Jerry Biggers

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Jerry Biggers last won the day on May 30 2018

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    Interested in Objectivism and libertarianism since the mid-1960's.; Other philosophy, science, history, Siamese (and other) cats. .
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    Jerry Biggers
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    An edited excerpt of a letter that I wrote to Ayn Rand is included in her "Foreward" to her book, THE NEW LEFT: THE ANTI-INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (1971). I am extremely proud to have contributed - with my wife, Patricia - transcriptions of five chapters for Nathaniel Branden's book, THE VISION OF AYN RAND: THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF OBJECTIVISM (2009).

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  1. A few observations on Anne C. Heller. I have had some occasion to see her at three of the Atlas Society's summer conferences, and one sponsored at the CATO Insitiute in Washington, D.C. (with which she shared the podium with Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, which was published around the same time) including some opportunity to ask her questions after several of her "presentations" (which in every instance, she deferred to just take Q&A from the attendees). One of these, held in Alexandria, I also had an extended conversation with her, along with several other conference attendees, at lunch. Not surprisingly for an author on tour to attract interest in her just published biography, Miss Heller's answers in interviews are carefully tailored to the presumptive audience. As far as I could tell, she never contradicted any previous statement, but definitely was quite aware of who the likely audience was. So, for liberal audiences, she would sometimes answer in a manner which could best be described as veiled (or not-so-veiled!) sarcasm about Rand's personality and her books; while with audiences presumably favorable toward Rand, her responses were more neutral. In at least one case that I recall, she was asked by an interviewer that as Rand's biographer if she would have liked, if Rand was still alive, to have had the opportunity to meet and interview Rand. Her retort was, "Well, NO!" (usually accompanied by laughter from the studio audience) Now, for a biographer searching for as complete a picture as possible of her subject, I found that a rather astonishing, if not incredulous, reply. So, in the Q&A session at the Atlas Society/Free Minds conference in Alexandria in 2009, I asked her. Attendees had been pitching "softball" questions at her, and she seemed startled that anyone would ask her such a thing! Her reply was brief, along the lines of "I had enough information." Later, during lunch, I asked her what she had thought about the recent article on Alternet that severely condemned Rand for the short story (unpublished and unknown even by Rand's closest associates prior to its posthumous publication in The Journals of Ayn Rand, ed. by David Harriman) The Little House, asserting that it showed Rand's admiration for serial killer, William Hickman, and citing Hickman as the model for her whole philosophy and as the real source of inspiration for her later novels. Heller replied that that was grossly overstating its importance to Rand's later works. But now, however, in her book review of Ideal, in Time magazine, Heller has reversed her opinon and now agrees that serial killer Hickman was the motive force for all of Rand's later works, illustrating her hatred of the common people.
  2. I do not think that there is any evidence of anything more than a rudimentary language among the Neanderthals, nothing written down (cave paintings are not conducive to presenting Objectivist epistemology and Ayn would have to drag Michelle Marder-Kamhi though the time-warp to help them "get" Objectivivist esthetics). She would have a much better chance with their competitors, the Cro-Magnons, who were essentially homo sapiens. Besides, they exterminated the Neanderthals, although maybe breeding with a few (really ugly offspring!)..
  3. She gathers a group of adoring Neanderthals to sit at her feet and gush as she reads from the latest chapter of her unpublished novel, Prometheus Laughed. The most servile of the flatterers she takes as her bedmate. Yeah, but what about the skinny little runt scheming to be her favored?
  4. I have mentioned the Landmark Education seminars as being helpful for folks. One aspect that is fundamental to "transforming," [seems to be the new "ok" word of today's culture] is to place the past where it always has been...the past. Not a single one of us can change one event that happened yesterday let alone 47 years ago. A... Obviously you're not an historian. --John Brant Ah Churchill... I would prefer being a historian that did history not "changing" it to fit an agenda. Some would call it being an honest historian... A,,, Speak of the devil.....Some rational Objectivist wandered over onto one of the FB groups claiming to be Objectivist. He posted something like, "Why is this obssession with the Brandens still going on?" And got hit by a shitstorm of epic proportions, guessed it....Jim Valliant posting to "set the record straight". At least he was polite (but wrong), but others vented their hatred with highly intellectual arguments, such as referring to the Brandens as well, literally, shit under their shoe. So almost 50 years later, some just can't get rid of the Branden odor, legacy. My guess though is that most shreiking their hatred were not even around at the time and have not bothered to read any of the three biographies, and certainly not the despised Passion of Ayn Rand by the malodorous (to them) Barbara. Of course, Nathaniel's memoirs are untouhable. . What this reminded me of was the ritualistic and frequired "Five minute Hate"seesions which citizens had to do in Orwell's 1984.
  5. Yeah, yeah! You guys up in Canada don't have to worry about "Evita" - but we do! Sure, you have your own problems,....wanna trade??
  6. Selene, re the mirror graphic - hilarious - and accurate! I hope that one day, Nathaniel's birthday will be an occasion to recognize and honor his very significant contributions both to psychology and to Objectivism as a philosophy. Additionally, his contributions (primarily through speeches and oral presentations at conferences) to efforts to reconcile the differences between libertarianism and Objectivism, as a movement.(as contrasted to the substantial philosophical differences between the two). Unfortunately, there still are occasional references in online forums and in social groups (i.e., Facebook) to the 1968 break, with condemnations of the Brandens as if the dispute had just occurred.
  7. Does every Objectivist know this, or am I just cynical, cantankerous, (fill-in-the-blank)? Know "what?" Know that no "pure" Objectivist could be elected to any important state or national office. Certainly NOT for President. Any association with Ayn Rand is and will continue to be for a very long time, the "kiss of death" for any candidate. Even if he or she presents the philosophy clearly (as against the MSM caricature, which seems to have a lock-hold on describing Ayn Rand), it will not substatntially change the degree or amount of negative reaction by the public and particularly the MSM (but also many innovaters,successful businessmen, such as many Silicon Valley types who are very leftwing, Progressive, etc, Go figure!) that the Objectivist candidate would receive. The church-going establishment has hardly begun to attack her. Nothing like the avalanche of opposition he would face if they (the Christians of any stripe) thought that an opponent and non-believer was going to be, or at least had a chance, of actually being elected. As far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong), no self-described atheist has ever been elected to high public office in this country. A "closeted" atheist might have a chance, but he would have to, when discovered, deny his previously stated beliefs and any interest of agreement with Ayn Rand and certainly any agreement with atheism.(as the Republican candidate for Vice-President in 2012 quickly did). This should not come as any surprise when one thinks about how radical Objectivism really is. This was best summarized by Rand when she announced that she was challenging the "last 2,000 years of Western cultural beliefs"' (or words to that effect). So no "real" Objectivist (someone practicing and actively advocating Rand's philosophy) could be elected. Maybe, I'm wrong, but I would like to see this tested in real life. So if self-described Objectivists are looking for a "pure" 100% compatible Republican candidate,....they are going to have a very, very, long wait!
  8. But I thought Marx was President!
  9. To say that David Kelley does not have a rep as a "dynamic" speaker and is "soft-spoken" (desirable in certain academic or personal conversational situations, but not as a program moderator) ) is a gross understatement. At the Branden Memorial Service, on at least one and possibly more occasions, he forgot to introduce the next speaker! The producer, Duncan Scott, certainly knows this. I happen to regard him as an Objectivist hero, but in this case, his streaming of the program was a disaster. Not only in sound quality, but in the streaming where many commercials where inserted during the program, the result being that what was said by the speakers at that time was lost.
  10. Unable to attend the Memorial program in Los Angeles, I took advantage of the "streaming" online version. I don't know how the acoustics were in the hall, but on streaming it was abysmal. David Kelley was at times inaudible, and speaking just right - if you were standing right next to him!. Some of the speakers were not announced. One presenter, (couldn't get his name,...a Judge something) tried to play a portion of Nathaniel's lecture on Ayn Rand and Romantic Love, but instead of using a recorded version on CD or tape, he attempted to play the excerpt by sticking his wife's iPhone next to the microphone. The result, predictably, was once again, inaudible. One of the comments running along side the streaming image, noted that the bad sound was probably from their using the podium microphone for the hall, rather than the microphone for the streaming, which was apparently not "On." Then, to top it off the presentation was interrupted about every ten minutes wth "Pringles" commercials. The speakers were not aware of the commercial breaks and kept on talking, but the streaming audience missed whatever they were saying. Duncan Scott, a professional film maker, was listed as the producer. Somehow, he was not aware of the acoustics problem and apparently no one at the hall was monitoring the streaming session. I am sure that any ARIan devotee was delighted.
  11. I received a post from Roger Bissell today, indicating that the event will also be streamed, Sunday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 PM, EST (1:30 PM, Pacific time): see below, including the streaming link Posted Today, 08:36 AM I received this yesterday from Leigh Branden: A friend, Duncan Scott, who will be video taping the service, has found a way to stream it in real time. If you would like to join us remotely, please use this link. No worries if you cannot join us this Sunday, Feb. 22, as we will provide a link to the video of the service some days later. Memorial service begins at 1:30 pm (Pacific). Broadcast begins a few minutes beforehand. Like This
  12. Roger, Great! I wll tune-in to the streaming event! Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, 1:30 PM Pacific time is 4:30 PM, Eastern (EST)
  13. Well, George, Happy Birthday! I see that you are only 65. And you have your whole life ahead of you...and a good thing, too, seeing as how now it's up to you. Barbara's gone. Nathan's gone. Hitch is gone, many other greats. "The last man standing",...still churning out those essays as if you're in your 20s. A veritable "Saint George," slaying the dragons of collectivism - political and religious. Well, anyway - enjoy your birthday!
  14. Kyrel Zantonavitch has suggested that TAS video record this event. A significant number that might have wanted to attend, but will be unable due to time and distance constraints, would be interested in at least seeing the event on video. Although it was planned to only be an afternoon event, I have heard that it may be expanded. Regarding the video request, anyone interested might want to send a note to The Atlas Society. By the way, attendance was listed as limited. Anyone interested should go to the Eventbrite link and register, a.s.a.p.!
  15. Good point! A significant number that might have wanted to attend, but will be unable due to time and distance constraints, would be interested in at least seeing the event on video. Although it was planned to only be an afternoon event, I have heard that it may be expanded. Regarding your video request, you (and anyone else interested) might want to send a note to The Atlas Society. By the way, attendance was listed as limited. Anyone interested should go to the Eventbrite link and register, a.s.a.p.!