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Sunday, November 7, 2004 - 3:58amSanction this postReply
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The long & the short of this is that I have no perfect answer ...
Actually, I think you've come pretty close to a perfect answer here. I can't fault a word of it.


Post 1

Sunday, November 7, 2004 - 4:22amSanction this postReply
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Might I add that I think the question Barbara asks is unfair (but I’m glad she asked it):

 

"If Orion had advocated killing all blacks, or killing all homosexuals, would you still say that the issue is freedom of speech, or would you say that you would not give him a platform on which to advocate such a monstrosity?"

 

Islam is not a race; it is an ideology – a political ideology. Perhaps you might ask if Orion had advocated killing all Nazis and Communists …?

 

 Now, I remember a woman (what’s her name?) who rejected the slogan “Better dead than Red” and advocated “Better see the Reds dead.” Hmmmm, that’s sounds like genocide to me. Should Linz ban this outspoken and (some would say) rash woman from SOLO? As a matter of fact I believe this woman, like Mr. Reasoner, had some problems with the word ‘genocide' if I remember correctly.

 

Let me say I would not advocate killing all commies or jihadists; I would, however, immediately ban those who advocate killing all blacks and homosexuals as being beyond the pale, if this was my venue. Linz is more patient than I.

 

Finally, back on Atlantis II, I watched in horror as people I normally respect had no problem with those who associate with holocaust revisionists (and on a long term basis). I appreciate your sensitivity (I think I need a stronger word than sensitivity) when you spoke up then and I appreciate it now – which is why I’m glad you asked the question, Barbara.

 

 


Post 2

Sunday, November 7, 2004 - 2:34pmSanction this postReply
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Linz: Thanks for expressing so eloquently the crux of this matter. If only Orion could understand that while most, if not all, of us here share his utter contempt for Islam, his solution for disposing of that evil is unthinkable. His recent posts would not have been out of place on a Jihadist website.

Post 3

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 1:37pmSanction this postReply
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I've posted a few times, but have mainly been a lurker. I too share Orion's contempt for Islam. I think Islam *is* the problem, not *just* the extremists. As Ibn Warraq has pointed out, Islamic Fundamentalism gets its justification from the Koran, as the moderate. We are at war with Islam. But, Linz is right on the money when he says this is also a propaganda war. Kill the Jihadists. Argue with the moderates... and keep a watch on them.

As for Atlantis II, I still post there and enjoy battling the Saddamites. I share Jason's contempt for certain people there. Yet, it does make you appreciate the distinction between Objectivism and many in  the Libertarian movement.

(Edited by Wayne Simmons on 11/08, 8:02pm)

(Edited by Wayne Simmons on 11/08, 8:05pm)


Post 4

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 4:22pmSanction this postReply
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Jason: " Back on Atlantis II, I watched in horror as people I normally respect had no problem with those who associate with holocaust revisionists (and on a long term basis). I appreciate your sensitivity (I think I need a stronger word than sensitivity) when you spoke up then and I appreciate it now – which is why I asked the question, Barbara."

Thank you, Jason. For the rest of you, what happened was that I questioned the honor of an historian who had belonged, for twenty-five years, to the premier anti-Semitic institute in America: The Institute for Historical Review. Immediately, all hell broke loose. I was denounced by several people for saying the Institute was anti-Semitic -- despite the fact that some of its members were openly sympathetic to Hitler and Nazism, including its president. I was denounced for saying that the historian was either anti-Semitic himself or an incredible hypocrite -- despite the fact that his relationship to some of the most bigoted members was a close one and that he had spoken at the organizations yearly conventions and written for its journal, both of which were notably anti-Semitic. Finally,when I stuck to my guns and kept providing evidence for my position, I was called the vilest of names; even Peikoff is a slouch in comparison to some of those people.

The whole event was appalling to me. One of those who was most enraged with me, and denounced me the most bitterly, was a man I'd been friendly with for more than thirty years. I'm still slightly in shock over the entire episode. I would never have expected it, never have dreamed that these people held so much rage so close to the surface. In any event, I no longer post to Atlantis. I will not deal with such people.

To return to the subject at hand:

Jason, you're right that hatred of blacks was irrelevant to the point I wanted to make, but people's attitudes toward homosexuals is not, because it is quite commonly believed that it involved a choice, as does religion. There certainly are people who kill homosexuals, and advocate that they all be murdered; the Ku Klux Klan would be delighted to do the job of murder, and has done it. I would not give such people space on my web site; I don't consider that mass murder is a debatable subject about which any sane person needs enlightenment. Apart from my intense condemnation of such people, what would I be saying to friends of mine who are homosexual? What sort of loyalty would that be? I cannot imagine putting up with someone who advocates the murder of my friends.

Similarly, if someone on this list advocated sending all Jews to concentration camps and ovens, I would not remain here if they were allowed to remain.

As for the unknown woman who said "Better see the Reds dead," had you asked her if she believed that every ideological communist should be put to death, she would have emphatically said: "No!"

Barbara


Post 5

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 4:25pmSanction this postReply
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Lindsay, I don't think Orion is a bad person, either. But I think that he, like anyone else, has to understand that certain policies are not acceptable and will not be countenanced, and that mass murder is one of those policies.

Barbara

Post 6

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 4:32pmSanction this postReply
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One other thought, Lindsay. I do not consider that whether or not a billion people ought to be slaughtered involves a difference of opinion, which honest people can discuss and debate. You say that you'd want to "hear the person out, and let a contest ensue." What contest? Between mass murder and human rights? What the hell kind of contest is that?

Barbara

Post 7

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 6:47pmSanction this postReply
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Barbara, Linz and several others have said "Orion is not a bad person", or they believe so.

It is interesting to me that based on what did you all come to this judgement? Does anybody know him personally? How the deduction is made? Or is it that a person by default is good?

On another different but related issue, what would constitute a "bad person"?


Post 8

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 7:59pmSanction this postReply
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Barbara -  you asked:

'One other thought, Lindsay. I do not consider that whether or not a billion people ought to be slaughtered involves a difference of opinion, which honest people can discuss and debate. You say that you'd want to "hear the person out, and let a contest ensue." What contest? Between mass murder and human rights? What the hell kind of contest is that?'

A contest between good & evil. You're quoting from the scenario I posited of an overtly, unashamedly evil person coming on here & proposing something disgusting. I also said - which you do not quote - that once the outcome was clear (maybe five minutes after he appeared), I'd boot the creature's ass to the moon.

In Orion's case I wanted first to clarify that he did indeed propose genocide & second, if so, to allow time for a bit of reasoning with him to go on, since I don't believe he's remotely as bad as a person has to be *really* to believe in genocide.

It's worth remembering that most of the time most of Orion's posts (& articles) were warmly applauded by folk here, as evidenced by the high number of Atlas points he accumulated. So we were confronted with a startling, horrifying aberration. Personally I wasn't ready to boot him off for it at the time some others were demanding it.

I realise I cannot win on this matter - doesn't matter what approach I take, someone's gonna beat up on me about it. Too rigid, too liberal ... I said I don't have the perfect answer. And I don't. If someone does, I'd be happy to hear it.
  
Linz



Post 9

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 8:25pmSanction this postReply
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The recent loss of Stolyarov, Firehammer, and Reasoner is palpable, if not tragic. They seem to have been driven out. Considering their estimable intellects and manners, practically anyone of decent reason or virtue has to consider this loss to SOLO significant.

I can't comment much here -- all three exeunts caught me by surprise -- because I militantly refuse to read practically any of those coffeeklatch logorrheic 50 - 100 post discussions. Still, I think a wrong has been done to all three.

Lindsay writes:

The long & the short of this is that I have no perfect answer - but I'm always going to err on the side of the open exchange of ideas, even though I'm under no obligation to.

Actually, he's under a severe intellectual and moral obligation to do just that.


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Post 10

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply
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Andre says:
I can't comment much here -- all three exeunts caught me by surprise -- because I militantly refuse to read practically any of those coffeeklatch logorrheic 50 - 100 post discussions. Still, I think a wrong has been done to all three.

In other words, you admit your ignorance, but push ahead to make a moral condemnation anyway.  Since you clearly have no reason why these people left, what makes you think that something "wrong has been done to all three"?  Since when is ignorance an excuse to make vague accusations?


Post 11

Monday, November 8, 2004 - 10:41pmSanction this postReply
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Are we to be "Orionites?"

As an advocate of Barbara's suggestion of banning Orion, I would like to say that as much as I abhor censorship, I could not sanction suggestions of genocide. And since Orion had said that he was convinced that "all Muslims were that way," and therefore were worthy of a final solution, I have no problem of denying him a forum to speak such things. If he was ready to deny the rights of others for religious beliefs, then, by Objectivist standards, he surrenders his rights as well, troubled or not.

But since it's not my forum, it's not for me to decide. And I found the benevolence in Linz's reasoning, his appeal to Orion's better half, his willingness to reach out to a troubled person (Orion's posts on the introversion thread point to this as well) to be very heartfelt, and showed the spirit of SOLO at its best. (Is this a kinder, gentler, Lindsey Perigo? Personally, the Perigo above is the one I like.)

But Since Linz decided not to ban, does that make him an "Orionite?" My guess is "no."

My gut reaction to Lindsey's response was,
why is this guy so condemning of caterwaulers and Saddamites, who he dehumanizes as "vermin" or "maggots," but goes all soft and sensitive for someone who advocates genocide, and instead of calling him a "foaming anal crevice," (or "putrid excrement" as he calls Kerry) writes "I don't think Orion is bad; I think he's grossly over-wrought"?

(Kerry is putrid excrement, but Orion is merely troubled?
Hmmm....I would think that advocating genocide would be grounds for something Perigese...)

But after a careful rereading, Linz also writes:
"[In]the case of someone quite consciously, conscientiously evil... I think I'd be prepared to hear the person out & let a contest ensue ... to the point where it was clear that he'd lost. Then I'd boot his ass to the moon."

The words may change, but the sentiment is there. Olive branch and spear.Linz would not give SOLO to evil ideas. The option of banning someone is a tough choice, and he admits he does not have a perfect answer. Some may say this is a copout, but I believe the sincerity of the dilema.

I sympatize, since I don't like the idea of thoughtcrimes or censorship. But I have to ask, Linz, not as an attack, but as an honest question: What is the limit? You have no problem with passing moral judgement; we've seen that demonstrated clearly. But placed in a position to act on that judgement, are you ready to be the proverbial judge, jury and executioner?

I thought of the same scenarios others have suggested, such as advocating genocide of blacks or gays. I noticed a thread on Solo discussing the legalities of kiddie porn created "kid free" using instead digitally created images. What is someone started to advocate kiddie porn? We'll up the drama and ask, what if they advocate relations with kids? At what point would you draw the line? (Not only for the moral reasons, but for the legal reasons, since many here, myself included, would not want to be associated with such thoughts.) There could be dozens of examples, and I applaud your willingness to let reason prevail, but where is the line? Is there one?

In any case, I ask because I don't have the perfect answer, either.
(Edited by Joe Maurone on 11/08, 10:42pm)


Post 12

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 12:49amSanction this postReply
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General regards-

I have not felt it is my place to engage in discussion on the matter of Orion Reasoner, but for personal reasons I feel I should make my own statement here.

I stated that I could not endorse banning of Orion on the grounds that in a forum devoted to philosophy, there should be the widest possible scope for ideas in the service of and within the context of intellectual debate.  To my mind, advocating a position as such does not fall under that, if it is done from reason, simply because a philosopher must strictly not rule out conclusions as unthinkable prior to rational analysis.  And here, even genocide qualifies.

Though, I confess, it was much, much easier to say this in high philosophy when bigotry was someone else's abstract issue; I cannot condemn those who weigh the scales otherwise.  Bigotry is more than a matter of false opinions, it is an attempt to steal someone's existence as an individual that one can evade their reflected eyes.  One may oppose the laws against hate speech and yet not oppose the concept or its seriousness.

I wonder often if the ideal of absolute open discussion may be utopian; nevertheless, I would ask that the benefit of the doubt be given until a person has crossed the line from vicious ideas to outright intimidation and attempts to inflict pain with words to drive another into silence.  Even then, it is still possible to hope that the Republic of Letters is capable of rising united in the common defense of humanity and civilization.  I am not willing yet to lose faith in the cleansing power of sunlight; I am not willing yet to decide that there is not within this gloomy vault of our abandoned cathedral a niche where wisdom is still a statuette untouched.

Objectivism preserves the possibility of knowledge and of individual stature that once allowed men like Voltaire to be the conscience of their age.  Let such voices speak and trust the power of integrity and clear sight as possessing an efficacy that evil must blanch in the face of.  There is a classical story where a Roman senator, confronted with an assassin, drove him off unarmed with a glower straight in the eyes and the words "You dare to murder I, senator such and such, in my own home?"  Perhaps this is a dubious tactic against knives, it is not against words in a too-clear room where baseness has nowhere to hide and no knives to call upon.  As John Galt broke James Taggart's mind by forcing him to twist back upon himself in clarity, so may those strong of will and mind and passion today.  The evidence here supports these words; those who have called on bigotry and genocide have not had the shamelessness stand up against those they cannot equal.  Let that nature be the regulator.

On Orion as such, I have my own guesses as to the composition of his soul, but as it is a very tempting thing for me to start psychologizing where I should not venture, I will restrict myself to the following: I actually agree with his majesty and Msr. Cordero that Orion is at root far from a vicious person, however repulsively vicious his ideas and however much genocide is something I cannot let pass by.   As a transgender woman of my peculiar station, my principle is and must be: "first they came for the Jews."  I have my own intuitions and speculations regarding Orion, but I will not speak them here.  Suffice it to say, I was not once very different in my former life; and there but for the grace of my goddess go I.

I also notice amusedly, "Orion Reasoner" is a perfectly formed Hellenic Pagan ceremonial name, and I cannot help but note a sadly fitting one; doubtless a random coincidence, I'm sure, given his crusading atheism.

my regards,

Pyrophora Cypriana  ))(*)(( 
promiscuity of the mind leads to promiscuity of the body


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Post 13

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 5:13amSanction this postReply
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Hong, you asked why some of us think that Orion is not a bad person. I'll speak only for myself. I corresponded with him privately for a time, he had asked my advice about something, and I liked his apparent openness and readiness to admit mistakes. And I had the impression of a decent young man from reading a number of his earlier posts.

I saw, as time went by, a growing tinge of hysteria and fanaticism in his posts, which concerned me. I raised the issue with him privately again, but with little effect this time. Then came his rants about religion in general and Muslims in particular. What concerned me as much were his gleeful presentations of the suffering his enemies should endure and how much he'd relish watching it. None of this was altered by the debate that ensured, a debate which presented him with cogent reasons for him to question his policies.

It is clear to me, as to many others, that Orion is an unhappy man, and that that is not irrelevant to his attitudes -- they seem almost like tantrums, like a child who is thwarted shouting that he hates his parents and wishes they were dead. But Orion is not a child, and he must take responsibility for what he says and does. I had hoped that by now he would have recognized his mistakes and returned to Solo. I still hope he does so.

I'm not at all sure we do him a favor by finding excuses for him. Surely he should not be given the message that if he's sufficiently upset, it becomes okay for him to advocate mass murder.

