Members of The Atlas Legacy Society are committed to our mission and play a major role in advancing the empowering principles of Objectivism.
You can help to ensure future generations learn about the values that foster a free and prosperous society by donating to The Atlas Society through your estate plans.
To increase your philanthropic impact by making a revocable gift -- which doesn't require any upfront commitment of cash or other assets -- consider an estate gift through your will, living trust or other beneficiary accounts.
Making Your Gift to The Atlas Society
If you have already arranged to include The Atlas Society in your will or estate planning, become a member of the Atlas Legacy Society today by filling out this form.
Honoring your intent is important to us and by sharing a few details about your commitment, you enable us to have a clear understanding of your giving intentions, so we may honor your wishes and help us better plan for The Atlas Society’s future.
If you have any questions about donating to The Atlas Society through any of the vehicles listed below, please email our Development Team at email@example.com
The Atlas Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our Tax identification number is 13-3554791 and our mailing address is 22001 Northpark Drive, Ste 250 Kingwood, TX 77339
Below is a full overview of the standard planned giving language. The below does not include ALL types of planned gifts but rather the most common—The Atlas Society can accept gifts of all kinds.
A gift from your estate may be added to a new will or, by codicil, to an existing document. Here is sample bequest language to share with your attorney:
I give, devise, and bequeath (insert amount, percentage, or the remainder of the estate) to The Atlas Society, tax identification number 13-3554791, 22001 Northpark Drive, Ste 250 Kingwood, TX 77339 for general operations or (donor-designated purpose).
While most bequests are funded with cash, you may also choose to make a tax-saving estate gift of stock, real or personal property, stock options, or savings bonds.
Some assets result in both estate and income taxation if left to non-spousal beneficiaries (children, grandchildren, etc.). To reduce your tax burden, consider leaving assets such as stock or real estate to family members, and leave retirement plans (401K’s, IRA’s, etc.) and commercial annuities passing to charitable organizations, such as The Atlas Society. Not only will your estate receive a deduction for the value of your gift, but as a nonprofit organization, The Atlas Society does not pay any income tax on the distribution of retirement plans or commercial annuities to it. You may also wish to name The Atlas Society as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of an unneeded insurance policy. Please contact your plan administrator or custodian for more information and the appropriate change of beneficiary forms.
Cash is often the easiest asset used to make an outright charitable donation. However, you may consider using other assets. You may also wish to name The Atlas Society as the beneficiary of a donor-advised fund. In most cases, you will receive an upfront income tax deduction as well as capital gains tax avoidance for donations of appreciated assets.
Giving appreciated stock helps The Atlas Society cover the costs of sponsoring conferences to meet young people in person, or sending copies of our publications to tens of thousands of students a year.
You may also make a gift to The Atlas Society from your individual retirement account (IRA). This is especially convenient for our friends who are 72 years or older and required to take minimum distributions. In order to maximize the tax benefits, funds must be transferred directly from your IRA to The Atlas Society by your investment manager or account custodian. (Please consult your tax or financial advisor if you are considering a charitable IRA rollover to The Atlas Society).
Hear from members of our Legacy Society about how Objectivism impacted their lives and why you should consider The Atlas Society a beneficial investment in the future of our country.
Bob Poole is widely recognized as “the father of the privatization movement” in the United States and abroad. An MIT-trained engineer, he has advised administrations both domestically and internationally on privatization reform and transportation policy.
His interest in transportation began early, recalling the Lionel trains layout that took up nearly half of his small bedroom, and childhood days building plastic model airplanes and ships. His father’s job with Eastern Airlines allowed the family to take frequent plane trips for free back when air travel was very expensive. Air travel further piqued his interest in government policy—for example, regulations that prevented Eastern from getting the route from Miami to Los Angeles, preventing him and his family from visiting newly opened Disneyland.
While studying engineering at MIT, he developed an interest in political philosophy, beginning with a required course called “Modern Western Ideas and Values,” which introduced him to Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume, John Locke, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill.
