NYC Junto Newsletter
A free monthly written by Iris Bell, March 31, 2017
Contents at a glance
Calendar of events, NYC and more
* “Ask-a-Philosopher” by Carrie–Ann Biondi, Saturday, April 8
* Tour of Independence Hall, Saturday, April 15
* Ayn Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Workshop, Wed., April 19
* Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, April 30, 3:00pm
* Spring NY Heroes Hike at Bear Mountain, Sunday, May 21
* A World of Emotions, Ancient Greece, through June 24
* The Great Connections Summer Seminar, July 22 through 29
* “Fountainhead” Dutch play in NY 5 times, starts November 28
Alex Epstein and human flourishing
* Alex Epstein on how to improve your world
* Alex Epstein to debate fossil fuels at tech conference May 2
* Read chapter 1, “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” by Alex Epstein
* Empowerment Tools, perhaps for you, too…from Alex
* Alex Epstein reports on his keynote speech to engineers
The arts and beauty
* Epoch Times newspaper/site educates readers, supports beauty
* Epoch Times: “Resurgence of Art” learn of artists who love art
* Epoch Times: Karl Jenkins, living accessible composer
* Julian Onderdonk, painter in Aristos, online review of the arts
* “Who Says That’s Art?” a book debated by school teachers
Items of interest
* Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” will be a graphic novel
* The Libertarian Angle: Minimum wage and free trade
* Hank Reardon’s life, in first person, as a “draw my video”
* The Big Idea: How to solve the cost crisis in health care
* Institute for Justice successfully attacking civil forfeiture
* Why Capitalism is the Only Moral System by Yaron Brook
* Why rural America votes conservative, Victor Davis Hanson
* Hillary’s fans surprised by their reactions to her as a male
* Capitalism in Space, “freedom can work”
* Stylized Life by Glenn Lamont — applied Objectivism
* Norman Borlaug: He taught people to feed themselves
* Answer to Dennis Prager’s: Is there morality without God
* Knives and fire in kindergarten
* What’s the happiest country in the world?
* Rand’s Objectivist philosophy required reading for British teens
* Have fun visiting Real Clear Future
* Five Ayn Rand walking tours in NYC, by Fred Cookinham
* Local meetings and sites: free market and Objectivist
* Facts about this Junto newsletter and Junto
Junto monthly newsletter continues, Junto meetings end
The purpose of this newsletter, by Iris Bell, is to let you know about item related to achievements, free markets, education and Romantic arts…with an emphasis on Objectivism and the human flourishing movement.
The most important part of each item is here, with a link for more information. There are surprises in every issue, great items which are getting little notice.
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.
Calendar of events, NYC and more
“Ask-a-Philosopher” by Carrie–Ann Biondi, Saturday, April 8
1:00pm to 3:00pm, 5th Avenue and 59th Street, Grand Army Plaza. Biondi, Marymount Manhattan College philosophy professor, will be part of the annual Brooklyn Public Philosophers’ “Ask-a-Philosopher” at the booth at the farmers market on the southeast corner of Central Park. She’s event organizer of the Meetup, NY Objectivists/Celebrating the Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
Stop by to ask her philosophical questions. She can pose questions of her own to you. There’ll also be bowls of questions and thought experiments that you can choose from, in case you’re not sure what questions to ask. Learn more here.
Tour of Independence Hall, Saturday, April 15
NY Objectivists Meetup, noon to 4:00pm, 5th Street and Chestnut Avenue, Philadelphia. “Celebrate Independence on Income Tax Day!” Steve Plafker’s tour of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, Second Bank of U.S., Benjamin Franklin Museum and if group’s wants, the Mint.
Plafker’s a retired LA County Deputy District Attorney and founding member of The Association for Objective Law. Refreshments at a food court. Arrive by bus, train or car. Learn more here.
Ayn Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Workshop, Wed., April 19
NY Objectivists Meetup, 7:00pm to 9:15pm, Marymount Manhattan College, 221 East 71 Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, room 505, cost $10.
Philosophy professor and Aristotle scholar Carrie-Ann Biondi is leading this workshop on Ayn Rand’s rational ethical egoism. She teaches ethical theory and applied ethics courses for undergraduate students. This takes place where she teaches, Marymount Manhattan College.
We’re working through chapters from Ayn Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness.” She’ll demonstrate similarities and differences with Aristotle’s ethics whenever possible. In the sixth session we’ll discuss Chapter 9, “The Cult of Moral Greyness” and Chapter 19, “The Argument From Intimidation.” Learn more here.
Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, April 30, 3:00 pm
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. At The Midtown Restaurant, 155 East 55 Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues, mid-block, north side of 55 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 there.” Learn more here.
Spring NY Heroes Hike at Bear Mountain, Sunday, May 21
10:30am to 4:30pm, Bear Mountain Inn, Seven Lakes Drive & Route 9W, Bear Mountain, NY. This is a meetup of the NY Objectivists/Celebrating the Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
After the summit hike and lunch we’ll set aside time for those who want to speak about their goals and achievements in our Celebrate Self segment of the gathering. Afterwards, you’re welcome to join the dinner, most likely at Bear Mountain Inn. Learn more here.
A World of Emotions, Ancient Greece, through June 24
Exhibit of objects from 700BC to 200AD, Monday through Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday till 9:00pm. Free admission, free guided tours three times a week. Onassis Cultural Center NY, enter 51st or 52nd Streets between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Learn more and see some items here.
The Great Connections Summer Seminar, July 22 through 29
For students, Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute’s transformative week of learning and exploring activities in the beautiful, vibrant city of Chicago. What’s next for you in your life? Do you know what skills you need to achieve that? These are important questions for anyone to ask, and especially for young people navigating how to build meaningful and productive lives.
Become the entrepreneur of your own life. You can begin to gain the intellectual skills and confidence to begin to shape the life you desire to live. With a liberal arts curriculum combined with our evidence-based discussion method this seminar makes for a transformative week for students. Learn more here.
“Fountainhead” Dutch play in NY 5 times, starts November 28
This four hour play, based on Ayn Rand’s novel, will be performed in Dutch, in BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music, November 28, 29, 30, January 12 and February 12, 2018. It’s been performed around the world since 2014. Watch 2 minutes, subtitled here. More about it at BAM here.
Alex Epstein and human flourishing
Alex Epstein on how to improve your world
In this Objective Standard interview by Craig Biddle, Alex says: “This is where I excel. I help businesses to see their own value and to communicate it to the world. I help them understand how to fight for freedom from government coercion. And the art of selling is integral to my success.” Read it here.
Alex Epstein to debate fossil fuels at tech conference May 2
He’ll be debating Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. It will be at the massive Collision tech conference in New Orleans, LA, May 2, 4:10pm to 4:35pm CT.
Alex says, “I’m excited to do this because DiCaprio is one of the world’s most prominent opponents of fossil fuels. By taking on his appointed guru I can leverage his fame while refuting someone credible.” An audience of 500 is expected. It’ll be livestreamed on Facebook Live here.
Read chapter 1, “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” by Alex Epstein
You’ve heard that our addiction to fossil fuels is destroying our planet and our lives. Yet by every measure of human well-being life has been getting better and better. This book explains why humanity’s use of fossil fuels is actually a healthy, moral choice. Read chapter 1: “The Secret History of Fossil Fuels” here.
” ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’ may make your blood boil, but his cool reason and cold, hard facts will lead us beyond hysterics to a much better future.” Peter Thiel technology entrepreneur and investor.
Empowerment Tools, perhaps for you, too…from Alex
Alex Epstein offers these ways of thinking about changing people’s minds about fossil fuel, but these are valuable for anyone to think about using.
Stage 1: Learn the value of what your industry does.
Stage 2: Learn how to win hearts and minds.
Stage 3: Upgrade your strategy and messaging.
Stage 4: Refine and reinforce.
Read more about them here
Alex Epstein reports on his keynote speech to engineers
“… the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. There were around 2,000 attendees at the conferences and 800 at my event.
“…they changed the format of the conference to bring me in. Usually, the keynote event is a panel of executives discussing technical and economic issues–but after reading ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,’ several of the organizers decided that the audience should be educated about the moral and communication issues of the oil and gas industry….The audience reacted very enthusiastically…” This speech isn’t online but others of his are.
The arts and beauty
Epoch Times newspaper/site educates readers, supports beauty
Epoch Times is a broadside newspaper/site with unique content, covering news in the US and the world often featuring anti-communist and pro-free market stories. It also covers health, dining and the arts. Food section recipes often have photos so lovely they’re enjoyable in themselves.
Most importantly they support beauty in the arts. They interview painters, sculptors, composers and musicians. They have essays about artists who revere the best of the arts of the past and work with the same dedication. For instance, the March 3-9, 2017 issue’s eight page arts section had three different articles on unrelated Chamber music groups. Read it as paid subscription or free online. Read any part of any issue here.
Epoch Times: “Resurgence of Art” learn of artists who love art
This article begins, “Ateliers lead the art world toward exalting excellence in beauty: There’s a group of artists who most of the general public has yet to know exist. These are highly skilled painters, sculptors, and draftsmen trained in ateliers or academies who are not embarrassed to utter the word ‘beautiful’ at a time when that word is generally scorned by the contemporary art establishment….
“These artists value quality over quantity, sincerity over cynicism…and the Western tradition of fine art over the avant garde fixation on newness….these traditional artists are perhaps the most radical and marginalized group…yet their numbers are growing.
“…They have decided to continue the Western tradition of art that has a reverence for mastery and skill and to learn the fundamentals of a visual language that developed over 700 years…” Read all of this article, with its 16 paintings and photographs here.
Epoch Times: Karl Jenkins, a living yet accessible composer
In a recent issue of Epoch Times I discovered this composer of accessible classical style orchestral and choral music. His background includes jazz and rock, if you listen carefully you can tell he uses all his knowledge to create his music. Online I found this documentary about Jenkins. He’s the most-performed living composer in the world. Experience his music and learn about his life here.
Julian Onderdonk, painter in Aristos, online review of the arts
“Never heard of him? Neither had we until recently, though he may very well be one of America’s greatest Impressionist painters. Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922).” Many links to articles and his paintings under the heading “Out from the Shadows of Obscurity” here.
“Who Says That’s Art?” a book debated by school teachers
The book’s subtitle is “A commonsense view of the visual arts”
and it’s by Michelle Marder Kamhi. A panel discussed the book’s ability to get teachers out of the echo chamber of like-minded ideas that tend to dominate peer-reviewed publications in the field. Kamhi is co-writer of the Aristos blog in the item above. Learn about the book and debate here.
Items of interest
Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” will be a graphic novel
Work is well underway on it. New American Library expects to publish it in a couple of years. It has the approval of Leonard Peikoff. The designer and artist is Bosch Fawstin with a script by him and Amy Peikoff, adapted from the novel. It’s expected come out three volumes over a few months. The announcement is here.
The Libertarian Angle: Minimum wage and free trade
Future of Freedom Foundation podcast with Jacob Hornberger, Donald Boudreaux and Richard Ebeling. A persistent and harmful belief is that worker’s wages can be raised by government fiat, passing a minimum wage law making it illegal to hire anyone below a certain amount. Rather than helping unskilled and inexperienced to improve their economic position, these laws often price them out of the market.
Another fallacy is that government protection against imported goods “saves” or “creates” jobs, and improves economic well being of citizens in the country putting up trade barriers. Watch them here.
Hank Reardon’s life, in first person, as a “draw my video”
See the inspiring story of Hank Rearden, a character created by Ayn Rand, for her novel “Atlas Shrugged.” Watch his journey unfold here.
The Big Idea: How to solve the cost crisis in health care
The Facebook group “Support Market-Based Healthcare” linked to this Harvard Business Review article. “The old adage that you can’t manage what you don’t measure is best illustrated by healthcare. Cost containment is conspicuous by its absence in the industry. Most hospitals have no way of knowing how much of resources they are using for an outcome….
“…the potential to improve outcomes while driving down costs is greater in health care than in any other field we have encountered….The biggest problem with health care isn’t with insurance or politics. It’s that we’re measuring the wrong things the wrong way.” Read the rest here.
Institute for Justice successfully attacking civil forfeiture
Scott Bullock, president IJ, writes “…Wall Street Journal ran an IJ op-ed offering years of evidence that civil forfeiture is a real problem for individuals all over the country…nationwide push led by IJ to change forfeiture law…a court in New Mexico to enforce the strong reforms we spearheaded there…are a model for other states, but…Albuquerque is trying to circumvent so it can continue to seize property.
