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!

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