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SELLING OBJECTIVISM

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EdSalti
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Rick Warren. Ring a bell? He’s the guy who invited Obama and McCain to his institution in California to answer questions. They went. He’s also the guy who gave the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. He is also the author of two books. The second one, A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE, sold over 30 million copies.

Rick Warren is a millionaire pastor of a church with 83,000 people in its congregation.

What is the relevance of a Christian preacher to an Objectivism forum?

Rick Warren fervently believes in a certain philosophy of life and believes that others should know that philosophy and should use it to guide their life. Sound like anyone you know?

A contest of philosophies is a contest of ideas. I think Objectivists are ceding the field to the competition without a fight despite the fact we have the ultimate weapon- reason.

Most Americans (and Canadians, and Australians, etc) are taught a Christian based philosophy from infancy. Very few ever stop to see if there might be a different, better way. Few of those who do stop to examine their philosophy elect to choose a different way, few of those who so choose, choose Objectivism.

When I first looked in on The Objectivist Forum, it was the “Marketplace for Objectivism” that caught my eye. I hoped to find an organized effort to sell Objectivism to other people. I haven’t found it yet.

The question before the house is: Is it worth the time and effort to organize a program to present Objectivism to the people as an alternative philosophy to a religion-based one?

Obviously, my answer to the question is, yes.

I think the reasons Objectivism isn’t better received are the lack of an organized effort and the lack of the tools needed to present the principles in a way that they can be accepted. The Ayn Rand Institute has a program that targets high school students with copies of Ayn Rand’s works and small scholarships. I don’t know how successful that program is. Frankly, I think it’s too little and too late.

Rather than be naught but the naysayer, let me share some thoughts for an organization.

#1. I think a category here in The Forum entitled, The Marketplace, or some such, would be a good place to start. It would be a place for those who are interested to share ideas, strategies, links, etc.

#2. Objectivism needs new literature. It needs literature that champions Objectivist principles in the form of comic books and beginner readers right on up through material like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Harry Potter for young teens.

It needs new adult literature. Ayn Rand’s fiction is written in the romantic style with both heroes and villains written larger than life. There is no reason why a mystery series on the order of Johnathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels couldn’t feature a hero who adheres to Objectivist principles. Miss Rand was fond of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer because she saw in him some of those qualities.

#3. The basic principles of Objectivism need to be broken down into a list something akin to the Ten Commandments. People respond to such abbreviated lists. If you tell someone you believe in a person’s inalienable right to his or her life and that no one has the right to demand that someone live their life for someone else’s convenience, you will not get an argument.

#4. Individual Objectivists need the tools and the training to use them to be speakers for their philosophy. Such simple things as a business card with the principles printed on it to give to someone who expresses interest. A small tract that explains the basics of Objectivism and gives references to websites and literature. Tee shirts that proclaim your beliefs and that stimulate conversation. How about “My O is better than your O”?

There are probably members of the Forum who are experience salespeople and who can write short guidelines for us to use in presenting our beliefs. When I discovered Objectivism, I alienated more friends than I interested because I was vibrating with the intensity of the newly-converted and wanted desperately to “show them the way to salvation.” I just didn’t know how.

So, what say you? Is this something worth doing?

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Is it worth doing?

Certainly. Why? Well, selfishly, to have like minded traders to work with. This hits on so many areas of one's life.

In a goal of "society" so much more can be attained with this kind of a motivated group of people.

Personally, I'm new to Objectivism, and I'm starting my children's "corruption". The satisfying part about that I can see that they seem to be empowered by the idea of making rational decisions, justice, integrity, etc.

As for selling it...

Well, really, you're looking for buyers. If you're just selling, well, you hit on people that are not buying. So, the question is: what is the low hanging fruit? People you do business with? A boss? A co worker? For me, the seed was planted in me by a customer at a place that I worked. Took me years to finally read Atlas Shrugged, but I did do it finally. The opportunity to "present" or suggest can happen a lot. Lend your copy of Atlas to someone.

