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Peikoff For Kerry?

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How does Peikoff's thesis in the Ominous Parallels fit with what he is saying today? To me his arguments are a significant departure from what he argued in the aformentioned book. To say that those without a clear ideology are not as much a threat as those who seemingly have one is dubious. In fact, Peikoff claimed that Nazi Germany was fiercely anti-ideological and look what happened.

No. Peikoff claimed that Weimar Germany was anti-intellectual--and Nazi Germany cashed in on that, able to offer the most irrational philosophy just to fill the void (because people need some philosophical guidance, some answers). The liberals today are anti-intellectual--and it is the conservatives that we have to worry about filling that void.

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[Quoting Janet:]

"...Allowing Kerry and his bunch to further prove their degeneracy won't get the job [of preserving liberty] done..."

Neither will allowing conservatives to further prove their degeneracy--and call it "capitalism." In fact, that would set us back a good deal more. Then we not only have to advocate capitalism, but take great pains to differentiate it from what most people view as capitalism because it is what the conservatives have offered to them as such. Plus, then we have to fight to undo all the damage the conservatives have done on such fronts as pro-abortion, stem cell research, etc.

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No, for three reasons:

1. As Betsy said, the attacks were planned while Clinton was in office. It was Clinton's weakening of the military and his wimpish, Monica-oriented foreign policy that emboldened the terrorists, and his failure to pursue Al-Qaeda that allowed them to pull off the attack.

2. In 2000, you didn't know Al-Qaeda was planning an attack on American soil, so the handling of terrorism was not one of the factors you considered when choosing whom to vote for. Today, we know that the Islamists are planning further attacks and Iran is very near to getting nukes.

3. Even if you had known about Al-Qaeda's plans in 2000, Bush would have been the better alternative. To vote for Clinton would have been suicidal.

Re 1: Clinton certainly has primary responsibility for allowing the planning and preparation to proceed. However, the fact remains that the attack itself occurred on President Bush's watch, more than nine months after he was elected and should have begun detailed planning for this number one priority. He should have expected attacks on American "soil" because there was precedent. See below.

Re 2: Are you too young to remember the 1993 plot to blow-up the World Trade Center, as led by Ramzi Yousef? (Praise be to Allah, Yousef is still in prison.) Regardless of the identity of his fellow conspirators, the issue is not al-Qa'eda, but Islamo-fascists in general. Because of Yousef's attack plot, George Bush (and Bill Clinton) had excellent reason to expect further attacks on American territory. Only a pragmatist or a philosophical optimist could have failed -- or refused? -- to integrate the earlier attack with continuing evidence of attacks on American interests, wherever they may be (as in Yemen in 2000).

Re 3: Clinton was not running for the presidency in 2000. Al Gore was. However, your confusion is certainly understandable. Malicious hobbits are hard to tell apart.

I am leaning more and more toward voting for President Bush, but I first need to follow a few more paths to their ends. I will never have certainty until I have what I need for full integration of that vote with my philosophy: an up-to-date statement of Objectivist ideology, a strategic plan for implementing the philosophy, and a tactical plan for applying it to my own "terrain." Since I am not a philosopher, I will not be creating any of these things myself. I may need to simply make the best decision I can, given a fractured method, and work from probability or possibility rather than certainty.

I want to thank Dr. Peikoff for his forthright analysis and recommendation as reported here. (I still have not been able to audit it for myself.) His comments have provoked a firestorm. Good.

I also want to thank the participants of this thread for their challenging statements and questions. They have helped alot.

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The liberals today are anti-intellectual--and it is the conservatives that we have to worry about filling that void.

To the degree that the conservatives are religious, then they are anti-intellectual too and therefore, no threat. To the degree that they base their arguments on facts and logic, they are valuable allies.

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Re 2: Are you too young to remember the 1993 plot to blow-up the World Trade Center, as led by Ramzi Yousef?

No, I remember it very clearly.

George Bush (and Bill Clinton) had excellent reason to expect further attacks on American territory.

That's correct. But the voters (especially the less well-informed ones) had no reason to treat terrorism as the primary issue in the 2000 election. The threat by Islam was not as evident then as it is now, so I wouldn't blame a person for not knowing in 2000 that the number one factor in deciding whom to vote for had to be terrorism.

