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Is Dennis Prager a political ally?

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6 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

He does not believe that we deserve liberty without god. He says that specifically in the video I posted.

Once you have god and "god's will" in the thought process ... anything goes. It is fact, not magical.

And as far as belief in the individual goes, he believes that we, each one of alone is evil ... without god.

Very reasonable fellow.

Prager's first question to Biddle was: do you believe in liberty? (Something like). Asked of a man whom he knew was an atheist.

So, no. Prager acknowledged that a secularist could have the same convictions "without god"..

Here's the salient point. When one who holds to liberty from Gvt, freedom from other people and individualism, comes across someone who shows a glimmer of imperfect conviction in those, does one shoot them down? Retorting - Your ideas are based on mystical nonsense so I will have nothing to do with you!

But that's self-defeating. That is rather how one justly treats anyone who explicitly *attacks* individualism, freedom, etc.

Instead one could engage with him, explaining that a *secularist* individualism, and morality and rights, is proper by man's nature. Many will comprehend. They are not stupid nor unintellectual.

One encourages them, while making clear one's own objective stand. That person is one of the many people who determines, or is influential on, the nation's political future at the ballot, and generally whom one will deal with in society. 

The main thing is to get one's principles and their reasoning across.

The person who has conviction in those principles, normally 'advised' by the Constitution and from God and so on, is worth engaging, up to a point. He is, after all, RIGHT. By the wrong metaphysical cause and for no reasons.

What do O'ists want and expect? Everybody to be an Objectivist, for chrissakes?

Not going to happen.

Objectivism will have and has potent *influence* on others at large. That matters.

O'ism - and O'ists - don't need or even seek majoritarian acceptance and conversion.

Edited by whYNOT
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All this smacks of "the sanction of evil". You don't lower yourself and ideals to mix with 'the enemy'.

You all know the sad tale. When David Kelley addressed (wow!) libertarians, was why Peikoff hit back and they broke off relations. Peikoff accused DK's "subjectivism", Kelley responded with LP's "intrinsicism".

The libertarian (nearly all, esp. the non-leftists) "enemy" are people we could do with many more of, intellectually and in politics/economics, today. So LP turned out wrong, I think.

Are we going over that ground again?

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

A most UNphilosophical position to take. I.e. If you haven't been there to see every instance of every person, in the history of a country, you cannot know it (nor understand human beings)

That's not what I'm criticizing, I was criticizing that I get a big sense of inauthenticity. Inauthenticity because on the one hand you talk as if you know what America is like and what makes it so great, but on the other hand I honestly don't understand how you could know but not immigrate. I'm telling you I don't get it. The best I have is that you would understand a lot better what I'm saying if you actually experienced America. That isn't to say you need to see every instance of every person in my country to know anything. It's important to know the countries we are talking about, not just from a ivory tower perspective of reading a lot, but actually going there. 

This isn't a random sidebar. I'm saying that everyone, myself included, needs to regularly and frequently interact with many Americans of all varieties in order to get a sense of the actual cultural heartbeat of America. Prager seems to believe in a mythical America that I think is very insulated and disconnected from anything of how America functions. Or ever did function. And it might seem believable if you never lived here, or if you've been isolated in a different kind of ivory tower world. 

I'm doubtful that Prager could be a beneficial ally because I don't think he gets the spirit of individualism, or what I would call the spirit of America.

Edited by Eiuol
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Okay. And whatever or however one goes about it I strongly advise not to get your "sense of the actual cultural heartbeat of America"- from the source that used to be a little more reliable. The media. Your msm. They are morally culpable of and responsible for negating America and inculcating the new sense of self-doubt and cynicism in Americans. As is the film industry.

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And Eiuol, Since you keep implicitly returning to the theme "this guy's in South Africa, what business does he have meddling in American affairs".

Let me be blunt. This post-modernist, Leftist, neo-Marxist disease which took root and grew in the USA from a long line of Continental and local philosophers (if you'd bother to study Stephen Hicks) has spread here. We are infected. Ideas travel fast, the vile ones fastest. What you hear and see there is largely mimicked here. Only one aspect which had become pretty relaxed, is worsening race relations. This tiny minority of whites, overall respectful and decent, are being labelled white supremacists. By the resentful people, identical to there, who could not take the opportunities of freedom on offer to make their lives. Historical revisionism, more post-modernism, is eliminating what the Europeans built, promoting a mythical African civilisation which predated them.

And too, the leftists here who used to be bearable are now insufferably nasty. SA's politics will inevitably change accordingly and go further socialist and probably begin nationalizing.

Same and similar goes for other countries. Subjugation and guilt ridden self-sacrifice

My concerns are selfish, for America itself, for the West, and more immediately, local.

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11 hours ago, whYNOT said:

And Eiuol, Since you keep implicitly returning to the theme "this guy's in South Africa, what business does he have meddling in American affairs".

Let me be blunt. This post-modernist, Leftist, neo-Marxist disease which took root and grew in the USA from a long line of Continental and local philosophers (if you'd bother to study Stephen Hicks) has spread here. We are infected. Ideas travel fast, the vile ones fastest. What you hear and see there is largely mimicked here. Only one aspect which had become pretty relaxed, is worsening race relations. This tiny minority of whites, overall respectful and decent, are being labelled white supremacists. By the resentful people, identical to there, who could not take the opportunities of freedom on offer to make their lives. Historical revisionism, more post-modernism, is eliminating what the Europeans built, promoting a mythical African civilisation which predated them.

And too, the leftists here who used to be bearable are now insufferably nasty. SA's politics will inevitably change accordingly and go further socialist and probably begin nationalizing.

Same and similar goes for other countries. Subjugation and guilt ridden self-sacrifice

My concerns are selfish, for America itself, for the West, and more immediately, local.

whyNOT

Many legal born domestic Americans, which are spoiled, entitled, and lazy, are less "American" in the foundational and fundamental ways that matter, than are you. 

America is an idea, and they have lost it to the vices and weakness of childhood which they have not escaped... associated with the infantalization of the American adult.. leftism is a natural center of gravity for failed adults, manchildren, so the lurch to the left is almost no surprise.

In any case you, as indeed Rand herself was, are more American in spirit, than the many unamericans born within America's borders.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Many legal born domestic Americans, which are spoiled, entitled, and lazy, are less "American" in the foundational and fundamental ways that matter, than are you. 

Come on man, the way you jump in and say this first, especially because everyone knows you don't like me, it looks like you're trying to indirectly insult me. And maybe you really don't mean to. I doubt that it was unintentional, I don't really care, but if that's true, you really should work on your timing...

19 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

leftism is a natural center of gravity for failed adults, manchildren, so the lurch to the left is almost no surprise.

Can you give some examples? I can think of explicit Communists who are adults who have not really amounted to much for themselves. A very sad kind of depression. But if you mean people who "lurch left", those people I usually find to be mistaken politically speaking but have none of these things about entitlement or being lazy or being spoiled. I'm serious, I don't know who these people are you are thinking of. I'm talking about family members of mine, some friends of mine, and the people I observe around me. 20-35 -year-olds. Who are you thinking of?

11 hours ago, whYNOT said:

"this guy's in South Africa, what business does he have meddling in American affairs".

I really don't want you to think that I bring that up because I want to insult you - I don't. My thinking is not that you have no business meddling with American affairs, but that I really don't get how that you don't just get up and move here. Of course we're just having a discussion, but your words sound disingenuous when it doesn't translate to action. Taking action I think is the ultimate expression of understanding something. If you understand American, then you do American. Sure you might understand better than some natural born citizens, but you haven't gone all the way.

Prager, as I was saying, seems detached, that his values are from another century (no, not the founding of the US), and that all his words express individualism. His actions do not, not at all.

12 hours ago, whYNOT said:

(if you'd bother to study Stephen Hicks)

I've read his book, I think it's decent, but as I recall, I don't really think his historical trace is very good.

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:
On 3/5/2021 at 2:51 AM, MisterSwig said:

today's leftwingers have caused such a major instability that there was a literal insurrection in the Capitol,

I thought Trump and his sheep did that.  Please elaborate.

Yeah, that's confusing. Eiuol made the point better:

Quote

The instability argument doesn't matter much, it just ends up in going back forever in history blaming each group for the ensuing instability. The better argument is one from a well defined goal, which I think should be an explicitly capitalist government. That's the key.

