Peter

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Posts posted by Peter


  1. On 8/26/2015 at 7:04 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    Thanks. What an incredible crowd. They tell me this is the biggest crowd in the history of the North.

    A while back some founders got together. And I mean they were good people but they really didn’t know anything about building a country. C’mon, you know, let’s face facts. Franklin with his little glasses and Washington with those horrible dentures — it was a nightmare. They didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

    Cruz and Rubio are back in the running for 2024. And what if Trump loses in 2020? He could run again in 2024!!! Strike Maryland Governor Hogan from the list of 2024 contenders, below because he is an idiot, but what about Donald Trump JR? Those initials JR made me remember something. Cue the “Dallas” theme song.  J.R., Pam, Bobby, Miss Ellie, Lucy, Sue Ellen, Cliff Barnes, John Ross, Christopher, and remember the guy in the big cowboy hats with a big grin, Ray Krebbs? Why don’t they show reruns of “Dallas?” This may be jumping the gun so I will put it in The Trump Humor trash can. I closed up some groups because of their similarities. Peter

    From Fox News. 2020’s still up in the air, but there’s already buzz about the 2024 GOP presidential field Paul Steinhauser 3 hrs ago . . . . Carney, a veteran of numerous presidential campaigns, also emphasized that “there will be different grouping” of contenders depending on whether Trump wins or is defeated in November.

    Also likely having an impact if the president loses this year is the margin of his defeat — and how active Trump would stay in the public eye and within the GOP. The 2024 race will be more than just a contest for the nomination: it will be also a battle to shape the GOP going forward. Veteran Republican strategist Colin Reed noted that “whenever the Trump era comes to an end, whether that’s next year or five years from now, the GOP will go through a period of discussion and debate about the future direction of the party.” Will Republican primary voters crave a housecleaning, or will they seek more of the same? One thing’s for sure — the jockeying has already begun. While the names will change over the coming years, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some likely and potential contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination that are currently on the minds of GOP strategists who spoke with Fox News.

    Vice President Mike Pence – The former Indiana governor and congressman has something that no other likely or potential contender can match: the title of vice president. Nikki Haley – There’s been tons of speculation regarding the former South Carolina governor who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – The former congressman from Kansas who served as Trump’s CIA director before becoming American’s top diplomat has been quietly reaching out to conservative leaders and donors.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis – The first-term conservative and populist Florida governor is a strong ally and supporter of the president, who’s earned Trump’s praises. Sen. Tom Cotton – The Iraq War veteran who served a term as a congressman from Arkansas before winning election to the Senate in 2014 recently grabbed headlines and won applause from conservatives for targeting China over the coronavirus and for a recent controversial opinion piece for The New York Times. Sen. Rick Scott – The multimillionaire former two-term Florida governor who was elected to the Senate in 2018 went up with ads in Iowa during the caucuses earlier this year that trashed the impeachment of Trump and slammed former Vice President Joe Biden. Sen. Josh Hawley – The former Missouri attorney general – who at age 40 is the youngest member of the Senate – is seen by some as a rising star after wowing conservative pundits with his speeches and the legislation he’s pushed during his tenure so far on Capitol Hill.

    Sen. Ted Cruz – The conservative firebrand from Texas – who was the runner-up to Trump in the 2016 nomination battle – is regarded as a very likely 2024 contender. Sen. Marco Rubio – Florida’s senior senator – who also made a bid for the 2016 nomination – has publicly stated that he’s potentially interested in running for president again. 

    Gov. Larry Hogan – The two-term Republican governor of the blue state of Maryland definitely did not rule out a 2024 White House bid when paying a visit to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire last year. The more moderate Hogan would likely run in the mold of a John McCain or Mitt Romney Republican. John Kasich – The former congressman, two-term Ohio governor, and 2016 GOP presidential candidate who’s a vocal Trump critic flirted with a 2020 primary challenge against the president. He told Fox News last November that a 2024 run remained a “possibility.”

    Donald Trump Jr. – Could the president’s oldest son be his heir apparent? While that remains to be seen, he’s a partisan warrior who’s been a tireless rock star on the campaign trail for his father and for down-ballot conservatives. President Trump – Donald Jr. may have to wait. If the president loses reelection in November, there’s nothing stopping him from running again in 2024. President Grover Cleveland pulled off the feat in 1892 after losing his reelection bid four years earlier. While Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush quickly lost clout within their parties after suffering reelection defeats, it’s unlikely Trump would suffer the same fate, unless he lost in an overwhelming landslide.

    Others to keep your eyes on: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Will Hurd of Texas, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the House Republican Conference chair, and Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.


  2. 16 minutes ago, Dglgmut said:

    Who knows, but do you think this will fix anything?

    How do I do it Dinglemut? I don’t know? It’s a gift! And it is another slow day in Paradise. What about a Trump campaign song? Joke.

    Adapted from the poem “No Man Is an Island,” by John Donne

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    America is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a White House of thy friend's
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.

    I won’t mess with this one, though you can think Ellis Island where she sings Bali Hai. The music is so beautiful. From the musical, Bali Hai, the character Bloody Mary sings:
    Most people live on a lonely island,
    Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
    Most people long for another island,
    One where they know they will like to be.

    Bali Ha'i may call you,
    Any night, any day,
    In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
    "Come away...Come away."

    Bali Ha'i will whisper
    In the wind of the sea:
    "Here am I, your special island!
    Come to me, come to me!"

    Your own special hopes,
    Your own special dreams,
    Bloom on the hillside
    And shine in the streams.
    If you try, you'll find me
    Where the sky meets the sea.
    "Here am I your special island
    Come to me, Come to me."

    Bali Ha'i,
    Bali Ha'i,
    Bali Ha'i!


  3. We need a campaign rallying song. Below, I revved up Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft.” Can you dig it? No? Well, what are your suggestions? Peter

    Who's the President that's a freedom machine to all the chicks?
    (Trump)
    Ya’ damn right

    Who’s the man that would risk his neck for his brother man?
    (Trump)
    Can you dig it?

    Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about?
    (Trump)
    Right on

    They say this cat Trump is a bad mother...
    Shut your mouth
    I'm talkin' 'bout Trump
    Then we can dig it.

    He's a complicated man
    But no one understands him but his Country
    (Donald (John Shaft) oops I mean Trump)

    • Like 1

  4. September is when the 2020 Presidential campaigns of President Trump and former VP Biden will or should start to boogie. This USA Funt guy below makes some good points, but I don’t think he knows what he is talking about when he says Trump “panders” to his “shrinking” base. One of my neighbors has had a “Trump 2020” flag flying below the American flag for a year or more, but now there are two more neighbors flying those colors! He does not PANDER to his base. That is idiotic. Rationally thinking, we are freer, stronger, and better off because of President Trump even during this current crisis. I am thinking about getting one of those flags.

    According to Bing, which I do not think is reliable, the swing states include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Seriously? Though Texas has a few blue, democratic cities like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin the rest of the state is very much for President Trump in 2020 and it is not in contention. Peter

    From USA Todays Peter Funt . . . . As much as I distrust political polls, I tend to believe that the current readings are correct: If the 2020 election were held today, Joe Biden would win — maybe not by as much as 14 points, as one poll showed last month, but by a comfortable margin. Two problems. The election isn’t today, it’s still four months off, and polls only provide a snapshot of how things stand when they are conducted. Moreover, pollsters and pundits are evaluating this presidential election as if it can be judged by the calendar, based on how things usually play out from Independence Day forward. But 2020 is different: This will be the shortest presidential campaign on record — a campaign that hasn’t even begun, despite the activities of the candidates.  

    Americans aren’t thinking about elections. They might be willing to speak to pollsters, but they’re preoccupied with rebounding COVID-19, growing rage over racism, and economic volatility. These issues do have deep political dimensions, but with summer upon us, folks are understandably distracted by how tough it will be without kids’ programs, vacations, and entertainment options. That will change by September . . . .  Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is self-destructing, which is encouraging for Democrats. His first campaign rally  since the pandemic struck was a fiasco. His tweets are increasingly ill-considered - even for him. The base to which he panders appears to be shrinking.  Joe Biden, although he has finally ventured out of his basement bunker, is playing a game of rope-a-dope . . . .


  5. I liked and agreed with Tucker when he said some Republicans are weak and don't believe in anything. We need to fight those birds on a political level. Unfortunately I am not sure the  political level alternatives are viable such as  providing no campaign donations, voting independent or libertarian (if there is a candidate) or the usual big "O" or little "o"  objectivist alternative of not voting at all. Sure it feels spiteful and revengeful to not vote or support any candidate but it gets you very little politically.  And then there is the attack your democratic opponent way, even if you are not actively supporting the wishy washy Republican. And unfortunately, I have found that locally you need to search out the libertarian candidate because they may not have a physical campaign headquarters.  And I disagree with the Ron Paul type of Libertarian on too many issues, which is why I say I am a libertarian conservative. Peter 


  6. On 1/6/2015 at 3:28 PM, caroljane said:

    I read Cider House Rules and found it baseline depressing, though impressive.

    Orphans. Abortion. Doing the right thing and being moral. Though it is not one of my top “unread” books, I still found John Irving’s movie, “The Cider House Rules” interesting.

     From Wikipedia. The film stars Michael Caine of course, but also Tobey Maguire,  Charlize TheronDelroy LindoPaul RuddJane AlexanderKathy BakerKieran CulkinHeavy DKate Nelligan, and Erykah Badu. Peter

     Lines from “The Cider House Rules:”  “People only ask questions when they're ready to hear the answers.”
    These same people who tell us we must defend the lives of the unborn - they are the same people who seem not so interested in defending anyone but themselves after the accident of birth is complete! These same people who profess their love of the unborn's soul-they don't care to make much of a contribution to the poor, they don't care to offer much assistance to the unwanted or the oppressed! How do they justify such a concern for the fetus and such a lack of concern for unwanted and abused children? They condemn others for the accident of conception; they condemn the poor-as if the poor can help being poor. One way the poor could help themselves would be to be in control of the size of their families. I thought that freedom of choice was obviously democratic-was obviously American!”

    Here in St. Cloud’s,” Dr. Larch wrote, “I have been given the choice of playing God or leaving practically everything up to chance. It is my experience that practically everything is left up to chance much of the time; men who believe in good and evil, and who believe that good should win, should watch for those moments when it is possible to play God – we should seize those moments. There won’t be many”
     

    “He had in abundance youth’s most dangerous qualities: optimism and relentlessness. He would risk everything he had to fly the plane that could carry the bomb within him.”
     

    “Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.”


  7. I know I have pasted this “religious thread” before but it is funny and we all deserve a chuckle. Peter

    From: William Dwyer To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Ask Laura Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 08:34:01 -0800. Laura Schlessinger, who is an Orthodox Jew, has said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned in any circumstance.

    The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura, which was posted on the Internet: Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them.

    1) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9).  The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?

    2) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24).  The problem is, how do I tell?  I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

    4) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.  Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

    5) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.  Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    6) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

    7) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.  I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some room for negotiation here?

    8) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.  How should they die?

    9) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?  (Lev.24:10-16)  Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws?  (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted disciple and adoring fan, Craig

    From: "Jeff Olson" To: "atlantis" Subject: ATL: Dialogues with God Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 13:47:49 -0700. I took Debbie's suggestion about arguing with God directly, and fortunately, owing perhaps to His omnipotence, He was able to spare time from His busy schedule to meet with me personally and discuss some of my concerns....

    I found God sitting in my backyard, drinking a beer. At first I thought He was a biker, since He was wearing a leather vest, blue jeans, and motorcycle boots -- but the "Mother Mary" tattoo and the thick, salt-n-pepper beard gave Him away. (God, by the way, apparently drinks Keystone Lite, which I don't take necessarily as a good sign. But perhaps He was just trying to avoid hurting my feelings by not drinking an expensive imported beer, since He knows my drinking budget is rather limited. Either that, or Keystone Lite has some cosmic significance that I'm not privy to.)

    In any event, God said He'd seen the back gate open, and had just mosied in and made Himself to home while His "Hog" was being repaired. He said He hoped I didn't mind, which I thought was kind of funny, since I'd called for Him and all. And I did wonder about His use of swine metaphor, but decided not to waste time with trivial questions and get right to the point.

    "When You told Moses to stone a man to death for working on the Sabbath, was this a good thing to do simply because You ordered it? Or did the act have goodness in itself?"

    God leaned back in my lawn chair, pursing His lips reflectively. "Well, man, I think you gotta try to understand everything as a whole, you know? Things were a whole lot different back then, if you catch my drift."

    "Are You saying that morality is historically relative, or perhaps time-sensitive?"

    "Yeah, uh, right. It's like certain ways a doing things just stop working, and something different takes its place. Like now I ride a hog instead of a chariot, you know?"

    On that note, I saw the opportunity to ask the question I'd always wanted to ask the King of Kings. "Then who is responsible for all the evil and suffering in the world? You or humankind?"

    God took a long sip of beer, and nodded thoughtfully. "Well, me and boys have caused *some* of the suffering, man, I'll give you that--"

    "By 'boys' I take it you mean 'angels'?"

    "I meant 'Angels,' of course. They aren't exactly boys, that's for damn sure." He let out a guttural laugh. "But, you know, it's like my ma used to say--"

    "You mean, Mother Mary?"

     Uh, right. Hey, how did you know?" Then He traced my gaze to His tattoo, and chuckled. "Oh, yeah. Anyways, my mom always said that you got free will, you know, and each man's free to make his own decisions in life. So if you fuck up, it's you own damn fault, is what I'm sayin'."

     "But if You created man, aren't you in some sense responsible for the qualities that lead him to certain actions, irrespective of free will?"

     Now God gave me a kind of odd, impatient look at that point, as though I'd done something to earn His disfavor. He lowered his beer, and crushed the can noisily in one ham-sized hand.

     "Look, son," He grumbled finally, "I'm not here to give you all the answers. I'm just here waiting for my ride to get fixed. But them's questions you gotta work out on your own, you know, though personally I think it's probably a waste of time to even look at it 'cause you're not going to understand it anyway."

     I lowered my head humbly, and then the loud, concussive rumble of an approaching motorcycle echoed back into the yard.

     "Hey, that's my ride, partner." God stood up stiffly, tossing the beer can in the grass. "Anyhow, nice talkin' to ya. Good luck with all them questions."

     I followed God out to the gate, literally shaking with a sense of impending revelation. I suddenly realized that asking God to solve all our problems and answer all our questions is wrong, and that He, in His divine omniscience, was telling me that I had to solve those mysteries myself, to exercise my free will, and to take responsibility for my own life.

     I thought then that this God is one helluva being, despite being ugly as hell and reeking of cheap beer.

     But as I watched from the gate, and God positioned his corpulent form on the back seat of a motorcycle, presumably driven by one of his special angels, I realized that my eyes had been opened to at least one holy mystery -- and that at least one prevalent rumor about his Divinity was true. God, apparently, *does* ride a Harley. Jeff

     From: "Laura J. Rift" To: "Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: And the two shall become one...   Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 11:58:51 -0700

     Hi folks. An interesting tidbit courtesy of The Los Angeles Times in an article on stem cell research. I have known for a long time that a young embryo could divide and develop into two or more separate organisms, but apparently according to The Times, two embryos can merge to become one embryo before the backbone of the embryos involved begin developing around 14 days after conception.

