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  1. We all notice it. ? But but but ... Got you! Fecking 'you gotcha people' anyway, as they say ... at least we have seen less "In Other Words" and "You think [inventive paraphrase/distortion/exaggeration]" and a slight decline in "So, what you are saying is ... I should just roll in the ditch and die." The latter martyr ploy is hilarious. All you have to do is turn all the knobs up to eleven. Before I say too much, I must note for all and sundry -- Michael long ago in this thread abandoned the Principle of Charity. This is a stump thread by a partisan of the presumptive nominee. Michael is not going to task himself to fairly examine and try to understand any argument or claim about Drumpf from the POV of You. And yes, I mean You People. Give it up, get a new hobby of your own. This is the Pro-Trump thread designed to be a triumphant record of his march to the White House. That is the plot, the narrative, the story. You are not going to get a coherent analysis of your own content, because .... drum roll ... you are suffused by irrational hatred. Yes, you. You people. Stephen, Peter, Brant, Robert, Roger, PDS, all stand accused/convicted of Hate. It seems the only Drumpf critic/doubter who escapes the designation is me. Argh. Too many words on a screen, William. Go back in the submarine and fetch us up a podcast. Or, if you must heckle, heckle from the protest camp over yonder erected by The Gentleman from New Jersey. If you bring snacks and warm blankets, some won't be afraid to join the Hate Club. Yes, I abandon this thread as no longer a field for Reason.
  2. Well, there are shitty polls, and there are very shitty polls, and that is my opinion. I don't know your opinion on polls. [IMO]Decent polls are what they call scientific, with open data and no shitty tricks, clear questions, of a certain margin of error. It is in the interpretation that I can go wrong. I take the toplines sometimes (as with the Canadian election where some polling failed to show the 40-ish percent that the Liberals grabbed) and run with it. So, relying on shitty and shittier and shittiest polls (which are the self-selected Vote online polls such as the Who Won Debate single question 'polls.' They aren't polls, really, in the sense of population sampling) -- I am at a disadvantage in getting hints of the 'pulse of the people.' If you are dismayed by my allusion to a love that makes exceptions, that I am disheartened by MSK's love for Trump, it is my honest feeling. I get disheartened at his tone sometimes ("your pretty little head") but that's different. It's that he has set aside the Principle of Charity and allowed his arguments to drift into auto-debunk mode at times, and insulting despite the smileys and lizard brain metaphors. More disheartening is that he sorts out the critics and doubters into a huge cohort of Haters hating haterade. It is condescending when applied to Bidinotto, to Reb!, to Merlin, to Robert. It stings my sense of fair play. I say so here and there, now and again, in other words. You can let your hair down here, Adam. I do. Having a disagreement between opinions is a grand old tradition. I try not to be too disagreeable, but we each have our tastes and triggers. It is grade-school level, the Drumpfinator. I apologize for not swapping it out here, if it was taken as anything but quippy banter. It does make Google News more fun at times. It is akin to my calling Rubio JugEars or Hispano-twin or Candidacide. It is cheesy. Winning, Mr Trump is definitely winning. I think you should be crowing a little with each advance in the number of delegates he has in the bag. His rock-bottom 33% has beens surpassed in all but 'well, he wasn't gonna win there, anyway' states like this week's shutout in, er, Utah. As Rand might say, "pass it along." It is in the bag for Trump. Even the nitwits at 538 throw the bones and get Trump majority. It is in the Runes, I feel. The sickness in American politics is not in Trump, but in the disaffection with your institutions, your dismal approval of Congress, the sinking feeling that America's great days are in the past, through individual perception of ordinary folks, not a cohort, not a group, but individual stories of disaffection and hope. The anodyne slogans of politics are manifold but spin around the same polls. Together, Change. Hope. Positive. Reform. Freedom. Trump is essentially positive despite the slurs and the Hoopla. He does find everything in US politics to be fucked, but what American doesn't and what American would not tip it all out in the ash-heap and elect a new guard? One of the arts of acting is the Method. Observation and mimesis of emotional tone, as a driver of performance. The Method, not taught at my high school, was nevertheless a tool to provide facsimiles of emotion, tears, anger, frustration. These emotions are not too hard to conjure up for an actor. So, in some senses, I feel or 'feel' the corresponding emotion of a cohort or model. I can empathize from there, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz There is something called titration. It is appropriate sometimes (powerful drugs, for example). I try to be proportionate in my criticisms, proportionate and coherent and so on. I do let loose backstage, which is a feature not a bug (a feature of the very very light hands on the reins of OL, for which I give thanks. For which I try to pay the rent by letting WSS out ... in titrated doses). I want to be less of something on the Front Porch at OL, and more active independently, as with the podcasts. Here I can be frank. I am excited to have finally launched a podcast series that appears on iTunes. I have a pen-pal Twitter Fren across the water in Victoria. He is Muslim and philosophical (see his podcasts here, especially his version of "Philosophy, what is it good for?") I foresee an exchange with him, as he is friendly to my atheism. I want to introduce him to my obsessive interest in the Randian corpus and attachments and modern-day phenomena. He will probably say fuck no to appearing (as robot or live) on my POD. But one can only ask and appear well-groomed and charismatic. Thank god for all my early actor training. As you were, gentlemen. I will put my hair up, unplug the Drumpfinator, and continue listening to the segments of Mr Trump with the Borg. I reiterate my plangent hope -- that Trump-watchers and Trump-opiners should listen, listen, listen to Mr Trump. Listen to the rallies, listen to his interviews, listen to his plans as with the conflab with the WaPo borg. -- and back to my fans/non-lubbers: if you want to bitchslap or exfoliate or defenestrate me here, let 'er rip. We don't have to be politically correct in the Keep.
  3. I see a bit more clearly now. Thanks for taking the time to expand a bit. It looks like I can take three messages away. 1 - As March 1st approaches, analysis of national polls becomes more meaningful than analysis or forecasting in individual state races. 2 - Where the GOP also-rans intend to focus their efforts right now preceding March 1, and where they focus then preceding the second round on March 6 -- this tells us the angst/desperation/strategy of the also-rans. 3 -- National numbers are very important, and analysis of those numbers should dominate clear-eyed observation of the greater race (or, The great race is for delegates. National polls such as Reuters soak in or are reflected in the media. This can influence the individual heats in the states -- because they are concentrated. Keep our eyes on the greater game or the Grand Game, the delegate totals and the national numbers for the GOP race. They tell us a lot,) Now, those three are perhaps not exactly what you meant, but that is what a jar of lemonade and the Principle of Charity delivered. If egregious misunderstandings persist, please come back in and correct. Provisionally, then, we agree, with a couple of parallel viewpoints providing a healthy difference in scope. On March 1, kaboom, suddenly 757 delegates will have been awarded. On March 8. the numbers lurch up again, to 1083. I repost those two maps from Josh's site, to show you what I mean about parallel. And I could share the last fifteen emails from the Trump campaign asking me to direct my attempts state by state. But I won't, yet. That will come when the crow-eating is a massive week-long banquet, around March 30-ish, when it can finally sink in to all but the hospice candidates that the nomination is no longer up for grabs, if it ever was. Nosh nosh nosh. But I digress ... If I got 60 percent right on those three points, where we are perhaps parallel in focus. I think it is perfectly wise to keep an eye on the individual polities comprising the collective decision-making, from the most granular (eg, precinct-county-regional within-state game) to the medium (state games) to the big broad stage of racking up the numbers before the convention. So, we can each eye aspects of the same thing, share the results, and then argue like old women at the market. Or, I am doomed, you are a Trump partisan before all, and tumbleweeds roll in the desert between our two buttes of opinion. Perhaps yes, yet if the big Reuters forty-two does not obtain in any particular state, it doesn't matter. The magic number is 33. Gong. We agree there, I hope. But if the monthly average is stagnant today and tomorrow, dipping next week, and dripping again the next, we can revisit the claims and arguments made here. I guess one of the reasons this doesn't ring any bells for me is because I think of myself as elite, and don't feel a bit of shame or discomfort in so doing. I speak English (and French), I am white, I am tall and attractive, I am quite intelligent, I have a Canadian passport. I am of the middle class. Each of those items is a boon, in world rankings. Another benefit that makes me elite in the world is also by national luck and geography. My neighbour is a stable industrial democracy with no beefs with us. That makes me an inhabitant of the civilized world ne plus ultra. My elitism is simply a function of my native intelligence, and the fertile field in which I was raised. I don't feel talked down to in my life, by anyone. I was never a plodder or a heads-down sufferer. What is wrong with a country that can't educate its people and set the stage for achievement? It is not a zero-sum game. Every cent put toward an elite education for your children gives them access to ever-more-fabulous levels of consumption and achievement, in real terms. My elitism is thus based somewhat on being thankful for my birth here, and to parents who encouraged me to read at a very early age, and to the teachers that recognized my intelligence and allowed me to excel by increasing the difficulty of my lessons. The rest of my elitism is sort of based on a Randian hierarchy. She did not disdain elites, intelligence, acumen in ;'management' or any of the superior classes of the industrialized world. The downside of elitism is that you forget that intelligence is always alive in everyone to some degree. You may take the greatest pleasure in the company of other elites, but that does not mean you are not human, and disdain the lovely folk in your life who were not as bright or informed as you think you were. To drag this back to shore, and to avoid the rocks, to the topic. It is your political system that has seized up, malfunctioned. You HATE congress, You People. The numbers are shocking. The two-party (only) system is arthritic, overgrown and institutionalized, a vast overgrown coral reef, anything but nimble and responsive to a changing electorate. The national will is divided by a wall of enmity. The Red America and the Blue America exist, and in contrast with the rest of the industrialized world, America is divided socially, still fighting over gay merges and angry with The Other side. I can feel your angst, Jonathan, and yet you have prospered in your life against odds relatively even. You are elite. All I can say is that the Westminster system allows more thorough cleansing and changes of direction than does your calcified system. The parties are in control of the political process from precinct to 1600 Pennsylvania. Here in Canada, it is relatively easy to start a national party and begin collecting members. Membership usually costs money. If Mr Trump would compete in a Westminster system, he would definitely get a seat in the House, and lead a party of his own making. And he would get a trial run of 'performance in office,' as one of three or four national leaders. The growth and influence would be directly tied to its actual popularity, and once the try-out was complete in Opposition, Trump could then go for the brass ring and the executive office. All my gut tells me is that Trump will not, should he be on the November ballot, beat a Clinton. The enormous machinery of money, party, hoopla, media, propaganda shifts into ninth gear -- much of it repulsed by Trumpism, or fearful of it, as fearful of a changing of the guard. That machine will grind at Trump just as our friend Marc suggests, in political war, the major battle. If some of that was wishful thinking, then I look at the polls, and consider how nimble Mr Trump might be once he has cleansed the field. I cannot see that future, but my gut says that awful woman will beat him. Is that elitist of me, or what? I called it right both times for Obama, with analysis of the failures of the GOP. I got half of what I wanted from this election (no more Bush, thanks) and might just possibly get the other half (no more Clinton, thanks). I get something I don't think I want in the White House otherwise, a socially-conservative throwback in Crubiooze, or someone with the makings of a tyrant. . The party is a monster without discipline, with nine heads and six synods, vastly overstaffed and bulging with insane delusions and single-issue cranks and boring bureaucratic actuaries. Up here, heads roll, the top echelon of the party is commanded by a single party leader, a single treasurer, a set of employees and so on. Your GOP (and the Democrats to greater measure) is not a conventional political party. It is a lobby, a sinecure, a moneybag, a collection of coalitions, hardly in the control of an elite -- though deeply influenced and mostly funded by that elite, of which details are always revealing. Roger, I could have failed to strip the wish-prejudice or applied the Principle closely enough. We could be both way wrong about the Trump Effect. He could emerge in the national campaign as strategically centrist in the Grand Old Tradition. He could mount the dirtiest and most dire campaign in modern memory. He could push up and past Clinton in the polls, on the hustings, and on the Big Day. My gut says no. My brain says, but it is possible. The partisans say it is inevitable. I hope to be Charitable with the wrong, but I do not have a good track record on that. There, I have wandered far from the topic, lit several small fires, and upset the sugar tariff. If this was real life, I would be getting a lot of stern looks, I imagine. Roger, I am going to send you a three thousand word screed/analysis backstage. It looks like you are wonking out. I miss Cletus, who cuts through the murk.
