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dream_weaver

Is it time, is the hour striking?

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One withstands or resists the invasion of armies; one does not withstand or resist the invasion of ideas. — Victor Hugo

This may have been inspired, perhaps, by the earlier written:

There is something more powerful that the brute force of bayonets: it is the idea whose time has come and hour struck. — Gustave Aimard

 

Ayn Rand is the first to have given a rational, objectively demonstrable, scientific answer to the question of why man needs a code of values.

At the same time she shines reason’s light into and thus dispersing altruism’s shadow revealing the vampire haunting Western culture. She describes altruism not as a morality—even though she refers to it as the morality of altruism—rather a negation of morality.

Even though she wields reason as a weapon, and calls upon reality as an invincible ally, ideas do not invade; rather they are passed around. One can see and rather easily grasp the invasion of armies and even readily resist. Without first having learned to distinguish the nature of ideas, it is much more difficult to recognize, much less resist the brightly colored fruit coming from the deadly yew tree.

It is the idea whose time has come and hour struck that determines whether the brute force of bayonets is resorted to, and whether it is utilized in the more efficacious deployment of self-defense or the less efficacious employment of the initiation of physical force.

A question that often arises within those familiarizing themselves with the various writings of Ayn Rand is: Is Ayn Rand right?

In “The Objectivist Ethics” in “The Virtue of Selfishness”, Ayn Rand writes the following:

If you wonder why the world is now collapsing to a lower and ever lower rung of hell, this [altruism] is the reason.

If you want to save civilization, it is this [the altruistic] premise of modern ethics — and of all ethical history — that you must challenge.

Quibbling over whether this borderline case or that borderline case falls inside or outside the Objectivist guidelines may be a good intellectual exercise for developing clarity for some.

Squabbling over whether Johnny’s interpretation or Jimmy’s interpretation or Joey’s interpretation of Ayn Rand’s wording is ludicrous at best.

Being objective is not about hermeneutics or interpretations.  The question remains: Is she right?

Leonard Peikoff, in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand isolates this crucial tidbit:

To understand man, or any other human concern, one must understand concepts. One must discover what they are, how they are formed, and how they are used, and often misused, in the quest for knowledge.

Harry Binswanger, in one of his lectures points out:

If you want to understand reason, understand concepts. If you want to study reason, study concepts. Concepts are where we store reason.

If civilization is at stake, it is an altruistic notion of concepts that must be swept aside. In her article: “Global Balkanization” in her book “The Voice of Reason”:

[T]o the tribalists, language is not a tool of thought and communication. Language to them is a symbol of tribal status and power—the power to force their dialect on all outsiders. This appeals not even to the tribal leaders, but to the sick, touchy vanity of the tribal rank and file.

To wrap this up on another note that Miss Rand saw fit to comment on: the whole of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology applies, while in particular this isolates an essential ingredient:

It is worth noting, at this point, that what the enemies of reason seem to know, but its alleged defenders have not discovered, is the fact that axiomatic concepts are the guardians of man's mind and the foundation of reason—the keystone, touchstone and hallmark of reason—and if reason is to be destroyed, it is axiomatic concepts that have to be destroyed.

If your axiomatic concepts, like existence, are indestructible, then you have nothing to worry about. Ayn Rand put it succinctly. As Leonard Peikoff put it in Fact and Value, as paraphrased:

The “official authorized doctrine” of Objectivism was stated and validated objectively by its discoverer and author, Ayn Rand.

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The time has come and the hour has struck. In the age of the internet and social media we have more power to spread our ideas than we have ever had. Most of the people on this forum are engaged in the art of nitpicking over trivial details, like which case is rape and which case isn't, as if this is Mock Trial Online. Though you don't state it, this appears to be the behavior you are criticizing when you say this:

1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

Quibbling over whether this borderline case or that borderline case falls inside or outside the Objectivist guidelines may be a good intellectual exercise for developing clarity for some.

Squabbling over whether Johnny’s interpretation or Jimmy’s interpretation or Joey’s interpretation of Ayn Rand’s wording is ludicrous at best.

On which I fully agree. I disagree with the open borders crowd here on immigration, for instance, but the ultimate truth is that if we lived in a rational world where reason and individuality reigned supreme, immigration would not be an issue and we would not disagree. Nobody coming into the United States could pose a threat to our culture, and socialists would be weird outcasts like anarchists or people who support slavery are seen today.

However, we live in a savage, depraved world full of subjectivism, religion, and socialistic altruism, where the United States of America is the sole light. South and Central America is full of diehard socialists and as a result, Venezuela and Mexico are imploding. Even other Western countries such as Great Britain, once a pinnacle of the Western Enlightenment, have turned into the planet of the apes, where reason is shunned. Blasphemy laws are enforced against any critics of Muslim terrorism or the Islamic future. This has even led to extrajudicial killings where a man was given an effective death sentence for the crime of littering.

Unless we lock our house up tight, we will be overrun and replaced by the savagery in the world around us. Our ideas are powerful, indestructible as you put it, but even powerful things have limitations to them. A tablespoon of salt can salt a meal for a family of six, perhaps. A tablespoon of salt cannot salt a meal for ten families. Each of us has about a tablespoon of salt worth of ideas. If each of us tried our absolute hardest, we could probably turn about six other people into Objectivists, and perhaps we could influence thousands of others to think, but it's ludicrous to think that we could convert millions of others who do not speak English and do not have the educational background to understand our ideas in the first place.

Galt did not open up his Gulch to just anyone. He could not have, even with his powerful ideas, because it would've meant the death of the last bastion of reason on earth. In the battle between food and poison, poison would've won.

America has the First and Second Amendments. We are the sole men on the face of this earth with the power to speak our minds and defend ourselves against those who would kill us for it. We are truly the last bastion of reason and hope on this earth. We cannot allow ourselves to be diluted and replaced by people from the darkest corners, the dregs of society who would come here by the billions and vote our rights away if some people like Yaron Brook had their druthers.

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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15 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Though you don't state it, this appears to be the behavior you are criticizing when you say this

It is an observation I've made over the years spent here. I've done my fair share of it.

I can see from my two introductory quotes why you might have thought this was about invaders. I found them looking for "Nothing has the power of an idea whose time has come." The Gustave Aimard quote is quite commonly attributed to Victor Hugo.

While invaders need cross borders to be considered such, ideas are much more ubiquitous and barring individuals from choosing where to go and live cannot prohibit ideologies from doing the same. The symbolic action of banning immigrants speaks louder about those who implement such measures and policies. If capitalism is what you want to preserve the last vestiges of, or put it on track for what it could and ought be, it is altruism that need be scoffed at and egoism be more widely discovered and embraced.

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3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

It is an observation I've made over the years spent here. I've done my fair share of it.

Yeah, is that all the fun that I'm looking for? Do you guys have fun doing that sort of nit-picky "this word means exactly this in this context on thursday" stuff? Because I sure don't. I have fun doing fun stuff like triggering statists on Reddit, making YouTube videos to redpill people. That's how we win the culture war, not by bickering with ourselves. That's how we defeat evil, not as a duty, but as something that we enjoy doing.

Once you realize how weak and pathetic evil is, it should be fun to fight it because you are so confident in your own abilities to defeat it. Life becomes one giant video game.

BTW Peikoff apparenty didn't enjoy philosophy at all. He found it brought him misery. Maybe he should've been more open to the idea of fun instead of running a website where he plays ayatollah and tells people whether it's okay to enjoy a roller coaster ride even though it's "purely perceptual." What a joke. What a prodigal son he was to squander Rand's legacy in such a stupid way.

3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I can see from my two introductory quotes why you might have thought this was about invaders. I found them looking for "Nothing has the power of an idea whose time has come." The Gustave Aimard quote is quite commonly attributed to Victor Hugo.

While invaders need cross borders to be considered such, ideas are much more ubiquitous and barring individuals from choosing where to go and live cannot prohibit ideologies from doing the same. The symbolic action of banning immigrants speaks louder about those who implement such measures and policies.

So should Galt have opened up his gulch to the masses, to whatever Joe Blow wanted to go there? How long do you think it would have remained a bastion of reason?

Also, are all of these people able to vote in your perfect world? Or do only citizens get that right, and citizenship is much harder to obtain?

3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

If capitalism is what you want to preserve the last vestiges of, or put it on track for what it could and ought be, it is altruism that need be scoffed at and egoism be more widely discovered and embraced.

Letting in the third world masses is an act of national altruism, in the sense that it pollutes our national culture with socialist garbage.

 

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"Is it time, is the hour striking?"

 

In a word, no.  Nor is it likely to happen in my lifetime.

