Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 Live Oaks Awards, Part 3

For the past two days I have discussed some of the highlights of my year. Today I conclude that discussion.

The Power of Lyric Poetry
My wife made her first presentation to the Houston Objectivism Society this year. Her topic was the power of lyric poetry, and it was one of the best presentations made to the group in 2009. Her talk renewed my appreciation of poetry, and her.

Tea Parties
While I have very mixed thoughts about the future of the Tea Party movement, my participation in two Tea Parties was a bright spot in the year. We distributed nearly 200 copies of Atlas Shrugged, and hundreds of copies of other Objectivist literature. At a minimum, hundreds of people were given a chance to learn more about Ayn Rand. And that is always a good thing.

Favorite Posts
I had several posts this year that rose above the others for one reason or another. Some were more challenging intellectually, some were simply more fun to write, and some gave me more insight into the subject. Below are several that I particularly enjoyed.

My Virtual Platform: Statement of Principles--This was probably my favorite post of the year, though I enjoyed the entire "virtual platform" series. These posts proved to be a challenge, as it is easy to criticize politicians but another thing entirely to put forth suggestions that could move us towards greater freedom. I learned a great deal in thinking through this issue.

An Interview with Gus Van Horn
--I have known Gus for many years and I long enjoyed his intelligent insights and his serious approach to ideas. It was a delight to interview him. Unfortunately, he no longer lives in Houston, but I still get to partake of his wit and intellect via his blog.

If I Can't Park in My Yard, Can I Park in Yours?--More than anything, the title of this post cracks me up every time I read it. I love to amuse myself.

A Lovely Surprise--This post tells the story of a wonderful surprise supplied by my wife, and why we do such things for one another.

Peter Brown: Then and Now--Mayoral candidate Peter Brown repeatedly claimed that he had not supported zoning in the 1990s. In this post, I called him on his dishonesty. What I enjoyed about this post was the fact that I had to do some digging to find documentation to support my claims.

As previously noted, I enjoy amusing myself. Thus I write the occasional satire piece. I had two satirical pieces that I particularly enjoyed--My "Green" Initiative and They Don't Wear No Britches. In the former I discuss my efforts to make my yard greener, including the rambunctious use of man-made pesticides. In the latter, I discuss a fictitious lawsuit against the nude gardeners who have been fighting the Ashby High Rise.

I could probably cite several dozen more posts that I particularly enjoyed, but the above will have to suffice. As I said at the start of this review, I have had a good year. This recap has reminded me of many events and experiences that I had forgotten about, which leads me to conclude that my year was even better than I originally thought. And that is not a bad thing.

Thanks for reading. I wish you and yours a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.


Clay Barham said...

Self-interest or self-centered seems to be the main concern with most who do not understand Ayn Rand. Those who admire and criticize Ayn Rand’s beliefs about people who stand on their own feet often say she promoted selfishness, thereby greed, which is self-centered and anti-individual creativity. That is anti-Rand. Rand admired the creative individual, people like railroad builder James Jerome Hill, on whom she was reputed to have based her character Nathaniel Taggart in Atlas Shrugged. If we look at Howard Roark’s summation to the jury, from Fountainhead, we do not see a self-centered individual destroying his work. If he was greedy he would have simply accepted his payment. We see an other- and outer-centered individual in love with his own dreams and creations, as one would love a spouse, child or family and refuse to allow them to be assaulted. That is the kind of self-interest that built America. Though love for anything spiritual may be missing, a great idea or vision also measures up to that which is spiritual, beyond self, and that view is not that inconsistent with Christianity.

Brian Phillips said...

I would argue that you are misunderstanding Rand.

Rand did promote selfishness--her book on ethics is titled The Virtue of Selfishness. The chapter in which she introduces Galt's Gulch in Atlas Shrugged is titled "The Utopia of Greed". Roark was not focused on others--he was focused on his values. Objectivism--a philosophy of reason--is incompatible with Christianity.

Spiritual means pertaining to consciousness. To say that "love for anything spiritual" may be missing in Rand's work is to ignore the theme of Atlas--the role of the mind in man's life.