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One of the few issues I have with the ARI is Peikoff's endorsement of Democrats over Republican candidates. He says this is the right thing to do because " Socialism is a dying trend ", while Religious fervor is coming up in America.

There are several things wrong with this, and I don't know if Peikoff has taken this same stand in the 08 elections, but it would be tragic and a bad showing.

1. Democrats support Religious propaganda as well. Hillary Clinton, above all, is running on a campaign of absolute censorship for that which she calls " damaging to children ". She has invoked the name of her God many times during debates and talks and her Socialism seems to extend from a Religious disorder.

The same with other candidates. Edwards is a Baptist and just the right kind of Southern moralist any yoackle would vote for.

2. Socialism is not a dying trend. America could very well have a fully functional Universal Health Care system soon, and that is about the biggest problem I see in an economic and social view. It would destroy us MORALLY and Economically. And I do not see how Socialism is dying when the Democrats sweep the 06 elections. Some people claim that this is a reject of the Republicans failures, and in some cases that might be true, but I find myself doubtful that it was the case in most. Americans love socialism. They also love Religion.

But there is a difference. Religious nuttery can be fought socially, outside of the direct political arena. So what if the country is full of Bible-believing people? YOU have the power to change that, but it is much harder to fight Socialism in a political sense. It's only growing.

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[Mod. note: this is a straightforward discussion question, not a debate in the sense that the Debate Forums were established for, so I moved this]

One of the few issues I have with the ARI is Peikoff's endorsement of Democrats over Republican candidates.
Okay. Now I have not made a definitive decision on this topic myself, but I am sympathetic to the concept for the first time in 3.5 decades. But Peikoff and ARI are not coextensive. So please let's frame the discussion in terms of Peikoff's argument.
1. Democrats support Religious propaganda as well. Hillary Clinton, above all, is running on a campaign of absolute censorship for that which she calls " damaging to children".
The rise of the religious left is the basic fact that may make me reconsider my earlier conclusion that the donkeys are now somewhat better than the elephants. This "we can be as evil as you" strategy seems to me to be a new enough strategy for the Crats that I cannot judge it at present. This is indeed the first point to be concerned about.
yoackle
OTOH this is wrong: it's spelled yokel. Not AFAICT a Yiddish word.
2. Socialism is not a dying trend. America could very well have a fully functional Universal Health Care system soon, and that is about the biggest problem I see in an economic and social view.
You've identified, correctly IMO, the basic last gasp of socialism. I agree that Universal Health Limitation is the fundamental final battle-ground for the commies, but the question is not whether we can identify single incidents and draw some conclusion, the question is whether we can integrate the totality of our knowledge and reach a conclusion (and what conclusion would that be?).
And I do not see how Socialism is dying when the Democrats sweep the 06 elections.
Well, you are accepting the premise that Democrat=Socialist. And yet, the free market Democrats and the communist-Republicans challenge that assumption. While I agree that the part-line associations were clearer in the 60's, even back then, we were painfully aware of the existence of the liberal wing in the GOP. Now, where exactly are the defenders of capitalism in the GOP? What are their names? The problem of the "microscopically lesser of two weevils" argument is that it highly prone to measurement error.
Americans love socialism. They also love Religion.
True. Now, the question is, can you describe the philosophical roots of socialism and actually manage to avoid the connection to religion?
Religious nuttery can be fought socially, outside of the direct political arena.
No, not where prohibited by law.

Although we condemn socialism as a rejection of reason and we condemn religion as a rejection of reason, IMO religion is a larger, more systematic and more thorough-going rejection of reason. The question is not (or should not be) whether the proponents of religion or socialism are worse, the question is whether it is easier to contain the evil absurda to which these philosophies reductiant (Sorry, Mrs. Morton, I just don't remember the conjugation). I have concluded that in terms of the method of reaching a conclusion is concerned, the religious weasels are non-trivially more dangerous than the socialists.

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Religious nuttery can be fought socially, outside of the direct political arena.
They're applying their evil to politics, though. Why should one pick and choose in this particular way: i.e., fight one type of evil exclusively in one arena, and fight a different type in another? Why?
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Free market Democrats? There are hardly more than a hand full of them. I would agree that many Republicans are blatantly Socialist, but I cannot come to any current knowledge of Democrats in National politics that are FOR Free Markets, truly free markets anyway.

A Democrat doesn't automatically mean Socialist, but I would think it would be safe to assume most Dems support a complete opposite view of the economy from what we advocate.

