Michael Stuart Kelly

Last chance EVER to get back issues of THE NEW INDIVIDUALIST

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Here is an email Robert Bidinotto has sent around that is self-explanatory.

Kat and I subscribed to The New Individualist during his tenure and it was a hell of a good magazine.

Dear former TNI contributors and supporters:

The operators of the Objectivism Store, who produced and sold issues of The New Individualist, have informed me that they are clearing out all their old inventory of the magazine, in order to free up warehouse space.

This week is THE LAST CHANCE anyone will ever have to obtain back issues of the magazine. Many of you who authored articles may wish extra copies of issues containing your articles; others may wish copies of their favorite issues. But YOU MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY. Already, a number of back issues are sold out. Next week, the remaining inventory of archived copies will be going to a recycler.

If you wish to purchase copies, go here: http://www.objectivismstore.com/index.asp

…and click on the links for The New Individualist.

For direct service, call the store at: 800-649-3158.

If you maintain a website or blog, you’re welcome to post this information.

Finally, as former editor of The New Individualist, let me take this opportunity to thank you once again for all that you contributed to the magazine during my editorial tenure. I am hugely proud of what we accomplished together. I hope our paths cross again, and soon.

All best,

Robert Bidinotto

Whatever Robert is doing right now, both Kat and I wish him the best.

Michael

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Robert has been on Facebook recently. He is writing a book on Environmentalism.

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I canceled my subscription after Robert left. Does the magazine still exist?

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ginny,

Robert Bidinotto left after TAS announced that the magazine would henceforth become a quarterly.

I've seen one issue in the new format. I kinda wonder whether there will be others.

Robert Campbell

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Here is an email Robert Bidinotto has sent around that is self-explanatory.

Kat and I subscribed to The New Individualist during his tenure and it was a hell of a good magazine.

Dear former TNI contributors and supporters:

The operators of the Objectivism Store, who produced and sold issues of The New Individualist, have informed me that they are clearing out all their old inventory of the magazine, in order to free up warehouse space.

This week is THE LAST CHANCE anyone will ever have to obtain back issues of the magazine. Many of you who authored articles may wish extra copies of issues containing your articles; others may wish copies of their favorite issues. But YOU MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY. Already, a number of back issues are sold out. Next week, the remaining inventory of archived copies will be going to a recycler.

If you wish to purchase copies, go here: http://www.objectivismstore.com/index.asp

…and click on the links for The New Individualist.

For direct service, call the store at: 800-649-3158.

If you maintain a website or blog, you’re welcome to post this information.

Finally, as former editor of The New Individualist, let me take this opportunity to thank you once again for all that you contributed to the magazine during my editorial tenure. I am hugely proud of what we accomplished together. I hope our paths cross again, and soon.

All best,

Robert Bidinotto

Whatever Robert is doing right now, both Kat and I wish him the best.

Michael

This would seem to imply The New Individualist is folding completely?

Not even a quarterly issue?

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The New Individualist was supposed to continue as a quarterly.

I have the Spring 2009 issue. Sherrrie Gossett is listed as the editor.

Haven't seen a Summer 2009 issue yet.

Robert Campbell

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There seem to some problems with TAS. There phones have not been working I suspect because of the move. I have been told that they would be turned on any day now. There were reports at Free Minds that the next issue of TNI was at the printer. I think the fund raising letters suggest real problems.

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TAS is not failing because of a lack of brains, nor a lack of talent, nor a lack of dedication. It is failing because of a tragic lack of imagination. To survive, TAS has to find new ways of presenting its message, new means of making actual and potential members sit up and pay attention and discover that they must come to TAS for valuable material and experiences they cannot get elsewhere. It needs to carve out for itself a niche in the Objectivist panoply that is unique, and important-- even startling and controversial. It needs to stand the Objectivist world -- and the wider world --on its ear with approaches that have never been seen before if it is to create the excitement that so clearly is absent now and that alone will bring it members and eager participants and donors. It cannot continue to tread the same worn paths it has followed for so long, and that have ceased to arouse enthusiasm. In a word, if it is to survive, TAS must think outside the box.

Perhaps it should examine the success of NBI. It was NBI's endless innovations that enabled it, in the space of ten years, to grow from a single class of 28 students to the presentation of courses in all aspects of Objectivism in cities and towns all over the country. Despite its faults -- and they were many -- it created a world-wide movement and was in the process of creating its own special Objectivist world, a world that in the minds and hearts of many had the quality of Galt's Gulch.

Barbara

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Subject: Education, Education, Education

I agree with all of this based on my own interaction with TAS as customer, speaker, participant. Great people. I agree about intelligence, effort, dedication.

But I think the problem goes even deeper to *fundamental mission*. If one's fundamental purpose or driving goal is wrong or unrealistic, everything else will fail. If one's fundamental goal is right and realistic, a lot of other problems will melt away. It won't be like slogging uphill through mud, dealing with cranky supporters or lukewarm customers, constantly having to hunt for money, etc.

Barbara, you can correct me if I overstate any of this: The single and single-minded mission in life of NBI was *education*. To offer courses. Of all kinds. And make a profit doing so. Which means catering to the interests of the potential audience. Building them and satisfying them as loyal, repeat customers. Focusing on improving, expanding, refining the product line. One central focus allows one to concentrate on developing skills. It's hard to learn to expertly tap dance, master Spanish, downhill ski,and balance an egg on the tip of one's nose all at the same time. (Even I have only been able to master six to ten of these skills simultaneously.)

TAS's mission by contrast is....? It has been all over the lot and keeps "refocusing" - changing its direction. Let's aim for the general public, or for novel fans. Let's start a social network (original purpose of the Atlas society about ten? years ago.) Right now they have hired another outside consultant to refocus, improve the website, etc.

Ah! Let's start a slick, glossy, full-fledged national magazine with excellent photography and artwork and manifold departments and columnists! I am someone who (hubristically) ran, edited, published his own periodical for a while as a one-man operation. I may or may not have been the only one who pointed out that this is a hyper-ambitious project, even more so if you've never done it before and requires specialized skills and one might want to start smaller. And even entrenched intellectual magazines like National Review lose money. Massively. And that you don't want to 'bet the ranch' on an entirely untested new project. And that intellectual magazines, even really good ones, have extremely low circulation and subscribership. Plus there is a huge presence already of many good classical liberal (Reason) and well-written, polished conservative (National Review, American Spectator) magazines. And your potential market often includes people who already subscribe to one or more of the above. And people are reluctant to add another subscription if the previous ones fill some of their needs. So don't start such a project. At least not at present.

So what had to happen? Even with a great editor who worked like a siberian husky and excellent, interesting articles, and a number of good regular contributors the hyper-ambitious idea of a monthly has been scaled back to quarterly. Why? See previous paragraph.

I probably was not the only one who pointed out that when you are a small organization, you can't have too many projects but must postpone some of them till you are bigger.

Part of what they have done has indeed been education, while attempting to juggle many other projects - book service - op eds - speaking engagements - working on a major book - working on anthologies of essays. All with a small staff, many of whom were not experts in many? most? all? of these kinds of project prior to being at TAS.

Their education projects: summer seminars + the advanced seminars. Regarding the first, I was probably not the only one to point out that you have to run the summer seminars with a sort of professional attention to detail so people will want to keep coming back [while ARI's summer conferences continue to grow, attendance dropped steeply from a peak of around three hundred to about one-third that. And now to zero - summer conference cancelled.] Regarding the second, I was probably not the only one to point out that you can't have advanced seminars on technical topics in epistemology which are effective until the students are well-grounded in basic Objectivism...not merely the novels and a handful of essays, loosely grasped.

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I’m looking forward to the future works of David Kelley in theoretical philosophy, regardless of what happens to his organization. All the years I was a financial contributor to that organization, it was for the purpose of facilitating his work in theoretical philosophy and providing him a platform to the interested subculture. His is a special mind, and I’m expecting he will be delivering more fine works in the future.

Robert, where stands the production of the issue for Fall 2008 of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies? I have received every issue from the beginning of the journal, except for that latest one.

~~~~~~~~~

PS

Have a happy birthday, Robert, and many happy returns.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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> NBI's endless innovations

Barbara, what were some of those? NBI was before the time of almost all present Objectivists, myself included.

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Hello All:

Here is some information on points brought up in this thread.

TAS has acquired a substantial number of back issues which will be archived in our new offices here in Washington, D.C. We intend to make these available for future promotional purposes. We did not find that there was substantial demand for back issues. As far as offering hard copy “free issues” to the general public on our website, we believe it’s more cost-effective to offer a sample issue in electronic format, which is a policy we will pursue going forward.

The next issue of The New Individualist is currently winging its way to mailboxes. (You can view the table of contents here.) The current issue is 110 pages long. The first TNI (Jan/Feb 2005) was 20 pages long. When I came on board, the Fall 2006 issue was 46 pages. The last 2008 issue was 62 pages in length. Future issues are likely to be even longer than 110 pages. So, in terms of quantity of content, the cut back to quarterly is more like a cut back to 7 issues. (If the page layout expands, then 8 issues.)

Due to the economics of printing, it is far more cost-effective for us to print a larger magazine, 4 times a year, than to print a smaller one, 10 times a year.

If anyone would like a free hard copy of the Spring or Summer TNIs, just email me at sgossett@atlassociety.org.

I’d also like to say a “thank you” for the enthusiastic support of the magazine. We were inundated with overwhelmingly positive letters and comments (some made in person) about the re-conception and redesign of TNI. You can read some of these in the current issue on Obama’s “Era of Responsibility.”

Online store: The new TAS website has already been designed and is currently being built. It includes an online store with what we believe are some key improvements enabling us to better serve our customers. First we’re offering a swift and efficient check-out system. You will be able to pay by credit card directly, or by PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, or Google Checkout. We will also be offering automated downloads of audio files via our online store.

Sherrie Gossett

The Atlas Society

Edited by Sherrie LG

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Subject: Education, Education, Education...The single and single-minded mission in life of NBI was *education*.

Back in the days of the NBI, information on Objectivism was pretty rare, and it's my understanding that people were reading Atlas Shrugged and then begging for more. The NBI went into the business of supplying what was being demanded.

Things are quite different today. There are reams of information available now, and much of it can be found for free online. A person can easily find answers to any questions that he might have about Objectivism via books, tapes, and a variety of interactive means. If he has a follow-up question, or if he feels that his original question hasn't been sufficiently answered, he doesn't have to wait for the next opportunity when a writer or lecturer might address his questions again.

Education is not the answer, at least not the standard classroom approach that Phil seems to favor. I agree that focusing on one direction is probably a very good idea for any organization, but classroom education is no longer the best direction for the promotion or advancement of Objectivism.

J

Edited by Jonathan

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I'd like to comment on your statement Barbara: "To survive, TAS has to find new ways of presenting its message, new means of making actual and potential members sit up and pay attention and discover that they must come to TAS for valuable material and experiences they cannot get elsewhere. It needs to carve out for itself a niche in the Objectivist panoply that is unique, and important-- even startling and controversial. It needs to stand the Objectivist world -- and the wider world --on its ear with approaches that have never been seen before if it is to create the excitement that so clearly is absent now and that alone will bring it members and eager participants and donors"

I agree wholeheartedly. However, TAS already is doing this; the work has been intense. What we have to unveil is pretty startling, unique, competitively differentiated. For competitive intelligence reasons however, we aren't hanging all the details out in public yet. This work, strategic in nature, but encompassing implementation teams in two different cities, is "below the iceberg line," and invisible to the public right now.

Sherrie Gossett

The Atlas Society

Edited by Sherrie LG

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Subject: Order, System, Hierarchy in Education

> There are reams of information available now, and much of it can be found for free online. A person can easily find answers to any questions that he might have about Objectivism via books, tapes, and a variety of interactive means. [Jonathan]

Like WHAT exactly? Could you please take a few seconds to GIVE EXAMPLES when you make a sweeping, vague claim like this? Jonathan, you sound like someone who has not systematically taken some? most? of the twelve lecture courses given by Peikoff on history of philosophy, objectivism, understanding objectivism, logic, grammar, oral presentations, writing. Etc.

Much of the 'reams' of information is not of good quality or not in the systematic form of a course. Have you noticed the junk many people post? Do you have time to wade through all of it to find reliable information? Have you noticed the self-styled experts who try to tell you what AR's views were? The people who can't write? Who go off on tangents? Trust me, you wouldn't want to learn the calculus or physics or any *systematic and hierarchical* subject through trying to piece together bits and pieces. Hunting through tapes to try to find any mention of topic x, etc. Buying every book that claims to be definitive about AR's philosophy. Or tracking down every 'link'. Even if you had the time or the income.

As far as answering questions that logically arise when a topic is covered, I know that was done in the Peikoff courses themselves and in the Q&A. I know TAS accumulates -new- questions that are sent in and answers them regularly on its website. Will Thomas provides excellent answers. Are you familiar with this?

Objectivism is not an easy subject. One needs a hierarchical, orderly presentation. You can't wing it. What I see on these blogs is people who have a million questions or misunderstandings simply because they didn't go through the process. Or didn't complete it.

I'm not suggesting P's courses were the only courses that provide an education...NBI courses, for example, were before my time. New courses, given live, could still be developed in some areas. If you go to ARI's OAC, not expensive, that's one venue where you get to ask questions in real time.

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About TAS phones:

We recently moved to a suite of offices on the 8th floor and our phones are not up yet. We had the space built out according to our specifications, and as it turns out, per our building management, there’s a new DC law that requires all cabling to be removed by office tenants when they move—so the next party to move in has to have everything re-cabled again—every single wire. Thanks to our business manager we were able to get this done for a nominal fee. Our IT is up and running, and our new phone system is next.

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Hello All:

Here is some information on points brought up in this thread.

TAS has acquired a substantial number of back issues which will be archived in our new offices here in Washington, D.C. We intend to make these available for future promotional purposes. We did not find that there was substantial demand for back issues. As far as offering hard copy “free issues” to the general public on our website, we believe it’s more cost-effective to offer a sample issue in electronic format, which is a policy we will pursue going forward.

The next issue of The New Individualist is currently winging its way to mailboxes. (You can view the table of contents here.) The current issue is 110 pages long. The first TNI (Jan/Feb 2005) was 20 pages long. When I came on board, the Fall 2006 issue was 46 pages. The last 2008 issue was 62 pages in length. Future issues are likely to be even longer than 110 pages. So, in terms of quantity of content, the cut back to quarterly is more like a cut back to 7 issues. (If the page layout expands, then 8 issues.)

Due to the economics of printing, it is far more cost-effective for us to print a larger magazine, 4 times a year, than to print a smaller one, 10 times a year.

If anyone would like a free hard copy of the Spring or Summer TNIs, just email me at sgossett@atlassociety.org.

I’d also like to say a “thank you” for the enthusiastic support of the magazine. We were inundated with overwhelmingly positive letters and comments (some made in person) about the re-conception and redesign of TNI. You can read some of these in the current issue on Obama’s “Era of Responsibility.”

Online store: The new TAS website has already been designed and is currently being built. It includes an online store with what we believe are some key improvements enabling us to better serve our customers. First we’re offering a swift and efficient check-out system. You will be able to pay by credit card directly, or by PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, or Google Checkout. We will also be offering automated downloads of audio files via our online store.

Sherrie Gossett

The Atlas Society

Thanks for the info Sherrie. Looks like we will have some interesting reading ahead. I just looked at your table of contents and was stunned to see that Barr can write!

Wow! Bob Barr exists! Does he know that he ran for President on the Libertarian Line, maybe someone should send him and the Nevada bookmaker a memo.

Adam

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Hello All:

Here is some information on points brought up in this thread.

TAS has acquired a substantial number of back issues which will be archived in our new offices here in Washington, D.C. We intend to make these available for future promotional purposes. We did not find that there was substantial demand for back issues. As far as offering hard copy “free issues” to the general public on our website, we believe it’s more cost-effective to offer a sample issue in electronic format, which is a policy we will pursue going forward.

The next issue of The New Individualist is currently winging its way to mailboxes. (You can view the table of contents here.) The current issue is 110 pages long. The first TNI (Jan/Feb 2005) was 20 pages long. When I came on board, the Fall 2006 issue was 46 pages. The last 2008 issue was 62 pages in length. Future issues are likely to be even longer than 110 pages. So, in terms of quantity of content, the cut back to quarterly is more like a cut back to 7 issues. (If the page layout expands, then 8 issues.)

Due to the economics of printing, it is far more cost-effective for us to print a larger magazine, 4 times a year, than to print a smaller one, 10 times a year.

If anyone would like a free hard copy of the Spring or Summer TNIs, just email me at sgossett@atlassociety.org.

I’d also like to say a “thank you” for the enthusiastic support of the magazine. We were inundated with overwhelmingly positive letters and comments (some made in person) about the re-conception and redesign of TNI. You can read some of these in the current issue on Obama’s “Era of Responsibility.”

Online store: The new TAS website has already been designed and is currently being built. It includes an online store with what we believe are some key improvements enabling us to better serve our customers. First we’re offering a swift and efficient check-out system. You will be able to pay by credit card directly, or by PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, or Google Checkout. We will also be offering automated downloads of audio files via our online store.

Sherrie Gossett

The Atlas Society

Thanks, too, for the info - looking forward to it...

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Phil: "Barbara, you can correct me if I overstate any of this: The single and single-minded mission in life of NBI was 'education'. To offer courses. Of all kinds. And make a profit doing so. Which means catering to the interests of the potential audience. Building them and satisfying them as loyal, repeat customers. Focusing on improving, expanding, refining the product line. One central focus allows one to concentrate on developing skills. It's hard to learn to expertly tap dance, master Spanish, downhill ski,and balance an egg on the tip of one's nose all at the same time. (Even I have only been able to master six to ten of these skills simultaneously.)"

Not quite correct, Phil. As time went by, we learned that our students, who inevitably felt painfully alienated from so much of the culture around them, wanted something more than an education in Objectivism, although they certainly wanted that. They wanted to have a social life as well, a way to meet and make friends with other Objectivists in a social context. So apart from lecture courses, newsletters, and books, we began to offer activities such as a yearly formal Ball, and performances of acting and dance and music put on by students talented in those areas. We offered regular Romantic Movie nights -- and held savagely inept baseball games in Central Park -- and organized an art tour of Europe. We even had a fashion show, one feature of which was Frank O'Connor, at his most elegant, walking down the runway dressed in faultlessly-tailored evening clothes! We held immensely popular monthly dancing parties -- with a student who was a professional dance instructor to teach a particular dance before each evening began, And Ayn Rand, to her great delight, learned her favorite of all dances, the Viennese Waltz.

So we did balance quite a number of activities, although not eggs on the tip of our noses.

It was a joy to see many of our intellectual, very serious, repressed students open up and simply enjoy themselves at these events -- and to see them realize that dancing and movies and music and baseball were also part of life on this earth.

Barbara

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Sherrie, thank you for telling us something about developments at TAS. You'll find, on Objectivist Living, many people who would be truly delighted to see TAS succeed and grow and prosper. So I hope that from time to time you will let us know of new developments. There has, until now, been too much speculation and too little knowledge of th changing goals and purposes of TAS. Perhaps precisely this can be one of TAS's new projects: to keep its members as fully informed as possible about its decisions and undertakings.

Barbara

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I'd like to comment on your statement Barbara: "To survive, TAS has to find new ways of presenting its message, new means of making actual and potential members sit up and pay attention and discover that they must come to TAS for valuable material and experiences they cannot get elsewhere. It needs to carve out for itself a niche in the Objectivist panoply that is unique, and important-- even startling and controversial. It needs to stand the Objectivist world -- and the wider world --on its ear with approaches that have never been seen before if it is to create the excitement that so clearly is absent now and that alone will bring it members and eager participants and donors"

I agree wholeheartedly. However, TAS already is doing this; the work has been intense. What we have to unveil is pretty startling, unique, competitively differentiated. For competitive intelligence reasons however, we aren't hanging all the details out in public yet. This work, strategic in nature, but encompassing implementation teams in two different cities, is "below the iceberg line," and invisible to the public right now.

Sherrie Gossett

The Atlas Society

I look forward to hearing details when you're able to release them. But after all, TAS members are not exactly "the public." Many of us have contributed time and money and considerable effort to TAS. So perhaps you could give us at least some idea of what you plan to unveil in the future.

Barbara

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Robert, where stands the production of the issue for Fall 2008 of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies? I have received every issue from the beginning of the journal, except for that latest one.

Stephen B,

We're behind schedule, but the Fall 2008 issue was mailed out in April. You should contact the subscription office, as there may have been a foulup involving US Snail.

PS

Have a happy birthday, Robert, and many happy returns.

Thank you.

Robert C

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> As time went by, we learned that our students, who inevitably felt painfully alienated from so much of the culture around them, wanted something more than an education in Objectivism, although they certainly wanted that. They wanted to have a social life as well, a way to meet and make friends with other Objectivists in a social context. So apart from lecture courses, newsletters, and books, we began to offer activities such as a yearly formal Ball, and performances of acting and dance and music put on by students talented in those areas. We offered regular Romantic Movie nights -- and held savagely inept baseball games in Central Park -- and organized an art tour of Europe. We even had a fashion show, one feature of which was Frank O'Connor, at his most elegant, walking down the runway dressed in faultlessly-tailored evening clothes! We held immensely popular monthly dancing parties -- with a student who was a professional dance instructor to teach a particular dance before each evening began, And Ayn Rand, to her great delight, learned her favorite of all dances, the Viennese Waltz.

Barbara, I stand corrected on the social aspect. It was still going on in New York City from some point in the seventies through the eighties. I assume timing was important, that it built on the huge numbers of people, potential clients, as the courses and numbers of students expanded. And of course, being in the right city helped to have "critical mass". New York, America's largest city, a place of ambition and achievers, and where Rand lived and where Peikoff taught live inevitbaly had the largest number of Objectivists in the world. Dr. P inherited the critical mass of people from the work you and Nathaniel did. Huge live courses were held in a hotel ballroom. Over three hundred people showed up every time he started up a new course [i'm sure you had large 'live' numbers with NBI if I remember from those annual progress reports at the end of the Objectivist.]

Edith Packer's starting summer conferences (which ARI, then TAS imitated) was a step toward expanding both an educational and a social aspect to those who didn't live in "the Big Apple". Objectivist community clubs and campus clubs which I worked on and with can have some of those benefits, but with small numbers it takes only a few apples with questionable social skills, and quarrelsome, to poison a small barrel. We see that online, as well.

My observation is it's important to have culturally-savvy people with good people skills, leadership skills, and organizational skills ( relatively integrated personalities ) to make the social component work and flow smoothly. Whether it be artistic events, summer conferences, "talent shows" or whatever. Even more so than the educational component, where if you are brilliant and a great speaker or writer, people don't necessarily have to interact with you further than that entails. Would you agree?

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Sherrie, thank you for telling us something about developments at TAS. You'll find, on Objectivist Living, many people who would be truly delighted to see TAS succeed and grow and prosper. So I hope that from time to time you will let us know of new developments. There has, until now, been too much speculation and too little knowledge of th changing goals and purposes of TAS. Perhaps precisely this can be one of TAS's new projects: to keep its members as fully informed as possible about its decisions and undertakings.

Barbara

Barbara: Yes, you hit the nail on the head. We need a far more robust communications strategy and I'll bring this up Monday. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful insights.

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Subject: Order, System, Hierarchy in Education

> There are reams of information available now, and much of it can be found for free online. A person can easily find answers to any questions that he might have about Objectivism via books, tapes, and a variety of interactive means. [Jonathan]

Like WHAT exactly? Could you please take a few seconds to GIVE EXAMPLES when you make a sweeping, vague claim like this?

I shouldn't have to list the books and tapes for you, but if you want an idea of some of the online sources I've learned from, they include people whom I've had the good fortune of interacting with online, like Barbara Branden, Ellen Stuttle, George H. Smith, Jeff Riggenbach, Chris Sciabarra, and many others who are quite brilliant but whose names you might not recognize.

Jonathan, you sound like someone who has not systematically taken some? most? of the twelve lecture courses given by Peikoff on history of philosophy, objectivism, understanding objectivism, logic, grammar, oral presentations, writing. Etc.

