About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page


Post 100

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 4:51amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I wonder just *which* Saddamite will be the first to post that the beheading of the American hostage by the newest group of Muslim scum was America's fault?
 
It seems you are the first to suggest that, "Mr. Danger."






Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 101

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 8:12amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I apologize that I'm unable to participate as much as before, but I'm just finishing up several articles (including one for THE FREE RADICAL about the upcoming election entitled "Bush Wins!"...) and somebody here will be forcing me to proof-read said magazine any day now. 

So, some brief responses:

1.  Marcus:  This Dr. Diabolical Dialectical never claimed to be on the side of Ayn Rand in the Iraq debate.  I don't know positively what she would have said.  My posts and articles have simply been designed, at least partially, to fundamentally question all those on the pro-war side who would invoke Rand's name in this debate, when she herself had developed a fairly comprehensive critique of the welfare-warfare state (which she called "the New Fascism") and had opposed virtually every US war in the twentieth century.  I'm convinced, by the way, that she would have favored the war against Al Qaeda.  She probably would have wanted to eviscerate the Al Qaeda terrorists for their attack on the city she so loved---one that has always been my home.

One thing separates the Cuban Missile Crisis from the Iraq situation, however:  Real, unimpeachable photographic evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  The US had the proof and shared it with the world community.

2.  Rick, whatever our differences, please don't ever cease provoking me.  I have enjoyed our exchanges here and elsewhere, even when you're trying to hit me below the belt.  :)  You make some good points about the ethics of emergency issue, though I'm not sure what the full implications of that might be. 

I, myself, would not claim that there is an exact parallel between individuals and states.  But we do need to remember that states are not disembodied phenomena:  they are ultimately constituted by institutions consisting of groups of individuals.  Someday, I'd like to claim to have constructed a full theory of international relations based on a Randian model, but that's a long way off.  Don't know if I'll have the time or inclination.  :)

3.  Linz, I certainly would not blame America for the disgusting beheading of one of our citizens.  But, I fear, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many more atrocities and horrors to come in this war. 

I hope that one of those horrors doesn't include another attack on my home.  It would be nice to stick around for a while and to argue, uh, discuss, these points with my fellow SOLOists.



Post 102

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:56amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I don't think that Lindsay Perigo was out of order in the slightest by suspecting that certain "Saddamites" would suggest that the beheading of an American would be America's fault.  This, despite this being an Objectivist forum.  This perspective is very, very deeply engrained.

I have also had a chance to thoroughly read post #95, and I've found that it bears rather a lot of critically "new" old information.  This sort of information changes whole perspectives, but only in the truly objective mind, because it ties a lot of glaringly obvious things together. 

Turns out, Islam didn't just "become" the way it is today.  It has always been this way, and their "Golden Age" was created by non-conformist "Muslims" who were, in reality, outsiders trapped within the Islamic culture that only tolerated their independent progress, which ran against the Islamic grain, so long as it made Islam look good.  But at the earliest convenience of the Islamic ideologues, they were harshly treated or even killed.

This seeming contradiction between the Islam of today and the Islamic "Golden Age" can best be explained by Francisco d'Anconia:  "Contradictions do not exist.  Whenever you think you are faced with a contradiction, check your premises.  You will find that one of them is wrong." 

And in this case, the wrong premise is that the Islamic "Golden Age" was due in fact to Islamic philosophy, which is 180 degrees from the truth.  The truth is that the "Golden Age" happened in spite of Islamic philosophy, not as a result of it.

We need to see that.
O.




Post 103

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 3:11pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I don't think that Lindsay Perigo was out of order in the slightest by suspecting that certain "Saddamites" would suggest that the beheading of an American would be America's fault. 

Lindsay Perigo is totally out of order even using the term "Saddamites" to refer to SOLOists who disagree with his foreign policy stance!




Post 104

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Lindsay Perigo is totally out of order even using the term "Saddamites" to refer to SOLOists who disagree with his foreign policy stance!


The intended targets of his name-calling implicitly sanction it when they respond to assertions and questions he poses that contain the anti-conceptual term.  They are reacting as if the term were validly applicable to them and others (it isn't)...and as if the term had some discernable meaning (it doesn't).

If Perigo was of a mind to change his approach, he would have done so much earlier, when all the problems with it were brought to his attention (and have since been reiterated over and over again).  So I think the slur, and any arguments accompanying it, should be ignored.  The arbitrary, the anti-conceptual, deserves nothing more.
  
-Logan
 www.individualistvoice.com

(Edited by Logan Feys on 5/12, 4:08pm)




Post 105

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 4:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,

I'm glad you offered answers to some of my questions.

The purpose of government is to protect the individual rights of the citizens against the initiation of force. I would not sanction any actions outside that purpose.
Do you sanction the government's Iraq war?

Nothing justifies taxation.
Can it be justified for an individual to support a government program that is funded by taxes?  Is there a moral distinction between that and supporting the underlying taxation directly?

I would submit that some emergencies can justify taxation.  If the citizens are facing an attack or the immediate threat of an attack, then what you're talking about is some coercion being used to collect money for the military in order to stave off a much worse form of coercion.  In the entire context, it means that you are reducing coercion and enhancing freedom. 

The Iraq war has been a net destroyer of life and liberty.  There was never any immediate threat.  Even the Bush Administration admits it.  If it weren't for the war, hundreds of Americans would still be alive, the military would be better equipped to deal with a real threat (should one emerge now, a draft would almost be inevitable), and we'd have hundreds of billions of our own dollars back. 

You declined to answer the question about how much the Iraq war/occupation would be worth to you in terms of lives and tax money.  The reason I asked is because many war supporters attach moral symbolism to the war effort and view the whole thing  in terms of the righteousness of eradicating dictators and thugs.  Therefore, they regard the war as an intrinsically worthwhile endeavor, regardless of the costs or consequences.  An intrinsicist never thinks to weigh costs against potential benefits and refuses to identify what would and wouldn't be an appropriate investment.  An intrinsicist supports the war no matter what it costs.  War as an end in itself overwhelms consideration of means.  But a rational person rejects the notion that "the end justifies the means" -- the end isn't worth pursuing if the means are immoral or destructive.

-Logan
www.individualistvoice.com




Sanction: 2, No Sanction: 0
Post 106

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 4:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Orion Reasoner said:

"Turns out, Islam didn't just "become" the way it is today.† It has always been this way, and their "Golden Age" was created by non-conformist "Muslims" who were, in reality, outsiders trapped within the Islamic culture that only tolerated their independent progress, which ran against the Islamic grain, so long as it made Islam look good.† But at the earliest convenience of the Islamic ideologues, they were harshly treated or even killed."

This could just as easily be said of Christianity. Western civilisation (our "Golden Age") didn't arise because of Christianity - but only because of those non-conformist "Christians" - outsiders trapped within the Christian culture.

Christian belief - when properly understood - includes tendencies to self-flagellation, self-sacrifice and suppression of dissent (amongst many other nasty things). The history of Christianity is not something to be proud of. In fact, the Dark Ages was an appropriate manifestation of actual Christian belief. Western civilisation is the result of the Enlightenment - not Christianity.

I do not share the view that Islam, as a whole, is a rampant danger to the world. Sure, there are fundamentalists who pose limited threats in specific cases. But like I've said before, this war on terror (war on belief) cannot be won by military means.

I would view most of Islam the same as most of Christendom. In general, the majority of religious people are not fundamentalist fanatics - and are more concerned with getting on with life, having a job, raising families, and being happy.

The trend, for Christianity, has been to become less fundamentalist as society materially progresses - and science takes a leading role. And I believe that this would also evolve within Islam - once such societies move beyond their own "Middle Ages".

Fundamentalism is just as dangerous when it rears its head in Christianity - as in the example of US Christians killing abortion doctors.

The root cause of the problem is religion per se. The fact that most believers, of any faith, are NOT fundamentalists is because it is too hard, too difficult - and simply anti-life. No one in their right mind really wants to sacrifice themselves on the alter of alien gods.

(Edited by David MacGregor on 5/12, 5:18pm)




Post 107

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 9:58pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
A theory of how individuals behave cannot be ported over to a theory of how abstract entities such as 'nations' should behave.  To talk about nations having 'self-interest' is to commit a confusion of levels.  I've pointed out this fact on the forums before.  A 'nation' is not a thinking entity.  Theories of individual ethics cannot be applied to international relations.  The United Nations itself and all it's attendant nonsense is based on this confusion of levels.

'Nations' don't have rights.  Only individuals do.  Same thing with other abstract entities.  You often hear conservatives talking about 'State rights'.  Again, a confusion of levels.  States don't have rights.  Only individuals do.  'Corporate personhood' is another peice of nonsense enshrined in the law.  A Corporation is not a 'person'.  Corporations don't have rights.  Only individuals do.  And so on.  At best you could argue that asbtract entites such as 'Nations', 'States' and 'Corporations' should have certain 'legal powers'.  But certainly not natural 'rights'. 

Objectivist individual ethics says that no individual may initiate force against another.  Let's apply this Iraq.  Clearly, on the individual level, force was continually being initiated.  Individual Iraqis in the Hussein regime were initiating force against other individual Iraqis.   Since natural rights were being violated, any one had the right to overthrow the Hussein regime.  This is a legitimate response to the initiations of force commited by the regime on it's own people. 

It won't do for critics of the war on Iraq to try to argue that the United States was 'initiating force' on Iraq.  This commits the confusion of levels I talked about.  Nations don't have any right to exist.  Only individuals do.  The individuals in the Hussein regime were the ones who initiated force when they commited human rights violations.  Any one had the right to overthrow the regime as a response to these violations.  Indeed, since individuals in governments all over the world are initiating force against their own citizens (since they are all non-Libertarian governments), any one has the right to over throw all the world's national governments and install Libertarian government in their place.  I repeat:  No Non-Libertarian government has any right to exist.

