Anyway, the first thing I ran across was this news item, courtesy of the Escapist. I know it's really nothing to be surprised about. It's par for the course, about what you'd expect of that violence-and-hatred-spewing pit people refer to as Iran. Nevertheless, I was genuinely shocked and sickened when I read about Amir Mizra Hekmati, former U.S. Marine, being sentenced to death for developing video games. Oh, the White House is calling for his release. Isn't that nice. Is it too much to hope that they'll take some real action that cannot be ignored and has a chance of producing some results? Probably.
The second thing was this blog entry from Diana Hsieh. These are pretty much the sentiments I've expressed before. If you self-identify with barbarians, don't be surprised if people treat you like one. It's part of the reason why I've become increasingly reluctant to self-identify as an Objectivist over the years. It's not that I disagree with Objectivism, far from it. In fact, the older I get and the more I learn, the more solidly Objectivist I am. Do I agree with every word Ayn Rand ever wrote? No. I'm not sure its actually possible to BE an Objectivist AND agree with EVERYTHING Ayn Rand ever wrote. I think she might even agree with me on that point. However, my real problem is that I vehemently disagree with many of the whackjobs out there who go around claiming to be Objectivists. Some of these people make me, quite literally, sick to my stomach, and since they are universally loud and obnoxious, people often have a greater awareness of them than of real Objectivists or of the philosophy itself.
The only reason I self-identify as an Objectivist at all is because people ask presumptuous questions they don't really want answers to, usually because they will also fire off complex philosophical statements as if they were self-evident facts, expecting the company to agree with them. I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to just let that sort of thing pass. Just letting it pass is how you eventually end up with Iran. Far better to speak up when the worst thing that will happen to you is that someone you likely despise anyway will get huffy or call you names. If you wait until they have weapons and a following and feel free to use them, it's too late. Maybe not too late in some cosmic sense--even the worst, biggest, most oppressive barbarian regime can be overthrown. But it WILL be too late for all the hundreds, thousands, millions of people who will suffer and die before that gets done. Anyway, identifying as an Objectivist is my way of giving a concise answer when people ask questions like "so what do you believe?" and immediately stop paying attention. They don't care to hear the full answer, the reasons for the answer.
I don't often speak up any more. I more or less avoid forums where speaking might be required, partly because I'm only now starting to realize just how sick I've been over the past couple of years. I don't mean sick of talking. I mean sick, physically ill. Now, due to radical changes in my diet, I'm starting to get better. So, I'm saying something. Maybe more later.