The Palestinians Misjudged the Biden Junta re Israel


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The Palestinians Misjudged the Biden Junta re Israel

The Biden junta is for endless war for profit, not against Israel, even though being anti-Israel is the smokescreen.

But the Palestinians and the oligarchies behind them screwed up big time.

Biden:

Quote

Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.

Here's what happened in a nutshell.

A couple of days ago, violence broke out between Israelis and Palestinians in different parts of the world.

Then a bunch of rockets were launched by Hamas into Israel. Israel pounded Gaza.

Back and forth. Then even more violence broke out in several cities in Israel and around the world.

Then a whole big bunch of rockets were launched by Hamas into Israel in several stages. 

And this happened:

Then this happened:

Then this happened:

Then this happened:

Then this happened:

Then this happened:

Then this happened:

Biden said, "Tough shit," (my paraphrase) to the Palestinians. The exact quote is given at the start of this post.

More is coming, too. The Palestinians and people who support them thought Biden would be a push-over. He is, but his military commanders are not. The Palestinian side totally misjudged Biden and his love of war profits. And his love of spreading the blood money around to his cronies.

I, also, feel Trump's influence in Israel's harsh response. But I feel more the Deep State war machine cranking along (with them big fat Pentagon contracts in view).

The pro-Trump people will want to end this flare-up decisively and as soon as possible. (After all, Trump was not alone when his team killed Soleimani. His team people still have military jobs.)

The Deep State military will want to get the war ramping up quickly, but then drag it out for as long as possible, preferably with other Arab countries joining in. Who they fight is not important. The important part for all involved is to destroy things and kill people in order to prompt them big fat contracts for their personal interests.

For some reason, though, I believe this thing will end soon and end hard.

Michael

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Here's something interesting.

What this refers to is that Israel planted stories in the fake news media (including NYT) that is was going to do a massive land invasion of Gaza.

Lots of Hamas went into the tunnels planning to come out on the Israel side. 

Israel then bombed the tunnels full of the enemy.

Hamas can't even film some mutilated dead bodies for a press campaign.

The NYT is pissed.

Lots of people and places, though, are cheering. Not just for the brilliant military maneuver, but also that the fake news press got caught looking like assholes to the entire world. Total discredit.

Scott Adams pointed out there's even more. Israel also planted stories in the Israeli press that there was not going to be a land invasion of Gaza,

Now, whenever the fake news media writes about Israel's military plans, the Israelis knows it can be snookered, will not do much checking, and will report the talking points fed to it with gusto.

The NYT, for one, just lost its clout in Israel.

Michael

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How do you describe the two sides in this conflict to a child? The Israelis are neutralizing terrorists. The terrorists are indiscriminately trying to kill Israelis, including women and children. One action is self-defense and the other action is murder.

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From the world media and public: The "soft bigotry of low expectations" (To Palestinians);  the hard bigotry of unrealistic, self-sacrificial standards (To Israel).

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I just saw Scott Adams say something amusing.

He said (and I am adding to it a little), by Israel bombing the building where the AP was and mentioning that this is where Hamas was, too, it made the the fake news media focus on talking about itself instead of talking about the traditional Palestinian victimization story. The mainstream news space is now being hogged by fake news people talking about themselves.

:)

Also, it appears that the Abraham Accords are rock solid, so this indicates that the Arab countries in the region are indifferent to the hostilities. They are walking away from Palestinian grievance propaganda demonize Israel.

I think everybody's making too much money right now to worry about hostile people who won't let go of their hatred no matter what the situation...

:) 

Don't expect many in the oligarchy or haters in general to credit President Trump with this, but the rest of the world (the 99%... all right, all right, the 97%) sees it.

The world owes a big thank you to Trump.

Michael

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One of the starts of the latest conflict was the eviction of seven Arab families. I don't know the whole story but on the face of it, I think that was wrong, especially when I heard some of them had been there for generations. I wonder if Israelis think it was worth it? The Palestinians who cheered when it was over may not have thought it was worth it. Of course in America if you don't pay your rent and in some extreme cases because of eminent domain people are evicted, so we are not holier than thou.  

Edit. I looked it up.

The Truth about the Sheikh Jarrah Eviction by Erielle Davidson May 12, 2021·5 min read. The east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah has become the latest flashpoint in the Arab–Israeli conflict, sparking the very tension that Hamas seeks to exploit for its own political advantage. Several Palestinian-Arab families living in Sheikh Jarrah face eviction from homes following a ruling from Jerusalem’s District Court. In anticipation of a Supreme Court hearing of an appeal of the ruling, Palestinian Arabs have rioted nightly in Sheikh Jarrah, joining violent Palestinian-Arab attacks related to the Ramadan holy month, and culminating in violent eruptions across the city, including at some of Jerusalem’s holiest sites.

Meanwhile, Hamas has capitalized on the unrest by launching some 1,000 rockets toward Israel, with at least seven targeting the capital city, in the hopes of killing Jews and inciting further violence. Since Sheikh Jarrah is emerging as the battle cry of the Palestinian-Arab violence, it is worth discussing why the supposed “scandal” isn’t really a scandal at all.

For starters, the title to the land never belonged to the Palestinian Arabs currently residing on the property. There is nothing pernicious happening beyond a standard landlord eviction of non-paying tenants. But you wouldn’t know that based on the current media coverage and outcry on the progressive left.

For instance, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) penned a tweet labeling the evictions “inhumane” and stating she stood in “solidarity” with the Palestinian families being evicted from “their homes.” Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) demanded that the evictions be halted, while Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) labeled the evictions “abhorrent and unacceptable,” asserting, “The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.” Some progressives are even arguing to condition aid to Israel over the Sheikh Jarrah issue, suggesting that U.S. aid to Israel is being used to oppress Palestinian Arabs. In turn, the Biden administration has also expressed concerns over the evictions, albeit far less forcefully . . . .

 

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3 hours ago, Peter said:

One of the starts of the latest conflict was the eviction of seven Arab families. I don't know the whole story but on the face of it, I think that was wrong, especially when I heard some of them had been there for generations. I wonder if Israelis think it was worth it? The Palestinians who cheered when it was over may not have thought it was worth it. Of course in America if you don't pay your rent and in some extreme cases because of eminent domain people are evicted, so we are not holier than thou.  

