Attention Mainstream Objectivism: Islam's "Rule of Numbers"

Doug Bandler's picture
Submitted by Doug Bandler on Thu, 2013-05-30 05:01

On the rare chance that anyone in organized Objectivism Land actually reads anything that challenges some of their core beliefs, I would like to introduce them to Islam's "Rule of Numbers".

The rule:

"It reflects what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers,” a rule that expresses itself with remarkable consistency: The more Muslims grow in numbers, the more Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world—in this case, brazen violence against “infidels”—appear."

The escalation phenomenon:

In the U.S., where Muslims are less than 1% of the population, London-style attacks are uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a “religion of peace,” and sporadic, but clandestine, acts of terror.

But if numbers grow:

In Europe, where Muslims make for much larger minorities, open violence is common. But because they are still a vulnerable minority, Islamic violence is always placed in the context of “grievances,” a word that pacifies Westerners.

With an approximate 10% Muslim population, London’s butcherers acted brazenly, yes, but they still invoked grievances. Standing with bloodied hands, the murderer declared: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone…. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day.”

Days later in Stockholm, which also has a large Muslim minority, masked rioters destroyed 100 cars and property. The grievance for this particular outbreak was that police earlier shot a(nother) machete-wielding “immigrant” in self-defense.

If numbers get even larger:

Grievances disappear when Muslims become at least 35-40% of a nation and feel capable of waging an all-out jihad, as in Nigeria, where the Muslim-majority north has been terrorizing Christians—bombing hundreds of churches and beheading hundreds of infidels.

Sudan was an earlier paradigm, when the Khartoum government slaughtered millions to cleanse Sudan of Christians and polytheists. Historically Christian-majority Lebanon plunged into a deadly civil war as the Muslim population grew.

Once Muslims become the majority, the violence ironically wanes, but that’s because there are fewer infidels to persecute. And what infidels remain lead paranoid, low-key existences—as dhimmis—always careful to “know their place.”

When Muslims dominate:

With an 85% Muslim majority, Egypt is increasingly representative of this paradigm. Christian Copts are under attack, but not in an all-out jihad. Rather, under the Muslim Brotherhood their oppression is becoming institutionalized, including through new “blasphemy” laws which have seen many Christians attacked and imprisoned.

Attacks on infidels finally end when Muslims become 100% of the population, as in Saudi Arabia—where all its citizens are Muslim, and churches and other non-Islamic expressions are totally banned.

Such is the rule of numbers, Islam style.

What does Yaron Brook have to say about this? Or "throw-the-borders-open" Harry? Dr. Diana? Craig Biddle? Dan "I defend Islam" Edge?

Is this just Conservative silliness? Is it "flawed epistemology"? Maybe its "deterministic"? You know just because you are a Muslim doesn't mean you're a jihadist? Maybe we should just focus on the economy? Yeah, that's the ticket.

When organized Objectivism has the guts to address the subject of Muslim immigration, it will be worthy of respect as an intellectual movement. As of now, it is sterile and impotent. And Rand is spinning in her grave.

Doug's picture

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I will consider your words.

Greg's picture

I presented arguments in another thread, and they were not engaged. Instead, I received insults questioning my competence and sincerity (as you did here). On principle, I do not respond to "arguments" of this kind.

--Dan Edge


RationalMan's picture

What Doug offers is the crux of the problem. What is the purpose of studying epistemology if your abstractions of the world are continually flawed as with Binswanger? This is the major fault with organized Objectivism. It is has never lived up to Ayn Rand's reputation, and doesn't garner the respect of many talented and accomplished individuals, who reject the mediocrity of the leaders. Dan Edge is falling asleep like many other Objectivists but if you have a first-tier member of ARI like Binswanger, no doubt a prime example of the power of Objectivist knowledge, projecting a bad example--as just one example a fantasy-ridden view of 80 million immigrants arriving to the U.S.--your whole foundation weakens and it makes one wonder about the efficacy of the philosophy. If you don't think this is important, check out what is happening in Great Britain, and how fast a great culture can fall before the left wing and Islamic onslaught when there is no strong and rational philosophy, like Objectivism, to counter it.

More than that Dan

Doug Bandler's picture

Read between the lines Dan. What this thread shows is that there is dissatisfaction with the Objectivist movement over many crucially important issues with a growing number of Objectivists. This itself is a reflection of the fact that there are deeper flaws in the approach by many Objectivists to politics and indeed even the concept of rights itself. As Lindsay has said, Objectivists are intrincisists when it comes to rights for the most part. Binswanger is a case study in this. As I've said, he's not worthless and he has his strengths but my god does he have his weaknesses.

Dan says a big Zero

gregster's picture

What does Yaron Brook have to say about this? Or "throw-the-borders-open" Harry? Dr. Diana? Craig Biddle? Dan "I defend Islam" Edge?

As you suspected Doug.

*Yawn*'s picture

This thread was engrossing at first, but now we have pages of feedback on HBL? Harry's strength is psycho-epistemology, not politics. I get it. *Yawn* Let me know when this gets interesting again.

Ed, Bravo!

Grant Jones's picture

Sadly, your well reasoned and factually supported argument will be ignored by the no-borders rationalists. You make Harry sound much worse than I thought he was. He comes across as a typical libertarian-anarchist kook whose main problem is with the nation-state. As you said, a nation that doesn't defend its borders, won't remain a nation for very long. It's obvious why the America hating left adopt this view. I can't imagine why Harry takes such a perverse position. Although, I've heard that one of his buddies from Norway was denied residency in the US. So, could Harry's view simply be based on petty, personal issues?

Harry typed: "The same

Grant Jones's picture

Harry typed: "The same reasoning that recently turned me against gun control...."

What more evidence does one need to conclude that Harry is as rationalistic as Plato and a complete embarrassment?


Doug Bandler's picture

Thanks for your post. I was on HBL from about 2003 to 2010 intermittently. I just couldn't take anymore after that. HB is unhinged and righteous about it. He is a very unlikeable man. At least Peikoff has personality.


RationalMan's picture


The same arguments were used against him ten years ago and he ignores them all. His defence of immigration in regards to "individual rights" was attacked much as you point out and he just ignores it.

He will fight to the death, like a good Objectivist, to defend his White Paper. It is one of his few original creations and in back of it, is his "intellectual manhood." Reason and reality have no effect on a "bullheaded" Objectivist determined to prove he is John Galt.


RationalMan's picture


Do me a favor and don't use my posts or words to advance your anti-Rand agenda! On the best day of your life, you couldn't approach the courage, guts and pure determination of Ayn Rand. Objectivism has to be held up to criticism as a means of improvement but your goal is destruction. Your support for Prescott's slime piece about Hickman puts you in a different category: enemy of a great woman.

Ha, MIA?

gregster's picture

Does anybody even know where Obama is? The guy is totally MIA.

I checked the golf courses. No sign of him. He must have his hands full training all the snoopers' handlers.

We won't see him later in the month - he's on holiday. This time having everyone splash out. He has his barber flown in from Chicago every two weeks on you guys. This trip will only cost upwards of $60 million. Wtf, he gets a break from collecting evidence with which to blackmail opponents. Taxing work. He is setting new standards of how low can you go.


Brian, that's an old photo of me. Btw, are you the Brian Wright who answered Peikoff's question "What's the definition of freedom?"

Binswanger's Immigration

edpowell's picture

Harry's view, expressed privately, is that the US border should be like the border between Virginia and Maryland, that is, there should just be a small sign on the side of the road saying "Welcome to the USA." He has argued repeatedly for no borders whatsoever on HBL, and anything like border crossings, passports, immigration restrictions, etc., are preventative law and are thus violations of individual rights.

This is rationalism of the first order, and attacking it within the strict 400-word limit imposed by HB on HBL is impossible. My obvious posts applying his principle to Israel and then to Lebanon were rejected by him and never posted. With Israel, he claimed that Israel is "at war" with all its neighbors and thus a country at war can have border restrictions. Of course, Israel is at peace with Egypt and Jordan, and has been at peace with them for 30 years. So, if war vs. peace is the standard, unrestricted immigration from Egypt and Jordan should be allowed in Israel. Not to Harry. My even suggesting it was enough to set him off. Of course, the United States has been at war almost continuously since 1622, and is at war today against Al Qaeda and similar groups, but what counts for Israel must not count for the US.

The story of how Lebanon was destroyed by open immigration (of displaced muslims from other mid-east countries) should be the obvious red flag for all of us, independent of what's happening in France, Germany, Sweden, and the Low Countries. Again though, Harry would not listen.

Finally, his "no borders whatsoever" position is so obviously deranged that even he himself altered it in his Forbes column and his website piece. That is, he wrote these articles on not what he actually believes, but on what he thinks would appear a little more reasonable to the average reader. He is thus intellectually dishonest in both of these pieces, which annoys me even more than his actual position.

We all think the US should be a constitutional federal republic with strong protections for individual rights. That's how the US was originally created and that's what the Constitution says. Unfortunately, that is *not* what the US actually is today. Today, the US in fact is a representative democracy with fairly weak protections for individual rights. Those rights that are protected fairly strongly (such as gun rights) tend to be protected through the political process by the lobbying of strong unified constituencies, rather than protected by the courts, the states, or the executive. Now, do I like this fact? Of course not! But my liking or disliking a fact is irrelevant to the fact's being true.

In this context, unlimited immigration of people who do not share the American set of values for individual liberty, limited government, and rule of (objective and constitutional) law, is national suicide. Combined with multiculturalism, lavish welfare benefits, and an anti-American educational system, and large immigration, even from countries not at war with the US, is a recipe for disaster. If you have a town with 50 voters that a nice, well-run town, and 51 muslims from Armpitistan move into it, will the town continue to be nice, and for how long? This is not a theoretical question, as Lebanon more than any other country demonstrably shows. Yet these facts elude Harry.


Neil Parille's picture

Many years ago, someone wrote a post comparing Nikola Tesla, the physicist, to Howard Roark in regards to his struggle and courage. Binswanger replied that Ayn Rand didn't like people comparing human beings to her fictional characters. This was a bizarre contention. The whole purpose of her writing was to create an ideal man so why would she object to real-life comparisons? This was her goal, wasn't it? A world of ideal men and women.

Binswanger might be right. Rand compared herself, the Brandens and even her long-suffering husband to characters in her book. According to Richard Cournelle (as quoted by Heller) she would tell young men she was infatuated with they they were models for her heroes. But I don't know when she ever compared Newton, Galileo, Edison or some such person to the characters in her book, although I could be wrong.

-Neil Parille


RationalMan's picture


Ryan, Prescott and Nyquist really don't matter if we had a strong, confident Objectivist. My sense is Peikoff and Binswanger are afraid to sell Rand's fire and passion, her love of talent and ability as opposed to the conventional.

I still believe Peikoff, Binswanger and the old guard at ARI have done the most damage to Ayn Rand's legacy. More than talk, what is needed is living and breathing positive examples of the philosophy. Right now, the whole show goes into the tank when you see the personalities. Binswanger offended God and reality with many of his "takes" on reality. Many years ago, when I first experienced Peikoff I thought it was a joke. He was like Peter Keating on steroids puffing from his cigarette holder. Have you seen the video of Andy Bernstein versus Dinesh D'Souza? Their arguments notwithstanding, I thought Bernstein projected a bad image both physically and verbally and that D'Souza showed more confidence and certainly had a better appearance.

Many years ago, there was some great people around Objectivism. And now as Lindsay points out we have a bunch of lickspittles.


RationalMan's picture


I'm an old Objectivist geezer and going by your photo you have you future ahead of you, and hopefully can develop into the New Intellectual Rand envisioned for her admirers. Many Objectivists believe the road to knowledge is through advanced degrees and many years of studying philosophy. Not true! And most of the Objectivist intellectuals I have experienced are living proof of this when you witness their "takes" on reality, Binswanger, Peikoff, Schwartz and Bernstein being the prime examples.

Ayn Rand was a giant because of her great intelligence combined with her immense experience of the real world combined with her education combined with her tremendous courage and guts.


Michael Moeller's picture

Nadler retracted his earlier claims of the NSA getting the content of communications. It doesn't sound like he knew what he was talking about (i.e. he confused telephome usage records with wiretapping the content of phone calls) when he made his first statement.



Michael Moeller's picture

Ha! Nice turn of phrase.

Yeah, I saw that. Senators on the Intelligence Committee have been swearing up-and-down for the past two weeks that the data collection has been restricted to telephone usage records, and they do not even associate a name with the phone records.

Whatever is happening, Congress needs to do their job and get to the bottom of it. If the NSA has been gathering the content of phone calls, then it is illegal under the Patriot Act and the programs need to be shut down.

And Barry still needs to explain himself, even if entirely legal. Why is the Administration collecting "metadata" on virtually everyone when it makes very little sense from an investigation perspective? And why is Obama doing it when he was one of the most vociferous advocates against the Patriot Act? And why when he has declared al-Qaeda is on their deathbed?

Does anybody even know where Obama is? The guy is totally MIA.


To Be Fair

Doug Bandler's picture

But he does some good along with it.

Yes. To be fair, this is true. Binswanger does have knowledge to offer in his specialty and related areas. I don't like his views on a number of subjects but it would be wrong to say he is useless. Although, I do think that his whole persona and approach has done Objectivism harm. In that sense I agree with RationalMan's assessment of him. Plus I'm getting seriously irked by those that can't see the tremendous difference between Christianity and Islam . Islam is a whole 'nother level of evil. I find it difficult to forgive people for not seeing this.

Rand Hatred

Doug Bandler's picture

I read his book and the more I studied the more I saw he was intent on destroying Rand

This is key. When the opposition is motivated by the desire to destroy, you know you are dealing with an ideologue not an intellectual. Incidentally, the desire to destroy defines the Left which is why I say that they are *orders* of magnitude worse than Conservatives. Conservatives, especially the mainstream wimpy ones, do not want to destroy anything. They are trying to preserve as best they can. Yet fools like Hsieh, Armstrong, and basically most mainstream Oists act like both left and right present equal dangers and equal evil. That is wrong on so many levels.

With Ryan, I saw it more as a psychological fixation than anything to do with ideology. With someone like Prescott and his major league attempt at slandering AR, I see the same thing: Ayn Rand makes them feel small and tiny, especially as men, and hence they strike out.

Well put. Ryan and Prescott are psychologically weak men that have a deep seated need to lash out at the thing that threatens their worldview. I speak from experience because I went through such a stage regarding things philosophical and I got through it. Yes, I have opinions and I think mainstream Objectivism is weak and cowardly, but I don't want to destroy them. I would love to light a candle under their collective ass (or in their minds). Rand-hatred is always motivated by a desire to defend an ideological viewpoint (basically a confessional investment of sorts); usually altruism but egalitarianism as well.

and his view of the world appeals only to his young acolytes

They are not that young! But I agree that Binswanger basically has an echo chamber.


gregster's picture

I'm not torpedoing the truth of what you say. But he does some good along with it. "Binswanger leans heavily on his personal relationship with Rand" -of course. I joined to see how he applies Objectivism.


RationalMan's picture


When it came to his abstractions of the real world, I never saw Binswanger change his mind one time in all my years on his forum. He was impervious to everything in regards to immigration, and would admit to nothing that contradicted his White Paper. When he made a mistake in some area of philosophy and someone corrected him, he would acknowledge them and thank them.

What Doug is saying that is so crucial is that when you listen to him talk about issues he comes off as naive and disconnected, and in regards to the future of Objectivism, dangerous.

Many years ago, someone wrote a post comparing Nikola Tesla, the physicist, to Howard Roark in regards to his struggle and courage. Binswanger replied that Ayn Rand didn't like people comparing human beings to her fictional characters. This was a bizarre contention. The whole purpose of her writing was to create an ideal man so why would she object to real-life comparisons? This was her goal, wasn't it? A world of ideal men and women.

Binswanger leans heavily on his personal relationship with Rand, and many of the things she said to him that there is no way to verify, and sometimes fly in the face of her published writings.

Prescott, Ryan

RationalMan's picture


Your remark that Prescott hates Ayn Rand because he is an altruist really struck a chord.

Ironic that I came to the same conclusion about Scott Ryan many, many years ago. At that time, I studied Ryan because I thought he was a critic who might have something interesting to say about a stagnant Objectivism. I read his book and the more I studied the more I saw he was intent on destroying Rand, misinterpreting her writings and at times descending into slandering her. Finally, I read him defending altruism as "helping others" in defiance of everything Ayn Rand wrote about the subject. So I wondered why does he spend so much time trying to bring her down?

With Ryan, I saw it more as a psychological fixation than anything to do with ideology. With someone like Prescott and his major league attempt at slandering AR, I see the same thing: Ayn Rand makes them feel small and tiny, especially as men, and hence they strike out.

With that being said, i agree wholeheartedly with you about Binswanger. He is the Prince of Darkness of Objectivism and the leader of a dogmatic, sharia brand that flies in the face of Ayn Rand's vision of man as heroic. As you say, he is rationalist with little experience in the real world, and his view of the world appeals only to his young acolytes, who believe expertise in epistemology equal pearls of wisdom about the world.

Who will save Objectivism from its leading intellectuals? This is a crucial question of yours because the survival of our culture depends on the answer.

Thanks Michael

gregster's picture

I get what you're saying re "Metadata" which allows movements to be pinpointed, for starters."

If that above article is correct, they're already pushing the envelope.


gregster's picture

Who will save Objectivism from its leading intellectuals?

Harry doesn't speak for Objectivism. He applies it as well as he can. He frequently modifies his views, but not fundamentals. Contrary to RationalMan, he often takes note of other opinions. He credits people for helping him clarify his thinking. Recently he was given a pointer about concepts and he'll add it to his book "How We Think." If someone was to provide him with the full context, a proof, and show where his reasoning failed he'd probably buy it. Your question implies conformity. It is exceedingly difficult to agree on everything. It's a matter of whose application of Objectivism best fits with reality.

Leonard Peikoff; "It is my application and each person has to decide is this the correct application or not?"

"Philosophy is broad principles, about the nature of the universe, the means of knowledge, the nature of man, and then the value doctrines that all that leads to. All this is interconnected. In a proper philosophy, it’s one system, as in Objectivism.

Now that does not mean that every specific application of that philosophy is inherent in the philosophy. A philosopher can hold views that do not necessarily follow from the philosophy, but are its application to a realm where facts are established by science, or observation, or some other appropriate means.

Philosophy is wide abstractions. That does not entail specific choices or specific interpretations of how they apply to concretes. For instance, take my theory of history presented in the DIM book. I make a definite distinction between official Objectivist doctrine and Peikoff’s theory of history. Now, I believe that my theory is based on Objectivism, but it does not follow from Objectivism, it is not therefore Objectivism as such. It is my application and each person has to decide is this the correct application or not? It is not subjective, but it’s still not a question of what is the philosophy, but what is its applications? And in that regard, Ayn Rand and I and others can disagree without anybody contradicting the philosophy.

Remember also that there are personal options in applying broad philosophic principles. You can say that, for instance, “sex is good” is a philosophic principle, but that does not necessitate any special particular position or clothing, et cetera. It does specify that the general principles of morality apply, such as fraud, force, evasion, et cetera. But as apart from that, there are many different interpretations and complete options which would be personal, not official.

So: yes, but without that implying a contradiction or a subjective viewpoint."

intrinsicism and rights

Doug Bandler's picture

This all stems from Oism's acceptance of an intrinsicist view of rights.

Yes. And now I see clearly that Binswanger is a hard core rationalist. God, it has never been so obvious. His worldview is not only naive, it is dangerous. Who will save Objectivism from its leading intellectuals? The Objectivist politics needs a brilliant treatise writer to bring order to the mess that we have now.


RationalMan's picture

Good description of the content of our "heroic" orthodox Objectivism. Lickspittle is an interesting word perhaps from the other side of the pond but I would blast the door open with action to do with a backside smooch. But you hit on really a sad situation. How could a philosophy geared to the heroic turn out an army of conformist, rigid lickspittles? Binswanger is Binswanger but when I was on his List, I was amazed at the number of men who tried to gain favor with him by agreeing with his distortions of reality.

And smiley "white flag" Ed and the TAS. What do they have to do with Roark, Frisco, Dagny and Galt? It seems to me they try so hard to obliterate Rand from their message, and be nice, friendly peoplepleasers who only want to help you have a better life. Would they dare to mention rational self-interest?

agreed on Prescott

Doug Bandler's picture

Michael Prescott is not a friend of Ayn Rand.

Agreed. Prescott is an asshat. He hates Rand because at root he is an altruist. He more than Neil Parille is a hero-diminisher. Prescott's criticism of the philosophy are paper thin and motivated by hatred not be the quest for truth.

Michael Prescott is an enemy

RationalMan's picture

Michael Prescott is not a friend of Ayn Rand. His Hickman article is one big slime job. Any friend of Ayn Rand knows what she was trying to do: find evidence of her Ideal Man, someone who would stand alone against public opinion--her Howard Roark. In her notes, she even states she may be wrong about Hickman. But Prescott tries to smear her as supporter of a child killer. What possible motive could he have here? Criticism in one thing but a cheap little smear of a great women shows him for what he his: an enemy.

