Integrating Thought and Action
[Disclaimer: Due to some scathing but valid critiques by
trustworthy Objectivists, this article should be viewed as an item for critical
analysis only. Scroll to the bottom to read the critiques.]
- The Problem--An Over-Reliance
on Political Activism
- A New Direction
- Still Engaged--But Outside
- Remaining Importance of Defensive
- New Intellectuals and Libertarians
- Movement Must Serve as a Force
of Social Intimidation in Its Intermediate Stage
- Some Basic Premises
- The Movement Must Understand
What Motivates Human Beings
- Good Results More Important
than Good Intentions--Naiveté Not Excusable
- Support of an Elite More Valuable
than Support of the Masses
- Value of Art and Images
- Value of the Tangible Versus
- Movement Must Be Based on
the Transmission of Ideas, Not Their Creation
- New Intellectuals Must Be
More Culturally Sophisticated
- It Is in the Movement's Self-Interest
to Improve the Quality of Its Membership
- New Intellectuals Must Concentrate
on Students and Young Adults
- The Movement Must Be
Willing to Appear Obnoxious
- Ground Zero of the New Intellectual Movement: The Study Group
- What Are Study Groups?
- Study Groups Will Cultivate
- Study Groups Will Provide
a Shared "Sense of Life" Experience
- Book Clubs Lay the Groundwork
for Study Groups
- Acceptance by Fellow New Intellectuals
More Important than Acceptance by Wider Society
- Final Thoughts
- Even if We Lose, We Still
- Discussion Lists Have Little
Value--Action Is More Important
- The Next Step
This essay does not include a theoretical
justification for, or even a definition of, an Objectivist (i.e., culturally
rational and life-affirming) society. Ayn Rand and other writers have already done this with far more
skill and erudition than I would be able to. For the sake of this essay,
I will assume that the reader is already familiar with and sympathizes with
the goal of an Objectivist society at some level.
However, few of those Objectivist thinkers, or those influenced by
Objectivist thought, have made any serious attempt to directly put their ideas into
practice on a global scale. The unspoken assumption seems to be that if enough
time is spent improving our intellectual sophistication and honing our arguments,
our ideas will win more and more converts due simply to their irresistible
appeal, and by some mysterious mechanism which no one has ever chosen to
explain, our society will slowly but surely learn to cherish Objectivist values.
This way of thinking must be categorically rejected.
This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary
reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication
of the idea's promoters--in other words, the individuals composing a social
or political movement. The Objectivist movement has paid little attention to the qualities of the people working in
the movement, and the relation of such qualities to the achievement of our
goals. At least part of the reason for our failure must be attributed to
insufficient interest by intellectuals in organization, the personal development
of activists, and--most importantly--action and engagement in the world.
The Objectivist movement has suffered, in other words, from a lack of follow-through
on its most meaningful ideas.
The Problem--An Over-Reliance on Political Activism
The Objectivist movement is defensive, defeatist and depressed.
It lacks virility, energy, intensity, vigor, aggressiveness and vitality. This is because
Objectivists have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing
an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominating liberal and
They have instead devoted much of their energy to electing sympathetic politicians
and lobbying the government to pass or overturn particular laws.
There are two problems with this strategy. The first and more obvious is
that it is exceedingly and progressively more difficult to exert political
influence when the cultural assumptions underlying those political goals
are being steadily eroded by the popular culture, if no serious attempt
to retard or reverse that erosion is ever made.
Secondly, an over-reliance on political change seems to reinforce the very
politicization of society that Objectivists often bemoan, by ratifying
the notion that an individual's personal happiness is inextricably bound
up in the activity (or inactivity) of government. While government is certainly
intrusive and plays too large a role in our society, the government is not
totalitarian. There are plenty of opportunities to make our society more
culturally Objectivist, and our lives richer and fuller, apart from political
change, but Objectivists have shown very little interest in pursuing those
opportunities. They have shown far more interest in expanding political
freedom than in seeing that Americans make good use of the freedom they
already have, and as a result, they have succeeded in neither. The lack
of interest in the latter goal is curious, since freedom for its own sake
has never been a Objectivist goal, at least in theory.
The result of this misplaced focus is a society that increasingly does not
recognize culturally Objectivist views, and is gradually coming to despise
them. The Left has long understood that nothing can be achieved politically
unless and until one can capture the imagination of the people--and imaginations
are seldom captured by policy wonks on C-SPAN. They understand that a governing
regime must acquire moral legitimacy before it can win the consent of the
people, and all governments, particularly one such as ours, require some
level of consent to govern.
The relatively recent successes of New Left ideas in law and legislation
have only been made possible because their proponents were able to capture
the cultural institutions--e.g.. the media, academia, publishing houses,
advertising agencies, Hollywood--some years earlier. All of these institutions have
by and large surrendered to the Left, with any
opposition being limited to assorted muffled complaints and pathetic appeals
for fairness. Meanwhile, Objectivists dedicate themselves to political
activism all the more furiously in the hope that it can compensate for their
weakness in the non-political sectors of society. This effort must be dismissed
as hopeless and self-delusional.
Objectivists must honestly assess the predicament that we are in. We must
understand that the American people are not on our side, at least
not reliably so, and they will be less so as time goes on. But more worrisome
still is the fact that Objectivists themselves often no longer understand
or support a truly culturally Objectivist vision of America. Being Objectivist
has come to mean nothing more than holding the belief that every
man has the inalienable right to make as much money as he possibly can.
True intellectual Objectivists are now seen as oddities in the movement
who must be tolerated, or even silenced in order that the movement appear
credible in the eyes of the leftist guardians of good taste.
To sum up, the basic problem confronting us is that those who are familiar
with the theoretical underpinnings of Objectivism are not particularly
interested in putting their ideas into practice, and those who are engaged
in activism are not well-read and are obsessed with public policy matters.
Those who think do not act, and those who act do not think. If this
continues, the Objectivist movement will cease to exist in every way but
A New Direction
The dire predicament in which we find ourselves demands a drastic change
in strategy by cultural Objectivists. It is becoming increasingly clear
that we must heed
Paul Weyrich's call for a tactical retreat from the fields of political
battle--not totally or permanently, but until such time as we can confidently
proclaim that New Intellectuals are a force to be reckoned with in the wider
society. Without this, any offensives using political means are doomed to
failure. They are therefore a waste of our people's time, money, and energy,
and for that reason should not even be attempted. We will never succeed
in taking over political structures until we can convince the American people
that we can be trusted to take them over, and to do that we must
win the people over culturally--by defining how man ought to act, how he
ought to think about the world around him, and what it means to live the good
life. Political arrangements can only be formed after these fundamental
questions have been answered.
