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#61 ewv

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:26 AM

I'm sure a part of this is a response to alumni protests, among others. Whatever the pressures that prompted it, ...

Bureaucrats can't tolerate controversy. It threatens their power and funding.

#62 Free Capitalist

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:27 PM

Who said it's duty for duty's sake? Is it not evident to every member of the Naval Academy what a wonderful country they are fighting for?


The honest ones recognize that they are serving a welfare state engaged in a self-sacrifical war designed to bring democracy to our enemies.

Would you like a list of who has said duty for duties sake. Here are three. I am more than willing to provide more.

George Bancroft
Alfred Thayer Mahan
James Stockdale

As a student of history and this country you might want to familiarize yourself with these individuals. It may help if you decide to continue to participate in this thread.


These men are not philosophers. Don't you think I know that some men do advocate duty qua duty. But do you think this was born with Kant? Please. This notion is as old as man! And while it was being preached over thousands of years, by men who weren't philosophers, has it stopped good men from living and dying for their values? Their family, their country, etc? Again, you are blowing out of proportion the happenings in the Navy, which may sound modern because Navy is all modern and shiny and high-tech; but in fact it repeats the events and and attitudes that've been present since the origin of man's history. And while duty qua duty is not philosophically the greatest idea, it's definitely not in the group of some horrendous ideas that need elimination as soon as possible. Because while some idiot general preaches duty qua duty, as long as its towards a virtuous country, then there are worse ideas that can be battled for the moment.

Speaking of which, your characterization of America as "a welfare state engaged in a self-sacrifical war designed to bring democracy to our enemies" is reprehensible.
"I will tell you of the most native and greatest adornment of Athens, that which comprises and contains all the rest. Some lands are adorned as the birthplace of elephant and lion species, others as the birthplace of horses and dogs, and yet others of creatures the tales of which frighten children. But its land is adorned by the fairest thing on earth, not to be mentioned like some winged ants of India. For it was the first to bear Man."
-Aelius Aristides, 2nd c. AD

#63 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:35 PM

To make such a broad, sweeping, and derogatory remark about the members of the United States Military who are risking their very lives so that you may sit and bash them in the comfort of your home is nothing short of treachery.


This is a gross misrepresentation of my answer and you have taken it completely out of context. The question was:

Is it not evident to every member of the Naval Academy what a wonderful country they are fighting for?


The group of individuals involved are 'every member of the Naval Academy' not the 'members of the United States Military.' I take it as self-evident that I am fighting for a wonderful country otherwise I would not be doing what I am doing. My answer was in reference to myself and the belief that there may be others. I can't speak for the other 'members of the Naval Academy'.
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#64 Carlos

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:36 PM

The honest ones recognize that they are serving a welfare state engaged in a self-sacrifical war designed to bring democracy to our enemies.

So every single person who is willingly serving in the military is dishonest?

Rick, in Texas when soldiers land in DFW Airport, groups of patriotic, elderly women (all Christian Republicans more than likely--dark servants and minions of the coming theocracy) congregate specifically to applaud them as they step off the plane. Maybe you should stand with them holding a big sign that says "You're all dishonest" and see how well received that is by genuinely pro-American, good people.

Better yet, put your comment on a big sign and go stand and protest with all the other loony leftists in the streets of San Francisco or NYC: the sentiment for our soldiers expressed in your statement will be indistinguishable from theirs.

#65 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:37 PM

Speaking of which, your characterization of America as "a welfare state engaged in a self-sacrifical war designed to bring democracy to our enemies" is reprehensible.


Yes, it is reprehensible and also true.
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#66 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:40 PM

The honest ones recognize that they are serving a welfare state engaged in a self-sacrifical war designed to bring democracy to our enemies.

So every single person who is willingly serving in the military is dishonest?


See my response to JRoberts in Post # 63.
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#67 Carlos

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:44 PM

Would you like a list of who has said duty for duties sake. Here are three. I am more than willing to provide more.

George Bancroft
Alfred Thayer Mahan
James Stockdale

As a student of history and this country you might want to familiarize yourself with these individuals. It may help if you decide to continue to participate in this thread.

