scratch-mark

Look How Ignorant

In two comments to my Animals Don’t Vote post, Dave and Mel pretend to know what they’re talking about, but only end up exposing their own ignorance. First, Dave.

W. elitist? That sure is the pot calling the kettle black. With no government by the people, even as fucked up as it gets, the people with the biggest guns will rule. Also, you use the word “commie” as though it were an insult…Obama is certainly more on the socialist end of capitalism, but comparing his political philosophy to Marx is a bit of a stretch. All socialism means is that you give a shit about other people and society as a whole, instead of just your own self-interest. You’re a sad, selfish little man who, like most rich people, sees your success as entirely due to your own superiority to the masses, without recognizing the huge role that luck and opportunity played in it. Even your introduction to paleo was due mainly to luck, yet you see yourself as superior to the poor clueless obese you see around you. It’s sad to see someone as old as you and as intelligent spouting Ayn Rand spiritual insect “philosophy.”

…As if the people with the biggest guns don’t rule (it gets worse)…

Rich people, eh? Project much? I didn’t get the memo on that, I guess, especially in view of all the balls I’ve been juggling, lately. …But wow, amazing what a post on not voting will do do bring out such extreme envy. There’s just not really much more substance to it than that he really hates rich & successful people, and it’s all because of luck & opportunity, and he hates that they are “selfish.” And, of course, if you have been lucky in life, then naturally, you should get in line for punishment and atonement for having the audacity to capitalize on the luck and opportunity that happened to come your way. And so on and so forth. Same old forever politics of envy and oppression of the poor poor masses.

Now, Mel.

Thanks for this comment Dave, I was going to say pretty much the same thing, but you beat me to it. I was once a devoted Ayn Rand fan, but then, alas, I turned 17. It always amuses me when adults actually discuss her hideous ramblings in serious tones. And her own personal life is even more repulsive…

Pretty amazing, given that I’ve been an anarchist for 20 years — something I’ve always made very clear in past posts that touch on politics — and the post was about not voting. Rand loathed libertarians and anarchists alike, was a staunch advocate of limited government and encouraged voting.

You know what I find 17ish? Whenever I see an argument that begins with “I was once…and then I saw the light.” It’s so cheap, easy to do, and I have always, always found those retorts to be big fat lies. That’s right. I don’t believe Mel. I think she’s lying.

So there.

And whatever you might think of Rand, you are simply deluding yourself if you think that intelligent, serious minded people and scholars do not take her very seriously.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

88 Comments

  1. Jesrad on July 28, 2011 at 13:51

    “All socialism means is that you give a shit about other people and society as a whole”.

    In my experience, it’s always, forever and systematically been the other way around: every individualist I know cares about individuals, especially those who did not have luck and opportunity, while all the socialists I know (and they come in throngs here in France) – and this still has no exception to date – merely postures about caring bragging about how they “participate in” and “are a member of” whatever institution or para-institution supposedly existing for the purpose of helping (but in practice is mostly spending their members’ time, efforts and money on spreading their ideological disease) and actually never lifts a finger to improve any particular person’s situation.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 14:11

      Jesrad:

      “Is your desire to help people so great as to actually help them, or only so great as to attempt to force others to do so?” – Anonymous, USENET, circa 1995

      I’ve never forgotten that. Thanks for reminding me.



    • Chris G on July 28, 2011 at 14:46

      Excellent quote! That goes into my archives.



    • Asclepius on July 29, 2011 at 01:44

      “Is your desire to help people so great as to actually help them, or only so great as to attempt to force others to do so?”

      Anyone got Bono’s email? 🙂



    • Erik on July 28, 2011 at 18:39

      Jesrad:

      I totally agree. I think many people use voting as a way to deal with the guilt of not really doing something. Once in a while they stand in line, do their “civic duty”, get a sticker and go home.

