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Peikoff and supporting the Democrats

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The Ayn Rand quote is:

One cannot expect, nor is it necessary, to agree with a candidate's total philosophy—only with his political philosophy (and only in terms of essentials). It is not a Philosopher-King that we are electing, but an executive for a specific, delimited job. It is only political consistency that we can demand of him; if he advocates the right political principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours.

A contradiction of that kind will, of course, hamper the effectiveness of his campaign, weaken his arguments and dilute his appeal-as any contradictions undercut any man's efficacy. But we have to judge him as we judge any work, theory or product of mixed premises: by his dominant trend.

A vote for a candidate does not constitute an endorsement of his entire position, not even of his entire political position, only of his basic political principles.

I don't understand how this reasoning is no longer applicable in America.

And if the current proposition against voting for any Republicans is not a direct contradiction of this reasoning, then I'm missing something.

Is this reasoning no longer valid / applicable?

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The vital line that people miss out on is "only in terms of essentials". You have to determine what are the essentials of a given candidate's position, and not just what their talking points are.

Peikoff takes this one step further and identifies broad philosophical trends: the individual candidates don't matter because they are just different mouths for the same party line. He then establishes that we have two party lines: Ideologically Weak Altruism and Ideologically Strong Altruism, etc. See my previous post.

The thing is that the president has to play with Congress to get laws put through, so even if you get a distinctive president that talks a good line you will end up getting a watered-down version of the party line philosophy. Back in 2004 people had hopes that Bush would be able to stumble his way in a better direction. It didn't happen. The core party line asserted itself and Bush went the way of all confused mediocraties that think God tells them what to do.

I doubt Ayn Rand had anything to say specifically on this matter because, as Peikoff said, when she was making her speeches no one could have predicted the incredible comeback religion has made in the past 30 years. It is the new threat. Put the Democrats in power (which I don't think is going to happen) and they are a roadblock to the Republicans and the religious right: their ideology is no more powerfull than it was before so their ability to put through the social "reforms" that they desire is not really any stronger: you've just made them a bigger stumbling block.

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I doubt Ayn Rand had anything to say specifically on this matter because, as Peikoff said, when she was making her speeches no one could have predicted the incredible comeback religion has made in the past 30 years. It is the new threat.

Well, she did speak to it. I was amazed by her comments in The Objectivist Forum in the early 80's just before her death, just how absolutely negative she was on the Republican party in total. She specifically did not vote for Reagan because of his religiosity, almost foretelling her concern of the rise of the religious right.

After getting through TOF, the idea that Rand didn't say anything that was relevant is questionable.

I don't have here, but can see if I can find some passages tonight.

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I doubt Ayn Rand had anything to say specifically on this matter because, as Peikoff said, when she was making her speeches no one could have predicted the incredible comeback religion has made in the past 30 years. It is the new threat. Put the Democrats in power (which I don't think is going to happen) and they are a roadblock to the Republicans and the religious right...

To use your own argument (from the moral judgment thread) - which I thought was brilliant, by the way - you can not predict what an immoral (or anti-moral) person will do. So, what makes you so sure that the Democrats will necessarily be a road block to the religious rights' goals?

Democrats can very easily go along with a growing trend (as these election campaigns have clearly shown), and if they think that this trend will keep getting them (re)elected (i.e. if it has indeed had "an incredible comeback" in society), I don't see any reason why they can not go as far as doing something concrete that that trend demands: i.e. church and state merger policies (especially to prove that their religiosity is real). After all, they do not have any political principles, do they? Can a person who has no principles (even political principles) be depended upon to prevent/block the growth of any particular trend in culture? That would seem like a contradiction to me.

Edited by blackdiamond
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I don't understand how [Ayn Rand's] reasoning [cited above] is no longer applicable in America.

Her reasoning is still incredibly applicable today. As Jennifer essentially argued, we need to focus on judging a candidate by his "dominant trend" or his "basic political principles".

The driving ideology behind the majority of Republicans today is either Neoconservatism (i.e. deficit spending Dick Cheney types who want to spread Democracy militarily) or Compassionate Conservativism (i.e. faith-based governing George W. Bush types).

Democrats seem to be a mixed bag of saving whatever appears to be fashionable. Saving Social Security, saving the Earth from global warming, saving Medicare, saving the lower socioeconomic classes from poverty or demanding a timetabled withdrawal from Iraq. However, the Democrats seem to treat these ideas all as unrelated positions. The Democrats do not seem to bother to lace all of these ideas into a consistent philosophy. Granted there are some signs of attempts from the Democrats. For example, Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village could offer more of a philosophy, but I am only familiar with the basic idea.

When queried on the contemporary political issues (e.g. abortion rights, stem cell research, how to run public schools, dealing with poverty, foreign policy) many Republicans seem to look to their faith for broad philosophical principles to guide their answers. When queried on the contemporary political issues, many Democrats seem to reiterate a few concrete party positions, but do not offer general principles. If Democrats start consistently quoting the Communist works of Marx, the Social Contractists views of Rousseau or the Egalitarianist views of John Rawls for their answers to all political problems, then we should become very afraid.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Her reasoning is still incredibly applicable today. As Jennifer essentially argued, we need to focus on judging a candidate by his "dominant trend" or his "basic political principles".

The driving ideology behind the majority of Republicans today is either Neoconservatism (i.e. deficit spending Dick Cheney types who want to spread Democracy militarily) or Compassionate Conservativism (i.e. faith-based governing George W. Bush types).

[...]The Democrats do not seem to bother to lace all of these ideas into a consistent philosophy. Granted there are some signs of attempts from the Democrats. For example, Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village could offer more of a philosophy, but I am only familiar with the basic idea.

Dark Waters, I think there is a very direct contradiction between what you are saying and what Ayn Rand said. Your focus and discussion is on the philosophy of the candidate, which is the very opposite of where she said your focus should be.

She was very clear: it doesn't matter what philosophy a politician bases his political principles on (or whether there is even a philosophy). All that matters are those political principles, period. Whether they come from theism, or from nihilism, or from scientology or even Islam, doesn't matter. This is an executive job, not a philosopher-king job, and it's a very delimited one. It's like hiring someone as chief executive of a company: you want to know if they have principles that will lead to profit and long-term dominance of the market, irrespective of where those principles came from (whether from Kant's sense of duty, James' pragmatism, or Nietzsche's domination of others, or just from observing wild animals). You are not looking for a philosopher-CEO just as you are not looking for a philosopher-president. (Which is why I admired Bill Gates in his former life as CEO, in spite of his atrociously wrong life-long philosophy, revealed in his current life).

Now, it may well be that Ayn Rand's analysis was wrong on this one, but I think we could at least acknowledge the contradiction with her position.

One cannot expect, nor is it necessary, to agree with a candidate's total philosophy—only with his political philosophy (and only in terms of essentials). It is not a Philosopher-King that we are electing, but an executive for a specific, delimited job. It is only political consistency that we can demand of him; if he advocates the right political principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours.

When she says "and only in terms of essentials", she is making the "political philosophy" even more narrow, not deeper. In short, not only should we not bother about the candidate's "total philosophy", we shouldn't go too deep into the man's political philosophy either (to even determine its source, etc); we should just look at the essentials. This is the very opposite of the practice I've observed in these discussions.

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If Democrats start consistently quoting the Communist works of Marx, the Social Contractists views of Rousseau or the Egalitarianist views of John Rawls for their answers to all political problems, then we should become very afraid.

They may not be quoting these individuals directly, but are they not already suggesting programs and saying things that are, in essence, the same? And what's worse is that most, if not all, Democrats I know are Christians. So wouldn't we be getting the worst of both worlds by voting Democrat?

“ Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ — who I think was the first socialist — only socialism can really create a genuine society. ” —Hugo Chávez

Then there's the following from http://www.religioussocialism.com/vision.html ...

"The vision we share teaches us:

* That power should be used not to maintain power and privilege, but to promote individual and communal growth and development, to teach and to heal, and not to do harm.

* That individually and collectively we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, heal the sick, teach the young and care for the helpless.

* That spiritual renewal must come to whole societies as well as to individuals and families, that only in community can we find wholeness.

* That all our actions must be rooted in respect for truth and justice.

* That the three curses-the subjugation of men to exhausting toil, the subjugation of women to men, and the subjugation of the earth to human arrogance-are not our inevitable lot, but aspects of brokenness for which we seek wholeness, and can win it.

* That nations must beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more."

If that's not scarier than the Christian Right in this country, who in large numbers still believe in low taxes, less government and personal responsibility, I don't know what is.

