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Everything posted by necrovore

  1. As far as "defining Leftism," Peikoff gives a hint in The DIM Hypothesis. He provides a long passage in "Basic Consistency of the Big Three." It's a good lesson in thinking in essentials -- which is to say, identifying which facts are essential to a concept and which are non-essential. Of course, Peikoff here is concentrating on his specific purpose, which is to identify the greatest philosophers and the nature of their influence. But what he's doing here is the same thing anyone would have to do to integrate any concept, particularly concerning a concept that describes someone's ideas. First, when you're talking about Leftism, a Leftist is a sort of person, and that provides the "genus" of the definition, but also raises the problem where, when you're talking about people, they can embrace all sorts of ideas, some of which can be mutually contradictory. You can define Leftism as such-and-such set of ideas, and then you can identify somebody as a Leftist, as a person who has fundamentally embraced Leftist beliefs, and then you can often find a place where that particular Leftist has spoken out against some facet of Leftism. (Noam Chomsky was referenced previously as being a Leftist who opposes some Leftist views.) There are Democrats who have occasionally spoken out (and even ruled or voted) in favor of freedom instead of taking what you might think would be the more consistently Leftist course. However, this does not invalidate the definition of Leftism as such, just like Aristotle's own contradictions don't invalidate or weaken the real definition of Aristotelianism. So what is Leftism? What is distinctive about it? It's not as broad as a philosophy; it's more narrow; it pertains only to politics. By etymology, a "Leftist" is merely somebody whose party sits on the left side of the chamber. But what kinds of ideas typify the political beliefs of those people? I think what's distinctive about Leftism is its particular view of the role of government -- namely, that the government should maintain controls over people, in order to make sure that society is altruistic. (By that definition, a person can be a Leftist without supporting dictatorship, and that seems correct. However, dictatorship is the most consistent implementation of Leftism...) A related question is, what is Rightism? What is distinctive about that? (Here I'll look at "Rightists" meaning "Republicans.") Far too often, Rightists tend to embrace Leftist ideas and cave in to the demands of the Left, usually because of altruism. But in some ways that's like Aristotle's Platonic element. I'd say that, if you set that aside, Rightism believes that a free economy will make society more prosperous for everyone. However, Rightists also believe that government has a role in enforcing morality, and that morality cannot be justified by facts, but only by the supernatural. In fact, I think this is the deeper reason they cave to the Left: their supernaturally-justified morality is fundamentally altruistic and therefore in agreement with the Left -- but they oppose dictatorship as antithetical to a free economy. So they have an unresolved contradiction. One way out of this contradiction for the Rightists is to move to the Left. The other way would probably be to embrace Objectivism, but that requires tossing out the supernatural.
  2. To my mind, a platform is something different from, say, a magazine. If you have a set of ideas that you would like to promote, a magazine is more appropriate: you can solicit submissions (either from the general public or only from specific people), evaluate them, and publish only the ones you like. You can also write stuff yourself and publish it in your magazine. I suppose two examples would be Marc Da Cunha running Capitalism Magazine, and Craig Biddle running The Objective Standard. When you decide to create a platform instead, you are creating something different. It's the Internet equivalent of opening a bar or a speakeasy, where people can come and talk with other people, and all you do is provide the facility. While you might advertise an affiliation with certain ideas in the hope of attracting people who want to talk about those ideas, you can't really control the details of what they say. If you want that level of control, then you need to run a magazine instead. Sometimes when you run a bar or a speakeasy, some people can get rowdy and disruptive, or do inappropriate things, and it's proper in those cases to ask them to leave. If people are disruptive repeatedly, they can even be asked to leave permanently. However, I think it would be inappropriate for the owner of a bar to listen in to people's conversations and kick out well-behaved people merely because, as the owner, he doesn't like or agree with what they are taking about. The bar owner is within his rights -- it's his bar, after all -- but I wouldn't want to go to a bar like that. (What would you think of an auditorium owner inviting a bunch of people over for a "debate" with him, and then when they start to win the argument against him, using logic and evidence, he asks them to leave? ...) I also think it would be inappropriate for the phone company to listen in on people's calls and cancel their service if they say anything the phone company disapproves of. The company may be within their rights, but it's doesn't seem to be