Comcast-Spectacor CEO Snider, executive producer of the newly released “Atlas Shrugged,” never thought that he would see his favorite Ayn Rand book on the big screen. A jubilant Snider said, “They tried to make this film for fifty years. Hollywood did not want to make this movie because it did not adhere to its liberal agenda.”
He shrugged off criticism of the movie. “Now they are panning it because it does not have a $50 million budget,” said Snider.
He is most excited that “the movie will keep her work alive.”
The modest Snider claims to have done nothing to earn the title of executive producer of the film. He maintained, “I am almost embarrassed about the title. All I did was introduce John Aglialoro (the CEO of exercise equipment maker Cybex) to some people who helped him make the film. He is the one that is amazing and had the guts. He put up all the money and took time off from his business to go to Los Angeles to make this film.”
Snider has had a love affair with “Atlas Shrugged” for over fifty years because “it is the only book that provides a moral defense of capitalism.” “It explains why capitalism is the greatest system ever developed.”
Snider recalled, “I related to the Hank Reardon character because I was going through the same thing when it was published in 1957. My family and friends were also belittling me because I was working too hard.”
Snider, who has been active in two organizations to celebrate Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, feels that the book was very forward for its time. He argued, “Dagney Taggart was a heroine in the book. Not many women were heroines of fiction books back in 1957. She also had affairs with three men in the book. Authors did not write about those subjects back then.”
The book so captured his imagination that he endeavored to meet the author. Snider, the man that dominated Philadelphia sports for a quarter of century as owner of the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers and Flyers, admitted to “being intimidated” when he finally met Ayn Rand in person.
He explained, “She was so sharp that you had to be careful what you said in front of her so she would not catch you in a mistake.”
After the financial crisis of 2008, Rand’s most famous acolyte, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, slightly backed away from her philosophy. Snider disagrees with his Greenspan’s interpretation of the financial crisis. “The crisis simply verified that she has always been right. The government was passing regulations that were enticing people who could not afford it to buy a home,” asserted Snider.
He maintained, “The crisis was caused by bankers. Bankers are not capitalists. They lend to capitalists.”
Snider bemoans that” the United States is now a mixture of capitalism and socialism.” He still believes in capitalism. He said, “Capitalists build up business so that they can give weaker members of society jobs.”
Snider wanted to clear up one misconception about Objectivism “Rand was not against helping poor people," insisted Snider. She just believed the help should come from private charities not government programs.”