Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Truth Needs No Apology

The New York Post headline read “Amen: Al Qaeda Thugs Prove Pope’s Point.” (New York Post, Sept. 20th edition) Indeed, very little needs to be said at this point. This is the same mentality that would kill over a cartoon as we’ve seen in response to the Danish cartoons. At that point, I argued that we must be able to speak the truth. But it is so important that it warrants repetition.

Free speech is valuable as a prerequisite to establishing the truth. We shouldn’t qualify the truth with the disclaimer that it is only our opinion. The truth needs no apology. But when liberty is exploited to lure the gullible down another path, we must nevertheless be steadfast in our commitment to the process of free inquiry and free speech. One never surrenders this potent tool for temporary comfort.

What freedom demands of us is our commitment to step forward and insure that the truth will be heard and defended. We must speak loudly, clearly, and with reason. Only then will we insure that liberty brings forth that which she was design to safeguard: a civilization grounded by the eternal truths that “all men are created equal” with “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Today we face a religious ideology “destructive of these ends” as the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century nearly extinguished the flame of liberty in our parent’s time. We must face this threat with the confidence that the truth will once again prevail.

60 Comments:

Blogger kevin said...

No need for Muslims to apologize Medina, 9/11, 7/7, Darfur etc...but we apologize for cartoons, Burger King, Red Hot Chilli Peppers...

9/20/06, 2:34 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

"Happiness is no culture" --Freud

9/20/06, 1:28 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

What we call happiness in the strictest sense comes from the (preferably sudden) satisfaction of needs which have been dammed up to a high degree.-- Sigmund Freud

(in other words, culture creates some dams... happiness comes from overcoming them)


...and one can take the following quote more than one way...

"The happiness of society is the end of government." --John Adams

"Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will." (not government's) --Saint Thomas Aquinas

"The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."--Jeremy Bentham


Why commie's fail...

"Happiness is obsolete: uneconomic."-- Theodor Adorno

9/20/06, 1:47 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Why Muzzie's fail.

Someone who is FORCED to perform a virtuous act is NOT virtuous. And someone who FORCES another to perform an act is not moral.

9/20/06, 1:50 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

erratum - replace "moral" above w/"just"

9/20/06, 2:05 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Jason points out that “we must be able to speak the truth” and that “the truth needs no apology.” That is correct, essential, and bears repeating. Yet there are additional issues that have been raised by the Pope.

First, let us note that there was little in his speech that pertained to Islam, while his sharpest attacks were on non-Muslims (such as Protestants). It was titled “Faith, Reason, and the University” which addressed how to relate faith and reason. The Pope maintained that: for Christianity, reason is inextricably bound to faith; violence is contrary to God’s nature and to reason; “whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats”. The Pope said that Christianity was shaped and defined by the dialogue between Athens and Jerusalem, relating reason and revelation, expressing “the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical fiat and Greek inquiry. It may be noted that in calling for “a genuine experience of universitas” he included believers and unbelievers alike.

So whereas the issue with Muslims is pertinent (and their resort to violence telling) there remains the matter of his central theme, namely the advisability of dialogue. Allow me then to make the case for a worldwide dialogue relating to the impermissibility of initiating force.

In my view, aspirations are central to promulgating an outlook. I categorize them as follows: Fascism seeks governance by the (superior) Aryans; communism seeks governance by the working class; Islam seeks governance by the Koran; Social Democracy seeks governance by the victims of capitalism; Taoism seeks a world that unfolds spiritually; Judaism and Christianity seek a world governed by Biblical values; Objectivism seeks a world governed by merit. (Perhaps each of these contain a vision of ‘justice’ or what ought to be.)

Now, Nazis want a world without Jews or Christians; communists want a world without capitalists or religionists; Islamists want a world without infidels; Social Democrats want a world without 'victimizers'. *Yet none of these would pose a problem, were they to confine their methods to example and suasion.* In other words, the worst of aspirations cause little damage, while it is the methods of coercion (force and violence) that lead to destruction. *Can anyone provide a single serious human problem that does not involve the initiation of force?*

If there is one principle for setting the world straight, it is the non-initiation of force (NIF) which I would word ‘None has the right to initiate force, but the obligation to counter it.’ Were this the primary concern in the war of ideas, the Objectivists would seize leadership. Fascists, communists, Islamists, and Social Democrats, have no intellectual defense against the arguments for liberty and self-defense. It is true that Taoists believe in NIF, but they lack the Western heritage (and civilization) needed for its support. Jews and Christians believe in NIF, but compromise it in order to enforce their moral precepts (and because they suffer from altruism).

How would the strategy unfold? Given an issue or challenge, it would be analyzed from the perspective of NIF. Thus, whereas the discussion would begin with the pros and cons of the given issue, the desideratum would be shown to be NIF.

There is another aspect of method, which needs clarification. Most people view debates as exchanges of views, without resolution, where each party makes it case. I view debates as requiring resolution, not where people determine what is right, but ascertain the fundamental principle as to where they differ. This is the ‘point of departure’, or clarity as to where people part company.

Scientific issues are resolved by proof of what is true; human issues are resolved by finding the different principle by which the parties decide what is true. Here, most issues of domestic and foreign policy would be resolved by “I believe in NIF, while you do not.”

So I welcome the request for dialogue by the Pope, along with his emphasis upon the exclusion of force, for I believe it is central to how to characterize our external enemy, and most pertinently our internal enemy of Social Democracy.

9/20/06, 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only one problem with your proposal weingarten. As soon as you take "force" off the table as a means for achieving any ends, the only "means" left is "art". And art is comprised of a shading of the "true" WITH the "false".

and as Nietzsche once said... This world is the will to power--and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power--and nothing besides!

Rhetoric will rule the world. Lawyers uber alles.

9/20/06, 3:37 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Force is the manifestation of the rejection of reason in human affairs. Without holding reason as a primary, force will find fertile ground to grow. The point that Rand makes is that reason is man’s tool of survival – one that has the power to deal with the challenges life requires. While many may find the “non-initiation of force” esthetically pleasing, the full weight of its importance won’t be felt unless its centrality to living (and living well) is accepted. It is here that one needs to understand reason’s profound need of protection from coercion and rights-violations.

So I welcome all who find room for reason and liberty but I celebrate the power and purpose of reason and the centrality of liberty to help cultivate and deploy that noble and potent tool.

The Pope put reason on the table but his Islamic opponents blasted it off. He expresses his respect for Athens while the Islamic enemy has the utmost contempt for the heritage of Greece.

And Islamists are joined by the post-modernist left. The phony secularism of the left (more dogmatic than most faiths, less open to evidence than today’s Church) is the problem that undermines our confidence in the truth and weakens our morale. The left is the main problem. Whatever disagreements one may find with the Pope, he’s far more rational and philosophically sane than the average college professor in an American humanities department.

I read the Pope’s message before the uproar and thought about writing about what appears to be an intelligent gentleman. I get e-mails from www.chiesa and find them quite interesting.

9/20/06, 4:49 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Jason

There is something extreemly humorous about a person threatening violence for being depicted as violent.

This is almost as amusing as an actual Communist(Ducky) rails at Randoids and Khanists.

9/20/06, 5:15 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I think everyone has noticed the Islamic response is proof of the validity of the charge.

But I keep remembering that the Islamic enemy is only a problem because leftists disarm us … as you’ve been reminding everyone for some time now.

9/20/06, 5:21 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Ed Hudgins has a decent article respecting the vast difference of a Western religious leader, who acknowledges our Hellenic heritage based on reason, and the Islamic enemy that has long ago banished Aristotle.

9/20/06, 5:25 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Kevin,
we apologize for cartoons, Burger King, Red Hot Chilli Peppers...

And Nike, under pressure from CAIR. See THIS.

9/20/06, 8:14 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Anonymous writes “As soon as you take "force" off the table as a means for achieving any ends, the only "means" left is "art". And art is comprised of a shading of the "true" WITH the "false".”

I simply do not follow his reasoning. One can achieve wealth by means of theft (force) or by earning it. Does anonymous view the means of trade and production as “art”, and therefore a matter of falsity and power?

Jason notes that “reason is man’s tool of survival.” He adds that the full weight of the “non-initiation of force” won’t be felt unless its centrality to living is accepted. Yet even if the full weight is not felt,
outlooks have gained by their relegation of force. Thus, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, and other faiths, have held to such maxims as do not steal, kill, bear false witness, etc. It would not have helped them to postpone their qualms about force until a validated philosophical perspective was provided. To place this in the context of the aforementioned speech, the Pope has advocated a rejection of violence, because it is "contrary to God’s nature and to reason". Does that stand as a position to be considered by man as he is now, or must he leave it in abeyance until he becomes an Objectivist? I submit that Americans today can recognize the virtue of non-aggression over aggression, by their own values.

Next, Jason notes that the left is the main problem, suggesting that it is their irrationality that is at issue. I would emphasize that 'the method of using force to further their values' is to be stressed. It is not that I do not value education, but rather that there is a sufficient basis for rejecting the spread of values by force, by those who are far removed from having a philosophical foundation for their ethics.

Similarly, I concur that “the Islamic enemy is only a problem because leftists disarm us” but would add that *what Islam, the leftists, and all of our enemies share, is the view that we can and should spread values by force*. Perhaps at issue is what we believe is the basis for determining friend or foe, and for forming a united front for action. I aver that it is the shared aspiration of NIF, rather than philosophical concurrence.

Now when it comes to scientific matters I would hold to the practice of requiring proof before adopting a view. Yet there is a different issue when devising the basis on which parties agree to take action, namely what can they currently agree on with regard to their mutual interest. Here, I repeat that the basis for concurrence is NIF.

Does anyone hold that there should not be a basis for concerted action, between parties threatened by Islam, until it is philosophically validated?

9/20/06, 9:00 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I agree with the main point. There is a broad range of respectable views on the right (and I’d include the moderate left) such that we can face the threats to civilization united in common sympathies. To add to your point, I’d support FDR in his fight against Hitler even though I would have had no sympathy for his domestic programs. And our founding fathers didn’t wait to agree on religion or metaphysical foundations before joining together to fight for independence.

That’s why it’s difficult to switch gears from the polemics required to fight the enemy to a calm discussion over longer-term explorations of the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches to supporting our core values.

If we did switch gears, I’d ask why people who would never use threats of violence on an individual level have little hesitation to do so when forming or supporting a government. I have a draft of an explanation in the blog that I haven’t had time to finish and post. But it is “fine tuning” at a time when we have major problems to face.

9/20/06, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Jason:

We agree that "There is a broad range of respectable views...[for facing] the threats to civilization united in common sympathies." We would have supported FDR in his fight against Hitler, despite his domestic programs. Moreover, as you note "our founding fathers didn’t wait to agree on religion or metaphysical foundations before joining together to fight for independence."

What I did not follow is why "it’s difficult to switch gears from the polemics required to fight the enemy to a calm discussion over longer-term explorations of the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches to supporting our core values."

Is it difficult to function, as did our Founders, to fight the enemy, while at the same time searching for the truth? Does not a doctor treat his patients, while simultaneously striving to understand the source of the illness? Perhaps the forging of the Declaraton of Independence was an approach for dealing with the enemy, as well as a search for the proper foundation of our civilization? It seems to me that your blog does so as well.

I look forward to your explanation for "why people who would never use threats of violence on an individual level have little hesitation to do so when forming or supporting a government."

9/20/06, 10:56 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

It’s a question of focus between mobilizing for an urgent threat and planning for long-term evolution. With an urgent threat you have to rely on the resources at hand and work with the given to some degree. But for the long-term, many of those givens should be questioned. The culture evolves slowly and fixing the “ship” takes time.

Tackling an urgent problem means focusing on immediate priorities and shelving secondary issues. They can be noted but one can’t sacrifice the task at hand. One’s rhetoric has more imperatives, exhortations, and rousing calls to arms.

For a long term evolution, one can lighten-up rhetorically speaking. One can focus on facts and leave the implications for action to the reader, to ponder over time. One can be more generous to various options since implementation isn’t immediate. With confidence that others will figure out the details one can leave much implicit.

It’s useful to do both but psychologically many people require a separation of these two different types of focus. As we pointed out, in WWII, one had to shelves domestic conserns to some extent to focus on the immediate problem.

9/21/06, 6:48 AM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Thanks Jason, I agree.

9/21/06, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Does anonymous view the means of trade and production as “art”, and therefore a matter of falsity and power?

Yes. Trade is facilitated through the false premise that three chickens equals a cow or $50. And the "productive arts" were well know to the Hellenes. Hephaestus was their god who beat metal into useful form with heat and strength.

Perhaps at issue is what we believe is the basis for determining friend or foe, and for forming a united front for action. I aver that it is the shared aspiration of NIF, rather than philosophical concurrence.

I agree, but then again the UN institutionalized the NIF doctrine you so admire. The problem comes in when one must himself initiate "preventative" force against the others who disagree with the NIF value, and thereby impose their own NIF value upon all others (in violation of your own NIF doctrine). For its' difficult to point to a single violation of the NIF doctrine as a triggering point for pre-emptive action (for the practice of a deception is a form of force). Also the violations accumulate and accrue (like Saddam's toying with inspectors) until the limits of patience are reached. Hence the Downing Street Memo meetings and the coordinated strategizing of war pre-texts.

As for Jason's question, one must realize the basic purpose of government. To ensure the continued survival of the governed. Whereas many people would willing sacrifice themselves for the group (or their own offspring), they will seldom sacrifice the group for their competitors ideals and offspring. Will to Power speaks for the group.

9/21/06, 11:08 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Kevin:

No need for Muslims to apologize Medina, 9/11, 7/7, Darfur etc...but we apologize for cartoons, Burger King, Red Hot Chilli Peppers...

Exactly, the Muslim world has got the West running around in circles. We should be DEMANDING apologies from them, for their inane, infantile, and downright dangerous behaviour. Oh, but I forget one thing: We want their oil!

Our politicians are so damn weak I can hardly stomach listening to them. As they used to say many years ago this side of the Pond, they should be put on a slow boat to China!

9/21/06, 11:08 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

erratum:

...the practice of deception is a form of political power, not force...

9/21/06, 11:20 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

it operates on the principle of a threat to use force, and not the actual use of force.

And so, can you use force on the premise that another country threatens you with its' use?

9/21/06, 11:22 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...or must you wait until you are actually nuked before launching a retaliatory strike under NIF?

Cause in almonds-in-a-jams speeches last week, his entire program for nuclear weapons is a pointing to the USA and screaming "threat!" under NIF.

9/21/06, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and of course, as we all know *snicker-snicker*, Islam is a religion of peace.

9/21/06, 11:31 AM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Farmer John writes that “Trade is facilitated through the false premise that three chickens equals a cow or $50.” Yet all that two parties require for trade is that each prefers what he receives to what he gives. Where is there falsity or power if two parties are pleased to exchange an orange for a pear, or an island for some wampum?

He then claims that the UN institutionalized NIF, but provides no documentation. On the contrary, countries that initiate force are not curtailed. Nor is it necessary to impose NIF on others; when they do not employ or threaten force, one leaves them alone; when they aggress, one resists.

When you adopt NIF, other countries can believe or disbelieve as they choose. ‘Principles do not depend for their manifestation upon others.’

9/21/06, 12:20 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

The "falsity" lies in each's concept of fairness. Is there a shortage or famine? Who own's the oil Saudi Arabia trades (The monarch or the people)? What's Osama's beef w/America and the Saudi government? Who owns the "surplus value of labor" from manufacturing, the capitalist or the worker? Please, trade is ALL falsity from plimsol to keelson.

Proof? Here's the UN Charter for proof, w/special emphasis on Chapter VII. The UN FAILS becuase it lacks the MEANS of enforcing their charter. The UN HAS NO ARMY other than that which the Security Council decides to provide (gratis).

Reason without Power is more than useless!

Can't we all just be friends doesn't cut it in a world with LIMITED resources, for the world is will to power. I must CONSUME other life forms simply to stay alive. In the end, Nature is a competition, not a round of Kumbaya's around a campfire.

9/21/06, 12:50 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...it requires WILL!

9/21/06, 12:51 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Reason that doesn't doubt... that ACTS!

9/21/06, 12:52 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...because it KNOWS (not senseless liberal activist type action... it REALLY knows) beyond a reasonable doubt. It has "faith" in itself.

9/21/06, 12:55 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...a REASONED faith. Cognizant of its' own limitations and powers.

9/21/06, 12:56 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and as Sun Tzu said... the forces of those who lie in opposition

The ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu taught his men to "know your enemy" before going into battle. For if "you know your enemy and know yourself," he wrote, "you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." But, Sun Tzu warned, "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat."

9/21/06, 12:59 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and if you know neither your enemy nor yourself...

9/21/06, 1:00 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

... Knowing neither oneself not the opponent, one will be in constant danger of losing the battle.

...and the West is in the habit of constantly forgetting and rediscovering itself... w/each Renaissance.

9/21/06, 1:04 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Those who trade constantly feel that "someone" doesn't deserve their "profit". Plato "Hipparchus" (aka "The Profiteer")

9/21/06, 1:06 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...the entire LEFT in this country and around the world has been BUILT upon that premise... on the EVILS of capitalism.

9/21/06, 1:08 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Farmer Jones requires that two people who exchange goods have a concept of fairness. Now if there are consenting adults, why are they not free to do as they please? Why are they obligated to meet someone else's concept of fairness? That would in fact be a matter of force and falsity.

Next, he gives the UN Charter for evidence of their incorporation of NIF. Perhaps what he means is that *they say they seek to avoid aggression*, which is far different from practicing it. Jones might as well say that they have institutionalized 'justice' since they employ the word in their Charter.

The UN is comprised of many countries that are built on aggression, and seek to further it. Those countries are not based on individual rights, but on their violation. To refer to them as a description of what it means to apply NIF is akin to using Hitler to exemplify the application of 'justice'.

9/21/06, 1:11 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Sometimes, weingarten, perceptions are more important than realities. Such is the case in the world we live in. We all habituate different caves, and our eyes have difficulty seeing by lights greater than those cast by the firekeepers of the dwellers within. We see but shadows, and at most, reflections of reality.

Reason has limits. It is not a panacea.

9/21/06, 1:50 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

although the two traders in your example may believe they have arrived at a "fair" exchange, not all will agree that the "price" was true... hence prices "fluctuate" as widely as do "opinions" of fairness.

9/21/06, 1:57 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

a "fair" or "just" price AND a socially-fair or socially-just price. Justice vs. Social Justice

The Arab street hates us. They think we aided their leaders in "robbing them" of their oil revenues...

9/21/06, 2:01 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

They blame their own poverty on us. Is that fair? What does fairness or reason have to do with it?

9/21/06, 2:03 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Social justice...Persia was once the greatest civilization on earth. Don't they deserve another shot at the title? Why should the UN bind them to 2nd class nationhood status in perpetuity?

The world is will to power.

9/21/06, 2:05 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Regardless of what you may think, people are NOT very reasonable.

9/21/06, 2:07 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...in fact, when their interests are at stake, they can be downright unreasonable! Like me ;-)

9/21/06, 2:12 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Just as e=mc^2 is true in physics

perhaps Power=force(reason^2)

...and so maybe war IS an adequate proxy for truth

9/21/06, 2:44 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Plato believed that a man was driven as a puppet by two chords, one golden, one silver. The golden came from heaven and attached to mind. The silver from the earth and attached to body.


Willson, "Ancient and Modern Physics"...

The Hindu physics teaches, with ours, that "the ether is the
source of all energy," but, it adds, "as prana is the source of
all life, and manasa of all mind."

"When the prakritic atom is vibrating in chord with its etheric
envelope," say our textbooks, "we have physical phenomena
--light, heat, electricity." "Yes," says the Hindu teacher; "but
when the atom and its ether and its prana are vibrating in chord,
we have life and vital phenomena added to the energy. When the
atom and its ether, prana, and manasa are vibrating in chord, we
have mind and mental phenomena added to the life and energy."
Each atom has energy, life, and mind in posse. In the living
leaf the prakriti, ether, and prana are sounding the threefold
silver chord of life. In the animal, the manasa is sounding the
same note with them, making the fourfold golden chord of mind.
Even in the plant there may be a faint manasic overtone, for
the potentiality of life and mind is in everything. This unity
of the physical universe with the physical atom, and with all
things created--earth, animal, or crystal--is the physical
backbone of Oriental metaphysics. Prakriti, ether, prana, and
manasa are in our vernacular the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water of
the old philosophers--the "Four Elements."


One ignores this ancient wisdom at their own peril. A tree of life. A tree of knowledge of good & evil. Any of this sound familiar?

Reason alone is not enough.

9/21/06, 3:23 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Meta-physics.

Call it huey if you like. But it all has a foundation in biology and "reason".

9/21/06, 3:28 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Farmer John presents a very ancient view (which I shall call ‘perceptionism’) that can be conveyed by the phrase ‘There is more fornication than there is philosophy.” It argues that perceptions are important, reason has limits, and people can be unreasonable & unfair. Somehow perceptionists think that the advocates of reason have not recognized this. Moreover, no matter how often a rationalist asseverates that man is (generally) governed by his passions, they lecture him as though he claimed otherwise.

Now the perceptionists have a theoretical problem in that they claim that their view is true, rather than merely perceived, and a practical problem in not acknowledging the objective position of their opponents (who are instead treated by means of opinions). However, my point is not to debate the perceptionist position, for that can easily be countered by viewing it from one’s perceptions. Rather I wish to clarify the case for an objective view.

Here, a good place to start is with Ayn Rand: the objective theory holds that the good is an aspect of reality in relation to man; capitalism is based on an objective theory of values; the good is objective; reality exists as an objective absolute; reason is man’s source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Now how does one deal with the fact that most of what we encounter is not a matter of reason or virtue? That of course is taken into account, since reason deals with the facts of reality. Yet what of the fact that reason, principle, and virtue, have little moment? Does that not render it inconsequential?

Although man is a hybrid, comprised of powerful passions and weak aspirations, in time the passions become governed by aspirations (reason, principle, virtue, et al). To place in context the difference between what is big, and what is growing, let us review evolution. At one time, there was almost no life, where virtually everything was inorganic. Yet in time, the biosphere became covered by life. At that point, all life was unconscious, yet in time it was the conscious creatures that fed on the unconscious forms of life. Similarly, in time, it was a few men who conquered the multitude of animals, and it will be civilized man who conquers the barbarians.

To view the world in terms of mass, rather than quality, is to see the brain as irrelevant, since the greater mass is the body. It is to see the world by averaging the practices of the billions of denizens, while disregarding the few creative individuals who sustain and change the world.

When it comes to what is worthwhile, history is the story of the victory of the few against impossible odds. When those who follow reason, employ the facts of reality, and the virtues of morality, the resistance of those governed by their passions (including their will to power) is of no avail.

There is a final point. What difference does it make to the individual, if eventually it is objective considerations that bring success? Isn’t his concern what happens during his life span? Well, if what brings one gratification is obtained by attuning to the desires of the mass, all I can say is “Go for it.” For some, it is better to strive for what ought to be, than to find a home for our passions.

9/21/06, 4:18 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

You have only one thing to convince me of weingarten. It consists of an answer to this question. What is the good? And if it is NIF, when does the good become bad, if ever? The Pope and the Catholics are saying that NIF is the good.

9/22/06, 7:55 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

ps - and don't start listing off "parts" of the good. Tell me the "whole" of it.

9/22/06, 8:01 AM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Farmer John:

I have acknowledged that I cannot convince you of my position, nor even debate it with you. Thus, were I to speak of ‘justice’ you could respond that it had been institutionalized in the USSR, for it had a “Ministry of Justice”. Since your perspective is perceptions, there could be no ‘justice’ in my sense. Similarly, to me it is self-evident that people have a right to exchange goods with one another, however they please, while to you that would be false and forceful, since it would not adhere to your perceptions of what is true and is not imposed. I do not see how our discussion could be further resolved than by recognizing that your primary desideratum is perceptions, while mine is objective.

Now I can speak about the issue of the ‘good’ that you raise, although with your background in metaphysics, I would not be saying anything that you have not heard before, and in better form. Philosophers, poets, and religionists have written extensively about their notions of the ‘good’. Often, they speak allusively or suggestively about that which they cannot fully capture. Ayn Rand notes that the ‘good’ must be in line with man’s survival, which is correct, but cannot fully capture that which will in time be seen to best succeed. Similarly, she writes “All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil.” That is correct, while also requiring determination of precisely what will do the job.

On 9/13/06 (see "A Clear Explanation" in the Archives) I responded to Jason’s request for my view on the Summum Bonum (or ultimate good). Therein I emphasized the integrity of the individual, where each had a unique purpose, and his passions would be subordinate to his reason. Yet, what is more important than our characterization of what is good, is the means for getting closer to it. Here, I emphasize the centrality of NIF ‘None has the right to initiate force, but the obligation to counter it’ as the way to do so. This does not mean that the notion is finalized or perfected, as it remains a work-in-progress. However, it is sufficiently developed to exclude totalitarian regimes (fascist, communist, Islamist) and to emphasize the role of example, good will, suasion, and reason.

The fact that a model or principle is neither perfected nor validated does not deny its fruitfulness. To this day, scientists have not perfected the notion of ‘random’ but use it effectively. So the Summa Bonum is the whole of the good. For the individual to reach it, his path is that of sincerity, since it integrates his person. For society to reach it, the path is NIF, which is good, and does not become bad, but requires improvements in elaboration and application.

9/22/06, 10:37 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Thanks for responding weingarten. I think you and I are in closer agreement about a number of things than you might imagine, although I believe you are missing a much larger picture of the mind as a whole and the role reason plays in it. I lend a much larger role to subconscious intuitions born of instincts in the ratio of the rational than you do; survival being but one instinct and sacrifice another, that you seem to acknowledge only peripherally and would make almost wholly subordinate to and under the control of reason (for you believe them all to be cognizable and selectable and not mixed with unconscious thoughts, socially conditioned and repressed thought inversions). [Don't you ever experience them in "dream" or everyday Freudian "slips"?]

Your unconscious bias for NIF displays denial of your own aggressive nature in a desire to achieve something akin to a Christian "free will" absent struggle, whereas I acknowledge an opposite element of "predestined will" in my Nietzschean "will to power" construct and recognize a "need" to experience aggression and struggle, so as to perhaps one day realize that elusive "happiness" enshrined in the Constitution. (although not by means of the Marcusians, [ignorance])

I also perceive in you a largely unconscious bias' in favor of "human life" for those who reason (you call it objective), whereas I simply desire a "human life" for me and mine, including those who must work with their hands, vice minds, that gives me and them a chance to exercise personal power and struggle without ceeding it all to others [ie -government] and thereby derive a level of "personal" satisfaction from overcoming obstacles, and not have to live vicariously through the successes of others (ie - sports teams).

And so to me, "human" includes many unconscious and unreasonable desires (like a desire to select the purposes I'm willing to sacrifice for and exhibit courage and aggression) in order to maintain some measure of control/ power over my own future and children's existence, and perhaps better understand the legacy of my European ancestors that resulted in establishing our joint innate, conditioned and largely unconscious biases.

9/22/06, 1:03 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and as for your comment that I live by "perceptions", I can only state unequivacally that you are half-right. But I also have an "objective" standard of justice, but to state it's origins will probably send you into a "fit". Plato & Kant.

9/22/06, 1:11 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...they control my "golden" chords. ;-)

9/22/06, 1:20 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

OT - Pope Benedict (good words) and why his target audience doesn't hear him...

Attaching Attributes - Shi'a do not believe that God can or will ever be seen, and also reject the notion of Him having body parts, or any parts whatsoever. Oneness of G_d as the 1st principle of Islam. Here is an interpretation of what this means by the Shi'a scholar Nahj al-Balagha...

The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute. Thus whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognises His like, and who recognises His like regards Him two; and who regards Him two recognises parts for Him; and who recognises parts for Him mistook Him; and who mistook Him pointed at Him; and who pointed at Him admitted limitations for Him; and who admitted limitations for Him numbered Him.

note - This is a form of Platonism

----

Salafis reject dogmatic theology (kalam aka- dialogue/dialectic). They consider this to be based on classical Greek philosophy (Plato and Aristotle) and an import foreign to the original practice of Islam.

Their's is a form of "ancestor worship" based upon MtP and the 1st three generations.

note - This group is not open to dialogue or reason at all. They reject "dogmatism" and all dialectic dialogue. It's Mo's way, or the highway with them.

9/22/06, 1:27 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and so to either attribute a characteristic to G_d's nature OR even attempt to initiate a reasoned dialectic (dialogue) will be a priori offensive to Muslims.

9/22/06, 2:04 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Previously, I stated that I could not debate Farmer Jones because he can respond with perceptions. True to form, he perceives that: he has a larger picture of the mind, and sees a larger role for subconscious intuitions than I do; I believe man’s instincts to be subordinate to and under the control of reason; my favoring of reason lacks concern for those who lack it; I lack recognition of the will to power, unconscious and unreasonable desires, biases, etc., I cannot appreciate Plato or Kant.

Now, I have continually stated that man is (generally) governed by his passions. This includes the subconscious, man’s instincts, the will to power, unconscious and unreasonable desires, biases, etc. In addition, I have emphasized and appreciated the role of intuition for the growth of knowledge. Moreover, I aver that valuing reason and the few who further it, provides the greatest advantage for humanity, as for example with regard to their standard of living, medical treatment, entertainment, etc. Finally, I have long appreciated Plato and Kant, for their structured presentations, and for such particulars as Platonic realism in science and categorical imperatives in metaphysics.

Well, by his perceptions he is right about what I believe, and by my perceptions, I am right. So we agree as to who perceives what. Is any further interchange fruitful?

9/22/06, 2:13 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Since you do not acknowledge the inherent limitations of reason... no. My innate objectivity detector must be in need of calibration. It doesn't get all your channels. Your epistemology is your ken.

9/22/06, 2:32 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

...and being a civilized (tamed) man, your desire to hit the bastards 1st has been "repressed" to the point that it has become inconceivable to you to do it.

You are the "death of the west".

9/22/06, 2:42 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

The barbarians are inside your cage, mr. civilized. Now all you've got to do is wait for them to hit you...

9/22/06, 3:07 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Farmer John has consistently misrepresented me. No matter how often I point this out, he simply does it again. This time he says "...and being a civilized (tamed) man, your desire to hit the bastards 1st has been "repressed" to the point that it has become inconceivable to you to do it. You are the "death of the west"."

This will be my final denial of his 'perceptions'.

I have claimed for over 20 years that Islam is at war with us, and have called for decisive action. I viewed the Iranian seizure of our Embassy in 1979 as an act of war, and advocated bombing Teheran, even if it meant the death of the American hostages.

With regard to Hezbollah, my call was for setting up an atomic wasteland in Southern Lebanon. This was to be wide enough to prevent missiles from reaching Israel.

I held that we should have fired on the missiles from North Korea, as well as their launch sites. I advocate attacking Iran now, before they are able to employ nuclear weapons.

(It is true that the American public does not yet realize that we are at war, so it is infeasible to act seriously until there is a change of heart. But that is another matter.)

For Farmer John to treat my militance by his perceptions of my finding it inconceivable to hit the enemy, indicates a lack of respect for objectivity.

9/22/06, 5:19 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Hit him 1st Weingarten. Not wait for him to hit us. You're all for defense... but afraid to conquer

9/25/06, 7:53 AM  

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