     Interesting. Now if a young embryo is a separate, distinct individual person, a "soul" to use Debbie's term, what happens when the two "souls" merge to become one? Does one lose its identity to the other, in other words, lose its life? Or do the two "souls" exist within the one body? Perhaps a schizophrenic with more than one "personality" is really more than one person, has a embryonic self within that has as many rights as he does. Perhaps as a result, people with multiple personalities should be given the right to vote more than once, legally ride in the car pool lanes, etc.

     Or perhaps there's a third possibility. Maybe the two souls die and a third soul is created at the moment of merger, just as a "soul" is created when the sperm and egg merge. Maybe The Good Lord ( and I use the term "good" very loosely) is not content to simply murder millions of helpless unmerged embryo "souls" before they've even implanted, but decides He needs to get more bang out of his butchery buck. Create two souls, annihilate them both through merger into one, and then if the mood suits him butcher the third as well, either before implantation or after. Three for the price of one. Oh, the Good Lord does work in mysterious ways. Hallelujah! Laura

     From: RogerEBissell To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Speaking of "Passover"... (was Psychology of Religion) Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 21:47:06 EDT

     Dear List Members: We have been discussing whether or not there is some strong, inherent tendency in religion to  occasionally/often devolve into advocacy/support of the kind of bloody conflicts and barbarism seen during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and invasion of Latin America, the second World War, and the attack on the WTC and Pentagon -- to name a few.

     Debbie Clark has stated that such acts or processes are not actually a result of the essence of religion but, instead, a ~perversion~ of religion, which preaches love and peace. God/Allah/Whoever does not believe in terror and butchery, and those who commit such in His/Her name are twisting religion in the direction of evil.

     Yet, Debbie doesn't address some of the....morally questionable.... acts of the very God that such evildoers are supposedly blaspheming with their violent deeds. Ironically, Debbie reminded me of one of the most pertinent such acts in this comment of hers:

      > I don't have a bible in front of me at the moment and  rarely read it anymore so my memory is rusty -- but I think in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul is admonishing the church members about what their conduct should be when they come together to eat the Passover, i.e. the bread and wine symbolizing the body of Christ (commonly referred to as communion by Catholics and Protestants, but as originally established, it was an annual event at Passover as instituted by Christ, not a weekly event).  He said something to them along the lines of, "What?  Don't you have homes to eat in?" and the reason he said that, to my understanding, is because they were not being reverent during the Passover ceremony and understanding the meaning of it.  The purpose of it was not for the sensual pleasure of eating or to nourish the physical body -- those are things which everyone does in the course of normal physical lives.  But eating the bread and wine at Passover, which Christ instituted as symbols of his body, i.e. taking the place of the lamb that previously was slaughtered and eaten at Passover, was something that was supposed to have spiritual meaning, not done for the purpose of sensual pleasure or nourishment of the body.  Get it?

     Ah, yes, the Passover! Does anyone ~not~ know the original context of this celebration? The Hebrews were in captivity in Egypt, and the Pharaoh refused Moses' demands that they be allowed to leave, so God "visited" various plagues and....misfortunes....upon the Egyptians, in an attempt to get Pharaoh to change his mind. The ultimate "act of God" was the killing by "the angel of the Lord" (or some such flunky) of all firstborn sons of the Egyptian families -- the Hebrew firstborn children being "passed over", because their folks had been warned to smear lamb's blood over their doorway (a signal agreed upon in advance by Moses and God).

     Now, doesn't this suggest to anyone that the Ultimate Terrorist in history was not just religion, but the very Object of Religion? Not only the Jews, but also the Christians ~and~ the Muslims accept this as part of their religious history and heritage. It's OK for Big G to carry out such butchery of THE INNOCENT, but ~not~ OK for Muslim Fundamentalists? At least the freaking MF's are consistent.

     There seems also to be a huge papering over of the massive amount of genocide that the Hebrews carried out in their long process of taking over the "Promised Land" after leaving Egypt. I once did the arithmetic and found that the total number ~said~ to have been slain by the Hebrews in those campaigns totalled about SIX MILLION. Sound familiar? This ain't Nostradamus, folks; it's the good old King James, Torah, and Koran -- and God OK'd it (hell, he ~cheered them on~).

     Of course, I don't believe the above-described fairy tales for a moment. But Judeo-Christians and Muslims ~do~, or ~say~ they do, and Debbie seems to be among the many, many folks who conveniently....forget?.... more than a little of the..."ruling style"....of the Supreme Being they claim to worship.

     Rand really said all that needed to be said about the nature of the diabolical union of faith and force in her "For the New Intellectual" characterizations of the Witch Doctor and Atilla, and her Ford Hall Forum lecture "Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World." And all that needs to be ~done~ about the most recent incarnation of this union is to meet it with overwhelming force, grab it firmly by the throat, and choke it to a much-deserved death -- which I fervently hope GWB et al are able to do. Roast in hell, Osama & Company, roast in hell.

     Be grateful that this post was written by the ~mellow~ Roger Bissell. No ad hominems (that I can detect). Just terminal weariness for apologetics for religion and its supposed essence of love and peace. Best regards to all, Roger Bissell

     JAHANNEM, OUTER DARKNESS-The hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon expressed confusion and surprise Monday to find themselves in the lowest plane of Na'ar, Islam's Hell.

     "I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the airplane into one of the Twin Towers," said Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, between attempts to vomit up the wasps, hornets, and live coals infesting his stomach. "But instead, I am fed the boiling feces of traitors by malicious, laughing Ifrit. Is this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?"

     The rest of Atta's words turned to raw-throated shrieks, as a tusked, asp-tongued demon burst his eyeballs and drank the fluid that ran down his face.

     According to Hell sources, the 19 eternally damned terrorists have struggled to understand why they have been subjected to soul-withering, infernal torture ever since their Sept. 11 arrival.

     "There was a tumultuous conflagration of burning steel and fuel at our gates, and from it stepped forth these hijackers, the blessed name of the Lord already turning to molten brass on their accursed lips," said Iblis The Thrice-Damned, the cacodemon charged with conscripting new arrivals into the ranks of the forgotten. "Indeed, I do not know what they were expecting, but they certainly didn't seem prepared to be skewered from eye socket to bunghole and then placed on a spit so that their flesh could be roasted by the searing gale of flatus which issues forth from the haunches of Asmoday."

     "Which is strange when you consider the evil with which they ended their lives and those of so many others," added Iblis, absentmindedly twisting the limbs of hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari into unspeakably obscene shapes.

     "I was told that these Americans were enemies of the one true religion, and that Heaven would be my reward for my noble sacrifice," said Alomari, moments before his jaw was sheared away by faceless homunculi. "But now I am forced to suckle from the 16 poisoned leathern teats of Gophahmet, Whore of Betrayal, until I burst from an unwholesome engorgement of curdled bile. This must be some sort of terrible mistake."

     Exacerbating the terrorists' tortures, which include being hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant, is the fact that they will be forced to endure such suffering in sight of the Paradise they were expecting.

     "It might actually be the most painful thing we can do, to show these murderers the untold pleasures that would have awaited them in Paradise, if only they had lived pious lives," said Praxitas, Duke of Those Willingly Led Astray. "I mean, it's tough enough being forced through a wire screen by the callused palms of Halcorym and then having your entrails wound onto a stick and fed to the toothless, foul-breathed swine of Gehenna. But to endure that while watching the righteous drink from a river of wine? That can't be fun."

     Underworld officials said they have not yet decided on a permanent punishment for the terrorists.

     "Eventually, we'll settle on an eternal and unending task for them," said Lord Androalphus, High Praetor of Excruciations. "But for now, everyone down here wants a crack at them. The legions of fang-wombed hags will take their pleasure on their shattered carcasses for most of this afternoon. Tomorrow, their flesh will be melted from their bones like wax in the burning embrace of the Mother of Cowards. The day after that, they'll be sodomized by the Fallen and their bowels shredded by a demonic ejaculate of burning sand. Then, on Sunday, Satan gets them all day. I can't even imagine what he's got cooked up for them."

     NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other, Monday.  

    Above: God.  "Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."

     U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With » American Life Turns Into Bad Jerry Bruckheimer Movie » Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell » Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake » Point-Counterpoint: America's Response » Talking To Your Child About The WTC Attack » On TV Tonight »

    Worshipped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, God said His name has been invoked countless times over the centuries as a reason to kill in what He called "an unending cycle of violence."

     "I don't care how holy somebody claims to be," God said. "If a person tells you it's My will that they kill someone, they're wrong. Got it? I don't care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else's, ever again."

    The press conference came as a surprise to humankind, as God rarely intervenes in earthly affairs. As a matter of longstanding policy, He has traditionally left the task of interpreting His message and divine will to clerics, rabbis, priests, imams, and Biblical scholars. Theologians and laymen alike have been given the task of pondering His ineffable mysteries, deciding for themselves what to do as a matter of faith. His decision to manifest on the material plane was motivated by the deep sense of shock, outrage, and sorrow He felt over the Sept. 11 violence carried out in His name, and over its dire potential ramifications around the globe.

    "I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

    "But somehow, it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebody's spouting off some nonsense about, 'God says I have to kill this guy, God wants me to kill that guy, it's God's will,'" God continued. "It's not God's will, all right? News flash: 'God's will' equals 'Don't murder people.'"

    Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur'an.

    "To be honest, there's some contradictory stuff in there, okay?" God said. "So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it's God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall."

    God praised the overwhelming majority of His Muslim followers as "wonderful, pious people," calling the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks rare exceptions.

    "This whole medieval concept of the jihad, or holy war, had all but vanished from the Muslim world in, like, the 10th century, and with good reason," God said. "There's no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those two bigots on The 700 Club."

    Continued God, "Read the book: 'Allah is kind, Allah is beautiful, Allah is merciful.' It goes on and on that way, page after page. But, no, some assholes have to come along and revive this stupid holy-war crap just to further their own hateful agenda. So now, everybody thinks Muslims are all murderous barbarians. Thanks, Taliban: 1,000 years of pan-Islamic cultural progress down the drain."

    God stressed that His remarks were not directed exclusively at Islamic extremists, but rather at anyone whose ideological zealotry overrides his or her ability to comprehend the core message of all world religions.

    "I don't care what faith you are, everybody's been making this same mistake since the dawn of time," God said. "The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don't even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, 'Turn the other cheek,' but you've been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades."

    Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: "Can't you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism... every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you're supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It's not that hard a concept to grasp."

    "Why would you think I'd want anything else? Humans don't need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you've been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!" God said. "The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?"

    "I'm talking to all of you, here!" continued God, His voice rising to a shout. "Do you hear Me? I don't want you to kill anybody. I'm against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don't kill each other anymore—ever! I'm fucking serious!"

    Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God's shoulders began to shake, and He wept.

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis"  Subject: ATL: Re: Christian Pacifism? Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 12:29:06 -0500 Debbie Clark wrote: "I am not resorting to any tactics at all; I'm simply being honest in saying that I don't participate in mainstream Christianity and it does nothing whatsoever for my soul.  And it is not because I am trying to insulate myself anyway because I really am a terrible Christian myself. But I don't justify my shortcomings by saying that it's okay to do these things; I regard them as human failings, not as the example of Christ."

    It's good to know that you don't plan on resorting to the tactic of, "But that's not *true* Christianity, which consists only in what I happen to believe." This will assure a fair contest between you and Laura, should she decide to meet your challenge. My apologies if I misunderstood your intentions.

    Debbie wrote: "You seem to be trying to criticize me for choosing an individualist path as a Christian and I don't see what your point is in doing so. Christianity is ultimately a personal relationship between a person and Christ and what the collective does has no bearing on it."

    This was not my objection at all. My concern -- based not only on your recent posts but also on what you have said in the past -- is that you might wish to exclude from the ranks of Christendom all those who interpret the teaching of Jesus differently than you do. The view you express here is identical to the core doctrine of the Reformation, especially as found in the writings of Martin Luther. But Luther, after defending the "Christian liberty" of every believer to interpret Scripture according to his own inner light, went on to call for the burning of Jewish synagogues and putting Catholics and other heretics (especially Anabaptists) to death. And, of course, he cited scripture to defend all of his recommendations (as did John Calvin).

    Btw, you keep referring to the teachings of Jesus. But what about Paul and other New Testament writers? Or, for that matter, what about the Old Testament, which was written long before Jesus emerged from the womb of the Virgin Mary? Do these writings enjoy a canonical status in your belief system? Or do you restrict yourself to the four Gospels, which were based on oral traditions and written after the death of Jesus?

    For example, how do you as an anarchist deal with the following passage from Romans 13 (NIV):

    "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities....The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves?...t is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing."

    Do Paul's admonitions carry any less weight than if Jesus had said the same thing?  Do you believe that "the authorities that exist," such as the Roman Empire in Paul's day and the current Taliban regime in Afghanistan -- "have been established by God" and are "God's servants"? And do you follow Paul's precepts in your daily life?

    I wrote: "Okay, so give us some examples of what a modern history of authentic Christianity would include? For example, as I asked before, would it include the Reformation? Or would you also "have to first do an exhaustive study" of the Reformation before you can answer this question?"

    And Debbie replied: "Can you simply accept that I can't answer that question because I don't know?"

    I am not so much interested in a specific answer as I am in what *criteria* you would use to make this judgment. Suppose you were to read everything that Martin Luther ever wrote. What standards would you then bring to bear in determining whether or not Luther was an authentic Christian? Since you must have some idea in your own mind why *you* qualify as a "Christian," it should not be very difficult to apply that standard, if only in a hypothetical way, to other people who also claim to be Christians.

    I wrote: "Lastly, if you would care to propose definitions of "Christian" and "Christianity," I for one would like to see them. Traditionally, the definition of "Christian" has been a person who believes that Jesus is the Christ (i.e., messiah or savior)."

    And Debbie replied: "Satan himself believes that much."

    Exactly, and I poked some fun at this paradox in my last book.

    Debbie continued: "It is less messy to simply say that there are different types of Christianity, some which are biblically-based and some which are not."

    *All* versions of Christianity claim to be "biblically based" -- so what you appear to be saying is that you disagree with the biblical interpretation of other Christian sects. I have no problem with this, since, in this case at least, you seem to admit that other sects still qualify as authentic types of Christianity, however much they may differ from your personal interpretation of the Bible. That, for me, was the key question, and you have answered it. Thank you.

    Btw, you have also answered, if unintentionally, my earlier questions about Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin. Ghs

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Darwin Award Candidate Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 21:10:46 -0600 The following story is surely an example of natural selection at work. Ghs

    ARKANSAS CITY (AP) -- A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car's sun roof during an incident best described as "a mistaken rapture" by dozens of eye witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile-up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus.

    "She started screaming "He's back, He's back" and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car," said Everett Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. "I was slowing down but she wouldn't wait till I stopped," Williams said.

    She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky," he went on to say. "This is the strangest thing I've seen since I've been on the force," said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blow up sex dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air.

    Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who's been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said, "Come back here," just as the Williams' car passed him, and Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else.

    When asked for comments about the twelve sex dolls, Jenkins replied "This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen."


  8. I looked up the lyrics up for “All Together Now.” I deleted approximately 30 refrain lines of “All Together Now.” How can something so tedious be so much fun to sing . . . with a few beers in you? And what does bompa bom mean? Peter    

    “All Together Now” by The Beatles

    One, two, three, four
    Can I have a little more?
    Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten
    I love you

    A B C D
    Can I bring my friend to tea?
    E F G H I J
    I love you

    Bom bom bom bompa bom
    Sail the ship, bompa bom
    Chop the tree, bompa bom
    Skip the rope, bompa bom
    Look at me

    All together now . . .
    Black, white, green, red
    Can I take my friend to bed?
    Pink, brown, yellow, orange, and blue
    I love you

    All together now
    All together now . . .  
    om bom bom bompa bom
    Sail the ship, bompa bom
    Chop the tree, bompa bom
    Skip the rope, bompa bom
    Look at me

    All together now
    All together now . . .