Now... was the U.S war on Iraq moral?  Not neccesserily.  Good morality is that which leads to good outcomes.  So any course of action requires us to weigh up costs/benefits in a rational manner.  Yes, any one did have the right to over throw Hussein, but this still doesn't mean that they would be justified in doing so.  That would depends on the results.  And the verdict is still open.  It is simply the case that it is very different to know at the time something as complex as a war is happening whether the benefits outweigh the cost.  Only time will tell.  

After all, in theory the U.S  might justified in overthrowing all the world's current national governments, and installing Libertarian government in their place.  But of course in practice it would be quite ludcirous to attempt it, because the costs of world war would probably greatly outway the benefit.

So to sum up... the U.S had the right to invade Iraq, but not the obligation ;)   




Post 108

Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
David MacGregor,
 
I could NOT AGREE MORE with what you said in post 106, was it?

I have endlessly, tirelessly, criticized Christianity and religion in general for being inimical to nonconformity, be it rational or irrational.  

Most often, real and objective progress occurs in spite of religion, not because of it.  

And what makes religion even worse, is that it then either comes down like a sledgehammer on its heretic rationalists, or it incorporates their advances and declares that the advances were made possible only because of the religion!

Sick, sick, sick.  Religion may be useful and even necessary for keeping the moronic, vicious masses in line, but it needs to learn how to identify those who chafe under it, and do not wish to participate within its auspices in ANY way... and by that, I mean true Objectivists.

O. 




Post 109

Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 3:00pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Logan, you asked:

Do you sanction the government's Iraq war?

Yes. I sanction the destruction of a madman and his regime and all of the infrastructure that could be used to make WMDs. I believe a madman with a nuclear/biological/chemical weapons is a potential threat to everyone. And I believe that al Qaeda would be more than willing to supply a delivery system for getting a weapon to America.

It has been suggested that al Qaeda would not co-operate with "secular" Hussein. But al Qaeda was willing to send its agents to the Great Satan for flight training -- and even risk them being contaminated by prostitutes and alcohol. So I cannot see why they'd have cold feet about dealing with Hussein.

The prewar intelligence about Iraq's WMDs was not in dispute. The argument was over how to respond.

So why haven't we found any? George Tenet gave an excellent speech about this back in February. It is worth your time to read it here: http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2004/tenet_georgetownspeech_02052004.html

Here is part of his conclusions:

Let me tell you some of what was going on in the fall of 2002.  Several sensitive reports crossed my desk from two sources characterized by our foreign partners as  ďestablished and reliable.Ē
The first, from a source who had direct access to Saddam and his inner circle said: 
  • Iraq was not in possession of a nuclear weapon.  However, Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon.  Saddam had recently called together his Nuclear Weapons Committee irate that Iraq did not yet have a weapon because money was no object and they possessed the scientific know how. 
  • The Committee members assured Saddam that once the fissile material was in hand, a bomb could be ready in just 18-24 months. The return of UN inspectors would cause minimal disruption because, according to the source, Iraq was expert at denial and deception. 

I do not sanction giving the enemy six months notice that you are going to attack, so that he can stockpile conventional weapons and hide WMD's if he had them. I do not sanction altruistic nation-building.

You say there was never any immediate threat. The point of pre-emptive war is to get there before the threat materializes.

Forgetting al Qaeda for a moment and the possibility of them suicide-delivering a nuclear weapon or three in the U.S., suppose Hussein were still in power and did develop a bomb -- even a crude one. He detonates it in the desert as a test -- the whole world can detect it. He then declares that he has a dozen nuclear weapons and missiles that can deliver them to Israel, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He invades and captures the Saudi oil fields. What would we have done?

Chris Sciabarra made an excellent point in an earlier post.

When the Israelis discovered that the Iraqis were building a nuclear power plant, they simply destroyed it. They didn't send scientists to Iraq to help them build alternative sources of energy, or legislators to Baghdad to help them build alternative political institutions.

This, to the extent feasible, should be the pattern to follow. However, I do not know if air strikes will always be enough. There may be situations that require invasion and occupation to destroy the capability of making nuclear weapons. I am not a military strategist and do not have the President's access to intelligence.

I believe we should destroy the regimes in  Tehran, Bagdad, Damascus, Tripoli and anywhere else we think our enemies might be working on a nuclear/biological/chemical weapon -- do it by air power alone if possible, but do it and do it soon.

It has been suggested that cutting off the head of the monster is not enough, another will grow back. I agree, but since evil is impotent, if we prohibit trade with these monsters, they won't be much of a threat.

Can it be justified for an individual to support a government program that is funded by taxes?  Is there a moral distinction between that and supporting the underlying taxation directly? 
I think I already stated my position on this. Taxation is evil, but I still want my government's protection -- and I definitely favor pre-emptive war against madmen seeking the capability of destroying America.

