Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Madness of King Leonard



Leonard Peikoff weighs in with a truly bizarre post-9/11 performance on Bill O'Reilly's show.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing, I can't believe that someone could make Bill O'reilly look like a sane and reasonable man (in comparison). Good job Peikoff, you just won the right wing nutjob award!

Michael Prescott said...

I remember seeing that interview live back in '01. In Peikoff's defense, post-9-11 emotions were still running very hot. But even at the time, I thought he came off badly and would not convince any non-Objectivist viewer.

And what's with the hair? :-)

Damien said...

Daniel Barnes,

Actually Leonard Peikoff does have a valid point. War is never pretty and innocent people always die in war. Wars are won by ruthlessness and never compassion. Beyond that, I don't see any hope of reasoning with people who have a religious conviction to convert us or kill us. Also we haven't really been standing up to them like we should have. If we had invaded Iran and took down the Ali Khamenei and his regime, would there have been a nine eleven?

But that said Bill Orially's fear is also valid. We don't want to turn moderates into radicals. We certainly don't want to galvanize those Arabs who aren't interested in killing us into thinking their lives depend on killing Americans.

The biggest thing about Piekoff's about speech I don't understand is that he seems to think we could just ignore Afghanistan. How could we have ignored Afghanistan when they were harboring Osama Bin Ladin and would have never handed him over peacefully.

Damien said...

Daniel Barnes,

Also I forgot to mention that some of the people we don't kill could make useful allies if we play our cards right.

Michael H said...

Rand had moments of televised histrionics herself, as I recall.

I think the clearest indictment of Objectivism is illustrated by examples like this. I suppose we can never jump inside of someone's skin and view the world through their eyes, but wild eyed ravings don't strike me as indicative of a balanced perspective on life. As Michael Prescott says, emotions were intense at the time, but that's when one is most in need of a calm, measured perspective. Objectivism failed to deliver.

I mentioned Rand and Peikoff's apparent lack of balance and wholeness to an Objectivist on another forum a few months back. His response was that an apparent lack of contentment couldn't be interpreted as a failure of the philosophy, but only as a failure of the individual to properly apply the philosophy.

I couldn't resist the obvious follow-up: Who, if not the creator and her 'philosophical heir' could possibly be in a better position to "properly apply" the philosophy?

He didn't respond.

john said...

I know, hunh.

Just think if we had followed this kook's advice Bin Laden would have died the next day, along with everyone within 5 miles of him, mostly all his brain trust. In the next few weeks everywhere religion is hooked into the government under theocratic totalitarianism would have been brutally attacked and destroyed by the bully Americans, their enslaving governments thrown down, especially Iran, and the entire world would have forever been scared shitless to hook up religion and government because we would bomb anyone trying to create theocracy and foster terror in God's name back to the stone age.

Instead, luckily, seven years later, we have shown our humility by not rebuilding those towers yet, Bin Laden is thriving and the US has proven itself to be the simpy giant with the soft glove -- and we achieved that weakass image while remaining more hated than ever -- although we did have to get rid of one bad guy, a bit player in another country, just to show we weren't a pushover for God's sake. I think we've properly tempered that by exposing over 3,000 of our troops to ambush assassination by giving them an impossible job of not actually taking over an insane nation to secure it while still 'looking like' we are in control. I think we have rightly paid our dues by bankrupting ourselves by 'seeming' to fight against theocracy but actually allowing the conquered governments to write new constitutions enshrining God and God's justice into them like the beautiful sharia law.

Don't worry, since this kook and his ilk did not get their way, we will soon depart those countries so they can return to the natural tribalism, religious fanaticism and oppression of women, just as God intended things to be -- before we arrived there.

John Donohue
Pasadena, CA

Daniel Barnes said...

JD:
>Just think if we had followed this kook's advice Bin Laden would have died the next day, along with everyone within 5 miles of him, mostly all his brain trust.

Wot, did John Galt build the ARI a Bin-Laden seeking nuclear warhead?

Michael H said...

You’re missing the point, John.

Rand championed the idea of man as a rational machine. ‘Reason’ is invoked as sacrosanct, while emotion is regarded as a weakness, unless founded on an extremely detailed process of ‘rational thought’.

Yet, as this video demonstrates, Rand’s ‘intellectual heir’, the living embodiment of Objectivist ideals, becomes highly reactive emotionally while discussing response options to the 9/11 attacks. Consequently, whatever comments that he makes that might have any validity are completely lost on the audience by the spectacle of someone melting down to the point that Bill O’Reilly, of all people, resorts to telling him to “take a breath” before asking if he’s morphed into Dr. Strangelove! Twice!!

This is the absolute tragedy of Ayn Rand and her legacy. The ideas that she had that were of enduring value are cast aside along with the perception that Objectivists are all mentally and emotionally imbalanced nut jobs. If Objectivism is about the primacy of reason, how is it that high level proponents of the philosophy can appear to be entirely lacking in reason?

The Ghost of Ayn Rand said...

Bill O'Reilly's degenerate rants against Leonard are nothing more than a carcass of stale thinking proclaiming its own impotence with mystic miasma at its root. The last honest adversary on television was Phil Donohue.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

Daniel Barnes: Wot, did John Galt build the ARI a Bin-Laden seeking nuclear warhead?

As this was your only response to John Donohue's comment, I'll take it that you have no ethical problems with Leonard Piekoff's position?

michael h: The ideas that she had that were of enduring value are cast aside along with the perception that Objectivists are all mentally and emotionally imbalanced nut jobs. If Objectivism is about the primacy of reason, how is it that high level proponents of the philosophy can appear to be entirely lacking in reason?

Sure. Piekoff is guilty of ranting and looking eccentric. My personal position is that if you've got the moral high ground then you should stay cool, calm and collected and just point out the flaws in your opponents position. So, at least in that instance, he's not the best ambassador for objectivism. However, you haven't pointed out where he fails to be reasonable? Which, if reason has primacy, is really all that matters.

john said...

Leonard was great. Thank you for posting this link, I had not seen it before and it is quite inspiring.

Was he emotional? Yes. Was he nearly apoplectic? Yes. Frankly, (and this is strictly my personal interpretation) he was enraged. His country had just been bombed. If that were not enough, it was surely clear to Mr. Peikoff that America was not enraged enough. He could see what was coming, the pitiful feebleness of our response.

I am not sure what gives anyone the impression that Objectivists cannot be capable of high emotion, or that this is undesirable. I am not sure what the language standards are on this blog or I would add my own scorching invective of rage, complete with appropriate cursing, over the national disgrace of not finding and killing Bin Laden, nor taking down all theocracy in the world even vaguely associated with funding/supporting/enabling religious-based terrorism.

As to the point of 'behavior like this' not endearing Objectivism to the general culture...this is not an important consideration, in my opinion. Those who silently share the justified rage over both the attacks and our under-response got some validation from Mr. Peikoff. Those 'put off' by him are not going to get it anyway.

Restraint of expression in the face of this outrage is no virtue; towering emotion in denouncing these attacks is no vice.

John Donohue

Daniel Barnes said...

Damien:
>Actually Leonard Peikoff does have a valid point. War is never pretty and innocent people always die in war.

Peikoff says: "I am absolutely not concerned with 'innocents'". He then makes a big meal about not telling generals what strategy to pursue. Duh! Causing the mass death of innocents has major strategic implications in any war. As well as alienating both allies and neutrals, it can also perversely increase internal resistance and add new enemies to join the fight. The master strategist Sun Tzu, for example, emphasises the importance of leaving the civilian population as untouched as possible. Peikoff is just making a fool of himself, and not just morally.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

Daniel, I think you need to make the distinction between a policing action and a military action i.e. war. In a policing action we ensure that individual rights are protected (I'm not certain you actually believe in true individual rights anyway!), and in war we've taken the position (hopefully through rational and democratic means) that an overwhelming level of violence is necessary to protect our society even if we don't extend the same level of rights in our society to the other (hostile) entity. In other words, we are no longer extending an offer of civilised behaviour to the society we are waging war against because we have decided that it is too uncivilised to deal with through rational behaviour, and that the controlled application of violence is necessary before we try to engage them through reason again.

Once we are at this point it is our prerogative what level of violence we will use, as we are no longer acting as civilised people treating each other as traders according to the principles of non-aggression. Therefore, it is morally acceptable if people who are not combatants are killed in the (uncivilised) society that we are waging war against if this is the most effective way of achieving our military aims, i.e. the protection and restoration of civilisation.

This is Peikoff's point. He is not saying there are 'no strategic implications' as you imply. He is saying the individual rights of people in the hostile society are no longer the primary moral consideration, as the primacy of extending individual rights to other, potentially uncivilised, societies has now been subjugated by the need to protect civilisation itself. Furthermore, he is saying that once the moral decisions have been made by the people through our political entities then we should hand over the conduct of this action to the profession of arms. They are the ones to decide how we deal with the non-combatants. In this instance, when we are dealing with a society that uses it's non-combatants to hide it's combatants, uses things protected by international agreements to conduct attacks like ambulances, and is willing to use children to conduct military actions and hide combatants calling in mortars, you can bet that more innocents are going to die than if they didn't do these things. The point is the onus is not on us to protect these people if it is unreasonably out of our control, if we still need to protect ourselves through military action as decided by our democratic institutions. Welcome to the real world, Daniel!

Michael Sutcliffe said...

In the final paragraph of my post above I meant to say

no 'strategic implications'

instead of

'no strategic implications'

when I was quoting Daniel Barnes.

Anonymous said...

