[From Bidinotto Blog] A Career Change


News Junkie

Recommended Posts

Perhaps you have statistics that could convince me otherwise, but I don't think the costs of the Iraq war are significant enough to sink the American economy and/or society. They're not trivial, but they're not decisively ruinous either.

Many articles said that it cost about $4 trillion to "win" the Cold War. At the time, that was about the entire federal budget deficit.

They are already talking trillions with regard to the current situation in the Middle East.

Ultimately, the biggest gorilla of all is still the welfare state. Some are saying that this will soon bring a tab of $50 or $100 trillion. If the WTC and the wars had never happened, Bush would still be an absolutely terrible President. His record in domestic affairs is one of the worst we've ever had. He has shown us that a conservative is just a socialist who goes to church every week.

[....]

Some quick comments, Chris:

1. Bush is ~not~ a conservative. How can you possibly consider him in the same quadrant with people like Rush Limbaugh or Ronald Reagan? Sure, he supported tax cuts, but so did John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Bush is a self-described "compassionate conservative." Now, ~that~ is "a socialist who goes to church every week." (Or, as I would put it: "a socialist who opposes abortion.")

2. You said the $4 trillion to "win" the Cold War was (at the time) "about the entire federal budget deficit. I think you mean the entire federal ~debt~. The debt is the net total of accumulated annual budget deficits over the net total of accumulated annual budget surpluses, plus interest.

3. The "biggest gorilla" is the unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare -- the legacies of FDR and LBJ. Add to that the almost certain-to-be-unfunded liabilities for Universal Health Care, soon to pass under BHO (or BO, if you prefer) and his filibuster-proof Congress. Perhaps the worst kaka will not hit the fan for another 30 years, but my children and grandchildren will very likely have a truly miserable existence, unless the giant rug is not pulled from under all this runaway entitlement spending soon.

REB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Chris Baker: "Bidinotto has expressed his love for the empire on his blog, his love of military bases all over the world, his love of killing poor people in faraway places. He's the typical laptop bombardier."

I shall no longer restrain myself from telling you exactly what I think of you. You are a small, irresponsible, ignorant man, who presumes to denounce his betters from the safety of the Internet. I have no doubt that Robert Bidinotto would not dream of lowering himself by responding to the likes of you, so I shall do it for him. If, by the end of your life, you have accomplished a millimeter of what Robert has already accomplished, you may have the right to criticize him. But then you will know better than to hurl next-to-insane insults at a man who take great pains to explain the reasons for his every position, and whose humanity and generosity of spirit ought to have been an inspiration to you. Your viciousness pollutes the air of this forum.

Barbara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris, you keep jumping up and down on people, individually or collectively. You've got a firehose but there's no fire. The role of the United States abroad is a legitimate subject for analyses, discussions, debates and suggestions. None of that happens off your animadversions upon people who don't share your perspective or share it but have different ideas what to do about things now and in the future. Talking things out and exchanging ideas is what a forum like this is all about.

--Brant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> I have long had a problem with Rand's belief that the country needs a "philosophical re-education." We don't have time for it. [Chris B]

We don't have time not to.

You and others are always looking for a "political short cut" or some equivalent.

- convince people on concrete issues of the day, demonstrate against the bailout, write letters to the editor against mandatory national service.

- start a national magazine to comment on politics and review movies and criticise the culture. But not to teach or apply Objectivism as such.

- write op eds on the war and interventionism and global warming.

We simply have to face facts: Unpleasant though it may be, people need to have certain ethical and epistemological premises changed. They will not change their ideas about freedom, rights, big government otherwise. That's not necessarily a complete 'philosophical reeducation' for everyone. Not everyone was converted to big government in the last century - the opinion leaders and best writers and best communicators were.

ODEW

Only "Deep" Education Works.

TANSC

There Are No Short Cuts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> At this point in time, I find attacking Ron Paul virtually inexcusable. I feel the same way about supporting the wars.

