When I first read your response I was really taken aback and had to spend some time thinking about it. I certainly understand your concern - and even share it to some degree, but my immediate reaction was to think,
What a great shame, and look just how far we have sunk as a culture, when the first thing that a good an reasonable person needs to consider is how they might be tripped up for publicly declaring their virtues, and their commitment to them.
But you are correct. Today, we live in a culture where the modus operandi is to scour the detritus of an individual's personal life, looking for even a hint of the most minor imperfection, and then using those flaws to ridicule that person. And with the willing help of the media, all greatness and achievement can be shoved under the bus and then conveniently ignored while the majority of the public sits in front of their televisions nightly, waiting to be entertained by "journalistic reporting" that has become the ultimate voyeuristic reality show. Sarah Palin is the poster child for being on the receiving end of this sort of treatment. So, while I cannot argue that there is no chance of that happening to each of us, what I can do is give you my personal take on this.
Like everyone else (except, of course, those of you reading this :-)), I have my faults and flaws. And being about the most introspective person that I know, I don't need other people to point them out to me in order to be aware of them. I strive to better myself each day, and take some pride in that fact. If the standard of the good and acceptable were perfection, then the Catholic Church would be correct and we would all be irredeemable sinners destined for hell. But, I hold a more realistic assessment of human nature. For me, what is important is to commit to being the best one is able; to strive to always do what one believes is right and true; to learn from one's mistakes and do better next time; and to make amends when one's actions cause undeserved pain or hardship to others. It is from this perspective that I judge myself, and it is my self-judgment, and not the judgment of others, that matters most to me. My overall self-assessment is that I am worthy of making the John Galt Pledge, so I have no problem signing up. If someone is going to go digging up personal dirt in an attempt to discredit me, I guess I'll just have to be proud that I achieved such a level of noteworthyness. But I'm not going to let an implicit and unlikely threat such as this stop me from doing what I think is valuable with my life.
As you know if you have read my website, I say:
"This pledge, which one makes to oneself, is an expression of individualism, and a personal Declaration of Independence from the shackles of both society and the state."
Elsewhere, Ted Keer argues that it is inappropriate to require someone to take this oath. But there is no requirement here. This is a pledge "which one makes to oneself", and one which I would have expected anyone who calls themselves an Objectivist had already taken without any prodding from me or anyone else.
The purpose of signing your name on my website is not some sort of vanity exercise or expression of superiority over others. The purpose is to add one's voice to another form of public protest, and by doing so, help create a tool that can be useful in the fight for liberty.
On 9/12, people are heading to Washington D.C. to march in protest against the policies of the Obama administration. Frequently people get together at Tea Party protests. These types of events have impact in direct proportion to the number of participants. If 300 people show up in D.C., that would generate a page six mention in most newspapers. If 80,000 people show up, it's headline news. The same is true of my venture. I am trying to create a permanent public record of protest that can later be leveraged as the starting point for many different protest campaigns. What is different from the other forms of protest is that this effort provides an ideological focus that the others are currently missing. Because it is relatively well known, the John Galt Pledge is a convenient Maxim for focusing attention on the underlying message. If I get a few hundred of you to sign up then I will have failed, because that is not enough "weight" of opinion to be taken seriously. However, if thousands of people sign up, then that list will transform into a powerful tool that all of us can reference in support of individual rights and the curtailment of government. I will have more to say about all of this on the blog page at the website which I am working on. It should be available within a day or two at most. If there are other questions, they will be answered there.
So, the truth is that in order to succeed, I need each of you to sign up, and could use your help in promoting the effort to as many others as possible. The end result will be a public record that you can use in you personal fight for liberty, so the list is as much yours as mine.