Junto news: Viral Ayn Rand video, plus more happening

January 9, 2017

NYC Junto Newsletter

written by Iris Bell on December 30, 2016


  • Junto monthly newsletter continues, Junto meetings end
  • Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, January 29, 3:00pm
  • Ayn Rand Institute, Future of Reason and Capitalism, Feb. 4
  • Workshop Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Wed., Feb. 15
  • Call-for-Papers for Reason Papers: Happiness Studies
  • Ayn Rand on happiness
  • New Ayn Rand video, over 1 million views, Atlas Society
  • The solution to homelessness is the free market
  • James Mattis: Being well read can lead to saving lives
  • Five lessons for Republicans from Trump’s win
  • Trump: “The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator”
  • John Allison, Ayn Rand fan, tells of his chat with Trump!
  • Rand-acolyte Donald Trump’s cabinet with Objectivists
  • Trump on energy is the best of any President since Reagan
  • IRS scandal, day 1,302: IRS still persecuting Tea Party
  • Amazon’s “Smile” charity gives 1/4% of all purchases
  • Ayn Rand quotes in new book of greatest quotes
  • Atlas Network: India’s Marginal Revolution
  • U.S. income tax system is unworkable, says Steve Forbes
  • Thomas Sowell’s farewell column
  • Fred Cookinham’s five Ayn Rand walking tours
  • Local meetings, sites: free market & Objectivist
  • About Junto and this Junto newsletter

Junto monthly newsletter continues, Junto meetings ends

You’ll still get the Junto newsletter monthly. For 31 years, until September 2016, Junto was a monthly meeting which shared information, discussing current issues and presenting speakers.

This newsletter offers some of what Junto did, introducing people to ideas about free markets, Objectivism and occasionally investing.

It lists upcoming events in New York and other places. It links to interesting sites, making sure the most important item in these sites are in this newsletter. You don’t have to follow the link to learn why it’s featured.

Some items here have gotten little notice and others are about positive actions being taken by individuals and groups. There are reports on doings of Junto speakers. There are surprises in every issue.

Visit Junto’s site for information on past speakers, listen to audio podcasts since May 2014, and read previous newsletters here.

To subscribe to this newsletter put “Junto list” in the subject line, email your name and preferred email address to: info@NYCjunto.org

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


Feel free to use the above text to share this Junto newsletter with free marketers, Objectivists and investors.

Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, January 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.

Ayn Rand Institute, A Future of Reason and Capitalism, Feb. 4

Four Objectivist speakers “Building a Future of Reason and Capitalism,” Saturday, February 4, 2017, 1:00pm, reception from 4:30pm to 6:00pm, hors d’oeuvres, open wine and beer bar. Marriot Marquis, 1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th, $79

They’ll discuss the state of the culture and the Objectivist movement in light of the November 2016 elections and new D.C. administration.

The battle for philosophic change is a long-term, educational endeavor. Learn what Ayn Rand Institute is doing in 2017 to educate the public on key matters of policy facing our country and what they’re doing with young people to build momentum for a future which will enshrine reason, individual liberty and capitalism.

  • Onkar Ghate: Beyond Right and Left: Why Objectivism is needed to oppose today’s rising authoritarianism
  • Elan Journo: Bringing Reason and Egoism into America’s Bankrupt Foreign Policy
  • Steve Simpson: Why Objectivism Is Essential to the Fight for Free Speech
  • Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute executive co-chairman and president: additional remarks

Free for ARI contributors of $10,000 or more annually. $79 per person. Bring guests, $65 per person for yourself and them. More information here.

Workshop Ayn Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Wed., Feb 15

7:00pm to 9:15pm, Marymount Manhattan College, 221 East 71 Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, room 504, cost $10, this is the 5th of the 9 sessions

Philosophy professor and Aristotle scholar Carrie-Ann Biondi leads this workshop on Ayn Rand’s rational ethical egoism. We’re working through chapters from Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness.” Carrie-Ann will demonstrate similarities and differences with Aristotle’s ethics when possible. She’ll provide excerpts on Aristotle and Egoism from Joe Sachs translation of “Nicomachean Ethics” to study before some workshop.

In this fifth session we’ll discuss Chapter 4, “The ‘Conflicts’ of Men’s Interest.” More information and register here.

Call-for-Papers for Reason Papers: Happiness Studies

Carrie-Ann Biondi and Shawn Klein are glad to announce a new

Call-for-Papers for Reason Paper, a journal — Happiness Studies: An Assessment

The recent interdisciplinary field of Happiness Studies is bristling with activity. No longer just one of the perennially contemplated topics in philosophy, happiness is being studied from multiple angles.

Its study is being supported by grants at initiatives like the Eudaimonia Institute; Project Happiness; and the Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life Project.

What is it? Should we seek it? Is it the ultimate standard of morality? Can it be measured quantitatively or is it only qualitatively experienced? How can we foster it? What role, if any, should parents, educators, therapists and others have in cultivating the experience of it in young people?

They welcome submissions from various disciplines that take a normative approach to reflecting on some aspect of happiness and Happiness Studies. Submissions due November 1, 2017 for the Spring 2018 issue. Information and updates about the journal here.

Ayn Rand on happiness

“Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” “For The New Intellectual”

“In psychological terms, the issue of man’s survival does not confront his consciousness as an issue of ‘life or death,’ but as an issue of ‘happiness or suffering.’ Happiness is the successful state of life, suffering is the warning signal of failure, of death.” “The Objectivist Ethics” in “The Virtue of Selfishness”

New Ayn Rand video, over 1 million views, from Atlas Society

The Atlas Society’s new CEO, Jennifer Anju Grossman, knows young people watch Draw My Life videos, so she produced this “Ayn Rand: Draw My Life,” 4-3/4 minute video. It’s gotten over a million views, almost three thousand comments and over eleven thousand shares.

This Draw My Life video is subtitled: “The inspiring story of Ayn Rand like you’ve never seen before. Watch her journey unfold.” The audio is first person, spoken by a woman with a Russian accent, with a background of piano music. It’s clever, moving, and does a good job of giving the viewer reasons to read Rand’s fiction. See it on YouTube or on the Atlas Society’s Facebook.

In this interview Grossman tells Mark Michael Lewis what she’s doing to get more Rand readers — especially youths — and bringing the ideas of Rand to the wider culture. His site is “Becoming an Ayn Rand Hero.” They discuss her op-ed in Wall Street Journal, about how people can BOTH love Ayn Rand AND love God. She says, “the problem is not that we don’t have enough philosophically pure Objectivists in the world. The problem is that we don’t have enough people reading Ayn Rand.”

Other subjects discussed in this 1-1/4 hour interview: using Instagram to bring ideas to young people, overcoming the stereotype of Objectivists as harshly judging individuals and the Objectivist sense of life vs. philosophy…as honey and vinegar. See the interview here. Several people who attended Junto are also interviewed on this site.

Read Grossman’s “Can You Love God and Ayn Rand?” here and visit the The Atlas Society here.

The solution to homelessness is the free market

The free market is not the cause of homelessness, it is the best hope for a solution. At present, the greatest barriers to ending homelessness are the interventionist policies that distort housing and labor markets, and the burgeoning bureaucracy that induces moral hazard for benefactors and recipients alike. Until the community of concerned scholars, activists, and social entrepreneurs recognizes this, the end of homelessness will remain elusive. Read about the book, “Ending Homelessness: Why we haven’t, how we can” here.

James Mattis: Being well read can lead to saving lives

Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense extols the virtues of being well read and how that saves lives as a General. Thanks to Carrie-Ann Biondi for suggesting this column, read it here. http://www.businessinsider.com/viral-james-mattis-email-reading-marines-2013-5

This is another article, about what James Mattis taught a Marine who served with him — “We also know that there is a reason he uses the call-sign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting — to cause chaos among those he would oppose.” Read it here.

Five lessons for Republicans from Trump’s win

by Daniel Greenfield, in his SultanKnish blog, “What can Republicans learn from Trump’s victory? The biggest lesson is that the old way of politics is dead. McCain and Romney showed that twice. Now Trump has shown how Republicans can actually win….” read the rest here.

Trump: “The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator”

I find it wonderful to read a true description: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in his tweet.

” ‘Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.’

“The President-elect added, ‘Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty…’ ” Read the rest here.

John Allison, Ayn Rand fan, tells of his chat with Trump!

While chairman BB&T bank, Allison had his bank’s charity sponsor many college courses on Ayn Rand. He was considered for Trump’s U.S. Treasury secretary.

“Allison said he considers the meeting valuable because he was able to gain a better insight into Trump’s planned economic policies that include a focus on reducing regulations on the financial-services industry in hopes of spurring economic growth of 4% to 6% in the nation’s gross domestic product.

“…he told Trump he supported many of his economic initiatives…such as ‘radically restructuring’ the Dodd-Frank Act that imposed new layers of regulations on the banking industry as a ripple effect from the financial crisis.

“Allison said he and Trump support tax reform that is ‘simpler and flatter,’ rolling back regulations on the energy industry and getting rid of at least the parts of the Affordable Care Act that have driven up premium costs for participants on the federal health insurance exchange.” Read it here.

Rand-acolyte Donald Trump’s cabinet with fellow Objectivists

This is fun to read. This Washington Post columnist has found that many of Trump’s picks have said a kind word about Ayn Rand’s ideas or novels, at some point in their lives. They aren’t living Rand’s ideas any more than Trump. But it’s good to see her mentioned and to learn that many successful people appreciate some of her ideas. This may encourage more people to learn about her ideas. Read it here.

This is a clever follow up article by Robert Tracinski, “How come nobody told me we were taking over?…I actually am an Objectivist.” Read it here.

Trump on energy is the best of any President since Reagan

“What [Trump] has said about energy…is the best of any president since Reagan,” says Alex Epstein, who’s the president/founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, a for-profit think tank devoted to exploring how new technology can improve the planet. Trump, says Epstein, has so far been an advocate for Americans to reach their full energy potential.

Epstein is author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” Learn about his book here. Read all of this article here.

IRS scandal, day 1,302: IRS still persecuting Tea Partys

A “corrupt” Internal Revenue Service still is shooting down advocates for conservative causes, especially if they have the words “tea party” in their names, even though courts have told the bureaucrats to stop. Read all of this article here.

From Washington Times: “Nearly seven years after it applied to the IRS for nonprofit status, the Albuquerque Tea Party has finally been given a decision: Denied.” Read about it here.

Amazon’s “Smile” charity gives 1/4% of all purchases

My “Smile” charity is Institute for Justice, which has gotten over $7,036 from Amazon. Visit the Amazon Smile site here. And this is what’s said about Institute for Justice on the Amazon site:

Institute for Justice’s mission: Through strategic litigation, training, communication, and outreach, the Institute for Justice advances a rule of law under which individuals can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. IJ litigates to secure economic liberty, school choice, private property rights, freedom of speech, and other vital individual liberties and to restore constitutional limits on the power of government. In addition, IJ trains law students, lawyers, and activists in the tactics and more.

Ayn Rand quotes in new book of greatest quotes

“Metaphors Be With You: An A to Z Dictionary of History’s Greatest Metaphorical Quotations” Don Hauptman let me know that Mardy Grothe, one of the greatest authorities on quotations, has this new book with six provocative Rand quotations. They’re about heroism, individualism, wealth and other subjects she valued in her novels and nonfiction.

It has 2,500 quotations and an innovative use of QR codes that link to his website — the first time this device has been employed so comprehensively in a print book. Your smart phone uses QR codes to take you to sites Grothe has chosen. It’s ideal for searching for a quotation. Googling can turn up misquotations or misattributions. In contrast this author did extensive research to authenticate every entry and often includes explanatory notes that debunk errors or clarify disputed matters. Read about this book here.

Atlas Network: India’s Marginal Revolution

…in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union dissolved, India began a process of economic reform that has gradually brought freedom, dignity, and prosperity to millions upon millions of individuals.

Within a decade, the average income in India had doubled, and nearly 250 million people — about a fifth of the population — have risen out of poverty since then. This transformation is remarkable, but it is still ongoing. People who want to work and build new businesses face an array of obstacles. Informal and black markets comprise the vast majority of India’s economic activity. Read more here.

The U.S. income tax system is unworkable, says Steve Forbes

Several years ago, Money magazine gave the finances of a hypothetical family to 46 of America’s top tax preparers. Their job was simple: Complete the family’s tax return. But the 46 tax experts came back with 46 wildly different estimates! Why? Because, according to Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, the U.S. income tax system is worse than complex — it’s incomprehensible and unworkable. Is there a better way? Yes, and it’s called a flat tax. Watch PragerU’s new video with Mr. Forbes here, to see how it would work, in less than 5-1/2 minutes.

Thomas Sowell’s farewell column

“After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column…I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long….

“During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program – and it felt wonderful.” Read more here and see his photos here.

This site has some Sowell quotes. These are my favorites, see the rest of them here.

  • “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”
  • “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”
  • “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

Fred Cookinham’s five Ayn Rand walking tours

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

  • Hillsdale Dialogues, a survey of great books, great men and great ideas. Larry Arnn, president Hillsdale College, on Hugh Hewitt Show. Arnn’s enjoys teaching, he makes learning fun and memorable. Listen here.
  • “Don’t let it go…unheard” Amy Peikoff is a radical for capitalism and free speech, discussing news, politics, law and culture from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy Objectivism. Listen here.
  • “Philosophy in action” Diana Heish Brickell answered questions from listeners, applying rational principles to challenges of real life. Listen here.
  • “The Yaron Brook Show” two shows weekly. This radical for capitalism discusses news, culture and politics from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, takes questions. Ends with suggestions of positive movies, music and/or novels. Listen here.
  • “The Peikoff podcasts” Leonard Peikoff, philosopher, Ayn Rand’s intellectual heir or Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute. Leonard answered questions on Rand’s philosophy Objectivism, human relationships, career, moral issues. Yaron answered questions on politics, economics, foreign policy. Podcasts available by topic, single questions, full episodes, here.

About Junto and this Junto newsletter

  • Our founder, host is Victor Niederhoffer. His site’s 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.
  • To subscribe to this newsletter put “Junto list” in the subject line, email your name and preferred email address to: info@NYCjunto.org
  • Iris Bell continues to write this newsletter. She’s a freelance graphic designer. She was Ayn Rand’s and Nathaniel Branden Institute’s graphic designer.
  • Oleg Atbashian created NYCjunto.com. His own famous site, The People’s Cube presents important political issues with humor and satire.

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