North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › NTOS: Calling for your participation!

NTOS: Calling for your participation!

Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
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September 26, 2005

To all,

After just a few months, we have really grown. I estimate we already have about 200 people who have expressed interest in NTOS! We have started with some regular meetings typically having 15-20 people, sometimes more, and once we had about 50 people, but we should be able to do much better.

Everyone who joined NTOS or expressed interest in NTOS wants to meet other people interested in Ayn Rand and her philosophy, Objectivism. Everyone who comes to our meetings wishes more people would join us.

But some have lamented that more people aren't coming, so they don't come the next time. Wouldn't it be great if all those who have lamented this would show up for the same meeting?

Some lament that others don't bring their children, so they don't bring theirs the next time. We have families in our group. I personally know we have at least 14 children between the ages of about 3-10 who have attended our meetings. How about having all the children at the same meetings? With some advance notice, we are willing to organize for a babysitter so the parents can relax a bit while the kids play out of the way of the adults. How about meeting and organizing events especially for the children?

Others have lamented that some others are not serious enough, so they don't come the next time. A few have said "I can get mindless socialization anywhere." I challenge those who are content to compartmentalize their minds from their socialization to reconsider. And how about having all those who want deep, serious discussions show up for the same meetings? We could find each other and organize study groups, as is beginning to happen.

And over and over I have heard laments from those who do join us that another person of particular interest to him or her did not show up for the next meeting. You may be missed, and don't even know it!

To build a community, by definition, we need participants. We can each separately read about Objectivism in our homes. We can separately try to apply it to our lives and careers. But is that enough? Where can we socialize, for ourselves and our families, in an Objectivist context?

Julia and I hope you will join us and help us build our community. We have hosted 15 meetings, yet we have met only about half of you out there! And most of you who have joined us have met only a few of the others!

We've been enjoying and getting a lot out of our meetings, and we all could get so much more if more of us would participate.

We hope you will consider joining us for one of our next meetings. We hope you will consider how important having a local community could be for building Objectivism in each of our lives.

We know you can't make it all the time. But please join us when you can. And even if you can't make it for a particular meeting, making an RSVP shows continued interest in our group. Please take a moment to RSVP for our next event at http://aynrand.meetup...­

Your Organizer,
Todd


6/1/07
Edited to correct changed link.
-- Todd
Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 10
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Will do. I'm in for the long haul.
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 159
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February 27, 2006 -- Update


To all,

We have continued to build our fledgling society for people interested in Objectivism. We have many interesting people coming to our meetings. We have people and families from many walks of life, and we hope we can build a sense of our own community. As part of this, we are starting to build personal friendships among ourselves.

This is our "chosen family"!

To learn more about us, please visit our about page at: http://aynrand.meetup...­

In our first year, we hosted more than 20 social events! We have already exchanged over 2,000 unique e-mails! Our social events have prompted the formation of two local study groups. As a social hub, we are hoping to spawn more of such other groups having more particular interests or focus.

We are the second largest Objectivist group on Meetup.com (2nd only to New York), and by any standard we are the most active Objectivist group on Meetup.com. I don't know of any other Objectivst group in the world that is as large and as socially active as we are on such a regular basis.

But this should just be the beginning. We are confident there are hundreds, probably thousands, more people in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area who are interested in Objectivism but do not know that we are available as a social forum to meet each other. It will take time for them to find us.

It would help us build interest in our group, for our mutual benefit, if each of us participates in our social events when we can. Of all the things that we can do to help build a society, just participating in our social events is probably the most important. And it should be fun, too!

Meetup.com has wonderful tools for helping us communicate and organnize our group and our events.

If you have not already done so, please consider joining us as a "member" to help us communicate with you. And for all of us, please take a moment to log in and RSVP for each event. Even if you can't join us, just making your RSVP shows others your continued interest in our group!

You can always check out our events at: http://aynrand.meetup...­

One final thing: Please take a moment to make sure that e-mails from Meetup.com don't end up in your junk e-mail folder!

We hope to see you soon!

Your Organizer,
Todd


6/1/07
Edited to correct changed link.
-- Todd
Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 42
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Wow, its been a long time, guys.

