Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston: The MSM's Exploded 'Journalism'

Over the years, I have watched via Internet video countless IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosions detonated on American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, when I read the news of the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15th, and watched the videos of the incident, I was certain that it was a terrorist bombing that killed three people and injured over 170, some losing their limbs, and not an exploding fire hydrant or propane-fueled hot dog stand.

Then came the avalanche of hastily-written bulletins and aired news reports with earnest-looking reporters, half-thought-out educated guesses, "expert" speculations, and plain "yellow" journalism and words and images strung together just to fill print space and air time.

Shortly after the Boston bombings flung bodies and limbs and shrapnel over a Boylston Avenue sidewalk, the Mainstream Media itself exploded to reveal the debris of modern journalism.  

Certain that it was indeed a terrorist act, and once the authorities had confirmed that two pressure-cooker IEDs had been set off, I began researching and writing a column about it, and attempted to sift through all the cascading hysteria and hair-pulling and come up with some solid facts and conclusions. I found it virtually impossible to compose a coherent article on the subject. The haphazard stories of who was responsible or not responsible for the bombings, and whom the authorities had arrested or not arrested, or whom the authorities were looking for, kept flickering in the news and my mind like a badly edited silent movie whose last nitrate frames had disintegrated. My mind shut down, and refused to function as it usually would when addressing an important topic.

I gave up on the effort and decided to wait it out. That patience paid off, for the terrorists turned out to be two Chechen brothers who "inexplicably" turned jihadist. They were Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26.   But in the meantime, some distracting but interesting developments also caught my attention, and none of them reflect well on either the MSM or the Obama administration or on the FBI.

There was the episode of the "running man" seen in a security camera video fleeing the scene of one explosion. He was reportedly tackled by a civilian and somehow turned over to the police. Whether or not he was the same 20-year-old Saudi student who suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital, or someone else entirely, hasn't been confirmed. His name and that of the civilian who apprehended him remain unknown.

The student was Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi. Photographs of a smiling, geeky-looking kid in a hospital gown were published. He looked like he wouldn't hurt a fly. It turned out that he was definitely a "person of interest" because his family has terrorist ties. Not long after the bombing, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John "Swift Boat" Kerry, he of the bogus combat film, combat medals, and French pedigree, met with Saudi officials in Washington and arranged for the kid to be deported back to Saudi Arabia.

Walid Shoebat remarked and provided this information about Al-Harbi's own antecedents:

Perhaps a quick look at the Arabic sources should raise the eyebrows of every American relative to the extent of the problem at hand. Many from Al-Harbi’s clan are steeped in terrorism and are members of Al-Qaeda. Out of a list of 85 terrorists listed by the Saudi government shows several of Al-Harbi clan to have been active fighters in Al-Qaeda:

#15 Badr Saud Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#73 Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#26 Khalid Salim Uwaid Al-Lahibi Al-Harbi
#29 Raed Abdullah Salem Al-Thahiri Al-Harbi
#43 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Harbi (leader)
#60 Fayez Ghuneim Humeid Al-Hijri Al-Harbi

             Then you have Al-Harbi clan members in Gitmo:

Salim Salman Awadallah Al-Sai’di Al-Harbi
Majid Abdullah Hussein Al-Harbi
Muhammad Abdullah Saqr Al-Alawi Al-Harbi
Ghanem Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al-Harbi
Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awfi Al-Harbi

In the meantime, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano answered questions about the Saudi student, as visibly displeased with them as a Cub Scout den mother being asked about the birds and the bees:

“I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston. I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Napolitano said....“I’m not going to answer that question. It is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions that it’s just not worthy of an answer,” she responded. “There has been so much reported on this that’s wrong, I can’t even begin to tell you congressman. We will provide you with accurate information as it becomes available.”

Or picture the late cross-eyed comedic actor Marty Feldman, mugging for the camera, with his arms crossed, pointing in opposite directions. Then the FBI issued a statement about the confusion that reigned in the MSM about the bombing suspects:

Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.

The press had published shots of several Middle Eastern-looking men in the Marathon crowd. They looked nothing like the Chechen suspects who were ultimately cornered.

But Jeff Baum, who lost both legs in the explosion, was able to identify the younger Chechen (I can't force myself to call him an American citizen, a status he was granted on September 11th, 2012), Dzhokhar, because he and Baum looked into each other's eyes just before Dzhokhar left the bomb bag at Baum's feet. Then there's the FBI itself, forbidden to "think" Islamic, which already had a file on the older brother, Tamerlan. It was deep-sixed when, alerted by the Russian government, the agency found "nothing" disturbing about him. The London Telegraph reported:

Michael McCaul, the chair of House Homeland Security Committee, said the FBI must explain why it failed to keep track of Tsarnaev after the 2011 interview, particularly after he visited his family in Dagestan, which is a known centre of Islamist militancy and training facilities.

"If he [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] was on the radar and they let him go, if he was on the Russians' radar, why wasn't a flag put on him, some sort of customs flag?" Mr. McCaul asked on CNN, adding that there were clear signs that Tsarnaev had been radicalized during his trip.

Other than resorting to stammering that it was incompetent, the FBI had no comment on these failings. And exploiting a chance to pontificate on the bombing, Obama at first acknowledged that it was an act of terrorism, but then reverted to type and called it a "tragedy." Excuse me, Mr. President, but accidents and acts of nature are "tragedies." Terrorist plots to kill and maim are terrorism. They don’t live in the same moral or metaphysical room. Or would you rather call the Boston bombings "racetrack violence"?

Other "experts" were called in to stem the panic and smooth out the rough edges of the ongoing reporting.

Such as David Axelrod, aka Axle Grease, former senior advisor to Obama and now a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, who said about the Boston Marathon bombing: "...let's not put any inference into this, let's just make clear that we're going to get the people responsible."

That is: Let's not be beastly to the Muslims or Islam. For all we knew, he inferred, it might have been the ghost of Timothy McVeigh who planted the bombs, or Daffy Duck. Let's not jump to hasty conclusions. Let's not infer that it's been Muslims over the last twenty years who have exploded bombs in crowds, that isn't justification to imagine that they were at it again. Muslims, you know, and as Obama reminded us in Cairo, have contributed so much to Western civilization – except when they're trying to destroy it.

Axle Grease apparently contracted Chris Matthews' version of Legionnaires Disease. He can't rule out violent anti-government radicals:
"The word has taken on a different meaning since 9/11. You use those words and it means something very specific in people’s mind," Axelrod told NBC News' Chuck Todd. "And I’m sure what was going through the president’s mind is — we really don’t know who did this — it was tax day."

He continued, “Was it someone who was pro — you know, you just don’t know. And so I think his attitude is, let’s not put any inference into this, let’s just make clear that we’re going to get the people responsible.”

What's with this "we" business, since Axle Grease is no longer in the White House? And, "we're" going to get the people who did this" -- just as "we" got the people responsible for Benghazi? You know, we (that is, you and I and everyone else with at least half a scruple and a brain pan larger than a brontosaurus's) have had to exert extraordinary patience while sifting through all the vacuous and ambiguous information that has been filtered out to the press and then through the press to us to ascertain with some certainty that this was indeed a jihadist, probably Al Qada "strike," one that has been promised for some time by our non-enemies and devotees of the "religion of peace."

The liberal media preferred that a white "right-wing extremist" be found responsible for the bombs, but the whirlpool of flotsam and jetsam of evidence in the end didn't conform to the media's wishes. Still, Chris Matthews and several other "experts" proffered their own conclusions before the culprits were killed or caught.  

News Busters reported that Matthews opined:

Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right." He then reconsidered and suggested, "...That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that.

During live coverage, the Hardball host highlighted a possible explosion at John F. Kennedy's presidential library and thought this could be a personal attack on the Democratic Party: "...But going after the Kennedy Library, not something at Bunker Hill, not something from the Freedom Trail or anything that kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic Party. Does that tell you something?" (Police are now considering the incident at the JFK library to be fire-related.) One can only guess what it tells Chris.

