Tag Archives: John Galt

Review: Atlas Shrugged: Part II

Altas Shrugged Part II Atlas Shrugged: Part II opened in theaters today, and I was lucky enough to be in a market that had an early matinee this morning. Of course, I already had tickets, and was first in the theater… way too early.

Again, no spoilers but a few thoughts. Part II, “The Strike”, is anti-climactic. If you have read the book, you know this is the part of the story that builds a case for John Galt and his vision. If you haven’t read the book, and were confused by some of the things in Part I, your confusion will not much be helped by seeing Part II. Go see it anyway.

The cast included some surprising choices this time around (and it is an all-new cast). Actor Paul McCrane, of E.R. fame, was a surprisingly good choice for Mouch, but his character wasn’t developed enough. Mouch is the embodiment of crushing government, and they didn’t quite let Mr. MrCrane crush. I was, however, very happy with the casting of Esai Morales as Francisco d’Anconia this time around. The role of d’Anconia in this part of the story is far different from his role in Part I, and I think that Morales’ was probably the best acted in the entire film. Samantha Mathis was competent as Dagny, but her role was over-acted. I was conflicted through much of the movie in my opinion of Jason Beghe as Hank Rearden. I think he portrayed Rearden more accurately than Grant Bowler, but I do believe that Bowler was a more compelling Rearden. Patrick Fabian was a perfect choice as James Taggart, and acted it horribly. *sigh*.

Go see the movie. The implementation of Directive 10-289 is chilling, and eerily familiar in a very uncomfortable way. Expect that it will be overacted and the language a little stiff. Expect, if you have read the book, that there will be things left out that you wish had been left in, but know that Francisco gives his swoon-inducing money-speech (to an ineffective lead-up), and that was enough for me. More people need to hear those words.

Finally, there were some timely pop-culture references in the movie that I am not certain added to the story, but were fun to catch. There is a vague Titanic reference, some obvious Occupy Wall Street parallels, and TEA Party-style nuance (pay close attention to the protesters after Directive 10-289 is enacted!) It was fun to see some other familiar faces like Sean Hannity, Juan Williams, and Jonathan Hoenig, of Capitalist Pig Asset Management! And, to finally catch a glimpse of John Galt (D.B. Sweeney has the best line in the movie… “I am John Galt.” )

Free Market Revolution

Amid the ire directed towards our government, our biggest corporate entities and each other, there are calls from all sides for dramatic change in the policies and politics of America. From TEA party activists, to Occupiers, to the weary long-time unemployed, there is a sense of urgency that something must change, and must change fast. Free Market Revolution is a hard and honest look at the current culture of dependency, the malaise of a once motivated people, and the events that have culminated in our current fiscal crises and ever growing discontent with a system that repeatedly fails to promote growth and prosperity… and offers the only credible and moral ( yes, I said moral) solution to our country’s woes.

In Free Market Revolution, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins break down the often repeated talking points that our current financial crises was caused by greed and deregulation. They speak factually and bluntly about the actual numbers of regulations that were added during the last and current Administration, and their roles in creating a recipe for guaranteed disaster in the housing market, the resulting credit and lending crises that has been fueling the greatest recession since the 1930s, as well the slowest recovery in modern history. The undeniable blame for the current business-killing climate is laid at the feet of big government and collective calls for more regulation, where it belongs.

Dispelled, is the myth that America operates under a capitalist, free market system and explained are the reasons why proponents of a purely free market have been incapable of offering a defense of capitalism that appeals to America as a whole: A moral case for capitalism as an economic system that creates opportunity, wealth, and security for all, without ignoring what the left has so effectively defined as “basic need” and “rights”. Critics of Ayn Rand, without fail, point to her lack of empathy for the poor as a means of demonizing a free market system. Capitalists have been unable to argue the emotional talking points and the morality argument presented by the left, giving way to even more cries for social safety nets and spending by the government to pay for those “basic needs”. Until now.

Free Market Revolution makes clear what capitalists, successful businessmen, and proponents of Ayn Rand’s free market ideas have always known: That the only moral economic system is one that allows for success or failure based on individual effort and self-interest. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins put forth the simple idea that an economy unfettered by overbearing regulation will stimulate innovation and regulate itself via competition and common sense. They handily dismiss the idea that all entrepreneurs and successful business owners are out to gain by nefarious means, and grant the reader the idea that working for your own prosperity is not only fundamentally human, but also fundamentally moral. It is time for supporters of a free market economy to point out that the free market has not existed in America and could not have caused our current fiscal crises. It is time to stop allowing people like Madoff to be the public image of corporate success, and time to stop granting merit to the idea that selfishness automatically means benefiting at the cost of another.

Free Market Revolution is a tool for free market capitalists. One that offers a logical argument to the more and more public and political shouts against free markets and cheers the morality of an economic system that should not need defending, but extolling. You can order your copy here!

Yaron Brook (@YaronBrook) is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and CNN.com, and appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, On the Money, and Closing Bell, among others. A former finance professor at Santa Clara University, he is the co-writer with Don Watkins of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com

Don Watkins (@dwatkins3) is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-writer with Yaron Brook of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com. He appears regularly on radio and TV, and his op-eds have appeared in such venues as Investor’s Business Daily, The Christian Science Monitor, FoxNews.com, and Forbes.

Breitbart IS John Galt


Guest post by suzibasterd

Andrew Breitbart is a force of nature, and I use the current tense intentionally; he will never leave us. Many words have been said about his passing. Many tears have been shed. Shock over his death was not an uncommon emotion and while the conservative community rallied and mourned, the progressives showed their true, gangrenous heart through the vitriol that they spewed in all communication mediums.

