the motor, Stadler mockingly expresses his resentment of practical achievements.

A man nearby mutters, “Who is John Galt?” and Stadler remarks that he knew a John Galt once: a mind of such brilliance that, had he lived, the whole world would be talking about him.

“But the whole world is talking of him,” Dagny points out.

Disturbed, Stadler dismisses it all as a meaningless coincidence. “He has to be dead,” he says with a curious emphasis.

The government saddles Rearden Steel with a young spy named Tony, whose job is to watch Rearden for compliance with government regulations. Rearden nicknames the boy his “Wet Nurse.” Shortly after Tony warns him about his uncooperative attitude, Rearden is approached again by the State Science Institute this time with orders to supply Rearden Metal for a mysterious “Project X.” He refuses, inviting the Institute to take the metal by force, if they wish. The Institute messenger reacts to this prospect with undisguised horror.

Rearden realizes that somehow, to succeed in their schemes against him, his enemies need his own voluntary cooperation. At the same time, he begins to sense that what he feels for Dagny reflects not the worst within him, but the best.

By now, Dagny has concluded there is a “destroyer” deliberately removing achievers from the world for some inconceivable reason. As for the motor, she hires a brilliant young scientist in Utah, Quentin Daniels, to rebuild it if he can.

Rearden secretly sells Rearden Metal to coal magnate Ken Danagger a transaction made illegal by the directives. The disturbing thought occurs to him that his only pleasures, at work and in his romantic life, must be kept hidden, like guilty secrets. He wonders why. Meanwhile, Lillian, whom he has ignored for months, begins to suspect that he is having an affair. She demands that he accompany her to Jim Taggart’s wedding, and out of a dead sense of marital obligation, Rearden agrees.

Jim has been engaged to a nave young clerk named Cherryl, who admires him for what she believes is his genius in running the railroad. Jim basks in her blind adulation, and maliciously enjoys the awkwardness of her attempts to become socially poised.

Their wedding is attended by a corrupt cross-section of the culturally prominent and politically connected. Mistakenly thinking she is defending a heroic husband against an enemy, Cherryl confronts and insults Dagny. Across the room, Lillian approaches Jim, hinting that her control over her husband is available for trade. Then Francisco enters, crashing the party. After embarrassing Jim, he approaches Dagny, telling her it appears that John Galt has come to claim the railroad line she named for him. To a dowager’s remark that “money is the root of all evil,” he gives an impromptu speech defending money-making on moral grounds, as a symbol of achievement, free trade, and justice.

Francisco approaches Rearden and admits that his words were intended for him, to arm him morally for self-defense. Rearden is grateful until Francisco reveals that he’s deliberately destroying d’Anconia Copper, precisely to harm the looters who are profiteering on his abilities. Rearden recoils in horror. Then Francisco lets it be known, loudly, that his company is in trouble. As the news sweeps the crowd, many of whom are d’Anconia investors, the wedding party breaks up in panic.

After the party, Lillian confronts Rearden with her suspicion that he’s having an affair, presumably with some tramp. Rearden admits to an affair, but refuses to identify his mistress or to stop seeing her. For reasons he can’t fathom, though, Lillian refuses to divorce him.

Soon afterwards, Rearden is visited by Dr. Floyd Ferris of the State Science Institute. Ferris threatens him with jail for selling Rearden Metal to Ken Danagger unless he agrees to sell it to the State Science Institute as well. Glimpsing a flaw in this blackmail scheme, Rearden once again refuses.

In the Taggart cafeteria, Eddie opens his heart to a long-time confidante, a lowly worker of his acquaintance whose name he has long forgotten. He reveals Dagny’s suspicions about the “destroyer,” her fear that Ken Danagger will be the next to go, and her intention to visit him at once to prevent that from happening.

When Dagny arrives at Danagger’s office, he is in a meeting with someone else. After a long delay, the other man leaves, unseen, by the rear entrance and Dagny enters to find she’s too late. Danagger informs her that he’s quitting. Like Kellogg and Akston, he won’t explain why. She realizes that she’s just missed “the destroyer,” but Danagger reassures her that nothing she can say would have mattered anyway. Then Dagny spots a cigarette butt in his ashtray: it bears the imprint of the gold dollar sign.

