Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

HB v. AB: Is collectivism the greater evil?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

 Bernstein begins with the stronger proposition and with the best arguments only so much that Harry can challenge it with. And the winner is...

Worth plodding through for a few hours. https://capitalismmagazine.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e6daac5bbabca715ce33f553e&id=b512080f0d&e=1ce5f80967

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 122
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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.

Death by fire or death by hanging
Terminal Cancer vs. Ebola

That sums up the fundamental debate.

To claim that one is far better than the other is ridiculous. Kind of like "fight at all costs for death by fire rather than death by hanging".

Interesting and concerning was  the confusing mishmash of things like:

  • Christianity was good but then it was bad.
  • Islam was good, but then it was bad.
  • Communism was bad and then it was okay.
  • Kand was evil but he was a puritan.
  • We should talk in terms of left and right, no we should not.

etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tony, this topic should not have been planted in the Metaphysics and Epistemology sector. This planting is hegemony of the political. The Ethics sector and the Politics sector are far more appropriate for location of this topic.

Greg, could you relocate this thread out of this sector to one more appropriate, leaving this sector open for its authentic, appropriate topics, rather than its entries in metaphysics and epistemology being smothered and snuffed into invisibility by political topics?

 

Edited by Boydstun
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Death by fire or death by hanging
Terminal Cancer vs. Ebola

That sums up the fundamental debate.

To claim that one is far better than the other is ridiculous. Kind of like "fight at all costs for death by fire rather than death by hanging".

 

etc.

To claim that some degree of individualism is (far) better than outright collectivism, is ridiculous?

That some amount of good values upheld, is better than nihilism? That a little free will is better than determinism?

And so on.

Look, ET, I agree on "a plague on both their houses", and one wouldn't want to live under either dispensation, Communism or theocracy, but that's no cause to cease the isolated identitifications and comparative moral judgment on both. (I'd add, for now, there's very little likelihood or intent for a Western theocracy).

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

And the winner is...

Andy won. But I sympathize with Harry's attempt to articulate a problem with juxtaposing religious conservatism against leftism/collectivism. The choice at this stage of the battle is simply between the Republican platform and the Democrat platform. Both sides have varying degrees of religion and atheism, conservatism and liberalism, capitalism and socialism. What separates them is how much each side listens to the evil within, and that's measured by the evil in their platforms, and by what each party attempts to do in practice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

What separates them is how much each side listens to the evil within, and that's measured by the evil in their platforms, and by what each party attempts to do in practice.

Okay, but the topic isn't which is worse, Democrats or Republicans? If that was the debate, we would be talking about more people than religious conservatives. On top of that, the question isn't which categories are dangerous, but which category is more evil. In a way, I think Bernstein won by default because Binswanger seems to think that the comparison is incoherent anyway. 

I didn't care to listen to much more, because the terms are too vague for both of them.

What is the Left? There is no definition. I'm left with my own image of a Leftist.

What is a religious conservative? There is no definition. I'm left with my own image of a religious conservative.

The only thing I can agree on is that religion is bad to the extent that it is collectivist. But since I don't know what a religious conservative is, and since I don't know what a Leftist is, I don't know how to judge which is more collectivist. Not to mention that "Left" is a gigantic umbrella ranging from left libertarians to Communists. It might even include Democrats. Each of these categories is probably as wide as the category "religious conservative". 

I would say that Communists are more evil than religious conservatives, but I would not say left libertarians are more evil than religious conservatives. But Bernstein doesn't seem to make any attempt to use the same level of abstraction to deal with his comparisons. 
 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Andy won. But I sympathize with Harry's attempt to articulate a problem with juxtaposing religious conservatism against leftism/collectivism. The choice at this stage of the battle is simply between the Republican platform and the Democrat platform. Both sides have varying degrees of religion and atheism, conservatism and liberalism, capitalism and socialism. What separates them is how much each side listens to the evil within, and that's measured by the evil in their platforms, and by what each party attempts to do in practice.

I was a little tongue in cheek about who "won", but I had much agreement with AB in his original essay now being countered by HB. I think 5-10 years ago this would hardly need debating, things were not as critical, it is because how appalling the behavior and statements by the "Left" have become that the topic finds pertinence now. By contrast, the religious conservatives are seeming saner and certainly more individualist. The gaps have widened - but too, the similarities are more apparent. A good starting place to dive in, I find, is establishing that both advocacies, their proponents, and any and all followers are rooted in primacy of consciousness. We understand this on the Christian side. On the secularists' side, likewise, I am assured that we are watching the emergence of a new religiosity with its own faith, dogma, heresies, moral purity, forced conversions, banishments, saints, sinners and clergy. Some and much that was left behind by modern Christians. There is the equal fervent enmity towards the Christian sect as there was in the intra-Christian, religious wars of the Dark Ages competing for men's 'Souls'. Just as a civil war is the most savage, so are religious ones. 