“That course was a breakthrough…and really prepared my way for reading Ayn Rand,” Bob told us. His introduction to Rand took place when he joined MIT’s Students for Goldwater group, serving as literature director and working with the group’s leader David Nolan (who later founded the Libertarian Party). His peers, most of them Rand-influenced libertarians, reacted with disbelief upon learning he’d yet to read Atlas Shrugged, an omission he remedied on summer vacation back home in Miami.
“I carried around the paperback book on my summer job with the telephone company…and wow! It inspired me to dream about someday working with ideas and making this a freer country.”
After graduation, while working in engineering at Sikorsky Aircraft, he came across the fledgling Reason magazine, and got to know founder Lanny Friedlander. He wrote a Reason cover story advocating airline deregulation that attracted serious attention, launching Bob on a path which would later culminate in key advisory work with federal agencies and members of Congress aimed at major changes in US aviation policy.
Meanwhile, though, Reason was stuck in low gear. Bob and a new friend, Objectivist scholar Tibor Machan, who was getting his PhD in philosophy at the time, hatched a plan to take the magazine to the next level.
“We rounded up our wives…a libertarian lawyer named Manny Klausner in LA, and my former MIT roommate, raised a few thousand(!) dollars from friends…and somehow had enough naive good luck that we built the magazine’s circulation from 400 to 10,000 in 7 years.”
Although readership was climbing, Bob realized he couldn’t continue working nearly full-time as a consultant while putting the magazine out as a side gig—it had to become a full-time venture. And so, with some help from investors, Bob co-founded the Reason Foundation in 1978 and became its president for 22 years. Besides turning Reason into an influential national magazine, the Foundation also commissioned books and began policy research programs in privatization, school choice, and transportation—all of which made waves.
In 2001 Bob stepped down as CEO (crediting successor David Nott with taking the Foundation to full maturity), and pivoted to become the foundation’s Director of Transportation Policy.
In addition to authoring countless articles and policy papers on transportation and privatization, Bob’s books include Cutting Back City Hall, frequently cited as a touchstone for the Thatcher administration’s privatization efforts in the UK; A Think Tank for Liberty on the story of Reason Foundation; and Rethinking America’s Highways, which explores the history of—and a possibly better future for—our highways.
Bob appeared on a recent episode of The Atlas Society Asks webinar series, where he reflected on transportation, supply chain challenges, the unfortunate politicization of U.S. infrastructure policy, and the personal inspiration he’s drawn from the writings of both Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein.
He is a longtime friend and supporter of The Atlas Society and we are honored to have been included in his legacy for over two decades!
Atlas Society founder David Kelley stated that when he “founded our organization, it was important to our mission to connect with leaders of prominent free-market think tanks. Bob Poole was on the top of my list…and I was grateful for his warm welcome. He has been important to TAS in many ways: as a contributor; as a friend I could turn to for advice on programs and personnel; and as a member of our Board of Trustees (2006-12).”
He and his wife Lou Villadsen enjoy attending Atlas Society events, when Lou isn’t cutting and fashioning her own historical costumes for attending medieval reenactment events of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Bob enjoys keeping up with The Atlas Society, especially the addition of three new faculty members over the past two years—“it’s exciting to see this cadre of scholars deciding to affiliate with The Atlas Society,” Bob recently shared.
Given that Reason Foundation seeks to change the way people think about issues and promote policies that allow and encourage individuals and voluntary institutions to flourish, it could not be a bigger compliment that their co-founder has included us in his estate plans.
Peter Hunt has committed to leaving a legacy to The Atlas Society to make sure future generations are introduced to the ideas that have enriched his life.
Peter is a life-long Objectivist and modern-day renaissance man. At 75 years old, he goes for 8-mile runs and can do up to 50 push-ups at a time. If that’s not impressive enough, in 2015 he was diagnosed with a rare heart disease that required surgery during which his doctors had to remove his heart, scrape the pericardium sac off of it, and then put it back in his chest. With this recovery followed by prostate cancer, Peter’s had to modify his lifestyle. He took up cooking and would say he’s pretty damn good at it.
Born in London, England, and moving to Canada at ten months of age, Peter spent all of his adult life working in the energy business as a mechanical engineer. When his job transferred him to Pennsylvania, he was thrilled at the chance to be an American. Later he moved to South Africa on assignment -- and recalls learning what it feels like to be a minority.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself and your wife.
One of Peter’s most fascinating accomplishments is his second-place win in a countrywide wine-tasting competition in Canada in the 1980s. He’d practice at home, his wife would pull out bottles of wine from their 1,400-bottle wine cellar and he would identify the grape, the country, the region and more. He and his wife, Joyce (married for 49 years), moved back to Alberta Canada so she could fulfill her life’s pursuit -- researching and writing a 430-page book called Local Push-Global Pull: The Untold Story of the Athabasca Oil Sands, 1900-1930 which she published in 2012. Additionally, Peter and his wife drive a garage full of Porsches, and not just to the grocery store but also on the race track.
Peter appreciates that The Atlas Society encourages its members to think for themselves. Our nondogmatic approach to teaching the next generation about Objectivism is something he has committed to supporting for years to come and The Atlas Society is grateful for his support.
I was 12 years old and living near Tel Aviv when I first read The Fountainhead in Hebrew. Apart from the book's general excellence, my exposure to the idea of an individual bucking society was a major influence.
During my teens, I read about philosophers, and their tenets, and was attracted to them, in turn, but unable to evaluate them critically.
At 14, I read Atlas Shrugged (in Hebrew again, with the title of The Giants' Rebellion). The main influence on me was the idea of justice in private property. At the time, Israel was semi-ruled by Socialist culture. In a debate in the Boy Scouts, I found myself defending the productive rich against the needy. You can imagine it was a major clash.
By the time I was 18, I'd say two ideas were compelling in their importance for me. "Put your money where your mouth is"—integrate your words and actions, and "Be rational"—do not accept mysticism, reject faith in religion, and think for yourself. I did not yet have a comprehensive philosophy, nor was I aware that I needed one.
By the 1970s, I did realize that I needed a comprehensive philosophy, and with Rand's ideas culminating with the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, I acquired one.
I was a subscriber to Ayn Rand’s publications and newsletter. It was around this time that I began working for the Israeli Airlines, and traveling to the United States frequently. One highlight was when I WORKED during a general strike of 5,000 employees.
I pursued Objectivism and was fortunate to see Ayn Rand at the Ford Hall Forum, having traveled 22 hours from Israel, barely making it inside in time.
I was frustrated by the altruist, socialist, and statist culture in Israel and hoped to find a better one in America. My wife and I moved there in 1980, she became a Montessori teacher and me a Software Engineer.
It was there that I engaged with a number of discussion groups—attending monthly meetings and lectures. I was extremely fortunate to meet and even become friends with the best in American society. Thinkers, inventors, authors and producers.
But in 1991, my Objectivist community felt the reverberations of The Split, with friends feeling compelled to take sides.
For me however, there was “no doubt that David Kelley was genuinely adhering to
Ayn Rand's philosophy, had his own thoughts, [and was] full of integrity…”
I had gone to see David lecture a handful of times at the Jefferson School (once bringing my 7-month-old daughter!) So when I learned from Robert Hessen that Kelley was thinking of forming a philosophical organization, I called him and offered my support. When David announced the founding of The Atlas Society (then, The Institute of Objectivist Studies), I was thrilled—and have been a supporter ever since.
I eventually returned to Israel, and now reside in the southern desert town of Lehavim. But I became an American in the ‘90s.
I am retired now, and not as politically active as I used to be—though I continue to follow American culture and politics. I keep busy reading and keeping up with my grandkids who are named D’Anconia and Ragnar. It seems a love for Ayn Rand runs in the family.
Even while living overseas, Hanania finds The Atlas Society excels at staying in contact with and providing thoughtful materials for its members. These are just some of the many reasons why he has generously included The Atlas Society in his will and estate. He always feels that our scholars challenge his knowledge of philosophy.
The Atlas Society is so grateful to Hanania for his longtime support and desire to continue engaging young people with Ayn Rand’s ideas for decades to come.
As a child, Steve was raised to be agreeable, and never hurt people’s feelings. But this focus on other people left him feeling anxious and depressed to the point of questioning his reason for living -- a depression that turned to thoughts of suicide. Only after reading The Fountainhead at the age of 19 did Steve discover the courage to express himself and question everything -- no matter the consequences.