 

Objectivists and others like to talk about the power of ideas.  There is much to be said in favor of that power.  But an idea is powerless if it is not accepted.  If a people will not listen, it simply does not matter how right an idea is; that idea will not gain wide acceptance.

 

Objectivists and other modern freedom lovers have been trying to spread their ideas for over half a century, without notable success.  Sure, this person or that organization has taken up some good ideas, but in the main the trend of thinking has been toward altruism and statism, toward a seemingly inevitable intellectual, moral, and economic collapse.

(I know some disagree that things are getting worse.  They've committed the error of selective observation.  But I'm not going to debate that point.)

 

The question is why these ideas languish.  The usual answer is essentially that there is a contest of ideas and that, for now, the bad ideas have the upper hand.  The implication is that one need merely try harder in the intellectual struggle and that, because one is right, one will eventually prevail.

That answer is simply wrong.

People, at least the damaged products of the organized child abuse that is modern education, do not generally accept new ideas because the ideas are right, they do so because the ideas feel right.  To the people brought up in a word wherein it is "right" to spend resources on people in Africa while our courts and public defenders (to name just one critically underfunded part of our society) go begging, the ideas of liberty feel wrong.  To the person who believes that government must provide for the support of the elderly and the foolish, the idea that a person should live with the consequences of his action (or inaction) is not merely horrifying, it is terrifying.

The poem from which I take my nom de guerre still resonates with many Americans, but few really take it seriously.  I listen to a lot of NPR and, in the early AM, Garrison Keillor does "The Writer's Almanac", in which he reads a poem.  A month or so ago, he did "Invictus", and a less convincing reading could not have been done.  Those last couplets should ring out; Keillor practically mumbled them.

So it is with peoples' "acceptance" of liberty.  Mumbled words, but no soul behind it.  The preachers of liberty, Objectivists and others, rouse the occasional "Amen"  but then their listeners go off into their unfree lives, telling themselves how free they are.  Churchill had it oh so right when he said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

I spent a decade codependently trying to change people.  Over and over the same scene repeated itself.  As an example:  I explained to a woman why the public schools were bad for her children.  She agreed with me.  Did she remove her kids from the public schools? Nope. It didn't feel right to her, no matter her intellectual agreement, so the idea simply had no effect on her.  I eventually realized that I can change a person's mind, but I cannot change their feelings, and it is their feelings that determine what ideas they live by (as opposed to giving lip service to).  This is not how healthy human beings should be, but the victims of bad philosophy are not healthy people.

In the addiction world it is sometimes said that a true addict must "hit bottom" before he will give up his addiction.  This is not always true, but is sure is the way to bet.  "Hitting bottom" only occurs when circumstances compel a person to confront a sometimes literal life or death choice, when reality becomes so intrusive that no amount of rationalization or wishful thinking can obscure the fact that physical or spiritual death is right there staring one in the face.

So it is with modern society.  Today, we can hide -- with increasing difficulty -- from the fact that we're hurtling toward death.  And, so long as we can do so, we will do so.  We haven't "hit bottom".  We can pretend that we're not bankrupt, since we haven't maxed out the social credit cards.  We can pretend that we're not a police state, since we still have our little liberties.  We can hide from reality.  And that is exactly what we are doing.

 

And when some Objectivist or other freedom lover comes along, he is not greeted with open arms -- because to do so would require opening our eyes, not just to the reality we live in but our culpability in creating it.  Fear and guilt are why freedom will not win in our society.

 

One day, of course, the dam of evasion will break.  Our corrupt society will be destroyed by a flood of reality.  Then, and only then, will it be the time, the hour to strike, only then will it be possible for the lovers of liberty to not merely speak, but to be heard.

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1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

People, at least the damaged products of the organized child abuse that is modern education, do not generally accept new ideas because the ideas are right, they do so because the ideas feel right.

The prevailing idea exerting the power, then, is not to get to the crux of an idea's rightness or wrongness, but trusting the "force", where the force is weighed by emotional appeal. And since emotions are more properly identified as emotional responses (to what? blank-out), the grip and hold of the emotion is amplified by a self-reinforcing feedback loop. None the less, the power of ideas is exemplified succinctly. The "action" of a "mental entity" demonstrating the law of causality on the plane of abstraction.

Miss Rand's ideas where not addressed to humanity at large. She reveals this via the fishwife in Atlas Shrugged. Meanwhile, it is time. The hour is striking. Humanity does not withstand or resist the ideas it has accepted. There were no bayonets required. In this sense, Victor Hugo and Gustave Aimard were prescient.

