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Bidinotto "responds": TNI article on Ron Paul

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In the March '08 TNI, Bidinotto responds to those who criticized his attack-piece on Ron Paul.

The least concerning are his rationalizations for why his smear-piece was justified. It isn't important to me the reasons why he wants to abandon the field of political action and reside solely in the Platonic realm of ideas—he is welcome to ineffectually reside there. The only issue I really care about is whether or not he justifies his attacks on Ron Paul's foreign policy. This is the crux of all the attacks on Ron Paul's candidacy by Objectivists.

For me, this is not really about Ron Paul, but rather about whether the ideas of the Founders, that we should have "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." One thing Objectivists never face when smearing Ron Paul: they are also attacking Thomas Jefferson.

The most ridiculous accusation critics wage is that Ron Paul is a “pacifist”. I congratulate Bidinotto on being honest here and describing Ron Paul as a noninterventionist. Ron Paul voted to aggressively pursue terrorists into Afghanistan and take them out, he is no “pacifist”. But it's too bad that Bidinotto's precision ended there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States...interventionism

Bidinotto gives a laundry list of unjustified claims that Ron Paul would obliterate our “intelligence operations, alliances, and capacity to respond abroad to mounting threats; undermine the security infrastructure up which international trade depends”.

Bidinotto claims that Ron Paul does not want to defend our interests. This is a stunningly superficial reaction to Ron Paul's ideas. In fact, Ron Paul has a different strategy for securing our interests. If one wanted to critize Paul, then the only way to do it is to deal with his actual ideas. Instead, Bidinotto looks at a few concretes of Ron Paul's policy (and doesn't even get the concretes right) and totally ignores the ideas behind them. For example, he accuses Ron Paul of wanting to obliterate intelligence operations. It is true that Ron Paul would abolish the CIA. But he has said that in fact he approves of intelligence gathering, but thinks it should be done by the military not by the CIA. Bidinotto fails to address Ron Paul's ideas on “blowback” and why the current Iraq war is in fact not in our interests, ideas that were supported by this CIA analyst:

I thought Mr. Paul captured it the other night exactly correctly. This war is dangerous to America because it’s based, not on gender equality, as Mr. Giuliani suggested, or any other kind of freedom, but simply because of what we do in the Islamic World – because ‘we’re over there,’ basically, as Mr. Paul said in the debate.” ~ Michael Scheuer, former head analyst at the CIA's bin Laden unit

While ignoring Paul's actual foreign policy, Bidinotto then accuses Paul's noninterventionism as “not a foreign policy, but the abdication of one.” In fact, Bidinotto's article is not an actual rebuttal of Ron Paul's ideas, but the abdication of dealing with them. It is the appearance of having responded, without actually having done so. It is a sham.

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Jefferson was willing to move against the Barbary pirates who were the Islamic terrorist of his day. Thousands of Europeans were enslaved by the pirates. Christopher Hitchens has pointed that the line in "Rule Britania" that says "Britons will never be slaves." was written because Britons were being enslaved until the British and American Navies stopped it.

Jefferson did take action against Islamoists.

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Jefferson was willing to move against the Barbary pirates who were the Islamic terrorist of his day. Thousands of Europeans were enslaved by the pirates. Christopher Hitchens has pointed that the line in "Rule Britania" that says "Britons will never be slaves." was written because Britons were being enslaved until the British and American Navies stopped it.

Jefferson did take action against Islamoists.

Ron Paul voted to go after the 9/11 terrorists too. A little reading comprehension would be nice.

Shayne

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Jefferson was willing to move against the Barbary pirates who were the Islamic terrorist of his day. Thousands of Europeans were enslaved by the pirates. Christopher Hitchens has pointed that the line in "Rule Britania" that says "Britons will never be slaves." was written because Britons were being enslaved until the British and American Navies stopped it.

Jefferson did take action against Islamoists.

Ron Paul voted to go after the 9/11 terrorists too. A little reading comprehension would be nice.

True. He's made it very clear he was in favor of going after them, and is critical that we screwed that up, and used 9/11 as one of the excuses for invading Iraq.

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True. He's made it very clear he was in favor of going after them, and is critical that we screwed that up, and used 9/11 as one of the excuses for invading Iraq.

The distortions and misrepresentations coming from so-called "Objectivists" is farcical. I was disillusioned with those I regarded as fellow Objectivists before all of this, but when many Christians are more reality-oriented about Ron Paul than Objectivist *leadership* it becomes evident that the Objectivist movement is utterly intellectually bankrupt. This movement is not only dead, it's decayed into oblivion, the apparent remains aren't even the corpse, but the maggots that ate it.

Shayne

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True. He's made it very clear he was in favor of going after them, and is critical that we screwed that up, and used 9/11 as one of the excuses for invading Iraq.

The distortions and misrepresentations coming from so-called "Objectivists" is farcical. I was disillusioned with those I regarded as fellow Objectivists before all of this, but when many Christians are more reality-oriented about Ron Paul than Objectivist *leadership* it becomes evident that the Objectivist movement is utterly intellectually bankrupt. This movement is not only dead, it's decayed into oblivion, the apparent remains aren't even the corpse, but the maggots that ate it.

Shayne

I think you have the movement which has become intellectually bankrupt confused, even so, it's not a movement with a cohesive political stance because it is implicitly individualistic and relates to those individuals values. What you perceive to be the most important issue is not necessarily what I perceive it to be. Two intelligent and rational individuals can both hold the same values and different opinions yet both be logical and consistent in their opinions. If they possess different information sets, they will be drawn to make different logical conclusions.

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Even though I agree it is possible to hold intellectually honest beliefs on both sides of the question, I still think that Ron Paul is more or less correct on Foreign Policy. There is a very big difference between war against Al Qaeda (which is legitimate, rational and in the interests of the western world) and the war in Iraq (which is none of this).

I dont think that the Objectivist movement is intellectually bankrupt. However I do believe many Objectivists can be exceedingly unfair. Whilst I often respect Robert Bidinotto's work, I believe his work on Ron Paul is inaccurate and I believe that Bidinotto is using foreign policy disagreements as a cover to conceal his ideological gruge against Ron Paul and Paleolibertarianism in general. I agree that Paleolibertarianism is incorrect, I have multiple problems with the Mises-Rothbard-Rockwell line of Libertarian thought (its cultural conservatism, moral intrinsicism and epistemological rationalism, specifically). However, I will not ignore the contributions that this line has made (the Ludwig von Mises Institute is the equal greatest resource on economics I have ever come across online).

Jefferson did take action against Islamists, justified action. Iraq was not an Islamist regime... it was a (relatively) secular, socialist regime. Al Qaeda is Sunni Muslim rather than Shia, and Iran is Shia (lessenning the possibility that Iran and bin Laden are bed buddies). Objectivists should know by now that you cannot defeat dumb ideas with bullets. Ideas are bulletproof.

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Even though I agree it is possible to hold intellectually honest beliefs on both sides of the question, I still think that Ron Paul is more or less correct on Foreign Policy. There is a very big difference between war against Al Qaeda (which is legitimate, rational and in the interests of the western world) and the war in Iraq (which is none of this).

Jefferson did take action against Islamists, justified action. Iraq was not an Islamist regime... it was a (relatively) secular, socialist regime. Al Qaeda is Sunni Muslim rather than Shia, and Iran is Shia (lessenning the possibility that Iran and bin Laden are bed buddies).

I have made the case a few times here that Iraq is in fact in our long term rational self interest. I elaborate on that here http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...amp;#entry44016

Our war is not one against Al Qaeda, but one against Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism. Al Qaeda is not the only murderous fundamentalist group, in fact there are thousands. Invading Afghanstan was the best blow we could deal against Al Qaeda, the worst of the fundamentalist islamic groups, as demonstrated by 9/11. But Invading Iraq was the best blow we could deal against Ismalic Fundamentalist Terrorism *in general* It's one thing to question the efficacy of that, it's another thing to pretend that Al Qaeda is our only enemy and that the nature of the nations of the middle east don't play any role creating and funding terrorism. Is that your position?

The biggest threat we face now is that of islamic terrorism, in the long term, the terrorism this breeds and the murderous hatred, intolerance, and indoctrination the prison camps of the middle east called 'countries' may very well wipe out all life on earth. The rapidly growing pace of technological innovation enables smaller numbers of people with fewer resources to kill ever more people. The social infrastructures in these nations are the worst in the world and are perpetually the hotbed of famines and pandemics. The root cause of all of these is the nature of the murderous dictatorships which brutally oppress and indoctrinate hundreds of millions of people throughout the middle east. The single best blow we can deal against this is to demonstrate clearly what a liberal constitutional democracy smack dab in the middle of the middle eastern islamic sea of tyranny is capable of. We had to start somewhere against the *general* threat of islamic fundamentalism, the conceptual over arching theme of the threat, not the individual particular terrorist groups, but where they come from, and where they are armed and funded from, and what causes that attitude in the first place. If you suggest responding only piece meal to individual attacks from individual groups, one at a time, you'll find yourself with a death toll in the millions. It is not reasonable in a world of transcontental flights and internation nuclear armed cruise missiles to base your foriegn policy on technology and predominant political ideas of 200+ years ago when it took 6 months to cross the Atlantic. It will be even less relavant in the age of bio-engineered viruses, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

Objectivists should know by now that you cannot defeat dumb ideas with bullets. Ideas are bulletproof.

Is this really what you think Iraq is? It's clear that this whole effort has been centered around trying to establish rule of law and a reasonable representative democracy in Iraq. If it wasnt, we could surely prop up some new dictator and secure oil supplies, something like this might be more inline with a comment that you cannot defeat dumb ideas with bullets, but when every reasonable effort is being expended to help people protect their own individual liberties and partake in a representative government, I hardly think this is accurate at all. The whole of the middle east is filled with bad ideas promulgated by murderous governments at the end of a gun, these bad ideas may kill millions of people globally, or lead to the end of all life on earth. What do you think <i>should</i> be done about these bad ideas?

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Our war is not one against Al Qaeda, but one against Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism. Al Qaeda is not the only murderous fundamentalist group, in fact there are thousands. Invading Afghanstan was the best blow we could deal against Al Qaeda, the worst of the fundamentalist islamic groups, as demonstrated by 9/11. But Invading Iraq was the best blow we could deal against Ismalic Fundamentalist Terrorism *in general* It's one thing to question the efficacy of that, it's another thing to pretend that Al Qaeda is our only enemy and that the nature of the nations of the middle east don't play any role creating and funding terrorism. Is that your position?

You are seperating the ideology from the people that believe in it.

1) Lets assume that there are groups A, B, and C. All of them believe in ideology X

2) Ideology X demands destruction of the US

3) Group A attacks us

My position is that in such a situation, the only group we can exterminate is group A. If ideology X was Socialism, and groups A, B, and C are all Socialist countries, my reasoning is the same. We can only attack any group or person that attacks us.

Many people believe in ideas that, logically, call for the destruction of the US. Certainly all fundamentalist Christians do, just as much as fundamentalist Muslims, fundamentalist Jews, Socialists, Fascists, all of them believe in an Ideology X. Yet not all of them attack the US.

We cannot simply kill every fundamentalist Muslim. We cannot kill people for having an intellectual virus. We can legitimately kill those that practice it (assuming that practice is to attack the US).

The root cause of all of these is the nature of the murderous dictatorships which brutally oppress and indoctrinate hundreds of millions of people throughout the middle east. The single best blow we can deal against this is to demonstrate clearly what a liberal constitutional democracy smack dab in the middle of the middle eastern islamic sea of tyranny is capable of.

First, remember that many of these brutal dictatorships are against the Islamic terrorist groups. Iran is Shia rather than Sunni (and the vast majority of Muslims are Sunni), Saudi Arabia exiled bin Laden and Al Qaeda is no friend of the Saudi regime. Most of the dictatorships in the Middle East are not purely Islamic (indeed Iraq was significantly secular), Arabic nationalism is very strong still.

As for a liberal constitutional democracy in the middle east, its a nice thought but there are some problems. 1) Look at the new Afghan constitution. Its really quite appalling. Every single human right is subject to not offending "the sacred religion of Islam." The Iraq constitution is just as bad. Iraq and Afghanistan prove that you cannot simply undo thousands of years of traditions and cultures. These tribal desert warrior fundamentalist nutjob traditions are so embedded deep within these societies that merely changing the political system (and a very minor change at that) will do nothing at all.

You simply will never get a secular liberal modern state in the middle east. At best, some oil barons will import some elements of western Capitalism (see the United Arab Emirates).

You might be able to convince Israel to adopt a "one-state-two-nations" solution (i.e. one state of both Israelis and Palestinians under a modern secular liberal system) but that is impossible with religion poisoning the issue. Jews think God gave it to them, Muslims think God gave it to them.

The whole of the middle east is filled with bad ideas promulgated by murderous governments at the end of a gun, these bad ideas may kill millions of people globally, or lead to the end of all life on earth. What do you think should be done about these bad ideas?

The only way we are going to get rid of these bad ideas is to change the minds of people. This requires philosophical and intellectual warfare, not physical warfare.

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You are seperating the ideology from the people that believe in it.

1) Lets assume that there are groups A, B, and C. All of them believe in ideology X

2) Ideology X demands destruction of the US

3) Group A attacks us

My position is that in such a situation, the only group we can exterminate is group A. If ideology X was Socialism, and groups A, B, and C are all Socialist countries, my reasoning is the same. We can only attack any group or person that attacks us.

You are separating the effect from the cause, you are focusing on the particulars of the situation (the individuals which actually attack) and not the over arching concept (the totalitarian dictators that promulgate the idealogy and arrange the attacks)

You like to assert that Iraq and Saddam was 'relatively' secular, yet Saddam was directly funding terrorist attacks against Israel and paying out tributes to the families of suicide bombers. That *alone* is reason enough to remove him from power.

Many people believe in ideas that, logically, call for the destruction of the US. Certainly all fundamentalist Christians do, just as much as fundamentalist Muslims, fundamentalist Jews, Socialists, Fascists, all of them believe in an Ideology X. Yet not all of them attack the US.

We cannot simply kill every fundamentalist Muslim. We cannot kill people for having an intellectual virus. We can legitimately kill those that practice it (assuming that practice is to attack the US).

Of course not, nor did I ever suggest anything of the sort. I am talking about attacking the people who actually commit attacks, and the primary cause of those people deciding to commit those attacks, where that cause violates fundamental civil liberties. If a lone preacher advocates this stuff, but has no literal power of his people, he falls under the realm of free speech. Where a totalitarian dictator forces a murderous fundamentalist ideology down the through of his prisoners and kills everyone who speaks out against him, we can certainly take every reasonable action to remove him from power and remove the oppressive infrastructure he left in his wake.

You act as though since Saddam Hussein *himself* did not literally attack us, and that no Iraqi Battleship was steaming up the Hudson, we have no just cause to act against him. We had plenty causes for action

1) Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant, and a more free nation is always justified in a rational effort to remove from power the tyrants of a less free one to create a more free one

2) Saddam Hussien directly funded terrorism against western nations, allies, and Americans. Any assault on individual freedom and personal liberty against any person anywhere in the world is an assault on the very concept of liberty and freedom.

3) Hussien invaded neighboring nations and started wars

4) Hussien tried to have a president of a free nation assassinated.

5) Controlled a major portion of the worlds energy supply and used it, not surprisingly, for murder, tyranny, and sponsoring terrorism (even if it wasnt Al Qaeda)

6) The brutally oppressive social and economic policies and controlled forced indoctrination is creating more murderous terrorists, and as the totalarian despostic tyrant holding 10's of millions of people hostage, <i> ought to be</i> removed from power.

7) violated the conditions that ended the previous war he started, violating no fly zones and refusing international monitoring groups access to stores of weapons of mass destruction

The root cause of all of these is the nature of the murderous dictatorships which brutally oppress and indoctrinate hundreds of millions of people throughout the middle east. The single best blow we can deal against this is to demonstrate clearly what a liberal constitutional democracy smack dab in the middle of the middle eastern islamic sea of tyranny is capable of.

First, remember that many of these brutal dictatorships are against the Islamic terrorist groups.

The internal strife's and disagreements about how to best go about killing westerners and wiping isreali off the face of the earth does not constitute being 'against' islamic terrorist groups.

Iran is Shia rather than Sunni (and the vast majority of Muslims are Sunni)

And both preach the destruction of the west, the only difference is in who they considered the rightful heir to Islam, Muhammad's relatives or Muhammad's students. Nearly every majority Arab / Islam nation is ruled by Sunnis, regardless of whether or not Sunni's comprise the Majority in that nation. Only Iran is ruled by Shias. Despotic totalitarian nations, theocratic or secular, which preach and act in accordance with the destruction of freedom and individual liberties, are not just nations and their 'leaders' are nothing more than massive hostage takers and oppressive cultists. Every reasonable effort should be made in the long term to remove every one of them from power, they are unjust, they breed terrorism, start all the wars, cause all the major global instabilities, are hotbeds for famine and pandemics, and ultimately may lead to the destruction of all life on earth.

Saudi Arabia exiled bin Laden and Al Qaeda is no friend of the Saudi regime.

Saudi Arabia pays lib service to opposing Al Qaeda but in fact is the primary source of wahhabist terrorist funding in the US.

See - http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?p...3&report=45

<b>Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques</b>

The 89-page report, "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques," is based on a year-long study of over two hundred original documents, all disseminated, published or otherwise generated by the government of Saudi Arabia and collected from more than a dozen mosques in the United States.

The report concludes that the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a "totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence," and the fact that it is "being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention." The report finds: "Not only does the government of Saudi Arabia not have a right – under the First Amendment or any other legal document – to spread hate ideology within U.S. borders, it is committing a human rights violation by doing so."

Most of the dictatorships in the Middle East are not purely Islamic (indeed Iraq was significantly secular), Arabic nationalism is very strong still.

Iraq was not 'significantly' secular. It was slightly less of a theocracy. Even so, being 'secular' does not make a nation just, and being a murderous totalitarian hell hole certainly makes it an unjust one.

As for a liberal constitutional democracy in the middle east, its a nice thought but there are some problems. 1) Look at the new Afghan constitution. Its really quite appalling. Every single human right is subject to not offending "the sacred religion of Islam."

Yet it is infinitely better than the constitution under the taliban (oh wait, there wasnt one) The status of freedom in liberty in ancient greece and Sparta were intolerable by modern standards, yet they represented the first major steps toward freedom in the history of the world, and in a world where most cultures did not even have a word for freedom. It is unreasonable to expect a 'western' liberal constitutional democracy to spring forth from the ashes of the theocratic hell hole of the taliban, but every positive steps in the direction of freedom should be celebrated, and the Afghan constitution certainly is a positive step.

The Iraq constitution is just as bad. Iraq and Afghanistan prove that you cannot simply undo thousands of years of traditions and cultures. These tribal desert warrior fundamentalist nutjob traditions are so embedded deep within these societies that merely changing the political system (and a very minor change at that) will do nothing at all.

You simply will never get a secular liberal modern state in the middle east. At best, some oil barons will import some elements of western Capitalism (see the United Arab Emirates).

Yet again far better than the previous state of affairs, where you and your family were murdered for opposing Saddam.

You undermine your own case here, you simultaneously assert that the Iraqi and Afghan constitutions should be comparable to the US's or modern wests in regards to freedoms, secularism, and civil liberties, yet conversely assert that you cant just take 'thousands of years of traditions' and merely change the political system over night. The current incarnations of constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan are the best compromise between modern western values and those deeply routed cultural traditions.

However, Japan and South Korea are stark contrasts to your point, both represented hundreds of years of cultural dominated by singular authoritarian rule, yet in a few decades south Korea, with no international assistance aside from not being conquered by the communist north, went from having no cultural tradition of freedom to being one of the freest, richest, and most progressive nations on the planet, and Japan did it in even less time.

While it took 100,000 years to invent the airplane, it need not be re-invented every time a new nation develops an airline, cultures and nations adopting new ideas can learn from the growth and progress of others. It took the west over 2,000 years to almost fully integrate freedom (obviously as objectivists we probably think it still has some progress to make) yet South Korea did not need to go through a war against persians, an alexander the great, a roman republic, a collapse into dark ages, power struggles for hundreds of years between church and king, a magna carta, an enlightenment, the discovery of a new world, and the formation of a new nation on the principle of freedom in order to adopt most of the western notions of freedom.

The whole of the middle east is filled with bad ideas promulgated by murderous governments at the end of a gun, these bad ideas may kill millions of people globally, or lead to the end of all life on earth. What do you think should be done about these bad ideas?

The only way we are going to get rid of these bad ideas is to change the minds of people. This requires philosophical and intellectual warfare, not physical warfare.

Perhaps we can hold hands and sing kumbaya as well. One significant way to get rid of those ideas is to kill or remove from power the despotic and unjust tyrants that force it on people. After that, intellectual and philosophical warfare is the way to go. Or do you suggest htat if you lived in a Orwellian totalitarian hell hole that you're only justifiable recourse would be 'philosophical and intellectual warfare' (this, of course, would get you killed almost instantly)

The only rights a nation deserves are the rights which it protects of it's people. A nation which does not grant it's individuals a right to life, has no right to self defense or to exist on it's own. A nation which has no free speech leaves no room for 'intellectual and philosophical' warfare and directed physical retaliation is absolute justified.

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The only way we are going to get rid of these bad ideas is to change the minds of people. This requires philosophical and intellectual warfare, not physical warfare.

Indeed.

Most Objectivists are relativists. They only see "it could be worse" or "America is better than China" or the equivalent. So they betray the ideals of Individual Rights and support the decaying American system, just because it isn't as bad as some far worse systems. They don't support those evil systems, but they do support slow movement toward those systems. I.e., their ideal is in fact these worse systems, not consciously and on purpose, but in effect.

If they had any true ideals, they would recognize their power, and realize that so many of the wars they support would be unnecessary if America were true to its founding purpose and ideals. We would stand as a shining beacon to all--and not merely to those who have the vision to see, through the murky decay, what its promise was and should be.

These Objectivists are pretenders, betrayers, hypocrites, they are more dangerous to the cause of Individual Rights than the worst enemy, because they while pretending to stand for ideals of Individual Rights, in fact give comfort and aid to those who are trying to abolish them. If civilization falls, it will be mostly their fault, because they have utterly failed to grasp the importance of ideas, the fundamentality of the mind. They would do better as Christians, at least then they would have some excuse, rather than pretending to be followers of Reason. Indeed I prefer Christians to them. If there were actually a Hell, nothing would do the World better than for them to go to it.

Shayne

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No one can know what "most Objectivists" are, but thank you for the blathering insults.

--Brant

The only way we are going to get rid of these bad ideas is to change the minds of people. This requires philosophical and intellectual warfare, not physical warfare.

Indeed.

Most Objectivists are relativists. They only see "it could be worse" or "America is better than China" or the equivalent. So they betray the ideals of Individual Rights and support the decaying American system, just because it isn't as bad as some far worse systems. They don't support those evil systems, but they do support slow movement toward those systems. I.e., their ideal is in fact these worse systems, not consciously and on purpose, but in effect.

If they had any true ideals, they would recognize their power, and realize that so many of the wars they support would be unnecessary if America were true to its founding purpose and ideals. We would stand as a shining beacon to all--and not merely to those who have the vision to see, through the murky decay, what its promise was and should be.

These Objectivists are pretenders, betrayers, hypocrites, they are more dangerous to the cause of Individual Rights than the worst enemy, because they while pretending to stand for ideals of Individual Rights, in fact give comfort and aid to those who are trying to abolish them. If civilization falls, it will be mostly their fault, because they have utterly failed to grasp the importance of ideas, the fundamentality of the mind. They would do better as Christians, at least then they would have some excuse, rather than pretending to be followers of Reason. Indeed I prefer Christians to them. If there were actually a Hell, nothing would do the World better than for them to go to it.

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Most Objectivists are relativists. They only see "it could be worse" or "America is better than China" or the equivalent. So they betray the ideals of Individual Rights and support the decaying American system, just because it isn't as bad as some far worse systems. They don't support those evil systems, but they do support slow movement toward those systems. I.e., their ideal is in fact these worse systems, not consciously and on purpose, but in effect....

These Objectivists are pretenders, betrayers, hypocrites, they are more dangerous to the cause of Individual Rights than the worst enemy, because they while pretending to stand for ideals of Individual Rights, in fact give comfort and aid to those who are trying to abolish them. If civilization falls, it will be mostly their fault, because they have utterly failed to grasp the importance of ideas, the fundamentality of the mind. They would do better as Christians, at least then they would have some excuse, rather than pretending to be followers of Reason. Indeed I prefer Christians to them. If there were actually a Hell, nothing would do the World better than for them to go to it.

Shayne

Oh wise one, I see the light! Your unrelenting logic, the mathematical precision of your arguments, the acuity of your psychological observations, have led me at last to recognize that it is I, and those like me -- pretenders, betrayers, hypocrites and (gasp!) relativists all -- not bin Laden or Ahmadinejad or Dick Cheney or America's corporations or global warming or Immanuel Kant or littering -- who are the true enemies of humankind. It is we who are destroying civilization. How perceptive of you to echo the words of that great thinker Diana Hsieh, who wrote: "Sometimes I do wish for the existence of hell, since no punishment on earth is enough for people like Barbara Branden."

What...? Oh, we disagree with you. I see.

Barbara

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Brant implies that I'm being vague about who what I said applies to and wants a list of names. I think it's pretty clear who it applies to. Barbara seems to have been sharp enough to pick up on it. Barbara on the other hand has not much beyond sarcasm to offer.

Well at least it's something. If I were to rephrase her insulting rhetoric into something resembling an idea, I'd say that she meant to claim that she's A-OK because she's against terrorism, environmentalism, and special interests. I'm sorry, but that doesn't cut it. Many Christians are against those too. But they don't claim to be all-knowers like many Objectivists do, so I don't hold it against them when they're wrong about so much else. Many Objectivists on the other hand pretend to know all, when really they just parrot what Ayn Rand taught them. They pretend to stand for reason as an absolute, ideals instead of pragmatism, individualism rather than cultism, but look at them. They are hypocrites of the first-order. At least Christians admit to be following based on faith. They don't claim to think for themselves. The deep hypocrisy of many Objectivists goes far beyond any sin Christians partake in.

Shayne

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You are separating the effect from the cause, you are focusing on the particulars of the situation (the individuals which actually attack) and not the over arching concept (the totalitarian dictators that promulgate the idealogy and arrange the attacks)

I doubt that the totalitarian dictators themselves are involved with terrorist attacks. It is possible (potentially probable) that some of these dictators directly bankroll terrorists. However, that does not imply they are involved in the planning (although if they are, and by "if" I mean it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, that they are planning attacks against the USA, then I would support killing said dictator, ideally with spec-ops and tactical warfare).

You like to assert that Iraq and Saddam was 'relatively' secular, yet Saddam was directly funding terrorist attacks against Israel and paying out tributes to the families of suicide bombers. That *alone* is reason enough to remove him from power.

Since when do we have to defend other nations like Israel? Yes, its somewhat better than the rest of the middle east, but why does that mean we should treat agression against Israel as agression against the US?

Of course not, nor did I ever suggest anything of the sort. I am talking about attacking the people who actually commit attacks, and the primary cause of those people deciding to commit those attacks, where that cause violates fundamental civil liberties. If a lone preacher advocates this stuff, but has no literal power of his people, he falls under the realm of free speech. Where a totalitarian dictator forces a murderous fundamentalist ideology down the through of his prisoners and kills everyone who speaks out against him, we can certainly take every reasonable action to remove him from power and remove the oppressive infrastructure he left in his wake.

Again, you are conflating Islamo-Fascism and the present totalitarian governments of the region. This is a half-truth. Most governments of that region are mixtures of Islamic statism and secular statism (arab nationalism). Many find their power-base eroded by Islamo-fascism domestically (Saudi Arabia for example, although yes they fund international Islamo-Fascism). You are simplifying a complex issue.

You act as though since Saddam Hussein *himself* did not literally attack us, and that no Iraqi Battleship was steaming up the Hudson, we have no just cause to act against him. We had plenty causes for action

I never stated Saddam did not deserve being thrown out. I never said Saddam did not deserve death. I simply do not see how he was even remotely dangerous to the US. The point of the US Defense Forces is to safeguard the US, not to spread the message of Liberty via military coercion.

The internal strife's and disagreements about how to best go about killing westerners and wiping isreali off the face of the earth does not constitute being 'against' islamic terrorist groups.

Again, you are conflating Israel and the US. Israel is not defenseless, the Jews are not pathetic and weak, they can defend themselves.

And both preach the destruction of the west, the only difference is in who they considered the rightful heir to Islam, Muhammad's relatives or Muhammad's students. Nearly every majority Arab / Islam nation is ruled by Sunnis, regardless of whether or not Sunni's comprise the Majority in that nation. Only Iran is ruled by Shias. Despotic totalitarian nations, theocratic or secular, which preach and act in accordance with the destruction of freedom and individual liberties, are not just nations and their 'leaders' are nothing more than massive hostage takers and oppressive cultists. Every reasonable effort should be made in the long term to remove every one of them from power, they are unjust, they breed terrorism, start all the wars, cause all the major global instabilities, are hotbeds for famine and pandemics, and ultimately may lead to the destruction of all life on earth.

I actually agree with this statement. However I differ as to what I believe "reasonable effort in the long term" constitutes. I also doubt that simply enforcing regime change will be effective, mainly because Afghanistan and Iraq have a Constitution that explicitly makes Islam the ruling body (and we all know that the interpretation of Islam in these areas is NOT one compatible with modernity).

Saudi Arabia pays lib service to opposing Al Qaeda but in fact is the primary source of wahhabist terrorist funding in the US.

See - http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?p...3&report=45

<b>Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques</b>

The 89-page report, "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques," is based on a year-long study of over two hundred original documents, all disseminated, published or otherwise generated by the government of Saudi Arabia and collected from more than a dozen mosques in the United States.

The report concludes that the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a "totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence," and the fact that it is "being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention." The report finds: "Not only does the government of Saudi Arabia not have a right – under the First Amendment or any other legal document – to spread hate ideology within U.S. borders, it is committing a human rights violation by doing so."

Agreed. Saudi Arabia is a problem. Sending battallions of Marines to Riyadh, however, is not the solution. The solution to the Saudi problem is very complex. As Michael Moore showed in Farenheit 911, the Al-Saud's get a Secret Service detail protecting them! (I hate Moore but he is right on this issue).

It is unreasonable to expect a 'western' liberal constitutional democracy to spring forth from the ashes of the theocratic hell hole of the taliban, but every positive steps in the direction of freedom should be celebrated, and the Afghan constitution certainly is a positive step.

Excuse me, but if the Constitution explicitly subordinates individual rights to Islam, in a region where the interpretation of Islam is resolutely fundamentalist, then the individual rights of that Constitution mean nothing at all.

You undermine your own case here, you simultaneously assert that the Iraqi and Afghan constitutions should be comparable to the US's or modern wests in regards to freedoms, secularism, and civil liberties, yet conversely assert that you cant just take 'thousands of years of traditions' and merely change the political system over night. The current incarnations of constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan are the best compromise between modern western values and those deeply routed cultural traditions.

There is no "compromise" involved. Clearly the rights of mankind are subjugated to Islam. Western values are not even "Trojan-Horsed" in these constitutions; they are clearly negated.

However, Japan and South Korea are stark contrasts to your point, both represented hundreds of years of cultural dominated by singular authoritarian rule, yet in a few decades south Korea, with no international assistance aside from not being conquered by the communist north, went from having no cultural tradition of freedom to being one of the freest, richest, and most progressive nations on the planet, and Japan did it in even less time.

And neither of them had a tradition of religious fundamentalism. Japan has a tradition of religious syncretism for one, and all fundamentalists oppose syncretism by definition.

Perhaps we can hold hands and sing kumbaya as well. One significant way to get rid of those ideas is to kill or remove from power the despotic and unjust tyrants that force it on people. After that, intellectual and philosophical warfare is the way to go. Or do you suggest htat if you lived in a Orwellian totalitarian hell hole that you're only justifiable recourse would be 'philosophical and intellectual warfare' (this, of course, would get you killed almost instantly)

The only rights a nation deserves are the rights which it protects of it's people. A nation which does not grant it's individuals a right to life, has no right to self defense or to exist on it's own. A nation which has no free speech leaves no room for 'intellectual and philosophical' warfare and directed physical retaliation is absolute justified.

Again, I never said totalitarian regimes were legitimate. I simply do not see how the Iraq War actually made the US any safer. It is a complete waste of time, lives and money.

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Shayne,

That's enough.

If you have any doubts, please read the posting guidelines.

Michael

He who dares not offend cannot be honest --Thomas Paine

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Most Objectivists are relativists. They only see "it could be worse" or "America is better than China" or the equivalent. So they betray the ideals of Individual Rights and support the decaying American system, just because it isn't as bad as some far worse systems. They don't support those evil systems, but they do support slow movement toward those systems. I.e., their ideal is in fact these worse systems, not consciously and on purpose, but in effect.

If they had any true ideals, they would recognize their power, and realize that so many of the wars they support would be unnecessary if America were true to its founding purpose and ideals. We would stand as a shining beacon to all--and not merely to those who have the vision to see, through the murky decay, what its promise was and should be.

These Objectivists are pretenders, betrayers, hypocrites, they are more dangerous to the cause of Individual Rights than the worst enemy, because they while pretending to stand for ideals of Individual Rights, in fact give comfort and aid to those who are trying to abolish them. If civilization falls, it will be mostly their fault, because they have utterly failed to grasp the importance of ideas, the fundamentality of the mind. They would do better as Christians, at least then they would have some excuse, rather than pretending to be followers of Reason. Indeed I prefer Christians to them. If there were actually a Hell, nothing would do the World better than for them to go to it.

AND

Brant implies that I'm being vague about who what I said applies to and wants a list of names. I think it's pretty clear who it applies to. Barbara seems to have been sharp enough to pick up on it. Barbara on the other hand has not much beyond sarcasm to offer.

Well at least it's something. If I were to rephrase her insulting rhetoric into something resembling an idea, I'd say that she meant to claim that she's A-OK because she's against terrorism, environmentalism, and special interests. I'm sorry, but that doesn't cut it. Many Christians are against those too. But they don't claim to be all-knowers like many Objectivists do, so I don't hold it against them when they're wrong about so much else. Many Objectivists on the other hand pretend to know all, when really they just parrot what Ayn Rand taught them. They pretend to stand for reason as an absolute, ideals instead of pragmatism, individualism rather than cultism, but look at them. They are hypocrites of the first-order. At least Christians admit to be following based on faith. They don't claim to think for themselves. The deep hypocrisy of many Objectivists goes far beyond any sin Christians partake in.

Shayne,

As I am also an Objectivist (albiet with heterodox conclusions in foreign policy issues) I find the above at least somewhat unfair. Yes, some Objectivists are Rand cultists. Not all of them are. Indeed, here at OL I find many that are highly independent thinkers. Some Objectivists are hypocrites, but again not all of them are. I am not a hypocrite nor am I a Rand cultist, and I think that if you reviewed my contributions to many topics you would agree with me.

I respectfully ask you to avoid using overly-wide tarring brushes in the future.

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Shayne,

I will not argue about this nor put my policy to debate. You implicitly accepted the posting guidelines when you came her and you have violated them.

If you wish to offend, go elsewhere. OL is not the venue for that.

I will not discuss this further with you.

Michael

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How perceptive of you to echo the words of that great thinker Diana Hsieh, who wrote: "Sometimes I do wish for the existence of hell, since no punishment on earth is enough for people like Barbara Branden."

I must say that is truly an appalling thing for her to say. I didn't think (after the Sciabarra incident) that my estimate of Diana could be brought even lower.

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I respectfully ask you to avoid using overly-wide tarring brushes in the future.

I respectfully ask that you read what I wrote. I didn't claim the shoe fit all Objectivists. Just many.

Shayne

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Shayne,

I will not argue about this nor put my policy to debate. You implicitly accepted the posting guidelines when you came her and you have violated them.

If you wish to offend, go elsewhere. OL is not the venue for that.

I will not discuss this further with you.

Michael

Precisely what guideline did I contradict? As far as I know, I haven't breached a single one.

Shayne

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