THE LEPERS OF OBJECTIVISM


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The Lepers of Objectivism

by Barbara Branden

I had not read anything on SoloPassion for quite some time, but I went there tonight and discovered an article by Phil Coates entitled "Targeting Those Who Have Not Initiated Force -- Muslims as Such."

http://www.solopassion.com/node/1599

In this article, Phil criticizes an Objective Standard post by Craig Biddle, as follows:

"Craig Biddle on his Objective Standard blog advocates taking out Iran by aerial bombing. He adds the following to the list of military and leadership targets: 'All Iranian mosques and madrassahs, and the residences of all Iranian...imams [and] clerics. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g., mosques during the day and residences at night).'"

I did not expect that I ever would recommend that the members of Objectivist Living should read a Solo article, and particularly the comments being made about it. But I think you need to know that there are so-called Objectivists who advocate, as a value in itself, the deliberate, pointless murder of perhaps millions of people in mosques and millions of children in schools.

If Lindsay Perigo does not denounce Craig Biddle and the members of Solo who support his recommendations, and if ARI does not denounce The Objective Standard, (which is published and edited by Craig Biddle, and which numbers among its writers Andrew Bernstein, Yaron Brook, Alex Epstein, and David Harriman) they should be shunned and avoided just as lepers once were shunned and avoided. These people are the lepers of Objectivism.

Barbara

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Barbara, this is truly scary. The immorality of such consequent mass killing of innocents speaks for itself. Maybe not so obvious is the idiotic counter-productiveness of it in strategic terms. The whole idea reeks of mad zealotry.

Why does Objectivism always have such lepers around? Remember the legendary discussion among some of taking out a “hit” in the aftermath of the 1968 Split?

I do not read Solo websites and have not for years. I belonged once, long ago, but left after several months. There was something about the leadership there that struck me as pretentious and creepy.

-Ross Barlow.

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And here is Mr. Biddle's follow-up:

http://theobjectivestandard.com/blog/2006/...work-try_12.asp

"...we should engage in a massive and sustained air assault on Iran until all the Islamists there are dead. Yes, all of them. You see, dead Islamists can't make bombs."

Robert Campbell

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Genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group (Mirriam-Webster)

It sounds like genocide is again being advocated in the name of Objectivist principles. The ick factor again rears its ugly head. This is truly disturbing.... genocide is not part of my philosophy. I am an Objectivist.

Kat

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Yaron Brook said essentially the same thing at his ARI talk on Sep. 12 here in Irvine, California. He didn't advocate the deliberate targetting of children in schools, but he basically did say that massive innocent civilian deaths are not our responsibility but the responsibility of the Iranian regime (as the massive innocent civilian deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the responsibility of the Japanese regime). Let Allah sort 'em out, is their apparent motto. :-/

I just hope that Craig Biddle will take out a full-page advertisement in the NY Times, Washington Post, and LA Times spouting the same stuff he put on his blog. If he can't afford it, perhaps TAS/TOC should chip in and pay for the ad. It would be in their interests, after all. :-)

REB

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I am glad someone posted about this here.

Robert,

I believe your follow-up link is mistaken as it goes to the same August 31 entry. I read a follow-up here for September 7. Here is a quote from this last one, complaining that captured terrorists are sent to Guantanamo Bay and calling the desire to ascertain the certainty of guilt "relativism."

What should we do with captured Islamic terrorists? We should torture them to extract any useful information they might have and then shoot them. But that would be "extreme," absolute, and un-godly.

No. That would not be only those things. That would be irrational in the extreme. Ayn Rand's oft repeated phrase comes to mind: Who decides? (I am sure Mr. Biddle is clear where he wants to be on that.)

This kind of blindness is scary. The reason the judiciary has been separated from enforcement organizations is precisely to ascertain guilt. Even the military has tribunals. The wish to bypass this system is the same wish to embrace the system of our enemies.

Here is a fuller quote from the August 31 entry, just in case anyone thinks there is some context missing.

Obliterate, from high altitude and long distance, all known Iranian military assets, all Iranian government buildings, all Iranian mosques and madrassahs, and the residences of all Iranian leaders, imams, clerics, and government officials. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g., mosques during the day and residences at night). Do not send soldiers in on foot, except as necessary to identify targets or gather intelligence. We do not need to send soldiers in on foot to fight, and it would be immoral to do so. We have many big missiles, fast planes, and good bombs, and we should use these liberally while building bigger, faster, and better ones. (As to innocent non-Americans, such as Iranian children, who would be killed in such a campaign, they are not properly the concern of our government. Nor would their deaths be the fault of our government. Such deaths are always the fault of the force-initiating regime—and of those who in any way support or enable it—whose actions necessitate such retaliatory measures.)

[Phrase to be included in leaflet]:

Until then, we will be watching you from way up in the sky—higher even than Allah, by means of technology He cannot fathom—and if we see anything that we so much as feel might conceivably pose even a remote threat either to America or to our allies, we will annihilate it and everything in its proximity without further warning."

[Other point]:

Notify the regime in Saudi Arabia that it got lucky and has the option of not being obliterated; that we are prepared instead to seize "its" oil fields and sell them to private industry, in part to pay for the campaign against Iran, and in part to return the fields to private industry where they belong; that it has 24 hours to turn the fields over to our agents; and that if it fails to comply or ignites the fields or does anything to thwart our program, its leaders, like those of Iran, will meet Allah sooner than later.

This was written by a man who wrote a book called Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It.

I can't think of a clearer example of collectivism of spirit than these pronouncements and the tribal "us against them" mentality displayed on SLOP.

I have recently seen on CNN a discussion by our military leaders that they hold themselves to a higher moral standard than their enemies. The event was the decision not to bomb a funeral in progress and the call was made - not according to some altruistic rule - but by a commander on the spot because he was in doubt whether it was actual leaders of the enemy or not. This is not altruism. It is a vision of how life could and should be - with the phrase "And I mean it" included. Should anyone doubt the capacity of our military, look at what's left of the governments and military capacity of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Blaming our military for being good, precisely for holding to a higher moral standard of sparing civilians when possible, is already troubling. Blaming them for not purposely blasting women and children off the face of the earth in order to simply kill them is despicable.

This shows a fear far deeper than anything I have ever saw among the cowardly "better Red than dead" folks of my youth. One thing that cannot be said about American heroes - they are not afraid. They kick the ass of the bad guys and they do it without becoming as despicable as the bad guys are. They are neither afraid of the bad guys nor afraid to live life - and even fight - according to their convictions. I salute our American heroes and I am proud they defend me. I fight as they do.

(The A bomb in WWII was in a completely different context. Even so, the horror it brought even caused the bad guys to abstain from using it all these years.)

I have no words to convey my revulsion of the collectivist spirit behind those who would specifically target women and children in order to make a point.

Michael

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I have been reading that kind of rhetoric out of O-world off and on for years. Lately, I notice an escalation.

It is fairly well-known that I am a hybrid, having many years of Objectivism under my belt, but also having become a Unitarian Universalist a couple of years ago. Objectivism has a really fucked-up, myopic way of looking at religious thought. Actually, that's not really even it; what they can't do is separate fundamentalist zealots from the religious community as a whole. Their Objectivism requires contempt for a thing they think they have nailed called "faith." True religious life, in any form, does not allow for killing, other than under the basic tenets that Objectivism itself agrees with. In essence, when you see this kind of writing, this contemptible, piece-of-shit article, the rhetoric of which is identical to the same kind of filthy sewage you see out of name-the-fanatical-group-of-your-choice. In the end, the proposition given is hate, it is killing, it is suffering, and it is, above all, immoral on any true grounds, be it O-ist or Christian or Buddhist, or what have you. Yes, by all means, a-hole; that's the solution! Let's go and burn the goddamn village and teach them a lesson. Teach the infant a lesson by incinerating them.

I can only offer prayer to my misguided brother.

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Michael,

Sorry about duplicating a link in my follow-up.

I've corrected the link now. It's to a different blog entry from the one you found. Mr. Biddle has been on a roll with regard to this particular subject.

Frankly, I don't understand why Mr. Biddle isn't calling for the entire territory of Iran to be nuked--unless he is concerned about near-term uses of the real estate after its current occupants have been wiped out.

