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hernan

Predation: Virtue Or Vice?

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Thank you for your fatuous, gratuitous assessment.

What is truly fatuous and gratuitous is the choice of your posting name, "aynfan." You have consistently exhibited an extremely poor grasp of Ayn Rand's philosophy, not to mention a somewhat malicious and malevolent sense of life.

Who's we? Do you have a mouse in your pocket, or have I joined a collective? If anyone is a creature it is you. I have reported your arrogance at least 3 times, unfortunately no one is listening.

Oh, I think people have been listening, through all 130 of your insufferable postings, and from what I have read Fred Weiss has contributed more in any one of his single posts than in the pathetic nonsense you continue to dispense in the totality of what you "contribute" to the forum. Perhaps you might do better if you "reported" yourself.

What will Objectivists do when the jack-booted thugs break down the door?  Shoot them or march off to the camps?

As I said, you exhibit an extremely poor grasp of the philosophy and I wish you at least had enough honesty to change your namesake to "toohey" from "aynfan." I'll take one Fred Weiss as a supporter over a million of you, any day.

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As I said, you exhibit an extremely poor grasp of the philosophy and I wish you at least had enough honesty to change your namesake to "toohey" from "aynfan." I'll take one Fred Weiss as a supporter over a million of you, any day.

I have been an Objectivist for 40 years. I have met Ayn Rand. I have listened to her lectures in person watched her on Radio and in TV appearances and have reviewed her tapes many times. She consistently chose to assume error as her first and often second judgement, not malevolance. Yes, upon occasion, she would rage, "Are you in focus", and after that startling thunderclap, return to a patient examination of the error. Her entire life, she patiently pointed out error, when she would have preferred to be writing

Weiss and I must now assume you, are eager pronouncers of evil, arrogant masters and keepers of the flame. The truth falls from your lips like honey, your words are golden. When you speak, the hearer has but one choice he can only agree or be branded as evil to be shunned after dark by the peasants and common folk. You fancy yourselves like Roark, Reardon or Galt when in reality you are Robert Stadlers filled with a venous hatred of men, especially those you consider your inferiors.

Fools. This is not Menza. There can be many reasons why a poster might not immediately see the error of his ways. He may not be as well educated or as intelligent, he may not have a talent for handling philosophical concepts, or be lacking in imagination or creativity. These are limitations, not high crimes. A time limit on how quickly one must assimilate information or to say that someone has to get it after being told once, twice or even three times is tyranical, unless slow learners by the virtue their nature are to be excluded from the movement.

There is also a constant hubbub here about banning persons, banning ideas, deleting posts etc., all in the name of ritual purity. Will you be burning books next? Which books will you burn? As I have said, if this is a monastery or a cloister I shouldn't be here. I don't want to be part of an Objectivist collective. If there is another site that discusses the world in Objectivist terms, please point me to that door, and I will leave the friars to their contemplation.

But whether I decide to stay or go I remind you that Rand and her fictional heroes wanted to save the world, not damn it.

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You can not prove that statement is true.

I cannot prove that the initiation of force obviously and blatantly necessitates the rejection of reason - and the fundamental basis of a rational society, namely mutual trade based on persuasion?

Did you actually say that you have been an Objectivist for 40 years?

As an aside to those who are following this discussion, how difficult is it to grasp that a Roman general, or any Roman for that matter, living in a time when the concept of individual rights was not yet grasped (it was an achievement of The Enlightenment - even Aristotle didn't grasp it) would have a different set of values than we do today? What does that have to do with where we are today, especially when anyone with a modicum of knowledge of history should be able to grasp what happened in the 20th Cent. when the concept of rights was abandoned and millions were slaughtered? How could such slaughter be to anyone's interest, unless one reduces "interest" to pathological whim worship and a vicious loathing of mankind?

Fred Weiss

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I have been an Objectivist for 40 years.

And 40 years of your view of Objectivism has led you to support Libertarian candidate Gary Nolan for President and link to the Kelley's Objectivist Center instead of ARI. Get real. Whatever kind of Objectivist you think you are, it has little to do with the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.

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Please, do reveal to me the proof that the initiation of force necessitates the rejection of reason.

Please do tell me what real, existing or historical society adopted the randian philosophy of non-initiation of force.

Are randian ethics built upon christian ethics? Why is it unreasonable to turn objectivists tools of egoistic reason upon the ideas of the enlightenment? Why are those off-limits to critical examination? Is that an objectivist sin?

Why are you afraid to develop a theory of ethics that is valid across time and space, throughout history, regardless of circumstances? Are you so certain you have nothing to learn from the Roman generals who built Roman civilization?

Why should I sacrifice myself for your ideal of civilization when I can let you fight the Huns for me?

Am I being too selfish?

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I cannot prove that the initiation of force obviously and blatantly necessitates the rejection of reason - and the fundamental basis of a rational society, namely mutual trade based on persuasion?

I should hope so. But that point was already made when you arrived at the post.

I do not doubt your intellectual potential/capability, I accuse you of abusive behavior.

When I said you can't prove it, I was referring to:

He is apparently seeking to justify his own neurotic predatory impulses and in some twisted way he seems to think that Objectivism can rationalize it for him.
You can not prove the man to be neurotic or twisted, only in error; just as your view of yourself only in a comparison to others is in error.

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As an aside to those who are following this discussion, how difficult is it to grasp that a Roman general, or any Roman for that matter, living in a time when the concept of individual rights was not yet grasped (it was an achievement of The Enlightenment - even Aristotle didn't grasp it) would have a different set of values than we do today?

Oh yes, I didn't address this did I?

As an aside to those who are following this discussion,
You have groupies, how nice for you. Is there affection for you mirrored in the eyes?

I did grasp the Roman General "connundum" coming to the same conclusion you did, which you would know if you weren't too lazy to read the entire thread. It wasn't a very difficult problem.

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I have been an Objectivist for 40 years.

And 40 years of your view of Objectivism has led you to support Libertarian candidate Gary Nolan for President and link to the Kelley's Objectivist Center instead of ARI. Get real. Whatever kind of Objectivist you think you are, it has little to do with the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.

I do not support Gary Nolan, I don't what were you got such an idea. Although he is a better candidate is some respects than George Bush who most here intend to vote for. As to Kelley he makes a great argument for not assuming that those who are in error are evil.

Get real. Whatever kind of Objectivist you think you are, it has little to do with the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.
You don't know me or what I believe, the assumptions you and others make about the posters on this site are obnoxious, unfounded, and born of hysteria.

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I cannot prove that the initiation of force obviously and blatantly necessitates the rejection of reason - and the fundamental basis of a rational society, namely mutual trade based on persuasion?

Did you actually say that you have been an Objectivist for 40 years?

Not only that, but he also said "I have met Ayn Rand." Which only goes to show that Objectivism is not contagious, unfortunately.

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When I said you can't prove it, I was referring to: You can not prove the man to be neurotic or twisted, only in error...

If it is blatantly contradictory to advocate predation while claiming to uphold reason, then it is an inherently dishonest position and his claim of upholding reason is a patent subterfuge. Then all you can ask about it is why someone would hold such a position.

You might as well say that Hitler and Stalin were just confused and simply made an honest error in thinking that it was ok to slaughter millions of people.

Fred Weiss

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Not only that, but he also said "I have met Ayn Rand." Which only goes to show that Objectivism is not contagious, unfortunately.

Instead of taking potshots and me you would do better to answer the charges I leveled against you.

You and others like you who level these obnoxious assessments of others, do nothing but sow resentment of Objectivists.

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...As to Kelley he makes a great argument for not assuming that those who are in error are evil.

Err....hello, but that is a basic tenet of Objectivism. We didn't need Kelley to make any "great arguments" about it. That was not the issue with Kelley which is simply one more indicator of your utter ignorance.

You don't know me or what I believe, the assumptions you and others make about the posters on this site are obnoxious, unfounded, and born of hysteria.

Oh, gee, you mean you don't think we're merely in error?

Fred Weiss

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Err....hello, but that is a basic tenet of Objectivism. We didn't need Kelley to make any "great arguments" about it. That was not the issue with Kelley which is simply one more indicator of your utter ignorance.
Well, at least you are aware enough to know it is a tenet. I suggest, in the future, you adhere to it. As to Kelley, you have only the ARI side of it, but that is probably enough for you.
Oh, gee, you mean you don't think we're merely in error?
In your case there is abundant evidence of your abusive dismissals of others. Those that defend your actions, share your guilt.

Again, instead of trying to win a war of wits with me for which you are ill suited, your time would be better spent telling me where my assessment of your behavior is unfair or in error.

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I do not support Gary Nolan, I don't what were you got such an idea.

Er, perhaps from your homepage where you prominently display an all-caps and in red link "GARY NOLAN FOR PRESIDENT." You know the one, the one below the link to "THE OBJECTIVIST CENTER."

You don't know me or what I believe ...

Well, thankfully, I do not know you personally, but what you believe is plastered all over this board for anyone to see. It started with your first post a little more than a month ago, where you were troubled about "a law prohibiting the initiation of force." And according to you, you have been an Objectivist for 40 years? :(

And who could forget this little smear:

"But it is a bit disingenuous to dismiss Brandon out of hand. AT the very least, he was used as a sex object. Despite his often reprehensible behavior, he makes a good point, echoed in the work of David Kelly, in that there is no redemption or rehabilitation in the way Rand's work is interpreted by Peikoff. According to Peikoff all error is evil and can not ever be forgiven."

40 years as an Objectivist and you cannot even grasp what you claim to have read? :(

And these wonderful words of wisdom in regard to abortion:

"This argument of of separate entity is weak. It is clearly a separate entity, possessing all of its own parts, the same parts all humans possess. Is a fetus attached to a placenta so different from a newborn locked on to its mother's breast?"

And from which part of your 40 years as an Objectivist did this above lovely idea stem from? :(

And, lest there be any doubt of what you consider Objectivism to be:

"Many people associate with them. They still call themselves Objectivist and, except for Rothbard who is dead, they are making a living spreading Objectivist philosophy. Kelley and the TOC has opened a second location, a policy institute in Washington, D.C. They appear to do a better job of getting the word out than does ARI."

So, I do know what you believe, at least I know what you believe about a sufficient number of issues to realize that, despite your claim to being an Objectivist for 40 years, you have an extremely poor grasp of the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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In your case there is abundant evidence of your abusive dismissals of others. Those that defend your actions, share your guilt.

The great irony in your absurd accusations is that both Fred and myself have bent over backwards in cutting slack to others, to the point of roundly being accused by some of being too "tolerant!" Shades of David Kelley! :(

In your case, however, there is no room for slack. You claim to have been an Objectivist for 40 years, yet you seem to have ties to the Libertarians, anarchists, anti-abortionists, and everything Kelleyite and anti-ARI and anti-Peikoff. Whatever it is that you are, you are not an Objectivist, and after 40 years of such pretense there is no hope for a change. So take your belligerance to the Kelley camp where you will be appreciated for just what you really are.

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In your case there is abundant evidence of your abusive dismissals of others. Those that defend your actions, share your guilt.

The great irony in your absurd accusations is that both Fred and myself have bent over backwards in cutting slack to others, to the point of roundly being accused by some of being too "tolerant!" Shades of David Kelley! :(

In your case, however, there is no room for slack. You claim to have been an Objectivist for 40 years, yet you seem to have ties to the Libertarians, anarchists, anti-abortionists, and everything Kelleyite and anti-ARI and anti-Peikoff. Whatever it is that you are, you are not an Objectivist, and after 40 years of such pretense there is no hope for a change. So take your belligerance to the Kelley camp where you will be appreciated for just what you really are.

Before I respond to all of this, suspend your condemnation of me and read the essay I published under Member Essays regarding Dresden.

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Before I respond to all of this, suspend your condemnation of me and read the essay I published under Member Essays regarding Dresden.

No thank you. I have already read more from you than I care to.

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Before I respond to all of this, suspend your condemnation of me and read the essay I published under Member Essays regarding Dresden.

What is curious in all of this is you have no difficulty morally condemning "abusive dismissals" but regard upholding predation as merely an error of knowledge.

But if one needed to have additional confirmation of your distance from the Objectivist ethics - which is no doubt why you are attracted to Kelley - your Dresden essay reveals it.

We were not only fully justified in firebombing Dresden - as we were A-bombing Japan - but we would have been justified in firebombing every German city if it would have hastened the end of the war and saved allied lives. Only a sacrificial, altruist ethics would argue otherwise.

To what extent Dresden or any other military action was justified from a military perspective and in regard to that purpose can be endlessly argued - which is easy to do from our comfortable armchairs today. We're not on the frontlines having to face the last savage, even suicidal, attempts by the enemy to fight to the last man.

For what it is worth - and I do not want to argue the military issues surrounding Dresden - a book was published a few years ago and reviewed in the NY Times (a review which I read, but I can't recall the title) which strongly argued that Dresden in fact drained enormous German military resources from the fronts - resources that now needed to be put against defending their cities against similar attacks, as well dealing with the carnage that followed.

So what exactly was the point of having us read your essay?

Fred Weiss

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No thank you. I have already read more from you than I care to.

Then you get no further comment from me. I consider your judgement a tantrum and inconsequential.

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What is curious in all of this is you have no difficulty morally condemning "abusive dismissals" but regard upholding predation as merely an error of knowledge.
As I said before you came late to the discussion and did not read the entire thread. I did pronounce predation to be evil, in those words, if you do not believe me you can find it by reading the thread. Initially when dealing with strangers, I assume error rather than evil, in every case. In order to judge error fairly, my method is to hear an entire argument, understand to the full extent of the ancillary issues involved, and ask Socratic questions that if taken out of context could suggest sympathy or erroronious notions on my part, but are in fact not what I believe. It's sometimes called playing Devil's advocate, a time honored. legitimate debating technique. Such is the nature of the supposed damning quotes that your friend Spreicher has lifted out of context to condemn me with.

Although Rand reminds us it is our moral duty to judge, she also calls it an 'enornous responsibility". She further says . . ."The policy of always pronouncing moral judgment does not mean that one must regard oneself as a missionary charged with the responsibility of 'saving everyone's soul"--nor that one must give unsoliticited moral appraisals to all those one meets. ..one need not launch into unprovoked moral denunciations or debates. . . When one deals with irrational persons, where argument is futile, a mere 'I don't agree with you " is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction." My advice to Hernan was to go his way without rancor . . .the rest you can read if you care to find it.

We were not only fully justified in firebombing Dresden - as we were A-bombing Japan - but we would have been justified in firebombing every German city if it would have hastened the end of the war and saved allied lives. Only a sacrificial, altruist ethics would argue otherwise.
You make the correct assessment, in a vacuum. It is immoral to give something of value away free, in a vacuum. It is is not immoral to give something of value away free to your sister on her birthday, provided you value her. Context is imperative. To repeat, you say, "if it would have hastened the end of the war and saved allied lives," but I clearly point out in my essay that the firebombing of Dresden did neither of these things. Yet in the face of the evidence you remain, in a vacuum on this issue full of righteous anger and high dudgeon. You pretend that the answer can not be known, in my estimation an evasion, you say, "To what extent Dresden or any other military action was justified from a military perspective and in regard to that purpose can be endlessly argued - which is easy to do from our comfortable armchairs today." Really endlessly argued? The truth can not be known? What would you say to a poster here, who told you that the truth of an issue is relatative, shades of grey, it could be argued either way? I think now you understand the point in having you read my essay.

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I did pronounce predation to be evil, ...

You're side stepping the issue (which seems to be your speciality).

The issue never was whether you personally regarded predation as evil. The issue was whether someone could honestly have a question about it - or, even if they did, they would go on and on and on about it as this guy did.

To repeat, you say, "if it would have hastened the end of the war and saved allied lives,"  but I clearly point out in my essay that the firebombing of Dresden did neither of these things.

But even apart from that being debatable, what is the point of bringing that up on this forum. This isn't a forum devoted to military history. Why discuss that one incident when one could discuss any number of others?

So we made a mistake - if we did. Who cares? The lives of every German, innocent or not was forfeit, if we considered it necessary to win the war. The only primary thing that matters in war is that its end be hastened, that the enemy be defeated, and that casualties on our side be kept to a minimum. That is not a justification for the gratuitous killing of innocents but there is nothing to indicate that was the purpose of the bombing of Dresden other than the essentially unsupported smears flung loosely around in the essay you chose to publish here.

We in fact were extraordinarly generous to the Germans and the Japanese after the war, in a way that historically is not typical of the actions of conquerors. It is certaintly not what they would have done had they been the victors. We know what they did when they conquered territory. To then whine about some Germans getting killed for perhaps - and I emphasize the "perhaps" - questionable military objectives is a total inversion of justice. It is particularly disgusting coming from Germans or Japanese, as they chronically do. But it is not much better when coming from people whose sole purpose in existence seems to be to create moral equivalence between the defenders of freedom and the values of civilization and those who oppose it. And they do it by dredging up every incident small or large they can find which purports to show that we are not "really" for freedom or civilization. Since Dresden is one of their little showcases for this exercise and they endlessly focus on it, one can therefore surmise why you too would have brought it up.

Fred Weiss

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The issue was whether someone could honestly have a question about it
You don't get out much. People have questions about more peculiar issues than this one. This is a rather common question as a matter of fact, although usually framed in a different way, such as 'The world is scewed up, why try to fix it, why not just get what you can and screw everyone else?"
The issue never was whether you personally regarded predation as evil.
It was with your friend.
The issue was whether someone could honestly have a question about it - or, even if they did, they would go on and on and on about it as this guy did.
I did not know that going on and on about something was a crime here (if it is there are a lot of criminals hanging around the place), nor did I realize that you had been appointed keeper of the time clock. You are a master difficult to please. If the subject did not interest you, why did you chime in? Was it just another chance to impress the world and insult someone?
But even apart from that being debatable, what is the point of bringing that up on this forum. This isn't a forum devoted to military history. Why discuss that one incident when one could discuss any number of others?
Again pardon my confusion, I thought this forum was open to discussions of any kind. I have now been enlightened, no military topics. They displease Fred.

As to my reason for discussing it. I won't go on at length this time. I think Objectivists like Ghate, and Brook sound brilliant when they make the point about Hiroshima and Nagaski, but shallow and ignorant when they lump in Dresden by rote.

So we made a mistake - if we did. Who cares? The lives of every German, innocent or not was forfeit, if we considered it necessary to win the war.
I do not mourn the dead Germans (there were more eastern European refugees killed than Germans anyway), I mourn for one of the most beautiful medieval cities in the world, for the lost of art and archetecture and for the brilliant achievements of great men who created these things, destroyed for no reason but to satisfy the perverted, sadistist inclinations of man who was as evil as Hitler. Perhaps you don't get it because you don't value art or architecture?
one can therefore surmise why you too would have brought it up.
You just can't help being smarmy. "one can therefore surmise" , this is in the same class of nonsense you pulled by calling Hernan neurotic and twisted. What is wrong with you?

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I see that you two are still at it. Most interesting.

Well, I thought I’d make one more attempt to summarize what I learned here. If nothing else you may find my observations useful in your proselytizing.

Looking at the definition of “reason” I find (not surprisingly) two definitions (under the verb):

1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically.

2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.

These can be simply summarized as “reasoning about” and “reasoning with”.

Thus when we use the word “reason” we are being ambiguous as to our meaning. When Fred says the initiation of force precludes reason, he means reasoning with. When I say it doesn’t, I mean reasoning about. So that mystery is solved. (It's interesting to note, however, that Rand builds her case for Reason on the first definition alone.)

There remains my central thesis which is that reasoning about does not logically imply reasoning with. It’s not clear if that is a point of dispute but in any case orthodox objectivism requires believers to reason with, at least to some extent, the exact extent being the subject of much debate as evidenced by the various other threads (but that’s not a debate that interests me).

I realize of course that putting anyone’s religion under the microscope is painful for true believers and I understand Fred’s urge to defend the faith from heresy. (If I had barged into a Christian forum challenging the existence of God I would expect pretty much the same.) It is a pity though because in this case, aside from the intellectual stimulation of the exercise of exploring predation, and the better understanding that comes with it, there really is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

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It is a pity though because in this case, aside from the intellectual stimulation of the exercise of exploring predation, and the better understanding that comes with it, there really is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
This is a bit enigmatic. Would you care to explain what you mean by it?

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