Re 3: Clinton was not running for the presidency in 2000. Al Gore was. However, your confusion is certainly understandable. Malicious hobbits are hard to tell apart.

Ooops, that's right, I should've written "Gore." I was concentrating on the point I was making and didn't bother to distinguish the morons. :)

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Plus, then we have to fight to undo all the damage the conservatives have done on such fronts as pro-abortion, stem cell research, etc.

Damage?

Forty years ago, abortion was a CRIME in every state in the union and even doctor-prescribed birth control was illegal in some states. The legalization movement began in just a few states with conservative Reagan signing a bill making California one of the first. Now it is legal everywhere, backed up by Supreme Court decisions and, even more importantly, by vocal supporters of legality even among many conservatives who consider abortion immoral.

Stem cell research has not been outlawed, just de-funded by government due to opposition by tax-payers who oppose it. With a little activism, maybe we can do the same to modern art and progressive education.

Now compare that to the damage caused by Carter allowing Iran to hold Americans hostage, Bush's deference to the UN that prevented him finishing off Saddam, Clinton's blindness to the growing threat of Al Qaida, the current view of the Left that 9/11 was a justified response to American Imperialism and the Right-wing corporate conspiracy, and Kerry's views that we should be negotiating with Iran, getting the permission of France, Germany, and the UN before we retaliate, and, besides, instituting socialized medicine and raising taxes is more important than national defense anyway.

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Following is my essentialization of the arguments I have heard, in this thread, favoring voting for President Bush in the upcoming U. S. election. Is my essentialization accurate?

The Democratic Party in particular, and the Liberal-Left in general, offers Objectivists no hope for either protecting current liberties or expanding liberty in the future.

The Republican Party in particular, and the Conservative-Right in general, offers Objectivists some hope -- based on some of the facts of recent history and on some of their stated intentions -- of protecting some current liberties and expanding liberty in the future.

The Republican/conservative side is a mixed package. It contains some rotten elements (such as opposition to abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and foreign wars, among paleo-cons), but also some good elements, mostly from semi-cons (those who tend to be socially "liberal" -- on issues such as recognizing homosexual civil unions -- while asking for lower taxes and less governmental control of the economy). These semi-cons have an implicitly objective philosophy, but -- because they can't articulate it -- they selectively reach for prepackaged philosophy in the form of religion as a rationale for their political beliefs.

The choice, at this election and in general, boils down to a choice between no hope and some hope. Given that choice, the approach to take is with some hope.

If my essentialization is accurate, then I am beginning to get a glimmer of why I should (shudder) vote for President Bush.

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You have a plausible argument here. However, does it also work retroactively?

If you had voted for Governor Bush in 2000, and then you had worked -- and died -- in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, would not your November 2000 vote have been suicidal?

Whomever we Objectivist U. S. citizens vote for in November, we should never forget that President George W. Bush was in charge of protecting Americans from foreign attack. Three thousand people died for the failure of this compassionate-conservative, Christian-warlite president to do his job. His misdirected, tepid response since then has not made up for his earlier inaction.

I may vote for President Bush, but whether I do or not, I will always wonder:

When will he receive justice for his failure?

Who really failed?

American interests have been under assault by terrorists since 1980.

I believe every president since, and including Carter, could be held culpable. Yes, that includes Clinton and Bush. :)

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Religion was always a placeholder for genuine philosophy and the Kantians have collapsed into utter mindlessness and abandoned philosophy completely.

As an Objectivist, my worst enemy is a placeholder for genuine philosophy who will not relinquish its place when a genuine philosophy comes along. For that placeholder now stands in the way of the genuine philosophy. The genuine philosophy must now compete with, and perhaps fight, the placeholder, in order to reclaim its rightful place.

Those who abandon philosophy are of little concern to a genuine philosophy. The genuine philosophy merely needs to step up and take its rightful place.

The road to victory is much easier to traverse when nobody is blocking your path.

Religion, of any kind, is that which trespasses upon the rightful place of reason. It must be caused to flee from our sight or it will stand over us as our master and obstacle to a rational society.

The consistent Kantian is currently the placeholder of genuine philosophy. The consistent Kantian is conceived in doubt, but he is nourished on the fluids of faith until he is delivered into the sacrificial world of Christianity and leashed to the Bible.

The Bible is back, and it's tightening its belt.

This is my enemy.

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Following is my essentialization of the arguments I have heard, in this thread, favoring voting for President Bush in the upcoming U. S. election. Is my essentialization accurate?

Yes its very accurate but I wouldn't say that 'foreign wars' was a bad element to Bush's administration in and of themselves, just the way they have been prosecuted, especially the 'rebuilding' phases. I would also add that one major reason for voting for Bush is also to help preserve the Union until such time as an Objectivist political movement becomes a reality. Voting for an administration which at least partially defends rights is better in this respect to voting for a party which will do nothing but violate rights.

That is what this thread has taught me and I definitely will pull the lever for Bush. My apologies to Peikoff but after what I have read, I consider a vote for Bush *in the current historical context* to be a vote for self-preservation. The mere thought of Kerry as Commander In Chief terrifies me.

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As an Objectivist, my worst enemy is a placeholder for genuine philosophy who will not relinquish its place when a genuine philosophy comes along.

Swig, that's a good summary of Peikoff's position as near as I can understand it. The counter-argument given here seems to go along the lines of: The Democrats, being representatives of "D," will deliver us quickly into the state of the Weimar Republic, where economic disintegration will lead to a counter-movement that is practically ideal for any "M2" to come in as a demagogue and take power.

Literally, we have to survive long enough for Objectivism to offer an "I" alternative for the Republican "M." Bush is in fact an "M1" and Kerry, though himself a "D1," will easily be pulled into the actions of a "D2." Society will then collapse too quickly and the next great philosophical contender will be the largest: in this case, the M of Conservatism.

How would you respond to this assessment?

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Mr. Wakeland:

Twice now you have stated explicitly the reasons behind my conclusions. Thank you. Would that I owned that kind of competence. :)

I can give an example of how all-pervasive materialism is in our society, drawn from last night's local news: This stupid woman wanted to go to a bar for a birthday party, but she didn't have a baby-sitter for her son. Her solution was to take her son with her and use the trunk of her car as a baby-sitter. (Apparently she has made a habit of doing this.) After giving us these brief facts, the news anchor cut to an interview with a family psychiatrist, to help us "understand", I guess. He informed us that while this kind of thing appeared to be on the rise, he felt that it has always been a problem and was only now being widely reported. (Heard that one before?) The conclusion reached by all, after the usual chit-chat among the anchors, was that we'd probably never know if the poor woman had suffered similar abuse as a child. (The child, by the way, was only mentioned in the first (factual) part of the story. He was never mentioned again.)

Ask yourself what is missing from this news analysis. Then ask yourself how our culture got to the point where the focus of this story is the "poor" woman. After that, ask yourself if you are safe in a culture that thinks like this. There is no difference between the thrust of this little story and Chomsky, Sontag, and Moore (and their protesting puppets) lecturing us that we brought 9-11 on ourselves.

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Swig, that's a good summary of Peikoff's position as near as I can understand it. The counter-argument given here seems to go along the lines of: The Democrats, being representatives of "D," will deliver us quickly into the state of the Weimar Republic, where economic disintegration will lead to a counter-movement that is practically ideal for any "M2" to come in as a demagogue and take power.

Literally, we have to survive long enough for Objectivism to offer an "I" alternative for the Republican "M." Bush is in fact an "M1" and Kerry, though himself a "D1," will easily be pulled into the actions of a "D2." Society will then collapse too quickly and the next great philosophical contender will be the largest: in this case, the M of Conservatism.

How would you respond to this assessment?

I would respond by pointing out that our society has already collapsed (morally and politically) under the weight of Kantian skepticism. The collapse is now over. We are a country with serious financial and moral woes and we are being defeated in war. How much lower can we get?

If we want to survive, we better do something about the counter movement that is taking place before our very eyes. We better start intellectually attacking the New Christians.

As Dr. Peikoff pointed out in his DIM course, periods of D do not last very long. They cannot sustain themselves. People want moral guidance. People need it. Throughout history periods of M have always lasted much longer and were more lethal than periods of D.

Now, after several decades of disintegration, this country is ready for a moral ideology again.

