Karl Rove Shrugged

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Objectivist guru Leonard Peikoff—he calls himself the "intellectual heir" of Ayn Rand, which seems to mean he acquired her intellect upon its death—has endorsed John Kerry for president. Seems Bush is too religious for him.

[Via Liberty & Power.]

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  1. Oh Zeus. You used to be able to say “Well, at least the Ayn Randians are principled”.

    Peikoff’s been an idiot for a long time, though.

  2. This is rediculous. If it comes to a choice of getting to keep what I earn while putting up with some religious based restrictions or giving up my money to a government that will squander it on it’s own form or religion (read welfare and political correctness), I’ll keep what I earn, thank you.
    Kerry offers no more social freedoms than Bush, but comes at the cost of wanting to tax the people who Ayn Rand held in the highest regard even more than their current 40%+ burden. For this election (and all others) I’m a single issue voter, I vote on who will keep my taxes the lowest because freedom to keep what one earns is the most fundamental right.

  3. “What do I think of Leonard Peikoff? …But I don’t think of him.”

  4. david,

    BUT – he is rooted in reality…

    In what way? In that he claims that say Yucca mountain was championed for reasons of science, when it was really forty-nine other states screwing Nevada? 🙂

    …has integrity…

    He has about as much integrity as Kerry has; very little in other words.

    …and whether or not he frames the “War On Terrorism” in terms of religion or reason, the fact is that he is ACTING on it, and getting results.

    Your statement merely begs the question; are they the RESULTS that I should want? So far, I ain’t impressed.

    He understands American sovereignty and that America is truly unique in the world…

    America isn’t particularly unique; or rather, what makes us unique is that we can project a lot of power; which historically doesn’t make us very unique at all. The more unique and special we think we are, the more likely we are to stumble over our asses.

    …and is not willing to compromise America’s leadership position for the sake of placating “old Europe.”

    Can you tell me where Kerry has said that his plan is the opposite of this? And Bush placates “old Europe” all the time; shit, his administration has gone hat in hand to the Europeans on a number of occassions in the past year, so don’t tell me that Bush some national version of “Walking Tall.”

    Peikoff was basically Rand’s little sycophant; she managed to drive off anyone else who had a measure of self-worth or otherwise had half a brain.

  5. That Whooosh sound you hear is Ayn Rand spinning in her grave.

    And of course, Peikoff wouldn’t endorse Badnarik because he’s one of those objectivists who have decided that they have a turf war with libertarians.

    Peikoff cannot possibly claim to be for Kerry and also for capitalism unless he is contending that the GOP congress, if it survives, will restrain Kerry better then it has Bush. If he is not making this type of argument, he does not deserve to be taken seriously. Has anyone listened to the recording?

  6. A vote for Kerry is a vote against capitalism? Wow, you’re stupider than the most over-the-top leftists I’ve met.

    Kerry will lower payroll taxes, Bush will raise them. Bush will also introduce a national sales tax. Bush’s economic policies aid only the heirs and investors who are his most important constituency. Bush pushed a 1.6 trillion dollar income tax stimulus, the largest ever, and the economy sucks. Peikoff is right.

  7. I’m sure Kerry is over-joyed by the endorsement.

  8. “Peikoff’s been an idiot for a long time, though.”

    I don’t think I really have the stomach for his 19 minute endorsement of Kerry, but I’d appreciate it if someone could briefly summarize what Peikoff, and the Objectivist movement, have been up to lately. I quit paying any attention in high school (well over a decade ago, and even then I payed little attention). Are they the least bit relevant? Is it just more cult of personality? Do they normally make public position statements? Do they acknowledge how creepy Ayn Rand was (and I actually liked all of her fiction and some of her non-fiction)?

  9. Too many of you throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to Objectivism – and worst still – some of you even regurgitate the left’s hackneyed smears of it.

    Personalities, rifts, and current self-described heirs to rand’s brain notwithstanding – the foundational ideas of Objectivism are rock solid and just so happen to be summarized in this very magazine’s title and tag line:

    Reason – Free Minds, Free Markets.

  10. Fat White Guy,

    Bush’s foreign policy is based on his belief that God command’s America to liberate all the people of the world from themselves. He has something along these lines on numerous occassions.

  11. Jeff,

    There is so much that is wrong with Objectivism as to make that point moot.

  12. Peikoff has obviously focused everything on only one principle of the Rand philosophy — atheism.&nsp; Although Rand herself saw this issue as just one part (albeit an important one) of a wider world view, Peikoff seems to take it as his guiding light. If you’re a religious “believer,” he seems to say, you’re an idiot and a fraud, and I’ll vote for anyone who is less of a believer, even a lapsed Catholic.

    Talk about single issue politics. Almost makes the right-to-lifers seem like reasonable folks.

  13. “the foundational ideas of Objectivism are rock solid and just so happen to be summarized in this very magazine’s title and tag line:

    Reason – Free Minds, Free Markets.”

    Too bad the only sort of mental “freedom” Objectivists seem to value is the “freedom” to agree 100% with Ayn Rand.

  14. I listened to it. He spent at least 10 minutes talking about Bush’s ties to the Christian right.

    However accurate or inaccurate his portrayal of this relationship might be, a Kerry endorsement makes sense for this guy, I guess: He’s picked his issue (religion) and he’s voting accordingly.

    Yes, I know, everybody on this forum could point out that Kerry is so much worse than Bush on so many issues. Well, this guy has decided, however rightly or wrongly, to be a single-issue voter. This is the sort of thing that happens when you vote based on a single issue: You ignore everything else.

  15. Kevin Carson: Republicans have their ground level connections to Iran/Contra. Democrats have the banking, political and diplomatic connections all wrapped up with Iran/Contra’s bank BCCI.

    Judge for yourself which is worse.

    Consulting Western oil companies on US foreign policy[Republicans] or consulting Western Commodities traders on US foreign policy[Democrats]?

    Answer: What’s the difference?

  16. Gary Gunnels,

    I agree. Bush is not any where close to being worthy of a principled pro-capitalist’s endorsement either. The only possibility might be that somehow Bush would change for his second term or that Kerry is…well, Kerry and would be even worse.

  17. If it were anyone but that grandiose sycophant Peikoff I would assume they were being Socratic, making a ridiculous statement to make us consider how there are no good options left to libertarians, objectivist or otherwise, anymore. As is, he makes about half of a good point.

    A vote for Kerry is a vote against capitalism. I can only imagine he will also lead us further into the jungle of PC.
    Bush isn’t much better.

