Category Archives: Events

Presidential Candidate Barr Speaks at The Atlas Society

Libertarian presidential candidate and former Republican U.S. Representative, Bob Barr, spoke on Sunday at The Atlas Society’s Summer Seminar 2008 in Portland, Oregon. The Oregonian reported on Barr’s talk:

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, now running for president on the Libertarian ticket, told a Portland crowd today he got into the race to offer an option for those who want less government intrusion in their lives.

“There is absolutely no reason for them to feel bound to the artificial constraints of the two-party system,” Barr said. “Those are their only two choices: big government and really big government.”

Barr, who served four terms in Congress as a Republican, switched parties after becoming disenchanted with what he called the high-spending ways and increasingly Big Brother policies of the Bush administration.

He spoke to about 150 at an annual conference of The Atlas Society, a Washington, D.C.-based group that promotes Ayn Rand’s libertarian principles.

Rand, the author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” founded a philosophical movement called objectivism, which focuses on individual rights and achievements as the cornerstone of a great society. Barr said he agrees entirely with that outlook.

Read the rest of the article.

Philosopher John Hospers turns 90 in June

From Barbara Branden:

Dear Friends,

Philosopher John Hospers will celebrate his 90th birthday in June. He continues to be, as he always has been, a remarkable and admirable man, whom his friends and acquaintances are privileged to know. He moves more slowly now, and with a cane, but his mind moves as quickly and lightly as ever. He and I often talk about Ayn Rand and the good days of our relationships with her. With our friend, Jim Kilbourne, we spend regular evenings together having dinner and listening to music, from Mario Lanza to Gustav Mahler. The three of us talk politics a bit, but mostly esthetics, discussing the reasons of our remarkably similar musical tastes. And with Jim and other friends we watch our favorite old movies, introducing special young friends to such films as “Brief Encounter.”

There will be a small, private birthday party for John on June 7. I know that many of you — friends, acquaintances, and those who know him only by reputation — would like to offer John your congratulations on this very special birthday. Please send your congratulations and good wishes, as soon as possible, to my email address: Barbara (at) I’m sure John will be very pleased to have them, and they will be read aloud at the party.


About John Hospers, from the new web site established to honor him,

John Hospers has two significant “firsts” by his name: he was the first presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and his book Libertarianism was one of the first full-length studies of the modern libertarian philosophy.

Born in a small town near Des Moines, Iowa, Hospers grew up speaking Dutch as a first language. In college, Hospers admired philosophers David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Plato, and Aristotle. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in literature from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University.

In 1961, Hospers was introduced to novelist Ayn Rand. The meeting blossomed into friendship, and the two spent many evenings in philosophical conversation. Hospers later recalled those talks as “among the most intellectually exhilarating of my life.” [John described those talks in a series of essays in Liberty.] In 1971, Hospers published Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow, a book-length study of the modern philosophy of liberty…. It is widely considered to be one of the defining books of the libertarian movement.

At the Libertarian Party’s inaugural national convention in Denver, Colorado in 1972, Hospers was invited to write the party’s Statement of Principles. Later, at the same convention, he was nominated to be its first presidential candidate. “I was a little bit thrilled, and a little bit terrorized” about winning the nomination, he wrote laterâ?¦ “One day I was a ccollege professor, and the next day a candidate for the nation’s highest office.” With vice presidential candidate Tonie Nathan, the Libertarian ticket appeared on two state ballots and won 3,907 votes. What had started out as a political footnote ended up in history textbooks when Hospers and Nathan won one Electoral College vote (from renegade Richard Nixon elector Roger MacBride).

After his presidential bid, Hospers returned to the University of Southern California’s philosophy department, where he taught courses in ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of law. Since his retirement in 1988, he has served as USC’s professor emeritus of philosophy.

The author of over 100 articles, Hospers also wrote Meaning and Truth in the Arts (1967), Introductory Readings in Aesthetics (1969), Artistic Expression (1971), Understanding the Arts (1982), Law and the Market (1985), Human Conduct: Problems of Ethics (1995), and An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, Fourth Edition (1996). In addition, he served as a Senior Editor for Liberty magazine, editor of The Personalist, and was a film reviewer for Reason (1974-1982).

