Movies

Tomorrowland: 'Atlas Shrugged reimagined by Mickey Mouse'

Is director Brad Bird's film an "insidiously political" argument for the value of individual achievement?

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Walt Disney Pictures

Brad Bird's Tomorrowland is "the most insidiously political blockbuster ever made," writes Barry Hertz at Toronto's Globe and Mail. Like Ayn Rand, Hertz argues, director Bird "pines for worlds where incredible people can be free to do incredible things, and to hell with everyone else."

This is a theme that some of Bird's critics have been pursuing for years: The New York Times evoked Rand when it reviewed The Incredibles in 2004. The Guardian thought that film's message—"powerful people must not be held back by the mediocre masses," according to the paper—was more out of Nietzsche than Rand. As for critic Hertz, he believes that all of Bird's films have projected an "Objectivist message," one that has "allowed him to build an IMDb profile that would make Ayn Rand blush."

The Iron Giant (1999)? "On the surface, it's a charming cartoon about a boy and his alien robot. Yet the film spends an awful lot of time and energy developing a deep mistrust of government forces, especially military bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to destroy something they don't understand, something spectacular."

The Incredibles (2004)? "Here, an ungrateful (i.e. complacent, average, worthless) public bands together to force superbeings into a life of mediocrity, so terrified are they of anything powerful or special. The film's villain, who embraces envy as much as Rand rejected it, also has a half-cocked scheme to mass-produce superpowered weapons, laying out Bird's guiding philosophy in one tidy pull quote: 'When everyone's super, no one will be.'"

Ratatouille (2007)? That film "employed lush speeches on the importance of elitism and the dangers of complacency, albeit speeches delivered by a talking rat." Hertz could have done better than that: ex-reason staffer Julian Sanchez wrote in 2007 that "Ratatouille is essentially an animated version of The Fountainhead, except that cooking replaces architecture, Ellsworth Toohey eventually has a Grinchian change of heart, and Howard Roark is a rodent."

Hertz writes that Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol  (2011) doesn't really count, since Bird didn't write the script. Still, he asks, "isn't Tom Cruise's superspy, Ethan Hunt, just an ass-kicking John Galt?"

As for the new film, Hertz characterizes it this way: "Tomorrowland was constructed by the world's 'best and brightest,' who were able to realize their visions only by being 'free from government, bureaucracy' and other forces of mediocrity that would quash the gifts of the exceptional."

Bird dismisses the Rand comparisons as "ridiculous" whenever he's asked. "I'm definitely a centrist and feel like both parties can be absurd." Hertz includes the denial in his essay, but he's not buying it. "One or two ideological slips are easy to brush off," he writes, "but with Tomorrowland, Bird has produced four unmistakably Objectivist tracts. There are coincidences, and then there's proselytizing.

Peter Suderman reviewed Tomorrowland here and Kurt Loder reviewed it here.

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  1. Hertz argues, director Bird “pines for worlds where incredible people can be free to do incredible things, and to hell with everyone else.”

    Spoken by somebody who aspires to be mediocre.

    1. I’m not much for Ayn Rand or Objectivism, but I’m having a hard time seeing anything wrong with that sentiment.

    2. No, you’re not getting the subtext. All these people whining about Rand or Bird are just basically ultra butthurt. It bugs the shit out of them if “incredible people can be free to do incredible things, and to hell with everyone else” because they know they will be left behind in such a scenario. They don’t aspire to mediocrity; they’re already there. And they know it.

      Rand saw a tendency for mediocre people to want to tear down exceptional people for the pettiest of reasons: the desire to make themselves feel better by making sure no one could excel beyond them. If Bird sees that as well, it’s funny, because every one of these whiny reviews is actually, in its tiny way, trying to do exactly what Rand and Bird pointed out that mediocre people do.

      1. By the way Episiarch, thanks for the sci fi recommendations the other day. Had to take off right after I posted. But I ordered a few.

        1. Nice, which ones?

          1. Ender’s Gay isn’t actually science fiction. Episiarch has tricked you again.

          2. Prador Moon and Altered Carbon

            1. Prador Moon isn’t the Asher I would have started with, but if I recall it is chronologically the first Polity novel, which I’m guessing is why you picked it. The different series within Asher’s various Polity novels are pretty independent of one another, but there’s no reason you can’t go chronologically as well.

              All three Takeshi Kovacs novels are very good.

              1. I need to reread the Kovacs novels but I distinctly remember one of my problems with Morgan was that he at times devolved into thinly veiled socialism. Still very entertaining reads though.

      2. They’re like crabs trying to climb.

          1. I was going for “pulls the one in front of them down in order to climb up” but holy shit those things are huge!

        1. They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man.

          Describes Tony to a “T”

      3. Rand saw a tendency for mediocre people to want to tear down exceptional people for the pettiest of reasons

        I really wish she were around to shred the idiots who threw a tantrum over a scientist’s bowling shirt as he was announcing an achievement unique in human history.

        -jcr

    3. Define mediocre. Not wanting to be an industry leader or incompetent?

      Nothing wrong with being mediocre, so long as it’s your choice and you don’t attempt to inhibit those that wish to excel.

      Rand had no issue with those who were competent at a menial job. Only those who were incompetent and expected to be carried.

      1. That’s where Rand and Nietzsche differ. To Nietzsche, you might as well be dead if you’re going to be content with mediocrity.

      2. What about those who are competent government bureaucrats?

        1. I’m sure their parents are very proud of them.

            1. What about competent car thieves? And can we talk about all those people who are really good at molesting?

        2. Competent government bureaucrats? I’m a defense contractor. The number of competent DoD bureaucrats – I can count on both hands. That’s in 30 years in the business.

          1. Being surrounded by incompetence is the human condition. It’s not a bunch of self-made geniuses out here in the private sector. Certainly not among the CEOs who inherited their companies from daddy.

            1. Apparently, those are the only friends you can attract. Sad.

        3. What about those unicorns you keep thinking you saw?

          -jcr

      3. I’m reminded of the beginning of Atlas Shrugged when Dagny admires the precise driving of a bus driver.

        1. Exactly. Just because you’re not building skyscrapers or jet planes doesn’t mean you’re incompetent. And even if you’re incompetent, I don’t think Rand would scorn you – *if* you’re doing the best that you can.

      4. “Rand had no issue with those who were competent at a menial job.”

        Sometimes, the janitor is more important to the success of a business than the president.

    4. Some people need more reasonable goals in life.

    5. How about a world where incredible people are free to do incredible things and everyone else is free to do whatever kind of things they are capable of? Why do people think that allowing some people to excel means you have to hold other people back? Or do they think that incredible things are only useful to incredible people?

      1. ^^This.^^

        How about a world where people are free to do incredible things and everyone is free to do whatever kind of things they are capable of?

    6. More like, someone who knows he is mediocre, and who resents his superiors. Brad Bird is a film director with great achievements to point to, while Hertz is a no-talent hack working for leftard rag.

      -jcr

  2. So what, though?

    1. If the Hollywood execs knew they were being bamboozled and producing movies for a guy guilty of wrongthink, he’d promptly be blacklisted if exposed.

      Anyone deemed “conservative” can have their career ruined in Hollywood.

      1. People have been discussing Bird this way for years. They know who they are getting. He makes movies that a lot of people like. I think that still counts for more than vague politics as long as the movies have mass appeal. Explicitly religious or political movies are a bit different.

      2. As long as you’re an excellent storyteller (and can make bank), it doesn’t matter.

        I submit the ATLAS SHRUGGED movies tanked because it was AWFUL storytelling, and would have succeeded in the hands of someone far more talented. I cried at the end of the first one, it was so awful.

        People DO get converted via entertainment, as long as it’s good.

  3. ” That film “employed lush speeches on the importance of elitism and the dangers of complacency, albeit speeches delivered by a talking rat.”

    Anyone who thinks that a movie revolving around Gusteau’s slogan “Anyone can cook!” is promoting elitism is too pig-ignorant to bother with.

    1. Complacency IS dangerous. What a fucking moron that guy is.

    2. I mean, a rat is a brilliant chef. A rat.

    3. The entire point of Ratatouille was to not place pedigree above merit.

      Like electing people educated at Harvard just because they went to Harvard.

  4. Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is “the most insidiously political blockbuster ever made,” writes Barry Hertz at Toronto’s Globe and Mail. Like Ayn Rand, Hertz argues, director Bird “pines for worlds where incredible people can be free to do incredible things, and to hell with everyone else.”

    Wait till Civil War comes out — if it’s anything like the graphic novels, this guy will choke to death on his own spittle from sputtering so hard.

    1. (I mean Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War)

    2. One can only hope.

  5. Somebody wants to get republished in Slate, Salon, Vox, and Gawker.

  6. OMG!!111!!

    Someone produced/wrote/directed a movie that is philosophically tainted with Randian themes?

    Get him!!

    “We don’t won’t no stinking diversity around these parts.”

  7. The Iron Giant (1999)? “On the surface, it’s a charming cartoon about a boy and his alien robot. Yet the film spends an awful lot of time and energy developing a deep mistrust of government forces, especially military bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to destroy something they don’t understand, something spectacular.”

    Aren’t these the same people that rail against the folly of war and how the military-industrial complex runs the government? Shouldn’t we have a deep mistrust of military bureaucrats according to the left?

    What the literal fuck.

    1. Because they don’t really oppose government. Just the electoral process that results in people that think differently than they do controlling the government. Which makes you wonder just how democratic they really are–what if they became a quasi-permanent minority?

      1. They’d act a lot like they do now. Only more so.

    2. Isn’t that just a rehash of the plot of E.T.?

      1. Yeah but it also had a strong anti-gun message. Cool movie though.

    3. Shouldn’t we have a deep mistrust of military bureaucrats according to the left?

      Only when those bureaucrats aren’t part of the collective.

      1. My bureaucrats are better than your bureaucrats!

    4. Having seen Iron Giant several times, I’d have to say that is isn’t the military bureaucracy seeking to destroy but the (mediocre) investigative bureaucracy…and I’d also say that as good as a movie it is Iron Giant is also a long anti-gun screed.

      1. Iron Giant is also a long anti-gun screed.

        Yes it is. But I thought it was more focused on weapons of war.

        1. The impassioned plea of Hogarth near the end of the movie – “Guns kill. You are not a gun.” – sealed it as anti-gun propaganda to me.

          1. I saw that as being more anti-militaristic and maybe more about the distinction between the robot’s “humanity” and its merely mechanical, pre-programmed nature.

            1. Fair enough. That’s not how I see it but living in NY I may be more sensitive about my 2A rights.

          2. I saw that has a child’s way of explaining that the robot had agency and could choose not to kill.

            But if you only saw “guns == bad”, so be it.

    5. Fuck anyone that doesn’t like the Iron Giant.

      1. Exactly.

        1. Brad Bird is a god, or at least Edna is a goddess.

          1. If Hillary Clinton were at all smart, she’d adopt an Edna Mode personality from here on out.

            1. Don’t ruin Edna for me Pro.

              1. Yea that’s just cruel.

                1. I love Edna. She’s very funny, which Hilary is not.

                  I also love both the Incredibles and Iron Giant. Didn’t take the latter as anti-gun message at all. It’s more of anti-militarism message.

    6. Shouldn’t we have a deep mistrust of military bureaucrats according to the left?

      In the 60s and 70s, it was liberals who taught me that government was evil.

      Then liberals decided it was more profitable to be government than to bitch about government.

    7. Yet the film spends an awful lot of time and energy developing a deep mistrust of government forces, especially military bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to destroy something they don’t understand, something spectacular.”

      He says it like it’s a rare thing. I’d guess about 90% of SF movies, 99% of action flicks, and somewhere north of 60% of cop and war movies have government/military/bureaucrats either as the bad guy or as an incompetent obstacle, which the exceptional hero has to overcome to complete the mission.

      Even in Star Trek, Where the UFP is a progressive paragon of government, Captain Kirk spends most of the episodes outside the Starfleet box.

      1. That’s because action films depend on the characters being the most important factor. If the problem is solved by just phoning the government the it’s not much of an action flick. Superhero movies/TV shows in particular (and that includes everything from “The Avengers” to “Buffy” can’t have the problem solved by just sending in masses of armed state agents.

  8. If only someone at Disney pulled him aside, sat him down and gently let him know that, no, Brad, not everything always has to be so goddamn special.

    Dammit it, can’t we all just be mediocre?!?

    1. No one at Disney would ever do that because they want to make money.

      1. John Carter aside, they’ve been on a real tear with films in recent years. Even Tomorrowland, which isn’t doing great, isn’t totally sucking, either.

        1. John Carter is not even that terrible. It was horribly mis-marketed.

  9. Jesus, did he watch the movie? Going to do a spoiler here, so stop reading if you care, but all of the little missionaries go to artists, musicians, environmentalists, etc., with maybe one overt engineer. Because our amazing not dead future is all about embracing the fluffy. And I’m not being anti-art, but our problem isn’t a lack of art or tree-hugging. And House’s little monologue hit some of the same points.

    The Incredibles comes across much more as opposed to collectivization.

  10. Bird dismisses the Rand comparisons as “ridiculous” whenever he’s asked.

    He wants people to see his movies.

    1. Or maybe he doesn’t like Rand much and doesn’t like being compared to her. And wants people to see her movies.

  11. ALL POLITICAL MESSAGES MUST BE LEFTIST POLITICAL MESSAGES

    Incidentally, this guy seems to be forgetting the dual lessons of Brad Bird’s Ratatouille – 1. No matter what station in life you’re from, you should be allowed to succeed based on your talent and shouldn’t be limited by societal prejudice and 2. critics are assholes.

    The first lesson should make this leftist smile and the second lesson should tell him to shut the fuck up.

    1. If he was capable of rational examination of the phenomena at hand, he wouldn’t be a leftist.

    2. There are no “leftist political messages.” There are only right-wing political messages and plain ordinary decent common sense. And part of that plain decent ordinary common sense is that political messages should be disparaged and removed from entertainment, while letting plain decent ordinary common sense remain without hinderance.

    3. The first lesson should make this leftist smile

      Huh? Leftists care not one whit for equality of opportunity.

    4. Being allowed to succeed based on your talent has a corollary that you will be allowed to fail based on your talent as well, and that the progs just find unacceptably unfair.

    5. ALL POLITICAL MESSAGES MUST BE LEFTIST POLITICAL MESSAGES

      This. It’s what pretty much ruined “Elysium” for me. Could the “rich people = evil; poor people = noble and good” have been any more heavy-handed? I mean, how about some nuance in there, or a little thing called subtlety?

  12. Given that every single movie, tv show, and video game has an underlying message about how Corporations are trying to destroy the planet and that commerce is the root of all evil, i’d think almost *anything* that deviates from the cookie-cutter Progressive anti-capitalist pap would appear like reactionary right-wing individualist propaganda.

    Besides, I think this guy, with his “the real message is the opposite of what they’re *trying* to tell you”-interpretation, has probably the best decoder-ring for modern hollywood film-making =

    “This is the latest in a series of posts in which I argue that a movie’s true lesson is the opposite of its more obvious lesson. Previous installments include “Elysium is actually an anti-Obamacare parable,” “Star Trek Into Darkness is pro-drone strike,” and “Godzilla: The Anti-Global-Warming-Alarmism Blockbuster.” This week, we’ll discuss Tomorrowland (review here). Spoilers for that movie below.

    The real lesson of Tomorrowland is that there’s no reason to make any special effort to change because nothing bad is going to happen anyway, despite all the doomsaying to the contrary. Things are getting better literally all the time without any particularly massive effort. Don’t worry. Be happy. Go watch Mad Max: Fury Road. You’ll be happier that way.”

    1. Whenever I watch an animated film from say, Dreamworks, I immediately noticed the anti-corporate preaching and other forms of showing what the “proper” thoughts are. The movies are tiresome and irritating for me to watch.

      I hardly notice this at all with the Pixar movies.

      1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was actually pretty refreshing. At the start, they posit a great benevolent despot who takes care of his own. He is the ultimate good. But then that great benevolent despot (The Bewilderbeast) is replaced by a tyrant who takes control of the dragons and uses them to harm others.

        If that isn’t a warning against investing too much power in a government, no matter how good your intentions, I don’t know what is.

        1. Yeah, I don’t mind the How to Train Your Dragon movies.

    2. Things are getting better literally all the time without any particularly massive effort.

      Thank the flying spaghetti monster for scientists and engineers. Without out the industrial revolution and the subsequent information revolution, we’d all be riding horses and breathing smoke from coal.

      That’s what this guy is talking about right?

      1. You mean thank goodness for free enterprise and entrepreneurial risk, right?

        The Soviet Union had a metric shit ton of scientists and engineers.

        1. Inventors and entrepreneurs make a good marriage. Inventors and socialists, not so much.

  13. Notice the Dog That Didn’t Bark: The U.S. Government has transferred an incredible amount of wealth from the productive into the uplift of women and minorities over the last 50 years, with no real-life Tomorrowland to show for it.

    Perhaps we should stop digging that whole any deeper.

  14. No, it’s not “to hell with everyone else.” It’s too often overlooked, but the worlds pined for are also places where ordinary people are free to do ordinary things.

    Or perhaps it’s not overlooked, but secretly hated. A common authoritarian/aristocrat-wannabe gripe against the US is that it not only is (or was) a place where Sam Walton could create Walmart, but also a place where lots and lots of ordinary people can shop at Walmart.

  15. My kids were the right age when the best of the Pixar movies were made. Most of the Pixar movies have awesome characters, good writing, and are beautifully rendered.

    And, I think several of them have libertarian (objectivist? maybe) themes. This is nothing to run from; it’s something to celebrate. So these progressive writers grumble about it – so what? Push these movies’ greatness and public acceptance in their faces!

    A Bug’s Life was an awesome piece of anti-tax, anti-power, pro-innovation, individualist movie-making.

    The Incredibles and Ratatouille are guilty as charged.

    Wall-E has some good themes about thinking for yourself.

    I like the other ones too. Yup, pretty much a fanboy I am.

    1. Ratatouille, The Incredibles and The Iron Giant are three of the greatest animated movies of all time.

      The fact that this guy can bitch because ZOMG THEY’RE NOT MINDLESSLY COLLECTIVIST! is the progressive equivalent of that guy from Return of Kings whining because Charlize Theron has a major role in Mad Max: Fury Road.

      1. Get the fuck out of here.

        1. Why? Are you denying the greatness of Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant? And, if so, follow up question: Did your mother not hug you enough? Do you not know how to love, Epi?

          1. The act of love is denied to Episiarch. You know that, Irish.

          2. No, no, dude, I was referring to the complaint about Theron in Fury Road. Did that retard actually whine about that? What was the whine?

            1. http://www.returnofkings.com/6…..inist-road

              Feast your eyes:

              “Alas, I was forced to accept reality. Fury Road was not going to be a movie made for men. It was going to be a feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick. And like “1886: The Order” I would be let down, and would have to pin my hopes on something else.

              The real issue is not whether feminism has infiltrated and co-opted Hollywood, ruining nearly every potentially-good action flick with a forced female character or an unnecessary romance sub-plot to eek out that extra 3 million in female attendees.

              It has.

              And the real issue is not whether Hollywood has the audacity to remove the name sake of a movie franchise called MAD FREAKING MAX, and replace it with an impossible female character in an effort to kowtow to feminism.”

              1. Gender partisans are so endlessly tiresome.

                1. That’s why I switch my gender fortnightly.

                2. Why do you betray the male race?

              2. In defense of this guys argument (and let it be known first i think the RoK guy is a douche), they had the writer of the Vagina Monologues on the set of Fury Road to train the actors about “interbational rape culture”. That little tidbit was enough to convince me not to see it, at least not in a theater.

    2. Antz was a great Dreamworks movie about fighting against your caste and doing what you think you should do.

      1. I’m not sure if I ever saw Antz, so I should hold judgement.

        But, my overarching memory is that most Dreamworks films are just riddled with tiresome preaching.

      2. Antz was a crap knock-off that Katzenberg green lighted when he heard that Pixar had a bug movie in the works.

        -jcr

    3. “A Bug’s Life was an awesome piece of anti-tax, anti-power, pro-innovation, individualist movie-making.”

      Yes, but it was also a retelling of The Magnificent Seven, which itself was a retelling of The Seven Samurai.

      Wall-E was also very politically incorrect in its satire of obesity and the laziness that leads often leads to it.

      As you say, the Pixar movies are quite excellent.

    1. Maybe the fact that he’s totally stoked about the Point Break remake.

      1. That’s definitely a factor.

    2. And he retweeted this:

      “Canadian National Newspaper Awards begin with a sexist, transphobic, classist (and, obviously, deeply unfunny) opening bit. Brutal.”

      I bet it was neo-liberal too! *shakes fist angrily*

    3. The punchable mind is the biggest factor in most cases. Though a few people do just have the face.

    4. To quote my late grandfather, who never parsed words: ‘That guy’s face looks like a pussy.’

  16. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I totally want to spend $10 and 2.5 hours of my time watching mediocre people do unremarkable things.