I was responding to the idea that the side that caused a major instability was the wrong choice. So you could trace the cause of the Capitol Riot to the left by arguing that the left caused the lockdowns which caused the need for mass mail-in ballots which led to Trump losing and inspiring his followers to revolt against Congress. Obviously we're dealing with people making volitional choices, so these aren't deterministic actions and reactions, and you could argue for a chain of causes stretching far into the past. The most direct cause, of course, was the mob that chose to storm the building. But that's not why they were wrong. They were wrong because they couldn't finish the job.

Just kidding.

Or am I?

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6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I've read his book, I think it's decent, but as I recall, I don't really think his historical trace is very good.

Hicks traces with a broad brush by his admission, gathering all or most of the threads: from the big guns Objectivists are more familiar with, Kant, Hegel, Rousseau, Marx, etc. through their derivative intermediaries (I for one had hardly read about), the French 20thC philosophers, e.g. Derrida, who completed 'deconstructing' reason and objectivity - and the Enlightenment. They and their teachings and further derivations of those taught and promoted by contemporary intellectuals, necessarily fill the learning gap, so explaining what we see today in action, the "Post Modern" phenomenon and how and why this came about. (I think).

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7 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Prager, as I was saying, seems detached, that his values are from another century (no, not the founding of the US), and that all his words express individualism. His actions do not, not at all.

 

Then call his and that of the many/the majority "a sense of life" individualism. While I don't believe that explains conservative individualism in its entirety. There are many right-conservative writers who are conceptually explicit about its value. But bare minimum, one's positive sense of life, when shared by millions has to be a beneficial foundation for society.

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

 so explaining what we see today in action, the "Post Modern" phenomenon and how and why this came about. (I think).

My impression is that conservatives are struggling with the PoMo "phenomenon", while not understanding it exists and has a specific identity.

As well they might. It's hard enough for regular students of philosophy like me to take in the scope of.

Because these guys aren't confronted just with the 'usual' Leftism/secularism/atheism which they hardly approved of, but have had to learn to tolerate.

This one is a brand new outgrowth of Leftism from deeper philosophical roots. There is one end to it and that is destruction, nihilism.

When you hear ranting by conservatives against "the Left", one might bear in mind that they can see the growing effects of post-modernism, while still believing they see ole-fashioned Leftists, perhaps gone a little wild. Therefore, are confused and frustrated by the latest, and increasing, excesses of the 'Left'.

(Only Jordan Peterson that I'm aware of engaged Hicks in long discussion and knows about the phenomenon, albeit more of its psychological causes, as is his specialty).

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On 3/5/2021 at 9:27 PM, whYNOT said:

Prager's first question to Biddle was: do you believe in liberty? (Something like). Asked of a man whom he knew was an atheist.

So, no. Prager acknowledged that a secularist could have the same convictions "without god"..

If you ask leftists as in: Obama, or Chomsky, or FDR, or Governor of California or whichever American leftist, if they believe in Liberty, they will say yes. It does not indicate anything about the respondent.

Chomsky in particular has said, free speech in the US has allowed him to say everything he has said.

But if Prager were asked "Is Liberty good because it is to your self interest?" He would say NO, Liberty is good because of God.

“Our founders knew that people are not basically good. They needed to keep a strong God to keep people good. Being answerable to God insured better behavior. God is a protector of liberty.
“Wisdom begins with a fear of God. Secular society produces knowledge but no wisdom."

So it is not Liberty as we define and understand it. It is not based on what we understand. As long as we don't clash in our definition of Liberty, we can be ally's. But if he says God believes that you should dress this way, or women should behave this way, or pursuing money is the root of all evil, then you have to disengage because it has the same effects and leftist beliefs.

You used the phrase "old fashion leftism" which to me means actual socialism or communism. In that context, I would agree with you, Prager would be a safer bet. But in our current society with its definition of leftism, i.e. Sweden, France etc. one has to dissect what position each side is pushing for. It's now a choice between a new fashioned conservatism vs. liberalism. With Trump "conservatism and Republicanism" is the worker's party without using the hammer and sickle. So those old fashion judgements are in fact too old to be relevant.

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7 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

If you ask leftists as in: Obama, or Chomsky, or FDR, or Governor of California or whichever American leftist, if they believe in Liberty, they will say yes. It does not indicate anything about the respondent.

Chomsky in particular has said, free speech in the US has allowed him to say everything he has said.

But if Prager were asked "Is Liberty good because it is to your self interest?" He would say NO, Liberty is good because of God.

