By Kayla Westbrook, JMI Intern, Florida State University Senior in Political Science & Economics
Posted October 23, 2012
On October 15, The James Madison Institute (JMI) hosted a private screening of the new film, Atlas Shrugged: Part 2.  As part of the Institute’s “Madison Movie Nights,” the theater was nearly full to capacity with Tallahassee residents of all kinds — from economics professors to local business owners, all the way to English majors at FSU. Beyond its ideology, JMI shares another special connection to the film. JMI board member Rebecca Dunn has a speaking role in the film, greeting one of the main characters, Lillian Rearden, as they pass by each other in a restaurant.  Her husband, Bill Dunn, a former JMI board member and longtime supporter of the Institute, is the executive producer of the film.The film is based on the second of three parts of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel. Although the themes depicted in the novel originated over 50 years ago, the parallels to today’s government response to our current economic situation are uncanny. In Atlas Shrugged: Part 2, government intervention is brought to its logical conclusion. Equality of results is placed in higher esteem than individual intellectual achievement, and the most basic economic principles are ignored for the sake of the “common good.”Christian Bax, a recent graduate of FSU law school said of the film:
“In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand gives one of literature’s great testimonies to the value of liberty, autonomy and personal authenticity. It is simultaneously a fearless description of the pitfalls of a government falling into soft tyranny and an ode to the power of raw intellectualism. It is almost impossible to watch Rand’s story without feeling strong emotions one way or the other. However, the story is so uniquely powerful because its themes and lessons are as applicable today as the day Atlas Shrugged was written”.As you go through your daily routine today, are there ways in which laws, mandates, or regulations dictate your actions?  From the types and cost of groceries you buy to the lights in your bathroom, you might just find that “common good” laws similar to those in Atlas Shrugged are way too common. Successful individuals are depicted as “greedy,” and the solutions proposed by the government seem like the opposite of common sense just so everyone gets their “fair share,” even if that means bankrupting businesses. By the film’s end, society is crumbling, but more and more people are asking, “Who is John Galt?” To find out, watch the film. If you were able to join us on October 15 or already watched it elsewhere, what did you think?
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