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It’s Ours to Lose

Endarkenment*

Many who have learned from Ayn Rand believe that Enlightenment civilization, the bequeathal of Aristotle, Newton, and Jefferson, declines precipitously toward a renaissance of the medieval, of the Paleolithic, or worse, with perhaps an interregnum of digital-age totalitarian fascism along the way. Picture a televangelist smiling beatifically. Then picture him in sanguine raiment and steel-toed boots, still smiling, stomping on humanity’s face, if not forever, for a very, very long time.

Against the Dying of the Light

Objectivism is a life-affirming philosophy. Its adherents tend to be optimists, or at least admire and strive toward a rational, justified optimism. In this context, an important Objectivist idea is the “impotence of evil.” Ayn Rand wrote that “The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default …” (from “The Anatomy of Compromise,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 149.)

This is a powerful idea, and Objectivists take it seriously. Despite their pessimism about the present course of Western (especially American) Civilization, they are hard at work trying to build up and apply the intellectual force necessary to make the right course correction. They believe they can win, and their notion of victory is expansive. It is nothing less than the total reformation of American culture.

[The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI)] seeks to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today’s culture. ~ Introduction to Ayn Rand, Objectivism and ARI

Philosophy and History

Objectivists believe they can move the world because they have in hand a very long lever, and intend to capture a very solid point upon which to rest it. According to Objectivism, philosophy moves history, and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is much more comprehensive, consistent, and powerful than the mish-mash that informed the Framers of the Constitution. By capturing the commanding heights of the West’s ivory towers, Objectivists hope to educate a vanguard of teachers, writers, journalists, and public intellectuals of all kinds in Objectivist fundamentals. These opinion leaders will, in turn, drive the intellectually inert masses toward a second renaissance culture: a rebirth of reason.

Race for the Prize

The essential Objectivist view of their enterprise is that it is a race against time. Will they capture enough influence in academia, and parlay and extend that influence to political elites, or even a new Objectivistic “common sense” among the masses that upholds objective reality, reason, self-interest, and capitalism? As long as America is free from censorship, Objectivists believe they have more than a fighting chance. If current trends continue, however, Objectivist activism will eventually be criminalized. If that happens, the Objectivists’ plan will have failed.

Continue reading It’s Ours to Lose

"Kids These Days," And Other Snipes

Billy Beck, the best blogger out there, brought Fred Hiat’s June 9 meditation on the "’Bush Lied’ story line" to my attention. Hiat argues or implies that

  1. The Rockefeller report, which has been taken by the "Bush Lied" partisans as clear-cut vindication of their claims, in fact shows that Bush did not lie, but rather based his pre-war claims on bad intelligence.
  2. "Bush Lied" partisans continue to make their claims apart from all evidence.
  3. There will inevitably be times when the president is called upon to make a judgement call based on imperfect intelligence.
  4. Once the president and his military advisors have judged that military action is necessary, it will be necessary to spin such imperfect intelligence until it appears to unambiguously demand a military response, in order to get the gun-shy American people behind the effort.
  5. The Bush administration may very well have spun the imperfect intelligence too hard in the lead-up to the Iraq war, but the "’Bush Lied’ story line" threatens to undermine the president’s future ability to spin intelligence to the American public.

Beck seems to have found point 2 above to be the most worthy of comment. He links to a commentary on the Hiat piece by a hand-wringing Catholic matron (Elizabeth Scalia) who sees bad omens in the pervasive Gen-Y perspectivism that is intimately familiar and obscenely comfortable with the partisans’ habit of making claims apart from all evidence.

Scalia’s take? Too much egoism in our young, combined with an infotainment diet saturated with satire and irony is leading to the Nazification of the U.S. (She doesn’t make her point quite this explicit.)

Continue reading "Kids These Days," And Other Snipes

Fictional Taggart Tunnel Collides With Reality

Due to errors in basic engineering that were missed in four separate reviews, an explosion rocked the Cern particle accelerator complex on March 27th. The faulty parts were supplied by Fermilab.

These events immediately recalled to mind Ayn Rand’s Taggart Tunnel disaster. (Attention: there are spoilers for Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in that link.)

[…]

Footnote on Iraq — Or: Anarchism by Juxtaposition II

It seems it is beginning to dawn on the war hawks that they just might (maybe, possibly1) have been duped. It’s a pathetic spectacle.

I’m not, note well, talking about any of those “Bush Lied” marginalia. To a dedicated hawk, the issue of whether the Bush administration provided disingenuous rationales for the invasion is […]

Follow the Bouncing Ball

If Arthur Silber isn’t careful, we’ll have another market anarchist on our hands.

[4/10/07 — Long-overdue update: Silber did indeed turn anarchic, though it looks like John T. Kennedy of No Treason called it well before I did.]

Thoughts For Election Week

Diabolical, diabolical democracy: it forces you to care what other people think, then to worry about what they might be persuaded to think, and, finally, to hope in desperation that they can think at all. Example: Were it not that I lived in a democratic order, One Million Moms scared of guns would concern […]