Friday, September 05, 2008

The 2008 Election in a Nutshell

Hat tip: Titanic Deck Chairs.

17 comments:

C. August said...

Glad you liked it! Maybe I should put it on CafePress and make t-shirts out of it...

Nicholas Provenzo said...

I think that would be a great idea :)

Jason G. Williscroft said...

What are you saying... that they're BOTH Nazis in disguise?

Anonymous said...

I'm supposing that anyone who watched McCain deliver his speech last night, could not help but note his emphasis on selflessness. Fundamentally, it doesn't differ from the selflessness that Obama is stressing. Just spiffing! So, what's to vote for: the NATIONAL brand of selflessness, or the SOCIALIST brand of selflessness?

What scared me a bit was how receptive McCain's audience was to his own brand of selflessness.

Ed

Tim said...

Ed you obviously don't put YOUR country first.

Burgess Laughlin said...

> ". . . you obviously don't put YOUR country first."

I don't put my "country" first. What I put first, in a political context, is individual rights.

I live in the U. S. A. because, so far as I know, it still offers me the best chance of protecting my rights. The chances are dimming steadily--partly due to the continued presence of nationalism among conservatives and other ideologies among other enemies of freedom.

Nationalism, which is the particular form of statism that demands the individual sacrifice himself for the "nation," is evil. It has caused mass destruction.

Anonymous said...

>Ed you obviously don't put YOUR country first.

I know. Clearly Ed and the rest of us aren't on the level with our "Country First" Republican saviors.

Apollo said...

Commisnim fell and has no chance or rising up again, socialism failed and is to overtly statist to ever be instituted, capitalism was never even looked at as an option, does this mean that fascism won? Are Mussolini and Hitler the intellectuals of the century? Everyone is supposedly against fascism but why do we have fascism by default?

Anyways, since the two PARTICULAR candidates are almost indistinguishable from each other, shouldn't we go up the conceptual ladder and look at where they both emerge from, i.e. what subsumes them as particular candidates, in order to decide who to vote for.

Instead of looking it as McCain Vs. Obama, you have to look at it as Religious Republicans Vs. Subjectivist Democrats.

Since religion is the major destructive force of history I consider the Republicans more dangerous in any case. More so since they have hijaked everything that is good about american and made it their own while corrupting it, i.e. capitalism, individualism, freedom, constitutionalism, etc.If you have to choose between two horrible groups, I say choose the group that has nothing to do with you and that can't possibly be mistaken as "your group". Many people still condider Ayn Rand "conservative".

And anyways, Look at the last few years, why would anyone want to reward Republicans with an election victory? It makes them think that what they have been doing for the last few years has been right.

Zeus said...

"choose the group that has nothing to do with you and that can't possibly be mistaken as "your group""

Then why don't you vote for the Socialist Party? They have even less to do with you than the Democrats, and nobody will mistake you for a socialist. That'll show 'em!

"If you have to choose between two horrible groups"

Of course, you *don't* have to choose between them. You can choose not to sanction either one. Contrary to Peikoff's rambling nonsense (http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4811) Rand never said anything that implied a duty to vote.

Burgess Laughlin said...

"Zeus"> "You can choose not to sanction either one."
Absolutely. But why do you think that voting in secret for one candidate or another is a sanction? It would help if you defined the term and then offered your proof.

"Contrary to Peikoff's rambling nonsense (http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4811) Rand never said anything that implied a duty to vote."

1. What is the logical connection, if any, between the first part of your sentence and the second part? Or are you engaged in a smear?

2. Where in his response to the question posed by the interviewer did Dr. Peikoff say that one has a duty--an unchosen obligation--to vote?

3. Why do you think Dr. Peikoff's answer to the question is rambling, that is, moving from one new subject to another without any thematic or other logical connection?

Rob said...

Hey zeus - Thanks for reminding us where to find that quote by Peikoff!

zeus said...

