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No more convincing others. Or whining here. Laser focused on finding like-minded people to associate and transact with

Posted by BrettRocketSci 1 year, 9 months ago to Going Galt
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When I was new to Objectivism - in college - I became quite the proselytizer. Late night discussions in the dorm, campus events, starting a current events newspaper, buttons, stickers...

After college when the internet became more accessible, I created websites and spent a lot of time online trying to be a positive, effective, and persistent advocate for the ideas that form the basis of this unique community.

But those efforts started more than 20 years ago -- closer to 30.

While it provides significant motivation and rewards from the size of the challenge and the target-rich environment of opportunities, I also realized this humbling fact:

this work will NEVER be complete.

So how much time, effort, and money is rational for this effort? Especially when I consider that I see have many personal and family needs that are being directly compromised or threatened by unethical forces?

Then I considered who I associate with as friends,acquaintances, and business partners. If I wasn't entirely satisfied or proud of that, isn't that more important to change than strangers' philosophies who I haven't even met yet and probably never will?

I am grateful for having this online Gulch so that we can connect and interact with other like-minded people. Life is too short and precious to spend it with people who don't share your values and interests.

I've been absent here for the past few months because I've been laser-focused on taking care of some serious challenges to myself, my family, and our values.

Now I'm back - just briefly - to say that I'm re-committing to making my world into the one I want to live in. With people who share my values and orientation of the world. (The number of people not fully "awake" to what is happening around us has become a more essential issue and factor, IMO.)

We don't need the entire world to be objectivist-friendly. We can't - because it ain't ever going to happen.

After trying quite earnestly at it for many years - and watching many other people try a whole lot harder than me since the 1960s' - I can confidently say that we aren't ever going to even be close to a majority opinion.

So what is more rational - a goal achieve that ideal state of utopia?

Or - to create the best world of relationships and partnerships we can with the people who already share our world view and philosophy?

In darker or more stressful moments we may wonder when we will see a complete collapse as in Atlas Shrugged. Or another SHTF scenario that seems to have many varieties given all the threats and craziness in our world today.

If and when that happens, the smart (or "lucky") ones will have already prepared themselves and their families to have a place, a community, and a means to continue living.

That will be a Gulch of some type. Thanks to our internet, now it doesn't have to be 100% physical.

I've grown to believe that our biggest issue and need is not persuading more people that we need to live rational, productive, ethical, and peaceful lives. Rather, it is that we need to better identify and connect those of us who already share these values NOW so that we can build trust, success, and happiness amongst ourselves now - while we can enjoy all of these benefits. If and when things get more ugly - then we will all be better off too.

No fear. No regrets. And no time to waste.

If you live in northern California, or do business online and think you or others would be worth connecting with, I hope you'll reach out to me.

If you are on the Marketplace here, I know about you. :-) I encourage everyone to go to the Marketplace page, learn who is there, and think about how you can do business with them. I've done that and hope to see more people and businesses joining over time.

In future posts - possibly Marketplace listings - you'll likely hear from me again on topics related to this mission. High on my priority list is finding medical and health professionals who work on a DPC basis (Direct Primary Care). Outside of health insurance companies, in other words. They are out there, and there is a growing number of healthcare professionals who are sick and tired of becoming slaves to medical insurance companies and plans. Healthcare is something everyone has a rational reason to care about for themselves and their families too.

My name is Brett Hoffstadt. I am quite easy to find online other places if you want to. I'll be glad to hear from you here, but please understand I won't be spending much time here. Too much exciting and important work to do in other places...

My greatest enjoyment comes from making Galt's Gulch a practical reality for my life. Not for convincing others of this need or value. And there is a lot of fun work to do -- with a much more exciting and practical result.


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  • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago
    The proper goal has always been to "live rational, productive, ethical, and peaceful lives", not spend your life proselytizing for anything. Ayn Rand wanted those who agree with her to apply her ideas in their own profession and secondarily argue for proper principles and policies publicly as big issues arose, without sacrificing your own life and personal values. Ayn Rand's career was her philosophy and writing, but that isn't the case for everyone, and spreading ideas must be done through using them and explaining where relevant.

    It isn't true that Ayn Rand's ideas will never dominate. It depends on how they spread among rational people, one mind at a time. But it won't happen in the foreseeable future, such as this lifetime. The Dark Ages looked pretty bleak, too (and it was), but eventually Aristotle's influence resurfaced and we got the Enlightenment and this country. In the meantime, philosophy is necessary as a guide for the life of the individual, no matter what else happens around him that affects him in different ways. Having the right philosophy makes you better off, within the context of what is possible, no what what else happens, which is what you are doing now.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks for reading and your comment. Where we agree is that neither one of us will ever see the day when her ideas dominate. But within our community here and within my circle of influence - that's where I see more promise and satisfaction of creating that rational world.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 1 year, 9 months ago
        Just remember that each conscious human and possibly other animals has a self which is different than any other self. Even Rand's circle was composed of different selves who each were rational but each saw reality slightly differently and was eventually excommunicated for slight infractions of thought. I, personally, have never in 77 years, found another self like myself. Those like minded persons that you seek will all be different and if you hope for the same thoughts from them all, you will be on a fools mission. Just live your life as best you can and stop worrying about finding some persons equivalent to your own self.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago
          Yes, people are different, but the members of Ayn Rand's circle were not "excommunicated" for "slight infractions of thought". The differences in behavior that caused them to split up mattered.

          Not only are people different, with like-minded not meaning equivalent, no one should assume that just because someone likes Atlas Shrugged that it means you should be his friend. Yes, "just live your life as best you can" -- and don't depend on belonging to any group to do that. Still, Brett's quest to find like-minded people in important ways is a rational quest as important, but secondary to personal goals.
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  • Posted by  $  jlc 1 year, 9 months ago
    I think that we are not going to convince others to think the way we do - and probably should not. There is genuine variability in the span of human character and I think that is a reality that politics tries to deny. I think that about half of humanity would be happy in an affluent socialist environment - one that had a totalitarian ruler who assigned them their work and made sure that they never did without. I think about 30% more would probably enjoy living in a high-tax re-distributive democracy, where they elected their leaders but had a daddy-state as a safety net.

    If you look at the history of the world, you will see that populations that did not compete for favored environment remained Paleo, Meso, Neolithic up to modern times. It is an error of perception to think that people inherently want to advance; they want 'their lives' to be like the ones before; they want their children to be like them.

    There is a skeleton of a young boy found in Southern Siberia. His genes are ancestral to the Proto Indo Europeans (who traveled west) and to the American Indians (who traveled east). I think that there was a mutation that said "move" and that this low-incidence genetic trigger produced two major peoples who were unlike everyone else in that they wanted to see over the next hill.

    The world does not need 'a lot' of us. They only need a few. In a beehive, 98% of the bees are workers; some fraction of the remaining 2% are scouts. We are the scouts.

    The role of communication is not to try to convert the worker bees, it is to be sure that the other scouts hear a philosophy that matched their character, so that they do not blindly accept a life that is not meaningful to them.

    So continue to communicate. We are all people who have been the recipient of someone reaching out and saying, "Try this philosophy - it's different from what you have heard before." But do not expect the population to convert. They should not. This is genuinely not what they want.

    Jan
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago

      There are no innate ideas in an inevitable 'span of human character'. People advocate what they do in politics because of the premises they have learned and accepted. Ayn Rand advocated convincing people of the proper philosophical premises and explanation, not engaging in politics, other than when there is sufficient common sense and proper sense of life to support a specific position. She advocated that it is too early for an 'Objectivist politics' precisely because the general principles of reason and individualism supporting it are not widely understood or accepted. All of her political commentary was thoroughly integrated with a philosophical approach.

      She urged that those who agree with her begin by ensuring that they understand what they are talking about themselves. The problem is not contending with impenetrable innate ideas, or stupidity, or 98% brainless worker bees, or -- as one anti-Ayn Rand conservative stated on this forum -- "self-absorbed imbeciles", but lack of understanding of philosophical premises and how to make the necessary connections.

      In "What Can One Do?" Ayn Rand stressed:

      "Today, most people are acutely aware of our cultural-ideological vacuum; they are anxious, confused, and groping for answers. Are you able to enlighten them?

      "Can you answer their questions? Can you offer them a consistent case? Do you know how to correct their errors? Are you immune from the fallout of the constant barrage aimed at the destruction of reason—and can you provide others with antimissile missiles? A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war.

