Okay in this previous blog post I ended with saying "Are you in?". At OO.net here I was asked by forum members Zip and Capitalism Forever what exactly I was proposing. To be truthful I didn't have a clear picture at the time, just a vague idea. I have been doing some thinking and had a few discussions on my current thought process in the chat room there, along with seeing how various people respond to different kinds of arguments.
At an Objectivist forum where most members take ideas seriously, one is dealing with a whole different set of people than when one deals with the general public. In general, this can be a good thing, however I have found that the bar of what is needed to "win" an argument is usually set too high. One simply can't take Objectivist principles as a starting point at such a forum because most people are just trying to "prove" how "intelligent" they happen to be by how well they can argue each argument starting from first principles each time, as if the context of an Objectivist forum is irrelevant. They try to give non-Objectivists the benefit of the doubt because they believe--usually incorrectly--that "discussions" on each piece of trivial nonsense that the non or even anti Objectivists can lead to some sort of "meeting of the minds", such that the interested will learn the correct ideas via long and sometimes annoying "discussions". This rarely happens. The only reason I bring this up here is because it shows how out of touch most self-proclaimed Objectivists are with how ideas are actually transmitted amongst the general public right now, not in their version of an Objectivist utopia. It shows how most do not know how to successfully promote change to our ideals in the short term, their arguments are only valid in the long term when the ideas have finally trickled down from the "intellectuals" and/or thus need to be preserved.
This is done twofold. First mainly, most people are social metaphysicians in the sense that their respective ideas of right and wrong, and most of their political stances are not developed on rationally held principle, but instead, via what the general consensus of what their various friends and/or relatives spout to be true. Leftist ideas are running rampant among the average Joes of the world, they hear them from just about everyone around them, so that these bromides become to this majority of people the "truth". This is why we have an election in a few days between an explicit socialist versus a fascist. It is why we are daily accelerating towards a dictatorship in this country.
Second, as a corollary of the majority's social metaphysics we also have the mass media essentially telling people what to think. This is usually not always done explicitly, instead the ethics of Altruism are simply accepted as the given not to be questioned on not only the news shows, but also most television shows period regardless of the content. They don't go through some altruistic argument from first principles, or usually any arguments at all on television, the ideas are simply taken as the given, and the show goes on from there as if the basic ideas behind the content are simply beyond argument.
This brings me to my proposal(s). First, I would like to say that I think the work the ARI is doing is excellent, we absolutely need the spread of ideas from the top down. We need our "New Intellectuals" to spread them and once spread continue teaching our ideals to prevent their eventual fading, but this is a long term approach. We need to open a second front in this war of ideas, a front that works from the bottom up simultaneously.
We need to also use the mass media and the Internet to hasten the spread of our ideas to the common man that absorbs his ideas and values this way. Remember it is he who does the electing of the policy makers in this nation. We need to start a buzz that makes Objectivism and Capitalism the new thing that everyone is talking about. No that will not hold these ideas in place long term as the ARI's work will, but it creates a positive environment such that the "intellectuals" will be more willing to examine and/or accept the good instead of the irrational status quo that most do now.
What I am proposing is using television the way they use it. Create at least one, if not a few, programs--initially at least--on channels such as MTV, Discovery, USA, or similar stations, that begins by taking our ideas as the given. Make something edgy, cool, hip, and interesting. I'm thinking something like a cross between The Daily Show, Fox News, an MTV reality show, a Discovery "science" show like "Mythbusters", or the now defunct TechTV, and maybe something a little like that kids show iCarly. I'm thinking cool graphics, jump cuts, things that hold the interest of your average 15 to 40 year old person. Make it interesting, have "pretty and hip people" doing the hosting, keep the segments relatively short to hold the target groups interest, but most importantly--take the ideas and principles of Objectivism, egoism, and Capitalism as the given.
"They" do this everyday it; is our turn to do what they do, but turn it on it's head to work for us. This is how we can spread our ideas rapidly, and achieve those ideals in our lifetimes. And, no, we don't have to "take over" a cable station or something similar to do this, just market the idea to as many different station as is possible. These networks are always looking for new, edgy programming shows to increase viewership, and many will try just about any new type of programming as long as it's different and interesting. Yes, I know no one is stopping me from doing this myself and I am in talks with a producer friend of mine; whatever happens with that happens. But, I don't think I have all the connections and funding to personally pull this off.
Another idea would be doing something similar to this in the form of an Internet viral video, at least to begin with. That would be like today's version of those shows that used to play on local cable channels back in the 80's or whenever, but with the potential to create a much more vast audience. This would also have the advantage of being much cheaper, if unfortunately not as mainstream to begin with. But, it would be a start. I might try this myself, and I would definitely be interested in collaborating with any interested parties on such an idea.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that I fully think that the ARI's top down approach is the correct one to take long term, but there are other ways to win battles in this war--in the short term--and I have listed a few above, that can hasten our victory in this war for the minds of men.
I haven't went into all the details, of what I have been thinking lately this is just the gist of it, but I would love to here your comment on the subject. Even if I personally don't have the wherewithal to bring these ideas to fruition, I wouldn't even be that upset if others did. I want freedom in my lifetime. And if it requires others acting on my ideas, then it is what it is. I would always know where the ideas originated and seeing them put into action and working would make me extremely happy.