I've been invited to run for office
Posted by dansail 3 years ago to Government
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Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. In the letter they declared success in having increased presence in elected office throughout our Commonwealth (increased from 30 seats to 70 seats). The letter then closed with a sentence that says "We need a Libertarian candidate to run for Pennsylvania House of Representatives in YOUR district, 43".
While I find the solicitation intriguing, I would quickly concede I'm no politically minded individual, being an engineer. This then prompted me to pose the question to this group: If you were asked to run, even for a local office, for the Libertarian Party, how much of a nudge would it take for you to take that step?
While I find the solicitation intriguing, I would quickly concede I'm no politically minded individual, being an engineer. This then prompted me to pose the question to this group: If you were asked to run, even for a local office, for the Libertarian Party, how much of a nudge would it take for you to take that step?
If you might win, then you have to consider if you are willing to take the job.
He told me I should run for our State assembly. My immediate response, "Dave...I don't want anything to do with those people in there." Truth told, I have met with my assembly rep a few times to get him to not vote in favor of the nazi regime on a couple laws. Made my point and got out.
Politics actually roils my stomach. If I got elected I wouldn't last more than a few months because I'd be a wrecking ball. I'd make Trump look like Mr. Rogers...
Leaving the positions to be won by default by collectivists on either side just allows the evil to continue to spread. Ron Paul may have not accomplished what he wanted, but he got to spread ideas and be a thorn in their side. Look at what Rand Paul has done - due to how the numbers fell - he was able to push a pull a bit on some of the issues since Trump has been in office that may have helped - and again gave him air time to spread ideas. To gain attention enough to publish his book "The Case Against Socialism". But, in the end, changing the political tide in office holders is a matter of changing the tide in society. I think Objectivism and those ideas are currently expanding. The more of those people who get into office - the bigger the impact they will have.
Leonard Peikoff said it's about education - and I believe it. The education system is the core issue as we are pumping out "indoctrinated in collectivism" students at an alarming rate. Change the education system and teach people and the tides will change. But with the defeatist attitudes here - even if the tide shifted - you'all are telling those people who have the right mindset to not go into office. It has to start somewhere.
Politics is difficult. I am close to a handful of politicians - and every election cycle you get people out here running for office that want to change x, y, z, and so on. The simple matter of fact is that much of what they want to change can't be done - there are regulatory issues, state issues, etc that makes it impossible to do what they want. Or they have no jurisdiction over the bodies/entities they want to control. Now this is at the County level - so their would be more restrictions - but that would still happen at the state and federal level as well. The committee positions you get will impact the policies you can effect. Constitutional and Supreme Court rulings are there - and so on. And if this is in regard to this November's election - you are VERY TIGHT on time! You would have to practically drop everything at this point and focus on nothing else. In all reality this would be a move you should have had in the works since the middle or early part of last year. Coming in this late will make it a whirlwind proposition. BUT - if the Libertarian Party is behind you and willing to help - that would definitely help overcome the short time frame you have left.
Much thinking to do on your part - but if you are a real non-collectivist and think you have a shot - why not?!? It's a good pay-check, you can use the position to further Objectivism much more than you likely can at the moment, and you can at least be a thorn in their side and may come across the occasion to really make a difference.
If someone wants to run for a political office for the purpose of winning, he had better know what he is in for, in both the campaign and holding office, and whether he can tolerate that kind of life, let alone substitute it for a productive living as a rational individual. It is sometimes possible to make a difference from the typical statists at a low enough level of governemnt, but it requires so many compromises that it winds up only trying to implement statism anyway in order to satisfy the voters. It undermines and is not a way to support Objectivism.
It is more feasible to engage in grass roots action on some specific issues where influencing policy is still possible, but that is not what the Libertarian Party does.
Ron and Rand Paul are unique people. They have the intestinal fortitude of Jefferson. Most don't understand what a cesspool politics is. It's the lowest of the low in there. Many an Objectivist would opt out, choosing to spend their time away from it. (me, for example)
Notice in my first comment - I brought up what Leonard Peikoff said about education. Where did I say he was pushing people to run in elections for any party or that campaigns were the choice for Objectivist communication? I didn't. I know what Peikoff said about it. I and my wife are very seriously considering starting a private school based on the principles of Objectivism, Objectivists epistemology, and using much of what we have already thought for years about what and how students should be taught - that Peikoff has also stated - confirming out ideas and approach. And we are considering this route as we have decided that the education system is where things really need to begin - as Peikoff also states. This point was an aside to running for office. AND, as you surely would agree - we cannot go and force voting adults to got back though K-12 to be re-educated properly - so do it the best you can by example, applying Objectivism to real topics confronting the voters, and clearly explaining it from the Objectivist perspective. Adults can learn too. Adults can learn very well when things that matter to them can be given a deeper understanding with a proper philosophical basis in the explanation. Practically no politician out there does this. It's slogans and talking points - but could be much more. That's all I'm saying in this regard. I personally think it is a mistake of the Ayn Rand Institute and other pro Objectivist operations to focus ALMOST solely on the young and ignore the adults. For example, I am looking at trying to start this private school to help promote rational thinking and to give an Objectivist education - while also including Objectivism as a topic of the education as well - following very closely to what Peikoff has said - but when these Objectivist organizations see I'm not a 20 something - the doors shut. At least so far. And I get that the kids are of the utmost importance - but the kids are not the ones starting schools or setting policy either. We need Objectivist education in mass - and it won't happen without Objectivists helping each other and supporting each other in doing that.
So tell me, if @dansail wins and is in office - that would not give @dansail an advantage in drawing crowds for grass roots meetings and events where Objectivism could be the topic via applying Objectivism in discussing issues with the voters to get them thinking about things from an Objectivist perspective as well? Unless @dansail in already very prominent - this would give @dansail a much better position to do these kind of grass roots events with many more people willing to attend.
Our government is a Republic - not a democracy. If @dansail wins office - it does not mean that every whim of the voters is what @dansail needs to vote for. The point of representative government is to allow them to make the better decision when they know better than the public at large - otherwise we simply have a democracy with democratic mob rule via voiceless representatives. Now, might @dansail get booted from office in the next election cycle? Possibly - it depends on how much time @dansail spends with his constituents educating them about why particular issues should pass or fail - again with Objectivist principles being espoused, promoted, and explained.
The Libertarian Party is full of confused people that are frustrated with some issue of the Republicans or Democrats - but really still align with those parties - including their collectivist and altruistic flaws. And I understand that the positions of the Libertarian Party do not fully align with Objectivism - but if it can get Objectivists elected - so be it. It's not like Objectivists are going to be elected by the other 2 parties.
They appear to be doing very well in California. WV regs are very open to private schools - but the economy, volume of people interested per area (especially where we are), and doubly the number of them that could afford the tuition is a very limiting factor here - thus why we are looking at other better options.
And, just to add. If we do this - the longer term interest would be in franchising and doing our absolute best to spread as many of these schools across the country as possible. Without large numbers, it would be ineffective. Think Montessori. It may have taken a long time - but it is very popular and spread well. Rand, Peikoff, everyone, knows this is a long game.
--And, of course, you can't very well start by teaching explicit philosophy to children, but should start my teaching them the rational method of thought. but oh, how much better you could do it than is being done by public schools nowadays!---(According to reports, that is; I don't generally visit in any school classrooms.)
A few years ago my wife left the regular public school to teach at a Juvenile Detention Center where the focus was on trying to really rahab the best students they could find in the other detention centers is the state - and I think even surrounding states. But that has now went to the wayside and the priority is filling beds - so now they have murderers, rapists, violent, and a group that is in the process of being detoxed. But for years - and these are high school kids mind you - in math she frequently has to literally revert to 2nd grade level math of bring them up from there as far as she can before they leave the facility. Similar issues with reading levels. And she had to fight with admin for years to stop trying to give them credit for normal level high school math classes like algebra 1 & 2, geometry, trig and analytic, and such when they could barely do 3rd or 4th grade level math. She has finally gotten that mostly stopped and they are getting credit for math classes that represent what they are actually capable of. And so on. It's it very frustrating - she deals with it directly - but I keep very involved and have her to talk with me about everything so she doesn't bottle it up.
To see the end result is probably not going to happen in our lifetime - but if we could at least help start the process that get's us there that would be awesome - and we do have our own kids that will hopefully be the beneficiaries of it as well.
very logical in the way he explained things; I asked him once why he didn't teach elementary school, and he said he had before.( I thought that if I had had him in the 2nd grade, instead of that teacher I did have, I might have done better in arithmetic through the years.)
I am going to go for orientation in the READ Center (a local volunteer group) to teach illiterates.Not out of altruism, but I am hoping that if I get some kind of credential out of it, I may be able to free-lance as a tutor teaching people's kids phonics. I know very well how to do it; there is, or was, a grocery store run by Korean immigrants, where I used to hang around and teach their son and daughter phonics, mainly for my own pleasure, and to help them beat the public-school system. (In my own schooling, it just was not done; I did all right, because my mother--a high-school dropout--had taught phonics to me already.) But I can't use the parents as a reference, because they moved away years ago; I managed to get in touch with the father once, and then they moved again, or something.
I don't know just how this will work out; the illiterates to be taught are, I believe, adults, and many of them may be prison inmates. But I hope it will work out.
Some principles of Objectivism can be ultimately explained and many more applied in teaching children, but the technical philosophy can't be presented in such detail and compared with other philosophies that are not yet understood by the students. It turns into indoctrination with floating abstractions.
You would also have a harder time finding parents who would want to send their children to such a school that comes packaged with what they see as a kind of new 'catechism' they don't even understand themselves.
There is more than enough for you to do in presenting a rational education emphasizing independent thought and understanding (as Leonard Peikoff described).
So again - as I said - we would be following very closely with what Peikoff has suggested - but my life experiences and those of my wife with decades of teaching and our own children - and other observations and research - tell me that high expectations and given the proper means can take kids to the next level. I am a thinker and a doer and won't limit myself or my expectations because others don't think I can. My experiences tell me otherwise.
Nor does it make any sense to me that they be taught according to a philosophy that we for some reason need to hide from them. Indoctrination? I think not. If they have been properly educated in the lower grades to learn how to learn, to be rational thinkers, and the subjects are presented objectively and even tied to why they have been taught the way they have leading up to that point - this is a further example of how to show them the larger integrated picture of how it all ties together.
I disagree that most people don't need an understanding of the technical aspects of Objectivism - even epistemology. It is to their advantage. When parents have kids - they have a lot to do with educating their kids - would it not be better ff they understood how people learn so as to consider that when teaching their children verses just doing whatever comes to them? Or to have a solid foundation in a study of philosophy to be able to help pass a rational, thinking, "learning to learn" structure on to their kids vs doing it arbitrarily? Not to mention the fact that I don't believe most people will consistently act objectively without understanding a structured philosophy of why they should. I have been lucky in that I have developed my own "philosophy" that lines up almost perfectly with Objectivism - without ever being taught Objectivism. But I think I am also rare. It was SO awesome when I found out about Ayn Rand and Objectivism to have much better confirmation of my philosophy and to take it to the much deeper level and highly clarified level that Rand did via Objectivism. And my philosophy was self created on my part. My family were left leaning, my schooling was left leaning, my college experiences were left leaning. Then my after college experiences turned more to right leaning - but I was atheist - so I had issues with them too - including areas where we didn't line up simply because their religious views took them in a direction that my rational atheist view did not - such as selfishness. I have always made the argument that it made no sense that me sacrificing to others for their needs and them in turn doing the same - was good, but taking care of our own interests and needs was bad. But I have for as long as I can remember - thought logically. But, I see most atheists of today being sucked into collectivism because they are not being taught to think rationally and are indoctrinated into collectivism and are anti-business and chose not to go into 'evil' business to learn otherwise. And even many of them that do, still carry that collectivist and altruistic "philosophy" and are guilty for being in business and still put it down.
I personally think that people in business who are tired of being thrown under the bus by the left and the right, who may not be particularly religious (or not at all) would be happy to send their kids to a school of this nature. To give their kids a better fighting chance by being rational thinkers that are taught how to learn and to be objective and to have a philosophical system on which to base it and their morals on - verses the public schools - again, I think it a no brainer. If I had the means to put my kids in a school like that - even when in my mid 20's with our kids - I would have jumped on it. I think. Again, my own life experiences well after that have changed my views - but even then I was atheist, pro-business, anti-altruism, and dissatisfied with the public school education I received.
And, at some point - if Objectivism is to succeed in the mainstream - people have to be confronted with the idea that the schools will not be upholding their religious and/or collectivist beliefs and actively teaching against them. If we hide the Objectivist basis of what we are teaching the kids - we are doing them a disservice. If the parents don't like that we would be teaching them them fundamentals of Objectivism - in a rational thinking approach while also considering it in relation to other philosophies then so be it. Don't put your kids in our schools. And, if we don't arm the kids with a good understanding of what Objectivism is - then they will encounter the typical anti-Objectivists in college and in society that are so prominent without the ability to judge what they are hearing based on their know knowledge and experience of the subject at hand - or lack thereof. Now, do I think we are going to turn these high school students into PhD Philosophers - no, of course not. But to have a strong working understanding that they can take with them in life and maybe because of the exposure - they may be inclined or interested to go into philosophy as a profession - great. The idea that not teaching philosophy to people, whether young, or old, due to their lack of experiences in life causing floating abstractions is not a reason to not teach them. I think you will find only a very few people that that have such diverse backgrounds that when teaching them Objectivism - that they would have no areas that could open them to the possibility of them having these floating abstractions. They have to be taught. Given examples. Show experience by others with the hope that they can take enough away from that to make the difference. Or, what - stop teaching them Objectivism until they go get personal experiences that could remedy one floating abstraction to then just move on to the next one? Experiences are very important in my opinion. So many times you can explain, bring up every point and example in the world - but until they have the experience themselves you just cannot convince them. This is very common place for students all the way through and a while after college - well for that matter all through life. So should the Ayn Rand Institute and others like myself give up on trying to teach anyone Objectivism until they are 30, 35, 40, or later until they have have the proper life experiences that their number of floating abstractions meet some arbitrary level? I don't think so.
Everyone, as also stated by Rand, has a philosophy - I think that allowing students - just by pure rational thinking alone - to simply derive their own philosophy without an education in philosophy and guidance is a poor approach. It's like teaching someone to swim by just throwing them in the water without any practical teaching of how to swim. They may learn to quickly dog paddle if they don't drown - or they could be taught properly and how to do it well. I don't think something as important as one's philosophy should be treated differently.
That's also a big part of the issue. It could be very expensive to start. I'm looking at a lot of things to try to overcome this. I have some good ideas - but implementing them will not be a simple task.
I am also inspired by Lisa VanDamme - she started off with herself and one other person. She now has a very successful school. But that route took a long time too. So I'd rather go a faster route with more people to start - or at least to help with developing curriculum that a smaller number of teachers could use. We'll see. It's a complicated task no doubt and we have to do it right - by the kids foremost. We don't want to experiment and mess up. That's not fair or right. My wife is a teacher with nearly 30 years of teaching experience in many science and math courses - and has developed curriculum before. She even just got on a state level panel to work on curriculum development for the state. I am good at math, science, and in particular with computer sciences. Sticking with the core courses for the lower grades - we could do fine. But we both want more knowledge on Montessori for those lower grades. I have the most experience with studying Objectivism and Rand but my wife has also been there during all of that and has recently began studying Objectivism herself to get it better. But at the middle school and high school levels we need help or at least good sources and curriculum. We're still early in this though - and the foundational issues are the primary concern as well as other current home and job issues we're dealing with.
The independent school you envisage would not have to be large, as long as it were financially feasible for you. Philosophical influence is one mind at a time, and you never know how much influence even one good individual will have.
The Van Damme Academy has been very successful. Lisa Van Damme has said that she has been asked to franchise it but doesn't want to because she wants to devote her efforts to a single school she can direct and be responsible for. Maybe she would be willing to discuss your plans with you to help out.
The public schools are expecting to graduate 3.7 million kids this year. With probably 95% of them having successfully been indoctrinated into collectivism, socialism, and not being trained to think rationally - having a school even the size of Lisa VanDamme's in a needle in a haystack - in a field full of haystacks! We need volume. My personal opinion is that franchising the VanDamme Academy is the way to go and it is a shame that she has decided to not do so. A few dozen graduates per year simply cannot compete against 3.7 million - especially as those 3.7 million are adding to the voting base to elect collectivists and would be anti-Objectivists. We need thousands of private schools like the VanDamme Academy. If she won't do it - then others must. I hope to be one of them. And my goal is to do that. My intent in the long term is to develop the curriculum, start a model school, adjust the curriculum as needed after putting it in production, and then franchising.
I also want more covered in terms of Objectivism itself. I have approached an organization that offer grants for promoting Objectivist ideas - an interestingly enough was shot down cold as they think the idea of teaching actual Objectivism in a school using Objectivist epistemological methods for all the subjects involved is a unethical pedagogically! What a shame. I mean - if that was all the school did was teach Objectivism at the expense of the core subjects (like the 3 R's) - I could see the point - but teaching it along with the cores and other electives later on seems totally appropriate to me.
Anyway, I have contacted Lisa - I don't want to get into too many details but I did get an response that seemed very positive - and then after one reply where I gave more information about where we are in the process - no more response. I will follow up more - maybe it is as simple as my email got thrown in the junk mail folder and she didn't see - but... I don't really think that is the case. Maybe she thinks at this stage it would be too time consuming for her to get involved. But she has already answered the questions (for her own school) to some of the logistical issues I would like to know the answers to before repeating those mistakes or to understand why she has made some of the decisions she has verses other routes I am considering. She has a wealth of practical knowledge that could help others considering this path that would be invaluable to startups. So I hope it is not that she doesn't want to get involved in the early stages as that means that information will not be passed along. Of course, that is her prerogative and she would gain nothing from it other than personal satisfaction and knowing she is helping to open more minds to a proper education - but maybe that is not a high enough value to overcome other things she needs her time for. Who knows.
Irrespective - I/We will move forward - maybe. Like I said, we are studying this idea well before we jump in. We have a lot to lose and are not spring chickens anymore - we have one shot I think - so it's do it right and run with it - or let the idea die.
You also accepted his running with the help of the Libertarian Party and still only say that it is not "fully aligned". The problems with the Libertarian Party and its methods undercutting intellectual reform are much deeper than that, including the notion that elected office (and keeping it) is a way to "espouse, promote, and explain" "Objectivist principles".
Objectivist principles are much, much more than politics, and the Libertarian Party can't even get the politics consistent. To think that elected political office, and keeping the elected position, is a means to educate with radically different philosophical principles, on which politics depends, is hopeless. This is not about "getting Objectivists elected", let alone Pragmatist means of doing it and exploiting it.
It is not true that the "Ayn Rand Institute and other pro Objectivist operations focus ALMOST solely on the young and ignore the adults." It is true that a bigger long term impact is possible by educating the youngest before they have ingrained false premises in ideas and method, which are more difficult to uproot later. The benefits from a younger intellectual are also leveraged for a longer period of time, including time running organizations like ARI in the future. But articles and explanations are provided for everyone -- anyone who can think.
I understand that Objectivism is much more than politics - but it is also at the root of politics. And right now - the politics are what is causing the root of most of our problems as a county - trying to nationalize the health care industry, our bankrupting social programs, the nationalized education system destroying the minds of our youth, and a Bernie (well half dozen Dems) that wants to take it up to level 10. Politics cannot be ignored. @Dansail did not ask if he should start a school, or a local study group, or if he should stand on a street corner yelling a people driving by. A politician has the means to reach people and to use real life issues to demonstrate and explain another way to think about them that can promote Objectivism in the process. I don't understand why you are so bent against that. And even at that I brought up Peikoff's point that education is the answer (and distinguished it as education in the schools).
Ceding the position to a Dem, Republican, or a "who knows where they stand" Libertarian - to screw it up that much more verses promoting an Objectivist to attempt it if they are ready seems like a no brainer.
You clarified my point - they FOCUS their efforts on students - and you acknowledge it with your reason for why. You know they have other things besides articles. Notice how the prices for students is typically lower than for others? Until very recently - their student events - almost exclusively at colleges were restricted to students. Their internships are for students. Other organizations, that I won't mention here, have events charging 6 and 8 times more than they do for students. If I wanted to take advantage of the resources available at the rate I would have to pay (since I'm not a student) are un-affordable. I would be spending many thousands per year - to put myself in a position to help the cause. As I said in this thread - I am looking to start a private school following much of Peikoff's suggested methods a approach - so I am actively looking at events, training, ways to make better and deeper connections and the doors are surprisingly not very pro-entrepreneur - just very pro student.
And then there are some like you are being here, where you want to argue with me for trying to encourage others to advance Objectivism further by making assumptions and trying to tear apart my comments like I don't have a clue about Objectivism - because I don't chose to write a book to make sure every point is taken to the nth degree.
Again here - the idea is that we are a relatively small group trying change the direction of a huge population. It doesn't happen by stifling people who are considering ways of trying to do so. It doesn't help by tearing at me because I didn't flush out the idea to the degree you think I should and assuming because I didn't that I don't understand or can't think. Read what I said and stop trying to fill in the blanks with poor assumption or with negative intent.
It has carefully-designed and implemented programs for students, who are aspiring to become new intellectuals, for good reason. But anyone -- by ARI's intention -- can read the articles and transcripts, and watch and listen to the numerous audio and videos of lectures, panel discussions, and interviews, both recent and from the archives spanning over half a century. They are directed, and always have been back to Ayn Rand herself, at any intelligent, thinking mind.
Anyone can also use the reference pages and the book store section. Recorded lectures are now mostly very inexpensive or are free, in contrast to the high prices that used to be paid for audio recordings of the classic lecture series.
ARI gives presentations at universities because that is where the intellectual activity is centered, not to exclude adults. Many of these are advertised for anyone.
Students are often granted lower cost entrance at all kinds of events in all kinds of causes for the whole range of advocates of all kinds because students aren't working and leaders of various causes believe it is worthwhile to support them in their early intellectual interests. It doesn't mean you are being "stifled" by ARI in particular by not receiving a subsidy.
If you can't afford to attend conferences, then don't, spending your money where you think it best supports your values in accordance with what you can afford. You can learn and gain new understanding by reading, thinking and associating with people who share your intellectual goals (which isn't many on this forum in particular, contrary to its name and initial intention).
ARI, as I said, only recently started allowing non-students to attend the college lectures. That is not my opinion but word for word what I got from ARI's website (which of course I can no longer find to give you a link to). But, great that this is now the case - but for many years it wasn't.
It is an assumption that college students can't pay for events - many do work (such as my daughter currently - and my wife and I while we were in college). Many of them have parents that are supporting them and have the funds to pay for such things if they wish. Equally, for non-students - many can pay, and many cannot. Why subsidize students at the expense of non-students based on some assumption of who has the funds verses not? Private sector wealth redistribution - on a voluntary basis - but it is what it is. It is assuming one group has a need that another group can subsidize. And I agree - I don't have to spend my money on such events - nor do I have any notion of telling these businesses how they must operate. Freedom of trade. I get it. And if they want to charge students less because that is who they want to focus on - then by all means, they can do so. How about everyone pay the same? Should we not trade value for value? If the main group of people showing up are students that are being heavily subsidized by the non-students - then it makes sense why I see events costing many multiples more for non-students to attend (not necessarily ARI here - but others). But again, yes they are free to do so and I am free to not attend. In Peikoff's discussions on education - he makes the point that you effectively devalue the core classes when you add in the frivolous one - the students see you equating basket weaving as equally valuable as arithmetic (my re-wording here). What do we show students when we charge them $50 for an event - while others pay 10+ times more? What does this say to them of the value they should place on the content? It seems to me that it equates it to nearly the "value" of a whim. If they value the content - should they not pay for it as much as anyone else - irrespective of ability to pay? That is what it posed to the non-student. If you value it, pay for - or don't - but even worse - if you value this content pay for it times 10+, so we can let others who "value" it pay only a small fraction of the price.
I don't want to throw anyone under the bus nor stifle my efforts by doing so - so I am not mentioning names or organizations here - but I am trying to gain useful insights from people that have very useful information related to my endeavors. But this kind of pricing model is keeping me from gaining the access to those people. Again, from one of these events that is charging non-students many times more than students. I don't want to subsidize others and I think if everyone was paying equally - then maybe - the students would pay a bit more whereas the rates would drop substantially for the non-students. But again, this results from this focus on students. This is not an approach based on who can pay and who cannot as student vs non-student doesn't define this. But whatever - it is their choice to do it how they see fit. It is hampering my ability to move forward on what I am trying to do based on arbitrary, re-distributive, assumptions. I don't like it. And I am free to say so. Just as they are free to do it that way and not give a crap about what I think about it. :) I will move forward anyway - but with less valuable knowledge that could aid in being more or less successful and probably adding more time to get there.
I have been doing a lot of self study for years - and I am all for that as well. But my goals of current could really use some of the knowledge and experiences of others - that I haven't been able to find anywhere in written form. It is currently in the minds of those that I am interesting in meeting and talking with directly. Now, they may not be willing to share - but as of right now - I think it is tied too these events I'm referring to. Pay and get access - or don't - and you don't get access. And I don't even have a problem with that per se - except that in this case, it contingent on me subsidizing others to the point that it is no longer affordable.
Don't misunderstand me here either - I am not throwing ARI under the bus either. I have used their website a lot and they have a lot of great resources - but I have been interested in events that were closed to non-students. Only in our discussion here did I re-check their website on events and saw that they have now changed it so the college events are now open to all. A recent change that I am happy about.
But like you said earlier - for the vast majority of these students - they have not had the proper education for them to really learn Objectivism. They are FULL of floating abstracts, personal philosophies without proper guidance and FULL of contradictions and for the most part - little to no experiences in life to help them move past this- yet there are such large efforts to get to them with Rand's novels with the idea that suddenly everything will become clear to them. And mostly being given a skewed idea of what Rand was even trying to get across in her novels by teachers that are hostile to her ideas and philosophy. I would argue that just maybe - adults who have gotten some life experience - a real understanding of having to take responsibility for their lives, who have worked jobs or maybe even started their own businesses, may have enough experiences that with a proper introduction to Objectivism - may be easier to really understand it and run with it. They may have floating abstracts or contradictions in their philosophy - but they would also have experience that when being presented with another way of looking at it - would have a stronger impact. In terms of kids - even as Rand said, it needs to begin early. Starting schools that do this is the answer. Trying to fix them in secondary school after a decade of improper education and indoctrination is a difficult challenge. Yet - the energy is focused there.
Focus on the adults who are reachable and in a position to start these schools and to teach properly. They have the a much better chance of having the experiences to get it, to utilize it, and to put it into motion. Whether in how they raise and educate their own kids or by being the ones in a position to start schools of their own.
I honestly think much more emphasis should be placed on post-students. Real life has a way of turning a lot of people away from the collectivist indoctrination they have been taught (to an extent) - because of the life experiences they get after schooling. Many of them see that much of it was wrong - but then they are lost with a lack a proper philosophy like Objectivism - still full of floating abstracts, contradictions, etc... but willing to change as their exposure to real life has made them question and even refute much of the collectivist ideology they had been relying on.
These people will tend to be in a much better place financially, experience wise, and with a new training in Objectivism to start proper schools to begin the real education that students need from early on in their lives. This will be rewarded many times over with the students that come out of these schools with a proper education from the ground up.
With a focus on secondary school kids - much of the efforts will be lost on deaf ears and minds as they simply do not have the educational underpinnings to properly utilize it. You may get a VERY small portion of them that it connects with - and only a small portion of them that will actively do something with it post-school. Not that I think efforts should be abandoned in secondary school. I just think substantially more effort should be put towards those that can help to move the cause forward at a more immediate and exponential rate - and it's not secondary school kids that can do that, nor even college students.
I think the long game starting point it to focus on the entrepreneurs that are open to these ideas more so than anti-business collectivist altruists. Get them on board with Objectivism. And encourage them to start schools teaching via proper methods, subjects, etc... Then competition will decide who has the best particular approaches and MANY more properly educated students would begin coming into the fold. But, as of yet - that is not the direction of ARI, or these other organizations I am dealing with.
And to your last point about about this forum - I know. I have seen this for a while and it's annoying. I have found it difficult to find places to actually associate with other actual Objectivists. I don't know if you got my PM, but I think you are one of the few from what I have observed so far, but since you are not a paid member - I wasn't sure if you got my message or if you could even reply. Are you able to reply to PM's? I would like to talk with you more directly - if you are inclined :)
The "politics" is not "what is causing the root of most of our problems as a country". The politics is the last step in the implementation of wrong ideas on a mass scale. The chickens are coming home to roost, which has become increasingly visible The trend cannot be changed without correcting the false ideas on a wide scale. There are no shortcuts. Politics today only can succeed on specific issues where there is still some semblance of rational standards against the most damaging extremes.
The Libertarian Party is no solution to that and has not been for its half a century. It is not "aligned" with Objectivism -- as recently illustrated in spades by the Johnson-Weld clown team which pretended to run for president.
Nor can it be anything but a fringe party. Even if it possessed and promoted the right ideas, which it does not, it would be no better -- in this political-intellectual context -- as either a viable political party or as a means of education. Education is not attention-seeking political PR stunts.
No Objectivist is "stifling" them; they are impotent all on their own. They have nothing to offer and have failed because of what they are and their hopeless means of achieving what they claim . Ignoring them and refusing to waste time helping them is not "stifling" anyone.
No one is "letting" the political parties "have full rule". No once has been able to do anything about it because of the intellectual state of the culture. The political parties have taken over, to the extent that they have, despite our rejection, not because we "let" them.
My point was that by discouraging Objectivists from going into government this is letting these political parties have unfettered rule without the internal challenge of a voting voice within the House/Senate by Objectivists. We cannot have a voice or vote if we have no presence there.
I think I chose my words poorly on this one, or didn't flush it out enough.
The "politics" is not "what is causing the root of most of our problems as a country"..
I understand that it is the philosophy and morality of the people that is resulting in who we have in government. I meant in terms of them implementing their false ideas on everyone - it is the government that is implementing it. The collectivist on the street cannot legally take my property - but the government can. Know what I mean? The politics of the collectivists in government is where and how government imposed action is taking place. I agree with you that this is an end result of corrupt philosophy of the majority - but what I mean was that this is the starting point of enforcing their ideas on everyone else and causing its related problems for everyone. Without that government strong arm - their ideas would be nothing more than bad ideas - the government and the politics there are what bring them to coercive realization.
Now, keep in mind - I do not consider myself a Libertarian. But as the Party Defines itself - they do align with Rand and Objectivism much more closely than Republicans or Democrats. From their website:
Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into their personal, family, and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.
We seek to substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut and eliminate taxes at every opportunity.
We believe that peaceful, honest people should be able to offer their goods and services to willing consumers without inappropriate interference from government.
We believe that peaceful, honest people should decide for themselves how to live their lives, without fear of criminal or civil penalties.
We believe that government’s only responsibility, if any, should be protecting people from force and fraud.
Now, do they have the philosophical underpinnings of Objectivism - no - but you cannot tell me that this does not align with Objectivism more so than the other 2 political parties. And, that an Objectivist would have much better chances in being elected by Libertarians (who actually accept these points) than by the other 2 parties.
I don't think we are going to fix the philosophy of the political parties by electing an Objectivist on occasion - but, I have no issue with an Objectivist being elected and having a say in the political sphere vs talking about it on the sidelines. I will argue with you on the notion of a politician being in a position to educate/teach/inform/etc. until the cows come home ;) Do they do this in general, no - can they - yes. If they are actively involved at the grass roots level they can and I've already explained why. Will it replace a thorough education - no. Is it any worse than a few day convention with speakers speaking for an hour each once a year? If done properly - no. And I would say better if they were actively involved in doing speaking events where they go over issues from an Objectivist perspective with the reasoning behind it. If you chose to think otherwise so be it. I politely disagree.
As to what party will Objectivists ever truly succeed in - I don't know. Will they succeed in the Democrat Party - not likely - except that they could make inroads with the larger atheist population contained therein.
With the Republicans - they have more of the freedom and small government side of thinking - but blow it up with their religion (irrationalism) and altruism. Can their religious foundations be overcome - that would be hard.
Libertarians - again their foundation is much closer than the other two - but their constituents are all over the place from my perspective. They seem like they are disenfranchised Dems and Repubs that are angry over a particular issue, or a few, and have moved to the Libertarian Party thinking this is a middle ground - but don't even know the foundational principals of the Libertarian Party - and carry the Dem/Repub baggage of problems with them. It seems like every other Libertarian I talk to is opposite sides of the spectrum - they are in chaos.
So a new Objectivist Party? That's a long road. I don't know. Probably that would be the best route as it would be the most correct from inception. But without the education problem being dealt with, from the beginning stages, it is more or less a moot idea as the Objectivist Party would be so small that as of now the Objectivist candidates would never get on the ballot and would be destroyed by the media and all 3 of these other parties.
I know that any Objectivist in government will accomplish very little on the political side. I still stand by my thought that they could "educate" and persuade as much as most any lecturer running around speaking at conventions and giving hour long lectures will accomplish - if they do it right. Either one doing it wrong will not be successful. Neither will replace a proper education in a proper school using proper teaching methods while teaching proper subjects. But unless you suggest ruling out everything else besides a proper school based education - any additional educational sources in my opinion are welcome. ARI with secondary schoolers via Rand's novels, college speaking events, and yes Objectivist politicians doing the same at their own grass roots events (which could even be their own college speaking events or collaborating [carefully] with ARI at their college campus events - or other Objectivist events) - besides town hall events and so on - giving direct application of Objectivist principles to active political issues.
I don't know - maybe I am failing to understand what you think is education - or maybe you are wanting me to use another word. The way I see it, is if any Objectivist can get someone to understand something that they previously didn't that is central to Objectivist principles - that is education. Is it a full education no - but it is education nonetheless. The more people we can get to understand and accept Objectivist ideas the better - and of course the deeper the better. A full education being the best. But I don't see it as a full education or nothing. If that is the case - then again - ARI thould stop what they are doing with college events and trying to get Rand novels in secondary/middle schools and all lecturers across the world should stop - and only proper schools should be started to teach from K-college - nothing else. I don't think so. A multifaceted approach is ok. Although - as I said before, I do think that proper schools are the major answer - just not to the extent that all other methods should cease.
Now again - maybe your stance in this case is in terms that @dansail in not an Objectivist - but a Libertarian - thus you are not promoting the idea of encouraging them to go into office? If that is the case - then we are not talking on the same plane here. I have no idea if @dansail is Objectivist or Libertarian - or both - or neither. I was simply answering their question and did clarify it in terms of them being an Objectivist. IF they are not - then I would need to know more. I would still suggest someone less damaging than another to run for office to at least slow the speed at which we are traveling towards socialism/communism/etc... That gives us more time to correct the problem from the roots. Lesser of two evils if you will. I have issues with some of Trump's policies - but I'd rather have him than Hillary or Bernie.I will not stand on the side and allow the worse of the two to get it without my vote being cast.
Anyway - enough for now... :)
She didn't predict 'The Collapse' as it occurred in fictional form in Atlas Shrugged. There are many possibilities for degrees of degradation over time along with some forms of "collapse" in some areas -- while some individuals or segments of society succeed to some extent in some realms in spite of the rest That is an alternative to a literal collapse of everything into a new Dark Age.
While that extreme could happen to the U.S., too, perhaps helped along with some catastrophe like nuclear war, there are with many other possibilities. One possibility is that better ideas gradually begin to spread while they still can, before the country is disabled and sinks into dictatorship such as a Soviet Union or Venezuela. We should not think in terms of an inevitable grand "collapse".
Ayn Rand said that she felt fortunate that at her age she would no longer be alive for what she expected to come if there were no major change. But to her last breath she never gave up her intellectual battle.
She said that as she was writing the novel and seeing similarities all around her she kept telling herself that she was writing to prevent such an end. "Is Atlas Shrugging" concluded with “Atlas Shrugged s not a prophecy of our unavoidable destruction, but a manifesto of our power to avoid it, if we choose to change our course.” And she has made a difference through her intellectual influence.
The last 50 years have not been a collapse like in the plot. In many ways there have been enormous technological improvements despite government controls. The end of the Trump presidency, whoever follows him, does not mean "following the AS fictional path". Similar false predictions were made for Obama's election.
Trump has done enough damage himself, though not like a Clinton, and is a futile Pragmatist consequence, not an initiator of a fundamental difference. That is omitted from the discussion emphasizing Trump idolatry versus Never Trump emotionalism.
