tom ploszaj

Anarchy In Your Head

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The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay arrested Quakers and eventually hanged one.

That was Mary Dyer. An ancestor of mine through my Mother. They first kicked her out and warned her not to come back. She went back. I believe there is a statue of her on the Boston Common. I'm not sure if I ever saw it. Maybe I did sometime in 1955-56 when I lived near Boston for a school-year if Mom took me to see it.

--Brant

[edit] Opps! It's in front of the Boston State House. My bag. Apparently she was one of four hanged until hanging of Quakers was halted by King Charles in 1661.

Edited by Brant Gaede

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Do you really believe a culture, however enlightened, can ensure constant good will in all individuals?= Mindy

I believe that it is possible.

That denies free will. But go ahead and try. Hitler did. Mao did. Stalin did. Pol Pot did. Your basic supposition is totalitarian. Screw good will.

--Brant

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Do you really believe a culture, however enlightened, can ensure constant good will in all individuals?= Mindy

I believe that it is possible.

That denies free will.

How does that deny free will?

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Do you really believe a culture, however enlightened, can ensure constant good will in all individuals?= Mindy

I believe that it is possible.

That denies free will.

How does that deny free will?

I invite you to think about it.

--Brant

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I invite you to think about it.

I wasn't expecting you to answer me. I can not explain your twisting of my comments. If you can't explain why you feel what you feel, I certainly can not.

Edited by Chris Baker

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Do you really believe a culture, however enlightened, can ensure constant good will in all individuals?= Mindy

I believe that it is possible.

Chris,

Although I do not share all of your views (to the point of being diametrically opposite in some cases), you and I find identical ground with two main points: (1) revulsion at hypocrisy, and the more it seems to come from proponents of reason, the greater the revulsion, and (2) the optimism you expressed above about human nature.

From that perspective, I want to say something to you. I once found myself so embroiled in deep bitterness about the crappy state of the world and explicit hypocrisy I saw all around me that I just about lost it. Literally. God knows how much unnecessary danger I have put myself in over the years (with the booby prize of bitterness and apathy at the end). Then it dawned on me, if I wanted to change the world, I had to start by changing myself. Otherwise I would never see my efforts amount to anything. I offer the same observation to you.

If you truly believe and want a culture of goodwill on earth and agree with the notion that one has to start with himself, the best place is to start the inner change is with those with whom you disagree. This does not mean to condone evil or hypocrisy, but it does mean nudging people in a good direction rather than blasting them for going in a bad one. This is something I myself consciously chose with full clarity and awareness of what I was going to do and what I was going to give up.

Obviously there are limits to this (I admit to being a bit feisty at times—and when I turn on a person, I turn for real), but it is a great position to hold for the vast majority of interaction with others. The interesting thing (at least to me in my experience) is that people, ones who would not otherwise do so, actually start listening to you.

In other words, by extending goodwill, you find it. You can only influence people by reason when an ambiance of goodwill is resonating.

I believe in the dream of constant goodwill you stated above. I practice it in the hopes of spreading the idea.

Michael

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Do you really believe a culture, however enlightened, can ensure constant good will in all individuals?= Mindy

I believe that it is possible.

Constant good will is possible but unlikely. That is a conclusion that one is likely to reach given the past performance of the human race. But, as Hume pointed out, that past does not necessarily predict the future. Cherish decency and good will when you find it, but don't expect it when it is not forthcoming.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I am all in favor of good will. I think a culture can certainly promote it and that the wrong culture can ruin it completely. But we cannot rationally ever expect 100% of whatever each of us imagines its constituent parts to be making its expression possible. Freedom makes good will possible. If we focus on freedom and what makes freedom possible what we experience as good will will naturally enough follow.

Since people have free will they make choices. Some of those choices are not the best or even flat out wrong. Whatever good will is and however it is expressed it cannot be a standard of value to be striven for save out of personal self-reference. (For me it is evidence of how I am doing at any given time.) It is too derivative and subjective. A culture that has some kind of mandate to ensure constant good will in all its members is North Korea. It's no good to say that's not "good will" for there are those--the rulers--who would disagree with you and the North Koreans will agree with their rulers.

--Brant

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Although I do not share all of your views (to the point of being diametrically opposite in some cases), you and I find identical ground with two main points: (1) revulsion at hypocrisy, and the more it seems to come from proponents of reason, the greater the revulsion, and (2) the optimism you expressed above about human nature.

I seem to swing back and forth between optimism and pessimism about human nature. I do know that over 99% of human beings are not murderers and never will be. However, I also wouldn't be surprised if most children have stolen candy at the store at some time in their young lives.

Perhaps, we still believe that every person does have a conscience. But that may simply be a product of a religious upbringing. As I've gotten older, I've come to believe that consequences are the only things that restrain some people from doing wrong. If people don't think there will be consequences for lying, for example, they will lie with impunity. It's all about risk vs. reward.

I certainly believe that people have free will. That means that people can choose good every time that they want. That means that they can choose bad every time. Is a world in which everyone choose good every time possible? Well, yes it is.

This does not mean to condone evil or hypocrisy, but it does mean nudging people in a good direction rather than blasting them for going in a bad one.

How exactly does one nudge someone else in a good direction? And how do you know that this is possible?

Here's a case in point:

ME: Israel has done many evil things. [i list them.]

REASONABLE PERSON: Israel's enemies have also done evil things.... Israel has done some good things.

TYPICAL OBJECTIVST: You're anti-Jew.

And THAT IS the typical Objectivist response, Michael. This is how many of these arguments are constructed--twisting the other person's words or meaning, name-calling, or total non sequitirs. Many of the arguments are just plain lazy. It gets old really fast.

And even you have done this, Michael. You did it when you responded to my comment about the period before the Civil War being the "most prosperous" time in the nation's history. When I attempted to clarify my statement, you responded with attacks. You showed ZERO interest in listening or understanding. You never asked: "What does Chris really mean by this?" You just wanted to manufacture an argument so you could make me wrong. You didn't convince me of anything.

The only thing I can do is refuse to engage these people and warn others.

In other words, by extending goodwill, you find it. You can only influence people by reason when an ambiance of goodwill is resonating.

Look at history or look at human relations. Reason is not the only thing that influences people, and it rarely does. Most people come to Rand because they have an intense emotional reaction to her novels. Look at the Obama-tons and how they rally around him. If you ask them why, they really don't know why. They are incapable of giving you any facts to support their beliefs. Fear is also one thing that is certainly more influential than reason.

Edited by Chris Baker

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I certainly believe that people have free will. That means that people can choose good every time that they want. That means that they can choose bad every time. Is a world in which everyone choose good every time possible? Well, yes it is.

Chris, please explain this statement. I simply can't believe anybody believes this, but I have to take your word for it that you do. Are you leaving out certain words? For example, what do you think of the following statement compared to yours: Is a world in which everyone can choose good every time possible? Well, yes it is.

--Brant

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ME: Israel has done many evil things. [i list them.]

REASONABLE PERSON: Israel's enemies have also done evil things.... Israel has done some good things.

TYPICAL OBJECTIVST: You're anti-Jew.

And THAT IS the typical Objectivist response....

Israel has never ever done anything. It's just a country. No country has ever done anything at all.

Israel's economy is mixed with a major socialist bias. Force in domestic policies naturally transliterates into force in foreign policies. The need for self-defense is augmentative.

Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians. Not that there weren't many others going back centuries. Nor do they appreciate how much Israel is today an extension of those and how deep it runs. Instead of the admixture of Nazis and Jews in 1930s Germany which was so fatal to Eastern European Jewry simply because the Jews were so exposed and vulnerable there, we now have this huge Jewish ghetto called Israel effectively bordered by Moslem Nazis.

The world is still complicated and mostly insane.

"Typical Objectivist" is a collectivist ad hominem slander. And I've never even met even one. Maybe you mean typical Objectivists who had Jewish parents? Same mistake and less attractive. And thanks for excluding Objectivism from reasonable personhood.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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Chris, please explain this statement. I simply can't believe anybody believes this, but I have to take your word for it that you do. Are you leaving out certain words? For example, what do you think of the following statement compared to yours: Is a world in which everyone can choose good every time possible? Well, yes it is.

People have a choice on whatever they accept. Have you ever met anyone who does not believe that 1+1=2? That is a case where there is universal agreement. People choose universal agreement through their own free will. Everyone is free to believe that 1+1 equals something else. Nobody chooses to believe otherwise, however.

This does not mean that people are going to make decisions that I consider rational every time. In the context of political society, we are referring to the choices that people make with regard to their interactions with others. I do believe that people can universally accept the principle of non-aggression.

I think that binge drinking is stupid. I prefer Pepsi to Coke. Some people may choose otherwise. I suppose they always will. Of course, it is possible that every Coke drinker will simply stop drinking Coke.

Is there something in the laws of the universe that says that we must always have a small minority of people who are murderers and rapists? I haven't found anything.

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler as Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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Is there something in the laws of the universe that says that we must always have a small minority of people who are murderers and rapists? I haven't found anything.

Not laws in the sense of the laws of physics, but there is overwhelming evidence that this is part of our genetic heritage. There will always be murderers and rapists, only in Utopia you won't find them.

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler has Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

I'm merely referring to collectivistic, altruistic irrational philosophies which set them up so they could be knocked down. Others had these too, not just Jews, but Jews are overall smarter and more of the intelligentsia than other groups. They are naturally heavily represented in the professions not just because of their brains but because their families demand and expect mental effort, education and excellence. Frankly, I don't think liberals put much value on protecting themselves. They tend to think people are better than they really are. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. Liberals in Israel, of course, haven't too much choice regarding external enemies.

You are implicitly disarmed when in many important ways you share your enemies' philosophy and the enemies are ruthless and evil though you are not. This tends to hide and obscure the truth until it's too late. Shared premises are shared sanctioned premises. Victimhood is the natural disempowering consequence of letting evil get away with its nonsense. Witness how the people of France and England were victims of their own appeasements of Hitler. Those appeasements were sanctions.

--Brant

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler has Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

I'm merely referring to collectivistic, altruistic irrational philosophies which set them up so they could be knocked down. Others had these too, not just Jews, but Jews are overall smarter and more of the intelligentsia than other groups. They are naturally heavily represented in the professions not just because of their brains but because their families demand and expect mental effort, education and excellence. Frankly, I don't think liberals put much value on protecting themselves. They tend to think people are better than they really are. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. Liberals in Israel, of course, haven't too much choice regarding external enemies.

You are implicitly disarmed when in many important ways you share your enemies' philosophy and the enemies are ruthless and evil though you are not. This tends to hide and obscure the truth until it's too late. Shared premises are shared sanctioned premises. Victimhood is the natural disempowering consequence of letting evil get away with its nonsense. Witness how the people of France and England were victims of their own appeasements of Hitler. Those appeasements were sanctions.

--Brant

Yup. You are blaming the victim, sure as shit.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler has Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

I'm merely referring to collectivistic, altruistic irrational philosophies which set them up so they could be knocked down. Others had these too, not just Jews, but Jews are overall smarter and more of the intelligentsia than other groups. They are naturally heavily represented in the professions not just because of their brains but because their families demand and expect mental effort, education and excellence. Frankly, I don't think liberals put much value on protecting themselves. They tend to think people are better than they really are. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. Liberals in Israel, of course, haven't too much choice regarding external enemies.

You are implicitly disarmed when in many important ways you share your enemies' philosophy and the enemies are ruthless and evil though you are not. This tends to hide and obscure the truth until it's too late. Shared premises are shared sanctioned premises. Victimhood is the natural disempowering consequence of letting evil get away with its nonsense. Witness how the people of France and England were victims of their own appeasements of Hitler. Those appeasements were sanctions.

--Brant

Yup. You are blaming the victim, sure as shit.

Ba'al Chatzaf

(I wrote a long reply, but I lost it when I tried to put it up. I'm not going to use the AOL browser anymore. I'm going directly to Internet Explorer from now on. I'm pretty well convinced that all the crap AOL does in the background to enhance my AOL experience and it's ad dollars is causing problems.)

"Blaming the victim" is not the irrefutable argument you think it is. It's just become a mindless cultural--it sure isn't intellectual--bromide: a demand that one really not try to understand and explain a horrible political, cultural, human and ethnic tragedy as expressed by the actions of the greatest evil of the last century.

--Brant

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Come on Bob, that's not an argument. I somehow doubt Brant is saying that the peasant on the Polish Shtetl voted for Hitler. The popularity of collectivist theories amongst the Jewish and the German intelligentsia is well known. There were more than a few Jews who supported Hitler and especially National Socialism. Zionism and Socialism long went hand in hand. Do you think Brant is saying anything more than this?

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Brant,

I am with you. Oversimplification led mankind to that tragedy. Oversimplification is not assurance of anything other than a repeat performance sometime in the future. Something this important demands the best thinking we can apply to it, not jingos.

Michael

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Not laws in the sense of the laws of physics, but there is overwhelming evidence that this is part of our genetic heritage. There will always be murderers and rapists, only in Utopia you won't find them.

This sounds like determinism. If it is already determined that there "will always be murderers and rapists," does this also mean that some people are pre-determined to be them?

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler as Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

Ba'al Chatzaf

Engels and Karl Marx were both Jewish.

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Not laws in the sense of the laws of physics, but there is overwhelming evidence that this is part of our genetic heritage. There will always be murderers and rapists, only in Utopia you won't find them.

This sounds like determinism. If it is already determined that there "will always be murderers and rapists," does this also mean that some people are pre-determined to be them?

Not pre-determined. Determined.

--Brant

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Most Jews do not appreciate or understand how the attitudes and philosophies of their ancestors in Europe helped make possible Nazism and the Holocaust and other totalitarians.

--Brant

Say what??????? Are we blaming the victim? How did Jews make Naziism possible in any particular way. How many German Jews voted for Hitler has Chancellor? You bet your posterior anatomy I don't understand!

I'm merely referring to collectivistic, altruistic irrational philosophies which set them up so they could be knocked down. Others had these too, not just Jews, but Jews are overall smarter and more of the intelligentsia than other groups. They are naturally heavily represented in the professions not just because of their brains but because their families demand and expect mental effort, education and excellence. Frankly, I don't think liberals put much value on protecting themselves. They tend to think people are better than they really are. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. Liberals in Israel, of course, haven't too much choice regarding external enemies.

You are implicitly disarmed when in many important ways you share your enemies' philosophy and the enemies are ruthless and evil though you are not. This tends to hide and obscure the truth until it's too late. Shared premises are shared sanctioned premises. Victimhood is the natural disempowering consequence of letting evil get away with its nonsense. Witness how the people of France and England were victims of their own appeasements of Hitler. Those appeasements were sanctions.

--Brant

Yup. You are blaming the victim, sure as shit.

Ba'al Chatzaf

So. You didn't read Atlas Shrugged.

--Brant

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