“Our founders knew that people are not basically good. They needed to keep a strong God to keep people good. Being answerable to God insured better behavior. God is a protector of liberty.
“Wisdom begins with a fear of God. Secular society produces knowledge but no wisdom."

So it is not Liberty as we define and understand it. It is not based on what we understand. As long as we don't clash in our definition of Liberty, we can be ally's. But if he says God believes that you should dress this way, or women should behave this way, or pursuing money is the root of all evil, then you have to disengage because it has the same effects and leftist beliefs.

You used the phrase "old fashion leftism" which to me means actual socialism or communism. In that context, I would agree with you, Prager would be a safer bet. But in our current society with its definition of leftism, i.e. Sweden, France etc. one has to dissect what position each side is pushing for. It's now a choice between a new fashioned conservatism vs. liberalism. With Trump "conservatism and Republicanism" is the worker's party without using the hammer and sickle. So those old fashion judgements are in fact too old to be relevant.

Good arguments. ""No. Liberty is good because of God"". Yes, that's the core rationale.

I would imagine, and any conversations I've had with thoughtful religious people indicated -  that if asked "Good"... okay, but for whom?" - Prager would recognize and agree: liberty is good ... for mankind and men's lives. (Therefore, in the individual's self-interest?).

And God put his initial and final stamp of authority on it...

But it's not my full time endeavor to persuade conservatives of the objective "good".

What separates the conservative Right and the hard Left in action, broadly speaking, is the enthusiasts vs. the cynics. Or- the mystic intrinsicists against the subjective skeptics (disappointed intrinsicists). Most broadly, comes down to those who hold intrinsic values, of which the revealed word of God is the standard of value, against those who have subjective values, where my random feelings and everyone else's feelings is my standard. Which translates to no 'standard' at all. 

(With plenty of overlaps and exchanges, by individual, from one to other, and even sometimes objective values displayed by both).

Everyone knows the inherent and past dangers in a creed or culture of "enthusiasm". Moved by the holy spirit, or whatever, there's no limit to what men may force on men. Long, long term, when there might be a western revival of religion that would have to be fought. Hell, it would need opposing right now, at a time there is a decline in the West's religiosity equaled by a rise in Islamicism.

In the meantime, one could find some alignment and alliance between objective values and some (enthusiastic) intrinsic values. While seldom or never with subjective values, which mutate endlessly among people, are anti-value and worst of all, necessarily involve submission, dominant power over the masses to sustain. A totalitarian men-power, in essence, to attempt to replace the prior overwhelming God-power.

(The Communist and socialist regimes always had to stamp out religion to maintain people's Faith in the state).

Personally, I have closer accord with religious individuals who have conviction in life, if for the wrong reason or little rational 'reason', than I have for anti-life cynics I've known who can't seem to hold a solid conviction.

To be brief, the common ground of liberty - can - be found with the religious, but ultimately never with the left-secularists.

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You know what would be better? Thinking of even better political allies, regardless of the pragmatic value that religionists like Prager might have or not have. 

Elon Musk is the type of person we should talk about. I can't think of anyone who uses billions of dollars to advance reason and technology, and to reach new frontiers, because it's valuable to him. And his politics (as far as I can gather) is compatible with liberty. 

Why make due if there are better options that exist already? 

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22 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Sums it all up for the two threads regarding religion vs secular socialists.

The "telling blows" Salsman writes only makes the problematic more succinct, than have other articles.

In short - we knew that.

The conservatives, purported capitalists, are not willing or able to morally defend capitalism.

Assume as 'the given'.

One is still left with: who can we *work* with? (Should we work with anyone?)

In order for Objectivists to bring real weight to bear on outcomes in the society, I maintain qualified support should be given to the better proponents of freedom from others/the state. 'Win' that one, ideologically-politically, and effective advocacy of the full package, individualism-individual rights-capitalism, follows.

I believe one ~creates~ (anything) with the best and/or most available materials at hand. To be productive one can't wait for better days and better materials. Here in the present, for one's lifespan, and looking to the near future of a country and civilisation, one can build - leaving something better for others to build on. The alternative is to retreat from the field, admitting that this philosophy is ineffective in action.

Simply, no one and nothing from the Left-"secular socialists", I have seen, provides us materials to work on towards that freedom. Without exception, their defining aims are the collective control over others' lives and behavior and morality, delegating the agency of government to force their combined will on independents and recalcitrants.