Robert

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This is the kind of disgusting thought that keeps my girlfriend away from a serious study of Objectivism, with friends like Mr. Biddle … Anyway, I'm so glad Peri and I found a sane (and friendly) Objectivist community in Objectivist Living. :)

Edited by Michael Russell
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I suppose we all should just accept the fact that you'll find extremists (almost) anywhere. Oddly enough, though, I've never seen one here for more than a minute.

I still contend that this kind of violent rhetoric originates from people in the intellectual community that, on the whole, really don't have firsthand experience with violence. I don't know this guy from Adam, but I bet that he's of the sort that advocates village-nuking but would cry like a baby if you bitch-slapped him. I find that sane, rational people who have experienced hurt and pain have a pretty negative view about propagating it.

That is one reason that MSK keeps a sane house on OL--he has seen/experienced the horrors on the street level, he knows what it's all about. That's for you, Maestro... :)

People who talk smack generally haven't ever been smacked.

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Just a small point concerning the Objectivist lineage of the position evidently now being expressed by Craig Biddle and Yaron Brook in this area:

As I recall, Leonard Peikoff was advocating these military offensives against Iran on the Bill O'Reilly TV program in the period between the 9/11 attack on the US and our invasion of Afghanistan. He did not want us to invade the latter. He wanted us to instead attack Iran. (I can't recall now why he thought we should respond to the attack on us with a counterattack on Iran. Perhaps he saw Iranian powers as the ideological font; perhaps as source of armaments to Hamas ilk; perhaps both.) His preference for exclusively aerial bombing, nuclear if necessary, and his ideas about the moral conduct of such a campaign are beng echoed by these other fellows now.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun
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I saw that or a similar interview with Peikoff (CNN?). It was like they brought in the resident mad scientist just for chuckles. I'd like to say I felt embarrassed for him, but I was too worried about myself. I told my then-wife that LP was coming on, Objectivism, blah blah. She got about a minute into it and asked me if "they were all like that, and if so, why do you bother?"

Heh.

rde

Maybe next time he'll iron his shirt.

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Ross, it is indeed scary. Not merely that these people call themselves Objectivists, but that they are Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Brits -- that such horrors crawl out from under the rocks even in supposedly civilized countries. This being so, how can we expect anything remotely human from "unenlightened" countries? (And yes, I do indeed remember the "hit" discussion after the 1968 break. For those of you who don't know about this, a few Ayn Rand devotees discussed whether or not, because Nathaniel Branden had hurt Ayn Rand, it would be moral to arrange for his assassination.)

Robert, the quote you posted from Biddle -- that we should bomb Iran "until all the Islamists there are dead" -- is even more horrifying than the material Phil posted.

Yes, Kat, it is a kind of genocide that's being advocated. I wonder why Biddle didn't mention the efficacy of gas ovens. But at least Hitler didn't try to defend genocide in the name of reason.

Roger, I want to make something clear. I know that collateral damage is inevitable in wartime, whether the war is fought with spears or atom bombs. And I believe that when it occurs, it is not the moral responsibility of those who are defending themselves against aggression; it is the moral responsibility of the aggressors. And I agree with Michael that the dropping of the atom bomb that ended World War II was a totally different phenomenon than what Biddle recommends. America was not out to destroy "all Japanese" as Biddle is out to destroy "all Islamists." Its purpose was to end the war, so that an invasion of Japan -- which would have meant the death of perhaps a million American soldiers -- would not be necessary. Even so, if we do not view the use of the atom bomb with horror and fear, we are less than human. But please, let's not divert this thread by a discussion of Hiroshima.

Michael, I agree that "this shows a fear far deeper than anything I ever saw among the cowardly 'better Red than dead' folks of my youth." This overwhelming hatred can only come from an overwhelming fear.

Rich, you say -- and I respect your intention -- that "I can only offer prayer to my misguided brother." But he is not my brother. There is tenet in Judaism that is very relevant here. I learned it from the head librarian at the Simon Wiesenthal Institute, when I was doing volunteer work there. She had recommended a book by Wiesenthal, entitled The Sunflower; it is a gripping and a harrowing story. While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Wiesenthal (who, along with his wife, lost eight-nine members of his family to the Holocaust) is taken from his work one day to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wants to confess to – and obtain forgiveness from – a Jew. Wiesenthal cannot offer him forgiveness; he says nothing in response to the soldier’s story and his pleas; silently, he leaves the soldier’s room.

