Oh, this speech by Ed Hudgins, Executive Director of The Not-Really-Objectivist Center, is just too amazing for words. The topic is “Living by Principle in an Unprincipled World.” (No, seriously.) Here’s the abstract:
In her 1962 essay in response to a reader’s question, Ayn Rand stated that “An irrational society is a society of moral cowards–of men paralyzed by the loss of moral standards, principles and goals.” Does this describe our world today? Does this describe the people you deal with every day? Objectivists strive to live by principle, but this can be difficult when we are confronted by pragmatists and compromisers. How are we to stay true to our values when dodging such as these?
Indeed, dealing with “pragmatists and compromisers” is quite unpleasant. It’s particularly unpleasant when they hail from The Objectivist Center and claim to represent Ayn Rand’s philosophy!
Also, has anyone else noticed that The Objectivist Center seems to be changing its name — yet again? They recently started describing themselves as “The Objectivist Center and The Atlas Society” for no apparent reason. Years ago, “The Atlas Society” was TOC’s attempt to reach out to people who’ve read Ayn Rand’s fiction, but aren’t familiar with her philosophy. That’s a fine idea, but incompetently executed under the leadership of Robert Bidinotto. So after great expense, it amounted to zip. In adding “The Atlas Society” name to all it does, TOC hasn’t resurrected that organization. The new “The Atlas Society” is nothing separate or distinct from The Objectivist Center, just a mysterious second name — as if I started calling myself “Diana and Judy Hsieh.” I can’t imagine that TOC’s leadership would be eager to remind its donors of the old boondoggle — unless attempting to change the name, perhaps in conjunction with the supposedly impending movie of Atlas Shrugged. (If that happens, it’ll be worse than you think: imagine DVD inserts for more information from The Atlas Society and a bonus feature of commentary on Objectivism from David Kelley.) Of course, changing the name of your organization twice in less than two decades is no way to inspire confidence in your donors. In fact, it suggests that you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re doing. Perhaps that’s why the first name change (from Institute for Objectivist Studies to The Objectivist Center) was announced with much fanfare, whereas this second name change seems to be sneaking in the back door.
Also, IOS/TOC/TAS’s web site declares them to be “the most respected independent source of information about Objectivism, the philosophy defined by Ayn Rand, the renowned author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.” First, IOS/TOC/TAS doesn’t actually hold that Objectivism is “defined” by Ayn Rand, but merely originated by her. (That’s inherent in the open system.) Second, “independent” … of what?!? (Oh, not to worry, I understand the intent.)