Dear Friend of TOS,
I’m writing to ask for your help in fighting for a future of freedom and flourishing.
The Objective Standard works hard to advance Objectivism in the culture, and we do so in a unique and powerful way. I’d like to explain our approach, show you some results, and ask for your financial support.
Rather than taking a top-down approach and saying, in effect, “Ayn Rand’s philosophy is true and good, and here’s why you should study and embrace it . . . ,” TOS takes what we call a “value-up” approach. We meet people at their values and help them to grow intellectually from there.
Different people have different concerns and interests. Some are focused on education, others on the economy, others on foreign policy. Some are concerned with effective parenting, others with soul-fueling art, others with personal productivity. And some enjoy reading about history and great heroes of the past.
The Objective Standard produces articles on all of these subjects and many more. In each case, we say, in effect, “If this is of interest to you, we think you’ll benefit from looking at the issue from a new and deeply principled perspective . . . Here are some key ideas and a logical framework for thinking about the matter . . . Look how these principles make sense of the issue and simplify its complexities . . . Look how this approach enables you to see what’s essential and what’s not . . . Look how these ideas help you to better understand the issue and to more effectively pursue or protect your life-serving values.”
In short, TOS meets people at their values and appeals to their minds.
This value-up approach is powerful for several reasons, but primarily because it appeals exclusively to people’s self-interest and rationality, not to authority.
We don’t expect our readers to know anything about Objectivism or to have reverence for Ayn Rand. We expect them only to be active-minded and concerned with living and loving life. If they are, we can help them to think better, to live better, and, ultimately, to understand and embrace the system of ideas known as Objectivism.
That brings us to another vital aspect of TOS’s approach: the integrated nature of our website.
Whereas some outlets, such as The Federalist, HuffPost, and Forbes, occasionally publish an article from an Objectivist perspective, their websites offer little or nothing in the way of further integration or elucidation regarding the broader context of the ideas involved.
The Objective Standard, by contrast, offers a vast trove of articles from an Objectivist perspective. Our 12-year archive includes more than 2,000 articles, by more than 130 writers, spanning the entire spectrum of human concerns. And all of them are integrated by one philosophy.
When someone reads an article (or watches a video) on TOS’s website, he not only enjoys the value-up effect; he also finds himself in a veritable forest of similarly clear and principled articles on all manner of subjects. Wherever he turns, whatever he clicks, he finds further clarifications and additional integrations—through more practical applications of Objectivism.
What does this combination of TOS’s value-up approach and our fully integrated website mean for active-minded visitors?
Here are indications from readers at various stages of philosophic knowledge. Some are brand-new to the ideas, some are long-time Objectivists, and some are in between:
“TOS is an indispensable pillar of my development in Objectivism. Thank you!” —Andrew
“I’d like to personally thank you for all I’ve learned from you over the years and for the better grasp I have of many complicated issues. For that many, many thanks.” —Christine
“TOS is the only publication I am aware of that discusses important philosophical issues with such depth and clarity. I am really grateful for your work!” —Boris
“I am relatively new to the ideas of Objectivism, and the articles have helped to clarify both the theory behind the philosophy and the practical implications of its principles. Seeing how the principles apply to real-life issues and current events makes them much easier to understand and to explain to others.” —Kendall
“I found The Objective Standard in Barnes & Noble, and I can’t say enough about the value of this publication. It goes past the words I have, and I have a good lexicon.” —Lishka
“I am a 10th grade English teacher, and I’m writing to ask for permission to reproduce this article [“Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice”] for our first unit using the novelette, Anthem, by Ayn Rand. This article is awesome. Please allow me, and the other teachers in my cohort, to reproduce it for use in our first unit. Thank you in advance for your consideration.” —Tiandra
“TOS is simply edifying.” —Jatan
“TOS’s articles are clear as water, well structured, and very, very deep. You are giving us intellectual tools to fight the battle for freedom. Please know that you are helping readers all around the world.” —Eduardo
“The Objective Standard is my favorite organization in the world. Full Stop. The scope of its intellectual commentary is tremendous, and its precision, depth, rigor, layman accessibility, and selection of important and motivational topics are second to none. Its website organizes a huge archive of top-notch Objectivist commentary of various lengths on every topic imaginable (and some I couldn’t imagine until I stumbled across them). Its Facebook page brings this content to the surface at regular intervals featuring brilliant quotes and occasionally surfaces gems from the past that I’ve missed. I discovered TOS very early on in my Objectivist self-education program, and I hope all future Objectivists have that privilege as well. . . . The modern commentary and reframed fundamentals provided by TOS have been indispensable. I’ve spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours poring over past articles and blog posts, and I haven’t missed a new one since I started subscribing.” —Mark
“The weekly videos are excellent . . . You take the principles and really elucidate them to make them useful and functional on an everyday basis. This is what’s needed to bridge the gap for the millions of people that have read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, loved the books but never took it any further into their lives . . . If someone has decided to learn more about Objectivism, your work bridges the gap.” —James
“I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed watching your video podcasts. I’ve been around Objectivism for more than 25 years, and I’ve rarely seen such well-formed explanations of it. Your presentation is just right. Really, this is all first class and I look forward to the new ones. Thank you.” —Tom
“In my youth, my favorite courses were those in history. I lost the interest in high school due mostly to a push in what I believed was a canned attempt to promote ideas I did not agree with. TOS offers beautifully written historical articles and has rekindled my enthusiasm for history!” —Michael
“Your article ‘Capitalism and the Moral High Ground’ was a life-changing read for me. Thanks so much!” —Lok
“TOS continues to be the best-ever Objectivist periodical. Thank you for the good thinking, and for all the wonderful, useful, productive, enjoyable things that come as a result of it.” —Dan
“I hate to reach the end of every issue.” —Dwayne
We receive such feedback regularly.
TOS is helping people to understand Objectivism like no other organization on Earth. This is because we’re the only organization with a value-up approach and a fully-integrated catalog of crystal-clear articles from an Objectivist perspective.
But creating, publishing, and disseminating this content is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. It involves a great deal of thinking, writing, rewriting, and editing. It also involves constant maintenance of and upgrades to our website and our various social media platforms.
Of course, all of these requirements and expenses are standard in the publishing industry. And most intellectual publications struggle to cover their costs because subscription sales alone do not come close to paying their bills. This is why they engage regularly in fund-raising drives.
Even highly popular, heavily trafficked conservative outlets such as National Review, libertarian outlets such as Reason magazine, and leftist outlets such as Democracy Journal rely on donations from people who agree with their ideas and want to advance them.
Conservatives, libertarians, and leftists might have the wrong philosophy—but they know full well that ideas move the world. And they support the publications that advance their cause. (All of the above publications receive several million dollars in donations each year.)
In order for TOS to continue its work in advancing our cause, we need financial support from people like you, who agree with our ideas and want to promote them.
Some of our supporters can afford to donate only a little, some can afford more, and others can afford much more. But every dollar helps. And every donation is a trade, an investment, value for value.
Here’s how some of our donors put it:
“Nothing gives me more selfish pleasure than supporting my values—and The Objective Standard is one of my favorites.” —Frank
“The work you do is more important than ever, given the sad state of our culture. I am happy to help in any way I can.” —Genie
“It’s in my personal and selfish interest to support TOS even if I don’t expect Objectivism to win the war in my lifetime. I want to have the satisfaction that I lived the fight and fought well. TOS gives me the ammunition like no other source.” —Kapil
“I’m busy working on my retirement and not terribly active as a promoter of freedom these days; but fortunately, one of the things I can do from time to time is assist active organizations with their funding. I think of it as an investment in my future and the future of my children!” —Rick
“This donation comes incredibly short of matching the value I receive from TOS, but, alas, it is all I can give right now.” — Timothy
“Your endeavors are very easy to support. What could be better than supporting great efforts in favor of the values we share? —Dan
“I’ve been reading your work for years and have thoroughly appreciated it, but I decided it was finally time to get off my butt and put my money where my mouth is!” —Chris
“It is my pleasure to donate to TOS. As a long-time Objectivist, I’ve seen Objectivist magazines and brochures come and go. Yours, happily, is still very much alive—and its quality is of the highest rank. Although I know I will not live to see cultural change blossom fully in my lifetime, I am with my donations ‘fighting for the future’—the future of my children and grandchildren and their progeny.” —Bill
TOS’s total expenses for 2018 (excluding TOS-Con) will be about $290,000. This includes all operating expenses, all salaries (including mine), payments to writers, payments to audio readers, website hosting and maintenance, marketing, printing, shipping, and customer service. (Yes, TOS is that lean.) Our revenues will cover about 60 percent of that total, leaving a deficit of $116,000. This is what we need to make up by way of donations. Toward that end, our summer goal is to raise at least $80,000 by the end of August.
If you appreciate The Objective Standard, and if you value our work over and above the price of your subscription, I hope you’ll make a donation today, and help us continue reaching and moving minds.
The future is ours—if we fight for it. And no organization fights for it like TOS.
Please contribute as generously as you can now. In return, TOS will continue fighting for your values with everything at our disposal.
Craig Biddle, Editor