I got back a few hours ago from seeing Craig Biddle give a talk at Rice University here in Houston entitled "Capitalism: The Only Moral Social System". A description can be found here. I must say, it was one of the better capitalism talks I have seen in a while. Biddle did an especially good job of concretizing the more abstract points of his talk, particularly during one point in the Q&A.
In fact, speaking of the Q&A, a questioner brought up the current presidential candidates which led Biddle to spend a good deal of time discussing the principle moral and political philosophies of both candidates, even breaking out his notes for his next talk which, apparently, is about that very subject. I don't know when or where that talk is going to be, but I recommend you go check it out if you can. From the little teaser we got, it sounds like it will be very interesting.
Update: Apparently, Biddle's next talk, which I mentioned above, will be the next in ARI's lecture series. Info can be found here.
I've been talking with some of the Objectivists I know and the subject of "going John Galt" has come up more than a few times. I've also seen it come up on some Objectivist blogs.
My tentative position on this is somewhere in the middle. I don't think it is time to "go John Galt". . . yet. I think the time will come where something similar is required, however. That is, I think we are beyond the point of no return, but we are moving slowly. Certainly much slower than in Atlas Shrugged (I recall reading somewhere that Rand sped up the collapse in AS faster than it would likely happen to make it work in the novel's context). I think that in a nation where something like thisis possible with such little outcry, something is very incurably wrong. And the only thing to do is prepare and wait for the time to rebuild.
So, given that, what should we do? Well, since we aren't at the "buy gold, ammo and stock seed and I'll see you in the mountains" bit yet, I think we continue to fight. Not to save what cannot be saved, but to take from the destroyers as much as we can. By this, I mostly mean: to win as many minds as possible.
Is it possible to have so much of an impact that America reverses direction? I don't know, but I doubt it. Of course, it's possible that I am wrong, and if it ever turns out that I am wrong, I will gladly admit so.
It will be awhile, however. And until then (if I even live to see it), I will continue to support ARI and other fine organizations because I think it is possible, and very much desirable, to win many more minds, especially among the younger generations.
Now, this hasn't been a very in-depth examination of the present situation, but I never meant it to be. I simply wanted to present my current position. But I certainly welcome comments. But I don't think it looks good, kids.
...but do you know how hard it is to get me to throw up my hands and say "Screw it!"? That's what this election has done to me.
I am far from disconnected. I read three newspapers a day, on top of all the articles I read online and the the few hours of news I watch every day. But, if it were anybody but "Creepo" and "Dipshit" running for the highest office in the land, I'd be swimming in articles and bios about the candidates, offering my analyses left and right to anyone who would hear them.
I can't do it this time.
I can't dive into the muck as willingly as I used to. It's just so much more disgusting now. I can barely be prodded to watch the debates. And now I'm sorry I did.
In a post a couple of months ago, I said that I was voting for Obama because McCain just scared the devil out of me. Now, less than a month from election, I've decided to abstain. I can't sanction this sideshow.
This pile of inanity is so far afield that it has actually driven me into the arms of 20th century philosophy. I have spent most of the time I would usually have spent on political analysis and commentary plumbing the shallows of Wittgenstein, Russell, Ayer and Husserl. And others. I hate these thinkers, but it is actually more enjoyable to discover just exactly how wrong Wittgenstein is than it is to read an article about what dough-headed nonsense fell out of the mouth of either presidential hopeful the night before.
This is going to be uglier than a baby with a claymore, brothers. Cover your hair and your eyes. And guard your wallet.