Friday, May 19, 2006

Did Ayaan Hirsi Ali lie?

Of course, but so what? A few weeks ago, we had a rather lively debate on Kant’s categorical imperative that lying is always wrong even if a killer threatens to use force. Prof. Khawaja notices the same absurd categorical imperative at work in Holland … as he notes here.


Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I had to delete that obscene post.

5/19/06, 12:34 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Of course you did Jason, you're quite the little censor.

5/19/06, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...


5/19/06, 12:50 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

If one could travel beyond Mr. Rogers' Land of Make Believe, past the statues of four-sided triangles, around the evidence of Bill Clinton's middle class tax cuts, through the valley where the Bee Gees rock and beyond until we arrive at that imaginary place and time where leftists are actually physically capable of intelligent dialogue, would we find a dictionary that defines the word "censorship" as English speakers do?

5/19/06, 5:09 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Ducky, Jason has every right on his own blog to hold visitors to a certain code of conduct.

Say, for instance, you enter a fine eating establishment such as McDonald's. Were you to stand on your chair and scream the F-word at the top of your lungs, you would almost certainly be asked to leave, probably at the insistence of the police. That is not discrimination or censorship; it is the enforcement of decent and acceptable public behavior.

Just because we are in an electronic environment doesn't give us permission to act without civility.

5/19/06, 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I'm dying to know what obscene thing was said in that post.

When blogs say that a post has been deleted it gets me curious.

Coming back to the topic, yes Hirsi Ali lied. But at least she didn't hijack a plane. Many of those who are up in arms about her lying are quite forgiving of Muslims who live a lie by taking the benefits of an infidel state while plotting against it.

5/19/06, 5:59 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I read that Ayaan Hirsi Ali might be coming to the Washington, D.C. area. We can use another voice here in the United States.

As to her having lied, she was up front about those lies when she applied for citizenship in the Netherlands.

I love Old Peculiar's comment! But I don't much care about the deleted comment. I'm certain that it was not a contribution to any discussion here.

5/19/06, 9:16 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

C'mon, Jason, you know perfectly well that Ducky hasn't a CLUE about what does and does not constitute censorship. After all, in his little world, there is no such thing as private property.

Old Peculier said...

"Now I'm dying to know what obscene thing was said in that post."

Me too...

Always On Watch said...

"As to her having lied, she was up front about those lies when she applied for citizenship in the Netherlands."

Yeah - the way I heard it, her "lie" was that she omitted some of her several names and added one of a relative, and did so as flack to distract the people who were going to violate her rights as an individual in order to escape their clutches.

Just as the defensive use of physical force is morally appropriate when physical force has been initiated against you, so is the use of defensive deception when your right to freely choose whether to be married, and/or to whom, is being violated.

Self defense is good.

BTW, if anyone has ever doubted that art is important as a means of communicating values, take a look at that Cox and Forkum cartoon about AHA. Framable. Absolutely framable.

5/19/06, 9:52 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Quite astute and thoroughly enjoyable comments!

5/20/06, 7:23 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...


Lies in immigration are common and she admitted that she lied. The question is was she singled out of special punishment.

Jason if you are going to abort posts you need to use style.

5/20/06, 2:01 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

Thank you Jason for deleting what you viewed as an obscene post. Our society has lost the sense of what is beyond the pale, by presuming that vitually anything is worth considering.

I shall understand it, if you delete this post.

5/21/06, 9:01 AM  
Blogger George Mason said...

Whether or not Jason deletee a post is his purview by the right to property. But, back to Kant.

The sole point I want to make is to underscore the incredible power of ideas. Cf: Two sayings: "The pen is mightier than the sword." (Many authors, including Shakespeare) "Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come." (Hugo)

Kant was only the third philosopher in human history to construct a full system of philosophy. The other two were Plato and Aristotle. All three had profound effects on subsequent civilizations for centuries. Kant's effect is somewhat like the Energizer Bunny, in that it keeps on going right now through postmodernism. E.g., the liberal love of "intentions" comes directly from Kant's moral philosophy.

There is now a fourth philosopher who has constructed a complete system, and it is completely opposite to Kant--Ayn Rand. Given how ideas percolate into cultures and effect change at what seems a glacial pace, we may not live to see the fruits of the new system, but we can certainly take hope that our descendents will.

5/22/06, 2:52 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Randoid alert:

Hey George Mason : even if the word "reason" does mean something(which I think is true), the faculty it points to does not exist as advertised. For it is claimed that reason is transcendent, objective, gender-neutral, class-neutral, culture-neutral, century-neutral, emotionless, independent of the body, and disinterested, yet on close examination it turns out that no form of thinking bears this description.

