Quick Roundup 460

Monday, August 24, 2009

More than a Surface Resemblance

I wish I'd been aware of the startling similarity between Barack Obama and this image of Nikolai Ezhov (aka, "Stalin's Loyal Executioner," pictured at right) when Comrade President was soliciting nominations for his enemies list.

Ezhov headed the Soviet secret police during the most ... intense ... phase of the Great Purge.

Update: Possibly related is the following link from Yahoo: "White House sets up unit for questioning terrorism suspects." The headline calls it an "interrogation unit."

Objectivist Carnival

In case you missed it -- or let it slip your mind like I did -- last week's Objectivist Roundup was hosted at Rule of Reason.

How Not to Fight Barack Obama ...

That would require integrity and courage, two qualities "Dr." James David Manning completely lacks, as seen in the below (possibly NSFW) video.

Sadly, this video has, according to one web site, "reached millions", and too many people seem to think his heart is in the right place. Just web search "Dr. Manning Mack Daddy" and browse.

... or Racism

Worse, the religious right has no monopoly in the violent fantasy department.

What Inconsistency?

Back when John Kerry was running for President, Ted Kennedy successfully pressured his state's government to change its succession law to prevent its then-Republican governor from being able to choose a replacement for the junior senator, had he won. Apparently, Kennedy now wants to enable its Democratic governor to choose his successor, should he die before the end of his term.

The Wall Street Journal derides Kennedy because his "motivation for changing the law is so obviously born of partisan interest, not principle." [bold added] I disagree, but not with the low moral estimate of Senator Kennedy. He and his party, with their open advocacy of ("single-payer" physician) slavery, are plainly (if not openly) opposed to the premise of the government protecting individual rights.

What better way to finish destroying freedom than to erode the premise that we are a country of objective law, rather than whimsical men? Kennedy is acting in accordance with the principles that now govern his party.

That said, I also vehemently disagree -- with the editorialist and President Obama -- that self-interest and principle (e.g., morality) are incompatible. The problem here is not that Ted Kennedy isn't being altruistic enough. It's that he's being too willing to commit sacrifices for the "good" of his constituents.

-- CAV


: (1) Updated first section. (2) Changed a link.


Rational Education said...

can I request you to elaborate on the point you are making on Ted Kennedy. It is a fundamental explanation, but I am able to make only an approximate understanding of it at present.

Katrina said...

Regarding the link to the Jawbone commercials, I'm not sure you want to keep that up. Honestly, did you read the comments on that blog? There are some really vicious statements, and I didn't see the blog owner contradicting them. Just letting you know, because I personally wouldn't want to be affiliated with that page in any way.

I don't condemn the blogger for comments made by others, but I wouldn't want to give any more hits to a site that is apparently an open forum for the kind of racism I was convinced had died out in this country. Yuck.

Gus Van Horn said...


Ted Kennedy both pretends to himself that what he does is for the good of others and, I am pretty confident, enjoys wielding political power. Both entail human sacrifice of some form. Ted Kennedy rigging things so that his party stays in power serves each purpose.

If you are still unclear feel free to ask a further question.


While I make it clear in my link policy that I do not equate a link with moral sanction, I am glad you noticed that link. I had intended merely to link to a comment by Madmax. I prefer not to attract the attention of bigots and generally do not link to such things.


madmax said...


I agree with your assessment of the WhiskeysPlace blog. I provided the link to it not because I agree with the blog commentary but because it was a convenient location for those disgusting anti-white commercials. But that blog clearly illustrates what is happening to a growing portion of the Right.

In response to Leftist anti-white racism they are countering with racialist "the-mixing-of-the-races-is-inherently-doomed" type arguments. But my point is that there is a palpable anti-white movement in this country and it is being ignored by everyone except the racialist or "biodiversity" right.

IMO, this racial friction is going to get worse as the welfare state fractures. Actually, I'm starting to wonder if the M2 theocrat phenomenon that Dr. Peikoff talks about might not be the budding religious/traditionalist/racialist/biodiversity movement that is occurring on the right. Its been noted that environmentalism is merging with religion, but so is racialist materialism. Think of it as a kind of religious fascism.

If Dr. Peikoff is right, I think it unlikely that the type of religious theocracy that will ultimately take over is the weak Leftist dominated egalitarian Christianity. I think it will be a more muscular version enhanced by a racialist traditionalism and given all the "I-told-you-so" moments courtesy of the Left.

History will repeat itself but not in the same exact way. It will be a variation of the same theme. Of course, I hope none of this comes to pass and Objectivism succeeds in pushing the culture in the direction of genuine individualism. There is some positive news on that front as in Paul Hsieh's post today at NoodleFood that the debate in ObamaCare is swinging in the moral direction. Something which definitely favors Objectivism.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for adding your commentary, madmax.

For the benefit of other passers-by, Madmax has occasionally brought such things to my attention in the past, for which I am grateful. In every case, he has given me the opportunity to publish his comments while also deciding for myself whether to actually link to whatever he was talking about -- by just giving the URL without hard-coding the link.