And I would like some specific examples where Religion has been forced down our throat by law, and our Right to free speech against it has been violated. I am not, in this statement, trying to say I don't believe it. It's very possible, but I don't know of many ominous acts by the Government to force Religion upon the people.

ANd yes, you got me on the yokel part. I suppose you've completely defeated me in that sense.

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They're applying their evil to politics, though. Why should one pick and choose in this particular way: i.e., fight one type of evil exclusively in one arena, and fight a different type in another? Why?

The average American can't pick apart philosophical errors or always see past attractive sounding rhetoric (eg. socialized medicine). What Americans are good at is remembering catchphrases. One of our national catchphrases happens to be "separation of church and state." Unfortunately, there isn't any "catchphrase" against socialism that can protect us from a Democrat controlled Congress and Hilary Clinton as President. In contrast, there was already a minor backlash at Bush's "faith-based" initiatives in the past couple of years. Currently there is still more popular sentiment against religion dictating government than "free health care" in the US. If socialism will rise again in the US, it will be because "free health care" get's its foot in the door. As frightening a prospect as the widespread marriage of socialism and religion could be in America, it hasn't happened yet. And as much as I despise Republicans, their shift toward socialism is a slower affair than the Democrats with comrade Hilary at the helm.

Edited by Myself
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I really don't know what I'm going to do come election time. I've never even considered voting anything other than Republican before joining this forum, but now I see reasons to vote Democrat too. Thank goodness I've got some more time to hear both sides of the argument and hash it out. I have rarely ever thought with my heart, almost always with my head, but the thought of voting for a Democrat, particularly if it's Hillary with her grating voice and various pandering dialects, literally makes my chest hurt. Besides this gut reaction, I seriously don't think I could sustain my current lifestyle should there be a tax increase. I'm just now at the point in my career where I am enjoying the fruits of my labor and it's very difficult for me to imagine giving it up after all my hard work.

So speak up! I need more input, more input! :P

edited for grammar

Edited by K-Mac
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Free market Democrats? There are hardly more than a hand full of them.
Yup. And hardly more than a handful of free market Republicans. There is negligible real difference between the parties on this point.
A Democrat doesn't automatically mean Socialist, but I would think it would be safe to assume most Dems support a complete opposite view of the economy from what we advocate.
I don't disagree with that point, except that it fails to include the observation that the Republicans have turned into goddamn communists as well. Of course, we see that the Damnocraps are on the verge of becoming goddamn fundies as well. In other words, this is becoming a hair-splitting difficult choice between two great evils. Since religion and the repudiation of reason is the greater evil, a rational man must first oppose religion, given the horrifying dichotomy "Death by religion, death by taxation: you decide, or we decide for you. Life is not an option".
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One of the few issues I have with the ARI is Peikoff's endorsement of Democrats over Republican candidates. He says this is the right thing to do because " Socialism is a dying trend ", while Religious fervor is coming up in America.

There are several things wrong with this, and I don't know if Peikoff has taken this same stand in the 08 elections, but it would be tragic and a bad showing.

1. Democrats support Religious propaganda as well. Hillary Clinton, above all, is running on a campaign of absolute censorship for that which she calls " damaging to children ". She has invoked the name of her God many times during debates and talks and her Socialism seems to extend from a Religious disorder.

The same with other candidates. Edwards is a Baptist and just the right kind of Southern moralist any yoackle would vote for.

2. Socialism is not a dying trend. America could very well have a fully functional Universal Health Care system soon, and that is about the biggest problem I see in an economic and social view. It would destroy us MORALLY and Economically. And I do not see how Socialism is dying when the Democrats sweep the 06 elections. Some people claim that this is a reject of the Republicans failures, and in some cases that might be true, but I find myself doubtful that it was the case in most. Americans love socialism. They also love Religion.

But there is a difference. Religious nuttery can be fought socially, outside of the direct political arena. So what if the country is full of Bible-believing people? YOU have the power to change that, but it is much harder to fight Socialism in a political sense. It's only growing.

Dr. Leonard Peikoff's conclusion is based on years of research, which he presents in works such as The Ominous Parallels and The DIM Hyphothesis. The dominant intellectual trends of an era are what ultimately shapes that era and the eras to come. Today, the dominant intellectual trend is religion. That is why the Republicans and the Democrats both are growing ever more religious. Religion, in the field of politics, means nothing less than the Taliban and the Dark Ages. Total power, to enslave the people's will to the will of god, is the single motive of a religious politician. The politicians have taken up the crusade for the cloister, and have given up the crusade for the commune.

Yes, we are still coasting in the direction of the commune: that's where the motor of history was taking us decades ago. But the USSR fell. The intellectuals standing under the Soviets' feet were crushed, and their heirs fled from the shattering of all they held to be true and rational. There no longer are intellectuals driving this country, only preachers. Ayn Rand concluded this when she was alive, and Peikoff says this today.

The Democrats have no intellectual movement, and hence they have no agenda. They are currently going with the flow. They are coasting on the movement to the commune from decades ago, and they are being tugged in the direction of religion today. But the Republicans are gearing up for a holy crusade. Their agenda is: total religion, total state. (Total religion necessarily demands total state, as a secondary. The Church knew this in the Dark Ages; Hitler knew this during his reign, and a billion Moslems cheer their warrior politician-clerics on their jihad to total world domination.) The Republicans are coasting as well on the Democrats' former movement to the commune, in all aspects where they forget to inject religion.

So long as the Democrats are in power, this country ambles towards socialism. Give the Republicans power, and not only will we continue ambling towards socialism, but we will very soon find ourselves under the despotic reign of What Would Jesus Do - unless we fall under the equivalent reign of Submission to Allah first.

It is the goal of every socialist to eliminate any ability you have of earning the means of being happy (in the sense Ayn Rand used the term). They would shackle the body in any way they can. They would take every material thing you own.

But it is the goal of every religionist to eliminate your very capacity for happiness. They would shackle the mind. They would take your capacity for reason, purpose, and pride. That is infinitely worse.

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It is the goal of every socialist to eliminate any ability you have of earning the means of being happy (in the sense Ayn Rand used the term). They would shackle the body in any way they can. They would take every material thing you own.

But it is the goal of every religionist to eliminate your very capacity for happiness. They would shackle the mind. They would take your capacity for reason, purpose, and pride. That is infinitely worse.

It's much harder to shackle someone's mind (especially today) than to "take every material thing they own." There is no institutionalized system in place for "shackling the mind" - but there is one for seizing property. It's much harder to hide behind words when you're arguing for religion - look at the failure of "creationism" to gain any hold on school systems. On the other hand, people watch and believe documentaries like "Sicko" and are unhappy with the cost of healthcare and warm to Hilary Clinton's garbage.

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The Republicans controlled the executive and the legislative branches, and failed to make any serious inroads against socialism. Indeed, they expanded socialized healthcare, fought two altruistic wars, and expanded welfare services via faith-based initiatives (a blatant violation of church-state separation). In other words, the Republicans are NOT merely me-tooing Democratic principles.

On the other hand, the Democrats new-found religiosity seems to me to be little more than an aping of the Republicans. I don't remember Hillary Clinton being as religious when Bill was president. Kerry, similarly, was openly pro-abortion (i.e. not someone who takes his Catholicism seriously).

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Free market Democrats?

Although they do not seem to advocate Capitalism, the Blue Dog Democrat movement is growing. These are Democrats who stand for fiscal discipline and accountability for tax dollars. Although this sounds decent, it is not as good as being pro-free market. For all we know, these guys just want to be efficient Statists. In addition, they tend to have religious views on social issues.

And I would like some specific examples where Religion has been forced down our throat by law, and our Right to free speech against it has been violated. I am not, in this statement, trying to say I don't believe it. It's very possible, but I don't know of many ominous acts by the Government to force Religion upon the people.

Some examples of pro-religion changes during the W. Bush Administration off of the top of my head:

  • The creation of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives.
  • Two wars of self-sacrifice.
  • Islamic Fundamentalism has been misrepresented by the Presidency as the "hijacking of a great religion."
  • Appointment of two, relatively young socially conservative (specifically anti-abortion) judges to the supreme court.
  • Rise of the "Intelligent Design" movement.
  • Ban on Intact Dilation and Extraction (otherwise mislabeled as Partial Birth Abortion).
  • Government funding for scientific research may now be allocated based on religious principles (i.e. the Stem Cell debate).
  • Government funding for "Abstinence-until-marriage" programs has significantly increased to well over $100 million per year.
  • Being openly religious has become such a necessity to run for office that all of the Democrats are now awkwardly posturing themselves as pious.

Yes, electing the most religious President arguably in American history has some serious consequences. If you would like to hear more examples, I highly recommend Dr. Onkar Ghate's lecture Religion and Morality which is available on the registered users section of the Ayn Rand Institute's homepage. Registration is free and it gives you access to a wealth of informative video and audio lectures.

