In 1958, when television sets were still relatively new in households across America, the television show, “Twenty-One”, captivated thousands of viewers a week. “Twenty-One” ruled the airwaves and became one of the most popular quiz shows on television. Ratings skyrocketed for the show when Charles Van Doren, a Columbia University professor who was from one of the most renowned literary families in America, became a contestant. Charles Van Doren quickly became a widely popular champion of the show, and was soon seen as a national hero. Week after week, audiences tuned in to watch Charles Van Doren use his incredible knowledge and correctly answer the most obscure questions. Van Doren seemed to be unbeatable; no one was able to match with his uncanny knowledge.
Millions across America fell in love with Charles Van Doren and put him on a pedestal of intellectual superiority. That is however, until a scandal surfaced rocking viewers across the nation and changed the viewers’ perception of Van Doren from an honest man, to a deceitful con artist. A former contestant from the expansively popular television show, Herb Stempel, accused the show “Twenty-One” to be nothing more than a fraud. He claimed that the viewers were fooled and saw only what the network and the program’s producers wanted them to see. Investigator Richard Goodwin was put on the case, and uncovered the facts that exposed the deception, viewers across America were stunned. The movie “Quiz Show” is based around the rise and fall of what was once one of America’s favorite televisions shows, “Twenty-One”. Ayn Rand’s “Universal Rational Ethical Egoism” is the philosophical thought that everybody ought to act in their own rational self interest. In simpler terms, take care of yourself first. Unlike most philosophers, who take the more common route of do whatever as long as it is “for the greatest happiness for the greatest good”, Rand takes a more egocentric approach. Rand describes selfishness as “concerns for one’s own interests”. So if one were to life their selfishly, they would put themselves and their values, before anyone else’s. Some may not agree with Rand’s views, however, a lot can be gained from her. Rand may be saying always to make yourself your number one priority, but Rand also declares that you can still help others, as long as they’re worth it. In Rand’s point of view, integrity is respect for one’s own values, your values being most important. In Rand’s mind, we don’t owe anybody anything. Furthermore, we hold no obligations for anyone but ourselves. Rand explains sacrifice as “the surrender of a greater value for a lesser one”. Rand states that you shouldn’t sacrifice anything for a stranger, because unlike for a loved one, it contains no self interest for yourself. Rand came-up with the hierarchy of values to help us determine what, or who, is worth our time. Rand’s hierarchy of values puts the cost of one’s own self interest and compares the value of others to determine whether or not they’re worth the sacrifice. Basically, the hierarchy of values goes; you above all, your family, your friends, and then everyone else. You should only risk more for those of a higher value. So Rand isn’t always leading the self centered life style, she just promotes it on a higher level than living in an altruistic way. In “Quiz Show”, the main character Charles Van Doren was faced with many tough decisions conflicting between his integrity toward himself and to the nation that admired him. Throughout the story line, Van Doren infringed Rand’s normative principle and ultimately fell victim to the consequences. When first given the opportunity to be on “Twenty-One” Van Doren was unconfident to join because he didn’t believe his intelligence would be enough to win. The show’s producers, Dan Enright and Albert Freedman, assured Van Doren he’d be guaranteed to win because they would give him the questions he answered correctly during the interview. At...
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