Im back from the Phoenix conference (schedule here) my first ISIL event since the glorious 1997 Rome conference. It was a good conference, and I enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones (as well as meeting folks in person that Id previously known only online, whichever category that falls under). Plus I got to do my left-libertarian shtick.
Flying in, I caught a glimpse of a canal flowing through the reddish desert and was irresistibly reminded of my days on Mars. (Oh wait, Im not supposed to talk about that ….)
The keynote event of the conference was an award for Nathaniel Branden, coinciding with the long-awaited release of his original NBI lectures in print form. Ill have more to say about Brandens session in a future post, but for now Ill just note that when I asked him about the claim in Jennifer Burns Rand bio that Leonard Peikoff was the originator of Rands thesis that Kant was the most evil force in history, Branden replied: I dont remember [when and how she formed that idea], but [Burns claim] sounds very implausible to me; Rand was a grand master at determining who were the good and evil people in history she didnt require any pipsqueak assistance.
Being in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area was a bit frustrating, since its one of my hometowns but the all-day schedule meant we never got out of the hotel to see anything. (I had to fly back before the Taliesin tour, since classes start this week.) Still, there werent any sessions I would want to have missed; and at least I could see Camelback and Papago from my hotel window. (We also had a good meal at the Golden Buddha better Chinese food than one can find in Auburn, anyway.)
Incidentally, I think its cool and edgy for Phoenixs Sky Harbor airport to feature, as a decoration, a plane crashing into the terminal.