Atlas Society will hold no Summer Seminar in 2009


Robert Campbell

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The Atlas Society and its predecessors have tried to do a bunch of things—not all of which need doing by the same organization, or by the same people.

I suspect that David Kelley would accomplish more in an academic setting than he has at TAS over the past few years.

Meanwhile, TAS could offer courses in Objectivism and provide rich intellectual resources for those who wish to learn more about it. But I don't think that NBI should be taken as a model, for two reasons. One is that NBI was organized around a charismatic leader and originator. However we may assess the pros and cons of that arrangement, Ayn Rand is dead, no one has taken her place, and no one seems likely to. Second, NBI discouraged criticism of Objectivist ideas and thoughtful responses to criticisms of Objectivism. (This aspect of NBI has been perpetuated, with a vengeance, by the Ayn Rand Institute.) I've sensed ambivalence about teaching people Objectivism at TAS, and I've also noted ambivalence as to whether any claim or proposition that is considered part of Objectivism might be wrong. I suspect that the second has led to the first.

As James Heaps-Nelson noted up-thread, Objectivism pre-dates key developments in neuroscience and dynamic systems. Achievements in these areas have not come from organizations whose primary function is promoting Objectivism, and they will not be coming from them in the future. The talks by Pat Corvini and Robert Knapp scheduled for the next Ayn Rand Institute event are ample reminders of what happens when Objectivism is taken to be all-encompassing.

The The New Individualist had much to offer on the cultural and political fronts. But print media are withering. An organization with a better fund-raising record than TAS has ever attained would have had trouble keeping the monthly TNI going.

Meanwhile, some of the principals at TAS might be most effective focusing on principled capitalism, or on the morals of markets—as could be done at Cato, or IHS, or in some new think tank.

Robert Campbell

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I don't know whether anyone noticed this little aside amidst the gloating over at SOLOPassion:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/5741#comment-63861

With Bidinotto gone they've lost their only dynamic public speaker and KASSest writer. Frankly they should put me in there as editor of their magazine, with all those years of The Free Radical behind me.

During the controversy over Will Thomas's decision to invite Lindsay Perigo to speak at the 2008 Summer Seminar, I was regularly lambasted as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist (and even publicly chided by Ed Hudgins) for suggesting that Mr. Perigo saw an opportunity to insinuate himself into a leadership position at TAS.

Robert Campbell

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I don't know whether anyone noticed this little aside amidst the gloating over at SOLOPassion:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/5741#comment-63861

With Bidinotto gone they've lost their only dynamic public speaker and KASSest writer. Frankly they should put me in there as editor of their magazine, with all those years of The Free Radical behind me.

During the controversy over Will Thomas's decision to invite Lindsay Perigo to speak at the 2008 Summer Seminar, I was regularly lambasted as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist (and even publicly chided by Ed Hudgins) for suggesting that Mr. Perigo saw an opportunity to insinuate himself into a leadership position at TAS.

Robert Campbell

Isn't that what a p____ wants to do?

--Brant

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Robert: "But I don't think that NBI should be taken as a model, for two reasons. One is that NBI was organized around a charismatic leader and originator. However we may assess the pros and cons of that arrangement, Ayn Rand is dead, no one has taken her place, and no one seems likely to. Second, NBI discouraged criticism of Objectivist ideas and thoughtful responses to criticisms of Objectivism."

You are quite right, Robert. But I wasn't suggesting that NBI be taken as a model in that sense -- and certainly not to the extent that it discouraged criticism of Objectivism. It was the structure of NBI to which I was referring -- that is, that we set up a school for those interested in Rand's ideas in New York and mini-schools in cities across the country where her ideas (and additions to those ideas) could be studied. Further, we had begun providing resources for a social life and support groups for students who wished to meet and socialize with like-minded people.

Barbara

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Judith; I have been told the TIA should be out in early January. We can and should judge the magazine then.

TIA? You mean TNI?

I was told when the Fall 2008 issue came out that the following issue would be out in early December. Now it's early January? All right. We will see what we see...when we see it!

REB

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I don't know whether anyone noticed this little aside amidst the gloating over at SOLOPassion:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/5741#comment-63861

With Bidinotto gone they've lost their only dynamic public speaker and KASSest writer. Frankly they should put me in there as editor of their magazine, with all those years of The Free Radical behind me.

During the controversy over Will Thomas's decision to invite Lindsay Perigo to speak at the 2008 Summer Seminar, I was regularly lambasted as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist (and even publicly chided by Ed Hudgins) for suggesting that Mr. Perigo saw an opportunity to insinuate himself into a leadership position at TAS.

Robert Campbell

Robert, even "wild-eyed conspiracy theorists" are right occasionally! :poke:

REB

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Barbara,

It's so good to hear from you! I'd like to see TAS follow the formula of NBI very sincerely. I am doing quite a lot of work on my own to study Objectivism and I would like so much to have added guidance. I am hoping to one day become a speaker or teacher of Objectivism myself. I just finished listening to your efficient thinking course. How is the book coming along?

I suppose I have different tastes when it comes to the appearance of political/philosophical magazines. Thus my only real compliant is esthetic. Have you written any articles for the magazine, Barbara?

Donovan, I'll be happy to help in any way I can. Please feel free to contact me by email.

The book is moving along fairly well. I've been plagued lately by some health problems that have slowed me up a bit, but I hope they are pretty much behind me.

I haven't written for the magazine, not out of lack of interest but out of lack of time.

Barbara

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Well, there's already been a gloat-fest at one predictable location:

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2008/12/ios...ath-watch.shtml

Its principal obviously monitors this site regularly.

Robert Campbell

Robert, my favorite item in the "gloat-fest" is the following jibe aimed at thee and me by an anonymous little coward known only as "RT". (Surely this isn't Robert Tracinski.)

Good riddance to the lot. And they're surprised that more people want to actually learn about and deeply understand *Ayn Rand's* ideas -- while fewer and fewer want to hear conferences on David Kelley's meandering misunderstandings, Campbell's ill-informed adaptations, or Bissell's "unique" views on volition/determinism and novel "findings" in epistemology?

For an analysis of this anti-intellectual technique, see my satirical essay "Objectivist Punctuation--Two Schools, One Method," posted here.

I hope everyone is having a great '09 so far.

I am having a ball, developing (for publication and worldwide dissemination!) more unique views and novel findings every day. I am not surprised to see very little other than sneering negativity and distortion produced by those who criticize my efforts, especially the slinking little wretches who hide behind the screen of anonymity. So much for the Randian virtue of courage (an aspect of integrity, according to John Galt).

REB

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I don't know whether anyone noticed this little aside amidst the gloating over at SOLOPassion:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/5741#comment-63861

With Bidinotto gone they've lost their only dynamic public speaker and KASSest writer. Frankly they should put me in there as editor of their magazine, with all those years of The Free Radical behind me.

During the controversy over Will Thomas's decision to invite Lindsay Perigo to speak at the 2008 Summer Seminar, I was regularly lambasted as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist (and even publicly chided by Ed Hudgins) for suggesting that Mr. Perigo saw an opportunity to insinuate himself into a leadership position at TAS.

Robert Campbell

Robert,

Just as an exercise in futile speculation, let us suppose one day TAS took Perigo up on his word. He was uninvited to make a speech at TAS on music, but he has presented his ideas and discussion over on his own site. So it is reasonable to assume that what he does at one place (posturing as an "Objectivist leader") will reflect what he would do at another in the same role.

Let's start with, say, the headline—the title of a lecture.

Why Catholicism Is Beating Objectivism's Ass ... Still

This is the latest thread Perigo kicked off on his theory of why romantic music is superior to all other types. Try to imagine a TAS publication, with pictures of David Kelley, Will Thomas and Ed Hudgins, all smiling while the copy is spitting out headlines laced with vulgarity like the one above, allied to a motto of "Total Passion for the Total Height." That's quite an image. :)

I personally find the idea of competition between warring camps applied to aesthetics rather silly, which is what the headline suggests, but I will let Perigo speak for himself on what he really means. All the quotes below (here in my present post) are from the SOLOP thread that is linked above. I have cherry picked some items. I did not link each post because of a technical problem they have on the link being null after the first page, but if anyone wishes to identify it, all they have to do is browse through the 5 pages of posts (so far) and use the search feature.

Let's start with a few statements of Perigo's actual thoughts:

I believe I'm the only Objectivist in the world to argue Romantic music's objective superiority. Even when it appears in mystic guise. Why won't anyone take me on??

... there's absolutely nothing wrong with Rand's love of "light," or "tiddly-wink" music. Doesn't alter the fact that in the realm of serious music she was an ignoramus. She said Beethoven's music was "malevolent," for starters. Complete and utter crap.

Well, actually, I'm saying out loud the corollary of that: Romantic music is objectively superior. Its [sic] means music by Catholics for Catholics.

Anyone... ...want seriously to contest the proposition that Catholicism is beating Objectivism's ass, on account of "hitting the spot" that Objectivism is missing because of anal-retentiveness?

What I'm driving at on this thread is that the value-swoon induced by The Priests and Schubert and the like is exactly the spot that Objectivism must hit, and is failing dismally to hit.

It was hideous. Utterly mindLESS filth. Identifying it as such is not "cultist," it's simply exercising discrimination and trying to rescue contemporary "music" from the gutter, as Rand said she was attempting with the whole culture.

Hendrix et al died early, thank goodness, because of their death-worship. Mario [Lanza] died early because his sense of life was at odds with that incipient death-worship.

It's all crap, and more subversive of freedom than The Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf, since it speaks to anti-reason directly at a sense-of-life level.

These days, in the humanities at least, the greater a person's credentials, the more pieces of paper he has, the less credible he is, the more certain it is that he's a total idiot, fit to be employed only by some half-assed Human Resources Department in a firm stupid enough to have such a thing. Or by the university that handed out the pieces of paper.

These represent, from what I can gather, some fundamental positions he holds.

Now let's see how he tries to influence the posters on the rhetoric side (since very few facts were presented). I assume he would try to influence a TAS audience in the same manner, being KASS and all...

Apart from having a very ordinary voice, the silly bitch can't sing more than 2 words without gasping for breath.

You're a moron.

Kiri's a bore.

... you're a musical moron.

Marsha Enright knows nothing fundamental about music.

It's simply not possible for a benevolent, rational person to like such garbage.

What he inadvertently revealed was the sense of life and ethics (i.e. none) of a lover of headbanging caterwauling. That's why I'll never be forgiven, by Joe, by Sciabarra, or the ARI. Ironic, no?? All these supposed adversaries, united in nihilism-worship!!

You dishonest pricks should simply go to your own pomo-territory and listen to headbanging caterwauling of your own free will.

Freaks, psychopaths and the tone-deaf need not apply. Unfortunately, they've been the dominant musos for generations.

Fuck Jimi and his repugnant noise.

Why eat shit when you can have food?

Jonathan is a pomowanker from way back in the O-Lying swamp.

Now here is the clincher for me. Fair is fair, so others get a chance to use the same rhetorical system. Here are some quotes from other posters said to or about Perigo during the discussion. Wouldn't it be good to see TAS rise to this total passion for the total height?

Shut Up, Perigo

You clearly cannot distinguish between esthetic and epistemic problem.

... you bloated feeb

You can go straight to hell with my earnest compliments.

... you outgrown slug

Look, fool:...

Lindsay Perigo substitutes reasoned debate on this topic for arguments from intimidation and name calling.

That's like saying that you are a fat-ass blubberslug because you're alive..

... you thick jackass

What's outrageous about you, you creepy poser, is the attitude that you're not worth by a small fraction. You don't know what you're talking about and you never shut your stupid yap about it.

Shut the fuck up.

This is big part of why I despise you, Perigo. Words mean shit to you.

You're not interested. That much is safe. The thing is, you really act like an idiot when you sound-off about it.

Maestro Pigero

Well, he's a pretentious slug.

It really is amusing how many Objectivists have been dazzled by a real-life Ellsworth Toohey like Pigero.

When will Ellsworth Pigero take the Romantic Manifesto seriously and lift himself out of the gutter in regard to the art forms about which he and his lackeys here on SOLOP are currently extremely ignorant?

... Pigego has very little influence outside of his little band of nutjob toadies, like you, and he doesn't even quite rise to the level of mediocrity.

Face it, Pigero, you're as much of an ignoramus about non-musical art forms as you accuse Rand of being in regard to music. You're a Rand-diminishing aesthetic gutter dweller.

I prefer to call him "Pigero." It sounds like "Figaro," which reflects his love of opera, while also making reference to his many pig-like qualities that he takes such pride in.

I admit, I sympathize with a lot of this. :) But that is not the point. According to Perigo, TAS should promote this manner of presentation because of his experience.