Eager to learn more about Objectivism, he moved to New York City and regularly attended lectures at the Nathaniel Branden Institute.
As the years progressed, however, he felt the Objectivist movement was becoming too insular and dogmatic. Then, in 1990 David Kelley sent him a letter where he articulated exactly what Steve had been feeling, he thought “Surely I am not the only one conflicted with this, someone who can admit that they don’t have all of the answers all of the time. I got a warm feeling right away when reading it and was delighted to hear that someone was going to make this organization.”
Steve made his first donation in January 1991 and has generously committed to leaving a legacy to The Atlas Society and continuing his support for many years to come.
“I would like to see The Atlas Society flourish, it offers benevolent and rational points of view. All the things you need if you are 19 years old. I love what you're doing with graphic novels and everything you do to reach young people.”
Growing up in a religious household meant John was taught to be an empty vessel – the very opposite of self-actualization. Even at a very young age, he found himself thinking, “This is a bunch of claptrap!”
He asked his dad to teach him a philosophy, with which he was met with a firm “no.”
That began a 7-year depression with heavy drinking and partying. John felt lost. Not sure where to turn, he found himself back at church.
One night at Bible Study, he met a man who exuded confidence, charisma, and made brilliant observations that no one else was making—John asked him how he was able to achieve such wisdom. The answer? “I read Ayn Rand.”
John was 20 years old.
His first introduction to Rand’s literature was Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and other nonfiction works. When he finally read Atlas Shrugged, Galt’s Speech electrified him. He grasped the 3 values essential to life – reason, purpose, self esteem, and the Seven Virtues Rand said those values require – John resolved: “That’s how I’m going to live my life!”
It was a turning point.
Throughout his twenties, John made it a point to wake up 2 hours early to make time for reading until he achieved the mastery he felt he needed to consider himself an Objectivist.
Although he had graduated college and had a respectable career as a CPA, he still wasn’t finding the happiness that he assumed would follow. He came to realize, through his readings, that happiness is a state of consciousness requiring a focus on having achieved intelligent values.
"Ayn Rand taught me how to master self-esteem, and self-esteem is happiness,” John told us.
He even credits Objectivism with helping him win his battle against Leukemia at the age of 52.
John has been involved with and in Objectivist circles for years, and more recently began joining The Atlas Society’s virtual programming in the fall of 2021. And because he feels “at home” at The Atlas Society and enjoys the many opportunities to discuss with our scholars, he has generously decided to include The Atlas Society in his will and estate plans.
He emphasized that it’s not just the expertise he finds at The Atlas Society that earned his commitment—it’s the attitude. “Your staff and faculty make me feel welcome and important. It makes a big difference. I feel like you guys are friendly. And I like that.”
Joe Parks was browsing through paperbacks at a bookstore in Connecticut when he laid eyes on The Fountainhead. The decision to pick it up changed his life —and he’d go on to read it seven times…
“It was a wonderful experience to read about someone who was battling the world through his designs in architecture,” he told us.
Flash forward to San Francisco in the 1960s, where Joe came upon Leonard Peikoff’s tapes. After listening to Peikoff’s classics and learning everything he could about Rand’s philosophy, he soon considered himself a follower of Objectivism.
Shortly thereafter, Joe went on a blind date in Carmel, California – enter Lois. They hit it off instantly, (dinner and dancing), and made a life together in the Bay Area. But Joe had one request for Lois before they got married: read Ayn Rand! He gave her We the Living to start, and before she knew it she was reading Atlas Shrugged.
The two of them thrived for decades in the heart of a robust Objectivist community; fond memories include hosting an annual Independence Day BBQ for fellow Rand fans. Lois recalls crowds of people showing up year after year, and her handing out sweaters and sweatshirts as the affair would invariably carry on into the night.
Now living in Nevada, Joe and Lois lament that they rarely meet Objectivists anymore. Although they did see a car once with the sticker “Who is John Galt?” on the back.
“But we didn’t see who was driving, so that was the end of that,” Lois remarked wistfully.
One of the reasons they find refuge at The Atlas Society nowadays is because of our scholars – The Tracinski Letter is a frequent flier in the Parks’ home, and they are huge of fans of Richard Salsman.
