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Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
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So long as I pay taxes, or use the services those taxes bring me, I cannot take this oath... else I find a hidden valley somewhere.

Don't forget why Dagny didn't take the oath until she gave up on the world.



Post 1

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 2:35pmSanction this postReply
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You need to read a little closer. When a criminal extorts funds from you at gunpoint, you are not living for them. When that criminal sets up compulsory programs that allow some sliver of hope of you recouping confiscated funds, you are not ASKING anyone to live for you.



Post 2

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 2:54pmSanction this postReply
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tacebo

(Edited by Ted Keer on 9/09, 2:54pm)




Post 3

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 5:14pmSanction this postReply
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Bravo Jeffery Small.

I take Doug Fischer's interpretation, and I don't feel right making such a pledge until I discontinue paying such high taxes.

I was thinking of making a similar website : ). I was going to split the quote into two separate ones... The first and easier one being something like "I swear I will never ask/force another man to live for the sake of mine", and the second harder being: "I swear I will never live for the sake of another man."



Post 4

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 6:18pmSanction this postReply
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I have two points to make.

1. You see the flaw in placing a bit too much credence in the fiction of Objectivism when there is AMPLE non-fiction out there. This is especially relevant considering some of it directly addresses this issue.

2. If you were going to use the fictional ubermensch as your barometer for what it is appropriate for you to do or state, it would be helpful to remember that John Galt paid taxes and utilized public resources while passing within society, and its his oath.



Post 5

Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 9:38amSanction this postReply
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Ryan,

Touché on point two.



Post 6

Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 2:36pmSanction this postReply
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I'm surprised by the objections to taking the oath. As Ryan points out, when a person is subjected to theft and other forms of compulsion from which they cannot escape, which would include things like using tax-funded roads, education, public utilities, and so on, or accepting back one's past earnings by cashing Social Security checks, or partaking of Medicaid coverage because one's savings have been confiscated and alternatives have been eliminated, it is not they who have initiated the force, but are just another victim of a very convoluted and corrupt system.

So long as one opposes all forms of force in principle, does what one can, in practice, to move society in the direction of freedom, and does not volunteer support to freedom's enemies, then there is no reason one cannot make the pledge in good faith. As I say on the web site, this is an oath that one makes to oneself. Therefore, the only obstacle to the pledge is one of conscience. The past and current actions of our politicians are irrelevant to the convictions of one's soul, and it is those convictions from which the pledge springs.

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. If, after advocating Rand's philosophy for decades, Objectivists, as a group, are still unwilling to make this pledge to themselves and to the public at large, then I will have been convinced once and for all that its enemies were correct and it is not a philosophy for living on earth - at least not this one. However, I'm pretty sure that is not the case. So I encourage everyone to consider the issue carefully and make your decision.

I am going to start a blog page associated with the Pledge web site, where I will be addressing issues such as what we are discussing here, as well as talking about plans for future actions related to using the pledge list as ammunition in support of ongoing attacks on our government's socialization of this country. So take another look at the site in a couple of days.

Please understand that for this action to have any impact at all, it will require that not just a few hundred people sign up, but that many thousands do. I do not think that achieving these results is necessarily unrealistic. There are many thousands of people who identify themselves as Objectivists, and there are many more who hold a libertarian political view. Also, sales of Atlas Shrugged are somewhere in the range of 200-300,000 copies this year alone. That means that there is a new generation of people being exposed to Rand's ideas, and many of them could possible be convinced to sign as well, assuming they know of the opportunity. So I am asking each of you to seriously consider adding your name to the list, and then, if you see any potential value in this idea, doing what you can to promote it so that other like-minded individual are exposed to the opportunity to sign up as well.

Thanks.
--
C. Jeffery Small



Post 7

Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 4:22pmSanction this postReply
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My main question and concern is what is exactly expected from this effort? Emulation of a fictional character doesn't seem to me to be where the rubber meets the road. Action does. I'm not trying to steal your thunder, I'm trying to see where you're going with this.



Post 8

Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 5:07pmSanction this postReply
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Ryan:

That's a very important question which has not been addressed. I already answered this for someone else who wrote to me asking the same question. Rather than repeat everything here, I will be adding this information to the blog section of the web site, so look there in a day or two.

I'm also interested to hear from anyone else about their ideas for follow up. I think there is the potential to make this action a potent one. If anyone has a suggestion, send it to me at pledge@go-galt.org.

Regards,
--
Jeff



Post 9

Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 5:18pmSanction this postReply
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My concern in signing this pledge, in a public manner, is that it would open you up to constant observation by those who might want to catch you in some misdeed, even though you might be as pure as the driven snow.

Sam




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Post 10

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 12:31pmSanction this postReply
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Sam:

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.

Regards,
--
Jeff



Post 11

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff:

I applaud your sentiments and dedication.

Sam




Post 12

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 3:18pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks Sam.



Post 13

Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 5:05amSanction this postReply
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I have now added a blog section to the original website. This contains additional material about the purpose of this initiative along with additional comments. This section will be updated frequently, so check back occasionally for new information.

Regards,
--
Jeff




Post 14

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 3:08amSanction this postReply
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I just added a blog entry discussing the recently announced Mozilla Service Week project. The Obama administration is off and running with its plans to move the country to mandatory national service of some kind, and this is just the first salvo in their battle plan. Read more about this at my article: The Battle for National Service is Underway!

Regards,
--
C. Jeffery Small
go-galt.org/Galt_Pledge/




Post 15

Friday, September 18, 2009 - 5:23pmSanction this postReply
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I just added a short article on my blog that discusses how your tax dollars have been going to ACORN to fund such activities as creating "Healthcare Activists" to rally support for Obamacare. And if that were not enough, these activities are promoted through the government's serve.gov website. Read more at Taxpayers Fund Activists for Obamacare at United We Serve.




Post 16

Sunday, September 20, 2009 - 11:40pmSanction this postReply
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In a recent blog entry titled My Response to Frank Rich's Article in the New York Times, I respond to Mr Rich's observation that heated disagreement with Barack Obama's policies is prima facia evidence of a manifestation of racism -- but since the dissenters are idiots, there is no point in trying to set them straight.




Post 17

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 9:55pmSanction this postReply
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My latest piece titled It's Never Too Early To Indoctrinate, discusses how mandatory national service is being imposed, through the back door of our educational system. Soon, no child will be able to escape from the requirement.




Post 18

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 11:44pmSanction this postReply
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Hasn't there been suits over this - involuntary servitude?



Post 19

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 11:28amSanction this postReply
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Despite the 13th Amendment, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping the government. They have gotten away with conscription into the armed services throughout our history and education is forced upon us. If there have been lawsuits over this, they do not seem to have done much good! I have little faith in the Supreme Court to protect the rights of the individual any longer. It's now up to us to take action if we expect anything to get accomplished. We no longer really live in a society ruled by law. Instead, we live in a world now ruled by public opinion and force. If you want to preserve your rights, I suggest that everyone begin shouting as loudly as they can. It would be better to change course by swaying public opinion than the alternative which will necessarily follow once that tactic fails.
(Edited by C. Jeffery Small on 9/23, 11:32am)




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