The End of an Era...and a New Beginning
Monday, March 28, 2011
Dear members, donors, and supporters:
I'm writing to inform you of some organizational changes LOGIC is undergoing, as well as an exciting development.
The LOGIC you've come to know over the last seven years has come to an end. The current student leadership and I have a difference in vision for the organization, and so we've decided that it's best to formally part ways.
Although it is disappointing that UCLA will not have an Objectivist club in the near future, this end brings a new and exciting beginning: with everything that I learned about running a successful philosophy organization, I am expanding LOGIC into a broader activism project. To learn more, read on…
I started reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in 2002, the summer I turned 18. I didn't finish until almost a year later, toward the end of the 2002 - 2003 academic year at UCLA. Ayn Rand's ideas resonated with me quite strongly, and over the course of the 2003 - 2004 academic year, I devoured almost all of her fiction and non-fiction works. I tried to get in touch with the UCLA Objectivist Club, but they seemed only to exist on paper, and so I set out to start my own club where I could learn more about philosophy and surround myself with like-minded people.
So in Fall 2004, I registered L.O.G.I.C. with the school, which at the time, stood for "Liberty Objectivity Greed Individualism Capitalism". I still wasn't completely clear on Objectivist ideas back then, so I didn't call myself an Objectivist, and L.O.G.I.C. wasn't explicitly an Objectivist club. My (our) purpose was to figure out what's true in philosophy--and in practice, that meant reading and discussing Ayn Rand's ideas.
Throughout the years, LOGIC was always more to me than just a student club that I happened to start and get involved with. Not only did I realize how crucial it is to understand one's own philosophy, but I realized how important it was to make sure that one's philosophy was true. And I don't mean "true" in just some abstract intellectual-ivory-tower sense--I mean that it is based on and works in reality. I realized that understanding and following true philosophic principles is crucial to achieving my happiness--just as understanding and following true scientific principles is crucial to building cars, skyscrapers, cell phones, and space ships.
My passion for ideas, coupled with a healthy sense of perfectionism, resulted in me pouring my soul into L.O.G.I.C.--and so I always treated it like more than just a student club. Yes, my fellow officers and I were just students, but I wanted L.O.G.I.C. to be a real, professional philosophy organization, complete with business cards, brochures, donor and media packets, a well-designed website, high-quality signs and banners, etc. In early 2006 (after I had graduated from UCLA's undergraduate program and then started at UCLA's law school), we even registered as a bona fide 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, so that we could accept tax-deductible donations. 2006 is also the year that we officially established our relationship with the Ayn Rand Institute, which we kicked off with our highly-successful event, "Unveiling the Danish Cartoons: A Discussion of Free Speech and World Response". At that point, I had decided that I had learned enough about Objectivism to call myself an Objectivist, and I had begun regarding L.O.G.I.C. as an Objectivist club.
Our success and reputation continued to grow, and in Spring 2007, we hosted "Totalitarian Islam's Threat to the West", which was attended by over 500 people. The following academic year, we dropped the acronym (which I begun regarding as somewhat amateurish), and we moved forward as "LOGIC: The UCLA Objectivist Club". Since then, we've organized and hosted many events attended by several-hundred people, as well as "The Philosophic Foundations of Freedom: A Conference on the Principle of Individual Rights" in January 2010, which included nine speaking events, an activism seminar, and a panel with Alex Kozinski, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Over the years, the size of our general meetings grew, and it wasn't unusual to have over twenty people in attendance. Our mailing list now has over 1900 members, and I estimate that we've distributed over 6000 copies of Atlas Shrugged to UCLA students. And perhaps one of the most important achievements of the club is all the friendships that it fostered.
I graduated from UCLA Law in 2009, and since then, I've continued to run LOGIC--although as time went on, I decreased my day-to-day involvement, and transitioned more into an advisory role for the current student leadership, providing them with help and resources as needed.
In December 2010, however, I moved to California's Bay Area, some 350 miles away from UCLA, and that made it difficult for me to effectively oversee LOGIC's operations. Moreover, the current students and I began to diverge in our vision for the organization, which naturally caused some tension, especially because it is somewhat atypical for a founder who's graduated to continue being involved in a student club.
As a result, I have decided to formally close LOGIC's doors. The current students have decided that they will rebrand as a new student organization--one that they can define and run according to their own values. And I have decided to convert LOGIC qua legal entity into a new, broader activism organization.
Although it is sad that after almost seven years, LOGIC is coming to an end, I regard this end positively, and I'm optimistic about the future. I have learned a great deal, and my life has been immeasurably bettered for everything that I've done with LOGIC--I think that many who have been a part of the organization have had a similar experience. LOGIC's end does not undo all the good we've done in improving the culture and fighting for a brighter future.
That brings me to what LOGIC is transforming into. I have decided to use LOGIC's 501(c)(3) status to expand the organization's efforts to a broader level.
I'm rebranding LOGIC as Objectivist Nexus, an organization that will facilitate the activist efforts of the many individuals and other Objectivist organizations (campus clubs, community groups, etc.) that exist today.
I envision two main features:
The first is to serve as a one-stop shop for Objectivist activism. Our website will aggregate information about all the various types of activism efforts currently under way (publications, blog posts, podcasts, TV/radio spots, speaking events, conferences, etc.) and create a framework for integration with social media, making it easier for activists to market their activities, coordinate with one another, and so on. In this sense, our website will function as an Objectivist news network. We will also include resources that will help people pursue various types of activism, perhaps along the lines of the excellent work done by Keith and Pari Schacht with Oclubs.
The second main function, to be implemented at a later date, is to provide financial support for activism projects. Because Objectivist Nexus will have 501(c)(3) status, we will be able to accept tax-deductible donations, which we would then disperse in the form of grants that activists could apply for. Whereas LOGIC directly engaged in scholarship and outreach just at UCLA, Objectivist Nexus will promote scholarship and outreach everywhere.
There is a great deal of work to be done, not the least of which is formalizing our plans and recruiting volunteers. I'm confident that within half a century, our culture will be dominantly animated by Objectivist ideas, but that requires that we continue fighting for those ideas.
I hope that you will join me in this tremendous undertaking.
Thank you for your support over the years.
Executive Director, LOGIC