(For Objectivists and members of HBL)
Craig Biddle’s interview with Dennis Prager, “A Dialogue About God and Ayn Rand,” has now exceeded 1.2 million views. It has set an all-time record for views of Mr. Prager’s Fireside Chats, and it has generated the highest number of Fireside Chat comments on YouTube (more than 1,400), most of which are positive.
The PragerU five-minute video, “Understanding Ayn Rand,” which promoted Atlas Shrugged, has exceeded 2.3 million views and 3,000 comments, and those numbers are still rising. The script for this video was co-authored by Craig, his team at the Objective Standard Institute (OSI), and the writers at PragerU. (See Craig’s discussion of the backstory here.)
PragerU’s audience is generally young (18-34), smart, and interested in ideas. And these videos are introducing millions of young people to Ayn Rand’s books and ideas. According to YouTube statistics, these two videos—“A Dialogue About God and Ayn Rand” and “Understanding Ayn Rand”—have had more views than any other video production in Objectivist history. So, you would think that appreciation and congratulations would be flowing to Craig and OSI, and they are. There have been a flood of emails, inquiries, and subscriptions to Craig’s journal, The Objective Standard.
But some are dismissing and disparaging this promotion of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and they seek to denigrate its creator, Craig. A mixture of appreciation and hostility is on display on the Harry Binswanger List (HBL), a discussion forum run by Harry. Some have said: “courageous,” “a great interview,” “I loved this interview,” “bravo,” “a great service,” “excellent job,” “well done,” etc. But some have said: “wrong,” “bad!,” “should have been more militant,” “embarrassing [to be on with someone so religious],” “not fundamental or principled,” “should have attacked,” “watered down,” “too friendly,” “needs to be more confrontational.”
Craig engaged in the discussion on HBL calmly and rationally, addressing the various criticisms of him and the videos. He explained his reasoning behind his choices and his wording, and he asked for and appreciated constructive criticism people had to offer.
Craig also joined a video discussion, a “Meeting of the Minds,” (MOTM) with about 140 HBLers on Zoom. Craig continued replying calmly, clearly, and confidently.
Harry and Peter Schwartz began the meeting with “when do you break with…” and hints at a schism. It appeared that the meeting was orchestrated to condemn and ostracize Craig. However, it didn’t work out that way. The hostility during the meeting was ultimately diffused by participants’ questions and some thoughtful discussion, and by compliments of Craig. And someone suggested that if we were going to criticize Craig, we also ought to criticize Greg Salmieri and Yaron Brook for the Jordan Peterson appearance at OCON in 2018 in Newport Beach, CA. (I’ve heard that it cost ARI $50,000 or $70,000 to have Peterson appear on the stage for an hour.) That engagement with Peterson by Greg and Yaron was awful. (Fortunately, it has only 30,000 views. — Correction: A reader informed me that although the version of the Peterson video on ARI’s YouTube page has 31K views, the version on Dave Rubin’s page has almost 289K views. I appreciate the correction.)
As for Yaron’s appearance on the Glenn Beck show, we don’t have to speculate as to why it was so ineffective. Yaron explains it himself on a podcast in which he was critical of Craig for not being confrontational with Prager and for not attacking religion:
I went on Glenn Beck’s channel … I attacked Trump, I attacked conservatives, I attacked religion, and that’s why I failed in Glenn Beck’s channel and came to the conclusion it’s not a good audience.
That is Yaron’s style. It is not Craig’s style.
The MOTM appeared to conclude amicably. But Harry and Peter didn’t relent. Both Craig and I were removed from HBL last Sunday for a new offense—allegedly for smearing ARI and its principals. The alleged smearing, it turns out, is my article “The Truth about Craig Biddle vs. Smears by Some at ARI,” which defended Craig against a decade of covert smearing and shunning by Yaron and Onkar Ghate.
One of Harry’s main claims is that Craig shouldn’t have engaged with Mr. Prager because he is too religious. And a few on HBL judged Craig “immoral” for discussing Objectivism with him. It’s worth noting that, a few years ago, ARI was negotiating a major video production campaign with PragerU, and it was only dropped for financial reasons, not for moral or intellectual reasons. It’s also worth noting that in a discussion with me recently, Leonard Peikoff mentioned Craig’s interview with Prager and told me that he thought Prager was intelligent and a competent intellectual, and that he sometimes likes listening to him. When I expressed surprise because of Prager’s religiosity, he told me that one of Ayn Rand’s household assistants was a practicing Christian. When Leonard had a radio show, he spoke highly of the very religious Dr. Laura Schlessinger, complimenting her for taking ideas seriously and speaking her mind. Ayn Rand regularly communicated with religious people, even clergymen, respectfully, calmly, and rationally.
Yaron and others from ARI have appeared on or worked with Bill O’Reilly, who is a dedicated, practicing Catholic; Glenn Beck, who is Mormon; Dave Rubin, who has recently returned to religion despite his many engagements with ARI intellectuals; and Jordan Peterson, who embraces a mixture of various forms of religion and mysticism. And some of these engagements have been pursued at considerable expense to ARI’s donors—the appearances on Dave Rubin’s show were particularly expensive (I was asked to finance some of them).
I appreciate what Craig has achieved with PragerU, including his interview with Dennis Prager. Mr. Prager is a large, imposing man physically and he has a formidable intellect. He is also one of the most knowledgeable and skilled advocates of religion (Judaism). Craig went into the lion’s den to discuss Ayn Rand’s ideas vs. religion. Craig knew that what he said there with the cameras running would have an impact—maybe a major impact—on the advancement of Objectivism, as would his attitude and demeanor.
Dennis Prager was gracious and kind. He was also serious and adept at asking provocative questions. The first one, “Do you hope you are right or wrong about there not being a God—you’ll get to see your loved ones after you die?” was particularly tricky. (Craig was given no advance notice of the questions to be asked, no preparation or rehearsal, no idea what he would be asked.) Under the circumstances, I think Craig handled that question well.
I’ve observed a lot of Objectivists answering difficult questions, particularly Yaron, with whom I went on several world tours. Sometimes he was brilliant, sometimes good, and occasionally I cringed. But that’s the nature of being on the spot and answering hard questions on the fly; it’s a challenge. We’ve all seen Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, Yaron, Harry, and others in the hot seat on television, and many of their answers are just like Craig’s—some excellent and some not. Craig did well, and there is no question about the extraordinary results: millions exposed to Ayn Rand’s ideas.
I think we should appreciate what happened, the results, and the benefits for our great values—the promotion of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I think we should have appreciation, gratitude, and perhaps some admiration for Craig.
I’d like to know what you think in the comments.
32 thoughts on “Millions Exposed to Ayn Rand: Is this Wrong?”
After reading all the letters above, I am in complete agreement with the praise so deservingly paid you, Craig Biddle. And a plague upon your tormentors!
I very much enjoyed the Prager “chat”. Your natural benevolence to his tactic of asking a question then allowing an answer and finally commenting on the answer often uttering a blatant contradiction without allowing a response (taking advantage of being the host) spoke volumes of your patience and coolness on your feet.
I am simply amazed by how you have developed since that day some 20 or more years ago near Grants Pass Oregon where one of your guests was curiously concerned with the moral rituals of tribal chiefs – if you remember. I recognized your unruffled calm attitude of many years ago as being precisely what it was with Prager.
Congratulations for your success through thick and thin, you have earned my admiration and, I am sure, of many of the “choir”.
Great work getting the message out and showing the victory of reason and persuasion. My view is that even if an Objectivist movement is impossible due to justice punishing those with collectivist premises in their actions, men and women who can work together in common cause, who can resolve their disagreements, and then move forward is what will win the future. This is how paralysis through infighting will be stopped. The default is getting nothing great done, and the result is a big zero. I want to see this effort succeed. From now on, I am going to ignore all personal accusations of malfeasance, philosophical, personal or otherwise short of someone actually committing a demonstrable criminal act using physical force. I am willing to so far as to reintroduce the idea of the Truce of God from the Middle Ages, which protected clergy, women, children and peasants from war. Obviously, the 20th century disavowed that idea. It should come back, since that was the environment that helped end the Middle Ages. In today’s age of fog, it should be a Truce of Reason, applicable to all Objectivists to never battle with each other or anyone else except through persuasion until it is clear that their enemies understand only force. Everyone should swear it and disavow these useless, petty battles. C
Craig Biddle was fully consistent with Ayn Rand’s public approach to religion. Her approach had 2 well-known components: Be intransigent but not militant toward religion (or you will turn off your listener), and never forget that religion is trying to fill a moral void created by modern philosophy. Hence Craig’s calm, confident demeanor and deft switching of the conversation back to fundamental issues (those left unaddressed in the void) was exactly right. Rand would have been proud.
Well done Craig and Carl
Thank you for this post, Carl! It’s a concise account of the value of these PragerU videos and the bizarre nature of the attacks against them.
Thanks also to everyone who has posted here in support of the videos. I’m glad you see their value, and I greatly appreciate your kind words and moral support.
These projects are part of Objective Standard Institute’s “value-up” approach, which is distinct from the “top-down” approach. Our value-up approach consists in meeting people at their (legitimate) values—freedom, flourishing, art appreciation, entrepreneurship, history, economics, etc.—and showing them how principles of Objectivism and rational philosophy in general can help them to think more clearly and act more successfully. (I elaborate on this here: https://objectivestandard.org/why-support-osi.)
The arguments on HBL attacking the PragerU videos and my engagement with Dennis Prager were astonishingly poor. Indeed, they were so bad that it seemed as though the attackers had a motive other than discovering or conveying the truth. I might write an article about those arguments and my replies, as I think they are revealing. Of course, I’d omit names and focus exclusively on the arguments. That would be illuminating.
The MOTM was telling, too. Thank goodness toward the end of the first hour a few people spoke up as voices of reason. Otherwise the whole thing would have been Peter and Harry pontificating in vague abstractions without ever making a point. I don’t think they expected me to show up, and I suspect my presence affected how they proceeded. I wish the second hour had been recorded, as that got into more substantive issues.
I’m told that the misinformation and poor argumentation on HBL has gotten even worse since Carl and I were removed. So I sent an email yesterday to the people I could recall being on the MOTM and/or engaging in the relevant threads on HBL. If I had their emails (either personally or from HBL emails), I included them in an email addressing some of the latest claims made by Peter and Harry. It’s a long email, and it may not be of interest to everyone. But anyone who wants to understand the truth about the events and claims in question will benefit from reading it. If you’d like a copy of the email, let me know via [email protected] and I’ll forward it to you.
Of course it’s a good idea to spread Objectivism beyond the choir. Craig did an excellent job in terms of demeanor and in terms of substance. However, I will say that I have personally asked Craig to have the same type of polite, intellectual debates on topics raging within Objectivism, and he refused. I specifically asked him to debate the subject of open immigration, which is a political topic that divides the Objectivist community greatly – but he rejected my overture. I would love to see Craig extend the same courtesies to Objectivists within the movement with whom he disagrees that he (rightly) seeks from people like Harry and Yaron.
Ed – First, thanks for the compliment on my demeanor in the interview with Prager.
You write: “I have personally asked Craig to have the same type of polite, intellectual debates on topics raging within Objectivism, and he refused. I specifically asked him to debate the subject of open immigration, which is a political topic that divides the Objectivist community greatly – but he rejected my overture.”
This is not true. And your refrain on this is tiresome. Here’s my note to you from the last exchange you and I had on this matter on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/the.objective.standard/posts/10152375860959077?comment_id=10152377038659077
Because not everyone is on Facebook, I’ll post that note here:
Ed Mazlish, you say, I “refuse to engage except to say that immigration restrictions initiate force.” This is not true, and you know it. If you persist in saying what you know to be untrue, you will lose your posting privileges here.
As I replied to you in a thread back in June:
“Neither I nor anyone writing for TOS has ever advocated the kind of unchecked open borders you allude to in your question. My position on immigration, which I made clear in my 2008 article on the subject, is that the moral and thus practical policy is open immigration, meaning: a policy of openness to all immigrants—unless U.S. intelligence agencies or border guards have evidence that a particular individual constitutes a threat to the lives or rights of Americans. Here’s a relevant passage from that article:
“Open immigration does not mean that anyone may enter the country at any location or in any manner he chooses; it is not unchecked or unmonitored immigration. Nor does it mean that anyone who immigrates to America should be eligible for U.S. citizenship—the proper requirements of which are a separate matter. Open immigration means that anyone is free to enter and reside in America—providing that he enters at a designated checkpoint and passes an objective screening process, the purpose of which is to keep out criminals, enemies of America, and people with certain kinds of contagious diseases.”
An objective screening process would involve the use of any and all intelligence or information regarding people seeking to immigrate to America; it would forbid entrance to people coming from enemy states, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia; it would require border guards to detain and turn over to our military anyone who attempted entry to the country and was suspected—on the basis of evidence—to be an agent of an enemy regime or terrorist group.
Obviously if U.S. intelligence agencies or border guards know that a particular Muslim is “committed to killing Americans,” then they know he is a terrorist, and, of course, they should either kill or detain him. And if they have evidence-based suspicion that someone might be an enemy agent, they should not let him into the country (unless they plan to track him for bigger fish or the like). I do not know of a single person affiliated with TOS who would argue otherwise.
As for how to gather good information and how to check incoming people, that is not my area of expertise; it is the job of intelligence agencies and border security experts. They certainly have good technology at their disposal, and where they lack knowledge, they could certainly learn a thing or two from the Israelis, who do a pretty good job of it. In any event, the ultimate solution to the problem is not to restrict immigration on the basis of a person’s religion but to obliterate terrorist-sponsoring regimes, terrorist groups, and individual terrorists on the basis of their actions.
You imply that you would like to forbid immigration to all people who call themselves Muslims. I regard such a policy as immoral and impossible. It is immoral because it treats all people who call themselves Muslims as agents of the enemy for believing in Allah; thus it violates the right to freedom of conscience, and it implies that all people in America who call themselves Muslim are by that fact agents of the enemy and must be dealt with accordingly. Such a policy is impossible because, almost needless to say, Americans rightly will never permit it. Americans would much sooner drop nuclear bombs on Tehran and Qom than forbid entrance to people merely because they identify themselves as Muslims.
To be perfectly clear about my views on this subject (since some people like to distort them), let me put some of my relevant positions in a paragraph: I oppose forbidding entrance to would-be immigrants merely on the grounds that they self-identify as Muslim; I oppose violating anyone’s right to freedom of conscience in efforts to defend America from terrorists, as I oppose all forms of pragmatism; and I oppose treating today’s non-emergency situation as emergency situation. As to what I’m for: I advocate open immigration as explained in my article on the subject; I advocate detaining and questioning anyone who—on the basis of evidence—is suspected to be involved with an enemy regime or group; I advocate torturing (for information) and/or killing anyone who is found via evidence to be actively involved with an enemy regime or group; and I advocate producing and disseminating materials that work to change Americans’ minds about fundamental philosophic issues so that we can eventually—preferably sooner than later—establish a government that will eliminate states, groups, and individuals who sponsor or engage in terrorism against Americans.
I hope that helps.
*end of previous reply*
If you disagree with that policy, that’s fine. But if you misrepresent me again, I will ban you from this page.
For those interested, here is a link to my article on immigration: https://theobjectivestandard.com/2008/02/immigration-individual-rights/
So, Ed, I hope you will stop with these made-up claims that I won’t engage on this issue. It’s not true. What I won’t engage with is misrepresentations or straw-man arguments about my positions.
This is a good thing, having Objectivist intellectuals on very large platforms, in civil discussions with their intellectual opponents, particularly ones who are as gracious as Prager was with Craig, which I chalk up to Craig being who he is, as it’s he who Prager chose to do a sit down with, instead of other Objectivists. That can’t be overlooked.
Thank you, Bosch! I think my non-confrontational approach is likely why Prager was willing to discuss ideas with me. And given the many articles I’ve written challenging his ideas, he certainly knew that I was principled opposition. But he was willing to talk anyway. This is to his credit.
As a young man, I came to think of myself as libertarian. My knowledge of libertarianism and philosophy was unsophisticated and I’d never heard of Ayn Rand or Objectivism. Fortunately, one of my employees gave me a used copy of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. That led to my eventual understanding and complete acceptance of the wisdom of Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
Imagine my surprise when I heard Peter Schwartz declare that it was useless to reach out to libertarians, as they could never become Objectivists. Fortunately, for me, my employee didn’t Mr. Schwartz view or I might still be a libertarian.
Years later I encountered Craig Biddle’s comparison of libertarianism to Objectivism in The Objective Standard. Craig’s explanation was exceptionally well reasoned and philosophically complete. It left no doubt as to which was the more rational philosophy, yet it was worded in a way that it might attract — rather than offend — libertarians who may be receptive to reason. If you are a TOS subscriber, you may enjoy reading that masterpiece of reasoned, philosophical salesmanship.
In the interview with Dennis Prager, Mr. Prager challenged Craig with the fallacy that there must be a God to create such a complex and wonderful universe. Craig skillfully — but inoffensively — exposed the fallacy and even invoked a profound metaphysical axiom in a very understandable way.
There’s nothing wrong with Objectivists preaching to the choir. How else can we improve our understanding Objectivism? And, at times, it is desirable to decisively call out evil when we encounter it.
But, we should recognize that if Objectivists don’t reach out to the unwashed — and do so inoffensively — Objectivism will never get to the potentially receptive, thinking people who have never been properly exposed to the ideas of Objectivism.
I think that Craig Biddle is exceptionally skilled at explaining, defending and selling Objectivist philosophy. So I hope that he will escalate his outreach to the pagans and that Objectivists will support him and cheer him on.
Thank you, Rich! You and I see eye-to-eye on how to approach non-Objectivists. I appreciate your kind words.
Mr Biddle did an excellent job. Unfortunately, it seems some people are talking a good game when it comes to reason but are very dogmatic. Every movement has these people.
I don’t think Yaron is a good spokesman for Objectivism. His points are good but he’s demeanour will not win over people to the ideas. He’s likely to have the opposite effect.
I think Mr Biddle approaches people who are new to Objectivism like Socrates does. He asks good questions, gives good answer and points to the other person and treats them with respect and let them work it out for themselves with quality information.
Yaron just pushes people away with his style. I also don’t think his knowledge of Objectivism is that deep and nowhere near Mr Biddle’s.
I hope to see Craig on more shows. Valuetainment has to be a good candidate.
Thank you, J! One step at a time with people is the way to go. It adds up.
Thank you too. Your work is and going to make my life and my children’s lives better with each mind you change/enlighten. All the best.
If we only share our ideas with those who already agree, we stagnate. Finding intelligent audiences to share our ideas with makes sense. I tend to think that Prager has an intelligent audience, so trying it made sense. Getting the number of views that you have shows that it paid off big time! I enjoyed the segment – excellent job!
It’s a shame that so many people who agree on so much spend time arguing over this kind of thing. If someone thinks this wasn’t a good idea, they should do something different. There are many great ideas out there – let’s pursue them!
Thanks for doing it and representing the views of objectivism so well!
Thank you, George—I appreciate your thoughtful comment and support.
I completely agree with you. Craig’s demeanor is exactly how one should approach a discussion with an intellectual who has fundamentally different premises. Yaron and Harry think that the only way to approach someone like Prager is with attacks and denunciations. Though to be honest, Yaron and Harry seem more intent in attacking and denouncing fellow Objectivists who disagree on concrete applications of Objectivism or outreach strategies, than they do on attacking conservatives; and they attack and denounce conservatives who agree with 90% of Objectivism with more vigor than they do the Leftists who are literally burning down our society. Freud called this phenomenon the “narcissism of small differences.” I never thought I’d live to see the day when ARI was run by Freudians….
Keep fighting the good fight.
Dear Carl and Craig,
You both did a terrific job in this project and should be proud of the work accomplished.
Thinking objectively about the benefits that the Fireside Chat did for advancing Rand’s ideas, this can only be seen as a win for everyone, both Objectivists, and the curious public.
After such a terrific accomplishment, my only question is this: What’s next?
Thank you, Chris. We have a whole lot of great projects in the pipeline. Stay tuned, my friend. They’ll be rolling out in the weeks and months to come. Also, we should chat soon, as I’d like to pick your brain about some of these. PM me about when’s good for you.
My education (and work experience) has been with marketing and selling. (The sales work was with “intangibles,” that is, services. Basically selling ideas and concepts, not “hard” products that you and see, touch, and feel.) Due to this background, I look at advancing Objectivism as a marketing problem. Success is achieved by getting ears to listen and eyeballs to see the message. You have to go where you can find these ears and eyes. That’s what Craig Biddle has been doing. His Prager interview was spot on. It was a hostile environment, but calm, respectful delivery of his answers were the best method to come across to listeners/viewers as a reasonable, thoughtful human being.
Had Craig been argumentative and/or disrespectful it would have reduced the effectiveness of his message (even if some partisan Objectivists might have felt some thrill from the engagement).
We should look at how Christianity managed to become a major world religion. The early Christians were simply a sect within the Jewish community. They adhered to all Jewish religious customs and dogma (note that “The Last Supper” was a Jewish Passover ritual). While the original Apostles made some headway in expanding their Jewish cult, it did not engage many outsiders until the evangelist Paul appeared. (Paul was a Roman and was not a Jew.) Paul was a very effective marketer of the new Christian religion. He reached out to communities far outside of Judaism. Indeed, one community was interested, but said, “we primarily grow and eat pigs, so we can’t give up pork.” Paul said “fine.” (The point was the underlying Christian thought, not the Jewish dietary laws.) Many objected to the custom of Jewish males being circumcised (a frankly very painful experience for adult males). Paul said “fine” don’t bother with that. The point is that he was focused on the primary thinking of the religion, not on the cultural customs surrounding it.
So it is with Objectivism, we need to focus on getting people to look at, read, and understand, the major elements of the philosophy. Nuance and detail can come later. Simply getting people to consider alternatives to the Kantian altruism is an initial victory. (We’ll never get a 100% conversion, but getting a modest response for a closer look is a victory!) You won’t expand Objectivism by arguing fine points of the philosophy among the current “believers” — simply because no outsiders are even aware of these conversations. Even if the explanation to outsiders is “flawed” in some respects … it’s better to incite an interest to take a closer look. (As with any complex set of ideas, it will take time for the newly exposed to get a deep understanding of Objectivism with all its ramifications and nuances.)
You don’t catch flies with vinegar and you don’t get skeptical outsiders to expose themselves if they think they’ll be castigated for their ignorance of the philosophy, that they are curious about.
I think Craig did a fabulous job with Prager. I support him fully.
Very well stated and I applaud your reasoning.
Thank you, Pete! And thank you for all of your advice, wisdom, design work, and support. You are an oak, my friend. My hat is off to you.
Dear Carl, I agree with you. Craig did a great job with his interview. Thank you for this post. Thank Craig for his great job. I hope a lot of people on HBL read your post and watch Craig’s Fireside Chat with Prager.
To introduce my point, here is a quote from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:
“Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires—so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal’s lust, men who neither make sacrifices nor accept them.”
Considering the above statement, Craig was fluent, poised, and concise: i.e. excellent. Some minor issues, but overall a major win for all (meaning Prager, Biddle and Objectivism).
I heard about the smackdown of Craig on HBL. I didn’t see it because HB told me in 2016 that I live in an alternate universe. I decided that I would keep my money in my alternate universe because it would be useless to think that HB would further my values if we were universes apart. I have not watched the HBL smackdown because I assume I don’t have access.
My question is: How long will all sides of this question continue to assume that they are not only rational but fault-free and context-complete? When will they realize that the “easy out” for rationality is to declare your adversary a moron, a two-by-four, an emotional 2nd-hander, or an inhabitant of an alternate universe?
Do Objectists think that the whole world will someday be Objectivist? No. Do they think that they will make pronouncements and everyone will automatically agree? No. Then what do they think?
The only way to win over an adversary is to make him (or her) a friend for the value he (or she) offers as a friend. Craig seems to understand that. It’s the trader principle at work in non-monetary social relationships.
What is incomprehensible to me, as I enrolled in OAC, but left, is how many of them are hell-bent to turn adversaries and even friends into enemies. This policy must be reversed.
I offered to mediate. People laughed (from both sides). I wonder who is still laughing. Since the first schism in 1968, when Nathaniel Branden was mostly wrong, but partly right and when Ayn Rand was mostly right but partly wrong, no one has addressed the issue.
How do you reconcile Ayn Rand’s quote above with the endless in-fighting we have seen? The in-fighting has continued since 1968 and is escalating. It is no wonder the world thinks that Objectivism is a cult. My offer stands.
I see nothing wrong with engaging with intellectuals outside of Objectivism or Mr. Biddle’s recent engagements. I see great value in answering extemporaneous questions cordially and honestly (even if one might wish to revise their answers with additional time and thought). Making the perfect the enemy of the good is foolish. Instead, I argue that the impact of a certain sub-culture of what I call “Objectivist ankle-biting” is far more pernicious and off-putting.
Thanks, Nick. The ankle-biting has become comical of late. So it has that value…
I am in complete agreement with you, Carl. I didn’t find Ayn Rand until I was 42, an age where it was just too difficult for me to change my life’s work. Had I been exposed to her ideas as a teenager I could easily have pursued a career as an intellectual. To me, the more people who find out about her the better. I will also say that I do understand why some leading Objectivist intellectuals could be concerned about it. Objectivism will absolutely lose its impact if it is ever seen to be anything different from what it is, the first true philosophy ever presented in human history. Perhaps Craig could have done better in this interview, but I didn’t hear him say anything that contradicted my understanding of the philosophy. And I haven’t heard anything from the leading intellectuals claiming that either. Their only criticisms were about his presentation. Having followed Craig for years, I suspect he will use the best of those criticisms in an effort to improve his performance in the future. Regardless, three Huzzahs to Craig for bringing Ayn Rand’s life-saving ideas to a million plus eager young minds. Well done!
Thank you, Russell. I greatly appreciate the constructive criticism I’ve received from several people. (The tribalism and goal-post moving not so much.) And I greatly appreciate your moral support. The future is ours, my friend…
Thanks to you, Carl, and to Craig! What a breath of fresh air!
Thank you, Hannah! And the fresh air will continue, unabated. I appreciate your kind words and support. My very best to you and Doug.
I am following the discussion on HBL and have rewatched the Prager interview on God/Rand.
I think Craig did a great job as usual (without compromise, respectfully/civilly done) and undoubtedly reached MANY active minds.
Thank you, Sal—that means a lot. Here’s to reaching even more active minds in the months and years ahead. We’re just getting started. 🙂
I think the interview was fine and Prager is an excellent outreach platform. I am perplexed at Yaron Brook’s and other Objectivists anti Christianity fervour. Personally, I find it unphilosophical.
Hypocrisy abounds, I was more offended with ARI’S engagement with Eric Weinstein. He was intolerably patronising with such a high regard for his own intellect and such disdain for lesser mortals.