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KurtColville

Why did Americans choose Obama?

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I don't know how the media lives with itself. The evasion wasn't even subtle.
It's easy when people don't care about ideas or integrity. Even conservatives are too altruistic and pragmatic to truly care.

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It's easy when people don't care about ideas or integrity. Even conservatives are too altruistic and pragmatic to truly care.
I've noticed this pragmatic streak in Aussies, too. So many seem so clueless about the meaning of what could happen in America soon. It's like one of those big dot-to-dot puzzles and no-one cares to connect the dots for fear they might actually see a recognizable - and ugly - picture.

All most people say to me is it's "good" we made a "change" in America. When I ask why "change" as such is a value, most people just evade the question and say "Well it's better than four more years of Bush!" If the only reason for praising Obama is "change," then there's little discussion to be had.

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It's easy when people don't care about ideas or integrity. Even conservatives are too altruistic and pragmatic to truly care.
I've noticed this pragmatic streak in Aussies, too. So many seem so clueless about the meaning of what could happen in America soon. It's like one of those big dot-to-dot puzzles and no-one cares to connect the dots for fear they might actually see a recognizable - and ugly - picture.

All most people say to me is it's "good" we made a "change" in America. When I ask why "change" as such is a value, most people just evade the question and say "Well it's better than four more years of Bush!" If the only reason for praising Obama is "change," then there's little discussion to be had.

Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

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It's easy when people don't care about ideas or integrity. Even conservatives are too altruistic and pragmatic to truly care.
I've noticed this pragmatic streak in Aussies, too. So many seem so clueless about the meaning of what could happen in America soon. It's like one of those big dot-to-dot puzzles and no-one cares to connect the dots for fear they might actually see a recognizable - and ugly - picture.

All most people say to me is it's "good" we made a "change" in America. When I ask why "change" as such is a value, most people just evade the question and say "Well it's better than four more years of Bush!" If the only reason for praising Obama is "change," then there's little discussion to be had.

Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

Yes, I see that. I don't think it's a local trait, either. The lack of connecting the dots is worldwide. Happily, it won't require a mass "connecting of dots" for things to change for the better, but it is troubling nonetheless that thinking is so reviled these days.

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Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

That's it exactly, Arnold. Add to that that life in the industrialized world is pretty comfortable, technology allows things to work well with little effort, and most people see no incentive to do the work that thinking requires. If the zombies would stop putting a gun to the heads of the men of the mind for two seconds, those men could show the world what thinking can really do.

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Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

That's it exactly, Arnold. Add to that that life in the industrialized world is pretty comfortable, technology allows things to work well with little effort, and most people see no incentive to do the work that thinking requires. If the zombies would stop putting a gun to the heads of the men of the mind for two seconds, those men could show the world what thinking can really do.

To do this, the "men of the mind" have to first understand that they are here for their own happiness and not servants of the "zombies" happiness. To do that they will need a philosophy of ethics which holds rational selfishness as it's guiding principle. Until they understand this they will continue to willingly enslave themselves to the "zombies."

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Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

That's it exactly, Arnold. Add to that that life in the industrialized world is pretty comfortable, technology allows things to work well with little effort, and most people see no incentive to do the work that thinking requires.

Given that we live in an industrialized world, we can take advantage of the division of labor too.

People can use and benefit from computers without having to design, build, and program them. That is the job of those who choose to do it. Likewise, people can understand and benefit from a rational philosophy and its applications without having to connect all the dots themselves. That is the job of intellectuals and "New Intellectuals" like us.

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Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

That's it exactly, Arnold. Add to that that life in the industrialized world is pretty comfortable, technology allows things to work well with little effort, and most people see no incentive to do the work that thinking requires. If the zombies would stop putting a gun to the heads of the men of the mind for two seconds, those men could show the world what thinking can really do.

To do this, the "men of the mind" have to first understand that they are here for their own happiness and not servants of the "zombies" happiness. To do that they will need a philosophy of ethics which holds rational selfishness as it's guiding principle. Until they understand this they will continue to willingly enslave themselves to the "zombies."

That's actually who I was referring to by "men of the mind" -- those few who do understand that they are right to live for themselves, but who nonetheless have zombies holding a gun to them. And yes, those who are in the middle, who can think and produce a little, they must stop willingly enslaving themselves.

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Let's face it. thinking involves work. Every emotional statement they make is just going to float out there because "connecting the dots" is work that has to be tied to an underlying view of life. Most people see no gain in digging down into their premises. They are like the proverbial pfffft in a sand-storm, and go where the wind takes them.

That's it exactly, Arnold. Add to that that life in the industrialized world is pretty comfortable, technology allows things to work well with little effort, and most people see no incentive to do the work that thinking requires.

Given that we live in an industrialized world, we can take advantage of the division of labor too.

People can use and benefit from computers without having to design, build, and program them. That is the job of those who choose to do it. Likewise, people can understand and benefit from a rational philosophy and its applications without having to connect all the dots themselves. That is the job of intellectuals and "New Intellectuals" like us.

Of course. There's plenty of room for Eddie's and Cherryl's in a proper society. They would make up most of a modern capitalist culture, benefitting from the men of the mind and supporting them, rather than getting in their way. But the Eddie's and Cherryl's today shrug or blank out at the choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson. And we have way too many Philip Rearden's and Mr. Mowen's. They can't be bothered to think, because they'd rather gossip about their friends or party or watch mindless sitcoms. They vote for a pure celebrity for President, someone as empty as they are to run their lives. And he takes that power and destroys the good, in part because he hates it and in part because, not knowing any better, he thinks he's doing good.

The rational philosophy is there and some people have connected the dots. But they can't make others connect them or at least connect enough dots to leave people alone. The choice to make great things can't only happen in one's mind, it must be possible to do in one's life. If the mob prevents you from acting on your choice to make great things, your choice doesn't do you much good. The greatest philosophy and level of industry in the world cannot survive when the overwhelming majority turns off its mind and hands its bodies over to the looters to use against the producers. While it's up to the men of the mind to communicate the right ideas to the masses, it's also up to them to recognize when the masses are no longer listening and are threatening to end them. At that point, rational men have to say, "Reasoning with them, carrying them on my back, is a lost cause. I'm abandoning them to go live elsewhere, while they see the results of abandoning the mind."

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Of course. There's plenty of room for Eddie's and Cherryl's in a proper society. They would make up most of a modern capitalist culture, benefitting from the men of the mind and supporting them, rather than getting in their way. But the Eddie's and Cherryl's today shrug or blank out at the choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson.

When were Eddie and Cherryl ever given a choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson? Certainly not in the last election. Certainly not at that crucial time in their early adulthood when they choose the values they will build their lives on.

That's why our support of the Books Project is so important. It gives Eddie and Cherryl a choice.

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Of course. There's plenty of room for Eddie's and Cherryl's in a proper society. They would make up most of a modern capitalist culture, benefitting from the men of the mind and supporting them, rather than getting in their way. But the Eddie's and Cherryl's today shrug or blank out at the choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson.

When were Eddie and Cherryl ever given a choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson? Certainly not in the last election. Certainly not at that crucial time in their early adulthood when they choose the values they will build their lives on.

That's why our support of the Books Project is so important. It gives Eddie and Cherryl a choice.

I agree that the Books Project is very important. But, the "Eddie's and Cherryl's" were given choices just like you, me and Ayn Rand. What they did with that choice is what has lead us to this point. A lot of us were given values that we did not agree with and chose to discard them and look for better one's. Freedom demands an enlightened citizenry. I do think that it is in my best long term selfish interest to do all that is possible to try and create that opportunity for a citizenry like I mentioned. But, as we all know, a mind cannot operate from force, those citizens will have to come to their own (new) conclusions.

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Of course. There's plenty of room for Eddie's and Cherryl's in a proper society. They would make up most of a modern capitalist culture, benefitting from the men of the mind and supporting them, rather than getting in their way. But the Eddie's and Cherryl's today shrug or blank out at the choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson.

When were Eddie and Cherryl ever given a choice between John Galt and Mr. Thompson? Certainly not in the last election. Certainly not at that crucial time in their early adulthood when they choose the values they will build their lives on.

That's why our support of the Books Project is so important. It gives Eddie and Cherryl a choice.

I'll echo what Ray said. People are given the choice between Galt and Thompson every second of every day. It's the choice between good and evil, and you have to turn your mind on to make the right call -- something that not enough people are willing to do. That choice in the form of a Presidential election is nothing compared to the daily choice of morally evaluating the person who gets a promotion over you, or the spouse who lies to you about where they were last night, or the person who doesn't want to help "the needy", or the person who demands that you must. It's the choice between looking someone square in the eye when you talk to them and dealing with them honestly, or treating them as a dispensable nuisance. It's the choice between perception or reality.