Let me know what you think. Meanwhile I ask you to refute artists like Bunuel or Samuel Beckett who make compelling statements about the limits of reson (or actually thought in Beckett's case) and our enslavement to instinct and "appetite".

5/22/06, 3:41 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

"reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions"
--- Hume ---

the madman is not one who has lost his reason; the madman is the one who has lost everything except his reason.
--- G.K. Chesterton ---

Reason is solid and unshakeable but it cannot withstand a man determined to continue living
--- Kafka ---

Is there any reason that philosophy departments ignore our dear Ayn? What are some great Rand quotes? A is A?

5/22/06, 3:50 PM  
Blogger George Mason said...

Oh, Mr. Ducky,

You are too easy. You say "Let me know what you think." Well, sir, it just wouldn't do you any good.

By the way, it was Aristotle who quoted "A is A."

5/22/06, 10:01 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

George Mason, please be fair. Someone who thinks himself qualified to define which thinkers have developed "complete systems" must have a great deal to share.

Maybe you can start by roughing out a definition of "complete system".

Do you have any familiarity with Samuel Beckett? I just wonder how Rand deals with opposition that dose a fine job of showing the complete shortcomings of defing man as a "rational" being.

Come on George, let's hear from you.

5/23/06, 9:43 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

George Mason writes “There is now a fourth philosopher who has constructed a complete system…Ayn Rand.” I doubt that she has done so, but has instead developed a means of validating knowledge. That which is contentious, but is not yet capable of validation (or invalidation) remains outside of her purview. Here I am not referring to constructs which are theological or mystical, whose existence she simply denies. Rather it is the many issues that are not yet suitable for validation. Some simple examples are found in the history of science, where many fruitful constructs took time to become perfected. Other examples are in the application of political policies, which are also too open and too uncertain, to be validated, but which must be acted upon. This is not to deny the vast contributions of Objectivism, but rather to aver that it cannot constitute a Weltanschauung (let alone a 'religion'). Nor is dealing with that which is not yet perfected a secondary consideration. That which we know is of less import than that which we need to discover.

Others have discussed the nature of reason. I define it as that which aims at reducing our understanding to what is self-evident (or suitably a-priori). Here, I do not differentiate between whether it is analytic, synthetic, or moral. It is simply a pure process, that has no need for the biases that are in vogue.

5/23/06, 10:10 AM  
Blogger Cubed © said...


There is no guarantee that anyone will optimally develop his capacity for reason. Those of us who have the good fortune to be born with intact brains all have the capacity for reason, but like height or weight, if we don't develop it properly, we'll not achieve all its potential. We can learn concepts (a function of reason) such as "furniture" or "plants," but just as a poorly nourished child can develop rickets, our capacity for reason may be so "poorly nourished" as we grow that we become hostile to learning about higher-order concepts such as "justice," "morality," or "rights."

You seem to think that we are "enslaved" by "instinct" and "appetite."

What this does is to deny the Law of Identity. Our nature as living entities requires us to eat, to drink, to reproduce, to maintain a certain body heat, etc.

Our identities - our natures - do not permit us to live without oxygen, to walk on the surface of the sun, to live naked in the Antarctic or to survive the ingestion of a large amount of arsenic.

When we are born, we experience right from the get-go an unpleasant sensation from falling, and respond with the "Moro" reflex, a grasping motion of both arms. Among our remote ancestors, this reflex - something some people call "instinct" - was a survival mechanism. Without it, a lot of infants who didn't have it did not grab mom's fur, and they fell to their deaths from the trees where they lived. There are many examples of these so-called "instincts" involving sounds, tastes, noxious sensations of all sorts, etc, and all of them help us survive.

Despite all these "limitations," I find it hard to consider myself "enslaved" by my identity.

Ducky, it is not an assault on your self-esteem to say that it's not too late for you to try to learn some of this.

For the most part, people whose mindsets - their basic intellectual framework - have not included a certain view of reality by the time they achieve young adulthood (mid-twenties or thereabouts), their thinking is pretty much engraved in stone.

There are some exceptions, and maybe you are one of them. You do have an interest in things way above the level of Captain Marvel, which is an achievement in its own right, but I do notice that while you spend a lot of time throwing rocks, you don't spend much time trying to explain why you believe as you do.

5/23/06, 1:52 PM  

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