“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Dr. Imberman has written a fantastic Christmas song which he had professionally recorded as a demonstration record. He is looking for a publisher, or A & R man, or record producer to listen to his song. It deserves to be a permanent member of the lexicon of familiar and favorite Christmas songs. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.
In 1961 I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time. I loved it but that’s as far as it went. To me it was just a great story. In 1968 I became involved in a political discussion with a woman who quickly suggested that I re-read Atlas before we got involved in any further ideological discussions, which I did. Many discussions with her followed with some resistance on my part, since I came from a very liberal background and Atlas propounded ideas that were out of step with my beliefs. However, with each contention of resistance on my part she had a reasonable response until one day, like Archimedes, I had a “eureka” moment. A light went on. On an intellectual level I describe that level of integration as spiritual; on an emotional level it was pure joy. It created a thirst for further knowledge resulting in my reading the kinds of books and articles in which I hadn’t previously had the least interest—philosophy, economics, politics, ethics, psychology, epistemology.
In the first 15 minutes of the film 2001, A Space Odyssey, primitive man is shown realizing that he might use a femur bone lying next to him, as a tool, a weapon to fight off an invading tribe. When he uses the tool successfully thereby warding off the invaders, he throws the femur up in the air with the look of the same pure joy that I experienced when I had that “eureka” moment while discussing Atlas. While in the air, the femur bone (tool) then morphs into a space ship (tool) on the way to the moon in the year 2001. I tear up each time I see that scene because it was a brilliant way of demonstrating the wonder of the human mind. I had felt the same emotion upon subsequently understanding the writings and teachings of Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Robert Ringer, John Pugsley, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises, Frederic Bastiat, Andrew Galambos and Jay Stuart Snelson.
Another moment of spiritual and emotional joy for me came near the end of the film The Miracle Worker. Throughout the story, Annie Sullivan tries to teach the deaf, mute and blind Helen Keller how to communicate by means of touching Helen’s hands in various ways. Each touch is either a word or even an entire concept. All attempts fail until finally and suddenly Helen “gets it.” With great enthusiasm Helen understands that each symbol represents something in reality: chair, table, face, hair, mother, father. With this understanding, Helen cannot get the knowledge fast enough. Annie Sullivan calls out to Helen’s parents, “she knows, she knows.” What an inspirational, breathtaking moment for me, and the audience. I believe there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater. Here again, I had felt the same emotion as when I understood the writings of the authors mentioned above.
You can imagine that I had to share my new knowledge with my good friend B, who was a liberal, as I had previously been prior to my exposure to these ideas. It was approximately 1969. I entered the fray with great expectations and anticipation. However, I met with great resistance resulting in serious disappointment. The resistance was so strong that we stopped speaking to each other for about 12 months. Then something happened which I could never have predicted. President Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls upon the citizens of the country. B had his own “eureka” moment concerning that presidential edict, which led him to rethink his own values and ideology. He became convinced about the validity of my positions during our prior contentious discussions and we became good friends again.
My transformation took intellectual convincing. In the case of B. it took a political event that convinced him. He never became well versed in the philosophy, epistemology or ideology of freedom. In fact he wasn’t a reader. He never read any of the authors to which I referred previously. He wasn’t that type of thinker but he was dedicated to basic premises and understood that one and one makes two.
“The noblest pleasure,” said Leonardo, “is the joy of understanding.” I write my articles, not to conquer, but primarily to share my enthusiasm with my readers — to share my pure joy — in hopes of establishing camaraderie.
Of course there is a secondary goal to my writing and that is to persuade. It is my sincere belief that once a fundamental, true, basic premise is understood, there is no escaping the rational conclusions that must be borne of those premises.
To those of you whom I have not convinced through my writing, it is my hope that, like B, some political event will occur that will enable you to integrate the messages of my writing and say to yourselves, “Wow, now I understand what Norm has been writing about all these years,” and you will delve further into the ideology of freedom and feel a camaraderie with me as many others have done. For some of you it may have already happened as a result of the poor performance of Obamacare or the IRS and NSA intrusions into our lives or the failing economy along with the high unemployment rate. Who knows what government-caused calamity will trigger some of my readers to make the connection and think, “Now I understand what Norm was writing about.”
Most articles of a political or ideological nature tend to threaten those who disagree with it. This article doesn’t poke fun at, insult, or threaten anyone. Therefore, if read by a statist, it might provide him/her with that same “eureka” moment that I experienced, especially if he/she is on the left wing of the political spectrum. It might motivate them to read some of the aforementioned books and join our ranks. Suggest this article to your friends.
Just to be clear, although I chose to pick, as examples, calamities felt under the present left-wing administration, I could enumerate similar catastrophes caused by right-wing administrations. The principles are the same. Freedom is an “all or none” issue. Just like electricity, it is either on or off. When freedom is OFF, slavery and its resultant calamities will multiply. When freedom is ON, peace and prosperity will reign. Just like you can’t mix poison with pure water and expect to get purity, you can’t mix slavery with freedom and call it freedom.
Perhaps this article has motivated some of you to be interested in my entire blog of articles. If so, go here. The page that opens contains 20 previous articles. If you scroll down to the bottom of that first page and click on “previous articles” it will take you to another page with many of my older articles.
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