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Why does this matter? Aggression against the wrong target doesn't do us any good.

Oh, but it does. For one, it has the terrorists racing to Iraq rather than New York. But more than that, the Islamists are not Objectivists - to them, Bush *is* waging a signficant war on them, he *is* a real threat (just ask the Taliban, Saddam, or Qaddafi). You and I may understand that Bush does not have the moral authority to call for another pre-emptive attack, but our enemies do *not* know that (although Iran is currently "testing the waters").

This, then, is the problem. While Bush and Kerry have the same foreign policy *in fact*, a victory for Kerry will be seen by the world in general and the Islamists in particular as a cave-in - it will be seen as another "Black Hawk Down" only on a much more massive (and dangerous) scale.

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America has declined due to Kantian philosophy and, as politicians go, the Left is THOROUGHLY Kantian.  The right, on the other hand, still retains and respects some American and Enlightenment ideals.

Kant saved religion. His evil brilliance lies in the fact that he simultaneously saved both skepticism and faith.

In the 18th century, the Founding Fathers brought a great, but flawed, reason to the newly founded American states. Meanwhile, Kant was spreading his brilliantly insidious ideas through Europe. It was not long before Kant's radical skepticism made its way to America and slowly ate away at our flawed reason in the 19th and 20th centuries, creating an intellectual vacuum.

The Christian Kant, however, had left room for faith, and now, after decades of tiresome and ineffective skepticism, we are witnessing a revival of Christian morality attempting to fill the intellectual vacuum. Meanwhile, Objectivism is also attempting to fill that vacuum.

Who will fill the vacuum first? Faith and Selflessness (Christianity) or Reason and Selfishness (Objectivism)?

If we don't actively combat the Christians, they will fill the vacuum and censor and brutalize those who stand up for reason. Make no mistake about that. Read your history.

Look around at the countless hollow shells of skeptics, and ask yourself: Who will fill up those vacuums first? And what will happen if we let religion do its thing?

The President is a reflection of the culture. Our culture is a reborn Christian who used to have a drinking problem.

Now, I know many of you are terrified of Islamic totalitarianism. And you should be, goddamnit! But Bush ain't going to solve the problem. He is making it worse, by getting people to believe that he is actually doing something about it, when in actuality all he has done is manage to get hundreds of our soldiers killed in the process of capturing or killing a few al Qaeda underbosses.

Bush does not value American life! Most of our military casualties have come from trying to bring "the American way" to the biggest nest of savages on earth. Ha! Is it an Enlightenment idea to throw your best and bravest warriors into hopeless Hell--when you have THE BOMB!!!???

It's sad to watch. Bush is lulling the nation into false security, false hope. But there are those who still live with a dull, persistent terror, because we know or sense the truth. We understand that nothing is going to change with Bush! It is not going to get better, while he is in charge.

Remember, this war is going to last forever, maybe longer than your lifetime. We need to be prepared for the ultimate sacrifice, because this war is a "generational" thing. That is the Bush way.

We are not safe with Bush. His goal is not to save American lives on earth. But to spread "freedom"--and the will of God.

To those who believe that, if Kerry is elected, the terrorists are going to wipe us out in four years, I say this: look at Israel. How long has Israel stood its ground? Yeah, they suffer casualties, but they are still defending themselves, after all these years under constant attack. They have not completely capitulated.

And what is Israel's biggest problem? Why can't they stop the attacks? Well, they are religious tolerationists. It is the altruists among them that prevent victory over their enemies. Do we have the same problem here?

Do you really think the attacks will not come because Bush is at the helm?

We certainly have more than four or even eight years before this country caves to militant Islam. But how many years do we have before Christianity is a staple of our government? How many years before the vacuum has been filled by religion?

We need to blast God to hell. We need to strike a devastating blow to the dominant Christian morality of altruism in this country. We need to fill the vacuum before the Christians do.

We need to elect someone who won't suck from the nipple of God. We need to elect someone who doesn't wield the sword of faith. We need to elect someone who will help demoralize the selfless masses of fundamentalist Christians, eat away at their faith-based beliefs, and make them doubt the very existence of a Bush-loving God. We need to elect someone who will help create more vacuous space in which Objectivism and reason can enter and triumph.

That is why I have decided to vote for Kerry.

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You're still confusing belief in an idea with consistent action based on that idea.

"they never even said--and, I venture to say, never even thought--that such a thing should be done according to the Bible"

"Say" and "think" are words describing beliefs, not actions.

They see the war as self-sacrificial. They aren't defending their own lives.

Makes no difference. ALL retaliation is verboten by the Bible.

