Junto News: Good things going on, much to read, too

April 30, 2017

NYC Junto Newsletter
A free monthly written by Iris Bell, April 29, 2017

Contents at a glance

Calendar of events, NYC and beyond
* Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, April 30, 3:00pm
* Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Workshop, Wed., May 17
* Calligraphy 1906-2016, Grolier Club, May 17 — July 29
* Spring NY Heroes Hike at Bear Mountain, Sunday, May 21
* Free To Believe – Defending religious liberty for all, June 1

Alex Epstein and human flourishing
* Trump on energy, best since Reagan? Q/A with Alex
* DiCaprio’s global warming guru backs out of Alex debate

The arts and beauty
* Epoch Times: Self-Portraits — Meeting the artist eye-to-eye
* Seeing with expert eyes, recommended by Dianne Durante
* Aristos, online review of the arts — lots in this April issue

Items of interest
* Why no innovation in education, as in other industries
* “Terror” isn’t the threat, the ideology behind it is: “dawa”
* Trump executive order to reduce Fed in K-12 education
* Seasteading Institute floating free trade zones in Dubai
* How JetBlue Does It, interview with Peter Robinson
* Exploit-the-Earth Day, by Craig Biddle
* Professor worked in check-casher, we’re getting it wrong
* Ayn Rand’s Counter-Revolution, in the New York Times
* Bernard Lewis, in 1976, foresaw the rise of radical Islam
* “Her Opponent” surprising version of THE debates
* 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 items 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 beyond

Ayn Rand Meetup, Sunday, April 30, 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. 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.
Ayn Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” Workshop, Wed., May 17

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’ve worked through chapters from Ayn Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness.” In this final session we’ll summarize the prior session’s “The Cult of Moral Grayness” and “The Argument From Intimidation,” then open the discussion to any issue from chapters we analyzed in the book. We can also explore more fully any similarities to Aristotle’s ethics. You can post questions for the discussion or submit questions to Carrie-Ann or Robert here.
Calligraphy 1906-2016, Grolier Club, May 17 — July 29

The word calligraphy comes from the Greek for “beautiful” (calli) and “writing” (graphy). This decorative art goes back centuries, spanning cultures. Exhibitions of Asian, Persian and Medieval Western art include beautiful writing, yet modern Western calligraphy isn’t often recognized. Curator Jerry Kelly, book and type designer, typographer and calligrapher, presents examples by over 80 Westerners, demonstrating how alive it is in the computer age. 47 East 60 Street, Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, free. 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.
Free To Believe – Defending religious liberty for all, June 1

Atlas Network, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, The Penn Club, 30 West 44 Street. Reception for Bill Mumma, president Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He sees prospects for religious liberty in the Trump Era, a major transformation of the Judiciary will provide tremendous opportunities to advance all liberty. Open to Atlas Club and Trendsetters members, all others there’s a $50 suggested donation. Register here.

Alex Epstein and human flourishing

Trump on energy, best since Reagan? Q/A with Alex Epstein

Alex, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” talks about global warming, fracking, Ayn Rand and the president-elect with Nick Gillespie and Jim Epstein, December 2, 2016.

“What [Trump] has said about energy…is the best of any president since Reagan,” says Alex…has so far been an advocate for “Americans to reach their full energy potential.” “Man…survives by impacting nature,” he told Reason. [The environmental movement] “says [this] essence of human survival is bad. And that’s wrong.” “…our energy prosperity has depended on the ignorance of politicians.” Listen to this podcast here.

DiCaprio’s global warming guru backs out of Alex debate

Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” was to debate Terry Tamminen, CEO Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Terry claims he has “urgent business.” It was to be in May at the Collision Conference, New Orleans, it was scheduled for two months. The current plan is Alex will debate former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., recently named director Center for the New Energy Economy, Colorado State University.

“Not who I initially wanted, but this should be an entertaining debate nonetheless.” Tune to Facebook Live stream on the Planet:Tech Facebook page, May 2 at 12:30pm CST here and more here.  

The arts and beauty 

Epoch Times: Self-Portraits — Meeting the artist eye-to-eye

Eleventh Street Arts features 28 artists’ self-portraits. See how artists are able to project themselves into the world through their technical abilities and their artistic gifts. Viewing a self-portrait is an intimate meeting of gazes of the artist and viewer, separated in time and place. It is qualitatively different from looking at any photograph of the same artist, created in less than a second.

“There is something that pauses you when you look at a self-portrait, a special painting. It really is an introspective work of the artist, deliberately laboring over his or her face for many hours,” said Colleen Barry, an artist and curator of the exhibit. Epoch Times is a broadside newspaper/site, see paintings and read here.
Seeing with expert eyes, recommended by Dianne Durante

Alexandra Horowitz’s, “On Looking: A walker’s guide to the art of observation.” Dianne writes, “Even though I’m not an artist, I felt like I saw more after reading this book. Horwitz walks the same few blocks in Manhattan with a toddler, a dog, a doctor, a calligrapher, an entomologist, a blind person, and others with very particular points of view.” Look at it here…and if you click “Look here” above the cover of the book, then click on the “Print Version,” you’ll be able to read many pages throughout this book.

Learn about Dianne Durante’s free weekly email with recommendations in fields such as sculpture, painting, literature, nonfiction, movies, architecture and decorative arts, see a sample here.
Aristos, online review of the arts — lots in this April issue

* Ever heard of Camille Claudel? Even if you know her story, you’ll be happy to know she at last has her own museum, here
* Boston will have the largest display of Botticelli’s works in the U.S., 24 paintings from international lenders as well as important loans from Harvard and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, more here.
* A preview of a show featuring self-portraits by some of the most worthy Classical Realists working today. [Also see Epoch Times: Self-Portraits above] More here.
* Michelle recommends the columns of Epoch Times’s writer Milene Fernandez on Classical Realist art, here.

Items of interest

Why no innovation in education, as in other industries

A documentary on this subject, “School Inc.” is based on the work of the late Andrew Coulson. He spent the last several years of his life examining this question for the Cato Institute. Coulson’s discoveries and insights about the educational process were developed by the award-winning producers at Free To Choose Network. Find out if it’s on public TV in your area, here.
“Terror” isn’t the threat, the ideology behind it is: “dawa”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the Wall Street Journal, talks about ideas and about her short book (which is free). She seeks to add a new four-letter word — dawa — to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West. America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

Dawa are the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies — including countries of the West. Dawa she explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.”

Since 9/11, “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam — or ‘Islamism’ — and against those who spread that ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.” Read the WSJ article here and get her book, 63 pages plus notes, free from Hoover Institute here.
Trump executive order to reduce Fed in K-12 education

ChoiceMedia.tv reported on this. It’s a site about freeing education, whose creator visited Junto. Trump’s executive order requires Education Secretary Betsy DeVos study whether and how the federal government has overstepped its legal authority in K-12 schools, part of a broader effort to shift power from D.C. to states and local communities. “Previous administrations have wrongfully forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dicate what our kids are taught,” Trump said. “But we know that local communities do it best and know it best.”

The order doesn’t invest DeVos with new authority. She has broad powers to revise or withdraw policies of her predecessors, more here.
Seasteading Institute floating free trade zones in Dubai

Over 4,000 special economic zones (SEZs) around the world are proving so successful that more are being created. Joe Quirk, author and “aquapreneur” with Atlas Network partner Seasteading Institute, explained why new floating free trade zones off the coast of Dubai would allow for “maximum wealth creation.” The prototype for the Seasteading Institute’s Floating Island Project already floats in the Netherlands.

“Hong Kong…became in practice a startup government,” Quirk points out. “In 1961, it was a British colony with British rule of law…over the next 36 years, the wealth of the average person in Hong Kong…grew 87 times….the country’s leaders soon discovered that its success could be replicated through an expansion of economic freedom….China designated the fishing village of Shenzhen to try a similar experiment in business freedom. So, in 1979 when it was designated a special economic zone, Shenzhen didn’t even have a traffic light….Today, Shenzhen manufactures 90 percent of computer keyboards, 90 percent of computer mice…people keep moving there because per-person GDP is the highest in all of mainland China.” See him speak and read more here.
How JetBlue Does It, interview with Peter Robinson

Here’s an airline people love. JetBlue executives explain the unique culture of their company on “Uncommon Knowledge,” the online and TV show. CEO Robin Hayes and chairman Joel Peterson talk to Robinson about how JetBlue has remained successful, despite the regulations, competition and pitfalls of running an airline. JetBlue continues to have double-digit operating margins and great customer loyalty by focusing on safety, culture and delighting customers. It’s been voted best airline for customer satisfaction by JD Power 12 years in a row.

Even after Airline Deregulation Act 1978, airlines are still one of the most regulated industries in the U.S., with over 13,000 pages of FAA regulations. 21% of the cost of an air ticket goes to government taxes. JetBlue has a low-cost structure to compete and hasn’t gone into debt to fund its planes. It’s innovative, bringing its investment arm to the Silicon Valley to further integrate disruptive technology into their airline. They use technology to improve customer relations, track equipment and improve ticketing. Their culture empowers all employees to improve customers’ experiences, from check-in to picking up their bags. Watch, listen or read the interview here.
Exploit-the-Earth Day, by Craig Biddle

“Because Earth Day is intended to further the cause of environmentalism — and because environmentalism is an anti-human ideology — on April 22, those who care about human life should not celebrate Earth Day; they should celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day. Exploiting the Earth — using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes — is a basic requirement of human life. Either man takes the Earth’s raw materials — such as trees, petroleum, aluminum, and atoms — and transforms them into the requirements of his life, or he dies. To live, man must produce the goods on which his life depends; he must produce homes, automobiles, computers, electricity, and the like; he must seize nature and use it to his advantage. Environmentalism is not concerned with human health and wellbeing — neither ours nor that of generations to come. If it were, it would advocate the one social system that ensures that the Earth and its elements are used in the most productive, life-serving manner possible: capitalism. Read more by Biddle in his magazine’s blog, The Objective Standard, here.  
Professor worked in check-casher, we’re getting it wrong

University of Pennsylvania professor Lisa Servon worked as a teller to find out why customers used the service. Prevailing wisdom holds that customers would be better served by a bank. But she found check cashers were often cheaper and served customers’ needs better than banks. Three reasons customers gave were cost, transparency and service. Read more here.
Ayn Rand’s Counter-Revolution, in the New York Times

This op-ed is in the Times online version: History of Communism, 100 years after the Russian Revolution. How a refugee from Bolshevik Russia became the ultimate apostle of American anti-Communism, by Jennifer Burns, associate professor history Stanford University, research fellow Hoover Institution, author of “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.” An essay in the series Red Century, about the history and legacy of communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution. Read it here.
Bernard Lewis foresaw the rise of radicai Islam in 1976

Forty years ago, nobody foresaw the rise of radical Islam — except for the preeminent historian who both predicted and explained it, and much else besides. The role of Islam in politics? There wasn’t any to speak of. Imagine, then, the surprise of the readers of Commentary magazine when the January issue landed in their mailboxes bearing these words on the bright yellow cover: “The Return of Islam.” The byline…Bernard Lewis, the eminent British historian of the Middle East, just recently transplanted to America. Thus did the West receive its very first warning that a new era was beginning in the Middle East — one that would produce a tide of revolution, assassination, and terrorism, conceived and executed explicitly in the name of Islam. Read the rest of this celebration of Lewis’s 100th birthday here.   
“Her Opponent” surprising version of THE debates

Marion DS Dreyfus reports on this Off Broadway play: “[it] sets audiences back on their heels. Since it deploys exact lifts from the presidential debates between Hillary and Donald Trump, we know the words already….What transpires, however, is a revelation, partially evoked by the clever switching of genders….She has mountains of attitude, swaggers around the stage while her dainty dipsy opponent jaws on and on about inconsequential Big Ideas that never left the launching pad, though they came complete with chipmunk cheeked grins and arrogant harrumphs to share with her presumed humongous following everywhere.

…using their own debate words. And something amazing occurs….a resounding bull’s eye hit. After the debate itself is over, with the audience marveling….the audience gets a mic and we are able to express what we felt…Every member of the audience who professed to loathe and detest Mr.Trump…turned out to reconsider the candidates in light of the flip-around. Several DNC people said they now understood why Trump won: Hillary was a wonk, boring, unfriendly, artificial. Brenda/Trump was forceful, funny, natural engaging and often, in retrospect about Russia, correct….the producers will be taking this intriguing experiment out on the road….[one of the producers] told me he had, months ago, ‘known’ that Trump was the lesser, the stupider, of the two party leads. Now…he realized Trump was by far smarter than the Hillary entity….it’s a wow of an experience and actually the most fun I’ve had at the theatre for many a moon. Orbach Theatre, 50th and Broadway, 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. Read about his tours of colonial and revolutionary NYC history, vaudeville history, newspaper history, the changing styles of architecture that form the historical background of The Fountainhead, and places in NYC where Ayn Rand lived and where she laid her scenes in Atlas Shrugged. 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.

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
Atlas Network
The Atlas Society
The Atlasphere
Ayn Rand Institute
Ayn Rand Lexicon
Cato Institute
Center for Industrial Progress
ChoiceMedia.TV: School choice news and events
The College of the United States
The Federalist
Forum for Ayn Rand Fans
The Heartland Institute
Independent Institute
Institute for Justice
Liberating Education
Liberty Magazine
Ludwig Von Mises Institute
The Objective Standard
The Objective Standard’s Blog
Objectivism Online
Powell History
Real Clear Politics
Reason Papers
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
Ayn Rand friends
Ayn Rand International
Ayn Rand: Voices of Youth
For The New Intellectuals
Free Minds
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 movement
Reason Matters   
Romanticism Watch
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.

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