Chris, Barbara explained in a previous post why one is not entitled under Objectivism to have such an "emotionalist" approach to moral judgment. And why its a major error. (I've explained it in endless 'schoolmarm' posts on every forum.)

At this point in time, you have two choices:

1. You can intellectually (and - the harder part - emotionally) accept why hurling Lindsay Perigo/Diana Hsieh type insults and moral condemnations simply when you -violently- disagree is wrong. Then stop doing it.

2. Continue, try to defend yourself without change, and escalate or repeat the same kind of attacks on -people- as opposed to contesting -ideas-. Because it is emotionally satisfying as a way to "vent".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> I have long had a problem with Rand's belief that the country needs a "philosophical re-education." We don't have time for it. [Chris B]

We don't have time not to.

You and others are always looking for a "political short cut" or some equivalent.

- convince people on concrete issues of the day, demonstrate against the bailout, write letters to the editor against mandatory national service.

- start a national magazine to comment on politics and review movies and criticise the culture. But not to teach or apply Objectivism as such.

- write op eds on the war and interventionism and global warming.

We simply have to face facts: Unpleasant though it may be, people need to have certain ethical and epistemological premises changed. They will not change their ideas about freedom, rights, big government otherwise. That's not necessarily a complete 'philosophical reeducation' for everyone. Not everyone was converted to big government in the last century - the opinion leaders and best writers and best communicators were.

ODEW

Only "Deep" Education Works.

TANSC

There Are No Short Cuts.

Phil, I agree that "Deep" Education is fundamental. But it is not all that is needed.

As I mentioned previously, it is only because Rand provided "Deep" Education in Atlas Shrugged that Martin Anderson was informed and ready to take advantage of the opportunity to "lobby" Richard Nixon to press for an end to military conscription. Should Martin Anderson ~not~ have done this, on some such grounds as political reform does not "work"? What if he had listened to someone like you 40 years ago?? Was his vital role in ending the draft an illegitimate "short cut"? Interesting how it "worked", isn't it.

REB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't have time not to.

You and others are always looking for a "political short cut" or some equivalent.

When someone like John McCain pushes the button and vaporizes the entire human race, it won't matter anyway. There will be nobody to educate and nobody to do the educating.

Perhaps you are willing to take that kind of risk. I am certainly not.

You also won't be able to do any philosophical re-education without the right of free speech, unless you want to confine your re-education to the people that are in prison with you. If you are all in jail, it won't matter.

Edited by Chris Baker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guys, first of all, instead of Deep Education being the -only- route I might have more precisely said it is the fundamental, - ninety - percent - of - the ball - game route. Without it nothing else lasts -- other than by coincidence. You can't protect free speech. You can't prevent nuclear war because, well . . . not to put too fine a point on it . . .

. . . NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU.

For four decades the only example anyone can give is one in which supposedly Oism led to a person convincing a president to end conscription.

Well, first, if Oism had been spreading and if novels like Atlas alone were culturally effective, why only the one example of the draft and Martin Anderson?

And, secondly, even -that- one example is incorrect.

I researched the causes of the end of military conscription because I did a term paper in college on it: There were many reasons why the draft was ended. Along with Anderson there was Milton Friedman and a liberal Republican named Bruce Chapman, called "Wrong Man in Uniform", which I read in my research...who may have been most influential of all. And -the left- and tens of thousands of angry students was the strongest voice calling for the end of conscription.

The whole political climate of the time -hated- conscription. The posters, media, columnists, universities were all demonstrating against "The Draft and the War".

Why? The young people didn't want to be forced to fight in that particular war at the time. Ever heard of Vietnam?

"Wrong Man in Uniform" argued that the poor and the black were being forced to die for richer people's wars and that that was unfair. Nixon and others were also told that drafting people who would not be in service long enough to learn how to operate in a complext technogical environment, learn the skills before their conscription was over was inefficient and a poor way to devlop a trained professional military.

