Carl_Svanberg

Peikoff on the coming election

354 posts in this topic

... the bottom-line remains the same: When conclusions deduced from a theory conflict with the facts of reality, you should question the theory, not the facts. There is nothing inherent in the facts presented to prove an impending theocracy.

I haven't had the time to get into this topic primarily because I have been up to my neck in some very nasty real world politics, but I have to say that I agree with Stephen and more. (I have to add that because it may be much more.)

The common theme in these rationalizations on behalf of voting for the progressive New Left because the notion that "theocracy" is our most immediate and gravest threat, is that their arguments show the least concern with facts. Their sweeping generalizations badly misrepresent Republicans through selective, out of context denunciations, while ignoring the facts of what the Democrats routinely do and want to impose more of when they have even more power.

Most people in the country believe that "religion" is the basis of morality -- they know of no other source. That does not mean that their values and goals, many of which we share, are intended to bring on the Inquisition and a new Dark Ages. That kind of religion lost its influence long ago and with the exception of a very small minority is not what "Republicans" represent. Yet we see the spectacle of any basically decent person who mentions religion being denounced as advocating "theocracy" while the viros and other progressive New Leftists are given a free pass because they don't set someone off with the wrong religious buzz words.

It is clear that Leonard Peikoff and his most ardent followers on this issue know very little about about the actual use of power in government on a day to day basis, how it is imposed, who is responsible for it and who is actually doing the most to fight it. For all their alleged "superior integrations" and dramatic injunctions to "vote for Democrats", while claiming that those who don't are rationalists who only "hate the left" and know nothing about Objectivism, they have nothing to say about how to actually do anything other than pull a voting lever. That is fully consistent with their lack of desire to "get their hands dirty" in actual politics, favoring instead pontificating and theorizing from a distance -- where they have almost no effect and learn nothing.

I contend that it is no accident that Leonard Peikoff's website emphasizes at the top of his home page his belief that "To save the world is the simplest thing in the world. All one has to do is think." Those of us who have been forced to fight for our rights in the quagmire of politics learn very quickly that it takes considerably more than "thinking" -- you have to actually go out into the battle, learn how things work in reality and do things, which is far from "simple".

More often than not, if you are getting some help defending your rights here in reality, it is coming from a Republican and not a Democrat (or Rino).

Yet we are getting this eloquent but silly intellectual package claiming on behalf of Objectivism that we are the "rationalists" guilty of "moral evasion". How about starting with small "o" objectivity?

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The common theme in these rationalizations on behalf of voting for the progressive New Left because the notion that "theocracy" is our most immediate and gravest threat, is that their arguments show the least concern with facts.

Two questions arise for me:

(1) Would you cite a particular example of a rationalization? A quotation will help.

(2) Would you cite a particular example of advocacy of voting for the "progressive New Left"? A quote will help.

I ask these questions because the charge of rationalization is as serious as the charge of immorality (in fact, a charge of rationalization is a charge of immorality) and because I am "concern[ed] with facts."

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Two questions arise for me:

(1) Would you cite a particular example of a rationalization? A quotation will help.

(2) Would you cite a particular example of advocacy of voting for the "progressive New Left"? A quote will help.

I ask these questions because the charge of rationalization is as serious as the charge of immorality (in fact, a charge of rationalization is a charge of immorality) and because I am "concern[ed] with facts."

His whole presentation of Republicans as theocrats is a rationalization. It is factually incorrect and based on out of context deductions, isolated unrepresentative cases and distortions.

The Democrat party leadership is the progressive New Left. They are much worse than even Kennedy and Johnson with his Great Society. A prime example is John Kerry himself, who started his political career with the pro North Vietnamese communist New Left. To this day Kerry has the worst record on private property rights in the entire US Senate. Leonard Peikoff told us to vote for Kerry as president, mischaracterizing him as a only a typical liberal.