  9. From The Weather Channel. New data says flood prone areas are growing. I am 14 feet above the high tide mark.

    Discussing “fundamentals” like food made me remember some of my Dad’s WWII books with pictures. It showed American GI’s being liberated from German prisoner of war camps. They were malnourished but not in terrible shape.  I also remember the walking skeletons from German concentration camps.  You couldn’t give Jews more than a small amount of food at first because a regular meal could kill them


  10. Just now, Dglgmut said:

    What does "fundamental" mean? What animals are more likely to choose: sex, food, or not getting eaten, is clearly not the standard he's using here.

    I think he is. I would suggest that "fundamental" is being used in a “food is important but not an emergency” way. A carnivore’s roar or a bear coming into a caveman’s residence is an emergency. A few more quotes from “How We Know:” What is the basis for holding that focus is volitional? Introspection – the only direct source of information about the nature and actions of consciousness.

    Comparing the in-focus state to the out-of-focus state presents a certain difficulty: to the extent that one is out of focus, one is not introspecting. But upon coming into focus, it is easy enough to recall the preceding moment. That is what one does when one catches oneself daydreaming. The difference between a recalled state of non-focus and a present state of focus is striking and undeniable: being alert, purposeful, actively in charge vs. being passive, aimless, not in charge (or actively evading.)

    Volition is experienced directly in one’s sense of *agency* and *effort.* one cannot avoid being aware of oneself as the active agent in the cognitive process. Initiating and sustaining focus is something that one *does,* not something that just happens to one.


  11. 1 hour ago, anthony said:

    There is "no consciousness without emotion" - is your repetitive, illogical take. And a reversal. The existence of consciousness is the prerequisite for acts of consciousness. I've said before you confuse the message with the messenger.

    Here are a few interesting quotes from Harry Binswanger’s book “How We Know.”

     page. 31, footnote no. 8: Imagined content is usually compared to perceptual content, but it would seem to be more closely related to the content of memory. Imagining an absent friend’s face seems to have just the same inner quality or “feel” as remembering it, which is in line with the point that imagination is the ability to rearrange *stored* perceptual data. 

    page 38: In general, animals have to move to get food; consciousness enables them to locate their food. It also enables them to avoid being eaten, but food is the fundamental: life is not fundamentally the avoidance of death but the gaining of the materials for self-sustenance. Consciousness does also enable animals to obtain other goals; e.g., to find mates for reproduction, but getting food is the fundamental.

    In the preface Harry writes: Mankind has existed for 400,000 years but 395,000 of those years were consumed by the Stone Age. The factor that freed men from endless toil and early death, the root cause of the elevated level of existence we now take for granted, is one precious value: *knowledge.* The painfully acquired knowledge of how to master nature, how to organize social existence, and how to understand himself is what enabled man to rise from the cave to the skyscraper, from warring clans to a global economy, from an average lifespan of less than 30 years to one approaching 80.


  12. On 7/3/2015 at 3:22 AM, RobinReborn said:

    This guy keeps making the news.

    Not entirely sure what to make of him, on some level he's a good businessman but there's something off about him. I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Per Real Clear Politics all of the current polls show Biden ahead by an average of 9.4 percent and if you back in time Biden was almost always beating Trump.  These few polls differed just a couple of months ago:  IBD / TIPP tie, Fox News tie, Emerson Trump plus 4.

    So Covid and protests have not helped Trump’s polling. Those issues have made it worse.

    Trump’s birthday is June 14, 1946 so he just turned 74. Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942 so he is 77 years old as of today’s date 22nd June 2020. 74 vs 77? Well, Joe will be close to 78 by the time of the November 2020 election.

    Will attack ads have an effect? Will the debates prove favorable for either candidate? I just received an invitation to dine with Vice President Pence if I donate $50 but upon closer reading it says I have a chance to win an invitation. Peter

    From CBS News. Joe Biden is planning to participate in three previously-scheduled debates with President Trump — and not one more, his campaign said Monday. The Biden campaign is also calling on the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates to explain how it plans to hold the in-person debates scheduled for September and October, despite the coronavirus pandemic. "There is no reason why Vice President Biden and President Trump cannot meet for debates with appropriate safety and social distancing measures (set by public health authorities) on the three dates the CPD has identified. Nothing should prevent the conduct of debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on these dates; again, we do not want to provide President Trump with any excuses for not debating," the Biden campaign wrote in a letter to the commission on Monday.

     . . . . This year, debates are also set to occur on September 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana; October 15 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

     . . . . The disclosure of Biden's debate intentions comes just days after President Trump announced last week that he was asking his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to negotiate for a fourth face-to-face debate with Biden. Giuliani was also going to negotiate an earlier start to the debates than late September because absentee balloting will begin in some states by early September and because an earlier start would also likely avoid an anticipated crush of live sports coverage from contests postponed due to the pandemic. But Biden aides said Monday that they immediately laughed at these suggestions, noting that the Trump campaign is contradicting itself when it comes to mail-in voting, since the president regularly casts doubt on the reliability of mail-in ballots – even though he used one himself to vote in Florida earlier this year.

    . . . . Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said Monday that the former vice president's decision is a sign "that Joe Biden's handlers are afraid to send their candidate out without a script and teleprompter handy. An earlier and longer debate schedule is necessary so Americans can see the clear difference between President Trump's vibrant leadership and Biden's confused meandering."


  13. On 6/28/2020 at 9:59 AM, Ellen Stuttle said:

    Figure out which things yourself, if you can (doubtful).

    What? Who said, “The connection between "the shadow" and evil is that, when we deny our unattractive characteristics and attempt to push them into unawareness, then they can take on a life of their own and become more powerful.”

    Whoa. Dark shadows! I think I have reposted this before but it is relevant to any “Platonists” currently posting to OL.

    From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: jung and such Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 01:33:56 -0500. After a long and tiring day, I pulled in my e-mail to find some 140 ATL posts, among them several with references to Jung. I'd like to comment -- though I'll only do so briefly for now -- on these speculations by Joe and Christian:

    Joe B writes: "but he [Jung] did seem to uphold a sort of Platonism, from what I've gathered so far...which may be why he hasn't been linked to Rand"

    Christian says: I'd hazard to guess a significant reason why Rand and Jung have not "been linked", is that they held disparate views regarding consciousness. For Rand, the primary significance of consciousness was it's process, while for Jung, the emphasis was on content.

    Christian, I'm not understanding what you mean in saying that the "primary significance of consciousness" was process for Rand, content for Jung.  Could you elaborate?

    What I see as some of the important differences between Rand and Jung are that:

    (1) For Jung the ego is not the ultimate boss in the psyche's "house."

    (2) Jung was to an extent influenced by Kant and thought that there was a "noumenal" world the nature of which we could never know.

    (3) Jung didn't give reason the centrality Rand did, though he didn't denigrate reason.  But he thought that there are non-rational ways of knowing.

    (4) Jung's model of consciousness was circular -- a model of different "functions," schematically represented as if on a wheel, and each function to be given its role in turn -- whereas I think I'd describe Rand's model as hierarchical as a structure of ascending levels.

    (5) Rand thought that man is born "tabula rasa."  Jung didn't.

    Regarding this last point, it's an interesting question whether he upheld "a sort of Platonism."  Depends what you mean by "Platonism." Jung was often accused of proposing a theory of innate ideas, and he often hotly denied that this was what he was proposing.  On the other hand, he often analogized the archetypes to Plato's forms. I think the clue to the discrepancy is that he thought of the archetypes NOT as having content, thus not as being "ideas," but instead as being formative *principles* common to the psyches of all persons.

    The above is hasty and sketchy, but it might provide some leads.

    I'd like to correct a possible misunderstanding of Jung's idea of "the shadow."  Although in common parlance, and even at times as used by Jungians, the term is equated with bad characteristics, precisely speaking, Jung used the term "shadow" to include *everything* of which we're unaware about ourselves, good, bad, indifferent.  The connection between "the shadow" and evil is that, when we deny our unattractive characteristics and attempt to push them into unawareness, then they can take on a life of their own and become more powerful.  Often, too, such denied characteristics are projected onto others with the result that we think we see in other people's behavior what we don't want to acknowledge in our own. Ellen S.

    From: PaleoObjectivist To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: "I've outgrown Ayn Rand" Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 01:56:54 EDT Ellen Stuttle wrote: Interestingly, I think that I have some idea of what the discovery of Rand was like for many Objectivists because of what happened next.  In 1981, I began to read the work of Carl Jung.  Looking back, I would think how odd it was that I'd never read Jung before I'd reached the age of nearly 39; I'd several times felt curious about his ideas because of little glimmers I'd heard about them, but I'd always been too busy reading other material.  What finally did the trick of inspiring me to embark on the delayed project of reading Jung was that a friend of mine -- a talented writer -- kept saying that my thoughts about psychology sounded Jungian. In early '81 -- almost twenty years after I'd first read *Atlas* -- I bought a couple volumes of selected essays by Jung and I began with an essay titled "On the Nature of the Psyche."  Within a few pages, I had to close the book and just sit there for awhile feeling the strangest sense of combined desolation and joy:  joy at what I'd found; desolation at the thought of *all those years!* (the phrase kept going through my mind), all those years when I'd yearned and hadn't known that what I yearned for was available to be found, had  I only looked in the right place.

    I certainly understand and appreciate what Ellen is sharing here. Although my particular interest is in Jung's personality type theory (and its elaborations and applications by Isabel Myers and David Keirsey and others), I have to say that learning of it was the second greatest "aha" experience of my intellectual life – the greatest being Rand's philosophy.

    > Circling back to the thought which began my reminiscing:  I have personally found that as a result of my participation on this list, my appreciation of Rand's genius has grown to be deeper and more informed than it was before.  And George's essays *connecting* Rand to the history of thought have been the strongest contribution to my enhanced awareness of what Rand accomplished.  For me, seeing Rand in the light cast by historical context heightens not diminishes her luster.

    Agreed. Another person who has helped me see Rand in historical perspective is Chris Sciabarra, especially in his ~Ayn Rand, the Russian Radical~. I was barely 20 pages into his book, on a fateful day back in 1996, when I realized that he knew what the hell he was talking about, and he had nailed the essence of Rand's intellectual process when she considered what was wrong with the traditional views of the great philosophical problems. She had the great gift of being able to intellectually transcend false alternatives, to see the partial truths they contained, and to understand what was the fuller, more complete view of the truth. In case after case, the objective transcends the subjective and the intrinsic, and Rand was the one who discovered and systematized that realization. She did not emerge out of nothing with her views; she studied the historical context, saw the shortcomings, identified their root, and formulated the solution to problem after problem. In a somewhat similar way, so did Jung in his ~Personality Types~, as did Camus in ~The Rebel~. I recommend both of these works to those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading them. Thanks, Ellen, for sharing your personal experience with us. Best 2 all, Roger Bissell


  14. Jeezus. I no longer believe anything they say. From The New Yoke Times: “Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say.”

    And now, Alec Baldwin playing President Donald Trump, on SNL. “It’s a fake. If that were true I would have nuked them by now, and Putin would be Ivanka’s bitch and made to sweep and mop her condominium.   


  15. 42 minutes ago, anthony said:

    "Who here thinks emotions are independent of consciousness?"

    No one. Emotions are not things. They may be electrical / chemical / and psychic? in a good way.  I was thinking about that "independence." What if you were a human or a lower animal for that matter, and you got bit by an ant? What would that entity experience?  Pain . . .  OUCH~ but then something emotional attached to the sensation of pain,  which requires a consciousness to respond, in  ANY way. 

    • Like 1

  16. I think I will put this into an old, new thread. More about Rand never accepting the Presidency, sex, etc. I wonder if Dennis is talking about President Trump in the first letter? And, wow Ghs is in top form. BB responds as well as Nathaniel Brandon. Peter

    From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Act like you have a pair! Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 17:43:52 -0500. I wrote: "...I understand it is disheartening to speak of big visions when the Objectivist/Libertarian movement cannot seem to roll a drunk much less a government, but what are some of the "Big Visions" some of the rest of you have out there.  I've hear Monart Pon express some concerning "The High Frontier" but little else.  What are some of your visions for the future?"

    Michael Sikorski wrote: >My vision for the future is the mass communication of the virtues of capitalism: reaching out to John and Jane Voter, reminding them of the capitalist "Big Vision" to which Dennis refers.

    Individual leadership combined with a well thought out advertising campaign would seem to be what Michael is talking about.  The individual(s) would necessarily need to be a successful capitalist himself.  If this were combined with a specific goal or related to actual job recruitment the message would go much further than generalized comments.  Military recruitment ads talk about a way of life and a job paying money.  Socialists talk about victimization or bad luck and by the way you are going to get the money.  Lottery programs are all about getting the money and getting ahead regardless of your lifestyle.

    I would see such a capitalist campaign most effective in say generating revenue for a private space adventure "where we are building the future of humanity", starting a new small private nation where "you can be your own man", or creating a new kind of corporation where only the best and brightest need apply.   The message must be as big as the capitalism which goes with it.  As Napoleon said: "Small Plans Do Not Inflame the Hearts of Men”.

    I don't think the value of personal leadership in this case can be overemphasized.  I have heard many accounts of how the personal leadership of George Washington saved the American Revolution from turning in on itself even after the British had been driven out. The Air Force often spoke of Washington in relation to his leadership and straight forward honest nature and resolve.  Whoever the messenger is, all the slings and arrows of the media will barbeque his hide eternal.  It will take [to steal a phrase from the movie "Dragnet"] someone with balls as big as church bells.  There is little doubt why few have even attempted to step up to the plate.  A job this big will take a big man [or woman]. Dennis May

     

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Rand's Position on Femininity Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 22:28:55 -0500 George, et al, I have been having difficulty in understanding exactly what George's problem is in not understanding Rand's essay on A Woman President.  His post today gave me the first clues.  His disagreement does not appear to be the fact that Rand had and expressed her own personal sexual psychology, it is that he thinks she intended on imposing her sexual psychology on all women as a tenet of Objectivism.  I am certain George is wrong.  My view is that she succeeded in presenting a valid generalization for 'woman qua woman'.  And that's what a woman philosopher should do.

     The questions are:  Must all women have the same sexual psychology in order to be Objectivists?  Do all men?  Is psychology in general, and sexual psychology in particular, something that philosophical principles can decree?  Do differences in individual psychology, and sexual preferences, disallow one from being an Objectivist?  What about the validity of generalizations for sexuality, or femininity and masculinity?

    Well, I cannot think of any subject that is more prone to individual differences than is sexuality for each individual self.  Yet, I think that Rand is right when she formed this sexual generalization about femininity, but it does not have to apply in the same way and in the same respect in different individual contexts for all human beings, male or female.

    Obviously it is a truism that everyone's psychology is a product created by a volitional, developmental psycho-epistemological process in the individual context of personality maturation.  Therefore, one's psychology was being formed early in life, and its causes and experiences are complex and derivative.  Even if one's sexual psychological premises are mixed, but are not explicitly irrational and immoral, I am open to the idea that many individuals could agree with and apply the essential philosophical principles that could be viewed as those of Objectivists.  The key is, does one's sexual psychology contradict fundamental rational principles?   Since I have not thought deeply about this application, it could be an interesting topic for discussion.

