Obama: The Face of Evil

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Fri, 2012-05-04 22:34

I'd not realised just how evil Obama is until I read the below quote of him on this article: http://www.manhattan-institute...


“The market will take care of everything,” they tell us…. But here’s the problem: it doesn’t work. It has never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

—President Barack Obama, Osawatomie, Kansas, December 6, 2011

That statement is wrong on every level, including the facts.

There is no real hope, at all, for a country that can vote a man who believes that into the top job. From the promise of 1776, they've stopped time at 1984.

(Hattip to Whaleoil for the link.)


( categories: )

As for Obama...

Jmaurone's picture

Back to this thread's subject...This may raise some eyebrows:

Obama: Polish Freedom Hero Lech Walesa ‘Too Political’ to Accept Presidential Medal of Freedom

"We have the clearest and most public sign yet that Barack Obama is a true communist. Not just was, in his younger days, but is currently a communist right now.

"During the 1980s, Lech Walesa stood up the Soviet empire that subjugated Poland, and through will and perseverance and an almost superhuman courage, he helped take that empire down. Lech Walesa is a living symbol of freedom from socialism and communism. Poland is free because of him. He helped America and the free world prevail in the Cold War. He is a hero in Poland, in the United States and wherever freedom rings.

"During this week’s Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, President Obama was to award the medal posthumously to Jan Karski, leader of the Polish Underground during World War II. Poland requested that Walesa accept the medal on Karski’s behalf, which given Karski’s and Walesa’s history and Walesa’s deserved status as hero in Poland, made sense. Plus, Poland wanted Walesa to be the person to receive the medal directly from the American president.

"The Obama administration declined, according to the Wall Street Journal and National Review.

"Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.

"Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.

"There it is. It wasn’t enough for Obama to award medals of freedom to someone who does not believe in true freedom, as socialists do not. He had to add to that by insulting Lech Walesa and the people of Poland, historic US allies. These insults — “Polish death camps,” mistreating the Dali Lama, mistreating Israeli PM Netanyahu, sending the bust of Winston Churchill back to the UK — are intentional, and speak directly to Obama’s ideology and his character.

"Obama has announced which side he is on. It’s not the side of freedom."

Good Man

Jmaurone's picture

Good man.

Ayn Rand's books

Damien Grant's picture

I've got a copy of Atlas Shrugged on my bedside table waiting for my attention.

I've decided to reacquaint myself with her work if I am going to be able to debate here with any credibility.

Since I’ve been posting here I have taken a greater interest in the Objectivist debates and issues and yes, the intensity of the debate rivals that between the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Trotskyists that I remember with such fondness.

I’ll check out the book you referred to,

Thanks.

Damien

Jmaurone's picture

Thanks for taking the time to answer. Sorry for the delayed reply, especially after the thread has died down. I only thought of it again after having just read David Kelly's The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism (available online at that link).

Believe it or not, I appreciate your efforts in fairness, even if I disagree about Obama. If you're more Libertarian than Objectivist, you may not be aware of this book, and why it was written. But if you're going to debate this kind of topic on Objectivist forums, you may be interested in reading it, since it covers the same ground you discuss, i.e., when, how, and whether it's necessary or harmful to judge people as evil based on beliefs vs. actions, degrees of moral wrongdoing, etc...you'll see that not even the Objectivist community is united in such judgments...(And you thought the judgment against Obama was harsh; see what some Objectivists think of Libertarians, and the Objectivists who dare to talk to them...)

Michael / Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

Nah, the jury is still out on the Liquidator. He also stars in this movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt01...

Plus often reminds me of the muddled professor on that old Disney blubber movie. The guy with big eyebrows.

Mark, M: "...the book...has

Newberry's picture

Mark,

M: "...the book...has been made..."

Sometimes I wish people would know what it is to be free.

D: "That seems a bit

Newberry's picture

D: "That seems a bit creepy."

Fitting.

Damien

reed's picture

I am enjoying the debate on intellectual property laws, not an area I had considered, and I enjoy Reed’s straight forward deconstruction...

For your enjoyment... Establishing Copy Prohibition Laws is Unjust

"Different people hold

Leonid's picture

"Different people hold different moral beliefs. This is a fact."
The question is whether or not these beliefs pertain to reality. If they are not -they are false.

Actually the book of Damien ...

Mark Hubbard's picture

... Has been made into a movie - The Liquidator:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00...

...I often have a desire to do harm to others ... the Liquidator. All your nightmares are coming true ... Eye

Well

Damien Grant's picture

That seems a bit creepy.

Oh, yes, you would be

Newberry's picture

Oh, yes, you would be interesting in a novel ...

Jmaurone

Damien Grant's picture

I'd abolish all governments except for the police, courts, prisons and military. I may keep some state legislative functions over things like contract, companies and securities law, driving laws and other areas where the market may prove inadequate or at least so inefficient as to be a problem.

Much of what remains could be driven on user pays. Most policing can be covered by insurance like provisions.

Everything else, health, education, social welfare, education, arts, etc etc. All gone. Private roads, hospitals, etc, the market can solve all these problems and even if they cannot perfectly in most areas of modern life, from marriage to drug laws, there is no moral justification for the state to be involved.

It is likely that there may be some residual areas, like Biosecurity, that the market would fail in, but they are not many. In essence, the state should only do what the market cannot.

Newberry

Damien Grant's picture

I would not and am not interesting.

I am the king of my tin kingdom, as are all small business people.

90 Percent

Jmaurone's picture

Damien: "On 90% of issues I agree with the libertarian world view."

Such as?

Damien: "I believe compulsion

Newberry's picture

Damien: "I believe compulsion in raising tax to avoid chaos is moral, or at the least, it is morally acceptable to me to impose this cost on all members of society...When I was younger I was a socialist...shoot first, pontificate later, is my motto...you understand that almost all thinking people believe in the initiation of force, including me?...I often have a desire to do harm to others...if a person thinks killing is morally correct, then they are not evil...My views have been static for a couple of decades..."

You would make for an interesting character in a novel. In real life you don't hold a position of power over other people do you?

Mark

Damien Grant's picture

I'm not really qualified to make a detailed and intelligent response to that post but relevant to this discussion it gave me a thought.

Many (not necessarily all) who seek a more collectivist approach to economics do so from a basis that a collectivist approach has a better outcome than a non-collectivist one. You and I may disagree with them about how economics would evolve under different rules, as indeed you and I disagree; I believe a state funded by voluntary tax may fail and you are certain it would not, our different views about what would happen causes us to take different views on what is morally acceptable.

For me, I believe that the lack of compulsion is likely to lead to anarchy and chaos. Because of that belief, honestly if mistakenly held, I believe compulsion in raising tax to avoid chaos is moral, or at the least, it is morally acceptable to me to impose this cost on all members of society.

By extension, those who support socialism and other anti-capitalist views that Perigo mentions in his post, may honestly if mistakenly view that the world is different from the one you see.

The subjectivity and objectivity issues may crystalize at the point that people see the world in fundamentally different ways.

Morality maybe objective, what is subjective is how different people interpret the universe that we live in. If you live in a world run by goblins, you live in a very different world from me.

