Top 10 Articles
Either-Or: Atlas Shrugged And The Future Of Individualism
The progam for the 2013 Atlas Summit is currently being prepared and finalized. In the meantime, you can peruse this information below about last year's Summit for an idea of what you can expect this year. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at the 2013 Summit!
The Atlas Summit, an event presented by The Atlas Society, will be held June 29-July 1, 2012, in the elegant setting of the Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The theme of The Atlas Summit is "Either-Or: Atlas Shrugged and the Future of Individualism." ("Either-Or" is the name of the second part of Ayn Rand's prophetic novel, Atlas Shrugged. ) Many have been struck by the chilling parallels between the novel and the current state of the world, and of America in particular. What do the incisive truths contained within the novel mean for our future as individuals and for the United States?
Consider: in Part II of the novel, the men in power become increasingly frantic as the economy declines at an accelerating pace and the disappearance of the best producers deprives them of victims to loot. The protagonists find their scope of action narrowing, their hope ebbing away. Their world is falling apart and they have not yet discovered the strike or the radiant alternative of Galt’s Gulch.
The essential themes are indicated by the title, “Either-Or,” which refers to a series of stark alternatives that Rand brings to the fore.The primary dichotomy is the alternative of trade versus power. Every society has some mix of trade and power as operative principles for how people interact. Atlas Shrugged tracks the replacement of trade by power over the course of the story, up to the point of collapse caused by a purely power-based system. Part II, especially, highlights the sequence of disintegration in a systematic way, showing the interplay of factors such as: the decline of technology, innovation, and standards of living as talent is drained from society; the growth of government power and decline of individual freedom; the growth in the arbitrary exercise of power—rule by edict rather than law—and the increasingly overt and naked pursuit of power; the ascendancy of political entrepreneurs—businessmen who seek wealth through political connections and manipulation—over real entrepreneurs who gain wealth through production; the flight from responsibility, both as an individual vice and as a reaction to a social environment that penalizes success as well as failure; the proliferation of conflicts of interest and the breakdown of good will among otherwise decent people; and the increasingly chaotic, unpredictable pattern of events.
We see a world where one can do morally honest productive work only through legally criminal means (II,5).
Up to this midway point in Part II, the economy in Atlas is a kind of advanced version of our own. Regulations controlling property and exchange are imposed for the usual rationales (public interest, fairness to the "little guy"), and have myriad unintended consequences that breed further controls. These regulations involve broad grants of authority to bureaucrats, leading to nonobjective law and pressure group jockeying. But there are no concentration camps or other extreme police state tactics. There are jail terms for economic crimes, but the state is reluctant to impose them for fear of public outrage; some degree of democratic control is left. The balance between power and trade is at the tipping point; it could go either way, and Dagny’s struggle against the looters has a semblance of plausibility. In this respect, the world of Part II offers the most relevant—and most foreboding—parallels to our own world.
Attendees at The Atlas Summit will hear challenging addresses regarding a world which seems increasingly like that of Atlas Shrugged. What are our options when confronted with such a world?
Attendees will also be treated to an early look at elements of the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 2, which has begun filming. We expect the filmmakers to attend in force for a celebration of the new movie, Saturday, June 30. More details will be announced soon.
These are a few highlights of this year's truly unique program. Click here to view entire program schedule.
- The Atlas Society's Ed Hudgins will kick off the seminar by explaining how true Atlas Shrugged has become as a prophecy of today's crises."Atlas Shrugged and the World Today" will explain how our society faces a stark choice: Either individualism and freedom will lead to prosperity; Or collectivism and big government will bring us further and further down. Ed Hudgins is Director of Advocacy at The Atlas Society. Formerly director of regulatory studies for the Cato Institute and editor of Regulation magazine, Ed is an expert on the regulation of space and transportation, pharmaceuticals, and labor. He served as a senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and was both deputy director for economic policy studies and director of the Center for International Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation. He has testified on many occasions before Congress. He is the editor of Freedom to Trade: Refuting the New Protectionism, Space: The Free Market Frontier, and two books on postal service privatization. His latest collection is entitled An Objectivist Secular Reader.
Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro will be among those presenting a special plenary session "Inside Atlas Shrugged Part 2." John Aglialoro is the Chairman and CEO of Cybex International. He is producer and co-screenwriter of the Atlas Shrugged movies. Kaslow is an attorney and movie producer with over 20 film credits as a producer or executive producer, including Atlas Shrugged Part 1, Atlas Shrugged Part 2, NIghtrain, Asylum, and Red Scorpion. Shrugged Part 2 movie. Follow the movie's Twitter feed at @AtlasShrugged
- Broadcast journalist John Stossel will host a special Atlas Summit dinner event, Friday, June 29, where leaders in the political fight for freedom will discuss the seminal role Atlas Shrugged has played in inspiring their fight. Stossel will interview Grover Norquist, the influential president of Americans for Tax Reform, Congressman Allen West. presidential candidates and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, and Robert Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation.
- Philosopher, author, and professor Stephen Hicks will present "Public Policy, Objectivism, and Entrepreneurship." Hicks will present an Objectivist perspective on entrepreneurship and public policy. Objectivism’s ethical philosophy is highly entrepreneurial, emphasizing initiative, self-responsibility, and self-creation. Consequently, Objectivism’s political philosophy is entrepreneurship-friendly, emphasizing the protection of individual rights necessary for entrepreneurs to be able to function and flourish. Beyond that, are there more specific government policies that Objectivism should promote to foster entrepreneurship–e.g., specific tax, immigration, or education policies? Further: given that we live in a sometimes-hostile-to-entrepreneurship culture, are there second-best policies that Objectivism should support to protect and encourage entrepreneurship in a mixed economy?
- Philosopher, author, and founder of the Atlas Society, David Kelley will present "The Experience of Free Will." Kelley willl focus, not on the classic issue of how freedom of choice relates to causal determinism, but on the inner experience of freedom. We experience free will in many forms and contexts: routine voluntary behavior, problem solving, working in flow, making difficult choices, overcoming psychological obstacles. What are the similarities and differences among these experiences? In which of them do we experience free will most clearly? Is it possible to increase the scope of freedom? In addressing these questions, Kelley will draw on the Objectivist theory of volition and on the work of psychologists.
- Popular psychotherapist and life coach Joel Wade will speak on "Self-Acceptance, Self-Improvement, and Dealing With Life as it is." and "Mastering Happiness: Pracitcal Skills and Ideas for Living Well." Wade is the author of Mastering Happiness: Ten Principles for Living a More Fulfilling Life, a book that makes the burgeoning research from the field of Positive Psychology accessible and useful for anybody with a desire to live a happier, more resilient life.. Click here to read Joel's article, "The Social Power of Integrity."
- Education pioneer, psychologist, and author Marsha Enright will present on "The Problem of 'Selfishness." Enright is the president of the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute, and leads development of the College of the United States and its wholly independent scholarship fund. RIF Institute runs seminars for students using its innovative method and curriculum. This includes weekend seminars at colleges, and a week-long seminar in the summer, which will be held July 21-28 in Chicago this summer. See their website for details. Ms. Enright writes and presents on a broad range of topics, from research neuropsychology to philosophical biology to contemporary culture. Her work has been published in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, The New Individualist, Objectivity, The Daily Caller, Real Clear Markets and elsewhere. She blogs at LIberating Education.
- Steve Davis, director of advanced projects at SpaceX, the leading providers of private innovation in spaceflight, will speak on "SpaceX and the Future of Private Spaceflight." Davis has worked as chief engineer on the Falcon-1 guidance, navigation, and control system and as Lead Systems Engineer on the Dragon Spacecraft program. He is also an economist and the founder of Mr. Yogato, a unique Washington, D.C. frozen dessert purveyor.
- Financier Ziad Abdelnour will speak on "Economic Warfare." He is the president and CEO of Blackhawk Partners, and the author of Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics. Abdelnour is also the founder and president of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL), founder and chairman of the Financial Policy Council, member of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Forum, and former president of the Arab Bankers Association of North America. He is a regular panelist and speaker on private equity and venture capital topics at industry conferences nationwide. Click here to read Abdelnour's Q&A in the Washington Post on Greece securing its second bailout.
