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Everything posted by Peter

  1. Michael M. wrote: “I have already pointed to actual, working, real world, profit-making, examples perfectly consonant with Objectivist expectations for laissez-faire capitalism and you have ignored them. You prefer to make your statements for your own purposes.” End quote I will reexamine what you showed me. OK. Global *free trade,* or a stock exchange where disputes are settled internally, is not Anarchism. It is Capitalism, operating within various jurisdictions. Now if a sly fraud were to occur, your money would be gone. Would you then seek regress if the perpetrators had disappeared? Sure. Would you send your hired gun after the guy? OR the US Government, Interpol, or the World court or some other such legal body? Or would you do both? This sounds to me like New Jersey as usual. Tony Soprano owned the cops and the private defense agency. End quote Michael M. wrote: It seems pretty clear to me that in YOUR world, YOUR gun will give YOU the power to establish YOUR hierarchy. I will make a point of giving you a lot of space if ever we meet. end quote Are you so truly locked into your position, that you cannot see that you are talking about yourself and your defense agency? Not me. You. I advocate placing the retaliatory use of force into the hands of the Government. Aren’t you the one advocating a bullet to the back of the head? YOU ARE INSULTING YOURSELF. Rational Anarchism is not just the market. It is a society where people live without government. They do as they please until another anarchist persuades or forces them to stop. Yet somehow, no one initiates force or fraud, and individual rights are protected. It must last over multi-generations. Your free market operating in cyberspace or wherever it exists is not a Rational Anarchist Society. You don’t live there. Nobody lives there. It’s the Safeway Supermarket and the internet. Michael M. wrote: A final point is that it is empirically, factually, evidentially, observably true that NOT ALL human societies are hierarchical. end quote My following paragraph is not anti-capitalist in spirit, so don’t hit me with that charge. The playground? Family? Wikipedia. Fraternal Clubs? Towns, cities, States, Countries? Even a free market is hierarchical. Tell Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Standard Oil, The Robber Barons, etc. that they do not use leverage, buying power, and insider trading to trump your financial wisdom. Within Objectivist Living, the owner is at the top of a hierarchy. Respect due and audience accrued is to some extent hierarchical for people like BB. You should have shown me the beef. Name some human societies THAT ARE NOT HIERARCHICAL. I will gladly say you are right, if you are right. Show me a Rational Anarchist Society too while you are at it. Michael M. wrote: Tell us, all, please, if you can, why is it that the failure of "anarchy" (so-called) in Somalia and Afghanistan seems so final to you, while the putative "success" of government in 182 other places is to be excused as only not the best instantiation of constitutional guarantees for natural rights? End quote These are YOUR examples of Anarchy too. Your market, (which I will not step into, because of the possibility it is rigged, nor will I buy gold from you,) Somalia, Afghanistan, and currently Haiti. Is anyone clamoring to visit these places, including your market? Or does the world gravitate to those regions where the freedom is the greatest? I rest my case. Michael E. Marotta, I am not going to shun you, as you seem to be threatening me with. Yet, I think you are endorsing something dangerous. People who advocate Anarchism are intellectually blind and more likely to be morally unsound too. (No. I will not name, names.) Something is just not right. I won’t let it slide. I will speak out. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  2. Adam, can you tell me what that music was that was playing in the video? That was excellent. I still remember when the anti-Goldwater video played. A little girl was playing in a field when an atom bomb went off behind her. Powerfull. They showed it, then pulled it. Then showed it as news coverage, then pulled it, then showed it. I think it was CBS. Everybody demanded to see this video. Good bye Barry. Hopefully, the other side doesn't resort to this tactic in 2010 because I think they are better at it. But this video, if you agreed with its basic tenets, was a powerful force to bring out the vote. Peter
  3. Rational Anarchy as a *System* lacks a hierarchical command structure. Everyone does whatever they please until another anarchist persuades or forces them to stop. Rational people, the Anarchist says, can agree to associate with each other, respect individual rights, and peacefully settle disagreements. Yet, people who profess a proclivity towards anarchism won’t supply an example of a current working anarchy where individual rights are protected. I ask them, if anarchy is somehow more rational than a Constitutional Government, why didn’t the countries that made up the former Soviet Union, spontaneously become anarchic states? Why is it that people always express a desire for freedom, but virtually no one coming from an un-free society ever desires anarchy? A desire for rational anarchy primarily comes from people who live in a relatively free society. Relatively free is not good enough for me either, but “anything goes” is worse. Without the retaliatory use of force in the hands of the Government, Anarchy would not become Social Laissez Faire Capitalism. I can think of two places in the news where anarchy is an interim form of social interaction: Somalia and Afghanistan outside of the cities. Whenever and wherever an interim anarchic System exists, there is always a hierarchical command structure. It may be a clan leader, a war lord, or a gang leader, but there is always someone telling others what to do. Or else. Now I would like an anarchist to answer this. Is there is a better chance of having a respect for individual rights in these interim anarchies with the clan or gang leaders, or in a society that has a Constitutional Government? There is no other choice since Anarchy exists in no other form. There is always a hierarchal command structure in human societies. Always. A Rational Anarchic System would be no different. The only checks and balances would be each individual’s ability to defend themselves, against other individuals and against a gang leader and his followers. Or as Rational Anarchists are so proud to proclaim, it would be my defense agency against your defense agency. That is not clever. Will every battle result in a standoff? Will no one reign supreme? Of course they will. Power comes from the barrel of a gun, as Mao threatened. Someone always reigns supreme, when might makes right. Is anarchy a utopia or dystopia? Existent or non-existent? Dream or nightmare? Look at reality for your answer. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  4. Randall wrote: I wish I had the time to discuss some of your posts, unfortunately I do not . . . End quote Not a problem Randall. No reply is ever required, even when I am addressing you directly, as I am right now. I will not take offense. And my quantity is going down rapidly. Since Atlantis sank, I have not been on an Objectivist site, so for five years I was saving up things to say. I post old letters to see if anyone has new thoughts on an old issue. You wrote about Kelley’s approach: The more evil the idea, the more challenging it will be for the adherent to demonstrate that he is honest. In this sense, one opens the door to at least giving a person a chance to present the reasons for which they hold a particular view. End quote I agree. As an example I will use the person who says they are an anarchist. Some inhabit Objectivist Living. Now, in my opinion, in a less than honest fashion, they will not describe a working scenario. Never. Ever. They will point to themselves and claim they are rational enough to live without initiating force and to respect individual rights. They may be, but anarchy other than as an interim way of dealing with others in a stateless society, is a conceptual zero. I think they are expressing one of our earliest human conclusions: personal sovereignty. As we all walked into a room as a toddler we thought, “I don’t care what you do or say, I will do what is right for me.” And then they incorrectly transfer or reify this feeling into the political realm. It is only when they start in trashing the Constitution, or talk about treasonous acts, or shooting the cops, etc., that I draw the line. Frequently they are people who insist on putting illegal substances into their bodies, and hate anyone (like the people who wrote the laws) who tries to stop them. I can say this because that is what they expressed to me. So I like David Kelley’s thinking. And his show, Ally McBeal was pretty good too 8-) You wrote: Also note that the focus of moral judgment is primarily a person's character, not his ideas in a direct sense. When we disagree with someone we have already judged the ideas. End quote Brilliant! Thank you for answering. No reply necessary. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  5. Chris Grieb wrote: We maybe see the beginning of the end of our national nightmare. Everybody say one termer Obama. end quote I will be watching closely Tuesday night. The Intellectual Activist was saying twenty percent of the Democrats will vote for Brown and it may turn into a landslide, but then I saw something elsewhere showing the vote is fifty-fifty. And the vote may be stolen, or put into controversy as in Minnesota, and they will keep recounting until it comes out 'right.' Then there may be a deliberate delay in seating Brown. Team Obama does not consider anything they can get away with, as too extreme. The State run media no longer has any Woodward and Bersteins. Graft is going unreported. Vote buying, is yawn, just business as usual according to MessNBC. On the bright side, in Haiti, Harry Smith on CBS, only had a power bar saved up for lunch and dinner. The camera crew's food must have been confiscated by those misguided, machete wielding, disaster victims. The surviving, (machete wielding, male gang members and) victims don't seem to be helping pull little kids out of the rubble, like that Australian news crew just did. Disaster writers quip that Americans are just three missed meals away from anarchy, but I do not believe it. In the land of the free, we organize and work together. And we pay a bigger percent of our 'owed' taxes than other industrialized nations. Generally, we are exceptional 8-) Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  6. Mike M. wrote: For me, the most profound moment in Carl Sagan's Contact was when Ellie asks the extraterrestrial guide about the wormhole transport and he says, "We didn't build it. We found it here when we arrived." The Universe did not have a Creator, but given the Universe, whatever else exists besides us must be wonderful. end quote My favorite movie is Contact, and I named my cat, Sparks, after her Dad's pet name for Ellie. After seeing Jodie in Contact I thought she would make a great Dagny Taggert. Does anyone else think we are in the middle of an inter-galactic conversation, and we don't even know it? Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  7. Dragonfly wrote: It's knäckebröd and I eat it every day. Thank you. I also eat the whole wheat kind. I tried swedish meatballs, once more, last year and like you I was not enthused. My Mom loves things like canned sardines on Knackebrod. Ugh! My cousin Veronica Johnson went to Sweden in 2007 and brought back a slide show for us to see. There were all the people I had heard so much about growing up, and yet I never personally knew them. In 2004 or 2005, my Aunt Vera and another cousin went to Sweden, and then to Swedish speaking Russia to see other relatives. Then they went to Moscow. After their travels they said they were never going back to Russia. Every district they traveled thru was run by the local version of Tony Soprano. Bribes were expected. I will never travel to Russia or Mexico. Live long and prosper, Peter