 
I would submit that some emergencies can justify taxation.  If the citizens are facing an attack or the immediate threat of an attack, then what you're talking about is some coercion being used to collect money for the military in order to stave off a much worse form of coercion.  In the entire context, it means that you are reducing coercion and enhancing freedom. 
 
I would submit that there is no such thing as the right to violate rights -- under any conditions. You have the right to defend yourself. You do not have the right to force me to help.

 
You declined to answer the question about how much the Iraq war/occupation would be worth to you in terms of lives and tax money.  The reason I asked is because many war supporters attach moral symbolism to the war effort and view the whole thing  in terms of the righteousness of eradicating dictators and thugs.  Therefore, they regard the war as an intrinsically worthwhile endeavor, regardless of the costs or consequences.  An intrinsicist never thinks to weigh costs against potential benefits and refuses to identify what would and wouldn't be an appropriate investment.  An intrinsicist supports the war no matter what it costs.  War as an end in itself overwhelms consideration of means.  But a rational person rejects the notion that "the end justifies the means" -- the end isn't worth pursuing if the means are immoral or destructive.

I did decline to answer because I don't know how to calculate a number. I am convinced that bin Laden will do everything in his power to detonate a nuclear weapon(s) in an American population center -- and that he will deal with anyone that helps advance that goal. I would spend a great deal indeed to head off that threat.

On the other hand, Iam totally opposed to the loss of a single American soldier for the sake of minimizing enemy casualties.  I am far more inclined to Orion's nuclear option if that is what is required.

Lastly, if it were up to me, in addition to destroying the regimes I mentioned earlier, I'd tell the world that from this point forward,the United States will  respond to any Islamic terrorists attack by destroying Islamic holy sites -- and nothing is off limits, we will reduce them to rubble one by one.





Sanction: 1, No Sanction: 0
Post 110

Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 5:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marc Geddes wrote:
'Nations' don't have rights.  Only individuals do. ... So to sum up... the U.S had the right to invade Iraq, but not the obligation ;)   
Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

And then Michael Smith wrote:
Nothing justifies taxation.
(A statement he then reaffirmed his belief in, even after I argued that certain emergency/war situations can justify taxation.)  He then specifically said "Yes" he sanctions the tax-thug-funded Iraq war.  Which means one of two things are possible: Either the Iraq war is "Nothing" or Michael has contradicted himself. 

Maybe Michael and Marc could get together and write a book called A is A, Except When It's Non-A.  LOL!

Can someone find me a war supporter who can argue his case rationally -- without insults, vacuous patriotic or collectivist sloganeering, or massive logical disconnects?  Chris, I asked you some months ago if you knew of any.  Any finds yet?

Micheal also stated:
I would submit that there is no such thing as the right to violate rights -- under any conditions.
If it's never morally justified to violate another's rights, then it would never be justified to wage war.  Can you think of any war in which only the guilty were killed and no innocent person's rights were violated in any way?  I can't. 

So if you're going to support a war, you should (I think) do so honestly and humanely, acknowledging that some innocent people will be killed, and regretting that it was necessary to do so in order to potentially save another life or perhaps many more.  To deny that these innocent lives matter, to deny that you are violating anyone's rights, is to open the door to mass, indiscriminate murder, even genocide. 

It's plain that some people at ARI (and perhaps some here) have genocidal inclinations.  They have de-individualized and de-humanized human beings.  They have filled their minds with contentless slogans, collectivist nouns and pronouns as substitutes for individual actors, and floating moral pronouncements that bear little relation to the concrete actions that they are demanding.  People who commit or lend sanction to atrocities always deny the significance of the concrete reality in front of them and plead that they were serving some greater purpose.  Leonard Peikoff could kill billions of harmless people and feel nothing for any one of them, because he can always rationalize that they -- his victims -- had no rights to begin with.  He, a professed advocate of individual rights, has said that civilian casualties don't matter in the War on Terror.  It frightens me to contemplate the horrors he and "Objectivists" like him would unleash on the world if they rose to power.  Republicans and Democrats, flawed as they may be, still have an ounce of humanity and an ounce of reality about them.  Ultra-rationalistic Objectivists have none.

-Logan
 www.individualistvoice.com




Post 111

Friday, May 14, 2004 - 9:22amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Logan

Nothing justifies taxation.

(A statement he then reaffirmed his belief in, even after I argued that certain emergency/war situations can justify taxation.)  He then specifically said "Yes" he sanctions the tax-thug-funded Iraq war.  Which means one of two things are possible: Either the Iraq war is "Nothing" or Michael has contradicted himself. 

Your premise is that I claim that the war justifies taxation. I said no such thing, I said the opposite. Are you saying that since government is currently funded by taxation, NONE of its actions are legitimate? Are you saying that because I am in favor of a tax-thug-funded policeman catching a serial killer, it automatically means I am in favor of taxation?


If it's never morally justified to violate another's rights, then it would never be justified to wage war.  Can you think of any war in which only the guilty were killed and no innocent person's rights were violated in any way?  I can't. 

So if you're going to support a war, you should (I think) do so honestly and humanely, acknowledging that some innocent people will be killed, and regretting that it was necessary to do so in order to potentially save another life or perhaps many more.  To deny that these innocent lives matter, to deny that you are violating anyone's rights, is to open the door to mass, indiscriminate murder, even genocide. 
 

Yes, innocents die in war, and yes their rights are violated when that happens. But the blame rests with the one who initiates the use of force, not the party using force in self-defence. 

 
 Can someone find me a war supporter who can argue his case rationally -- without insults, vacuous patriotic or collectivist sloganeering, or massive logical disconnects?

Please show the "insults, vacuous patriotic or collectivist sloganeering, and massive logical disconnects" in my prior post.




Post 112

Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 11:00amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The article Reginald Firehammer cites argues that the achievements of Muslim philosophers do not count as a counterexample to his claim that "Muslims have never created anything of value" because their positions were heretical from the Islamic perspective. My objection to this response is that Islam (unlike, say, Catholicism) has never had a centralised official manner of determining what is heretical. Medieval Islamic theology was an enormously diverse field, with MANY different views about the proper relation between reason and revelation. (On this point I recommend the Routledge History of Islamic Philosophy, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415259347.)

It's easy to downgrade Islamic culture if you treat only the most fundamentalist faction as "really" Islamic, and all other factions as somehow non-Islamic. This is victory by stipulation. The comparison to Voltaire is misleading, since Voltaire wasn't merely an unorthodox Christian; he wasn't a Christian at all. Ibn Rushd and al-Farabi are more akin to maverick Christian thinkers like John Milton and John Locke. That doesn't mean that Milton and Locke "owe" their achievements to Christianity, any more than Ibn Rushd and al-Farabi "owe" their achievements to Islam. But the question is not whether Islam, the specific religion itself, made positive contributions (though it probably did make some -- for example, in its universalist check on tribalism, or in its relatively pro-commerce stance by comparison with Christianity) but whether Muslims or the Islamic world made any. Again, I quote Mr. Firehammer's exact words: "Muslims have never created anything of value." Does he stand by that characterisation?

It's ironic that the detractors of medieval Islam regard themselves as bold defiers of academic multiculturalism, because their claim that Islamic culture isn't "really" Islamic because it absorbed influences from other cultures is precisely analogous to the Afrocentrists' claim that Greek culture isn't "really" Greek because it absorbed influences from Egypt, etc. Of course the Greeks were influenced inter alia by Egyptian culture; but they radically transformed and developed that inheritance in new and innovative ways. The same applies to medieval Islam. Did innovative thinkers in the Islamic world sometimes run into resistance from religious authorities? Sure. And Socrates was executed for corrupting the youth; does that mean Socrates' achievements weren't truly "Greek"?

Does Aquinas count as not really Christian because he drew on Greek learning, or because his contributions were originally rejected (the Condemnations of 1277)?  Or does he count as Christian after all because he was later declared the official theologian of the Catholic Church?  Would Mr. Firehammer say that "Christians have never created anything of value"?

I hardly think my position can be described as motivated by "hatred of Western Civilization." I'm an Aristotelean; what I value medieval Islamic culture for is precisely that it was embracing the Greek heritage at a time when the West was turning its back on it. Later on of course this situation was reversed. I certainly regard present-day Western culture as being superior, on the whole, to present-day Islamic culture. That's perfectly compatible with thinking that the reverse once held.

Those who accuse any acknowledgment of the achievements of medieval Islam of political motivations open themselves, self-defeatingly, to analogous suspicions; these psychologistic accusations are not helpful in rational discousre. The history of Islam is what it is; pro-Islamists may wish its recent past were better, while anti-Islamists may wish its more distant past were worse, but the facts do not accommodate either faction.




Post 113

Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 6:19pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Logan,

Very well said. You're quite right about the relationship between rationalism and advocacy of scorched earth-style policies. Such advocacy does require the de-humanisation/de-individualisation that you speak of. Hence all this talk of "savages."

Bless you!




Post 114

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 2:09amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Savagery is a real choice.  It is a system of logical laziness, and thus easier on the mind.  Thus it is an easier choice, and therefore made more frequently, as all easier choices are.

The cultures of which I speak HAVE made that choice long ago, and have built a deep and lasting canyon out of what was once was a tentative trickle of individual and small group choice.

The vast majority of them have now chosen to be savages, en masse.  Therefore, I am fully within fully righteous objectivity to call them "savage". 

Do not quibble with me for MY use of this term; point your politically-correct finger of blame at those who CHOSE adopt the lifestyle of the savage, yet who also want to have their cake and eat it too, and NOT be called "savages".

O.

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 5/17, 2:11am)




Post 115

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 4:08amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Savages" is certainly flattering the worst of them, who behead, who car-bomb ... just now they have killed the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, fearful that the transition to a far more benign (though flawed) form of governance than Saddam's just might succeed. "They" being yet another group aligning itself to Al Qaeda (who, of course, never had *anything* to do with Saddam. Oh sure). I trust not even the most avid Saddamite here would pretend that Al Qaeda are not "savages"?