- The Atlas Society's William R Thomas will speak on career, goodwill, and trust as values in Atlas Shrugged. Thomas is the editor of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand (2005), author of Radical for Capitalism, and is the co-author of the survey The Logical Structure of Objectivism. He has published essays on topics in politics, ethics, and epistemology and has spoken internationally on the theory of individual rights and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Will is Director of Programs at The Atlas Society and director of The Atlas Summit. He has a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Michigan, where he taught the economic history of the United States and China. He has lectured at home and abroad and has conducted research under the auspices of the People's University of China.
- Atlas Society COO Aaron Day will argue that "Atlas Should Shrug Now!" Day, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, individual investor, and an advisor to numerous companies and non-profits (including the advisory committee for X-Prize Foundation) will share several real-world stories from his experience in the healthcare, clean technology, and internet technology industries that echo one of the key themes in the second part of Atlas Shrugged–the battle of trade versus power. Day will share his first hand experience with the effects of Romneycare, Obamacare, the Department of Energy’s stifling of innovation through its EnergyStar program, and the excessive overreach by the Secret Service and the Attorney General in arbitrarily seizing bank accounts without just cause.
- Alexander R. Cohen, managing editor of The Atlas Society's Business Rights Center, will speak on why insider trading is ethical and should be legal. Click here to read Cohen's article, "The Morality of Insider Trading." Cohen holds degrees in journalism, philosophy, and law. In addition to his work at The Atlas Society, Alexander continues to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Virginia. Much of his academic work in philosophy has focused on Aristotelian ethics, but he is writing a dissertation on the theory of punishment from an Objectivist perspective. Alexander has served as an adjunct assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Sociology professor Anne Wortham will discuss "Sociology in The Fountainhead." Wortham specializes in sociological theory, sociology of culture, and race and ethnic relations. "Ayn Rand helped me to understand human liberation in a deeper-than-political sense," Wortham has written. Click here to read her article, "Honoring Ayn Rand: My Freedom March." Courses taught by Wortham include: History of Sociological Thought, Social Stratification, Sociology of Culture.She is currently associate professor in the Sociology and Anthropology department of Illinois State University.
Robert L. Bradley, Jr. will speak on "Political Capitalism: Warnings and Reality" and "Milton Friedman and Liberty." Bradley (www.politicalcapitalism.org) is the CEO & Founder of the Institute for Energy Research. He is the author of seven books, most recently Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies, and he blogs at www.masterresource.org. Bradley's interest has grown from energy regulation to 'sustainable development' issues to political capitalism in theory and practice to the teaching of 'the science of liberty.' Rob says he attends the annual Atlas seminar to help him figure out "What's next?"
- Donald Luskin (at right), author of I am John Galt: Today's Heroic Innovators Building theWorldand the Parasites Destroying It. Luskin is the Chief Investment Officer of Trend Macrolytics LLC. He appears regularly regularly on CNBC's "Kudlow & Company" and on Bloomberg TV, CNN and Fox News. Luskin will speak on "I am John Galt: The Dangerous Fight for Freedom Today." Don's 30-year career as an entrepreneur, executive, investment manager and commentator has been built around his passion for the application of technology and innovation to the challenge of investing..
- Law professor David N. Mayer will deliver a two-part presentation on "Restoring the Constitutional Presidency." Mayer is the author of The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson and Liberty of Contract: Discovering a Lost Constitutional Right. Mayer is Professor of Law and History at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he teaches courses in American constitutional history, English and American legal history, and intellectual property (copyright and unfair trade practices law), as well as a seminar in Libertarianism and the Law. He is currently writing a book on the U.S. Constitution, titled Freedom’s Constitution: A Contextual Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Click here to read David's article on "Completing the American Revolution.
Roger Donway, director of the Atlas Society's Business Rights Center will speak on "The Backdated Options Rich-Hunt." Donway will be joined by Greg Reyes, the former Brocade Communications CEO who was convicted of fraud and served prison time. Donway's research has revealed how spurious the charges and conviction were. Reyes will present his personal perspective on his experience.
Grover G . Norquist, a native of Massachusetts, has been one of most effective issues management strategists in Washington for three decades. Mr. Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request. ATR is a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels. ATR organizes the TAXPAYER PROTECTION PLEDGE, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases.
Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who has been referred to as the "most fiscally conservative Governor" in the country, was the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. He has been an outspoken advocate for efficient government, balanced budgets, rational drug policy reform, protection of civil liberties, comprehensive tax reform, and personal freedom. As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico's budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half, and privatized half of the state prisons.
