Atlas Shrugged

Why Ayn Rand Would Have Loved Kickstarter

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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.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: Cathy Young Asks if The Patriarchy is Dead

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  1. Rand supporting accepting help from another human being? I don’t think so. Unless the funds were to be used to crush poor children.

  2. The comments over there might be valid criticisms if the trogs over there knew how to write in English.

    The usual suspects are making all of their shallow and envy-driven remarks (e.g. AV Club, Wonkette, HuffPo). By their enemies ye shall know them…

    1. Those people should post while standing on stepladders, so that the points to which they respond won’t go quite so far over their heads.

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  3. I don’t recall Rand ever having a problem with someone asking for help. Her objection was to demands for help.

    1. But why waste time considering what she actually said? Don’t you see all of these straw men standing around? They’re not going to attack themselves.

      1. Remember that straw men burn better when soaked first with paraffin.

    2. Exactly. The caricatures of Rand are unbelievably inaccurate. “Atlas Shrugged” is shot through with workers who are admired for their ability, be they brakemen, steel workers, secretaries, or mothers raising children.

      1. They are not caricatures. Instead, they are accurate representations of how Progressives view libertarians, objectivists, and conservatives. Progressives sincerely believe that their opponents are loathsome, heartless, and hateful human beings, and they hate us with the pure hate of the self-righteous. Then they project their feelings toward their opponents upon their opponents, and accuse libertarians, objectivists, and conservatives of being motivated by hate. The phenomenon of projection is not particularly unusual.

    3. “So I’ll warn you now that there is one word that is forbidden in this valley: the word ‘give’.”

      1. Ive yet to see a kickstarter offer that didnt involve an exchange of goods.

        Different levels got you different stuff, even if only a t-shirt.

        1. As long as what you can (reasonably) expect to receive exceeds the value of what you’re giving up, that constitutes a rational trade. It’s up to the individual to define the value of what you’re receiving.

  4. Even if you disagree with Rand’s philosophy, actually reading it is helpful if you plan to critique it. Rand didn’t oppose charity as such. She just didn’t believe in altruism in the traditional sense of the term. Leaving aside entirely that Kickstarter hardly constitutes “charity”.

    1. But we have captains of intellect like Amanda Marcotte and Wonkette to tell us what to think; we don’t need to actually engage with the material when we have flip and inaccurate stereotypes.

      1. Rand wrote really long books. Whatever you think of her, it takes some effort to read her stuff and understand what she is saying. People like Marcotte are completely intellectually lazy. They don’t even understand their own political ideology. Expecting them to understand someone else’ is a bridge too far to say the least.

        1. it takes some effort to read her stuff and understand what she is saying

          I’ll disagree, but only because Rand held herself out as the second coming of Aristotle. In that context, Rand’s philosophy as such was very easy to understand and definitely on the shallow end of the kiddie pool in the subject she was writing in — IMO, not worth writing home about.

          You are right though — even the shallow end of philosophy or systematic ideology is far too much for most of these jokers to handle.

          1. Yeah, Rand was hardly a particularly deep thinker.

            Which makes it even funnier that liberals can’t figure out what she actually believed. It’s not like they’re having trouble with Kant.

            If you can’t actually understand what Rand’s arguments were, then I don’t know how you’re smart enough to tie your shoes or feed yourself.

            1. You probably mean to say, “Rand was not a rationalist quack or a subjectivist navel-gazer”.

              For Rand, thought and language were the province of reality and life on earth, not the means of creating abstracted nonsense which is granted undue credibility due to its semantical complexity, as is the Kantian tradition. It is a small mind that falls for the impossible, fantastical, rationalistic mumbo jumbo of Kant and his ancestors.

  5. The butthurt in the Time comments is going to be off the charts. Proglodytes view communist mass murderers more favorably than they view Ayn Rand.

  6. 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?

    Kickstarter represents the democratization of finance. For people who fetishize large centralized organiza5ions, that in itself is scary.

  7. Hey, Obamacare has been passed by Congress and legitimized by the Supreme Court. Who cares if it would actually work?

    David Gregory doesn’t know anybody whose opinion has changed based on Ted Cruz’ objections, so obviously everybody loves it.

    1. David Gregory doesn’t know anybody whose opinion has changed based on Ted Cruz’ objections, so obviously everybody loves it.

      “But everybody I know voted for McGovern!”

      1. Yeah, just like everyone was part of la resistance in France.

    2. Who cares if it would actually work?

      Someone who doesn’t want to pay the “medical device” tax on toothbrushes and dental floss so he doesn’t get Mountain Dew Mouth without drinking Mountain Dew.

    3. How can you watch that crap without having a stroke?

    4. Wow, that’s amazing. I was watching that just a few minutes ago. Right after that idiotic remark, I stopped the play back and deleted it. David Gregory doesn’t try to hide his bias very hard.

  8. I need to know what Really Important People think, so I will know what I should think. Also, so I can recognize the Official Talking Points when I hear them.

    1. Yeah. The problem with getting your news from here is that the liberal concern trolls on here are generally retarded and are too stupid to put out the right talking points. You can’t even get the official talking points from someone like Shreek because he is too stupid to understand them and do his job disseminating them.

    2. Ted Cruz kicked Gregory’s ass.

  9. Oh, if only Tip O’Neil were alive today! He would heal the nation and calm the raging seas of partisan acrimony.

    Good grief.

    1. Actually there is some truth to that. Liberals of course blame everything on evil Republicans, so would never think this much less say it. But the biggest part of the job description of being President is being able to speak to and persuade the entire country, including those who didn’t vote for you. You are always going to have an opposition. But being a good President means being able to persuade your opponents to compromise just enough to get a few things done.

      Yeah sure, the Republican base doesn’t trust Obama and have finally had enough and are willing to shut the government down and at least according to top men risk catastrophe. Maybe the fact that Obama has spent five years telling everyone who is not a supporter to go fuck themselves, never compromising on a single thing, and letting his supporters call even questioning him a racist, has something to do with that.

      Of course liberals think it is because everyone is the RACIST. But perhaps in the real world electing a mean spirited, nasty race mongering community organizer whose only political tactic or idea consists of demonizing his opponents and selling himself as a way to show you are better than everyone else President, was a really bad idea. Maybe he just wasn’t up to the job.

      1. John, as a foreigner watching from afar, this is how I view leadership. That’s exactly right. Selling your ideas is like any sales job and that means bringing skeptics over to your side. It’s a skill. That’s way some people are meant to be great salesman and others not.

        Obama is a terrible salesman and a weak leader because he alone has not been able to convey his message.

        In sales, if you fail to meet your objectives you’re out. There are only so many excuses your boss will accept.

        Seems to me it’s beyond comical if not sad how this administration still blames others for its problems.

  10. What people (I guess those on the left) don’t grasp about Kickstarter and fundanything is it’s voluntary action. Someone goes on, makes their spiel, asks for a donation and hopes it connects to potential “angel” investors. No one is coercing anybody into anything.

    For example, I gave $35 to Adam Carolla because I like his humor, takes on politics and know he’ll likely make a good movie. Just like I freely give Reason a small donation every year now.

    1. Oh, they grasp it, they just don’t LIKE it. They’re against any sort of voluntary collective action (corporations), while being foursquare behind any coerced collectivism (unions, government).

  11. Who’s the tranny in the that picture?

  12. Reasonable update:

    I just got an email from Bryan McKelvey, the keeper of the Reasonable code, saying the issue with the “Most Recent Comments” box has been fixed. I tested it and it appears to be working.

    Anyone who turned off Reasonable should be good to bring it back up and anyone who wants to associate their handle with an email address again should be good to go without causing anyone any problems.

    Thanks to those who inconvenienced themselves to help out.

    1. Giving it a shot now…

    2. Still fucked for me.

      1. Well, until I deleted it and downloaded a new copy. So if you “turned it off” don’t simply “bring it back up.”

    3. Groovy, just updated it and it works.

  13. At the risk of sounding like a complete boob, what’s Reasonable?

    1. It’s an extension for Chrome that has some nifty features. It only works on Reason’s site.

      1. Thanks, Mad Scientist.

        1. I see Tulpa is complaining for being singled out as a troll.

          Lemme get this straight, you guys use it? If I use duckduckgo is that a problem?

      2. Done and done, thanks.

      3. Libertarian privacy advocates using Google’s “more-invasive-than-a-rectal-exam” browser…

        Seriously guys?

  14. What people (I guess those on the left) don’t grasp about Kickstarter and fundanything is it’s voluntary action.

    I would say they are very well aware of the voluntary nature of kickstarter, and that is what they intensely hate and fear. If I can voluntarily fund someone, the I can also refuse to fund someone else; even if the lefties deem them deserving.

    I mean, what if PBS was dependent on kickstarter for funding to disseminate their communitarian propaganda? Assholes like me would keep their checkbooks closed, and that would be a tragic failure of the marketplace of ideas.

    1. PBS is one up on the CBC. They at least appeal to the public for money.

      But yes, point taken. If a leftie believes in his or her idea take it to market and see if people are willing to dish coin out voluntarily.

  15. Ted Cruz kicked Gregory’s ass.

    But- but- but- It’s teh LAW!

    1. I want someone to ask Gregory if he sees selling Obamacare as part of his job.

    2. If he brought up that the law was democratically enacted and therefore we should all follow it, then why doesn’t he turn himself in for illegal weapons possession.

      Oh wait, I forgot. He’s part of the scribe class and not responsible for following the same laws as the serfs.

  16. I’m more interested in Kickstarting those wretched Rand novels to the curb as conversation pieces. They are too shallow for philosophy and too ideological for entertainment; Rand expresses her own ideology and views (such as they are) far better in essay form, and frankly libertarians would be better off if they didn’t have to answer to the caricatures and lifestyle of Rand every time the movement started to get halfway successful. Rand’s work only appeals to a very specific type — a type which, I might add, would probably have migrated over to some form of libertarianism one way or another. Her novels are choir homilies, not evangelistic tracts and there are far, far better vehicles for libertarian thought than those plodding, mechanically written novels.

    1. Mencken wrote individual essays that are worth more than the entirety of Atlas Shrugged.

      1. Mencken had some great work, and some ho-hum stuff. But when he was on, he was fucking ON.

        Atlas Shrugged has a great plot, albeit with some unbelievable stuff in it, buried under a mass of extra wordage. You could cut out perhaps a quarter of the words, and if you picked the right words to cut, it would be a much more readable novel without losing anything.

        1. There’s some really good stuff in there: FdA’s money speech, the bureaucrat (I forget his name) black mailing Rearden and the parable of 20th century motors – for example. But it’s overwhelmed with tedious crap like the ham fisted love scenes and Galt’s speech. It would be a lot better novel if it was 30-40% as long as it is.

    2. I’m more interested in Kickstarting those wretched Rand novels to the curb

      Well, TIT, say what you will, but the only reason I’m here today is because someone told me to read AS. I’ve turned half a dozen others to the light since then by pushing the book on them.

      Yes, she’s a horrible writer and some parts, particularly the love interests, simply DRAGGED. But the parts dealing with the philosophy were, in fact, riveting, by far making up for the shortfalls.

      Simply stated, it made me want to learn more.

      1. Agreed. Rand turned me to libertarian philosophy. I have migrated away from her objectionist views a bit, but Rand definitely changed my way of thinking by reading AS.

      2. TIT should actually try reading some Rand novels aside from AS, like We The Living, and stop so butthurt that she dumped all over his religion.

  17. BTW can these establishment douchebags lay off the polls for while. WTF it’s like they think some snap poll is the be all end all of government policy.

    1. It is one of the bigger lies they tell. They get some poll that may or may not reflect reality and then use it as a way to demoralize the opposition into thinking they are in the minority and out of the mainstream.

  18. Kickstarter, as currently designed, is kinda a gip. So the funders kick in their money, assuming all of the risk if the project fails, and if it’s successful, they get none of profits? That seems like a chump agreement to me.

    1. See above.

      I havent seen any kickstarters that didnt involve something going to the funders.

    2. I wouldn’t say you get nothing in return. You fund it because you want to see the project succeed. If the project succeeds, you have gotten your moneys worth.

      1. If all I want is to see the project succeed, then I will have gotten the same in return even if I didn’t donate. Again, why should I assume the investment risk for, say, Star Citizen so that when it makes millions, Christ Roberts can reap all the reward?

        1. It’s still value for value. It’s no different than a campaign contribution. The donors want their message to be expressed to others through this movie.

          One side has the vehicle to get the message out but lacks full funding, the other side wants the message to get out and is willing to pay to see that it does.

          One could argue this isn’t the most efficient method, but hey, it’s worth it to them.

          1. What I’d like to see is something like Kickstarter, but instead of selling t-shirts or what not, use it to do a dutch auction for some portion of the the projects future revenue.

            1. I like the premise.

              My first thought though, is how do you keep the con-men out? A couple of shysters and folks won’t trust the site. You’d need some sort of background check to validate the project or the like.

        2. Quite a few Kickstarters that fund the creation of a product (a smartwatch, for instance — those have been very popular on Kickstarter lately) give you that product at a reduced price and/or at an early date.

  19. Nice- Clinton (fmr Prez) says, “Obamacare will be a huge success, and in a few years it will be just another vital government service like Medicare and Medicaid.”

    You know, those other unsustainable programs currently bankrupting the country.

    1. Sometimes I need to take time off from Reason because it gets my blood up. I absolutely despise pols and the people who can’t help themselves but felashe these POS fucks like Shriek and TONY.

  20. As say this as someone who is not an Objectivist, but what someone needs to do is a series of documentaries on Rand’s essays on Communism and the Left. Those were by far her best writing and sadly are often crowded out by her novels.

    1. Agree. There should be as even more documentaries and dramas about the human catastrophe of Communism than that of National Socialism. As it stands, there has been more film on 9/11, which was localized in NYC and Washington, than on the Communist catastrophe which spread across continents for over seven decades.

  21. 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”

    Objectivism is about not sacrificing what one values — not ever giving up something you value quite a bit for something you value less. Since value is subjective for each person, there could be a bunch of reasons a person might donate to this film and not violate this primary rule of Objectivism.

    For example, you might be rich and tired of living in a statist society, and value the warm fuzzy feeling of helping a film you think will advertise your Objectivists values to others, and thus advance a more free society, more than the amount you value the monetary donation. That is, if you can think of no higher use for that money, no better way of increasing your personal happiness than donating it, then you are acting laudably selfishly by making that donation.

    1. Still, Ayn Rand would disapprove because she didn’t get to review the script. She’d want the entire 60-page Galt speech in the script.

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