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"they never even said--and, I venture to say, never even thought--that such a thing should be done according to the Bible"

"Say" and "think" are words describing beliefs, not actions.

Excuse my imprecision. You're still confusing belief in one idea with consistent thought and action based on that idea.

Makes no difference. ALL retaliation is verboten by the Bible.

That interpretation of the Bible isn't self-evident.

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We need to elect someone who will help create more vacuous space in which Objectivism and reason can enter and triumph.

You and Dr. Peikoff seem to share the premise that liberals are weak, directionless bumblers (or "D's") while Bush is a determined evildoer (or an "M"). The equivalent of this is actually a perfect description of the state of politics in my country, Hungary, where the pragmatic Socialists are a lesser evil than the rabidly anti-American "conservatives." This picture fits my country so well that it's easy for me to see how mistaken it is in the case of America.

It is the Republicans who are weak and directionless. It is them who drift along while their opponents are setting the agenda. Christianity doesn't give them a cause to fight for; it just dampens their reactions to their opponents' attacks by telling them not to fight back. They are torn between their patriotism and their religion. They know there are things that need to be done, and they want them done, but the Bible tells them not to--so they end up acting in a half-hearted way and chalking it up to "all of us being sinners." I don't know how this would be classified according to DIM, but I can tell for sure that they are the uncertain, hesitant, and malleable side.

Liberalism, on the other hand, does give its followers a cause to fight for. "Save the Earth! Stop the racist war! Free Palestine! End the occupation! Soak the rich! I'd rather be naked than wear fur! No blood for oil! (etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam...)" A liberal is a determined man, driven by a burning hatred for his species that motivates him to do whatever he can to undermine, humiliate, or even destroy mankind. He doesn't do things in a half-hearted way, as he isn't constrained by any scripture nor by the pacifism he demands from his enemies. Being totally unconcerned about the truth, he lies with a straight face and contradicts what he said earlier as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Given his hatred for life, he isn't afraid to take risks or even purposely kill himself for the Cause. Liberals are the Western equivalents of Islamic fundamentalists.

Dr. Peikoff correctly recognizes that, while Israel is far--often very far--from perfect, it still deserves our support because it represents the moral side in a battle with fierce anti-man fanatics. I contend that the GOP deserves our support for the very same reason.

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I am somewhat surprised to hear that Leonard Peikoff will vote for John Kerry but can understand his thinking in the matter to an extent.

The religious right does pose a threat to America; religion has the cultural effect of deteriorating people's belief in reason and has been a hindrance to human progress for a long time. But I'll be damned before I'll cast my vote for the left!

I think that the only positive result of Kerry being elected would be that it would thwart Hillary Clinton's likelyhood of nomination in 2008, which would be good because she is even more a militant socialist than Kerry. Although I do not defend Bush, especially since he has demonstrated himself to be such a big spender, the Republican party generally pushes for big government less than the Democrats do.

It will be Mike Badnarik for me, mates. I know that the Objectivist establishment does not really condone the Libertarian party, but I think it is important that a third party have a strong showing if we are ever to have progress in America. The duel between the Democrats and the Republicans is in my judgment a red herring manufactured by the media to keep people arguing about derivative issues so that they will be distracted from the fundamental issue of our liberty, which is what really matters. Both parties have the same ultimate agenda, which is MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL, LESS INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM. So whether Bush or Kerry wins does not matter--America still loses. The media likes to cover the election as if there were only two candidates; don't fall for it.

I don't know how Peikoff can feel comfortable casting his vote for one of the most liberal politicians out there. This will be my first presidential election (I turned 18 in 2002), and I have a hard time convincing myself to vote at all. They're all a bunch of bastards in my opinion. Maybe I should just stay out of it, let America commit suicide, and hope I have the resources to keep myself alive when the world comes crashing down.

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You and Dr. Peikoff seem to share the premise that liberals are weak, directionless bumblers (or "D's") while Bush is a determined evildoer (or an "M").

No. Liberals are skeptics and nihilists who create vacuums among the ranks of the faithful.

Did I say that liberals were "weak, directionless bumblers"? I said they have the power to help us get rid of the real moral threat to this nation.

In case you haven't noticed, liberals call themselves liberals now because they are too afraid to call themselves communists and socialists. The Democrats' socialist dream is a dead idea, being propped up by a termite-infested single wooden beam. It is collapsing, and now we are threatened with religious totalitarianism.

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I agree with Kitty Hawk and Betsy. Both make some important points.

Bush isn’t tough enough but Kerry is a step in the wrong direction. During the primary Kerry jumped on the bandwagon attacking Bush’s war effort on moral grounds. Given his credentials for doing this in the Vietnam War, Kerry represents a moral attack on America’s right to defend herself and I believe he'll live up to his reputation.

Now the Religious Right is a worry. However, the nihilist Left is also a worry. Between intrinsicists and subjectivists, whom do you choose? It’s a bad choice all around. However, although they are unconscious of it, the religious intrinsicists in the Republican Party accidentally accept some of the good things about the American tradition. In the long run we need to explicate and ground those values. However, in the short run we can benefit from the willingness of the Right – religious or not – to defend and fight for American.

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It's generally true that the liberal intellectuals set up the issues and the Republicans react. But Bush's push against abortion and his faith-based initiative, to give a couple of examples, are certainly not reactions to anything the left is doing. They stem from his own deeply held, and deeply wrong, principles.

Kerry, on the other hand, has no particular principles. He reacts to the polls, to the faces of the crowds in front of him. He's not setting the tone of debate for anything, and as Rob Tracinski pointed out in TIA Daily, this is why the DNC was such a flop. He was trying to react to the issues Bush put on the table, and doing a damned sloppy job at it.

I'm not yet convinced to vote for Kerry, but I can see the argument. I agree with Daniel that Peikoff's statistics about how widespread Christian fundamentalism is are dubious, though I intend to look into this further. I'm from the Northeast, where there are very few Christian fundamentalists, and further, I'm in college, where there are practically none. I really don't have much of a cultural sense for a large part of the country, so maybe Peikoff is right -- in which case, his conclusion that Kerry is significantly better than Bush might be right too.

I've been wavering between voting for Bush and not voting at all for some time now. Primarily, that's because I view the threat of Islamic fundamentalism as a life-and-death issue, and I'd like to survive long enough to see serious improvement in this country. But if a bit more national defense comes at the price of ingraining religion into the government, can it really be worth supporting?

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Excuse my imprecision. You're still confusing belief in one idea with consistent thought and action based on that idea.

But they weren't inconsistently thinking about turning al-Qaeda the other cheek. They weren't thinking about it AT ALL!

This means that, as far as a terrorist attack is concerned, they do not at all believe in turning the other cheek. Obviously, they think the above-cited passages in the Bible do not require turning Al-Qaeda the other cheek. But the Bible says just that: "turn the other cheek" ! Taking the Bible literally means thinking that the Bible does require turning evil the other cheek.

That interpretation of the Bible isn't self-evident.

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil"--or, in a more modern version, "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person." Is there a need to interpret this? It is as clear a prohibition on resistance as it gets.

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It is the Republicans who are weak and directionless. It is them who drift along while their opponents are setting the agenda. Christianity doesn't give them a cause to fight for; it just dampens their reactions to their opponents' attacks by telling them not to fight back.

Christianity offers the greatest religious cause known to man: eternal happiness in Heaven with God. This is a profoundly simple and moral cause. Today's liberals offer nothing like this. The liberals confuse their flock. They tell them to worship the animals, the trees, the oceans, etc. The liberals tell their flock to hate Bush, technology, fur-wearers, etc. The Christians hate Satan, or "evildoers." Plain and simple.

Currently, the liberals have nothing to offer but scattershot, while Christians are dropping a tank on them.

Christians offer a full moral system that has been tried and tested and has not been thoroughly defeated in any country and has only suffered temporary setbacks throughout history. The morality of self-sacrifice has been victorious everywhere it has been tried. People are willing to die and suffer for the cause of salvation--for the cause of God.

What do the liberals offer that competes with that?

Only Objectivism offers a moral system that can compete. The liberals used to run the show--when they were called SOCIALISTS and COMMUNISTS and had a moral system. But now they are washed up. CHRISTIANS are on the rise now.

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Dr. Peikoff mentions Dr. John Lewis in the 19 minute statement that was mentioned at the beginning of this thread.

On Dr. Lewis's website, there are listed a few of his articles that those interested in this topic might find worthwhile.

One that is especially relevant is: "Criticism of President George W. Bush, Jr." (April, 2004). The link is actually to an article on the Capitalism Magazine website, entitled there: "The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America" by John Lewis  (June 6, 2004).

Also from Dr. Lewis's site:

Three Op-eds on Sep 11, 2001:

Statement to University Students

The Immorality of a Self-Defense Consensus

Nihilism and the War Against Western Civilization

 

Other Opinion Pieces:

Legitimacy, Sovereignty and the Justice of War with Iraq

Shay’s Rebellion and the Spirit of Freedom (On the Elian Gonzales Case)

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So we have to choose between the "mystics of spirit” (Republicans) and “mystics of muscle.” (Democrats) My view is that under the leadership of John Kerry there might not be an America that will survive to ever become a theocratic state. Further, it is very difficult to make America into a theocratic state because:

1) The constitution does not allow for it.

