[From Bidinotto Blog] A Career Change


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Phil: "A focus on education would –not- start with philosophy courses until people are capable of grasping and applying philosophy in a non-rationalistic way."

This relates to an issue I have mentioned before and that Phil and I have discussed, pertaining to the error of giving people answers before they have the questions. It's partly why so many Objectivists, particularly young people, tend to be rationalists. They encounter Objectivism and find themelves pressured to master an entire, complex philosophical system. But they're not ready to do so in a first-hand way. The technical aspects of concept-formation, for instance, are unlikely to be understood as relevant to anythng in their own lives and concerns, and so the information will likely be swallowed whole as an undigestable lump, a series of statements that seem to make sense but have not arisen from their own perceptions of reality and of what they need to know. A teacher should not teach theories to students without at least helping them to see what are the legitimate problems in one's life to which those theories provide solutions.

I remember something David Kelley did some years ago during a talk I attended. He gave us two mystery stories to read -- without the solutions -- one a Sherlock Holmes story, the other the mystery of the Lizzie Borden affair. We were to try to figure out who done it -- a very difficult feat. Then, when we had failed to find the solutions and were eager to know them, David explained the prinicples of reasoning that would lead us there.

When I first met Ayn Rand, at 18, there were philosophical problems that concerned me and that I'd been trying to solve -- freewill vs. determinism; whether there could a rational moral code; what political system made sense, and some others. When Ayn discussed these issues with me and explained her solutions, I was immediately able to grasp and integrate them. They were exactly what I'd been looking for, I had already experienced a need for them. But had she instead spent our first evenings together discussing the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, I would have found it interesting but I would have had nothing to which to integrate it, no awareness of its relevance to my life. It would have remained in my consiousness as a separate theory, floating in space. What I had to discover before integration was possible, was the nature of the mystery it solved and why I should want to solve it.

Barbara

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Barbara; Your three posts were very interesting and very good.

I would like to add that as someone who attends a lectures at NBI when it was at the Empire State Building it was a thrill to go there. The socials were great fun too.

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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.

This kind of consolidation certainly brings about savings.

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.

New York has always had a certain prestige, not as much now as it did in the 1960's. Ayn Rand's fetish for the city is well known. This was also a time when there was no Internet.

It also seems that a great deal of IOS/TOC/TAS growth coincided with the growth of the Internet. I wasn't wired in 1995 yet. I was quite amazed by all the people at the 1995 seminar who had e-mail addresses.

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 people and was doing so in the heart of New York City and in its greatest building.

This was definitely true in the 1960's. I'm not sure if it is true now. Technology is the difference.

More importantly, however, is that the teachers get out there and meet people. I know some successful teachers of certain skills. The most successful and popular of them take several trips a year to various cities, such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City. It's the same way that a successful musician or group is expected to go on tour now and then.

Ask British rockers of the 1960's like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones who influenced them, they will probably tell you Buddy Holly or Jerry Lee Lewis. They might also say Elvis Presley. There is one big difference between Elvis and the other two. Lewis and Holly actually played live in Britain. Elvis never did.

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.

Actually, this is a good point. It's not unusual at all to hear people in 501c3s or even corporations complain about their boards. Boards have power without having to take ownership of the organization they are in charge of. A sole proprietor (or partners) has an interest. If the organization goes bankrupt, he will have to pay bills to somebody.

Edited by Chris Baker
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> the error of giving people answers before they have the questions.

Barbara, that is very well put! And terse.

I am going to quote this statement from you from now on. I am teaching Physics as one of my subjects this year and the textbook just dumps a lot of principles and formulas on the heads of the students without explaining why these things are important, what problems and questions they resolved.

This reminds me -specifically- how to teach. Just saying 'be inductive' (which this is one form of) is too abstract and vague to be practically helpful. (The above is abstract as well, but much easier for me as a teacher to break down into cases.)

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> the error of giving people answers before they have the questions.

The answer is 42.

I am teaching Physics as one of my subjects this year and the textbook just dumps a lot of principles and formulas on the heads of the students without explaining why these things are important, what problems and questions they resolved.

It's like that in a lot of subjects, not just physics. It's about creating an appearance of learning, not creating actual learning. It even happens that way to a certain extent in the world of high-tech professional certifications like Microsoft and Cisco.

I also think that some students create an appearance of knowing. Yet, for whatever reason, they are afraid to put what they learn into action. I know people who take classes to learn skills, then never take those skills and actually use them. It's like reading a bunch of books about swimming, and then never actually getting into the water. I bet there are world-class swimmers who have never read anything about swimming.

It doesn't help that the extremely destructive encourages and rewards this kind of attitude toward learning skills.

Edited by Chris Baker
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>

I'm sorry Phil, but I'm not buying any of this Objectivism conquers the world through the right education.

Too ambitious. All we need is to gain a tiny, respected, and part-of-the-debate foothold or voice in the culture and become an ongoing part of the debate. One major professor at a prestigious school. One major blog that is widely read. One top prep school. One great writer. One great artist. Then we will slowly start to gain traction inch by inch.

Not conquer the world for a very, very long time - or have that as an immediate objective.

KIBSS.

Keep It Baby Steps, Stupid.

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Re: Robert Bidinotto and TAS parting ways:

A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

To make this concern clearer (and this is my interpretation), consider articles on the same general political-cultural subjects that appeared in the pages of The Objectivist or The Objectivist Newsletter, written by Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, or Barbara Branden. The application of Objectivist philosophical analysis to the issues being discussed were very clear to anyone reading them. Anyone already familiar with conservative or libertarian perspectives on the same issues could clearly see that Objectivists had a distinctive approach to these issues, not seen elsewhere.

When Robert Bidinotto assumed the editorship of The New Individualist, he said in the first issue (and later emphasized this at his talks at TAS summer institutes) that he intended to forgo discussions of Objectivist philosophy in the magazine, and instead was going to publish articles on current issues that, while Objectivists might agree with most or all of the positions presented, were not necessarily written from a strictly Objectivist position. On numerous occasions in the magazine, he clearly stated that some of the articles were not written by Objectivists (though they had something unique to say that most Objectivists would agree with) and pointed-out when he had differences with their viewpoint.

At the TAS celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged, in Washington, D.C., about a year ago, Mr. Bidinotto stated, from the podium, that The New Individualist was taking the role that Reason magazine had displayed in its first decade or so after its founding, an analysis of political-cultural issues from an Objectivist perspective (unfortunately, Reason later abandoned a specifically Objectivist orientation for a more general libertarian one). While he was quite successful in this regard, it is apparent that this direction was a cause of strain. Members of the TAS Board wished to see the magazine adopt a more specifically Objectivist orientation (not just be a reincarnation of the original Reason magazine) and include more articles that discussed aspects of the philosophy.

"Reading between the lines," I get the impression that some Board members thought that the the cover article on Ron Paul was an unnecessary provocation (for many of the reasons that have been discussed on Objectivist Living). At any rate, views expressed by members of the TAS about the editorial direction of TNI, most likely were a major factor in Mr. Bidinotto deciding to pursue "other career alternatives."

So who is right about this? Should The New Individualist have continued as a reincarnated (and vastly improved) version of the original Reason magazine? Or should it contain more discussions of Objectivism, per se?

This gets back to the other main issue being discussed in this thread, what is the most effective means of advancing the spread of Objectivism in this culture? What should be the roles of organizations such as TAS and ARI in advancing Objectivism? Some of us who were present (and I am one of them) during the halcyon days of NBI have written nostalgically of those times. Why can't current Objectivist organizations be able to duplicate or approach the heights attained by NBI?

