I wanted to let you all know that tonight I’ll be discussing the topic (and title of my forthcoming book) “History is dead. Long live history!” on the podcast radio show “Philosophy in Action.”
Immediately, many of you will no doubt be turned off the idea of listening to the show, since the show’s host Diana Hsieh is notorious for having stirred up various controversies in Objectivism. In my experience, “hell hath no fury” like an Objectivist hating an “objectivist” or “libertarian” or a “fan” of Ayn Rand.
For the record, I am myself a big “O” Objectivist. I define Objectivism as “the philosophy of Ayn Rand,” and I take what I call a “strict constructionist” view of Objectivism. I also hold that Ayn Rand is worthy of being grouped with Plato, Aristotle, and Immanuel Kant in the “big four” of the history of philosophy, and that within this group she is immeasurably the clearest and most rational thinker — and that includes Aristotle (“the Philosopher”). Ayn Rand’s philosophy proper is one of my greatest values.
Where Diana Hsieh stands on the various aspects of Objectivism, in her assessment of Leonard Peikoff or controversies surrounding him, or anything else for that matter, does not concern me.
If I had a chance to be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly, or especially John Stewart, I would take it. Piers Morgan I could not stomach. He is pure evil. But Christiane Amanpour, sure!
What I’m saying is this:
My mission is to promote historical literacy. I consider this mission to be wider than Objectivism. Much to my dismay, I have been learning that historical illiteracy is not only widespread in the Objectivist community, but accepted, and that history is typically viewed with disdain by many intellectuals.
I happen to be an Objectivist philosopher-historian. I do not think this is an aberration, however rare the breed is. I think it is a crucial, distinct philosophical category, and I’m proud to say that the only other practitioner of this art that I know of is: Leonard Peikoff.
I also happen to be an educator. I am fundamentally interested in one question: how to make a historically-minded culture. From that perspective, interacting with every single segment of the population is crucial. I’m not interested in “preaching to the choir,” so to speak. I’m interested in communicating to the world.
If you’d like to know why I think history is dead, what I mean by that, and why I think it is so important an issue that I have dedicated my life to it…then maybe you should tune in. It would not constitute a “sanction” of anything, other than your own quest for knowledge.