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Obama and Why The Peikoff Argument Does Not Apply

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TheEgoist
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Just happened to visit this thread newly and wonder now that we have had the benefit of some actual experience with Obama if the enthusiasm for the original thesis remains unchanged.

I want to wag my finger in the face of every so-called Objectivist Obama voter and say "I told you so!" and "Brother, you asked for it!"

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Just happened to visit this thread newly and wonder now that we have had the benefit of some actual experience with Obama if the enthusiasm for the original thesis remains unchanged.
Not sure if you mean Peikoff's idea or some other thesis put forth by a poster in this thread. Either way, I don't think there have been any huge surprises at all about what Obama has or has not achieved nor about how the GOP has or has not opposed him. So, I would assume that all original theses are still intact.
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So far we've had a massive spending binge (admittedly, we may have gotten something similar under a McCain administration) and socialized healthcare is about to be shoved down our throats. Our President even did a conference call to 1,000 ministers where he invoked the god card to help pass a government takeover of the healthcare system. Internationally, Obama has waltzed around the world apologizing for all of the evil things America has done in the last century or so. Now his justice department is going to prosecute CIA agents who were attempting to defend this country. The man is an extremely hardcore leftist who surrounds himself with radicals and racists.

I'd like to see big victories for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. The Republicans are a feckless lot, but I continue to support gridlock as the best possible situation under these generally bad circumstances.

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So far we've had a massive spending binge (admittedly, we may have gotten something similar under a McCain administration) and socialized healthcare is about to be shoved down our throats. Our President even did a conference call to 1,000 ministers where he invoked the god card to help pass a government takeover of the healthcare system. Internationally, Obama has waltzed around the world apologizing for all of the evil things America has done in the last century or so. Now his justice department is going to prosecute CIA agents who were attempting to defend this country. The man is an extremely hardcore leftist who surrounds himself with radicals and racists.

I'd like to see big victories for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. The Republicans are a feckless lot, but I continue to support gridlock as the best possible situation under these generally bad circumstances.

I need to preface this by saying that I am not an Obama fan in any sense of the word...

But seriously? Obama has not waltzed around apologizing for anything. Has he taken our troops out of Afghanistan yet? Has he made any effort to logically conclude our involvement with Iraq? Has he even come close to admitting the altruistic ways that caused us to give up the oil refineries that should be ours in the Middle East?

And I'm happy that Obama's department is trying to prosecute the CIA agents who were involved in the torture scandal. Perhaps, once and for all, we will have a definite Supreme Court ruling on what the CIA is allowed to do. It's not as if the Supreme Court isn't on your side right now as it is! Bush appointed two cronies who will certainly defend a very loose interpretation of the Constitution, where suddenly, the eighth amendment is meaningless.

I too support gridlock, but I think change is coming, in some amount. Look out for Peter Schiff, a republican running for the 2010 Senate seat currently occupied by Chris Dodd. All Objectivists should be standing behind this man, and if he wins, he will be an absolutely fresh voice in Washington DC.

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But seriously? Obama has not waltzed around apologizing for anything.

You’re not really serious, are you? The first few months of Obama’s presidency was nothing more than an apology tour. For example, he told the French that the US "has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive" toward Europe. He said in Prague that America has "a moral responsibility to act" on arms control because only the U.S. has "used a nuclear weapon." Maybe you forgot that when he was in London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by "just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy". While he was in Latin America, Obama said the U.S. had not "pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors" because we "failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas." If you don’t call that an apology tour, then I don’t know what it should be called.

And I'm happy that Obama's department is trying to prosecute the CIA agents who were involved in the torture scandal. Perhaps, once and for all, we will have a definite Supreme Court ruling on what the CIA is allowed to do. It's not as if the Supreme Court isn't on your side right now as it is! Bush appointed two cronies who will certainly defend a very loose interpretation of the Constitution, where suddenly, the eighth amendment is meaningless.
I think we need clarification as well, however these prosecutions will inevitably make us less safe and our intelligence agencies less effective. The protections of the US Constitution don’t apply to enemy combatants in a war situation.

I too support gridlock, but I think change is coming, in some amount. Look out for Peter Schiff, a republican running for the 2010 Senate seat currently occupied by Chris Dodd. All Objectivists should be standing behind this man, and if he wins, he will be an absolutely fresh voice in Washington DC.
It would be great if Schiff wins, but he’s only one of 535 representatives in the House and Senate. Until we can radically change the way Americans think, I’d prefer to see nothing happen, i.e. gridlock.
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I want to wag my finger in the face of every so-called Objectivist Obama voter and say "I told you so!" and "Brother, you asked for it!"

I didn't vote last year; I was away. However, if I would have voted, it would have been for Obama; and I would still vote for Obama, knowing what I know now, and all things being equal as before.

Edited by RussK
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I don't think that's fair. Remember the choice we had.

Indeed. Personally, I refrained from voting--loudly--as my form of protest, but I have no complaints about the Objectivists who voted for Obama. The GOP *supports* all these same fascist/socialist initiatives. Who brought us the Prescription Drug benefit? Bush, the "conservative". Religion is, indeed, a worse long-term threat, but if the Republicans were genuinely capitalist it might be worth it to see republicans in power on those terms. But due to their religious sacrifice-oriented values, the republicans are NOT capitalist.

The Republicans have NO remnants of good philosophy. None. They're the left *plus* religion. Granted, the left appears to be turning ITSELF into "the left plus religion".

There's no lesser left to choose among these evils.

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I'm not sure if anyone has ever provided a good public summary of why they voted for Obama. I know that I never posted about it in detail, even though I voted for him. I cannot say he has done anything unexpected. I went back and found a blog-entry I wrote before the election (Oct 2008). I reproduce it below, to give a flavor of what i expected of Obama just before I voted for him:

If Obama is President, with a Democratic house, what economic damage would be added to our woes? I think such a government would focus on changes that do not increase the deficit too much. Within that theme, there are lots of bad possibilites:

Social security: Obama wants to raise the tax. This will fund the system, which recently slipped into deficit. On paper, this will also show the so-called "fund" increasing, thus appearing to push social security problems further into the future. With the recent stock-market collapse, alternatives like privatization would be laughed at. So, politically, there's a good chance this will pass. Also, the Dems might claim this is friendly to retirees. Florida is going to be important in 2012.

Unions: Democrats have been trying to push through a "card-check" system that would make it much easier for unions to move into companies like Walmart. In addition, there may be some subtle moves toward protectionism. These would likely be selective, seeking to protect unions in Ohio and perhaps in Michigan. With the dollar already low, U.S. exports are looking more attractive around the world; chance are the government will make some small protectionist moves and claim that the growing exports are their doing! Instead of restrictions on imports, expect hidden subsidies for U.S. companies -- something that will not be too cut-and-dried if other countries protest to the WTO. Expect things like the recent $25 billion guarantee to auto-companies.

Carbon Cap and Trade: Some scheme seems almost certain, since both candidates are pushing for it. The government might try to combine this with giving special offsetting favors to industries in Ohio (and maybe Michigan). Carbon caps can be structured to give existing companies a monopoly advantage. So, expect ertain businesses and unions, to be supporting the environmentalists.

Health Care: The government is going to try to push something through. They probably won't mess with the current employer-sponsored scheme for a while, but we can expect at least some tax on businesses that do not provide health-care. Perhaps they might come up with some rules that raise costs on places like Walmart, by claiming that Walmart let's the government subsidize their health-care costs. I don't think Obama will push to take over private insurance. The country is not ready, and he won't want those costs on the budget in his first term.

Summary: Those are the most obvious moves that I could think of. The theme will be: important changes, but nothing that requires a tough political fight; only things where today's left-tilting electorate has been well-prepared.

I figure one might as well prepare one's activism and one's portfolio for these things today!

So, yes, I voted for him despite that, yet not primarily because of a fear of religion.

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The reason I reject the argument is because it is not valid in this election. The Socialism of Barack Obama is not the same brand we saw in former elections, and it is not far separated from Religion. As I explained in another earlier blog, Barack Obama is not afraid of mixing Christianity with politics. It is not the harsh, scary Religious fascism of the Right which will subjugate you to the church and God. It is taken from the Judea-Christian ideal of being your brother's keeper, of giving away your money to others, of living for others rather than living for yourself.

