NYC Junto Newsletter, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

NYC Junto Newsletter

written by Iris Bell on November 22, 2015


  • NEW Junto meeting Thursday, December 3
  • Junto speakers through April 2016
  • NEW NYC Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, November 29, 3:00pm
  • NEW Objectivist Salon, Sun., November 29, probably 7:00pm
  • NEW Atlas Network supporter holiday party, Dec. 8, 6:30pm
  • NEW Institute for Justice ends 30 years of taxi protection
  • NEW What’s behind the campus protests, with Steve Simpson
  • NEW Ayn Rand Institute: Paris atrocity — the enemy
  • NEW Why Islam is a religion of war, by Sultan Knish
  • NEW Stop treating radical Islam like Voldemort, by Tracinski
  • NEW Stop demonizing Israel, learn from them, by Hirsi Ali
  • NEW Rare-earths economic lesson: Markets defeat China
  • NEW Can we rely on wind and solar energy? by Alex Epstein
  • NEW Jim Epstein on NY Times vs nail salons
  • NEW 1 trillion dollars a year lowers warming a degree, 2100
  • NEW Antiques Roadshow, three Ayn Rand books on TV
  • NEW Climate change inquisition begins, by Tracinski
  • NEW How people discover Ayn Rand’s ideas
  • NEW 150 million people in India out of poverty in last 3 years
  • NEW German authorities allow Hitler’s Mein Kampf
  • NEW Troubled Currencies joint project, Cato – Johns Hopkins
  • NEW About the library building where Junto meets
  • Free market and 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 focuses on free markets, Objectivism and investing. It’s a group that shares information, discusses current issues and presents speakers.

December 3
Oxford-style debate: Michael Malice and Thomas Woods.
“Alexander Hamilton was a hero for the cause of liberty”

  • Malice takes affirmative. Author of “Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il.” Co-author of five books, including D.L. Hughley’s forthcoming “Black Man, White House.”

He’s often on national news shows and is the subject of a graphic novel by Harvey Pekar. His site’s here.

  • Woods is senior fellow Ludwig von Mises Institute, NY Times bestselling author of 12 books, his newest is “Real Dissent: A Libertarian sets fire to the index card of allowable opinion.”

His Tom Woods Show weekday podcasts are here.

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.

Junto’s audio podcasts since May 2014 are here.

  • 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 here. Junto’s Twitter is here.

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


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


Come to Junto, meet these upcoming speakers:

  • January 7, 2016, Robin Hanson in his book coming in March “The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth” here. Research associate Future of Humanity Institute Oxford here and associate professor economics George Mason here.

– Victor Niederhoffer will moderate.

  • February 4, 2016, Charles Murray American Enterprise Institute senior fellow. On his newest book, “By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission.” Essays and videos are here.

Gene Epstein will moderate.

  • March 3, 2016, to be announced.

– Victor Niederhoffer will moderate.

  • April 7, 2016, Oxford-style debate: Paul Helmke and John Lott “In order to reduce its murder-rate, the U.S. needs more stringent gun-control laws”
    • Helmke takes affirmative. Former president DC-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. His site is here.
    • Lott is author of “More Guns, Less Crime.” His blog is here.

– Gene Epstein will moderate.


NYC Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, November 29, 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 one to 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 here.


The Objectivist Salon, Sunday, November 29, probably 7:00pm

This is an open Objectivist meeting group. Matt Faherty and Ray Raad have organized it. It will meet in New York, usually on the last Sunday of every month. Open Objectivism is described here.

These Socratic discussions will focus on Objectivism and related philosophies, such as Aristotelianism and libertarianism. The purpose is to expand participants’ understanding of Objectivism, its similarities to and differences from other philosophies, and to meet like-minded people.

Participants are expected to do the reading ahead of time, and to come prepared with questions for a discussion of the reading. Extensive knowledge of Objectivism is not required. People who are new to Objectivism are welcome. It was announced by The Atlas Society.

The number of attendees is limited by space constraints. Please email both Ray ( and Matt ( for more information.


Atlas Network supporter holiday party, Dec. 8, 6:30pm

Featuring Corinne Sauer, co-founder, executive director Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She’ll speak about religious freedom, business freedom and economic freedom. Her group works to allow civil marriages and introducing competition in the religious services, now a monopoly.

Celebrate Hanukkah and learn about freedom in Israel, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Crowne Plaza Times Square, 1605 Broadway between 48th and 49th. Make a donation and/or a reservation here.


Institute for Justice ends 30 years of San Diego taxi protection

They got a court ruling against the city’s taxi cartel. The city’s cap on taxi permits is lifted. The victory enshrines a rule of law affirming that consumers aren’t property and competition isn’t theft.

Hundreds of drivers can become their own bosses. Their client Abdi is driving the new cab which he now owns. He’d wanted to start his own company so he could stop working seven days a week, spending more time with his wife and kids. Now it’s a reality. You can read about this victory here.


What’s behind the campus protests, podcast with Steve Simpson

As a lawyer and Objectivist, Simpson clearly explains the attacks on free speech by college students, plus the ideas behind microaggressions and student’s need for safe spaces. These students accuse others of force and violence when they hear ideas they don’t agree with, so they can be insolated from ideas that challenge their world view.

This is on the November 21, 2015 Yaron Brook Show, with Don Watkins interviewing Steve Simpson, Ayn Rand Institute’s director of legal studies. Listen to it here.


Ayn Rand Institute: Paris atrocity — enemy we fail to understand

by Elan Journo The slaughter…was an act of war….by carrying out attacks in the heart of Europe, far from its quasi-state in the Middle East, ISIS has upended the premise that it is mainly a regional menace. But the failure to understand the group runs deeper than just its military-operational capability.

Fundamental to the group’s appeal and burgeoning ambition is its claim to be advancing a (perverse) moral ideal. Islamic State is a leading faction within a broader movement, Islamic totalitarianism. That movement — encompassing Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, among others — is united by the Islamic religious goal of conquest and domination….We could have defeated this menace, long ago. We still can.

…To end the jihadist menace requires that we demonstrate to its followers that their cause is hopeless. In my book, I outline what that looks like….The rest of this article is here. And read about his book “Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s self-crippled response to Islamic totalitarianism” here.


Why Islam is a religion of war, by Sultan Knish

Read Daniel Greenfield’s point of view, such as this: …Islamic violence is a religious problem. Islam derives meaning from physical supremacy, so war becomes an act of faith. To believe in Islam, is to have faith that it will conquer the entire world. And to be a true Muslim, is to feel called to aid in that global conquest, whether by providing money to the Jihadists or to become a Jihadist….

When Hamas states that, “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” or the ISIS rapists tell Yazidi girls that rape “draws them closer to Allah”, they really do mean it. They are not perverting a great religion, as our politicians claim, they are living it. Everything they do is based on the Koran…

The intersection of Islam and Terrorism is the inevitable result of Islamic theology which is supremacist and materialist, which when combined with the honor-shame code of a tribal culture, drives it compulsively toward war and conquest.

The actions of non-Muslim nations serve only as variables to create a context within which the supremacism of Islam expresses itself…. But the context itself is irrelevant in the larger history and theology of Islam. Because in the end, the problem of Islamic violence is the problem of Islam. Read the rest here.


Stop treating radical Islam like Voldemort, by Robert Tracinski

This is a national security election now. That’s the upshot for domestic American politics of the massive terrorist attack in Paris.

Is it too early to “politicize” this, to assess its impact on the presidential contest? Sorry, but this is what politics is for, particularly presidential politics. We’re picking the next commander-in-chief, someone who will have wide discretion over how to respond — or not respond — to a threat like this. We’d better know as soon as possible whether they’re up to it….

You know what this reminds me of? Lately, I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books to my kids. I’m actually quite grateful for it at the moment because my boys are going to hear some of the news of war and terrorism, and the books give them an understandable frame of reference for the existence and nature of that kind of evil in the world.

But readers of these stories will remember that there is a taboo on the name of the main villain, Lord Voldemort, who is referred to only as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” or “You-Know-Who.” It is a special mark of defiance when our heroes refer to him openly as Voldemort….

As Harry Potter’s mentor Dumbledore explains, “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” Part of the point of saying the name is to show that you’re not cowed into submission. And the effect of refusing to say it is to show that you are cowed.

But it’s deeper than just expressing defiance. To be able to name a thing is to be able to think about it. Without a word for it, you begin to lose the concept and the meaning. You literally cannot discuss important aspects of what it is, and you will be prevented from reaching meaningful conclusions…. Read all of this here.


