Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another post-election thought

No, it's not the big one, but . . .

Harold Meyerson is not a writer that I consider to be a particularly thoughtful. The Washington Post columnist mostly carries water for the Democrats in the tired manner of a typical ward heeler (for example, he writes in defense of things such as increasing the minimum wage, which is hardly the mark of someone who understands basic economics, let alone the morality of the free market). So while there is little to agree with in his most recent column, there is this following point:

Republicans generally and conservatives particularly have profited mightily from the rise and politicization of fundamentalism over the past few decades. The decimation of Republican moderates from the Northeast and Midwest in last week's elections came at the hands of centrist and independent voters who'd had it with the Southernized religious conservatism of the Republicans' base -- and with its moderate Republican enablers.
And that's a good thing, unless of course you are Jack Wakeland or Robert Tracinski, and then it's simply time to start cleaning your rifle.


Anonymous said...


I am eagerly awaiting your writeup on the disagreements within the Objectivist movement. I assume that Tracinski and Wakeland will be the center of focus. Is it me or did Tracinski just challange Dr. Peikoff's DIM theory?

Anonymous said...

I just read through this thread:

I don't know if you have read through this but if you haven't you may want to focus on Wakelands's responses. Here is a sample:

"To do that would require the U.S. to purposely and systematically target and kill very large numbers of civilians (about 250,000). Would that weaken support for the insurgency or strengthen it? Would that decrease or increase the number of enemy combatants we face? What would that do to our countrymen's sense of the moral legitimacy of the war? What would that do to the our soldiers' sense of their moral legitimacy as a fighting force? Would the conclusion that we're a criminal actor in Iraq committing an evil that is essentially of the same character as Saddam's really be all that irrational? Be objective, now."

This sounds like a Peter Keating approach to war.

"Moral issues are black and white and the right does not depend on numbers. But we live in a world of particluars. With today's superbly accurate bombs and shells and today's superbly effective infantry forces, the death of 10 or 20 civilians for each enemy combatant killed would require a policy that purposely targets and kills civilians because they might be supporting the enemy.

In that kind of a war, who is the criminal?

For a killing to be right, it has to be rationally understood to be a way to preserve innocent life."

This man is an altruist not an Objectivist. I'm shocked by his responses (and disgusted). Wakeland and Tracinski are not well integrated with Objecvist principles. In Wakeland's case, I don't think he can legitimately call himself an Objectivist.

Bill Visconti

Anonymous said...

I've just read more of Wakeland's commentary over at the Forum. Here's a predition, Wakeland will be a guest lecturer for a David Kely conference at some point in the futre. (Tracinski may join him.) Given his views, a break is inevitable.

Bill Visconti

Anonymous said...

I read a good deal, but not all, of the referenced threat. I have one word to say: scary. Admittedly, one can write things that one regrets in the heat of the moment. If so, one can retract one's statement. Mr. Wakeland should retract what he wrote. It is far too graphic a description of cold-blooded murder. For that is what he is describing.

I am for a laissez-faire capitalist society, but an important principle of that society is the rule of law. Disputes are to be resolved using political and persuasive means, not by using force.

Until we become a dictatorship, armed insurrection is emphatically not the answer. We must debate using ideas, no more no less.

Keep the guns well in the closet, for the foreseeable future. It is time to fight with the pen, not the sword. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To clarify, I am referring to the post by Mr. Wakeland that is linked in Mr. Provenzo's comment in the phrase "start cleaning your rifle".

Jack Galt said...

The post you linked by Jack Wakeland are some of the most disturbing words that I have ever read from an supposed Objectivist. Wakeland has simply lost all understanding of the role of ideas as the driving force in man’s life. That he can sit there and fantasize about murdering (yes murdering) his political opponents rather than fight them where they can (and deserve) to be fought is simply astounding.

What’s next from Wakeland? Fantasizing about making a bomb vest in his mom’s basement?

Gilliatt said...

By the way, the term is "ward heeler".

Anonymous said...

Nick, why not write a separate post quoting Wakeland's comments directly? The more Objectivists hear about this, the more likely they will be to think twice about Wakeland and TIA in the future. The comments are so disturbing that they deserve to be widely circulated.

It is, by the way, very curious that Wakeland's criticism of Peikoff is that Peikoff wants to kill too many foreigners, whereas Wakeland would rather kill more of our own leaders. Which position, I wonder, is more consistent with a policy of self-interest?

Anonymous said...

This is the quote from Wakeland (part of the post linked above). It really is an understatement to say that this is highly disturbing. This kind of language and viewpoint is worthy of Timothy McVeigh, not of a self-declared Objectivist. By the way, regulation is not a dictatorship, as claimed here. Far from it.

Wakeland quote:

"The injustices under Kelo and other draconian regulatory orders that dispossess and ruin individuals always wakes the fury in me. When I read about these legalized crimes, I can feel the grip of my AR-15 in the palm of my hand, smell the cleaning solvent (I keep 'em clean), see the front sight settling on the target (some bureaucrat, judge, or neighbor's head) and the cool pressure of the trigger against the center of the last pad of my finger...

It is a good thing that I have never been in the position of victim in one of the state-sponsored crimes. If I were financially ruined and could not get a hearng and just compensation, I would serious consider becoming a murderer. I would consider it because I know I'd be in the right. Killing a regulator who does not answer to the will of the people is justice.

It is the full measure of the evil of regulation that one could reach such a conclusion in (supposedly) civil society. Regulation is the end of the rule of law, representative government, free speech, and society itself. It is dictatorship and when one cannot remove a dictorship by peaceful intimidation, one makes war on it."

Anonymous said...

"I am for a laissez-faire capitalist society, but an important principle of that society is the rule of law. Disputes are to be resolved using political and persuasive means, not by using force."

I agree, but for the sake of argument, what would you do if you are a victim of a Kelo decision and ended up financially ruined and all appeals failed. I mean rule of law is supposed to apply to society as well. What would be the proper attitude at this point, blame yourself for not being persuasive enough. I mean the only other option would be to start over from nothing, I couldn't imagine doing this and of course what is to prevent it from happening again.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

> what would you do if you if you are a victim of a Kelo decision and ended up financially ruined

A victim of Kelo loses his property against his will and the act against him is outrageous and immoral, but at least the victim is compensated monetarily for their loss by the government. Kelo is a bad example of the kind of scenario that would prompt Wakeland's murder spree. (And I do find it telling that he acknowledges that his spree would constitute murder).

A better example would have been the Clinton Administration's decision to return Elian Gonzales to communist Cuba. There, one could easy argue that such an act would imperil the life of the boy. Armed resistance against the government would have been futile, so the only course of action would have been to flee America for a more protective safe-haven.

In any case, the core issue here is that a just society takes effort—your effort. If you fear arbitrary government (but still enjoy freedom of speech), you need to sharpen your pencil, not load up your rifle.

Diana said...

Nick, thanks for highlighting that post from Wakeland. I've just blogged it on NoodleFood.