Just to let you know, my schedule has finally changed to one where I'm *not* working 12 hours on the weekends. I have the weekends off, in fact. So I should be good from now on to head to the meetings.

Look forward to seeing you all again,

Santiago
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 536
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UPDATE -- June 1, 2007


To all,

To my knowledge NTOS is the largest and most active Objectivist social group anywhere in the world.

We have just reached 170 members! In just over two years, I estimate that about 250 members have signed up for NTOS (of which about 80 are no longer with us for various reasons). So far, we are adding about 100 members per year, and netting about 60 members per year! Think of what this means for the future if we can keep it up!

More than half of our members are "active" (i.e., have at least logged in within the last three months). Some of these members represent couples or families with children. Some of these members, couples, and families are quite active in our group and attend regularly. A typical event at "the Ranch" has 25 - 40 people, including families with children.

And we are expanding our events and beginning to be able to offer speakers, first Craig Biddle, then Andrew Bernstein, and next John Ridpath. More to come! For example, we will be adding a few kids events, we plan to go to the symphony, and more. Stay tuned!

For all our currently-scheduled events, please see our NTOS calendar: http://aynrand.meetup...­

As we continue to grow, NTOS will be able to offer more and more to its members. What this really means is that the members of NTOS will be able to offer more to each other. The more members we have, and the more our members invest in participation, the more immediately rewarding the participation can be for all of us, and the faster we will be able to build our society to offer more.

I believe the preliminary and most challenging organizational and management issues for NTOS have been resolved on correct principles, which are objectively stated on our About page at: http://aynrand.meetup...­ Especially important is the section regarding our Community Standards. If you have not reviewed these before, or not for a long time, I hope you will do so.

Crucial to our efforts to build NTOS is the participation of our members. Without the participation of our members, especially those who attend our events regularly, NTOS would not be able to grow as a society.

If you haven't visited with us before, we hope you will soon. And we understand you can't make it all the time. But please join us when you can.

Even if you can't make it for a particular event, just making an RSVP helps us plan and shows your continued interest in our group. http://aynrand.meetup...­

We hope to see you soon!

-- Your organizer,
Todd
A former member
Post #: 85
I didn't really know where to place this, so am just adding it here. It is a new way of promoting objectivism for one's local area.
--------------------------------------­-

You agree with Ayn Rand's philosophy and are looking for avenues to promote her ideas?

Why not teach a class to elementary or high school students?

Here is a near proven way for you to accomplish just that! Here is what I did and it is through an American parent Association; Junior Achievements. This American association began in Boston and has spread throughout the globe mentoring and introducing students to the "real world of work out there." I applied through Junior Achievements Canada (J.A.C.)

Volunteers simply fill out an application form with contact information, information on previous volunteer work and why one wishes to volunteer. Since I had taught elementary children about the safe use of hand tool at a Boy's and Girls club in my tewnties, I had a background. I also listed I was a volunteer with a local citizens group and with the Toronto Taxpayers Alliance.

I'm sure there was a check, and I was accepted. What surprised me was the immediacy in which I was allotted a school to teach an all day class.

I taught a class entitled, "Diversity in Action."

I took the training then taught the class with many of my own ideas and experiences to give as a clear picture as I could about the idea of diversity and its place in social views.

I reinforced individualism as well as groupism. I praised individual effort where I saw it. In other words, I contrasted diversity with individualism so the students would have a choice, which I see as critical.

One of my resolutions this year is to learn as much as I can about multiculturalism, including its core principles, its Federal, Provincial and municipal applications as well as how it is disseminated throughout the culture. I was surprised to learn diversity is now being taught to as low as grade two in Ontario.

Here is some of what I learned. The definition here are direct quotes from the diversity handbook and which students see in their workbooks:

Ethnicity: Someone's ethnicity or ethnic background is defined as where his or her ancestor's (family) came from. It does not mean where the person was born but where past generations were born. Ethnicity influences customs, language, celebration, foods, etc.

Culture: This includes a number of traits in a person's life like religion, ethnicity, and values.

Nationality: The place where a person is born or becomes a citizen.

The root problem here was the vagueness of the definition of ethnicity.

