Carl_Svanberg

Peikoff on the coming election

354 posts in this topic

One thing that alarms me is this: I have heard that Christian intellectuals are starting to make inroads into academia. I don't know how many, or how rapidly, but I do see it as a potential threat.

I don't because we have reality on our side and they don't.

The nihilist, post-modern, skeptical Left offers offers neither certainty nor values. The Religious Right offers values on a shaky, uncertain basis of faith. Objectivism offers real values on a solid, certain foundation os reason.

For a young college student seeking ideas he can live by, we really don't have any competition. Even if the religionists get to him first, he can switch once he discovers Ayn Rand.

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... and getting farther away all the time.

In the 1940-50's USA I grew up in, we had to start every public school day with ten verses from the Bible. It was the law. Abortion was illegal in every single state and birth control of any kind was illegal in many states. Homosexuality was a crime. Adultery was the only grounds for getting a divorce and the process took years. It was a crime to have a store open on the "Lord's Day." My state-approved biology textbook hardly mentioned evolution. This was god-awful, but it was not a theocracy.

Since then the trend has been away from all these laws although some Conservatives have made feeble attempts to restore a few of them, in watered-down form, with almost no political success. There are serious obstacles to overcome: the Constitution, life- tenured sitting Federal judges, liberals and Democrats, the ACLU, and all the Christians and conservatives who don't want their views imposed by force.

Because politics is an effect and not a cause, before theocrats can take over the government, they have to take over the culture. That means, as Objectivists always point out, taking over the colleges. The liberal Leftists are firmly entrenched everywhere in Academia -- even in the Christian colleges -- with Objectivists beginning to make small, but significant, inroads.

Therefore, there is NO possibility of conservative Republicans imposing a Christian theocracy on the U.S. even if they wanted to -- and I don't see any evidence that mainstream Republicans, Conservatives, and Christians want to.

Betsy,

I'd like to preface my post by saying that I have not yet decided how to vote in the coming election. While I find Dr. Peikoff's concluding statements to be disturbing, I find his arguments to be convincing, mostly because of my background and upbringing. I lurk this forum quite a bit and I almost always agree with you on every issue. However, I disagree on the religious cultural trends, and here is why.

Religion, although declining considerably in western culture for the past several centuries, has suffered very few setbacks in the past few decades. I would say, apart from the past year, there has been an upturn in religious victories in the courts in the past 25-30 years. And it is not simply the victories for religion in courts that are worrying. It is the current cultural trends and what those trends may indicate for the future. Knowing people from the conservative religious community (my family and many former friends) makes me positive that this upturn will continue. Like Islamists, conservative Christians are motivated, patient, and convinced that the rest of Americans are in a war with them. They continue to defend the fact that they mean "spiritual war" just like Islamists do. Even if secular politicians are consistently voted in, these people will not disappear or back down. They will continue to up the ante, and they are brainwashing their children. I speak with experience when I say that it takes many years for a thinking child to reverse that type of indoctrination.

Christian conservatives have long-term energy and patience despite short-term setbacks. "Moderate" Christians - the Methodists, Presbyterians, and such - are complacent people who really don't want to shove their religion down other peoples' throat. However, they believe strongly enough that there are problems with the “godlessness” of American culture that they are not willing to take a firm stand on the side of secularists. Those that are not willing to side with the secularists are generally a part of the third group: the left that accepts anything. The left has an increasing acceptance of fundamentalism of any stripe due to their political correctness. Many of these people mean well and are not dangerous themselves, but their complacency combined with their love of "democracy" could turn out to be fatal. It is this last group that makes it difficult to determine how to cast ones' votes.

I strongly urge every reader to watch this trailer. This is the nightmare that was my childhood. I was indoctrinated with attitudes very similar to this, although they were not as militant. This occurred in upstate New York, not somewhere in South Carolina or Nebraska.

The next time that you drive by a big octagonal church that just went up, please ask yourself what goes on inside. If you do not know, you should find out. Please do not naievely assume that the people inside are singing the same hymns that they were singing in 1940. If you don’t know what goes on, or have not been to a church like this before (newly built and either charismatic, Pentecostal, or evangelical), I challenge you to attend a Sunday service and see for yourself. You will likely emerge very disturbed; more disturbed that you have been in a very long time. I no longer believe it is true that Christians simply seek to subordinate the rest of the populace to their beliefs through law. They are a different stripe of religious people than the religious people of the 40s and 50s. You can see signs, in this video, that they are willing to use violence to achieve their goals and are training their children to do so.

I read many reviews of this movie, but have not yet seen it. (I don’t really need to see this movie. Having been raised by these people, I know what is in it already.) One reviewer, describing himself as a “firm atheist,” said that he would allow his child to attend such a camp, if the child chose, because he thinks his child should be exposed to “different ideas.” It is statements like these from the nihilist left that make it very difficult to determine how to vote in the coming elections. But if it were not for statements like these, the decision would be very easy for me. I would vote Democratic.

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I don't because we have reality on our side and they don't.

The nihilist, post-modern, skeptical Left offers offers neither certainty nor values. The Religious Right offers values on a shaky, uncertain basis of faith. Objectivism offers real values on a solid, certain foundation os reason.

For a young college student seeking ideas he can live by, we really don't have any competition. Even if the religionists get to him first, he can switch once he discovers Ayn Rand.

Again, I disagree. Example: we have a professor at my university (State Univ. of New York) who teaches a college course promoting intelligent design. !?

No matter how deluded they are, the religious right does not believe its values based in faith are shaky or uncertain, any more than the Islamists believe their values based in faith are shaky or uncertain. Yes, someone can read Ayn Rand and begin to question his or her beliefs. But people don't simply "switch" after discovery. It is not that simple to "switch."

I, too, am very optimistic about the course people will choose assuming that they are presented with one. Assuming they actually discover Ayn Rand, as I did 2-3 years ago. But most people in this country do not attend college and are not exposed to these ideas, nor do they have an interest in actually being exposed to ideas. The rest of the 75% of the population that attends college remain in their communities, attending church and becoming production plants for children, whom they homeschool to think just like them.

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Religion, although declining considerably in western culture for the past several centuries, has suffered very few setbacks in the past few decades. I would say, apart from the past year, there has been an upturn in religious victories in the courts in the past 25-30 years.

I don't see that AT ALL. The way we got from where we were in the 1950's to where we are now has been one court decision after another widening the separation between church and state. If you think otherwise, could you cite a few court decisions as evidence?

And it is not simply the victories for religion in courts that are worrying. It is the current cultural trends and what those trends may indicate for the future. Knowing people from the conservative religious community (my family and many former friends) makes me positive that this upturn will continue. Like Islamists, conservative Christians are motivated, patient, and convinced that the rest of Americans are in a war with them. They continue to defend the fact that they mean "spiritual war" just like Islamists do.

The major difference is that Christians DO mean spiritual war. I don't see any Christian suicide bombers, it wasn't Christians who kidnapped Steve Centanni and made a video showing his "conversion," and Christians don't carry out death sentences against "apostate" lapsed Christians.

Even if secular politicians are consistently voted in, these people will not disappear or back down. They will continue to up the ante, and they are brainwashing their children. I speak with experience when I say that it takes many years for a thinking child to reverse that type of indoctrination.

But it CAN be done. As long as Christians don't use force, you can just walk away from a Christian trying to save your soul but someone on a Jihad to spread his religion by the sword is another story.

I no longer believe it is true that Christians simply seek to subordinate the rest of the populace to their beliefs through law. They are a different stripe of religious people than the religious people of the 40s and 50s. You can see signs, in this video, that they are willing to use violence to achieve their goals and are training their children to do so.
If and when they do, the law will come after them and punish them and I doubt they will get any support from mainstream conservative Christians.

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No matter how deluded they are, the religious right does not believe its values based in faith are shaky or uncertain, any more than the Islamists believe their values based in faith are shaky or uncertain. Yes, someone can read Ayn Rand and begin to question his or her beliefs. But people don't simply "switch" after discovery. It is not that simple to "switch."

