As with most people, my working schedule has been blurred. With colleagues in different time zones, 24/7 emails and texts, I can’t remember the last time I had an evening or weekend to myself—the traditional periods of respite.But there are two holidays when I refuse to work: Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Thanksgiving is the easy one to explain. It’s a harvest festival, deeply connected with the Objectivist virtue of productiveness when we enjoy what we have reaped and sowed. As a secular person, the thanks I give are to America, for the freedom that allows me to work for my vision.Which brings me to the Fourth. I am an intellectual and writer by profession. I am protected in my work by the First Amendment, for which I am deeply grateful. As a spokesman for an unconventional view, I’m especially aware of how often innovators of ideas, throughout history, have been persecuted, exiled, tortured, and executed. In America, thanks to the Founding Fathers, and despite the decline in respect for free speech in universities, I know that I won’t be fined for speaking my mind, or told by government what I can or can’t say, much less suffer the stocks or the stake.I wish my fellow producers in business and finance enjoyed the same freedom. In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a final scene has Judge Narragansett penning an amendment to the Constitution in parallel with the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade …"I hope that day will come....
Read Article : The Objectivist Sabbath
TPUSA News Interview with Jennifer Anju Grossman
JT: Well Good morning Miss Grossman, It’s such a pleasure to have you here.JAG: Thank you, I’m so excited to be here.JT: So right off the bat, what advice do you have to the thousands of young ladies in Turning Point about how they can make their mark on American politics over the next few years?JAG: Well this weekend they’ve already heard a lot of great advice about politics, but what they haven’t heard of is this: The importance of getting grounded in philosophy. To paraphrase Ayn Rand: Everybody has a philosophy, everybody needs a philosophy, their choice is whether or not they’re going to choose their philosophy consciously or whether they’re going to accumulate a kind of grab-bag of slogans, contradictions, fears, and what other people are telling them.So that’s what I want young women to focus on – philosophy – because that’s what’s going to make them unstoppable. It’s good and well to gather facts, learn about history, and make good contacts, but you really need to get it in here [holding up a copy of Atlas Shrugged]. That is what is going to make you unshakable and unstoppable when you are on campus arguing for your beliefs and people are yelling at you or even threatening you. You’re really going to need to be able to know how to stand up for yourself and how to stand up for your ideals -- how to defend them without a flinch, without a blink, and that is what imbibing philosophy is going to give you.JT: So one of the...
Read Article : “Say ‘No’ to Victimhood”
Shortly after enrolling in the University of Arizona in 1969—a high-school dropout, I managed to talk my way in without a diploma—I formed a Students of Objectivism club. There were similar clubs around the country, and I quickly learned that to call my organization an “Objectivism Club,” or something to that effect, might bring the threat of a lawsuit from Ayn Rand’s attorney, as had happened to some other groups. This restriction didn’t especially bother me. If Ayn Rand wished to restrict the label “Objectivism” and “Objectivists” to groups or persons that she had specifically sanctioned, then I would go along out of respect for her.
Although my club was formed to advance and discuss Rand’s ideas, I conceived of it as a philosophy club structured around Rand’s ideas. Unlike some similar groups I had heard about, criticisms of Rand’s ideas were welcome and even encouraged. I believed then, as I believe now, that a sound philosophy will be able to withstand criticism. Moreover, the proponents of a philosophy will become more capable of defending their ideas as they become more able to respond effectively to criticisms.
Within months our membership swelled to over 100. We quickly became the second largest organization on the UA campus, surpassed only by SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). Later, after we expressed our opposition to the war in Vietnam by participating in the nationwide Moratorium March to End the War in Vietnam (Oct. 15, 1969) we achieved another sort of...
Read Article : Ayn Rand and I, Part 2
A blog by George H. Smith
I never met Ayn Rand. I never saw her in person. I never corresponded with her. Yet this woman was to exert a profound influence on my life.
I first learned of Ayn Rand in 1967, during the first of her three appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. After that I made a point of watching her other two appearances. The intensity of Rand was captivating, as was the conciseness with which she spoke. But the thing that struck me most was her reply to Carson’s remark, “I understand that you’re an atheist,” Rand tersely replied, “Of course”—as if no other reply was possible for a reasonable person. That was it. No lengthy excuses about how a personal tragedy brought about a loss of faith, and no face-saving qualifications about how she was really a “spiritual” person, even if she didn’t believe in God. Just a simple, straightforward “Of course.” I was impressed, having de-converted from Christianity to atheism nearly three years earlier, during my sophomore year in high school.
By 1967 I had been reading avidly in the freethought tradition and greatly admired writers like Thomas Paine. I had also read Walter Kaufmann, Bertrand Russell, Corliss Lamont, and other secular philosophers. Although these thinkers enabled me to hone my critical skills, their ideas never satisfied me. This was especially true in the field of ethics. What was called “humanistic ethics” struck me a little more than a secularized version of Christian ethics.
Within a couple of months...
Read Article : Ayn Rand and I, Part 1