      As for “socialism”, one thing I get a lot is “Humans are social animals!” and while I agree with that I think our social interactions should be voluntary. I enjoy company and really enjoy helping others. I would even agree that social interaction is necessary for survival. Even the most individual of individualists relies on others for goods and services and this is fine with me unless it’s involuntary.

      As for voting, I have never and will never vote.
      -In my opinion it’s immoral to use the threat of violence to get what you want. Voting is just a way for a majority to impose their will on a minority. If this minority does not conform to the will of the majority violence will be used against them. I won’t be a part of that.
      -It’s ineffective. Sorry but, voting doesn’t change anything. If it did it wouldn’t be allowed. Even if it were effective, the ability to choose your master doesn’t make you free.
      -It’s actually counterproductive. Voting only gives legitimacy to the system that enslaves you.
      -It encourages theft from future generations. Politicians get people to vote for things by promising more benefits and less taxes. The only way to do this is is to borrow and pass the debt to our children. Voting distances the voter from the theft that is carried out in their names.

      I’m content to “be the change I want to see” and am not into convincing others to do it for me.

      Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, I’m not “rich”. I’m a single father and I live paycheck to paycheck. I could get free food and probably money from the government but I refuse to do it. Accepting assistance from friends and family that volunteer it is one thing but stealing from people, especially complete strangers, is not a moral option for me.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 18:49

      Eric: WORD.

      And a solemn nod to you, bro.



    • noa on July 31, 2011 at 07:50

      Appropriately. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdbnssEZ_Xk
      Quagmire speaks his mind to Brian.



  2. Domagoj on July 28, 2011 at 14:08

    I was at a stand up night in London few years back and there were a lot of americans there so this guy started his bit with:
    “You know that we have two big parties in the UK, the Labur, which you in America would call commies, and Torries, which you in America would call commies”
    So it always cracks me up that anybody would call Obama a socialist.

  3. Paul on July 28, 2011 at 15:49

    Heh, i bet I am the biggest Ayn Rand Fan in my country. And that’s quite an achievement with 80.000.000 people around me 😀
    Rand even was a reason to go paleo for me. All those so called objectivists jumped on the paleo bandwagon and blogged about it.

  4. Tomnverzche on July 28, 2011 at 16:20

    “…you are simply deluding yourself if you think that intelligent, serious minded people and scholars do not take her very seriously.”

    *cites wikipedia*

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 16:30

      Yes, I cited wikipedia and you’ll notice the references for each and every citation…unless you simply didn’t bother to look. It was a convenient single link rather than a collection. You can also Google “academic references Ayn Rand” yourself, but you didn’t do that either, did you, fuckwad?

      That’s because you’re a fuckwad, and that’s all your comment is about.

      And, are you denying that the academics cited actually have studies, teach college courses on, or otherwise take Rand seriously? Do you. Do you, fuckhead?

      I love challenges, but c’mon, folks. If you want to fuck with me, rest assured I am going to fuck back, and you better have your ducks in a row. I’ve been at this for almost 20 years. I’ve seen every variation on lazy bullshit.

      You, Tomnverzche, are a lazy troll. Go fuck off.

      So far, everything has been general fuckwadishness. I await a sound detraction on this issue.



    • Tomnverzche on July 28, 2011 at 16:36

      I looked.

      Don’t read too much into what I typed and don’t get so worked up. And I’m sorry to read about your recent weight gain.

      Oh, and you don’t strike me as terribly clever or as too great of a writer so don’t get all huffy and bold in your pronouncements about how you’re going to “fuck back.” It’s just a wasted effort on your part.

      “I await a sound detraction on this issue.”

      Define the issue. I read this blog entry to basically be a restatement of the fact that you’re one weird duck but I’m sure that’s not the way you’d define the “issue” presented by this entry.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 16:52

      Tomnverzche: Nice way to back off. Pussy.

      I meant what I said. And you know the issue.



    • Tomnverzche on July 28, 2011 at 17:04

      Back off? Calling me a pussy online?