This is what he did in his previous comment and why I had originally intended to (and now actually do) link to his post, rather than the actual blog, as I did by accident earlier.

Katrina said...


Of course having read your blog before, I never thought for a second that you meant to sanction WhiskeysPlace. I do agree that there is palpable anti-white sentiment (having lived in the South Side of Chicago I have experienced it first hand) and that it is reflected in those commercials, all but 2 of which I think are absolutely inappropriate (the shark and the gay Rugby thing I found kind of funny.) Anyway, it will be interesting to see how things play out, albeit in a Chinese curse kind of way.


Katrina said...

I should add that taken as a group, the anti-straight-white-male message is clear in all three commercials, I just think that only the first commercial stands alone as disgustingly racist. I seriously doubt that the casting was color-blind.

Gus Van Horn said...


No worries.

Regarding anti-white male commercials, the difficulty in discussing such things as a layman, as with many cultural trends, is that one can get a sense that there is a trend, but proving oneself right might be out of reach without a fair amount of work. (A parallel situation exists when non-scientists swap health-related anecdotes.)

That said, I think -- but can't really prove -- that there is more hostility to white males generally in commercials than there used to be. It may be racism, or it may be that white males, perceived to be in the "dominant" position, are easy targets. The operating assumption may just be something like, "Nobody will be offended if we take a shot at them." Probably, it's a combination of both.

At the same time, there is often a reflexive assumption that whites generally are racist. I also think that prejudice against other groups abounds in all any groups. Combine white prejudice with whites being in the majority with the common confusion of prejudice with racism and that stereotype at least becomes understandable.


Rational Education said...


My understanding: a principle is a fundamental truth, a generalized abstraction of observation and deduction from reality -i.e. a metaphysical fact. Principles to guide men's actions when based on the recognition of reality, therefore lead to success because they are based in reality.

Part of my confusion with your section on Ted Kennedy is because of your statement that: "Kennedy is acting in accordance with the principles that now govern his party." But by saying that he or his party is acting on principle, is in essence negating the term; if my previous explanation of what a principle is, is right. It could easily be construed that principles are subjective to whatever an individual or group wishes it to be.

I would rather put it therefore that Kennedy is not acting on priciples and therefore not in his self-interest whether partisan (as WSJ puts it) or otherwise. Self-interest follows from taking principles seriously, i.e. taking reality as your ally. Defiance of principles- acting in man's destruction- and selflessness therefore go hand in hand.

Therefore according to me where WSJ errs is elevating Kennedy's actions in essence to be unprincipled but to his interest or anything that he values- which vehemently is not the case. (The most personal example for Kennedy would be the type of non-treatment for his cancer he would have received under his vision of social co-operation under the state of forcing the minds in the field of medicine versus the prompt treatment and surgery he received within days of his diagnosis -could he have received anything close to this under any of attilas and witch-doctors past or present or future that his variety of ideas produce? Has he asked himself that question one wonders?)

My original comment was from some completely different thought I was following based on your original post (which was not completely formed and is eluding me now).


Gus Van Horn said...


You're talking about rational principles. Kennedy is acting on implicit, irrational principles (which are NOT truths).

That said, Kennedy IS failing to act in his own OBJECTIVE self-interest, even as he pursues what he falsely believes to be a moral course of action -- and, quite possibly, also feels to be self-interested, too.


Burgess Laughlin said...

A problem that sometimes arises in discussions and debates might be called "the problem of two definitions." The classic example is "value." In one sense, in the context of an objective philosophy, a value is objective, that is, it is drawn logically from facts of reality. But in a broader sense (one which allows look-alikes, pretends, and errors for the sake of discussion), anything which anyone acts to gain or keep is a value, no matter how irrational -- such as heroin to a junkie.

The same confusion arises sometimes over "philosophy," for example. Strictly speaking it is, in part, the universal science developed through reason. But of course, many "philosophers" reject reason, in one form or another, but we can still call them "philosophers" because of their resemblance or pretence.

How to solve this ambiguity? Identify it as such and/or use a qualifier as Gus did when he said "rational principles."

I welcome corrections or elaborations, as this problem is still not completely clear to me.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for your comments, as I found your making this issue explicit quite helpful.

Perhaps, if I grasp your implied question properly, the elaboration one needs is establishing the proper context. At least, that's what I saw myself as doing when adding the qualifier.


Jim May said...

My solution to Burgess' dilemma has always been to define the context. There are two key ones: value to a man quaman, and value to a specific person in his hierarchy of values.

The first context pertains to things that are of value to all humans as such: food, shelter, technology, freedom etc. I characterize these as "objective" values.

The second context pertains to the individual's context; a computer is of greater value to me (as it is the tool of my trade) than it is for someone who browses the Web occasionally. Some value cars more highly, so drive a Mercedes while living in a bachelor pad; others prefer a big house and drive a used pickup.

These, I refer to as "personal values". When discussing these, one must be careful to distinguish between the two categories; for example, cigarettes are objectively a disvalue, but are nonetheless something that a person may act to gain and/or keep.

Gus Van Horn said...

Nice elaboration, Jim. Thanks!