Barbara Branden

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Apparently no one else is bothered by the "leper" image, and of course you'd have to rewrite parts of the article if you used a different term. So...although I'd have preferred simply "outcast" or possibly "pariah," I'll just grimace at the title as is, and understand it in the spirit you intended. ;-)

I second Dragonfly's compliment for your analysis in post #63.



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I will third that with a quote from Barbar's post (it was addressed to Roger, but it applies to all who endorse Rand's view on this point):

As for the idea that the citizens of a statist country in some sense implicitly support their government, I consider this preposterous. Do you support our anti-trust laws? -- or universal health insurance? -- or the mess that is our public education? Should you be held responsible for them? And note that in Soviet Russia, Rand did not join the underground. Did that mean she supported the Communist regime? Did her family, who also did not rebel and who did not attempt to leave Russia, support it? I've never understood how she could say that the citizens of a country are responsible for their government, and should be held responsible for it. This seems to me to fly in the face of the reality of a dictatorship.

(Sigh of relief at the sanity in light of recent pronouncements from orthodox Objectivism quarters.)

This view needs to go the way of Rand's strange opinions, like about a woman president, homosexuals, great German classical composers, etc.


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Craig Biddle just added to his horribly rationalized calls for massive slaughter of unarmed civilians in a post called Why Our (Long-Overdue) Retaliation Against Iran Should Include Bombing Mosques and Madrassahs. (This is dated September 19, 2006 on The Objective Standard blog, a publication endorsed by ARI.)

He is trying to fall back on reasoning I have been reading recently in “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense by Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein on The Objective Standard, dated Spring 2006. (I will be making a critique of this article later.)

The more I read this reasoning, the more appalled I get. I have been accusing those who promote this approach as trying to smuggle tribal collectivism into Objectivism. Well, all I can say is that it is much worse than what I thought. Once you take away the window dressing of mouthed phrases about individual rights and so forth (which sound awfully good and correct, but with these gentlemen, they only apply to Americans), you get wonderful advice that would be sound policy for the Nazi army and the SS in their heyday. If you don't believe this, here are a few pearls of wisdom from Mr. Biddle's blog post referenced above.

America is not being attacked by bombs or hijacked airplanes or government buildings or military installations. We are being attacked by people—specifically, by Islamists: people who believe the Koran is true, take its precepts seriously, and thus actively seek the submission or destruction of non-believers. Where are Islamists being produced? Primarily in the mosques and madrassahs (colleges in which students are trained to be Islamists) of the states that sponsor terrorism—especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. Who is producing them? The imams and teachers are. Accordingly, we cannot put an end to this assault merely by taking out government buildings and military installations in enemy states. To put an end to it, we must eliminate those who preach or teach the idea that infidels must die. We must demonstrate that to spout such evil is to ensure personal destruction.

Actually, according to this reasoning, those who are really producing Islamists (and Islamists are correctly identified as people in Biddle's astute ponderings) are the mothers and fathers of them. If you want to stop people production, wipe out all fertile people who can have sex.

Ah! But Biddle’s problem is not just people. It is only Islamic people—brainwashed people.

The mentality of philosophy/religion being an agent strictly for brainwashing is a view I keep encountering in ARI-type reasoning over and over. (That is one of the underpinnings I discern in their emphasis on keeping the Objectivism "pure." They want to indoctrinate people, i.e. brainwash them, not convince them.) All big Islamists were once kids and they had a family life. One presumes that they would not be brainwashed unless it was with the consent of their parents, who also would have to be brainwashed to let that happen.

Here's an idea for Biddle & Co.. Why not try to introduce some kind of biological agent that will sterilize all Islamic women? We probably have the technology for this. Get the men, too, while we’re at it. That will stop people production dead in its tracks. Not one American soldier would die doing this, either. How does that sound?

Now does Biddle propose to offer better ideas to these people? Nope. To him, they are corrupt and irredeemable. They are human garbage. One can only destroy them and show them the futility of their ideas with the sword.

