Nicolaus Nemeth

Going Galt

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If you've got the extra coin, perhaps it's a good move? Check it out for yourself.

During the month of April, 2009:

Be Counted ... by purchasing one or more copies of the book Atlas Shrugged to spike its sales ranking.

Be Visible ... by sending these books to your politicians so that they can see that you do not support their current policies and proposals.

Be United ... in delivering the message that we want our individual rights and freedoms protected, not plundered.

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I do think that people can change their premises and even their philosophy, but some will never do so. Some of those who will not do so are politicians that are power seekers and evaders of the facts. Does anyone think that Reid or Pelosi are going to change their ideas if given Atlas Shrugged? I am willing to speculate that they have already read the book and do not agree with Ayn Rand's ideas nor do they like the publicity that the book is receiving. I offer to instead vote the corrupt politicians out of office and real change may then be possible.

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I do think that people can change their premises and even their philosophy, but some will never do so. Some of those who will not do so are politicians that are power seekers and evaders of the facts. Does anyone think that Reid or Pelosi are going to change their ideas if given Atlas Shrugged?

The politicians won't change their ideas, but other people seeing the protest reported in news and blogs, who are more receptive and in many cases culturally influential, will be exposed to Ayn Rand's ideas. It also proves to the politicians in power as well as any of the news media who care to pay attention how much of the public opposes what those in power are doing.

I am willing to speculate that they have already read the book and do not agree with Ayn Rand's ideas nor do they like the publicity that the book is receiving. I offer to instead vote the corrupt politicians out of office and real change may then be possible.

Intellectual activism, particularly excellent opportunities to get publicity to Ayn Rand's works, will do far more than a single vote--particularly in today's elections when a vote for one candidate or the other cannot send a very clear message.

The last couple of months have seen unprecedented exposure to Ayn Rand's material by people who are not Objectivists and are outside the Objectivist movement. They are gravitating toward the right ideas, for mostly the right reasons. Objectivists should not lose these opportunities to underscore the moral support of capitalism and why Objectivism is uniquely and crucially needed.

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Jeff, I did not say that other people will not be influenced. But the second line of the quoted statement from Nicolaus's post states "sending these books to your politicians so that they can see that you do not support their current policies and proposals." I do not think that the politicians care what you nor I think as I have written many letters to many different politicians and received standard responses defending their positions without any direct rebuttal to my statements.

I also did not state that my one vote would do much by itself. But I do not think sending out books to people that have no concern to read them will make much of a change. I discuss ideas with people everyday and attempt to explain the fundamentals of Objectivism in a manner that is relevant to each person which usually motivates them to go further.

Finally, I did not state that Objectivist should not take opportunities that might help to spread Objectivism. But after years of constantly watching people's behavior, I do not agree that sending books to corrupt politicians/people will do a lot of good. I will spend my "extra coin" giving the books to those that I think might create real change and I think that most will do the same.

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I do not think that the politicians care what you nor I think

Second-handers and pragmatist politicians always care what you think.

They may never be convinced by your ideas but they cannot ignore the opposition and disapproval of self-confident critics. It puts them on notice that they cannot get away with what they want to do, so they may back off and not do it.

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I do not think that the politicians care what you nor I think

Second-handers and pragmatist politicians always care what you think.

They may never be convinced by your ideas but they cannot ignore the opposition and disapproval of self-confident critics. It puts them on notice that they cannot get away with what they want to do, so they may back off and not do it.

Depending on their polls and focus group research telling them what they can get away with ignoring a minority.

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Hi:

I'm the fellow that is actually sponsoring the Atlas Shrugged Books-to-Politicians Campaign at go-galt.org. I came across this thread, saw a number of interesting comments, and thought I would chime in with my own perspective.

First, I wanted to thank Nicholaus for the initial reference. The most difficult part of any grass-roots action such as this is getting the word out to interested parties, so I really appreciate his initiative in bringing the message to this forum.

Ray Kilmer wrote: "Does anyone think that Reid or Pelosi are going to change their ideas if given Atlas Shrugged?"

