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This is the semi-official alt.self-reliance FAQ. There may be other FAQs which differ from this one; but this one is written by the newsgroup's founder. What self-reliance means to me: Thinking for yourself. Acting for yourself. Being in charge of your own emotions, so far as possible. Taking care of yourself, as far as possible. Being prepared for emergencies (not necessarily the more drastic ones discussed in misc.survivalism.) There's no contradiction between self-reliance and membership in organized religious, political, etc. groups. But if you let the leader or the group consensus determine the way you think, act, or speak, that conflicts with self-reliance. A self-reliant person can take a drink now and then. But when someone HAS to drink, the alcohol is running that person's life. The same with someone who MUST have sex, or experience withdrawal symptoms. Some questions: 1) Let me tell you all about ___'s wonderful philosophy! Tell us _your_ thoughts. If you want to present Ayn Rand, Buckminster Fuller, Lysander Spooner, or William Blake as an example of someone who was self-reliant, fine. (As long as you don't mind replies giving a different view.) If you want to review or recommend Atlas Shrugged or whatever as a useful guide TO THINKING FOR OURSELVES, okay. If you want to explain why we should all obey Objectivism or Neo-Tech, please do it somewhere else. 2) Ads: A notice such as "I'm selling a book which proves Ayn Rand got all her ideas from Theosophy" is okay. A line in your signature block referring people to your website is fine. Most ads are not. 3) Political propaganda: If it's a quoted article, and you're posting it to a whole lot of other groups, it doesn't belong in alt.self-reliance. If you claim the ideas/beliefs as your own (not quoting authority to back them up), and the posting is to this newsgroup only or only a few others, it's sort of okay. But be prepared for very impolite replies. Literature The heavy stuff: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on Self-Reliance John Stuart Mill, Essay on Liberty (I don't approve of exceptions he makes: that individual liberty isn't suitable for backward peoples, for example. But he lived in a backward time.) Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience Lighter stuff: Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. (Browne's praise for the American automobile industry has become unintentionally funny. But much of what he says makes sense.) Jack Chalker, explanatory matter in collection Dance Band on the Titanic. William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience Alexander Key, Escape to Witch Mountain (the book, not the Disney version) The Forgotten Door George Orwell -- many of his essays. -- Dan Goodman firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.visi.com/~dsgood/index.html Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.