By getting rid of the draft Nixon not only built a stronger military, but he got thousands of fearful young people afraid of dying off his back. And cooled one source of opposition.

So it wasn't Oism. And Oism hasn't prevented forty years of compulsory 'national service' being proposed either. And being supported broadly.

Fantasize on!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The really fascinating thing about music is that it uses both elements like those of visual arts (melody, tone, timbre, texture, etc.) and those of literary art (progressions of musical events). Since college, I have been a bit confused about what kind of terminology to use for the theme of a musical art work. Rand uses "theme" for the general, abstract meaning, while musical composers use "theme" to refer to the melodic subject of their work. But what would be the right term to use for the concrete integrator, the core combination in music? In parallel to Rand's and Boeckmann's terms -- "plot-theme," "design-theme," Roark's "one central idea" -- I think that "melodic theme" or "motif" (for instance) are ~just~ the terms needed to label core combinations in music.

This is not a huge breakthrough in understanding the aesthetics and psychology of music per se, but in ~connecting~ Rand's aesthetics to the analysis and evaluation of music. It really helped me to integrate those two areas of my thinking. Again, not that I couldn't have eventually done something like it myself, but it quickly made a connection that really helped clarify my thinking across the two areas.

Thanks, Roger, for your comments on Boeckmann's essays. I've found an excerpted version online of the essay that appeared in the Mayhew book, and I may yet end up trying to find a cheap copy of the other essay.

Anyway, as always, I look forward to any future thoughts that you might share regarding music and the Objectivist Esthetics.

J

P.S. A bit of tangent:

In a second essay in the Mayhew book, Boeckmann writes:

First, Roark designed Cortland and made sure the government agreed to build it exactly as designed. Then Gordon Prescott and Gus Webb, two second-hander architects with bureaucratic pull, disfigure Roark's design. The disfigured design is now under construction; if Roark does nothing, it will stand forever. His achievement will have been desecrated, which is intolerable to a man of his character. It is made clear that he cannot sue the govenment. His only recourse is to blow up the project, so he dynamites the whole monstrosity.

Had the preceding events been different, e.g., had there been no breach of contract, Roark would have acted differently. (Earlier in the novel, he does not dynamite the disfigured Stoddard Temple)...

Note that Roark acts by logical, not deterministic, necessity...

...This action thus follows logically from his character – in the partial context of the preceding events, and irrespective of any further particularities of Roark's full context. (A necessary condition is that Roark's action is morally legitimate. For instance, he would not have dynamited Cortland if this had entailed a breach of contract, let alone the killing of innocent people).

Apparently Boeckmann read a different version of The Fountainhead than the one that I read. In my copy of the book, Roark had not "made sure the government agreed to build it exactly as designed." Instead, he conspired to work on the project without the knowledge of those in charge of it. He sought to hide his involvement in the project from the government because he knew that he would never be given a job by "any group, board, committee, public or private." The only contract that Roark had was with Peter Keating, who was not yet the project's architect when he agreed with Roark to commit the fraud of passing off Roark's work as his own. So, contrary to Boeckmann's views, Roark does not act by "logical necessity," his actions are not "morally legitimate," and those in charge of the project were not in breach of any contract with Roark.

Edited by Jonathan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wrote: "With few exceptions, those who control ARI live in an ivory tower, as much as any Jesuit; and they create a host of little Jesuits in turn."

Ted responded: "Barbara, this is quite unfair to Jesuits. The Jesuits were noted as front line fighters. They were notable missionaries and were often the first to interact with non-Western societies, often providing the first description of a people and their language. The number of grammars and dictionaries of foreign languages written by Jesuits outnumers those by any other source. Jesuits are noted for their schools, and they are well versed in Scholastic philosophy. And the Scholastics are the ones with the ivory tower angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin reputation. But even then the mediaeval Scholastics engaged in vigorous and open debate, unlike the ARIans, who brook no dissent, and sanction no tolerationism."

Ted, I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing this out. I think I was confusing the Jesuits with the Scholastics.

Barbara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bidinotto has expressed his love for the empire on his blog, his love of military bases all over the world, his love of killing poor people in faraway places. He's the typical laptop bombardier

(My bold.)

Chris,

You complain to me about someone insulting you and then you do this kind of crap. How do you know what Robert Bidinotto loves? You claim to know libel law, yet you seem to be ignorant of the fundamental legal standard: incorrect fact.

It always amazes me when I see a person being an identical reverse image of the form he denounces. Same form, reverse image. I simply can't take you seriously when your facts about authors are so consistently wrong, you refuse to document your views (this is the part that really interests me if you ever would develop a scholarship habit and try to become a credible intellectual), and you complain about behavior that you yourself constantly perform.

I have wondered what you are doing here. Then I think I found the answer.

When someone like John McCain pushes the button and vaporizes the entire human race, it won't matter anyway. There will be nobody to educate and nobody to do the educating.

Perhaps you are willing to take that kind of risk. I am certainly not.

I see. You are here expending your efforts to avoid that kind of risk.

Judging from your actions, you seem to believe that making unfounded derogatory statements about what Robert Bidinotto loves on a specialized discussion board that has a current reading public of about 2,000 people (we get about 2,000 unique visitors a month) is going to stop John McCain from pushing a button and vaporizing us all.

Hmmmmm...

The population of the USA is about 300 million and the population of the world is over 6.5 billion. Why do I think they know John McCain more than they know Objectivist Living? Why do I think Chris Baker is not going to reach all those folks with his cautionary wake-up calls of impending doom by devoting his time here and convince them enough to change history?

If you are really all that afraid of such dastardly outcome, don't you think you are prioritizing your time and efforts incorrectly?

Or is all this just BS rhetoric and you like to bitch at random to a small audience for the hell of it and get an attention fix to try to fill a lonely insecure bottomless hole inside you?

You can't have it both ways. If you are serious, you are seriously wasting your time. There are far more important things to do to stop the demon lowlife American imperialist mad bomber McCain.

(I just cracked up. Why do I think all this is just BS?... Why do I even bother with you? :) I'm trying to take you seriously, but dayaamm! I don't think even you take you seriously.)

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> Phil, have you not read What Went Right? No one disagrees with the importance of philosophical education, but it is not the only efficacious cause [Ted]

Yes, I have read it and Tracinski makes excellent points and the orthodox Oist philosophy of history –is- too narrow. (In fact, I’ve already posted on this.)

But my view is not that –philosophical- education is the only efficacious cause. Did you not read my post carefully enough to see that I am advocating "Deep EDUCATION"? I didn’t say nor am I arguing that only -FUNDAMENTAL PHILOSOPHY- (i.e., on the level of Kant or Aristotle - abstract metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.) causes change or should be taught. ‘Deep’ Education means whatever are the missing elements in a thoroughgoing liberal education plus remedial ‘three r’s’ where necessary as opposed to focusing on range of the moment politics or current events. For example, be deely enough educated that you don’t just write an op ed ‘agin the guvmint’ like a redneck but only additionally being able to quote Rand in a high level, very theoretical and unconvincing way for a short piece.

Instead be able to quote the decline of Rome or the Greeks on hubris or Shakespeare or Orwell about the issue at hand.

The way a deeply educated person would.

My educational program would –not- just be about Objectivism. (Nor would I advocate that TAS or ARI just try to educate about Oism; just that they stop exclusively doing the ineffective ‘policy’ stuff they are doing).

A focus on education would –not- start with philosophy courses until people are capable of grasping and applying philosophy in a non-rationalistic way, But it would be broad gauge and include history, literature, logic, scientific thinking, etc. Even hands on exposure in applied fields such as journalism, engineering, business, etc. when properly integrated to other areas.

This is both for the schools and general public and in training Oist intellectuals.

As a side note, this sentence of mine is true: “people need to have certain ethical and epistemological premises changed. They will not change their ideas about freedom, rights, big government otherwise.”

The mistake is in thinking that the only education that changes those philosophical ideas is education which is exclusively or even primarily in philosophy itself.

You have to work up to that. And be broader than that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead be able to quote the decline of Rome or the Greeks on hubris or Shakespeare or Orwell about the issue at hand.

Ah, Shakespeare and Orwell, my favorite playwrite and my favorite essayist. Have you been monitoring my on-line shopping habits?

I am sorry, I did take deep education much too narrowly, and to mean deep and narrow indoctrination. Please continue, you have me hooked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TAS is evaporating along with its talent. At least it hasn't been very destructive to Ayn Rand's ideas, unlike ARI.

Up until the war, I would say yes.

While this thread is about Bidinotto, we have to look at who else has been there over the years.

The biggest growth of the organization took place when the office had two or three people. I think the staff was pretty stable, too.

Anyone who attended the seminars in 1995 and 1996 knows who was mainly responsible for the success of those seminars. I am, of course, talking about Don Heath. I often wonder if he got any sleep at all.

I haven't kept track of who has been there since that time. It seems like there have been quite a few different names.

How did the loss of Don Heath affect things?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> Anyone who attended the seminars in 1995 and 1996 knows who was mainly responsible for the success of those seminars. I am, of course, talking about Don Heath.

He was a doer not a theorizer. For every theorizer you need two doers to make sure the trains run on time. And are air conditioned when the temperature hits 98 degrees. And who know why trains are necessary. And need rails to run on.

> I am sorry, I did take deep education much too narrowly, and to mean deep and narrow indoctrination. Please continue, you have me hooked.

Thanks, Ted. No problem. What I proposed in email discussions with three of the TAS principles is that:

(i) Trying to jump from ground zero and no real success in the culture to a multi-topic, multi-contributor glossy monthly magazine on newsstands is a huge crapshoot - incredibly time consuming, historically unsuccessful, even successful intellectual magazines require -huge- subsidies which TAS doesn't have. You don't have the hubris to shoot for the moon first. You start by making a newsletter work.

(ii) Policy activism / current events focus is already done by conservatives to libertarians to anti-big government groups everywhere is already a very crowded field with lots of magazines, op ed writers, experts on all the subissues from global warming to finance to civil liberties. And think tanks in every one of the fifty states -and- Objectivism's distinctiveness from them in taking the 'moral angle' or 'inalienable rights' is not only not clear or persuasive yet in the culture, but in many cases the conservatives and libertarians influenced by Objectivism -do- make moral arguments.

(iii) Highly abstract or theoretical philosophy -'The Logical Structure of Objectivism', advanced seminars, nuances withing Objectivism - has a tiny market. You need to grow the market FIRST by doing the following:

(iv) Education as your first priority - both create more committed, knowledgeable Oists (not the cast of idiots too often lurking on blogs) - and create better educated conservatives and libertarians - and have educational products for the general public.

(v) My education plan was to offer a combination of three areas (the ARI training doesn't do this and doesn't reach beyond the hard core):

"Objectivism requires systematic integration (not random essays and online discussion). Potential Oists need to take a threefold *cross-integrated* series of well-designed, rigorous courses: 1. THE PHILOSOPHY -- Objectivism itself (integrated with the History of Philosophy). 2. THE VAST INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE BASE -- The Humanities, Social Sciences, Liberal Arts - world history in essentials is the key component. 3. PRACTICAL, REAL-WORLD IMPLEMENTATION -- Skills and Hands-On Courses - people and social, writing and speaking and teaching and persuasion, leadership and organization and teamwork and business skills.

None of these three areas can be skipped. If you do, you breed rationalists and ivory-tower types."

[i believe I already posted this last -- note, though that it's not just for Oists. It's simply that TAS could offer it first to its own people.]

In other words: Abstract Philosophy + Breadth (of knowledge in other areas) + Skills

The answer I got back was that there was not enough money and it wasn't clear if there would be an audience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>How do we educate the rest of the human race? I doubt if there are 100 colleges that offer a decent liberal arts education anymore. [brant]

Same way NBI did. You don’t need a college, just a roof to keep out the rain. Start at a kitchen table (BB and NB had an even smaller organization than TAS is now to start with - it was just the two of them and a somewhat skeptical Rand when they first started in the late 50's).

Start with one course that is highly polished, and get a half dozen students...and if it is excellent, people are starved for good courses on ANYTHING...let it grow slowly. Crawl then walk then run. Don’t overshoot yourself. Or claim to be an expert when you are just starting a new venture.

KIBSS: Keep It Baby Steps, Stupid.

NBI proved that the idea "I don't see if there is a market for this" is false. It expanded exponentially over less than ten years to tens of thousands in cities all across the U.S. and was starting to be known overseas.

Had it not exploded in '68, it could have grown further. There were no signs of slacking momentum, if you read the EOY reports in the bound volume of the newsletter.

Of all the attempts of Oists to 'find a market' this is the one that has been spectacularly successful. Not op eds, not political commentary, not starting a glossy political/cultural magazine to go on newstands, not 'advanced seminars' on esoteric or technical or nuanced issues in epistemology.

And the reason is stunningly obvious: People don't -know- by the tens of thousands that they are starved for Objectivism or for technical philosophy. They -do- know by the hundreds of thousands that they got a bad education, boring teachers, and that they don't know as much are not as smart as they need to be to succeed or keep up in a fast-paced world where the overseas educational systems are better.

And Americans are coming in close to dead last among the industrial countries in tests of reading, writing, 'rithmetic, science, history....etc. Ask the next person you meet what a linear equation is or during what years the Civil War was fought.

No nation of morons or ignorant people could even -grasp- Objectivism, let alone make a decision whether they agree with it or not.

NBI aimed for a higher audience of those who had read and were moved by the novels. That's one approach. Teaching my 'three pronged' curriculum [see my earlier post today] is another.

I don't care. My advice to both ARI and TAS is Step out of your comfort zone and stop wasting time and try something that would impact the culture immensely. Just GET STARTED on one or the other 'ferchrissake.

Study the Jesuits or the educational establishment and how they change the world. Not by picketing or op eds or novels alone.

Here it is in one sentence: NO MOVEMENT WHICH IS RADICALLY OUT OF STEP -EVER- SUCCEEDS WITHOUT A SYSTEMATIC, GROUND-UP, DECADES LONG EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM. There is too much to unlearn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> Ask the next person you meet what a linear equation is or during what years the Civil War was fought. [Me]

Or more apropos for giving someone the tools to be able to understand Oism later on: Ask the next person you meet what circular reasoning is or what role the growth of government played in the decline and fall of Rome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread has drifted shamelessly from its original title (and I am as guilty as anyone):

I just want to say I agree with all of those who said Robert Bidinotto's leaving TAS and TNI is a great loss (until such time as his forthcoming books make up for it!) He is one of those Oists whose professional background, verbal flair, editing skills seemed to fit liek a glove the job he had and the role he played in Oism.

(The fact that he will not be writing for them certainly seems to suggest a less than positive separation....and that's too bad, because even if he does something for them once or twice a year, why wouldn't you want that????)

I never thought TNI had a very great chance to be self-supporting and to carve out a permanent niche in political-cultural commentary for the reasons I already mentioned, but Bidinotto made it reach greater heights and attract more good articles on a killing production schedule than I would have thought possible.

I for one would hire Robert to edit or look over some of my writing. A second eye is always a good idea, especially an eye as far-sighted, intelligent, and skilled as 'Robert the Eagle'.