  4. That's Biddibob's latest. Some epiphany. Trump supporters are good decent people who are desperately starving for self-esteem and psychologically damaged. I have a different opinion. To summarize Bidinotto's fairly long "Epiphany" is beyond the scope of my interest, but I can quote him. Here's what I consider the worst, fixed-mindset exudations ... Everyone wonders why Trump doesn't have to be accurate, logical, or especially knowledgeable about policy to hold his supporters -- why he can say and do things that would disqualify any other candidate -- why evangelicals give him a pass on his dubious Christianity and personal morals -- why Tea Partiers give him a pass on his crony corporatism -- why constitutional conservatives give him a pass on his affronts to individual rights and limited government -- why even members of the left's favorite "victim" classes, including some blacks and Hispanics, not only give him a pass, but like what he represents. Trump is succeeding with them all, not by what he thinks, or what he makes them think. He is succeeding by how he makes them FEEL about themselves and their country (which they experience as interconnected). So, to Trump's fellow critics (I remain a vocal one), please understand that what we have been interpreting as a rise of "populism" and "nationalism" may not be rooted in ideological preference, or in pragmatic expediency, or even in "irrationalism." It may well be rooted in psychological desperation: in a quest by truly "downtrodden" and humiliated classes of people to reclaim their shattered sense of reassert their "manhood" (if you will) against the political/educational/media/cultural Ruling Class that has emasculated them. This is also why Trump's supporters seem closed to even the most obvious and rational criticisms of their hero. Their support of him isn't grounded in his specific policies or views about this or that. It's because those policies and views -- whether by cunning calculation, or from authentic emotion -- symbolize the reclamation of a feeling of personal and national dignity and pride. Note how Trump always ties his specific, even mundane policy pledges -- whether it's about taxes, hiring decisions, Supreme Court appointments, his "Wall," foreign trade, dealing with foreign leaders, the military, veterans, cops, you name it -- to his themes of "winning" and "American greatness." He can remain completely vague or utterly impractical, yet his supporters don't care. That's because his critics are paying attention to his often-confused and incoherent lyrics. But his supporters are listening to his music. And the music he's playing is the theme from "Rocky." Yes, Donald Trump is directing his theme music to all the long-suffering, long-humiliated Rocky Balboas in America. He is telling them that even if THEY can't stand up to the rich and powerful bullies who have been intimidating them, HE can do it for them. He will be their champion in the political/cultural ring. I will be taking Bidibob to the woodshed, but first I have to re-read the whole dang thing and the rest of the discussion he continues -- with the Principle of Charity. Maybe Robert's thoughts deserve all the scorn and derision and dismissals implied in MSK's rejection of Robert as a principled and interesting commentator. I get the impression that to MSK, Robert is but a Hater. And Haters deserve no considerations, because they are infused with Hate. I do think this is danged incorrect identification, but given MSK's stature, I owe him as much Charity as I do Robert. Report back in seven or eight hours.
  5. The reporting was breathless, like a low-rent Robert Fisk having received The News from an unnamed insider. The venue for the reporting linked by MSK is the blog site of theamericanindependent, the author is David Spuria. Spuria, not spurious. David Spuria is real, and he loves him some Trump. But forget Spuria's Jeb! scoop for a minute and see what he fishes up on his blog; from the Marshall Report: Listen to Alex Jones shout and weep with joy and rage as he describes what he feels in having a MAN LIKE TRUMP – FINALLY given to a people to lead them. Trump is going it alone and he is doing it for each one of us. Each little person that makes up America and if truth is known, the world at large. God bless him and keep him, may the army of God surround this great man. Amen. Insert comment on The Saviour core story. The distinction is the insidious record-distortion (Trump is a Planned Parent, conducts third-trimester abortions and loves it), the push-poll well-poisoning, the fakey Voter Shame packages -- the file of prevarications that Trump turns into an Evul greater than Kant, Ted the Liar, the greatest liar in the history of Trump. The suspect actions were from the Cruz machine or SuperPACs, if one or two steps removed from the candidate. The distinction shrinks to nothing when you consider Trump's lies and distortions -- but in this case, the scoop was from a lower-level blogger Youtuber enthusiast. The scoop is unlikely to be true because Jeb! has not yet run out of funds for his hospice care going forward. "Reductive MSK-ism" is probably similar to the secret "Reductive WSS-ism." suspected but not observed. If you are piqued by his 'pretty little eyes' malice wink or his demonization of the sad shell of a man Bidibob, that is one thing. MSK is a declared supporter who is all-in for Trump. He may have discarded the Principle of Charity on the stump, and fallen in the habit of psychologizing Trump doubters out of existence, transmuting them into damaged cognitive retards, trapped in hate and core stories, unworthy of engagement, lost to reason -- but is it Golden to reduce the field of contest to which ox is being gored? On balance, I say yes. It depends on whose ox is being gored. I have no ox in the game beside my sentimental favourite, former Calgarian now Christian-Authoritarian Cruz. I like seeing him gored about as much as I enjoy Trump or Bush or Clinton being gored. It is relative. I really only care about the result: what kind of monster will occupy 1600 Pennsylvania, and what will it mean for Canada?
  6. The situation strikes me odd, Michael, as it did the three earlier times you criticized Bidibob (Robert Bidinotto) for various irrational statements and stances. The oddity was in the 'I talk about what hate-faced Susy said' one-sidedness. Usually you quote and link to whatever stupid Susy said. You don't just tell your side of the story -- you give context. It's like when a writer excoriates Mr X in an article in a journal. The writer gives a reference to the offending material. You almost always do this, unless you are discussing collectives like Trump Haters or Gotcha People. With Robert Bidinotto, you don't. Do you see a sore thumb sticking out, Michael? Or a 'dog that did not bark' kind of thing? You remarked upon 'vitriol and hatred' and a contempt that you feel from other people's words, but we don't get their words in context. In the three preceding instances I did go read the Facebook exchanges which engendered your reaction. I needed to read it to be informed. I wanted to know if you and/or he were fair, blinded by bias, even-handed, accurate, wildly emotional, and so on. I did not comment at the time here. It struck me odd that you did not link, but I did not share my perception at the time, that there was a 'missing link' in your argument against Bidinotto and his hateful ilk. In this instance I will just give the missing link: Limbaugh goes cynical. Readers who care can compare your paraphrases with his own words. Originally, I wanted to know if Bidinotto had a 'visceral hate' going on, and if he was trapped in a dreadful 'fixed mindset' ... and I could see the context for your perception. I knew that you had discarded the Principle of Charity on the stump, and that it was the reflexive distaste for Trump based on distortions and misperceptions that occupied you in the earlier reactions. I think you were on the whole unfair to lodge such accusations against Bidinotto, but on the other hand, I do not often agree with his polemic. I figured his over-the-top exaggerated language cancelled out your similar fraught rhetoric on the Trump front. This time I am not so sure. I can't quite grasp your classification scheme for those on a spectrum of anti-Trumpism. Some people doubt Trump; Trump does not appeal to all. Some loathe him with irrational excess, bigoted and intransigent. Some people have their hearts taken by another candidate. Some fear Trumpism. Some are simply cold and calculating operatives in the endless circus that is a Presidential contest. I have lots of slots in my spectrum of not-enthusiastic-about-Trump. I recognize that there are some (not restricted to the leftmost) who are nutty and almost delusional in their fretting and fussing about the phenomenon. I can even name a couple handfuls blind (starting with George Will and ending with Glenn Beck). In my perfect Pollyanna world, Robert would step out of Facebook (or you would step back in) and give a day or two thought and focus to an "I do not support Donald Trump" article, and you would respond in kind. It is perhaps just a feature/bug of the way online opinion is walled here and there from interpenetration. So, Michael, I will next time probably just give the link reference, without fretting and fussing myself. Meanwhile, and off the boring topic of Stupid Susy and her Fixed Mindset, a certain dread is settling into Canadian opinion hawkers. A national news site asks the question, "What would a Trump Presidency Mean for Canada?" I won't immediately give a link, because I haven't read the article yet beyond its first paragraph, and I wanted to pose it to myself and anyone else who might want to tackle it. The paragraph I read implied big question marks over free trade ... an economic wall between Canada and the USA. I don't see it, but I know not much detail. Trump certainly talks about Canada more than any other GOP candidate, but that is only to maintain the Birther hoopla against Cruz.
