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Reasoner last won the day on April 28 2017

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  1. I have been to Germany, and I have been to China (along with many other places). It's hard to move about Berlin, or Munich, or nearly any other major city without intentional, constant reminders of the Holocaust. I only refer to it as denigration in light of the fact that few other countries equally deserving of such memorials don't have the courage to construct them. But the Death Camps exist to this day as museums. The holocaust memorial itself is something I will never forget. The plaques, the signs, the museums...its inescapable. Contrasted with Maoist China - where there are no "memorials" to the dead who were slaughtered under the Maoist regime. In fact, the building where the communist party first met is a virtual shrine to this day. Granted, China wasn't overtly dealt the devastating blow that Germany was in World War 2, and thus has never been forced to confront it's atrocities...however this doesn't change the fact that they did happen.
  2. Well yes - what I am saying is that the traditional "right" in the US has notions of individualism and capitalism - both objectively justifiable positions - juggled with Christian mysticism, other-worldiness, altruism, and all the collectivist ideas that come along with it. Fiscally Conservative with all the trappings of laissez faire capitalism, and Socially Conservative with the stifling tribalism of Christian mysticism. The traditional "left" does the same thing in reverse - they are the promoters of science, thought and secularism...unless they are contradicting themselves with their equally upheld ideas of collectivism and sacrifice for the tribe. Fiscally Liberal with wealth redistribution and condemnation of the idea of individual success and capitalism. Socially Liberal in that they believe in the rights of the individual when it comes to ones body, but not ones wealth. The dissolution is the left's traditional support of secular science and reason, replaced with the adopted Christian mysticism of the right, creating something of a "Fiscally Liberal, Socially Conservative" New Christian...the religious left.
  3. I'm really referring to the "Antifa" movement, where individuals are so worked up by the notion of "Fascism" that they are willing to physically assault people, however I'm not seeing the same zealotry when it comes to opposing the extreme left, despite plenty of historical evidence that their ideas can have terrible consequences as well.
  4. Agreed...I don't seem to be able to edit the original post...I'll keep trying.
  5. Yes, I agree, especially about the "Alt-Right" being a clown show. They just seem so ineffectual and...too stupid to warrant my energy. And I agree about judging the ideas based on the very real impact they have had in the past. However, the unfortunate truth is that the outrage and condemnation of "Fascism" comes at the cost of an intentionally blind-eye turned to the atrocities of Communism and the slow rot of Socialism. Average people only have so much energy and time to focus on this type of issue. Germany denigrates itself and wallows in it's own shame of the holocaust. "Nazi" is an accusation used so frequently there is a social law regarding how frequently it arises in an online conversation. And yet the disaster that is modern day Venezuela is ignored while news cameras are zoomed in on a handful of rednecks shouting racist slogans in Nowhere, USA. If we were to go off of what has happened in the past, and what is currently happening today (to my point in my previous reply about my perspective)...I see the left as philosophically in lock-step...consistent, hard driving, relentless and unified. But to Dr. Peikoffs point in DIM, when I am asked about my political views, I don't align with a party. I tell anyone who asks that I am an Individualist, and a Capitalist. To the extent that someone or something represents and supports those ideals, I am in favor. And the New Christianity/Religious Left that Dr. Peikoff describes is most assuredly neither.
  6. You are right, thank you for requesting the clarification...he does indeed predominantly use the term "Christianity", not "the right". I quickly scanned most of Chapter 15 "The Anti-Secular Revolution" and I understand better what he is saying. It's been about 6 months since I finished the Audio book (perhaps thats part of my problem 😋) but I think a larger part of my cognitive dissonance is that I was raised in a very conservative, Republican, religious household, and exposed mostly to traditional, conservative Christian viewpoints. So when someone says "Christian" to me, I automatically think "Right Wing". While I grasped what Peikoff was saying in his book, my mind reverts back to that paradigm. Essentially, I understand Peikoff to be saying that what secular aspects of the left remain to ground their otherwise collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism are being dissolved by the ever-growing non-secular collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism on the right. Example from pages Chapter 15, pp. 253-254 (ebook): "Christians, many of them now say, should stop denouncing the welfare state; rather, they should aim to take over the job themselves and do it properly—in effect, profit from the state-expanding achievements of the Ds. Ralph Nader, seeing an aspect of this development, writes of “a convergence of liberal-progressives with conservative-libertarians….” The Wall Street Journal has described this politics as the “religious left,” which is also a good name for the politics of the Middle Ages." In the same section of the book, Peikoff does go to great lengths to explain how the New Christians differ from the "traditional" right-wing Republicans: Peikoff makes a pretty strong case for what he anticipates M2 to be, however the great totalitarian disasters in the past (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc) have been notoriously atheist. Indeed, to this day I am not seeing much Christian (or even religious) thought in most cultural or political analysis of a collectivist or altruistic nature. Furthermore, the leftists I am friends with are either passively or staunchly atheist (although my sister admittedly is a left-leaning New Christian to be sure!) Perhaps it's too soon for M2 to be apparent. And perhaps atheist collectivists and New Christians are slowly merging to be one and the same. But I'm still at a point where I need to learn and experience more before I feel confident one way or another.
  7. Having read the DIM Hypothesis, I am not convinced that his conclusions about the Religious Right are warranted. I live in Texas, certainly not a bastion of secularism. I was raised Methodist. And based on my experience, I just am not convinced that the religious right is anything but a haphazard collection of zealots in the US. They are formidable in numbers, but they are completely inconsistent in their philosophy and consistently make themselves look like idiots. The right wing in the US, to me, is completely hamstrung by their contradictions - attempting to (pretend to) advocate free(er) market capitalism in the name of individualism, and yet also strike massive blows to individual rights in the name of drug wars and conservative values. They lose every time. I don't know of any Republicans that don't admit the party is confused and splintered. The alt-right is disintegrating on a daily basis, and the "Nazi" rallys that the left incessantly screams about tend to be a handful of hillbillies that end up regretting their involvement after the fact. America's "Right Wing" stands for virtually nothing anymore, and I see it as impotent. I am, however, terrified of the Anti-Mind, Anti-Individual, Anti-Human Left. These are the kids that knock down towers. They are the destroyers of honesty, independence, integrity, justice, productiveness and pride. If you stand for ANYTHING as an individual, the American Left will hate you and try to destroy you. I see the