In later years, Hospers served on the honorary advisory board of the Republican Liberty Caucus. In 2002, an hour-long video about his life, work, and philosophy was released by the Liberty Fund of Indianapolis as part of its Classics of Liberty series.

–Bill Winter

In a review of Libertarianism, Robert D. Kephart, then publisher of Human Events, wrote: “His magnificent work offers a true intellectual foundation for all those who profess to be advocates of, or objective about, personal, political, and economic freedom.”

After thirty-five years, Libertarianism has been reissued, and is now available to a new generation of readers. Autographed copies are available from Laissez-Faire Books.

Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire

From Atlasphere member Rich Goldman:

Porcupine Freedom Festival
June 9th – 15th (though you needn’t attend the entire week)
Gilford, New Hampshire

Join hundreds of fellow Ayn Rand fans in New Hampshire for the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival. The Free State Project (FSP) is organizing the migration of 20,000 pro-liberty activists to New Hampshire in order to have the critical mass needed to achieve political success.

New Hampshire was chosen for its Life Free or Die spirit (Ron Paul, while he didn’t win, got his highest primary results of the campaign in NH), limited and accessible government (most issues are handled at the town level and state house seats can be won with as little as 1000 votes), low taxes (there is no general income or sales tax), and high quality of life (NH was chosen for the 5th straight year the most livable state in the country).

Participants in the project have been elected to state and local office; started television shows, newspapers, and radio programs; developed businesses; been critical in the defeat and passage of numerous laws (e.g. RealID); created voluntary alternatives to government systems; and built the most vibrant, successful pro-liberty community in the country. Over 8300 people have signed up and over 1000 will be in the state by the end of the year. As you can imagine, the FSP wants to show off this community and its successes.

In order to showcase the state and the project, the FSP has an annual festival each summer known as the Porcupine Freedom Festival, or PorcFest for short. The festival features tours around the state, outdoor concerts, panel discussions, trips to the shooting range, exhibitor tables, hikes, bonfires, team sporting events, and many other fun, social, informative activities. By the end, you’ll know whether the FSP and NH are right for you.

The festival this year will be the week of June 9th @ Gunstock Mountain Resort and Campground in Gilford, NH. Whether you can attend the whole week or just part of it, you’ll have a great time. Peruse the schedule and see what you can/want to attend. And if you have a message, organization, or business you’d like to promote at the festival, consider getting an inexpensive exhibitor table.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email porcfest (at)

Monday, May 12 Deadline for TAS Summer Seminar Discounts

From the announcement:

The Monday, May 12 deadline is approaching for discounts on full-week registrations for The Atlas Society’s 19th annual Summer Seminar on “Objectivism in Theory and Practice” in beautiful Portland, Oregon from June 28 through July 5. You can still register at least through June 16 but can save money by registering now.

Here are some more of the over 30 speakers in some 50 sessions that you’ll hear:

In philosophy, The Atlas Society’s William Thomas, who organized this Summer Seminar, will discuss “Government & Anarchy” and will ask “Is a Limited Government a Small Government?”; William Kline, a big hit last year with his course on business ethics and Objectivism, this year offers three parts on “Environmental Ethics;” and New Individualist editor Robert Bidinotto discusses “Platonic Politics.”

In politics and culture Vickie Oddino will reveal the truth about “Group Identity on College Campuses;” Edward Hudgins explains “Individualism and the Quest for Community;” Stephen Moses gives us two parts on “Rolling Back the Welfare State;” Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute will alert us to “The FDA’s Deadly Overcaution;” and Michael Shaw will raise our consciousness about the danger of “Transforming America: Understanding Sustainable Development.”

In art, Susan McCloskey gives us two parts on “The Root of All Evil” with reference to Ayn Rand’s novels, and Lindsay Wilcox will explain “What Makes Heroic Sculpture Heroic.”

In applied Objectivism, Rob Bradley, who worked for over a decade and a half for Enron, will reflect on “Ayn Rand, Enron, and Reconstruction of Business Ethics;” Joe Duarte will gladden our minds and hearts in “Flourishing: The New and Evolving Science of Happiness;” and Jackie Hazelton will give us very timely “Thoughts on Voting.”