BTW, "Saddamite" is *not* an "anti-concept. Referents in reality: human beings (my own doubts about that notwithstanding). Distinguishing characteristic: succouring Saddam by opposing his overthrow. Omitted measurement: the intensity of the succouring.

"Don't bother to examine a folly; ask instead what it achieves." Every time a Saddamite posts here, he should ask himself how Saddam would react. As I've said before, Lenin's "useful idiots" are alive & well.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 116

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 5:26amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
There is no doubt that Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-aligned groups are now in Iraq.  But there was no evidence of any formal relationship between Hussein and Al Qaeda; those Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-aligned terrorist groups that did exist in Hussein's Iraq, were centered not in the Sunni triangle or the Shi'ite dominated South; they were found mostly in the Kurd-dominated Northern sections of the country.  It is only now, in the chaotic aftermath of the invasion, that Al Qaeda-aligned groups are becoming more prevalent in Iraq. With the Al Qaeda-described "infidel," Saddam Hussein, now in US custody, a power-and-ideological vacuum exists, attracting all sorts of savagery.

But this is not an illustration of the simplistic "magnet theory":  that by stationing thousands of US forces in Iraq, Iraq will become a "magnet" for terrorists, and the US will have simply brought the war to them, rather than being the battleground itself.  Al Qaeda is not in one place at one time.  And there is something far more insidious than the existence of Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda-aligned network, and that is:  the spread of Al Qaeda-ism.  And therein lies the horrific scope of the problem:  as this particular shade of militant fundamentalism takes root throughout the Muslim world (which has virtually no geographic limitations, since it stretches from the Middle East to the Asian Pacific to North America), Osama Bin Laden will matter less and less, except, perhaps, as a symbolic "leader" of this maniacal sect.  The decentralized cells of a poisonous ideological movement will be more self-motivated to undertake localized strikes against the Great Satan.

We will never live in a risk-free world.  All the more reason to embrace long-run policies that minimize the points of political and military contact, while maximizing the points of cultural and social contact, with the Muslim world.  Nothing less than an ideological and cultural revolution abroad (and at home) will do.




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 117

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 5:34amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Roderick Long says: It's easy to downgrade Islamic culture if you treat only the most fundamentalist faction as "really" Islamic, and all other factions as somehow non-Islamic. This is victory by stipulation.

Or thinking in essentials.

Long: But the question is not whether Islam, the specific religion itself, made positive contributions Ö but whether Muslims or the Islamic world made any.

Ah, but then you are switching from the religion to a demographic group. The focus is on Islam qua Islam. Have Muslims (a demographic group) made contributions because of Islam (a religion) or despite Islam.

Long: Does Aquinas count as not really Christian because he drew on Greek learning, or because his contributions were originally rejected (the Condemnations of 1277)? Or does he count as Christian after all because he was later declared the official theologian of the Catholic Church?

Letís remember that we need to distinguish between difference senses of using our words. As Iím sure you realize, we must do an attribution analysis. What came from Christianity and what came from Aristotle? In some senses we will want to maintain that much of Aquinas is pagan philosophy. On the other hand, we can respect a Christianís desire to reform and redefine their religion. Thus, I, too, often refer to modern Catholicism without the qualification that hints it is an integration of the teaching of Jesus and the influence of Aristotle. Sometimes I want greater clarity and use the term Thomist.

In conclusion, Iím open to the assertion that medieval Muslims preserved and added to a rich heritage. But Iíd welcome greater clarity that points out that it was despite the religion, not because of the religion, that such achievements were made. Ultimately, Islam rejected Averroes and Aristotle, stifled creativity, and sank into a dogmatic religious slumber.

Rick





Post 118

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 5:54amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
[Enter insulting label here] Referents in reality: human beings. Distinguishing characteristic: Self-described "Objectivists" who acquiesce in the continuation of the system referred to by Ayn Rand as the New Fascism via their uncritical support for an unnecessary invasion. Omitted measurement: Ability to grasp full context of world affairs, organic connections between domestic and foreign intervention, other fascinating elements of dialectical libertarian analysis. 

Please note: the above is an attempt at humourus parody. I do not at the present time intent to waste brain power developing an insulting label for those who resort to name-calling rather than engaging in rational argument.

In all seriousness though Linz, one question you've never answered despite myself and others asking you several times: If those who opposed the invasion of Iraq are Saddamites, how does that logic apply to Rand's opposition to an invasion of Soviet Russia? (or Nazi Germany/Korea/Vietnam etc). Shall we try and imagine how Stalin or Khruschev would have felt reading her comments?




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 119

Monday, May 17, 2004 - 7:03pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Matthew wrote:

In all seriousness though Linz, one question you've never answered despite myself and others asking you several times: If those who opposed the invasion of Iraq are Saddamites, how does that logic apply to Rand's opposition to an invasion of Soviet Russia? (or Nazi Germany/Korea/Vietnam etc). Shall we try and imagine how Stalin or Khruschev would have felt reading her comments?
Matthew,
 
Though I am not Linz, let me take a stab at answering the first question.  In short, because the context in the Nazi and Soviet cases was completely different from the current Islamist one.  (The Vietnam case is largely subsumed under the Soviet one.)
 
