Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Optimistic Perspective on Current Events

Lately, it has been easy to become discouraged by the barrage of statist rhetoric and actions coming from federal, state and local government--especially given the apparent wide public support these actions are receiving. I am always grateful for the occasional article which injects a bit of optimism into the debate. Perspectives like that conveyed in the article linked below provide a helpful reminder of how it takes time to change the assumptions held by a culture, and the importance of working to lay the groundwork. I particularly liked the parallel the author draws between the spread of ideas and the Austrian theory of capital structure. I hope you too can receive a bit of a boost to help you carry on.

"[I]deas are higher-order factors of production."

from Academic Scribbling and Current Events by Art Carden.

Addendum: A complimentary post on this subject can be found today (6/10/09) at Gus Van Horn.

1 comment:

Burgess Laughlin said...

Sand dunes shift a grain at a time. Following is a tiny example of the sort of long-term spread of fundamental ideas that can change a culture as described in the article:

1. In 1989, a philosopher (Dr. Harry Binswanger) writes a brief essay, here, laying out a sketch of the foundation of Philosophy of Law: "What is Objective Law?"

2. Later that year, an organization, The Association for Objective Law, publishes the essay. (It also appears in The Intellectual Activist). The founder of TAFOL was Steve Plafker, a lawer and long-term Objectivist.

3. Nearly 20 years later, a programmer intrigued by the application of philosophy to (ugly) current events and a retired marketing communications writer work together to create a website helping Objectivists study seminal texts, Study Groups for Objectivists.

4. In July of 2009, the year after the founding of SGO, a brief study group is conducted to review the 1989 essay, thus spreading its ideas through slow, close study by individuals who are mostly intellectual activists. The leader of the study group is Steve Plafker, the founder of TAFOL.

Thinking done before 1989 led to an essay in 1989. Among its other ripples, it reappears in a study group 20 years later for a close reading. This is merely one tiny thread in a fabric of cultural change. Such events are happening day by day, often out of sight.

I am neither a philosophical Optimist nor a philosophical Pessimist. I do have growing hope for the future of the Objectivist movement -- hope based on facts, which is objective hope. That movement will be the core agent of change.