Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged

 Skrevet av Alexander G. Rubio - Publisert 27.04.2006 kl. 20:13 (Oppdatert 23.10.2007 kl. 23:03)

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The 1949 movie
"The Fountainhead"
starring Gary Cooper
There are very few books that actually enrage me. There are of course works such as "Mein Kampf", by everyone's favourite moustachioed mad man, and "The Protocols of the Elders of Sion". But in such cases you know going in, that you're dealing with historical documents by fruit cakes and loons.

And then there are those books which come highly recommended by a vast number of seemingly sane and educated people, but turn out to be either loony or borderline evil. Such a book is "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand
It is difficult for Europeans, and other non-Americans for that matter, to appreciate the influence of Ayn Rand's work in The United States. Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, as she was originally named, was born in Russia in 1905, on the cusp of the cascading revolutions which would result in the foundation of the Communist Soviet Union. Her family lost just about everything in that process, something which imbued her with a deep seated hate for anything smacking of socialism.

In 1926 she emigrated to The United States and tried to make her way as a writer in Hollywood, with mixed success. It wasn't until "The Fountainhead" in 1943 that her philosophical and political thoughts, later called Objectivism, began to crystallise and she found a wide audience. Her 1957 magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged" went on to become, according to some, the "second most influential book in America, after The Bible".

Take the practise of laissez-faire capitalism, turn it into an ideological creed while subtracting the invisible hand of the masses, mix liberally with debased and half baked Nietzscheanism and worship of the Superman, stir, and shake, with a soupçon of bitterness, ego-mania and contempt for average small minded human beings, and Voila! Objectivism, a name that belongs with DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) in the annals of egregiously false labels.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"
I was 15 when I borrowed the book at the library. And I'm sorry to say it was a bit the worse for wear when I returned it, as it had been thrown at the wall on a number of occasions by that time. It was the first time it dawned on me that Americans, not having been on the sharp end of it at home, had a problem recognising re-heated and re-packaged Fascism when confronted with it.

Now it seems that this dreary tale of the capitalist supermen cutting their ties to the rest of the useless mass of dolts, who subsequently flounder in ignorance and economic breakdown, at long last is getting its Hollywood apotheosis.

Variety reports (subscription required) that Lionsgate has picked up worldwide distribution rights to "Atlas Shrugged". Howard and Karen Baldwin will be producing along with business man John Aglialoro. And the actors rumoured to play Dagny Taggart and hero John Galt? Do-gooders par excellence Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of course. Yes, starring in a propaganda vehicle for a philosophical school of thought which posits that even private and voluntary charity is an abomination and coddling the inferior, apparently goes hand in hand with saving the poor and downtrodden of the world. Putzes!

This article is also available at The European Tribune and Daily Kos.

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