The Market for Objectivism


Recommended Posts

It was said somewhere recently that the Objectivist market has become saturated. I disagree. [-( As long as there are still independent thinkers and doers in this world there will be Objectivists. They just may not know it yet and they probably have not put a label on their way of thinking. I am one of those people who had a nameless philosophy for years that looks very much like Objectivism, but thought it was all me and my original way of thinking and looking at the world, until I discovered Rand, of course. Dayaaammm!

Anyway, it is good to know that others share this worldview, and I am happy to have found many good friends and the love of my life by becoming involved with the movement. I believe in open-door Objectivism, I don't want to be a clone of a fictional character, a philosopher, or meet with the approval of Ayn Rand's ghost. No one can tell me how to practice my personal philosophy and I won't tell them how to live their life. I am me. I live for me. I share my philosophy selectively and spread my enthusiasm for it.

Saturation is not so much the issue. There is a huge untapped market. The site is growing and my local club is growing too (three new members this week). Participation and involvement is lacking. I hope that changes and that memberships mean more than just names on a list. I am making a lot of changes in my local club such as giving away books, better meeting time and place and a more structured discussion topic. I am open to other ideas too as far as what works as far as outreach. Share your thoughts.

Kat

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
TO SELL A PHILOSOPHY OF REASON, THE SELLERS MUST COME ACROSS AS REASONABLE

Thank you, Phil, for that little gem. It was spot on.

Kat

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful Kat. Indeed the market is not saturated. Anyone who says that has, in their mind, banished objectivisism to the ash heap of history. There are what, 6 billion people in the world? I know a great living room for them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When NBI closed, there were close to 80,000 people on our mailing list -- each one of whom had taken the trouble to write us in order to express an interest in learning more about Objectivism. I doubt if any organization today has that size of a following. The market is not saturated by any means, but it is fractured -- and a great many people have turned away in disgust from organized groups because of the infighting and moralizing and general nonsense that goes on, preferring to learn and practice Objectivism on their own. In effect, they are on strike against the disgraceful antics we constantly see. (To date, TOC is far and away the greatest exception to this; but it is not yet widely enough known and understood.)

I am convinced that, to paraphrase Phil, the organization with the greatest and most effective following among people who are seeking a philosophy of reason -- and of what use are any others? -- will ultimately be the one whose teachers come across as the most reasonable.

To quote George Washington: We must raise a standard to which the wise and honest may repair.

Barbara

Link to post
Share on other sites
I am convinced that, to paraphrase Phil, the organization with the greatest and most effective following among people who are seeking a philosophy of reason -- and of what use are any others? --  will ultimately be the one whose teachers come across as the most reasonable.

I certainly hope so, though at times I worry that it is the most fanatical organizations that are more effective at getting members because they are better at stirring up people's feelings through excessive moralizing, identifying "enemies", appealing to feelings of victimism or alienation from the world, etc.

However, I remind myself that it isn't always to an organization's advantage to grow too quickly. Reasonable organizations are likely to get the highest quality members, and this is likely to present a long-term advantage. Slow and steady wins the race.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Barbara,

As a longtime supporter of TOC and antagonist of ARI, I do have one issue with your post above and I will outline it as I go along. ARI is unreasonable in the sense that it stifles innovation and is very authoritarian. They have booted people for the most ridiculous of reasons and are generally very timid and cowardly when it comes to exploring new frontiers in the philosophy.

When I first went to IOS in 1994, it had about 80 people, all serious, advanced graduate students and undergraduate students or independent adults wishing to pursue philosophy on that level. There was a long reading list that came with the seminar materials. They weren't heavy-handed about it, but the clear expectation was that you would read the materials before coming to the seminar. There were a lot of fun, extracurricular activities like a softball game and trip to an amusement park, but far and away the most fun was discussing the ideas. At that time it was a wonderfully benevolent, good-naturedly elitist institution.

Even through 1996, the first year Nathaniel attended there was that same atmosphere. I remember when David Kelley gave his Logical Structure of Objectivism series, he exhorted everyone to trace through the implications for themselves. Along the way after 1999, with the name change there was also an effort at popularizing the seminar. No doubt this was done to make things reasonable so that people with modest interest could come and experience the seminar, but it backfired badly. Advanced philosophy students got the idea that it was OK to drift, get sloppy and adopt some philosophical eclecticism. Many philosophy graduate students left TOC and/or rejected Objectivism outright.

Having been to the 2004 and 2005 seminars, I can happily say the seminars were outstanding, they've righted the ship and the 2006 program is terrific. However, I am hoping upon hope that you and Nathaniel will come to this seminar with a view to the importance of seriousness about the philosophical ideas of Objectivism. This is what is badly needed in TOC. If this happens, people will naturally get along and be reasonable and benevolent in the course of pursuing the ideas. Thanks in advance for listening.

Best,

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

As an outsider looking in, I see a kind of self-imposed blindness on Objectivist insiders when discussing the merits of an organization. They get sidetracked by insinuations and insider fighting. For example, your comment above:

However, I am hoping upon hope that you and Nathaniel will come to this seminar with a view to the importance of seriousness about the philosophical ideas of Objectivism.

This insinuates that they would not have a view to such importance. Frankly, the same thing could be said of you: "I am hoping upon hope that you (James) will come to this seminar with a view to the importance of seriousness about the philosophical ideas of Objectivism."

Want to see where that insinuation goes?

But somehow all that sounds all wrong. It gets the issues wrong. It insinuates that the reason that things are not growing very well in Objectivism is because key people don't take the right approach to the philosophy, so the insiders can point fingers at each other blaming each other, implying that the philosophy will spread like wildfire once the nefarious influence of the other side has been eliminated. I see something essential left out of this equation.

Back to basics. The market.

Barbara identified a very interesting statistic: 80,000 people on a mailing list. I have mentioned elsewhere another statistic. About 40 million copies of Rand's works have been sold. No other Objectivist organization and writer have reached anywhere near those figures. (Still, Barbara went best-seller and NB has sold about 4 million books.) NBI also was funded by a very capitalistic profit structure.

Both ARI and TOC rely on donations. I have yet to see one best-seller coming from them.

In PAR, Barbara mentioned that subscriptions to The Objectivist had dropped by over 6,000 between the break and when it closed.

To top it off, there are about 6 billion people in the world.

What this has led me to believe about Objectivist organizations in general is the following:

1. Fiction has been treated as sort of a bastard child of Objectivism. Of course, good writing has been hard to come by. But the proportion of fiction to nonfiction by Rand's progeny is staggeringly in favor of nonfiction. Yet it is fiction that sells the philosophy the best.

2. The top two organizations, ARI and TOC rely heavily on an elitist approach - ARI because of their view that Objectivism is a closed integrated system (leading to the need for a person to absorb the whole thing in order to be acknowledged by them as being serious), and TOC frankly caters to colleges and universities. (The TOC magazine, The New Individualist, is now trying to become more popular as a news magazine with a slant, and at least that is a different approach). I see neither of these basic attitudes resulting in high membership numbers.

3. Aggressive one-on-one marketing is not practiced. This needs a marketing staff and I don't see one anywhere being set up.

4. The everyday interests of normal people are not dealt with. Any analysis of the successful products on the intellectual market will show how to do that. (I suggest looking at the structure of the neighborhood church for starters.)

5. I agree with Barbara that there is a disgust factor with all the bickering. These groups not only practice bickering, THEY PREACH THE BENEFITS OF IT (both directly and indirectly - with TOC'S members being the least offenders). A simple comparison of Rand's book sales against membership in Objectivist organizations is more than enough proof of the disgust factor. People are reading. They just aren't showing up.

6. Talent is ignored. It should be fostered, but it is ignored by older Objectivists. Instead, a talented person receives mind-numbing command for the need to conform (ARI) or gets his thinking all wound up in academic technicalities (TOC), or worse, gets subjected to highly insulting peer pressure on any number of Internet forums.

There are several other considerations of this nature that need to be examined.

If you look at the works of both of the Brandens, you will see one characteristic. They are highly successful in the marketplace. You know, the one outside of Objectivist circles. Is that because of their approach to philosophical ideas? Of course not. This approach is merely one part of the product they sell. There are all kinds of books being written from all sorts of philosophical angles, some very similar to theirs. Yet those books don't sell. So it ain't the approach to the ideas per se.

Also, when Rand wrote her fiction, she certainly did not cater to the prevailing philosophical ideas. She became successful in the marketplace. When NBI was founded on a shoestring, it did not cater to the prevailing philosophical ideas. It became successful in the marketplace.

Ain't it time to ask why?

Objectivism insiders need to wake up to reality. There is a market out there. That is the proper place to sell ideas. The irony is that Objectivism preaches the virtue of a free market, yet donor sponsored organizations are considered as the last word in how to successfully implement the philosophy. Their very existence as being dependent on donations, while preaching free-market capitalism, is proof of the fact that something is seriously wrong. This gets compounded when you look at where Objectivism came from.

Rand never had the problem of needing donations to survive. Neither did the Brandens. Neither did NBI. Maybe people should listen and look instead of pointing fingers. Just a little, anyway. They might learn something.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

There are other libertarian organizations such as CATO and Reason Foundation that sell an enlightenment worldview with somewhat Randian undertones some of the time and they do a good job of it, why should IOS or ARI get into that market?

I am heartened by The New Individualist's approach to trying to influence those policymakers and thinkers with an enlightenment worldview to become more Objectivist, but I don't think a wholesale, direct sale to the mass market of Objectivism as a systemic philosophy is going to work. Nathaniel has written terrific books on individualist psychology and sold them in the millions, Joshua Zader has a terrific dating and networking website with lots of readers (9,000 with accounts at last check) that targets people interested in the philosophy.

Frankly, I think the most successful project to date in selling Objectivism in the way you describe is being done by ARI with their book project which has placed 250,000 books in high schools so far. Eventually, they will reach millions.

Perhaps you mean that there is some way to capture and sell Randian heroism and romanticism with less emphasis on the philosophy? TOC has toyed on and off with an Atlas Society that focuses on Rand's novels. I think this is a terrific idea and maybe this is what Barbara is getting at? If so, then that is a terrific avenue of inquiry.

However, I don't think that's what Barbara's saying. I think she's saying that there are significant areas that Rand got wrong in promoting the systemic philosophy which have led to the kinds of problems she points out. However, I think the right way to address that is to write up a systematic and substantiated summary of your complaints such as David Kelley's Truth and Toleration or Unrugged Individualism. That way people can evaluate whether the criticisms have merit.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Youi know, working with foundations or other donor-type organizations does not de-capitalist you.

Far from it- it's just a different way of dealing with finance. Obviously, the caveat is that an organization must have an intense comfort level with the donor organization, but that is not really so difficult.

I'm doing something like this right now. When you go to a foundation for money, two simple things: 1. Know that the first thing they will do is think about the last thing they gave you money for, and determine if you were successful with it, and 2. That you better be discriminating, prepared, and worked out when you bring them a new request.

Basically it is like dealing with a friendly bank. It's true that a donor or foundation usually has a higher, non-business interest that positions them with whoever they are working with, but the bottom line is always business. You have to remember that you are a part of their financial portfolio, in terms of representing a dandy tax writeoff.

It's just business, and it can do things that other kinds can't. For one, you can bust out moves very quickly, because you don't have to clear traditional financing hurdles when you are mounting a project.

Basically, it is a mutually beneficial value-for-value relationship. Simple.

Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

You just wrote:

However, I don't think that's what Barbara's saying. I think she's saying that there are significant areas that Rand got wrong in promoting the systemic philosophy which have led to the kinds of problems she points out.

Where on earth did you get the impression that she was talking about Rand? I specifically understood her words to mean Objectivist organizations since the closing of NBI, including the present ones.

I admit, she has been critical of Rand's public moralizing, excommunications, off-the-cuff psychological evaluations of other people's motives, and other behavior. I understand her words to mean that Rand's progeny generally engage in aping this behavior to the detriment of the ideas.

I agree.

I go by what I have observed. Many examples of what I have seen are registered in some of my 4,000 (+-) forum posts and articles over the last year on different websites. Also, Rand was always the first one to admit that she was not good at running a business - that she was an authoress instead.

Your example of Reason and Cato are good ones for politically-oriented intellectual organizations, but they are not Objectivist organizations. They are essentially political think tanks.

Your example of Joshua Zader's site is a perfect example of Barbara's words above (based on Philip's observation) in action:

I am convinced that, to paraphrase Phil, the organization with the greatest and most effective following among people who are seeking a philosophy of reason -- and of what use are any others? -- will ultimately be the one whose teachers come across as the most reasonable.

Please note that bickering is not permitted over there. People are not pointing fingers at each other. Zader's baby grows. It deserves to grow. I wholeheartedly applaud what Zader has built.

Your mention of the 250,000 books distributed by ARI is an admirable undertaking, but it is essentially charity work based on receiving donations and giving products away. It is not a good example of capitalism in action like NBI was, or publishing works in mainstream publishers and hitting best-seller status like Rand and the Brandens did.

Of Rand's 40 million copies of books sold, ARI's charity work represents well under one percent of her sales.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the whole, the NBI was a crack operation and no one has done it better since.

If NB had remained at the helm of the organization (and, it was simply not meant to be and in a lot of ways I'm glad because it diverted him into what he does now, and my guess is that he's happier now than he would've been, but who knows) I have no doubt in my mind that it would have continued to grow exponentially.

See, the greatly understated fact of it is that NB is a freaking good business person. I have some sense of how he operates because I got to do a little work with him. He's good. Very good.

Top down is what it's about with business, and that's why the movement isn't getting the kind of traction it should. Mind you, I think the world of David Kelley. But there's this...thing you look for in a leader, and I know it when I see it.

NB has done top-notch work in his little-talked-about-in-the-movement business consulting practice.

If one is about improving in leadership, and business, there is one book he wrote that is an absolute must, and it only takes a couple of hours to read. "The High Self-Esteem Leader: How Confident People Make Powerful Companies."

This is the cream of it, alongside work like Daniel Goleman's books on emotional intelligence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

It's interesting. You seem to think fragmentation in the Objectivist movement is a bad thing. Why? People get stimulated to solve the theoretical problems related to disagreements and with the internet and more participatory, content-based model to internet forums, I think smaller forums are sustainable until they grow to maturity.

People have more choice, get to pick their niche(s) and go with it. Interestingly, I think bickering per se isn't bad. What's bad is to have people who like to bicker together with people who don't. I think your forum will grow, I think Joe's RoR will do well and so will Lindsay's Solopassion. I am much more comfortable participating on each of the fora now because there is no collateral damage on the site and people's feelings aren't being hurt for the most part.

What was bad about bickering in the past such as ARI/IOS and the 1968 break was that there were no avenues of communication and people got cut off. What we've seen recently is really minor stuff. The Objectivist movement now is much more vibrant than now in the middle 1980's when I read Atlas and I thank fragmentation for that.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

I don't think fragmentation is bad. On the contrary, OL is such a fragment and I spend an awful lot of time here.

