I just got through watching Part 2 of the movie Atlas Shrugged (there will be a Part 3 if this one is not a complete financial flop). Not a great movie by any means. But very interesting nonetheless. Interesting because it is SO not Hollywood! Needless to say its content has put it on the Maher-bashing list of all the pseudo intellectuals in the sunshine state.. The producers unfortunately decided to take Rand's opus novel and do a literal representation, staying very close to the plot and scenes. Written in the 50s it is obviously now dated, and truth be told, Rand was never a great storyteller anyway. She had her moments (e.g. The sex scene in The Fountainhead) but as a general rule she was mediocre in prose.
But not in thought. Arguably the greatest philosopher of the modern age she has been castigated as "Pop Nietzsche", vilified by socialists everywhere and condemned to hell by every religion that's got one! Rand was a product of her environment, as are we all. She watched as the Bolsheviks dispossessed her father's little pharmacy shop (three times I think), expropriated it "for the public good" and shut it down, producing no gain except that of a one time, short term theft for the government business police. It marked her for life and when she literally escaped to America she never looked back, as she appreciated the opportunities and freedoms that exist here. She realized that they only exist by virtue of the respect for property rights, the belief that the individual has the capacity to prosper and flourish if inspired by opportunity and then left alone to succeed or fail by their own hand, and that altruism is a failed ideology that only serves to empower the giver and weaken the taker. She had open disdain for government intervention in people's lives, manipulation of their psyche by religious institutions, and mental indolence in general.
In this day and age of entitlement, extraneous government programs and taxpayer sponsored dole it is well worth revisiting her writing, or if you have never read her, start with The Fountainhead before tackling the 1069 pages of Atlas Shrugged. If you have a canned predisposition against the views of hers that I have outlined here, I urge you in particular to read her work, as her logic will provide some very interesting challenges.