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Renewed and Enlightened: A Parent’s Account of Her Daughter’s Transformation

We were delighted to read this 5-star review on greatnonprofits.org of RIFI’s The Great Connections Seminar from a TGC parent. The student, Jessica, was a shy, quiet girl with a lot of inner ambition and hidden creativity. Watching her blossom throughout the week was a joy, and hearing about her continued transformation from her mother is deeply gratifying. Jessica’s growth is characteristic of what we continue to hear about the transformational experience The Great Connections Seminar has in the lives of young people.

Five Stars

 

“My daughter attended the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute’s Great Connections Seminar in July, 2013. Her experience was life-altering. Our daughter was a shy, intelligent bookworm who couldn’t care less about politics, civilized debate, logic, or philosophy. Instead, she preferred “practical” knowledge that she could process by herself and put into action. The foundations of this “practical knowledge” was uninteresting to her—before the seminar. I knew she would benefit from reading Alexis de Tocqueville, Francis Bacon, Aristotle. I knew she would benefit from visiting art museums, businesses, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home. I knew she would benefit from the philosophical nature of the seminars and the Socratic-style classroom discussions. What I didn’t anticipate was a completely transformed child coming home—one who spoke with confidence in her opinions and an interest in the “big” questions and their connections to the practical world. In addition to my beautiful daughter emerging from her shell, she now has a firm appreciation for her personal liberties and accepts that her participation is necessary for her to retain her autonomy in society.

And my normally shy daughter made a group of friends in this one week (just seven days!) that she’ll have for a lifetime. As her mom, I couldn’t be more pleased. These kids were all high-achieving, responsible, and intellectually curious… just the kind of kids I love for my children to be around.

I should also note that we were given a scholarship to help my daughter attend. Initially, the cost for the seminar was a bit daunting, but the President (Marsha Enright) was eager to work with us to enable my daughter to attend. We are both still very appreciative that the scholarships were available.”

Jessica on her transformation from The Great Connections Seminar

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would…
The only change I would like to see is for the Great Connections Seminar to happen more than once per year. My daughter is already excited to return—but she has to wait a full year.”

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
“Life-changing.”

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
“Definitely.”

How well do you feel you were treated by this organization?
“Very well.”

Jessica on her transformation from The Great Connections Seminar

 

If you or  a student you know could benefit from a transformational experience like Jessica’s, please take a look and share The Great Connections Seminar! Scholarships and early registration rates are now available. It’s the opportunity to unleash the inner potential that traditional education leaves dormant. Take control of your education and your future now!

The Long Game of the New Left

“After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while–to the unobservant–that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.”

So wrote one professor in The Chronicle of Higher Education, quoted by Roger Kimball in The Wall Street Journal last Saturday from his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Have Corrupted Our Education.

If you’re wondering how we got to a place where college students throw a tantrum over Halloween costumes at Yale–or why the move towards “safe spaces” on campus is all but eliminating free speech–the decades-long take-over of Academia by the New Left is the reason.

But the corruption is much deeper than mere politics: it results from an entire philosophy of thought and life most sharply encapsulated in New Left philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s work.

The professor quoted gives us just one piece of evidence about the New Left’s long game to change the culture. There are plenty of others, such as radical terrorist Weatherman Bill Ayers‘ ascension to Distinguished Professor of Education, overseeing teacher credentialing at the National Education Association.

And Howard Zinn‘s shaping of student minds through his People’s History of the United States (“People’s” anything is New Left code for a collectivist-leftist slant). This book has sold over 2 million copies in 20+ years of use at high schools and colleges–and is the source of the “1 percent/99 percent” grievance ideology.

You see, philosophy has long-term consequences, especially if actively promoted. The New Left’s ideas and agenda were taught to the young in the ’50’s and 60’s in the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse. The students who absorbed and adopted his ideas tried to change the culture towards a radically collectivist/socialist agenda with their violent protests in the ’60’s and ’70’s. But it didn’t take in the U.S., with its deeply embedded individualist culture.

So they changed their strategy, and took over Academia. They knew that, in the long game, shaping the minds of the young from grade school to graduate school was the way to change the culture.

Their molding of young minds into fearful, ignorant, emotion-driven nightmares who can’t reason–who consider reason and objectivity something to be reviled as expressions of the “privileged” classes–is experiencing many victories today. The suppression of free speech, the physical intimidation of those who disagree, and the sacking of administrators and teachers who stand up to them are but a few of the consequences.

They’re similar tactics to the Brown Shirts in 1930’s Europe, and equally chilling.

And yet more evidence for why those who want reason, individualism, and freedom to flourish need to support independent education institutions such as The Great Connections Seminar and our efforts to create a new and independent college. Then, students will be given a real educational alternative, where they can learn the full range of ideas, how to reason well, and make up their own minds.

Register for our seminar now: Understanding Power and the Power of Reason

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults
Our theme: Reason and Power
Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015

Can’t make it? Join us for dinner and a talk by philosopher Tibor Machan on Saturday night (see more about him below).

Don’t miss out on our powerful weekend.  We’ll:

  • Delve deeply into “Types of Power” by Goldhammer and Shils to reveal the multiple variations of social power that influence our world.
  • Experience the psychological power of art through our examination of sculpture and architecture.
  • Bolster our understanding of the Constitution through our dialogue on Federalist 51, on the Separation of Powers.

And more! You will come away from our weekend, armed to understand and navigate social relationships, craft a better world for yourself through art, and fight against the erosion of our freedoms.

The weekend is coming up shortly – register soon! See all the detailed information below.

STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW!

Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – for your own satisfaction, pleasure, and increased personal power. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

With our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • Louis Sullivan, on the power of architecture.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room which was available until September 1st: call to check whether it is still available. Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into three days of intensive learning, interactive sessions, off-campus explorations, and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright
President

 

The Great Connections Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults

Join us in Chicago this Fall for…

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults
Our theme: Reason and Power

Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015

STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW!

Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

I hear it so often: People wistfully express regret for what they didn’t accomplish in their college years – the courses they should have attended, the books they should have read, the discussions they didn’t have. Some even guiltily wish they had spent more time in class instead of sleeping, drinking, or otherwise slacking off.

It’s never too late! Now you have a second chance. Armed with renewed motivation and seasoned with the experience of a lifetime, you have a new perspective that will make this “return to college” genuinely worthwhile and rewarding.

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

Moreover, with our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions.Our theme this fall will be Reason and Power. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • James Madison, on the political separation of powers.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and             examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We’ve arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room (available until September 1st, then market rate). Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. But if you register by August 25th, you can pay $425.

Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into three days of intensive learning, interactive sessions, off-campus explorations, and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright

President

 

Why our children don’t think there are moral facts

In this article on the New York Times Opinionator Blog, philosopher Justin McBrayer rightly laments the amorality rampant in the culture under the guise of cultural relativism.

“the overwhelming majority of college freshman in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture. ”

McBrayer lays the blame for this scourge on the public schools, and focuses in on the epistemological relativism pushed by Common Core. And he does a great job of unpacking the dire moral and political consequences.

But he eschews the idea that philosophy is responsible for this disaster. Yet students in many private schools are subjected to the same ideological program. Where does he think these teachers get their ideas? Does he think they come up with them on their own?

No – they learned them in college, where the drumbeat out of philosophy into anthropology, history, politics, economics, science – all the humanities – has been relativism for almost a century. The weighty cultural anthropologists starting with Franz Boas, and including Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, used their research as evidence for this philosophical point of view.

But Boas studied philosophy in Germany where you can find Marx arguing for deterministic relativism based on one’s economic class, and Nietzsche’s biological relativism allowing the Uber Mensch powers denied to other mortals. And before them, Herder and Hume pushed relativistic arguments. More deeply, however, Kant and others attacked reason’s power and objectivity. Without that as McBrayer mentions, how does one argue for moral objectivity?

Unfortunately, the Malificent of this story lurks squarely in the philosopher’s cave. This is why an education in philosophy and in reason’s power to know reality is crucial – from grade school to graduate school.

Hattip Andrew Humphries. #ResoundingBooks #CommonCore #moralrelativism #RIF_Institute

Events

THE GREAT CONNECTIONS SEMINAR for students 16 and older

Registration for the Great Connections Summer Seminar is open.

The week-long program includes Great Connections-style discussions of classic texts in philosophy, logic and reasoning, science and mathematics, economics, history, psychology, literature and other humanities. Students also study logic, introspection, artwork, architecture, meet accomplished professionals in a variety of fields from finance to physics, medicine to ballet. Also, we visit places such as factories, scientific laboratories, entrepreneurial warehouses/offices, Montessori schools, The Second City Comedy Club, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

To view a description of the program for 2017, click here.

Fees for the seminar cover tuition, entrance fees, room, and some board; in 2017, they are $2,000 for the week. However, there are discounts for early enrollment, and some scholarships available. All scholarship recipients are asked to contribute what they honestly can afford towards the program.

Below is the schedule from last year; for the complete schedule for 2017 go to this link.

Questions?