Monday, May 21, 2012

I Do Hollywood's Job: Going Galt

It’s said that good ideas are easy, it’s the execution that’s hard.  Which makes the fact there are so many people working so hard on terrible ideas in Hollywood all the more frustrating.  So I’m here to help.

I will confess that I’m not a huge fan of “Reality TV.”  Besides Gordon Ramsay convincing me that I could totally run a restaurant, very few have ever managed to grab my attention, especially the competition/elimination shows like Survivor.  But there is one notable exception.  In 2007 CBS created Kid Nation.  The premise was simple, take 40 kids aged 8-15 out to a ghost town, give them no real supervision and the instruction to rebuild society.  No one was voted out of Kid Nation, the children simply went home when they didn’t want to be there anymore.

It was exactly as big a train wreck as it sounds.  The youngest child was the first to leave after only one day.  The oldest girl ended up “dancing for nickels.”  And the second season was cancelled after it came out that 5 children needed to be hospitalized after drinking bleach.  Now Kid Nation should never have been made and it’s a good thing it was cancelled, but there was undeniably something interesting about immature idealists trying to “build a better world.”  Which brings us to:

Going Galt

In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the libertarian leader John Galt convinced the true producers/rich people in society to join him in Galt’s Gulch and abandon a society which taxed them too much and over regulated their businesses leaving it to collapse without them.  This not at all childish and totally realistic story has led to thousands of libertarians fantasizing about “going Galt.”  And it’s time they had a chance to live it out.

Libertarians from all walks of life (the Gordon Gecko’s, weekend survivalists, frustrated retail employees, etc.) will be given the opportunity to win whatever is the minimum amount of money necessary to motivate people to live on a Survivor style island.  With two major exceptions: 1. They will not be provided constant food and shelter from some nanny state television network, they’ll have to make do with what they bring themselves and can scavenge off the land, and 2. Like Kid Nation, the contestants don’t vote each other off, but as rational actors decide when they want to quit by saying “I want to return to society.”

From there the drama practically writes itself.  Sure the contestants don’t really have any idea how to survive, but they’ll just bootstrap themselves to success.  And yes their best chance is to work together like dirty socialists, but the more competitors they can convince to quit and go home the bigger their personal share of the prize at the end of the show.  Liberals will watch to see the libertarians fail, conservatives will watch to see them succeed, and fans of schadenfreude everywhere will rejoice.  Best of all, since it’s libertarians and not (actual) children, people are far less likely to get upset if a bunch of them drink bleach.

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