Saturday, April 23, 2011

Open Thread.

The last open thread has worked out pretty well, with some interesting questions still popping up.

So here's a new one! It would be good to keep them fairly fresh.

21 comments:

Jim said...

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/04/22/ayn_rands_adult-onset_adolescence.html

Mike Huben said...

Oooo, now that's harsh! I like it!

The money quote:

"If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand's achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne."

Joanna Liberation said...

You really like it Mike? Isn't that a perfect example of argumentum ad hominem fallacy you have taught us to avoid?

Mike Huben said...

Joanna, how do you pack so many errors and stupidities into just one sentence?

Please cite where I've been teaching such a thing.

And it's patently not ad-hominem because there's no hominem. It is ridicule. You should learn the difference. You should learn something. Anything. Sheesh.

Joanna Liberation said...

Mike, your first two links under Logical Fallacies and Propaganda (Propaganda Analysis and Scrutinizing Propaganda) from http://world.std.com/~mhuben/refdoc.html describe name-calling propaganda technique and seventh link (Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies) describes Attacking the Person and Appeal to Authority as logical fallacies.

BTW, the last one is broken, please update to eg http://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/logicalfallacies.html

Now, calling libertarians adolescents is all three. Adolescence is used pejoratively here, so it is obviously name-calling and personal attack. Appeal to Authority fallacy is also obvious as adolescents have no authority.

BTW, you also commit Attacking the Person fallacy every time you refer to Kochtopus, as in third example again from Stephen's Guide:

We should disregard Share B.C.'s argument because they are being funded by the logging industry. (ad hominem circumstantial)

Mike Huben said...

It's libertarians who pretend to be logical, when real people actually use defeasible logic.

Nowhere do I teach avoiding fallacies of logic: I link to those sites to help people recognize fallacies of logic.

The author I cite is not calling libertarianism adolescence fallaciously: he is identifying it as adolescence. He is saying they are the same thing, and describing why he thinks they are the same thing. And he is correct in observing that often adolescence is quite obnoxious.

Your error is to miss the serious argument because you fixate on the ridicule.

And how can you call it personal attack? What person is attacked?

You totally misunderstand the appeal to authority fallacy.

Kochtopus is not attacking the person: it is identifying an organization comparable to a logging industry.

Now, the basic thing that you don't understand is that informal fallacies of logic are an essential part of our real-world reasoning process. If I know that a proposal is made by the logging industry, I know to be cautious reading it because they may have large financial incentives to mislead us.

I suggest that you read my articles Distrust in logic and Skepticism of Rationality.

Joanna Liberation said...

Mike, I have not missed "the serious argument", it just seems so absurd to me that I have not even considered it "serious" rather than ordinary name-calling, but okay, if you say so, let's see.

Many of us experienced

Okay, so Michael Gerson seems to know what he is talking about.

a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship

I knew guys like that back in school. I think american words describing them are jocks, meathead, musclebrain etc.

Personally I was extremely shy person in my youth (until I started my professional careeer which gave me confidence). Also I have always strongly believed that hero worhip is the cause of virtually all evil (religion, socialism, fascism etc).

Hence I have never had to "grow out of" being a musclebrain, unlike, I guess, Michael Gerson.

Mike Huben said...

You were just a different sort of adolescent. There's more than one type.

Your attempts at "logic" are pathetic.

Joanna Liberation said...

This was really good Mike, thank you for inspiration as always:

http://critiquesofcollectivism.blogspot.com/2011/04/adolescent-collectivists.html

JNagarya said...

"If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand's achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne."
_____

Another way to put it:

It is that phase during adolesence when one is trying to find out "what to be," and who one is. That phase when one is attempting to forge an identity of one's own, in part by rejecting "everything" one has been taught to believe until that point.

Most of us work it through -- i.e., grow up, mature. Some small percentage refuse to give up their Peter Pan ways: "I can FLY!"

JNagarya said...

Let's make a clear distinction, "Joanna Liberation":

To call a person a liar who isn't a liar is personal attack. Ad hominem. And usually a lie.

To call a person a liar who is demonstrably a liar is not a personal attack: it is a statement of fact.

Cute, that surname: I assume you are the product of teen parents?

JNagarya said...

And another from cutesy Ms. "Liberation":

. . . . I have always strongly believed that hero worhip is the cause of virtually all evil (religion, socialism, fascism etc).
_____

Must be so, as reflected in your aversion to reason and rules being time and again proven to be necessary to imperfect human societies.

Actually, of course, that is an instance of those who see everything in unnuanced black-and-white (hello, "Libertarians"?) trying to appear other than rigidly inflexible ideologues by reducing their only two options to only black.

Certainly your parents were your first heroes; if that is why you are now a "Libertarian," then your "strong belief" is proven. (BTW: the strength in "strong belief" isn't reason or rationality; it is adamant emotionalism.) Such heroes lead one to become a fascist, a basher of Winston Churchill (he was a Socialist) and a number of the US's staunchest allies --

Countries with such foreign-sounding names as Britain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have as elements of their political systems not only monarchies (TYRANNY! DESPOTISM!), but also democratically-elected parliaments ("The US is not a democracy; it is a Republic!"), and socialist economics.

