The Grinding Hurt of Betrayal: John Aglialor’s ‘Atlas III’ interview with Nick Gillespie

The third and final installment, Who is John Galt? hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 and John Aglialoro sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss the completion of the Atlas Shrugged films, their negative critical reception, and the enduring influence of Ayn Rand’s thought. As usual when it comes to Gillespie, it was a good interview and covered a lot of ground. It is a tough task to adopt a film from a novel that means so much to so many people, yet a movie is the perfect gateway to bringing more people into the Objectivist philosophy. Many hard-core Rand fans from the novel want the salacious sex that Ayn Rand wrote about—which was greatly removed from John Aglialoro’s renditions. Personally, I’m grateful as the sex could easily overpower the story in such a movie and I appreciated the tastefulness that it was handled by the Atlas Shrugged trilogy.

Every time I watch Aglialoro in an interview it is easy to see the hurt behind his eyes. Like Rand, who thought that the unspoken and neglected businessmen would flock to her support of them after the release of her 1957 novel, most cowered in the darkness like idiots paralyzed by the political left into silence. Aglialoro during the second film premiered Atlas II in Washington D.C. right before the 2012 election. Not a single politician, not Ted Cruz, not Rand Paul and certainly not Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan showed up for the movie as they tried to maintain their political distance—so not to have people from the left call them names. Ryan had been an open Ayn Rand supporter before being put on the national ticket with Mitt Romney. Nobody from the political class showed up in Washington D.C. to show their support of a conservative leaning movie featuring ideals that the political right should have openly embraced with great enthusiasm. Republicans played it safe and guess what………….they lost in the 2012 elections all across the nation.

I have felt the bite of that kind of pain a time or two, most recently when I was on 700 WLW radio dealing with a controversy—a sexist accusation by my political enemies who were trying to the same smear tactic used against Rush Limbaugh and Mitt Romney at the time. Unlike those guys, I defended my position proudly. In 2012 I was a spokesman for a group standing against higher school taxes, which was a very unpopular position. I had in my circle a number of high-profile movers and shakers and was proud of them for supporting such a controversial topic. My plan with the pro tax people was in full swing, they were attacking our side by calling us greedy businessmen, so I attacked back with the truth—that a majority of the pro tax advocates were fat assed, out-of-touched parents. Of course they didn’t like it—because the truth hurt. I meant for it to. So I was on the air ready to defend our position and those prominent local businessmen and politicians sent a press release to the station while I was on the air distancing themselves from me. The controversy I didn’t mind at all. The betrayal did bother me. I shut off interviews for the rest of the day as I recalibrated my position. It hurt terribly to trust people then watch them fall for the old liberal tricks of guilt abasement. I couldn’t let that hurt come out in my public statements—which is a really tough thing to do when an entire city is ready to pounce on your every word.

The motivations of those fearful dissidents are the same at every spectrum, from Ayn Rand, to John Aglialoro, to me—we have all been left at the alter by those we were trying to help. It feels like being cheated on by a spouse—just as you are declaring your love for that significant other, you learn that they have been doing the horizontal shuffle with the very people you are fighting—and it hurts. It hurts whether it is sex or politics—in both cases you end up screwed. It is that screwed look that Aglialoro has on his face with each interview he does. He was much more hopeful after Atlas I did respectable opening night numbers, but by the time Atlas III hit theaters he had a hurt look on his face from all the betrayals he had experienced over the last couple of years, while making the movie. For him he continued to make the movies even though very few supported the endeavor. The enemies of the movie were perplexed as to why he continued even though the films were box office failures and did not have majority support from the public. What those same people did not understand was that John Aglialoro made the movies for himself, not for the public. He did it to accomplish a task, not to win approval as a second-hander. Since most of society functions as second-handers, they don’t understand Aglialoro, or his movie. So there is sadness when he talks about the films. He knows as the words leave his mouth that nobody really is going to understand why he made the films—yet he does it anyway in a hope that something will change—someday.

Atlas III won’t be any different. People who understand it will love it, various others who have skin in some type of political game, even within Ayn Rand circles, will hate it. They’ll hate it for Aglialoro’s point of view in making the movie—they’ll complain about the lack of sex, the lack of depth, the lack of good actors, the lack of budget, the lack of public support, the lack of technical aptitude, and every lack of anything else they can think of. But what they can’t accuse John Aglialoro of is a lack of heart and determination. What he did was hard and deserves admiration in the face of much hurt which only those who have been betrayed in a similar fashion can understand.

Rich Hoffman


Atlas Shrugged: Now, Non-Fiction

I’ve been involved with literary driven “think-tanks” for several occasions in years past covering everything from James Joyce to Thomas Mann. All those authors were wonderful in their own way, even the collectivist Victor Hugo and Russian recluse Leo Tolstoy. But they were not as good as Ayn Rand who changed the literary narrative with her larger-than-life characters. Rand’s characters are not like Marvel Comics superheroes, they are every day people lacking magical powers, but they are non-the-less super. They are an inspiration to all who ever wanted to be a superhero as a corporate businessman or woman—and continue to resonate particularly in America as a mold to follow. Ayn Rand is one of the most prolific and most important writers in American history which is saying a lot. Her work of most importance was Atlas Shrugged and began as a kind of science fiction fantasy in 1957 and has proven itself to be astonishingly prophetic in 2014 just prior to the third release of a movie adoption based on John Aglialoro’s interpretation of the novel. The movie hits theaters on September 12th, but the book continues to sell, and sell, and sell because the content which appeared sensational at first—and unrealistic is occurring almost on queue just as Rand always thought it would. The producers of the new movie have put together a wonderful little documentary which features clips from the new film seen below called Atlas Shrugged: Now, Non-Fiction and is well worth watching. In addition to clips from ASP3, this video includes commentary from liberty leaders including Ron Paul, Matt Kibbe, Jonathan Hoenig, Phil Valentine, David Kelley and more.

Atlas Shrugged is not for everyone. It is however for the kind of people who work hard and try every day to be the best they can be. If you are the kind of employee who usually works later at the office and is the first to arrive in the morning—you will like Atlas Shrugged. If you are the kind of person who runs over rate in a union shop—even though there is intense opposition against you for doing so, Atlas Shrugged is for you. If you are the kind of person who is constantly hounded by family and friends to step down off your “high horse” so that you are more “likable” and approachable, you will like and enjoy Atlas Shrugged. However, if you are the kind of person who hates those who do all or even part of the above—you will hate Atlas Shrugged and will do everything in your power to disgrace the literary work from being recognized as a literary endeavor.

For the same reason that the co-worker who feels guilty by leaving the office before the star of the company does attempts to put pressure on that person by saying “it’s time to get out of here” Atlas Shrugged is slammed and ridiculed.   Not because it is a bad novel written poorly—but because it makes guilty people feel bad about themselves. They feel bad because they have sold out. Their ideal of a superhero has been regulated to someone who is bit by a magic spider—or someone who comes from another planet. They don’t look in their mirror and see anything super about themselves and they are too lazy to develop it on their own. Atlas Shrugged   shows how average people are super just by having values and fighting to maintain those values. It is also about how it is that adherence to value which makes the engine of the world run, culturally, economically, and philosophically.

When John Galt proclaims that he will stop the engine of the world in the new film version titled Atlas Shrugged Part III he is stating that by removing his value from an organization, or society in general that the parasites of reality will have nowhere to hide and civilization will collapse. What prevents this collapse from occurring is that the few protect the masses with their values. But over time it gets harder and harder leaving the looted few to eventually become depleted and perish. The masses expect this sacrifice to occur—they expect the few to serve the many and those with value to give it to them in their vacancy. It is this belief that destroys the world and why the classic novel Atlas Shrugged has now been declared non-fiction—because it has all come true.

The people who hate Atlas Shrugged are also the same people who hate those who try to be good—too good. They are advocates for complacency—for setting the bar low so that they can easily achieve success in life. Ayn Rand’s novel points to that tendency as the invisible destroyer of the world and spits on it placing value where it deservedly always belonged with the heroes of creation—those who work late, early and often—who don’t live their lives through others, but in spite of the efforts to stop them. That hatred is very real. The masses of existence—who advocate so loudly for democracy are the same people who wish to believe that because they outnumber the truly good they can capture the definition of good, and bad, profitable, and unprofitable, and of success or failure. Atlas Shrugged was not written for those people—it was written for those who see heroic deeds in getting up in the morning to face the troubles of the world as an individual without apologizing for working every day to do the best in every aspect of their lives that they can. Ayn Rand’s heroes are not drunks, sexual deviants, or crooked politicians. They are not truly fearful of anything—because they know that it is they who are ultimately in control—so they trust themselves to overcome any problem that comes their way. This gives the heroes a god-like presence in the Atlas Shrugged novel as interpreted by the weak, frightened, and complacent.

Atlas Shrugged was so brilliant because it goes literally against thousands of years of sacrificial belief by the human race. Rand could have played it safe and given the world a novel reminiscent of War and Peace. But she didn’t instead she wrote an epic book of similar length and content but along the way tackled directly the philosophical failure inherit in human beings ridiculous belief that achievement of anything is caused by “sacrifice.” Rand challenges that premise and her heroes refuse it revealing the true success of all societies that prosper. It is literally the best kept secret—and Ayn Rand exploited it putting it in story form so that it would be easy to understand. It has taken literally a half of a century for most of America to figure out the meaning of Atlas Shrugged. Even today, after decades of contemplation, only a handful of the population anywhere in the world understand the message because in any company, any institution, any endeavor what-so-ever, there are only a few who work 12 hour days for the joy of it, get up before the sun even considers rising, because they are trying to squeeze more life out of daylight once it arrives, and do good work not for the pat on the head, or even a pay raise—but because it makes them feel good to do good work.

Atlas Shrugged is essentially the first major literary work in human history that recognizes the benefit of good work and productivity over the emotional pleas of the democratic masses who lobby with every effort to stop the productive who make them feel guilty for being less than robust. It is for that reason that Atlas Shrugged continues to draw scorn from intelligentsia because they want a monopoly on social opinion built upon the foundations of laziness. It is also why Atlas Shrugged is only playing in a few hundred movie theaters and why even in those theaters there will be only 5 or 6 groups of people seeing the movie. The people attending will tend to be the last to leave at their places of business, and the first to arrive, they work hard and take pride in doing a good job—and they can relate to the kind of society that John Galt builds in Atlantis during the film. And as every organization in the country knows, there are always those few who do most of the work. Atlas Shrugged is made for them, not the other idiots who stand at a time clock five minutes before the end of a day and flee to the parking lot like escaped convicts once their work is over for the day only to complain and bitch about how sucky their lives are for the rest of the evening. What happens when people stop doing the extra work for the pure enjoyment of it? You get the events of Atlas Shrugged—now-nonfiction.

Rich Hoffman


‘Atlas Shrugged Part III’ is Showing at Mason’s Regal: Why Mahogany’s is failing while The Blaze Pizza thrives

If you read this site there is only one place you should be on Friday September 12th, and that is the Regal cinemas in Mason, Ohio.  The reason is that Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who is John Galt hits theaters that day and the only place in Cincinnati that it can be seen is at the Regal.  The Regal has been very supportive of the Atlas films over the years and I can’t think of a better theater than that one to see this new movie at.   I have been to every theater in the Cincinnati area for some reason or another and the Regal is one of my favorites.  I love the way it sits on a hill looking out over all the development of the Fields Ertel region.   For Atlas, after the kind of philosophy that is explored in that movie, those are the kinds of things you want to see while going to dinner after—development, excess, and elements of capitalism.  You don’t want to see slums, decrepit people addicted to welfare, and you don’t want to see defeated people.  In Mason, just down the road from the theater are million dollar homes, P&G is across the street, and countless restaurants of all varieties are available for selection.  It is a wealthy area representative of the type of values that the Atlas films advocate.  So the Regal is the place to see Who is John Galt.  The premier for the film just occurred in Las Vegas as seen in the picture below with Laura Regan in the center who plays Dagny Taggart.  She is a very good Dagny.  Women should feel honored to see such an empowering woman in such a strong role.image

