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Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 4:10amSanction this postReply
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I don't find your views naive; I find them cynical and myopic. I think if you take even a half-step back from the fray, it is easy to see that your summation of the two candidates is not based on the essentials. A look at the two world views expressed by these candidates shows remarkable contrasts and clear differences in goals and methods.



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Post 1

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 5:40amSanction this postReply
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I have been associated with many attitudes but "cynical and myopic" just don't cut it--I am simply neither, and I do know this better than anyone else. Kerry & Co. are a basically socialist lot, with faith in big government and nothing much else; Bush & Co. are a mystical lot, with faith in, well, faith and, of course, coercive force. No one really seirous about the fundamental tenets and values of Objectivism could find either team promising at all. Maybe one could support these folks with great reluctance but certainly without any enthusiasm. Nothing Mr. Kilbourne or anyone else has communicated recently, here or elsewhere, suggests anything else, nothing.



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Post 2

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 6:12amSanction this postReply
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I understand the disenchantment. People have a need to *feel* and *think* that they are making choices. Once the choice is made, they become part of a community of others who have also made the same choice. In the extreme it becomes political tribalism. In the moderate it becomes something one can proudly declare, as if one has not only made a *choice* but now belongs to the right club.

That said, I do believe there to be essential differences, that matter TO ME. That is why I voted.

John



Post 3

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 6:24amSanction this postReply
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Let me add another possibility, Tibor. Most of our libertarian friends (and beyond) had a strong passionate commitment to defeat one of the candidates or the other.

For some, Kerry is the greatest advocate of socialism since George McGovern. In foreign policy he acts as if our country is shameful and hated by the world - and, he believes, with justification. For our sins we must appease our enemies and every savage on earth. This is the Kerry mindset.

For others, Bush is the Christian Talliban ready to round up homosexuals into concentration camps and ignite a religious war in the middle east to achieve rapture.

Now, if you accept one of these assessments but find the other candidate benign, you might get passionate, too. No?

(Edited by Rick Zuma on 11/04, 12:45pm)




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Post 4

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 6:46amSanction this postReply
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Tibor, your article particularly resonated with me, as I too, decided to abstain from voting.  I agonized over the decision to do so, but in the end could not in good conscience vote for any of the presidential candidates.

Though there are aspects of Bush's policies I strongly support, I kept coming back to the fundamental problem that he has seen fit to suspend civil liberties to further his cause.  The words of Benjamin Franklin kept echoing through my head:  "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I envisioned what kind of world could and will result from such egregious abuse of power, and decided that it would not be created in my name.

The idea of supporting Congressional gridlock also appealed to me for about a minute, until I envisioned "President Kerry" being welcomed with open arms into France and Germany.

As Hank Rearden so eloquently stated, "One does not bargain about inches of evil." 

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 11/04, 12:49pm)




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Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 12:46pmSanction this postReply
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Jennifer - I understand the reasons behind your choice to abstain from voting, but I'm curious as to why you decided abstention was better than voting for Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate?



Post 6

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 2:32pmSanction this postReply
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Msr. Machan-

     Thank you greatly for this article.  While my cultural perspective is a bit different from most here, your words express eloquently my own doubts and uncomfortable divisions, and all the perplexed questions that came to my mind as I listened to libertarians and Objectivists debate this election.  Ultimately, I think this war was about a patriotism of culture (Latin, cultus), whether it be 'American civilization' or what neoconservatives call the 'adversary culture' that is my own contingent home, and that philosophy is drowned when these kind of enthusiasms are backed up against a wall.

     I, for one, will be glad to turn to the relative sanity of civil society and the grace of philosophic friendship.

my regards,

Jeanine Ring   ))(*)(( 
 
 - and Jennifer, thank you for your conscience, which is stronger than mine.




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Post 7

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
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Dr. Machan, I have great respect for your views, but I think the views you state here are more philosophical than political. To me, democratic politics is the advancement of one's philosophy at the fastest rate that the public can handle it. Let's leave the foreign policy aside for a minute and look at the domestic agenda. If we think of the 20th century as the gradual increase of socialism in the U.S., would it not be a reasonable goal to have the 21st century the gradual pullback from socialism? Is not part of the genius of the Constitution the fact that change is slow and difficult? Isn't this the reason that the U.S. never went as far as Europe towards socialism? Bush is pushing for change towards personal responsibility and away from the continued socialist push of Kerry. The dismantling of the welfare state, under the Constitution, will be a slow process.
In general, don't you see a profound difference between the the political direction of Bush and Kerry? Maybe not with 100% consistency, but don't you see a difference?



Post 8

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 3:21pmSanction this postReply
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Tibor,
Thank you for another wonderful article. Reading this uplifts my spirit, knowing that there are such rational minds as your's in the world.

I, myself, voted for Badnarik. My wife voted for Bush. My 27 year old daughter voted for Kerry. My 23 year old daughter chose not to vote. In spite of these differences, my wife and daughters are my greatest values, and though I would prefer they would all agree with me, I cherish their independence and integrity.