Once again Rick, if you are going to argue with people you need to actually explain your arguments by providing information rather than listing a catalogue of people that have literally no significance to anyone here.

Listing obscure names with absolutely no context or additional information is completely pointless in terms of framing an argument or furthering discussion.

#68 Carlos

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:50 PM

The group of individuals involved are 'every member of the Naval Academy' not the 'members of the United States Military.'

Why does that matter? The original statement clearly encompassed everyone involved in the US Military by implication. If that wasn't your specific intent, you sure could have worded it in a much better and less offensive form.

http://forums.4aynra...s...ost&p=63388

#69 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:54 PM

Better yet, put your comment on a big sign and go stand and protest with all the other loony leftists in the streets of San Francisco or NYC: the sentiment for our soldiers expressed in your statement will be indistinguishable from theirs.


If I were to hold up a sign it would say:

You need to watch the movie, Bridge on the River Kwai. Stop building bridges for the enemy and start blowing them up.
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#70 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:00 PM

Would you like a list of who has said duty for duties sake. Here are three. I am more than willing to provide more.

George Bancroft
Alfred Thayer Mahan
James Stockdale

As a student of history and this country you might want to familiarize yourself with these individuals. It may help if you decide to continue to participate in this thread.

Once again Rick, if you are going to argue with people you need to actually explain your arguments by providing information rather than listing a catalogue of people that have literally no significance to anyone here.

Listing obscure names with absolutely no context or additional information is completely pointless in terms of framing an argument or furthering discussion.


What you fail to understand is that I am not arguing. I am pointing you in the direction in which you can acquire knowledge on the subject at hand. I am not responsible for your ignorance.
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#71 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:16 PM

Would you like a list of who has said duty for duties sake. Here are three. I am more than willing to provide more.

George Bancroft
Alfred Thayer Mahan
James Stockdale

As a student of history and this country you might want to familiarize yourself with these individuals. It may help if you decide to continue to participate in this thread.

Once again Rick, if you are going to argue with people you need to actually explain your arguments by providing information rather than listing a catalogue of people that have literally no significance to anyone here.

Listing obscure names with absolutely no context or additional information is completely pointless in terms of framing an argument or furthering discussion.


These are not obscure names.

Bancroft Hall is named after George Bancroft and is the largest dormitory in the world. He also played a significant role in Texas becoming a state. As an American historian, he was so well respected that he gave President Lincoln's eulogy.

The history building at the Naval Academy is named after Alfred Thayer Mahan. His theory on sea power gave Great Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States the moral certainty to build their navies that eventually led to the World Wars.

The ethics building and program at the Naval Academy is named after James Stockdale who earned a Medal of Honor as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. He was the highest ranking officer held prisoner during that war. He was also the Vice-Presidential candidate for Ross Perot when they took 19% of the vote. Clinton won that race ousting George Bush Sr. from the Presidency.

Since you are from Texas can I assume that you know Ross Perot. He is another obscure Naval Academy Grad who has a strong sense of duty for duty's sake. Add him to your list of people you might want to familiarize yourself with.
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#72 Carlos

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:19 PM

What you fail to understand is that I am not arguing. I am pointing you in the direction in which you can acquire knowledge on the subject at hand. I am not responsible for your ignorance.

You provided the information as a supplement to your original claim here:
http://forums.4aynra...s...ost&p=63386

Free Cap responded with this:
http://forums.4aynra...s...ost&p=63387

And then you provided this:
http://forums.4aynra...s...ost&p=63388

I think that is part of an argument Rick.


And no, you aren't responsible for my "ignorance", but you are responsible to yourself for actually making productive arguments.

#73 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:43 PM

I think that is part of an argument Rick.

And no, you aren't responsible for my "ignorance", but you are responsible to yourself for actually making productive arguments.


I will agree with you that when you take my seperate posts and combine them they do form a part of an argument. At this time, they do not make up an entire whole argument. However, the fact that you have made that identification I can conclude that you are learning something and I can also conclude that a portion of my argument has been successful.
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#74 oldsalt

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 04:49 PM

These are not obscure names.