Once this basic belief is accepted, our next
task is to develop the means by which it can be put into practice. We must,
as Mr. Weyrich has suggested, develop a network of parallel cultural institutions
existing side-by-side with the dominant leftist cultural institutions. The
building and promotion of these institutions will require the development
of a movement that will not merely reform the existing post-war Objectivist
movement, but will in fact be forced to supersede it--if it is to succeed
at all--because it will pursue a very different strategy and be premised
on a very different view of its role in society.
Our movement--which we will call the New Intellectual Movement--will not
seek to immediately replace the dominant culture. A retreat will allow us
to regroup and find our bearings. The overemphasis on effecting change through
political activism has left us disoriented, distracted, and overly prone
to accept the cultural assumptions of the Left. But this tactical retreat
will ultimately lead to strategic victory.
A central mission of this movement is to advance a true intellectual counter-culture
based on our supreme and ruling values of reason, purpose and self-esteem. The New Intellectuals
will not be exclusively Objectivists, but most of them inevitably will be.
What binds the New Intellectuals is a belief that each individual has
a responsibility to obey reason and law rather than whim and anarchy. New Intellectuals
reject the statism, hedonism and subjectivism which permeate modern life. We share a willingness to face reality and repudiate
false ideologies that bear no relation to how people really
think and how people really live.
There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this movement. The first
stage will be devoted to the development of a highly motivated elite able
to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be devoted to the
development of institutions designed to make an impact on the wider elite
and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will involve
changing the overall character of American popular culture.
Still Engaged--But Outside of Politics
It must be emphasized that this new movement will not be "disengaged" from
the wider society, only "differently engaged." We are, quite simply, replacing
political activism with cultural activism as the center of our focus. While the visibility of the new movement will be less pronounced than the
existing (political) Objectivist movement in the short term, the seeds
that we now sow will have dramatic repercussions over the long term. We
have the capacity to fundamentally transform the face of American culture
in the 21st century by following a different path, one built on the aggressive
dissemination of our cultural values, rather than the idle hope that enough
of our cultural values still remain in the body of the American people to
carry us on to a few more isolated electoral victories.
We will never stop being engaged in the wider culture. We will not "hunker
down" and wait for the storm to blow over. Our strategy will be to bleed
this corrupt culture dry. We will pick off the most intelligent and creative
individuals in our society, the individuals who help give credibility to
the current regime. To do this, we will promote a set of beliefs more compelling
than that of our opponents. We will launch a movement with more energy and
more intensity than our opponents are capable of summoning. When the choice
is made clear, the people--cultural elites and non-cultural elites alike--will
vote with their feet by either joining or patronizing our institutions and
abandoning those of the Left and Right, and the reigning regime will collapse
from lack of support.
Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We
will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken
them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents
off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive
energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions.
We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left and Right. We will
attack the very legitimacy of the Left and Right. We will not give them a moment's
rest. We will endeavor to prove that neither the Left nor the Right deserves to hold sway
over the heart and mind of a single American. We will offer constant reminders
that there is a third alternative, a better way. When people have had
enough of the sickness and decay of today's American culture, they will
be embraced by and welcomed into the New Intellectual Movement. The rejection
of the existing society by the people will thus be accomplished by pushing
them and pulling them simultaneously.
We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant
regime. We will take advantage of every available opportunity to spread
the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the existing state
of affairs. For example, we could have every member of the movement put
a bumper sticker on his car that says something to the effect of "Public
Education is Rotten; Home School Your Kids." This will change nobody's mind
immediately; no one will choose to stop sending his children to public schools
immediately after seeing such a bumper sticker; but it will raise awareness
and consciousness that there is a problem. Most of all, it will contribute
to a vague sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing society.
We need this if we hope to start picking people off and bringing them over
to our side. We need to break down before we can build up. We must
first clear away the flotsam of a decayed culture.
In terms of our long term prospects, because we will be seen as a purely
defensive movement, not interested in imposing our views on anyone, only
interested in being left alone, we will surely gain the sympathy of the
public. The dominant culture will see its life-force being sapped, and it
will grow terrified. It will do whatever it takes to destroy its assailant.
This will lead to the perception that the dominant statist culture is empty,
hollow, desperate and has lost its mandate to rule, because its only basis
for authority is coercion, much like the Communist East Bloc. Sympathy from
the American people will increase as our opponents
try to persecute us, which means our strength will increase at an accelerating
rate due to more defections--and the enemy will collapse as a result.
Remaining Importance of Defensive Politics
We must stay involved in the political arena. We do not expect to make any
gains through politics. But as our movement grows, the Left and Right will become
increasingly likely to try to use the powers of the state to squelch our
movement, using whatever pretext they are able to invent. We will need to
stay engaged in politics for purely defensive purposes. But all hope for
long-term restoration must lie with the new movement. Our only involvement
in the political process should be designed to more effectively accomplish
secession from, and perhaps eventually, a widespread influence over, the
We have repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot by expecting too much from
the Democratic and Republican Parties. Of course, New Intellectuals should not defend
any party when it pushes legislation that makes the government more
intrusive than it currently is. But we should not sacrifice a united front
by trying to badger either party into doing what it is incapable
of doing. That is a waste of the political capital of the party and the
time and energy of our people, simply for the sake of "fighting the good
New Intellectuals and Libertarians
There are operational libertarians and there are ontological libertarians.
There is nothing in this movement that an operational libertarian would
find objectionable. It does not seek to replace an intrusive leftist state
or an intrusive rightist state with an intrusive Objectivist state. Moreover, the likelihood that this
movement would result in an Objectivist society is far higher than the likelihood
of any strategy succeeding that self-identified libertarians are advocating,
because this movement does not promote a direct confrontation with the state,
but a sort of "weaning off," or a "walking away" from the state. The state
will lose its power when people no longer feel they need it, and only
then. Our goal should be to teach the cultural elite, and all people,
to find meaning in their lives outside of politics. If they do, perhaps
they will leave the rest of us alone.
But the New Intellectual Movement must be willing to lose allies among those
self-styled libertarians who brought themselves on board the Objectivist
While our movement is not anti-freedom, and the practical effect of our
ultimate ascendancy to political power (should that happen) would be an
increase in political freedom for Americans, we choose not to make a fetish
of political freedom. We recognize that there are other freedoms besides
political freedom--such as the freedom not to be subjected to a barrage
of cultural decadence at every turn. In fact, it could be argued that this
is a more important freedom, because popular culture is considerably more
pervasive than the hand of government in most people's lives.
The ontological libertarians make their arguments in terms that the perfectly
happy life is a life free from all restraint. The use of these arguments
has been a convenient way to achieve some of the short-term goals of Objectivists,
because this argument is presented in ontological terms acceptable to the
Left--but it has been disastrous to American society. It was an alluring
temptation that should have been resisted. It has reaffirmed the world-view
of the leftist, which holds the unbridled, irrational ego at its center.
This pitiful compromise has undermined
the foundation of any resistance to the Left based on the promotion of a
fundamentally different world-view. This devil's bargain has therefore helped
to perpetuate the decimation of traditional American culture, with its accumulated
wisdom and mores and traditions of self-governance, which is the basis for
any hope of a truly workable political freedom.
New Intellectuals must make their arguments in terms of the profound human
need for freedom and its life-enhancing benefits, and not in terms of the glories of nihilism, if we can consider
them allies and not opponents. As cultural activism becomes more important
to our movement, and political activism less so, it will become obvious to
all bystanders that we have
less and less in common with many libertarians whose philosophical foundations
are not sound.
Movement Must Serve as a Force of Social Intimidation
in Its Intermediate Stage
We must create a countervailing force that is just as adept as the Left
at intimidating people and institutions that are used as tools of left-wing
activism but are not ideologically committed, such as Hollywood celebrities,
multinational corporations, and university administrators. We must be feared,
so that they will think twice before opening their mouths. They must understand
that there is some sort of cost involved in taking a "controversial" stand--although
positions cannot honestly be labeled "controversial" if Objectivists
are unable to mount a meaningful opposition. Perhaps once we are able to
mount such an opposition, we will be able to take some of the trendiness
out of leftist cultural activism, because lukewarm advocates of leftist
causes will be forced actually to get their hands dirty. Support of leftist
causes will no longer be the path of least resistance.
- Some Basic Premises
The Movement Must Understand What Motivates Human
We must perform a brutally honest analysis of what motivates human beings.
We must understand what makes them tick, whether that motivation is attractive
or not. We must channel undesirable impulses to serve good purposes. For
example, it is important to emphasize that the alternative counter-culture
must be just that--alternative. It must be different from anything people
are familiar with. It is a basic fact that an us-versus-them, insider-versus-outsider
mentality is a very strong motivation in human life. For better or for worse,
this has to be recognized and taken advantage of for the good of the movement.
Moreover, the New Intellectuals must be interested in learning about sociology,
social psychology, and the dynamics of social change. We must study examples
of dissident and counter-cultural groups that succeeded in ascending to
dominance--we must learn from them.
We must recognize the world as it is, not as we may like it to be; but we
must never let this line of thinking descend into cynicism.
Good Results More Important than Good Intentions--Naiveté
We will apply a scientific analysis to every problem. We will be results-oriented
rather than good intentions-oriented. Making a rational effort and being
ideologically sound will be less important than advancing the goals of the
movement. We must learn to be more self-critical. Our efforts should be
less haphazard, less prone to fits and starts, and they should make better
use of accumulated knowledge and past errors.
We must recognize, but not get hung up on, the evils of our opponents.
Otherwise, we squander our precious life energy. We can only control
our own actions and responses. We must stop whining when we see an example
of leftist and rightist double-standards and hypocrisy and accept reality as it exists.
The only question to be asked is, what are we going to do about
it? We must learn to change our own thinking and our own
behavior. We must always operate based on this cardinal principle: Leftists
and Rightists are morally responsible for the evil they commit; but we as Objectivists
are morally responsible for not having done more to prevent them from committing
that evil. We must learn to treat leftists and rightists as natural disasters or rabid
dogs. If we act as if this were in fact true (of course, it is not), we
will not needlessly expend our energy on being upset with our opponents.
This is not to discount the importance of reminding ourselves on a regular
basis why we ought to hate leftist and rightist ideology, in order to keep ourselves
motivated to better fight it. But we must be aware that this is what we
are doing as we do it--such propaganda must be seen as a catalyst for action,
not a substitute for action. We must always understand exactly why we
do what we do as we do it, and why our opponents do what they do. We
must stop operating according to self-delusion and wishful thinking. Good
intentions and good effort count for nothing.
The new movement must learn never to be satisfied with the way things are.
We must ask a long series of "whys" to understand how we arrived at our
current condition and what must be done to change it. For example, if a
fight is winnable, why have we not won it? If it is not, why are we not
diverting our efforts elsewhere?
We must always recognize and anticipate the strategy of our opponents. There
is no excuse for ever being surprised by the ferocity or ingenuity of their
One especially naive belief held by most Objectivists (at least as betrayed
by their actions) that seems to have real staying power is that ideas have
a way of disseminating themselves. In many Objectivist publications, for
example, it is unclear who the intended audience is. Articles tend to cover
old ground and rehash old arguments, which is pointless if the intended
readership is made up of Objectivist activists who are already familiar
with them. But if the intended audience is made up of people who do not
already agree, they most likely will not be reading such a specialized publication,
but rather reading a newspaper or watching television news, or more likely,
they will not follow public affairs at all.
What the activists instead need is a better understanding of how the current
situation has arisen and how to coordinate strategy, so they will be prepared
to take action in the real world. For instance, they need to know more about
the history of the Left than any leftist. They need to be able to beat a
leftist in any debate. They need to be able to make him look utterly foolish.
They need, in other words, to become hyper-intellectual--this will
make them more self-confident, and with self-confidence, they will have
the power to prevail. But the Objectivist movement is not properly preparing
its activists to do what needs to be done. They are instead tossing random
opinions into the circulation of national discourse, and merely hoping for
Support of an Elite More Valuable than Support
of the Masses
We will initially operate according to the belief that it is more important
to win over the elites (or create a new, better one) than to build up a
mass movement. Furthermore, it is more important to have a few impassioned
members than a large number of largely indifferent members. The amount of
energy and self-assurance that we are able to inculcate in the leaders of our movement
will ultimately determine its success or failure.