(Edited by Bob Palin on 11/04, 3:51pm)

(Edited by Bob Palin on 11/04, 5:07pm)




Post 9

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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This is going to be an issue for us Brits fairly soon as well.

Would it make sense to vote according to a hierarchy of red flags?

e.g. I would vote against any candidate who had an overt religious agenda because it's hard to pull back from a theocracy once you're there. After that, I would vote against anti-free market candidates, since you can manage little with a wrecked economy. And so on.




Post 10

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 3:31pmSanction this postReply
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Tibor, thank you for a very sensible and informative article. I'm glad that some people still continue to look to the stars of freedom, rather than the mud of comprimise. Contrary to what Mr. Kilbourne says, he and the other's that voted for these candidates are the cynical ones. I believe if we can't honestly look at the growth of 20th century American government for what it is, we are in a lot of trouble.

What makes one a slave? Do we think we are free? Let me tell you what I would do if I was in government and wanted to rule. The best way to rule is not just with an iron fist, but with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Ones rule can only be upheld by the mob.

 I would let the people have their hedonistic pleasures, their "said" freedom of speech. After all, it is when things are bearable that man is less likely to do anything. Freedom of speech is only a virtue if one knows what one is speaking about, and one is in a culture that can understand meaning and truth.

 I would fill their heads full of bullshit and call it education so they wouldn't be able to know the difference, this keeps them on a tight leash.... because they enslave themselves. You see... better than ignorance is when people actually are taught to believe that they are "educated", when in actuality they are pawns. I would stand before them like a roman emperor championing things like"freedom", even though I would be stealing it from them in a thousand ways. I would find worthy enemies and "rally" the country up in nationalist heat. Knowing that religion appeals to some I would use that, knowing patriotism and nationalist "pride" appeals to others I would combine that too. I would also  "slam" those that question me, as unpatriotic, "voting" against our values. 

I would use vague language, I would frequently use WE, I would appeal to emotions, to AMERICA

Now, the point of this is not to say this is their intentions, the point of it is to ask...does it matter? Do intentions good or bad matter in foreign policy, and the reality is they don't, all are against freedom. If we look at history folks, we are just a chunk, and this has gone on for many years. The good intentions of the USA is destroying the country. It's only intention should be here, and for almost the last 100 years it hasn't been. The thing is, if our own founding fathers were against this, why aren't freedom fighters? Would today's founding fathers be branded "Saddamites?"  It was the U.S  that gave WMD to Saddam, it was the U.S that overthrew democratically elected Iran. I thought the U..S were for Democracy? As if democracy is a virtue anyway.


Maybe we just don't want freedom, if people who say they want it continue to vote themselves into slavery. Maybe people like  to talk about it, they are "passionate" about freedom, it gives them something to do. But, ultimately if they had it they would have nothing to fight for no more,, maybe nothing to live for either.

The destruction of the U.S dollar, also leads to the falling apart of the family. Prices rise, we get taxed more, both parents work harder for less... no one is home for the kids... virtues are squandered.  Than to top it off, the  kids go to schools that teach them nothing. This should not be a country that both parents should have to work...from the years 1800 to 1900 prices basically fell continuously, now what? Government is the problem of more things than I can even begin to say here.



>>>>Tibor, your article particularly resonated with me, as I too, decided to abstain from voting

Good work Jennifer, this is a vote. It's the vote and  state of mind that you refused to comprimise your freedom and your integrity, and that you refused to continue to support a system that is spearheading you into slavery and is full of corruption.


If we continue to vote like this we will not all be Objectivists or Libertarians, I think we'll all be neo-conservatives, I think the old lefist lib may be done for. The new neo-con is the demopublican....the joining of them both.  

If people here are going to call people who oppose the war "saddamites" than why  shouldn't we call those who support it "hawks"?  I don't like saying that, but as they say...the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Welcome to 1984. We are living and breathing in the theraputic, compassionate state. We no longer know what words mean, we no longer know what education means, and we no longer know what freedom means. 

I think everyone here should read Eric Hoffer's True Believer( many people just look at this book as an effective psychological critique of religion, marxism and communism , but it applies just as well to patriotism, nationalism and Objectivism,) , also Orwell's 1984 and This Perfect Day by Ira Levin.






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Post 11

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 4:50pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan,

Until the Libertarian Party in America can pull itself together and offer a solid candidate, I am more content not voting in favor of them at all.  The exception for me was in 2000, when I did cast my vote for Harry Browne.

I did not do a great deal of research on Badnarik, to be frank.  However, what I found particularly disturbing was that he spent years giving seminars on how to avoid paying taxes, but then when he decided to run for president he sat down with the IRS to "work out a deal."  So how legitimate were his claims (I have seen links to the US tax codes refuting them), and if they were in fact legitimate, why did he suddenly back down from the IRS and play nice?  That sounds like a flip-flop to me.