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

statements by the "Left" have become that the topic finds pertinence now. By contrast, the religious conservatives are seeming saner and certainly more individualist.

For the sake of the discussion, can you define what you mean by the Left? I'm asking for a definition here, genus/differentia. The same with religious conservatives. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

For the sake of the discussion, can you define what you mean by the Left? I'm asking for a definition here, genus/differentia. The same with religious conservatives. 

The left are a complex, confusing mishmash of subjectivism. What to tease out from their origins in Marxism, post-modernism and progressivism (etc.) and the several philosophers who preceded those is daunting. I can't isolate a genus-differentia, and some of the distinctions, left v. conservative-religious, seem to be a matter of degree. What broadly typifies the Left specifically, is their collectivism, determinism, mind-skepticism (reductive-materialist), sacrificial altruism at another level. From those basics one may track their beliefs and behaviors (e.g. the victim narrative).

There is a major 'saving grace' the conservatives have, their immutable belief in the Soul. Their own and everyone else's, Christian and not. With that base of individuality, and the belief of meeting their maker to account for their lives - their moral choices - has to lie a certain element of free will. Additionally, I think HB was sorely out of touch with his reading of them today, as only seeking the Life Hereafter, I don't know of any Christians who don't believe that a happy and successful life matters.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I don't know of any Christians who don't believe that a happy and successful life matters.

(Talk about evasion!!! WOW)

Original sin, guilt and shame is at the core of Christian existence.

"You are your brother's keeper" means you as an individual should come last. Other's come first.
A soul that is worthless does not assert itself, non-functional.
Not much different from Marxism.

In the case of free speech, which is at the core of all societal freedoms. there is NO free speech support amongst a religious society. Even freedom of thought is chased away. God will hear your thoughts and punish you.

Combine that with "God Uses Broken Vessels" ...
That means you have no way of knowing what is good.
The most blood thirsty dictator holds up a bible to gain or maintain support.

Again, not much different than the Stalinist alternative.

The Soviet union lasted less that 80 years. The left was not able to hold on.
Christianity, Islam, Judaism have lasted for 2000 years and may last forever.

And most importantly, a tyrant that holds up a bible to maintain support is not unimaginable, while the idea that "we should not own any property" is still unimaginable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

In the case of free speech, which is at the core of all societal freedoms. there is NO free speech support amongst a religious society. Even freedom of thought is chased away. God will hear your thoughts and punish you.

 

In specifically, an American "religious society" this is untrue. The call for freedom of speech is from the conservatives, I see from many sources. The Left have their version of God hears your thoughts and will punish you. It's called social media. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

(Talk about evasion!!! WOW)

Original sin, guilt and shame is at the core of Christian existence.

 

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, who were most enterprising people. Some very wealthy.

One can make the same rationalistic error that Binswanger made, like his referencing of some 12thC Pope's writing about how debased man is - that because the doctrine states X in the abstract, the believers practice X, concretely. Out of touch with present realities. Therefore, as HB would apparently argue, the religion has not undergone various changes and evolutions from its bloodthirsty past in Europe. Oh, I have no doubt that in principle, preaching and beliefs in OS and humility and guilt are in evidence, but even religious people obviously have made personal accomodations to and for reality, which indicates some rationality - that's the crux of primacy of consciousness. Mutability. 

You react, btw, as if I'm selling Christianity to you. Relax. This topic is its comparison with leftism, not my advocacy for religion. 

 Comes down to it, living in a society WITH Christians and their inherent amount of individualism (and self-responsibility, self-reliance), is and will be much better than living UNDER the power of collectivist-leftists. Power is what they must have, no one escapes their control. The religious aren't going away, and individually are often decent, likable and thoughtful people with good character qualities. IF, one can allow oneself to see past the dogma.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I can't isolate a genus-differentia, and some of the distinctions, left v. conservative-religious, seem to be a matter of degree.

In other words, you don't have a definition. As a reminder to why I am asking and why that is relevant, I think this paragraph in ITOE explains it perfectly.

"A definition is not a description; it implies, but does not mention all the characteristics of a concept’s units. If a definition were to list all the characteristics, it would defeat its own purpose: it would provide an indiscriminate, undifferentiated and, in effect, pre-conceptual conglomeration of characteristics which would not serve to distinguish the units from all other existents, nor the concept from all other concepts. A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are. But it is important to remember that a definition implies all the characteristics of the units, since it identifies their essential, not their exhaustive, characteristics; since it designates existents, not their isolated aspects; and since it is a condensation of, not a substitute for, a wider knowledge of the existents involved."

What you gave is a list of word associations, not because there is no association between "Left" and postmodernism for example, but because you gave no essential and no way to distinguish between nonessentials and essentials. In fact, many Marxists don't like postmodernism. Concrete examples would help. Right now it seems like you have in your mind the preconceptual conglomeration of characteristics. (This is actually my same criticism of Bernstein.)

Secondly, you gave an even weaker attempt at defining religious conservative. "They believe in the soul" is extremely vague. It isn't necessarily any more individualistic than a Leftist saying that they believe corporate billionaires are bad because capitalists necessarily exploit individuals and harm individual autonomy. In both cases we could say "well at least they believe in some kind of individual." Not to mention you didn't even try to define the conservative part. 

 

 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to post
Share on other sites

ET

So since the fall of the USSR power mongers no longer seek to subjugate based on spreading Marxist ideologies?

And a larger more powerful  threat to civilization comes from a snarky retort by a guy who killed his brother because G_d showed favor on his brother and not him , meaning he wasn't going to be able to marry his sister with the biggest boobs ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

In other words, you don't have a definition. As a reminder to why I am asking and why that is relevant, I think this paragraph in ITOE explains it perfectly.

"A definition is not a description; it implies, but does not mention all the characteristics of a concept’s units. If a definition were to list all the characteristics, it would defeat its own purpose: it would provide an indiscriminate, undifferentiated and, in effect, pre-conceptual conglomeration of characteristics which would not serve to distinguish the units from all other existents, nor the concept from all other concepts. A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are. But it is important to remember that a definition implies all the characteristics of the units, since it identifies their essential, not their exhaustive, characteristics; since it designates existents, not their isolated aspects; and since it is a condensation of, not a substitute for, a wider knowledge of the existents involved."

What you gave is a list of word associations, not because there is no association between "Left" and postmodernism for example, but because you gave no essential and no way to distinguish between nonessentials and essentials. In fact, many Marxists don't like postmodernism. Concrete examples would help. Right now it seems like you have in your mind the preconceptual conglomeration of characteristics. (This is actually my same criticism of Bernstein.)

Secondly, you gave an even weaker attempt at defining religious conservative. "They believe in the soul" is extremely vague. It isn't necessarily any more individualistic than a Leftist saying that they believe corporate billionaires are bad because capitalists necessarily exploit individuals and harm individual autonomy. In both cases we could say "well at least they believe in some kind of individual." Not to mention you didn't even try to define the conservative part. 

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.

For just one of many examples, one of the current leading and most influential conservative philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre continues to argue, using Aristotelian and Thomistic methods that Bernstein blathering on about in peak Objectivist mode, that modernism (aka the Enlightenment) is a failed project precisely because of its liberal capitalism, scientific rationalism, and individualism, and to invoke Catholic social teaching (here and now, not 12 century) for a substantial collectivist vision that engages with key Marxist and Thomist concepts. Macintyre further argues that Marxism "achieved its unique position by adopting the content and function of Christianity."

Again, this is one of the top living conservative philosophers (although I'm sure someone will spew some banality in order to avoid the uncomfortable cognitive dissonance.) Jordan Peterson taught them to say "postmodern neo-Marxism" in the same way the left was trained to use "white supremacists Nazi": it's a contentless stand in for "thing I don't like." 

In the same way, Randians programmed each other to say "Thomas Aquinas" and "Enlightenment" and "rediscovery of Aristotle" as a filler for a wider manichean drama of the forces of light historically prevailing over the bad philosophers without ever having actually read anything about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I didn't care to listen to much more, because the terms are too vague for both of them.

You could deal with the specific examples Andy gave. He named several religious conservatives, Noem, Haley, and Limbaugh. As for leftists, he named Sanders and AOC.

I question whether religious conservatism versus leftism is a clear enough distinction for practical use. Let's say I agree that the Noems of the world are less evil than the AOCs, what do I do with that knowledge? I'm not going to join the religious conservatives. Such a distinction is too narrowly defined. I don't belong in either the religious conservative camp or the leftist camp. I therefore suggest the more basic and broadly organized political division between Republicans and Democrats. We should choose one of the two major political parties and attempt to influence it from within. I recommend the Republicans because they are more inclined toward Rand's views, and even the worst faction of Republicans, the religious conservatives, have a semblance of respect for the individual and free will, as Andy argues. We can find common ground on which to fight the greater enemy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I recommend the Republicans because they are more inclined toward Rand's views

It used to be that way until Trump made the Republican party "the party of the worker". The party of the workers that will choose anyone who is anti abortion. Seems like a merging of Marxist and religious slogans. The distinction is now definitely not there for practical use.