Burgess:
Regarding your first point-
Republicans are a heterogeneous group. Many use terms like capitalism and freedom incorrectly (though some use them more or less correctly). Apollo would have us vote for a party that shares almost nothing with us, instead of voting for a party that shares a little bit with us, in order to avoid giving people the impression that we support incorrect views of capitalism, freedom, etc. To be fair, apollo certainly wasn't the first person to make this argument. But wherever it comes from, it's wrong. By that logic, the closer a candidate comes to our views, the less we should support him, for fear of creating confusion. We can only properly vote for ideal candidates, or outright open socialists.

1) and 2) In that article, Peikoff writes: "anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election [2006] . . . does not understand the philosophy of Objectivism"

In other words, a proper understanding of Objectivism leads to the conclusion that to abstain from voting can be wrong. Here's the problem: economic science has shown us that a single vote, especially in a large national election, has practically zero effect on the outcome of the election. The candidate must be pretty darn good for it to be worth my while to vote. And at the same time, an unusually low voter turnout sends a signal to both parties that there are votes to be had by embracing different policies. But according to Peikoff, economic science be damned! To abstain from voting is just wrong. No logic is presented. No careful reasoning. Just a pronouncement from on high. That sounds an awful lot like duty to me.

3) Peikoff doesn't present a sound argument, but a series of assertions, many of which are false. Here are just two examples:

"Religion ... is now the only philosophic movement rapidly and righteously rising to take over the government."

Really? What about environmentalism? Let's stack them up: the religionists have been trying unsuccessfully for decades to ban abortion. Any success on that front? The environmentalists want to hamper industry with a web of regulations. Any success on that front? The environmentalists have entire gov't bureaucracies to show for their efforts. All the religionists have are faith based initiatives and state-level bans on gay marriage. Wrong, yes, but hardly a theocracy.

"The survival of this country will not be determined by the degree to which the government, simply by inertia, imposes taxes, entitlements, controls, etc."

This is simply not true. Countries *are* destroyed by taxes, entitlements, and controls. It is, of course, philosophy that determines those factors, but pragmatism is just as dangerous as socialism. It was pragmatism that brought both Hitler and Mao to power; neither country was filled with die-hard socialists. Peikoff's own book describes a Germany filled with "anti-ideologists, who bewail the futility of all systems." Instead of playing word games with floating abstractions, we need to stay grounded in reality. All it took to turn a recession into the Great Depression was a few popular demagogues who had a knack for spinning anti-market propaganda into political careers. Sound familiar? I'm not saying McCain is better than Obama, but to pretend that the Democrats aren't dangerous just because socialism isn't popular anymore is clearly wrong.

Sure, there's a thematic connection between these assertions, but that theme, as far as I can see, is "unsupported assertions that rationalize Peikoff's support for Democrats." The logical connection is simply not there, so yes, I call that rambling.

Burgess Laughlin said...

Zeus, here are some points, starting with one we agree on:

1. I have recently come to see, as you do, that the argument of not voting for Republicans because unspecified others mistakenly think Republicans represent capitalism is an invalid argument. I can't run my life based on what unspecified others might or might not think of the result. If those unspecified others are indeed important in my life, then I should take the action I believe to be right and then try to straighten their views out, not avoid the situation.

2. Your other arguments are unpersuasive, at best. Here are a few:

a. " Republicans are a heterogeneous group."

So are Democrats. I know; I am surrounded by them! I meet business people, engineers, carpenters--all people who deal daily with the real world and shun post-modernism. They are Democrats. They detest Republicans, whom they fear, with some justification here, as theocrats and haters of gays and anti-abortion supporters.

An aside: A fallacious argument I see from some who support Republicans is this: "Democrats are nihilists [a vast over-generalization], but at least some Republicans support good principles, so we should vote Republican." The argument is fallacious because it picks the worst from one group and compares them to the supposed best of another group. The comparison should be between the theocrats of the RP and the nihilists of the DP, or a comparison of the "moderates" in both parties.

b. "Many [Republicans] use terms like capitalism and freedom incorrectly (though some use them more or less correctly)."

I have never met a Republican, not one, who holds to the idea of capitalism, in its objective meaning within the context of Objectivism. Your experiences here are radically different from mine. I draw my conclusions about politics from my experiences, in one form or another.

c. "By that logic, the closer a candidate comes to our views, the less we should support him, for fear of creating confusion. We can only properly vote for ideal candidates, or outright open socialists."

This is a straw man argument. You are misrepresenting your target, at least as I have heard their viewpoints. Those that I have heard support voting for the Democrats say this: "The Republicans occasionally use the "right" terms but they in fact do not support objective principles." That much I agree with. I do not, as I said above, agree with what usually follows: "Because unspecified others will misunderstand the nature of the Republicans and think they are capitalists, we shouldn't vote for the Republicans."

[You can have the last word on the points above; I have additional points to make in the next post, but I don't have time to continue with the above points.}

To be continued . . .

Burgess Laughlin said...

I am skipping over the other errors in your argument and going to the most important to me:

". . . assertions that rationalize Peikoff's support for Democrats."

You are charging Dr. Peikoff with rationalization. The term "rationalization" names an act of mind that is a symptom of either mental illness or moral defect (dishonesty, evasiveness).

If that is what you mean, in either form, then you are making an extraordinarily serious charge. Such a charge deserves extraordinary proof.

Where is your proof of rationalization?

I doubt I have anything further to offer at this point on this general topic.

zeus said...

a. "...so we should vote Republican"

This whole point is irrelevant because I'm not arguing that anybody should vote Republican.

b. "I have never met a Republican, not one, who holds to the idea of capitalism, in its objective meaning within the context of Objectivism."

So what? There are differences in degree. And besides, see (a) above.

c. "You are misrepresenting your target, at least as I have heard their viewpoints."

Who is "their"? I was responding to apollo, and that was the implication of *his* argument as *he* stated it.

d. "You can have the last word on the points above"

Thanks! You're so generous!

e. "The term "rationalization" names an act of mind that is a symptom of either mental illness or moral defect (dishonesty, evasiveness)."

According to dictionary.com, rationalize means: "to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes."

It doesn't say anything about "mental illness or moral defect" so relax. I've already given two examples of how Peikoff's article fits the definition above.

Burgess Laughlin said...

From The Ayn Rand Lexicon, part of the first paragraph of the entry for "Rationalization":

"Since an emotion is experienced as an immediate primary, but is, in fact, a complex, derivative sum, it permits men to practice one of the ugliest of psychological phenomena: rationalization. Rationalization is a cover-up, a process of providing one’s emotions with a false identity, of giving them spurious explanations and justifications —in order to hide one’s motives, not just from others, but primarily from oneself."

http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/rationalization.html

You have provided no proof that Dr. Peikoff is trying "to hide [his] motives, not just from others, but primarily from [himself]."

Your charge falls flat. Goodbye.

zeus said...

Good heavens! I see now that my charge does indeed fall flat. I failed to realize that back in 1974 Rand officially changed the definition. And to think, all this time I've been foolishly relying on dictionaries.

But no more! Thanks to your guidance, my arguments shall never again be flat. I am like a blind man who has had his sight restored. Now that I have access to this wondrous tool called "Lexicon," before my very eyes logic and evidence have sprung forth from Peikoff's arguments like roots from a seed, offering their unyielding support to every assertion he makes.

Thank you, Burgess, for showing me the depth of my irrationality. By accidentally calling Peikoff's mental health and moral virtue into question, I committed an extraordinarily serious mistake, and I deserve extraordinary punishment. I should be barred from all further discourse with those who walk the righteous path (and own lexicons). Nothing less than total intellectual exile will do. Anything short of this would be a corruption as vile as that of John McCain's, a man who I apparently, in my ignorance, implied that everyone should vote for.

I would continue, but I have to go put on my hair shirt and cilice.

Demons, be gone!