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11 hours ago, Mark said:

How are we to learn from these campaigns to deceive if the victims of this disinformation campaign don’t have the courage to reject and expose it?"

That is an interesting point. To this day I don't want to admit I was wrong about something or "planted" a news tidbit that coincided with my political wishes. Anyone else care to admit they were wrong . . . about anything? I didn't think so. Oh, by the way. There will be another inauguration after Joe is kicked out by the military and then President Trump will be crowned King of America. joke. 

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24 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

But if it WERE a pacifying op to calm the American equivalent of "messianic, rebellious Jews against Rome".

I watched an old SNL last night where Mike Meyers plays Dieter, a sadistic German with his own TV show. He treats Germans quite roughly, deserved or not. They can't all be bad people like Dieter, can they? Well, as the GEICO guy asks, "Do Jews hate Germans?" bad joke

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52 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Yesterday, someone quipped here about Q being the alien from STAR TREK, and now I can't find that post. I was going to say that, nah, that Q is an instigator who likes to go around starting trouble for Picard,

I wrote briefly on this thread, alluding to the thought, "And a "superior being" on StarTrek TNG. Q? An “interesting” next four years are on the horizon."

I truly hate to see intelligent, well meant Fans of Rand fall for the deprogramming, disinformation and outright propaganda from Q or any un"reason"able site.   

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The above posts about Q and Christianity also bring up not just the effect on everyday Christian citizens, but major players involved with this election, like Lin Wood and General Flynn. They are two people who use Christian references heavily. And in Flynn's case, he's been suspected to be part of Q because of his retweeting certain things like "digital soldiers" and "WWG1WGA." And especially because Flynn is deeply involved with the political/military spectrum, his influence really lend some weight to the perception that something behind the scenes was really happening. Conversely, if it were a psy-op, wouldn't someone like Flynn have more knowledge of such things than the average citizen, and be more wary? Or, to invoke Kant, was the religious aspect enough of a factor to override reason, "to make room for faith"?

This has led to speculation that people like Flynn were targeted as part of the psy-op,  and causing some people like Lin Wood to go off the rails. And the religious element became a particularly strong tool of emotional and spiritual manipulation. But still, Flynn was hardly pacifying people, but instead, getting them worked up to be "digital soldiers" in the spread of truth. And Wood was hardly pacified! Still thinking about his bold claims about Pence, for example, being a traitor, guilty of some dark things. The sauce never thickened on that, publicly, at least. (But it does have to be pointed out that Pence attended the Biden inauguration while skipping Trump's sendoff...)

With that said, that leads me to another question: if Q is not a Russian psy-op, could it have been based on an American psy-op of our anti-Federalist founders, code-named "Publius"?

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Speaking of General Flynn and "digital soldiers":

Hypothetically, if Q is NOT a Russian psy-op, could it instead have been a benign AMERICAN-based psy-op with a historical precedent?  Could it have been based on an American psy-op of our Federalist founders, written anonymously under the code-name "Publius"?

"The Federalist Papers is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the collective pseudonym "Publius" to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. The collection was commonly known as The Federalist until the name The Federalist Papers emerged in the 20th century."
 

"The authors of The Federalist intended to influence the voters to ratify the Constitution. In Federalist No. 1, they explicitly set that debate in broad political terms:"

It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.[4]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_Papers

Of course, those were written in response to ANOTHER anonymous psy-op, the "Anti-Federalist Papers", with pseudonyms like "Cato" and Brutus" (those names..."all roads lead to Rome", right?)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Federalist_Papers

 

Whether or not there is actually a connection to the past and today's anons, the conclusion to that chapter of history could be of importance, here:

"The Anti-Federalists proved unable to stop the ratification of the US Constitution, which took effect in 1789. Since then, the essays they wrote have largely fallen into obscurity. Unlike, for example, The Federalist No. 10 written by James Madison, none of their works are mainstays in college curricula or court rulings.[6] The influence of their writing, however, can be seen to this day – particularly in the nature and shape of the United States Bill of Rights. Federalists (such as Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 84) vigorously argued against its passage but were in the end forced to compromise.[7]"

 

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

I wrote briefly on this thread, alluding to the thought, "And a "superior being" on StarTrek TNG. Q? An “interesting” next four years are on the horizon."

I truly hate to see intelligent, well meant Fans of Rand fall for the deprogramming, disinformation and outright propaganda from Q or any un"reason"able site.   

To quote Sinead O'Connor, "Fight the REAL enemy..."

 

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Accurate List of 2020 Election Fraud Cases Shows 81 Cases Total, 30 Still Active – And NOT ONE SINGLE COURT Has Allowed Evidence to be Argued


https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/01/breaking-exclusive-accurate-list-2020-election-fraud-cases-shows-81-cases-total-31-still-active-not-one-single-court-allowed-evidence-argued/?utm_source=mewe

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Ellen,

Do you find it impossible that people with bad intentions tried to infiltrate, or actually infiltrated Q?

I not only don’t find it impossible that people with bad intentions have infiltrated the ranks of Qists, I think it almost must be that that's happened, but what I meant in saying that I don’t think that Q is/was a psyop is whoever Q is - or are, the person or persons who started the whole Q thing.

Using your comparison to Objectivism, I don’t think that Rand's work was a Zionist plot, whatever the variety of people who have been attracted to - or have outright used - Objectivism.

Ellen

 

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3 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

And the Q phenomenon DOES seem to be primarily tailored to a Christian audience, not only in it's slang promise of "it's going to be biblical" (which is from the movie LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, which should get a post in its own right), but appealing heavily towards the morality and the promise of "God wins."

The basic Q storyline - what I’ve gathered of it, I haven’t studied it - has seemed to me to have used The Book of Revelations as its template.

I bought a copy of The Great Awakening but so far I’ve only glanced through that book.  I’m hoping to get some time for reading it in the near future.

Ellen

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10 minutes ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

The basic Q storyline - what I’ve gathered of it, I haven’t studied it - has seemed to me to have used The Book of Revelations as its template.

And THAT has been a fly in the ointment for many Christians who've read into this that Trump is the antichrist, or enabler, because of his peace deals in the middle east corresponding to similar claims in The Book of Revelation. And that has led some to ask if Trump and Q have quoted Jesus as "lord and savior", because if not, it's a bad sign. (Both HAVE quoted Jesus, and when that is pointed out, some people STILL have a bad feeling about it.)

Others point to Trump's past, but then that is countered with examples from the Bible where God has used reformed sinners as his instrument, i.e., Saul becoming Paul...

On that note, what caught my eye regarding this, outside of the Q posts, is a quote I posted a little while back that said that Trump wasn't so much Christian before he took office, but became so, presumably because of things he was shown.
 



Here's my post from that snip above, a response to the video MSK shared in the Nov. post above:
 What caught my ear was the claim that Trump wasn't so Christian when he got on board, but became so, as a result. Even more interesting in relation to Sidney Powell's claim that this is going to be "biblical", a claim also made by an anonymous 17th letter of the alphabet.

(That quote, "It's Going to be Biblical", is a reference from the movie LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, where a character takes his revenge on the legal system for lightly punishing the murderer of his wife and child, taking them out Punisher-style.)
 

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2 hours ago, Peter said:

I truly hate to see intelligent, well meant Fans of Rand fall for the deprogramming, disinformation and outright propaganda from Q or any un"reason"able site.   

This can be seen as a test of what Robert Campbell called "the Peikovian Doctrine of the Arbitrary Assertion", and his rebuttal of it.

Basically, Peikoff claims that arbitrary assertions, such as claims of goblins, aliens, Bigfoot, and God, for example, are worse than lies, and don't require a response, that they can be dismissed out of hand.

"The answer to all such statements, according to Objectivism,is: an arbitrary claim is automatically invalidated. The rational response to such a claim is to dismiss it, without discussion, consideration, or argument."

That is what Peter would seem to have us do, re Q.



Campbell makes a counter-argument that one has to determine what is possible first before it can be dismissed as arbitrary (something like that, anyway.) In the case of "Q", it's not quite an arbitrary assertion, since it IS in the realm of metaphysical possibility, and because there was possible evidence put forth that rendered it not arbitrary.

I'm unable to present a short synopsis of Campbell's argument, as it's rather lengthy.
It can be read at the link below. But here's a couple of relevant snippets:

 

The Sociological Function of the Peikovian Doctrine

Among the Peikovian doctrine’s many failings is its proclamation within an uncompleted epistemological framework that fails to specify clear rules of evidence. Without such rules, it becomes extremely difficult to judge which assertions are arbitrary and which are not.Another key failing is its contradictory recommendations for action.Is the upshot of the doctrine truly that no rational person could refute“the arbitrary”? Or is it rather that every rational person must be strongly discouraged from trying?

