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Gabriel

Objectivism vs. Tolerationalists

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There is a difference between being a traitor to your country in the way that dictionary definition describes and being a traitor to the principles behind the country. I will agree that Democrats are traitors to the principles, but not literal traitors.

By the way, the same analysis applies to most Republicans and independents, so almost every American is a traitor to his/her own country. How can that make any sense?

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You tell us - how can it make sense? (I will give you a hint - it DOES make sense - so you are holding at least one premise which contradicts others).

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I think what it means is that most Americans are not loyal to the original principles of this country. The country Jefferson etc. founded essentially no longer exists and has been replaced by just another of many countries floating aimlessly toward full socialism.

So was that the answer you wanted, and what was my incorrect premise?

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We oughtn't associate with them.

Define "associate." If you're speaking of co-operation, from a professional standpoint, I would agree. However, I fail to see the harm in simple debate. One does not defend their views by refusing to listen to any opposing viewpoints. One listens to the opposing viewpoint, and deconstructs it.

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America is the country of rights, reason, and reality. Its enemies are therefore those reject such principles.  Its enemies are those who accept and further subjugation, mysticism, and subjectivism.

Were Jefferson etc. Objectivists? No. America was founded on political principles similar to Objectivist ones, true, but even the Founding Fathers could be considered enemies of America using your logic, since their thinking had some mystical and subjectivist elements.

A better statement would be "America was once to a large extent the country of rights, reason, and reality."

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almost every American is a traitor to his/her own country. How can that make any sense?

It is possible to betray yourself. In fact, betraying yourself is what defines irrationality.

But I wouldn't be so pessimistic as to say "almost every American" is utterly irrational. When you put reality squarely into their face--when you really make them choose between good and bad--the majority of Americans will not hesitate to act according to their self-interest, rather than knowingly commit suicide. This is in pleasant contrast with, say, the behavior of your average European, who would rather die than show any semblance of being "intolerant" or "socially unjust" or "euroskeptic" or whatever the latest fad is.

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When you put reality squarely into their face--when you really make them choose between good and bad--the majority of Americans will not hesitate to act according to their self-interest, rather than knowingly commit suicide.

Yes, but the majority of them will feel guilty about it, which is a bad sign. :)

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But I wouldn't be so pessimistic as to say "almost every American" is utterly irrational.

I agree, and was not trying to imply that. I was reacting more to RadCap's post, which seem to imply that everyone who is not purely rational is a traitor to America.

Most people will choose self-interest over suicide, sure, but they will not hesitate to sacrifice others. When I discuss Objectivist political ideas with people, the biggest stumbling block that always comes up is the idea that there will be no govt "safety net" for those who are unable to earn a living (for example, because of severe disability). People always ask "are you just going to let them starve to death in the streets?" When they hear that the answer is "If nobody chooses to help them, yes" they without fail insist that there must then be some form of taxes and welfare to help such people. The idea that the needs of some people outweigh the rights of others (ie altruism) is very deeply rooted.

I also doubt that too many Europeans would actually choose death over self-interest. I grew up in Canada and also know a fair number of Europeans. Canadians and Europeans are generally more socialistic, sure, but overall they are not that much different from Americans. Before I moved here I thought the US would be radically different from Canada, but in fact it isn't. The traits that made the US unique when it was founded are largely gone.

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Those ARE, *by definition*, the actions of a traitor. The Democrat violates his allegience to American principles. He betrays those principles for the sake of opposing principles. He attempts to deliver Americans into the hands of the enemy which is subjectivism, mysticism, and dictatorship. And he levies war against those American principles and aids the enemies of those principles in an attempt to conquer and eliminate them.

So how is that any different from a Republican, Libertarian, etc.?

You say that a Democrat "violates his allegiance [sic] to American principles" (which Republicans do as well), yet I do not recall anything about being required to goosestep to any particular ideology as a condition to be an American. In fact, I seem to recall something about Freedom of Speech, etc.

Since a Traitor is someone that commits Treason, it may be useful to review the definition of Treason under US Constitutional Law: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court." (Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution).

While I wholeheartedly agree with attacking vicious irrationality, I am opposed to the improper use of terms.

Incidentally, someone else said something about assuming that "almost every American is irrational"... While that may be true, doesn't it smack of a malevolent universe premise? Even if they are, so what? Isn't the purpose of philosophy to provide a framework within which one can achieve personal happiness and growth and success?

To quote Rand, "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." So I'd say, spend more time learning, growing and achieving and less time in vitriolic tirades about the irrational stupidity of other men.

Since the original topic of this thread is "Objectivism vs. Tolerationists," I'll address that briefly:

"Objectivism" is a closed system authored (copyrighted) by Ayn Rand. It is closed because she is dead. An Objectivist is an Objectivist and a non-Objectivist is a non-Objectivist. Period. Rand wrote Objectivism. If one disagrees with it, they are free to write their own philosophy and call it something else. Why (rhetorical question here) do so many people feel the need to attain unearned credibility by calling their work Objectivism and thus try to ride on Miss Rand's coat tails? If one thinks they can out-do Ayn Rand's work, please do so and put one's own name on it so you get proper credit.

Now, a more relevant question is that of working with people of "common cause" which is where so many get into trouble. Sure, you may have common goals (so you think), but those who seek the same "goal" as you yet do not share the same reasons are potentially the worst possible enemy of your goal. Look at the Republicans and their occasional lip service to capitalism right after voting in a new, massive social program.

I refer to the ever-true point, "In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that has anything to gain." I admit that the heavy influence of "American Pragmatism" (work with whomever will help you achieve your goal-- and do not think about the long term effects of that work) is sometimes difficult to see past, but it is well worth it. What good is a victory if the mystics are standing next to us as co-victors?

Now, to address my final point.... there is great debate over "irrational people" and whatnot. Well, here it is: "There are errors of knowledge and there are errors of conviction-- The first is forgivable, the second is not." Based on this, when one asks, "Is it proper to be friends with a non-Objectivist who has never read Rand?" the answer is "perhaps" and depends on one's own analysis of core values of the person, etc. But when it comes to someone who has "read Rand" missed the point and redoubles their efforts on behalf of the enemy, then that person should certainly be written off as pointless.

I do not judge my friends by their memorization of Rand, I judge them by the content of their character and their actions. Ignoring non-essentials is not "toleration" but ignoring primaries such as an explicit academic support of Marxism certainly would be-- and should be condemned by any rational man.

Edited by Izrunas

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Canadians and Europeans are generally more socialistic, sure, but overall they are not that much different from Americans. Before I moved here I thought the US would be radically different from Canada, but in fact it isn't. The traits that made the US unique when it was founded are largely gone.

I disagree. The strength of American individualism is still here and safe. The Euro/Canadian state-centric mentality is a radical departure from what is here. When push comes to shove, even the most liberal Democrat and most religious Republican will stand up and demand his freedom to govern his own life (even if he does not truly understand what it implies or requires).

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Just a couple quick points. I believe these are relevant due to the scant application of concretes into this debate, while it remains dominated by rampant emotionalism -- on both sides.

If ARI was dominated by intolerant dogmatic authoritarianism, why would ARI members regularly appear on obviously libertarian radio shows like The Peter Mac Show in which the ARI people engage in benevolent and rational discussion. Even when people like Yaron Brook, Alex Epstien, and Andy Bernstien engage in profound disagreement in discussion with Leftists like Thom Hartmann, an air of benevolence and camradarie is always maintained. Check out some audio archives at www.petermacshow.com and from the ARI website.

My second point is for those of you who belong to the Harry Binswanger list (or for those who don't -- sign up!). I have been engrossed in some of the most interesting discussion/debate by reading those posts over the last few months. If anyone wants proof that ARI affiliated Objectivists (ranging from formally to nominally associated with ARI) regularly engage in rational discussion, disagree on application of Objectivism while maintaining an air of decorum and tolerance (within a proper intellectual context) -- this is it.

For me, the whole notion that ARI and Objectivism is like some cult is such a myth. It is so unfounded and spurious that it seems so sad to see Objectvism being hindered more by people calling themselves Objectivists than by those who hold ideas antithetical to Objectivism.

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