Bancroft Hall is named after George Bancroft and is the largest dormitory in the world. He also played a significant role in Texas becoming a state. As an American historian, he was so well respected that he gave President Lincoln's eulogy.

This brief history gives no valid reason why you list him as among some nefarious group acting against America and morality.

The history building at the Naval Academy is named after Alfred Thayer Mahan. His theory on sea power gave Great Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States the moral certainty to build their navies that eventually led to the World Wars.


Mahan was a part of a group of military officers that pushed for an American Empire. That push resulted in our acquiring the Philippines. I'm certainly no fan of the man, but in some fairness, Empire building was a part of the odious Manifest Destiny thinking of the time.

Why is having a moral certainty to build a Navy is a bad thing? This country most certainly has the moral right to build its military to strength, but the fact is that we have always had to engage in crash programs to rebuild on the spur of an outbreak of war. To say that preparation for war leads to war is an equivocation and amounts to saying "If you build it, they will come." This country, unlike Germany and Japan, did not build in order to start a war. To say that Great Britain needed Mahan to give them a moral certainty for building ships ignores Britain's own Naval history. They were still not prepared for WWII. None of the countries you mentioned required any blessing from any one in the U.S. Navy, whether they sited Mahan's thinking or not. Mahan was not an original thinker.

As an aside: My brother is a plank owner on the latest ship, a cruiser, to be commissioned with Mahan's name. He was Ship's Chief for the project. It was his last job before he retired.

The ethics building and program at the Naval Academy is named after James Stockdale who earned a Medal of Honor as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. He was the highest ranking officer held prisoner during that war. He was also the Vice-Presidential candidate for Ross Perot when they took 19% of the vote. Clinton won that race ousting George Bush Sr. from the Presidency.


So Admiral Stockdale was responsible for Clinton's presidency? This was an honorable man. He had no business in politics, but that in no way makes him evil.

You seem to think that all of these people sat around rubbing their hands and plotting evil deeds. You make not allowance for context. Do you think that Bancroft and Mahan ought to have been Objectivists before the birth of Objectivism? Or that we should expect them to have come to conclusions that better men were unable to attain? They were military men, not philosophers. They mirrored the society around them, just as the military does today. Their mistakes do not make them evil.

I submit that when someone volunteers to join its country's military, there is a certain duty that pertains. These people take an oath to serve their country and obey its representative above them. This is not a duty imposed from above, but taken on in full knowledge of the responsibility involved. No one at Annapolis was forced there. No one held a gun to the head of a volunteer and forced them to take the oath. I would also point out that the oath they take is to protect the Constitution of the United States, not some some particular dictator.

You seem to lump everyone involved into one giant collective that thinks in lock-step, just as they march in lock-step. The military people I've known are not little drones. Nor are all officers members of an evil Borg, and justice demands that you do not damn everyone for the actions taken by any one of them. My father's reasons for his career were nothing like "a Duty to God, Country, Family." He didn't owe a duty to his country, but he loved it enough to value the job. He also thought it was important that honorable men serve to protect their own interests and values. I learned these things from him, before I ever heard of Ayn Rand. It was this Church of Christ Christian who taught me that my first duty was to myself. Perhaps I ought not to have listened to him, since he used the word "duty."

Does your definition of America as a welfare state fighting an immoral war in Iraq (immoral because this administration thinks that building a democracy in the center of the Middle East will make us safer--a dubious premise, to say the least, but not completely incomprehensible) encapsulates the essence of this country? We are at war. We are at war because we were attacked. I don't like the conduct of this war any more than you do, but that doesn't mean that I think we can simply ignore the fact that we have enemies who are warring against us, even if we want to. They are not going to stop fighting us just because we refuse to fight back; we tried that for almost 30 years and the attacks against us only escalated. Are we to sit with our hands in our laps because this government isn't fighting the war the way we know it ought to be fought, or because previous administrations behaved the way they did? We do not exist in a vacuum. As individuals, we can speak out for the proper way to fight, for the moral rightness of fighting to win, and we can vote. Regardless of what we think, the fact remains that we are at war, a war precipitated by a lack of action on our part, but not a war we started.

I'll close by saying that no one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to serve in an institution you despise and consider evil. To paint those who do choose to train and serve as officers with the same broad brush, however, is unjust and disrespectful of the individual human mind.
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#75 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 05:54 PM

The following quotes are taken from Foundations of Moral Obligation by Joseph Brennan. The text book used to teach the Stockdale Course.

Immanuel Kant(1724-1804) has always been of special interest to the military, particularly in Germany. p. 74


Kant begins his study of moral philosophy by directing our attention to the moral act. He says that the act of true moral worth springs from a good will, and that a truly good will has no strings attached:

The good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes, or because of its adequacy to achieve some proposed end; it is good only because of its willing, i.e., it is good of itself.

Stated simply, our actions are of moral worth when we do the right thing because it is right, and not for what benefit we can get out of it. p. 87


An act of moral worth is unconditioned; it has no strings attached, no seeking of satisfaction, not even of happiness(though Kant says a good will deserves to be happy).

Kant's point is worth repeating. I give my promise to do something. Why should I keep my promise? So that others will keep their promises to me? For the sake of social harmony? So that I will have and keep my good reputaion? If I keep my promise because I am influenced by one or more of these considerations, my promise-keeping is not an act of moral worth. That does not mean that it is an immoral act. It may be in accord with the moral law; it may even be praiseworthy. But it is not an authentic moral act. Only if I keep my promise because it is my duty to do so will the act be one of true moral worth.

Kant's is an ethic of duty, and it is not just a matter for professors of moral philosophy to talk about. Take any senior enlisted aboard a ship who is instructing an inexperienced seaman, and the seaman is protesting, "Why all this?" The senior enlisted replies, "Look, don't ask any more questions like that. It goes with the job, see?" p. 89


This is what I was taught and it was my duty to accept this for duty's sake. This is evil and it is the cause of the ethics problems that continue to plague the Naval Academy. The future I am fighting for requires that I identify these sources of evil and take action to eradicate them.

I took the oath 20 years ago to defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. I was young and naive. I had no idea that the enemy was a philosopher named Kant. I had no idea the founder of the Naval Academy studied under Hegel and other Kantian ilk. If this country is going to survive then the philosophy being taught at the Naval Academy is going to have to undergo a radical change.
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#76 JRoberts

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 05:55 PM

There is not much more that I can say after such a wonderful post by Janet. However, I would like to stress (and reinforce) the statement that the members of the military are not philosophers. They join to serve this country-a country that they love-a country that has given the individual more freedom than any other country or society in the history of mankind. Their service and devotion to our nation is nothing less than admirable and heroic. Thus they deserve the utmost respect for their actions. The people who would warrant the claim of being dishonest are not our heroes in the military or the Naval Academy, but the politicians. Point your latent disgust at America at them.
Rome was founded and extended by the labors of those men of old; their descendants made Rome more hideous while it stood than when it fell. For in the ruin of the city it was stone and timber which fell to the ground; but in the lives of those Romans we saw the collapse not of material but of moral defenses, not of material but of spiritual grandeur. The lust that burned in their hearts was more deadly than the flame which consumed their dwellings.

-St. Augustine

#77 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:11 PM

These are not obscure names.

Bancroft Hall is named after George Bancroft and is the largest dormitory in the world. He also played a significant role in Texas becoming a state. As an American historian, he was so well respected that he gave President Lincoln's eulogy.



This brief history gives no valid reason why you list him as among some nefarious group acting against America and morality.




George Bancroft's "The Office of the People in Art, Government, and Religion" was an oration delivered before the Adelphi Society of Williamstown College, in August, 1835. It is pure Kant.

There is a spirit in man: not in the privileged few; not in those of us only who by the favor of Providence have been nursed in public schools: IT IS IN MAN: it is the attribute of the race. The spirit, which is the guide to truth, is the gracious gift to each member of the human family.

