Jerry Biggers

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Everything posted by Jerry Biggers

  1. "More recently a lot of people expressed, in varying degrees of explicitness, the hope that Sciabarra's "Ayn Rand the Russian Radical" would bring the Derrida / Foucault crowd under the tent. Still waiting." Where was this discussion? I guess I missed it! I do not see anything in common between Sciabarra and Derida/Foucault, nor why either side would be complementing the other.
  2. Oops!, I forgot to respond to your comments about Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. Essentially, you did the work for me by your link to the review of that book in Reason Papers, by Roger Bissell. I would like to say that I could give a more eloquent presentation about that book than Roger did in his review. But I cannot. There are a few issues that I might elaborate on about the content and significance of Sciabarra's book, but I certainly agree with Roger's review.
  3. For a person claiming to be "disarmed," you appear to have a lot of arrows in your quiver! Dealing with the easiest (for me) first. John Ridpath has long been affiliated with ARI. I have listened to his lectures from an OCON conference, on religion. Not bad, but he did not appear to be very enthusiastic about the subject. His brief discussion of Daoism was marred by his mis-pronounciation of it as "TAY-OH-ISM," when it should be "DOWism," (and has been even before the recent preferred Chinese translatiions, more correctly. as "Daoism."). Normally, I would regard that as a minor error, but I expected better from a Professor of History. In terms of content, Ridpath's lecures were nothing like one would hear from lectures on the same subject from George H. Smith (Atheism: The Case Against God - still the best treatment on the subject, in my opinion); Nathaniel Branden's "The Concept of God," Lecture 4, from the recorded former NBI course the Basic Principles of Objectivism, included in the recent print version, "The Vision of Ayn Rand," In this case, the audio version is superior, due to Branden's oral delivery style, which cannot be conveyed on the printed page. Back to Ridpath. Or, more correctly, ARI. It would have been very unusual if Ridpath or anyone else affiliated with the Ayn Rand Insititute, took a public position that differed greatly from the parameters that that institution allowed them to present; as to do so would likely result in the dis-continuation of their relationship with ARI, which strictly follows the party line set down by Leonard Peikoff. (As John McCaskey recently found out, after issuing a rather moderate criticism of John Harriman's The Logical Leap, which Peikoff regarded, apparently, as "sacred writ" [well, it was anyway, until Harriman defected to David Kelley's The Atlas Society. Harrimann is now persona non grata with ARI and reference to his works have disappeared from the "Ministry of Information," oops! I mean ARI website.]). John Hospers: What's the problem, here (other than that he is deceased)? Tibor Machan. Well, let's see. He has written about 30 (or is it 40?) books and a lot more articles, all of which advocated for some issue from a libertarian, or Objectivist perspective. (I don't know what a "neo" Objectivist is.. What percentage of Objectivist doctrine (dogma?) must one advocate to be considered 99 44/100ths per cent "pure?")..At this point, he probably holds the record for the most authored and published books advocating for libertarianism/Objectivism Personally, I have had occasion to meet Hospers when he was running for President on the first Libertarian Party ticket, in 1980 (I guess that dates me!) and a few other times. He seemed well mannered, knowledgeable, and a definite improvement over the prospective candidates at the last televised Republican Presidential clown show/debate forum. Certainly, when he was alive, but even dead, he would be preferable to anyone on that stage. Tibor Machan, I have met at various conferences since about 1970. His lectures at IOS/TOC/TAS conferences were superior, in my view, than the other lecturers at TAS.
  4. Interesting. I was unaware of Sciabarra's academic advisors, but other than sharing an interest in the dialectic (whatever that may mean), I do not regard Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical as an attempt to recast her as sympathetic to any aspect of Hegel or Marx. Quite the contrary. If you have found otherwise, I would like to see the evidence. In my view, that book is the best (indeed, the only) serious academic-level attempt to discuss Rand's philosophy and its place among intellectual history (or the history of ideas). If you are aware of other published work that has accomplished this in a more scholarly and objective (non-partisan) manner, please let me know. Generally, I do not place much significance in the "blurbs" that publishers tack onto the backs of their books. However, in this case, the comments are from reviews, or as responses to reviews, They are particularly noteworthy due to their of experience with Objectivism as a philosophy and as a movement.: "Several books have been written about Rand, but none with the philosophical depth and scope of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical." - Tibor Machan,; This is the most thorough and scholarly work ever done on Ayn Rand. It is also engagingly written and commands attention throughout." - John Hospers "Sciabarra's book takes a brilliant, intellectually daring, and completely firsthand approach to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. It is impressively researched and written with elegant simplicity and clarity. This book will be read and argued about for many years, but it will be read by anyone interested in Ayn Rand and/or the history of philosophy." - Barbara Branden "I think this is the most important book ever written about Ayn Rand's work." - Nathaniel Branden
  5. -- or permanently, like Sciabarra. Sciabarra argues at some length that the term, dialectic, has been used in the history of philosophy in many different senses, and that the Hegelian and Marxist versions are quite different from the dialectic of Aristtotle and Rand.. He makes a good case that they in fact bear no similarity to Hegelian and Marxist dialectics .After he somewhat laboriously (to me) establishes that they are quite different, my thought was "then why use that term at all?" But that's just me. Outside of that issue, the rest of his book is quite good, and in scholarship, puts Peikoff's OPAR to shame -.particularly in his extensive and detailed annotation and bibliography. If Peikoff had followed that model, rather than his flippant reference in his Foreward to OPAR that suggests that some academics do not qualify as humans. This was a totally unnecessary and gratuitous slap at the very audience that Rand most wanted to influence and take her philosophy seriously..
  6. David, Your professor's choice of books - and authors - for his course is about as subtle, ideologically speaking, as a sledge hammer. Unless his intent is to demonstrate how wrong Hegel, Marx, and Carr were about practically everything, but that would be a strange way to go about it. Much more likely, these are his boys Of the three, in my view, Carr is the most reprehensible. Hegel saw the Prussian state, and liked it. Marx did not have the advantage of seeing what his followers would wrought. Carr, on the other hand, spent most of his academic career defending the policies of the Soviet Union. He dismissed as insignificant, or outright denied, the atrocities of the Stalinist state, including their record of murdering possibly over 100 million people (see The Black Book on Communism).. Nevertheless, (sigh) your instructor may allow opposing views from his students, but it is unlikey that anything you could say would change his ideological viewpoint and goal. His goal, of course is to persuade you and the other students of the correctness of a Marxist view of history. His method of teaching may give you a prime seat in viewing the Marxist mind in action. If you outright oppose his views in the class or in any paper assigned, he may reflect his displesure with your "false consciousness" by giving you a low grade. An alternative way to handle a professor who holds opposing views is to follow the example of Leonard Peikoff, who had as his teacher, and dissertation advisor, one of the most promininent socialist intellectuals in 20th century America, Sidney Hook. Peikoff managed to ingratiate himself with Hook, even though Hook was a vociferous critic of Rand, by temporarily taking-on the view of whatever philosopher he happened to be studying at the time. To "get into his mind," so to speak..
  7. We are reading several books pertaining to the partisan of India and we are going to use how Marx and Hegel study history and apply it to the partisan. I listed the books we are reading along with Hegel and Marx below, Bose, Sugata and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, and Political Economy. 3rded. New York: Routledge, 2011. Butalia, Urvashi. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000. Carr, E.H. What is History? New York: Vintage, 1961. Pandey, Gyanendra. Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism, and History in India. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Ghosh, Amitav. The Shadow Lines. Kolkata: Ravi Dayal, 1988. Talbot, Ian and Gurharpal Singh, The Partition of India. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. E. H. Carr "What is History?" Carr was an extremely prolific author wno, on the whole (see the extrensive ( )Wikipedia article on his life and works, for example) was considered by many historians and diplomats, to be an apologist and defender of the Soviet Union and its role in instituting and spreading communism around the world, and received a significant amount of criticism for his Soviet sympathies from other historians. Judging from the account in the Wikipedia articles, he was unapologetic and even flaunted.his communist sympathies until the very end..