    Rand made it very clear that she was talking about the essence of femininity being an abstraction, a *metaphysical* abstraction of "hero worship", of admiration for a man's "masculinity"  - of being able to look up to a man.  In fact, if the distinction between femininity and masculinity did not exist in general, then sexual attraction would mean nothing more than momentary physical, sexual satisfaction.  To many, it is no more than scratching an itch.  And to others, it is so much more than that.  Is there anyone who disagrees that there are individual differences in sexuality?

    Rand wrote, "woman qua woman".  "qua" means "in virtue of being".  In Rand's terms that would mean "by a woman's feminine identity" in her sexual relation to a man and his sexual masculinity.  Rand also made it clear that a woman's femininity, her hero worship, would be and should be toward the man she loves, and definitely not to every man she meets. Such admiration and hero worship is a proper emotion only for those men she greatly admires, or deeply loves within an intimate relationship.

    There may be many women who never rise to that level of metaphysical abstraction conceptually, and they would never experience or understand any great admiration or hero worship, or grand passion for any man.  At best, such a woman would be able to be a friend or a pal, or a sex object.  At worst, such a woman would simply seek to manipulate, control and use men sexually to further her own self-serving goals.  But these kind of women [and it is also clear that Rand wrote about different types of women in her novels] are not what Rand was talking about in this essay.  She was talking about "woman qua woman" and femininity - the man worshipper.

    What does that mean?  Rand often said, "Man qua Man", and she meant " by their nature, men and women, not as they are, but as they could be and should be".  In this context of femininity, when Rand says "woman qua woman", she means the femininity of woman, not as she is, but as she could be and should be --  only *if* she lives up to her highest potential.  And that to Rand means [I think] a rational woman who rises to the highest level of intelligent womanhood possible to her.  If a woman does that she is feminine, and rationally speaking she is moral. Then, and only then, would she desire a man with the highest essence of metaphysical masculinity and moral character she could and should admire.

    I have presented at least part of my case for agreeing with her ideas in her essay.  And also, I agree with Morganis that ~if~ George disagrees with Rand it is George's responsibility to prove her reasoning and generalizing is false.  All he has done is call her view of femininity "silly".  I think he is way off the mark on this one.

    Today, by noting her statement of "woman qua woman", George writes, that Rand "was not merely referring to her own sexual identity and personal preferences.  Rather, she was making universal judgments about female psychology *in general*.  The 'essence of femininity' that Rand discusses does not merely refer to *her* personal preferences, but to *all other women* as well."

    These are the clues to George's mistakes.  His claim is that he has known many individual women and their sexual psychology.  What he has not understood is Rand's sexual psychology, her ideals of femininity and masculinity, and her generalizations reached on the basis of her conceptual integration.  Also he does not understand that one could be an Objectivist without reaching the ideals of femininity and masculinity that Rand  wrote about in this essay.  She wrote of the idealization of sexual psychology,  "The man worshipers [who] are those who see man's highest potential and strive to actualize it. ... those dedicated to the *exaltation* of man's self-esteem and the *sacredness* of his happiness on earth."  This means women, too.

    George, look at the men in the world, are there many who strive and reach this ideal?  Are there many women who are capable of being man-worshippers?  I, personally, think there is only a small percent of women or men who are man worshippers in the sense that Rand meant.  Do you really think that Rand was generalizing about all women's sexual psychology?  I do not.  I think she was telling her readers what is possible for humans to feel sexually, i.e., the best of femininity and masculinity, and about what humans could feel and should feel if they rose to the best, highest level of what a rational "human being" means.

    There is one other idea Rand expressed in this context [but not in this essay with which I really disagree.  Barbara has reminded me of this. Rand believed that a man is defined by his fundamental relationship to reality, while a woman is defined by her fundamental relationship to man.  Rand, in her context, may have wanted to know that there was a man of such grand stature that he could and would stand in for her reality, especially that he would be more important to her than any other value in her life.  I doubt if she ever found such a man, so I think that she, as man worshipper, created him in the character of John Galt, "a man of supreme masculinity and a philosopher who is a man of action."

    Personally, I do not believe that any man stands before my own value of self, or between my own mind's evaluation of reality.  I too would worship the values of a man who could be a philosopher and a man of action - that's my idealism.  But he would always come second to my own views about reality and my love for him.  This is why I think that, if the best in a woman is her femininity and hero worship, then the very best in man is his masculinity, and in being a heroine worshipper. Neither is valid without the other, not even in abstraction or in fiction - it's mutual and reciprocal. Ellen Moore

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's Position on Femininity Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 19:28:03 -0500 Ellen Moore wrote: "I have been having difficulty in understanding exactly what George's problem is in not understanding Rand's essay on A Woman President.  His post today gave me the first clues.  His disagreement does not appear to be the fact that Rand had and expressed her own personal sexual psychology, it is that he thinks she intended on imposing her sexual psychology on all women as a tenet of Objectivism.  I am certain George is wrong.  My view is that she succeeded in presenting a valid generalization for 'woman qua woman'.  And that's what a woman philosopher should do."

    Whether Rand considered her views on sexual psychology to be "a tenet of Objectivism" is of little interest to me, and I don't know what it means to say that I supposedly believe Rand "intended on imposing her sexual psychology on all women." (I don't know what "imposing" would mean in this context.)

    The point is this: On the one hand, Ellen claims that "Rand had and expressed her own personal sexual psychology." Fine, no problem, as I have said before. But, as I also argued before, Rand did not *intend* her argument against a woman president *merely* to express her personal preferences; rather, she universalized her personal views so as to apply to *all* woman. I thought Ellen disagreed with this, but she now says: "My view is that she succeeded in presenting a valid generalization for 'woman qua woman'. And that's what a woman philosopher should do." So which is it? Is Rand's argument *merely* an expression of her personal preference, or is "a valid generalization for 'woman qua woman'"? I wish Ellen would make up her mind. (Actually she apparently has, as I indicate below.)

    Consider this passage from Rand's article which Ellen quoted in a previous post: "For a woman to seek or desire the presidency is, in fact, so terrible a prospect of spiritual self-immolation that the woman who would seek it is psychologically unworthy of the job."  

    This is clearly a blanket critique of ALL women who would seriously *want* to be president (at least when qualified males are available). Rand is *not* saying, in effect: "Given my personal sexual psychology, I am personally disposed to view a woman who desires to be president in this way, but this is a subjective preference with which others may rationally disagree."

     

    It would be absurd to suppose this is Rand's argument. On the contrary, she is using her *theory* of feminine sexuality to psychoanalyze, in effect, other woman who do not share her views.

     

    To be more precise, Rand's argument is a variation of a common Objectivist tactic, a polemical dance that I call the "Psycho-Epistemological Twist." E.g., when a critic asks an inappropriate question, an Objectivist might reply: "The mere fact you *asked* that questions reveals such-and-such about your psycho-epistemology" -- and the "such-and-such" is always something negative, a supposed flaw in the question-asker's manner of thinking. (Anyone who has been around Objectivist circles will doubtless have seen this tactic, of which there are several variations, used many times.)

     

    Similarly, Rand maintains that any woman who would seriously want to be president (again, when no qualified men are available) has such a warped psychology that the implications of this *desire* alone would render her "psychologically unworthy of the job."

     

    The is the Psycho-Epistemological Twist with a vengeance, and to suggest that this merely expresses a personal preference of Rand's part, one based on her own unique sexual psychology, is absurd on its face – at least, that is, if we claim this is what Rand *intended* to say.

     

    I agree that Rand is doing nothing more than expressing a personal preference; indeed, it is because this *subjective* preference was used to make supposedly *objective* judgments about the psychology *other* women that I called Rand's argument "silly." This would be like a woman arguing, "I prefer the missionary position in sex; it is my favorite, and any woman who might prefer to be on top instead clearly has psychological problems."

    The remainder of Ellen's post clearly indicates that she *now* believes Rand's article is based on her views of "woman qua woman" and not merely on her personal preferences. And thus has Ellen shifted 180 degrees from her original position.

    This, of course, raises a different set of questions. But at least Ellen has conceded my point (to the effect that Rand intended her argument to be based on an *objective* assessment of female psychology), so I shall take up her new assertions at a later time. Ghs

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's position on femininity – George Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 15:41:35 -0600 George, No matter what you say, my position on Rand's view of femininity has not changed.  Your techniques of sophistry may attempt to call white black (whenever you feel like it), but that does not make you "intelligent", it just makes you "tricky dicky Georgie".

    There is nothing in your post that is new or effective in your railing about Rand's sense of femininity.  The only relief I can take out of all your verbiage is that you did not call me "religious" or "cultist".  On the rest of this issue, your views express clearly what you have not understood about Rand and about Objectivism. This is your unresolved issue.

    Rand's assessment of femininity re *woman qua woman* is objective. There is nothing "subjective" about her personal sexual psychology, or about her universal generalizations - but you evidently have never grasped what *woman qua woman* means.  Never mind, I am sure that there are not many women who have grasped what this sexual "sense of life" would, could, or should mean to them either.  You evidently cannot even dream of what it would be like to have a relationship with a woman who *does* understand what an objective idealization of "woman" is.  Or maybe, they just cannot penetrate this "sense" into your skull.

    I am also very sure that there are many women who *would want* to be president in the same way that many men do.  The root of that "want" is power, pure and simple and direct.  Not only that, but such women would *want* it even if there were a thousand men who might be more power-hungry - if indeed there is any such man.  There is no difference between the capacity for power-lust among men and women.  There is quite enough irrationality and subjectivity to go around in the population of humanity.

    The thing is:  you see Rand and her ability for objective integration and generalization as leading to a philosophy that "intends" to make all humans obey philosophical rules she set out.  You are wrong.  I see only rational principles for Unique Individualism. Go ahead, make my day! Ellen M.

    From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's position on femininity – Morganis Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 20:47:22 -0600 Ellen Moore wrote (to Morganis): "Previously you asked me to show why George's claim that what Rand wrote about femininity did not also apply to masculinity re: wanting to be President.  I was explaining here that I see no reason to think that she thought any different about a man president.  If she did, I don't know that she wrote it in a public presentation, did she?  The question remains --  if men and women are equally capable, why would either a rational man or a rational woman "want to be president".

    Am I understanding this correctly? Is Ellen Moore seriously contending that Rand *intended*her argument against a woman president to apply equally to any *male* who would also *want* to be president?

    Although I happen to agree with Ellen's anarchistic argument against the need for any president whatsoever, this clearly was not Rand's view. In fact, one of my biggest complaints about Rand's article is that it vastly overestimates the importance of the American presidency when compared, say, to the importance of thinkers, inventors, and captains of industry.

    I will have more to say about this when I manage to recover from the worst bout of flu that I have had in many years. But for now I just want to be sure that my fever has not caused me totally to misunderstand Ellen's point. Is she attributing her own views about the presidency to Rand as well? Is she saying that, according to *Rand,* any male who would seriously desire to be president would thereby be psychologically unfit for the job?

    Ellen wrote: "George hasn't yet offered any good argument to show that Rand's article was "silly".  So, his forever repeating a non-argument does not lend it any more credence."

    My charge of silliness was predicated on the fact that nowhere does Rand offer any serious argument for her views about the sexual persona of "woman qua woman." And neither does Ellen. Even Ellen's longest posts on this subject are bereft of any genuine argument; rather, they consist of a series of arbitrary assertions, with polemics and grandiose generalizations substituting for evidence. And that fits my definition of "silly."

    But even Ellen outdid herself when she wrote: "As for the psychology of masculinity, I think we require a masculine philosopher to explain what that would and should be."

    This statement goes far beyond silly; it is just plain dumb. For one thing, how would Ellen even recognize a "masculine" philosopher unless she first understood the meaning of "masculinity"? And Rand had a theory of masculinity, did she not? Does Ellen therefore dismiss Rand's theory of masculinity *solely* on the basis that she was a woman?

    Given Ellen's Sherman-tank style of writing, it's possible that I have misunderstood her points. I sincerely hope so. If not, this exchange promises to become extremely bizarre, even by Mooreian standards. Ghs

    From: "George H. Smith To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's Position on Femininity Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 07:56:22 -0600

    Ellen Moore has repeatedly challenged me to support my charge that her views about feminine sexuality, which she attributes to Ayn Rand, are "silly," because (I claim) they are unjustified and therefore arbitrary. Okay, the following is a brief review of Ellen's post of 10/23/01, which (to my knowledge) is her most extensive treatment of this subject to date.

    EM: "Well, I cannot think of any subject that is more prone to individual differences than is sexuality for each individual self."

    If what Ellen means to say is that individuals differ dramatically in their sexual tastes and preferences, then I entirely agree.

    EM: "Obviously it is a truism that everyone's psychology is a product created by a volitional, developmental psycho-epistemological process in the individual context of personality maturation."

    What Ellen appears to be saying here, albeit in a convoluted fashion, is that one's present psychology is the product of one's past psychological development. This is certainly a truism. But Ellen also appears to be saying that each and every aspect of one's present personality was (at some time) a product of volitional choice. If so, this is anything but a truism; in fact, it is clearly false.

    EM: "Therefore, one's psychology was being formed early in life, and its causes and experiences are complex and derivative."

    What does Ellen mean by "one's psychology"? One's character? Personality? And what does it mean to speak of "causes and experiences" that are "derivative"?

    EM: "Even if one's sexual psychological premises are mixed, but are not explicitly irrational and immoral, I am open to the idea that many individuals could agree with and apply the essential philosophical principles that could be viewed as those of Objectivists."

    What is a "sexual psychological premise?" It would help immensely if Ellen would put less energy into verbiage and more into defining her terms.

    EM: "The key is, does one's sexual psychology contradict fundamental rational principles?   Since I have not thought deeply about this application, it could be an interesting topic for discussion."

    Only a proposition can "contradict" another proposition (or "principle"). A "sexual psychology" -- and whether Ellen is here referring to preferences, feelings, dispositions, habits, or something else, I have no idea -- cannot "contradict" anything.

    EM: "Rand made it very clear that she was talking about the essence of femininity being an abstraction, a *metaphysical* abstraction of "hero worship", of admiration for a man's "masculinity"  - of being able to look up to a man."

    Okay, so this is an "abstraction," and possibly even a "metaphysical abstraction." Where does this get us? The pertinent question is whether or not Rand's generalizations about feminine sexuality are *justified.* Where is the evidence and/or arguments to support the claim that "hero worship," however defined, is the "essence of femininity"?

    EM: "In fact, if the distinction between femininity and masculinity did not exist in general, then sexual attraction would mean nothing more than momentary physical, sexual satisfaction."

    This is plainly false, at least if by "the distinction between femininity and masculinity," Ellen is referring to *Rand's* distinction. And what precisely is wrong with "momentary physical, sexual satisfaction"? Why should we denigrate physical pleasure pursued for its own sake?

    EM: "Rand wrote, "woman qua woman".  "qua" means "in virtue of being".  In Rand's terms that would mean "by a woman's feminine identity" in her sexual relation to a man and his sexual masculinity."

    In other words, "femininity" is a relational concept, one that must be defined with reference to "masculinity." Okay, but where does this get us?

    EM: "Rand also made it clear that a woman's femininity, her hero worship, would be and should be toward the man she loves, and definitely not to every man she meets. Such admiration and hero worship is a proper emotion only for those men she greatly admires, or deeply loves within an intimate relationship."

    This is another case where assertion replaces argument. Again, why should "hero worship" even be accepted as the "essence of femininity" in the first place? Why cannot a man look up to and admire a woman – and thereby engage in "hero worship" -- in a precisely reciprocal manner? Is the possession of a penis a point of metaphysical privilege?

    And what does it mean to say that a woman "should" engage in "hero worship" of this sort? Is this a moral prescription, i.e., is a woman "immoral" if she doesn't agree with Rand's theory? Or is this perhaps a prescription for psychological health, i.e., is a dissenting woman somehow psychologically immature if she dares to disagree with Ellen's assertions?

    EM: "There may be many women who never rise to that level of  metaphysical abstraction conceptually, and they would never experience or understand any great admiration or hero worship, or grand passion for any man. At best, such a woman would be able to  be a friend or a pal, or a sex object.  At worst, such a woman would simply seek to manipulate, control and use men sexually to further her own self-serving goals.  But these kind of women [and it is also clear that Rand wrote about different types of women in her novels] are not what Rand was talking about in this essay.  She was talking about "woman qua woman" and femininity - the man worshipper."

    Again, there is no argument given to support the assertion that "grand passion for any man" must necessarily involve "hero worship" in Rand's sense. Ellen has simply reformulated her original arbitrary assertion in different words.

    EM: "Rand often said, "Man qua Man", and she meant " by their nature, men and women, not as they are, but as they could be and should be".  In this context of femininity, when Rand says "woman qua woman", she means the femininity of woman, not as she is, but as she could be and should be --  only *if* she lives up to her highest potential.  And that to Rand means [I think] a rational woman who rises to the highest level of intelligent womanhood possible to her. If a woman does that she is feminine, and rationally speaking she is moral. Then, and only then, would she desire a man with the highest essence of metaphysical masculinity and moral character she could and should admire."

    Again, we have a simple repetition of the same unproven generalizations, with a bit of silly moralizing thrown in to spice up the same warmed-over dish.

    EM: "I have presented at least part of my case for agreeing with her ideas in her essay.  And also, I agree with Morganis that ~if~ George disagrees with Rand it is George's responsibility to prove her reasoning and generalizing is false.  All he has done is call her view of femininity "silly".  I think he is way off the mark on this one."

    When and if Ellen is willing to present arguments instead of repeating the same tired assertions about the "essence of femininity," etc., then I will be happy to respond to those arguments.

    EM: "[George's] claim is that he has known many individual women and their sexual psychology. What he has not understood is Rand's sexual psychology, her ideals of femininity and masculinity, and her generalizations reached on the basis of her conceptual integration."

    Precisely *what* abstractions did Rand integrate to reach her conclusions about the "essence of femininity"? Ellen often uses phrases like "conceptual integration" without bothering to mention what concepts are being integrated. She then accuses her opponents of failing to understand such "integration." Ellen should explain what she is talking about.

    EM: "George, look at the men in the world, are there many who strive and reach this ideal?  Are there many women who are capable of being man-worshippers?"

    Why should anyone care about such matters? Again, where is the argument?

    I'll stop here, since I am now the one who has become repetitive. All of Ellen's "arguments" are of the same type as discussed above. She continuously substitutes verbiage for argument, as if lofty phrases like "metaphysical abstraction," "woman qua woman," and "conceptual integration" -- not to mention her incessant moralizing about sexuality --  should somehow convince other people.

    This is why I regard her views as "silly." They remind me somewhat of Freud's contention that a sexually mature woman should ideally experience vaginal rather than clitoral orgasms. At least Freud offered some arguments to support this claim, specious though they were. But his claim was "silly" nonetheless, and one needn't go into the details of Freudianism to reject his claim outright. The person who makes this kind of sweeping sexual generalization, be it Sigmund Freud or Ellen Moore, has the burden of proof, and without such proof such assertions are utterly arbitrary and need not be taken seriously. In thus rejecting Ellen's arbitrary assertions about feminine sexuality, I am simply behaving like a good Objectivist.

    Ellen can claim all she wants that I fail to "understand" her (or Rand). This is even true in one sense. Specifically, I fail to understand why Ellen refuses to present any arguments to substantiate her assertions. Is she unable to distinguish arguments from assertions? Ghs

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's Position on Femininity – George Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 13:22:09 -0600

    George wrote, "Is she [me] unable to distinguish arguments for assertions."

    Are you unable to distinguish between conceptual abstractions and perceptual concretes?  Are you unable to distinguish between conceptual explanations versus posing endless answered questions?  Are you unable to distinguish verbiage from conceptual arguments?  The techniques of sophistry you use to ask questions till hell freezes over is actually your inadequacy *IF* you absolutely refuse to understand any conceptual explanations. [Rand's or mine]

    I know by the methods you are using that you try to put all the responsibility onto me to answer, over and over, all your questions when you failed to grasp what was written.  You offer nothing but silly questions caused by your refusal, or inability, to deal with the ideas presented.  Even if you cannot understand what Rand wrote, or what I understand, the very least you could do is admit that you do not understand how a rational woman feels about her own sense of femininity.  I suppose all you know is those women who do not understand it either, and when they tell you it's "stupid" that is all the "facts" you need to know.  I understand female sexual psychology much better than you ever will because I have explored the entire process – from concrete to conceptual to romantic idealism.

    For example, did I say anywhere that momentary sexual satisfaction is "wrong" , or an immoral experience?  No!  If physical orgasm is the momentary best one experiences, then that is all one can achieve and understand.  I explained that it is not the kind or level of sexual satisfaction one achieves with the highest conceptual idealism about one's own femininity.  I call this Romantic Love, and that is what Rand called it.  If you don't know what I mean by that, then I cannot force that conceptual knowledge into your mind - no matter what I write.  [No one else on ATL is demanding or opposing this as you are, and there's a lot of highly sexy and conceptual members here, I think.]

    Here's the point:  If you do not understand what Rand meant in her essay, you must show why and how she is wrong.  Where is your argument? Saying her article was "silly" *is* an arbitrary assertion unless you can *explain" that she was wrong in every statement.  All you've done so far is deny, question, and demand answers, then you deny, question, and  demand more answers.  That is not an example of intellectual responsibility nor is it rational argumentation.

    Tuesday you wrote what must have been flu-caused muddling.  You did not even distinguish what I, Ellen M., was saying - as differentiated from what Rand had written.  I asked, has Rand ever written an essay explaining her theory of *masculinity*?  If so, I have not seen it. Yet, you now maintain she had a theory about it?  Tell us, what is her theory of masculinity, as interpreted by you, George?

    If you cannot offer ATL your own interpretation of Rand's theory of masculinity, could you offer your own theory of masculinity?  No?  Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?

    If you had any idea that I am going to offer any theory of masculinity, you are wrong.   All I could say, conceptually, in abstraction, is that I do understand that the essence of femininity is hero worship, and therefore I think, reciprocally, that the essence of masculinity is heroine worship.  I can say this because I understand my own feminine sexual psychology, and I see no reason to think that males are significantly different than females when it comes to conceptual abstraction.

    But, I can also say that I have no understanding of masculine sexual psychology other than the experiences I have known personally.  Also, I have no personal understanding of homosexuality, or bisexuality, or cross-dressing, or masochism or sadism.  O'yeah, I have read and heard about all sexual behaviors, but what I really understand deep down conceptually is my own specific experiences.  Beyond individual contextual experience, all knowledge is volitional and conceptual.  And that, George, is the basic cause of all the differences between your views and mine.  [Months ago, I read all your posted argumentation disagreeing with Bill Dwyer about volition vs soft determinism, but nowhere in your prose did I get any impression that you understood the Objectivist theory of volition.]

    So, let's hear you, George Smith, explain femininity and masculinity on the basis of your psycho-epistemology.   Then, maybe we could all understand exactly why and how your views differ from Rand's or mine.

    One last point:  You accused Rand of "universalizing" and making false generalizations.  This indicates to me that you also do not understand Rand's view of "objective" and  "objectivity".  I spent several hours one evening in '75, debating against Joan and Allan Blumenthal who, after 25 years in Rand's inner circle, still argued that objectivity required "universalizability".  They did not agree with my arguments, but Peikoff did assure me the next day that I was right in stating that objectivity is individual and contextual -- and it is epistemological. Rand never offered such a Kantian premise as "universalizability", and she objected strongly to the idea of "collective subjectivity". According to Objectivism, objectivity is contextual and individual, as is every aspect of rational cognition.  In conclusion, there is no valid context such as "universalizing" a psychological sense of femininity. Yet, I think there are other women besides me who understand conceptually what Rand wrote - in spite of all our individual contextual differences.

    p.s., I never offered any "anarchistic argument" about male presidents. Yes, I do say that one's psychology, and one's psycho-epistemology, is caused by one's volitional actions of consciousness - it's true. Ellen Moore

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's Position on Femininity - George Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 14:07:10 -0600

    Ellen Moore's last post was par for the course. For example, she wrote: "You offer nothing but silly questions caused by your refusal, or inability, to deal with the ideas presented."

    Since when is it silly to demand that assertions be backed up with arguments? Have you ever heard of the burden of proof, Ellen? And if, by chance, you have actually presented an argument in the past, please cut and paste it so all of us can see it.

    Ellen wrote: "Here's the point:  If you do not understand what Rand meant in her essay, you must show why and how she is wrong.  Where is your argument? Saying her article was "silly" *is* an arbitrary assertion unless you can *explain" that she was wrong in every statement."

    This is an absolutely incredible statement, especially coming from someone who professes to understand Objectivist epistemology. Are you a Marxist, Ellen? Or do you regard Marxism as fallacious? If the latter is the case, then, given your own standards, you must read every page of Marx's *Capital* (all three thick volumes) and then explain where Marx was "wrong in every statement." After all, Marx presented a lot of arguments, so, according to your twisted logic, the burden is clearly upon *you* to show where Marx was "wrong in every detail." If you cannot do this -- and I will give you a week or so to pen your decisive, line-by-line refutation -- then you must obviously embrace Marxism.

    Or don't you apply the same standards to yourself that you demand of others?

    I was simply asking for an argument to substantiate the claim that *either* you *or* Rand made about the "essence of femininity." You have consistently refused to provide one -- unless we regard as an "argument" your statement to the effect that, as a female, you someone have a mystical insight into all this. I think my point about silliness has been made -- or, rather, you have made if for me. Thank you for being so utterly predictable.  Ghs

    From: "George H. Smith" The Philosophy of Sex (was Rand's Position on Femininity) Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 14:38:42 -0600 Ellen Lewit wrote: "This is a reply to Ellen Moore's earlier reply to George Smith's reply .... She has written since but that one seems more a personal squabble with George (he was baiting her, too)."

    You are very wise for a woman who has (presumably) lived but one lifetime. 8-)

    Your points were also very interesting. Once I'm feeling a bit better, and able to do something more than swatting at flies (uh oh, more bait), I would like to get into this a bit more. I think the "philosophy of sex" -- which is what this discussion is *supposed* to be about -- is a problematic area, given the highly individualized nature of sexual attitudes, beliefs, and preferences.

    A good place to begin would be to inquire whether a true "philosophy" of sex is even possible -- and, if so, what *method* could be used to substantiate claims in this field. I call this the *philosophy* of sex, rather than the *psychology* of sex, because the former attempts to establish prescriptive norms whereby some sexual attitudes, preferences, and dispositions can be judged "better" or "worse" than others. This is the kind of thing Rand undertakes in her article about a woman president. Ghs

    From: "George H. Smith" Reply- To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's Position on Femininity – George Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 15:35:07 -0600 I want to comment on the following from Ellen Moore: "If you cannot offer ATL your own interpretation of Rand's theory of masculinity, could you offer your own theory of masculinity?  No?  Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?"

    Although, to my knowledge, Rand never wrote an essay devoted to the subject of "masculinity" per se, she clearly had some opinions about this matter. For one thing, as Ellen herself has conceded, "femininity" is a relational concept for Rand, one that is defined as an attitude of "hero worship" towards a man. This would suggest that "masculinity" has to do with possessing those qualities that are worthy of the "hero worship" that Rand speaks of.

    As for my own views about "masculinity," they are the same as my views about "femininity." I don't think there is an objectively ascertainable "essence" for either.

    I think the words "masculine" and "feminine" customarily mean nothing more than what an individual happens to find appealing in the opposite sex. In other words, these terms merely express subjective preferences (unless they are linked to physical characteristics, such as sex organs).

    In many cases, one's culture can play a significant role in influencing how people view masculinity and femininity. For example, some girls, bombarded with ads that feature quasi-anorexic models, might associate femininity with extreme thinness -- whereas in some cultures and some ages the pleasingly plump female might be viewed as the exemplar of femininity. Or the essence of "woman qua woman" might be viewed as the ability to bear and raise children. To pretend that even the most rational person it totally immune to cultural influences is extremely naive.

    Again, I seriously doubt whether there are any objective standards by which we can gauge the *psychological* characteristics of masculinity and femininity. Two men can have a fulfilling romantic relationship, as can two women -- and in neither case does it follow that one partner is necessarily playing the masculine or feminine role, however these may be defined.

    In short, our definitions of masculinity and femininity, psychologically considered, depend on our personal preferences, and such preferences may stem from a variety of causes. Some of these may be within our volitional control, but many are not.

    I therefore have no problem with Ellen Moore (or anyone else) saying, "This is my personal ideal of femininity." But this is akin to saying, "This is my personal ideal of a perfect dinner" -- in other words, this is what I happen to *like,* for whatever reason.

    The problem arises when we extrapolate from our personal preferences and apply them universally to other people. And we enter the realm of silliness when we claim that how I personally view such things is how others *should* view them as well. I happen to like a lobster dinner, but I don't uphold this as an "ideal" dinner for others. And I certainly wouldn't engage in a silly argument about the essence of a "good dinner qua good dinner" with people who happen to dislike lobster. Ghs

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's position on femininity - Ellen L Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 15:44:55 -0600

    Ellen L., Aren't you just a little bit flattered about George calling you "a very wise woman who has lived but one lifetime. 8-)"  Now, wait for the other shoe to fall --- because  I have read your post twice, and I agree with everything you have stated therein - even your first point about mens' and womens' relation to reality.

    I did explain that I view the sexuality of femininity and masculinity as vital to a romantic sexual relationship, i.e., otherwise it loses the value and idealism of romantic love.  I think that is what you mean, too.

    You write,  "What you haven't addressed is why a woman would not want to be president?   Yes I did, I said that a rational woman would not want to have power over all men - I mean, not over even one man.  And beyond that, I wrote that I did not think a rational man would want to have any dictatorial power over any people at all.  I also said that I see no purpose for a president in a free country.  And that is not an anarchist view.  And I'm glad that you just agreed with me.  I do not think that power over others has anything to do with objective sexuality, either. Of course, one can give up power to another person or group, but I think that is quite the opposite of self-interest in sexuality, or elsewhere.

    What I have been saying does not apply to all women, either intellectually, psychologically, or sexually.  I have made the point that sexual objectivity is not universalizable, it is individual and contextual, and *this point alone* wipes out all of George's opposing arguments against Rand's essay.  Please note, that he never answers such points -  he just adds more sophistry and obfuscation.

    Despite the posturing of George Smith against Rand's essay, it appears he is going to discuss his own ideas about the "Philosophy of Sex". Now, wouldn't that pose an interesting conundrum if we all agreed with him? But, as he has shown once again, he has offered no valid criticism against Rand's view of femininity, or her essay. Ellen M.

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Rand's position on femininity - Ellen L Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 17:24:47 -0600

    Ellen Moore wrote (to Ellen Lewit): "What I have been saying does not apply to all women, either intellectually, psychologically, or sexually.  I have made the point that sexual objectivity is not universalizable, it is individual and contextual, and *this point alone* wipes out all of George's opposing arguments against Rand's essay.  Please note, that he never answers such points -  he just adds more sophistry and obfuscation."

    This admission does indeed eliminate my objection to *Ellen's* assertions, which she now freely concedes are merely expressions of her personal preferences and therefore don't apply to other women at all.

    I thought Ellen had been making claims, not just about her personal psychology, but about the "essence of femininity" as it pertains to "woman qua woman." My mistake. As I have said before, no counter-argument is even relevant when it comes to Ellen's personal tastes in this area, any more than it would make sense to argue against her taste in food. If she personally likes to engage in some kind of "hero worship," then that is certainly her prerogative, and more power to her. She can even wear a cape if she likes -- whatever rings her bell. I'm glad that Ellen finally cleared this up. This now leaves us with Rand's position, which clearly differs from that taken by Ellen. Ghs

    From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: AR's "About a Woman President" Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 20:14:49 -0600 [I typed the following very quickly, so it probably contains more than my usual quota of typos]

    Now that Ellen Moore has candidly withdrawn her personal views about femininity from the realm of generalizations, or arguments about "woman qua woman," let us now take a look at Ayn Rand's different views on the same subject.

    Rand's article, "About A Woman President" (written in January, 1969), appears in the anthology, *The Voice of Reason,* pp. 267-270. (Btw, isn't this a somewhat more diplomatic revision of the original title which, as I recall, was something like, "Why I Wouldn't Vote for a Woman President"? Or am I wrong about this?)

    Rand begins by referring to an "article/interview" (published in McCall's in 1968) wherein she was asked, "What would I do if I were president of the United States." Here answer was as follows: "I would not want to be president and would not vote for a woman president. A woman cannot reasonably want to be commander-in-chief. I prefer to answer the question by outlining what a rational man would do if *he* were president."

    Two points are relevant here: (1) Rand's argument pertains to women in general -- or, more specifically (as she later makes clear) to "rational" women. This is not *merely* an expression of a personal preference on Rand's part. She is not merely asserting that she would never have any desire to be president; rather, she is claiming that *no* rational woman -- not just herself -- would ever *want" to be president. 2) Rand explicitly states that her argument does not apply to men. It is perfectly understandable, from her perspective, why a rational man would desire to be president. This is clearly in conflict with the view expressed by Ellen Moore -- which I think has merit, btw -- that no rational woman OR man would want to be president, owing to the implications of power lust, etc.

    Rand next observes that she received many letters about her comments, "asking me the reasons of that particular paragraph." She replies that she more or less expected her readers already to understand the reasons -- and she refers to the "illustrative examples" of her fictional heroines, especially Dagny Taggart -- but she does concede that the "issue is not self-evident." This, then, was presumably her motive for writing this short article, namely, to explain her reasons.

    Rand begins: "I do not think that a rational woman can want to be president. Observe that I did not say she would be unable to do the job; I said that she could not *want* it. It is not a matter of her ability, but of her *values.*

    This is the "psycho-epistemological twist" that I referred to in an earlier post. The mere fact that a woman might *want* to be president means that she does not have rational values, whatever her abilities may be.

    Rand freely concedes that a woman president could do an excellent job and that her performance might be "good for the country" (and I pass over her reasons here, since they have never been a point of controversy in the current debate), but the relevant question, for Rand is, "*what would it do to her?*"

    This is where Rand launches into her discussion of "a woman's fundamental view of life" and "the essence of femininity" as "hero worship, the desire to look up to a man."

    Rand elaborates on this idea, such as by asserting that a rational woman's "worship is an abstract emotion for the *metaphysical* concept of masculinity as such...." She then turns to an analysis of the presidency.. The president is "the *highest authority*; he is the 'chief executive,' the 'commander-in-chief'" -- and as such he does "not deal with equals, but only with inferiors...in respect to the hierarchy of their positions." Rand continues with this key passage:

    "*This,* for a rational woman [again, not just for Rand personally, but for rational women in general] would be an unbearable situation. (And if she is *not* rational, she is unfit for the presidency, anyway.) To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the *ruler* of all men she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture. It would require a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness, and an incommunicable loneliness; she would have to suppress (or repress) every personal aspect of her own character and attitude; she could not be herself, i.e., a woman; she would have to function only as a *mind,* not as a *person,* i.e., as a thinker devoid of personal values -- a dangerously artificial dichotomy which no one could sustain for long. By the nature of her duties and daily activities, she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: *a matriarch.*" [Presumably Rand has no problem with the figure of a patriarch.]

    Rand then goes on to explain why the same argument would not apply, say, to a woman who "heads a business concern." This is an extraordinarily weak argument, if for no other reason than the president is not the "superior" of everyone he deals with, even in some "hierarchical sense." He has no authority over Supreme Court Justices, for example, and his "power" over legislators is largely limited to his veto power. Rand's view of the presidency is quite bizarre, for the president is supreme in the executive branch only, and there is division of sovereign powers among the other branches of government. And the president certainly has no sovereign authority over private citizens, such as businesspersons. Rand seems to view an American president as if he were some kind of absolutist Russian Czar.

    With the exception of a final qualification (which Ellen has already discussed, and which no one has objected to), that's about it.

    So, once again, WHERE is the argument that justifies Rand's generalization about how *every* rational women *should* feel about the presidency? Granted, Rand may have personally viewed the prospect of serving as president as the kind of psychological torture she describes -- but where is the justification for assuming that OTHER "rational" women must necessarily feel the same way?

    Will someone please point to the ARGUMENT that justifies this universalization of a personal preference? Search as I may, I am unable to find it. Perhaps it is buried among Rand's many assertions and sweeping generalizations about what a "rational woman" should and should not desire, and how she should and should not feel. This article is quite brief, so any such argument should be easy to find and quote. Ghs

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: AR's About a Woman President Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2001 17:25:53 -0600 I think George is losing it!!

    First, he wrote. "Now that Ellen Moore has candidly withdrawn her personal views about femininity from the realm of generalizations, or arguments about "woman qua woman", ...

    Does George really think he can state a damned lie like this, and that there is any member here who is dumb enough to think that I have "candidly withdrawn her [my] personal views about femininity from the realm of generalization." ???  Just in case, No, I have not.  George is just shooting off his wayward missiles.

    My views on femininity, as I have been explaining, are much the same as Rand explained, i.e., that "no rational woman would want to be president".  I stand by that.

    I also stand by my own view that no rational man would "want" to be president.  I think that men or women who *want* to be president must want to hold power over others, and I do not think that desire is rational.

    Rand's quote was obviously intended as "outlining what a rational man would do if *he* were president."  She did not say he *would or should want* to be president!!  She merely intended to outline in the original article (which I have never read) what she thought a "rational man would do *IF* he were president."  The point is, both articles were Rand's own presentation of *her* views!  Her second article in The Objectivist does not apply at all to men, rational or otherwise.

    Of course, Rand expected her informed readers to understand her reasons even if the reasons are not so self-evident - all she meant by "self-evident" is that they are derived by reason and are not metaphysically axiomatic, i.e., not everyone knows it implicitly or explicitly.

    True, Rand thought that a woman with rational sexual values would *not want* to be president.  This is not a "psycho-epistemological twist" as George calls it.  This *is* her view as clearly as she stated it.  It is a generalization about "rational women with rational sexual values of femininity".  Perhaps George cannot grasp "rational values" in this or any context.

    Rand thought the figure of a matriarch revolting, so George adds. "[Presumably Rand has no problem with the figure of a patriarch.]"  So, now George can read her mind??  I doubt if Rand thought a patriarch was a heroic figure.  I think of either a matriarch and a patriarch as the figure of a mini-dictator.

    There is a strong likelihood that Rand had a very different view of the powers of the presidency than George has expressed here.  Other than that, of course, Rand expressed a totally opposing view of the essence of sexuality in femininity than George has expressed.  Her philosophy of life is based on rational principles of objectivity - while George's view of sexual values are concrete and subjective.

    This is the last time on this topic that I will respond to George's views.  He is so far removed from Objectivist premises that any further effort of argument is wasted.

    That does not mean that the subjects of femininity and masculinity have been understood by the rest of the members.  You all seem to be unusually silent about the essence of your personal sexual philosophy and psychology.  Never mind, I respect the privacy of your views – no matter how conceptually generalized they are.

    George has given us the facts.  'When any man tells you what he is, believe him.'

    George wrote, "I don't think there is an objectively ascertainable "essence" for either." [i.e., masculinity or femininity] "I think the words 'masculine' and 'feminine' customarily mean nothing more than what an individual happens to find appealing in the opposite sex.  In other words, these terms merely express subjective preferences (unless they are linked to physical characteristics. such as sex organs.)"

    He offers sexuality as "cultural preferences", and homosexual male and lesbian preferences.  He offers "personal preferences" for definitions about masculinity and femininity.  He says, "...such preferences may stem from a variety of causes. Some of these may be within our volitional control, but many are not."

    Clearly, George says, "__ in other words, this is what I happen to *like*, for whatever reason." And George adds his analogy, "I happen to like a lobster dinner, but I don't uphold this as an 'ideal' for others."

    This is the best George has to offer.  His "preferences" explanation for masculinity and femininity is totally concrete bound and subjective. He rejects the idea that there can be epistemological essences. He rejects the idea that there are ethical parameters to human sexuality. He rejects the idea that there are psycho- epistemological essences. He rejects the entire scope of rational sexual values and objective value structures He rejects the idea that objective idealism is possible within human sexuality. He rejects the idea of validly posed essences of woman qua woman, or man qua man. He rejects the idea that conceptual reasoning allows for objective human understanding. He rejects the idea of rational, objective romantic love.

    All our daily individual preferences and choices may be unique and personal, but that does not invalidate the full range of a conceptual philosophy, nor does it destroy thinking and understanding that is individual, contextual, conceptual, and objective.  It does not prohibit valid generalizations and rational principles.

    If all sexuality is subjective concrete experiences, then George is actually denying reason, rationality, and objectivity in favor of physical subjectivity.

    George may like a lobster dinner, but he cannot grasp the generality that most humans like a lobster dinner just as well, if not better, than his own preferred tastes will permit.

    George's sexuality in a nutshell is: sex is concrete and subjective. His sexual preference for a woman?  "She's just a piece of meat I happen to like."

    George told us that he is not an Objectivist.  Now we know what he admits his philosophical orientation really is: Empiricism and Subjectivism.

    Dave questions my meaning.

    Yes, what I have been expressing is only about the values of *rational* women.  When I speak of rational values, I mean to include metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and psycho-epistemology.  One's sexual values entail all of those fundamentals, plus all that one has conceptualized, i.e., rationally identified and evaluated,  about one's awareness of sexuality.  And that also entails both one's values toward femininity and masculinity.  In other words, I mean that the very issue of femininity and masculinity are inter-related into one's view of romantic love.

    I am definitely saying that anyone who would seek power over others *is irrational*.  The reason is that man is a being of volitional consciousness, and any infringement of that is a rejection and denial of human identity.  I apply this principle to children and adults. I am definitely not talking about any sexuality that is "attraction to a piece of meat." Ellen Moore

    From: "George H. Smith To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: AR's About a Woman President Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 08:41:46 -0600 I wrote: "Now that Ellen Moore has candidly withdrawn her personal views about femininity from the realm of generalizations, or arguments about "woman qua woman", ...

    And Ellen Moore replied: "Does George really think he can state a damned lie like this, and that there is any member here who is dumb enough to think that I have "candidly withdrawn her [my] personal views about femininity from the realm of generalization."???  Just in case, No, I have not.  George is just shooting off his wayward missiles."

     "My views on femininity, as I have been explaining, are much the same as Rand explained, i.e., that "no rational woman would want to be president".  I stand by that."

     But here is what Ellen wrote previously: "What I have been saying DOES NOT APPLY to ALL women, either intellectually, psychologically, or sexually.  I have made the point that sexual objectivity is NOT UNIVERSALIZABLE, it is individual and contextual, and *this point alone* wipes out all of George's opposing arguments against Rand's essay." (My emphasis.)

     If, as seems apparent, Ellen believes that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then she has an expansive mind indeed.

     Ellen wrote: "Rand's quote was obviously intended as "outlining what a rational man would do if *he* were president."  She did not say he *would or should want* to be president!!  She merely intended to outline in the original article (which I have never read) what she thought a "rational man would do *IF* he were president."  The point is, both articles were Rand's own presentation of *her* views!  Her second article in The Objectivist does not apply at all to men, rational or otherwise."

     (1) Ellen is suggesting, as nutty as it sounds, that Rand would agree with her position that neither rational women or MEN would ever desire to be president. This is the most tortured rationalization one is ever likely to encounter. Mortimer Adler once wrote a book titled, *How to Read a Book.* Perhaps he should have written a follow-up, *How to Read a Page,* and dedicated it to Ellen Moore.

     (2) Ellen has repeatedly emphasized that Rand was expressing "*her* views." Yes, of course she was, just as we all express our views when we write an article, post, email, book, or whatever. So what does this have to do with anything? It certainly doesn't absolve one of the responsibility to substantiate one's views with arguments and/or evidence.

     Ellen wrote: "Rand expressed a totally opposing view of the essence of sexuality in femininity than George has expressed."

     Yes, of course she did, and I was asking for arguments that supported Rand's sweeping generalizations about feminine sexuality. Ellen previously accused me of not dealing with the particulars of Rand's article --so I did so, while again requesting that someone show me where the arguments are.

     Ellen has simply ignored this request (for obvious reasons). She now writes: "This is the last time on this topic that I will respond to George's views.  He is so far removed from Objectivist premises that any further effort of argument is wasted."

     In other words, if a person disagrees with Rand, then it is useless to present arguments or evidence for her views, since any such dissenter is already beyond the pale. How convenient.

     Ellen's mind is an unchartered wilderness of confusion. I suspect that if you were to put a rat in the middle of her brain, it would never be able find its way out. Ghs

     From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: A Female President Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 14:21:58 -0600

     Bill, Again, I think Rand's presentation is justified and important because not only women but men also understand what she meant.  Whatever I wrote, you do not appear to disagree with my effort to explain what I think she meant.  That's fair!  And you appear to understand her meaning which is the real point of this discussion

     As for a woman CEO, I am in agreement that a woman might feel uncomfortable working directly with a lover if she must have the hierarchical status to supervise and countermand his business responsibilities.  That could, more than likely, affect their romantic relationship if she frequently has to "cut him down to size" because of his inadequacy on the job.

     On the other hand, many husbands and wives are partners in business, and they succeed very well as a team that does not adversely affect their romantic relationship.  They each have responsibilities that do not demand either one's "dominance' over each other, so decisions are reached rationally and amicably.  I doubt if there is any couple who does not fight over the small stuff -- the main issue is that they agree on their principles and their highest values.  In other words, they can be equals in business as long as the hero/heroine worship and romance goes both ways.

     I think that both you and Ellen S. are correct - as you say, "I think her [Rand's] reasoning has broader implications for female sexual psychology than are generally recognized."

     I think that applies to her views on male sexual psychology just as significantly.  Some people can identify and empathize with the sexuality presented in her novels; others cannot for obvious reasons. Again, the key to understanding Rand, overall, is rationality and objectivity.

     Nick Bruijn wrote, "What is the point of trying to convince others?"

     Why else would I write my views in any discussion - just to read myself in print?  Basically, I want to be understood when I write.  Generally, I take up an issue that is important to me, especially when my deepest values are being opposed or attacked by others on list.

     Also, it takes some time for me to conclude that any person is unapproachable and no longer open to reason on any specific topic. Intellectuals can fool anyone some of the time by sounding so rational on some topics, and then one discovers that they have completely irrational ideas and values on other issues.

     So my attitude is - I will do my best to explain what I think, and defend what I value.  After that I listen for reasonableness -- if that is not soon evident, I might try again.  But when I'm treated with abusive disagreement and insults, then the opposition is no longer worth my time.

     Anyway, Nick, I appreciate your understanding and your agreement on the sexuality thing.  It's a real man who grasps the essence of masculinity and femininity, and I do so appreciate real men.

     I understand all your examples, and I really liked your reference to, "the famous 'Rape Scene' that was not rape but rapture."  I've never heard that scene described in terms of "rapture" before [is it an original from you?], but I know that concept describes the essence of the sexuality in that context presented by Rand. Good on 'ya, Nick. Ellen M.

       From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: AR's About a Woman President Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 16:29:17 EST

     Ellen Moore wrote: < I also stand by my own view that no rational man would "want" to be president.  I think that men or women who *want* to be president must want to hold power over others, and I do not think that desire is rational.>>

     It depends. Yes, some men (or women) who want to be president may desire the power that goes with it today. But George Washington was not a power-luster, and, in fact, in those days the president had little power; certainly not the power a president has today. Like Washington, one simply may wish to serve one's country.

     Even in today's context, there are legitimate reasons for the desire to be president. One may believe that it still is possible to turn back the tide of collectivism, and, as president, that one will be able to make a substantial difference in that regard.  We all are fortunate that Ronald Reagan *wanted* to be president, and that Margaret Thatcher *wanted* to be premier; had they not, we still would be facing the threat of an armed and dangerous communism.

     (I only hope that one day we can say we are fortunate that George Bush wanted to be president; that had he not, we still would be facing the threat of armed and dangerous terrorists.)

     In a word, there is not simply one psychological premise responsible for the desire to be president. Before judging, one must understand something of the particular psychology involved. Barbara

     From: RogerEBissell To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: A Female President Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 12:06:59 EST

     Bill Dwyer wrote: >Nick Bruijn agrees; he says that Dagny would never want to be the country's President and assert her authority over John.  If that's true, then I wonder if she would ever want to be the CEO of a company in which John were one of her subordinates. Probably not, if I understand Rand's views on this issue

     Nick Bruijn replied: >She was Bill, she was ! Remember Taggart Transcontinental, The vice president and the track-worker? (true, it was only the Operations division)

     Yes, but bear in mind that she was not ~knowingly~ Galt's boss. I think that if and when she was aware of his ability and intelligence, she would never have allowed him to continue as a track-worker. She would have promoted him as high as she possibly could or, more likely, fired him.  Also, bear in mind that Dagny ~deliberately~ worked as Galt's housekeeper for a month. She ~knowingly~ subordinated herself to ~him~ (surely his was not the only house in need of a maid 🙂 and ~reveled~ in the act of submission. Galt, by contrast, was reveling only in the ~masquerade~ of being ~no one in particular~ working at his menial position. I think that Rand's asymmetrical view of man-woman relationships was presented and preserved quite well by the relationship between Galt and Dagny. And I think that Bill is right in his surmising about Dagny's (probable) unwillingness to be Galt's superior. All 4 now, Roger

     From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re:AR as man the rational animal Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 11:41:46 -0600

    Roger, The points you are ignoring is that twice you stated falsely that I am claiming the Rand would agree with my position, 1. "Ellen is suggesting, as nutty as it sounds, that Rand would agree with her [my] position that neither rational women or men would ever desire to be president". 2. that I claimed that,  "Rand's ~real~ definition of man is 'volitional being' rather than 'rational animal', but also that man ~isn't even an animal~!!  This latter claim, which I find is particularly 'nutty'...."

     The first is false since I never claimed that Rand would agree with my position. The second is false since I never ever denied that the definition Rand used was "rational animal'.

     All you and George can wriggle around with is that he never called Rand "silly", and you never called ME "nutty".  He called Rand's article "silly", and you call my own claims "nutty".  In both cases, you and George are making false statements, about Rand's article, and you about my claims. George sees "silly" where there is Rand's rational explanation.  You see "nutty" based on your false claims.  That *is* distortion.

     Keep in mind that both of you have called me and my ideas by extremely derogatory and vile names continuously throughout the years on Atlantis.  You have to live with the consequences.  I am neither "religious, cultist, or nutty".  Rand and her ideas were neither "silly' - nor "stupid or nonsense" as Kathleen and Mona claim.

     I think it is past time that you grasped the essence of contextuality - the judgments you make are yours, you own them, even when you are wrong, and you deserved to be judged according to what you think, say, and do. I see no value in trying to pose the idea that a person and their ideas are split, cut off from the source and the context.  Mistaken ideas are the self-made product of a mistaken mind; rational ideas are products of rational minds. The ideas and actions observed are the only valid evidence for judging a person's character.  The ideas and actions you express on Atlantis are clear indications of your mind and character, i.e., this is your identity.

     Now you apologize for calling my ideas "nutty" because you want to engage me and others in substantive discussions about Rand's definition of man.  That discussion is over before it begins.  Rand used the definition of man as "rational animal" - no argument.

    What you really want is to engage *me* in a discussion of why I have taken up with Rand's ideas because you can see - maybe -  that I am using Rand's criteria for changing a definition of man to a new context that corresponds to the new knowledge Rand offered philosophically in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".  She put the locus of volition in the metaphysical identity of human consciousness.  And based on that, she offered many new ideas about reason and rationality.

    Since I am the only one [I know of] who is advancing new ideas about volition and reason, you want to oppose my ideas - and me - OK, take your best shots.  But if you want me to discuss my ideas with you, you'd better begin by showing some respect for me, the idea maker.

      I quite willingly admit that I am "pushing the envelope" of Objectivism into new contextual identifications that Rand made evident, and she surely did lay out all the philosophical structure and framework for progress to follow. Ellen Moore

     From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: AR - man as rational animal Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 16:53:49 -0600

     Ellen Moore wrote: "So often, people who call Ayn Rand's ideas "silly", or "stupid" or "nonsense" are actually mistaken because they never really understood what her ideas meant.  Theirs is a lack of understanding, a mistake - but then they resort to verbal abuse and ridicule rather than admit Rand was expressing ideas they do not understand.  They just don't *feel* she is right because they do not understand or share her ideas.  Other people read the same ideas and they do understand what she meant."

     I understand perfectly well what Rand was getting at in her argument against a woman president. But, throughout this futile debate, I have objected that Rand nowhere (to my knowledge) attempts to *justify* her statements about femininity (in the same way, say, that she attempts to justify her egoistic moral theory). Thus I repeatedly asked Ellen either (1) to refer me to where Rand attempts such a justification, or (b) to provide such a justification herself.

     Of course, Ellen has done neither; she hasn't even tried. Instead she keeps repeating the mantra that anyone who disagrees with Rand in this area has obviously failed to understand her. This is eerily similar to the fundamentalist argument that only those who first accept Jesus as their personal savior can possibly understand Christianity.

     So where's the argument, Ellen? Where is the justification for the blanket assertion that the essence of femininity is (or should be) "hero worship? I'm waiting, but I won't hold my breath. Ghs

     From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: AR - man as rational animal Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 15:07:12 -0600

    George, There is no need to hold your breath - there is "justification galore" for Rand's view that the essence of femininity is hero-worship.  And the fact is that you have not understood or shared her sexual values – if you did, you would know it and celebrate it.

     I am going to try to show you where to find Rand's "justifications". This may be understood from all her writing that speaks of Romantic Love, about the relationship between femininity and masculinity, about the romantic sexual emotions between a man and a woman of self-esteem, i.e., between rational humans.

     For my own justification, I understood at once that she was presenting her view of romantic love in "Anthem, in We The Living, in The Fountainhead, in Atlas Shrugged".  Then I understood that she presented it in several descriptive passages in her essays and articles.  In this sense, I never misunderstood her view of romantic sexuality.  I knew that her view was an expression of my own sense of sexual femininity in relation to masculinity, i.e., I identified with her characterizations of these romantic relationships.

     [I admit it took me some thinking and interpretation to understand Dominique's malevolence, and her twisted psychology that drove her to attempt to destroy Roark whom she loved and hero-worshipped.  But she did learn that the world could not destroy a man with his self-esteem and strength of character.]

     It has always been evident to me that not all persons respond to Rand's novels and ideals as I do.  E.g., I could never think of sexual rapture [I'm using Nick Bruijn's term for the emotion I feel] as anything like a "good meal" -- it is *so much more*.  It is rapture for body and soul. It is the highest sharing of values to be sexually celebrated, and nothing else in life comes even close to that emotion.

     When it comes to Rand's article About a Woman President, I think she justified her position there about femininity.  It began on the second page with "The issue is primarily psychological ...  and follows through these two paragraphs.  To me, this is sufficient justification.

     But you obviously need more explanations.  So I suggest that you read all her novels by paying specific attention to the details of the best man-woman romantic sexual relationships.  That should give you quite a few clues.   Then you may go to The Ayn Rand Lexicon.  Under "femininity" you will find those two paragraphs quoted.  And then go to the headings, "Love" which includes her justifications from "the Objectivist Ethics, Of Living Death, Philosophy and Sense of Life, Playboy's Interview with AR, Galt's speech in AS, The conflicts of Men's Interests [VOS], and ITOE.   And under "Sex" you'll find another justification by Rand in The Meaning of Sex [FNI].

     And if all that fails to mean anything to you, just recall that there is an entire genre of fiction writing, Romance, novels that both men and women enjoy.  The best writers present femininity and masculinity in romantic sexual relationships that are frequently and explicitly similar to Rand's portrayals.

     My question really is, how could anyone read Rand's works and NOT understand what her justification is?  Were they not paying attention, or did they never experience or share the values we know and the response of sexual rapture?

     George, I know whereof I speak;  my husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on November 24th.  We intend to drink a champagne toast in honor of Romantic Rapture.

     "Here's to those that we love, and here's to those that love us, and here's to all those that love those that love us."

    Ellen M.

     From: Nathaniel Branden To: atlantis Subject: ATL: one more Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 13:27:05 -0800

     Oh, yes, one more. Anyone who thinks AR provided rational grounds for her assertion that no rational woman would want to be President of the U.S.--doesn't understand Objectivist epistemology. Nathaniel Branden

     From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Man-woman relationships Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 19:11:10 EST

     I once read something that still has me laughing helplessly whenever I think of it. It was a book written by a raging feminist, and nowhere was there a hint of the possibility that any woman might react differently than she did -- except once. One turned a page to see another page that was blank except for one bold-faced line: EVERY WOMAN LOVES A FASCIST. There was no explanation and no reference to the line in the rest of the book.

     I thought it hysterically funny, and I knew exactly what she meant. Barbara

     From: Ellen Moore  To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: "All women love a fascist." Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2001 16:09:24 -0600

    Barbara, It is interesting to see that we both know the joke is hilarious but we both come to that conclusion in different ways and with different understanding.  This explains that our minds work in different ways and we can still reach the same conclusion whether over the issue of a joke or over the serious question of Israel's right to exist.  I note that we also think differently about the nature of evil - about which I intend to post.

     In my view, you come at things so often from a psychological perspective while I come at the same things from a philosophical perspective.  Take our different reactions to the joke ...

     The situation of that line on a blank page in the middle of a book without explanation IS a joke in the author's mind.  I think we both got that first point.

     Your explanation was expressed by saying, "My quote refers to the supposed fact that while women say they seek only gentleness and kindness in a man, some unacknowledged part of them wants a man to be domineering."

     I could not disagree more.  I really hate domineering men, especially if they try to dominate me or any other women.  I will not tolerate it quietly.  I truly hate the domineering treatment of women under male dictatorships, and I have a large degree of contempt for woman in freer countries who submit to male dominance of any kind.

     So here is why I think the joke is hilarious.

     I read it to Mel and said out loud "What the hell does that mean?"  He said "I dunno." So, then I said "Well, what does fascism mean here"  I quickly paraphrased what fascism means to me, saying, "Well, fascism means that the means of production is privately owned, but the state controls the use and distribution of private property."

     We looked at each other and laughed at the joke. What a perfect description of male-female sexual psychology in action.

     Do I have to explain any further for those who still don't get it?  I know explanations spoil the spontaneity of any joke, so I won't explain unless someone wants me to explain it privately in e-mail.

     But you can see how our approach differs, and our explanation differs, but we both found the joke funny from different perspectives.  Yes? Ellen M.

     From: "Gayle Dean" To: "Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Whole philosophy of life Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 21:13:57 -0500

    Ellen Moore said: “Rand said something like, show me the woman a man sleeps with and I'll tell you his whole philosophy of life."

     I assume that Ellen agrees with Rand's statement that she quotes.  And I assume Rand meant that her principle would hold for women as well as men?  In other words, "show Rand the "man" a woman sleeps with and she could tell you the woman's whole philosophy of life."

     But if so, then what would Rand's own "philosophy of life" be, considering that she slept with a man --Nathaniel--that both she and Ellen considered to be a liar and a scoundrel. Now, I suppose Ellen could try to argue that Rand simply made a mistake when she chose to sleep with Nathaniel, but "an error of knowledge" was never mentioned by Rand as a mitigating factor in her claim. Gayle

     From: Nick Glover To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: The Objectivist Revolution ... Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2001 23:33:51 -0500

     I meant to send this to the list.  I apologize to Ellen that she will receive this twice.

     Ellen Moore wrote: "Victor, this falls in lesson 101 in Objectivism.  If reasonable people disagree, then one, some, or all of them are wrong.  In this case, some of them are wrong, mistaken, about rationality and femininity.  The answer was explained by Rand, more than once.  The answer has been explained by me many times in every way I can express the issues.  There are men and women who have no understanding of what is being explained, nor do they understand the personal psychology that is present in rationality and femininity.  Why do they not understand what Rand explained? -- because they do not feel psychologically as she did.  They do not understand me either."

     If you are going to call Rand's sexual psychology *rational*, you are implying that there is a *rational* argument for it.  All I believe others have been asking is for you to present this argument.  Obviously, many of the members of this list consider what Rand has said on sexual psychology to be just assertions without argument, so please do not keep referring us to Rand.  If you are going to claim that we cannot understand this psychology unless we already "feel psychologically" as you and Rand, then you are implying there is no argument for it that we can understand.  If this is the case, then it may be your sexual psychology and Rand's, but it is not *rational*.  The very idea of a *rational* position is one for which you can present an objective, valid argument to other people.  This reminds me of black women claiming that white men cannot make moral judgments about them because they are not black women. Nick Glover

     From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Sexual psychology Date: Sat, 08 Dec 2001 14:38:22 -0600

    Morganis, et al As far as I recall [which is far from total] from my earlier posts, I have never called those who do not understand Rand's theory of rational femininity either "stupid" or "ignorant", nor have I thought of them as "ignoramusi" or "dummies".  And I have always said that sexuality is a uniquely personal emotional response.

     There is nothing mystical about sexual psychology.  It is based on perceptual experience, conceptual understanding, introspection, and it is volitional and self-created.  It's up to the individual to understand him or herself.

     I heard Ayn Rand say to a woman questioner/arguer after a lecture in Boston, and I will describe it in my words -- Rand answered her in a patient and kindly manner that she had explained the issue thoroughly in her essay, and she proceeded to explain it again there and then, and the woman still continued to argue with her, so Rand's final statement to the woman was -- If you cannot understand what I am explaining, "then I feel sorry for you". [that last part's a direct quote I do recall.]