The day after Danagger’s disappearance, Francisco visits Rearden at his mills. He begins to explain to him that by continuing to work under these dictatorial circumstances, Rearden is granting a moral sanction to the looters, a sanction they need from him in order to destroy him. Rearden begins to understand when they are interrupted by a furnace emergency in the mills. They work side by side to resolve the crisis, but the moment is lost; Francisco decides it’s not yet time to discuss things further.

At their Thanksgiving dinner, Lillian tries to dissuade her husband from taking the witness stand at his trial the following day, informing him that he has no moral right to protest. But Rearden startles them all by rebuking his brother for insulting him. They notice that he seems to have a new confidence and he notices that this seems to disturb them. Meeting later with Dagny, he informs her that she’ll have all the Rearden Metal she needs, laws be damned.

At his trial, Rearden acknowledges his actions with Danagger but refuses to accept that they were in any way immoral. Instead, borrowing from Francisco’s words, he gives a rousing moral defense of his right to produce for his own sake, bringing the audience to cheers and leaving the judges speechless. Instead of jailing him, they seem panicked and give him a suspended sentence. Rearden smiles, beginning to grasp the concept of “the sanction of the victim.”

Drawn by curiosity about Francisco’s incongruous reputation as a playboy, Rearden visits him, finding him working on blueprints. Francisco admits that his reputation has been mere camouflage for a secret purpose of his own. Denying that he has been promiscuous, he explains the moral meaning of sex. But unknowingly, he is also addressing Rearden’s own private sexual conflicts. Feeling a growing comradeship, Rearden reveals he’s just placed a huge, urgently needed order with d’Anconia Copper.

Horrified, Francisco leaps to the phone then stops. In obvious anguish, he solemnly swears to Rearden “by the woman I love” that, despite what is about to happen, he remains Rearden’s true friend.

Soon after, the d’Anconia ships carrying copper to Rearden are sunk by Ragnar Danneskjold. Rearden is overwhelmed by a sense of personal betrayal. He realizes that Francisco somehow knew of the sinking in advance, could have stopped it but didn’t.

It is Rearden Steel’s first failure to deliver an order on time. The delay in the Rearden Metal shipment to Taggart Transcontinental starts a devastating economic chain reaction, holding up trains, spoiling shipments of food, forcing farmers to go bankrupt and factories to shut down, causing deteriorating bridges across the Mississippi to close and leaving the famous Taggart Bridge as the river’s last crossing point.

Meanwhile, coal that Taggart Transcontinental desperately needs is diverted to foreign aid; the government censors newspaper stories of the disasters and their causes; and the top floors of buildings are shut down to conserve fuel. Rearden is forced to make deals with hired gangs to mine coal at night in abandoned mines.

With Colorado industry now in shambles, the Taggart Transcontinental board of directors meets to formally close the John Galt Line. In exchange for permission to shut down the line, a government bureaucrat prods them to raise all Taggart worker wages. They try to nudge Dagny into stating openly the final decision to close the line; but following Rearden’s example from the trial she refuses to help them and grant a moral sanction for their actions, by taking the responsibility to venture an opinion. They finally put the matter to the inevitable vote.

Francisco is waiting for her afterwards. “Have they finally murdered John Galt?” he asks softly. He comforts her at a nearby caf. Then he asks her why it is that heroic builders, like the railroad’s founder, Nat Taggart, have always lost battles with pale cowards such as those on Taggart’s board. As she ponders this, he reflects aloud, almost abstractly, about how his ancestor, Sebastian d’Anconia, had to wait 15 years for the woman he loved… Dagny is astonished at this tacit confession, but replies coldly by asking him why he has hurt Hank Rearden. Francisco answers solemnly that he’d have given his life for Rearden except for the man to whom he had given it.

Then, noticing the familiar graffiti carved in the tabletop, he adds: “I can tell you who John Galt is…John Galt is the Prometheus who changed his mind.” After being torn by vultures for bringing men fire, Francisco says, Galt “withdrew his fire until men withdraw their vultures.”

In Colorado with Rearden, Dagny supervises the aftermath of the Line’s closure: scavenging machines from closed factories, watching towns emptying, seeing refugees crowd the last departing trains.

Meanwhile, eager for more Washington influence, Jim conspires with Lillian to deliver Rearden to the bureaucrats. Lillian finds that her husband is traveling home by train under a phony name, presumably with his mistress. When she meets the train to confront them, she sees him not with some cheap slut, but with Dagny Taggart.

Lillian is devastated and terrified. She grasps now why her grip on her husband is failing, and simultaneously, his unapologetic demeanor at his trial: Dagny has empowered her husband to reject guilt.

“Anybody but her!” she cries to him in terror. But Rearden is indifferent to her efforts to make him feel guilty or give up Dagny. In Lillian’s vile insults against Dagny, Rearden suddenly realizes that hers had been his own view of sex. Though Lillian tells him she won’t divorce him, he feels at last liberated and guiltless. Still, Lillian senses that he wants the affair to be kept secret and that, she realizes, may be used as a weapon.

Without warning, the government issues a Directive 10-289, a regulatory measure that seizes total control of the entire economy, and orders all existing economic arrangements to be frozen in place. All patents on inventions are to be turned over to the government in the form of Gift Certificates. In addition, to stop people of talent from disappearing, the law forbids anyone from quitting his job.

It’s the last straw for Dagny, who throws the newspaper into James Taggart’s face and resigns. She leaves for the Taggart lodge in the country, letting only Eddie know her whereabouts. But Rearden stays behind, confident that he can dynamite the new directive simply by refusing to comply with the order to surrender his patents to Rearden Metal.

In response to the directive, a mood of quiet rebellion sweeps the nation. Each day, more people fail to show up for work. Even Rearden’s “Wet Nurse” is indignant, and vows to look the other way if Rearden chooses to break laws. Meanwhile Lillian mysteriously disappears on a vacation trip.

On a spring morning, Dr. Floyd Ferris arrives at Rearden’s mills. He reveals that the government has been tipped off by Lillian of Rearden’s affair with Dagny. If Rearden won’t sign the Gift Certificate transferring Rearden Metal to the government, Ferris will expose the affair in the media, sullying Dagny’s reputation in scandal. Rearden suddenly realizes much more about the motives of his enemies and about the moral premises that have caused such conflict in his life. But refusing to let Dagny bear the consequences of his own mistakes, he signs the Gift Certificate.

In the wake of these events, Eddie Willers bares his soul to his friend in the cafeteria. He also lets slip that Dagny has gone off to stay at the Taggart lodge.

Furious at Lillian’s betrayal, Rearden orders his attorney to get him a divorce and to leave her with no alimony or property. He moves to an apartment in Philadelphia. Walking home from his mills one evening, he is confronted by a man who presents him with a bar of gold. The man reveals that he’s Ragnar Danneskjold; that the gold represents wealth looted from Rearden, and forcibly reclaimed by Ragnar from the looters. Rearden finds that he can’t condemn Ragnar for his actions, and even helps the outlaw elude pursuing police.

At the Taggart railroad tunnel through the Rockies, a waiting diesel engine is commandeered by the government to allow a bureaucrat to tour the country. This leaves only coal-burning engines on the track. Despite a strict system rule against entering the tunnel with smoky coal-burner, plus the fact that the tunnel’s signal and ventilation systems are malfunctioning, a politician demands that his own train be allowed to proceed through. All the responsible supervisors have quit the Colorado division, leaving decision-making authority to incompetents. Bullied by the politician, each in turn from James Taggart on down passes the buck, leaving the final decision to proceed to a green young dispatcher. Abandoned by his superiors, the boy signs the order for the train to enter the tunnel. Miles inside, the crew and passengers are overcome by fumes, as a military train loaded with explosives rushes into the tunnel from the other end. They collide in a cataclysmic explosion that destroys the tunnel.

At the Taggart lodge, Dagny receives a surprise visit from Francisco. He tells her why she was right to quit and reveals that, for the same reason, he has deliberately been destroying d’Anconia Copper since the night he left her, twelve years before. Dagny begins to see Francisco in a new light…when the radio abruptly brings news of the tunnel explosion. Horrified, she abandons Francisco and she rushes back to New York.

After a grueling day dealing with the emergency, Dagny returns to her apartment where once again she is visited by Francisco. By now she is immune to his arguments, but aware that he’s part of the “destroyer’s” conspiracy. Suddenly the door opens and Hank Rearden is standing there, the key to Dagny’s apartment in his hand.

Rearden demands to know why Francisco is present. Devastated by his realization of Dagny’s affair, yet maintaining rigid self-control, Francisco answers, “I see that I have no right to ask you the same question.” Enraged by what he believes has been Francisco’s betrayal of their friendship, Rearden says, “I know what they mean…your friendship and your oath by the only woman you ever-“

They all suddenly know what this means. Rearden steps forward and demands, “Is this the woman you love?” Looking at Dagny, Francisco answers, “Yes.” Rearden slaps him across the face. Retaining iron control, Francisco bows and takes his leave.

Dagny then reveals to Rearden that Francisco had been her first lover. Rearden suddenly wishes desperately that he hadn’t reacted as he had. In this private turmoil, they are interrupted by a message from Quentin Daniels: a letter of resignation. He refuses to continue working under Directive 10-289. Dagny phones him in Utah and begs him to meet with her first. Daniels gives his word that he’ll wait for her visit.

When Rearden leaves, she summons Eddie to take instructions as she packs for the trip. Eddie notices a man’s dressing gown in her closet bearing Hank Rearden’s initials. Crushed with jealousy, Eddie realizes for the first time just how much Dagny has meant to him. That evening in the cafeteria he pours out his heart to his workman friend. He mentions that Dagny is on her way to try to talk Daniels out of quitting his work on the motor and then blurts out his discovery that she is sleeping with Rearden. At this news, the worker seems unaccountably stricken, and rushes out.

Dagny races by train across the country to her meeting with Daniels when she has a chance encounter with a hungry tramp. He explains that he once had been a machinist at the Twentieth Century Motor Company. One day the firm’s heirs instituted a socialistic pay plan, based on the principle that everyone should work “according to his ability,” but be paid “according to his need.” In practice, this meant that workers of ability were punished with longer hours, and forced to support “needier” workers the lazy and incompetent with compensation sufficient to fulfill all their alleged needs. Within months, everyone was hiding his abilities, but claiming a profusion of “needs” and production plummeted until the factory went bankrupt.

The plan, the tramp continues, had been approved at a mass meeting of the workers. After the vote, a young engineer stood and said, “I will put an end to this, once and for all…I will stop the motor of the world.” Then he walked out. As the years passed, factories closed, and the economy ground to a halt, the tramp and his fellow workers wondered about the young engineer and began to ask the despairing question now on everyone’s lips. “You see,” he tells Dagny, “his name was John Galt.”

Dagny’s journey is interrupted when the train’s crew deserts at night in the middle of nowhere. She is surprised to see Owen Kellogg the young man who had refused her job offer riding the train, en route to a “month’s vacation.” Kellogg accompanies her up the track on foot to phone for help and along the way, Dagny discovers that he too is part of the conspiracy. After arranging for help to come to the stalled train, she commandeers a small plane at a nearby air field and flies alone to Utah to her meeting with Daniels. But upon arriving at the airport, she is told that Daniels has just left with another man, in a plane that has just taken off.

Determined not to lose Daniels to the “destroyer” spiriting him away, Dagny takes off again and races after the distant lights of the other plane. The long chase takes them over the wildest stretches of the Colorado Rockies. Unexpectedly, the stranger’s plane begins to circle and descend over impossibly rugged mountain terrain, vanishing behind a ridge. When she reaches the spot, she sees nothing below but a rocky, inaccessible valley between granite walls: no conceivable place for a landing, yet no sign of the other plane. She descends but still sees nothing. Her altimeter shows her dropping yet strangely, the valley floor seems to be getting no closer.

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light, and her motor dies. Her plane spirals downward not into jagged rocks, but toward a grassy field which hadn’t existed a second before. Fighting to control the plane, she hears in her mind the hated phrase, not in despair, but this time in defiance: “Oh hell! Who is John Galt?”

When she opens her eyes, Dagny is staring up at the proud, handsome face of a man with sun-streaked brown hair, and green eyes that bear no trace of pain, fear, or guilt.

“What is your name?” she whispers in wonder.

“John Galt…Why are you so frightened?” he asks.

“Because I believe it,” she answers.

Galt carries the injured woman away from the wreck. He explains that her plane had penetrated a screen of rays projecting a refracted image, like a mirage, intended to camouflage the valley’s existence. The ray screen had killed her plane’s engine.

He carries her past a small house, where the sound of a piano is lifting the chords of Halley’s Fifth Concerto. It’s Halley’s home, Galt explains. They reach a ledge above the valley; a small town spreads below. Nearby, commanding the valley like a coat of arms, stands a solid gold dollar sign three feet high “Francisco’s private joke,” he says.