If Kat and I had not fragmented like we did, there probably still would be no place on the Internet where you could discuss and learn about the Brandens without a lot of insults flying around (except on their own sites). The people who hate the Brandens are relatively few, but they are very active in penetrating places where discussions about the Brandens take place.

Thus, fragmentation is serving me well in promoting the ideas I believe in. I am building a place where a positive image of the Brandens is presented to the world and where I can challenge some Objectivist premises to test their strength with highly intelligent people (I strongly believe in periodically checking your premises) - and even create some works and encourage others. I will let the readers use their own minds to judge the differences in what they find here and what they find elsewhere, both about the Brandens and about other matters.

I am even creating some small historical archives about Ayn Rand that would probably not be available in hostile environments. One person who authorized a statement, for example, requested that his name be withheld for now, not because he is afraid of anything or ashamed of what he wrote. He just doesn't want to be hassled by loads of insults that are common within what he called a "subculture."

He's talking about both the size and behavior of the entire formal Objectivist culture.

I dare say that his view of formal Objectivism is not restricted only to him. It is very widespread - and typically, formal Objectivists stay in denial mode ignoring it. I believe that the reasons for this poor image of formal Objectivist organizations and general avoidance of them by people who like Rand's ideas are the core of Barbara's lecture - not what has been insinuated (a personality dispute).

(btw - I am starting to receive lots of email from people thanking me for doing this site. They are mostly from what I call a "silent contingency" and from their comments, the values they most appreciate are the quality of the content, the focus on the Brandens and the lack of acrimony.)

What I think is bad is the policy of constantly bashing this person or that within the Objectivist movement and trying to blame them for the failure of the movement to be larger than it is.

I also think that it is a damn shame that there is not even ONE super successful formal Objectivist organization working for profit (with my hat tipped to Zader, wishing him all the success in the world).

This is reality, not any pet theory. It is observable and testable.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

I also think what Josh has done is remarkable. I was skeptical at first so I didn't give him the $200 plus membership he asked for when he started it up. I only gave a no strings $50, but I can see it was the best money I've ever spent in the Objectivist movement.

He even stated over on RoR that he thought profitability was the key to viability. However, he is the only owner, so there'll never be fights over money or ownership rights unless he develops a split-personality and fights with himself :-).

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

I sat down about a year ago and wrote out about a dozen (if I recall) reasons why it seemed to me NBI was so successful and growing at an exponential? rate compared to ARI and TOC and how many of them were things neither is doing but could learn from.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to give me a little time, I'm recovering from the flu: If I kneel down right now, I'll probably vomit.

More seriously, it was quite detailed. I'd like to look thru my files for it first before trying to wing it (and then I hope areas where I lack knowledge or am hypothesizing could be corrected.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

James, I'll respond to your post and others shortly; right now I'm horrendously busy and on deadlines. But I do want to comment immediately on one statement you made:

"I am hoping upon hope that you and Nathaniel will come to this seminar with a view to the importance of seriousness about the philosophical ideas of Objectivism."

I'm sure that Nathaniel will come to the seminar with that view, although of course I con't speak for him (although most of our detractors seem to discuss us as if we were a single person). As far as I'm concerned, that has always been my stance, and certainly will be at the seminar. If you're concerned that I might take the opportunity to engage in bashing those who have been bashing me, I assure you that is the farthest thing from my mind; I would not dream of using TOC, or any other public forum, for that matter, for such a purpose.

I can understand that the title of my talk, "Objectivism and Rage," might lead you to wonder about that. But just as ATLAS has in so many respects predicted our political and moral future, my talk seems to have predicted my personal future. The issue of Objectivism and rage is a subject I have been thinking about for years, and it has formed part of a great many talks I have given over the years. In fact, when I first joined Solohq, I intended, as I told Lindsay, to write an article on the subject; I didn't do so because the subject kept growing as I thought about it and did not, until very recently, assume manageable size.

"Objectivism and Rage" will deal with the presumptuous moralizing, unjust condemnations, and towering anger manifested by so many Objectivists -- with TOC a decided exception to this. But many, perhaps most, of TOC's members have encountered it painfully, and I want them to understand it. I want to explain why it happens, as well as I have come to understand it, that is, what are the mistaken philosoophical ideas that lead to it (and the psychology of some of its practitioners), why it legitimately turns some people off to Objectivism, why it endangers the future of Objectivism, and how one can deal with it.

I hope this answers your concerns.

Barbara

Link to post
Share on other sites

Barbara,

Thank you for answering my post. Yes it does address my reservations concerning the content of your talk. Your presentation, as you have outlined it, falls within the purview of what can be discussed and reasonably disagreed with at TOC.

My painful experiences were of a different kind. After reading all of Rand's books in high school, I subscribed to the Intellectual Activist expecting something in the same realm of quality of content. All I felt was a dreary kind of boredom from reading a bunch of horror file quotes. I was lucky in college to ally with a great group of independent Objectivists, but we were pretty much absorbed with studying science and engineering.

When we did get together, the sessions were often intense and electrifying because we really didn't have much time for Objectivism. I also attended a few off-campus lectures by George Reisman which were terrific. Gary Hull and Linda Reardan attended many of our club meetings and they were quite helpful in furthering my understanding of Objectivism at that time. I also was able to take a terrific philosophy class from Darryl Wright, a Objectivist philosophy professor at Harvey Mudd.

In any case, because of the timing of going to school, I graduated high school in May 1989, I didn't read the TIA article that contained Fact and Value. I went through my whole college career and part of the first year of graduate school without learning about the Peikoff/Kelley split. The first time I'd heard of it was towards the end of my first year in graduate school. I was amazed because I had actually listened to the tape of David Kelley's talk at the Laissez-Faire Supper Club and at the time I didn't think anything of it because it was just a standard presentation of Objectivism.

My brother had been itching to get involved in organized Objectivism, but the Thomas Jefferson School conferences were quite expensive and we didn't like some of the scholarship stipulations. My brother had gotten an IOS brochure in 1994 from one of our friends and we decided to try it. The conference was an amazing intellectual tour de force. I also had the sinking feeling of having been kept out of the loop on the Peikoff/Kelley split for so long. Then in 1995, I learned of the whole Reisman debacle and read the ridiculous tone and content of the correspondence generated by Peter Schwartz and Harry Binswanger. I e-mailed my best friend and roommate from college and he was also taken aback.

I have not personally experienced the kind of thing you're talking about, except from some of Lindsay's more over-the-top posts, but I will listen to what you have to say. I will also say that I have never really seen the kind of idolatry of Rand that you describe in your book as being endemic to the Objectivist movement, but that may be the result of hanging out with a group of Objectivists who have been intimately exposed to Newton, Einstein, Gauss, Von Neumann, Feynman, Gibbs, Schrodinger and other mathematical and scientific greats. Rand is one among many in my pantheon of heroes.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

> I have never really seen the kind of idolatry of Rand that you describe in your book as being endemic to the Objectivist movement [Jim]

Perhaps there is a difference in the pre-split movement and the more 'disillusioned' post '68 movement(s)? Or in the attitudes of people closer to the center or inner circle in those days? As someone on the periphery of Peikoff's "outer circle" (not inner) a decade later, I didn't find there were many discussions of Rand or pressure to idolize (I hate that word).

Link to post
Share on other sites

From my own experience (and observing the experience of others), some of the Objectivists I have engaged online have gone out of their way to be inexcusably nasty and smarmy, and have used the Objectivist jargon for insulting people and trying to craft put-downs.

Also, I have noted that when something like this flares up, any discussion of ideas right beside it loses it audience momentarily. Usually newbies only join something like that after it has gone on a long time (and only very few of them jump in), whereas they will join a discussion of ideas rather early in the thread.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael S K,

If you really want to siee smarmy, go to one of the unmoderated Usenet sites like a.p.o. or a token moderated site like h.p.o . About a decade ago you could see people online like Tim Starr or Chris Wolf who in their Usenet incarnations were just ridiculous.

I don't consider that to be a defect of Objectivism. You just know that when little kids have squirtguns they're going to use them. Also, online you have college kids barely out of their diapers wielding Objectivism in the clumsiest ways possible. You also have everybody with a grudge pouring their heart out onto websites. People that take this stuff personally and forever will find the internet a nasty place whether it's for Objectivism or something else.

After you go to TOC's Summer Seminar (or even ARI if you're reasonably circumspect) or even local clubs in person, if you still tell me Objectivists, on the whole, are lousy people with an anger management problem I'll be scratching my head. There are some institutional problems, there is a lack of a coherent theory of moral redemption and you also have some virtue-obsessed Inspector Javerts. However, I see those as minor problems compared to the wonderful, well-meaning Eeyores who manage mightily to make lemonade into lemons :-).

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
preferring to learn and practice Objectivism on their own. In effect, they are on strike against the disgraceful antics we constantly see.

I'm doing that, right now. On my own, step by step; I drag it through rigorous testing and explaining and comparing to reality. Regardless of the hubbub. Ultimately, it's for me. I do it this way because I do not want someone else to tell me what to think. I'm not on strike, but I've had wayyy too many people tell me what I should be thinking, if not, then to argue me into what they think I should think. I'm done. I'm doing it on my own. I own my own mind.

I am convinced that, to paraphrase Phil, the organization with the greatest and most effective following among people who are seeking a philosophy of reason -- and of what use are any others? --  will ultimately be the one whose teachers come across as the most reasonable.

I think the best teachers and thinkers are the ones who teach others to think for themselves. A reasonable teacher will lead by example, as Barbara says. A teacher, in love with life, at ease with being human, will teach the same. As a student, the last thing I'd be attracted to is to be expected to follow; I'd much more enjoy it if individuality and independent were taught in mind and heart so that I could use it to lead others to the same conclusion. The last thing I want are those teachers who want me to think their thoughts. (see above's explanation)

Two cents from a student; I hope this helps?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Quote from The Objectivist Newsletter

While going through The Objectivist Newsletter, I came across a very pertinent passage at the end of "A Report to our Readers" by Nathaniel Branden in the December 1963 issue (it was his first such report). After citing facts and figures and several incidents, he ended with the following:

NATHANIEL BRANDEN INSTITUTE and THE OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER are profit-making institutions, and have been so from the start of their existence. I am the sole owner of NBI; Miss Rand and I are co-owners of the NEWSLETTER. Neither organization has ever run at a deficit - nor received any sort of outside financial help. Both have been entirely self-supporting.

It is notorious that organizations and journals concerned with disseminating ideas - whether of the right or of the left, politically - are in chronic need of financial help. Such organizations are constantly sending out SOS's to their supporters and subscribers, pleading for money, wailing that without charitable contributions they cannot survive.

We are proud of the fact that we can - that there is an economic market for our ideas.

If this sounds like a boast, it is. We have earned it.

These words echo throughout the years and I now look at what the Objectivist movement is today.

Hmmm...

Some premises need checking.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the development of many Objectivist organizations is actually a good thing. Objectivists are individualists, often intelligent, and they have many interests. Let's have more Internet forums, more educational institutions, more publications, and more businesses to cater to these individual interests.

When I was an undergraduate at Brown University, I wrote a letter to the Brown Bruin in opposition to an editorial in favor of ending the fraternaties at Brown. My main argument was that the fraternaties performed the very desirable function of removing those who wanted to spend their weekends drunk, partying, and having mindless sex from the regular dorm areas. So also with ARI. Most any movement that offers a very different worldview than is prevalent in its society will draw fanatics into it. They need a home and it is best if it is not my home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now