    1. You just described 98% of all indy films.

      1. Indy films don’t cost $10.

        1. Or typically last much longer than 90 minutes.

          1. Oh no dude, depends on the film. Some of them are very long.

        2. They can, if you steal the equipment and don’t pay the actors. And write the screenplay on the fly.

          Oh, and no unions.

        3. They can, if you steal the equipment and don’t pay the actors. And write the screenplay on the fly.

          Oh, and no unions.

    2. This makes me think of all the people who play TTRPGs that spend more time on accounting and risk assessment than being heroes.

      /nerd

  17. Oh man, the mask really slipped off with this paragraph:

    “Bird dismisses the Rand comparisons as “ridiculous” whenever he’s asked. “I’m definitely a centrist and feel like both parties can be absurd.” Hertz includes the denial in his essay, but he’s not buying it. “One or two ideological slips are easy to brush off,” he writes, “but with Tomorrowland, Bird has produced four unmistakably Objectivist tracts. There are coincidences, and then there’s proselytizing.””

    I’m sorry – ideological slips? Why not just outright condemn him to the reeducation camps, Comrade?

    1. Now, now, I’m sure Hertz would be gracious enough to settle for Bird being blacklisted and barred from working in Hollywood. That way he can never again spread his subversive Randian message to the masses.

      They aren’t at reeducation camps yet, but they are certainly cool with McCarthyism.

      1. No, no, all he wants is a round of self-criticism, after which he can be accepted back into the Party Polite Society, and seek to prove his honesty with a work that celebrates the correct thinking.

  18. Wasn’t one of the messages of The Incredibles that heroes shouldn’t be held accountable for the collateral damage caused by them while being heroic? Heard that message from somewhere else…

    1. Insurance companies were the real villains.

        1. Well, even I, a capitalist, hate insurance companies.

          1. Insurance is one of the heaviest-regulated businesses in the U.S. 99% of the decisions they make are government-mandated.

            Hating them is like hating the puppet instead of the government pulling the strings.

    2. Only an ambulance chasing lawyer could think that’s the message.

    3. “heroes shouldn’t be held accountable for the collateral damage caused by them while being heroic? Heard that message from somewhere else…”

      Nietzsche?

      1. Only if Nietzsche chucked a flashbang into a baby’s crib.

  19. One thing I’ve noticed is that the left seems incapable of understanding the difference between saying “Stupendous people should have the opportunity to do something great and wonderful” and saying “I hate all normal people and unless you’re a super-human genius I hope you starve to death in a gutter.”

    The argument from people like Rand was always that people should try to do their best and should not be constrained and kept from doing so. I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged (I thought the writing was terrible and gave up after about 200 pages) but I have it on good authority that there are “normal people” living in Galt’s Gulch who just are sick of being controlled and manipulated by others. It’s my understanding that Rand thought if you were going to be a normal, average person then go for it, but you have no right to force other people to fail because you’re envious or covet what they have.

    I could be wrong about Rand, but even if Rand isn’t as I’m portraying her, I’ve seen nothing to support the idea that Brad Bird has any contempt for ‘average people.’ He just thinks the above average should be free to succeed and create.

    1. Many people on the left seem to view achievement as a zero-sum game, so naturally they don’t get the difference.

    2. you have no right to force other people to fail because you’re envious or covet what they have.

      The problem is this is the humongous straw man she creates to describe anyone not 100% self-sufficient. And as far as I know, she neglects to mention babies and the disabled, which is terribly convenient and allows us to imagine that humanity is actually capable of existing without interdependence and all the “bureaucracy” that entails.

      1. Interdependence requires bureaucracy? I don’t know about that. I’ll apply for permission to see what my wife has to say about it and get back to you.

      2. She has a whole section while in Galt’s Gulch about children.

        1. You think Tony ever actually read a book? Come on.

      3. Yes, no one would take care of babies if they weren’t forced to.

        I’m no Randian, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t think that there should be no interdependence among people. It’s pretty hard to have capitalism and markets without an elaborate system of social and functional connections among people. The point is that all of that can exist without restraining people from reaching their potential.

        1. The secret word is ‘voluntary‘.

          1. People like Tony really love to ignore that part.

          2. You mean magic word.

            Everything is voluntary! Except don’t steal my stuff or murder me please. Would you mind voluntarily choosing not to do those things?

            1. If you take from someone without their consent, it’s not “voluntary.”

              Do you honestly think you are arguing in good faith?

              1. Tony is not honest and does not think. Two strikes.

              2. bona fide, mala fide…it’s all Greek to him!

              3. It’s voluntary on the part of the taker, and you have to interfere with his voluntary will in order to keep your stuff.

                1. Tony, you ignorant slut, “voluntary” refers to the participation of ALL PARTIES TO THE TRANSACTION.

                  Why the fuck you gotta be so damn ignorant all your life?

                  1. I agree that if humans were creatures who never had any conflicts, there would be little need for governments.

                2. Not exactly. He has voluntarily chosen to initiate force and, thus, cannot legitimately complain when his victims respond in kind. Read literally any Enlightenment philosopher on this subject — not just libertarians.

                  1. Some pacifists believe that no force is justified, even in response to initiatory force. Some psychopaths believe that it’s their nature-given right to murder children. What legitimizes the claim and the regime? Only the fact that large numbers of people go along with it, willingly or not.

            2. It’s hilarious to me that your warped, twisted, fucked up little self automatically assumes that, because it’s exactly what you would do, most people unfettered by government bureaucracy and overabundance of laws would resort to theft and murder.

              Fuck you are disgusting.

            3. You know what are some good books to read? The Little House on the Prairie series. It may seem hard to believe, but back in the day people had communities before they had a government! They helped each other build barns, they all pitched in to build the local church/schoolhouse, they volunteered to teach, etc. They also joined together in order to defend the community; and to take care of the poor! All without a bunch of brown-shirted, jackbooted, amoral assholes forcing them to.

              1. Their lives sucked giant nuts.

                1. Sure, because life without an iPod I’d meaningless.
                  I mean, all they had was a loving family,a caring community, and an opportunity to turn raw land into something useful. Yeah, those poor shmucks.

        2. You can’t have “an elaborate system of social and functional connections” without rules and enforcement of rules, and that means sometimes people don’t get to do exactly what they want (like swindle or murder for extreme examples). At some point this system becomes indistinguishable from government. Thinking her philosophy through it can’t actually preclude government, so long as it works competently. Her villains, as I said, though, are all straw men, mustache-twirling morons who interfere with the potential of great people because they have emotional issues. But fans of Rand take that and run with it–every government bureaucrat must be this kind of person. Everyone on welfare must be a lazy parasite (disabled people? what disabled people? look over there!). Who is being restrained? Not Bill Gates, and not because his income is taxed.

          It would have been obvious even to Rand that children are the ultimate dependent moochers. Apparently, there is a cursory mention of their existence in AS (as noted above), but one must ask the question: at what point to people stop being dependent children and start being fully autonomous adults? Age 18? Does this autonomy not cease at some point in old age? Why is it not obviously true that all humans at all stages of life must to some degree “mooch” off others, and thus this isn’t a morally corrupt thing at all, but simply how we are built and a means by which we prosper?

          1. “Why is it not obviously true that all humans at all stages of life must to some degree “mooch” off others, and thus this isn’t a morally corrupt thing at all, but simply how we are built and a means by which we prosper.”

            Do you not understand the difference between forced mooching versus help voluntarily provided (for example within families or through charities)?

            1. I don’t understand the difference between taxing people in order to provide for courts and police and taxing people in order to provide for a welfare state, in terms of force. The former programs, usually deemed OK by libertarians, are the ones actually shooting and imprisoning people.

              1. Tony, you actually bring up a good distinction here. I have trouble with this myself sometimes, because I admit that I support the initiation of force in some cases to provide vital government services (anarchists would strongly disagree).

                The important part is this: the parts of government I support are defensive in nature, at least in their conception. They apply to everyone, merely due to the fact of their humanity. They protect fundamental, natural rights.

                You would say that not starving is a fundamental natural right, but it isn’t. If it was, then laws against stealing would have no meaning whatsoever.

                1. This is a difference of ethical foundations, not something that can be answered, say, scientifically. I consider all “natural rights” claims to be self-awarded extra credit that isn’t deserved. You like a right to be offered restitution if you are stolen from, ergo it’s a natural right. But this is not found in nature any more than a right to food is. It’s something societies adopted for the sake of prudence, and it requires some kind of collective enforcement, which in a modern context means paying taxes. And taxes are no more or less voluntarily paid when they go to this program instead of a welfare program. The point is, we get to decide what rights people are entitled to, and if we want to add a right against starvation to the list, well that’s the liberal cause–adding more individual rights as society progresses. Libertarians, as I’ve said, are by contrast rights-minimalists. I further argue that their preference of rights is fundamentally immoral. It requires society to care more about the interests of the guy with excess food than the interests of the guy with no food. It makes no ethical sense. It’s simply government protection for the wealthy from the poor.

                  1. It’s simply government legal protection for the wealthy from and the poor from government

                    This is better.

                  2. The right not to be stolen from creates no obligation on the part of anyone else, apart from creating the organized self defense which you mention, which protects everyone, and can only be paid for by people who have wealth. If you’d rather have some sort of user fee system for police and courts, that’s something I could probably agree with.

                    If we keep adding rights until everyone has a right to everything, then who provides it? In other words, who gets to be the masters and who has to be the slaves? The libertarian preference of rights doesn’t protect the wealthy from the poor; it protects the honest from the dishonest.

                    1. Donut-san, well said.

                    2. The libertarian reality is that governments exist to protect the interests of the wealthy from the actions of the poor, and then completely ignore the interests of the poor. The libertarian society must punish anyone who steals a yacht for a joyride, but must let a starving child die in the street. This is an ethical monstrosity. A user fee system is all the more explicit in this bifurcation.

                      The only ethical solution is to recognize that the wealthy are only wealthy because of what generations of people living and dead have contributed to make a society in which they can become wealthy. If anything the wealthy avail themselves of the system more than others (in your fee-system, that would be even more pronounced). They even, perhaps especially, benefit from courts and police far more than the poor. Go to the slums of a developing country and come back and then tell me about how hard work and personal fortitude is all you need to become a success.

                      Libertarian natural rights hogwash (that somehow has an exception for police and courts–the part of society that exerts the most force of all) is all explicitly and intentionally a flimsy (but apparently convincing to some) defense of a society that shovels all its benefits and wealth to the already wealthy.

                    3. I never said I wanted a fee system, only that it was something I might agree with, and I think there’s little question that libertarians are deeply concerned about the police and courts using their powers unjustly and illegally against the poor.

                      I also never made the argument that hard work is all that’s necessary for success, but I think it’s silly to argue that there aren’t people who are wealthy at least in part because of their own efforts. I understand that there are people born into circumstances where there are many nearly insurmountable obstacles to success, and I have sympathy for them, but I just don’t have much faith in government’s ability to address this problem. Here in Baltimore, decades worth of policy based on government intervention seem to have only made the problem worse.

                    4. there’s little question that libertarians are deeply concerned about the police and courts using their powers unjustly and illegally against the poor.

                      Absolutely. You can’t very well be against big government and love the American criminal justice system. The problem is their economic regime helps cause such a system. Low taxes and an obsessive fixation on protecting the loot of the rich? What could be more necessary than an oppressive police presence?

                      I just don’t have much faith in government’s ability to address this problem.

                      I don’t see why not. The modern welfare state has done more to mitigate the inequities of fate and raise the standard of living of the poor than capitalism ever could, even in theory.

                    5. “The libertarian reality is that governments exist to protect the interests of the wealthy from the actions of the poor, and then completely ignore the interests of the poor. ”
                      It’s not in the interests of the poor to have what little they own kept secure, to be allowed to trade freely, to take what substances or people they like into their body?

                      “The libertarian society must punish anyone who steals a yacht for a joyride, but must let a starving child die in the street. ”
                      No that’s the GOVERNMENT in a libertarian society.

                      “The only ethical solution is to recognize that the wealthy are only wealthy because of what generations of people living and dead …”
                      Who have all either been paid for those contributions or agreed they didn’t need to be.

                      “. They even, perhaps especially, benefit from courts and police far more than the poor. ”
                      The rich tend to live in relatively low-crime areas, where the necessity to investigate robberies and murders is less. Note also that Rand talked about government funded by a tax on court decisions for credit collections. At the moment credit providers are subsidized by free government help, she speculated that by charging for this you could fund all government.

                      “Libertarian natural rights hogwash (that somehow has an exception for police and courts–the part of society that exerts the most force of all) ”
                      Natural rights include the right not to have forced INITIATED against you, not the right to be free from retaliatory force.

                  3. Tony, the main distinction between positive and negative rights has to do with their ability to be enacted as universal maxims. Consider the negative rights claim “I have a right to not have my property stolen.” No positive action is required for this claim to be respected because the claimant merely wishes to preserve the status quo. Thus, the claimant and claimee have equivalent reciprocal duties.

                    By contrast, a positive rights claim such as “I have a right to a free postgrad education” is presumed to be violated unless others take a positive action on the claimants’ behalf. This presumption creates an implicit hierarchy between claimant and claimee. In this example, the right applies only partially to the people who provide the postgrad education (taxpayers, professors, university personnel, etc.). Put simply, claiming a positive right for oneself simultaneously prevents others from doing so on an equivalent basis.

                    (Cont…)

                    1. This is due, first, to simple resource scarcity: only a certain percentage of taxpayers can claim a “free” education at a given time and level of quality. Thus, oscillations in the claimant:claimee ratio necessitate a continual redefinition of the right’s “terms and conditions.” Second, some people are better suited to be claimees than claimants. If the chair of Harvard’s med school decides he wants to change career tracks and pursue a PhD in gender studies at the taxpayer’s expense, he cannot claim his right without screwing his prospective students. (This is, essentially, the inverse of the more standard libertarian claim that positive rights entail slavery.)

                      As such, I think we can make a clear and objective distinction between negative “natural rights” — which can be invoked equally by all — and positive benefits — which cannot. What benefits the state should or should not provide is up for debate, but wantonly attaching the word “rights” as a suffix to every progressive pet cause is utterly mendacious.

                    2. “I have a right not to have my property stolen” necessarily entails enforcement of that right, hence taxpayer-funded law enforcement, hence it’s a positive right by your definition. “I have a right to free police” is the equivalent. Surely there’s the same scarcity issue there.

                      If it’s negative simply because people can universally claim it, but there isn’t a necessary enforcement component, then the same is true of a claim to a right to an education. Anyone can claim that. Once someone else starts footing the bill, it becomes positive. Here you recognize that there is no such thing as a right without someone footing the bill. Why is it not the same with property rights protection?

                    3. Negative rights are unique insofar as it is possible for multiple people to claim them simultaneously without conflict. When someone attempts to rob my home, I enforce my property rights when point a gun at him. If the robber wants to invoke the same negative right as me, all he has to do is back away and restore the status quo. Conflict only arises because the robber is asserting a positive rather than a negative claim.

                      By contrast, consider a unilateral enforcement of a positive right to education. I hold a gun up to a professor and demand that he teach me. What would happen if he disarmed me, held a gun up to my face, and asked the same thing?

                      I, like you, deny that people have an inherent right to rights-protecting services. Taxation notwithstanding, free individuals should be able to choose to not join the police, military, etc.

                    4. Damn! Schooled by the Pope!

                  4. And taxes are no more or less voluntarily paid when they go to this program instead of a welfare program. The point is, we get to decide what rights people are entitled to, and if we want to add a right against starvation to the list, well that’s the liberal cause–adding more individual rights as society progresses.

                    I’ll play your game. I’ll cede the point that a court system is a positive right (driving me one step closer to anarchism). I’d argue it’s not a right, but a constitutional power granted to government to provide that service, but let’s forgo that right now.

                    Here is where you go off the rails and are an immoral piece of garbage:

                    we get to decide what rights people are entitled to

                    When, and only when, every single voting citizen pays the same exact dollar amount in taxes, do we get to decide what services we want the government providing us, as we will all be paying the same price for said services.

                    What? 51% of the population that pays nothing in taxes votes to have the other 49% pay for more government services? I’M SHOCKED!

                    When everyone has the same skin in the game and no one stands to gain from more government, we’ll see how many choose to have inefficient government bureaucrats provide their services vs the efficient profit motive driven private sector.

                    1. Everyone pays taxes. Don’t tell me your entire worldview is based on a Republican lie. Perhaps the other Republican lie that the wealth are the victims of the poor in this society, as well? Lies and absurdities all the way down.

                    2. But not everyone pays equal taxes, shithead. Meaning the majority can vote to steal from the minority, you immoral fuck. You fucking talk about equality, but want the wealthy to pay for services provided to the poor. That’s not equality…it’s theft.

                      You are a walking contradiction.

                  5. See, this is arguing way above the norm for Tony. I subscribe to the “one handle, many users” theory.

          2. Yes, Tony, we know you love government in all it’s forms.

            We also know that you love the siren-song appeal to emotion to take everyone’s freedoms away from them.

            The Children! The Aged! Who will think of them….besides their parents in the case of the children…and themselves in the case of the aged.

            Don’t worry though, we are far, far closer to your authoritarian dystopia than we are or ever will be to a Randian utopia. It’s a wonder you even bother to come here and defend the fascistic future facing us thanks to your appeal to emotions.

          3. I’m pretty sure Rand was not an anarchist. She was for rules against people taking things by force from others, and unprovoked violence and a means to enforce them.

            Yes, it is probably true that some kind of government is inevitable. That doesn’t mean it is necessary to have functional social structures.

            1. I see government as an institution that exists at all levels of human interaction, from informal hierarchies in families, to formal governments of countries, to loose associations of countries. Each level requires a certain form of rule enforcement (“go to bed without supper,” “go to jail,” “be militarily attacked or sanctioned”). It’s not a necessary evil, it’s necessary period. Most basically, you and I agree not to murder each other because an institution is in place that makes this mutually beneficial. Of course not all forms are good, corruption happens, and no matter how natural or artificial, all are prone to flaws.

              Rand was not an anarchist; she went as far as an authoritarian in a way–requiring exactly the same strict ethics to prevail society-wide (enforced by elites no less). This is why she hated libertarians; they allow themselves the freedom to believe in slightly a different ethics if they want.

              1. I haven’t read any of her philosophical works, but there’s nothing authoritarian in Rand’s novels. Galt and Roark did force their ethics on anyone; they just lived by them, and refused to deal with those who didn’t.

                1. Galt and Roark did force their ethics on anyone; they just lived by them, and refused to deal with those who didn’t.

                  That is in fact precisely the problem, according to the socialists. It’s your job to bow to them and give them what they want. Because, don’t you know, they give back to the poor? Unlike you, who does the labor, has the capital, and knows the trade, they have good intentions. What does it matter that they solve all their problems through violence when they’re so good at it?

                2. Make that “didn’t force…”

              2. I see government as an institution that exists at all levels of human interaction, from informal hierarchies in families, to formal governments of countries, to loose associations of countries

                Then you need a fucking dictionary.

                “Government is not reason; (Drink!) it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master”– George Mother Fucking Washington

      4. There is one of two ways that a disabled person can go about getting help. They can ask people, or they can steal it. Now a days through government force. To say that no one would help disabled people and babies without government is absolutely ignorant. You have a very negative view of people.

        If you care so much about disabled, get together with other people who care just as much as you do. Some people might care about starving kids in Africa. Some might care about about endangered animals.

        If anything, government hinders these group efforts because people think ahhhh the government just takes care of them.

        PS – Ron Paul used to run a hospital and not once did they turn someone away due to lack of insurance or payment method. To think that people would just be dying on the streets left and right because there’s no government aid for food or health care or wounded veterans is just ridiculous.

      5. “The problem is this is the humongous straw man she creates to describe anyone not 100% self-sufficient. ”
        Not at all. Before they go to Galt’s Gulch none of the heroes are “sefl-sufficient”, they’re just productive traders. They don’t bake their own bread, smelt their own steel etc. they pay others to do that, and they understand that cooperation is good. The idea that Rand of all people was for doing everything yourself is absurd. It’s not that they don’t rely on the efforts of others, they do, and they say they do. They just PAY for them, not necessarily in cash either.

        “allows us to imagine that humanity is actually capable of existing without interdependence ”
        Only if you ignore the fact that everyone in Galt’s Gulch depends on each other.

      6. And as far as I know,

        Didn’t learn much going to rent-boy school, did you Tony?

        -jcr

    3. Not from AS, but in The Fountainhead. Roark refused to drink with Peter Keating but gladly had a beer with one of the construction workers (Mike?) who was “unremarkable” but took pride in his work.

      1. I recall from Atlas Shrugged that she wrote heroically about a signalman that went out on the tracks to signal trains by hand with a lantern – after the corporate bureaucracy (run by Dagny’s brother, I think?) had disabled the electric signals.

        So, yes, you can be an everyman and a hero to Rand if you take pride in your work regardless what it is.

  20. The Incredibles (2004)? “Here, an ungrateful (i.e. complacent, average, worthless) public bands together to force superbeings into a life of mediocrity, so terrified are they of anything powerful or special. The film’s villain, who embraces envy as much as Rand rejected it, also has a half-cocked scheme to mass-produce superpowered weapons, laying out Bird’s guiding philosophy in one tidy pull quote: ‘When everyone’s super, no one will be.'”

    Huh, and here I thought Hertz would argue that Rand would think of Syndrome as the hero, at least inasmuch as he used his genius intellect to create incredible devices after being put down as a child by his hero Mr. Incredible and told he could never be like him.

    He’s basically an evil Tony Stark.

    1. Yup. To Rand, Syndrome’s sin wasn’t trying to make everyone super, it was his lack of selfishness in being motivated by vengeance on the supers rather than profit to himself. Hank Rearden or John Galt would have just released “Rearden/Galt’s Home Jetpacks” on the market, watched the cash roll in, and incidentally the world would also be better off.

  21. Oooh, so if this is true, then maybe Tomorrowland 2 will be Bioshock: The Movie? I’m willing to go see that!

  22. This makes me want to see this movie. I wasn’t so excited about it before but the optimism could be good for me.

    It’s fun and easy to be a cynical pessimist all the time. But it’s far more courageous to be optimistic and hopeful.

    1. It’s okay. I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, which I didn’t think was handled particularly well, but it was worth watching. My daughter loved it. I mean, jetpack.

  23. Hertz writes that Mission: Impossible?Ghost Protocol (2011) doesn’t really count, since Bird didn’t write the script. Still, he asks, “isn’t Tom Cruise’s superspy, Ethan Hunt, just an ass-kicking John Galt?”

    I don’t know, isn’t Indiana Jones also the same thing? Or James Bond or Luke Skywalker or any other action/adventure movie that features a hero with unique skills and abilities.

    I honestly cannot figure out what kind of hero would be acceptable to persons such as Hertz. The very basis of fiction is that it provides escapism for the audience by letting them imagine themselves as someone else, usually someone greater or more special and who has amazing adventures. It fulfills a basic societal need for imagination.

    No one wants to be reminded of how awful life is for the 99% and that they should feel guilty about it, which is apparently what Hertz thinks every blockbuster movie should be about.

    1. His favorite movie is probably ‘All my Circuits: The Movie’ in which Calculon spends hours double checking his paper work instead of going to a laser fight at the warehouse.

    2. No. As always with shitheads like Hertz, it’s completely arbitrary, and that’s the way he likes it. He’ll decide, as he sees fit, what is acceptable and what’s not. If he “feels” that the message in a movie is one he likes, he’ll approve. If he “feels” that it isn’t, he’ll disapprove. That’s it.

      Do not look for consistency, or logic, or reason. Because you will not find it.

    3. I think he wants a wheelchair bound hero of average intelligence who saves the day by calling the proper authorities.

      1. If the hero is also a lesbian Eskimo, so much the better.

        1. There was a Steven Segal movie… I’m not gonna bother to Google it.

  24. I haven’t seen The Iron Giant (shame on me) or Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but the Pixar analysis shows no understanding of Rand beyond the leftist caricature that turns her into a cheap imitation of Nietzche:

    The Incredibles: Syndrome is if anything John Galt crossed over from egoism to revenge–a brilliant inventor who wants to make his life improving ideas available to everyone, but who’s driven not by Randian selfishness but by revenge. If John Galt militarized his engine to wreak havoc on the world that shunned him, he’d be Syndrome. The heroes are Nietzchean supermen (literally!), not Randian selfish creators.

    Ratatouille: No one resents Remy/Linguini for being good, and Anton Ego isn’t at all Toohey–he’s feared because he has exceptionally high standards, not an immoral intent to destroy genius for the sake of destruction. It’s no more Randian than any other story about a hero arising from nowhere to achieve greatness.

  25. Hertz’s parents missed a golden opportunity to name him after the archaic sky-god of the Greeks. You know, Uranus.

  26. Yaron Brook explains Ayns views extremely well and the quote “to hell with everyone else” is definitely not part of those views.

    The whole idea behind Ayn Rand is that people should be more self interested rather than selfless and is supported by reason and rational thought. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have done more for the world through their self interested careers than their philanthropy will ever hope to accomplish. it could not have been altruism or selflessness because they made a profit on it. The profit margin on an iPhone is huge. If steve jobs truly cared about us, he would have sold his product for less than the cost to produce to it i.e at a loss, or a sacrifice, selflessness. We are all better off because of those self interested people.

    That is not to say that people should only care about themselves. Marriage and love is the most selfish thing every. That person adds value to your life which is why you are marrying them. Yaron Brook uses the example “imagine on your wedding day if you say to your spouse to be, dang this is a real sacrifice for me.” A sacrifice being something that is lower value i.e selling an iPhone for 200$ when it costs 250$ to make it. No, marriage is a win win just like all voluntary trade.

    Yaron Brook explains a lot more and probably way better than I just did but it is too much to tap out on my iPhone which I value very much more than what I payed for.

    1. Also, people tend to think lying, stealing, and cheating is a part of self interest which is why people HATE business but Yaron Brook explains that it most certainly has nothing to do with self interest.

      Try lying over and over to your friends and see how many friends you will have in the long run. Lying stealing and cheating is not a part of self interest. That’s the mistake people make. Associating those with self interested which is associated to businessmen and capitalism.

      I’m sorry for the lengthy post. I’ve tried to summarize everything ive learned about Ayn Rand to the best of my ability. Probably not that well though

      1. People think lying, stealing, and cheating is self-interest because, as Tony demonstrates above, that is what they think they would have to do to get by. It is a tacit admission of their limited worth.

        1. You seriously can’t think of scenarios in which it is in someone’s 100% self-interest to lie, steal, or cheat?

          1. But enough about government employees…

          2. Take Bernie Madoff. He lied stole and cheated on a grand scale. And do you know what he said after he got caught and sentenced to prison? He said he “was happier in prison.” He even swindled money from people who were close to him. They all turned their backs on him. His family too.

            All the money he made was useless to him because he had no one. He was not being self interested. So no, I can not think of a scenario where lying stealing and cheating is in anyone’s self interest which therefore is not a part of the rational self interested capitalist.

            Do you know what happened in the scenario where a worker stole coca cola’s recipe? Pepsi turned him over. Companies that lie steal and cheat are dealt with in free markets. They are castes out. Exiled.

            1. It is also important to note that when you lie, you have to remember who you lied to and what exactly the lie was. This clouds your mind. Your ability to reason.

              I don’t understand why more people don’t look into Ayn Rand. The views go hand in hand with libertarianism except it deals more with the why. Why people gravitate to socialism and away from capitalism. She says that It is because we have been taught for thousands of years that self interest is bad and selflessness is good, Which has also been perpetuated with religion, The idea of sacrifice and altruism. That’s basically the foundation of Ayn Rand. She argues that your life should be the most important thing to you. Why should you feel that other people’s lives are more important than your own?

      2. OTOH, try never lying to your friends, & see how many you keep!

      3. Nathaniel Branden summarized Rand’s main points in three bullets the looters struggle to evade, roughly: That it is OK to live for your own sake, and neither prey not predator be;
        Reason not superstition, should guide your choice of values;
        It is wrong to initiate the use of force to take from others or force ideas on them.

        Where is the looter with the guts to publicly deny these three precepts?

  27. Once upon a time an incredible person created the vaccine, and billions of not-so-incredible people were saved or inspired to be incredible themselves. What is it with Leftists and Socialists and Commies? It’s like they never met reality before. A blatant truth stares them in the face like a thousand-foot brick wall and they look the other way on purpose.

    1. The billions did not get that vaccine by journeying to the inventor’s gulch home and paying him a fair price.

      Ayn Rand wrote zillions of words and left off the most interesting part of the story: what happens when the makers venture back into the world they ruined via their absence?

      1. the world they ruined via their absence

        There’s a hand up this sockpuppet’s ass, and I’d love to know who it is.

      2. That was also the point of “Tomorrowland,” that isolation stagnates creativity. The later version of the city has nothing of use, because it’s been cut off from new creative minds.

        True, Jenner didn’t come up with the vaccines for huge profit. He did it because he saw a need and filled that. People invent things to solve problems, or because they want to change their own situation, or often just because they can (that’s why we have artists, after all.) But in terms of needs vs. wants, the interaction is still the same. No one is going to invent a jetpack (or, say, an i-phone) and the keep it locked away. Vaccines did solve a lot of problems, but the doctors who administered and further developed them weren’t letting themselves starve for lack of payment, nor should they have.

        I don’t agree with some of Rand’s concepts, but the idea that the makers ruined the world by not being there is flawed. The world ruined itself by not encouraging more makers.

      3. I agree, Rand was a horrible author. Not that great a person, either, I’ve heard.
        Of course, the people who need the vaccine aren’t going to travel to whatsitcalled gulch.
        That was the point, the people who made the vaccine (wasn’t it actually a railroad/steel innovation) possible said “screw you guys, I’m going home”?
        Bill Gates ain’t living in exile. People want what he has, and he sells it. He makes money, they get his product, everybody’s happy.
        Until, you know, some busy-body decides they know better, and ruins it for everybody .

        1. Bill Gates is a liberal who has committed to give away most of his wealth to charitable causes. You don’t get to insert him into Ayn Rand’s fairy tale.

          1. Actually, Bill Gates is the perfect person to use as an example. He made his money honestly, by creating and selling a product people wanted and that changed the way we live. He profited from innovation. Then, rather than sitting on it, the guy gave huge amounts away for charitable causes. There was no law making him do that, he just did it because he felt it was the right thing to do. Is the guy a modern Carnegie? …well, yeah. Pretty much, and it’s a fantastic example of how innovation and a decent market work when federal intervention doesn’t.

            Is that particularly Randian? No. But neither is the movie. I think that’s the point, that just because something celebrates personal exceptionalism doesn’t necessarily make it objectivist. Or wrong, for that matter.

          2. Bill Gates is a great example of Ayn Rands points. The government treated him like a criminal! All because he made a bunch of money and had one of the most successful companies in the history of the world. Everyone’s lives have been made better from Microsoft and his self interest but to everyone he was just eehhh.

            When did people start to really like him? When he started just giving away his money to charities. While charity does more than government, investment is the best way to help people. Giving people chances to raise themselves out of poverty. Indirectly through the technology he provided and directly through the jobs he created.

            You basically just proved my point. You only like this particular business man because he gives a bunch of money away.

            1. I.e you liked him for his altruism.

              Although his self interest is what got him the moneys in the first place to be charitable. And that his self interest is what has done the most good. If he truly was not self interested he would have sold his products for less than what he paid for or for free. I.e HE WAS SELF INTERESTED TONY. Nothing is wrong with that either. He deserves the billions he made through willful voluntary transactions in the marketplace.

              Feel like I’m talking to a wall.

      4. what happens when the makers venture back into the world they ruined via their absence?

        Jesus Haploid Christ, rent-boy. Who the FUCK do you think you are? Nobody owes you their their presence.

        This is like blaming escaped slaves for the demise of the cotton plantations.

        -jcr

        1. It was sarcasm. In the real world, if a bunch of pissy-pants self-appointed paragons of humanity decided to leave their businesses and go pout somewhere, the world would go on just fine without them.

  28. The Incredibles (2004)? “Here, an ungrateful (i.e. complacent, average, worthless) public bands together to force superbeings into a life of mediocrity, so terrified are they of anything powerful or special. The film’s villain, who embraces envy as much as Rand rejected it, also has a half-cocked scheme to mass-produce superpowered weapons, laying out Bird’s guiding philosophy in one tidy pull quote: ‘When everyone’s super, no one will be.’

    When I saw it on TV, I took it the other way around. Someone, the very epitome of human creative genius in overcoming nature, invents machinery that allows anyone to achieve the powers that previously existed only in human freaks of nature. The “villain” is that movie’s Hank Rearden.

  29. Can someone help me out with the whole reply system? I’ve commented a few times on reason articles but I never know when people reply to me. I’ve just been haveing to go back to the article and see if there has been any replies.

    What is like to know is if there is a notification for replies somewhere that I just haven’t noticed? On YouTube there are notification and takes you right to someone reply. Although I have stopped commenting on YouTube completely. Most ignorant, anti capitalist place on the web.

    I follow reason on Twitter which is how I get the link to all the articles. I would just like to be more involved in the comments. Most sarcastically intelligent comments I’ve ever seen.

    1. Reason is known for a somewhat, shall we say, comments of the commons. No edit button, either.
      There is an app called Reasonable that I think many here use. It may provide what you want, i don’t know.

  30. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……
    http://www.worktoday7.com

  31. How cruel. Poor Bird is probably crying all the way to the bank.

  32. The movie was about the ageless argument between pessimism and optimism. It over simplifies. The problem is not that people are too negative or too positive, rather they are not rational, i.e., they don’t acknowledge reality. The father claims: “You are wasting your time. It doesn’t work.” The son claims: “I’m not wasting my time. I can make it work.” Both are partially correct. Father states a fact when he says it doesn’t work. He cannot jump to the conclusion that nothing was learned from attempting, e.g., trying is a waste of time. The boy is wrong to assume he can do whatever he wants. Da Vinci failed to build some of his inventions, even though his theories were correct. The supporting tech was not available. In time, in centuries, his inventions would be built. So the boy did not know he could “make it work”. He should have said: “It is not a waste of time to do what you love. I love trying to build a jet pack. I may fail. That is not important. What counts is that I am pursuing my passion. Can you say the same?”
    This exchange would have been fruitful, because it acknowledges the reality of the situation. It is not blindly negative or positive.

  33. If Hertz is correct about Bird wanting freedom, and to hell with everybody else, I would remind Hertz that directing those who self-enslave to hell is not necessary. They have created their own private hell. Of course, if that were the end of it, no further discussion would be necessary. The problem is that the collectivists want all to be equal, i.e., equally forced into one mold, equally sacrificed to the collective. The collectivists consider your life their life to control, by asserting the individual only has value as a means to serving the public, the “common good”. Or, your life it not yours, but belongs to the majority.
    This is the popular superstition. It is what Ayn challenged. She called it anti-life and backed up her criticism with her Objectivist philosophy. All can read it and judge for themselves, if they have the cognitive facility for objective evaluation. Few do, thanks to the crippling public indoctrination system.

  34. Tomorrowland is talked by many poeple and it sounds like that Tomorrowland was constructed by the world’s ‘best and brightest .

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