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Ayn Rand often endorsed candidates who were religious. If they had the right political principles, it didn't matter to her if they held them for the wrong (i.e., religious) metaphysical reasons.

QUOTE(Ayn Rand @ How to Judge a Political Candidate, The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 3 No. 3 March, 1964)

One cannot expect, nor is it necessary, to agree with a candidate's total philosophy—only with his political philosophy (and only in terms of essentials). It is not a Philosopher-King that we are electing, but an executive for a specific, delimited job. It is only political consistency that we can demand of him; if he advocates the right political principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours.

A contradiction of that kind will, of course, hamper the effectiveness of his campaign, weaken his arguments and dilute his appeal-as any contradictions undercut any man's efficacy. But we have to judge him as we judge any work, theory or product of mixed premises: by his dominant trend.

A vote for a candidate does not constitute an endorsement of his entire position, not even of his entire political position, only of his basic political principles.

Betsy, I have seen you cite that Ayn Rand essay at least 3 times, and while I don't at the moment have a direct link to the first time you used that quote, I recall that you did not maintain the full context and intent of that essay. That is once again the case here in this thread. Also, Dr. Peikoff has not only _not_ contradicted the content of that essay, he has explicitly reiterated the idea which you have been citing. Again, people can go read what is being said about Dr. Peikoff and his ideas on Betsy's forum if they doubt me.

On top of that, (via that quote) you have indicated what _not_ to evaluate when considering a candidate. Here's some of what A.R. said in that same article as to how a candidate _should_ be evaluated:

"It is only in terms of principles that a candidate can offer us a program and indicate his future course..." (In turn,) "a political campaign conducted in terms of concretes means a candidate's demand for a blank check on power."

She goes on to elaborate on how the then current state of politics became more disintegrated. This certainly coincides with the current Presidency. She then refers to Barry Goldwater i.e. a Republican candidate for the U.S. Presidency which we haven't even remotely seen the likes of since seeing the Steve Forbes candidacy.... and (wait for it) Forbes caved into the Conservatives on the issue of abortion. Go read what Ayn Rand said about abortion while you are at it. ...and if I recall correctly that was precisely the campaign that turned Dr. Peikoff from the Republican Party. Small wonder.

...but what Ayn Rand _could NOT_ have known is that: The current President has _explicitly and manifestly_ affected government via religion e.g. faith-based initiatives among other approaches. That essay of A.R. was published in 1964, this was almost a couple of decades before Ronald Reagan even became President.

Of course the biggest "gorilla in the room" is in regards to the conceptual and historical nature of religion itself.

If an Ayn Rand essay is going to be used as evidence (and presuming that it's consistently true), then it would be wise to attempt to read the _entire_ essay, maintain the essay's _entire_ context and then _fully integrate_ those ideas with the world we live in _today_.

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Well, she did speak to it. I was amazed by her comments in The Objectivist Forum in the early 80's just before her death, just how absolutely negative she was on the Republican party in total. She specifically did not vote for Reagan because of his religiosity, almost foretelling her concern of the rise of the religious right.

After getting through TOF, the idea that Rand didn't say anything that was relevant is questionable.

I don't have here, but can see if I can find some passages tonight.

Kendall,

I found one of the references which you were likely thinking of:

The Objectivist Forum, June 1980, _Interview with Ayn Rand (part 1)_

Q. Would you please (elaborate)? You have said many times that you are not a conservative and you are not an admirer of Ronald Reagan who seems to have, in a sense, preempted the "right" in this country. Can you explain?

A. Yes, certainly. I am not an admirer of Ronald Reagan, and I will not vote for him, because he is the representative of the worst kind of conservatism. I am opposed to him on the same grounds as I am opposed to conservatism, that is, to the mixture of religion and politics. I am, as you know an atheist. I do believe in a man's right to believe a religion, if he wants to. But he has no right to bring his religion into politics, which means to impose it on other people by force. Political power is the power to initiate the use of physical force. If you bring religion into politics, it means that you are forcing religion on people at the point of a gun, and destroying the intellectual freedom of your citizens.

The combination of religion and politics is the worst possible combination in our society....

(Edit: I corrected the capitalization of a word.)

Edited by tps_fan
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The Catholic Church - the foremost historical marriage of religion and political power - kept Europe in the Dark Ages a thousand years.

The Soviet Union - the foremost historical marriage of socialism and political power - could not keep Russia in a Dark Ages of its own for even a hundred, and not even with all the support the US has given it.

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Betsy, I have seen you cite that Ayn Rand essay at least 3 times, and while I don't at the moment have a direct link to the first time you used that quote, I recall that you did not maintain the full context and intent of that essay.

I didn't? I gave the link to the entire article so anyone can see the entire context. What do you think I omitted that's relevant?

That is once again the case here in this thread.

Yes, I am quoting Ayn Rand again, maybe for the fourth time. What's wrong with that?

There is an insinuation that I did something improper in quoting Ayn Rand, but unless the actual impropriety is named, this is nothing more than an arbitrary accusation.

Also, Dr. Peikoff has not only _not_ contradicted the content of that essay, he has explicitly reiterated the idea which you have been citing.

If that is true, how do you reconcile Ayn Rand recommending voting for an individual candidate based on his individual merits with

The most urgent political task now is to topple the Republicans from power, if possible in the House and the Senate. This entails voting consistently Democratic, even if the opponent is a “good” Republican.

That sure looks like a contradiction to me.

If an Ayn Rand essay is going to be used as evidence (and presuming that it's consistently true), then it would be wise to attempt to read the _entire_ essay, maintain the essay's _entire_ context and then _fully integrate_ those ideas with the world we live in _today_.

That is a very good idea.

Edited by Betsy
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I must echo the point that DW made. These accusations fall into three categories -- false, unsupported, and irrelevant. The name "David"

name is Hebrew, which does not make me Jewish. The name given to Obama by his parents reflects not one bit on Obama's character. The canards about growing up and being educated in Indonesia are not just false, it takes major effort to avoid knowing that they are false. A madras is in fact different from a public school (get a clue, please) even in a predominantly Muslim country (not to mention Hawaii). If you read the Wiki article on him, you will see that he was willfully baptised in the Trinity United Church of Christ. You have not provided one shred of evidence that show that Obama supports Islamists terrorism. This is not acceptable. If you have an argument that Obama is a terrorist supporter, produce the evidence. Otherwise, don't say these things here.

Is it fair that the leftist mainstream media questions Mitt Romney's qualification for the presidency because of his Mormon background while sanitizing Barack Hussein's Muslim background?

The name Barack Hussein that was given by his parents does not reflect on his character, but that is not the point. The point is he had a Muslim childhood upbringing, and voters should at least consider this when choosing a commander-in-chief of America's armed forces to fight Muslim terrorists.

Wiki articles can be written by anyone, and that article on Barack was written by leftists using leftist sources including Time, NYT, CNN, etc. Such a sanitized piece is not objective.

Barack converted to Christianity. Is that a good thing?

I don't need to provide evidence that Barack Hussein wants to tax American producers and transfer that confiscated wealth to states that support Islamic terrorism. Barack said this himself on national television early this year.

I have no argument that Barack wants to support terrorism. Barack said this himself -- that he wants to send tax money to Islamic states in the Middle East because he believes terrorists are "poor" and "lack opportunity".

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The Objectivist Forum, June 1980, _Interview with Ayn Rand (part 1)_

A. Yes, certainly. I am not an admirer of Ronald Reagan, and I will not vote for him, because he is the representative of the worst kind of conservatism. I am opposed to him on the same grounds as I am opposed to conservatism, that is, to the mixture of religion and politics. I am, as you know an atheist.

I wonder if anyone now, with the benefit of hindsight, would suggest that four more years of Jimmy Carter would have in any way been preferable to Ronald Reagan. As a born again Christian and a liberal democrat, Jimmy Carter was the worst of both worlds--and his record as president shows it. I loved Ronald Reagan. He is without question the best president in my lifetime, his personal religious beliefs notwithstanding. I am quite proud to say that I voted for him twice and would today vote for his corpse over any living democrat.
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The Catholic Church - the foremost historical marriage of religion and political power - kept Europe in the Dark Ages a thousand years.

The Soviet Union - the foremost historical marriage of socialism and political power - could not keep Russia in a Dark Ages of its own for even a hundred, and not even with all the support the US has given it.

I think this is a good point and makes a lot of sense to me. My next question then is, do you think a mix of both situations is no more dangerous than the first situation since the first situation leads to the second?

And frankly, I'm still concerned about sustaining my lifestyle in the present rather than what Christian conservatives may lead us to 20, 30 or 50 years from now. Aren't the Democrats threatening to do it here and now? Shouldn't we take care of the most immediate threat first? And if Democrats are not the immediate threat, please tell me why you think that.

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Is it fair that the leftist mainstream media questions Mitt Romney's qualification for the presidency because of his Mormon background while sanitizing Barack Hussein's Muslim background?

The name Barack Hussein that was given by his parents does not reflect on his character, but that is not the point. The point is he had a Muslim childhood upbringing, and voters should at least consider this when choosing a commander-in-chief of America's armed forces to fight Muslim terrorists.

Wiki articles can be written by anyone, and that article on Barack was written by leftists using leftist sources including Time, NYT, CNN, etc. Such a sanitized piece is not objective.

Barack converted to Christianity. Is that a good thing?

I don't need to provide evidence that Barack Hussein wants to tax American producers and transfer that confiscated wealth to states that support Islamic terrorism. Barack said this himself on national television early this year.

I have no argument that Barack wants to support terrorism. Barack said this himself -- that he wants to send tax money to Islamic states in the Middle East because he believes terrorists are "poor" and "lack opportunity".

Despite all of the accusations, you still have not provided any evidence for your claims against Barack Obama. Until you do, I have nothing more to say to you on this matter.

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They may not be quoting these individuals directly, but are they not already suggesting programs and saying things that are, in essence, the same?

No. There is an enormous difference in arriving at a political conclusion on principle and arriving at a political conclusion as a pragmatic solution. The Democrats in general do seem to have some dangerous principles such as healthcare is a right or everyone has the right to an education. However, the most of the prominent Democrats do not seem to offer higher level ideas such as need makes right, wage equality or the Marxist labor theory of value.

Just because a Democrat campaigns to have the minimum wage raised does not mean that they support the principle that the government has the right to fix all wages. More likely, they just have some sloppy economic reason for doing so, such as how the minimum wage needs to be adjusted for inflation.

And what's worse is that most, if not all, Democrats I know are Christians. So wouldn't we be getting the worst of both worlds by voting Democrat?

But of all of the serious Christians you know who want to bridge state and religion, how many of them are Democrats? Besides, most of the religious individuals I know vote Republican. I guess we are at a standstill on this one! :lol:

“ Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ — who I think was the first socialist — only socialism can really create a genuine society. ” —Hugo Chávez

Fortunately Hugo Chavez is not affiliated with the Democratic Party, he is not allied with key party officials and he is not a major influence on them. Rest assured he has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.

Then there's the following from http://www.religioussocialism.com/vision.html ...

Analogous to my comments concerning Hugo Chavez, until groups like the one you linked are taken seriously by the left, they should not be a primary concern.

... the Christian Right in this country, who in large numbers still believe in low taxes, less government and personal responsibility ...

The emphasis is mine. Even if the majority of Republican voters believe in this, their party is not fulfilling their wishes. The Bush Administration has presided over one of the greatest expansions in government since the Great Society programs of Lyndon B. Johnson. This is also not just because of foreign affairs. The prescription drug bill and No Child Left Behind are also significant sources of spending.

I myself have decided that focusing on low taxes to judge the size of government is erroneous. A more telling figure is government spending. It would be absurd if I ran up a credit card balance of $10,000 in one month, paid off $100 of the balance and concluded that I am good with money since my monthly expenses were only $100. Government deficits are just taxes that we will have to pay in the future.

The Republicans are not that great on domestic spending.

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I think this is a good point and makes a lot of sense to me. My next question then is, do you think a mix of both situations is no more dangerous than the first situation since the first situation leads to the second?

I do not. I think theocracy implies all the same things that secular socialism implies, but on a far worse scale. And I think that whereas secular socialism must self-destruct, because it purports to be rational but its ideas are easily seen to be corrupt, theocracy will perpetuate itself on through history, because it purports to be irrational on principle.

And frankly, I'm still concerned about sustaining my lifestyle in the present rather than what Christian conservatives may lead us to 20, 30 or 50 years from now. Aren't the Democrats threatening to do it here and now? Shouldn't we take care of the most immediate threat first? And if Democrats are not the immediate threat, please tell me why you think that.

Christian conservatives will do all the same things that the Democrats are now doing and more, with the same speed and the same zeal as the very worst of the Democrats. As you can see, they are doing it now. Which Capitalist policies has our Christian conservative President championed? Which Capitalist policies have the Republican party championed when they held power in the Legislature? Do you say "tax cuts"? Tax cuts is not at all, not in any sense of the word, a Capitalist policy. Spending cuts is a Capitalist policy. Deregulation (actual deregulation) is a Capitalist policy. Instead, the Republicans have championed the ban on stem-cell research and on abortion, and on the spending of obscene amounts of money, and kill and injure tens of thousands of Americans, on one of the most ill-conceived wars of American history.

Theocracy is the most immediate and, at the same time, the most long-term threat facing America. The Democrats are not threatening to do anything in particular. They used to be socialists, but they are no longer anything. They are threating only to obey the whim of the moment, with no particular direction and no particular agenda but to remain in power. The Republicans have an explicit direction and an explicit agenda: the complete domination of your mind.

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Second, envy would never get the legs it has without altruism. It frequently only develops because altruism is taken seriously, which generates moral judgements of others, which includes emotional responses, which then metastasizes. Get rid of altruism and it will bring that process to a screeching halt among new members of the movement.

I can agree with the first part, but I dont know how you would go about getting 'rid of altruism.' I certainly see no evidence of it going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it is quite likely that there will always be religion, and there will certainly always be those who believe in the morality of altruism. I think rather than getting rid of religion or altruism, we should aim to keep both out of politics. I dont really care what people believe or what they do with their wealth or their lives. If a man wants to be an altruist, good for him--just so long as he cant force me to be one too.

In an earlier post you said: "Again, the left only is where it is because it piggybacked on religious morality and just dumped the religious part." If that is the case, then it is the left that is really responsible for imposing religious morality upon Americans through the political process. They just call it liberalism, not religion. The Christian right is at least being up front about what they plan to do. And no, it is not, as some have suggested, the establishment of a Christian theocracy.

That's a non-sequitur. Religious people does not need its absence nor its rejection to be a motive for them to continue to internalise and proselytise their creed. You may correctly cite it as an extra motive, but it isn't as important as you make it out to be as religion can power ahead on its own steam just as it did in the past.

Sure, Christians will go on proselytising regardless of what the left does, but the rise of the Christian right as a political force is largely the result of leftist political activism. The rise to prominence of the Christian right in the 80's and 90's was largely a reaction to rise of the left in the 60's and 70's.

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The Catholic Church - the foremost historical marriage of religion and political power - kept Europe in the Dark Ages a thousand years.

Yes and No. The Church, after it got control of Toledo in Spain actually funded Jewish, Muslim, Greek and Christian scholars to translate the works of Aristotle from Arabic into Latin. That is how most of Aristotle's surviving work got into the European intellectual mainstream. The Church paid for quite of bit of it. Were it not for the Church, the works of Aristotle would not have made it to the centers of European intellectual activity.

See -Aristotle's Children- by Richard E. Rubenstein. ISBN 0-15-100720-9 Harcourt Inc., publisher.

Also the Church funded the building of telescopic observatories. Father Clavius (after whom a crater on the moon was named) was one of the leading Catholic astronomers. Clavius gave Galileo a boost and encouragement when Galileo was young and Galileo wrote kind things about Father Clavius.

The famous (or infamous) Galileo Affair had to do with a political bind in which Pope Urban found himself. He was hip deep political-religious swamp beset with all sorts of problems. He was trying to fight for the Protestants and Galileo's book -Dialogs on the Two World Systems- mocked Pope Urban. In point of fact Protestants were more against the Copernican hypothesis at that time than were Catholics. In fact, if Galileo had put forth his work as hypothetical it probably would have received the Church's blessing and approval.

Recall that was Thomas Aquinas who put Aristotle on the map (so to speak) in the Christian world. The Church also partially funded some Spanish expeditions to the New World. Of course their motives had to do with converting the New World folk to Catholicism, but it did help to pave the way for a new age of exploration.

So one should be cautious about condemning the Church unconditionally. The early Protestants were hardly liberal thinkers.

European intellectuals undid the grip of the religious institutions (both Protestant and Catholic) rather gradually. And do recall, it was mostly -Protestants- in England who raised a ruckus over the works of Charles Darwin. In a papal publication not too long before his death, Pope John Paul conceded that the theory of evolution was not at odds with Catholic doctrine. The biggest objections to the Theory of Evolution as come from Fundie Protestants.

Bob Kolker

Note to Moderator. If you think this reply belongs on another threat, please place it where you think it should go.

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Dark Waters, I think there is a very direct contradiction between what you are saying and what Ayn Rand said. Your focus and discussion is on the philosophy of the candidate, which is the very opposite of where she said your focus should be.

You are correct in that I focused my argument on the overarching philosophies of the candidates and not their principles. Nevertheless, I still do not think my position is contradictory to Ayn Rand's.

With any system of thought that encompasses politics, comes political principles. Republicans tend to have political principles that stem from Evangelical Christianity or political principles that stem from the Neoconservative movement. Democrats on the other hand, barely have any principles. The only principles that I think the Democrats possess now are:

  • Healthcare is a right.
  • Every child has the right to an education.

With most other issues, most of the leading Democrats appear to be pragmatists and do not rely on guiding political principles. I believe because the Republicans are more principled and because their principles are very bad, this makes most Republicans more unpalatable than most Democrats.

This thread is becoming a bit of a free-for-all. Perhaps it will be more productive if some of the leaders here delineate what the the principles of some of the major Democrats and to delineate what the principles are of some of the major Republicans? Then, given the list of principles, we can discuss which principles are more dangerous for a 2008 United States President to have.

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We no longer have a conservative movement which stands for a return to the past way of doing things, which just so happens to be what Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith taught. We have a compassionate conservative movement today which stands for outright religion and the socialist economic system which religion demands, and a neoconservative movement which stands for a watered-down socialism mixed with the deeply held values of religion.

We no longer have a liberal movement. We have pragmatists on the left who don't stand for any deeply held core principles. A previous comment hit the nail on the head: which philosophers do the liberals revere today? Bush, without a moment's thought, named Jesus as his favorite philosopher.

Both religion and socialism are devoted to the moral code of altruism. And both are the core convictions of the Republican party and of the two mainline camps in the conservative movement today.

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With most other issues, most of the leading Democrats appear to be pragmatists and do not rely on guiding political principles. I believe because the Republicans are more principled and because their principles are very bad, this makes most Republicans more unpalatable than most Democrats.

Firstly, an individualist should not make a choice (for a candidate) based on what most

of the candidate's other party members believe.

This thread is becoming a bit of a free-for-all. Perhaps it will be more productive if some of the leaders here delineate what the the principles of some of the major Democrats and to delineate what the principles are of some of the major Republicans? Then, given the list of principles, we can discuss which principles are more dangerous for a 2008 United States President to have.

Now you are more consistent with Ayn Rand's position (at least in the quoted passage).

[The only thing is that you should still be careful not to mix these principles on one list just because all the candidates are from the same party, and to then disqualify a candidate based on that total list, instead of basing it only on his own individual principles - his own list. I think that's individualism, and it's justice.]

[Note also that Ayn Rand's position on Reagan, as quoted by someone above, was based on Reagan's individual principles, not on "the dominant trend" in his party (and there were some dominant trends even then). I think it's fair to judge a man individually like that. Of course Reagan turned out to be a rather great president even by Rand's standards (in spite of his faith), but that's still not the point; she judged him as an individual.]

Unless someone has got something new to say in this thread, I'm taking my break from the discussion. It's been interesting. Thanks.

-Black.

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Betsy,

I've just scanned through this entire thread, and I don't see the article link which you stated that you posted. It's no matter for me since I have an original bound copy of the article to look at.

I've have already elaborated on various parts of the article which you did not reference.

I have not made an arbitrary assertion. I shouldn't be surprised that you have selectively quoted my posts as to avoid dealing with some of my points as you have similarly selectively quoted Ayn Rand and Dr. Peikoff. You have dropped context without properly reintegrating context. As I already stated, the essay which you quoted from was written in reference to Barry Goldwater. She also makes cursory references to Richard Nixon and Gov. Rockefeller, but (to be more specific) the article is _overwhelmingly_ in regard to Goldwater's campaign. As I already indicated, this in turn means that Ayn Rand was speaking of a _specific type_ of Republican i.e. one who is pro-freedom on philosophical principle. She clearly did not consider him to be a Christian conservative.

In post #60 of this thread you said:

Ayn Rand often endorsed candidates who were religious. If they had the right political principles, it didn't matter to her if they held them for the wrong (i.e., religious) metaphysical reasons.

Do you have any citations to substantiate her support for multiple religious candidates, _and_ how do you reconcile your statements with the quote I gave in post #84 of this thread:

"A. Yes, certainly. I am not an admirer of Ronald Reagan, and I will not vote for him, because he is the representative of the worst kind of conservatism. I am opposed to him on the same grounds as I am opposed to conservatism, that is, to the mixture of religion and politics. I am, as you know an atheist. I do believe in a man's right to believe a religion, if he wants to. But he has no right to bring his religion into politics, which means to impose it on other people by force. Political power is the power to initiate the use of physical force. If you bring religion into politics, it means that you are forcing religion on people at the point of a gun, and destroying the intellectual freedom of your citizens.

The combination of religion and politics is the worst possible combination in our society...."

You will note that she used the term "conservatism" which isn't just a matter of principle; it's a philosophy. Also, in the same essay you quoted, A.R. stated this:

"The degree of evasion required to permit modern intellectuals not to see their ultimate goal -- in the light of the historical evidence of the past fifty years -- is almost inconceivable. It is Pragmatism that has made it semi-possible for them, by granting them permission to be unprincipled on principle." Note that she refers to "Pragmatism" (with a capital p no less); this is also a consideration for an entire _philosophy_. Apparently, I also further need to point out that 1) A.R. did not view principles as completely extricated from philosophy altogether, and 2) she never indicated in the quote that you referenced that a voter _couldn't_ consider more than political positions. In fact, one of the major points which she makes in the essay which you quoted is that anyone who treats politics in a disintegrated manner should be castigated for that approach.

As I already indicated, there hasn't been a Republican Presidential candidate synonymous with Goldwater since Forbes made his attempt. I also indicated that he capitulated to conservatives with his change in his stance on abortion, so it could even be argued that there hasn't been a Republican Presidential candidate who is for laissez-faire since Goldwater himself.

Also, _you_ are the one asserting that Dr. Peikoff has contradicted Ayn Rand. You need to support that claim.

I have now asked some of these questions of you more than once. I would appreciate it if you would respond to all of my questions in this post.

Edit: corrected to add italics.

Edited by tps_fan
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Mr. Kolker, your comments pertain to the Church of the Renaissance and later. They do not pertain to the Church of the Dark Ages, which was the target of my previous comments.

The actions of the Church to translate Aristotle into Latin occurred starting in the 12-th century which is pre-Renaissance and later Middle Age. Consider the dates for Roger Bacon who introduced some of Aristotle's better scientific principles (13-th century c.e). Also the Church acquired its power over the civil life of Europe only after the Council of Nicea and then mostly in the West. The Eastern Roman Emipire continued to grow in power and prosper reaching a high point circa 550 c.e.. So the lights in Europe were yet completely out then.

You might want to look at the Wiki article on Roger Bacon and Robert Grosseteste. Bacon was -lecturing- on Aristotle in the mid 1200's. Where did he get the Latin translations? From Spain (partly under the control of Catholics) and the Mulsim domains. So -earlier than 1200- there was something cooking in Europe. And don't forget Byzantium, which was a place where Greek and Muslim scholars also worked. Bytantium (Eastern Roman Empire) was in operation until 1453, when it fell to the Turks. While the Turks remodeled the Church buildings a bit they did not close down scholarly activities in Constantinople, the capitol city of the Eastern Roman Empire.

There was a degree of enlightenment under the rule of Charlemagne 742-814 c.e.. Charlemagne invited scholars to his his court and promoted some degree of learning and literacy even though he was illiterate, so the lights were not entirely out in the western part of Europe. If Charlemagne successors were a tad more far-sighted the Renaissance would have occured 500 years earlier. The Dark Ages were never quite as dark as some people think, not that it was a great time to be alive mind you. problem was not just the Church. It was also related to the Vandals, the Visigoths, the Huns and the Northmen none of whom were Church folk.

So the so-called Dark Ages were not entirely Dark. We tend to get an exaggerated view of the thing. For example, the scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail were just a bit over the top.

I am not suggesting that your condemnation of the Church is wrong, but I do suggest that it be more nuanced. The Church was Bad News and to some extent the Church was Good News.

Bob Kolker

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