      "If you want to influence a country's intellectual trend, the first step is to bring order to your own ideas and integrate them into a consistent case, to the best of your knowledge and ability. This does not mean memorizing and reciting slogans and principles, Objectivist or otherwise: knowledge necessarily includes the ability to apply abstract principles to concrete problems, to recognize the principles in specific issues, to demonstrate them, and to advocate a consistent course of action. This does not require omniscience or omnipotence; it is the subconscious expectation of automatic omniscience in oneself and in others that defeats many would-be crusaders (and serves as an excuse for doing nothing). What is required is honesty—intellectual honesty, which consists in knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one's knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute.

      "When or if your convictions are in your conscious, orderly control, you will be able to communicate them to others. This does not mean that you must make philosophical speeches when unnecessary and inappropriate. You need philosophy to back you up and give you a consistent case when you deal with or discuss specific issues.

      "If you like condensations (provided you bear in mind their full meaning), I will say: when you ask "What can one do?"—the answer is "SPEAK" (provided you know what you are saying)."

      She followed with suggestions on what and what not to do.

      The whole post stone age world was once in much worse shape than now because the ideas of superstition and mysticism were much more prevalent. If no one had rediscovered and advocated the more individualistic and realist ideas of Aristotelianism we would still be in a Dark Ages. But understanding and explaining what is required are not simple. After the collapse of western civilization It took centuries of groping and stumbling to reach the Enlightenment.

      It is easier now because so much more knowledge is available to be potentially understood in contrast with the entrenched, widespread ignorance of medieval times, but understanding and knowledge do not come to anyone in a flash by magic, and bad premises and ideology for many adults are emotionally locked in like a religion, making it difficult to challenge false and poorly understood premises -- which is why education of the young, currently dominated by bad philosophy, is so important. But the honest of any age can understand.

      Those who have given up on advocacy, thinking that it is by human nature impossible, should understand that success cannot be expected to come 'overnight' (measured in generations), understand what it requires rather than continuing to ignore basic principles and how to support them, and realize that one should not sacrifice his own personal life and values to an all-consuming full time emotional involvement in activism, which only defeats the purpose of living your own life.


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      • Posted by  $  jlc 1 year, 9 months ago
        ewv -

        Our difference in perspective is that I do not agree with your initial premise: "There are no innate ideas in an inevitable 'span of human character'."

        That is what I consider a 'blank slate' premise which attributes most or all of character to environment. I think that genetics has a lot to do with character. Per Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, Richard Dawson and others, I think that we have 'onboard' a number of basic 'software modules' that are genetically loaded into our brains: Linguistic aptitude (but not language per se), fair trading, social conformity, counting 1-2 or 3,...there are several others postulated.

        I think that most people have a much higher innate tendency towards 'social conformity' than the people in the Gulch. Were there a whole lot of us, then we might be able to swing the 'conformists' into 'our camp' the way the liberal education system has swung the recent generations from the political views of the 1950's to the current POVs (good and bad). But that would not make these people independent thinkers; they would just be another flavor of conformists.

        So, if you reason from a 'blank slate' perspective, your approach is logical. If, like me, you think that there is innate inherited tendencies, then the metaphor to the bee-scouts stands as a paradigm. (Yes, there are a lot more shades of grey than I am painting, but these emails are pretty long already.)

        Jan
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        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 8 months ago
          There is no evidence of innate ideas. Physical drives are not ideas. "Social conformity" in an advanced society is a complex idea, not inherited tendency. So is what is fair and counting. The ability to perceive a difference between one, two, and three is not a concept of number or counting -- if you read the claims by those who lump them together you see that they don't know what a concept it. The conceptual capacity for abstraction is not innate content. Character is the sum of choices and actions. It isn't about inheritance versus environment, but learning through choice and independent judgment versus passive absorption.
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  • Posted by term2 1 year, 9 months ago
    The 2016 election has given to me a relatively easy way to determine if I want people in my life. IF they voted for Hillary or Sanders, they are OUT. If they voted for Trump they are IN. If they didnt vote for either of those candidates, they are potentially IN upon further investigation.
    It would be easier if the Hillary supporters would wear an armband with the arrow on it which was her campaign logo. That way I can tell from afar.

    Call me bigoted, racist, a woman hater, whatever. BUT, in my experience this is not a bad way to pick out good people from a large pool of very bad people. I might miss a few good apples, but I avoid a LOT of bad apples.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks for your experience. Our recent election has become a very strong litmus test in our society. I find it also has very high correlation, but also very disturbing for our situation.
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      • Posted by term2 1 year, 9 months ago
        I think Hillary gave us a gift by calling us “deplorable”. It was a rallying point for us actually. I went to Trump’s event here in vegas and I could feel the positive energy from the 8000 attendees. It was a great experience. I think his election was probably an anomaly in our March as a country to collectivism. I voted for him as a way to slow down this process, but as we have seen, the swamp is deeper and wider than even trump thought. The country is divided 50-50 now and it IS very disturbing that the colleges like Berkeley are anti free speech now. When milo Yiannopolous (sp) couldn’t speak there I was determined to read his book “dangerous”. So I got it on Kindle and found it quite good actually. I can see why the liberals hate him so much ! He speaks his mind and exposes a lot of liberal attempts to control people. He supports trump strongly. As Francisco said in AS, it IS a war out there and we have to take sides. I love kindle as it enables me to read a lot of material right on my iPhone at any time
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        • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
          I haven't read his book so thanks for the reaction. The Berkeley and Left anti-free speech forces are truly remarkable for their ballsy-ness (forgive the slang). What is new today is the extent to which we have explicit and open wars happening now in our society over truth, philosophy, epistemology, politics, etc. Enemies of freedom and prosperity are getting remarkably honest and open about their beliefs - witness the "deplorables" comment.
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          • Posted by term2 1 year, 9 months ago
            I remember something ayn Rand said about once a society restricts free speech, it is beyond saving ( or something akin to that). I am feeling all this sexual harassment craze of late is related to that. Political correctness is another way of controlling people too. I am making an effort now to speak my mind while I am still around. That’s one thing that Milo does which I think is very good. He is definitely paying a price for it though
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  • Posted by mia767ca 1 year, 9 months ago
    good hunting Brett...I have been challenging others for over 50 years...what challenge that is, but a fun one...

    if you have not read "Creature from Jekyll Island", I highly recommend it...it an excellent work on where the globalists are taking us and what we are up against...

    again ...good hunting...john kelly
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks John. I haven't read that book but I'm very familiar with the history and topic from other sources. Wondering how you see this relating to my post? Maybe as a litmus test for identifying good people to associate with?
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      • Posted by mia767ca 1 year, 9 months ago
        brett...the Creature book reads like a "how to get to '1984'...you will want to know how to stay off "their" radar...you and I are already labeled as "sovereign" citizens...and that is not a good thing...my wife and I spent the last 6 months working and living out of an RV in Yellowstone park...no cell phone and no internet...we are slowly going "under the radar"...
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        • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
          Wow, fascinating. Working without phone and internet is almost inconceivable to me... it would have to be much different kind of work in my case. But this scenario is what I want to learn about and prepare as an option. I guess I will add this book to my very long wish list. ;-)
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  • Posted by Esceptico 1 year, 9 months ago
    I came to the same conclusion as Abaco. Now, at age 75, I started guitar lessons. I have a travel guitar, and even took a lesson from a local teacher while in Cartagena, Colombia, a few months ago. Indeed, it is much more fun to live than fight. Sort a combination of Harry Browne (How to Find Freedom in an Unfree World) and Galt.

    To the proselytizers I care about, I invite them to imagine they have convinced the world of their all their points of contention, and ask what they would do? Many cannot answer because bickering has become their life. Others sit back and come up with something. To which I answer, why not go do that now?
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    • Posted by Exitstageright 1 year, 9 months ago
      I believe the whole premise of Galts Gulch is that we all gave up trying to convince people to be like us and reached out to folks who are like us.
      Moabites and Hittites could never get along, they struggled constantly, and to my knowledge none of them survived. I've never seen one anyway...
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  • Posted by Abaco 1 year, 9 months ago
    I'm done fighting. You can either fight, or live, in my opinion on this. People don't want to listen. They mostly just want their government to provide for them. I plan to just sit safely absent as it crumbles.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks for replying. I think we have a similar attitude in many respects. Statistically speaking you are right about most people, but we must appreciate that every person is a unique individual so you never know who you might be near. I've been pleasantly surprised many times. Unlike you I'm not in a position or desire to sit safely absent, so I need a different approach. It still means I'm busy living, not fighting.
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  • Posted by megamail 11 months, 3 weeks ago
    Hi Brett,
    Interesting thread you started! Lots of philosophical debate, but not so many answering your original query. Yes. Let's connect!!!
    We are urban homesteaders of sorts in the middle of Las Vegas! (yes!). I am also an author and nutritionist.

    My husband and I will be speaking at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA, this month (on 9-11- and 9-13). Are you aware of this event? And if so do you attend this event? It is an amazing place to network with other incredibly productive people ~ not necessarily all with Objectivist thinking sadly ~ but still, many with amazing self-sustaining Producer-level knowledge. We'll personally be talking about growing food in harsh conditions, managing micro-climates and eating raw food for better energy. Please let me know if you'd like to meet up?
    ~anand

    P.S.
    I also highly recommend the Creature from Jeckyl Island. And visit Jeckyl Island sometime - It's quite a beautiful place :-)

    P.P.S.
    If anyone is ever interested to see what an Objectivist Urban Homestead in the desert looks like, you are welcomed to visit.

    http://www.wholewayhome.com
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  • Posted by chad 1 year, 9 months ago
    A concise and clearly put perspective on living. I enjoy teaching and have always sought the opportunity to teach others these principles and have failed to gain a wide audience. It has taken many years to realize what Estienne de la Boetie wrote in his book, 'The Will To Bondage'. It is disturbing to realize that people have what they want and freedom and liberty is not it. Most prefer slavery to living morally and it has always been so. Better to find a few friends that you can enjoy having and pursue what you like. If there was a way to make the 'slavers' leave me alone I would pursue that but it is unlikely that such a place will ever exist. I do not care that most people prefer slavery, I simply want them to leave me alone. If I am unable to convince them they should respect me and not try to convince me by the use of force to take my time and efforts to benefit them. I need a place to live alone sometimes, but sometimes I do like being around others.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Bingo. Very well said. Except at the end of your comment - we shouldn't have to compromise living and associating with others. I see that as a more important mission and priority for myself now.

      With my original post and some other efforts I'm doing, I'm broadcasting to target audiences that Brett Hoffstadt is putting his money and his relationships where his philosophy is. I welcome anyone interested (and qualified) to come on board with me.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 year, 9 months ago
    Ayn Rand said that, during writing Atlas Shrugged, her motto had been "The goal of this book is to keep itself from being [or becoming] prophetic.' And in a pamphlet entitled "Is Atlas Shrugging?" (publication date 1964) she said that she saw "many, many signs that it is succeeding."
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Interesting, thanks. I do think it served a great value there because "going Galt" is a genuine threat to collectivists - and many of them now know it. And we need more of them to understand it by watching it happen, not just talking about it. ;-)
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago
        The original 'going Galt' in what Ayn Rand described as her vision of the 'ideal man' meant living the productive life of a rational individual in accordance with her ethics, not dropping out and trying to collapse society, which accomplishes nothing even if it could be done. The threat to collectivists -- which they do not recognize -- is the spread of the original meaning of Galt, not dropping out. The only threat they see in 'dropping out' is the occasional wealthy person who abandons a high tax state with a punitive 'millionaire tax'; they don't recognize the productiveness of the successful, only the source of loot, and moving out of a tax jurisdiction does nothing to convince them otherwise. Ayn Rand's conception of John Galt was not as a resentful dropout, nor does the left care -- they don't know enough to miss those who cut back on what they produce in order to escape the punishment.
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        • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
          You are probably right there. It's very hard to comprehend the missed value of things that you don't have because they never came to be. I've dealt with that a lot in my career, trying to pursue business and improvement opportunities.
          To hell with those who don't have the vision, appreciation, and respect for our great human potential. It's up to each of us to achieve our individual and collective greatness, and love doing it. And also protecting ourselves from their nastiness... thanks to our passion (philosophy), cleverness (reason), and modern technologies we have a lot going for us!
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    • Posted by jdg 1 year, 9 months ago
      That goal sounds a bit unrealistic, when you consider that every part of the "Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Law" had already been enacted in the US on the day it was published.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago
      Ayn Rand's stated purpose in writing Atlas Shrugged was to portray her vision of the ideal man in a plot emphasizing the role of man's mind in human existence -- by showing what happens when the mind is withdrawn. The goal of the book not being prophetic was intended as the practical result, which she found she had to remind herself as the fictional events she described kept depressingly appearing in reality while she was writing. The many "signs of success" when she wrote "Is Atlas Shrugging" (chapter 15 in Capitalism - The Unknown Ideal) were the popularity of Atlas Shrugged and the movement towards her ideas, even though they were not yet dominating. A year later, when the "Is Atlas Shrugging" article appeared in The Objectivist, she added a post script on the symbolic connection between Atlas Shrugged and the lights of NYC and the eastern seaboard going out, which was the opposite of "preventing it". For the rest of the 18 years of her life she continued to advocate acceptance of her ideas as possible, but was not optimistic about the course of the nation other than occasional events such as McGovern's welfare statism campaign's loss of the election for president in 1972.
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  • Posted by rbroberg 1 year, 9 months ago
    I don't know if I buy it. What is the point of communication if not to convince?
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    • Posted by IndianaGary 1 year, 9 months ago
      That depends upon what you are trying to convince another to understand. If one starts with a basic set of common principles, communication can take place that furthers the lives of both parties without having to constantly play "whack a mole" with ideas. Trying to talk reason with a Leftist or religionist is an exercise in futility that I stopped engaging in when I retired several years ago.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Communication can have many goals. Convincing or persuasion is definitely one. But before that comes other things like assessing a common framework or interest. Then establishing rapport and trust. Or wrapping it up quickly with a respectful "have a nice life, now I'm moving on with mine." (so to speak)
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  • Posted by savenature-free 1 year, 9 months ago
    A proper association is united by ideas, not by men, and its members are loyal to the ideas, not to the group" That may have held at one point in time however times change. With the advent of Internet and more recently Blockchain tech incredible opportunities arise. How do you respond? to new developments such as GroupsStartup.net a pet project of p2tp startups.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 year, 9 months ago
    I think of collectivism similarly to how I think of revenge. Revenge was a substitute for a rational criminal justice system. Someone committing a crime knew that the victim or his family might spend more money or effort than was lost avenging someone who did him wrong. That served as a crude deterrent. Once the law is invented, even crude systems of law, violence decreases. But revenge worked for millennia.