The most obvious answer is that the founder of Objectivism is no longer with us. The role that Ayn Rand played not only cannot be estimated, it cannot be duplicated. This statement may seem blindingly obvious, but what she accomplished with Atlas Shrugged, and with her subsequent nonfiction essays, lectures, and appearances in the media, was the creation not only of a philosophy, but of a movement (whether she wanted it, or not).

Although, Rand has been criticized for presenting her philosophy in novels, and dismissed by academic philosophy instructors as a "popularizer," it is highly unlikely that any other method of presentation would have had so widespread an effect. If she had instead, offered a strictly academic presentation of Objectivism, it probably would have attained little more notice than David L. Norton's Personal Destinies: a Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (1976) - an otherwise excellant book, but fairly obscure as of now.

Not to be underestimated, are the roles of both Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden. When their creation, Nathaniel Branden Institute, started receiving increased notice from the media, they had an intellectual and physical presence that caused some commentators to remark that they appeared to have walked-off the pages of Atlas Shrugged, itself. No doubt those of us who attended NBI presentations in New York or elsewhere, often felt that way.

Another factor, which cannot be duplicated, is the unique role of NBI in explaining and expanding upon Ayn Rand's philosophy. There was an intellectual excitement of being "present at the creation." No one else was saying such things. No one would mistake an article from The Objectivist with a discussion of the same subject from the pages of National Review or The New Republic.

Now contrast this with the current situation. No one representing an Objectivist point of view today can get the media notice that Ayn Rand could. Not even close. Short of some Objectivist presenting another fictional blockbuster like Atlas Shrugged, they are not likely to get much media notice. A movie presenting an Objectivist theme, if done well, might attract attention, but I would hold little hope for the ephemeral attempts to bring Atlas Shrugged to the screen (In fact, the Atlas Shrugged movie projects have become the Objectivist equivalent of the Christian mythological "Second Coming," or at least the "quest for the holy grail.")

As articulate and brilliant as they are, the leaders of TAS are not likely to get anywhere near the media attention that Ayn Rand did. And it is unrealistic to expect that of them. Of course, this is also true of ARI. Considering the absolutely appalling level of discourse in the current Presidential campaigns, it is tragic that no one presenting an Objectivist analysis is ever heard on the mainstream media.

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Re: Robert Bidinotto and TAS parting ways:

A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

*snip*

If true, this concerns me. This would constitute a major distortion of what was told to me as the reason for the changes at TNI. I plan on verifying this.

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Re: Robert Bidinotto and TAS parting ways:

A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

*snip*

If true, this concerns me. This would constitute a major distortion of what was told to me as the reason for the changes at TNI. I plan on verifying this.

Please note that I was only told that these issues were discussed at the Board meeting. I do not know what other issues may also have been discussed; what Robert Bidinotto's replies to the concerns were (or even if he was present - although I think that is a safe assumption); or that any action was taken by the Board, other than discussing the issue(s).

Based only on the information that I was told, it is difficult to form any conclusion about what effect the Board meeting had on Mr. Bidinotto's later decision to resign from his editorship and to leave TAS. However, I do think that the issue of the philosophical content of TNI was (and is) a legitimate topic of concern.

Another issue that could have affected Mr. Bidinotto's action was the decision by TAS to reduce the frequency of publication of the magazine from a monthly to a quarterly. It was obvious that TNI had high production costs and that its circulation and paid subscriber list may not have been large enough to justify (financially) its expense to TAS. Too bad, because the Objectivist movement would benefit from a journal discussing Objectivist philosophy, and a magazine presenting cultural-political analysis, such as TNI. Not enough funds to finance this, I guess.

Edited by Jerry Biggers
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Another issue that could have affected Mr. Bidinotto's action was the decision by TAS to reduce the frequency of publication of the magazine from a monthly to a quarterly. It was obvious that TNI had high production costs and that its circulation and paid subscriber list may not have been large enough to not justify (financially) its expense to TAS.

At last year's Summer Seminar we were told that 51% of TAS's spending was on the magazine. Was something different said this year?

A good rule when second-guessing is look at the money.

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Re: Robert Bidinotto and TAS parting ways:

A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

*snip*

If true, this concerns me. This would constitute a major distortion of what was told to me as the reason for the changes at TNI. I plan on verifying this.

I sent an email to Robert and he was nice enough to reply:

I can tell you for a fact that I was never told by anyone among the trustees that they were unhappy with the overall content of The New Individualist - quite the contrary. That's not to say that they agreed with every article—hell, I didn't. But nobody ever said, "Bidinotto, we need to cram more explicit Objectivist philosophizing into the magazine."

Edited by jordanz
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More from Robert on this:

Moreover, it's wildly inaccurate to say that my goal was to resurrect the early Reason magazine. I never said anything of the sort. I made clear my view of the nature and goals of the magazine in my initial editorial, "TNI: A New Beginning," in the Fall 2005 issue:

"For the record, The New Individualist champions the basic principles of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's philosophy of rational individualism. Among our guiding principles:

"Each individual is an end in himself—not a means to the ends of others—and his own happiness and well-being is his highest moral purpose. Reason is the individual's only reliable guide to knowledge and action; he should therefore rely on his own rational judgment and live by the creative efforts of his own mind. He has the moral right to pursue his life and happiness in freedom—as a peaceful producer and trader, neither sacrificing himself to others nor others to himself. Government should be limited solely to the task of protecting individual rights and liberties. Cultural institutions should nurture independence, self-esteem, and personal achievement, honoring the individual at his creative best. To these ends, artists should strive to project a heroic, inspiring vision of human possibility.

"That rational, heroic vision of the individual sharply distinguishes this magazine from other opinion journals—left, right, libertarian, religious, or skeptic. Rational individualism is the philosophy of human potential: a challenging new perspective to meet the challenges of the new millennium.

"Unlike previous incarnations of this journal, The New Individualist is not aimed mainly at Objectivists. It is instead an "outreach" magazine, directed toward a much broader audience of intelligent readers, particularly opinion leaders. To reach them, we intend to put TNI on newsstands within a year, where it can become a distinctive and influential cultural presence.

"Attracting that new readership will require writing that is provocative, persuasive, stylish, and interesting. You won't find in these pages boring theoretical papers or vituperative ideological rants masquerading as opinion journalism. Such articles only attract those who already agree with them. But TNI isn't aimed at those who already agree with us. We don't assume reader familiarity with our philosophical outlook. Nor will the tone in articles here condescend to or insult the very people whom we wish to engage and persuade.

"My goal is to present compelling writing by outstanding thinkers on interesting intellectual and cultural topics—articles, essays, and reviews that assess our world from an individualist perspective. However, I welcome articles by writers who are not necessarily Objectivists, as long as their submissions on specific topics are congruent with our stated principles.

"This last requires elaboration.

"I've heard some complaints that certain authors in these pages not Objectivists. I confess: it's true. Some are not. But their specific articles are consonant with Objectivist principles and values. In some cases their arguments may not go as far as I might take them. Yet these authors do present valid and valuable ideas and information, often bringing special expertise and unique perspectives to bear. Moreover, they can write rings around most of their armchair critics.

"As editor, my responsibility is to police the contents of this magazine. But that's where my responsibility to you, our readers, ends. I can't be a moral or intellectual policeman concerning the private lives, philosophical pedigrees, or personal views of contributors. Nor can I concern myself with what they may publish elsewhere.

"Except for criminals, and those who publicly express hostility to TNI's philosophy, I otherwise don't care what an author may believe, do, or write outside of the four corners of the pages that he submits for my consideration. I can only weigh the quality of the manuscript that he puts before my eyes. If I think that it will engage, educate, and entertain you—and that it's consonant with the principles of rational individualism—then it stands a good chance of being published. If not, not."