  8. I wrote this over ten years ago, and now I barely recollect writing it and cannot vouch for any of the facts, I once knew so well. I remember reading Robert Efron’s article “Biology Without Consciousness – And Its Consequences,” in the February to May 1968 editions of “The Objectivist,” I was skimming the article and then a shock went thru me. The articles are in 4 parts. I was able to find parts 2, 3, and 4 and part three was in the magazine, “THE OBJECTIVIST Edited by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden” while part 4 was in the magazine, “THE OBJECTIVIST Edited by Ayn Rand.” Nathan was gone. And in the May 1968 issue the final part, part 4 of Mr. Efron’s article appeared along with an article titled, “To Whom It May Concern,” by Ayn Rand. And so, in the May issue our lady of the lake, Barbara Branden, was also dismissed. I feel badly for everyone intimately concerned with this *issue* and also for myself and all the other people who were among the stunned fans, (fanatics, or whatever we were and still are. We were and are now forever linked to all our heroes.) We were identified as: “To Whom It May Concern,” yet I have no doubt all of us “Whoms” would have cried and hugged everyone, at a mythical dinner after the split. We would have hugged, cried, and felt terrible with Ayn, Elaine Kalberman (subscription manager) Barbara Wiess (business manager) Henry Mark Holzer (attorney) Allan Blumenthal, Alan Greenspan, Leonard Peikoff, and Mary Ann Rukavina Sures and many others. I wonder how long it took before we would have also attended a mythical dinner (and wake) with Nathan, Barbara, Mr. Wilfred Schwartz (attorney for the Brandens) and extending that metaphor in time, how long before we would break bread with all the other exiled, expelled, and shunned Objectivists? Oh well. Life is never easy and some of us never forgive. Do you, my brothers and sisters? We are all on Objectivist Living. So cheer me up. Remember the past and know that you are not doomed to repeat it. Lift a glass in cheer. To Barbara . . . and Nathaniel . . . and to Ayn. Semper cogitans fidele, Live long and prosper, Peter Taylor
  9. Ba'al Chatzaf wrote and directed us to an Amazon site selling communion wafers: Hast du in sein ganzen lieb gesehen? end quote I prefer Wasa, flat Swedish bread. My Swedish Mom called it Kinecky bread, though I have no idea how it is spelled. It's like hard tack I am told, and with a shmear of butter, it is an excellent snack. A sip (1.2 ounces) of wine, a bite of wafer, Hail Mary full of grace. Who needs a church? Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  10. Chris Grieb wrote: Phil; I haven't listened for a while. I would rather have a long dental appointment than listen to Peikoff. He may have had some Robert W. Service. end quote My memory is jogged. When I was part of an Objectivist Club at UVA in 1967, The Shooting of Dan Mcgrew, by Robert Service was read - I believe by John Ridpath. It is quite good, but a bit long. I would not doubt that Robert Service was well liked by an Objectivst. I recently compared John to one Rand’s stoic, humorless characters and then felt bad about it and wrote the following apology. I sincerely apologize to John Ridpath. I should not have “psychologized” him by comparing him to a fictional character. He was an inspiring person to meet and he deserves better. I told another story about John years ago and I will try to repeat it. My brother Robert, Willard R. Grace III, and I had an apartment on Madison Lane just off the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. John Ridpath sub-let our apartment for the summer. After the summer he was to move out and to leave the apartment as he had found it. We drove from Delaware to UVA at the end of August, and accompanying us was my grandmother and grandfather. My grandmother, upon entering the apartment said this place is a mess, and proceeding to clean the apartment, even though we told her please don’t, it’s fine. She enlisted my brother to help and when we were done she told us we were to keep it this clean as long as we lived there and we agreed. The next day, my brother said to a mutual friend that John had left the apartment in a mess, and the friend told John. John showed up the day after that with a broom, mop, bucket and every other cleaning utensil that might be needed to clean the apartment. I answered the door and there he was, standing with all that stuff. He said his word was good and he was there to clean the apartment. By brother came to the door behind me and said something sarcastic to John, which John accepted without responding. I told John that the apartment was fine, our grandmother had helped us cleaning and anyway I think it was as clean as we had left it in June. I had no idea at the time that he was an Objectivist, but later found out. His behavior left a huge impression on me. Personal relationships meant something to him, not just because of the honor code at UVA, but because a deal was a deal. His word was his bond. Later I got to know John better through the campus Objectivist club. I wish the best to him. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  11. Selene wrote: Out of curiosity, what is the intellectual heir lineage in the "Church of the Randianistic Actual Pekovianistic Objectivism[CRAPO]?" End quote I spoke to someone who would know, off list, a long time ago, so I cannot quote them. Think of it like the Christian Church. Jesus laid his hands upon the apostles and they became the carriers of his spirit. Priests since then, have all been blessed, by this laying on of hands since Jesus. When they are ordained it is Jesus’s spirit being transferred that is emanating from the hands of the ordaining priest. (Now, I am not jokingly comparing the following fact to TAS. Just an aside about schisms, that may occur after Leonard, as pieces of Ayn the Prophet are sold.) The Jesus Christ Church of latter Day Saints claim that there was a break in this chain at some point, and now only they are the truly blessed who can lay on the hand of Jesus. My point is they will appoint someone, who will be the intellectual heir of Peikoff, but the Randian spirit and much of the religiosity of The Ayn Rand Society will die with Doctor Leonard Peikoff. But I don't know much about nuttin. 8-) Not that I wish him any ill will, but how old is Leonard? Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  12. Adam wrote: Did they cite any poll or data? end quote. Maybe the lopsided poll by Fox was a ploy. I am really feeling optimistic. So goes Mass, goes the nation? Huurrah! Peter TIA Daily • January 15, 2010 COMMENTARY Dishonor and Defeat Every good writer loves quoting or paraphrasing Winston Churchill, and I love it more than most. So I concluded a recent article on the health care bill's cesspool of corruption by saying that "Democrats in Congress had to choose between legislative defeat and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will get defeat." That is still the big story leading into the Massachusetts special election on Tuesday. First, the dishonor. The Obama administration's latest brainwave—its version of a populist appeal—is to impose a special "crisis tax" on the nation's largest banks, with the supposed goal of recouping government bailout money from the Wall Street fat cats. Except that this tax would also be imposed on banks that have already paid back the bailout funds, and which often did not want those funds to begin with. So whose bailout money is really being recouped from the banks? Answer: the bailout money taken by firms that have not and will not pay it back. That includes the government-sponsored entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as GM and Chrysler, which have been universally written off as black holes from which federal bailout money will never return. These companies will not be required to pay the tax. So Obama's plan is to tax healthy banks in order to make them pay back the money the government lost on failed firms. As Larry Kudlow asks: Who's being rewarded? Obama's bank-tax penalty is being used to finance the failed government takeovers of GM, GMAC, and Fannie and Freddie. And let's not forget the $75 billion failure of the so-called foreclosure loan-modification program. To this day, no one knows where that money went. But the big banks are going to be forced to finance this through a tax that will damage lending, stockholders, and consumers. This is sheer political favoritism. Crony capitalism at its worst, with a sub-theme of bailing out Obama's Big Labor political allies. It's just like his bailout of the unions by exempting them from the so-called Cadillac insurance tax until 2018, all while the rest of us may have to suffer under that tax. That brings us to the latest on the health care bill. The unions had objected that an excise tax on generous health insurance plans would hit some of their workers. So the Obama administration agreed to eliminate the tax—for the unions. According to reports on the compromise, "In a significant victory for unions, the 40 percent excise tax would not apply to policies covering workers in collective bargaining agreements, state and local workers and members of voluntary employee benefit associations through Dec. 31, 2017." This is the key to the economic system President Obama wants to create: a system in which economic benefits go only to those with the right political connections—which is always the real meaning and end result of a socialist economy, anyway. In less than a year in power, the Democrats have exposed themselves to the public as the party of massive, open, brazen corruption. In return, I suspect that they are about to be dealt a string of devastating political defeats. The latest poll on the special election in Massachusetts shows Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown ahead by 50-46. This is significant, not just because of Brown's numbers, but because it is the first poll showing Democrat Martha Coakley below 50%. For the incumbent, or in this case the presumptive leader in the race, to slip below 50% is usually an indication that voters are inclined to take a chance on the challenger. A few weeks ago, nearly everyone—myself included—described Scott Brown's candidacy as a shot in the dark, with nearly impossible odds of succeeding. He is quickly becoming the favorite. Brown has been helped by a series of unforced errors by the Coakley campaign, including an ad denouncing Wall Street greed—which includes an image of that hated Wall Street icon, the World Trade Center. By now, even a left-leaning Boston Globe columnist is describing the race as a "spinout" and blaming Coakley for taking Massachusetts voters for granted. If Brown wins, Democrats have discussed various parliamentary maneuvers to push the health care bill through before he can be seated, or even to prevent him from being seated for weeks after the election. Some of the horse-race guys over at RealClearPolitics recently posted a note on Senate election procedures that seemed to give credence to the idea that such a delay might be legally required. Now they're back with a historical review showing that the winners of previous Senate special elections have been seated in as little as two days. So there goes that excuse. I don't think any such maneuver will save the health care bill. Even far-left Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank is admitting that "If Scott Brown wins, it'll kill the health bill." By the way, some time ago I mistakenly referred to Rep. Frank as a senator. The reason for the slip of the pen is that Barney Frank has all the pompous self-regard you would expect from a senator. But I should be able to remember the difference, because he has none of the gravitas of a senator. Instead, he projects the shrill, cynical shrewdness of a ward heeler. And that means that he is a man who knows how to count votes, so I take his verdict in this case seriously. A Brown victory would have a shattering effect on congressional Democrats. In fact, it can be argued that this effect is already being felt. Another Democratic congressman from a right-leaning district has just announced his retirement, and a new poll shows California Senator Barbara Boxer below 50%. She still beats her potential Republican challengers, but as I mentioned above, 50% approval is generally considered a sign of enormous weakness on the part of an incumbent. And if a Republican has a shot at winning a Senate seat in Massachusetts, maybe one will have a chance at winning in California, too. And just to make matters worse for the administration, Barack Obama has pledged to go up to Massachusetts and campaign for Coakley. This is a man whose personal intervention couldn't save Governor Corzine in New Jersey, couldn't get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago, couldn't rally the public behind Obamacare, and couldn't negotiate a breakthrough deal in Copenhagen. One more defeat, and Obama will be assigned to the ash heap of political irrelevance. As if through some weird death instinct—perhaps they have just seen Avatar too many times—everything the Democrats have done in the past year has seemingly been calibrated to cause them the maximum political damage. If they lose the battle over the health care bill, they will lose it in the most unscrupulous, corrupt, and dishonest way possible, causing voters to want to keep them out of power forever. And they will lose after putting on the line the final remaining political credibility of their most charismatic national leader. I believe in the operation of moral law in the real world—that the irrational and dishonest always reap the whirlwind sooner or later. For the Democrats, it looks like it's coming sooner.—RWT One-Year Subscription — $74 Six-Month Subscription — $38 Subscribe now! Copyright © 2010 by Tracinski Publishing Company PO Box 8086, Charlottesville, VA 22906 To remove yourself from this mailing list, reply to with the subject line "unsubscribe."
  13. Rich Engle wrote but then I mangled, as a homage: Who is John Galt? Her tall, thrusting legs beat a pattern on the pristine, well-mortared sidewalk, seemingly in tune with the tall, clearly phallically-thrusting skyscrapers, that had a mild (yet knowingly-engineered) attribute of swaying one-half-inch per second per pound of wind, slipping and sliding to evolution's song. Soon, her tallness and thrusting would go below, to the core being: below the street level railway, where her thighs would beat to the solemn, somber, ~rhythms~ of the turning wheels, creating a sweet, underground symphony. end quote You know, if you worked on it, like I did when I dropped a phrase, added a few words, and rearranged it, that really could be good, erotic poetry. Wow. You could read that at a beatnik coffee house, and they would snap their fingers in approval. In gratitude, ee cummings
  14. *Evil ideas* Randall wrote or quoted that there are three choices: 1. Ideas are more evil than actions. 2. Ideas are just as evil as actions. 3. Actions are more evil than ideas. Ellen Lewit wrote back in 2000: “Perhaps a better formulation of this is that there are ideas which if not corrected are dangerous and lead to terrible consequences.” End quote I can think of three quick instances of ideas leading to terrible consequences: One. Setting someone off. Telling someone something horribly true or even fictitious, in the expectation that they will become violent. Or convincing someone to act in a violent manner. Two. Raising a monster child or raising a child to have no conscience. Deliberately messing with a minor's mind, like those military men in third world countries who recruit machete wielding children to commit murder and genocide. Raising a dog or other animal to act in an excessively violent manner, also counts as raising a monster. Three. Setting an evil plot into motion that will not conclude until after you are dead. Philosophically Rand stated that Kant was evil, though, his “plot” came to fruition after his death. What if you fired a ‘slow bullet’ that would not kill until after you were dead? Is it the thought that counts? Contrary to the idea of evil thoughts, it is REAL intellectual honesty when you know you are wrong, BUT nobody else knows you are wrong, but you still admit it. To paraphrase Gayle Dean, when there is no external pressure to be honest, it is all internal. You know you were wrong about something --and even though no one else will ever know --you admit it as an act of respect to the other person as an act of integrity to yourself, a way of not trying to get away with faking reality to yourself. and another of Gayle's quotes: ". . . I just don't accept a separation of a person from his thoughts, beliefs, ideas, actions . . .” By being enrolled on Objectivist Living we are all associating with the wrong kind, (in Peikoff's opinion,) and therefore we are "SANCTIONING" people that Peikoff and the ARI may regard as evil. I am sure some people, in a sense of life way, know that they feel comfortable here on Objectivist Living and Peikoff is way off the mark. However, most Objectivists reading or writing to this site, have accepted several premises and understand this on several levels. We, as Objectivists, while not shunning these people because we associate with them here, may still rationally think (or "believe") certain of Rand's and Peikoff's ideas about their wrongness: People who just think ideas that do not correspond to the facts of reality are wrong and if they equivocate or evade the facts, rather than make an honest error, they are very wrong, epistemologically. Who might that be? Doubting Deists or theists, Socialists and collectivists of all stripes, and even Statist Republicans and Democrats? Are there others? Some Objectivists would include Philosophical Libertarians, or those who call themselves anarchists, or those who are willing to associate with anarchists, or other wrong thinking people. And for me the major “crunch time” in my thinking: Is David Kelley a wrong-thinking evader, and therefore should he be shunned? Heck no. It sounds ludicrous now, like a fight between the orthodox wing of a religion, and the people who come SO CLOSE, yet deny the one true path to God. Sunni, Shia, and Bahai. Protestants and Catholics. Yet, Roger Bissell recently recounted how he has been denied membership in two Objectivist groups with ties to ARI. As an aside, is reckless behavior, evil thinking? People who ACT ON, or promote wrong ideas are very wrong and / or evil in a moral sense, to varying degrees of severity. I think the idea of a sliding scale of wrongness or evilness is important, because of the way we should treat these people. A simple advocacy of a wrong position could be considered evil, and is to be independently judged on by an Objectivist in the following ways: a) A simple advocacy of a wrong position can be evil, depending on where the advocate sits on a sliding scale of evil. For example a personal belief in God can be trivially wrong but could an advocacy of a Theocracy (as in Iran or as with Ultra - Orthodox Jews in Israel,) could these be considered evil? A feeling of contempt for an individual who is a member of a minority is wrong, but joining the Nazi Party is evil. B) Proof of evilness is required. Psychologizing is not allowed as a tool by rational people. Even when stating positions in writing, people can become radicalized defending their positions, and go to extremes much to their later regret. If they are given time and persuasion, their wrong position may change. And because of their advocacy of Objectivism, they are worth keeping as "associates." c) The initiation of force is always evil. People who ACT ON ideas that do not correspond to the facts of reality are very wrong and/or evil in a moral sense, to a much greater degree, if they violate the rights of others through the initiation of force or acts of coercion. George H. Smith wrote nearly ten years ago: “Peikoff lacks the originality and personality of Ayn Rand, so his efforts to sustain the charismatic wing of the Objectivist movement have become increasingly strained and artificial . . .” end quote The Charismatic Wing? Now that is funny. My fellow Objectivists (or heretics 8-) I am asking, not in a Peikoffian way, but: Who would you shun and why? With Respect, Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  15. Fox was just saying, the dem will win in Mass. but it will be a wake up call. A better wake up call would be for them to be booted out of office. To arms, Tea Party goers. The British are coming! To Virginia. If you can think of some good questions, Robert would like to hear from you. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor From The Intellectual Activist Daily Editor's Note: Below is Wednesday's edition of TIA Daily. Sorry for the back-dating, but this issue got delayed because of some administrative work I had to do on our database, and also because of a very exciting new development. On Friday, January 22, Jefferson Area Tea Party—Charlottesville's local tea party group—will be hosting a debate among the seven candidates for the Republican nomination for Virginia's fifth congressional district, and they have asked me to be the moderator. So I've been working on firming up the arrangements and helping to set up the format for the debate. I'll offer some more details as the date gets closer, but for now, I'd like your suggestions for some good questions to ask the candidates to draw out their basic philosophical principles. Given the number of candidates, we won't be able to ask them a large number of questions, and in the spirit of the tea party movement, we'll be giving a lot of weight to questions sent it to us by citizens across the district. But I will get the chance to insert a few questions of my own, and I want to really make them count. I'm very excited about this because I think this is exactly the direction the tea party movement needs to go. We need to use our influence to make sure that the Republican Party nominates staunch small-government candidates. That's particularly true in Charlottesville, given the recent history of the fifth district. The fifth district's current congressman, Democrat Tom Perriello, unseated a long-time Republican incumbent in 2008. But in the best year for Democrats in three decades, Perriello won by only 700 votes. Given the country's swing back to the right, he is almost certain to lose this fall—so we have to make sure that the Republican who takes his place is worth voting for as something better than the lesser of two evils.—RWT Robert Tracinski
