The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
"The rest of us live in a far more complicated, nuanced world, where human interactions and human government cannot neatly be reduced down to a 3-sentence rule."
Excuse me, but isn't this how you and other that post here feel about Islam? Haven't you "neatly reduced it down to a 3-sentence rule."
Mark -- Islam is separate from people who are crazy and want to give you the following choice:
Convert to Islam, or die.
bin Laden just released a rant talking about how Democracy is wrong and must go. How should we deal with them?
There are some interactions where there is a simple, neat response. A gun to your head has three possible responses.
Give them what they want.
Don't, and die.
Kill the bastard.
We can either pick one, or let the crazies who pervert Islam pick for us. Believe me, you wouldn't like their choices.
So that's all Islam, not just bin Laden's warped interpretation of it?
I do agree with what you say about bin Laden. I choose choice number 3 in your list. How's that going, by the way?
Mark: "Excuse me, but isn't this how you and other that post here feel about Islam?"
Adam: "Islam is separate from people who are crazy and want to give you the following choice:
"Convert to Islam, or die."
Mark: "So that's all Islam, not just bin Laden's warped interpretation of it?"
Do you have a reading comprehension problem, Mark? Are not the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish Iraqis all Muslims? But specifically not the people we are targeting? Same for the Afghani Muslims who we are also not targeting?
We're targeting the nutters Mark, and now so are the Iraqi Sunnis, since they've figured out what most of the Afghanis figured out: the religious zealots are A) hypocrits, B) murderers, and C) insane. And D) there are a LOT of them.
"We are not (at least not most of us, and certainly not all of the time) rational creatures ..."
Not to change the subject, but man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal, wherein rationalize is defined as:
rationalize v. tr. to devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for (one's behavior):
Here's the problem I have with Islam, in a nutshell.
There is a large group of muslims who want to kill me.
The rest of the muslims are either fine with that or just not speaking out against them. Either option is not good, because it means that the radical muslims are the ones controlling their religion's public face and agenda.
Now, let's compare that to Christianity. Believe it or not, many skinheads think that they are "christian". Growing up, there was a nest of skinheads close to my hometown who called themselves "The Aryan Church of Jesus Christ" or some crap like that. It was a Catholic Priest who was first to speak out against them. He suffered from death threats, bomb threats and several attempts on his life, but he never once stopped saying "These people preach hatred and they are not Christians!
I understand that most muslims are just like you and I. But until huge numbers of muslims stop trying to kill me because I'm not a muslim, then Islam as a whole is going to have a huge stigma on it's head. Either the moderates must take back their religion, or the entire religion must deal with the fact that the face it presents to the rest of the world is a mass-murdering, homicide bombing, throat-slitting, little child beheading barbarian.
That's their decision, not mine.
Kevin, at the risk of attracting the attention and wrath of the roving band of RonPaulBots, I concur w/ you on RonPaul.
He's saying important things that haven't been said in public in a long time, and they do indeed need to be said. Like you, I'd love dozens and dozens of him in congress, where the spikey and impractical bits of his dogoma would be sanded and ground off by the rest of the body before they got us killed. (Yes...killed. Dr. Paul knows his history; he just doesn't understand it.)
As an executive, Dr. Paul would be a shambling disaster, plain and simple.
My biggest problem with Ron Paul is not his views on the Constitution. (Though in some areas he seems to favor more restrictions on the government than are in the Constitution.) Quite simply, my biggest show stopper problem with Ron Paul that he takes the Troothers seriously. Compared to that leviathan, everything else he believes is just flea turds.
I think I need to clarify my statement a bit. I think Ron Paul is right about a lot of things regarding how badly our government has overstepped its bounds as defined by the Constitution. I just think he goes too far the other direction sometimes. But his willingness to treat the Troothers as though their cockamamy conspiracy theories had any merit whatsoever not only makes him someone conservatives won't touch with a 10,000 foot pole, it also tends to drag the things he is right on (returning the Fed Gov to its Constitutional limits) through the mud because the Troother stuff makes him look nuts.
At risk of being accused of the three-sentence rule, I have a litmus test of ideologies and the systems (philosophical or social) that derive from them:
Does it require humans to voluntarily be what is recognized as the best of human nature most if not all of the time?
If the answer is yes, then it is doomed to failure.
