Dear Friend of TOS,
I’m writing to ask for your support in defense of your values.
As TOS wraps up its eighth year of fighting for a culture of reason and freedom, we are proud to reflect on our accomplishments—and eager to dwarf them in the months and years to come. Let me begin with an indication of what we have done.
In the first eight years of publishing our quarterly journal, The Objective Standard, we’ve produced and disseminated more than 330 in-depth articles and reviews from an Objectivist perspective. Our journal articles include such vital themes as:
- Ayn Rand: America’s comeback philosopher;
- Individualism vs. collectivism;
- The nature and need of a self-interested foreign policy;
- Why and how to end central banking;
- How to maximize enjoyment from art you love;
- The heroism of Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, John D. Rockefeller, James J. Hill, Andrew Carnegie, and other great thinkers and producers;
- The evil of government-run schools and the need to abolish them;
- The morality and practicality of a fully free market in education;
- The principles and methods of proper education;
- The creed of sacrifice vs. the Land of Liberty;
- Moral health care vs. “universal health care”;
- The mystical ethics of the “New Atheists”;
- Ayn Rand’s theory of rights;
- The impossibility of defending liberty while ignoring or denying its philosophic underpinnings;
- Capitalism and the moral high ground;
- The moral root of the financial crises;
- And much, much more.
Our book and film reviews have analyzed important works—some popular, some practically unknown—in a wide variety of fields. And our interviews with various scholars, artists, activists, and politicians have offered fascinating perspectives on important subjects.
In one form or another (via subscription or periodical index), we’ve gotten The Objective Standard into more than 800 college libraries, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, and many other top universities.
On TOS Blog, we’ve published more than 900 blog posts about important cultural and political issues. In 2013, we expanded our blog output dramatically, averaging 31 posts per month.
As for readership, in the past two years we’ve nearly tripled traffic to TOS’s website. In 2011, unique visitors averaged fewer than 18,000 per month; today they exceed 53,000 per month. And, importantly, when people visit our website, they find not just a disparate article from an Objectivist perspective, but a vast trove of articles, reviews, blog posts, and videos—all integrated by the fact that each upholds and applies Ayn Rand’s philosophy for living on earth.
In addition, in the past two years, TOS has seen a 1,000 percent increase in Facebook followers, from 3,000 in 2011 to more than 31,000 today. According to Facebook, these followers are predominantly eighteen to twenty-four years old, and the most popular city of residence is New York. This is the perfect demographic for reaching active minds, improving lives, and affecting cultural change.
Further, in the past two years, we’ve increased our newsstand distribution by 20 percent, from 1,500 per issue to 1,800 per issue—and we’ve done so while most magazines have suffered declines in distribution.
Finally, whereas two years ago TOS had virtually no YouTube presence, now our YouTube channel has 26 videos, which have been viewed more than 48,000 times, and we’re producing more videos every month.
There is more. But the foregoing is an indication of some of TOS’s accomplishments to date—which, again, we aim to surpass by orders of magnitude.
Toward that end, we are producing (among other things) an all-new TOS website, which is almost complete and will be rolled out in January 2014 (about six weeks later than initially anticipated). The new site will better integrate with social media, YouTube, and mobile devices; and it will be more visible to Web crawlers and search engine bots. It will also require much less maintenance than our current site does, enabling TOS staff and me to put substantially more time into writing, editing, lecturing, filming, and marketing. Once we’ve launched the new website, we will quickly triple our blog output to ninety posts per month, increase our video production to four per month, and significantly expand our social media participation and content dissemination efforts.
All of this will increase TOS’s output and visibility, expand our reach, and show more and more people the life-serving power of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.
As much change as we anticipate in the coming months, however, one thing will remain constant: our commitment to objectivity and clarity.
From the beginning, TOS’s mission has been to spread the ideas on which human life and civilized society depend—and to do so by meeting people at their values and showing them, in clear, highly concretized terms, how rational principles enable them to understand the world, pursue their goals, and protect their rights. Toward this end, the three most important elements in communication are, as Ayn Rand put it, “clarity, clarity, and clarity.”
Clarity is our focus in all that we do at TOS. Every article, review, blog post, and video we create is intended to clarify the subject at hand, to foster genuine understanding, and thereby to help people see the truth and value of rational principles. “Make clarity a fetish, an absolute, a dogma, a god,” Ayn Rand advised. We have done so.
Read any TOS article, review, or blog post. Watch any TOS video. What you will find is unmatched clarity. This is a consequence of enormous effort on the part of our thinkers, writers, and editors. It takes a lot of time and perseverance to achieve the clarity we achieve. But we know it is vital to reaching and changing minds, so we exert the effort, spend the time, and make it so.
The result? Here are a few unsolicited testimonials from our readers and viewers:
“I found The Objective Standard at Barnes & Noble, and I can’t say enough about the value of this publication. It goes past the words I have, and I have a good lexicon. Thank you!” —Lishka M.
“TOS is the only publication I am aware of that discusses important philosophical issues with such depth and clarity. I am really grateful for your work!” —Boris T.
“I have read many of the Objectivist publications over the years and although they all were of high quality, yours is clearly the best. Keep up the great work, and I will do whatever I can to spread the word about your fabulous publication.” —Mike G.
“The Objective Standard is a wonderful magazine, very approachable for the average person who is interested in a deeper understanding of Objectivist philosophy. The clarity of writing is superb.” —Vicki M.
“I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for your publication. I have found literally every article be a compelling read. I love the way the format is that of an academic publication, which keeps the focus squarely on the content. The content is rich and varied and weighty, but it is also readable by anyone who is intellectually curious, whether Objectivist or non-Objectivist. Bringing these elements together so well is a great accomplishment. I think your publication is helping to energize the whole Objectivist movement. More importantly, it is energizing me.” —David L.
“Thank you for creating the journal and for all the great articles. Ayn Rand was right, and if more people can come to understand her ideas, the world will be a much better place to live. I reference articles from the journal when trying to introduce her ideas to people I know and meet.” —Dave G.
“Thank you for everything that you all do at The Objective Standard. The video shorts TOS has posted to YouTube are excellent. Especially the ones where you answer questions from individuals. These have been very helpful to me, and I hope you continue to produce them.” —R. Lee
“I appreciate your relentless commitment to reason and excellence. I don’t know of an equivalent publication anywhere. Not only are the articles (subject matter and content) first rate, but the format and editing are outstanding as well. You have taken Objectivist publishing to the next level.” —Brent A.
We receive such feedback regularly. TOS is reaching, moving, and energizing minds. But to continue doing so, we need your help.
Like most intellectual media outlets—Reason, Commentary, National Review, The American Spectator, and the like—TOS’s sales revenues do not cover its expenses, so we must rely on additional support from people who value what we do and want us to continue.
Our annual expenses are $215,000, and our annual sales revenues are $174,000, rendering a deficit of $41,000. With the completion of our new website over the next few weeks, we will have additional expenses of $10,000, rendering a deficit of $51,000. To date in 2013, we have raised just over $30,000 in donations, so we need to raise $21,000 more by the end of the year.
If you value the work we do—if you see the importance of a multimedia outlet that consistently applies the principles of Objectivism with crystal clarity—please make a donation to help us continue our work and achieve our mission. With sufficient funding, we can make everything we’ve done to date look like a pittance. And, with sufficient funding, that is what we will do.
Donations of any amount are helpful, whether single contributions or recurring monthly contributions. In return for your investment, we promise to continue fighting for your values with everything we have. I hope we can count on your support.
Thank you for your consideration. Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for the holidays.
Craig Biddle, Editor
The Objective Standard