After I had read the book, the librarian asked me what I would have done. I answered that I would not have forgiven the soldier, that even though his remorse seemed authentic, I had no right to speak for the dead, no right to offer him forgiveness on their behalf and in their name. The woman smiled, and told me that according to Judaism, God, despite His might and His awesome powers, has one limitation of what He is able to do. If we wrong someone, God does not have the power to forgive us. Only those we have wronged have that power. And if they have been murdered, then no forgiveness is possible. Not even God may speak for the dead.

So if the Biddles of this world had their way and all Islamists were killed, your prayers would be wasted, Rich.

Stephen, I did hear that Peikoff advocated approximately what his followers are now advocating. It would be quite in character. I remember that when I lived in New York, during the height of the protests against the Vietnam War, I had a date with Peikoff and the girl who became his first wife. When they arrived at my apartment, it was obvious that they had been quarreling, and that the girl was terribly upset. She told me that they had been delayed by a parade of protesters, and that Peikoff had insisted that the protesters “should all be machine-gunned.” (He tried heatedly to defend his position, but I was able to talk him out of it . . . for the moment.)

An especially appalling aspect of the Biddle policy and of the Soloists who are cheerfully defending it is the relish they appear to take in the thought of destroying innocent people. They are not presenting their opinions gravely and somberly, but lightly, even jokingly. These supposed advocates of the sanctity of human life are vying with one another as to which of them can rub his hands with greater glee at the prospect of the suffering and death of millions.

Barbara

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An especially appalling aspect of the Biddle policy and of the Soloists who are cheerfully defending it is the relish they appear to take in the thought of destroying innocent people. They are not presenting their opinions gravely and somberly, but lightly, even jokingly. These supposed advocates of the sanctity of human life are vying with one another as to which of them can rub his hands with greater glee at the prospect of the suffering and death of millions.

They are truly the "children of the corn".

RCR

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Want to see a living caricature of a RA-RA Captain America type? Get a load of Brant Gaede who responds with drooling glee:

“Bombs away! Now that's KASS! It might be even more effective to send in troops with flamethrowers and barbecue the little beggars alive. Consider the psychological effects!”

Question: If Iran does—in fact—represent a threat, even a posed threat by the mere existence of terrorist training camps [along with it’s violent rhetoric against the Western world]—is it not appropriate, morally speaking, if not militarily, to issue a demand to dismantle the camps and now--or else there will be no more “Mr. Nice guy paper tiger.”

I am speaking, of course, to defuse any danger of possible attacks against America, but not to the extreme of a genocidal nature. That’s insane. I am not a military strategist, of course, but I’m not a pacifist and I do see the practicality of pre-emptive strikes.

Edited by Victor Pross
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Years ago, when I first heard the tangled rationalizations by Peikoff about situations in which it was proper to lie, I was deeply troubled by the elasticity of the "standards" cited. I recall something about it being okay to lie on certain job or loan applications, because the "mixed economy" reduced work opportunities in certain career fields. I thought to myself, "Man -- that 'mixed economy' excuse could rationalize almost anything today!"

Ayn Rand once wrote that "evil philosophies are systems of rationalizations." She was mistaken, however. As these creeps demonstrate, ANY philosophy can be warped into a system of rationalization -- most emphatically including Objectivism. When mass extermination is joked about, in the most grisly terms imaginable, you see the true face of evil; when you see a grand philosophy being cited to rationalize such things, you are seeing their evil compounded.

Let me be the first to put it this way:

These pseudo-Objectivists are hijacking a philosophy of peace.

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Victor,

I think Brant was being sarcastic. He used to be in the military and knows more about military strategy than the whole lot of those on SLOP who are hollering "Heil Hitler!" right now.

Iran's policies and practices do pose a serious threat and this is a thorny issue. But there is a small thing that all the speculations and exhortations coming from ARI/SLOP crowd are missing.

Reality.

Iran has a population of about 68 million people. Do you see anywhere near the damage in the world that 68 million people can cause if they set their hearts to it? No you can't because they are not doing it. What you see is broadcast news stories concerning the organized efforts of a very small vicious contingent.

And what you really see from ARI and SLOP is naked fear - shitting in pants fear - disguised as bluster.

You see raw collectivism - the pure form - coming from that fear.

Believe it or not, Iran harbors both good guys and bad guys and lots of plain normal people - just like any country on earth. We have to take out the bad guys, since they are the threat, and start spreading some good ideas around over there. That's a tough job for America's intellectuals, but it is a crucial part of what needs to be done.

If some good guys happen to be nearby when we get the bad guys in our sites, that is one thing. Shit happens in war - even in something called a "war on terrorism." But nuking lots of good guys and lots of plain normal people just to scare the small contingent of bad guys is so Nazi-like - so damn anti-life - that I get into a rage just thinking that there are people who use Rand's ideas to try to justify that crap.

Our military is doing a magnificent job so far. There has been far too much criticism of it - from both sides. These men and women have my full respect, admiration and love.

If things stand as they are and do not change drastically, I have no doubt that a need for military action will become crucial with Iran - and I have no doubt that our magnificent military will dismantle Iran's government and its military capacity with a high degree of competence in short order.

What do you do with the 67,995,000 people after that, though?

Hey! I have a great ARI/SLOP idea! Let's watch them slowly starve to death while we point our fingers and gleefully say, "I told you so!" That's real rational.

Enough sarcasm. I am going to be serious now. I strongly believe that we will get the bad guys. And I believe it will be ugly. Here's the reality check: there ain't no pretty way to do it.

But I strongly believe that nuking civilians is a whole lot uglier - not even comparable - and, besides, it will not work with guerrilla terrorists like it did with a formal army in WWII. The terrorists think their killed are martyrs who get a guaranteed place in heaven. This would give them something to preach about.

I don't even want to go into the USA foreign policy of currying favor with local bloody dictators in order to get infrastructure monopolies that helped lead up to this (and yes, with training of the dictator's armed forces by US personnel, who later stand by watching as their "students" butcher the country's citizens). I have seen all this with my own eyes in Brazil. It is not pretty. That does not justify terrorists or excuse the evil of jihad, but it is definitely a component in the mix of the present mess.

Purposely blowing up innocents - in addition to being unspeakably despicable to every life-loving human being - would be icing on that particular anti-American cake and ensure long and healthy popular support for the terrorists when they call us the Great Satan. There is too much of that already, but in light of a population of 68 million people, I think that such hatred is not fully ingrained. The meager results show this to be true.

We are the good guys, so we cannot act like bad guys and then expect to win over any minds or hearts - and there are literally millions in Iran who are willing to be won over.

(Islam is in the mix of all this, too. It's a big part, but notice that word "mix." Like anything else in reality, you only get something done right by isolating critical parts and working on them.)

You just can't say, "we are the ones who love life," then train the killers of a people over decades - and then start blowing up groups of their innocents. They will not believe a word you say ever again. Ever.

I even think Al Queda prays we will do some dumb-ass thing like that.

God, am I disgusted!

Michael

PS - I just saw Robert's post above mine. Let me echo it loudly:

OBJECTIVISM IS A PHILOSOPHY OF PEACE!

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With all due respect to Michael and Robert B., and with all due sympathy for their outrage against the irrational, blood-lust rhetoric of the ARI crowd, I would put the matter a bit differently.

Calling Objectivism a "philosophy of peace" is too broad. That would include "peace at any price" aka pacifism. And it would rule out truly just wars, i.e., wars of self-defense.

Obviously, if you are being attacked, you are morally entitled to defend yourself by using retaliatory force--against the appropriate person and in the appropriate amount. On the level of nation-states, our delegated agent of force, the government, exercises our right to self-defense and retaliation by waging war.

Advocacy of war, in the appropriate circumstances and in the appropriate manner, is part of the philosophy of Objectivism.

The problem with Craig Biddle et al is not that they advocate war, or even the killing of large numbers of people (which is what war does), but that they advocate the deliberate targeting of non-combatants. It's one thing to incur civilian deaths as collateral damage in wartime, but it's quite another to deliberately aim at them because they are teaching or learning the ideas that some carry out in violent, rights-violating action. There is no such thing as a thought crime--and thus no such thing as deserving punishment for holding the wrong ideas. I thought Objectivists all understood this.

Objectivism is a (political) philosophy of self-defense and non-initiation of force. That is precisely what Craig Biddle et al have hijacked, because they are advocating retaliatory actions that so grossly exceed the proper limits of self-defense that they amount to the initiation of force.

REB

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Roger,

It is good you highlight these points about retaliation in order to establish context (and we already know what the boneheads are going to say, don't we?). But anybody who reads me, or especially reads Robert Bidinoto on his blog, know that we both preach taking out the bad guys. And doing it big time.

I remember, years ago, watching with pride from São Paulo as Ronald Reagan said on TV, "We did what we had to do. And if necessary, we will do it again."

I think you might remember when that was said. What a moment! That is the way Americans do it. (And one civilian at least, a tyrant's son, got killed back then, but look where he was.)

The statement, "OBJECTIVISM IS A PHILOSOPHY OF PEACE," means just that. The normal in life is peace, not war. Objectivism teaches rational production of values. War is an exception and is dealt with in the philosophy as such.

But things are much, much worse in terms of orthodox Objectivism. They are evil-type worse. Biddle and the SLOPPERS are not just preaching wholesale slaughter of civilian people. Read the Biddle posts again.

He is preaching a war of conquest - of territorial expansion.

That is a philosophy of war.

That is not Objectivism.

Objectivism is a philosophy of peace.

That is my context.

Michael

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Victor, yes, we do have the right to make preemptive strikes when we are in danger, and yes, Iran must not be allowed to have atomic weapons. But it is in Iran especially, of all the Muslim countries -- and particularly among the younger people -- that there is at present the most vigorous and widespread hatred of the theocratic regime. Iranians have made this clear by means of countless riots and demonstrations, big and small, throughout Iran. In May of this year, fierce riots broke out on the campus of Teheran University.Thousands of students joined in., chanting anti-regime slogans, such as

WE DON'T WANT NUCLEAR ENERGY

and

FORGET PALESTINE - THINK OF US

It required more than 3,000 police, the merciless beating of the students, and the killing of several, before the riots and the bloodshed ended.

Are these students and other Iranians like them the people we should be nuking? We shoud be helping them in every way possible, helping them to break free of their tormentors, as we helped so many other courageous rebels in Eastern Europe when they were strugging to to break free of their Communist tormentors.

Barbara

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Hi Roger,

I have a follow-up question to your Post #19.

As I recall, when Peikoff was on TV five years ago proposing that we attack Iran, he was spotlighting the proposition that it is better that enormous numbers of innocent Iranians be killed collaterally than that one American soldier be killed. Do you have any thoughts on that proposition as a general principle?

Peikoff was very concerned in that interview about the loss of American military personel if we were to invade Afghanistan. We all were. (We knew who had attacked us, and we knew he had meant to draw us into war with him on his terrain, where he thought he could win. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding our unsureness of the usefulness of the Northern Alliance, over 90% of us thought the day after the 9/11 attack that we should send our military to Afghanistan and get those guys in their hideout and headquarters.) Peikoff also expressed the view that the Afghan people would wrongly suffer were we to attack their country to get our enemies. He pleaded on that particular O'Reilly show that we not attack Afghanistan.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I can't remember why Peikoff thought that our correct military target after the 9/11 attack should be Iran and not Afghanistan. Whatever his reasoning to that target, Iran, he wanted to urge that once our country goes to war with another country, such as Iran, one implication from Rand's moral philosophy is this: It is better that enormous numbers of innocent Iranians be killed collaterally than that one American soldier be killed.

Do you have any thoughts about that issue? Is Peikoff's principle morally sound? Didn't Rand write something once that was in synch with this principle?

Stephen

Edited by Stephen Boydstun
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Stephen,

In response to your posts #12 and 22:

The Fall 2001 O'Reilly show with Leonard Peikoff, from your description, is the same one that Heidi and I saw.

I recall that John Kasich was subbing for O'Reilly that night.

I didn't have a high opinion of Leonard Peikoff going into the show--this was well after I'd read OPAR. learned about various monkeyshines at ARI, etc. etc. etc.

