Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Changing the Wind"

With my inspirational new design in place…and with the first anniversary of my introductory post approaching next month…I thought that this might be a good time to restate my purpose for launching my blog.

Recently, my wife Kathy had this conversation. An acquaintance stated that this election would be an “interesting” one. With that Kathy engaged the woman, laying out in some detail (about 10 or 15 minutes worth) her beliefs about one of the key issues in the upcoming campaign…“universal healthcare.” She argued the case against it, and the case in favor of government-run health care’s opposite…free market medicine. As Kathy spoke, the acquaintance didn’t really have much to say, mostly listening and nodding. But Kathy was given an “opening”…i.e., an opportunity to advocate for the ideas she believes in, and she seized it. During the conversation, she quoted from Dr. Paul Hsieh's letter circulated to other doctors, stating a crucial principle which sits at the heart of the debate…that “health care is a *need*, but not a right.”

This may seem like an inconsequential encounter. But, in actuality, it captures the essence of the purpose of this blog. The episode discussed above is an example of intellectual activism. Ideas are a powerful force, the force that determines the political direction of a country. By taking a stand, at an appropriate time and place, on an issue based on fundamental premises, Kathy was fighting in the only meaningful arena…the battleground of ideas.

The Objectivist Movement, of which I am a part, is not a political, but a philosophical, movement. (Kathy is not an Objectivist, but she shares many Objectivist positions.) Politics follows culture, and so the aim is to change the culture by bringing Ayn Rand’s ideas of reason, individualism, rational egoism, and laissez-faire capitalism into the mainstream of American dialogue.

Richard Ralston said it best over at Americans for Free Choice in Medicine:

"Don't worry about changing the politicians. The politicians will wear their fingers to the bone
sticking them in the air to test which way the wind is blowing.
Instead, work on CHANGING THE WIND. If you change the wind, the
politicians will follow."

This is, admittedly, no easy task. Neither will it be accomplished quickly. It took decades for the poisonous ideas that have brought us to the point of having a choice for president between two statists to penetrate the culture. But it will have to be accomplished, if America’s course toward economic and political disaster is to be turned. With the century-plus long trend toward collectivism and statism re-asserting itself with a vengeance after a brief respite following the “Reagan Revolution” and the fall of Communism, it is only Objectivism that offers a clear alternative to the bankruptcy of American liberalism and conservatism. It is only Objectivism that offers a moral defense of Americanism and capitalism. Objectivists are, in Ayn Rand’s descriptive language, radicals for capitalism.

America, I believe, is ripe for a radical alternative. A radical philosophical alternative. “A philosophical battle is a battle for men’s minds,” wrote Ayn Rand in 1972, “History is made by intellectual movements, which are created by minorities. In an intellectual battle, you do not need to convert everyone.” We will, as Kathy was attempting to do, change the culture one mind at a time.

We intend to “Change the Wind.”

No comments: