Arts & Culture

Welcome to the
October 7, 1999 edition of
The Daily Objectivist

Recently Added (newest 1st)
J. Neil Schulman interviews Robert Heinlein
What Objectivists can learn from Brand Blanshard
Fifty years later, a celebration of Human Action
What Brand Blanshard thought about thinking, and believed about belief
Objectivist Q&A: What about anarchism?
Russell Madden explains how to explain freedom
Tibor R. Machan on why man needs philosophy

And Don't Miss:
 After Marxism, there was Postmodernism
Roy A. Childs, Jr. explains anarchism to Ayn Rand
Bidinotto's Inspirational Film Classics
Sciabarra in search of the Rand transcript
Kelley on the lessons of Littleton
Rand Among the "Queers"
Malevolent recipes!!

Nobody could be a more fascinating interview subject than this man.

THE PREMIER LIBERTARIAN BOOK SERVICE OF THE ENTIRE WORLD has deals on new and classic books that you'll want to exploit fast, while their 15 percent off sale is still on, through rest of October. Meanwhile, we told you we'd tell you when the video of John Stossel's "Is America #1?" became available, and it's available. The hour-long Stossel special aired on prime-time ABC. It upheld the supremacy of the U.S of A. against stagnation-worshiping irrationalists around the world. Featured in the program are free-market superheroes Milton Friedman, Dinesh D'Souza, and the Cato Institute's Tom Palmer. Get it while it's hot!

RAND SIGHTING  Silicon Valley real estate tycoon John Robbins (the good John Robbins) lives by the following creed: "Provide quality services, be fair to people, and operate in an honest and above-board way....If you're not willing to take chances, you shouldn't be in the game." He reports that he is: "Positive, trustworthy, and I never give up." What he likes about his work: "Creativity of the real estate process." What he dislikes about his work: "The deviousness of humankind and paperwork." Most important lesson he's learned: "You have to believe in yourself that you have to be willing to step out and think that you can do anything if you persevere and never give up." His favorite book? Atlas Shrugged. On the other hand, the person he'd most like to meet is Jesus Christ the Lord. (Oh well, can't win 'em all.)

COME TO BIG CITY TO EXPLOIT AWE-INSPIRING APPEAL OF RELIGION  According to The Objectivist Center: "Objectivism, the worldview originated by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, holds that spiritual needs arise not from an ineffable soul but from our nature as rational and moral beings. It holds that morality, idealism, and a sense of meaning in life are compatible with—indeed, are necessary for—material success and happiness. The religious concepts of exaltation, worship, reverence, and the sacred, Rand said, 'do name actual emotions, even though no supernatural dimension exists.' Their source 'is the entire emotional realm of man's dedication to a moral ideal.' 'What Should We Worship: Reclaiming Spirituality from Religion' will examine this idea from a number of perspectives."

TOC's path-breaking Oct. 23 Spirituality Conference, to be held in the Big Apple itself, is sure to be both spiritually and psycho-epistemologically explosive, so be sure to show! Contact TOC for more information.

ECONOMIST GEORGE REISMAN WILL SPEAK AT GEORGE MASON OCT. 23  Reisman will be at GMU in Fairfax, VA at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 23rd, to talk about "Everyone's Stake in Capitalism." Contact Brian Simpson for more information.

SPECTACULAR PIANO MUSIC IN CHICAGO  On October 16, Saturday, the New Intellectual Forum is bringing Richard Speer to Chicago to perform an evening of Bach, Handel, Chopin, Joplin, Gershwin and his own compositions. For more information, contact Marsha Enright.

TDO Needs...
— If you have any news about Ayn Rand and Objectivism, or news that might be of special interest to Objectivists, please e-mail it to David M. Brown.

SubmissionsEssays, articles, poems, images of art, etc. Send to David M. Brown.

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Hero of the Day
Thomas Jefferson

In the 1760s and early 1770s, Americans were increasingly outspoken in their criticism of the British crown. But most colonials continued to hope for a peaceful resolution to their complaints—even following the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775.

Thomas Jefferson, too, hoped for reconciliation with the crown long after the war began.

"I hope the returning wisdom of Great Britain will ere long put an end to this unnatural contest," he wrote in August 1775. But he didn't want reconciliation at any price. He said he "would rather be in dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation on earth, or than on no nation. But I am one of those, too, who, rather than submit to the rights of legislating for us assumed by the British Parliament, and which late experience has shown they will so cruelly exercise, would lend my hand to sink the whole island in the ocean."

Within a few months he was leaning much more in favor of independence.

"In an earlier part of this contest our petitions told [George III] that from our King there was but one appeal. The admonition was despised, and that appeal forced on us. To undo his empire, he has but one truth more to learn—that after colonies have drawn the sword there is but one step more they can take. That step is now pressed upon us by the measures adopted, as if they were afraid we would not take it.

"Believe me...there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this I think I speak the sentiments of America."

Jefferson soon would be "speaking the sentiments of America" very openly indeed: as the author of the founding document of the united (small "u" in those days) States, the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson almost missed getting the job: he was out of the loop on much of the discussion about independence. And when he learned that a new government was forming in Virginia, he was eager to return home to Virginia to help write the state's constitution.

But when those plans fell through, he stayed on in Philadelphia instead. (He did send a draft constitution to Virginia by courier.)

On June 7 Richard Henry Lee, a fellow Virginian, introduced a resolution in the Continental Congress calling for independence. Jefferson kept notes of the proceedings.

Benjamin Franklin was one candidate to draft the necessary declaration, but he was under the weather at the time. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the next obvious possibilities.

Jefferson recorded only that "the committee…desired me to do it."

His colleague John Adams provides a few more details for us, however:

"Jefferson proposed to me to make the draft. I said, 'I will not. You should do it.'

"'Oh, no! Why will you not? You ought to do it.' 'I will not.' 'Why?'

"'Reasons enough.'

"'What can be your reasons?'

"'Reason first—You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second—I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third—You can write ten times better than I can.'

"'Well,' said Jefferson, 'if you are decided, I will do as well as I can.'"

Thus, we owe the Declaration of Independence not only to the ability and wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, but also to the graciousness of an admitted boor.

Text of The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.

Learn about Jefferson's constitutional thought.

Read Albert Jay Nock's classic biography.

Visit the Thomas Jefferson memorial.

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