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Let me ask you a question: If a robber has a gun to your head, is it "evil" to "manipulate" a criminal from firing a gun? What about "manipulating" the tax code so as to pay less taxes? Is figuring out a way to double the response rate on an advertisement (and thus more money) through appealing to powerful basic emotions/needs "manipulation"? Here we come again to an interesting question. What exactly is "manipulation" and under what context is it "evil"? It is clear under the examples above, manipulation is not a clear-cut, black and white issue. "Manipulation" is simply cleverness. Finding new ways interpret and use the rules of a system to your benefit. Like a gun, it can be used for defensive or offensive purposes. Many forms of martial arts have used manipulation techniques for thousands of years. In certain cases, using or not using it could come down to a life or death issue. Objectivism looks down on "manipulation" as a strategy (this is actually irrational, as I demonstrate) , but makes no mention of manipulation as a defensive/neutral strategy, only as an "offensive" strategy. The Fountainhead depicts Ellsworth Toohey's machinatons, through his slick, slimy maneuvers to thwart the work of the main hero as the work of a "blond louse". The hero of the novel, Howard Roark, by contrast, does not even advertise his business. Early in the book, he goes broke needlessly because of lack of advertising and a failure to defend himself from an ongoing smear campaign. My question is, if he did how much *more* successful would he have been? How much closer and quicker would that have put him to his self-professed goals? In that context, how is "manipulation" not rational? Manipulation, in my view, is a rational strategy when pursued neutrally/defensively. Irrational/evil when used for offense. Thoughts?
Already beheaded 151 people this year, about to behead 50 more. ISIS or the 'Islamic State'? -- nope. Assad? -- bzzzt, guess again. "confessions extracted under torture, trials that bar access to defense counsel" Aha! Those evil islamo-nazi mullahs of Iran! -- sorry, no. China? North Korea? Hamas? Boko Haram? Somalia? (Hint: it's a U.S. ally that funded ISIS and al-Qaeda ) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-executions-kingdom-to-behead-50-men-convicted-of-terrorism-offences-despite-threat-of-a6750631.html
In Peikoff's podcast for August 26th (number is not given), which is primarily devoted to the NSA domestic spying, Peikoff takes a diametrically opposed position to that of Harry Binswinger, who minimized its importance in an op-ed in Forbes [i think]) and the end of the pod cast he starts talking about the former NSA document leaker, Edward Snowden. Snowden is a great hero to him for revealing the NSA's electronic eavesdropping. He dismisses any damage that might be done by Snowden revealing defense secrets to Russia. In my mind, if Snowden has done this or is likely to do it, that makes him a traitor, Not to Peikoff, who comes up with a convoluted ethical theory that one good deed cancels out any evil deed that that person has done. You have to listen to his explanation, which is near the end of the podcast. By this time, he has gone beyond just sounding agitated to raving, and it is hard to determine whether he understands the implications of this absolution from evil by committing one act that is sufficiently good. Peikoff's new "discovery" or pronouncement, that one good deed absolves the perpetrator from any evil deed he has also done (this is a paraphrase. Listen to his last podcast, near the end, in his discussion of Edward Snowden), is in direct contradiction not only to Rand's position on evil and moral compromise, it is in conflict with Peikoff, himself (see his OPAR, Chapter 8, Virtue (in particular, his section entitled "Integrity as Loyalty to Rational Principles," and pp. 264-267 in that section.). Either he does not remember what he said, or he has now dropped an essential position of Rand. .I am transcribing exactly what he said so that a comparison can be made, and will post it here..