In Part 1 of this roundup, I discussed why I invited Alex Epstein, Lisa VanDamme, Isaac Morehouse, and Tim Chermak to speak at TOS-Con 2019. Today, I’ll discuss the “why” behind four more of our excellent speakers.

As its tagline suggests, TOS-Con is all about philosophy for freedom and flourishing. And the word “for” in this context means “in support of.” The purpose of the conference is to advance or fortify your understanding of the ideas that give rise to political liberty and personal happiness—so that you can put these ideas to work, and thrive.

Toward that end, I invite speakers who not only talk about such ideas but also get things done.

For instance, I invited Timothy Sandefur to speak at the conference because he is extremely productive—both professionally, as vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute (GI), and during his “off-work” hours, where his output amounts to a second career. In addition to defending Americans’ rights all day through GI, Timothy writes research-intensive and illuminating books—including, most recently, Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man and The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski: The Life and Ideas of a Popular Science Icon. He is also a contributing editor at The Objective Standard, where he writes on a wide range of subjects, from unsung political heroes, to intrepid explorers, to great poets, musicians, and painters, to the influence of ancient Greeks on the American founders.

Timothy’s breadth and depth of knowledge combined with his productive abundance make him a present-day renaissance man. And his TOS-Con presentation, “How to Lead an Enlightenment Life in an Anti-Enlightenment World,” will help you to expand your knowledge and productivity, and make your life richer and more rewarding.

I invited Bryan Larsen to speak because he is not only one of the best romantic realist painters in history, he is also extremely articulate about his approach to painting, why he chooses the themes and subjects he does, and how art can (and ideally should) reflect the heroic potential of the human spirit.

It is no coincidence that Bryan’s paintings adorn several covers of The Objective Standard along with many TOS articles online. His art—and his underlying ideas—represent man at his best: life as it might and ought to be.

In his TOS-Con presentation, “Optimism in the Visual Arts,” Bryan will discuss his work, his sources of inspiration, the difference between optimism and naiveté, and more. His presentation will include examples of artworks he discusses. Prepare for an intellectual and visual feast.

I invited Andrew Bernstein to speak because he is not only a deeply knowledgeable philosopher and the author of several books on Objectivism and capitalism; he also tracks cultural trends, is intimately familiar with classic and romantic literature, is a consummate movie buff, and is one of the most gregarious and benevolent people I’ve ever met. Andy’s TOS-Con talk, “The Trader Principle and the Harmony of Rational Values,” will spell out and concretize the ways in which positive human relationships are all about trading value for value—and why there are no conflicts of interest among rational, honest people.

He may be, as he often claims, “just a kid from Brooklyn.” But this “kid” will expand your mind with rational philosophy in vivid color.

I invited Mark Pellegrino to speak because, in addition to being a highly successful actor who is deeply knowledgeable about cinema, he understands and embraces rational philosophy and communicates his ideas with precision and clarity. This is an exceedingly rare set of skills. And it enables Mark to discuss movies and television shows from a unique perspective: one of hands-on experience and philosophic depth.

In his TOS-Con presentation, “Cinema for the Soul,” Mark will discuss the nature and characteristics of great cinema, why some films and shows affect us so deeply, and which ones he recommends.

This is a chance to engage with and learn from one of the few great actors whose intellect matches his acting ability. Mark’s presentation will deepen and expand your understanding of cinema—and elevate your enjoyment of this complex art for the rest of your life.

I’ll continue this survey of our speakers in Part 3. In the meantime, register for TOS-Con 2019: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing. There’s nothing else like it.

See you there!

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