non-stop, lock-step consistent march towards socialized statist collectivism of the extreme Left as a MUCH more powerful threat to virtually everything that we as Objectivists stand for. Even Republicans readily admit that our current "Republican" president is really a social Democrat. Obamacare is not going to be repealed, and they absolutely DOMINATE the political discourse in the media, if not the country. They great industrialists of our day - Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc all espouse and sponsor leftist values and publications However, Peikoff must have at least convinced one person - I am a consistent listener to Yaron Brook's podcasts, where he is quite in line with Dr. Peikoff's DIM predictions that the "Religious Right" is the forthcoming M2 that we need to be wary of in the future. I am not the first person to see things this way - this question was posed (and answered insufficiently albeit with great supporting references from DIM) here: http://objectivistanswers.com/questions/10551/is-religion-really-on-the-rise-in-america.html I am well-studied in Objectivism, particularly Rand's original works, but I am not infallible. I believe my high level understanding of the following Objectivist integrations is correct:1. Today's morality of sacrifice, and specifically leftist collectivism are both as mystic and dualistic as the religious right and the mystics of spirit.2. Kant's crowning achievement was the repackaging of collectivist, self-sacrificial, altruist ethics and morality in a secular form.3. The DIM Hypothesis concludes that the religious right will be the downfall of Western Civilization in the relatively near future.4. Per Yaron Brook, socialism is impotent in the face of it's failures and isn't nearly the threat that the religious right is.My point is: Should not the same attributes that compose the religious right also ascribed to the Kantian collectivists who at their core believe in a non-individualistic shadow-world devoid of specific entities that actually exist apart from an other-wordly "one"? Rand makes it a point to show that Collectivism is not "Left or Right", but is Mysticism either way (See Mystics of Muscle and Mystics of Spirit). In this sense, Socialism, Communism and the American Leftists are just as "religious and mystic" as the right. Rand in general doesn't differentiate. I don't know that "increased" book and music sales of religious themed media can justify Peikoffs claim that the "Religious Right" is a long-term threat, let alone the next M2. In light of current events and the current political environment - in Universities, the Media, Protest Violence, anti-identity legal environment, vague speak about monopolies, etc... Shouldn't we be more terrified of the "Religious" LEFT instead? I believe I am. **Disclaimer (added by Eioul by Reasoner's request): My post below reflects some confusion I had on The DIM Hypothesis, which was quickly clarified - unfortunately, however, my confusion came through in the initial post as a misrepresentation of the book. I believe the misconception to be clarified in the subsequent discussion that occurs in this thread**
  8. I'm looking at the question with a fresh mind, and I think you nailed it...thank you. Essentially, when it comes to the noumenal world one can neither confirm nor deny something, even cause and effect, or purple monsters with their eyes on their toes. To say causation doesn't exist in the noumenal world would be as impossible as saying it does. Tricky tricky. Thank you!
  9. I am neck-deep in ARI's 50 hour course on "The History of Western Philosophy" taught by Leonard Peikoff. I am perplexed by an answer to one of the quizzes - perhaps someone can help me. I understood Peikoff to be quite explicit when explaining that Kant taught that true reality (what I take to mean the neumenal world as-it-is-in-itself) is outside the realm of direct consideration. Does he reach the conclusion that causality (via the categories) exists specifically because he has deduced it, and thus we can say (from a Kantian perspective) that causality exists in the world as-it-is-in-itself? I'm wondering if the use of the term "World as-it-is-in-itself" is confusing me here, as I don't know whether this is referring to the Neumenal or Phenomenal. I got this question wrong, even when consulting my notes closely! Argh...any thoughts on this?
  10. I wanted to add my thoughts, as a parent who is currently working through The Fountainhead for the first time. I appreciate the quote that was given on Rand' and motherhood being a career that can become outdated. This can be applied to fatherhood as well - which at this point in my life is my central purpose. Thus, I would characterize one's central purpose in life not in terms of an unchanging career, but in terms of a single building that Roark might have built - in the sense of a stage of ones life. A rational, discrete accomplishment and goal that consumes one with passion and leads to flourishing. Everything I do at this point in my life is in the very broad context of my being a father - even my mental "breaks" from fatherhood (such as dates with my wife, studying philosophy, going to the gym - which I require to come back and continue being the best father I can be, rejuvinated with fresh energy and perspective.) My marriage, my philosophical studies, my health/fitness, my personal time, my job - all of this (at this point in my life) supports my central purpose of being a father. More to the point - Within the context of my knowledge, I don't do anything antithetical to being a father in the long-run. My current "building/structure" must integrate and not contradict the others I have built in the past - for example I will rely on my marriage, life experiences and health/fitness to support my next structure, so they all form a support of whatever my current building is. As Rand alludes to, at some point it won't make sense for fatherhood to be my central purpose...my structure will be completed (for the most part...I know I will always be a father) just like my competitive bodybuilding, my college degrees, my career, my romantic life, a stable home, etc have all been important structures in my life for me in the past (in that chronological order, actually). But the important point is the structures one chooses to build in life may change and this presents no contradiction with the objectivist conception of a flourishing life. This is the integration referred to in the title of this thread - and it is deeply personal, and individualistic. The structure of one's value hierarchy should properly be completely unique and personal for that individual. Ultimately, the moral rule is that one pursue a flourishing life of reason, purpose, and self-esteem. The number of ways one may do this is limited only to their imagination. But just as Roark had multiple buildings that he architected during his life, a person's highest values may change as well. And Roarks buildings, although discrete, did not preclude one another. There is no reason that they should. And if I may share something a bit more to the point, if not exceptionally personal: It brought tears to my eyes when it occurred to me that my children are my Stoddard Temple. And I know that I will have to unveil them to the world someday, and it breaks my heart, in a selfish way, that I can't keep them perfect and sweet and pure and innocent forever. And they will be vandalized, and judged improperly by those who don't deserve to even look upon them. I will build it my way, according to the very best within me, no matter what it takes, through sleepless nights and tears, but also through joyous highs and laughter. And I will let no one sway me from my path unless the reasoning of my own mind convinces me of a better one. And when the time comes, as it will, for me to move on and choose a new structure in my life to focus on - I will look back on my temple and know it was built according to my highest values and to the best of my ability. And properly, and egoistically, I will be a better person for having built it.
  11. Reasoner

    Transcending Objectivism and Kantianism

    I haven't been on here in a long while as well, higher value commitments pull me away! I am working my way through DIM and at the same time trying to familiarize myself more with Kant rather than rely entirely on third party perspectives (of course, I haven't the energy or time to actually read A Critique of Reason" so it's all gonna have to be third party somehow But just for fun I wanted to nitpick the statement: "Objectivism follows the ethics of rational or objective egoism to the detriment of sometimes being able to develop healthy relationships with others." I would argue that the ethics of rational egoism is the ONLY way to develop healthy relationships with others. Anything less than rational self-interest is either of so little value that it isn't worth it, or it's based on self-sacrifice and altruism, and is wholly unhealthy. Rational egoism seeks out mutually beneficial relationships in which both parties are willing participants who get something out of it (happiness, etc). To the extent that a relationship is altruistic i.e. self-destructive you will find an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. /digress Great post, BTW. Good stuff.
  12. Reasoner

    Objectivist Ethics and the State

    I am constantly running into this same argument. If human nature is inherently broken and corrupt, favoring the morally subjective and dishonest, then any argument needs to justify less external human involvement in human affairs - as each individual, acting according to an honest assessment of human nature, is naturally the most favorable actor to partake in that scenario. How can the alternative, massive oversight by OTHER human beings, rationally prove to be favorable?
  13. Reasoner

    How "open" are you about your Objectivism?

