NYC Junto Newsletter, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015

NYC Junto Newsletter
written by Iris Bell on May 31, 2015


Junto focuses on free markets, Objectivism and investing. It’s a group that shares information, discusses current issues and presents speakers.

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Janine R. Wedel
on her book “Unaccountable: How elite power brokers corrupt our finances, freedom, and security”

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 he asks for other announcements and for people to introduce themselves.
* The speaker begins promptly at 8:00pm.
* Most speakers will present their thoughts in several sections. Each section will have audience 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 Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, NYC
near the Grand Central Terminal

* Junto meets on the first Thursday of every month
* Participation by all attendees is highly encouraged.
* 70 to 150 people attend most Junto meetings.

Janine R. Wedel on her book “Unaccountable: How elite power brokers corrupt our finances, freedom, and security.”

Professor in the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University. She’s an anthropologist and is the author of books include the award-winning “Shadow Elite” and “Collision and Collusion: The strange case of Western aid to Eastern Europe.”

She’s contributed analysis pieces to more than a dozen major outlets, including NY Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal Europe, LA Times and appeared on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, C-Span and TEDx among others. Visit her blog.

* Junto meeting Thursday, June 4, 2015
* NEW Junto speakers through December 2015
* NEW “In Defense of Selfishness,” Wednesday, June 10, 7:00pm
* NEW Political comedian for conservatives/objectivists, June 14
* NEW Atlas Network Trendsetters, free, 21-45, June16, July 22
* NEW NYC Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, June 28, 3:00pm
* NEW “Happiness or life, or both,” by David Kelley
* NEW Reason Papers: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter
* NEW “Why you should love fossil fuels” Alex Epstein, Prager U.
* NEW Free speech, the battle for Western culture, Yaron Brook
* NEW “Tomorrowland” film compared to Ayn Rand’s ideas
* NEW Harry Binswanger, some of Ayn Rand’s NYC homes
* NEW Was the Penn Station worth saving after all? Jim Epstein
* NEW Muhammad cartoon contest is a free speech issue
* NEW “Rebuilding liberty without permission” Charles Murray
* NEW Center for the Individual from Alexander R. Cohen
* NEW Free market & Objectivist local meetings, sites, podcasts
* Fred Cookinham’s five Ayn Rand walking tours
* Read and post to Junto sites
* About Junto and this Junto newsletter

* Junto’s audio podcasts since May 2014 are here. Listen here to the May 7, 2015 Junto, Casey Mulligan on his book “Side Effects: The economic consequences of Obamacare.”

* The Junto Forum, read and post.
* Visit Junto’s site for information on current and past speakers, listen to podcasts, read previous newsletters and to sign up for the Junto e-newsletter.
* Visit Junto on Facebook.
* Follow Junto on Twitter.

Junto’s founder and host is Victor Niederhoffer.
Visit his site.

Feel free to use the above text to promote Junto among free marketers, Objectivists and investors.

Come to Junto, meet these upcoming speakers:

July 2, Christopher Preble, “Wars of Choice vs. Wars of Necessity” Cato VP defense and foreign policy studies. Learn about him.

August 6, Tyler Cowen, economics professor George Mason University, director Mercatus Center. He’s spoken at Junto more than any other speaker. He blogs daily here.

September 3, Adrian Bejan, inventor of constructal law, on his book, Design in Nature: How the constructal law governs evolution in biology, physics, technology, & social organizations. His background and awards: He says this is the easiest explanation of constructal law:

October 1, Oxford-style debate: Richard A. Epstein and Michael Huemer “A government that performs its fundamental functions is preferable to a system of anarcho-capitalism in which these functions are privatized.
Epstein takes positive. Law professor NY University and University of Chicago. Read his tweets.

Huemer takes negative. Professor philosophy University of Colorado, Boulder. Author of “The Problem of Political Authority: An examination of the right to coerce and the duty to obey. Visit his site.

November 5, Victor Niederhoffer on new principles of speculation, with his collaborator Ayaka Kinoshita singer, songwriter from Japan.

December 3, Oxford-style debate: Gene Epstein and an opponent to be announced. “Causes of the 2008 financial crisis.” He’s Junto’s moderator, the economics editor and books editor of Barron’s — the weekly business magazine.


“In Defense of Selfishness”, Wednesday, June 10, 7:00pm

Ayn Rand Institute lecture by Peter Schwartz
CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, off 34th Street
Reception 7:00pm, lecture with Q&A 7:30pm, light refreshment

You can take the discussion online: #ARIonTour. The book will be for sale and Schwartz will sign them after his talk.

When you hear the word selfishness what comes to mind? Typically, selfishness is associated with amoral, predatory behavior. It’s a word used to describe people like Bernard Madoff or Attila the Hun.

On the other hand, selfishness is generally celebrated and aligned with friendship and love. In this talk, Schwartz challenges these misconceptions.

His new book is “In Defense of Selfishness: Why the code of self-sacrifice is unjust and destructive.” He offers a radically different view of selfishness and altruism. The rationally selfish individual is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life.

Schwartz refutes the ethics of self-sacrifice in all its forms and shows that friendship and love are acts, not of self-sacrifice, but of self-interest. This talk explains why you have a moral right to exist for your own sake, rather than a moral duty to serve the needs of others.

This is final lecture in the 10 lecture series — The Road to a Free Society: ARI on Tour.

Students FREE, others $10. Pay online, at door, cash, credit card, phone: 949-222-6550 ext. 204.


Political comedian popular with conservatives and Objectivists, June 14

Evan Sayet performs in NYC, Sunday, June 14th.
Oleg Atbashian, who created this Junto site, says, “I’ve seen him speak and he’s very good.” Watch a four minute segment and find more segments on his site.

Order tickets for his show at the Comic Strip Live, 1568 2nd Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets.


Atlas Network Trendsetters NYC free for 21-45, June16, July 22

Part of their mission is to strengthen the worldwide freedom movement. Hear experts from different regions around the world. Open-bar gathering to network and learn about trends in global freedom.

* Tuesday, June 16, Tom Palmer on Greece, Eurozone Crisis, Ukraine and Russia. Sign up here.

* Wednesday, July 22, Dr. Parth J. Shah on India’s Social Change Movement. Sign up here.


NYC Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, June 28, 3:00pm

As always, we’ll talk about Ayn Rand, her works, challenges, Objectivist life, options, associations and knowledge. Give and take, open to all, no charge, no reservations. It’s on the last Sunday of each month.

It’s at The Midtown Restaurant, 155 East 55 Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues, mid-block on the north side of 55th Street, in Manhattan, free.

There are about two dozen people at each Meetup. Benny Pollack, Ayn Rand Meetup organizer, says: “Join our group of regular Objectivists for a lively discussion on topics related to Ayn Rand and Objectivist philosophy in general.

“Please join us. If you are already versed in the topic, want to learn or just want to spend an intellectually stimulating afternoon, please come. I hope to see you all there.”

Get up-to-date information.


“Happiness or life, or both” Atlas Society founder David Kelley

This is a reply to Ole Martin Moen in a previous issue of Reason Papers, “Is life the ultimate value? A reassessment of Ayn Rand’s ethics.” Moen argued that the ultimate value is happiness rather than life. Kelley’s article begins on page 65, here.


Reason Papers: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter

Imagining Better. Read any or all eleven articles in this June 2012 issue.

Editors-in-chief: Carrie-Ann Biondi and Irfan Khawaja. Reason Papers is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal appearing online twice a year. It features full-length articles and discussion notes, along with symposia, book reviews, and review essays.

Read any back issue, beginning fall 1974.


“Why you should love fossil fuels” Alex Epstein, Prager U.

Alex, Junto speaker, created this five minute “course” for Dennis Prager. It celebrating fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas. On the first day it got over 130,000 views. Alex’s most-viewed video before this was 22,000. Now it has over a half million views.

It reflects on how human progress, using fossil fuels, has made our environment cleaner and healthier. Watch here.


Free speech and the battle for Western culture by Yaron Brook

This 1-1/2 hour video talk was given after the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Now some Western intellectuals are raising the question whether we, in the West, are guilty of abusing our free speech.

Is it really necessary, they ask, to offend one billion Muslims, just to make a point? How many more will have to pay with their very lives, they ask, before irresponsible provocateurs and troublemakers like Flemming Rose, Lars Vilks and the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, realize that they have gone too far? The very fact that such questions are raised at all only underscores the severity of the threat to our freedom of speech.

In this talk, Brook explains why free speech is being attacked today and argues that it’s imperative to defend this most precious freedom. Watch here.


