Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Next Meeting: Tuesday November 9th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

This is a special meeting because we will not be covering an article by Ayn Rand, but one by Alex Epstein. Alex will be speaking on the Auraria Campus on November 8th on his topic: "Vitamin 'O': America's Healthy 'Addiction' to Oil." You can RSVP To that talk by clicking HERE to go to our facebook event page.

The article we will be covering was written by Alex for The Objective Standard and it is entitled: "Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company.

It is an amazing article that blows away all the myths about Rockefeller as a supposed "Robber Baron."

It is available for free on The Objective Standard website. You can access it by clicking HERE
Also you can click HERE for the audio. The Audio version is somewhat long to listen to, but you can download it and listen to it whenever you want!

This is also a reason I've changed the schedule, we won't be meeting on the 2nd to give you time to look over this article.

Here is a description of the article:
It examines the inception and rise of Standard Oil, demonstrates that the company’s immense success was the result not of so-called “anti-competitive” practices or “predatory pricing” but of its superior efficiency and productivity, and does long-overdo justice to one of the greatest producers of life-serving values in history: John D. Rockefeller

It should make for a great meeting because Alex will be talking about Oil on the 8th. We should have plenty to discuss. Plus I'll be using some of Ari Armstrong's questions from his Liberty On the Books.

Please note the schedule change because I've made the meetings every other week instead of every week. It seemed people were having difficulty coming every time and we had sporadic showings, this should make it easier on everyone.

Thanks all!
I'll see you in a few weeks
-Kirk Barbera

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Speaking Event on Campus: "Vitamin 'O': America's Healthy 'Addiction' to Oil" by Alex Epstein

On Monday, November 8th from 6-8pm Alex Epstein from the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights will give a talk on the Auraria Campus entitled "Vitamin 'O': America's Healthy 'Addiction' to Oil."

It will be held in the Tivoli Student Union room 250- The Turnhalle room

click HERE for a map
We will be in Building 7 - Room 250.

Also, click HERE for a parking map

Here is a description of the talk:
Every day, you use an average of three gallons of oil. This is a very, very good thing. That is the radical message of "Vitamin O," a 30-minute speech by Alex Epstein that defends our so-called addiction to oil as vital to our lives and happiness, and debunks myths associated with our "addiction to oil": that we will run out of oil, that foreign oil causes terrorism and creates dependence, that oil spills and climate change will destroy our environment, and that oil can be replaced by "clean energy."

Following his speech, Mr. Epstein will answer questions on oil and the future of energy—from sustainability to energy independence to climate change.

Here is Alex's Bio:
Alex Epstein is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on business issues. He is the author of numerous articles on oil and energy, including, most recently: “Energy at the Speed of Thought: The Original Alternative Energy Industry.” His op-eds have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Detroit Free Press, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Times and Investor’s Business Daily. Epstein is a frequent speaker at universities around the country, a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio programs, as well as a guest panelist on the popular “Front Page” show on

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Next Meeting: Tuesday October 19th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Our next meeting is on a small portion of John Galt's Speech on Anti-Altruism. At the bottom of this post I explain where you can find this article.

It is often said that we “sacrifice” short-term fun for long-term career ambitions, or “sacrifice” personal enjoyment for the sake of raising beloved children. Actions like these are clearly noble, but do they really involve sacrifice? What is sacrifice, and are there grounds for thinking it is moral? What does the consistent surrender of values really mean for human life and happiness?

In this week’s discussion, we’ll discuss Ayn Rand’s analysis of the code of self-sacrifice, and examine why she regards it as incompatible with genuine moral values and self-esteem.

. . .

“Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?
—John Galt in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, pg. 948

Material to be discussed:
• “Anti-Altruism from Galt’s Speech”
o Pp. 94-102 in *The Ayn Rand Reader*
o or pp 944-951 in *Atlas Shrugged*

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Next meeting Topic: The Meaning of Sex, and Of Living Death and Free Pizza!!!

Our next meeting is Tuesday October 12th from 6-8pm, we will be covering "The Meaning of Sex,' and "Of Living Death."

Where? Auraria Downtown Campus, click HERE for directions

We will also be having a "PIZZA PARTY" afterwards. So come join us for a great discussion and free pizza and drinks! Anyone is welcome! (We will not be going to Old Chicago after the meeting this week, but anyone is welcome to stay after the meeting and enjoy great conversation and Pizza!)

Where to find the readings for this week:
They are both available in The Ayn Rand Reader. And "Of Living Death" is also available as an audio online for free:

The Meaning of Sex is also found in Atlas Shrugged, it is Francisco's talk to Rearden about the Mind-body relation in regards to sex. This is a very short two and a half page excerpt.

Of Living Death (more explanation below) identifies the connections between the Catholic Church's basic philosophy and its view of sex. This is found in The Ayn Rand Reader or you can listen to a lecture (which is a bit expanded but has a great Q&A session as well) here:

Overview of what we are covering and why:

To this day virtue is thought of as identical to chastity, and virginity is equated with a kind of moral purity. Many people today do not concern themselves with this kind of virtue or purity, but concede that it *is* virtue or purity.

At this week’s meeting, we will examine Ayn Rand’s essay “On Living Death,” which analyzes a Catholic encyclical calling for believers to abstain from contraceptives and non-procreative sex. Rand argues that it is the premise that sex is base, rather than a moral end in itself, which results in this doctrine and its destructive consequences.

“The motive of the church's doctrine on this issue is . . . psychological: if man is forbidden to regard sexual enjoyment as an end in itself, he will not regard love or his own happiness as an end in itself; if so, then he will not regard his own life as an end in itself; if so, then he will not attain self-esteem.

It is not against the gross, animal, physicalistic theories or uses of sex that the encyclical is directed, but against the spiritual meaning of sex in man's life. . . . It is not directed against casual, mindless promiscuity, but against romantic love.”
—Ayn Rand , “Of Living Death.”

Many of those who oppose abortion rights claim to do so in the name of the “sanctity of life.” By this they mean the life of the fetus, not the life and happiness of the mother. Why do they regard the first kind of life as sacrosanct, but the second as dispensable? How can those who oppose abortion on these grounds also advocate the right to “the pursuit of happiness” for adults?

“This issue is not confined to the Catholic church, and it is deeper than the problem of contraception; it is a moral crisis approaching a climax. The core of the issue is Western civilization’s view of man and of his life. The essence of that view depends on the answer to two interrelated questions: Is man (man the individual) an end in himself?—and: Does man have the right to be happy on this earth?”
—Ayn Rand , “Of Living Death.”

Friday, October 1, 2010

Next Meeting: Tuesday October 5th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

This week we will be reading "Roarks Speech" and "Why Selfishness" in the Ayn Rand Reader (pages 71-83). We will be meeting in the same location; building 1020 in 9th street park by Einsteins on the Auraria Campus. If you don't have The Ayn Rand Reader yet, make sure to read atleast Roarks Speech in The Fountainhead.

Roark's Speech:
What is the source of human progress? Do the greatest human achievements come from those who devote their lives to serving others? Conventional wisdom says that they do. Is conventional wisdom correct? And since when do we look to conventions to find wisdom?

This week’s discussion will focus on the climactic courtroom speech by Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead, in which Roark breaks with tradition and asserts the primary role of the independent egoist in human history, and his moral right to exist for himself.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. . . . But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”
—Ayn Rand , The Fountainhead


And, Why Selfishness:
We'll also be discussing Ayn Rand’s essay titled “Why ‘Selfishness’?”, in which she explains her choice of the word ‘selfishness’ to denote a virtuous quality.

At the beginning of the article when Ayn Rand is asked why she uses the word selfishness, her response is: “For the reason that makes you afraid of it.” Read this essay and come to this discussion to learn what she means by this.

See you all there!