New Lower Price: Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is a feature length documentary film examining the resurging interest in Ayn Rand's 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 "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 brother's 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 murder -- murder of the soul.
Upon publication, Atlas Shrugged was widely scorned by critics for its "preposterous plot and one-dimensional characters." Intellectuals and academics from across the ideological spectrum roundly dismissed the new and original philosophy called Objectivism that Rand so compellingly illustrated in the novel.
Despite this pummeling, Atlas became a best seller and has remained in print ever since, selling a healthy 75,000 or so copies per year. Then, with the new century, sales increased dramatically. In 2007, its fiftieth anniversary year, Atlas sold a record 180,000 copies. Since 2007, Atlas Shrugged, published over a half century ago, sold over a million copies.
Why? Because, as evidenced by pointed and frequent references to Rand and Atlas Shrugged in the media, an increasing number of Americans, rightly or wrongly, see their society devolving into a nightmare scenario such as the one Rand projected over a half century ago.
Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged looks into Rand's background for ideas and philosophy that inspired and shaped her novel, and seeks to determine whether America is indeed headed for the disastrous outcome she predicted. DVD, 90 minutes. $15.95.