5 Ways The Incredibles Is Ayn Randian Propaganda
Most adults love Pixar movies because Pixar movies are awesome. I'm not arguing that point. However, when you're an adult watching a Pixar movie you just kind of experience it like any other flick and go on about your business.
Once you have children you can now expect to watch any given film at least a dozen times in a row until you pray for the sweet release of death in order to not hear cartoon animals talk about friendship. In my house, my daughter has recently rediscovered The Incredibles, or as she calls it, The Amazing I-Man.
Somewhere between the eighth and the ninth run through last week I started to realize that the whole thing is really just a cartoonish representation of the ideas put forward in Atlas Shrugged. It doesn't mesh up perfectly, as we'll see, but sometimes it really is eerie how well the two works compliment each other.
The Fall of the Elite
When The Incredibles opens up we see a society that is openly policed by super-powered ubermensch. These highly gifted individuals perform wonders for society, and receive as their due admiration, obedience, and as implied by the special features on the DVD release some sort of monetary compensation and support for their services from the government.
All that comes crashing down when Mr. Incredible saves a man from suicide and is subsequently and successfully sued in a frivolous lawsuit that sparks a series of legal challenges that unfairly brings the age of the hero to a close. That's exactly how the world of Atlas Shrugged begins its descent as well. Midas Mulligan is sued by people he denied an investment loan to, and a federal judge dedicated to the flawed fairness ideals that are the obsession of the novel's protagonists rules against him. Just as the superheroes in Pixar's world go into hiding, so is Mulligan the first to leave Rand's world to its own devices over the act.
The Weight of the World
What is Mr. Incredible's punishment and purgatory? He goes from feats of daring do to working as an unappreciated insurance agent. In that position he is able to help people, but only from the corruption of his own company, and as evidenced by a mugger he is unable to stop without being fired the world is clearly unable to continue as it did without his and his peers' special gifts.
The insurance company represents two of the three antagonistic forces of Atlas Shrugged First, by nature insurance is inherently socialist. The means of the many to the needs of the few. Yet despite all that it clearly can't (Or won't) help an old lady with a legitimate claim without prodding, and reacts with indifference to a man being injured from assault.
This shows of the other force, inept capitalist unwilling to subvert to their betters. When Mr. Incredible's boss sneers about his profits over the protection of others, he is essentially just like James Taggart trying to circumvent Dagny Taggart's running of their railroad. In both cases a gifted person is in a submissive place from which they can only act covertly because an unfair bureaucracy has placed their inferiors ahead of them in a chosen task.
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