Wrap up of The Fountainhead discussion and our next discussion

We completed the group discussion of The Fountainhead right before Thanksgiving of 2015. It was a huge success! Discussing The Fountainhead was a wonderful way to explore the application of Objectivism to our careers, relationships, and lives.

All our members took turns leading our dinner discussions with their own questions so we had an interesting and thought provoking mix of discussion topics and perspectives. I've decided to make these discussions available to anyone who'd like to explore The Fountainhead with the same curiosity and comprehensiveness that we did. I hope you enjoy and learn! Click here for the questions.

After New Years, we started reading Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Dr Leonard Peikoff. I'm excited to be exploring the fundamentals and nitty gritty proofs and applications of Objectivism after probing many of the edges during our discussion of The Fountainhead. We've been meeting every Wednesday in Baltimore City to discuss, so join our mailing list if you want to participate! We'd love to have you.

The Fountainhead Discussion Group

Our discussion of The Fountainhead has been going very well! It has been quite enjoyable to compare insights and opinions on the book that introduced many of us to Objectivism. Although we all have been studying the philosophy for some time, it's interesting how different our interpretations of Ayn Rand's nuanced and highly complex characters have been. Further, as this is the first fiction book we have discussed in a while, we routinely have found ourselves discussing what lessons for life may be taken from The Fountainhead and which are merely striking storytelling devices. (Spoiler alert: Don't be a rapist but do have integrity!)

Tomorrow our discussion covers the last two chapters of Part 2: Ellsworth M Toohey. I am looking forward to continuing to delve into the motivations and worldviews of these characters as they find themselves in increasingly complex situations. If you would like to join us, click the "Join" tab and fill out the form to receive Google Calendar invitations to our events.

1984 Capitalism vs Socialism Debate

Last week we watched the 1984 debate entitled "Capitalism vs Socialism: Which is the moral system?" This classic debate features Dr Leonard Peikoff and Dr John Ridpath against two Canadian socialists. It was very interesting to watch and discuss how effectively each side presented the moral case for their social systems, and to compare and contrast these arguments against what is heard in today's society. The entire debate can be watched here.

1984debate.jpg

"Capitalism and Freedom" - 1st Book Discussion of 2014

On Thursday, February 27th, we start our first book discussion of the year! We will be reading "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman, and our first session will cover the Introduction and Chapter One. Tomorrow's session will be hosted at Marie Louise Bistro from 6:30-8:00 PM. If you plan on attending, or you would like to join our email list, let us know via contact@charmcityobjectivists.org.

We hope to meet some new people at tomorrow's session!

What We've Done and What's to Come

2013 was another great year for the Charm City Objectivist Society! Here are some of the highlights for the year:

1.)    We completed a fantastic book discussion on “Free Market Revolution” by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins. Yay capitalism!

2.)    We went on a trip to NYC to attend the stage version of Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” by the Austin Shakespeare Company. We also met up with a great group of NYC Objectivists for lunch and dinner!

3.)    We hosted numerous socials throughout the year, engaging in great conversation over food and drinks at Gordon Biersch, The Owl Bar, and XS.

4.)    We welcomed back our founding member, William Green, for a great night of food and drink at Gordon Biersch, and then a sweet dance party at Grand Central in Mount Vernon.

5.)    We also welcomed a bunch of new members to the group! As a testament to the character and personality of CCOS, almost all of the new members have become regular attendees at socials and the book discussion. If you are interested in joining us at an event, be sure to reach out to us at contact@charmcityobjectivists.org.

Overall, 2013 was a big success for us and we look forward to another engaging and exciting year in 2014!

This year, we’ve got a great list of events on the calendar:

1.)    For our book discussion, we are going to keep with the subject of economics and politics by reading Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom”. Our aim will be to finish the discussion before the year ends so that we can begin our next book.

2.)    Due to popular demand, we are restarting our monthly brunches! We’ll meet one Sunday of each month to discuss essays from Ayn Rand’s “The Romantic Manifesto” over brunch (tentative venue is XS in Mount Vernon, but Marie Louise Bistro is also a potential site; stay tuned!).

3.)    We’ll continue with our monthly socials, but we are going to rotate between Thursdays and Saturdays in order to make it easy for DC Objectivists to come join us! We’re also going to introduce CCOS Happy Hours as a more informal get-together following a hard day’s work (keep your eyes open for our Gmail invitations; if you’re not on our distribution list, send an email to contact@charmcityobjectivists.org and we’ll add you to the DL).

4.)    Once the weather improves, we’ve got some tentative plans for a CCOS Fishing Trip and Paintball Extravaganza (note: these two events are separate…I don’t think the fish like paintballs). We’ll definitely discuss these events, and other plans, during our Socials and Happy Hours.

As always, we are open to having new members join us at any of our events! Please be sure to connect with us via contact@charmcityobjectivists.org or our Facebook page so that you can get all the details. We hope to meet some new people in 2014!

"Free Market Revolution" and the Next Book Discussion

Hello, everyone!

Last night, we finished the final session of our book discussion on “Free Market Revolution” by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins. This book focused on presenting the crucial need for defending capitalism on moral grounds, specifically on Ayn Rand’s argument for a rational code of ethics. I can say with certainty that our group is better prepared to make the moral case for laissez-faire capitalism! Thank you to all the participants for the great conversation, the insightful comments, and the personal takeaways that each of you shared. 

We also discussed a couple of potential candidates for our next book discussion. The two frontrunners are Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” and Ayn Rand’s “The Romantic Manifesto”. Join us on the Charm City Objectivist Society Facebook page to weigh in on what you think we should read for our next book. We hope to have some new participants when we begin the reading! 

On another note, we had a great time visiting NYC to attend the stage version of “Anthem” by the Austin Shakespeare Company! We enjoyed attending the show and had a wonderful visit with some the bright people of the NYC Objectivist community. We’ll aim to make another trip to see them in 2014!

Update: Current and Future Events

Hello, everyone! Since our site is LONG overdue for a note on our most recent events, I wrote this post to give you an idea about what we’ve been doing lately.

First, we have been hosting a regular discussion on “Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government” by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins. This book presents a thorough look at how big government, and the philosophy that drives government expansion, hinders the success of all Americans, regardless of ability and occupation.

The book offers the ideas of Ayn Rand as an antidote to the spread of big government, and it presents a rational morality of success and strong defense of the profit motive. We are currently discussing Chapter Ten, and we will host our next session in a couple of weeks. More information regarding date and time will be distributed via Facebook and Gmail.

Second, our August social will be coming up soon! Last month, we met at Gordon Biersch in the Harbor East district of Baltimore. The weather was excellent, and we welcomed a new member to the group while enjoying some fine beers and tasty appetizers! We are in the process of selecting a time and place for the August social, so keep your eyes open for an invitation from our Gmail service or an update on our Facebook page.

Lastly, we are planning a trip to NYC to attend the theatre adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel, “Anthem”! As of now, our plan is to travel up on a Saturday morning, attend the afternoon showing, have an early dinner, and then return home. Based upon reviews of the play, the subject matter of “Anthem”, and a chance to visit NYC in early autumn, this trip should be a great one! Stay tuned for more details. You can check out information concerning the play at Anthem the Play.

-Mike

Session 5: "Nothing Less Than Victory"

On Thursday, January 5th, we will resume our discussion of John David Lewis’s “Nothing Less Than Victory”! 

Over the past few months, we have reviewed the effects that moral ideas had on the generals and soldiers of many battles, campaigns, and strategies of the ancient world (with Dr. Lewis as our guide, of course). 

In Session Five, we will begin our look at warfare in the modern world with a critical analysis of William Tecumseh Sherman’s march through the South during the American Civil War.  Often vilified and damned by historians and military theorists as a practitioner of unjust war, Sherman was anything but immoral in his conduct of warfare:  his thoughts and actions demonstrated an advanced and integrated understanding of the proper moral reasoning for the use of force.  Dr. Lewis, as always, reveals himself to be the consummate teacher of ideas by seamlessly moving between abstract principles and their concrete representatives in one of the deadliest periods of American history.  This chapter, “The Hard Hand of War”, clearly shows the connection between rational moral ideas and success in warfare (and, on a broader note, success in life).

We will host the discussion at The Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Bar in Baltimore, MD from 7:00-8:30 PM.  New attendees are always welcome.  See you all then!

