Amy Peikoff Out-Reasons Tucker Carlson

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2018-01-23 06:03

Notwithstanding my bitter disagreement with Amy Peikoff over her slavish support for Obleftivism, ARISIS and Bwook the Cwook, I was very impressed by Amy's acquittal of herself on Tucker Carlson Tonight today. Of course, I'd love to eliminate her juvenile quacking and upward-inflecting, but her sentiments were magnificent. It takes a brave person to go on a (relatively) mainstream outlet and attack sacrifism head-on, as Amy does here. Tucker was impressed too!

force and suicide

Brant Gaede's picture

If someone wants to kill himself use force to stop him--if you love him. Why? The dead have no rights anyway. The would-be suicide is projecting lack of rights so take him at his word. Also, "Love is exception making." (Rand.) And, consider the ethics of emergencies.

Rights are a human invention. Not arbitrary for they are respecting of human nature. But when the shit hits the fan biology takes over. Look, if I prevent a suicide charge me with a crime; I'll do the time.


Lowest Rung of Hell

edpowell's picture

If Rand said (or even paraphrased) "If you decide life is not worth living you're on the lowest rung of hell", she was making an error. Depression or other serious mental illness is not subject to negative moral evaluation because the person's rational faculty is physically impaired. Nor did I claim that a depressed or suicidal person is immoral. I claimed that any person who, encountering a depressed or suicidal person who was not terminally ill, made that person's suicide easier, either by helping them or by advocating laws that make suicide for the non-terminally ill easier, is immoral, because they are acting on a death premise. If life is not the standard of value, then there is not only no Objectivist ethics, there is no ethics of any sort.

I did not "convince" my sister-in-law not to commit suicide, I forcibly had her committed to a mental institution as a danger to herself or others. I tried "convincing", but when that did not work, I used force, in my case backed up (properly) by the state. And I would do it again.

Linz says, "if ever these joys vanish or are forcibly removed, I shall unhesitatingly make myself scarce—I am under no obligation, least of all to a non-existent goblin, to stick around." While it is certainly *possible* that all joy in life is removed, if you were consigned to a concentration camp or its equivalent, it is otherwise highly *unlikely*, and 99.99% of the time when a person thinks that all joy in life has fled, that person is suffering from a mental illness. Except in circumstances of extreme externally-imposed suffering, like the concentration camp example, where joy is literally not possible, one must remember that in normal life, JOY IS SELF-GENERATED. Joys don't just "vanish", barring some huge cataclysm. No one is going to remove all music from New Zealand. Ditto books, art, friendship, family, auto-racing, or your team winning the championship. There are literally an infinite number of things on this earth to celebrate and be joyous about. If a person says "the joys have vanished" that person is not evaluating his position objectively. Perhaps some value has been taken away--he's become deaf like Beethoven and can no longer listen to music. That's bad, and a person will naturally be depressed about it. But that's not "all joys". Linz's statement therefore is not a statement about the reality in which we live; nor should it be the standard of value for public policy.

If anyone reading this thinks for some reason that all the joy has vanished from their world and they want to make themselves scarce, and neither a zombie apocalypse nor a giant asteroid hitting the Earth has occurred, I strongly recommend finding the appropriate help. Because you are wrong.


Olivia's picture

great post about suicide. Crystal clear thoughts expressed with excellence. I was thinking about Ed's post and wanted to formulate a response, then you came on and cut through to essentials. Bravo! Smiling


Richard Wiig's picture

Do you have evidence that doctors in the Netherlands are ending peoples lives against their wishes, and therefore murdering them?

Plan A

Richard Wiig's picture

A great idea.

A shame that it didn't last a

Richard Wiig's picture

A shame that it didn't last a little longer to give time to flesh out the ethics of sacrifice angle. For any curious minds it will have just begun to really pique their interest.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm sure neither Amy nor Tucker imagined he or she was, in the space of five minutes, putting forward a definitive treatise on suicide per se; rather, each was arguing about physician-assisted suicide within the status quo, not within the context of Galt's Gulch (how many times must this fallacy be struck down, and against which surprising proponents?!).

If we're going to go down to basics here—and why not?!—I'd point out the discrepancy between Rand's position that the choice to live is pre-moral and Peikoff's assertion that those who commit suicide, absent the "excuse" of a terminal painful illness, belong "on the lowest rung of hell." If the choice to live is pre-moral then the choice not to live cannot with impunity be morally condemned. There is no duty to live, unless you're Immanuel Kant. In Galt's Gulch, it would be a safe assumption that each resident had resoundingly chosen to live, and the issue wouldn't even arise, except in the cases of those whose brain-chemistry predisposed them toward depression. But suppose a perfectly healthy individual surveyed the scene and simply decided, "Nah. I've seen enough. This is not for me," and exited, with or without assistance. On what grounds would we consign him to the lowest rung of hell?!

Remember, when Rand was in the ascendant, so too was Camus, who said: “There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.” Simply asserting, "If you decide life is not worth living you're on the lowest rung of hell" is no answer.

Ed says:

When my sister tells me she wants to kill herself, my response is not, "Well, that's your perfect right as a free individual, and no one can interfere with it. Do you need any help?" My response is to call her psychiatrist and help to get her into the hospital. Because it is not her "rational faculty" which is making her suicidal, it is her mental illness.

And I commend him for that decent and life-affirming response. There is one person in my life whom I have helped dissuade from suicide because I was able to convince him it was his depression speaking. He knows I believe he has a perfect "right" to commit suicide whether because of his illness or not; he still took my (and others') advice not to, even though I had no convincing answer to the "or not" scenario. Me, I choose to live because of the exquisite joys life offers (notwithstanding Political Correctness, Islam, headbanging caterwauling, fry-quacking moronnials and other militant misery-purveyors, who actually strengthen my resolve to help retrieve human existence from their vicious clutches); if ever these joys vanish or are forcibly removed, I shall unhesitatingly make myself scarce—I am under no obligation, least of all to a non-existent goblin, to stick around.


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Interesting video. Thanks for the upload, Lindsay!

Ed Powell, Bravo!

Grant Jones's picture

I once attempted to have a rational discussion on this topic on SOLO. I utterly failed. Or more accurately, others here failed. I wish you better luck.

Both Amy and Tucker Got It Wrong

edpowell's picture

The question being considered was not "is there a right to commit suicide?" I think most Objectivists believe there is such a right under certain circumstances. The question was about "physician-assisted suicide" and what the ramifications are of having a welfare state/socialized medicine AND physician-assisted suicide. On this question, neither of them had a real analysis.

First, one can imagine a theoretical "right to suicide" based purely on the right of each person to control his or her own body. Yet that right is based on a chain of reasoning (in Rand's "The Objectivist Ethics") based on the requirements of a rational being to take those actions consistent with life being the standard of value. When Objectivists talk about suicide, it seems they do so from an ivory tower perspective and discuss such cases as a person in excruciating pain with a terminal illness. Such cases exist, but they are the 0.01% part of the story of suicide in the real world. In the world we actually inhabit, 99.99% of suicides are from mentally ill people who are depressed or psychotic. Mentally ill people are not "rational" in the sense Ayn Rand defined in "The Objectivist Ethics", and therefore their rights are diminished. As a person who has struggled with two suicidal individuals in my life, both of whom were mentally ill, and having failed with one of them, and succeeded (at least until now) with the other, I have to tell you that the "right to commit suicide" is not something anyone in my position would ever advocate on TV or not, because the entire issue requires reams of qualifications and discussion before one can get to the VERY MARGINAL cases where the right to suicide applies. When my sister tells me she wants to kill herself, my response is not, "Well, that's your perfect right as a free individual, and no one can interfere with it. Do you need any help?" My response is to call her psychiatrist and help to get her into the hospital. Because it is not her "rational faculty" which is making her suicidal, it is her mental illness. People who want to make suicide easier are just exactly like people who want to make it easy for teenagers to become "transgender", that is, morally abhorrent.