But I still wasn't prepared for what I saw.

Heidi thought Dr. Peikoff was a bull goose loony. And I had to agree, that's how he was coming across.

My recollection is that he deemed Iran to be the prime source of Islamo-theocratic ideology, as well as a source of arms and money for attacks on Israel, and that's why he insisted the US armed forces should be nuking Tehran. instead of sending ground troops into Kabul or Qandahar.

That particular TV appearance is regarded by some in the ARI orbit as a public relations liability. During my first round of exchanges with Mike Mazza last fall, he claimed that criticisms of ARI largely came from people who knew nothing of Leonard Peikoff's lectures or publications, but had seen him on TV and thought he looked like a nut.

Those ARIans who think that adverse reactions to their organization stem from one hysterical TV appearance by their founder and senior leader are missing the point.

Robert

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To Roger's post #19: I meant that the Objectivist philosophy is the only philosophy of truly enduring peace among men: the only one that's based in both reason and individual rights, two essentials for peaceful interactions among individuals.

Nor is a desire for peace a desire for peace at any price.

That clarified, let me repeat what I said: These creeps are trying to hijack Objectivism, a philosophy of peace.

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Are these students and other Iranians like them the people we should be nuking?

Why yes, BB, 'cause as we all know, no government can exist without the consent of the governed, no government is *really* capable of existing unless "the people" allow it; evil is a limp-dick, an illusion of ignorance, so, of course, all that is *really* required to stop "evil" in its tracks is for the people to embrace perfect, proper thinking, and start a bloody revolution (you know, like the French did way back when), so clearly we can't really take those silly, ineffectual demonstrations too seriously; where are the guns, the knives, the car-bombs, the guillotines??

As my mind-reading powers tell me, in any rational universe (Oh, Rand, who art not in heaven), if the millions of Iranians *really* wanted to get rid of their "evil" government they would (this I know, 'cause Rand tells me so), and if they can't, we can see that the scientific force of passivity has chemically bonded with the souls of Iranians, effectively transmogrifying them into vampires; but we can hope, as the slayers of the world do their good work, that if their minds remain in any way true and properly aligned, they will know that by their failure, by their corruption of thinking, of logic and ineffectual actions, their stature as human beings becomes null and void, and their lives become but a meaningless sacrifice to the mighty sword of objective justice (Praise Be She), therefore they, we and She can rest easy in their indiscriminate slaughter.

Viva la rabbia! Bombs away!

[F]or nothing is more inspiring than the certainty that the stars in their courses are fighting for one's cause, that 'History', or 'social forces', or 'the wave of the future' are with one, bearing one aloft and forward. [...]

If to speak of men solely in terms of statistical probabilities--ignoring too much of what is specifically human in men--evaluations, choices, differing visions of life, is an exaggerated application of scientific method, a gratuitous behaviourism, it is no less misleading to appeal to imaginary forces. The former has its place; it describes, classifies, predicts, even if it does not explain. The latter explains indeed, but in occult, what I can only call neo-animistic, terms.

[snip]

ince some values may conflict intrinsically, the very notion that a pattern must in principle be discoverable in which they are all rendered harmonious is founded on a false *a priori* view of what the world is like.

[snip]

For there is only one possible path for the perfectly rational man, since there are now no beguiling illusions, no conflicts, no incongruities, no surprises, no genuine, unpredictable novelty; everything is still and perfect in the universe governed by what Kant called the Holy Will. Whether or not this calm and tideless sea is conceivable or not, it does not resemble the real world in terms of which alone we conceive men's nature and their values. Given things as we know them, and have known them during recorded human history, capacity for choosing is intrinsic to rationality, if rationality entails normal ability to apprehend the real world. To move in a frictionless medium, desiring only what one can attain, not tempted by alternatives, never seeking incompatible ends, is to live in a coherent fantasy. To offer it as the ideal is to seek to dehumanize men, to turn them into the brainwashed, contented beings of Aldous Huxley's celebrated nightmare.

[A]ny person, or any society or age, expecting ultimate success where ultimate success is not to be reached, is peculiarly apt to devise extreme and morally illegitimate means for getting there.

RCR

Edited by R. Christian Ross
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