Saturday, April 20, 2013

A (p)review

So, today's the day.  As I announced a few months in advance, 4/20/2013 would be the day I go on strike unless some eminently reasonable conditions were met.  (I've made some revisions to them since then.)  I'll get to those in a moment, but first, consider a hypothetical:

Say that today, I wanted to "wake and bake" in the privacy of my abode, saganize my cognition, and set myself to the task of thinking about a Platonic-Aristotelian-Kantian-Hegelian-Nietzschean-Randian-Rawlsian-Nozickian-Chomskian "synthesis" and see what I could come up with so as to "go out with a bang" for my 4/20 blog posting . . . but, oh darn, I was out of cannabis and just couldn't get my hands on some all that readily.  And so no edutainment in that regard today.

Instead, some fucks, somewhere, without my consent, had decided to exercise physical force and power over my life to prevent me from engaging in such peaceful, productive activity, in violation of my not-specfically-enumerated natural rights (which are at the core of the "live and let live" ethos that grounds the best modern Lockean-liberal theories of government).

In the United States of America.  In the year 2013.

You might begin to see the problem here.

This is unacceptable.

If you were to poll Americans on what the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution said, a pitifully low percentage would know the answer . . . and that's how creeping statism became a fact of American political life.  I'm sure that the Framers would be most dismayed at this state of affairs.  Ignorance is the problem, and only education can be the solution.

My posting yesterday posed the question, "Is it 'later than we think'?" and went through a number of items that indicated that we may well be nearer the cultural and technological singularities than we think.  A fitting title for today's entry might well have been, "Is it earlier than we think?" - that is, there seems to be a large amount of evidence that we still have a long way to go before humanity achieves the state of enlightenment necessary to reach "maturity" as a species.  As I noted yesterday, humanity entered what might be termed an "adolescent" phase some 2,500ish years ago.  Some time in the not-too-distant-future, if the human race doesn't wipe itself out first, it can and will enter an "adult" phase.  (The so-called new atheists think this means an end to religion.  None of them seems to possess the intellectual prowess of a Plato, Aquinas, Hegel, or Whitehead.  Just sayin'.  Hell, Antony Flew owns them already; they've had no answer to him as of yet.  Quelle ignorance!)

That said, here are the nine eminently reasonable "no-brainer" conditions, in bare essentials, which I have set down in order for me to end the strike which I am starting at 4:20 today:

1. Cannabis becoming as legal as alcohol for all adults age 21 and over living in America.

2. Accountability for CIA acts of torture, sodomy and killing of detainees.

3. Marriage equality.  (At least this one appears to be close to a done deal.  Yay, one out of nine!)

4. Good-faith effort by America's elected representatives to broker a mideast peace deal in the spirit of Taba, which even both Dershowitz and Chomsky agree on.

5. A quality program implemented by educators for educating the nation's youth in the humanities in an age-appropriate fashion.

6. A move toward outlawing factory-farming and other cruel and inhumane practices toward animals.  (This alone would help to reduce net carbon emissions a shit-ton, not to mention improve diets.  A win-win-win!)

7. An overhaul of corporate-cultural norms that presently have the effect of dehumanizing and demoralizing stakeholders, which also has the effect of stunting productivity.  (In a perfective world, people would be much less dependent upon employment by others for their livelihoods.  In the meantime, ... .)

8. A serious move by political, business, and other leaders to get leading intellectuals (like this guy for instance, or this lady) much more involved in the presently-impoverished national dialogue.

9. A serious move by the leading ideas-merchants in academia and elsewhere to do a much better job of connecting with the concerns of ordinary folks (and this emphatically includes taking Ayn Rand more seriously than they are at present; the Ayn Rand Society can serve to provide many promising, uh, leads).

Being that this is 2013 already, it seems to me to be quite a shame that these haven't all happened already.  They are no-brainers.

For anyone who's been paying attention, item #1 is particularly galling considering that no one has any good arguments for keeping the status quo on drug policy.  There is a constant chorus by now that "the drug war is a massive failure," and yet the vast majority of congresscritters aren't doing jackshit to fix the problem.  How did we ever come to this state of affairs?  The only answer I can think of is: ignorance.  The congresscritters aren't doing jackshit because the people to whom they're supposed to be accountable aren't doing enough to light a fire under their asses.  Education is the only solution.

