Sep 9, 2009

NWO activists--history in the making?

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; Burgess Laughlin, The Main Event, philosophical and activist, and Making Progress, philosophical and historical; Peter Namvedt, Reason to Freedom, political; Gaia Marrs, Life on Marrs, political; Rachel Miner, The Playful Spirit, reporting on parenting of a high-function autistic child and other issues.
- 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.

- Organizing "Capitalist Conspiracy in Washington State," a Facebook group dedicated to encouraging and enabling individuals to become Precinct Committee Officers in either major party, thus influencing the selection of candidates in primaries: Bill Herman.
- Organizing for intellectual activism: Brad Williams, Oregonians for Individual Rights, now in the "startup" stage.
- Creating outreach organizations: Blake Scholl, Club for Capitalism (Seattle).
- "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, moderating, and leading online weekly discussion groups in the Virtual Objectivist Club, for university students having no access to a local Objectivist Club: Jason Crawford.
- Grading essays for the ARI essay context: Andrew and Rachel Miner.
- Transcribing an ARI intellectual's speech and Q&A, given at a university. (Rachel Miner).

- 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 or Oregonians for Individual Rights: Burgess Laughlin and anonymous donors.

Burgess Laughlin
Author, The Aristotle Adventure
Founder, Study Groups for Objectivists