Who said it was easy? But it can be done.

I, too, am very optimistic about the course people will choose assuming that they are presented with one. Assuming they actually discover Ayn Rand, as I did 2-3 years ago. But most people in this country do not attend college and are not exposed to these ideas, nor do they have an interest in actually being exposed to ideas. The rest of the 75% of the population that attends college remain in their communities, attending church and becoming production plants for children, whom they homeschool to think just like them.

Millions of school children read Ayn Rand through the Books for Teachers program and thousands enter ARI's essay contests every year -- including a goodly number from homeschools and Christian schools.

If, after being exposed to Ayn Rand, someone doesn't accept it, that's HIS problem and, as long as he doesn't use force, it's not MY problem.

And if my ideological enemies have problems, serves them right.

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I don't see that AT ALL. The way we got from where we were in the 1950's to where we are now has been one court decision after another widening the separation between church and state. If you think otherwise, could you cite a few court decisions as evidence?

Actually, no, I cannot point to specific cases. I am sure I could if I wanted to invest more time. But there has been a trend that everyone can see, I think, tied to Republican leadership, of state decisions against gay marriage in the past two to three years. Also: decisions blocking or restricting stem cell research, more abortion restrictions, and more teaching of intelligent design in schools (although this last one has quieted down in the past year.) The issue, I believe, is not so much how far we have advanced from the attitudes of the 50s, but whether American culture sees further advances of freedom or secularism acceptable. Largely, I don't believe that Americans generally do see further advances of freedom or secularism as acceptable. This is due both to an increase in organized religiosity, but also an increase on the part of the left to forsake secularism for some type of "spirituality."

The major difference is that Christians DO mean spiritual war. I don't see any Christian suicide bombers, it wasn't Christians who kidnapped Steve Centanni and made a video showing his "conversion," and Christians don't carry out death sentences against "apostate" lapsed Christians.

I agree entirely. However, what about the folks who have used violence against abortion clinics in recent years?

But it CAN be done. As long as Christians don't use force, you can just walk away from a Christian trying to save your soul but someone on a Jihad to spread his religion by the sword is another story.

Again, agreed. So long as they don't use force.

Betsy, I only think we disagree as to the urgency of the issue and whether or not they are indeed willing to use force. I encourage you to visit this website associated with the Jesus Camp movie, and watch the interview of the woman (the second picture link). Listen carefully to what she says about demographics, and about children laying down their lives for the cause of Jesus. Also listen carefully about what she would like to see in comparison to the tactics used in the Middle East. Such statements are not uncommon in the charismatic Christian community.

I am on the fence as to whether I agree with you that these types are not mainstream Christians. They are becoming more and more mainstream in the evangelical community. Compare their influence now, and their openness politically, with what they were like 20 years ago. The more secular "mainstream" American culture becomes, the more radical they will become in contrast. Denials of the wish to use violence to achieve their goals on the part of some Christians is the same type of denial seen in "moderate" Muslims.

Again, you are correct in that there is at present no comparison of the use of violence by Christians vs. Muslims. I am personally confident, however, that this will change. I hope you are right about the response of more "mainstream" Christians. Over the coming 20-30 years, we shall see. There is a relatively large portion of American society, I woudl say roughly 25%, that believe we must fight Islam not with reason, but with another religion.

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But there has been a trend that everyone can see, I think, tied to Republican leadership, of state decisions against gay marriage in the past two to three years.

Gay marriage was NEVER legal until recently. Just this week the New Jersey court ruled that the legislature must pass a law allowing gay marriage.

Also: decisions blocking or restricting stem cell research,

Where? Anyone can do stem cell resesearch with their own money. The laws only blocked government funding for it. Even so, California passed a law allocating two billion taxpayer dollars for it.

more abortion restrictions,

Where? As compared to what?

and more teaching of intelligent design in schools (although this last one has quieted down in the past year.)

That's because there were only more proposals for teaching it and everywhere it was proposed, it was shot down.

However, what about the folks who have used violence against abortion clinics in recent years?

The were sent to jail as crooks -- not hailed as heroes.

Betsy, I only think we disagree as to the urgency of the issue and whether or not they are indeed willing to use force. I encourage you to visit this website associated with the Jesus Camp movie, and watch the interview of the woman (the second picture link). Listen carefully to what she says about demographics, and about children laying down their lives for the cause of Jesus. Also listen carefully about what she would like to see in comparison to the tactics used in the Middle East. Such statements are not uncommon in the charismatic Christian community.

There have always been crazy kooks and most of them are not charismatic Christians. Remember the Manson Family?

Denials of the wish to use violence to achieve their goals on the part of some Christians is the same type of denial seen in "moderate" Muslims.

If they use force, they will be punished.

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The other reason why I personally am open to voting for a Democrat in '08 (maybe Joe Lieberman) is that it is possible their candidate will be even more pro-war than the Republican candidate.

That will NEVER happen. The Democratic Party is so anti-war that, in the Connecticut primary, they rejected their own former VP candidate and incumbent Senator who was sure to get re-elected for one reason and one reason only: Lieberman is pro-war.

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If the Republicans are unable to alter the legal system to their whims right now, they will do it 10 years later.

Given the American Constitution, traditions, and stubbornly individualistic sense of life, HOW could that ever happen? A military coup? An invading army of Christian Crusaders?

Electing the Democrats however will prolong somewhat a dictatorship which will translate into increased time for O'ism to spread.

Do you think that what we have in the U.S. is a dictatorship?

In regard to the Islamists - it will also put back the option of total war on the table.

Which Democrats are for total war?

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The other reason why I personally am open to voting for a Democrat in '08 (maybe Joe Lieberman) is that it is possible their candidate will be even more pro-war than the Republican candidate.
That will NEVER happen. The Democratic Party is so anti-war that, in the Connecticut primary, they rejected their own former VP candidate and incumbent Senator who was sure to get re-elected for one reason and one reason only: Lieberman is pro-war.

How sad is this? I have often caught myself daydreaming how insanely easy it would be to steal the election from Republicans, if someone was more strict about our enemies, more abruptly pro-American, more consistent and rhetorical about rights and freedom. But Democrats are so steeped in their own self-doubt and moral relativism, in their pseudo-intellectual snobbishness at values and self-assertiveness, that it would be ludicrous to expect any help from them. If you hate the Iraq War, fine, why don't you loudly advocate an Iran War instead, and lambast Bush all day long for not being strong enough? That's what I want. It would blow everyone away.

I always hear Democratic sympathizer friends of mine say how much they hate the Iraq War. Why don't they all loudly demand a North Korean invasion, and blame Bush for not being assertive enough? They are always quiet after I ask them that. Because what they really hate is not a half-done show of assertiveness, but a show of assertiveness period. That's some really fundamental corruption.

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The Democratic Party is so anti-war that, in the Connecticut primary, they rejected their own former VP candidate and incumbent Senator who was sure to get re-elected for one reason and one reason only: Lieberman is pro-war.

Lieberman is running as an Independent in Connecticut. Perhaps he will be elected.

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I always hear Democratic sympathizer friends of mine say how much they hate the Iraq War. Why don't they all loudly demand a North Korean invasion, and blame Bush for not being assertive enough? They are always quiet after I ask them that. Because what they really hate is not a half-done show of assertiveness, but a show of assertiveness period. That's some really fundamental corruption.

I really hope that such weakness is limited to liberal hotbeds like NY City.

BTW, Dr. Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis course is available for FREE for a limited time from aynrand.orgLink to news item.

Although it is best if one listens to the whole course, I would especially recommend listening to session 15 since that is what really presents his outlook on the US. Peikoff also answers some Q&A in the second part of session 15 the large part of which consists of the '04 election. Unfortunately though, there are no questions about Peikoff's statements about immorality.

