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HB v. AB: Is collectivism the greater evil?

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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.

5 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Why is no one taking on Leftist-collectivist-mystics as much as you are the Christians and conservatives?

You said something similar to me. Christians and conservatives are collectivists. You seem adamant to say that Christians and conservatives are basically confused individualists. That's much more controversial than you saying that CRT and postmodernism are philosophical threats. With Swig we've made at least 2 episodes related to CRT. So it is not as if no one is taking on that kind of thing.

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6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Which must mean that there has always been a strong component of individualism and freedom and I fear that Americans take that too much for granted. But worse, begin unearthing their previous so-called, 'imperfections' as a people and losing confidence in the country. What more do you expect from large numbers of susceptible human beings but moral failings at times? (Perfectionism is an intrinsicist trap, usually heading one to personal disillusionment and eventual skepticism, with a philosophy and a nation. The objective good, when you make it and find it (etc.) is brilliant for one's life, as perfect as it gets).

When I read oblique, obscured stuff like this, I always find myself wondering...

By "imperfections," are you referring to... slavery? Or something else? It's a touch too far for this thread, even for me who has never seen a tangent he didn't like, a rabbit hole he didn't instantly plummet down, but an institution of enslaving human beings over hundreds of years (if that is, indeed, the hinted reference) is much more than an "imperfection." I don't agree with the response generally, let alone every specific, but that sort of thing does justify some kind of a moral reckoning.

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

But don't worry about the Christians - you do see don't you that many/most have plainly been sufficiently rational, reasoning, self-responsible, hard-working and individualistic enough to very often prosper and apparently live pretty comfortable and happy lives?

Right. Individuals hold destructive philosophies to whatever degree they do, but rarely follow them consistently. You are also describing any number of "leftists." Yet I will continue to "worry" about bad philosophy, whatever its origin.

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The religious will always be around, as will Faith. That's reality one can't wish away.

Fair enough. The same holds true for socialism, etc.

But what I've said in recognizing the destructiveness of Christianity and its incompatibility with Objectivism, and that it ought not be given moral support, is not at all the same as "wishing away reality"...? Religion will always be around; we should always condemn it.

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Why is no one taking on Leftist-collectivist-mystics as much as you are the Christians and conservatives?

In this singular thread, you mean? I can't speak for others, but I am currently responding to the seeming defense proffered for Christians conservatives as freedom-oriented individualists who deserve our support. They are not and do not.

There's no one here that I see trying to defend either "leftists" or collectivists or mystics on any grounds at all, but I'm certain that, if there were, they would be met with strong opposition.

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The American religious don't want a theocracy, I am certain...

I'm sure that the "American religious" (does this include Jews? Muslims?) aren't some monolithic block with a defined agenda, but historically, American Christians (or at least some vocal subset of them) haven't been shy about trying to use political power to enforce their religious beliefs, when and where able.

So, I don't know what they want, generally, or would want if they thought it was within reach, but I do know that there have been steps taken to limit access to abortion, or prevent it altogether, for instance.

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The Leftist-Socialists want a socialist state, and that's farewell to individualism. We are talking clear and present danger.

It's the same as with the religious -- there's not some monolithic block. There are indeed people who want a socialist state, but I'm not afraid of some imminent collapse into communism. We are a robust mixed economy, and most of the debate I see is about nudging the degree of that mixture in one direction or another. Those matters are important, and meaningful, but they are not revolutionary.

Statism is long conceded by both sides. Individualism and, more concretely, individual rights, are generally threatened from all mainstream players (you and I are very much on the fringe). There are pointed dangers from the left, of course (I'm thinking especially of their current treatment of race, and disillusionment with free speech), but as far as "clear and present danger" is concerned, I think nothing else rises to the level of trying to overturn the results of the presidential election, or the growing conspiracist movements unhinging the American right from reality and destroying the GOP.

_______________________________________

Completely coincidentally, I was looking for Christian-themed children's songs for my homeschooled daughter (we're learning about the Bible), came across this amazing, couldn't-make-it-up-if-I-tried entry, and thought I would share:

O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E

Obedience is the very best way
to show that you believe.
Doing exactly what the Lord commands,
doing it happily.
Action is the key – do it immediately,
joy you will receive.
Obedience is the very best way
to show that you believe.

Chorus: O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
We want to live pure we want to live clean.
We want to do our best.
Sweetly submitting to authority,
leaving to God the rest.

