NYC Junto Newsletter – December 2012

December 31, 2012

* NEW Junto meeting Jan. 3
* NEW Upcoming Junto speakers through April 2013
* NEW Benefits of income inequality, Richard Epstein video 
* NEW Objective Standard for end of government schools
* NEW Objective Standard's free services
* NEW Objective Standard's livestream debate
* NEW Objective Standard Blog: Peter Schiff on taxes as theft
* NEW Author's adventures in the Ayn Rand Inst. archives
* NEW Video talk by Kerry O'Quinn, who knew Ayn Rand
* NEW Les Misérables film review by Robert Tracinski
* NEW The problem with Robert Bork by Robert Tracinski
* NEW How John Stossel changed his world view
* NEW The importance of warehouses
* NEW On the attack on U.S. Embassy by Ayn Rand Inst.
* NEW Defining Capitalism by Alexander R. Cohen
* NEW "Ayn Rand used to be crazy"
* NEW New college program reaches the next stage
* NEW Former Junto regular Marty Reisman died Dec. 7th
* NEW Objectivist and libertarian groups and sites
* Ayn Rand walking tours
* NYCjunto-discuss list
* About this newsletter
Junto is a group that shares information,
discusses current issues and presents speakers

Donald J. Boudreaux
"Half-Wits & Hypocrites: Dealing with Economic Nonsense" 

Thursday, January 3 

Admission Free -- No reservation necessary
* We'll socialize from 7:00pm to 7:30pm.
* 7:30pm moderator, Gene Epstein calls first for announcements 
    of things happening before the next Junto. Then other 
    announcements and for people introducing themselves.
* The speaker will begin promptly at 8:00pm and talk about 
    45 minutes, uninterrupted.  
* Following the talk are questions, discussions and rebuttal 
    of the speaker's points. Discussions are intense but polite.
* The meeting will continue to 10:00pm or later.

General Society Library, 
20 West 44 St., between 5th and 6th Aves., NYC
near the Grand Central Terminal

Subway: 4, 5, 6, S to Grand Central -- 42nd St. 
B, D, F, 7 to 42nd Street -- Sixth Ave. at Bryant Park 
A, C, E, N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3 to Times Square -- 42nd St.

Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M42, M98, M101, M102, M104, Q32

Train: MTA Metro-North Railroad to Grand Central 

Car: Some private parking facilities in the area. Parking on 
side streets is metered, limited to specific days and times.

* Participation by all attendees is highly encouraged.
* Junto meets on the first Thursday of every month.

Donald J. Boudreaux is a George Mason U. econ. prof. where
he teaches law and economics.
    He'll talk about "Half-Wits & Hypocrites: Dealing with 
Economic Nonsense." 
    He's author of "Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose 
of Sanity from Cafe Hayek." 
    This is from the Book Description on Amazon:
Each day he writes a letter to the editor of a major American 
publication. Often, he writes in response to an absurdity 
offered up by a columnist or politician, or an eye-catching 
factoid misleadingly taken out of context. 
    This collection, comprised of 100 of his best letters, 
provides intelligent, witty rejoinders to questions like these:
* Are taxes ''really just prices''? New York Times
* Does the Tea Party suffer from a ''fatuous infatuation'' with 
    the Constitution? Washington Post
* Is it ''obvious'' that ''if there are fewer guns, there are fewer 
    shootings and fewer funerals'' New Orleans Times-Picayune
* Has ''slowing population growth'' proven to be ''critical to 
    long-term economic growth''? Wall Street Journal
Without swearing allegiance to any party or ideology, 
he takes aim at pundits and politicos on the left, right
and everywhere between. 
    He tackles issues ranging from ''lookism'' in the office and 
the futility of border walls to naive faith in alternative energy 
and the all-too-common tendency to trust a fallible and 
ever-expanding government.
    "Half-truths and Hypocrites" won't change the deeply held 
convictions of readers. But it will entertain them, enlighten 
them and sharpen their eye for shaky facts, faulty reasoning 
and intellectual dishonesty -- all of which are threats to a free, 
prosperous country.
    He's also author of "Globalization," one of the Greenwood 
Guides to Business and Economics.  
    It's about the workings of the global economy and how it 
influences businesses and individuals. 
    Each chapter identifies common questions and issues 
that have gained exposure in the popular media -- such as 
outsourcing, the high cost of international travel and the 
impact of a fast-growing China -- to illustrate underlying 
drivers and mechanisms at work. 
    It covers international trade, national wealth disparities (the 
haves vs. the have-nots), foreign investment, and geographical 
and cultural issues. It's supported with illustrations, maps, 
charts, a glossary and timeline of key events. 
    He's been in the Wall St. Journal, Investor's Business Daily, 
Regulation, Reason, Ideas on Liberty, Washington Times,
Journal of Commerce, Cato Journal and scholarly journals.
    He was chair of dept. econ. at George Mason U. 2001 to 
2009, pres. Foundation for Economic Education [FEE] and
assoc. prof. legal studies and econ. Clemson U. 
   He's lectured in the U.S., Canada, Latin America & Europe
on many topics, including the nature of law, antitrust law and 
economics, and international trade.
    Read his essays and daily letters to editors at the blog he 
co-writes with Russ Roberts:

Visit Junto's site for information on current & past speakers,
to read previous newsletters and to sign up for the Junto 
    Visit Junto on Facebook: 
    Follow Junto on Twitter:
Junto focuses on libertarianism, Objectivism and investing.
Our founder and host is Victor Niederhoffer. 
    Visit his site at:
Please email the above text to your freedom loving friends 
who might be interested in Junto.
    Feel free to use the above text to promote Junto among 
libertarians, Objectivists and investors.

Come to Junto, meet these upcoming speakers:

* Feb. 7, Ivan Eland "Putting 'Defense' Back Into U.S. 
Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the 21st Century" 
sr. fellow, dir, Center on Peace and Liberty, Independent Inst., 
author "The Empire has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy 
Exposed" and "No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the 
Middle East." Visit his page:
we'll celebrate Ayn Rand's 108th birthday. Learn about her and 
her philosophy Objectivism at:

* Mar. 7, Brink Lindsey, senior fellow, Cato Institute: trade 
policy, globalization, U.S. social & cultural history, nature 
of human capital. Currently researching economic growth 
and policy barriers that impede it. Read more about him:

*April 4, Matt Welch, editor in chief Reason, the libertarian 
magazine of ''Free Minds and Free Markets,'' co-author ''The 
Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can 
Fix What's Wrong with America.'' Read more about him at:

Benefits of income inequality, Richard Epstein video
    This is a suggestion from Walter Greenspan on the 
NYCjunto-discuss list.
    "For a good, as well as an easily understandable, explanation 
of the societal benefits of income inequality, please view NYU 
Law Professor Richard Epstein's recent PBS (yes, PBS) 
interview." [Epstein spoke at Junto on Sept. 1, 2011.] 
    Watch the video here:
    Epstein gives good reason's why the gov't shouldn't tax away 
wealth, all of them practical, but he doesn't defend rights. He 
never says that no one has the right to take someone's property. 
For that we need Ayn Rand:
    "If one wishes to advocate a free society -- that is, 
capitalism -- one must realize that its indispensable foundation 
is the principle of individual rights. If one wishes to uphold 
individual rights, one must realize that capitalism is the only 
system that can uphold and protect them....
    "The right to life is the source of all rights -- and the right to 
property is their only implementation. Without property rights, 
no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by 
his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his 
effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces 
while others dispose of his product, is a slave...."
    You can read more of what Rand wrote about rights here:

The Objective Standard calls for end of government schools
    "The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is 
the Moral Imperative of Our Time" by C. Bradley Thompson
    He tackles the problem that is the so-called public schools, 
showing that they are fundamentally corrupt and unfixable, 
and must be abolished.
    This is the first paragraph:
"I begin with my conclusion: The 'public' school system is the 
most immoral and corrupt institution in the U.S. a today, and it 
should be abolished. It should be abolished for the same reason 
that chattel slavery was ended in the 19th century: Although 
different in purpose and in magnitude of harm to its victims, 
public education, like slavery, is a form of involuntary 
servitude. The primary difference is that public schools force 
children to serve the interests of the state rather than those of 
an individual master...."
    You can read the beginning of it, buy a PDF or MP3,
or subscribe to The Objective Standard at:

The Objective Standard's free services
* The Objective Standard's updates & commentary list, free:
    Sign up at:
* TOS Blog, daily commentary from an Objective perspective:
    Visit it at:
* The Objective Standard's free audio articles and lectures:
    Listen to or download them at:

The Objective Standard's livestream debate:
    "Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind?"
Dinesh D’Souza vs. Andrew Bernstein 
Feb. 8, 2013, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
    This will be accessible via livestream for $5.00. 
Information for livestreaming will be posted in Jan. at:
    It will be at Hogg Auditorium, U. of Texas, Austin
General admission $30, students $8. It's sponsored by
The Objective Standard and UT Objectivism Society
    Is Christianity the source of important truths, moral law and 
man's rights and thus profoundly good for mankind -- or is it 
antithetical to all such values and thus profoundly bad? 
    Christian conservative Dinesh D’Souza will argue that 
Christianity is good; Objectivist atheist Andrew Bernstein 
will argue the alternative. 

The Objective Standard Blog: Peter Schiff on taxes as theft
    On Dec. 30th this Peter Schiff video was posted:
"The Ability to Steal Doesn't Make Theft Right"
    In this video he explains why the mob doesn't have 
a right to steal his money and he warns Americans about 
the continuing assault on the wealthy.
    He begins: "I have no doubt that the mob has the means to 
steal my money, the government has given them the means, 
we have destroyed the protections that were afforded [to] me 
by the constitution, and yes the mob does have the means to 
steal from me, but that doesn’t make it right. They do not have 
a...moral claim to my money...."
    You can watch it here:

Author tells of her adventures in the Ayn Rand Inst. archives
    Jennifer Burns is the author of " Goddess of the Market: 
Ayn Rand and the American Right." 
    This is her article about her experiences doing research for
her book, with many comments about Objectivism, Rand, etc. 
    Read it here:

Video talk by Kerry O'Quinn, who knew Ayn Rand
    In this talk "Reach for the Stars," Kerry tells of 1960s 
New York City. Ayn Rand taught him the "secrets of life"
at the Nathaniel Branden Institute. 
    Since those days, Kerry's been teaching others how to enjoy
the struggles necessary to explore beyond our comfort zones 
and make dreams come true -- learning, dreaming, planning
and relishing the reaching. 
    His ideas are inspiring, motivating and brutally practical. 
In this talk he draws on his forthcoming book, "Reach for the 
Stars." It's built from his editorials in the sci-fi magazine 
Starlog. He created and published it for more than 20 years.
    I subscribed to Starlog for years, mainly to read his 
editorials. I also enjoyed the articles about Star Trek.
    Kerry's a producer of magazines, music, books, videos, 
TV shows and events. Watch the video here:

Les Misérables film review by Robert Tracinski
    "...I got into a little more detail on the connections between 
Ayn Rand and Victor Hugo in the August 18 edition of The 
Tracinski Letter when I explained 'Why There Is No Liberal 
Atlas Shrugged.' Les Misérables, I wrote, is the closest thing. 
    " 'In fact it might be more accurate to say, not that Les 
Misérables was a liberal Atlas Shrugged, but that Atlas 
Shrugged is a capitalist Les Misérables.'...
    "Director Tom Hooper offers us a powerful new version 
of Les Miserables which is faithful in letter and spirit to the 
original musical and also to the novel -- in fact, he frequently 
draws on elements from the original novel that couldn't be 
presented on stage -- while at the same time really adapting 
the story to take advantage of the medium of film....
    "More than that, Hooper brings to Les Misérables something 
that I don't believe has ever been attempted before, certainly 
not on this scale: an obsessive commitment to realism 
which has not been considered compatible with the whole 
genre of the movie musical. After all, people don't just 
spontaneously burst into song and dance as they walk
down the street, do they?... 
    "Ayn Rand defined her literary school, and Hugo's, as 
'Romantic Realism.' The idea was to show characters brought 
into grand conflicts by their own choices, values, and ideals --
the basic idea of Romanticism -- but to show them in the real 
world and not in some historical fantasy world....
    "As I wrote before, the theme of the musical is the same one 
Ayn Rand identified as the overall theme of Hugo's works....
    "In her introduction to a new edition of Hugo's 
'Ninety-Three,' Ayn Rand said that the theme of that book, 
and of Victor Hugo's work as a whole, was how great men are 
when they pursue values -- not any particular values, since the 
main characters of that novel are all set against one another, but 
values as such. That is the theme dramatized in the musical....
    "That's a message, and a view of man, that our culture needs. 
We got a big infusion of it 27 years ago [when this musical 
was first produced in London], and Tom Hooper's achievement 
-- and Hugh Jackman's -- is to bring that theme to life again 
with a realism that helps make its message fresh, immediate 
and unforgettable."
   Read all of this review at:

The problem with Robert Bork by Robert Tracinski
    This is from his Dec. 23, 2012 newsletter. I knew Bork had 
bad ideas, but couldn't remember what they were. Tracinski 
spelled them out. This is the essence of it:
    "...I deeply disagree with his theory of jurisprudence. 
    "He is known as an advocate of 'originalism,' i.e., reading 
the Constitution according to its original meaning. 
    "Which is great, except for the backward way Bork did 
this. He didn't hold that, unless the Constitution explicitly 
authorizes the federal government to do something, it is 
forbidden from doing it. 
    "Instead, he held that unless the Constitution explicitly 
prohibits the federal government from doing something, 
it is permitted to do it. 
    "Which is pretty much the opposite of the original meaning 
of the Constitution.
     "He used this to bar the invented 'rights' that the left seeks 
to read into the Constitution -- you know, the right to health 
care and that sort of thing -- but his theory would also bar the 
Supreme Court from protecting legitimate rights...."

How John Stossel changed his world view
    In a Reason magazine's fundraising letter Stossel is asked 
what was his turning point.
    "Just being on the beat for 40 years now, watching
government make it worse for consumers....I watch closely 
and tried to figure out what was going on. Then I discovered 
Reason magazine. And -- wow, this makes sense."

The importance of warehouses
    When I was a child warehouses didn't seem important to me. 
Now it's clear they're a major force in the economy. From the 
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18, 2012, by Dana Mattioli:
    "Time is money. And in the fierce holiday-season battle 
between online and offline sales, a single hour can be worth 
millions of dollars. 
    "GSI Commerce Inc., a unit of eBay Inc. that handles online 
shipping for 70 brands including Godiva, Aéropostale Inc. and 
Estée Lauder, has been building new warehouses, counting 
workers' steps and even tweaking the way it prints labels with 
a single goal: Push back the cutoff time for Christmas delivery 
by 60 minutes.
    "No matter how efficient online retailers become, the need 
for shipping means there is a certain point at which they can 
no longer compete with brick-and-mortar rivals for last-minute 
shoppers. Wringing efficiencies out of the shipping process, 
therefore, is essential.
    "This year, GSI's customers will let shoppers order as late 
as 11:00pm eastern time on Dec. 22 and still get their orders by 
Christmas Eve. That's eight more hours than shoppers get on, which cuts off Christmas sales at 3:00pm, and 
an hour later than GSI's deadline last year.
    "That extra hour will account for about 10% of all sales 
handled by GSI on Dec. 22, said Tobias Hartmann, chief 
executive of global operations...."
    You can read the article at:

Commentary on the attack on U.S. Embassy by Ayn Rand Inst. published an article by Elan Journo, fellow 
in foreign policy at the Ayn Rand Institute. The headline 
FoxNews gave it is: "Our self-crippled policy encouraged 
the deadly embassy attacks." 
    "...For decades, U.S. policymakers have refused to 
recognize the religious character and goals of the Islamist 
movement. That movement -- which encompasses Tehran's 
mullahs, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood
and many others -- is a political ideology that seeks to 
subjugate all the world's peoples, by physical force, under the 
supreme governing authority of Islamic religious law, in every 
area of life and thought...." 
    Read all of it at:

Defining Capitalism by Alexander R. Cohen
    Cohen came to Junto when he lived here. Now he's in D.C.
with The Atlas Society. 
    This is most of his article: "Merriam-Webster has announced 
that 'capitalism' and 'socialism' were the most looked-up words 
of 2012. That's unsurprising in a year when these concepts 
were central to political debate -- especially since true 
capitalism is so rarely identified that, as I noted back in Oct., 
even Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney failed 
to grasp what a 'free market' is.
    "So here's a reminder: Capitalism is freedom, including 
the freedom to create, keep and exchange material as well 
as spiritual values. 
    "In her essay 'What Is Capitalism?' in 'Capitalism: The 
Unknown Ideal,' Ayn Rand gave this definition: 'Capitalism 
is a social system based on the recognition of individual 
rights, including property rights, in which all property is 
privately owned.' 
    "Capitalism -- true capitalism -- is not a system in which 
government officials shower special favors on their favorite 
rich people; that's cronyism, or 'crony capitalism.' ('Crony 
capitalism' is a form of capitalism about the way 'mandatory 
volunteering' is a form of volunteering.)..."
    The balance of the article, with many links, is here:

"Ayn Rand used to be crazy"
     This is from The Beverly Hills Courier:
"Today, we are threatened by the cancerous growth of 
government spending driven by massive takings from 
producers and transfers to non-producers. This column wrote 
a few months ago that 'Ayn Rand Used to Be Crazy.' What 
she predicted is now accelerating. Not only is government at 
all levels taking more every day, but that same government 
stifles, strips and destroys producers. What is worse is that the 
amount of money we as a nation owe to others is accelerating, 
too -- beyond comprehension...."
    The rest of this editorial is at:

New college program reaches the next stage
    Marsha Familaro Enright has spoken at Junto about her
plans to create a four year college. Now The Reason, 
Individualism, Freedom (RIF) Institute and its innovative 
educational programs have home in Rockford College. 
    It's been launched in the context of an accredited college 
program. But a schedule hasn't been announced yet.
    Since 2005, RIFI worked to establish a college program, 
committed to teaching students independence, excellent 
reasoning skills and through the works of important thinkers. 
All in an environment specially crafted to create the best 
learning experience possible.  
    Working with Marsha is Stephen Hicks, prof. philosophy, 
Rockford College. He founded the Center for Ethics and 
Entrepreneurship (CEE) with a million-dollar grant from
the BB&T Foundation.
    CEE creates courses, organizes conferences and conducts
interviews with entrepreneurs, all aiming to enlighten students 
about the kinds of choices and values -- ethics -- that enable 
entrepreneurs to succeed.  
    RIFI and CEE joined to attract students interested in the 
ideas of liberty. 
    CEE-RIFI programs combine the power of philosophy and 
a liberal arts education with the entrepreneurial focus of CEE.
    It's for students from around the country and the world. The 
course of study includes Von Mises, Bastiat, de Tocqueville, 
other thinkers of the freedom movement.
    It offers on-site visits to the offices of people whose 
successful careers can inspire and motivate students.              
    It will connect them to Institute for Justice, Cato Institute, 
Foundation for Economic Education [FEE], Atlas Economic 
Research Foundation and other liberty-oriented think tanks.
    Rockford College (soon to be Rockford U.) is a school 
friendly to objectivity and receptive to open debate. RIFI 
will have the advantages of Rockford’s accreditation, facilities, 
resources and established reputation.
    Another liberty-oriented professor working with them is 
Shawn Klein, an expert in ethical theory, business ethics and 
sports ethics, He co-edited "Harry Potter and Philosophy: If 
Aristotle Ran Hogworts."
    CEE-RIFI includes professors in econ., history and politics 
who are friendly to the classics, civility, open debate and ideas 
of liberty. Learn more at:

Former Junto regular Marty Reisman died Dec. 7th
    For many years, some time ago, Marty attended Junto. 
He was a champion table tennis player, snappy dresser and 
raconteur. Then table tennis classes he was giving conflicted 
with Junto. 
    He lived across the street from me. My husband and I often 
ran into him in the supermarket around the corner and stopped 
to talk to him. He always asked how Junto was doing.
    While attending Junto he began writing his biography. 
Victor often had him read portions aloud at Junto. Among 
them were stories of smuggling gold when he was young.
    This is the beginning of his NY Times obituary:
"Marty Reisman, a wizard at table tennis, the sport in which 
he captured national championships, won and lost fortunes 
on wagers and moved crowds to laughter -- sometimes using 
a frying pan as a paddle -- as an opening act for the Harlem 
Globetrotters, died Friday in Manhattan. He was 82.
    You can read it all here:

Objectivist and libertarian groups and sites
    * Groups which meet in Manhattan:
         NYC Junto --
         NYC Ayn Rand Meetup --
         NY Objectivist Society -- (dormant)
         Atlas Reading Group --
         NY Heroes --
         Ayn Rand NY Tours --
         Manhattan Libertarian Party --
    * Sites to visit:
         Ayn Rand Institute --
         The Atlas Society --
         The Atlasphere --
         The Objective Standard --
         Forum for Ayn Rand Fans --
         Aristos: An Online Review of the Arts --
         Philosophy in Action --
         Sense of Life Objectivists --
         Objectivism Online --
         Rebirth of Reason --
         The Tracinski Letter --
         Real Clear Politics --
         Bastiat Institute --
         Ludwig Von Mises Institute --
         Institute for Justice --
         Cato Institute --
         O List --

Fred Cookinham Ayn Rand walking tours
    He offers 5 different Ayn Rand tours:  
* Ayn Rand's Park Avenue, where she lived and held salons
* "Atlas Shrugged," places she researched and fictionalized 
* Skyscrapers of ''The Fountainhead''   
* Ayn Rand Fifth Avenue
* Ayn Rand on Broadway
Private tours $30. 
    To arrange for your private tour or for more information, 
call Fred at home: 718-397-9019 or on his cell: 917-607-9019 
or email him: fcookinham [at] 
    Fred's tours get better because he never stops researching. 
He's often at Junto and Ayn Rand Meetups. Previous years: 
gave special ''Ayn Rand & Free Market Tour'' for Mont Pelerin 
Society and ''Ayn Rand's Park Ave.'' on BBC's Radio 4 ''The 
Right Stuff.'' 

NYCjunto-discuss list
    Junto members can discuss Junto speakers and other topics.
    You can read these posts at:
    To post to this list you need to be a member of it. 
Become a member at: or send email:

About Junto 
* Gene Epstein moderates Junto. He's the economics editor 
    and books editor of Barron's, the weekly business magazine,
    author of ''Econospinning: How to Read Between the Lines
    When the Media Manipulate the Numbers:''
* Iris Bell writes this e-newsletter.
* Oleg Atbashian created He also sends out 
    this e-newsletter and cares for its email list.
* Andy George created and runs the sound system and 
    supplies music.
* Our founder and host is Victor Niederhoffer. Visit his site at:
    Dedicated to the scientific method, free markets, deflating 
    ballyhoo, creating value, and laughter; a forum for us to use 
    our meager abilities to make the world of specinvestments 
    a better place.
* This e-newsletter comes out twice a month. You might 
    get an occasional extra email about a timely event.
* To subscribe to this newsletter put "Junto list" in the 
    subject line, email your name & preferred email address to:

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