a good thing to do. I think the law should (and sometimes does) recognize that, by default, the person who visits a bar or a (legal) speakeasy, or who uses a telephone, has a right to expect that he or other people would not be kicked out or disconnected because of his or their expressed views -- and on the other hand, the bar or speakeasy owner, or phone company, wouldn't be liable for what his customers say. This is why such things as "common carrier status" are supposed to exist. It is common for laws to recognize that certain situations are commonly assumed by default. You are still free to run things in the non-default way, but you would have to inform people if you are doing so. (To do otherwise could be interpreted as fraud.) An example of such default assumptions is weights and measures: if two people enter into a contract, and the contract specifies "kilograms," they have to agree on what a kilogram is. If the contract doesn't specify otherwise, then it can be assumed that the standard kilogram is being used. There are other examples, though, including, for example, if someone buys food, it should be safe to assume that the food is safe to eat, or that if it's unsafe, both parties to the contract know about that characteristic and agree to it. If you run the sort of bar that kicks people out for enunciating certain views, then you'd probably have to post a sign so that people know that, and what the objectionable views are, before they come in. Ideally, if you choose to exercise editorial control over what people say, then you also assume liability for it, but if you don't exercise the control, you shouldn't have the liability. I think that's what Section 230 was supposed to do, but apparently it isn't working right, because there are now too many companies who are exercising editorial control while claiming that they are absolved from any liability for that control. So what standards should you use to ban someone or delete a post? Do it only if they are making the service unusable (the way rowdy people fighting in a bar would make it unusable for the regular customers). If you want editorial control, start a magazine.
  3. Moderation and censorship are not the same thing. Slashdot for example has an excellent moderation system; people moderate each other's posts, meta-moderation makes sure that moderation is fair, and trolls get voted down and hidden, but you can still see the downvoted troll posts if you want. Censorship, by contrast, is when a person deliberately tries to prevent someone else from obtaining information. That's my definition. This can be an infringement of rights in some cases (e.g., if you want to go to the bookstore to buy a book, but I stop you), but it can also not be (e.g., if I own the bookstore and decide not to carry the book or even order it -- or if I buy up all the copies of the book in town, and burn them, so that you can't get one.) Even in cases where censorship isn't an infringement of rights, I still think it's bad. I have the right to buy TVs and smash them to bits, too, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. I would also argue that even deliberate removal of information isn't necessarily censorship. Motive has to be considered. If I refuse to sell a book in my bookstore because I don't want you to read it, that's censorship, but if I receive death threats and decide to remove the book to stay alive, then I don't think that's censorship on my part, although in some cases it could be appeasement or cowardice. (I guess it depends on how much the police have been defunded.) The people issuing the threats are performing censorship, though. It also wouldn't be censorship if I decided not to carry a book in my bookstore because it wouldn't sell, or because it was four feet tall, heavy, or super-expensive, or something like that. However, there are also cases where you can argue about what someone's real motive is in not carrying a book.
  4. If you were right then the term "self-censorship" would only be able to mean "the government censoring itself." But it is merely a terminological point. I prefer to call "government censorship" just that. I also think there should be a term for when private citizens move to block others from having information, and though it may be legal and not an infringement of anyone's rights, there still needs to be a word for it. In many cases it is very rude behavior, and censorship is also not the kind of behavior one would expect of a person who is confident in the rightness of their ideas. It's also a non sequitur to presume that, just because a person holds a certain idea, even a badly mistaken one, that they are rude or obnoxious or toxic or whatever. It's fine to remove posts that are merely rude or obnoxious (or illegal), and even fine to ban people who seem to only produce those kinds of posts, but it's not fine to ban people on the basis of their ideas and then claim that it's because such ideas must necessarily lead to rudeness or obnoxiousness. (I suppose the sole exception would be if someone's idea specifically was that they should have the right to be rude or obnoxious on someone else's dime, but even then they'd have to try to put that idea into actual practice in order for me to think they should be banned.) An election can be stolen without "widespread and pervasive" fraud. Sometimes just a few thousand well-placed fraudulent votes can be enough to flip the outcome.
  5. I've been thinking about this overall topic for a while, and I am beginning to think that Leftism is indeed the greater evil. My reasoning might be different from Bernstein's, though. (I read his article but I was never able to watch the debate.) To review what Peikoff said in OPAR: Objectivism holds that existence has primacy over consciousness, but most philosophies hold the opposite, i.e., that consciousness controls existence. For them, the question becomes one of whose consciousness controls existence, and the classical answers are: God, society, or oneself. I've posted before that "each variant of the primacy of consciousness has its own political party." (In the USA.) So the Republicans believe that God's consciousness controls existence, the Democrats believe that society controls it, and the Libertarians believe that one's own consciousness controls it. But the interesting question is, what happens when the facts of reality contradict the primacy of consciousness viewpoint -- when you hold one of these beliefs, and existence is "resisting" you, what do you do? If your own consciousness controls existence then you'd seek to control existence by changing things in your own mind. As a result, you'd probably be willing to entertain just about any idea, just to see how it affects your reality. If your current ideas don't work, you just keep looking. (This has a superficial similarity to the Objectivist approach -- but it lacks the requirement that your ideas have to conform to reality. Instead it expects that reality shifts and changes according to whatever ideas you hold.) If God's consciousness controls existence -- and existence resists you -- then too bad: you can't control God. All a religionist can do is "accept God's will," or pray and ask Him to change it. Religionists are infamous for trying to force others to "accept God's will," and this is why they take it upon themselves to punish sinners and so forth, but they do not believe that this actually changes reality. They merely believe they are demonstrating their loyalty to God by acting on His behalf. (He could as well act on His own, but why wait?) From an Objectivist perspective, there is a big loophole in a religionist's views: if you can demonstrate that reality is really a certain way, then they will be forced to concede that God must be allowing that, and then they must accept it. I think this loophole is what provided Aquinas an opening. First, he could demonstrate that man has the capacity for reason. (So God must have allowed that. Why?) Second, he could demonstrate that the behavior of reality (which, for a religionist, is an aspect of the "mysterious" will of God) could actually be determined by reason. Aquinas's conclusion was that God would not have allowed man to possess reason if it were any threat to Him. So the path was open to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Of course, a religionist may be persuaded to accept reality for the time being, but sometimes they will pray fervently for God to change it, and sometimes they will have so much faith that God is going to change it for them, that they start acting to cash in on the change before God makes it, e.g., "I can print unlimited money without causing inflation because I have some pull with God, and He'll change the laws of economics for me, because I'm His faithful follower -- you'll see!" And in fact the virtue of "faith" encourages such behavior. To believe in God means to believe that God is going to change things before he does. (And then He never does, and disaster ensues, and they shrug and say, well, God's will be done.) There are also cases where a religionist might think that his knowledge has come directly from God and therefore supersedes reality. However, facts are stubborn things. But then I come to the Leftists. If society's consciousness controls existence, then you would seek to control a non-compliant reality by controlling society more. If reality is non-compliant, then it must be because too many people are thinking the wrong way. I think this is why leftists are obsessed with influencing and controlling society, and why their beliefs naturally lead to dictatorship. They have to control the thinking of large numbers of people, because that's how they seek to control reality. And if reality continues to disobey, they tighten the controls on society even more.
  6. That is a non sequitur. It's not "undermining standards of rationality" to refuse to dismiss evidence that other people want dismissed. (In fact, I'd say it's the virtue of independence at work.) It certainly isn't "actively promoting subversion." Saying "the election was stolen" doesn't say what to do about it. As Peikoff puts it in The Ominous Parallels: As I've said before, I think storming the Capitol was a horribly bad thing to do (so bad, in fact, that I think it's a lie to call the perpetrators "Trump supporters," because what they did did not actually support Trump), but just because some people try to enact a very bad solution to a problem doesn't mean we should deny the existence of the problem. Even if you don't think the election was stolen, the fact that reasonable people think it was, indicates that there is too much doubt about the accuracy of the results. There are good reasons for such doubt and it's a mistake to dismiss those reasons. The correct thing to do is to come up with a better solution. This might mean developing ways to ensure the integrity of future elections, and putting them into practice. Some state legislatures are already doing that. (I think it's telling, though, that HR 1 systematically does the exact opposite, making it easier for the Democrats to steal future elections. If it passes, it will severely undermine confidence in those elections, and in the government as a whole. It also makes the Democrats look even more guilty of stealing the last election, because it systematizes the exact same methods they were previously accused of using to fraudulently enhance their vote counts in certain key states.) I think censorship, including self-censorship of this kind, is evasion. Contradictions cannot exist in reality. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect one's knowledge, including philosophy, to integrate all facts without contradiction. That's one of the main tenets of Objectivism. I was raised as a Christian and with the edicts that you shouldn't read certain books, listen to certain music, or watch certain movies. As a teenager I realized this was in contradiction with the First Amendment: if people aren't supposed to see certain things or hear certain things, why is "freedom of speech" there? What justifies it? Christianity doesn't have a good answer for this. Christians claim that "America is a Christian nation" but many of the ideas that the Constitution rests upon do not come out of the Bible. Leftism doesn't have a good reason for the First Amendment either. Leftism is just secularized Christianity anyway. But those who think that people's thoughts create reality, think that, in order to remove something undesirable from reality, they need only remove it from people's thoughts, by censoring it. Censorship does not work. The underlying reality is still there. But more to the point, for Objectivists, censorship isn't necessary. If you hold that the complete integration of your knowledge is both necessary and possible, then you don't have anything to fear from the new facts you might learn.
  7. I've actually tried that, and it's surprising how often it is that the most fundamental disagreement is in metaphysics. Too many people believe in the primacy of consciousness.
  8. Why would the "applicability and practicality of Objectivism" have anything whatever to do with what the "vast majority of people" think or do? It's usually impossible to consider a single political issue in isolation because "controls necessitate further controls." Closed borders will often appear necessary because of other bad government policies, such as welfare statism, or failure to fight wars of self-defense. In order to open the borders, the other bad policies have to be unwound first; then, closed borders would no longer be necessary. I do think it would be suicidal to open the borders without unwinding those bad policies, though. Anybody can propose a new philosophy, but I don't see the need. I don't think there are any issues with Objectivism. There are issues with people, though -- they reject the philosophy for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they accept it for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they advocate it incorrectly, or apply it incorrectly. There are also issues that are simply complicated, and it might take a lot of work to apply Objectivism to those issues.
  9. Craig Biddle (of The Objective Standard) suggested that the left-right spectrum be slightly redefined, so that the "right" was associated with freedom from the coercion of other people, and the "left" is associated with the coercion. I generally like that idea.
  10. I don't think it's right to call them "Trump supporters." They may have been wearing the logos but their actions did not support Trump, either in fact or in theory. If a bunch of idiots put on Ayn Rand paraphernalia and went on a rampage -- would it be right to constantly refer to them as "Objectivism supporters"? As if all supporters of Objectivism are like that? As if Objectivism supports rampages like that?
  11. I condemn them regardless of what they advocated for. Some of them were Antifa and I think it's wrong to evade that. Why should Republicans and Trump be embarrassed? They didn't do it. They didn't ask for it. They couldn't have benefited from it. Their ideas don't support it. They can't control, or be responsible for, the choices or actions of other people. If a bunch of idiots wear Ayn Rand paraphernalia and go on a rampage, should Objectivists be embarrassed? Why? Isn't it collectivism to say that if some members of a group do something, all the members of the group are responsible?