So: my thoughts develop as I type. Let’s assume that there is an objective morality gene present in all people. The gene in all people gives identical answers to identical scenarios; but because the gene rests in the brain of the individual it must receive filtered data from the person, each individual understands the world in different ways, the gene must work off the data inputted into; giving what appears to be different answers to the same question but in fact is merely different answers because different data has been inputted.

I also think that altruism is driven by individuals utility function. Many of us enjoy engaging in altruism, so I do not see the problem in that so I do not understand the criticism of altruism itself, but I do not see that being altruistic is inherently morally good, because I think people engage in it for the personal benefit that the gain from this activity.

Leonid and Mark

Damien Grant's picture

If Morality is objective, are you sure your version of the 'true' morality is correct?

You are both in denial here. Different people hold different moral beliefs. This is a fact.

You are referring, I think, to issues of right and wrong.

A person can be moral but still wrong.

I will read the other post Mark, and come back to you.

Damien

Leonid's picture

Subjective morality means morality without objective standard of good and evil, a situation in which everything goes as long as one considers his actions as good on whim. It is denial of reality based on the notion of the primacy of consciousness, a statement that things are not what they are, but what one wants them to be. Since morality is code of values which suppose to guide man's actions as a rational being, subjective morality has no use whatsoever. People can think or do whatever they please, but if they act against the very nature of man, soon or later reality will slap on their face. One cannot escape the objective moral law as one cannot escape the law of gravitation. For example government cannot have more legitimate power than each and every member of society. Naturally you have the power of self-defense and you can delegate such a power to the government. But you don't have a legitimate power to extract by force part of the income of your neighbour. if you do that, you'd be considered as a robber and punished. Please explain now how you can delegate to the government a power which you don't possess and why the action which considered to be criminal if committed by an individual becomes legitimate when committed by government?

As for diminishing marginal returns, as any sound economist would explain-there is a remedy in the form of innovation, that is-application of mind. Exactly this feature coercion prevents and this is the reason why coercion in any form diminishes prosperity.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

Your belief that morality is subjective is the thinking of the mystic tyrant and of his slave: it's the brute society where morality can't be known, and the opposite of civilised. No free society to be found in your mind.

I challenge you to read the header post of the following link, which I bumped last night, and see if you still hold to this argument:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Jamaurone

Damien Grant's picture

On 90% of issues I agree with the libertarian world view. When I was younger I was a socialist, of course, before stumbling across a fellow by the name of Charles Richardson who bent my shonky ideas to his anarchist will.

My views have been static for a couple of decades; I am curious to debate ideas to test my own thinking. I’m more open minded than perhaps is obvious.

I am enjoying the debate on intellectual property laws, not an area I had considered, and I enjoy Reed’s straight forward deconstruction of many issues and battling on the minutiae with Hubbard. I am a little frustrated that some people here do not debate, they fall back to meaningless slogans and it is clear when challenged that there is little or no thought underpinning them, but mostly I like testing the validity or otherwise of my own ideas.

Leonid

Damien Grant's picture

"In other words without objective standard of value you cannot distinguish between good and evil. This position is negation of morality."

No, it isn't, it merely reflects the truth that what I think of as being immoral is different from what someone else thinks of as being immoral. This statement, Leonid, is one of fact. Some people think abortion is a sin, others think it is not. It does not matter if you think one has an objective basis for thier views and the other does not; they hold different moral views. Morality, ego, is subjective.

As discussed, there are many things that people disagree on in terms of morality. As for compulsion, people are not living contradictions. If tax is driven by compulsion then we all know our neighbour is paying as well as ourselves, it is a form of game theory where all parties are bound by the same rules.

You assumption that because one society is more free than another does not, by itself, mean even more freedom leads to even more prosperity. At some point you may discover diminishing marginal returns. I think you will not find them until you hit the economic equivalent of an asymptote but I still think you will find them.

Damien

Leonid's picture

"Good and evil are very subjective concepts."-that means: what is good for me is bad for you and vice versa. In other words without objective standard of value you cannot distinguish between good and evil. This position is negation of morality. For example you consider coercion as good and Mark Hubbard as evil. But your position doesn't have any objective basis and his does.

"It is true most people seek to lower their taxes but still support the principle of compulsory taxation."-that means most of people live in contradictions. People will pay to maintain the state voluntary as they pay today for insurance on condition that state effectively perform its only legitimate function which is protection of their rights by employment of retaliatory force under the strict supervision of objective law. Paying protection money to the mafia stile organizations will not buy justice.

I don't know how you concluded that I think you prefer North Korea. I simply demonstrated that freedom is a precondition for prosperity and success while coercion is a recipe for failure. That is true that laissez- faire society doesn't exist today anywhere and this is a reason for the sore state of affairs around the globe.

Damien

Jmaurone's picture

If I may ask, what is your interest in Objectivism and/or Libertarianism?

objective

Damien Grant's picture

Good and evil are very subjective concepts.

Some people believe sex outside of marriage is a sin, others see it as sport. Some people believe burning the Koran an act so monstrous they kill in response, others see no harm in the act. Some people believe not helping the poor immoral, others believe it leads to dependency and is counter productive. Some people believe mercy killing is humane, others as murder. The morality of abortion is an issue that continues to divide many societies.

Mark Hubbard has said that the initiation of force, compulsory taxation, is ‘of course evil’, but I do not see compulsory taxation as being evil.

It is true most people seek to lower their taxes but still support the principle of compulsory taxation. If taxes were voluntary I do not believe enough people would pay it to maintain the state. They would instead pay protection money to private organisations who could eclipse the state in power.

West Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, all have compulsary taxation. If you think that I prefer the North Korean model over the South Korean model then you have completly mis-read my views on these matters.

Damien

Leonid's picture

We have very different experience. As far as I know very few people are glad to pay taxes. But if you are right and most of the people do support taxation what would stop them to pay taxes voluntary? Now about good and evil. What you call intentions I call ideas or principles. If you agree that evil intentions ( ideas, principles ) make a person evil-we have no argument. However, keep in mind, that good and evil are not subjective, but objective moral categories. From this point of view, person's beliefs are irrelevant-otherwise any serial rapist could claim that he's good person because he believes that rape is a right thing to do. The only thing left for discussion is to determine whether or not compulsion is evil. I think it is evil in principle for the reasons I stated below. You think it is good because it prevents the society to disintegrate into the chaos. I don't know what is your philosophical basis for such an assumption-you never presented it. But I'd like to emphasize that history teaches us the exact opposite-all societies based on coercion failed. All societies based on freedom are prosperous. For example compare West Germany and East Germany, North Korea and South Korea, communist China and Hong-Kong etc...

Just quickly: yes, language

Mark Hubbard's picture

Just quickly: yes, language is important. Yes, you do have a point, on some aspects here. But, you and I will also never see eye to eye on issues like this, because, as you say below, you do condone the initiation of force - not just in defence - which is, of course, evil.

Ergo: A suicide bomber who believes murdering innocents - often children as they evilly deliberately seek out buses and such like where women and children will be - for their cause, is definitely evil. That's a basic and an absolute. You should have no equivocation on that point. You can't use brainwashing as an excuse. They go searching for targets that cause maximum pain.

Demon Grant

Damien Grant's picture

But by that logic, I and almost all other people in New Zealand, are evil.