Summoning up enough cognitive motivation to reach the sense of life of an Eddie or a Cherryl is not hard. It does not require knowing Objectivism or a lifetime of purposeful introspection. It merely requires that the average Joe stay the hell out of the producers' way, and make a limited, consistent effort to connect the things that make life good with the men who make them. The founders of this country handed us just such a society on a silver platter, and gave us philosophical room to make it even greater and to create such things as Objectivism and computers and stock markets and genetics. And we can't throw it away fast enough, denying all the while that we're throwing it away, and persecuting anyone who disagrees. Honestly, what's so hard about saying, "I don't know how he does it, but I like what he does, so I'll leave him be"? There were lots of good things that I saw growing up that I had no idea how they came to be, but I didn't need Objectivism to know that they were good and that I shouldn't try to destroy them.

The Books Project is important, to reach those who would listen, but who have no idea about a proper philosophy. But, as Phil has said innumerable times on here, it's not like no one has ever heard of Ayn Rand or her ideas. Her books have been widely read. It's no accident that the overwhelming majority sneers at her ideas rather than embraces them. The ideas that your life belongs to you, or that wishing won't make it so, or that there are proper, demonstrable standards of human behavior are neither unique to Ayn Rand's works nor are they totally foreign to American society. They permeate modern life, and yet they are pitted against their arch enemies of skepticism and collectivism and altruism, because the fulcrum upon which those ideas balance, the human mind, has decided that thinking isn't worth the effort. The state of freedom and rationality in a society determines which side is winning.

If Americans want to live, discovering Ayn Rand is the best way, but it is not the only way. They can make a great start simply by looking at reality honestly and acting on it. If they're not willing to do that, and they punish those who do, all the great books in the world will not make it worth trying to outlast them.

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But, the "Eddie's and Cherryl's" were given choices just like you, me and Ayn Rand. What they did with that choice is what has lead us to this point. A lot of us were given values that we did not agree with and chose to discard them and look for better one's.

But that doesn't guarantee that we will find them. I was lucky. I first read Ayn Rand at age 18 and it made a huge difference. What if I hadn't?

While I'm brighter than Eddie or Cherryl, I'm no Ayn Rand. I think I might have ended up like many of my friends who had similar values but didn't discover Ayn Rand. I probably would have chosen to live by the best of the values I was raised with -- honesty, justice, self-reliance, etc. My benevolent, generous mindset would lead me to endorse altruism although I would avoid heavy-duty self-sacrifice. I probably would be what I was before Ayn Rand, a liberal Democrat, at least in the beginning. and then maybe drift toward conservativism as I got older.

Most of the Eddies and Cherryls I know may be making bad choices, but I don't hold that against them. Without Ayn Rand, they are doing the best they know how and that is a virtue.

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People are given the choice between Galt and Thompson every second of every day. It's the choice between good and evil, and you have to turn your mind on to make the right call -- something that not enough people are willing to do.

It is also a choice that even a willing person can't do without the proper moral guidance.

Observe that Rearden made wrong choices about sex. It wasn't because he was was unwilling to do the right thing. He suffered so much and felt guilty because he cared so much about doing the right thing. He just didn't know what the right thing was -- until Francisco explained it to him.

That choice in the form of a Presidential election is nothing compared to the daily choice of morally evaluating the person who gets a promotion over you, or the spouse who lies to you about where they were last night

IF you know they are lying. Here again, not having the needed knowledge can account for bad choices. We have no way to directly perceive someone else's context of knowledge or motivation and we have to infer everything from what we can perceive. That is why it took Ayn Rand some time to figure out that Nathaniel Branden was lying to her. Until she did, she gave him the benefit of the doubt and that was the right and proper thing to do. Likewise, Rearden gave his family the benefit of the doubt and Dagny assumed the looters really wanted to live. Rearden and Dagny made wrong choices, but not evil choices.

The Books Project is important, to reach those who would listen, but who have no idea about a proper philosophy.

Considering the target age range, the best young people may have good values on a sense of life level, but they don't yet have a philosophy, proper or otherwise. This is the time and the way to give it to them before they make the kind of mistakes than Eddie and Cherryl -- as well as Rearden and Dagny -- made.

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But, as Phil has said innumerable times on here, it's not like no one has ever heard of Ayn Rand or her ideas. Her books have been widely read. It's no accident that the overwhelming majority sneers at her ideas rather than embraces them.

In my experience, that is not the case. Of course it is true of the intellectuals, but they are an aberration. Not counting intellectuals, most Americans who are exposed to Ayn Rand like her ideas and are sympathetic to them. They recommend them to their friends and give Ayn Rand books as presents to their children.

The ideas that your life belongs to you, or that wishing won't make it so, or that there are proper, demonstrable standards of human behavior are neither unique to Ayn Rand's works nor are they totally foreign to American society.

You are describing views of the average American.

They permeate modern life, and yet they are pitted against their arch enemies of skepticism and collectivism and altruism, because the fulcrum upon which those ideas balance, the human mind, has decided that thinking isn't worth the effort.

Not true. The intellectuals have decided that thinking isn't worth the effort and they are the ones who abandoned the mind long ago. The average American desperately wants intellectual and moral guidance.

The state of freedom and rationality in a society determines which side is winning.

The intellectual leadership of a country determines the state of freedom and rationality in a society. Reality determines who wins. (Betsy's Law #1)

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But, the "Eddie's and Cherryl's" were given choices just like you, me and Ayn Rand. What they did with that choice is what has lead us to this point. A lot of us were given values that we did not agree with and chose to discard them and look for better one's.

But that doesn't guarantee that we will find them. I was lucky. I first read Ayn Rand at age 18 and it made a huge difference. What if I hadn't?

I did not find Ayn Rand's writings until I was 29 years old. Before that I did pretty well looking at the facts of reality and discarding what I thought to be incorrect which is what I called irrational ideas long ago. I did not have the knowledge nor was the knowledge I had fully integrated but I was already working on it when I came across my first Ayn Rand book. The people with an independent mind will search out a proper philosophy (whether they call it that or not) and all one can do is be there when they come looking, for values.

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I did not find Ayn Rand's writings until I was 29 years old. Before that I did pretty well looking at the facts of reality and discarding what I thought to be incorrect which is what I called irrational ideas long ago. I did not have the knowledge nor was the knowledge I had fully integrated but I was already working on it when I came across my first Ayn Rand book. The people with an independent mind will search out a proper philosophy (whether they call it that or not) and all one can do is be there when they come looking, for values.
I was in my mid-20s and simultaneously living in a former communist country, as I've said in other threads. The "trifecta" of being already independent, reading Ayn Rand and living in the kind of pesthole she described so accurately in We the Living was enough to kick start me.

I have a 39-year-old friend whom I've considered Good Objectivist Material for a while. He may not become an Objectivist himself, but I know he'll respond well to the ideas overall. I had for a long time wanted to go slowly in recommending he read Ayn Rand's books. Given the turn the country might well take, I want him as armed as possible, so I told him I'd compile a reading list. I'll report back his reactions as they progress.

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More brilliant analysis (as usual) from Ed Cline:

... What was disturbing were the Obama rallies during the campaign. Not a few commentators have remarked how similar they were in spirit and size to Hitler's Nuremberg shows of "solidarity." Obama spoke emotively, seductively, saying nothing but promising everything, and his audiences responded wildly in answer, thinking nothing but believing he had said it all. Audience and speaker blended into a single beast in a scary gestalt, transcending the sum of their emotions to become a force ready and willing to brush aside or crush any evidence of individual, rational resistance, in a kind of reverse demonstration of Orwell's Two Minutes Hate in Nineteen Eighty-Four....

Read it all at http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5356

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I did not find Ayn Rand's writings until I was 29 years old. Before that I did pretty well looking at the facts of reality and discarding what I thought to be incorrect which is what I called irrational ideas long ago. I did not have the knowledge nor was the knowledge I had fully integrated but I was already working on it when I came across my first Ayn Rand book. The people with an independent mind will search out a proper philosophy (whether they call it that or not) and all one can do is be there when they come looking, for values.

My experience was similar. Without any help from Ayn Rand I came up with the principle that reality exists and it is what it is independent of my wishes and fond hopes. Any wishes that things are not what they are or are what they are not, are vain and futile. One does not have to be a genius to get to this by him/her self. I took Ayn Rand's writings as a kind of cross check on my own thinking. Strictly speaking, I did not -need- Ayn Rand to get to a proper empirically founded idea of what the world is and how it works. Anyone with a sufficiently well working and a distaste for evasion brain can do it. I did it well before Ayn Rand ever published -Atlas Shrugged-.

The world is what it is and fecum sunt.

ruveyn

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I don't know how the media lives with itself. The evasion wasn't even subtle.
It's easy when people don't care about ideas or integrity. Even conservatives are too altruistic and pragmatic to truly care.

The campaign can be summed up as X-Factor meets America's next top president. That and the "death of American journalism" as Hannity remarked on Fox one time.

Combine that with a wholly uninspiring Republican choice, and you get Obama

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As if on cue, John Ziegler has posted a video of interviews conducted immediately after the election among Obama supporters. In addition, he provides information from a similar Zogby poll (and the furor that appears to have surrounded it) with results similar to those of his admittedly unscientific survey.

How Obama Got Elected

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