Then Matthews had this exchange with Clint Van Zandt:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, Michael, Tax Day today. That came up. You know, I was thinking of all the iconic events, or being told about them today. Of course, I knew it was Tax Day because I got them in. But of course, it's Patriots Day. It's also the Boston Marathon. And would you as an expert be thinking domestic at this point? I don't think Tax Day means a whole lot to the Arab world or Islamic world or the, certainly not to al Qaeda in terms of their world. It doesn't have any iconic significance.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: At this point, as an investigator, you don't want to shut down any options, but based upon the type of explosive that appears, the size of the explosive, the way it was done, this is well within the capability of somebody with too much time in front of the internet who was looking up bombs and who hates government, who hates America. For whatever his or her reasons for doing something like this, this is well within the realm of one person.

Do not expect Matthews or Axle Grease to eat their words. Liberals never apologize for their errors, slanders, or libels. They just change the subject. They're protected by the equivalent of diplomatic immunity. As with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the truth doesn't matter if it doesn't fit the fatal fantasy world of the Leftist agenda. Truth is a bourgeoisie invention and device to fool the citizenry. What's done is done and let's move on. It doesn't matter. The wise Caucasian lady said so.

National Public Radio, that taxpayer-supported, soft porn propaganda "news" outlet for the federal government that broadcasts tearful documentaries about the plight and travails of Mexican migrant mothers and immigrant Muslims, and celebratory ones about wolves reintroduced into their original stomping grounds so they can feed on cattle and sheep, shared Matthews' tingle-laden obsession with right-wingers who as everyone knows have left thousands of bodies blown to bits strewn over American malls and marathons. On April 17th, Dina Temple-Raston, on "All Things Considered," opined:

The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that this is a domestic, extremist attack….April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals….There’s the Columbine anniversary. There’s Hitler’s birthday. There’s the Oklahoma City bombing. The assault on the Branch Dividian compound in Waco.

A river of information flows through Temple-Raston's mind, so it was natural that she went phishing, not for credit cards or personal information, but for data that fit her delusions. I guess Hitler wouldn't have much minded having his birthday of April 20th moved back to American Tax Day and Boston Marathon Bombing Day of April 15th.

Finally, the New York Times ran an unbelievably sympathetic article on the Tsarnaev brothers. That article has now been revised to seem less sympathetic. The DC Caller reported on April 19th:

The sympathetic portrayal of the men — who murdered three civilians, including a child, wounded 180 people, murdered one unsuspecting police officer and wounded another officer — was met with quick condemnation on social media networks.

Since The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher took a screen-grab of the article, the Times changed the layout of the page to one more seemingly aware of the hundreds of victims and their friends and families, the entire United States and much of the non-terrorist planet.

The Times was caught with its pants down, and after being excoriated by the "social media," it hastened to pull up its pants and rewrite history, a la Nineteen Eighty-Four. We've always been at war with Eastasia, right, and not with Eurasia? And Chechnya is just a kind of Russian Detroit, it couldn't possibly turn out vicious terrorists, just poor lost souls who had trouble "fitting in."

Among others, Daniel Greenfield and Walid Shoebat have both investigated the backgrounds of the Saudis and the Tsarnaev brothers. Much of the information on both Tsarnaev brothers was readily available on the Internet. But the FBI and DHS have been too busy monitoring the email and Facebook accounts of ordinary Americans, to bother with time bombs waiting to explode. Greenfield, in his column, "Refusing to be Terrorized," concluded a comment on Obama's insipid speech and on the whole "let's move on with our lives" mentality:

While we refuse to be terrorized, those who insist on terrorizing us continue swarming into this country. A hundred Muslim nations have sent their progeny to live their tortured lives here, until they grow tired of infidel rule and decide to do what they do back home. Kill. And then we once again can refuse to be terrorized at an interfaith service in which the clergy of the murderers stand side by side with the clergy of the murdered.

The day may come when we finally refuse to be terrorized. They will not do it by going back to do their part for the next shopping season, the next interfaith service and the next healing speech. They will refuse to be terrorized by closing the door on terrorism for good.

What is this column about? It is about the price paid for evasion of the knowledge, the evasion of the identify of our enemy, which is Islam. Clinton, the two Bushes, and Obama have all claimed that the West is not at war with Islam. But at the risk of repeating myself, and reiterating what writers such as Greenfield and Shoebat and Steve Emerson and Ali Hirsi and others have pointed out: Islam is at war with the West.

And that won't do, it's too close to identifying their own corrupt souls or minds. They're all James Taggarts (Atlas Shrugged), and you know what happened to him after Galt told him in the torture room, "I told you, didn't I?" And Taggart crumbles when he sees the nature of his own evil. It's that little clump of malevolent black glop that's the core of his being. That's the MSM, that's Obama, that's his wife, that's Napolitano, and the Clintons. The roll call is long with dozens and dozens of names.

They can't permit themselves to concede the truth or even glimpse at it without destroying themselves. So they dance around it and look for scapegoats, for fall guys, for anything that will reveal that they're no better than the Chechen brothers or their family or OBL. That disguise is several onion-skin layers deep. If tyranny -- I mean, real brass knuckles, gulag style, firing squad tyranny -- ever comes to this country, the MSM will have played a large part in making it  possible. They'll all be complicit, whether they're with local TV affiliates or are major broadcasters and newspapers.

Someone might counter: But they're ignorant, they're innocent of any malice.

 No, they're not. They try too hard at it. They refuse to think.

Yes, the "lone wolf" mantra is popular with the MSM. The only conspiracies credible to MSM are right-wing ones, or patriotic ones, or anti-government ones, or anti-tax ones. Islam, an ideology festering right under the MSM's noses, is not a credible candidate. It is off-limits. After all, Muslims are nice people, they wouldn't hurt a flea, except infidels of all stripes. The government says we must "respect" Islam. Yes, Islam, the paragon of ideological evil, an ideology whose means and ends are destruction for destruction's sake.

I'm guessing that Obama's ilk would have advised the Jews at Auschwitz that they ought to have respected Nazism.

You really must ask yourself: how can so many "journalists" be so fatally delusional?

A clue to that condition is that their own ideology is copacetic with Islam's, and if they ever questioned Islam's means and ends, they must also question their own means and ends. And if one bans a fact from one's thinking – that is, if one deliberately evades or represses a fact necessary to reach a factual conclusion – that makes one as culpable as the terrorist.

And that is how and why the MSM's claim to "objective journalism" can explode in a furious, week-long, panic-driven tarantella of paroxysms of wishing reality away, of denying that A is A.


Grant Jones said...

Great article, thanks again Ed.

The Ayn Rand Institute and The Objective Standard have yet to comment on the bombing beyond pro forma condolences. They will undoubtedly be busy for a while twisting themselves into semantic pretzels in order to justify the continued importation of the Muslim fifth-column.

Even people who should know better like Michael Hurd are evading the issue of massive Moslem emigration into America. In his latest blog post, Hurd goes on about something called "militant Islam." Sigh, these people will never learn. There's Islam and there are those who consistently practice it. And, then there are the passive moderates who are the jihadists' enablers. Time for these rationalists to start listening to what ex-Moslems have to say about the religion they were born into, but had the good sense to leave.

If the West/America doesn't get serious about dealing with the Moslem fifth-column, then bombings and Beslan, Mumbai type slaughters will become a part of our wonderful multicultural mosaic.

madmax said...

Grant, you are 100% right about both the ARI and mainstream Objectivism's pathetic response and the reality of America turning into Israel with increased Muslim immigration. The rationalism of organized Objectivism is killing the movement. Its painful to watch. Intellectual impotence on a scale I would not have thought Objectivists could stoop to.

This is painful to watch. The Objectivists have basically become as worthless as Leftists on the Islamic threat. They can't even say that Islam is evil. No, they still use "Islamist" or "Totalitarian Islam"; ie weasel phrases. Would Rand have used weasel phrases.

Somehow I think the demise of the ARI is linked to the general demise of masculinity and masculine strength. There are no bold, proud men anywhere in the Objectivist or libertarian or mainstream Conservative movements. Men who could lead a movement and who would bring war to the Left. Such men do not currently exist. We have a small army and no legitimate command structure and no general worth a damn.

We're fucked.

Edward Cline said...

Grant, MadMax: From my perspective, ARI is hobbled by two main debilitating ailments – It has become ossified as an organization dedicated to freedom, reason, and civilization, and it hasn't a realistic take on the real world. The two ailments are co-dependent. You can't run such an organization by treating its philosophy as a doctrinaire text that can't be employed to aid one is grasping especially political realities, and so you're not going to value anyone who does depart from it. This is most evident vis-à-vis ARI's official positions on "open borders," "amnesty," and Islam. They even shy away from the issue of homosexuality, because many of its principals are gay. (Edwin Locke, for example, has given OCON courses on romantic love with Ellen Kenner, and included homosexual "love" in them.) I find more rationality in Daniel Greenfield's (Sultan Knish's) positions on these issues than I ever have in any ARI spokesman, and the only bone I have to pick with him is on the issue of abortion.

ARI has become ossified with a pecking order that favors conformists and yeah-sayers and not fresh, innovative thinkers, who are certainly not welcome to speak for Objectivism. If you state without reservation that letting millions of semi-literate Mexicans and devout Muslims into the country in our present political circumstances, which includes a patronizing welfare state, you won’t recognize the country in five years and that you'd better head for the hills, they're outraged and claim that you're a bigot and anti-freedom and ought to be branded with the letter A (for apostate). They'll refuse to credit the idea that the political establishment, embodied by Obama and the Democrats, intend to change the country into a Balkanized collection of voting blocs competing for government favors and largesse, and that "open borders" and "amnesty" and favoring Muslim immigration facilitate that agenda.

In short, I wouldn't have wanted the current crop of Objectivist intellectuals around at the time Americans were preparing to declare independence from Britain. The Founders had to contend with their like in the form of loyalists and fence-sitters. Independence would have been delayed for at least a generation, if we got it at all, and the best and most active minds shunted to the side and ostracized.

Grant Jones said...

I think many Objectivists have serious reservations about ARI's position on immigration and Islam. What I find discouraging is that few will voice their reservations.

Edward Cline said...

Grant: My criticisms of ARI are not intended to be criticisms of Objectivists en masse, as I have explained to a friend, only of those whose positions on these issues are known. I don't know what most Objectivists think of those issues, but, as you suggest, I think most of them remain silent because of the intimidating prospect of disagreeing with authorities. This is neither a healthy nor a practical way to advance the cause of reason and freedom for this country.

Grant Jones said...

According to TOS, here's the lesson Objectivists are to take away from the Boston Marathon attack.

"Events last week surrounding the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers were instructive regarding the contradiction that is anarchy."

The phrase "self-parody" comes to mind.

elmas said...

Michelle O visits the Saudi "running man" at the hospital.

John Shepard said...


May I ask, just what is ARI's official position on "open borders," "amnesty," and Islam? Can you, or others, point to evidence by way of statements or actions by ARI (articles, essays, etc.)?

I'm also curious as to why you use the scare quotes for the word "love" in the phrase: 'homosexual "love"?

What are your own positions with respect to "open borders," "amnesty," and Islam?

As I understand it, I have no problem with "open borders" - in fact I support "open borders - if "open borders" is taken as a policy that is consistent with the principle of individual rights (I basically agree with what Harry Binswanger has said on "open borders" and rights: "Open Immigration").

If the essential complaint is against an "open border" for those who intend harm (Islamic terrorists, for instance), then I don't think that is a valid complaint against "open borders" because "open borders" does not mean that those who intend to violate rights are, or should be, welcome or allowed to immigrate.

If the essential complaint is that due to our welfare state it is inappropriate to allow others in, that before we can have "open borders" we will first need to dismantle the welfare state, then I still don't think that's a valid complaint. If we're going to just accept the welfare state, we're damned in the long (and short) run anyway, whether those on the dole are natives or immigrants. If we're going to close the borders due to our having a welfare state, then I just see that as a surrender of the principle of individual rights. What else will we do to protect the welfare state?

There's been talk recently about whether or not to require drug testing for welfare recipients. I'm actually against such a requirement and see it as just one more step towards enslaving us all. Instead of getting rid of welfare, "we're" going to try to make it work better, supposedly, to save social security, medicare, etc., but as things are going, soon we're all going to be on welfare. Then we'll all be tested for drugs and for all sorts of other things. With Obamacare, we are all now owned by the state.

Edward Cline said...

John Shephard: My own positions on "open borders, "amnesty" and Islam are well documented in past columns. At the moment, I am engaged in writing a pamphlet on Islamic terrorism for Voltaire Press (Gary Hull at Duke), and will not be responding to further comments on this particular column. Most of the comments here are "off topic" and have not really addressed the blinkered record of the MSM concerning the Boston Marathon bombing.

As for ARI's "official" positions on "open borders" and related issues, you will have to query Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook, Don Watson, Craig Biddle, or others closely affiliated with ARI.

I certainly don't speak for ARI, but I do reserve the right to disagree with some of its public positions.

As for the issue of homosexuality, and as I remarked on the UKPOL list and elsewhere, there was a protracted and often acerbic discussion of the issue here in the States. I bowed out of it when name-calling and verbal fisticuffs began to color the exchanges. This discussion was conducted in private email correspondence and on FaceBook. To my knowledge, no resolution was reached by the participants.

And this is my final comment on this particular column.

John Shepard said...

Thank you, Ed, Mr. Cline, for taking the time to reply to my questions. I'll see what I can find in your past articles so as to better understand your position on "open borders," "amnesty" and Islam. I will also see what I can find re ARI's "official" position is by searching those persons you've listed.

I appreciate that my questions, as well as most of the comments, are off topic to your article, and I understand that you're busy with other things and will not be responding further here. I'll also see if I can find the UKPOL list so as to understand the conflict over homosexuality.

I'll hope to get to read your pamphlet on Islamic terrorism.

I had just read your article, then the comments, and thought I'd ask so as to better understand your (and Grant Jones' and madmax's) disagreement with ARI's position re "open borders," "amnesty" and Islam, what the "official" ARI position is and how yours differs, and why.

Grant Jones and madmax, if either of you can help me out by pointing out articles I should read, etc., I would appreciate it. I'd like to understand just how and why you think that ARI is failing on these issues and what you think should be done instead.

Thank you.

John Shepard

John Shepard said...

For anyone interested, I did find this blog post by Ron Pisaturo, '“I am Married … to a Woman”' which includes some comments by Mr. Cline as to his view on homosexuality.

Interesting post and comments.

John Shepard said...

Doing a bit of searching for Dr. Leonard Peikoff's podcast, with respect to Objectivism and homosexuality, here are the relevant podcasts I've found:

Can a gay person be a true Objectivist? Why or why not? (May 05, 2008)

If sexual orientation is not a choice then why isn’t it an instinct? (November 3, 2008)

Is homosexuality immoral? (May 25, 2009)

Does a person have free will in regard to his or her sexual identity? (October 5th, 2009)

What are your thoughts on California Proposition 8 which states that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized? (November 24, 2008)

Mr. Cline, given that you will not be commenting further, but given that this issue has come up in this comment section, I hope that you're okay with my posting what I have found on the issue.

Whether homosexuality (or heterosexuality) is a choice is an interesting, important question. In a sense, I think it's a choice or a result of a constellation of choices early on in our development, even some choices perhaps due to "traumatic childhood experience" as you put it in your second comment to Mr. Pisaturo's blog post I referenced above. Depending upon our experiences, we make choices even early on, choices that amount to "Yes" to this and "No" to that experience, and those choices add up to an automatized choice re our sexual orientation. I have no proof of that, but it's my theory. Still, such choices (and sexual orientation if it is such a choice or a result of such choices), once automatized at an early age are not open to direct choice.

John Shepard said...

Re my own "theory," I should have listened to the second of the podcasts that I listed above, his answer to the question "If sexual orientation is not a choice then why isn’t it an instinct?" (I did not listen as I found them, one by one, but am now), because Dr. Peikoff basically says the same thing using sense of life as an analogy. We don't sit down one day and choose our sense of life, but rather it is the result of a subconscious generalization about life. Makes sense to me.

John Shepard said...

More in line with Mr. Cline's post re the news reporting/coverage following the Boston marathon bombing, here's a recent story about one young man, Sunil Tripathi, who at one point "was erroneously linked on social media to the Boston bombings last week."

"Body Pulled From River May Be Brown University Student Sunil Tripathi" (ABC News, April 24, 2013)

madmax said...

According to TOS, here's the lesson Objectivists are to take away from the Boston Marathon attack.

"Events last week surrounding the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers were instructive regarding the contradiction that is anarchy."

This is so stupid that it basically discredits EVERYTHING the TOS has to say. This is NOT something a serious political / philosophical movement publishes. The Objectivist movement has become a joke. I feel embarrassed to even associate with Objectivism. I love Rand. But organized Objectivism is a disgrace.

I'll become respectful of the movement and Objectivists when I see an Objectivist organization boldly, proudly, explicitly, unapologetically state the following two things:

1) Islam is evil

2) The Left is evil

Until then I am of the opinion that there is no serious philosophic movement in Ayn Rand's name. She has been betrayed.

And that is a sin.

madmax said...

Mr. Shepard,

You have the analytical powers of an amoeba. The Tripathi is not philosophically relevant. Its of interest only to Leftists. Why? Because unfortunately, one non-European was perhaps unjustly suspected when it was other non-Europeans that were responsible. The Left loves shit like this because it assists there narrative that demonizes the white, non-Leftist male as the essence of pure evil.

If you can't see the WAR that the Left is waging against whites, males, heterosexuals, non-Leftists then you are USELESS to any movement trying to defend WESTERN civilization.

Pathetic weaklings like you make me want to spit.

May the non-existent Christian God have mercy on Objectivists like you.

John Shepard said...

madmax, you discredit yourself as anyone for me to consider for anything.

Thanks anyway.

Tim C said...

I can't believe the issue of homosexuality even came into this. That said, anyone who thinks it is a choice (or a sum of choices, or something), is - AGAIN - retardedly mistaken.

I am not gay - but I grew up indoctrinated to be a homophobe (standard Oklahoma). In college, after much use of the word "fag" a good friend said "you know, I am one." Oh.

It was explained there's no way this is a choice - which makes sense, do you "choice" people have ANY idea what gays and lesbians have to go through??? Including generally-rational people refusing to accept that A is A?

And putting that aside, I personally (having gone through the end of my own LTR and now - as an Objectivist - trying to find a compatible mate) have recently come up with an even better reason. There is no way it's a choice - because if it was plenty more would choose it!!!

Gentlemen, if I could choose, I would already be HAVING SEX! Think about it.

Tim C said...

That said, I concur on Hurd. Definitely disappointed that he drew the distinction - even bringing a specific branch of Islam into it.

Again - AGAIN - this totally evades the simple question - if Islam in general is NOT for the Islamists, where are all the moderate Muslims demonstrating their rage? Registering their disgust?

(Particularly since they would NOT face punishment for doing so since all they'd need to do is say they are lying to the infidels for the cause, so that can't be the reason!)

John Shepard said...

Tim, I would suggest that you listen to the several podcast comments made by Dr. Peikoff on the issue of choice with respect to one's sexual orientation.

As he said, it's not like one day, early on, we decide (choose) that we are going to be homosexual or heterosexual, etc. His analogy with respect to sense of life is accurate, and I agree with him.

But consider, you said, in part: "I grew up indoctrinated to be a homophobe (standard Oklahoma)."

Are you saying that you accepted a view or attitude (homophobe) towards homosexuality without making any choices, that you simply could not help being a homophobe due to indoctrination?

Jeffrey said...

Owing to its utterly anarchic “admininstration,” this blog may as well be renamed “The Rule of UnReason.”

Here is a commentary that should be of some interest to whomever it may concern (“of some interest,” yes--though perhaps not of much help; I believe that would be asking far too much):

And for myself—I shall take the tack of Mr. Poe’s raven: “Nevermore.”

Grant Jones said...

Madmax, ARI has yet to comment on the Boston Marathon bombing. TOS finally posted a short piece by Ari Armstrong on the attack. To their credit, he says the Islam is basically nihilistic in nature. Well, duh.

I won't hold my breath for either to come up with helpful ideas on how to deal with the jihad in America.

Rationalists by method. As Peikoff wrote in the DIM Hypothesis, "An idea is a priori not through content, but through method; it is a priori if its validation is independent of experience, whatever its subject, including matter and economics" (p. 169). And, immigration and Islam.

Just yesterday I got into an argument on Facebook with an "Objectivist" about immigration. He quickly established his complete ignorance of the topic and ran out of talking points. So, he just called me a raaaaacist. When you live in a world of floating philosophical abstractions (even correct ones), knowledge is superfluous.

John Shepard said...

Jeffery said: 'Owing to its utterly anarchic “admininstration,” this blog may as well be renamed “The Rule of UnReason.”

'And for myself—I shall take the tack of Mr. Poe’s raven: “Nevermore.”'

It has taken me a bit more time than it would have taken the few non-rationalists, rare and true "Objectivists" here on this blog to make a decision, but I've decided to follow Jeffery's leave. What can I say? I'm slow, like an amoeba.

I've learned a great deal from and value those "loyalists and fence-sitters" such as, presumably, "Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook, Don Watson [sic], Craig Biddle" and "others closely affiliated with ARI."

The choice therefore, after all, is not really too difficult, in spite of the fact that I only have the "analytical powers of an amoeba".


John Shepard (not Shephard)

Tim C said...

@John "Nevermore" (commenting here to clarify for those remaining) -

Re: Peikoff - whether he says one choice or several in a gradual series, it's still ignorant enough to not bear consideration.

As far as sense of life goes, my gay friends are happier and better-adjusted than many straight ones.

Re: Indoctrination - no, I didn't say "brainwashed." I erroneously subscribed to the prevailing attitudes (easy because "obviously" being gay is "wrong" and some activities involved are "gross"), a position I revised upon consideration of new evidence.

Tim C said...

As far as ARI vs Objectivism goes, this is a rather interesting site - examines prevailing ARI take vs. what Rand actually said on various topics, with some extrapolation (but reasoned).

So just because individuals associated with ARI etc are right about some things (and in Peikoff's case have clearly provided great value, e.g. OPAR), doesn't mean they're right about everything, or that they can even really claim to be Objectivists.

I don't necessarily agree with everything presented here, as I am still thinking/integrating/gathering evidence etc. But in general I concur that the ARI is wrong in some very important areas, evading obvious truth in others, and in general is doing more harm than good in getting those unfamiliar with Rand's ideas interested. I.e, if one unfamiliar with Rand, indoctrinated by such bromides as she is "fascist" etc, comes across some of ARI's material, there's a good chance they'll see that what they found fits more or less with what they heard, and move on.

hermitsdoor said...

Ironically, with 24/7 news, but not enough news (as defined by the editors of various media) to fill those hours, we end up with 24/7 speculation, opinion, and re-hashing of the same. Regarding the imposition of philosophical bias in the media specualations (e.g. Tax Day, Hitler's birthday, Patriot's Day, white-supremist groups...) the error is reporting from our cultural perspectives. To understand why some acts in a way that violates our social norms, we would have to first identify who the person is, and then set our belief systems aside for a while to understand how he or she thinks. Such contemplation does not keep viewers watching the program (or commercials).