Nothing Less Than Victory

Hello, everyone!  Last week, we held the first session of our new book discussion which focuses on “Nothing Less Than Victory” by John David Lewis.  We began Session One with an examination of the subject of Dr. Lewis’s book, how he plans on covering that subject, and the most important point to take away from reading his book.  After our initial discussion, we took an in-depth look at the role of ideas in the Greco-Persian Wars, examining how the ideologies of the Greeks and Persians affected the strategy, tactics, and morale of their respective militaries.  Overall, our discussion was enjoyable and constructive as participating members brought insightful ideas and positive energy to the dialogue (and dinner) table. 

This week, we will host Session Two at The Metropolitan Wine Bar and Coffeehouse on Thursday, September 22nd from 7:00-8:30 PM.  Session Two covers the Peloponnesian and Theban Wars of ancient Greece, and promises to address the valuable lessons yielded from the study of those conflicts.  Dr. Lewis is a master at identifying the causal connections between ideas and actions, and the lessons he presents are wholly applicable to modern warfare and foreign policy.  Come join us on Thursday!

P.S. – For those of you who are still “on the fence” in regards to joining our discussion, check out the Introduction from “Nothing Less Than Victory” for free via Google books (most of Chapter One is available for free, too).  You can also check out Dr. Lewis’s new article, “9/11 Ten Years Later:  The Fruits of the Philosophy of Self-Abnegation”, in The Objective Standard. 

Summer Brunch Series: Basics of Objectivism

I'm announcing today a new series for people interested in learning more about Philosophy and Objectivism. We are calling it our Summer Brunch Series: Basics of Objectivism. Join us at the Gin Mill on May 22nd at 11am.

Our first session will discuss Ayn Rand's speach given at West Point called "Philosophy: Who Needs It?". Here is a breif description from ARI's website:

In March 1974, Ayn Rand faced the improbable task of lecturing on the crucial importance of philosophy—to the graduating class of West Point. She succeeded magnificently: she attracted three times the expected attendance, she elicited an enthusiastic ovation, and her lecture was reprinted in a new philosophy textbook published by the U.S. Military Academy. Relive this memorable occasion, and rediscover the irresistible intellectual power of Ayn Rand.

Pick up the book with the same title at any bookstore or on Amazon. You can listen to Ms. Rand give the lecture, along with her Q&A, on the ARI website 

Behind the Scenes of the Atlas Shrugged Movie: Reason.tv

Reason.tv has a few more tidbits of Atlas Shrugged movie information if you haven't already watched it. First up is some clips from the production/post-production of the movie.

The next video is the screen writer talking about "Adapting the Epic: The Making of Atlas Shrugged the Movie". I think his take on the theme is particularly interesting since Ayn Rand made the it quite explicit.

Ayn Rand said the theme of Atlas Shrugged is "the role of the mind in man’s existence and, as corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest." What do you guys think?

March Events Update

There are a few upcoming events:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1200 - CATO Talk on Neoconservatism by Thompson/Brook

May 26th - 30th, 2011 - ATLOSCON - Atlanta Objectivists Society Conference

Sunday May 7th, 2011 - Thinking Tactics Class in DC

CATO Talk: Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea

BOOK FORUMNeoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Noon (Luncheon to Follow)

Featuring the author C. Bradley Thompson, Clemson University; with comments by Tod Lindberg, Hoover Institution; moderated by David Boaz, Cato Institute

C. Bradley Thompson, professor of political science and executive director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, has written (with Yaron Brook) a comprehensive and original analysis of neoconservatism. Read more about this event, including how to watch it live online or in person, at the CATO website.

If you are interested in attending in person, email us and we'll let you know if any of our fellow DCOS members will be there to meet you!

ATLOSCON

Conference
May 26th-30th 2011

Our sister group in Atlanta is hosting a conference May 26th-30th (Memorial Day weekend) called ATLOSCON. If you are interested in attending please fill out their interest form.

I will be attending so if you are interested in going too talk to me at one of the socials.

Thinking Tactics Workshop Coming to DC

Class
Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 9:30am – 5:00pm

Jean Moroney has scheduled her Thinking Tactics workshop in the DC area for Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 9:30am – 5:00pm.  The location is yet to be determined, but it will be a hotel in the vicinity of Reagan National Airport.

Now is the time to sign up!  You can register immediately at: http://www.thinkingdirections.com/DC2011.htm

You must register and pay by March 25, 2011, to receive the early bird discount price of $275. After that, the price increases to $325, and after April 24 it goes up to the regular price of $375, so don’t delay!  Use coupon code BIRD to receive the $100 discount. 

If you missed my previous announcement, you can find out more about Jean Moroney and this workshop by visiting her web site at www.thinkingdirections.com, or at the sign up page,

http://www.thinkingdirections.com/DC2011.htm.  As I mentioned before, I plan to organize a dinner after the event – details to be determined in April.

February Social and Event Ideas

Join us on Thursday, 2/17 for our monthly social at Gin Mill in Canton for casual conversation, mingling and fine refreshments.

We are looking to expand our activities and want to find out what you are interested in doing next. You can check out our Google Moderator to submit your own ideas or vote on one you like. Want to go Duck Pin Bowling? Have a book discussion on economics or science? How about dive into some of Rand's non-fiction? Vote now and your selection could be the next event coordinated by myself and the CCOS minions.

See you at the social!

Peikoff: Christmas Should be More Commercial

With all my travels these last two months I may have missed my chance to say in person Merry Christmas. Before I start running around frantically finishing my Christmas shopping I thought I'd share with you all the real reason for the season.

Christmas as we celebrate it today is a 19th-century American invention. The freedom and prosperity of post-Civil War America created the happiest nation in history. The result was the desire to celebrate, to revel in the goods and pleasures of life on earth.

Read the full article at CapMag.

Wm

Luc Travers at National Gallery of Art

Luc TraversContrary to popular belief, a visit to an art museum does not have to be an exhausting experience. Quite the contrary--experiencing the visual arts can be as engaging and emotionally powerful as music, literature, and movies!

But, how does one achieve this kind of experience in front of a painting or sculpture?

Come, and find out while enjoying select artworks at the National Gallery October 10th, 3pm for this special event. Folks from the DCOS and our group here in Baltimore will be attending.

For more about Luc's approach to art appreciation and to sign up for the tour please visit his website. Make sure to mention you heard about it from CCOS!

100 Members Strong

Today we crossed a numerical threshold: we now have 100 members on our announcement email list. This is awesome! Who knew when this all started in December that we would grow so quickly. We have had 4 socials so far this year and plan to start our Atlas Shrugged Reading Group in a few short weeks. 

The feedback I've gotten from those of you via email and at the socials has been great. Some folks have begun to step up and volunteer to help out organizing events. Others have donated to help pay for advertising and our website (you can too by using the paypal link on the home page).

If you are interested in helping out or have an idea for the group email me or comment below. If you haven't yet come to a social, stop by on Thursday Sept. 16th and see what the buzz is all about.

Atlas Shrugged Reading Group

Due to popular demand, Charm City Objectivists Society will start hosting weekly study groups for fans of Ayn Rand's epic novel Atlas Shrugged starting in September.

In these Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups (ASRGs), members read and discuss Ayn Rand's gripping and controversial novel over the course of twenty weekly meetings. Each meeting lasts ninety minutes; it covers about sixty pages of the novel. Discussion is guided by questions prepared by Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and given to members in advance. CCOS's Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups are open to any fan of the novel interested in discussing the characters, events, and ideas of the novel in greater depth.

Membership Standards

To avoid the problem of spoilers, members of CCOS's Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups should have read the novel in full at least once before. They should be fans of the novel, even if they disagree with aspects of it.

Members of the Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups differ in their experiences and philosophic ideas, as well as in their familiarity with Ayn Rand's writings and philosophy. The goal of the group is to better understand Atlas Shrugged in a friendly and constructive way, not to engage in acrimonious debate or proselytizing.

All members should read (or re-read) the assigned chapters of the novel before the meeting. They should bring a copy of Atlas Shrugged with them to the meeting, as well as a copy of that week's questions. They should help keep the discussion on-track, meaning focused on the assigned chapters of the novel. Most of all, they should act in friendly -- or at least civil -- way toward others.

People who prove disruptive to the aims of the Atlas Shrugged Reading Group will be removed from it.

Join the email list for announcements

OCON 2010 - Community Groups Outreach

This year at OCON Lin Zinzer and Anu Seppaia hosted a lunch yesterday for community groups. They gave us a chance to learn how ARI can help our community group including materials, discounts at the Ayn Rand Bookstore, and support for activism. They also allowed other community groups to discuss their successes and lessons learned and talk about their activities. I'm inspired to starting an Atlas Shrugged reading group for Baltimore in the late summer / early fall.