premises, ultimate conclusions


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Ayn Rand wrote somewhere in notes to herself that premises tend to lead to their ultimate conclusions even against the will of the person holding the premises. This explains much.

Why would Herbert W. Armstrong, who seemed to be a man of high moral character, repeatedly commit incest with his daughter?

Why would Herbert's son, Garner Ted Armstrong, who I used to listen to daily for 30 minutes on the radio for years and he was almost like I knew him personally, and his moral character seemed explempary, why would he repeatedly cheat on his wife?

Why do so many Catholic priests molest children?

Why would Jimmy Swaggart, as religious as they come, be into pornography and a prostitute?

All makes sense in the light of Ayn Rand's note to herself.

Take Garner Ted for example. I listened to him enough that I think I have a handle on what he was about. He believed with every fiber of his being that the Bible is the infallible inspired word of God. His Bible told him that human nature is evil. There is none that doeth good, no not one. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. And all that. If the Bible is infallible and the Bible tells him that he is sinful and can't help being sinful, then he has to sin, otherwise he is contradicting the Bible. So what is going to happen when he sees an attractive woman? If he doesn't cheat on his wife, he is contradicting the Bible. But he can't contradict the Bible because the Bible is infallible (he believes). So here we have an example of premises leading to ultimate conclusions even against the will of the person holding the premises.


[Disclaimer: Ever since the early 1980s I been an atheist and had nothing to do with religion. The last time I went to church was in 1984 for my father's funeral.]

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Maybe many of them start out as weak-kneed liars and hypocrites. I wouldn't expect actual dog-legs except the truth coming out. Others may grow into a wrong position that's big but started out kind of small--like Rand's affair with Branden. I have to give them a pass on that qua that. My interest is in understanding what happened, not condemning anyone though assigning responsibility of various amounts and flavors. The public key is setting yourself up as a moral authority, which is what she did with Atlas Shrugged, self-defining herself as a passer of moral judgments above all. Her philosophy is about morality more than anything else, not even the ethics. Libertarians glommed onto the politics and left the rest, completely pissing her off for they didn't need her for that except for all the wondrous spelling out of the statist and economic consequences in AS of irrationality and satiation of power lusting. They more or less defaulted to the Lockean tradition.


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"Oh, for some Asmodeus of morality, to make not only roofs and walls transparent to his favorites, but also to lift the veil of dissimulation, fraud, hypocrisy, pretence, falsehood and deception, which is spread over all things! to show how little true honesty there is in the world, and how often, even where it is least to be expected, behind all the exterior outwork of virtue, secretly and in the innermost recesses, unrighteousness sits at the helm!" -- Schopenhauer

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