Walking in the light,
keep our attitudes right.
On the narrow way.
For if you believe the Word you receive,
You always will obey.

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7 hours ago, DonAthos said:

When I read oblique, obscured stuff like this, I always find myself wondering...

By "imperfections," are you referring to... slavery? Or something else? It's a touch too far for this thread, even for me who has never seen a tangent he didn't like, a rabbit hole he didn't instantly plummet down, but an institution of enslaving human beings over hundreds of years (if that is, indeed, the hinted reference) is much more than an "imperfection." I don't agree with the response generally, let alone every specific, but that sort of thing does justify some kind of a moral reckoning.

 

Not, (referring to slavery) but rather the personal imperfections of human individuals by the millions, over centuries. Which one 'could' add up to national wrongs and evils, sure. However I will ask: what did slavery have to do with you, personally? Do you personally still today gain and derive any advantages from that institution? Do you know anyone who has? Do you know of descendants of those slaves who are still suffering from their ancestors' persecution? Do you believe that at any time in your ancestors' lives none were persecuted? (For their beliefs, class ... etc. I need to consciously recall sometimes my mother and generations of her family living as second class citizens in Arab lands for about 500 years - and what does that and they have to do with me?) 

You see where I'm going. if 'we' go back far enough, there was suffering at some point by some of our forebears at others' hands. And likely some caused someone and others to suffer too. Again, my father was a settler/'colonist' escaping a class-segregated England (obviously) in order to -repress- Africans in Africa. Mea culpa. Can the Westerners get over this inherited guilt and victimhood, please? Can we stop paying back a "moral reckoning" not one of us owes to not anyone alive who deserves it?

Presuming - naturally - that now 'we' know better and nations' rights do better and that countries esp. the USA are almost entirely free for individuals to make their choices for what they think is best, to do the best for their lives un-interfered with.

What I hear constantly proposed, specifically by Leftists is that no one is ever free from our past. This is mystical collectivism (guilt or persecution is carried forward in one's "bloodline" unto the next generation) and blatant altruism (sacrifice ourselves to that guilt and self-recrimination and sacrifice others by theirs) which Oi'sts should be first to spot. They are undoubtedly using these methods towards subduing the population and gaining power. The worst, the most deliberate of them are the drooling beasts of literature.

Those "imperfect" individualists we are discussing? I've heard and read many, of any race who, not forgetting or dismissing the past, affirm - we are Americans and bow before no one [but God]. Thank you. That's the confident spirit of freedom from men.

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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You said something similar to me. Christians and conservatives are collectivists. You seem adamant to say that Christians and conservatives are basically confused individualists.

By your reckoning apparently there are no individualists. Everybody's "collectivist". No, as I have said this is not about absolute standards of either concept in society. The distinctions, though, play out *very* differently in action.

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42 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

By your reckoning apparently there are no individualists. Everybody's "collectivist".

At the margins, not really. Certain kinds of anarchists I would consider closer to individualism than others, and not a form of collectivism. And some American politicians before Teddy Roosevelt. And there are huge amounts of relatively apolitical people that I think are more inclined towards individualism as a philosophy (the majority of Americans). 

But certainly, conservatives are without a doubt collectivists, it's not even maybe. 

 

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8 hours ago, DonAthos said:

There are indeed people who want a socialist state, but I'm not afraid of some imminent collapse into communism. We are a robust mixed economy, and most of the debate I see is about nudging the degree of that mixture in one direction or another. Those matters are important, and meaningful, but they are not revolutionary.

 

 

I had not as yet fully considered a collapse into communism (I know there must be those US Communists lurking in the wings, licking their lips right now; the closest they've ever come to their impossible dream).

My first thought was 'isn't socialism bad enough?' Could you ever have imagined arriving at this stage?

My second, that's how it begins: Over confidence ("robust mixed economy"). It won't be so bad. There is more than enough wealth. That can't happen here...

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28 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

At the margins, not really. Certain kinds of anarchists I would consider closer to individualism than others, and not a form of collectivism. And some American politicians before Teddy Roosevelt. And there are huge amounts of relatively apolitical people that I think are more inclined towards individualism as a philosophy (the majority of Americans). 

But certainly, conservatives are without a doubt collectivists, it's not even maybe. 

 

You do understand that collectivists are anti-individualists to the core?