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Lieberman is running as an Independent in Connecticut. Perhaps he will be elected.

He will. The Republicans are voting for him for the same reason he lost the primary.

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Given the American Constitution, traditions, and stubbornly individualistic sense of life, HOW could that ever happen? A military coup? An invading army of Christian Crusaders?

Both of those options are a distinct possibility, IMO. We would not need an invasion of crusaders. They live here. People that believe they have a daily relationship with Jesus, who pray daily, make up 25% of the population. And many of them are in the military.

I don't believe that the stubbornly individualistic sense of life that most Americans have today will be here in 10 or 20 years' time unless we precipitate a radical shift in philosophy of the American people away from religious altruism. First of all, proportionally speaking, much of the population will be dead or older, and replaced by a new generation of religious zealots.

The gay marriage constitutional amendment was approximately 10 votes short of being able to be considered. The South Dakota abortion legislation, which passed the state Senate 23 to 12, makes it a felony for doctors to perform any abortion except for that which will save the mother's life. One may view these as very minor setbacks for secularism in comparison to the gains of the past few centuries. However, they are still setbacks. The younger generations will determine policy. Cultural trends in the religious community do not make me hopeful. The spread of Objectivism does make me hopeful, but we need to buy time.

How could this happen? Well, the religious right need to make up more of the population than they do. But soon, they will. First, there could be election of more leaders in executive, legislative, and judicial branches sympathetic to integration of religion and state, and constitutional amendments passed by such leaders. Amendments would require ratification by 38 states. I don't see that as a huge difficulty considering where the secularists live. Now, I admit, it is difficult, indeed impossible, to see this actually happening at present. But, failing constitutional amendments, there could be a military coup (members of which are, largely, religious people - it is no wonder so many of the soldiers on the ground believe in staying in Iraq) or a popular uprising of religious people demanding integration of religion and state, of which the military (being largely religious) is unlikely to have the will to strike down if the President decides to make that call.

I know that my posts are increasingly starting to sound like an enormous conspiracy theory, but let's face it. The Christian right is organized. They have a plan. They have money. They have excellent charismatic leadership. (I do not believe people like Pat Robertson are on the fringe, unfortunately.) Their movement is growing and they currently make up about 25% of the population. They tend to be more family oriented and have children at an earlier age, and more of them to boot. And they are training their children to be politically active.

“I want to see young people that are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and in Israel and in Palestine and in all those different places, because... excuse me... but we have the truth!” - Pastor Becky Fischer, "Kids on Fire" summer camp.

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How sad is this? I have often caught myself daydreaming how insanely easy it would be to steal the election from Republicans, if someone was more strict about our enemies, more abruptly pro-American, more consistent and rhetorical about rights and freedom. But Democrats are so steeped in their own self-doubt and moral relativism, in their pseudo-intellectual snobbishness at values and self-assertiveness, that it would be ludicrous to expect any help from them. If you hate the Iraq War, fine, why don't you loudly advocate an Iran War instead, and lambast Bush all day long for not being strong enough? That's what I want. It would blow everyone away.

Yes, I think it would. What does everyone think about the likelihood of a secular Republican candidate (say, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts) winning a 2008 election, or getting nominated by the Republicans? That is not to say that he would advocate such a strong military policy, but it would be more likely than from a religious Republican or from the Democrats. I would vote for such a candidate, I think.

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Yes, I think it would. What does everyone think about the likelihood of a secular Republican candidate (say, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts) winning a 2008 election, or getting nominated by the Republicans? That is not to say that he would advocate such a strong military policy, but it would be more likely than from a religious Republican or from the Democrats. I would vote for such a candidate, I think.

I don't think that anyone is denying that religious people influence laws within this country. The main point of this thread was whether a theocracy was a likely outcome. Do you think that is likely? Can you demonstrate how that could happen?

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I forgot to mention that those who practice and advocate Objectivism have already recognized that there is a natural disposition to the Right in the words of Miss Rand:

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.
-- Ayn Rand "The disfranchisement of the Right," ARL, I, 6, 1. (taken from The Ayn Rand Lexicon edited by Harry Binswanger)

Although we have Ethical explanations for both sides, that is, society first (left), state or God (right) as common generalities -- the Political side still stands up -- a Secular Right is something to look forward to.

I think this natural tilt is mainly in the Economics, as well as the inkling that the Republican Party was once all about the 1776 Republic. Nowadays the right has moved more towards the Supply Side, although regretably, most Republicans who claim to be Supply Side Economists and the Chicago School are Monetarists.

Milton Friedman for instance, is to me the greatest example of this, propped up by the right and Libertarian/rightists this idiot thinks the Fed ought to have printed more money (Supply creates Demand, Say's Law applied improperly to fiat throwing Government out of context) during the great depression.

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I, like Robert Trancinski of The Intellectual Activist, see great potential value in a renewed Secular Right. I also think that if you are an American Objectivist who wants a chance at power, a visit to the Republican National Commitee ought to be an imperative.

I, as an Australian, see great potential value in a strong birth of a Republican Party here.

Sure there's a Republican Party here, with no following (the Political Party database on Government websites come back with around 10,000 hits).

The average man on the street, infact probably all of them, have never heard of a Republican in Australia.

In the US & Australia, be it in the 'fixing of the current Republican Party line' or in the birth of a Republican party, the former and latter respectively, it is a matter of engagement of Republicans by Republicans in the United States (who decide to go closet/non-closet Objectivists) to turn the Party in the direction of Supply Side Economics and meaningful Fiscal Policy (directions the Republican Party already has inroads in, but merely in appearance and half-measured actions).

We all know the stereotype of the Republican with a fat cigar, the Conservative Wall Street broker-dealer, making his advocacy for a Free Market known; including a preferential yearn to return to the gold standard (even on 50% false premises [epistemology, etc]).

The late 1980's saw these Conservatives finally disappear.

But, luckily, if you were to revitalize the Republican Party all you have to do is get in a debate with people like Laurence Kudlow, take a look at some of the Republicans on his program (5PM ET on CNBC). Although these people advocate relatively low taxes, and are not 100% on our side, these are the type of people you want to align yourself with in the party (whilst also expressing disagreement with them on certain issues).

Today there are easy converts waiting of a different kind, the common word is 'Reagan Conservative' and there are millions of them.

If you can just have a few seconds on a microphone in front of a labor union rally, as the lord mayor, and mention your distaste for what they're doing, you'll be in the paper the next day, The O'Reilly Factor in a week. In both settings you can explain why the collectively artifically high wages cause unemployment, all a candidate needs is to learn the art of rhetoric and decide how far he will take his Objectivism explicitly, is it worth saying 'lets nuke Iran' in public? etc.

-- Back in Australia, a Republican Party that does not exist now, can come into existence advocating the Politics behind the Enlightenment and the declaration of Independence, true Supply Side Economics and anti-Democratic advocacy as its partyline since the word 'go'.

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The gay marriage constitutional amendment was approximately 10 votes short of being able to be considered.

I'm not sure what significance you attach to this, especially in regard to your concern about a theocracy. Most Objectivists, though not all, do not want to permit gay marriage either.

The South Dakota abortion legislation, which passed the state Senate 23 to 12, makes it a felony for doctors to perform any abortion except for that which will save the mother's life.

But abortion was banned in the entire country for more than 100 years, and we did not have a theocracy.

I know that my posts are increasingly starting to sound like an enormous conspiracy theory, but let's face it. The Christian right is organized. They have a plan.

Let's say that tomorrow the Christian right gets all that you think they are asking for. Will that make us a theocracy? As I and others have shown in several threads, there have been times in our country when the same restrictions, and more, were placed on us, and still there was not even a sniff of theocracy in the United States.

Though I think the concerns are greatly overstated, even with the horror of granting school prayer, outlawing abortion, etc., that does not a theocracy make. Repeatedly pointing to some bizarre, out of the mainstream, oddball Jesus summer camp, is not a valid claim as evidence for some impending theocracy.