  8. A contrary opinion on Popper from Voegelin: ""This Popper has been for years, not exactly a stone against which one stumbles, but a troublesome pebble that I must continually nudge from the path, in that he is constantly pushed upon me by people who insist that his work on the 'open society and its enemies' is one of the social science masterpieces of our times. … In that Popper violated this elementary vocational duty and stole several hours of my lifetime, which I devoted in fulfilling my vocational duty, I feel completely justified in saying without reservation that this book is impudent, dilettantish crap.". I have heard most of those things are mischaracterizations. Voegilin? The Eric Voegelin? No kidding. He may hold the record for being the most prolific author of learned but particularly dense commentaries on history. .Much of his writing has sunk into obscurity (or never rose from it) largely due to his inpenetrable writing style and long-winded commentary. Unfortunately, few can understand or agree upon exactly what he was saying, or what his point was. Voegelin refused to ally himself with any particular modern ideological viewpoint, left or right. Nevertheless, some Christian conservatives in the 1970s, seized on what they thought were really profound observations by Voegelin on the roles of religion, politics, and science and the role of what he called "gnosticism" as as an explanatory framework.for a traditionalist conservative world. They were fond of emblazoning their t-shirts and publications with the slogan, "Don't let THEM immanentize the eschaton!" Meaning, in essence, Don't let the scientists and other representatives of secularism try to create a heaven on earth. A claim that all versions of secularism were trying to creat their own utopia while ignoring the Original Sinful nature of Man. Whether that is a fair representation of his viewpoint is questionable. For a very laudatory and appreciative survey of Eric Voegein's career, see this article from The American Conservative magazine (a publication founded by, and reflective of, Patrick Buchanan): At any rate, his (Voegelin's) rather caustic dismissal of Popper and his The Open Society and Its Enemies is perhaps reflecting some bitterness on the acceptance and fame that Popper received, while his own works received decidely less acclaim (with the exception of his unwanted guru status with traditionalist, and highly religious, conservatives).. I do not know if Eric Voegelin ever read or discussed Ayn Rand and Objectivism, but I think it safe to say that her work was representative of most everything that he opposed in secular thought.
  9. I have a serious problem with "literature in translation." If you are not reading it in the original, all you are getting is a second-hand interpretation. Myself, my first class in German was before the 7th grade at an experimental summer school at Western Reserve University (now Case-Western) in Cleveland. My SAT scores in German were higher than my SAT scores in English. I last used German for work when employed by the Carl Zeiss Foundation 1997-1998. That being as it may, I never read Hegel in German. Hegel believed that the Prussian state was the highest Idea of History. He believed that History has a Goal. It achieves this Goal by a processes of Dialectic. Opposites become new Beginnings. Ayn Rand never to my knowledge addressed Hegel directly. It is true that his philosophy is the basis for both communism and fascism. Thank you so much, I agree the best way to form an opinion is from the source. I sadly don't speak German, though I would love to, I have been interested in trying Rosetta stone. By the way, just so it is clear it wasn't out of left field, I asked what Ayn Rand's opinion on Hegel was because on her lexicon website she mentioned him once or twice in a not so positive light. Just so everyone who has posted in this thread knows I have been doing research on the Hegel Dialectic and this site was quite helpful, I suggest anyone interested give it a read. It may be true, as General Chang of the Klingon Empire, stated: "You have never read Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon!" (Star Trek VI, a line delivered by Christopher Plummer, with obvious relish).. No doubt it is preferable to read an author in his native language. But even then, disputes arise over what a particular author really said, as witness the seemingly interminable disputes about what Marx (or Hegel, or Kant, or Nietzsche, or fill-in-the-blank ________) really said, or did he mean what it sounded like he said but when put in context we can see that he was really saying the opposite, etc., etc. Certainly in the case of these German gentlemen, even native speakers cannot agree what they were saying! Some people love to learn multiple foreign languages so they can read an author in his native tongue. But, in fact, even then, a translation must still be made in that reader's head. But for most people learning multiple foreign is not practical, and they must rely on reading a single translation or comparing it with other translations..
