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Patrick N.

Harry Binswanger For Bush

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hello? does anyone read my posts? I've been stressing those points for some time now.

Sure we read your posts, but it does make a difference when a leading objectivist like Mr. Binswanger says it. Maybe you'll earn that reputation too, some day.

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Do you think the religious right is going to let Kerry get much done as president? Are they going to let Kerry substantially change the direction of the war? I don't think so.

LOL You seem to be positively convinced that the religious right controls Kerry!

(But hey, if Kerry is controlled by the religious right, doesn't that mean we must vote against him? :()

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Fundamental question for the election:

Who seeks to defend America on terms OF America?

Bush DOES (though imperfectly by Objectivist standards). Kerry does NOT.

Bush stands up for America (because god tells him it is right to do so). Kerry rejects such a stand (because HIS god - the global consensus - tells him to do so).

Thus which position leaves men alive and free to fight for liberty and objectivism? Replacement of American sovereignty with subjugation to international consensus as the GUIDING PRINCIPLE of the government CERTAINLY does NOT do that - not at ALL.

The war AGAINST the US by terrorists and states who sponsor them will continue no matter WHICH man is elected. Therefore the question of half-war/no war is an invalid one. Blanking out the war will not change the fact that a war IS taking place. Thus the only question is - who will even TRY to PROTECT America in such a war? Bush WILL (for some right reasons and some wrong reasons). Kerry (as the false question ADMITS) will NOT.

If you want to keep America safe from religion, you NEED an America to exist in the first place. By encouraging further attacks on the US and US interests - and by subjugating the US and US interests to the world court (literally and figuratively) - Kerry GRAVELY threatens that existence - and does so in the VERY immediate future. A vote for Kerry is a vote to turn American existence into something worse than existence in Israel. While facing the constant threat of terrorist attacks, at least Israel still holds SOME form of independence for itself from the 'global community'. IT still decides what is best for ITSELF. A Kerry presidency will result in greater terrorism IN the US (such as is faced by the Israelis on a daily basis) and less control over what the US can/will do about it. (It is presidencies like the Kerry one will be which PRODUCES nuclear threats like North Korea - because it is neither pro-active nor unilateral in its actions.)

Giving in to the socialists in power in Israel - ie the 'no war' option - never made Israel freer or resulted in a better philosophy for the country. It simply produced greater subjugation and greater Israeli deaths and destruction of their wealth and their society - while ENCOURAGING its enemies to attack it more. Stronger defense - even for the wrong reasons - has created a more secure Israel, and has left them alive AND free to address whatever wrong directions their govt might pursue. The latter is Bush's perspective and will be his results. The former is Kerry's perspective and will ALSO be his results - except it will be Americans who are dying and it will be American wealth and society which is being destroyed.

One other thing to note: rejecting Kerry's global collectivism does NOT mean defending Bush's religious agenda (any more than rejecting Bush's religious agenda means defending Kerry's global collectivism). This is another false alternative. BECAUSE of the way the US govt is designed, one can SIMULTANEOUSLY fight an external war with an external enemy - AND - fight philosophic battles against domestic enemies and their agendas. Its not one OR the other. It can (and should be) one AND the other. But that is NOT how the conflict here is being framed. As such, this framing is invalid.

Voting for Bush does NOT mean endorsing NOR agreeing to his domestic agenda. It does NOT mean agreeing with the whole of his philosophy. That is NOT how the American govt works. Voting for Bush so that our defense against terrorists and their states CONTINUES, does NOT mean you are suddenly rendered MUTE and HELPLESS when it comes to fighting against collectivised health care, against govt charity, against any and all forms of altruism (religious, socialist, fascist or otherwise) - INCLUDING fighting against altruism IN the war being waged (ie HOW and WHY the war is being waged).

Accepting the false alternative as if it were somehow valid - as if it were true - will only lead to great destruction. For a rejection of reality can ONLY lead to destruction - especially when the enemy one would retreat from - one would NOT fight (no war) - are pursuing nukes.

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No, I think that Dr. Binswanger did address that point.  It's not half-war or no-war.  Those days have sadly passed us by.  It's half-war or retreat/surrender. 