2) Not all Republicans would go for it.

3) Just the fighting over which brand of Christianity to be officially or implicitly endorsed would delay or prevent any such actualization.

4) America is more likely to become a socialistic state before a theocratic one. The journey has already begun: social security, (proposed) national health care, the FCC and other institutions and laws are paving the way for it.

5) The white majority will be (if everything goes as foreseen) a minority in some years to come. This means that the Democratic Party would have more supporters.

6) Many immigrants from Mexico and other parts of world are more inclined to favor socialistic state before a theocratic one. This is because with the changing demographics of the American society we will see more religious diversity and as such much sensitivity about protecting rights to freedom of religion.

Although I am not an American, if I had the chance I would vote for Bush.

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My view is that under the leadership of John Kerry there might not be an America that will survive to ever become a theocratic state.

It took al Qaeda years to pull off 9/11, and that attack only killed 3,000 people. What are they going to do to America to completely annihilate us? They are still in the initial stages of demoralizing us and driving us from their territory.

We could suffer 100 9/11s and still be standing. They could drop a nuke on New York and Los Angeles, and we would still be here. (I hope at that point we would have the courage, at least, to light up Iran and Saudi Arabia. But I doubt that. We would probably still have our thumbs up our butts, wondering what to do.)

The real question is: HOW ARE WE GOING TO WIN?

How are we going to finish the war so that we are victorious in the end? It ain't with Bush. And it ain't with the crop of thoroughly dishonest Christians we have today. It ain't with the morality that Bush has put into action.

We need to get Bush out and make room for new, rational ideas. The only chance of that happening is with Kerry.

By the way, the new catch-word for socialism is "democracy". Who is shouting the loudest about "democracy"? I think that would be the Christians now. Are you ready for Christian democracy? Hold tight! Because it's around the corner.

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I pretty much agree with Capleton that we are already well on our way to becoming a socialist state--but nowhere near becoming a theocratic state.

I highly doubt the Right's ability to turn America into a theocracy. They've failed with the gay marriage amendment and the abortion issue, but the Left on the other hand has already successly got hundreds of thousands of pages of costly socialist/environmental regulations passed, and is about to add a million more.

The Right may be the threat IN THE LONG RUN, but Bush will be president only for the next FOUR more years. The Left, on the other hand, is an IMMEDIATE threath.

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The snippet on www.peikoff.com is short and there is obviously to

the talk which is not public. The thesis of the published snippet is that

a large percentage of Americans are very serious Christians (25%) and that

Bush is one such person, who will move the country closer to a theocracy.

I think...

1) The Passion of Christ was a blockbuster. I know that many people in my

office saw it. I would say that a few of them would consider themselves "good

Chirstians", but they have too many decades of nihilist upbringing to ever

impose their religion on others. Most of the others who saw the movie did so

out of curiosity. Neither group would be likely to watch the Ten Commandments

if it were showing on free TV.

2) Bush attacked a secular state. True. He did not do so *because* it was secular.

He did attack the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is true that Bush says that Iraqis should

have an Islmaic constitution if they see fit. This isn't theocratic thinking, it is

multiculturalism 101 combined with the common fallacy that democracy is the

highest ideal of politics.

In my opinion Bush attacked Iraqi because that was the only "real" country against

whom American (and Arab) public opinion would allow an attack. A politically pragmatic

decision.

In retrospect, it might have been the easiest way to get a few hundred thousand

US troops on the Iranian border. (But, being politically pragmatic, Bush dare not say that.)

3) Stem Cell research. Yes, Bush curbed it; but he didn't ban it completely.

His decision is typical: politically pragmatic. He had to do enough to be able to

tell the religious right how he stood up for them.

4) Gay marriage. Bush proposed a constitutional amendment. What can be more

politically pragmatic than suggesting something that you know can never happen!

And even if it does -- which it will not -- it is hollow word-play.

5) One state (Missouri?) did pass a referendum banning the use of

the term "marriage" for gay unions. On the other hand, in many primaries

where Christians had fought Republican incumbants who had supported the idea

of "gay marriage", the incumbents won anyway. This is in spite of the

fact that only 20% of the more extreme party-members vote in primaries.

6) The morning after pill has been made legal under Bush. Again, in a politcally

pragmatic move, the FDA banned over-the-counter sales. This is not good.

(The pill must be taken within 72 hours.) Yet, it is not an outright ban.

There is no doubt that the Republican strategists understand that they have

to get the extreme-Christian vote if they want to win. The way they see it, the only

way to win is to turn out that vote. That means that one has to have one or two

issues that get that base excited (mad or glad) and then pose as their clear

champion on that issue.

There is a large active liberal base in this country. Just today I heard a story on PBS

about liberal groups that sent "spies" to churches to listen to sermons.

They were given checklists of things that, if said, could be used to complain

the the IRS and remove the tax-exempt status of churches.

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It took al Qaeda years to pull off 9/11, and that attack only killed 3,000 people.
It was intended to kill upwards of 100,000 people. It could have done that.

They could drop a nuke on New York and Los Angeles,

Given the rate of their increase in scale, and this is not to be discounted. They've demonstrated a vicious hatred combined with the ability to coordinate multiple teams. They have access to nukes, from Pakistan, the Russian Black Market, and others.

If they nuke NY, LA, DC, Atlanta, and Chicago then the United States of America would not survive. Sure, there would be many people left alive. But there would be two problems. First, food and other basic necessities. Such an attack would wreck our economy. Second, a dictatorship would emerge. People would not understand the cause of their woes, and a slick-talking Hitler type of man would emerge with strong rhetoric.

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If we don't actively combat the Christians, they will fill the vacuum and censor and brutalize those who stand up for reason. Make no mistake about that. Read your history.

AMERICAN history?

We certainly have more than four or even eight years before this country caves to militant Islam.
Kerry and many of supporters are prepared to cave right now. If the President -- the Chief Executive -- caves, nobody else can do anything about it. For evidence see how President Carter handled the Iran Hostage Crisis -- and its consequences.

But how many years do we have before Christianity is a staple of our government? How many years before the vacuum has been filled by religion?

Do you mean theocracy? If so, just how would that come about? Would the First Amendment be repealed? Would there be a religious test for office? Would an army of Christian Soldiers storm and take over the Capitol?

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A bigger point Mr. Peikoff makes is that Christianity is winning. (Sorry Betsy.)

I heard what Dr. P had to say and I respectfully disagree for reasons I am presenting here and on HBL.

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In the past half-century of growing terrorist threats, the only POTUS to launch not one, but two full-scale wars against terrorist states is Bush. Despite rhetoric, despite stumbles, errors, and compromises, he is prepared to act in our self-defense, and is continuing to do so. He is doing a better job than any POTUS in fighting terrorism.

The only way to end terrorism is to end terrorists, the states that support them, and the ideologies that create them. Bush is doing the first and somewhat doing the second and third. Many people in the military and intelligence fields understand the role Iran and Saudi Arabia play in fostering the Wahabi version of Islam. I don't know what, if anything, Bush is doing behind the scenes with these two countries. But I disagree with the idea that Bush somehow doesn't grasp the role this particular religion plays in fostering terrorism. (He probably doesn't see the connection between force and religion as such. That is an even broader identification, and it is the normal order of things to grasp lower-order principles before inducing the broader point, so the fact that he himself is religious doesn't necessarily mean he can't see one particular religion as evil.)

Some Objectivists wish to send a message by voting for Kerry that we need a stronger commander in chief. But what message would be received if Kerry won? It would be a repudiation of Bush, since Kerry is running on the unofficial "anyone but Bush" slogan. The primary plank of Bush's campaign is the war on terrorism. Therefore the message of a Kerry victory would be a rejection of Bush's efforts. And what is Bush known for? His supporters think he is winning the war, while his haters think he is too hard on other nations, too unilateral, etc. So the message would be: bow to the U.N., pull out of Iraq, don't profile airline passangers, etc. IOW, surrender and appease.

Is there any evidence that Kerry would be better at fighting terrorism? No. There is plenty that says he would do worse, such as his voting record.

For me, this election is about terrorism, and Bush is clearly doing a better job than Kerry ever could. I plan to vote Republican.

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I highly doubt the Right's ability to turn America into a theocracy.  They've failed with the gay marriage amendment and the abortion issue, but the Left on the other hand has already successly got hundreds of thousands of pages of costly socialist/environmental regulations passed, and is about to add a million more.

Now individual states are banning gay marriage in their constitutions. Several have already done this, and more are on the way.

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Kerry and many of supporters are prepared to cave right now.  If the President -- the Chief Executive -- caves, nobody else can do anything about it.  For evidence see how President Carter handled the Iran Hostage Crisis -- and its consequences.

And after Carter came Reagan (who, whatever his flaws, is at least a little better than Bush). Another Carter could knock some sense into this country.

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