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Peikoff For Kerry?

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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.

There are so many possible factors involved, everything from too narrow a focus to distilling facts through the filter of a malevolent sense of life. Whatever the specific reasons involved, I wish there more people who had a truly historic and objective perspective on our life and times.

Thanks.

You're welcome.

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

These are two different, almost incommensurable, things. Islamic terrorism represents an immediate physical threat to our country and should be dealt with swiftly by overwhelming retaliatory force. Socialism, and all that it entails, as a long term threat represents a battle of ideas, and that battle must be fought primarily in the universities by Objectivist intellectuals, educating those who will disseminate ideas to the public at large.

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These are two different, almost incommensurable, things. Islamic terrorism represents an immediate physical threat to our country and should be dealt with swiftly by overwhelming retaliatory force. Socialism, and all that it entails, as a long term threat represents a battle of ideas, and that battle must be fought primarily in the universities by Objectivist intellectuals, educating those who will disseminate ideas to the public at large.

Would you say that they have a ranked priority in your opinion (i.e. urgency, overall danger), or are they completely incommensurable?

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Perhaps I need to re-think my application of DIM. Can it be applied to movements, or just to people?

I would say that its primary application is to ideas. A well-integrated idea, or set of ideas, that is derived from the facts of reality, is an I. An idea arrived at while committing the Fallacy of the Many Without the One is a D. An idea arrived at while committing the Fallacy of the One Without the Many is an M.

A fallacy can be committed by mistake or on purpose; that is why Dr. Peikoff distinguishes D1s from D2s and M1s from M2s. A person who regularly commits fallacies by mistake is a sloppy, lazy, or weak-willed person who lacks the motivation to be rational; he is not evil, but not virtuous either--he's a "1." A person who systematically commits fallacies on purpose is evil--a "2."

So, in my view, the classification of people as I, D1, etc. is derived from the classification of ideas as D, I, or M and from the parallel classification of people as virtuous, mediocre, or evil. Since a virtuous person is rational, his ideas will be predominantly Is, but a person who lacks virtue will have fallacious ideas of one sort or other, hence the distinction between D1s and M1s on the "garden variety" level and D2s and M2s in the "pro" league.

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Would you say that they have a ranked priority in your opinion (i.e. urgency, overall danger), or are they completely incommensurable?

Well, as I said, the physical threat must be dealt with with swiftly, so yes, that represents urgency, immediate physical action. The battle for ideas is a long-term endeavor.

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Well, as I said, the physical threat must be dealt with with swiftly, so yes, that represents urgency, immediate physical action. The battle for ideas is a long-term endeavor.

I take it from your previous writings in this thread and elsewhere that you think that the battle for ideas is not at all near the point where we are immediately threatened with the loss of our essential freedoms, either from the left or from the right.

As such, you conclude that the more immediate issue of defense against militant Islam is the lynchpin for the next election, as far as you are concerned. It is further your position that Bush is a better candidate on the issue of defense.

Is this an accurate assesment of your reasoning? Again, please correct me anywhere I am mistaken.

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

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

I guess you much prefer modern America, where drug use and recreational sex are staples of our society. If you want me to start quoting statistics, I will. But, come on, have you looked around you lately? Have you noticed any of the millions of drug addicts and sex-pushers? And that is only at the superficial level! Don't get me started on the decline of art in this culture.

The only substantial difference between immorality then and now is that now we are used to it. It is plastered all over our daily news. We have countless clinics to support the reprobates. They overfill our courtrooms and jails, because of our stupid political wars against such activities as drug use and sex buying. We are conditioned to accept this reality as normal, when only a few decades ago people were still kind of shocked by it.

Also, I don't really want to go researching inflation and interest rate numbers. If you want to provide your sources and explain why inflation and interest rates are important, that would be helpful. But I think bigger indicators of our financial woes are the national debt, our growing dependency on the rich to support welfare programs, and the virtually across the board increased levels of government taxation and spending.

You may not like a few years of high inflation and interest rates, but those are effects of a bigger problem. The bigger problem is that for the last several decades our government has been gradually screwing up the economy.

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Allow me to throw in a point-counterpoint here:

Point: European countries have survived much higher levels of Socialism than we currently suffer from. The sky may be falling, but rome didn't fall in a day.

Counterpoint: The survival of euro-socialism is largely reliant upon the United States providing aid and capital, both directly and indirectly. For instance, European nations could not budget for their own self-defense, nor could their industries survive without imports to and exports from the US, or US capital for that matter. So it is unlikely that the US could survive european levels of socialism without some other nation propping it up.

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Yet are these things not symptoms of the Left's dominance and not a result of the "conservatives?"

The Left is mostly responsible for the recent decay of our society, and that is my point. The Left made this current decadent mess and now the Right is coming in to mop up the place. I was arguing that in general things have gotten so bad here that our society is desperate for moral guidance, which the Right is providing.

Notice the Right's recent track record (Clinton, Gore, Kerry) of assaulting their opponent's moral character. Clinton was a womanizer and liar. Gore, while a family man, was disrespectful, impatient, wooden, unemotional. And Kerry is a dishonest flip-flopping traitor to this country.

Notice the Right's recent focus on family values, faith, compassion, courage and patriotism, etc. Also, Bush is an expert at brushing off any attempt to damage his moral character. The Libs try to demean him for having past personal issues, but he acknowledges them and points to his born-again Christianity and the issue goes away. Kerry, on the other hand, makes things worse by routinely flip-flopping and idiotically rationalizing his history and his dishonesty--or he whines about his attackers or tries to ignore them.

Take one recent example. Kerry called on Bush to stop the swiftboat ads. Well, Bush, in turn, universally condemned all such groups who spend their own money to launch anti-Bush or anti-Kerry ads. Bush wants to shut down free speech like nothing I've ever seen before in my lifetime. While Kerry was seeking an end to one group's ads, Bush left Kerry in the dust by calling for the end of all these kinds of groups, like moveon.org and the swiftboat people. Now Kerry looks like a weeney, because he won't take a principled stand on the issue.

The Right is crushing Kerry's moral character, while the Left is struggling to put a dent in Bush's politics. The Right makes you personally hate Kerry. I have trouble looking at him. Meanwhile, the Left is having difficulty making most people believe that Bush's policies are wrong and/or that Kerry has political solutions. That is a big difference in campaign strategy. It reflects a big difference in the maturity of each side in this cultural war.

The awakened Right is reclaiming morality. They are injecting their morality into politics. And the confused Left is struggling to understand what is going on and to put a viable candidate up for election.

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The awakened Right is reclaiming morality. They are injecting their morality into politics. And the confused Left is struggling to understand what is going on and to put a viable candidate up for election.

This much, at least, is something I think we all need to acknowledge. To sum up your point, while the left have been more destructive in the past at implementing the morality of Altruism, the Right is transforming into an organization that will steal the mojo of the left and take it to depths of Alruistic destruction the likes of which we haven't ever seen in this country.

I think everyone here accepts this premise. The question is one of timing: is this an IMMEDIATE danger? Is the right more effective right now at implementing altruism, or is it still neutralized by proto-capitalist ideas? Both Swig and Stephen (or Peikoff and Hurd) are arguing for the buying of time; the disagreement is on who represents a larger immediate threat to us: the Left through its policy of disintegration, or the Right, with the possibility of an awakening of a long-thought-dead force?

Add to this a seemingly divergent priority given to the war: the "Peikoff" camp takes the position that nobody could possibly mess up the war any worse than Bush has. Also they hold the idea that people are "basically sane" enough that the public will not permit anyone to act in a sufficiently self-destructive manner in the prosecution of the war: it is only through seemingly sane actions (i.e. M), that the public will allow the war to be bogarted. This side seems to believe that the Far Left does not in fact speak for the left and will not be able to control Kerry into making things that much worse. To this side, the war is not as important: the larger issue is the political freedoms of the nation.

Contrast this to the "Hurd" camp, which asserts that the Left most certainly could mess up the war a whole lot worse than Bush could, evidenced by the actions of Kerry in Vietnam and Clinton in Mogadishu/Bosnia. To this camp, conservatives are "basically sane" enough as to not permit a full socialism to be implemented. The left has implemented slow death by socialism in the past and it will continue to do so if encouraged. This side asserts that the Religious Right does not in fact speak for the Right, and will not be able to control Bush into making things that much worse. To this side the war is critically important and the threat to political freedoms is minimal.

Interestingly, both sides think the "more fearful" party will mess up the economy. Both sides acknowledge that both the left and the right WANT to mess up the economy, but that the "less fearful" side doesn't have the guts to do it "big time."

I think we can all agree that both sides are most certainly the enemy in the long term, but the key issue is: which is more threatening in the short-term? How should we vote right now?

Edited for addendum.

Edit again: This post is my attempt to understand the sides of the debate; both sides should feel welcome to correct me if I have accidentally mischaracterized them.

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Islamic terrorism represents an immediate physical threat to our country and should be dealt with swiftly by overwhelming retaliatory force.

