Saturday, April 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie Premiere

Last night, I and many other friends went to the 7:00 PM showing of Atlas Shrugged: Part One.

We all had a great time. I took copies of the Asheville Daily Planet to hand out. This edition has an ineffective smear piece on Ayn Rand by Cecil Bothwell and my counterpoint comments on the same page.

Also, Fred Hofstad from Hendersonville was there. He and I are starting up a new Objectivist club for Asheville and Hendersonville, hopefully WNC. He made up some bookmarks (smart) advertising the new group and we both handed out quite a few.

The theater was packed but not quite sold out. Great folks were there: Me (haha), John North, Leslee Kulba (reporting), Brian Umbarger, Bernard Carman, Clarence Young, Aaron Watkins (Mises dude), Terry Elniff, Eric Gorny, Kathy and Doug Lack, George Danz and Debbie Dante.

One guy reserved the whole back row. I was standing at the back handing out stuff and I gave him some materials for his group. Another dude, Kenneth Elswick, said he knew me and was a HUGE Rand fan and he gave me his card.

We had a great time talking and networking outside the theater after the movie. John brought in a stack of papers to place in the lobby. And he took a group picture in front of the movie poster of the people still there later. It should show up in the next issue.

About the movie, I agree with Ari Armstrong:

OK, do I have to criticize the film? Here it is: the soundtrack was completely forgettable. No one left the theater humming the tune; there wasn't one. Where is John Williams when you need him?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Counterpoint: Ayn Rand

The below is a brief article written to counter an opinion piece by Asheville city council member Cecil Bothwell smearing and misrepresenting Ayn Rand and her ideas:

1st ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film to debut April 15 in Asheville
Cecil Bothwell | Asheville Daily Planet | Friday, 15 April 2011
There can’t be another bad novelist who has done more damage to our world than the woman who called herself Ayn Rand. Her nearly indigestible polemics seem to appeal to the sophomore in us all, with their grandiosity and declamation of verities, and some few among us never manage to recover.


Despite detractors, Ayn Rand’s ideas called foundational
By TIM PECK | Asheville Daily Planet | Friday, 15 April 2011

Ayn Rand's Objectivism is a comprehensive, organic and consistent philosophical system exemplified in artistic form in her famous 'magnum opus' “Atlas Shrugged” – published in 1957 and a best-seller today with 7 million copies sold.

Now, a new and eagerly-awaited movie based on the book will receive a showing in the Asheville area, and around the country, this month, opening on Tax Day. It is Part One of a proposed three-part movie series and promises to bring renewed interest to the authors controversial views, which are gaining in popularity even without the film's assistance.

The film will approximate the novel somewhat faithfully, as all such earnest projects do (the filmmaker spent 20 years and $20M of his own money). And by all accounts from devotees, this first installment is not altogether bad; which was the main fear. Seeing it, you will learn something about the characters, the story and the philosophical ideas embedded in the “plot-theme.” The screenplay and production quality are quite good and the performers are unknown to the big screen (also good, in my opinion). All in all, I suggest it will be a worthwhile viewing for those interested in an improved understanding of the author's great contribution to literature, philosophy and human understanding.

To be sure, many remain hostile to Ayn Rand and her ideas. Some because of her devotion to the absolute primacy of reason and science over belief and dogma. Others because she unequivocally champions individual rights, rational self-interest and a thoroughly 'laizzez-faire' political-economy. And others still because they are simply unfamiliar with the foundational material and rely on biased vilification to draw undigested conclusions.

I would urge those few genuinely interested in clarifying their impressions of Rand to simply go and see the movie and enjoy. Better yet, go and read the number two best-selling book in the world and discover why it's appeal is quickening, why the fable told there grows less fictional every day and why Rand called hers “a philosophy for living on Earth.”


The View from Asheville: Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, the Movie
By: Tim Peck | Voices of the Tea Party | April 19, 2011
As a resident of Asheville, NC, it’s fitting that I’ve become embroiled in a controversy surrounding a movie based upon a major literary work.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

LTE: Bothwell and Rand

Bothwell’s opposition to ideas of Ayn Rand termed off-base
Asheville Tribune | April 7

Dear Editor,

I was confused, but not surprised, to read in your paper (“Bothwell to seek Shuler seat”, March 31, 2011) that Congressional hopeful Cecil Bothwell "opposes the views of Ayn Rand." Mr. Bothwell's main disagreement with Rand centers on her advocacy of Individualism; where every person has the moral right to live for his own sake rather than an unearned obligation to live for others. In countering Rand, Mr. Bothwell says, "We are a cooperative species. No one can make it alone. We're completely interdependent."

And yet, this is precisely what Rand supports: "Cooperation is the free association of men who work together by voluntary agreement, each deriving from it his own personal benefit." Interdependent cooperation is only possible so far as those doing the cooperating respect each others individual rights to life, liberty and property. And no group has any rights beyond the individual rights of the members composing it.

Rand states that, "any group that does not recognize this principle [of Individualism] is not an association, but a gang or a mob." Is it the gang or the mob that Mr. Bothwell prefers over Ayn Rand's rights-respecting cooperation of individuals, each properly living for his own sake and pursuing values in his own self-interest? I'm confused.



Individualism in America

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Obama v. Obama

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul, with little notice, attached an amendment to the small-business re-authorization bill. The amendment, which chastises President Obama for his actions in Libya, urges members to adopt the president’s own words as “the sense of the Senate.”

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”