Here's a hint to good aspects of both Rand and Chomsky that can be synthesized: how the abuse of language, a dichotomy between territory and mental map, corrupts any dialogue.  If there's one key lesson I gleaned from Chomsky's Understanding Power, it's this one.  The muddling of language is caused by, and causes, the muddling of thought.  Abuses of power-relations are just one of the results.  Both the pioneer of linguistics and a leading proponent of a neo-Aristotelian, objective approach to concepts can agree on that.

I said in my original strike-announcement that my blog would "shut off" after today.  I'm not ready to do that just yet; at minimum I'll have a grace period, perhaps 90 days.  (What I am doing for sure is withholding, indefiitely, future mental products from public circulation.)  I think the probability is somewhere around 50/50 that there are roughly 420 pages worth of page-turner material in this here blog, and it would be kind of a shame to delete it immediately from public view, though I think it's only a preview of what could be to come.  As of now, though, it's arguably roughly 420 pages worth of page-turner material available for free, which is really about all I'm willing to just give out up to this point in time, without my stated conditions being met.  This does leave me with one monetizing option I may well use to help support my future work: making the existing contents of my blog available (perhaps in eBook form) only for paying customers, probably at $4.20 a shot.  Maybe it will be available only to members of an online Ultimate Gulch I might be setting up.  (Now taking applications; there's one entrant so far....) Would that be "cheating" on my "strike" commitment?  I don't think so, but I don't give too much of a shit about that; it's the product of my mind to do with as I please, and it's future production that non-Gulchers would be missing out on.

All this does raise a question: am I setting up some kind of Catch-22 situation?  That is to say, don't the conditions I've set forth require a fairly rapid progress in the direction of the cultural singularity, whereas publication of future products of my mind would supposedly speed up that very progress?  Hell, I think leaving that as an exercise to this blog's readers should make things a bit more interesting for all concerned.

Anyway, if a dedicated reader were to mentally integrate all my existing blog postings into a single unit, I'm roughly 100% confident that he or she would come away with the essentials necessary to grasp that perfectivism is the philosophy of the future, which is to say that Ayn Rand's ideas are the wave of the future, which is to say that America's intellectual status quo is unacceptable.  (And, as advanced students of Objectivism are well aware, it's all about method - integration - and only derivatively about individualism and capitalism which the cowardly and/or ignorant preservers of the status quo are so fearful of.)  My future mental products will only build upon the essentials set forth in this blog, which is to say, they should be pretty fucking awesome.  But a shit-ton of promising leads are already contained herein; all one has to do is pursue them, and to think.

I, for one, am optimistic about what is to come, whatever it may be and however it happens.  I think it'll end up being a lot of fun for a great many concerned.  As far as I can tell, my going on strike will be for the best when all is said and done.  If there's anything my perfectivist mindset has taught me, it's how seemingly unfortunate circumstances can be turned into a positive; I notice parallels in the martial arts tradition, when it comes to using an opponent's strength to one's advantage.  Sure, I set a goal some months back for today, and fell short.  But it's like Jordan said, you use that as an opportunity to improve and, ultimately, to succeed.

In connection with this blog posting's title: In briefest essentials, the past, present and future of true and correct ethical philosophy is contained right there in "Perfectivism: an Introduction."

And so, with that, I can't think of anything more of importance to add to what I've said already.  Catch y'all on the flip side?

(and obligatory musical accompaniment :-p)

ULTIMATE CLIFFHANGER: Will UP write his entire book on Perfectivism while stoned?

Problem, America? ;-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Is it "later than we think"?

For those of you reading this in the year 2100 (I think the human race will make it till then), a bit of perspective: this past week's American news was focused almost entirely on the "Boston Marathon Bombing" and the aftermath that left four dead and well over one hundred wounded.  Within 4 days of this terror attack, one of the two suspects (young Muslim males, as it happens) was dead and the other in custody.  This was the story for 4 days, seemingly 24/7 on the cable news channels.

