Show 271: Humanism’s Leading Light, Beth Lamont

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Beth Lamont joins us to discuss her late husband’s legacy, her own work as a humanist activist, and her impressions concerning the ethics of humanism.  Ms. Lamont is a feminist activist, humanist, and mother of eleven.  In the 1970s, she became a Board Member of the American Humanist Association through its Chapter Assembly.  Additionally, she has headed the Division of Humanist Extension, assuming this leadership role at the invitation of Edwin H. Wilson; created the Humanist Advocate Program which encouraged individuals to promote Humanism; created a television program called “Here & Now,” which has aired on Manhattan Cable since 1984; is a Humanist Chaplain having performed over 500 weddings; and has represented the American Humanist Association in its NGO capacity at the United Nations.

Beth has recently self-published the book, Lefties Are In Their Right Minds which includes a re-introduction and fresh commentary to Corliss Lamont’s 1939 text, You Might Like Socialism!

Dr. Corliss Lamont (1902-1995) was a 20th century American whose independent thinking challenged prevailing ideas in philosophy, economics, religion, patriotism, world peace and the exercise of our cherished civil liberties.  Lamont was born to Wall Street wealth, yet he championed the cause of the working class, and was derided as a “Socialist” and a “traitor to his class”.  His Humanist belief that humans have evolved without supernatural intervention and are responsible for their own survival on this planet caused traditionalists to label him a “godless atheist.”

Dr. Lamont’s patriotic insistence that the United States maintain a productive relationship with the Soviet Union in the face of prevailing rabid anti-communist hysteria earned him the accusation by Senator Joseph McCarthy of being “un-American”.

He contributed to the construction of the ‘Corliss Lamont Rare Book Reading Room’ at the ‘Rare Book and Manuscript Library’ at Columbia University and helped to create, through donations of letters, papers, and works of art, the Julian Huxley, John Masefield, George Santayana, and Rockwell Kent collections held there. Dr. Lamont also played a major role in the creation of the Spinoza Collection. The Corliss Lamont Papers reside in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University.  During his lifetime he was honored with many awards, including the Gandhi Peace Award in 1981.  He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Urban League.  New interest was sparked in the lifestance of Dr. Lamont because his Great Nephew, Ned Lamont, was the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate from the state of Connecticut in the 2006 election.

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