I thought the definition was not honest. The definition of ethnicity has been watered down to mean merely "background" supposedly understood as, "family background" with tradition implied and race blanked out of the definition.

"Background" referred here to a student learning for the first time would look to his family background and conclude this is what ethnicity means (while knowing ethnicity has something to do with his color or race). The evasion of obvious race and color in the JAC definition is why I claim the definition is not honest and which causes confusion in the students minds. Race in the above definition is unspoken, and is a part of ethnicity which a student would have to learn in the "street" but it is not part of this definition.

A student looking at another person with "difference" as an underlying concept would obviously see a color and racial difference. He is supposed to ignore this and pretend there is no physical difference and agree ethnicity is family background? The student cannot then evaluate the obvious difference if it is ignored.

The Class itself
I'll just mention a few topics I went over in class.

It was on this point I said skin color was a factor in ethnicity, but then brought back the Junior Achievement's program's statement of "not judging other peoples thoughts and ideas."

I explained of course it is not right to judge a person by skin color since skin color is something a person has no control over. One cannot ask to be a color or a race so this is simply a fact. This is one's background. Next class, I'd like to talk more on this point.

"But we do judge" I explained and gave an example of a person that you know who you think is good. One day that person steals a bike, maybe your bike." You cannot continue to think of that person as good any longer. You are judging that person now to be bad for stealing. So what are we judging? (I didn't wait for responses). I went on to explain judgement is on the actions of that person who chose to do bad. We judge that persons bad choices and actions. Skin color is not judged and is superficial. Skin color does not matter.

The students were a bit confused here because the (overhead) rules clearly stated during this class, "Do not judge each other.

"Everyone has different experiences and holds a different view.

This is an opportunity to share those views and to learn from each other, not to judge whether they are right or wrong."

I explained this means do not judge before all the facts are in. One must gather more facts and enough facts to come to a conclusion about a situation and others. One cannot judge by a first look at a person. One must know more facts in order to come to a proper judgment.

Volunteering in this way is an excellent way for Ayn Rand admirers to begin their own methods of changing the culture. It is pro-active, local and effective. Junior achievement has many other subjects you may like to try. I am thinking to do another class with a much greater degree of preparedness, and a much better grasp of how to contrast diversity from individualism.
The true aim of diversity is to have students indoctrinated with tribal collectivism, but in a diversity class, I had to choose my words in a way to neutralize it. A higher grade class would openly question the discrepancies.

It is very nervy wading in on this education territory. Words must be carefully stated and kept very positive in order to be successful. If you have any questions from me, please ask. I realize this is my first time wading in the enemies territory, but with this first foray, I hope it may pave the way towards more of the same. Students need to know a rational alternative exists.

I was in a strange situation. Here I am teaching a diversity class and working to undermine its principles. I didn't know how far to push it without directly saying diversity is bad for you and a corruption. I think I solved the problem by emphasizing the individual efforts of some and accepting diversity in a "de minimis" status. I could not outright say in a diversity class, diversity is wrong.

What a complex, simple war of words in such an environment.

In a country like Canada where multiculturalism is now part of this countries constitutional addition (Multicultural Act) what I did was revolutionary. It may be much easier there.


Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,141
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I reinforced individualism as well as groupism. ...
...
I was in a strange situation. Here I am teaching a diversity class and working to undermine its principles. I didn't know how far to push it without directly saying diversity is bad for you and a corruption. I think I solved the problem by emphasizing the individual efforts of some and accepting diversity in a "de minimis" status. I could not outright say in a diversity class, diversity is wrong.


Hello Ted,

Thank you for your post. I also sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm, which we need to help spread good ideas.

Unfortunately, I think there is a fundamental contradiction in the approach, which you identify, including in these quoted portions.

It cannot challenge diversity as being wrong , i.e., immoral, while accepting it, even in a "de minimis" status. In advocating diversity, even in a supposedly de minimis status, what is undermined is individualism (by which I believe you probably mean independence and individual rights). For the same reason, the approach would be at the expense of one's personal integrity.

In contrast, if a person were physically forced to some action, it may be appropriate to resist, if possible, to undermine the action.

I regret I cannot be more supportive of you in this particular instance; but I would be glad to discuss it with you in more detail.

OT



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