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HB v. AB: Is collectivism the greater evil?

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People interested in how a leading religious (Jewish) conservative thinks can watch Dennis Prager chat with Craig Biddle. They cover some hard topics and find common ground. I hope more Objectivists g

Well, the successful and happy-seeming individuals I have ever known, I can't recall one who was an atheist. I've met maybe hundreds of businessmen/professionals, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, wh

There is much more integration (not just coherence, but mutual reinforcement and support) between modern conservatism and Marxism and postmodernism, than there is between Marxism and postmodernism.

38 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Even if you're right that Republicans are worse than Democrats

But Republicans are not worse than Democrats. They are not "far better". And it is not a comparison between one side that possibly could give us what we want vs. another side that will NEVER give us anything we want. (that is where the gamble that Swig recommends would have made sense) That distinction which Swig is pushing doesn't hold water.

As far as distinction of party politics goes, with Trump in control they both believe in their dogmatic positions that attack the individual. Both push their brand of altruism. The fundamental point I'm making is "one is NOT far better than the other". One cannot vote by thinking, "I vote Republican, simply because the party is better". (which is collectivist thinking) The party does not correspond to virtue, as it has changed dramatically under Trump.

I avoid getting into the left and right thing because in the end its not that helpful. It used to be "conservative" vs. "liberal". One wanting things to stay the same and the other wanting change. As far as I can remember that designation came after the french revolution where people seated in the right side of the parliament did not want change while the ones on the left did. That type of designation is in the context of a "starting point" in history and that can change.

It becomes problematic when we look at what one means by Trumpism. It seems to mean "populism" and a desire for "huge" change. In reality, it has become sort of a tea party that includes socialist minded people. But wanting huge change is actually the definition of "left or liberal". Is Swig a liberal now?? So how is that going to help the discussion? As in  ... keeping things the same is conservative. So left and right distinctions does not offer a way out of the mess we are in.

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44 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

How much difference does it make which is more evil?

If we decide one is ALWAYS "far better" than the other, and we promote one as a permanent best choice, we (as a society) will chose that one via knee jerk reaction, rather than being guided by the wisdom of the actual far better choice (laissez faire Capitalism).

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The soul can be compatible as a concept with capitalism and individualism, but not necessarily so. But I think you can easily make the case that religious conservatives are emphatically not even approaching the concept soul as a source of individualism. Religious conservatives (the right wing characterized by traditions of Christianity being crucial to their political advocacy) absolutely cherish their collective identity, and that their moral actions are aimed at collective good. There may be some element of individuality, but leftists (being a much wider category of apparently anyone on the left wing) sometimes have more individuality than this, or sometimes less if they are Communists. 

It's ironic, and relevant.

Furthermore,

  • The issue of ownership and trade predates religion.
  • Religion, all religions have attacked the concept of "greed", so why is it being joined at the hip with capitalism?
  • Aren't Trump and Republicans also for Antitrust activity?
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4 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

I recall once in some debate somebody mentioning "the Protestant ethic" and a man of German (Lutheran?) origin saying that should be Calvinist, not Protestant. 

From the review of the book that I read from the NYT, the thinking essential to capitalism (markets and free will) grew out of opposition to Calvinism. This is definitely in opposition to the idea that Calvinism was responsible for American-style capitalism. 

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14 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Okay. Then you go do that, I'll wait here until you can give a definition.

Right. Suspend all thought until then. Without a definition, identification is of course impossible...

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13 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

One problem with Binswanger's position is that he mistakes religious conservatives for dead Catholics. He reads an old passage from a long-dead Pope, as if it represents the religious conservatives in America. Catholics are a religious minority in America. There are twice as many Protestants here.

That's the ~major~ problem with his position, in general, the avoidance of inconvenient facts which don't align with his conceptions. Why make the effort to reduce your abstractions to concretes, e.g. the actual human beings, when they get in the way of your hypothesis? HB once admitted to being a rationalist in a lecture he gave and on evidence, like his context-dropping stance on open borders, I believe him.

Edited by whYNOT
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Is collectivism the greater evil? When carried out by secularists?

Is individualism the greater evil? When believed in by religious conservatives?

Given that the religious and the Left-secularists are both supernaturalists (of a traditional religion and the New Age religion - spirit mystics and muscle mystics), the clear preference is whomever aligns with individualism.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

If we decide one is ALWAYS "far better" than the other, and we promote one as a permanent best choice, we (as a society) will chose that one via knee jerk reaction, rather than being guided by the wisdom of the actual far better choice (laissez faire Capitalism).

Did 18th Century Capitalism just descend upon America - regardless of the existence and choices of the American people of that time? People who were, doubtless, almost entirely religious. Would it have taken root without, against the wishes of, those millions of people - who practiced it in their industry, business and trade?

Here is what I mean about the separation of ideas from the reality of people and individuals. 

(That those people up till the present should be heavily criticized for not supporting capitalism as "the moral system", i.e., for not championing Capitalism by espousing those selfsame ideas and principles, we well know from Rand; but that's another story).

Capitalism would not have existed and continued but for the intellectuals -and- its practitioners. Ideas -and- action.

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Rightists vs. Leftists

Since, today, there are no clear definitions of political terms, I use the word “rightist” to denote the views of those who are predominantly in favor of individual freedom and capitalism—and the word “leftist” to denote the views of those who are predominantly in favor of government controls and socialism. As to the middle or “center,” I take it to mean “zero,” i.e., no dominant position, i.e., a pendulum swinging from side to side, moment by moment.

“The Disfranchisement of the Right”

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On 2/17/2021 at 6:06 PM, Eiuol said:

Why so much resistance to defining your terms? 

Why do you avoid identification - what O'ists do? Identify characteristics. And those of the new left particularly are on full display, if one will look. I've mentioned the quasi-religiosity which should be sufficient as a conversation on its own.

Remember, we are dealing with "predominance" of ideas and behavior here, you've doubted that in the past. I.e. Not every individual all the time.

I don't think you have grasped what *collectivist* implies, especially lately. You realize that by this, one takes and is given their  - predetermined- identity from his/her superficial appearances and likeness to others of that group? (If that's not the definition of racism, committed by leftists, what is?)

Do you then realize too, that one takes, or is given, their inherent VALUE from that group identity? The Left have turned this notion into an art-form.

By that means, one is of superior value if of a darker color, and/or of a previously disadvantaged gender etc.,etc. And - one is clearly treated politically and socially as of inferior value, dis-value, if of both (what else?) the male gender and the white race. "White supremacy!", the Left keep drawing attention to in outrage, while all the while, not so covertly, sneaking and shovelling in "white inferiority", guilt and blame, upon society.

On rights too, it's not equality which is sought, not simple egalitarianism. It is equity. Not equal opportunity but equal outcomes, earned and especially not. "Rights" are to be advantaged in the favor of 'underprivileged' groups over and at cost to all the others group 'rights'-  the white, male oppressors last in line. Intellectuals and politicians will inevitably justify this by - "leveling the playing fields".

So what's playing out by leftists is employing collective-determinism-mysticism, and elevation/negation by group, to take total control.

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

Why do you avoid identification - what O'ists do? Identify characteristics. And those of the new left particularly are on full display, if one will look. I've mentioned the quasi-religiosity which should be sufficient as a conversation on its own.

I don't know what you mean. I didn't deny or even question that some leftists are Marxists, that some leftists are postmodernists, that all leftists are collectivist to some degree, etc. I'm questioning that you have a definition of leftist. A definition that identifies an essential including genus and differentia. If you want to talk about how something is worse than another thing, you need a definition. I'm not in your head, I don't think that the same things as you when you say leftist. When I say leftist, I refer to people who see themselves as taking a stand against capitalist hegemony. "Standing against hegemony" should work as a definition, and it would not be hard to find in what way that it's collectivistic. But you couldn't say it's bad because postmodernism is bad - postmodernism is nonessential to my definition even though it might include individuals who are postmodernists. A proper definition only includes essentials, a characteristic that all members of the concept possess.

Leftists vary in degree and type, even and including to what extent individuals matter. Right wingers vary in degree and type, even and including to what extent individuals matter. Believing in a soul isn't really a distinguishing factor, because it is quite easy to claim that the soul is to be redeemed only if that individual develops themselves to the collective effort towards God's glory. And certainly, that's exactly what some religious conservatives believe. 

And if you ask me, I truly think that even Donald Trump is better than a religious conservative. As for CRT, I think the evil of that rivals religious conservatives.

But I can't compare "leftist" to religious conservative. That's like comparing if spiders are more deadly than rattlesnakes. They are different levels of abstractions. Some spiders are dangerous, other spiders barely pose a threat at all - because their characteristics vary so widely about spiders and they aren't unified on their level of danger. But rattlesnakes are very specific, they are all lethal to humans. So I cannot really compare the danger directly. But I could compare the danger of rattlesnakes to black widows. They are the same level of abstraction.

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On 2/16/2021 at 1:17 PM, Easy Truth said:

Democrats and Republicans are both bad, and sometimes either can be on the  right side an issue.

Sure, but I would argue that Republicans are better on the major issues of the day, like race, gender, climate, culture, energy, etc. Even where I think Republicans are mostly wrong, regarding abortion, their position is framed as "pro-life," and the reasonable faction allows for abortion to protect the health of the mother.

Democrats like Catholic Biden are massive hypocrites on abortion. Biden believes that life begins at conception but refuses to "impose" that view on others. And during the campaign in 2019 he flipped his position on the Hyde Amendment, so now he supports federally funded abortions too. The guy has zero principles, a perfect representative of the corrupt Democrat Party as a whole.

Biden refuses to defend what Catholics would call innocent human life. Why? Because he believes in "the right to choose." To choose what? Death, killing the baby.

When you view the issue from the religious perspective, the Republicans are choosing life and the Democrats are choosing death. Today this is the manifest difference between Republican Christians and Democrat Christians. Even when I basically agree with a Democrat, he disgusts me. And when I disagree with a Republican, I often sympathize with his attempt at integrity.

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If that was the Republican Party, I would agree.

There is also:

  • A fractured system without a clear direction
  • Choosing Judges solely based on their stand on Abortion
  • Depression Era support for Farmers due to Tariff policies
  • Support for Crony  special interest Medical Establishment
  • Not changing Social security or Medicare
  • Claiming wanting small government but increasing the size
  • 2000 dollar covid relief
  • Support for Antitrust Trust Laws
  • Anti immigration as in anti H1b visas
  • etc.

Keep in mind, some of these are Democrat or even Bernie Positions.

You are talking about traditional Republicans sometimes going back before Reagan. I am talking about now.

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31 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

You are talking about traditional Republicans sometimes going back before Reagan. I am talking about now.

No, I'm talking about the current Party and their current platform. Have you read their platform? It's actually the 2016 platform because they didn't update it for 2020.

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44 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

No, I'm talking about the current Party and their current platform. Have you read their platform? It's actually the 2016 platform because they didn't update it for 2020.

I know, fractured party, not platform. The current party which I described, not what's on paper.

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8 hours ago, Eiuol said:

 When I say leftist, I refer to people who see themselves as taking a stand against capitalist hegemony. "Standing against hegemony" should work as a definition, and it would not be hard to find in what way that it's collectivistic. But you couldn't say it's bad because postmodernism is bad - postmodernism

 

Taking a stand against capitalist hegemony doesn't go far enough, in my estimation as a definition - the significant *ideological* stand taken by the Leftists against capitalism, is really against what they, as we, know are its foundation: individualism and individual freedom. That explains why they turn to government intervention, "in favor of government controls and socialism", as Rand put it. And follows, collectivist policies to dismantle "brutal Capitalism" from its individualist base.

Marx nominated private ownership of the means of production: "the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie".

"Bourgeoisie", today, still equates with individualist exploitation of the people, to the Left.

Little is changed from Marxism, essentially; e.g. the new elitist billionaires have rebranded as ideologically collectivist-Leftist (the IT industry) to escape their individualist-exploitative stigma. The love affair for China by the West, addicted to a cheap supply of goods, may be explained by industry there being under control of the CCP and, supposedly, the proletariat.

Excerpt from an online essay -

"... and it is no wonder that Marx and Engels referred to capitalism, which is a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government, as the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.”

 

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8 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

Taking a stand against capitalist hegemony doesn't go far enough, in my estimation - the significant *ideological* stand taken by the Leftists against capitalism, is really against what they, as we, know are its foundation: individualism and individual freedom.

But that's what they have in common, not what differentiates them. The left as I've defined it doesn't deny individuals exist anymore than a religious conservative denies that individuals exist. If my definition is inappropriate, give me a different one, and also how religious conservative doesn't fit into that definition. It should be clear enough that belief in a soul can be extremely collectivistic, even though it is possible to hold onto the concept in an individualistic way. All we can do is measure the degree of collectivism. 

The rest of your explanation is why Marxism is bad. The question isn't if Marxism is worse than religious conservatism. 

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The left as I've defined it doesn't deny individuals exist anymore than a religious conservative denies that individuals exist. 

Doesn't deny individuals exist? Of course they can't deny their existence! 

The IMPORTANCE of an individual, his/her *value*, THAT is the core of this debate, it is what I pointed to before (collectivists derive value/disvalue from 'tribal distinctions').

Is the individual more important than the collective? Or, vice-versa?

Individualism and collectivism can each be taken to mean, by premises and in consequence: what you think of yourself; what you think of others; and do you leave them alone, or do you interfere with their lives?

I will only go so far as to say that there are degrees of difference/similarity between religious individualists and leftist collectivists, but they are major ones. And with time, in the interactions among individuals within a society, "degrees" accumulate and distinctions widen. 

Another query: who, (specific to the US) - the conservatives or the Leftists - do you believe would be better advocates of individual rights? I think that's not even on the horizon of possibilities for the Left...

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