Barbara

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Post 14

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 6:55amSanction this postReply
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Barbara,
Thanks for the explanation. I see now that you and some others have more ground other than Orion's posts to base your judgement.

Hong


Post 15

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 2:42pmSanction this postReply
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Linz wrote:

"Truth to tell, we have to fight some of Bush's ideas just as vehemently as Islamic ones. My support for him in the recent election was contextual. Now that he's safely back, & can do all the things James mentions in his article here tonight, those of us who value reason & freedom must focus on precisely those things that stopped many of us from supporting him *at all*."

Excellent, Linz. Glad to to see this. You are my hero!

Joe, in response to Andre:

"Andre says:

I can't comment much here -- all three exeunts caught me by surprise -- because I militantly refuse to read practically any of those coffeeklatch logorrheic 50 - 100 post discussions. Still, I think a wrong has been done to all three.

In other words, you admit your ignorance, but push ahead to make a moral condemnation anyway. Since you clearly have no reason why these people left, what makes you think that something "wrong has been done to all three"? Since when is ignorance an excuse to make vague accusations?"

BANG. Correct as usualy Mr. Rowlands. Glad you saved me the keystrokes. I would, however, like to point out that this post of Andre's really underscores the importance of not forcing a meaning upon a word.

Barbara and everyone:

If Orion called upon the extermination of Jews, who, like Muslims, may be any other color or national origin, but are identified as a group because of beliefs voluntarily held, all Hell would break lose. Because even if we are not talking about a non-volitional categorization (skin color), it is a terrible generalization to summarily conclude that all individuals who happen to practice Judaism are inherently so evil that they should be exterminated. There is a good argument to be made that, as it turns out, Judaism has produced much more pro-life results in the world than Islam. But even still, there are many, many Muslims who have never hurt anyone, would never hurt anyone, and are not particularly interested in converting anyone or influencing how anyone else lives their lives. Many Muslims say that fundamentalist Islam is a perversion. Many Muslims believe and practice their religion as one of peace. Even if these individuals are 1% of the global Islamic population, Orion does not exclude them. All individuals who are Muslim should be exterminated. And this is coming from an Objectivist? Someone who believes in judging others individually?

The only way you can really morally stand behind Orion's statement is if you have proof that a basic tenet of Islam as practiced by all Muslims is the death of anyone and everyone who is not a Muslim. There are too many practicing Muslims who believe and behave in no such manner, so suggesting the extermination of an entire category of human beings based on their group membership, not based on any act or omission, is lunacy, and evil. It's wrongheaded, completely. That any Objectivist can even tolerate this gives us a eerie insight as to how moral and intellectual Germans could allow Nazi extermination of Jews and Eastern Europeans.

If a stranger came on the forum and advocated it, I'd say let the reason police beat on him awhile, then boot him if he gets too obnoxious. But, I agree with Linz that Orion is no stranger, and has otherwise-redeeming qualities that justify trying to reason with him, even if his parting comments were a bit strident and wacky.

There is no defense for his position, but in context, booting him 'aint the answer either.

Post 16

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 4:59pmSanction this postReply
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I remember Orion saying something along the lines that a self-proclaimed Muslim who did not interpret the more violent chapters of the Koran literally was not a Muslim in the truest sense of the word.  When he implied he advocated the killing of every Muslim, he could in fact be referring to only those Muslims the rest of us call "extremists" or "fundamentalists".  If that is the case, I may disagree with that position, but I do not see it as too controversial for an Objectivist, especially if these said fundamentalists declared a holy war against the West . . . more so when they have proven they are willing and able to take innocent lives.

Then again, this is the same person who advocated nuking Iraq . . . I am one of the last persons to worry too much about "collateral damage" when planning a military operation, but the wanton slaughter of millions when there are better alternatives is is too much (e.g. bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, as opposed to an invasion of Japan that would have cost millions of lives in both sides).