,,,,,,,,,

My only hope and sweaty-palmed fear is that they not replace him with his predecessor, Roger Donway, who produced the rather boring "Navigator" and who was so disorganized he didn't even reply to article queries. Please, Dear God, not that.

My guess instead is that there will be a quiet announcement sometime soon that they well be making TNI "web only" or folding it entirely. The logic I gave at the outset when it was announced still apply.

Even to a quarterly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is another factor one has to consider in the success or failure of any organization. That is the cost of simply running the organization.

NBI was in the Empire State Building. TAS is in Washington, DC. ARI is in the Los Angeles area. These are expensive places to be. You have higher rental costs. You have to pay people more money so they can afford to work for you. How much money ends up going to overhead? And what is gained by being in these locations?

Liberty magazine still operates in a small town about an hour and a half from downtown Seattle. When I was there, it was doubtful that the magazine could have operated in downtown Seattle. It certainly couldn't have operated in LA, DC, or NY.

The only real benefit one does derive from LA, DC, or NY is access to a big international airport. This is not necessary to have a successful organization, however. The Mises Institute is in the low-cost city of Auburn, Alabama. It attracts plenty of scholars from around the world.

IOS/TOC/TAS moved from Poughkeepsie to DC. I imagine their costs went up with that move. One businessman I know once made a comment that the surest way to go out of business is to move to a new building. You often end up with costs you don't anticipate.According to one on-line cost-of-living calculator, a person would need about a 50% raise to make the move from Poughkeepsie to DC.

Edited by Chris Baker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry Phil, but I'm not buying any of this Objectivism conquers the world through the right education. People have come to Objectivism, by the millions, taken what they wanted and left the rest. This has happened to the most brainy and well-educated people you can imagine. Maybe if one gets them very early, say as babies a la B.F. Skinner and genocide the adults a la Cambodia. For all the culturally-intellectually attractive clothes you put on this philosophy, yours is essentially ARI dogmatism. Yes, Objectivism can someday have a tremendous impact on the world by your lights. That's what happened to Marxism, after all. I'd expect the ultimate results to be just as totalitarian bloody. I can see you will never get it through your head that the orthodoxy is fatally flawed by intolerance and absolutism logically derived from Rand's own attitudes. ARI is the logical heir to NBI. It just lacks the dynamism of Nathaniel Branden and the star power of Ayn Rand and the steady hand of Barbara Branden--and their brains--thank God! The world does not need Orthodox Objectivism. It needs rationality and the basic philosophical principles of Objectivism. The former is hundreds of times harder to learn than the latter. Remember, Barbara Branden's "Principles of Efficient Thinking" is not "Principles of Objectivist Efficient Thinking." Your whole focus should change from Objectivism to rationality; the Objectivism will come logically and easily enough. After all, rationality is the fountainhead of Objectivism.

--Brant

>How do we educate the rest of the human race? I doubt if there are 100 colleges that offer a decent liberal arts education anymore. [brant]

Same way NBI did. You don’t need a college, just a roof to keep out the rain. Start at a kitchen table (BB and NB had an even smaller organization than TAS is now to start with - it was just the two of them and a somewhat skeptical Rand when they first started in the late 50's).

Start with one course that is highly polished, and get a half dozen students...and if it is excellent, people are starved for good courses on ANYTHING...let it grow slowly. Crawl then walk then run. Don’t overshoot yourself. Or claim to be an expert when you are just starting a new venture.

KIBSS: Keep It Baby Steps, Stupid.

NBI proved that the idea "I don't see if there is a market for this" is false. It expanded exponentially over less than ten years to tens of thousands in cities all across the U.S. and was starting to be known overseas.

Had it not exploded in '68, it could have grown further. There were no signs of slacking momentum, if you read the EOY reports in the bound volume of the newsletter.

Of all the attempts of Oists to 'find a market' this is the one that has been spectacularly successful. Not op eds, not political commentary, not starting a glossy political/cultural magazine to go on newstands, not 'advanced seminars' on esoteric or technical or nuanced issues in epistemology.

And the reason is stunningly obvious: People don't -know- by the tens of thousands that they are starved for Objectivism or for technical philosophy. They -do- know by the hundreds of thousands that they got a bad education, boring teachers, and that they don't know as much are not as smart as they need to be to succeed or keep up in a fast-paced world where the overseas educational systems are better.

And Americans are coming in close to dead last among the industrial countries in tests of reading, writing, 'rithmetic, science, history....etc. Ask the next person you meet what a linear equation is or during what years the Civil War was fought.

No nation of morons or ignorant people could even -grasp- Objectivism, let alone make a decision whether they agree with it or not.

NBI aimed for a higher audience of those who had read and were moved by the novels. That's one approach. Teaching my 'three pronged' curriculum [see my earlier post today] is another.

I don't care. My advice to both ARI and TAS is Step out of your comfort zone and stop wasting time and try something that would impact the culture immensely. Just GET STARTED on one or the other 'ferchrissake.

Study the Jesuits or the educational establishment and how they change the world. Not by picketing or op eds or novels alone.

Here it is in one sentence: NO MOVEMENT WHICH IS RADICALLY OUT OF STEP -EVER- SUCCEEDS WITHOUT A SYSTEMATIC, GROUND-UP, DECADES LONG EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM. There is too much to unlearn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving to a new buiding can be a very substantial source of saving for an organization, as our move to the Empire State Buillding was for NBI. Before that, we had had three separate offices on three separate floors in the apartment building where Nathaniel and I lived, which was unwieldy and inefficient. Because we were expanding so fast, we needed more staff, but had no place to put them. Also, we were paying a great deal of money to rent hotel rooms in which to give our expanding number of lecture courses. And we had to farm out much of the production of brochures, the newsletter,etc, another substantial expense.

When we moved into the Empire State Building, we were able to hire more staff, use our own large auditiorium as our lecture hall and for other related activities, we were able to begin holding various types of social evenings for our students, and to have our own in-house production department. Further, we arranged for the Objectivist Newsletter and the NBI Book Servicr to become our sub-tenants, paying a share of the rent.

As for being in a large center. New York was where we lived and wanted to live. No other place on earth would have been likely to attract so many students from all over the country and all over the world, who then spread our fame and our ideas to their home cities, states, and countries.

And New York offered us endless ways to present our ideas apart from lecturing and publishing a magazine. Had we located in Podunk, radio and television shows, newspapers, magazines could easily have ignored us. It was very difficult to ignore a thriving, much-discussed organization that was successfully doing the unheard-of job of teaching philosophy --and a new philosophy at that -- to thousands of peoople and was doing so in the heart of New York City and in its greatest building.

The mystique of the Empire State Building -- although this was not something we had counted on -- worked to our advantage. People not only wanted to be in New York, they wanted to have a connection to that great building. We witnessed the phenomenon of many admirers of Rand's work moving to New York to live there, attend our lectures, and participate in a social life with like-mided people. And we witnessed the concomitant phenomenon of NBI's new quarters becoming a sort of tourist stop for Objectiists visiting New York.

And we had no Board of Directors. Since we were a profit-making organization from Day One, we did not seek donations, and thus no one was empowered to tell us what we should and should not do, could and could not do. We had only our own judgment.

Barbara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brant: "The world does not need Orthodox Objectivism. It needs rationality and the basic philosophical principles of Objectivism. The former is hundreds of times harder to learn than the latter. Remember, Barbara Branden's "Principles of Efficient Thinking" is not "Principles of Objectivist Efficient Thinking." Your whole focus should change from Objectivism to rationality; the Objectivism will come logically and easily enough. After all, rationality is the fountainhead of Objectivism."

Hear! Hear!

Barbara

Link to comment
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