Knowledge, Reason and Communication defeats bad ideology

Posted by  $  Solver 1 month, 4 weeks ago to Philosophy
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Leftists are doing it wrong. Here is an example of the right way,

https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861...


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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    Knowledge, Reason and Communication defeats bad ideology.... Do they? They should, but if they had, Objectivism would be the default, not the exception.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 month, 4 weeks ago
      Spreading a philosophy of reason that is radically different than tradition takes a lot more than refuting the most overt, crude racism which is mostly gone in this society anyway.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 4 weeks ago
        The United States was the first country to base its founding on knowledge, reason, and communication. Given its success, one would think that other countries would have replicated the US model, but for the most part, they haven't. Two hundred plus years of success should have been more than ample example of how knowledge, reason, and communication defeats bad ideology. Many of those spreading the philosophy of reason erroneously think that the benefits of a philosophy of reason should be self-evident. Perhaps to us, such benefits are self-evident, but not to most others. What I am saying is that the intentional blankouts and fakings of reality are so pervasive that the world is like a garden overrun with weeds.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
          The Enlightenment was based on reason and individualism, not "communication". Some other countries did try to politically copy the US success, allowing some degree of economic freedom, but could not do it enough or consistently because they did not accept the reason and individualism. No one said that a philosophy of reason is "self evident". The Enlightenment never achieved a consistent philosophy of reason, particularly in ethics, in which egoism was only implicit. Ayn Rand's philosophy, based on an Aristotelian approach, was a great achievement in all the main branches of philosophy, and is so radically different than traditional views that it is still poorly understood, and not understood at all by most.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
            I will not argue that the Enlightenment was based on reason and individualism. It was, but communication was a critical element. Arguably, the Enlightenment would not have been possible without the invention of the printing press, for example. You are right that the Enlightenment never achieved a consistent philosophy of reason, and to your point, Rand's philosophy was indeed a great achievement. Furthering your point, this generation has not achieved a consistent philosophy of reason either. And the great question is, "Why hasn't this society, despite widespread communication, not embraced Rand's philosophy?" Certainly it was explained clearly enough, and it was readily available to those who sought it out.
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            • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
              We're talking about the intellectual content, not useful technology. The kind of communication emphasized in the original article in this thread emphasized verbal discussion one mind at a time.

              The Greeks and the Arabs didn't have printing, but succeeded in spreading a better sense of life or, in the case of the Arabs, at least some scientific advancement (mostly algebra) in contrast to the Christian dominance that suppressed it. The printing press was also used well before the Enlightenment and at first only spread the Bible; communicating bad ideas did not help.

              Likewise for the spread of Ayn Rand's ideas today. It is difficult for them to take hold because they are "so radically different than traditional views [and are] still poorly understood, and not understood at all by most." Communication echoing wrong philosophical ideas today at high speed through electromagnetic waves and with the internet does not help. Most people have not sought them out, and worse, despite her very clear writing, the enemies of her ideas have not only properly understood, but deliberately distort and smear them.

              We could almost say the same about "knowledge" as communication. Even in the Christian era they sought to know (and spread their beliefs), but couldn't succeed without reason and while pursuing mystical other-worldliness. Knowledge is made possible by reason and requires individualism embracing the individual's thought and right to try to know, not faith and authority in sacred text. Knowledge, i.e., knowledge of this world, was a consequence of reason and individualism.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
            I referred specifically to the US' role in communication. While Ben Franklin's scientific and diplomatic achievements also have long-lasting significance, the network of news delivery that Franklin established (and the postal system that followed) was critical to engendering support for the Revolutionary War.
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            • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
              The Enlightenment started in Europe, mainly England. Without Enlightenment ideas coming to the colonies there would have been no Revolutionary War. It was not self-evident. We are talking about the role of ideas, not a paper route.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 3 weeks ago
        "Why hasn't this society, despite widespread communication, not embraced Rand's philosophy?"
        It might be happening slowly.
        1750 - A nation based on philosophical writings about liberty is still an unlikely dream, a philosophical thought experiment. It's always been kings partnered with religious leaders.
        1850 - The time before the US passes beyond living memory. People question slavery, but it still exists in the US.
        1950 - People dream of people's rights being respected without regard to race or sex, but it's controversial.
        2000 - The dream isn't fully realized, but it's not controversial. Most people say they agree with respecting everyone's rights.