After Trump we will have the same problems, to varying degrees, which can only be reversed by intellectual means. Preaching imminent doom to 'get it over with' is not a rational response to the problems we face.
I noticed that Trump is walking a tightrope now to NOT give them any opportunity to do another impeachment. The dems already toyed with the Roger Stone thing, and now the coronavirus response to see if those rise to the level of impeachment. Not to say they wont find another impeachable offense.
After they got the contrived Mueller "investigation" rolling they held off formal impeachment, expecting Mueller to provide the ammunition, but still kept talking about impeachment.
When they didn't get what they needed out of the "report", and then Mueller's own personal near-senility failed to produce in the hearing, they continued with more kangaroo court "investigations" and re-interpretations of previous results. The "investigations" were intended to make Trump controversial, in addition to the specific goal of impeachment.
There was an ongoing internal battle over when to spring an actual impeachment. Some of them knew impeachment could backfire politically, as you say, which led to the infighting among themselves. Yes, they do all kinds of professional political polling and focus group research looking for the best timing, strategy and verbal tactics.
Pelosi was finally pushed into going over the edge with the formal impeachment even though some of them were still wary of the timing, but they all wanted it. They ran with the phony "whistleblower" scam, believing their own propaganda that they had found the smoking gun, even though some of them were still politically reluctant that they could pull it off based on what they had so far.
They knew that it was unlikely they would get 2/3 in the Senate to remove Trump from office because of the shift in Republican support after the earlier more personal controversy over him at the beginning of the administration.
They would take Senate removal if they could get it, but by then the process wasn't about that -- the purpose was too cause as much controversy and undermining of support as they could, partially to disrupt the administration's ability to function for the remainder of the term, and partially for the upcoming elections.
Some of them (apparently including Pelosi) did want to postpone until closer to the election, partly to influence Senate elections if not the presidency itself, and partly to pile on more accusations based on their belief that Trump must be doing something more impeachable that hadn't come out yet. They hoped that further piling on would swing over some Republicans, if not the full 2/3, thereby creating more controversy.
By moving too soon before the election they risked losing their desired sustained popular expectation and manufactured suspicion that Trump must have done something very wrong "under investigation". They peaked too early to hold that position.
Pelosi knew that when she was forced to formally convey the House impeachment to the Senate for the next round before she wanted to -- she was visibly unhappy about it. She and others wanted to drag it out for a continued sustained controversy, with more "investigation" and additional articles of impeachment, in attempt to build popular suspicions and controversy further into the election cycle.
It would not be surprising if they try a second impeachment before the election if they can manufacture some controversy to rationalize it and to vindicate themselves from having failed to make a political case the first time. They don't want a political backfire, but they are also very much on the offensive.
We speak in terms of more than one impeachment, but the last almost 4 years have been one non-stop impeachment process intended to create as much disruption and controversy over Trump as they can. It's purpose has been to disrupt him and Republicans as much as possible and drive them out of office over a perceived failure and swirl of controversy. That much has not abated and will not, before the election or in the next four years if Trump is still there.
Yes they are an "irrational bunch", but not so far gone that they can't be effective political "schemers", as you say. They are experts at the machinations of political manipulation as an art form, and fully motivated to go on a full offensive to get back what they lost after failing to solidify the Obama reign under Clinton. If they do that, with changes in demographics and media almost wholly behind them, they will have ratcheted up the statism to a new and possibly permanent level.
But yeah - the tactics and ploys the Dems have been doing since he got elected (and before) have been non-stop and relentless. I am surprised that he has gotten as much done as he has - but at the same time wish he had gotten more done in the first two years while he had Congress. But anyway - great post!
The system is structured to promote evil and cannot be defeated from within anymore than joining the politburo would have enabled an individual to stop Stalin or even turn it around.
Ron Paul was also inconsistent, for example promoting religious anti-abortion violation of rights of the individual, further muddying the principles of individualism.
So, I would respectfully decline, knowing that to do so means that I shouldn’t be TOO hard on the one that is finally convinced to run.
her principle of the "non-initiation of force and appl[lied] it as if it were an axiom, which it is not." (Harry Binswanger; memory quote on my part). Also, Peter Schwartz wrote a long article on it, which appeared in "The Intellectual Activist". Apparently, the idea is that they do not point to a philosophical base, and thus make the ideas of
freedom and free enterprise appear to have no foundation.
Still, hope you're a good runner...laughing
That opens an opportunity to promote rational thinking. It’s only an opportunity though
When someone has a problem that his attempt to solve has not worked he is likely to try something else. He is not likely to change his entire ingrained belief structure. A drastic emergency in which people are trying day to day to survive until the next meal does not encourage philosophical thinking.
Panicked people who have no explicitly thought-out philosophy -- being fed more propaganda reinforcing their belief that their problems were caused by the "selfishness" and freedom of "the rich" and not enough faith -- are not going to stop eating for a year or two while they try to understand what philosophy is and a new philosophy they know nothing about. Their new thinking to solve a problem is more likely to be desperately figuring out how to steal what they can with a lynch mob mentality.
The notion that throwing people into cataclysmic disaster is an "opportunity" to make them think about a new philosophy to change an entire culture is thoroughly anti-intellectual and irrational.
But while the economy has been better than under Bush and Obama, "things" are not "going great" now. Don't confuse reality with the constant Trump sales pitch and the smiling clapping seals at the Trump idolatry rallies. The cheering squad is a minuscule portion of the population. It's a staged show.
People have serious economic problems and problems from government controls and taxes. Election results are still ominously close, with statist Democrats running the House and many states. The threat of a more extreme socialist left is visibly on the rise. And irrationalism increases all around us in all realms, not just politics, including the use of technology for propaganda, loss of security, and mass surveillance
People normally think more when things are going well for them because thinking is required for human life and to improve on what one already has achieved. It is required for planning in one's own life. But such thinking is normally in terms of their own personal, basic premises, however acquired, and they explore farther or deeper only when they have the means and interest to do so.
You can't force people to re-think their entire sense of life by making them helpless and desperate for their next meal in the collapse that you have said you expect and want as deliberate strategy. They have no means by which to do so and no answers to identify or change to. Knowing that they don't like something does not tell them what is right. What they do know in such circumstances is that they want food from anywhere they can get it, and have been told that their enemies are those who have been successful.
On a personal level, a person in deep trouble may resolve to "turn his life around", but he normally doesn't have the rest of society suppressing it, and may likely turn to an alternative irrationalism like "born again" without ever discovering anything else. Having a problem does not tell you what is right.
The best self-motivated advances in personal thinking at a fundamental level are made possible by a life of success, not disaster, and a desire to understand more -- especially within the intellectually ambitious young -- guided by someone who already knows more.
A gradual decline, or a sudden change in one realm, may raise the interest of some in thinking further, especially as they begin to see further looming problems. But that is mostly confined to those who are already intellectually active and morally ambitious to some degree. Most don't do that without further intellectual stimulation. Most accept and become accustomed to a new level of deprivation and don't know where else to turn.
Sometimes an intellectual spark will occur when someone reads Atlas Shrugged and notices a similarity between it and what they are seeing and hearing, or recognizes a problem that requires more thinking and remembers having once seen a clue in Atlas Shrugged read in the past.
But even having read the novel, many stick to their previous beliefs, as you can see from the conservatives, even on this forum, who relegate Ayn Rand's major concepts and principles as if they were secondary to whatever else attracted them to the novel.
This is why more intellectual activism is required, not imposing disaster.
The notion that the purpose of thinking is to solve a new big problem and that people don't think unless they have a discomforting problem is a result of the spread of Pragmatism, which encourages just that. Pragmatism does not recognize the principle of truth in correspondence with reality, with consistent principles as a guide in life; it sees thought as a 'tool of action', invoked when confronted with discomfort, in which case ones adopts another action for long as it "works": "What is true today may not be true tomorrow." That approach, like the rest of Pragmatism, does not work, and neither does the unprincipled Pragmatist scheme of deliberately imposing pain to try to force people to think up and understand an entire new philosophy.
You disparage pragmatism, but if rational thinking is so preferable, it should “work” in practical terms, or what’s the point?
Trump has slowed, not stopped or reversed, some of the political cancers and made others worse. His anti-intellectual, unprincipled, Pragmatist range of the moment wheeler dealing is not just a "style"; it is a way of thinking and acting with bad consequences now and for the future.
There is no dichotomy between moral principles and the practical. Principles work when they are true. Pragmatism rejects principles, the concept of truth, and understanding of what is true as leading to practical results. It rejects ideas as understanding of facts; substituting the notion of ideas as a "plan of action". It tries to reverse the process of truth leading to what works, redefining "truth" as whatever "works" for the moment, with no consistency and no standards for what it means for anything to "work". Pragmatism itself does not work.
"'The true', to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." -- William James, one of the founders of Pragmatism, in his "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth". This and the other elements of Pragmatism are pervasive in American culture today.
In the short term wouldn’t you prefer pragmatism to collectivism?
The Constitution was not implemented in opposition to English collectivism; it was drafted and adopted after the Revolution was won. The Revolution opposed English rule in accordance with a principled acceptance of Enligtenment individualism: The Declaration stated the premise, then listed the violations by the King as justification for the revolt. The Constitution implemented a government on the proper principle, with the framers taking careful note of how to head off a repeat of bad past experience with the structure of British and other governments. That was rational thinking. The Constitution was not intended to be a philosophical document, but presupposed the Enlightenment principles underlying the Declaration.
Pragmatism is not an alternative to collectivism and not a way to fight it. Pragmatism is a philosophy, primarily emphasizing epistemology. Collectivism in government is in the realm of social ethics and politics (though there are also collectivist theories in metaphysics and epistemology). Collectivism became the preferred goal under the progressives, who embraced and applied Pragmatism in their thinking -- notoriously by the likes of John Dewey, Walter Lippman, and many others.
Pragmatism is just as deadly today in all realms in which it is accepted and applied. It does not "work" and is not a way to fight collectivism or anything else; it only helps it, both directly and by undermining a rational epistemology and ethics.
You should learn more about Pragmatism and all its fallacies and destructiveness. A good place to start is Leonard Peikoff's two lectures on Pragmatism in his history of western philosophy series.
Whether we like it or not, taxation will effectively cause less work to be done, even without a specific “strike”, and will reduce economic output. People will simply become less motivated.
I think one of the big reasons trumps economy is better than Obama’s is that at least half the population has been more motivated to succeed- I can feel it at trumps rallies. It’s primarily a psychological increase in mitivation
You can stop doing things that are punished too much and which you don't have to do, but it will make absolutely no difference to the wrong premises held by those doing the punishing.
Changing how you live in order to avoid punishment is not a strike. A strike is an economic action to change some policy.
I have stopped doing things because the punishment made it no longer worth it, too, but I never expected that personal choice to change government policy.
The economy already suffers from the high taxes and controls and everyone knows it. It doesn't change because so many people like what they think is a proper statist function of government.
When the economy becomes worse people don't like it, but advocate more controls and redistribution for those in "need".
When the economy is good they advocate more controls and taxes to seize the newly created wealth.
In neither case does your personal "strike" makes any difference to them or for policy.
"The goods are here. How did they get here? Somehow. What caused it? Nothing has causes."
Trump has endorsed and asked Congress to give him a half-century old nightmare-dream of the environmentalists from the days of the Great Society and beaten back repeatedly against their pressure ever since: an off-budget permanent government entitlement, bypassing Congressional appropriations, to automatically pay for perpetual government acquisition of private property, including eminent domain, for the sake of government ownership on principle. (S. 1081, Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act).
This, let alone its significance, is not being reported and few know about it yet. But the smiling, clapping seal display for Trump goes on as his own socialism is sold as "make America Great" while he dishonestly promises that socialism will never come to this country while he is president. At least Bernie is honest enough to tell us what he is and what he is after, and doesn't pretend that it isn't different than capitalism and private property rights as he shafts us.
There are a lot of ways for a country to fail other than through a sudden total collapse.
Interesting that there is some blowback against outright socialism like Sanders has promoted. Not for the right reasons, but at least we wont get major socialism this election cycle..
Blarman's proposal of "saving" the country through "action" versus "Go Galt" remains an anti-intellectual false alternative.
The ideal government is not here to control people, but simply provide a safe environment in which its citizenry can live, be free and pursue happiness. When it becomes a monopoly dedicated to controlling its people, it is no longer a suitable environment.