The claim that all rocks are grey can be disproved by a single white rock.

I think I can find a person in New Zealand who believes in compulsary taxation who is not evil.

Evil has a specific meaning and to use it in this context is wrong. Language matters.

Damien, you're doing it again:

Mark Hubbard's picture

Demonising people who disagree with you is usually the preserve of the jihadist or totalitarian state.

I am not demonising people who disagree with me. I am demonising people who would use force to achieve their ends. Including taxation, which bundles you in with it.

You either have a civilised society based on voluntarism, or you have the State based on coercion which we have at present, and which you support more than you don't.

evil

Damien Grant's picture

If a suicide bomber, or Mr Breivik, knows murder is wrong and does it to advance their cause, then they are evil. If they think murder is not wrong, then they are not evil. Governments go to some length to convince soldiers in war that killing people in armed conflict is not morally wrong and they usually succeed. This allows young men to go to war, kill people with a clear consequence, and return home and not kill people.

Those soldiers who fail to be convinced often end up with major issues after the conflict.

In the case of Mr Breivik you would have to conclude he was either bad or mad, either way he should never see daylight again, in the case of the suicide bomber the real villains are those who design the brainwashing programs to convince young men to die in order to obtain 72 virgins. They know what they are doing, they know why they are doing it, and we need to find and kill them.

Which, I am pleased to say, we are doing quite effectively. I do not care if those trying to kill me are evil or not, I want them dead long before they get near me. I'm happy to debate their culpability once they are no longer a threat but shoot first, pontificate later, is my motto.

As for the initiation of force, you understand that almost all thinking people believe in the initiation of force, including me? Pure libertarians are a small minority, no more than a few percent I would have thought.

You are placing me and Mr Breivik in the same category. You are saying almost all people are evil.

Is evil, Mark, the right word you should be using. Wrong, confused, mistaken, unenlightened, muddled, misguided; all suitable adjectives to describe someone who disagrees with you.

Demonising people who disagree with you is usually the preserve of the jihadist or totalitarian state.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

You never did connect with my question, so I shall truncate it to see where we get to. Substituting alternate words into your sentence:

... If a person did not believe redistribution is theft, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

To restate your position.

So:

... If a person did not believe that suicide bombing for a cause is murder, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

So, is such a suicide bomber evil?

Is BreIvik, in Norway, evil?

And for the record, I did not say people holding different views to me are evil. I am stating that those who believe in the initiation of force are evil.

follow the money

Damien Grant's picture

http://www.intrade.com/v4/mark...

Betting sites have Obama at 60%, Romney at 36%

(Four percent for the house I guess.)

Romney Landslide according to Dick

gregster's picture

Leonid #2

Damien Grant's picture

Leonid, I am happy to debate these issues, but try and keep the issues narrow. Your posts cover a dozen different areas and I cannot get to them all.

With regards to Stalin in 1953, because intentions matter, yes, he is evil. Many of us want at sometime to harm others, but we have no intention of doing so, intention matters when considering if a person is evil.

You are now debating this from both positions at the same time, Leonid.

"You support this evil apparently when it used against others to obtain something which you perceive as a benefit or value. But would you support the use of such a force against yourself?"

Remember, in the thread where I debated this with Mark H, I said that I was worried that a libertarian state funded by voluntary taxes would fail and if that proved to be the case I would prefer taxes raised by compulsion to anarchy and chaos. That is where I believe taxes become moral, where the alternative is chaos. However, to answer your question, yes, I would submit to such taxes and believe them moral.

But, to keep this on-point. Numbers on this issue do matter because we are talking about the nature of people.

The issue is the evil nature of people. Empirical observations indicate that only a very small minority of people are evil but that the vast majority of people support compulsory taxation.

That does not make compulsory taxation right, to deal with your goblin argument, but it means that a belief in compulsory taxation is not consistent with being evil.

Leonid #1

Damien Grant's picture

"In this case the outcome is not related to your intentions and actions and has no moral significance."

Yes, this is my point exactly, it has been what I have been saying from the start. Intentions matter when you are considering if a person is evil or not.

Damien-few more questions

Leonid's picture

"the post you quoted is simply a series of slogans. There is no logic in it."

Can you please indicate where the logical fallacy in my post? As for your bad case scenario-I already addressed it. The defeat of the good idea by the bad people or by events on which we have no control doesn't make the idea bad. Are the proponents of liberty responsible for malaria outbreak or for taking over by warlords? Or do you imply that warlords and malaria are consequences of freedom? To certain extend you are right. In the Socialists state there are no warlords. They have a government to do their job. Besides, what gives you an idea that free and prosperous society cannot eliminate the outbreak of malaria together with warlords and Islamists?

"This is, of course, nonsense. You are either a good person or an evil person no matter what happens in the future, and the same is true of people who do not agree with you."

So you don't believe that man's ideas or actions define his future. You also don't believe that man's ideas define his moral character. Then consider another case, this time the real one. I apologize in advance that this case involves Jews again. The time is March 1953 and the main actor is Josef Stalin who wanted to deport all Jews to Siberia. The idea is evil, as all other ideas of this creature of socialism. However he never implemented this idea. Why? He simply died. Now tell me, in regard to this particular story was Stalin evil or not? Does stochastic event of his death changed his moral stature? And if person's ideas and actions don't define his moral stature, and the outcome is only a probability akin to that of the roulette game , then what does? And if man cannot be certain of anything and control anything, why does he need mind , volition and morality?

" If this is your criteria then virtually the entire population of mankind is evil because almost all thinking people, myself included, support some form of compulsion."

So you think that morality is a number game? Most of the people support some sort of goblinism as well. Does it make goblin a reality? Maybe you should contemplate about compulsion and find out that compulsion means the initiation of force. Not retaliation, not force of protection but a power aimed to suspend your own judgement, to clog your mind-the only tool of your survival, and to left you practically helpless on the mercy of others. You support this evil apparently when it used against others to obtain something which you perceive as a benefit or value. But would you support the use of such a force against yourself?

And finally, please don't confuse desires, that is-emotions with ideas which are explicit principles. So if person explicitly believes that killing and initiation of force is a right thing to do, he is evil even if he himself doesn't kill. Stalin or Hitler never personally killed. They promoted the ideas of killing, the others did the dirty job. BTW, if people go to war with the explicit purpose of killing, they are evil, no matter what they think.Good and evil should be defined by objective standard of value, not by some subjective whim, divine revelation, social equilibrium or government decree.

"Um. No. I do not. No more

Leonid's picture

"Um. No. I do not. No more than I need to define the colour green."

So you think that good and evil are self-evident, like percepts? Then explain please with which sensual organ you perceive morality?

"I try and help we cross a little later and she is killed by a bus. Good intentions, bad outcome."

In this case the outcome is not related to your intentions and actions and has no moral significance. It's like to say : after the introduction of the free society the asteroid collided with earth and everybody died. Does it mean that idea of freedom is bad? In fact you again refute yourself-you imply that your intentions and actions are good, regardless of outcome.

"You think your utopia is perfect."