The new movement must be, in part, exclusive and elite. It must not be afraid
to pass along a body of knowledge that is not readily accessible to and
understandable by everyone. The strong appeal of a feeling of exclusivity
and superiority will give our members a reason to endure the slings and
arrows of popular disapproval.
The New Intellectual Movement will appeal to the masses, but not immediately.
The ideas of the masses never come from the masses. To the extent that the
masses are more Objectivist than the elites, this is primarily because
the masses have a long collective memory from the Enlightenment, and they still value the beliefs
articulated by a long-lost elite. The Objectivist instincts of the American
people will continue to erode unless a new elite is formed to refresh that
We must recognize that literature and philosophy do not appeal to the masses.
This is why we must develop ways to spread our philosophy using intuitive,
"sense of life" means--especially the moving image.
Value of Art and Images
We must place a high value on art, because the most important thing any
movement can do is capture the imagination of the people. One must give
them dreams and ideals that have been put in terms they can understand,
and that touch their hearts, as opposed to their rational minds. If we cannot
capture the imaginations of our members, then we cannot expect our members
to make great investments for us. There must be a common repository of books
and movies that everyone in our movement is familiar with and inspired by,
so anyone can quote a line that will be recognized by everyone else. Young
people already do this, only with the wrong movies, songs, and other products
of popular culture.
We have the example of schoolboys studying Homer in Ancient Greece. No Greek
would be considered properly educated without an intimate familiarity with
Homer. This taught Greeks what their ideals should be, how they should act,
and gave them a common base of reference which united them as members of
a society. The films Braveheart and Gladiator are possible
examples from current popular culture that could serve a similar, but clearly
more limited function.
There is no medium more conducive to propagandistic purposes than the moving
image, and our movement must learn to make use of this medium. A skillfully
produced motion picture or television documentary has tremendous persuasive
power. It has the power to bypass not only the old prejudices that have
been assiduously cultivated by the Left and the Right over the past few decades, but also
the innate skepticism of the viewer, the resistance to new ideas. Rational
arguments simply do not have this power, and all arguments made in print
tend to appeal to the rational, critical faculties of the mind to a greater
or lesser degree.
The visual image allows us to illustrate our beliefs and arguments to our
members and others in highly compelling terms--we will be able to show all
the examples of cultural decadence, irrationality and disingenuousness in
public debate, combined with our commentary, selectively edited and arranged
for maximum impact. It avoids the abstract generalizations that tend
to characterize many Objectivist arguments. It also allows us to show what
we think is right about our current culture--examples from movies or television
that we as cultural Objectivists support and are excited by. The large
amount of capital needed for involvement in this medium is hard to come
by, and those with the most creativity and skills in this area are by and
large not cultural Objectivists--but these hurdles must be overcome
sooner or later.
Value of the Tangible Versus the Abstract
This movement will understand that it is not enough to talk in abstractions
only. We need to offer clear examples whenever possible. And the ideas must
be lived by our members if they are ever to be actualized in the wider society.
The power of example is far greater than the power of exhortation. This
is a cardinal premise of the new movement.
An excessive amount of intellectualization divorced from application in
the real world is a kind of escape from reality, or the creation of a virtual
reality. Thinking becomes tired, static, and inward-looking. People become
more interested in creating mental utopias than in having a real impact
on society. Scholars become mere pedants; ideas are no longer creative and
Ideas interest us only insofar as they offer a guide to action. There is
a place in society for abstract, academic discussion. This is not that place.
Movement Must Be Based on the Transmission of
Ideas, Not Their Creation
This movement is not about the creation of ideas, it is about the transmission
and dissemination of ideas. Objectivism already exists,
but it is largely unknown. As it finds its audience, Objectivism will become more creative and will respond to the challenges
of the present. The creators of the future will find their inspiration from
the great ideas of the past. We maintain that the dearth of new creative
thought grounded in Objectivist sensibilities is due to a disconnection
from the great ideas of the past, because those ideas have not been given
life and relevance. The New Intellectual Movement will be a revolution
in organization, not ideas, but the results will be equally, if not more
The ideas that form the basis of the new movement have been well articulated
by people who value theory but not action. It will be the job of the New Intellectual Movement
to transmit these ideas to a more action-oriented
elite, and through them, to the masses. An action-oriented elite is necessary
to force people to confront ideas they would otherwise not be exposed to.
Ideas do not automatically have consequences. They do not have an impact
in direct proportion to the truth they contain. They have an impact only
insofar as adherents of those ideas are willing to take measures to propagate
New Intellectuals Must Be More Culturally Sophisticated
The new movement cannot be seen as a movement of rubes, or knee-jerk
yahoos, or surly malcontents. We must make it clear that we are seceding
from popular culture not because we are unable to cope with modern life, but
because much of modern life does not interest us. We understand popular culture--we
get it--we simply find it empty and meaningless.
We may reject the culture of our opponents, but we must never fear it. We
must understand the appeal of popular culture before we can hope to draw
people away from it. People will not take us seriously until they are convinced
we have taken the time to understand its appeal. We need the perspective
to be able to compare our current culture with culture at its best, so we
not only know when popular culture falls short, but also when it, on occasion,
provides examples of culture at its best.
It Is in the Movement's Self-Interest to Improve
the Quality of Its Membership
We have a dearth of human material that shares our intellectual values.
These people must be created in our own institutions. They must
be given a refuge as their nascent beliefs are coming into fruition. They
must be sheltered and protected. Improving the quality of the people who
make up the new movement will be a primary concern.
The new movement must understand that it is not enough to wait for people
to come to us. Objectivists now seem to feel that the success a Objectivist
activist can achieve in the Objectivist movement is his own business, merely
a matter of building a career. This view must be categorically rejected.
It is in the interest of the New Intellectual Movement that every
member be given the support to reach his maximum potential. It is imperative
that every member be made to feel more confident about his beliefs and abilities,
because the movement as a whole suffers from a lack of confidence. Furthermore,
there must be a place for people who do not work in the movement for a salary.
The New Intellectual Movement is a cause, not a business.
The new movement will promote discipline and loyalty and self-investment.
Advancing one's personal interests by harming the interests of the movement
will never be overlooked or forgotten. The movement must have an intolerance for backstabbers and
traitors. It must reflect a movement that possesses the self-confidence to demand victory for itself, and to ostracize individuals
who interfere with the realization of our goals. I do not refer to genuine
differences of opinion. This is not a totalitarian movement. I refer to
"Objectivists" who feel tempted to denounce other Objectivists merely
to gain the approval of the cultural elite, or for personal gain.
New Intellectuals Must Concentrate on Students
and Young Adults
The new movement will inevitably be geared toward children and young adults,
especially their education. We will accomplish the goal of retaking our
country only when large numbers of young people are educated outside of
the indoctrinating environment of many public and private schools, universities,
and of course, the popular culture. At this point in their lives, many of
their ideas are still in the formative stage, the more so the younger they
are. Furthermore, young adults (of college age and above) should be given
a large role in the organization of the New Intellectual Movement, as
many older people, because of work and family life, simply do not have the
time to devote to reading, discussion, and action (and all three are equally
important). They also often lack the necessary energy, enthusiasm, and idealism
that is prevalent in youth. However, retirees could also make a valuable
contribution to the movement.
College students must be a key audience for our movement, since they are
free of excessive time commitments and they find themselves in an environment
that (theoretically) encourages activism and exposure to new ideas. We should
consider creating alternative fraternities where intellectuals can live,
interact with each other, learn from each other, socialize with each other.
New Intellectual fraternities can help replicate lifestyles from the past--emulate
"civilized" behavior from the past--by discussing intellectual ideas,
literature, and art, and then acting based on what has been learned. Members
of the fraternities and collegiate study groups should build each other
up in every possible way: in terms of public speaking skills, debating skills,
physical fitness, intellect, manners, aesthetic sense. It is imperative
that our ideas be lived and not merely discussed.
A basic problem is that most bright, creative, dynamic, energetic young
people with leadership skills become leftists, and this is why most student
leaders--who eventually become the leaders of society--tend to be leftists.
New Intellectual fraternities and collegiate study groups can help reverse
Movement Must Be Willing to Appear Obnoxious
Our movement must be
highly provocative. The thing we have most to fear is that we will be ignored.
Cultural Objectivists must understand the predicament we are in. We must
be willing to take measures that perhaps we would be unwilling to take under
different, more ideal circumstances. We will have standards--we will never
try to justify dishonesty, destruction of the personal reputation of our
opponents, cheating, assault, etc., in the service of victory for our movement.
However, we will not consider ourselves above appearing "unseemly" or surrendering
some our personal dignity. We must be willing to shake people out of their
complacency--which means being obnoxious if the situation requires it--because
given the fact that the dominant leftist culture and rising rightist
culture is safely ensconced, complacency
only serves the interests of our opponents.
It is not enough to say that Objectivist philosophy is more sensible than
that of the Left or Right. If we leave it at that, we will only attract "sensible"
people to our movement. But "sensible" people do not go to the barricades,
they do not make great investments for a movement. And the experience of
the Objectivist movement has shown this to be the case. We need more people
with fire in the belly, and we need a message that attracts those kinds
of people. As Plato said, "madness comes from God, whereas sober sense is
merely human." We should keep this in mind if we expect our people to make
superhuman investments for the movement. We must reframe this struggle as
a moral struggle, as a transcendent struggle, as a struggle between good
and evil. And we must be prepared to explain why this is so. We must provide
the evidence needed to prove this using images and simple terms. Putting
the debate in terms of mere freedom, the "leave us alone" mentality,
does not inspire apocalyptic
Some will argue that "Objectivists"
do not believe in apocalyptic fervor. The reader should simply ask himself,
is he happy with the state of cultural activism in this country? If
not, does he think it likely that conditions will improve in the future
by operating according to the current rules? And if not, is he willing to
witness the death of true civilization in this country so that Objectivism
will not suffer the ungentlemanly taint of "fervor"? If the answer to any
of these questions is yes, this movement will not appeal to the reader.
- Ground Zero of
the New Intellectual Movement: The Study Group
What Are Study Groups?
The study groups will develop a cadre of scholar warriors. They are the
vanguard of a counter-cultural movement. Study groups are the basis of all
Study groups will be imperative because they will be the means by which
we combine thought and action. Members will be asked to read relatively
difficult or abstract works of political and social philosophy. They will
then be asked to come up with examples from our current society that might
illustrate some principles contained therein.
This will not be a movement of talkers. Participants will be expected to
engage in tangible, constructive activity. They will be asked often what
precisely they have done for the good of the movement. The new movement
will not, unlike much of modern Objectivism, be a spectator sport.
Study groups, as their name implies, will be engaged in the intensive study
of culture and ideas, but the understanding achieved through that study
will be applied in the form of action. Action is defined as either
subversion of leftist-controlled or rightist-controlled institutions, or
the creation of our
own institutions of civil society, whose sole purpose is outreach to, and
the conversion of, non-intellectuals.
Action is partly designed to lead
to direct results in society, mostly as a way to build up the qualities of the membership. A membership that never acts is useless, because it does
not become more capable, and does not learn from its mistakes. Furthermore,
action in the world encourages the identification of the member with, and
dedication to the group.
For example, we will go to public lectures given by leftists and ask them
"impolite" and highly critical questions. We must, of course,
be fully prepared beforehand for these sorts of excursions, and we must
also be prepared to embarrass ourselves, especially at first.
Money for the new movement will come primarily from the membership at first,
because very few foundations will be willing to support us initially. As
our movement grows, even if more funding comes from foundations, requirements
for personal contributions must remain high to make people believe they
are personally invested in this movement. Again, members cannot be allowed
to think of themselves as spectators in this movement.
Study Groups Will Cultivate Civilized Values
The coming battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is ultimately a
battle between civilization and barbarism. The fight between civilization
and barbarism is a fight that takes place in society at large, as well as
in the soul of each individual.
Civilization means, in part, the mores and inherited traditions that encourage
self-governance and profound respect for the rights of other individuals, as well as an appreciation
for objective truth, in a way that is sustainable and in harmony with our
essential human nature. It is concerned with the intellectual health of society
and bodies responsible for perpetuating those traditions.