Peter Schwartz

Neil Parille's picture

It is true that if we adopted the correct policy toward the sources of Islamic totalitarianism, the threat of organized terrorism would ultimately be eliminated.

For the life of me, I cannot understand this argument. The Boston Massacre wouldn't have happened if the United States had bombed Iran or Saudi Arabia?

Now perhaps some "organized terrorism" has ties to these states and might be interrupted, but people can't make bombs on their own? Wealthy Moslems in the US cannot finance terrorism?

And it should be noted that under open immigration (which Schwartz appears to support) the Moslem population would increase dramatically. What will these Moslems do when we start bombing Islamic countries? As I've said before, the riots that will ensue will make the LA riots look like a picnic.

-Neil Parille


Neil Parille's picture

HB: This much is beyond dispute: no inspections and no measures however draconian can keep out terrorists. 1) All 20 of the 9/11/2001 terrorists passed inspection. They were all here legally. It's trivially easy to either get the legal documents or forge them if one cannot. 2) there are thousands and thousands of miles of unguarded borders for the US—not only the sea coasts—easily reached secretly with a small boat or small submarine—there is also the 2,000+ mile border with Canada (and Canada has its own sea coast, even less patrolled.). 3) There are plenty of domestic terrorists to use—such as Maj. Hassan.

I find this incredible. The entry of the 9/11 terrorists wasn't made substantially easier by the government giving them student visas (or whatever they got)? Major Hassan's being in the US military had nothing to do with an immigration policy that allowed his parents to move to the US?

It's just a coincidence that Europe's problems with Islamic terrorism began when it relaxed its immigration policies?

If it's "trivially easy" to get forged documents, then HB believes that we already have more or less open immigration?

-Neil Parille

Greg - Mayhew

Neil Parille's picture

Here is Prof. Campbell's response to Mayhew:


Here is Campbell's full article:

Mayhew is not being honest about the nature and extent of his changes. He implies that most of the changes are in answers which Rand herself edited and published in The Objectivist Calendar ('76-'79). But that's not true. And he even changes some of those answers.

Here are a couple more articles that show Mayhew's lack of commitment to accuracy:

http://michaelprescott.typepad... (go to the end) (go to page 89)

Funny ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

This all stems from Oism's acceptance of an intrinsicist view of rights. Rights are not intrinsic, not metaphysical and not inalienable. There's no such thing as a right to travel freely for a murderous savage, for Chrissake, just because he hasn't yet stated his intent or acted on it. There's no such thing as an inalienable right not to be profiled or barred because you come from a region that harbors murderous savages and adheres to a savage superstition that wants to overtake the world. Oism must go back to the drawing board on this subject, and Binswanger should pay some attention to what's happening in the world. His view on preemption is pure rationalism. Someone does need to say something about this, loudly and lengthily. Unfortunately, his ilk have ensured that Oism has attracted mainly dull, conformist lickspittles, so there's little challenge from within. I can talk till I'm blue in the face, but no one in America takes any notice of a non-American. Whoever does do it could and should be the next Oist standard-bearer, uncontaminated by all the BS. TAS have waved the white flag, it seems; the world is burning, America is going to hell ... and Ed is writing about colonising the moon, and joining the ARI in attacking Republicans ahead of Islamofilth. I confess, I just don't get any of it.

HBL - Harry explains his thinking

gregster's picture

Open Immigration

Ed Mazlish, Jan 20

It is impractical to impose the institutions of a free society on the savages living in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and similar places. It is equally impractical (and for the same reason) to allow those savages unrestricted immigration into a country with free institutions.

Of course, not every prospective immigrant is a savage from such a country—but that's part of my point. Individual context matters. Open borders drops context and says immigration restrictions are wrong in all contexts.

I think open immigration pre-supposes a context—a context of shared values, even if held only aspirationally by the would-be immigrant—which must exist in order for a policy of open immigration to be applicable and practical.

HB: But to presume a person is a savage because of where he comes from is “guilty until proven innocent,” and represents preventive law.

In our present context, those shared values might include loyalty to America and its free institutions (or Galt's oath).

This is the principle by which, for example, people were chosen to be allowed to emigrate to Galt's Gulch. Galt's Gulch was a “by invitation only” community. It did not have “open borders”—in fact, it was guarded by an intricate shield designed to keep non-Gulch invitees out. Yes, it was private property—but it operated as its own form of separate society with its own government and rules. (For example, none of the Gulch members paid income tax to the US government on the income earned in the Gulch). So I don't think it is a sufficient objection that Galt's Gulch was private property.

HB: You can't draw any conclusions from the rules of Galt's Gulch to the proper laws of either a free nation or our semi-free America.

Furthermore, private property owners have the right to exclude people with alien cultural values from coming on their property. They similarly may delegate that right to the government as part of national defense to protect their free institutions.

HB: I don't see how. For instance, the have the right to exclude Jews from their private property, but that isn't delegable. I know you are limiting it to “alien cultural values,” but that's non-objective. What are the border guards you envision going to do—quiz immigrants on their cultural values? And assess whether they are telling the truth? And assess whether their subconsciouses are in line with their (even honestly stated) conscious conclusions?

Dr. Peikoff wrote in The Ominous Parallels about how German philosophy was transmitted across the Atlantic during the 19th century, and how it has come to infect our Republic. I have always viewed the immigrations from Eastern and Southern Europe during the 19th century as a positive event in American history—but watching the Islamification of present day Europe by Muslims, I wonder if our period of open immigration is how German philosophy was transmitted to America, with similar results.

HB: The actual problem was the intellectual importation, largely by our aspiring professors going to Germany to get their advanced degrees.

Proper immigration policy should reflect the invitations given for Galt's Gulch: open to anyone willing to take Galt's oath (properly formulated to reflect allegiance to American values). Indiscriminate entry rules are as mistaken as arbitrary limits.

HB: Anyone can take an oath. Islam, as I understand it, has the tenet that it is proper to lie to achieve the aims of jihad.

HBL - Harry explains his thinking

gregster's picture

Immigration and terrorists ! Peter Schwartz posts:

HB's Feb. 3 Forbes column on immigration provides an excellent argument, on moral and practical grounds, for eliminating all barriers to immigration.

There is one point, though, with which I want to take issue. I think the government should have some means of checking people who enter the country.

It is true that if we adopted the correct policy toward the sources of Islamic totalitarianism, the threat of organized terrorism would ultimately be eliminated. But since we are as far away from a proper foreign policy as from a proper domestic policy, we can't ignore the fact that Islamist terrorists are currently trying to come into America to do us harm.

We don't need prohibitions on immigration. Nor do we need a police state on our borders. All that's required is some contextual evaluation of newly arriving immigrants. A citizen of Japan may require a cursory check of his identity, while a citizen of Iran or Saudi Arabia may require more extensive investigation before being allowed in. (Just as someone coming from Canada may be presumed to be free of infectious diseases, while someone from a primitive country such as Madagascar may require a medical exam.)

HB: A simple solution: the inspection, checking, and exams may be done privately, by the airlines or the owners of the airport terminal. But it is a violation of rights to impede anyone's freedom of travel without probable cause. And I don't consider coming from Madagascar or anywhere else on this planet to be probable cause for disease-inspection. Nor would a court of law.

There is no violation of rights here, since there is reason to beware of possible danger—i.e., we know that the jihadists are trying to get their killers into this country. The situation is similar to that of a police roadblock set up to search for criminal suspects, when there is an objective basis for suspicion.

Immigration would remain unrestricted. No one would be barred from entering the U.S., unless some evidence was uncovered indicating that he was a threat. And would-be terrorists would have a harder time gaining entry.

HB: I understand your point of view, but I've come 100% away from this attitude. The same reasoning that recently turned me against gun control applies to immigration inspection: there must be no preventive law, no state interference or invasive checking without objective evidence about the particular individual. (Tom Bowden has pointed out that the police can monitor the ports, terminals, etc. without having to forcibly detain or interfere with anyone.)

This much is beyond dispute: no inspections and no measures however draconian can keep out terrorists. 1) All 20 of the 9/11/2001 terrorists passed inspection. They were all here legally. It's trivially easy to either get the legal documents or forge them if one cannot. 2) there are thousands and thousands of miles of unguarded borders for the US—not only the sea coasts—easily reached secretly with a small boat or small submarine—there is also the 2,000+ mile border with Canada (and Canada has its own sea coast, even less patrolled.). 3) There are plenty of domestic terrorists to use—such as Maj. Hassan.

All that even draconian inspections can do is make it more inconvenient for Islamists to get their operatives here. Yes, more inconvenient is better than less inconvenient, but it does not trump the right of free travel for the rest of us.

On the issue of police roadblocks, I don't know offhand what to think. Roadblocks are probably wrong. The interference with the innocent (which can be severe here due to the traffic pile-up) is not justified by the valid desire to catch a criminal. (Again, under capitalism the owners of private roads would decide whether to have a roadblock or not.) But at least in the case of a roadblock, a specific crime has been committed and a specific person is being searched for. That is quite different from screening for whoever has an infectious disease or for whoever has been sent to commit an act of terrorism.

These screenings and detainments are both immoral and impractical. Government cannot obstruct the innocent in order to check for the possibly guilty. An individual in the state of nature would have no right to do these preventive-law things, so the individual cannot delegate his (nonexistent) right to the government, to authorize it to do them. That is, I couldn't set up a roadblock (assuming there were no government) to look for someone, I couldn't demand that individuals entering the region prove to me that they don't have any infectious disease, I couldn't stop everyone from owning guns—so neither can my agent, the state.

The above is a little over-simplified, but it makes a point.

HBL - Harry explains his thinking

gregster's picture

Immigration and terrorists

Ben Bayer requested his words be removed.

[This post now loses its context]

HB: Not that I can see.

HB: No. The only way is by a strong military and a good foreign policy. “Protecting our borders” in peacetime is a glittering generality.

HB: It can monitor, provided it doesn't detain or impede; and it can detain on probable cause.

HB: I don't find this at all realistic.

HB: To start wars? Against a stronger nation? And if it wants to start a war, why would it need to exploit anything? Just attack.

HB: The defense of borders in peacetime? Against what? I'm thinking primarily of the U.S. today. Do you seriously want to maintain that our enemies—i.e., Iran, Saudia Arabia, etc.—would try to send a millions of Arabs into the U.S. with orders to “form an army” secretly, and no one here finds out, and then they . . . do what? With what hope of not being destroyed and bringing destruction on their homelands?

HB: There's simply no parallel between a display that is a violation of rights and subjecting the innocent at the border to interference because there may be a few guilty in the aggregate. The parallel would be government inspection of every billboard, to make sure it is not pornographic. That is the exact parallel, and it is obviously improper.

HB: Well, if they didn't what would I be complaining of? Detaining, questioning, and the like certainly violate rights. No private citizen could demand that another man stop his journey and submit to inspection, so 300 million of them cannot do it either. In contrast, if you saw another man doing something very suspicious, like entering the country in a tank, any individual (who didn't have recourse to the government) would have the right to stop him (if he dared) and have him explain himself. This is the difference between anarchy and government: under anarchy, there's no objectivity in the use of force: if anarchism were right, then you could indeed stop everybody to maybe catch one day a bad guy; under objective government, the government cannot interfere without probable cause—which means specific evidence about a specified individual.

HB: And if they have specific evidence that specific people are part of such a (science-fictional) future army, or that a specific individual is a terrorist, they can act. Otherwise, we have what 20 million people crossing the border each year, to visit and return or to stay, and we are to subject all 20 million to a 5 minute or 10 minute or half-hour delay in the hope of somehow finding out that 20 of them are going to commit terrorist acts? And Al Qaeda, et al., are not smart enough to send here agents who don't have an incriminating paper trail? And if you could magically identify which of the 20 million are agents of Al Qaeda, so that a brief inspection would ferret them out, Al Qaeda couldn't get 20 men into the country by coming across through the Canadian woods, or up from Mexico (as so many still do) or in a rowboat landing on some remote Oregon beach or Maine Island or . . .?


gregster's picture

I read about that episode again just last week. I was clearing out some old printouts. You're not being perceptive about Mayhew there. He explains himself here. It's mildly amusing, probably funnier then, the way he politely climbs into your fellow humanity-diminisher The Prof.

As [The Prof] explains these revisions, I simply took it upon myself to speak for Ayn Rand–to invent whole sentences and give her the words she was unable to find herself. He could conceive of no other possibility.

In fact, in these few cases I made use of The Objectivist Calendar (twenty issues, June 1976 to June 1979), in which Rand occasionally published (with her own edits, cuts, and additions) some of her Q&A. (Incidentally, the revised version of the above Kissinger-answer comes verbatim from this source.) In retrospect, I should have mentioned this in the preface or in a note. But as Ayn Rand Answers is a publication aimed at the general reader, and not a transcript for historians and other scholars (nor for the many pseudo-scholars who inhabit the Objectivish internet underworld), I regard this as a minor error–surely it pales in comparison to what passes for scholarship in the mind of Robert Campbell. And I can’t help but wonder whether these Q&A were the ones Dr. Burns (who spent years at the Ayn Rand Archives) was referring to when she declared that this material was “significantly rewritten”.

Dr. Campbell is scheduled to give a lecture at the Atlas Society‘s 2010 summer conference. Its title is “Who’s Answering: Ayn Rand or Robert Mayhew?” This speaks volumes about his seriousness as a scholar–and about the stature of the Atlas Society.

Binny's problem is not metadata

Doug Bandler's picture

Binswanger's problem is not the metadata issue. His problem is his failure to see Islam for what it is and thus understand the problem with Muslim immigration. He implicitly agrees with the following political philosophy: Invade the world, Invite the World, endanger the host. This is mainstream thought and Objectivists basically agree with it with some distinctions. But the Objectivist political philosophy, from Lewis to Peikoff to Binny to Tracinski to Brook et all, is to engage in war with the Islamic world while allowing Muslims to continue to immigrate here. Insane.

But thanks to Michael for pointing out the essential difference between metadata and property or between "the outside of the envelope" and what's in it.


Michael Moeller's picture

You wrote:

"These are unauthorised from HBL. Harry doesn't mind his government extending its force to monitor and store private information. "Metadata" which allows movements to be pinpointed, for starters."

"Movements" as such are not protected by the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment states this:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That is persons, houses, papers, and effects, i.e. property. Property is the proper lens through which one views search and seizure.

Not "movements", or even "private information". It would be absurd to say that because a criminal is fleeing a scene (i.e. "movement"), the police cannot apprehend him without first getting a warrant. Or that police cannot follow a suspect in his car without a search warrant. Police would scarcely be able to collect any evidence at all!

The police cannot enter his property without probable cause, not simply a "tracking of movements".

The "private information" distinction also muddies the waters. I may have private information in my garbage inside my house. The reason the police cannot get at it without a warrant is NOT because it is "private information", but rather because it is my property.

When I place that garbage outside by the curb for pick-up, the police can now get that same information. Why? Because I have disposed of the property. The Constitution rightly protects property against unreasonable search and seizure, not "private information" or "movements" as such.


Oh I See

Doug Bandler's picture

Tony White is making the case that all religions are the same and all are granted 1st Amendment protections. Binny agrees.

I don't. My argument is that Islam is not a personal private belief system because at its core it is a war movement; a systematic call for eternal hostility, aggression and conquest. Bill Warner (and others) have made a very convincing case that Islam's main focus is on oppressing non-believers (and this isn't opinion, it is the empirical study of Islam's holy texts - something you think Objectivists like HB would appreciate). Islam is first and foremost a political movement. It is a religion secondarily.

But this is something which HB and so many other Oists refuse to hear because they are obsessed with their Christianity hatred and they don't want to give Christianity any excuses. But this is irrational. Islam is substantively different than Christianity. Why should each version of irrationality be the same? Or represent the same identical threat? Islam is Islam which is a very different form of theology than post-Enlightenment Christianity. Jesus, that is not that hard to understand.

What bothers me is that Objectivists for the most part are unwilling to even wrestle with the above idea. The anti-Islam Conservatives are starting to wrestle with it. Some like Auster fully embraced it. But mainstream O'ists, like libertarians, can't even bring themselves to give the argument any legitimacy. I guess it is interpreted as "collectivism" and thus may not be mentioned. This seems like a version of the Left's "discrimination".

And that is what pisses me off. The Orc hordes are infiltrating our borders non-stop (now they want to bring in the Syrians!) and Objectivists like HB want to protect their free "speech" rights. You know, I can understand why guys like Nyquist and Prescott think that Objectivism is a cult for overgrown high school nerds.

As I keep saying, mainstream Objectivism is not a serious political movement. It is still infantile and thus incapable of defending Western civilization. God knows how long it will take before the Objectivist movement matures.


Doug Bandler's picture

But why pay attention to him? Look at his history. Almost everything he proclaims has been wrong from his support for George Bush, to the Iraq War to his magnum opus on immigration that is almost comical in its distance from the real world.

I forgot about this. You are right about all of the above. Binny has never turned out right about anything in the realm of politics. That's not by accident. While we were all confused the first five or so years after 9/11, the better Objectivists at least had some inkling that the Islamic world was unchangeable and that allowing Muslims in the West was at the least problematic (the 2005 Danish Cartoons incident woke me up to the fact that Muslims themselves were the problem and not "radical" Muslims). Binny was a gung-ho member of the belief that our political enemy was nation-states and that immigration was not the problem; the two areas that organized Objectivism has been and still is horribly wrong on.

Ironic that people like Scott Ryan, Greg Nyquist and Michael Prescott and a whole group of others, who actively work to destroy Ayn Rand’s legacy, have had a minor effect in comparison to the damage of Binswanger’s dark, rigid, mediocre brand of Objectivism that he tries to pass off as sanctioned by Rand.

Another good point. You could say that Binswanger's approach to Objectivism has given credibility to the likes of Ryan, Nyquist, and Prescott. Binny's "loyalty oath" is a microcosm for his mandated intellectual conformity. I can't help but think that the first two generations of Objectivist intellectuals have contributed to the weak reception of the philosophy. If there had been more emotional maturity and far greater savvy, perhaps we could have been far further than we are in the direction of cultural influence.

The Old Era

Neil Parille's picture

The ARI is hopeless. When Peikoff kicked McCaskey off the board he replaced him with Robert Mayhew.

Mayhew is the guy who rewrote Rand's question and answers and then went on Dr. Diana's blog and lied about doing it.

-Neil Parille

Some context

gregster's picture

"Islam In Action
[Leslie Bates post, 28 Mar]

Islamic Law is an absolute contradiction in terms.

Lama al-Ghamdi, 5, died this past October from injuries relating to a crushed skull, broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken back and severe burns. On top of being brutally beaten, medical reports say that Lama had also been raped repeatedly.
Lama was killed by her father, prominent Islamic preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi, who served only three months in prison and was released after paying $50,000 as 'blood money.'

Islam is the creation of a depraved creature. (I won't call it a man.) This creature made a career of rape, robbery, and murder. It claimed to speak for God and murdered those who correctly refused to believe that claim. It created a false code of law in order to facilitate further crimes by itself and it's followers.

Islam denies the validity of all real laws. Including the Bill Of rights. Under no circumstances can Islam EVER claim protection as a religion under the First Amendment."


"religious freedom and hypocrisy
[Tony White's post, 31 Mar]

Leslie Bates writes:
Islam denies the validity of all real laws. Including the Bill Of rights. Under no circumstances can Islam EVER claim protection as a religion under the First Amendment.

Tony White: I disagree with third sentence. Christianity is guilty of the first two sentences, as much as Islam is, yet Christians have full rights to practice and argue for their religion as much as they please. Under the First amendment, anyone may peacefully express any political ideals, including Christianity, Islam, Communism, Fascism, Voluntary Human Extinction, and the like. That these groups have their freedom of speech protected while implicitly or explicitly denying that very freedom may be hypocritical, but so what? They still have their rights, hypocrisy or no.

HB: Right.

Tony White: If any group engages in any sort of criminal behavior, terrorism, organized para-military resistance or preparation, etc., that would be a legal/political issue, but the peaceful spreading of false ideas is not. So long as an Islamic group has no to ties to criminal/seditious activity, it retains the full rights prescribed by the First Amendment.


These are unauthorised from HBL. Harry doesn't mind his government extending its force to monitor and store private information. "Metadata" which allows movements to be pinpointed, for starters. Commanders-in-chief like B.O. now have the ability to blackmail individuals. It could be that Binswanger has his balls squeezed by Barry at the moment, the way he is carrying on. I hope he retracted or modified his position. "Trust me, I'm from the government" naivete. Harry won't mind my shopping through his Islam posts - how could he? He will aid and abet the greatest civilisation's gravest enemies and will understand that the circumstances have altered.


Doug, I don't think you mean to like Tony White. He supports Harry's position. As do I regarding free speech. But they can speak all they like from offshore. I'd dismantle Islam as self-defense.


RationalMan's picture


Your description at the end sums up how independent thinkers usually react to him--with disgust at his mediocrity.

The exchange with Powell is a good example of how Binswanger argues. His abstractions from reality are concretes of fact not to be challenged. He doesn’t have to provide evidence. His omniscient take on reality is all he needs because he is an ARI philosopher who knew Ayn Rand.

But why pay attention to him? Look at his history. Almost everything he proclaims has been wrong from his support for George Bush, to the Iraq War to his magnum opus on immigration that is almost comical in its distance from the real world.

Binswanger’s position within Objectivism has been a disaster, alienating a whole generation of young people with his suffocating rigidity and dogmatism. Ironic that people like Scott Ryan, Greg Nyquist and Michael Prescott and a whole group of others, who actively work to destroy Ayn Rand’s legacy, have had a minor effect in comparison to the damage of Binswanger’s dark, rigid, mediocre brand of Objectivism that he tries to pass off as sanctioned by Rand.


Grant Jones's picture

What color is the sky on Binny's home planet? I only too proud to say that I never took HB seriously.

Binny's nonsense

Doug Bandler's picture

HB: Absolutely not. Religion is the essence of Islamic Totaliarianism; it is what drives the politics.

What is Islamic totalitarianism and how is that different from Islam? Robert Spencer could answer him and Spencer isn't even a professional logician.

HB: But they can claim protection for their advocacy of anything, including overthrowing the Constitution, until and unless it rises to an incitement to violence in concrete acts, according to pretty well established doctrine on this.

This may be established doctrine but all that says is that established doctrine needs to be rethought regarding Islam. Look at what Binny is ignoring. Fourteen centuries of Islamic conquests and the last century of Islamic immigration and the disastrous consequences for the nations that let them in (i.e. Europe). "Concrete acts" is a standard for criminal law. It is part of the inchoate crimes spectrum. That should NOT be the standard for WAR. Requiring a "concrete act" in the arena of war could mean outright defeat or catastrophe. And that is what this is, a war by Muslims against the non-Muslim world.

HB: Remember the statement that Tony White properly objected to was: “Under no circumstances can Islam EVER claim protection as a religion under the First Amendment.” That statement is false. And nothing good could be accomplished by censoring their speech.

Whoever this Tony White is I like him. That is my argument and Binny dismisses it out of hand. He doesn't even wrestle with it conceptually. To argue that Islam is a war movement that mandates perpetual violence and that all Muslims are thus recruits in this war whether they like it or not (a 5th column) is not a superficial argument that can be dismissed without argument. But Binny does just that. Further, he defends the Muslim right of "speech". Jesus, he's just like a goddamn libertarian. His conception of "rights" is infantile. Reading his nonsense, I've lost respect for him. He's a child not a reasoning adult. It is this kind of mindless drivel that keeps the Randroid meme alive.

I root for the end of the old era

Doug Bandler's picture

It will be good for the Objectivist movement when the Binswanger era (as well as the old guard) comes to an end. New blood is needed that is not dependent on Binny and Lenny and ARI, etc. Perhaps its best to throw the whole thing open and let it splinter. There will be nuttiness but hopefully there will be true genius as well. Anything would be better than the ossified conformity and timidity we see right now.


Neil Parille's picture

A: Immigrants are self-selected for their virtues: their ambitiousness, daring, independence, and pride.

B: Contrary to "accepted wisdom," the data show that immigrants are less prone to crime than are native Americans.

C: I hope to God that the FBI has infiltrated these American Mosques and is monitoring their leaders' every move.

So why does Binny want the FBI to "infiltrate" American mosques if Moslem immigrants are "self selected" for their virtues and they are less likely to commit crime?

Shouldn't Binny be urging the FBI to switch from monitoring Mosques to monitoring Mormon temples and Episcopalian churches? They are more prone to commit crimes than Islamic immigrants.


Moslems proven to be subhuman:

gregster's picture

Sorry, I should say "sub animal"

"The report continues by saying that the men finally found the “witch” and paralyzed her by reciting Koran verses. They covered her up and arrested her, claiming to find “incense, beads and sorcery material as well as videos to teach magic and a piece of a school girl’s uniform, which alerted them to the fact that the ‘witch’ might have put a school girl under a spell.”

Commenting on the story, senior Islamic cleric Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-‘Ubeikan said “Magic is one of the greatest sins and may lead to atheism and polytheism. It is unfortunate that wicked work is practiced in the city of the Prophet, peace be upon him.” He also declared that “some witches may ride a broom and fly in the air with the help of jinn. This woman flew to another floor to escape the committee with the help of jinn. I would like to thank the committee men for their blessed efforts to destroy each spoiler and ask Allah for his help as they support everyone.”

Bizarre? The fact is, there is no end to such stories emanating from the prophet’s peninsula. In April 2012, according to the Arabic website Al Shorfa, an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Yemen, called Ansar al-Sharia (or the “Supporters of Sharia Law”), beheaded a woman for “practicing magic and sorcery.” Members of the group broke into the home of Sharifa Amr—a local healer who used natural herbs to treat sick people—“beheaded her, and then hung her severed head in front of the home of another popular healer in the region, as a warning that he might share her fate.”"

We can see it, but Harry's looking the other way

gregster's picture

"In an internal Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America,” the MSA is listed as one of the Brotherhood’s allied organizations. And the memorandum explains that the Brotherhood’s agenda in the U.S. is subversive: the Muslim Brothers “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

In line with this, it is no surprise that several MSA members have been implicated in jihad terror activity. Tarek Mehanna, an MSA member at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, is now serving a seventeen-and-a-half year sentence for aiding al-Qaida. Omar Hammani, a former president of the MSA chapter at the University of South Alabama, is now waging jihad in Somalia and has a prominent place on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Hasan Akbar, who was a member of the MSA at UC Davis, joined the U.S. Army only to murder U.S. soldiers in a jihad terror attack in Kuwait; he is now awaiting execution."

as I said, tough to read

Doug Bandler's picture

Binswanger is committed to defending Islam and Muslims in accordance with his flawed (IMO) view of individualism and individual rights. For Binny, Objectivism is a suicide pact. All we can do is infiltrate mosques and spy on them. We can't preemptively ban them or forbid Muslim immigration under a theory of self defense against an enemy war movement. And note the total authority he speaks with. He is dead certain he is right and in accordance with Objectivism.

That exchange is why I can't read HBL anymore.

From HBL

gregster's picture

April 2, 2013.

Ed Powell: I must lend my support to Leslie Bates in his statement that modern organized Islam in the US (i.e., Islam taken seriously—Islamic Totalitarianism) is not a religion in the manner and form the founders would have understood, and thus does not fall under the purview of the First Amendment. It is primarily a political movement, mostly funded and directed by foreign enemy states, with the purpose of overthrowing the US constitution and implementing an alternative rights-destroying political model (sharia law), with a thin veneer of religiosity spray-painted on it to make it seem legitimate.

HB: Absolutely not. Religion is the essence of Islamic Totaliarianism; it is what drives the politics.

Ed Powell: No one who advocates overthrowing the US constitution can claim its protection for their overt acts leading to such an overthrow.

HB: But they can claim protection for their advocacy of anything, including overthrowing the Constitution, until and unless it rises to an incitement to violence in concrete acts, according to pretty well established doctrine on this.

Ed Powell: Eighty percent of US mosques are funded and staffed by the Wahhabi religious authorities of Saudi Arabia or by the Muslim Brotherhood. Almost every US-based muslim “charity” and “civil rights” group is run by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood. If it is improper in a free country to have religious groups or activities funded by that country's government, why is it proper to have religious groups or activities that are funded by foreign governments? By enemy foreign governments? This makes no sense.

HB: Yes it makes sense: Americans are not being taxed to support any particular viewpoint. And our government is not imposing any doctrine on us.

Ed Powell: The separation of church and state knows no borders.

HB: Certainly it does.

Ed Powell: To quote from John Lewis's brilliant “No Substitute for Victory”: “Islam, as it is a religion of individuals, is not to be interfered with. Islam, however, insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with. There is no question here about religious freedom. Individual religious belief is to be left alone—as is all freedom to think and to speak by one's own judgment—but state religion must be eliminated.

HB: It is not up to American government to eliminate theocracies abroad. It is up to American government to eliminate military threats (the most important of which today originate with Islamic theocracies), and I hope to God that the FBI has infiltrated these American Mosques and is monitoring their leaders' every move.

Ed Powell: Islam today in the United States is for the most part a government-supported, government-directed, and in many cases government-enforced religion. The fact that it isn't directed by the US government is immaterial.

HB: I disagree. It is the essential.

Ed Powell: All ties between foreign governments, terrorist organizations, and political fronts for terrorist organizations, with US-based mosques, imams, “civil rights organizations,” etc. must be “done away with.” Only then, when organized Islam in the US is again “a religion of individuals,” and not a totalitarian political movement directed from abroad, should Islam be protected by the First Amendment.

HB: Remember the statement that Tony White properly objected to was: “Under no circumstances can Islam EVER claim protection as a religion under the First Amendment.” That statement is false. And nothing good could be accomplished by censoring their speech.

Years ago

Jules Troy's picture

Years ago I read VOS, Capitalism The Unknown Ideal and AS.  And for 20 years I just went my own way.  I had no idea there WAS an o'ist movement or what an O'st was.  I just formed my own opinions and watched the world through my own concept of what a freedom loving, free market loving idealist kind of person should be, and act accordingly.

Some have pleasantly surprised me when I first learned there were O'st forums.   Many I find to be kind of pathetic in a nitpicking TOTALLY missed the whole point (and the boat) kind of way.  Not unlike NORMAL people!

Binswanger kind of reminds me of a tee shirt I once saw..

"What you find offensive

I find to be funny

that is why I am HAPPIER than you."

Just be happy you are NOT an anal retentive Binswanger type!


RationalMan's picture

I spent several years on his List, and found him to be a major disappointment. One of my observations was that talent and ability meant little to him and that he valued conformity to his opinion more than anything. He seemed to have a good knowledge of Objectivist philosophy but embarrassed himself when he ventured into the world--Iraq, Iran, Bush, immigration, etc. Most of the posters on his List were young men who tried very hard to please him and win his approval. Leonard Peikoff never posted and I was told by several people that they no longer talk to each other. Schwartz posted a few times and offered a shabby defence for Peter Keating as a more of an altruist than Mother Theresa. Most of the posters bent over backwards defending this delusion.

Binwanger's method of arguing consisted of ignoring what he couldn't defend and misdirecting other points he didn't want to deal with. Way before the drug wars in Mexico, I pointed out that drug gangs would enter America and change the scope of crime. He ignored me.

He lacked the total confidence of Ayn Rand and responded with a measured, controlled approach. Like other Objectivists, he used all of Ayn Rand's thoughts and couldn't seem to approach the world through his own thoughts. He often repeated Ayn Rand's theory that feelings come from one's thinking, ignoring the fact that deep-rooted trauma, resentments and fears have a life of their own, and have to be treated by experiencing the feeling and not by thought realignment.

All in all, he is far from a Rand-type hero, and comparing him to Roark, Dagny or Frisco shows him to be rigid, constricted and dogmatic. He often supported George Bush, big corporations and bombs away in the Islamic world. One ARI biggie posted that he supported mass bombings of mosques and madrassas in Iran until none existed. Binswanger posted this. I never witnessed him advocating Objectivism as an anecdote, or that we were in a war of ideas not only against Islam but the Castroite aligned Left all over the word.

He seemed to like to play tin god to a bunch of eager young Objectivists starved for leadership. I thought he damaged the Ayn Rand legacy a great deal with his stiff, suffocating approach very much at odds with individualism.

I agree

Doug Bandler's picture

If this latest nonsense is an example of his reasoning abilities, I would have to wonder.

It makes me wonder too. The thing is, now I question whether his book on logic is really as valuable as I would have thought three years ago. But I'll hold out hope that he is compartmentalized. Yet, when you start taking positions like he is, credibility in everything starts going out the window.

I wouldn't be too sure...

Grant Jones's picture

Again, he's an epistemologist not a lawyer...

If this latest nonsense is an example of his reasoning abilities, I would have to wonder. The hallmark of Objectivist epistemology is integration. Harry provides an excellent example of mis-integration, along with an absolute refusal to deal with unpleasant realities. But I agree on the "unhinged" part.  


difficult to read

Doug Bandler's picture

The latest pearl of wisdom from the Harry Binswanger List:

Unhinged to borrow from Michelle Malkin. Our Michael Moller provides a far superior analysis of Homeland Security issues than Binswanger. Again, he's an epistemologist not a lawyer, yet he has not problem opining with an air of moral superiority on a subject that is not his specialty. Not to mention that he altogether ignores the 800 pound gorilla; i.e. Muslims and Islam.

Binny off the rails

Neil Parille's picture

The 2009 NYC subway attack was planned by Moslems. Binny has no problems with "big brother" because it might prevent terrorist attacks.

When Israel opens it borders to millions of Moslems as Binny thinks it must, how much "big brother" government does Binny think Israelis must accept to prevent terrorism?

Oh wait, Binny thinks that immigrants are "self selected" for their peacefulness. So the millions of Moslems who will move to Israel will make Israel more peaceful.

Bingy off the rails...

Grant Jones's picture

....again. The latest pearl of wisdom from the Harry Binswanger List:

I agree with the The Wall Street Journal: there is nothing inherently wrong with the government having collected "meta data" about phone calls and such. The collection of this information has, reportedly, enabled the government to quash planned terroist attacks, e.g., an attack on the NYC subways that was in the works in 2009. (Some are objecting that the PRISM data-collection program was not a necessary input in the foiling of that attack; but even if it wasn't, it's better to have all the the sources of information we can.)


Moeller's picture

Thanks for the wealth of info, I will feast.

--Dan Edge

Some Corrections, Dan

Michael Moeller's picture

Where does the Patriot Act provide for the collection of data as done in PRISM? It doesn't. In fact, the Patriot Act requires a warrant to collect the content of communications of US citizens.

Warrantless searches for "metadata", like telephone numbers, were allowed long before the Patriot Act. Why? Because it is not surveillance of the content of a conversation, letter, one's personal effects, etc.

By contrast, PRISM is authorizing the collection of content, such as the content of emails. THIS is not supported by the Patriot Act, or the 4th Amendment in general.

If you want to see my discussion of the Patriot Act, check here.


PRISM and Islam's picture


The recent news on NSA's PRISM initiative is relevant.  Whistleblower Edward Snowden said he outed PRISM because:

"The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."

PRISM is legitimized by the Patriot Act,  a massive power grab by the US government in reponse to 9-11.  Do you guys support the Patriot Act, PRISM, and similar measures to combat the threat of domestic Islam?

--Dan Edge

Six maggots apprehended

gregster's picture

Caught by chance. Not to the admittedly tabloid Sun, this time the sanitised Telegraph.

Judge Hilliard dismissed defence claims that the plot was “amateurish” and was instead “wide ranging and determined” which could have killed.

The group’s actions would have led to a “spiral of tit for tat violence”, he added, and it was “inconceivable” that the men’s resolve for another attack had evaporated as a result their blunders.

“That is a particularly serious aspect of this case. That simply cannot be an aspect of life in a society where the overwhelming majority choose to live in harmony with their fellow men and women,” he said.

The Sun included:

"Today is a day of retaliation (especially) for your blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad. We love death more than you love life. The penalty for blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad is death."

And pictures of their crude weaponry. I question part of what the Judge says here:

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: “There is no reason to suppose that a further attempt may not have been made in the future had the defendants not been apprehended. I find it inconceivable that your resolve would have evaporated.”

He went on: “You intended to engage in a violent confrontation with those attending the EDL rally and use the weapons and the IED (improvised explosive device) to cause serious injuries, and you anticipated that some victims may have died.”

Innocent shoppers and passers-by would have been caught up in the carnage, the court heard.

That implies that the EDL members are not innocent.

Naughty bastard Moslem exposed

gregster's picture


gregster's picture

Has anyone asked Binswanger what his views on Islamic immigration are?

I'm not with his list at the moment. He's had many of his contributors raise the issue and given his views in response. He's fairly radical in his thinking. I could sum up his thinking as "an objective threat is a threat."

He hasn't to my knowledge acknowledged the fact of Moslems' tactic of invading a geographic location, taking advantage of any and all benefits to breed quicker than the infidel, in order to impose Sharia law. If and when it were any more obvious for him - say; a few more killings for Allah, Russia being identified as supporting state sponsors of terrorism, unpleasant odors emanating from his new Moslem neighbor's apartment - he may take a truer line.

I'm putting all the posts containing "Islam" together at the moment.

Open Borders and Islamic Immigration

Neil Parille's picture

I've heard it said by some Objectivists that we don't need to fear that millions of Moslems will move to the US because it somehow "violates the laws of physics" to have such a large movement of people.

As a result of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1922 or so, at least 2 million Greeks from Turkey and Turks from Greece moved. After Portugal gave Mozambique and Angola independence in 1975, 1 million Portuguese moved back to Portugal.

Has anyone asked Binswanger what his views on Islamic immigration are?

Pamela Geller this week

gregster's picture

Seen at New Zeal. Enjoy your internet criticism of Islam while you can Doug - your government is out to get you. They're already on to us here with PRISM.

"Pamela Geller is the executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative. She organized a demonstration in response to the Department of Justice holding a meeting in Manchester, Tennessee (June 4th, 2013) to "educate" citizens on the Muslim community. Ms. Geller spoke at the demonstration prior to the event as an advocate for the 1st amendment, among other issues. Many fear the Justice Department is using the threat of hate crime prosecution as a way to silence any discussion on the religion of Islam."

"Save our Constition" waving around in the background..

Doug, Neil, Grant: Thanks for

RationalMan's picture

Doug, Neil, Grant:

Thanks for some really interesting information. You make some crucial points about bombing Iran yet allowing Stealth Jihad and immigration to flourish. As for organized Objectivism, I would not count on them for much help. All three of you guys seem to be intelligent, independent thinkers with much to say, then why are you not part of Objectivism? You are the bone and marrow of what Ayn Rand was trying to create, but you are on the outside. In truth, organized Objectivism is an embarrassment in most cases. (There is some hope with Yaron and the younger people at ARI.) The people you mention like Hsieh, Armstrong, Biddle, Binwanger, Schwartz and someone like Hudgens are representative of a mutant branch of Objectivism a long distance from Roark, Frisco, Dagny and the big guy, J. Galt. Objectivism is suffocating with moralism, filled with nice little boys and girls who only want to be good Objectivists. Does anyone who knows Peikoff believe he has been good for Objectivism? When I knew him he was an Ayn Rand ragdoll, virtually incapable of thinking for himself. At one time, in the sixties, Objectivism was attracting talented and creative thinkers, the independent young people of that generation. Now, it attracts moralistic good boys who want to be told how to think. Check out Binswanger's HBL, filled with Objectivist puppets who want to please big, bad Harry. His White Paper on immigration is important to him because it is one of his few intellectual endeavors. He will defend it to his death even though it is like intellectual Swiss Cheese. My sense is he wanted to appear as the great champion of the underdog to counteract Objectivist's image of being elitist.

Stupid Christians

Doug Bandler's picture

“Orthodox Christianity is strangely compatible with Islam. Western Christianity is far more distant from Islam. Did you know there are very strong and fast-developing contacts between the Russian Orthodox Church and Iran?

Wow. These Orthodox Christians are idiots on many levels. The most obvious is that they don't see that their new Muslim friends will turn on them in a second the moment they have a numerical advantage. But my guess is that what both religions have in common is a strong social Conservatism and that both are opposed to the sexual liberalism of the West.

Russia has been and is still an enemy of America. As Diana West is heroically pointing out, the Russians deliberately hindered the American war effort in WW2 to the point that history books are going to have to be rewritten as Leftists have kept these details hidden for over 60 years. Now the Russians are aiding Islam. America is surrounded by evil everywhere and we have Leftists governing the country, and Conservatives are no answer. Talk about depressing.

Christians seem to have more balls than mainstream o'ists

Jules Troy's picture

The Stupid....

Grant Jones's picture

...It Burns! Apparently, ARI thinks that Israel should be allowed to have borders: "Why the “right of return”/refugee problem persists, how it is magnified by Arab regimes, and how the “right of return” is understood by some as a means of dissolving the state of Israel."

Maybe someday, they'll apply the same obvious reasoning to the United States and what's left of the civilized world in general. Then again, maybe not. By saying that some understand that the "right to return" is an obvious Trojan Horse, does ARI include themselves? It's sad that ARI can't take a open, honest stand on this issue, instead of hiding behind weasel words.



Jules Troy's picture

Somehow this does not surprise me..

Russia’s Anti-Western Alliance With Islam

gregster's picture

Opinion from New Zeal:

Kalashnikov emphasized that Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Russia are working together against the United States. “Russia is behind Syria and Iran,” he said, “supplying weapons and technologists. So far I see no viable solution to that challenge. That is why I was irritated by your president’s words, ‘we are more secure.’ But who is really in control? Who really has the initiative, Obama or Putin?”

I asked Kalashnikov about Russia’s vulnerability to Islamic terrorism. His answer took me by surprise. “The Russians think that with Orthodox Christianity Russia will be able to cope with Islam,” he explained. “Orthodox Christianity is strangely compatible with Islam. Western Christianity is far more distant from Islam. Did you know there are very strong and fast-developing contacts between the Russian Orthodox Church and Iran? This started some five or six years ago. The mullahs and the Orthodox are consolidating their friendship. They share an ideological and spiritual platform which is called ‘anti-Americanism.’ Both of them reject American values and way of life, and they reject American policy. That unifies them. It’s very important after the Soviet collapse that Russia was able to combine with true allies who will work against the same ideological enemy.

Iran is a strong anti-American state. The same can be said of Syria and Hezbollah too. I am here in Moscow, just 800 meters from a new Mosque that is being built. It is huge. The Russian police say that some 120,000 Muslims are gathering there in downtown Moscow. The number of Muslim immigrants is growing. They have been coming in for the last five-to-six years. The ethnic composition of Moscow is changing.”

total war as the only expression of egoism

Doug Bandler's picture

They wouldn't stop Moslem immigration because it would violate their alleged rights. But, they would nuke/carpet-bomb cities instead if required for national security.

This is how they interpret egoism. Its egoistic, and thus non-altruistic, to bomb Islamic cities to the ground. But it is somehow rights violating (and thus altruistic?) to prohibit Muslim immigration. They see egoism in a very narrow way and miss the far bigger picture. Not to mention the insanity of advocating mass bombings of Muslims while allowing large numbers of Muslims within your borders. No one in mainstream Objectivism sees a problem with that. Certainly not Rear Admiral Brook. Because he is an American loving immigrant, all immigrants must be that way. Sweet Jesus.

Mainstream Objectivism does not understand:

1) the fundamental nature of Islam - its essential political nature - i.e. that it is a war movement dedicated to conquest and subjugation of the Kafir - this is what the religion focuses on more than any other subject - subjugating non-believers (that's what an empirical study of the religion uncovers but that would require studying empirical data - something mainstream O'ists ignore)

2) Islam's history and its record of 14 centuries of constant warfare, conquest and subjugation

3) the reality of the allegiance that most Muslims have to Islam and the fact that they can never have allegiance to any other nation or thought system (i.e. America or Classical Liberalism)

4) the well planned and executed strategy by Muslim 5th columnists like the Muslim Brotherhood to systematically undermine and then conquer America and Western nations

5) the massive infiltration of American government by Sharia faithful, stealth Jihad waging Muslims - and here the Muslims are following the Communist playbook - see Diana West's latest book for just how thoroughly the Communists infiltrated Washington - history books are going to have to be rewritten

6) stealth Jihad - Ari Armstrong and Craig Biddle poo poo this as if it were something that bigoted Conservatives made up

7) the massive role that immigration plays in the Islam threat - simply put Muslim populations are a menace that organized Objectivism refuses to acknowledge

8] the complicity of the Left - Objectivists at large don't want to recognize that the Left is a totalitarian movement** which is beyond reach - they are orders of magnitude more destructive than the mainstream Conservatives who are a weak cowardly bunch - Leftists are hellbent on criminalizing non-leftist thought and establish Leftist rule - but Objectivists have a misguided fraternity with them because they are "secular" - and all their good university friends were Leftists who "really weren't that bad"

In short mainstream Objectivism is totally ill-equipped to deal with the threat posed by Islam. They are little better than libertarians or Leftists. Yet they act as if their advocacy of total war makes them the great defenders of America and the West. Delusional.


** Also, mainstream O'ists by and large don't understand that Leftism itself is orders of magnitude more evil than mainstream Conservatism. Today's Conservatism is a mix of original Conservatism and Classical Liberalism, both watered down (and thus ineffectual). But today's liberalism, i.e. Leftism, is a thought system with a consistent egalitarian collectivist politics, a fierce commitment to altruist ethics (which the Conservatives interestingly are willing to cheat), a relativist epistemology and a deep rooted victim mindset. Throw in an insane cultural self-loathing and a vicious nihilism and you have the Left. It is an evil that modern Conservatism simply is nowhere near.

Yet idiots like Adam Reed and Diana Hsieh will argue that there is an equal threat coming from both sides. That is totally delusional. And that is my main source of frustration with the Objectivist movement - that it does not recognize the fact that we live in a Leftist culture, that we are subjected to Leftist rule, and that Leftists are our overlords; who are assisting and encouraging the Muslims. That is the proper way to view the world in which we live. Diana Hsieh, Craig Biddle, ARIan Armstrong, and the rest of that gang are IGNORANT of fundamental truths of the the world.

Neil, good point

Grant Jones's picture

Can Biddle be so ignorant as to not understand the theological and historical differences between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand and Islam on the other? Can you provide a link to where he incorrectly interprets Luke 19:27?

Another good example is the little matter of the Mongols sacking and destroying Baghdad in 1258. They forced the caliph to watch as they raped and murdered his people. Then the caliph was killed in a suitably spectacular Mongol fashion. Funny thing though, Islam is still with us nearly seven hundred years later. Maybe Biddle and ARI has even more thorough mass carnage and destruction in mind. Weird. They wouldn't stop Moslem immigration because it would violate their alleged rights. But, they would nuke/carpet-bomb cities instead if required for national security. I really must be missing something. Right?

Of course, the present government of the USA would give serious consideration to ARI and Biddle's total war strategy before the Moslem fifth-column in the country is dealt with.

Doug, Thanks...

Grant Jones's picture

...for your kudos on my essay.

But what bothers me is that they don't even want to debate the issue with dissenting Objectivists.

Absolutely. The refusal to have a real discussion on both Moslem immigration and immigration in general is deeply disturbing.


Jules Troy's picture

Guess that makes me a dangerouusss racist right wing extremist angry white male!

Who would be happy just to be left alone.  Sadly the west will soon be fuxored.

Rome and non-Romans

Doug Bandler's picture

. A better analogy is the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD. The Romans had to fight the Jews again 50 or 60 years later.

Yes and that war almost bankrupted them.

But more, immigration played a central role in the downfall of Rome. John Lewis himself made this point in a lecture he gave about the history of Rome. However he was very careful not to follow that point down the bunnyhole too far lest he upset the apple cart. But he mentioned that by the third century AD the Roman citizenry was so constituted that Julius Caesar or Scipio Africanus would not have recognized them.

Rome like America was built by a certain people with a certain culture. Allowing immigration without ensuring that that culture be maintained helped to end Rome and it is doing the same to America. Rational immigration, whatever that ends up being, has to exist in the context of cultural preservation. Alien, hostile cultures and their immigrants represent one of the GREATEST dangers a nation can face. But to a mainstream Objectivist what I just said is racism.


Neil Parille's picture

I note that he puts Christianity and Judaism on the same level as Islam. I think his interpretation of Luke 19:27 is moronic, but that's another issue.

In another essay Biddle compares defeating Islamists with defeating Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II. Bombing Saudi Arabia and Iran will end Islamic terrorism in the US, just like defeating Germany and Japan defeated their terrorist supporters in the US. If you don't get this analogy, you aren't alone. A better analogy is the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD. The Romans had to fight the Jews again 50 or 60 years later. And Jews are still around, nearly 2000 years after their sacred site has been destroyed.

Remember, Biddle believes there should be NO limitation on the numbers of Moslems who can move to Europe, the US and Israel. His policy on immigration would result in the West becoming progressively more Islamic. He believes Israel must permit itself to become an Islamic nation through "open immigration."

Grant's essay - vastly superior commentary...

Doug Bandler's picture

...than anything organized Objectivism has produced; that includes both ARI and whatever Kelley's group is called these days. Grant's analysis of Biddle's rationalism demonstrates 1) a good grasp of philosophic fundamentals, 2) an understanding of the history and theory of war, and 3) an understanding of Islam, its theology and its history. Mainstream Objectivism is clueless on #2 and #3. Thus their #1 reduced to rationalism. Yet this is all they produce.

But what bothers me is that they don't even want to debate the issue with dissenting Objectivists. This same shit happens with immigration too. This pisses me off. This is the establishment of a mindless orthodoxy; the very thing Rand warned about. I see now that when Objectivists are wrong, they are defiantly wrong; just like Leftists. I never saw this when I was a drone. I see it now.

I don't say that my position is 100% right. I realize that banning Islam and deporting Muslims is radical and may be too much (although it may not). But arguing that the Islam problem is an immigration problem is not far fetched and reactionary. Yet almost NO Objectivists take such an argument seriously. And they react with Leftist-style scorn towards those that do. That's why I sometimes retaliate with venom towards the Randroids (80% of the movement IMO). But self-righteous ignorance backed by Randian phraseology IS repulsive (the Conservatives are right about that).


Neil Parille's picture

This is from ARI's page about Ridpath:

I don't get the impression that he did much publishing. I guess he must have done something useful to get tenure.

Gotthelf is a smart guy. He has many publications, although few in the area of Rand and Objectivism. He writes about stuff like Aristotle and teleology. Salmieri is a Gotthelf protoge; he got his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh where Gotthelf taught.

The Ayn Rand Society publications are edited by Gotthelf and Lennox. The collection on concepts is out, but Amazon is having a hard time getting it for me.

Tara Smith has published a lot on Rand's ethics.

There is also George Reisman and John McCaskey. They are credible intellectuals, but for some reason got booted out of the movement by Leonard Peikoff.

Imagine ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... the Roar of Rand, were she around today, against Islamobarbarism. Yet there is only timorousness from the "official" proponents of her philosophy. I think their lives, like those of Congressmen and IRS employees, have become one long junket, the only difference being their benefactors are such by choice (I wonder, though—is this politically correct version of Objectivism what the donors really want?!). Still, the fact that the ARI now again considers SOLO important enough to ignore, and re-adopt the old snooty cultist attitudes towards, should encourage us to carry on being the warriors they are supposed to be. Eye


Doug Bandler's picture

Neil, I largely agree (I think that Ridpath did have a 30 year teaching stint at a Canadian University. That at least is a real job.) I don't know enough about Valliant but given everything I've witnessed now for the past 5 years, I don't know If I would trust anyone working in conjunction with the ARI. There is a cultist dynamic going on there which has cost them credibility. You may end up being right in your take down of Valliant's book. I just don't have the time to research the matter but I no longer discount you like I did. I was retarded then.

Regarding the Pittsburgh society, I think that is run by Gotthelf and Salmeiri, two of the better intellectuals that O'ism has produced. They do represent better trends. Objectivism needs serious intellectual who are embedded in the university system (as difficult as that must be to be surrounded by Borg, err I mean Leftists). Hsieh's phd is worthless as she sits in that basement dungeon of hers bullshitting on her computer all day; working on her "podcasts".

Too many people making a living off of the business of O'ism and not contributing intellectual content.

Muslims in the UK

Richard G McGrath's picture

This is how Orwellian things have become in the UK: a Muslim hate preacher who says Drummer Rigby will burn in hellfire is left alone by the police, but a Welsh shopowner is cautioned for having T-shirts in his window that read "Obey our laws, respect our beliefs, or get out of our country."