Second, the idea of "physician-assisted suicide" is a contradiction in terms, and a conflict of interest. The job of a physician is to heal, not kill. In the United States, there is a separate service, with separate people, who are in charge of helping terminally ill patients die in comfort, and that is the hospice industry. That's the way it should be. Doctors should play no part in the decision or implementation of suicide, because then the doctor is put in the position of being the person who both evaluates the patient's treatment possibilities MIXED with the possibility of euthanizing the patient. This conflict of interest is impossible --I say it flatly, IMPOSSIBLE--for a conscientious human being to overcome. So, ANY attempt at mixing medicine with suicide/euthanasia is bound to result in corruption. I am not against "assisted suicide" for properly vetted terminal patients, under the care of hospice. But "physician-assisted suicide" is a moral abomination.

Which leads to the third point, which neither Tucker nor Amy seem aware of. And that is that "physician-assisted suicide" combined with socialized medicine has in fact been tried in reality. As Objectivists, we should ALWAYS look FIRST at reality, NOT at what Ayn Rand wrote in some essay. And in Europe (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Scandinavia), physician-assisted suicide and socialized medicine has resulted in thousands upon thousands of people being euthanized (i.e., murdered) by the medical establishment, against their wishes and the wishes of their families, to save money for the state. The question that this segment was supposed to address has--in fact, in reality--already been answered, and the answer is that when physician-assisted suicide is combined with socialized medicine the result is mass murder on a scale only the Nazis and Communists have surpassed. How do you get on TV without knowing this? They both should be ashamed of themselves.

Thirty thousand people in the United States commit suicide every year, mostly white men. The cause is almost always depression, a condition that is treatable if competent medical care is available. None of these 30,000 lives lost are terminal patients under the care of hospice, as the number of those patients whose end is hastened by judicious use of morphine is not collected by anyone, for the good reason that it's none of anyone's business. But those 30,000 fellow Americans, including my family members, are real people, with real problems, and they deserve help, treatment, and BARRIERS to easy suicide, nor moral preening from ivory tower intellectuals who have not had to call family members to report on their beloved daughter/sister/mother's suicide. The reason men are overwhelmingly successful at suicide is because, as men, they mostly use effective tools (guns), where women mostly use ineffective tools (drugs). And yet many people attempt suicide and fail because they are rescued by family, friends, or emergency services. This is not a "violation of their rights". Rights are predicated on life as a standard of value, not death. The "cure" for depression is not suicide, and we should spend 99.99% of our time--that is, commensurate with the problem--arguing for policies that make suicide less attractive an option for depressed people, and only 0.01% of our time arguing about solving a non-existent problem (the terminally ill) who are served perfectly well by the hospice industry, and would be utterly ill-served if doctors were inserted into the mix.


Bruno's picture

Yes, Linz! Brava! would be Italian... but just as I am against making foreign plural changes in Italian (e.g. un hotel, due hotel; vs un hotel, due hotelS), I am against making foreign gender changes in English!

Hence bravo remains bravO whatever gender, or number, in English! The opposite would be too confusing. I make exception for Latin words (e.g. curriculum, curricula) only because it has been the standard for centuries. Exception-making, y'know!

As for her unfortunate positions on the Objectivism vs Obleftivism wars, one could be generous and ascribe it to excessive California-exposure!

Attention Amy!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Maybe this is an opportunity to fill the void left by the cancellation of the Bwook/Linz debate. Amy (and I know you're reading this), would you debate me on Obleftivism, ARISIS, the intrinsicist view of rights, open immigration, Islam, etc., on your show? This, after all, is what you had in mind before you decided it would be a better idea to have me debate Yawon. Why don't we just repair to Plan A?

Allora ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... you, Bruno, are the Italian here, but I'd imagine it would be "BravA" for a woman, no?

Oh wait, they don't acknowledge a man/woman distinction in California. As you were! Smiling

Actually, if we could rescue Amy from ARISIS she would be a real asset. Alas, ARISIS is her bread and butter. Open borders, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Islamatrocities are mere "mosquito bites," wacists under every bed, and all the rest. Wotta shame!


Bruno's picture

I would say "bravo!" but I know that's outdated in California. Is it "kudos" now? Nevermind... I can't bring myself to say that.

Anyhow, she's essentially correct. I would not say one can "change human nature", but I understand she meant changing the altruist morality, not human nature per se.

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