Category Archives: Culture

New documentary coming Oct 7th: “Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged”

The Ayn Rand Institute has helped sponsor the production of a new documentary titled Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged. Written and directed by Chris Mortensen, it 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.”

The movie will be released “in select cities” on October 7th, 2011. And judging from the trailer below, it looks quite good.

According to IMDB the documentary includes interviews with John Allison, Mike Berliner, Andrew Bernstein, Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook, Northrup Buechner, Jennifer Burns, Al Ruddy, Ed Snider, and many others. I also recognize Leonard Peikoff’s former wife Amy Peikoff, here at the very start of the trailer.

The movie’s synopsis at IMDB begins:

Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is a feature length documentary film that examines the resurging interest in Ayn Rands 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 brothers 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 murdermurder of the soul.

For more information about the documentary, check out the movie’s IMDB page, its Facebook page, the Ayn Rand Institute’s site for the Atlas Shrugged novel, and the movie’s official website, where you can sign up to host a screening or to be notified once the DVD is available for pre-order.

Celebrity Ayn Rand fan: PayPal co-founder Luke Nosek

From a new article in The Independent about a Silicon Valley startup being backed by the founders of PayPal:

Polish-born Nosek, 36, worked on supercomputers at the University of Illinois in the early 1990s, then entered Silicon Valley working for the computer-services company Netscape, before co-founding PayPal. He cites as a key personal influence the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, whose ideas picked up considerable traction among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs during the 1990s. “I’m not a libertarian or an objectivist [like Rand],” says Nosek, whose personal collection of elaborately spun theories and stories is â?? like his bank account â?? seemingly inexhaustible. “But the most important lesson I got from Rand was that business can be good or evil. I have realised more and more that great companies, founded for a long-term purpose, such as Google or Facebook or SpaceX, may do more good in the world than any other vehicle that we have.” Nosek became the link-man between Founders Fund and Halcyon Molecular: he is the man who discovered the Andreggs.

See the full article for much more.

John Hospers, R.I.P.

Pro-liberty philosopher John Hospers — who was a personal friend of Ayn Rand in the 1960s and the first presidential candidate for the Libertarian party in 1972 — passed away on June 12, 2011.

I had lunch with Hospers in Los Angeles in 1996, shortly after graduating from college, and enjoyed his gentleness and intelligence.

In 2004, the Atlasphere published a lengthy article by him titled “Election 2004: The Case for Bush.”

Jesse Walker offers a brief tribute at

For more background about Hospers, you can read his bio and also find some of his recent articles available online.

Reviewing the correspondence from Hospers that I’ve seen over the years, I came across this interesting tidbit from him (a reply to Richard Allen on the old We The Living discussion group) about Rand’s take on Charlie Chaplin:

No, Rand didn’t care for the ‘silent comedians’. Several times in our conversations the topic of Chaplin came up — all negative. At first I thought that his political leftism was the main issue — that along with his preference for girls a generation ‘too young’ for him. These all had an influence on her low estimate of Chaplin.

But the main thing was his art, not his life: it was repellent to her that Chaplin celebrated (or seemed to) the ‘hero’ as helpless victim, not in charge of his fate but being buffeted about on the whims of circumstance, always reacting but not initiating action. She didn’t find his antics cute or even funny. Not only did she dislike ‘Modern Times’ as an indictment of capitalism, she found his parody on Hitler in ‘The Great Dictator’ (after the ‘little tramp’ had been abandoned) unworthy of even a single smile.

Rest in peace, Dr. Hospers. And thank you.

“I Am John Galt” book now available on

The new book I Am John Galt by Donald L . Luskin and Andrew Greta is now available for purchase on

We plan to publish a full review soon at the Atlasphere. Don’t wait for that, though; the book looks excellent.

From the press release:

“Who is John Galt?” may well be the best known line from all of Ayn Rand’s works. Soâ?¦ who is he? Galt is not only the fictional character from the hugely bestselling novel, Atlas Shrugged, who has come to embody the individualist capitalist who acts in his own self interest and in doing so lifts the world. He is also found in todayâ??s CEOs, journalists, sports figures, and actors who have led their lives according to Galtâ??s philosophy and in so doing they have achieved phenomenal success, not only for themselves but for those around them.

In their new book, I AM JOHN GALT: Todayâ??s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It, well known market commentator Donald Luskin and financial journalist Andrew Greta introduce us to the real-life titans whoâ??ve lived their lives like Randâ??s fictional heroes and the malefactors whoâ??ve lived like her fictional villains. Filled with exclusive interviews, profiles, and analyses of the superstars who have based their lives and careers on the philosophy of the perennially popular Ayn Rand, this book both inspires and enlightens.


· The Individualist: Steve Jobs as Howard Roark, the man who reinvented four industries just because it was so cool

· The Mad Collectivist: Paul Krugman as Ellsworth Toohey, the man who preaches socialism from the pages of Americaâ??s newspaper of record

· The Leader: John Allison as John Galt, the man who walked away after building Americaâ??s strongest bank

· The Parasite: Angelo Mozilo as James Taggart, the businessman who co-opted government and nearly wrecked the US economy

· The Persecuted Titan: Bill Gates as Henry Rearden, the businessman who created revolutionary technologies and was criminalized for his success

· The Central Planner: Barney Frank as Wesley Mouch, the politician who meddled in the economy and almost destroyed it

· The Capitalist Champion: T.J Rodgers as Francisco dâ??Anconia, the modern Renaissance man and agent provocateur for capitalism

· The Sellout: Alan Greenspan as Robert Stadler, the libertarian who became an economic czar

· The Economist of Liberty: Milton Friedman as Hugh Akston, the academic who showed the world the connection between capitalism and freedom

Engaging and entertaining, I AM JOHN GALT examines how the inspiration that is Galt thrives more than 50 years after the publication of Atlas Shrugged. It will spark the interest of Ayn Rand fans everywhere, as well as those seeking a way to succeed in today’s turbulent and confusing times both in their business lives and their personal lives.

About the Authors

Donald L . Luskin is Chief Investment Officer of TrendMacro, an investment strategy and economics research firm. For over thirty years, he has been a leading figure in investment management and financial markets. He was formerly vice chair of Barclays Global Investors (now BlackRock) and is the founder of Investment Technology Group and Luskin appears weekly on CNBCâ??s Kudlow Report and contributes frequently to the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Index Options and Futures: The Complete Guide and editor of Portfolio Insurance: A Guide to Dynamic Hedging, both published by Wiley.

Andrew Greta is an author and business executive with more than fifteen years of experience in the financial markets and currently holds an appointment with the College of Business at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He formerly led corporate and business development at CME Group in Chicago. Greta is a former contributing editor for His articles on finance and investing have appeared in numerous national publications including SFO magazine,,, Online Investor, and Individual Investor.

On getting your girlfriend to read The Fountainhead

Echoes of the TIME online article about the Atlasphere have been ricocheting around on a few websites lately. This comment at Hot Air seemed worth highlighting:

I suggested to two girlfriends in college that they read the Fountainhead, and they blew it off. I let the 3rd know a little about Objectivism, and then broke up with her when we had philosophical differences. She called me up six months later and wanted to meet. She changed her worldview after reading the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Weâ??ve been married for 14 years now and have two boys.

Can any Objectivist read that and not smile? :-)

I corrected a couple typos in the quote.

WSJ: Remembering the real Ayn Rand

Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Donald Luskin has an excellent article “Remembering the Real Ayn Rand” that begins by discussing the new movie:

Tomorrow’s release of the movie version of “Atlas Shrugged” is focusing attention on Ayn Rand’s 1957 opus and the free-market ideas it espouses. Book sales for “Atlas” have always been briskâ??and all the more so in the past few years, as actual events have mirrored Rand’s nightmare vision of economic collapse amid massive government expansion. Conservatives are now hailing Rand as a tea party Nostradamus, hence the timing of the movie’s premiere on tax day.

When Rand created the character of Wesley Mouch, it’s as though she was anticipating Barney Frank (D., Mass). Mouch is the economic czar in “Atlas Shrugged” whose every move weakens the economy, which in turn gives him the excuse to demand broader powers. Mr. Frank steered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to disaster with mandates for more lending to low-income borrowers. After Fannie and Freddie collapsed under the weight of their subprime mortgage books, Mr. Frank proclaimed last year: “The way to cure that is to give us more authority.” Mouch couldn’t have said it better himself.

See his full article for much more, including a sensible discussion of the ways in which big businessmen are often no friends of capitalism and the ways in which Rand was neither a conservative nor a liberal.

Mr. Luskin is co-author with Andrew Greta of a new book, scheduled for publication next month, titled I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It. Judging from this article, I guessing it’s pretty good.

Hedge-fund manager Barry Colvin raises funds for ARI outpost in NYC

A new article in the Wall Street Journal begins:

Forget tea leaves: Wall Street is turning to Ayn Rand for guidance.

Hedge-fund manager Barry Colvin has raised $60,000 to start a Greater New York outpost of the Ayn Rand Institute, the first chapter in the country for the Irvine, Calif.-based nonprofit dedicated to the late free-market philosopher and novelist.

“The idea is on-the-ground reconnaissance,” said Mr. Colvin, vice chairman of Chicago-based Balyasny Asset Management. Mr. Colvin contributed the bulk of the funds but rallied donors for the rest.

“It’s our civic duty to pound the table about making people challenge their own ideas behind what they think the role of government should be,” he said.

As a kick-off, Mr. Colvin will co-host a series of debates next month on freedom, government and capitalism with Demos, a public-policy research and advocacy group based in New York.