Joe was first introduced to Salsman at an Objectivist conference in Lake Tahoe; Salsman was set up on stage for his Frank Sinatra monologue with an armchair, a side table, and a bottle of whiskey!
“We gave him a standing ovation…what I took out of it at the end was [it was] one individualist praising another,” Joe regaled, citing it as one of the most memorable performances he’d ever seen.
David Kelley’s recent letter is what sealed the deal to add The Atlas Society to their estate plans – it made them rethink the breakup between Kelley and ARI, see Ayn Rand as an extraordinary, if imperfect individual, while not conflating her ideas with the person.
They also resonate with Kelley’s concept of Open Objectivism, and the diversity in viewpoints that it encourages.
The Atlas Society is so grateful to Joe and Lois for their commitment to our work, which would not be possible without help like theirs.
Steve Zbiegien believes that The Atlas Society is positioned to be the one and only organization with the ability to create change in our society by encouraging people to embrace Objectivism as the proper way to live.
Steve had always been a defender of capitalism, and at a young age set out to “make a lot of money.” During his time at General Motors, he had vigorous debates about free markets with his fellow union members. A friend suggested he read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal -- which ultimately changed his life.
After his introduction to Objectivism, he spent years working to free himself psychologically from the guilt and fear engendered by the Catholic dogma of his childhood years. He also began to resent the dogmatism he found within some Objectivist circles, and when he discovered David Kelley’s Truth and Toleration, he found it “just made sense,” and that The Atlas Society “was the best place to be.”
What has Objectivism taught you?
While working in the automotive industry, Steve bought an acre of land in Willoughby Hills, Ohio that was covered with brush and trees and he began building -- from the foundation to the finish carpentry. Today he enjoys the hard-won accomplishment of his productive work.
The creative aspect of building a home has given him a newfound appreciation for Ayn Rand’s take on aesthetics and he feels The Romantic Manifesto has helped him learn how to appreciate and enjoy art. He also appreciates the artistic approach of The Atlas Society -- from graphic novels to animated videos -- to engage young people with the ideas of Ayn Rand. Because of that approach, and the community he’s enjoyed at The Atlas Society, Steve has generously committed to supporting our creative work for many years to come.
Growing up in a traditional Russian family in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, it seemed to me that I had no choice but to fill the mold that was created for me by my parents and community. Conform to the opinions that I was raised with, get a generic technical degree at a university, and spend the rest of my life working a 9-5, followed by retirement.
Although there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, I always knew that this is not what I wanted to do with my natural skills and talents. After I read Atlas Shrugged in December of 2018, I immediately devoured the rest of Ayn Rand’s content, and felt a massive paradigm shift happen. Reading Atlas Shrugged gave my life a sense of purpose that I didn’t have before. Shortly after, in February of 2019, I quit my job and master’s degree, and started my own business, at the age of 21.
However content I was with my new literature and lifestyle, I felt very lonely -- I had no one to talk to about philosophy, capitalism, the importance of a productive and well-purposed life, the pursuit of individual happiness. After weeks of searching for someone to talk to and share my perspective with, I came across a video that mentioned The Atlas Society and was immediately interested. After reaching out to someone on the team, it was only months later that I was boarding my first flight and headed to Detroit to volunteer and meet The Atlas Society.
Volunteering for The Atlas Society has included participating in one of their guest Instagram takeovers where I answered questions from their followers in regards to art, architecture, and entrepreneurship. I also frequently attend the Atlas Intellectuals meetings with Stephen Hicks and the book club discussions.
The friends I have made through these programs encourage my ambitious goals -- like owning a private airplane before I’m 30 years old. These friends believe in the same thing that I do: the moral purpose of my life is the achievement of my own happiness. Through The Atlas Society, I have gained an international network of friends, each of whom is ambitious and incredibly impressive. I can’t be friends with someone I don’t admire -- and I greatly admire everyone that I’ve met through The Atlas Society.
After starting an additional business, I even became a donor to The Atlas Society, have attended multiple events, and have joined several inner-society groups, such as the Atlas Intellectuals. Most importantly, I made a series of lifelong friends -- young people in their 20’s motivated to chase their dreams, to stand up against the moral corruption that pervades the educational system, to further the belief that a man’s moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness. These friendships would not have happened without The Atlas Society, and I will always be grateful to the organization -- and its donors -- that I was given the opportunity to find mentors, and like-minded young people.
I hope that The Atlas Society’s outreach -- and funding -- can expand year after year, reaching more young people such as myself. Thank you to the current members and donors for your support. You are changing lives!
Being born in Venezuela -- and living 21 years in the most collectivist society in the West today -- awakened in me an interest to learn not just about political, but also philosophical alternatives to these horrible ideas.
At the age of 18, when I was constantly researching different intellectuals dedicated to the promotion of individual liberties, I came across Ayn Rand through a video. From that first moment, she made a strong impact on me, especially with her moral defense of individualism and capitalism. Today she represents my greatest intellectual influence.
In my home country of Venezuela, I gave myself the personal task of promoting the ideas of Objectivism, motivated by the ambition to change my country. I traveled to different states and universities presenting speeches and talks about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Taking risks of all kinds -- that is how important these ideas have been to me.
Two years ago I was expelled from my medical school for my political activism, accused of being a terrorist and forced to leave my country to save my life. I went into exile in the United States of America. It took me a short time to realize that the ideas that govern Venezuela are being promoted by many politicians and intellectuals here in America, the “land of the free.”
A few months after arriving in this country, I had my first interaction with The Atlas Society. I had previously observed their wonderful work on social media. However, that day I approached a stand where Jennifer Grossman and Ana Kugler were present at a TPUSA Student Action Summit. They were incredibly kind to me, took down my personal information and later contacted me about the different activities the organization has to offer. I devoured the Pocket Guide to Objectivism, Pocket Guide to Postmodernism and the two graphic novels.
In just over a year of being involved with The Atlas Society, I have been able to make videos for their social media, attend online activities, join their book club, attend their annual gala, and I know there are many exciting things to come. I’m particularly thrilled about the Latin American outreach, and the new Spanish language publications, videos and social media channels they’ve launched.
The most relevant virtue of The Atlas Society is that they have turned Objectivism into an extremely attractive, interesting, and practical idea for young people. Which is especially important at a time when totalitarianism and collectivism seem to govern the minds of many millennials and Generation Z.
The Atlas Society has helped me a lot intellectually, but it has also motivated me by surrounding me with incredible young people that inspire me to continue my efforts to spread Ayn Rand's ideas.
Thank you for supporting The Atlas Society, which every day will continue to bring the ideas of rational selfishness and capitalism to a young audience. As long as organizations like this exist, there is much hope.
If you asked me to use one word to describe The Atlas Society, I would say fearless. Whether it’s Draw My Life videos, maintaining a robust social media presence and relationships with crucial partners in the liberty space, or hosting impactful events on college campuses.
The Atlas Society goes as far as possible to share Ayn Rand’s life and ideas with as many young people as possible. A thriving and ambitious organization committed to this cause is essential to our society and politics, especially now.
Atlas Society donors have generously ensured my attendance at all four Atlas Society Galas while also contributing significantly to my personal library to include copies of Stretchy Little Black Pants by Chip Wilson, The Future is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis, Plato’s Republic, and Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller.
Not to mention, The Atlas Society has served as a forum to meet so many people who have been inspired, motivated, and uplifted by Ayn Rand’s work and the “desire to achieve.” Fortunately, many of these people have grown to become friends, colleagues, and everything in between.
My first introduction to The Atlas Society was when I met Jennifer Grossman in Washington, D.C., the summer before my senior year of high school. Our conversation spanned our shared family roots in Louisiana, our families’ courageous decision to leave for better opportunities, and how we discovered Ayn Rand and the impact that she had on our lives. Little did I know, it would be a meeting that would change my life.
Jennifer and by extension, The Atlas Society, have granted more opportunities than I could count. The Atlas Society has helped fulfill my passion for travel by allowing me to serve as the organization’s face at conferences in cities across the country, such as Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Athens, GA. Each of these conferences served as educational opportunities complete with exciting and fascinating panels, educational materials, riveting lectures, and books.
And lastly, The Atlas Society has given me the chance to establish numerous professional contacts and friendships while honing crucial networking and public speaking skills. In fact, I have often joked with Jennifer that more lessons came from speaking at the Americans for Tax Reform Wednesday meeting on behalf of The Atlas Society than my college-level communication courses. It’s worth noting that both of these skills have opened countless doors, to include professional opportunities at the New York Times and Reason.
Many thanks to this organization and the donors who support it.
Last May, I saw that The Atlas Society had posted on their Instagram page that they were raising donations on Giving Tuesday. Having made great use of their social media content, reposting their memes and quotes from Ayn Rand frequently on the Dartmouth Libertarians Instagram page, I figured it was only appropriate for me to provide value for value. To my surprise, Ana Kugler, the Development Director, reached out to me to apprise me of The Atlas Society’s student programs, book groups, and other ways to get involved. Isolated at home finishing up my virtual spring term at Dartmouth, I was excited to engage with a group of people who shared my conviction in limited government, individual rights, and capitalism.
Aside from finding a group of engaging interlocutors with whom to discuss interesting novels such as The Case Against Socialism by Rand Paul, Little Black Stretchy Pants by Chip Wilson, and The Future is Faster than You Think by Peter Diamandis, I discovered a group of supportive, accomplished friends who are “motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” Thanks to the generosity of their donors, I was able to see these friends of mine in person at The Atlas Society’s 2020 gala in Malibu -- despite the confounding factor of tyrannical lockdown edicts.
At the gala, I had the pleasure of networking with many pro-liberty individuals such as Nick Gillespie and David Kelley. I was also able to introduce myself to Dr. Edward Stringham, President of the American Institute for Economic Research which has been on the frontlines of combating pandemic fear-mongering and the authoritarian governmental policies that followed. Dr. Stringham was very impressed that I took the initiative to carry around envelopes with my resume in them and frequently regales our colleagues at AIER with the story. I have had the absolute pleasure of working as a paid research and writing intern for thought-leaders such as Jeffrey Tucker and Phil Magness since January and am immeasurably grateful to The Atlas Society for introducing me to Dr. Stringham.
Aside from the opportunities for career advancement, I am most grateful to The Atlas Society for inspiring me to delve into the works of Rand which I had always put off because of their length. I am proud to say that I finished reading and annotating Atlas Shrugged in December 2020 and have since read Anthem and am reading The Fountainhead presently. These works, as well as Ayn Rand’s essays expounding on her philosophy of Objectivism, have been transformative in changing my approach to the world to one of benevolent, rational egoism. To this end, I’d like to share my favorite quote from Anthem which puts this perspective beautifully: “I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.”
I first encountered Ayn Rand during high school. Starting with Anthem, I was gradually led down an intellectual journey that led me to embrace her philosophy of individualism, freedom, and capitalism. Although I am less politically active today than I was during my college years and early twenties, I’ve found myself revisiting and re-embracing Objectivism in the last couple years, especially its emphasis that truth and reason exist in our world.
We live in a time where collectivism -- represented by social justice ideology, intersectionality, identity politics, critical theory, and postmodernism -- has taken hold of many university campuses and is spreading into workplaces, professional societies, and now mainstream American life.
The Atlas Society’s Senior Scholar, Stephen Hicks, in my view, has done more than any other person to identify the threat of postmodernism -- the root of anti-Western illiberalism that we’re seeing erupt throughout our society today. Despite its name, postmodernism is ultimately regressive and would take us back into the failed ideas of the past.
The ideas of Ayn Rand, namely individualism and universal reason, are the ultimate philosophical antidote to the postmodernist Left and its accompanying baggage of relativism and zero-sum identity politics.
In all my interactions with The Atlas Society -- which includes the enlightening scholarship of Professor Hicks, the inspiring leadership of Jennifer Grossman, the kindness of Ana Kugler, and the incredible courage of Venezuelan freedom activists -- I’ve found a true community of friends and family who are determined and will make this world freer.
We are in a battle of ideas that will determine the fate of human freedom in our lifetime.
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22001 Northpark Drive - Ste 250
Kingwood, TX 77339