Friday, November 09, 2007
With 633 votes and a 35.8% share of the vote in a field of ten finalists , Gus Van Horn takes first place in the "Slithering Reptile" size category (top 6751-8750 blogs) of the 2007 Weblog Awards!
First things first.... If you're new to this blog, welcome, and if you're not, I thank you for having made this blog a part of your day as well as for your support in this contest.
I would also like to thank the following bloggers for sending their readers to the polls. (David Veksler and The Software Nerd run the meta-blog at Objectivism Online.)
|The Inspector||Diana Hsieh||David Veksler *|
|The Software Nerd *||Craig Biddle||Rational Jenn|
|Nick Provenzo||Andrew Dalton||Karl Martin Mertens|
I enjoy all their blogs and recommend taking a look at them. (If you know of anyone who promoted my blog, but isn't on this list, please let me know.)
I am especially grateful for the big shot in the arm from Diana's plugs, and quite proud that my blog was endorsed by no less than three more accomplished writers than I: Diana, Nick Provenzo, and Craig Biddle. Their blogs, Noodle Food, The Rule of Reason, and Principles in Practice, are all excellent.
In addition to the blogging community, I would like to thank the Harry Binswanger List, which forwarded my post on the contest to its readers. This mailing list combines the insightful commentary of Dr. Binswanger with the very thought-provoking (and often high-level) discussions of its members.
Although this blog is mostly devoted to discussing cultural and political issues from an Objectivist perspective (more on that shortly), I also owe a word of thanks to two non-Objectivists: fellow former submariner Bubblehead, and my good friend, Raymund.
Bubblehead's The Stupid Shall Be Punished combines excellent coverage of all matters related to submarines with some entertaining and worthwhile posts on a wide variety of other subjects. Raymund blogs mainly his "sci-fi writing calisthenics" these days. Raymund first gave me the idea of starting a blog, and it was Bubblehead who nominated it for the awards this year.
For those of you new to this blog, I consider myself an Objectivist, meaning that I agree with and advocate the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who is most famous as author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. While I do not hold myself out as an expert on Objectivism, I attempt to apply it to cultural and political issues in opinion pieces geared towards a general audience. This means that I usually assume little familiarity with Rand's ideas on the part of the reader. Also, I welcome and encourage non-Objectivists to join in the discussion here.
For those curious about what Ayn Rand had to say, the best source is obviously her own work, some of which has become available on the Internet in recent years. In addition, she has inspired a small, but growing group of intellectuals to continue her work. Much of their output is available on the Internet. From these sources I will recommend a few introductory readings below in order from shortest to longest.
1. Ayn Rand herself once presented the essentials of her philosophy while standing on one foot.
2. Craig Biddle, editor of the cultural/political quarterly, The Objective Standard, introduced his publication -- "philosophical journalism as it might and ought to be" -- with an excellent short description. Here are its first two paragraphs.
It is widely believed today that our cultural and political alternatives are limited either to the ideas of the secular, relativistic left -- or to those of the religious, absolutist right -- or to some compromised mixture of the two. In other words, one's ideas are supposedly either extremely liberal or extremely conservative or somewhere in-between. We at The Objective Standard reject this false alternative and embrace an entirely different view of the world.3. My father-in-law once suggested I write a primer on Objectivism for a lay audience. Onkhar Ghate (who is an authority on Objectivism), beat me to the punch with this four-part series in The New Statesman. (The regular feature name of "The Faith Column" where it appears is a rather amusing misnomer in this case.)
Our view is fully secular and absolutist; it is neither liberal nor conservative nor anywhere in-between. Our philosophy uncompromisingly recognizes and upholds the natural (this-worldly), factual, moral foundations of a fully free, civilized society.
4. Returning again to Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Lexicon, edited by Harry Binswanger, was recently made available for all on the Internet. Leonard Peikoff describes it as follows in his introduction to the book:
Ayn Rand was a philosopher in the classical sense: she was intent not on teasing apart some random sentences, but on defining a full system of thought, from epistemology to esthetics. Her writing, accordingly, is extensive, and the range of issues she covers enormous -- so much so that it is often difficult for a reader to know where in her many books and articles to look for a specific formulation or topic. Even Miss Rand herself was sometimes hard-pressed in this regard.This resource is just one example of the superb work of the Ayn Rand Institute, which promotes the spread of her ideas in the culture. If you need an authority on Objectivism, this is the place to go.
The Ayn Rand Lexicon solves this problem. It is a compilation of key statements from Ayn Rand (and from a few other authorized Objectivist texts) on several hundred alphabetized topics in philosophy and related fields. The book was initially conceived by Harry Binswanger, who undertook it during Miss Rand's lifetime with her permission and approval.
If you're new to this blog, a good way to get a feel for my writing is to visit this page of what I regard as my better posts. If you enjoy them, please come by again. And be sure to tell your friends!
And finally, I'm not the only Objectivist blogger out there (or the most widely-read by a long shot). If you find what I have to say interesting, take a look at the blogs I mentioned above, as well as those linked in the sidebar, of which about two thirds are by writers influenced to various degrees by Ayn Rand.
11-13-07: Added Karl Martin Mertens to list of supporters.