Wednesday, April 01, 2009


In these pretty depressing times, where we’re seemingly under assault from all sides (from attacks on freedom of speech, to government-mandated servitude, to the socialization of many of our financial institutions and perhaps of medicine, to the abandonment of the rule of law, to the further encroachment of environmentalism and the man-haters, to the continued rise of religion, etc.), I wanted to take a moment to thank all those who have really stepped up to oppose these attacks. Foremost I’d like to publicly thank Paul Hsieh whose tireless work is an inspiration. I’d also like to thank the staff, scholars and financial supporters of ARI and Anthem; the volunteers at the Undercurrent; bloggers such as Gus Van Horn, Doug Reich, and Diana Hsieh; active members of the OActivist list; and anyone who speaks up for the right ideas in any form.

Given the number of people who are working hard to right the wrongs we see all around us, and given that they’re growing in every aspect (number, quality and organization), I’m cautiously optimistic that better days lie ahead.

For my own part, I’ll say that the commitment I made to myself after 9/11—to learning and then trying to present a systematic defense of proper principles and values—has been much more interesting and rewarding than I ever would have expected (special thanks here to Onk and the OAC). More and more I find myself focusing my time on interacting with, and supporting, those who are also learning and fighting—not out of any sense of duty, but out of common values and the intellectual challenge and stimulus it provides. Looked at that way, even though the “macro” climate is much worse than it was 5 or 10 years ago, my personal “micro” climate is substantially better. So for that too, I’d like to thank all those who have not resigned themselves to their fates, but who are actively working towards something much better.


Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

Your acknowledgment of the people you have named is an act of justice -- recognizing their efforts and their achievements. That positive act of justice may also serve as a reminder and incentive for others to choose one of the many roles required to change a culture.

Your comments about "micro-climate" are insightful. An individual acting with other individuals for a common purpose is creating a small-scale society. A society--in the usual, larger, politically defined sense--consists of such small-scale societies in the form of networks, ad-hoc organizations, and institutions.

By creating such small-scale societies, dedicated individuals can partly supplant a larger society where it cannot wholly change it directly. Both need to be done: supplant where possible and change where possible.

Those elements of a society which can neither be changed nor supplanted will eventually wither away if the others are successful in changing the direction of a society and its culture.

Thank you for taking a positive approach--rewarding the good--and not wasting time primarily berating the bad.

8:02 AM  
Blogger The Rat Cap said...


This was a really uplifting post and I appreciate it very much. Burgess hit the nail on the head. This was a great reminder to focus on the good.

I'm continually astonished by the number and quality of blogs and organizations out there. In this sense, despite the political insanity before us, I am more optimistic now than I was 10 or 20years ago. As recent events illustrate, Objectivism is making major in roads into the culture in large part due to the efforts of all of these people and I actually think the climate is more conducive now than it has ever been. It's not surprising that things have gotten worse politically - I am more surprised and excited by the exponentially increasing interest and influence of Objectivism.

Thanks again for the reminder!

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Lucy said...

Thanks, Amit, for the inspiring note and the reminder of all the people who are fighting for the good and all the reasons to be hopeful that we will succeed.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Gus Van Horn said...


I'd like to add my thanks to Burgess and Doug's comments, and I also especially liked the comment on the improvement to your "micro-climate". That has certainly been the case for me, but I don't believe I ever actually articulated it.

Naming an abstraction or an emotional sum like that helps one retain it. That's always valuable, but it is crucial today.



5:27 AM  

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