I don't doubt that Leonard Piekoff is in sincere in believing his theory, but he evidently lacks the factual knowledge required to give advice on the subject of contemporary political evaluation and does not understand what is required.

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I ask these questions because the charge of rationalization is as serious as the charge of immorality (in fact, a charge of rationalization is a charge of immorality) ...

I most emphatically disagree; rationalization is not necessarily an example of immorality. A person's inability to identify some aspect of their own psycho-epistemology can be an indication of a psychological problem, not neccesarily immorality. Rationalization can be a defense mechanism that functions automatically, a psychological process where the person's emotions cause an automatized response. That disconnect from reality may stem from a lack of or improper identification of introspection, but as an automatized process even an entire rationalistic structure need not be deserving of moral condemnation. It may be deserving of intellectual condemnation, but intellectual condemnation does not necessarily entail moral judgment.

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His whole presentation of Republicans as theocrats is a rationalization.

You are begging the question.

I will ask again, but more specifically: What is your evidence for saying "[h]is whole presentation" is a rationalization? Please show proof of rationalization -- that is, if you are concerned about facts of reality as a basis for your allegation.

P. S. -- For anyone new to Objectivism, I recommend the "Rationalization" entry in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, pp. 406-407. It contains excerpts from Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It, pp. 21 (hb, but 18 pb) and 24 (20).

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P. S. -- For anyone new to Objectivism, I recommend the "Rationalization" entry in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, pp. 406-407. It contains excerpts from Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It, pp. 21 (hb, but 18 pb) and 24 (20).

Interestingly, the last entry under "Rationalization" in the book that you cite is the following:

When a theory achieves nothing but the opposite of its alleged goals, yet its advocates remain undeterred, you may be certain that it is not a conviction or an "ideal," but a rationalization.

So perhaps it might be best to let history be the judge of "rationalization" is this case. If the Republicans maintain power and if in a time frame "frighteningly ... much sooner" than 50 years we do not have a theocracy, or if the Democrats gain power and cause so much existential damage as to make us long for a theocracy within that time frame, and if the DIM hypothesis advocates still hold strong to the theory, then that quote up above from Ayn Rand may indeed apply.

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I most emphatically disagree; rationalization is not necessarily an example of immorality.

[bold added for emphasis.]

I grant for the moment that some individuals in some situations "can be" creating rationalizations for some of their ideas through psychological defect or cognitive handicap rather than dishonesty.

Do you agree that at other times and in other individuals rationalization is a result of cover-up and an attempt to hide motivations -- and thereby is immoral because it is dishonest? Your words "not necessarily" seem to imply this recognition.

Do you agree that a public allegation of rationalization -- whether intended to refer to the supposed psychological aspect or to the moral aspect -- should be backed up by evidence about the particular person alleged to be rationalizing?

And do you agree that if a man alleges that another man is rationalizing he should at least have the courtesy -- and objectivity -- to specify which species of rationalization he is referring to?

I have been dismayed, as has been Paul's Here and others, to see no evidence of an imminent theocracy (or even a definition of that idea) by the avocates of the Democrats-only voting strategy. But I will not stand by and witness allegations of immorality or psychological defect without asking for proof.

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I grant for the moment that some individuals in some situations "can be" creating rationalizations for some of their ideas through psychological defect or cognitive handicap rather than dishonesty.

Do you agree that at other times and in other individuals rationalization is a result of cover-up and an attempt to hide motivations -- and thereby is immoral because it is dishonest? Your words "not necessarily" seem to imply this recognition.

Yes, of course I agree that it can be proper to judge rationalization as immoral. My only point was to correct your unqualified statement, when you said:

... in fact, a charge of rationalization is a charge of immorality) and because I am "concern[ed] with facts."

In fact, as I explained, a charge of rationalization is not necessarily a charge of immorality, as you claimed. That correction to a supposed "fact" was the only point that I made.