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A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

And some aren't even libertarian. Bidinotto has always been quite hostile to the libertarian movement in general. Read his Libertarianism: Fallacies and Follies (title may be wrong) essay, if you can find it. Some of his criticism is fair, and some is not.

At the TAS celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged, in Washington, D.C., about a year ago, Mr. Bidinotto stated, from the podium, that The New Individualist was taking the role that Reason magazine had displayed in its first decade or so after its founding, an analysis of political-cultural issues from an Objectivist perspective (unfortunately, Reason later abandoned a specifically Objectivist orientation for a more general libertarian one).

If they are concerned about it becoming another REASON, I can't blame them. REASON doesn't stand for anything anymore. I certainly wouldn't want to see that happen.

The other problem is that 501c3 organizations are not supposed to be political. If they get into politics, they risk losing their 501c3 status.

I get the impression that some Board members thought that the the cover article on Ron Paul was an unnecessary provocation

I know of at least one person who told me that he canceled the magazine because of that cover article. Did they do that to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama? No.

I don't think there is much future with printed magazines anyway. The future is on the web.

This gets back to the other main issue being discussed in this thread, what is the most effective means of advancing the spread of Objectivism in this culture? What should be the roles of organizations such as TAS and ARI in advancing Objectivism? Some of us who were present (and I am one of them) during the halcyon days of NBI have written nostalgically of those times. Why can't current Objectivist organizations be able to duplicate or approach the heights attained by NBI?

I was born in 1971.

It does seem that the movement had a lot of momentum back then, and that momentum has not been equaled since that time. It largely crashed and burned in 1968. Unfortunately, Rand herself set the precedent for all of it. If there had not been a Rand-Branden split, there would not have been a Peikoff-Kelley split.

I still think an even greater error was that Rand distanced herself in the 1950's from people that she had considered equals. Her estrangement from the brillant Isabel Paterson was especially unfortunate. I also think about what might have become of a Rand-Rothbard alliance. I think they would have been more powerful together than they were separately. A person as brilliant as Rand needs to be challenged and inspired. She did not get these challenges from her followers at NBI.

Rothbard unfortunately also had a tendency to make and break alliances for reasons which nobody fully understands. However, his dedication to the ideas of Austrian economics never wavered. He was also very Aristotelian. Finally, he just wrote a whole lot of articles and probably put out more material than everyone at ARI has.

Although, Rand has been criticized for presenting her philosophy in novels, and dismissed by academic philosophy instructors as a "popularizer," it is highly unlikely that any other method of presentation would have had so widespread an effect.

It would have went absolutely nowhere any other way.

No one representing an Objectivist point of view today can get the media notice that Ayn Rand could. Not even close. Short of some Objectivist presenting another fictional blockbuster like Atlas Shrugged, they are not likely to get much media notice.

Most of them haven't done very much. Jimmy Wales one person who has done something that's really worthy of a lot of media attention.

In fact, the Atlas Shrugged movie projects have become the Objectivist equivalent of the Christian mythological "Second Coming," or at least the "quest for the holy grail."

I still stand by my belief that it will only get to the silver screen as a bootleg or after the rights become public. It won't be from a big Hollywood studio.

Considering the absolutely appalling level of discourse in the current Presidential campaigns, it is tragic that no one presenting an Objectivist analysis is ever heard on the mainstream media.

The level of discourse on boards like this isn't much better.

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At last year's Summer Seminar we were told that 51% of TAS's spending was on the magazine. Was something different said this year?

This is no surprise. Print magazines are on their way out.

I'm sure some of you here remember when TV Guide was America's most popular magazine. Now, people just go to the web site.

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Re: Robert Bidinotto and TAS parting ways:

A couple of days ago, I had a phone conversation with "someone" who was at the TAS Board of Directors meeting where the direction of TNI and also TAS were discussed. According to this account, a number of Board members were concerned that the magazine, while generally of excellent quality, was devoting much of its space to articles that presented cultural-political commentary from perspectives that were libertarian, but not distinguishable as explicitly Objectivist.

*snip*

If true, this concerns me. This would constitute a major distortion of what was told to me as the reason for the changes at TNI. I plan on verifying this.

I sent an email to Robert and he was nice enough to reply:

I can tell you for a fact that I was never told by anyone among the trustees that they were unhappy with the overall content of The New Individualist - quite the contrary. That's not to say that they agreed with every article—hell, I didn't. But nobody ever said, "Bidinotto, we need to cram more explicit Objectivist philosophizing into the magazine."

Incidentally, you state that you were given a different "reason for the changes at TNI." If you can, please state the alternative explanation.

I am not questioning Mr. Bidinotto's answer to your inquiry. I can only reply that I was told that the issue of philosophical content of TNI was an issue of concern from some Board members. Since this was a private phone conversation with an official of TAS, I do not think it is appropriate to identify the source. Note that I did not say, nor did my source, that this issue was "the" deciding issue regarding TNI. Merely, that the issue had been raised.

Since neither TAS nor Mr. Bidinotto have chosen, to date, to discuss further what caused this split, further speculation (on my part) is unproductive. I wish them both well.

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More from Robert on this:

Moreover, it's wildly inaccurate to say that my goal was to resurrect the early Reason magazine. I never said anything of the sort. I made clear my view of the nature and goals of the magazine in my initial editorial, "TNI: A New Beginning," in the Fall 2005 issue:

"For the record, The New Individualist champions the basic principles of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's philosophy of rational individualism. Among our guiding principles:

"Each individual is an end in himself—not a means to the ends of others—and his own happiness and well-being is his highest moral purpose. Reason is the individual's only reliable guide to knowledge and action; he should therefore rely on his own rational judgment and live by the creative efforts of his own mind. He has the moral right to pursue his life and happiness in freedom—as a peaceful producer and trader, neither sacrificing himself to others nor others to himself. Government should be limited solely to the task of protecting individual rights and liberties. Cultural institutions should nurture independence, self-esteem, and personal achievement, honoring the individual at his creative best. To these ends, artists should strive to project a heroic, inspiring vision of human possibility.

"That rational, heroic vision of the individual sharply distinguishes this magazine from other opinion journals—left, right, libertarian, religious, or skeptic. Rational individualism is the philosophy of human potential: a challenging new perspective to meet the challenges of the new millennium.

"Unlike previous incarnations of this journal, The New Individualist is not aimed mainly at Objectivists. It is instead an "outreach" magazine, directed toward a much broader audience of intelligent readers, particularly opinion leaders. To reach them, we intend to put TNI on newsstands within a year, where it can become a distinctive and influential cultural presence.

"Attracting that new readership will require writing that is provocative, persuasive, stylish, and interesting. You won't find in these pages boring theoretical papers or vituperative ideological rants masquerading as opinion journalism. Such articles only attract those who already agree with them. But TNI isn't aimed at those who already agree with us. We don't assume reader familiarity with our philosophical outlook. Nor will the tone in articles here condescend to or insult the very people whom we wish to engage and persuade.

"My goal is to present compelling writing by outstanding thinkers on interesting intellectual and cultural topics—articles, essays, and reviews that assess our world from an individualist perspective. However, I welcome articles by writers who are not necessarily Objectivists, as long as their submissions on specific topics are congruent with our stated principles.

"This last requires elaboration.

"I've heard some complaints that certain authors in these pages not Objectivists. I confess: it's true. Some are not. But their specific articles are consonant with Objectivist principles and values. In some cases their arguments may not go as far as I might take them. Yet these authors do present valid and valuable ideas and information, often bringing special expertise and unique perspectives to bear. Moreover, they can write rings around most of their armchair critics.

"As editor, my responsibility is to police the contents of this magazine. But that's where my responsibility to you, our readers, ends. I can't be a moral or intellectual policeman concerning the private lives, philosophical pedigrees, or personal views of contributors. Nor can I concern myself with what they may publish elsewhere.

"Except for criminals, and those who publicly express hostility to TNI's philosophy, I otherwise don't care what an author may believe, do, or write outside of the four corners of the pages that he submits for my consideration. I can only weigh the quality of the manuscript that he puts before my eyes. If I think that it will engage, educate, and entertain you—and that it's consonant with the principles of rational individualism—then it stands a good chance of being published. If not, not."

I agree, for the most part, with the further comments that you quote from Robert Bidinotto, regarding his editorial direction of TNI. I don't see a disagreement between what I have said and what he said in the editorial quoted.

But, I beg to differ over his statement that he made no comparison of TNI to the early Reason magazine. As my memory recalls (and I will have to listen again to the video of his remarks at the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration of Atlas Shrugged, to get the exact quote), he turned from the podium to one of the founders of Reason magazine, Robert Poole, and stated that (my paraphrase) "TNI is doing what Reason magazine should have been doing."

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Jerry; I don't remember Robert Poole at the 50th.

This is a very interested tread. However I wish we get an indication of the person at the board meeting.

Chris:

At the Atlas Society's "Atlas Shrugged 50th Anniversary Celebration," October 6, 2007, Robert Poole (who had recently become a trustee of The Atlas Society), was not sitting on the dais. However, his presence, apparently in one of the front rows, was acknowledged from the podium by both Ed Hudgins and later by Robert Bidinotto, who made the reference (in a friendly, humorous manner) favorably comparing The New Individualist to Reason magazine.

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  • 4 years later...

This discussion reminds me of something that I learned about Ron Paul. He had delivered 4000 babies and became interested in monetary theory around the time that Richard Nixon closed the gold window in 1971. Doctor Paul decided to run for a Congressional seat in Texas where he was practicing medicine as an Obstetrician. To his surprise he actually won and was sworn in to office.

This is where he did something which I am not aware is done by almost any other office holder.

He wondered just what it would be that he would have to do in order to keep his oath of office! We all know the oath. It is written explicitly within the Constitution itself. Everyone who holds office has to take it. Virtually all of them take the oath but don't grasp its meaning or have any idea what the Founders had in mind in putting the oath there for all to see.

Ron Paul evidently realized that the Founders had been concerned about their States losing sovereignty when they created a central government to be over them. They wisely granted only certain powers to this new entity which they spelled out explicitly in Article 1 Section 8. All other powers were to be retained by the States or the People as stated in the Tenth Amendment.

Ron Paul thought that what he needed to do was to read the Bills and identify the powers being sought. If the power was not among those listed he would vote "No!"

By doing so he would be adhering to the guidance of the Founders whose intention was to prevent their children and future generations from ever living under any form of tyranny again.

In his twelve terms as Congressman Ron Paul voted "No!" as the sole "No!" vote over 300 times.

My own Congressman told me while looking me straight in the eyes, "If we all did what Ron Paul does we wouldn't have Social Security and Medicare!" in a tone of voice stressing that this justified their violation of their oath of office.

One marvels that Ron Paul has shown himself to be a man of principle who stood up against the establishment of his political party who saw him as disloyal and a renegade. No wonder that those young people who discovered this about Ron Paul became supporters of him, read the books he recommended, including Atlas Shrugged, attended his speaking engagements at colleges across the country in the thousands, when Romney was attracting hundreds, and donated millions to his campaign.

His legacy will live on. His religious beliefs did not deter him from finding Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged appealing. The pro freedom movement did not begin with Ron Paul but he did contribute to it and is said to have ignited it at least in the minds of millions of young people who are now carrying the torch and passing it on.

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Great appreciation, Gulch8.

“I just hope Ron Paul goes away.”

– Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute,

in an interview with Amy Peikoff, July 17, 2011.

Nothing showed the true colors of ARI more than their trashing of Ron Paul, which included misrepresenting his views.

Unfortunately Robert Bidinotto did the same.

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