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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16616/atlas-shrugged-sanitized-and-on-the-fly/

Atlas Shrugged: Sanitized and On the Fly

April 25, 2011 by

For instance, Ayn Rand was a passionate smoker. None of the principle characters in Atlas Shrugged: Part I smokes. FULL ARTICLE by Doug French

{ 48 comments }

Kyle April 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

Nice try. This movie’s not bad. I understand that Mises has to mark its territory and preserve its brand, but the review here is just nitpicking. The lead actors were good, in my opinion. What I didn’t like was the shabby directorial intrusion with the graphics announcing the “missing” CEOs. Other than that, I thought the acting was good. The first and last ten minutes disappointed me, as the book ends were sloppily done, but I liked the movie in between.

Eric April 25, 2011 at 8:54 am

I went in with extremely low expectations and the movie sunk beneath them unfortunately making objectivism look really goofy. Honestly, everything was a failure from the casting and acting to the writing and direction. Even if all of the amateurish qualities were fixed and it had an unlimited budget with great casting, the script is too weak to pull it off. The difficult task of translating a huge novel to the screen is deciding what parts of the story to tell and what ideas to convey. What this movie demonstrated was how important screenwriting is in capturing the essence of a long book in movie format. I’m a HUGE fan of the novel but can’t support part 2 and 3 being made based on the quality of part 1.

Dick Fox April 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

Atlas Shrugged: Part I was great. I am a huge critic of movies. There was not one last year that measured up. The King’s Speech was okay but it tried too hard, and speaking of glossing over issues, Edward was a Nazi sympathizer for goodness sake. Where was that?

It amazes me that Doug French seems to obsess over Rand’s personal failures such as smoking too much and drinking too much and being a personally obsessive narcissist. But just as Rand’s personal failures do not detract from her brilliance, this movie’s light treatment of such personally destructive behavior does not detract from the message.

The movie very clearly shows the difference between real business and chrony capitalism, and it also clearly shows that politicians are more interested in personal acquisition and feeding their egos than anything else.

I encourage you to see the movie and take a date. It is a great date movie and even borders on a chick flick as it empowers women as they confront the stupidity of the chrony capitalist and embrace the strength of the confident.

Atlas did not earn much its first week but it was not promoted by a major studio and most people did not even know it was showing. But while Rio held the top spot, Atlas had the highest per screen revenue.

I cannot wait for part two and my friends who went felt the same way.

Señor Peligro April 25, 2011 at 10:40 am

“Edward was a Nazi sympathizer for goodness sake.”

Go fuck yourself.

John Galtless April 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

Small correction here: It didn’t have the highest per screen revenue in it’s first week – it was about sixth (behind films like “Evil Bong 3D”). If you decide to remove the films playing on only one or two screens – although I’m not sure why you would, as that destroys the whole point of a “per screen” comparison – it came second. Rio’s screen average was nearly twice that of Atlas – people apparently love talking birds. Or old Duran Duran albums.

http://boxofficemojo.com/weekly/chart/?yr=2011&wk=15&p=.htm

Dick Fox April 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

John,

My info came from a report linked on Drudge so I will definitely defer to you. Drudge certainly has no lock on the truth.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Why (after 5 hours) has not the moderator removed the offensive comment of Senor Peligro?

A. Viirlaid April 25, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Hi Señor Peligro.

I think your colorful language is unnecessary.

You could simply have pointed out to our dear ‘knowledgeable’ Dick Fox that in making his assessment of King Edward VIII he is confusing him with his younger brother, King George VI, on whom the movie (The King’s Speech) he is criticizing is actually based.

While King Edward VIII has been accused of Nazi sympathies, to my knowledge King George VI never was or has been so criticized. George was the father of the current Queen Elizabeth II.

It is thought by many, including the late Queen Mother, wife of George, that the stress of taking over for his brother, created stress and markedly shortened the natural life-span of the sincere and conscientious King George VI.

Please read about the “Reluctant King”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_VI_of_the_United_Kingdom#Reluctant_king

Greg Smith April 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

I think there is a misconception about why people go to movies. No one goes to a Stallone movie for quality cinematography; if that is good it is a nice benefit but it won’t increase attendance. People go to such a film for the action. We can question the production quality of Atlas Shrugged but considering the many failed attempts to make this movie over the years, it is a wonder it got to the big screen at all. The reviewers have almost universally panned it but the viewers almost all love it. I certainly did. Like action movie fans, folks are going to Atlas Shrugged for the content, not the production quality. The content is there. The essential message is intact. The looters are taking over and the Prime Movers are withdrawing to let them have their day. The presentation, while certainly not stellar, is definitely adequate. I will be buying the film when it comes to DVD.

Ben Ranson April 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

From the box office take, it looks like the two planned sequels will never be produced.

However low the budget was, it was certainly higher than the budget of “Alphaville” or “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I haven’t seen the it yet; but when I do, I intent to judge it exactly the same way as any other movie. Is the camera work good? Is the editing good? The acting? The script? etc…

I’d rather see a well made movie about a subject I dislike than a crummy, embarrassing mockery of something I enjoy.

Dick Fox April 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Ben,

The movie only cost $10 million and they made better than $1 million the first week. Not great for most movies but for Atlas it was right in line with what the producers were hoping for. I heard the producer in an interview and he said Part II would be made.

Charles Gilliam April 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

I am in total agreement with Kyle, Dick and Greg. If you go back and historically review the movies on Rotten Tomatoes that received a rating of 6% you will find that they are some of the worst movies ever made in an artistic sense. To put Atlas Shrugged Part 1 in that category is simply anti-Rand group think on the part of the Rotten Tomatoes Reviewers. While it wasn’t the best movie ever made the idea that it deserves to be a 6% Rotten Tomatoes is ludicrous and glaringly politicized.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

As a regular reader of your columns, I was, to say the least, disappointed in your review.

Thousands of people like me have been waiting for decades (in my case 45 years) to see a movie, any movie, with the title “Atlas Shrugged”. I expect to see it just as soon as ‘theatre near me’ offers a viewing, and will no doubt purchase several DVD’s for gifting, as well as for my own use.

Yet, you chose to nit-pick the screenplay to death. Certainly, this movie is no Cleopatra, The Godfather, E.T., or The Graduate; but from all that I’ve read the producers, actors, et al did the best they could with the constraints (money, time, etc.) placed upon them, and have kept pretty much to essence of what Ayn Rand had in mind.

While I’ve little doubt some of your observations about minor flaws are quite accurate, what you penned was, quite simply, cruel and mean spirited, to say the least. More than half of a century passed while the ‘heavy hitters’ REFUSED to rendor any version, good or bad, of the movie.

Finally, someone stepped forward to do what should have been done years ago; and, what did they recieve in return? Your review.

Unfortunately, Mr. French, your writing compares most favorably to the pontificating words authored by the legendary ‘critic’ Ellsworth M. Toohey of “Fountainhead’ fame.

John Galtless April 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

Actually there were very nearly two versions in the past but both were scuppered by Rand herself, as she refused to give up complete control on the projects.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

You’re right, Mr. Galtless; I’d forgotten about those two efforts. Thank you for refreshing my memory.

But, I suspect you may agree with me when I ask: “Where has everyone, including The Mises Institute, The Heitage Insitutue, and The Cato Institute (not to mention the Ayn Rand Institute) been since 1982, when Miss Rand died?”

J. Murray April 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

Waiting a long time for it to happen is no excuse to throw away good film making fundamentals

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm

The producers did not “throw away good film making fundamentals”, which today cost enormous sums of money. Given the budget they operated under, they, no doubt, did a better job with limited funds than the heavy hitters would have donr with 10 times the amount.

Do you really believe that such extreme liberal actresses as Barbara Striesand and Susan Sarandon, and actors like Hanks and Cruise would have given Atlas Shrugged a performance worthy of an Academy Award?

A. Viirlaid April 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Do you really believe that such extreme liberal actresses as Barbara Striesand and Susan Sarandon, and actors like Hanks and Cruise would have given Atlas Shrugged a performance worthy of an Academy Award?

This is a rather odd question that Gilbert W. Chapman raises. In fact, for comparison, there was apparently more than a bit of interest, on the part of many actors at the time, in starring in The Fountainhead. Please see the quote further below.

I don’t really understand the sentiment that questions the acting motives of most actors, liberal or otherwise. Actors, both female and male, know that their life’s work is left to posterity. There are few actors, if any, liberal, or communist, or capitalist, who I could envisage purposely jeopardizing their legacy just to avoid acting at a level of “a performance worthy of an Academy Award”. Just the opposite — most do their best to always act to such a level.

The next quote is from http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7605&news_iv_ctrl=1221

Even before the cameras began to roll, The Fountainhead created great excitement in Hollywood because many major film stars — Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo — were either actively campaigning for or were being considered for starring roles. Gable and Stanwyck both cancelled their studio contracts when they failed to secure the roles of Roark and Dominique.

There are plenty of actors who would give their eyeteeth to star in such low-budget or indie type movies. Their careers are often unexpectedly helped by performances in such ‘sleeper’ or ‘unknown’ efforts.

Just think of the actors who would have loved to be in the Coen brothers’ first major effort Blood Simple.

By the way, one reason that this movie is not yet being widely released (as to other countries) is that this apparently disqualifies one’s movie for consideration to run at The Cannes Film Festival. Only films that have only been shown in their country of origin can qualify for entrance to that festival.

Please see

Filmmakers are hoping the picture will be considered at the Cannes Film Festival, and rules require the entry to not be shown outside of the country of origin.

The above quote is from http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/04/15/18013721.html

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

H m m m . . . Mr. Viirland . . . You made some very interesting points I had not considered with the winning of an Oscar; and, I generally agree, with one exception.

I don’t ever remember of hearing that Barbara Stanwyck, nor any of the other actors and the actresses you mentioned, would leave our country if a Republican presidential candidate was elected.

Eric April 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

6% is generous as far as I’m concerned and many of the reviewers simply felt sorry the treatment that her book received including Ebert. To answer your questions Ben, no, no, no (one or two exceptions), and no.

Dick Fox April 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Eric,

If you want to see a bad Rand movie check out The Fountainhead and Rand had approval rights on the whole script. The script was preachy and the whole movie fell flat, and it stared Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal so it certainly did not lack “star power.” Rand destroyed the movie because of her dogmatic insistance that everyone sit and listen to her pontificate. I love her books and her ideas, but her ability to communicate or even relate personally was awful.

Thankfully Rand was dead when this movie was made.

A. Viirlaid April 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hi Dick Fox…

“Thankfully Rand was dead when this movie [The Fountainhead] was made.”

How then, did a “dead person”

destroy “the movie because of her dogmatic insistance that everyone sit and listen to her pontificate.”

I am just wondering — maybe there is a good reason, in which case I must be misinformed.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Mr. Fox, no doubt, was referring to Atlas Shrugged as the movie that was produced after Miss Rand’s death, not Fountainhead.

A. Viirlaid April 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Thank you Gilbert W. Chapman.

See?

I was indeed uninformed — I got the wrong connotation…

or is it: wrong ‘ascription’?.

Cheers!

Michael R Stoddard April 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I am disappointed that they sanitized the movie by removing the cigarettes with the gold dollar sign. But I am even more disappointed at Mr. French’s spotlighting Rothbard’s Rand Spoof. I remember walking out the play when the Mises Institute re-enacted it in Vegas. It is well done but nevertheless I have always considered it a CHEAP SHOT. While I am not an Objestivist and am more a Hoppeian Capitalist, I still think Mozart Was A Red STINKS. If not for Ayn Rand, the Mises Institute would probably not exist. Rand introduced more people to libertarianism than any person in the twentieth century in my humble opinion.

Dagnytg April 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I haven’t seen the movie, but I feel Doug’s incredibly awkward review deserves some comment.

There is something very strange when someone begins to comment on a Randian subject and leaves a link to a mystic… (Mystic Mona). Very, very strange…

Then proceeds to a conclusion by encouraging people to view “Mozart was a Red” which was written by an amateur play write and is nothing more than a rant about a bad experience. I’m sure Rothbard would agree.

Needless to say, I fail to see how “Mozart was a Red” and Mystic Mona has anything to do with a movie critique of Atlas Shrugged.

One last observation:

Doug French is good at many things and has a skill set that greatly benefits mises.org, but his recent blogs on pop culture has left me with the conclusion that he is out of place in writing on these subjects.

In my mind I had imagined crowds of moviegoers in “Galt’s Gulch” T-shirts, ladies dazzling, donning their best dollar-sign jewelry…as Rand look-alikes waved cigarette holders, cocking their heads skyward and blowing rings of smoke into the air.

Doug, really, you need to step out from the insular world you live in (at the Mises Institute) and hang out in the real world where you will be lucky to find a Libertarian much less a Randian.

How his critique made the Daily I have no idea. I never thought I would see the day when mises.org would link to a Las Vegas mystic… it’s a slippery slope isn’t it?

HL April 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Whew! After reading some of the comments, I need a cigarette and a scotch. As for my modest opinion, I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, Part I. My grandkids may one day see the Peter Jackson’esque monster screen epic Rand deserves, but I will have to settle for what we have here. Ditto for We the LIving and the Fountainhead.

Oh, and of all the characters, Francisco was the most horribly mis-cast. Seriously, they couldn’t find a good looking swarthy guy in Hollywood? Hello?

cavalier973 April 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Peter Jackson would ruin the story; he would completely miss the motivations of the book’s characters. John Galt would turn out to actually be a socialist.

Joe April 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

It seems like that the Mises site has a dual philosophy that competes with each other. It is almost like the pagan Randians are being wooed into the purist Rothbard church. Since both Ayn and Murray were libertarians but not totally lock-step in the government vs no government camp we have this irritation going on.
I normally enjoy Mr. French’s articles but it seems he is a little biased when it comes to Ayn. As Rodney King once said, “can’t we all just get along?”
As I have read both Rand and Rothbard I enjoy what they had in common and try not to dwell to much on their disagreements. After all I’m sure that Obama is not going to see the light and embrace either of them in the near future.

HL April 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Against my better judgment, I browsed the comments to the PJO’r review linked by Mr. French. I sometimes enjoy watching the pro/anti-Rand crowd duke it out in the comments. Anyway, so I am sipping a coffee reading the comments when suddenly this one makes me realize someone who doesn’t even know me has, like, totally dialed my number!

Michael Tuffli wrote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Little did I know JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Ayn Rand would stunt me for life. I threw away my youth!! Here I am, stunted and crippled, reading blog posts on Mises.org. I better get home and clear the bookshelves so the little ones are not similarly tainted.

Cyclops April 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

It was the best of films. It was the worst of films–well, not the worst, by a long ways. The characters were not developed. French got it right on Ellis Wyatt–great depiction. They just did not spend enough time on Eddie or any of the other “Competent Ones,” other than the two main characters. Rearden’s wife should have been young and pretty like Dagny. This would have based the difference in attractiveness more obviously on philosophy and competence than on physical features.

I thought there were too many spoilers throughout Part I. For goodness’ sake, why couldn’t they have gotten a screenwriter to develop a story-line rather than simply showing disappearance after disappearance of Competent Ones? In the book, Atlas doesn’t shrug until the magnificent end. Here, they are dropping like flies right and left. This leaves Dagny and Hank the most naive and clueless people on the planet. John Galt actually approached her in the diner, and she still didn’t get it.

Her stupid brother was played well, but I think the main problem is that the movie is way too short. It is an epic story–really amazing–and we can only allot an hour and a few minutes to the first installment?