A car pulls up, and its two occupants approach. She recognizes Hugh Akston. The other man is introduced as Midas Mulligan the world’s richest financier, who had also vanished years ago.

Smiling, Akston tells her that he never expected that when they next met, she be in the arms of the inventor of the motor. Astounded, Dagny asks if the story of his walking out of the Twentieth Century Motor Company is true, and Galt confirms it.

“You told them that you would stop the motor of the world,” she says.

“I have.”

Then he drives her around the valley, where she encounters others who have abandoned her world: Ellis Wyatt…Quentin Daniels…Dick McNamara, her former contractor…Ken Danagger.

Galt stops the car outside a lonely log cabin; above the door is the d’Anconia coat of arms. She gets out, staring at the silver crest, remembering the words of the man she had once loved. “That was the first man I took away from you,” Galt says.

He ends the tour at the town’s powerhouse, where his motor brings the valley its electricity. On it is an inscription: I SWEAR BY MY LIFE AND MY LOVE OF IT THAT I WILL NEVER LIVE FOR THE SAKE OF ANOTHER MAN, NOR ASK ANOTHER MAN TO LIVE FOR MINE. Galt explains that it’s the oath taken by every person in the valley. Recited aloud, the words also are the key to unlocking the door.

That night they attend dinner at Mulligan’s home, with several of the prominent men who had vanished from her world. Each explains his reasons for quitting.

Read the original:

Synopsis of the Plot of Atlas Shrugged

SparkNotes: Atlas Shrugged: Plot Overview

In an environment of worsening economicconditions, Dagny Taggart, vice president in charge of operations,works to repair Taggart Transcontinentals crumbling Rio Norte Lineto service Colorado, the last booming industrial area in the country.Her efforts are hampered by the fact that many of the countrysmost talented entrepreneurs are retiring and disappearing. The railroadscrisis worsens when the Mexican government nationalizes TaggartsSan Sebastian Line. The line had been built to service FranciscodAnconias copper mills, but the mills turn out to be worthless.Francisco had been a successful industrialist, and Dagnys lover,but has become a worthless playboy. To solve the railroads financialproblems, Dagnys brother Jim uses political influence to pass legislationthat destroys Taggarts only competition in Colorado. Dagny mustfix the Rio Norte Line immediately and plans to use Rearden Metal,a new alloy created by Hank Rearden. When confronted about the SanSebastian mines, Francisco tells Dagny he is deliberately destroyingdAnconia Copper. Later he appears at Reardens anniversary partyand, meeting him for the first time, urges Rearden to reject thefreeloaders who live off of him.

The State Science Institute issues a denunciation of Rearden metal,and Taggarts stock crashes. Dagny decides to start her own companyto rebuild the line, and it is a huge success. Dagny and Reardenbecome lovers. Together they discover a motor in an abandoned factorythat runs on static electricity, and they seek the inventor. Thegovernment passes new legislation that cripples industry in Colorado.Ellis Wyatt, an oil industrialist, suddenly disappears after settingfire to his wells. Dagny is forced to cut trains, and the situationworsens. Soon, more industrialists disappear. Dagny believes thereis a destroyer at work, taking men away when they are most needed.Francisco visits Rearden and asks him why he remains in businessunder such repressive conditions. When a fire breaks out and theywork together to put it out, Francisco understands Reardens lovefor his mills.

Rearden goes on trial for breaking one of the new laws,but refuses to participate in the proceedings, telling the judgesthey can coerce him by force but he wont help them to convict him.Unwilling to be seen as thugs, they let him go. Economic dictatorWesley Mouch needs Reardens cooperation for a new set of socialistlaws, and Jim needs economic favors that will keep his ailing railroadrunning after the collapse of Colorado. Jim appeals to Reardenswife Lillian, who wants to destroy her husband. She tells him Rearden andDagny are having an affair, and he uses this information in a trade.The new set of laws, Directive 10-289,is irrational and repressive. It includes a ruling that requiresall patents to be signed over to the government. Rearden is blackmailedinto signing over his metal to protect Dagnys reputation.

