I'd have to give Scott most of the credit, though (his post 25 origination of this theme made ME laugh -- until I cried!). Just goes to show that what is good is contagious (goodness in/from some, brings out goodness in/from others).
I really appreciate being able to start/finish my day with a good belly-laugh from the wonderfully witty people here. And, of course, I appreciate appreciation!
Like Marvin, I also blame my parents. They were the catalyst of the civil war between Reason and Faith in my brain that lasted for about 17 irretractable years of my life. I finally decided that the victor would be myself, when I found Ayn Rand.
Lol, I'm only 19 now, but I've learned so much in the last 2 years of my life. I now realize how little my Mom knows (although I still love her). Just the other day I got into a discussion with her in which I remarked on Capitalism, to which she replied, "What's Capitalism? Is that what Hitler and the Nazi's had?" Left me speachless. I think "Philosophy: Who Needs It" would be a fine reccomendation for her, albeit I doubt she'll listen to any of my reccomendations, despite her being a Librarian.
I briefly experimented with religion. It was a three-year phase in my late teens-early 20s. Wrote a column for the college newspaper about my belief in God, and was completely inundated with religious types trying to convert me. I started studying to be a Catholic, but somewhere down the line the simple thought emerged, "Why the hell do I have to believe this shit?" Then I reread all of Rand's works. It made me rediscover why morality matters -- and how the religious types, both left and right, have always tried to corner the market on the "spiritual" nature of morality to serve their rightist or leftist political positions. My first political thinking came in high school when we were debating euthenasia in our social sciences course. I took the side of the suffering and/or brain dead. I still take that side. It's the side of life and our ownership of our minds and bodies. Screw religion, which attempts to own both. I'm glad I grew up.
According to family lore, my first word was "mine". Nobody seems to understand why I am proud of this...
...I then endured 18 years of Catholic upbringing, though I didn't grasp that it was an endurance 'til the end.
Somewheres I read that most Objectivists were once Catholic or Jewish. This makes sense, as both require that one 'earn' heaven, as opposed to most protestantism, which I understand to only require belief, not acts.
I am puzzled. I can not locate your name as an alumni of Harvard or the University of Chicago. The only Scott DeSalvo I can find listed is the holder of a BS from the University of Cincinnati, and Stanford is not spelled Standford.
I admit to hanging out with some commies during my university days - but then we had a common foe - the Apartheid government.
I was generally always an individualist (certainly partially inspired by a book I read as a young child - I am David (Danish David) by Anne Holm - about a boy who escapes from a Communist country - not named - and travels through Europe in search of his parents). However I didn't shed some socialist hangups until I read AS in 1995. One was that I always felt that children should get the same start in life i.e. kids from rich parents shouldn't necessarily have an advantage. Hence I supported state education.
As far as religion went, I never really believed in god and gave Sundays lip service to appease my mother. I had a brief interest in catholicism, when a young catholic introduced me to Aquinas and went about proving all sorts of things. However when the axiom of faith was finally revealed this fortunately fell apart.
Grew up in Berkeley, California, surrounded by communistic hippies. But somewhere along the line I read of the Sovs or someone punishing people for their bourgeois lives, and wondered what's so punish-worthy about trying to operate a grocery store or have a nice car. Then I noticed the liberals were real good at identifying problems (e.g. environmental) but largely unable to provide solutions that any normal person would volunteer for. Probably my final turnabout was in doing a college report on gun control and reaching the academically incorrect conclusion. Recently I've met a very articulate Objectivist and am doomed.
Currently I'm working on an article explaining my transition from secular humanism to Objectivism. During that time, I was not a total socialist but accepted many of the premises of the welfare state and aforementioned "bromides". However, there was a certain event that occured during the 1970's which probably was a minor but significant turning point in my philosophical development. I live in New Jersey and in the early 70's, the state introduced the sales tax. (I believe it was 3% but I'm not sure.) I remember the discussion that I had with my father regarding the new tax. He said that it was such a small amount per dollar, and if you can afford to spend $1.00, then you can afford the other 3 cents. Then I began thinking, "Well, 3 cents in addition to each dollar spent is a small amount, but those 3 cents can add up. Suppose I were to by a car for $3500-The tax would be $105, which was a lot of money in those days-money that could be used for vacations, groceries, or any other extra needed items. Now, at that time I didn't see the moral failings of taxation, but was beginning to question it's implication on the economics for the individual. Paul M. Kay