Paul's Here

Willful Blindness

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I thought of another flaw when I read the above. Didn't Dr. Peikoff null and void Alan Greenspan by stating "An Objectivist would never work for the government."

Do you have a source for that quote?

Personally, if I learned that there 150 *working in* the Administration, I would definitely question their sanity. :)

Lady Brin

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I thought of that too, but I believe the original comment may have been referring to a generic "any" administration, hopefully a future, rational one.

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I thought of another flaw when I read the above. Didn't Dr. Peikoff null and void Alan Greenspan by stating "An Objectivist would never work for the government."

Personally, if I learned that there 150 *working in* the Administration, I would definitely question their sanity. :)

Lady Brin

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I sympathize with your point. I wouldn't personally have the stomach. But being serious for a moment, if no one of a better sort chooses to work for the government it will take that much longer to straighten things out. Look, for example, at the difference between Idaho or New Hampshire and Maine. The result in the case of Maine is the order of magnitude more difficult a struggle someone like Erich has in fighting the good fight. I'm not suggesting that political action is the only appropriate form of working for change, nor that one should limit oneself to direct political involvement, especially when considering the long run. But I agree with ewv -- it can be very important to actually get your hands dirty. If nothing else, it gives you a first-rate education in what is actually going on and how to work for change.

[Note: I'm not suggesting here that your quote implies you would deny any of this, Lady Brin. Just adding a comment.]

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I thought of another flaw when I read the above. Didn't Dr. Peikoff null and void Alan Greenspan by stating "An Objectivist would never work for the government."

Where did he say that?

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It is the very method of the mystics of whom they are so fearful.

Indeed.

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Do you have a source for that quote?

I'm sorry I don't. I recall reading it around the time the charges were made against the forum, as those events took me by surprise and it's stored in that time frame. I may have also misread what I was reading, which is why I asked in question form.

I thought of that too, but I believe the original comment may have been referring to a generic "any" administration, hopefully a future, rational one.

Yes, you are probably correct. My observation comes from being older and having personal contact with a great number of politicians, which is why I emphasized *working in.* I think if change could be accomplished, it would be more likely from someone working as a consultant. I apologize if * questioning their sanity* was taken as being too harsh.

Lady Brin

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You don't say to which site you're referring, Noodlefood or Primacy of Awesome (the original source of Mike's comments). The latter is Mike's blog and therefore he gets to say which comments 'stand' and which don't.

In any case, I'm not interested in any sort of personal criticism of Mike. I know him only slightly, but I've read enough of his comments over the past year to believe he has a good mind, is honest, and is still sorting things out. Whether he is being unduly influenced by others, whether Dr. Peikoff or anyone else, I leave to his conscience to decide.

Jeff

The paraphrased remark was posted at Noodlefood. I visited that website only to discover what I view as yet another over-the-top "Theocracy if Falling" exchange. The criticism of Mike's remark (which stood out like a red flag, by the way) was NOT a personal one: I know/new nothing about him before reading the thread. However, I have determined that that remark, and the fact that it was allowed to stand without comment by the site owners, is reflective of the attitutude at Noodlefood generally, an authoritarian attitude that ought to be called out whenever it is encountered. It seems to me that this is all the more important in exchanges with those who are "still sorting things out" honestly: this attitude is drawn from precisely the same intellectual page as that consulted by mystics.

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The problem is, I never see any detailed analysis of what DIM is or of the Christian "theocracy" using the principles of DIM. At best, I see assertions about Dx and Mx, who is in which category, what those categories are, a theocracy is imminent, etc. But I see no connection to Objectivist epistemology or political theory...

-- let alone any real knowledge of what the actual means and mechanism are for gaining power and taking over the Federal government, the resources and political sophistication that gaining political power takes, how that is actually being done by different groups, including especially viros, and who is actually doing what within government agencies operating under what laws giving them the power to do it. The discussion on that forum shows no knowledge of or concern for such mundane matters of fact and means to an end at all. The entire discussion, with rare execeptions that don't belong there, resembles a laughable immitation of a college dorm bull session based on ignorant speculation and rationalism from slogans, factoids and anecdotes promoted with wide-eyed credulity, in the name of "philosophy". (One of the all time classics there is "Islam and Environmentalism are not a threat because these two ideologies don't have much root in America", which does not appear to have been said in satire.)

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Well, ewv, it is apparent that you just don't get it. Tom explains it very clearly.

I think I was a little harsh when I said that it was incomprehensible to me that folks don't get it. Obviously this is a difficult issue. Most of the difficulty is that we are used to discussing politics in the style of the news media and commentators. But this is not a "policy wonk" issue; the issue is really epistemological. As LP puts it in his DIM course, it concerns the epistemological mechanics by which philosophy shapes society. That's why the particular concrete policy issues are so unimportant.
I hope that explains it clearly. Stop worrying about your property or taxes so much. Those concrete issues are so unimportant. Worry about the epistemological mechanics: fundamentalists want your soul, not just your money. So what if the viros take your property, at least you won't be bowing down to Pat Robertson.

Tom's quote from Noodlefood Comments

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So what if the viros take your property, at least you won't be bowing down to Pat Robertson.

Paul,

Your point is well made, but I would go beyond it in one way. The viros, too, definitely want your soul and not just your property. They want to do other things with it, but they want it just the same. And, they are in a much stronger position right now to get it... if people let them -- as in many circles they are.

Observe the drooling eagerness with which celebrities surrender theirs to worship at the viro altar, and those who, sheeplike, follow them.

Jeff

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it concerns the epistemological mechanics by which philosophy shapes society. That's why the particular concrete policy issues are so unimportant.

How foolish of me to have missed that; obviously pure thought requires no means down here in reality. :):) But such Illumination reveals another problem: Hegel will get us anyway. :):)

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I think I was a little harsh when I said that it was incomprehensible to me that folks don't get it. Obviously this is a difficult issue. Most of the difficulty is that we are used to discussing politics in the style of the news media and commentators. But this is not a "policy wonk" issue; the issue is really epistemological. As LP puts it in his DIM course, it concerns the epistemological mechanics by which philosophy shapes society. That's why the particular concrete policy issues are so unimportant.
I hope that explains it clearly. Stop worrying about your property or taxes so much. Those concrete issues are so unimportant. Worry about the epistemological mechanics: fundamentalists want your soul, not just your money. So what if the viros take your property, at least you won't be bowing down to Pat Robertson.

I take exception to the statement that we discuss politics "in the style of the news media and commentators." What an insult!

Aside from that, this is something that I will admit that I don't understand. Why is it that, during discussions about an imminent theology, facts given against the position are denigrated as "concrete bound", while tables of statistics and other such facts given in favor of the theory are accepted as proof? In other words, they seem to accept the broad generalizations offered in a table of statistics as factual, even though such tables are necessarily limited in the information given, and by their very nature take only certain broad questions into account. I have fundamentalists in my family who believe in a strict separation of church and state--for their own protection. As fundamentalists, they take the admonition to "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." They may wish to see the spread of Christian morality, but they do not wish to have the "church" running things. One must ask which church, and which representatives of which church? Those questions do not seem to be concrete bound to me.

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Aside from that, this is something that I will admit that I don't understand. Why is it that, during discussions about an imminent theology, facts given against the position are denigrated as "concrete bound", while tables of statistics and other such facts given in favor of the theory are accepted as proof?

Such is the nature of rationalism.

I have fundamentalists in my family who believe in a strict separation of church and state--for their own protection. As fundamentalists, they take the admonition to "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." They may wish to see the spread of Christian morality, but they do not wish to have the "church" running things. One must ask which church, and which representatives of which church? Those questions do not seem to be concrete bound to me.

Ethics ultimately drives politics. As long as people have mixed thoughts retaining a degree of self preservation, the politics will be mixed, too, even while there is a trend. Where it actually goes culturally and politically over time depends on what views are followed out consistently by whom and how far. That in turn depends on what ideas are competing and who has what kind of power and desire to impose it. It is a very long, complex, convoluted process. If a culture disintegrates badly enough, something very bad will happen, but you can't predict far in advance what form it will take. In particular, you can't freak out over a bunch of suddenly highly visible holy-roller types and selective anecdotes to jump to the conclusion that a right wing Christian "theocracy" is "imminent", which is ludicrous. Such panicky speculation ignoring who has the means to do what, and where the real dangers are, shows a complete disregard for the relevant facts and for the role and process of ideas and human choices and actions in the evolution of a culture.

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So what if the viros take your property, at least you won't be bowing down to Pat Robertson.

Paul,

Your point is well made, but I would go beyond it in one way. The viros, too, definitely want your soul and not just your property. They want to do other things with it, but they want it just the same. And, they are in a much stronger position right now to get it... if people let them -- as in many circles they are.

Observe the drooling eagerness with which celebrities surrender theirs to worship at the viro altar, and those who, sheeplike, follow them.

Jeff

I have serious doubts about whether Hollywood celebrities have souls. I think they surrendered their souls after they made their first million dollars and realized that there are starving children in the world who couldn't feast on caviar.

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Tom's quote from Noodlefood Comments
More from Tom's post:
The war going on is between, ultimately, those who are moral relativists and those who are moral absolutists. On the relativist side is the current culture, and on the ansolutist side there are only two movements trying to stem the tide -- The Christian Right and Objectivism. Thats why we vote against the Christian Right.
What bothers me is statements like this are made without any support, as if they were simply self-evident. On what basis does someone claim there are only two movements in the US which adhere to absolutist philosophies? For instance, on what basis do they claim environmentalism is not absolutist? I question their definition and use of the terms 'relativist' and 'absolutist' if dismisses as essentially 'impotent' something as politically and culturally pervasive, and as thoroughly anti-man philosophically, as environmentalism.

As to statements like "Islam and Environmentalism are not a threat because these two ideologies don't have much root in America." by tommyedison, one can only wonder at what qualifies as 'roots' if the enviro saturation into the schools, science, business, and government are simply dismissed.

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Ethics ultimately drives politics.

I understand this, Erich. Christian ethics have been a part of this country since its inception. At certain points in our history, it has been openly at odds with individual rights: e.g., one of the many "revival" periods brought us prohibition. The biggest problem is that these days we don't even have a semblance of the rationality that kept the culture from going off the deep end. Until the Marxists collectivized our politics, and the nihilist left took over so completely, there was always an element of individualism and reason in the culture that kept much of what we see today, from all sides, in check. None of this bodes well for the country. The danger isn't just that the fundamentalists might try to take over, but that we have been disarmed against all the various power mongers. Once collectivism has taken over it becomes only a matter of which gang is the most ruthless. Frankly, the fundamentalists are way down on that particular list, far below the Islamists and viros, even if you count the KKK and militia types.

As I told one group in a discussion of these things, we haven't lost God, we've lost the Enlightenment. The irony is, of course, that the left was able to make the headway they have because their ethics are essentially no different than the Christian ethics. People in this country were against communism because it was "godless". But they gave little thought to what would happen to their children when they went to college and understood that their parents were hypocrites to preach that money was the root of all evil while they worked so hard for material success. I watched this happen when I went to college in the late sixties. They took the Christian ethics they'd been brought up with and transferred their allegiance to what they considered to be less hypocritical--the Marxism they were introduced to by their university professors. That's when the real America hatred began. What we are seeing now is just the latest results in all its glory.

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The biggest problem is that these days we don't even have a semblance of the rationality that kept the culture from going off the deep end. Until the Marxists collectivized our politics, and the nihilist left took over so completely, there was always an element of individualism and reason in the culture that kept much of what we see today, from all sides, in check...The danger isn't just that the fundamentalists might try to take over, but that we have been disarmed against all the various power mongers. Once collectivism has taken over it becomes only a matter of which gang is the most ruthless.

Janet, I'm interested in your perspective on the current American sense of life. I understand that it is very difficult to judge an entire culture in such terms, especially one with as many subcultures as America. However, to the extent that one can give an "on balance" estimate, would you say we lean in a good or bad direction.

