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Peikoff and supporting the Democrats

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Has socialism grown or declined as an intellectual movement since [1982]?

In Ayn Rand's opinion and mine, collectivism is dead as an intellectual ideal. Unfortunately, individualism is yet to be reborn. That is why, politically, we still have a mixed economy with the socialistic part of the mix even stronger than it was in Ayn Rand's day.

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Would you vote for Hillary Clinton over Rudy Giuliani if the Presidential election was this coming week and those two each received their party's respective nomination? If so, why?

I think I would vote for Hillary. Giuliani is essentially, in my view, a RINO with some good rhetoric, who seems to want to continue Bush's foreign policy. When that policy continues to fail, genuine self-defense will be further discredited in people's minds.

The public, I think, is more likely to see through Hillary as an appeaser. In any case, the Republicans will criticize her as such, and perhaps improve their own foreign policy ideas in response.

(This is a substantial departure from my 2004 view)

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In Ayn Rand's opinion and mine, collectivism is dead as an intellectual ideal. Unfortunately, individualism is yet to be reborn. That is why, politically, we still have a mixed economy with the socialistic part of the mix even stronger than it was in Ayn Rand's day.

Yes, that's what I said. (Well, that's what I said that Rand and Peikoff said.)

And that's exactly what makes socialism as an ideology (against: as a practice, as the pragmatic politician's club) even less of a threat today.

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Another stab at this with regards to my favorite Candidate, though I'm not sure if i will even vote for him, Giuliani

* The creation of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

I am not sure on Rudy's position, but he has come off very much as a Secularist when it came to Church and State.

* Two wars of self-sacrifice.

Giuliani has always claimed that we need to be in an offensive war against Islam, not one where soldiers die for Iraqis ETC

* Islamic Fundamentalism has been misrepresented by the Presidency as the "hijacking of a great religion."

But not by Giuliani, unless you can show me a quote stating otherwise

* Appointment of two, relatively young socially conservative (specifically anti-abortion) judges to the supreme court.

It is better, IMO, than appointing some radical leftist, which most Dems would do. Rudy has promised to endorse strict constructionists. Besides, I really don't think abortion is going to fall off the face of America's rights..They got partial birth down, but I don't think they can take it all

* Rise of the "Intelligent Design" movement.

Rudy believes in Evolution

* Ban on Intact Dilation and Extraction (otherwise mislabeled as Partial Birth Abortion).

I am not sure if Giuliani supports Partial Birth, but really, it is nothing I am too worried about...If I ever know a girl who has been unfortunately impregnated by me

* Government funding for scientific research may now be allocated based on religious principles (i.e. the Stem Cell debate).

Rudy has stated he is against such things

* Government funding for "Abstinence-until-marriage" programs has significantly increased to well over $100 million per year.

Not sure of this.

* Being openly religious has become such a necessity to run for office that all of the Democrats are now awkwardly posturing themselves as pious.

Rudy is a Catholic... Catholic is basically like saying " I'm not Christian, but it's a nice tagline to fool you "

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Another stab at this with regards to my favorite Candidate, though I'm not sure if i will even vote for him, Giuliani

Just so that you know, if the election was this coming week, I would be voting for Rudy Giuliani. My main reservation with supporting him is how he wants to continue our military presence in Iraq. I would like to hear what his reasons for doing so are and what he plans to do differently from this current administration.

Giuliani has always claimed that we need to be in an offensive war against Islam

The emphasis is mine. I claim that Rudy Giuliani never said this. Perhaps you can prove me wrong. He has repeatedly emphasized that we need fight an offensive war against terrorism, which is at least a start.

not one where soldiers die for Iraqis ETC

I am going to guess that Rudy Giuliani has never acknowledged the war in Iraq as one of self-sacrifice as well. This would be political suicide when running for the Republican nomination.

Rudy is a Catholic... Catholic is basically like saying " I'm not Christian, but it's a nice tagline to fool you "

I suspect that Rudy's Catholicism is just another instance of political "me-tooism". There is not a single candidate on the Democratic or Republican ballot who is not at least pretending to be religious.

EDIT: I noticed that on Rudy's campaign website he explicitly indicates that he will "appoint strict constructionists like Justices Scalia, ..." Like Justice Scalia!? That sounds like more impediments to abortion rights and more pointless government intrusions into bedroom activity. I hope that this is one campaign promise that Rudy will not keep. Rudy Giuliani has supported abortion rights in the past. I am not sure how seriously to take this.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Rudy is a Catholic... Catholic is basically like saying " I'm not Christian, but it's a nice tagline to fool you "

This brings up an ethical question, would you pretend to be religious to earn votes? Honestly if I was in the running right now I think I would.

Edited by Dorian
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This brings up an ethical question, would you pretend to be religious to earn votes? Honestly if I was in the running right now I think I would.
What you meant to say, I think, is "Dishonestly, I think I would".

I don't know if it is true that you would, but I do believe that many professional politicians would. That is because they only lust after power, and they actually have no principles. They will be staunchly religious todat and staunchly athiest tomorrow, if it gets them votes. They will support unlimited spending today and severe tax cuts tomorrow. They support A and Not-A. Contradictions are no problem for the modern irrational populist politician. You want that? I'll support that. No need to tell me what it is that I'm supposed to support, because that will all change tomorrow, or the next day.

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Yes, that's what I said. (Well, that's what I said that Rand and Peikoff said.)

And that's exactly what makes socialism as an ideology (against: as a practice, as the pragmatic politician's club) even less of a threat today.

I don't think so. Socialism, like any evil, can only win by default or with the sanction and the help of the good. Right now socialism is the default because not even religion has been able to dislodge it from government or academia. If socialism is on the ropes, the last thing we ought to be doing, in my opinion, is to sanction it and help it by voting for socialists.

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I've (sort of) gained an understanding of Peikoff's position, but I'm still not sure I agree with him on the tactical applications. The point is that in principle, the ideas behind religious activity in the U.S. are much more powerful than the ideas behind socialism. Since the ideas are the ultimate driving force, not the individual players, you have to frame your tactics around this ideational base and ignore the nature of the individual players.

As evidence that religious ideas are much stronger than socialist ones (and remember that they are not fudamentally different: in the end the religionists want what the socialists want), Peikoff points to the fact that every major loss of freedom has not occured because of Democratic screaming but because of Republican default. Republicans gave us the prescription health care plan. Republicans destroyed any hope we had of social security reform. Republicans got us into a self-sacrificial war with Iraq.

The line isn't drawn between socialism and religion: it is the line between Ideologically Strong Socialism (Republicans) and Ideologically Weak Socialism (Democrats). In that kind of choice, I understand Peikoff to be saying, you have to go with the Ideologically Weak side. Let's have the democrats, he seems to be saying, precisely because they are scattered, confused, and demoralized, rather than an implacable enemy which is none of those things.

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Betsy said, "Right now socialism is the default because not even religion has been able to dislodge it from government or academia."

Very true. And we will hasten down the socialist road even faster under Republicans. It's not socialism vs. religion. Religion is specifically adopting all kinds of political ideologies and movements that can be subsumed underneath it - such as socialism and environmentalism - both of which have explicit support from the Bible. If anything can give socialism a new lease on life, it's religion.

The real problem is if we get Obama against a religious Republican. That will be a real indication of just how bad things have gotten. As Ayn Rand said, there are limits to voting against.

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The freedom of religion or no religion is a specific right. There is specific details that the Government should enact no laws supporting any one religion. It would be pretty hard for any judge to misinterpret these clauses and a far stretch that could easily be challenged and overthrown by the legislature.

For Christians or any religious people to force religion down the throats of Americans who don't want it would require a constitutional amendment requiring 2/3 of the legislature and 3/4 of the states.

Why do you think the imposition of religion would require an amendment? The majority view amongst Christian nationalists is that there is a constitutional freedom of religion, but not necessarily a freedom from. So what happens if the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, are dominated by judges who interpret the constitution as only protecting freedom of religion? States dominated by Christian nationalists, such as Texas, would be capable of imposing all kinds of religiously motivated laws.

Since the thread is specifically on supporting the Democrats, let me mention this. Giuliani, McCain, and Romney have all promised more judges like Justices Alito and Roberts. As many commentators have noted, the current make up of the court is split down the middle with Kennedy a swing vote. Justice Stevens will be 89 when the next president takes office. If he dies during the next few years, and president Giuliani appoints another justice like Roberts, the court will be dominated by those who are persuaded by the freedom of religion theory.

So maybe Rudy won't do much religiously motivated damage on the national level. But by appointing bad judges, he gives ambitious Christian nationalists more options on the state level.

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General comment:

Peikoff's words were "are unwittingly helping to push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner."

How to quanitfy "frighteningly much sooner?" I say 20 years (subtract 10 for each word). That's five presidential elections. So president Gingrich followed by president Santorum followed by 1 term under a graduate of the Christian homeschool movement. Not out of the question, especially if the country keeps voting those types in because they are afraid the Dems will surrender to al-Queda. That progression wouldn't mean Christian stormtroopers knocking down doors, but it would be an America that is far from comfortable for certain citizens. It wouldn't be a comfortable place for homosexuals, and probably not atheists, either.

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Right now socialism is the default because not even religion has been able to dislodge it from government or academia.

Do you mean "socialism" literally? I don't think you'll have an easy time finding large numbers of academics who are in favor of socialism. Certainly, a majority are in favor of welfare, universal health care, etc. But that's not the same as being in favor of total government planning, i.e. socialism.

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Religion is specifically adopting all kinds of political ideologies and movements that can be subsumed underneath it - such as socialism and environmentalism - both of which have explicit support from the Bible.

Really? Where do you find this 'explicit support?' There are ample examples of where Christ speaks of voluntary charity. Nowhere does he advocate turning this over to the state and making it mandatory. The example of Christ is a voluntary one. Those who choose not to follow it face other-worldly penalties, not worldly ones. In truth, socialism is incompatible with Christianity--but that is a different topic.

There are only two viable political parties in ths country. Objectivists seem as divided as the rest of the country over which party to choose. But by splitting their votes between the two parties, Objectivists only further marginalize themselves. We should pick the party that best supports our values (in my mind, that is the republicans) and work to change that party for the better from the inside.

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Why do you think the imposition of religion would require an amendment? The majority view amongst Christian nationalists is that there is a constitutional freedom of religion, but not necessarily a freedom from. So what happens if the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, are dominated by judges who interpret the constitution as only protecting freedom of religion? States dominated by Christian nationalists, such as Texas, would be capable of imposing all kinds of religiously motivated laws.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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Do you mean "socialism" literally? I don't think you'll have an easy time finding large numbers of academics who are in favor of socialism. Certainly, a majority are in favor of welfare, universal health care, etc. But that's not the same as being in favor of total government planning, i.e. socialism.

For almost all of them, whether they dare name it for what it is or not, that is their ultimate goal and they have been implementing it one step at a time.

As an example, look at Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village. Her goal is for "society" (i.e., the goverment) to be responsible for raising children.

Edited by Betsy
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Really? Where do you find this 'explicit support?' There are ample examples of where Christ speaks of voluntary charity. Nowhere does he advocate turning this over to the state and making it mandatory. The example of Christ is a voluntary one. Those who choose not to follow it face other-worldly penalties, not worldly ones. In truth, socialism is incompatible with Christianity--but that is a different topic.

Socialism is not incompatible with Christianity. Read the epistles and the exhortations of how Christians are to live and what they are to do with their money. it is true that the bible does not advocate handing over ones' money specifically for that purpose so that the state may do it - but rather, that once one is done handing over one's money to Caesar, he hands the rest to God by living in a commune, taking a vow of poverty (and abstinence if it will further God's goals), and spending his life caring for widows and orphans.

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If a man or a group of men choose to live their lives in a commune caring for others, that is no concern of mine. In the context of a free society, men are free to live their lives any way they want. Charity would be vital to the workings of a truly free society, and if people believe that God wishes them to aid those in need, all the better. Nowhere does Christ impose His will upon others. Those who disagree or wish not to part with their money are free to go their own way. That way of thinking is not compatible with socialism. Socialism not only requires, but demands everyones full participation. Those who disagree or wish not to part with their money wind up in gulags.

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Isn't the main point about voting for Democrats of NOT having religion entrenched in actual government positions and serving crucial roles in government programs? Is it not vital that the populace not be reconciled to the idea of religion being an ever present and growing part of government activity, so that we are left with more time to get Objectivism to spread and counter bad ideas on both sides before religion starts closing more minds to rationality on a grander scale than it has so far?

I have heard the argument that voting Democrat will lead to a swing in favour of religion as a reaction to the swill from liberals. That is a non-sequitur, as that is already happening with their blather even while out of power, and liberal cultural swill is already in full swing and going to continue to cause that reaction regardless. What do Dem Presidential candidates have in mind that would cause that increase to such a great extent that would be less preferable than the damage caused by Republicans reconciling people to admixture of religion and government!? I don't see a major increase in NEA funding etc doing that, not when nearly the entire media with its billions to spend is already as liberal as all hell.

I fully agree with Dr Peikoff on this matter, and in turn those who've posted here agreeing with him along with more details. It is religion that is the great enemy, always has been and always will be. Secular socialism IS dying, where what's left is the original altruist morality that was spawned by religion. Kill the altruist morality and its religious and you get both religion and socialism with one stone. It is therefore better to keep religion weaker than it would otherwise be and fight its morality while allowing the mere mechanics of socialism to fester a little longer than it is to engage in a merely pragmatic fight against socialism's mechanics by letting religion tighten its grip in return for possible non-passage of a some regulations and tax hikes.

That being said, I still don't know which party's candidate I'd vote for where I in the US. Given that Presidents are more able to be independent of their parties than Congresscritters, my limited knowledge suggest maybe Republican if Thompson were their candidate (he supposedly keeps his religion as a personal matter?), but if not then I am not sure at all (endorsement from Bush would be kiss of death for a republican candidate). For the legislature I'd want gridlock with the Dems with the slight upper hand.

JJM

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Nowhere does Christ impose His will upon others. Those who disagree or wish not to part with their money are free to go their own way.

Uh, then the religious majority trying to get Roe v Wade overturned so they can impose their morality on all women. What, they're Muslims?

Christ may not have imposed his will on others, but Christians and all religious folk have been trying to do it for millenia.

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What do Dem Presidential candidates have in mind ... that would be less preferable than the damage caused by Republicans reconciling people to admixture of religion and government!?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama, who attended madrasas as a child, wants to raise taxes on American producers to give that confiscated money to Muslim states that sponsor terrorism on the premise that Islamic terrorists murder because they are poor and lack opportunity.

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For almost all of them, whether they dare name it for what it is or not, that is their ultimate goal and they have been implementing it one step at a time.

As an example, look at Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village. Her goal is for "society" (i.e., the goverment) to be responsible for raising children.

Who are "they?" Who advocates explicit socialism, even if they don't name it that? I've not read "It Takes a Village." But I'm skeptical. How advocating increased social services make one a socialist and not a mixed economy pragmatist?

Dorian,

I've got my own copy of the constitution. It's irrelevent what is actually say and means if no one in government cares to enforce it. What happens when all three branches are dominated by those who think the first amendment doesn't forbid government support of religion?

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