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Lorenzo de' Medici (old)

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Posts posted by Lorenzo de' Medici (old)

  1. Much could be said, but I think this is an incorrect usage of the word “tolerance” under any of the ordinarily-accepted senses and definitions.

    The principles of justice -- such as implemented in criminal law as “presumed innocent until proven guilty” (who has the burden of proving a positive), the specific acts and intent that must be proven by the evidence (what must be proven to establish the positive), and even the evidentiary standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” (how the evidence must be evaluated) -- do not mean “suspending” (or any kind of holding in abeyance) of logical presumptions, standards, and judgment. This is not “tolerance” for a person accused of murder or other crime -- the judgment is and remains: “innocent until proven guilty.” Although the particulars may vary, the same principles of justice apply to every "realm."

    In light of the objectivity of

    knowledge and the distinction between error and evil, I will show in Section

    IV that tolerance is the proper attitude toward people we disagree

    with, unless and until we have evidence of their irrationality


    - The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand - David Kelley - Page 16

    The concept of toleration is used in many different contexts, but its core

    meaning is to endure, allow, or put up with something. The concept presupposes

    an object that is tolerated: something wrong, false, threatening,

    painful, disagreeable—something of negative value significance. And it

    presupposes an action one forbears from taking against that object. Where

    no action is possible, tolerance is not an issue. We do not tolerate the law

    of gravity, even when its consequences are inconvenient. To define toleration

    in any context, therefore, we must specify the nature of the particular

    object and action in question.

    In regard to ideas, the object is a person with whom we disagree,

    who holds a conviction we believe to be false. One action we forbear from

    taking is that of silencing the person coercively, or compelling his assent

    to our own ideas. This is political toleration, or freedom of speech and

    conscience, which is not at issue here. We are concerned with tolerance as

    an ethical virtue, a way of dealing with people that goes beyond respect

    for their political rights. In this case, the action we forbear from taking is

    that of condemning and ostracizing the person. It’s important to note that

    the object of toleration is the person, not the ideas per se. Tolerance does

    not mean refusing to express one’s belief that the ideas are false or that

    their consequences are destructive. These issues are part of the normal

    content of discussion and debate among people concerned with ideas.

    Tolerance is a matter of one’s policy toward such people as individuals,

    including one’s willingness to engage in discussion with them at all.

    - The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand - David Kelley - Page 61


    Are you willing to tolerate EC's ideas? Would you be willing to engage him in discussion or will you infer that he is guilty of evasion based on his point of view alone? If you do conclude that he is guilty of evasion, would it not then be appropriate to remove your sanction?

    Is this the approach that you think is livable, practical and moral? Is this what you do in your daily life? Consider this:

    Objectivism, therefore, is "rigid," "narrow," "intolerant" and "closed-minded." If anyone

    wants to reject Ayn Rand's ideas and invent a new viewpoint, he is free to do so—but

    he cannot, as a matter of honesty, label his new ideas or himself "Objectivist."

    - Fact and Value - Leonard Peikoff

    I have no interest in Peikoff's version of Objectivism any more than it seems that EC is interested in a version of Objectivism that accepts homosexuality. When there is disagreement among rational men, I prefer this approach:

    When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

    Ayn Rand - John Galt's speech, Atlas Shrugged, Page 1023

    I would also like to ask why Ayn Rand would have bothered to name an intellectual heir if there is nothing to add or correct in regard to Objectivism? What makes someone right? What makes something consistent with Objectivism? What is more important to a true Objectivist, to be consistent with reality or to be consistent with "Objectivism?" I can only imagine that Ayn Rand named an intellectual heir because she wanted to trust in someone to protect her name. In my prideful opinion, such protection is not possible. Peikoff would have been exremunicated had Rand known that he would sell the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged (which includes the right to make any changes by the new owner). Is that behavior tolerable?


  2. If you want to discuss this topic the debate section of this forum is the proper place for it. I be happy to engage you if you like.

    Hey Sophia,

    Thanks for your participation. I'd be happy to participate in a debate on this issue. However, Brandon opened this thread to discuss Kelley contra Objectivism (Peikoff). As I understand the concept of a forum, I hope I am free to engage in a discussion here. Is there something special about the debate forums vs. this thread?

  3. Therefore I think EC's denial of those supported facts is a willful case of irrationality. I will not speak for Kelley's side of the argument, but I think that Peikoff would look at the situation and label EC as irrational. Peikoff himself was the leading figure within Objectivism to speak out against Rand's position on homosexuals.

    Hey Brandon, :)

    Would you be willing to say that EC is immoral for his convictions relative to his views on the issue of Homosexuality? I agree with the method that Kelley suggests and I am willing to say that EC's position would land in an area for which honest error is unlikely. Therefore, I think his morality is in question based on his position alone. However, I am also willing to assume that EC's motives are not anti-life, anti-reason, anti-Objectivism. He might be willing to change his position, he might be interested in asking those of us that are Gay-Objectivists questions that may contradict or confirm his views. EC may also hold the opinion that we are evaders and be unwilling to sanction us any more than you or I would be willing to sanction him. I am concerned that if both of us assume this attitude that the conversation would be pointless.

    Consider these quotes:

    Of all the points I made in “A Question of Sanction,” none has

    been so thoroughly discussed, or so often misunderstood, as the distinction

    between error and evil. Peikoff has interpreted my position as a defense

    of ivory-tower amoralism, a demand that ideas and intellectuals be

    exempt from morality. This is a complete distortion. But he is right that my

    position is quite different from his.

    - David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 40

    To pass a moral judgment on

    someone for the ideas he holds, it is not enough merely to evaluate those

    ideas by their consequences. We must also consider his motive: we must

    consider whether and to what extent his beliefs are the product of a rational

    process of thought.

    - David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 50

    The principles of justice also determine the limits of toleration.

    Tolerance is not appropriate, as I said in “A Question of Sanction,” when

    a person is willfully irrational. Thus I do not hold, as Peikoff claims, that

    tolerance means suspending moral judgment in the realm of ideas. It means

    suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence.

    - David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 62
  4. Hey Brandon,

    I agree with your post. However, the reason why I pulled the quote from EC is to show that there is often disagreement on what is and is not rational. The purpose of this thread is to discuss how Kelley differs from Peikoff in regard to how one should evaluate a person based on their convictions and beliefs. We can also discuss to what degree ideas hold moral vs. epistemological significance. In this case, can we infer that EC is in honest error or is his position automatically representative of his moral character? As I understand Kelley this quote should apply:

    I believe it is fruitless to define a category of inherently dishonest

    ideas, and then try to list its members. A more accurate approach would be

    to rank ideas on a continuum defined by the likelihood that adherents of

    the idea are honest. At one extreme are issues about which any error is

    almost certainly innocent. As we move along the continuum, the probability

    shifts toward the assumption that the error springs from irrationality,

    and proponents of the ideas must bear an increasingly heavy burden of

    proving their intellectual honesty. The far end of this continuum is the

    open rejection of reason as such.

    - The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 58
  5. Not on a personal level, I don't. Tolerance is also not about chance or impersonal associations because those do not imply a moral sanction for a person's beliefs.

    So on a professional level you are willing to deal with people that hold irrational ideas? Do you think that ideas hold moral significance? If so, I am confused on how you calculate and apply tolerance in your life. I would like to make sure I am being clear on this point. I think that tolerance is only appropriate in regard to errors of knowledge. Toleration is not appropriate in regard to people that are willful evaders and clearly evil.

    If I buy milk or t-shirts from someone, the only thing I'm conceivably sanctioning is the particular business practice they use in the context of that particular transaction.

    Does this mean you would buy milk from the KKK?

    If I call someone my friend, however, I'm saying that I generally condone this person's behavior.

    Do you not judge them for their convictions?

  6. You are confusing the issue by equating tiny concrete issues with broad issues of principle. For instance, I don't associate with *anyone* who steals music, movies, or video games online because they are violating a fundamental moral principle: the idea of property rights. Show me the moral principle that would universally condemn smoking or being overweight. Those issues are a trade-off between, say, your personal enjoyment or *potentially* increased risk of a heart attack twenty years down the road.

    Advocating evil and advocating lifestyle choices that you personally don't like are COMPLETELY different things. Tolerance of the latter can be beneficial to you because you can enjoy, say, an overweight person's company without obsessing over their health or visit your friend in their cluttered house without going insane and attacking the drapes with a flamethrower. Tolerance of the *former* is a DISASTER.

    Actually, you probably associate with and trade with people who believe in the concept of legalized theft. This is what I would consider a huge crumb of irrationality. How do you deal with such people? Is it moral tolerance to choose to deal with such people? I think that the rational is the moral. Lifestyle choices are not exempt from epistemological significance nor moral significance. The purpose of morality is to know how to act, and how to live. A person who degrades his self worth by not respecting his body is acting toward his own self destruction. This includes choosing to allow oneself to be obese. Damage is damage. Smoking is very damaging, and I think any objective pleasure that it offers does not objectively outweigh the hazards it can pose to your health. Now there is a spectrum here, smoking is not as bad as using heroin, and being 5 lb. overweight is not as bad as being 100 lb. overweight. When it comes to toleration, it is not moral to sanction ideas or actions which will in fact lead to your self destruction. But not all false ideas do in fact lead to total destruction. If that was the case than no person would be alive today. Some false ideas have a disastrous effect, some do not.