The movie does tell the story of the shortcomings of socialism, collectivism, and incompetence (yes, they are three-of-a-kind) in a vivid way. For this, it is well worth the price of admission. Forget the art, the cartoon-like trainride, cardboard characters–it gets the message across. I hope it is heeded by millions.

Let it be a warning to those who are wanting to tax the rich out of existence. Let them experience what the world will be like without us who are still valiantly holding things together while letting the spit drip off our faces and watching the looters gamble with civilization itself.

A. Viirlaid April 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Hi Cyclops

Let them experience what the world will be like without us who are still valiantly holding things together while letting the spit drip off our faces and watching the looters gamble with civilization itself.

We (you and I) don’t precisely know where we are going as a Western society. Heck, we don’t know where we are going as a world. There are a lot of things that need fixing, not least of all, IMHO, our Broken Money System operated by a Broken Federal Reserve.

Here’s Dr. Ron Paul making that same point in 1983 (!!!)… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hMeNnbSqkk&feature=related

Everyone seemingly has their own worst-case Future Scenario. “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, “Brave New World”, “Fahrenheit 451″ are just a few.

In his novel Player Piano Kurt Vonnegut warns of a future that has a rebellion against the automated society… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano

But an “Automated Society” is probably the only kind of society most of us in the future will know how to survive in. Very few of us any longer know how to grow our own food, make our own shelter, sew our own clothes, obtain our own clean water, and so on. (We do know how to play video games, it seems.)
We are “babes in the woods” and are easy prey for others if and when things turn nasty, brutish, and uncivilized — a road, some would argue, we are well along on by now.

As things get tougher, humans tend toward tribalism, much like forming gangs in many inner cities today.

And, as things get tougher, Central Governments tend to get either more ineffectual, or themselves become brutal in their attempts to “hold things together”. [Look at Syria today.]
Part of that trend to fascism or communism, or whatever you wish to call it, is indeed what you describe with your words as

Let it be a warning to those who are wanting to tax the rich out of existence.

Heck, my point is, that given conditions extant already TODAY [let alone the future conditions that ATLAS SHRUGGED describes] it won’t only be the so-called “rich”, it will be ALL of us that The Government comes after [and is already coming after].

ATLAS SHRUGGED does have a meaningful message, as you suggest.
However IMHO we may just be past THAT point, where that message can still be acted on. We may be past the point where that message is still meaningful in that sense.

While ATLAS SHRUGGED suggests what might happen if the “Productive Class” goes on strike, today we may be at a point where it would be better to prepare for conditions that harken back to a much more primitive time.

And I submit that it will not take the “Productive Class” to go “on strike” for this to unfold.

No, I submit that this will unfold, whether or not that “strike” takes place.

In other words, we did have a chance to listen to Dr. Ron Paul back in 1983 and do something about the future.

TODAY, that Future has already been “baked into the cake”.

John Donohue April 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

To all of you who cited Rotten Tomatoes at 6% without supplying the context: this is so typical of fans of this Institute now. Pick you characterization: you who did that, and then danced on Ayn Rand’s grave, are either incredible lazy and stupid or viciously hypocritical. I’ll let you pick which you are.

30 “official reviews” resulted in the 6% rating.
7431 “moviegoers” resulted in a rating of 85%

And who are these reviewers? You know the answer.

John Donohue
Pasadena, CA

John Donohue April 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm

To you, Mr. French, I award the Smack Me With Faint Praise trophy. That was a masterpiece. I guess you can deploy this type of drip poison when you have several writers under your masthead attacking Ayn Rand, intellectual property rights and capitalism with cyanide buzz bombs.

The leftie blogs like HuffPo and DailyKos…they are shooting off the expected garbage. Several Christian writers have written with such hatred that I expected Jesus to reach down and drag them to hell even if they WERE attacking an atheist.

But the snide and smarmy sideways — here I self edit the alliterative word that would finish my thought — dished out by “libertarians” such as Reason and the now the president of the Mises Institute deserves the foulest rotten tomatoes I could find to smash you up.