It is the opposite of barbarism, which means obeying one's lowest
range-of-the-moment drives; barbarism means fidelity solely to one's whims, not to a
rational social code worked out over centuries, representing the accumulated wisdom
of generations of men and women. Albert Jay Nock defines culture at its
best as "lucidity of mind, intellectual curiosity and hospitality, largeness
of temper, objectivity, the finest sense of social life, of manners, of
beauty." This view of culture is clearly incompatible with irrational,
unbridled egoism or self-sacrifice.
This is also the opposite of a society produced by false ideology. Such ideology is
a substitute for genuine thought, and it is the opposite of all true civilization.
A central goal of the movement will be the destruction of false ideology in whatever
form it takes.
The study groups, and through them, the New Intellectual Movement as a
whole, will be the means by which the goals of civilization, high standards,
and cultural refinement are injected back into society. We have claimed
the prerogative to be obnoxious when the occasion demands it. Furthermore,
we recognize that refinement and obnoxious behavior can conflict. A rule
of reason will mediate. Means should not be allowed to compromise ends,
but talk of ends is moot if there are no intellectuals in existence to
pursue those ends.
Study groups will provide an opportunity to discuss movies and books and
other cultural products that reflect the values of this society and those
of societies separated from ours by time or place. Study groups will rediscover
and disseminate our Enlightenment heritage. They will share examples of the Objectivist
ethos at work today, perhaps even unbeknownst to the creator
of the work. From there, the long-term objective will be to encourage the
creation of new works of art that self-consciously reflect the values of
the New Intellectual Movement. We operate according to the belief that
current popular culture is distinctly uninspiring, and a great people ought
to be able to find inspiration in its culture.
Study Groups Will Provide a Shared "Sense
of Life" Experience
Objectivism wrongly applied becomes irrationally individualistic at the
expense of the beneficial synergies of rational teamwork. We must find meaning
as part of an organization with shared values. For example, it is not enough
for a Objectivist writer to watch a movie, write up a good review in a
magazine, encourage other people to watch it, and expect that to form the
basis for a movement that is able to stand up to the dominant culture. We
must watch movies together and then discuss those movies as a team.
Study groups should engage in rationally benevolent charitable activities, partly to build
esprit de corps, partly to create positive feelings about our group
in the minds of the public, partly to create an alternative to government
solutions. Study groups together with other organs
of the movement should provide everything that a person could want in terms
of social interaction, with the exception of workplaces and fellowships (although
fellowships will in some cases be allied with the movement).
We must recognize that bonding with others in one's generation or society
is the means by which values are strengthened and perpetuated. It is vitally
important that we bond in such a way that the values perpetuated are
Book Clubs Lay the Groundwork
for Study Groups
The tragic success of the Communist movement lay in its ability to enlist the
aid of sympathizers called "fellow travelers". Such a strategy in
itself is not evil, although the message of the Communists clearly was evil.
Given the time-proven effectiveness of enlisting outside help, the New Intellectual Movement
should imitate the Communist
distinction between party members and fellow travelers. Study groups will
require high levels of dedication, discipline and self-investment. Those
who are unable to perform will be asked to leave. But it would be unwise
to send the signal that there is no place in the movement for people who
are otherwise sympathetic to our message. They will be considered allies,
but they will not be accorded the status of movement leaders.
Based on this premise, the book club is designed
to be the organ of the New Intellectual Movement that is most accessible
to outsiders. The book club will be open to all interested individuals,
and will be responsible for introducing its members to Objectivist ways
of thinking. The level of commitment required of book club members will
be much lower than that required of study group members.
The study group will recruit mainly from the book club. Members of the book
club will discuss ideas at a lower level of intellectual sophistication
than the study group. Once the study groups have been firmly established
and have arrived at an adequate level of intellectual sophistication, the
leaders of the study group will be responsible for choosing the books or
other cultural products that will be discussed in the book club, and drawing
up the agenda and list of discussion questions for each meeting.
Acceptance by Fellow
New Intellectuals More Important than Acceptance by Wider Society
The members of the New Intellectuals must make public affirmation of their
identification with the new movement. They must seek approval for their
actions from other New Intellectuals, and not from the wider society.
It is unrealistic to assume that very many mortal human beings will be able
to withstand in isolation the vitriol and hatred that our movement's program
will engender. Culture wars generally seem to inspire higher emotions than
verbal wars over economics, foreign policy, etc., because they address the
most fundamental questions of what matters in life. Our people must learn
to have contempt and scorn for the wider society, and reject it in all ways.
This will never happen so long as our people seek accommodation with it.
It is important that we form fully well-rounded people who feel that they
are lacking nothing that the dominant leftist or rightist culture can offer them. For
example, sports leagues will be included for young people in the intermediate
stage, in order to bring in people who might not otherwise be interested
in joining. It is important that there be something for everyone, that there
be a place for all kinds of different people. Not all members will be intellectuals,
although intellectuals will instigate the new movement.
- Final Thoughts
Even if We Lose, We Still Win
Even if our views do not become the dominant views in society at any point
in the near future, this must not be seen as a defeat. At least we will
have offered many Americans another choice, a refuge from the dominant culture,
and a way to at least live a reasonably decent and pleasant life in the
midst of rampant social corruption and mysticism. We will provide people with access to
the best civilization has produced--literature, philosophy and art. We
will be a godsend to those who want to raise themselves up and make themselves
more than what they are. Popular culture now acts as a giant narcotic, offering
an escape from the difficulty and hard work of realizing our Ideal
Our movement's intention is to break that addiction for as many individuals
Discussion Lists Have Little Value--Action
Is More Important
We must be careful not to over-theorize, or wait until we have everything
thought out perfectly before we start to take action. Action is the most
important element at first, because much of learning is evolutionary, and
one of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes in the real world--but,
of course, there is never any excuse for making the same mistake twice.
Objectivists have an excessive tolerance
for incessant talking. The discussion list based on this essay will only
involve as much discussion as it takes to form the philosophical basis for
local study groups in various parts of the country, and the list will then
coordinate the agendas of the study groups. Study groups will be in charge
of conducting actual activities. Study groups must form the primary venue
for the transmission of ideas, because a discussion list cannot lead to
action. Again, the basis of our movement is the integration of thought and
action. Neither one is more important than the other.
We should expect some infighting and sectarianism
in our movement at first, as we try to decide what exactly we think should
be the basis of our movement--precisely for which cultural values we are fighting. This should not worry us especially, because over time, as we engage
each other, as well as the wider society, an equilibrium will be achieved,
and a balance will be struck between the competing goals of unity and size
in our movement.
