From the Editor, Winter 2019


Welcome to the Winter 2019 issue of The Objective Standard.

The issue has been published online, the ebook and audio versions will be posted by Monday, and the print edition will be mailed in the first week of December. You can subscribe or renew your subscription here. (Back issues can be purchased here.)

This issue marks the end of TOS’s fourteenth year of publication, and I want to thank you—our customers, subscribers, and donors—for your business and support, which has kept TOS going strong and constantly improving for these many years. My hat is off to all of you.

A couple of announcements before we get to the contents.

As you may know, during the past year I’ve served on the board of directors of Carl Barney’s Prometheus Foundation, the mission of which is to fund worthy intellectuals and projects that advance Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on this board, and it is with great excitement and pride that I have accepted the position of executive director of Prometheus Foundation. (I will continue as editor in chief of The Objective Standard, as well, splitting my time between these and other endeavors.)

I’ll say more about Prometheus Foundation and my vision for the organization in the coming weeks. For now, you can read about its mission and the grants and scholarships it offers at the Foundation’s website (which we’re in the process of replacing with a beautiful, user-friendly design). You can also read Carl Barney’s announcement about my position at his personal website, CarlBarney.com.

Thank you, Carl, and everyone on the board at Prometheus for entrusting me with this important work.

On to another exciting matter . . . I’m thrilled to announce that TOS-Con 2020: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing will be held at the Boston Marriott Newton from July 29 through August 1. Confirmed speakers so far include Lisa VanDamme, Isaac Morehouse, Timothy Sandefur, Rajshree Agarwal, David Crawford, Jason Crawford, Andrew Bernstein, and C. Bradley Thompson. For additional information and to register for the conference, visit TOS-Con.com, where the roster and program for 2020 will be posted and updated in the coming weeks. Be sure to take advantage of our steep, early-bird discounts. And let your friends know about the most life-enhancing conference of the year. It’ll be even better with them there.

Now, to the cover and contents of this action-packed issue:

A big thank-you to artist Jon Wos for the beautiful art that adorns the cover. Jon’s work has been featured on TOS’s website in the past (see “Jon Wos: Lighting the Darkness”), and we are delighted with the portrait he created for the cover at hand. Hopefully, this is the first of many TOS-Wos covers to come. (You can view more of Jon’s art at Cordair.com.)

In the cover article, “Leading an Enlightenment Life in an Anti-Enlightenment World,” Timothy Sandefur tells the stories of three incredible women—Deborah Feldman, Yeonmi Park, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali—who escaped from horrific abuse and oppression in pursuit of freedom, rational inquiry, and the kind of life these values make possible. Sandefur’s article is a breathtaking integration of history, philosophy, and the power of free will. Delving into, among others, the ideas of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin and Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand, this real-life drama portrays the essence of Enlightenment thinking and the differences between it and counter-Enlightenment ideologies.

Next, in “The Life and Poetry of John Keats,” Lisa VanDamme examines the short yet extraordinary life of one of the greatest English Romantic poets. VanDamme’s enthusiasm and passion are contagious, and her telling of this story is as poetic as the man and the material she discusses. This is a work of art about a life of art lived by a man whose story and poetry will enrich your life forever. Enjoy the experience. (Have tissues on hand.)

To accompany that essay and further fuel your soul, Lisa VanDamme and Sarah Biddle have compiled several “Selections from John Keats,” some but not all of which are referenced in VanDamme’s article. I think you’ll enjoy and revisit these treasures for years to come.

The shorts in this issue are as follows. (Note that one of these is new territory for TOS. You’ll know which when you read it. Let us know what you think!)

Book, movie, and video game reviews in this issue are:

That’s the lineup. I hope these articles, poems, and reviews fuel your soul this holiday season.

From all of us at TOS to you and all of your loved ones, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and may 2020 be your most prosperous year to date.

—Craig Biddle

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