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Peikoff For Kerry?

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from http://peikoff.com/

This 19 minute statement presents Dr. Peikoff's view of the upcoming Presidential election, explaining why he intends to vote for Kerry, and why he condemns not only Bush, but also those who abstain from voting on the grounds that both candidates are no good.
:nerd: Did I miss something?

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It depends on whether or not you agree with Peikoff's assessment of the threat that the religious right represents at this time - or rather, if you agree that a sufficiently massive "base" of religious fundamentalists already exists which could facilitate a complete "takeover" by religious fundamentalists like Bush. He cites the number of 25% of the population being *evangelical* Christians. I'm not sure I believe that that is accurate (yet).

While I haven't taken any surveys of the general population myself, ALL the religious people I know are neither evangelical nor fundamentalist, even some who actually call themselves "evangelicals". Well, to be accurate, there is one, but that's one out of dozens.

Kerry is "normal disgustingly bad", he says, but Bush is "apocolyptic bad".

My question would be, what about the immediate terrorist threat? This 19 minute clip only mentions the war once, in a different context. He doesn't talk about the fact that John Kerry would, I think certainly, increase the chances that some of us might die violently if he wins the office.

I don't think it's being Pragmatic to say that dealing with an active, immediate, physical threat has to have a very high priority. Further, the war Bush is waging in our defense also has the advantage of beginning the end (or so I hope) of religious regimes in that dark part of the world that has bred so much religious fundamentalism.

I don't think four more years of Bush is going to establish a fundamentalist government in this country. As it stands now, I'm going to vote for Bush.

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Charles,

Bush and Kerry essentially have the same foreign policy. I do not believe Bush will do more than Kerry to protect this country. Bush properly attacked Afghanistan, but he did not use overwhelming force, with the consequence that many of our enemies fled and have remained safe in Pakistan. But Kerry, too, would have attacked Afghanistan--perhaps doing a better job than Bush. Then Bush went after Iraq. It is debateable whether Iraq was a proper target; what is not debateable is that Iran has always been a far greater threat than Iraq, yet we will do nothing about Iran. And even if Bush eventually attacks Iran, he will once again fail to use sufficient force actually to eliminate the threat. Meanwhile, Bush is negotiating with North Korea. Dr. Peikoff's point is precisely that Bush's religion prevents him from properly defending this country.

Bush talks tough, but his policies do NOT protect this country. At most, Bush is succeeding in delaying terrorist attacks. But do not doubt that they are coming.

Regarding the cultural dominance of religious fundamentalism, you have to remember that it is concentrated in the "Heartland." Cities and suburban areas tend to be less religious, but they only represent half the country.

Again, I will state that, right now, I still doubt I will vote for either candidate. That is because I see Bush more as an M1 than an M2. However, I am open to arguments on this--so I can't say for sure that I won't vote for Kerry.

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I've said half-jokingly for a long time that I think the primary difference between Bush and Gore (or Kerry) is that Bush did a war before beginning the welfare dole out to Iraq. Gore would have skipped the war and just began the welfare handouts. This is only half a joke because it's perfectly consistent with what those f*ckers say--and believe.

It's depressing how poorly Bush has defended the USA from Islam's war to anihilate us. I am confident that Gore would have done it even more poorly, and pretty sure that Kerry would also.

If we don't start fighting the Islamists in earnest, I don't think we will live long enough to be rolled under a Christian dictatorship.

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Something I've said is that the only difference between Bush and Kerry on the war is that Kerry will wait until after we are attacked by Islamic terrorists to retaliate against the wrong target, while Bush wasn't afraid to attack the wrong target pre-emptively.

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Guest jrshep
Bush talks tough, but his policies do NOT protect this country. At most, Bush is succeeding in delaying terrorist attacks. But do not doubt that they are coming.

Something I've said is that the only difference between Bush and Kerry on the war is that Kerry will wait until after we are attacked by Islamic terrorists to retaliate against the wrong target, while Bush wasn't afraid to attack the wrong target pre-emptively.

Then Bush's "pre-emptive" attack hasn't truly been a preemptive attack either, only an illusion of one, albeit on a greater scale than Clinton's.

A truly preemptive attack would be an attack to destroy a threat. Given your own view that another attack is coming, then Bush has only created the appearance of a willingness to protect us. Since the threat is still there, and given his unwillingness to identify the source of the threat as religious, then he will not actually act preemptively to protect us.

With either Bush or Kerry we shall be waiting for a coming attack.

Which of the two would you think would then act more aggressively to defend us?

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Then Bush's "pre-emptive" attack hasn't truly been a preemptive attack either, only an illusion of one, albeit on a greater scale than Clinton's.

A truly preemptive attack would be an attack to destroy a threat. Given your own view that another attack is coming, then Bush has only created the appearance of a willingness to protect us. Since the threat is still there, and given his unwillingness to identify the source of the threat as religious, then he will not actually act preemptively to protect us.

With either Bush or Kerry we shall be waiting for a coming attack.

I did not say Iraq was not a threat. It may have been. By calling it THEwrong target (and leaving open whether it was A proper target), I meant to say only that Bush has attacked a lesser threat while negotiating with or ignoring greater threats.

Which of the two would you think would then act more aggressively to defend us

Why does this matter? Aggression against the wrong target doesn't do us any good.

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Guest jrshep
I did not say Iraq was not a threat. It may have been. By calling it THEwrong target (and leaving open whether it was A proper target), I meant to say only that Bush has attacked a lesser threat while negotiating with or ignoring greater threats.

I understand that. But still, with respect to the very real threat we still face from Islamic fundamentalists, if Bush and Kerry are essentially the same - meaning that we are going to have to wait for another, likely even more catastrophic than 9/11, attack before something greater will actually be done against those who are attacking us - then there's no argument in favor of Bush over Kerry in spite of Bush's willingness to have attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, and Dr. Peikoff's arguments against Bush and in favor of voting for Kerry to oust Bush become the critical, decisive issue.

Assuming your contention (which I share) that another attack is coming, I asked, "Which of the two [bush or Kerry] would you think would then act more aggressively to defend us?" [And I meant following the attack since Bush is not going to protect us from it preemptively.]

Why does this matter? Aggression against the wrong target doesn't do us any good.

Since Bush isn't truly willing to attack the threat preemptively in spite of what he has been willing to do, and since Kerry states that he wouldn't preemptively attack (but would react if we are attacked), then the question is which of the two would actually, aggressively defend us against the real enemy after the next attack? Bush who cannot oppose religion as an enemy, or Kerry who pays lip service to religion?

Why does it matter? I do not understand your question. The future of our existence rests on who will actually defend us from the Islamic terrorists and who will do less long-term harm to this country. It's the whole question: Bush versus Kerry for the next president. It's going to be one of them or the other.

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Since Bush isn't truly willing to attack the threat preemptively in spite of what he has been willing to do, and since Kerry states that he wouldn't preemptively attack (but would react if we are attacked), then the question is which of the two would actually, aggressively defend us against the real enemy after the next attack?

I've already said that I don't think either one will.

Why does it matter? I do not understand your question. The future of our existence rests on who will actually defend us from the Islamic terrorists and who will do less long-term harm to this country. It's the whole question: Bush versus Kerry for the next president. It's going to be one of them or the other.

As I said, neither one can defend us. I don't pretend to be able to predict which one will do us less long-term harm. In principle, Bush and Kerry are the same (if Bush is an M1, and I'm not certain he is). As of now, I see this election as a choice between a firing squad and a crucifix. Would you care to choose one of those?

I am open to being persuaded that Bush is worse than an M1. The difference would then be, not that he would do a worse job defending this country, but that he would push us in the direction of a theocracy.

I don't think it's very likley, after all, that America will be invaded or physically destroyed any time soon. The real threat is spiritual destruction, and that is what only an M2 can do.

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In parliament (UK) last week, the former leader of the Conservative party William Hague made a previously unheard accusation towards Tony Blair and his cabinet. He stated that he believed there were plenty of good reason for going into Iraq, and that he couldn't criticise the government for doing it, however wasn't necessarily satisfied by the way the situation was being handled now. His point, however, and this is where he stepped up his voice, was that the way the government had presented the war in terms of PR had been a disaster, the stated reasons for war were folly, and the effect upon the minds of the British population with regards to their view on any such future conflict was one of irreparable damage.