Conversely, right-conservatives have largely, not exclusively, a "leave us be" self-reliance - i.e. We and each person in our families and communities can sort out and determine our own lives, thanks very much. You do the same, live and let live. That basic self-responsibility constitutes a rough liberty in practice, to my mind. And they don't, that I can tell, need to make anyone convert to religion; the leftists have always known that wielding power, automatically "converts" everybody - to their religion. 

 

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19 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You know what would be better? Thinking of even better political allies, regardless of the pragmatic value that religionists like Prager might have or not have. 

Elon Musk is the type of person we should talk about. I can't think of anyone who uses billions of dollars to advance reason and technology, and to reach new frontiers, because it's valuable to him. And his politics (as far as I can gather) is compatible with liberty. 

Why make due if there are better options that exist already? 

A foreigner who took hold of the opportunities, abilities, knowledge, capital and division of labor existing in the USA, to make his immense mark. Dare I remind you, Musk's a South African, originally? Pretty sure his ideas, drive and talents could have gotten him far anywhere in the West, and e.g. Japan, Australia, but the US best of all.

Main thing is, Musk found the freedom to do what he wanted.

The commonality is freedom, and so all advocates/part advocates and exponents-in-action can be recruited to that cause.

Not this one or that one - all.

 

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

One is still left with: who can we *work* with? (Should we work with anyone?)

You work with them because of current common interests, not because of philosophical leanings.
As in the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We allied with Stalin in world war two, not because he was pro-capitalist.
Similarly with Bin-Laden in Afghanistan, again not because he was pro-capitalist.

Prager can only be a temporary ally, similar to Democratic Senators like Manchin or Cinema. One can endorse him on specific issues, one should not endorse his philosophy.

Prager is not an individualist in the way an Objectivist is. We don't believe in original sin or being evil.

We can also ally with leftist regarding legalization of marijuana and allowing for stem cell research and preventing asset seizure. Not because they are pro-capitalist and not because they are always a better choice.

The standard of good has to be long term. With Prager it's "good until".
There is always a caveat that has to be included.

If you said we can ally with Prager on this specific issue (as long as he won't change his mind), I could agree with you.

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4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Pretty sure his ideas, drive and talents could have gotten him far anywhere in the West, and e.g. Japan, Australia, but the US best of all.

I don't think that all. I think he only could have accomplished what he did in the US. Anyone who lives in Japan, South Africa, or Australia is better off coming here. My point is that a (relatively but imperfectly) pro-liberty immigrant in the US is more likely to understand what freedom actually means than anyone else in the world. 

I'm not sure what your point is, but people like Prager (religious conservatives who simply rage against the left however you define it) are neither inspiring nor interesting. Maybe they sort of kind of understand liberty but they don't live it. They take it for granted. I'm talking about inspiration for culture here.

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

 

I'm not sure what your point is, but people like Prager (religious conservatives who simply rage against the left however you define it) are neither inspiring nor interesting. Maybe they sort of kind of understand liberty but they don't live it. They take it for granted. I'm talking about inspiration for culture here.

As I understand this, you have it backwards. They DO "live it" but may not fully understand it. That's why you made a comparison with immigrants who know intimately what they are gaining by going there. They know the freedom-lacks they left behind. They better appreciate the explosion of opportunities and range of choices they find.

Explain to the Prager-type conservatives who, maybe, have only a sense of life, implicit, appreciation of "liberty" - because they grew up in it and with it, undefined - in fundamental terms: You have the right to life, life requires action, therefore you have the right to protected freedom of your selected actions. Identical to everyone else.

At this juncture it matters little that this conservative believes his "right to life" was God-given. He/she will nearly always agree with the reasoned outcome. They aren't per se, anti-reason - that's the province largely of post-modern leftists. If anything, I constantly hear more logical -objective - thinking by many conservatives lately ( I gather, to combat the Left, on what, ironically, used to be the secularist Left's turf).

AR

"If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness—which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights—which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism".

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44 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

They DO "live it" but may not fully understand it.

Give me some examples then. Not just the words they say, but also what they have produced. I only care about who understands better than someone else. 

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The particular sentiments sweetly expressed here by Joni might not be rational, the essential theme, losing values, will be recognizable. Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

 

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