It’s OK to be a little snobby especially in regard to surroundings while seeing certain kinds of movies for leisure entertainment.  So often hypocritical assessment is applied to these types of things—the same women who declare that they support feminism and a helping hand to the poor—along with other progressive values are the same women who shop at the Fields Ertel area because they are afraid of the gangs of youth that accost them at the shopping malls to the southwest and avoid Ayn Rand because she is against their system of beliefs.  But in regard to that, no author has ever written a stronger female lead character than Dagny Taggart.  She’s in charge of a railroad, she has the heart of the strongest most profound male character in classic literature and she is unyielding during the entire Atlas Shrugged story—right up until the end.  You’d think that feminists would flock to see Laura Regan’s portrayal of Dagny Taggart—but of course they won’t, and can’t.  Their politics betray them.  So it was nice to see Laura Regan posing proudly with the producers during the premier.  The producers worked their asses off to make that movie and it is good to see her embrace the role without political shame.  Atlas Shrugged punches through much of that modern hypocrisy of politically correct behavior.  So in tribute to that honesty, I can be quite forthright—when I see Atlas Shrugged Part III at a theater, I want that theater to be nice—I don’t want it to smell like dirty kids, I don’t want to park next to beat up pieces of shit cars, I don’t want to sit next to walking zombies of people slack-jawed and stupid, and I want to drive down roads to and from the theater lined with wealthy businesses oozing with creativity.

One such place that embodies the kind of business that might be found in Atlantis featured in Atlas III is the Blaze Pizza which is just down the road from the Regal Theater.  Mason was one of the test locations for this burgeoning franchise which was quite an honor.  The reason is that the demographics of the area are conducive to their market research.  The Blaze Pizza is about to explode all across the nation, but there are still only a few locations and Mason is one of them.  What makes them unique from other pizza places is that they make customized pizzas in a fast food style.  The pizza is literally made right in front of the customer and fired in a gas fired oven and ready by the time you pay for it.  They are the Chipotle of pizza making.  Their pizzas are typically a $15 of value which they sell for around $7 to $8.

The Blaze does great numbers and is changing the industry of pizza making.  My daughters introduced me to the place and we plan to visit there after seeing Atlas Shrugged Part III.  Also, we have plans to bring The Blaze Pizza to my grandson’s birthday party which is coming up quick because what they do is so good and unique that it is worth it.  It is in that type of business creativity that the movie Who is John Galt is all about.  So it is fitting to have the film playing at the Regal while burgeoning businesses like The Blaze Pizza are changing the industry right next door.

The Blaze Pizza is not the only regional business in the Fields Ertel location that I enjoy.  Although it is dated, I happen to like the Pizza Tower which is also down the road.  I love the Kings Auto Mall, I like White Castle, Frisch’s and the half-dozen other fine restaurants up and down the strip all with wonderful market niches that they have carved out for themselves in the Mason, Deerfield township area.  But the reason they are there is because the area is wealthy, and that wealth was created by cleaver ideas like The Blaze Pizza and capitalism in general.  In Mason, there is some socialism around the government school, and the city politics, but it is still minimal.  The character of Mason has been shaped by the amusement park Kings Island which is also down the road, the PGA Tennis tournament, and the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center which is right across the highway from Kings Island.  Next to Kings Island is The Great Wolf Lodge, a giant hotel chain with and indoor water park on-site.  I love the region because capitalism still rules in that area which is why it is fitting that Atlas Shrugged Part III play there and no place else in the city of Cincinnati.

Elsewhere, socialism has taken hold.  For instance much as been made about the failed restaurant on The Banks in Cincinnati called Mahogany’s.  That restaurant is a government planned project where money was poured into the deal by the city to prop up a minority owned business.  Liz Rogers is the owner and has been losing money for over two years forcing the city to consider further bailouts of her.  Her attorney recently plead her case to the Cincinnati Enquirer reporting, “General Electric has a tax credit worth $51 million dollars for its new banks project , and Liz has worked for two-plus years without drawing a salary, which is more than you can say for the top dogs at GE.  But why has she done this?  Because she has a dream and a vision of a better Cincinnati, one that appreciates Southern cuisine.”  The Enquirer—a very progressive newspaper owned by Gannett goes on to say, “on the other hand, we have had the dubious distinction of race riots.  The federal government has monitored our police force after accusations of brutality, and some undoubtedly legitimate complaints.  Our schools are integrated (by busing) but our churches and social life are largely segregated (by choice and comfort level) It goes on and on like that discussing Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jackie Robinson and Louis Armstrong.   

But what the Enquirer doesn’t deal with is that people don’t want to go to a restaurant that they don’t support through free market capitalism.  Cincinnati as a government should have never become involved in tampering with the free market hoping to prop up an owner just because of the color of her skin.  Basically here is the gist, the city government in Cincinnati thought it would be cool to have a black owner of a restaurant on their coveted banks project which has taken over 20 years to build.  I’ve been to The Banks on several occasions, and it’s nice.  I typically eat at Great American Ball Park or at the Christian Moerlein Larger House (wonderful place by the way).  Liz has not been successful because with other options at The Banks that are better, Liz is sinking.  The socialism of Cincinnati and the Enquirer failed because they put value on skin diversity over values of intellect—resulting in the failure of Mahogany’s.

The Blaze Pizza is doing well in Mason because they did market research and used private investment to make a proper business decision.  When it came to Mahogany’s all the socialist civil servants thought it would be wonderful to have a “woman” and a “minority” member an owner of a restaurant on The Banks.  They thought it would be “stylish.”  They made their decision based on feel good politics, not free market considerations.  If Liz Rogers made a product with Southern cuisine that people actually wanted, the restaurant would be doing booming business, but people obviously don’t want that kind of food in that location, so it is failing.  Meanwhile, The Blaze Pizza is doing smashing business in its location and is now expanding.  It’s not because the owners are white, or male, but because they are competent and enterprising.  This is essentially what Atlas Shrugged Part III is all about.  Only in the movie it is Laura Regan playing Dagny Taggart who has all the answers for her railroad company that none of her male counterparts have a single answer for.  It doesn’t matter the color of her skin, but rather the contents of her mind that makes her either successful, or a failure.  Thus, the same goes for the success of The Blaze Pizza, and the failure of Mahogany’s.

This is why it is such a relief to see Atlas Shrugged Part III in Mason at the Regal as opposed to somewhere else.  After such a movie nobody wants to come out and see evidence of socialism and its failures with degenerate slack-jawed hippies, skate boarders, and gangs of thugs bobbing their heads to rap music.  To see a movie like Atlas for people who enjoy thinking and being successful at things, it is nice to take a vacation away from the poverty created by government tampering and enjoy an evening of excess produced by the capitalism of Mason, Ohio.  Those are many of the reasons and more that I am so happy that it is the Regal who is playing Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who is John Galt on September 12th.  It will be a lot of fun and a nice vacation away from socialism—at least for the evening.

Rich Hoffman


Ragnar Danneskjöld and Howard Roark Take On the World: Thoughts while trying to save the Cincinnati Ghost Ship

As the new film Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who is John Galt hits theaters and the production team wraps up their tasks for distribution now would be a good time to bring up some thoughts about the future.  In the Gulch I have brought it up before but knowing that Aglialoro and Kaslow are considering a miniseries based on Atlas Shrugged events to further explore the concepts of the novel, the time to further conceptualize that endeavor is now.  CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE PREMIER.  In the new movie Eric Allan Kramer plays the famous pirate who is personal friends with John Galt.  I have thought for a long time that there are many untold stories which could be utilized to further advance the parts of the book that did not have time to make it into the original films.  (Click the link to read my previous article–Eric Allan Kramer, is playing the pirate Ragnar Danneskjöld in“Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?.”  )  A show like that could be aired on The Blaze TV as Glenn Beck seems hungry to use his Dallas movie studios for something along these lines.  Such a thing may already be in the works at this point, but if it isn’t—and there is a desire to keep the Atlas film crew together—then it should be.

Over the summer I ran into an ancient relic of a steam ship called The Sachem.  Click the following link for a review.  As I toured that ship I couldn’t help but think of Ragnar Danneskjöld.  Thomas Edison and the adventurer Jake Martin essentially used the ship in a similar way that Ragnar would have from the novel Atlas Shrugged—only Danneskjöld was not under official government backing.  As I walked the deck of the ship known as the Cincinnati Ghost Ship hidden deep in the woods of Kentucky I couldn’t help but think of all the many hours of conversations that would have filled the cabins on the open sea with nothing else to do but to contemplate the advantages of Objectivism and the romanticism of the next great adventure.

I know a few people at The Blaze and contemplated having the ship resurrected by a film crew for its vast historic value not to become sea worthy again, but to set it up in a studio somewhere in front of a green screen to serve as a stage prop for countless episodes of thematic television exploring the Objectivist life of Ragnar Danneskjöld.  After all, what museum would desire to preserve the old ghost ship and to what cost.  It would have little value used in such a way—but what if the old ship were converted into an actual set complete with cannons and modern gadgets that would make the modern pirate vessel fast and nimble on the open seas able to outrun the sluggish military vessels of the world’s governments.  But, the Atlas Company has more of an ability to do something like that and it’s currently their property.  But it sure seemed like a good idea.

Lately I have been writing a lot about the new Disney XD television show called Star Wars: Rebels.  That show will be a game changer both in thematic storytelling and content.  One look at the clip below will indicate what kind of cartoon that show will be—and kids are not the only target audience.  But what is bigger about the show is that it will give Disney XD an anchor that it currently doesn’t have.  Until Rebels went into production, I didn’t know that there was a Disney XD channel—but I do now.  The same thing could happen for The Blaze if it had the kind of show on it that people really wanted to see.

These days, a Ragnar television series could be done cheaply with models for wide shots in a tank and lots of night work.  I imagine that Ragnar Danneskjöld as a pirate would spend most of his time traveling at night and resting during the day.  Most of the scenes on the deck of his ship would have to take place at night, or below decks in the cabins where philosophical dilemmas would present themselves to advance the plot.  Another good example of how such a thing could be achieved for television would be the old Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  A sample episode can be seen by clicking here.  Most of the show would be Ragnar Danneskjöld talking about Objectivist philosophy on the deck of his pirate ship at night in front of a green screen.  It would be up to writers to come up with some compelling narrative bookends to make people want to sit and listen to it all.

And while brainstorming here—it would not be out-of-line to have Howard Roark traveling with his wife Dominique mimicking the journey taken with Gail Wynand years before spending time with Ragnar in some of these adventures.  Howard being the master architect who has also quit the world isn’t in the Gulch, but is sailing the world with his wife.  There are opportunities for Objectivism there that are quite extensive.

For my own selfish reasons, I want such a show.  My friend Doc works at The Blaze as a radio guy and has Beck’s ear.  I want to help them out and get The Blaze to the level I know Beck wants to take it.  I also want more Atlas Shrugged movies.  I want television that is designed for people like me, because I don’t like much of anything that anybody makes—because it doesn’t hold my values.  But most of all I am looking for some way to save that ship.  Sure, it would be cheaper to build a ship like that from scratch, but a restoration in a dry dock condition would provide some much-needed press for such a project.  The ship itself might just provide some cross-over ink in the media—who will otherwise be turned off by anything mentioning Atlas Shrugged.

I only bring all this up because I know that there is a desire to continue with these Atlas films.  With each Atlas film culminating with Who is John Galt, they have only gotten better and it would be a shame to dismantle all that when Objectivism needs a voice to help usher it into the public.  It might take another 15 years, but the world is primed for the message.  It is only the delivery method that is in question—and the who, what, why, when and where.  I have looked forward to each Atlas Shrugged movie and even though I am extremely busy, I have stuck around the virtual Gulch for several years now adding to the conversation when and where I could.  I’d like to see that kind of thing continue to grow, and a good way to do that is to start another project if the money is there and a willing studio was in place that could pull off something like that affordably.

As Disney puts out their Star Wars: Rebels, the bar is set and primed for something like a Ragnar Danneskjöld television series.  Imagine Howard Roark and Ragnar sitting on the deck of a pirate ship concealed from the governments of the world all looking for a way to track down the elusive pirate—talking about Objectivism under a star-lit sky.  It could be a huge game changer in entertainment and that would be a suitable afterlife for the Ghost Ship of Cincinnati.

Rich Hoffman


‘Who Is John Galt’ Vegas Premier: The Real life 20th Century Motor Companies

It is a shame that Leonard Peikoff and most of the people at the Ayn Rand Institute did not embrace more openly the John Aglialoro Atlas Shrugged films.  I’ve read Peikoff’s book on Objectivism and would have thought that he would have supported the endeavor which premiered in Las Vegas last night showing the third and final film—which is clearly the best of the three film series.  All the Atlas movies were good, but this third film certainly puts the proper end cap on the long cinematic journey which took so many years for Aglialoro to achieve.  The key to the third film is in meeting for the first time the long talked about John Galt and seeing the kind of life that he inspired in a hidden valley called Atlantis.  The Atlas Shrugged filmmakers have been very open to those who are part of their online world called Galt’s Gulch and after several years of work had a special showing for them in Vegas which was a wonderful idea.  As for the work of Ayn Rand, I can’t think of anywhere better that Objectivism has gained the most ground than with the group that has emerged out of Galt’s Gulch at the Atlas Shrugged web site—and that would not have happened without Aglialoro’s films or his team behind one of the most ambitions independent films ever done.image

The third film is titled, Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who is John Galt and is clearly a work of philosophy draped with a love story between Dagny Taggart and John Galt.  It has a wonderful message and for those who think in such a way was a comfortable place to spend a couple of hours.  For the rest of the world—those who live their lives as second-handers—they will hate the movie.  Because of the effort involved, I wish John Aglialoro would have had a larger presence from the Gulch and that online media buzz would have been more robust.  But it has been ignored by virtually everyone, including The Ayn Rand Institute which has done a fantastic job over the years of keeping Rand’s books published and teaching Objectivism to people hungry for a functioning philosophy that actually works.  I can’t think of a bigger Objectivist event than Atlas Shrugged Part III premiering in Vegas and opening to the world on September 12th, but on the morning of the premier, there was not a single mention of the film by the Institute even though they have their big benefit dinner in New York City on September 23rd.  The closest that they have is that Yaron Brook is one of the guest speakers who was also a consultant for the movie.  But there is no direct mention of Aglialoro or the new movie by the official gatekeepers of Ayn Rand’s legacy.

With that kind of in-fighting there is no way that the rest of the nation or the  world can be expected to get behind an ambitious project like a film adaption of one of America’s most monstrously successful novels.  Like it or not, Atlas Shrugged is the great American novel and is much better—and more relevant than any of Mark Twain’s work or John Steinbeck.  Atlas Shrugged is what America was and will always be about and those who wish to change that definition absolutely hate the novel and refuse to recognize it—even though the public has bought the book for over half a century on pure word of mouth.  It is the biggest underground classic in print, and the Ayn Rand Institute has helped make that so.  They will only benefit from the John Aglialoro film as viewers wanting to know more will buy the book to get more details after watching.

To understand Atlas Shrugged and specifically this third film I recently drove my son-in-law who moved here from socialist England through the city of Norwood, Ohio.  In the movie, John Galt gives a speech to the owners and workers of a manufacturing facility called the 20th Century Motor Company that is being overtaken by a socialist plan hatched by the company’s inherited owners.  The labor union adopts socialism at the company which destroys the plant leaving it vacated of any life within a few years.  What they made at the facility becomes quickly lost to history.  Driving through modern-day Norwood I showed my son-in-law how the same thing had happened to that poor city just north of Cincinnati, Ohio.  I showed him the vacant spot where the Cincinnati Milacron plant used to be.  I worked there when I was young and felt very much like a young John Galt—the speech in the film hit home to me and was all too autobiographical.  Shortly after I left Milacron, the company destroyed itself with socialism and is no longer there.  It used to be a large sprawling campus in Oakley, but now it is empty except for a few small office buildings.  Just a few miles to the west are the remains of the old General Motors plant that built Cameros during the hot selling 70s and 80s.  Now it is an empty parking lot.  Across the Norwood Lateral used to be the largest movie theater house in Cincinnati, the Showcase Cinemas of Norwood.   I used to see small art films there like Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter Black Heart which played nowhere else in the city.  It only played there because they had so many theaters they could afford to dedicate a few of them to pictures that were more philosophic than commercial.  Back then, it was the kind of theater that would have shown Atlas Shrugged Part III.  Now that theater is gone, it’s an empty parking lot.  As Cincinnati Milacron died and the General Motors plant along with many other smaller businesses all for the same reasons—the investment money moved north to flee the high taxes of the city and parasitic nature of local governments who gain fame for themselves by spending other people’s money.  Norwood is essentially a ghost town today after only 20 years of failed economic policy—just like the 20th Century Motor Company in the movie.  The only theater that Atlas is playing now is where the money is currently, about 20 miles north in Mason, Ohio at the Regal.  Many of the people who reside in neighborhoods around that theater moved from areas like Norwood years ago leaving only the parasites living through socialism to inhabit which collapsed the economy.  Some of those Mason people understand the message of Atlas Shrugged because they have been through it, so the movie is showing there.  But for the people of Norwood who are typically on welfare, jobless, and from families with several baby daddies coming in and out of their lives—the Objectivist message of the Atlas films are lost to them.

Burger King along with almost every large corporation is seeking to move their headquarters out of America for the same reasons that large companies closed in Norwood—the taxes were too high, and the socialism from their local governments were simply too intrusive, and costly.  America has a corporate tax rate of 39.1% which is the highest rate in the entire world which is simply ridiculous.  For anybody who has had to actually earn money it is known that for every dollar lost from productivity, that additional productivity must be generated to offset the cost.  For an average parasite that is just happy to have food in their bellies, and cable television to watch, they may not wish to be productive so to earn extra money to pay for nice cars, expensive vacations and a life style that is generally comfortable.  So they can’t conceive why a CEO would need millions of dollars to run a company because they have no concept of the risks involved in doing so, or the responsibility.  When the profitability of responsibility becomes no longer worth it, most CEO’s knowing that they cannot possibly generate enough sales to offset their margins will simply cash out and retire—doing essentially what John Galt and his friends did in the new Atlas film.  In the best cases they move their company somewhere where the tax rates are not so high, or they just shut down and retire off their earnings letting the world go to hell.  That’s what happened in Norwood leaving the residents there to deal with the mess they created by electing socialist community leaders who thought that taxation could always be proportionally increased.  They were wrong, the empty buildings and terrible real estate values are testimony.

When I was a kid my grandfather used to take pigs to slaughter at a meat market near Union Terminal.  Back in those days there were several breweries, packaging houses and much industry along the Western Hills Viaduct.   Now it is an area mired in poverty driven by an overload of the welfare system.  The Viaduct itself is falling apart and nobody can figure out where to get the money to fix it.  The Brent Spence Bridge just to the south of the Viaduct is also falling apart and needs replacement.  It is major highway artery from the north of the United States to the south, but there are no politicians with any answers even as the highway runs by Paul Brown Stadium which hosts only eight events a year during football season costing $455 million to build in the year 2000 numbers which equates out with inflation to $623 million.  Just the spike in inflation rates should be alarming in only 14 years.   But worst than that, it was some of the only new construction to take place in downtown Cincinnati in decades.  That construction is driven by pure entertainment value which is hardly sustainable for long-term growth and profitability.  There has to be industry which actually makes things in order to sustain other businesses and landmarks like the Western Hills Viaduct.  The city of Cincinnati is dying just like what was seen in Atlas Shrugged Part III.

Of course people who don’t wish to acknowledge these issues will hate the Atlas films for bringing it to their attention.  They wish to remain second-handers forever and don’t want to give up on their illusions of socialism.  But for the few who are bold enough to look at the situation squarely—and with honesty, Atlas Shrugged Part III is a blessing.  There are already an extreme minority who find that kind of subject matter enjoyable and they are lucky that John Aglialoro made a film for them.  It’s not financially profitable to do such a thing, but for a producer like Aglialoro, money can always be made.  What cannot be recovered is the American nation and if one truly does love their country—they would obviously try to save it.  The Atlas films are an attempt to save the country before everyone simply leaves.   The new Atlas film might be called Who Is John Galt, but I suspect that John Aglialoro has more in common with Dagny Taggert from the film than John Galt.  Aglialoro is still functioning in the world trying to warn people of what’s coming with his movie.  The people at the Atlas Society are already in Atlantis and hope to see it all crumble away—which is the likely anxiety between the two groups.

I thought all this while watching the scene where Dagny decided to leave Atlantis and return back to the world and fix her railroad problems.  John Galt, who is the leader in the Gulch decides to leave with her much to the shock of his friends.  Because of his attachment to Dagny, John Galt is put in danger of being looted off of once discovered because the world is desperate for someone with some kind of answer.  If Dangy had stayed put, it is likely that their paradise would survive forever as the world around them crumbled.  But because Dagny chose to leave and continue to fight—it brought John Galt back into the world to provide a deciding blow against socialism.  The Atlas Society wants to stay in the Gulch and John Aglialoro—at least a time or two more, wants to fight it out to save America.  And that is the crux of the matter.  It is a shame; because the Atlas Society has a lot that they could do and if they worked with the Atlas III film, would find that the cause of Objectivism is ripe for the many millions of empty minds out there looking desperately for something to fill them.  For the Atlas Society to not attach themselves to the film Atlas Shrugged Part III, they are missing a strategic opportunity that won’t easily come again.

As for where I stand in the film, it is the character Ragnar Danneskjold.  John Galt simply wants to cut off the parasites from their theft against the productive.  Ragnar wants to take back what was stolen along the way.

Rich Hoffman


THE NFL IS CORRECT: Bruno Mars should pay to sing in a Super Bowl

Labor unions have quietly been percolating in the background trying to repair their image after several years of close scrutiny. They are trying to re-tool their public presence carefully which they unleashed shortly after their Labor Day holiday by providing their intrusive input into the upcoming NFL season of which largely consists of labor union representation. When it is wondered why Hollywood leans left no matter what the industry—music or motion pictures—it is because they are all members of an entertainment union. And within those unions progressive values are constantly espoused. I should know, the Writers Guild of America came close to representing me during the 90s on a few occasions putting me on their mailing list and I received a constant parade of pro Bill Clinton propaganda. I was also a part of a manufacturing facility around the time of the controversial Al Gore, George Bush election of 2000, and clearly the labor union was in support of Gore. Typically when speaking with these types of people I have always taken a hard-line in favor of conservatives which has most of the time been a deal killer for my projects—so I know all about discrimination against conservatives in labor unions—especially in entertainment and manufacturing.

Recently the NFL floated a proposal that their half time acts at the Super Bowl should pay them for the public exposure on such a large stage which was met with a general utterance that the football sports organization was acting greedily. Union pushback is mounting. The AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees just joined the American Federation of Musicians in condemning such a plan.

“No one should ever pay to work. No organization should ever get a kickback from a worker they employ,” the labor organization said of the plan, first detailed in the Wall Street Journal. “The Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, its affiliates in the entertainment industry, and the other unions, 22 in all, will stand with the AFM in condemning and will fight back against any attempts to make workers pay to perform,” the group said of the plan to convince music acts to cough up cash to play the halftime show, most likely in the form of a cut of post-show ticket sales, downloads, etc.

“It’s not like the NFL and its Super Bowl organizers don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for halftime show performances, it’s about the insatiable thirst for profits at the expense of great musical entertainment and those who create it,” AFM President Ray Hair said last week. “You can find kickback schemes like this coming from unscrupulous bar and nightclub owners, but for the NFL to descend to such depths would be unconscionable.”

The dialogue against the NFL by most people—especially union leaders like that Ray Hair fellow–is wrong especially in regard to the entertainment unions who on one hand preach against greed while they force collective bargaining agreements for their players valued at millions of dollars for kids in their mid-twenties fresh out of college. Musicians who are superstars are in much the same boat and are typically young and fall hook line and sinker for the union propaganda that comes with their memberships. But they are all confused as to what creates value and who is responsible for what.

The NFL has created the value which all these parties seek to be a part. The NFL Super Bowl was created in its value by the efforts of the National Football League. Aerosmith, Prince, or any other headline acts which plays at the Super Bowl did not create the value of such a large game—it was created by the NFL owners who put a product on the field that millions of people enjoy. Players come and go, but the product of the NFL continues on season after season because the management of that product is successful. Yet the labor unions want and expect equal value for their participation—which is clearly barbaric and ignorant—if value is the measuring unit utilized. Players are not equal to owners, and halftime acts are not equal to the players which make the Superbowl such an exciting enterprise.

Most musical acts benefit from sales of their recordings after they perform for over a billion people on live television. I would argue that groups like the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith are equal to the NFL in value and should just be honored to be a part of the festivities. Those classic bands who are household names have built their reputation to such a level that they benefit very little from performing at a halftime show during the Superbowl. Their participation is purely out of respect and nostalgia. But for smaller acts like Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars, they will receive a spike in sales just for appearing in a Super Bowl and they should pay for that advertising just like every other vendor trying to make money off the product that the NFL created.

Every labor union who argues that their members participate equally to the product of the NFL just because they show up and play a part during a few years of their life are thinking about the whole thing incorrectly—their philosophy is framed by socialism, not capitalism. The NFL itself is a capitalist organization, and it is not greedy to expect payment for using their product—their intellectual property. People who have a problem with this are functioning socialists. It is anti capitalist to refer to the NFL as greedy for expecting compensation from those riding their product to success.

If Bruno Mars sings a song in the middle of the woods deep in the mountains, nobody cares. If the Superbowl puts him on stage for billions of people that they organized for the event Bruno Mars benefits as does the NFL. But the NFL has to make a business decision as to who should play in their halftime show and it is up to them if they want payment in financial compensation, or if they want to honor musical legends like the Stones or Aerosmith with a free party and chance to have some fun during one of the biggest American events of the year. The players, and other entertainment professionals participating in the Super Bowl do not make the value of the game. They simple play a part. If they refuse there are other Russell Wilsons in the world who are willing to throw a football in front of millions of viewers. Some people would do it for free just for the opportunity to do it. The unions have only one function that is anti-capitalist in its desire and that is to loot off the productive enterprise of value creators like the NFL create. They are leeches that are beneath contempt and are dead wrong in their assertion about payment regarding halftime entertainment. As usual the collective bargaining agreements of these labor unions are more appropriate in Soviet Russia during the 60s and 70s than in capitalist America during a football game that embodies the economy of the most successful country on earth. The labor unions are purely second-handers looting value from those who created it and trying to make it appear that those who created that value are greedy for not wanting to “share the wealth” with their members. Their basic premise is that the NFL has money and we want it. That is the bottom line—and why the labor unions are wrong.

Rich Hoffman


Understanding “Who Is John Galt”: ‘Atlas Shrugged Part III’ hits theaters September 12th

I first met Harmon Kaslow, one of the producers of the Atlas Shrugged films, in 2012 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio while we were both promoting the release of the second film, CLICK TO REVIEW.  At the time he was under tremendous pressure—he had just completed the second film with John Aglialoro and was working hard to promote it against a tidal wave of dissent.  Harmon is a Hollywood producer and his work on the Atlas films went against the general message of the entire entertainment industry—so it was a courageous move on his part to bring an independent film version of the novel Atlas Shrugged to the big screen when conventional career climbing wisdom said not to. The book came out in 1957 and was in development hell for over 40 years due to a number of influences.  Ayn Rand’s biggest mistake to support her Objectivist philosophy which was the message behind the popular novel was in not allowing Albert S. Ruddy to make a film adaptions of Atlas Shrugged his way after the success of the Godfather films in 1972.  Ruddy wanted to produce a version of the Atlas  films with Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford playing the lead roles—but Rand wanted to maintain complete creative control the way she had on the movie version of her other novel, The Fountainhead many years earlier.   The deal unfortunately fell through.  Hollywood would have been a much different place if Rand and Ruddy had made Atlas Shrugged in the 1970s.  Instead, it took another 40 years to get a movie version made after many attempts and it was Harmon Kaslow working with John Aglialoro who was able to pull off what nobody previously could.  As recently as 1999 Aglialoro and Ruddy negotiated a deal with Turner Network Television for a four-hour miniseries, but that deal also fell through during an AOL merger with Time Warner.  There were other attempts, but all failed until Kaslow and Aglialoro using the tools of the modern age to bypass the studio system were able actually get the job done.  The third and final film is finally ready to be released to the public on September 12th 2014.

I am grateful for the films.  For as long as I’ve been alive church leaders have sat me down and tried to tell me to assimilate more with the human world—to make more friends.  School guidance councilors have done the same—spent many hours talking to me trying to convince me to drop my resistance to other people and make more friends.  To this very day I can attend a crowded football game with 60,000 screaming fans—I can sit in a luxury box with 25 to 30 friends and power brokers—but I am always alone in the midst of the swarm.   The advice given to me for all the years prior—which I have never listened to—was that I needed to compromise my values to maintain friendships with people who did not hold the same—because making friends and assimilating with the population at large was more important than personal integrity.  But it’s not.  That is some of the worst advice that anybody can receive and it is the primary reason that Atlas Shrugged had difficulty being made into a movie.  How do you make a movie that is critical of how the masses of the population behave—intellectually?

To measure the typical Hollywood industry reaction to Ayn Rand and how threatened they are by her message the Futurama episode called, “I Second that Emotion” contains a library of books flushed down the drain into the sewers to be read by deformed mutants.  Among those books one of the main characters sees Atlas Shrugged and dismisses the book saying “There is nothing but crumpled porn and Ayn Rand.”  The popular video game Bioshock attacked the Objectivist premise of Atlas Shrugged for many of the same reasons showing how such a society could become dangerously suppressive.  Always behind their revulsion of Atlas Shrugged is the fear that the message of Ayn Rand might seep into society and expose them for being second-handers who live exclusively off the efforts of others.  So they attack Atlas Shrugged to protect their scheme against not only society at large—but themselves.  The rock band Rush has had a fascination with Ayn Rand for years and was the back bone of their 2112 album when lyrist Neal Peart wrote the breakthrough song—“Anthem” dedicated to Ayn Rand which brought them unprecedented ridicule from British journalists.  George Lucas essentially being in the know over the intentions of Albert S. Ruddy to make an Atlas Shrugged film molded his character of Han Solo in Star Wars as an answer to the individualism versus collectivism argument so prevalent in the 1970s.  Back then Lucas wrote in his early screenplay draft, “May the force of others, be with you.”  Han Solo was supposed to learn by the end of the film to think of others before he thought of himself.  However by the time Harrison Ford applied his magic to the character, Han Solo became one of the most popular characters in the series and he stayed very Randian in subsequent movies.  Case in point, Han Solo is about to be frozen and shipped off by the bounty hunter Boba Fett when Princess Leia says, “I love you.”  Han Solo using a very profound pronoun replies simply, “I know.”  Solo doesn’t care to reassure Leia that he too loves her, only that he knew all along.  The premise of his declaration is that his knowledge is more important than her acknowledgment.  They later get married have a daughter named Jaina who is the star of the new upcoming films.  By the time Star Wars hit popular culture Lucas changed a bit in his perspective shortening the popular line to just, “May the force be with you.”  These philosophic arguments are quite loud and many don’t even realize they are happening—but the battles rage on to this day and the stakes are quite high.

I have known this about people all of my life—well before I ever read Atlas Shrugged.  The reason I’ve always been alone—even in crowds is due to my avoidance of letting second-handers too close to me.  Most people live their lives as second-handers so Atlas Shrugged for them is dangerous—and insulting.  They will not enjoy the movie Atlas Shrugged and this is why the movie was in development hell for such a long period of time.  Movie producers and studio distributers by the nature of their jobs are second-handers themselves—the film business demands it of them—so they have problems with Atlas Shrugged.  Politicians are also second-handers, most of them hate the book and the movie produced by Aglialoro and Kaslow.  Movie critics are some of the biggest second-handers in existence—they are often film school drop-outs who couldn’t make their own movies so to be close to the industry, they write film reviews for newspapers and television shows.  Atlas Shrugged challenges them in a way that frightens their values—and second-hander nature.  When the third film hits theaters on September 12th 2014, they will pan the film not because the movie is bad—but because the story attacks their tendency to be second-handers and it makes them feel guilty.

The reason I have always been alone in crowds is that I do not allow myself to be looted from them socially, and literally.  Government does steal my money as a second-hander entity through taxes—but as an individual I have a policy against second-handers and do not allow it.  The new movie Atlas Shrugged III: Who is John Galt is a film made for people like me.  There is a scene in the upcoming film where John Galt is offered the top job of Wesley Mouch which holds unlimited government power.  John Galt laughs at the offer as his girlfriend Dagney Taggart is listening and instructs all those present that no such job should exist.  Dagney is allowed to listen because the president Mr. Thompson thinks that she will learn a lesson when he breaks John Galt through temptation.  Most people watching the movie and criticizing it after will not understand why John Galt laughs at the offer.  Most people would take such a deal in less than a second.  I do understand with great clarity.  I have lived my whole life laughing at the same type of offers without always understanding clearly.  I didn’t read any of Ayn Rand’s books until her books began to explode in popularity after the election of President Obama—in 2008.  My enjoyment of those books was not because they changed my life.  It was because reading those books and getting to know a bit about the people who made the recent movies—it was refreshing to see that there were others out there who thought the same way as I did—they resisted the waves of second-handers trying to impose a scheme against the productive hoping to remain concealed.   Now three films later over the last five years, Kaslow and Aglialoro have done what seemed impossible—they made Atlas Shrugged into movies with the last coming out just ahead of the November elections.

So the answer to “Who Is John Galt” will be answered quite well in the new film.  John Galt is a person who refuses to be consumed by second-handers, and when it is asked who talks and thinks like him by critics after they have seen the film and seek to hide their fear of the philosophy behind a bad review—I do.  I have in many ways lived John Galt’s life with a remarkable parallel that made me think when I first read Atlas Shrugged that I was reading something written just for me.  I have made similar decisions as John Galt for similar reasons at nearly the same time as that fictional character and in just the same kind of theatrical conditions.

My employers have always utilized my talents as an inventor of new ideas.  I went so far to even begin processing some of those ideas as patents in my early 20s.  When I learned that the industry was filled with second-handers and that virtually every connection to my endeavors was teeming with similar types, I withdrew.  My wife and I live in our home like our own personal Galt’s Gulch.  I took on several medial jobs—much the way that John Galt does in the new film for much the same reason but withdrew my talents from the second-handers so not to make them better at my expense.  There have been a few times along the way such as the time of the present where I am paid on the front end to solve complicated problems.  It takes more than money to conceive me of the worth—and if those values align, I agree to help, but generally, my wife and I live in a gulch of our own making—which is remarkably similar to the lifestyle shown in the new movie.

Due to a busy schedule I will not be able to attend the premier by invite which is occurring in Las Vegas just prior to the September 12th release date.  But I am excessively happy to see that the film was made and is the best of the three films.  For those who have seen the previous two either in theaters or on DVD later, then that should paint a picture of how good this new film should be for them.  When it comes to the filmmakers and others I have gotten to know a bit from the literal Gulch that we all reside in, I don’t feel those same emotions where a crowd can be present, but that I am standing by myself—around them.  The best part of the new movie is that it was made for people who are already like John Galt.  It’s not a movie for everyone.  Many will be curious enough to watch the film even if they don’t understand it.  But for those who already know who John Galt is by looking in the mirror—they will have a rare treat that deserves thanks toward the producers for making such a wonderful film intended for those who are standing alone in the world on an island of creativity surrounded by the desperate needs of second-handers.  It is rare that anything is ever made for people like that—because they always do the making.  But thanks to John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt was made for them—and that is a real treat.

To find out where the movie is playing near you, click the link below, and learn where you can see the film on September 12th.

Rich Hoffman