You can check out the full schedule at our events website.

And don’t forget: This year’s event at the University Place Hotel and Conference Center at Portland State University will offer upscale accommodations for those who want physical comfort. But we’ll still offer basic rooms in the nearby university dorms if you’d rather save your money for other priorities–like purchasing products from our Objectivism Store!

At the Summer Seminar you will find as always a benevolent gathering of like-minded and open- minded individuals with whom to share ideas, enjoy friendships and celebrate life–the true Galt’s Gulch experience!

You can find the various registration options on The Atlas Society website. Act by May 12 and save!

Kelley to Speak in NYC on “Is Islam Compatible with Capitalism?”

This announcement from The Atlas Society:

On Tuesday, March 18, Atlas Society founder and senior fellow David Kelley will debate Mustafa Akyol, editor of Turkish Daily News, on the question “Is Islam compatible with capitalism?” The event will be hosted by The Donald and Paula Smith Family Foundation, one of a series it has sponsored since 2001.

The debate will be at 6:30 p.m., at the Donnell Public Library, 20 West 53rd St., in New York City. Attendance is free. For more information and to register, go to http://w

For Kelley’s related articles and lectures, hyperlinked below, see:

The Assault on Civilization

The War against Modernity

The Ideas That Promote Terrorism

Islamic Philosophy: The Good, the Bad, and the Dangerous, on MP3.

OCON 2008: Newport Beach, CA – June 28 to Jul 6

From the announcement:

The Ayn Rand Institute is pleased to announce Objectivist Summer Conference 2008, taking place from June 28 to July 6, 2008. We have assembled an exciting lineup of lectures and events for this year’s conference, set in the remarkable coastal environment of Southern California.

Changing the culture will be a recurring theme of this summer’s conference. Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate have made this the topic of their three-part lecture series, “Cultural Movements: Creating Change”; Tara Smith will give a talk titled “The Menace of Pragmatism”; Dina Schein Federman discusses Ayn Rand’s approach to activism in “Ayn Rand as Intellectual Activist”; and Lin Zinser will give the talk “Health-Care Activism: Saving the Life Savers,” based on her own experiences as an activist. There will also be a cultural change workshop, “How to Be an Agent of Cultural Change,” held in ARI’s Irvine offices, delivered by Debi Ghate and Tom Bowden, as part of an ARI Open House on July 2.

Our other lectures and courses will show the power of Ayn Rand’s ideas in areas such as economics (“Philosophic Issues in Economics,” by Harry Binswanger); intellectual history (“Ayn Rand Contra Friedrich Nietzsche,” by John Ridpath); philosophy (“Altruism vs. Principles,” by Peter Schwartz); history (“Freedom of Speech in American History,” by Eric Daniels); and literature (“Russian Short Stories,” by Lisa VanDamme).

There will be a variety of events and social opportunities for conference attendees as well, with dance lessons, opening and closing receptions, and a special Independence Day celebration on July 4.

The location of this year’s conference is Newport Beach, California, offering the beautiful scenery, coastal climate, shopping and dining of Orange County. You won’t want to miss it!

We are looking forward to an inspiring and memorable conferenceâ??we hope to see you there!

Register by March 31 to take advantage of discount pricing.

For more information visit the Objectivist Conferences Web site.

‘Defense of Corporation’ Help Requested

From Atlasphere member Nigel Richards:

Australian Objectivists are urgently seeking financial assistance to advertise ‘In Defence of the Corporation’, a one-day conference for CEOs to be held in May 2008 in Sydney.

Conference speakers include:

· Two Ayn Rand Institute speakers: Dr Edwin Locke, author of Prime Movers, Traits of the Great Wealth Creators; and Dr Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto;

· Mr Ron Manners, former chairman of Croesus Mining, De Grey Mining, and the Australian Mining Hall of Fame, and founder of the Mannkal Institute;

· Dr Alex Robson, lecturer in economics at the ANU.

These are the conference topics:

· The moral right of corporations and their shareholders to maximise their profits, and the importance of speaking out for this right.

· The enormous contributions that corporations make to our standard of living.

· Why CEOs do deserve multi-million dollar compensation packages.

· The heroic qualities of great business leaders.

· The types of attacks: the media, NGOs, existing and impending legislation.

· The source of the attacks: the anti-capitalist mentality, environmentalism, traditional morality.

· A contrasting code of morality: one that sees capitalism as the only moral social system and money-making as a noble endeavour.

· A strategy for resisting these attacks.

Supporters have so far contributed $1,150. We need to raise $1,980 by Thursday the 29th November for a quarter-page display on p.5 of The Wentworth Courier, a suburban weekly with a readership of 99,000 in Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs.

Following is the proposed text of The Wentworth Courier ad, which is designed to attract wealthy Ayn Rand fans willing to sponsor the conference.

AYN RAND conference for CEOs

Sydney May 2008.

In Defence of the Corporation

Dear CEO,

The time has come to take a stand.

You are under attack from all sides. You – who through your daring imagination and risk taking, have built products or services that enrich us all – endure constant criticism from the greens, from the media, from the unions, from the social welfare lobby. Instead of gratitude for your inspiring achievements – which continue to raise our standard of living – you face threats from politicians to shackle you even further.

The time has come to take a stand. The time has come to sharpen your intellectual spears. The time has come to look your attackers proudly in the eye, convinced of your own moral stature. The time has come to mount effective arguments against the moral premises of your critics. The time has come to speak out for a moral code of rational self-interest.

Intellectual ammunition will be provided at a one-day conference in Sydney in May 2008.

[Speaker list to follow]

This conference cannot proceed without your financial support/sponsorship.

For more information: contact Nigel Richards by email at info (at) or on 0417 065 047.

Mike Shapiro: The Alleged Adventures of Blenderman

Los Angeles-based composer and screenwriter (and sometimes Atlasphere columnist) Mike Shapiro tells us that, in addition to launching a brand new web site, he’s also got a ten-minute musical, “The Alleged Adventures of Blenderman,” being performed this weekend in Los Angeles.

“Though it may not be a concretization of life as it can and should be,” he writes, “it is sort of cute.”

Fair enough. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and looking for some diversion this weekend, consider sending a little ticket-love in Mike’s direction.

I’ve gotten more than a few chuckles reading Mike’s blog over the years, so it’s bound to be pretty funny.

Invitation to the Objectivism Seminar

Atlasphere member Greg Perkins, a regular blogger at NoodleFood, has begun organizing some new telephone seminars on Objectivism.

The seminars will be book-based, starting with Tara Smith’s Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics before proceeding to OPAR and other Objectivist classics.

From the announcement:

Truly living well calls for engaging fundamental philosophical ideas and integrating their use into our everyday lives, our everyday actions, our way of beingâ??into our souls. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to get busy with all the urgent things around us, and we can drift, distracted and disintegrated. For those of us who want an ongoing practice in such engagement (and those who want to explore the need for that in the first place), I have created The Objectivism Seminar.

The Objectivism Seminar is a weekly online conference call to systematically work through the philosophy of Ayn Rand via the books of prominent Rand scholars. These moderated, one-hour sessions will be recorded and podcast to allow review, catch-up, and even disconnected participation. The idea is to give peopleâ??new and experienced alikeâ??a forum to chew through key Objectivist works and tour the complete system, further clarifying, integrating, and grounding their grasp of the ideas.

Because it is an ongoing seminar, we will have incentive to keep up with the steady schedule of study and stay equipped to consider fresh angles, concretizations, challenges, and applications from other participants. And because life is so full for many of us, I am purposefully keeping the reading load light and the method of participation unobtrusive. The plan is that we will spend almost as much time discussing the ideas as reading about them. Study like this is productive for both experienced students of Objectivism and those new to Rand’s ideas: I’ve read all of these books, some several times, and I would expect to get at least as much out of this as someone going through them for the first time.

If you are interested, please look over the FAQ below and head over to to sign up!

For more information see Greg’s full announcement, which includes answers to some frequently asked questions about the seminar.