  16. “Dexter” is a Showtime cable network show about a serial killer who has a job as a forensic technician specializing in blood spatters. He has a “Code,” taught to him by his father and mentor, a police officer for the Miami police department . . . Dexter will only torture and kill a killer who has escaped the legal system. He hides his true nature from everyone except a few select, and understanding people. Wouldn’t this be a great acting role for our fearless leader, Barack Obama? His mentors are William Ayres and Sol Lowinsky. His “Code” is Marxism and Totalitarianism barely hidden from patriotic Americans. He is killing us softly with inspirational blather, and someday he will reveal himself to everyone. “Good morning Mr. President. How may I be of service to you today?” “Leon, you are the head of the CIA and my ears around the world. This is for your eyes only. The next time we torture a terrorist I want to be there.” “We don’t torture misguided Islamic nationalists any more, Mr. President.” “Yeah, sure. There are some Americans who need it too. The next time we do it, I want to participate. I can’t ask anyone to do what I won’t do myself.” “Well, of course, Barack. If you insist. Amnesty for everyone involved?” “Yeah. You bet, Panetta. Let’s see. There’s that Glenn Beck guy, and Limbaugh. Definitely domestic terrorists. We’ll start with them. I’ll bring my own South Side of Chicago tools. Damn, it’s been too long. Let there be blood!” Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  17. Peter


    One aspect of anarchism that is appealing at least on a superficial level, is defending oneself. I am going to mention the author Lee Childs and The movie, "Death Wish." Most people say they would take the law into their own hands if no law was available. For example, if they were lost on a desert island they would take care of themselves, but would defer to legal authorities if protection and recourse were available. I agree that it is moral to defend oneself when the law is not around. Self preservation necessitates that we counter violence to ourselves, our family or to our property in an emergency, even if it means we personally harm the wrong doer. I also think it is moral to defend a stranger from violence, in an emergency. Some people have mentioned a preference for justice in the style of The Old West, as part of the right to bear arms. An excellent writer who depicts a person very ready, willing, and able to take the law into his own hands, is Lee Child. Lee Child also thinks it is moral to counter violence to a stranger, in an emergency, but what makes his hero, Jack Reacher so compelling is the difference between him and an average citizen. All of us might stop a bullying child from harming another child. An average citizen might stop an injustice to another if he felt no threat to himself, but what if there were a threat to you if you interfered? How far would you go to defend yourself or someone else if you might be harmed? Isn’t it personal fear that stops us from acting in an emergency, rather than our belief in putting the use of force into the hands of legitimate authority? How brave are you? The hero, in all of Child’s books, is a former military policeman, who sees no necessity in calling 911. His father was a career officer in the Army and his older brother became a Secret Service Agent in charge of anti-counterfeiting. In a style reminiscent of Donald Hamilton, Mickey Spillane, and Ian Fleming, Child’s hero is always morally right before he acts. Child brings up some other issues that dramatize those difficult gray areas between justice, the law and vengeance. His hero is in the romantic tradition of the old west but the books are set in modern times. I highly recommend them all. The Death Wish novels and the first movie. Did the cop look the other way because hauling Paul Kersey into the station would have been bad PR for the city of New York . . . or for some other reason? If I remember the acting premise, from the ORIGINAL police responder, not his boss, bad PR had nothing to do with his turning away, but ‘justice did.’ The first responding cop’s superior did mention bad PR to my recollection, as his justification for not prosecuting. He may just have been a tough cop who may have been secretly applauding Kersey’s actions, but was acting correctly within a hierarchical military organization, by warning Kersey to get out of town. Now a really tough question which takes days to thrash through is why the perp’s rights weren’t violated. The short version is that An Objectivist Government has a monopoly over the retaliatory use of force conferred upon it by the consent of the governed. It permits various jurisdictional agencies within its territory, as long as those agencies uphold the Constitution guaranteeing individual rights. It was an emergency. The cop and Kersey were positive of the guilt of the perp. Kersey then had the status of a jurisdictional agent within the territory of New York City. For our discussion, the key portions of Rand’s short list as to what is an Objective Government is: ‘It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and ‘no man may initiate the use of physical force against others’. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force ‘only’ in retaliation and ‘only’ against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders.’ End quote To reiterate, my case would be that the policeman was protecting all individual rights. In this emergency situation Kersey was using retaliatory force against a criminal, who had forfeited his rights. Kersey was acting as an agent of the police. The policeman was protecting Kersey’s rights. My argument could use some refinement. Tangentially, if a brutal, confessed murderer is convicted and sent to prison, where he is then killed by another inmate, but there are no witnesses and little evidence, then how hard is The State going to look for the executioner? There are a lot of tough areas to discuss. Semper cogitans fidele, Live long and prosper, Peter Taylor
  18. I hope everyone will write their local weather person, something along these lines. From the Talmud: “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” Ayn Rand: “We begin as philosophers where we began as babies, at the only place there is to begin: by looking at the world.” What a 'literal,' world of difference. I definitely go with the second point of view, which is the scientific point of view. I am enjoying a good read: "Heaven and Earth, Global Warming, the Missing Science," by Ian Plimer. It supplies some excellent intellectual ammunition. When earth has climatic warming, species thrive. When it cools, species decline or become extinct. So, global warming alarmists are fighting against what is good for us. And unfortunately, warming is not happening, except as a temporary weather phenomenon. And not since 1998. You could go back 4 billion years and it would demonstrate warmth is good, but start recently with: The Roman Warming. (500BC to 535AD) Then the Dark Ages. (535 to 900) Medieval Warming. (900 to 1300) The Little Ice Age. (1300 to 1850) Modern Warming (1850 to Present) If mankind were causing global warming, then we would not see simultaneous warming on other planets or moons, but we do. If it warms on Earth, it warms on Mars and Jupiter at the same time. The sun is the primary driver of climate change. And "warming" means just a bit, not a lot. Unfortunately, things "may be" getting cooler soon. We are in a temporary upswing in temperature within a much larger downswing. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  19. One aspect of anarchism that is appealing at least on a superficial level, is defending oneself. The author Lee Child is not an anarchist but he is a Romantic Realist. Most people say they would take the law into their own hands if no law was available. For example, if they were lost on a desert island they would take care of themselves, but would defer to legal authorities if protection and recourse were available. I agree that it is moral to defend oneself when the law is not around. Self preservation necessitates that we counter violence to ourselves, our family or to our property in an emergency, even if it means we personally harm the wrong doer. I also think it is moral to defend a stranger from violence, in an emergency. Some people have mentioned a preference for justice in the style of The Old West, as part of the right to bear arms. An excellent writer who depicts a person very ready, willing, and able to take the law into his own hands, is Lee Child. Lee Child also thinks it is moral to counter violence to a stranger, in an emergency, but what makes his hero, Jack Reacher so compelling is the difference between him and an average citizen. All of us might stop a bullying child from harming another child. An average citizen might stop an injustice to another if he felt no threat to himself, but what if there were a threat to you if you interfered? How far would you go to defend yourself or someone else if you might be harmed? Isn’t it personal fear that stops us from acting in an emergency, rather than our belief in putting the use of force into the hands of legitimate authority? How brave are you? The hero, in all of Child’s books, is a former military policeman, who sees no necessity in calling 911. His father was a career officer in the Army and his older brother became a Secret Service Agent in charge of anti-counterfeiting. In a style reminiscent of Donald Hamilton, Mickey Spillane, and Ian Fleming, Child’s hero is always morally right before he acts. Child brings up some other issues that dramatize those difficult gray areas between justice, the law and vengeance. His hero is in the romantic tradition of the old west but the books are set in modern times. I highly recommend them all. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  20. Adam wrote about the Republican litmus test: Six (6) is a middle level problem which primarily is in the phrasing. I understand what you are trying to say, but that would be unacceptable to a large numer of people. End quote Here is number six. (6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges; Of course we are moving out of Iraq at a quick pace. So, let’s change it to: (6) We support victory in Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges; I don’t like the way that sounds either - open ended, but Iraq proved the way to fight a counterinsurgency, is with *enough* boots on the ground. We could change it to reflect President Obama’s call for an 18 month pullout, like this: (6) We support victory in Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges; until 18 months is up. Then we will pull back within our own borders until there is another mass murdering of Americans. Now the above, new wording might become a high level problem in phrasing for a lot of Objectivists. I DO LIKE President Obama’s, drones-blowing-them-to-bits strategy. It is almost Randian in its bloodthirstiness. 8-) If the President is consistent, after our next mass murdering of Americans, and I think it will happen, then Obama will use tactical nukes. After all, it is what Sol Alinsky, Obama’s hero would do. I mentioned this previously but it bears repeating. Glenn Beck had a picture of Obama teaching law. Glenn brought the blackboard into focus. Professor Obama was teaching the philosophy of Sol Alinsky. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  21. Bryce wrote: So, when Johnny Carson left he left for good. When Jay Leno left, he left for an earlier slot. Were Johnny Carson leading to Jay Leno, would Jay Leno have been in the same predicament? Somebody at NBC didn't think this through. end quote Some commentators act like it was a conspiracy between NBC and Leno, to get rid of Conan. Fox is apparently negotiating with Conan. Though his viewer numbers are not great, they are great demographically. Younger consumers watch and like him and they buy a lot of computer games and aps, appliances, phones, musical downloads, etc., and that gives you an idea who Conan's advertisers will be, if he immigrates to Fox. Fox excells with moderate to right news and commentary broadcasts. They should find a late night guy who is a strict constitutional constructionist, Tea Party guy, and funny and that would be a guaranteed hit. I don't think Sarah Palin who is coming to Fox, could handle it, nor Glenn Beck though both of them are good entertainers. Just as Rush galvanized talk radio, a right wing host could galvanize late night viewing. A problem might be getting your typical left-wing Hollywood celebrity guests to appear, but if your viewship is huge, that might not be a problem. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  22. Chris Grieb wrote: I am totally confused by these posts. Patrick Stephens has not worked for a long time at the Atlas Society. end quote I think my archives of threads are interesting. Recently someone, not on this list, asked me to find things written about 911 by representatives of TOC and ARI, JUST AFTER 911. I was able to comply. It's a snapshot of what we were thinking at that time. Another person had written something intended to be an article, forgot about it, could not find their original research, then wondered if they had ever discussed it on OWL as a work in progress, which they frequently did. I used several key words but could not help them. If I happen to see something a person may have regretted saying I will not republish it (comments about ex spouses are always sensitive after you have reconciled with them 8-) If you see the word "thread" in my letter, and don't want to see what was said, just stop at that point. I have seen others use the word thread in the same way. I thought that was just my made-up name. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  23. As more people become or remain unemployed, the more people lack medical insurance. So, if you are Obama, you should expand the well of people who are unemployed thereby expanding the number of desperate supporters of Obamacare. If he is sincere about being reelected in 2012, then he needs to find one quickly implemented issue that will increase the number of unemployed. That issue is Cap and Trade. Letters to the President. Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden. How can you sell ObamaCare? Explain that it is not Socialized Medicine. Few people will decline “on principal” their social security benefits, or Medicare when they reach age 65. And the fact that it may exceed the amount they paid into the system does not bother most people. Our system is subsidized, not socialized. The same goes for the Veterans Administration. Few veterans, like myself, will pass up medical benefits. Most consider it a contract they had with the Government when they served their country. Veteran’s medical benefits are subsidized but not socialized medicine. If Medicare is extended to everyone from birth onward it is an extension of our pre-existing policy for seniors. The big philosophical difference is that a baby has not yet paid into the system like a senior who is 65 years old. Medicare for everyone could be likened to free public schools. The children don’t pay taxes but they benefit from adults paying state and county taxes to pay for their “free” schooling. Even people with no children or grown children must still pay school taxes because everyone profits from an educated citizenry. What I worry about is paying for Medicare for everyone, and the immediate lack of medical personnel to cover millions more people who rarely if every go to a doctor or an emergency room, because they have no insurance. Part of any Medicare for Everyone policy must be incentives to get more people to immediately join the Medical Profession at every level. Cash for Clunkers was a resounding success. Use that success story and incentives to power a Medical Training Act now. Obviously Medicare for everyone can’t run out of money like Cash for Clunkers, and long lines or delayed health care will tick everyone off. And say, shouldn’t Representatives and Senators have the same program as everyone else? Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor A few months later. Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden. If folks are unconvinced about the President’s health care reform plan, start small, and convince the skeptics. Extend Medicare downwards in five-year increments. Currently Americans are enrolled at age 65. They pay around $100.00 a month, I believe, for Medicare Part A and B. The $100.00 comes out of their Social Security checks. How to begin the Trial? Make it completely voluntary. Drop the minimum age limit to 60. If a person wants Medicare they will pay X amount of dollars per month, or they can keep their current insurance. Have those interested 60 to 64 year olds enroll in Medicare and keep track of how much that they were paying for private health insurance, co-pays and for their medicines. After one year on Medicare have the costs/benefits analyzed. Interview people and take a poll of these new Medicare recipients. Were they happy with the program? If the program is even marginally successful, drop the minimum age further, and improve the program based on what you have learned in that one year period. If the program is a failure, and the skeptics were right, give the people on Medicare who are under 65, some time to find private insurance again or keep them on Medicare until age 65 when they can keep it, and then stop the program until a better idea comes around. If the program is successful, accelerate the minimum age needed in bigger increments, improving the program each time, until all Americans are covered by Private Health Insurance or by Medicare. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor A year later. Dear Fearless Leader and Assistant Exalted One Biden. Now that you have taken over all industries in America, I have a request. My cat Sparks will always drink the juice from your Supper Super before she will eat a bite. She is white and about 2 years old, in good health, and with good teeth, but still loves the gravy. Have you ever considered ‘Soup for Cats’ or ‘Gravy for Cats?’ Older cats too, with poor teeth or digestion, could benefit from a product that would keep them healthy and be easy to eat (or drink in this case.) and digest. You could package it with a small sticky pull tab, like ‘Ensure,’ so it could be shaken, then refrigerated, after pouring. You could create a product that is a complete, healthy meal or one that is just drunk as a snack or as a supplement to the cat’s regular diet. It is much easier to pour out a small amount of gravy, than spoon out a small amount of solid food and then refrigerate the rest – no more messy spoons or partial cans refrigerated in a baggy. This idea is yours, free to read and forget, or to develop as a product to buy. Good luck. I hope I will be able to buy your new product soon. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor
  24. Reidy wrote: What's interesting is how many conservatives have come around to Rand in the last year or two: Limbaugh, Beck, Mark Sanford and Amity Shlaes all come to mind in addition to Will. Looks like the old Rand vs. National Review debate is over. As Inhofe said to Boxer, "we won, you lost, get a life." End quote I have heard Rush speak favorably about Rand for about five years, and I may have missed other times earlier when he spoke well of her. Bill Buckley of National Review was Rush’s primary hero, until Buckley died, yet Rush has labeled himself a libertarian republican for as long as I have listened to him. I recently posted a page of Rush’s topics to show that many Objectivists or fans of Rand have a bias against, The Right Wing, that is not well founded. I actually have two more pages of pro-freedom transcripts/articles from Rush’s site. I subscribe and have access to it, and supposedly my email gets closer attention. Occasionally he will quote or paraphrase something I wrote to him. Does anyone know of a sliding scale of values for judging a political candidate, or an individual like Beck or Rush? If we all used the same or similar scale then misperceptions would be less likely to occur. How about: Zero is Totalitarian. One hundred is Randian Government. Beck is an 89. I like this idea better than the litmus test the Republican and Tea Party supporters have put out. I will print it in its entirety at the end of this letter: The Republican litmus test is: if you are against three of the ten points, you won’t get the Republican Primary Nomination. My choice for President in 2012 will need to support ALL OF THE TEN except these two: (8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act; Because I am for equal protection under the law. (9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; I am against number (9) because there is an implied disparaging of all abortions. While I am against abortions for moral reasons and I am against the public funding of abortions, I support Roe v. Wade WITH the ADDITION of the policy statement of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (Say ah 8-) If I remember correctly, they insist a member of the College, only perform late term abortions to save the life of the mother, and that a physician should not be required by a hospital, if it goes against his morality, to perform abortions as a requirement for his employment, and lastly, the mother DOES NOT have the right to a dead baby. That’s their Doctor’s Philosophy. And the philosophy of Ron Paul. I published his report to congress somewhere else on OL, that proves my contention. Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor Here is the full litmus test: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support: (1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill; (2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare; (3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation; (4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check; (5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants; (6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges; (7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat; (8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act; (9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and (10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.
  25. Chris Grieb wrote: No new Federal Constitutional Convention! The Second Amendment would go and there would be a right to welfare. Bob Kolker wrote: We hold these truths to be self evident.... . Hardly anything is self evident. Henry David Thoreau wrote: Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Literally no one I have spoken to, literally, no one is willing to give other people enough credit to not shoot themselves in the foot. Strange. What the prevailing wisdom was in 1776, has been lost. What a shame. Obviously we will leave well enough alone. Leave it alone and suffer, waiting for that Randian paradigm shift? Wait until a super majority of polled Americans is for a strict interpretation of the existing Constitution. OK. Perhaps we can reexamine the question after the elections in 2012. Hopefully, the states and individuals will also be going the High Court route, to blunt Obama’s grab for power. Throw the bums out. Now, Judge Narragansett, can you write us an amendment to . . . Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor