Atlas University

David Kelley and William R Thomas have put up a new set of online video lectures in Objectivism, called Atlas University. I’ve just watched the first one by David Kelley, on the subject of reason. For me it covers familiar ground, but it’s quite good. Kelley’s style is direct and simple, without the belligerent air that makes some other speakers for Objectivism turn people off. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s heard about Rand’s philosophy only by rumor and wants to learn more about it. Naturally, I can’t say yet how any of the lectures beyond the first are, but I’m optimistic.

Obligatory nitpick: Kelley mentions in passing that reason can also produce bad results, such as weapons of war and fascism. I understand him to mean that fascism is a set of conceptual ideas, not that it’s a rational philosophy, and that the most bizarre religion is a product of reason in this sense, but I wish he hadn’t chosen that example. The idea that fascism is the outcome of rational thought isn’t as popular as it used to be, but we still hear it. It’s actually the outcome of the idea that people should subordinate their individual thoughts to the mass and the leader.

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