I’ve always had a fondness for seeing that “first dollar” framed and posted on the wall behind the cash register in some mom & pop establishment. It symbolizes a lot for me, all good. So, let me get right to framing and hanging my “first dollar” right here in my new Blog.
I couldn’t be happier that it was him. Billy is known to me from way, way back — perhaps as early as 1994 on Usenet. I still being ideologically wet behind the ears, Billy was a primary influence in reinforcing the queer notion that if a philosophy is to be a rational one, then it must, out of every necessity, be a practical one. In other words, it really can, and is supposed to be a tool for everyday living, amongst ordinary human beings, doing ordinary things. Most particularly, he helped me to recognize that a lot of the people I admire most, like the mom & pop with their first dollar, or the guy bent over the fender of his car tinkering with it (all the while telling you about every mechanical improvement he’s made) often, implicitly, “get it.”
At the same time, the people you really have to watch out for are the ones who claim, in explicit terms, that they hold your same principles.
The setting, naturally, was the Objectivist newsgroups. I was there to do a bit of learning and evangelizing myself, but quickly found myself in the midst of enough dogma to make an Ayatollah blush with envy, enough moralizing to make the Pope run to the nearest confessional, and enough intellectual masturbation to make Immanuel Kant sue for plagiarism. Billy, and a few others, were kind enough to demonstrate that “religionizing” and dogmatizing Rand’s philosophy was really, um, uncool.
Those early moments were quite valuable to me in terms of how I would eventually integrate a rational philosophy into a way of life and how I would use my time.
It’s worked out quite well. Now, if I could just get the rotten sod to reply to my emails!