  12. I do want to add one more thing. People are asking whether now is the time for violence -- or if not now, when. I think Ayn Rand already answered that question: the initiation of force is wrong, but retaliatory force is a "moral imperative." The Democrats are getting more and more abusive toward Republicans. Some of this is through the government and some of it is through "cancel culture" and riots and the like. Now that they are in power, this will probably continue. I could be wrong -- the Democrats are divided into moderates and extremes. However, the moderate position is inconsistent, so I expect the extremists to be able to dominate. When the Republicans decide they have had enough abuse, when they realize they have nothing to lose, the correct thing for them to do is not to engage in the use of force, but to walk away. That would amount to a "secession" if you want to call it that. The Declaration of Independence was the same kind of thing -- it was not a declaration of war. It is possible to have a peaceful secession. "Brexit" was a peaceful secession, and there's been talk of a "Texit," too, if Texas secedes. Texas would probably be joined by many other states. The last time secession happened was the Civil War. However, the South was seceding in order to infringe rights (by maintaining slavery) and not to preserve them, and that's fundamentally different. Of course Lincoln said that he didn't care about slavery and that his purpose was to "preserve the Union," but that only means he did the right thing for the wrong reasons. The Democrats basically want to reintroduce slavery, but in a different form. As such I think the Democrats would refuse to let the Republicans go. If the Republicans walk away and the Democrats shoot them in the back, then it will have been the Democrats who started the war. It is unfortunate that the Republicans don't have enough of an intellectual framework to create a rigorous new Constitution for themselves. If they base it on religion, as they probably will, then they're going to have significant problems before long. They would do well to imitate the Founding Fathers. If they allow free speech, it is still possible for problems to be corrected. However, if the Democrats are enough like Nazis, they might be able to make it as hard for Republicans to secede as it would have been for the Jews to "secede" from Nazi Germany. A secession requires significant organization, and that requires state governments to organize it. If state governments are unwilling or unable to organize such a thing, then expect millions of people to try to flee the United States. (Then Mexico might pay for the wall after all...)
  13. I think David Kelley was saying that you can condemn an action but you have to "tolerate" an idea. Peikoff's position is the correct one, I think: you can, and must, condemn an idea on the basis of the actions to which it necessarily leads (and the results of those actions). However, where I differ from you seems to be, I don't think the ideas of Trump or Republicans necessarily lead to the storming of the Capitol. For one thing, Trump and the Republicans have been supporters of "law and order" all through the BLM and Antifa riots, and even through the election challenges they tried working "through the system" all the way to the end. Storming the Capitol was not a "law and order" action at all (and in fact it interrupted their effort to work through the system). So while I condemn the actions of the Capitol rioters, I can't condemn Trump or Republicans for it, because their ideas don't lead to it. Nor would their ideas be supported by the aftermath of such a thing. The Leftists, on the other hand, do not have any qualms about starting up riots and other lawlessness, and they benefit from such things. There are plenty of reasons to condemn Republicans, such as their attachment to religion, but this is not one of them.
  14. How so? (I haven't read Fact and Value in a while, but I remember disagreeing with it.)
  15. I think I'm pretty familiar with OPAR and the section on the arbitrary in particular. If I go with the idea that it was all a bunch of frenzied Trump supporters, then that leaves me unable to explain the presence of the Antifa and BLM people. If some Antifa and BLM acted as "agents provocateur," I'm unable to explain why Trump supporters would listen to them. Even if they lied online and said they were Trump supporters, some of them were dressed as Antifa and BLM people even at the Capitol, which ought to have tipped off any real Trump supporters. It would have been a case of "strange bedfellows" at the very least. It just doesn't make sense. I suppose the interesting thing here is this: If the storming of the Capitol follows logically from mistaken ideas of the Right and of Trump, then the people who did the storming would have to have been following that logic, which means they would have to have been acting rationally (although mistakenly). On the other hand, if the people who did the storming of the Capitol were not rational, then you can't claim that their actions follow from any ideas at all, so nobody's ideas can be blamed. Such people become like the creepy serial killer types who claim they are Stephen King fans. Stephen King (or his ideas) cannot properly be blamed for that. It's even arguable that, if the people storming the Capitol weren't rational, they would have lost (or given up) their capacity to understand what being a Trump supporter even means, so they would no more be Trump supporters than the wild animals they were acting like. You could say that the Left can't be blamed either, that they, too, might have creepy people among their fans. And that's true as far as it goes -- but another phenomenon is at work. There are intelligent people of the Left who know how to manipulate and use irrational people for their own ends, and they do that constantly. BLM and Antifa are examples, but there are other examples going back 100 years. So it's not unreasonable to say that they've done it in this case, even if I can't find their specific plans, because they've done it so many other times. This is like the Reichstag Fire, which was a false-flag orchestrated by National Socialists in order to gain power. (And it was not exposed until after the war!) This kind of thing is something that only the Left does, too, because the ends of the intelligent people of the Right cannot be advanced by lawless rioting like that. Even the deeply religious people among the Right want to work through the system rather than "burn it down." I can't help but observe that "burn it down" is not something Trump has said, but people on the Left seem to say it all the time. "Useful idiots" are only "useful" to the Left. It is part of a judge's job to make sure that his rulings are intelligible to laypeople, especially when those rulings have large-scale consequences like this. If judges don't do that, then they should not be surprised when laypeople don't trust their rulings. But similarly they could get that trust back by explaining what they are doing. I think some judges just flat-out didn't respect Trump or his claims, so they thought they could reject those claims without examining them. Such a thing is a slap in the face of people who have genuine concerns about possible wrongdoing. A dismissal without examination does not, and should not be expected to, settle the issue. (And other judges, as I said, may have been afraid to give due consideration to those claims.) Just because I disagree with certain rulings doesn't mean I distrust the judiciary in general. Trusting the judiciary shouldn't mean that you have to agree with all their rulings, either. "A judge puts himself on trial every time he pronounces a verdict." I had evidence, and I developed a theory from that, and more and more evidence came in, so I determined that the theory was "possible" or even "likely." I still regard it as unproved, but I can't disregard the evidence I have seen.
  16. If someone is taking deliberate steps to conceal or destroy evidence of a crime, that concealment can itself be used as evidence of the crime. (Not proof, but evidence.) It can also be a crime on its own -- "obstruction of justice" or the like. The whole reason for having observers in the first place is to ensure that the election is fair. If the observers are not allowed to do their job, then that speaks volumes about the fairness of the election in question.
  17. What you're saying would be true -- if there were a way to guarantee that there was only one Biden vote for each Democrat in Detroit. Since outside observers were not allowed, there's no way to make that guarantee. It would have been easy for them to slip in thousands of Biden votes which don't correspond to actual voters at all, and that could have been enough to flip Michigan, and if similar fraud could be accomplished in other states, that could have been enough to flip the election.
  18. Some people seem to have a misunderstanding about the nature of the arbitrary. A statement (or a proposition, as logic calls it) can be true, false, or arbitrary. A true statement corresponds to reality. A false statement can be connected to reality but is found not to correspond to it. An arbitrary statement cannot be connected to reality. However, a fact is not a statement. Some people seem to think that if you cannot integrate a fact into your worldview, then you are entitled to dismiss that fact as "arbitrary." That is absolutely wrong. All facts are true; no fact can ever be "arbitrary" (or "false"). In order to achieve objectivity you must integrate all known facts into your worldview. It is only on this basis that you can claim, for example, that capitalism is the only moral social system. If you start leaving out facts, then the difference between capitalism and communism comes down to a question of which facts to include and which to leave out, and that effectively puts them on an equal footing, and that's why non-Objectivist defenders of capitalism have been historically ineffectual. Integrating all facts is exactly what I am trying to do, in this issue as in all issues. On the basis of the evidence I have, I still think it's likely that the Capitol riots were in fact led by Leftists (that's what I mean when I say that it's a false-flag operation), because the Left had everything to gain from them and the Right had everything to lose. The courts refused to hear Trump's arguments against the election for a variety of reasons, but they never said that Trump's claims were false. Rather, they refused to hear them. From what I understand, the refusals are for bad reasons -- like the idea that "this one case wouldn't be enough to alter the outcome," when all the cases together would have been enough. Another was "you want us to disenfranchise all these voters by overturning the result?" as if fraud doesn't disenfranchise anyone. That's why these cases should have gone to the Supreme Court. The case brought by Texas and those other states should have been heard. If Trump's claims really were false, then the courts should have demonstrated that, but they didn't. There was a report that Chief Justice Roberts didn't want to hear the Texas case because he was afraid riots would break out. That report is disputed. Still, there is a general atmosphere of intimidation, created in part by the Antifa and BLM riots, and in part by cancel culture and de-banking people and a lot of other things. So that report about Chief Justice Roberts would only be another point in the same long line, and if it's not there, then the other points still form that line. I think it's possible that a lot of judges may have been afraid because of that atmosphere. Some politicians have had rioters at their houses, too. Even the President himself is not safe from it. The Congress was another chance for Trump. It was a small chance, but it would have been to Trump's benefit to allow it to play out normally, even if he lost. If, instead of giving up after the first state, Trump's supporters had challenged all the states, and lost, then all Trump's claims would have been put into the Congressional Record, and Congress would have had a role-call vote on it, and that also would have been in the record. That would have been important. The voters could have used all that information when deciding whom to vote for in the next Congressional election. Instead -- another riot broke out, which fits right in with the general atmosphere of intimidation that already existed. Who was intimidated by the storming of the Capitol? The Republicans, of course, and especially the ones who supported Trump the most. They were blamed and shamed, and they were intimidated out of considering Trump's challenge of last resort, so they gave up. If it had been their idea, would they have reacted in such a way? It seems like most of the supporters of violence in Congress, who are all on the Left, by the way, are proud when the violence is coming from their side, and they stay proud of it, and they are willing to go on record to that effect. The Republicans, not so much. Even now, the atmosphere of intimidation continues. We even see it here on Objectivism Online! It makes sense that Trump wanted a lot of people to lawfully gather outside the Capitol, just to show how many supporters he had. That was what he was calling for. Just a crowd of people standing there peacefully would have been a sufficient statement. He didn't call for violence. And he wanted his case heard -- not disrupted. In order to change my mind you'd have to present an argument like this: "No, you're only seeing the trunk of the elephant, here's the entire elephant," or "No, you're seeing the 'face on Mars,' here's the more detailed picture that shows it isn't a face at all." Instead I get arguments from intimidation, and ad hominem claims, including claims that I'm somehow associated with a number of weird groups that I know nothing about because they're saying some of the same things I am. So what? If a murderer (or even just a known liar) says it's raining, am I then obliged to deny it, regardless of the actual weather? I suppose you could try to argue that Trump greatly exaggerated the amount of fraud that occurred and that, even accounting for fraud, Biden won the election legitimately. From there you would have to believe that Trump didn't actually want his cases examined, that he wanted to present them and then sort of snatch them away as a big show, and that the Capitol riots were also arranged by Trump in order to keep the data from even being examined by Congress. Such a theory ignores all the statistical anomalies that I cited months ago, which have not been addressed or explained -- they've been buried. Plenty of evidence was presented that these statistical anomalies were real (except maybe the Benford's Law one, which I'm not sure of) -- so it wouldn't have made sense for Trump to try to prevent them from being heard in court. Also, there were the affidavits by observers who were prevented from observing by various means. (There was also an article on Zero Hedge that I didn't cite, and I should have. It showed how the counts increased over time, so you could see the times when votes were added, and how many votes. There were some significant anomalies there, showing big regular-sized batches of Biden votes being added late at night -- after a long pause which took place at exactly the same time, like 1:42 AM or something [I don't remember the exact time] in four states. As if somebody had to coordinate things and then decide just how many batches to add.) I guess it's just too bad that those anomalies couldn't have been seen by a court -- or even by Congress. As for me, the result is that I see a cloud of suspicion over Biden's head -- and a cloud of suspicion over our whole election system, which could probably be tampered with again in the same way, since, well, it worked before, and the fraud was successfully covered up, at least as far as official channels are concerned. [Edit: rewording up top.]
  19. More evidence that it was a false-flag. Apparently even a CNN reporter was helping to fake it.
  20. You mean like BLM and Antifa supporters being there, being photographed there, and being arrested for being there -- but the media and the Democrats saying that they were all Trump supporters?