I'd have to agree, and further question if Bush, in making his case for war, has not done more damage than John Kerry or Al Gore might have done in the same situation. The fact is that his religious rhetoric has cost him a significant backing from the more reasonable members of populations spanning the globe, and has thrown US foreign policy into disrepute where it might have made the case for increased international cooperation in future ventures post-iraq. Beyond this, I believe he has fuelled islamic fundamentalism with his lack of military contingency planning, and a failure to appeal to the minds of the Iraqi people.

Having said this, as bleaker situation as it is, infiltration of the Republican party as a recent topic suggests, might be the best chance there is of establishing a reasonable ethics, a philsophical basis for capitalism etc.

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While I haven't taken any surveys of the general population myself

A glance at the New Testament is enough to determine whether the claim that 25% of Americans are fundamentalists who take the Bible literally is true:

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:

but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if any man will sue thee at the law,

and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

If 25% of Americans took this literally, a plane would have been flown into the Empire State Building days after 9/11/01--by fundamentalist Christians.

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you

If 25% of Americans took this literally, you couldn't walk a hundred yards on a busy street without seeing a one-eyed man.

Therefore I say unto you,

Take no thought for your life,

what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;

nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.

If 25% of Americans took this literally, they would be dead.

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Charles,

Bush and Kerry essentially have the same foreign policy.

I have little idea of exactly what Kerry would do, except that he would pursue our attackers with far less zeal (and that's not to say I approve of Bush's level of zeal, or his overall strategy - I just think it's better than what Kerry would do.)

I do not believe Bush will do more than Kerry to protect this country.
I do.

Bush properly attacked Afghanistan, but he did not use overwhelming force, with the consequence that many of our enemies fled and have remained safe in Pakistan.

I don't think anyone could have done much better in Afghanistan, even with "overwhelming" force. In such terrain, I get the impression that preventing significant numbers of terrorists from getting away would be nigh impossible.

Then Bush went after Iraq. It is debateable whether Iraq was a proper target; what is not debateable is that Iran has always been a far greater threat than Iraq, yet we will do nothing about Iran.
I think it is likely (perhaps I'm too opimistic) that we are doing things about Iran that cannot be publicized. And making Iraq "free" does actually affect the situation in Iran. I agree that Iraq was not the best target, but it wasn't exactly a waste of time. It shot a large whole right in the Muslim Middle-East's center of mass, so to speak, and over time I think it will help to diminish the sway that Islamism (militant Islam) has in that part of the world. I think that could be accomplished much more quickly by simply bombing several more nations, and invading where necessary, which is the strategy I advocate (and I'm assuming you do, too - correct me if I'm wrong).

And even if Bush eventually attacks Iran, he will once again fail to use sufficient force actually to eliminate the threat.

Perhaps. But I don't think there could even be the hope of Kerry ever okaying such an invasion. And to be honest, if you think Bush would do so, you're even more optimistic than I am. ;)

Meanwhile, Bush is negotiating with North Korea.
That is indeed a grave mistake. Do you think Kerry would improve on that? I don't.

Dr. Peikoff's point is precisely that Bush's religion prevents him from properly defending this country.

No, that's not his point, actually. That is one of his conclusions, and I agree with it entirely, but Peikoff's primary point is that Bush constitutes a graver threat to this nation than do the terrorists or John Kerry. It is that with which I do not entirely agree. But I admit that my finger is not on the "pulse" of religious fanaticism in this country. I am perfectly aware of the danger of religion and the internal threat that it could one day be to our country, but I don't think our culture has yet degraded quite to that point. Peikoff thinks it has, and he might very well have a better awareness of it than I do.

For example, I was not aware that the sales of those "Left Behind" books dwarfed the sales of Rand's books by such a margin. But if there are 12 books in the series as he stated, and 42 million copies have been sold, then that's only about 3.5 million copies per book. It's a lot, but it doesn't indicate that evangelicals are taking over our culture. Am I mis-interpreting the numbers, or is Peikoff? Not only that, but if I recall correctly, those sales numbers were, according to Peikoff, *world-wide*, not just in the U.S.

Regarding the cultural dominance of religious fundamentalism, you have to remember that it is concentrated in the "Heartland." Cities and suburban areas tend to be less religious, but they only represent half the country.
True enough, but the folks in the "heartland" have less influence, I think, on our culture than anyone else in the culture. I don't think we need to worry about religious fundamentalism rising up from the heartland to dominate the nation, at least not at this point. Apparently Peikoff thinks we should be concerned about that right now, but I don't think it's as pressing as he seems to think it is.

Bush talks tough, but his policies do NOT protect this country. At most, Bush is succeeding in delaying terrorist attacks. But do not doubt that they are coming.

I don't doubt it, but I must confess I am amazed that more attacks, on any scale, have not occured here yet, and I think the Bush administration deserves a great deal of credit for that fact. Bush might only be "delaying" them, but that's better than if Kerry didn't delay them, or delayed them less, isn't it? It's no accident that terrorists are being killed and apprehended around the world on an almost regular basis these days, and while I don't pretend to be psychic, I don't think it's controversial to assume that terrorist attacks have in fact been prevented since 9/11. Would that continue under Kerry? Probably, but to a lesser extent, is my fear. Fighting them in Iraq and elsewhere, even if it's for the next 20 years, is preferable to letting up the pressure and giving them the time and "leisure" to regroup and come after us again here in the States.

Again, I will state that, right now, I still doubt I will vote for either candidate. That is because I see Bush more as an M1 than an M2.

I haven't completely learned the DIM terminology yet, so I can't address that, other than to say I think that Bush does better than Kerry would at what is actually supposed to be the President's job: protecting us from threats of force (though I understand that ultimately his initiatives to Christianize the gov't are a form of force themselves). If the problem with Bush is his religious fervor, we can combat that culturally and politically, and there is time. But the problem with Kerry is that he could get a lot of us killed, much more quickly than we would able to protect ourselves from it on our own, by our own actions. There isn't as much time.

The terrorist threat is more pressing than the internal religious one. I think that sums up my position.

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I don't think that lecture excerpt even approached proving that Bush for four more years makes a theocracy imminent. So there are freaks who sing to God. There are also freaks, on the left, who commune with trees. And the enviros have been a lot more effective at getting their views inflicted on America then religious nuts.

Nor do I agree that Bush is incapable of attacking a religious government, such as Iran. If he merely wanted a non-religious government to attack, why not atheist North Korea? Iraq was an easier sell than Iran, and a legitimate target, because of their history of using chemical gas against the Kurds, and continuing efforts to gain more WMD.

Neither do I agree that Kerry/Gore would have attacked Afghanistan after 9/11. I think neither would have gone to war at all, but would have done what many liberals were calling for at the time, try to bring the precise criminals to America to be tried in a court of law---even though most of the precise criminals were already dead. They wanted to treat 9/11 as a crime, and not as an act of war. I do not believe Kerry would attack any country, except in a case like the disintegration of Yugoslavia, where it would be for someone else's benefit, not ours. Just like Clinton.

Another point worth stressing is that an Administration consists of more than the President himself. Bush has surrounded himself with a few very good men, such as Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney, and a few bad apples, such as Powell. What would a Democratic Administration consist of? A rogues gallery of Janet Reno types. The liberals abhor Rumsfeld, so what kind of person do you think they would install in his place????

Nor was there any mention, in the lecture excerpt, of tremendously important issues such as the Kyoto Protocol, which Kerry and the liberals would like to inflict on the US. Is that of no significance? That's just a side issue, which might annihilate our economy single handed?

Like everyone else here, it is bitterly disappointing to me to have to choose between two clear evils. I abhor Bush's religiousness. But when I weigh all the issues, my vote remains with Bush.

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It depends on whether or not you agree with Peikoff's assessment of the threat that the religious right represents at this time - or rather, if you agree that a sufficiently massive "base" of religious fundamentalists already exists which could facilitate a complete "takeover" by religious fundamentalists like Bush.  He cites the number of 25% of the population being *evangelical* Christians.  I'm not sure I believe that that is accurate (yet).

I still plan to vote for Bush because, all things considered, I think that when it comes to politics, religious conservatives are much more rational than their opponents.

Observe three concrete examples of the religious conservatives Peikoff sees as a threat: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. None of them advocate theocracy or anything approaching it. 90% of the time they base their political opinions on FACTS an Objectivist would agree with and most of the time their ultimate goals are the same as ours.

Compare that to the Democrats and their supporters. They are so alienated from reality that their politics is based on a huge, hysterical MYTHOLOGY, accepted on faith, of right-wing corporate conspiracies, ethnic and sexual victimhood, and an environmental apocalypse.

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I don't think it's very likley, after all, that America will be invaded or physically destroyed any time soon. The real threat is spiritual destruction, and that is what only an M2 can do.

That's something only a PHILOSOPHER can do.

Politicians don't cause cultural changes; they reflect them. They are not a cause; they are an effect.

America has declined due to Kantian philosophy and, as politicians go, the Left is THOROUGHLY Kantian. The right, on the other hand, still retains and respects some American and Enlightenment ideals.

I see the proper action for me to take is to politically support the better candidate -- which right now is Bush -- for the short run and philosophically support the best philosophy -- which is Objectivism -- for the long run.

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That's something only a PHILOSOPHER can do.

Politicians don't cause cultural changes; they reflect them.  They are not a cause; they are an effect.

America has declined due to Kantian philosophy and, as politicians go, the Left is THOROUGHLY Kantian.  The right, on the other hand, still retains and respects some American and Enlightenment ideals.

I see the proper action for me to take is to politically support the better candidate -- which right now is Bush -- for the short run and philosophically support the best philosophy -- which is Objectivism -- for the long run.

I was not talking about philosophic destruction. I was talking about the fact that this country will probably exist for many more years. The danger is not our non-existence, but our non-existence as a free country.

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I've been following the presidential campaign for awhile now and the more I learn about Kerry the more I HAVE to vote for Bush. I was not going to vote at all a few months ago but now I feel I have to do my part to keep this turkey from becoming President. Here are some things that made me swing.

1. "All Americans have the right to free health care"

2. He always brings up his Purple Hearts and military service but all who served with him say his Purple Hearts are a sham and he came off as a scheming politician wannabe back then. In other words he arranged all of it for political gain. The doctor who treated the 1st injury said it was a scratch and he and his commander denied the purple heart request and thought it was rediculous. Kerry got someone outside his chain of command to approve of the Purple Heart and that got him out of Vietnam early. If this is any precurser on how he will defend us from terrorists I don't want him anywhere near the White House.

3. His wife.

4. The richest man to ever run for office ( by no merit of his own ) using class warfare/ soak the rich tactics to get elected.

5. John Edwards - hate that ambulance chaser

6. He's a waffler. He says exactly what you want to hear which reminds me so much of "Slick Willy".

I happen to think the war in Iraq has done a good job of keeping the terror attacks over there. Al Queda has been using personnel and resources to attack our troops over there instead of our civilians over here. That is a good thing. We are taking the war to them. I persoannly would have done things a little differently but I don't think Kerry would do anything.

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You're confusing the literal with the consistent. Obviously nobody acts on the Bible consistently. The question is whether they believe it, not whether they consistently act on it.

They don't believe it. Not only did Christians not fly a plane into the Empire State Building, they never even said--and, I venture to say, never even thought--that such a thing should be done according to the Bible, nor did they even protest when Bush attacked Afghanistan--on the contrary, most of them supported and cheered on the retaliation!

The only people who advocated a true Christian reaction to 9/11 were the liberals.

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They don't believe it. Not only did Christians not fly a plane into the Empire State Building, they never even said--and, I venture to say, never even thought--that such a thing should be done according to the Bible, nor did they even protest when Bush attacked Afghanistan--on the contrary, most of them supported and cheered on the retaliation!

The only people who advocated a true Christian reaction to 9/11 were the liberals.

You're still confusing belief in an idea with consistent action based on that idea.

As for how someone can belive in the Bible and support retaliation, it's not that hard. They see the war as self-sacrificial. They aren't defending their own lives. They want to sacrifice in order to save other people (including so-called innocents in these Islamic countries).

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It depends on whether or not you agree with Peikoff's assessment of the threat that the religious right represents at this time - or rather, if you agree that a sufficiently massive "base" of religious fundamentalists already exists which could facilitate a complete "takeover" by religious fundamentalists like Bush.

I agree with most of your comments, but I wanted to point out a few things. I think the best evidence against Peikoff's evaluation of Bush's base is the recent failure to pass the Defense of Marriage Act. There was something that virtually all Fundamentalists and even many non-religious people would have supported, and it still could not pass. Furthermore, let's remember that we have a wall of defense against the religious right: a slew of liberal activist judges.

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