But What About?

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke7/15/17
Trump Jr.’s Email:  Want to Talk About Treason? Okay…  •  The obsession with Donald Trump Jr.’s “Russian” email chain is just the latest example of what the Media/Democrat Party/Establishment Axis does best: engage in misdirection to confuse people about who America’s real enemies are.

Now, since the emails are currently Exhibit A in Trump treason allegations, let’s talk about treason. No, we don’t have to go back to when Democrat senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached the murderous Soviets and asked for help defeating Ronald Reagan in 1984. That’s too old and too obvious. But try this on for size.

We’ve now learned that U.S. soldier Ikaika Erik Kang, just arrested for Islamic State ties, expressed allegiance to the group as early as 2011 (which is much like a serviceman having expressed support for the Nazis during WWII). Instead of being immediately put in the stockade, however, Barack Obama’s military and FBI, the Daily Mail reports, “investigated to determine whether he posed a threat, authorities said.”

They must have still been wondering in 2013, because that’s when they gave Kang back his security clearance after having revoked it the year before.

This clearly was part of the leftist Obama mentality that sought to elevate anything contrary to Americanism. It didn’t matter that Kang had already threatened “to hurt or kill other service members back in 2011,” as the Mail relates it. It doesn’t matter that he could have been the next Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 at Ford Hood in 2009 after he, too, expressed jihadist sentiments but wasn’t stopped. Hey, if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.

Some will point out that the Left’s enabling of intra-military jihad isn’t, technically speaking, treason. That’s true. Neither is what Trump Jr. did, with experts saying it wasn’t illegal. But we’re talking here about treason in spirit, which is often worse than the illegal variety.

The Trumps also aren’t inviting aliens into the nation to overwhelm the natives. But that’s precisely what the Left has been doing for ages via im/migration, with Obama ratcheting the process up to a fever pitch. He used every trick in the book — granting gratuitous “refugee” status, ceasing border enforcement, etc. — to ensure that as many non-Americans as possible would occupy America.

Obama did this because, as the Daily Caller reported in 2015, he believes “immigration will drown conservatism.” Actually, it drowns Americanism.

But the Left knows what it’s doing. Eighty-five percent of our legal immigrants come from the Third World (also, in part, Ted Kennedy’s handiwork); 70 to 90 percent of them vote for leftist Democrats upon being naturalized. Obama hailed this, mind you, saying that becoming a “hodgepodge of folks” extinguishes Americanism.

No, he wasn’t as blunt as overseas soul mate and Social Democrat politician Mona Sahlin, who said, alluding in 2001 to “her nation’s” immigration-born changes, “[T]he Swedes must be integrated into the new Sweden; the old Sweden is never coming back.” But what do you call people who import foreigners for the purposes of disempowering and defeating fellow countrymen? What do you call those who use demographic genocide against “their own people”? At least, I guess, they aren’t doing it via email.

In his famous quotation, Roman statesman Marcus Cicero remarked 2000 years ago that “the traitor appears not a traitor.” This is especially true today because the Left has made treason the norm, birthing something I’ll call “treasonism.” It inverts reality and institutionalizes treason, creating a situation in which

  • desiring to secure your border and stem a foreign invasion makes you a xenophobe.
  • complaining about another nation’s flag flown in your own country gets you fired and branded a hater.
  • American high-tech workers are replaced with foreigners, whom they’re forced to train.
  • an illegal alien is called an “undocumented worker” (much like calling a rapist an undocumented husband).
  • warning of your nation’s demographic and cultural genocide makes you a “racist.”
  • defending Western civilization, as Trump did in Poland recently, brings accusations of “racial and religious paranoia.”

Add to this Obama’s/the Left’s efforts at

  • •foisting a contraception mandate on Christian entities, a complete betrayal of our traditional understanding of freedom of religion.
  • forcing private businessmen to cater events (e.g., faux weddings) against their will, a complete betrayal of religious freedom, freedom of association and private property rights. (When in American history did we ever compel businessmen to service events they find morally objectionable?)
  • removing historically present Christian symbols and sentiments from public property while opening the door to Satanism, Wicca and Islam, a  complete betrayal of our cultural and religious tradition.
  • using the courts to unconstitutionally overturn the people’s will (e.g., Obergefell marriage opinion), a complete betrayal of our republican government and founding principles.

In fact, it’s hard to think of anything authentically American the Left doesn’t aim to destroy. Say what we will about President Trump’s style and ideology, he’s not a treasonist. Trump is putting America first.

The Left is trying to put America down.

Trump is accused of “colluding” with an enemy of America.

Our leftists are enemies of America.

These are the things that matter. These are the matters that affect your life and those of your children and grandchildren. This leftist treasonism, if not entirely upended, will destroy our nation. Yet we’re worried about — and very well may vote next year based on — issues such as a stupid (but legal) email.


Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) is a traditionalist media personality whose work has been published widely online and in print, appearing at outlets such as The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily and American Thinker. Contact Selwyn Duke or log on to SelwynDuke.com • (934 views)

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51 Responses to But What About?

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I think Jonah Goldberg has some apt words about Whataboutism:

    Which brings me back to my first point of the week. Why on God’s good Earth would you defend any of this? Since I’ve been having this ridiculous argument all week, let me skip ahead. Yes, “Crooked Hillary,” Ted Kennedy, and a host of other liberals did bad things. Whether those bad things were analogous to this is highly debatable. But let’s just concede the point for argument’s sake. Let’s also accept the president’s grotesquely cynical and false claim that pretty much anyone in politics would have done the same thing and taken the meeting. (I for one am perfectly happy to concede that Sidney Blumenthal would happily have done equally sleazy things for his Queen-master. But I have every confidence that if some shady Russian cutouts approached, say, James Baker with a similar scheme to “incriminate” Michael Dukakis, he would become a helicopter of fists.)

    But here’s the thing: Who gives a dirty rat’s ass? If you spent years — like I did, by the way — insisting that the Clintons were a corrupt affront to political decency, invoking their venal actions as a moral justification for Team Trump’s actions is the rhetorical equivalent of a remake of Waterworld set entirely in the main vat of a sewage-treatment plant, i.e., the intellectual Mother of Sh*t Shows. This is a point Ben Shapiro made well earlier this week (and which I’ve been writing about for two years now). If you want to make the case that Democrats or the media are hypocrites, whataboutism is perfectly valid (and quite fun). But if you want to say that it’s fine for Trump to do things you considered legally and morally outrageous when Hillary Clinton did them, you should either concede that you believe two wrongs make a right or you should apologize for being angry about what Clinton did. And you should be prepared to have no right to complain when the next Democrat gets into power and does the same thing.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      You might recall that before Trump won the Republican nomination, I feared that if he won the presidency, it would do lasting damage to the political system of the country.

      It is not so much Trump as the fact that he is the manifestation of the corruption in our country. With a Republican in office, operating under the same principles as those the Dims have perfected, what chance do we have?

      That being said, I do not subscribe to the idea that Russia is a mortal enemy to America. The USSR certainly was, but that was a battle of ideologies. Today’s situation is that Russia would like to put back together the old territory of the Russian Empire, but it is unlikely that will happen. I believe Putin and those around him understand this, but they do want to have a large say in those countries which fall within their geopolitical sphere of influence. They simply are not going to let the Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States and other neighboring countries forget who is the power in the area.

      And from a geopolitical point of view, there are few natural major points of dispute between the USA and Russia. I have long believed the USA should try to find ways to improve relations with Russia. I found Trump’s rhetoric about improving relations with Russia to be encouraging. But I do find the way his surrogates have handled things to be very naive’ and downright stupid in some cases.

      However, I think we should start looking into things a little more deeply. Perhaps we should start asking where this anti-Russia hysteria is coming from. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are two of the most prominent and vocal in this regard. Who else is keeping the anti-Russia beat going?

      Looking at what has been reported, I am inclined to believe that Russia didn’t necessarily try to influence the election one way or another. I lean to the theory that Russia wanted to muddy the waters and create discord and confusion whoever won. And if that was the case, they have done a damn fine job.

      The idea is to paralyse our government. Perhaps we should wake up to that. That is what countries do, especially when we impose economic sanctions on them. They don’t sit still and take in like good boys. And the more internal discord D.C. there is in D.C., the less likely D.C. will be able to interfere in Russian affairs. At least that is probably the theory.

      But you will forgive me if I don’t give a damn what Jonah Goldberg says. He lost all credibility long ago. IMHO he is a bullshit artist who has no useful suggestions and is mainly interested in making money off the “conservative” cause.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War upon them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

    Anyone who clearly supports ISIS is halfway there, and certainly should never be given any public authority or trust. Actual legal charges require some form of action in their support. As for the Obama Gang. they certainly showed a great affinity for traitors. That isn’t legally actionable, but anyone who loves America and is aware of their actions (a major concern given the breadth of public ignorance about political events) should oppose them.

    As for the Trump imbroglio, it’s embarrassing and will and should lead to further investigations. If nothing worse turns up, the consequences will be minor — but given how much has turned up and how much of it contradicts earlier statements by many people in the administration, who knows?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      If nothing worse turns up, the consequences will be minor — but given how much has turned up and how much of it contradicts earlier statements by many people in the administration, who knows?

      Trying to collude with a mortal enemy of the United States in order to win an election is not a “nothingburger.”

      Granted, all this “whataboutism” shows clearly that we are the frog in the pot of boiling water of moral relativism. Walking in muck is so normal now, few can remember what dry land looks like.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        In talking about consequences, I’m talking about legal charges and political effects. Morality is harder to calculate. For example, what was Trump Jr. thinking? Did he see himself as simply getting dirt on Slick Hilly (no better or worse than any other campaign), or believe (as the e-mails said) that this was straight from a pro-Trump Russia? Such details make a big difference morally, and possibly legally and politically.

  3. Greg Blackwell Greg Blackwell says:

    From Duke’s
    “Add to this Obama’s/the Left’s efforts at…”

    A list of immorality/wickedness that illustrates the need for recognizing a long occurring very emergent anti-Christ culture in the United States. I am reminded that the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had better success and better moral interest in American society a hundred years ago than any Christian pulpit outside of Billy Graham in the past 40 years. The Christian moral fiber of the nation is long lost having been ignored by a monetized heresy ridden no leadership church bureaucracy. We reap what we sow. Heresy, indifference and zero moral clarity with fervency have brought us to the quagmire. Moral relativism is burning down the house and the best response from Christianity in America today is another do nothing variant of eschatological end of the world theory.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Moral clarity would help:

      1) Trump (and associates): Don’t do that.
      2) Hillary and the Democrats: Don’t do that.


      3) But, mom, Billy took a cookie too!

      • Greg Blackwell says:

        Although I have no immediate Russian friends or contacts, I have been able to obtain a secret Democratic National Committee (DNC) advanced strategic planning document already outlining ‘theme and tag line’ for the 2020 election: On blue caps with gold lettering it will read… “Make America Shitty Again”

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Yes, that sounds like their agenda.

        • pst4usa says:

          It would have to stop being shitty, to be made shitty again. The left gas so infected America and what people call the right today that I am not sure there will be anything left to destroy by 2020.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            It depends on a few tests, such as the outcome of the religious freedom vs homosexual court case and the matter of transgender troops — as well as the basics such as a sound military working well, and a sound economy.

  4. Steve Lancaster says:

    I know that it may come as a shock to many progressives, but we are not, repeat not, at war with Russia. We have never been at war with Russia, and it is not likely that we ever will be. The closest we might have been to open warfare was the Berlin crisis. However, speaking as an old Cold Warrior we were and, in many ways still at war with Communists in all their configurations; as one who fought Communists in Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East. I know what a Communist looks like, and Putin, for all his tyranny is not a Communist. He is first and foremost a Russian nationalist.

    Putin and his government are driven by many of the same goals that drive other great powers. Security for the people, financial and political, and the continuance of the state. Interference in other nations political system way down the list of things they want, or need to do unless it is the best least dangerous of all policies.

    That much said, do the Russians spy on us? Of course they do and we spy on them with equal vigor. Would they be so ham-handed to do it in such a way that even the Washington Post could get the story out? In a word NO. This whole Russia scare is made up by people who have seen to many cheap spy movies and would never know a real intelligence agent from Larry the cable guy.

    The Russians may not be our traditional ally, like France, The UK or even Germany, but they are not our enemy. The West has only one enemy and we have been fighting that enemy since the 7th century. Distractions that take the focus from that enemy only serve to give that enemy opportunities.

    • Greg Blackwell says:

      “…Communists in all their configurations…”

      The Chinese Communist Party Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng (CPC) needs a note here as well. Gambling addiction in China, the Shanghai Metals Exchange, the Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai Stock Exchange, real estate ventures all over the place, can’t count the number of Chinese millionaires and billionaires… ‘economic communism’ in China by way of CPC party officials with endless nepotism multiplied by holding off-shore bank accounts… who are they trying to fool for the past 25 years?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Steve, Dennis Prager more or less agrees with you (and I more or less agree with Dennis Prager):

      Last week, I tweeted the following comment: “The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does.” To my surprise, the tweet went viral. And while there were more likes than dislikes, 99 percent of the written reactions were negative.

      Prager makes it clear that there are physical dangers to the West (including Putin, North Korea, etc.) but that our most immediate danger is not physical destruction but ideological destruction.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I would not say the enemy is the press, but rather the anti-western leftism of which the synoptic media are a major element.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        And perhaps an equally important part of Prager’s article is that it shows the rabble we have become — right or left. I assume most of those who follow Dennis Prager do so because they’re not Alinskyites.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Nice comments, I have almost given up on NR to publish anything that is not establishment centric. Perhaps the ghost of WFB is still haunting the halls on occasion.

      • Greg Blackwell says:

        Brad, My favorite part of National Review history is William F. Buckley Jr. kicking Ayn Rand over the side (there’s a hallelujah in there somewhere). As to ideological destruction… No doubt Rand (Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum) in her moral relativism would have approved of the WTC 9/11 attacks provided the planes were flown by disgruntled architects.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Reports of my omniscience have been greatly exaggerated.

          That is what should have been taped to Rand’s mirror every morning as a reminder. Rand was about as right as anyone has been right regarding economics and the inherent evil of collectivism. But her ideological zealousness blinkered her on many other issues. Still, if we are to live in a world of not being ideological kooks ourselves, we can separate the wheat from the chaff and appreciate the wheat. She had a lot of wheat.

          • Greg Blackwell says:

            Let us remember (even if Speaker Ryan won’t) that Ayn Rand was a heavy chain smoking atheistic “love of money” (1 Tim. 6: 10) literary sociopath… who smoked herself to death. Her wheat without Christ is a capitalism without morality.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I believe Rand belonged to the Aleister Crowley wing of libertarianism. So do most of today’s so-called “libertarians.”

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I found her defense of freedom and free markets to be valid and deeply moral . . . from the point of view of collectivism/oppression as the only alternative to freedom and free markets. It was as if, in her mind, that these were the only choices and, more importantly, described the whole playing field.

              Fair enough, to some extent, as a simplification of life. I’d rather make my own choices than have government micro-manage my life. What got a little creepy was her emphasis on the point of life beinig to enlarge oneself, to become a sort of super-producer or self-actualizer (sort of a Scientologist orientation in many respects). In this decidedly atheistic/materialistic/libertarian conception of life, any value that stood opposed to, or was not conducive to, enlarging oneself was considered “mysticism” or just so much bunk.

              Values such as truth, compassion, humility, etc., had no room in Ayn’s antiseptically ego-oriented world.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Rand valued reason and factual truth, but not compassion in any form (that was ‘altruism” no matter the scale, and thus inherently harmful). I think her view of capitalism vs. collectivism was that only pure individualist (Randian) capitalism wouldn’t degenerate eventually (barring someone like Rand persuading everyone before it was too late) into collectivism.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I knew a Randian, who defended another Randian for have an incestuous relationship with his own sister.

                “Who were others to judge what was right and wrong”, was his retort to any questioning of or expression of disgust at his friend’s actions.

                I have not forgotten the arrogant low-life’s holier-than-thou attitude about his wholly immoral outlook.

                He was one of the first Randians I encountered and I have been leery of all Randians since that time.

                Ayn Rand may have written some very good defense of free-market capitalism. But as for the few Randians I have run into, like most libertarians I’ve encountered, their high-fallooten low reasoned arguments appear to be a cover for immorality. And their philosophy is too close to social Darwinism for my taste.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          In her early days, Rand disapproved of the Soviets over their goals, not their methods. She learned better, at least to some extent. Of course, she would have no use for Islam than for any other form of religion (or, for that matter, any other system of thought that didn’t exactly match hers). But her tastes were idiosyncratic, and anything else was without merit (she had no shortage of self-esteem), so it’s hard to say what help (if any) she would have been in the current civilizational clash.

          • Greg Blackwell says:

            It seems to me that Alisa Z. Rosenbaum a.k.a. Ayn Rand would have been happiest in life, work and philosophical compatibility… if only she could have been married to Judas Iscariot and/or Caiaphas.

            She would have made an excellent Mrs. Jacob Marley.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I have not forgotten the arrogant low-life’s holier-than-thou attitude about his wholly immoral outlook.

    Mr. Kung, I think Ayn Rand had a lot in common with Hitler. Much of her philosophy could be boiled down to “The Power of the Will.” In Rand’s case, at least she filtered this will through the voluntary workings of the market. But there was still that creepy aspect of a cold superiority where dominance over others was the sign of human success.

    I will acquiesce to the notion that the market is a moral good in its own right. In fact, few of these basic Randian principles I disagree with. The problem comes when it becomes a one-size-fits-all dogma and anything that doesn’t fit inside this dogma is dismissed as mysticism, superstition, or on the slippery-slope to collectivism. Libertarians have certainly adopted, or at least share, Rand’s inability to find nuance and thus wisdom — this basic dogmatic, simplistic, fundamentalist bent.

    It is not, for instance, the slippery-slope of collectivism to vote for emergency services (911). But that is not to say that there aren’t various slippery slopes to collectivism via government collective action. (There are, and we are imbibing them by the bucketload.)

    For Rand, it was radical individualism or nothing. I don’t think she ever had any children. She was female, certainly (and otherwise screwed like a rabbit, from what I’ve read). But there is nothing maternal about her.

    Children are an enormous drain on self-actualizing. Having thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and practices that acknowledge man’s second-tier place in this universe (we are not God) are all thought to be impediments to the radical fulfillment of individual actualization. If the individual getting lost in a collective and losing his mind and his will is evil (and it is) then the radical opposite shares many of the same evils.

    Objectivism and libertarianism are simplistic dogmas (like all human simplistic dogmas) that try to stuff all of life’s complexity into a formula that can fit on a fortune cookie. To me, it’s not particularly self-actualizing to be a dip shit.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Part of the problem is that Rand failed to live up to her own principles. She would proclaim that people should make their own judgments — but if yours disagreed with hers, then there was something wrong with you. Ruth Beebe Hill once spectacularly challenged her on that. In that sense,, I think the philosophy is better than the person.

      But she (and libertarians in general) did have a very black-and-white dogmatic view of things. The libertarian says government is always the wrong answer; the totalitarian (like modern Western leftists) thinks government is always the right answer. Conservatives (and more traditional liberals, to the extent that any remain) take things case-by-base, though most of the time we’re closer to the libertarians. But this isn’t a reflexive dogma for us.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Conservatives (and more traditional liberals, to the extent that any remain) take things case-by-base, though most of the time we’re closer to the libertarians. But this isn’t a reflexive dogma for us.

        In other words we try to put things in context and use our brains.

        This is much more difficult than following the simplistic, inflexible and semi-religious rules of leftists and libertarians.

        Thinking is hard.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        She would proclaim that people should make their own judgments — but if yours disagreed with hers, then there was something wrong with you.

        Well, Timothy, you can’t have a good cult without a bit of fundamentalism.

        Libertarians are extremists. Even so, it ought to be a branch (and only a branch, not the root) of conservative thought. Even though there is, of course, a proper role for government (and a market-only approach where private companies provide all functions is an unpractical joke), we ought to keep in mind always whether or not something should be given over to the free market. And all ties go to the free market. When in doubt, it is left to the free market. If something is not working right in government, give a try giving it to (or giving it back to) the free market. But I just don’t think handling things such as national defense is amenable to the free market.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Rand did believe in a minimal government, small enough that it could support itself without taxes. She thought that getting rid of taxes would be the final reform. She wasn’t one of the anarchocapitalist types.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I will acquiesce to the notion that the market is a moral good in its own right.

      I do not believe that is necessarily the case. There are markets for drugs, S&M, murder and many other immoral things. That does not make them moral, simply negotiable. And one will always find people to do immoral things for a consideration of some sort. The concept of the “market” may be neutral or good, but the actual practice can be anything but.

      What I will acquiesce to is the notion that, in most human interactions, we do not have a better facilitating vehicle than the “market.”

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The inherent moral aspect is allowing people to choose according to their needs or wants rather than what some government bureaucrat says they must choose according to some political formula.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I agree by-in-large.

          Given the complexity of society, I doubt that the free-market can be improved on, but I do not worship at the altar of the free-market like Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            To a large degree, many such as Ayn (who are not collectivists, Marxists, social justice warriors, but are atheistic) must worship at the altar of the market. Any other moral or consideration above this utopian free-exchange is considered irrelevant, at best, and more likely to be regressive and irrational.

            This has the effect, of course, of freeing people from their moral conscience or moral considerations. You can bet your bottom dollar that any purist free-market is not going to do much against slave markets, etc. Indeed, a free drug market is a requirement.

            It’s odd how liberal this actually is if you consider that what we are experiencing with all this transgender malarky is move to a completely open and free market (excluding any privileges for heterosexuals, of course). Thus “libertarianism” equals liberalism.

            One thing to consider is this: God created the computer code (DNA) that constructs us creatures. That code certainly allows for much change and evolution. But it is clear that life is far too complex to arise by chance. This is true especially if you consider the enormous energy embedded in life’s program to makes sure that things don’t change. There are error-correction mechanisms that computer programmers can only dream of implementing with such economy and accuracy.

            Our bodies will die within days, for instance, if our immune system stopped working. Error correction mechanisms for DNA keep errors down to the range of one-in-a-billion or so. As much as dishonest members of the Cult of Darwinism proclaim mutation as the key to building life, the truth is that mutations are almost always destructive. Life could not exist with randomness as a shaping force.

            The same with societies. As much as we’ve made a rhetorical idol of “freedom,” we forget the enormous amount of structure (limitations, guardrails, laws, peer pressure, self-control etc.) required to keep enough order to allow freedom as even an option. When it becomes an idol displaced from all other considerations then you tend to get chaos and destruction. Consider what the nihilistic “freedom” regarding sexual issues is doing. Consider what “freedom” to walk into another country and occupy it is doing to us, let alone Europe which is slated by demographics alone to become an Islamic continent by the end of the century.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Having thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and practices that acknowledge man’s second-tier place in this universe (we are not God) are all thought to be impediments to the radical fulfillment of individual actualization

      In the summer of my twelfth year, I took a course which was basically on how to think. I recall a number of things from that course, but the thing that sticks out was something the teacher said regarding one’s place in the universe.

      This can be summed up by the thought, “I am third.” First comes God, then one’s fellow man and then one’s self. No doubt, I have not always been able to follow that injunction, but I have never forgotten it.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        That’s an interesting “I am third” lecture. That would make Ayn Rand cry, no doubt. Nothing should be placed above the individual.

        And I’m sympathetic to a general philosophy (now all but forgotten…in fact, what a waste of time except for you few here to even waste breath on it given all the good it will do) of deference to the individual. I’d put him #2 in that hierarchy, all things being equal. Too often government (or Priesthoods) insert themselves as “I am Second” as the official voice of “I am First” (God or social justice…whatever) in order to dominate and control “I am third.”

        The truth is, we need that “I am Second” elite to insert itself to some extent, to control, inspire, lead, construct, etc. But we need this Second to be at least moderately not corrupt.

        But our own Second Voices are mostly corrupt. The media is throughly corrupt. Both parties are thoroughly corrupt. You can’t trust a word that they say. Our educational system is corrupt. And given that Pope Francis is a thoroughly corrupt Marxist, you can add that there is far too much corruption even in the literal priesthood.

        Ann Coulter has a terrific column on just this subject today: How Delta Airlines Wrecked American Health Care. Ignore the dig at Delta. This is a terrific article and she folds her recent experiences with Delta (and gets in, of course, a good dig as well) into this theme of corruption, liars, etc.

  6. Greg Blackwell says:

    As we leave orbit from the planet Psycho-Rand in the Libertarian star system I have no regrets at having pushed the National Review/Randian button on the commuunications panel some 30 hours ago. A golden shovel is now used to bury the little synagogue of Satan tweaker … as few actually remain to hear Alan Greenspan’s eulogy of a cult priestess/Marlboro slut.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      For what it’s worth, her collection of essays in The Virtue of Selfishness are worth a read. Some are solid. Others quite expose her metaphysical weaknesses.

      Browsing one of the reviews there, we see the simple-minded Objectivist philosophy that also expresses much of libertarian philosophy:

      “An organism’s life is its standard by value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.”

      Moral abysses arise from such simplistic thinking. There’s no room in the philosophy for altruism for altruism is one of the great evils according to Rand. There’s no room for a mother suckling her young, for that is (quite literally, in the terms of Doctor Strangelove) depleting one’s “precious bodily fluids.” I doubt that Kubrick was lampooning Ayn Rand. But it fits.

      When Rand sticks to her defense of the market and critique of collectivism, she is on firmer ground. The evils of the latter are more than enough to undergird the former. But when she backs up to give a greater context for the free market, you see her creepy philosophy.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        She had several collections of essays, though it’s easy to write a lot of essays when you spend a lot of time quoting yourself. A lot of people (including me) have been influenced by her work without becoming Rand robots. I got my money back for all those books by doing a paid biography of her for Salem Press (biographies of Jewish Americans; I also did one of Stephen Sondheim). It included an analysis of her philosophy.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          It’s good to not become a robot. And you made some money from your reading. That’s good.

          Is there a “social justice” equivalent of Ayn Rand out there in regards to a strident and eloquent defense of that notion? I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Certainly there are useful idiots such as the Pope. Maybe Krugman. But although I didn’t agree with everything Rand wrote (that I read), I never considered her a liar. People such as Krugman are liars…unless he really is that stupid.

      • Greg Blackwell says:

        In regards to capitalism and the free market exercise, Rand doesn’t hold a candle to Adam Smith in ethics and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 200 years Rand’s senior in understanding free market capitalism and basic economics exercised in The Wealth of Nations, Smith did not ignore basic human behavior and reality.

        Clearly, Rand would disavow Francis Hutcheson on ‘senses’ or Adam Smith on extended ethics (sympathy) found within his The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Rand effectively did not advance intellectualizastion or the individual, but rather gave fertilized ground to a stunted hybrid sense of self gratification wrapped in an anti-collectivist blintze. Her entire ‘philosophy’ devoid of social moral interest and obligations is a better foundation for the likes of a Bernie Madoff and his staff than for the likes of a Charles Lindbergh and a staff at Ryan Airlines.

        As we look back on the moon landings 48 years ago… Rand must have resented both Wernher von Braun and Richard Nixon for their ongoing wide field acceptance and dependence on a state mandated and taxpayer funded government project (inclusive of all the private business contracting) in creating the Saturn V.

        Rand must have deeply hated the crew of Apollo 8 and their Christmas Eve reading from the Bible of the Genesis creation account from 3 engineer/scientists in mankind’s first human flight around the Moon. After all, that genuine hero individualist Howard Roark wasn’t a team player like that collectivist created bastard Yuri Gagarin.

        And in that accomplishment of the Apollo Moon landings by the United States of America in an admittedly spirited collectivist government exercise of free men… Rand in the spirit of her social dead conscience (renouncing all public economic altruism) must have cringed at any notion of the at large “invisible hand” in economics that ultimately funded a government project and that ultimately prevailed in front of her in another aerospace world-class scientific exploration in the 20th century.

        Understanding Rand’s extremist disdain for state collectivism is not reason enough to accept her silly brand of fictionalized anti-Christ ideology. Unfortunately they do accept it down at the SEC on behalf of Bernie Madoff types… and as mandatory reading by the office staff of the Speaker of the House.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Rand’s philosophy could be used in a distorted form by a conman like Madoff, but she was explicit in preaching truth (facts and reason combined). But it’s true that its sole moral truth was enlightened (i.e., totally honest) self-interest.

          • Greg Blackwell says:

            In renouncing altruism is all its forms, Rand’s philosophy lives in a duplex with psychopathy.

            Even in applied personal economics…

            “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

            Rand anti-Christ psychopathy could not accept or visit upon the Parable of the Good Samaritan-

            29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
            30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
            31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
            32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
            33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
            34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
            35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
            36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
            37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

            For Alisa Rosenbaum… truth and enlightenment did not exist.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Ayn Rand got it into her mind that altruism was bad because it was the grease for the slippery slope to collectivism. Granted, we should be fair and note there is much “feel-goodism” altruism that works exactly in this way, creating and ballooning all kinds of destructive and wasteful welfare programs. Ayn was not at all wrong to be on guard against such things. She was just too extreme in her thinking.

              Any good trait applied without wisdom can be destructive. If you harm people while helping them, then that isn’t really altruism. It may be self-flattery or something else. But it’s not altruism. But there is a place for altruism. And there’s a place for being skeptical of feel-goodism.

              Rand might remind us today that a man who refuses to work and who enjoys falling among thieves should not be the recipient of public funds because deluded Christians, social justice warriors, or corrupt politicians have declared that he is a victim. We no longer distinguish today between the man who is a victim of thieves and the thief.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                It should be noted that there are many acts in Atlas Shrugged by the heroes that could be called altruistic, as illustrated in the encounter between Hank Rearden and Ragnar Danneskjold. Rearden challlenges Danneskjold on this, and the latter is ready to explain that what he does isn’t altruism at all.

  7. Steve Lancaster says:

    For those of you who maintain a sense of humor in these dark times:

  8. pstmct says:

    …I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.

    Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

    Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

    After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

    ~ Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America ~Chapter VI WHAT SORT OF DESPOTISM DEMOCRATIC NATIONS HAVE TO FEAR

    Are we there yet? I have not read much of Rand, (mainly because I am such a painfully slow reader and she seems to always have word diarrhea). So for those that have read her, does this brief description fit what I think you are saying about her? I do not know. The analogy about a mother suckling her child is very good, and de Tocqueville covered that well in his comments about the intention of good parents making adults not dependents.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This would be a good description of the nightmare world that develops in Atlas Shrugged from which John Galt and his friends rescue them.

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