    Problem is there are no more real conservatives (fiscal responsibility, personal accountability, etc.) Their political apparatus has been hijacked by neocons, something else all together. (cut taxes AND conquer the world.) They are rabidly supported by christian fundamentalists, who tend to regard America and Jesus as inseperable. Powerful America=Powerful Lord and Savior

    The bad news is that the christians are getting energetic, and have almost completely made the GOP an instrument of their agenda. This will disenfranchise libertarians, objectivists, or any business/free-market oriented variety of conservative. It will soon be impossible to be both a republican and an atheist.

    The bad news is that there are enough fundamentalists that any sort of uprising
    from the rationalist right will be insignificant.

    Buckle up.

  18. “P.S., please don’t be a tool for GWB. His corporate welfare comes from your pocket every bit as much as Johnson’s individual welfare does.”

    smijer: I’m pretty sure this is why libertarians hate both parties….they both are equally effective at robbing you. Is this supposed to be an endorsement for liberals?

    “I don’t love their vanity that everything “a person” earns belongs to them as a fundamental right.”

    So you won’t mind if me and several of my friends come help ourselves to some of your earnings then will you? Since, of course, you have no fundamental right to keep what you earn.

  19. Gary,

    I disagree.

    Seperate the personalities and beliefs of those personalities from the basic Objectivist ideas – Metaphysics (existence exists independant from the mind)- Epistemology( man’s mind is fully capable of grasping and dealing with what is real), Ethics (man has the inherant right to exist for his own sake and rejects coersion in any form) and Poltics (the sole role of goverment is to protect man’s right to his own life.)

    If you want to talk about how off the track Peikoff has become or Rand’s view on drugs, homosexuality – have at it – but don’t mistakenly think you’re talking about Objectivist philosophy.

  20. If you ever want to have some fun, roll into a college campus Objectivist club meeting and starting spouting off something leftist – they’ll come after you with knives I tell you. 🙂

    I quit paying any attention in high school (well over a decade ago, and even then I payed little attention).

    Objectivism appears to be really popular with a sub-set of young people, who generally drop it once they get into their twenties.

    Are they the least bit relevant?

    Greenspan was an Objectivist at one time; I dunno if it still impacts his positions anymore though. Also you occassionally see C-SPAN cover one of their press conferences.

    Is it just more cult of personality?

    Some of it is definately that.

    Do they acknowledge how creepy Ayn Rand was (and I actually liked all of her fiction and some of her non-fiction)?

    I’ve met a few Objectivists of the non-Peikoff strains (and don’t ask me to explicate who these folks are and how their positions differ – they have more splinter groups than existed amongst the various revolutionary groups in Tsarist Russia) who say that she often led a destructive life, etc., but that here philosophy is basically sound. But to the Peikoff crowd she is the greatest mind to ever set foot on this planet.

    Anyway, really your Objectivists fall into two groups: (a) folks who see belief in any other system as a sign that you’re simply silfully denying the truth, and are thus “EVIL”, and (b) those who say that you might be wilfully denying, but can’t read your mind, and thus are ultimately willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Obviously the first perspective tends to churn out a lot of paranoid spew that can be disturbing at best, and down right frightening in some cases.

  21. Oh, and strangely enough, the Peikoff crowd, in line with Rand, hate libertarians – partly because libertarians aren’t willing to attack “immoral” sex and other acts like taking drugs. Randianism can be positively puritanical at times.

  22. BTW, the Peikoff school is option (a) above; if you disagree with Randian thought, you are wilfully denying the truth and are thus “EVIL.”

  23. Hmm, no love for the Randians at all around here? And to think, I got flamed the last time I called them the Ayn Rand Death Cult.

    I dropped my high school Randianism the moment I hit the moment I fit the entry in the Rand Lexicon where she declared that Mickey Spillane’s metaphysics were superior to Shakespeare’s.

    And yes, I know, libertarians aren’t supposed to like all that stuffy old literary crap, but if you’ve ever tried to read Spillane…

  24. I met David Kelley once, and he seemed much more reasonable to me. “A Life of One’s Own” has a number of well articulated points that welfare supporters have to contend with.

    Gary, surely you would concede many of the points objectivists make? Maybe society’s problematic slove affair with selflessness or the connections between volutary exchange and human liberty? Their problem is overreach, but you are being a bit harsh IMHO.

    Jeff: The problem has always been that objectivists don’t really have an epistemology. You have to address Hume and Kant in your epistemology. You can’t just say, “the human mind is capable of fully understanding” is a dismissal of A Critique of Pure Reason.

  25. Anybody know a good digest source about all this crap so I don’t have to wade through anybody’s Collected Works to have some idea what this is all about?

  26. Jason said:

    “Jeff: The problem has always been that objectivists don’t really have an epistemology.”

    Actually it does. I was attempting to keep it broad and simple.

    Rand vigorously attacked Kantian subjectivism and his fetish for concocting dualisms. It’s in her book “Intro to Objectivist Epistemology”.

  27. Isn’t attacking Rand for her affairs and nasty personality like attacking Jefferson because he owned slaves? I’m sure both those attacks are justified, but that says nothing about the ideas they held. There’s no discussion of Rand’s actual ideas in any of the criticisms in this thread. (Not that there aren’t good criticisms to be made.)

    It’s pretty funny that nobody here (myself included) has the stomach to actually listen to Peikoff’s audio clip.

  28. This seems to mark the final break between Peikoff/ARI and anything Ayn Rand actually said. Rand on multiple occasions announced she not only wouldn’t endorse a candidate, she wouldn’t vote either because the choices were so abysmal.

  29. I do notice a distinct lack of serious criticism of Objectivism. Sloughed off as “Not worth the time to critique” or “cult of personality” or what have you, Objectivism has some great merit beyond it’s idiosyncratic leadership. Jeff makes a valid point.

    I’d wager that the criticisms leveled against O’ism here can be no less accurately applied to most any philosophy. Furthermore, I believe it’s rather telling how vacuous and dismissive those criticisms I’ve heard are.

    Cyrano,

    “It’s pretty funny that nobody here (myself included) has the stomach to actually listen to Peikoff’s audio clip.”

    Good call! I’ll second that.

  30. Jeff

    “Keeping it broad and simple” makes you sound as sophisticated as an evangelical who says, “I believe because Jesus is the truth, the way, and the light.”

    I was thrown out of one of those Objectivist lectures in college because I was the only one there willing to challenge the fallacious logic and inane first principles of Rand.

    The human mind is fully capable of grasping and dealing with what is real–my ass. Even people who understand, say, quantum mechanics can’t fully grasp what it is: we talk of orbitals and electron spin, but at the same time recognize that those are just metaphors for happenings for which we have neither names nor images. Try deep time; planck time; the fine-structure constant: do you fully grasp any of them. Can you fully grasp the apparent freedom of our so-called minds?

