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:: The Rule of Reason ::

:: Friday, November 23, 2007 ::

Our Lying, Cheating Do-Gooders 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 6:30 AM

An unusually trenchant article ran on MSNBC on November 15, “Do-gooders can become the worst cheats: Study says that sense of moral superiority might lead to rationalizing bad behavior.”

“In the new study, detailed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers find that when this line between right and wrong is ambiguous among people who think of themselves as having high moral standards, the do-gooders can become the worst of cheaters.

“’The principle we uncovered is that when faced with a moral decision, those with a strong moral identity choose their fate (for good or for bad) and then the moral identity drives them to pursue that fate to the extreme,’ said researcher Scott Reynolds of the University of Washington in Seattle. ‘So it makes sense that this principle would help explain what makes the greatest of saints and the foulest of hypocrites.’

“Why would a person who thinks of himself as honest cheat? The researchers suggest an ‘ethical person’ could view cheating as an OK thing to do, justifying the act as a means to a moral end.”

The rest of the article focuses on college students and employees who rationalize their cheating on tests and in the workplace. But, if we accept the premise that cheating is a form of lying – that is, of faking reality – and focus instead on more notorious “do-gooders” who pose as individuals imbued with and moved by “higher” moral standards, whom does the phenomenon remind one of? Hillary and Bill Clinton? Al Gore? Mitt Romney? Michael Bloomberg? John Edwards? Ted Kennedy?

The Journal article did not define the concept of “moral.” It simply implied that the “superior” morality was one of altruism and sacrifice. The “moral identity” of most politicians today is linked to that morality. Some of them are sincere (and the more dangerous for it), while others are pragmatists who adopt a second-hand “identity,” and pose as moral men. And, in the name of that morality, both kinds are willing to cheat, lie, and steal their way to power. Power is the end that justifies their means – which includes faking reality.

And because they are willing to cheat and lie in the name of that “superior” morality, so they can “do good,” they exempt themselves from any moral judgment. Their supporters exempt them from it, as well. After all, they rationalize, their idols have “sacrificed” their alleged reputations to pursue and impose “the good” on all who are not professional “do-gooders.”

The cheating and lying can have disastrous consequences and affect the lives and livelihoods of uncounted millions.

The myth (or religion?) of anthropogenic global warming is an example of the ends justifying the means, in this instance, of fudging statistics and scientific data – or completely omitting pertinent data – in order to convince others of the cause and consequences of global warming. Although the myth has been propagated for over a decade (and before it, the myth of global cooling), it reached a crescendo with the debut and marketing of former vice president Al Gore’s Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, for which he also netted a Nobel Prize, shared by the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is not so much a myth as a conscious fabrication to advance a collectivist ideology and politics. Gore’s motive for making the movie and seeing it publicized and endorsed by the scientific community is compatible with the motives of those who agree with its conclusions and seek the same end, which is the drastic subordination of industrial civilization to the “needs” of an undisturbed, climatically static, “unviolated” earth.

Whatever the extent of Gore’s “study” of the subject of global climate change, he cannot help but have encountered data and arguments that contradicted his own thesis that man is wholly responsible for increases in carbon dioxide output into the atmosphere. The data and arguments are ubiquitous. These data and arguments were ignored, misrepresented, or suppressed in order to weave a “credible” fairy tale of anthropogenic global warming and to put it over the whole world with the least opposition and a minimum of rebuttal.

(Gore also authored a book, The Assault on Reason, his manifesto for remaking the world but chiefly a bully pulpit for attacking the “radical” and religious right, and for venting his spleen against President Bush and his administration. In both the book and in the “documentary,” it is Gore who not so much “assaults” reason, but dispenses with it.)

No honest scientist (or is the adjective redundant?) would resort to such fraud, but a career politician with frustrated political ambitions and pretensions of wanting to “do good,” one with a congenital need to wield power over others, would stoop to such a tactic. In his attempt to fake reality by “scientifically” blaming man for catastrophic climate change, Gore needed to lie. His greatest enemies were truth-tellers in the scientific community, and reality itself.

Dr. Tara Smith, in her seminal study of Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist, remarks in her discussion of why Rand dismissed all social reasons for why one must adhere to the virtue of honesty:

“…Rand…contends that the only effective way of achieving objective values is through refusing to fake things – regardless of how successfully a person might be able to fool others. Others’ perceptions do not dictate reality any more than one’s own do….Rand’s case for honesty, in sum, is this: Because reality sets the ultimate terms of a person’s survival, reality – rather than one’s own or others’ beliefs or wishes – must command a person’s paramount allegiance. Faking reality is futile….” (p. 88, softcover)

Gore has been successful in fooling and frightening countless people, and has been aided in this mass deception by others who share his desire to wield power, and who, at the very least, wish man to do penance for the “sin” of existing, and at the very most, wish him to cease to exist.

The fudging of statistics and scientific data by Gore and other past advocates of man-caused global warming has been exposed in numerous papers and testimonies, and the thesis itself refuted.

Even while Gore’s “documentary” was in production with the help of his Hollywood sycophants, the London Daily Telegraph of September 4, 2006, featured an article, “There IS a problem with global warming…it stopped in 1998,” by Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

“For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact that, drawn from official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

“Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society’s continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

Al Gore was not, of course, mentioned once in the Daily Telegraph article. At the time, he was a political has-been not yet launched by the news media and Hollywood as a prophet of environmental doom.

In many scientific papers, one finding is that an increase of carbon dioxide trails a rise in average global temperature, not the other way around, as Gore and his yea-sayers assert. That is, carbon dioxide does not cause temperature rises. Its greater or lesser presence is entirely dependent on temperature, and what causes global temperature reductions and increases is not understood. It is…unknown.

The papers, studies and reports that debunk anthropogenic global warming are as numerous as the frequent sanctimonious urgings of the teleprompter reading news anchors on ABC’s “Good Morning, America.” A search on the Internet using the terms “Global warming scam” will turn up about a dozen. For example, to pick one at random, The Heartland Institute in Chicago, in February 2003, published “Eight Reasons Why ‘Global Warming’ is a Scam.” Two of those reasons deserve mention. No. 3 reads:

“Global climate computer models are too crude to predict future climate changes. All predictions of global warming are based on computer models, not historical data. In order to get their models to produce predictions that are close to their designers’ expectations [read wishes], modelers resort to ‘flux adjustments’ that can be 25 times larger than the effect of doubling carbon dioxide concentrations, the supposed trigger for global warming. Richard A. Kerr, a writer for Science, says ‘climate modelers have been “cheating” for so long it’s almost become respectable.’”

That is, the “do-gooding” modelers prefer to fake reality by spiking their non-historical “data” with flux adjustments, which guarantee their a priori conclusions with bells, whistles, and red danger flags. For them, wishing makes it so.

No. 4 of the Heartland report is a minor shocker, and stresses that global warming alarmists cherry-pick statements from a supposed authority, the IPCC:

“The IPCC report [Climate Change 2001] did not prove that human activities are causing global warming.” That is, it concluded that predicting the weather ten years from now is as chancy and unreliable as predicting next week’s. But the “public” panel is composed of politicians and bureaucrats, not of the scientists who contributed to the report, many of whom have resigned in dissent from the IPCC or contested the veracity of the panel’s politically correct statements.

Another paper found by a random search is Derek Kelly’s “The global warming scam” from the Asia Times of February 25, 2005, when Al Gore’s “proof” of man-caused global warming was just a slide show. Kelly presents a chronology of climate change covering 15,000 years, beginning with the last major glaciation period and ending in 2005. He shows, stage by stage, that glaciers advanced and retreated in this period, that sea levels rose and fell, and that average global temperatures also rose and fell, together with carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. And most of these changes occurred long, long before the Industrial Revolution with its smoke stacks and internal combustion engines.

“4,000 years ago to A.D. 900: Global cooling begins. The Arctic Ocean freezes over, mountain glaciers form once more in the Rocky Mountains, in Norway and in the Alps. The Black Sea freezes over several times, and ice forms on the Nile in Egypt. Northern Europe gets a lot wetter, and the marshes develop again in previously dry areas. The sea level drops to approximately its present level. The temperatures on the surface of the Earth are about 0.5-1 degree cooler than at present. The causes of this period of cooling are unknown.”

In every one of the nine periods described by Kelly, which altogether is a climatic roller-coaster ride, the causes of the climate changes are unknown and are understood only in terms of post-event observations. One of his conclusions is that the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the better, since it and the warmth accompanying it promote life. Among other things (although Kelly does not mention them), growing seasons in Canada would be longer and more productive, while the inhabitants of south Greenland are now able to grow much of their own food instead of having to import it.

What scientists like Kelly and honest, objective journalists like Bob Carter (author of the Daily Telegraph article cited above), not to mention their unheralded and besieged compatriots in science and the news media, do not understand about the “moral identity” of anthropogenic global warming alarmists is that, fundamentally, the alarmists are at root man-haters. That is their “identity,” which is “driven” by an anti-life philosophy.

Even if they “pursued that identity to the extreme,” as Scott Reynolds in the Journal expressed it (as they must pursue it to its logical end) and succeeded in destroying Western civilization and reducing the survivors of that collapse to huddling around campfires in a post-apocalyptic wilderness, the man-haters would even object to the smoke rising from those fires to “pollute” the atmosphere.

Note that when volcanoes spew billions of tons of super-heated gases into the atmosphere, when earthquakes or tsunamis crumble whole regions or erase whole coastlines, and when wild fires destroy thousands of acres of forest and kill countless animals, the environmentalist “do-gooders” have little or nothing to say, especially not about the cost in human lives. But let an oil tanker accidentally spill its cargo into San Francisco Bay and a few fish and fowl perish as a result, they are ready to kill in the name of “protecting” nature.

