Murray Rothbard, the great libertarian theorist and economist, hated Goodfellas. He especially hated the depiction of gangsters as “psychotic punks” whose violence was “random, gratuitous, pointless.”
He preferred the Godfather films, where the gangsters never engaged in violence “for the Hell of it, or for random kicks,” but only used it to enforce contracts the government police and courts wouldn’t uphold.
For Rothbard, Goodfellas’ unflattering portrait of gangsters was practically a smear on libertarianism itself. According to him, “[o]rganized crime is essentially anarcho-capitalist, a productive industry struggling to govern itself,” which provides consumers with products — such as gambling, drugs, prostitution, imports — that the government has arbitrarily and unjustly made illegal. So he was offended by Goodfellas, where the “organized” criminals are little different from “street” criminals and are defeated by the cops in the end.
Some libertarians may dislike Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese’s latest, The Wolf of Wall Street, for similar reasons.
The good news: they’re finally making an Atlas Shrugged movie, and they’re filming right now!
The bad news: pretty much every other detail associated with this story.
Just a few years ago, we were looking forward to an adaptation starring Angelina Jolie with a script from the writer of Braveheart.
Now we will get a $5 million movie directed by — and starring, as John Galt — a guy from the CW’s One Tree Hill. The screenplay is by Brian Patrick O’Toole, who did not write Braveheart, but who instead has written several direct-to-video horror movies with titles such as Evilution and Necropolitan.
I don’t want to pick on these people. It’s possible that they’ll make a decent movie. I can’t blame them for trying — I would, if I were them — and maybe freedom from studio meddling will let them make a film that’s true to the book’s ideas.
On the other hand, there’s nothing in the creators’ backgrounds to inspire confidence that they’re up to the extraordinary challenge that Atlas Shrugged presents. Rand’s epic, cinematic book — whatever you think of her personally or of Objectivism — deserved a big budget and Hollywood’s best talent, especially now that it has surged in popularity again.