By John Aglialoro
In three weeks we will be voting in, what many consider, the most important election of our lifetime, the 2012 Presidential election. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already made up your mind who you’ll be voting for. Good. But, what about your friends and family who haven’t? Are you going to take the time to talk to them about their vote?
I would suggest you do - just not all of them.
When Mitt Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, the media exploded in unison with critical stories of the Wisconsin representative’s appreciation of Ayn Rand - the author of, according to a 1991 survey done by the Library of Congress, one of the most influential books ever written, Atlas Shrugged.
A sample of the detractors’ criticisms...
“What made her books controversial is … an extremist vision of America that celebrated greed and selfishness...” - Gary Weiss, CNN
Really? Well... that just sounds horrible. I too would take issue with this author. The thing is, I can’t figure out which book he’s referring to - and I’ve read most everything Ayn Rand wrote.
This is the problem with most, if not all, of the Left’s arguments. Their arguments are rarely anchored in reality, or on what they’ve read themselves, or on any type of empirical evidence or data. Their arguments are founded primarily on assumption and their emotional response to those assumptions.
So, how do we combat an emotional response to a false premise egged on by the refusal to think for oneself critically? Ayn Rand once said, “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Leave them alone.”
Was Ayn Rand suggesting that we simply remove ourselves from the discussion entirely? No. What Ayn Rand was suggesting is that we don’t waste our time trying to convince the inconvincible, e.g., Gary Weiss is not interested in having a rational discussion - he’s looking to enforce a position. There is no conversation to be had.
There’s a wonderful quote from Atlas Shrugged: “When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.” This is where our fight is - the mind of the rational man and rational woman.
You have friends, family, and co-workers, who will not listen to reason and will be voting November 6th. Identify them but do not waste your time. You will not influence them. Who we must focus on however are those individuals that, although tending to lean on their emotions, are ready and willing to engage in serious rational discourse. They are the undecided, the concerned, the curious and they understand that their vote counts. They want to understand the issues and they want to make the right decision.
Find the time to take them to lunch. Invite them to dinner. Take them to a movie (Atlas Shrugged Part 2!). Talk to them.
Talk to them about the fact that there are now 47 million American citizens on food stamps - more than a 60% increase in beneficiaries in the past three and a half years. Talk to them about the fact that only 53% of Americans pay income tax. Talk to them about the facts and only the facts.
Ask them what their priorities are in life. Ask them what their major concerns are. Ask them what they think the solutions are. Chances are, they are already very close to finding the answers themselves. All that may be required at this point, is the gentle hand of clarity reinforced by some succinct elucidation.
Here is the most important thing to remember: good ideas are not for everyone. They’re only for those actually interested in ideas to begin with.
Recently, my producing partner Harmon Kaslow was asked whom Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged would appeal to:
"While Ayn Rand’s heroes speak to the individual in all of us, they do not speak for everyone. Ayn Rand’s heroes are men and women from all walks of life - sculptors, musicians, plumbers, steel workers, architects, industrialists - if you enjoy your work and do it well, if you constantly strive to be better, if you work hard every day, you will LOVE Atlas.
“However, if you feel a sense of entitlement - as in the government owes you something - simply because you exist, Atlas [Shrugged] is not a story for you. You are whom we are warning against."
There are those that want to hear our ideas and those that don’t want to hear any ideas. Know the difference and you might just have a shot at making a difference.
“The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” - Ayn Rand.
John Aglialoro is the Producer of Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and Atlas Shrugged Part 2.