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Rebirth of Reason

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Saturday, January 29 - 11:09amSanction this postReply
"... it is only prudent for philosophers to keep their true views a secret"

That is an evil all unto itself.

It isn't just the socialists and the Neo-Conservatives that advocate lies and deceit to further their ends, you also can read it in the Koran and in the Rules of Radicals and see it in the practices of some of the Christian Right. Whole political campaigns become massive conspiracies based upon selling a lie to get elected. An immoral, pragmatic approach to rhetoric is taught in the universities that says to argue that which wins the debate. Main stream media looks the other way and pimps for the liberal positions - trashing the very purpose of journalism - all on the ends justify the means and that somehow, installing an idea in someone's mind by means of fraud makes sense.

A healthy society would respond rapidly and harshly to any discovery that a politician was hiding his true agenda. There would be calls for an immediate removal from office and civil suits to recover campaign fund and demands that criminal charges of fraud be pursued. And the guilty party would slink away in shame to never be seen on the public stage again. Now, we just shrug our shoulders and make glib remarks about what can one expect from a politician - if their mouths are moving, they're probably lying.

p.s., Dr. Machan, if you are planning to publish the column elsewhere, there is an "is" at the end of the third paragraph that was probably intended to be "as"

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 1/29, 11:18am)

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Saturday, January 29 - 12:29pmSanction this postReply
You are a socialist if you champion any centralized control over "non-public" goods (goods not good for every last citizen, even if they are good for a majority of citizens). You don't need to own it, just to control it. Under this correct conceptualization, the only true public goods -- such as national defense -- can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Everything else is a non-public good.

If you champion government-run housing or government-run education, for instance, then you are being a socialist when you do that. If you made a list of all of the non-public goods Obama wants to be controlled by the government, then you will not be able to think of Obama as anything but a socialist.


[book] The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, by Kevin D. Williamson

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Saturday, January 29 - 2:53pmSanction this postReply
Yes - very interesting book [as are all in the series]...

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Sunday, January 30 - 10:13pmSanction this postReply

(Edited by Machan on 1/30, 11:21pm)

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Sunday, January 30 - 11:22pmSanction this postReply
Done! Thx.

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Post 5

Monday, January 31 - 8:37amSanction this postReply
He is an acolyte of the vampire religion that dare not yet speak its name in the light of day.

He hasn't advocated the abolition of private property; only of individual control over it. A distinction in search of a difference.

Our political context and history is not China's: they have moved(for now)towards freedom, we away, looking for all the world like a step towards convergence. But Deng has been clear about China's intentions. for anyone who has taken the time to research the matter. He criticized Mao and the former cultural revolution for trying to skip the 'necessary phase' of capitalism on the way to the People's Utopia. IOW, before the elite beekeepers can carve the carcass, the people must freely build the beast--for some period of time. People must be 'allowed' -- for some period of time sufficient to build the beast -- to run free under the illusion of freedom.

Not the same at all in our political context. We have experienced the once 'necessary phase' of capitalism. Our trajectory is different, as is the general feel, presently, in this nation, as we move away from individual freedom. Obama's present needs were not Deng's needs when he made those observations, even if they share the same vision, are cut from the same left wing ideological cloth. He, as the latest attack on individual freedom from the left, must stoke the illusion of freedom in America, enough to keep the carcass struggling. Hence his charade of 'courting' pro business crony deals with the guns of state, his celebration of yet remaining pockets of rural PA 'capitalism,' the borrowing of 'we do big things' from a small drilling equipment manufacturer / capitalist in PA as his 'proof' that he and his haven't quite yet killed every remnant of capitalism in America, that it yet lives in tiny pockets far from the DC beltway and cozy crony deals with government plans to 'run the economy.'

But he's simple to evaluate. In our crippled political context, is he an advocate of free association, or forced association?

Deeds, not words, answer that question.

That's all one needs to know about him. The claptrap of his latest spin of the moment PR campaign is pure fluff. Even his rhetoric -- 'we do big things' -- is borrowed clothing.

There was once a world struggle for global dominance of two distinctly incompatible ideas. In round one, the free world, led by a free America, won the battle. At the end of round one, that same America suffered from the Western disease, which is, forever ending conflict before the conflict is actually over. Like, taking only half the prescribed dose of antibiotics.

The gutted America that will be around during round 2 is one that has been indirectly and corrosively attacked from within on multiple fronts. It is no shape to lead a free world anywhere. It is, in fact, sprinting towards its own version of totalitarian nirvana, it's own race to the bottom.

If there is ever going to be a rebirth of freedom in America, it is going to come from the bottom, not the top. From weakness, not strength. It is going to come from a failed, dystopic nation on its knees.

Just like the first time.

(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 1/31, 8:38am)

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Tuesday, February 1 - 6:49amSanction this postReply

When I was in high school, I was a Senior selected to be the Junior Rotarian of the month. It was an honor in which you would attend the Rotary Club’s Tuesday meetings for the month. I recall all the successful people from so many different lines of work. Mostly I remember their motto: Service above Self.

That idea was nothing peculiar to me at the time. It was not radical, but regular modern Christianity. Though the men sitting round my table did not know it, I was a radical Christian. I was a Christian socialist. The rights to life and liberty, yes. The right to private property, no. As I saw it, the institution of private property allowed people to be selfish, therefore it should be abolished. I had no learning in economics. I knew of the elementary doctrines of Marx, due to my anti-Communist training (outside of school). I remained opposed to communism (and to Marxist doctrines) and to violent alteration of the government.

All that was required for my outlook and the outlook of the members of Rotary was Jesus. That is all that is required here today. (There may have been some Jewish member(s) in the Club, but this was in Oklahoma City, where there were very few families of that faith.)

Christ is surely the reason behind some of the ideals of President Obama and his supporters on issues implicating those ideals. However, the President’s recurring talk of bringing the least fortunate people upward in any general economic advance has always also brought John Rawls to my mind. Specifically, it echoes the Principle of Fairness. I see that others too have noticed that stance of Rawls in Obama’s viewpoint (e.g.).

Others have noticed a second concordance with Rawls, which had not occurred to me: A, B.

The ties of Obama’s outlooks to those of the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr has received significant notice, summarized nicely here.

I should perhaps repeat what Tibor and others have noticed, which is that President Obama supports the institution of private property and our capitalist system (of this sort). His youthful views could very well have been along the lines of mine, but with further education, one's political and moral views can be changed substantially, as in my own fairly extreme case.

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Post 7

Tuesday, February 1 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply

It is remarkable that Rawls argument has been so influential, when it is so transparently a carny hucksters trick.

Rawls in a nutshell: If we hypothesize traveling to a hypothetical state (where nobody can actually travel), in which unbiased (by future outcomes) humans are in a state able to express their 'original position,' then ... trust Rawls, they would choose the politics of him and his.

Because he has rolled his eyes into the back of his head, gone to where none of us can actually go, and has come back bearing a rather unsurprising message from the great beyond: the hypothetical people who live there choose his politics.

It is the oldest carny hucksters trick in the book, the same old leg-lifting exercise that occurs whenever a human being lifts his leg and speaks for:

1] God
2] "S"ociety
3] Human dignity
4] hypotyetical humans in a perfect unbiased state able to stake their 'original position.'
5] The Spirit That Lives Beyond The Volcano, the One That Controls The Harvest...
6] Fill in the latest totem for authority safely removed from this reality

... in order to sell our politics.

Rawls was no exception to that formula. Only those with a predisposition to buy his politics would ever marvel at the blinding brilliance of his carny huckster 'logic.'

He pulled the same old rabbit out of the invisible great beyond hat, by safely claiming to speak for something safely out of our existence. He painlessly guilded it with special attributes, scaffolded it with an authority that was impeccably arrived at, and then...spoke for it.

And then, surprise, surprise, what he spoke was advocacy of his own politics.

Who actually falls for that, these days? Are thinking folks supposed to admire them for doing so, or would it be more appropriate to suggest a telethon?


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 2/01, 12:15pm)

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