"Leading" with God

Posted by dwlievert 5 years ago to Philosophy
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This article is in response to a recent post summarily dismissing Ben Carson as worthy of political consideration.

Several years ago, as Sarah Palin had become thrust onto the national stage, I was asked by a fairly liberal friend, "you wouldn't really vote for her would you?" I stared at him replying, "as opposed to whom?" Caught somewhat off guard he responded, "Well I mean, she is little more than an attractive idiot." "Well," I replied, "what if she was running against an ugly moron?"

Ayn Rand's influence on my values, specifically how they must be derived, leading to what they will therefore become, has been of incalculable benefit. I say this because she taught me the importance of ideas! She did so through rationally forcing me to understand that “non-contradictory identification” and the proper (pro-life as she termed it) embrace of values, leads to consistent actions that produce happiness and fulfillment. In summation - and fundamental to the value of excitedly, joyously, passionately, filling-in the rest of the blanks in the endless crossword puzzle of life, that this was the purpose of philosophy.

Though her impact on many of us was equally profound, she was, despite the early worship of her by many of her students - myself included, neither a god nor always wise in her actions. She made errors. Her incessant focus on God and religion when wading into politics, rather than maintaining the focus on individual freedom was one such example (Please choose NOT to remind me of Rand’s epistemological rigor and her ruthlessly logical tracing of the issue to its metaphysical roots. I am dwelling “contextually” in politics, specifically NOT in absolutes). Nonetheless, she will one day be judged as one of the greatest intellectual minds in history. Meanwhile…….

One manifestation of said error, not coincidentally following her shameful treatment by Buckley and most conservatives, was her vocal criticism of Barry Goldwater. Prior to the election of 1964, she was adamant in her condemnation and rejection of him. Here is a quote of Senator Goldwater’s, circa early 60’s.

"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' "interests," I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."

Rand was certainly correct of course regarding Goldwater, in that as an inconsistent advocate of freedom he would invariably undermine his own arguments. However, will anyone seriously argue that our nation would have been similarly down the destructive road it has taken had the electorate chosen Goldwater rather than Lyndon “Guns & Butter/Great Society” Johnson? Barring nuclear exchange, it is almost unimaginable we would.

Carson will not get the nomination. His responses to both the war on drugs, which he indicates he would “intensify,” and his strategy for dealing with political correctness in education (he wishes to appoint some sort of conservative “overseer” within the Department of Education to “correct” current “incorrectness”), have assured he will unceremoniously fade.

However, if faced with a choice between Hillary and Ben, what would you do?

I’ll close with two recommendations.

1. Lead with your life and not your mouth. As is the case with a picture, an example is worth 10,000 words. When you choose to lead with the latter, skip to number 2.

2. KNOW your audience! We live in a society that, in significant measure, is dominated by Judeo-Christian philosophy. Therefore there is a tendency for many of us to become pessimistic and caustic. While I do, at ties, lapse into pessimism, I try to never become caustic. Keep in mind the virtue of pessimism is that most of your surprises tend to be favorable. Always remain benevolently open to such surprises. Depending on YOUR virtue(s), favorable surprises come more often than you might imagine – as long as, through the exercise of rational virtue(s), you EARN THEM!


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