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On this Memorial Day in America I salute -- not the brain-dead, unprincipled, cannon-fodder drones who perished in combat for the United States, but who just as easily would have fought and died for communist Russia, Nazi Germany, and ayatollic Iran -- but the intellectual fighters for liberty for America. I salute -- not the many, nameless, fallen soldiers -- but the handful of great philosophical freedom-fighters, like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Thomas Paine. I also salute those all-important thinkers who came before, such as John Locke, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. And I tip my hat to the more recent intellectual battlers for liberty and justice, such as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand. I even pay my regards to such recent practical, political figures, and semi-libertarians, as Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. These intellectual battlers for the rights of man, and individual freedom, are the true heroes and noble warriors of this earth!
http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/batman_and_justice.htm Batman and Justice Symbolism over Substance? Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 08/11/2012 It was with a great deal of interest that I went to see the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” after some of my online friends, including Objectivists, highly praised it. I do think the characters were well drawn out and clearly defined insofar as Nolan presented them, especially the bad guys – Bane and the Rabble he roused from the prisons of Gotham City. The struggle of Bruce Wayne / Batman was well worth seeing, since he starts off as a man who has given up on everything, including his business and his campaign for justice, and doesn’t even have the strength to catch a jewel thief who walks into his bedroom to steal a pearl necklace. It is from this beginning that we see Batman having to rebuild his love of justice to combat the strongest villain he has been up against, Bane, who not only has great physical strength, but the motivation to destroy Gotham City based upon the egalitarian principle that no man ought to be permitted to rise above another. Consequently, Bane releases the violent criminals to tear down the societal hierarchy of Gotham, including putting political leaders and businessmen on trial for taking their positions and their wealth from the people. Bane and the Rabble make this exceedingly clear in several open statements as to their motivation. My disappointment with the movie (and in fact the whole Batman Trilogy) is that neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman give any type of counter statements to the Rabble. This makes the movie and interesting case of symbolism versus substance. I fully acknowledge that throughout the history of Batman that he represents a man of justice – a masked avenger against evil as it attempts to take over Gotham City and become too much for the police to handle. In the Batman Trilogy, Batman takes on environmentalism, nihilism, and egalitarianism, insofar as these ideologies – if taken to the extreme – will lead to the total destruction of Gotham. Certainly, the symbolism of a man dedicated to justice fighting off these evil ideologies ought to be appreciated – the very fact that a Hollywood writer considers these ideologies to be evil (in the extreme) and seeks to present their battle with justice is encouraging. And one can take the attitude that it is about time *someone* saw these as evil and against proper justice. However, these are ideologies and have been presented to the world as ideologies, with scores of books written in their favor and having a long history of philosophical grounding all the way back to Plato and Kant, who put justice and the concerns of man into some other dimension having nothing to do with reality. In fact, it is precisely because they have little or nothing to do with reality that makes them so appealing to some, who would rather not think about real life and who fantasize that in a better world plants and animals would be superior to man, or that everything is nothing and ought to be destroyed, or that the man of talent and skills ought not be permitted to earn his better life. But Batman has nothing to say against these ideologies! He’s willing to fight their progeny to the death, if necessary, but he has no words against their intellectual positions. If taking an intellectual stance is a form of substance, then Batman did not present any substance against the evils confronting him and Gotham City. One reason these ideologies are spreading throughout the world – destroying capitalism and America in the process – is that no one has risen to challenge them intellectually: To show with logic and facts that the position of those fighting against man’s happiness on earth is evil and to offer a better alternative. The Objectivists, those following Ayn Rand, certainly do this, and can ground their ideology firmly to the facts and back it up with reason; but very few others can. And Objectivists also know that the primary battle against the man-haters does not require physical combat, but rather a counter-ideology that will put evil on the defensive once again. It is because these evil ideologies have not been confronted intellectually that they are so virulent and come across as unstoppable. In this regard, it is good that a symbol of justice was shown to be combating them in the Batman Trilogy, but it is going to take a great deal more than the Batmobile and the BatCopter to lock up those ideologies hell-bent on ruining everything for the rational man. And I sincerely doubt that any marginal environmentalist, nihilist, or egalitarian would be swayed by the Batman Trilogy to check their premises and to find a better ideology, or be cowarded into not taking their explicit positions because Batman is against them. So, while I can say that the Batman Trilogy was good – insofar as even symbolic justice can be encouraging to those of us on the right side of the issues – it is not good enough to change the trends – not without an explicit pro-man, pro-reason presentation of justice. “Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that you must judge all men as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, with the same respect for truth, with the same incorruptible vision, by as pure and as rational a process of identification—that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly, that just as you do not pay a higher price for a rusty chunk of scrap than for a piece of shining metal, so you do not value a rotter above a hero—that your moral appraisal is the coin paying men for their virtues or vices, and this payment demands of you as scrupulous an honor as you bring to financial transactions—that to withhold your contempt from men’s vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement—that to place any other concern higher than justice is to devaluate your moral currency and defraud the good in favor of the evil, since only the good can lose by a default of justice and only the evil can profit—and that the bottom of the pit at the end of that road, the act of moral bankruptcy, is to punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices, that that is the collapse to full depravity, the Black Mass of the worship of death, the dedication of your consciousness to the destruction of existence.” [from Galt’s Speech, Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand]
In an ideal world, that Batman-movie Aurora, Colorado mass-murderer of twelve random innocent people would be openly and fairly tried, convicted, and executed within a month. This is because it's an open-and-shut case and because "justice delayed is justice denied." He would also be somewhat tortured first, because extraordinary crimes deserve extraordinary penalties. Social balance/retribution and abstract justice demand this. And friends of the victims and concerned observers would turn to philosophy and rational spirituality for comfort -- not to religion. And people would view the situation in context, and recognize that about 7000 Americans die every day, and thus not get overexercised about a mere twelve. People would rationally focus on saving the 7000 far the most. And as for preventing this type of atrocity "from ever happening again," people would have a natural and knee-jerk reaction in the direction of seeking more personal freedom in society -- not more gov't tyranny. They wouldn't consider banning guns. People would think about getting rid of gov't roads -- which literally pave the way for every madman and monster to come right up to us -- and the general public would demand that the various business venues like theaters and airlines and college campuses think about getting better security -- such as more public scrutiny, security guards, and metal detectors -- to more effectively protect their customers. They'd also think about legalizing drugs and prostitution, so the cops could focus more on preventing crimes of violence. Of course -- this is how almost everyone would react to a random, meaningless, isolated, largely-unpreventable atrocity in an ideal world. Our society and culture is very different.
If there's any morality, justice, or even rudimentary decency in the cosmos, and the biota of The Milky Way, then the consciousness, spirit, and soul of Steve Jobs lives on. Any alien of any "humanity" and quality would rescue and save his living, thinking essence. As for any super-terrestrials which could do it, but didn't do it -- to hell with them, and the galactic horses they rode in on!