Personally, I think we lean in a good direction. In the midst of all the muck, I see the right responses at a sense of life level to a wide range of particular events by people I know have, at best, a mixed philosophy. Also, although there is a lot of junk out there, I question whether those that put it out (i.e., media of all forms) and those it portrays are really even close to a majority. I'm not suggesting you think they are a majority; my point is just how magnified, perhaps artificially, it is.

That being said, I fear you are right. I just don't know how far a sense of life can take a culture in the midst of ongoing attacks on reason and rationality. My hopes are high, but I cannot say I'm either optimistic or pessimistic. Mostly, I have been "on alert" for both the good and bad. I'm strongly compelled to keep a careful watch on current events. But beneath all that, I still am very positive about my own life, and that's certainly a good thing. :)

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Ethics ultimately drives politics.

I understand this, Erich. Christian ethics have been a part of this country since its inception. At certain points in our history, it has been openly at odds with individual rights: e.g., one of the many "revival" periods brought us prohibition. The biggest problem is that these days we don't even have a semblance of the rationality that kept the culture from going off the deep end. Until the Marxists collectivized our politics, and the nihilist left took over so completely, there was always an element of individualism and reason in the culture that kept much of what we see today, from all sides, in check. None of this bodes well for the country. The danger isn't just that the fundamentalists might try to take over, but that we have been disarmed against all the various power mongers. Once collectivism has taken over it becomes only a matter of which gang is the most ruthless. Frankly, the fundamentalists are way down on that particular list, far below the Islamists and viros, even if you count the KKK and militia types.

As I told one group in a discussion of these things, we haven't lost God, we've lost the Enlightenment. The irony is, of course, that the left was able to make the headway they have because their ethics are essentially no different than the Christian ethics. People in this country were against communism because it was "godless". But they gave little thought to what would happen to their children when they went to college and understood that their parents were hypocrites to preach that money was the root of all evil while they worked so hard for material success. I watched this happen when I went to college in the late sixties. They took the Christian ethics they'd been brought up with and transferred their allegiance to what they considered to be less hypocritical--the Marxism they were introduced to by their university professors. That's when the real America hatred began. What we are seeing now is just the latest results in all its glory.

I highly respect your viewpoint, but I think I'd disagree here. That's precisely what Rob Tracinski's article aimed to show -- America is supposed to have collapsed, because Christianity is all that's left (and before it was assaulted even more, by virulent collectivism), but not only has it not collapsed, it's received a vibrant revival since the '80s. I would defy anyone to look into the 60s in any detail, and then say America hasn't become much better since those days. I also don't remember any 'monkey trials' like the one in 1930's.

If I were to base my conclusions on my observations, which I understand are far less numerous than yours, I would say that average Americans have declared a war on the intellectuals, and keep to the Founding Fathers in tradition, and derive their own philosophy from every day living. Now, obviously there's much to be said for how this can get better, but I think our task as intellectuals is to help it, nourish it, join it, rather than denigrade it and condemn it to doom (which is what some people on NoodleFood are doing, all too eagerly).

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Janet, I'm interested in your perspective on the current American sense of life. I understand that it is very difficult to judge an entire culture in such terms, especially one with as many subcultures as America. However, to the extent that one can give an "on balance" estimate, would you say we lean in a good or bad direction.

Personally, I think we lean in a good direction. In the midst of all the muck, I see the right responses at a sense of life level to a wide range of particular events by people I know have, at best, a mixed philosophy. Also, although there is a lot of junk out there, I question whether those that put it out (i.e., media of all forms) and those it portrays are really even close to a majority. I'm not suggesting you think they are a majority; my point is just how magnified, perhaps artificially, it is.

That being said, I fear you are right. I just don't know how far a sense of life can take a culture in the midst of ongoing attacks on reason and rationality. My hopes are high, but I cannot say I'm either optimistic or pessimistic. Mostly, I have been "on alert" for both the good and bad. I'm strongly compelled to keep a careful watch on current events. But beneath all that, I still am very positive about my own life, and that's certainly a good thing. :)

I highly respect your viewpoint, but I think I'd disagree here. That's precisely what Rob Tracinski's article aimed to show -- America is supposed to have collapsed, because Christianity is all that's left (and before it was assaulted even more, by virulent collectivism), but not only has it not collapsed, it's received a vibrant revival since the '80s. I would defy anyone to look into the 60s in any detail, and then say America hasn't become much better since those days. I also don't remember any 'monkey trials' like the one in 1930's.