“Tomorrowland” film compared to Ayn Rand’s ideas

“…Strife and turmoil, the heroes feel, can be resolved if people put  their minds to it…. Well, perhaps Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof will manage to drive a few people to the rally or to the soup kitchen. Or perhaps to the bookstore, where a whole back catalog of Rand books happily awaits….”

This is the last paragraph in the National Post, Canada, read it here.

I don’t know anyone who’s seen this film yet.  I loved the director’s “Iron Giant” animated film.


Harry Binswanger’s writes of some of Ayn Rand’s NYC homes

Learn about the places Rand lived in the Murray Hill part of the city. There’s a two paragraph introduction to his essay on pages 10 and 11. Thank you Myrna Karger for telling us about this. Read it here.


Was the Penn Station worth saving after all? by Jim Epstein

From On the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Act, a re-evaluation of the mythic demise of an iconic train station. Even Ada Louise Huxtable, NY Times, admitted that the old Penn Station was disfunctional.

“Profit-driven developers left to their own devices value wonderful old buildings as much as the general public they serve,” and if that is not enough, today there could be fortunes raised through crowd-funding to subsidize nonprofits and businesses that want to buy and preserve valuable old buildings.

The argument that the landmarks law has done more harm than good can be read here.


Muhammad cartoon contest is a free speech issue

The winning cartoon is shown on several sites. In it Muhammad, while being drawn, is saying “You can’t draw me.” The cartoonist, whose hand is drawing Muhammad, is saying “That’s why I draw you.” It was created by Bosch Fawstin.

* Here’s Mark Steyn on this war on free speech. “…Because the Charlie Hebdo artists and writers died abandoned and alone, Pamela Geller jumped in to support them. By refusing to share the risk, we are increasing the risk. It’s not Pamela Geller who emboldens Islamic fanatics, it’s all the nice types — the ones Salman Rushdie calls the But Brigade. You’ve heard them a zillion times this last week: “Of course, I’m personally, passionately, absolutely committed to free speech. But…”

“And the minute you hear the ‘but’, none of the build-up to it matters. A couple of days before Garland, Canadian Liberal MP… announced his plan to restore…’hate speech’ law under which Maclean’s and I were dragged before the Canadian ‘Human Rights’ Commission and which, as a result of my case, was repealed by the Parliament of Canada….”

Steyn also says, “There’s no fine line between ‘free speech’ and ‘hate speech’: Free speech is hate speech; it’s for the speech you hate — and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don’t have free speech, then you can’t have an honest discussion.”
Read the rest here.

* This is Pamela Geller’s site, she sponsored the draw  Muhammad contest. She says “There is nothing inherently offensive about the cartoons — the winning cartoon mocks the death threats that Muslims issue for drawing Muhammad. It is a stand against violent intimidation — any Muslim who supports free speech will support us.” Here’s a video interview she gave.

* Bosch Fawstin, winner of Pam Geller’s contest says this is the “longest, most comprehensive interview I’ve done yet in the wake of the jihadist attack in Texas, with Brian Lilley.”


“Rebuilding liberty without permission” by Charles Murray

Civil disobedience may be the only avenue left for millions of Americans who just want to go about their business undisturbed. Murray, Junto speaker, explains his idea in his new book, “By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission.”

He shows us why we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process. The Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court. Our legal system is increasingly lawless, unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law.” The legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in control.

The federal government has a fatal weakness: It gets away with its thousands of laws and regulations only if the overwhelming majority of Americans voluntarily comply with them. Civil disobedience backstopped by legal defense funds can make large portions of the 180,000-page Federal Code of Regulations unenforceable, through a targeted program that identifies regulations that arbitrarily and capriciously tell us what to do.

This doesn’t require electing a right-thinking Congress or president, nor does it require five right-thinking justices on the Supreme Court. It can be done by we the people, using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its proper box.

In this 15 minute Cato interview he explains his idea, here. Look at his book here.


Center for the Individual from Alexander R. Cohen

Cohen, who often attend Junto, has begun this new organization. This essay is on his site: “Are the Banks Actually Guilty?” Did the banks that pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix currency exchange rates actually do anything illegal? Who knows? Thanks to the Department of Justice’s method of resolving the case — which may have included threatening punishment it knew to be unjust — we don’t know. We don’t even have a very good basis to think the banks broke the law.

There’s evidence that the banks were threatened with worse punishment than even Attorney General Loretta Lynch thought they deserved. Read it here and/or sign up for the newsletter.


Free market and Objectivist local meetings, sites and podcasts

*** Groups which meet in Manhattan ***
Ayn Rand Institute on Tour
Gotham Tea Party (occasionally)
Manhattan Libertarian Party
NYC Austrian Economics Meetup
NYC Ayn Rand Meetup
NY Objectivists/NY Heroes

*** Sites to visit ***
Aristos: An online review of the arts
Atlas” in your life
Atlas Network
The Atlas Society
The Atlasphere
Ayn Rand Institute
Ayn Rand Lexicon
Cato Institute
Center for Industrial Progress
The College of the United States
Forum for Ayn Rand Fans
The Heartland Institute
Institute for Justice
JayTaylor newsletter
Liberating Education
Liberty Magazine
Ludwig Von Mises Institute
News Sandwich from Amy Peikoff
The Objective Standard
The Objective Standard’s Blog
Objectivism Online
Powell History
Real Clear Politics
Rebirth of Reason
The Savvy Street
Sense of Life Objectivists
taxPOLItix by Alan J Dlugash
Robert Tracinski at The Federalist
The Tracinski Letter

*** Internet podcasts, all free ***
These are mainly weekly “radio” shows you can hear online, on your computer, phone, pad, etc. Listen to shows live or at any time. Most are on iTunes. If you’re listening live, join by commenting or asking questions by phone, email, in a chat room, tweeting, etc.

* “The Yaron Brook Show” is two hours weekly.
This radical for capitalism discusses news, culture and politics from the principled perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.
Yaron, president Ayn Rand Institute, is co-author of “Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s ideas can end big government.”
He ends each show with suggestions of movies, music and novels, you never know what life enhancing gems he and his listeners might share.
Your questions or comments are welcome in the chat room, tweet or phone to talk with Yaron. Listen to any of these shows any time. They began January 2015.
Live Monday, 11:00am to 1:00pm eastern. Live or any time.
Live for Chicago radio AM560 The Answer, Saturday, 5:00pm to 6:00pm eastern. Live or anytime.

* “Philosophy in action” Diana Heish answer questions from listeners, applying rational principles to challenges of real life.
Live Sunday, Q&A, 11:00am eastern
Live Thursday, interview and chat, 9:00pm eastern
Listen here, live or any time.

* Hillsdale Dialogues, a survey of great books, great men, and great ideas. Larry Arnn, president Hillsdale College, on Hugh Hewitt Show. Arnn is a teacher who enjoys teaching and his subjects, he makes learning fun and memorable.
Subject such as: “American Principles,” “Foreign Affairs and Separation of Powers,” “Israel, Iran, and Senator Cotton’s Letter.” On radio in NYC he’s often on Fridays, a short segment during the 7:00pm to 10:00pm eastern, show on AM970 The Answer. Listen online any time.

* “Don’t let it go…unheard” Amy Peikoff on news and politics from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.
Bosch Fawstin, illusWriter also on the show. Visit his site to see his clever and dramatic work.
Live Tuesday and Friday, 11:00pm to 1:00am eastern. Listen here, live or any time.

* “The Peikoff podcasts” Alternate weeks have Leonard Peikoff, philosopher, Ayn Rand’s intellectual heir or Yaron Brook, president Ayn Rand Institute.
Leonard answers questions on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, on human relationships, career, moral issues — not technical philosophy or practical politics. Yaron answers questions on politics, economics, foreign policy. Podcasts are available by topic, single questions or full episodes.

Fred Cookinham’s five Ayn Rand walking tours

“Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s Park Avenue, Ayn Rand’s Fifth Avenue, “Skyscrapers of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand on Broadway. Private tours $30 per person. Arrange tour or get information, call Fred at home: 718-397-9019 or on his cell: 917-607-9019, email: fcookinham [at] His site is here.

Read and post to Junto sites

* Read and post to the Forum here.

* Read and post to Junto-discuss list: Discuss Junto speakers and other topics. To post you need to be a member. To sign up or to read posts, here. Or send an email here.

About Junto and this Junto newsletter

* 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” Hardcover here or Kindle here.

* Iris Bell writes this e-newsletter, designs the Junto handouts and is a freelance graphic designer. She was Ayn Rand’s and the Nathaniel Branden Institute’s graphic designer.

* Oleg Atbashian created He also sends out this e-newsletter, cares for its email list and moderates the discussions. His own famous site, The People’s Cube, discusses important issues with humor.

* Our founder and host is Victor Niederhoffer. 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. Visit his site here.

* 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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