As Brian Doherty noted last week, the producers of the Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy have turned to crowdfunding to gin up fan interest and some spare change for the final installment of the series.
In a new column at Time.com, I argue that sites such as Kickstarter and other marvels of the 'Net provide a whole new way of "going Galt." Here's the start:
What does it mean that the makers of the final installment of a three-part film adaptation of Ayn Rand's controversial 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged are asking for donations at the crowdfunding site Kickstarter? Isn't that the book where characters pledge to "never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine"?
To critics of the first two movies in the trilogy (released in 2010 and 2011) and of Rand's stridently individualistic philosophy, it's just the latest indicator that the author of The Virtue of Selfishness and her fans are obnoxious hypocrites. "Ayn Rand Movie Producers Beg for Money," reads a Buzzfeed headline. "Atlas Shrugged producers turn to Kickstarter for help warning others against moochers," snarks The AV Club.
But regardless of the reasons for why producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow are seeking $250,000 via crowdfunding (and we'll get to those in moment), the fact is that Kickstarter and other sites like it are best understood as today's answer to "going Galt," a concept that's central to Rand's dystopian novel. Crowdfunding uses the internet to match up like-minded people who are spread all over the place to connect and support all sorts of projects, from staging of concerts to starting businesses to just about anything you can imagine.