Conservatives certainly share some similar values, but the values aren't as well defined in a moral context as Objectivism by Rand.

I think the danger is in that some individuals that might recognize some of the morality in Objectivism could be turned off by some of the Objectivist individuals that are atheist or anti religion. I suppose the way to look at it is that there are some that get categorized as fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Getting some Objectivist philosophy intertwined would be very good within their religious compass. It's a great reinforcement for the religious ideals being shared with Objectivism in an application of force concept. Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill. Freedom is important.

I think there is a real thirst for something out there in the United States. The Democrats have led the way in the liberal agenda. The Republicans have had some kind of conservative ideology, but because it has no "moral compass", it's just not working well.

Anyway, those are some thoughts. Kind of random as I'm doing some other things. Maybe that helps start some dialog.

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#1. I think a category here in The Forum entitled, The Marketplace, or some such, would be a good place to start. It would be a place for those who are interested to share ideas, strategies, links, etc.

This sounds a bit like the mission of Diana Hsieh's OActivist mailing list. The main focus to date has been on intellectual activism through things like letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, but the overall charter is broader than that.

#2. Objectivism needs new literature. It needs literature that champions Objectivist principles in the form of comic books and beginner readers right on up through material like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Harry Potter for young teens.

Part of the problem here is that good works of art can only be created by talented artists focused on the requirements of the art, not on any kind of didactic end. Otherwise it's propaganda. But you might be interested in the comic work of Bosch Fawstin and Thimble Mouse Publishing. I mourn the passing of Cox & Forkum on this front as well.

It needs new adult literature. Ayn Rand’s fiction is written in the romantic style with both heroes and villains written larger than life. There is no reason why a mystery series on the order of Johnathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels couldn’t feature a hero who adheres to Objectivist principles. Miss Rand was fond of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer because she saw in him some of those qualities.

Three words: Edward Cline's Sparrowhawk. What have you done to publicize it today?

#4. Individual Objectivists need the tools and the training to use them to be speakers for their philosophy. Such simple things as a business card with the principles printed on it to give to someone who expresses interest. A small tract that explains the basics of Objectivism and gives references to websites and literature. Tee shirts that proclaim your beliefs and that stimulate conversation. How about “My O is better than your O”?

Andrew Bernstein's Objectivism in One Lesson is a pretty good shot at the small tract explaining and integrating the basics. And Greg Perkins' Bolt of Reason website has some shirts that push back on common mystical cultural tropes from an Objectivist perspective. I know Greg is open to new shirt design ideas; if you have a good one send it to him. I've been trying to get him to do "John Galt went on strike and all I could produce on my own was this lousy t-shirt." I like the business card idea. Put a few links to good websites on it. I'd buy a few dozen to carry around.

So, what say you? Is this something worth doing?

I think a number of the elements you are looking for already exist in embryonic form, and are growing. What's really missing is the glue to coordinate and tie it together into an integrated movement. There seem to be a number of small web-based businesses that sell items that are of use in spreading Objectivism, for example, but there isn't any kind of directory tying it together. The t-shirt thing is a good example. I may have an idea for a shirt, or a bumper sticker, but I don't have the expertise or time to set up a business to make, market and sell it. But if I could check a directory and discover "Oh, this Greg Perkins guy already has a t-shirt site, and he's interested in new designs", I'm much more likely to give him my idea and leverage his sunk startup costs. But right now there's no good way for me to learn that Greg exists, so the idea dies stillborn. There's a guy named John Powers who made up some excellent "Newton's Birthday" cards as substitutes for Christmas cards. I found out about them because I happened to be on the right mailing list. But how many more could he have sold with better marketing? Etc.

It's a sad fact that much of Objectivism currently exists out in the cultural/economic 'long tail', and as is usually the case with long tail businesses some kind of aggregation and discovery system is required before it can really start to snowball.

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I agree with khaight, isn't all that already being done?!

