Writing for the Boston Globe, libertarian journalist Cathy Young reviews the movie with her own brand of friendly fire.
But there is a more serious problem with Ayn Rand — one that, unfortunately, makes her too good a fit for today’s political environment. She consistently and viciously demonizes the people and ideas she disagrees with, reducing them to grotesque caricatures and easily shredded straw men.
The evil bureaucrats of Atlas Shrugged, for instance, argue that even when steel production is at disastrously low levels, Rearden can’t be allowed to produce too much of it since it would disadvantage other steel companies; or that, even if his new metal is perfectly safe, it would be “a social danger’’ because it is so superior to other products. Many Rand fans apparently believe that a world in which such arguments win the day — in which the government can rapidly pass draconian laws to curtail competition or prohibit an individual’s ownership of more than one business — bears a strong resemblance to the United States under the Obama presidency. If so, it doesn’t say much for their sense of objective reality — a much-vaunted Randian virtue.
Amid the collectivist pieties of the left and the religious pieties of the right, Rand’s message of individual liberty and achievement could have been a welcome alternative — if stripped of its extremism, paranoia, and ideological intolerance. Unfortunately, it is precisely those qualities that are likely to resonate today.
See her full review for more.