 

 

Peter, it's the other way round. The strikes by Hamas could not have been spontaneous, they were planned well in advance. With foreknowledge of that attack, some dissident Arab Israelis erupted simultaneously on any pretexts.

Suits the West's prejudices of causation and victimhood by Israel. 

 

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21 hours ago, anthony said:

The strikes by Hamas could not have been spontaneous, they were planned well in advance. With foreknowledge of that attack, some dissident Arab Israelis erupted simultaneously on any pretexts.

You are definitely correct, Tony. I sometimes see a quote and don’t delve into it. I just now looked at a headline from the liberal paper, “The Washington Post” and you can see that, though it has its facts right, it has been slanted to fit an agenda.   

From The WaPo: GAZA CITY —Gazans and international aid agencies raced to head off overlapping medical crises Saturday as hospitals already overrun with injuries from the 11-day bombardment by Israel struggled to treat a surge in coronavirus cases from packed shelters. end quote

notes. Rand: Observe that, in spite of their differences, altruism is the untouched, unchallenged common denominator in the ethics of all these philosophies. It is the single richest source of rationalizations. A morality that cannot be practiced is an unlimited cover for any practice. Altruism is the rationalization for the mass slaughter in Soviet Russia—for the legalized looting in the welfare state—for the power-lust of politicians seeking to serve the "common good"—for the concept of a "common good"—for envy, hatred, malice, brutality—for the arson, robbery, high-jacking, kidnapping, murder perpetrated by the selfless advocates of sundry collectivist causes—for sacrifice and more sacrifice and an infinity of sacrificial victims. When a theory achieves nothing but the opposite of its alleged goals, yet its advocates remain undeterred, you may be certain that it is not a conviction or an "ideal," but a rationalization. end quote

Q: What should be done about the killing of innocent people in war?

AR: This is a major reason people should be concerned about the nature of their government. Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn't overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their governments we are all paying for the sins of ours. If some people put up with dictatorships some of them do in Soviet Russia, and some of them did in Nazi Germany then they deserve what their government deserves. There are no innocent people in war. Our only concern should be: who started that war? If you can establish that a given country did it, then there is no need to consider the rights of that country, because it has initiated the use of force, and therefore stepped outside the principle of right. I've covered this in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, where I explain why nations as such do not have any rights, only individuals do. end quote

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I got to thinking about how Israel is a powerhouse but the Palestinian politicians and jihadists are very bad people. What about America or British (and now Chinese) hegemony throughout the world? What sets one circumstance apart from the other? Some old letters.

From: "William Dwyer" To: <objectivism Subject: RE: OWL: British Imperialism was bad? Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 01:32:18 -0700 On 4/17, Allen Costell wrote, "The essence of all forms of imperialism is unjust domination, and that's evil."

Not true.  _Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary_ (1963) defines "imperialism" as: "The policy, practice or advocacy of extending the power or dominion of a nation esp. by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas." There is nothing in this definition about the dominion's being unjust.

_The American Heritage Dictionary_ (1991) defines "imperialism" as: "The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations." There is nothing in _this_ definition about the hegemony's being unjust. "Hegemony" is defined by the same dictionary as "the predominant influence of one state over others." Accordingly, there is nothing unjust about U.S. imperialism when it is used to defeat tyranny and defend the rights of the oppressed. It is important to remember that the right of self-determination is an _individual_, not a collective right.  A nation, like Iraq, that violates the rights of its citizens has no right of self-determination - despite what hoards of clueless protestors around the world are claiming. -- Bill

From: "merjet" To: <objectivism Subject: Re: OWL: British Imperialism was bad? Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:26:11 -0500 Allen Costell wrote: >First, British imperialism was not motivated by benevolence.  The British controlled India because of the possible economic and political benefits, not out of a desire to help Indians.  Any beneficial consequences of British rule are secondary to their main goal of profit and power at the expense of dignity and human rights.

In short, Costell complains because the British were not altruists.

>Second, and a point that ought not need be mentioned, the enslavement and control of another human being is evil.

The British did not "enslave" the Indians. British colonialism wasn't all good -- what broad movement is? But British colonialism introduced railroads to the rest of the world, largely by building and manning them themselves. The British role in shipping by sea was no less dramatic. As late as 1912 Britain carried more than half of the goods ships by sea. Plenty more was done by the British Empire for industry and commerce. On the political front, freedom and common law, wherever it exists in the world today, owes much to developments in Britain. Another great British-led development was the destruction of international slave trading, and then slavery itself. This was when slavery was entrenched throughout the world and had been for centuries. (Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures) Does Costell wish us to believe the Indians would be a free people w/o British "oppression"? Think again, and recognize the caste system, especially the untouchables, and the treatment of women and children.

>So to point out that there were ways in which imperialism had some good results is, at best, misguided.  The essence of all forms of imperialism is unjust domination, and that's evil.  Those who seek defend imperialism, even indirectly, ought to rethink their position.

So pointing out facts you don't like is "misguided". So we should ignore any facts you wish to ignore because they don't fit your agenda? Also, those who carelessly fling labels ought to rethink their position. Calling the British Empire "imperialism" to taint it with other instances of imperialism, such as by military conquest, is simply name calling. By 1912 the British Empire had about 400,000,000 British living abroad with a military of about 120,000! (Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures). Best regards, Merlin Jetton

From: Chris Matthew Sciabarra <chris.sciabarra> To: Philosophy of Objectivism List* <objectivism Subject: OWL: Re: Democracy, Interventionism, Dominance, Imperialism Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 11:47:21 -0400. I very much enjoyed Philip Coates' two posts, one on "Democracy, Interventionism, Dominance, Imperialism," the other on "The Objectivist Center vs. The Ayn Rand Institute."  I will have a lot more to say on the themes of his posts in my forthcoming article, "Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand's Radical Legacy," which will appear in the May/June 2003 issue of THE FREE RADICAL, and will be published online in due course on http://www.solohq.com .

Here, I'd like to make one or two brief points. There is no doubt that (as Phil puts it) "Intervention can be good if it is defensive or involving retaliatory force (or alliances whose purposes are to defend lives and rights including property)."  But I don't think it is necessarily sloppy to use the term to describe aspects of U.S. foreign policy.  Rand recognized the same dynamics at work in both U.S. domestic and foreign policy.  She states unequivocally (in "The Shanghai Gesture"):  "Foreign policy is merely a consequence of domestic policy."

In my forthcoming article, I present Rand's critique of both domestic and foreign policy (in their inextricable connection), showing how Rand saw the same forces at work in each sphere.  In fact, Rand routinely saw the failures of government policy (in each sphere) as the pretext for more and more government involvement.  Intervention caused a problem or made it worse, and government routinely used this as the pretext for ~further~ intervention to 'resolve' the problem, only creating more problems in its wake.  Rand points this out in her examination of government intervention in the economy (with its consequences for individual rights---economic and civil liberties), but she does the same thing in her examination of U.S. intervention abroad.

In a sense, one can find this on display in Rand's discussion (in "The Roots of War") of the twentieth-century history of U.S. wars, where there is the clear implication that U.S. entry into World War I did ~not~ make the world safe for democracy... but that it made fascism, Nazism, and communism possible; that U.S. intervention in World War II did ~not~ bring forth the Four Freedoms, but that it delivered 750 million people into communist despotism; that the resulting Cold War made possible the illegitimate "hot wars" in Korea and Vietnam.  And so forth.  (Granted, there were very complicated reasons for the genesis of each of these wars; I'm simply focusing here on  how each war, like each regulation, begets another.)

One can also see these interventionist dynamics at work in Rand's discussions of U.S. foreign aid policy (not just her written essays, but in her audio lectures, Q&A periods, and radio interviews---all of which I have referenced extensively in my forthcoming essay).  Here the connections between government ~politico-economic~ intervention at home and abroad are mutually reinforcing.

This is an almost-lost aspect of Rand's approach to global politics.   Rand focuses on the global financial manipulations of the Federal Reserve System, the World Bank, etc.---upon which statist businessmen built their illicit fortunes.  One can glean a radical critique in Rand's examination of international political economy that echoes many of the concerns voiced by New Left critics of U.S. "capitalist imperialism."  Except that, for Rand, the cause was not capitalism---but its opposite.

It is for this reason that I believe both the TOC and the ARI sides to this discussion have come up short.  Yes, each points out something of value.  But there is almost ~no~ appreciation for Rand's ~radical~ understanding of global political economy, a system that was an international extension of what Rand identified as the "New Fascism."  (I should note that not ~all~ Objectivist commentary on these issues comes up short; there are notable exceptions.)

And this is not simply a legacy of ~substantive~ radical insights; it is a radical ~methodological~ legacy:  one that seeks to grasp things by the root.  As I write in a recent essay [a preface to my forthcoming article, see: http://www.solohq.com/Articles/Sciabarra/What_the_Hell_Has_Happened_to_the_Radical_Spirit_of_Objectivism.shtml --- which you may have to cut and paste into your browser], "for Rand, to examine roots and origins, to engage in any analysis of fundamentals, one must be committed to a thoroughgoing, comprehensive strategy. Rand's strategy entailed both logical and dialectical thinking. The art of noncontradictory identification (logic) required the concomitant art of context-keeping (dialectics)."

And in her analysis of any social problem, Rand ~never~ dropped the context---the realities and conditions of global statism and the irrationality it required and perpetuated---that was slowly destroying the world.  That is why Rand wrote:  "If . . . mankind cannot afford war any longer, then ~mankind cannot afford statism any longer~ . . . if war is ever to be outlawed, it is ~the use of force~ that has to be outlawed" Cheers, Chris

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

(Ayn Rand speaking:) "There are no innocent people in war."

This jumped out  at me just now. 

I was familiar with it before and uncomfortable with it. The whole idea of morally blaming people who do not participate in a war and don't agree with it as being guilty for it has always caused me cognitive dissonance. But with the knowledge, study and experience I now have, it's grown to be more than cognitive dissonance. 

I fully disagree with Rand's statement above down to the premise level. It's one of the most collectivist things Ayn Rand has ever said. I can't even spin it to give her the benefit of the doubt and make it make sense to me.

Propaganda doesn't exist to cater to the guilty. It exists to fool the innocent.

People get fooled. That's a fact of human nature. And getting fooled is not the same thing as being morally guilty.

Once you see a deception and understood it, if you still support the con, then you are morally a participant in the con. But how can you be morally guilty of something you are not aware of? Morality (ethics), to Rand, is a code of values to guide man's choices. How can you choose anything and peg it to a code when you are not aware of the choices?

Fighting bad guys is not moral guilt. So long as a person honestly believes he is on the good guy side, he is an innocent in moral terms. (Self defense and all.) Once he wakes up to the evil his side does, once he sees through the propaganda or sees the difference between word and deeds, then he is no longer innocent.

When Rand says, "There are no innocent people in war," and that, if they have not overthrown a dictatorial government, "They deserve what their government deserves," she is leaving out huge numbers of people.

This is an understanding of human nature deduced from a principle, not one based on observation.

This is one idea of Rand's that--I believe all the way down--needs to be rejected. It's in the same category as her idea that only a mentally (emotionally) damaged woman would ever strive to be President of the USA. Both ideas have the same epistemological flaw: deducing reality from principle while excluding a hell of a lot of observation.

Rand didn't fall into that trap a lot, but fall into it at times, she certainly did. For people like me who support her, I only have two choices when I come across it. I either identify it based on what I see and go from there, or I turn myself into a syllogistic pretzel trying to make Rand's comment fit and not clash with what I see. In other words, I either learn from it and use it as a case study of what not to do, a case study of the danger of relying on abstraction to the point of ignoring observation so to speak, or I shut down my independent thinking or even my observation processing mechanisms in my brain.

People who know me know which choice I make and how I think.

Applied to this case, one does not fix the propensity of waging war humans have shown ever since recorded history by misidentifying human nature to make it fit an idea, a judgment. One can only judge correctly what one identifies correctly.

Michael

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6 hours ago, Peter said:

I got to thinking about how Israel is a powerhouse but the Palestinian politicians and jihadists are very bad people. What about America or British (and now Chinese) hegemony throughout the world? What sets one circumstance apart from the other? Some old letters.

 

That is a good connection with hegemony. First, the "powerhouse" that Israel has become is the full consequence of the aggressive wars initiated by Arab states and lately threatened by Iran. I don't know if anyone clings to the belief that Israel wanted a powerful military to subordinate or conquer its neighbors - i.e. has ever been imperialist - at huge expense and at risk to its own soldiers'/citizens' lives and disruption to peaceful living and economic functioning - only to hand back territories it won - as it has? (With one glaring exception, the West Bank, taken from Jordan when it attacked, and Israel has still "occupied"). Israel learned the hard way that "peace for land" doesn't work with those who want you gone or dead. As it didn't work with Gaza. As you know, they withdrew everybody from the Strip (won from Egypt) in 2005 to allow the Gazans their self-determination, and what resulted was Hamas terrorists on the doorstep and repetitive wars begun by Hamas. In which, Hamas goes to great lengths to kill people and the IDF goes to lengths not to kill people.

So no one should expect the West Bank to ever be surrendered by treaty, permitting another enemy state ruled by Fatah or most likely, Hamas.

The larger point you indicate is what we are seeing rising as a blow back on the West's colonizing, imperialist, or settler histories. Here is the shameful spectacle of sacrificial guilt, victimhood and blame at whatever good, mixed with some bad/injustice which occurred in "our" pasts in 'domination' of foreign lands and people (most conveniently by and from nations and people that have long enjoyed the full benefit of Western liberties and rights). And the most recent "European settlers"? Of course, the Zionist-Jews coming into 'Palestine', first in dribs and drabs buying land from the Ottoman Turks, then in a rush after WW2. Makes no difference to many that the UN ceded them land for a sovereign state, unlike other historical settlers, the new kids on the 'colonist' block are continuously fingered by the international Left for all "the sins of our fathers" and are paying the price for all of the West's self-atonement. 

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19 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Propaganda doesn't exist to cater to the guilty. It exists to fool the innocent.

People get fooled. That's a fact of human nature. And getting fooled is not the same thing as being morally guilty.

.

Michael

Michael, As things (don't) progress, year after year in the Middle East, (and regress elsewhere) I have less sympathy for any remaining innocents, on the collectivist-socialist-Left specifically. They know what's going on. Propaganda has no longstanding chance with anyone today, unless one is brain dead, since there are too many sources of information. In short, how can anyone be innocent if 'you' can be fooled - negate your own eyes, ears and mind - so easily? I'd think, only if you ¬want¬ to be fooled. If what's going on suits your ideology, 'agenda', feelings and prejudices.

More narrowly, as far as the Palestinians/Gazans go, the evidence all around, day by day in their tiny lands of their continuing Hamas-created misery into coming generations, so long as they obey their rulers and fill their kids with hate too, is no longer deniable. How "innocent" are they? (Accepted, that they are in captivity to their elected leaders, and resistance would be hard, but they could still make known their discontent to the world). Outsiders don't appreciate the depths of Jew-contempt taught into many an Arab mind. The Jews were and are the lowest of the low, and to make matters much worse, Israeli Jews have proved their military (and other) prowess to the point of winning wars since '48, furthering the wealth and other successes, and worse, supporting Palestine, at times humanely, often altruistically. That's a triple blow to the hubris of many Palestinians: Dependence on an inferior, hated people who have patently thrived beyond expectations. (And after all that, they believe they are the superior people). In one week, the Palestinians/Gazans could begin to be a part of that Middle Eastern-Israeli success story. But will not as long as the West lauds and sympathizes with them, keeping reality away and their dreams alive of wiping out Israel.

The Leftist media, I've watched for several decades, entirely supports by disinformation their false pride, because many in the West subliminally despise Jews, who for hundreds of years were the perennial pariahs scattered around Europe and further East who could be pushed around, picked upon, etc., and who fitted the role of subservient victims. Since they took a monumental stand for self-determination with their own created, powerful State, the Israeli-Jews have disturbed the traditional status quo, no longer victim but independently strong - i.e., automatic "oppressor". Second, since the Left are basically anti-principled, appeasing, craven and majoritarian, who view the vast numbers of the Muslim world (and China) as the side to attach themselves to going forwards, the Israeli state will have to be done away with. I include many Leftists of Jewish background in there, some I know, for me the worst of the Left. As inconceivable as the elimination of Israel seems, this outcome is their unstated but clear intention. So what - perhaps Iran might accomplish that goal and the West can wash their hands of the moral guilt... So yeah, I am not very sympathetic to the 'brain-washed' followers, Arab Muslim and Western Leftist (and some, extreme Rightist), who condone any of this in any way. None can be unaware that true "innocents" will suffer.    

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Re: "Innocents" in war and propaganda: That all begs the question of what happens when those innocent citizens of a country are not only duped into believing propaganda, but then act on that propaganda and potentially kill other "innocents", themselves...even though those on acting based on that propaganda may be acting out of a sincere belief that they are doing "the right thing", there's also "road to hell being paved with good intentions". When deciding to initiate force, did that "innocent" come to the conclusion rationally, or via second-handedness? Is he innocent if his intel was bad, but intent was "pure"? Etc. Did he do his "due diligence" to verify the propaganda, or engage in evasion, and give in to personal bias? Etc.

It all comes back down to the initiation of force and the proper/necessary/inevitable responses to such. ("Does the innocent victim of propaganda have the right to kill the innocent victim of propaganda who's trying to kill them", and such...did the supposed innocent who initiated violence make an error in judgment, vs. a breach in morality? ...In addition to Rand's comments on "no innocents in war", her other, similar comment about self-defense when criminals and such using "human shields" (sorry, I can't remember the source of her argument, there) goes hand-in-hand with this for consideration, to round out her argument and get her full context (whether she's right, wrong, or in-between, in regards to issues of scope/context...)

(I'd hazard to say there's a "leaking lifeboat" aspect to this, as well, re, her arguments in "The Ethics of Emergencies" and "The 'Conflicts of Men's Interests"...)

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Re: Rand's statement: "Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn't overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their governments we are all paying for the sins of ours. If some people put up with dictatorships some of them do in Soviet Russia, and some of them did in Nazi Germany then they deserve what their government deserves. There are no innocent people in war. "

(Me, thinking out loud:) Let's break this down.

"Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent."

But, in the same paragraph:

"There are no innocent people in war."

That admittedly bugs me; which is it? Are there innocents, or aren't there?

But then, maybe it's her wording: "the majority in any country at war is innocent" doesn't necessarily mean that those majority are IN the war (as in "there are no innocent people IN war.")

I don't know if that's a valid distinction that she was making or if that's my own interpretation, but since she said that "if some people put up with dictatorships, then they deserve what their government deserves", that suggests that those not necessarily involved IN the war are still NOT innocent. So that brings me back to my initial annoyance with her wording: are there, or aren't there, innocents in war?

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Dangit, I can't find where Rand made comments about how to respond to hostages in bank robbery situations...but I did find this in my google search, a rather lengthy discussion on the topic in the comments to an article by Robert Bidinnoto, "Getting Rights Right", at Rebirth of Reason...overall, this whole discussion looks like one of those divisive topics that comes up in O-land, without any clear-cut agreement...

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Bidinotto/Getting_Rights_Right.shtml

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1 hour ago, ThatGuy said:

(I'd hazard to say there's a "leaking lifeboat" aspect to this, as well, re, her arguments in "The Ethics of Emergencies" and "The 'Conflicts of Men's Interests"...)

Regarding Rand's comments on  "(no) innocents in war)", my speculation on "lifeboat" ethics, and "ethics of emergencies": There is this, from Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A:

Q:
A rational person finds himself in a life-threatening situation, such that unless he kills an innocent man, he will be killed. Under such circumstances, is it morally permissible to kill an innocent person?

A:
This is an example of what I call “lifeboat questions”—ethical formulations such as “What should a man do if he and another man are in a lifeboat that can hold only one?” First, every code of ethics must be based on a metaphysics—on a view of the world in which man lives. But man does not live in a lifeboat—in a world in which he must kill innocent men to survive.

Even as a writer, I can barely project a situation in which a man must kill an innocent person to defend his own life. I can imagine him killing a man who is threatening him. But suppose someone lives in a dictatorship, and needs a disguise to escape. If he doesn’t get one, the Gestapo or GPU will arrest him. So he must kill an innocent bystander to get a coat. In such a case, morality cannot say what to do.

Under a dictatorship—under force—there is no such thing as morality. Morality ends where a gun begins. Personally, I would say the man is immoral immoral if he takes an innocent life. But formally, as a moral philosopher, I’d say that in such emergency situations, no one could prescribe what action is appropriate. That’s my answer to all lifeboat questions. Moral rules cannot be prescribed for these situations, because only life is the basis on which to establish a moral code. Whatever a man chooses in such cases is right—subjectively. Two men could make opposite choices. I don’t think I could kill an innocent bystander if my life was in danger; I think I could kill ten if my husband’s life was in danger. But such situations could happen only under a dictatorship, which is one reason not to live under one. [FHF 68]

Mayhew, Robert. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A (p. 114). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Emergency Ethics” flow from the big topic, “Ethics.” How about some old discussions, from different threads for balance? BB, Ghs, Ellen, etc., and why be moral if you are soon to die? Peter

From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: ATL: The Hallmark of the Objectivist Ethics Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 01:44:54 EDT. I scarcely know where to begin responding to what  seems like the infinite number of posts that have come in about the Objectivist ethics. I shall try to handle the most relevant posts one at a time, unless some of them overlap and can be answered together.

Let me say that Bill Dwyer gave me my first laugh during all of this discussion by referring to me as "someone who considers herself a pillar of Objectivism."  Somehow, I've never seen myself as a pillar of anything. Besides, Ayn Rand would say that I disagree with too many of her ideas for her to appoint me a "pillar."

Luka, I'll begin with your comments. You wrote, "My point is that if a person is acting in a way that they think will best promote their self-interest, then they cannot be morally condemned. Not from their perspective. "You said this--and I appreciate it--in response to my question about whether or not one should morally condemn the actions of a Nazi, or a White Supremacist, or a bank robber if they thought their actions to be serving their self-interest. And you are here acknowledging what logically follows from Consequentialism. We cannot judge such people, we cannot judge anyone, we cannot object to any action, so long as the actor feels or thinks or believes that he acted in the service of his self-interest.

This makes morality totally subjective, a function only of the internal mental or emotional processes of the actors. But, in fact, what does it matter what their "perspective" is?  What horrors have ever been perpetrated among men that the initiators did not consider to their self-interest? And, of course, in the immediate sense--in terms of the consequences of their actions for them -- the initiators of these horrors are usually quite correct. If what they wanted was power, or money, or the respect and admiration of those who saw the world as they do, then it certainly was in their self-interest to act as they did. The Hitlers and Stalins of this world wanted power; and they surely got it. Should we then consider them the moral equals of the Roarks and Reardens, who also believed they were a citing in their self-interest? According to what you've said, according to the theory of morality you're espousing, we should so consider them.

You asked, "So do you think that she {Ayn Rand} was a deontologist? Because that {and Consequentialism} pretty much covers all the bases." No, they don't cover all the bases. The Objectivist morality is neither Consequentialism nor is it deontological. Ayn Rand was indeed an originator, and the heart of her ethical system can be found in her overturning of the usual philosophical categories. She said--and demonstrated--that morality was OBJECTIVE. That it arises from the nature of man and the requirements of his survival as the kind of species he is.  In order to survive as a man, he must BE rational, he must BE objective, he must act in the service of what is IN FACT his long-range self-interest . . . It's now 11:30 PM my time, and I was up until 6:00 AM this morning. To be continued sometime tomorrow. (I think all this must be a vast  conspiracy to keep me from writing.) Barbara

From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: ATL: The Objectivist Ethics Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 17:22:42 EDT I had said that I would respond to each of the posts disagreeing with my position on ethics. That clearly has become impossible. It has also become unnecessary, since so many of you who agree with my position have advanced arguments for it that I would have made. So I shall here present the essence of my position, and leave it at that. If any of you think I've failed to respond to questions or objections in your posts, that is not my intention; but these last weeks are all the time I have to give to the issue.

The defenders of Consequentialism (which I see as a species of Utilitarianism applied to individuals) do appear to grant that human rights supersede considerations of short or long-range benefits to individuals. But why is that?  It's because the concept of rights derives from the nature of man. And so does the Objectivist moral code.  Morality, according to Objectivism, derives from the fact that we survive to the extent that we exercise reason. The monsters of this earth are not evil because they misperceive their self-interest, but because they are anti-life, anti-reason, anti-man.

(It's relevant to add, in response to I forget whom, that the word "evil" is one I almost never use, except for axe-murderers and their equivalents.  I always intensely disliked the fact that the word was thrown at people so recklessly and unfairly in the early days of Objectivism, and sometimes in the not-so-early days.)

Morality is not a function of what I think is good for me or you think is good for you. The Consequentialist argument approaches the issue of morality in midair, not at its root; its root, as Ayn Rand made so clear, is the nature of human life and survival.  The Consequentialist argument contains the same internal contradiction as Utilitarianism: after one says that one should choose the greatest good for the greatest number,  how does one establish what IS  the greatest  good  for the greatest number? Similarly with Consequentialism: after one says that morality requires that one follow one's self-interest, the question becomes: What IS to one's self-interest? Ayn Rand pointed out that when we say "This is good for me" or "This is bad for me," we must be prepared to answer the question "BY WHAT STANDARD?" And the standard is the life of the kind of being we are. This formulation is Ayn Rand's enormous contribution not just  to the content of a moral system but to the entire approach to morality.  It bypasses and goes far deeper than either Consequentialism or deontologicalism. How do we decide what  is good or bad for us except with reference to our survival as man? I have said before that Nazis, Communists, bank robbers and chi . . .

From: "George H. Smith" To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: "Prudent" Predators Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 16:28:29 -0500. I think the following should be taken into account when discussing ethical egoism and the problem of the prudent predator. There are many situations in which general principles, precisely because they are so general, cannot command or forbid specific options in concrete situations. Anyone who demands that rules should decide what we do in every situation fails to understand the role of the moral agent in decision making. We have been told that ethical egoism cannot forbid prudent predation in some situations. This assumes that such predation should be regarded by the rational egoist as furthering his self-interest. But why should it? Because petty theft might yield a net monetary profit? But where is it written that money should trump all other egoistic values?

Such examples may be useful to the opponents of ethical egoism, but they are typically loaded with presuppositions that these opponents rarely try to justify. They assume, for one thing, that the egoist must take a strictly instrumentalist view moral principles, regarding them as nothing more than a means to some undefined end called "self-interest." But, as J.S. Mill and others have argued, the role of moral principles is by no means this simple. Even if we assume that moral principles are initially adopted for instrumental reasons, they soon become part of our psychological makeup and thereafter play a major role in how we see ourselves, i.e., our character, or sense of "who we are." As Mill pointed out,  a moral principle that was initially seen as a means to an end is often transformed into part of the end itself, as it becomes an integral part of our character and therefore essential to our happiness.

Why would an egoist who has accepted the principle of individual rights even be on the lookout for petty exceptions that might enable him occasionally to violate rights as a prudent predator? And if such situations did present themselves, why would the rational egoist even give them serious consideration? To make a few easy bucks? If this has never been a dominant concern of the egoist before, why should it become one now?

The many examples of prudent predation that appear in anti-egoistic literature seem to assume that the egoist is frothing at the mouth to get as much as he can, however he can, from other people, but that he has imposed certain  restraints upon himself (e.g, rights) for prudential reasons. And thus, when the rationale for these restraints seems no longer to apply, the egoist should have no problem with adjusting his moral principles to meet the exigencies of a particular case.

Yet, as every serious libertarian knows, to accept the principle of individual rights has a profound effect on how one views oneself and one's relationship to other people. This principle becomes an indispensable part of one's moral character and thereby becomes inseparable from one's view of happiness and the good life. I therefore doubt whether most ethical egoists (of the sort we are discussing here) would even regard opportunities for prudent predation as serious options in the first place. To suppose otherwise is rather like asking why a person who loves cats would not exploit the opportunity to torture a cat when he thought he could get away with it, if this action might bring him pleasure.

The answer to the latter question, of course, is that a lover of cats would be repulsed by the very idea of torturing cats and so would never seriously consider this option in the first place. The same reasoning, I submit, applies to the rights-egoist and prudent predation. Such an egoist, with the notion of rights so deeply imbedded in his character, would find no pleasure in the thought of violating the rights of others. (I don't wish to deny the possibility of emergency cases, wherein an egoist might consider violating rights as a means to save his own life. But this is nothing like the cases of prudent predation that have been discussed so far.)

Anyone who demands that a moral theory provide specific commands and prohibitions for every conceivable situation fails to understand the role of general principles in everyday life. It is the moral agent, not his principles, that makes concrete decisions -- and this agent, in considering what will promote a good life, should be concerned with far more than looking for potential loopholes in those selfsame principles. George H. Smith

From: Ellen Stuttle  To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Egoism meaning Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 01:39:16 -0500 Gayle Dean wrote: > ...When I talk about egoism, I mean Rand's egoism, i.e., a "narrow, maximized, consequentialist, non-moralized interest, rational egoism."

OK, pause there. IF I understand the qualifying adjectives -- which is a big "if," except in the case of "rational" -- the only one of these adjectives which I'd say certainly applies to Rand's egoism  is "rational."  "Consequentialist," maybe. (I'm beginning to think after some further study of what "consequentialist" means, that it might be accurate as a description of Rand's ethics, but I reserve final judgment.

I'm still not 100% convinced that "consequentialist" and "deontologic" cover the whole field.)  But "narrow, maximized, non-moralized interest" -- if I've understood correctly from Rob Bass's posts what these mean:  no, I don't agree that they describe Rand's egoism; indeed, I'd say that they contradict the adjective "rational."
 

Gayle continues: In the debate between Bill and Rob, Bill argued for a narrow, consequentialist egoism, IMO.  And Rob "always" argued against narrow egoism -- because as you know -- that's the only kind of egoism he believes exists. Rob, if you're reading this, please affirm or disconfirm the above description of your views.  I'd be pleased to know for sure if that *is* what you think.

 > So, I [Gayle] don't think there was any confusion in that debate.

Interesting to hear that *someone* thinks there wasn't any confusion in it.  I found it so impossibly confused, I couldn't make heads or tails of what either Bill or Rob was trying to say.

> Rob argues that broad egoism (the kind that derives from the "every man is an end in himself" principle -- and what he calls a moralized interest theory egoism) is not really egoism at all and that broad egoism was not Rand's egoism. > I [Gayle] agree with him on both those points.

Well, I [Ellen] remain astonished that anyone could interpret Rand as not having *meant* that "every man is an end in himself." It's impossible to interpret her as not having said it, since she did say it, emphatically.  So what's being argued is that even though she said it, she didn't mean it. On what basis is this argued?

And what principle is being argued for instead?  That every other human is a means to my purposes?  (But then by reverse reasoning, I would be a means to every other human's purposes, and we're back with sacrificial relationships between humans.)

>But basically Rob holds an opposing view to mine.  The only thing Rob and I might agree on is that there is a  contradiction between egoism and Rand's right's formulation.  > And even then, we disagree -- because Rob believes that *IF egoism and rights are incompatible* (as he argues) THEN we should give up egoism. I, on the other hand (if I'm forced to choose between them) -- would choose to give up rights.

And I would say that there's no contradiction between rational egoism and rights, indeed that rational egoism and rights both derive, in an indivisible flow, from the same source, which is the role of the mind in human life, that it makes no sense to speak of rational egoism *without* rights.

At least it seems we're progressing in trying to figure out where each of us stands.

From: "George H. Smith To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 14:01:49 -0600. Gayle Dean wrote: "George, I think Luka is trying to get someone to ground their arguments in egoism.  For all you or I know, Luka is a Fundamentalist Christian who is simply trying to get Objectivists to look at what their principles imply.  In fact, Rob Bass made these same arguments and Rob is not a Sternerite either. Perhaps, Luka believes we are all evil and wrong --  in any case I don't think it is quite fair to assume someone's argument is their own belief, in the way people on this list try to do."

On the contrary, "to assume someone's argument is their own belief" is quite reasonable, especially when they fail to indicate anything to the contrary. Some time ago Luka was promoting, in the name of self-interest, the notion that we should sneak into movie theaters without paying when we can get away with it. And this approach is consistent with his more recent pronouncements about killing innocent people in the name of egoism.

And even if Luka is mounting some kind of reductio argument against egoism, this does not make his arbitrary assertions about egoism any less arbitrary.

Gayle wrote: "For Objectivists, principles must derive from egoism."

Exactly where does Rand say this? On the contrary, in the introduction to VOS, she specifically criticizes the notion that "the *beneficiary* of an action is the only criterion of moral value" (p. viii). She goes on to say (p. x):

"The choice of the beneficiary of moral values is merely a preliminary or introductory issue in the field of morality. It is not a substitute for morality nor a criterion of moral value, as altruism has made it. Neither is it a moral *primary*: it has to be derived from and validated by the fundamental premises of a moral system."

Thus Rand's egoism is derived from more basic principles about the nature of values and their role in human life. She manifestly does not "derive" her moral principles from egoism, as Gayle asserts. If Luka (or anyone else) wants to take issue with Rand's egoism, then they should deal with her actual arguments rather than absurd caricatures.

Gayle wrote: "And it won't do to say that anything that is good for society as a whole (and thus good for the individual) is an egoistic principle.  That is working from the top down...from what is good for the group is necessarily good for the individual.  That is not egoism."

This is not my position, nor was it Rand's. Ghs

From: "Doris Gordon" To: "Luka Yovetich" <lukay Subject: Re: ATL: Why be moral? Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 09:40:28 -0500 > >The rock bottom basic flaw in your approach is that you're trying to come up with a moral code which says that no moral code is valid.  The words "should" and "shouldn't" are meaningless in your scheme.  You're talking about someone who's simply *a*-moral.

>Not really. "Should", as I'm using it, means "Need to in order to achieve one's ultimate goal". I'm just talking about people whose ultimate goal, the type of life that they want, is in conflict with the goals of others.

I haven't been following this thread in detail, but I'm wondering, has it been about morality in general or about rights (justice), which is a subset of morality in general?

As I see it, conflicting goals (conflicting wants and conflicting needs) are related to but separate and distinct from the question of conflicting rights (justice).  Rights (the right to be from aggression, i.e., the initiation of unjust force and fraud) do not conflict.  There is no such thing as a *right* to violate another person's rights in order to achieve one's own goals.

The foundation, the _sine qua non_, of a proper moral code is the non-aggression principle (NAP).  The NAP is about justice, not about morality in general.  All of us are bound by the obligation not to aggress.  We have no obligation to let anyone violate anyone's right to be free from aggression. Should we/do we "need to" let others behave unjustly towards us or towards anyone else?  Not as far as I can see. Doris Gordon, Libertarians for Life

From: "George H. Smith" To: Subject: ATL: Re: Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 12:27:44 -0600. Luka wrote: "Firstly, I'm not taking issue with Rand's egoism. But I really am not primarily concerned with what Rand thought in this particular discussion. I'm interested in what's true. The moral theory that I think is true goes like this, "The standard of value from any individual person is the type of life that that person wants most". Desire plays a HUGE part in determining the standard of value for any given person. I agree with George that Rand would take issue with this. Oh well. The question is not "would Rand agree with this" but "is this true".

Of course the relevant issue is ultimately the justification of a moral theory and not the arguments of Ayn Rand per se. But Atlantis is an Objectivist-oriented list, so when Luka proposes his version of Stirnerite egoism, it is not unreasonable to expect that he will critically consider Rand's egoism, which is an explicit (and effective) repudiation of this approach.

Rand, unlike Luka, paid careful attention to meta-ethical issues like the nature of values, the factors that generate the need for a moral code, and (perhaps most important in this context) the requirement that moral principles should apply universally to every human being. This is what I had in mind if calling Luka's assertions about egoism "arbitrary." They are arbitrary in the sense that he presents no general theory to back them up.  Luka fails to consider even elementary issues like what distinguishes a *moral* reason from other kinds of justification. I agree wholeheartedly with Ellen Stuttle's brief but on point remarks to the effect that what Luka is proposing is not a moral theory at all, but rather is the repudiation of ethics altogether. To say, in effect, "X is right because I feel like doing it" is not a *moral* reason in any sense of the term.

Luka wrote: "Just to settle this down a little. I wonder if George would take the time to explain in what sense it would be in the cancer-stricken guy's interest to not shoot Dave IF it was the only thing keeping him from choosing his own death. Let's say that the guy is in terrible pain and knows that he could die any day. The only thing keeping him alive is his desire to kill Dave who, for this example, was having an affair with the man's wife. (I put this extra tidbit in just to isolate the rights-violating aspect of the example even more.) What reason would you give the guy, honestly, to not shoot Dave? How is it in his interest not to?"

The brief answer to this is simply that the cancer victim's desires are irrelevant to the broader issue of whether or not Dave has rights. If he does, then how the cancer victim may assess his own interests, whether correct or not, cannot override such rights, for they set the context in which every person may legitimately pursue his self-interest. The universal precepts of egoism, in other words, apply as much to Dave as they do to the cancer victim. Rights are what make the universal pursuit of self-interest possible without conflict, and this kind of universality is *essential* to the enterprise of ethics.

In Luka's scheme, if the cancer victim murders Dave, then this would be a "right" action for the former and a "wrong" action for the latter (since to be killed is clearly contrary to Dave's interests). Yet this kind of supposed conflict is precisely what the discipline of ethics is supposed to resolve.

What a particular person may or may not desire in a given instance has no bearing on the rights of other people. I may hate another person and desire to kill him, but my feelings cannot divest him of his moral agency, so they cannot strip him of the rights that flow from that moral agency. My feelings about another person do not alter his nature in any way, Moral principles --including rights --are based on the nature of human beings, not on my feelings about them. Rand's egoism does not merely say that people should pursue their self-interest. It also says that people have a *right* to pursue their self-interest, which means that they have legitimate moral claims against the aggressive, unjust actions of others. Ghs

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5 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

This is an example of what I call “lifeboat questions”

So . . . life is not a lifeboat situation and one cannot apply that emergency to the bigger, moral picture. I like that. 

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Still not specifically about bank robbery hostages, but close enough  (and this is probably what I had in mind, anyway, in my memory):
This is the question in Ayn Rand Answers after the comment presented about "no innocents in war", that elaborates on her argument. (And I think I've provided enough commentary from Rand to show the full context of her argument, at least, so I'll wrap up my search with this post.)

I found this line interesting in my previous point about her conflicting claim that there "may be innocents" in a country at war, and "there are NO innocents in war": "There aren’t many innocent people there; those who do exist are not in the big cities, but mainly in concentration camps. "

Ultimately, whether she thinks there are no innocents, or that there are some, her conclusion is the same: they are NOT to be considered as human shields in the question of one's self-defense, that one is not obliged to sacrifice their own life for the sake of another potential innocent (again, assuming the one doing the defending is not initiating the force): "Nobody has to put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self-defense, for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent."

The full q/a:

Q:
Assume the Soviet Union started a war of aggression; assume also that within the Soviet Union there are individuals opposed to communism. How do you handle this conflict?

A:

I’ll pretend to take the question seriously, because it’s blatantly wrong. The question assumes that an individual inside a country should be made secure from the social system under which he lives and that he accepts—willingly or unwillingly, because he hasn’t left the country—and that others should respect his rights and succumb to aggression themselves. This is the position of the goddamned pacifists, who won’t fight, even if attacked, because they might kill innocent people. If this were correct, nobody would have to be concerned about his country’s political system. But we must care about the right social system, because our lives depend on it—because a political system, good or bad, is established in our name, and we bear the responsibility for it.

If we go to war with Russia, I hope the “innocent” are destroyed along with the guilty. There aren’t many innocent people there; those who do exist are not in the big cities, but mainly in concentration camps. Nobody has to put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self-defense, for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent. When someone comes at you with a gun, if you have an ounce of self-esteem, you answer with force, never mind who he is or who’s standing behind him. If he’s out to destroy you, you owe it to your own life to defend yourself. [FHF 76]

Mayhew, Robert. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A (p. 95). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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1 hour ago, ThatGuy said:

Re: Rand's statement: "Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn't overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their governments we are all paying for the sins of ours. If some people put up with dictatorships some of them do in Soviet Russia, and some of them did in Nazi Germany then they deserve what their government deserves. There are no innocent people in war. "

(Me, thinking out loud:) Let's break this down.

"Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent."

But, in the same paragraph:

"There are no innocent people in war."

That admittedly bugs me; which is it? Are there innocents, or aren't there?


 

The answer to the conundrum I think lies in 1. her first rendering, the majority of citizens in wartime can't be held morally responsible nor attacked and "is innocent" of wrongdoing and 2. There can be NO innocence of knowledge, ignorant innocence, in war time - which means the people MUST see what's clearly going on around them, and why.

They can't shrug off their knowledge, as did German civilians in the War. Confusing, yes.

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14 minutes ago, anthony said:

The answer to the conundrum I think lies in 1. her first rendering, the majority of citizens in wartime can't be held morally responsible and "is innocent" of wrongdoing and 2. There can be NO innocence of knowledge, ignorant innocence, in war time - which means the people MUST see what's clearly going on around them, and why.

They can't shrug off their knowledge, as did German civilians in the War. Confusing, yes.

I did come across another comment in "The Comprachicos" that would seem to support this interpretation. Even if it doesn't address the context of war, it shares a similar abstraction...

"Even though the major part of the guilt belongs to his teachers, the little manipulator is not entirely innocent. He is too young to understand the immorality of his course, but nature gives him an emotional warning: he does not like himself when he engages in deception, he feels dirty, unworthy, unclean. This protest of a violated consciousness serves the same purpose as physical pain: it is the warning of a dangerous malfunction or injury. No one can force a child to disregard a warning of this kind; if he does, if he chooses to place some value above his own sense of himself, what he gradually kills is his self-esteem. Thereafter, he is left without motivation to correct his psycho-epistemology; he has reason to dread reason, reality and truth; his entire emotional mechanism is automatized to serve as a defense against them."

Ayn Rand; Peter Schwartz. Return of the primitive: the anti-industrial revolution (Kindle Locations 1250-1251). Meridian.

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43 minutes ago, Peter said:

So . . . life is not a lifeboat situation and one cannot apply that emergency to the bigger, moral picture. I like that. 

(Just for clarity, in Peter's post:, re: "This is an example of what I call 'lifeboat questions'": that is Rand's line, not mine. The format of the quote makes it look like mine (i.e., "That Guy said..." a limitation of the forum quote feature, I guess. Just bugs my OCD-ocity.)

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