Rational Ryan

The Peikoff Endorsement

113 posts in this topic

There is nothing new here. It's the same fear of "theocracy" with the usual exagerated polemics and claims that as a contemporary political issue the entire Republican Party -- equated with "religion" -- is "the greatest threat to the country, infinitely more so than socialism", all constructed from casual observation with no concern for knowing what people actually stand for, what their records are, and what the government is actually doing and how.

With lines like "Sarah Palin believes that Adam and Eve were friends of the dinosaurs", "McCain comes across as a tired moron, Obama as a lying phony, Biden as an enjoyably hilarious windbag, and Sarah Palin as an opportunist struggling to learn how to become a moron, a phony and a windbag", why would anyone bother to ask his opinion at all? He's so far behind that he thinks "Obama is the first presidential candidate I've ever seen who is anti-American" -- he must have forgotten the whole string of them from McGovern to Kerry (who he thought was only an "ordinary liberal"). He has no political knowledge or analysis to offer and his pronouncements have become an insult to the intelligence to anyone looking for thoughtful answers. Anyone can mock politicians; making choices among those available in reality is more difficult. Leonard Peikoff is not the man he used to be. The form is there with the same kind of "clever" rhetoric putting characters down, but not the substance. This is very sad because he used to be infinitely more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this case he said he's not voting, which is different from last election, where he said he'd vote for Kerry.

Doesn’t Palin believe in evolution? I thought she did. I could be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post by Myrhaf, though not tied to Peikoff's words, may be of interest:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goodbye, GOP

I listened to a lot of talk radio yesterday. Both Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt emphasized Obama's pro-choice in abortion stand in hopes of motivating the religious right to vote. Hewitt spent his entire show taking calls only from Catholics in battleground states, hoping to use Cardinal Rigali's message to Pennsylvia Catholics to get out the vote on the religious right. Limbaugh even expressed the wish that those who support abortion leave the party.

There was nothing from them about the creeping fascism that economic interventionism is bringing us. Clearly, both men see the Republican Party as a party of religious values first. Economic liberty, which they would both say they support (Limbaugh especially, as Hewitt views free market "extremism" as an electoral loser), is a secondary consideration.

It was a depressing experience. Here we are, nearing election day, and the Republican propagandists are getting serious. Time to motivate the troops! And so, both Hewitt and Limbaugh end up talking about how Obama wants to "kill children in the womb." Yes, we should never vote for Democrats because they want to kill children.

As a farcical ending to a disgusting day, I listened to as much of Michael Savage as I could take. The man is a conspiracy theorist. When you step back and analyze what Michael Savage says, he sounds remarkably stupid. He brought up the militia movement of the '90s, which he thinks was a good thing, and told his listeners in ominous tones that the movement was destroyed by the government. He thinks the bailout came because of a secret agreement between the politicians and their friends on Wall Street to give them hundreds of billions of dollars stolen from Main Street.

Savage also is hot on the foolish story about Obama's birth certificate. Because the certificate is not the original, but a copy, Savage thinks it is fake and that Obama was actually born in Kenya and is thus not eligible to be President of the USA.

So what if Obama's birth certificate is a copy? That's all I have. I had to pay money to the county in Kansas where I was born to get the copy. It's good enough to get me a drivers license, passport and social security card.

So here are three of the most influential propagandists of the right, with two of them telling their listeners Obama is "against life" and the lunatic third one screaming that Obama was born in Africa. Is it any wonder this country is going down the drain?

I intend to respect Rush Limbaugh's desire and leave the Republican Party. I will reregister as an Independent. It's not the party I joined 20 years ago. As Reagan once said about the Democrats, I didn't leave the party, the party left me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In this case he said he's not voting, which is different from last election, where he said he'd vote for Kerry.

Doesn’t Palin believe in evolution? I thought she did. I could be wrong.

As I noted in this post, she said the following In an interview with Sean Hannity (here):

HANNITY: Did you only want to teach creationism in school and not evolution?

PALIN: No. In fact, growing up in a school teacher's house with a science teacher as a dad, you know, I have great respect for science being taught in our science classes and evolution to be taught in our science classes.

The moral of the story is that you can't believe everything you read on the front page of the New York Times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagreed with two things here, one of which has been brought up.

1. Obama doesn't have ties to Muslims, at least in anything other than casual relationships.

2. Palin has consistently dodged the question of whether she believes in evolution or not, but as long as she doesn't answer, I don't think it's good manners to accuse someone of such idiocy. Creatinoism is moronic on a really unimaginable scale.

But I think, otherwise, Peikoff is right on here. I just felt like posting this as an independent topic so it doesn't get lost amongst the continued debate on here.

However, ewv, I think your assessment is dead wrong in this case. While I haven't always been on board with Peikoff's argument, this election cycle has really confirmed his thoughts that the American political scape is infested with religion. Now it has manifested itself on both tickets. Peikoff since the 04 election, which I admittedly was not all too matured to fully understand, has been proven right at least in the respect that religion is the number one threat to freedom and liberty in this country. I think where people lose the argument is that they think he just means stereotypical theocratic policies like banning abortion and anti-gay laws. I think what needs to be comprehended here by the anti-Peikoff crowd is that American politics is forced by these lunatics to run on false premises of altruism, and that justification is boiled down to their belief in Christianity and their faith in God. I think what we should have been trying to avoid was a Democratic party that was infested with Religion, but now they are realizing that shouting "Me Too" with religion works, if nothing else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This post by Myrhaf, though not tied to Peikoff's words, may be of interest:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goodbye, GOP

I listened to a lot of talk radio yesterday. Both Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt emphasized Obama's pro-choice in abortion stand in hopes of motivating the religious right to vote. Hewitt spent his entire show taking calls only from Catholics in battleground states, hoping to use Cardinal Rigali's message to Pennsylvia Catholics to get out the vote on the religious right. Limbaugh even expressed the wish that those who support abortion leave the party.

There was nothing from them about the creeping fascism that economic interventionism is bringing us. Clearly, both men see the Republican Party as a party of religious values first. Economic liberty, which they would both say they support (Limbaugh especially, as Hewitt views free market "extremism" as an electoral loser), is a secondary consideration.

It was a depressing experience. Here we are, nearing election day, and the Republican propagandists are getting serious. Time to motivate the troops! And so, both Hewitt and Limbaugh end up talking about how Obama wants to "kill children in the womb." Yes, we should never vote for Democrats because they want to kill children...

Rush Limbaugh did make a belligerent statement that those who sanction abortion are not conservatives -- he arrogantly said that such people could vote for conservatives but not speak at their conventions. But it is not true that he ignored economic interventionism. He has been pounding on that continuously and has been very good on the bailout issue and all the sweeping, arbitrary power that is acruing in Washington. I don't know what Hewitt is doing.

As obnoxious as the Rush Limbaugh diatribe on abortion was, it struck me how unreligious in emphasis it was. He makes the usual equivocation equating "human life" biologically (i.e., genetically) with a real person. Once that is ingrained in his head, "protecting life" is exploited as an easy polemic (in the package deal) against liberals, avoiding, he seems to think, the necessity of arguing more complex issues of political philosophy. He simply takes it for granted that human beings have the right to life, vaguely endowed from God in some unspecified fashion, but there is otherwise very little overt mysticism or direct appeals to faith in his polemics. His emphasis is more on bashing liberals for violating rights when they are "inconvenient" for them. And since they do that all the time for all kinds of rights, his appeal to "principle" gives his arguments an air of plausibility to those who have never thought about what rights are in concept and where they come from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think what needs to be comprehended here by the anti-Peikoff crowd ...

Wait a minute! I am not anti-Peikoff nor is there a "crowd" of those who are anti-Peikoff here.

Dr. Peikoff is an honest, intelligent man and a passionate and knowledgeable advocate of Objectivism. That is why Ayn Rand held him in such high esteem and why I do also. I do not oppose Dr. Peikoff but only some of his conclusions about other people and of cultural trends.