John Donohue
Pasadena, CA

Eric April 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

“danced on Ayn Rand’s grave, are either incredible lazy and stupid or viciously hypocritical”

I’m very confident in saying Rand would have been extremely disappointed in what was done with her novel. She deserved better and many of the reviewers noted such fact.

Mrhuh April 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I finally saw the movie tonight and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was by no means epic and some of the acting was a little stiff…at first. It actually did get a little better however as the movie went on. And some of the archetypes presented are almost a direct reflection of the real world with the limousine liberals and “compassionate” politicians who think that even if some new technology doesn’t physically harm the populace, then it presents some “social threat” to them. If they did take a few rather ridiculous details out of the book, such as dollar-shaped cigarette butts, then such a thing only served to make it more believable. Honestly folks, dollar-sign shaped cigarette butts? More like Gordon Gekko (a crony capitalist if there ever was one) than some honest entrepreneur.

Rick April 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm

French was just somewhat critical of the movie and some of you are taking it way too personally.

Dagnytg April 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

Here’s the deal with Doug’s review (aside from promoting a mystic who appears to be a personal friend) if you’re someone who understands a Rand novel, you know it’s about ideals and ethical values and those ideals/values are represented through characters in her novels.

If you can’t critique the movie based on that criteria, then you have no business commenting on the subject. It’s apparent to me and perhaps others that Doug has ventured into an area that is not his expertise.

Outside of the silly notion that Randians are going to flock to this movie and dress up like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, he seems fixated on cigarettes and drinking and to be honest I don’t remember (and don’t care about ) those things from reading the novel…but then I was immersed into the characters and the values they represented…

I have always taken a rather elitist view, that when it comes to Rand, you either get it or you don’t and most people don’t get it… and I’m afraid Doug French is in that group.

If you want a more balanced and intelligent review, then I suggest this one by J. Patrick Rhamey Jr.
http://mises.org/daily/5218/The-Continued-Relevance-of-Rands-Villains

Perhaps if Doug had consulted his mystic friend, she could have forewarned him … then again, maybe he did and this is the result…

Samantha Atkins April 26, 2011 at 2:29 am

I don’t know what you all’s problem was down in Georgia. I saw it in San Jose on opening night. The theater was packed. People cheered during various scenes. I certainly agree it could have been a lot better and that some of the acting left much to be desired. But I thought Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden were well cast. Overall this review was far more tedious than the move. I would expect much better toward one of the few literary and philosophical widely known defenders of capitalism and freedom. Again, yes, the movie did not do the book or Ayn Rand justice. But it was much better than this review.

John Donohue April 26, 2011 at 4:09 am

Samantha if you detect what appears to be a contradiction, check you premises. I will point your attention to this one in particular:

‘”… literary and philosophical widely known defender[..] of capitalism and freedom.”

Gilbert W. Chapman April 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

Good Morning, Mr. French ~

Let’s face it: You owe all libertarians, objectivists, capitalists and, most of all, Austrians an apology.

integral April 26, 2011 at 8:29 am

Lol, this is pathetic…

Dagnytg April 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Actually, Gilbert has a point though I am not sure our reasons are the same.

Let’s forget the Ayn Rand and the Atlas Shrugged issue for a moment and just look at the situation and article.

Remember, the writer of this article is president of the Mises Institute.

First, the article is poorly written by basic essay standards and more so by the high standards set at mises.org.

The article is completely rhetorical and lacks any objective analysis or reasoning. It also lacks cohesiveness which is the standard of a well written essay.

His critique of the movie, in a strange and awkward way, becomes a critique of Rand. But that is not the title of the article. In fact, he never really addresses the main idea as set forth by the title.

Furthermore, (and most embarrassing) is the self promotion of his friend, the psychic, (Mystic Mona). This is personal information we don’t need to know and is inappropriate. Linking to her from mises.org (a site dedicated to the serious discussion of liberty and reason) is a major blunder if not an apparent character flaw. (Remember this is from the president of the Mises Institute not some writer off the grid.)

Jeffrey Tucker needs to reign in the mises inner circle and decide what direction the site wants to take and what standards of writing are to be expected from everyone…including the president of the institute.

Note:
I see today, Doug got back on the wagon and wrote about something he knows…home mortgages… Thank God.

I like Doug French, his articles, and lectures and I’ll assume he had too many jelly beans for Easter and it affected his reasoning skills. He’s forgiven.

I just hope this article is not an indication of the future here at mises.org. Perhaps we should consult Mystic Mona.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thank you, “Dagneytg”; I suspect our reasons are in accord.

I suspect that, to some degree, Mr. French may unfortunately suffer from what many pupils of a gifted economist do ~ Hero Worship.

In his case it would appear that he believes only in Murray Rothbard, while I must admit that in my case, Dom Armentano (also a contributor of essays to the Mises Institute) was my hero, as well as F.A. Hayek (whom Armentano introduced me to him some 35 years ago).
And, I must admit, I still worship Hayek because he seemed to be more pragmatic than Rothbard.

Unlike Mr. French, however, I’ve never felt that any of the names mentioned ~ Rand, Hayek, Rothbard, or even Mises, had all the answers, so to speak. Each of them, along with Adam Smith, Fredrick Bastiat, and even Henry George, made significant contributions to economic thought. And, Robert Heinlein, the science fiction writer, certainly contributed to the field of economics with his book, “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”.

However, your suggestion that Mr. Tucker ‘get a handle on things’ at the Institute is certainly appropriate. It seems as if Mr. French, not to mention Thomas Dilorenzo (who seems to love ‘bashing’ such men as Lincoln and Hamilton) have almost gotten to the point of losing the respect that they have rightfully earned by basically saying, “It’s either my way, or the highway.” And, if my memory serves me correctly, that’s why Ayn Rand received so much harsh criticism.

To my way of thinking, the perfect economic system still has not been conceived. It’s a work in progress.

In the interim we would do well to praise the individual contributions of each free market economist, as well as such people as the producers of Atlas Shrugged. At least they have created a movie that might well have a positive impact on our younger Americans, who have been subjected to a continuous barrage of socialist propaganda during the past three decades.

Joe April 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Gilbert,
“To my way of thinking, the perfect economic system still has not been conceived. It’s a work in progress.”
Could one believe that if we have a perfect economic system we will have a perfect world? A perfect individual?
I think it will always be a work in progress because I believe that we will never attain perfection on this orb in the Milky Way.
I do agree with you that there have been many people that have contributed to the mix up to this point in our evolution of economics. I too also try to find the consummate answer to all things, but I am frustrated most of the time. I believe that Mises is hands above the rest of the economists. He understood that KISS, keep it simple stupid works the best.

Gilbert W. Chapman April 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Slight misunderstanding here.

I, like you, feel perfecting any economic system “will always be a work in progess.”

In regard to your belief “that Mises is hands above the rest of the economists”, I can only say that perhaps you are right. No doubt there were, and still are, many people who felt that Bastiat reached the pinnacle in economics way back in 1850.)

About all we ‘know’ today is that Paul Krugman is unlikely to even be remembered some 160 years from now!

RHoltslander April 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Thank you for, what appears to be, a balanced review of this movie.
You’ve saved me the money of seeing this film which sounds pretty badly done. I’ll wait for it to come out in instalments on YouTube or something when I can justify the waste of time.

Gilbert W. Chapman May 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

Saw the movie yesterday. Not Great . . . Not that Bad . . . But . . . There are two incidents reflected in the movie that parallel perfectly events in this country during the past two weeks:

(1) Boeing being told by Obama & Company where the new Dreamliner should (will ?) be built . . . In Washington, rather than South Carolina (a Right to Work state).

(2) Barney Frank’s attempt to make certain the Fed is entirely controlled by Congress. (Granted, the Fed is objectionable is in its present form, but his grand idea will make it even worse.)

Now . . . Was the ticket for admission to “Atlas Shrugged” worth $7.00? Absolutely!

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