Saturday, April 16, 2011

O4P Lit Drops, Reagan Conservatism, and "Atlas Shrugged"

Yesterday, the movie "Atlas Shrugged, Part I," based on the first half of Ayn Rand's novel by the same title opened in movie theaters nationwide. Tea Party groups organized group viewings and the Staten Island Tea Party was no exception.

Getting the notice late, I did an emergency run of O4P New York's Sarah Palin's Accomplishments booklet on my black and white laser scaled down to letter size. The booklet along with some O4P business cards became my lit drop. I arrived at the Regal Theater across the street from Staten Island's Forest Ave. Home Depot and went straight to work. Fully half of my brochures got distributed. I met old friends from the Grimm campaign and from the Staten Island Tea Party, and hopefully piqued interest in Organize4Palin.

Atlas Shrugged Plot Synopsis

Unlike most movies based on books, Atlas Shrugged remains faithful to the plot as written in the book and covers around the first two thirds of the book. The plot is set in an America crushed under socialistic policies. The Middle East has imploded, gas shortages have kept most people off the road, air travel has become unsafe, energy resources are readily available but locked up under insipid regulations, and the country is on the verge of collapse. Top producers "disappear" - in essence withdrawing their brains and contribution from the failed US and forming a new country based on laissez-faire capitalism. Indeed, much of what appears throughout the movie appears to be art imitating life and will resonate with any supporter of Gov. Palin. In this regard, Ayn Rand's words were prophetic, as our country appears to be headed down that path.

The Underpinning of Atlas Shrugged

To fully appreciate the movie, reading the nearly 1,000 pages of Atlas Shrugged is a must, as is an understanding of Objectivism and where it diverges greatly from the principles Gov. Palin and her supporters hold near and dear. Objectivism is a philosophy developed by Ayn Rand which holds that human beings are here for their own self-interest; "A is A" - a thing is itself and cannot convert to something else; a belief in laissez-faire capitalism; and a belief in atheism. Libertarianism shares some elements in common with Objectivism and the two are often confused. Many followers of Ron and Rand Paul (his first name most likely honoring Ayn Rand's surname) tend to gravitate toward at least some elements of Objectivism.

Where Atlas Shrugged Diverges from Reagan Conservatism

While Reagan Conservatism and Objectivism vis-à-vis Atlas Shrugged would be in concurrence on most fiscal issues, Gov. Palin and her supporters would find the social aspects of Objectivism to be absolutely repugnant and odious. Under Objectivism, for instance, all religion is dismissed as little more than pre-philosophy snake oil. Objectivists are pro-abortion, holding that a fetus is not a complete person, but resides in the womb only with the mother's permission, and thus is just a part of her body. Objectivists also do not believe sexual fidelity is necessary to love. In the book, Dagny Taggart had three affairs. In the movie, one of the affairs is depicted (no nudity, but the movie left nothing to the imagination as to what occurred), and the tacit message was one of approval. The protagonist was in a love-less marriage; he found love with Dagny, so the affair received a tacit stamp of approval. Ayn Rand lived in and was a proponent of "open marriage," so this view definitely carries through to Atlas Shrugged, both in book and movie forms.

In summary, as Gov. Palin's supporters, we should see Atlas Shrugged, and read the book to be aware of the elements that concur with Reagan Conservatism and the elements that diverge greatly. Certainly, Tea Party-organized viewings are excellent venues for Organize4Palin lit drops.
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