Where is Winston Churchill when you need him? Peikoff is 100% right. In a war, there is only one issue...whether civilization, rights and freedom win. Anything less than that is a capitulation and defeat. Had we not treated Hitler and Germany in the way we did, we'd be living in a far different world. If we don't wise up about Iran, we will someday be forced to negotiate with only one pre-condition. It will be either surrender or death. In fact, we may not be given a choice. It will be death at the hands of Iranian missles and atomic bombs because people do not listen to Peikoff. Do you think Obama will be able to pull any tricks out of his bag? Sorry, there are no tricks. Either we kill the enemy or he kills us. Obama could not handle that choice, he'd collapse and capitulate while he blames us for our own demise. Today's policies are the lead up to our demise...unless saner people like Peikoff speak out and start to change policy.

Damien said...

Anonymous,

But do you think that harming innocent people, might make the war harder to win and lead to more deaths of American soldiers, if it creates more enemies?

Damien said...

Anonymous,

Plus Daniel Barnes also has a point. Do you think its a good strategic move to alienate our allies and would be allies.

Michael H said...

My personal position is that if you've got the moral high ground then you should stay cool, calm and collected and just point out the flaws in your opponents position. So, at least in that instance, he's not the best ambassador for objectivism. However, you haven't pointed out where he fails to be reasonable?

His entire affect is unreasonable, and his emotional reactivity leads him to consider that the ideas that are occurring to him while in a highly reactive state of mind are absolute.

The suggestion that the solution to terrorism is to give our military free reign to execute a campaign of nuclear carpet bombing of the perceived source of the actions is just an extreme expression of the shared reactivity that led us into the debacle in Iraq.

Peikoff is basically correct in his position that the source of terrorism's fuel are the theocratic regimes. The United States has compromised its values over the centuries, though. Saudi Arabia is among the worst of the Middle Eastern theocracies, yet we continue to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into their economy, while they continue to create a social climate that provides a steady stream of terrorists into global society while they work tirelessly to export their interpretation of Islam worldwide. Yet, we regard the regime as an 'ally' and our First Family considers them personal friends.

Iran and many other regimes and movements in the Middle East are extremely dangerous as well, but we cannot solve the problem if we're unwilling to condemn totalitarianism in all of it's forms, which unfortunately includes trading partners we've allowed ourselves to become hopelessly reliant upon.

In any case, the point that I'm trying to make is that Peikoff, like Rand before him, is unable to make that argument in a calm, reasonable tone because he is every bit as reactive to his own ideas as the terrorists are to their own. So he concludes that the answer to terrorism is global terrorism, which is correctly identified as insane by healthier people, though most of them are just slightly less insane themselves.

As I said above, the United States ended up acting from collective reactivity anyway, which is the actual source of the mess we continue to find ourselves in. Rand was entirely correct in recognizing that the man's inhumanity to man was based on corrupt thinking. What she didn't grasp was that her own thinking was also subject to corruption. She assumed that what was needed was a new 'system of thought', when what is actually needed is a return to the ancient understanding of what thought actually is, and the associated clearheadedness and genuine reason that accompanies the personal understanding of the answer to that question.

Daniel Barnes said...

MS:
>The point is the onus is not on us to protect these people [innocents] if it is unreasonably out of our control...

Who doesn't agree with that? But that's not at all what Peikoff is saying. He says: "I am absolutely not concerned with 'innocents'". Big difference.

gregnyquist said...

Anon: "Had we not treated Hitler and Germany in the way we did, we'd be living in a far different world. If we don't wise up about Iran, we will someday be forced to negotiate with only one pre-condition."

The parallel between Hitler's Germany and Iran can be, as it is here, taken too far. There are important differences between Iran of today and Germany of seventy years ago—all which Peikoff ignores. Yet that is not the worst of it. Peikoff wishes to give us advice on matters of which he has no expertise. He has no detailed knowledge of international politics or the psychopathology of Islamic terrorists. He knows nothing of what are governments know but don't dare tell us. He is, in short, not in a position to be advising anybody on how the U.S. should conduct itself.

Note also Peikoff's arrogance. When O'Reilly askes: "What if you're wrong?" Peikoff answers, "What if 2+2 doesn't equal 4?" This is the spectre of Objectivist certainty. Peikoff knows he is right because knowledge is certain and he has knowledge. Anyone who questions whether he is right is not merely questioning his knowledge and judgment on the particular issue at hand, they are questioning whether any knowledge is possible. This bait and switch is typical of the way Objectivists argue. They always assume that some great abstract philosophical issue is fundamental to the debate, even when its over a very particular issue.

gregnyquist said...

John: "Bin Laden is thriving and the US has proven itself to be the simpy giant with the soft glove"

Nonsense. It's not even clear the Bin Laden is alive, and if he is, he's hardly thriving. Al Queda has suffered such a humiliating defeat in Iraq that questions are being raised within that organization over whether Bin Laden's strategy of hitting the U.S. on 911 was the wise course to take, since it has only increased U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

gregnyquist said...

John: "and we achieved that weakass image while remaining more hated than ever"

Really? Hated by whom? Of course the U.S. is hated by the European left and by the sympathizers of with left-wing ideas the world over. That is to be expected. Yet nonetheless, despite all this noisy hatred of leftist intellectuals around the world, we are seeing a move in politics in France, Germany, Canada, Italy, toward pro-American leaders. That doesn't seem entirely consistent with the notion that we are "more hated than ever."

john said...

Michael H,

Peikoff appeared enraged. I suggested his reason above. His stance has been long held and publicly stated for years (so not occurring during the rage, not reactive). There are a lot of mollifiers and corporate smoothers around, on television especially. I contend it is not Leonard's rage that appears 'unreasonable', it is the smugness of these mediators that rankles.

Speaking for myself only, I have no problem condemning ALL theocracy. That is an understatement. I condemn it here in the US, in Saudi Arabia, in Israel, as well as in Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Ireland, etc., to the degree it is actually engaged in each instance. I predict you will find no Objectivist who would 'pick and choose' randomly, although you will find judgments on degree. In the US you have Obama promising to pick up the initiative of W. Bush and take 'faith-based' government funded social programs far further and deeper than W. ever dreamed. That is theocracy.

I won't argue your blog on this blog, but will simply say 1) there is no basis for your claim of Ayn Rand's 'corruption'; and 2) you make a claim to genuine reason that apparently you think Miss Rand and Dr. Peikoff do not possess, but upon following the link to your site there is no mission statement or definition of your belief that I could click to, except a short description calling it a "mystical tradition" which ipso facto negates a claim to reason.

John Donohue

Daniel Barnes said...

Anon:
>Where is Winston Churchill when you need him? ...It will be death at the hands of Iranian missles and atomic bombs because people do not listen to Peikoff.

The comparison, and anon's hysteria, is absurd, really. Greg's right. In the '30s Germany was the most modern, highly militarised state in the world, and the US had an army the size of Finland's. Iran poses no such threat. Its nuclear programme, the scale of which is far from clear, also needs international ballistic expertise it doesn't have a hope in hell of attaining. Further, should it attain it at some distant point, the US's nuclear retaliative power would dwarf it. A single US city attacked by an Iranian nuclear missile would result in the complete obliteration of that nation. It would be guaranteed national suicide.

Daniel Barnes said...

Greg:
>Note also Peikoff's arrogance. When O'Reilly askes: "What if you're wrong?" Peikoff answers, "What if 2+2 doesn't equal 4?"

I noticed that too. Objectivism's substitution of rationalism for reality strikes again.

Damien said...

"What if 2+2 doesn't equal 4?"

I wonder if Piekoff realizes that is not a valid response. The only thing that that adds to the conversation is that Piekoff is incredibly confident to the point he thinks its a mathematical certainty. Every time you deal with people, individually or in groups, there's the possibility they won't behave the way you expect. Human behavior can't be reduced to a mathematical certainty.

Michael Prescott said...

"What if 2+2 doesn't equal 4?"

Although I'm loath to defend Peikoff, I think he may have been misinterpreted here. I believe the idea he was trying to express was that "What if you're wrong?" is not a valid argument, because you can ask it of anyone at any time.

I'm basing this interpretation on an admittedly vague memory of one of his taped lecture courses, which I took back in the 1980s. I believe he used the "2=2" argument as an example of how to counter any "What if you're wrong?" attack. His point, IIRC, was that the arguer has to supply some reason why you might be wrong.

That said, I still think he made a fool of himself.

What some of the pro-Peikoff commenters don't seem to get is that on TV, your demeanor is more important than the words coming out of your mouth. Peikoff simply comes across as a wild man, ranting furiously, talking over the interviewer, and becoming more and more frantic. I'm sure he did not strike most people as the sort of person who should be deciding whether or not to use nuclear bombs.

Neil Parille said...

I haven't had the stomach to watch this interview, but in The Ominous Parallels, Peikoff opposed US involvement in WWI and WWII.

In recent years, a few ARI types have even praised FDR as a war leader.

Peikoff's increasingly strident opposiion to religion seems to be driving the train here.

Dragonfly said...

It is in fact quite comical to see the first spokesman of Objectivism, the self-appointed intellectual heir of Ayn Rand, allegedly the representant of rational thinking par excellence, behaving like a raving lunatic whose message is in effect: nuke them all!

Michael H said...

1) there is no basis for your claim of Ayn Rand's 'corruption'; and 2) you make a claim to genuine reason that apparently you think Miss Rand and Dr. Peikoff do not possess, but upon following the link to your site there is no mission statement or definition of your belief that I could click to, except a short description calling it a "mystical tradition" which ipso facto negates a claim to reason.

First, John, the site I linked to was Peter Kingsley's site. He is a scholar of the ancient Greek and Hermetic traditions, who has written extensively on pre-Socratic philosophy, the loss of which has in turn led to the loss of the understanding of genuine reason in the West and brought us to where we are today: tremendously advanced technologically, but deeply troubled socially, politically, economically, environmentally and spiritually.