It used to be that Republican meant fiscal conservative. That may have coexisted with some of Objectivism.  Right now to claim that a party that is going through an identity crisis should be chosen to lead is introducing a large risk as policies could be good or bad. It's like entertaining the arbitrary. It's sort of a choice between choosing a dice vs. someone who wants to make us like California or Sweden. A dice is great until it selects fascism.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

You could deal with the specific examples Andy gave. He named several religious conservatives, Noem, Haley, and Limbaugh. As for leftists, he named Sanders and AOC.

Binswanger criticized this as something like concrete bound thinking. I'm glad there are some examples. Unfortunately, we are still dealing with a "conglomeration of characteristics". I'm a step closer to understanding what the hell he's talking about, but he's far from developing a good argument. Religious conservative here captures a very narrow net of people, while leftist deliberately captures a massive range of people. 

4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I recommend the Republicans because they are more inclined toward Rand's views, and even the worst faction of Republicans, the religious conservatives, have a semblance of respect for the individual and free will, as Andy argues.

He basically argues that at least they aren't Communists. Except he is talking about a lot of stuff that really have nothing to do with Communism. It's very messy and incoherent. He's playing loose with definitions. 2046 shows pretty well my thoughts on this as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Right now to claim that a party that is going through an identity crisis should be chosen to lead is introducing a large risk as policies could be good or bad. It's like entertaining the arbitrary.

A chance to have good policies is better than no chance.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/14/2021 at 6:13 PM, Eiuol said:

In other words, you don't have a definition. As a reminder to why I am asking and why that is relevant, I think this paragraph in ITOE explains it perfectly.

"A definition is not a description; it implies, but does not mention all the characteristics of a concept’s units. If a definition were to list all the characteristics, it would defeat its own purpose: it would provide an indiscriminate, undifferentiated and, in effect, pre-conceptual conglomeration of characteristics which would not serve to distinguish the units from all other existents, nor the concept from all other concepts. A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are. But it is important to remember that a definition implies all the characteristics of the units, since it identifies their essential, not their exhaustive, characteristics; since it designates existents, not their isolated aspects; and since it is a condensation of, not a substitute for, a wider knowledge of the existents involved."

What you gave is a list of word associations, not because there is no association between "Left" and postmodernism for example, but because you gave no essential and no way to distinguish between nonessentials and essentials. In fact, many Marxists don't like postmodernism. Concrete examples would help. Right now it seems like you have in your mind the preconceptual conglomeration of characteristics. (This is actually my same criticism of Bernstein.)

Secondly, you gave an even weaker attempt at defining religious conservative. "They believe in the soul" is extremely vague. It isn't necessarily any more individualistic than a Leftist saying that they believe corporate billionaires are bad because capitalists necessarily exploit individuals and harm individual autonomy. In both cases we could say "well at least they believe in some kind of individual." Not to mention you didn't even try to define the conservative part. 

 

 

I tried to assist. I'm not here to do your identifying for you. I pointed to some characteristics of the left, you do your own defining from observable people, ideas and actions. 

If you think believing in the soul is irrelevant to individualism, starkly contrasted with collectivism, you could take something from a religious individualist, Rubin:

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/14/2021 at 7:00 PM, 2046 said:

Again, this is one of the top living conservative philosophers (although I'm sure someone will spew some banality in order to avoid the uncomfortable cognitive dissonance.) Jordan Peterson taught them to say "postmodern neo-Marxism" in the same way the left was trained to use "white supremacists Nazi": it's a contentless stand in for "thing I don't like." 

 

Suggest some reading of Stephen Hicks to be versed in post-modernism. And its attachment to neo-Marxism.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I tried to assist. I'm not here to do your identifying for you.

I asked you what your definition is. I didn't ask for assistance in forming a concept. Of course I can't identify the nature of the concept you hold in your head, you have to tell me! I can't argue that your concept is incorrect unless I know what your concept is. So far, all I can say is you don't have a concept in the first place, or the concept is so messy that you won't be able to make a coherent point. Did you not read the quote by Rand?

27 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

If you think believing in the soul is irrelevant to individualism, starkly contrasted with collectivism

Where did I say it is irrelevant? To a degree it is relevant because capitalism early on grew out of Christian thought as it grew more secular. It's fortunate that some Christian thinkers gradually moved towards the value of the self, and that was only possible by transforming or altering Christian thought.

But on the other hand, the soul is Platonic idealism, completely divorced from reality, the conceptual bedrock that justified numerous atrocities in the name of God and collective identity. And judging others by collective identity.

I can tell a similar story about Leftist thinking (some of which is undoubtedly Christian and completely influenced by the concept of the soul...) where some stuff is truly good, but also a range of atrocities depending on particular thinkers. My criticism is that religious conservatives are given a nuanced analysis by Bernstein, while the analysis of "the left" is mostly knee-jerk reactionary stuff. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...