  7. I had 'the talk' a long long time ago with my mom. She tried to explain why Grandpa was not a good model to follow in terms of opinions on skin colour and national origin. We were not allowed, for example, to say 'she is another goddamned DP from Manitoba.' Grandpa Enwright had a lot of lovely qualities, all administrative, but his racism was undeniable. It needed only the goad of six or more beers for him to up the volume and become belligerent. So I heard it all at Xmas and other fambly days, from nickle-nosed sheeny to gook to wop and on down to DP from Manitoba, or the charmless Chink. The talk was not about new ways to implement Do Not Be Grandpa, but about the effect of words.. Little did she know how well-acquainted I was with fighting words, hurting words. You have to be gay to know what it feels like to be called a Chink faggot. It is or was or can be almost frightening in some circumstances. So. the talk was more about the impact of hateful speech. It was a 'think about it'' kind of Talk. There was never a repeat of this particular instruction, extending the general Do Not Be plan. There was a skin-colour component in the talk in which mom got a bit vociferous and that was on skin colour and Paki-Hindu-Raghead epithets; based on 'what if it was you?' and 'it tells you NOTHING about the person.' I am paraphrasing and condensing heavily. The sun was out, a smell of laundry on the line was coming in the back door ... we were careful not to name Monsieur X, a suave black man, nor to allude to the affair. The lesson boiled down to hard candy was that I can and should have dignity as a person, as an individual, on my merits, and that a person's dignity can get damaged, and that people like me can be harmed and hurt, and to never forget that other human beings have dignity in like measure, some hurting, and that if I wanted to be respected by all races and creeds, I must not allow prejudice to colour my judgment, and by that good sense I would amass respect. That, that, that and that. Earlier lessons had been delivered on the general subject of calling kids Chink and Nigger and so on. It was the Grandpa Ed Show and not to be performed by us kids. -- as pertaining to privilege, she did not use the term, but sketched situations in which a white person is favoured socially and otherwise over non-whites. She said all doors are open wider to whites than to non-whites. This was an era (I am 58, this would then be 42 years ago, 1974) when non-whites were one step down, so to speak, but Mr Trudeau 1 was a lot like my mom in some ways especially in re Do Not Be Like Grandpa on racialism, and the country began to change into my generation of kids raised with non-racialist cautions along the way. The affair was over, but it might have explained a bit of the vociferousness, if not the sneaking around with Mr X. When she went on her dates with him, he picked her up down the lane. (I thought at the time it must be our psychotic neighbours. A black man! A black man! with Mrs D!) -- rambling back to the topic ... 'White privilege' is to my eyes an annoying blob term. What it describes is what mom was trying to get at in the final turn of the talk, that I would have more advantage due to my 'white-ness' and to not forget that, and to look out for others who are one down, whether by being younger, browner, blacker, more retarded, what have you (gay being unspoken, ugly being unsaid). There are lots of ways to talk about the advantages of being white, but I am all talked out with family and friends and associates ever since the Talk. Since the day of Grandpa, I knitted together something useful of all the anti-racialist cautions and lessons: prejudice is a kind of handicap, a mental handicap, it prevents you from enjoying things and people and from prospering by interaction. It cheats you, not the other person. You rip yourself off. Finally, It does irk me that some folks who have yammered on the PC-itude of the blob term have not applied the Principle of Charity to what the idiots are getting right and what they are getting wrong. Is there a (perhaps 'invisible') advantage or privilege, or tendency to get more positive reaction, or a slight 'home-team' magic that accrues to you only by accident of birth, skin-tone? Is there a 'blob' of advantage pre-accrued to white kids? It depends. Think of Russia and you would say indubitably. Scratch an older relative, and you would say yes, indubitably. But not in all cases and times and places, and most importantly, lots of people get The Talk in years preceding this one, and the greatest prejudice of all in this area is assuming that a white person like myself has not Already Thought It Through, Thank You, fuck off. These kinds of questions I wish we had more Derek. I mean, I can explain the 'hetero' privilege (blob) or the underprivileged nature of being gay back when, but he can give a better perspective on what the blob term fails to convey -- from the other side of the so-called privilege fence. I mean, Derek does not have 'white privilege' so he would offer a better angle than I. And of course if mom were alive, she would bring us all up to date. One more stab at the dummy: The endowed capacity to get just a bit farther in life by coasting, all things being equal, because of the endowment of White-itude, is just one of those things. It even operates in non-white majority places. It is handy, almost like a Canadian passport. Since I hardly read the preceding posts out of fear of blood pressure spikes, I will just set this sailing. If I have repeated what you have already said, or missed the definition heat of the race to Truth, I apologize. High Family days mean cake and lots of treats, and you know what I am like stuffed with cake and treats. HTML5 audio:
  8. Gurgle. I read the full linked article again. I went to the Cabaret video scene with blond Aryan youth singing a sweet song of tomorrow. I read the portents. I read the offending article again. I think of the new composting toilets at the home show. I think of Trog. I think of some wicked clogs I am missing in the drains below other online articles. I go pour caustics down all our drains. All of them. Then I read the article one more time. It doesn't go down any better even with the Principle of Charity or the Disagreement Hierarchy or guessing Doug's score on the Right-Wing Authoritarian Test. It does not survive the Translation Test. It is just a spew of fear of the end of white people. Deranged. It doesn't swirl, it doesn't sink. It floats, and foams and seems to colonize all surfaces with contaminant. Do I want this kind of person on my boat? If necessary, can we later Osama him? Here's our 44 year-old B-Dandler discovering he will never likely spawn an empire or a child or much beyond a fake name and face at an online hate sink: "There are grave stakes at play here. Not to mention the potential end of the white European genotype. If caring about that makes me Hitler, then long live Hitler." The only thing that can cleanse my palate after reading Hate Boy is an equally odious thing, a thing of greater power, great German sappy lieder, from the maddest of the mad German superstars, Heino, with a medley of his nationalist songs from 2007. This is how Nazi-lovers who do it right end up, Doug. Loved, lavished with ladies, and loving all things meaty and sweet and white and full of German gemutlichkeit. If only Doug had understood that gemutlichkeit comes not by fear but by self-confidence and comfort. How sad that he is not at peace, and sees only apocalypse for his Folk. In case you refuse to watch five minutes of Heino, just see it as a Trump rally, with unity and happiness and white people having fun being white. Of course, Heino-Trump may so love sheer Germanosity he seems utterly bizarre, but hey. Listen along and you will get a reward at the Heino-Trump rally at the four minute mark, when Mexico is mentioned in song, and the brown people start dancing in their colorful outfits and horns blare. Mexico, senoritas, love of country, love of white sausage and gemutlichkeit and unity trumpery. It is a show-stopper. When I am next on the line with the Trump campaign in Iowa I am going to recommend they watch them some Heino Live in 2007.
  9. Here's my result: Economic Left/Right: 6.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13 By comparison, William seems to be more of an economic leftist (not quite -2.0) compared to my 6.38 economic right-winger. But on the social scale, we are very similar. I'm -5.13, meaning way anti-authoritarian, as is William at -5.49. (Maybe we need to talk about economics? But I trust his instincts on the social libertarian and civil liberties side.) That makes me go all pink, Roger. But yeah. The way I look at it is I am closer to Ayn Rand than Stalin or Obama. I am going to have to get a bootleg of that JARS article. The only library that stocks it nearby is up a mountain. I'd ask what you meant by hooty owls, but we already have a backlog of unexplained adjectives from the gentleman in New Jersey. I had forgotten about the Libertarian roots of the Compass. That makes sense. It isn't the first time that Mr Trump and his supporters have been assessed as authoritarian-leaning ... but it does seem to be the first time the measure has been incorporated in a straight-up survey. A four-question metric seems crude, but maybe the example questions on the Authoritarian test indicate the same thing. I tweeted the dirty red squirrel marxist flotsam, MacWilliams, to ask him if his survey had been published. He said not yet, but directed me at earlier work. I have found in my long years at Objectivist Living that it is just too simple to assign single-dimension labels to my colleagues and friends and foes here. Doing so doesn't help me understand things. If we are all psychologists simply because we are human -- then we sometimes can use tools to better augment our perceptions. In answering the questions on the RWAS, it made me think of how a person might try to detect 'authoritarianism' in a prospective mate, or boss, or acquaintance. How do we do it 'naked,' so to speak? And of course, what is being measured? I'll add in here some appalling examples of sleazing Trump with 'dictator' impulses. They will certainly be candidates for Michael's bonehead file, but they seem more malevolent than merely stupid or flailing (hey, Michael, can you share your Evernote file? -- I love me the boneheaded stuff). Any grains of wisdom in authoritarianism as personality aspect will be lost in the Hoopla. Beneath all the bullshit is a neat point of data, but I expect it is meaningless to effect anything except our comprehension here. A club to beat the Man, in the wrong hands or the right hands, is just another club. And it is clubbing season in the Jungle (Circus, Tournament, Musical Chairs). Here's something I saw today that went down the wrong way. As a fellow who has overused the ironic phrase "socialist hellhole" to describe where I live, I want hellhole to remain meaningful. Trump wrecked that for me today, if I can trust this quote to be accurate. -- hey, Brant, I liked your comment. I don't know what it meant, but I liked it. With the Principle of Charity under the bus wheels, we might only have emotion to guide us. Oh, and adjectives. In News of the Nice: Glenn Beck Apologizes After Citing Anti-Trump Hoax Tweet on Fox News; Trump Fires Back: Dope’s ‘Company Is Falling Apart’ On Redstate, of all places: This Study Proves Why Trump’s Supporters Won’t Leave Him No Matter What He Does | tl;dr: We're screwed With respect to Trump’s supporters in particular, the study found that the main statistical variable that could be used to predict whether someone was a Trump supporter was not race, age, religion, income, or education. It is, rather, an impulse towards authoritarianism. I’m inherently skeptical of the work of social scientists, but this particular study passes the eyeball test as well. Trump: We’ll get more and more angry as we go along, is that okay? [crowd cheers] And by the end I’ll say, “Get them the hell out of here!” And then, by the way, by that time, the security will be so tough and so nasty, and you know what’s going to happen when that happens? You’re not going to have any more problems. You’re not going to have any more problems. Did you notice the first group, the security guys are going, “Oh, please come with us,” and they’re screaming, “please come.” Alright. Second group, they’re [unintelligible]. Now, the last time they’re starting to get nasty. Pretty soon they’re going to get so nasty that we’re not going to have any more protesting, you know that, right? Don’t give him his coat! Don’t give him his coat, keep his coat, confiscate his coat! You know, it’s about ten degrees below zero outside. [...] It also indicates why Trump’s support has refused to leave him in spite of an avalanche of gaffes and embarrassing moments. To an authoritarian, showing respect for the authority figure because they are the authority figure is important, regardless of whether they are right or not. The mode of attack against Trump this entire time has been wrong because people have not understood why Trump has the support that he has. That was the nice one, here comes Mr MacUltraNasty, aka John Dean, making the same point but with much more invective. This will make some folks go all violet. It made me blue. Trump Is the Authoritarian Ruler Republicans—and Some Dems—Have Been Waiting ForHow far can a truly authoritarian leader go in America? Political pundits everywhere are scratching their heads, asking what is going on with Trump? How can a clown like Trump be in front of the “serious” GOP candidates? Most blame the news media for giving Trump’s antics too much attention. But much more than media attention is at work in explaining Trump’s success. In fact, Donald Trump has emerged as America’s leading authoritarian political figure, representative of a type of leadership for which many Americans yearn. I looked closely at authoritarians in Conservatives Without Conscience, and the information I developed and shared in 2006 is equally, if not more, relevant today. Actually, Trump is far more aggressive in his authoritarianism than his predecessors. To understand the Trump phenomenon, it is essential to appreciate political authoritarianism, as well as its limits and boundaries. [...] I am only going to briefly summarize the authoritarian types, who can be broadly broken down into “leaders” and “followers.” Starting with the followers, who are more prevalent and who are characterized by their submissiveness to established authorities, a trait that becomes combined with a general aggressiveness toward others. Altemeyer labels these followers “right-wing authoritarians,” and from his studies I developed a laundry list of characteristic and traits consistently found in these people. Specifically, as I noted in Conservatives Without Conscience, the authoritarian followers are both men and women, who tend to be highly conventional, always and easily submissive to authority, while willing to work aggressively on behalf of such an authority. They tend to be very religious, with moderate to little education, trusting of untrustworthy authorities, prejudiced (e.g., with respect to gay marriage); they are typically mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical of their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, moralistic, strict disciplinarian, severely punitive; they also demand loyalty and return it, have little self-awareness, and are typically politically and economically conservative Republicans. These are the characteristics and traits of Donald Trump’s followers. [...] Authoritarian Leaders With any group of authoritarian followers you will find a few in the ranks who are not only among the loyalist of loyal followers, but who also want to be leaders. They are biding their time. In fact, testing shows one of the reasons they are such good followers is that they believe when they are one day leading, their followers should be as loyal as they have been. These authoritarian leader types, who are typically men, will always have four clear characteristics or traits that distinguish them: They are dominating; they oppose equality; they desire personal power; and they are amoral. While it may seem I am merely describing Donald Trump, in fact, these essential distinguishing features have surfaced time and again over decades of testing by social scientists, but Trump clearly fits the pattern. In addition, Trump reflects many of the other characteristics or traits that identify the authoritarian leaders, which I similarly spelled out in Conservatives Without Conscience—a point I make here to clarify that I am not making this up with Trump’s arrival as a near perfect authoritarian leader type. Among the additional personality features, these people are usually intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest, cheat to win, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, militant, nationalistic, tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of “suckers,” specialize in creating false images to sell self, may or may not be religious, and are usually politically and economically conservative and Republican. It is striking that Donald Trump appears to have all these characteristics. Without question, Trump is the most prototypical authoritarian leader to ever so prominently seek the American presidency, and we have had several authoritarian presidents and vice presidents, most recently including Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, followed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But Donald Trump appears to fall within the indicia of the authoritarian leader far more than any of the others. This raises the question of how far a truly authoritarian leader can go in America. [,,,] Given Trump’s years as a public personality, plus his years hosting an authoritarian reality television shows—“The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice”—he understands the media better than any of his Republican rivals, and how to play himself publicly. Unlike most candidates, who can be embarrassed into following the rules by exposing foul-play, Trump is going to set the rules this time because he knows he can bully and manipulate everyone necessary to get his way. Trump is thoroughly enjoying being the loose cannon of the GOP 2016 Primary; he is making it up as he goes along. In short, do not look to Trump to restrain himself, nor the media criticizing him as a restraint. Trump knows the American public has less respect for the news media than politicians—while he sees himself as neither, rather a successful businessman who loves his country and wants to fix it for himself and his friends. The only restraint on Donald Trump will be voters, but Republican voters love authoritarian leaders. Republicans have spent the last seven year portraying President Obama as wishy-washy and spineless, with Trump, of course, claiming he is not even an American nor as smart as he pretends to be. (Otherwise he would produce the transcript of his college grades, as demanded by Trump!) It is difficult to determine exactly how many Republicans are authoritarian followers—thus naturals for the Trump bandwagon—but in discussions with social scientists I have come to believe that somewhere between a quarter and half of registered Republicans are authoritarians, not to mention they are the activist base of the party. While the entire field of GOP presidential candidates evidence varying degrees of authoritarianism, none can top Trump. In my informal conversations with many people who view themselves as part of the GOP base, Trump is very popular. He is telling them what they want to hear. Trump will not appeal to the Iowa evangelicals who dominate the Iowa caucuses, but if he makes a strong showing in New Hampshire and South Carolina, there will be no stopping him. Many Wall Street big-shots live in Trump’s upscale Manhattan buildings, and they view him as one of their own. Wall Street would not likely try to block him. As I have watched Trump proceed in 2016, I keep recalling Bob Altemeyer’s troubling observation in The Authoritarian Specter: “If you think [Americans] could never elect an Adolf Hitler to power, note that David Duke would have become governor of Louisiana if it had just been up to the white voters in that state.” While Trump is no Hitler, we have never had as serious and off-the-charts authoritarian leader vying for our highest office. [...] To cut to the bottom line: I can envision a number of scenarios where Trump could capture the GOP nomination, and they all start with him making respectable showings in New Hampshire and South Carolina. If Trump is going to decide to go home and stop playing the game due to it being a waste of money, it will be after South Carolina. If he is in play at that time, he could win the nomination. But I can find no scenario in which he could win the White House. Too many voters still remember Nixon, Agnew, Bush, and Cheney, who ranked high on the authoritarian leaders scale, albeit not as high as Donald Trump. Should it happen that Trump wins the GOP nomination, he will surely all but finish the destruction of the Republican Party, which began with the ascendency of the religious right and Southern conservatives leaving the “Big Tent” Democratic Party to make the GOP their unspoken racist home. The authoritarian base of the GOP has been steadily growing, and Trump could test its strength. Of only one thing am I absolutely certain: Donald Trump will never be President of the United States, so rest easy. Authoritarians remain a minority in America, thankfully. The smug stylings of Rick Salutin appeared in the Toronto Star, the rightest of the right media in Hogtown. I think the 'authoritarian' blister will appear in The Hoopla another couple of times during the Circus. It's a button, once pressed, difficult to resist. But the Salutin goes straight for a dirty thirties metaphor. Sigh. Donald Trump helps us relive the 1930s | Give this to Donald Trump: he helps us picture how the anti-democratic, right wing, personality-driven movements of the 1930s came to power. He’s relatively indifferent to democracy. Very early, he said he’d like to “expedite” the election, i.e., get it over with and on to taking power. This week in Iowa he said he wished the vote was tomorrow. His policies are utterly vague; there’s no point articulating them, it’s all in his head. He’ll get the best people, make the best deals, “you’re gonna love it.” It amounts to trusting him absolutely, the strong leader, whose brilliance, success, even his physical beauty, are undeniable. There’s no concrete participation. He “loves” his base and will look after them; their only role is to love him back. He’s about his own strength and power, as were those movements. His favourite word is strong; the “guys” he’ll recruit to beat back the Chinese and Japanese are “killers,” it’s an upbeat version of Nietzsche’s will to power. He mocks weakness in opponents; his code word for it is “low energy.” He’ll restore national greatness, which was lost due to “stupid,” weak leaders. He’s not racist in any explicit sense — quite the opposite — but there’s clear racist appeal in his attack on evil, murderous Mexican illegals in “our” midst. [...] But Trump shows that people go soft on democracy when it’s not delivering and they and their families are suffering. It’s not an easy choice but some make it. In a time of rising inequality and diminishing fortunes for most people, a kind of democratic despair could occur here, though probably in response to a figure more inclusive than Trump. Salutin sounds like one of those guys who say, "If Donald Trump wins, I'm movin' to Canada."
  10. This reminds me of something I read about a year ago or so on the Gus Van Horn blog about what is referred to as steelmanning. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. In an election campaign, the Principle of Charity is abused with wild abandon. Just think how many people got all agitated about Trump's argument on China tariffs, on his plain words at the debate. And think about those who can't interpret these plain words charitably. Straw! Steel! To me, this clip says it all. It conjures up the image of an old, obese woman proudly and unselfconsciously doing a strip-tease at the family picnic. (Thanks a lot, Aunt Shirley. I ruined a good shirt, barfing up my potato salad and baked beans.) But suppose we want to be benevolent and apply the Principle of Charity to DT's remarks. The very BEST you can say is that taxing China 25% and in general smacking down those who don't engage in "fair" trade - or those who won't buy American-made goods - is part of how we can "make America great again". (Taxing China 25% will of course be passed along to anyone who tries to buy their goods, in defiance of the jawboning by our statist, protectionist rulers.) However, as Harry Binswanger so eloquently said in a 2003 article in Capitalist Magazine (online), "Buy American" is Un-American! Here's a link to the article: And yes, I think that DT is Un-American. He's far from being the only one that label fits. But he's all we have as an alternative to out-and-out socialism? God save us... REB
  11. This reminds me of something I read about a year ago or so on the Gus Van Horn blog about what is referred to as steelmanning. Good catch, Craig. Thanks. It looks like there is a backdoor into Objectivish thought for the Principle. I followed your link to a few places where it seems like the Principle transformed into Steelmanning. A meme on the move! And now lodged in the minds of the front porchers at Objectivist Living. It might be worth a split-off thread ... This is from a group blog, Less Wrong, which is said to be "devoted to refining the art of human rationality," in a 2011 article called Better Disagreement. The author is referring to a Disagreement Hierarchy, and explicitly notes Steelmanning: DH0: Name-Calling. The lowest form of disagreement, this ranges from "u r fag!!!" to "Hes just a troll" to "The author is a self-important dilettante." DH1: Ad Hominem. An ad hominem ('against the man') argument wont refute the original claim, but it might at least be relevant. If a senator says we should raise the salary of senators, you might reply: "Of course hed say that; hes a senator." That might be relevant, but it doesnt refute the original claim: "If theres something wrong with the senators argument, you should say what it is; and if there isnt, what difference does it make that hes a senator?" DH2: Responding to Tone. At this level we actually respond to the writing rather than the writer, but we're responding to tone rather than substance. For example: "Its terrible how flippantly the author dimisses theology." DH3: Contradiction. Graham writes: "In this stage we finally get responses to what was said, rather than how or by whom. The lowest form of response to an argument is simply to state the opposing case, with little or no supporting evidence." For example: "Its terrible how flippantly the author dismisses theology. Theology is a legitimate inquiry into truth." DH4: Counterargument. Finally, a form of disagreement that might persuade! Counterargument is "contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence." Still, counterargument is often directed at a minor point, or turns out to be an example of two people talking past each other, as in the parable about a tree falling in the forest. DH5: Refutation. In refutation, you quote (or paraphrase) a precise claim or argument by the author and explain why the claim is false, or why the argument doesnt work. With refutation, you're sure to engage exactly what the author said, and offer a direct counterargument with evidence and reason. DH6: Refuting the Central Point. Graham writes: "The force of a refutation depends on what you refute. The most powerful form of disagreement is to refute someones central point." A refutation of the central point may look like this: "The authors central point appears to be X. For example, he writes 'blah blah blah.' He also writes 'blah blah.' But this is wrong, because (1) argument one, (2) argument two, and (3) argument three." DH7: Improve the Argument, then Refute Its Central Point. Black Belt Bayesian writes: "If youre interested in being on the right side of disputes, you will refute your opponents' arguments. But if you're interested in producing truth, you will fix your opponents' arguments for them. To win, you must fight not only the creature you encounter; you [also] must fight the most horrible thing that can be constructed from its corpse." See also Michael's use of Steel and Straw: Great Conversation Starter "Because these are elections, dummy." It is interesting to think how my offerings here might score on the DH scale on a given day or a given hundred of posts. Combining Michael's jocular deconstruction of Fuzzy Chump versus Trump Supporter, I made a brief dialogue. Imagine how the pair's offerings might be scored on the DH scale, or how each claim was steel or straw, and how they might be improved: The guy, I will call him Fuzzy Chump, talks with a Trump Supporter, briefly. He is coming from the point of view that Trump's 'drawing power' will be tested in elections. Not to be confused with Fuzzy saying "Trump won't bring out the voters" and not to be confused with WSS saying "Premature RubioGasm": TS: Now, we are supposed to think that this drawing power will somehow evaporate when actual elections happen. Why? FC: Because they are elections, dummy. TS: But what's so different about elections in terms of drawing power? FC: Well... They're elections, dummy. People vote. TS: Don't people vote in a sense by tuning into a TV channel? Aren't they voting with their time against top entertainment shows? FC: Man, you're such a dummy! That's different. TS: You mean, according to you, elections have nothing to do with reality or the public? FC: Now you're getting it... Say what you mean, and mean what you say. In an election campaign, the Principle of Charity is abused with wild abandon. Just think how many people got all agitated about Trump's argument on China tariffs, on his plain words at the debate. And think about those who can't interpret these plain words charitably. Straw! Steel! Inevitably, as it must with me, it comes back to Ayn Rand and humanity's foremost tool, reason. In this case of GOP Circus Hoopla Firestorm Of Deception, where disagreement can be seen as membership in Hater Club, it bears to listen to the lessons of Objectivism and its founder. This Ayn Rand I have always found poignant. The fuzzy thinker who set Rand off is probably a Sanders supporter. I mean, her argument was pretty flabby, I ain't gonna be charitable, and so her interjection was ill-posed, as with TS's final question . The response Rand gives about disagreement and how it is managed is striking, even after all these years. I think she would loathe Mr Trump, all things considered. As she loathed so much irrationality. But I am probably wrong to think that. We can disagree without being disagreeable, except of course with Dick Liquors.
  12. Wolf, Actual charity like giving money to the needy has nothing to do with this. The Principle of Charity is a technical term used in academia and the sciences. It means making your best effort to understand what someone is saying before evaluating it. It is the opposite of gotcha. In other words, if there are two interpretations of a statement, and one is better than the other (or clearer, etc.), you assume the better one until proven otherwise for the purpose of evaluating it, even if the better one runs counter to your ideas and beliefs. This reminds me of something I read about a year ago or so on the Gus Van Horn blog about what is referred to as steelmanning.