Post 17

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 3:56amSanction this postReply
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Mr. DeSalvo, you must really learn about Islam. Here is my page of suggested references.

Post 18

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 6:57amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Pappas:

Your are correct, I am not completely informed about Islam. But I do not have to be to know that advocating the 'extermination' of an entire group of people based now, on an outsider's definition of who is Muslim or not (referring to Byron's mentioning that Orion qualified his statement by setting out his personal opinion as to what a Muslim is) is wrong. Even using the term 'extermination' is an affront to any respect for humanity. Vermin are exterminated, not human beings. Unless you can show me that every Muslim everywhere is an extremist interested in doing harm to Americans and the West generally, then I would fight to the death AGAINST any such categorization and any such 'extermination.'

This sort of wholesale categorization is precisely what the Patriot Act uses to strip Americans of their rights ("terrorist"), and it is exactly what Nazis did to Jews and Eastern Europeans before and during World War II. It is a substitute for thought and judging individuals individually that no individualist can abide.

If Islam was all only about killing Americans, it would have to be a very recent religion. And the Koran would be about 100 pages long or less. It can teach intolerance of others all it wants. CHristianity has a long history of killing 'witches' and unbelievers (remember the Crusades?) So do literally thousands of other religions and ideologies, including Orthodox Objectivism. Just because they are wrongheaded doesn't mean we can just declare war on them and wipe them out. Stuff like this lends credence to the idea that Objectivists are fascist.

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Post 19

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 11:28amSanction this postReply
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When Stalin ordered the murder of roughly 7,000,000 Ukranian peasants, nobody thinks to ask about the beliefs, ideas, or religions of those Ukranian peasants.
 
When the Inquisition  arranged the murder of something on the order of 3,000,000 real and alleged witches, nobody thinks to ask about the beliefs, ideas, or religions of those alleged witches.

Genocide is genocide.  When Orion has called for the murder of 1,700,000,000 Muslims, I suggest that everyone who has ever said to themselves "I would have stood up and said something", open their eyes and realize that someone their midst in advocating killing millions of people on the basis of hate, fear, and delusional conspiracies, and stop dabbling in debates over mitigations.

That any Objectivist can even tolerate this gives us a eerie insight as to how moral and intellectual Germans could allow Nazi extermination of Jews and Eastern Europeans.

Blessed be, Scott deSalvo.

I have said I do not believe Orion should be banned.  I do not, nor do I think he is lacking in all virtues.  But he is advocating a Holocaust.  I repeat, he is advocating a Holocaust.

I note he is still present, and has recanted nothing.  I ask that everyone who believes that ideas matter, who believes that any beliefs too evil to sanction, use their own freedom of speech to protest, their own freedom of association to dissociate, and their own liberty of conscience to to look into their own souls.

Objectivists, one of your own calls for the murder of a millions, crying 'they are all like that', relishes in death, makes use of such unspeakable words as 'philosophocide', indulges in conspiracy theories. It is 2004.  Have we learned nothing?  If those who would champion the individual over all collectivisms, make an exception for fear and wartime's sake and say that this collectivist advocate of mass graves is 'different', then I question whether ideas have any power to improve the souls and courses of action of men or nations.

I do not hide that as a transgender woman, as a sex worker, and other things, I fear both the censure of unthinkable ideas and the advocacy of destroying unthinkable people as a matter which is very personal as well as a matter of principle.  But those principles apply eventually to all of us.

If you bend them, if you accept a purveyor of hate into your cabinet because this particular hatred in 'understandable', then you say, in effect, that you can cheat a principle and that hatred upon Moslems, upon 'them', will never come around and become hated of you, then the fear of the one evil and opposer of your time has triumphed over all of the wisdom and memory won in horror in this century which Objectivism and libertarianism had the chance to be the principled heir to.

Compromise ends at the threshold of the hall of human rights or there are no human rights.

my regards.

Jeanine Ring   ))(*)((



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