Reason exists within every breast. I mean not that faculty which deduces inferences from the experience of the senses, but that higher faculty, which from the infinite treasures of its own consciousness, originates truth, and assents to it by the force of intuitive evidence; that faculty which raises us beyond the control of time and space, and gives us faith in things eternal and invisible.


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#78 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:26 PM

There is not much more that I can say after such a wonderful post by Janet. However, I would like to stress (and reinforce) the statement that the members of the military are not philosophers.


George Bancroft the founder of the Naval Academy was a philosopher as was James Stockdale. Alfred Thayer Mahan was also considered a philosopher but I don't have my source to back me up. I will provide that on Monday. Have a good weekend.

Two opponents, usually friends of the candidate, were then appointed to enter the discussion, and as the appointed day arrived, Bancroft, dressed in black, the home of Eichhorn, the dean of the faculty, in order to invite them to the defense. At the proper hour Eichhorn, rising on the platform, introduced the young American to the assembly and the debate between candidate and audience began, to last some two hours. The dean of the faculty declaring the defense ended, Bancroft gave his closing oration, received the oath from the Beadle of the University, and became a Doctor of Philosophy. "Now," he wrote proudly to Norton, "the people cry out as I pass. Doktor, Herr Doktor!" (p. 46, George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel by Russel B. Nye)


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#79 oldsalt

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:57 PM

Rick, you have a valid argument to make about the things that are taught. It has taken you this long to get to the crux of the argument.

As I asked you above, do you expect Bancroft, or anybody else for that matter, to understand the evil of Kant's ethics when no one else did? Before Objectivism? At a time when the prevailing ethics was no different?

Look, I agree that it is evil. We are facing consequences that are dangerous to the country, and therefore, to each one of us. It needs to be changed. A part of what we are doing is trying to change things. It will not start with Annapolis in particular, however much I would personally like to see it. We can point to the entire world and shout evil, but it will not change the world. That will only be done one person at a time.

I can only speak for myself, but it is my love of country, and its military, that makes me work with military personnel, one individual at a time, to help them understand why we seem to be able to do little more than muddle along. I cannot in justice call men evil who have done nothing more than live within their times and prevailing philosophy. That is the history of the world. Very few people are innovators (else we would have had more than the three A's advocating reason). Very few people understand what Kant actually means when he talks about freedom and individualism, and they certainly don't understand the consequences. I certainly won't damn Bancroft for not understanding these things in 1835! As some one else mentioned, the concept of "duty" isn't new to Kant, but has long been a concept of ethics. Kant is the most malevolent advocate, but most people don't understand that. The ideas are evil, but in justice, I can not assign that epithet to someone who is, or was, mistaken in their understanding.

By all means possible to you, work to change all of this if that is your focus. We need voices of reason everywhere and I commend anyone who takes on the job. I hope you'll forgive my unsolicited advice, but I suggest that you don't start the discussion by calling everyone in sight evil (especially someone with a CMH!), but start with organized, reasoned arguments against the ideas. You have to show people why the ideas are evil. That is simple respect for the mind of others; I can almost guarantee said mind will slam shut against you if you begin by attacking it. You've had a problem getting your point across to me and I agree with you about Kant!
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#80 RickWilmes

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 07:21 PM

Rick, you have a valid argument to make about the things that are taught. It has taken you this long to get to the crux of the argument.

By all means possible to you, work to change all of this if that is your focus. We need voices of reason everywhere and I commend anyone who takes on the job. I hope you'll forgive my unsolicited advice, but I suggest that you don't start the discussion by calling everyone in sight evil (especially someone with a CMH!), but start with organized, reasoned arguments against the ideas. You have to show people why the ideas are evil. That is simple respect for the mind of others; I can almost guarantee said mind will slam shut against you if you begin by attacking it. You've had a problem getting your point across to me and I agree with you about Kant!


Janet, thank you for the advice. How I presented my argument is how a 2nd Classman indoctrinates a Plebe and you are correct the mind will slam shut.
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