In July, Center for Individualism created a Facebook study group centered on Ayn Rand’s 1936 novel, We the Living. The group analyzed the novel’s characters and their circumstances, its historical backdrop, and the lessons that can be drawn for 2020 Americans from 1920s Russia. The weekly series of articles that resulted from the group’s analysis is titled Reliving We the Living.
The blog posts included the impressions of our study group members, and related the experiences of the novel’s heroine, Kira Argounova, to today’s Gen Z and Millennials. This combination of features had never been attempted or achieved, and was wrapped with the superlative bow of Natalie Schroder’s Foreword to the eBook, which was released last month. To Reliving Ayn Rand’s We the Living we added an essay about Stalinist Russia’s great poet Anna Akhmatova and occupied Poland’s poet laureate Czeslaw Milosz.
There are several reasons why we chose this novel, but none is more important than the necessity of great art, and particularly great literature, for living in a truly civilized society. As the wonderful educator Lisa VanDamme explains in her essay Teaching Values in the Classroom,
Extensive knowledge of the consequences of history’s ideas and actions, and what they made possible; of the classics of literature and the characters and situations they describe; these are the raw material from which rational moral principles are drawn.
Yet a vicious assault on moral principles (not Puritan, but rational) continues to decivilize America, and it has only accelerated in the last twenty years. The evidence is stark – the New York Time’s 1619 Project in public schools, the anti-concepts “Wokism” and “Whiteness,” Modern Monetary Theory in universities, and the “peaceful protests” of the progressive left’s BLM and Antifa terror wings.
For those reasons, it is clear that the moral foundations of America must be retrieved from the dust bin of history, for us to shine bright lights on them, and to celebrate the Benevolent Universe they represent. To achieve that modest goal, we are forming a new Facebook study group, and its centerpiece will be America’s Revolutionary Mind by political science professor, C. Bradley Thompson. As he writes in his essay, What Exactly Was the Spirit of ’76?
Having made their case against despotism and for freedom, it should be clear why revolution was necessary for the Americans, why they would not compromise. They had to act because of who and what they were, and the moral law they chose to live by.
Our online forum is an open group on Facebook, and we will begin reading and analyzing this “Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It” on December 1st. The group is called Waking America’s Revolutionary Mind, and there are three simple questions to answer for automatic membership.
As Administrators, we will remove any member who is disrespectful to America’s founding principles or other members of the group. However, because it is an open group, membership will be visible, and not suitable for people lacking self-esteem. As John Adams also taught, “Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.”
Arbitrary power is what the progressive left, formerly known as Communists, represent. Yet the source of their power lies within us. They are weak; they rely on us to surrender ourselves as intellectual agents for our own self-determination. In Part II of Chapter 10 of We the Living, Timoshenko describes the progressive left’s character to Comrade Morozov,
Don’t let them know that yours is not an army of heroes, nor even of fiends, but of shriveled bookkeepers with a rupture that have learned to be arrogant. Don’t let them know that you are not to be shot, but to be disinfected.
The choice and power are yours, and to learn more, please consider being active in our Waking America’s Revolutionary Mind study group.