And their populations aren't screaming to be "liberated" from their non-oppressive conditions.

It's real easy to regurgitate and sling momorized labels; but it is fallacious to mistake such for substance, or as having substance.

But back to the main point:

It is every bit as likely -- and usually turns out this way -- that hero worship results in an improvement in a person's perspective, attitude, and character. (As example, the "Libertarian" teen grows up, in part by jettisoning the methamphetamine "Libertarian" delusion/simpleton's oversimplification.) And as result one becomes a more productive member of the inevitable context that is society. (One of my heroes was Abraham Lincoln, who made me aware of equality before the law, and made me a civil rights activist. Another as Mark Twain, who refined my morality and made me a human rights activist. And made me sarcaastic as all hell when confronted with the bald-facedly ludicrous, such as "Libertarianism".)

Or take as contemporary example the figure skater Michelle Kwan: she has been an inspiration to millions to lead an exemplary life (she always conducted herself as if children were watching), and yet there is no evidence that those she has inspired have become fascists, or "Libertarians," or other forms of criminal.

Your glib oversimplifications, especially the half-equations which even as whole equations were false, are predictably "Libertarian": all "strong belief" and no introspection or critical evaluation of one's own thinking obtains. Indeed, as "belief" is ostensibly an intellectual function, and "stong" is not, that combination is an irrationality dominated by emotionalism. "Faith trumps lack of evidence" is "religion".

Joanna Liberation said...

JNagarya's money quote:

One of my heroes was Abraham Lincoln, who made me aware of equality before the law, and made me a civil rights activist. Another as Mark Twain, who refined my morality and made me a human rights activist

See, absolutely nothing about reasoning. Non-libertarians accept propositions simply because they like them or not, because they sound good or not, they need no actual reasoning to support them. Non-libertarians are also concerned about morality refinement as such, never morality refinement as a subsidiary of reasoning refinement. For a non-libertarian, it is merely enough to feel good about some proposition, she simply trusts his instincts. In comparison, a libertarian (and especially an Austrian School libertarian) would rather say something like:

Abraham Lincoln, whose logical reasoning based on self-evident assumptions made me understand WHY equality before the law SHOULD actually be the guiding principle for any society, is my hero.

foobar said...

You see, Joanna, your insistence in logic and reason above anything else is, in essence, unreasonable. Unfortunately (or fortunately; mileage varies considerably from person to person) humans have a rational component, but also an irrational one. And feelings, and have compassion, and inspiration, and beyond that life has a way of surprising people with its weird ways. Insisting on full blown rationality necessarily implies ignoring this. Which means ignoring data. Which, funnily, is irrational. Wouldn't you agree?

Felix said...

I see that you are not a fan of Friedman.

Any comments about Mart Laar running Estonia with Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose"?

Society did not seem to break down under some libertarian ideas as the Huffington Post would predict:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-walljasper/report-from-the-future-ri_b_863942.html

Neither did it in Fulton County during a large amount of privatization:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/22/sandy-springs-georgia-privatize-outsource_n_852466.html

YhuntressE said...

The Spill review site did an audio review of Atlas Shrugged: http://spill.com/Audio/AudioPost.aspx?audioId=556 They make some good points like how objectivism is Satanism for corporations, the fact that neither the protagonists and antagonists are all that sympathetic or realistic, could've put more thought into the railroads part and some very funny moments.

Carolyn Faille said...

A recent article putting libertarianism in historical perspective:
http://www.slate.com/id/2297019/

JNagarya said...

Felix said...

. . . .

Neither did it in Fulton County during a large amount of privatization:
_____

What were the Founders' views on "privatization"? Those views were expressed in their actions. They established gov't, which is regulation. And they founded gov'ts because they were pro- -- not anti- -- gov't.

And they continued the traditional norms of sane society by regulating dangerous substances and objects, such as alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. They even disarmed those who were threats to gov't, and to "mere" public safety.

They also attacked the central problem of human societies: greed, and especially unregulated greed. John Adams recognized greed as the central flaw in human nature. And that it is not in the nature of greed to regulate itself. Thus in the Massachusetts-Bay constitution he wrote, he separated greed -- called then "jealousies" -- into contending co-equal powers.

That constitution was the model for the Federal Constitution, which includes limits on the states, and which confronts anti-gov't criminality such as yours head on when it turns violent, as it usually does:

US Con. Art. I., S. 8, C. 15. The Congress shall have Power To provide for caling forth the Militia to . . . SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS.

Thus they both established gov't, and defense of it against the crimnal and sociopath. The symbol for the reality that freedoms have their limits were also continued by them; they are called PRISONS.

In brief: the Founders were sane, and they not only believed in regulation, but continued virtually all the forms of it that the prior centuries of evolution of colonial law had established.

In short: they were not "Libertarians". They wer not fools. They were not stupid.

So the question is: Why do you hate the Constitution and laws established by the Founders?

The fundamntal question is obvious: Why do you hate the Founders behind the lie that you are advancing their pro-governmentalism?

The very same "principles" you are defending have been repeatedly tried; and they have repeatedly destroyed economies and rule of law. Even the lead psychotic Greenspan had an awakening and admitted that he was WRONG. And he got his economic principles from undereducated Czarist non-economist methedrine addict and deluded fanatic Ayn Rant.

JNagarya said...

Part One

It is as inevitable and predictable as the sun rising that a "Libertarian" will step in it as result of being so outer-directed as to be oblivious of the very self they place at the center of their universe, and its processes. First cutesy Ms. "Liberation" posts this --

". . . . I have always strongly believed that hero worhip is the cause of virtually all evil (religion, socialism, fascism etc)."

Then she posts this -- er -- "money quote":

"Abraham Lincoln . . . is my hero."

But let's dig into the details. First, she quotes a fragment of a complete statement I made:

"JNagarya's money quote:

"One of my heroes was Abraham Lincoln, who made me aware of equality before the law, and made me a civil rights activist. Another (w)as Mark Twain, who refined my morality and made me a human rights activist"

And leaves out the substantive point made that one is a civil rights activist within the inevitable context "society," because as every good "Libertarian" "knows," there's no such thing as "society" -- except to one who is a "collectivist"-"socialist"-"communist"-"liberal"-"fascist," etc., etc.

Then she incongruously asserts --

"See, absolutely nothing about reasoning."

Huh? If one doesn't expressly use the word "reasoning" one therefore isn't "reasoning"? Perhaps Ms. "Liberation" can fill in the little leaps and bounds which lead to that unevidenced conclusion. But probably not, else she would know to do so, know how to do so, and have done so -- that being the active practice of "reason".

And is this another "money quote"? --

"Non-libertarians accept propositions simply because they like them or not, because they sound good or not, they need no actual reasoning to support them. Non-libertarians are also concerned about morality refinement as such, never morality refinement as a subsidiary of reasoning refinement. For a non-libertarian, it is merely enough to feel good about some proposition, she simply trusts his instincts."

Uh, yeah: "she simply trusts his instincts". In the interests of equality, one wonders if Freud were ever lead around by a slip.

As for her "morality refinement" (etc.): morality is by definition and nature a set of RULES. Those RULES are arrived at by means of REASON. That morality is perhaps a "subsidiary of reasoning," but is certainly in itself "reasoning refinement," exactly as it is said that, "Law is reason, but very very refined."

As for all the rest of that howling emotional boilerplate: the facts for it are (also) not in evidence. In other words: it is a bald-faced assertion, based upon the label "non-libertarians" -- name-calling -- but providing no evidence that it is a fact, or that it is true.

Reason doesn't work that way; emotionalism masquerading as, or confused as being, reason does "work" that way. But let's look at a finer detail --

"In comparison, a libertarian (and especially an Austrian School libertarian) would rather say something like:

"Abraham Lincoln, whose logical reasoning based on self-evident assumptions made me understand WHY equality before the law SHOULD actually be the guiding principle for any society, is my hero."

First, according to Ms. "Liberation,"

JNagarya said...

Part Two

"Non-libertarians accept propositions simply because they like them or not, because they sound good or not, they need no actual reasoning to support them." etc.

Second, according to Ms. "Liberation,"

"Abraham Lincoln, whose logical reasoning based on self-evident assumptions made me understand . . . ."

Aren't these the same thing? --

"propositions" "simply because they like them" and "self-evident assumptions"?

Yes, they are. So we again flay the "Libertarian" and expose its teenage heart: the consistent inconsistency of self-contradiction to the extreme degree of extreme self-parody.

By contrast, psychological maturity is attained by the constant critical evaluation of "self-evident assumptions" because those "self-evident assumptions" tend most often to be the biases of the intellectually lazy. Science is reason, and rationality; and to science nothing is "self-evident". It is "religion" that succumbs to the "self-evident" as result of self-infatuation and -bedazzlement.

In short: nothing in reality is "self-evident," except to those who believe they already know it all. That which is "self-evident" is not a substitute for truth, or knowledge, or pursuit of truth, or knowledge of truth.

Now go back and re-read the foregoing, Ms. "Liberation," so you are clear on what it actually says, not instead confusing for it that you project onto it that you want it to say. And if necessary discipline yourself sufficiently to read it even a third and fourth time, until you are sure you are reading what is actually said, instead of merely regurgitating "self-evident" "Libertarian" reaction into its face.

Abraham Lincoln was able to reason. Mark Twain was able to reason. Ms. "Liberation," by contrast, has yet to achieve that abiility.

Chris said...

Here's a topic for discussion: the recent "alliance" of Ralph Nader and Ron Paul. Both claim to be against the corporate/gov't alliance, against excessive military spending and wars of choice, so they are talking about allying and trying to a build a "populist" movement. There's lots of articles on this, but here's one:

http://www.truth-out.org/populist-alliances-or-senseless-wars-and-corporate-welfare/1309366449