Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike

My Lady and I enjoyed it.  There was a certain discontinuity from the actors being different. Hank Reardon is very reminiscent of Ed Harris here, huskier of voice but in the range that Harris can do. Dagny’s pretty-boy brother is well-portrayed, as is Dagny herself.  And I think this Francisco d’Anconia is a significant improvement over the one from the first movie.  The suave man from the rich Chilean family is now suggestive of Antonio Banderas, and that’s entirely believable.

But his most famous speech — if you Google[“money speech”] you’ll get all sorts of links to his name, was very abbreviated in the film.  This was a little disappointing; the speech is quite rightfully famous.

In both the both the film, Francisco d’Anconia, head of Chile’s d’Anconia Copper, is at a very exclusive party with wealthy and celebrity guests.  He hears one of the attendees naively asserting that “money is the root of all evil” and “money is made by the strong preying on the weak.” This annoys him, and he challenges the people at the party. This version is from the book, and it begins:

      “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

      “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor � your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

      “Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions � and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

The rest of the speech is visible here, and an audio presentation (read by the excellent Edward Hermann from the audiobook) is on YouTube here with the second part here.

The YouTube presentation gives you both, actually, as the text is on-screen as well. That version is from the abridged Atlas Shrugged, and I recommend it highly.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle