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CartsBeforeHorses

Spreading our ideas... Who, what, where, when, why?

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Who should we focus on spreading our ideas to? Should we try to convert people who already hold one of our major premises? Atheists, anarcho-capitalists, libertarians, businessmen, politicians, and scientists come to mind as high-value "conversion" targets. Or, should we take a much broader approach and try to spread our philosophy to the masses?

What ideas should we focus on spreading the most? Reason? Self-interest? Capitalism? Many people already call themselves reasonable, self-interested, or capitalists, but they're clearly not. Many of those in the "who" category above support the welfare state, for instance. What should we do to convince them of their hypocrisy?

Where should we focus on spreading our ideas? With our friends in real life? On blogs? White papers? Should we write new novels and try to make a best-seller? Should we use memes and YouTube videos, which is how many other ideas spread in this day and age? Should we reach out to as many internet communities as possible?

When should we spread our ideas? Every spare moment that we have, in order to make our lives better as soon as possible? Or should we acknowledge that changing philosophy and changing the culture takes time?

Why should we even spread our ideas? Is it in our self-interest to actively try to convert people over to our way of thinking? Or is it in our self-interest to live our lives as shining beacons of objectivism lived out in people? Make as much money as we can and let the rest speak for itself.

I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

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An investment die company recently gave a presentation at our office facility. One of the facts that was presented was that they currently produce 18 million units per year. A quick calculation put the following into perspective. 7 billion people divided by 18 million parts per year would only take them 388.888 years to produce one unit for each person on the planet, not counting other factors which could obviously augment this statement.

Just over 55 years ago, In 1962, Miss Rand had written a letter than contained the following:

 Ideas take time to spread, but we will not have to wait for decades—because reason and reality are on our side.

It is now going on 5 and 1/2 decades since she wrote this. Reason and reality are still on our side (and will always be.) Objectivism is a philosophy for living on earth (informally, per Philosophy: Who Needs It?). Whether you desire to be a shining beacon, have lots of money, or if it is happiness that you seek—keep in mind the one "should" ("moral commandment") that Objectivism holds as a contradiction in terms:

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I'm currently reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, which I find fascinating for many reasons (and recommend for the same). At one point within the book. Gladwell discusses market research where, for instance, one brand of whiskey (Christian Brothers) was losing market share to a similarly priced competitor (E&J Gallo). When tested blind, consumers preferred the Christian Brothers; when tested, knowing which was which by name, consumers preferred the Christian Brothers; when tested after seeing the drinks poured from their bottle, only then did consumers prefer the E&J; and when tested after switching the bottles, pouring Christian Brothers from the E&J bottle and vice-versa, consumers preferred the Christian Brothers by a wider margin than ever before.

Every time the consumers described themselves as preferring the choice they did according to taste.

I bring this up because I like the questions Carts raises in the OP. Over the last several years, I have come to believe that one of the things the Objectivist community needs to begin considering is how we present ourselves in society. Perhaps if more of the world gave Objectivism a sincere reading -- a real chance (whatever we think would constitute that) -- they would come to agree with the essential arguments and ideas therein. But currently they do not allow Objectivism that sincere reading, that real chance, because their initial associations dissuade them from it. I think it at least possible that the Objectivist brand is toxic, or perhaps our "packaging" is insufficient, or both, and if Rand expected Objectivist ideas to spread more quickly through society than it has done, this is perhaps part of the reason why.

Edited by DonAthos

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