Thursday, May 12, 2011


The Edwards Cinema complex in San Marcos shrugged off “Atlas…” last week. Before its run was finished, however, I caught a Tuesday matinee performance. After three weeks the flick attracted an audience of perhaps a dozen souls.

Overall, the film version of Ayn Rand’s classic novel has grossed a bit more than four million dollars—not too bad for a movie that opened in only 299 theaters.

Dramatically speaking, one could quibble with various aspects of the production, as P.J. O’Rourke does, somewhat reluctantly, in his Wall Street Journal blog review. What is not open to serious debate is that the film’s philosophical premise represents a voice in the intellectual wilderness of Hollywood and California. After all, when was the last time powerful California politicians or a major studio script portrayed corporate leaders as heroic?

“Atlas Shrugged” has two such protagonists, one a shapely railroad magnate and another a steel manufacturer forced by cynical politicians to divest his holdings in other industries. In addition, the film’s take on the way sheer envy and the lust for political power utilize concepts like “fairness” to accomplish their sordid ends hits very close to the truth—a fact that explains the avalanche of negative reviews (most dressed in dramatic garb) that have been issued by mainstream media elites.

Currently California, which sports a 12% unemployment rate, provides a real time illustration of Rand’s novel by vilifying “greedy” businesses and driving various “Atlases” to flee the state or begin operations elsewhere. All this has been done in the name of “fairness” or for the sake of a dogmatic green ideology.

The recent decision by Obama’s National Labor Relations Board to file a complaint against Boeing Corporation for planning to open a facility in right-to-work South Carolina must have been music to the ears of Senator Barbara Boxer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—politicians whose Sacramento allies continue to pass laws that have transformed the Golden State into one of the most business-hostile environments in the nation.

The logic behind this perverse sentiment is that government-heavy states will benefit if corporate property rights are limited for “the greater good”—thus minimizing competition between states. In short, if all states are run as irresponsibly as California (with huge public employee pensions, absurdly restrictive environmental regulations, and generous welfare benefits for residents and illegals) Californians will benefit.

The more likely result is that the entire country will start to resemble California and that enterprise and tax revenues nationwide will dwindle.

As of this writing “Atlas Shrugged” was still showing at Horton Plaza in San Diego and in Riverside’s Mission Grove Theaters.

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