Day 2 was my Day 1, because the 4th was full of family fun, and I couldn't miss it. I was disappointed to miss the two general sessions on Saturday (Tara Smith and Alan Gotthelf) as well as the Tea Parties, but made up for it with a kiddie bike parade, a block party, a full parade (fire engines, clowns, marching bands, horses, etc.) and eventing party, and fireworks. At ages 5 and 3, Dad missing any part of the festivities would have been unacceptable, and for me, their smiling faces are the highest value.
So yesterday's general session was my first exposure to an OCON event, ever. Yes, I've been an Objectivist for nearly 20 years, and this is the first time I've made it. Onkar Ghate spoke on the separation of church and state, its political/philosophical underpinnings, and the threats it faces from the religious right and secular left. It was a fantastic talk.
At the end, Harry Binswanger prodded Onkar to get it published soon, and Onkar responded that he had a book in the making. Harry prodded further and suggested an op-ed so the ideas would be immediately available, which got a big round of applause. I'd actually like to see something in The Objective Standard, with extensive footnotes, because Onkar referred to many works by John Locke and other Enlightenment figures, and it would be a valuable resource.
Last night was the ARI update presentation -- kind of a wrap up of the past year's successes, plus plans for the future -- and it was inspirational. Afterwards, most attendees mingled (open bar!) and I got the chance to meet many of the bloggers and intellectuals I've corresponded with over the past year.
With that brief introduction to OCON, I have high hopes for the rest of the week.