I went to see “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” tonight. I was disappointed, but that was because I kept thinking about what was left out. I was also hoping the screenwriters would have added more “zingers.” I tried to view the movie through the eyes of somebody who thought government-as-usual was still a good idea, but soon got lost in the action.
The more I reflected, the more I realized the movie did have value. It got off to a good start when the streets were full of displaced protesters, one of whom had a sign that read, “We are the 99.98%.” What cars remained had cardboard signs on them that said, “Don’t take.” Gas prices were out the roof. Important scenes were included, like the train wreck that resulted from the rock of counter-intuitive government regulation, the hard head of a politician, and a flippant, incompetent crony capitalist. Perhaps most significant was Directive 10-289, a big, fat piece of legislation that hamstrung already struggling businesses. The president ordered it because there was a crisis to exacerbate. Sound familiar?
When I came home to read the headlines, I appreciated the movie more. Collectivism had succeeded in making just about everybody equally poor. Regulations were forcing entrepreneurs out of business. The government was requiring the employers who survived to employ bureaucrats to shuffle papers to the point Francisco d’Anconia asked if the government wouldn’t soon require watchers to watch the watchers. Intelligence and toil were taxed to the extent that they only fed the ravenous beast of government that was out to destroy them for the sake of redistributing wealth. Productive ingenuity could no longer compete with the power of pull.
Reviewers claim the power of government as portrayed in the novel and movie is ridiculously incredible. What I find incredible is the reviews.
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