Rebirth of Reason

War for Men's Minds

SOLO Conference 1.5 Testimonials
by Various Authors

Just flew back to Chicago after a wonderful weekend at SOLO NY. It was a great time, and a pleasure to meet several SOLOists face-to-face. It was a weekend of fun and camaraderie. I saw concrete giants scraping the heavens, and heard intellectual giants who are poised to stir this earth. And as an Objectivist, I have more hope than ever that, with this quality of person, we have intellects and spirits unmatched by the collectivist mob. Now if I could only remedy this problem I have with context-switching...

A heart-felt thanks to Joe, Elifaseth (according to the dinner reservations), and everyone else who contributed. I found my fellow SOLOists to be people with whom I was almost immediately at ease. With people such as these, benevolence is the easist virtue.

Scott DeSalvo


I can assure those who've sent their good wishes that the heroic sense of life lives in SOLO. I had a joyous, intellectually heady weekend.



Hello all!

This report will be brief, since: 1) I am pleasantly tired from a weekend of fun, friendship, and mental stimulation; and 2) I am overwhelmed by the number of SOLO emails in my box! Were you guys so envious of us at the conference that you soothed your feelings with your own mental intercourse?! It'll take me till next weekend to catch up!

Anyway, in short, the conference was excellent. I had a great time, and enjoyed meeting fellow SOLO posters, and even a few non-SOLO people (thanks to Chris inviting several friends who contributed to the fun and the stimulation immensely). The speakers were thought-provoking, the discussions were enlightening, and walking the streets of NY with these people was a blast. We were even privileged to have some New Yorkers among us who could act as our unofficial tourguides.

For me, these were some of the highlights:

  1. Hearing Glenn, our SOLO Benevolence Police, detail his defense of benevolence (and enjoying his NZ accent whenever he opened his mouth).

  2. Eating lunch in a very colorful restaurant, sipping brews and surrounded by hanging ornaments unlike any I've ever seen adorning a restaurant!

  3. Posing with fellow SOLOists by a huge bull in front of the Museum of Financial History. (Ask Scott about the first picture of the bull, as we were approaching the beast from the rear...!)

  4. Hearing Joe's idea of passive versus active responses to virtues.

  5. Having great discussions while riding in a subway, walking through the streets of NY, or celebrating our sense of life through fine cuisine or beverages.

I could keep on, as the weekend was wonderful, but I know you'll hear more details from other conferees! I hope to meet more of you at some future conference!



Coming from the point of view of somebody relatively new to Objectivism who had never been to an Objectivist conference before, I found SOLOC NY to be a wonderful experience. The speeches were intelligent, articulate and extremely relevant, as was the discourse sparked by the speeches.

I was extremely gratified to see how warmly I was welcomed by everybody. I had been turned off by Objectivism in the past due to experiences I had had with people online. Learning the differences between ARI vs. TOC vs. SOLO, helped me see that Objectivism isn't entirely populated with closed minded people that seek to verbally attack, rather than educate and share knowledge. I saw that I had allowed myself to be turned aside by a few rotten apples. I was forced to reevaluate my misconceptions... check my premises.

After the conference ended, I immediately went online and ordered 3 of Rand's books that I had borrowed from a friend years back. The conference has motivated me to reread these books to better my understanding and reinitiate my study of Objectivism.

More than anything, I was struck by how rejuvenating it is to spend a weekend with people who truly enjoy life, and don't feel the need to apologize for it. I had a great time at the conference and would love to participate in future conferences.

Many thanks to Joe and Elizabeth for making the conference happen.

Dante Skidmore


I went to the SOLO conference in NYC with high hopes and little expectations. After planning most of the event, I had thought little about what would happen once I was there. The event turned out to be even greater than we could have wished for! Those in attendance made the weekend a most memorable and enjoyable experience! We're still all talking about it. The speakers were very impressive and the discussions thought provoking. It was magnificent to hear people speak about life with such knowledge and passion. My favorite part of the weekend must have been laying in the grass in Central Park overlooking people enjoying the Sunday afternoon sun and talking about Objectivism and life for hours on end.

Elizabeth K. Kanabe


I was impressed by how quickly the SOLO NY conference was planned and how effectively it was carried out in so little time! I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to meet some of the people I have interacted with on the SOLO forum, and the weekend was a real burst of energy for me - once I found Chris Sciabarra's house to get it started. The other speakers were breathtakingly good, and I am honored that Joe asked me to speak among them. It was such a privilege.

Ashley Frazier


Given all the health problems I've had over the course of the last year, I was unable to travel to New Zealand for SOLO 1 - or to Manhattan for SOLO 1.5. That didn't stop my SOLO colleagues from seeking me out, hunting me down, and invading my household. By invitation only, of course.

On Friday, August 9, 2002, 20+ people converged on the Sciabarra residence to open the NYC SOLO event. Our conversation jumped from philosophy to pornography, the humor was as plentiful as the refreshments, pizza, and junk food, and a great time was had by all. I genuinely appreciated the opportunity to speak with so many like-minded individuals. As it happened, I purchased plastic cups for this high-priced affair... and several of the participants noticed that the word "SOLO" was stamped at the bottom of each cup. Alas, I can't claim that this was a custom-made party favor; SOLO happens to be a famous Urbana, Illinois-based plastic cup company.

Anyway, here's to the Spirit that is SOLO. Come back soon!

In friendship,

Chris Matthew Sciabarra


The SOLO conference in NYC was fantastic. I want to thank Elizabeth Kanabe for putting the whole thing together. On very short notice, she managed to put together a very professional and entertaining conference.

I also want to thank our wonderful speakers for a superb job. Scott DeSalvo, Ashley Frazier, and Glenn Lamont all prepared excellent speeches. It was a pleasure to share the stage with them.

I also want to thank Chris Sciabarra for inviting us all into his home. It was a great way to start the weekend.

The conference was filled with laughter and good times, and I met some wonderful people. It exceeded my expectations in every way. Even the steaks tasted perfect. The only question remaining is, when shall we do it again?

Joseph Rowlands


What an incredible weekend of inspiration, motivation and fun! And there could be no better setting than the capital of capitalism, New York City.

The highlight for me was not the location and the philosophy - both awesome in themselves - but finally meeting, in person, heroes whom I had previously only known through the facelessness of e-mail. From Dr. Chris, a wonderful host, who entertained us in his Brooklyn home with the local pizza pies and amusing and thought-provoking anecdotes on his Objectivist academic research to the lovely Ashley Frazier who embodied the term "sense of life" the next morning with her impassioned speech 'Defiance of the Ordinary,' which she opened with a poem she wrote herself. From Scott DeSalvo and Michael Cohen, two true gentlemen with razor sharp intellects and sharper wits to the vivacious and efficacious Elizabeth Kanabe, without whom, the whole weekend wouldn't have happened. And who could forget that real life John Galt, Joe Rowlands - a true "child of destiny," who really is the only person adding new ideas to the Objectivist philosophy. And, of course, the many, many more I met as strangers, but bid farewell as friends.

I'm never going to forget lying on the grass in Central Park, staring up at the skyscrapers and blue sky, listening to the discussion of important ideas around me. It doesn't get better than that. Herešs to SOLOC 2.5!

Glenn Lamont


Objectivism is very new to me. I read Atlas Shrugged at the beginning of this year and have now started The Fountainhead. I discovered SOLOHQ sometime around May, and read the articles and links daily. I was very excited when it was announced that there would be a SOLO conference here in New York City. I attended not knowing what to expect. What kind of people, what kind of speeches, activities, topics... I wondered whether I would understand everything. I suppose the answer is no, I did not understand everything. But that is what was so great about it for me. Because finally there is a reason to understand everything. I grew up in a religious atmosphere where it was discouraged to think too hard about anything, because "we cannot know the answers to everything in this life." It was so great to participate in this conference and listen to people speak who not only seek to know and integrate what is REAL, but who want to "move the world". Thank you to Ashley, Glenn, Scott and Joe for beautiful ideas, logic, analyses and admonitions so expertly prepared and presented.

Thanks to Chris Sciabarra for the great kickoff on Friday night and Elizabeth for her hard work in organizing everything. There was so much offered and I look forward to reading the speeches soon. It was a great time, and I left with new friends, new ideas and new hope. Especially the hope that we do this again soon!

John Simmons


I thought the four conference speakers at the inaugural SOLO USA were particularly good. This was especially so inasmuch as I didn't know what to expect, and no particular theme was announced for the conference. I also enjoyed the fancy digs -- at low cost, no less! -- at the New York Hilton on 42nd Street. The "brunch" type food for both the morning and afternoon sessions was quite good -- and much better than what I get at home!

I especially enjoyed the lengthy conversations between and after the sessions with Executive Director Joe Rowlands and speaker Glenn Lamont. They seem to have powerful minds and an understanding of Objectivism which was both sophisticated and subtle -- which I didn't expect. They also seemed to hold up pretty well to several strong challenges which I threw at them. Both were certainly steadfast in holding their ground, but they did so with a fair amount of open-mindedness and grace. This seems to be a trademark of SOLO and it's wonderful. (Unfortunately for both of these characters, I have a lot more intellectual firepower than I put on display, so they both better be ready for ~next~ year!)

Finally, the evening with Chris Sciabarra I thought was the highlight of the conference and a pure pleasure. It's a tribute to the quality of the SOLO organization that you guys were able to arrange this.

Andre Zantonavitch


Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article

Discuss this Article (1 message)