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I forgot to mention that those who practice and advocate Objectivism have already recognized that there is a natural disposition to the Right in the words of Miss Rand:

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.

-- Ayn Rand "The disfranchisement of the Right," ARL, I, 6, 1. (taken from The Ayn Rand Lexicon edited by Harry Binswanger)

I do not think that "natural disposition" properly describes the use made in the quote. The term "natural disposition" suggests something inherent in the nature of a thing, whereas Miss Rand clearly states, right at the beginning of the quote, "Since, today, there are no clear definitions of political terms, I use the word 'rightist' to denote ..." This hardly represents any "natural disposition."

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Though I think the concerns are greatly overstated, even with the horror of granting school prayer, outlawing abortion, etc., that does not a theocracy make. Repeatedly pointing to some bizarre, out of the mainstream, oddball Jesus summer camp, is not a valid claim as evidence for some impending theocracy.

The type of attitude displayed at the summer camp is not out of the mainstream of the Christian community. Close to half of the US population, 45%, believes that the Earth is only 10,000 years old. That is utterly irrational. Where are so many people getting these ideas, if not from the conservative Christian community? A considerable, growing number also believe that the US constitution is a biblical document or that the US was founded on biblical ideas, including prominent people like Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. Ted Haggard, a pastor who appears in the Jesus Camp film, meets with Bush or his advisors every Monday, according to a reporter from Harper's magazine. This is no surprise, since he is head of the National Association for Evangelicals, an organization more than 10 million strong.

I recommend The Jesus Factor, a PBS documentary, for evidence of the identification of evangelicals with George W Bush. In the primaries for the 2000 election, George Bush said the philosopher that had most influenced his life was Jesus Christ. He said this with rock solid certainty and absolutely no hesitation. This is a man who gets up every morning at 5AM to read his Bible. He has said that he believes the "jury is still out" on evolution. And the majority of Americans agree with him on that, unfortunately.

This is less about what laws religious people will be able to pass in the near future, and more about the increasing trend of complete irrationality found in the Christian community, what party they most identify with, and what party they see as a tool to bring them to power - the Republicans.

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The type of attitude displayed at the summer camp is not out of the mainstream of the Christian community. Close to half of the US population, 45%, believes that the Earth is only 10,000 years old. That is utterly irrational.

I don't think such concretes are very relevant to the political scenario. What matters most is the fundamental value orientation of the people (sense of life) and this is precisely what I think we are fast losing. The kind of mysticism seen in the evangelical community would have been impossible two-three generations ago.

Where are so many people getting these ideas, if not from the conservative Christian community? A considerable, growing number also believe that the US constitution is a biblical document or that the US was founded on biblical ideas, including prominent people like Bill O'Reilly on Fox News.

Now this is very dangerous since such attitudes are leading to conceptual corruption. Once the meaning of a concept is lost, even people with a healthy sense of life will be unable to defend it.

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What matters most is the fundamental value orientation of the people (sense of life) and this is precisely what I think we are fast losing. The kind of mysticism seen in the evangelical community would have been impossible two-three generations ago.

This is what I meant to say:

"What matters most is the dominant philosophical trend (increasingly towards Christianity both in the academia and in politics) and the fundamental value orientation of the people (sense of life) and this is precisely what I think we are fast losing. The kind of mysticism seen in the evangelical community would have been impossible two-three generations ago."

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This is what I meant to say:

"What matters most is the dominant philosophical trend (increasingly towards Christianity both in the academia and in politics) and the fundamental value orientation of the people (sense of life) and this is precisely what I think we are fast losing. The kind of mysticism seen in the evangelical community would have been impossible two-three generations ago."

What's that conclusion based on? See the movies Inherit the Wind or Elmer Gantry if you want to see what kind of mysticism there was two - three generations ago. Or, see Kinsey to get an idea of how worse off things were in terms of the impact religion had on sex.

How are you measuring this sense of life that people are "fast losing?" Remember the hippies of the 60s?

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