Objectivism (I) and Christianity (M2) are now the only serious contenders in the ring. The D2s were yesterday's news. They bored us silly with skepticism and pragmatism. They cleared the path for the rise of a serious morality. Now we, as a society, laugh at the ridiculous D2 and we cringe at the sight of a flip-flopping D1. Yet, many of us still think that an M1.5 is basically an honest person who is doing his best to save us from our enemies.

Ha! Still we, as a nation, are either ignorant or fearful of our true enemy. Pure religion. Pure hell on earth. We want to believe that it cannot happen--again. We believe that our Christian friends, when push comes to shove, will side with nonbelievers. We believe they will reject the Bible. We believe they will not obey God.

Ha!

I believe that we are now witnessing the terrifying sound of Kantian Born-Again Christianity whooshing into the intellectual vacuum. If you thought Liberals were bad, wait until you see what Kantian Christians will do to this country. Today's Christian is a whole new breed from the Founding Fathers. (At least the Founding Fathers respected reality.)

If Objectivists don't start pointing their mental laser beams at these New Kantian Christians, who will? I am all for promoting Objectivism and getting our intellectuals into strategic cultural positions and supporting ARI. But more can be done. At the very least, we can re-evaluate our respect for Christians like President Bush. And we can re-assess the threat level of Liberalism compared to modern Christianity.

We can recognize that these New Christians are the ones with a lethal, competing ideology to Objectivism. They are the ones who have systematically kidnapped reality, reason, selfishness, capitalism and other concepts that are dear to us Objectivists. Domestically, the New Christians are a bigger threat to us than the monkeys on the Left. And in regard to foreign policy, they are doing more to ensure our defeat in war than anything the monkeys could ever dream of doing. (I have already written at length on that issue, so I will not repeat my arguments here.)

The monkeys cannot compete with the power of Christianity. Liberals have no systematic politics anymore. The Christians stole socialism from them and are now calling it democracy. Liberals cannot agree on their dogma anymore. They are clueless flip-floppers, consistent in hardly more than hatred and envy. Soon, these Neo-Christians will steal Liberalism from the Liberals and call it something else, too.

While the monkeys are barking at the world and splintering into different portions of chaos, the Christians are coalescing, reasserting their ancient, well-established dogma, and picking up the bigger pieces of the Liberal big bang, such as certain environmental policies.

A vote for Kerry is a vote for the only stumbling block we have to place in front of the Christian killing machine. Kerry alone won't stop the Kantian Christian march to doom. But he, and others like him, may delay it long enough for the forces of reason to rise up and make a stand in this cultural war.

Edited by MisterSwig
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I would respond by pointing out that our society has already collapsed (morally and politically) under the weight of Kantian skepticism. The collapse is now over. We are a country with serious financial and moral woes and we are being defeated in war. How much lower can we get?

Yeah, I miss those good old days of 12% inflation and 18% interest rates. :)

Not to mention that Golden Age of Morality that was the 1960s. :(

If we want to survive, we better do something about the counter movement that is taking place before our very eyes. We better start attacking the New Christians.

Yup, just like you said in your previous post:

"The Bible is back, and it's tightening its belt. This is my enemy."

I guess we should pull our troops out of Iraq and start bombing American churches. When that is all done then just a nuke or two on the Vatican and ... poof ... our "enemy" is gone. Then we can live in peace and recover from our "serious financial and moral woes." :(

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I guess we should pull our troops out of Iraq and start bombing American churches. When that is all done then just a nuke or two on the Vatican and ... poof ... our "enemy" is gone. Then we can live in peace and recover from our "serious financial and moral woes."  :)

I think you know that I meant intellectually attack, not physically attack. I edited my post to make that clearer, in case anyone else felt like I was advocating the bombing of American churches.

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I think you know that I meant intellectually attack, not physically attack.

Of course I knew that. It is just that it is hard to take your baleful hyperbole seriously. I feel like I have entered into an alternate universe when I read how you characterize the state of my country and the nature of its enemies. It neither reflects the world that I live in today nor the world that I experienced in the past decades of my life. There is only so much doom and gloom, and misidentification of current as well as historical facts that I can stand reading before I respond in a satirical manner.