However, it is not so much the Christian aspect itself that scares me here. Obama's Socialism is not a shallow one. It is one that IS based in philosophy, in a morality that is contra individualism and egoism. It not only says that Socialism will work, but that serving others is a moral obligation, that it is as Michelle Obama puts it the true " American way ". The stars simply were not in the eyes of people during the Kerry campaign. That may be why he lost. But Obama has rallied, like a powerful preacher, many loyal followers who are behind not only a pragmatic political cause, but a moral one which asserts that all must pay their innate debt to society, whether you be rich or poor.

The difference is, Christianity gives an epistemological basis to integrate with its ethics (ethics come from the bible which comes from the lord, and god created the universe - explains metaphysics). Its ethics can actually be used as a practical guide in everyday life. Barak Obama's altruism is a nice ideal to hang above one's fireplace, but is not an integrated system of thought. I think this is why religion can stand, but socialism (/altruism) as an isolated idea will not.

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I did vote for Obama, and I wouldn't change that vote if I could. McCain would be doing the same thing as Obama is, just less eloquently.

IMO one interesting effect of Obama's win is that the Democratic opposition seems to be focused on economic issues, rather than religious issues as in some years past.

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I cannot give any credence to the idea that McCain would be doing the same thing as Obama. Obama is a Harvard trained ideologue, McCain is an Annapolis traditionalist/pragmatist. Obama is a headlong lurch toward the abyss, McCain just adrift with the current. Despise him all you want, McCain would definitely have been the lesser evil.

Obama, for example, is more consistent with altruistic religiosity in his 'share the wealth' policies than McCain ever was (or would have been, IMO).

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I recently read through "Philosophy: Who Needs It?", where Rand writes the following:

If we draw parallels between what she wrote and our current situation, we can probably agree that while John McCain is a "dismal figure" such as Richard Nixon was, Barack Obama might be the first in a long line of "flamboyant Führers". The more I learn about him, the more appropriate that exact title sounds.

I had exactly the same thought when Obama won and I saw the cult of personality that was being built up around him. I happened to be reading Philosophy: Who Needs Itaround the same time as Obama's election win. Rand's mention of "flamboyant Fuhrers" is certainly an apt description.

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I did vote for Obama, and I wouldn't change that vote if I could. McCain would be doing the same thing as Obama is, just less eloquently.

IMO one interesting effect of Obama's win is that the Democratic opposition seems to be focused on economic issues, rather than religious issues as in some years past.

Baseless speculation aside, by saying that you support obama because McCain would've done the same or worse, aren't you buying into the entirely false dilemma that the "two-party" system attempts to foist on voters?

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Voting for Obama was a mistake. I knew that most O'ist's automatic rejection of religion would lead us in to disaster. This man and the leadership of the Democratic party has led us to the brink of disaster. I seriously doubt that under McCain, we would have seen things as bad as they are now.

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I cannot give any credence to the idea that McCain would be doing the same thing as Obama. Obama is a Harvard trained ideologue, McCain is an Annapolis traditionalist/pragmatist. Obama is a headlong lurch toward the abyss, McCain just adrift with the current. Despise him all you want, McCain would definitely have been the lesser evil.

Obama, for example, is more consistent with altruistic religiosity in his 'share the wealth' policies than McCain ever was (or would have been, IMO).

Voting for Obama was a mistake. I knew that most O'ist's automatic rejection of religion would lead us in to disaster. This man and the leadership of the Democratic party has led us to the brink of disaster. I seriously doubt that under McCain, we would have seen things as bad as they are now.

I agree with both of you. McCain was a pragmatist and many of his policies would have been bad. As you say Grames, with McCain we would have been fumbling and stumbling on a slow stroll toward the edge of the cliff. With Obama we're headed toward the edge like a rocket ship. What rational people need in this fight for the future is more time. We need time in order to educate and convince people to embrace Objectivism and the ideas upon which it is based. With Obama, we've reduced the time available to avoid the inevitable disaster that is directly ahead of us.

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I've always had to wonder as to how Obama's stimulus plan would work.

Bush tried a stimulus plan 3 times, and it didn't work at all the first two times. This was because people mostly bought cheap china, paid off debts, or stashed it. None of the aforementioned are bad things, but they do not result in economic responses in an economy based 70% on consumer spending. Not one person has ever addressed me on this.

Business is a cycle. Recessions are part of that cycle. Let's let the business run it's course.

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