A.) The Nazis sank the Reuben James off the coast of Iceland in peacetime, but did not murder 3,000 civilians and military personnel in sneak attacks on Tribeca and the Pentagon.  The USSR, whatever atrocities it committed against our allies and innocent third parties, did not pose a serious military threat to the United States itself until the last 30 years of Soviet history, and by then the US had an adequate deterrent force in place to forestall any attack.
 
B.) Any such Soviet nuclear attack would have come from an indisputable, unique source, and would have triggered massive retaliation.  Islam, by contrast, practices asymmetrical warfare using, instead of soldiers, terrorists disguised as civilians.  Various Islamic governments, both secular and religious, have been pursuing nuclear weapons programs with varying degrees of success.  Our European allies are oblivious to the danger this represents to civilization and continue to sell them industrial equipment having nuclear potential.  Terrorist groups are moving almost inexorably towards being able to wage nuclear asymmetrical warfare.  Nuclear weapons have proliferated enormously in the intervening decades and it would be impossible for us to tell from what nation's clandestine program a particular suitcase bomb that exploded on our shores had come.  This make the deterrent effect of possible retaliation problematic.
 
C.)  Outside of a few elite circles and a few circles of inbred troglodytes, the American people were largely immune to the contagion of socialist ideology in both its National and International strains.  Today, with the political, the mass media, and especially the academic elites of our country practically soaking in politically correct multiculturalism, as in a kind of embalming fluid, the situation is very different.  Some of the most prestigious law firms and public relations firms in Washington are in the pay of the Saudi royal family and other Islamist governments and radical groups.  They bribe, er, lobby, our legislators and bureaucrats to enact policies favorable to them.  This affects everything from our foreign policy to our educational curriculum.
 
Schoolchildren from locales as widely scattered as California and Arkansas are taught to dress and pray as Muslims in government school rooms that have however been purged of all Judeo-Christian religious symbolism as a matter of Constitutional law.  The Saudis have brought about a Wahhabi revival among America's (previously) predominantly secular Muslim population by building the vast majority of mosques in the United States and staffing them with an exclusively Wahhabi and anti-American clergy.  Scarcely a voice is heard raised against any of this among the public policy makers.
 
Wahhabi missionary activity, funded by oil money, has also been making inroads in sub-Saharan Africa and many other areas of the world, with frighteningly rapid success.  Among animist Africans, for example, Christian missionary activity has been almost wholly displaced in recent decades by Wahhabi activity financed by the Saudis and others religious Arab nations.
 
D.) Germany was a growing country in demographic terms in 1930.  Its relatively high birthrate had plunged by the post-war era, leaving it of no lasting demographic threat to the West in general or to America in particular.  At any rate, there was no large number of belligerent Germans seeking to immigrate to the United States before or during the war.  The Soviet Union had anemic, if any, total demographic growth throughout its history.  During the last decades of Soviet rule, the population of European Soviets was in marked decline, with only the Islamic regions of Soviet Central Asia increasing in population.  Occupying a vast, sparsely populated land from which the effects of Communism were slowly killing off the peoples of European descent, the USSR represented no demographic threat to civilization.  This is in contrast to Islam which is currently growing quite rapidly by both natural increase and by the missionary activity cited above.  The Palestinian Arabs, for example, have the highest birthrate of any ethnic group in the world.
 
So the Islamist movement, absent change, will be a bigger problem in the future than it is now.  And the Islamists are not staying put but are immigrating (or, at least, as in the case of the 9/11 hijackers, moving,) to Western Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Canada.  If current demographic trends continue, France might well become the first Islamic power in Western Europe.  During the last rounds of Cold War disarmament talks, France was credited with the independent nuclear capability to destroy 200 population centers in the western Soviet Union.  Imagine that kind of power in the hands of a Muslim ruler.
 
Unless these ideological trends are changed, and changed decisively, the future will be very grim indeed.  Western nations allow Muslims to publish, broadcast, and seek converts freely on their territory.  Muslim nations do not allow Westerners to do anything of the kind.  Currently there is almost no mechanism by which the typical subject of Arab (or many other Islamic) nations can become aware of the extent to which his worldview is based on false propaganda spread by his government and/or religious sect.  Military force is the only thing that can break this information embargo in the time available.
 
E.)  America faced a formidable conventional military foe in the Third Reich, whose army was much larger than ours in the years leading up to the war.  The Wehrmacht has been almost universally rated by military experts as being the finest army to engage in that war, in terms of its overall fighting quality.  The Red Army, by contrast, was not equal to the United States Army in overall quality.  But it was substantially larger.  Both Germany and the Soviet Union were distant from North America, creating a severe logistics problem for a military planner contemplating an amphibious or land operation to be launched in either direction.  The Soviet Union had the additional advantage in defending itself of having an enormous area that would have to be conquered, with vast distances creating logistics problems for any attacker, as, in the event, they did for Kleist and his colleagues.  With these considerations in mind, it makes sense that Ayn Rand would not wish America to fight a powerful enemy conventional force on the other side of the Atlantic.
 
The current situation with respect to Islam is entirely different.  The Islamic nations (except, unfortunately, Pakistan) and especially the Arab nations are militarily puny.  With their revenue from their theft of the petroleum industry that had been developed by Western corporations, with our easy transportation and communications, with our liberal immigration policies, with our endemic multiculturalism, with our rule of law, with our treasonous left-wing defense attorneys, with our criminally negligent and chronically unprepared intelligence agencies, and with the insane fanaticism of the Islamists' cult, the enemy forces enjoy an overwhelming advantage in asymmetric (terror) warfare.  And the potential penalties to us for losing this asymmetric war, as I will note below, are enormous.
 
Distances have shrunk from the 1940s.  The jet engine, container ships, fiber optics, satellite communications, and a much larger American economy have combined to shrink the military significance of the Atlantic.  Now, our enemies can strike our shores more easily, making war against our civilians in their homes.  Conversely, our forces can carry the war to the enemy more easily than in 1942.
 
Faced with a conflict we did not choose, in a context where we enjoy the advantage in conventional war, but suffer from a crushing disadvantage in fighting terrorism, with the stakes as dire as they are, it makes sense for us to think strategically and fight the war under circumstances that favor our side.
 
F.) Red China sold nuclear technology to Pakistan, and Pakistan now has the bomb.  North Korea has an advanced nuclear program.  Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program.  There have been persistent rumors of nuclear materials and technology missing from the vast arsenals of the former Soviet Union.  With modern computing power and materials technology, it is becoming easier and easier to build a nuclear device.  New technologies for enriching uranium are inherently more concealable than the those used by the United States in the infancy of the nuclear age.  New bomb designs require much less fuel to create a chain reaction than those used by Fat Man or Little Boy.  These new designs are increasingly available to any interested government with scientists, engineers, and personal computers at its disposal.  Western estimates of the number of bombs available to Pakistan, India, and North Korea, based on the estimated quantities of fissionable material at their disposal, assume crude designs very wasteful of fuel by modern American standards.  If these countries have in fact the technology to make more advanced bombs, it implies that they might have much smaller but far more numerous bombs in their respective arsenals than normally believed.
 
If several nuclear bombs, or possibly if only one nuclear bomb, explode in American cities (or possibly just one city) the President, or whoever is left alive as acting President, will declare a state of national emergency and the Bill of Rights will be suspended.  At that point the entire territory of the United States will in effect be under martial law.  This is not merely a matter of conjecture on my part.  I have read summaries of legislation and executive orders passed during the Cold War and never rescinded.  Observe how on 9/11 Air Force One evacuated the President to the American heartland in echo of plans that were made during the Cold War in anticipation of a hypothetical Soviet strike.
 
With the well-known devotion to the Constitutional order evinced by any of our recent administrations to serve as a guide, would anyone care to wager on how long it would then take to restore the regular civilian rule of law?  Observe further that we do not have _habeas corpus_ for certain terror suspects such as Citizen Padilla _now_, in the absence of Islamic mushroom clouds.  Detainees have been denied  the right of counsel.  At least initially, this applied even to some US citizens.  If the President of that future time is a power luster, as most recent presidents have been, I would not put the chance of normal representative rule in under 2 years at better than 50%.  It is quite possible that we would never get it back.
 
The possibility that Islamic terrorists (or agents acting on behalf of North Korea) will attempt to smuggle a nuclear bomb into this country is very real.  Our coastlines and land borders are long and notoriously porous.  Large shipments of illegal narcotics and guns are already smuggled across the Mexican border and the Gulf coast regularly.  Canada has refused to assist us by adopting uniform rules for entry at international airports and seaports.  Regular drug smugglers and "coyotes" are known to have performed services for al-Queda operatives prior to 9/11.  The consequences of even one such nuclear bomb exploding in an urban area will be grave not only for us but for all of Western civilization.
 
In this circumstance, the only deterrent that we have is a recognition on the part of our enemies that we are a dangerous and unpredictable foe, and that they goad us at their peril.  We have rested complacent in the face of their atrocities for decades, and therefore they have been emboldened.  In the dawn of modern state-sponsored terrorism, targeted strikes would have been sufficient to warn the Muslim leaders away from cooperating with (the then Soviet trained and supplied) terrorists.  But now it is too late for mere targeted strikes to be effective.  Our enemies have grown too insolent and too contemptuous of our will.  It is necessary for as many of the offending regimes to fall as possible.  I do not advocate nation building.  While I recognize Rand's radical legacy, our current circumstance is a rare one in which the unleashing of more rather than less military force is the only safe and prudent course for those who love liberty.
 
-Bill




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.