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It neither reflects the world that I live in today nor the world that I experienced in the past decades of my life. There is only so much doom and gloom, and misidentification of current as well as historical facts that I can stand reading before I respond in a satirical manner.

Actually this statement answers the question I raised in regard to Arthur Silber; "a misidentification of current as well as historical facts." People can have access to the same information but draw such out of context conclusions that the result is "baleful hyperbole" which is the perfect description of Silber.

Thanks.

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Now, after several decades of disintegration, this country is ready for a moral ideology again.

Objectivism (I) and Christianity (M2) are now the only serious contenders in the ring.

No, the major contenders are Environmentalism (M2), Islam (M2), and modern conservatism (D1). Christianity (M2) is one of the many disintegrated splinters of modern conservatism. Objectivism (I) is gaining ground but is not in major league yet.

Our strategy should be focused on defeating the M2s of Environmentalism and Islam, because they are the mis-ideologies currently in a position to do us harm. Christianity is balanced out by the other factions within modern conservatism, and is essentially a pacific and naive form of altruism (as contrasted with the militant and hypocritical altruism of Environmentalism or Islam). As I remarked on another thread, it will be a child's play for an Objectivist to defeat a Christian like Bush running for President, as the Christian will obediently keep turning him the other cheek!

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No, the major contenders are Environmentalism (M2), Islam (M2), and modern conservatism (D1). Christianity (M2) is one of the many disintegrated splinters of modern conservatism. Objectivism (I) is gaining ground but is not in major league yet.

Could you explain your reasoning for classifying Conservatism as a D1 and not an M1?

Also, can anyone comment on Peikoff's assertion that "Not even Hillary Clinton [would be as big a threat as Bush]?" I think that someone like Kerry or Bill Clinton (who are certainly "1's" of some sort), is non-threatening (comparatively), but it would be a mistake to put Hillary in this category, as she is clearly a "2."

(And, of course, whatever Kerry's personal number, his strings are being pulled by the "2's" like Hillary, so I'm not so sure we can count him out as harmless just yet. The problem with that man is that when I look at him, I see a vaccuum, which any dark force could fill. The terms "meat puppet" and "hollow man" come to mind)

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I guess we should pull our troops out of Iraq and start bombing American churches.

I know this is satire, but is it your position that Islam is a major threat to this country: specifically, a greater threat than destruction from within by Socialism?

Don't read too far into that; I'm just making sure where everyone stands.

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... It's my view -- as an _amateur_ intellectual -- that determinism, not religion, is the more lethal idea in politics ...

DETERMINISM vs. RELIGION?

In Post #247 of this thread, "Peikoff for Kerry?," Jack Wakeland informally presented an intriguing thesis: Determinism, "not religion, is the more lethal idea in politics." Mr. Wakeland describes "the determinist premise" as the belief that "... values and motives and choices do not move [man] -- rather he is moved by outside material factors ...").

Mr. Wakeland says this premise is the "bridge between 'scientific' metaphysical materialism," and dictatorship, which is a type of political system. Mr. Wakeland does not say so, but I infer that this determinist premise fits into the branch of philosophy called "theory of man" (a. k. a., philosophical anthropology). It is fundamental to ethics, which in turn is fundamental to politics. We need to know what man is before we can decide what he should do in the world. (For an illustration of this hierarchy, note the structure of Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Chs. 1 [metaphysics], 2-5 [epistemology], 6 [man], 7-9 [ethics], and 10-11 [politics].)

In a postscript to his post, Mr. Wakeland briefly and informally (as is apt for this forum) analyzes the state of contemporary U. S. culture. In an admirable note of full disclosure, he describes his own background, which includes less contact with conservative religionists than with the more secular side of U. S. culture.

After his postscript, Mr. Wakeland further appends a copy of "a private note from my friend, Mr. X (who actually is an intellectual, on the role of religion in America." The "note," in single-space format, is a two and a half page overview of the philosophical and historical roots of the relationship between religion and liberty in the United States. When, someday soon I hope, it is more formally presented, with full documentation and argumentation, this note will be an invaluable part of Objectivist ideology (that is, an analysis of our milieu drawn from the philosophy of Objectivism).