Congressman Allen West represents the 22nd district of Florida. Congressman West received his Bachelor's degree while on an ROTC scholarship at the University of Tennessee and later went on to get a Master's degree from Kansas State University, both in political science. He also holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in political theory and military operations. In his Army career, Congressman West has been honored many times, including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. In his free time, Congressman West enjoys cheering on his beloved Tennessee Volunteers, is an avid distance runner, a certified SCUBA diver, motorcyclist, and attends Community Christian Church in Tamarac, Florida.
Rober Poole is Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation, of which he is a co-founder. Poole, an MIT-trained engineer, has advised the Ronald Reagan, the George H.W. Bush, the Clinton, and the George W. Bush administrations. In the field of surface transportation, Poole has advised the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the White House Office of Policy Development, National Economic Council, Government Accountability Office, and state DOTs in numerous states. Poole is a member of the Government Accountability Office's National Aviation Studies Advisory Panel and he has testified before the House and Senate's aviation subcommittees on numerous occasions. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Poole consulted the White House Domestic Policy Council and the leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Fred Seddon will present on Plato's Meno. Seddon received his PhD from Duquesne University. He is the author of three books, including Ayn Rand, Objectivists, and the History of Philosophy, over 140 articles, book reviews and speeches, and a blog covering all the major branches of philosophy. .He has been president of the West Virginia Philosophical Society since 1988 and is an associate member of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Semi-retired, he currently holds adjunct professorships at three universities in South Western Pennsylvania. His other books are An Introduction to the Philosophical Works of F.S.C. Northrop and Aristotle and Lukasiewicz on the Principle of Contradiction.
Glenn Fletcher will be speaking on "The Philosophy of Albert Einstein." Fletcher is a Lecturer at the Cornell Uniiversity Department of Physics. He holds a PhD in Physics from Michigan State University. He has studied the philosophy of science extensively. He has previously spoken on the issue of objectivity in science and how related problems can be addressed by applying the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology.
Guillermo Pineda will deliver a 2-part presentation on "The History of Capitalism." Pineda is a Double Degree MA Global Studies Candidate at Leipzig University and Roskilde University. He founded the Center for the Study of Capitalism in Guatemala and has studied and has promoted Objectivist philosophy for several years.
Playwright John Enright will present a video of his recently produced comedy, Wild Flowers. Wildflowers is a comedy about looking for love... and a missing birth certificate. Maggie is surprised to learn that she is not an American and may be deported to Russia. Luckily, she's got a pair of suitors willing to help her get her green card. That's before her Mom arrives, eager to bring Maggie back to the motherland. But Maggie is determined to follow her own compass, and will settle for nothing less than the truth.
Author Amanda Hall will presrent "What Cupid Can Contribute to a Culture of Liberty."
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
We have reserved a block of luxurious rooms at the Renaissance at a special rate. Standard rooms are $189 plus tax (compare to $349 normally). An upgrade to a larger, "Capital Room" may be possible for $50 additional. You can make your hotel reservations online now with no payment due until you check in. (If you are interested in an upgrade, register for a standard room and then contact email@example.com with your request.) Most Summer Seminar participants should plan to check in June 28 and check out July 2.
The Atlas Summit is a great place for students to learn about Objectivism and the values Ayn Rand promoted. We offer a discounted student registration rate. And students may apply for tuition waivers and room and board scholarships, too. In addition, limited travel funds are available for students traveling long distances, or traveling internationally, or with exceptional financial problems. Apply by May 18.
For students and a few others who care to brave discomfort to save money, we have reserved double dorm rooms at Catholic University (not far on the Metro). Students have first dibs on these rooms (we will refund by May 28 any dorm registrations that we cannot honor).
If you can't make it to the Summer Seminar, you might enjoy catching some or all of the sessions online via our new live-streaming service. Live streaming registrants will receive their personal log in information ahead of the seminar, and can watch as much or as little of the Seminar as they like.
Cancellation and Refunds
If you cancel your Summer Seminar registration ticket before May 29, you will receive a full refund. Between May 29 and June 22, refunds will be pro-rated based on costs we have incurred. There will be no refunds after June 22.
Renaissance Hotel reservations are usually refundable up until the check in day (see the details when you register for your room). Catholic University dormitory accommodations are not refundable after May 29.