Atlas Shrugged needs an update

PJ O’Rourke’s has a review of Atlas Shrugged in the WSJ. It doesn’t sound like it isn’t a good movie and one of the problem is that the book was published in 1957, but set in the future. But that future doesn’t really make any sense.  O’Rourke argues that the movie should have updated the book because the collectivists are still with us, but now they are going after the average Joe: 

An update is needed, and not just because train buffs, New Deal economics and the miracle of the Bessemer converter are inexplicable to people under 50, not to mention boring.  The anti-individualist enemies that Ayn Rand battled are still the enemy, but they’ve shifted their line of attack.  Political collectivists are no longer much interested in taking things away from the wealthy and creative. Even the most left-wing politicians worship wealth creation—as the political-action-committee collection plate is passed.  Partners at Goldman Sachs go forth with their billions.  Steve Jobs walks on water. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are rich enough to buy God. Progressive Robin Hoods have turned their attention to robbing ordinary individuals.  It’s the plain folks, not a Taggart/Rearden elite, whose prospects and opportunities are stolen by corrupt school systems, health-care rationing, public employee union extortions, carbon-emissions payola and deficit-debt burden graft.  Today’s collectivists are going after malefactors of moderate means.

Hence the Tea Party, and Ayn Rand is invited. Not for nothing is Kentucky Senator Paul named Rand. The premise of “Atlas Shrugged” applies to every maker in a world of takers. What if,pace Adam Smith, the takers do indeed expect their dinner “from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker”? And what if the Safeway meat-cutter, the beer-truck driver, and the guy who owns the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise say to hell with “their regard to their own interest”?  What if they go off with John Galt to a secret hidden unknown valley in the Rocky Mountains?  A lot of people will be chewing air and drinking puddle water.

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