Thanks again for sending me your presentation ideas for the planned 2009 Summer Seminar on Objectivism in Theory and Practice. I’m sorry to say that we will not be holding a Seminar next year after all.
The Summer Seminar is a vital part of our community-building and academic efforts. We do not intend to abandon those goals. Actually, we envision resuming the Summer Seminar tradition in 2010.
Our decision to suspend the Summer Seminar in 2009 is due to the economic circumstances and a constructive rearrangement of staff priorities looking forward.
It’s obvious to everyone that the future lies on the internet. It has become clear to us at TAS that one of our most urgent priorities is to update, invigorate, and expand our website to make it a more powerful vehicle for outreach and education about open Objectivism. With the web, we can and do reach hundreds of thousands, even millions of people. The Summer Seminar, for all that is an intense and uplifting personal experience, can only touch, at most, a few hundred people each year. If we have to choose between the two, the choice is clear.
Making our internet plans a reality will require taking substantial amounts of staff time, including mine, away from other projects and refocusing on web projects. Even in normal economic times, we would not be able to avoid the conflict by hiring additional staff, since key aspects of the web project require the expertise of current staff.
So please look for us to put up an improved and livelier web presence in 2009, and keep an eye out next Fall for the call for proposals for our 2010 seminars. Assuming things continue according to plan, I'll be writing back to you in the Fall to see if you would like to renew your proposals. I'm sorry we won't be able to invite you to speak this year.
That The Atlas Society needs to get its website in gear—and ought to be devoting commensurate resources to that effort—will not come as a shock to anyone.
But I do have to wonder where TAS will be going from here.