    In regards to principles:

    "A principle is “a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend.” Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. It is only by means of principles that one can set one’s long-range goals and evaluate the concrete alternatives of any given moment. It is only principles that enable a man to plan his future and to achieve it." - Ayn Rand Lexicon


    Principles do not universally condemn actions because principles are general truths, this means they are contextual. A principle applied regardless of context is rationalism. Every abstraction regardless of how abstract, can and must be tied to reality. That being said, there would be no difference between someone who steals a CD valued at $9.99 vs. any other CD valued at $9.99 from a store. These 2 actions are equivalent. Meaning you do not condemn someone to death for stealing a Beetles CD and just fine someone else who steals a B-52's CD. Now compare the moral crime of stealing a B-52's CD to someone that believes that universal healthcare is good, and moral. Which is worse? Note that in the United States there is no jail time for holding the belief that universal healthcare is good, even though it requires more theft than what we have now. We should also consider that if and when universal healthcare is implemented it would certainly be far more damaging than having a B-52's CD stolen from my or your house. Actions are far more significant than words. This is mostly because people do not know what they really think. They are often sloppy in their thinking, and in their conversations.

  7. Maybe "complete lack of moral worth" was pushing it but what I said in NOT irrational. For a man or woman to be fully moral they MUST act as a man or woman should act since man is a unity of body and mind and all that that implies. Males and females have different genitalia because it is in their nature to be attracted to one another and mate. NOT males and males. To be gay one is at war with one's own nature. This is a fundemental contradiction. How is this irrational? And please think twice before you accuse me of "irrationality" again without at least asking for a clarification of my posts.

    I actually think your whole position is irrational. I am gay, so I know what it means to be gay. And, there are many other Objectivists who are also gay. I find your post to be extremely offensive. I might be willing to talk to you though I think that would require tolerance on my part. Contra to tolerating your ideas I can shun you completely, remove my sanction of you, pass a moral judgment on your character based on your ideas and assume that you are an evader. The point of this thread is, how to deal with others who you regard as irrational and immoral. When it comes to morality, do you consider degree and measurement or do you think in terms of black and white? Based on the issue of homosexuality and its rational and moral significance I think your ideas are fundamentally false. You are free to choose if you would like to have an exchange of thoughts with me or anyone else, I also have this choice. The point is that there is often much disagreement between what is and is not rational. It is not always easy to remember that knowledge, values and morality is contextual.

  8. It's a good point and one that I agree with. You are immoral if you intentionally express an irrational idea or do some sort of intentional irrational action.

    There is a difference between honest error and being immoral. In either case though, no matter to what degree of irrationality, intentional or unintentional, there is absolutely no excuse why one should tolerate the irrational. The irrational can lead to nothing good and nothing moral, it only leads to bad and can ultimately lead to immorality. One shouldn't tolerate the irrational, one should challenge it at the beginning.

    Why would anyone tolerate the rational or the moral? Toleration is something that is practiced in reference to something for which you dislike, otherwise tolerance would not even be an issue. What does it mean to not to tolerate something? Tolerance is not moral agnosticism, one must judge before one can tolerate. Essentially I am asking what response is appropriate based on the degree of irrationality? I would be willing to say not all degrees of irrationality will lead to death or even misery. For example I think smoking is irrational, I think not staying fit is irrational but are slightly over weight people immoral? Should I not tolerate their extra 5 lb. of body fat?

    Take a look at your life for the past 3 days and write down what products you have purchased, who you have chosen to deal with and I'd like to see how you can say you have not tolerated irrationality even in the smallest degree.

    Objectivism rejects the practice of mercy, but we also reject the practice vengeance. This means treating people justly as they ought to be treated based on their actions. This means to consider measurements and degree. A petty thief is not the same as a murder.

    I would also like to question in practical terms how you can disregard motives when it comes to moral judgment?

    Consider the following:

    A Dr. that gives someone a medication. The intention is to help that person, unknown to that Dr. the person is severely allergic to the medication and dies.

    Is this the same as someone who willfully wants to kill someone to steal their property, who rejects individual rights altogether?

    In my opinion motive does make a big difference when it comes to moral and legal judgment.

  9. I would also like to note that The Basic Principles of Objectivism Course by Nathaniel Branden has been advertised on ObjectivismOnline.net before from others without any negative comments directed towards the material or the lecture series. And as a matter of fact, an introduction to Efficient Thinking by Barbara Branden is included in that series as well. The complete lecture series on Efficient Thinking is very interesting both from a historical perspective and in content. If you have never heard it before, I highly recommend it.


    "Nikki Allen has started a group in Grapevine listening to Nathaniel Branden’s original audio course on the philosophy of Objectivism. It’s probably not too late to join this one, either! For more information, you can contact Nikki via meetup.com at http://aynrand.meetup.com/71/member/1623018/"

  10. This is an original lecture that was approved by Ayn Rand before her division with the Brandens. Please note these statements from The Objectivist - May, 1968 "To Whom It May Concern" By Ayn Rand:

    "This is to inform my readers and all those interested in Objectivism that Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden are no longer associated with this magazine, with me or with my philosophy.

    I have permanently broken all personal, professional and business association with them, and have withdrawn from them the permission to use my name in connection with their commercial, professional, intellectual or other activities.

    I hereby withdraw my endorsement of them and of their future works and activities. I repudiate both of them, totally and permanently, as spokesmen for me or for Objectivism.

    The reasons are as follows."


    "It is important, at this point, to state the exact nature of my relationship to NBI and to THE OBJECTIVlST.

    NBI and its various affiliates (NBI Book Service, NBI Communications, NBI Press, NBI Theater) were organized and owned entirely by Mr. Branden (with the participation of Mrs. Branden). I had no business or financial interest in any of these corporations and no part in their management. My interest was strictly and exclusively intellectual: I permitted Mr. Branden to use my name and my ideas, in the sense that his organizations were to teach my philosophy and could recruit students from among the readers and admirers of my books; I retained intellectual control over the content of what was to be taught."


    "I must state, for the record, that Mr. and Mrs. Branden's writings and lectures up to this time were valid and consonant with Objectivism. I cannot sanction or endorse their future work, ideas or ideological trends."


    - Donovan A

  11. The Culture of Reason Center, Dallas, Texas



    CD Audio Lectures

    by Barbara Branden

    Efficient Thinking is being offered with the written consent of Barbara Branden.

    Friday August 22nd through January 23rd, 2008. (All Lectures begin at 7:00 p.m.)

    Admission: $5.00 per class. All payments are non-refundable. Each payment is due on the day of class. In the event of inclement weather or an emergency, we reserve the right to cancel or reschedule. Lectures are for adults only. Children are not permitted on the premises. Participants are expected to make childcare arrangements. Thank you.

    For location address and or any further questions, please call 214-263-2002 or Email: [email protected]

    This course will run weekly on Friday evenings at 7:00 pm beginning August 22nd 2008

    This course includes discussions on the following issues: Why a science of thinking is necessary — the relation between efficient thinking and intelligence — the philosophical base of efficient thinking — the nature of intellectual focusing — the various levels of focusing — the problem of concentration — the nature of the subconscious — the subconscious as a "Univac" — the proper use of the subconscious — the psychology of "inspiration" — the effect of repression on thinking. The nature of the conceptual level of consciousness — the nature of intelligence — the destroyers of intelligence — thinking in essentials — the destructiveness of treating emotions as tools of cognition — the manner in which wishes and fears can distort the thinking process — "emotional-perceptual" thinking. The importance of knowing the source and validation of one's concepts — the role of integration in thinking — forms of the failure of integration — evasion as the sabotaging of consciousness — common aberrations in thinking and consequent mental habits — the inability to think in principles — the misuse of abstractions — the "socialized consciousness" and the destruction of language — failures of discrimination in thinking — the error of intellectual "package-dealing" — the danger of false axioms. Psychological causes of inefficient thinking: the surrender of the will to efficacy; failure of self-esteem; the "malevolent universe" premise; "social metaphysics" — the source and conditions of intellectual certainty.

    August 22nd An Introduction to Thinking (50:15)

    August 29th An Introduction to Thinking Part 2 (50:54)

    September 5th Focusing and Problem Solving (49:30)

    September 12th Focusing and Problem Solving Part 2(45:50)

    September 19th Automatic Mind Functions (49:50)

    September 26th Automatic Mind Functions Part 2 (46:50)

    October 3rd Conceptual Level of Consciousness (47:09)

    October 10th Conceptual Level of Consciousness Part 2 (46:15)

    October 17th Conceptual Level of Consciousness Part 3 (49:10)

    October 24th Conceptual Level of Consciousness Part 4 (48:00)

    November 7th Emotions As Tools of Cognition (50:50)

    November 14th Emotions As Tools of Cognition Part 2 (49:58)

    November 21st Language and Definitions (50:00)

    December 5th Language and Definitions Part 2 (46:20)

    December 12th Common Aberrations in Thinking (50:07)

    December 19th Common Aberrations in Thinking Part 2 (45:35)

    January 9th The Fallacy of The Stolen Concept (68:39)

    January 16th Causes of Inefficient Thinking (53:00)

    January 23rd Causes of Inefficient Thinking Part 2 (45:00)

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