These are areas where rational people -- like Dagny and Galt -- often disagree. That is because we are trying to evaluate the motives of others which we cannot directly perceive but can only infer and because we are trying to project the future actions of people with free will. Eventually, reality will show who is right but, until then, expect that Objectivists may disagree with each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not speaking in reference to you, Betsy, but ewv seems very aggressive and negative towards anything Peikoff has to say. I did not mean to insinuate anyone voting in this election is anti-Peikoff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This post by Myrhaf, though not tied to Peikoff's words, may be of interest:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goodbye, GOP

I listened to a lot of talk radio yesterday. Both Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt emphasized Obama's pro-choice in abortion stand in hopes of motivating the religious right to vote. Hewitt spent his entire show taking calls only from Catholics in battleground states, hoping to use Cardinal Rigali's message to Pennsylvia Catholics to get out the vote on the religious right. Limbaugh even expressed the wish that those who support abortion leave the party.

There was nothing from them about the creeping fascism that economic interventionism is bringing us. Clearly, both men see the Republican Party as a party of religious values first. Economic liberty, which they would both say they support (Limbaugh especially, as Hewitt views free market "extremism" as an electoral loser), is a secondary consideration.

It was a depressing experience. Here we are, nearing election day, and the Republican propagandists are getting serious. Time to motivate the troops! And so, both Hewitt and Limbaugh end up talking about how Obama wants to "kill children in the womb." Yes, we should never vote for Democrats because they want to kill children.

I don't know Hewit, but Rush Limbaugh emphasizes freedom and capitalism all of the time. In fact, he is passionate about it. Myrhaf's views on Rush are way, way off base. However, it is true that Rush is so called pro-life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I disagreed with two things here, one of which has been brought up.

1. Obama doesn't have ties to Muslims, at least in anything other than casual relationships.

He has such a hidden past and background it's hard to know what kind of ties he has. Given his long term association with Rev. Wright, if Obama has ties with Muslims it is probably more political than religious. Who knows what remants there are of Obama's early training by Muslims. Leonard Peikoff's claims to have "evidence" have no credibility because he takes at face value all kinds of things he picks up with no objective investigation.

2. Palin has consistently dodged the question of whether she believes in evolution or not, but as long as she doesn't answer, I don't think it's good manners to accuse someone of such idiocy. Creatinoism is moronic on a really unimaginable scale.

She has not dodged the issue of evolution. She said explicitly that it should be taught as science. Whatever belief she has about the role of a God in creating the world and life, such a vague notion is shared by a very large majority of the population and always has been. It is nothing new and has nothing to do with differences in political policy we are confronted with. Dismissing it as "Adam and Eve as friends with the dinosaurs" is a gratuitous snide remark that adds absolutely nothing to any analysis relevant to the election, serving only as a rhetorical substitute for rational thought pertinent to the subject.

But I think, otherwise, Peikoff is right on here. I just felt like posting this as an independent topic so it doesn't get lost amongst the continued debate on here.

He is not "right on". He has almost nothing to say at all beyond his package-dealing of Republicans with religion in politics and his obsession with "theocracy" regardless of the actual issues of politics, most of which he apparently knows nothing about because he has been unable to discuss them factually. The bogey man of "theocracy" has become a convenient excuse to believe he doesn't have to, as if there is one grand "principle" from which all of politics can be simply deduced.

However, ewv, I think your assessment is dead wrong in this case. While I haven't always been on board with Peikoff's argument, this election cycle has really confirmed his thoughts that the American political scape is infested with religion. Now it has manifested itself on both tickets.

How? It is rarely even mentioned. The abortion issue is the same debate as it has been for decades. The Rev. Wright controversy is over the racist, anti-Americanism of the politics of "liberation theology", not any religion-inspired policy or belief.

Peikoff since the 04 election, which I admittedly was not all too matured to fully understand, has been proven right at least in the respect that religion is the number one threat to freedom and liberty in this country.

How? What do you think you know about the kind of power that is exercised by government that has anything in particular to do with religion? What in the election campaign is supposed to show that it is religion that has taken on the role of a new threat in politics, let alone "the number one threat"?

I think where people lose the argument is that they think he just means stereotypical theocratic policies like banning abortion and anti-gay laws. I think what needs to be comprehended here by the anti-Peikoff crowd is that American politics is forced by these lunatics to run on false premises of altruism, and that justification is boiled down to their belief in Christianity and their faith in God.

We are not an "anti-Peikoff crowd". Please address specific arguments.

There is nothing new about altruistic premises in American politics and no visible sign that it is increasing specifically because of religion. Almost all politicians for a very long time have been religious because almost everyone else is, too. The vast majority of government forced sacrifices are entirely secular. The sacrifices are growing, but you find almost no specifically religious justifications for them other than environmentalist nature worship. Even the abortion issue is typically framed in confused terms of what "human life" means, omitting discussion of where rights come from and why to distinguish between masses of cells and people. The vaguely religious view of rights somehow coming from "God" has been around for a very long time, and is used more as a slogan than anything serious in political philosophy.

I think what we should have been trying to avoid was a Democratic party that was infested with Religion, but now they are realizing that shouting "Me Too" with religion works, if nothing else.

The Democrats adopted a strategy of talking more about religion because of the issue of "values" that came up in the 2004 election. Since almost everyone in the country thinks that religion is the source of morality, Democrats found it necessary to give lip service to religion, which they believe, too, even though no one knows what it means. Aside from the tactic of emphasizing "values", this doesn't distinguish them from anyone else over a very long period of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was not speaking in reference to you, Betsy, but ewv seems very aggressive and negative towards anything Peikoff has to say.

That is utterly false. We are discussing his injunctions on the election, not everything else he has done or said. If you want to know what I have said about Leonard Peikoff's contributions you can read it in numerous threads on the Forum, but do not make reckless generalizations and do not ignore the specific arguments made, replacing them with claims that it is all accounted for by an a-priori "anti-Peikoff crowd".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rational Ryan, I was born and raised in the Bible Belt and can find absolutely zero evidence to support Peikoff's fear of Christian Republicans. The sweeping, dramatic arguments he makes fall flat on their face when you actually live with the people he is deducting claims from ignorance about. The vast majority of Christian Republicans don't want anybody--the government, other religions, other Christians--sticking their nose into their lives; they want to be left the hell alone to live life as they please, and they certainly don't want to meddle in the lives of others.

When Environmentalism and Socialism are poised right now to completely conquer America, it is absolutely preposterous to claim that Christianity is some kind of a dominant threat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rational Ryan, I was born and raised in the Bible Belt and can find absolutely zero evidence to support Peikoff's fear of Christian Republicans. The sweeping, dramatic arguments he makes fall flat on their face when you actually live with the people he is deducting claims from ignorance about. The vast majority of Christian Republicans don't want anybody--the government, other religions, other Christians--sticking their nose into their lives; they want to be left the hell alone to live life as they please, and they certainly don't want to meddle in the lives of others.
So they don't want to ban gay marriage or abortion? Teach intelligent design as a reasonable alternative theory to evolution? Ban Harry Potter?

I see very serious threats to freedom on both sides of the aisle at present. In the long run, the religious are worse, because mysticism will trump consistent skepticism and apparent moral authority will trump relativism. I have disagreed with Peikoff and others whose expressed view, in my opinion, minimizes the threat of the leftists for the sake of the long term. The fact is we have to survive long enough for that long run threat to manifest itself. If we oppose the GOP at every turn, we run the risk of enshrining the most leftist Democrats with no real opposition. I'm not sure the country would survive that, if it is bad enough. If there was a way this election, I'd vote for gridlock again, but I see none.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Obama doesn't have ties to Muslims, at least in anything other than casual relationships.

Obama and others actively try to hide many things about his alliances and about his past. For example, LGF reports on a breaking story about just such a thing, a video in the possession of the LA Times showing Obama fêting former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, and the paper's refusal to release it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So they don't want to ban gay marriage or abortion? Teach intelligent design as a reasonable alternative theory to evolution? Ban Harry Potter?

I see very serious threats to freedom on both sides of the aisle at present. In the long run, the religious are worse, because mysticism will trump consistent skepticism and apparent moral authority will trump relativism. I have disagreed with Peikoff and others whose expressed view, in my opinion, minimizes the threat of the leftists for the sake of the long term. The fact is we have to survive long enough for that long run threat to manifest itself. If we oppose the GOP at every turn, we run the risk of enshrining the most leftist Democrats with no real opposition. I'm not sure the country would survive that, if it is bad enough. If there was a way this election, I'd vote for gridlock again, but I see none.

To paraphrase Dr. Brook in his recent "Capitalism Without Guilt" talk, the Republicans deserve to lose, but the problem is if they lose we all suffer. (he did not endorse a candidate)

I don't find this opinion from Dr. Peikoff to be helpful at all. Somebody's going to win this election, the only question is who. But instead of examining the merits of the candidates with the hope of some damage control, he just blots them all out. I chuckled at his caricatures, but there really is no content there to go by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To paraphrase Dr. Brook in his recent "Capitalism Without Guilt" talk, the Republicans deserve to lose, but the problem is if they lose we all suffer. (he did not endorse a candidate)

That's the problem in a nutshell. Though it's been true for every election for a very long time, it's even moreso for this one: voting out the bad means voting in...the bad.

I don't find this opinion from Dr. Peikoff to be helpful at all. Somebody's going to win this election, the only question is who. But instead of examining the merits of the candidates with the hope of some damage control, he just blots them all out. I chuckled at his caricatures, but there really is no content there to go by.

I haven't listened to the item in quesiton, but one can't expect in-depth philosophical analysis in a brief podcast. It would be a mistake either to accept or to dismiss what he says there as if he meant it to be as authoritative as OPAR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was not speaking in reference to you, Betsy, but ewv seems very aggressive and negative towards anything Peikoff has to say. I did not mean to insinuate anyone voting in this election is anti-Peikoff.

Then what does "crowd" mean if you are referring to one person?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't listened to the item in quesiton, but one can't expect in-depth philosophical analysis in a brief podcast. It would be a mistake either to accept or to dismiss what he says there as if he meant it to be as authoritative as OPAR.

My impression is that he only made this announcement to satisfy requests he's received. That reluctance is hard to miss, especially given that he says he will not talk about the subject again or answer questions. So I don't know if he even intended the podcast to convince anyone of his views, much less accept them as authoritative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the things that strikes me about Peikoff's analysis, i.e. that religion is the biggest threat, is that I don't remember Ayn Rand ever making an equivalent point. Her idea, I thought, was that religion isn't that big a threat, because intellectually it is primitive. Kantian philosophy was the biggest threat, because of the strong arguments he made against reason and science, while pretending to be a champion of them.

Now, to be sure, Peikoff has much more extensive knowledge of Objectivism than I do, and I understand the trust of Peikoff's argument, but how is religion going to stand up to Objectivism?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The vast majority of Christian Republicans don't want anybody--the government, other religions, other Christians--sticking their nose into their lives; they want to be left the hell alone to live life as they please, and they certainly don't want to meddle in the lives of others.
So they don't want to ban gay marriage or abortion? Teach intelligent design as a reasonable alternative theory to evolution? Ban Harry Potter?

A few of them do, but observe these are all legal powers religion used to have and lost (laws against abortion and teaching evolution, censorship) or currently have and are in danger of losing (ban on gay marriage). The fact is, the historical trend is away from religious influence.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about socialism and environmentalism.

I see very serious threats to freedom on both sides of the aisle at present.

I don't see a serious threat from religion at all. There is no chance that Harry Potter would be banned unless some left-winger decides it is racist hate speech or it falls under the Fairness Doctrine that the Left wants to re-introduce.

In the long run, the religious are worse, because mysticism will trump consistent skepticism and apparent moral authority will trump relativism.

If this is true, how did skepticism ever come to overcome religion in Europe and among the Left? Also, how can either stop the rise of Objectivism without the kind of censorship the Left wants to impose?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So they don't want to ban gay marriage or abortion? Teach intelligent design as a reasonable alternative theory to evolution? Ban Harry Potter?

Yes, a very small percentage that is over-represented and blown out of proportion does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So they don't want to ban gay marriage or abortion? Teach intelligent design as a reasonable alternative theory to evolution? Ban Harry Potter?

Yes, a very small percentage that is over-represented and blown out of proportion does.

Also, keep in mind that--unlike the Leftists--these Christian Republicans would only want to change a few specific things in America that "anger up the blood" (abortion, gay marriage), but there would never be a movement to broadly restructure and redefine the purpose and power of our government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites