Topics discussed: Why there haven’t yet been large-scale protests in Saudia Arabia; the proper foreign policy approach in the Middle East; a number of stories under the title, “The Joy of Islam”; the latest from religious conservatives in the U.S.; the latest on the Obamacare litigation, and the legislation’s prospects on appeal.
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7 responses to “Don’t Let It Go…Unheard #3 mp3 available; sign up for #4”
Thank you for making your podcast available, Ms. Peikoff!
With respect to your discussion on whether or not using qualifiers for Islam (similar to Dr. Peikoff discussion on using “rational” as a modifier for “egoism” in his podcast Episode # 153, as you mention) is perhaps a disservice to ourselves, the issue reminded me of what Dr. George Reisman says with respect to environmentalism and calling oneself an “environmentalist” whether one is an “extremist” environmentalist, “moderate” environmentalist, or merely one of those who “like to see flowers bloom on open meadows, and love trees, whales, and polar bears, and the like” environmentalist.
Perhaps you and your followers will find his discussion of interest and helpful in determining what’s appropriate with respect to using similar modifiers with respect to Islam: “A Word to Environmentalists”
And, as a followup to what he says there, he responds to someone’s questioning of his statement (above) in “The Nature of Environmentalism”.
I hope this is helpful.
Haven’t read the whole piece, but from what I could tell Reisman was making the opposite point — that even if one tries to modify the term “environmentalist,” by calling himself, e.g., a “free-market environmentalist,” he’ll still be lumped in with that anti-life ideology.
Yes, you are correct. Sorry.
I should have simple said that one doesn’t judge an ideology (Islam or environmentalism) by its least consistent followers but by what it means in practice.
I’ve just read the several excellent articles that Bosch Fawstin has on Islam on his blog. He understands the issue well.
I erred in linking Dr. Reisman’s other article, “The Nature of Environmentalism,” which I mentioned. To correct that, here’s the correct URL.
I posted a similar comment onto your FB page, but I’ll say it here again under the webinar comment area. I do think religious Conservatives are not for individual rights, so yes, in the long run and deep down they do want to impose their morality onto all of us. They consider the current situation in America to be fundamentally a moral problem, and they are right — as Miss Rand states in Atlas Shrugged; but they are wrong about the moral issues. America is not ailing due to a lessening of Christian values, but because of the increases in Christian values. In other words, the only way to have individual rights is to take a profoundly moral stance of it is right — morally right — for an individual to decide how to live his life and what principles he is going to accept. But the religious Conservatives believe there is only one set of principles not grounded on reason, and that is Christianity. Insofar as individual choose not to accept Christianity, they think there ought to be a “philosopher king” who can impose Christianity onto others via the government. They want a moral country and believe this is the only way to bring that about. As God imposes order onto the universe, so his right hand man on earth will and should impose moral order onto society. This is the political philosophy of the Dark Ages and they do not see that this will greatly decrease freedom in this country. They claim there is no moral right to be immoral (according to their standards). So, there is no moral right to be an atheist or an egoist, according to them; or to follow reason to the exclusion of religion and faith. So, they will have none of that.
@Thomas, the key part of your comment is that religious conservatives are not *for individual rights*. That may be true, but not explicitly realized by the person towing the line in support of such speakers and groups. The challenge is getting them to understand that individual rights cannot be secondary; in many instances what they are supporting as primary puts them against individual rights. That is not easy to accomplish on one encounter, but hopefully the thought is planted and will grow within them later.
I don’t think the truly religious person can be reached with such concepts as individual rights thoroughly applied, because they think this means the government sanctioning immoral acts, and they don’t think the government ought to be sanctioning immoral acts. As an example, abortion, pornography, illicit drugs, and prostitution would all be free to happen under capitalism, but the religious Conservatives are so morally opposed to these that they would prefer to have them outlawed. So, I don’t think we should be trying to “convert”the truly religious man out there, we should be aiming at freedom loving individuals and convince them that one has the moral right to live one’s own life as one sees fit, so long as one is not initiating force onto others. Of course, the best way to live is rationally, and even a rational man might be against, say, prostitution, nonetheless if it is done via consenting adults, the government would have nothing to say about it and could not make it illegal.
Having a government is not about imposing moral standards onto the people it governs, it is about protecting their free and voluntary transactions. For example, under Objectivism, rationality is the primary virtue, but we recognize that rationality is a province of the individual and that one cannot force a mind to think, therefore the government could not force a man to think –i.e. to be moral. Having the wrong moral standards does not preclude using force to “make someone be good” in their ideal society — from Plato on to Plotinus on to Augustin — all took it as evident that a moral society had to have some sort of moral overseer that would impose moral standards. The concept of individual rights precludes this view, but I don’t think we can convince the truly religious man of this proposition. So, it is better to try to reach the rational or even semi-rational man out there, and leave the truly religious man alone except to say that he is immoral in his attempts to force others “to be good.”
If one has a primary concern for oneself (egoism), then others acting immorally isn’t a primary focus and one can live and let live (or live and let die); if one primarily lives for others under altruism, then having a primary concern for other’s immorality becomes a central focus, so they tend to not leave others alone in their endeavors to live life by their own standards..
Regulating Not Doing Anything
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the activity / inactivity distinction of a recent Federal Court decision against ObamaCare, and if that distinction does not hold, then the government will be able to regulate anything under their interpretation of the Commerce Clause. A more recent ruling states that there is no distinction between activity and inactivity under the Commerce Clause and this leaves open the possibility of the State being able to tell you to do something, say buy a car, and if you don’t do it, they will be legally free to fine you for your non-activity. Let’s say they want to spur the economy, which they think is consumer driven, and they decide that one has to buy a new car every five years or pay a fine of $1,000; or let’s say they pass a law stating that one has to buy a new house every fifteen years or pay a hefty fine of $10,000; if the activity / inactivity ruling distinction does not stand, then they will be able to do this and even the Supreme Court won’t be able to help you. This amounts to slavery, as some others have pointed out. The government has no right and no jurisdiction to tell you to do something, though it can prevent you from doing actions that are against the law.
See the more recent ruling here: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/law/6319-court-endorses-thought-crime.html
In other words, if you can be fined for NOT doing something, then they can get away with anything. Any law telling you to do anything under the sun – especially if it is economic in nature – and you don’t do it, can be met with severe jail terms or severe fines. This is government regulations run amuck!
It is often pointed out that states can order you to buy automobile insurance and that this is Constitutional and that this can be the basis of the law telling you have to buy health insurance. However, this obliterates a very crucial distinction. Namely that the State owns and operates most of the roads, and therefore the State can set the terms of driving on said roads. Under capitalism, this wouldn’t be the case, the roads would be privately owned and the owner / operator could decide the rules of the road – including whether or not insurance is mandatory or not. However, no one has suggested that one can be fined for not driving! And yet, that is what the erasure of the activity / inactivity distinction could mean, and will mean as soon as the bureaucrats figure it out.
The activity / inactivity distinction has not yet made it to the Supreme Court regarding ObamaCare – and Obama doesn’t want it to get there any time soon – but it is frightening to think they we are only one ruling away from being slaves of the State.