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Peikoff For Kerry?

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It has been said around this thread that Christians/the Bible say "turn the other cheek", or "Christianity doesn't give them a cause to fight for", or "The Christians are the uncertain, hesitant and malleable side."

Forgotten Rome, the Crusades and Dark Ages already? Religion is plastic; it works just as well to rationalize violence and war as it does to rationalize pacifism. Before focussing so narrowly on Christianity's soft side, you guys need to examine their tough side. I suggest firearms forums. Here's two:

Glock Talk

Packing.org

By all indications, the religionists are getting much more assertive, taking advantage of the vacuum obligingly created for them by the Left. And why shouldn't they? They have the Left's example, *as a secular faith*, to draw upon in their own assault against their enemy. And don't be fooled into thinking that enemy is the Left. Check your history -- religion's old nemesis is the Enlightenment.

And where is it today?

Betsy S. wrote:

"The right, on the other hand, still retains and respects some American and Enlightenment ideals."
Hooboy, Betsy, you should read what I'm reading... Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind" (7th revised ed.) which illustrates how tenuous that retention really is. This book has been recommended as a definitive reference by quite a few conservatives I know.

I hereby submit a few passages. Most of these are from Chapter 3, entitled "Romantics and Utilitarians", which is primarily concerned with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom Kirk upholds as one of conservatism's defining thinkers.

"Coleridge adhered to the Church Fathers and Plato, declaring that full though the eighteenth century had been of enlighteners, it had been terribly empty of enlightenment." (p134)

"Yet Bentham's juristic utilitarianism and [Walter]Scott's consequent indignation are representative of the whole struggle between philosophic radicalism and romantic conservatism.  What the Romantics dreaded in a world subjected to Utilitarian domination was an indiscriminate destruction of variety, loveliness, and ancient rights in the name of a devouring industrialism and a philistine materialism." (p122)

"For the Understanding, lacking Faith and Intuition, never will suffice to make men wise.  Coleridge distinguishes between 'Understanding', -- which is 'the mere reflective faculty', dependent on the fallible senses, physical perception -- and Reason, which is a higher faculty, employing our powers of intuition, the organ of the supersensuous.  Understanding is concerned with means, Reason with ends." (pp 134-135)
"The theories of Locke were inherited by such diverse legatees as Rousseau in Geneva, Price in the Old Jewrry, Fox in St. Stephen's, Bentham in  his library, and Jefferson at Monticello; but from among the general ideas of that philosopher, conservatism retained almost nothing but Locke's contention that government originates out of the necessity for protecting property."

As for conservatism's grasp of the Amerian Ideal, I submit these items:

"What men are seeking, or ought to seek, is not the right to govern themselves, but the right to be governed well."  (p131)
"Social change will indeed make it advisable, from time to time, that new bodies of persons be admitted to share in political power; but they should be considered on the particular merits of their corporate claim, and not as mere individuals seeking to assert a 'right' which does not exist in nature." (p131)

"Upon considerations of expediency and convenience, we may separate the actual operation of government and of churchly authority; but at bottom, Church and State are forever united." (p 137)

Notice that while modern conservatives rail against the hippies and tree-huggers, one of their definitive thinkers claims the philosophical fathers of the enviro-cult as part of conservatism's philosophical heritage? And I'm only three chapters in!

This stuff isn't confined to Kirk, either. Modern conservatives are chanting "Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion", and attempting to twist the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment as not specifying the separation of church and state.

Individual conservatives might love America, but conservatism itself is *essentially* anti-Enlightenment and thusly, anti-American. Given that philosophic base, any conflict between religious and free-market conservatives will be won by the most consistent side -- the religionists. It is they who are untaming Christianity, resurrecting it "after its drubbing at the hands of eighteenth century rationalism" (Ibid. p136).

Had I the vote, I'd also go for Bush, on the grounds Betsy cited... but fully mindful of how much a contradictory veneer is some conservatives' "respect for Enlightenment ideals".

That being said, those contradictory elements do mean that dissent and independent thought might still be occasionally found amongst conservatives, unlike the monolithic Left. Besides, if the conservatives insist on borrowing from us, by all means assist them. Maybe, just maybe, we'll philosophically co-opt them from within just as the Left did to liberalism. If we do, then "conservative" will be transmuted to its opposite in this century, just as "liberal" was in the last.

But that hasn't happened yet, and certainly won't by November.

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I still plan to vote for Bush because, all things considered, I think that when it comes to politics, religious conservatives are much more rational than their opponents.

Hence their staid opposition to Stem-cell research. It's still illegal, and as a result medical progress has ground to a halt.

Their forceful campaign to limit, and eventually prohibit, abortions. Thus far they have been partly successful as partial-birth abortions are illegal.

Under the religious Right our country's liberties will be curtailed and the country will be unconstitutionally skewed towards fundamentalist Christianity. We will be little better under such circumstances than the islamic world.

I very strongly disagree with your argument, Betsy.

No capitalist in his right mind thinks religious conservatives are much more rational than their "opponents."

As a capitalist, I consider myself an opponent of religious conservatism.

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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.

Incredibly, I'd rather have Kerry than Carter.

Another Carter would give this country a knockout punch. :)

Carter would sell America to the enemy, hence his defeat in 1980.

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Hence their staid opposition to Stem-cell research.  It's still illegal, and as a result medical progress has ground to a halt.

As a capitalist, I consider myself an opponent of religious conservatism.

Stem cell research isn't illegal. There is a ban on federal funding.

As a capitalist, I also am an opponent of religious conservatism. And also an opponent of leftist irrationalism. At the moment, leftist irrationalism is the greater danger, by far.

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Christianity offers the greatest religious cause known to man: eternal happiness in Heaven with God.

I was talking about "a cause to fight for." Christianity promises Heaven as a reward for being a "good Christian" on Earth, which includes a complete abstention from the use of force, be it initial or retaliatory. Liberalism, on the other hand, paints the destruction of man qua man as a noble cause and has no problem with the initiation of force as long as it's done by Islamist "freedom fighters" or environmental terrorists.

Today's liberals offer nothing like this.
That's true, in that liberals don't cater to the selfish. They don't offer any rewards, only destruction and suffering. You have to be a complete altruist in order to find anything attractive about liberalism. Which means that liberalism attracts the most dangerous idiots out there and unites them by giving them an ideology.

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

I think it's exactly the other way around. Liberalism arms altruists with ideas like environmentalism and multiculturalism, which help them inflict damage on rational men. Christianity merely de-fangs its followers by telling them to behave like masochists.

Christians offer a full moral system
...that is full of contradictions. The Old Testament says "an eye for an eye," while the New Testament forbids retaliation. To add to the confusion, Jesus says that he did not come to repeal the old law in the very same sermon in which he repeals it. And if all this were not enough, there are thousands of competing sects and denominations that all interpret the scripture differently.

The liberals used to run the show--when they were called SOCIALISTS and COMMUNISTS and had a moral system.

They are called ENVIRONMENTALISTS and MULTICULTURALISTS now, and have a moral system that is even worse.

-----

Altruists used to find Christianity "good stuff" because of its denunciation of wealth and its ethics of self-sacrifice. But that was before the invention of modern liberalism. While the former teaches suffering on earth in exchange for a reward in Heaven, the latter teaches suffering in exchange for NOTHING. Christianity is a weaker form of altruism because it still offers a reward; it is still a sort of quid pro quo if you actually believe in Heaven. Modern liberalism is much more consistent than that: it doesn't say "pain down here for joy up there," it says "PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, then DEATH!" For a man who abhors joy, the "investment offer" of Christianity simply cannot compete with the horror show of modern liberalism.

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Forgotten Rome, the Crusades and Dark Ages already?  Religion is plastic; it works just as well to rationalize violence and war as it does to rationalize pacifism.

This stuff isn't confined to Kirk, either.  Modern conservatives are chanting "Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion", and attempting to twist the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment as not specifying the separation of church and state.

Today, Christianity is used almost exclusively to rationalize pacifism. The other thing it's sometimes used for is to justify retaliation.

Before focussing so narrowly on Christianity's soft side, you guys need to examine their tough side.  I suggest firearms forums.  Here's two:

Glock Talk

Packing.org

These are not religious forums.

Notice that while modern conservatives rail against the hippies and tree-huggers, one of their definitive thinkers claims the philosophical fathers of the enviro-cult as part of conservatism's philosophical heritage?
What does that tell you? It tells me that this Kirk guy is not actually a definitive thinker of modern conservatism.

Modern conservatives are chanting "Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion"

Like it or not, religion should still be legal in a free society. (As long as it doesn't involve an initiation of force, of course.)

and attempting to twist the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment as not specifying the separation of church and state.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"--like it or not, these are the words that the Founding Fathers wrote, and they mean just what they mean.

Individual conservatives might love America, but conservatism itself is *essentially* anti-Enlightenment and thusly, anti-American.

19th-century conservatism, yes. Modern conservatism, no.

If we do, then "conservative" will be transmuted to its opposite in this century, just as "liberal" was in the last.

This transmutation has already been on its way for decades ! Modern conservatism has hardly anything left in common with its 19th century namesake. And yes, I agree with you, it would be a good strategy for us to assist the completion of the transmutation.

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If you guys are worried about the Theocracy vote Democratic for Congress and leave Bush in for 4 more years of "American Cowboyism". He is kicking some ass I think and that is his one job other than the Veto. I agree Theocracy scares me but Congress makes the laws they are a bigger threat ( and the Judiciary ) than a President.

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If you guys are worried about the Theocracy vote Democratic for Congress and leave Bush in for 4 more years of "American Cowboyism". He is kicking some ass I think and that is his one job other than the Veto. I agree Theocracy scares me but Congress makes the laws they are a bigger threat ( and the Judiciary ) than a President.

I think this thread is pushing me more towards Kerry.

I haven't fully thought over my votes for the Congress...I know of one Republican that I will probably vote for. It's not as if republican = theocracy. There are some Republicans who are great threats and others who are all right. An important question to ask in distinguishing the two is: does this person (if religious) attempt to live by his religion as consistently as he can and to shape the world according to it, or is he essentially guided by the facts with a tad of religion on the side?

Someone mentioned to me that Dr. Peikoff called Bush an M1.5. I think that might just make sense. He isn't Dark Ages religious, but his religion isn't just on the side, either.

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How is this thread steering you towards Kerry? What has George Bush done in the name of religion to scare you. Kerry is a Catholic and has said that he is a practicing catholic when questioned. Catholics are far more dogmatic than most protestants for the most part.

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I can't listen to Peikoff's speech yet, because I'm working, but I do have some thoughts about this.

I would disagree that religious fundamentalism is a greater danger than socialism, for several reasons:

1) The elites in the US are overwhelmingly non-religious or hostile to religion. Numerous surveys over several years indicate that the news media, the entertainment industry and most college faculties are anything but religious. In the Information Age, the influence of these groups is much greater than the influence of religious organizations.

2) Even though many Americans say they believe in God, for the most part they only give lip service to religion. They like the idea that someone or something is watching over them, but they pick and choose which tenets of their chosen religion they follow. For example, the Catholic Church is continually frustrated by the actions of its American followers. Many of them only go to churches or synagogues for holidays and important events like weddings and funerals. Beyond that, most Americans don't give their religion much thought.

3) Most of the conservatives are cowards. They are afraid to stand up for what they believe in. That's why they have been unable to pass much of their agenda. They know welfare is wrong, but they dare not eliminate it. They vowed to shut down the government if President Clinton didn't meet their budget demands, but they quickly caved when the media started criticizing them.

We are much, much closer to becoming a socialist state than we are to becoming a theocracy. That's why John Kerry is not an option no matter what I think of Bush. If I don't vote for Bush, I'll either vote for the Libertarian or I won't vote at all.

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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.

Bush caved a long time ago.

He has our troops bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, doing nothing but trying to deflect enemy fire, while the politicians attempt to bring "freedom" to Hell. Our soldiers are planted in the middle of a terrorist ambush, struggling to stay alive. They have no military objective anymore. They are a police force, dying for Iraqis and Afghanis.

Bush is doing nothing to stop the enemy ideology from spreading. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have started recruiting in Iraq. Bush opened up a new frontier for the enemy to exploit. That's all.

We are so spineless that we have deemed ourselves mere backup support for the ineffective Iraqi army. We won't even destroy Fallujah!

What proxy army are we going to use to fight Iran? What is Bush going to do now to protect us from anything? Do you think the people plotting attacks on America are in Iraq? We already let al Qaeda escape from Afghanistan. What are we still doing there? How is sitting on our thumbs in Iraq accomplishing anything?

9/11 killed 3,000 non-combatants. At the time our nation and military was pumped and ready to take out the "evildoers".

But now, after 18 months of Bush's compassionate "War on Terror", the enemy has killed 950 soldiers and wounded 6,500 more. Our superpower nation and military is demoralized, clueless. How could we be losing to these people? Where do we point our guns?

Bush is accomplishing nothing but fantasy. All that is being accomplished in the Middle East is the gradual reduction of our military might. With Bush, our military literally suffers and gets weaker by the day, while the terrorists, through their actions alone, inspire countless Arabs to rise up against the West. And, in the eyes of the terrorists, that is progress.

I don't see why the terrorists could possibly want Kerry in the White House, when Bush practically hands them soldiers to sacrifice and land to conquer.

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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.

Maybe a theocracy would emerge?

I don't see either one as possible -- at least not in America -- for the reasons given by Ayn Rand:

Only one thing is certain: a dictatorship cannot take hold in America today. This country, as yet, cannot be ruled -- but it can explode. It can blow up into the helpless rage and blind violence of a civil war. It cannot be cowed into submission, passivity, malevolence, resignation. It cannot be "pushed around." Defiance, not obedience, is the American's answer to overbearing authority. The nation that ran an underground railroad to help human beings escape from slavery, or began drinking on principle in the face of Prohibition, will not say "Yes, sir," to the enforcers of ration coupons and cereal prices. Not yet.
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  "The right, on the other hand, still retains and respects some American and Enlightenment ideals."

Hooboy, Betsy, you should read what I'm reading... Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind" (7th revised ed.) which illustrates how tenuous that retention really is.

Kirk, like William Buckley, represents the worst of the Old Right. That is not what I had in mind.

What I was referring to was the New Right -- like Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA). While these people are religious and have very mixed premises, most of their good premises come from an American sense of life and many come directly from Ayn Rand. Both respect, admire, quote from, and recommend Ayn Rand. In fact, by reading from Galt's Speech and prominently featuring Atlas Shrugged on his web site, Rush has probably promoted Ayn Rand almost as much as ARI has.

This, of course, was all in contrast to the John Kerry Democrats. While the Right may allow other-worldly considerations to affect their political judgements on occasion, the Dems LIVE in an alternate universe.

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No capitalist in his  right mind thinks religious conservatives are much more rational than their "opponents."

As a capitalist, I consider myself an opponent of religious conservatism.

I am too.

But I am even more an opponent of secular liberals. Religious conservative get a lot of things wrong, while secular liberals get just about nothing right.

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Another Carter would give this country a knockout punch. :yarr:

Carter would sell America to the enemy, hence his defeat in 1980.

Kerry would sell America to the French, the Germans, the Russians, and the UN who would sell America to the enemy, hence my working for his defeat in 2004.

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Someone mentioned to me that Dr. Peikoff called Bush an M1.5. I think that might just make sense. He isn't Dark Ages religious, but his religion isn't just on the side, either.

That sounds about right.

I think Bush is not much of a thinker but he tries to make the best decisions he can by consulting Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, and the Bible.

So he's batting .600 -- which isn't too bad considering who Kerry's advisors are likely to be. :yarr:

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Kerry would sell America to the French, the Germans, the Russians, and the UN who would sell America to the enemy, hence my working for his defeat in 2004.

Bush would skip all the intermediaries and sell us directly to the enemy.

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Someone mentioned to me that Dr. Peikoff called Bush an M1.5. I think that might just make sense. He isn't Dark Ages religious, but his religion isn't just on the side, either.

I believe it was Harry Binswanger on HBL who called Bush an M1.5, not Leonard Peikoff. Dr. Peikoff believes, I'm pretty sure, that Bush is an M2. I am inclined to agree with Dr. Binswanger, assuming that he still believes Bush to be an M1.5.

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What I was referring to was the New Right -- like Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA).  While these people are religious and have very mixed premises, most of their good premises come from an American sense of life and many come directly from Ayn Rand.  Both respect, admire, quote from, and recommend Ayn Rand.  In fact, by reading from Galt's Speech and prominently featuring Atlas Shrugged on his web site, Rush has probably promoted Ayn Rand almost as much as ARI has.

As I wrote in a post on another thread, my conservative father turned me on to Ayn Rand. Of course, he hadn't read her in a while and seemed to think she was a conservative too. Many conservatives like Ayn Rand, even though they don't really understand her at the deepest levels. This is how one can explain Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's contention that his two favorite books are The Bible and Atlas Shrugged. It also explains...

Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was one of the people who got me interested in ideas, albeit primarily political (and, to a lesser extent, ethical) ideas. His love of America, his optimism, and his humor are entertaining and, to a degree, thought-provoking. I doubt he's done as much to get AR out there as ARI has, but he has certainly done quite a bit. Had it not been for conservatives like Rush and my father, I would not be an Objectivist today.

Does anyone know any liberals who respect and recommend Ayn Rand?

While I recognize the (substantial) flaws in my father's philosophy and in Rush Limbaugh's, I do not think they want to destroy the country or turn it into a theocracy. What they want is simple: the continuation of America and the destruction of liberalism (i.e. leftism). Where they, and the rest of the right, fall short is their failure to understand exactly what the continuation of America and the discrediting of the left depends on philosophically. In short, the danger of the right, as I see it at the present time, is not that it will turn America into a theocracy but rather that it will be unable to withstand the left's assault because it is philosophically disarmed. I think its embrace of religion is a sign of weakness and confusion, not of strength and certainty.

If Dr. Peikoff is right, and the nihilist left is on the way out historically, it means that the intellectual battle will be between Objectivists and religionists. If it is true that the majority of the American public is basically honest, our victory is inevitable. I think religion is quite simple to defeat, provided one has a rational morality to offer people in its place. We do.

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If Dr. Peikoff is right, and the nihilist left is on the way out historically, it means that the intellectual battle will be between Objectivists and religionists. If it is true that the majority of the American public is basically honest, our victory is inevitable. I think religion is quite simple to defeat, provided one has a rational morality to offer people in its place. We do.

Objectivism has been gaining a considerable large audience lately. I myself have been spreading Rand's ideas. I wish ARI was able to give students an abundance of Anthem and Fountainhead copies to hand out.

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I think religion is quite simple to defeat, provided one has a rational morality to offer people in its place. We do.

What might a rational morality be? Religion is not predicated on reason and as such it cannot be affected by it. Where ever we find humans who think that emotions are most or all that matters then religion is here to stay. I would venture to say that that is the disposition of most human beings.

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