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14 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The prevailing idea exerting the power, then, is not to get to the crux of an idea's rightness or wrongness, but trusting the "force", where the force is weighed by emotional appeal. And since emotions are more properly identified as emotional responses (to what? blank-out), the grip and hold of the emotion is amplified by a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

A tangled mess of forces, not just a loop.  There is no one point where one can make a change and the whole nightmare comes apart.

 

I note that the powers-that-be have a strong interest in this state of affairs.  It is very easy to manipulate a person who "thinks" with their emotions, much less so a person who reasons, and nearly impossible a person who lives by reason.

14 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

None the less, the power of ideas is exemplified succinctly. The "action" of a "mental entity" demonstrating the law of causality on the plane of abstraction.

You betcha.

14 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The hour is striking.

For the forces of unreason, unfortunately. The best the rest of us can do is try to stay out of the way of falling debris and then pick up once the storm is over.  Kinda like the end of Atlas.

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2 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

The best the rest of us can do is try to stay out of the way of falling debris and then pick up once the storm is over.

That doesn't take into consideration that the present state of cultural disintegration is not maintained and prolonged by intellectuals as such, but by the fact that we haven't any.

2 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

I note that the powers-that-be have a strong interest in this state of affairs.  It is very easy to manipulate a person who "thinks" with their emotions, much less so a person who reasons, and nearly impossible a person who lives by reason.

Or they are just temporarily filling the void and perpetuating what they've absorbed from the culture in which they were raised.

 

A posthumous tour de force of Miss Rand can only immunize those that take the time and effort to inoculate themselves with the antidote, and offer to share it with others. The population is larger than when Aquinas lived, there are more distribution centers, making it much more decentralized despite attempts to install a centralized common core, which has some opposition to it from the old guard. While the train may be coasting downhill and gathering speed, it is primarily because even though the engine is not running, there are too few manning the brake levers.

Edited by dream_weaver

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

That doesn't take into consideration that the present state of cultural disintegration is not maintained and prolonged by intellectuals as such, but by the fact that we haven't any.

Yes it does.  Reasoning people can fill the gap as much as they want, but the plain fact is that people do not listen.  Not with their thinking minds.  They listen with their emotions, and their emotions tell them that what we have to offer would require them to give up Mommy and Daddy government and to take full responsibility for their past, present, and future.  This they will not do.

 

Both theory and experience confirm this, and no amount of wishful thinking will change it.  As Objectivists, we must take people as they are, not as we wish or need them to be.
 

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24 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

You describe a man-made issue, then offer the "solution" is to accept it as one ought the metaphysically given.
 

Huh?  The mere fact that an issue is man made does not in any way change its reality.  What is, is.  What presently is, is a population that is not amenable to persuasion.  If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be delighted to hear it.  So far, all the evidence I've seen, from reading, from decades of my own failures of persuasion, and from my observations of the people I failed to persuade, is that effective persuasion on anything other than a small scale cannot work, and the cause of this is not fundamentally in the persauders, it is in those they would persuade.
 

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1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

 So far, all the evidence I've seen, from reading, from decades of my own failures of persuasion, and from my observations of the people I failed to persuade, is that effective persuasion on anything other than a small scale cannot work, and the cause of this is not fundamentally in the persauders [sic], it is in those they would persuade.

I'll not attempt, then, to persuade you. Godspeed.

Edited by dream_weaver

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On 10/19/2017 at 8:23 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

So should Galt have opened up his gulch to the masses, to whatever Joe Blow wanted to go there?

If you're going to use Atlas Shrugged to bolster your xenophobic position, don't you think you should understand it a little better? Galt's gulch wasn't his to open up. The property was owned by someone who was known as Micheal.

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

If you're going to use Atlas Shrugged to bolster your xenophobic position, don't you think you should understand it a little better? Galt's gulch wasn't his to open up. The property was owned by someone who was known as Micheal.

Same question with a different name, then?

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On 10/20/2017 at 9:32 PM, Invictus2017 said:

The mere fact that an issue is man made does not in any way change its reality.  What is, is.

What is being omitted, can be found here.

The Metaphysical Versus. The Man-made, page 1
The Metaphysical Versus. The Man-made, page 2
The Metaphysical Versus. The Man-made, page 3
The Metaphysical Versus. The Man-made, page 4

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