Monday, February 06, 2017

Philosophical Fakery

I present a guest column by Lindsay Perigo of New Zealand. He exposes the fake philosophizing of Yaron Brook, head of the Ayn Rand Institute, about Donald Trump, whom he accuses of being a fascist, among other unjust and wholly ludicrous appellations. There are many people who have imbibed Brook’s Kool-Aid.  Here is his preface and a significant addendum:

November 4, 1962:  For decades, the ‘liberals’ have regarded ‘nationalism’ as an arch-evil of capitalism. They denounced national self-interest—they permitted no distinction between intelligent patriotism and blind, racist chauvinism, deliberately lumping them together—they smeared all opponents of internationalist doctrines as ‘reactionaries,’ 'fascists’ or ‘isolationists'—and they brought this country to a stage where expressions such as ‘America First’ became terms of opprobrium.

From The Ayn Rand Column, column no. 20, “Nationalism and Internationalism,” pp. 59-61.

[This is an expanded version of the opening statement I had prepared for my aborted debate with Yaron Brook on Amy Peikoff's BlogTalkRadio show, "Don't Let It Go." I withdrew from the debate when I realized I could not in all conscience comply with her last-minute request that I refrain from making "sweeping statements" critical of Yaron. Warning: the following contains a number of sweeping statements critical of Yaron.]

Bunker Hill: June 1775
In Yaron Brook’s BlogTalkRadio show of November 12 last year, the Ayn Rand Institute head said he was "horrified" at what 57 million Americans had just done. Yaron called Trump “the villain of our time,” “this creature, this vulgar creature,” an “authoritarian,” more anti-American than Obama, someone who might well abolish freedom of speech, someone whose proposal to build a wall on the Southern border was "stupid," someone whose election was far more dangerous than that of Hillary Clinton, who would have been merely “an extension of the Obama status quo.” Yaron's sentiments were echoed by his ARI colleague, Canadian Onkar Ghate, who wrote, "On November 8, 2016, the United States took its first step towards dictatorship." Further on, Ghate said: “ … the Republican control of the presidency, the House and the Senate should give anyone pause who is concerned about, say, the campaign’s demonization of immigrants and of trade or the attempt to impose a Christian variant of Sharia law.” On his BlogTalkRadio show just finished as I write (the morning of Feb 6, NZ time) Yaron asserted that Trump is “paving the way to fascism.”

This, we are told, is the voice of reason. I contend it is the voice of Trump Derangement Syndrome. More than that, it is the resurgent voice of Leonard Peikoff’s 2006 fatwa to the effect that Objectivists should vote Democrat across the board, even in the presence of “good Republicans,” because the Republicans were about to usher in a Christian theocracy. Sheer lunacy. Leonard briefly came right in 2013 ...

I am against the immigration bill a hundred percent, not just one clause or another, for one very simple reason. It happens to be the case that we are teetering on the edge of dictatorship. It happens to be the case that if the Democrats continue to have or grow their political power we will be over that edge. And it happens to be the case, whether you like it or not, that of all Hispanics in America, whether they are rich or poor, self-made men or anything else, 80% are reliably and continually Democratic. So if you are talking about a bill, I don’t care whether it’s fair / unfair in any other respects, you are talking about a bill that will infuse into this country a massive amount of Democratic supporters and thereby guarantee the destruction of this country. That is what immigration means today. And there’s no use asking me in theory what do I think, there is no theory now, we’re on the end. So it’s a question of buying time.

... before reverting to form.

I contend the current Trump Derangement Syndrome within OrgOism (Organised Objectivism), most prominently displayed by Yaron Brook, is a manifestation of what I call Obleftivism, i.e., Objectivism hijacked by Islamo-Marxism. In what follows, “Yaron” and “Obleftivism” should be treated as interchangeable.

Yaron implies "the Obama status quo" that Hillary would have preserved is somehow innocuous and tolerable, to be preferred over a President who has promised to lower taxes hugely, to lessen regulations by 75% and who has already moved to roll back Dodd-Frank; over a President who will allow the energy sector to function and flourish again and has already green-lighted the Dakota and Keystone pipeline projects blocked by Comrade Obama (“no big deal,” said Yaron this morning); over a President whose appointments to the Supreme Court will be based on adherence to the Constitution rather than legislating from the bench; over a President who will stop the inflow of terrorist savages and other Third World low-lifes in its tracks; over a President who can bring himself not just to say “Radical Islamic terrorism” (in my view, “Islam” would suffice) but also to go after it.

Obleftivism seems blind to the cultural ravages of unfettered immigration by ideological aliens; indifferent to, possibly even unaware of (from the smug safety of walled, white, well-guarded gated communities) the robberies, assaults, rapes and beheadings perpetrated by them. (MS13: more prolific beheaders than ISIS!) Obleftivism says “Let 'em in, let ‘em in, let ‘em in”; the more the merrier; they'll soon get the hang of freedom and become like us—and anyone who opposes this suicidal, sacrifistic policy is a racist, a xenophobe, a bigot and all the rest of the standard leftist epithets. Trump’s wall is “stupid,” says Yaron—from behind a wall. I say, build a wall along the Northern border as well. Someone has to keep Onkar Ghate and Justin Trudeau out, not to mention all the Muslims Trudeau is letting in to Canada. I say, relocate the Somalis who have wrought havoc in Minnesota to tents pitched on the golf courses inside Yaron’s gated community; assuredly he'll give them a warm welcome?!

Obleftivism refuses to acknowledge, let alone proudly proclaim, that Western Culture is The Best; that it’s entitled to protect and preserve itself qua Western culture, manifested in a plenitude of ways in specific Western nations; to say such a thing, according to Obleftivists, is “nationalism,” or even worse, “patriotism”—both odious signs of [gasp] “collectivism.” Obleftivism seems not to have absorbed the significance of Ayn Rand’s appropriately negative appraisal of pre-humans elsewhere in the world:

It is to the Mohammedans, the Buddhists, and the cannibals—to the underdeveloped, the undeveloped, and the not-to-be-developed cultures—that the Capitalist United States of America is asked to apologize for her skyscrapers, her automobiles, her plumbing, and her smiling, confident, untortured, un-skinned-alive, un-eaten young men!

Obleftivists claim that attacking the Clinton News Network, National Putin Radio and other mainstream media for their stinking dishonesty, Fake News and bias is an assault on freedom of speech, when in fact the real assaults on free speech are coming from academia—students and staff—the media, moronnials, Social Justice Warriors, Ugly Wimmin, Black Lives Matter, Hollywood, and sundry other garbage, under the rubric of Political Correctness—to whose vicious depravity Obleftivists seem oblivious or indifferent. How about a call to arms on behalf of Milo Yiannopoulis, whom Yaron Brook derides (oh, to have one Objectivist with Milo’s star quality!!); on behalf of Gavin McInnes, pepper-sprayed by Islamo-Marxist filth at New York University?! How about a call to arms against one of the principal organisers of the Ugly Wimmin’s March, Linda Sarsour, who once tweeted of Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “I wish I could take their vaginas away—they don’t deserve to be women”?! (Ms Ali, of course, is one of hundreds of millions of genitally mutilated Muslim women. She is now a prominent, heroic former Muslim.)

Eugène Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People (1831)
All the while, in fact, Yaron minimises the enormity of the Muslim threat within America, saying, “The United States has zero potential to end up like Europe,” and, “Everyday Muslims are no threat.” How exactly does this "useful idiot" propose to differentiate the perpetrators of the killings of 145 Americans by Muslims in the United States since 9/11 from “everyday" Muslims? Blankout!

“Everyday Muslims” are required to believe in Jihad, Sharia Law and a worldwide caliphate. They are stiffened in their resolve by such jolly verses from the Koran as, “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” They’re also enjoined to lie (Taqiyya) about their agenda. So again, how does Useful Yaron propose to distinguish everyday Muslims from actual Muslims: i.e., Muslims who take their religion seriously? (Agenda alert: Yaron makes the exact same argument minimising the threat from Muslims as did a Cato Institute representative on the Martha McCallum Fox News Special a few days ago: the chances of being struck down by a Muslim terrorist are three trillion times lower than of being mugged or struck by lightning or a car, or some such. Hmmmmm. Cato. ARI. Pro-open borders Koch Bros. Funding.)

Then again, from the smug security of a gated community, what difference does it make whether it’s Muslims or Mexicans doing the beheadings?

Yaron said this morning that Trump’s description of the activist judge in Seattle who up-ended his temporary travel ban as a “so-called judge” was “despicable.” I’d say it’s the judge—a Black Lives Matter cheerleader—who’s despicable. I say, may the ban be quickly reinstated; may it revert to the President’s original proposal: Not One Muslim!

I’d like to offer a helpful philosophical observation to Obleftivists at this point. Objectivism does not contend that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Objectivism views that as an intrinsicist view of rights. Objectivists, if asked, would eschew such a view.

Yet when a prominent Objectivist (Binswanger) ends up saying, “Freedom of travel is a right. It is a right possessed by every human being, not just by Americans. The Mexican government or the French government has no right to stop you from entering Mexico or France, and our government has no right to stop a Mexican or Frenchman from entering America”; or, “The border between the U.S. and Mexico (and between the U.S. and Canada) should be exactly like the border between Connecticut and Massachusetts: you see ‘Welcome to Massachusetts’ and otherwise you are unaware of the difference”; or, “The principle of individual rights demands open immigration. Implementing that would mean phasing out all limitations on immigration.

Entry into the United States should ultimately be free for any foreigner, absent objective evidence of criminal intent or infectious disease”; or, “Amnesty for illegal immigrants is not enough, they deserve an apology” ... then you know you’re dealing with intrinsicism on steroids, and that the good ol’-time “rationalism” so well exposed by Leonard Peikoff has still not been weeded out. There are no “intrinsic” rights implanted in us by a mystical creator or nature; “rights” is a concept arrived at after tortuous millennia of excruciating cogitation by advanced human beings at the forefront of Western thought. Those whom Ayn Rand called “dinky little savages” do not have an automatic, inbuilt right, just because they look like humans, to travel to, much less remain in, Western countries. Civilised countries have the right to be selective as to whom they admit—as selective as Galt’s Gulch if necessary.

Obleftivists think that the type of people to whom Ayn Rand pleaded, "Don't let it go," have, in electing Donald Trump, let it go: "it" being the uniquely American sense of life of which she wrote so eloquently. I contend that in electing Donald Trump, they, in the nick of time, reaffirmed it, and reassured us that they are still around. (Beyond miraculous, when you think about it, given all the professors and Obleftivist “intellectuals” like Binswanger who have held sway since Rand wrote that. Makes you think that “sense of life” must be in Americans’ DNA! Horreurs! Determinism!!)

Ayn Rand said, of judging political candidates, “A voter’s choice does not commit him to a total agreement with a candidate—and certainly cannot commit a candidate to an agreement with every voter who supports him. Under a two-party system, a voter’s choice is and has to be merely an approximation—a choice of the candidate whom he regards as closer to his own views; often, particularly in recent times, a voter chooses merely between the lesser of two evils.”

Yaron Brook would have you believe that Rand, who chose Nixon over McGovern, would have preferred Hillary over Trump. Hillary is easily more evil than McGovern, and arguably the most evil person ever to have run for the presidency. Yaron proudly says he doesn’t care!

Trump is not the lesser of two evils, however; he is outrageously good—even though he is not the card-carrying Objectivist Obleftivists seem to demand! The very words “President Trump” are music to my ears, equal to Rachmaninoff. President Trump, President Trump, President Trump! This is even better than hearing (and as a broadcaster, reading) the words “President Reagan,” to whom OrgOists were equally asininely opposed (except for one of their leaders who voted for Reagan without telling anyone, Ayn Rand included).

Molly Pitcher (or Mary Ludwig Hays)
 taking her husband’s
place at the Battle of Monmouth (June 1778)

I am ecstatic at the spectacle of America’s ascension back to greatness. Every day, President Trump, in full view of the world he defies, relentlessly advances his audacious agenda; every week, Obleftivist Brook, in full view of a few lemming-like acolytes on Faecesbook and in parochial parts of the world, trashes it, because it might include tariffs and does include Twitter attacks on the smelly Islamo-Marxists at CNN and NPR, Yaron’s favourite sources of Fake News and Politically Correct commentary.

I am a Deplorable, irredeemably. And I deplore Obleftivism.

Obleftivism is Fake Objectivism!

It's party time in America! Yaron Brook is a party-pooper!

Make Objectivism Great Again!


Tim C said...

Great column, I've been annoyed by "official Objectivist" aka ARI perversions of Objectivism for years.

I must point out one major issue here though - the paragraphs about rights are pretty far off.

1) Man's rights - as in the colloquial phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are in fact "intrinsic." Refer to law of identity and man's nature including volitional consciousness. "Objectivists, if asked, would eschew such a view." - emphatically not so.

2) Now, this is not to say that anyone with ill intent/lack of desire to integrate into American society and values has a "right" to immigrate. Not because they are inherently without rights due to where they're from, what they believe etc (which would only be lost if they actually initiated force - just as "hate speech" isn't a crime but violence with or without "hate" would be), but because the idea that entry into the country is a "right" is patently false.

I think the author here is more or less saying the same thing as I am in point (2) above, but the framing for the argument would do better without the confused premise basically denying rights based on man's nature and more clearly stating that entry into the country has nothing to do with rights.

Rob McVey said...

@Tim C: Your point 1 about intrincism is a contradiction of Objectivist ideology; the facts you cite need interpretation — by choice — to arrive at values for life. Rand said:

"'Rights' are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual's actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others..." [from the essay Man's Rights]

'Morality is a code of values accepted by choice.'

Edward Cline said...

I'll alert Mr. Perigo about your reservations.

Edward Cline said...

Posted for Mr. Perigo, who had technical difficulties posting comments: Rob and Tim C.

Thanks gents for your comments. Here's the way I'd put it: Rights are not metaphysical existents somehow intrinsic to or implanted within human beings, ready-made. It's the view that they are intrinsic that leads to idiotic claims such as the one I quoted from Binswanger, that every human being anywhere in the world has the right to travel anywhere he wants. Were the magnificent Mr. Jefferson's formulation correct, Binswanger would be correct also (and it all would be so much simpler). But the formulation is not correct. "Rights" is a concept; rights are not facts or things or divine implants. What's intrinsic is the fact that human consciousness is volitional, making it necessary for us to form and enact such a concept if our social existence is to be fully human. Rights are requirements of man's nature; they are not contained within man's nature. It took millennia for someone (Rand) to figure that out explicitly, and we shouldn't be endowing rights upon pre-humans ("dinky little savages") who still haven't figured it out—or, if they have, are intent on negating it.

Fenton Wood said...

I'm glad to see that my favorite bulldog still has his teeth sunk into the leg of iniquity and isn't letting go. I remember the excitement of discovering Objectivism in my youth, and I still believe in the truth of Ayn Rand's philosophy. It's sad to watch High Church Objectivism declining into rationalism, willful denial of the facts of reality, open immigration as a categorical imperative, and total irrelevance.

Tim C said...

Well then, I suppose I've misunderstood the exact Objectivist stance/reasoning on the nature of man/rights for some time (I might even argue that it is erroneous, though I don't have time for that this morning.) Yes, reviewing and summarizing OPAR on the matter, rights is not a concept needed by an individual man (or individual men operating as savages). But since all of humanity is now beyond that, for all practical intents and purposes each existing man does have rights (until such time as he violates those of another).

"'The source of man's rights,' states Ayn Rand, 'is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A - and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival." (OPAR p. 360)

I read this as saying that rights are in fact part of Man's identity as Man. Either way, I'd say that it's basically splitting hairs to say either "each man is born with rights" or "each man, because of his nature, should have rights."

Now, anyone trying to extend man's rights to "the 'right' to enter whatever country they wish' doesn't understand rights, however they are attached to man.

Tim C said...

(Now, in my above comment I should mention "all of humanity" doesn't really include the Muslim world. I would argue there that each Muslim is born with rights, but as soon as they are old enough to accept/practice the faith, by denying rights they give them up. Basically - like I say, I don't have a great deal of time to formulate this fully...)

Tim C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Trump is a socialist on healthcare, as was shown both before and after the election, and is to the left of Hillary Clinton on hyper-protectionism and infrastructure spending.

Ed, you rejected Objectivism a year and more ago.

Make Objectivism great again? How? By choosing an economic nationalist that attacks businesses on twitter despite them not breaking the law?

Stereo Realist said...

The article referenced at the beginning of your essay has move to here: