Recommended Posts

"Consistent application of principles" is 1) reductionism to find them then 2) constructionism to apply them.

 

But "principles" is a plural and principles can collide with each other. Enter, rigorous use of critical thinking.

Shall we apply morality and blow up the world or is it more moral not to blow up the world and apply the other in safer times?

The primary job of an American President is the physical protection of the United States and its citizens.

Since Rand wasn't President she was free to get off on the morality, but not to prescribe and apply policy. Kennedy was free in the context of his duties to go to the ballet. Rand stayed clean and Kennedy got dirty. Politics is a very dirty business. Much dirtier today then way back then.

--Brant 

Trump is dirty

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

Not that the topic is unimportant, of course it is. I'm just personally stuck on, at the moment, just how "all over the place" (regarding consistence and application of princinples) this topic seems to be within the Objectivist community. That seems to be a phenomenon in itself worth looking at, philosophically speaking.

TG,

To refer this to a Randian quote, she said (I'm going on memory, so this might not be exact), "Never examine a folly. Merely ask what it accomplishes."

That, to me, is the priority of word versus deed thing.

Look within the Objectivist community and see how many follies are floating about. TDS is not just the only one. Follies that divide the community are a hallmark going back to Rand's break with the Brandens.

I believe this occurs because some people prioritize words over deeds and others prioritize deeds over words. I'm talking about epistemology, how one uses the volitional part of his or her mind by default.

When one encounters a paradox, what does one look at as the best guide to make sense of it? Does one look at the words used or at the deeds performed? We all look at both, but which one carries the most weight metaphysically?

In O-Land, many, many top folks go the "words as most important" route.

That's not me. Nor, it seems, is it you. 

:) 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

If that was her argument about dealing with Russia during the missile crisis was valid, wouldn't the same apply to dealing with China today, regarding Hong Kong?

TG,

To add a thought, you will be hard pressed to see the frame below by Mark Levin from modern Objectivist intellectuals.

But I can easily see it from Rand--almost word for word--if she were around.

:)

(As an aside, Levin used to hate Trump. He didn't like Trump's words. Then he started looking at Trump's deeds as time went on... :) )

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I believe this occurs because some people prioritize words over deeds and others prioritize deeds over words. I'm talking about epistemology, how one uses the volitional part of his or her mind by default.

I think this stands out so much to me, when it comes to Objectivists, because of the Objectivist emphasis on integration of words and deeds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

I think this stands out so much to me, when it comes to Objectivists, because of the Objectivist emphasis on integration of words and deeds.

TG,

This is a rabbit hole to nowhere with no way out except to back out. I know it's all in the jargon and punchy one-liners, but look a little deeper.

There is no integration of words and deeds in Objectivism without context. And context is not controlled by the agent. It is "the given" to be identified and taken into account or ignored.

For example, Rand was on board--morally on board--with the idea of lying to a thief.

Without context, this would be wrong. It would be faking reality, which is a big no-no in Objectivism. A typically argued extension from that premise would be, "If it's OK to lie to a thief, then it's OK to lie to everyone, including yourself." (Rand actually argued several issues in this manner, like when discussing altruism in a few places, or reason or different freedoms. You can even see vestiges of it when she gushed about the conquest of the Wild West against the Indians--don't forget, that was mostly pure unprovoked initiation of force, too. :) )

Within context, however, it makes perfect sense to lie to a thief. This is typically argued in O-Land that a thief does not come with honest intent, so he does not deserve honesty in response, i.e. the trader principle. But that means words do not integrate with deeds when they become a principle. They are up for trade. :) 

I fully agree with the general idea, though, for logic. But not for dealing with cognitive biases. This last is what rhetoric is for (even if you have to use the rhetoric on yourself). People use rhetoric because nobody can manage to have their words and deeds align consistently.

Note that one does not use rhetoric with reality. It doesn't work. But logic wedded to observation does. One only uses rhetoric with other people--people who are not fully consistent by default.

The very modularity of their brains prevents absolute consistency. Although Rand most likely would not have liked this way of saying it, she often made reference to the fact that the brain has components that enter into conflict with each other at times, like, for instance, in her writing instruction. See her discussion on The Squirms, or how to work with the subconscious for examples off the top of my head.

As to the Objectivists who place great emphasis on integration of words and deeds as if they were co-equals, then use this to condemn others, I, myself, do not hang around them much. These are primacy of words over deeds people. The more reality oriented people use observation as the basis for their words, not just syllogisms (i.e., they don't deduce reality from principles, instead, they observe reality and induce principles from that). 

At root, the only practical thing "primacy of deeds over words" means is that when there is a conflict between a person's words and deeds, what the person does is a far better indicator of his intent and future actions than what he says. The "primacy of words over over deeds" people get freaked out by this for some reason.

:) 

Maybe it's this. I think people are a total mystery to them and if they can't control people with words, they feel totally lost and insecure.

Incidentally, that's the way I used to feel when I was young--I was clueless about why people did what they did and I felt there was no way, no way for me at least, to find out.

This was one of the reasons I adopted Objectivism as quickly as I did after exposure to it. 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

There is no integration of words and deeds in Objectivism without context. And context is not controlled by the agent. It is "the given" to be identified and taken into account or ignored.

Thanks for the thoughtful analysis, especially the point about context. While I didn't mention it, I take the issue of context as a given to those familiar with Objectivism. (I can't remember the exact quote, and it may have been Rand or Peikoff, but it was something about Objectivism being about absolutes in context.)

(Edit: Ah, I found the quote I was thinking of, in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Peikoff, pgs. 173-175, writing about context and absolutes. "Conceptual knowledge rests on logic within a context, not on omniscience. If an idea has been logically proved, then it is valid and it is an absolute- contextually." This last term, indeed, does not introduce a factor distinct from logic and should not have to be stressed: to adduce evidence for a conclusion is to place it within a context and thereby to define precisely the conditions of its applicability.")
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

... I take the issue of context as a given to those familiar with Objectivism.

TG,

That's a really good thought.

I wish others did, too. But analysis does not bear it out.

What does context sound like? We get all kinds of words about that from just about everybody. And they all sound rational and noble.

Now for the worm in the apple. What does context look like? Here, all hell breaks loose as accusations of not being principled and so on fly all over the place. In other words, it doesn't matter to a large faction of vocal people within Objectivist community what context looks like. They don't even see it, much less consider it. Their standard is the primacy of jargon, and when that doesn't work, broader words that say the same thing. 

Want a good example?

Just look at the edit to your post.

12 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

(Edit: Ah, I found the quote I was thinking of, in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Peikoff, pgs. 173-175, writing about context and absolutes. "Conceptual knowledge rests on logic within a context, not on omniscience. If an idea has been logically proved, then it is valid and it is an absolute- contextually." This last term, indeed, does not introduce a factor distinct from logic and should not have to be stressed: to adduce evidence for a conclusion is to place it within a context and thereby to define precisely the conditions of its applicability.")

Those are some pretty words.

(Incidentally, some people I have interacted with have ridiculed Peikoff for the "contextual absolute" idea, but they are pure reductionists, therefore they get silly when talking about wholes. In other words, they ridiculed something Peikoff said that was correct by taking his idea out of context. :) But this discussion is outside of my point here.)

Let's not forget that the words in your quote were said by a man who once declared in an election not so far back that those who do not vote Democrat across the board do not understand Objectivism.

He really said that. And "across the board" means without context.

He even added that people should vote Democrat across the board even in the presence of a good Republican.

Granted, this was Bush's second term midterms in 2006 with the Iraq invasion and all, but Peikoff's fear wasn't more war. It was that Bush would install a Christian Theocracy to replace the American form of government.

Although I am paraphrasing, if you look it up (which is easy because of the stink this caused at the time), those were his words, or the gist of them. As to his actions, I recall hearing at the time that he dumped some friends and colleagues because they didn't agree with this. Also, if I remember the episode correctly, several insiders became persona non grata at ARI for the same reason. Those are merely some of the deeds he did based on seemingly omniscient knowledge--after all, only a person who believed he held omniscient knowledge could make a claim like he did.

To his credit, he later backed off this position in a kind of half-assed way (and after the elections, of course :) and with Obama's candidacy looming).

This is merely one case within the Objectivist community by top people where they demanded contextless obedience in thought and deed. There are many.

The funny part about this case with Peikoff is that reality bashed him over the head--hard--with the context he insisted on ignoring. :) 

Michael

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

TG,

That's a really good thought.

I wish others did, too. But analysis does not bear it out.

What does context sound like? We get all kinds of words about that from just about everybody. And they all sound rational and noble.

Now for the worm in the apple. What does context look like? Here, all hell breaks loose as accusations of not being principled and so on fly all over the place. In other words, it doesn't matter to a large faction of vocal people within Objectivist community what context looks like. They don't even see it, much less consider it. Their standard is the primacy of jargon, and when that doesn't work, broader words that say the same thing. 

Want a good example?

Just look at the edit to your post.

Those are some pretty words.

(Incidentally, some people I have interacted with have ridiculed Peikoff for the "contextual absolute" idea, but they are pure reductionists, therefore they get silly when talking about wholes. In other words, they ridiculed something Peikoff said that was correct by taking his idea out of context. :) But this discussion is outside of my point here.)

Let's not forget that the words in your quote were said by a man who once declared in an election not so far back that those who do not vote Democrat across the board do not understand Objectivism.

He really said that. And "across the board" means without context.

He even added that people should vote Democrat across the board even in the presence of a good Republican.

Granted, this was Bush's second term midterms in 2006 with the Iraq invasion and all, but Peikoff's fear wasn't more war. It was that Bush would install a Christian Theocracy to replace the American form of government.

Although I am paraphrasing, if you look it up (which is easy because of the stink this caused at the time), those were his words, or the gist of them. As to his actions, I recall hearing at the time that he dumped some friends and colleagues because they didn't agree with this. Also, if I remember the episode correctly, several insiders became persona non grata at ARI for the same reason. Those are merely some of the deeds he did based on seemingly omniscient knowledge--after all, only a person who believed he held omniscient knowledge could make a claim like he did.

To his credit, he later backed off this position in a kind of half-assed way (and after the elections, of course :) and with Obama's candidacy looming).

This is merely one case within the Objectivist community by top people where they demanded contextless obedience in thought and deed. There are many.

The funny part about this case with Peikoff is that reality bashed him over the head--hard--with the context he insisted on ignoring. :) 

Michael

Hmm...point taken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2019 at 9:59 AM, ThatGuy said:

... her articles chiding Kennedy for attending a Russian ballet during the Cuban Missile Crisis...

TG,

Rand was not pleased with Nixon in China, either.

From “The Shanghai Gesture” (The Ayn Rand Letter  March 27, 1972):

Quote

Morally, it was impossible to watch all those gracious ceremonies, benevolent smiles, lengthy handshakes, cordial speeches—and hold in mind the actual nature of Red China. One kept alternating between two feelings: the kind of unreality and childish amusement one feels at a circus—and the shock of returning to reality, the reality of China's terror, starvation, torture chambers, mass slaughter. I kept thinking of the thousands of men who try to escape from China by swimming many miles, under the gunfire of patrol boats, to reach freedom in Hong Kong.

What about them?—I kept thinking, whenever somebody uttered one of those ringing speeches about universal peace and love for mankind—isn't there anyone to defend them? The shock came from the realization that the smiling figure in the midst of the ghastly pretense on the TV screen was the President of the United States.

. . .

... the Chinese invited Mr. Nixon to attend the performance of a revolutionary ballet—in which a pajamas-clad ballerina, representing a girl-guerrilla, jerked acrobatically across the stage, through a jerking corps de ballet in proletarian costumes, seeking a way to fight her enemy (the capitalist system), and ended up brandishing a huge wooden rifle. Via satellite-relayed television, the world saw an American President applauding this.

If the roles were reversed, and the Chinese officials, visiting Washington, were invited to attend an opera based, say, on The Manchurian Candidate, would anyone take it as an expression of our respect for them? I do not believe that they would attend. But they knew, I guess, what they were doing in Peking, and what type of man they were dealing with, because it was Mr. Nixon who, in parting, chose to quote from a revolutionary poem by Mao Tse-tung. Chou En-lai did not quote from the Declaration of Independence.

On the other hand, I don't like to channel Rand, but I think she would have had a cow over the following video of President Trump's granddaughter Arabella Kushner singing in Mandarin.

President Trump showed this video on a tablet computer to General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China Xi Jinping and his wife while enjoying afternoon tea with them at Beijing's Forbidden City .

:) 

I believe Rand would have approved of the way President Trump is bringing the Chinese state so-called capitalists to their knees economically, though, and pissing off a lot of cronies.

Michael

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

That's a really good thought.

I wish others did, too. But analysis does not bear it out.

"Easier said than done"?

Perhaps it's what Chris Matthew Sciabarra was getting at in his chapter discussing Nathaniel Branden and integration in Russian Radical...or Ronald Merrill, in The Ideas of Ayn Rand:

"
From Theory to How-To"
"Nathaniel Branden has pointed out the need for something beyond ethics as traditionally conceived. It is not enough, he suggests, to develop a set of rules for action, to tell people WHAT they ought to do. Ethics is not complete until it provides rules or prescriptions to advise people HOW to be moral. …Traditionally [psychologists] have have been prone to understand that if the patient only understands the roots of his behavior he will change it. As Arthur Koestler pointed out in Arrival and Departure, this theory doesn’t work. Branden…deserves credit for not only raising this issue, but making an effort to develop some useful techniques.”
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember when no politicians ever retired, but stayed for life? How many dozens have announced retirement in the last two years?

One way you drain the swamp is you show its puppets what you have on them, you even show them the sealed indictments with their name on them and you inform them that their suffering begins the day they announce for re-election. Then they retire.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/30/illinois-john-shimkus-wont-seek-reelection-1479235

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/30/2019 at 10:03 PM, Jon Letendre said:

Do we have any constitutional or budgetary process experts at OL? I have heard that President Trump is spending all the tariff proceed billions as he sees fit (this has been going on with China for a while now, it’s many many billions) because the purse–string control Congress has only extends to monies raised internally.

 

  • kUuht00m_x96.jpg
     
     
On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..
5:30 PM · May 30, 2019
 
 
 
 
  • kUuht00m_x96.jpg
     
     
....at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.
5:30 PM · May 30, 2019

 

 

Select “Patriot Farmers” apparently of his choosing, being kept afloat. I still don’t know how true it is that he can spend tariff income as he sees fit, but it seems he can and is rubbing his opponents’ noses in it with this Tweet.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But which opponents? And why “targeted”?

Is he speaking of US soy farmers, in trouble since China increased their tariff on US soybeans? They were “targeted” by China, and the Boss’ message to them is, “I am handing your money to them, they have never been richer, you are getting nowhere. Fuck you.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/5/2018 at 5:52 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

APP-100518-DiFi-murkowski-B.jpg

Alien.png

I wonder what Sarah Palin is thinking...

 

Now I know why Sarah did not jump in when that particular controversy had her written all over it.

Todd Palin files for divorce from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin

Sad, sad day...

I hope Sarah is OK and I dearly hope her upcoming divorce did not happen because of her support of President Trump. (Her erratic behavior in the early days of Trump's campaign makes me believe this is possible. Divided loyalties and all...)

I admire the hell out of that woman.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bolton out?

Bolton out.

 

Edited by william.scherk
Added tweet from Bolton ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm not sure John Bolton ever understood his true role in this administration.

He was always leverage for negotiating, never consideration for contracts.

More leverage is easy for President Trump to find these days...

Michael

You are correct.

It is really nice news, too, as much is implied by his no longer needing the rabid dog with a slipping leash.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/10/2019 at 12:15 PM, Jon Letendre said:

It is really nice news, too, as much is implied by his no longer needing the rabid dog with a slipping leash.

Jon,

Word has it Bolton was a rip-righteous leaker and that's why he was canned--the latest being leaks about meetings with the Taliban.

Bolton's extensive media blast saying he quit instead of being fired lends credence to this idea.

Bolton sure liked him some media...

Michael

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bunch of Trump supporters are coming to town because the Ocean City Bike week starts today. Who’s going to be there? Rival Sons (head banger, hard rock, and not bad), Stone Temple Pilots (Plush is one of my favorites), ZZ Top (Gimme All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man, Legs) Cheap Trick, and others will be playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...