If I were to base my conclusions on my observations, which I understand are far less numerous than yours, I would say that average Americans have declared a war on the intellectuals, and keep to the Founding Fathers in tradition, and derive their own philosophy from every day living. Now, obviously there's much to be said for how this can get better, but I think our task as intellectuals is to help it, nourish it, join it, rather than denigrade it and condemn it to doom (which is what some people on NoodleFood are doing, all too eagerly).

Free Capitalist: When I say that there isn't even a semblance of reason..., I am speaking specifically within the educational system. You are right when you say that the doom and gloomers are wrong in the way they seem to be fighting. I'll let Miss Rand speak to that.

I will try to answer both of you in one post, since you both address essentially the same thing: What is the state of America's sense of life. To begin with, I will extensively quote Miss Rand from her article "Don't Let It Go" (From The Ayn Rand Letter, Vol. 1, No. 4 November 22, 1971 and Vol.1, No.5 December 6, 1971) so that we are all on the same page:

In order to form a hypothesis about the future of an individual, one must consider three elements: his present course of action, his conscious convictions, and this sense of life. The same elements must be considered in forming a hypothesis about the future of a nation.

A sense of life is a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence. it represents an individual's unidentified philosophy (which can be identified--and corrected, if necessary); it affects his choice of values and his emotional responses, influences his actions, and frequently, clashes with his conscious convictions. [...]

A nation's political trends are the equivalent of a man's course of action and are determined by its culture. A nation's culture is the equivalent of a man's conscious convictions. Just as an individual's sense of life can clash with his conscious convictions, hampering or defeating his actions, so a nation's sense of life can clash with its culture, hampering or defeating its political course. Just as an individual's sense of life can be better or worse than his conscious convictions, so can a nation's. And just as an individual who has never translated his sense of life into conscious convictions is in terrible danger--no matter how good his subconscious values--so is a nation. [Emphasis mine.]

This is the position of America today.

If America is to be saved from destruction--specifically, from dictatorship--she will be saved by her sense of life.

As to the two other elements that determine a nation's future, one (our political trend) is speeding straight to disaster, the other (culture) is virtually nonexistent. The political trend is pure statism and is moving toward a totalitarian dictatorship at a speed which, in any other country, would have reached that goal long ago. The culture is worse than nonexistent: it is operating below zero, i.e., performing the opposite of its function. A culture provides a nation's intellectual leadership, its ideas, its education, its moral code. Today, the concerted effort of our cultural "Establishment" is directed at the obliteration of man's rational faculty. Hysterical voices are proclaiming the impotence of reason, extolling the "superior power" of irrationality, fostering the rule of incoherent emotions, attacking science, glorifying the stupor of drugged hippies, delivering apologias for the use of brute force, urging mankind's return to a life of rolling in primeval muck, with grunts and groans as a means of communication, physical sensations as means of inspiration, and a club as means of argumentation.

This country, with its magnificent scientific and technological power, is left in the vacuum of a pre-intellectual era, like the wandering hordes of the Dark Ages--or in the position of an adolescent before he has fully learned to conceptualize. But an adolescent has his sense of life to guide his choices. So has this country.

Miss Rand goes on to compare the American sense of life with Europe's. This comparison still holds and is visible every day. One sees the results of this difference manifested most starkly in what has happened to Britain. Britain, more than any other European country, gives us an example of what happens to a nation's sense of life when collectivism takes over its intellectual life. Their sense of life was never on a par with America's, but they were closer than any other people.

Years ago, at a party in Hollywood, I met Eve Curie, a distinguished Frenchwoman, the daughter of Marie Curie. Eve Curie was a best-selling author of nonfiction books and, politically, a liberal; at the time, she was on a lecture tour of the United States. She stressed her astonishment at American audiences. "They are so happy," she dept repeating, "so happy..." She was saying it without disapproval and without admiration, with only the faintest touch of amusement; but her astonishment was genuine. "People are not like that in Europe...Everybody is happy in America--except the intellectuals. Oh, the intellectuals are unhappy everywhere."

This incident has remained in my mind because she had named, unwittingly, the nature of the breach between the American people and the intellectuals. The culture of a worn, crumbling Europe--with its mysticism, its lethargic resignation, its cult of suffering, its notion that misery and impotence are man's fate on earth, and that unhappiness is the hallmark of a sensitive spirit--of what use could it be to a country like America?

(Robert Tracinski has emphasized the pursuit of happiness as a cause of the positive things he sees, at least, if I'm remembering correctly.)

In Part II of this article, AR writes:

Only one thing is certain: a dictatorship cannot take hold in America today. This country, as yet, cannot be ruled--but it can explode. It can blow up into the helpless rage and blind violence of a civil war. It cannot be cowed into submission, passivity, malevolence, resignation. It cannot be "pushed around." Defiance, not obedience, is the American's answer to overbearing authority. The nation that ran an underground railroad to help human beings escape from slavery, or began drinking on principle in the face of Prohibition, will not say "Yes, sir," to the enforcers of ration coupons and cereal prices. Not yet.

If America drags on in her present state for a few more generations (which is unlikely), dictatorship will become possible. A sense of life is not a permanent endowment. The characteristically American one is being eroded daily all around us. Large numbers of Americans have lost it (or have never developed it) and are collapsing to the psychological level of Europe's worst rabble. [Emphasis mine.]

This is prevalent among the two groups that are the main supporters of the statist trend: the very rich and the very poor--the first, because they want to rule; the second because they want to be ruled. (The leaders of the trend are the intellectuals, who want to do both.) But this country has never had an unearned, hereditary "elite." America is still the country of self-made men, which means: the country of the middle class--the most productive and exploited group in any modern society.

The academia-jet set coalition is attempting to tame the American character by the deliberate breeding of helplessness and resignation--in those incubators of lethargy known as "Progressive" schools, which are dedicated to the task of crippling a child's mind by arresting his cognitive development. [. . .] It appears, however, that the "progressive" rich will be the first victims of their own social theories: it is the children of the well-to-do who emerge from expensive nursery schools and colleges as hippies, and destroy the remnants of their paralyzed brains by means of drugs.

Those students who were drawn to Marxism in the 60's and 70's went from the universities into the media and into politics (or into some sort of political activism, such as enviromentalism). They are loud and pervasive in the culture. I see the present rise of religion as an attempt by the more honest to counteract the anti-culture engendered by these same people. I think religion, especially, is on the defensive because they have been attacked directly, and everything that goes to make the American sense of life has been lumped in with religion by the left. Everything that may be morally negative in the history of the country has been used as a bludgeon to guilt people into believing that every aspect of American exceptionalism is evil. (The extent that this is accepted as true is the extent that one accepts the moral tenets of altruism. Even here, however, there is a backlash.) This is the source of America-hatred that we see today.

The other side of this coin is that which Robert Tracinski has noted in his articles on "What Went Right." It is the positive side of America's sense of life, and its influence on the rest of the world. How long can the positive sustain itself with only an implicit sense of life to support it? Isn't this exactly why we need a proper philosophy--to protect us?

The question then becomes: Which side will win out?

Politically, it is a toss-up. Both parties are bankrupt. One thing the war has done is to bring the state of our public institutions to light, whether we're talking politics, academia, the media, or the culture in general. People have known that things are bad, but the war has brought an immediacy to the problem, making doing something about it imperative if we are to survive. It is hard for the average, decent person to know where to even begin, however. Not knowing where to turn, they turn to the only philosophy they are familiar with to guide them--religion.

I don't think that all is lost, not by a long shot. I think we have an enormous opportunity. For all that the universities have tried to kill even a mention of reason, there is a backlash occurring now. The media is loud, but I don't think they reflect the majority. Do we take the opening offered by this backlash and fight for reason, or do we align ourselves with the worst in our society who have nothing positive to offer--which is how I see voting with the Democrats. Do we fight for the positive--reason, or do we fight against an "imminent Christian theocracy". Are those two things the same, even if you say you are fighting against a theocracy by using reason?