That sounds an awful lot like Mohammad, doesn't it?

The correct principle is fight force with force and fight ideas with ideas. But to a tribal-bound collectivist, he does not want to convince those with bad ideas—he wants to conquer and devastate the other tribe. If there is no tribe, he must manufacture one. How does he do that? Through ideology is how.

Look at Communism as an example of a defeated ideology. Can you imagine the same mentality that is now being preached against Islam being used on the Communists? Bomb all schools and party buildings—and include the printing presses too, since that is where the books were coming from. Ha! That would have been far too difficult to be practical because there was no single tribe to target.

There was a tribe with Nazi Germany, but this was because one of its main tenets was a concept that restricted the ideology to a tribe—a German master race. There was no such restriction in Communism, just as there is no such restriction in Islam. These are ideologies for all people everywhere.

I submit that Communism was defeated without needing to manufacture a bogus tribe or engage in a war against thought crimes. I also submit that people are essentially rational and good underneath—all people—and they can be convinced with good ideas over time when force is neutralized with force and initiating force is outlawed as a means of ideological persuasion. I further submit that when ideas are fought with force, force does not convince anyone. It merely reduces the holders of ideas to a state of basic survival where there are no conditions for developing or holding any ideas whatsoever beyond where the next meal comes from.

I hold that the notion of fighting ideas with force and devastation is obscene, even when such ideas call for the destruction of others who do not agree. This breaches one of the most fundamental freedoms mankind has won with rivers of blood: the right of a man to choose his own thoughts.

Objectivism, the Founding Fathers and all others who treasure freedom hold that we must restrict a man’s actions by force, never his thoughts. There are very hard-and-fast rules for restricting actions, too. Under Objectivism, force has to be initiated—or credibly threatened.

A man’s thoughts only come into consideration in evaluating (1) motives after a crime has been committed, and (2) the intention to act beforehand. When “intention to act” is judged a “clear and present danger,” force is used against a specific target—the one providing the force and threatening to use it, not an entire ideology or culture. Preventive force can even turn into a preemptive strike if the gravity of the danger is judged severe enough. Objectivity is the standard of evaluation, not tribal collectivism. This is the rational manner of doing it.

Biddle even correctly noted that the call for the destruction of others who do not agree is in the Christian Bible. He even quoted a couple of passages. Yet he sees no paradox whatsoever in the fact that these bad ideas in Christianity were, in his words, "tempered by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment," which means they were conquered by good ideas, not by executing and persecuting priests and parishioners, yet this is precisely what he advocates doing for dealing with Islam.

Biddle's own words stated a good principle clearly:

People have a right to believe whatever nonsense they want to believe, but they do not have the right to act on their beliefs if doing so means committing murder or violating individual rights.

This is very true. But it has to be true for all men if it is to be a moral principle. So how on earth can Biddle get from this statement to advocating genocide? That's easy. Use the standard of tribal collectivism. Let us rephrase this statement to logically align it with the rest of Biddle’s article:

Non-Americans have a right to believe whatever nonsense they want to believe, but they do not have the right to act on their beliefs if doing so means committing murder or violating the individual rights of Americans. Americans have a right to believe whatever nonsense they want to believe, too, and that extends to the right to act on their beliefs when doing so means committing murder or violating the individual rights of non-Americans.

You don't think that is what Biddle means? Do you want to see the ugly face of tribal collectivism? Look at the following pronouncement:

The basic principle of a proper American foreign policy is that the U.S. government must hold the life and rights of each and every American—whether civilian or soldier—as of greater value than the lives and rights of all non-Americans in the world combined.

(My emphasis.)

If you still have trouble seeing the tribal collectivist part, let’s go back to one of the most important principles regarding sacrifice that was identified in The Virtue of Selfishness, but this was in an article by Nathaniel Branden instead of Rand (“Mental Health versus Mysticism, p. 45 of the Signet edition).

A sacrifice, it is necessary to remember, means the surrender of a higher value in favor of a lower value or of a nonvalue. If one gives up that which one does not value in order to obtain that which one does value—or if one gives up a lesser value in order to obtain a greater one—this is not a sacrifice, but a gain.

The tribal collectivist poison creeps in precisely by twisting this principle out of shape. Nobody at ARI in his right mind would state this principle clearly and attribute NB with authoring it, but this is the principle on which their criticism of the “Just War” policy is based. They claim that American people are more valuable than non-American people, so sacrificing non-Americans to preserve Americans is not a sacrifice, but a gain. Biddle’s last quote above illustrates this perfectly.

Now, here is how this principle works in the case of values and excluding nonvalues. If you give up a lower value for a higher value, you are making a gain metaphysics-wise because reality will not allow you to have both. However that does not mean that the lower value changed its status. It still is a value.

The moral sleight-of-hand used by Biddle and the others at ARI is to translate the lower value that is forfeited into a nonvalue, then treat all cases of dealing with it from there on out as a nonvalue.

The "greater value" of Americans turns into "no value whatsoever" of non-Americans. Biddle is not concerned with "American" being a type of "people." He is concerned with "American" being a different entity altogether—contrasted with another completely worthless entity. Look at the gross rationalization of the following quote:

A moral approach to the Islamist war against America does not consist in half-heartedly "engaging" one enemy tribe here, then another there, then another elsewhere—all the while sacrificing the lives and limbs of American soldiers.

There are two points entirely missing in this equation:

1. The "enemy tribes" (please notice the term) Biddle mentions are ones actually engaged in using force. The reason they are “engaged” here, there and elsewhere is because that is where the ones who initiated force are at, not because of some silly “half-hearted” arbitrariness as Biddle insinuates.

2. Now here is the far worse rationalization. The American military is not the one who is "sacrificing" American soldiers. Individual enemies are killing them by initiating force.

I can’t stress this strongly enough. Claiming that the American military is "sacrificing" American soldiers by not slaughtering unarmed civilians is such a gross insult to our military commanders that, as Phil Coates mentioned in his very first post on SLOP on this subject, this demands an apology. Our military commanders are not killing their own soldiers. Someone on SLOP quipped that Coates did not mention who should receive an apology. Well I submit that our military commanders deserve one.

Let’s even be clearer on the principle, because this is very important. There are no words to convey how strongly I feel that Objectivism cannot—and must not ever—become an agent to justify bigotry and tribal collectivism.

What is the basic value for all ethics? Human life. All human life, on a one-by-one basis. Man is an end in himself. Each individual is an end in himself. That’s the statement Rand engraved on my heart and mind decades ago. When two human lives are placed in a situation where one is judged more valuable than another by a military organization, does this mean that the other one no longer has any value at all outside that particular situation? Of course not!

As a parallel notion, but an equally toxic one, does an unarmed person caught in a conflict where he is on one side stop being a human being outside the situation where force is being used? Of course not! He continues to be an end in himself.

Islamist women and children in mosques and schools are individual human beings, not gooks.

But to Biddle & Co., they are gooks. They have forfeited their status as human beings because of the ideas they hold. (I think it is clear that I do not support Islamist ideas, but I want to stress that anyway.) That means that these gooks can be slaughtered in exchange for a projected risk of real people, the Americans—not even for an actual risk.

Now here is what irks the living daylights out of me. Not only is all this being justified as morally correct. It is being presented as morally obligatory.

Try reading the following words holding the sanctity of human life in mind.

A moral approach to this god-awful problem consists in demonstrating, once and for all, the futility of taking Islam seriously, the futility of obeying the Koran, the futility of seeking the submission or destruction of disbelievers, the futility of attacking Americans. It consists in efficiently killing Islamists—especially those who make a "living" producing more Islamists.

Does that turn your stomach? It turns mine. Now reread that same statement holding the following in mind and remember that the present senior ARI intellectuals are preaching this: There is a collective entity called American military that has value, and there is another collective entity that is worthless called Islamic gooks.

Now go back and reread the passage trying to think this way. See the tribes?

Well, let’s go one step further in this thinking. Let’s bring this thing to American shores sometime in the future. Let’s forget about Islamists. We have wiped them out already. Let’s choose a task that needs doing, just one for simplicity. Let’s overhaul the tax system and make taxation voluntary.

Since we are responsible for the government we have, we are accomplices of the taxation system. This is intolerable logically, so as good Objectivists, we have organized an underground armed revolution against the present USA government. We know that taxes have to be paid, otherwise you go to jail. That translates into slavery. We also know that many Americans accept the inevitability of paying taxes, so they will never vote for tax reforms, especially when such reforms cut into their own benefits. As a side issue, we wonder, “Where are these ideas taught?”

Well, first of all, these are not good Americans. That’s for sure. Let’s call them Slave Drivers. They want to enslave us for their ends. Obviously they will never change and they are already enslaving us all. So it is morally obligatory to kill them—every last one of them. A dead Slave Driver cannot enslave anybody. (Like Biddle says, a dead Islamist cannot build a bomb. I even remember the good old days when the only good Indian was a dead Indian.)

But there’s more. The ideas the Slave Drivers hold came from somewhere. They were obviously brainwashed. Where did they get these ideas? Well… they are taught in public schools and churches…

Get the idea where this thinking leads?


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As for the idea that the citizens of a statist country in some sense implicitly support their government, I consider this preposterous. Do you support our anti-trust laws? -- or universal health insurance? -- or the mess that is our public education? Should you be held responsible for them? And note that in Soviet Russia, Rand did not join the underground. Did that mean she supported the Communist regime? Did her family, who also did not rebel and who did not attempt to leave Russia, support it? I've never understood how she could say that the citizens of a country are responsible for their government, and should be held responsible for it. This seems to me to fly in the face of the reality of a dictatorship

Thanks for this statement, it was a great aid in helping me wrest with an idea I am trying to formulate in regards to what I would loosly term as a 'shifting of responsibilities'.


Edited by L W HALL
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In this post I wrote: I think that one of these days Brant will wake up and looking at his Solo buddies wonder: "What the hell am I doing here? Are these people really my kind of people?" Well, at the time he pooh-poohed my comment, but now it seems that day is near:

I'm glad I no longer call myself an "Objectivist;" I might as well call myself a Nazi then explain why I am not THAT kind of Nazi.

Linz: How do you feel about this? Sick? Disgusted? Angry? Dumbfounded? I'm curious for it seems to be KASS. I'm not KASS, of course. I'm an intelligent, knowledgeable, thinking, concerned, individualist human being. KASS is stupid, ignorant, unthinking, collectivist concerned with--with KASS!

Now that in disgust I'm leaving most associations with Objectivism behind--I'm almost done posting on SOLO P for instance--I might as well announce that I won't be writing any book called "Ayn Rand In America." Not when that means explaining how some "Objectivists" have de-evolved into war-mongering Nazis.

No, I'm not claiming that I have paranormal powers.

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I see that Mr. Biddle has clarified what he means by a madrassa. He wants college-level institutions (the counterparts of seminaries and yeshivas) targeted for bombing, not Islamic schools at the K-12 level.

His other clarifications, however, make his position out as even worse than it appeared back on August 31.

He really did say, in his September 19 entry, that the rights of any individual American are worth more than the combined rights of every last non-American. I had to go back over that sentence a few times, before I could accept that he had actually written it, or that it means what it says.


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You are right that I probably gave the impression that I didn't allow Biddle his "explanation." OK - the guy was talking about colleges and not high school on down and he was talking about Islamists instead of Muslims (like they mentioned on SLOP). Got it.

Now I would like to mention that if college was the meaning this guy meant in his August 31 post (Point No. 3), and I believe it was, he knew damn well that the general public did not know this distinction. I believe he did one of those things of trying to convey one image while leaving a back-door open on a technicality like Valliant does all the time.

Here is why I suspect this. Just to make sure the mental image of annihilation of the population was conveyed, look at the following statement from the continuation of Point 3 where he mentioned madrassahs:

As to innocent non-Americans, such as Iranian children, who would be killed in such a campaign, they are not properly the concern of our government. Nor would their deaths be the fault of our government.

Do you notice he did not say children "who might be killed" but "who would be killed" instead? The "would" is also ambivalent, but I prefer to take him at his word. He is talking about killing children with bombs as being the moral way under Objectivism to protect American soldiers.

(Anyway, I can assure you that the general public doesn't even know what madrassah means. In Point 3, the public's attention would most likely be on the suggestion to bomb the "leaders, imams, clerics, and government officials" in their "residences at night" "when they are most likely to be occupied." Who normally occupies residences at night? Families, of course. Women and children. Now that... that is something everybody knows without having to look it up.)

I don't want to let this guy sneak out through the back door on a technicality. What he said in several posts was thoroughly despicable and needs a retraction and an apology to set it right - not another "explanation."


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I will admit to being thoroughly discouraged by almost all of the posts on this thread (with the exception of those by Roger Bissell). Contrary to all the wild accusations being hurled his way, Biddle has never advocated targeting innocents. He has advocated targeting Islamists—militant jihadists who have sworn their dedication to America’s destruction. He advocates targeting their breeding grounds, including not only terrorist training camps but mosques and madrassahs. Osama bin laden was recently given “permission” to kill ten million “Yankee infidels” (ie, American citizens) by an Islamic cleric. Will those now self-righteously denouncing Biddle and ARI as lunatics and lepers still be wagging their moralistic fingers when he succeeds?

The issue is not whether the average Iranian citizen “implicitly supports” their theocratic regime, but whether they must bear responsibility for it and take the consequences if their government is seen to pose a serious threat to an innocent country which simply wants to live in freedom. A recent (September, 2006) Al-Jazeera poll found that 49.9% of Muslims still support bin Laden. Are these the “innocents” you advocates of “peace” are so concerned about? The issue is not one of tribalistic concern for our rights over their rights. When an enemy is holding the threat of imminent destruction over our heads, it is a moral outrage for anyone to suggest that we should be concerned with their “rights.”

I am not prepared to defend the exact approach recommended by Biddle at this time. But he is being totally consistent with Objectivism to say that we have every moral right to take such action if it can be demonstrated that this is the best way to insure our own protection. And he has ample basis for that argument.

With all due respect, Barbara, I could not disagree with you more. It saddens me greatly to say this, but if this be leprosy, let those of us who love freedom make the most of it.


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I like you a lot, so rather than try to convince you, let's just say I disagree vehemently.

I also object to the false dichotomy that opposing bombing unarmed civilians in the ARI manner is somehow akin to supporting Bin Laden, not loving freedom, etc.

It isn't.

I am all for taking out the bad guys. I believe Barbara is too. I believe you are too.

(I even believe ARI is too, but it has a hidden agenda - a tribal collectivist one - that is far more important to it and it uses the war issue to advance its real interest.)

If we are ever to win this war, there is a war of ideas that needs to be waged with the Islamic culture to go along with military action. New ideas need to be offered to them in ways they will understand. Are you interested in contributing?


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Lonnie Hall from SLOP doesn't care for me too much, but he is talking my langauage here:

"Yes. it's great to see another tough guy who can hurl invectives and talk about indiscriminate killing. I say strap some explosives on his ass and send him into a Mosque crowded with women and children. Maybe he can even give them a lecture on the nature of morals and how this is actually their fault right before he kills them."

I don't know who he is talking to, but his stand on the issue at hand is clear. I respect him for it.

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Victor sees what I see, and says "step up to the plate, little man."

"Yes. it's great to see another tough guy who can hurl invectives and talk about indiscriminate killing. I say strap some explosives on his ass and send him into a Mosque crowded with women and children. Maybe he can even give them a lecture on the nature of morals and how this is actually their fault right before he kills them."

Yeah, right. I'm guessing Biddle couldn't fight his way out of a pay toilet.

And, to go to point on Mr. Hardin's thoughts... The fact is that Biddle said "Islamists." That means what it means, it means that he is an across-the-board religious persecutor. Unless he refines it to "criminals," or something such as that, it's just run-of-the-mill genocide talk. Jews, Christians, whatever. He's either a hater, or just can't write properly.

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I’m curious. Did LW Hall’s post regarding your alleged plagiarism insult you? I never understood why MSK deleted it. I disagree with LW’s assessment of you (I don’t hold internet posts to the same standard as I do term papers or works submitted for compensation), but I found his post to be more of a rebuke than an insult. I’m sorry he left; I miss his contributions here at OL.


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Just to let you know that I acknowledge your post to me, and I’m sure Michael dealt with your query adequately.

Let me say, though, SLOPPERS who slop over the emotional blood-lust of a Biddle caricature, and who are ready to rope me up over the question of a *post* ---is extremely revealing. Michael is bang-on right: they are a tribe. They are protecting “one of their own”; my gang-member, right or wrong. That’s the deal being served up at SLOP. They are sickening. You be the judge.

Me? I was expendable. 'Let’s bash Victor’s head to prove that we are good little Objectivists.'

By their actions, you shall know them.


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> I also submit that people are essentially rational and good underneath—all people—and they can be convinced with good ideas over time [MSK]

Michael, you are absolutely right.

I think this is, on the deepest level, a key to the differences being debated on how to eliminate the threat to America of Iran and of Islamo-fascism in the world: On some level, conscious or subconscious and from childhood, Biddle and many others at ARI and SP are deeply and profoundly alienated from human beings in the world at large. They probably believe that you can't convince people who have not accepted Objectivism, or, at another extreme, have been 'brainwashed' into a particularly virulent and anti-reason, anti-reality religion or philosophy. And they (people generally, in the majority) are basically vicious, mentally lethargic or resentful of reality people, evaders. All you can do, since they are not essentially rational or good and are hopeless evaders and their hatred of the West is therfore unalterable -- which are the implicit premises under their war proposals whether they are aware of it or not -- is kill them or terrorize them or intimidate them by fear of their lives.

This idea came in large part from Ayn Rand, who at some times displayed enormous benevolence toward people at large, the world at large, the culture ... and at other times enormous malevolence. [Lesser minds who have followed her have not retained both parts, the benevolent and malevolent...and guess which part they have dropped.]

An example of this last is her evaluation that most people on earth are evaders who chose not to learn Objectivism, that she was not smarter than most or having a better education or early cognitive development. But that instead she was more honest than all but a tiny pinnacle, a tiny fraction of everyone who has ever lived.

This is an enormous mistake, not in philosophy but in psychology. A field where she was sometimes incredibly brilliant, sometimes incredibly misguided.

[ It would be a whole other series of posts, some of which I made on the old OWL, to fully demonstrate or argue that the view of most people as evaders and dishonest is false. But I'll put my view in a sentence: Most people are honest--they are not evaders. ]

But the point is, once you believe that the people in Iran are evil evaders, who basically support their dictatorship, you are far more likely to fall for ideas somewhere along the spectrum of "bomb 'em all and exterminate them all".

Bad psychology leads to bad military proposals.

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> He has advocated targeting Islamists—militant jihadists who have sworn their dedication to America’s destruction. He advocates targeting their breeding grounds

Dennis, that's not what an "Islamist" is. Jihadists number in the thousands. Islamic fundamentalists number in the multi-millions. "Breeding grounds" is too slippery a phrase since it can be extended to anywhere that a dozen of them exist even if it is in a city of tens of thousands or in a mosque surrounded by a majority who go there for social or religious duty reasons. Or you could say the whole muslim world of a billion people is their 'breeding ground' as in a sense it would you bomb that as well?

Please don't syllogistically use these phrases as floating abstractions.


Quick definitions (Islamism)

noun: a fundamentalist Islamic revivalist movement generally characterized by moral conservatism and the literal interpretation of the Koran and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all aspects of life

noun: the monotheistic religion of Muslims founded in Arabia in the 7th century and based on the teachings of Muhammad as laid down in the Koran

noun: the religion of Muslims collectively which governs their civilization and way of life; the predominant religion of northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and Indonesia

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> A recent (September, 2006) Al-Jazeera poll found that 49.9% of Muslims still support bin Laden. [Dennis]

Please DO NOT quote non-objective polls by a dishonest organization (known for inventing stuff to support or bolster the terrorists) just because it fits a point of view you hold.

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Dennis, I think I have come to know you well enough, through your posts to the old Solo and here and through your occasional correspondence with me, to suspect that our disagreement is more in form than in content. I doubt that, had we the chance to explore our apparent differences in more detail, I would classify you among the lepers.

You say that Biddle deoesn't advocate targeting innocents, but only their breeding grounds. But surely one cannot say that mosques and schools are the equivalent of terrorist training camps. And if they are the equivalent, should we then not destroy mosques and Islamic schools in this country, since certainly some of them are breeding grounds for jihadists? It is terribly dangerous to make a leap from action to ideology: that is, to go after the training camps for terrorists and also the ideological centers of their religion. As Roger Bissell said: "It's one thing to incur civilian deaths as collateral damage in wartime, but it's quite another to deliberately aim at them because they are teaching or learning the ideas that some carry out in violent, rights-violating action. There is no such thing as a thought crime--and thus no such thing as deserving punishment for holding the wrong ideas."

I am aware of the appalling number of Muslims who support terroriism. No, these are not the "innocents" I'm concerned about. But what of what is probably the majority of Muslims? Should we kill them indiscrimately? For what purpose?

In World War 11, we did not deliberately bomb German schools, which certainly were significant breeding grounds for Nazis. Why is the situation in Iran different? I keep hearing that "if necessary" we should, in effect, level Iran to the ground and kill everyone in it. But why in the world would such a thing ever be necessasry?

When I see saber-waving of this sort, I become suspicious of the motives of the saber-wavers. They are raising possibilities so utterly remote than I have to wonder why they raise them at all. Of course war involves collateral damage. That's not news, and hardlly requires defending. So what is it these people are telling us, and what are they defending? How much destruction do they want, and why?

Dennis, If you could convince me that America would be destroyed if we did not level Iran to the ground, then I would say we must level Iran to the ground. But the reason why I say that I suspect our disagreement is more in form than in content is because I think that were we to discuss realistic possibilities -- that is, situations in which we did indeed face the choice of defending ourselves or killing civilians -- I doubt very much if we would continue to disagree.


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As far as who I was referring to on SOLO, it was in response to Linz's praise of Bill Visconti.

...I dare say that I'm seeing much more than "extreme ignorance" in the children of corn who live down the road; I'm seeing the intellectual underpinnings of pure fascism (as I have hinted at in another thread). To glibly, nay happily, speak of mass-murder as a "tactic", and further to speak of wholesale slaughter as a valid means to "discredit" a particular ideaology gives me bone-chills. Further, to explicate such a heinously bloody doctrine in the name of Ayn Rand is utterly beyond comprehension.

We are lucky that what lurks in cornfield down the road actually is as impotent as any "evil" Ayn Rand ever named or illustrated.


Edited by R. Christian Ross
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I think that many of them are just immature juveniles, it is exactly the kind of forum for such people.

BTW, that reminds me of that so-called "Penelope Beach" with her peace shirt, I've never heard again from her since I suggested that she was a fake person. She must have disappeared in Nacht und Nebel.

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