  21. What happened to "Question with boldness even the existence of a God"? (Thomas Jefferson) You should be able to question anything. Why won't Democrats allow the question to be asked (or answered)? That's what I want to know. I mean, if they didn't cheat, surely an investigation would prove that, and then the question would be answered, and would go away. But they won't allow an investigation, and they are actively trying to silence people who bring up evidence or even "red flags." Intimidation of witnesses -- or pundits -- is not the kind of thing that innocent people do. What they and you are both saying is, "I'm evading the issue, and you'd better evade it, too -- or else."
  22. Actually, the whole problem with not having a separation of state and economics is that you can't be sure a company is really a private company. You can't tell whether some aspect of the company's behavior is controlled by private interests alone or whether the government is quietly using a carrot and/or stick to obtain behavior it wouldn't otherwise be able to get. Further, the fact that it is hard to determine or prove whether the government is doing anything, is part of the point. Fascism isn't about ownership, anyway, it's about control. So just because a company is privately owned doesn't mean much in a Fascist system. In pure Fascism you might be able to have your name on a piece of property, but the government will control every aspect of what can be done with that property. Having your name on it only means that it's your fault if something goes wrong. The question is, who is really controlling it? Of course in a mixed economy you can have a mixture of people controlling something. You have a situation where a brilliant future billionaire can make deals with the government, and in that way the government allows his business to grow very big, and allows him to grow very rich, and he doesn't have to worry too much about competition or anything like that, he always gets the best deals from other regulated businesses such as banks, and so forth. But in return for this the government gets partial control, and the ability to exercise it behind the scenes, and on a scale as large as the business becomes. People in the government don't appear to be very rich, but if you were to count the value of what they control instead of just what property has their actual names on it, some of them would be far "richer" than any billionaire. This would not be the case if the government were limited to its proper role. So I don't think it's valid to say, "oh, well, all the heating oil companies joined together and boycotted these people and they all froze to death in the cold and died, but there's nothing we can say or do about it because they were all private companies and private companies are free to do business or not according to their own choice. And, hey, being boycotted isn't necessarily even a punishment, anyway. Maybe the dead victims liked being boycotted...." In a free society, the whole idea of people freezing to death because of being boycotted by the heating oil companies would be absurd. Even if the boycott took place, and even if all the heating oil companies joined in, the people would have too many alternatives, such as firewood or electric heat or what-not. Further, if they didn't have alternatives, the heating oil companies would probably realize this and would have a hard time condemning these people to death. If that were really a risk, I think one of the heating oil companies would break the boycott -- or maybe other private citizens would buy heating oil and sneak it over to the boycotted people to help them. Finally, if the heating oil companies did realize that they were condemning people to death, and decided to do so anyway -- why wouldn't that be murder? (Just like, if you're flying in an airplane with someone, and you decide you don't like their company anymore, even if it's your plane, you can't just make them get out...) A Fascist system can make sure the victims don't have any alternatives (and can set up such a situation far in advance). The Fascists, after all, are the types to exercise state power through entities that can claim, "Hey, we are private entities, we have rights!" That's one more way that the government can act by right while requiring everybody else to act by permission. The solution is not to pass a law to force the hands of these companies, but to pass a law to require that the government withdraw its hands.
  23. On another note, I think banning Parler is shameful behavior on the part of AWS (even if it is legal). It means that AWS is much less reliable than they advertise themselves to be -- at least for certain people. I did not realize that Amy Peikoff was the Chief Policy Officer at Parler. I wonder if companies like Parler should start demanding a contractual guarantee that they won't have their service canceled for lawful conduct, no matter how controversial. Would providers be able to make such a guarantee? A provider that did make such a guarantee could take a lot of business away from providers that didn't make it, especially in these controversial times.
  24. There's also the theory that since Senator McConnell fought the stimulus checks, that gave the opportunity to the Democrats to "buy votes" with those checks. If Senator McConnell had decided to side with Trump and hand out the checks, the Republicans would have been on a more even footing. Which is sad, really. Printing checks like that is a violation of the separation of state and economics (which we don't have, but we should want to have). It causes inflation, distorts incentives, and ruins the economy, too.
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