Your statement that "'mystical tradition' . . . ipso facto negates a claim to reason", perfectly encapsulates what I mean by Rand's corruption, which all Objectivists share to one degree or another. The corruption is so total and complete that it is perfectly invisible to the one afflicted. Kingsley endeavors to explain how and why that has happened. Ulrich Mohrhoff compiled a 32 page selection of excerpts from two of Kingsley's books that provide a good introduction to his understanding of reality. Other articles, interviews and information on his books are available at the "Writings" tab at the original link. That being said, anyone who considers the term 'mysticism' to be incompatible with 'reason' will likely find these ideas impenetrable.

Objectivism assumes materialism as absolute. Kingsley shows that Western civilization was built upon the ideas of men who knew with absolute personal certainty that this core assumption is false, and that genuine reason is available only to those discover the true nature of reality before they apply reason to the material world. Rand never discovered the true nature of reality, or genuine reason, and consequently the entire structure that Rand built is fundamentally corrupt.

Henry Scuoteguazza said...

I think Peikoff's main point is sound: that we have the right to defend ourselves. However, I disagree with his conclusion that we are therefore justified in bombing an entire country into oblivion, including the many people who have no voice in what their government does or condones. Peikoff and other Objectivists including Rand herself seem to believe that people who are born in countries like Iran deserve what they get because they don’t emigrate to another, freer country. While I agree with the need for decisive, forceful action I don’t think we can objectively defend blanket destruction. While I acknowledge that we used the atomic bomb in Japan to break the will of the Japanese government I doubt if the same approach would work in Iraq, primarily because we’ll dealing with pockets of resistance, not a central government that is fighting us.

I would hope our police never adopt Peikoff’s policy. If they did I’d never want to be a hostage in a bank robbery!

Fortunately our military tried to minimize civilian casualties while targeting appropriate key facilities. Our mistake was in not committing enough troops to flesh out and crush the insurgents. I also read somewhere that the local leaders who could help us initially laid low because they were afraid of being left high and dry by the U.S., thus exposing themselves to terrorists in their midst. Within the last year these leaders started to help our troops ferret out the opposition.

Peikoff’s position reveals a simplistic either-or approach that typifies some Objectivist “thinking”. They take a fundamentally sound premise then apply it without acknowledging context or conditions that would modify one’s conclusion or actions.

Peikoff indeed was borderline apoplectic which certainly doesn’t improve his chances of getting his message heard. Once again this is a symptom of someone who feels that the certainty of their position can speak for itself and needs no “spin,” concern with presentation nor with consequences.

Fortunately, his role as a public spokesman for ARI appears to have been reduced to token appearances. From what I have seen Yaron Brook does a better job publicly representing ARI.

gregnyquist said...

Michael: "Although I'm loath to defend Peikoff, I think he may have been misinterpreted here. I believe the idea he was trying to express was that 'What if you're wrong?' is not a valid argument, because you can ask it of anyone at any time."

You're right that this what Peikoff is trying to express. But in the context of this interview, the question "What if you're wrong" is entirely valid. The subject of international politics and international threats does not lend itself to certain conclusions. There are too many unknown variables, including the fact that the leaders of these countries can react to any conclusions we make of them and frustrate our analysis. Indeed, that is what is constantly happening in international affairs between rival powers. So no one can know for certain what will happen if we were to nuke Iran, because it involves guessing how the rest of the world will react (including dangerous nuclear powers like Russia and China). The most that can be done is to consult the educated guesses of those who are most informed and who have the best judgment on these matters: in other words, the "experts." Now since even the experts aren't absolutely (or even "contextually") sure what is going to happen, it is absurd to believe that Peikoff, who is not an expert, can't be wrong. In any case, Peikoff's views are hardly on the same cognitive or epistemological level as 2+2=4 (which after all, is not even an empirical statement, but a tautology!).

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

If we had invaded Iran and took down Ali Khameini and his regime, would there have been a nine eleven? - damien
___________________________________





Did Ali Khameinie have anything to do with 9/11?



How would taking down Khameinie's regime have removed a 9/11 from happening?

john said...

Michael H,

Are you saying that on that site and in that tradition I will be shown "Some Thing" that is not material, yet is real? And that Western Civilization was built on this contradiction? I will agree with one thing you said: Ayn Rand never discovered such a 'thing' and that to she, and I, it is "perfectly invisible."

Absolute stonewall arrogance to claim that a "mystical tradition" [so self-identified on that site] can then claim to be based on 'genuine reason' [your words]. All-encompassing as the "Stolen Concept" fallacy is, somehow words fall short at this moment. I think a nuclear bomb would be an commensurate response.

John Donohue

Damien said...

Red Grant,

Iran was largely the start of radical Islams rise. It was the post revolution Iranian Regime that threaten salmon Rushdie with death. If we had stood up to the Islam-o-Fascist earlier they might have got the message that it isn't a good idea to mess with countries like America. Us not taking them down, could have been a factor in Bin Ladin's thinking that America was a paper tiger.

Jay said...

"No one would dare attack the United States if they thought it would actually stand up for what it believed in."

We can bicker about how Peikoff delivered his argument, but that is absolutely true.

Jay said...

Peikoff: Then people in New York City are going to be slaughtered and that's the only choice.

O'Reilly: That's not the only choice.

Peikoff: It happened already!


Kind of hard to argue that, too.

Damien said...

Jay,

I don't know, even when we were more willing to stand up for what we believed in, people still messed with us. The Japaneses Messed with us when they attacked Pearl Harbor.

Michael Prescott said...

John: Are you saying that on that site and in that tradition I will be shown "Some Thing" that is not material, yet is real? And that Western Civilization was built on this contradiction? I will agree with one thing you said: Ayn Rand never discovered such a 'thing' and that to she, and I, it is "perfectly invisible."

Let's see ... something that is not material, yet is real. How about consciousness?

You may say that the substrate of consciousness is material (neurons and so forth), but consciousness itself is not material. A thought in your mind - say, "I'll have tuna fish for lunch" - is not a material thing. It cannot be weighed, or seen under a microscope, or poured into a test tube, or run through a cyclotron. Yet it is surely real.

Even more real is the awareness that perceives this thought - the awareness that observes the thought and is aware of thinking it. We don't have a good name for this awareness; it's so fundamental that we take it for granted, but it is real. It's perhaps the most real thing we know.

John: Peikoff appeared enraged.

I would say he appeared crazy. It is possible to appear enraged and still maintain one's dignity, as Reagan famously did when, in a 1980TV debate, he bellowed, "I paid for that microphone, Mr. Green!" But unbridled rage is off-putting, especially on TV.

Greg: In any case, Peikoff's views are hardly on the same cognitive or epistemological level as 2+2=4

I agree that his argument was not very good. I just wanted to clarify what he was trying to say. It's a reductio ab absurdum approach. ("If anything can be doubted, then why not doubt 2+2=4?") The problem with employing such a rejoinder in this case is that O'Reilly was presenting specific reasons to doubt Peikoff's strategy. He wasn't just asking "What if?" in a general way.

john said...

Michael H,

A thought, or more broadly consciousness, is a process about the material; it cannot be divorced from material things that exist. A consciousness without something material to think about, and a material human being to do the thinking, is void, absurd. You are unable to make a case for the existence of a completely non-material thing.

"Directly or indirectly, every phenomenon of consciousness is derived from one’s awareness of the external world. Some object, i.e., some content, is involved in every state of awareness. Extrospection is a process of cognition directed outward—a process of apprehending some existent(s) of the external world. Introspection is a process of cognition directed inward—a process of apprehending one’s own psychological actions in regard to some existent(s) of the external world, such actions as thinking, feeling, reminiscing, etc. It is only in relation to the external world that the various actions of a consciousness can be experienced, grasped, defined or communicated. Awareness is awareness of something. A content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms." Ayn Rand, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology"


That is, unless indeed you ARE trying to make the case that there can be 'consciousness' without it's material thinker and thing thought about. If you pull that off you will even beat Plato and Christ. In either case, you would be in the realm of "mystery" disconnected from facts and logic (reason) and reality.

Michael H said...

Awareness is awareness of something. A content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms.

It is the content-less state of consciousness that Rand never experienced, and so concludes is absurd. That’s what’s invisible until one looks for it. The state that is involved is awareness of the awareness; perceiving the perceiver.

It is this state of consciousness that Empedocles regards as the very first instruction for his disciple Pausanias – as Kingsley writes: “Not to perceive but to perceive that he is perceiving -- to watch the perceptive process itself. In other words he is telling him not just to look or touch or hear but to look and touch while fully conscious of looking and touching, to hear with the awareness that he is hearing.”

Which transitions into your other post, John.

Absolute stonewall arrogance to claim that a "mystical tradition" [so self-identified on that site] can then claim to be based on 'genuine reason' [your words].

Yes, John, those were my words, and you’re certainly free to interpret it as arrogant. I’m paraphrasing, though. Kingsley phrases it this way: “Nowadays we like to think of rationality as completely distinct from mysticism, of science as something utterly separate from the knowledge of another reality. But that’s just an optical illusion. Really there can only be one kind of knowledge. And rationality is simply mysticism misunderstood.”

As for whether “Western Civilization was built on this contradiction”, Kingsley suggests that it was the wisdom known to Parmenides, as well as Empedocles, that Plato and subsequently Aristotle cast aside that has led to the development of Western society as we know it, good and bad. Kingsley maintains that it is because we have lost this wisdom that our society has developed with the lack of balance that I expressed in my previous post.

The following excerpts provide a general overview of his premise, the linked PDF in the previous post provides more details:

We are human beings, endowed with an incredible dignity; but there’s nothing more undignified than forgetting our greatness and clutching at straws . . .

One ancient writer — he is among the oldest and most reliable of sources on such matters— offers a name for the first philosopher who ever stated that the earth is round. The man he mentions came from Velia . . . His name was Parmenides.

Not only has it become Parmenides’ most famous, most quotable remark. It has been presented as the jewel in the crown — the first truly great achievement in western intellectual history. Everyone from the most specialized of experts in ancient Greek philosophy through to the most popular of historical writers is unanimous in celebrating the profound significance of that one, tremendous moment when Parmenides first announces ‘the autonomy and superiority of the human reason as judge of reality’.

These simple words, ‘Judge by reason’, have become one of the greatest milestones in our past: the marker of mile zero, where reason was invented and rationality began. Everything can confidently be measured from here.

They have been made into the foundation for the whole edifice of reasoned thought on which Plato and his great successor Aristotle, followed by later philosophers, were all able to build. But no one has dared to ask if the building work was carried out in the right place — or if the foundation is really solid, let alone still standing. . . There has been no rush to look behind the scenes and discover just how much irrationality is needed to keep defending the bastion of rationality . . .

Perhaps the simplest way of describing the situation would be to say that, two and a half thousand years ago in the West, we were given a gift — and in our childishness we threw away the instructions for how to use it. We felt we knew what we were playing with. And, as a result, western civilization may soon be nothing but an experiment that failed.

We can still trace out how, well over two thousand years ago, the schools of Plato and Aristotle put the seal on what was to become the most enduring Athenian contribution to intellectual history in the West: instead of the love of wisdom, philosophy turned into the love of talking and arguing about the love of wisdom. Since then the talking and arguing have pushed everything else out of the picture-until now we no longer know of anything else or can even imagine that there could be.

Plato’s purposes are still very clear. Behind everything else, he wanted to be seen as Parmenides’ heir . . . He succeeded so well that no one really suspects any more how vast the chasm is separating Plato’s idea of philosophy from Parmenides’ — or suspects just how much has been left behind.

Parmenides’ own teaching had been torn away from the background and context that had given it its meaning and life. What originally had been intended to involve every fibre of one’s being was converted into a dry logic that’s only good for complicating and torturing our minds . . .

You could say that Plato and Aristotle, in particular, simply did their job: they made it possible for us to develop our intelligence in certain directions, to explore aspects of ourselves that we hadn’t known before. But then the time comes to be moving on.

He had given people something wonderful to play with. And soon it was obvious to almost anyone that the way to get to the truth in those ideas was not through entering some other state of consciousness but through thinking. As one historian has described his achievement, in terms that are accurate enough, Plato was the man who ‘by a truly creative act transposed these ideas definitively from the plane of revelation to the plane of rational argument’.

But now, after over two thousand three hundred years of thinking and debating and rational argument, the time has come for a little honesty.

In all those years our minds have allowed us to do great things. We can build bridges and fly, heal and kill ourselves in thousands of new ways. As for reality, though, and the soul, and all those questions that Plato insisted mattered most: we have got absolutely nowhere. We have plenty of theories, endless discussions of problems about problems about problems. But the simple fact is that through our minds we have not managed to understand one single thing. And the time for thinking and for reasoning is over now. They have served their purpose. They have kept us busy, allowed our minds to grow, carried us a little way further on the route towards greater individuality and self-consciousness. The problem is that we still know nothing.

Reason is one of those things — like common sense — that everyone is assumed to know the meaning of. Already as children we are told to be reasonable, which essentially means doing what others want us to do. We are all supposed to have a clear idea of what reason is. But there is no one who does.

The closer you look at it the vaguer it becomes. And the closer you look at people who claim to be most rational, the more irrational they turn out to be . . .


I’m fully aware at how disturbing this can be to consider. Kingsley’s essentially saying that those of us in the West have lost the understanding of the proper use of our minds, and our choice is to reclaim that.

john said...

Michael H,

You are obviously greatly moved by this. However, you are not succeeding in painting the reality of this paradigm, nor are you conveying how it is to be imparted. The only attempt I got of substance was that one must seek the content-less state of consciousness which is invisible until one looks for it. The state that is involved is awareness of the awareness; perceiving the perceiver. This is poor because (stating the obvious) "the perceiver" is content.

All I am getting is that which one might hear whispered into the ear of a novitiate at a monastery in Tibet (or Los Angeles) today, a koan intended to unhook the rational mind until nothingness seems desirable.

While your construct is that Parmenides' practice was a vastly superior state which has been lost and must be rediscovered, an Aristotelean would make the case that it was a false practice of evasion of reality -- even an attempt to wipe out the self (suicide of the soul) -- not to be overcome until one accepted the Primacy of Existence and that this world of existents is what exists. (And THAT was the foundation of Western Civilization.)

This would be an ordinary case of lauding the mystical, except for the virulent claim to reason made: "...rationality is simply mysticism misunderstood.” That is an unacceptable baseless attempt to steal the goodness of "rational" and confiscate its virtue for exploitation by its deadly enemy.

John Donohue

Michael Sutcliffe said...

michael h: Who, if not the creator and her 'philosophical heir' could possibly be in a better position to "properly apply" the philosophy?

Well, as they say it's the plumber's taps that need fixing, the dentist's teeth that needs a filling!

Michael Sutcliffe said...

michael h: She assumed that what was needed was a new 'system of thought', when what is actually needed is a return to the ancient understanding of what thought actually is, and the associated clearheadedness and genuine reason that accompanies the personal understanding of the answer to that question.

You must find it easy to forgive me for thinking this really doesn't add much value to any debate we might have, but I invite you to elaborate. What is 'genuine reason' and how does it differ from the non-genuine reason that objectivists claim to use?

I followed your link. I'm interested in this self-description from Peter Kingsley's site: the extraordinary mystical tradition that lies forgotten right at the roots of the western world. Do you really believe that the basis of Western thinking isn't found in reason? How do you distinguish between this 'mystical' 'knowledge' as correct and distinct from other false 'mystical' 'knowledge'?

Michael Sutcliffe said...

daniel barnes: Who doesn't agree with that? But that's not at all what Peikoff is saying. He says: "I am absolutely not concerned with 'innocents'". Big difference.

I think you might be clutching at straws on this one. Peikoff wanted to make a point that we had crossed the line where a mass level of violence was justified i.e. military action. That's the context of what he said. IMHO you are taking his comment out of that context. Objectivism is all about individual rights after all, so it would be a little unusual for him to make an overarching statement that individual rights don't matter - his point is this is a very special circumstance so we have to be brave and do what is rationally necessary.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

michael h: and that genuine reason is available only to those discover the true nature of reality before they apply reason to the material world. Rand never discovered the true nature of reality, or genuine reason, and consequently the entire structure that Rand built is fundamentally corrupt.

Michael h, this is related to my post two above. I didn't see your second post on this topic until after I'd posted. I'll have a go at following your links over the next few days, but can you provide a description of 'the true nature of reality, or genuine reason' that may clarify what this is all about. Sort of just a rational, simple, succinct 'point in the right direction' is what I mean - maybe start with how 'genuine reason' is different to reason how I would know it.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

gregnyquist: He has no detailed knowledge of international politics or the psychopathology of Islamic terrorists. He knows nothing of what are governments know but don't dare tell us. He is, in short, not in a position to be advising anybody on how the U.S. should conduct itself.

He is a recognised intellectual applying a philosophy to make a moral decision. Are you saying no one but highly informed and technically qualified government officials are capable of doing this? Are you saying that only they should? Then he says he is not a military general and the actual conduct of the war should be left to the military, not the politicians, and everyone disagrees! .......so playing on this, in summary, the opposing position is saying moral decisions should be made by technocrats who have specialised knowledge, not based on a common 'moral compass', but the conduct of a specialised activity like military action should not be put in the hands of technocrats!

gregnyquist: They always assume that some great abstract philosophical issue is fundamental to the debate, even when its over a very particular issue.

Yeah, the very particular issue of conducting a war that is going to cost lots of lives (on both sides) and cost a fortune. I'd argue that there are a few 'great abstract philosophical issues' that are 'fundamental to the debate' in this kind of instance. Wouldn't you?

Michael Sutcliffe said...

gregnyquist: Really? Hated by whom? Of course the U.S. is hated by the European left and by the sympathizers of with left-wing ideas the world over. That is to be expected. Yet nonetheless, despite all this noisy hatred of leftist intellectuals around the world, we are seeing a move in politics in France, Germany, Canada, Italy, toward pro-American leaders. That doesn't seem entirely consistent with the notion that we are "more hated than ever."

Bravo! At least we can agree on something. I'd also say America isn't hated by 'grass roots' Australia either. Mainly just the left-leaning Australian intellectuals and media luvvies.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

daniel barnes: I noticed that too. Objectivism's substitution of rationalism for reality strikes again.

Can you clarify this. Is rationality the same as rationalism? Are you saying that rationality does not produce an accurate description of reality? From your posts over years I would have thought that you were a hard-core determinist. If it's a causal world wouldn't rationality describe what is going on?

gregnyquist said...

"In the US you have Obama promising to pick up the initiative of W. Bush and take 'faith-based' government funded social programs far further and deeper than W. ever dreamed. That is theocracy."

Now this is just the sort of statement that betrays a total lack of balance and judgment on issues relating to religion. If we were to take it seriously, we have to conclude that most non-communist governments in the world before 1950 were theocracies. America, as well, has been a theocracy at least until 1960, and perhaps since as well.

During the civil war, President Lincoln, a lifelong skeptic when it came to matters of religion, called for a national day of prayer. Washington, a skeptic in matters of theology, also called for a day thanksgiving and prayer. In his first inaugral address, Washington said: "It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe... No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States." I guess that makes both Lincoln and Washington theocrats!

Anyone who thinks America is a theocracy because of a faith-based social program has never lived under a theocracy and has no idea what a real theocracy means.

Damien said...

greg,

Maybe your next post on Objectivism and religion could be on the objectivist view of religion and government, including their definition of theocracy.

Damien said...

greg,

By the way, you are absolutely correct to say that the United States has never been a theocracy. People who call it one, are similar to people who call America a fascist state. They are either ignorant or they are extremely emotional and not thinking straight.

Michael Prescott said...

John: A thought, or more broadly consciousness, is a process about the material; it cannot be divorced from material things that exist.

I think you were responding to me, and not Michael H, though with two Mikes in the mix, it can get confusing!

Anyway, in an earlier comment you wrote: "Are you saying that on that site and in that tradition I will be shown 'Some Thing' that is not material, yet is real? ... I will agree with one thing you said: Ayn Rand never discovered such a 'thing' and that to she, and I, it is 'perfectly invisible.' "

My response was that consciousness itself is non-material yet real. This is true whether we are speaking of the content of consciousness (thoughts) or of consciousness itself (awareness).

It matters not at all if the thoughts are about material things (or if they arise from material things). This is irrelevant. The thoughts themselves are non-material, yet real.

All the equivocating in the world won't change the fact that physical reality and consciousness are different kinds of things. (Unless, of course, physical reality is merely a construct of consciousness - but then we are in the realm of philosophical idealism, which has problems of its own.)

Michael H said...

This is poor because (stating the obvious) "the perceiver" is content.

True, but the perceiver is perceived by a second order of consciousness, and that perspective is the realm of the higher reason. It’s so subtle that we don’t normally recognize it – it’s essentially invisible until we discover it. I’ll try to expand on this below.

I'll have a go at following your links over the next few days, but can you provide a description of 'the true nature of reality, or genuine reason' that may clarify what this is all about. Sort of just a rational, simple, succinct 'point in the right direction' is what I mean - maybe start with how 'genuine reason' is different to reason how I would know it.

I think that the link to Mohrhoff’s excerpts of Kingsley’s books I provided above will answer this more clearly, but I’ll have a short go at it.

The essence of Kingsley’s writings is that the true nature of reality can be understood only through a specific state of consciousness. He shows that both Parmenides and Empedocles were each personally aware of a state of consciousness that the Greeks termed ‘metis’, which has its parallel in the Hindu state of Samadhi, as well as other states of consciousness that we today refer to as ‘mystical’.

Kingsley maintains that the philosophy of Parmenides and Empedocles emphasized that one must personally experience this state of consciousness first, in order to become familiar with the true nature of reality, as well as with how their own intellect relates to reality itself. What I am calling ‘genuine reason’ is what results from any individual actually doing this. If one experiences the perspective that accompanies the continual practice of ‘perceiving the perceiver’, one begins to understand that their own intellect is actually a construct of a higher level of consciousness that they can access within themselves. Once that’s been recognized as true for any given individual, it permanently alters their perspective: they see themselves as in possession of an intellect, but they don’t see themselves as identified with the intellect. It’s a matter of just a slight distance from one’s own thoughts about reality, and that distance allows one to be open to new and different thoughts, as well as leading to an ever-deepening understanding about the nature of reality itself. It is a higher level of ‘reason’ than most of us are familiar with, especially here in the West. It is such a different use of the mind, that those who have yet to experience it tend consider descriptions of it as a form of ‘mysticism’. It’s seen as without value in day-to-day existence, yet for those who experience it, it is a much clearer perspective that is highly focused, alert, deeply intelligent, yet deeply relaxed. It’s a meditative state of mind, but it doesn’t necessarily involve decades of meditation to discover it or experience it.

Essentially, what Kingsley is saying is that Plato and Aristotle focused on development of the intellect first, and left behind the critical understanding of the value of the primacy of understanding the higher state of consciousness deemed essential to Parmenides and Empedocles. Consequently, philosophy developed from that moment on with heavy emphasis on the value of the intellect, which has had tremendous benefits in its applications to the material world that we’re surrounded with today. This is all good. But losing the understanding of the nature of the intellect itself has led to the assumption that absolute reality can also be known through the intellect, which Kingsley reminds us, is a false premise. This has led in turn led to philosophy itself degenerating into endless arguments about the nature of reality and wisdom, when philosophy was originally concerned with the love of a single wisdom. Kingsley is hoping to return philosophy to its roots, which is the love of a single wisdom. It’s a tough battle to choose, because really understanding him remains available only through understanding the higher consciousness, and almost no one in the West even knows there is a higher consciousness that can be understood.

What I personally consider most fascinating about Kingsley’s premise, is that he is saying that Western society actually had its roots in a profound understanding of idealist philosophy. I think it is far from coincidental that idealism is also discovered behind countless ancient cultures, and can be found again and again and again in the mythology and religions of societies worldwide. It also strikes me as significant that consciousness itself remains the most elusive phenomena for the reductionist to understand.

As Michael Prescott says, philosophical idealism has its own problems, but I contend (and I think Kingsley would agree), that those problems only exist if we attempt to interpret idealism from an intellectual perspective. From the higher perspective, the problems disappear.

As how all of this relates to Ayn Rand; as I’ve said earlier, she never looked deeply enough within. She built her entire philosophy upon the assumption of the primacy of the intellect that resulted from her interpretation of Aristotelian philosophy, and like many others, did not understand what had been left behind. I’m a bit torn about Ayn Rand myself, because I think she was correct in recognizing that the problems of the world had their source in flawed thinking, much of which still surrounds us. If she had looked deeply enough to ‘perceive the perceiver’, I suspect she would have arrived at much different conclusions regarding the proper role of the individual, and a much different philosophy of life.

dragonfly said...

MP: "It matters not at all if the thoughts are about material things (or if they arise from material things). This is irrelevant. The thoughts themselves are non-material, yet real."

But that is true for every physical property and every process. Properties like "spherical", "soft" or "green" are non-material, yet real. That doesn't mean that they can divorced from material things that exist. Processes like evolution, evaporation or a computer program are non-material, yet real, but cannot be divorced from material things.

Now I can see a discussion arise about what "real" really means. If you limit "real" to physical objects, then such things are not real. But I think it's more useful to define "real" those things that you can measure with consistent results, so not only the proton is real, but also the mass of the proton. This is of course just a definition, and it is meaningless to quibble about the "correct" definition, as no such thing exists.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Also, we really haven't been standing up to them like we should have.

If we had invaded Iran and took down Ali Khameinie and his regime, would there have been a nine eleven? - damien

-----------------------------------

How would taking down Khameinie's regime have removed a 9/11 from happening? - Red Grant

-----------------------------------

If we had stood up to the Islam-O-Fascists earlier they might have got the message that it's not a good idea to mess with countries like America. - damien
___________________________________





Please consider your own argument to jay:
___________________________________

Jay,

I don't know, even when we were more willing to stand up for what we believed in, people still messed with us.
___________________________________

Simon Lote said...

Of course values matter in war and the reason for the recent success in Iraq is because wheras the GI is willing to risk life and limb to kill only the terrorist he proves himself morally superior to the terrorist who kills indiscriminately.

By regaining the moral highgound the Coalition has made allies out of former enemies. As the former Iraqi army officers and Baathist who were unnecessarily alienated at the start of the war have put aside their differences to focus on the real enemy Al Qaueda, who kill indiscriminately and are not interested in rebuilding Iraq.

Peikoff on the otherhand argues that the coalition forces should embrace indiscriminate terror as policy, placing us morally lower than Al Qaueda. I thought we were fighting a war on terror, not a war of terror.

Daniel Barnes said...

MS:
>Can you clarify this. Is rationality the same as rationalism? Are you saying that rationality does not produce an accurate description of reality? From your posts over years I would have thought that you were a hard-core determinist. If it's a causal world wouldn't rationality describe what is going on?

MS, by "rationalism" I mean over-reliance on deductive arguments at the expense of empirical experience.

If you have been reading the ARCHNblog for some time, you will know that Greg and I argue Objectivism is highly rationalistic; that despite much talk about the importance of the 'facts of reality' Objectivism really only pays lipservice to them, preferring to manipulate terminology instead. It's really a version of Medieval scholasticism, and in fact has much in common with the modern philosophy it despises (for example, Linguistic Analysis). This is due to the unfortunate influence of the Aristotelian method on both.

As for being a hard-core determinist, I am not, although I respect the strong determinist doctrine as a set of very powerful arguments. And we are all, to some extent, determinists.

Daniel Barnes said...

Simon:
>Peikoff on the otherhand argues that the coalition forces should embrace indiscriminate terror as policy, placing us morally lower than Al Qaueda. I thought we were fighting a war on terror, not a war of terror.

Well, you know we see the mad mullahs on television urging death and total destruction on the West, and it immediately makes us think: "they're out to get us, better do something about it". What do Iranians think when they see Peikoff and other extremists on US TV? Surely the same?

john said...

Mr. Nyquist,

You quote me, then you respond by both ignoring my overall context, my prior modifier about 'degree' and the grammar of the actual formulation of mine you cited!

I said this:
"In the US you have Obama promising to pick up the initiative of W. Bush and take 'faith-based' government funded social programs far further and deeper than W. ever dreamed. That is theocracy."

As part of an overall context of an attack on the CONCEPT of theocracy. I also supplied full basis for the reader to understand that I am fully aware of degrees of theocracy. I was identifying that Obama's plan was theocratic in nature.

Then you ignore every other thing I said, ignore my context, and respond with heat and deprecation to the non-existent claim that I was claiming 'the US IS a theocracy.'

[Begins sledgehammer writing style. Other readers please excuse my extra emphasis to follow. I have to drop my normal style for a moment]

I did not say the US is a theocracy. I made the case that Obama is no exception to the trend to infuse the US Government with elements of theocracy. It is clear from my overall writing on this blog and in this thread in particular, in my response to the attack on our nation from explicit theocratic-envy forces, and from my context on this exact citation that I indeed know what "theocracy the concept" is and what "theocracy in practice" is, I despise both, and I won't stop ranting against it and all attempts to enshrine it, great or small, subtle or weak. It is also clear in this thread that I understand that there are degrees of implementation of theocracy. Anyone who cares can find my sentences about that above. When I said "This is theocracy", my grammar and usage clearly refer to the concept and essentials of theocracy, and my usage did not convey that I meant "The US IS a theocracy in practice." Therefore the lecture issued by Mr. Nyquist is directed at a phantom in his head, not at the actual 'me', at my actual formulation, at my actual context or indeed anything actual at all outside his dubious daydream.

[End sledgehammer style. Thank you for your patience.]

In case you need some lessons about how to avoid context dropping, I refer you to the works of Ayn Rand.

John Donohue

P.S. In case anyone thinks I am exaggerating about Obama continuing the trend towards theocracy (G. Bush has been carrying that ball recently) here is a link
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/02/nation/na-campaign2
Obama makes a token reference to personal responsibility, but then gets to the real agenda: he intends to greatly expand and empower religious-based organizations with tax money for the purpose of solving social problems.
Perhaps Obama did not slam a plane into the side of a skyscraper to further this agenda, but if he becomes President and enacts this plan, it will be worse than if he had done so.

Damien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I agree with Piekoff

Damien said...

Red Grant,
-----------------------------------
Also, we really haven't been standing up to them like we should have.

If we had invaded Iran and took down Ali Khameinie and his regime, would there have been a nine eleven? - damien

-----------------------------------

How would taking down Khameinie's regime have removed a 9/11 from happening? - Red Grant

-----------------------------------

If we had stood up to the Islam-O-Fascists earlier they might have got the message that it's not a good idea to mess with countries like America. - damien
___________________________________





Please consider your own argument to jay:
___________________________________

Jay,

I don't know, even when we were more willing to stand up for what we believed in, people still messed with us.
___________________________________

The key word is "might" not want to mess with us. Its not a guarantee, but if we stood up to them, most likely far fewer Islamic extremist would attack us. Signs of weakness embolden them. Its one thing to say that fewer Islamists would try to harm us, its another to say no Islamist would try to harm us. If effective policing significantly reduced crime in your city, would you call it a failure if there were still a few people committing crimes?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

The keyword is "might" not want to mess with us.

Its not

a guarantee,

but if we stood up to them, most likely far fewer Islamic extremists would attack us. - damien
___________________________________





But that's not what you said or even implied earlier.

___________________________________

If we had invaded Iran and took down the Ali Khameinie and his regime, would there have been

a nine eleven? - damien
___________________________________




Were you implying there would have been less likehood of nine eleven

or

there would been no nine eleven?



___________________________________

Beyond that, I don't see any hope of reasoning with people who have a religious conviction to convert us or kill us.

Actually, Leonid Peikoff does have a valid point.

Wars are won by ruthlessness and never compassion. - damien
___________________________________






Does this imply then, that you are not a Christian?




___________________________________

I don't see any hope of reasoning with people who have a religious conviction to convert us or kill us.

We don't want to turn moderates into radicals. We don't want to galvanize those Arabs who aren't interested in killing us into thinking their lives depend on killing Americans.
___________________________________






So which are true Muslims according to your view?

Damien said...

Red Grant,

"So which are true Muslims according to your view?"

I don't really see Islam as a peaceful religion. That doesn't mean that all Muslims are violent and hateful but given what the Koran says, anyone who believed in it and took it literally would have a hard time being peaceful and respecting the rights of non Muslims (or anyone else for that matter) and being logically consistent at the same time. The Koran repeatedly tells Muslims to slay the Infidels. Go check out Jihad watch and the Infidel Bloggers Alliance, if you don't believe me.

Michael Sutcliffe said...

michael h: It’s a tough battle to choose, because really understanding him remains available only through understanding the higher consciousness, and almost no one in the West even knows there is a higher consciousness that can be understood.

It all seems a little mystical to me, Michael. That's not to say I'm not open to considering anything. However, like any rational person, the first thing I'd have to ask is 'what evidence do you have that this is true'?

I'm not a closed-closed system objectivist. Objectivism is just knowledge, and like all human knowledge, it is going to be built upon and developed. (Obviously I'm discrediting mystical teaching, as that's not knowledge, as we don't really know it. We only know what we can observe in reality and deduce through logic). But building on existing knowledge does not discredit what has previously come to be known; it explains it in more detail and/or adds to it. One of the most exciting things humans are going to learn more about is consciousness, and achieving that will shed a lot of light on many things. But I cannot see any reason why that would discredit objectivist knowledge of today.

So having said that, if you know more about consciousness than others, then what is it and how do you know it? I'll read your links but it's looking a little mystical!

Michael Sutcliffe said...

daniel barnes: MS, by "rationalism" I mean over-reliance on deductive arguments at the expense of empirical experience.

daniel barnes: And we are all, to some extent, determinists.

It's a causal world, so I agree we are all determinists to some extent. However, if a deductive argument is rational then wouldn't it always reflect emperical evidence if applied correctly in context?

I'm assuming what you're really saying is that objectivists deduce things but you don't see these things in reality. And, of course, we're talking about human nature. And, of course, you are accusing objectivists of not understanding the nuances of human nature. And, of course, my response will be that your 'nuance' is actually a false premise of which you have no evidence. And, or course, my next response will be you don't accept the logic because you can't deal with the hard reality! But I guess we'll just have to consider it on a case by case basis!

gregnyquist said...

John: "I did not say the US is a theocracy. I made the case that Obama is no exception to the trend to infuse the US Government with elements of theocracy."

If we are going to reason after this fashion, we can say just about anything we like about anything else. Obama wishes to increase income redistribution, so he has "elements" of an egalitarianism. Obama doesn't want complete income redistriubtion, so he has elements of an income stratificationist. Obama wants to increase funds to "faith-based" organizations, so therefore he wishes to infuse the governement with "elements" of theocracy. But Obama's political ideals are largely secular in orientation, so he therefore wishes to infuse the government with "elements" of secularism. Obama wishes to increase the role of government in the economy, so therefore he wishes to infuse the state with elements of socialism. But he also wishes to let the U.S. economy remain market based, so therefore he wishes to infuse the country with elements of market capitalism.

What possible use is it to pontificate in this fashion? John doesn't like any element of religion, however feeble, to be connected to the state, so therefore he calls it "theocratic." It's simply overblown rhetoric. As Damien pointed out, it's the equivalent of calling America (or President Bush) a fascist because America has a strong militrary and isn't afraid to use it.

After trying to distance himself from the more extreme implications of calling Obama's policies regarding faith-based organizations theocratic, John writes the following: "Perhaps Obama did not slam a plane into the side of a skyscraper to further this agenda, but if he becomes President and enacts this plan, it will be worse than if he had done so."

I suppose there is some kind of obscure context that mitigates the ferocity of this statement. But on the face of it, it does seem way over the top. Are faith-based initiatives really worse than slamming planes into skyscrapers? Surely John doesn't really believe this. Perhaps he was careless with the words he used. Perhaps by "plane" he meant merely a paper airplane. Perhaps the whole passage is just a typo. Because no intelligent person could possibly believe that implementing government funded faith-based initiatives is worse than flying airplanes into skyscrapers.

gregnyquist said...

Michael Sutcliffe: "[Peikoff] is a recognised intellectual applying a philosophy to make a moral decision. Are you saying no one but highly informed and technically qualified government officials are capable of doing this?"

No, he's doing more than merely applying philosophy to make a moral decision. He is:

1. Urging us to attack Iran

2. Insisting that the military choose which weapons to use.

3. Insisting that he knows how Islamic terrorists will react to our attack on Iran.

4. Ignoring the wider geopolitical ramifications of an attack on Iran (as if he assumed there would be no serious ramifications).

5. Assuming that, because America is the world's "only" superpower, America can do anything it wants without suffering serious negative consequences.

These non-moral opinions asservated by Peikoff demonstrate that he is not an expert on these issues and that he doesn't know what he is talking about. I would note that this is a common failing of intellectuals, who mistakenly believe that merely because they are smarter than most people and have a general knowledge of a given situation, that therefore their opinions have cognitive worth. They don't. Richard Posner, in a book attacking public intellectuals, investiged the prognostications of a number of intellectuals and found that, more often than not, they turned out to be wrong.

Decisions about whether to attack a country go well beyond considerations of whether we have the moral right to defend ourselves. Under the cover of his moral pronouncement, Peikoff is saying a great deal more. He is entering a realm in which he is way out of his depth. Generally speaking, intellectuals, particularly of Peikoff's arrogant, 2+2=4-therefore-I-am-certain type, have no appreciation of how complex these situations are and how easily it is to get it wrong.

Damien said...

Greg,

"Decisions about whether to attack a country go well beyond considerations of whether we have the moral right to defend ourselves. Under the cover of his moral pronouncement, Peikoff is saying a great deal more. He is entering a realm in which he is way out of his depth. Generally speaking, intellectuals, particularly of Peikoff's arrogant, 2+2=4-therefore-I-am-certain type, have no appreciation of how complex these situations are and how easily it is to get it wrong."

You have a point.

Michael H said...

One of the most exciting things humans are going to learn more about is consciousness, and achieving that will shed a lot of light on many things.

This is absolutely true. What most don’t grasp, though, is that understanding consciousness can only be accomplished through individual, subjective investigation.

It all seems a little mystical to me, Michael. That's not to say I'm not open to considering anything. However, like any rational person, the first thing I'd have to ask is 'what evidence do you have that this is true'?

Well, of course it seems mystical, Michael S. Kingsley’s home page opens with this line:

“Peter Kingsley's work is to bring back to life, and make accessible again, the extraordinary mystical tradition that lies forgotten right at the roots of the western world.”

The question is, are you rational enough to consider that your concept of mysticism may be faulty? I think there’s a tendency for Westerners to hear the term ‘mysticism’ and immediately envision that it’s some bizarre delusion that involves abandoning reason and wandering off to a cave for twenty years to understand it. Or to assume, as John does above, that mysticism means an “attempt to steal the goodness of "rational" and confiscate its virtue for exploitation by its deadly enemy”.

Mystical understanding does not involve abandoning reason. Accepting dogma in any form does. The enemy of reason is dogma, whether the dogma adopted originates with the church, the socialists, by AGW alarmists, with Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff, or in any other shape or form.

As far as what evidence I have that it’s true, I have the only evidence that’s ever available to anyone: the personal experience and understanding of the higher level of consciousness that Kingsley writes about. As I wrote earlier, those who are yet to experience the higher perspective aren’t even aware that it exists. I wasn’t. If they’re aware that other states of consciousness do exist, they assume that their personal concepts of what those other states actually are is equivalent to experiencing the state for oneself. It’s not even remotely close. Further, if someone has the audacity to suggest that reality can only be truly understood by experiencing a different state of consciousness than they currently know, which is exactly what Kingsley is saying, the assumption is that it must be ‘mystical’. Not to mention infuriating: it carries the implication that others don’t currently understand reality. That’s not comfortable for anyone.

Once one’s experienced the higher level of consciousness though, their definition of ‘mystical’ is just one of the many concepts that they now understand to be incorrect, and they also understand that their previous understanding of reality was not entirely false, it was just incomplete, and it will likely remain incomplete. That’s good though, because it frees one to continue to learn, investigate reality and use their capacity of reason without the encumbrance their prior concepts of reality had created.

That’s about as well as I can explain it, and I’ve no doubt that it will be interpreted as ‘audacious’ or ‘arrogant’, as well as completely ‘unreasonable’ and ‘mystical’ by many. Good God, Peikoff would have a stroke upon hearing someone suggest this.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

The Koran repeatedly tells Muslims to slay infidels.

Few if any other religion preach as much hatred toward unbelievers as Islam. - 7/15/2008 11:15:00

I don't really see Islam as peaceful religion.

I don't see any hope of reasoning with people with religious conviction to convert us or kill us.
-----------------------------------
We don't want to turn moderates into radicals. We don't want to galvanize those Arabs who aren't interested in killing us into thinking their lives depend on killing Americans. - damien
___________________________________





So which["radical" vs. "moderates"] muslims are true muslims?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Beyond that, I don't see any hope of reasoning with people who have a religious conviction to convert us or kill us.

Actually, Leonid Peikoff does have a valid point.

Wars are won by ruthlessness and never by compassion.
-----------------------------------
..., Jesus was a pacifist. - 7/15/2008 11:15:00
___________________________________





Does this mean then, that you are not a Christian?

john said...

Mr. Nyquist you are the one pontificating on this blog, not me. Apparently (we never get any mission statement from you, that is your M.O. here) your case is that religion has some good things to say for itself. Therefore, when someone opposes that, and especially holds the line at any mixture of religion and state, you go off, including misconstruing statements made. Your sycophantic apostles follow suit.

Those vigilant of the deadly history of religion do not have to pontificate. We just have to get fierce when apologists for religion writes voluminous tomes whose only purpose is to accomplish a end-around that attempts in a smarmy fashion to take the smallest edge off a philosophy known to be fatal to it, and which just won't seem to go away.

That is pontificating. It is boring, drawn out and dishonest pontificating, but pontificating none the less.

The reason I make arresting statements such as "faith-based" government programs being worse than slamming a plane into the side of a building in the name of God is to yank the cover off your game. You are free to construct a reality that religion is a good thing, but attempt to make a case, however obscure, that it should be mixed with government and your opposition will not be silent.

I stand by my statement, not just as hyperbole for effect, but true as fact.

John Donohue

john said...

Michael h,

"Or to assume, as John does above, that mysticism means an “attempt to steal the goodness of "rational" and confiscate its virtue for exploitation by its deadly enemy”.

That is inaccurate. I said that the move to apply the term "rational" to mysticism is stealing; not the definition of mysticism. This gives me a chance to state it again. You are referencing a mystical tradition and advocating something straight out of Eastern Religion or an LSD trip. It includes the 'catch' that no evidence, proof or demonstration can be or need be forthcoming; that it "can only be accomplished through individual, subjective investigation." You proffer the case that it is a higher knowledge than the "corrupt" materialism of Objectivism.

You are drawing heat, from me at least, because you insist on subsuming reason under your paradigm. You may not realize it, but you do it in an insulting way: "...are you rational enough to consider that your concept of mysticism may be faulty?" If being told, 'no, we know what mysticism is, stop stealing the term "reason"' is infuriating or uncomfortable for you, you deserve it. You would draw more respect by avoiding this attempt to confiscate reason into your faith. I am pulling my punches here; your statement that Rand's error was that she did not experience the state to which you refer and that Objectivists are dogmatic, and your higher level of mysticism that includes a better 'reason' than hers trumps her, is more than insulting.

This is so familiar. It is the ancient pitch of the shaman. 'It can't be proven, can't be objectified, can't be validated, but trust me, it is True. I'll teach you how to get there as a personal experience, just do what I say.' It is the basis for Plato's Republic, the original model for a theocratic/philosopher-king dictatorship. Ayn Rand has to be considered the most persistent intellect to call this game for what it is. I guess you could throw in John Paul George and Ringo.

John Donohue

Michael H said...

You are referencing a mystical tradition and advocating something straight out of Eastern Religion or an LSD trip.

No, I am agreeing with Kingsley that western society has its roots in it own mystical tradition that has been lost over the centuries, and that the loss of this tradition may eventually lead to the collapse of Western society if it is not recovered. The difference between the lost Western mysticism and the Eastern varieties, as I see it, is that the Eastern traditions tend to advocate the abandonment of material reality in order to embark on a lengthy process that leads to ‘enlightenment’. The philosophy of Parmenides and Empedocles that Kingsley is attempting to resurrect involves learning and cultivating an awakened state as well. The difference is that once that is achieved, the individual remains fully involved in ‘objective’ reality with an enhanced capacity of reason, as well as more perspective and understanding.

If being told, 'no, we know what mysticism is, stop stealing the term "reason"' is infuriating or uncomfortable for you, you deserve it. You would draw more respect by avoiding this attempt to confiscate reason into your faith.

I am not advocating any sort of faith, nor do I suggest anyone subscribe to one. On the contrary, the 'Objectivist' posits 'faith' just as surely as the bastardized Western religions do. I stand by my earlier statement: the enemy of reason is dogma in all of its forms.

'It can't be proven, can't be objectified, can't be validated, but trust me, it is True. I'll teach you how to get there as a personal experience, just do what I say.'

It can be proven and validated by anyone who’s willing to look beyond their own concepts of reality. The nature of the proof and validation will forever remain a subjective realization, while those who are yet to realize it will forever demand objective proof. Further, at no point will I ever ask anyone to “trust me . . . it is True . . . just do what I say”. That’s unreasonable. Yet, that is precisely what the religions and the Objectivists demand. Neither I nor Kingsley would ever claim such a thing: if Kingsley ever does so, then my advice is to ignore him. I’m also not claiming a role of teacher to anyone, though I would say that anyone can teach themselves.

Honestly, John, I don’t think there’s anything in your last post that I didn’t anticipate in my last post. You claim to know what mysticism is without having experienced the actual state of mystical realization. What you ‘know’ is your personal concept of mysticism, which is built upon what you’ve learned of other’s concepts. I’ve experienced that state of consciousness, and I’m telling you that there’s nothing mystical about it; that Kingsley is correct in stating that reality can only be understood by accessing a different level of consciousness. We would both side with Emerson: “The true meaning of spiritual is real”.

We can continue to debate this if you so choose, but I suspect it is pointless. You will continue to demand that your concepts of reality are absolute, and I will continue to say that the absolute can only be grasped by experiencing the state of consciousness that exists prior to concepts. I’ll say the same thing to a devout Christian or a Buddhist or anyone else who claims that absolute truth can ever be contained in an interpretation. It’s the failure to understand the difference between truth and the interpretations thereof that leads to “theocratic/philosopher-king dictatorships”.

It is beyond remarkable that the whole damn planet appears to be laboring under the delusion that there’s any system of thought that will ever be universally adopted. The solution to everything is in recognizing the power of thought itself. Rand recognized the power of thought in other people, but never recognized it in herself. Consequently, Objectivists arrogate to themselves the concept of absolute ‘reason’ and do nothing but contribute to the polarity while strengthening the resolve of the dualists. And it’s the dualists who are the largest problem, best exemplified by the ‘noble faith’ of Islam.

clegg said...

Don’t knock dualism, Michael H. Dualism allows you to be an individual. Monism must perforce strip away all independence, leaving no capacity for separate personal experience. You simply merge into a sea of unrealised potentialities. Is that your vision for yourself? If so, I’d be surprised. It evidently wasn’t good enough for God.

Citizen Warrior said...

It's interesting to imagine Peikoff saying exactly the same things, but saying it calmly and without looking like such a goon. I think it would have been much more persuasive. He actually made a lot of very good points, and he made them sharply.

People passionately ranting like that scares those who are on the fence, and scares them to take up positions on the wrong side. Presentation makes a difference.

Citizen Warrior said...

Red Grant said, "Which are the true Muslims?"

They can ALL be true Muslims. It says in the Qur'an to strive for Allah. And to be a good Muslim you must try to be in a country ruled by the law of Allah (Shari'a).

If you are a minority living in a non-Muslim country, jihad would consist of trying to gain concessions for Islam, trying to gain political power using the system as it exists (and trying to eventually gain enough Islamic influence to change the system to Shari'a), trying your best to quell any criticism of Islam (by crying "Islamophobia" and "racism" to criticism of Islamic doctrines), and so on.

This is all jihad. It is striving toward the day when the whole world submits to Allah's law. Then the whole world will be at peace. Thus, Islam is a religion of peace.

However, if you have the means, fighting and killing is sometimes a faster way to achieve this world of peace and Islamic domination. Mohammad encouraged his followers to strike fear into the hearts of the infidels, and that is how he gained power so quickly. In the first thirteen years of his "career," Mohammad gained 150 followers by persuasion. In the following ten years, using warfare and violence, he gained over ten thousand converts. Violence works when you can get away with it.

But whatever a Muslim does, it must serve Islam. That means serving the goal of Islam: Worldwide domination. And rising up violently within a country where you are a small minority does not serve that goal.

Which is the true Muslim? They all are true Muslims, functioning in different circumstances.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Which is the true Muslim? They all are true Muslims, functioning in different circumstances. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




So what do you suggest we should do about all Muslims?

Red Grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Citizen Warrior said...

Red Grant, that is an EXCELLENT question. I asked that very question of the hundreds of dedicated readers over at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. There were some great ideas:

Stop The Muslim Invasion

and

What's the Cure

Feel free to add your own ideas. We're trying to have central pages to collect all possible solutions to the dilemma.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

1. Deport or arrest anyone

advocating Shari'a or jihad. Arrest them for sedition. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




Would that involve the violation of Constitution?



___________________________________


2. No more concessions to Islam. Period. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




What kind of concessions?

Citizen Warrior said...

Two more excellent questions, Red Grant.

To arrest or deport someone for sedition is completely Constitutional. Every sovereign state that survives for very long has laws against sedition. Those who had no such laws do not exist as sovereign states any more!

Read more about Shari'a as sedition.

By concessions, I mean ones like these:

1. Random House, after buying the rights to publish an historical novel about Mohammad, was warned by Muslims that violence might ensue with the publishing of the book, so they chose not to publish it. They were silenced by intimidation.

2. Shari'a law is now practiced in several places in Britain, legally.

3. A short video posted on YouTube that tried to get people to sign a petition to stop Shari'a law in Britain was removed from YouTube because Muslims complained.

4. In Hamtramck, Michigan, the City Council waved the noise ordinances in deference to the mosque there to allow then to broadcast an amplified call to prayer throughout the neighborhood.

5. Public pools in Canada now provide private swim times to Muslim women so they can avoid the 'shame' of being seen by men. As the co-founder of Human Rights Service in Oslo, Hege Storhaug, said after Muslims tried to pressure Norway into making alcohol off limits on certain days in restaurants and discos because they felt "uncomfortable" around people drinking, "All the time it's Muslims who come with special requirements," she says. "We never hear a peep from Catholics, Jews, Hindus etc."

6. After a Dutch newspaper published some cartoons depicting Mohammad -- nothing more offensive than politicians suffer every day all over the free world -- Muslims rioted all over Europe, killing 187 people. Afterward, many newspapers refused to reprint the cartoons out of fear. They were intimidated into silence by Muslims.

7. In a documentary called Undercover Mosque, mosques in London were found to promote violent jihad against non-Muslims, encourage murder and intolerance, and promote Shari'a, which means it advocating the overthrow of the British government. A year and a half after the film aired, they did a follow-up documentary. Nothing had changed. The British government, out of political correctness, allows it to happen. Any other group would be stopped. But Islam gets special concessions.

8. In Britain, husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review. Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognized formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal. The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law (Shari'a). Britain's concession is helping Jihadis fulfill one of their most important goals: To gain a numerical advantage. Belgium and Germany also offer benefits to polygamists' various wives.

9. At Melbourne’s Monash University there are separate toilets for Muslims.

10. The Times of London reported that "Knorbert the piglet has been dropped as the mascot of Fortis Bank, after it decided to stop giving piggy banks to children for fear of offending Muslims." (Pigs are an offensive, unclean animal to Muslims.) Recently a local government council in Britain prohibited its workers from having knickknacks on their desks representing Winnie the Pooh’s sidekick Piglet.

Islam is an aggressive religion that will not stop. They will push for concessions until they get enough political power to try to seize the reigns of power, as they have proven every time they've had the chance. Until more people know what they're up to, they will operate unimpeded.

Here is an ongoing list of concessions being granted to Islam by Western democracies.

Anonymous said...

Mad is right! I wonder is he real? Do they wind him up at the back and let him go!

He actaully comes across as a lunatic fundamentalist himself. That is the (sad) irony, that he, his followers and the Tlaiban have so much in common. They are right and everyone is wrong and must be destroyed if they cannot see that.

Clearly he is the one, that if allowed to, and the American public are not that stupid, would destroy the republic. By handing over so much power the the military and he'd probably ban elections as the other parties are immoral and irrational in his eyes.

He rants like a man that has never done as days soldering in his life and clearly regrets that. I wonder what he would do to those soldiers who refused to open fire on civilians and civilian areas? Oh, those of us that have read Atlas Shrugged know the answer. He'd have them executed and consider it just.

He is the Ted Nugent of Objectivism. Next time though he should take his medication as getting all worked up like this cannot be good for a man his age.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

1. Deport or arrest anyone

advocating Shari'a or jihad. Arrest them for sedition. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




That I have no problem with.

However, by the same logic, would you advocate the same regarding the non-Islamic racist groups advocating ethinic cleansing?

For example, would you advocate that white supremicst racist groups advocating separatism and/or ethinic cleansing of non-whites be either deported and/or arrested?



___________________________________

But whatever a Muslim does, it must serve Islam. That means serving the goal of Islam: Worldwide domination. And rising up violently within a country where you are a small minority does not serve that goal. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________



Does this mean then you believe muslims will not rise up violently within a country where they are a small minority?


What would be the threshold for "small minority"?





___________________________________

Which is the true Muslim? They all are true Muslims, functioning in different circumstances.

Islam is an aggressive religion that will not stop. They will push for concessions until they get enough political power to try to seize the reigns of power, as they have proven every time they've had the chance. Until more people know what they're up to, they will operate unimpeded. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________






Does this mean then you believe U.S. should not have a Muslim president?




___________________________________

As the co-founder of Human Rights Service in Oslo, Hege Storhaug, said after Muslims tried to pressure Norway into making alcohol off limits on certain days in restaurants and discos because they felt "uncomfortable" around people drinking, - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




Do you believe those Muslims should be either deported and/or arrested for trying to impose their religous practices?



___________________________________

9. At Melbourne’s Monash University there are separate toilets for Muslims. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




Do you believe those Muslims who insisted on separate toilets for Muslims should be either deported and/or arrested?



___________________________________

7. In a documentary called Undercover Mosque, mosques in London were found to promote violent jihad against non-Muslims, encourage murder and intolerance, and promote Shari'a, which means it advocating the overthrow of the British government. A year and a half after the film aired, they did a follow-up documentary. Nothing had changed. The British government, out of political correctness, allows it to happen. Any other group would be


stopped. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________




What do you mean here by "stopped"?




___________________________________

8. In Britain, husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review. Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognized formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal. The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law (Shari'a). Britain's concession is helping Jihadis fulfill one of their most important goals: To gain a numerical advantage. Belgium and Germany also offer benefits to polygamists' various wives. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________



Indeed, it's a shame. This should have never been allowed to happen.


Do you think those Muslims who advocated these special priviliges for muslims should be either deported and/or arrested?



___________________________________

He is the Ted Nugent of Objectivism. - anon
___________________________________




I don't think he's that much of a hypocrite.

At least, he hasn't defecated and pissed in his pants for a week to avoid the draft, has he?

Anonymous said...

Oh, ok then. I only mentioned Ted Nugent as both men, when in full flow, show that they clearly need medication.

How about the David Miscaviage of Objectivism then?

Red Grant said...

Don't know too much of David Miscaviage.

Anonymous said...

When, in December 1942, the 6th German Army was besieged in Stalingrad, soon food became scarce. The Germans had to eat the burned wheat that they had so eagerly bombed in the summer, with the sole purpose of punishing the civilian population. A Red Army captain saw this, when he went to negotiate the 6th Army's surrender. Upon his return, he said: "It is curious. The Germans are being punished by the same evil they inflicted upon the people."

This is what I call self-defeating ideology.

Alex Libman said...

In the first few seconds of the interview the more radical of the two right-wing socialists on screen (Peikoff) presented the bulletproof defense for the people who carried out 9/11: the American government has initiated aggression against them first (a historical fact), and they were merely defending themselves by any means necessary.

Ayn Rand was brilliant in many ways, but, like many minarchist libertarians, she had a blind-spot for "foreign policy" and a number of other issues (ex. "intellectual property"). Given immortality and perfect mental health (she was amazingly strong emotionally but unfortunately not strong enough), she probably would have conceded her few errors by now and shifted her position a lot closer to that of Murray Rothbard's Anarcho-Capitalism.