I personally will not host this kind of disrespect to me. People can do that elsewhere, not here on OL. When I gave up drugs, one of my first items of priority was to distance myself from things that had hurt me. I was sorely hurt by too much toleration. So I decided that if a person wishes to disrespect me, I will not put up with it to my face using my resources. I have ticked some people off with this attitude, but I am at peace with myself. Only once did I allow a poster to call me "asshole" on OL and not delete it or demand a retraction. I learned over time this was a bad mistake. It will not be repeated. (Keeping posters respectful with each other is another can of worms with other problems, the least of which is that I do not wish to control anyone's life, but I have to keep the forum reasonable in many directions. That is another discussion.)

Here's the rule, and it's almost an axiom.

Self respect is necessary before respect for others can exist.

From my read of all this, Perigo does not respect others and does not respect himself. He turns the other cheek and demands that others do likewise on the simple matter of respect. This he holds as the good. (He would never say that, but that's what he does. All anyone needs to do is look and there it is.)

As to his ideas, he has latched on to a phrase he coined "value swoon" and tried to make it a criterion of music, something Objectivists should shoot for. Conceptually, this is a mishmash of the work with the audience. (I.e., it's an oversimplification.) An art work by definition is an end in itself. Its only function is appreciation by human beings, but qua work, it exists as an independent entity. There is no way on earth to rationally discuss an emotion and leave out the person feeling it. In other words, art works are appreciated within the context of the appreciator. There cannot even be a "value swoon" (to use that klunky phrase) without a valuer. (I have a lot to say about this, but later, in another discussion.)

I will not discuss the other boneheaded arguments presented by Perigo. They speak for themselves. As for any input he could have to TAS, let's use his own words again, from that same thread:

Objectivists still haven't learned to emulate Roark. Precisely my point again.

TAS now wishes to devote time and resources to the Internet. I think it should, too. According to Perigo's self-appraisal, he should be the one to usher them into the mysteries of publication and teach them how to do it right. I do agree that TAS can learn much from Perigo's Internet thread on music dealing with the ideas and manners he almost presented at a TAS seminar. As the saying goes, no man is useless. At the very worst, he can be a good example of what not to be.

Maybe Perigo thinks he can teach TAS how to emulate Roark on the Internet. That's not hard to teach, though. All anyone has to do is read that thread and imagine Roark there.

Michael

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Robert: "But I don't think that NBI should be taken as a model, for two reasons. One is that NBI was organized around a charismatic leader and originator. However we may assess the pros and cons of that arrangement, Ayn Rand is dead, no one has taken her place, and no one seems likely to. Second, NBI discouraged criticism of Objectivist ideas and thoughtful responses to criticisms of Objectivism."

You are quite right, Robert. But I wasn't suggesting that NBI be taken as a model in that sense -- and certainly not to the extent that it discouraged criticism of Objectivism. It was the structure of NBI to which I was referring -- that is, that we set up a school for those interested in Rand's ideas in New York and mini-schools in cities across the country where her ideas (and additions to those ideas) could be studied. Further, we had begun providing resources for a social life and support groups for students who wished to meet and socialize with like-minded people.

Barbara

Barbara,

I have noticed how often people get confused between methodology vs. content. As far as I can tell, NBI offered an excellent format for spreading Objectivism. I am doing my best in Dallas to offer as many audio-lecture series as possible. Your course on Efficient Thinking will end in a few weeks. Our participation is growing and I am pleased to see students that support either TAS or ARI are participating with benevolence and respect for one another.

Michael,

I am very sorry to see that due to the schisms and poor behavior of so-called Objectivists that you feel more comfortable working with/trusting non-Objectivists. All I can say to that is that such people are probably and quite sadly confused, misguided or immature. There is no doubt in my mind that the world in general is suffering from poor self-esteem, poor psycho-epistemology, poor philosophy, etc. It always seems more easy to find faults in others than in ourselves though. I honestly don't like to waste my time with offensive people, they are desperate for attention.

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Donovan,

You do well to maintain that attitude. You have my total support. Please forgive me if some of this nastiness touches your life.

Interestingly enough, when OL started, for about the first 6 months we did not criticize anyone. I even went around and asked people by email to back off when they would react to being cussed on other forums. And we were called every name in the book—all without provocation. All that's on record for anyone to check.

The reason? Kat and I set up a place where the Brandens could be discussed without being cussed and smeared. In fact, they were honored here (and still are). There were other issues, but that was one of the main ones. As an aside, I would do it all over as many times as needed without hesitation.

Finally, the cussing began to take its toll on people. There are only so many times you can read about yourself publicly smeared in vulgar, nasty and untrue terms. It becomes irritating. Then time passes and you start to notice that other people have begun treating you as if a lot of that childish derogatory crap were true. Yet you refuse to say anything, trying to be above it. That happened to me and I know it happened to some others around here.

There comes a point where sanction of the victim becomes obvious and you have to make a choice between altruism and self-respect. This altruism was expressed at the time as "just live and let live" and other similar terms. Translated, that ended up meaning "be constantly slandered and attacked and let live." That is the point where I got fed up and took the gloves off. War they wanted. War they got. And I ain't done.

But I will be soon. Before long it will be money-making time, so then it will be time to leave those jokers eating dust while complaining about whatever and blaming the world for their underachievement. Money and achievement do a hell of a lot of good for putting some distance between yourself and pretentious losers like that.

One a brighter note, I am more than pleased for you for the success of your efforts. Do shine on. It's an inspiration.

Michael

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Donovan:

I just bookmarked your website. I will spread the word on your courses as I have a few friends in Texas and a client or two in Oklahoma.

I read Atlas when I was about 14 in 1959-1960 and basically not one single person who gets within 5 feet of me since that day has not been exposed to Objectivism.

That included teaching rhetoric (reasoning/persuasion) at Queens College an extremely left wing school in the City University of NY when I was 20-25. Also, since I am Northern Italian and it was a school that was secular left wing Jewish folks, I had a few interesting intellectual, physical and professional "disputes" along the way.

I love your approach and I will help you any way that I can - my e-mail is jgalt44@yahoo.com.

Adam

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That is the point where I got fed up and took the gloves off. War they wanted. War they got. And I ain't done.

I want to highlight one aspect of this, more for the benefit of readers who are new than for those who have followed the development of this sorry mess.

There has been no collective effort on OL to do anything with respect to this "war." The people who contributed did so mostly on their own individual efforts. Once in a blue moon, to my knowledge, research notes will be exchanged backstage. At least in terms of my own correspondence, someone will ask me where a thread or post is, or if there is any fact behind such-and-such allegation, or something like that. But there has been nothing like what I was invited to belong to on the former SoloHQ (organized by Perigo back then), where a small private invitation-only group called "Solo Under Siege" was set up to discuss the behavior of this person or that, and how to counterattack such person. The discussions in that group were not over differences in intellectual ideas, but instead over targeting individuals and what actions should be carried out against them.

To my knowledge, nothing like this exists on OL. My idea of "war" has been to present facts as best I can verify them, lampoon the ridiculous behavior I observe, keep written focus on the crassness and vulgarity and tribal behavior that anyone can see (and providing examples), highlight boneheaded reasoning, and provide a platform for others to do things in a similar vein according to their own values and choices. I make myself very clear as to where I stand, but I let the reader decide for himself or herself what to do and think.

We have some highly intelligent members on OL who post regularly on Solo Passion. This does not bother me at all. It's their choice. I have nothing to do with that. However, if one of these people should ask me one day what I think of Perigo & Co., he/she should be prepared to hear an earful. But if I am asked what I think of his/her participation on SOLOP, my response would be to be happy and do what such person finds valuable.

Sometimes I read criticism of OL as if it were an organized collective. Nothing could be further from the truth. OL is a place where highly intelligent and talented individuals come and discuss things with each other. We have an enviable backlog of important Objectivist and Objectivism-friendly material that has been contributed by individuals out of individual love and interest, not out of any sentiment of any kind of organized movement.

I am beginning to see an enormous irony in the collectivist spirit within the Objectivist community. When one sees the world through the eyes of a tribal mentality, I am discovering (through observing behavior) that it is inconceivable to that person to imagine what being an independent individual feels like.

Maybe these people should read some more Ayn Rand and see if they get it one day. Thinking with ones own mind means the right and practice of sometimes getting things wrong, then figuring them out. It also means doing things—producing things of value. It does not mean mouthing a party line based on a body of literature as interpreted (or approved) by a tribe leader.

Objecivism is a philosophy of individualism, but within the vocal public Objectivist subcommunity that is mostly only theory. The practice has been predominantly collectivist. And that is about as boneheaded as it gets. I once wrote about a "silent contingency" of people who are influenced by Rand and a philosophy of thinking for oneself, but who hate the bickering and tribes within the subcommunity. In addition to my friends and colleagues here on OL, it is for them I write and try to serve by example.

So when I wage "war," it should be meant as an individual effort on my part that readers are free to agree with or ignore as they see fit. I trust them to choose and do best for their own lives and values. I strongly believe there is no greater weapon. I appeal to their volitional reason. If others use OL to wage their own "war," it is under the same standard. If we happen to agree, that is because such agreement came from the authority within each individual, not by any agreement demanded by any tribal leader.

Michael

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See folks, we just need to go back to the Trotsky methodology and build a better ice pick!

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Oh boy, this is tough: sitting in front of my computer, waiting for orders. Nothing to do. I know I'll be unleashed, but I don't know when. But that other site must be shaking in its collective boots knowing I will be coming! The hardest thing though is pretending to be an individualist. I don't know how individualists do it! How can they stand it--to be one all the damn time? It's a sacrifice for me but a price I am willing to pay for the pleasure of SOLOP's smoking ruins, metamorphically speaking, of course!

--Brant

no spelling errors were identified

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Donovan:

I just bookmarked your website. I will spread the word on your courses as I have a few friends in Texas and a client or two in Oklahoma.

I read Atlas when I was about 14 in 1959-1960 and basically not one single person who gets within 5 feet of me since that day has not been exposed to Objectivism.

That included teaching rhetoric (reasoning/persuasion) at Queens College an extremely left wing school in the City University of NY when I was 20-25. Also, since I am Northern Italian and it was a school that was secular left wing Jewish folks, I had a few interesting intellectual, physical and professional "disputes" along the way.

I love your approach and I will help you any way that I can - my e-mail is jgalt44@yahoo.com.

Adam

Hi Adam,

Thank you for your encouragement and support. I will be working on my curriculum for February soon. In late 07, I decided that I needed to dig into the history of Objectivism, and that I also needed on a personal level to obtain a deeper understanding of the philosophy. I originally purchased Nathaniel Branden's course on Objectivism for me to study alone, but then I realized the possibility that people I know might be interested in joining me on this quest for history and knowledge. I opened The Culture of Reason Center (CRC) in January of 08, because it became obvious that so many people I know and don't know may like to participate. Since opening CRC I have been racing to expand and I am constantly encouraging new membership. I've been very excited to be making so many new friends who share my intellectual and political interests. Because CRC is open to the public, and because I realize that so many students are very new to the ideas, I only require that people show respect to me and my fellow guests and of course that they pay for the services I host. I'm extremely thankful to my older brother, who started The North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) about 3 years ago, which rekindled my interest in studying Ayn Rand's ideas. I also cannot help but mention the support I have received from my parents who introduced me to Objectivism and are instrumental by providing an outstanding environment for me to host these courses. I will post a detailed list of CRC's achievements in a few days.

I have also created a facebook group for those that would like to join: CRC facebook

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Barbara,

It's so good to hear from you! I'd like to see TAS follow the formula of NBI very sincerely. I am doing quite a lot of work on my own to study Objectivism and I would like so much to have added guidance. I am hoping to one day become a speaker or teacher of Objectivism myself. I just finished listening to your efficient thinking course. How is the book coming along?

I suppose I have different tastes when it comes to the appearance of political/philosophical magazines. Thus my only real compliant is esthetic. Have you written any articles for the magazine, Barbara?

Donovan, I'll be happy to help in any way I can. Please feel free to contact me by email.

The book is moving along fairly well. I've been plagued lately by some health problems that have slowed me up a bit, but I hope they are pretty much behind me.

I haven't written for the magazine, not out of lack of interest but out of lack of time.

Barbara

Is there anything I can do to help you? I'm really looking forward to your work.

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But I wasn't suggesting that NBI be taken as a model in that sense -- and certainly not to the extent that it discouraged criticism of Objectivism. It was the structure of NBI to which I was referring -- that is, that we set up a school for those interested in Rand's ideas in New York and mini-schools in cities across the country where her ideas (and additions to those ideas) could be studied. Further, we had begun providing resources for a social life and support groups for students who wished to meet and socialize with like-minded people.

Barbara,

Point taken.

If TAS were to set up a school and satellite mini-schools, employing an open approach to Rand's ideas, much of value could be accomplished.

Robert Campbell

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Barbara and Robert (and others),

Here's a suggestion for an education outline that would resolve several issues in teaching Objectivism.

Stage 1a: How Rand and Branden did it

Stage 1b: How Rand did it after Branden

Stage 2: Common ground and differences between canonical Objectivism and other major systems of thought

Stage 3: How others do it

Since education is the concern in this outline and not evaluation or implementation (especially and emphatically neither challenging the philosophy nor "saving the world"), the cornerstone and starting point is to identify what traditional Objectivism is as it was conceived, warts and glories and all. Stage 1a and 1b can include works by other authors Rand identified as Objectivism such as those that were published in The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, The Ayn Rand Letter and Rand's books (the ones published while she was alive). Then the educational courses can go on from there.

This doesn't have to be a course straightjacket, either. The above outline can work on macro and micro levels, depending on the issues being dealt with.

The advantage of this approach is that a person new to the philosophy will not get bogged down in the attack-defend Rand controversy or worry about which side to take in schisms right at the moment he or she is trying to figure out just what Objectivism is. The concepts of reality, reason, egoism and capitalism as promoted by Rand and Branden in the beginning are the same concepts irrespective of who teaches them. Whether any idea is complete or not can be dealt with after it is understood.

Contrary to what many others have stated, I believe Rand's history and the history of the Objectivist movement should be part of the course—warts and glories and all and without apology. A lot of stuff happened. It should be studied.

I go from the premise that you have to identify something before you can evaluate it. As a corollary, you can only improve something if you evaluate it, which implies you identify it first.

I also go from the premise that it is proper for each person to reach his/her own conclusions after being presented by properly identified facts. It is improper for a teacher to judge things and then demand normative adherence from students on pain of expulsion from an educational group.

One more premise is that balance is the operating principle in an objective presentation, not fanaticism. A great teacher knows how to maintain objective balance and inspire a class at the same time.

In other words, in my approach to Objectivist education, the motto should be "teach not preach."

(But teach with gusto.)

I am not against preaching per se, but I am against teaching by preaching.

Michael

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I have as much reason to gloat about this as anybody. But there isn't much point in doing so. I could see some signs of trouble all the way back in 1995 and 1996, when I attended their seminars for the whole week. I went back for the Friday and Saturday in 2001 and haven't been back since.

I figure TAS will last as long as Ed Snider wants to keep funding it. Ed, of course, has other interests right now. He is mainly interested in protecting Israel and its Apartheid system. He was also giving money to John McCain last year. Maybe if Ed disassociated himself from TAS, they might actually start promoting Objectivist ideas again and stop worshipping at the neo-con altar.

There are many factors at play here, and they go way back:

1. Attendance at events like these has suffered ever since the WTC. I know this because I saw how attendance at a sci-fi convention dropped after that fateful day. An eight-year economic recession has not helped--we have been in a recession since 2000.

2. From 1995 to 2001, I noticed that the crowd got older and more male. Neither development is positive.

3. They never formed any alliance with George Reisman. Reisman was alienated from ARI back in 1995 or so. In spite of that, he has never been to one of their events. I have heard that this is because Nathaniel Branden has been there.

4. They did almost nothing. Many organizations now publish solely on the web. TAS mails out a magazine and hardly publishes any books.

5. They had few if any alliances with libertarian organizations. However, they did have loose alliances with psuedo-libertarians at Reason and Cato.

6. They moved to DC. All this did was increase their overhead--rent, etc.

7. I would like to believe that their childish and silly attack on Ron Paul about a year ago hurt them. Are there any stats on this?

8. Finally, they failed to provide any alternative to ARI on what is the biggest issue in the USA today. Is the USA a constitutal republic with limited government based on self-defense or is the USA an empire which can kill defenseless children all over the world and give money to bloodthirsty goons in places like Israel and Georgia. Yaron Brook has already shown everyone that he is genocidal maniac, and TAS didn't show that they were any better.

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Michael:

Precisely the point:

A. "The advantage of this approach is that a person new to the philosophy will not get bogged down in the attack-defend Rand controversy or worry about which side to take in schisms right at the moment he or she is trying to figure out just what Objectivism is."

B. "I go from the premise that you have to identify something before you can evaluate it. As a corollary, you can only improve something if you evaluate it, which implies you identify it first."

C. "I also go from the premise that it is proper for each person to reach his/her own conclusions after being presented by properly identified facts. It is improper for a teacher to judge things and then demand normative adherence from students on pain of expulsion from an educational group."

These read as central principles for a charter for the schools to me.

I am really quite happy I missed all the internecine self immolations that have transpired, but it was the reason I walked away after the "split".

Well put Michael.

Adam

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