The actual employment of the doctrine by Peikoff’s colleagues and disciples suggests that it is not really designed to deter fallacious reasoning or intellectually unproductive discussion. Those objectives can be accomplished without dragging in the massive confusions and mighty exaggerations that it entails. What the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion really encourages is the replacement of careful assessments of evidence and argument within discriminate moral condemnation. It may, on occasion, be used to press Objectivists to shun critics of their philosophy instead of responding to the criticisms. But its primary impact falls within the Randian community.

and

Conclusion

We are in a position now to address the questions raised at the beginning of this article.Does an epistemology that respects the facts of human mental functioning require a notion of the arbitrary? No. Such fallacious or irrational activities as self-referential inconsistency, protective belting, violations of the onus of proof principle,and grand or petty mystification, are already covered by other epistemological norms. There is no need for a generalized injunction to shun “the arbitrary.” Some criteria are needed for the initial plausibility of a hypothesis—not to haul it bodily out of the chasm of arbitrariness, but to aid investigators in deciding whether it is worth testing.

Should arbitrary assertions all be handled as Peikoff prescribes? Peikoff can’t make up his own mind how they should be handled. Is no one obliged to respondt o an arbitrary assertion, or is everyone obliged not to? Is it worthwhile to redeem an arbitrary assertion, or not worthwhile—or not possible, because genuine arbitrariness induces paralysis in every rational mind?

With this argument, whatever Q is, it can be said to be NOT arbitrary, because there is the actual phenomenon of it, and despite what we can't see directly, we can observe and infer from world events that something is not right/off, things that correspond to Q claims.  So, there's no shame in at least exploring to see whether there was something to it.

http://campber.people.clemson.edu/peikovianarbitrary.pdf

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2 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

And THAT has been a fly in the ointment for many Christians who've read into this that Trump is the antichrist, or enabler, because of his peace deals in the middle east corresponding to similar claims in The Book of Revelation. And that has led some to ask if Trump and Q have quoted Jesus as "lord and savior", because if not, it's a bad sign. (Both HAVE quoted Jesus, and when that is pointed out, some people STILL have a bad feeling about it.)

Others point to Trump's past, but then that is countered with examples from the Bible where God has used reformed sinners as his instrument, i.e., Saul becoming Paul...

On that note, what caught my eye regarding this, outside of the Q posts, is a quote I posted a little while back that said that Trump wasn't so much Christian before he took office, but became so, presumably because of things he was shown.
 



Here's my post from that snip above, a response to the video MSK shared in the Nov. post above:
 What caught my ear was the claim that Trump wasn't so Christian when he got on board, but became so, as a result. Even more interesting in relation to Sidney Powell's claim that this is going to be "biblical", a claim also made by an anonymous 17th letter of the alphabet.

(That quote, "It's Going to be Biblical", is a reference from the movie LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, where a character takes his revenge on the legal system for lightly punishing the murderer of his wife and child, taking them out Punisher-style.)
 

That was a greatttt movie.

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25 minutes ago, Jules Troy said:

That was a greatttt movie.

It's worth its own discussion, in all this. I finally watched it last week, out of curiosity to the connection. I don't know that it's "great" in terms of plotholes, plausibility, etc., but the theme was certainly relevant. The part that makes it troubling, though, thematically, is that it shows one man up against a flawed system, and losing, but not without inflicting major damage.

He's also depicted inconsistently. The review synopsis lists the protagonist as a "sociopath", like the Punisher of Marvel Comics (which also now has associations with Q). But the movie doesn't reveal that until later. It first presents him as a robbery victim forced to watch his daughter and wife die, only to be betrayed by the justice system. But then, it's revealed that he worked for either the CIA or some organization as a kind of "hit man", who prepared lethal means of murdering targets from a distance. As the police say of one of his associates in the government, they "do very nasty things in the world so that the rest of us can sleep at night."  And he puts that skill to use against the justice system that failed him by murdering THEM, and even almost gets acquitted on his own by using the legal system, only to point out that they were about to let ANOTHER murderer go free. Long story short, he tells the police that he plans to bring the whole system down, a la Samson in the bible, as he brought the temple down with his bare hands, hence the tagline "It's going to be biblical."

He winds up thwarted in his final plot, but not without a final victory: the DA who's been chasing him, the one who initially betrayed his family's case in court, understands now the folly of NOT making deals with murderers, as the protagonist dies.

All that said, I've never seen anyone discuss that "it's going to be biblical" phrase in context of the film. Seems like a superficial usage. And yet, it's not irrelevant, either...but the presentation of the protagonist as an sociopathic anti-hero raises a lot. To relate this to Objectivism, it's not unlike how Steve Ditko's Objecttivist comic book characters Mr. A and The Question (the latter was known to kill bad guys, in contrast to the standard superhero code against killing) were treated by the mainstream, as Alan Moore's WATCHMEN interprets those characters as the anti-hero Rorschach, presented as a psychotic whose insistence on "A is A" and "Evil is Evil", with no gray areas, leading to Punisher-styled vengeance without mercy.

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16 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

That was a greatttt movie.

"Its going to be biblical".

Funny how SP and LW both use that term.

President Trump is still my President, and I know that President Trump has a plan.

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Another reason to look at the goings on around the Q Continuum is to understand the psychology of others, since we do, after all, live in a society where both the leadership and voters have an impact on our direct lives, now, via lockdowns and the economy, restricting our freedom of speech and threatening worse. Conversely, it's worth it to observe the religious beliefs of those in opposition to those forces, to see what keeps them ticking, and to compare and contrast to O'ism. After all, Rand did write, in "What Can One Do?", that while it wouldn't be good to join with conservatives or libertarians, we may have to join "ad hoc committees" towards a single or multiple purposes, but without letting any one's ideals dominate to the extent that common goal is rendered moot.
But still, in order to know how to work together, there needs to be an understanding of the beliefs of those "strange bedfellows..."

So, here's an example: Former Secretary Pompeo, on his personal Twitter account, just tweeted out Hebrews 11-1:

Hebrews 11:1, KJV: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

On the surface, at face value, it's just a bible verse about faith and hope in times of uncertainty. (Though I could go on, I guess, to analyze it against the objectivist notion of "faith", bring in Kant, etc...but I have work to do.) But "anons" believe they've found another layer: 11.3 in the Q posts, they now believe, did NOT refer to the election, but to a particular DoD war manual, and 11.3 and 11.1, when written that way, correspond to the section about foreign occupation. They are taking these  Q posts and Pompeo tweets as markers.

Here's Pompeo's tweet:
 


(Btw...here's another tweet from his former official Twitter account, as shared on Gab, where he refers to the CCP in "Kill brackets", a common Q thing...at the least, it indicates a shared method of communication...)
https://gab.com/Limerence/posts/105583972615447286

And here's the anon theory:
 

https://gab.com/mysticphoeniix/posts/105614586717654154

did POMPEO's tweet ref the DoD WAR MANUAL

Anonymous 01/24/21 (Sun) 22:10:30 No.12699575

"Did an anon get this part already? Pompeo Hebrews 11.1.
11.1 in the DoD Law of War is the Occupation chapter.
11.1 INTRODUCTION
This Chapter addresses military occupation. The GC provides specific rules for the internment of protected persons in occupation, which are addressed in Chapter X.
Military occupation is a temporary measure for administering territory under the control of invading forces, and involves a complicated, trilateral set of legal relations between the Occupying Power, the temporarily ousted sovereign authority, and the inhabitants of occupied territory.1"

And here's the link to the DoD manual:

https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/DoD Law of War Manual - June 2015 Updated Dec 2016.pdf?ver=2016-12-13-172036-190


Whether Objectivists believe it god, faith, etc, is besides the point. The point is that THEY believe in it, and it intertwines in how they are fighting this fight, and demonstrates how their faith keeps them going in uncertainty. (It may be easy to scoff at government/ military men using religion as a guide, the way Rand mocked Reagan for calling in an astrologer...but then, how many military victories were won throughout history by men who called on a deity to guide them? We can chalk the wins up to strategy, or even luck, but it was their faith that encouraged them to continue.)  Contrast that against those who have thrown in the towel with cries of "we're doomed!", and many of those people may even call themselves Objectivist, for that matter...

This is not something to be dismissed lightly, or simply mocked away. If you look at concentration camp survivors, many of them had to find not just the strength of will, but employed faith to survive.  Viktor Frankel has written about his experience there, for reference. Of course, some of them were just lucky, while others never had a chance, no matter what they believed ,through no fault of their own. More on that, in a moment. And of course, many Jews disavowed god, after that, as well, so fair enough. One could then say, like Jordan Peterson does, that maybe purpose is better than faith, because "a man “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how."

That would seem to work WITH the Objectivist philosophy, as Rand had a major belief in purpose. But we can also find examples of faith there, combined with purpose. Talking about the concentration camps, I acknowledged that some survivors were simply lucky. Well, Look at WE THE LIVING. Kira's survival rested on her faith in American, and her purpose to be an engineer. She pushed herself to carry on, to escape, to get to "the promised land." The fact that she didn't, because Russia was "airtight", according to her theme, is besides the point. (But consider, if America falls to communism, will the world then be "airtight", with no America to escape to? Then it becomes a case not of flight, but of fight...and what will we put our faith in, then?) And I think even Rand said something to the effect of America may has well been a fantasy to Russians.

But then, Rand herself DID escape. Now, she had help, but she was also "lucky", as were many holocaust survivors, in the sense that it all worked out. But "fortune favors the ready", as they say. And because Rand was "Ready" in mind and spirit, she was able to be "one of the lucky ones." And part of being ready required faith despite uncertainty.

The idea was that she saw another way. The difference is that her vision was metaphysically possible, as opposed to say, waiting for heaven, it was earth-oriented. Rand was a Romantic REALIST, after all. But still, she had faith despite uncertainty of being able to get out, faith that it was possible, despite the odds, and she fought to get out with her dying breath. As Barbara Branden liked to quote, "Price no object."


To sum up, the people currently at the forefront of this fight are have combined their religion with their military strategies. It's not unprecedented, and despite the feasibility of the religious metaphysical reality, it's their faith that gets them through it through uncertainty. It's not a "blind faith", if only because there is an earthly military practicality to it.

The question for Objectivists watching/fighting along with "strange bedfellows":  Since O'ists aren't in charge, do we wait for the perfect plan, the John Galt with the best strategy? Or do we work with what we have? I'll leave it with this :To quote Sun Tzu,
Weak leadership can wreck the soundest strategy; forceful execution of even a poor plan can often bring victory.”

 

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That guy wrote about Q: Should arbitrary assertions all be handled as Peikoff prescribes? Peikoff can’t make up his own mind how they should be handled. Is no one obliged to respond to an arbitrary assertion, or is everyone obliged not to? end quote

 And Ellen responded, “Besides which, it’s interesting.” end quote

 Perhaps my point is that it is interesting simply because some of Q’s utterances may be true but some are not, and it is too easy to read and become involved with their line of thought and be duped. I think it would be awful to become part of a “posse,” and lynch the wrong person at the Capital. Peter   

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Here are a few letters where Robert Campbell is mentioned or that were written by him. He is very interesting when talking about academia.  Peter

From: Ram Tobolski To: OWL Subject: OWL: Can rationality be formalized? Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 00:04:29 +0200. As a response to Robert Campbell's interesting post (10/4) on John Pollock and the philosophy of AI: Can rationality be "formalized"? Can it turn out to be no more (and no less) than performing deductions from axioms, within a formal logic theory?

I may have something to contribute here, since I've recently written a paper that is related to this subject (I am studying for M.A. in philosophy). First, let me comment on one argument that Robert used. He wrote: First, there *has* to be more to rationality than following the rules in some system of formal logic (or applied probability theory).  I would argue that logic captures in symbolic formulas and context-independent rules *some* of the constraints that we apply when we think rationally.  No system of formal logic captures all of them.  Indeed, if every constraint that human beings ought to apply in their thinking (no matter how specialized or expert) somehow got codified into a system of formal logic, the thinking *about* those constraints that enabled all of them to be codified, and the constraints by which *it* was guided, would have  escaped being codified--and so on.

How strong is this argument, depends on the question, whether one is supposed to be consciously or _unconsciously_ guided by formal logic. If we allow it to be unconscious (and this is perhaps the serious variant, although it may not be Pollock's variant), then the above argument is not conclusive. If our underlying logic is unconscious, then it can guide us in gradual conscious codification, until every bit of thinking becomes, perhaps, codified... In this case, "codification" is not a creation of something new, but an uncovering of something that already existed, below consciousness. It is a "recalling", as in Plato's doctrine that one is "recalling" the Ideas, because they were instilled into one before one was born...

However, there are other arguments against rationality being formalized at its origin. What we have to consider here is, first, semantics, and, second, epistemology. Semantics: If rationality is formal logic, then it is merely a manipulation of symbols. But then the following question arises: What about the _meanings_ of the symbols, which we manipulate by logic?! Epistemology: And how does one _know_ what are the meanings of the symbols one is using?!

Formal logic, when taken in the radical sense that we are talking about now (sometimes called formalism), goes hand in hand with _nominalism_ about universals. In formal logic systems, it is almost universally assumed, that the meaning of a predicate-word, a universal-word (e.g. 'red') is a fixed _set_ of individuals (the set of red objects); or a function, which assigns a fixed set of individuals to any possible world (the set of red object is a possible world).  However, if this is so, a question arises, how does each predicate-word gets to be associated with a certain set?

One possibility, is that every rational agent simply _decides_ which set to associate with any word. But what would the decision be based on? This alternative turns out to be subjectivistic.

Another thesis of formalists (from e.g David Hilbert to Donald Davidson), is that the language itself, the sum total of symbols, somehow "fixes" its own meaning. One may believe, or hope, that even though a single word can be associated with any set, when we consider a complete inter-connected theory (which is nothing but a system of words), all the meanings of the words will be simultaneously fixed.

Notice what is the presumption here: Formal logic provides us with rules of transformation, transformation of truth from one sentence to another: If p1 is true, and p2 is true, or p3 is true... then p7 is true. A formal theory apparently fixes all the truth values for all the sentences that can be legally formed within the theory. [Even this turns out to be unachievable, btw, as is implied by Godel's incompleteness theorems.]

All this concerns the _sentences_ in the theory, not the _words_ that are combined to form these sentences. And now, the formalist thesis is that fixing the truth values of the _sentences_ fixes also the meanings of the _words_ in those sentences. [Btw, this shows that the formalist thesis is closely associated with, if not equivalent to, the so-called truth-conditional theory of linguistic meaning.]

However, this turns out not to work, also. A methodical work on this problem was initiated by W.V.O. Quine, around the so-called problem of the indeterminacy of translation. Subsequently, Hilary Putnam showed [in his book "Reason, Truth and History" (1981)] that for any formal theory, we can always exchange individuals between the sets in its semantics, such that the truth-values of all the sentences in the theory remain the same! And since it is assumed that the meaning of the predicate-words are (fixed) sets, this conclusively proves exactly what we need: We cannot fix the meanings of (predicate) words by fixing the truth-values of sentences.

There are also more exotic, although philosophically less significant (or so it seems to me) results from mathematical logic, which testify to the limits of formalization: We have Godel's incompleteness theorems (In every theory which includes number theory, there is a proposition which is true but cannot be proved!) and the Skolem-Lowenheim theorem (Every first-order formal theory has different semantic models with different, infinite magnitudes). I am not elaborating on those here.

So the idea that rationality is (already) formalized, falls right here, on the semantic-epistemological considerations: If the meanings of words are not simply _decided_, and if they are not fixed by language itself, then the rational agent has to _know_ how to assign a meaning to each word. Then what does this knowledge consist of? How does the agent get to have this knowledge, about the meanings of words? (And especially about the meanings of predicate-words, universal-words. Whether it be words used by others, or words that one is using by oneself.)

A better approach, and a proper solution is already contained in the objectivist epistemology: the meanings of predicate-words is in that they are representing _concepts_. And concepts are not formal, they are not symbolic structures. Concepts are _identification_ algorithms. They are means to _identify_ objects, to identify properties of objects, to identify relations between objects. [The identification of empirical objects is not deductive, but inductive, and fallible.]

 And so, it seems to me that rationality cannot be formalized. And, quite surprisingly (don't you think?), this turns out to be a variation on the problem of universals, and a demonstration of the strength of the objectivist epistemology. Ram

From: Adam Victor Reed To: Objectivism Subject: [ddfr@best.com: Re: OWL: David Friedman's critique of Ayn Rand] Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 17:40:20 -0800. David Friedman has posted to this list some very long articles arguing, as he has argued before in his book, that (1) retaliatory force is an individual right, regardless of its social context, and morality requires that the individual remain free to delegate this right to whomever he might choose; and (2) a society in which this right is delegated by each individual to one of several competing "defense agencies" would be more conducive to the enjoyment of individual rights than one in which, as Ayn Rand advocated, retaliatory force is placed under the control of a single, uniformly enforced system of evolving but increasingly objective law ("the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control", _Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal_, p. 19.)

Political theory is David's full-time occupation. For me, it is an occasional distraction from more interesting work on computer information systems, so I am not going to respond to each of the arguments Friedman has presented in his book or on this list.  When developing my own perspective on political theory I discussed the issue at length with Roy Childs (who changed his mind after our discussions) and Murray Rothbard. I've read Friedman's book, and the evolution of my views on this issue owes a great debt to his insights. At some point, I may take the time to write at greater length about this issue, although right now other matters - like developing a way to mount SMB shares on Unix systems that don't have SMB support in the kernel - interest me a great deal more than political theory.

 >From an Objectivist perspective, the main objection to (1) above is grounded in the contextuality of rights, while (2) suffers from a failure to apply Rand's insight that objective knowledge of reality is necessarily derived from measurements, which are omitted during concept formation, but remain indispensable in the application of abstract knowledge to reality. The latter problem is unexpectedly pervasive among libertarians and Objectivists, and I last dealt with it in my discussion with Robert Campbell (on objective measurement of preferences and the applicability of detection theory.) So having dealt with both issues before - the first with Childs, the second with Campbell - I hope that I can deal with them now without taking too much of my time away from more interesting things.

With regard to issue (1), Friedman has written that "Arresting and imprisoning someone is [only] a violation of rights [i.e. not just that specific person's rights, but of rights in general] if he is in fact innocent...." But in reality, the accuser's judgment of the other's innocence is compromised by partiality, by confirmation bias and other biases in the collection of evidence, and by the fact that the accuser can minimize his _eventual liability for having been in the wrong_ by first depriving the suspect of life or limb or freedom, so that the suspect, if innocent, becomes less likely to be able to demonstrate his innocence.  So as long as retaliatory force has _not_ been placed under objective control, all men live in fear that one could be forced into imprisonment or combat by another's false belief or dishonest claim. And in a social context in which men already know how to minimize the likelihood of wrongful punishment _by placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control_, it becomes a condition of optimal human life to live without fear that one might be deprived of liberty (or of life itself) without due process of law. Anyone who subjects another to punishment, without first having demonstrated the suspect's guilt by the most impartial and objective procedure available in their social context, has violated the individual rights of everyone around him by his reckless endangerment of their lives and freedoms.  In fact, if the suspect happens to be guilty, then he is the only one whose rights have _not_ been infringed.  Everybody else was subjected to an arbitrary and dehumanizing risk of unjustified punishment - and they have an objective right, subject to due process of law, to retribution for having been placed at risk.

On issue (2), Friedman has demonstrated in his book that under a system of competing "defense agencies", every person's influence on the law is strictly proportional to the amount of resources that this person is willing to commit to the "market for liberty".  Rand's reasoning, on the other hand, favors constitutional principles broadly similar to those of the Western republics in the last years of the 19th century - largely abandoned in the United States today, but still current in Switzerland, Luxembourg and others - which were specifically designed to limit the relative influence of the less rational actors. I asked Friedman to do the math, but he has not, so I shall:

1. Only citizens literate enough to read and know their constitution can vote. This eliminates from the decision process those who lack the mental capacity for optimal rationality in the political context, and those who would be most likely to follow the lead of anti-objective demagogues.

2. The votes, of those eligible to vote, count equally. This reduces (to the limit of his influence in convincing others) the disproportionate influence of the fanatic who is willing to commit a disproportionate amount of resources to his political cause. That gives the rational man, who allocates his resources in balance with his rational interests, an electoral advantage (relative to Friedman's strict resource-proportionality scheme) over the fanatic.

3. To be elected to the legislature in single-member districts, a potential legislator must attract a plurality of voters. This reduces (except in occasional balance-of-power situations) the influence of those who have not been able to persuade a majority in some district to vote for them. Thus the ability of non-localized minorities to exact legislative compromises is very much reduced, at least relative to their numbers and their commitment of resources (and the latter would give them proportional, and therefore much greater, influence in Friedman's system.) Most of the time extreme minorities, which are much less likely to be rational in their politics than the majority, don't get into the legislature at all.

4. The influence of extreme partisans is further reduced by the requirement that legislation vetoed by the executive or judicial branches can only be rescued by some large super-majority in multiple votes in multiple chambers.

5. The effect of temporary passions on legislation is reduced by a requirement for a legislative majority in several readings separated by intervening elections.

I must add that in the one case where Friedman asserts a quantitative datum, that datum seems wildly implausible in the context of the relevant international comparisons. The four countries of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth had a population of about 10 million around 1790 and about 100 million around 1990 - growth by a factor of 10 in two centuries. Iceland's population today is under 280,000. If Friedman were right, then the population of Iceland grew only by only a factor of 4 in 8 centuries. This is possible, but it would require convincing evidence to demonstrate. If the population of Iceland had changed at the same rate as the rest of Europe, by a factor of 10 in the last 2 centuries and a factor of 3 in the 6 centuries before that, then the population of Iceland around 1200 CE would have been 10,000 or so. Adam Reed                                   

From: Neil Goodell To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Stepping on land mines (conclusion) Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 11:09:18 -0600. Subject: Stepping on land mines (conclusion) Well, a woman might ask, why should it be necessary to "fight" at all, for something that is rightfully mine? There are two answers to this. First, how should one decide if a person (or gender) is "worthy" of or "deserves" what they are asking for? There is no god to appeal to. No ultimate arbiter of fairness or decider-of-that-which-is-right. No being that decides yes-they-are-capable or no-they-are-not. Nothing is free in this world. Food may grow on trees but it still must be harvested and prepared. If you (or a gender) want something, you have to go and get it, or build it. This is the sense I use "fight" in, to mean putting forth the necessary effort to get what you want.

The second reason is that men *are* willing to "fight" to get what they want, and if women want the same things, they will have to "fight" the same way men do. Even though it often seems as though men and women live in two different worlds, we both manage to survive on the same planet.

One example of this. Until recently courts have presumed that mothers are more capable child raisers than fathers, so in the case of divorce primary custody was overwhelmingly awarded to women. For the past century or so, most men had accepted this arrangement as inevitable. With the rise of the feminist movement, men have begun to challenge this and are now awarded primary custody quite often. Until a person or group is willing to put forth the necessary effort to effect a societal change, things will remain as they are. (In science this is called inertia.)

And another example. Later in the same post Amy wrote: In any case, while men might not often *initially* evaluate a woman based upon her financial status, it's definitely a factor in determining whether a woman is of "relationship" material.  Not many men in my generation want to support a woman, and so what she does for a living matters deeply to them.

Fifty or a hundred years ago men had no choice in this matter. If a man wanted to marry, to have a family, it was expected that he would provide for all their financial needs. Although a woman might work outside the home in the early days of the marriage, the thought that she would do so after the first child was born was anathema to most couples. Moreover, men were expected to make all the major decisions and bear the responsibility and social stigma if he was wrong. (And if we continued farther back in time, the patriarchal role would be seen to be even more pronounced.)

My point here is twofold. First, the rise of equality of women in the US has afforded men a choice they did not have before, and increasingly they are acting on it and demanding more of their partners than ever before. (I suspect that even as recently as fifty years ago this would not have been possible, largely due to the lack of effective birth control. For the first time, women were not confined by an unwanted pregnancy and had control of their own bodies. The birth control pill was the first method that was reliable and effective, as much because it was used as for any technological advancement.) Fifty years ago, a man who demanded that his wife have a career and provide an income similar to his own, would have been shamed by his friends. A man who could not provide for his family was viewed by society as a failure, a failure *_as_a_man_*, by both men *and* women.

My second point is this: One hundred years ago women were unprepared to live as political and economic equals among men. They did not have the skills, the education, the upbringing necessary to do so. Not only did the attitude of men have to change before this was possible, it had to change in women too. Not all women wanted to vote or smoke cigarettes. They *wanted* the man to make all the decisions. Only after the attitudes of both changed, and women started receiving the necessary education, acquiring the skills, and seeing the rewards and freedoms that come with political and economic self-sufficiency, was is possible for women to be equals among men. These kinds of changes are slow though, occurring over several generations. And the changes are not finished.

I don't know if this is quite what Robert Campbell had in mind when he wrote about the dearth of Objectivist wisdom in the area of tradeoffs in daily life, but I think this is a concrete example of one, albeit a bit more convoluted and complicated! :)

For all the testosterone driven frenzy that women accuse men of fomenting in order to keep women "subjugated," remember that it was this same testosterone that led the Nordic Vikings to discover the new world, and later for Columbus to start settling (exploiting?) it. It was this same frenzy that drove Newton and Edison and every other scientist and inventor to seek new ways of controlling nature. It was the malcontents and prisoners, predominately male of course, that left England to form a new colony in a new land. This same refusal to bow to the will of others eventually led to the rebellion against England and the formation of a new country. Men, in their quest to be unfettered, drove expansion westward through uncharted (to them) wilderness. Men are the ones who wanted to build submarines for warfare, and died in them when the first models failed. They then built better submarines to discover the undersea world. Men wanted to fly so they invented airplanes. Men wanted to walk on the moon so they built rockets and spacecraft. Men wanted water for themselves and their families so they devised means of controlling rivers and built dams. This remains true today even in one of the most gender-equal job arenas: computers. New startup companies are overwhelmingly led by men with an idea they want to capitalize and cash-in on; men are much more willing to take a huge risk like this than are women. There are startup companies led by women, but the number is comparatively quite small.

The list of examples I could cite is without end. Always, women have been with the men (else we would not have survived as a species). And with few exceptions, it has always been the men who have been the instigator of the action, and put forth the effort to bring the dream to fruition.

Nothing prevented the women of 500 years ago from demanding the same rights and privileges as the women of today do. Except the men. Which brings me full circle to what I opened this overlong essay with: Men have made the rules our society has evolved by. And they have earned the right to do so because men, both literally and figuratively, built the society out of nothingness. For millennia women have enjoyed the fruit of men's testosterone driven energy. Women will be accorded the same rights and responsibilities and privileges as men, as soon as they show a willingness to exert the time and energy necessary to attain and keep them. This has been the pattern so far in history and I don't expect that it will change.

As a side note, the "discrimination" practiced against women is not comparable to that practiced by say, white plantation owners against black slaves in the early history of the US, or against the "yellow" Chinese laborers who built much of the westward expansion of the railroad system. The gender "discrimination" between men and women was practiced equally by blacks, whites, and yellows. The racial discrimination was a whole other layer on top of this.

As a final note: No one has any choice in whether they are born a man or a woman. People are born who and what they are. An individual man of today has not done anything to be deserving of the privileges he has. And neither has any particular woman done anything to be less deserving of political and economic sovereignty than a man. But, neither men nor women are born in a vacuum; they are born into a culture with existing traditions and mores. And the inertia of a society will keep things going the way they are until an outside force acts upon it to effect change. Remember, there is no god or higher power to tell us what the correct answer is in life. We stumble along as best we can and hopefully get things right more often than wrong. --Neil Goodell  13 July 2002

From: "Robert Campbell" To: "OWL" Subject: OWL: Philosophy of science, Kelley, and Popper Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2002 21:21:16 -0400. I'd like to respond to some points raised by Bill Dwyer (8/1) and Ram Tobolski (8/3) on philosophy of science. For a long time, the "method of hypothesis" was controversial (it's rarely referred to by that name any more, since most people take it for granted that we do science by generating hypotheses and testing them against data). According to Larry Laudan (1981), the MOH didn't become the generally accepted view of what was going on in Western science until somewhere between 1850 and 1900.

There are reasons why it took so long to accept.  Two are that hypothesis testing is risky, and it's hard to square with foundationalism.  It's risky because if the data that various scientists have collected are consistent with Hypothesis X, and inconsistent with Hypothesis Y, are the scientists entitled to conclude that X is true--or just that Y is false? What if the correct generalization (which offers the best explanation of the facts) is Hypothesis Z--which unfortunately no one's thought up yet, therefore no one's been able to test?

Some foundationalists have always distrusted hypothesis testing because they thought a sufficiently disciplined process of making observations or collecting data, drawing conclusions from them, and repeating the same steps (perhaps many times) would make the risky jumps unnecessary.  We wouldn't have to worry whether the correct generalization is X or Z, so they maintained, if we just followed the inductive steps that would lead us to Z and away from X.  (You can see old-fashioned distrust of hypothesis testing at work in book as recent as *Two Logics* by Henry Veatch [1969].  Veatch saw the method of hypothesis as inconsistent with Aristotle's conception of induction; he even revived Jonathan Swift's analogy between hypothesis testers and spiders who hang in mid-air and manufacture webs entirely "out of themselves.")

Leonard Peikoff, in his lectures on logic that I heard on tape in the early 1970s, did not provide a lot of detail on how we generate and test hypotheses, but he accepted this procedure as part of science.  I recall him saying that creativity is required when generating hypotheses, but he seemed confident that none of this would require a departure from Rand's framework of getting information about the external world through perception and differentiating and integrating perceptual knowledge of particulars into concepts.

In David Kelley's writings there is less confidence on this score.  His 1998 monograph *Evidence and justification* offers an account of how we go from true premises to true conclusions.  He doesn't attempt to explain how we deal with false propositions, or with propositions that might (so far as we know) be either true or false.  Now if we knew for sure that Hypothesis X was true, we wouldn't need to test it--at least not any further.  It would quit being a hypothesis, and become a statement of fact.  So Kelley's treatment of inference and justification does not extend to hypothesis-testing. At least, not so far.

In the workshop transcriptions that are now included in the back of the *Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology* (1990 edition), Rand acknowledged that her epistemology is incomplete because it lacks a theory of "scientific induction."

On this issue, Bill Dwyer asked: I'm not an expert in this, but I've always thought that a theory of knowledge was the foundation for a philosophy of science -- that you couldn't have an adequate philosophy of science without first having an adequate epistemology.  Doesn't epistemology validate a philosophy of science, rather than vice-versa?  In other words, on what grounds do you know that you've got an adequate philosophy of science, if you're not sure you're your epistemology is adequate to begin with?  Or is philosophy of science merely one branch of epistemology?

When I said that lacking a philosophy of science made Rand's epistemology incomplete, I didn't mean to imply that philosophy of science issues are more basic than questions about everyday knowledge.  I meant that a comprehensive epistemology has to be able to answer philosophy of science questions. Rand didn't propose answers to them, so we're not even at the point of "validation"--judging whether her answers were good ones or not.

The issues of validation that Bill speaks of are really pretty complex. Rand wanted to rein in her metaphysics to avoid cosmological speculation, but she made no effort to rein in her epistemology to avoid psychological speculation.  Rand's theory of concepts is full of cognitive and developmental psychology.

(The only way to avoid bringing in psychology would be to restrict your epistemology to something on the order of, ?  “Whatever human minds are exactly, and however they work in detail, they’re able to acquire knowledge and successfully make rational arguments. And if you deny this, your denial is self-refuting.”)

Consequently, most of epistemology depends on psychology, and philosophy of science questions are going to crop up soon enough: What constitutes credible evidence in psychology?  Why take this theory of perception seriously? What conclusions are we entitled to draw, from one or another type of experiment, about what babies know? and so on.

Here's where Karl Popper comes in. Popper was, of course, a champion of the Method of Hypothesis.  (He seems to have thought that we acquire knowledge through hypothesis testing in every sphere, not just when we are doing science.)  He was also a notorious antifoundationalist, and he denied that induction is possible at all.

There's a lot about Popper that deserves comment. I'll stick to two themes, which I hope will go some part of the way toward answering Ram's questions.

First, Popper's rejection of induction is a logical point, about the relationship between hypotheses and empirical data.  (Popper became disaffected with psychology early in his career. I'm not at all sure that that was a good thing, but that's an issue for another post.)  Three are three classes of hypotheses, each of which bears a different relationship to the data.  It's best to think of logical hypothesis testing in abstraction from any uses of statistics, and to assume for the sake of argument that measurement questions have been resolved in advance.

A universal hypothesis is a hypothesis about all members of a category. For instance, "Every adult human being has a working memory."  (Assume for the sake of argument that we know how to assess accurately whether a person has a working memory or not.)  Now we can collect as many data points as we want, but according to Popper, even if we have data on 201,000 people and every last one of them has a working a memory, that does not *verify* our hypothesis, or prove it true.   We haven't tested everyone.  (If our generalization applies to all human beings who have ever lived and will ever live, as it appears to do, then testing everyone is flatly impossible.  If it applies to every *possible* human being...you get the picture).  On the other hand, one reliable observation of one human adult who lacks a working a memory is sufficient to *falsify* our hypothesis (prove it false).

Popper made a big fuss of the falsifiability of universal hypotheses (in some treatments of Popper, that's all there is to him).  But they aren't the whole story.

An existential hypothesis is a hypothesis about some members of a category. For instance, "Some human adults can quickly perceive the exact number of items when over 100 are present."  (Again, we assume that the measurement problems are solved).  Now, if the hypothesis is true, we can verify it, by finding one clear example that supports it--say, a human adult who quickly and correctly tells us that there are 120 matches spilled on the floor.  But if it is false, we can't falsify it by collecting data.  We could have accumulated data on 568,000 people, none of whom shows any signs of being able to recognize the exact number of objects when it's over 100.  But again, we haven't observed or assessed everyone.

Popper didn't acknowledge the third kind of scientific hypothesis until the 1950s. (Perhaps because the logical positivists, in their heyday, would never have let him hear the end of it?).  The third kind is metaphysical. For instance, "For every problem that a human being can solve, there is a computer program that solves it the same way."  (Non-trivial measurement problems here, too, but let's not worry about those.)  If the hypothesis is true, it can't be verified by collecting data, because you would need data pertaining to every humanly solvable problem.  If the hypothesis is false, data won't falsify it, because even if there is a problem that some people have solved and 100 different computer programs haven't succeeded in solving the same way--maybe this just means that the right computer program remains to be written.

In his earlier writings, Popper would have excluded metaphysical hypotheses from science--but the above hypothesis plays a key role in Information Processing theory in psychology.  Other examples aren't too difficult to come up with (Popper apparently bowed to the inevitable when he realized that the theory of evolution incorporates metaphysical hypotheses).

So when Popper says there is no such thing as induction, he is saying that there are no logically valid arguments that take statements about empirical data as premises and yield universal (or metaphysical) conclusions.  The logical relationships in the foregoing are all deductive.

A second point about Popper I'll make more briefly.  Because of his skepticism about induction (and the favorable references to Hume in many of his writings) Popper is sometimes taken to have thought that events are "loose and separate," that there are no causal mechanisms and no necessity in nature.  But Popper wasn't a Humean in that sense.  He appears to have believed from very early on that laws of nature don't allow exceptions, and in his later writings about probability he introduces a notion of "propensity" that remarkably resembles Aristotle's potentiality.

(Unfortunately, he seems never to have had a kind word for Aristotle.) Although many questions remain about how well the different components of Popper's system hang together, Popper is not the enemy of the Law of Identity that some have made him out to be.

The second point is important because Peikoff's defense of induction (later taken up and expanded by Phil Coates--as best I understand what Phil is doing) relies heavily on pointing to the metaphysical basis for it. Robert Campbell

From: "Robert Campbell" To: "OWL" <objectivism Subject: OWL: Bringing perspective to a critique of academia Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 14:37:57 -0400

These days, it is not just Objectivists who distrust academia.  Critics on what is vaguely termed "the right" are inclined to blame all manner of social ills on universities. I've been pretty rough on academia in a couple of recent posts.  Academics, I argued, frequently fail to behave according to their announced ideals of intellectual deportment.  Other academics compound these lapses by piously refusing to admit that they happen at all.

But in pointing to these facts about a deeply flawed system of human institutions, I did not intend to run down the legitimate functions that it serves.  Nor did I aim to indict those academics who do their homework, treat other points of view with respect while making a serious effort to communicate across differences in assumptions, and in general do their jobs conscientiously and with authentic commitment.  There are still plenty of them in the system; many deserve special credit for their dedication in the face of institutional indifference or obstruction.

To make matters more difficult, academics these days frequently feel defensive.  While many view the internal politics of academic life with distaste, they usually lack a sophisticated understanding of the institutional forces that help to make it so distasteful.  Yet they do understand enough to realize that many of the standard criticisms are exaggerated or wrongheaded.  It is hard from them not to see external critics as people who do not particularly value teaching or research, and whose main aim is to take a wrecking ball to their institutions.

Those who are starting out on an academic career bear the additional burden of getting attention and gaining acceptance from senior academics in their disciplines, without which their chances of finding and keeping academic jobs will normally be minimal.

It is hard to subject your discipline or your institution to cool analysis when there are so many ropes to learn--and when antagonizing influential people in your discipline as a whole, or in your academic department, or in the upper administration, is likely to jeopardize your continued employment. (I was relatively outspoken as a junior faculty member--I encouraged colleagues to leave a learned society whose operations were controlled by an individual who would not allow anyone who had criticized his work to be an invited speaker, and I wrote a rather sharply worded note to my university's president.  But on the two occasions on which I authored material that was critical of the administration at my university for publication--in one case a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, in another case a broadsheet that was circulated by the Faculty Senate--I collaborated with tenured faculty members who insisted on putting their names on the documents, in order to protect me.)

It is also hard, psychologically, to acknowledge significant downsides to academia when you have made the tremendous investment of time and effort that it takes to earn a Ph.D., then face heavy odds in the academic job market.  Demand for new faculty members has been soft in most sectors of American academia since approximately 1970, when the massive post-World War II expansion of higher education began to subside.  The market has gotten substantially rougher in the natural sciences and engineering.  In most of the humanities, including English and Philosophy, tenure-track jobs have dwindled to a handful, in relation to the supply of Ph.D.'s, and the competition for them has grown ferocious.  Many fear that too much thinking about gatekeepers at the journals or infighters in the department or administrators obsessed with maximizing grant money will sap their resolve precisely when they need it the most.

What's more, even academics with limited experience can see that the standard external criticisms are unfair and distortive.

If we compile the usual lines of complaint about academia (a fair approximation can be obtained by stapling together *ProfScam* by Charles Sykes with various publications by Bill Bennett, Dinesh D'Souza, and David Horowitz) we get the following picture:

(a) professors run academic institutions (administrators are so hopelessly buffaloed that they nearly always end up doing the faculty's bidding);

(b) professors are all tenured;

(c) professors avoid teaching undergraduates to the maximum extent possible;

(d) professors invariably work for high-prestige institutions;

(e) professors fritter away a good portion of each work week with their feet up on their desks;

(f) professors are all political leftists;

(g) professors universally throw their support behind speech codes, affirmative action regulations, divestiture campaigns, and the rest of the politically correct apparatus

No one needs too much time around a university to realize that (a) can't be entirely true.  Every decision as to who gets reappointed and who gets tenure requires multiple administrative signoffs.  Faculty members' salaries are nearly always decided by administrators.  These days, while the guilds still control curriculum (though even there I have witnessed successful end-runs by administrators) and scheduling, to an ever-increasing extent the faculty are getting their lunch eaten by the administration.

No new Ph.D., whether working as an Assistant Professor, adjunct faculty member, or postdoctoral fellow, is going to share in illusion (b) that all faculty members are tenured.  The Assistant Professors have 6 tough years to go before coming up for tenure; the rest will have to find another job before the tenure clock even begins to tick for them.  I don't see how anyone can go through the tenure process, even in a supportive, low-conflict department, and not realize that tenure is a grant of privilege and being a junior faculty member is a process akin to hazing.  On the other hand, one look at the sorts who populate the upper administration, and academics are convinced  that they would be up a creek without a paddle if tenure were abolished.  (I nonetheless think tenure should go, but that's a topic for another post.)

As for (c), the new faculty member may have landed an Assistant Professor job in a department with a big graduate program, in which case the undergraduate teaching load will tend to be light and the demand for publications and/or grants correspondingly heavy.  But lots and lots more will be teaching 3 or 4 courses a semester to large numbers of undergraduates--yet still trying to publish so they can advance their careers. (The way American universities divert resources from undergraduate to graduate education also deserves its own post.)

The faintest knowledge of the gradations in the American university system will be enough to dispel notion (d).  There are over 3000 colleges or universities in the US, ranging from community colleges and "tech schools" to Harvard and Cal Tech.  The vast majority of professors will never work at the high-prestige institutions that both admirers and critics of the present system focus disproportionate attention on.

A little bit of faculty experience any level will quickly refute (e). Faculty members usually work harder than grad students, though of course they are also getting real pay for their work.  Among faculty members who have gotten tenure, results will vary.  But from what I have seen, lack of effort is rarely a problem in American universities--where even the bureaucrats put in long hours.  Problems rather arise because efforts are so often misplaced, and institutional incentives encourage the misdirected activity. As for (f), it depends on where you work.  Left-wing domination is much more likely if you work in a Sociology department than if you work in a Management department.  It is also much more likely if you work at Ucal Berkeley than if you work at Clemson.  I work for a Psychology department in which (I would guess, since my colleagues don't always say) just over half the faculty vote for Democrats.

How much truth there is to (g) also depends on discipline, institution, and department. In a Women's Studies program, political correctness is among the terms and conditions of employment.  At Brown or Swarthmore or Colby College, I would think it comes close to a being a job requirement.  At Clemson there is probably more political correctness in the Student Life bureaucracy than amongst the faculty--and the Clemson Student Life bureaucracy is substantially less invested in political correctness than, say, their counterparts at Penn.  Meanwhile, Clemson has too small an endowment for any pressure group to take much interest where it is invested.

How such distorted understandings come about is not so hard to figure. Media coverage of universities operates in one of two modes.

In day-to-day mode, newspapers reprint press releases from the university's public relations apparatus.  These press releases sometimes play up the accomplishments of faculty members or students--but their underlying function is always to glorify the administration. (The person who still runs Clemson's PR apparatus once told a bunch of angry faculty, without a trace of self-consciousness, that her job was to make the president look good.  That's what they're all hired for, whether they choose to be so direct or not.)

Occasionally, however, the print and the broadcasting media get wind of some scandal: revenue sport athletes who have run amok, administrators who have embezzled, professors who have sued the university, students who have been caught cheating on exams.  Scandals are nearly always handed to reporters and editors on a plate, after tireless administrative efforts to contain them have failed. (A small example.  Recently a professor at my university, already locally notorious for pugnacious behavior, was accused of expressing his anger, after being told that he could not park in a certain spot, by using his car to ram a university police officer in the legs.  This story became public only when the county prosecutor decided to take the case.  You can be sure that the administration was working feverishly to bury the incident, even though the alleged victim of the assault was another university employee; they had already covered up years earlier, after the same professor got into a fistfight with a student.) On occasion, local newspapers will refuse to cover the scandals, out of desire to curry favor with the people who run the institution.  Genuine investigative reporting on universities is vanishingly rare, even in specialist publications like the *Chronicle of Higher Education.*

The reason: to find out what is happening at a university, you have to learn how the institution works, hang out and talk to a lot of different people, then do some major sifting through what they tell you.  Reporters want (at most) to get a quote or two from the president, the provost (the administrator in charge of day-to-day academic operations), and/or the president of the Faculty Senate, then file the story.  The inconvenient thought that no single person "speaks for" the university, particularly for the faculty, rarely occurs to them.

On a wider scale, the media focus disproportionately on high-prestige universities.  If you do not make allowances for this bias, you will end up concluding that every institution of higher education operates like Harvard or Stanford or Michigan.  (In fact, very few do; the others don't have nearly so much money to sling around.)

Undergraduate education, graduate education, scholarly research (both empirical and nonempirical), the free exchange of ideas, and some kind of intellectual community are all values that academic institutions make some attempt to promote.  I believe that our civilization would be substantially poorer if we had no institutions that did these things.  Yet it is also clear that universities most often fail to promote one or more of them very effectively (for instance, the American system as a whole is said to be far better at graduate education than undergraduate, which is exactly what one would conclude from inspecting its incentive structures).  Tearing universities down on account of their politics (actual or imagined) is not the answer; neither is clamping them under Objectivist control and running all other factions out (no need to worry--there are not enough Objectivists to pull off this coup, even if they all had the kind of sectarian mindset it would require).  But major change is definitely needed. Robert Campbell

From: "Robert Campbell" To: "OWL" Subject: OWL: Land ownership and American Indians Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 19:43:09 -0400. Amy Hayden asked about the application of Lockean principles of land ownership to territory that was once held by American Indians.

The answer, of course, is that such principles were most often not applied--European settlers simply grabbed the land by force. You won't find a satisfactory treatment of this issue in Ayn Rand's writings.  Rand seems to have known very little about American Indians, and to have thought about them in images--most of them unfavorable.  More generally, she believed that some human being are "savages," a term that contemporary anthropology has good reason not to use.  From her point of view most American Indians were savages, and to her that apparently meant that they deserved what they got.

A much more nuanced treatment of the whole matter can be found in Murray Rothbard's history of the American colonies up through the Revolution (a fifth volume that would have continued up to the adoption of the Constitution was never published).

There are discussions of relations between settlers and Indians throughout the 4 extant volumes.  A general statement of Rothbard's position can be found in Chapter 10 in *Conceived in Liberty* Volume 1 (New Rochelle NY: Arlington House, 1975).  The chapter is titled "Relations with the Indians" and covers the way European settlers treated American Indians in the Virginia colony during the 1600s.

"Generally we may say that the native American Indians regarded the newcomers with a mixture of brotherly kindness and eagerness to make contact with the world outside; this, however, was countered by hostility based on the well-founded fear that the colonists were out to seize their lands.  The whites generally regarded the Indians as possessors of land ripe for expropriation.  This attitude of the whites was partially justified, as Indian land was typically owned not by the individual, but by the collective tribal unit, and furthermore was inalienable under tribal law.  This was particularly true of the land itself as contrasted to its annual use. Furthermore, tribal law often decreed land ownership over large tracts of even unused acreage.  Still, however, this land inequity provided no excuse for the physical dispersion of individual Indians from their homes and from land actually used, let alone the plundering of their crops and the slaughtering of the Indian people."  (Rothbard, Volume 1, p. 95).

Under conditions of maximum good will, incompatibility between the understanding of land ownership that prevailed in many of the tribes (laws and customs, of course, varied from one tribe to another) and the views that prevailed among British settlers would have led to some conflicts. Moreover, Indian tribes often seized land from other Indian tribes through conquest (and this kept right on happening after Europeans began to arrive). But, as we all know, good will was in short supply.  Indians were often massacred or driven into exile, and their land seized.

Rothbard's projected history did not reach so far, but a particularly nasty episode in this saga was the expulsion of the Cherokees from northern Georgia in the 1830s.  The Cherokees were booted out by the government of Georgia, with support from the President of the United States and the US Army, even though members of the tribe cultivated farms in fixed locations, many lived in towns, many read newspapers that were published in their own language, and in general they had sought to keep out of fights with white settlers.  Dispossessing the Cherokees and forcing them into exile in Oklahoma was as flagrant an act of plunder as you're going to find--as some white Americans (but not nearly enough of them) recognized at the time.

As for property rights in land worked by slaves, I've thought for a long time that the appropriate response after the Civil War would have been "40 acres and a mule": break up the plantations and turn them over, piece by piece, to the people who had been forced to work them.  But the advisability of the Civil War (and its 620,000 war dead) aside, the political will to push Reconstruction this far was lacking.  Hatred of blacks was so widespread in the North (and, I might add, so assiduously cultivated by the Democratic politicians of the period) that such land reform couldn't be carried out between 1865 and the end of Reconstruction in a corrupt political bargain in 1876.  (If you think the vote-counting in Florida during the 2000 election smelled, you should read about the vote-counting in Florida during the 1876 election.)

Since we are talking about aspects of American history that are doleful to contemplate, let me add that until the 1800s there was not a whole lot of *moral* opposition to conquest or to land seizure or to slavery anywhere—at least not on the side that had the advantage in numbers or warlikeness or technology.  Unfortunately, what is remarkable is not how long it took to end slavery in the West, or to give land seizure a bad name (finally, when Europeans arrived in the New Guinea highlands in the 1930s, they did not seize desirable land from the native farmers).  What is remarkable is that slavery and land seizures were eventually rejected in the West.  Movements to abolish slavery do not seem to have arisen anywhere else (for instance, I have never heard of an indigenous Islamic movement to end slavery).  In fact, it was the threat of a visit from British gunboats that helped to end slavery in many a country outside the Western world. Robert Campbell

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39 minutes ago, Peter said:

Perhaps my point is that it is interesting simply because some of Q’s utterances may be true but some are not, and it is too easy to read and become involved with their line of thought and be duped. I think it would be awful to become part of a “posse,” and lynch the wrong person at the Capital. Peter    

Yes, it would be awful, if that happened.  But this is essentially a strawman argument. It wasn't "Q" who urged people to come to the Capitol, though (and Q has never called for violence from the people); that was Trump himself, who also did not urge violence at the Capitol, despite unsourced claims to the contrary. (His words and tweets clearly state the opposite.) The evidence indicates that the people who caused the trouble were Antifa in "MAGA drag" to stage a false flag. (You know, Antifa, the actual "posse" that's been engaged in wrongful lynchings...)
 

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6 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

those "strange bedfellows..."

"Onward, Christian soldiers,...."

Lin Wood on 1/24/21 - link:

 

Quote
God led me up join the Family Bible Fellowship of Ridgeville Church in Yemassee, SC this morning. Some of the members of the church are ready to start a fiery revival in Yemassee. I promised to help them. 

We need every community across our country to light the fires of a fiery revival. It will spread across our nation and our nation will influence the world. 

Every journey starts with one small step. Consider taking that step where you live and worship. 

We The People have the power. We The People can change our communities. We The People can change our nation. We The People can change the world. 

God gave the power to We The People. It is time to remind ALL who has the power. 

God bless you. - Lin 🙏❤️🇺🇸

 

In a series of subsequent posts - starting here - Lin talks about his plan in November 2019 to semi-retire and how that changed.

 

Quote


In November of 2019 I announced to my family that I was going to semi-retire. [....]

I wanted to write about my life with my dogs and how they had impacted my life and the lessons they had taught me. I wanted to write about some of my clients, including the real story still I told about Richard Jewell. I wanted to write about the art of conversations.

I wanted to start a charity to build loving facilities for unwanted dogs and horses. I wanted to build a chapel where all could worship surrounded by some of God’s most beautiful land. I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the land around me and my faith in God. 

Then things changed. [....]

 

Earlier on the thread, Lin excerpts - here - from a Catholic writer named Garret M. Ziegler.  I’ve just started looking at Ziegler's Telegram account.  He's college age, energetic and eloquent.

One of the Objectivism-connected people with whom Larry and I are still in contact has said multiple times over the course of the last eight or so years, "It’s going to be Jesus who saves us if we’re saved."

I think that there’s metaphoric truth in the quip,

Ellen

 

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Today Rudy Giuliani issued the following statement:

“Dominion’s defamation lawsuit for $1.3B will allow me to investigate their history, finances, and practices fully and completely. The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart. It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously. As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these Constitutional rights.”

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Interesting...DOD announces Gen. Michael Flynn’s brother Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn to lead U.S. Army Pacific :

Immediate Release

General Officer Assignments

Jan. 25, 2021

The Chief of Staff of the Army announces the following general officer assignments:

Lt. Gen. (Promotable) Charles A. Flynn, deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., to commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2482280/general-officer-assignments/

 

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The military needs us

Finally, I see something concrete people can do to remove the impostor and restore correct election procedures and shake off the threat of a socialist/communist takeover to boot.

The latest Situation Update video by Mike Adams lays it out. Granted, this particular video is more on the surface than deep and it is a bit choppy, but this one--I believe--is about as real as I know without seeing it with my own eyes. I think it's one of Mike's best videos big-picture-wise. And it convinces me Mike's military contacts are the real deal and high up.

Situation Update, Jan 25, 2021 - The trigger for the military to move against Biden

image.png

Essentially, Mike has highly placed people in the military who communicate with him. Those, he said, are his main military sources, not just Internet warriors. 

He said the military is full of Patriots and they are NOT on board with the Biden presidency. Also, they DO have massive amounts of evidence of both election fraud and foreign interference in the 2020 election. And they have arrest lists. But they decided not to move before Biden was sworn in, even though they put assets in place to do so.

 

Why the military stalled

Well, why didn't they move? I, personally, think it was because of the media onslaught and cultural mobilization by the left after President Trump's speech on Jan. 6 and the ensuing invasion of the Capitol. Right after that happened, Christopher Miller tweeted that the DoD was committed to seeing Biden inaugurated.

At the time, that ringed false to me. Was this guy getting "woke," too? Being who he is? That didn't make sense to me. He was the top dog in the military and a Trump supporter. How was it he didn't know the rally was infiltrated by the bad guys who charged and egged on whoever they could? Did he really believe President Trump incited a riot?

Now, with what I just learned, it makes sense to me. A military intervention in a country does not happen in a vacuum. There has to be a welcoming context in the majority of the culture to avoid massive conflicts breaking out all over the country. After all, millions of people are millions of people. Once shit starts for real, you don't just say, "OK, folks. Enough. Let's knock it off," and then everybody calms down. A fight generally has to go to a climax where one wins and the other loses or at least a stalemate is evident.

I think Chris Miller looked at that Capitol invasion situation and assessed it was too early for the country to accept a military to move against Biden. He knew BLM and Antifa were ginned up and well-funded to break out in massive riots across America.

I don't think he had any doubts about the military being able to take down the riots, but not the seething hostility behind them, hostility that would bleed over into normal people. I do think he had doubts about what a temptation this situation would be for hostile foreign powers to invade America or strong-arm American policy in a way to cause war to break out.

So his problem was not Trump. His problem was to weaken the left in a way the majority of people would not strongly object to a military intervention. In other words, lower the temperature to where some people might gripe, but there would be no constant long-term fighting among civilians.

In other words, the military wants to move to fix this legal and political abomination, but they want to do it at the right time when their chances of success are high (unless the situation forces them to act earlier), just like in war. They are shutting  Biden and his people out of many things in the Pentagon and military.

All that is what Mike Adams discusses. (btw - That is how human nature works, too.)

 

The trigger

You can read his notes and comments on the video here:

Situation Update for Jan 25th, 2021 – The trigger for the military to move against Biden (you won’t like this)

As those notes and comments show, the trigger the military needs to act is for Biden's disapproval numbers to be 70% or higher. That's all. Approval at 30% and disapproval at 70%.

Once the situation gets there, which means unfortunately there will be a lot of pain and suffering, or worse, Biden capitulating to foreign powers, the majority of the public will be clamoring for an intervention. 

And that means we--you and I--can act to help this disapproval situation come about.

We need to take Biden apart in the public. And by "Biden," I mean him and the people who are with him. We need to do to him what the mainstream media did to Trump, with this caveat. We should not make up shit. Just deal with the facts. And don't worry. There are and will be plenty of them to choose from.

In Randian terms, we should not engage in sanction of the victim here. Ruthless adherence to the goal of tanking Biden's image is the proper medicine for the current illness. It has to be nonstop and without mercy for the guilty.

 

Suffering

But what is the best way to do that? I mean, the losers bitch, right? How is that going to move hearts and minds?

Well, Mike's video gave me the first ray of reality sunshine of a practical solution I have seen since Biden was inaugurated. Mike's military contacts emphasized (apparently over and over) that when people speak out against Biden, they need to focus on the suffering he and his policies are causing. Suffering. Not illegality. Not immorality. Suffering.

Mike reported this and, from his tone, he seemed surprised and sounded like he thought it was a good idea, but not as fundamental as his contacts did. However, this focus on suffering in the message is exactly what brings me comfort. Someone up there in the military is pulling out all stops in psychological warfare. Now the job will get done and get done right.

 

Victimization stories

The left constantly uses victimization stories as a source of power. Here's just one example. Victimization stories are how they get the term "racist" to stick to people who are not racist. The process goes like this. 

1. They show someone suffering, one individual at a time. Not just a collective.
2. They show the bully or bullies being racist.
3. They present the bullies as conservatives or Trump supporters or white males, etc., and talk that up.
4. All the while, they pound on the emotions generated in people by the victimization story as they start saying ALL conservatives or Trump supporters or white males, etc., are racists.

That process bypasses logic and anchors the evaluation deep in the brain where fear of threat triggers automatic reactions. (Mirror neurons, automatic attention to distress signals innate in the brain, floods of oxytocin with cortisol and other neurochemicals, etc.) 

 

Sticking it to Biden and the bad guys

So all we need to do is do that with Biden. Whenever there is a horrible policy--for example, the illegal alien criminals being released from jail, people losing jobs over shutting down the Keystone pipeline, ruling class people practically known to be pedophiles being protected, etc.--we need to focus on one individual victim of these policies at a time. Put a face on the victim and ramp up the report of his or her suffering. (Later say there are many like the victim.)

Then tie that to Biden and the elitists and globalists behind him. Victimization storytelling.

Here's a tip. Do not focus only on the victim. Victim and bully need equal emphasis for this to work. You need a pitiful victim AND A hateful bully. Both. Pity alone doesn't work. Hate alone doesn't work. But when pity and hate transmute into outrage, the impact is like a bomb going off.

People may not like me saying this in these terms, but human nature is what human nature is. A is A. That's how it works.

We need to do this to Biden and his peeps over and over and over. Drip drip drip. This will boil the emotions in the culture in an anti-Biden manner and his approval ratings will tank. Which is what the military needs from us right now.

This is where people like Hannity get it wrong most of the time. (Not to pick on Hannity. But he stands for a lot of people because they all do what he does.) Hannity pounds on leftist hypocrisy as one of his main themes. But there's a problem with that. People just don't care about hypocrisy. They may like the gossip, but the emotional response is not high valence, meaning it does not prompt action. "Look how stupid you are" is an OK message, but for big issues, people just don't care all that much. Besides, all politicians are hypocrites, right? (yawn)

But people do care about a little girl or boy being sodomized by a famous person, especially if they see pictures and/or hear the victim speak out about it. They do care about a murdered body. They do care about images of desolation where once there was prosperity, especially if the owner is there close to despair and trying to soldier on. They care about the stories of these people. Just so long as there is a face people can look at and the stories are about individuals, not collectives.

They also care about the government leftist bullies and their hate of productive people. But one bully at a time. A face and a name and the hate. They also care about the bullies' indifference to the suffering they cause. They can't stand bureaucrats. And they care about giving bullies a heaping serving of comeuppance.

A word of caution. We don't need to so a smear campaign against Biden. We need to do an exposure of evil campaign against him, one that works like a smear campaign. One based in fact, not falsehoods.

The most effective way (or one of the most) of getting cultural traction for exposing evil is framing it in a story with the right victim and the right villain. This is an easily learnable skill for anyone who wants to give it a go.

 

Do it

Victimization storytelling to tank Biden's image is just one of the things we can do (I'll cover others later), but it's something concrete, correct in terms of impact, and moral so long as we don't make shit up and do stick to facts.

Watch the video if you can. Read Mike's notes and comments. You will see the light at the end of the tunnel and it won't be anything exotic. Just plain old reality according to the most important reality of all for humans--human nature.

I'm a human. You are, too.

Time to get to work...

Michael

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8 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Actually, I do like it.  I find the analysis reassuring in regard to cool heads at work judging timing.  I think that a military move too soon could precipitate outright civil war, which would likely be an even worse situation than whatever damage the Impostor's Regime produces.

Ellen

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I don't know about all this chatter of possible military intervention. It strikes me as whistling by the graveyard. However, this election was a coup through massive fraud. Democracy? Sic transit gloria mundi!

--Brant

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