Islamic terrorism has been around for decades. Tiny Israel has yet to be defeated by terrorists, and look how long they have had to deal with it. America is in no immediate danger of being defeated by militant Islam (though we are losing this war). We will suffer attacks, like Israel has, for perhaps decades. But we will continue to defend ourselves to some extent.

But the terrorist attacks will continue as long as we maintain the foreign policy of self-sacrifice which Bush is firmly and steadily implanting into our system. With flip-flop Kerry in office we would get a flip-flopping foreign policy, and this would provide an opportunity for reason to be heard in between the uncertainty and wavering in policy.

The more immediate threat is someone like Bush, who is backed up and surrounded by the Neo-Conservative Christian movement, and looks for every opportunity to inject force and religion into politics. Most disconcerting is his recent action (I just heard this on the radio today) to suppress the free speech of 527 groups like moveon.org and the swift boat veterans. Apparently, he doesn't like people using their own money to run political ads of any kind. This is a dangerous man.

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Islamic terrorism has been around for decades. Tiny Israel has yet to be defeated by terrorists, and look how long they have had to deal with it. America is in no immediate danger of being defeated by militant Islam (though we are losing this war). We will suffer attacks, like Israel has, for perhaps decades. But we will continue to defend ourselves to some extent.

But the terrorist attacks will continue as long as we maintain the foreign policy of self-sacrifice which Bush is firmly and steadily implanting into our system. With flip-flop Kerry in office we would get a flip-flopping foreign policy, and this would provide an opportunity for reason to be heard in between the uncertainty and wavering in policy.

The more immediate threat is someone like Bush, who is backed up and surrounded by the Neo-Conservative Christian movement, and looks for every opportunity to inject force and religion into politics. Most disconcerting is his recent action (I just heard this on the radio today) to suppress the free speech of 527 groups like moveon.org and the swift boat veterans. Apparently, he doesn't like people using their own money to run political ads of any kind. This is a dangerous man.

With MisterSwig's identification of the case of Israel v. her neighbors, we're now really close to the ultimate integration (certainty) regarding whom to vote for. [i want to note that AshRyan's earlier identification of the proper sequence of events in Germany - Weimar (D) to Nazi (M) - and Mr. Laughlin's rebuttal of the commensurability of Mr. Wakeland's units, were also crucial. I lay emphasis on their "vote for Kerry" arguments because the "vote for Bush" position is the dominant one.]

Does anyone have historical examples which contradict the above instance/identification by MisterSwig? We are looking specifically for a case in which a civilized world power in decline was threatened by a much less powerful but more morally consistent foe and in which the latter triumphed. Concrete information regarding context, i.e., circumstances (geography, time frames, politics, and personalities), are most welcome.

Thank you all for a selfish, robust, and civilized debate.

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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. 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.

Nobody is. There is just the inertia of the New Left to contend with.

We don't want to take over the churches and we don't have to. We want to take over the UNIVERSITIES. The people who can block the way are sitting on the committees deciding whether an Objectivist scholar gets tenure -- and they are SECULAR. (Objectivist academics have had an easier time at religious schools like Ashland, Seton Hall, and Anderson College.)

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.
Now just HOW is it going to do that? Religion sure isn't MY master. It's just an unworthy opponent.

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.

In fact, the consistent Kantians are the Post-Modern professors staging a sit-in in our universities. Those on the Right aren't nearly so consistent. They manage to smuggle in loads of individualism and (Aristotelian) common sense -- something the Leftist professors hate them for.

The Bible is back, and it's tightening its belt.
On WHOM and HOW?

This is my enemy.

I see.

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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.

From the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...-2004Jul15.html

Kerry Keeps His Faith in Reserve

Candidate Usually Talks About Religion Before Black Audiences Only

By Jim VandeHei

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, July 16, 2004; Page A01

John F. Kerry, a lifelong Roman Catholic, carries in his briefcase an unmarked manila folder stuffed full of religion articles, scriptures, personal reflections -- and a sermon the Democrat has been fine-tuning since the early 1980s.

In the latest iteration Kerry borrows the words of James, reputed brother of Jesus, to condemn President Bush's leadership. "It is not enough, my brother, to say that you have faith, when there are no deeds," Kerry told thousands of African American Christians gathered in Indianapolis earlier this month for the annual convention of the AME Church. "We look at what's happening in America today, and if you have a conscience and if your eyes are open, you have to say, 'Where are the deeds?' For the last four years, all we have heard is empty words."

The speech, based in part on James's New Testament teachings on Christian social responsibility of nearly 2,000 years ago, was revealing, overtly religious in tone -- and one of the rare times Kerry has expounded at any length about his views on faith during this campaign.