Stop demonizing Israel, learn from them, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

“Over time, and in a painful way, Israel developed an infrastructure. It is legal. It is counterterrorism measures. It’s intelligence. They know what they’re doing.” Read her and/or watch her video here.


Rare-earths economic lesson: Markets defeat China mercantilism

Much has changed since Beijing sparked a rare-earths panic in 2010. China was home to 95% of the world’s production, so when it tightened export quotas by 40% and then cut off shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute, buyers world-wide feared scarcity and prices rose tenfold. Then the laws of economic gravity kicked in.

As the economist Julian Simon noted, high prices encourage investment in new supplies and possible substitutes. Rare-earths miners expanded operations in Australia, Malaysia and the U.S., where Molycorp restarted California’s Mountain Pass mine, which had been shuttered in 2002 by a previous owner. Metals firms found ways to recycle higher volumes of rare earths from discarded products. Read all this Wall Street Journal editorial here.


Can we rely on wind and solar energy? YouTube by Alex Epstein

Is “green” energy, particularly wind and solar energy, the solution to our climate and energy problems? Or should we be relying on things like natural gas, nuclear energy and even coal for our energy needs and environmental obligations? Alex, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” answers these questions in this Prager U. video, in under 4-1/2 minutes. It’s been seen over a half million times since mid-October. Watch it here.


Jim Epstein’s video and articles on NY Times vs nail salons

This 11-minute Reason TV documentary wraps up his reporting on the Times’ faulty reporting wreaking havoc on the nail salon industry.

It has interviews with the first reporter to highlight major problems in the coverage and the only elected officials fighting against a regulatory crackdown inspired by the coverage. Also has several salon owners and footage from recent protests at the Times headquarters here.


One trillion dollars a year lowers warming one degree by 2100

by Bjorn Lomborg …U.N.’s climate chief…aim of the talks is “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.” …the delegation from Bolivia…official material submitted for the talks proposes a “lasting solution” for climate change: “We must destroy capitalism.”…

…life expectancy in the past 150 years has more than doubled, to 71 years in 2013 from fewer than 30 years in 1870. Meanwhile, billions of people have risen out of poverty. One and a half centuries ago, more than 75% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty…. This year the World Bank expects extreme poverty to fall below 10% for the first time in history…. You can read all of this Wall Street Journal opinion piece here.


Antiques Roadshow, three Ayn Rand books on TV

Rand gave these books she wrote as gifts to a relative who helped her in the U.S. The 3 minutes video is here.


The climate change inquisition begins, by Robert Tracinski

New York’s attorney general is sending out the message that corporations who fund climate change skeptics will face political reprisal.

…This prosecution is not really aimed at Exxon, which has pockets deep enough to fight if it chooses. And if it wanted to, Exxon could really fight. It could use the processes of discovery and cross-examination to expose plenty of examples of lying about climate science on the part of politicians and government agencies. It is obvious, however, that Exxo’s executives don’t have the courage to do this.

That’s a shame because the real target is everybody smaller than Exxon. The message is going out that they will face political reprisals, including embarrassing and expensive persecution in the courts, if they ever give a dollar to a climate skeptic…. Read all of this article here.


How people discover Ayn Rand’s ideas

The Ayn Rand Institute did a survey of over 4,000 people to learn the different paths taken in discovering and exploring Rand’s ideas. Over 3,000 defined themselves as Objectivists.

70% read Rand’s fiction first, 49% read her non-fiction first and 21% read other Objectivist works first. See all the results here.


150 million people in India got out of poverty in last 3 years

Johan Norberg spoke at Cato about India coming alive. Since 1991 more than 250 million of its people have been lifted out of poverty, and 150 million of them got out of poverty in the last three years.

Norberg, Cato Institute senior fellow, created the 60-minute documentary India Awakes. It’s been on public TV. It explores inherited British bureaucracy, which created layers of rules and regulations. Today’s globalization and economic liberalization have created fluidity between classes and greater ambition. Read more about the film here.


German authorities allow republication of Hitler’s Mein Kampf

by Stephen Hicks Finally, after decades of censorship… Decent people can argue that the book is too dangerous to be published. But the fact is that Mein Kampf is too dangerous not to be published. The great fear is that Hitler’s ideas are not dead and that his book could trigger another horribly pathological social movement….

Yet beyond the specifics of the German debate, there is a more important general point about prohibiting even the most repulsive of ideas: Censorship weakens our ability to combat them….

