Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

his statement by Prather, however, has deep roots, not just a difference in semantics or nuance with other forms of looking at freedom.

It goes back to whether humans are imperfect or whether they are perfectible. If a person believes humans are imperfect (although they should strive to do and be better all the time--reasons vary), like in Christianity or other religions, it is easy to accept the idea of equality of all humans on fundamental levels (life, liberty, choice to pursue happiness, etc.).

If a person believes humans are perfectible, his mission soon becomes how to be one of those who discover and/or develop what such perfection is, then how to impose it on everybody. That soon becomes eugenics and/or its sorry-ass cousin, transhumanism.

Both seek transformation of humans. But one (humans are not perfectible) is open-ended, growth-oriented, and it produces masterpieces in all fields, and the other is a mechanical form of pumping out carbon copy humans at the top (with a little variation for shits and giggles) while discarding and/or destroying the humans at the bottom considered as inferior stock.

This dovetails with a observation I just read yesterday in a book I'm currently reading, The Tao of War (based on the ideas in the Tao Te Ching by Lau Tzu, which also dovetails in with the idea that Trump is employing Sun Tzu's The Art of War:

 

Quote

 

Although Wang Chen titles his work Essential Explanations of the Tao Te Ching’s Martial Discussions, his treatise—treatise—for that is what his extensive commentaries really compose, a dispersed but distinct volume keyed to the Tao Te Ching’s chapters—is driven by his major concern for ending warfare, humanity’s great scourge.... Moreover, he assumes, if subconsciously, that human nature is essentially consistent, free of significant anomalies; therefore, when the government implements appropriate measures and ensures that certain values and practices are embraced, they will be universally accepted and applauded. Thus, in concord with Mencius, he believes that because the appeal of true righteousness is universally strong and undeniable, the Virtuous ruler can successfully counter violent incursions merely through his great righteousness, which will shame the enemy into withdrawing. Such belief obviously reflects radical faith rather than simple naïveté, for Wang was certainly aware of innumerable historical villains and incorrigibles yet apparently continued to assume that everyone shared a common humanity, that no one would fall outside the domain of the affectable and affected. Such faith could only derive from the Tao’s pervasiveness, for if the Tao, although ineffable and transcendent, provides the patterns for the universe and its workings, it is inescapably applicable to all human beings. No real theory of human nature would be required, even though there were many such theories by Wang Chen’s time, ranging from viewing man as inherently evil to inherently good, with variations on admixtures and indeterminacy. An assumption similar to Confucius’s famous statement that “by nature, men are alike; in practice, they differ” would suffice.

Sawyer, Ralph D.. The Tao Of War (p. 13). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

 


Of course, I can't help but note the thematic connection between the above and the debates within Objectivism re: "the perfectibility of man". Not going to go deep into that, now, just observations that bridge MSK's comments with Trump, my comments on Tao and war, and Trump/our current government situation. One quick observation is that O'ism would seem* to be that "third place" or alternative between Christianity's forgiveness for imperfect man, and the Nietzschean ubermensch, between "imperfection yet striving to be better" and perfectibility/"To a gas chamber, Go!" of eugenics. O'ism holds that man can be perfect, but does not condone genocide of the imperfect, only to "leave them be" unless it's a matter of self-defense. The keystone would be Rand's conception of "errors of knowledge" vs. "breaches of morality."

Also, it seems that Rand shares some of Lao-Tsu's optimism re: minimal, "laissez faire" governance as being best, best on the potential "goodness" of man. Others may say they share the same naivete? Some have even pointed out similarities between O'ism and Daoism, in that regard. On the other hand...conversely, Nathaniel Branden once pointed out how many times the word "evil" appeared in Atlas Shrugged...her earlier work was very pessimistic towards other people ("The Little Street"?) . And she wasn't "libertarian" ENOUGH for more radical libertarians/anarcho-capitalists, who saw her as too "authoritarian"...etc, etc, etc...you all know the stories.

But I think the "conceptual common denominator" between her, Lao Tzu, and the "transhumanists" is "romanticism" vs. "naturalism", the idea of looking not just at "what is", but "what might and ought to be", to use her paraphrasing of Aristotle.

Speaking of "trans-humanism and perfection": On a sci-fi note, that latter is often depicted in sci-fi as the computer that judges mankind to be "imperfect" and needing to be eliminated: STAR TREK's "Nomad" probe that goes around "sterilizing imperfections", the computer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil Nine" "I am perfect, are you?", whose voice sounded suspiciously similar to the similar Daleks from DOCTOR WHO...)

