Posts tagged Philosophy

How Nathaniel Branden Changed My Life, and Impacted Us All

Nathaniel Branden and Judd Weiss

I’m not the only one who’s had some socially awkward teenage years. Mine were pretty depressing. I wore mostly black, I was hostile when I spoke back to everyone, and I had no friends. I don’t blame others, I was pretty uncomfortable to be around. I was a smart kid, but I was way behind everyone else. The most toxic part about it was how self righteous I was. Clearly being a loner meant I was much better than everyone else. This was obviously preferable to associating with all the mindless sheep. But I knew something was wrong because I was always sad. I was stuck in a hole. Discovering Nathaniel Branden’s books were like finding an outstretched hand guiding me out of a dark hole. When I discovered him I quickly read everything of his that I could find. I scoured used book stores and found powerful books of his that had long been out of print. There’s no question that I was transforming myself as I read his books. Everyone has potential, but too often too much of that potential is restrained and untapped. From an incompetent loner who was uncomfortable even socializing with people, I’m still stunned by how quickly I became a massive overachiever with an overwhelming abundance of incredible friends in my life. It seems strange now since I’m such a public person, but I used to be an extremely private person. I had to rip myself open with both hands, I had to fight against my inertia and change my terrible habits, I had to reach up and pull with everything I’ve got. Finally I was excited to become something more than a disgruntled loser. I saw a path out, and I took it. Nathaniel’s writing laid the foundation for me to create a powerful blueprint for my life that I could act on and achieve with. Which is why I’ll always be so deeply grateful to him. And why I often say that I was raised by Nathaniel Branden’s books more than by my own parents.

Nathaniel Branden Self Esteem Respect Kindness Generosity Quote16 years ago, when I was a young 18 year old, I would drive to any book signings for Nathaniel within driving distance, just for the chance to see him in person. I never really got a chance to talk to him back then, I was shuffled along in the line of his other fans. About 7 years ago I reconnected with Nathaniel at a regular local Objectivist salon hosted at the home of a mutual friend of ours in LA. Nathaniel was in his later years at this point. We eventually became friends. What that initially meant is that he would call me up when he had computer problems and I would try to fix it. When he eventually stopped driving, I started giving him rides around Los Angeles. His wife appreciated it since it would relieve some pressure off her busy calendar, and I appreciated the opportunity to talk with him. I held a few events for Nathaniel at my house to speak to a group of friends that I assembled. I later held large birthday parties for his 81st and 82nd birthdays. By the way, his 82nd Birthday Party here was the largest party I’ve ever thrown at my house, with about 400 well dressed high quality people literally stuffed like sardines into my living room (never ever again, never will I ever let my house get that packed again). Nathaniel Branden Judd Weiss like a grandson Facebook commetNathaniel would sometimes tell me fondly that I was like a grandson he never had. I never lost sight of the fact that Nathaniel was a hero to me. If I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self that “one day you are going to become personal friends with him , and you will even host Nathaniel Branden’s birthday at your house in Bel Air”, probably 18 year old Judd wouldn’t believe me. Because 18 year old Judd did not believe he was capable of that.

Nathaniel Branden 82nd Birthday at Judd Weiss House

Nathaniel Branden’s 82nd Birthday Party I threw for him at my house. The reaction as I introduced him.

Yesterday I was honored to speak at Nathaniel’s memorial in Los Angeles. It’s not easy for me to let go of him. No one in this world has had a bigger impact on my life. If Nathaniel Branden hadn’t been in my life, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have. I wouldn’t be who I’ve become.

Some people touch many lives, Nathaniel Branden profoundly changed many lives. Millions of lives. In fact, all of us have been affected by him.

Nathaniel Branden IntegrityIt’s very challenging to quickly articulate the enormity of the legend that is Nathaniel Branden. I hope I’ll do him justice here.

A world renowned author of over 20 profoundly impactful books   Continue Reading >>   

Judd Weiss interviewed by Jan Helfeld

While at the International Students For Liberty Conference in DC last weekend, I sat down for an interview with the famous Jan Helfeld, notorious for tripping up famous politicians and media figures with difficult ideological questions. He employs a type of Socratic questioning to get their fundamental principles, which always exposes their contradictions and humiliates them on camera for being inconsistent at best, or hypocritical and lacking integrity at worst. Press secretaries usually pull the plug and motion to abruptly end the interview. His major media figure guests are not expecting his line of questioning, most of the time they get violently hostile when they end the interview, and I’m amazed that Jan is still able to successfully get these interviews with major figures after over 2 decades of this.

So when Jan asked to interview me, I told him to do his worst, dial it up to 10, and find a chink in my armor. I think I was the first person he’s ever interviewed to come out unscathed! I don’t know what all the other interviewees are a complaining so much about. Next time he needs to ramp it up a bit and try harder! I guess my background in philosophy paid off. To be honest, after the fact I realize I could definitely answer the questions more succinctly and articulately, but considering that I was completely put on the spot and I had no talking points ready at all, I think I did ok.

Enjoy ;)

[Another Jan Helfeld interview with me, and more hilarious interviews with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and others after the break!]

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My First Experience at Freedom Fest 2011 (with Photos!)

Nick Gillespie and Judd WeissA Behind The Scenes Exposé of the Personalities behind the Liberty Movement

(There is A LOT here, so take your time. Each day of the conference easily warrants its own separate blog article, but I hate splitting these things up. Each person here is significant and warrants his or her own blog article, so this is actually concise. Consider this a crash course in many of the leading figures of the current liberty movement, with photos and links.)

Ayn Rand The FountainheadI’ve never been secretive about my thoughts and outlook. I’ve actively been a part of the pro-liberty movement since high school, when I first discovered Ayn Rand, the world’s most controversial philosopher. Before I got to college I read everything I could find that she ever wrote. My mind was racing then, her material got me thinking about everything in new ways. I started to train my mind to approach every situation by searching for the fundamentals. I tried to find the core of every issue, and I’d consider its philosophical implications. In time this in-depth philosophical background became so damn powerful for me. I could analyze and understand issues with more clarity. I began writing more confidently. I even began making bolder serious life and business decisions much more quickly. The world is more intelligible the better you understand its matrix.

Very few of my friends gave a shit.

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I’m So Relieved, The Atlas Shrugged Movie is Fantastic

Atlas Shrugged Movie Poster - Who Is John Galt

A couple nights ago, at a private screening for Atlas Shrugged Part 1, I took my seat, closed my eyes, dropped my head, and for the first time in my life, I said a prayer. “Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball.” A vision flashed in my mind of John Travolta, on the cover of a Battlefield Earth poster. Petrified, my fingers hardened into a grip around my arm rests. “No!! Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball…”

No doubt, the excitement in the room was mixed with fear. The producers of this film had the balls to make a motion picture out of one of the most thought provoking and controversial novels of all time. A Library of Congress reader’s poll ranked Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book of all time next to the Bible. Other prominent reader polls of Best Novels ever written have listed Atlas Shrugged as #1. It’s a 1000+ page classic epic packed with action, philosophy, adventure, politics, romance, mystery, and a whole lot of attitude. Back in the 1500s, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of a prominent Catholic church, sparking The Reformation. Ayn Rand nailed these 1000+ pages on the door of the world’s churches and state capital buildings, sparking what history might record as the beginning of the next renaissance. The next cultural movement to bring a focus on reality and reason and freedom and productivity back to the world.

FIRST TRAIN ACROSS NEW REARDEN METAL BRIDGE - Atlas Shrugged MovieThis novel isn’t about running a railroad. It’s about society crumbling. And what causes that. It is so ambitious and controversial because it dramatizes the different fundamental values of our culture, and how that plays out through people in a society in crisis. When times get tough, more is demanded and taken from the achievers and high earners. So they work harder, they try harder, but the chains pile on, until they strike. Yes, the business leaders strike, not the employees. The title references the Greek god Atlas, who strains to hold the weight of the world over his shoulders. The load gets heavier and he struggles through blood and sweat to keep the world up. Until he changes his mind, shrugs, and drops the world. Let it fall. Let the world burn. Let all the ungrateful leeches and apes have it to themselves and enjoy it. Atlas is done.
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