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From the Notebook

– It’s political season, and if you’re like me you’re getting asked to do a lot of work for various candidates. But you’re not getting paid. So, my advice to you as a seasoned campaign volunteer is that you should take August off. Prevent burnout. Don’t work. No phonebanking. Lit drops. Envelope stuffing. Don’t do anything. Don’t even attend any little speaking events. Why? It’s to prevent burnout. August is hot. humid. horrible. The political season is very long. Save yourself for the six weeks before the election, when everything you do really counts. Feel bad about it? Donate some money instead.

However, candidates, campaign managers and professionals should not take the month off. Now is a great time to informally increase NameID and introduce a candidate to voters, all the while creating your GOTV lists and raising money.

– Read “A Bridge Too Far” by Cornelius Ryan. This book is so incredibly good, it’s hard to describe. Ryan had such an ability with words. He really captures, with clarity, the fog of war. It’s something to behold. If you like war, history, or good writing, give this book a shot. And watch the movie. Both are good. (One little note I’d like to make, the guy in the movie you see carrying around an umbrella, doesn’t actually die in the fighting (he does die in the movie); and he’s much funnier with the umbrella in real life.)

– Digested “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It’s a short novella about a dystopian future where the collectivists have taken the world for themselves. Sadly, Ayn Rand’s ability to intimately understand the psychology of collectivism and portray it reductio ad absurdum is ruined by her strange obsessions with reducing her own experiences to the absurd. Despite her lack in belief in anything unseen, she rejects the whole world, the whole universe, for the unseen subjective experiences of the self. The cosmos is in the mind of the observer, thus there is no need for a cosmos at all. Even in The Fountainhead, she rejects the stars and the sky for mud and earth.

At least in “Anthem” Rand has yet to disassociate love from the family, to define the relationship between mother and child by a dollar sign; and there’s an attempt at monogamy she herself could not achieve. She does corrupt Biblical imagery, in a subtle way, but it is not blasphemous. Taken alone, this book fails to achieve her desired goal: to describe the logical conclusion of universal collectivism. For the Rand lover, it adds to the understanding of her other works. For the literary enthusiast, there are better dystopias. Such as “Brave New World.”

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