The lying, cheating “do-gooders” at large today may claim that their intentions are benign. But, it is their “good” intentions which must be examined, grasped, understood in all their ramifications, and exposed. Their solutions require force and fraud. That ought to be enough to indict the “custodians of the earth,” who also wish to lord it over us in prisoner road gangs, or be our executioners.

Once that is done, it will be seen that the “do-gooders” are neither saints nor hypocrites, but vicious predators who seek man’s subservience to unconquered “nature,” or his extinction.

To read Kelly’s report, go to: www.globalwarming.nottinghamshiretimes.co.uk/scam.html.

To read the Heartland Institute report, go to: http:heartland.org.

:: Permalink | 3 Comments ::

 

:: Thursday, November 15, 2007 ::

“Shut Up” vs. “Shut Up” 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:49 AM

An interesting thing happened in Chile last week: the king of Spain asked a dictator to “shut up.”

According to an Associated Press item of November 12, “Spain’s king backed on ‘shut up’ comments,” Hugo Chavez, the Bœotian tyrant of Venezuela, kept interrupting Spain’s current prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, during his remarks at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago. When Zapatero tried to give him a lesson in manners, Chavez kept talking off-microphone.

At which point, King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, leaned forward and asked, for the whole audience to hear, “Por que no te callas?” (Why don’t you shut up?) Then the monarch rose and left the room.

That is what the British used to call “showing one’s back,” or expressing contempt. The snub and lesson in manners, however, were lost on Chavez. What he refused to stop talking about was his allegation that both Juan Carlos and former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar somehow backed the coup in 2002 that briefly removed Chavez from power in Caracas. (Aznar, a pro-American who sent troops to join the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, lost office in the elections following the Madrid train bombing in March 2004. Spanish troops were subsequently withdrawn by the leftist government in a craven act of submission to Islamists.)

“Chavez repeatedly called Aznar a ‘fascist’ in an address at the summit of leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.” It was Aznar that Zapatero was attempting to defend during Chavez’s goonish behavior.

“During the two-day coup in April 2002, Aznar called interim president Pedro Carmona, and the Spanish ambassador to Venezuela met with Carmona. Chavez was restored to power after massive street protests.

“Aznar later told the Spanish Parliament he had discussed with Carmona arrangements for Chavez to go to Cuba. Aznar’s party had insisted, however, that the conservative government then in power did not back the coup.

“But Spain’s current Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos charged in December 2004 that Aznar had in fact given the putsch his diplomatic blessing. Moratinos cited diplomatic cables from the period and other government documents.”

Of course, giving a “blessing” to the ouster of a dictator must be distinguished from giving the project active backing. It would have been to Spain’s everlasting credit had Aznar and the king proclaimed for everyone to hear, “Throw the bum out!” (The U.S., with private oil interests in Venezuela, didn’t lift a finger to help the opposition, and is paying the price for such “neutral” non-interference.)

And Juan Carlos, instead of asking the bum to shut his offending trap, should have engaged Chavez in polite repartee: “Señor Chavez, please define for us ‘fascist,’ and descant why we should not insult you with the appellation. Tu haber aquél estilo.” (You suit the style.)

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found another talk show to target for silencing, Michael Savage’s nationally syndicated radio program, which CAIR wishes to shut up.

The Cybercast News Service on November 9 reported that:

“On November 1, CAIR urged ‘radio listeners of all faiths’ to contact companies that advertise on ‘The Savage Nation’ to complain about an ‘anti-Muslim tirade’ on Savage’s Oct. 29 program. (CAIR periodically issues ‘incitement alerts,’ urging its members to contact various media outlets to express their concerns about ‘Islamophobic attitudes.’)”

“On Nov. 2, CAIR’s Minnesota chapter announced that three companies in that state had pulled their advertisements from ‘The Savage Nation.’” One of them was Citrix Systems, a computer systems application company. Another company, however, Swiss America, increased its ads.

CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin announced Citrix’s submission together with this statement:

“We urge other local and national companies running ads on Savage’s program to follow Citrix’s example in support of religious tolerance.”

The question to ask is: What has “religious tolerance” to do with Michael Savage’s First Amendment free speech right? Savage cannot “tolerate” Islam. Ergo, he has a right to speak against it. He has not taken any physical action to express his “intolerance,” such as blowing up mosques, kidnapping imams, or ambushing Muslims with a hunting rifle as they do their full-body genuflections to Allah. Those kinds of actions lately have been the exclusive modus operendi of Muslim “extremists” in their own campaign of “religious tolerance.”

“Free speech is a precious right that we fully support and strive to protect,” said Rubin in his release. “We are not seeking to curb Mr. Savage’s freedom of speech, but to demonstrate that Americans and American companies will not tolerate hatred and bigotry.”

So, the best way to not “tolerate” hatred or bigotry in speech or in print is not to listen to it or read it. But the “package deal” is the implication that Savage’s commentaries on Islam constitute “hatred” and “bigotry.” Considering the nature of Islam and the subservient psychological adherence to it demanded of Muslims, Savage is right to be concerned – indeed, angry enough to occasionally rant against it – that it is an alien presence in a nation that values independence of thought and the freedom of anyone to listen to anyone’s opinions or views without hindrance or censor.

Regardless of the rationality or its lack in Savage’s or anyone else’s public commentaries, CAIR and its companion Muslim organizations fear any level of criticism of Islam, particularly criticism that correctly identifies it as a barbarous creed of conquest and intolerance, a creed whose inherent political nature has not been emasculated by a separation of state and religious belief. This has happened to other religious beliefs. Do the Presbyterians or Methodists have an organization that campaigns to silence men who question or mock their specific religious tenets? No.

(Although that separation is crumbling as both the Christian right and the socialist left have regularly invoked God and are actually beginning to become indistinguishable. Observe the current campaign for the White House. Do any of the candidates differ in any fundamental way? No. They are all for sustaining the welfare state or expanding it, and call for sacrifices and selflessness as political virtues. If there is any difference between the candidates, it is in the degree of blatant advocacy and shrillness.)

What CAIR’s thought police wish is for American non-Muslims to remain ignorant of Islam and the political ambitions of its shady proponents while they inveigle their way into the political process and the culture. It is rational criticism of Islam that CAIR’s publicists and “intellectual cops” wish to suppress.

Have Savage’s radio commentaries “incited” his listeners to act Ku Klux Klan-style against Muslims? Or Rush Limbaugh’s? Or Michael Graham’s? If such incidents ever occurred, one can be sure that our liberal, pro-Islam news media would broadcast them immediately. That such incidents have not been reported, speaks for their non-occurrence. No one is trying to obstruct the freedom of speech of Muslims, though Muslims certainly have a record of obstructing that of anyone who attempts to practice it on radio or at universities.

What CAIR’s campaign amounts to is what Ayn Rand called the “smear,” in this instance labeling any critic of Islam, especially its most articulate critics, such as Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson, a “xenophobe,” “racist,” “fascist,” or “bigot.” In this campaign the Islamists have an invaluable weapon, irrational, rights-negating “hate speech” laws, which are founded not on any actual criminal fact or intent, but on sheer emotion. To risk offending someone’s religious sensibilities, or hurt his “feelings,” is to court fines or imprisonment or both. The enforcement of these insidious laws has been sketchy in the U.S., but in Europe their application is de rigueur, which partly accounts for the decline of Europe and its gradual Islamification.

For a revealing article on how much the Islamists have borrowed from their old friends the Nazis in the way of waging war on the West, aside from their political tactics, see Paul Belien’s Washington Times article of November 7, “Nazis and Islamists.” His opening sentence is: “During the Second World War, the Nazis worked on plans to build the ‘Amerikabomber,’ an airplane specially devised to fly suicide missions into Manhattan’s skyscrapers.” Sound familiar? Hitler thought of it first, not Osama bin Laden or Mohammed Atta. The source of this information is no less than the diary of Albert Speer, Hitler’s armaments chief.

Finally, an example of successful suppression of the freedom of speech can be found in Mainland China, whose 30,000 Internet cops are assisted by American companies such as Yahoo, Cisco, Skype, and Microsoft, whose technologies enable the government to ban “pro-democracy” ideas from circulation and to detect, imprison, and permanently shut up those who circulate them.

A Los Angeles Times article of November 8, “Yahoo isn’t the only villain,” reports that:

“Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an EBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere. Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China – democracy.”

Peter Navarro, author of the Times article, blames U.S. business schools for the amoral behavior of these companies. Fundamentally, he should have blamed, first, arch-pragmatist John Dewey, and then Immanuel Kant, whose philosophies underpin whatever “ethics” are taught in those business schools. As a measure of those “ethics,” note that these same morally clueless companies are at each others’ throats over the “rights” to software and operating systems, with them all ganging up on Microsoft, the giant that has caved in to American and European antitrust suits.

Commenting on the venality of the companies, whom he says claim they are advancing freedom of speech in China, instead of helping to punish it, Navarro wrote:

“What’s missing from the American corporate perspective is this bigger picture. The collaborative tools that U.S. corporations provide to spy on, and silence, the Chinese people are far more likely to help prop up a totalitarian regime than topple it.”

The “picture” is bigger than Navarro suspects. It is philosophical, and what is missing from it is reason.

:: Permalink | 3 Comments ::

 

:: Friday, November 09, 2007 ::

Gun Van Horn earns blogging honnor 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 7:35 AM

Congratulations to Objectivist blogger Gun Van Horn, who enjoyed a landslide victory in the the 2007 Weblog Awards. Gus took top prize in the "Best of the Top 6751 - 8750 Blogs" category--a well deserved honor for an excellent blogger.

:: Permalink | 1 Comments ::

 

:: Thursday, November 08, 2007 ::

The Sin of Pride 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 9:36 PM

People manifest their pride in a host of ways. In Saudi Arabia, some enter camels that they have raised into "beauty" pageants, the equivalent of Western dog shows, yet according to one Islamic cleric, such displays are a wicked affront to God. As reported in this Reuters news story:

A leading authority of Saudi Arabia's hardline school of Islam has condemned camel beauty contests as evil, saying those involved should seek repentance in God.

Camel pageants have become major events in the desert kingdom in recent years as tribes hold ever larger competitions, with bigger prizes and wider publicity.

Delicate females or strapping males which attract the right attention during a show can sell for more than a million riyals (127,000 pounds). Sponsors spent 10 million riyals on prizes for one competition this year.

"Everyone must repent of these acts from which no good can come because of its evils, and they should beg forgiveness from God," said a fatwa, or religious ruling, issued this week by Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak and a lesser-known sheikh.

"Millions of riyals are spent on buying camels just to feel proud and not for the reasons God created camels, like for food, drink, riding and work," he said, attacking the contests as a backward tribal custom from pre-Islamic Arabia.
And heaven help the poor Islamist who feels pride in his earthly accomplishments. Contrast al-Barrak's view of "sinful" pride with Ayn Rand's:

The virtue of Pride can best be described by the term: "moral ambitiousness." It means that one must earn the right to hold oneself as one's own highest value by achieving one's own moral perfection—which one achieves by never accepting any code of irrational virtues impossible to practice and by never failing to practice the virtues one knows to be rational—by never accepting an unearned guilt and never earning any, or, if one has earned it, never leaving it uncorrected—by never resigning oneself passively to any flaws in one's character—by never placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of one's own self-esteem. And, above all, it means one's rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty. [Source: The Ayn Rand Lexicon]
I say that if camel beauty pageants help lead men to reject the idea that they must pursue self-immolation as a virtue, let the camels be beautiful.

:: Permalink | 0 Comments ::

 

:: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 ::

“Honor” Killings: East Meets West 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 11:54 AM

Two kinds of death are the subject here, and they are related in their fundamental means and ends.

The University of Delaware was recently caught flagrante delicto in an attempt to kill the selves of its seven thousand students. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reported on its own site (and as reported on numerous other sites, but not much in the mainstream press, if at all), the University announced a campus-wide program of what I would call the nazification of its student body (“University of Delaware Requires Students to Undergo Ideological Reeducation,” October 30). (See “None Dare Call It Indoctrination” on The Dougout site, and “Indoctrinating Green Warriors” on this site.)

Others would call it brainwashing, or indoctrination. The North Vietnamese Communists “struggled” recalcitrant citizens until they not only submitted to the Party line, but actively promoted it, as well, as the sole mark of redemption. The University referred to the program as “treatment,” as though anyone passing through the school’s portals was ipso facto mentally ill and in need of getting “his mind straight” until he was certifiably politically corrected and converted into an activist robot (or, according to the mission statement, a “change agent”). Which meant being reduced to the mental and intellectual level of Winston Smith at the end of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Smith began by hating Big Brother, and ended by loving him, a state reached partly by torture and brutal persuasion by his tormenter, O’Brien, and partly by surrender.

While the O’Briens of the University of Delaware may omit the physical torture, the effect on morally and intellectually disarmed young persons can be the same.

“The Orwellian program,” reported FIRE, “requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation….is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students’ rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.”

Since being exposed, the University of Delaware has suspended the program, but may try to revive it when its academic O’Briens think no one is looking. Every one of the issues students are expected to absorb and agree with is governed by anti-reason, anti-man, anti-individualist ideas.

“The university’s views,” reported FIRE, “are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to ‘sustainability’ door decorations. Students living in the university’s eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs).”

There is also the matter of the RAs wielding the power of extortion if their reports on students are included the students’ academic records. If a student knows that if he does not demonstrate that he is a “team player” or not voluble enough in his “diversification” training or puts an “offending” poster on his dorm door, he might find his grades lowered and his record compromised. But that is a minor issue compared with the evil that is imposed on him.

The major issue is that the program was specifically designed to obliterate the self (or ego) of the individual student, so that the student becomes a mindless cell of a pliable collective, committed to, among other things, reducing his “carbon footprint,” demonstrating for the “oppressed” group of the moment, and campaigning for a “sustainable world,” with no questions asked or permitted. If the O’Briens have done their job, questions would not even be possible in the victim.

That is one form of “honor killing,” that is, a major educational institution acting to enforce a pandemic of irrational, nihilistic ideas that it believes are “pro-life, pro-earth,” but which in fact are destructive of life, liberty and ultimately of one’s existence. One might, for argument’s sake, contend that the university officials who designed the program were ignorant of the consequences of the ideas they wish to enforce. The only valid response to that question would be counter-question: Then what are they doing running a university, if they are so ignorant and so foolishly hostile?

But the creatures who designed the “treatment” program at the University of Delaware were not the Three Stooges. They cannot plead ignorance or stupidity or foolishness. They intended to kill whatever surviving, crippled sense of self students brought with them to the university after enduring milder versions of such indoctrination in middle and high school, just as Ellsworth Toohey cultivated, exploited, and ultimately killed the precarious sense of self in Peter Keating in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

“Just say that reason is limited,” says Toohey to Keating. “That there’s something above it. What? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’ – ‘Feeling’ – ‘Revelation’ – ‘Divine Intuition’ – ‘Dialectic Materialism.’ [To which one might add today: ‘Community service’ – ‘Volunteerism’ – ‘Environmentalism’ – ‘Global society.’] If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense – you’re ready for him. You tell him that there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You’ve got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don’t want any thinking men.”

Neither, apparently, does the University of Delaware. If honor, as Rand defined it, is self-esteem made visible in action, then the university’s program was planned to dis-honor its students by killing their self-esteem and turning them into compliant ciphers, ready to submit to any “higher cause” and prepared, as a way of life, to wage war on those who do not submit. It would never occur to such students that there is no honor in selflessness. Such a conclusion would require thought.

There is an eerie similarity between the means and ends of the University of Delaware’s “reeducation” program and what happens to anyone who violates the “community” standards in the Mideast. The Sunday Times (London) of November 4th carried a horrendous story, “’Honour’ killings grow as girl, 17, stoned to death.” And the “moral” barbarity the article describes is essentially what the nihilists in the West wish to reduce everyone to.

The “honor” killings are centered on the violation of Islamic social mores (one can hardly call them a philosophy, they are so concrete bound) when an unmarried woman develops a real or imagined relationship with a man not approved by his family or tribe. “According to the human rights ministry in northern Iraq, 598 women have been burnt, beaten, shot, strangled, thrown from tall buildings, force-fed with lethal drugs, crushed by vehicles, drowned, decapitated, or made to kill themselves so far this year, exceeding the 553 recorded for the whole of 2006.”

In this instance, Du’aa, a 17-year-old girl, member of a bizarre non-Muslim sect, the Yazidi (a creed composed of elements from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and minor faiths and as old as Islam itself) was found together with her 19-year-old Sunni Muslim boyfriend. Muslims are forbidden to marry outside Islam, but the pair were determined to be married.

“They were not lovers, though some in the crowd suspected they were. But Du’aa was a member of the Yazidi sect, which teaches that the Earth is in the care of seven angels. Yazidis are regarded as devil-worshippers by many Muslims and Muhannad is a Sunni Muslim.”

It did not help that the Yazidis believe that Allah or God does not govern the earth, but is “uninvolved,” leaving the governance to seven angels lead by a repentant Satan himself. Those and other beliefs of the Yazidis are abhorrent to Muslims. But the Yazidis share the same foolish notion of “honor” as the Muslims. When a local Yazidi sheik surrendered her to the mob for punishment, Du’aa was taken to the marketplace, “in a headlock, wailing and screaming as armed police watched in silence,” and stoned to death. The deathblow was delivered by a cousin, who smashed her head with a piece of concrete, purportedly as an act of mercy. Several other of her cousins also participated in the stoning.

The Times article relates that “one of the most shocking things about Du’aa’s death, however, is that although stoning is rare, honour killing is rampant, particularly in Kurdish areas of Iraq and Iran. Kurdish women are killed almost every day for ‘dishonouring’ their families.”

The “self-esteem” of such barbarians – dependent on what family members and neighbors think of them, measured by primitive concepts that form an irrational, eclectic moral code – is linked to preserving some collectivist sense of “honor.” An unmarried woman seen alone with a man not her relative automatically commits a “sin,” which “sin” must be blotted out by blotting out her life. Her family’s “honor” is thus restored.

Incidentally, it is this kind of culture which University of Delaware students would have been expected to withhold judgment of in the name of “diversity.” “Silence is consent,” states the school’s agenda for lobotomizing its white students in regards to racism. But that statement is meant to be a double-edged sword; “silence” on the subject of Kurdish honor killings can be taken as approval, and earn high marks from a student’s RA.

This is the rule in all Islamic countries, one which Islamic activists are quietly campaigning to introduce and have gain “respect” and acceptance in secular Western nations, notably Europe.

It is this kind of non-thinking tribal mentality which programs such as the University of Delaware’s seek to inculcate in Western students. In such graduates, it would be but a short step from “honor harassment” of smokers, non-recyclers, and others who refrain from joining the “community” or submitting to its standards, to literal honor killings in the role of “change agents.”

We see a form of this kind of violence in the attacks on abortion clinics and in the destruction of private property by environmentalists. Skeptics of anthropogenic global warming have been fired, harassed, and threatened with violence or the ruin of their careers by the enforcers of belief in the theory.

I make no distinction between the murder of Du’aa committed by her cousins and the murder of the egos of any student at the University of Delaware or in any other educational venue, be it kindergarten, grade, middle and secondary schools, or college. The head-bashing concrete can take either form, with the only difference in result being immediate or prolonged death.

:: Permalink | 5 Comments ::

 

:: Monday, November 05, 2007 ::

Indoctrinating Green Warriors 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 9:01 AM

There is a fundamental distinction between education and indoctrination; education teaches a person the process by which one obtains and validates knowledge, while indoctrination serves only to imbue a person with the ideology of the indoctrinator. To a professional educator, this distinction ought to be academic, yet when it comes to what children are taught in the public schools today, the opposite seems to dominate. Take for example this report by Jenn Wiant of the Northwest Hearld that reveals a project that turns grade school students into so-called green "warriors."

"Each one of you can do something about global warming," the Global Warming Warrior Princess told 450 young, eager minds at Olson Elementary School.

"Each one of you makes a difference when it comes to global warming."

The Global Warming Warrior Princess, as Bull Valley artist Nancy Steinmeyer calls herself, was introducing the Woodstock students to the idea of carbon dioxide and explaining that they could help remove it from the air by turning off lights and TVs, saving water and recycling.

Steinmeyer showed the students a large United States-shaped object covered with 4,500 black squares. Each time the students did something at home to help reduce their carbon emissions, Steinmeyer said, she would remove some of the squares, eventually revealing the collage she had painted beneath.

Olson Elementary is the first school where Steinmeyer has introduced what she calls the Map-Atmosphere Clear project. In the coming months, she plans to bring other global warming education tools to the school, including a global warming board game, a story she wrote called "Global Warming Warriors," a global warming art project and a global warming variety show.
It would take a global warming warrior-tyrant to transform an idea as simple as not wasting electricity because it costs money into yet another opportunity to jump on the man-caused global warming bandwagon. Steinmeyer explains her reasoning later in the article:

"When I started this a year ago, there wasn't much going on [about global warming], and now it's everywhere, but it's all focusing on adults," Steinmeyer said.

"I know that the way to get to adults is through kids ... Kids have time for this, and it gives them a chance to be a little bit in control."

When Steinmeyer moved from Chicago to McHenry County 13 years ago, she became interested in land use and preserving open space as she watched developers turn the land into homes. But because land use and growth are controversial issues, she had trouble finding a sponsor for a game she designed about land use, she said.

About a year ago, Steinmeyer changed her focus to global warming.
So only then was Steinmeyer able to take her act mainstream. One has to admire Steinmeyer's persistence in searching for an issue to push, if not her moral reasoning or scientific background. Yet notice that someone with more of a skill for green propaganda than for teaching the scientific method is allowed to address public school children and that her program is described by the press without any hint of disagreement or dissent. One would almost think that the topic of man-caused climate change or the larger aims of the green movement were utterly uncontroversial (and a perfect topic for discussion by grade-schoolers).

Except, of course, man-caused climate change is deeply controversial and hardly a perfect topic of discussion for grade-schoolers. We can leave out the ongoing debate among adults and the downright suppression of any research contrary to the view that the sky is falling. At an age when students are just beginning to grasp how science works and how one properly evaluates scientific claims, these students are being asked to take the whole man-caused climate change position on faith. They are being asked, on faith, to accept that technology causes world-wide disasters and that they must accept personal responsibility in order to prevent it.

Out of morbid curiosity, I visited Steinmeyer's personal website, which includes what she describes as her "environmental 3-d paintings." In these works, Steinmeyer paints two images, a pastoral scene on a background canvas and an image of man's various depredations against the environment on translucent material in the foreground; the effect is to present the viewer with a "before and after" image depicting the impact of man's exploitation of the Earth. According to the artist:

I'm interested in the rapid loss of natural land to new development and the environmental consequences of this change. Growth is unavoidable, but uncontrolled and unplanned expansion can have disastrous effects. Through my unusual three-dimensional painting I'm documenting the changes with the hope of raising viewer awareness to this problem.
It is here that all the cards are laid upon the table. Steinmeyer decries "uncontrolled and unplanned expansion," yet did the people who developed the land not own and control it? Did they not plan to use their land for human benefit? Was the system of tort law that protects neighbors from actual damages to their lives and property somehow suspended? Or is it that greens don't yet have the power they seek to control and coerce the population at large-but should, so as to better enshrine the intrinsic value of wilderness? Coupled with Steinmeyer's admission that her overarching goal is to use children to influence their parents, all I see is the fruits of a corrupt ideological campaign, rather than attempt to provide children with a real education.

After all, I doubt that the curriculum of the Olson Elementary School where Steinmeyer gave her presentation includes teaching science in its historical context, so that students can see how man's prosperity is directly linked with his ability to understand and command nature. I wager that these students have not been shown how man's rising affluence allows him to better control his environment (to include contending with the stranded costs of human existence). I further doubt that these students have ever learned of instances where greens have used hysteria to shut down entire industries on the basis of specious scientific claims, such as the global ban on DDT (let alone the human cost of these policies). And I wager that if these students ever saw a "Hero for Capitalism," they would think him to be their greatest enemy, rather than a symbol for individual rights, justice under the law, personal productivity and economic prosperity. And let us not forget: your taxes pay for the whole of it.

It would be better, even if the theory of man-caused climate change proves true, that children receive a real education in the scientific process and how one establishes that a scientific claim is certain. That same rational process would help equip these children with the skills they need to identify proper answers any question of their existence, let alone the question of climate change. Yet, as we see here, this is precisely the education our children are not receiving.

:: Permalink | 4 Comments ::

 

:: Sunday, November 04, 2007 ::

Vote for Gus Van Horn! 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 8:35 PM

Objectivst blogger Gus Van Horn has been nominated for the 2007 Weblog Awards and he needs your vote to win in his catergory (and help let people know that Objectivists are out there and blogging). Polls close November 8, 2007 and voters are allowed to vote every 24 hours, so be sure to vote early and often.

:: Permalink | 0 Comments ::

 

:: Friday, November 02, 2007 ::

Kant vs. History 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 7:28 PM

When I look back at my study of history, I'm stuck over how a critical aspect of my intellectual development was more or less an accident. I was seven during the American bicentennial celebration and my family went on a vacation throughout New England. Much of that vacation was spent visiting Colonial-era sites and recounting the history of the American founding. At this early age I came to the view that the American founders were simply men of extraordinary high merit who put their heads to the task of defining their freedom and defending it from encroachment. Unlike any other civilization in human history, Americans were a people of both virtue and action. This lesson would not be repeated with as much moral and intellectual force until I discovered Edward Cline's epic Sparrowhawk series.

So how then does the truth of the American founding get so obscured it is reduced to a dispute about taxation waged by men who gleefully enslaved their fellow men? Scott Powell offers an interesting essay (parts one, two, three and four) on how philosophy killed history, and, by implication, how philosophy can bring it back. Speaking of the Enlightenment's impact on the study of history, Powell writes:

Newton's genius had shown the power of man's mind to penetrate nature's inner workings, but no one had been able to articulate on a more abstract level the nature of the Newtonian triumph in science, and explain how it could be reproduced in other areas.

If historians were to pattern their work on the successful model of the physical scientists, they would need to find a means of transposing the methods of physics into the domain of history. The way to do this, however, was unclear. The historian, for example, could not create the controlled conditions of a laboratory to test his ideas, nor could the actions of human beings be reduced to mathematical principles. And yet, the challenge of deriving general knowledge from historical data is in some ways the same as that of finding general laws from observed physical phenomena. It is the challenge of transforming a plethora of concrete information, by some process of abstraction, into an intelligible system. The importance of this project was evident to the more philosophical historians. If natural science could find laws and a natural order in the physical world, could a social science not achieve the same for civilization (and thus derive the proper foundation of social systems)?

Unfortunately, in their quest to give history a Newtonian clarity, historians found no worthy ally among philosophers.
Thus, as Powell intonates by the title of his series, history has become a duel between Columbus and Kant; that is, between men animated by rational ideas toward action and the proponents of a philosophy that says all man's ideas are inherently suspect simply because they come from man. Powell writes:

Kant's philosophical assault on man's faculty of reason paved the way for the historical assault on Columbus by preventing a key avenue of development from ever occurring in Western historiography. By aborting the general study of abstractions as cognitive tools, Kant prevented historians from adopting the epistemological stance necessary to define and defend the most crucial instrument in the systematization of history: historical abstractions.
Yet these abstractions are absolutely necessary if one is to understand history. Powell explains:

When integrated into "the Renaissance," Michelangelo's David, for instance, ceases to be a single artistic datum in an unintelligible flux; it becomes a representative of a wider European cultural reawakening following the suppression of classical ideals. When George Washington's crossing of the Delaware becomes a part of "the American Revolution" it no longer exists merely as a miscellaneous military factoid; it becomes a pivotal action connected to a chain of revolutionary events giving rise to the birth of a new nation. Seen in the context of "the Civil War", the Gettysburg address becomes more than a speech for the dedication of a cemetery; it becomes one of a number of steps forward in the violent, climactic overthrow of slavery in America.
In history, context is everything, so how then can such a power fail to be appreciated and investigated? Powell writes:

The answer is two-fold. First, it is not entirely true to say that historians have remained ignorant of the power of historical abstractions. Sadly, it is the subjectivists in history who have best understood this power and wielded it most effectively. Kant's offspring have taken up the philosophical tools he provided to dismantle the historical identification of key developments in Western civilization, including Columbus's unmatched efforts.

With regards to that particular issue, for example, they have labored to elevate the irrelevant wanderings of the Vikings to a status equal to or greater than Columbus's discovery, and they are striving to raise awareness of the even more nonessential narrative of America's pre-Columbian neolithic primitives in people's minds. This shift in emphasis to a new groundwork of facts is designed to permit the fostering of a new perspective on the history of America, where every element of progress is underplayed and the focus is then placed on America's brutal conquest by Europeans. The ultimate purpose of this revision is a general historical indictment of Western civilization that includes the characterization of Europe's discovery and colonization of America as the greatest example of "genocide" in history.
So rather than serving as a tool for understanding how man's ideas shape his actions, history becomes a tool for distortion and for propagandizing someone's pet cause. In this light, outrages such as the University of Delaware's residence hall program, where students were to be indoctrinated in the view that all white-skinned people are inherently racist, becomes less surprising, if not less shocking. After all, the cashing-in has been going on for years and it will take a new generation of heroes to overthrow it. After all, such is the pregnant hope with those who study history . . .

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