*(would Rand have reamed me out for using "seem to be"? Yikes!- the imperfect That Guy)
 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.7k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

"Don't worry; we'll pick up the slack." It's...strange. When Trump first ran, I was not a fan of his, for a few reasons. But then I saw the over-reactions from others turn into TDS. I started to se

Have you guys been watching the press trying to frame President Trump with the white supremacy thing? Let's start with the end first, then look at the idiot press. Here is just one compilation am

Michael, everyone, Notice, too, the Pence-Ryan email exchange linked to from the letter: https://files.constantcontact.com/899f3f04701/106dc3d3-c645-4215-bdd3-addad65bade2.pdf Ellen

Posted Images

Just now, ThatGuy said:

This dovetails with a observation I just read yesterday in a book I'm currently reading, The Tao of War (based on the ideas in the Tao Te Ching by Lau Tzu, which also dovetails in with the idea that Trump is employing Sun Tzu's The Art of War:

 

Although Wang Chen titles his work Essential Explanations of the Tao Te Ching’s Martial Discussions, his treatise—treatise—for that is what his extensive commentaries really compose, a dispersed but distinct volume keyed to the Tao Te Ching’s chapters—is driven by his major concern for ending warfare, humanity’s great scourge.... Moreover, he assumes, if subconsciously, that human nature is essentially consistent, free of significant anomalies; therefore, when the government implements appropriate measures and ensures that certain values and practices are embraced, they will be universally accepted and applauded. Thus, in concord with Mencius, he believes that because the appeal of true righteousness is universally strong and undeniable, the Virtuous ruler can successfully counter violent incursions merely through his great righteousness, which will shame the enemy into withdrawing. Such belief obviously reflects radical faith rather than simple naïveté, for Wang was certainly aware of innumerable historical villains and incorrigibles yet apparently continued to assume that everyone shared a common humanity, that no one would fall outside the domain of the affectable and affected. Such faith could only derive from the Tao’s pervasiveness, for if the Tao, although ineffable and transcendent, provides the patterns for the universe and its workings, it is inescapably applicable to all human beings. No real theory of human nature would be required, even though there were many such theories by Wang Chen’s time, ranging from viewing man as inherently evil to inherently good, with variations on admixtures and indeterminacy. An assumption similar to Confucius’s famous statement that “by nature, men are alike; in practice, they differ” would suffice.

Sawyer, Ralph D.. The Tao Of War (p. 13). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


(Of course, I can't help but note the thematic connection between the above and the debates within Objectivism re: "the perfectibility of man". Not going to go deep into that, now, just noting it.)
 

Another quote from the same book, just a few paragraphs later, reminds me of the current situation, especially with the line "vexed in their homes", given the current "lockdowns", and because of what happened in DC yesterday:

 

Quote

 

In this simple hierarchy of governments, the worst is detested because it causes rancor and annoyance, pain and suffering, and generally violates the Tao, conceived as oriented toward benefiting rather than harming. Although unmentioned in the Tao Te Ching, people oppressed and on the verge of extinction will react by fomenting revolution and overthrowing the ruler, resulting in great turmoil and suffering for all living creatures. However, somewhat short of this dire extreme looms caustic government, counseled against in “People Do Not Dread Awesomeness”:

"Do not vex them in their dwellings;
Do not repress their means to life.
Only when there is no repression
Will they be unoppressed."

Furthermore, according to “The Government Is Morosely Quiet,” a direct relationship apparently exists between harsh governments—with their intrusive laws and measures, onerous ordinances, and required observances—and the nature of the people:

"When the government is morosely quiet,
The people will be heartily substantial.
When the government is caustically intrusive,
The people will be morally deficient."

Sawyer, Ralph D.. The Tao Of War (p. 16). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jules Troy wrote, “The outrage? 

Here is a contrary view. Was there the ~initiation~ of force in our nation’s capital last night and not just a legal protest? If the violence was not morally acceptable, then what parameters are required for retaliatory violence to become morally acceptable? And if it goes way too far is it still acceptable? Can there be a mistake when getting what you want and deserve (the reelection of President Trump), coupled with election fraud, equals anything goes? Was “stealing the election” and voter fraud coercive force?  

 A person on the news last night suggested America has been turned into a “banana republic” because of the spectacle. Even Dana Perino and others on Fox deplored the violence and I too think the violence was morally unacceptable. I heard a bit of Donald Trump Junior’s speech before his Dad The President, came on to speak and he was inflammatory and possibly encouraging and abetting violence which could be construed as a crime. If anyone can find it, give it a listen.

So, will there be a coup? NO. Will President Trump run again in 2024? That is hard to say, but the half of a percent of his voters who stayed home or voted for Biden may turn into a larger, miniscule number hindering his re-election chances in 2024. I hope I am wrong but I think President Trump’s chances are slim. Peter.      

A little background from an old letter from Bill.

From: "WILLIAM  DWYER To: <Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Roll Call (i.e., definition of force) Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 09:32:38 -0700. Joe Duarte asked, [D]oes anyone have a good definition of force? The non-initiation of force principle is key to the objectivist ethics and politics. I'd like to know exactly what we mean by force. I heard that Kelley defined it in one of his works - does anyone know which one? I can't find it.

Joe, I don't know about Kelley's definition, but "force" in a libertarian/Objectivist context refers to the negation of a person's will or choice; it means compulsion.  In this sense, two people engaged in the sport of boxing or wrestling are not using "force" against either; since their participation is voluntary.

The ~initiation~ of force, for an Objectivist or a libertarian, is gaining a value from its owner without his or her consent, which is why fraud is a form of force. Thus, the initiation of force presupposes the concept of property rights, which is a point that Kelley has made.  For example, if I physically remove you from a particular place against your will, I have used "force" against you.  But I have not ~initiated~ force against you if the place is my property and you are occupying it against my will.  Thus, in order to determine whether or not an act of force qualifies as the ~initiation~ of force, one needs to have a prior understanding of the property relations obtaining between the two parties involved in its exercise.

For whatever it's worth, Peikoff defines "physical force" as "coercion exercised by ~physical~ agency, [e.g.,] by punching a man in the face, incarcerating him, shooting him, or seizing his property."  So what, then, do we mean by "coercion"?  My dictionary defines "coerce" as "to restrain or dominate by nullifying individual will," which comports with my earlier definition of "force". Peikoff also defines the ~initiation~ of physical force as "~starting~ the use of force against an innocent individual(s), one who has not himself started its use against others." [OPAR, 310]  My dictionary also lists several synonyms of "force" and makes some interesting distinctions, e.g., "compel, coerce, constrain..."  "Coerce comes closest to what Objectivism means by "physical force".  Accordingly, "coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure." I hope this helps.  It is the best I could do off the top. Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

The outrage?  Like that dumb bitch that entered a federal building armed and got her ass blown away?  Yeah..glad I’m in another country right now, yours sucks.

Like people here who are outraged and whom you’re insulting.

Ellen

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

The perspective you mentioned is just as valid, though. With a few practical considerations. For example, the context is more abstract (metaphysical considerations) and there are no evil villains. And with no evil villain, there is no thrilling story where a hero for freedom can triumph.

Michael,

I’m not connecting with whatever you’re seeing as "the perspective [I] mentioned" versus Prather's.  I'll just say, if you think that I think that there are no evil villains, wrong.  (Come to notice "evil villains," can there be non-evil villains?  At any rate, I certainly think that there are evil people.)

Ellen

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

I'll just say, if you think that I think that there are no evil villains, wrong.

Ellen,

I don't think that.

I was just mentioning the roots of Prather's perspective. In other words, there are two perspectives I discussed.

To imagine that he would propose to steal freedom, thus hold that that freedom is property that can be stolen or something like that, or is unaware that he is proposing that, is a misidentification.

(I use the "identify correctly to evaluate correctly process for things like this.)

When one looks at what he said from his perspective, from the way he thinks, what he is saying becomes clear.

I resonate with his message, too. I resist--and will resist--all those who try to control me against my will.

I will take my freedom back from them if they manage to enslave me. Because they will never give it back.

That's what Prather is saying when he said "Freedom is never given, it is taken."

My discussion went into the roots of those who feel entitled to their own freedom and the individual freedom of others, and those who feel entitled to enslave others.

As to evil villains, I know for sure you believe in them. After all, there's the climate change corruption of science. :) I also believe you don't believe in eugenics, thus you don't believe that you, or someone else, can perfect other human beings.

In other words, I believe you are one of the good guys. :) 

Michael

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

Of course, I can't help but note the thematic connection between the above and the debates within Objectivism re: "the perfectibility of man".

TG,

Here is an extremely useful metaphor that illustrates the difference between the metaphysical and the epistemological in human perfection.

You can always move toward the horizon, but you will never arrive at it.

That's what an ideal is.

You can arrive at destinations that are real, but not at destinations that are only abstractions of what is real.

Perfectibility is such an abstraction. It exists in man's mind, not in any reality outside of man's mind. Existence exits. Not perfect existence exists in contrast to imperfect existence. 

In other words, perfection is epistemological, not metaphysical.

I believe Rand's proposition of moral perfection was her attempt to replace God because she constantly talked of "man worship" and things like that. I see it more as a denial than an affirmation. She wanted the culture to abandon the irrational and she considered faith in God, mysticism, irrational.

She wanted this so much, she gave it a backstory. :) She said she concluded as a young girl, that she found the idea of God insulting to man because that means that only God is perfect and man is unable to attain perfection.

She was smart enough to know that she could not perfect others, so she was not doing the eugenics thing. But something got muddled in the message along the way. The rhetoric sounds great, but when you look at the metaphysics of it, things don't add up. Once again, existence exists. Period. That's all, folks. Perfect and imperfect don't apply.

The reason they don't not apply is that perfection is epistemological and even a moral judgment. It's not a state of being, i.e., metaphysical.

Perfection is the horizon that is always out of reach, not a mountain or city you can arrive at. A horizon is not a place just as perfection is not an existent.

It was a happy day in my mind when that clicked. And that only clicked because I came across this metaphor from a guy named Dan Sullivan, who is promoted by mega-marketer Joe Polish as a kind of accidental guru. Frankly, he is. His observations, the ones I am aware of, are great.

In other words, I stumbled across this metaphor studying marketing, not philosophy. :) 

Michael

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

TG,

Here is an extremely useful metaphor that illustrates the difference between the metaphysical and the epistemological in human perfection.

You can always move toward the horizon, but you will never arrive at it.

That's what an ideal is.

You can arrive at destinations that are real, but not at destinations that are only abstractions of what is real.

Perfectibility is such an abstraction. It exists in man's mind, not in any reality outside of man's mind. Existence exits. Not perfect existence exists in contrast to imperfect existence. 

In other words, perfection is epistemological, not metaphysical.

I believe Rand's proposition of moral perfection was her attempt to replace God because she constantly talked of "man worship" and things like that. I see it more as a denial than an affirmation. She wanted the culture to abandon the irrational and she considered faith in God, mysticism, irrational.

She wanted this so much, she gave it a backstory. :) She said she concluded as a young girl, that she found the idea of God insulting to man because that means that only God is perfect and man is unable to attain perfection.

She was smart enough to know that she could not perfect others, so she was not doing the eugenics thing. But something got muddled in the message along the way. The rhetoric sounds great, but when you look at the metaphysics of it, things don't add up. Once again, existence exists. Period. That's all, folks. Perfect and imperfect don't apply.

The reason they don't not apply is that perfection is epistemological and even a moral judgment. It's not a state of being, i.e., metaphysical.

Perfection is the horizon that is always out of reach, not a mountain or city you can arrive at. A horizon is not a place just as perfection is not an existent.

It was a happy day in my mind when that clicked. And that only clicked because I came across this metaphor from a guy named Dan Sullivan, who is promoted by mega-marketer Joe Polish as a kind of accidental guru. Frankly, he is. His observations, the ones I am aware of, are great.

In other words, I stumbled across this metaphor studying marketing, not philosophy. :) 

Michael

Thanks for the additional observation. I've noted that you've made similar points, before, especially re Rand and religion on human perfection.  (One reason why I didn't feel the need to go too deep into it, it's been well-covered here on other threads.) That's why I thought it was an interesting parallel to find in Daoism, which is kinda-religion, kinda-not...

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ThatGuy said:

You can always move toward the horizon, but you will never arrive at it.

Just an aside: That makes me think of a famous Randism, but in the opposite way: "the total passion for the total height", which she thought WAS obtainable. I struggled with that one for a while, not because it might unattainable, but because if it were, then...what? What comes after that? Where does one go from there? And that was kind of depressing. But then, what is "total"? Makes me think of another Tao quote: "the Tao that can be named is NOT the Tao." Or, as the old koan goes, “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Just an aside: That makes me think of a famous Randism, but in the opposite way: "the total passion for the total height", which she thought WAS obtainable. I struggled with that one for a while, not because it might unattainable, but because if it were, then...what? What comes after that? Where does one go from there? And that was kind of depressing. But then, what is "total"? Makes me think of another Tao quote: "the Tao that can be named is NOT the Tao." Or, as the old koan goes, “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

AG,

When I was in Brazil in the orchestra, the conductor, Maestro Eleazar de Carvalho (who also taught me privately as a conductor--he was a damn good teacher, too), always used to say in rehearsals: "Perfection is the beginning of decadence. Once you achieve the height of perfection, the only place to go is down."

Imagine the cognitive dissonance that used to cause in my then-Randroidish head.

I couldn't agree and I couldn't disagree.

:)

Michael

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just saying but if Trump really wanted to see who all his friends and enemies and fair weathered "friends" were, this sure would be the way.