The Next Step
The reader will have noticed that this essay
contains no evidence. It is not concerned with converting anyone to a certain
way of thinking. However, certain people will find that its arguments resonate
with them, and express beliefs they have long held on an inchoate level.
These are the people who will provide the critical mass to begin the organization
of the new movement.
If you are sympathetic to the basic premises
set forth in this essay, I welcome your questions and criticisms in order
to better clarify my positions and my thoughts on the direction the New Intellectuals must take, particularly in the initial stages. Please contact
me at UCFObjectivistClubfirstname.lastname@example.org.
I would particularly like to invite your participation if you would be willing
to organize a book club in your hometown. I especially encourage
you to send the link to this page to anyone who you think might be interested
in any of the ideas contained in the essay.
We have a lot of work to do. Let's get started.
Is this piece serious, or
is it satire? It's hard to know. "The Objectivist movement is defensive,
defeatist and depressed," you say. Well, speak for yourself, buddy! I
don't see defensive, defeatist or depressed SOLOists - perhaps you're just
shaking the wrong tree? :-)
I have to say that, whether satire or serious, this whole pathetic 'call
from arms' makes me queasy. At time it's simply defeatist; at others it
just sounds like the foolish wishful thinking of a drunken Saturday night:
'I've got it! I've got the answer! Let's all use snappy bumper stickers!'
Sadly, the euphoria of such a strategic masterplan looks less lustrous in
the cold light of a hungover Sunday morning.
That reaction may be unfair, but the confused magic bullet you propose seems
ill thought through. For example "... we choose not to
make a fetish of political freedom. We recognize that there are other freedoms
besides political freedom--such as the freedom not to be subjected to a
barrage of cultural decadence at every turn." Political freedom a
'fetish'!? Don't you understand that without that peculiar 'fetish' of freedom
you [or 'we'] have no freedom to engage in any battle at all, including the
battle against cultural decadence? Sure, cultural decadence and lack of
political freedom are inextricably linked as we know (although there is no
such thing as a 'freedom not to be subjected to ... cultural decadence'), so
why not engage the battle at every level? Why give away one level of
the battle just 'cos it's not your own 'fetish.' Apply the division-of-labour
principle and encourage those who battle for your values when you cannot, or
will not. In any case, I would disagree with you that there is an'
"over-reliance on political activism" in Objectivism anyway. Are we
looking at the same thing?
And another question: Just who is this 'we' white man? Who is it
that you're speaking for here? It's certainly not me.
My unease grew as I read each new contradiction in your manifesto, e.g.,
there is something to be said for the argument that "we [just who are
you speaking for, I wonder?] will initially operate according to the
belief that it is more important to win over the elites ... than to build
up a mass movement." Fine, I think, as it is to the intelligent elite to
whom Objectivism has always been pitched - to anyone who chooses to think. So,
if that's to be 'our' strategy, why then must 'we' as you say "recognize
that literature and philosophy do not appeal to the masses. This is why we
must develop ways to spread our philosophy using intuitive, 'sense of life'
means--especially the moving image." ?
Um, is it just me or does that make no sense at all? Let's appeal to the elite
by appealing to the masses? Nice reasoning. To advance philosophy by not
proselytising for it? What could be more ingenious. I'm pleased AR
chose not to follow this advice, choosing instead to advanced her ideas
and her career by precisely the path you decry - shamelessly elitist writing
promoting the cause of philosophy - her philosophy - in several
stunning novels that proved to have overwhelming mass appeal (second only to
the Bible, according to the Library of Congress). Literature and philosophy
combined masterfully, and persuasively, and commercially. But that strategy
is not successful, you say.
Ah well, let's see what successful strategy 'we' should be following then:
"We must place a high value on art, because the most important thing any
movement can do is capture the imagination of the people." Yes, true ...
except that art is not simply didactic, as you seem to intend here. In
any case, you carry on to say "One must give [the people] dreams and
ideals that have been put in terms they can understand, and that touch their
hearts, as opposed to their rational minds." Um, I begin to feel
my sarcastic bone developing, but that's fine as it's apparently okay to be
obnoxious. :-). 'We' want art, you say, but we don't want literature. 'We'
want to develop New Intellectuals, you say, but without an appeal to
rational minds. Hmmm. Obviously the strategy of a very rational mind.
You continue with: "this movement is not about the creation of ideas, it
is about the transmission and dissemination of ideas. Objectivism already
exists, but it is largely unknown." And would continue to be so,
I suggest, as long as such flabby thinking as advancing ideas by not
appealing to rational minds is what is offered up for clear-headed
"Objectivists have an excessive tolerance for incessant talking."
Too true. And too many have a penchant for wooly thinking when it comes to
strategy - they're convinced there's some magic bullet that will secure the
nirvana they're sure is just around the corner. Face it, we're fighting a
cultural accretion of two-thousand years - as Rand herself recognised. The
dominoes ain't going to topple with a few bumper stickers and some great
movies. The battle needs to be fought at every level, but you must realise the
importance of every level, particularly the philosophical.
As you say: "We must learn to be more self-critical. Our efforts should
be less haphazard, less prone to fits and starts, and they should make better
use of accumulated knowledge and past errors." Too true, and in this
instance I would definitely counsel more self-criticism. Look, pursue your
study groups by all means. Sell your bumper stickers. Concentrate on students
and young adults - but make sure when you're talking and writing and
'concentrating' you've got something to say, and something about which to
study. You want to fight for cultural values, it seems, but when
you say you have yet to decide "precisely for which cultural values we
are fighting" I can only shake my head in wonder. I'm afraid I can only
conclude you want to set out on a journey without knowing where you're
If you want to fight for a philosophy you've first got to understand it, but
equally you have to espouse it. Openly. Passionately. Eloquently. You can't
just smuggle it in like a hip flask at a wowsers' convention, only imbibing
from it yourself - and then never in sufficiently sustaining drafts,
and only when no-one's looking.
Wooly thinking and good intentions on their own are never going to move the
world, and nor are they going to advance Objectivism. More's the pity. If it
did we'd be there already. You say "Those who think do not act, and
those who act do not think." Too true, too often. Can I suggest, as
gently as I can, that you take your own advice.
this manifesto disturbs me. it almost reads as though
it is trying to turn objectivism into a collectivist crusade. the demand on
disseminating ideas rather than generating them, on fire instead of prudence,
the calling of political freedom a fetish (?!?!?!) all of this reminds me more
of jack booted thugs than of the philosophy of howard roark. however this text
is intended, the way it comes across is light years away from how I see
Wow, I have
had numerous people look at this essay and this is the first time I have heard
anyone say anything critical about it! This is good feedback! All
I did, really, was to massage Heubeck's essay and see how it turned out.