    I think of collectivism as similarly working for bands of hunter-gathers. It stayed in place after agriculture. The value was in the land, and religious people taught that we find ourselves on this world with limited resources and the good people among us will share those resources, putting others ahead of themselves.

    This system is incompatible with reason and doesn't work in a world of plenty where people can save some of what they produce, mix it with hard work, and create unlimited wealth. But the religions of the world carry on preaching selflessness. Selfishness is up against millennia of tradition.

    When I observe that the Enlightenment didn't lead to widespread Objectivism, I accept that it's a slow process. Even compared to 100 years ago, the average person today understand better than their life is theirs, they are free to make stuff and keep it for themselves, it's wrong to hit and steal, and it's wrong to deny someone these rights on account of their physical attributes.

    Also, some of the collectivist bromides are things people say without meaning them. Someone who says, “you should always put others before yourself in a business deal,” may actually mean, “you should be honest and not cheat or steal.” It's similar to people saying, “maybe it's part of God's plan,” even though they know the rational explanation.

    So I think you're absolutely right to find the people who appear to be operating rationally and selfishly (in the Ayn Rand way) and not focus on problems. The collapse at the end of AS is an allegory, not something happening in our world. Despite the evil in the world, people are generally freer now, and it's leading to amazing prosperity.

    If you find physical or virtual communities of people using the amazing freedom and opportunity in the world to their own benefit and not spending too much time bemoaning the problems, invite me to visit.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks for your comparison and the bigger context. You provide more optimism, so thank you. Come to think of it, there are a lot of communities or movements in the US with people who love the freedoms and opportunities for prosperity today. If you think about all of the people promoting financial independence and a "laptop lifestyle", they are fighting for capitalism and individual liberty. You can question the validity of their particular products or services, in some cases their ethics, but their actions, messages, and philosophies are strongly anti-communist and anti-whining. Thanks for reminding me that there are many more people today who love freedom, understand what it means, and are actively pursuing it than in most of human history.
      If you want some other virtual communities I have some suggestions for you. Best for us to talk over phone or video first so I can understand more about you and what would appeal to you. Let me know if you are interested in following up on that.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 9 months ago
        People are not generally freer now. Decades of 'liberal' welfare statism, controls, and ethnic balkanization have been crushing us as they progressively lead down a spiral of increasing collectivism and statism. The technological progress has occurred in spite of that, not because of it, and it is the technological progress that represents optimism of what is possible through rationality, but which is being progressively stifled by a politically elitist authoritarianism of the bureaucratic state. The effects are not felt uniformly; the impact depends on where you live, your personal interests, and your career. Elitist 'liberals' in upscale areas with lucrative careers are having a ball while they shaft those they have such contempt for. The kind of 'freedom' they luxuriate in is not political freedom.
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        • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
          This would be a nice debate topic. :-) Because I see that our growth in technologies is giving the individual more tools and more powerful tools to fight against the coercion and tyranny that IS ALSO on the rise.
          This is the story of human existence, is it not? The never-ending battle of people to realize their fullest potential while battling against forces opposed to it - both natural and man made.
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          • Posted by ewv 1 year, 8 months ago
            Technology is a tool for whoever uses it (and is allowed to use it). It doesn't make us freer when it is used against us.