These folks sure want him out before January 20 even, I mean, threatening the 25th, talking about impeaching him now, ask Pence to remove him, and all the other blah blah.

These folks are not acting like they believe that the 20th is going to happen.

These folks are really scared right now.

If anyone thinks that Trump is walking away from this when he is one signature away from another four years and his 4 and 5 hitter at the plate and on deck.

Bases loaded, two outs.

Trump does not walk away from that.

DM me if anyone wants to a bridge in Brooklyn, way cheaper considering the current real estate collapse but I got the papers for it.

 

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

AG,

When I was in Brazil in the orchestra, the conductor, Maestro Eleazar de Carvalho (who also taught me privately as a conductor--he was a damn good teacher, too), always used to say in rehearsals: "Perfection is the beginning of decadence. Once you achieve the height of perfection, the only place to go is down."

Imagine the cognitive dissonance that used to cause in my then-Randroidish head.

I couldn't agree and I couldn't disagree.

:)

Michael

 Speaking of "chasing the horizon": This reminds me too of  the "circle vs. straight line" scene in Atlas Shrugged, where Dagny is in her forest retreat, meditating on the nature of productiveness, living a life in circles, vs. pursuing a straight-line goal oriented achievement. Runs contrary to the idea popular with communitarian authoritarians of having "roles, not goals..."

"I couldn't agree, and I couldn't disagree"...
I kinda get that way about it, now. Like you've said before about Rand and issues of scope...

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

Once you achieve the height of perfection, the only place to go is down."

Reminds me of the "Icarus" myth, and Rand's aversion to that...was it Frank O'Connor who wanted to paint Icarus flying not just up to the sun, but through it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Marc said:

If anyone thinks that Trump is walking away from this when he is one signature away from another four years and his 4 and 5 hitter at the plate and on deck

Inauguration Day is January 20, 2021.

This is an attempt at humor from the Never Trump Washington Post: At Joe Biden’s inauguration, Donald Trump will: A. Attend the ceremony rather than worsen his legacy as the poorest of losers. B. Boycott the ceremony and go into hiding that day. C. Boycott but send self-pitying tweets about it. D. Boycott and hold a simultaneous rally to steal attention. E. Attend but moon Biden while he’s taking the oath of office. end quote

Nasty, but it does raise some questions. What will President Trump do if he can’t pull a rabbit out of the hat? I agree with many who keep their hopes alive because OUR PRESIDENT is not giving up. Then we must not give up. But what if our beloved President receives an eviction notice? What is the Secret Service required to do? Will they escort him out of the building? Will Melania start packing up before then? It is less than two weeks away. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Did Trump just concede?

TG,

Maybe.

If he did, it's time to focus on other things until the dust settles.

If he didn't and this is just a rhetorical way of calming things down, it's best to keep our antennas up until Jan. 20.

If he's out, I know I'm still with Trump. I refuse to live silently in a world where a blatant ripoff of that scale happens and there are no consequences. This is actually bigger than President Trump.

Michael

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael wrote about Trump conceding the election: If he did, it's time to focus on other things until the dust settles. end quote

He said there will be a smooth transition so he is conceding but he also hinted about running again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Did Trump just concede?

Trump is not giving up.

New administration is his new administration, without Pence et al.

He has not come all this way in 6 years to give up here.

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Marc said:

He has not come all this way in 6 years to give up here.

It will be interesting to see what the polls predict as we move forward.

From en bee cee: Capitol Police chief resigning amid criticism over pro-Trump mob.

Was it a mob? Was it a riot? They didn’t turn over any statues or set ”too much” on fire like Antifa but I would have to say, they didn’t do anything good for Trump by trashing the Capital. I watched some reporters getting accosted by Trump supporters after being asked what network they worked for. And I am sure everyone saw all the press equipment being demolished by those “folks.”

Link to post
Share on other sites

As to challenging the election legally, President Trump is already removing the weapons and soldiers from the field.

BREAKING: Trump Campaign Drops All Georgia Election Challenges

This means Trump's defeat for anti-Trumpers.

For people like me, it means the best is yet to come.

He's already regrouping.

As the saying goes, choose your battles wisely.

:)

Michael

 

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

He's already regrouping.

As the saying goes, choose your battles wisely.

Well said. I contributed to our President 17 times between 2016 and 2020 and it will be interesting to see if the "regrouping" requires some more donations.  He is the best President ever, in a country split in half.  One critic was saying he added a lot to the debt, but lets see what Biden does. If he runs in 2024 will he keep Pence as his running mate? I think so, though Rubio and Cruz are still my favorite picks.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now