GeorgeBarker

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Everything posted by GeorgeBarker

  1. Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

    I am a big fan of TIA daily and the series "What Went Right?" has been some of the most interesting writing I've seen from an Objectivist in a very long time. I look forward to the completion of the series. I understand the basic argument as this: 1. Ideas move history. 2. The ideas dominating western civilization are horrible. 3. The west should therefore be a disaster. Rob goes on to argue that this hasn't happened. That in fact western values and prosperity have been spreading throughout the world at an unprecedented rate. Cultures around the world are demonstrating a new recognition of the importance of man's mind and the need for economic freedom. All of this has been happening while Objectivists have been predicting gloom and doom. Rob seems to believe that the trouble is in point #1. That either there is a flaw in the principle itself or there is a flaw in the "gloom and doom" crowd's understanding of it. I'd focus more on point #2. What ARE the ideas dominating western civilization? This is where I think the "gloom and doom" crowd gets it wrong. Probably because they are too focused on the university philosophy departments. I'd argue that the "philosophers" to be found there are befuddled and irrelevant. With the exception of a few renegades - one tellingly wound up in the hands of Hugo Chavez at the UN - they have no point to make and no influence on anything. The ideas that wind up in the heads of decision makers, judges, legislators, and the administration, for the most part have little to do with what goes on in university philosophy departments. This is certainly true for the Republicans - who have dominated American politics since the 1980s. Republicans are in open rebellion against the universities. They refuse to be influenced by the rot of those institutions. As "conservatives" they are much more aligned with the traditional mix of ideas that formed this country in the first place: religion and reason. But reason and religion cannot coexist! So gloom and doom! Baloney. Reason and religion have been battling it out since the renaissance. We'd all like for Reason to have a final victory. But so long as it has a fighting chance, to the extent that it holds sway even in competition with faith, humanity will reap the benefits. And we are. And lately even places like China and India are. This is why, despite Leonard Peikoff's advice, I continue to vote Republican. Within the Republican party there is a battle between reason and religion. Within the Democratic party there is none. They are the party of the universities and they are as befuddled and useless as the non-entities found there. What Rob's articles illustrate is that there are many honest, rational people out there - and to the extent that they are rational they are doing the world and themselves enormous good. Even if they go to church on Sunday and send their kids to Sunday school. Even if they’ve never even heard of Ayn Rand. Furthermore the number and influence of rational people in the world seems to be increasing. It's ironic that Objectivists, in predicting gloom and doom, have underestimated the power of reason. Even "partially" rational people, like the economist Julian Simon, or Manmohan Singh - prime minister of India, or Kirill a protester from Belarus who wants the freedoms he witnessed in the US and UK, can do enormous good. In conclusion I'd argue that philosophy does drive history, and that it has been the respect for reason, however flawed, that is latent in American and European conservatism, that has been driving the sucess of the past 25 years.
  2. Founders College website

    Stephen, After having read the hit piece at NoumenalSelf and the piling on in the comments there and at various other blogs, it is a relief to find rationality and objectivity still can be found in the Objectivist community here at The Forum. Still, if what msb at NoodleFood claims in his comments on the subject there are true (http://www.dianahsieh.com/cgi-bin/blog/comments/view.pl?entry=115721413281491265#58), more than a few of the culprits are Objectivist Grad students. Is this the product of years of training in Objectivist philosophy? And worse, have my contributions to ARI gone to fund such mediocrity? I certainly hope a retraction and apology will be forthcoming. Even if they have their own reasons for opposing this venture, what they have expressed, and the way they have expressed it, is NOT what I would expect from a serious student of Objectivism. Something is seriously wrong here. George