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Calling All Kiwi Heroes! Announcing The Perigo Prize!
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2007-05-22 23:55
There was a quite extraordinary fellow on television the other night. He once went tramping and got lost. For several nights he froze his posterior off. Whilst freezing he realised he and the outdoors fraternity generally needed better clothing for eventualities like this. He found his way back to town and started a business making some. Today that business is a multi-million dollar enterprise earning him a fortune, providing work for hundreds of locals, exporting all over the world. But it doesn't end there with this fellow. He was interviewed under the gaze of a huge grizzly bear, mounted but still menacing of countenance, that was mere yards away when he shot it. He has tangled with the scariest and deadliest and lived to tell the tale— and, in many instances, eat the meat: he loves meat! He is Steve Irwin with a gun. When asked what gave him the right to shoot these animals, he laughed dismissively. When told he was not very PC, he laughed even more dismissively. His incredulous, PC interviewer quoted him as saying that commercialising animals is the best way to guarantee their survival, not their extinction. I was incredulous too, though for reasons that differed from the interviewer's!
The guy is an old-fashioned hero, a rugged individualist, an archetype of whom one sighs wistfully, "They just don't make 'em like that any more."
Or do they? This fellow's real, isn't he?
He's real—and he's rare.
Singleminded, highminded dedication to rational values is as unusual as it is admirable.
Time was when most youngsters started out that way; nowadays even the young are steeped in cynicism and conformity. All that matters is getting along—with others whose heads are equally empty for fear of not getting along. The idea of standing up to be counted in any way whatsoever is as alien as the idea of melody in music. Yet—
"It is not in the nature of man—nor of any living entity—to start out by giving up, by spitting in one's own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of prressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind; security, of abandoning one's values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential. ... It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man's proper stature—and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning—and it is those few that I have always sought to address." (Ayn Rand.)
I am on the search to find one of those few and help him on his way. (I use "him" in the old-fashioned, grammatically correct, politically incorrect sense that includes "her.") I am all too aware that being a hero of the entrepreneurial kind enables one to flourish by dint of the very activity that makes one heroic; oftentimes, though, being a hero of the polemical, William Lloyd Garrison kind means being a pariah—unsung, unrewarded, villified. I want to find such a one, sing of him, reward him and applaud him.
I'm able to do this through the generosity and dedication to principle of a longtime Free Radical subscriber and quiet hero, Murray Lees, father of esteemed SOLOist newbie Mitch Lees. Murray wants to play his part in ensuring that those who make a difference in the battle for liberty and capitalism are not left to wilt under the slings and arrows of outrageous statists. He is inaugurating what I'm proud to say he's calling "The Perigo Prize" of $10,000 for a deserving New Zealand freedom-fighter. He has charged me with finding a worthy recipient. As of now, the search is on. The winning deed or deeds may not yet have been done—all New Zealanders are cordially invited to see these words as a challenge!
More details will follow in due course. Suffice it to say for now that, though the winner won't necessarily be an Objectivist to the letter, the spirit of the kind of hero I'm looking for is well captured in this excerpt from Joe Maurone's review of 300:
What Objectivism needs is to look to the Spartans in spirit. The Spartan lifestyle may be extreme, but it is instructive. Historically, the Spartans trained their bodies and minds against the elements, to bear pain, to stay hungry, to never surrender. Objectivists need to take this to heart. Its proponents must not hide from the fear. They must be true capitalists, yet they must not sell their souls. They must be diplomatic, yet they must not reason with the unreasonable. They must not accept the promises of wealth from self-proclaimed gods in exchange for subservience. They must remember the Spartans of their own inspirations, the Howard Roarks and John Galts, who neither served nor kneeled, who could not be tempted by the Wynands and Tooheys, who could not turn on their own ideals for a comfortable lifestyle. There is "Kira's Viking," who also neither submitted or yielded, who was fiction yet truer than any iconic heavy metal barbarian. There is a story of an "ideal” who visited those who proclaim to love her. Some betrayed her; some did not even recognize her. Some accepted her on the condition that she cease to be an ideal. Objectivism is not a game or Platonic fiction. It is a method, a philosophy for living on Earth. When you meet the idea, how will you greet her?
In my case, thanks to the good graces of Murray Lees, I'm inordinately proud and privileged to be able to say, "With The Perigo Prize!"
Come unto me, extraordinary fellows and fellowesses!
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