The US Libertarian Party, in principle, seems to be the best alternative in American politics, and their platforms are usually solid.  But they need more credibility in this country.  Right now they have a huge image problem, and have not done enough to refute it.  

This was an interesting topic of discussion at the TOC conference, by the way, when we had to beat it into Linz's head that Libertarianz were quite different from Libertarians. :)   




Post 12

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 9:41pmSanction this postReply
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Lovely, naughty Jennifer said:

"This was an interesting topic of discussion at the TOC conference, by the way, when we had to beat it into Linz's head that Libertarianz were quite different from Libertarians. :)"

You *can't* have been paying attention. Too busy looking at Francisco's biceps (?) probably! If I recall correctly, I *opened* my remarks by saying that coming from NZ it was difficult to fathom the need for the kind of discussion we were having - whether the term "libertarian" should be eschewed because of the anarcho-pacifist-Saddamite-America-hating types who were using the term - because in NZ Libertarianz is much more Objectivist-influenced. Didn't mean I was *unaware* of that difference - au contraire!

I'd been critical of what the Browne-ites had turned the party into for years. I despise Badnarik as just another Saddamite. In America, I wouldn't vote Libertarian, especially in the current wartime context, as already well canvassed. And if Libertarianz ever became Saddamite, I wouln't vote for *it* either.

Linz










Post 13

Friday, November 5, 2004 - 4:49pmSanction this postReply
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I can relate to this article, too.

The readiness of my respected friends to simply lie down and accept the policies of certain candidates shocks me.  Initially, I see my friends as opinionated, rational beings, but somehow, many are very willing to simply compromise for whatever candidate is most popular or most publicized, in spite of how far that candidate is from being aligned with their principles.

I think that these peoples' absence of a desire for more lends itself to a country in which political officials could be elected even if they are terrible, terrible candidates.  To what will their readiness to compromise lead?

I have thought, that if I could have voted, mine would have been a very reluctant one.  In this election I also cannot fully support any candidate, and my relectance leads me to want a freer election, with better candidates and less media spin and support.

Surely there must exist people somewhere in North America that could objectively be the best candidate. I have no trouble imagining people better than Bush and Kerry, so why must citizens have to compromise between the two?  Now, I've thought of something like voting reform, but I think this is too extreme a solution.  But something must change.  Media spin, open-mindedness towards alternate parties, and most of all, hopefully, better candidates...

Is it just me, or does the near-tie between Bush and Kerry indicate that the decision was one that was so bland, so ineffectual, so not-based-on-personal-desires that the decision was really just a random one?  I mean, about 50/50. . . .just a thought.

Michael




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Post 14

Friday, November 5, 2004 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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Linz, my apologies for misunderstanding your comments at the conference.  The room got so bloody rowdy at one point I wasn't sure which end was up.  :) 

You were absolutely right in saying, however, that Libertarianism is the proper political platform for Objectivists.  I hope we will one day see it in its proper state in the U.S.  If we do, I will be first in line at the polls.

Your comments about Browne are intriguing -- I'll have to do some digging on this.  To be frank, I did not put nearly as much thought into the 2000 election because, quite simply, I was just not as concerned.  I voted Libertarian because it wasn't Democratic or Republican, and Browne's platform (and the fact that he was an investment banker) appealed more to me than the others.

Wasn't it Rand who said, "whether or not you have an interest in politics, sooner or later politics will have an interest in you..?"  Perhaps I am mistaken on the source of the quote, but nonetheless the insight is very poignant.  I have started paying much closer attention.

Jennifer

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 11/05, 7:41pm)




Post 15

Friday, November 5, 2004 - 7:58pmSanction this postReply
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Wasn't it Rand who said, "whether or not you have an interest in politics, sooner or later politics will have an interest in you..?"


Rand probably said it once or twice, but I believe that the quote is usually attributed to Pericles.



Post 16

Friday, November 5, 2004 - 9:03pmSanction this postReply
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Jennifer writes: "Until the Libertarian Party in America can pull itself together and offer a solid candidate, I am more content not voting in favor of them at all."

The best way for that to happen is for Objectivists to get active in the party. It won't happen otherwise.

Jennifer writes: "...what I found particularly disturbing was that he [Badnarik] spent years giving seminars on how to avoid paying taxes..." This is incorrect. He spent years giving classes on the *Constitution*. Videos of those classes are available on the internet.



Post 17

Friday, November 5, 2004 - 9:10pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Rick.

You are correct, more Objectivists do need to get involved.  Unfortunately I was not impressed with my local party, so to date I haven't delved in much further than that.

Regarding Badnarik's lectures, I read an interview he did via a link on janegalt.net, and got the distinct impression that he was teaching people specifically how to avoid taxes.  Unfortunately I can't seem to access it at the moment, but will look at it again.  Thank you for the information and correction.

Jennifer




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