Here are some pointers to interesting or useful sites I’ve found; these include links to many other sites from straight Objectivism to information of general relevance or interest. These links are provided as a resource for rational people who can make up their own mind about the quality of the organisations and information concerned: inclusion here does not imply my personal support or sanction of those sites or of the further links from those sites.
The Ayn Rand Institute: The Ayn Rand Institute is the official “center for the advancement of Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of reason, egoism, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism.” Highly recommended.
The Ayn Rand Institute’s MediaLink site has a range of articles on current affairs from an Objectivist perspective. So if you are interested in the application of Objectivist philosophy to particular problems and issues, it is a good place to look.
The Intellectual Activist: Originally “a monthly magazine analysing current political, cultural and philosophic issues from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective”, TIA is now more focussed on TIA Daily, a daily commentary on the news as it happens, and topical political activism. TIA has an independent stance from the Ayn Rand Institute but I highly recommend it.
The Objective Standard, launched in 2006, is “is a quarterly journal of culture and politics based on the idea that for every human concern – from personal matters to foreign policy, from the sciences to the arts, from education to legislation – there are demonstrably objective standards by reference to which we can assess what is true or false, good or bad, right or wrong. The purpose of the journal is to analyze and evaluate ideas, trends, events, and policies accordingly.” Like The Intellectual Activist, I highly recommend TOS for the quality of its writing and thinking. See for example this introductory essay summarising the philosophy behind the site.
The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism is devoted to the moral defence and advancement of capitalism, using philosophic arguments for individualism and freedom by focusing on the contemporary political questions of the day, and providing the means for like-minded individuals to do the same. While it now seems relatively inactive it still retains useful information and arguments.
Prodos: Prodos Marinakis believes in philosophy for the active minded, and he certainly fits the bill himself. His site covers entertainment, arts, the Ayn Rand Club of Australia (ARCOZ), IRC, and philosophical activism for the advocation of individual rights, capitalism and rational values. Not to mention film study groups and his own successful radio show which has been running for years in Melbourne, Australia, and features interviews with Objectivist intellectuals and related topics.
The Forum for Ayn Rand Fans, by Betsy Speicher (of Cybernet fame), provides a mutually respectful forum for discussions between people on Objectivism and a range of topics of interest from ethics to art.
The Objectivism Reference Center provides resources for people seeking information about Ayn Rand and her ideas, including critics of Objectivism (as usual misguided, from what I’ve seen).
Dr Ellen Kenner‘s speciality is the rational basis of happiness, on which she has a popular call-in radio show. Her show and site cover many issues such as parenting, romance, friendship, career, family, obstacles to happiness and many more.
Dr Michael Hurd is another radio-show Objectivist psychologist and author whose website includes articles, essays and information on his publications, radio show etc. Features the “Daily Dose of Reason” consisting of pithy commentary on current affairs and psychological questions.
Letters to My Suicidal Daughter: a mother’s thoughts, correspondence and analysis of her teenage daughter’s attempted suicide. The article gives some philosophical analysis and insights into the problems of teenage suicide, dealing with “difficult” teenagers, and the importance of living in reality and valuing your own life.
Interested in alternatives to flavour-of-the-century socialism? Or are you a health professional who realises that government control of medicine is counter-productive and a violation of your and your patients’ rights? Americans for Free Choice in Medicine are dedicated to free-market alternatives to socialised medicine.
Capitalism Magazine is a free online web-zine devoted to Capitalism and the moral principles which make it possible.
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has brief discussions and extensive links to web sites and books on skeptical analyses of a wide variety of astronomical pseudo-science, from creationism to UFOs.
If you are interested in creationism/ID/intelligent design, Talk Origins has a remarkably thorough site addressing just about every creationist/ID claim. The brevity of most of the answers is balanced by references supplied for further investigation. If you need ammunition against creationists or want to evaluate their claims, this is a good starting (and often, stopping) place.
MIT Open Courseware is not given here as a philosophical resource, but as a learning resource: it has online courses on a large range of topics from aeronautics to writing. It describes itself as “a free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world. OCW supports MIT’s mission to advance knowledge and education, and serve the world in the 21st century. It is true to MIT’s values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.”
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Skeptics are not Objectivists and indeed, can be its enemies. However they share with Objectivists a concern for the truth and a generally rigorous opposition to pseudo-science and unjustified beliefs, and are a useful resource for that purpose.
Skeptic is the home of Skeptic magazine and the eSkeptic email newsletter, as well as hosting events and information of interest to skeptical thinkers.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary is “a collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions and dangerous delusions (and how to think critically about them).” It contained 443 entries when this link was inserted, covering a broad sweep from alien abductions to zombies. It is not restricted to the nonsensical, including entries on general terms of interest (such as “anomaly”) as well.
Sam’s Ideological Web Page on Human Freedom and the Laissez-Faire Republic. “This webpage is dedicated to the principles of individual human rights, private property, free markets and limited constitutional government”. It has numerous selected links to freedom-oriented sites including Objectivism, Libertarianism, free-market economics, and much more. He as also compiled a list of links to some of the key Anglo-American antecedents in the struggle of private rights & freedoms through constitutionally limited government, from Magna Carta to the U.S. Bill of Rights.
The Independent Institute has a wide-ranging program to study political reform. Their platform: “In order to fully understand the nature of public issues and possible solutions, the Institute’s program adheres to the highest standards of independent scholarly inquiry. The Institute’s program is pursued to rigorous standards without regard to any political or social biases.” This site has many parts, many publications, and many links to information and sites of interest to people interested in economic and political reform, from a scholarly rather than purely philosophical angle.
LibertyTree, a source of many books related to individual rights, politics and economics, have a wide-ranging Liberty Links page with links to other Web sites that also deal with the concepts of personal liberties, free markets, government reform, and limited government.
ART: American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART) is an organisation devoted to promoting beauty, meaning and excellence in all the arts – as opposed to the worship of the ugly, mindless and incompetent that characterises the modern art establishment. Its goal is to promote art as “a celebration of the world at its most beautiful and man and woman at their best.”
Check out Quent Cordair Fine Art if you want to buy some value-based art, “the finest in contemporary Romantic Realism”.
Art Renewal is dedicated to real art, with a firm and uncompromising stand against Modernism – and has been recommended as “a WONDERFUL web site to browse, with tons of high quality images! I registered as a dues paying member after two minutes.” You can custom print an incredible quality poster on demand from any one of the planned 50,000 images on their site. Your purchase will help keep this major cultural resource available to the world free of charge.
We also recommend AllPosters.com as another online source of posters of all kinds including art of all kinds
For those new to philosophy:
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Her masterpiece. Not a dry philosophy tome, but an exciting novel with science fiction elements. A long novel, but worth it: overall the best book I have ever read. If you want the ideas of Rand’s philosophies illustrated, dramatised and concretised, start here. Rand’s view of art was that it should show what men and life can and ought to be: and this novel is an excellent illustration of that view.
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. Her other major novel, focussing on the self-sufficient, self-motivated creators vs those who live through others. Well worth a read, but Atlas Shrugged is more centrally grounded in her philosophy. When I first read The Fountainhead, I thought its characters were rather weird, but the untouchably self-powered Howard Roark especially has grown on me with time.
Anthem, by Ayn Rand. A much shorter novel, very lyrical in style. A much easier read than Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, but you’ll get less philosophy out of it.
We the Living, by Ayn Rand. A gripping and passionate novel set in early Soviet Russia illustrating the difference between those who want to live life, and those who kill it. Sad but compelling.
For those who want more meat:
Philosophy: Who Needs It, by Ayn Rand. A collection of essays by Rand (and some others) that is a good sampler of her philosophy. This was the first Rand book I ever read, and I found it compelling reading. A real eye-opener, and highly recommended if you aren’t an Objectivist: like it or hate it, it will challenge your beliefs to the root.
On Ayn Rand by Allan Gotthelf is a short (100 pages), essentialised presentation of Objectivism, covering all its key elements. Part of a newly published series on major philosophers.
Beyond that, browse through the catalog of Ayn Rand Bookstore. I’d recommend any of Rand’s other non-fiction of course, but the other choices are too numerous to mention.
For those who really want to get into it:
Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff. An excellent summary of the philosophy from an academic viewpoint. This is a systematic treatment that starts from the beginning and develops things in their logical sequence, covering everything from metaphysics to aesthetics, from epistemology to sex. Good stuff.