Mainstream Objectivists

Neil Parille's picture

Doug, you seem to get:

1. Mediocrities who have never had an original thought, such as Craig Biddle, Peter Schwartz and Ari Armstrong.

2. People with Ph.D.s who never do anything with it, such as Harry Binswanger, John Ridpath, and Dr. Diana Hsieh, Ph.D.

3. Deluded cultists such as Leonard Peikoff and Jim Valliant.

Rand has been dead for 30 years. Is everyone still afraid of Peikoff?

I think things are getting better though, such as the Ayn Rand Society productions put out by the University of Pittsburgh.

-Neil Parille

Bill Warner - a smart man

Doug Bandler's picture

No mainstream Objectivist is capable of this type of clarity of thought regarding Islam. Not even Yaron Brook. Warner would be considered a Christian apologist and a Conservative by mainstream Objectivists and then dismissed. (He might be both but that is irrelevant.) He logically points out that Islam is more of a political philosophy then a private religious belief system. It is substantively different than Christianity. Yet I have seen many mainstream O'ists mock this claim by the anti-Islam Conservatives. To them all religions are the same. This is NOT true. There are degrees of poison.

When mainstream Objectivism can produce a speech like this it will have dug itself out of the abyss of ignorance that it is now currently mired in.

Armstrong is a moron

Doug Bandler's picture

By all means, let's give the persecutors of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula the benefit of the doubt.

This is inexcusable but you see mainstream Objectivists doing this ALL the time; giving Leftists the benefit of the doubt. How on earth could anyone do that after over 150 years of the Leftist assault on everything America stands for? Especially, as I keep pointing out, that Objectivism itself was born of Rand's defiance of and war against the LEFT. Yet Objectivists keep doing this. They keep holding out an olive branch to the Left. How very Christian of them.

As for Armstrong, I just can't read him. I feel visceral disgust because he is both clueless and weak. I can have no respect for such a creature especially when you throw in moral self-righteousness to boot. Organized Objectivism is a cesspool of rationalism. They're a bunch of know-nothings horribly applying a very powerful but very broad philosophy laid down by a genius who has been dead for over 30 years. Outside of cookie cutter stuff, the Objectivist movement is relatively useless. Sad.

Answer to Biddle

Grant Jones's picture

I wrote the following response to Biddle over two years ago. Of course he hasn't addressed any of the points I raised.


All warfare is based on deception. – Sun Tzu

In the Fall 2010 issue of The Objective Standard, Craig Biddle wrote an article, “The Ground Zero Mosque, the Spread of Islam, and How America Should Deal with Such Efforts,” that compounds several errors held by many Objectivists on this issue. He argues that although America is at war with Islamists, governmental force to prevent the building of the mosque would violate property rights. However, Biddle does not suffer from any illusions about the nature of Islam or the current struggle. He points out that America “is in a (shamefully) undeclared but nevertheless real military war with Islamists” (10). The enemy includes states that support terrorism, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, the enemy is not limited to nation-states:

This military war is a part of a broader cultural war—a war of ideas, principles, and norms—and our enemies in this broader war include more than those Muslims who enact or call for violence against Americans. Our enemies in this broader war include any Muslims who seek via any means—whether violent or peaceful—to destroy America and establish an Islamic state in its place…The general goal is to saturate America with Muslims, Islamic ideas, Islamic institutions, and Islamic norms such that America gradually and peacefully becomes an Islamic state. (10). [Emphasis in original]

The above is a good summation of the methods and goals of the stealth jihad not only in America but also around the world. In Western Europe today Americans can view their future if the stealth jihadists continue their successful infiltration.

All thoughtful, patriotic Americans—including Objectivists—agree on the seriousness of Islamic aggression upon the West. However, there is much disagreement on how to fight the stealth jihad. Biddle recommends a solution with a strong emphasis on ending jihad supporting regimes starting with Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, he advocates that when dealing with the stealth jihad on American soil the only recourse is debate, boycott and moral suasion.

Besides declaring war upon Iran and—if necessary—Saudi Arabia, Biddle’s three point plan for dealing with the stealth jihad on American soil is for private citizens to “morally condemn Islam in particular and creeds of faith and dogma in general…recognize and uphold the principle that tolerance is not a virtue but a vice…ostracize individuals and boycott businesses” that are involved in building the Ground Zero mosque” (19-20). There are several problems with Biddle’s recommendation, not the least of which is his view that it is the responsibility of private citizens to thwart sedition of this magnitude, which also has a foreign source(Drunk.

To begin with, Biddle mischaracterizes the motives of those who oppose the Ground Zero mosque. Several times in his essay he states that the primary reason for opposing the mosque is its “insulting nature.” This denigrates opposing views as merely emotional. He argues (correctly) that “insults” are not a valid reason for depriving Americans of their property rights. He then launches into several paragraphs on the principles of property rights. His premise being that those who disagree with him (including individuals who have been Objectivists for decades) are not “thinking in principles” (16).

Biddle begins his essay by acknowledging that “some [who oppose the mosque] say that property rights do not apply in this case because the mosque backers are aiding the enemy” (9). He dismisses this argument. The only way the government could legitimately prohibit the mosque’s building is if it were providing “material aid” to the enemy (15). With this position, Biddle’s demonstrates his lack of knowledge on the type of war we are now engaged in, along with a more general ignorance of military history.

The morale of a nation under attack is central to whether that country will survive and emerge victorious. Churchill’s exceptional leadership in the summer of 1940 is a classic example of how one man changed a nation from defeatism to trumpeting that surrender is not an option. As Ayn Rand observed,

A country’s morale is crucially important, in wartime. In World War II, the British Lord Haw-Haw was, properly, regarded as a traitor—for the crime of trying to undercut the British soldiers’ morale by broadcasting scare stories about Nazi Germany’s invincible power. [1]

Here, Rand is reiterating Napoleon’s famous maxim of war, “the moral is to the physical as three to one.” And clearly, the purpose of the Ground Zero mosque is to undercut American morale in the continuing, one-sided campaign against the stealth jihad in the West, while emboldening the warriors of Mohammed. Biddle’s strict separation between the physical and psychological factors of warfare is completely invalid and reeks of the mind/body dichotomy. Jihadists are waging psychological and ideological war against the West, which dovetails nicely with their terrorism. There is no safe way to draw a sharp line between the two. Terrorism and the stealth jihad are two halves that form one whole.

The false dichotomy between the material and moral in warfare that Biddle propounds is the result of his not understanding the kind of war the United States, and our Western allies, are engaged in. For example, Biddle claims that if the United States declared war on Iran and then quickly destroyed that regime (without endless handwringing over Iranian civilian deaths), “we would demonstrate the hopelessness of the Islamic cause, deflate their motivation to kill, and effectively collapse their nihilistic movement” (18). He provides absolutely no evidence for this assertion except by noting that such a strategy worked against Germany and Japan during and after World War II. There are obviously vast differences between these cultures. What worked with Germany and a quickly Westernizing Japan may not work with a culture largely based on Islam and its adherence to the Arab tribal mindset.

 He states that taking out Iran would eliminate “the main sources of spiritual and financial support for Islamists”—another dubious assertion. Islam has suffered many devastating military set-backs from the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 to the slaughter of the Mahdi’s forces at Omdurman in 1898. From the ashes of numerous defeats, Islamic conquest, in its many forms, rebounded once the victors became tired, soft or converted. Biddle seems unaware that it is for this very reason that the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928. Hassan al-Banna’s purpose was to revitalize Islamic resolve after the overwhelming defeat of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Caliphate was dissolved and large sections of the Moslem world were under foreign domination.  This disaster did not “deflate their motivations to kill.” Instead, the jihadists became ever more vicious, as their alliance with Nazi Germany makes clear.

Yet another faulty premise of Biddle’s is his reversing cause and effect on the relationship between domestic and foreign policy. He seems to believe that a more rational foreign policy can precede domestic reform. In other words, how can America in its present state possibly embark on the policy of declaring war upon Iran and other jihad supporting regimes? The short answer is that it cannot. It is bad enough that so many on both the left and the right remain clueless on the threat of jihad in all its forms. Furthermore, a reexamining of American foreign policy is made much more difficult with government and civilian institutions that have been compromised by stealth jihadists spreading disinformation or worse. I contend that the stealth jihad now occurring on American soil will have to be dealt with before we can expect the government to adopt a rational foreign policy.

Perhaps Biddle’s worst blunder is his belief that warfare is something that can only transpire between nation-states. Of course, nothing can be further from the truth. This is particularly true when dealing with Islam. Moslems self-consciously think of themselves as part of an international community-of-believers called the ummah. Jihadists (of all varieties) operate as members of the ummah, not for any particular government. Their justification for perpetual war against the infidel is located in the Koran, the Hadith and countless fatwas. The ummah is their source of legitimacy to wage war. They function as a worldwide state within numerous territorial states. Eminent military historian John Keegan describes the Islamic view of war:

Islam dissolved the two principles on which war had so often been fought before: territoriality and kinship. There could be no territoriality in Islam, because its destiny was to bring the whole world to submission to the will of God…The Arab armies benefited greatly from the presence in the settled lands they invaded of the musta’riba, Arabs who had given up the desert life but who felt strong cultural bonds with them and proved willing to fight at their side as soon as they heard a doctrine of brotherhood preached in the name of Islam. [2]

This is the enemy the West faces. Thinking in terms of fighting and defeating nation-states ignores the enemy’s nature. Vanquishing such an unprecedented enemy will require much rethinking on the part of Americans. It will also require taking steps that may seem extreme, but are necessary. For example, Robert Spencer is one of our top scholars on Islam and the stealth jihad. In his important work Stealth Jihad, Spencer describes and documents the nature of the stealth jihad and how it operates in America. He reaches the stark conclusion that as “a simple matter of national security” the United States should end further Moslem immigration. He argues that such a policy is inescapable unless and until sharia law supremacy is no longer a part of Islam. [3] Given the facts, history and nature of Islamic supremacy, Spencer’s is a logical conclusion. In contrast, Biddle’s call for boycotts in the face of invasion seems silly and entirely beside the point.

[1] Ayn Rand, “The Wreckage of the Consensus,” in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1967), 252.   

[2] John Keegan, A History of Warfare (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), 194, 196-7.

[3] Robert Spencer, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2008), 278.


Mainstream Objectivists are as bad as Leftists on many issues.

Neil Parille's picture

That's true. Many Objectivists have a "let it all hang out" approach to personal morality.


Grant Jones's picture

Doug, check this out from TOS's blog:


The general cluelessness of TOS never ends. By all means, let's give the persecutors of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula the benefit of the doubt. Does TOS or Armstrong want to bet on whether the name "Molly Norris" is mentioned at this meeting where Zero Admin thugs will lecture Americans on what is now acceptable expression?

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