First of all it's not an utopia. Second, I have very good reasons to think so. I don't refuse to consider the failure, but such a failure doesn't define the moral value of an idea. Suppose that American Civil war caused death and destruction and failed to liberate slaves. Would it mean that an idea of Abolishment is bad? I don't think so. People would continue to fight slavery-because slavery, not freedom, is bad idea, exactly like socialism. So even if the free society will fail for some reason, causing war and destruction, it doesn't mean that idea of freedom is bad. People always aspired for freedom and always will. However, if you believe that there is no connection between the ideas, actions and outcome, you cannot speak about good and evil.

"I cannot be certain what will happen."

All knowledge is contextual and in the given context you do have certainty, Quantum physics notwithstanding. In the context of your knowledge you know very well what would happen if you hit a nail with hammer. If you cannot be certain of anything, then you cannot do anything. To ask for more is to ask for omniscience. In fact you lament that you are not the alleged God who knows all the variables.

Leonid

Damien Grant's picture

I am not ignoring you, as the timing below indicates, however, the post you quoted is simply a series of slogans. There is no logic in it.

Anyway, you state "freedom is good and cannot lead to evil". Well, lets see, what happens if:

A libertarian society is established with a minimalist state funded solely by voluntary contributions. Less people than expected pay into the state due to an unexpected malaria outbreak. Within that state a war-lord takes advantage of the weakened state to establish a paramilitary force and attempts to take over the state by force.

This is just an example. I could equally have said poor people riot and force those with money to pay armed men to defend their assets, leading to a segregated violent society, or heck, Islamic believers sense an opportunity, take advantage of the lack of border patrols, and seek to establish sharia law, leading to revolts.

Take your pick. I am not saying any of this will happen, but what I am saying is that, under your view of the world, if it did you would be an evil person.

Not an evil person when this happens, but if this bad series of events happens in the future, then you are evil now.

However, if these things do not happen, and a libertarian state works, then you are a good person.

So, I do not know if you are a good or an evil person until I know the outcomes of your actions.

This is, of course, nonsense. You are either a good person or an evil person no matter what happens in the future, and the same is true of people who do not agree with you.

Damien

Leonid's picture

"Leonid says that it cannot because, i suspect, his belief system is faith based not driven by objective reason."

I start to suspect that you are simply ignoring my posts. I gave you detailed explicit answer to you question why freedom is good and cannot lead to evil. If you missed it, I can repeat:

"Now let me tell you why economical and political freedom wouldn't cause all these disasters you mentioned.
Human existence and prosperity is a direct consequence of the men's rational course of action. Such an action requires the employment of human mind. The work of mind requires freedom since mind cannot efficiently work under coercion. Therefore prosperity requires freedom. Coercion means misery. Freedom is not Slavery, War is not Peace, Ignorance is not Strength. We can predict the future if we understand the philosophy which shapes it "

Is this sufficiently objective for you?

Leonid

Damien Grant's picture

1) First you have to define what is good and what is evil and why.

Um. No. I do not. No more than I need to define the colour green.

2) Second you should explain how anybody could be responsible for what he is doing if the outcome of his actions are not related to his ideas. How in such a case you can apply any moral judgement?

The outcomes of our actions cannot be known, but they can be anticipated and the intentions behind our actions matter. As an example. I help an old lady cross the road. Had I left her alone she would have been fine but because I try and help we cross a little later and she is killed by a bus. Good intentions, bad outcome. Pretty simple concept, I would have thought. No fallacy of moral relativism here.

3) Then you should explain how and why the idea of freedom and individual rights can cause mayhem and death? ...Socialism is an evil idea and its only outcome is death and destruction. ...

You think your utopia is perfect. Get in line with every other peddler of utopian dreams that turned to custard. I happen to share your utopian dream, but I know it might now work. However, I was only raising the prospect of its failure to illustrate a point. Your inability to even accept that it is a theoretical possibility that your utopia may fail demonstrates a failure to engage in objective reason. You thinking appears to be faith based.

4)When you remove the standard of value, you cannot discuss the problem in the moral terms. However, if the world of men is shaped not by ideas, but, as you said, by Quantum physics, then there is no need, nor use for the moral judgement. Sub-particles are never good or evil. You in fact refute yourself.

I did not say the world of man is not shaped by ideas. Quantum physics, however, means we cannot ever know for certain the outcomes of our efforts. That does not remove the need for moral judgement. If I hit a nail with a hammer I know what will happen if it all goes according to plan, but becasue I do not know all of the variables I cannot be certain what will happen.

Mark: thinking and doing

Damien Grant's picture

I often have a desire to do harm to others. These ideas are, themselves, beyond my control. My actions, however, are within my control.

So, I may want to murder someone, but I choose not to because I know it is wrong.

It is the doing, not the thinking, which is evil.

However, if a person thinks killing is morally correct, then they are not evil. A solider in a war falls into this category, or someone with a mental illness or suffering a delusion.

People who know murder is wrong but do so anyway, that is where evil enters the equation, but there are degrees of wrong doing. Shoplifting is theft, it is wrong, but some people do it anyway, for whatever their reason. Does this petty crime make them an evil person?

As for socialism. What you mean, I suspect, is compulsory taxation, not merely socialism. If this is your criteria then virtually the entire population of mankind is evil because almost all thinking people, myself included, support some form of compulsion.

Clearly I am not going to admit I am evil. Well, not for my political views anyway.

And again, there is something disturbing claiming that people who hold different views from you are evil.

Damien

Leonid's picture

"To condemn that person as evil because of their views is wrong."

I see. So you'll not show the door to your friend, but will offer him another scotch instead. Consider then your own moral status which is a result of your practice of mind-body dichotomy.
And you missed the point-this is not a question about this particular guy's anti-Semitic views. You may change Jews for Muslims or Japaneses or blacks-with the same results. The moment you separate man from his ideas you remove yourself from the realm of morality. Morality is a code of values accepted by choice in accordance to the certain standard of values. If you think that man's actions are not driven by his ideas, then you cannot judge him in terms of good and evil. Then everything goes.

That why your question in the present form cannot be answered. First you have to define what is good and what is evil and why. Second you should explain how anybody could be responsible for what he is doing if the outcome of his actions are not related to his ideas. How in such a case you can apply any moral judgement? Then you should explain how and why the idea of freedom and individual rights can cause mayhem and death? The best examples I can think about would be the American Revolution and Civil war. Yes, the implementation of these ideas caused war. But does it mean that ideas of freedom and abolishment of slavery are evil? Your analogy with socialism is completely unwarranted. Socialism is an evil idea and its only outcome is death and destruction. Individual rights and freedom of slaves are good ideas and the outcome is good, in spite the fact that people have to fight and to die for them. Freedom worth it. As Patric Henry put it " Give me Liberty, or Give me Death". So when you are talking about war you should specify-war for what end? The failure to make such a distinguishment is a fallacy of moral relativism. When you remove the standard of value, you cannot discuss the problem in the moral terms. However, if the world of men is shaped not by ideas, but, as you said, by Quantum physics, then there is no need, nor use for the moral judgement. Sub-particles are never good or evil. You in fact refute yourself.

Well, with respect back ...

Mark Hubbard's picture

Others do not. If a person did not believe socialism is theft, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

Per my previous post, socialist redistribution is most clearly theft, that's an absolute no one can deny, so someone condoning theft is most certainly condoning evil.

And let's re-word your exact sentence. Where does your premise stop being right.

... If a person did not believe redistribution is theft, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

... If a person did not believe that Jihad is murderous, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

... If a person did not believe that conservative christianity is sexist, then it is hard to see such a person as being evil.

... If a person did not believe that suicide bombing for a cause is murder, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

... If Anders Behring Breivik did not believe shooting 79 teens wasn't justified for the survival of Norway, then it is hard to see Brivik as being evil.

.... ?

Mark

Damien Grant's picture

With respect, not the question under discussion.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

The central mechanism of socialism is the re-distribution, forcibly, of one third of my income, totally against my will.

How can anyone define this as anything other than theft? Legalised theft, yes, but that doesn't change the nature of it morally.

Reed

Damien Grant's picture

You and I believe socialism is theft.

Others do not. If a person did not believe socialism is theft, then it is hard to see that person as being evil.

If socialism's outcome was prosperity I would still see it as wrong. I think that bailing out Air New Zealand to be wrong, even though it has been an economic success, but I do not think that those who supported the bailout as being evil.

Damien

reed's picture

Doing evil is evil irrespective of the consequences.
Do you identify evil based on consequences?

Socialism is theft.
If socialism's outcome was prosperity then would you consider socialist theft to be good?

ling

Damien Grant's picture

Let's re-cap shall we:

Hubbard and others say Obama is evil, because of his anti-market views

I dispute this, saying Obama may or not be evil, (I do not think he is) but his belief in left-wing economics is not proof, it may not even be ecidence.

Leonid and others wade in.

I clarify: Holding socialist views does not automatically make you evil. Good people can honestly, if mistakenly, believe that a socialist world is a better world.

Leonid disagrees, claiming that because socialism leads to evil outcomes, people who believe it are by extension evil.

I reply, what if a libertarian world unexpectedly turns out to be evil, if this happens, wouldn’t that make people who today hold libertarian views evil? Even more confusing, if a libertarian world leads to utopia, then Leonid is a good person. We cannot know if Leonid is a good or evil person until we know the outcome of a future libertarian state. A pure thought exercise to prove a point.

Leonid and yourself says this cannot happen because, well, just because.

I dispute this. In a world underpinned by quantum physics, anything can happen.

Some pointless debate about anti-Semitism, the real meaning of the word evil, and accusations of trolling.

* * *

I am not saying a libertarian world would descend into chaos and civil war. I am using that theoretical possibility to demonstrate that the real-world results of a political system you believe is better than what we have now does not make you evil.

Some people are evil. Most of these people probably hold no genuine political belief, for them politics is merely a means to an end.
Historically, thinking that someone who disagrees with you as being evil has had some very unpleasant outcomes.

Troll

Jmaurone's picture

Ok, Damien? Rand, et. al, have answered your query re a Libertarian society for years now, while the real-life socialists have demonstrated just what makes their ideas in action evil. If you can't be bothered to explore their ideas and witness those results, yet continue to ask your question, then I have to wonder if you're just trolling.

easy

Damien Grant's picture

The same way the introduction of a socialist worker paradise turns into a totalitarian state. History is littered with Utopian ideas that turn to custard.

You have an idea of what a libertarian state will be, but what if that idea is not matched by reality?

Leonid says that it cannot because, i suspect, his belief system is faith based not driven by objective reason.

HOW?

Jmaurone's picture

"You, of course, have still failed to answer my hypothetical, which is: if the introduction of a libertarian society lead to civil war, mayhem and death, does that make you an evil person?"

And how, pray tell, would a laissez-faire society based on the non-initation of force lead to civil war, exactly?

evil

Damien Grant's picture

I do not know why it is always the Jews who end up being the straw men here but:

I do not believe that holding anti-Semitic views, by itself, makes a person evil. If your life’s experiences had caused you to come to the view that Jews were somehow bad, then it is going to be very difficult for you not to form anti-Semitic views.

There are many Arabs who, in all areas of their lives are probably decent good people, but when it comes to Jews they hold very deep racist views and this view is driven by the virulent anti-Semitic world in which they live. Indeed, to go back to my argument with Burnsy, they have caught the anti-Semitic meme.

To condemn that person as evil because of their views is wrong. However, if they were to commit acts against Jewish people, murder, bombings, etc, then I may hold them out to being evil.

You, of course, have still failed to answer my hypothetical, which is: if the introduction of a libertarian society lead to civil war, mayhem and death, does that make you an evil person?

Elementary, Watson

Leonid's picture

"Your idea seems to be that intent does not matter, only outcomes matter"

MY position is exactly the opposite. Man's actions and their outcome are defined by the man's ideas and system of beliefs. Evil ideas cause evil deeds and evil outcome. So, a person who promotes evil ideas, like socialism, is evil. But if you divorce ideas from the actions and outcomes, if you see no connection between them, if you think that outcome of man's action is unpredictable like condition of Schrödinger's cat or defined by stochastic events like in Chaos theory, then man cannot be hold responsible for the outcome of his actions. Furthermore, he doesn't need code of values or ideas to guide his actions. The concept of morality is not applicable to him. So if you ask why I think that freedom is such a good idea-I can answer this question. But if you claim that the outcome of the actions based on this idea is unpredictable, that it can cause both prosperity and misery and we have no control whatsoever over outcome, then I'd say that you cannot discuss this problem in terms of good and evil. Stochastic events are not moral.

Since you like to ask hypothetical questions, let me also ask one for the sake of demonstration. Suppose you have a friend whom you entertain in your house. After few scotches he says " You know, Jews are such a vermin. Pity, Hitler didn't finish them all ". Observe, your friend never hurt any Jew. He is just talking. What would you do? Would you decide that this man is evil and you show him the door? Or you could say " Well, this is just an idea. Ideas themselves cannot be evil. Besides, how do I know that killing of all Jews is bad? If it causes misery, it's bad. But it also could bring prosperity, then it's good. Nothing is predictable". What would be your moral status if you take such a position?

I am not worthy

Damien Grant's picture

Leonid.

"Man's actions are guided by his beliefs, by his implicit or explicit philosophy, not by Chaos theory. If you divorce ideas from actions, which is a modern version of mind-body dichotomy, then the moral categories of good and evil are simply not applicable. This is the answer to your question."

I am not being funny, I just do not understand. I've read it several times, and I have several ideas of what it could mean, but I'm really not understanding this. If ideas are divorced from actions, then what?

Your idea seems to be that intent does not matter, only outcomes matter, which may be valid, but the law makes a big distinction between murder and manslaughter, this is a pretty straight forward concept, that intent matters.

Damien: "I did not say that."

Leonid's picture

Damien: "I did not say that."-No, you didn't. What you said is "My original point, that got lost somewhere, is that is that we have no right to assume that a person is evil because of their political beliefs."

This is the only possible conclusion from the position you presented . Man's actions are guided by his beliefs, by his implicit or explicit philosophy, not by Chaos theory. If you divorce ideas from actions, which is a modern version of mind-body dichotomy, then the moral categories of good and evil are simply not applicable. This is the answer to your question.

I would not.