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Those of us who have been forced to fight for our rights in the quagmire of politics learn very quickly that it takes considerably more than "thinking" -- you have to actually go out into the battle, learn how things work in reality and do things, which is far from "simple".
Would it be remiss to interpret this as a pragmatic stance?

Please do not take this the wrong way, but if you're saying that understanding politics requires understanding the need to compromise on one's rights, I strongly disagree. I don't think fighting for our rights requires abdicating "less important" rights for "more important" rights - which I think is one of Peikoff's points.

If that wasn't a pragmatic statement, why do you suggest that Peikoff doesn't know what he's talking about?

The fundamental question (in terms of analyzing Peikoff's statement) is: Are the Republicans advancing a religious agenda? Truthfully, I think this is so obviously a "yes" that is shouldn't require an answer, but if it does, it could be proven in the same way that it's proven that the Democrats are advancing a socialist agenda.

If Republicans are pushing a religious agenda, you could disagree with his solution, but you would have to admit that Peikoff does understand the problem.

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Do you agree that a public allegation of rationalization -- whether intended to refer to the supposed psychological aspect or to the moral aspect -- should be backed up by evidence about the particular person alleged to be rationalizing?

Not only that, but on THE FORUM it is not proper to speak to member's motivations; instead we should be focused on ideas. However, I think that perhaps you are reading ewv's remark differently than I did. I took his "rationalizations" remark to refer to the ideas that were presented, not to refer to personal motivations. Much like one might loosely say of an idea that it is irrational, without claiming that the person advancing that idea is acting irrationally.

And do you agree that if a man alleges that another man is rationalizing he should at least have the courtesy -- and objectivity -- to specify which species of rationalization he is referring to?

Depending on the context, I suppose so. But, permit me to remind you that as of just a few posts ago you yourself did not allow for any "species of rationalization." Perhaps neither did ewv. Or, perhaps, as I suggest up above, he meant something different than what you presumed.

I have been dismayed, as has been Paul's Here and others, to see no evidence of an imminent theocracy (or even a definition of that idea) by the avocates of the Democrats-only voting strategy. But I will not stand by and witness allegations of immorality or psychological defect without asking for proof.

Which you did, and which was answered. Perhaps it was not answered to your satisfaction, but ewv did provide his reasons. He also made quite clear in the last sentence of his post that he had no doubt of Peikoff's sincerity in believing in his theory, which is further evidence that ewv was attacking the ideas, not the motivations of the man.

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Altruism remains the dominant morality of the world, but there is currently no ideology for puting it into practice.

As a soldier, I had bound myself to a military ethic:

(Chapter XVII of The Enchiridion)

"Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the author chooses-if short, then in a short one; if long, then in a long one. If it be his pleasure that you should enact a poor man, see that you act it well; or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen. For this is your business-- to act well the given part; but to choose it belongs to another."

J.B. Stockdale

Rear Admiral , U.S. Navy

(Vice Presidential Canditate)

Ultimately, the only things that really matter are God, country, family, friends, and charity. I can wish you no more sucess in life than that you enjoy each to the fullest.

Ross Perot

(Presidential Candidate)

The United States Naval Academy, an institution I both resented and admired, tried to bend my resilience to a cause greater than self-interest. I resisted its exertions, fearing its effect on my individuality. But as a prisoner of war, I learned that a shared purpose did not claim my identity. On the contrary, it enlarged my sense of myself.

John McCain

(Senator of Arizona)

In my view, however, our destiny as a nation of nations will ultimately be determined by the acknowledgement by each citizen of his or her oblibation to God: to do our best in all that we do-- as we raise our families, care for our communities, elect qualified leaders, and support them.

Robert C. McFarlane

(President Reagan's National Security Advisor)

What do these men have in common? An ideology and the same indoctrination program, and rest assured it is in practice.

Sources will be provided upon request.

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An additional point I want to make is to consider how seriously Americans take their religion. Case in point: the number of cases in the last few years of Catholic priests accused of pedophelia, and importantly, how American Catholics have responded. Note that they do not stand by the priests and make excuses for their behavior. They do not put them on a pedastal and grant them immunity or a special legal and moral status as God's representatives. Rather, they are treated just as anyone else would be who engaged in such horrific, disgusting acts. That tells me that most Americans, including devout Catholics, put reality first, and treat religion as one aspect of it.

Contrast that with the Islamic world. What if an Imam were accused of the same crimes? Would he face the same controversy and punishment -- or be granted immunity? Would the charges even be made public?

I don't believe that modern America takes its religion anywhere near as seriously as does the Islamic world. And, I contend that religion has to be taken very seriously for a theocracy to take hold.

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"Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the author chooses-if short, then in a short one; if long, then in a long one. If it be his pleasure that you should enact a poor man, see that you act it well; or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen. For this is your business-- to act well the given part; but to choose it belongs to another."

I fail to see how the cited quote is an example of altruism. It is a rather typical expression of the Stoics' doctrine in the Roman Empire -- namely that the basic framework of our life is set from above (be it God or nature), and that it is our part to act on it and fulfill it. In this case the "another" who chooses your path in life is not some other person, but the above force. For a good while now I have contended that altruism was unknown anywhere in the Greco-Roman world, even in the most duty bound philosophies and the most totalitarian regimes (e.g. Sparta). The idea of Altruism was invented in the West by Jesus Christ.

As a side note, soldiers (especially career soldiers) often throughout Western history have chosen some or other variant of the Stoic doctrine, probably because it offers them a way to bear the hardships easier. But that has no bearing on the current discussion, or on the role of altruism in today's military. As for the other quotes you cite from military officials, again I fail to see their significance. Random excerpts imply no consistent pattern. Someone else could provide equally as many statements to the contrary, again without proving the point one way or the other. In order to make the point, you'll have to provide a whole lot of examples, or cite excerpts from a statement of ideology that has been accepted and is followed by the military religiously (no pun intended). I can provide excerpts from a statement of ideology that goes contrary to what you posted: the news we hear every day that the soldiers "are fighting for their country". Therein lies the whole of the answer. If officials and intellectuals started saying en masse that our soldiers fight primarily for Iraqis, then I'll be worried. No 20-year old enlists today to save some Iraqi guy; he will, and they do, enlist to save Americans and the American way of life. The Military has been running a commercial recently, of a young man in his 20s taking a jog through a peaceful suburban neighborhood of sunshine, clean streets, little girls taking bicycle strolls, everything filled with calm, affluent, and benevolent feeling; the voiceover says, "This is what I'm fighting for", as he is joined in his jog by more and more boys and men like him. Does that sound like altruism to you?

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I don't believe that modern America takes its religion anywhere near as seriously as does the Islamic world. And, I contend that religion has to be taken very seriously for a theocracy to take hold.

We U.S. Americans number few great names in philosophy, though many in literature and the arts. Some say that this is because we are a practical people, impatient with what appear to us as abstractions. We are a results-oriented folk, and our major tradition in philosophy is pragmatism, its best known sons William James and John Dewey. A belief is true if it works, said James; truth is "the expedient- in the long run and on the whole, of course." And Dewey taught that ideas are instruments of action rather than objects of contemplation. "Moral insight," says Dewey, "and therefore moral theory consist simply in the everyday workings of the same ordinary intelligence that measures dry-goods, drives nails, sells wheat, and invents the telephone."

But philosophy is not the only carrier of ideas that have awesome power to create. The stern Calvinist theology of the Puritans who settled Massachusetts was supplemented by their conviction that they had a covenant with God, after the manner of Abraham. On the deck of Arbella, flagship of the little Puritan armada, governor-elect John Winthrop recalled the words of Matthew's gospel and proclaimed that this new Puritan community would be as that City on a Hill whose light could not be hid, that would shine before all men.

The Puritans of the Great Migration did not come to found the United States of America but to purify a religion that had strayed from Jehovahs's iron path.(p. 206-207, Foundations of Moral Obligation by Joseph Gerard Brennan)

Foundations of Moral Obligation is based on "The Stockdale Course."

Show me where the ideas of James B. Stockdale (Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy) are not taken seriously( in particular within the U.S. Navy.)

(*For those who may not have made the connection. Admiral Stockdale was the Vice Presidential candidate with Ross Perot who took 19% of the vote allowing Bill Clinton to take office.*)

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In order to make the point, you'll have to provide a whole lot of examples, or cite excerpts from a statement of ideology that has been accepted and is followed by the military religiously (no pun intended).

The quote you call into question is from "The Stockdale Course."

Here is what 'military institutions' have to say about the 'Stockdale Course: Foundations of Moral Obligation'.

"A rare opportunity to calibrate one's moral compass...Brennan's commentaries [are] crammed with wisdom, without a hint of the slickness that too often passes as contemporary ethics. Treat the book as a reference work left by the bedside, paging through it not to find the right answers, but like TV's Jeopardy, to find the right questions.""

--U.S. Army War College's Parameters

"Brennan translates the most complex philosophical subjects into language that is easy to understand and worth taking to heart. This is a worthwhile investment for those who wish to ponder subjects such as ethics, human will, faith, and courage."

--Marine Corps Gazette

The Naval War College has a detailed course evaluation system, and the student officers are frank in their comments. How did they react to the Stockdale course? Most of them admired Stockdale just short of idolatry and gave the course very high ratings.

(p. xiii, Foundations of Moral Obligation)

Spring 1991 brought welcome news that the Naval War College Press had obtained funds to make a book based on the tapes, and for the first time the "sermons" were written down, amended, updated, and edited.

(p. xxiii, Foundations of Moral Obligation)

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In order to make the point, you'll have to provide a whole lot of examples, or cite excerpts from a statement of ideology that has been accepted and is followed by the military religiously (no pun intended).

Fundamentals of Naval Leadership: By the Department of Leadership and Law, U.S. Naval Academy

Chapter 7: Moral Leadership

The following quote sets the standards that must be achieved by the officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and indeed by all of this country's citizens, if the United States is to meet the challenges of its position in the world.

America's most important role in the world, almost from the day our country was born, has been the role of moral leadership...Teach our young people to believe in the responsibility of one to another; in their responsibility to God and to the peoples of the world. Teach them to believe in themselves; to believe in their place in leading the world out of the darkness of oppression. Teach them to believe that no one owes us a living, but that we owe so much to others. Teach them to believe in their priceless heritage of freedom, and that it must be won anew by every generation. And teach them to believe in the United States of America. The hope of the world has been in our physical power, our moral strength, our integrity, and our will to assume the responsibilities that history plainly intends us to bear. (p. 69)

(Bold is mine)

On the opposite page(p. 68) of the above quote is a full page picture of a young Marine holding a burning candle and looking up to an altar inside a chapel. In the background, is a stained glass window of Jesus raising his hands above his heads.

Rest assurred, the military 'accepts and follows the above religiously.'

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The Military has been running a commercial recently, of a young man in his 20s taking a jog through a peaceful suburban neighborhood of sunshine, clean streets, little girls taking bicycle strolls, everything filled with calm, affluent, and benevolent feeling; the voiceover says, "This is what I'm fighting for", as he is joined in his jog by more and more boys and men like him. Does that sound like altruism to you?

Yes, it does sound like altruism because he does not once state that he is fighting for his own freedom. Why?, because once you get to boot-camp the "I" is never mentioned as the primary or any type of motivation or value worth fighting for. In the Marine Corps there is a list of "Virtues" that every Marine must learn, one of those virtues is selflessness.

Although I do agree with your earlier statments that young soldiers are not joining to defend or build Iraq. Most just want to fight, of those that want to fight.

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On the opposite page(p. 68) of the above quote is a full page picture of a young Marine holding a burning candle and looking up to an altar inside a chapel. In the background, is a stained glass window of Jesus raising his hands above his heads.

Rest assurred, the military 'accepts and follows the above religiously.'

Chapter 7 sounds pretty good to me.

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Chapter 7 sounds pretty good to me.

Continuing from Chapter 7.

The Responsibilities of Freedom

The United States is the leader of the free world, but its citizens are still not completely adjusted to the responsibilities that go with this position, and many would prefer to ignore them or encourage and allow others to become involved. To the people of the United States falls the moral duty of supporting freedom as well as those who are trying to gain it or regain it for themselves and their people. This support will take many forms, all involving a certain amount of sacrifice. Sometimes food must be supplied, sometimes arms and equipment, sometimes troops. All of these will divert energy and money from the increase of the American standard of living. This is the price that must be paid for the privilege of exercising the duty that Americans have to their fellow men and women. The stabilization of the standard of living may be adequate compensation for the sacrifices, for history has demonstrated that civilizations usually begin to decay when the way of life of their people becomes too soft; that is, when the standard of living becomes too high.

The young people of the United States must be taught to accept as their own the moral values that were the guiding force of the leaders of earlier American generations. These young people must believe in their responsibility to God, to their country and their countrymen, and to the world.

(p. 68-70, Fundamentals of Naval Leadership, By the Department of Leadership and Law, U.S. Naval Academy)

(Bold and Underlines are mine.)

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What do these men have in common? An ideology and the same indoctrination program, and rest assured it is in practice.

Nice try, Rick.

In the context of the commentary from which you removed it, my sweeping comment (and admittedly loosely-worded) comment, "Altruism remains the dominant morality of the world, but there is currently no ideology for puting it into practice," refers to a dominant ideology for the implementation of altruism.

Allow me to refine my point here. There are LOTS of ideologies out there for puting altruism into practice, but none is dominant and none is driving the nations of the world systematically towards a specific form of an alturist society. But none is dominant.

The biggest ideology out there still is socialism--even though it has been delegitimized by the fall of the Soviet Union, undermined by the non-idyllic experience we Americans have had of the welfare state (high levels of crime and dishonesty, high taxes, choaking regulations, and the development of a general contempt for one's fellow man), and crippled by arguments against its determinst premises made by conservative economists, criminologists, and intellectuals of every special science of man.

The second biggest one out there is environmentalism. Environmentalism is a very powerful ideology that has been rapidly on the rise since it split from the conservationist/transcendentalist roots from which it sprung 40 years ago. Its trajectory has fallen off a little bit recently, but it has yet to suffer a serious decline. It has the broadest possible following among the left, the center, and the altruist right. It permiates academia (e.g., the majority of climate scienists are no longer objective in their work) and the education of America's children and youth. It still is in a good position to become the ruling altruist ideology.

I'd rank religious conservatism third in terms of the number of its aherents. It has been on the rise for a little over 20 years. During most of its rise, its advance was quashed by direct competition from the secular "libertarian" conservatives who seek to roll back government controls in order to increase the scope of liberty. Only after the "libertarian" conservatives stumbled in the mid-90s, did its cultural star really begin to rise. It is beginning to gain adherents from the center (e.g., Tipper Gore and Joe Libermann)...and pseudo adherents from the left (e.g., Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and ). Given another decade of unobstructed advancement, religous conservatism will be in as strong a position as environmentalism is today.

