The following is an email I sent to Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard.
Hello Craig Biddle,
I received your renewal notice for The Objective Standard, and I plan to re-subscribe next month. But before I send my check, I want to lobby for the essays I would most like to read in this year’s issues, based on the list of “essays in progress” in the Fall 2007 edition.
First, I’d like to read B. John Bayer’s “New Atheists’ critique of religion.” I’ve read about the “new atheists” in mainstream publications and in Objectivist circles, including the Harry Binswanger List, and I’m eager to read a more thorough analysis of their ideas. With the rise of religion as a cultural and political force and our battle against it, Americans need to understand the fundamental distinctions between the new atheists (i.e., Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris) and other non-believers such as Ayn Rand and Objectivists. I expect Mr. Bayer’s essay would explore these important distinctions, as well as the new atheists’ recognition, or lack thereof, of Miss Rand and Objectivism.
I’d also like to see Alan Germani’s review of Bradley Thompson’s book “Anti-Slavery Political Writings” printed in TOS sometime soon. I was motivated to pick up this book because I have learned little about the American abolitionists, and I’m interested in discovering who they were and what fundamentally inspired their pro-freedom cause. (While reading Thompson’s introduction, I was surprise by the depth of statism exhibited by the pro-slavery side prior to the Civil War.) I particularly enjoy book reviews, and especially those on books I’m reading at the time, so Mr. Germani’s review is of particular interest to me.
Next, I’d like to read Lisa VanDamme’s essay on literature. I learned a lot from her previous contributions on education in TOS, and I’ve read some of the children’s novels she had referenced. In recent years, I’ve returned to reading more fiction, particularly classic novels, so I’m anticipating her essay devoted exclusively to literature—and hope to come away with another list of novels to read, along with a better knowledge of how to get the most out of them.
Lastly, I’m intrigued by Gena Gorlin’s look at the psychology of a genius such as Isaac Newton. As a fan of a philosophical genius, Ayn Rand, I’ve been fascinated reading about how a highly intelligent individual functions, both morally and psychologically, in the particular times they inhabit. I already know Miss Rand’s story, so I’d like to read more about how another genius, Newton, functioned in his field during an earlier era.
I hope you will consider my preferences for essays when you decide on the submissions you will publish in TOS in 2008.
Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.
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