I just received this email below, which was sent to many media outlets as well as Paul Ryan (R - US Congress) and Ron Johnson (R - US Senator). My reply follows (and yes, I replied to all).
Hello media outlets, professors, organization leaders, politicians and other interested parties.
Attached is an informational press release concerning a movie showing that will presented at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Wednesday and Thursday, October 5th and 6th, 2010. The fore mentioned movie is "Iranium: The Movie." This showing is hosted by REA$ON: Objectivist Thought in Whitewater. Objectivism is the philosophy founded by Ayn Rand, author of he best-selling novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The philosophy of Objectivism promotes an ethical rational egoism rather than the more universally accepted theory of altruism. Please read the attached press release. Also attached is a poster and an informational handout.
I encourage teachers to handout the informational handout and I am more than welcome to join a class to introduce the movie and to print the poster to hang up in your office etc. I encourage Organizations to handout the informational handout and once again I am more than welcome to join a meeting to introduce the movie.
For more information on the event, contact me at BombergJG04@uww.edu. If you are interested in an official flyer also contact the previous email. For more information on Ayn Rand's Philosophy on Objectivism, visit www.aynrand.org.
President and Founder of Rea$on (Objectivist Thought in Whitewater)
I apologize for replying in this manner, but I am wondering why you find this movie appropriate for me (or you) to promote in my classes? I also wonder why I should take Rand's philosophy seriously.
FIRST POINT. Iranium was produced by the Clarion Fund in NYC, which has strong Zionist overtones. The film itself leaves out much of the history of US-Iran relations that is important for understanding the current state of affairs between the two countries. The film also ignores that many Iranian reformists under President Mohammad Khatami reached out to the US after 9/11. While Iranium does not say that the US should take military action against Iran so that we beat them to a hypothetical punch, it is the overwhelming feeling provoked by the end of the movie. My suggestion is that the movie Showdown with Iran is a much better film that is produced by PBS Frontline, contains a better historical sketch, and includes apt cautions about the dangers of military action. The aim is balance, especially with such an important, powder keg issue.
SECOND POINT. Rand's philosophy tells me that I should take a resolutely "selfish" view of the world. "Selfishness" for Rand does not mean crude hedonism (which makes me question why there is a dollar-sign in "Rea$on"). Rather she means rational egoism as you say. But that egoism radically neglects social responsibility in favor of individual survival. The capitalist is heralded over all else no matter who might suffer because of his/her efforts; the producer is all that matters and should be exalted above all else. Rand's philosophy smells of social darwinism, a philosophy we should not take seriously after we have learned about the philosophical, historical, social, and economic complexities surrounding the current state of our country. Rand's philosophy has major problems it cannot overcome.
So I ask, why should I promote this movie in particular to my class, and why should I promote your student organization in particular to my class?
Chris Calvert-Minor, Ph.D.
Philosophy & Religious Studies
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater