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Post 20

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
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Glenn:

I wrote: >>Rand's ignorance and bigotry regarding religion does not stop me from recognizing her achievement.<<

You wrote: >>Do you really think that you can throw in a line like this without giving any evidence?  Concerning her "ignorance" of religion: no one can live in this country for 6 months, never mind most of their adult life, and remain ignorant of religion.<<

You are referring to an ignorance of the EXISTENCE of religious belief, whereas I wrote of ignorance of religion.

You wrote: >>It's crammed down your throat daily.<<

How?  In this country what t.v. channel can you not turn off?  What magazine article can you not skip?  What pamphleteer can you not walk away from?  Surely your mental constitution is not so weak that your mere awareness of ideas not your own threatens your well-being and thus appears as an assault upon you (which "cramming down your throat" is).

If you have no use for religion, then have the confidence of your convictions.  Religion was nullity in my life for about twenty-five years, and never once did it bother me that most of my fellow Americans were religious and that religion was a regular part of the scene in this country.  But then I was concerned about what I believed, not what others believed.  So it mystifies me as to how so many non-religious people can get so worked up about this fact of life in America.   

You wrote: >>Please elaborate on why you think Rand was ignorant of religion.<<

Please, Jeff, let's get serious.  Rand lumped all people of religious belief together as irrational "mystics" without any detailed exposition of how each of the myriad of religious beliefs in this world are in fact irrational or mystical.  She simply asserted that knowledge revealed is no knowledge at all, hence embracing it is irrational.

Furthermore, Rand asserted that religion was not merely useless, but positively destructive of reason, hence evil in the Objectivist scheme of things.  Rand's problem is that she never completely shook loose of her adolescent temper tantrum against the imperfectability of man (which is an important Christian teaching) and her subsequent embrace of Nietzsche.  Apparently she found that sufficient in her assessment of religion, because her oeuvre is completely lacking in any comprehensive examination of the subject.

You wrote: >>As to her "bigotry" regarding religion, do you really mean that she was "obstinately or intolerantly devoted to [her] own opinions and prejudices" concerning religion?  Or does your definition of "bigot" differ from Webster's?<<

Rand obstinate or intolerant?  Who would ever think that of her?

I think you answered your own question, Glenn.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill




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Post 21

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 8:08amSanction this postReply
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Regi:

You asked me:
I also reject such [religious] beliefs. Does that make me a bigot?
That alone?  No.

One way religious bigotry does manifest itself is as a defamation of person's character on no basis other than his religious belief.  For example, have you asserted that Gibson made a "snuff film", which is a felony?  Have you stated that he is an "idiot" because he produced a work of art based upon his religious beliefs?  Have you condemned him as a contributor to the "sickening" of our culture because of his Christianity?

Others have in this discussion, but you have not.  By all that I can tell, you have judged Gibson on the basis of what he has done, not on what he is.  Furthermore, you responded to me on the basis of my statements and arguments, not from any presuppositions about my Catholicism.  So I have no reason to believe you are a bigot.

Disagreement does not make a bigot.  Baseless judgment does.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill




Post 22

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 8:20amSanction this postReply
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Regi:

In defending Rand, you wrote:
She also thought religion was dangerous. Recent history has certainly demonstrated it is.
People will do evil in the name of many ideas.  Such declarations are hardly proof that the idea is evil.  So I am not impressed with the argument that religion is evil or dangerous because evil-doers have tried to absolve themselves by claiming to act in God's name.

For example, I read one post in this forum which stated that by Objectivist criteria, religious people are mentally ill and so may have to be restrained in an Objectivist society.  Another post suggested that it might be a crime in an Objectivist society for parents to teach their children religion.  Does the advocacy of such evil in the name of Objectivism make Objectivism dangerous?

No.  All it means is that people with evil impulses will use almost anything to rationalize their actions.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill




Post 23

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
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Matt:

I wrote: >>Rand's ignorance and bigotry regarding religion does not stop me from recognizing her achievement.<<
 
You wrote: >>I am curious if you have specific examples that would support Ms. Rand's "ignorance" regarding religion?  In my humble opinion she understood the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical/moral principles of religion all too well.<<

One example:  Rand pronounced Christianity guilty of the evil of altruism.  However, Christianity (or at least, Catholicism) teaches no such principle of altruism, as Rand defined the word.  Anything more than a cursory examination of Catholicism proves that.

Another example:  The other big bugaboo Rand had with Christianity is that it requires faith in revealed truths.  Rand was quite impatient with faith and so denounced all religion as a consequence.  Yet, Objectivism has its own faith requirements.  By damning a belief in God as irrational, it by default embraces a materialistic belief that our universe is purely mechanical.  By Objectivist lights the universe must be deterministic -- i.e., there is no uncaused cause.

However, if there is no "uncaused cause", then there is no volition.  Free will is then nothing but an epiphenomenon, an illusion, which makes a joke out of any attempt to define an objective morality.  Volition cannot truly exist in a deterministic universe.  You have no choice, because a genuine choice means an uncaused cause.  Nevertheless, Objectivism posits the existence of violation in a universe which it accepts as materialistic by nothing more than faith that God does not exist.

So Objectivist metaphysics require a contradiction at its core, that religion, or at least Christianity, does not.  How Rand failed to recognize this except for her ignorance of religion, I do not know.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill




Post 24

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 6:47amSanction this postReply
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Hi Jeff,

I think your economics are backwards.  The more people spend on a particular type of product, the more economy of scale manufacturers can employ and the cheaper that product will become for everybody.

That's frequently true, but not always. It is only true for those products and manufacturers who are convinced producing more product more cheaply will result in greater net profit and maintain market share against competitors. This is not always the case.

Even if it were always true, the reason why products are cheaper is always because there are more of them because all products compete against each other, not only products of the same kind; and they are all competing for the same available dollars.

The general principle of prices is, price=available-money/available-product. The more product there is competing for the same money, the lower prices are. The opposite effect, the more money there is competing for the same product, the higher prices are, is called "inflation."  

Supply and demand only works in the way you describe in the short run or for certain naturally limited products like gold necklaces.
 
I am not sure what you mean by, "supply and demand only works in the way you describe," because maybe I did not make what I meant clear. Certainly, what I intended would only apply to an entire economy and for the long term. If you did not understand that, my explanation may be the fault. Can you give me some more detail about what I said that makes you think it would only apply to the short term and limited products?

Regi




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Post 25

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 7:04amSanction this postReply
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I understand that Hitler was an author (Mein Kampf) back in the day.  Delaney states that "It was virtually ignored when it was originally published in 1925, but by the time Hitler became chancellor of the Third Reich in 1933, the book stood atop the German bestseller lists...The few outside the Nazi party who read it dismissed it as nonsense, not believing that anyone could--or would--carry out its radical, terrorist programs."  And as an Amazon.com reader has pointed out, 'If you want to learn about why the Holocaust happened, you can't avoid reading the words of the man who was most responsible for it happening.' Mein Kampf, therefore, must be read as a reminder that evil can all too easily grow..."  It seems like Mein Kampf was a work of courage, vision, and value...

It seems like Hitler, because of what he wrote, should be considered a symbolic hero according to the article's definition, "because he pursued what he believed was right in the face of overwhelming opposition."  But calling him a symbolic hero just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and reduces the meaning of the word hero in my book.  And when I think of heroes, a bad taste in my mouth is the last thing I want or need.  So should the pursuit of values be separated from the values pursued?  I think that the word "hero" should be used a little more selectively.  




Post 26

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 8:29amSanction this postReply
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Just remember, in any mix of food (the proper manner in which Mr. Gibson has created and marketed his product) and poison (the pro-religious/ anti-life content of his product), it is ultimately poison that will win.  The product cannot be dismissed simply because of a heroic process.  If the process were objectively heroic, only a heroic product could result.  To speak of a heroic process (food) leading to a non-heroic product (poison) is to confuse the relationship between reality and human consciousness.  What are the causes which have led to the effect of Mr. Gibson throwing his money/time/effort into a project which is of NO ACTUAL VALUE TO HUMAN EXISTENCE?  (Actually, it is anti-human existence.)  There is no value whatsoever in any form of mysticism.  To think there is some value in it is also to be believe that there is some value in ingesting Brake Fluid or Draino.  Draino is physical poison and mysticism is your mental variant.  Please do not make the mistake of divorcing the mind and the body as the mystics have.  They have nothing to lose, because they do not value life.  But those who do value life have EVERYTHING to lose. 



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Post 27

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 8:49amSanction this postReply
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Regi:

If consumers didn't spend their money at Wendy's, McDonald's and Burger King you would find that the price of your quality steak would fall because there would be a surplus of available grazing land and cattle feed. That's simple supply and demand.

The larger question is that of what is "objectively" valuable. To a low income family it could be objectively more valuable to eat at McDonald's five times than to go to a medium priced restaurant once and go hungry four times. That's what's great about capitalism everyone gets to maximize their return based on their own circumstances and values.

(I'm Paul Hibbert and I approve of this posting)




Post 28

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 10:27amSanction this postReply
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Bill (I really like that better than "rat"),

Yet, Objectivism has its own faith requirements.  By damning a belief in God as irrational, it by default embraces a materialistic belief that our universe is purely mechanical.  By Objectivist lights the universe must be deterministic -- i.e., there is no uncaused cause.

This is not true. What is true is that Objectivism, or at least Ayn Rand, did not tackle the ontological question, assuming it belonged to the province of science, I think, to provide the answer. However, Rand did assume volition, and consciousness itself, were not "physical" or "mechanical." The physical aspect of material existence is that which consciousness is conscious of, it is not consciousness itself, however, which would be solipsism, and volition is an aspect of consciousness.

Reality is whatever is, and reality, we know, includes living, conscious, volitional beings. Obviously, material existence is amenable to such beings or they could not exist. Life, consciousness, and volition are common attributes of material existence. There is no difficulty at all with the mechanical determination of physical existence. The purely physical, mechanically determined world we directly perceive and which the sciences study is existence with its other normal attributes, life, consciousness, and volition, left out. The determined physical existence is a subset of material existence which includes these other attributes.

No faith at all is required. The suggestion that it is either God or a, "mechanical universe," is a false dichotomy.

Regi




Post 29

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 1:19pmSanction this postReply
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RF writes:
>However, Rand did assume volition, and >consciousness itself, were not "physical" or >"mechanical."

Well, Rand's attitude to this - essentially the mind/body problem - is not at all clear. She stressed on one hand that there was no such thing as a "mind/body dichotomy" ie: they are the same thing. As your body is part of the physical world, this seems to indicate a physicalist/determinist stance. On the other hand, she says elsewhere that to not distinguish between consciousness and existence is a big mistake - that it is a "very important distinction". (Indeed, we need this distinction in order to postulate voliton and avoid physical determinism).

Her apparently contradictory views has naturally lead to very divergent views among Objectivists, which Diana Mertz Hsieh usefully summarises here:

http://www.dianahsieh.com/papers/mio.html

She concludes that a theory of consciousness compatible with Objectivism has actually yet to be established - in other words, the problem is unsolved.

- Daniel



Post 30

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 1:26pmSanction this postReply
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Richard,

Thanks for the comments.

Just remember, in any mix of food (the proper manner in which Mr. Gibson has created and marketed his product) and poison (the pro-religious/ anti-life content of his product), it is ultimately poison that will win.
 
There is no mix. You either buy (see) the movie or you don't. The "mix" analogy does not fit. There is nothing being slipped in, it is completely overt. And exactly what is it, in this case, you think is going to be won? Do you think the advertising is going to put-one-over on you?

What are the causes which have led to the effect of Mr. Gibson throwing his money/time/effort into a project which is of NO ACTUAL VALUE TO HUMAN EXISTENCE? (Actually, it is anti-human existence.)  There is no value whatsoever in any form of mysticism.
 
This is all true, but irrelevant. The content does not really matter, except to those who are willing to shell out good money for it, and a lot are willing. In one sense, the movie is only "mystical" if you believe the story it is based on. If you do not, it could just as well be the story of any others executed by the Romans in that fashion. It is just a movie, a physical product. It is one I have no interest in, but that's true of many other products too, like TV.

In the United States, religious products are a multi-billion dollar business. The reason is because in the United States there is still freedom of religion, something Ayn Rand new the importance of. You cannot have freedom of religion and expect no one to practice it, and those who do, are going to be the market for products that fit their views.

You and I know religion is a mistake, but its not the only mistake people make, or the worst. Ayn Rand herself said the religion was the precursor to philosophy. For a great many religious people, religion is their philosophy, and with all its mistakes, it is certainly no worse and actually better than much that actually goes by the name philosophy.

Draino is physical poison and mysticism is your mental variant.

You give people too much credit. Most of those who have swallowed the various version of mysticism, do not let them affect most of their choices. In most cases, what they watch on television every night (especially the news and MTV) is much more harmful and "poisonous," to their actual lives than their religion or Mel's movie will be.

Please do not make the mistake of divorcing the mind and the body as the mystics have.  They have nothing to lose, because they do not value life.  But those who do value life have EVERYTHING to lose.
 
Do you really think those of us who are not msytics are in any danger from those products that appeal to mystics? Do you think I have anything to lose because of the existence of Mel Gibson's movie? What, pray tell?

Regi




Post 31

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 4:52pmSanction this postReply
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Sam,

The larger question is that of what is "objectively" valuable. To a low income family it could be objectively more valuable to eat at McDonald's five times than to go to a medium priced restaurant once and go hungry four times. That's what's great about capitalism everyone gets to maximize their return based on their own circumstances and values.

Yes, exactly!

As for your other argument, it's a "if this then that," kind of argument, which probably deserves a lot more discussion than I feel adequate to give here.  You win that one by default.

Regi.




Post 32

Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 4:57pmSanction this postReply
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Daniel,

She concludes that a theory of consciousness compatible with Objectivism has actually yet to be established - in other words, the problem is unsolved.
 
Yes, that is exactly how I have always viewed the issue.

However, I think the problem is easily solved, just that Objectivism does not directly address the issue, because Rand essentially ignored the field of ontology.

Regi




Post 33

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 12:08amSanction this postReply
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Daniel wrote:
>She concludes that a theory of consciousness compatible with Objectivism has actually yet to be established - in other words, the problem is unsolved.

Regi replied
>Yes, that is exactly how I have always viewed the issue.

Good to hear. But what is the simple solution you suggest exists? And how is it compatible with Objectivism?

- Daniel




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Post 34

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 2:01amSanction this postReply
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This is another discussion that has strayed far from its starting point. The consciousness issue should be pursued on a separate thread. I want to thrust my oar in re Mel Gibson. I am neither going to see the movie, nor read Regi's article. I have seen enough excerpts from the movie - in conjunction with Mr Gibson's stated ideology & the interview I recently witnessed of him by one of those brainless woman icons on American TV - to conclude to my own satisfaction that Mel Gibson is a sick fuck. I am not interested in reading anyone's "reasons" for deeming such an unfortunate, grotesque freak to be a hero, nor am I interested in sitting through two or three hours, whichever it is, of sado-masochism. (I've no objection to the latter among consenting adults in private; I have *every* objection to its being dressed up in a moral halo & passed off as the highest form of spirituality.) Tonight, there was a documentary here about women who were beaten black & blue, regularly, by Catholic nuns in their childhood. This kind of sadism is an inescapable leitmotif through religion in general & Catholicism in particular. Randroid Rationalism, of course, is a religion also, so one shouldn't be surprised to find a certain affinity. But it ain't Objectivism, & it ain't even decent. Mel Gibson doesn't deserve hero-worship; he needs help.
(Edited by Lindsay Perigo on 3/15, 2:10am)




Post 35

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 5:53amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Perigo, the founder and principal of this forum, states:
Mel Gibson is a sick fuck.
Gibson has done nothing that I as a Catholic would disapprove.  Indeed, I think he made a fine movie faithful to the Gospels.  So I can draw a pretty safe conclusion of what Mr. Perigo thinks of me.  I cannot sanction such mindless hatred, especially from my host, so I will take my leave of this place.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill




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Post 36

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 7:21amSanction this postReply
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Gibson has done nothing that I as a Catholic would disapprove. Indeed, I think he made a fine movie faithful to the Gospels.

So, as a Catholic you approve of Mel Gibson making a snuff movie 'cos he used characters and events from Judeo-Christian myth? Linz is right; that is sick.



Post 37

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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Linz, Citizen Rat

Citizen said: I cannot sanction such mindless hatred, especially from my host, so I will take my leave of this place.

Well, run away if you want to. At least Linz didn't hit you with any "sticks" the way those nuns did those poor young girls. I guess Catholic mothers don't teach their children, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

It was, after-all, my article that brought this vituperative response from Mr. Perigo, who at least was decent enough to admit he didn't even read it, which is obvious, because he would have discovered I have said just as severe, if not more severe things about Mel Gibson and Catholicism, myself.

Now, I think it was pretty hateful of Linz to criticize what he didn't bother to examine, and I hate the fact that he implies I am condoning worship of anything, especially Mel Gibson.

But I love hate, it's the hot pepper in the spice of life.

But I hate pc, thin-skinned, pusillanimous, paranoid, cowards, who run away as soon as someone says something they don't like. How heroic.

Please prove us wrong!

Regi




Post 38

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 7:50amSanction this postReply
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Linz,

This is another discussion that has strayed far from its starting point.

Thanks for keeping us on the straight and narrow. Who knows, if it weren't for your direction, we would probably be discussing transubstantiation by now.

I am neither going to see the movie, nor read Regi's article.
 
I certainly would have been surprised if you had intended to see the movie and if you had read the article you would know I have no such intention either, and for very same reasons.

I understand, as we get older, we sometimes get crochety and impatient, but some of us know enough not to presume we know what something says without reading it. If you had read the article, for example, you would know the only "heroism" attributed to Mel Gibson is "symbolic" and for the one thing everyone else is criticizing him for, his financial success.

While all the superstitious and mindless are praising him for his "artistic" and "spiritual" and "moral" creation, the only serious negative criticism he has received has been for is "sin" of making money. My point is, that is the only thing he did that was not a sin and his only real virtue, and he did that very well.

I know such subtleties are difficult for some strict Randians to apprehend; such would reject Dostoevsky as a great writer because he was Eastern Orthodox and not an Objectivist. Too bad for them. Thank goodness you are not among them, are you?

Regi




Post 39

Monday, March 15, 2004 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Linz writes:>Mel Gibson is a sick fuck

That's far too kind. His interview on 60 Minutes or whatever a few weeks back exploded his "regular guy" image forever. He's just another eye-rolling nutball who, if not for his money, would just be handing out cyclostyled conspiracy pamphlets on street corners. And it's all so tediously predictable: Jews and homos, homos and Jews.

Hitchens mocks him beautifully here:

"Schlock, Yes; Awe, No;Fascism, Probably."
http://slate.msn.com/id/2096323/

Poor men have their prejudices; rich men get to make movies about them.

- Daniel



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