Half-war vs. retreat/surrender is the question of half-war vs. no-war. No-war means retreating and surrendering Iraq--at this point. However, Dr. Binswanger did not make an argument for why Bush's half-war is better than retreating/surrendering. The article doesn't address what is required for us to win this war. It presents no vision of victory. Thus, it cannot tell you why Bush's half-war is better than what Kerry would do. Without knowing what victory would look like, you cannot argue for the merits of a particular strategy. You need to know how everything fits into the long-range strategy for defeating the enemy. The article merely assumes that a half-war is better than retreat. But that does not reflect a comprehensive view of the overall situation. Sometimes it is better to retreat.

What is Bush's half-war in Iraq leading us toward? Victory or defeat? And how is that better than what Kerry would do, which is essentially up in the air? In the worst case scenario, Kerry would pull us out of Iraq and sit on his thumbs, negotiating with the enemy and the UN. How is that worse than what Bush plans to do? Bush would have us be dependent on the fantasy of democracy and the good will of the enemy. Kerry would have us be dependent on the UN. Is there really much difference there? How is either one an example of "independence"?

The question is: How is Bush's half-war better than getting out of there and rethinking this mess?

We left Vietnam, and look what happened. We suffered in the short term, but in the long term we defeated communism by threatening total destruction with our nukes. Somehow, once we were out of Vietnam, we were able to focus on a better strategy.

What I am saying is that we are in a big mess over in the Middle East. We should learn from history, give up, come back, and start the thinking process that will lead us back to the days where we embrace the bomb and the idea of total annihilation of our enemy.

Right now, we cannot think clearly as a nation, because Bush has us believing that we are doing what is right to win the war. He has us blinded. He has convinced Americans to evade the reality of the war and what is necessary to win it. For heaven's sake, he cannot even name the enemy. We are fighting a tactic. He is doing everything he can to keep us from seeing the right path. With Kerry, at least, we will start wondering again what that right path is.

The only way to get back to a vision of victory is to get out of the fog of faith and sacrifice, and to take a clear peek at the world again. I'm not saying Kerry can lead us to that vision. But he is our only chance. It is more likely (but not very likely) that Kerry would get us thinking again precisely because he has no vision. Bush has a (faith-based) vision, and so we are forced to accept his (faith-based) strategy.

Dr. Binswanger argues that Bush's "independence" is the crucial issue in the election. And for proof he refers to a perception of Bush that people had at the beginning of the war, when he was thought to be a "cowboy." Is that the same perception people still have of him today? Is anyone still calling him a "cowboy?"

I don't really see it.

The debate has completely shifted to the current situation in Iraq. To our retreat from key holy cities. To the lives being lost for Iraqi freedom. To what to do about the resilient enemy. Bush is being criticized for screwing up the war. The "cowboy" has been exposed for a wannabe--a wannabe who has stupidly led his friends into a deathtrap and is now struggling to find an exit out of there, even if it means handing Iraq over to our enemy. Bush is a paper cowboy, and that is not a good image to continue sending out to the world.

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"We left Vietnam, and look what happened. We suffered in the short term, but in the long term we defeated communism by threatening total destruction with our nukes. Somehow, once we were out of Vietnam, we were able to focus on a better strategy."

This is wrong on so many different levels. Vietnam was never a threat to either the US nor to general US interests.

Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, N. Korea, Syria - these ARE the enemy, not some diversion away from them. And we did not 'defeat communism' by threatening 'communism' with total destruction. Read AR's writings on the Cold War to learn the MISTAKE of that approach. It was DEFINITELY NOT a "better strategy." In fact, Vietnam was part OF that failed approach. INSTEAD of dealing with the enemy (the Soviets and their satellites primarily) directly, we fought PROXY skirmishes instead because we would NOT attack them directly (because they could destroy us just as we could destroy them). We did NOT get rid of communism by threat of military might. It was ONLY the attempt to go AROUND that might - the attempt (FOUGHT BY KERRY AND HIS ILK - ie the man you actually want to put INTO power) to NEUTRALIZE the SOVIET threat to destroy US ENTIRELY WITH *THEIR* NUKES - that helped bring down communism. In other words, you seek to place into the presidency the very man who CONTINUALLY FOUGHT AGAINST the very things which helped produce the results you PRAISE.

So your ENTIRE analogy is FLAWED, as is thus your conclusion.

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This is wrong on so many different levels.  Vietnam was never a threat to either the US nor to general US interests ... So your ENTIRE analogy is FLAWED, as is thus your conclusion.

Where did I say that Vietnam was a threat to us? Your rebuttal attacks a straw man. So, by your own logic, what does that say about your conclusion?

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Where did I say that Vietnam was a threat to us? Your rebuttal attacks a straw man. So, by your own logic, what does that say about your conclusion?

You cut out the most important portion and point of RadCap's post: communism was defeated by the exact sort of tactics that Kerry has opposed again and again during his 20 years in the Senate. Vietnam has nothing to do with it.

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Swig - I know you are passionate about this topic. But PLEASE try to actually GRASP the argument being made against you instead of simply having knee-jerk reactions to them, resulting in the production of FURTHER logical fallacies.

I NEVER claimed you said Vietnam was a threat to the US or US interests. YOU compared Iraq to Vietnam. *I* was exposing the FLAW in that analogy - SPECIFICALLY the DIFFERENCES between them which made the analogy INVALID. The difference I identified was that Vietnam was NOT a threat to US or US interests (whereas the USSR and its satellites were). As I made EXPLICITLY clear, Iraq (amongst other nations) IS the threat. They ARE the USSR etc of this global war and are NOT some proxy battlefield which one can abandon so one can focus 'elsewhere'.

So your assertion about a straw man is COMPLETELY FALLACIOUS. And my argument against you STANDS in its ENTIRETY.

So to answer your question, my conclusion is in PERFECT STANDING. Yours on the other hand is STILL flawed.

It is your darling democrats (grasroots, politicians and ESPECIALLY the concerted efforts of the press) who have NARROWED the scope of this war, NOT Bush. Do you HONESTLY THINK that if it had not been for the CONSTANT and VITRIOLIC attacks against the Bush and this battlefront in the war, that he would NOT have used Iraq as a base of operations from which to pursue his destruction of fascist dictatorships in the area (Syria and Iran etc), thus removing the support and infrastructure of terrorists?

IF Bush is less of a 'cowboy' (as you claim) it is because KERRY (the man YOU want to put in the White House to make MORE decisions like this) and his despicable posse SHOT Bush's horse out from under him.

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What is Bush's half-war in Iraq leading us toward? Victory or defeat?

Iraq is only part of the war on terror. It would not have been my first battle, but the battle probably would have needed fighting at some point on the way toward victory.

And how is that better than what Kerry would do, which is essentially up in the air?
It is not up the air. Kerry’s voting history and his own words tell us what he will do: give up the fight and treat terrorism as something to be dealt with by police action.

In the worst case scenario, Kerry would pull us out of Iraq and sit on his thumbs, negotiating with the enemy and the UN. How is that worse than what Bush plans to do?

I would say sacrificing US sovereignty to the UN’s appeasement of terrorists is a good deal worse than a battle not fully waged. We have 50 years of evidence that appeasement doesn’t work. I would also like to reiterate that the Iraq war is part of a larger war against terrorism. Whatever his flaws and however significant they may be, Bush intends to see that larger war through. Kerry thinks of it as a “nuisance.”

Bush would have us be dependent on the fantasy of democracy and the good will of the enemy. Kerry would have us be dependent on the UN. Is there really much difference there? How is either one an example of "independence"?
You’re comparing Bush’s mistaken desire to spread democracy throughout the world with Kerry’s almost guaranteed capitulation to UN oversight? The former may be misguided and result in a drawn out conflict but the later approach is a greater threat to America. The UN is just as great an enemy to America and Objectivism as the terrorists. The UN is just a bit more subtle and more deadly because of it.

Right now, we cannot think clearly as a nation, because Bush has us believing that we are doing what is right to win the war. He has us blinded. He has convinced Americans to evade the reality of the war and what is necessary to win it. For heaven's sake, he cannot even name the enemy. We are fighting a tactic. He is doing everything he can to keep us from seeing the right path. With Kerry, at least, we will start wondering again what that right path is.

I don’t see how this follows. Who is blinded? The nation is certainly split by what is happening in Iraq but I think it naive to suggest that the split will resolve itself if we step back. It is downright foolish to think that the “no blood for war” crowd will see the light under Kerry and suddenly support national defense.

The only way to get back to a vision of victory is to get out of the fog of faith and sacrifice, and to take a clear peek at the world again. I'm not saying Kerry can lead us to that vision. But he is our only chance. It is more likely (but not very likely) that Kerry would get us thinking again precisely because he has no vision. Bush has a (faith-based) vision, and so we are forced to accept his (faith-based) strategy.

I will take the Bush’s pro-self-defense fog of faith over Kerry’s clear vision of American self-sacrifice any day. That doesn’t mean I will be happy with it, but it will be better than the Great American Bend-Over Kerry will likely bring about.

How the nation thinks about this conflict doesn’t particularly matter. What matters is how will Kerry act. I don’t think that is too difficult to predict.

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You cut out the most important portion and point of RadCap's post: communism was defeated by the exact sort of tactics that Kerry has opposed again and again during his 20 years in the Senate.  Vietnam has nothing to do with it.

What does this have to do with my point? I was arguing that retreating is sometimes the correct thing to do, in the grand scheme of things. I wasn't arguing that Kerry is going to embrace the nuclear option or any winning tactics. In my estimation, neither Bush nor Kerry will do that.

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YOU compared Iraq to Vietnam. 

I used Vietnam as an example of how retreating can work in our favor. I did not compare Vietnam to Iraq. I could easily have used some tactical retreat from WW2, such as when the Brits fled Europe to fight another day. Once again, you are creating a straw man.

I suggest you take a step back and look at your argument, because you are not addressing my point.

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What does this have to do with my point? I was arguing that retreating is sometimes the correct thing to do, in the grand scheme of things. I wasn't arguing that Kerry is going to embrace the nuclear option or any winning tactics. In my estimation, neither Bush nor Kerry will do that.

There is a difference between retreating and reforming your attack and retreating altogether. Kerry will give us the latter and in my estimation that makes him a worse choice for President. We can argue endlessly about whether or not Bush's motives are correct (they're not) or if his current strategy is aggressive enough (we all know it isn't), but Bush has said and demonstrated that he believes the US should defend itself with military might while Kerry has said and and demonstrated (pun intended) that the US should not.

Retreating from Iraq is only half a strategy- what comes after? If Kerry is not going to deliver on the "after" then that approach is far far worse than Bush's.

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"I used Vietnam as an example of how retreating can work in our favor."

Yes - you used it as an "example" - as an ANALOGY - as I said. You are saying we should do what we did in the former situation, in the current situation, for similar reasons. That is what makes it a COMPARISON (because an analogy NEEDS to be COMPARABLE - otherwise it FAILS as an analogy - as YOURS has failed). So far, that flaw STILL REMAINS because you keep ERRONEOUSLY claiming "straw man" instead of actually ADDRESSING my arguments to your "example".

Your EXAMPLE/ARGUMENT/ANALOGY/COMPARISON (or WHATEVER word you want to call it) is WRONG - and it is WRONG for the reasons I have stated. UNTIL you actually ADDRESS the argument I have provided, your position will REMAIN wrong, no matter how many times you utter the word 'straw man'.

You were wrong in your claim of straw man the first time.

You are wrong in your claim of straw man this time.

And your argument is wrong on the whole.

PLEASE address the issue - OR (to paraphrase part of your argument) 'retreat from the battlefield so you can reconsider your position' because right now, you are 'blind' to the arguments being presented You are BLIND to the error of your ways.

UNTIL you do one or the other, your posts are POINTLESS.

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It is your darling democrats (grasroots, politicians and ESPECIALLY the concerted efforts of the press) who have NARROWED the scope of this war, NOT Bush.  Do you HONESTLY THINK that if it had not been for the CONSTANT and VITRIOLIC attacks against the Bush and this battlefront in the war, that he would NOT have used Iraq as a base of operations from which to pursue his destruction of fascist dictatorships in the area (Syria and Iran etc), thus removing the support and infrastructure of terrorists?

Stop whining. Your darling president screwed up the war and you know it. Don't start blaming the Democrats for Bush's failures.

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Yes - you used it as an "example" - as an ANALOGY - as I said.

Look, I've tried to clarify the example. I'm not making an analogy. We haven't even pulled out of Iraq yet. How can I be making an analogy between these two events? If you can't tell the difference between an analogy and an example, that is not my fault. I'm not going to defend a position I didn't take.

If you want to bicker over what exactly caused the downfall of communism, go ahead. But I'm not going to care, because that wasn't the focus of my example. The point was that we retreated from Vietnam and still managed to defeat communism down the road. We didn't fall apart. We didn't get taken over by the enemy. We survived.

This is an example of how retreating can be the right thing to do. Some Objectivists believe that retreat from Iraq at this stage means the end of the world for America. I think that is a mistake. Faced with the kind of self-sacrificial war policy we have now, I think it would be better not to fight. In other words, I think a no-war is better than a half-war, until we are sufficiently motivated to fight a real war against our real enemy.

If you want to make an argument for why retreat from Iraq would be worse than continuing with the way things are going, then let me have it.

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And the originator os this thread was right:  if this doesn't prove that the accusations of dogmatism are wrong, I don't know what will. Perhaps "they" expect Dr. Binswanger to be "excommunicated." :(

Actually there is already a thread on that bastion of reason (hpo) talking about how the leadership of ARI is in disarray, and about to collapse into chaos because they cannot agree .

With some people you can just never win. But do those people really matter anyway?

BTW, since Dr Binswanger made the case better than I could have, I will retire from making 'vote for Bush' arguments in this forum. I still expect to see Objectivists make some demands of the President once he wins re-election and will probably be back to follow those threads.

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Retreating from Iraq is only half a strategy- what comes after?  If Kerry is not going to deliver on the "after" then that approach is far far worse than Bush's.

Why is it far, far worse? And what indication has Bush given you that he would go to war again? After he hands Iraq and Afghanistan over to the Islamic fundamentalists, who is he going to half-heartedly invade next?

How many more Iraqs do we really want to create around the world? And at what human price?

Just because Bush is willing to use military force more easily than Kerry, that doesn't mean that Bush is better. You have to show that the way Bush uses our military force is better than not using it at all.

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Furthermore, if you acknowledge that Kerry is unlikly to follow a retreat with more aggressive action, then how is that strategy not a "half-battle" of an even worse kind than Bush's?

If Kerry retreats and doesn't invade another country, then you can't call that a half-war. He is doing nothing: no-war.

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The focus is on pacifying the country now, not winning the war.

This is exactly the point I have been trying to make. With such a focus on pacifying Iraq, we have lost sight of winning the war. This is an example of what the Bush strategy does to sap our desire to win.

Our focus should always be on winning the war. We have captured Saddam, but we have not won the war.

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Why is it far, far worse? And what indication has Bush given you that he would go to war again? After he hands Iraq and Afghanistan over to the Islamic fundamentalists, who is he going to half-heartedly invade next?

It's worse because we have evidence of what doing nothing (the Kerry/UN strategy) leads to: attacks such as the one on 9/11.

Perhaps your theory is that it is better to wait until a few million American's are killed on our own soil so the country will "wake up" rather than make at least some attempt of shutting down terrorist governments?

I can undertstand advocating a much more aggressive approach than Bush has taken, I don't understand how one can think how Kerry's plan of sitting on our asses is a better alternative.

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The main thing to notice about this article is that Dr. Binswanger did not address the crucial issue of whether a half-war or no-war is preferable. He assumes that Bush's half-war is better than whatever Kerry would do. But that is not obvious, and many Objectivists have argued that a half-war is far worse.

Not me!

A half war is probably winnable. No war is a 100% loser.

And we can't afford to lose.

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Mr. Peikoff says to vote for John Kerry, and Mr. Binswanger says to vote for George Bush. Both men hold the same principles and they can't both be right, so which one actually is right?

We already have several threads discussing this.

All I can say is the disagreement among Objectivists stems primarily from the following:

  • Determining which issue is fundamental to this election (I believe LP thinks it's the threat to liberty posed by the religious right whereas HB thinks it's America's moral right to defend itself)

  • Weighing the threats to freedom posed by either candidate to see which is greater and more immediate (I believe that both LP and HB agree that religious right is the greater threat. But LP thinks it is an IMMEDIATE threat whereas HB thinks it is a LONG-TERM threat)

  • Evualating the ways in which either candidate will conduct the war on terror, particular the war in Iraq, and determining how such conduct will affect the terrorists and their supporting regimes (I believe LP thinks either candidate will do as poor a job as the other and that Bush's half-battle is only emboldening the terrorists and costing American lives; whereas HB believes Bush will do somewhat better at eliminating/neutralizing the terrorists and their supporters)

To do all three requires the evaluation of inumerable facts in a broad cultural and historical context. There is bound to be disagreement on such a complex issue even among rational individuals.

So who is right? Well, we'll just have to wait and see. The events of the next 4 years will likely be as unexpected as the last four years were in the year 2000.

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