04/23: Kicked this back to the top of the blog to highlight the irony of it all. Hundreds of people have seen this post, perhaps thousands more by echos and emails. Cum taces, clamas. The silence of Libertarian pundits, bloggers and activists is a concession by default. See the movie-of-the-week to find out what it all means to you. –GSS
As a matter of strategy, this is what Man Alive! seeks:
To disintermediate the ruling class.
Disintermediation means cutting out the middle-man, and, by teaching you a new way of thinking about human nature and about your own unique self, the book puts you in charge of your own philosophical affairs. You no longer have to turn to so-called “thought leaders” — most of whom are frauds anyway — for answers — which answers are almost always contrary to your own interests in any case.
My objectives are precise and concise:
I want to take the claim of justice away from the state, the mantle of epistemic authority away from the academy and the experience of reverence away from the church. I want to put all of those things back where they belong — in your mind. There is no middle-man on truth.
If you didn’t catch all that in the book, you need to read it again. My own practice is to read any serious book at least three times. Like this: 1. What is the argument? 2. What are my questions? 3. How are those addressed?
I don’t much care for the way thoughtless “thought leaders” squeal, squawk and squall when you call “Bullshit!” on ’em, but I thought for sure they would at least rise to the
bait challenge I’ve laid down. What do I hear, instead? Crickets.
I know we’ll be hearing from those folks in due course. When they come to notice that the traffic at the door is all one-way, outbound, they will find plenty to hate on these pages.
But I was expecting that the libertarians would be all over Man Alive!
Why? Because it’s the magic bullet. Ayn Rand got very close to these ideas, and it is for this reason that there is a libertarian movement at all. That’s important: Despite what the clipboard jockeys in clip-on ties will claim, it always begins with Ayn Rand. That goes for me, too, and I never fail to acknowledge the debt I owe to that brilliant, bristling battle-axe.
But Man Alive! does what Rand’s moral philosophy failed to do: It defends human nature in ontology, and, hence, demonstrates that the self is necessarily and unavoidably the cardinal value of human life. People who understand this are egoists, with egoism itself being defended rationally for the first time, and egoists are indomitable — they cannot be dominated — and they know it.
Man Alive! is the magic bullet because it finally makes the fundamental argument libertarians have been grailing for these past fifty-five years. No one who has internalized the praxis detailed in the book can ever again be either slave-master or slave, predator or prey, liar or gullible victim.
To the contrary, by demonstrating the true nature of the self, the book shows people how properly to love and honor the self, after which they will be very noble souls indeed. I am not registering voters or enlisting political allies. I am showing free men how and why they have always been free, and how best to express that freedom going forward.
If you were a libertarian ideologue — an academic or a journalist or an activist or a weblogger — doesn’t that sound like a weapon you might like to have in your arsenal?
But what do I hear from the libertarians? Crickets.
Partly this is my own fault. I don’t have much to do with “professional” libertarians, and the intellectual air I breathe is pretty thin for their lungs. And there have been a few exceptions to the overall cacophony of enervating silence: Sunni Maravillosa liked the book, as did Kent McManigal, while John Venlet did not.
But I have been a daily nuisance in a couple-dozen email boxes, so far to almost no avail. I have pestered Kathy Shaidle and Mark Steyn just because I think they are fun writers, possessed of wit, grace and a Menckenesque bring-it-on chutzpah. But I have been a daily door-darkener, too, for Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch and Brian Doherty, all of Reason magazine, and all in the selling-liberty-to-the-masses business.
Whom else have I alerted to the brand new philosophical epoch — the Age of Splendor — that began on Easter Sunday? Lots of folks, among them Mister Army-of-Davids himself, Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, Samizdata, Strike-The-Root, Radley Balko, Lew Rockwell, Vox Day (who has his own section in the book) and everybody’s favorite tax-payer-funded anarcho-statist, David Friedman.
I’ve done everything I could think of to elicit their attention. But what do I hear in response? Crickets.
I’m kvetching because I’m annoyed, but I’m not ranting. For one thing, I will prevail in the long run, no matter what. The ideas in Man Alive! could spread faster if any one of the people I’ve been trying to interest actually woke up and paid attention. But the book changes lives, and the folks whose lives are changed by it will pass it along. This is not a vanity project for me, nor a salve for my own ego. But I can see that the world could be a very different place as soon as next year if only we would get this conversation started in earnest, and I am very eager to see that happen.
I don’t even care if “profesional” libertarians hate the book and the ideas it illuminates. I know that the future of philosophy is mine, either way, and I just want for ordinary people to know that Man Alive! exists and how to find it.
All of this is funny to me. I live in a constant state of exuberance and indomitability. I wrote a book for which I have set no price, and I am doing everything I can to give away as many copies as I can, as fast as I can — quite literally begging people to save their own lives. And if I am successful in that goal, I will bring down a shit-storm of flatulent rage and sulphurous condemnation on my head. I don’t want that, but it’s baked in the cake. You don’t undermine the state, the academy and the church without blowback.
But I don’t care. I have had enough of being pushed around, and I’m going to put a stop to it.
If the libertarians want to join me in this work, I’m happy to have ’em along. But if they don’t, I wish they would do me — and you — the great big favor of leading the chorus of squealing, squawking and squalling.
And if they don’t do either? Their silence will be a ringing declaration of their actual relevance, won’t it?
In the long run, I win either way. But it would be very nice for everyone involved — everyone on Earth, including me — if we were to get down to business now.