      Okay there, old “tough” guy. Rock on. Nice picture there to the right. You look like a fat old guy, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just sort of undermines your tough talker persona that you’re faking on here.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 17:15

      Tomnverzche: Still waiting for a substantive comment. Something more than trolling.

      There are 3,000 posts here. What have you contributed?

      Your gentle insults have been noted. Thanks. It might leave other commenters wondering why you’re hear, to read an old fat guy, but I doubt they’ll wonder very much at all.

      Everyone has your number, pussy.



    • Peggy the Primal Parent on July 28, 2011 at 20:44

      Fight, fight, fight, fight!



    • Kevin is misinformed on July 29, 2011 at 08:17

      “Rand like many libertarians”

      You are very ill-informed about Ayn Rand:

      Rand wasn’t a libertarian. At all.

      Also, Rand understood VERY well the politics and morality of a mixed economy — big business did not co-opt the state, you are way off. You should try reading “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”:



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 09:01

      It’s remarkable how much one commenter can get wrong in one single comment, Kevin.

      But I really haven’t the time nor desire to correct your gross ignorance and mass of false assumptions.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 11:19

      “Im all ears.”

      Great, then I assume you heard me the last time. I prefer that you persist in your ignorance.



    • Shameer M. on August 15, 2011 at 16:20

      So if you don’t think Obama is a commie, then in your opinion what is he (out of curiosity)? He sure as hell isn’t a libertarian and he’s done is best to disregard the Constitution of this country just like the former POS President this country had.

      Even though communism, socialism, fascism may not be the same there is one philosophy that binds them and that is the idea of COLLECTIVISM and lack of respect for the individual freedoms and rights. What we have here in the USA, and probably most of the world for that matter, is a merger of corporate & state – which is fascism.



    • Richard Nikoley on August 15, 2011 at 17:13

      “What we have here in the USA, and probably most of the world for that matter, is a merger of corporate & state – which is fascism.”

      He is exactly right about that, folks.



  5. Crystal on July 28, 2011 at 16:47

    Of course intelligent, serious minded people and scholars take Ayn Rand seriously – they’re just selfish, evil serious minded people and scholars… Rand is Nietzsche without the syphilis/insanity as an excuse.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 17:25

      Crystal, did you delete a Greenspan comment? I was going to say that he’s Rand’s Original Sin. 🙂



    • Zarathustra on July 29, 2011 at 06:45

      Richard, I love your blog (though I don’t agree with many of the views you espouse), but you’ve got this wrong, I think. As a serious minded scholar of political philosophy, I can attest that there are very, very few indeed who take Rand seriously. Those who do are marginal figures at best. There are both serious problems with Objectivism itself and with her neo-Aristotelian ethic of selfishness. Rand wants to borrow the self-regarding aspects of both Aristotle and Nietzsche, but does so in a manner that excises their concerns with beauty and human excellence (and Aristotle’s concern for the state). What’s left isn’t very motivating–and I’m afraid Crystal has (Ad hominem, I know) hit on something obviously true.

      On the other hand, Nietzsche is a lot more than Rand–his attack on metaphysics, his revaluation of morality, his connection of grammar to our assumption of a “doer behind the deed,” his Dionysian pessimism–these add up to a thinker with genuine insights and much to teach. Rand doesn’t offer anything like this; she’s an pseudo-thinker who appeals mainly to the venal. Nietzsche’s audience often does him no credit, but he is as serious as serious gets.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 08:45

      You may be misunderstanding my fondness for Rand. It’s a very mixed bag. Read all her stuff about 20 years ago and unlike so many, read Atlas Shrugged (and The Fountainhead) exactly once each. For the life of me I don’t understand folks who read this over and over, but whatever.

      I suppose I was most mpressed with the epistemology (ITOE); concept formation through measurement omission. I also think that her ethics taken at face value implies a stateless society and so there was an inherent contradiction in what she wrote and what she did.



    • Zarathustra on July 29, 2011 at 08:56

      I’m not a Rand scholar, but if memory serves, her epistemology is the most problematic aspect of her work. She claimed to solve a fundamental epistemological problem bedeviling philosophy, but her logic, when put to the test, didn’t hold. Or so say the professional epistemologists and logicians.

      I don’t foam at the mouth in rage at the mere mention of her name, but I do have a hard time taking people seriously who take her seriously. And ditto on the love of her novels…



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 09:12

      I don’t recall every seeing a critique of her epistemology, but I have see that of her ethics over the years (is/ought problem, for example). But it’s not as though I have paid much attention, either.

      But I also find it ironic how those who “don’t take her seriously” go so far out of their way to make that clear.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 09:14

      In other words, what does it really mean to take something seriously when that in no way implies full or partial agreement?



    • Zarathustra on July 29, 2011 at 09:16

      I think Rand plays the role for philosophers that vegans do for adherents of primal/paleo lifestyles. In the same way that those who’ve seen the dietary/lifestyle light can’t believe the things vegans believe and support, philosophers are incredulous at the love for Rand.

      It’s not ironic; it’s just a product of constant annoyance.



  6. Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 17:18

    Just banned the troll. He can fuck with me all he wants, but not my other commenters. Sorry about that, Crystal.

  7. rob on July 28, 2011 at 17:41

    Problem with being an anarchist is people think you want want to throw Molotov cocktails through the window of the local bank.

    • Peggy the Primal Parent on July 28, 2011 at 20:48

      And when you’re an atheist, paleo anarchist, people think you want to throw Molotov cocktails at heaven while chewing on a grilled Jesus leg.



    • UnfrozenCaveman on July 31, 2011 at 22:14

      Mmm, Jesus



  8. Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 17:58

    True, rob. It’s kinda like people thinking atheism is a religion, or not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    But I tend to agree with Rand about being resistant to neologisms. I’d rather just deal with the distinctions and clarifications.

  9. Travis Steward on July 28, 2011 at 18:01

    The interesting thing about “luck” and “opportunity” that I’ve noticed in my life is that EVERYONE experiences these in spades many times in their lives, even the most dejected of society. The difference between those who take responsibility in their lives and those who blame their woes on others is that the former fucking RECOGNIZES it and takes ADVANTAGE of it.

    Dave and Mel, please spare us your rationalizations for why you failed and stop thinking you can use the power of the state to make your mediocre lives a tiny bit better.

    You want a better life? You want a better life for other people? Then help then learn how to see with clearer eyes, to understand with greater knowledge, so when the opportunities that are offered to them don’t go by in a sad hail of misguided egoism and insecurity.

    I come from nothing. I am surrounded by friends I grew up with who were given more opportunity than 99% of society, and I am doing better than all of them combined. Why? Because I learned how to take advantage of opportunity and make my life better through a pursuit of knowledge.

    It wasn’t some fucking beaurocrat that allocated me my “opportunity”, it was just a mind and a pair of eyes that learned how to provide for myself even in the most scarce conditions.

    Get some courage and take responsbility for your failure. And for god’s sakes quit pretending you have it figured out.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 18:03

      “The interesting thing about “luck” and “opportunity” that I’ve noticed in my life is that EVERYONE experiences these in spades many times in their lives, even the most dejected of society. ”

      There you go, stealing my next post right from under my feet.

      You go, man. Actually, now I have a quote for that post, so thanks. I just seized on an opportunity!



    • Travis Steward on July 28, 2011 at 18:31

      Well Richard, when you live in a zoo, and you get your 3 square meals a day, your designated performance act, and your little corner of your pen to sleep in everynight, OF COURSE you’re going to be jealous when the other zoo animal in the pen across from you gets given a slightly better meal, a nicer pen to sleep in, and a better endangered species to fuck on a nightly basis.

      And god help you if an animal who doesn’t live in the zoo, who is fit and muscular beyond belief, feeds on his own schedule, lives wherever he wants, performs whenever he wants, and fucks whatever species he wants, must be have afforded some greater “opportunity.” I could see how this would drive such a caged animal MAD beyond belief, to the point where they begin to put their paws out towards their zookeeper in hopes they’ll provide them with an “opportunity” to match this super beast of animal dominance.

      Naturally, these caged zoo animals want to grovel before their zookeeper because they don’t actually have the courage to blast through the glass of their pen. That would mean they give up their 3 meals a day, their scheduled daily zoo dolphin act (9-5 job/career), and their quaint little corner of their pen where they sleep at night (shitty home with a backbreaking mortgage.) How will they survive? They have no opportunity! Hooooowww cannn a zoo animal survive without the zoo?

      They can’t blast out of the pen because they’ll fall behind for a period of time, and the other zoo animals will laugh at them for giving up their imprisonment in hopes of greater glory. Zoo animals just can’t handle the judgement and failure. Poor zoo animals.

      Greater glory cannot exist outside the zoo! Are you fucking mad Richard? How dare you? Get back in your cage you fit old fucker.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 18:43

      Alright, Travis, I’ll just shrink up and go to bedtimes.

      No dinner for me tonight!



    • Chris on July 28, 2011 at 19:39

      I felt like I just read the abridge version of “Animal Farm”.

      Thanks for the refresher Travis.



    • Mel on July 29, 2011 at 06:40

      This is just down right amusing. Because I think Ayn Rand was a psychotic hack, you assume I’ve failed at life? That I think I have it all figured out? You sure can glean a lot of information from a simple comment. Get a grip, I’m sure every well known author has their fans and foes.

      I’m also aware that Alan “who could have seen this financial crisis coming” Greenspan was part of Ms. Rands inner circle. It is exactly this kind of adherence to strict ideology, whether religious, political or economic that leads to disaster.



    • Mel is misinformed on July 29, 2011 at 07:21

      “It is exactly this kind of adherence to strict ideology, whether religious, political or economic that leads to disaster.”

      If you understood Objectivism, you’d realize why your statement is plain nonsense. Objectivism is about using reason, rationality, and one’s own judgment — forming conclusions using reason (not emotion) based on facts, and making logical decisions… how does that lead to disaster?

      So, that’s the abstract principle that refutes your statement.

      As for your concrete example of Alan Greenspan, he was a part of Ayn Rand’s inner circle, but he did not ultimately adhere to Objectivist principles when he was chairman of the Federal Reserve:

      http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/alan-greenspan-betrayed-ayn-rand-ruined-economy-says-124734929.html

      Without trying to sound rude, it helps to know what you’re talking about before you talk about it — you should understand the relevant facts, and then draw logical conclusions. What you just employed was a “guilt by association” logical fallacy, which simply doesn’t hold up.



    • Mel on July 29, 2011 at 11:11

      At the heart of Rand/Greespan ideology is laissez faire capitalism, and the belief that markets are self regulating. They aren’t. Greenspan later admitted as much.

      Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” has engulfed financial markets and conceded that his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aJ8os6vTknLk&refer=home

      I ‘m not surprised the Ayn Rand institute tried to come up with a few technicalities to distance her from the collapse of one her major beliefs, unfettered, unregulated markets. This is the ideology I speak of, and it was proven disastrous during the economic collapse.

      Perhaps when envisioning her heroes, she failed to take into account what happens under conditions of Moral Hazard. Reasoning, rationality and judgment are all well and good, but you simply can’t assume that they will overcome any and all temptations to make a sh@tload of money.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 11:31

      Oh, you buy into the hogwash that this all happened because of “free markets.”

      Got it.



  10. B on July 28, 2011 at 18:38

    The problem with tech is that it allows people to google words or ideas and then proceed to act like they know something.

    I’m proud you used google to look up that ‘big’ word, but that doesn’t mean you know what the * you’re talking about.

    Don’t let the ‘haters’ get you down Richard.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 18:45

      B:

      Hasn’t happened in 20 years of this very sort of thing. They can give it their best, and if they have, it’s damn pathetic.