     I have on occasion given the same answer to others.  It is not because I think the other person is stupid or ignorant -- and I am ~NOT~ being condescending -- it is simply a fact that they have not understood the same experience that I have, or that Rand did.  I suspect that they have not personally experienced any similar emotional sexual response, or grasped the idealism of a supremely romantic sexual relationship.  In fact, ~I cannot know~ *what* they do experience sexually.  All I can see is that, based on what they admit, they do NOT share or grasp the experience of supreme joy that I have known, and that Rand described and explained in her novels and her comments on sexual psychology.

     Tell me Morganis, how can one ~explain~ something, anything, to another person if they have no experience or idea of what you are talking about?  How can one explain the color red to a blind man?   As my husband said, "How can you describe or point to femininity or masculinity.  It's a personal evaluation.   Actually, I do not really expect men to understand "femininity" as some women know it intimately. Sure, I can explain what I feel or know intellectually to my husband, but he does not "feel" or "know" femininity as I do.

     I do feel sorry for anyone who thinks that a sexual encounter is an equivalent pleasure to eating a meal, hamburger or filet mignon.  To me there is no other life affirming joy like it.  And Rand's view of good sex is "a celebration of life",  and that love is the exchange of one's highest values and ideals.

    As for you or anyone voting for a woman President, it depends on your individual judgment of the context.  If she is better than anyone else available for the job, then more power over the citizens is what you give her.  I had great respect for Margaret Thatcher, and it appears that she had a nice relationship with her husband, but we cannot know what their sexual relationship is - whether it is supremely romantic joy or merely comfortable, humdrum, and practical.  Rand *idealized* the best of romantic sexual relationships, and so do I.

    I've said many times that sexual psychology is a uniquely personal experience and attitude.  I mean no disrespect when I say, based on what others say about themselves, that they do not understand what Rand was explaining, or what I have tried to explain.

    You should know, I think, that the 'explainer' who offers an "explanation" is only responsible for presenting as clear a case as one can -- all the rest of understanding is the responsibility of the 'explainee', or not, based on that person's experience, knowledge, and ability to understand.  If they don't reach understanding of each other, it is caused by a failure to reach a "meeting of the minds".  The real issue then, is personal context, context, context.

    Here's my theory that explains [as best as I can] this phenomena about "rational sexuality".  I think that one has to learn what reason IS. Then one has to learn to be rational, and learn what "objectivity" means.  And learn to BE objective.  Then one has to experience sex as good, as a supremely romantic ideal experienced as rational [non-conflicted] joy.  Then one has to introspect and understand one's own sexuality intimately, and be able to differentiate one's ideal femininity as distinct from what one understands about masculinity – and then acknowledge, accept, and appreciate the difference.  This is no easy task; it requires volitional effort, personal insight, and honesty and integrity.

    This is not about comparing the opposing views of ancient or modern Psychologists.  This is about one's own intimate view of oneself and one's own psychology.  If one is satisfied that sex is like eating hamburger or lobster, then that is IT for oneself,  but if one understands that sex is the highest value and celebration of life then that is IT.  Considering all the different contexts, and all the different individuals with all their different individual psychology, this issue covers the breadth of human behavior.

    This is the best explanation and theory I can give you after all that has been said, over and over again, on the issue of sexual psychology. What more do you need from me? Ellen M.

    From: "Gayle Dean" To: "Atlantis"  Subject: ATL: Re: Re: Sexual psychology Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2001 16:33:58 -0500

    Ellen Moore continues to try and avoid the problems inherent in Rand's view of female sexuality by misrepresenting Rand's view as a personal, subjective view.  Moore insists:  "This is about one's own intimate view of oneself and one's own psychology."  But, clearly, Rand did not consider her view of female sexuality to be a subjective issue at all.  Rand did not say (per Moore) that some women might rationally want to be president depending on their own "intimate view of themselves and their own psychology." Quite the contrary: Rand said that NO rational woman would want to be president. That point seems very clear.

    Rand considered her view (albeit controversially) to be an objective, philosophical theory.  Now Moore can either disagree with Rand's theory (as many of us do) and offer us her own subjective theory (as she has done repeatedly in the past) or she can accept Rand's view as stated by Rand.  But, it is a gross misrepresentation for Moore to claim that Rand's view was subjective or to try and claim that Rand's view corresponds with Moore's view, because it doesn't.

    Nathaniel Branden says that he discussed Rand’s view about female sexuality with her many times, because he did not feel "fully comfortable" with her point of view.  He said Rand would "smile at his bafflement" over this issue.  He told her "I wouldn't try to defend my position philosophically."  Rand replied, "I would."  [Feminists Interpretations of Ayn Rand"- page 228-229].  Rand considered her sexual view (as with ALL of her views) to be philosophical --not personal and certainly not subjective. Gayle Dean

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: objective Date: Sun, 09 Dec 2001 16:51:40 -0600

    Victor, I said nothing that "idealizes a man overpowering a woman."

    I have not read any other posting on Atlantis offering an objective theory of sexual psychology.

    My confidence in my knowledge stands firm.  It is my trust in honesty on Atlantis that has been shaken ~because~ this is the *third episode of three members' dishonesty* I have witnessed.  They have now made me wary of trickery.  And so should everyone be wary. Ellen M.

     


  17. Why would Ayn Rand not make a great President of the United States, though she was born in Russia? I can visualize her with a Maga hat. Peter

    From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: About A Woman President Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 17:32:01 -0500

    In response to Phoebe Morrison's questions, I would never think that a question like Phoebe's was mean-spirited, I am not mean-spirited, and I never thought Ayn Rand was mean-spirited; in fact just the opposite.  I think Rand was a woman who lived with grand passions, and I think that was absolutely clear from all of her writings, and from the choices we know she made during her life.

    Phoebe asked, "Did you think that Margaret Thatcher was 'psychologically unworthy of the job' of Prime Minister?"

    I'd answer that I have no knowledge of Mrs. Thatcher's psychology, but I do think that she was worthy of the job of Prime Minister in her context of the time.  I think she has been the most admirable statesman (or stateswoman if you prefer) of recent history.  She was strong, straight talking, proud, gracious, and formidable in times of crisis, ready for any challenge she faced -- and she was poised in political defeat.  She really was a tower of strength to the members of parliament when she was at the helm.  Remember her saying, "This is no time to go wobbly, George."

    I also think that this view I express here is perfectly consistent with Rand's essay on A Woman President.  Rand never said that a woman could not do the job as well, if not better, than any man.  Rand did not cite any rule that decreed one must never vote for a woman as President.  So, that is definitely not the issue of her essay.  I hope you have it handy to reread; it's always advisable for anyone to know the content of what one is discussing, criticizing, accepting or rejecting.

    Introduction: I will make some general comments first about this topic.  Sexuality is a highly emotional and individual experience.  It is a unique experience for each individual, yet the more self-analysis and introspection one has learned to do, and the more one has knowledge of human sexuality in individual cases, one may be able to recognize certain similarities between oneself and others.   One may know others from one's personal experience with them, and one may understand the terms they describe their experiences and feelings to be.  One can never know firsthand, or even have much understanding of what another person's experiences or feelings are.  This is a common occurrence in people who fail to understand the sexuality of others because they have never shared similar experiences and emotions.  In my view, if one does understand deeply, it is because one knows personally what that passion is like, or they may make the effort and have the ability to conceptually grasp what they have not experienced personally.

    I think much of this kind of misunderstanding we have heard on Atlantis about Rand's essay is caused by the fact that some participants are not knowledgeable about the basis of Objectivism. And they have not shared similar experiences or emotions. I am thinking specifically about the relation between reason and emotion, and about her conceptual epistemology and morality.

    Re: reason and emotion.  Objectivism defines our terms of identity and relations. i.e.,  "Man is a being of volitional consciousness."  "Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses."  "Emotion is an automatic response to value judgments." In my own words, emotions are actually "psycho-epistemological" because emotion results from an integration of one's epistemology and psychology.

    When we experience an emotion it is the result of a seemingly instantaneous evaluation that is a subconscious appraisal.  We identify the experience, we evaluate it according to whether it is pleasurable or painful (whether it is "for me or against me"), we make a judgment about it, and then our emotional response is automatic.  For instance, when someone insults you, you need not go slowly through each step, you automatically feel an angry emotion immediately.  Therefore, if one's premises are reasonable, one's emotions will follow automatically.  But if one's premises are unreasonable, or mixed, then one's emotions will still automatically follow.  As Rand said, "Emotions are not tools of cognition", so one's knowledge must be valid knowledge of reality (i.e., known by means of reason) in order for one's emotions to respond according to reality. Otherwise, emotional responses may indicate unresolved issues, and irrationalities in our epistemology and psychology.  Such emotions will lead automatically into further conflicts, and if unresolved finally leads into neurotic emotional states.

    Now to the essay about A Woman President, Rand offered her idea of what femininity means in this essay -  and she explained Man worship in the Introduction to The Fountainhead, written in January, 1969.

    "The issue is primarily psychological.  It involves a woman's fundamental view of life, of herself and of her basic values.  For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship - the desire to look up to a man.  "To look up: does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority.  It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments. ... Hero worship is a demanding virtue; a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships.  Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his ~masculinity~, not any human virtue she might lack."

    ...  "Her worship is an abstract emotion for the ~metaphysical~ concept of masculinity as such - which she experiences fully and concretely only for the man she loves, but which colors her attitude toward all men  ...  the higher her view of masculinity, the more severely demanding her standards.  It means she never loses the awareness of her own sexual identity and theirs.  It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother - or ~leader~."

    In Rand's Introduction to The Fountainhead, written in 1969, she wrote about man worship, "It is the entire emotional realm of man's dedication to a moral ideal. ..."   "The man-worshipers, in my sense of the term, are those who see man's highest potential and strive to actualize it ... [Man-worshipers are] those dedicated to the ~exaltation~ of man's self-esteem and the ~sacredness~ of his happiness on earth."  [Note that in this passage she is referring to Man in general, Man in abstraction, but it may also be applied to a specific man or woman in a particular case.]

    The president, in all his professional relationships is the "highest authority", the 'chief executive", and the "commander-in-chief".  In his professional hierarchy, the president deals only with his inferiors (not as persons) in respect to their work and their responsibilities.  Rand's view of femininity would make this post intolerable for a rational woman who could not want to be the ruler of ~all men~ she deals with.   It would be necessary to deny her own sense of femininity, and it would be impossible to view those men she ~rules~  without, as Rand wrote, having to "suppress every personal aspect of her own character and attitude," i.e., to the abstract ideal as she hero worships and looks up to as ~masculinity~.  Unless she was another "Clinton", she would have to feel that her femininity was inappropriate, and she'd have to act as if it was absent in her professional life.  As Rand wrote, a woman president would be somewhat like the figure of "a matriarch" in firm control over her living progeny.  This essential denial and suppression of one's sexual femininity is what I think Rand meant by "spiritual self-immolation" while a woman does her professional job as President. Rand thinks that any woman who would want to be in this position would be "unworthy of the job."  I agree.

    Now there is nothing written here to indicate that a woman could not do the job, and there is nothing to indicate that a woman is lesser than a man, or subservient to a man or men -- and there is nothing to indicate that it would be wrong for anyone to vote for a woman president in the proper circumstances. Those views as expressed are silly distortions and false implications of what Rand wrote.   I agree with Rand that a woman 

    who understands her own femininity, as Rand does, could not ~reasonably want~ to be commander-in-chief.

     

    My Understanding: Ayn Rand was not just an average thinker.  She was a most intelligent woman capable of dealing with a broad range of highly abstract generalizations and integration.  In this essay she was not referring to a casual roll in the hay, or even about a satisfactory sexual relationship between lovers.  This was not written about the ~physical~, the concrete, it was about the metaphysical and the idealistic.  Rand was fully able to articulate her own thinking about the broadest abstract ~metaphysical~ meaning of femininity, of a woman's hero worship, of rational self-esteem, of the ~sacredness~ of woman's happiness on earth, of a rational woman's sexual ~sense of self~.

    All this is evidence shows that she was presenting her own highest abstract ideals - that is the truism her readers alone are responsible to understand.  I think that the issue may be understood by any idealistic person able to grasp abstract conceptual ideas as presented by her. She wrote, "that this issue is not self-evident and that it is not easy to conceptualize."  I would not have been able to articulate this idealism of femininity as she did, but I did understand her meaning when I read it.  And each time I read it I understand more, and more deeply.

    I also see that without this idealistic sexual attraction between femininity and masculinity, there would not be any grand passion such as Romantic Love.  The best level at which many people experience their sexuality is pallid in comparison, and at worst it is depraved.

    Because humans are volitional their personal sexual psychology is a developmental process beginning at birth and formed over a lifetime according to their experiences and their conceptual evaluations – to whatever extent they learn to achieve and use the ability to reason. Needless to say any mixed premises, inconsistencies, and unresolved conflicts will undercut their ability to understand and maintain the idealism they may have subconsciously felt in youth as merely an exciting promise for future life.  A life lived in a conflicted mental muddle will not be the same as a life lived by reasoned mental integration.  So, obviously, individuals will differ in their sexual psychology and their understanding of femininity and masculinity.

    The essence of Rand's integration was to distinguish between the conceptual meaning of femininity and masculinity.  Since men and women may become equally intelligent, rational, independent, strong, moral, etc., they will desire a mate who can share their values and ideals, one who can be trusted and with whom one feels secure in their moral character.  I call this "wanting a strong home place of security" when "the world is too much with us".  I think that if the essence of femininity is "hero worship", then the essence of masculinity is heroine worship.  It requires two different sides of the same idealism – a coming together of an understood grand passion for mutual benefit.

    Did Ayn Rand write this piece for irrational minds or irrational psychologies?  No, she wrote it because she thought her rational readers would, perhaps, understand what she knew and had conceptually integrated.  And if they thought about her meaning they would see how right she was.  In essence, Rand always wrote for rational minds.

    Personally, it is my firm belief as an Objectivist that any form of power lusting is not a value and not an ideal.  In fact, I view it as a neurosis.  I cannot conceive of any rational person who would want to take a position of power over others.  That is not the proper role of a rational leader.  A leader is any person who has the strength of intelligence and character able to influence other independent individuals to rise to the order of right actions at the right time. Therefore, any such woman or man may be that kind of leader.

    But that is not the case in the realm of Politics and the Presidency as it exists today.  I do not approve of this political party system of government -- it so often brings the worst to the top, and it only occasionally brings out the best in men and women who seek professional politics.  Most of them want power over others, want to impose their own views and values onto others who fundamentally disagree.  It's bad enough to see an irrational man claw his way to the top position, but for an irrational woman "feminist" to want to have power over a population of men, women and children, to me, is an obscenity.

    I could never want to be President.  For a rational woman, it would be the loneliest place in which she would have to deny her own sense of femininity - alone at the top of a world she never wanted to live in.

    Yet, in the present context, I am convinced that a rational woman ~could~ do the job as well as any man.  I just do not understand or agree why she would ~want to be there~ to do it.  When the context is such that wielding power is absolutely necessary for self-defense, then all brave men and women should be able to rise to the challenge. Otherwise, the President is much like the Queen in England, all pomp and protocol, with no power.

    I think it was Jason Alexander who said, "Politics is dead. Ayn Rand killed it."  I agree.  With Objectivism, we can conceive of better than this system.  Dictators and Authoritarians will have no place and no power in a rational society.  A rational femininity and masculinity have no need for power over others. Ayn Rand was right. Ellen Moore