            There hasn't been a never-ending battle of people to realize their fullest potential. Most people don't, for example in the thousand years of the Dark and Middle Ages. It's a matter of choice that requires rationality with conceptual thought.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 year, 8 months ago
    Your post and rbroberg's post on giving money to political parties has me thinking. I found Ayn Rand's books by chance four years ago. The thing that stood out most about Fountainhead is it somewhat gets in the mind of people playing politics. I used to think they were people willing to lie and manipulate to get what they want in life. In Fountainhead and AS, we see people who lie and manipulate not to get what they want. They don't want anything for themselves. Getting a reaction from others is all they have in life.

    Long before I found Rand, I've gone to politicians' fundraisers for networking, fun, and to get to know politicians and their staff. Those are perfectly good reasons, but the level irrationality has increase, and I think by going I'm partly participating in evil. When I engage in discussions with people getting their jollies off other people making some other people look bad in meetings, I'm possibly encouraging it. It's time I could have been doing something else.

    Finding Ayn Rand set me on a personal journey of sorts. But I don't see her fans possess a selfish joy for life that I got from the books more than the average person I know. The average person who occasionally utters collectivist platitudes is probably more selfish and less Second Hander than the average proclaimed Ayn Rand fan. It's possible I misunderstand them and/or misunderstand Rand's writings.

    But your post resonates with me: "No Fear. No regrets. And no time to waste.
    There's a lot of fun work to do with exciting results... lots of disappointments too, which is what makes successes exciting. The computer gives me a window from my world of freedom and plenty into a miserable world where life is so bad it's bound to fall apart and anything would be better. I can't do anything for the people on the miserable side, and just looking with no purpose is gawking.

    As you say, thanks to the Internet, we have unlimited windows to look through and communicate.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 8 months ago
      What are the 'Ayn Rand fans' you know and how do you know they are not more properly selfish than the average person? Those you read here? There are a lot of 'fans' who don't know what her philosophy is, let alone how to apply it, but may at least may avoid unearned guilt and big mistakes they otherwise would have made. You also don't know what people's personal lives are like from what you read here or hear someone saying about Ayn Rand or politics. There are also people posting here who are quite antagonistic to key principles of Ayn Rand and who shouldn't be assumed to understand, let alone be 'fans', just because they are here exploiting the forum.

      I wouldn't even begin to want to be around political fund-raisers and staffs and never have. I used to think politics was something that 'someone has to do', but because of the kind of people I saw in it -- an alien world I wanted no part of -- thought it could be ignored to pursue a productive life. Government action subsequently demonstrated otherwise. I have met a few good people in government but generally regard dealing with it as nothing but self defense. It's not just that I don't want to encourage them by being around them, I don't enjoy or want to be around them. Participation in evil can be deeper than just politics.

      But the mentality you describe of people seeking reactions from others and nothing rational for personal goals of their own is not restricted to government. You see that everywhere, though you can safely ignore such people as long as they are not exercising destructive power. It's Howard Roark in comparison with Peter Keating -- the essence of it is not political at all, though it also shows up there. The Fountainhead is not a political novel, and the essence of Atlas Shrugged isn't either -- when I first read it it didn't even occur to me to think of it that way.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 8 months ago
      Thanks for sharing some backstory with you, and letting me know that my post resonated.
      Perhaps what we both are talking about is that we can pursue success in many efforts. And achieve success, within those contexts. But in the bigger picture, are those pursuits really the ones we should be going after?
      Peter Drucker emphasizes that effective leadership is doing the right things effectively. Figuring out what those "right things" are is probably the biggest challenge in life. That's where a rational, reality-based, and life-affirming philosophy becomes unbeatable. :-)
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  • Posted by Tbird7553 1 year, 9 months ago
    The fact that you seem committed to DPC is inspiring. I'm a psych nurse in Lodi and would love to learn more and possibly find related employment.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 9 months ago
      Thanks for replying to my post here and finding it! We are within reasonable driving distance to each other. I can connect you with some other people in our region. This DPC network is going to be successful.
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