    It’s funny, but Rand, as I recall, was distinctly uncomfortable with the implications of Darwinism, and so rejected his theory (I read this on some N. Branden website several years ago). And why not? The evolved “mind” (as if that is truly distinct from the brain!) was something that couldn’t fit in her “philosophy.” How could it? A brain evolved for certain tasks–whatever the very real flexibility of it–is not compatible with true freedom, and there’s no reason to think that a brain is truly suited to “fully grasping” the universe.

  31. Jeff:

    I don’t believe she ever addressed how one is supposed to deal with empiricism, or what to replace it with if you just throw it out on its ear. When I say that objectivists don’t really have an epistemology, I am indicating that when they throw out empiricism as a way of knowing, they don’t have anything to replace it with. Dualism is not a construct of Kant, it is the natural result of recognizing that experience is only, at best, a mitigated form of reality. Kant sought to resolve the difference between experience and the world as it is by basically saying we wear space time goggles all the time. He didn’t invent the problem, it is very real unless you want to say experience is not meaningful as knowledge.

  32. The question of the day for Objectivist epistemology: Please describe what a wave-particle is.

  33. D-oh! I see TJ already went there …

  34. TJ,

    You might want to read “Biological Basis for Teleological Concepts”

    Also, I don’t believe Rand explicitly rejected Darwinism, I remember her expressing the idea that it is a theory, and should be treated as such.

    You also make the fallacy that to be capable of grasping reality, one must be omniscient. One can be fully capable of any given ability and yet not manifest that ability. Human’s are capable of engineering rockets, althought here was a time when we had no rockets. Jeff’s in/ability to grasp said examples in no way buttresses your arguement, it only determine Jeff’s in/ability to grasp said examples. Perhaps you were thrown out of those lectures for something else.

  35. “You also make the fallacy that to be capable of grasping reality, one must be omniscient.”

    not omniscient, just willing to deceive onself.

    to be fair, most of the objectivists i’ve met in person were nice and mostly normal folk, assuming the topic didn’t come near philosophy or ms. rand. or homosexuality, for that matter…why people obsessed with personal freedom would also be obsessed with “perversion” of the consensual kind confuses the shit out of me.

  36. Jason,

    I don’t believe your physics question is unanswerable. It is also a non-sequitor. Certainly I can think of many questions you cannot answer.

    Also, as one’s senses are a product of reality, and man’s sole means of percieving reality, it is paradoxical to question the validity of those sensual perceptions. How did one construct the question?

    “experience is only, at best, a mitigated form of reality” mitigated by what? The circumstances that construct the experience? Experience is exactly what it is, any mitigation is part of the experience. It isn’t “only” or “at best” anything. A recipe is merely the result of ingredients and process.

  37. Willfellow:

    Evolved computational theory of mind, yes or no?

    There is absolutely no reason to believe that an evolved system here on the third rock in 3-space on the scale of 10^1 m should be able to comprehend everything about 7 dimensions, Plank space (where locality goes out the window) and time (where sequentiality goes out the window), and so forth. It is highly improbable that this is the case. We may be able to do some math, but nobody really gets it. I can’t prove that the power of the human mind won’t allow me to fly like superman, either, but I have good reason to believe it has limitations along those lines.

  38. dhex,

    I believe it’s for the same reason one could support the freedom to cheat on one’s wife, while not condoning it. Not that I necessarily agree, but perhaps this is thier stance.

  39. perhaps. who knows? the one time i asked i got a very long and drawn out spiel that sounded like natural law on acid. very weird.

    “mitigated by what?”

    standing in a museum gallery with a colorblind person…

  40. “”experience is only, at best, a mitigated form of reality” mitigated by what? The circumstances that construct the experience? Experience is exactly what it is, any mitigation is part of the experience. It isn’t “only” or “at best” anything. A recipe is merely the result of ingredients and process.”

    Oh, come on. Rand is not Berkeleyan. She specifies that there is an objective world. My point about experience is that it is not the world in it self, but at best some aspect of it that excludes others. There is a perceiver that may well be part of reality, but the dualism still arises if the perception is other than the world in itself. There is a reality, but that doesn’t mean we can know it.

  41. Jason,

    It is clear to me that you are much more knowledgable than I am about physics, I merely posit that the complexity of a given issue is a matter of scale only and what was once inconcievable is now boiler-plate. So I predict it will be for more complex concepts. Perhaps there is a limit to what a human can comprehend, but then, that really does not negate the validity of what they comprehend. The mind may draw a conclusion based on the consistant conceptual integration of sensory perceptions and reason, as this is the way the mind functions. The conclusions are then consonant with reality, ie, consonant with what the sole means of interface has serviced to the mind. Can it be any other way? There may be infinite imaginable ways in which an entity could percieve an apple, but none of those ways could negate the validity of our (human) perception of it, the apple still has those qualities we percieve.

  42. “There is a reality, but that doesn’t mean we can know it.”

    Then what is “know”?

    Dhex,

    Would you agree that the color-blind person is an anomaly?

  43. Why did Kerry run on his Vietnam record?

    Because sleeping in the Senate for twenty years doesn’t sound near as good as shooting a man in the back.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

  44. Jason is talking about the “filters” of experience being the reason we can never really “know” reality.

    This is, of course, pure kantian bullshit.

    We can’t see, feel, taste, smell or hear radio waves. Yet humans discovered the phenomenom exists in reality. And we all use the knowledge every day.

    The “filters” of human perception do not restrict the ability to discover, know and understand.

  45. no, but i would agree that they’re human. anomaly or not…

    there may very well be an objective reality, but i’d like to meet the person who can see it. i think i come across it when i stub my foot. yet if i injected my foot with lidocaine, my perception of that world would fail until the lidocaine wore off, in which case i would be mentally dominated by the throbbing and toenail runnning awayness of the experience.

  46. “Randianism can be positively puritanical at times.”

    Jeez and from what I heard, I was under the impression Rand was a swinger.

    Ya live and learn.

    ============================

    Did you know that John Kerry was a secret agent?

    He performed a mission in Cambodia so secret that only he has ever talked about it. It is so secret three of his crew claimed it never happened.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

  47. “The “filters” of human perception do not restrict the ability to discover, know and understand.”

    unless you’re colorblind, regular blind, blinded by love or, yes, even blinded by science.

  48. PS –

    The concept of a wave-particle is a contradiction. Therefore it’s an epistemological problem – not a metaphysical one.

    I think the “wave-particle” problem will eventually be resolved with a completely non-contradictory explanation as more knowledge is gained.

    The cat is also EITHER dead or alive – not both or neither.

    Oh yeah – the moon turning red – that everyone can clearly see – yeah – that’s not really the gods getting pissed off – it’s the movement of the earth between the sun and the moon – and the sunlight then reflected on the moon is colored by the earth’s atmosphere.

    But of course – the lack in knowledge certainly made it easy to believe it was the gods getting pissed off.

    Why don’t we still think that way?

    Oh – yeah – that’s right – there’s that knowledge and ability to know thing again.

    Damn.

  49. Gary Gunnels,

    Here is my comment on Kerry and Iraq:

    ===============

    John Kerry told us cut and run was the right thing to do in Vietnam. Three million died. He is propposing withdrawal from Iraq.

    I suppose three million was not enough.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

  50. ‘Then what is “know”?’

    I plead Hume here. You don’t know very much at all. Most of what you think you know is belief based on constant conjunction. The knowledge we claim is mostly of the form: The sun rose yesterday, so it will rise tomorrow. You can know math because experience doesn’t come into play (you are only relating ideas). Skepticism requires that we acknowledge that we don’t gain knowledge from experience in the same way we gain knowledge from mathematics. The basis of science is not reason, but habit.

    That said, scientific belief is preferable to other sorts because it filters out those things we don’t have to believe (like coincidence), and gives us a degree of confidence that is less than mathematical knowledge, but greater than purely religious belief. We must always remember that experience is not knowledge, however, and retain proper skepticism of our findings as a result.

    IMHO, Rand’s excesses in philosophy are the result of her casually dismissing the limitations of experience at any given time. She was not a skeptic whatsoever.

  51. personally, i like chuang tze’s take on the whole thing, when asked to give advice to some governor somewhere…”well, i don’t really know what i know, i think, but i’ll tell you what you gotta do anyway in the spirit of not just sitting on my ass and waiting for rain…”

  52. Jeff,

    It doesn’t matter to Kant’s argument if you can taste radio waves or not. However you perceive them, on a screen for example, you are constrained to perceive A) Sequence and B)Locality, at a minimum.

    The important aspect to the argument is no matter what you perceive, your perception will include these things. You can’t take off your goggles, so you won’t ever know for sure what your are looking at. There is not a straight line between any experience and the world in itself.

  53. Tyler Cowen mentioned a few weeks ago that he thought David Hume was the smartest person ever. V Po. agreed on Dynamist Blog.

    I’m pretty sure he was right, too.

  54. you can’t fuck with da hume!

  55. Damn! Unfortunately I have to go. I enjoyed this immensely! Thanks.

    Before I go, dhex, would you agree that the people you mentioned are indeed human, but not representative of the concept “human”? A cheetah can run and we talk of a “cheeta’s amazing ability to run” with no trouble that some cheetas may have broken legs?

  56. “There is not a straight line between any experience and the world in itself.”

    There doesn’t have to be.

    The processes of experience is not an insurmountable obstacle which keeps us perpetually deaf, dumb and blind to the constituents of reality.

  57. “man’s mind is fully capable of grasping and dealing with what is real”

    This plank of Objectivism always struck me most peculiar, given its anti-Faith stance, since I could never understand it except as a pious hope.

    My understanding, i.e. mind-grounded-in-brain, means thinking of the mind/brain as dealing in representations and transformations, and most of these, esp. in cognition, seem to be domain-specific heuristics (e.g., as Jason pointed, conjunction coincidence). Arguments from philosophical or computational perspectives — e.g. the boundedness of the brain — or evolutionary psychology persuade one that —
    despite the fact the brain is an exquisitely flexible thing, with many impressive capabilities deriving from its composition (e.g. learning *any* continuous function; alas so much of the world isn’t a continuous thing!) — it has limits on both the qualities and quantities of representations/transformations its architecture permits. I realize, of course, that I’m countering one pious hope with another (or, I’d rather call it ‘graceful recognition’) … but, as far as neuroscience is concerned, Objectivism fares pretty poorly in its Metaphysics and Epistemology.

  58. He meant “intellectual hair”. And that’s why he’s for Kerry.

  59. jeff,

    Metaphysics (existence exists independant from the mind)

    Well, I’d have to agree with that proposition first all.

    If you want to talk about how off the track Peikoff has become or Rand’s view on drugs, homosexuality – have at it – but don’t mistakenly think you’re talking about Objectivist philosophy.

    Sorry, but those positions are integrally part of Objectivism; Objectivism requires moral absolutes when it comes to things like sex and gender relations after all.

  60. “Sorry, but those positions are integrally part of Objectivism”

    Gary,

    There is the basic structural framework of the philosophic view that Rand called Objectivism.

    Then there are countless opinions and ideas put forth by Rand personally and many “followers” which are not part of “formal Objectivism”.

    Rand herself acknowledged this. She made clear that the contents of her newsletter and her many of her essays for example were not part of the formal system.

    So – if you still disagree there is a difference between the opinions of various self-described “Objectivists” (including even Rand herself) and the formal philosophy called “objectivsm” -can you please point me in the direction of the information you used to come to this conclusion so that I may better understand your view

    Thanks!

  61. Jeff,

    That sounds like the distinction Muslim scholars make between the Qu’ran and Hadith.

  62. Sonny,

    That’s just it–Kerry’s a good Cold War liberal, but of the Truman internationalist variety. He played a big role in Plan Colombia, and has accused Bush of being “soft” on Hugo Chavez.

    I absolutely despise Kerry. I’ll be voting ABB–and that probably means for Kerry if Arkansas is a competitive state. But only because the cabal surrounding Bush (Ashcroft, the PNAC people, and Iran-Contra mafiosi like Negroponte and Armitage) is so scary. If it was the ’96 election, with a DLC Demo and an establishment Republican like Dole, I’d agree with those who say there ain’t a dime’s bit of difference, and vote Badnarik. As it is, if things aren’t too close here, I’ll probably vote for him. If Bush loses by a smaller margin than the LP vote, maybe it’ll send some signals to the party establishment. It’d be nice to see Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith selling pencils on the street corner, about as popular in GOP circles as the ugly red-headed bastard at a family reunion.

  63. “Because sleeping in the Senate for twenty years doesn’t sound near as good as shooting a man in the back.”

    But as a libertarian, isn’t a president who does little in his time in office precisely what you ought to want? As for those who say endorsing Kerry is necessarily a bad idea, I have two words: divided government. If that’s what it takes for the GOP to rediscover its smaller government, free trade principles, so be it. Giving carte blanche to the Republicans simply because one is afraid of John Kerry won’t do anything to further a libertarian agenda, and keep in mind that even if Kerry does get into office, there’s no chance whatsoever that his party will control either house of Congress.

  64. It’s the same kind of distinction as between the federalist papers – and the constitution and all the utterences of opinions of the founders.

  65. I’m no fan of Peikoff , but I believe his point is that Fundamentalism is a much more fundamental threat to liberty. This is consistent with the Objectivist view that Capitalism rests on a rational metaphysics.

  66. Who, in God’s name, could POSSIBLY care who Leonard fucking Peikoff is endorsing for president?

  67. > …[Ayn Rand] is the greatest mind to ever set foot on this planet.

    Great line. I always liked Tuccille (Peikoff gets a line in!) :

    Shortly afterward, it became known that Rothbard’s wife,
    Joey, was a devout Protestant, a practicing Christian who
    actually believed that faith and altruism had a positive moral
    value. When the last tremors caused by this revelation finally
    faded away, a pall of silence fell over the living room. There
    was a Christian in the house. Not a renegade Christian who
    acknowleged the sins of her past and was ready to make
    amends for them. Not an apostate Christian who had forever
    forsaken the principles to which she formerly adhered. But a
    real, live, breathing Protestant who admitted belief in the
    existence of a Supreme Being! A heretic such as this was occupying
    the armchair in Ayn Rand’s living room. And was married
    to one of Rand’s most gifted prot?g?s, no less, who
    now sat beside her with a look of villainous unconcern on his
    face.

    Well, if Murray Rothbard’s wife was a Christian there could
    only be one logical explanation of it: she had obviously never
    read Ayn Rand’s proof that a Supreme Being does not, did
    not, will not, and could not exist. Ever.

    Branden hustled her into an adjoining room and sat her
    down at a desk with a handful of Rand’s anti-God essays. Joey,
    relieved to be out of earshot of all this talk of second-handers
    and floating concepts, pored over the pamphlets while the
    meeting continued in the other room. When she completed
    her assignment and returned to the gathering, the drone of
    conversation suddenly stopped and she found herself skewered
    by some twenty pairs of drilling eyes.

    Branden took the initiative. “Well?”

    “I found it all very interesting, Nathan.”

    “She found it very interesting,” Branden repeated the information
    to the others at no extra charge. “Anything elze?”

    “The arguments are very good, but I’m still not an atheist if
    that’s what you’re getting at.”

    Rand decided to take over. This was unquestionably a matter
    that demanded her personal intervention. “You haf read
    ze proofs?”

    “They’re all very good and throught-provoking, Ayn. But
    you don’t shakes a lifetime of religious faith with a few articles.
    I’ll have to think about it for a while.”

    “You haf read ze proofs and you ztill inzist on wallowing in
    your mindless myztizizm? Faith is irrational which means …”

    “Which means zat faith is immoral,” said Branden.

    “Which means it is anti-life,” said Peikoff.

    “Which means it is anti-man,” said Hessen.

    “Which means it is anti…anti…” said Barbara Branden,
    searching for a suitable phrase.

    “Enof!” said Rand, clapping her hands. “Zere has been
    enoff zmall talk for vun night. Do you haf anymore questions
    to ask me?”

    This was the signal that the meeting was adjourned for the
    night. No. No one had any questions. Ayn was getting a headache.
    It was time for everyone to go home.

    _It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand_ Jerome Tuccille

  68. A tree that falls in the woods does indeed make a sound, whether intellectual dwarfs are there to measure the amplitude. In other words, existence exists, regardless of the presence of an observer, a cretin or a blogger.

    I’m happy that Reason the magazine has been able to maintain its high credentials despite the efforts of its mongoloid idiot spawn: Hit and Run.

    Any discussion of Objectivism here is an exercise in futility, and it invariably demonstrates why no one will ever take libertarianism seriously.

  69. wellfellow, dhex, Jason, and Jeff

    Thanks for the posts guys!

    This is the kind of stuff that makes hours of pissing on H&R worth the trouble 🙂

    Hopefully after the Polls in Nov (or after the Iraq thingy settles down) this would be a better place!

  70. If it were anyone but that grandiose sycophant Peikoff I would assume they were being Socratic, making a ridiculous statement to make us consider how there are no good options left to libertarians, objectivist or otherwise, anymore. As is, he makes about half of a good point.

    Except there are so few of the American electorate who know how ridiculous it is, or who the Objectivists are, or that there are more than two political parties, that it becomes meta-ridiculous.

  71. She had spots of keen observation, but the worst thing that ever happened to her legacy was the insistence of her followers that you could determine what was rational just by asking her. She is very important if viewed as someone who was astonishingly good at framing questions in a way that provided insight into the value of self and the results of collectivism, but becomes silly when you start looking at the many places where her faith in Rationalism led her to overreach its limitations.

    Her criticism of Kant always struck me as especially uninformed.

  72. What’s also really pathetic about Leonard Peikoff’s endorsement is that Kerry is among the 5 biggest spenders in the senate!

    http://www.ntu.org/misc_items/rating/VS_2003.pdf

  73. I always get a kick out people that take shots at Bush because he is a christian. The only area this comes into play are his pro-life views and faith-based initiatives.

    I don’t think there is much middle ground on abortion but using faith based charities is not that bad of an idea. The efficiency of groups like the Salvation Army makes you wonder why we let any gov’t agency administer welfare programs.

    Kerry claims to be Catholic and I’m sure their are some bozos out there that won’t vote for him because he is a catholic.

    It is silly to base your vote on some ones religion since almost all of the Gov’t activities we run into on a daily basis are not related to religion.

  74. Wow.

    Pseudo-Libertarian sycophants for Bush.

    What an attractive bunch.

    If you can find anything but utter disdain for Bush and his administration, any claims you have for being anything other than a shallow thinking “I want a tax cut. Wah Wah!” republican are only part of your own fantasy world.

  75. I always get a kick out people that take shots at Bush because he is a christian. The only area this comes into play are his pro-life views and faith-based initiatives.

    You forgot stem cell research. And the war (partly). And pornography. And…

    My point here (I do have one) is that you can have a religious/philosophical foundation as a president that can directly or indirectly affect policy.

    Fat White Guy, I agree it is silly to base your vote solely on religion. But I don’t think it’s silly to let religion affect your vote. Especially it it affects my liberty.

  76. I don’t think I really have the stomach for his 19 minute endorsement of Kerry, but I’d appreciate it if someone could briefly summarize what Peikoff, and the Objectivist movement, have been up to lately. I quit paying any attention in high school (well over a decade ago, and even then I payed little attention). Are they the least bit relevant? Is it just more cult of personality? Do they normally make public position statements? Do they acknowledge how creepy Ayn Rand was (and I actually liked all of her fiction and some of her non-fiction)?

    I can’t. But Michael Shermer from Skeptic magazine did in 1993. He wrote an article called “The Unlikeliest Cult in History”. It’s a great read.

  77. It seems to me that Bush lowered tax rates, but he has raised taxes at a rate faster than anyone since Johnson. Unless the government plans on defaulting, Bush’s massive spending increases will have to be paid for with taxes, and since he lowered rates for the time being we will have to tack on more interest charges.

  78. I was majorly into Objectivist philosophy a year or two ago in high school, but it’s people like Peikoff and members of ARI who turned me off quite a bit. And the whole “nuke Iran” thing.
    ARI’s site has a bit on it for college students to ignore quantum physics, which I found astounding. I don’t see how the math behind Schroedinger’s cat and the Double Slit Experiment challenge the Objectivist philosophy, which I think is better used as a guide to life, not science.
    I think Rand hit the nail on the head with the vast majority of her philosophical musings, but missed the point completely elsewhere. Assuming Rand = The Philosophy is the mistake a lot of “Objectvists” make. Peikoff inheriting Ayn Rand’s iron grip over the philosophy is just another reason for me not to vote for Kerry.

  79. Got here from pandagaon.

    I love libertarians, and even some faux libertarians. I love them for their emphasis on individual liberty and civil rights. I love them for their undying support of the constitution (even if I disagree with their interpretation of it in cases).

    I don’t love their vanity that everything “a person” earns belongs to them as a fundamental right. If they can find me a person who earned anything in a vacuum, without the cooperation of the people around him… in fact, if they can find a person who, having “earned” something, did a bare majority of the thinking and work behind it on their own, I’ll concede the point.

    Until then, I think that libertarians are liberals who haven’t yet learned that humans are by nature social animals.

    P.S., please don’t be a tool for GWB. His corporate welfare comes from your pocket every bit as much as Johnson’s individual welfare does.

  80. Government subsidized Christian religious recruitment is routine now in prisons and other captive audiences such as probationers and welfare recipients.

    The interesting thing is now the government is faced with the conundrum of dealing with Muslim recruitment in the same populations and the constitutional issues of limiting their access, much less subsidizing them.

    The next round of terrorist acts are more likely to be spawned in our prison system than overseas. Remember Reid and Padilla?

    Irony is everywhere.

  81. Jesse Walker,

    Perfect title!

  82. Rick Barton,

    I don’t particularly see how he could endorse Bush and claim that he’s for capitalism either.

  83. Didn’t Peikoff advocate nuking Tehran in the aftermath of 9/11? That would explain a lot.

    Regardless, by endorsing Kerry, he’s only following in the compromise-happy footsteps of Queen Ayn, who once went as far as to throw her support behind Gerald Ford.

  84. “in fact, if they can find a person who, having “earned” something, did a bare majority of the thinking and work behind it on their own, I’ll concede the point.”

    huh?

    ok, how about anyone who’s ever gained or lost weight through exercise on their own? or does the blame and credit go to the people who grew the food they ate?

    there’s some sort of leap of faith here going on that i’m not getting.

    if i hire you to teach me a skill, does this mean you’re entitled to part of the profits of what i make with that skill?

    i mean, fuck bush and all, but fuck NOTBUSH and the pathetic pathos of progressives that goes with that too. a pox on all y’all motherfuckers.

  85. i like michael shermer sometimes and all, but there are plenty of atheists who continue to act like religious fundamentalists (or were in their previous incarnation before being “saved” by THE LIGHT) and all that secular dickwaving makes me weep for the future of our species. bleh. not going to church doesn’t make you superhuman, dingbat.

  86. Jesse,
    I agree with Zorel, “Karl Rove Shrugged” is a funny headline.

  87. Tax burden shifts to the middle
    Since 2001, President Bush’s tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from
    the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the
    Congressional Budget Office has found, a conclusion likely to roil the
    presidential election campaign.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5689001

  88. Following up on Soda’s comment at August 13, 2004 11:30 AM:

    Michael Shermer from Skeptic magazine… in 1993… wrote an article called “The Unlikeliest Cult in History”. It’s a great read.

    Beyond discussion of Objectivism-as-a-cult, I think it has almost prescient bearing on Bush’s administration and candidacy.

    (Begin quote.)

    But if you leave the “religious” component out of the definition, thus broadening the word’s usage, it becomes clear that Objectivism was (and is) a cult, as are many other, non-religious groups. In this context, then, a cult may be characterized by:

    • Veneration of the Leader: Excessive glorification to the point of virtual sainthood or divinity.
    • Inerrancy of the Leader: Belief that he or she cannot be wrong.
    • Omniscience of the Leader: Acceptance of beliefs and pronouncements on virtually all subjects, from the philosophical to the trivial.
    • Persuasive Techniques: Methods used to recruit new followers and reinforce current beliefs.
    • Hidden Agendas: Potential recruits and the public are not given a full disclosure of the true nature of the group’s beliefs and plans.
    • Deceit: Recruits and followers are not told everything about the leader and the group’s inner circle, particularly flaws or potentially embarrassing events or circumstances.
    • Financial and/or Sexual Exploitation: Recruits and followers are persuaded to invest in the group, and the leader may develop sexual relations with one or more of the followers.
    • Absolute Truth: Belief that the leader and/or group has a method of discovering final knowledge on any number of subjects.
    • Absolute Morality: Belief that the leader and/or the group have developed a system of right and wrong thought and action applicable to members and nonmembers alike. Those who strictly follow the moral code may become and remain members, those who do not are dismissed or punished.

    (End quote.)

    By these standards, Bush is also a cult leader: he is venerated as a messianic figure (a number of his followers have said he was “appointed by God”), supported no matter his errors and falsehoods (even the existence of these being denied), his agenda has been concealed (PNAC/Iraq and the energy lobbyists for two examples), and those of his own administration who reveal his flaws have come in for bitter vilification (Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke for two examples)….

    Kerry, being not a cult leader, is less of a danger to freedom and accountable government, despite whatever policies he may pursue in contravention of Rand’s (or anyone else’s) principles.

  89. So, something good has come out of Peikoff’s nonsensical endorsement of Kerry afterall. It has engendered some interesting philisophical disscussion.

    Jason Ligon:

    “I plead Hume here… Most of what you think you know is belief based on constant conjunction…The basis of science is not reason, but habit

    I want to defend science from this (Hume)iliation
    Some belief in science is indeed a product of habit and trust. However, the value of the predictive nature of science is not diminished by the fact that statements about the future cannot be made with absolute certainty.

    The ability of scientific theories to explain phenomena is not based on habit. It is based on observation, conjecture, sometimes logical extension, and predictive verification.

    (Science) gives us a degree of confidence that is less than mathematical knowledge

    Sometimes science may give us a degree of confidence concerning the rest of the universe that is greater than mathematical knowledge
    because, some mathematical knowledge has its only grounding in that part of the universe that we call our “mind”.

    Also, to say that the extension of a created mathematical concept is true, is just to say that it does not conflict with the original concept. This may indeed be able to be posited with more confidence tham a physical theory but, since physical theories are ar risk of being disproved by a wide range of phenomina in the physical world, the claim to knowledge of pure mathematics is rather more modest. (I’m leaving out the interesting question of “which is math is invented and which is discovered?” There are arguments, for example, that prime numbers are discovered)

  90. Jason Ligon:

    “You can’t take off your goggles, so you won’t ever know for sure what your are looking at. There is not a straight line between any experience and the world in itself.”

    But, seeing thru “goggles” IS part of the “world”.
    The fact that there HAS to be a mechanism of perception does not establish a limit on that perception. This “straight line” is imaginary because there is no perception with out preceptors! There is no “ultimate” and “true” view of any part of our universe.

    But, when science makes accurate predictions, we have an indication that our goggles are working well. Consider the fabulous prediction of neutrinos as a result of a supernova, and when that one went off in the Small Megellanic Cloud; sure enough, neutrinos!

    (Hume)iliation…I like that so much, I just wanted to write it again 🙂

  91. !The Friday gratuitous New Wave link. !

    It’s Blondie!

    http://home.sandiego.edu/~mhepler/blondie.jpg

    I know, it’s not Friday any more in the continental US, but I spaced it.

  92. Libertarianism is the best part of Objectivism. It limits itself to the physical world, and restricts its operation in the physical world to defining the relationship between individuals and between individuals and the collection of other individuals. It functions primarily as a way that man can live with man, and not legislate that other man’s life away.

    Objectivism fails when it attempts to address the metaphysical. Especially when it claims philosophical sovereignty over Subjectivism or other ways of attempting to explain the universe which are not mired in the sanctity of the five senses, which is the basis of rationalistic modes of thought such as Objectivism.

    This false claim of sovereignty is what leads fools like Rand and Peikoff to assert ridiculous notions such as “Inherently Wrong Ideas” and to offer absolute rejection and condemnation of disagreement with the sensorial orthodoxy.

    Rand and Peikoff don’t understand that rationality works only in the physical world because it is a way for people to agree on what is, in order that they may share a common conceptual framework for the purpose of defining what constitutes a human. With that assertion of human individuality and atomicity comes the realization that the protection of that individual from the collection of other humans is essential to the preservation of this human definition. People are thus allowed the autonomy to direct their own lives, and, for better or worse, each human pursues his or her own chosen path, free from the petty constraints of others.

    Take such a useful and protective concept as Libertarianism and uproot it from its natural environment, the quotidian realm, and try to “supersize” it up to the next size, Objectivism, so that it then covers the physical and all other imaginable realms, and it becomes absolutely meaningless. It no longer has its five senses. It can’t see what it is, or where it is, or what’s around it. It is utterly and totally lost.

    Rand and Peikoff both tried to define that meta realm in terms of the one we inhabit, and failed miserably at it. No wonder.

  93. Raven,

    You point out some of fallacies used by some the followers of Ayn Rand and George W. Bush.

    So ?

  94. “Some belief in science is indeed a product of habit and trust”

    Further to what Rick said, in science, “habit and trust” equates to the method of inductive reasoning going back to Francis Bacon, at the very least. This is very different from, say, the habit of trusting a politician to do the right thing.
    I am sure Jason Ligon didn’t mean it that way but describing science as “habit” makes it sound like a half solipsistic universe. Not that a solipsistic universe wouldn’t be nice …

  95. “A tree that falls in the woods does indeed make a sound, whether intellectual dwarfs are there to measure the amplitude. In other words, existence exists, regardless of the presence of an observer, a cretin or a blogger.”

    Er, I don’t think anyone here was disputing this.

    Intellectual dwarves. Like Kant. Hmm.

  96. I always get Ayn Rand confused with Madelyn Murray O’Hair. Help me, please.

  97. Rick Barton:

    Don’t get me (or Hume) wrong. The scientific method is the best tool ever devised for minimizing the number of assumptions we live with. Scientific predictions give us those mental habits (what we would call ‘beliefs’) that have the distinct virtue of being accountable to tests outside of one’s own head. This sounds underwhelming as an endorsement of science, but to Hume it was HUGE. You have to have beliefs to exist, and it is best to have scientific beliefs.

    The problem is that axioms of scientific induction are the products of habits, not reason. To choose Hume’s most common target, you have absolutely no rational reason to assert that X causes Y. All you know is that every time you experience Y, X precedes it. Your belief in cause and effect is a convenient habit that allows your mental processes to expect Y is coming when you perceive X. It is a powerful habit, but it is just a habit.

    Compare this to the way that you know that the interior angles of a triangle add up to a straigt line. This is a rational deduction from first principles. Your scientific knowledge is not of this caliber – just ask Newton.

    The issue of the predictive power of science means that we have evolved, as one would expect, a useful set of mental habits. I think there is no question that it is the best possible way to proceed given the limitations of our mental world, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be skeptics about scientific claims to the extent we can afford it.

  98. “The fact that there HAS to be a mechanism of perception does not establish a limit on that perception. This “straight line” is imaginary because there is no perception with out preceptors! There is no “ultimate” and “true” view of any part of our universe.”

    You are almost right there with Kant in this comment. There exists a world independent of us. We can only gain knowledge about it through perception. Not only is perception limited by eyeballs and noses, it is also limited by the hard wired way our minds process sensory data. We must think in no more than three dimensions, we must think in terms of sequentiality in time, we must think that an object is in a place. There is no ultimate or true view of the universe for anyone constructed like we are. To bring the argument back home, recall our first assertion. There IS a world independent of the perceiver, and we have just said that we can’t get to it.

    Please note that this is a gross simplification of Kant, and my comfort level is much less with him than with Hume (you might have guessed, my favorite thinker ever). Kant goes on to be less skeptical than Hume, saying, “Hey, you know what? Hume is right about not knowing the world in itself, but science does tell us very confidently about phenomona. Phenomena is a composite idea that is basically events in the real world AS WE EXPERIENCE THEM. Science doesn’t tell us about the activity in the world itself (he called these noumena), but it does give us rules about the world we experience, and that is almost as good.”

    The limit of reason is true knowledge of noumena, though we can know quite a bit about phenomena. The epistemologies of nearly all later philosophers held onto this distinction, even going into ‘phenomenology’ so as not to appear to be making claims about the world in itself.

  99. Bush is “rooted in reality”? wtf? what planet be you living on?

  100. RE: My post at August 14, 04:23 AM

    Super Nova 1987A was in the Large Magellanic Cloud, not The Small Magellanic Cloud. My bad.

  101. Jason Ligon:

    “Your belief in cause and effect is a convenient habit that allows your mental processes to expect Y is coming when you perceive X.”

    The assumption of cause and effect is required if we are to understand the (macro) universe and make accurate predictions and verifiable hypothesis.

    “Your scientific knowledge is not of this caliber”

    Only the conclusions are not as certain but, the bar is set so much lower in geometry because we are dealing with a finite set of rules from which results can be deduced. In science, knowledge must be gained by grappling with a multitude of variables. We cannot say that scientific knowledge is of a lesser “caliber” beyond statements of certitude. Other considerations lead to opposite “caliber” evaluations between the two.

    “The issue of the predictive power of science means that we have evolved, as one would expect, a useful set of mental habits”

    “Habits” is demeaning because it connotes absence of forethought. Although there are recommended procedures for doing science, “habits” is not characteristic of the way scientific progress is made. Scientific progress is made via just the opposite of “habits”. Progress is made by trying something different, changing assumptions etc. In fact if there is a “habit” (it is a bad word in this context), this variability is it.

  102. Jason’s inferred Kant:

    “Not only is perception limited by eyeballs and noses, it is also limited by the hard wired way our minds process sensory data.”

    But, it is made possible be the same and may be, and is enhanced by our minds. And our minds can and do tell us when our eyeballs and noses are lying to us.

    “There is no ultimate or true view of the universe for anyone constructed like we are.”

    There is no ultimate or true view of the universe at all! It’s an impossible concept because “view” is perception and perception implies preceptors!

    In the last post, I meant to say that skepticism can be a part of good science.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to constantly worry about the government ruining everything so that we could talk about fun stuff like this all of the time?

    Oh yeah; BTW in the July 24-30 New Scientist there is an article that presents experimental evidence against the QM rule that: “Nothing exists untill it is measured”. Note; it does not challenge all of QM. But, it still seems huge if it is true.
    thoreau, have you seen this?

  103. Jason, please make that: “perception implies perceptors!”. I wrote, “preceptors”.

    Did Hume have anything to say about avoiding the need for sleep?

  104. Smijer:

    There’s a lot in your post to try and address…sorry if my response doesn’t hit it all.

    You seem to have this idea that the only way to earn something exclusively for oneself is to earn it in a vaccum. That makes no sense to me. If I voluntarily offer my labor to a business owner, he can accept my offer and pay me an agreed upon wage. I offer him labor…he offers me money/benefits in exchange. Where does a third party claiming a right to my earings enter the picture? I then take my earnings and buy the products that I see fit for my consumption. That’s the free market. But of course the government knows better than me how my money should be spent, right?

    What exactly does the fact that humans are social animals have to do with government? There’s nothing “social” about government, it’s pure brute force. The free market is social ineraction at its best — mutually aggreed upon voluntary transactions that benefit both parties. You certainly can’t say the same for the government.

    The best way to lift the poor out of poverty is not through goverment handouts. A big help would be letting the poor keep their money and not having to fork it over to terribly run government programs (i.e. social security). And in regards to third world poverty, totalitarian governments are responsible for keeping most people around the world in their current sad state. Free market reforms would begin to help undo decades of damage inflicted on them by their governments.

  105. QM rule that: “Nothing exists untill it is measured”.

    This isn’t exactly what is asserted. It is more like the location of an object (of relevant size) exists as a probability distribution rather than a single spot if we happen to know the objects momentum precisely. The object in question doesn’t exist in one spot until detected under stome interpretations of QM. Position and momentum are not the only pairs of characteristics impacted by Uncertainty in this way, but they are the easiest for me to talk about.

    The best way to think about QM is as pure math. We all agree on the math because it keeps predicting things accurately. What guys in the field and philosophers of science don’t agree on is what is ‘really going on’, or the picture of the universe that is described by the math. Some people talk about ‘collapsing wave functions’ while others just keep thier heads down and do the math to figure out where the next particle lies. I stopped physics after a BS mostly because QM is so ugly to look at. You want to lose sleep? Look up the Quantum Zeno effect. Ugh.

  106. Jason,

    The “Nothing exists until it is measured” that New Scientist put on their cover was just a summation of Bohr’s Complementary interpretation of QM. The article concerns experiments by a physicist named Afshar that purport to show that in the double-slit experiment you can track photon’s paths yet not destroy the interference pattern.

    But, he doubts the very existence of photons and says that if we reverse ourselves and declare Einstein the winner of the Bohr-Einstein debate, we will also have to take back Einstein’s Nobel because we will have to declare his idea of the photon dead! (Sounds like a piece on QM, huh?)

    I’m still slogging my way thru the piece, but the experiments seem solid, IM(very)HO. Also, IMHO, I think that these experiments of Afshar’s might be big.

    Here are two links.

    Pro:

    http://www.kathryncramer.com/wblog/archives/000674.html

    and Con:

    http://axion.physics.ubc.ca/rebel.html

    I might contact Afshar and ask him about a response to this one.

  107. More contra:

    http://www.newscientist.com/opinion/opletters.jsp?id=ns246010

    I’m becoming more skeptical…I would really like to hear Afshar respond.

  108. Matt wrote: “If it comes to a choice of getting to keep what I earn while putting up with some religious based restrictions or giving up my money to a government that will squander it on it’s own form or religion (read welfare and political correctness), I’ll keep what I earn, thank you.”

    Is this really the choice? Hardly.

    How much of our hard-earned taxdollars has Bush poured down the drain making war unnecessarily and ineffectively? How many measures passed by Congress has Bush vetoed? I’m missing the part where I get to “keep what I earn”.

  109. “When someone starts taxing weight loss, I’ll discuss that with you.”

    why? ain’t got nothing to do with taxes, for the most part, unless you like junk food, which i don’t, so… we’re talking about “fruits of labor,” in this case fitting less snugly into the communally-owned pair of jeans.

    anyway, you forget that in addition to being theft, property is also liberty…and impossible.

    http://www.mondopolitico.com/library/pjproudhon/whatisproperty/toc.htm

    i do wonder how much of a correlation there is between one’s views on private property and one’s views on the welfare state?

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