Ayn Rand Institute (Ayn Rand Institute, OAC, summer conferences, books to schools/teacher programs, free video lectures, etc, etc, etc)

Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights (just opened in DC late last year)

http://atlasshrugged.com/ (website devoted to the book)

Ayn Rand Bookstore (tons of O'ist authors/lecturers, and many of these books are available at various other retailers)

Multiple TV appearances (including the one just announced today by ARC...are you on their email list?)

OActivist (are you on their email list?)

Organizations such as North Texas Objectivist Society or Front Range Objectivism (there may be an organization near you or you could start one)

Multiple O'ist blogs ( http://doctorhurd.com/ http://heroesofcapitalism.com/ http://fa-rm.org/blog/index.html not to mention all the others that are cross-posted to this very forum)

John Galt Gifts t-shirts, glasses, mugs, bumper stickers, etc.

I hate to quote Rush Limbaugh, but he's always asking callers that tell him something needs to be done, "What are you doing?"

Oh, and with regards to a comic book...Andrew Bernstein is working on that too. :lol:

Although I'm not sure about needing a "glue that holds it all together." I would rather it appear that it's coming from all over rather than one source. A swarm type attack. :P I mean, isn't the glue that holds it all together rationality?

Edited by K-Mac
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I think, in addition to all that is being done to positively promote Objectivism, that an effort to impeach harmful competing popular philosophies (read: Pragmatism) may be in order.

Right now, being "pragmatic" is in vogue. Everyone wants to be pragmatic. Our Supreme High Commander is all about pragmatism. "Pragmatic" is used as a compliment. I'm sure that in large part, the common usage is as a classier (sic) synonym for "practical", and that the larger (and more sinister) implications are lost on the average guy. This is where we need to concentrate some effort.

By de-legitimizing Pragmatism, we would effectively blunt the sword being held to our political throats. No longer would politicians be able to substitute the word "pragmatic" for a discussion of the principles behind their argument. They would be forced to lay the truth out for all to see. This may not change the ultimate outcome, but I submit that it may make some proponents of Pragmatic Politics just a little uneasy.

In short. we must hammer the point that Pragmatism is Politics stripped of ethics. This may not sell Objectivism, but making it difficult to sell a competitor can't hurt.

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I like your ideas Ed. Much of this is being done in a scattershot way, but adding focus to the effort and a little salesmanship in spreading the philosophy would certainly help.

#2. Objectivism needs new literature. It needs literature that champions Objectivist principles in the form of comic books and beginner readers right on up through material like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Harry Potter for young teens.

This is particularly good. The Left and the religionists certainly understand the effectiveness of introducing ideas when people are young (look at their succes in promoting the poison of environmentalism). Also, young people are hungry for individualism and reason when they're presented to them correctly. I'm reminded of the success of the 2004 film "The Incredibles" and its very positive message to young viewers.

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I think, in addition to all that is being done to positively promote Objectivism, that an effort to impeach harmful competing popular philosophies (read: Pragmatism) may be in order.

You mean like Tara Smith's recent talk on "The Menace of Pragmatism"? I agree. I'd also like to see an Objectivist join the ranks of the so-called "New Atheists" with a high-profile book attacking religion. Books like that have sold surprisingly well in recent years, and one that included a strong positive case for a secular morality (the key weakness of the other New Atheists) might have a significant impact. Speaking of which, does anybody know how James Vallient's Behind the Cross is coming along?

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#3. The basic principles of Objectivism need to be broken down into a list something akin to the Ten Commandments. People respond to such abbreviated lists. If you tell someone you believe in a person’s inalienable right to his or her life and that no one has the right to demand that someone live their life for someone else’s convenience, you will not get an argument.

There's a reason why Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff, or John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged are not presented as a series of aphorisms akin to the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It simply cannot be presented in such a format. The Ten Commandments are a series of "thou shalt's" without cause. The entire philosophy of Objectivism is built from the ground-up, from metaphysics to politics to aesthetics, based on man's nature. Morality is a tool for human survival, and it is in one's selfish interest to act morally. So Objectivism's moral principles cannot be a mere grocery list of do's and dont's.

There is one very effective way to sell Objectivism: let it sell itself. It has worked fine before. Most people picked up Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead by word-of-mouth, and became Objectivists since then. You must make an effort to understand Objectivism fully if you want to spread it. I have been reading Ayn Rand's fiction and non-fiction for years, yet I can not claim to fully understand Objectivism. In Objectivism, it's quality, not quantity, that matters. That is why I don't try to "save" my friends with Objectivism, but rather, when they claim something I know to be wrong, I tell them. Don't keep silent about your friends' (or co-workers' or acquaintances') ideas if they attack yours. If they ask you to support your claim, be ready to do so. You are hurting your cause if you accept Objectivist ideas haphazardly like religious dogma. It is contrary to what Objectivism is trying to achieve.

Get over the fervor of discovering her ideas and wanting desperately to spread them. There are already people who are doing it, and doing it right. Read Ayn Rand's Philosophy: Who Needs It, particularly the article "What can one do?". Read Objectivism: Philosophy of Ayn Rand, until you understand it. Listen to Peikoff's podcasts on peikoff.com, to get better acquainted with how Objectivist thinkers work out philosophical problems. Those are just starters. You have to work on being an example yourself. Otherwise you'll look no different from freshly-converted Christians, Scientologists, whatever, and be labeled a "Randian".

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I appreciate your input. I am pleasantly surprised that the response is mostly positive.

Absolutely, we are all representatives and salespeople for the philosophy, but there is little guidance for the individual Objectivist to present the ideas in such a way that those who don't know will become interested.

For example, a great many newcomers place a great deal of emphasis on their atheism and it is often the first thing they mention in a discussion. Sales basic: You never lead with a negative and you don't emphsize the negatives. This is the sort of thing that helps each of us become a more effective speaker.

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For example, a great many newcomers place a great deal of emphasis on their atheism and it is often the first thing they mention in a discussion. Sales basic: You never lead with a negative and you don't emphsize the negatives. This is the sort of thing that helps each of us become a more effective speaker.

It's important to realize, though, that what constitutes a negative may well be contextual. I have a co-worker who was already a supporter of economic freedom but who was very put off by the Republican party's ties to the religious right. It was specifically the fact that I shared his economic opinions while explicitly defending them on atheistic grounds that led him to inquire more deeply into my viewpoint. (I lent him a copy of Bernstein's Objectivism in One Lesson. We'll see what happens.)

My approach is to start by focusing on shared positive values, whatever those may be, and working out from there. I also try (not always successfully) to take a low-pressure sales approach. Lay in a few hooks and leading questions, and let the other guy's curiosity and intellectual honesty do my job for me. This works very well with the active-minded, and those it doesn't work well on generally aren't good prospects in any event.

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[

I appreciate your interpreting my interest as the fervor of discovery. It is more the fervor of rekindled interest. I have considered myself an Objectivist for quite a few years now. It is precisely the lack of movement over the years in making Objectivism something more than an intellectual curiosity that spurs me to stir up some dialogue, and perhaps some action.

I think my analogy of Ten Commandments was misplaced. Perhaps something more akin to a creed is what I had in mind. Miss Rand managed to get the essence of it into four letters. Of course it took several thousands of pages to explain the significance of those four letters.

In attempting to explain Objectivism to friends, I wrote a short credo I entitled I BELIEVE. It distills what I think to be the essence of Objectivism into a handful of simple statements. I had intended to post it at some point because I am certain that it is incomplete and needs some salient points added. Please make a suggestion if you see something missing. Here's what I have so far:

________________________________________________

I BELIEVE

The rights of the individual are paramount above all others.

Man has the inalienable right to his life.

As a natural extension of that right, he has the right to that part of his life spent in productive work and the right to own the property he may have accrued by that work.

No man has a claim on the life of another man.

Therefore, any transactions among men must be voluntary.

Governments are institutions set up by men to protect their rights. In the interest of civil order, men convey to the government the authority to use force in defense of the rights of individuals.

- Military forces defend these rights from other countries.

- Police forces defend these rights from other individuals within the country.

