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Worthwhile Organizations?

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One worth a look is the Institute for Justice. Dana Berliner, daughter of former ARI head Michael Berliner, is one of the chief litigators. My best friend from college, also an Objectivist, did PR work for them a few years ago.

They aren't a think tank, but they do a lot of pro-freedom litigation. Eminent domain, for instance, is a big anti-freedom issue, and they are fighting for the right side. The website describes them as "libertarian", but from what I've heard and seen, they are just pro-liberty, and I don't think there's any significant reason to lump them together with the usual Libertarian suspects.

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They support a lot of libertarian organizations but they DON'T include the Ayn Rand Institute.

I wonder why.

The only two organizations that I have donated money to support on the list are ARI and AFCM (Americans for Free Choice in Medicine).

Donating to ARI is a no-brainer for anybody that wants to see Objectivism succeed.

I have some specific arguments for why Objectivists should also support AFCM that I am going to present in another post coming soon....

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What organizations that engage in intellectual activism are worthy of our support and attention?  Why or why not?

You specified intellectual activism. Is your purpose in asking this question the expectation that supporting such groups will help spread Objectivism in the culture?

If so, I would encourage you to think about an additional possibility: Objectivist organizations that serve other purposes besides intellectual activism. Even an Objectivist organization that is purely social has the indirect effect of spreading Objectivism. The reason is that any networking with qualified Objectivists is a reward to Objectivists. The refueling that comes from gathering with like-minded people enables them to live better and more productive lives -- thus indirectly enabling them to change the culture in general by reshaping their own world in particular.

The group that I helped found -- Portland Area Objectivists -- has acquired about 15 members in the last 10 years. We have rejected or pre-emptively excluded probably twice that many people who approached us but weren't qualified. See our website at PAO.

We are considering changing the name of the group to The Seattle-Portland Objectivist Network because members come from as far north as Redmond, Washington and as far south as Beaverton, Oregon. We are now meeting in the appropriately named town of Centralia, Washington, for our quarterly pot-luck dinners.

Such groups, having ruthlessly high standards of acceptance, may do as much in the long-term as those devoted rightly to intellectual activism.

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You specified intellectual activism. Is your purpose in asking this question the expectation that supporting such groups will help spread Objectivism in the culture?

Actually, I would like to volunteer for a few organizations, especially via my web design skills. Unfortunately, many organizations see the web as a traditional marketing tool rather than as an opportunity for intellectual entrepreneurship.

Of course social company is good too :-)

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Here's agreement with Burgess Laughlin on the benefit of Objectivist groups. Indirectly, they can help spread the philosophy by providing a positive experience to Objectivists; they can also be a good place to learn more about the philosophy, and provide good examples of people who are living their lives according to Objectivist principles.

I also agree that it's very important to have high standards in deciding whom to invite to join your group. There's nothing more relaxing and stimulating than spending an afternoon with other Objectivsts.

And there's nothing more frustrating than going to a gathering promoted as being somehow Objectivist, only to find instead such people as libertarians, prophets of doom, people who have an ax to grind who are looking for an audience, or other assorted cranks.

New friendships, new knowledge, new ways of looking at old problems, new ideas for books to read or activities to try..... these are a few of the things one can gain from interacting with other Objectivists.

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