The Nazis were not just some crazy guys who somehow lucked into power. For too long a cartoonish understanding of National Socialism has held sway in the public mind. But consider this: For years before the Nazis took over, three Nobel-Prize winners — Johannes Stark, Gerhart Hauptmann, and Philipp Lenard — supported the Nazis….

…Yet British officials would do much better for democracy by re-reading its trinity of Johns — Milton, Locke, and Mill — three philosophers whose advocacy of vigorous and open liberalism in thought and debate were essential to making Britain great in the first place. John Milton’s Areopagitica, John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration, and the second chapter of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty are timeless teachers of how to advance free societies.

We must also remember that for its entire history, liberal civilization has had to grapple with powerful ideological opposition. Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger — all of them are extreme thinkers implicated in varying degrees in extreme ideologies and extremely violent practice. But we must read them and understand them. No shortcuts.

So in combating the latest contender, politicized Islam, we will have more success by encouraging students to read Islamist writings, e.g., Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones (as I do in my Philosophy of Religion course)….

Centuries ago the British best taught all of us how to live freely. They can once again find the way to defeat dangerous ideas — openly, cleanly, and steadfastly. Read all of this article here.


Troubled Currencies joint project, Cato and Johns Hopkins

They collect black-market exchange-rate data for these currencies. You’ll learn how to use these inflation rates. For instance, the site explains that a monthly inflation rate of 189.63%, is a daily inflation rate of 3.56% and it takes 20 days for price to double.

In 2010 Zimbabwe had an annual inflation rate of 34,845,618%. The Troubled currencies site is here. They have a Watch List, with Bitcoin Bitstamp first on it. That list is here.


About the library building where Junto meets

The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York was founded 1785 by skilled craftsmen. The 230-year old organization has educational, philanthropic and cultural programs, a library and a century-old lecture series.

The building was built in 1891 as a boys’ school, acquired by The General Society 1899, nearly doubled in size 1905. In 1820 it opened one of the City’s first free schools as well as the Apprentices Library. It continues to offer tuition-free evening instruction in trades-related education and to help improve job opportunities.

They have an artisan lecture series, house the John M. Mossman Lock Collection with over 370 locks, keys and tools, from 4000 BC to early 20th-century. The façade’s a NYC landmark, the building’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main reading room is 3 stories, topped with a large skylight. You can learn more about it here.


Free market and Objectivist local meetings, sites and podcasts

Groups which meet in Manhattan

Sites to visit

*** 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” two shows 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/or 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 Saturday, 2:30pm to 4:00pm eastern here.

Live Saturday, on Chicago radio AM560 The Answer and online, 5:00pm to 6:00pm eastern here.

* “Philosophy in action” Diana Heish Brickell answered questions from listeners, applying rational principles to challenges of real life. There are no new shows but plenty of the old ones to enjoy. Listen any time here.

* 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” and “foreign affairs and separation of powers.” On radio in NYC he’s often on Fridays, a short segment during 9:00pm to 10:00pm eastern, on AM970 The Answer. Listen online any time here.

* “Don’t let it go…unheard” Amy Peikoff is a radical for capitalism and free speech, hosting a show discussing news, politics, law and culture from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.

Live Tuesday and Friday, 11:00pm to 1:00am eastern

Listen live or any time here.

* “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 Rand’s philosophy Objectivism, 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, full episodes, here.

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 information, call Fred at home: 718-397-9019, on cell: 917-607-9019, email: fcookinham [at] His site’s 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. Sign up or read here.
  • Visit Junto Facebook here.
  • Follow Junto Twitter here.

About Junto and this Junto newsletter

  • Our founder and host is Victor Niederhoffer. His site is 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.
  • Gene Epstein moderates Junto. He’s economics editor and books editor Barron’s, weekly business magazine, author “Econospinning: How to read between the lines when the media manipulate the numbers.”
  • Iris Bell writes this e-newsletter, designs Junto handouts and is a freelance graphic designer. She was Ayn Rand’s and Nathaniel Branden Institute’s graphic designer.
  • Oleg Atbashian created, sends e-newsletter, does email list, moderates discussions. His own famous site, The People’s Cube, presents important political issues with humor and satire.
  • This is a twice a month e-newsletter. Maybe an occasional extra about a timely event.
  • To subscribe to this newsletter put “Junto list” in the subject line, email your name and preferred email address to:


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