Monday, October 22, 2007
Monument to Che Guevara Now Complete
A Venezuelan group stated that Che Guevara "isn't an example for our children" in a note left at the site of a monument to the self-described "cold killing machine" after it added a few very fitting finishing touches to it, as shown below:
Needless to say, there could be any number of motivations behind the actions of these "artists" from recognition that Che Guevara and everything he stood for is morally wrong to a conviction that he didn't go far enough. Indeed, another article describes them -- without elaboration -- as "leftists". History has shown time and time again that mere opposition to tyranny is not enough to establish freedom.
Nevertheless, I found the reaction of the local government to this expression of freedom of speech in the face of tyranny very interesting.
[O]n Wednesday night (a group) from outside of the municipality inconsiderately destroyed the monument to Che Guevara.Inconsiderately? Is this the best Mayor Espinoza could do? If Che Guevara were a true revolutionary, embodying high moral ideals, much stronger, condemnatory language was in order. But then, the inevitable comparisons between what was done to this glass wall and what was done by Guevara to real human beings standing in front of walls might have come out.
Is this a public official cynically trying to tamp down a debate that he knows will discredit his government, or is he not himself convinced that he is engaged in a just cause? Either way, this regime appears to be lacking in the element of moral certainty. (And indeed, it also lacks overwhelming popular support as well: "40 per cent of the population opposes [Chavez's] self-styled socialist revolution".) Too bad our own leaders fail to appreciate the moral superiority of freedom. With their help, such regimes would be quite easy to topple.
Townhall: "The opinions expressed are his own."
I know it's boilerplate, but in light of Townhall's disgraceful decision to publish this recent Chuck Colson piece on Ayn Rand, it's more fitting than they intend or realize that they appended it to this Thomas J. Borelli piece on corporate global warming hysteria.
Borelli ends with the following favorable mention of Ayn Rand:
Fueled by a distortion of reality we are witnessing the gradual destruction of capitalism at the hands of CEOs, social activists, power hungry politicians and Hollywood. On the 50th anniversary of "Atlas Shrugged", the real inconvenient truth is watching Ayn Rand's words [of warning] become reality. [bold added]This column outlines just the beginnings of what happens when, as Chuck Colson might put it, "people relate to one another" with "altruism and self-sacrifice". True, this particular brand of human sacrifice isn't directly attributable to the acceptance of the Bible or "a divine or supernatural dimension to reality". However, global warming hysteria does rest on the acceptance on faith by many people that it is okay to force others to do things in order to avert an impending cataclysm (which is also accepted on faith).
It says something about Townhall, conservatives in general, and Chuck Colson in particular that they will actively slander someone who points out the folly of continuing to carry on with faith and self-sacrifice as they want you to do -- rather than heeding her warnings.
Ayn Rand was famous for saying "Check your premises." She points out plainly that faith is no source of knowledge, and that altruism, which must be accepted at some point on faith, endangers one's life. But Colson and his ilk regard their premises as beyond checking and your life -- which they tell you to sacrifice -- as expendable.
Conservatives constantly claim that religion -- faith, altruism, and self-sacrifice -- is the basis for capitalism and yet very often they run to Ayn Rand when they need to refute an enemy of capitalism. If actions speak louder than words, then it would appear that conservatives themselves do not believe what they say about the basis for capitalism -- and that you should ask yourself whether conservatives are really the friends of capitalism they claim to be.
Racism and Evolutionary Psychology
There is a very interesting discussion of evolutionary psychology over at Myrhaf, which has some bearing on my recent comments on James Watson's recent very embarrassing comments on the intelligence of blacks.
I found the following by John Kim particularly interesting:
[Advocates of evolutionary psychology] not only despise humanities types, they hate Ayn Rand. They consider her philosophy entirely deduced from arbitrary premises.... It shocked me the first time I encountered it, to hear Ayn Rand described that way. [Many] are biological determinists. They actually link free will with religion! ... [bold added]It is hardly a great leap to get from "no free will" to the premise that, "a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry ... [meaning] ... that a man is to be judged not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of ancestors." [Ayn Rand in "Racism", in The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 172]
Indeed, I refused to publish or entertain one comment on that post partially on the grounds that I thought it came from a race-baiter. In terms of implicit views about volition, I see that I wasn't very far from the truth to do so, even if this was in fact an "EPer".