  10. David, I am curious regarding the course you are taking.. What other books (besides Hegel and Marx) and/or articles are being assigned? If your instructor is basing his course on "how to study history properly" on Hegel and Marx as his guides of choice (or their modern followers) then his intent ideologically, seems clear. If he is a Marxist (not unusual in academic history departments!), then he would not take kindly to mention of Rand. If he bristles at Popper, then I would be concerned. Nevertheleess, many professors grade without regard to their students' ideological orientation. What he or she is up to will likely be clear early in the course.
  11. Here is a link to an mp3 recording (the price is listed, I think, $19.95) of a lecture series surveying modern philosophy, by Leonard Peikoff. The course dates from at least the early 1970s, but may be the same as the course given at Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI) in the late 1960s. Lecture 4 is specifically on Hegel, but the lectures preceding and following it may also reference Hegel. This course pre-dates the later book by Peikoff mentioned earlier (The Ominous Parallels), so some of the material may overlap: (Note: the link below gives a brief summary of the philosophers covered in each lecture) .
  12. Re: "how to study history properly.": You may also wish to consider Popper's The Poverty of Historicism, considered by many to be one of the most important philosophical books of the 20th century. (Popper states that the title is a play - and answer to - Marx's "The Poverty of Philosophy"). At any rate, see the discussion of this book at this link:
  13. Assigned to read Hegel's Philosophy of History? Wow. What comes after that? Never mind. Hegel is generally considered to be the philosophical forerunner of modern totalitarianism - both Naziism and of course he had a major infulence on Karl Marx who developed communist ideology based on a Hegelian dialectical foundation.One of the classic essays that tears Hegel's version of the dialectic to shreds, is "What is the Dialectic?," by Karl Popper, included in his collection of essays, Conjectures and Refutations. He also goes after Hegel in his monumental two-volume The Open Society and Its Enemies, which focuses on Plato and Hegel as the forerunners to the establishment of the totalitarian state. Hegel is also discussed, from an Objectivist viewpoint, in Leonard Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (1981). (Peikoff is the author, but Rand required him to make so many revisions that the book was delayed for about 14 years. On that basis, I think it would be fair to say that she is the co-author!) This book is about to be re-issued with a new title, The Cause of Hitler's Germany.
  14. Rand specifically cited the Republicans for their distasteful, almost groveling, "me-tooism" as evidence of the intellectual bankruptcy of the opponents of modern statist liberalism. Having grown-up in Illinois, I witnessed many examples of the allegedly conservative Republicans paying lip-service to conservative principles and then, when elected, trying to outdo the Democrats in enacting new social programs and increasing the power of state bureaucrats.. Back in the 1970s, Richard Ogilvie ran for Governor and based his whole campaign on his pledge that he will save Illinois taxpayers from the state income tax that the nefarious Democrats were planning to enact. But almost immediately after being sworn-in as Governor, Ogilvie brazenly reversed himself and helped the State legislature enact that very income tax! Voters were outraged and saw to his defeat in the next election. Unfortunately, they have a short memory. And did the State GOP learn anything about integrity and honesty from this episode? Not at all. Has the Illinois electorate caught on yet? I wouldn't count on it..At least as far back as the Roosevelt Administration, the Republicans have been playing this game - and getting away with it. Republican voters grumble about it, but have no viable alternative so they reluctantly keep backing the GOP in the hopes that somehow the Republicans will finally offer a fiscal conservative who keeps his word. But, as is evident from this latest stunt that the Illinois GOP pulled to block the inclusion of libertarian candidates on statewide ballots, they are up to their old tricks. They manage to get away with this sort of cynical maneuver because they think that Republican voters will continue to vote them in, because they have no place else to go.
  15. I think all 3 Rand biographies (and probably Nathan's My Years With Ayn Rand) mention the issue of the time it took Rand to write Atlas Shrugged. Considering its length (which is often brought up as a criticism by both fans and detracters), I find that a rather weak argument. On the side of Rand fans, we have the 10 (or is it 12 now?) volume, "Sword of Truth," novel series, by Terry Goodkind, a self-avowed Objectivist. Somewhere around volume 5, critics noticed an increasing "Randian" theme, including some of the characters launching into lengthy philosophical speeches, with some claiming that "Faith of rhe Fallen" is merely a rewrite of the themes and philosophy of The Fountainhed. I haven't counted rhe pages in this 12 volume novel, but each book appears to be at leasr 500+ pages. Incomparison, the length of Atlas Shrugged looks like a footnote or at least a Cliff's Note! On the Left, many novels also rival or surpass Atlas in lengrh, but few insert as many philosophical digressions.. As for the claim that Galt's speech took her two years to write, some of her biographers claim that it is an expansion (clarification?/distillation?/extrapolation?) of two earlier uncompleted manuscripts from the 1940s, "The Moral Basis of Individualism" and "The Individualist Manifesto" I think those were the proposed titles. You might think that that would make her task easier, but it did not. Both Nathaniel and Barbara mention this time period in their books, as one where Ayn was very hard to get along with (I'm thinking, You mean there was a time when she was easy to get along with?...Sorry!.) . As forwhy she wrote in longhand, that is a mystery, as she was a typist when in Hollywood!
  16. Re-wriiten for expansion and clarification on 9/4/2014. I just listened to the video lecture (link above, in post # 5), "Objectivism in India", by Jerry Johnson, from the 2014 Atlas Summer conference. Mr. Johnson is a very polished and articulate speaker, conveying such self-confidence in his delivery that listeners naturally assume that he knows what he is talking about.(which he may, but not enough detail is given to properly evaluate some of his assertions).. Early in his talk, Mr. Johnson points to an article in the British The Economist (date not given) that did a Google check on from what country are people searching on specifically "Randian" terms, and India and America are in first and second place.. Interesting, but I'd want to read the article to see if its methodolgy and results were valid. While such a survey is interesting, it was not clear (from Mr. Johnson's brief reference) what that implies regarding the depth of interest in Rand's philosophy. He also points to another article claiming that Ayn Rand's books outsell Marx's, in India by a wide margin. Great, but Marxism is out of fashion and is not likely the major current of leftwing or socialist thought in India. Again, I'd like more details, so I'll have to look up the article. The bulk of his talk are on what he sees as parallels between Objectivism and the values held by several of the gods in Hindu mythology. Johnson makes some rather fascinating claims that in essence, they are saying the same or similar things and hold similar values. Anyway, that is his claim and he presents a number of charts or tables to illustrate what he sees as the parallels. Unfortunately, not enough detail is given to adequately document these claims (not possible in a 60 minute talk). But there are some serious problems with Johnson's presentation. The first, is that few American listeners are likely to be sufficiently up on their Hindu mythologies to be able to judge whether Johnson's descriptions are accurate. I certainly am not. It would be interesting to see what the reaction to this presentation would be if given in an Indian University where Hinduism is studied. Secondly, if there is as close a parallel between Rand's Roark and Galt on one hand, and the gods Ram, Shiva, and Vishnu on the other, then wouldn't this have been noticed and pointed out in Indian journals, media, etc? Make no mistake, Johnson, near the end of his presentation, claims that the Indian mythologies and Objectivist philosophy are not just simlar, but damn near identical in all the most important aspects (watch the video and look closely at his tables where he attempts to demonstrate this). Thirdly, haven't we heard similar claims before, in another context? You know, that, really, "Objectivism and Christian theology and ethics are really advocating the same thing".. If that were true, you would have seen an entirely different reaction to Rand from Christian spokesmen than the animosity that did occur. The claim that Hinduism is promoting the same values as Objectivism requires a lot more evidence than was provided in this talk. The video did not record the follow-up Q&A session, so I have no idea as to how the talk was received. Watch the video. What do you think? .