To all this intriguing material -- presented informally by both Mr. Wakeland and Mr. X (whose interests are remarkably similar to those of a young man I met many years ago through my son, then a student at the University of Chicago) -- I have several responses to offer. My responses are as informal -- and undocumented -- as the original post. Perhaps these questions and suggestions will be of value to Mr. Wakeland and Mr. X (who I assume -- and hope -- is working on a book on this subject).

I have four generalized responses. All question doubtful or unclear comparisons I see expressed or implied in Mr. Wakeland's and Mr. X's notes.

1. COMPARING THEOCRACY VS. SECULAR DICTATORSHIPS?

I see a need to carefully define dictatorship and theocracy. There are many ways to classify states. In most contexts, the essential distinguishing characteristic should be liberty: How much does a particular state provide? Throughout history, and around the world today, there is a spectrum ranging from semi-free (U. S. A.) to totalitarian (North Korea).

A dictatorship may confine its dictates to some areas of life but not to others, or it may attempt to dictate all aspects of life. That is, it may be fractured or totalitarian. Often, and mistakenly, "theocracy" and "dictatorship" are used synonymously, but that is inaccurate if "dictatorship" is supposed to be synonymous with "totalitarian."

Further, the idea of "theocracy" needs clear characterization. Strictly speaking, a theocracy is rule by God, but since God Himself, religionists say, does not rule, his supporters must do so for Him. Which supporters? Among Christians and Muslims, much blood has been shed deciding that issue. (Look at Najaf today.) Likewise, the ancient pagan rulers portrayed themselves as part of a vast hierarchy beginning with the highest of the gods, extending down through lesser gods to the emperor and from him down to the local officials. That too, strictly speaking, was a theocracy, of a sort. Of course, a historian must always keep in the mind the difference between a culture's explicit philosophy and its actual, guiding philosophy.

A state may be very mildly theocratic (as the U. S. has always been) or extremely theocratic (as was the late Taliban regime in Afghanistan). In this connection, I especially welcomed Mr. X's opening statement that the package deal of religion and freedom was part of the original foundation of America. That applies, I believe, both to the philosophical justification offered by its supporters and to some of the laws. When I grew up in Texas in the 1950s, I remember "Blue Laws" -- e.g., my nominally Christian father not being able to buy a hammer and nails on Sunday, because the Christian legislature had prohibited stores from opening unless they were selling food. The idea of course was that good people should be worshipping God on Sunday, not building things, for Christ's sake!

Here is another distinction that deserves clarification in a larger work. In a theocracy, God's supporters in the government may or may not be officials in a church or mosque. If a writer means to refer to a state ruled by priests, ecclesiastics, or (as in Islam) other religious authorities, then the proper (because more narrow) term is hierocracy (rule by priests) not theocracy, which is a far broader term. Hierocracy and theocracy are not directly commensurable at the same level. Hierocracy is a kind of theocracy.

2. COMPARING RELIGION TO DETERMINISM, AS IDEAS.

I question too the commensurability of comparing the idea of determinism to religion. Yes, both are ideas, but what should be compared are their referents. Determinism refers to a certain premise (as Mr. Wakeland calls it) or, more accurately, a certain theory. Religion refers to the widest of all abstractions: philosophy.

Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, and thus includes an ontology (of two worlds, for example), epistemology (typically an uneasy alliance of faith and reason), theory of man (for example, originally flawed but improvable through suffering and prayer), ethics (renunciation of this world for the sake of salvation in the next world), politics (in widely varying forms), and esthetics (for the glorification of God). See "Religion," The Ayn Rand Lexicon, for Ayn Rand's insightful and partly sympathetic assessment of religion.

3. COMPARING KILL RATES.

Comparison of kill rates -- secular, determinist regimes' slaughter compared to the slaughter committed by theocracies -- should be commensurable too. First, are the comparisons being made in absolute numbers (for example, 30 million by the Soviets over a 70 year period compared to thousands by the Afghan Taliban in a few years) or in percentages of populations?

Second, is changing world population being factored in? The population of the world today is vastly greater than it was a thousand years ago, when stronger theocracies ruled -- and sometimes slaughtered.