Jmaurone's picture

Not my style. I was taught to never throw the first punch.

ok

Damien Grant's picture

I admit that was a good point.

I would consider thinking apostates should be beheaded and heretics tossed on the pyre to be potentially evil, actually beheading or burning would definitely be evil.

So, perhaps I got a little carried away with that last example and stretched it to the extreme to make my point, which is that believing someone to be evil based on their political beliefs is no different to believing someone is evil based on their religion.

I am assuming that you would not, given the opportunity, remove the current president's head from his shoulders.

What you said...

Jmaurone's picture

Did you say that? You said this: "If this is how you see the world, then you are no different from the religious fanatic who believes apostates should be beheaded and heretics tossed on the pyre."

You obviously don't think that's GOOD; from your tone, it sounds like you would consider that evil...(and incidentally, that's not how I see the world, nor my prescription...)

Did I say that?

Damien Grant's picture

"So Obama's not evil, but those who call him evil are evil?"

I do not think I did.

People are either evil or they are not. If you think someone is evil, that is what you think, it does not, by itself, make you evil.

You don't get it...

Jmaurone's picture

Yes, Obama IS waging war, but if you don't get ATLAS, you wouldn't get what we're saying here. The starting premises widely differ; what more to say?

Obama is waging war is he?

Damien Grant's picture

Is there some gulag in Montana that has not been reported, death squads, finger-nail experts working the grave-yard shift?

No. There is not. Obama's politics is very similar to the three presidents before him and not that different from Romney's.

We have seen evil in the last one hundred years, we see it today, why you focus your hate on Obama and not Assad or the Mullahs in Theran is beyond me.

Even if he was personally evil, and I've seen no evidence of this and I do not personally believe it, the US political system allows very little scope for such evil to prevail.

I've said this before, the American system went off the rails back when they did the New Deal and in my view there has been a steady progression towards a larger state ever since then.

Claiming Obama is some Satan (or fallen-anti-goblin if you prefer) has no basis in fact.

Further, even if Obama was an evil person, this would not invalidate his politics.

And let's not forget...

Jmaurone's picture

That Obama isn't just some guy with a differing opinion...he's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, putting those ideas into practice. Those ideas in action have consequences, and he doesn't get to say "but I didn't mean THAT!"

Evil vs. Evil-er

Jmaurone's picture

"My original point, that got lost somewhere, is that is that we have no right to assume that a person is evil because of their political beliefs.

"If this is how you see the world, then you are no different from the religious fanatic who believes apostates should be beheaded and heretics tossed on the pyre."

So Obama's not evil, but those who call him evil are evil?

to re-cap

Damien Grant's picture

My original point, that got lost somewhere, is that is that we have no right to assume that a person is evil because of their political beliefs.

If this is how you see the world, then you are no different from the religious fanatic who believes apostates should be beheaded and heretics tossed on the pyre.

Not me

Damien Grant's picture

Leonid, you are not debating with me, but with a version of me you are creating.

You have said that because I believe we cannot know for certain the effects of our actions that "Therefore such a man doesn't need any code of values to guide his action, he is an amoral person and concepts of good or evil are simply don't exist for him"

I did not say that.

A quantum pragmatism.

Leonid's picture

Damien :"So I ask you again: If the introduction of a libertarian society triggered a civil insurrection, leading to chaos, misery and death, would that make you, today, an evil person?"

Jmaurone: "I see what's going on here...skepticism combined with arbitrary predictions"

This question cannot be answered in the author's terms because it's much more than "skepticism combined with arbitrary predictions". The question is loaded with what I'd call a quantum pragmatism. From the context of the conversation it's clear that the author doesn't believe that man can achieve any values by intentional action. He cannot predict the outcome of his actions because such an outcome is out of his control and defined by the stochastic and uncertain events like position of the butterfly's wings in the Amazon rain forest or condition of the Schrödinger's cat. Therefore such a man doesn't need any code of values to guide his action, he is an amoral person and concepts of good or evil are simply don't exist for him. He "cannot help it" in any case. Since the outcome of his actions is unpredictable, he cannot pass any moral judgement before he knows the results of the action. In fact what author says is: " How do I know whether or not freedom is good? If it causes happiness and prosperity -it's good. If it causes death, misery or destruction of all life by the collision of earth with the asteroid-it's evil. Everything could happen and nobody can help anything anyway. You are not responsible for the results of your actions. The Schrödinger's cat is. " However, since the position of quantum pragmatism eliminates any need for morality and standard of value, even such a judgement cannot be passed in the full non-contradictory agreement with the proposed theory. No good or evil exist in the Chaos theory or Quantum Mechanics. From the author's concrete-bound stochastic and pragmatic point of view the question is meaningless.

Skepticism and Judging

Jmaurone's picture

Damien: "We do not know anything, Leonid. We can only look at the past and extrapolate."

and

"So I ask you again: If the introduction of a libertarian society triggered a civil insurrection, leading to chaos, misery and death, would that make you, today, an evil person?"

I see what's going on here...skepticism combined with arbitrary predictions. Ok then...Nothing to argue with, from the Objectivist point of view...the only answer I'll offer up to that last bit is that even if it WERE true, that wouldn't excuse the evil of socialism and its ilk.

Since Damien doesn't remember Atlas very well, I can't expect that he knows of, or, if he does, would agrees with the other Objectivist answer: "Judge, and prepare to be judged."

well, we agree on something

Damien Grant's picture

"if you prefer to ignore everything I've said then there is no point to debate any further."

Damien, Damien, Damien

Leonid's picture

"Promoting something that you (Leonid) believe to be evil does not automatically make the promoter evil."

Wrong. Good and evil are not a matter of belief. It is a matter of standard of value which should pertain to reality. According to this standard Socialism is evil and Socialists are evil, including Stalin and Hitler-contrary to what you said , and you said that Socialists are not evil. According to the same standard freedom is good and in principle cannot be evil. Socialism is evil and freedom is good not by some unpredictable random chance, but because freedom is a precondition of successful human existence by the very nature of man. However since you don't accept any objective standard of value, your ethics is pure pragmatism-you only can make ethical judgement post factum, your actions are always unpredictable. Observe the basic contradiction of your philosophy-first you introduce historical determinism by claiming that congress defines the socio-economic conditions and then you introduce the principle of uncertainty in the form Schrodinger's cat experiment. This is the most strange marriage between concrete-bound thinking and quantum mechanics. BTW, the person who attempts to explain political philosophy by means of quantum mechanics understands neither of them. In any case I think I debated your question in the great details. if you prefer to ignore everything I've said then there is no point to debate any further.

Leonid, Leonid, Leonid

Damien Grant's picture

I said, in the very post you refer:

"I disagree Leonid. Promoting something that you (Leonid) believe to be evil does not automatically make the promoter evil."

I did not say that Stalin and Hitler were not evil.

You cannot debate what I say, so you make up what I said and disagree with that. What is the point?

I see that, as predicted, you did not answer my question, because you cannot answer it.

You say that supporting socialism is evil because socialism leads to evil. However, if your noble efforts to introduce a libertarian world leads, unexpectedly, to evil, then by your own logic you are evil today because of things that may happen in the future that you have no control over.

If a libertarian world leads to a golden age, then you are not evil.

It is the worst Schrodinger's cat experiment ever.

Damien Grant

Leonid's picture

" I said I was annoyed at the idea of a belief in socialism meant someone was evil. You interpret that to mean we should tolerate socialism."

I beg your pardon but I never interpreted anything. I just pasted and copied from your post:

" I like this forum because there is a degree of tolerance for divergence of views but the idea that socialists are evil has been annoying me. They are not."

If you mean what you say, then the meaning is plain-socialists, like Stalin, Hitler, Che Guevara, Trotsky, Beria, Kim Ir Sen, Pol Pot and many-many others are not evil. They are good guys who honestly believed that by torture and murder of the millions they will make the world a better place.

As for the question -I simply referred you to the well known historical facts. Of course you can ignore them or to turn the factual evidence to the hypothetical problem and to continue your speculations as like as there is no evidence. Verily, there is no limit to your ability to evade the known and to proceed with the totally unwarranted fantasies based on nothing but your livid imagination. Is it possible that introduction of the free economic and political order will cause starvation, misery, World War III, second coming, alien invasion from the outer space or the end of the world in 2025? Yes, of course, why not? Why should you ever consider the facts that freedom resulted in prosperity, progress and peace? If facts contradict your ideas-ignore the facts. The non-conceptual mind wouldn't extrapolate even tomorrow's sun rise. Now let me tell you why economical and political freedom wouldn't cause all these disasters you mentioned.
Human existence and prosperity is a direct consequence of the men's rational course of action. Such an action requires the employment of human mind. The work of mind requires freedom since mind cannot efficiently work under coercion. Therefore prosperity requires freedom. Coercion means misery. Freedom is not Slavery, War is not Peace, Ignorance is not Strength. We can predict the future if we understand the philosophy which shapes it. As a proof consider the society created by this political philosophy:

""And if liberty is to be attributable of the real man and not of the scarecrow invented by the individualistic Liberalism, then Fascism is for liberty. It is the only kind of liberty that is serious — the liberty of the State." Benito Mussolini

And now compare this with another society which had been founded on the different principle:

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." Thomas Jefferson

"If the introduction of a libertarian society triggered a civil insurrection, leading to chaos, misery and death, would that make you, today, an evil person?"

This question shows how little you understand about a free social order based on the principle of individual rights-capitalism. It's like to ask a doctor " and what if elimination of the small pox would cause massive death, chaos and starvation?" Some questions one could never answer.

Still Wrong

Damien Grant's picture

Your leaps of mental gymnastics are impressive Leonid. I said I was annoyed at the idea of a belief in socialism meant someone was evil. You interpret that to mean we should tolerate socialism.

Here is a an idea. I mean what I say. Do not try and find hidden meaning in my words. Unlike the great goblin, I speak plainly and mean what I say. I do not mean what I have not said.

As for my question, you have not answered it. You have fallen back to the same inadequate answer people of faith always give. "I cannot be wrong because I am right."

We do not know anything, Leonid. We can only look at the past and extrapolate.

And here is a prediction of the future based on the extrapolation of past events: You will not answer my simple hypothetical question because to even consider the issue invalidates your world view. You are no different to Burns whose belief in goblins is so central to his view of himself he is incapable of honest discussion on the issue.

It is possible, Leonid, that the introduction of a libertarian society will lead to chaos, misery and death on a grand scale. It is also possible it will usher in a new dawn of a much better world. It is even possible it will trigger the second coming. We cannot know the future. We are not goblins.

So I ask you again: If the introduction of a libertarian society triggered a civil insurrection, leading to chaos, misery and death, would that make you, today, an evil person?

Damien Grant

Leonid's picture

"I did not say we should tolerate evil."

You said :" I like this forum because there is a degree of tolerance for divergence of views but the idea that socialists are evil has been annoying me. They are not."

Meaning- we should tolerate Socialism, which is most evil theory and practice in the whole human history. We also should tolerate socialists because they honestly believe that they are good doers. Much worse then that- you implied that honest belief in idea, any idea, automatically qualifies the believer as good. And the meaning of this is that your morality has no standard of value, or rather it standard is subjective. In fact what you claim " if I believe that "X" is good , then I cannot be evil, no matter what I do and what are the consequences"

To answer your question: This question would be legitimate in 18th century as a basis for the pure theoretical discussion. But we are living in the 21th century. All theories aside, from the historical experience, we know that free , almost laissez-faire capitalist society resulted in prosperity and progress on the scale unprecedented in the whole human history. We also know that Socialism in all its variants caused misery and suffering on the same unprecedented scale. You are already know that we are not wrong. There is no "if". To deny it is to evade a huge body of knowledge.

And finally you said: "If you cannot debate me without making stuff up then please do not debate me."

What happened to your tolerance and support of diversity? How it suddenly became so selective? I honestly believe that I'm right.

twisting my words

Damien Grant's picture

I did not say we should tolerate evil. If you cannot debate me without making stuff up then please do not debate me.

Answer my question Leonid:

"You can turn it the other way around. What if we are wrong? What if the introduction of a libertarian society had unintended consequences and caused great suffering and misery? That is not what we think will happen and we do not wish it to but if it did, would that make us evil?"

Tolerate evil?

Leonid's picture

"Many people who promote socialism and similar beliefs, like religion, honestly believe that they are engaged in good work."

So inquisitors who honestly believed that burning people is an engagement in good work because they saved infidels' souls from the eternal fire or Jihadists who honestly believe that rule of Sharia is good are not evil? Should we be tolerant to their ideas and actions as well? Sounds weird, doesn't it? Even if it so , Obama is not qualified as a honest believer. He knows what Socialism is all about and simply evades . You also know it-Socialism, a form of collectivism, an idea that man exists for State or society is evil. It's evil in theory and it's horridious in practice. If this idea is annoying you, you should try to live under Socialism in any form by yourself. North Korea is a good place to start with. Maybe this will help you to feel less annoyed. Divergence and tolerance is good when people agree on the basic principles and premises. But would you tolerate a serial rapist or killer?

"No Excuse"

Jmaurone's picture

I finally found the quote I was looking for: "Some might think—though I don’t—that nine years ago there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see it now are neither blind nor innocent."

It was from Rand's forward to Anthem. While it might not change minds, it highlights the divide between those who see Obama as evil versus simply misguided. Here's the full forward:

This story was written in 1937.

I have edited it for this publication, but have confined the editing to its style; I have reworded some passages and cut out some excessive language. No idea or incident was added or omitted; the theme, content and structure are untouched. The story remains as it was. I have lifted its face, but not its spine or spirit; these did not need lifting.

Some of those who read the story when it was first written, told me that I was unfair to the ideals of collectivism; this was not, they said, what collectivism preaches or intends; collectivists do not mean or advocate such things; nobody advocates them.

I shall merely point out that the slogan “Production for use and not for profit” is now accepted by most men as commonplace, and a commonplace stating a proper, desirable goal. If any intelligible meaning can be discerned in that slogan at all, what is it, if not the idea that the motive of a man’s work must be the needs of others, not his own need, desire or gain?

Compulsory labor conscription is now practiced or advocated in every country on earth. What is it based on, if not the idea that the state is best qualified to decide where a man can be useful to others, such usefulness being the only consideration, and that his own aims, desires, or happiness should be ignored as of no importance?