Dagny quits over the new directive and retreats to a mountain lodge.When she learns of a massive accident at the Taggart Tunnel, shereturns to her job. She receives a letter from the scientist shehad hired to help rebuild the motor, and fears he will be the nexttarget of the destroyer. In an attempt to stop him from disappearing,she follows him in an airplane and crashes in the mountains. Whenshe wakes up, she finds herself in a remote valley where all theretired industrialists are living. They are on strike, calling ita strike of the mind. There, she meets John Galt, who turns outto be both the destroyer and the man who built the motor. She fallsin love with him, but she cannot give up her railroad, and she leavesthe valley. When she returns to work, she finds that the governmenthas nationalized the railroad industry. Government leaders wanther to make a speech reassuring the public about the new laws. Sherefuses until Lillian comes to blackmail her. On the air, she proudlyannounces her affair with Rearden and reveals that he has been blackmailed. Shewarns the country about its repressive government.

With the economy on the verge of collapse, Francisco destroys therest of his holdings and disappears. The politicians no longer evenpretend to work for the public good. Their vast network of influencepeddling creates worse chaos, as crops rot waiting for freight trainsthat are diverted for personal favors. In an attempt to gain controlof Franciscos mills, the government stages a riot at Rearden Steel.But the steelworkers organize and fight back, led by Francisco,who has been working undercover at the mills. Francisco saves Reardenslife, then convinces him to join the strike.

Just as the head of state prepares to give a speech onthe economic situation, John Galt takes over the airwaves and deliversa lengthy address to the country, laying out the terms of the strikehe has organized. In desperation, the government seeks Galt to makehim their economic dictator. Dagny inadvertently leads them to him,and they take him prisoner. But Galt refuses to help them, evenafter he is tortured. Finally, Dagny and the strikers rescue himin an armed confrontation with guards. They return to the valley,where Dagny finally joins the strike. Soon, the countrys collapseis complete and the strikers prepare to return.

Part One, Chapters III

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SparkNotes: Atlas Shrugged: Plot Overview

Atlas Shrugged Movie (Official Site)

04.19.18

Little Pink House is in theaters Friday, April 20th!

02.01.18

Watch the new “Draw My Life” video, featuring Envy, from The Atlas Society.

12.13.17

The Atlas Society warns us all of some very serious diseases: STDs (Socially Transmitted Diseases).

11.24.17

Midas Mulligan’s Black Friday Sale is back for its 7th year!

10.14.17

Read a speech by Atlas Shrugged Producer John Aglialoro.

09.28.17

The Atlas Society founder, Dr. David Kelley, is retiring.

08.31.17

Anthem is being made into a graphic novel!

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Atlas Shrugged Movie (Official Site)

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – IMDb

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It was great to be alive, once, but the world was perishing. Factories were shutting down, transportation was grinding to a halt, granaries were empty–and key people who had once kept it running were disappearing all over the country. As the lights winked out and the cities went cold, nothing was left to anyone but misery. No one knew how to stop it, no one understood why it was happening – except one woman, the operating executive of a once mighty transcontinental railroad, who suspects the answer may rest with a remarkable invention and the man who created it – a man who once said he would stop the motor of the world. Everything now depends on finding him and discovering the answer to the question on the lips of everyone as they whisper it in fear: Who *is* John Galt? Written byRobb

Taglines:Who is John Galt?

Budget:$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA: $1,686,347,17 April 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA: $4,752,353

Runtime: 97 min

Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1

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Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) – IMDb

Atlas Shrugged | AynRand.org

Reason and freedom are corollaries, Ayn Rand holds, as are faith and force. Atlas Shrugged showcases both relationships.

The heroes are unwavering thinkers. Whether it is a destructive business scheme proclaimed as moral, the potential collapse of the economy, or a personal life filled with pain, the heroes seek to face the facts and understand. To them, reason is an absolute. Politically, therefore, what they require and demand is freedom. Freedom to think, to venture into the new and unknown, to earn, to trade, to succeed and fail and pursue their own individual happiness.

The villains, by contrast, reject the absolutism of reason. They want a world ruled by their feelings, in which wishing makes it so. James Taggart, for instance, wants to be the head of a railroad without the need of effort. No amount of thinking can bring such a world about he must attempt to bring it about by force. As Rand puts it elsewhere, Anyone who resorts to the formula: Its so, because I say so, will have to reach for a gun, sooner or later.

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Atlas Shrugged | AynRand.org


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