I'll add a few more thoughts about the errors we find in on some of the anger sites. I gave a talk to Steve Nahm's group in San Francisco recently and discussed how the application of principles should be guided by 1) purpose and 2) context.
Let's say you're at the funeral of a beloved uncle and your aunt, who has always been kind and loving to you, is saying how God will look over us, how uncle is in a better place and the like. Is that the time to launch into a denunciation of religion, pointing out that your aunt's beliefs are without justification and have caused untold wars and horrors throughout human history?
What is your purpose in that situation? If it's to wean your aunt from mysticism, the context is certainly very wrong and you haven't got a chance. You're wasting your time and making your loving aunt more miserable. If your purpose is to inflict pain on someone who is mistaken in their beliefs but who has otherwise acted in a reasonable, loving manner to you all your life -- who helped you with your ABCs, who read books to you, who took you to the zoo, who was so proud of you when you graduated from school -- then your purpose is wrong and, unless there are some really particular circumstances, highly immoral. If your purpose is to make yourself feel good because your beliefs are correct and gain your sense of self-esteem from harming this poor woman for her mistakes, again, your purpose is wrong. Can you imagine Roark getting his sense of self-worth from doing such actions? True pride is not boastful.
The complex relationship between Roark and Wynand shows that Rand appreciated the importance of purpose and context -- indeed these are central to an Objectivist understanding of principles.
Context also helps establish the reaction to particular actions of others that one might consider wrong or unjust. Aristotle, for example, saw being good-tempered as a virtue, with the vices being too much anger (irascibility) and too little anger (inirascibility). He said "The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is praised." Just reactions by their nature need to be proportional to the alleged wrong. Does the reaction to Chris Sciabarra's alleged-- and I emphasize that word -- wrong's -- if Phil's summary is correct -- seem all out of proportion?
And yes, each case will require judgments that often aren't simple and clear-cut. That's why reflection and prudence are also virtues. They don't mean that you don't make value judgments; they do mean that you understand why you're doing so, how they are in your self-interest, what you're getting out of them and so on. That's why I see the situation with Linz as sad. He's often articulate, I've agreed with many of his insights and -- hey! -- he loves opera.
In summary, I see one aspect of the jihads on other sites as a failure to appreciated purpose and context. This can lead to the unbridled anger in one's soul and unjust actions towards other.
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 5/15, 7:09am)
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 5/15, 7:35am)
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 5/15, 9:03pm)