- Courts defend these rights and adjudicate breaches of contracts and disagreements between individuals.

Men cannot convey to their government authority they themselves do not possess.

(Ladies, please forgive the chauvinism. The above was written for a male audience. It, of course, can be changed.)

_______________________________________________________________________

Something on the order of this is what I have in mind for a business card-sized summary and a small tract that gives the basics of Objectivism. There is very little, if anything, that someone would disagree with in the above statements. This is what I mean by emphasizing the positive.

I agree with your assertion to let Objectivism sell itself to a point. Once someone has had their curiosity piqued, Objectivism has a powerful message. However, my point is still valid; there simply isn't enough effort being made to offer Objectivism as an alternative guide for living one's life.

I think now is a good time to be more assertive. Most rational people (as well as Conservatives. The two aren't necessarily inclusive or exclusive) are appalled at the rapid turn toward Socialism at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama one. Christian churches are drifting away from sectarian dogma to a more secular view.

I'm not suggesting we go door to door with a version of Watchtower. But, to expand on some of the suggestions I made in the original post.

1. We can expand on the little credo I started to include the basic tenets of Objectivism stated as simply as possible. If they can fit on a business card, all the better. They can be handed out to anyone who shows an interest, with the link to this site and any others that might interest them.

2. Here on this site, we can design a three-fold tract that state the basics of Objectivism, gives some salient quotes from Any Rand, gives links to websites, and recommends books. Such a tract is basically two typewritten pages written in three columns in the landscape format. Any one of us can print 30 copies of page one, turn the paper over and print 30 copies of page two and spend a few minutes folding them. Voila!! Thirty tracts to leave in a rack in the student union, on a table in the doctor's office, wherever. Or, let Kinko do it.

I know there are better ideas than these, but it's late here and I'm tired. Manana, Amigos , ES

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I think your draft credo is already too long and too heavily focused on politics. For a business card I don't think anything more than a couple of sentences is workable, and just a few words would be better. I'm thinking on the level of "Reason. Individual Rights. Happiness. <url>." The idea here is to capture in one or two words the essence of the core branches of Objectivism. Reason for the epistemology, Happiness for the ethics and Individual Rights for the politics. I think the terms I chose maintain the positive focus you want. Anybody who wants to be irrational, or who wants to be unhappy, or who wants to violate people's rights as they understand them, is not likely to be sympathetic to Objectivism at all.

I like the idea of a credo. One possible use for such a thing would be to integrate it with the existing distribution mechanism for The Undercurrent, a college newspaper written by Objectivist students.

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I think your draft credo is already too long and too heavily focused on politics. For a business card I don't think anything more than a couple of sentences is workable, and just a few words would be better. I'm thinking on the level of "Reason. Individual Rights. Happiness. <url>." The idea here is to capture in one or two words the essence of the core branches of Objectivism. Reason for the epistemology, Happiness for the ethics and Individual Rights for the politics. I think the terms I chose maintain the positive focus you want. Anybody who wants to be irrational, or who wants to be unhappy, or who wants to violate people's rights as they understand them, is not likely to be sympathetic to Objectivism at all.

I like the idea of a credo. One possible use for such a thing would be to integrate it with the existing distribution mechanism for The Undercurrent, a college newspaper written by Objectivist students.

[/quote

(NOTE as I was writing this, the connection was reset and it would not post so I copy;saved ti and am putting it here now)

As a long-time subscriber to a college-based O-ist newpaper, ERGO, from '72 to '84, which I loved and would still have around, I must take slight issue with using that model. College students really have no adult-level or "street" cred. This is from an overall lack of experience in the world outside the school. While everyone talks about "young ideas", when they fail, as they usually do, the adulation changes to "dumb kids' or in the more charitable cases "unseasoned kids"... "What do they know about the world?"

We are awash in young ideas and college newspaperw. And UNDERCURRENT sounds worth looking into but what is really needed is some publications or other means built around grownups that can stand the challenges of experience.

We also have to have regular physical meetings of local persons. Existence exists and existence means things I can see, touch, hear, taste, smell and do things with. These groups have to establish a community presence. We have to also take care of our own in terms of opportunities and "watching each others' back".

We also have toavoid isolation. Between 1976-86 there was an alliance of street-level Objectivists with Conservatives for a common goal. The O'ist leadership was too busy being too priggish to recognize any significant differenc between Reagan and Carter and Reagan and Mondale to see what was going on and were focused on attacking Reagan as though John Galt would occupy the vacuum that Regan's fall woud leave. Mostly they were bent out of shape over the abortion issue, which being in their 50's, 60's and 70's made a whole lot of sense when juxtaposed against interest rates of 18%, inflation at 13% and 6 consecutive quarters of shrinkage. Kind of like beingt adament against leaving the burning house without your tiara.

Put succinctly, we have to grow up. School's out.

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[

I appreciate your interpreting my interest as the fervor of discovery. It is more the fervor of rekindled interest. I have considered myself an Objectivist for quite a few years now. It is precisely the lack of movement over the years in making Objectivism something more than an intellectual curiosity that spurs me to stir up some dialogue, and perhaps some action.

I think my analogy of Ten Commandments was misplaced. Perhaps something more akin to a creed is what I had in mind. Miss Rand managed to get the essence of it into four letters. Of course it took several thousands of pages to explain the significance of those four letters.

In attempting to explain Objectivism to friends, I wrote a short credo I entitled I BELIEVE. It distills what I think to be the essence of Objectivism into a handful of simple statements. I had intended to post it at some point because I am certain that it is incomplete and needs some salient points added. Please make a suggestion if you see something missing. Here's what I have so far:

________________________________________________

I BELIEVE

The rights of the individual are paramount above all others.

Man has the inalienable right to his life.

As a natural extension of that right, he has the right to that part of his life spent in productive work and the right to own the property he may have accrued by that work.

No man has a claim on the life of another man.

Therefore, any transactions among men must be voluntary.

Governments are institutions set up by men to protect their rights. In the interest of civil order, men convey to the government the authority to use force in defense of the rights of individuals.

- Military forces defend these rights from other countries.

- Police forces defend these rights from other individuals within the country.

- Courts defend these rights and adjudicate breaches of contracts and disagreements between individuals.

Men cannot convey to their government authority they themselves do not possess.

(Ladies, please forgive the chauvinism. The above was written for a male audience. It, of course, can be changed.)

_______________________________________________________________________

Something on the order of this is what I have in mind for a business card-sized summary and a small tract that gives the basics of Objectivism. There is very little, if anything, that someone would disagree with in the above statements. This is what I mean by emphasizing the positive.

I agree with your assertion to let Objectivism sell itself to a point. Once someone has had their curiosity piqued, Objectivism has a powerful message. However, my point is still valid; there simply isn't enough effort being made to offer Objectivism as an alternative guide for living one's life.

I think now is a good time to be more assertive. Most rational people (as well as Conservatives. The two aren't necessarily inclusive or exclusive) are appalled at the rapid turn toward Socialism at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama one. Christian churches are drifting away from sectarian dogma to a more secular view.

I'm not suggesting we go door to door with a version of Watchtower. But, to expand on some of the suggestions I made in the original post.

1. We can expand on the little credo I started to include the basic tenets of Objectivism stated as simply as possible. If they can fit on a business card, all the better. They can be handed out to anyone who shows an interest, with the link to this site and any others that might interest them.

2. Here on this site, we can design a three-fold tract that state the basics of Objectivism, gives some salient quotes from Any Rand, gives links to websites, and recommends books. Such a tract is basically two typewritten pages written in three columns in the landscape format. Any one of us can print 30 copies of page one, turn the paper over and print 30 copies of page two and spend a few minutes folding them. Voila!! Thirty tracts to leave in a rack in the student union, on a table in the doctor's office, wherever. Or, let Kinko do it.

I know there are better ideas than these, but it's late here and I'm tired. Manana, Amigos , ES

Ed, you might cut down the verbiage of I Believe to:

Individual rights? Yes. Group rights? No.

A man's right to his life---so!

His right to his property---so!

Those who would take it are evil---true!

No one has a right of power over other men---true!

No one has the right to make you act or do.

Trade is the only moral transaction to pursue.

Government must leave your living up to you.

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Or, to make a great bumper sticker:

Individual rights? Yes. Group rights? No!

No one has the right to take your money from you.

Government, get back! Get Back! Get Back!

or,

My life is mine, not yours, brother!

or,

No one has the right to make you give or do.

Trade is the only moral action to pursue.

Government must leave your living up to you.

or,

My right to my life---Yo!

My right to my property---Yo!

Those who would take it are evil---So!

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A few more.

Evil Is Initiation Of Force

Honesty Is Work

Work Is Honesty

Taxes Are?

Life:

Don't Give It Away;

Don't Give It Up;

Don't Give.

Live

Thinkers Think And Do;

Wishers Screw you.

Bailing Failure

Drowns Success

Bail A Fool's Children

And Drown Your Own

Fascizing The Banks?

Fascizing America?

Nationalizing Fascist Bastards.

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________________________________________________

I BELIEVE

The rights of the individual are paramount above all others.

Man has the inalienable right to his life.

As a natural extension of that right, he has the right to that part of his life spent in productive work and the right to own the property he may have accrued by that work.

No man has a claim on the life of another man.

Therefore, any transactions among men must be voluntary.

Governments are institutions set up by men to protect their rights. In the interest of civil order, men convey to the government the authority to use force in defense of the rights of individuals.

- Military forces defend these rights from other countries.

- Police forces defend these rights from other individuals within the country.

- Courts defend these rights and adjudicate breaches of contracts and disagreements between individuals.

Men cannot convey to their government authority they themselves do not possess.

_______________________________________________________________________

Honestly, I really, really, really like that.

One liners aren't enough for me. Even as Cub Scouts, we could recite Oaths when we were young. Then, in Boy Scouts, there were the Laws, etc.

Outstanding work!

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I think your draft credo is already too long and too heavily focused on politics. For a business card I don't think anything more than a couple of sentences is workable, and just a few words would be better. I'm thinking on the level of "Reason. Individual Rights. Happiness. <url>." The idea here is to capture in one or two words the essence of the core branches of Objectivism. Reason for the epistemology, Happiness for the ethics and Individual Rights for the politics. I think the terms I chose maintain the positive focus you want. Anybody who wants to be irrational, or who wants to be unhappy, or who wants to violate people's rights as they understand them, is not likely to be sympathetic to Objectivism at all.

I like the idea of a credo. One possible use for such a thing would be to integrate it with the existing distribution mechanism for The Undercurrent, a college newspaper written by Objectivist students.

I agree that for a business card size it might be too long. What I gave you was actually for email exchange and could be cut down. We're also in sync on the positve approach. I think we need words that the uninitiated- if you will- can relate to. "Unalienable rights," "No claim on another's life." The property rights statement can probably be reworded and cut down.

How about the first, second, fourth, fifth, and last statements as a bare bones summary of Objectivism as guiding principles? Is there something that should be added to those five statements to cover all the bases?

Of course, nothing precludes us coming up with a set of statements that focus on government alone.

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Ed, you might cut down the verbiage of I Believe to:

Individual rights? Yes. Group rights? No.

A man's right to his life---so!

His right to his property---so!

Those who would take it are evil---true!

No one has a right of power over other men---true!

No one has the right to make you act or do.

Trade is the only moral transaction to pursue.

Government must leave your living up to you.

You and khaight are on the same track and I agree. Check my answer to him and see what you think. I looked at what I wrote and cut it down to five statements, each less than a line long. There might be one or two more needed to cover salient points of Objectivism.

I like some of your ideas for bumper stickers. A variety of approaches makes an effective campaign. Bumper stickers and tee shirts are most effective when they have an edge to them. They invite more commentary that way.

Let's keep up this exchange of ideas. Somewhere in the Forum I would still like to see a place where we can park our cards and tracts, etc, so anyone who wants them can download them and print them out. ES

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How about the first, second, fourth, fifth, and last statements as a bare bones summary of Objectivism as guiding principles? Is there something that should be added to those five statements to cover all the bases?

I still think it's focused too far up the hierarchy. There's no mention of epistemology. Rand herself once noted that she is not so much an advocate of capitalism as of egoism, and not so much an advocate of egoism as of reason. Reason, properly understood, is the bedrock on which everything else rests. Men who live under political freedom and who value their own lives and happiness, but who act on their unanalyzed emotions of the moment, are not Objectivists -- and they will not long remain free, or retain their lives and happiness.

Reason is also important as part of Objectivism's Unique Selling Proposition -- it's one of the things that distinguishes our philosophy from other superficially similar movements, like conservatism and libertarianism. (This suggests the possibility of multiple 'business card' presentations, each designed to positively present Objectivism *as distinct from some other popular movement*. Somewhat along the lines of the "Secular. Pro-Freedom. Disenfrancised '08" T-shirt idea I had for the election last year.)

Perhaps the place to start is with Rand's own "standing on one foot" summary of Objectivism. That should capture all the points that she thought were essential to her philosophy. Then fiddle with the language as necessary.

Edited by khaight
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You and khaight are on the same track and I agree. Check my answer to him and see what you think. I looked at what I wrote and cut it down to five statements, each less than a line long. There might be one or two more needed to cover salient points of Objectivism.

I like some of your ideas for bumper stickers. A variety of approaches makes an effective campaign. Bumper stickers and tee shirts are most effective when they have an edge to them. They invite more commentary that way.

Let's keep up this exchange of ideas. Somewhere in the Forum I would still like to see a place where we can park our cards and tracts, etc, so anyone who wants them can download them and print them out. ES

I think Kaight is right about a focus on reason, but I wouldn't exclude more emotional means. Variety can be very effective and, as not everyone is at the same level of development, what may not strike a chord with one person may with another. I know that when I was younger and was writing letters to the editor I would sometiimes not send one in because I thought it was _not the perfect way_ to present Objectivism. But that kind of self-regulation can kill one's enthusiasm and inhibit creative thinking. The thing is--to fight for your values the best you can whenever you can, not to wait for the moment when you've got it all right.

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Perhaps the place to start is with Rand's own "standing on one foot" summary of Objectivism. That should capture all the points that she thought were essential to her philosophy. Then fiddle with the language as necessary.

From 1969 to c1985 there was an objectivist/libertarian (with the emphasis on Objectivism) newspaper published at MIT, distributed there, Harvard and Boson University and by subscription, called ERGO. Names to accociate are Robert Biddonotto, Warren Ross, Steve Wright. Erich Veyhl and Gary McGath

I first came across it in '72

At the beginning of each school year, they would publish "BASIC PRINCIPLES OF OBJECTIVSM" which they said came from the Rand group itslef that listed in outline form, a kind of credo

If anyone can find an issue #1 from any volume. You would have what yu seek but it would not fit on a business card

How about

OBJECTIVISM: IT'S FOR REAL

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Here are a few more ideas for signs.

You Raised Our Tax

You Broke Our Backs

You Get The Sacks!

Bailing Out Failure

By Taxing Success

Aborts The Savior

Of Happiness.

Drink and Drive;

or Think and Keep Alive.

Shirk, Whine and Lose,

or Work Hard and Cruise.

I Am Right To Love My life;

Are You A Right One Too?

If You Lead,

Who Will You Follow?

No More Time

In Self-pity To Wallow.

You Are An Individual,

You Are Reading This.

Love Your Effort,

Love Your Focus,

Love You Mind.

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I got a suggestion that we might create a clearing house for materials to use in selling Objectivism at: http://wiki.rationalmind.net.

I haven't had a chance to investigate the venue so I'll have to spend some time getting acquainted with it. Since I am only semi-literate here, I thought I'd put it out to you. One of you may be more familiar with it than I am.

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