I figure if that was the main story of the week, it was - all things considered - a slow news week.  Bombings of this sort still happen quite frequently around the world in the year 2013, but this was one that hit home, hence the wall-to-wall news coverage.  Boston went into lockdown mode for most of today, but in all seriousness, if this is the main - seemingly exclusive - focus of news coverage for an entire week, just in how bad a state is the world in the year 2013, really?  I have in mind here Steven Pinker's recent work on the decline in violence (percentage-wise) over the course of human history.  Despite the troubles and challenges we all still face at this point in history, we should certainly step back and take the long view of these things.

Some 2,500ish years ago, the human race - in existence pretty much in present form for some hundred thousand years - entered what may well be termed an adolescent phase, a phase of questioning and examining pre-existing beliefs, with philosophers leading the way.  Back then, it is true, a philosopher could be sentenced to death by hemlock, but that wouldn't happen today (not in the West, anyhow).  At most he'd be assessed a fine.  Fast forward some 2,300ish years, and modern republican democracy is established in America, and that ethos spreads to much of the rest of the world over that time.  Slavery is no longer considered acceptable, women enjoy equal social status with men.  (Again, in the West.)  The agricultural revolution of thousands of years ago, along with human intellectual progress since that time, paved the way for the industrial revolution of the modern republican-democratic era.  A system that came to be termed 'capitalism' emerged and, after failed experiments in socialist models of production, it now looks to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, with modifications here and there.  Now, it appears that some new revolution, bringing the human race to the next stage of advancement, is in its infancy.  Within a couple centuries, the population boomed to over 7 billion, and in recent decades the global rate of poverty has been falling more and more towards zero.  Nuclear technology, almost the moment it was developed, was used to end a world war some 7 decades ago, and hasn't been employed in wartime since.  Back during those times, a bomb killing three and injuring scores of others was merely a small subset of a single day's bloody events.

If one were to look at the dystopian science fiction that emerged in the postwar era and lasting until roughly the internet age, one got the impression that by 2013 the world might plausibly be engaged in more world-warring, or nuking one another (how about the future dystopia depicted in the Terminator film of 1984, produced during a period of intense nuclear buildup between the U.S. and the Soviet Union?).  We don't have the flying cars yet, but neither has a world resembling Orwell's 1984 even remotely been realized, despite concerns in recent years about a military-industrial "surveillance state" (concerns that, voiced as they have been, have kept such activities of the state in check).  Note that big cities such as Boston now have security cameras that can used to survey public spaces, which were instrumental to tracking down the two bombing suspects in a relatively very short amount of time; the cultural norm of today is that privacy is naturally expected in one's own home, but there's no expectation of privacy in public spaces.  So we have had advances in technology in combination with evolved legal norms that, other things being equal, have made undetected criminal behavior that much more difficult to carry out.

As has been widely noted, including here on this blog, the democratization of the world means less warring between states.  Dystopian totalitarian scenarios appear to be a thing of the past, arguably in no small part due to the very warnings from observant and conscientious authors such as Orwell (and Rand!), and other public intellectuals.

According to the cheesy dystopian '70s and '80s sci-fi (ever see Logan's Run?  Jenny Agutter was hot, at least), the average human being in the year 2013 might turn on the television and be witness to the surreal - say, like, an inhuman "game show" such as The Running Man.  Well, it turns out that humans these days aren't nearly so eager to see their fellow humans being hunted down in such a fashion.

Yes, a truly bad candidate appeared on the Republican presidential ticket 5 years ago, a sign the country might have been going insane.  But the candidate ended up discredited due to diligent commentary in the blogosphere and other media.  Sure, there's an obesity epidemic in America, but fat-shaming has become a thing as a consequence.  At least the problem isn't the other way, as in a world running out of food.  Yes, global warming appears to be the biggest problem facing humankind in the coming decades, but . . .

Getting back to that thing about what we might see turning on our television sets in the year 2013.  How many have noticed just how beautiful Hi-Def television is?  I'm talking especially in terms of form of presentation; the content can certainly be improved.  But there's got to be some kind of theorizing among those in the field of aesthetics about the nature of Hi-Def television, else they will have failed at doing what they're supposed to be doing.  And let's keep in mind that Hi-Def television was not at all envisioned back in the 1980s, certainly not in the cheesy sci-fi movies.  If it had been envisioned back then, there would be a huge fortune to be made by the envisioner(s).  Or the smartphones and digital pads.  Do human beings these days realize, all things considered, just how good people have it these days?  And let's not forget about the way the internet has exploded and evolved as a medium of information and communication, and can only continue to do so.  Now this thing called 3-D printing appears to be hitting scalability.

Given the course of human history over the past few decades, we may well be in near-Singularity mode (the technological singularity, at least) as it is, because we don't seem to have any really clear idea how the world will look 10 years from now.  If we could, then - again - some huge fortunes can be made based upon some good predictions.  Kurzweil defines the technological singularity as the point when super-intelligent machines are created, which is supposedly some decades down the line.  Supposedly, in principle, they can be created, despite the present barriers we face with regard to reverse-engineering the human brain.  (Biological theories of consciousness seem to be what the philosophers are converging upon.  I think they might have figured that out a lot sooner had they paid more attention to Aristotle . . . but what the F do I know.)  And I don't see what else we could converge toward culture-wise than the whole Aristotelian-Jeffersonian-Randian-perfectivist paradigm.  Kurzweil has made his case in the technological realm; I believe I've amply demonstrated mine (here in this blog) for culture, at least in broad outline.

So where do we go from here?  Whatever it is, it ought to be really effing interesting.

So it looks like tomorrow, 4/20, at 4:20 p.m. (EST?) I go "on strike," which may very well contribute to the interesting-ness of whatever is to come.  I hardly have the faintest idea as to the what, when, where, how, etc.  We're just gonna have to find out, aren't we. ;-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Aristotle and Ayn Rand redux

My main article on the subject, from January of this year, is here; I've also provided some notes as to Aristotle-Rand similarities in my "Perfectivism: An Introduction" from December of last year.  As anyone who has done the relevant research knows by now, Ayn Rand's ethics (both the meta-ethics and the normative ethics) is a leading modern contender to the neo-Aristotelian throne.  Scholarly interpretation of Rand's ethics over the last few decades has converged upon a neo-Aristotelian interpretation of her ethical egoism; a very prominent recent case in point of said scholarship is Tara Smith's Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist (Cambridge, 2006).

(I'll note as a glaring example of left-"liberal" cognitive bias that many on today's left aren't even aware of literature such as this, else they wouldn't put their ignorance of such way out on display for all to see; I conjecture that the cognitive bias involved here has to do with an unexamined prejudice - perverting their perception of what's fact and what isn't - namely, that "Rand isn't taken seriously by academic philosophers."  This cognitive prejudice is actively encouraged in intellectually-incestuous leftist venues such as reddit and its joke of a "philosophy" forum, via the intellectually and morally corrupt mob rule generated by its upvote/downvote model.  Things were better in the days of widespread Usenet usage.)

So I bring this subject up because of a current internet poll on the subject of the most important moral philosophers in the history of Western thought, supervised by the Leading Brand(TM) among philosophy blogs.  The poll results for the top 10 appear thuswise:

1. Aristotle  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Immanuel Kant  loses to Aristotle by 307–170
3. Plato  loses to Aristotle by 341–134, loses to Immanuel Kant by 292–191
4. David Hume  loses to Aristotle by 402–76, loses to Plato by 302–167
5. John Stuart Mill  loses to Aristotle by 407–78, loses to David Hume by 241–223
6. Socrates  loses to Aristotle by 385–77, loses to John Stuart Mill by 249–196
7. Thomas Hobbes  loses to Aristotle by 455–22, loses to Socrates by 266–163
8. John Rawls  loses to Aristotle by 452–31, loses to Thomas Hobbes by 220–212
9. Jeremy Bentham  loses to Aristotle by 439–36, loses to John Rawls by 224–207
10. Aquinas  loses to Aristotle by 445–18, loses to Jeremy Bentham by 241–176

So we have philosophy's "Big Three" at the top, although second place is a distant second and third place a distant third behind second (and fourth place a distant fourth behind third).

Now, the poll's supervisor is a big-time intellectual bigot when it comes to Ayn Rand, and - unsurprisingly - Rand is not included among the 50 philosophers to choose from in the poll.  (In the Irony Dept., this very same blogger has a posting today about injustice within the profession, namely not giving credit where it's due.  Also, in top form for him, he had this to say just yesterday: "What a sick, pathetic country [the United States] is."  Perhaps part of what makes it so "sick and pathetic" is an anti-dialectical estrangement between the professional intellectual class and the unwashed - an estrangement perpetrated and perpetuated to no small extent by the intellectuals themselves?  Physician, heal thyself?)  Anyway, what interests me is: if Aristotle is indeed the most important moral philosopher in the Western tradition, where does Rand (objectively) belong in the results of such a poll?  Who, after all, has been more emphatic than Rand about rationality being the primary virtue, which is the core idea in the most plausible version(s) of Aristotelian-perfectionist ethical theory?

Without proposing a specific answer here, I think the question itself is worth taking seriously.

No, Rand did not write a stand-alone nonfiction treatise in ethical theory.  Her essay "The Objectivist Ethics" runs to all of about 25 pages (and she unfairly denigrates Aristotle in that essay no less).  However, let's not forget about the "authorized" status of Leonard Peikoff's 1976 lecture course, The Philosophy of Objectivism, which devotes one of its 12 two-and-a-half-hour lectures to the subject of moral virtue (which appears as chapter 8 in Peikoff's print-adaptation of that course, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and which more or less forms the basis of Tara Smith's Virtuous Egoist, which is more or less "vetted" by Peikoff via discussions with the author).  That chapter runs to 75 pages (on top of 45 pages in Chapter 7 on the subject of "The Good," which has a section on Rationality as the Primary Virtue).  Not that any of this is new to seasoned students of Rand, but I'm covering bases for any newbies.  So we have about 120 pages worth of nonfiction ethical writing in the "official Objectivist canon" - not exactly lightweight stuff as such measures go.

And how about Rand's fiction, anyway?  Large books illustrating the principles involved.  There's one thing that I've (inductively) noticed lately about large books: they tend to be written by intellectual heavy-hitters.  (This is not to say that the observation runs in reverse, i.e., that heavy-hitters tend to write large books.)  Large volumes (around 600 pages or more) in my collection of books, in addition to Rand's two big novels, include: Plato: Collected Dialogues; Basic Works of Aristotle; The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson; multiple volumes by Marquis de Sade; The Marx-Engels Reader; The Portable Nietzsche and Basic Writings of Nietzsche; Copleston's History of Philosophy; Mises's Human Action; Letters of Ayn Rand (a page-turner and one of the four most essential Rand books to have, IMHO, in addition to the two big novels and the Lexicon) and Journals of Ayn Rand; Rawls's A Theory of Justice; Charles Taylor's Hegel; Nozick's Philosophical Explanations; Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea; Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near; Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; Zinn's A People's History of the United States; The Freud Reader, the Holy Bible; and last but not least, Shakespeare's complete works.  (Now, if only someone, somewhere could integrate all that's good in these many large volumes into a single unit priced at, oh, say, $4.20 apiece, and not go "on strike" before making said unit available for public sale....)

On a related note, there's moral philosopher Derek Parfit's recent two-volume On What Matters, which, as I've noted, contains next to zero discussion of the philosopher appearing at #1 in the poll above.  Perhaps some prominent academic philosophers have some effed-up ideas about whom and what is important, and thereby lack the wherewithal to unite historical concretes in accordance with fundamentally important similarities?  (I'll just note that when the poll above had only one vote, Nietzsche topped the list.  I wonder who that first voter might have been?  Oh, the irony just keeps on pouring in, dunnit?  What, am I the asshole here?)

Two days left . . . .

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Links for the day (with relevance to the eventual Aristotelian/perfectivist cultural singularity)

(A note on terminology: The "cultural singularity" would basically be the vast majority of people adopting an "Aristotelian-Jeffersonian-Randian" way of life.)

1) On the 14th of this month, I promised something on the subject of "force, alienation, and the dialectical tradition."  (April 15th in America is a date widely noted for the federal government's use of physical compulsion or force against its citizens, see, and so the timing seemed appropriate.  Alas, I've been busy, hence the delay.)  In relation to that grouping of subjects, I floated this posting over at the philosophy subreddit (but, /r/philosophy being such a joke, it got next to no traction there, and it even received a downvote from an anonymous coward, probably an anti-Rand one if that forum's history is any guide).  Perfectivism, of course, urges the student of P/perfectivism to present the best theory he or she possibly can, with due engagement with the philosophical tradition.  This linked posting represents the state-of-the-art in such a process of dialectic.  Methinks that forums like /r/philosophy may very well just have to learn the hard way, whatever that turns out to be.

2) "What would Socrates do?"  A review by Naomi Schaefer Riley of the late Earl Shorris's The Art of Freedom, in today's Wall Street Journal.  I like how, in Shorris's Western-humanities curriculum which some idiots criticized as culturally imperialist, he opted for the likes of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty over African cultural studies.  Doesn't that rather conclusively demonstrate how some cultures are objectively superior to (i.e., more advanced than) others?  English culture gave rise to On Liberty; to what, comparably speaking, did African culture give rise?   (American culture, meanwhile, gave rise to The Fountainhead and Google.  America, fuck yeah!)  My, how easily the idiots can miss a point....

Note: Three days until I go on strike.  I'm thinking 4:20 p.m. on 4/20.  Whatever verbal rivers of gold that any of my saganized cognition generates thereafter may be my exclusive private domain indefinitely, unless or until the eminently reasonable conditions I've set forth are met.  I haven't ruled out forming some kind of "Ultimate Gulch" along with high standards for admission, however....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Question for the day:

Would it be more correct for to redirect to this here blog, or to the Objectivism subreddit?  (Or to somewhere else?)  I'm asking in complete seriousness. :-o

On the agenda tomorrow: Force, alienation, and the 'dialectical' tradition.  It could very well be mind-blowing stuff.  Stay tuned . . .

P.S. 6 days . . .

P.P.S. What about the badphilosophy subreddit?  Note: I've been banned from posting there.  I find that quite funny. :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Alternet idiocy, or: the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left

The latest from the very well-known leftwing news-and-opinion outlet,

Just so that things don't become too repetitive around here, I'll refer readers to my previous posting, in which Paul Ryan (a United States congressman) is contrasted with Leonard Peikoff (the person in the world with the biggest clue as to what Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy is all about), and simply note that Les Leopold, author of the above hit-piece (and whom I've never heard of before), is also not Leonard Peikoff.

Ayn Rand's vision of "paradise" was presented in Atlas Shrugged, particularly the first two chapters of Part III, where the social ethics of Galt's Gulch is made plenty clear.  (A few months ago, I had also uncovered an insightful statement from the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick on the nature of the Gulch, which I discussed here.)  Anyone with a clue can easily recognize that the Gulch does not resemble present-day Tennessee in the relevant respect(s).  The eminently interesting and important question in this connection is: What are the intellectual-cultural preconditions for such a society to ever come about, and how do they differ from those preconditions that generated the present-day circumstances (in Tennessee and elsewhere)?  If the gap between these two sets of preconditions can be bridged, then we have a blueprint for utopia.

The Left has thoroughly, pathetically defaulted in this regard - not only in regard to its ridiculously bad approach to Ayn Rand's ideas which I've documented on countless occasions here already, but also in presenting a remotely compelling vision of the requisite intellectual-cultural prerequisites for achieving a utopian social order.  The "best" representative of any such vision that the Left has had on offer for 40 years now, is the late Harvard philosopher John Rawls's A Theory of Justice.  Rawls drew heavily on Kantian moral theory, which is to say, he missed the mark something terrible.  The correct mark is Aristotelianism, and Ayn Rand, in her presentation of a neo-Aristotelian vision of life, was some decades ahead of the leftist intelligentsia.  (They have yet to catch up, still.)  It is on the basis of an Aristotelian (also Jeffersonian) ethos that a realistic blueprint for utopia can be offered.

(It should be noted that Rawls was also considered by perceptive scholars to be a utopian of sorts, but notably as it pertained to his writings on international relations.  (Hint: for there to be international peace, there needs to be worldwide democracy, as, empirically-inductively speaking, democracies never go to war with one another.)  Nozick, for his part, offered his own libertarian idea of a utopia - also not premised in Aristotelian intellectual-cultural preconditions, and therefore that much more deficient - in part III of his Anarchy, State, and Utopia.  But there is a very astute inductive generalization to be drawn here: the two "leading" political philosophers of our time were utopians!  WTF, right?  Where does that come from?  What's with philosophers and utopia?  And, most pressingly: how do we best and most quickly get from the philosophers' theoretical castles in the sky to a real-world utopia?  Hint: Aristotelianism, which also means Randianism, and Nortonianism, and Jeffersonianism.  Or, put another way: perfectivism.)

Anyway, how did the Left in America sink to such a low state, that it can't or won't address the likes of Peikoff, or Sciabarra, or the Ayn Rand Society head-on, so as to supposedly expose the gaping flaws of Objectivism in a compelling fashion?  (Hint: they just can't.  Hey, once you go Understanding Objectivism, you never go back.  It's inductively certain.  But I guess I'll just have to leave that one up to the doubters to establish in their own minds, independently and objectively, of course.  But at least I've done some part in leading them to the water.  Another hint: the Ayn Rand Society is chock full of Aristotelians.)  I submit that this ignorant deficiency goes all the way to the top.  Had Brian Leiter done the intellectually responsible and honest thing when it comes to Ayn Rand, the cultural discourse would be that much more moved along at this point.  But he defaulted on this task something terrible.  He may know a shit-ton about Nietzsche, but he doesn't know jackshit about Ayn Rand.  (Hint: here's what a Nietzsche scholar with a clue about Ayn Rand has to say about these two.)  But this phenomenon isn't limited only to Brian Leiter; it's a pervasive ignorant deficiency in the left-wing academy and intelligentsia.  Here's a suggestion as to why: lack of Aristotelian influence.  Today's "leading" academic ethical philosopher, Derek Parfit (The Leading Brand[TM]), barely mentions Aristotle in his recent mammoth treatise in ethics, On What Matters.  Rawls gave some attention to Aristotle, and there's something to be said for that.  (Rawls was a fairly comprehensive thinker in his own right - as a thinker focused primarily on political philosophy, that is.  His main philosophical treatises are centered around the subject of political liberalism and "justice as fairness."  Aristotle-like thinkers, on the other hand, of which there have been very few historically, present a comprehensive view of humankind and its relation to existence.  Ayn Rand is one such example, and her Aristotelian-intellectualist-perfectionist-eudaimonist ethics blows away the competition, more or less.  Which is to say, Aristotelianism blows away the competition.)

So, instead of being governed by an Aristotelian ethos, today's intellectual, academic, cultural and political Left in America is mired in a very damaging selective ignorance.  When its leading ideological professors aren't smearing or ignorantly dismissing Rand (who is a - perhaps the - key representative of Aristotelian-style thinking in the last century, her shitty polemics notwithstanding), its media outlets send out no-name jabronis like Les Leopold to do hit-pieces. [EDIT: As to the leading living "intellectual of the Left," Noam Chomsky, whose specialty in any case is linguistics, I've addressed his ignorant comments on Rand here.]  Sad.

Checkmate, assholes. :-D

Eight days left before 4/20, the date I go on strike . . .

P.S. Also, let's not forget - let's NOT forget - that, aside from amphibious animals as a domestic, uh, within the city not being legal, let's not forget that in year 1922, when all the trendy lefty intellectuals were embracing socialism, there was a man - I'll say a hero, and a man for his time and place - who stood up against all that lunacy and proved that socialism wouldn't work.  He checkmated their asses real good!  Story of 20th century political economy in a nutshell, dudes.  Worthy fucking adversary.  Rand is next up for vindication; either you're with her, or you're with the terrorists.  Poor little leftists, what ever are they going to do?  (They might start by doing their homework, the intellectually lazy bastards - just for once, at long last, for a very refreshing change from the pathetic charade they're putting on now.)  Whatever they do, they better not fall down from my obstacle; that would break my effing heart!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ayn Rand's cameo appearance

In the Verbal River of Gold department:

You'd think that in all the discussion about Ayn Rand (widely known/loved/hated author of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and originator of a philosophy she called Objectivism) that has been generated in American culture to date, the subject of the author's one cameo appearance in her novels would not have gone almost totally undetected in that discussion.  But no.  What we have here is a failure to integrate.  On the one hand, we have all this discussion about the author and her novels, and on the other hand, we have near-complete ignorance among the populace as to where that author made a cameo appearance.  But an analysis of that cameo appearance both (a) demonstrates the awesomeness of Objectivism and (b) points inextricably to a massive, gaping plot hole.

This may well go down as one of the biggest checkmates in history, for nearly everyone concerned.  Not for me, though.  I got here first. ;-)  Anyway, the eventual outcome of said checkmating is going to be awesome, for all concerned.

The likes of Bill Maher are a triviality at this point, squashable little roaches.  (Easy, just get 'em cornered, and drop something heavy on 'em.  Reisman's Capitalism comes readily to mind.)  Simply ask Leonard Peikoff what he thinks about Rand's Objectivist philosophy at age 78 or thereabouts, compared to what he thought about it at 19.  He'll probably tell you that her philosophy is all about the fundamental need of mental integration for successful human living.  You can also even ask Rand's former associate until 1968 (but hardly an "ex-Objectivist" - an impossibility given the right training, BTW; I've reached this absolutely certain conclusion inductively based on observation of countless real, concrete, serious students of Objectivism who are all perfectly normal, happy, and functional), Nathaniel Branden.  Or Allan Gotthelf, for crying out loud.  Bill Maher doesn't understand jack shit about Ayn Rand's ideas.  Simple as that.  Checkmate, asshole.  (Now into Maher mocking sneery-voice mode.)  Hey, here's a clue for you, asshole: Paul Ryan isn't Leonard Peikoff!  I've got proof right here:

Paul Ryan:

"I'm congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, chair of the House Budget Committee and the 2012 GOP Vice Presidential nominee."
Now. Here's Leonard Peikoff:

"I'm Leonard Peikoff, the foremost authority on Ayn Rand's philosophy. If you have questions about what Rand really thought, I'm the best guy to ask.  I have written a book, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991), which presents a fundamental, tightly integrated view of man and his relation to existence.  My lecture courses are available for purchase for around $10 each, or roughly 40 cents an hour.  The coming generation of highly-information-savvy college students interested in Ayn Rand's ideas are gonna just love these; I'd seriously and strongly urge today's philosophy professors to prepare themselves for the coming stampede.  Bill who?"

Methinks that the likes of Bill Maher are guilty of a psychological phenomenon known as projection, seeing as how the grotesque caricature involved resembles no serious adult students of Objectivism.  So their attributions of whatever psychological shortcomings in their fantasy version of "Objectivists" come from somewhere within them.  Maybe Maher at 19 was a clueless idiot, more or less like he is now?  This is a much, much better, simpler explanation than that it's Rand and not Maher who's the asshole here.  And if Maher's so great and intellectual and so concerned about the root of the country's ills, why doesn't he at least have Chomsky on his show as a regular, much less an actual student of Objectivism with a clue?  (Don Watkins would be a great choice of guest for Maher's show, would he not.  He's the one currently teaching the up-and-comers all about writing and communicating objectively and compellingly.)

(Also, I hate having to take "l"s out of "Mahler" just to spell this asshole's name right.  Can we not have any more talk about him until he's been whipped into intellectual shape?  Thanks.)

Reminder: 11 days to go before I go on strike.  Pity about poor Catherine, though.  Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.