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Sunday, September 5, 2004 - 5:42amSanction this postReply
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Adam, I think you missed the point of Rand's disappointment with Wilkie. It did not cause her to vote for FDR.

I do not understand how you can vote for a man whom you yourself liken to Wilkie, and call a "patriotic altruist" -- nor on what grounds you accuse Bush of having "theocratic aspirations." Bush seems to me no more or less religious than many other politicians who preceded him in the White House. And if Kerry is "a symbol and embodiment of secular rationality," then we should welcome his economic policies and hail the advent of socialism.



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Sunday, September 5, 2004 - 8:44amSanction this postReply
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"-- nor on what grounds you accuse Bush of having "theocratic aspirations.""

faith based initiatives, bans on human cloning and stem cell research, an attempt to enter a bill into the constitution which bans homosexual marraige, these don't seem theocratic to you?

does he have to hold a sword out and say "convert or die!" before you would recognize that he's a theocratic bastard?

what level of attrocity is required?

ah, i don't agree with adam's article though. just the part about president bush having theocratic aspirations.



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Post 2

Monday, September 6, 2004 - 7:15amSanction this postReply
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Eli, you wrote: "faith based initiatives, bans on human cloning and stem cell research, an attempt to enter a bill into the constitution which bans homosexual marraige, these don't seem theocratic to you?"

They seem objectionable to me, but not evidence that Bush wants a union of church and state. And by the way, he didn't outlaw stem cell research, only its funding by the government.
Further, I can't take very seriously his plan for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, since he has to know it has no chance of passing; I suspect it's a bone thrown to the religious Right.

Barbara




Post 3

Monday, September 6, 2004 - 7:58amSanction this postReply
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wether or not it has a chance of passing, the attempt is evil.

"They seem objectionable to me, but not evidence that Bush wants a union of church and state."

how are faith based initiatives not a union of church and state?

here's a good article i read:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8400&news_iv_ctrl=1021


quoting from that article:

"Clearly, Bush believes there are higher priorities than upholding the Constitution and protecting individual rights: namely, using his Presidency to promote religion. "For too long," he declares, "some in government believed there was no room for faith in the public square.""

you wrote:

"And by the way, he didn't outlaw stem cell research, only its funding by the government."

i did not know this. however, though the gov't shouldn't fund scientific research, for the government to stop funding stem cell research, and start funding religions is clearly (to me...) a faith motivated act, and a violation of the separation of church and state.



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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 1:42amSanction this postReply
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Eli, I prefer to say -- because it is more exact, and because it does not presume to knowledge of someone's consciousness that we do not and cannot possess -- that the attempt is wrong or mistaken. I am sick to the bone of accusations of evasion and evil hurled at people who do not agree with us. Can we please, in the name of reason, logic, and our finite knowledge, stop treating intellectual opponents as if they were black sinners waiting to be struck by the lightning rod of a vengeful God? Haven't Objectivists done enough of this to last all our lifetimes? Must we all march in lock step intellectually in order to avoid denunciation as evil?

No, faith based initiatives are not a union of church and state. Theocracy means absolute rule by religious authorities. When Bush metamorphizes into Savanarola, I'll believe he aspires to theocracy.

Barbara



Post 5

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 2:50amSanction this postReply
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Dear Mrs. Branden:

You write that I "missed the point of Rand's disappointment with Wilkie. It did not cause her to vote for FDR." It is you who missed the point. Just as the enemy in 1940 was not Germany but collectivism, the enemy of humankind in 2004 is not Islamism but theocracy. Just as FDR was the head of the American branch of the same international collectivist movement against whose German and Japanese branches he would soon go to war, George Bush is the head of the American branch of the same international theocratic movement that murdered 3000 Americans who worked in the World Trade Center. George Bush is in total agreement with Al Qaeda that it is appropriate to force others to obey the imaginary whims of his imaginary supernatural deity. His only disagreement with Al Qaeda is about methods, not principles. So I think that YOU miss the point of my disagreement with Kerry. It will NOT cause me to vote for Bush.

In response to Eli's concern with Bush's ban of therapeutic human cloning and medical research into applications of embryonic stem cells, you write that Bush "didn't outlaw stem cell research, only its funding by the government." But for stem cell therapies to be useful and profitable enough to justify the expense of private research, the stem cells for therapy must be derived from an embryonic clone of the patient's own DNA - stem cells from any other source would face immune rejection and other obstacles that cannot be overcome by any commercially feasable technique that can be foreseen at this time. The relevant fact of reality is, that a ban on human cloning is, unavoidably, also a ban on commercial development of embryonic stem cell therapies. And, if this were not enough, the FDA has banned, for purely religious reasons and without any grounding in reality, the emergency contraceptive Plan B - in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that Plan B is completely safe and effective. Leonard Peikoff, in the lecture segment in which he endorsed Kerry, cited reports from two biotechnology CEOs, both Objectivists, of FDA pressure on their companies not to develop embryonic stem cell therapies. What more do you need to confirm that a ban is in effect?

As for your comment that "if Kerry is "a symbol and embodiment of secular rationality," then we should welcome his economic policies and hail the advent of socialism" - I can only recommend that you lay off time travel for a while. In 1957, all countries of the world had more than 50% socialist economies, with 4 exceptions: US, Germany and Japan - thanks to American occupations - and Switzerland. Today, there are 4 countries in the world that still have 50%+ socialist economies: North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba and Venezuela. Time travel is bad for your head, Mrs. Branden. If you indulge, you will continue to feel a strong urge to dig up the putrid corpse of socialism and wave it in the wind like a scarecrow. Whom are you hoping to scare?

Which brings me to unfinished business from another discussion. You wrote: "I just learned something else about Kerry that had only been a rumor before. When he returned home after his four-and-a-half months in Vietnam, he secretly flew to Paris and met with high officials of the Viet Cong." I responded: "If he did this SECRETLY, how did you "learn" about it? Please share." You wrote: "My "Deep Throat"in this instance consisted of two television broadcasters speaking on national television." I responded: "Two television broadcasters? If they are so reliable, why not mention their names, and what stations they broadcast on? In my experience the correlation between truth and television, especially our FCC-controlled television, is reliably negative; most of it is such dreck that no reasonable man would dignify it with a denial. But I admit there are exceptions. Do let us know." You never did.

Mrs. Branden, posting a scurrilous rumor, and insisting that it is NOT a rumor, on the authority of two FCC-controlled broadcasters whom you have declined to name, is bad intellectual hygiene. If this is the method by which you arrived at the more suspect portions of your "Passion of Ayn Rand," then I would have to consider your writings, then and since, as something to be read only while wearing thick rubber gloves.



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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 3:23amSanction this postReply
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In post 4 to this thread, Barbara Branden wrote: "No, faith based initiatives are not a union of church and state. Theocracy means absolute rule by religious authorities. When Bush metamorphizes into Savanarola, I'll believe he aspires to theocracy."

Which reminds me: at the time of Nixon's moratorium on brains, a.k.a. "wage and price controls," I had a conversation with a Communist. He explained to me that Socialism means collective ownership of absolutely everything, and that even the so-called "communist countries" were still only "building Socialism;" and they were not there yet. So as long as I still owned my own personal toothbrush I had nothing to worry about.

The original intent of the religion clauses of the First Amendment was, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote it, "to erect a wall of separation between Church and State." Every breach of this wall, every sanction of the use of force to secure my conformity with the demands of someone else's religion, is theocracy in action. When my colleagues in the Biology Department are not free to make cloned embryos for making embryonic stem cells to save human lives, because somebody else's religion forbids it, that is theocracy. Not yet a complete theocracy, but certainly another step to tyranny over the human mind, and another step in the murder of millions of Americans who would have continued to live - if American scientists had not been forcibly prevented from inventing the therapies needed to save their lives.
(Edited by Adam Reed on 9/08, 12:57pm)




Post 7

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 8:20amSanction this postReply
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To Adam Reed: I repeat that if you care to rewrite your offensive posts in a civil manner, I will answer your questions.

Barbara



Post 8

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 2:17pmSanction this postReply
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his second post there (post #6) isn't offensive. not in any way i can see, at least. could you respond to that? it's basically what i would have written myself, but maybe more eloquent, and also i know nothing about nixon, or his economic policies.


barbara wrote: "Can we please, in the name of reason, logic, and our finite knowledge, stop treating intellectual opponents as if they were black sinners waiting to be struck by the lightning rod of a vengeful God? Haven't Objectivists done enough of this to last all our lifetimes? Must we all march in lock step intellectually in order to avoid denunciation as evil?"

is anyone evil? if the president decides that his god's will is to prevent research that could save millions of lives, and he acts on that idea, banning research into such fields, is he evil?

if you steal money from a person, and give it to a religion they are opposed to, are you evil?

if a violation of man's rights, especially on so grand a scale, is not evil, then what is?


i don't damn the president for saying "god bless america". i damn him for holding the threat of force over scientists who would do victimless research. for taking, ultimately at gunpoint, money from taxpayers and giving it to religious organizations.

it is not his ideas that i despise, that i say are evil. it is his actions.



Post 9

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 11:50amSanction this postReply
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Adam,

and another step in the murder of millions of Americans who could have lived, and not died
 
Wow, I didn't know you were one of those anti-abortionists.

Oh, wait, maybe I'm mistaken and you're just using their rhetoric--you know, treating that which hasn't happened and may never happen as though it were a fact. A lot people argue that way. It's basically lying, but you can call it anything you like. The rest of us still know what it is.

Regi




Post 10

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 12:50pmSanction this postReply
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Regi,

Thank you for bringing this lapse to my attention. Of course, I should have written "who would have continued to live - if American biotechnologists had not been forcibly prevented from saving their lives." I am editing the post accordingly.

Adam



Post 11

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 12:59pmSanction this postReply
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if you prevent someone from using a life saving drug, even though it's not 100% effective, and they die, you are guilty.

if you prevent someone from doing potentially life saving research, you are guilty.

guilty of what? guilty of initiating force against those who would do the research, and guilty of any deaths which their research may have prevented.

aborting a baby is not an action which may eventually lead to a person's death. it is the immediate end of a non-person.

preventing someone from committing life saving action, when that action is victimless, is murder. our ignorance of wether the action is actually going to be life saving doesn't justify the use of force to prevent it.


edit: er, this was in response to regi's post, and i wrote it before i read adam's
(Edited by eli sacks on 9/08, 1:00pm)




Post 12

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 6:50pmSanction this postReply
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Adam, eli

Of course, I should have written "who would have continued to live - if American biotechnologists had not been forcibly prevented from saving their lives."

The argument is still wrong, though Adam. It is not known the work of American biotechnologists will save even one life, and even if their work would do that, it is not the reason it is wrong to use force to prevent them from doing research, or doing anything else they choose to do.  The argument is utilitarian, suggesting, if there work had no effect accept to waste money, for example, it would be ok to use force to prevent them from doing whatever they are doing. (It is implied, not stated, whenever the utilitarian argument is used.)

When the same argument is made by the nanny-staters, you don't like it. When they say, this law will save lives by preventing traffic fatalities, or accidental deaths, or whatever new coercive protective law is supposed to save us from, they will argue, if you prevent this law and people die because of it, "you are guilty."

It is objectively wrong to base any argument on what you hope will happen, what you expect to happen, or what, by all rights will probably happen, if it hasn't actually happened. It is, as the old saying goes, counting your chickens before they hatch.

I happen to think the thing you are arguing for is correct. There is no excuse for the government to be involved in research, or in anyway to restrict anyone from pursuing any kind of research they choose. But these arguments from, "potentials," "might be(s)," and estimates of how many lives, "could be saved," are technically fallacies, and undercut the real moral principles for opposing government involvement in research in any way whatsoever.

Oh yes, why did you say this: Today, there are 4 countries in the world that still have 50%+ socialist economies: North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba and Venezuela.
 
Socialism is not determined by what a country calls itself; Sweden is certainly more than 50% socialist (despite its claims otherwise), and how soon we forget Vietnam (and Laos and Cambodia). Burma (Myanmar) is no more socialist than its neighbors, India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh, whatever they call themselves. Whatever the name, where the government is a total oppressive tyranny, as most of the governments of the world are, it is that aspect of Socialism they embrace that is evil. Are England, Belgium, even Swizterland less than 50% socialist?

Regi 




Post 13

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 7:41pmSanction this postReply
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"When they say, this law will save lives by preventing traffic fatalities, or accidental deaths, or whatever new coercive protective law is supposed to save us from, they will argue, if you prevent this law and people die because of it, "you are guilty.""

this is why i qualified my statement with: "... when that action is victimless..."

the seatbelt laws have victims: people whom force is used against in order to make them wear their seatbelts.


"It is objectively wrong to base any argument on what you hope will happen, what you expect to happen, or what, by all rights will probably happen, if it hasn't actually happened. It is, as the old saying goes, counting your chickens before they hatch."

so then, if i argue that you shouldn't shoot at someone in the head, because it will probably kill them (but it might ricochet off their skull, or you may miss, who knows...), my argument is flawed?

if someone (call them person A) forcibly prevents you from giving a potentially life saving drug to someone else (person B), and person B dies, what is person A guilty of?

assault (because A used force against you to stop you from administering the drug), or murder?





Post 14

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 9:42pmSanction this postReply
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Eli,I am not suggesting that there is no evil in the world, or no evil people. Evil is real. But the manner in which Objectivists and libertarians often throw the term around is preposterous. By saying that Bush is evil, you are saying that he is an equivalent of Hitler or Stalin. If we use the word "evil" for such monsters, then surely we need another word for Bush.

It happens that I'm right now working on an article on a very related subject to this, which I hope Lindsay will want to print. I think it will answer your questions.

Barbara







Post 15

Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 9:35amSanction this postReply
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hitler was evil, but how about one of his soldiers who, say, only killed 10 innocent people.

does the word not apply to him as well?

the president is still using force against people. wether or not he is directly killing people (and if the research he bans would have saved lives, then i say he is killing people), he is still violating men's rights.

"By saying that Bush is evil, you are saying that he is an equivalent of Hitler or Stalin."

was jeffrey dahmer evil? was he the equivalent of hitler or stalin?

er, if you're going to come back with "dahmer was crazy, not evil", just substitute any non-crazy murderer.

are there degrees of evil?



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Post 16

Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 10:33amSanction this postReply
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So much is emphasized on the life saving potential, which is still millions of miles away from reality, of stem cell research. In the end, most of the dollars will be spent on simply furthering our knowledge on the basic aspects of cell proliferation, differentiation and development in complex organisms such as human, and not specifically on life saving.  It is way too simplistic to equal Bush's policy on stem cell research to murder or evil. I also don't like Bush's policy, but not because he prevent saving lives, which I don't think it is true.

Scientists are driven by the thirst of knowledge and have always been trying to understand how complex biological systems work. Potentially such understanding might enable us to reconstruct a whole cell, or even a whole organism. Although that day is still far far away from now, I do believe that there will be moral issues associated with the applications of such knowledges and abilities in the future. But I don't think that day is now.

People have always feared what "evil scientists", as been portrayed in many Sci-Fi movies, could have done. Though in reality, I've never met or know any such "evil scientists".




Post 17

Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 3:44pmSanction this postReply
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i have no idea if stem cell or cloning research will lead to saving human lives.

the point is, he is preventing people from finding out.

there is the possibility that it could save lives.

that the research is basic means only that a great deal more lives could be saved by it, in the long run.

if someone banned research into a cure for a deadly virus, would you consider them to be a murderer?

how about if they banned microscopes? is that less bad, because it's further removed from the direct life saving action?

with his religiously motivated bans on scientific study, he is trying to subordinate men's minds to his faith. that is evil.

do i know, with 100% certainty that religion is his motivation? no. does motive really matter though?

the long range consequences of initiating force (or the threat of force) against someone are often impossible to determine. you people seem to be forgiving him based on our ignorance of the consequences.

let me ask this: if you knew, with 100% certainty, that the researchers could come up with, say, a cure for cancer in about a year, without a ban on cloning, would you consider the president to be a murderer?

you say you don't agree with his actions, but you also say not to call them evil. but his actions aren't merely self-destructive. they harm others directly, and many more, potentially.

what then discludes him from being evil? his ignorance (or willful evasion) of the potential consequences of his ban? if he doesn't consider the consequences, then on what grounds does he make the ban in the first place? based on what does he force men to submit to his will (or his god's will...)?

I'm not really all that opposed to our current president (as compared to other recent presidents, i mean). I just don't see how anyone here could consider him to not be evil...





Post 18

Friday, September 10, 2004 - 8:04amSanction this postReply
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if someone banned research into a cure for a deadly virus, would you consider them to be a murderer?
No.
how about if they banned microscopes? is that less bad, because it's further removed from the direct life saving action?
Yes, within this context, it is less bad, precisely because it's farther removed from the direct life saving action.
let me ask this: if you knew, with 100% certainty, that the researchers could come up with, say, a cure for cancer in about a year, without a ban on cloning, would you consider the president to be a murderer?
No. I don't care if he orders the army to form a wall of bodies to prevent a known, existing cure from being administered to someone dying from a deadly disease - this does not make him a murderer. Stupid? yes. Wrong? yes. Monstrously evil? yes. Criminal? yes. But not a murderer.

Murder is the act of causing someone's death. If someone dies of a disease - say AIDS, they die of AIDS. They do not die of a "lack of cure for AIDS". Unless you gave the person AIDS, you did not cause the person's death, and therefore are not a murderer.

It is not an uncommon tool of rhetoric to use the term "murder" to aggrandize the wrongful actions of someone that may, in some convoluted way, be connected to someone's death. But rhetoric is all it is. Keep some perspective, people.

"Oh my god! Bush (for the moment) has banned (well, not really, maybe 'discouraged' is a better word... maybe) research into a highly controversial and hotly debated field that may potentially, at some indeterminate time in the near (but probably distant) future, achieve results that might be used to prevent people from dying as a result of malicious acts of nature! Murderer! MURDERER! Tyrant! Baby-killer! The devil incarnate!" - excerpted from the Journal of Modern Fanatical Demagoguery, Volume XII, pp. 17-18




Post 19

Friday, September 10, 2004 - 7:50pmSanction this postReply
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lol. you can't think of applying an idea a tiny bit further?

"No. I don't care if he orders the army to form a wall of bodies to prevent a known, existing cure from being administered to someone dying from a deadly disease - this does not make him a murderer. Stupid? yes. Wrong? yes. Monstrously evil? yes. Criminal? yes. But not a murderer."

so what if you forcibly prevent someone from eating, for so long a time, that it leads to his death? is that murder?

"Murder is the act of causing someone's death. If someone dies of a disease - say AIDS, they die of AIDS. They do not die of a "lack of cure for AIDS". Unless you gave the person AIDS, you did not cause the person's death, and therefore are not a murderer."

by preventing them from taking the cure, you are causing their death. Likewise, if you sabotage someone's parachute when they jump out of a plane, it is murder. you killed him, since his unimpeded actions would have enabled him to live. this is so simple, it is not worth arguing with you about.

you were rude in your post, so i am rude in mine.



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