Wednesday, June 21, 2006


More in the Movies

Rand's classic Atlas Shrugged is set for release in 2008. The screenplay was written by James V. Hart, who also wrote for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Muppet's Treasure Island and Hook. Fans have set up an unofficial webpage for the film, in anticipation of its release.

Sadly, the bigger news (for most), is the couple in talks to play Dagny Taggart and John Galt: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It would be a major departure for Pitt from the political message in Fight Club, where his character (Tyler Derden) plots to blow up all the financial institutions in the city to wipe out debt, meanwhile destroying billions in private property.

It will be interesting to see if this really happens on the Big Screen.

Are you saying it's possible that Angelina Jolie is a libertarian?
Although she's blown up far less private property in the course of her movie career, I think it's doubtful.

However, checking out some other websites, Brad Pitt is apparently interested in remaking "The Fountainhead" as well, so maybe he's not a lost cause after all.

I would think the Fountainhead would make a MUCH better movie than Atlas Shrugged. Could you imagine all those speeches and monolouges?

I would actually be suprised if either Pitt or Jolie were objectivists. Why would two egoists spend so much time helping other people (or at least trying to look like it)? Though I could see them as libertarians.
Are any of you browncoats? Serenity at the Raleighwood is sold out for Thursday night. I saw this movie after reading a review from FEE about it. I didn't see much Libertarianism in it until the second half of the movie.
Is that like Alaskan Nazis?
There was this TV show called Firefly put out by Jos Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I have never seen). The show pitts the Republic, or big government types, against those that refused to allow deterioration of liberty for the sake of safety/ Brave New World style peace.
The big government created a somma-like drug and tested it on planet Miranda. All the people there, sedated, stopped living. They just quit doing anything wherever they were.
There's also some cannibal rebel bad guys, the result of another bad govt experiment.
The show had a cult following, and they made a movie, Serenity, the name of the browncoats' spaceship. Browcoats all over the US are gathering tonight to watch the movie in groups, one at the Raleighwood.

Like I said, I just recently learned about all of this from a review in a recent Freeman, from FEE.
Way to kill a post again, Nathan. I still don't understand what browncoats are. Are they fans of the show/movie, or a kind of people within the show/movie?

To respond to Student, I agree Ms. Jolie is likely not a self-proclaimed "egoist". But is all her giving really a sacrifice? I think she does it because she likes it. I pretty much think everyone is a closet egoist--if you help other people at your expense (money, time, etc), you probably get some enjoyment out of it.

People usually don't like that idea.
Would the welfare analysis of sacrificial giving demonstrate a net gain, loss, or wash compared to trade? After eight years in non-profit experience I am leaning toward the loss, as I have observed the negative or non-existent feedback mechanisms inherant in many such institutions.
The least helpful people are so-called do gooders who usually have nothing to gain or lose from their involvement and just muddle things up. They get involved and then drop out at the least convenient moment. They misperceive much of what is going on and draw horrible conclusions.

Browncoats are the good guys in the show which fans applaud and adopt their nomenclature from.
The first disk is currently in my Netflicks queue. I'll tell you if its worth it.
I wouldn't think that altruism would be the only motivation for continuing in the public sector or for any group or individual to provide services as a non-profit.

I have to agree with Travis on this one. People tend to act in their own best interest, even when they are helping others.

I would agree that alturistic people are self interested, but not only is the assertion unfalsifiable, I think it is meaningless distinction.

In micro we assume that economic agents maximize their utility (they are self interested). And in every micro textbook I've ever read the author stresses that our assumption that economic agents act in their own self interest doesn't exclude alturistic behavior.

By this the author means that economic agents maximize their utility and that some agents happen gain utility from helping others.

This assumption makes perfect intuitive sense, but it is totally unfalsifiable (describe a behavior and I can make up a self-interested story to explain it). Despite some quibbling, the assumption works pretty well as far as it goes.

But how applicable is it to making moral judgements? Not at all. You could look at Mother Teresa and say "well look, she is only acting in her self interest because she likes helping poor people, so her actions aren't virtous". But I don't see how that follows.

That is exactly what people that advocate alturism WANT to happen. They don't want you to hate yourself. They want you to love your neighbor. And part of that love is giving, not because you have to, but because you WANT TO.

So we should be very careful how we use our words. Self-interest isn't the same as self-love. And Alturism isn't the same as Greed. At least not as most people define them.
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