|A Night With John Galt
Who is John Galt? That is the question people have asked since 1957. On Sept. 6, the answer was revealed.
Last month, Stan and I were invited to attend the premiere of the last film in the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? Held at The Palms in Las Vegas, we eagerly accepted.
Photo: View of Vegas strip from The Palms.
If you aren't familiar with Ayn (pronounced like 'aim' except with an 'n') Rand's exceptionally prophetic novel, she wrote about the demise of America and its approaching financial collapse – in 1957! Atlas Shrugged devotees are similar to Trekkies except that the world painted by Ayn Rand is nearly upon us and Capt. Kirk's universe has a way to go.
Atlas Shrugged is beyond classic and enjoys a near-cult following. Stan first read her visionary work in the 70's and I didn't tackle its 1200 pages until 1997. When Stan delved into this masterpiece, it became a dog on his shin, bark on hickory, super glue to fingers. It went with him everywhere, even into the 'thunder think tank'. (Think about it, you'll get it.) I was likewise entranced, but thought with dismay should something like this actually happen, how utterly depressing it would be. Today we are witnessing it.
In "Shrugged 3', gas was $42 a gallon, people's right's had been ripped away through encroaching communism. Corporate and business ownership was usurped by big government – all through the spew of what's good for the people…
Businesses were systematically dismantled through the Equalization of Opportunity Bill where no corporation could own more than one company. ALL patents were required by law to be turned over to the government. Individuality, creativity and incentive for greatness was extinguished.
Photo: John Galt stands up to Gerald Starnes and threatens to take away 'the motor of the world".
In Part 3, a boss, Gerald Starnes, Jr. of Twentieth Century Motor Company in Starnesville, Wisconsin speaks to hard-hat workers saying that all of you must now work to the best of your abilities, work the hardest you can every day. At the end of the day, all of your wages will be pooled and whoever needs the money the most gets the largest share – decreed by their word alone. Do you agree? is the question posed. Everyone bobs their head in agreement like drug-induced no-minds. All but one, John Galt, stands on a back bleacher and revolts quietly against the proposed collectivist maxim of, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".
"I don't," said John Galt, who quietly stood up in his place. Every eye sank when it beheld him, because "he stood like a man who knows that he is right."
Galt went on, "I will put an end to this once and for all." Then he turned to walk out.
Gerald Starnes called after him, "How?"
Galt turned and said, "I will stop the motor of the world."
This is actually a flashback of what begins in the first film of the trilogy - when people of moral integrity and great intellect begin to disappear. They leave their businesses, their endeavors, their homes without notice. Just before their disappearance, each mutters to whomever is present, "who is John Galt?" The listener always has a puzzled look on their face, not comprehending what this means, and you don't see these disappearing people again for 2 movies until this question is resolved.
At first "who is John Galt" is viewed as a negative, a quiet cry of resignation, of giving up and despair. It then morphs into a triumphant victory statement of the individual standing for moral good over the slow death of socialism-turned-communism and the over-reach of oppressive, intrusive life-stifling government.
All those who have 'disappeared' over time to a secret enclave take the John Galt pledge in order to live in their 'New Eden': "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
In the third film, two great gaping flaws were apparent. The first is a piece of technology stolen from its creator by government and then weaponized: Project F. What it turns out to be resembles a dog collar with electrodes placed strategically around the victim's body. The 'juice' is turned on and the wearer is shocked into submission - except John Galt is not. Stan remarked that the torture administered to Galt was weak, not because Stan wanted him brutalized, but because you see more exotic techniques applied for compliance in nightly TV. It wasn't believable. Stan also commented that Galt looked like Jesus on the cross – a symbol of great sacrifice.
The second flaw shows after John escapes and he commandeers the airwaves during some B.S. government TV air-pitch. He informs the masses what has happened to them at the hands of government and how to extricate themselves from what will be a continuing miserable demise. Galt's solution in this epic, motivating speech is to set up communities away and apart from the masses and government, on the outskirts of existing cities.
We have now progressed so far beyond Project F with weapons for crowd control, FEMA camps and martial law, it was nearly laughable. It wasn't that the writers stayed word-for-word to Rand's book, but it is a huge, inherent weakness in this movie. Producer Bernie Laramie with whom we talked at length, admitted their writers took great license with Rand's book ending. They added romance between John Galt and main character, Dagny Taggart, head of Taggart International (Railroad). One of her best lines was: "You'd be surprised how quickly things get done when you do some actual work and don't rely on political favors." Isn't that just the fact!
NOTES ON 'SHRUGGED'
John, the producer, personally put up $20M for the Atlas trilogy. He is a humble, quiet man ranked by Forbes in the top 25 list of richest U.S. execs. When we went through the line to speak with all the 'shining lights', John seemed like every other guy, very unassuming. Another notable was his wife Joan Carter. She had a small part in the film and everyone recognized her as a powerful dynamo on 2 legs – a real Dagny Taggart.
Photo: John Aglialoro and his wife, Joan Carter
It is theorized by producer Harmon Kaslow that the Atlas Shrugged series has never received wide acclaim as it goes against the values of liberal Hollywood. There was also a question of whether there would be an Atlas 2 or 3. As a result, each movie has different people playing the same characters. If you watch all 3 films close together, it can be confusing remembering who is who. Bernie (producer) explained to us that they didn't have the $$ to hold the original actors to exclusivity over the span of 6 years and often the actors had signed to other commitments in the interim.
For example, in Atlas 2, the man who played Hank Reardon – a huge character in this film – is currently starring on Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. and episodes of Californication and Last Resort – all between or during the filming of Atlas 3. This Hank, Jason Beghe, gives one of the best speeches ever in gravelly-voiced protest as a person being squashed by big government. This is his response when he is on trial for violating government regulations.
Photo: Hank Reardon, owner and developer of Reardon Metal being grilled in court.
Court: Henry Rearden, you are charged, along with Kenneth Danigger, in absentia, with one count of violation of Article 64 of the Fair Share Law. How do you plead, sir?
Rearden: I do not recognize this court's right to try me, nor do I recognize any of my actions as a crime.
Simply refusing to obey the law is not a defense.
If you believe you may seize my property simply because you need it, well, then so does any burglar. The only difference is a burglar doesn't ask my permission. If you feel you have the right to use force against me, then show it for what it is. Bring guns.
Sir, we have no intention of pointing guns and seizing your property.
Then why are we here?
Mr. Rearden, you are misrepresenting the letter and the intent of the Fair Share Law. It is based on the highest principle, the principle of the public good. You wouldn't want it misunderstood that you work for nothing but your own profit?
Indeed, I want it understood clearly. I do not recognize the good of others as a justification for my existence. If their fair share demands that I get nothing for my labors, that it requires me to be a victim, then I say, public good be damned. I'll have no part of it.
And how does that benefit your fellow man?
I do not owe you an answer. But I could tell you in 100 ways-- thousands of jobs, billions in revenue, fueling our economy, despite your efforts to destroy the very foundation of our existence. And I believe most of my fellow men would say the same, if they had a voice.
||A Peak Inside the Prophecy in the News Conference
Stan and I'd hardly walked in the door and were pelted with questions about the conference. So I'll shelve the shirts waiting to be ironed (yeah, twist my arm on that!) and explain a bit. First, it was thrilling to hear 23 gifted speakers all gathered in one venue. Many are my personal heroes. The fact that most shared similar viewpoints and conclusions about End Times and prophecy was very encouraging and uplifting to Christians. In the 5 days we were there, not a single person exchanged a cross word or look. If they did, we didn't see it. In fact, there was a LOT of laughter filling the auditoriums and hallways, and peppering private conversations. People left their purses and briefcases unattended. When speakers left their booths to present or go to meals, books and DVDs were covered just with tablecloths and no one bothered a thing. It reminded me of days mostly gone by when people left keys in their cars and their front doors unlocked.
First, many thanks to Prophecy in the News who treated the speakers like royalty. They were beyond gracious and Gary looked positively worn out by Monday. He had to be dragging anchor. Not only was he speaking, he organized a great deal of the conference in tandem with Bob Ulrich. Seeing to the accommodations of 23 speakers and spouses (and some brought their kids), transportation, meals, equipment requirements and needs, not to mention overseeing setting up everything was a massive undertaking.
Lecturers spoke simultaneously in 4 rooms, which assures we too, will be purchasing Prophecy in the News' DVDs. It never failed that people you just had to hear were lecturing at the same time. Fortunately our booth was positioned right by the doors of the main conference room so we could pop in and out as time permitted. With everyone limited to 1 hour in order to get in all 23 speakers' multiple lectures in 3 days, Stan had to leave a LOT of material on our editing room floor. However, in addition the the PITN DVD's, Stan will be making his own DVDs, so you'll get the full benefit of everything he discovered and presented at conference plus much more.
Photos: Stan gives his lecture on the Garden of Eden
Speakers rotated so everyone presented at least once in the main ballroom, which accommodated roughly 800 listeners. In his second lecture, which PITN didn't advertise as much – Solomon, Satan and Seduction Stan he discussed Solomon's Satanic background, who the Antichrist might be and how Christians and unbelievers alike may be seduced by him in the coming Great Deception.
I knew would be killer – and it was! Word got around before the event. Held in the 2nd largest room, the Aspen Leaf, it was standing room only with people filling the side areas not made for seating as well as piled on the stairs, leaning against the walls and seated on the floor.
Some of the material in the Solomon lecture, while it didn't repeat anything of the first presentation, it was helpful to have heard Quest for Eden first. After the Eden lecture, when Stan first revealed the location of this magnificent place, the one recurring comment we heard from attendees was how it made sense especially after seeing all the evidence laid out logically and in such detail. When we got home, Stan had an email waiting from a woman saying she'd heard his lecture via livestream and she literally works right next to the Garden of Eden and never knew it! She was blown away!
Set to music that Robert Pepino scored just for Stan's presentations made it impossible not to be covered in goosebumps when Stan revealed the location. It wasn't hard to visualize God walking there 6,000 years ago. That's pretty amazing to wrap your head around…
Besides all the wonderful speakers, we met some delightful women – you know, the women behind their men. Two of my favorites were L.A. Marzulli's wife, Peggy, and Carl Teichrib's wife, Leanne, and of course Sharon Gilbert, who was also a speaker. You know how you just click with someone? That's how it was with these ladies. Unfortunately, Sharon and Peggy sat pretty far down the hall from our booth, but Leanne's table was right beside ours so we got to gab — a lot! She's the kind of person, Carl too, that you wish lived right next door. But Manitoba is pretty far away! Peggy, Leanne and I could have gotten into a bunch of 'trouble' had time and circumstances permitted. <grin>
Paul MacGuire, who is a personal friend as well as impactful lecturer, his table was across from ours. It all fell together perfectly that we shared several meals along with his friend, Jeff from Alabama, and Avi Lipkin, a gifted, insightful speaker from Israel. Avi's way of giving lectures is much like Stan's – a whole lot of 'meat' interspersed with humor. The night the conference closed, the 5 of us spent that evening in the Marriott's cafe, away from the conference's hectic demands and exchanged many ideas and information. Avi's insight on Israel was certainly eye-opening and his perspective from someone in the thick of it. His time on the road is coming to a close this year and he will be going home to his family in Israel. He will be back to present at Chuck Missler's conference in Coeur d’Alene, ID this October and it may be a last chance to hear him.
Bill Koenig and I began exchanging letters while we still lived in Australia some 17 years ago and this was the first time we'd heard him in person. If you get a chance, you need to read his book Eye To Eye. Brought 'Eye' back from the conference and it's sitting on my desk – just waiting for the ironing to be done. Bill wrote the definitive book on consequences of coming against and trying to divide Israel. His material is insightful and the detailed conclusions irrefutable.
L.A., well, what can you say. He's L.A. His messages are so listener-friendly and the material riveting. We've heard him speak many times and he never fails to capture his audience with boundless energy. He always had a giant smile splitting his face while literally running to his next obligation. We can't wait to see what DNA tests from a tooth reveal about the skulls he saw in Peru. They surely don't look human…
We hope at some point, you've had the privilege to hear Dr. Tommy Ice. He is and always has been at the forefront of Christian prophecy and he presented his wide-ranging lectures in very 'chewable' bites. While much concerning today's news and current events is dismal and dim, his message about End Times, the Blessed Hope, tribulation and the coming of our Lord was very encouraging.
If you can't wait, Stan will share some of his lecture material this coming Tuesday on Doug and Joe Hagmann's program. It was amazing the number of conference attendees that are Hagmann and Hagmann fans! Stan shared that at least 95% of the people he talked with between lectures are Doug and Joe daily listeners!
From Stan to Stearman, from L.A. to Ice, from Cris Putnam (yes, he really does look like Superman) to Carl, this was a intensely uplifting, wonderful conference. It is our hope you were blessed to attend and if not, the DVDs will be available in 3 - 5 weeks. —Holly