Atlas Shrugged: Objectivist Batman

What? No, I'm not going to help you. I only built this to protect myself.

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IAfter her conveniently minor plane-crash injuries have been treated, John Galt takes Dagny to the kitchen nook to make breakfast:"Am I a guest here or a prisoner?" she asked."The choice will be yours, Miss Taggart.""I can make no choice when I'm dealing with a stranger.""But you're not. Didn't you name a railroad line after me?""Oh!... Yes... I did..." Then, remembering the rest, she added, "But I named it after an enemy."He … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Only a Flesh Wound


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter ISince Dagny was injured in her crash landing and can't walk, John Galt romantically carries her from the scene. (Helpful tip: The best way for one person to carry another is a fireman's carry, but somehow I don't think Rand pictured her slung over Galt's shoulders like a sack of potatoes.)He was carrying her down a narrow trail that went winding to the bottom of the valley. On the slopes around them, the tall, dark pyramids of firs stood immovably … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 12

This is part 12 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,I'm looking forward to our next in-person meeting, in Indianapolis this July 1. I'm sure we'll have a lot to discuss, especially when it comes to that notorious law that put your state in the headlines last month. Maybe that will be something we can square off about (or maybe not; you never know).Last time, I asked about whether God … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Welcome to Atlantis


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IAnd now, we embark on the third and final part of Atlas Shrugged. When we left off at the conclusion of Part II, it was on a cliffhanger: Dagny's plane was spiraling down for a crash landing, plummeting into a mysterious valley that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Part III begins as she regains consciousness:When she opened her eyes, she saw sunlight, green leaves and a man's face....She was looking up at the face of a man who knelt by her … [Read more...]

The Sci-Fi Fans Who Fear Change

The Hugos, one of the most prestigious awards for sci-fi and fantasy writing, have been hijacked. After several years in which the awardees had become increasingly diverse, reflecting the broader reach and appeal of SF/F, readers discovered that this year's nominees were dominated by a ballot-stuffing campaign organized by a right-wing faction that calls itself, no joke, the Sad Puppies.The SPs' slate includes works by Vox Day, a.k.a Theodore Beale, a loathsome right-wing polycrank who … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Bells and Whistles


Atlas Shrugged Part II: The StrikeIn most things, the producers of Atlas Shrugged Part II were unwilling to deviate in the slightest from the book. They followed the text as slavishly as possible, keeping everything that screen-time and budget constraints would allow. But there are a few places where they chose to make changes, one of which was the climactic train-disaster scene of Part II. It's illuminating to look at the reasons why, and to see what the changes show - or fail to show - … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Talking Is Not a Free Action

Atlas Shrugged Part II: The StrikeThe hallmark of Atlas Shrugged is the character filibuster: the story grinds to a halt so that one of Rand's heroes can deliver a long, apparently extemporaneous speech, explaining the philosophical grounding and moral implications of Objectivism in grueling detail. These often stretch to absurd lengths: for example, Francisco's speech at Jim Taggart's wedding about the importance of money is about 2,600 words long. Most people speak at about 120 words per … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Bring Me a New Black Guy

Fig. 1: Eddie Willers

Atlas Shrugged Part II: The StrikeThe most noticeable and jarring change between the first and second Atlas movies is that this one has an entirely new cast. This page from the Atlas Society explains why: Part 1 was shot in a rush to keep John Aglialoro's rights from expiring, and the time pressure and limited budget meant there wasn't time to get the actors to commit to more than one film. The page doesn't say so, but the fact that the first movie bombed surely gave them no great desire to … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Craft of Not Acting

Atlas Shrugged Part II: The StrikeIn 2011, a wealthy businessman named John Aglialoro produced a movie based on the first part of Atlas Shrugged. Aglialoro imagined himself as John Galt, boldly speaking the truth to a complacent world. As it turned out, he was more like Ivy Starnes, the inheritor of a famous brand who thought people would flock to buy an inferior product just because of the name stamped on it. The film landed with a resounding thud at the box office, earning back less than … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 11

This is part 11 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hello Andrew,I'm ready to move on to comparing our views on government, really! But I have to tarry on one small point:Goodness itself is not a necessary truth, but God as the Final Cause (Being and Goodness itself) is a necessary truth in the Aristotelian-Thomistic conception, (goodness being inseparable from God's nature).I've read … [Read more...]