Third, what constitutes "killing"? For instance, the Christian Roman Empire, from Constantine onward, may have killed relatively few nonconformists directly, but how many did it kill indirectly, not only in its own time (up to around 450 CE), but in the centuries following, through its failure to defend the Empire? For a lead to the latter, compare the population of the city of Rome in the year 300 CE (just before Christians took imperial power) and then again in 700 CE. According to estimates I saw years ago (based on medieval writings and on archaeological evidence), the population of the city itself shrank by 90%.

Likewise, killings should be compared by purpose. The extermination killings by the secular/determinist Cambodian communists in the 1970s are not commensurable to the relatively few killings by the various inquisitions in Western Europe up to the 1600s. Usually, the primary motive of most of those various inquisitions was terrorizing nonconformists into orthodoxy, not exterminating them.

4. COMPARING SECULAR DETERMINISM TO CONFLICTED RELIGION.

Comparing determinism to religion presents another pitfall, historically. At least with Christianity and Islam, in general, the comparison cannot be made simply. The reason is that these religions, in some of their forms, were themselves heavily conflicted about individual freedom of choice versus their own -- that is, theistic -- determinism. By the latter, I mean the belief that God knows all and controls all, including individual behavior. God loads the dice and throws the dice. But man is still supposed to have freedom of choice!

Read Augustine to watch the twists and turns of a Christian intellectual trying to reconcile the two. It is not pretty to watch. The result for millions of religionists was life on a rack, where the individual is torn by demands that he choose this or that, pulling one way, and the damning claim that he is predestined to hell, pulling the other way.

The suggestions above are my main points, though I have others. For anyone interested in observing one instance of the package-deal of freedom and liberty, I recommend Robert George (a very clear Catholic intellectual), The Clash of Orthodoxies. In his book, George (whom one young Objectivist intellectual, remarkably like Mr. X, named as a friend of liberty) debates a secular, liberal, academic materialist. The remainder of the book includes, among other jewels, George's autopsy on the U. S. Catholic Church's fitful, conflicted and often impotent response to liberal secularism, even in its own ranks (e.g., John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion). Yes, as Robert Tracinski and others have pointed out, our enemies -- including the religionists -- have their problems too.

Thank you, Mr. Wakeland and Mr. X.

I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

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Could you explain your reasoning for classifying Conservatism as a D1 and not an M1?

Modern conservatism is an unintegrated mixture of classical liberalism, individualism, patriotism, hero-worship, decency, self-discipline, nostalgia, and a plethora of religious factions like Judaism, Catholicism, Baptism, Methodism, Calvinism, you name it. This sounds like a typical case of the "garden-variety disintegration" to which Dr. Peikoff gave the name D1; it's the state of mind of a mediocre-to-moderately-virtuous person who is more disposed than not to love life but doesn't seek a consistent and integrated philosophy.

(While I spoke of "a person" above to illustrate my point, conservatism is not a single person, so an individual "conservative" may actually be a foaming-mouth Catholic M2 at the one extreme, or a productive I who reads Atlas Shrugged in his spare time at the other. Conservatism as a whole is a D1 because it's a hodgepodge of unintegrated ideas and because the majority of its adherents tend to be D1s.)

Also, can anyone comment on Peikoff's assertion that "Not even Hillary Clinton [would be as big a threat as Bush]?" I think that someone like Kerry or Bill Clinton (who are certainly "1's" of some sort), is non-threatening (comparatively), but it would be a mistake to put Hillary in this category, as she is clearly a "2."

I agree.

(And, of course, whatever Kerry's personal number, his strings are being pulled by the "2's" like Hillary, so I'm not so sure we can count him out as harmless just yet. The problem with that man is that when I look at him, I see a vaccuum, which any dark force could fill. The terms "meat puppet" and "hollow man" come to mind)

Hmm, I didn't think of it that way before, but that's probably because my eyes have grown accustomed to our Socialist prime minister who literally speaks like a six-year-old. (BTW he has just resigned, or more probably, been told by his puppetmaster to resign...)

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Modern conservatism is an unintegrated mixture

A very good point. Perhaps I need to re-think my application of DIM. Can it be applied to movements, or just to people? I am now starting to think that it is valid only as an individual psycho-epistemological classification. (in which case, conservatism would subsume a large number or D1's, M1's, and M2's)

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