I'll let Miss Rand have the last word:

.... America is an unprecedented phenomenon. In the past, American perseverance became, on occasion, too long-bearing a patience. But when Americans turned, they turned.. . .

Is there enough of the American sense of life left in people--under the constant pressure of the cultural-political efforts to obliterate it? It is impossible to tell. But those of us who hold it, must fight for it. We have no alternative: we cannot surrender this country to a zero--to men whose battle cry is mindlessness.

We cannot fight against collectivism, unless we fight against its moral base: altruism. We cannot fight against altruism, unless we fight against its epistemological base: irrationalism. We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something--and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason, and a view of man as a rational being.

These are philosophical issues. The philosophy we need is a conceptual equivalent of America's sense of life. To propagate it, would require the hardest intellectual battle. But isn't that a magnificent goal to fight for?

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I just don't know how far a sense of life can take a culture in the midst of ongoing attacks on reason and rationality.

The American sense of life is an important plus, but our greatest advantage is that reality is on our side.

Irrational ideas don't work because they can't work. Rational ideas lead to success and happiness. That goes a long way in rewarding and reinforcing the good premises of people with mixed premises until we are able to saturate the culture with OUR ideas..

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If I were to base my conclusions on my observations...

... and your own reading of Ayn Rand, you come to certain conclusions.

Then there are those who deduce their ideas from a new hypothesis whose connection to reality and to Objectivism is still in the process of being developed and who eagerly point to evidence that might confirm their views while dismissing any fact that doesn't. They come to very different conclusions.

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Then there are those who deduce their ideas from a new hypothesis whose connection to reality and to Objectivism is still in the process of being developed and who eagerly point to evidence that might confirm their views while dismissing any fact that doesn't. They come to very different conclusions.

Thanks Betsy for the insightful words as I can see this not just within the limits of this thread but in many areas of my own life that includes my productive work.

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Thank you, Janet. As usual your thoughts are very insightful and helpful. The quotes from Miss Rand you included really addressed my questions.

I agree that we have a great opportunity and don't see things as lost. This is why my hopes remain high.

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The American sense of life is an important plus, but our greatest advantage is that reality is on our side.

Irrational ideas don't work because they can't work. Rational ideas lead to success and happiness. That goes a long way in rewarding and reinforcing the good premises of people with mixed premises until we are able to saturate the culture with OUR ideas..

Oh, I strongly agree. Reality is the ultimate judge of what works and what doesn't. My concern is primarily with what we, as a country, must endure until the American sense of life re-asserts itself in a real and profound way, i.e., as a connection with rational ideas that do permeate the culture. Don't get me wrong, I'm up for the fight and will do all I can within the sphere of my influence to help this happen. I just hate to think of how low things must go before we get there.

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I just don't know how far a sense of life can take a culture in the midst of ongoing attacks on reason and rationality.

The American sense of life is an important plus, but our greatest advantage is that reality is on our side.

Irrational ideas don't work because they can't work. Rational ideas lead to success and happiness. That goes a long way in rewarding and reinforcing the good premises of people with mixed premises until we are able to saturate the culture with OUR ideas..

Oh Betsy, there you go again being all optimistic! :)

If I were to base my conclusions on my observations...

... and your own reading of Ayn Rand, you come to certain conclusions.

Then there are those who deduce their ideas from a new hypothesis whose connection to reality and to Objectivism is still in the process of being developed and who eagerly point to evidence that might confirm their views while dismissing any fact that doesn't. They come to very different conclusions.

One of the things that disturbs me the most about the way DIM is being used is the way judgment is being pronounced on this or that person as a D1 or M2 on the flimsiest of evidence. It is my understanding that Dr. Peikoff has used his categories to understand leaders in the culture whose ideas are well-known, not every Tom, Dick and Harry who crosses our path. From what little I've seen (and I admit to paying less and less attention), DIM is being used in a kind of exercise in psycho-epistemological psychologizing about anyone who happens to disagree with certain people's conclusions. It's much easier to do this than to analyze the actual ideas and then putting forth well crafted counter-arguments.

I think Erich put it right when he called this kind of discussion dorm room bull sessions. It does remind me of students trying on new lessons.

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