“…U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas went out of his way to write a multi-page statement describing how awful civil forfeiture has become, citing IJ’s research….” Cops can seize cash, cars and real estate without its owner ever being charged or convicted of a crime, read this article here.
Why Capitalism is the Only Moral System by Yaron Brook
This lecture was with the Rotterdam Students for Liberty. Brook is the Ayn Rand Institute Executive Chairman. He’s been speaking all over the world. He has two weekly shows, one on Chicago radio and it’s online, as is his weekly blog. The lecture is here and the question and answer session is here.
Why rural America votes conservative, by Victor Davis Hanson
Hanson, on TV, gives his perspective as a classics professor who follows politics and is a farmer in the California’s Central Valley. Watch it here.
Hillary’s fans surprised by their own reactions to her as a male
At Provincetown Playhouse professors presented “Her Opponent,” a free 35-minute performance composed of excerpts from the presidential debates with a significant twist in casting: Trump was played by a woman, Hillary played by a man.
Drawing on techniques of documentary theater, such as Anna Deavere Smith, these actors not only studied the words of the candidates, also gestures, posture, tempo and vocal intonation. They wanted to see if gender-inverted casting would “cause people to revisit their own personal biases.
Most had watched the debates assuming that Ms. Clinton couldn’t lose. This time they tried to figure out how Trump won. Interviews with cast members and comments from the postshow discussion suggested that they’d found answers. A woman who’d supported Ms. Clinton sounded pained as she described her reaction to the male character. “I felt that he was weak and I felt that I didn’t really like him,” she said.
One of the project’s creators…what he’d learned about Trump. “At the time of the debates, I dismissed him as awkward, unskilled, untrained….now I’m not so sure….” Read about the event here and watch about 2 minutes of it here.
Capitalism in Space, “freedom can work”
Robert Zimmerman writes, “The United States’ history proves that freedom can work….Freedom is actually a very simple idea. Give people and companies the freedom to act, in a competitive environment that encourages intelligent and wise action, and they will respond intelligently and wisely.”
On John Batchelor’s radio show/podcast Zimmerman often talks about capitalism and governments in space. Listen to one their conversations here. You can read Zimmerman’s “Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry” here.
Stylized Life by Glenn Lamont — applied Objectivism
“….In her ‘Atlas Shrugged’ notes dated June 27, 1946, Ayn Rand writes that to Francisco, John Galt is ‘the only man who represents a challenge and a stimulant — almost the “proper kind” of audience worthy of stunning for the sheer joy and color of life.’…
“Francisco is unique amongst the characters of ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ … extraordinary not only by his accomplishments, but also by his approach to life. Objectivism provides you with the tools to make your life extraordinary, to make your life like the pages of an Ayn Rand novel. I call this living a stylized life.
“Style is the component in esthetics that represents selectively focused essential characteristics. Style differentiates art from reality….it means identifying the essentials of life, what’s important about life, and making them your focus….
“This is what life is all about…a moment that makes you glad you’re alive. A stylized life means making what might be exceptional for others, the everyday for you….It means being a crusader for reason, but have fun doing it….in Ayn Rand’s words, ‘for the sheer joy and color of life’ — your life.” More here.
Norman Borlaug: He taught people to feed themselves
“In 1970, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a man named Norman Borlaug. His achievement? Saving hundreds of millions of people from death by starvation. Yet today, few people…know his name. This is unfortunate, for his story is heroic.
“…geneticist and plant pathologist who discovered ways to produce heartier and faster-growing varieties of wheat and other grains, brought these methods to various parts of the world, and taught people how to implement them. Thanks to his work, farmers and agriculturalists were–and are–able to produce orders of magnitude more food than they could prior to his discoveries.” Read all of this here, in The Objective Standard.
Answer to Dennis Prager’s: Is there morality without God
Prager says “without God there are no moral facts” and that “Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.”
Craig Biddle, atheist philosopher, thinks moral facts and objective morality do exist. He’s challenging Prager to address his argument. His article showing that objective morality, as elucidated by philosopher Ayn Rand, derives not from revelation, faith, or divine commandments — but from observation, logic, and the laws of nature. Read it here, in The Objective Standard.
Knives and fire in kindergarten
At Germany’s forest schools, everything is outdoors and the toys are tools. This is common in may European kindergartens. I learned about this from Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. Watch this charming one minute video with children discovering and exploring, here.
What’s the happiest country in the world?
I’ve always been suspicious of studies proving people in one culture are happier than in another. In some cultures saying one isn’t happy reflects negatively on ones family. In other cultures saying one is happy will make a person seem shallow (upper west side of NYC, perhaps.) This article in the Federalist explains that the questions asked have a great effect, too.
“The New York Times recently ran a story, ‘Norway is the Happiest Country in the World, Survey Finds.’ Topping the list…Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland…two surveys, both conducted by Gallup….the Global Emotions Report, measures the positive experiences people have daily. The happiest countries on this list are…Paraguay, Colombia, and Ecuador.
“…[the Norway study] measures happiness based on what…United Nations think makes for a happy life….They don’t mention happiness in the question….They ask about the ‘best possible life.’…UN bureaucrats have decided makes for a happy life: gross domestic product per capita, life expectancy, and perception of corruption in business. (…’data for government corruption are missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corruption-perception measure.’)” Federalist article on these studies here.
Rand’s Objectivist philosophy required reading for British teens
A-Level is part of a curriculum taught in secondary and pre-university schools in the UK. Its courses for students 16 to 18 have examinations with results often used for application assessments. The politics course is favored by students going into business or government. They’ll be expected to know and understand the core tenets of Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. Read more here and here.
Have fun visiting Real Clear Future
These are typical articles you might enjoy:
* How Not to Regulate the New Economy
* Self-Driving Cars’ Spinning-Laser Problem
* AI Investors Make a Killing in Stock Market Study
* How Sensors, Robotics, & AI Will Transform Agriculture
* How Chip Designers Are Breaking Moore’s Law
* What if Quantum Computers Used Hard Drives Made of DNA?
* 5 Biotech Products Regulators Aren’t Ready For
* CRISPR Can Now Edit Genes in Embryos
* Researchers Are Using Darwin’s Theories to Evolve AI
* Google Glass Didn’t Disappear, It’s on the Factory Floor
Plus there are these heading: Robots, Transportation, Information, Entertainment, Energy, Biotech, Future war, Space, Beyond, Zeerust. Visit the site here.
Five Ayn Rand walking tours in NYC, by Fred Cookinham
*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.co
Local meetings and sites: free market and Objectivist
*** Groups which meet in Manhattan ***
Manhattan Libertarian Party
NYC Ayn Rand Meetup
NY Objectivists/Celebrating the Philosophy of Ayn Rand/NY Heroes
*** Sites to visit ***
Aristos: An online review of the arts
The Atlas Society
Ayn Rand Institute
Ayn Rand Lexicon
Center for Industrial Progress
ChoiceMedia.TV: School choice news and events
The College of the United States
Forum for Ayn Rand Fans
The Heartland Institute
Institute for Justice
Ludwig Von Mises Institute
The Objective Standard
The Objective Standard’s Blog
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
*** Facebook groups ***
These groups are about free markets, creativity and/or Ayn Rand. Some are open to anyone. To read and post to closed ones ask to become a member. You can sign up for notices of new postings.
These groups have from 8,000 members to under 100. Some have been around years, others are new, some have daily postings, others rare ones.
A R Group
Ayn Rand friends
Ayn Rand International
Ayn Rand: Voices of Youth
For The New Intellectuals
Friends Who Like The Ayn Rand Institute
The Impact of Aristotle Upon Christian, Islamic, & Jewish Cultures
New York Area Objectivists
New York Objectivist Salon
The Objective Standard, an online and paper publication
Objectivism for Intellectuals
Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
Objectivist Inventors, Scientists and Engineers and Friends!
Objectivist movementReason Matters
Stop Blaming Capitalism for Socialism’s Failures
Students For Liberty
Facts about this Junto newsletter and Junto
- Our host is Victor Niederhoffer. For 31 years, until September 2016, he sponsored Junto meetings. Each month he presented a speaker, some are podcasts here. 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.
- 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.