Outside of black churches or meetings with African Americans such as those at the NAACP convention yesterday, Kerry has been largely silent about the personal Catholicism that once inspired a flirtation with the priesthood and the Christian beliefs friends and family say guide his life and political thinking.

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I take it from your previous writings in this thread and elsewhere that you think that the battle for ideas is not at all near the point where we are immediately threatened with the loss of our essential freedoms, either from the left or from the right.

I think it is perfectly clear that we are winning the battle of ideas. Objectivism has made profound inroads into academia in the past two decades. In the years prior to that an Objectivist would hide his philosophic affiliation if he wanted to get a PhD in the humanities or soft sciences. Today there are Chairs in Objectivism at major universities, and there exists a bevy of tenured Objectivist intellectuals in a variety of fields in academia. It used to be that a high school or college student could hardly ever even mention the writings of Ayn Rand without retribution, and today Ayn Rand's books and essays are regularly assigned as standard reading. It takes time for a new philosophy to permeate a culture, and the ever-growing success of Objectivism in academia is itself a monument to the process initiated by Miss Rand. I predict that for the generations to come, nothing will stand in the way of the new Objectivist intellectuals, and their influence will be directly felt in our culture.

Politics is a trailing indicator, not a leader, and it is still being guided by the inertia of past ideas. Today's politics can only either accelerate or slow down that inertia, not change it in a radical manner. For that we need more of the general influence that will occur as more and more young people are exposed to Objectivist ideas. I see no imminent threat to our freedoms in a fundamental way, nothing beyond the usual ebb that we have experienced for some time.

, you conclude that the more immediate issue of defense against militant Islam is the lynchpin for the next election, as far as you are concerned. It is further your position that Bush is a better candidate on the issue of defense.

As compared to Kerry, a resounding "yes" for Bush. I personally would have liked a hugely more agressive stance, but nevertheless Bush has taken decisive action. Kerry would be a disaster for our safety, right where we all live. But, even beyond defense, Kerry would be the one to accelerate socialistic intrusion into our society, and he would quite likely cause the business climate to deteriorate into someting reminscent of Jimmy Carter's handiwork. In general, I would vote against Kerry even if Bush were not as agressive in defense as he is (not to imply that he Bush is agressive enough), for reason's similar to Ayn Rand's passionate advocacy for Nixon against McGovern in 1972. In the August 28, 1972 issue of The Ayn Rand Letter, she wrote:

"I am not an admirer of President Nixon, as my readers know. But I urge every able-minded voter, of any race, creed, color, age, sex, or political party, to vote for Nixon—as a matter of national emergency. This is no longer an issue of choosing the lesser of two commensurate evils. The choice is between a flawed candidate representing Western civilization—and the perfect candidate of its primordial enemies."

I think Kerry makes McGovern look good by comparison. Miss Rand was an anti-Nixonite for Nixon, and I am an anti-Bushian for Bush.

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I guess you much prefer modern America, where drug use and recreational sex are staples of our society.

If you are old-enough to have lived through the 1960s and 1970s, then you must have lived on some other planet. If you are too young to have experienced it directly, then you know little of history. I'll take the young people of today's generation over any from the 60s and 70s.

If you want me to start quoting statistics, I will.
Knock yourself out. But, don't forget that earlier 12% inflation and 18% interest rates when you lecture us about being "a country with serious financial and moral woes." And, you might want to add to that the greater than 90% income tax rate for the top earners, cut down to 70% until Reagan came along and reduced it to below 30%. The great producers gave 94% of their income in your view of the Golden Age of finances.

But, come on, have you looked around you lately? Have you noticed any of the millions of drug addicts and sex-pushers?

Yeah, I step over them every day when I leave my house. :(

And that is only at the superficial level!
Amen. You got that part right.

Don't get me started on the decline of art in this culture.

Yes, I have noted your exquisite abilities in evaluating art. :D

But, anyway, I do miss that wonderful sculpture from your Golden Age of the 1960s. How can I ever forget that fantastic evening I attended the special invitation to view Tanquelay's (sp.?) marvelous sculpture at New York's Museum of Modern Art. The grand finale remains etched in my mind as a symbol of the great art of past decades, as the "sculpture" completely destroyed itself. :(

Look, MisterSwig, don't bother responding for my sake, because I am done. I leave you to wallow in this horribly decadent world that you describe and live in. I will just have to make do with the bright sunshine of life that shines so brilliantly in the world within which I live. I see hope and promise for the coming generations of young people, and like a glutton I will continue to love and enjoy the endless sources of pleasure and enrichment that I find around me. As a matter of fact, in your honor, this weekend I will decide on what color I want and I will place my order for the new Corvette convertible that will become available sometime next year. For a price proportionally less than the money value that I paid for my corvette in 1969, I can now have a computer controlled gadget-mobile that sticks to the road like glue and goes from zero to sixty mph in 4.3 seconds! My, what a terrible world we live in. :(

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Here's a link to a production company that is putting out a documentary on DVD about George Bush and his faith. World Net Daily has an article about this and how it's to be distributed to churches.

I still may vote for Bush for many of the reasons stated by Betsy and Dr. Hurd, but I'm sympathising more toward Peikoff's arguement about Bush's religiosity.

http://www.grizzlyadams.tv/

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I'm not going to bother responding to them at this point, but I just want to say that these two posts-- and --by Betsy in response to my lost post in this thread take my statements out of context and neglect to address my actual points.

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...I feel like I have entered into an alternate universe when I read how you [MisterSwig] 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.

While I don't fully endorse all of MisterSwig's statements, I don't understand how you can so flippantly disregard the threat of religious fundamentalism. Maybe you should look beyond the past decades of your life and read a history book. The Ominous Parallels isn't a bad place to start.

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I think it is perfectly clear that we are winning the battle of ideas. Objectivism has made profound inroads into academia in the past two decades.

So has religion. Much more quickly than Objectivism is, in fact. The wider trend in academia is toward mysticism (including a strong influx of Christianity), not Objectivism. Yet. :(

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Yet are these things not symptoms of the Left's dominance and not a result of the "conservatives?"

The religious right is at least as responsible for such symptoms, given what they teach their children under the guise of "morality."

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I see a great deal of rationalization going on in this discussion. It is a mistake to argue any pure philosophy without a full acknowledgement of how people actually believe and act on those ideas.

To say that we don't have to worry about the Islamists because Israel has been fighting them for a long time and survived is to ignore the fact that Israel has not done so on its own. Without the economic power of the U.S., Israel would not still be holding on. One must also acknowledge the fact that Israel has an internal problem with both religion and socialism which is much worse than ours. They are holding their own because of us (even though our support has always been uneven).

It is also important to remember that, in reality, when we do battle with socialist ethics we are doing battle against religious ethics. We are not arguing primarily against who ought to be the beneficiary of the ethics of self-sacrifice, but the ethics of self-sacrifice itself.

MisterSwig makes his argument from a rather malevolent point of view that ignores the full context. As a consequence, he treats all religious Americans as though they were one vast Jim Jones collective, with no regard for the fact the widely diverse interpretations of religion in this country which precludes the kind of collective action he fears.

MisterSwig also seems to have succumbed to rather hysterical political arguments concerning the economy -- without any understanding of economic theory, history, or economic reality. If one wants to contemplate a true economic disaster, consider what just one or two attacks from the Islamists, using even the most primative versions of WMD, would accomplish in short order.

Just because the Left is in its death throes doesn't mean that the danger is past. They're brain-dead, but the body still breathes. Marxism is transitioning once again and its latest mutation is Transnational Progressivism -- i.e., the socialism of the EU. (There is an excellent abstract outlining the theory and methods of TP written by John Fonte, entitled "The Ideological

War Within the West." I'm having trouble with the link, so you'll have to google it.) The goal is still Marx's historically inevitable "one world", but the methods of reaching that vast collective have changed. Like the Christians before them, today's Marxists have decided that it wasn't the philosophy that caused all the death and destruction, it was the people who were corrupt.

The methods of TP are multiculturalism (racism), environmentalism (anti-progress), diversity (collectivism), political correctness (thought control), Post-modern humanism (altruism), and a virulent pacificism (self-hatred). (Fonte's abstract is much more inclusive. Check it out.)

John Kerry is Peter Keating of the new American TP elites. There is not a single premise of the EU elites that he does not agree with. His flip-flops are seeming only; he has been consistent in his hatred for Americanism and has taken every opportunity, both during that war and in his subsequent Senate career, to undermine every fundamental American value. This is why his record in Viet Nam is important; his record shows his character in all its Keatingesque degeneracy.

When I rehearsed that local news story about the woman who used the trunk of her car as a baby-sitter, it was to underline the pervasiveness of the insidious and depraved materialist philosophy behind the actual reporting of that incident.

By-the-bye, MisterSwig, we are not losing the war. You sound just like the Leftist hand-wringers. The only words you haven't yet used are "quagmire" and "exit strategy". You could profit from a study of the history of warfare and of the politics of war.

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