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Category: Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged

Presented with special thanks to Fawaz Al-Matrouk

Written, Produced, Directed by Chris Mortensen – a television producer and documentary filmmaker whose many programs have appeared worldwide. In the U.S. his documentary subjects have ranged from Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, Hermann Goering and John Paul Jones to American Gangsters, the HIV crisis and the Iraq War. From Professional Wrestling to Halle Berry to the Suez Canal, his programs have appeared on Discovery, A&E, History Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports, BET, TV One, et al.

Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is a feature length documentary film that examines the resurging interest in Ayn Rand’s epic and controversial 1957 novel and the validity of its dire prediction for America.

Set in what novelist and philosopher Rand called ‘the day after tomorrow,’ Atlas depicts an America in crisis, brought to her knees by a corrupt establishment of government regulators and businessmen with political pull – the ‘looters’ and the ‘moochers’ – who prey on individual achievement.

Less a conventional work of fiction than a philosophical manifesto in the form of a romantic novel, over the course of a thousand-plus pages, Atlas tackles no less an essential argument than the one debated by philosophers and theologians since time immemorial: altruism vs. self-interest. Am I my brother’s keeper – or not? For Ayn Rand, the answer is an emphatic no. To Rand and the disciples of her Objectivist philosophy, self-sacrifice is as heinous an act as murder … murder of the soul.

Upon publication, Atlas Shrugged was widely scorned by critics for its ‘preposterous’ plot and one-dimensional characters. Intellectuals and academics from across the ideological spectrum roundly dismissed the new and original philosophy called ‘Objectivism’ that Rand so compellingly illustrated in the novel.

Despite this pummeling, Atlas became a best seller and has remained in print ever selling a healthy 75,000 or so copies each year. Then with the new century, sales began to increase dramatically. In 2007, its fiftieth anniversary year, Atlas sold a record 180,000 copies. Since then Atlas Shrugged – published over a half century ago – has sold over a million copies.

Why? Because – as evidenced by pointed and frequent references to Rand and Atlas Shrugged in the media – an increasing number of Americans – right or wrong – see their society devolving into a nightmare scenario like the one Rand projected over a half century ago.

Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged looks into Rand’s background for the ideas and philosophy that inspired and shaped her novel and seeks to determine whether America is indeed headed for the disastrous outcome she predicted.

Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder) – Free Speech, Free Minds, Understanding Ayn Rand

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, Objectivist

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, Objectivist

Presented with the kind permission of Ford Hall Forum

September 11 2008: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales joins journalist Christopher Lydon to address the direction of web 2.0 and how Objectivist philosophy guides his vision.

Across the globe we are building, editing, and contributing to a growing body of knowledge and tools at everyone’s fingertips. Volunteers in leaderless organizations contribute to online initiatives and articles. Software developers spend their free time collaborating with complete strangers.

Amazingly, these efforts are creating products of extraordinary quality, sometimes better than that of large for-profit organizations.

Why do we do it? Why does it work?

Andrew Bernstein: The Capitalist Manifesto

Andrew Bernstein

Andrew Bernstein

Presented with the kind permission of C-SPAN

Andrew Bernstein talked about his book, The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire, published by University Press of America.

He discusses the benefits of laissez-faire capitalism and gives an overview of the advancements created within capitalist societies.

He argues that, unlike fascism and socialism, capitalism is beneficial because it embraces the idea that individual rights are paramount.

During his presentation, Professor Bernstein discussed the work of Ayn Rand, John Locke, and a number of other social philosophers.

He also defends against critics of the late 19th Century industrialists widely referred to as “robber barons.”

Following his remarks, he responded to questions and comments from members of the audience.

Read The Bernstein Declaration @ CelebrateCapitalism.com

Ayn Rand and Hollywood: From Soviet Film School to The Fountainhead

Jeff Britting talks about Ayn Rand and Hollywood

Jeff Britting

Presented with the kind permission of C-SPAN

A fascinating, informative talk by Ayn Rand Institute Archivist, documentary film maker, composer, Jeff Britting.

Ayn Rand and America in the 1930’s and 1940’s

King Vidor, Ayn Rand, Gary Cooper

King Vidor, Ayn Rand, Gary Cooper

Presented with the kind permission of C-SPAN

Recorded around May 12, 2002. Discussions with: Jeff Britting, Manager of Ayn Rand Archives, co-producer of documentary, Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life … Professor Eric Daniels, Duke University …Dr Leonard Peikoff, Founder of Ayn Rand Institute

From Sunset Boulevard and the Harmony Gold Theater, the guests talk about the political history of America and the world from the mid-1930s to post-World War II through the life and writings of novelist, screenwriter, and philosopher Ayn Rand.

With a specific look at Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, they examined why her writings gained currency in the time period and what influence they have had since.

They respond to audience telephone calls, faxes and electronic mail.

Hollywood in the 30s and 40s played a vital role in the life of Ayn Rand and the dissemination of her ideas, both through her writings in The Fountainhead, which came out in 1943, and the movie which hit the screen in 1949.

Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 as Alisa Rosenbaum. She came to America in 1926, changed her name and never returned to her mother country. Her two novels, The Fountainhead (1943), and Atlas Shrugged, laid out her ideals of the supremacy of individual reason and rights over collective thought, which later became known as her philosophy of “Objectivism.”

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