How best to reach the young.

Posted by brucejc04 7 years, 11 months ago to Education
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Like many of my Objectivist and libertarian friends I was introduced to Ayn Rand’s books and philosophy through reading Atlas Shrugged when I was in my early 20s. However, it seems to me that today’s young people are too restless and stuck to their social media to read a book as long as Atlas Shrugged let alone read anything. May I hear back from the Gulch gang as to what their recommendation is to entice the young people of today to look into the world of Ayn Rand and Objectivism?

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  • Posted by MelissaA 7 years, 11 months ago
    I am 17 years old. I read all of Rand's novels before I hit my senor year, and I have been shocked to see how ignorant people my age, and even my teachers are.
    Though many extensive conversations, and the films I helped introduce my best friend to correct political thinking, however I found that the movies didn't do a very good job of explaining to someone who hadn't read the book all of the important points.
    But basically I have found that most people my age simply don't care. But if you have someone who is there age who they feel they can trust sit down and explain it to them, like I did my best friend, they are more open to listening, and learning about new things.
    I don't know if that answer helps, but I thought you might want to hear someone in your target audience's point of view on the topic.
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    • Posted by $ minniepuck 7 years, 11 months ago
      Did any of your high school classes ever discuss the novel?
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      • Posted by MelissaA 7 years, 11 months ago
        I read it on my own time, but I had often discussed politics with my friends and teachers. I think it should be required reading ( and I HATE required reading so this is huge coming from me) my school disagrees unfortunately...
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        • Posted by $ minniepuck 7 years, 11 months ago
          The "good" teachers (according to the administration, not the students) are those who follow the bureaucratic cookie crumb. They are easy to train and don't cause trouble. Those types of folks, unfortunately, are the ones who last in a public education system. I suspect the teachers who have read Rand and have any inclination to teach her ideas have been beaten out of education. At some point, the teacher starts to fight the administration in order to teach how and what he seems fit. Yes, students are encouraged to think and question, but only to a certain degree. If they think and question too much, they eventually start to push the buttons of people who have become very accustomed to their arbitrary source of power. Making this kind of work required reading would likely destroy the authority they hold over their teachers and students--something I would definitely like to see!

          I'm glad you found teachers to discuss real ideas with, and I applaud you for reading Rand. I hope college will provide you with better discourse. Read her work again in a few years--I think you'll see the book in a different light; you'll fall in love with it even more.
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  • Posted by marshafamilaroenright 7 years, 10 months ago
    Two books seem to really catch the attention of a lot of young people: Anthem (it's such a short read) and The Virtue of Selfishness.

    Also, there are a lot of videos related to Rand online today - that might work more easily with the screen-obsessed generation. Recently I saw that Rand's interview with Johnny Carson is on YouTube - it's really good.

    And there are YouTube cartoon-movies illustrating some of Atlas Shrugged. Maybe some of those? Let me know if you have trouble finding any of this.
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  • Posted by $ minniepuck 7 years, 11 months ago
    What's the youngest audience you want to reach?
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    • Posted by 7 years, 11 months ago
      Those who have begun to think versus "feel".
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      • Posted by $ minniepuck 7 years, 10 months ago
        I really think you can do that in the upper elementary school grades by introducing them to basic ideas, like what free enterprise and communism are. Explain history and economic concepts in easy, relatable terms. The key is to make it personal. If they can understand how these things impact them personally in their ten-year-old bubble, then they'll be more likely to understand and become interested in learning more. I think there's an "AS" comic book that would be good for teens as an intro to the novel, and then later give them the real book.

        Anyway, my idea is to start at a very young age. Kids ARE capable of getting it. I've seen it. You don't have to start with the novel, but you can with the ideas that they need to understand in order to appreciate Rand's books when they are ready for it. Prep them with a good foundation and then when they pick up the novel, hopefully their world changes.
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 years, 11 months ago
    In the 1960's, Nathaniel Branden, a student and associate of Rand's taught a course titled Basic Principles of Objectivism. To answer the question "What is Objectivism" he wrote as follows:

    "a. that existence, reality, the external world is what it is, independent of man's consciousness, independent of anyone's knowledge, judgment, beliefs, hopes, wishes, or fears – that facts are facts, that A is A, that things are what they are;

    b. that reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provides by man's senses, is fully competent to know the facts of reality;

    c. that man's perception of the facts of reality must constitute the basis of his value-judgments, that as reason is his only guide to knowledge, so it is his only guide;

    d. that man is an end in himself, not a means to the end of others, he must live for his own sake with the achievement of his rational self-interest as the moral purpose of his life, neither sacrificing himself to others, nor sacrificing others to himself;

    e. that no one has the right to seek values from others by the initiation of physical force;

    f. that the politico-economic expression of these principles is laissez-capitalism, a system based on the inviolate supremacy of individual rights, in which the exclusive function of government is the protection of rights;

    g. that the absence of these principles from men's minds and actions is responsible for the present state of the world." (Any errors in transcription are mine)

    Hope this helps.
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  • Posted by ISank 7 years, 11 months ago
    Aloha Bruce,
    It's not easy. You could become a teacher and do your best to introduce ideas of Liberty so I did. Why retire, when you can make a difference. Then go the the AR foundation and get your favorite class set of AS or FH, then start a reading club and/or teach civics, economics or AP government.
    Then be the best at your job, and that's what I try in my quiet way.

    Aloha and have fun,
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  • Posted by SaltyDog 7 years, 11 months ago
    How best to reach the young?

    Sometimes I think the best way to reach them is with a long bat.

    The book Atlas Shrugged could be a bit of a trial to someone younger than say, their mid 20s. However, that's one of the reasons that I like the idea of the films. If an individual is halfway politically engaged, the story presented will strike a chord that resonates.
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    • Posted by $ winterwind 7 years, 11 months ago
      I read it when I was 16, and it changed my life.
      You've already lost "the young" if you make sweeping generalizations about them, especially about what they can and can't do. They hear 1 unthinking statement from you, they know you won't tell them anything worth listening to about anything.
      What the GAO does it hurt to hand it to people - all people - and let them take a crack at it? The worst that will happen is that they will still be where they are. The best? we have a world to win.
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