Donald Trump’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Moment: Venezuela’s epic failure due to their commitment to socialism

 

I know, I write about Donald Trump a lot these days.  Yes there are many other things going on in the world—especially local issues,  but as I see it we are witnessing the greatest political trend change that the history of the world has ever seen—and I can’t think of anything more important.  It dosen’t do any good to chase the tail of something as long and elusive as our current social trends which are like a very long snake.  What Trump does today will have a tremendous effect on tomorrow, so it is important to capture those little moments as they occur.  Specifically it was the great United Nations speech that Donald Trump gave which illustrated so many positive things for American culture, but none as great as when the topic of Venezuelan socialism was brought forth and put on the world stage for all to see.

I was surprised years ago when so many people were upset that the great American novel Atlas Shrugged was being made into a movie.  I knew the filmmakers, and was a friend of the crew throughout the production and for them it was a love project.  They had a small budget in order to tell a gigantic story—an epic on the scale of Game of Thrones.  Yet Hollywood wouldn’t touch the project through a legitimate studio with A-list actors essentially because the media companies were so deeply contaminated with socialist and communist supporters that such a pro-capitalist story like Atlas Shrugged was never going to get “green-lit.”

Hollywood has always been a little left but it has only been recently that they were so overtly advocated out-right socialist—as a general philosophy.  Their A-list actors, even people like Harrison Ford, have stepped out of reality and onto the socialist band wagon because it is the social trend of Santa Monica valley these days.  If you go into a bar there by the pier talking about the merits of capitalism those weak-kneed she-males and braless bitches will be ready for a fight—they believe in socialism that much.  So when the independent filmmakers of the new Atlas Distribution Company wanted to make a movie out of one of the great American novels for which Atlas Shrugged is and has always been, all the studios laughed at them.  Many years before the studios laughed at Star Wars too, but that’s another story.  I only say that because “group think” does not understand how to make good movies, or how to detect social trends.  Individuals do.  Remember that.

I thought the movie attempt at Atlas Shrugged was ambitious and they managed to do a pretty good job getting the high points down in a visual form.  I would like to see a big budget Netflix series done for Atlas Shrugged that spans for 10 one hour episodes, because I think that’s what it would take to properly tell the story—but it was a bold attempt even as the entertainment unions pushed back hard on anybody associated with the project.  The production could not keep actors from one film to the next as the movies were divided out into three parts.  The actors were beat on so much by the rest of the Hollywood community that all three movies had a different cast and the only ones who signed up were actors looking for something to do.  It was a real challenge and showed me how bad Hollywood really had become.  All the friendly meetings I had with various people over the years flew right out the window as their true intentions were revealed during the production of Atlas Shrugged.

For those who have read the book you know what I’m talking about.  The modern situation in Venezuela is essentially the plot of the book.  A successful country (the United States in the story) is pushed into socialism by their government and the world plunges into darkness.  Once the government establishes things like price controls and root themselves into a severe crony capitalist market, the world falls apart and it is the point of Atlas Shrugged to identify why.  Essentially the “engines” of the world go on strike and that leaves everyone else starving—literally.  The beauty of Atlas Shrugged is that it does something that Karl Marx never achieved—it identified why some people make everything happen while others destroy the world around them—so if the makers of the world fail to participate, economies fail and countries wither away into dust.   The political Left has never come to grips with this phenomenon and this is the aspect of our civilization that is most important to our continuation into the future.  Marxism and all the fruits that fell from it like socialism, communism and fascism all turned out to be rotten short-lived fantasies first breathed by Sir Thomas More in his classic book Utopia—that were destroyed during westward expansion in the United States.   While Marx and his followers were pushing for labor unions to take over the world by controlling the means of production the railroads, the gold rush and the promise of private property in America used capitalism to fill the sky lines of the worlds next great cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles which until that period was just a border town–until the gold rush then the movie industry gave people a reason to live there.

Venezuela had been a pretty good place to live; it was a thriving country living off its oil reserves until Hugo Chavez brought socialism to their economy.   Once Chavez died a member of his inner circle Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver (seriously) rose to power as a union leader and became the next president.  If you want to see what happens when labor unions get their way by controlling the “means” of production, just look what happened to Venezuela in just a few short years. As the state took over more and more of its industry, they became much less productive and their economy essentially died right in front of the world.  Now the people of Venezuela are starving—literally, and nobody seems to understand why, at least those who have advocated for socialism. Yet it is the nearly seventy year old book Atlas Shrugged that provided an almost page by page analysis for all to read—but the world watched and let it happen to Venezuela anyway.

What was remarkable about Donald Trump’s speech was that most of the people in that general assembly at the United Nations have emotional connections to socialism.  They are either members of Socialist International or they have been thinking about it.  Only the United States has maintained a defense of capitalism and our economy shows it.  The way for more countries around the world to prevent more people from being poor or from having terrible GDP numbers is to unleash capitalism and reject communism.  China’s communism only works if it attaches itself to a capitalist country and can keep the other nations around them poor so that they can maintain some form of price controls.  But if a country to the south like Vietnam were to adopt capitalism, or Cambodia, India or even North Korea—Russia and those types of places—China’s economy would sink because of their communist system.  What happened to Venezuela was that the price of oil went down and they couldn’t compete. That is all the unsaid story before, and no American president would strongly defend capitalism allowing everyone to shrug their shoulders as if they had nothing to do with anything happening to countries like Venezuela.  But when Donald Trump said what he did it put the issue on the front burner in a way nobody was prepared for, and it properly articulated the problem—boldly, people had to listen.  And that was a significant moment in the history of the world that will be remembered for many centuries.  I thought it was tremendous and it will prove to be bigger than anything that happens on the local level because that culture change will flow into the rest of the country rather rapidly.  And I love it!

Rich Hoffman

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