I made no pretense of being original with this particular work. It will
be interesting to see what other readers have to say about it. I may
just drop the whole thing and start from scratch.
"jack booted thugs"? Isn't that a
little over the top? I'm reminded of the review of Atlas Shrugged saying
something like "to the death camps you go!".
I thought Peter's comment was a little too critical, like he was looking for a
fight. For instance "One must give [the people] dreams and ideals
that have been put in terms they can understand, and that touch their hearts,
as opposed to their rational minds." He interpreted it as bypassing
the rational mind entirely. When I read it, I just assumed it meant
dropping the whole reason/passion dichotomy, where you have to bombard people
with logic but you're not allowed to give your arguments a bit of life.
Even if you could interpret it as wanting to bypass the rational mind, I don't
see any reason to assume it.
I can also see why someone would argue against political fetishness.
It's not hard to see that many Objectivists-in-name concentrate entirely on
politics, ignoring most of the rest of Objectivism. They do argue for
freedom, but often on economic grounds. Their intellectual position is
closer to the Austrian school of economics then Objectivism. Rand pulls
them in, but they go down another path. And then you get
"Objectivists" arguing that anything you do is "good", if
it doesn't coerce others. One of the strengths of SOLO is that we
recognize that we're in a cultural war. See the Credo:
"We see ourselves most emphatically as being at war with the current
culture: the culture of anti-heroes, nihilism, destruction & dishonesty
Now I can understand Peter's motivations some because this piece makes a
mistake it argues against. That is, it doesn't "make better use of
accumulated knowledge and past errors". As far as strategy goes,
there are a lot of ideas it completely ignores. And it does seem to take
the "magic bullet" approach, which is to try to offer the
solution that will ensure victory. I'm more than happy to have the war
waged on many fronts.
It argues as if a lot of actions that take place are worthless, when in fact
there is some worth to them. For instance, arguing on forums does give
people better conceptual tools. You have to not only learn your own
positions well, but typical responses to those positions. This is one
way of doing it. Another example is the transmission vs. creation of
ideas. It ignores the fact that new understandings of the
philosophy can create powerful arguments. The creation of ideas is often
a result of trying to better understand the philosophy, and then sharing your
results with others.
So yeah, it's got a lot to be desired. It's also very long. And it
doesn't read with a coherent theme. It's like a shotgun approach to
strategy. It hits all kinds of points, and tries to give the impression
that it's a well-developed plan of attack, but doesn't seem to be.
That doesn't bother me too much, though. It's food for thought to anyone
who wants to think about these issues.
dont mind the cultural war aspect of it. what I mind is well, this honestly
reads in many ways like a collectivist manifesto. and unlike the idiotic
"to the gas chambers -- go!" comment about atlas, there are grounds
to say this here. i'm sorry, but the second anyone starts referring to
political freedom as a "fetish" which is less important than
cultural wars, its time to run in the other direction. this is not just some
minor error or misprioritization either. bad culture is just annoying. the
lack of freedom can kill you. people who write these words cannot fail to know
this, especially if they are objectivists -- this is the declaration of a
brute who wants to control men's minds and culture and, more sickeningly, is
willing to appeal to objectivism to do it. remember: a decline of
aesthetics is merely obnoxious. a decline of politics can kill you.
are numerous other lines in this piece which provide me with similar levels of
consternation, however, I find the line about political freedom being a fetish
to be the most egregious by far: it is not a fetish, it is life itself, and if
someone does not understand that, I would really not feel safe trusting them
with any level of authority.
I read the words in Heubeck's original piece, I took it to mean that the free
culture he had in mind would be one in which people would have the liberty to
publish irrational, nihilistic tabloid trash and garbage but would generally
have sense enough not to produce it or to consume it. To create that
cultural climate, he proposed the New Traditionalist Movement.
You are correct to say that lack of political freedom can kill people. I
do not think Heubeck would deny that. All I suggested was to focus on
creating civil institutions where people who share our values can plant the
seeds of their own growth in a nurturing environment.
The bottom line is that I agree with you that we need to remain constantly
vigilant against tyranny, but not so preoccupied with it that we fail to
achieve our other values in the finite time we have on this Earth using the
liberty we already have. Not everyone has a "Personal Mission
Statement" of full-time advocacy of liberty, although some will.
The rest of us have to fit that advocacy into our hierarchy of other values in
a rational management of time and life.
must apologise for my friend Mr Cresswell. He's an Irishman you know. Can't
take him anywhere. :-)
Actually, I thought his critique contained many valid points, as well as being
brilliantly written. It's not often nowadays that one has the pleasure of
being able to take time out from the import of what one is reading &
savour the sheer eloquence of the writing. This was one such occasion.
Luther, I agree with the critics here that Heubeck/Setzer lacks cohesion.
There were many times I hollered in approval, many times I was just puzzled
& some times when I emitted a raspberry noise (such as the
The fact is, you're never going to create a monolithic, one-shoe-fits-all
Objectivist fighting force. My & Joe's approach is "horses for
courses." Let people do what they enjoy, & let people be active in
the areas that appeal to them. If it be politics, so be it. Let no one pretend
he has a magic bullet. There ain't one. But if it's "rational
passion" you're after, then you need look no further than SOLO. We're
already here! :-)
Many thanks to all who took the time to review this piece.
Even though the critiques stung a little, they definitely served as an
educational growth experience.
What I shall do in the next few days is:
Drop the link to the essay from the footer of the pages
of the Club web site.
Add a disclaimer to the top of the essay summarizing
Append the comments from this board to the bottom of
the essay for permanent future reference.
I am sure Mr. Heubeck will find these comments of
interest as well.
Over the long range, I have an idea for a substantial revision of the
"Ideal Self" essay linked in the header of the pages of the Club web
site that can synergize with both the SOLO (TM) approach and that of the Fellowship
Of Reason (R). Once it is done, I will post a link to this board for
more scathing yet educational critiques! :-)
Bravo, Luther, for your sober response to the (sometimes)