  17. Adam (in post #1): "India appears to have the most interest in Ayn's philosophy." On what do you base this assertion? A few books (or maybe, just one? "Ayn Rand at 100" edited by Tibor Machan, published in India about ten years ago.). I have seen some interest on Facebook (seems to be primarily a few college students), a few speakers at Atlas Society conferences; a few posters here or on other Objectivist-oriented sites. There is an "institute" that promotes laissez-faire and Objectivism, but the extent of irs influence or support seems rather modest. Any data available on the sales of Atlas Shrugged or Rand's other relevant non-fiction books in India? Any interest shown in Objectivism (or libertarianism) in India is certainly better than none, but it seems rather minuscule in a country with a population now of around one billion. This hardly compares to the level of activity in the United States (which is, while not [yet] having much effect in Washington, it is more than enough to worry the Left, judging from their rather hysterical articles in liberal-oriented journals [The New Yorker, The New Republic, etc] and on the internet, and has spawned at least one book sounding the alarm or warning, from a iberal jounalist to this fellow liberals, that they had better wake up to the growth of interest in Objectivism, Ayn Rand Gary Weiss (a book I recommend as an antidepressant to those of us who think that Objectivism is not a growing influence in America).. By the way, you appear to be asserting/implying that Jainists in India might be ....what?.... closet Objectivists? In that they are often businessmen, entreprenuers, etc. So, Is there any evidence then that they are financially supporting or otherwise promoting, any of the libertarian/proto-Objectivist "think tanks?" Just asking.
  18. Sorry to disappoint, but at least in the opinion of the late George Walsh (a philosophy professor and a former associate of Peikoff, AR,I and later, David Kelley), in his book, The Role of Religion in History (N.J., Transaction Publishers, 1998), a transcribed series of lectures that he gave under the auspices of rhe predescessor to OCON, I think, Second Renaissance Lectures.). Jainism is discussed, briefly, on pages 33-35) in more of a descriptive than disapproving manner (actually, disapproval is implied, rather than directly stated. Remember, he was speaking to a group of ARIan Objectivists, who can pronounce their own judgment without Walsh's assistence) in terms of its philosophy and its recommended ethics. However, he concludes with a description of where, in actuality, many Jains end up in terms of work ethic, achievement, etc. (on or near the top in Indian society in terms of accomplishments and business acumen) Walsh notes the paradox, but then drops the ball and does not discuss its implications regarding Objectivism (which are in contradistinction, quite severe).
  19. Jerry (jts), This is not the first time that you have recommended Chuch of Scientology-backed organizations, as useul sources of information, particularly about psychiatric drugs. In fact, you have done this on several occasions, even though it has repeatedly been pointed out to you that information on drugs and many other topics are not presented in an objective manner, but attempt to disguise the fact that they are scientologists. They might have a little more credibility if they clearly stated who they are associated with and the reasons behind their (actually, Hubbard's) vendetta. But even that would not excuse distortion of the stories that they present. I do not object to criticism of the medical establishment or of the drugs that they or "BigPharma" promote. But I do object to willful distortion and their use of subterfuge to advance their case.
  20. Golly, gee! Guess what? The website that you have a link to is run by "volunteers" from the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, which happens to be an offshoot of the Citizrns' Commission for Human Rights, which is (get ready for the surprise!) one of the myriad of front groups created to disguise the fact that they are run by the Church of Scientology. Whose founder and prophet, L. Ron Hubbard, had a vendetta against any and all persons, groups, and publications from psychiatrists. The cause of Hubbard's wrath against the psychiatric establishment was his rejection by the Menninger Foundation in the early 1950s who he first attempted to court (he wanted them to endorse his book, Dianetics, as the latest advance in psychiatry). When the Meninger Foundation and others in American psychiatry, issued statements denouncing Dianetics as a sham. Hubbard reversed direction and ordered his organizations to attack anything related to psychiatry. This is not to say that there are not legitimate criticisms of psychiatric drugs, but it has been demonstrated that scientologists, including this group, often creatively embellish advance their own agenda. See, for example:
  21. I would have preferred Bogie over Cooper, who I thought was too monotone. Cooper was as exciting as watching paint dry, imo. Hopefully, before the world ends for me, a big budget remake of The Fountainhead will be done. Much worse things could happen to "Ayn Rand at the movies." A really appalling example of what could have happened, was the Oliver Stone-planned remake of The Fountainhead. Hopefully, that project is dead, but to get a good (actually, chilling) example of what Stone had planned, see the rather extensive interview with him, in Ayn Rand Nation, by Joel Weiss, where Oliver discusses the creative changes that he had planned. Imagine the screenplay being written by some real-life "Ellsworth Toohey," say Michael Moore, the late Gore Vidal, or any of the movie industry billionaires (actors and producers) who were gushing and fawning over the late Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, before he assumed room temperature. Got the picture? No, you don't. Never underestimate the malicious genius of Oliver Stone, himself. Sorry, I can't describe it. Read the interview. No imagined wrath of the Greek Gods could match what Ayn, herself, would have brought down upon Stone (if she were alive and learned of his plans).
  22. Or as Robert Bidinotto recently pointed out on Facebook, This is the actress who should have been cast as Dagny Taggart! I assume that most of OL members know that Humphrey Bogart was in the running to be cast as Howard Roark for the The Fountainhead?
  23. Happy Birthday, Bill. When you regularly posted on OL, I greatly enjoyed your contributions. I hope that you are well, and will soon rejoin us here, with your observations!
  24. Well, all I can say is that (given the very low budget, and the time factor and the quick recruiting of actors, writers, directors, etc.) I thought Atlas I was not all that bad. I saw Atlas II on its simultaneous national debut on multiple screens across the country.. The attendance was very low - say, 40 -50 out of a 500 seat theater. I cannot comment much on the second movie because I do not remember much about it. Why they used an entirely different cast is beyond me. Atlas III, I have not seen, pasing up the opportunity to see it at the TAS "Summit" or the Skousen event in Las Vegas. When it is released, I will dutifully attend a showing. The brief excerpts that have been shown on the net did not seem to me to be very exciting, but I want to see the whole thing.before...... Why did they again fire the whole production cast and choose others? When all three of the movies are watched in sequence, which no doubt will be happening after the DVD versions are all released, three different casts will seem rather bizarre, if not downright stupid, to viewers of the trilogy. Atlas III was scripted with the assistence of David Kelley (in particular to adapt Galt's hour and a half speech down to minutes. I have not heard it yet but I do not hold high hopes for anything that complex and lengthy to be cut down to minutes (I do not know the exact length of the Galt's Speech adoption - it was mentioned in one of the Facebook Objectivist groups). Apparently, Duncan Scott (who has a long history of Objectivist-related documentaries, including working with Rand on the English adaptation of the WW II era Italian production of We The Living) was also working on the script and perhaps other aspects of the production, but recently announced that he had left the project over "artistic" differences, but cannot discuss what caused his departure because of a "non-disclosure" agreement. This does not bode well for what the final product will be. Finally, John Aglialordo has bet a good amount of his fortune on the production of this movie, and was directly involved in all aspects of its production. As a member of the Board of Directors of The Atlas Society, he also recruited the talents of David Kelley and Duncan Scott (perhaps others) to help make the productions consistent with the novel (or as much as is possible considering the finances and time involved). If in sum, the trilogy proves a "wash,".then it will not have much effect, positive or negative, on future sales of Rand's novels, on Objectivism, and on The Atlas Society. But if, on the other hand, it is looked upon as an artistic and financial disaster, by the majority of Objectivists and libertarians who actually go see it, (and has no effect whatsoever on the great majority of the movie-going public - who will likely not go to see it), or, even worse, has no positive effect on those who did go to see it!) then I fear that it may damage, or ultimately bring down, The Atlas Society (due to the degree of their involvement with the project).
  25. Check out the Andrew Lewis Trio at OCON 2014. One of them is "The Great OPAR," himself! The guy with the Elton Johm glasses! Also click to enlarge the one showing the piano - and there is Lenny. . The description also says that sometimes the the trio is a quartet (maybe Nathaniel on the..... Theremin ?? Here's a Theremin example :