  13. I feel like odd-man out here. I really don't like Trump, yet neither do I think he's a bigot or racist in regard to immigrants or refugees. The Principle of Charity (for civil discourse), properly interpreted, is relevant - but even more relevant is the Principle of Unbiased Perception. I have never heard Trump advocate a permanent ban to Muslim immigrants or refugees. From the get-go, he has always spoken of temporarily stopping the flow of such people, until we can make sure our method of properly vetting them has been properly defined and is being consistently, effectively carried out. There is considerable evidence to show that he is responding to an actual situation, not reacting out of his own or others' irrational fears. Yet, people persist to this day in saying that DT wants to permanently ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. This kind of deliberate misrepresentation is, to use terms bandied about freely by our lupine friend, "rubbish" and runs the risk of being "the end of any future discourse." REB P.S. - the other sense of "charity" qua benevolence, pertaining not to benefit of the doubt in discourse, but to voluntarily helping those in need, has actually been defended and advocated as a moral obligation by Rand in "The Ethics of Emergencies." Read it carefully. While she says no one has a sacrificial duty to help others, she also says that when one can non-sacrificially help another in need, one *should* do so. And it's not just a slip of the tongue. She uses the term in that context several times in the essay. "Should," last time I check, is a term of *moral obligation.* So, where does this obligation come from? How does it relate to the primary Objectivist virtues of rationality, productiveness, independence, honesty, pride, integrity, and justice? I think a case can be made for charity, as Rand advocates and sanctions it, as being a corollary of either justice or integrity - i.e., either rendering to each man his due or acting in accordance with one's convictions about the basic benefit-of-the-doubt (aha! charity!) worth of each individual. (The latter is a more likely reading from the text of Rand's essay, according to Yaron Brook and Tara Smith.)
  14. The Donald never said this, therefore you should correct your post #2666 The Donald said: "And I'll tell you right now, and I'm putting everybody on notice, and hopefully this gets outside of this room, and I guess it will with all these crazy cameras going back there, I'm putting the people on notice, that are coming from Syria, as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they're going back, they're going back. I'm telling you, they're going back." And at the debate, Mr Trump's further remarks below informing my comments, of which, Adam, you only quoted a brief snatch. Please don't commit the Blanche Hudson Error, or Jane's Objectivish equivalent will be in a position to feed you rats. I loved Trump's debate spin into soundbites and garble, not having grasped the question. Anyway, as I explained, some people feel a revulsion at Trump's attitude and feel queasy about his grip on data. Some people don't. As I explained, it doesn't matter in the gong show that is GOP primary season. If Trump carries the day in Cleveland and faces down Clinton, the Syria file is just one aspect of a feeble grasp of law, morality and American exceptionalism. Like I said, maybe Trump's pledges to wall off and deport bad things is a kind of It Sells In Topeka dodge, a pig in a poke. But if that is true, it makes me think Donald is deceptive as well as a slugfest politician in the fight of a lifetime. It's a circus. I am a spectator. I am just calling it like I see it. It's how I pay my rent around here. CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, at the State of the Union, the president pointed to a guest who was a Syrian refugee you might recall whose wife and daughter and other family members were killed in an air attack. Now he fled that country seeking asylum here, ultimately ended up in Detroit where he's now trying to start a new life. The president says that that doctor is the real face of these refugees and not the one that you and some of your colleagues on this stage are painting; that you prefer the face of fear and terror and that you would refuse to let in anyone into this country seeking legitimate asylum. How do you answer that? TRUMP: It's not fear and terror, it's reality. You just have to look today at Indonesia, bombings all over. (APPLAUSE) You look at California, you look, frankly, at Paris where there's a -- the strictest no-gun policy of any city anywhere in the world, and you see what happens: 130 people dead with many to follow. They're very, very badly wounded. They will -- some will follow. And you look around, and you see what's happening, and this is not the case when he introduced the doctor -- very nice, everything perfect but that is not representative of what you have in that line of migration. That could be the great Trojan Horse. It could be people that are going to do great, great destruction. When I look at the migration, I looked at the line, I said it actually on your show recently, where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong, powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they're saying what's going on? TRUMP: You look at the kind of damage that two people that two people that got married, they were radicalized -- they got married, they killed 15 people in actually 15 -- going to be probably 16 but you look at that and you take a look -- a good strong look and that's what we have. We are nineteen trillion dollars -- our country's a mess and we can't let all these people come into our country and break our borders. We can't do it. (APPLAUSE) Michael, you did indeed read me incorrectly. I excused you from considering the Principle of Charity in the GOP primary circus. Words are being used as blunt objects, as weapons, as jets of burning invective in a torrid firestorm of hoopla. It is not the time for a nice principle. Though I must say you beautifully articulated the importance of the philosophical principle to rational argument and understanding. There was an argument in my preceding remarks that just explained a revulsion. My queasiness has fuck all effect on the circus, not even here. Wolf, to say it nicely and respectfully, you got a little ahead of yourself. And as far as florid personal attack and deflection go, it was not I who called Sciabarra a Dick Liquor. That was you, sweetheart. You give. You get. In this case, you get a couple of light spankings and live another day. Unlike with backsplash from Dick Liquor, you are not permanently marked. The Principle of Charity is a methodological presumption made in seeking to understand a point of view whereby we seek to understand that view in its strongest, most persuasive form before subjecting the view to evaluation.
  15. Wolf, Not best intentions. Best meaning. (Cognitive, not normative.) In this sense, this means do not attribute a worse meaning to a statement simply because it bolsters your own argument. Getting back to my Trump example, some people hate Trump so it is convenient for them to believe he is a bigot. Thus they take his ban Muslims statement to mean bigotry. These do not use the Principle of Charity. Even if I were not a Trump supporter, I would have attributed the meaning I gave to Trump's statement because he has clarified it at other times. Also, I look to his past to see how he has acted. So I situate his statement within the context of what I believe he means, not what I want him to mean to make my case. That is a correct use of the Principle of Charity. I agree the term sounds weird. It threw me the first time I heard it, too. (btw - Trump's a hell of a deal-maker. I doubt he will need to force Russia to do much anything. And I believe he will have the Arabian countries eating out of his hand before too long.) Michael
  16. Wolf, Actual charity like giving money to the needy has nothing to do with this. The Principle of Charity is a technical term used in academia and the sciences. It means making your best effort to understand what someone is saying before evaluating it. It is the opposite of gotcha. In other words, if there are two interpretations of a statement, and one is better than the other (or clearer, etc.), you assume the better one until proven otherwise for the purpose of evaluating it, even if the better one runs counter to your ideas and beliefs. This is an attitude and procedure of understanding more than anything else. The aim is to enhance objectivity. So when looking at a statement like Trump's proposed temporary ban on the entry of new Muslims to the USA, for example, a person who does not use the Principle of Charity would claim that Trump's meaning is that he is a racist who hates Muslims. That his statement is a form of bigotry and hatred and probably pandering to all the racists out there for votes. A person who uses the Principle of Charity takes him to mean he is seeking a solution to the thorny problem of covert migration of Islamist terrorists who intend to kill American citizens (and whoever else is around during their attacks), he is probably making a bombastic offer as a form of drawing attention to the problem and neutralizing the obfuscating intimidation of political correctness, and, most likely, he is trying to create some leverage so that Muslim countries will start doing things on their end to help fix this. Such a person would also believe that implementation would entail a great deal of common sense and exceptions, and that Trump's implicit meaning includes this. That would be an example of using the Principle of Charity. As I understand William (and I might be wrong), he believes I should use the Principle of Charity as a form of granting an automatic "innocent until proven guilty" status to Syrian immigrants (who are impossible to vet correctly) based on their need, which is great and imminent. However, I learned from Ayn Rand that need is not a moral claim on the lives of others. I have a big heart, myself, so I would like to help to the extent I can without endangering myself and others. But I don't see the Principle of Charity applying to potentially dangerous situations where proven ill intent is plausible. As they say in law courts, it has no standing. I use it only for statements and rhetoric. In fact, the Principle of Charity fits perfectly with my cognitive before normative model of absorbing new knowledge (when using volition). In this sense, that is if the Principle of Charity means identify a statement correctly to the best of one's ability before evaluating it (instead of the contrary), it could be considered as a first (or near-first) principle in Objectivism. After all, as I have asked before, how can one judge correctly that which one has not identified correctly? On another point, for those interested in a solution to the plight of the refugees, setting up a no-fly zone in Syria and supplying the refugees with food, shelter and medical stuff works perfectly. It keeps the refugees alive, it eliminates the infiltration of terrorists to the USA until the government can get a handle on this problem (and the Syrian problem in general), and it has the added value of keeping the refugees in their own land where most of them want to stay (according to several accounts I have seen in the news). Obama won't do this, but I have no doubt Trump will once he gets sworn in. After all, I use the Principle of Charity when I analyze Trump's statements. btw - He'll probably make a deal where the Arab countries will pay for most of this aid, too. Michael
  17. WSS, However loopy and florid your personal attack, there is no principle of charity in Objectivism. I think I read somewhere that MSK isn't bound by O'ist catechism, which is fine. I'm similarly situated, having hacked a little trail in a wilderness that Ayn Rand never explored. But I think you have to retract the notion of charity. It's absolutely anti-Objectivist. There will come a time fairly soon when I'll ask for material support, not as an unearned gift, but a vote for excellence. I've paid in little sums to support OL occasionally, for similar reasons, voting for excellence. There is no other place on the web to swap ideas, speak freely, and puzzle at preposterous evasions and juvenile "arguments to the man." If you think anyone is obligated by a principle of charity, you should say so in plain language.
  18. A reader from Texas writes in. Dear Dick Liquor, Since when is charity an Objectivist first principle? Dear Greenhorn, Your question is ill-formed. None of us at Dick's Liquors presented the Principle of Charity as a first principle, let alone as a principle in the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Your first clue was syntax. "Michael usually considers the Principle of Charity." An honest inquirer will ask "What is The Principle of Charity?" A sham inquirer will ask, "Since when is charity a principle in Objectivism?". A fake inquirer will ask "So, the Principle of Charity is first principle in Objectivism? Ha." Using your witless and lazy fake inquiry as a class tool, we ask you to consider the phrase one more time, as we help you work through the stages of inquiry. "Michael usually considers the Principle of Charity." Step one, formulate research question: Is this true? Step two, open research toolkit. Step three, examine the record of Michael's engagement with the "Principle of Charity" in OL discussions over time. Step four, five, six -- establish methodology, refine statistical tests, define operational terms. Seven, Think. Step ten, publish findings in open archive for peer review. Or, publish question on Clickbait: "Are Martians eating our brains while we sleep?" Texas Greenhorn, you perform poorly in the middle steps, having stumbled out of the gate with your first cognitive error. What does the Principle of Charity mean? What does the principle mean to Michael? Does it usually operate, and if so, why is William suggesting Michael is excused from its purview in the context I have so carefully removed from my brain? Texas Greenhorn, we appreciate all good faith questions, especially those that allow us to explain to our classes how stupid some people can be, especially people who think they are quite smart, especially when they make an object lesson in how to be sloppily irrational to your own detriment. Class will now silently review. Does publishing one-liners on Clickbait serve its purpose for acclaimed filmmaker, oil-market analyst and general sour old has-been windbag Wolf DeVoon? The key to the tragic irony is that Blanche put herself in the wheelchair trying to harm Jane. So when Jane fed her rats and killed the housekeeper, Blanche herself was kind of to blame, in a distal causal way.
  19. This is not either-or in the manner the media likes to frame it. One way to frame it is the Canadian way. Help the screwed and in so doing, don't get screwed. Another way to frame it is the Trump way -- if you are a Syrian refugee. you are going to be deported. The GOP presidential candidates, with the exception of Sleepy, Bashful and Dopey, the walking dead, are not as quick as Trump to foresee the Executive Orders to ICE and Homeland and the rest of the Borg. They are muffly wobbly at best. My dad was a mailman said nothing completely stupid on the issue. Brain surgeon said only completely stupid things on the issue. Your toast is burning. Bzzzt. Get the fork. The framing is black and white, and the frame of the debate is fear. That's how I see it, anyway. Michael, you surely comprehend at least part of the revulsion some people feel at calls for a religious bar and refugee deportation, in present circumstances. If the strongman Trump cannot tell us now about The Compromise to come, you get a pig in a poke, a pig widely advertised as Wall and Exit Chute Back to Hell. No Syrian refugees, period. Ban Muslim Entry Till I Figure It Out. Compromise? I just don't understand. Consider the sloganeering in the Canadian campaign. Ban all but male refugees and 'correct' ethnicities from Syria. Ban the niqab in public service. Snitch on bad brown neighbours with an 1-800 hotline on 'barbaric cultural acts.' Terrorists are coming. Boo. And then a bit of bombastic rhetoric: "We will commit to taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees by Xmas." Election. Big compromise: "We will have brought in 40,000 by next Christmas." If you understand that the refugee refusal and deportations planned 'take the breath away' in some people, then you understand something about 'framing.' I would like to get you riled up enough about this to give your own plan, or maybe sketch out what will come out of the pig poke later on ... since it would seem Mr Trump is bullshitting if he does not intend to carry out his repeated pledges. I for one imagine what Trump pledges now in the context of later achieving what he wanted all along. Having damaged the American brand in the run-up, he later announces he was just grandstanding and 'negotiating'? Yikes. It makes me think about his flail about the Chinese tariffs, and the casual lie that his interviewers made it up. Is he calling for a Compromise with China later? If they build enough Trump Towers for Ivanka? This line of defense using 'reality will be different' Compromise Trump just sounds bizarre to me, apologies if I am being dense or stupid. i have no doubt to the size of his heart . He is a good guy probably . My issue is seeing those boats filled with refugees from Europe being turned away in Canada and the US . People chant " OMG , how did this happen ? " Well its happening right now . It's an emotional issue. We shouldn't forget that the American refugee intake machine has been ticking along for all the years of the Syria war. America has managed to vet and invite a grand total of refugees only slightly less generously to Canada's proportions. Where we take in ten they take in a hundred, roughly. So, if we take in ten thousand, America takes in a hundred thousand, year after year. In the next two years or so, America will take in more than two hundred thousand refugees from all over the place. Since 2011, only a relative trickle of the last million refugees have come from Syria. How many total has America taken in over the last five years of devastating war? 2,296. I don't think Michael will disagree with where we are coming from, Marc, but perhaps see it only in the structural context of a US election campaign. Our feelings and analysis don't matter in that context. In relation to the actual effect of our feelings and analysis on the US GOP race, he is absolutely right to find emotional objections irrelevant to the moment's political calculations, and if I were a Trump supporter, I would not get bogged down discussing refugee policy to come. So fair enough to play defense for Trump that way. Hmmmmm. Even if this were true, any of it, all of it, factually, in detail, it doesn't matter. I mean, it doesn't matter to the temper of the US campaign. It is completely out of our hands. About all we can do is sort of wave to Michael from the other side of the window. He is in the cockpit, steering his plane to Victory. We are effectively gremlins clinging to the wing. As a recently-spanked newcomer might say, these frames are not commensurate. Michael usually considers the Principle of Charity, but in this case he is excused. If you can't grandstand at a circus, and root for your favourite elephant, and utter baleful glances at the clowns getting in the way of the real acts, then when can you? This is not the time to speak of principles and facts. This is the season of King of the Jungle.
  20. More meta meta meta ... part two. Combined word-count: 2,979. Tone: reasonable. Snooze-factor: acute Summary: Michael and I have a dialogue, frank and forthright. We emerge wiser from mutual inquiry. I get cake. It is only in America that a strong political gulf predicts 'belief' in AGW. I think we need to root our observations of 'selling to the public' by public perceptions and attitudes. What are American 'beliefs' on climate change issues and how have they changed? How do we assess the 'state of opinion' in the wider world? In this comment you amassed some links to 'crappy ways' or fizzled predictions, and assorted claims and disputes. That's for the next part of my response. If I understand the threads of argument here, people like me have lost credibility with you, or with people like you. One reason is because I do not see 'dishonest propagandists' from 'my side' in the same way as you do. My aims in this kind of discussion is to get to disagreement, clear the thickets, see just where folks' understanding lies, and where the disagreement is sharpest. Our disagreement may stem from sorting into Us and Them. I am a "Them" to you. You want me to denounce "Them" ... as dishonest propagandists. Well, let's go with this. Let's have a look at the last comment I made and see which "Them" I should have denounced. I will come back and flesh this out. I will be looking through my comment for any reliance upon 'busted' 'propagandist' purveyors. Maybe where I seem to 'trust' a source, Michael distrusts that source. It bears examination. Parsing with the Principle of Charity, this means the credibility of my comments is undermined by two failures -- the first concerns my warning and the second concerns my promotion of scientists. -- I promote scientists -- I treat scientists as an old-boy elite -- I use peer review as a 'get out of jail free' card -- if I want to preserve the credibility of my 'warning' I should not treat 'my' scientists to uncritical attention I don't get it. Of any part of your response, Michael, this is the one I have a hard time grokking. It is important to you that I offer my mental work product -- what I think and why -- with a concomitant or precedent denunciation of bad science, bad science reporting, bad advocacy, bad arguments. Onward! Climate-change story-telling is a good phrase. I'd like to use it next part. I will respond there to the 'baker's dozen' ... of stuff no different than backwater Christians talking about Satan. Onward. Are you trying to persuade me in turn? If so, you should know that general terms like "an endless stream of massaged data and scientific measurements" are not persuasive to me in turn. It is the specifics of disagreement between me and you over particular data that will be interesting to me. I am not persuaded yet that you wish to engage with particulars. I think you prefer the 'meta.' I also get the hint of a bit of anti-science bias, but that is probably just an effect of your passionate rhetoric. You would be happy -- in a perfect world of time enough -- to get into a couple or three nitty-gritty discussions about particularly suspect metrics and botched or unwarranted conclusions. I think a shared standard of assessment would aid us in those kinds of discussion. Well, I really appreciate your point of view, but I am happy with the way I approach the issues here in this thread. I don't call names, I don't bitch out anyone unduly. I construct an argument that makes sense to me, and I hope that folks at least get an understanding of how I get to my opinions. I am happy with my sense of focus. The reader I keep in mind is me, selfish me. Again and again you will see me, Michael, indulge in some glittering generalities on my beliefs about rational thinking, reasoning, protracted study. I am at my most Objectivish on epistemic questions. I believe that we can angle in on truth, on reality, by using the best tools of reason. A shared standard of assessment may be a way to help our contrasting opinions guide us to shared conclusions, or at least a mutual understanding of this or that bit of scientific opinion. A shared stance of skepticism might make our discussions more productive. Let me ask you this, Michael. What are your mid-term aims in discussing climate change issues with me? If they only comprise a goal to make me much more critical of AGW hoopla, well, is this where I can ask you to be much more critical -- to the point of denunciation -- of those on 'your side'? I mean, let's say I mention the work of the three 'alarmists' who took part in the APS workshop experts session on the way to revision of the APS climate change statement (see here for an overview of the process). Let's say I talk about the arguments made by Santer, Williams and Held. Should I preface my remarks by denouncing others on the same 'side'? If so, then say you wanted to enter discussion of the other three experts, Christy, Curry and Lindzen. Ought I demand you denounce a few names from their 'side'? It could be, of course, that you are equidistant to Them and Us. You may be an Us of One. You might not have a 'side.' I will take this personally. If I don't denounce loopiness of 'alarmist' opinion and advocacy, then you will yawn in disbelief. Fair enough. That is your deal for me. How about a deal for you? How about you denounce by name and deed the 'opposing' side to my storytelling? Ah, I can see the yawns and disbelief here and in similar threads. I don't see or sample the opinions of the silent readers. But you suggest a way of checking both our possible biases. Let's find a metric to gauge yawns and disbelief beyond the commentary here. Let's see if we can at least agree on the thing to measure. Let's figure out how to measure it properly. "Look around" just where? Are you thinking of public opinion where it is sampled on 'belief' in man-made climate change? That is admirably clear. At some point and under some circumstances, you will heed or pay attention to 'warnings.' Here you might be interested in reading my comment again where i discuss scope ... To be honest, this is troubling, almost sad -- if I gave it an uncharitable reading. I'd say there has to be a set of filters and buffers and strainers you use to sift and sort 'could be good' from 'could be bad' science publications of various venue and heft -- and I would say you have an apparatus you haul out when you study a particular article closely. There is the MSK way of discerning, a standard by which all scientific claims can be vetted, even if only initially. I believe that if a piece of work has entered your view you crack out the sharpest tools. You don't leave your skepticism or suspicion untested. You do not sweep away a whole discipline or field of study, though you may have heightened suspicion of this or that field or subspecialty. The happy spin I put on your 'I don't look at science papers because scientists are untrustworthy' meme -- is that it depends. You do not have an 'anti-science' habit of mind. Yeah. It makes me think of all the reading I did at McGill in Montreal, where one of my intellectual projects was understanding all the bullshit strains of Critical Theory. Did you ever read the Susan Haack essay I always recommend -- about Preposterism? It sheds light on your point. If you haven't, please take the time. It explains the downside to scientism and anti-scientism. You will find it buttresses your points and also buttresses mine -- or it will at least give a clue to my basic orientation towards 'inquiry' -- I believe that there is more or less good inquiry, inquiry being the overall term that encompasses science and non-science, truth-seeking investigative disciplines. You will enjoy the linguistic kill shots that Haack pings out, and quite probably relish the artful trashing she does of fake and sham inquiry ... I'd love to know what you think of that essay. Well, there's the whole discernment thing again. "Monkey-business" is a waaay broad charge, and as I suggested, it must be assumed across the board to Us and Them to be fair and useful. We get the standard of inquiry that sorts out non-monkey from monkey. Boring as fluid dynamics may be for me, I do not squint balefully at such physicists who claim knowledge. At some point, we each can accept, provisionally, the analysis of 'expert' opinion, even if only within strict terms of competence (like maybe say a Garden Expert, a Tax Expert, a Civil War expert and so on to the limit of our trust). I would iike to see a few paragraphs from you critiquing peer review as a concept and practice. I see it as a necessary but not-sufficient 'filter' in the discernment apparatus. Not in itself a perfect thing, not in itself indicative of any truth value, not in itself the only process whereby knowledge claims are winnowed and put to the test. Replication. Peer-review formal and informal, Publication. Commentary. Rebuttals. Further research. The ball moves closer to the goal with each process. Doesn't mean any one aspect kicks it in. That's at least the way I regard the self-correcting processes of Science qua Science (the ideal). This is good advice. It's especially good advice for me as a purveyor of a minority position here. I don't actually worry myself sick with your judgement, Michael, because you sometimes seem disengaged from the detailed discussion formal, if not from the get-go, more interested in grander schemes of truth at a broader angle or higher level from me. I am at a few sharper fact issues, trying to poke about around the commonly-accepted denominators, trying to figure out where on the spectrum my reader-responders are, and how I can make my comments interesting to them and perhaps thought-provoking to silent readers. I am striving to make an argument that is sound and logical and so satisfy my sense of right and balance. Denunciation is fun where warranted and pertinent, but I don't get into that mood on these threads much. Scherkian outrage or high snark -- I don't want it in my climate discussions. That is not what I want to offer. I want to offer the thoughtful and responsive analyst kind of Scherk that has appeared the last couple years of so. I don't often get up a head of steam enough to fulminate on fools and dunderheads we all agree should be burned if only in effigy. Maybe I see myself as a dry tonic of sorts. It works for me. I would relish reading a thoughtful essay from you wherein we attached names and deeds to the 'discredited people' .. the 'scumbags' and traitors ... You want me to denounce a 'scumbag,' name the scumbag along with his or his misdeed. Show me you are engaged at a detail level that interests me, and please understand I take disagreement as a challenge. The more pointed and specific a disagreement, the easier it is to struggle towards agreement. I can bat back with an equal flourish of rhetoric, but. My side blew it is a bit diffuse, I would personalize it: you have blown it, William. Your attempts here are fooling no one. Piles of science studies no longer mean anything. I distrust anything you have to say. You blew it, dude. Okay, the Us and Them stuff could subside if we each grant the other a certain dignity, as if we presume that each other is honestly seeking truth, and that each one will have evidential thresholds, that neither of us has fixed views or crippling cognitive biases. We each give each other respect for the mutual values of intelligence, reason, careful argument, even-handed discussion, clear and legible logic, proper caveats in the Objectivsh manner -- taking context and certainties and probabilities as part of weighting and winnowing knowledge. To be a bit metaphorical, your winnowing has left you feeling lied to and ripped off by purportedly rational operators (roughly, climatologists). The liars leave you distrusting the entire edifice of 'expertise' tout court. You will not at all be surprised if our future shows a mad, progressivist infection that foisted a hoax in place of rationally-derived knowledge. All climate-related alarm and even concern is futile, because the 'hoax' or complex delusion will pass, and relatively soon if not within our lifetimes. It will be revealed that the entire controversy was driven by a corrupt epistemology. I am on the other side, seeing concern and alarm as contingent on the reality. I don't see every alarming statement or claim as immediately specious or unwarranted especially when ripped from the headlines. I always want to strip back the bumf and PR and get down to the primary material. I also separate as much as I can the different levels of discourse: in the literature, by the estimable/corrupt scientists, by science media, by attendant lobby/critique internet mediators, by opinion forums, by opinion-leaders, by august bodies, by scumbag disinformation ... Ah, that's the thing. It can be told as a kind of history, from either 'side.' Have you read any history-ish books about the climate wars across all the levels? Insert Weart plug here. Me and the horse will both be fine. I am not so much flogging anything -- in my mind -- as I am inquiring and open for discussion. I give you the full venetian-blind treatment here, and I will give my denunciations in part three. I can only appeal to your sense of inquiry, Michael, and think how a complicated investigation can be reduced to meme-ish proportions. Maybe it's hard to translate the cognitive punch of a simple story to a many-faceted beast seeking gnosis on umpteen dimensions. Insert plug to Weart directly to MSK here. History, story-telling, struggle, converging evidence, opposition, doubt, certainties in context, the big picture, the realization and the adjustment. The climax of understanding and the anti-climax we live through at our human pace.
  21. No, you read it again. I compared their extrapolation, a mistake, to another mistake people on the right make: the mistake of assuming people on the left are obtuse and are "blanking out" what is clearly in front of them, when in reality they are just interpreting it differently. Brant was asking me to re-read the clever sentence. It was a fairly long sentence: To the extent that people on the left extrapolate the moral and psychological depravity of those on the right, people on the right take the difference in point-of-view that they have with those on the left to signify obtuseness, and in turn they end up arguing their points like they're talking to a five year old, using absurd analogies and fables instead of pointing to things in the person's life experience that perhaps lacked context. Brant, adducing evidence is part of discussion. Bear in mind some of your articles of faith that have been challenged as you challenge Calvin, for example your persistent view that France will go fascist because Muslims. You don't adduce evidence even when challenged, at least on that subject. What I mean is that you too make an argument without initially relying upon quotes, cites, references, speeches, statistics, and so on. So, of course it is licit to ask for warrants and evidence to be adduced on whatever point seems wanting of support. In the final analysis here, you would like support for the notion that 'people on the left extrapolate the moral and psychological depravity of those on the right' and also for the corollary notion that -- to the same extent of extrapolation -- 'people on the right take the difference in point of view ... to signal obtuseness.' In this case, I think you understand and agree with Calvin's observation. He doesn't really need to cite quotes of real-life right/leftist folks who think right/leftists are morally and psychologically depraved. We can pick abject altruist dismissals of rightists as heartless monsters from the horror files here at OL. Or, by inversion Calvin need only point silently to Greg's main body of work here on leftism and depravity. You need extra evidence put up to demonstrate that 'rightists' think differences in point of view reflect leftist obtuseness? There is evidence here in the thread. Once Calvin had been misidentified as a fellow-traveler with the Red Horde, look at how his 'obtuseness' was underlined, to the point of invective. It was insinuated that Calvin must be stupid and is rightfully suspect for bringing forward his concerns, as if he were a catspaw or lieutenant of the Horde. In a thread focused on communication disorders, we have our own misunderstandings as illustrative examples close to hand. It's a good thing to know where I go wrong in assessing 'opponents.' It's a good thing to know when I am wrong. It's a great thing to know which arguments fall dead in the water because of particular imperfections. Interesting thread and topic over there. I found a promising passage from The Libertarian Republic, "How Do We Communicate Libertarian Ideas Effectively?" The young lady is calm, conversational and at ease with the topic. It gives a good rationale for the greater principle of charity remarked upon by MSK and me from time to time. In the early 1980s, the Ransberger Pivot was developed as a debate technique by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz. Marshall Fritz you may know as one of the founders of the Advocates for Self-Government. The key to the Ransberger Pivot, is turning a conflict situation into a cooperative one. To do so, you need to follow 3 simple steps, which allow you to reframe the debate and create a collaborative conversation through common ground. If you’ve ever heard Judd Weiss give a talk about selling liberty, you may have heard him say that “ideas flow between friends”. This is true, and this is a factor of the pivot. So, here’s how it works: You’ve asserted an idea. And someone objects to it. As libertarians we’re pretty used to this. Step one: listen to their argument. When I say listen, I mean actually listen. Not to what you think they’re saying, but to what they’re actually saying. This is not where you prepare a counter argument that you’re ready to shout at them as soon as they stop talking. This is where you listen to what they have to say, and ask further questions if you need to. Why do you need to listen? Because step two: is understanding their argument. This can be a difficult one, because as libertarians we tend to skip right to the “root” of a problem. We ignore all the good intentions and pleasantries and justifications and we say “ah! you want to put a gun to my head and force my compliance with whatever your goal is here.” But that’s not how the person you’re talking to sees things. They’re not thinking about implementation. They have an argument which is likely based in good intentions. You need to see their side. What they believe about what they’re saying. Stop presuming that they’re stupid, and stop presuming that their intention is to control you — regardless of whether or not the implementation of their ideas happens to involve control and force. You need to understand their well-meaning objective is here. Understand their argument. I think one of the clangers in Objectivist communication is the 'gun to the head' analogy. In my earlier days here I heard that a lot from Ted Keer. The doctor always had a gun to his head. The citizen always had a gun to his head in dealings with government, not merely at tax time or on the road, but any time a regulation or 'right' was imposed. The opening video was about healthcare rights. I was imagining a Saskatchewaner audience. The gun to the head slavery edict was in 1962. The audience just wouldn't 'get' it. The gestation of socialized medicine in that flat land was much earlier, back to the first decades of the 20th century. The first socialism was in municipally-directed health and hospitalization employment. Doctors were in effect asked if they would take a position as an employee of the municipal trust. Would they staff a clinic and a hospital for a salary and benefits. That is grossly simplifying, but gives the gist of the beginnings. The depression was tough on Saskatchewan. Co-operative movements stepped in to self-organize local solutions to deploying basic care and basic coverage of hospital expenses. I called it a kind of mutual fund solution up-thread. Mutualism and municipalism, maybe. Long and deep roots of collectivizing some kinds of risk pool, and treating medicine as a staffing challenge. Can we get a doctor in town? The gun to the head analogy in these scenarios would be bizarre. Pre 1962 a contract-based mutualism had led to hospital insurance being negotiated as a province-wide risk pool management, effecting savings from efficient economies of scale. These were indeed socialist undertakings from the get-go, problems of infrastructure and accountability, public solutions to public problems as perceived at the time. The gun and the slavery analogy works well in that context only in reference to the doctor's strike in 1962. That was the last time serious resistance to universalism erupted. None of the other provinces faced a doctor strike as they struck their deals and fell like dominoes, not least because doctors themselves were positively engaged in pro-Medicare arguments themselves. Anyway, making this less Canadian, return to the Senate hearing excerpt and the legislative feebleness contra Obamacare and spiking the ball. There were a couple of moments where I thought Rand Paul connected well. One was where he stated that of course he would see at the hospital any patient brought to him. This snapped back into his disagreement with Sanders. It illustrated something besides the Hippocratic Oath, and could be perceived by socialist onlookers and hearing participants as an acknowledgement by Paul that access to some level of medical attention, especially in an emergency, was a given, a moral ground floor. Not a right but a natural human ethic needing no legislation or compulsion. The next congress, with GOP leadership in the White House, could effect a health care revolution of sorts just by repealing the ACA. There are paths of persuasion, and lots of tactics. I'm going to think about this thread as an incubator of good ideas. Here's the video the transcript above is from. I am now off on an expedition to find pithy Rand phrases on obtuse leftists, guns and slavery. I may not be back for weeks.
  22. It's a fair observation. "Standard" then, to Rand, is a cover-all term applicable at different levels. (I can't see anything remiss in there). Descending conceptually from the abstraction, 'man', to the specific individual the standard, "His life", comes to the fore. Self-evidently that's what he directly senses and sees and knows - his concrete reality (as with his pleasure-pain mechanism). The trick is to hold both "standards" simultaneously. Easy-peasy... Tony, I disagree. I think Rand was sloppy, but did not use standard with two meanings here (or as a "cover-all term applicable at different levels"). I think she used "his life" to mean "his life within the context of being a man," or "his life according to the law of identity," or something like that (or in my words, "his life qua human species member"). In other words, what is his standard? He looks at his own life and sees that he is a man. That meaning of "his life." I hold she did not mean the physical survival of his individual life in this paragraph. After all, she just finished talking about man's innate nature (where did that innateness come from if not species?), the kind of entity he is (a member of the human species to use my term, not hers), his lack of choice about existing along with pleasure-pain characteristics, and so on. I don't see how she would--in the same paragraph--blank that out and talk about an individual's life--his individual physical survival--as a concrete as if her thinking were suddenly severed from all that earlier innateness (the species stuff, the standard stuff). In other words, if "standard" has two meanings, why can't "his life" have two meanings? Because a gotcha is more satisfying? If one has to choose a meaning for what Rand meant, I think the principle of charity is in order. In other words, in Meaning 1, my meaning, Rand merely left out some words at the end, probably trying to be dramatic (just look at those italics). After all, she was a fiction writer. I see dramatic gestures all over her nonfiction writing. In Meaning 2, FF's meaning, she made a fool out of herself from suddenly switching topics, contradicting her own terminology, and making hash out of her own reasoning. Does that sound right to you? I'm a conceptual thinker, not a gotcha warrior. I think Rand's conceptual reasoning is totally in order here and she got sloppy in her word choice (by omission) in completing a thought. FF seems to be arguing that her terminology is 100% in order and her concepts are all messed up--that her reasoning is not valid, that it is disconnected from reality, that she got befuddled and then threw in qualifiers like "rational" merely as a weapon against others so she could sustain some kind of vain neurosis as a whim-based control freak (to "veto any behavior that she disapproves of"). How's that for spin? (I really like me when I get on a roll. ) However, I hold that FF has not even attempted to understand what Rand was getting at. He is in love with his gotcha habit and that keeps him blind to the concepts--not that his eyes are defective. He's intelligent. He's just using semantic blinders to block out the light to keep his self-aggrandizing love alive. And that's a pisser. Note, as I keep saying, I'm not against criticizing Rand. I just get burned when someone misrepresents her ideas, whether on purpose or by stubborn misunderstanding, so they can claim her ideas are not valid. And they keep droning on and on and on repeating their error trying to get their misunderstanding accepted (by drip drip drip) as Rand's intent. It's not that hard to understand her meaning, then disagree with that meaning, if one must. Once again, I have no qualm with that, even when I disagree. But there is no valid reason on earth to misrepresent her ideas and continue in the error just to claim some kind of advantage. At least, I won't take such a posture seriously. So which do you think she meant? The one that makes conceptual sense, but where Rand made a sloppy omission during a dramatic gesture, or the one where she is the befuddled hypocrite and disapproving arch-enemy of all mankind? (Quip aside, you don't have to answer. I'm merely asking to give you food for thought.) Michael
  23. Michael and Ellen, I see no problem whatever with the concept of "sense of life." Not to say that we should automatically agree with everything that Rand and Branden said, but I think they nailed it. NB's discussion in The Psychology of Self-Esteem is a helpful alternative, in case Rand's comments in The Romantic Manifesto are too off-putting. Certainly the idea of sense of life can be misunderstood, even abused (i.e., used to control or abuse other people), but that's true with many ideas, including morality. And yes, it seems to posit an unobservable mental phenomenon...except it *is* observable, in oneself through introspection and in others by inference (and/or operation of mirror neurons). If we reject the idea that we have faculties that are partly inborn, partly developed parts of our nervous systems, then we're going to have trouble not just with the existence of sense of life, but with a *lot* of mental faculties, including reason, memory-recall, imagination, etc. Michael, Rand's apparent waffling or vacillating between calling modern art "art" or "anti-art" does seem to involve a fallacy, but I think it really doesn't. I wrote about this (ouch) 41 years ago, and it's been posted on my web site(s) for 15 years or more. If you haven't read it yet, check it out. ( It's my essay about the Fallacy of the Frozen Abstraction, which Rand identified over 50 years ago in "Collectivized Ethics." As I noted in my essay, she herself commits this fallacy in rather flagrant form. E.g., in "The Age of Envy," she continually bounces back and forth in discussing those who "hate the good for being good", sometimes calling them human beings or "men" and sometimes drumming them out of the human race. However, the case of Rand's seeming inconsistency about the status of modern art is easily enough understood as her referring to it as "modern art" for the purpose of discussion -- a la: these objects that people refer to as "modern art." In other words, Rand's not really saying "this art really isn't art." She's saying "this stuff called 'modern art' really isn't art." Rand may be wrong in her interpretation of what (some or all) modern art is doing; she may be wrong in her definition of "art;" or both. But I think the "principle of charity" (or benevolence, if you will) should be extended in this case. True, Rand has a kind of moral-conceptual fastidiousness that she extends to numerous categories, expelling from the category things she disapproves of, even though they clearly belong in the category as she has defined it. E.g., her extended rant about "haters" not being (and then being, and then not being, and then being...etc) human beings -- qua animals that are capable of rationality -- is a blatant example of this moral condemnation and conceptual ostracism masquerading (not too well) as hard-headed epistemological purity. On the other hand, I think that -- given the way she defines "art" and the way she interprets what modern art is doing (disintegrating for the sake of disintegrating) -- the way she categorizes "modern art" as non-art or anti-art is not an example of the Frozen Abstraction fallacy. Again, the problem may be with her definition (though I don't think so) -- in which case, it would really have been interesting if someone back in the 60s or 70s could have come up with a better (hopefully valid) definition of art that was consistent with reality (and hopefully withy more basic Objectivist ideas), and then gotten Rand's take on how to apply it to "modern art" -- or modern art, if you will. Personally, however, I think the problem is with the interpretation and application (by Rand and others) of her definition, and that modern art really is art. She notoriously claimed that architecture is a form of art, even though she also on the same page noted that it does not re-create reality. If she couldn't even formulate and express the nature of architecture well enough for it to be included as an entry in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, then is it any surprise that she stumbled so badly about modern art? Even granting Rand's claim that some modern art is nihilistic and/or disintegrative in its intent, however, what she didn't realize is that those creations are just as much art as philosophic nihilism is philosophy. Just ask Leonard Peikoff, who regards Kant as one of the greatest philosophers, yet also spends a great deal of time in The DIM Hypothesis unjustly lambasting Kantianism as a nihilistic, disintegrative philosophy. Kantianism is the D in Peikoff's DIM. (For further details, see my review of DIM which appeared in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies last year.) We can, if we want to accept Rand's framework, legitimately refer to certain philosophies, artworks, concepts, etc. as "anti", in the sense of deliberately disintegrative and nihilistic. But "anti" does not mean "non." REB
  24. Greg, In other words, you do agree that you inferred this meaning, that Wolf did not "clearly declare" it--as in, there are no words of his that explicitly state this meaning. In further other words, Wolf may have "clearly declared" this meaning to you based on your inference, but he did not "clearly declare" any such thing to the normal reader who is not in your head. As to you establishing conditions on him for you to correct your own error, that is just normal power crap that humans do. "I have the right to expect the principle of charity about my meanings when discussing thorny matters with people of goodwill," says one person (Wolf). "You have no such right. With words, X Y and Z, you actually mean the opposite of what you have said repeatedly and, unless you specifically recant in terms I agree with, I will brand you as the opposite as best I can," says the other (you, in this case). If you were in the government with real power, this would be a great example of how the government starts encroaching on the rights of others. PC language. That vanity is one of the seeds. I normally avoid these discussions because of statements like this. There is a very good question here couched in two questionable assumptions. 1. First assumption, "being an Objectivist." You assume I am an Objectivist, but how do you know that? If you asked Leonard Peikoff, would he say I am an Objectivist? Or people like Diana Hsieh? Would they say that? I grant you, some people like Michael Prescott just blurt it out, although he backed up the very next day (back in 2006) when I talked about what he was actually saying. In short, labeling someone by using this kind of rhetoric is making a public tribal identification about them at root. "You belong to that tribe..." "Since you are of that tribe..." "As someone who belongs to that tribe..." But when you look at it, the people in "that tribe"--at least the ones who claim to own the label Objectivist--would not have me in their tribe under almost any conditions. How's them apples? I've said the following several times in the past (and for almost a decade now), but I'm happy to repeat it. I like clarity on this. If being an Objectivist means a person belongs to such a tribe, a tribe that adheres to Rand's ideas as the true prescription for living and has the mission of saving the world by converting people to those ideas, I am not an Objectivist. If you mean someone who has studied a lot of Rand's ideas and can claim familiarity with the work (like a Kantian professor is a "Kantian" even though he or she may or may not agree with Kant on many issues), then I am that kind of Objectivist. When you say, like Michael Prescott did back in 2006, "Objectivist Michael Stuart Kelly...," or you said just now, "Being an Objectivist who believes...," the general public understands this in the tribal meaning. You are free to say what you want, of course, but be aware that there are these differences--and that what you say and what the public understands is not always the same. To be honest, I did not want the name "Objectivist" in the title of this site because of all the nastiness from the tribalists. (They really do outdo themselves at times. ) Kat put Objectivist in the title by simply buying a domain and putting forum software on the site under that domain. I really didn't like this at first, we even fell out over it. Later I thought this was a great idea because there are many people who think as I do and they are tired of being bullied and/or misunderstood by those who sling labels around. 2. The second assumption is that you claim I believe rights are innate to human nature. Wherever did you get that idea? Inferring once again? That is totally incorrect if you are talking about what is in my head and not what is in yours. I don't like to talk about rights because there are so many preachers around who get wound up when this topic comes up. But I'll clarify a bit right now. (And get out my umbrella just in case a shit storm comes. ) I see rights as a form of wielding power over other humans. Rights allow one person to limit the actions of other people as to what they can do when the rights owner is around. And he can enforce this limitation with constraints and punishments on violators. Power is innate to humans and it starts to develop with the relationship patterns babies learn from being forced to obey the adults around them. The human brain processes about 40 sensory impulses per second in the prefrontal neocortex (where our aware part resides) and about 11-20 million sensory impulses per second (depending on who you read) in the rest of the brain. When a baby learns a pattern like the need to obey powerful people from simply being smaller and weaker, he or she learns with the entire brain, not just with the prefrontal neocortex. I would say that pattern is embedded pretty deeply by the time the baby matures into an adolescent. Rights is just one form of power--one set of rules of power, so to speak. Where there is no power, there are no rights. Talking about rights where no power exists to me is like talking about guppies where no fish exist. That's what I hold, but some people have gone ballistic when I have said that in the past. If you want to claim God shared some of His power by granting it to humans when they deal with each other and making that grant inalienable among humans, that's your belief. But I don't hold rights as having the epistemological and metaphysical foundation that you do, nor apparently, as most Objectivism-leaning people and libertarians do in their own manner. 3. Your question about where government gets power now takes on a different nuance. Power over others is innate to humans. Since government is manned by humans, that's where it comes from. We restrict power as best we can (meaning as rationally as we can) to protect each individual from destruction by bullies, accommodate the growth of the human volitional conceptual faculty, and some other things, but we cannot deny the innate nature of power in human relationships any more than can deny we were once babies. It is because of power that we need rights in human relationships. The contrary, that power is some kind of abomination against rights, is inverting the metaphysics and hierarchical nature of the concept. It is putting the fundamental part above the kind. It is like saying fish is a type of negative guppy. I can go on and on about this. And, for other perspectives, you might want to look at the magnificent work George Smith is doing in boiling down the essence of what historical thinkers have proposed about rights and power in his Cato essays, which he graciously shares here on OL. You constantly frame this issue in terms of God (like many do who take the respective words of the Declaration of Independence to heart), but there are many others who have thoughts that go way beyond your "for-God against-God" dichotomy. And, to use your standard, each gets what he deserves. Michael
  25. Eva, Are you familiar with the principle of charity? Are you sure you are using terms with the same meaning he is? The last I saw, open any dictionary to any page and you will get multiple meanings for each word. I have not read Binswanger's work, so I have no opinion about your evaluation of his "miserable failure." (btw - I am not a Binswanger fan. But I have to read this work before I can make my own evaluation.) I do see you on a crusade to tar and feather him as a "miserable failure." Repeated negative evaluations couched in unshared assumptions and overextended adjectives always make my antenna wiggle. So guess where my focus went automatically? On Binswanger and his ideas or on you? What am I responding to in your behavior? Kahneman explains... Try System 2... Michael