Thursday, 25 March 2021

Vale John Ridpath


I'm posting this video today of this landmark debate to mark the passing of John Ridpath, the professor of intellectual history who largely dominates it. [Bookamark it and come back to it again when you have time.] I know many New Zealanders have seen it, and enjoyed it -- and been persuaded by it to rethink many of their views -- so will join with me in mourning the passing of this articulate, passionate man with a deep well of well-integrated knowledge he was always eager (and very able) to share.

His lectures on his field of intellectual history were mind-expanding. I was lucky enough to enjoy one in person, to see his intellect up close: a series in London on "how Say's Law integrates all of economics" literally tied up the whole field of study with one bow -- and then integrated it with all of human endeavour. It was astounding.

Tie that to what became a near-annual tribute at Objectivist conferences to the founding of America -- the first nation of the Enlightenment -- at which he unfailingly came to tears when telling of the final victory at Yorktown, and you may understand how his broad intellect fired his passions: and that he understood that freedom, and its birth, to be so selfishly important. That he was Canadian, and not American, indicates simply that he knew it also to be universally important.

The Ayn Rand Institute has posted this brief tribute:

Dr. Ridpath was an emeritus associate professor of economics and intellectual history at York University in Toronto, Canada, and featured Rand’s ideas in his courses at the university. During his long career, he received numerous teaching awards and was much sought after throughout Europe and North America as an engaging and charismatic public speaker.
    Dr. Ridpath was outspoken in defense of reason, individualism and capitalism. His writing appeared in, among others, The Objectivist Forum, The Intellectual Activist and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology; he also contributed chapters to Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living” and Why Businessmen Need Philosophy.
    In a powerful 1984 debate, “Capitalism vs. Socialism: Which Is the Moral System?,” Dr. Ridpath joined Dr. Leonard Peikoff to present the moral case for capitalism against two democratic socialists, Gerald Caplan and Jill Vickers. With the permission of the copyright holder, ARI will soon publish the video of that enlightening must-watch debate.
    A topic of special interest to Dr. Ridpath was the impact of philosophic ideas on Western history, particularly America’s Founding era. His course on the philosophic origins of Marxism is available on the Ayn Rand University mobile app and on the ARI Campus website. Additional talks by Dr. Ridpath can be found here.
    The Institute plans to discuss in more depth the contributions Dr. Ridpath has made to the advancement of Ayn Rand’s ideas and the Objectivist movement.
His appeal too was truly universal. A Brazilian reader of Atlas Shrugged posted this brief clip of Ridpath a few years back, saying "this truly captured the way I felt reading Francisco Danconia."

It also truly captures the sense of life of this wonderful intellectual warrior for freedom, Vale, Mr Ridpath. Vale.

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