I do believe that Americans by the majority have always been and are essential individualists, and THAT is what I meant by saying that the essential collectivists have waged war against individualism (and - effectively taken the nation - for now).

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

You do understand that collectivists are anti-individualists to the core?

Right, and the vast majority of political movements now and throughout history have been deeply collectivistic. Not sure what you're asking? You asked me if I think everybody is a collectivist, so I answered how I don't think that.

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4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

However I will ask: what did slavery have to do with you, personally? Do you personally still today gain and derive any advantages from that institution? Do you know anyone who has? Do you know of descendants of those slaves who are still suffering from their ancestors' persecution? Do you believe that at any time in your ancestors' lives none were persecuted? (For their beliefs, class ... etc. I need to consciously recall sometimes my mother and generations of her family living as second class citizens in Arab lands for about 500 years - and what does that and they have to do with me?) 

You see where I'm going. if 'we' go back far enough, there was suffering at some point by some of our forebears at others' hands. And likely some caused someone and others to suffer too. Again, my father was a settler/'colonist' escaping a class-segregated England (obviously) in order to -repress- Africans in Africa. Mea culpa. Can the Westerners get over this inherited guilt and victimhood, please? Can we stop paying back a "moral reckoning" not one of us owes to not anyone alive who deserves it?

Naturally it is the very thing that I say I don't want to develop into a major digression that you respond to, at length. All right, then.

Objectivists are supposed to care about reality. We are also supposed to be pro-individual rights, which I take to be "anti-slavery." Slavery was a large-scale institution in the United States from before its inception until it was ended in a Civil War. This institution had deep and pervasive influence in many aspects of American life, particularly in the South, and after it ended that influence lingered, most visibly in ongoing efforts to maintain legal segregation (e.g. Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, etc.) and instill terror (the KKK, lynching, etc.).

Some aspects of this sort of thing were ended sixty years ago or so -- and some (like the Klan) remain -- such that some people who were involved in these activities and personally supported them at the time, are still alive. The children raised in their homes, the virtues instilled in them, these folks and their descendants are still with us (and on school boards, and in the police departments). Victims were despoiled, their families sundered, their bodies broken, and their education and professional advancement denied. These folks and their descendants are still with us, too. And the racist ideology that was developed in large part to support these institutional wrongs persists.

The consequences of slavery endure. I have known of people personally to speak (unironically) of the "War of Northern Aggression," which is how some in the South refer to the Civil War, even today. Because they yet believe that the Southern cause was just and the Northern, ignoble. I have known open racists and quiet ones. I have observed discussions of "race realism," even here on this forum, and Charlottesville was not all that long ago. And I am witness to the reactions or overreactions like affirmative action, BLM and "critical race theory."

It seems clear to me that we have not yet settled these great upheavals, and yet there are questions that I'm not certain precisely how to answer. If your father steals something and gives that thing to you, does it then become yours? How much time does it take to legitimate past injustices? I don't think that any person is responsible for the sins of their father, but I also think that there are persistent wounds from wrongs done in the past, and ongoing troubles, and I don't think we do anyone any favors by pretending like it isn't so.

4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

What I hear constantly proposed, specifically by Leftists is that no one is ever free from our past.

Is this the obverse of the fraudulent coin which would proclaim that we are entirely unaffected by our past? If one looked back into the mists of time, of course we would all find our ancestors being victims and victimizers, in turn, and mostly none of that matters to us now. But that doesn't mean that the specific claim -- that there are yet today lingering effects from slavery -- is wrong. Do you think that whatever wounds were created with this most egregious violation of liberty, suffered by hundreds of thousands (or millions if we extend beyond the US) were entirely healed the first day after slavery officially ended? Day two? Was it the day the last actual slave died? Did not their children suffer to any extent? Or their children's children? What day would you fix as the day it was finally solved?

Regarding our relationship with the past, I think Shakespeare's formulation is best: "What's past is prologue." I also have always quite liked Will Durant: "The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding." Maybe that's the historian in me. But the point is that there are times when we must understand the present, and can only truly understand the present, in the context of the past. In that sense, it's true that we're never quite "free" from what's come before -- only sometimes ignorant.

But we are neither bound by our past. We can make different choices, better choices, perhaps ironically because we understand and learn from our past. I suspect that there is some analogue here to the dictum "nature to be commanded must be obeyed": something perhaps like, "the past to be overcome must be understood."

And in your response I sense something like dismay at the thought of being held to account for something you did not personally do. I understand: that's injustice, and it's nothing I support. Neither you nor I are responsible for what our ancestors did. Rather, we are responsible for our actions now, today. And while we may not have created the many problems that our ancestors bequeathed to us, the damage they did to the world, we do live in a world that suffers from those problems, that damage.

We had begun this particular tangent when you'd written, with dismay, of "Americans...unearthing their previous so-called, 'imperfections' as a people and losing confidence in the country." But we do have imperfections which need unearthing, sometimes severe ones -- this is part of the moral reckoning to which I'd referred, with respect to slavery and so many other misdeeds. And if our purported confidence in our country is based on ignorance of these matters, then our confidence is to that extent unwarranted.

Our country is capable of great deeds and great evil, and it has done both, and it can do either, again. And it is important that we know that, know of our capacity for right and wrong, because we are responsible for steering it into the future.

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Collectivism holds that, in human affairs, the collective—society, the community, the nation, the proletariat, the race, etc.—is the unit of reality and the standard of value. On this view, the individual has reality only as part of the group, and value only insofar as he serves it.

Leonard Peikoff,
The Ominous Parallels

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On 2/23/2021 at 9:28 AM, DonAthos said:

Is this the obverse of the fraudulent coin which would proclaim that we are entirely unaffected by our past? If one looked back into the mists of time, of course we would all find our ancestors being victims and victimizers, in turn, and mostly none of that matters to us now. But that doesn't mean that the specific claim -- that there are yet today lingering effects from slavery -- is wrong. Do you think that whatever wounds were created with this most egregious violation of liberty, suffered by hundreds of thousands (or millions if we extend beyond the US) were entirely healed the first day after slavery officially ended? Day two? Was it the day the last actual slave died? Did not their children suffer to any extent? Or their children's children? What day would you fix as the day it was finally solved?

Regarding our relationship with the past, I think Shakespeare's formulation is best: "What's past is prologue." I also have always quite liked Will Durant: "The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding." Maybe that's the historian in me. But the point is that there are times when we must understand the present, and can only truly understand the present, in the context of the past. In that sense, it's true that we're never quite "free" from what's come before -- only sometimes ignorant.

But we are neither bound by our past. We can make different choices, better choices, perhaps ironically because we understand and learn from our past. I suspect that there is some analogue here to the dictum "nature to be commanded must be obeyed": something perhaps like, "the past to be overcome must be understood."

And in your response I sense something like dismay at the thought of being held to account for something you did not personally do. I understand: that's injustice, and it's nothing I support. Neither you nor I are responsible for what our ancestors did. Rather, we are responsible for our actions now, today. And while we may not have created the many problems that our ancestors bequeathed to us, the damage they did to the world, we do live in a world that suffers from those problems, that damage.

We had begun this particular tangent when you'd written, with dismay, of "Americans...unearthing their previous so-called, 'imperfections' as a people and losing confidence in the country." But we do have imperfections which need unearthing, sometimes severe ones -- this is part of the moral reckoning to which I'd referred, with respect to slavery and so many other misdeeds. And if our purported confidence in our country is based on ignorance of these matters, then our confidence is to that extent unwarranted.

Our country is capable of great deeds and great evil, and it has done both, and it can do either, again. And it is important that we know that, know of our capacity for right and wrong, because we are responsible for steering it into the future.

The past repeats itself only because of: collectivism, altruism and statism. Those are what one fights against and advocates individual rights for, to prevent recurrences. They are mystical conceptions, but so is unearned guilt. Most so, taking responsibility for all the acts of all the people of a nation from yesteryear til now. Since he's not a mystic, an Objectivist would never accept his personal unearned guilt. (The 'social conscience' falls into that category). He makes good for the errors he alone made.

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As far as making historical reparations, go, Thomas Sowell, evidently understanding altruism, has always been the champion of "leave us alone". In effect, from many articles: Stop helping, allow black people to take over the control of their own lives--especially you Democrats who want to keep blacks subservient. We were doing very well alone, for a period.

He candidly has revealed that race violence is mostly black to black, he places US slavery in perspective, and calculated that as a demographic, the black populace ranks 17th in GNI globally, at about equal to Australia and Austria.

Where are we going to find their like again, the individualist, conservative scholars like Walter Williams? They were ignored by and unpopular with collectivist-racists; it is very few white intellectuals who would say what they have, in fear of the cancel mob. 

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31 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

The past repeats itself only because of: collectivism, altruism and statism. Those are what one fights against and advocates individual rights for, to prevent recurrences. They are mystical conceptions, but so is unearned guilt. Most so, taking responsibility for all the acts of all the people of a nation from yesteryear til now. Since he's not a mystic, an Objectivist would never accept his personal unearned guilt. (The 'social conscience' falls into that category). He makes good for the errors he alone made.

Albeit, the constant introduction of new products, innovations, advances in healthcare, liberty promoting legislation, etc, could be a repetition worth repeating and getting used to.

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5 hours ago, Eiuol said:
8 hours ago, whYNOT said:

conservative scholars like Walter Williams

He's not a conservative. 

In an interview with TAS Williams rejected the label "conservative" and called himself a "radical for individual liberty." What's interesting to me, however, is that both Rand and Williams were popular with conservatives. To this day many people think of them as conservatives. Williams died in December, and he had spent so much time with conservatives that his NY Times obituary called him a "conservative economist" in the headline. I think it's a credit to conservatives that they find value in the ideas of radicals like Rand and Williams. And it's a telling fact that the liberals have rejected them.

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https://www.deseret.com/2004/12/29/19868915/walter-e-williams-attack-on-religion-is-attack-on-american-values

"The idea that government doesn't grant rights is offensive to those who wish to control our lives. Therefore, to gain greater control, the idea of natural rights, God-given rights and Christian values must be suppressed. The idea that rights precede government was John Locke's natural law philosophy, which had a significant influence on our nation's founders, but they chose to refer to natural law as rights endowed by the Creator.

The attack on Christian ideas and Christian public displays is part and parcel of the leftist control agenda in another way."

As prescient as Rand. Williams in 2004 knew there was an assault on the individualists and America started by the Left.

 

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

 I think it's a credit to conservatives that they find value in the ideas of radicals like Rand and Williams. And it's a telling fact that the liberals have rejected them.

https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/note-to-pope-from-professor-walter-e-williams-profits-and-capitalism-have-improved-the-human-condition/

(And by the Catholic Leftists)

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On 2/22/2021 at 8:13 AM, whYNOT said:

The clarifying explanation of individualism by N. Branden:

"A political system is the expression of a code of ethics. Just as some form of statism or collectivism is the expression of the ethics of altruism, so individualism - as represented by laissez-faire capitalism - is the expression of the ethics of rational self-interest.

"Individualism is at once an ethical-psychological concept and an ethical-political one. As an ethical-psychological concept, individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind, thus it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy.

As an ethical-political concept, individualism upholds the supremacy of individual rights, the principle that a human being is an end in him -or herself, and that the proper goal of life is self-realization. "

Individualism and the Free society

 

From Branden's "ethical-political" aspect of individualism, at least, I am quite certain that the Right, conservatives and Christians would grab individual rights, now, today. Here's a golden opportunity.

Not a snowball's chance in hell that the Left would accede.

In counter to the militant anti-religionists, one has no business trying to 'convert' any religious people to atheism. But one could amicably share a society with them all. If anyone is genuine about achieving individual rights it is to the conservatives, as limited/partial allies, that Objectivists should turn.

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8 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Are the Catholic leftists better than the Socialist leftists?

Compounding obedience to God, Pope, etc., etc., WITH obedience to the state, the collective? Not on your life.

Catholic Leftists are bad as anti-individualism could get, the perfect storm.

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13 hours ago, Eiuol said:

He's not a conservative. 

 

So? Privately he was a Christian, which blows a hole in the 'the religious can't be individualists for liberty' mantra.

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6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

'the religious can't be individualists for liberty' mantra.

Who said that? We have been talking about Christian conservatives. Apparently you thought he was a Christian conservative. In fact, you provided more evidence that Christian conservatives are not in the least individualists for liberty, because the Christian you found to show us wasn't even a conservative. 

 

 

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In dealing with individual religionists, conservatives, liberals, or what-have-you, we should think of them and treat them as individuals, not units of a collective.  How much common ground can we find with this individual?  How open is he, she, or they to persuasion on what levels?  In deciding whom to vote for, what can we expect from this candidate, what can we expect from that one, and how do they compare?

In deciding whether and how to argue about a particular currently fought political issue, we should focus on the individual issue and its relationship to fundamental principles, not on how "liberal" or "conservative" it is.

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