May 7, 2009

NWO activists--history in the making?

Updated: Sept. 9, 2009

The following list shows the activism of individuals who are members of Northwest Objectivists. It is a social organization whose primary purpose is enjoying the company of like-minded individuals and whose secondary purpose is assisting members in starting other, specialized groups (for example, for activism or study). By providing a meeting ground, NWO has facilitated activities for change.

As a long-term student of history, I have been fascinated by professional historians' accounts of the spread of ideas through various societies (ancient Greece, medieval France, England in the early Enlightenment, and others). In several posts, I have described the lessons I have drawn from looking at the past and the present:
"Philosophical ripples?"
"What is in-line activism?"
"In-line vs. off-line activism?"
"What is a movement?"
"Quality control in movements?"

Having compiled the following list, I appreciate even more the fervor of activity that must have led to the culture of the West European Enlightenment--many individuals at many levels of society, each in his own chosen manner, pursuing a better future.

- Writing weblogs: Kate Gerber, CareerMama; Andrew Miner, On Coding Style, epistemology of writing software; Brad Williams, Scripsit, political; Andrew Dalton, Witch Doctor Repellent, political; Burgess Laughlin, Making Progress, philosophical and historical; Peter Namvedt, Reason to Freedom, political; Gaia Marrs, Life on Marrs, political.
- Debating or advocating in specialized areas, online: Mia Eilebrecht, advocating for rational parenting; Rachel Miner, advocating for rational parenting; Rick Wilmes, researching the history of the ideological sources of US military policies, and debating on a US military academy discussion forum; and Peter Namtvedt, writing guest posts for political theory weblogs.
- Writing letters to editors, politicians, and bureaucrats: Maryallene Otis, Rachel Miner, and Peter Namtvedt.
- Writing supportive letters or calls to victims of statism (physicians, industrialists, property owners, etc.): Rachel Miner.
- Creating art carrying objective messages: Duane, writing a novel; and Peter Namtvedt, planning a political novel.
- Writing supportive comments on Objectivists' internet essays: Rachel Miner.
- Pursuing in-line philosophical activism: Burgess Laughlin, a long-term historical project.

- "Enabling" the activism of others, by organizing socials or discussion groups: Jason Crawford, Rachel Miner, Andrew Miner, and Burgess Laughlin.
- Providing a site (Study Groups for Objectivists) for structured, text-based study of elements of Objectivism and related topics: Brad Williams and Burgess Laughlin.
- Organizing for intellectual activism: Brad Williams, Oregonians for Individual Rights.
- Grading essays for the ARI essay context: Andrew and Rachel Miner.
- Creating organizations: Blake Scholl, Club for Capitalism (Seattle).

- Informally and singly speaking to friends and co-workers: Most of the 50 members of NWO.
- Making phone calls to local, state, or national legislators: Rachel Miner.
- Speaking to live audiences: Maryallene Otis (Toast Masters).

- Carrying signs, distributing leaflets, participating in work parties: Blake Scholl, Jason Crawford, Bill Herman, Tom Lahti, Maryallene Otis, Don Otis, Alex Bleier, Thanh D., Brad Williams, Burgess Laughlin, and other NWO members (participating in "Tea Party" events, protesting "universal health care," and addressing other issues).

- Signing ARI's The Atlantis Legacy: Jim and Duane; Don and Maryallene Otis; Andrew Layman; and Burgess Laughlin.
- Donating to ARI and Oregonians for Individual Rights: Burgess Laughlin and anonymous donors.

Burgess Laughlin
Author, The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith

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