Atlas Society Summer Seminar July 2006
Every year I look forward to attending the summer seminar of The Atlas Society with its bracing mixture of intellectual stimulation and reunion of old & new friends. For people interested in reason, benevolence, and learning, it's a great annual experience not to be missed.
This year the summer seminar was held at Chapman University in Orange county south of Los Angeles and near John Wayne Airport. Below are photos of the beach at Santa Monica and a crazy, adult tree house on the beach to remind us that Southern California is famous for its life style. The photo of a section of the Berlin Wall captures Chapman University's respect for the advancement of freedom.
One of the people working to advance freedom in this country is Logan Darrow Clements. At the summer seminar in 2004, I enjoyed extended discussions with him on ideas to advance liberty, and we were teammates white water rafting. In 2005, Logan came to national attention when he focused public outrage over the abuse of private property in the Kelo decision with his brilliant proposal for a Lost Liberty Hotel on the property owned by Justice Souter. This was made-for-TV poetic justice. Logan still travels all over this country fighting continuing public seizures of private property. I admire his libertarian creativity and courage.
Another freedom fighter I was photographed with is Captain Russ Corwin. Russ was promoted from the ranks for his efforts fighting in Iraq, and sent to become a helicopter pilot. He now commands a helicopter troop. I admire his quiet demeanor, military bearing and focused thinking. One of his comments has been added to my favorite quotes section: There may not be a good option, but there is a best option.
One unique aspect of the summer seminar is to encourage participant sponsored sessions. This gives attendees the same access to the facilities as the faculty. This year, I gave a participant sponsored session on my trip to North Korea to over 60 people. My PowerPoint presentation, based on my web report, was very well received.
On break day, we visited the Reagan Presidential Library. He is buried on the grounds. See my web report.
There was an informal showing of a Bollywood movie from India, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. It had super production values, crisp editing, frequent costume changes, and had the audience laughing & crying.
This year Duncan Scott staged a reading of his play, Anthem, based on Ayn Rand's novel. Although the actors were reading their lines without staging, the power of the ideas created an impact of surprising emotional force demonstrating again the skill of Ayn Rand. Duncan is also the instigator of the Objectivist History Project.
One of the highlights of this seminar was the addition of a session on the planning for the movie for Atlas Shrugged, the epic masterpiece of Ayn Rand. It is the most famous novel not filmed.
There have been a number of attempts over the years to bring Atlas Shrugged to the silver screen. This is clearly the most promising. The plan to have a trilogy makes perfect sense. I was impressed with new producers, Howard & Karen Baldwin, a dynamic, complementary couple, who turned Ray into an academy award winner.
The Baldwins had a wonderful, constructive get-to-know-you session, and one could see the mutual respect of the audience and the Baldwins grow during the frank and open dialog.
Below are 3 photos from that session. The group celebrating the coming Atlas movie is, left to right: Barbara Branden, Ed Hudgins, John Aglialoro, David Kelley, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin and Robert Bidinotto.