And you, Phil, sound like someone who likes to imagine that having taken Peikoff's courses makes him some sort of high-ranking Jedi Knight of Objectivism. The problem, though, is that any time that I've seen a Sith Lord wreak havoc on Objectivism in your presence, you run away with the excuse that you've defeated similar opponents long ago, and you know all their moves so there's no point in wasting your time with them now. That and you're too tired.

Much of the 'reams' of information is not of good quality or not in the systematic form of a course. Have you noticed the junk many people post?

Yes, and I've also noticed some of the junk that people like Peikoff and those associated with him put forth and try to pass off as Objectivism. Sometimes they even go so far as to alter Rand's statements, and some of their opinions, issued in the name of official Objectivism, are downright nutty.

Do you have time to wade through all of it to find reliable information? Have you noticed the self-styled experts who try to tell you what AR's views were?

Yes, a lot people want to put words into Rand's mouth, including people who have published books which claim to represent Rand's comments from her journals and Q&A sessions.

The people who can't write? Who go off on tangents? Trust me, you wouldn't want to learn the calculus or physics or any *systematic and hierarchical* subject through trying to piece together bits and pieces.

Philosophy isn't calculus or physics. Anyway, I think you mean that you like to learn in a certain way, so you think that others should too. You seem to be a fairly bright person, Phil, but you also seem to have some issues. Not everyone has your limitations or peculiar requirements for learning. Some people learn very effectively by exploring tangents while piecing together bits and pieces.

Hunting through tapes to try to find any mention of topic x, etc. Buying every book that claims to be definitive about AR's philosophy. Or tracking down every 'link'. Even if you had the time or the income.

Exactly. Which is why it can be much easier to simply log in on a forum like this and ask people questions. Tapping into others' knowledge can be an effective way of finding answers quickly. One doesn't have to sit through hours of lectures to get the information one wants. Sometimes people can even benefit by receiving an answer online from a high-ranking Objectivist Jedi Knight like you!

As far as answering questions that logically arise when a topic is covered, I know that was done in the Peikoff courses themselves and in the Q&A. I know TAS accumulates -new- questions that are sent in and answers them regularly on its website. Will Thomas provides excellent answers. Are you familiar with this?

Those are more good examples of what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, though, there are a lot of questions which neither Peikoff and crew nor the folks at TAS seem to be eager to address. Personally, I've asked several questions about the many contradictions in the Objectivist Esthetics, and have yet to hear any responses, and I know that others have asked similar questions. I get the impression that there's a hope that if such issues are ignored by the "official" representatives of Objectivism, they might go away. And there are many others who are interested in the other branches of philosophy who have similar questions that remain unanswered. That's the drawback of "official" sources -- when there are no answers, the questions aren't even acknowledged.

Objectivism is not an easy subject. One needs a hierarchical, orderly presentation. You can't wing it.

Is the same true of philosophy in general? Did Rand take a hierarchical, orderly approach to studying philosophy and its history? I mean, do we know if she even read and understood Kant before criticizing him? Did she take a systematic and hierarchical approach to learning each of the philosophies of the past? And have you, Phil? Have you studied Kant under the tutelage of today's leading experts on Kant -- the Kantian equivalent of your view of Peikoff's status as an Objectivist -- experts who have quite different interpretations of Kant's writings than non-expert Rand did?

What I see on these blogs is people who have a million questions or misunderstandings simply because they didn't go through the process. Or didn't complete it.

They have questions because they're in the process of learning. People who have taken a "hierarchical, orderly" approach to learning have just as many questions and misunderstandings, and they make just as many errors. In fact, it seems that the hubris of seeing oneself as an expert on Objectivism can lead one to being a bigger idiot than novice Objectivists. When confronted with information that Rand didn't have when making her pronouncements, her "official" followers often seem to stick with her views and reject reality.

I'm not suggesting P's courses were the only courses that provide an education...NBI courses, for example, were before my time. New courses, given live, could still be developed in some areas. If you go to ARI's OAC, not expensive, that's one venue where you get to ask questions in real time.

As I said, I think that such courses will not be an effective means of promoting or advancing Objectivism. Your respect for centralized "official" sources of Objectivism is something that most people aren't going to share -- I think most people are too independent to submit to anything that smacks of that type of authority.

J

Edited by Jonathan

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