Ray, I understand your thinking, and this same argument against participating in this project has come up elsewhere. The point I would like to make is that I was under no illusions when I started this initiative that it would have any real ideological impact on any of the politicians receiving the books. As I say on my web site, they don't even read their own legislation, so it would be foolish to expect that they would read this book, let alone having it change their mind on anything. The real purpose of this campaign is to generate an event that will garner additional media coverage and give all of us another opportunity to get out our message of liberty, individual rights, constitutionally limited government, and the need for people to step up and once again take responsibility for their own lives. I truly believe that this campaign can produce that opportunity, if it is successful at getting enough people to participate. It was designed to coordinate with the Tea Party tax protests of April 15th, which should generate considerable media coverage. But, as with all things, the public will have forgotten all about that within a short time, so I hope to generate another round of coverage at the end of the month when the book totals are reported to the media and they begin to probe the politicians to see what their reaction is to this type of protest against their policies.

jeffT wrote: "but other people seeing the protest reported in news and blogs [...] will be exposed to Ayn Rand's ideas. [...] Intellectual activism [...] will do far more than a single vote--particularly in today's elections"

Excellent points Jeff. This is exactly what I am trying to do. The point is to use the media to get access to a wider audience in the general public and get them further exposed to Rand's message of an individualistic morality that opposes the socialistic one now being rammed down our throats. When you speak of "intellectual activism", I think it is time for Objectivists to begin focusing on the activism part. While I consider myself an intellectual, I believe that we can no longer continue to simply spread our ideas by way of the written word. The process of education is a slow one and it appears to me that time may be running out for our ideals to gain traction culturally and reverse the course we are on. The politicians of both the left and the right have been embolden over the past decade, by the erosion of most of the constitutional limits on government, so that they now have no hesitation in imposing their will upon the rest of us as they work to reshape our society in their image. We need to take actions to actively stop this run-a-way train or I fear that will not be long before we find that we will no longer have the opportunity to even express our ideas.

Betsy wrote: "Second-handers and pragmatist politicians always care what you think."

I agree with this. Politicians my not care about the ideas and opinions you express, in and of themselves, but they do sit up and take notice when there is a large group of people becoming united behind a single cause. They get concerned because this represents a potential threat to their reelection. That is a secondary benefit of this book campaign and is something that might actually produce a bit of fun. Someone wrote in on my web site with this comment:

"Also, one other lovely dilemma this could put them in, especially if there is publicity about this [book campaign]. They won't be keeping all the books, but what will they do? Destroy them? Oh dear - sounds like book burning. Donate them to a school? Oh dear -- they're endorsing Atlas?"

Well now, that sounds like fun to me! :-)

I would like to ask all of you to become activists in this campaign. Even if you can only send a single book to the most deserving politician, it could be a huge boost to this action. I am working to get this campaign announced at all of the tax day Tea Party rallies, so I anticipate a huge influx of participants in the days after April 15th. However, to add credibility and make others more comfortable in participating, I believe it is important to get past a minimum threshold of a few hundred participants prior to that date. So I am asking people to contribute now in two ways. Please decide how many books you can send, and record them on my web site. And then, promote the campaign in any way you can. You might send emails to others you think would be willing to get involved, talk about the campaign at meetings you attend, or write about it on other forums or blogs. If you have a web page, for the month of April you can add a small graphic and link. Information on how to do that can be found at go-galt.org#LINK.

I will truly appreciate any help you can offer. You can reach be at: jeff@gogalt.org

In Liberty,

--

C. Jeffery Small

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Jeff, thank you for taking the time and effort to explain your reasons for starting such a project.

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I will participate in this effort, and I've linked it to my Facebook page. I've been handing out Atlas to those I know for many years, but never thought about sending it to a Politician.

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During the month of April, 2009:

Be Counted ... by purchasing one or more copies of the book Atlas Shrugged to spike its sales ranking.

The significance of the sales rankings is that more people are interested in reading it. Our goal is not to inflate the statistics making them untrustworthy the way the Scientologists do -- that would in fact "spike" the rankings by destroying their meaning. The goal is to pursuade people who would benefit from the book to read it.

Be Visible ... by sending these books to your politicians so that they can see that you do not support their current policies and proposals.

Be United ... in delivering the message that we want our individual rights and freedoms protected, not plundered.

There are less expensive, less wasteful means to tell politicians you oppose their policies. Sending books may, within limits, serve to bring attention to such opposition, but the best use of these books is for intelligent, honest people to read them -- as is encouraged for example in the ARI student book program and essay contests. Can you imagine the results of an "Atlas Shrugged essay contest for Congressmen"?

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During the month of April, 2009:

Be Counted ... by purchasing one or more copies of the book Atlas Shrugged to spike its sales ranking.

The significance of the sales rankings is that more people are interested in reading it. Our goal is not to inflate the statistics making them untrustworthy the way the Scientologists do -- that would in fact "spike" the rankings by destroying their meaning. The goal is to pursuade people who would benefit from the book to read it.

Be Visible ... by sending these books to your politicians so that they can see that you do not support their current policies and proposals.

Be United ... in delivering the message that we want our individual rights and freedoms protected, not plundered.

There are less expensive, less wasteful means to tell politicians you oppose their policies. Sending books may, within limits, serve to bring attention to such opposition, but the best use of these books is for intelligent, honest people to read them -- as is encouraged for example in the ARI student book program and essay contests. Can you imagine the results of an "Atlas Shrugged essay contest for Congressmen"?

Do you think they'd read the book as well as they read the stimulus package?

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During the month of April, 2009:

Be Counted ... by purchasing one or more copies of the book Atlas Shrugged to spike its sales ranking.

The significance of the sales rankings is that more people are interested in reading it. Our goal is not to inflate the statistics making them untrustworthy the way the Scientologists do -- that would in fact "spike" the rankings by destroying their meaning. The goal is to pursuade people who would benefit from the book to read it.

Be Visible ... by sending these books to your politicians so that they can see that you do not support their current policies and proposals.

Be United ... in delivering the message that we want our individual rights and freedoms protected, not plundered.

There are less expensive, less wasteful means to tell politicians you oppose their policies. Sending books may, within limits, serve to bring attention to such opposition, but the best use of these books is for intelligent, honest people to read them -- as is encouraged for example in the ARI student book program and essay contests. Can you imagine the results of an "Atlas Shrugged essay contest for Congressmen"?

Do you think they'd read the book as well as they read the stimulus package?

As kindergarten training wheels there could be a "Legislation essay contest".

But there is a difference: For their purposes they don't need to read the legislation. Their staff and lobbyists draft the parts that they want and that's all that they care about. They don't care what others have put into the legislation and regard that, whatever it is, as the game of mutual backscratching called "compromise" in the earmark rankings of the Pork Bowl.

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I think that those who call it shrugging may be serious about it.

But when someone starts about ''going-Galt'' I have to hold in a little laugh. :rolleyes:

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I think that those who call it shrugging may be serious about it.

But when someone starts about ''going-Galt'' I have to hold in a little laugh. :rolleyes:

Felix - Once you start "Shrugging.org/.net/.com" or whatever, I'll be right there participating too. B)

It’s not going to be a single activity that changes the culture, but a preponderance of activities like letters to the editor, blogging, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc.), talking to friends and family, attending Tea Parties, or sponsoring Atlas book drives to Politicians.

Mr. Small has created one more venue for our activism, and if it doesn’t suit your interests then shrug, and try something else.

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I think that those who call it shrugging may be serious about it.

But when someone starts about ''going-Galt'' I have to hold in a little laugh. :rolleyes:

Felix - Once you start "Shrugging.org/.net/.com" or whatever, I'll be right there participating too. B)

It's not going to be a single activity that changes the culture, but a preponderance of activities like letters to the editor, blogging, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc.), talking to friends and family, attending Tea Parties, or sponsoring Atlas book drives to Politicians.

Mr. Small has created one more venue for our activism, and if it doesn't suit your interests then shrug, and try something else.

I meant when somebody talks about ''going-Galt'' in the way the I think the media used it.

When somebody talks about it in such a lighthearted way and at the same time clearly thinks of it as striving for some kind of platonic ideal, that's when I find it funny.

And slightly irritating.

The project is commendable in how it could enlighten people as to what it actually means.

And although I don't support buying a book just to up its sales, this site also gives extra reasons for doing so.

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I meant when somebody talks about ''going-Galt'' in the way the I think the media used it.

When somebody talks about it in such a lighthearted way and at the same time clearly thinks of it as striving for some kind of platonic ideal, that's when I find it funny.

And slightly irritating.

The project is commendable in how it could enlighten people as to what it actually means.

And although I don't support buying a book just to up its sales, this site also gives extra reasons for doing so.

I apologize - I missunderstood what you meant. :rolleyes:

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I apologize - I missunderstood what you meant. :rolleyes:

No hard feelings, I even wondered if I should apologize for having been so blunt. B)

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Sending books to politicians [unless you have specific information that a specific politician is open to our ideas] is surely an exercise in incredible futility.

These people are supposed to already know that there's a U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. They have demonstrated that they don't care. Government by fiat and open plunder is already here. Under Comrade Obama, his fellow Marxists in Congress, and the futile pro-sacrifice, big-government Republicans, we are well down the road that Venezuela is following.

Send the books to schools, via ARI's wonderful program, and give books individually to people you know who are receptive.

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Sending books to politicians [unless you have specific information that a specific politician is open to our ideas] is surely an exercise in incredible futility.

These people are supposed to already know that there's a U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. They have demonstrated that they don't care. Government by fiat and open plunder is already here. Under Comrade Obama, his fellow Marxists in Congress, and the futile pro-sacrifice, big-government Republicans, we are well down the road that Venezuela is following.

Send the books to schools, via ARI's wonderful program, and give books individually to people you know who are receptive.

I disagree with your judgment that it is futile. I bought 20 books and sent them with a cover letter I carefully wrote to say just what I'd like to say to these people if I had two minutes of their time. I do realize the letter will probably be read by an aide, and possibly not at all, but I imagine half or more will be read.

Sending the book isn't an effort to educate, but to impress our representatives. It is an attention-getting action that places the outlook on government and the present situation which I hold, and which has the best chance of persuading our representatives to act usefully, right in their hands. It is a vote for capitalism.

By the way, I ended up wrapping my books in some 6 mil. plastic sheeting I have, that is perfectly clear. I turned the first third of the letter outwards and folded it over the book cover, so it can be read without opening the package. That it is a book, and that it is Atlas Shrugged is "clear" without opening the package, and that also, I thought, might help with the security processing. Also, everybody from the P.O. workers who sort and bag and deliver the books to each person who has a chance to see the package sitting around will know what it is, and, possibly, read the opening of the letter!

The books are likely to stay in the offices for a while, at least until the brouhaha over Tea Parties has quieted down, because if it doesn't quiet down, and the press start asking questions about book copies received, publicity-savvy politicians--that is, all of them--will want to be able to say what happened to the books people are saying they sent to them.

Myself, I am going to follow up with a letter asking if the book was received, etc. That just adds more wattage to the overall effort to bring attention to the defense of freedom and prosperity a la capitalism. So, the whole point is to impress our politicians that we realize capitalism is not the cause of the problem, and that government interference in the economy is against our wishes and is anathema to both freedom and prosperity. The point is to tell them that we know this, and we require them, with all the force we hold--now we speak out and, when it is time, we vote--to act accordingly.

Another reason to send books is that it helps clarify that Tea Party protests are not just tax protests. The liberal press are doing their best to smear, misrepresent, and denigrate this movement. Many participants have their own agenda, which is only partially aligned with a defense of capitalism. The more AS is put forth as the ideology of the protest, the better!

By connecting one's protest to AS, you can join with people whose fundamental point of view you wouldn't agree with, but who are also speaking out in the present crisis, and collectively create a spectacle that impresses the powers that be, without implicitly endorsing ideas you don't hold or wish to promote. AS is a whole philosophical statement. It can't be misunderstood.

This is a way to give voice to our ideas, and to the fact that people dedicated to those ideas exist, and are watching, and are willing to take action. How can you not be willing to give such a project the benefit of the doubt?

Mindy

Another thought: When the splash of an event is sufficient to get media attention, every politician must prepare him or herself to answer questions about it, just in case it is brought up! To do that, they have to become informed about the size of the event, and need to know what the protestors are in fact saying. They have to formulate their response so as to prevent seeming to take any position that will back-fire on them as the financial crisis develops--which is an unknown, still, and so as not to alienate voters. That means thinking things through, and isn't that exactly what we want?

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This is a way to give voice to our ideas, and to the fact that people dedicated to those ideas exist, and are watching, and are willing to take action. How can you not be willing to give such a project the benefit of the doubt?

If Atlas Shrugged existed in 1918 do you think sending one to Lenin or later to Stalin would have changed their premises or the way they ran their governments? If so, send one to Chavez and let me know what type of rebuttal you receive?

Some people are beyond worrying about or attempting to change and I think a lot of our politicians fall into that category.

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If Atlas Shrugged existed in 1918 do you think sending one to Lenin or later to Stalin would have changed their premises or the way they ran their governments? If so, send one to Chavez and let me know what type of rebuttal you receive?

Some people are beyond worrying about or attempting to change and I think a lot of our politicians fall into that category.

Good people are concerned with what is true and good. Bad people only care about what they can get away with. Atlas can provide the first group with the ideas they need and can impress the second group, as Mindy noted, that they had better put their evil agenda on hold for now.

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If Atlas Shrugged existed in 1918 do you think sending one to Lenin or later to Stalin would have changed their premises or the way they ran their governments? If so, send one to Chavez and let me know what type of rebuttal you receive?

Some people are beyond worrying about or attempting to change and I think a lot of our politicians fall into that category.

Good people are concerned with what is true and good. Bad people only care about what they can get away with. Atlas can provide the first group with the ideas they need and can impress the second group, as Mindy noted, that they had better put their evil agenda on hold for now.

Please point to a time and place in history where the evil aggresors were ever appeased. I would instead offer that there is no appeasement of the evil aggressors, so let us not waste our time, money or efforts on tactics that will not work.

Politicians represnt the ideas of the people/culture that elects them. If moral politicians are what we want then we need to start with changing the minds of the people that elect them. In other words, the politician is the end not the beginning.

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Good people are concerned with what is true and good. Bad people only care about what they can get away with. Atlas can provide the first group with the ideas they need and can impress the second group, as Mindy noted, that they had better put their evil agenda on hold for now.

Please point to a time and place in history where the evil aggressors were ever appeased. I would instead offer that there is no appeasement of the evil aggressors, so let us not waste our time, money or efforts on tactics that will not work.

It is not an issue of appeasing evil aggressors but of putting them on notice that there will be a high price to pay if they aggress. Sending Atlas to a legislator tells him that some activist constituents don't agree with what he wants to do and he had better not do it. He may still want to pass socialist legislation, but he wants to get re-elected even more, so he'll vote against it.

Politicians represent the ideas of the people/culture that elects them. If moral politicians are what we want then we need to start with changing the minds of the people that elect them. In other words, the politician is the end not the beginning.

Very true. I advocate short-term political activism targeting current law-makers AND long-term intellectual activism to change the culture. We can and should do BOTH.

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If Atlas Shrugged existed in 1918 do you think sending one to Lenin or later to Stalin would have changed their premises or the way they ran their governments? If so, send one to Chavez and let me know what type of rebuttal you receive?

Some people are beyond worrying about or attempting to change and I think a lot of our politicians fall into that category.

Good people are concerned with what is true and good. Bad people only care about what they can get away with. Atlas can provide the first group with the ideas they need and can impress the second group, as Mindy noted, that they had better put their evil agenda on hold for now.

Please point to a time and place in history where the evil aggresors were ever appeased. I would instead offer that there is no appeasement of the evil aggressors, so let us not waste our time, money or efforts on tactics that will not work.

Politicians represnt the ideas of the people/culture that elects them. If moral politicians are what we want then we need to start with changing the minds of the people that elect them. In other words, the politician is the end not the beginning.

That's a great line, that the politician is the end, not the beginning! That should be etched somewhere (besides my memory.)

Mindy

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