We have Councils of Vocations, Councils of Eugenics, every possible kind of Council, including a World Council—and if these do not as yet hold total power over us, is it from lack of intention?

“Social gains,” “social aims,” “social objectives” have become the daily bromides of our language. The necessity of a social justification for all activities and all existence is now taken for granted. There is no proposal outrageous enough but what its author can get a respectful hearing and approbation if he claims that in some undefined way it is for “the common good.”

Some might think—though I don’t—that nine years ago there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see it now are neither blind nor innocent.

The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the [13] nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean this!”

Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name. They must face the full meaning of that which they are advocating or condoning; the full, exact, specific meaning of collectivism, of its logical implications, of the principles upon which it is based, and of the ultimate consequences to which these principles will lead.

They must face it, then decide whether this is what they want or not.

—AYN RAND. April, 1946

Defeatist

Damien Grant's picture

I'd rather not just rage against the dying of the light.

Grab your pitch-fork, and to

Mark Hubbard's picture

Grab your pitch-fork, and to the barricades.

Either that, or like Europe, we have to wait until the welfare state breaks us, then start over. We're certainly not going to have limited government voted in.

Liquidators are people to!

Damien Grant's picture

I do not see that Obama is that different from most of his predecessors. The shift began with the New Deal and has continued ever since.

How is Obama any different from Bush and how would he be that different from Romney?

I just do not see him as evil, but it also does not matter. What matters is how to shift the agenda.

I'm not American and although their politics is fascinating I'm more interested in what can be done here.

We once lead the world, giving women the vote, the social welfare experiment, nuclear issues, the Roger Douglas revolution, MMP. Not all issues we agree with but the country has a willingness to engage in grand experiments. what happened to us? how do we get back and what can we do, actually do to shift things.

I am bored with talking. I want to do something.

I can see where your confusion comes from Linz.

Mark Hubbard's picture

I don't see how any human being can observe ...

Ah.

No, Damien's a liquidator.

My excuse is not a bad one. I have trouble rising my head out of the loathing and contempt for all our home-grown politicians who are making the encylopedias of laws stitching me up into my little grey cell here in New Zealand, to have the energy to loath and feel contempt for all the rest of them around the world.

(In jest, Damien).

I don't understand ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... how any human being can observe what Obamarx is trying to do to America and not seethe with loathing and contempt. He is unquestionably evil, knows it, and is gloating that he's getting away with it. His smugness is insufferable, his agenda unconscionable.

Obama = definition of evil

Mark Hubbard's picture

Not that it matters to the unbefuddled, but the Cambridge dictionary defines evil simply as:

'morally bad, cruel, or very unpleasant.'

Yep. Tick.

Ok

Jmaurone's picture

I'll leave off there, then.

Like John Banks, I do not recall

Damien Grant's picture

I do not recall sufficiently in detail to remember a distinction. I did retain a very clear concept that evil is enabled by both the inactivity of victims and to an extent that many of the victims did not even see themselves as such.

But I am going back a long way. When I first read the book it had been in print only half as long as it has been now!

Evil in Action

Jmaurone's picture

What did you think of her depiction of the politicians and philosophers she identified as evil, to the extent that they acted on evil ideas?

atlas

Damien Grant's picture

I do recall evil being a concept in the book, that it feeds off the inactivity of its victums and the importance of individuals reaction to it, but I do not recall a definiation of evil as being different from how I would expect the Oxford dictionary defining it.

Obama's not a lone gunman

Jmaurone's picture

Admitted. But he's become synonymous with these things (Obamacare, for example). I am not letting the others off the hook, they're all guilty.

If you don't like the term "evil" being used here, and if you're trying to get past the hyperbole, I can only ask once more, have you read Atlas Shrugged, and, if so, do you disagree with Rand's descriptions of evil, and her depiction of certain politicians and philosophers being evil in their "anti-life" ideas (taking the terms "good and evil" away from their usual religious contexts)?

right

Damien Grant's picture

There were no Obama quotes there worth copying, but the authors did spout this nonsense:

"And now that Obama has nationalized the banks, the auto industry, and very possibly health care, the disconnect between word and deed cannot be denied."

Except that Obama did not nationalise the banks (he proceeded with the Bush plan to give them cash, much of it has been paid back, Goldman Sachs is not an arm of the US government).

Obama did not nationalise the auto industry, the US government took a stake in it as compensation for bailing it out, no different from what our government did with Air New Zealand. GM is on the share market. The company had failed when the US government intervened. No property rights (other than those of tax payers) were harmed in the bailout.

Obama did not nationalise the health sector, his laws says everyone must buy health insurance because he does not want tax payers providing free health care to the poor. A little statist I admit but a long way from a nationalised health sector. In New Zealand we do not need to look far to see what a nationalised health sector looks like and Obama care is a lot more market-centric than what we have in New Zealand.

So, show me where Obama has said he wants to destroy mankind? Obama is more right-wing than John Key.

The issue, which you have lost because of your obsession with Obama, is that bailing out the auto industry and the banks, although successful in the short term, was wrong.

Businesses that get into trouble should be allowed to fail, that is the way the free market should work. Had the banks and the auto industry been left alone it would have resolved itself. It might be a very similar auto industry we have today or it might be very different, but the market would have resolved itself.

Likewise the banks. Let the banks fail. If the government lets it be known that it is willing to bailout failing industries that creates a moral hazard. That is the real problem. Play the ball, not the man.

To paraphrase "Forgive me Objectivists, it has been twenty five years since I read Ayn Rand."

I know the central ideas but the detail has atrophied, alas, with the years and the lakes of Merlot.

Damien

Jmaurone's picture

No, I don't think Obama's ideas are unarticulated, I think he knows damn well what he's doing. Those scattered quotes may have been too much for you. But it was a bit scattershot, sure. (I set out to find a particular quote, couldn't find it, but found those in the process, so I threw them into the mix. Admittedly, a bit of spaghetti, but there for future use.) But I do think you are in the wrong place, if you don't get the overall point in that spaghetti mosaic. (Have you read Atlas Shrugged, if I may ask? I'm wondering if we're starting from the same place.)

Tell you what, I'll put aside the Rand quotes, and you can read my own personal take on what's wrong with Obama. Then see if you're annoyed with me.

"Don't You Eat That Yellow Snow," or, "The Unmitigated Audacity of Hope"

and
"A Republic, If You Can Keep It"

I can read between the lines

Damien Grant's picture

What you are saying is that Obama did not advocate man's destruction.

Earlier you said that people failed to believe people when they did advocate man's destruction, but Obama has not done that.

Now you say that because of something Rand said forty years ago we should assume that Obama wants to destroy mankind because that is what conmen do, despite no evidence Obama is a conman.

This is not even guilt by association, that is condemning a man for unarticulated thoughts you think he might have had. Your argument is a bowl of spaghetti hurled at the wall.

There is no evidence Obama is anything other than a mainstream left wing politician. He has no desire to destroy mankind and you have no evidence he does, not in what he has said and not in what he has done.

You disagree with his politics so you call him evil. McCarthyism.

If your rage did not make you so impotent I’d be annoyed at you.

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