SATURDAY, March 17, 2012 7:00 PM Arrival Time

Setting the Stage for the Renaissance
Talk at FreeMinds 2009 by Emily Merrill

Jackie Hazelton

Merrill presents Ayn Rand’s view of history, what Rand viewed as the best of times and worst of times, i.e. The Middle Ages.  Merrill, whose speciality is the Middle Ages, takes us through the Middle Ages, starting with the fall of the Roman empire, explaining what set the stage for the Renaissance to happen.
Rough Timeline
476  Fall of The Roman Empire
476-1000  The Dark Ages
1000-1300 High Middle Ages
1300-1453 Late Middle Ages
1453-1650 Renaissance
1650-1800 Enlightenment
1700-1900 Industrial Revolution

In The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, The Left: Old and New, Rand wrote:
“The Renaissance was specifically the rebirth of reason, the liberation of man’s mind, the triumph of rationality over mysticism, a faltering, incomplete, but impassioned triumph that led to the birth of science, of individualism, of freedom.”

“The 19th century, with its political freedoms, science, industry, business, trade, all the necessary conditions of material progress, was the result and the lasting achievement of the intellectual power released by the Renaissance.”

“The Middle Ages were an era of mysticism, ruled by blind faith and blind
obedience to the dogma that faith is superior to reason.”

In Atlas Shrugged, in John Galt’s Speech:
“The supernatural doctrines of the Middle Ages, kept men huddling on the mud floors of their hovels, in terror that the devil might steal the soup they had worked eighteen hours to earn.”

“The infamous times you call the Dark Ages were an era of intelligence on strike when men of ability went underground and lived undiscovered, studying in secret and died, destroying the works of their mind when only a few of the bravest martyrs remained to keep the human race alive.”

Again from Rand:
“There is only one power that determines the course of history, just as it determines the course of every individual life, the power of man’s rational faculty, the power of ideas.

Emily Merrill has a BA in history from Smith College and an MA in medieval history from King’s College in London.  At the time of this talk, she was just starting a PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania.  Merrill is the daughter of Ronald E. Merrill who wrote The Ideas of Ayn Rand so she is familiar with Objectivism.

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