On the other hand, the Democrats new-found religiosity seems to me to be little more than an aping of the Republicans. I don't remember Hillary Clinton being as religious when Bill was president. Kerry, similarly, was openly pro-abortion (i.e. not someone who takes his Catholicism seriously).

I agree that most Democrats are just pretending to be religious. However, I think Barack Obama is fairly serious. So are some of the Blue Dog Democrats such as Harold Ford Jr. and Heath Shuler.

Socialism is not a dying trend.

No, unfortunately it has become so widely accepted that both parties agree on driving our mixed economy closer towards socialism; they just argue how to do it. I perceive that free-market Capitalism has not really been seriously considered in politics since Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson back in 1964.

Edited by DarkWaters
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* The creation of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

I'll give you that one.

* Two wars of self-sacrifice.

Self-sacrifice is embraced by Liberal and Conservative, Atheist and Religionist alike. It is the credo of Altruism, not Religion

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

This could be said, and has been, by any weak-kneed politician. It is in fact the speech you would think you'd find on the Left

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

Eh, this is a bit so-so. I'll give it to you.

* Rise of the "Intelligent Design" movement.

Politically? Can I have examples outside of a few schools and such. I haven't been in Public School since '99 but I do know some schools ahve been forced to put in " Evolution is just a theory " and some schools ( Mainly in the south, as I've heard ) have put INtelligent Design in the classroom. But Public schools are immoral in the first place.

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

Give it to ya.

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

Same

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

True, but again, Public Schools are inherently immoral.

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

The first President in modern times to really tout his Born Again Christianity was, in fact, a Democrat.

Please See: Jimmy Carter.

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As for parties, I usually try to ignore that and view candidates as individuals.

I would never support Hilary, Obama, or Socialism. I also find it much less likely for the religious to gain grounds than socialist to gain grounds at this point. We have constitutional protection from the religious, we don't have that against socialism.

I think Universal Healthcare is seriously being considered which is just terrible.

I also see Social Security on shakey grounds right now and I want to see it attacked and ended as soon as possible.

So for these reasons if I have to support a party (not individuals) I would support Republicans.

Edited by Dorian
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The Democrats' ideas to institute socialism, environmentalism, etc. are not consistent. Gore endorses religion as a way to get his controls enacted, but he doesn't believe it. It's just a political tool. He's just a nihilist who wants to destroy for the sake of destruction. Imagine a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions. Can you even imagine this happening? Such controls would have to be slowly enacted, and even a 5% reduction would begin to halt civilization. Americans would never stand for it once it happened. There would be riots in the streets.

Hillary Clinton endorses religion as a means of social control, advocacy for universal healthcare. But we can all see she is an atheist. Obama endorses religion and probably DOES firmly believe it, but again, he's using this as a tool to push social spending agendas. Sure, the Dems would cause some damage, but no more than Bush & Co. bankrupting us with a completely illogical war in which the wrong country was attacked. Furthermore, the only Democrat recently elected president was a whole lot more sensible about spending that Bush & Co. could ever imagine. As far as spending goes, Bush's record speaks for itself. He's Jimmy Carter on steroids, fiscally speaking.

Yes, religion IS the base of social altruistic ideals that the Dems push, but the Republicans have come to believe in not only that but also believe in religion as the base of state control over everything else, too - such as censorship of obscene images, ideas, restrictions on abortion, etc. They are the ones with the more consistent philosophical ideas. Democrats - most of them - are not out and out communists. They are range of the moment pragmatists who are willing to change course with temporary fixes if something fails: cut taxes here, increase taxes there, institute controls here, decrease controls there. Who could have imagined 30 years ago the wishy-washiness of Democrats today on abortion?

What is Bush's motto? "Stay the course." That will never be the motto of the Dems.

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And I might add that the futility of the Democrats and their "me-too-ism" of religion is only evident that the religious principles as the basis for altruism have been shown to be the more consistent ones.

The real issue here is not this party or that one, this religion or that one - but whether we have enough time to spread Objectivist ideas through the culture so that ordinary Joe has enough intellectual ammo to explicitly identify what's wrong with political ideas of today, not just implicitly sense that they are wrong. Only in this way can we actually stop the world being taken over by complete crazies in both parties at home, and complete crazies abroad.

Someone here mentioned that the existence of the Constitution protects us from violations of individual rights that the religionists would want to force on us. The most egregious rights violations in US history have been property rights, having never been fundamentally properly identified in the first place. Since those are fundamental to all other rights, I don't see how other rights are safe. Furthermore, if people do not even understand what free speech is, they cannot defend it. The existence of a Constitution means nothing if people (including Supreme Court judges) don't understand it.

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* Two wars of self-sacrifice.

Self-sacrifice is embraced by Liberal and Conservative, Atheist and Religionist alike. It is the credo of Altruism, not Religion.

What was the last major war of self-sacrifice that the Democrats plunged the United States army into? Sending peace-keeping forces to a conflict of ethnic struggles is not a war.

* Rise of the "Intelligent Design" movement.

Politically? Can I have examples outside of a few schools and such.

The main battle ground over the teaching of intelligent design creationism was in Dover, PA although I am also familiar with there being significant battles in Cobb County Georgia over if biology textbooks should come with a sticker discounting evolution as only a theory, as well as battles in Kansas. If you want more examples, I recommend listening to Keith Lockitch's lecture on intelligent design on the registered users page of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Furthermore, the President of the United States has endorsed teaching intelligent design in public schools along with major Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Furthermore, three Republican Presidential candidates have repeatedly insisted that evolution is false: Former Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Sam Brownback and Representative Tom Tancredo.

But Public schools are immoral in the first place.

Here is where hierarchy of knowledge becomes important. You should definitely not dismiss the intelligent design issue as important because you are against the idea of public schools. Given that we have public schools, there can be public schools that offer an admissible education and there can be public schools that indoctrinate children in religious ideology. These recent endorsements to the intelligent design movement by the Republican Party are dangerous steps in the directions towards the latter.

The first President in modern times to really tout his Born Again Christianity was, in fact, a Democrat.

Please See: Jimmy Carter.

Be that as it may, there is an enormous difference between a President flouting his born again Christianity and transforming the government to better reflect an Evangelical Christian way of life. If you wish to argue that the religious Republicans are no more dangerous than Jimmy Carter, you are going to have to provide some examples of how the Carter Administration used religion to change the complexion of the United States and why it was comparable to what the Bush Administration is doing.

I considered mentioning President Carter, but did not for the reason above.

As for parties, I usually try to ignore that and view candidates as individuals.

We cannot deny the reality that most legislators generally vote in unison with the rest of their party. Voting more Republicans into Congress means more support for Republican initiatives. It would be better if politicians behaved as individuals, but unfortunately they do not.

Here is an illustrative example:

During a Presidential debate this year, when queried if homosexuals should be allowed to openly serve in the military, all of the eight Democratic candidates adamantly agreed that they should. Many such candidates even expressed outrage that this was even being debated.

On the other hand, when this same question was posed to the ten Republican candidates, all of them agreed that homosexuals should not be allowed to serve in the military. None of the candidates even offered to follow up on this issue. It was perceived as non-negotiable.

Do you actually believe that this reflects the personal opinions of all of the candidates? Even if their personal views differ, most politicians are constantly running for re-election and as a consequence will generally vote in lock-step with their party. It is not a viable strategy to evaluate candidates in multiple party elections as individuals.

I think Universal Healthcare is seriously being considered which is just terrible.

I agree and I also agree that this is largely a Democratic issue. However, it is worth noting that many prominent Republicans such as Governor Mitt Romney and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are offering either universal health care plans or just great government expansions of health care. The Democrats essentially all support some form of universal health care. If the Republicans start offering their Republican style alternatives (such as choosing between your favorite government run care package) that is when we can expect to see a compromise in Congress, resulting in another large bridge between state and economics.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Someone here mentioned that the existence of the Constitution protects us from violations of individual rights that the religionists would want to force on us. The most egregious rights violations in US history have been property rights, having never been fundamentally properly identified in the first place. Since those are fundamental to all other rights, I don't see how other rights are safe. Furthermore, if people do not even understand what free speech is, they cannot defend it. The existence of a Constitution means nothing if people (including Supreme Court judges) don't understand it.

What specifically stated property rights in the constitution are being violated? I thnk our civil liberties are being violated but unfortunately nothing specifically was stated that I am aware of.

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.

I find any changes regarding that extremely unlikely.

Again, I still firmly believe socialism is more of a threat to us than religion. If I had to blindly support any party I would support Republicans. However, I would never do that, I vote for individuals.

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Obama endorses religion and probably DOES firmly believe it, but again, he's using this as a tool to push social spending agendas.

I disagree with this assessment of Obama, to an exent. It's true that he's using his religion "as a tool to push social spending agendas," but that seems to me as if he is more consistently religious than many of the Republicans. I will vote for Hillary is she wins the nomination, but will be torn if the choice is between Obama and a (relatively) secular Republican like Giuliani.

I'm worried that a seriously religious leftist could revive leftism, and the prospects of the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate trying to out-theocrat each other is a frightening one.

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I will vote for Hillary is she wins the nomination, but will be torn if the choice is between Obama and a (relatively) secular Republican like Giuliani.

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 personally am conflicted on this scenario as well.

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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.

The religionists have a habit of saying that freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion. They take the Establishment clause to mean that no specific religion is to take priority, that it just means that there shall be no official Church of The United States. They still want, and argue for, at least some deference to religion and recognition of it in public life. For prayer in schools, for example, the more "broad-minded" will be happy to have prayer from any religion, but will scream bloody murder if religion as such is removed from schools. Ditto attacks on science by trying to drag it down to be on par with religious dogma. I, as others have and pointed out, see Bush's blather about Islam being hijacked as a defence of religiousity as such against those who will point out that a deeply held religious belief can be grievously wrong, and to that extent the war against terrorism is a war to brush under the carpet the sick reality of religion.

Atheists such as we are not welcome in their world, and Bush Snr explicitly said so. No amendment is required, just sufficient corruption to twist the Establishment clause a little further. As I see it, the battle lines are clearly being (re)drawn as religion on one side and atheism on the other, and this time we've all got bigger weapons. Arguably, therefore, that corruption is already around, biding its time, and I have no wish to give it any.

As to whom I would vote for were I in the US, I do not know enough to say. I'm glad things are easier (for now) Down Under.

JJM

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According to Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, nihilism, altruism, and socialism are no longer sweeping the nation as they once used to. In fact, nothing is sweeping the nation. There is no dominant ideology pushing the country in any particular direction. There are only the remnants of a once-dominant nihilist-altruist-socialist Trinity on which the country is still coasting, with no motor and no brakes.

This country needs an ideology. It has dropped socialism as an ideology, even as it continues towards socialism by the law of inertia. The meaning of this fact is: socialism is no longer a threat. Instead, the country's lack of ideology is a threat, as is, potentially, the country's next ideology. Our lack of ideology is what keeps us coasting towards socialism; the solution is: advocate an ideology. But advocate a good one, advocate it convincingly, and advocate it to people who care about ideas. The country desperately needs an intellectual movement on which to shift its course.

This country has found pragmatism. Pragmatism means: "I do not have an ideology. I do not care for the intellect, and I follow no intellectual movement (or lead one). I do not operate on principles. What do I stand for? Why, nothing at all!"

Religion has woken, and is beginning to answer the country's call for an ideology. Its answer is: rationalism, altruism, and the kingdom of god. Religion is beginning again to win the hearts and minds of the people. Not because religion is any good, but because there is no longer anything in the way to stop it.

It will take us a very long time to turn into a socialist state under the pragmatist non-ideological rule of mixed-economy and pressure-group warfare. But it will take us not long at all to turn into a kingdom of god, a clone of Iran, if we turn to religion to answer our ideological void.

As Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff have emphasized time and again, the single most fundamental driver of human action is ideas. Today, the country has none. Let's hope that tomorrow, the ideas it finds don't go by the name "theocracy".

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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.

I find any changes regarding that extremely unlikely.

Me too.

Again, I still firmly believe socialism is more of a threat to us than religion.

Socialism is more of an established fact in our political system than religion. Most all of the existing taxes, regulations, and government agencies are promoting and enforcing socialism, not religion, and I don't see them drying up or disappearing any time soon.

If I had to blindly support any party I would support Republicans. However, I would never do that, I vote for individuals.

That's what Ayn Rand recommended: voting for individuals. See her essay "How to Judge a Political Candidate" in the March 1964 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter.

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According to Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, nihilism, altruism, and socialism are no longer sweeping the nation as they once used to.

Could you provide a reference, please, for Ayn Rand. As far as I know, she hasn't expressed an opinion on the culture since 1982.

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Could you provide a reference, please, for Ayn Rand. As far as I know, she hasn't expressed an opinion on the culture since 1982.

I heard her say this in various lectures available on the Ayn Rand Institute's website (on their registered users' page). Of course, she was speaking of the decades prior to 1982. (I've listened to each of them but have not taken notes or made up an index, so I cannot be any more specific.)

Has socialism grown or declined as an intellectual movement since then?

Edited by y_feldblum
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