        I didn't include the list WWII and it becoming normal for gov't to tax a large chunk of people's income. It remains to be seen of the pendulum will swing back away from gov't intrusiveness or if it will get worse.

        It may take a long time for a philosophy of reason radically different from tradition to gain widespread sway.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
          It will take a long time and it is already happening slowly. I think there has been a noticeable influence, though not very deep.

          But people saying today that they agree with respecting rights doesn't mean that Ayn Rand has prevailed with them: they still don't know what the moral concept of rights means, and often confuse it with leftist entitlements granted by government, ranging from the obvious collectivist welfare statism to controlling other private individuals they resent, including business and property owners.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 3 weeks ago
            "But people saying today that they agree with respecting rights doesn't mean that Ayn Rand has prevailed with them: they still don't know what the moral concept of rights means"
            That's true. Most people understand the concept of people being free to travel, change jobs, speak their minds, but it's possible that more people think they have a right to other people's stuff than in the past.

            One reason for optimism - People selling collectivism often hide it, saying there's something wrong with the healthcare or housing systems. In agrarian times, it was easier to argue there's a finite amount of food, and we all have a duty to share it fairly. Now affluent societies produce more games and luxuries than basic food and housing. And they're not finite. Building Amazon or Facebook did not take up finite resources. People invented ways to make the world wealthier. That cuts both ways making people envy the newly-created wealth but also making it harder to argue people who didn't work on it or invest it have a right to it.

            I am somewhat pessimistic for near future, though, because a) you're right that people confuse the meaning of rights (e.g. right to healthcare) and b) the current trend is technology increases return on equity and decreases the cost of labor in existing jobs, which helps sell socialism.
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            • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
              Outright collectivism promoted in this country has mostly been indirect throughout our history, with the collectivists not daring to become too explicit. Most people don't know the full answer against collectivism, but predominantly have had enough of an American individualist sense of life to rebel against it when the entrenched intellectuals and politicians promote it, even "hidden" within major programs. But with collectivists monopolizing the intellectuals the values required to maintain an individualist sense of life are being smothered. More people do "think they have a right to other people's stuff than in the past".

              Ayn Rand wrote about this, for example, in

              "Don't Let It Go", The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 4 Nov 22 and No 5 Dec 6, 1971 also anthologized in Philosophy: Who Needs It?

              and in her series of articles on the 1972 McGovern campaign for president, especially -- for this topic -- these two:

              "A Preview", The Ayn Rand Letter Vol 1, No 22 July 31, 1972 -- No 24 Aug 28, 1972
              "The American Spirit", The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. II, No. 4 Nov 20, 1972

              McGovern lost by a landslide in 1972 but the pressure of the intellectuals, including in the schools, has been relentless. Without widespread intellectual opposition to them the American sense of life has been progressively crumbling. Leftist politicians -- as bad or worse than McGovern -- often winning elections, have become more explicit and are getting away with it. Today we do hear socialism openly promoted, with even professionals who have the most to lose, like doctors, saying "maybe we should give it a try". That is the trend signifying the prospects for the long term. It helps collectivism in both the short and the long term.

              Collectivist gains in the short term also help it in the long term because once the programs are put in place they quickly gain a dependent political constituency, and with no principled arguments widely understood against them they become impossible to remove (like your example of a supposed "right" to health care and much more). Government failures are blamed on freedom, with 'wider powers' demanded to 'solve the crisis'. They get away with it because whatever is left of the individualist sense of life cannot, without explicit principled understanding, argue against the demands for more moral sacrifice of some to benefit those in the "crisis".

              It's a matter of the ideas widely accepted -- even though there are still some misgivings in the form of a reluctance helpless to argue against the more explicit ideas accepted. It's not a matter of technology or claims of lost "jobs". Increasing technology increases productivity and therefore the value of the labor, but requires increasing use of the mind to qualify. Statism causes loss of jobs. Those who think people have a "right" to be provided for, including being "given jobs" with wages they don't qualify for, find it even easier to demand collectivism. The culture of anti-reason and altruism discourages recognition of the value of thinking and knowledge required of everyone to take responsibility for his own life, turning the benefits of technology into a weapon against the producers and the whole society while creating an entire "class" of the unproductive and anti-individualist.

              As Ayn Rand observed in "A Preview" on a major change in the left during the 1960s:

              "The real turning point came when the welfare statists switched from economics to physiology: they began to seek a new power base in deliberately fostered racism, the racism of minority groups, then in the hatreds and inferiority complexes of women, of 'the young,' etc. The significant aspect of this switch was the severing of economic rewards from productive work. Physiology replaced the conditions of employment as the basis of social claims. The demands were no longer for 'just compensation,' but just for compensation, with no work required."
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                Thank you for the detailed comments.
                "More people do 'think they have a right to other people's stuff than in the past'."
                This is hard to measure. In the past we had out-and-out slavery. We had ideas of women's work, mostly the unpaid work. We were telling people to turn over all they produce. I know there are people now who would say, "that was unfair; it should to be each according to his needs without regard to race or sex." No matter how bad the philosophy, it's hard for me to see it as worse than you being a slave with no rights to what you produce and forced to produce under threat of violence or death.

                "Government failures are blamed on freedom, with 'wider powers' demanded to 'solve the crisis'."
                You can say that again! This has been a recurrent theme all my life. Anything that goes wrong, it's "why didn't the gov't do something about this." And even if the problem was already illegal and being addressed by the gov't, it's still an excuse for more gov't powers.

                "they began to seek a new power base in deliberately fostered racism, the racism of minority groups, then in the hatreds and inferiority complexes of women"
                I agree, BUT people using racism and sexism for collectivism and/or as an excuse not to respect people's rights is very old. I see no turning point. I actually see things slowly getting better, people slowly becoming aware that an appeal to tribalism, even with benevolent motives, is wrong.
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                • Posted by ewv 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                  Slavery was gone a very long time ago and when it did exist in this country it was limited to what was then falsely but mostly honestly regarded as for an inferior human subspecies incapable of living as normal people do. It was never accepted in this country as proper for normal human beings. The worsening trend towards today's collectivism pertains to everyone. Tribalism is as old as the hills, but the modern social theories came from 19th century European collectivism, and it's not something that people are generally becoming aware is wrong. The trend in politics is the opposite.

                  Elimination of racism is in some ways much better today in this country, but in other ways is just as bad or worse with the racial obsession and ethnic multi-culturalism of the left. The left today, and for about 50 years since the rise of the New Left, is obsessed with race in the name of being anti-racism. It doesn't understand the rejection of racism and tribalism on a proper basis of individualism because it is thoroughly collectivist itself. Reject their social demands and you are branded a "racist" in their own obsession with race.

                  The collectivist "equal pay" controversy, which is not new, from the left is an example of switching from economics to physiology in denying the right to pay someone based on voluntary mutual assessment of economic value. It's about equal entitlements, not equal rights.

                  The latest ethnicity craze, now in the courts, is that a bright student can't get into Harvard today, despite having the qualifications, without going through a gauntlet of a racial and ethnic quota system because the pinnacle of intellectuals at Harvard deems politically correct "diversity" to be part of the formal educational experience. Without the race quotas the President of Harvard says "Harvard would be a dull place ­and not likely achieve the educational aspirations we have for our students."

                  As Ayn Rand observed in "Global Balkanization", "ethnicity" is racism plus tradition (in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution and originally a 1977 Ford Hall Forum lecture). "Global Balkanization" is an excellent analysis that builds on her original denunciation of racism in The Virtue of Selfishness and has a lot of insights that even those who clearly know to reject racism for the right reasons have not yet understood.
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                  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                    "It was never accepted in this country as proper for normal human beings. The worsening trend towards today's collectivism pertains to everyone."
                    If I'm understanding this, you see a trend toward the population who we consider as having human rights is expanding, while the definition of human rights is contracting and in some ways being perverted (e.g. right to health care).

                    "[racism] in other ways is just as bad or worse with the racial obsession and ethnic multi-culturalism of the left."
                    I understand what you're saying, but I don't accept the whole left/right thing. I do accept it if the society in question is a convention of people who make their living on this stuff. But for normal American society, it sounds bizarre to me. In my view what you're talking about does not exist.

                    I see a slow and noisy trend from out-and-out slavery to respecting everyone's rights. In this view, things like the "right" to healthcare or our ignoring the 4th Amendment are just noise, bumps. A similar thing happened with Jim Crow, which was a step back, but not a long-term trend.

                    I'm concerned there's not much discourse about it. When they wrote the Constitution, it was impractical to follow all citizens movements while they're in public. Now it's practical. We can and do record all kinds of data on people, like recording every phone call. The Constitution allows people's person, papers, and effects to be searched if there's a warrant from a judge stating specifically what should be searched and why. But it doesn't say what system we should have to encrypt all that data to be opened on court order only. Or maybe we shouldn't even be recording it until there is a court order in place. I don't know. We're not addressing it.

                    This is important because there's no law of nature that liberty will increase and that the setbacks are just bumps in the long arc of history. It takes work. I don't know if it takes some crisis to get us serious or if my generation and older has to die off so that people who've always had the Internet and aren't interested in clickbait take over. I'm not sure. I do see/agree with your idea that philosophy has to be at the foundation.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                      Yes the overt racism of the 18th and early 19th centuries was a crude form of collectivism (because that is what racism is) but was applied only to one segment of the population, which was not regarded as fully human as the justification, and therefore not having full human rights that were otherwise normally accepted universally.

                      In contrast, the collectivism of the last part of the 19th century to today and in the trend for the future is aimed at everyone on principle, and by the nature of collectivism the rights of the individual to think for himself and pursue his own goals for his own life are therefore not acknowledged. The concept of rights is being perverted with a package deal with collectivist entitlements -- which are a requirement to be dependent on the collective and its assumed spokesman the state, and to be subservient to both (e.g. government health care). That is why the concept of rights is being "contracted" -- the concept is the antithesis of collectivism.

                      The multi-culturalist obsession with race and ethnicity is one aspect of that, making the racist form of collectivism more explicit and open, in contrast to the general trend away from racism otherwise. The left, which by definition is collectivist, is leading that racist trend -- we hear it all the time from the intellectuals and activists though we don't see it much yet from the general population. But it is no longer new: the intellectuals have been pushing it for decades. An example is the current flap over Harvard's race quota policies.

                      The "ordinary" collectivism is on the rise everywhere. Government control of medical care is not "noise" in opposition to an individualist trend. It is entrenched in countries around the world, especially Europe, and the US isn't far behind in implementation, starting with Medicare decades ago (and more recently expanded by Bush before Obamacare). It's not an accident that promoters of socialized medicine are now calling it "Medicare for all". It's an expansion on the same premise (which is why Ayn Rand opposed Medicare at its beginning in the 1960s), and the new advertising slogan "Medicare for all" is deliberately cashing in on popular acceptance of Medicare as a government entitlement.

                      Once entitlement programs are enacted they are extremely difficult to get rid of -- they immediately acquire a political constituency of dependents, are widely regarded (from bad philosophy) as idealistic, and the problems they cause are blamed on 'greedy capitalists' and not enough government control as the statists push for more. That is not "noise" or "bumps" in a popular road to individualism; it is an opposite, entrenched trend.
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                      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                        ^^
                        Sad but true
                        "Once entitlement programs are enacted they are extremely difficult to get rid of "
                        I know, it's true for agencies and almost any program. I used to think the only gov't spending that had a built-in end was war b/c I thought war simply couldn't drag on for decades.

                        "Medicare for all is deliberately cashing in on popular acceptance of Medicare as a government entitlement."
                        Yes. I don't know what "Medicare for all" means, and it's not worthwhile trying to guess. Many Republicans are attacking Democrats for not doing enough to protect Medicare. It feels like 1995, except they switched sides.
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                        • Posted by ewv 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                          "Medicare for All" is a more recent synonym for "Single Payer", i.e., complete statist government controlled health care. They are all euphemisms for "socialized medicine", which term they dare not use because too many people still know what it means in reality.

                          Bernie Sanders and his socialist followers have been using the "Medicare for All" slogan in the government health care takeover agenda because "focus group research" https://www.kff.org/health-reform/per... -- in which groups of people are sampled to find out how they emotionally react to different words signifying the same government control -- showed a more favorable emotional reaction to "Medicare for all"..

                          They are cynically exploiting the popular belief that Medicare is now an accepted entitlement that cannot be imagined eliminated, while socialized medicine is not. That is why we are seeing the slogan "Medicare for all" appearing more frequently in political propaganda for socialized medicine in the name of a false moral idealism.

                          Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate in 2017 called the "Medicare-for-all Act of 2017" in parallel with a bill that John Conyers continuously introduced in the House since 2003 under the name "United States National Health Care Act".

                          The bill replaces the private medical care industry (as well as Medicare) with comprehensive government health care control -- covering all medical care deemed "essential" by government fiat, to be paid for by taxpayers.

                          It prohibits medical care by private institutions that are not "non-profit", eliminates the private insurance segment of the economy for all care deemed "essential", imposes price controls on payments to medical professionals, replaces private medical records with a centralized government-controlled patient medical record system described as "confidential", institutes a "National Board of Universal Quality and Access", and much more as anticipated in Atlas Shrugged.

                          The new taxes include a new higher and more progressive personal income tax, a progressive tax on business payrolls and self-employment income, and a new tax on stock and bond transactions.

                          Support among Democrats in Congress has been progressively increasing, this year with 120 co-sponsors -- over half the Democrats -- in the House, and 16 co-sponsors plus Sanders in the Senate. Sanders had 0 co-sponsors in 2013 and Conyers started with 25. In the current mid-term elections, Democrat candidates are increasingly promoting "Medicare for all". Some of them interpret that, at least in public, to mean being more "incremental" -- which was also the admitted intent of Obamacare towards the same end goal.

                          You don't know what is intended by "Medicare for all" because the more general use of the slogan as espoused in propaganda to the public is much more vague, ignoring details of the controls, taxes, and egalitarian nihilism while appealing to popular acceptance of the Medicare entitlement, promises of medical utopia, imagined lower costs for government defines as "quality", and "protecting" the already impossibly bankrupt Medicare.

                          If you are close to anyone on Medicare (which would be replaced by the expanded destruction), you know that what the government deems as "essential" medical care is hopelessly inadequate, many doctors refuse to participate while still not forced to, hospitals and other medical institutions are "writing off" losses to low Medicare payments while shifting them to artificially higher prices for others, and those on Medicare often are paying for private insurance to supplement the utopian perfection we are supposed to believe already exists for those over 65.

                          If you want to know what "Medicare for all" means in political practice in the next cynically incremental power grab towards socialized medicine, they won't tell you, but you need only let them pass a bill so you can see what is in it. Like a good little progressive Pragmatist, you must be willing to jettison all attempts at understanding in terms of principles and throw yourself into experimentation to see what "works", never allowed to return and with the criterion for what "works" left unspecified. After all, according to Pragmatists, what is true today may not be true tomorrow and you must submit yourself to "flexibility", but above all, submit.

                          Or, you could follow the Republicans' advice (including many conservatives) and strive to "save Medicare" (despite the fact that it is bankrupt) and add more benefits as Bush did, following the Democrats with "me too, but slower".

                          Or you could follow the advice of Ayn Rand anticipating all of this over 50 years ago in her 1963 article in The Objectivist Newsletter, "How not to fight against Socialized Medicine" -- at a time when Medicare was still controversial, had not yet been imposed, and "Medicare for all" was not being publicly admitted as the intent. That tells us what "Medicare for all", the latest euphemism for socialized medicine, means in principle and the destructive premises on which it is based, which you can understand without even looking it up in Sanders' Senate bill. We don't have to guess. And we don't have to allow them to pass a bill to see what is in it, philosophically or politically. But we do have to know.
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                          • Posted by Lucky 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                            This post by ewv is too long but that is my only complaint.
                            Foucus Groups- in cases where a proposition is complex, as happens often in politics, (if not, then add confusion to make it look complex) focus groups are a method to get slanted answers by using slanted questions. Most questions ask about something easy to see as desirable and good, Should there more of it? Why certainly! Questions seldom asked are,
                            Would you pay $x for it?
                            Would you pay $y for everyone to get it without paying more than $y?
                            Should you be forced to pay the government set amount even if you disagree?
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                            • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 1 week ago
                              "Would you pay $x for it? "
                              These questions go for all gov't programs. If they had to start taking the money out of people's checks immediately, none of it would pass.

                              BTW, ewv's posts are long but contain a lot of info. Sometimes I'm tempted to write (in general, not to ewv), "I agree", or "I disagree", but I resist it because it add nothing or almost nothing to the discussion. I wish this board had a non-anonymous "thanks for the interesting thought" button.
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                            • Posted by ewv 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                              The purpose of the focus group "research" was to find out how to best sell something they already knew they wanted to sell by using words emotionally manipulative in the direction they want.

                              Most of the post was about the meaning of "Medicare for all" = "Single Payer" the Democrats are increasingly trying to sell, so labelled to pretend it isn't the Socialized Medicine they have wanted for decades.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 month, 2 weeks ago
                      The mass surveillance and widespread "hacking" in violation of the Constitution and private property rights is another matter deserving its own discussion. It is being addressed, but is mostly not in the news and not publicly discussed. The violations are being analyzed and opposed by experts in the field of security and privacy (such as Bruce Schneier), but the statist establishment has been "addressing it" by winning, even though it doesn't (yet) have everything it wants (like outlawing effective cryptography by outright banning strong cryptography or effectively neutering it through mandatory government "back doors").

                      When Clapper lied to the Senate in his infamous false statement that government agencies were not engaged in mass surveillance of innocent Americans, he privately and silently in his mind redefined 'surveillance' to mean 'only if they look at the data they collected' -- until then, he claims, it has not been collected. He got away with it -- both the lie and the actions.

                      Illustrating why government cannot be trusted to engage in mass surveilance as long as it promises to "not look" is the corruption in the FBI abusing secret courts, political connections, planted informers, and supposedly protected data routinely accessed by private political activists to spy on and try to set up Trump on the preposterous charge of "Russian collusion". They appear to be getting away with that, too, and if Clinton had won we would not have known about it at all. But it was predictable; why would statists with power not do this, and why should anyone have trusted them at all?

                      The Snowden document dump, though limited to NSA, is staggering in scope and intentensity of what it reveals when you look into it, but few know or care -- and Snowden is, ironically, holed up in asylum in Russia while Clapper is roaming freely and making routine TV appearances for his propaganda.

                      "Big Data", like Google and Facebook, is likewise spying and tracking (and being "hacked") to a degree that is staggering when you look into it yet few know or care about that either.

                      The lack of concern for individual privacy rights does not seem to be generational -- those who have grown up on the internet take both it and the tracking for granted and don't care, with nose fully buried in touch screen and thinking process suspended.

                      If someone does start to care, he typically throws up his hands in futility, not understanding much about how the internet works or what he could possibly do to protect his privacy. Addicted to his Facebook account, his concerns rapidly float out of mind. And all it takes is one news report on an event hyped as a crisis by government and he quickly defers to statist authority claiming the violation of privacy is "necessary" for "the good of all".

                      No one appears to be analyzing the problem philosophically, applying and identifying concepts of private property and proposing laws to protect them in a new techological realm. Instead we see the usual broad calls - including by security experts - for "regulation" instead of protection of individual rights, packaged with the claim that by legal definition your privacy is protected because the government says so, and never mind what definition of privacy they are exploiting.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
          I am curious as to why the above statement got downvoted.

          CG says that the embrace of Rand's philosophy may be happening slowly, and he is correct. What I say next might deserve to be downvoted, however. If such an embrace does not happen in someone's lifetime, does it really make any difference? Leaving something better than you found it because it is the right thing to do is rarely in someone's self-interest.
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          • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
            Advocating rational ideas proper for our human survival isn't a vague "leaving something better than you found it" just for the sake of a vague "right thing to do", nor do future benefits mean that nothing is gained now, including slowing or stopping a decline. No on is telling you to sacrifice yourself for someone else's future.

            Scientists who struggle to understand and make new discoveries in the field of their interest, and advocate for why they right to make progress in science are not sacrificing their careers to a vague "right thing to do" benefiting only future generations.

            As Ayn Rand put it, "Those who fight for the future live in it today." Adherence to principle does not mean cynical utilitarian calculations of Pragmatism. https://campus.aynrand.org/campus/glo...

            (I don't know why CG was downvoted. He was inexplicably downvoted here, too: https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post... )
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
              "As Ayn Rand put it, 'Those who fight for the future live in it today.'" This is an area that Ayn Rand and I would disagree, and probably not politely disagree.

              If there is no future beyond this life, then I don't see the point in "advocating rational ideas proper for our human survival" unless a sufficient amount of benefits can be gained during my own lifetime. Otherwise, such effort is indeed a sacrifice. You are correct in saying that no one is telling me to sacrifice myself for someone else's future, but the effort spent in advocating rational ideas is ill spent if there are insufficient benefits in one's own lifetime. Instead, what one gets for such efforts is the scorn of looters and moochers. While I don't care what they think anyway, such scorn does fall into the category of "No good deed goes unpunished."

              You correctly identified what I meant by "leaving something better than you found it" because it was the "right thing to do" as "advocating rational ideas". You are correct that that isn't vague. Thank you for clarifying that point.

              My struggle to understand and make new discoveries in my own field is done in my own self-interest. It means that I am looked at by my peers as odd, and that is OK by me. I don't publish as much as they do, and I definitely don't buy into the government grant process like my peers do.
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              • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                You didn't address what I wrote and you don't understand the Ayn Rand quote. She did not share your bitterness, it is not a call for sacrificing your career and does not mean the vague "leaving something better than you found it" just for the sake of a vague "right thing to do".
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                  You are correct. She did not share my bitterness. She should have. I went from being overly optimistic before reading AS to being properly realistic afterwards.

                  I addressed what you wrote. "Those who fight for the future live in it today." presumes that we either envision a future beyond our own life (ridiculous to an Objectivist) or that the benefits to doing so will be worthwhile in our own lives (which they may be).
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                  • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                    You have no idea what she meant and the meaning of her sense of life. A bitter, malevolent sense of life is not "realistic". Ayn Rand understood very well the meaning and implications of Atlas Shrugged, and struggled much more than you to produce it and defend it. Another quote: "Nobody is as naive as a cynic", You can do better than that.
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                      Think what you want.
                      I am not malevolent.
                      I am more bitter than I used to be.
                      I formerly was the happiest person I knew.
                      Now I enjoy life, but I do not have expectations that others will naturally share my enthusiasm.

                      One makes his/her own life according to his/her values. I work as hard as I can and with as much forethought as I can. I try to invent. For the most part, I am not bitter, but I am bitter about this (and should be). Instead of encouraging me to invent, my government taxes me at a high rate and "gives" those taxes to looters, moochers, and worse yet, my competitors.

                      It is not my job or my goal to produce and defend AS. I produce what I produce and defend that.
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                      • Posted by ewv 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                        A "malevolent sense of life" does not mean acting malevolently towards other individuals. Dominique Francon in The Fountainhead is an example of a malevolent sense of life believing her hopelessness was "realistic".

                        That Ayn Rand produced and defended Atlas Shrugged despite the hardships and injustices against her does not make it your "job" to repeat it for the novel. Defending a rational society of individualism is not to be minimized as nothing but for someone else's book any more than the vague "leaving something better than you found it" as a duty.

                        Most people who like Atlas Shrugged -- those who aren't so mired in politics that they see little else in it -- are openly enthusiastic about it because they see it in support of their of own lives personally in ways they hadn't dreamed of; they welcome the principles that make their happiness possible. The increased understanding makes them happier, not bitter in the name of realism over a discovery. They see positive value in affirming what they know is right rather than surrendering the world by default.

                        People throughout history have been born into and remained for the rest of their lives in situations far worse than what we have now. A positive sense of life came from within them and can't be damped out by bitterness, as exemplified by Ayn Rand's response in Soviet Russia. As Howard Roark put it: "Only down to a certain point". Like Ayn Rand, he had no bitterness to share. He knew what was important and what wasn't, He knew an injustice when he saw it, but didn't let it change what he was: "But I don't think of you."

                        Ayn Rand's philosophy is a "philosophy for living on earth", not a prescription for resenting a lack of ideal politics that no one has yet ever experienced. It is not primarily political at all, let alone conservative or libertarian foot-stomping defiance that we see from those who think that Ayn Rand supported dropping out and going on strike while they understand little of her philosophy.
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                        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month, 3 weeks ago
                          I have a very positive sense of life. Everyone who wants to succeed can succeed in this country at this time. That is why I have started a new tissue engineering test bed business recently. My positive sense of life cannot be snuffed out by obstacles, but it definitely was dampened by government actions that sucked my customers in a previous enterprise away. I chose to "shrug" until a more positive economic climate emerged. Though the economic climate is far from perfect, it is sufficient for me to want to produce once again.

                          From Galt's speech, I "plan in terms of decades, invest in terms of generations and undertake ninety-nine-year contracts-to continue to function and produce, not knowing what random caprice in the skull of what random official will descend upon them at what moment to demolish the whole of their effort." The random caprice that basically killed my former business was when President Obama decided to favor his solar energy buddies over my non-subsidized biofuels company. I shrugged, and should have shrugged.

                          The lack of bitterness exhibited by many of Rand's characters is not consistent with the reality I have seen in my fellow entrepreneurs. We succeed despite opposition, and are often motivated by righteous indignation to such opposition to even greater things. This is best exemplified by Howard Roark. Those who are embittered by the "random caprices" of government officials just disappear (e.g. Dan Conway) and are never heard from or discussed again. Such people do exist. Rand just chooses not to dwell on their bitterness.

                          There are several of Rand's characters that I relate to quite a lot, from producers to looters to moochers. One can see the pride exhibited by Rearden in the casting of his metal, but the lack of emotion shown by producers whose life work is lost to the whims of random government officials is one of the few aspects of Rand's novels that I would prefer to be different.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month, 4 weeks ago
      One or more of those above is lacking. Some bad ideologies are actively preventing it. Which is why many people feel that being objective is too scary. Which is why more bad ideologies will take root and grow.
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  • Posted by  $  nickursis 1 month, 3 weeks ago
    I like this: How can you hate me when you don't even know me?". That is real, basic truth. That is because you cannot hate someone, you can fear them, and call it hate, you can be jealous, or you can misplace your own agnst about whatever bothers you, and justify it as hate. But you really cannot hate until you KNOW who you hate and why. That is the same emotionalism the left uses, the same thing the Nazis used (substitute Jews, Communists or anyone of several other groups, they used them all). Listen to the Democrats and that is all they say, why you need to hate the Republicans, and Trump, because they are: (insert label here). This then goes back to education, and the huge failure it is, and why it is so important to the left, uneducated people can hate easily, because they have no reference, no facts to compare too. The Newsweek article clearly shows that, which is why I was surprised to see it. However, it is from Nov 2017, and so it was before the Dems were in full panic mode, I doubt it would be published today because it clearly shows the process at work.
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  • Posted by GaryL 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    Leftists IMO are for the most part just Low Information voters. I think as long as their pied piper is playing their tune they will follow along and most often just to have something or some alternative ideology to complain about. With my left leaning friends it is nearly absolutely predictable, if I say North they will inevitably say South but for no reason other than to disagree. Many have no idea why they don't like Trump other than the propaganda they have been force fed all the while being informed that Hillary should have won. We have all heard of Hillary supporting Anti Trumpers switching parties and coming over to the light side but we never hear of Trump supporters going over to the dark side.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    I read an article recently, about how the son of a white sup. leader woke up as a result of friendships made in college.
    Leftist just complain but they secretly support these wacky groups and want the chaos to continue.
    Notice we hadn't heard from these groups for many years until recently when the postmodernist started to ramp up their bull crap.
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  • Posted by Lucky 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    A beautiful story.
    The influence of genes on character- doubtful-
    "The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves .."
    Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar
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  • Posted by  $  nickursis 1 month, 3 weeks ago
    Well, let me provide an example as to how HARD is it is to use Knowledge, Reason and Communication: read this article and you will just want to cry at how much power the education establishment has over youth and how well they can be programmed, watch the Steve Martin skit from the 70's Saturday Night Live show, regarding the King Tut exhibition and his point of commercialization, and then read the students programmed, and totally unreasonable, nonfactual and illogical responses. The go find your safe space to cry.....

    https://www.newsweek.com/steve-martin...
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    Knowledge, Reason and Communication are anathema to the left.

    Did you watch any of Harris's persecution of Cabinet members since she was elected Senator?

    The worst Stalinist and Nazi methods come to mind, for those who know what those were. The new generation has no idea so the left's taking the pages from these regimes, being fully aware how effective they were and hoping they will succeed in their drive.
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    • Posted by  $  nickursis 1 month, 3 weeks ago
      Harris is a racist anti-gay, monotheistic lesbian homophobic misogynist with extreme liberal tendencies to attempt to stick her head up her rectum maximus and recirculate her airflow. There it must be true, because it's here. That is their idea of Knowledge, Reason and Logic applied. It doesn't matter what is said, as long as it is said with conviction, therefor it must be true. That it serves their purpose of demonizing their enemy, well, that doesn't matter.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    Fortunately, as best we can determine, the extremists among Democrats make up only about 8%. There varying degrees of liberal thinking among the rest, but the party has mistakenly assumed the radicals make up their entire base. The Walkaway movement is one indication that Democratic leadership is alienating part of their members. Whether disgusted moderate liberals will vote Republican, Libertarian, some other minority party, or simply not vote will make a notable difference in November.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month, 4 weeks ago
      As with a number of political or even religious groups, as long as the majority condones the immoral and/or unethical methods of extremists, problems will continue to grow.
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