But enough about what happened. Let us focus, instead, upon what is…and that “is” is a BIG one, just as BIG as Breitbart and all his BIG websites.

Andrew Breitbart IS John Galt.

If you don’t know who John Galt is, I’m not sure if I should tell you to stop reading now and get thee to a library or a bookstore and read “Atlas Shrugged” or tell you to keep reading and THEN go get a copy. But I digress.

John Galt, beloved character of “Atlas Shrugged,” brought the men of the mind back to their senses. He taught them that they didn’t need to apologize for their success or their independence. “You are attacked, not for any errors or flaws, but for your virtues. You are denounced, not for any weaknesses, but for your strength.”

Breitbart was repeatedly attacked by the insidious left and he, unlike many of us before he came along, reveled in it. Andrew showed us that all we need to do is shine the light…and the truth…on the lies of the left and they will writhe and shrink like slugs with salt poured on them.

Galt and Breitbart both shrugged the feebleness of the left off their shoulders as if they were no more than a feather. When John Galt is asked by a looter what he thinks of the looter, Galt’s response is, “But I don’t think of you.” When told he should apologize for something, Breitbart’s response was, “Apologize for WHAT?”

Galt led the way to a better life by ignoring the left and Breitbart led the way by attacking them, but both showed that the left…the progressive, unscrupulous left of yesterday and today…are the antithesis of goodness and right.

And while John Galt took away producers from the world, Breitbart urged today’s producers to “run towards the fire!” He recognized the looter mentality of the progressive movement, most especially the progressive news media and their selective reporting, if not their outright lies, and he went toe-to-toe with all of them, begging them to prove him wrong. They never could.

It was his conviction in his rightness that makes Breitbart our Galt.

It was his fearlessness.

It was, most of all, his virtue.

‘Going Galt’ Without Realizing

Going Galt Atlas Shrugged In March of this year, there was a firestorm of libertarians and ultra-conservatives taking up the call of John Galt from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Galt is a bright inventor/engineer that decides to quit furnishing his skills to the economy when his company goes Marxist.

Several on the right are considering a Galt-like removal from the economy to starve the money-hungry habits of an increasingly-socialist government.  Others are becoming Galtist without even knowing it.

Many conservatives are shedding debt and increasing assets at an historic pace.  By not needing to service debt, they would need anywhere between 5% and 20% less capital than someone living off of lines of credit from banks and credit card companies.  The popularity of get-out-of-debt personalities such as Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard is massive and escalating.  These personal finance empowerment experts are motivating Americans to shed debt and unnecessary purchases.  According to a Wall Street Journal Article, “Total consumer credit outstanding, which includes everything from credit-card debt to loans for recreational vehicles, fell $12 billion in August, or at a 5.8% seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. It was the seventh straight month of declines”. Conservatives are eating-it-up, the whole thing, all the way.

If the major bread winners in the economy stopped buying a new BMW or SUV every two or three years that means that they need far less cash flow to service their lives.  The real drivers of the economy won’t need to grow their business and some are deciding that enough-is-enough by getting what they get and not going after much more.  These people represent almost half of the job creation in the entire U.S. market.  What is pushing them to consume less, need less, and therefor produce less?

As income increases, disproportionately so do the taxes, bureaucracy, risk, disparagement by the socialist-minded left and responsibility.  An Entrepreneur’s appetite for risk decreases as each of the negatives increase in an increasingly-socialistic atmosphere.  Without a tolerance for risk, these captains of the economy will cease to take out loans to finance their future business growth, cease to hire additional workers, cease to find additional ways to increase revenues that will only get increasingly sent to the government.  Have we passed the risk/reward threshold?  Have the capitalist-hating liberals finally crushed the spirit of the entrepreneur?  I don’t think so, but we are approaching these limits rapidly.

Constantly spouting wealth-hating rhetoric, putting in increasingly anti-capitalistic policies, and taxing out high-earners is focusing the mindset of an already fiscally-conservative crowd.  This drives them into sharing the ideals of Ramsey and Howard, shedding liabilities and only adding fully-owned assets or even worse for our Keynesian approach to money – saving. The savings rate in America increased by almost 5 times to 6% in the second quarter of this year. We’re saving at a higher rate than any time in the last 20 years and many economic experts think that rate could exceed 8%.

If you believe the news, the increased savings and reduction in credit balances are due to a “credit crunch”. Hooey! Consumers aren’t borrowing. On Bloomberg.com, they state that, “only 8% of adults plan to increase household spending…” while 3% will spend less and a little more than half will spend at their current levels.

This not only takes the interest on credit lines out of the picture, but also takes serious private liquidity out of our financial system.  The U.S. uses a fractional reserve system.  Basically, a bank must hold $1,000 to be allowed to loan $10,000 (not the real ratio, but good for demonstration purposes).  This creates liquidity as $9,000 goes into the economy that did not previously exist.

If the major wealth in the country no-longer believes that some margin of debt is o.k., where will this liquidity come from?  The government.  Now the cycle of artificial public liquidity (loaning by the Federal Reserve, a.k.a. “printing money”) requires increasing taxes, more-and-more people either unsubscribe to the idea that debt is fine or increasing numbers of them go bankrupt and won’t be able to borrow.  A liquidity crisis spiral is created until the big-government spending-based economy collapses under its own weight.  That was the goal of John Galt in Rand’s novel and it would appear that it may be occurring not because people are intentionally “going Galt”, but because they are being driven to it by ever-increasing government spending and derision of capitalistic entrepreneurship.

Reagan had it right, you pump up this economy by empowering the hard-working, wealth-creating capitalists. I’m not sure the current administration understands that.. at all.