Objectivism's ongoing failure is the result of an inability to distinguish between philosophy and ideology. It's the same as scientists and engineers: No matter how pretty the theory is, sooner or later you've got to hand it over to some tough minded, pragmatic SOB who'll make the damn thing work. Objectivism was Ayn Rand's baby, and she was never willing to let it grow up.
Wow, an orgy of flathead pragmatism. You don't often get to see such a blatant display of radical skepticism. You people must have a desperate need to preach your axiomatic belief, nearly at the raw level, namely "there are no absolutes."
All your statements twist themselves up into speaches right out of the mouth's of Rand's 'second handers', except that they are so over the top she would reject them as 'too contrived.'
You are right in one way; over a hundred years of government growth and political entropy cannot be stopped.
I realize my vote for Ron Paul is mathematically insignificant, and that even if a miracle were to occur and he became president, he'd likely end up assassinated if he kept on vetoing every unconstitutional bill presented to him. But I can't help but respect and appreciate his untiring support for the original intent of the Constitution - that of a severely restrained federal government with most decisions left to the States and/or People.
My realist approach means I don't get as flustered or respond in anger to those who attack Dr. Paul. But I do find it quite ironic that the one candidate advocating real fiscal restraint and individual liberty (actually shrinking the federal government, not merely slowing the growth) is called a crackpot, a lunatic, etc, by people who every other day are fully aware of and cry incessantly about the downhill socialist/authoritarian ride our country has been on for a long time.
See my 9:26 pm comment from yesterday.
FWIW, I tend to lean towards the Constitution party because of their support for returning to Constitutional limits without the Troother nuttiness and libertine ideas which border on--if not cross the line into--anarchy.
Ron Paul is not considered a crackpot because of his advocacy of small government. Until the last two or three years, I personally thought highly of him.
Then he became a Truther.
Voting for him now is rather like voting for Lyndon LaRouche, just from the other direction.
I'm not sure what hardcore neocon blogs you are getting this from, but Ron Paul is not, and has never been, a Truther (ie, someone who thinks 9/11 was an inside job). Do either of you have evidence that he believes in this? Not that he had done an interview with someone who is a Truther, or the like, but that it's actually something he believes in?
I'm assuming that you aren't equating the Truthers with those who understand that actions have consequences, and that decades of intrusive US foreign policy just might have caused feelings of antagonism (and more) against the US.
Nailed it Frank. Absolutely right.
And Truthers are split amongst two main groups-with multiple theorists in those groups.
Okay, I admit that when I said "Truther," what I really meant was "someone who must know that 90% of his supporters are Truthers, has a responsibility to tell them to grow a brain, and is choosing not to do so because he knows that they are the only thing keeping him from obscurity."
Hearing the drivel coming out of the Paulbots is getting me more and more concerned. Many of them seem to be psyching each other up to violence.
I am nearly as interested in the multiple factions among the Truthers as I am in the ongoing argument about whether Xenu's galactic transport looked exactly like a DC-5, or only mostly like a DC-5. Both of these arguments are equally based on reality.
Here is the video from YouTube where Ron Paul meets with someone from Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a Troother group. At about 2 minutes or so, the student is asking Ron Paul to support a new investigation because they're not happy with the 9/11 commission report. At 2:33, the student asks a key question. Here it is plus Ron Paul's response:
Student: "So I mean, would you advocate for a new investigation into 9/11?"
Ron Paul: "Yes, I think we have to look at the details of it. The investigation was an investigation in which there were government cover-ups. There could be a better investigation because there's a split in government."
He goes on from there, but this is the most important part. This doesn't put him in the raving Troother category because he's not actually pushing any of their lunatic theories. However, he is treating them far more seriously than they deserve, plus he's saying that he's convinced that there is a government coverup, which is the starting point that all the Troother insanity springs from. ("We don't know exactly how, but we're absolutely certain that 9/11 is all Bush's fault." All the Troother's wild theories are simply attempts to "prove" that their a priori fantasies are actually true.)
IMHO, that simply makes him untouchable, makes him sound like a nut, and makes even his good ideas sound nutty.
I give up. There's not enough left to save.
Many, if not most, of you rage on about needing change, about needing people in office who will start to turn thie country back around. However, when you are given that choice, you prefer something safer, something more familiar. When given the option to support a candidate whose congressional record matches up with his campaign promises you decline because he is too radical.
So what if he listens to radicals and extremists? So what if he takes them seriously? I remember when the WACO fiasco was considered an extremist conspiracy theory. I have no doubt the Reichstag fire was considered the same thing. Does this mean that I think that the "truthers" are right? No, it means that there MAY BE a kernel of truth in their beliefs, or there might not be. Personally, I just don't care.
From what I have heard Isolationism is not being proposed. How is it Isolationist to keep open trade relations with other nations? All that I have heard is that Dr Paul thinks that we should not send our soldiers off to knock down other people's doors without serious provocation and a declaration of war by Our Congress.
Am I being an Isolationist by socializing and trading with my neighbors, but NOT kicking in their doors in the middle of the night?
Yep, I made that first post. Nope I'm NOT a Paulbot, I disagree with some of his stances, but he's one heck of a lot better than ANY other choice.
I asked a question, but you had to take a page from the gun banners and immediately pigeon hole me with extremists and borderline crazies. That's cool, Kevin, this is your yard, keep it I won't be back.
Until this I had a lot of respect for you and Geek even though I did not always agree with your positions.
BTW I know my history and I have learned from it. The course you advocate leads somewhere I don't want to be. In point of fact your course leads somewhere you don't want to be.
No matter, sorry to have rambled. Anyway, good luck and goodbye I won't be back.
I've looked at Thompson's record, what there is of it. If you like the status quo, but don't like the other Republican elites choices for us, he's your candidate. He does LOOK presidential, but I'm certain that is form over substance.
What you guys seem to have a difficult time realising is that Hillary will absoutely destroy any mainstream Republican candidate in the general election. The swing voters who really decide things won't vote for another all war, all the time president no matter how much you want to declare war on Islam and invade the world.
Dr. Paul is a clear choice between continuing present policies, domestic and foreign, or at least fighting for a different future. Fish or cut bait.
See? I knew the Paulites would come!
Mastiff, thank you for proving my theory about how easily conspiracies can be kept secret. Remember how it goes?
1. A theory is made..backed up with some evidence, testimony, and eyewitness accounts. There is a call for further investigation and more evidence.
2. This theory is then framed with something silly like Elvis flies a UFO or Hillary Clinton is a transexual alien.
3. People then laugh off or ignore the theory. Professional debunkers step in and launch a smear campaign against the authors of the theory (Did you hear that he used to be a Communist? Gasp!)
4. Theory effectively destroyed. Secret kept.
Ed, just to be clear here. Every single 9-11 theory is crazy...all of them...there is absolutely no possibility that any of it is right and you believe every single thing the government has told us is true and they have realeased ALL relevant informtion?
Gregg, please don't leave. Your repsonse was astute, intelligent, open minded and very accurate.
longriflemen, also correct sir!
I suspect there is a direct correlation between the die hard NRA haters and these Paul Bots. They both seem to have little understanding of how things work in the real world. What do they represent? Probably, 1% of the population at best. I think they need to think hard where they stand when the likes of Markadelphia agree with them.
Also, I love the bit about Paul wanting free trade but not to use the military in foreign entanglements. They do know, don't they, that the military, the navy in particular, ensures the free flow of goods on the high seas by discouraging piracy?
Thus, to keep trade flourishing, we need a robust, overseas, military presence. A deployed navy needs friendly foreign ports of call which gets us to the overseas military presence we have today.
We need to keep the oil flowing to keep the goods flowing, so of course the Middle East will be a hot zone.
There are logical reasons why the United States is in the military and strategic position it is in today. Flourishing the Constitution will not change that fact.
"Every single 9-11 theory is crazy...all of them."
Yes they are. 9-11 was caused by scumbag radical, Islamic terrorists, Period.
The idea that there are people in this country that hate President Bush more than these terrorists fills me with a rage that is impossible to express in mere words. And I don't much like the man, myself. These people are scum. Pure and simple
The entire panoply of these "theories" doesn't even pass the laugh test. If the government was so evil that it would ruthlessly kill over 3000 of its own people for its own nefarious reasons, then why are these "truthers" permitted to live? They would have been killed long ago.
This guy pretty much says it all:
"Ron Paul, if elected, could not fix anything"
I, personally don't expect him to. He could slow down the slide toward the third way police state that I see in our future. He would also make sure we would actualy have a debate about the future of the country. If we keep electing establishment types like Thompson I guarantee there won't be any real choices discussed. If we have the debate and the people decide to continue the welfare/warfare state we have now, so be it. I'm pretty sure that will be the decision anyway.
Yosemite, a question for you ( or anyone for that matter) before I comment on what you have written above. Forgetting about the US and its history for just a moment, has there ever been or is there now countries that have:
1. Slaughtered their own people for no reason at all?
2. Had Coup D'Etats in which multiple people were responsible for killing or removing a head of state?
3. News agencies that, rather than report the truth, feed propaganda to its public to insure state power?
4. Heads of state that blatantly lie in order to retain power?
Remember I am not asking about the US...just everyone else.
Not even germane. I guess I'm supposed to reply that sure, it's happened before and then you'll say: Why do you think it can't happen here?; and then follow a typical line of misdirection.....Well, I'm not going to do it. It is disgusting and vile.
As I said before, and you seem utterly unwilling to get your fingers out of your ears and hear it,: If the government did something that vile then these conspiracy theorists would be dead.
OK, what makes America different then? I'm not saying it to be cute or anything. I really want to know what makes America different. Your view, opinions, thoughts, feelings...why? Or anyone else for that matter?
I'm not trying to be flip...I want simply want to understand.
As, I said, I am not going down this line of discussion. These theories are disgusting, vile and a piss on the graves of the men and women who died that day. They are facile and nonsensical and are a means to direct hate and blame onto the President and the U.S. Government. They give aid and comfort to our enemies.
I will not entertain comparisons of our government with vile regions from human history. Others may want to play that game, but not me. If you really believe these theories then I think you should look to live in some other country.
regions = regimes
Here's a question. Why would a group of conspirators so incredibly, superhumanly competent that they are able to ensure the silence of the thousands of people that must be involved at some level, make the famously fractious, multi-political, and scandal-sniffing American media totally cooperative, then proceed to carry out their evil plan in a manner that no rational person would? It makes absolutely no sense to arrange for two flights to slam into the WTC at varying heights (low strike creates faster collapse) when it would be much, much easier, more efficient, and more believable to recreate the failed '93 bombing in a way that actually worked.
And then, after that, assuming that the goal of your conspirators is to drum up a good causus belli against Middle Eastern nations, why then FAIL to plant evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? That would have been very easy, MUCH easier than arranging the 9/11 attacks would have been for them.
Accepting Truther theories means imagining conspirators that are simultaneously super-competent super-geniuses and stupid in ways that wouldn't pass a small child's sniff test, when there is a far simpler explanation: there was a conspiracy, by the same people who had been trying to take down the Towers since the early nineties.
Here's one last question: Have there been elaborate and totally false conspiracy theories imagined by people all over the world in the past and present alike to explain something in a way that either fits their worldview better or is simply more interesting than reality?
Here's a pre-emptive hint: the answer is very goddamn often.
Ron Paul: "Yes, I think we have to look at the details of it. The investigation was an investigation in which there were government cover-ups.
Folks, I work for the govt and I have absolutely no problem believing there were cover-ups. Not because Bush planted the explosives himself in his spare time, but because it is the nature of govt bureauracies to cover their incompent asses to the greatest extent possible. From other articles and interviews given by Dr. Paul, I think that is his reason for wanting more investigation. I consider that pretty reasonable myself.
Yosemite, I am not talking about conspiracy theories. Forgot about that. What makes America different?
Once you get into that question I think you can see the beauty that our country could be/almost is, with all of its wonderous and powerfully good things, and how we fall short and why. Make no mistake about my intentions. I don't want to live anywhere else. I want it to be better here. Now.
Lab, most "truthers" think that the government didn't actively plan the 9-11 attacks. Why would you want to when you have Al Qaeda all too willing to attack us?
Back to the original post before we got highjacked into "Ron Paul isn't a Truther the same way Larry Craig isn't gay"...
I don't think the libertarian philosophy depends on a high percentage of rationality. It simply punishes irrationality. Yes, you will have a better life if you make wise decisions in a libertarian world. You will also have a farther distance to fall if you make bad decision after bad decision.
A libertarian world wouldn't fail. There would certainly be individual failures, but I think overall the tide would rise.
Ron Paul's mistake is one common in LP circles, and that is assuming that we can just throw a switch and get rid of all the laws. Most people have to be raised into a libertarian mindset (the same way we had to be raised into a socialist mindset to put up with the crap that we have now. Thanks Dewey!)
That's the same problem the Objectivists have.
Too bad we're all so comfortable in our "cult of material well-being."
Mark, you're not listening.
Assume that I am the evil Darth Chimplerburton, and I want to orchestrate terror attacks to set off a war and enable war profiteering.
Then why the hell would my minions attack the PENTAGON and the CENTER OF WORLD FINANCE??
It would make a lot more sense to blow up the Super Bowl.
The only conceivable explanation for an attack on the centers of our military and financial power is that (wait for it…) someone wants to cripple our military and financial power.
Hello? Hello? Is your brain on? Bueller? Bueller?
'That's the same problem the Objectivists have.'
No we don't. First, do you observe an Objectivst Party putting forth a candidate? Nope.
Second, Rand was very clear that political change can only come after a transformation to a culture imbued with Primacy of Existence, reason as an absolute and capitalism as moral ideal. She made this point many times.
In Objectivist circles when the subject of political action arrises, the summary phrase is, "It is too early."
I generally agree with the description of the issue at this link...
John is right. The problem with objectivism is that its loudest champions are asshats who are incompetent at civil communication.
Actually, the problem with objectivism is that it isn't really self-evident. It has to be taught, and from a relatively young age, or most people won't accept it as a valid philosophy.
Subjectivity wins out, otherwise. The "loudest champions" are Objectivism's "true believers." Why be civil when you're so obviously right?
Mastiff, look here's the deal. I don't think that Dick Cheney/Bush planned the attacks on 9-11. I also don't think anyone in our government did. Clearly, the attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda.
But I do think that they knew it was coming. By "they" I do not mean President Bush. On the morning of 9-11, he clearly had no idea what was going on nor did he know what to do as is evidenced by the fact that he sat there for seven minutes and did nothing. Cheney and Rumsfeld? Oh yeah..Rumsfeld admitted as much on Larry King a few days after the attacks.
I'm sure they didn't know precisely what was going to happen but they knew an attack on our country would be to their benefit and let them further their agenda as outlined in the PNAC document from 2000 (a Pearl Harbor like event would galvanize the American public)and President Bush's energy policy from May of 2001. As with the JFK assasination, if you want to achieve your goal, why actively plot something? You're right when you say that they would probably be caught. Instead, you subtly allow certain layers of security to be removed..easy to do with bureaucratic nincompoops around...and thus you have plausable deniability. It was government incompetence!
Look at the result. They got EVERYTHNG they wanted. Less than a few weeks after 9-11, they were talking about Iraq. The media went to sleep and the rest of us, filled with rage, gave them the green light to bomb the shit out of anyone.
Ron Paul is wrong about one thing. Another 9-11 investigation would be fruitless because there is nothing to investigate. All the evidence is out there already. We all know they knew how dangerous Al Qaeda was and they did nothing.
You are insane.
I see Yosemite Sam's point.
I am intrigued by Sam's opinions and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.
I left you post above in the 9-11 post, Yosemite.
First off, Objectivism != people on the internet who say they are Objectivists.
"Actually, the problem with objectivism is that it isn't really self-evident. It has to be taught, and from a relatively young age, or most people won't accept it as a valid philosophy."
How is that a problem with *Objectivism*? Where did Rand say it was self evident or had to be?
How is it Laissez-Faire Capitalism's problem that most people living under it have to be rational for it to work properly? What form of society *isn't* that true for?
And, to clarify, the Objectivists I know claim that it is too early... and may indeed be too late.
Honestly, Kevin, I've seen you snipe at Objectivism here and there, but I've yet to see you actually contradict it at any point. Only attack straw men while advocating positions that are in fact in line with Objectivism. I think you've run afoul of one too many of the window-lickers who *think* they are Objectivists and go about spouting nonsensical dogmatic Rationalism. (capital R)
Exactly what reality of human existence do you think Objectivism ignores?
"Exactly what reality of human existence do you think Objectivism ignores?"
To wit: How are you saying Subjectivism is a part of human nature?
Nobody disputes that people can be irrational. This does not mean they *ought* to be. Or are deterministically *forced* to be.
"Nobody disputes that people can be irrational. This does not mean they *ought* to be. Or are deterministically *forced* to be."
Human beings are naturally irrational. Rationality is rare, and generally learned. (The spontaneously rational are few and far between.)
Subjectivism is part of human nature. It's not a matter of *ought*. It's a matter of *IS*. No *FORCE* is involved.
"Human beings are naturally irrational. Rationality is rare, and generally learned."
Who could look at the whole of human history, especially including recent history right up to today, and not believe that?
I am an avid Ron Paul supporter, and I'm here.
Fred Thompson makes all the right noises, but his record doesn't impress me.
I like your blog. Although we disagree on a number of things, I am an enthusiastic member of the American gun culture, and thus as far as I'm concerned, we are brothers in arms, so to speak.
I'm a Ron Paul supporter as well. In reading your post, this struck me ...
"However, as I tried to explain in those comments, Congressman Paul's position ignores decades, nay, two centuries of political entropy, both here and abroad."
... as particularly ironic as the same class of argument that gun banners are using to disavow the original intent of the Second Amendment protecting an individual right instead favoring a collective militia right using that same "political entropy" for cause.
So far you haven't said anything that Objectivism is against. Yes, rationality must be learned. And yes, it has been damn rare.
Perhaps, if you were to highlight specifically what part of Objectivism you disagree with?
It looks like Fred might actually be a step in the right direction when it comes to pushing the fedgov back into its Constitutional boundaries:
At Last a Small-Government Conservative?
Ed, Fred Thompson is probably going to get my vote in the primaries as the least evil one with a chance of winning, but he:
1) Voted for McCain-Feingold
2) Supports the Justice Department in in using federal power against people growing small quantities of a plant for their own use in accordance with state law. (Of course, I'm talking about medical marijuana.)
Until he reverses course on those two points, he might be not as much for big government and overstepping Constitutional boundaries as the rest of the serious candidates, but he certainly isn't for small government and keeping the feds within their proper boundaries.
 "Serious candidate" is just shorthand for, "Considered sane by a majority of members of at least one of the two major parties, Democrats and Republicans." Looking to Republicans like a nucking fut doesn't seem to be a bar to the Democratic nomination, or vice-versa, but if your own people think you're a nut, you're done.
Ron Paul isn't a serious candidate. He might be the only one out there that hasn't betrayed what I consider basic principles, but the only way he could get the nomination is if Republicans start thinking that they've been betrayed so often they'd rather lose with someone they trust on basic principles than win with someone who might turn on them once in office. (I wonder if that's would account for the nomination of McGovern in 1972 and Goldwater in 1964?)
"I'm a Ron Paul supporter as well. In reading your post, this struck me ...
" 'However, as I tried to explain in those comments, Congressman Paul's position ignores decades, nay, two centuries of political entropy, both here and abroad.'
"... as particularly ironic as the same class of argument that gun banners are using to disavow the original intent of the Second Amendment protecting an individual right instead favoring a collective militia right using that same 'political entropy' for cause."
You missed the point. As supporters of the Second Amendment we understand that that entropy cannot be overturned overnight. It took decades to get to where we are now. It's taking us decades to roll it back. It's taken since 1939 to get a case as good as Parker before the Supreme Court, and there is no guarantee that it will be heard.
Ron Paul seems to believe that, as President, he can reverse two hundred years of political entropy with the scratch of a pen.
Ain't gonna happen. Gridlock is the best he can accomplish, and while gridlock would normally be something I could support, we are at war whether he wants to admit it or not.
"You missed the point. As supporters of the Second Amendment we understand that that entropy cannot be overturned overnight ... Ron Paul seems to believe that, as President, he can reverse two hundred years of political entropy with the scratch of a pen."
I haven't heard or read anything from the man that claims or implies that he thinks it'll be like flicking a light switch. Paul has a better grasp on what constitutes executive power and, perhaps more importantly, what does not. Given that, the power of the veto and the bully pulpit is what will be brought to bear for change. Sure, the effect will be gridlock as the vested interests dig in to oppose and subvert significant change. However, Paul would affect long term thinking on how have true "limited government."
" ... we are at war whether he wants to admit it or not."
Paul just wants the rules to apply as they were intended. To be "at war" a prerequisite is a Congressional Declaration of War (something missing since the last time we prevailed in a military engagement - WWII), pay for it by immediately taxing the citizenry to pay for it in real time rather than charging up the fed.gov credit card and reinstate the draft without deferments so the pain is felt across all economic strata. If the cause is truly righteous, that should be a cake walk, eh?
Well, I'm glad you understand that a Paul Presidency would result in gridlock. But if you think his use of the "Bully Pulpit" would positively affect "long term thinking on" anything other than "how to get him out of office" you give far too much credit to the American electorate. We are the product of those 200 years of political entropy, not to mention 100 years of socialist influence on our schools and media.
The "entitlement mentality" is firmly ingrained in the American psyche. A Paul Presidency isn't going to change that in four years.
"If the cause is truly righteous, that should be a cake walk, eh?"
Not when a significant minority of the population is invested in our defeat, and that significant minority is the largest single contributor to the Democratic Party and its candidates.
But then, you knew that.
(So, Paul supports reinstatement of the draft? Good to know.)
Are you taking your time with a reply to my question or have you forgotten? (I can understand taking your time, as I appreciate a thoughtful answer more than an off-the-cuff one)
This one? "Perhaps, if you were to highlight specifically what part of Objectivism you disagree with?"
I disagree with the part that says human beings can live within its framework. Even Ayn Rand failed at that. I'm sure that there are a lot of adherents who strive to, just as there are a lot of Christians who strive not to sin, but so far I don't think there have been too many successes.
I am not an Objectivist. I will admit up front that I have not studied the philosophy in-depth. I have read several of Rand's works, and I think she had some very important insights, not the least of which was the need for people to examine the world rationally rather than emotionally. But I am not well-versed enough to argue specific points of the Objectivist philosophy with you. The argument I have with Objectivism is more an argument I have with the Objectivists I have dealt with in the past: their seeming belief that Objectivism holds all the answers to humanity's problems.
If that mischaracterizes you, my apologies.
Kevin, you've actually hit right on it. The philosophy set out by Rand in her early works bears little resemblance to what exists now as Objectivism, because she turned it into a cult of personality. It went from "think for youself" to "do what Ayn says or else." Any time you read her works, read them in the context of her having a large group of worshipers who need to be kept in line.
I actually think the cult was brilliant. She laid the philosophy out in Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and then fleeced the ones too stupid to get it for everything they were worth. Selfishness as a virtue, indeed. They got their deity and she got the money and control. Sounds like a fair deal to me.
Yes, that was the question.
"I disagree with the part that says human beings can live within its framework."
Well, I can live within its framework just fine. But without a more specific indication of what part of its framework you think is un-livable, I can't offer a rebuttal to your claims. In other words, if you don't offer an argument at all, I can't refute it.
"I will admit up front that I have not studied the philosophy in-depth."
Honestly, if I had to guess, I'd say the part you think is un-livable is a part you mis-understand or have made some incorrect assumption about. I would be happy to clarify whatever point you have contention with, if you were interested in providing it.
I understand you may not have expected to be asked to provide such explanation, but you should understand that if you're going to go around claiming that a philosophy "ignore[s] the reality that is human existence," there are going to be some people that expect you to back that up.
"The argument I have with Objectivism is more an argument I have with the Objectivists I have dealt with in the past"
Now that, as I said, I can completely understand; especially if you are talking about people on the internet. I am constantly flabbergasted by the nonsense that I hear come out of the mouths of people who claim to be Objectivists. I think, "did you idiots actually read the relevant parts of the philosophy?"
And that means both the wild hedonists who choose to believe that it says to do as you please, and the puritan pukes who delude themselves into thinking it is a set of mystical commandments.
So I would have to say: please, judge the philosophy by its actual content, and not by the failure of the thick-headed to comprehend and apply it.
"their seeming belief that Objectivism holds all the answers to humanity's problems."
It depends on how you mean that.
If you mean they think that canned answers have been provided for them in texts to everything life offers, then you are clearly dealing with mooks.
But if you mean that a judicious (i.e. unwavering) application of reason is capable of answering all of humanity's problems, I would say: "Yes. Is there any other means of solving problems? What else would you suggest: guessing? Voodoo?"
And no, I do not mean that in some warped abstract like we can reason Islam away. I mean reason will tell us we ought to nuke the bastards till they glow, and then shoot 'em in the dark.
Inspector, reason requires that you have solid data upon which to cogitate. The problem with reason is that if you begin with flawed data or flawed assumptions, reason will - with perfect, unassailable logic - lead you to an incorrect conclusion.
I think the thing about Objectivism that I find off-putting is the tendency for those who apply it to start off with bad data or false assumptions without acknowledging the possibility. For example (risking the invocation of Godwin's Law here) if you start from a logical basis that Jews are the cause of a society's economic woes, then - through logic - you can bring yourself the absolute conviction that gas chambers and crematoria are the solution to that problem.
If you believe that carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect on Earth, then you can conclude - with perfect logic - that our last hundred years of burning said fuels at ever-increasing rates will, if not checked, result in rendering much of the planet uninhabitable by human beings.
Logic and reason are very useful tools, but they are completely dependent on the quality of the data, and quite often we don't have any data, or what data we have is conflicting. When that occurs and you can't wait for more or better data, as James T. Kirk once explained to Mr. Spock, the best you can do is guess.
So no, I don't think Objectivism can answer all of humanity's problems. There isn't enough data (and there isn't going to be), and there's no way to test many of the fundamental assumptions without actually trying them to see what happens.
But all the Objectivists I have been exposed to have claimed that Objectivism holds all the answers.
I think Objectivism works very well within the realm of economics. It is absolutely useless in the realm of human love. And it is somewhat less than stellar when applied to international diplomacy.
Usually in Objectivism, when Ayn Rand spoke of "reason," it was assumed that she meant reasoning from the facts of reality. If someone is building logical Frankenstein's monsters that have no resemblance to the facts, this is considered heinous by Objectivism. (the term used for this is Rationalism - capital "R")
And yes, absolutely I have seen people who claim to be Objectivists engaging in that kind of nonsense with reckless abandon. But again, please do not take this as a hit against the philosophy itself.
"When that occurs and you can't wait for more or better data, as James T. Kirk once explained to Mr. Spock, the best you can do is guess."
Absolutely, and if that is the best you can do, then any so-called Objectivist worth his salt will tell you that such is precisely the answer that Objectivism would recommend. Of course, still using reason to narrow your range of guesses appropriately.
It is in that sense that it can be said to have the answers. Because it arms you with the proper principles to act on; NOT because it provides some kind of gigantic "thou shalt" list that "answers everything." Nothing could do that, and no real Objectivist would claim such a thing.
I'm guessing (get it? Hehe.) that those were not the responses you were expecting. As I said, I think you have a case of dealing too little with actual Objectivism and too much with idiots who claim to represent it.
In light of that, I was wondering if you could modify your comments so that they address "The 'Objectivists' I've met" rather than "Objectivism." I'd prefer that you reserved comment on Objectivism until you actually have studied the philosophy, as you put it, "in-depth."
It would be a downright stand-up thing to do, and I would very much appreciate it. We get enough bad press from those mooks. No need to be a conduit for spreading their ignorance.
Fair enough, but you were the one that brought up - and I quote - "I do not mean that in some warped abstract like we can reason Islam away. I mean reason will tell us we ought to nuke the bastards till they glow, and then shoot 'em in the dark."
Pot? Meet kettle.
I don't get it. Are you against that or something? (I mean that literally)
I mean, if you want to get "pc" about it, I should clarify that I mean we should destroy all state sponsors of Islamism (Islamic Fascism) and any other major groups that openly threaten us, and tell the rest that they're next if they move to do the same.
I'll grant there was a lot packed into that phrase, but it wasn't intended to be controversial (to you anyway; to your readers, who knows). If it was, then I am sorry for adding unnecessary distraction to the discussion and feel free to substitute "Make war against our enemies." It was simply intended to disavow Objectivism of any silliness of the variety of pacifism or attempting to reason with the murderous. The proper use of reason against the murderous is to figure out that one ought to kill them dead and to discover the most efficacious means to do so.
I'm partial to caliber 45, myself.
Inspector, I've seen more than one person seriously advocate nuking Mecca and Medina. "Nuke 'em till they glow" isn't a useful statement. Yes, I'm "against that."
(sorry if this is a duplicate)
I'm really not here to debate how we carry out the war. It would be a very long discussion, indeed. (I mean, hell, if you're game, then I'm game... but it wasn't my intended purpose)
If you want to hear an Objectivist talk about the war, I suggest John Lewis, as well as Yaron Brook and Elan Journo. But get a comfy chair if you do, as those are doozies.
Again, I did not intend to be controversial and apologize for the distraction. As I said, I was referring to the Islamic Totalitarian political movement and its supporters, and not to some random non-threatening Muslim in Malaysia.
I do recognize that the fault is mine for being imprecise with my language.
So that said, do you understand the distinction I was drawing; the contrast with pacifism or the belief that one can/should reason with physical force or its wielders?
Anyhow, I appreciate that you accept my offer. ("fair enough") Would you be kind enough to add such a disclaimer to the visible part of your post?
Because I can honestly tell you the philosophy is not what you think it is - and certainly not the nuttery that you've seen some people practice. In fact, I think you'd rather like it.
Gun Blogger, Objectivist
(Not What You Expected)