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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Things are looking up

Very good news in ARI's latest fundraising letter:
During the 2005-06 school year alone, we received requests for more than 340,000 copies of Anthem and The Fountainhead from educators throughout the United States and Canada. ... [W]e now anticipate that over the next five years, more than two and a half million high school students will be introduced to Ayn Rand's novels and ideas in the classroom. ... [O]ur estimates indicate that Ayn Rand is being taught in 17,000 classrooms nationwide.
At the time of her death in 1982, her novels were probably being taught in less than 100 classrooms. I'll hazard to guess there is no historical precedent for a new philosophy being disseminated with such acceleration. Bravo to ARI -- though, of course, what fundamentally makes this progress possible is the tremendous appeal of the novels. Ayn Rand's irrepressible genius is going to light up the world.

Update: It may seem odd to update a post like this, but I submitted the above after reading only the first page of ARI's fundraising letter. Even more amazing to me is what Yaron Brook had to say towards the end of the letter:
I am utterly convinced that, in a matter of a few short years, we will have reached the "tipping point" with regard to the firm entrenchment, and serious advancement, of Ayn Rand's ideas throughout the culture.

With more than a million young people reading Ayn Rand each year (and thousands of educators teaching the novel annually); with tens of thousands of students going further, and submitting essays for our annual contests; and with hundreds of college students enrolled in the OAC, the mission of the Ayn Rand Institute will be on a virtually unstoppable forward trajectory.

When that happens -- and it will, very soon -- the battle for the culture will have shifted decisively in our favor.
I've been receiving these letters for about 15 years, and I have never heard such an ecstatic expectation of achievement from ARI. These people are objective and intellectually responsible: they simply do not exagerrate. Usually the light at the end of the tunnel is assumed to be quite a ways off. But now ARI seems to be unofficially projecting that in less than 20 years (my translation of "a few short years") the effect of Objectivism upon American culture will be (a) significant and (b) unstoppably growing. And if you "do the math" on what it means when one million American teenagers are reading The Fountainhead and Anthem each year, I think it makes sense, and I've made similar predictions in the last few years, as have my Objectivist friends.

The coming event which may best mark the turning point will be when a top philosophy program accepts Objectivist ideas as a suitable topic for doctoral dissertations. That will indicate that the walls of Kantian anti-reason have been resolutely breeched in acadamia.


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