    Thank you for your response. The relation to the thread comes in where I point out that there is a very important difference between refusing to name what you are (objectivist, etc) versus openly sharing that information. Whereas I am careful who I tell that I am an objectivist, it is still crystal clear in my own mind that I am one. Regarding concept formation, Rand directly states that a concept must be given a name before the concept formation is complete. My post argues that the ambiguous, fluffy, blurry notions that some people today "identify" with are an example of the anti-conceptual mentality for exactly this reason. They refuse to name what they are. They are anti-conceptual. (to your point, yes, "Objectivist" is an already formed concept to someone who has integrated it from the ground up in their mind and understands what it means. "Atheist-ish libertarian-type" is not a fully formed concept and breaks down the more hyphens and attributes you add on to it...similar arguments can be made for anti-concepts such as "bi-gender", or whatever other terms Facebook gives you to choose from) From the ITOE, page 119 (in my edition at least :)) "Prof. D: I’ve described the process, but I have arrived also at a product which is: these regarded as units. Now at that point do I have the concept of “pad,” or do I still have something further to do, a further integration to make, before the product would be a concept? AR: Yes. You have to give it a name." ...This is precisely what people who "identify" with vague, arbitrary, undefined notions refuse to do - objectively assign a concept to who they are. By saying "I am nothing in particular", or "I am two contradictory things at once", they are really saying "I am nothing at all". This stands in stark contrast to simply...not saying (but knowing full well who and what you are).
  14. Reasoner

    How "open" are you about your Objectivism?

    I wanted to add something to this thread that I created, even though it's been a few months since it's been active. In the Objectivist Epistemology, Rand makes it very clear that the last step of concept formation is to name the concept. In the latest revised edition, with the Q&A at the end, she reiterates this point - the naming of a concept ties together the importance of objective language and concept formation. There is an article that recently appeared on "spiked-online" (I admittedly am not familiar with this site outside of this one article, so please don't take this as a promotion for that site) that spoke to the recent trend of "identifying" subjectively with some external aspect of existence as opposed to objectively naming WHAT (who) we are. http://www.spiked-online.com/spiked-review/article/the-crisis-of-character/17691#.VoQIIjfnbkL Such is a symptom of the anti-conceptual mentality that refuses to admit the law of identity into it's consciousness - the refusal to define oneself. And, as we all know, definitions are of key importance to coming to an understanding both within our own minds and with others. Thus, those who wish for others not to understand them, those who wish desperately not to be defined, those who "identify" with vague notions rather than explicitly define who and what they are within the appropriate contexts, are desperately revealing a dangerous aspect of themselves. They ultimately wish not to be. Or at least, they wish to evade the necessity of making the choices inherent in existing. They are attempting to entertain contradictions by refusing to name and define themselves objectively. Unless one excludes so many key characteristics of a conceptual integration that it ultimately resembles nothing and is no longer a concept at all, one can NOT be a woman AND a man. One can NOT be an objectivist and a subjectivist (in definition - errors in cognition will occur). Otherwise, to quote from the article "Feeling is reality. The entirely subjective sentiment becomes objective, legal fact." So to bring it full circle, and to add context to my original question - there is no question as to whether an objectivist is an objectivist in name, definition, and concept, or whether an objectivist should make the claim that they are an objectivist (if only within their own mind, at a minimum.). These are a given for a rational thinker who understands the concept. The question is whether it benefits the objectivist to share this FACT of their identity (having no reasonable cause to doubt it's truth) with others. To sanction an anti-conceptual philosophical opponent by giving them a bulls-eye to target with their brain dead zero-reifications is to sanction their assault on your mind (see my post on Sanctioning Skeptics). Therefore, the answer to my own question is that I will share the fact of my objectivism with those who will be of greater benefit to my highest values in knowing this information. My wife, who is open to these ideas and understands them at a high-level and supports my quest to improve myself with a rational, non-contradictory moral philosophy. My children, who I endeavor to guide towards being the noblest expression of my values. Friends and strangers, who I induce may be receptive to objectivist ideas and who may latch onto these concepts and improve the world for me through their own efforts, and hopefully, may turn around and educate me on some aspects I haven't considered myself. All the rest, I have found, pose the detriment of conflict and misunderstanding when I share Rands theories, and I have not found value in these interactions. These people will not receive the benefit of further interaction with me on this topic, and I find there is no benefit to me in my sharing this objective definition of my self with them. Please read the linked article and let me know your thoughts.