Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bright Side

After watching the election, and the general populace's seeming need for a dictator/messiah, it's sometimes hard to stay positive and motivated. So with that in mind, I'd recommend checking out this post at NoodleFood detailing all they've accomplished in the last few months. It's rather inspirational, particularly when you consider that, as Paul says:
All of us at FROG are amateurs with regular day jobs, writing in our free time with a budget of zero dollars. Hence, no think tank in Washington DC can claim a better output-to-expenses ratio!

We all wrote on topics of our own choosing, based on our personal interests. We covered a broad range of topics, including the financial crisis, health care reform, abortion, church-state separation, and various state and local ballot initiatives, all with the purpose of applying Objectivist ideas to issues of importance to ordinary Americans. Each of us participated as little or as much as was appropriate within the full context of our busy lives, in a non-sacrificial fashion, according to the principles discussed by Debi Ghate and Tom Bowden in their 2008 OCON special workshop, "How to Be An Agent of Cultural Change".
I'd also mention that I'm quite encouraged by the fact that there are 14 students (including myself) completing the OAC this year, most of whom I think are eager to begin applying our new systemic understanding of Objectivism to cultural issues.

Finally, fwiw, during the period for which Paul reports the FROG tally, I had two (1,2) editorials published, and one shot down as essentially incomprehensible. I hope to increase my output in the first quarter of this year...


Blogger Paul Hsieh said...

Excellent! As a non-finance person, I greatly enjoyed the two that you had published, and I look forward to reading more from you in 2009.

If you don't mind my asking, what was the "incomprehensible" one about? Were you trying to explain some complicated financial issue to average readers?

8:16 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi Paul,

The ill-fated editorial was one in which I tried to show how the Keynesian focus on spending has resulted in our general impoverishment, but apparently it was too scatter-shot to be understood.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Michael Neibel said...

Amit: That's great! In the last three months I've had three lte's printed in the Detroit News and one in the liberal Detroit Free Press which was an Ayn Rand mention. I only do this part time.

Keep up the good work.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

That's fantastic Mike! I've always enjoyed your insights and writing style so I'm very glad you're able to get your thoughts out to a wider audience!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

P.S. I think keeping this kind of tally is a great motivational tool. Since Noodlefood is definitely the central blog hub, maybe Paul wouldn't mind asking others to post their contributions next time he posts the FROG results. (And if it were of interest, we could do some statistics, e.g. which states are best represented, which papers are most amenable to publishing these works, etc.)

11:46 AM  
Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

"After watching the election . . . it's sometimes hard to stay positive and motivated. So with that in mind, I'd recommend checking out this post at NoodleFood detailing all they've accomplished in the last few months."

Here is another point that may help stay positive and motivated: Besides the astonishing accomplishments of FROG, there are others in the culture doing work that is not easy to tally. Philosophical ripples pass through many intermediate steps and then through many channels to permeate a culture.

For example, some individuals are working on books. Such projects are very long-term and are achieved often in silence until the announcement of publication, but their effect can last a long time. (Drs. Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate mentioned the special value of writing and publishing books, in their lecture series, "Cultural Movements: Creating Change," available in a video on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights website under Participate, Activism.)

Many others talk to people face-to-face, either in one-to-one conversations, in informal groups, or through public speaking. Except possibly for the latter, such activists leave no record, but they are serving a crucial function: repetition. As Drs. Brook and Ghate pointed out, it is not enough to broadcast a message once; the audience must hear it many times, from a variety of sources and in a variety of forms.

We also shouldn't forget the Quartermaster Corps, so to speak, the many people who donate money, contribute time, and open their homes for meetings that bring activists together. These people are enablers, and without them some operations would fail.

I have been a student of Objectivism for 47 years. Some of those years were very gloomy because of threats to freedom, egoism, and reason. For the first time in that long period, I have an inkling that positive change is coming, perhaps within the next 20 years.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi Burgess,

Thank you very much for the comment. I think my post had the unintended implication that there wasn't much else going on to be positive about, which is both wrong and ungrateful to all the people you mention. So I apologize for the implication and agree completely with your comment.

I don't really have a sense of what the future prospects are (and in any case, what can you do but try), so I'm happy to hear that someone with more experience is optimistic.

Thanks also for the link to your post, I found it informative.

8:35 AM  

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