|In 1960 I discovered The Freeman, the magazine of ideas on liberty published by the Foundation for Economic Education. It introduced me to the scholarship of liberty, which I hadn't even known existed before, and it opened my eyes to a lot of the disgusting things with which my school teachers and yes, even my parents, had indoctrinated me.
In 1962 I read Atlas Shrugged, which opened my eyes to some of the contradictions which even freedom's advocates carried around with them, sabotaging their cause from within. But more than that, I was thrilled by the breath-taking story, the enormous scope of it, and it motivated me to do well and to do good.
That same year, while stationed at Ft. Meade, MD, I served as Barry Goldwater's bodyguard for one evening while he gave a speech at a downtown Washington hotel. I did that at the request of my hosts, Human Events editors Tom Winter, Bill Schulz and Al Ryskind, at whose house (just 3 blocks east of the Capitol) I stayed on the weekends, and at whose publication I did some volunteer work.
I think it was early in 1964 that I spent 3 months in NYC. I took the opportunity to attend the live lectures by Ayn Rand given by the Nathaniel Branden Institute at the Roosevelt Hotel next door to Grand Central Station. I had a chance to chat with Miss Rand on one occasion. She got flustered and almost dropped her cigarette holder when I whipped out and lit my Zippo in one smooth motion. Later that year, while back in college in Ohio, I joined Young Americans for Freedom ("YAF", now called Young America's Foundation) and campaigned for Barry Goldwater. I spent some weekends stuffing envelopes at the home of Mike DeWine's parents, with a young Mike DeWine at my side helping me. Yes, he used to be the senior Senator from Ohio, but he was just a high school kid at the time.
In 1965 I corresponded with Ronald Reagan, complaining about the direction Hollywood and the music industry seemed to be going in. He wrote me back, obviously typing his letter himself. Then I wrote him again, urging him to get into politics (as thousands of other people probably did). I included a copy of The Objectivist Newsletter and underlined the part where Ayn Rand wrote that if Goldwater's speeches had been like Reagan's "I think he would have won" in red ink. He knew Ayn Rand since they had fought the Communists in Hollywood together, and testified about that fight before Congress together, starting in the 1940's. I bet she clued him in on what life under Russian Communism, which she escaped from, was really like.
In 1966 I moved to Evanston and saw my new Congressman, the amazingly high-achieving multi-talented Eagle Scout, Navy Pilot, Princeton Scholarship winner and fellow Trevian* Don Rumsfeld, in a town meeting. I voted for him, of course. That same year I had a huge custom silk screen made and started printing tons of "Reagan for President" bumper stickers with it.
In 1968 I met Tricia and Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower.
In 1991 I wrote Gen. Brent Scowcroft, urging the development of bunker-buster bombs and weaponized unmanned reconnaissance aircraft with video cameras and radio controls.
In 2003 I handed a printout of the chart I made of the history of health care costs to Mark Skousen in person, and he said, "This is great!" That was very gratifying, I must admit.
*those of us who attended New Trier Township High School are known as "Trevians"
one of my web pages, this one being about "Journalists"
another one of my web pages -- THE PRICE OF LIBERTY
& another one -- about that "Gap between Rich and Poor"
another -- about Politicians
another -- about Government
another -- about Socialized Medicine
another -- about Collectivism vs. Individualism