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Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
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Note: There is an error in the transcript of Paul Ryan's speech at the FoxNews link. The word "happiness" (from above) was accidentally transcribed to read "happen as." Having heard this moving speech myself, I know that Ryan said "happiness" in that spot, not "happen as."

Ed


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Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 9:08pmSanction this postReply
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NPR got it right:

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/29/160282031/transcript-rep-paul-ryans-convention-speech

 

The phrase

"... none of us have to settle for ..." 

should be

"... none of us has to settle for..."

but that is not a problem with the transcription.

 

 


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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 6:17amSanction this postReply
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No matter what he says about economics, Ryan is still a mystic who thinks he own's your life. Lesser of two evil is still evil. In any compromise.......ah hell you folks know the quote.

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 7:20amSanction this postReply
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"Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I've been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he's a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

"Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

"We have responsibilities, one to another we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves."


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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 7:55amSanction this postReply
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Ethan, Michael,

If I had to choose between two individuals to fill a political role, both of whom we strong advocates of pure Capitalism, and one was an atheist who had never accomplished anything in his life, and the other was Christian who had been a large success in the business world, I'd choose the Christian. That's my way of saying that we have to discern some character traits, leadership abilities, and competence.... not just ideology.

There are a lot of snarky atheists making clever posts to the internet from the basement of their parent's house and a lot of Christians who have strong character and individual records worth noting.

As an atheist and an Objectivist, I note that we share a couple of important items with most Christians. We both believe that our rights do not come from government. We both believe that the purpose of the government is serve man, not the other way around. We both believe that man is volitional. We both believe that good and evil exist. We both believe that productivity is good. We both believe that it is an individual's responsibility to choose between good and evil. It is not good to only see where we disagree, and it is not good to ignore that we have some serious conflicts with much of today's secular America. It would have been nice if history had split America such that all of the correct ideology fell to one side, and that side was also the one showing all the best character traits... but that didn't happen.

Naturally, I'm not going to defend any of the mysticism or any part of altruism. But I'm keeping in mind that we are choosing an administrator and leader who has to fit within the Overton Window if he is to be elected. Within that context, I'm relatively pleased with the Romney-Ryan ticket. Their goal, from my perspective, is to move us significantly in the right direction.

Just out of curiosity, are either of you arguing that we should vote for someone else, or not vote, in this upcoming election?

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 8:54amSanction this postReply
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Steve, if you are not gay, and if you never need to terminate a pregnancy, and if you don't care if your child is allowed to not pray in school while everyone else does, and if you think that creationism is a science to be taught along with evolution as just another theory, then it idoes not matter.  You might not have a life partner of the same sex standing by your bedside at a hospital, legally barred from making the decision you want to have made for you in your incapacitated state.   (Remember, Paul Ryan wants Medicare; and Medicare will pay for your God-given Creatorly-imaged life to continue as long as the tubes keep you alive, because all life is precious.)

Religion does not exist in a vacuum.

I agree that for business climate and the general economy a Republican president will be better than a Democratic president, allowing of course, that Rudolph Giuiliani prosecuted Michael Milken.  (By the way, the prosecutor in the Martha Stewart case, Karen Patton Seymor, now works in white collar crime defense. See here. Should we salute her objective appraisal of facts of reality, or just nod to her pragmatism?) 

If a do-nothing who had been boosted along by those who used him actually did nothing as President, it would not be so bad.  The problem is that no President ever stood alone. 

Of all the recent presidents, John F. Kennedy was probably the best at bringing in people who disagreed with him to help him make the right decisions. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy absented himself from the room, to let them talk it out without interference even from his passive presence. Kennedy was a leader who had advisors. You don't get that much any more. 

Clint Eastwood was right last night, Jospeh Biden is the intellectual leader of the Democratic Party.  Biden, not Obama, is president; and the Joe Biden faction beat out the Hillary Clinton gang for that post.

Vote for whomever you wish or for no one at all.  I believe that the decision was made four years ago but will only be announced to us on the First Tuesday in November.  And I believe that it does not make much difference.  President Obama's economic policies only continued President Bush's. 

It might be interesting to speculate what would have happened if the McCain-Palin ticket had won in 2008.  I believe that the actual texture of the current depression would indeed be different with GM and Chysler bankrupt and liquidated, Goldman-Sachs gone the way of Bear-Stearns.  The USA might have gotten out of Aghanistan by now, but with new reports of the Taliban mutilating girls who go to school.  Those all would only be points of argument in favor of a Democratic party challenger, such as Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who would now say, "We told you so."  ... And the government would be just big enough to fit in your bedroom.


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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 10:02amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Just a couple of points. Ryan's original plan was to replace Medicare as it exists now with privatized voucher system for medical care... and that would have been an excellent way, in my mind, to begin phasing government out of health care. But his plan drew to much strong fire and it was modified to be that people could choose between medicare as it is now, or his new plan. Ryan is for more free market - Obama-Biden are for less free market. That's really the point, isn't it?

You wrote, "President Obama's economic policies only continued President Bush's. It would be wrong to leave that statement as it stands and not point out that Obama massively increased the statist direction Bush took. Bush was a big government Republican while Obama is a socialist - their ideological differences are enormous!

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 11:32amSanction this postReply
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Steve,

to paraphrase Paul Ryan (referring to abortion with regards to rape) the form of conception doesn't matter.

This equals me not voting for him. Sure he's consistent with his pro-life view, but it's the content of that view that I will not endorse.

He, Akin, and that idiot Republican committee person from Akin's state who said that rape victims who conceive have received a blessing from God need to not be tolerated. The Republican party is dead with this crap in it.

Democrat no better, in case you think I think that.

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 2:45pmSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

I understand what you are saying, and like you I'm pro-choice, but I see that the Republican party is slowly being transformed by Libertarians. The purely social conservatives, like Akins, are having less influence - nearly everyone in the party told him to get out of the Senate race and they cut of all RNC funding to him. The only anti-abortion people who are still holding on are those who are also smaller-government people, and pro-constitution.

My position is to support the Libertarian influence, and to support the pro-constitution and the smaller-government influence. This transforms the Republican party into a party of Individual Rights... eventually. With Romney-Ryan we get a strong move towards smaller government, reduction of deficit spending, a shot at a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget with a cap on federal spending, a reformed tax code, school choice. If Obama wins abortion will be the only thing we will be free to do.

If the Libertarian influence in the Republican party were shrinking or invisible that would be different. But it's growing and getting stronger almost weekly. If we enter that fray, it makes it harder for the social conservatives to retain their standing. I'd rather see us displacing them, then to see them staying in power at our expense.

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 4:28pmSanction this postReply
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I hear yah!

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 7:05pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,
If the Libertarian influence in the Republican party were shrinking or invisible that would be different. But it's growing and getting stronger almost weekly. If we enter that fray, it makes it harder for the social conservatives to retain their standing. I'd rather see us displacing them, then to see them staying in power at our expense.
It looks like we all want the same thing (the same "end") and that we only differ in an ongoing discovery of the correct means to that end. On that note, here are 4 means (to that same end) which come to my mind:

1) Instead of supporting a 3rd Party (e.g., Libertarian Party), try to infiltrate and reform one of the 2 major parties (e.g., Republican Party) by moving it away from social conservatism (e.g., pro-life) and toward libertarianism. This means requires at least tolerance, if not acceptance, of whatever level of religiosity and altruism that permeates the current political atmosphere.
2) Support a 3rd Party (e.g., Libertarian Party). This means has the potential to make things worse before making them better (but like a pendulum, will swing apportionately, and will make things better more strongly -- will resemble an Objectivist utopia -- if preceded by a time where things got really, really bad first).
3) Work on changing the system (e.g., instant run-off voting) rather than changing the human players in the system -- the flawed and inevitably corrupt, 'crony-istic' system.
4) Withdraw from politics altogether, because it would necessarily detract from the very best battles you could fight -- i.e., working on enhancing the cultural understanding of Objectivist ethics.

To be clear, there may be other means as well. Now, here is the rub: According to Aristotle and Ayn Rand, the ends prescribe the means. If you analyze the ends carefully enough, then you will arrive at the correct means that you ought to choose (among a choice of many) in order to arrive at that end. If you want, for instance, to be happy ... then you must develop virtue (humans cannot become happy without first having virtue). If you want to eat in the jungle, then you have to think about production (rather than attempting to live just like animals do, by tooth and fang). If you want real love, then you have to develop rationality -- because you can't get real love without rationality. Etc., etc., etc.

We apparently have become aware of the correct end to aim at, but I'm not sure that anyone has performed the kind of lucid analysis required in order to arrive at the correct means to get there. Which is why still we have disagreements. Maybe, for instance, the answer is to attempt to apportion time, energy, intelligence, etc. among these 4 methods or means. An example might be 25% of your time and energy on each of the 4 items. Maybe the answer would be slightly different for different people, keeping in mind that it cannot be totally different for different people (because the ends prescribe the means).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/31, 7:17pm)


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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 9:58pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

On your second item, I'm not sure that we can assume the Libertarian party will take us to a utopia no matter how far that pendulum swings. I think that there are major problems in the Libertarian Party that need to be addressed, and the culture still isn't ready either. Nothing that any party could do right now would let us become a Galt Gulch in a stable, sustainable fashion any more than there is anything that can be done to make Afganistan a stable democracy right now. Individual rights need to be understood by the grass roots to be politically implemented in a way that would last.

I think that the support of the Libertarian Party and the reform of the Republican Party both need to be pursued at the same time. The Libertarian Party describes where we want to end up and they are a kind of think tank for new political ideas. But the Overton window isn't going to let us realize our political goals by Libertarian Party elections in just a year or two. Libertarians give us ideas, and they force the Republicans to be more honest - they are competition. The competition only functions if enough people might vote Libertarian to stop the Republicans from taking a moderate position. But the threat to vote Libertarian doesn't have any effect if the Republicans think that there is nothing they could do to win over the support of the Libertarians - it is a dynamic and it works only if Libertarian voters can be seen as a group that will support some conservatives, and not moderates.

The political ends we both want can't be arrived at immediately. It will take a period of time that involves educating a significant portion of the electorate. I think that the trend that is moving through our culture and the fact that different people will be attracted to different ways of fighting for their ideals will ensure that we (Objectivists and Libertarians and some conservatives - as a group) will be pursuing all four of your points at the same time.


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Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 12:05amSanction this postReply
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Steve,

I broadly agree. The idea I had in mind when I brought up the pendulum analogy jives with the culture-deficiency you mentioned. It is that as bipartisan failure -- the kind we've had for 12 years -- gets worse and worse and worse over time, then the public appetite for a final solution (i.e., libertarianism) grows in proportion. The amount of cultural deficiency we have would be related to how much worse it'd have to get to snap most people out of a trance -- until everyone and their brothers stand up with a sense of urgency, slam their fists on the table, and yell:

"Dammit, this political process has caused me and everyone I've ever known so much pain and so much loss and so much general failure! I want a fully Objectivist society and I want it right now! No more excuses. No more bipartisan "half-measures." Let's do this thing all the way and let's do it right now."
Libertarians give us ideas, and they force the Republicans to be more honest - they are competition. The competition only functions if enough people might vote Libertarian to stop the Republicans from taking a moderate position. But the threat to vote Libertarian doesn't have any effect if the Republicans think that there is nothing they could do to win over the support of the Libertarians ...
Okay, but there is always something that Republicans can do to win over the support of Libertarians. It is simply to be more libertarian. If Republicans aren't willing to do that, then threat changes somewhat -- it becomes more of a promise. What happens is that only Democrats (or Libertarians) get elected. I admit that this is sort of like a game of Chicken and that we are waiting to see who flinches first: RINO Republicans or principled Libertarians. Sometimes, when no one flinches, the game of Chicken doesn't end well. If the sea change you mentioned (libertarian streak forming throughout Republican Party) holds, then we don't have to worry about such things.

But I am reminded about how the Republican "talking heads" threw Sarah Palin under the bus. Rush Limbaugh related a story where he had some Republican thinkers over for dinner. They told him to drop Sarah Palin because she has been "destroyed." He asked his interlocuters if they are going to let the opposition dictate who to nominate (giving up on Sarah Palin because the liberal media slams her), and then he asked them: When does it stop (when do you stop letting your enemies dictate how you will be fighting them?)?

This NeoCon streak -- which panders to welfare liberal notions and involves invoking "compassionate conservatism" and "democratic capitalism" (Paul Ryan recently used that last phrase) -- is terribly disturbing. We got Romney whether we wanted him or not, due to the Republican establishment. I remember when the phrase was "anyone but Romney." This notion of pushing someone or something onto the public is not different from what happened with ObamaCare. It is something that cronies wanted, and that was enough justification. Someone, somewhere, wanted Romney as the nominee -- even though most conservatives did not want him.

Instead of offering better choices, they make alternatives appear disgusting, wrong, or evil. It is how Obama has won every election he ever won (by making his opponent look bad; or getting his opponents to drop out). Romney won the nomination not because he is great, but because all the greater candidates (e.g., Herman Cain) were "removed" by defacement, derogation, or outright slander. I have hope because people are smart enough to catch-on to this "scapegoat" tactic so familiar now to both sides of the political aisle.

Libertarianism is, as you say, on the rise.

Ed


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Post 13

Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 3:23pmSanction this postReply
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it would have been nice if Ryan said something like:

"We have no unchosen responsibilities, one to another. And the falsest of all false notions is that of chaining ability to failure. The truest measure of any society is how it treats the men and women of ability."

Post 14

Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 7:01amSanction this postReply
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Very well put, Michael!

Thou shalt have given unto him who hath heretofore earned it ... Atlas points [bonk].

:-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 9/02, 7:03am)


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