The fourth in the size of its following is the currently somewhat shrunken school of "libertarian" conservatism. THIS IS THE ONLY NON-ALTRUIST OR ANTI-ALTRUIST ideology of any size in America. Their problem is that they charged off in a crusade for liberty without questioning the ideas of altruism, ideas that most of them share. They are found in small numbers everywhere in the culture: in both major political parties, in elected office, in academia, and among educators. They're a particularly powerful presence on the web. The core of their power comes (usually indirectly through third parties) from Ayn Rand's ideas. Their small numbers hide how powerful they actually are. The truth being on their side, the facts of reality dramatically multiply their ranks whenever they line up for an attack.

The fifth in size would be the new-left soup of multi-culturalist racists and feminists. Again, their small size does not indicate their full power. Their power comes from their deep roots in academia and culture and the respect that the institutions that they control used to have before they took them over 50 years ago. Their great power is that they control the primary, secondary systems of education and they dominate the humanities departments in higher education. From their base, they reach everywhere poisoning the culture. They indoctrinate the minds of the young and are more effective at it than ALL OF AMERICA'S CHURCHES COMBINED. From among the ranks of the intellectual adult-children their crippling education produces come followers of the ideology of environmentalism...even if they learn to become conservatives later in life. Why environmenalism? Because that is the ideology that this school chose to be the successor to communism. Unlike the "libertarian" wing of American conservatism, their power tends to be overestimated today. They're incrementally losing their grip on higher education and they, themselves, have no hope for the future. Theirs is a cultural world of always retreating, rear-guard actions. They became new left nihilists only because their mass-murdering system that dominated the ideological argument of the world for at least 8 decades--socialism--has collapsed.

The sentiments which you reference are religious intrinsicists who believe that their experience in the armed forces confirms every aspect of their beliefs. Theirs is an ideology of religous conservatism that is distinct and somewhat separate from the ideology of the "civilian" religous conservatives. Their malevolent universe premise is much more pronounced than that of the evangilicals, while their stoic virtues have a more rational, this-worldly, practical tilt. If they don't stand with other religious conservatives, their numbers are smaller than any of the other five groups I've mentioned.

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You are begging the question.

I will ask again, but more specifically: What is your evidence for saying "[h]is whole presentation" is a rationalization? Please show proof of rationalization -- that is, if you are concerned about facts of reality as a basis for your allegation.

P. S. -- For anyone new to Objectivism, I recommend the "Rationalization" entry in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, pp. 406-407. It contains excerpts from Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It, pp. 21 (hb, but 18 pb) and 24 (20).

As I said, it is factually incorrect and based on out of context deductions, isolated unrepresentative cases and distortions. The burden of proof is on Leonard Piekoff, who can't provide it because he evidently does not know very much about what is actually going on in Washington beyond anecdotes and whatever he sees in the main stream media. Philosophical theorizing is not a substitute for figuring out who is worth voting for and why on the basis of what they are actually doing, let alone grounds for denouncing everyone in a political party with the preposterous deduction that they are "theocrats" while urging putting progressive Democrats into power with no understanding of what they are doing to destroy people.

If you personally want to know more about what different Republicans and what Democrats are doing, then you will have to look into it first hand to see how Washington politics works, who is helping, and who is screwing people. Some of this can be discussed here later, but I do not have the time to relate my first hand experiences in a forum such as this, especially right now. It cannot be deduced from a DIM hypothesis.

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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.

I have had a variation of this same argument with people who think we either already are or will soon become a dictatorship. I ask them what they know of daily life in ACTUAL dictatorships - the kind of abject fear and cowering that occurs as a matter of course among most people in such societies. I ask if they know anything about the self censorship that people engage in out of fear of political reprisal in an ACTUAL dictatorship.

I then talk about my life in Slovakia back in the early 90s where I taught English. That was a country just emerging from decades of dictatorship. I can say openly and happily that America is so far from that state, whatever the challenges we face. I welcome questions about my experiences "over there." I prefer not to bore people with those details here.

The long and short of it is I learned about the greatness of America by living in a hellhole. I should hope more people would not need a similar experience to wake them up, but I am happy to report I DID wake up.

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As I said, it is factually incorrect and based on out of context deductions, isolated unrepresentative cases and distortions. The burden of proof is on Leonard Piekoff, who can't provide it because he evidently does not know very much about what is actually going on in Washington beyond anecdotes and whatever he sees in the main stream media. Philosophical theorizing is not a substitute for figuring out who is worth voting for and why on the basis of what they are actually doing, let alone grounds for denouncing everyone in a political party with the preposterous deduction that they are "theocrats" while urging putting progressive Democrats into power with no understanding of what they are doing to destroy people.

If you personally want to know more about what different Republicans and what Democrats are doing, then you will have to look into it first hand to see how Washington politics works, who is helping, and who is screwing people. Some of this can be discussed here later, but I do not have the time to relate my first hand experiences in a forum such as this, especially right now. It cannot be deduced from a DIM hypothesis.

Mr. "EVW," I applaud your bluntness.

We live in a world of particulars. In addition to philosophical knowledge, specialized knowledge is required to understand the world.

The proper course of action one should take in the political affairs of one's country cannot be deduced from philosophy. Philosophy provides the methodology and the standard of judgement. But one's judgement also requires knowledge of the particulars of the current political culture, of recent history, of the American political system, of the history of man, etc. One's understanding of the proper standards and methodology are not a substitute for knowledge of the particulars one is judging.

How one should vote for Congress cannot be deduced from the DIM hypothesis or any other single set of philosophical propositions. As it stands now, Dr. Peikoff's wartime declaration of support for the Democratic Party--a party of national self-doubt led by the enemy's useful idiots--is an invalid deduction.

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I then talk about my life in Slovakia back in the early 90s where I taught English. That was a country just emerging from decades of dictatorship. I can say openly and happily that America is so far from that state, whatever the challenges we face. I welcome questions about my experiences "over there." I prefer not to bore people with those details here.

I don't think it would bore anyone. On the contrary, it could be quite educational. I'd love for you to give a description here, just to give us a sense of what it was like. I'm guessing it was not as bad as present day Iran, where they throw women off of high rise buildings for adultry.

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Nice try, Rick.

In the context of the commentary from which you removed it, my sweeping comment (and admittedly loosely-worded) comment, "Altruism remains the dominant morality of the world, but there is currently no ideology for puting it into practice," refers to a dominant ideology for the implementation of altruism.

Allow me to refine my point here. There are LOTS of ideologies out there for puting altruism into practice, but none is dominant and none is driving the nations of the world systematically towards a specific form of an alturist society. But none is dominant.

Your comment was in a sentence in a paragraph all on its own. The idea you presented should be able to stand up on its own. If it is based on reality and facts.

I have a question about your use of the word 'dominant'. Are you saying John McCain's ideology has no influence within the U.S. Senate?

John McCain's Altruist Revival by Jack Wakeland, The Intellectual Activist, April 2000

With his candidacy, John McCain intended to inspire an altruist revival--that is, a renewel of Americans' allegedly flagging willingness to sacrifice their own interests. Using his own oredeal of suffering as a guide, he believes the purpose of government is to inspire and require sacrifice. Who is to be the beneficiary of this sacrifice? McCain opposes any meaningful tax cuts for people attempting to save for their own retirement because that would prevent Congress from "saving" Social Security for its "worthy" recipients--the men and women made worthy by their suffering and privation during WW II--who are in need today. He has upheld, as the ideal of America's foreign policy, our military intervention in the former Yugoslavia, where American soldiers may be subject to suffering and death in an attempt to quell an obscure tribal conflict. McCain is a consistent altruist. Wherever there is someone in need--whether old or young, at home or abroad--he sees a reason to sacrifice the lives of the able.

The idea that the individual has a right to pursue his own happiness and that government exists to protect that right is foreign to Senator McCain. (p. 3)

Keep the Republicans in power of the U.S. Senate? I don't think so.

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