Washington Metro Objectivism Discussion (WMOD)

                September 1996 Meeting

                  General Discussion

The September 18 meeting of WMOD will throw the floor open
for general discussion.  Some members have expressed
interest in discussing the Objectivist meetings this summer,
and we invite short presentations on your favorite talk.  Of
course we would like to hear opinions on the Washington Post
article on Ayn Rand, the Libertarian Party convention, Harry
Brown's chances, etc.  We can also discuss plans for future
meetings and the WMOD web site:

                Washington Post Article

On August 25, the Washington Post ran a 3,900-word cover
story on Ayn Rand by William Powers in its Style section
entitled "Ayn Rand Was Wrong: It Turns Out There Is an
Afterlife After All. Fourteen Years After Her Death, Her
Cult of Self Is alive and Well."  The generally positive
article is available on the Web at
082596-idx.html, or you can log onto the Post Site at
http://wp1.washingtonpost.com/ and search for "Ayn Rand".

                     New Reisman Book

The long awaited Reisman book on economics,  rumored in
some Objectivist circles to be a magnum opus on the subject,
was scheduled to be published in May, but Laissez Faire
Books reports that due to last-minute changes by the author,
it will actually come out in November, and it will be on the
cover of the LF Book Catalog for December. "Capitalism: A
Treatise on Economics" will be published by Jameson Books at
$95, but LFB will offer it for about $60.  The LFB web site
at http://www.lfb.org/.

                  New Course on Objectivism

WMOD received the following announcement but has
not heard the tapes or seen any review of the course:


A Six-Week Seminar on 12 cassette tapes
Presented by George H. Smith

I: Ayn Rand and the History of Ideas
II: Value Theory and the Foundation of Ethics
III: Rational Egoism
IV: The Application of Ethical Theory
V: The Theory of Rights
VI: The Theory of Government

   **A Personal Note from George H. Smith**
I began reading Ayn Rand over thirty years ago and have
discussed her ideas in academic seminars for nearly two
decades. My first book, "Atheism: The Case Against God"
(1974), relies heavily on Rand's approach to epistemology
and ethics. My second book, "Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other
Heresies" (1991), contains numerous articles about Rand, her
relationship to other philosophers, and the subculture she

These tapes are not a mere summary or exposition of Ayn
Rand's moral and political theories. Each seminar is linked
to a specific reading assignment (mostly from "The Virtue of
Selfishness" ), and I assume that participants already have
a basic understanding of Ayn Rand's approach. As I point out
repeatedly during these seminars, Ayn Rand is a remarkably
clear writer, and there is little point in paraphrasing her
arguments for an audience that has already read them. When I
do summarize the reading material, it is usually because I
wish to highlight an important point, compare her to another
philosopher, or point out an ambiguity or other problem in
her argument.

My primary purpose is to place Rand's ideas in a broader
historical context, comparing them to the theories of
Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas
Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant,
and others. Thus some of the seminars are essentially
historical overviews of philosophical theories about
happiness, self-interest, rights, etc. This provides a
framework for a comparative assessment of Ayn Rand with
other philosophers and the problems they addressed.

Each seminar consists of two parts. The first part
(approximately 60 minutes) consists of my overview of the
subject matter. The second part (60 minutes) is a free and
open exchange with the fifteen seminar participants, many of
whom have an extensive background in Objectivism. Many
interesting issues are raised during these discussions, and
I think you will find them of great value. This was not a
congregation of true believers  The general tone is
sympathetic but critical throughout.

I tried to conduct these seminars in the true spirit of
philosophical inquiry. My major disagreements with Rand
pertain to her interpretation of other philosophers and her
presentation of intellectual history (especially in "For the
New Intellectual.") I am in substantial agreement with many
of her philosophical views, but even here I try to offer
possible objection to her arguments. When I am uncertain of
something, I say so. In a few instances, comments from
seminar participants caused me to change my interpretation
or to adopt a different perspective.

In short, if you are looking for an orthodox catechism
of Ayn Rand's moral and political theory, these tapes are
not for you. If, however, you believe that Rand's views are
strong enough to stand on their own without protection from
a team of intellectual bodyguards, I think there is much in
these tapes that you will find of interest.

12 cassette set, 12 hours
Cost $90 plus shipping/handling, $5 parcel post or $7.50 UPS
from Resources for Independent Thinking
Phone: 510/601-9450  Fax: 510/547-7140  E-mail: rit@well.com

          June's  "Conversation With Jack Wheeler"

The June 19 meeting of WMOD featured a talk on the
Objectivist adventurer and philosopher Jack Wheeler.  Over
35 attendees were treated to Jack's talk on the contemporary
political economy, plus an analysis of Rand's Aristotelian
roots.  A spirited question and answer session followed.
Thanks to Jack and his wife Rebel for staying to answer
questions until the restaurant closed at 10:30 pm.

A full electronic version of the interview with Jack Wheeler
that appears in the May issue of "Full Context" can be found
on the Web at http://www.rust.net/~fc/wheeler.htm.  You can
download an ASCII version of the same from the "Full
Context" home page at http://www.rust.net/~fc/.

       When and Where is the WMOD Meeting?

Join us on Wednesday 9/18.  You can either join us for
dinner at 7 pm and/or for the discussion at 8:15 pm at the
Fortune Chinese Restaurant at Baileys  Xroads, VA on Route 7
between 7 Corners and Columbia Pike (5900  Leesburg Pike
703/998-8888). You can take METRO to the West Falls  Church
stop and then take METRO buses 29A or 29B East on Route 7
toward Baileys Xroads. The Fortune is on this route. After
the meeting we can give you a ride back to a METRO station.
WMOD has arranged for a $15 fixed price dinner (including
tax and tip).  Or you can order from the menu.  Please RSVP
to WMOD (703) 820-7696 before noon Wednesday 9/18 so that we
can tell the restaurant how many tables to set up.


Future of Freedom Foundation "Vienna Coffee Club Talks" at
the Sheraton Premier, 8661 Leesburg Pike (Rt 7 at Dulles
Tollway), 6 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. talk, RSVP to 703/934-
* September 26: James Bovard, author of "How the Government
Screws You from A to Z" and "Lost Rights: The Destruction of
American Liberty" will talk on "The Nature of the State:
Giving Benefits and Breaking Legs"

          WMOD Contact Information

The WMOD newsletter is $10/yr,  email newsletter is free.

Contact: Dave Saum
PO Box 8007
Falls Church, VA 22041
Email: DSaum at infiltec.com, Phone: 703/820-7696, FAX: 703/671-9350
Web: http//www.infiltec.com/wmod.htm

----------- "Sapere aude" (dare to know) -------------------

This page was created by and it was last updated on January 15, 1997.

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