      I really have not yet had to work up a sweat. That sounds arrogant, I know. Sometimes it sucks to tell the simple truth.



  11. kenn on July 28, 2011 at 20:10

    The end goal of socialism is communism, why so many socialists deny this is beyond me.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2011 at 20:14

      I actually never make any distinction, Kenn. It’s splitting hairs.



    • kenn on July 28, 2011 at 20:19

      It’s in the roadmap



    • Kenn is misinformed on July 29, 2011 at 08:19

      Communism and socialism are both forms of collectivist statism and hold the same altruistic ideal: live for others, not for the self.

      Communism and socialism are not the same, and one isn’t the end goal of the other.



    • kenn on July 29, 2011 at 13:38

      You need to reread marxism then cause you missed the whole point of socialism



    • JLL on August 1, 2011 at 08:47

      A goal that can never be reached, since a state will never give up its power.

      Not that communism is a smart idea to begin with, of course.



  12. kenn on July 28, 2011 at 20:17

    Obama is a keynesian, yet there are many that would deny this fact. It’s at the core of everything he does.

    • Sean on July 28, 2011 at 23:13

      He’s only half Keynesian. His mother was American.

      Nowadays it’s New Keynesianism. Same old time imaginary multipliers but with a shiny new face.



  13. George Phillips on July 28, 2011 at 22:53

    You don’t look or sound ‘old’ to me.

  14. Sean on July 28, 2011 at 23:44

    All socialism means is that you give a shit about other people and society as a whole, instead of just your own self-interest.

    Here’s where caring people like yourself can send your money to be spent wisely by the US government caring for other people and society as a whole:

    Gifts to the United States
    U.S. Department of the Treasury
    Credit Accounting Branch
    3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
    Hyattsville, MD 20782

    Remember, Dave, the more you care, the more you send. Funny how these limousine liberals who complain that taxes are too low (Warren Buffet, Stephen King, etc) all have accountants that make sure they get every deduction coming to them. OK, I don’t actually know if Stephen King takes all his deductions , but in my experience rich liberals who espouse socialist tenets want *their* money to be left out of the equation. Since they are so caring of the downtrodden and stuff that ought to be enough.

  15. Felix on July 29, 2011 at 03:17

    Okay, let’s try to tackle this Rand thing a bit. There is intellectual merit in what Rand did. I would recommend both books by Tara Smith (and to stay away from Peikoff. 🙂 ) for some serious talk about Rand’s ethics and meta-ethics. Just having taken out the hatred and venting so ubiquitous in Rand’s primary work helps with readability and acceptance as something worthy of serious study.
    The fact that there is a kernel of value in what Rand offered does however not imply that Ayn Rand – let alone anyone waving an I-am-John-Galt-sign at a tea-party – is an intellectual genius. It’s hard to deny that Ayn Rand’s fiction as well as her tough-guy-individualism does have a strong appeal to adolescent boys. And in this recruitment of followers lies the problem of guilt-by-association which has hindered any serious consideration of Rand’s work, which itself has problems with a rather naiive romanticism for the rugged individual fighting for his own freedom, what makes it even worse.
    Which leads to the basic problems of rugged-individualism-a-la-Rand. One of them is that it often leads one into fighting the wrong fights. It’s a good thing to stand for the individual’s rights to his own life. Let’s just accept this (if only for the sake of this discussion).
    The strange notion with Rand’s followers is that this leads to an attack on anything that smells like socialism (category 1) like public healthcare, taxes, public roads, public schools, etc. but NOT (and this is the main problem) things like corporate benefits, companies buying politicians for personal gain, expensive wars being fought with public money against the will of the majority of the population, increases in internal security measures and infringements of personal rights based on security threats (TSA anyone?), which could be called socialism category 2 and are way more expensive (and dangerous) than anything in category 1.

    The sad irony is that Ayn Rand (and Adam Smith, for that matter) have both been rallying against the second part and both saw serious problems in corporate involvement in political matters.
    I think it’s safe to say that most sensible people wouldn’t have a problem with the poor being fed and the sick being treated when there isn’t some asshole in between exploiting the goodwill of hard-working people for his own undeserved gain, which is the real problem people have with this.

    What has happened is that people have been willing to sacrifice socialism category 1 based on rugged-individualism-rhetoric while having socialism category 2 alive and kicking, which have both been political activities. Not voting – especially now – while making for a nice standup-routine – means giving up the opportunity to turn these things around.
    I agree that having 2 parties to choose from in a 200 mio+ country is a fucking farce and seems like it’s hardly worth the effort. However – besides political activity (even if it’s just voting) – what opportunity do you have to turn things around and maybe stop being fleeced?

    I think laissez-faire individualists should team up with the socialists to fight against category 2 socialism and AFTER THAT fight about the rest instead of fighting over scraps while both are being fleeced by the asshole minority getting political gains at the expense of the public including both ideological groups.

    • doug on July 29, 2011 at 06:02

      In essence you just asked the laissez-faire individualists to vote for the lesser evil. No Thanks!

      I have seen both liberals and conservatives make similar arguments to libertarians. I know people who voted for Bush to prevent liberals from destroying the country and people who voted for Obama to prevent the conservatives from destroying the country. If I didn’t believe in the complete incompetence of the government I would think they were doing it on purpose. Every four years the conservatives and liberals pick the absolute worst of their groups and tell us to choose one.



    • Felix on July 29, 2011 at 09:35

      “I agree that having 2 parties to choose from in a 200 mio+ country is a fucking farce and seems like it’s hardly worth the effort. However – besides political activity (even if it’s just voting) – what opportunity do you have to turn things around and maybe stop being fleeced?”

      “The government” (of which you are a part) is very competent in taking your money and handing it out to big corporations, because you deny that you are part of it and thus let other people steal with your money. Sure, you can “be above” it, but you’re still being fleeced.

      “If I didn’t believe in the complete incompetence of the government I would think they were doing it on purpose. ” Well, they ARE doing it on purpose. And they are being paid to do it.
      You have too high of an opinion of your government. They are corrupt and give away your money.

      Do you really think that being robbed and then resorting to smug principledness without any action whatsoever is a reasonable answer to that?



    • doug on July 29, 2011 at 10:34

      “You have too high of an opinion of your government. They are corrupt and give away your money.”

      Really? Aren’t you the socialist?

      “Do you really think that being robbed and then resorting to smug principledness without any action whatsoever is a reasonable answer to that?”

      Are you fucking kidding me? You think choosing your mugger is the “reasonable” answer?

      Here is an idea. If you want to decrease corporate influence in government, decrease the power and scope of government to the point where corporations don’t have an incentive to influence it.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 11:22

      “Here is an idea. If you want to decrease corporate influence in government, decrease the power and scope of government to the point where corporations don’t have an incentive to influence it.”

      Much like the fervor over illegal immigration and getting on the public dole. Just remove the public dole.



    • Gene on July 29, 2011 at 14:15

      Honest question: How do you “decrease the scope of government” without voting for someone who will do that?

      I understand why you think voting is useless, but what else can we do? I’m open to ideas on making the government much smaller.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 16:22

      I reject the notion that you can vote your way to freedom. Freedom has primarily been won in two ways historically:

      1 Bloody revolution

      2 Civil Disobedience

      I would opt for the latter. See Thoreau, Ghandi, MLK. Note: it must be entirely peaceful resistance.



    • Felix on July 30, 2011 at 07:48

      “Really? Aren’t you the socialist?”

      LOL – No.

      “Here is an idea. If you want to decrease corporate influence in government, decrease the power and scope of government to the point where corporations don’t have an incentive to influence it.”

      Did you even read my first post?



    • Erik on July 29, 2011 at 11:22

      The way I see it you have three options.

      1. Work within the system. Vote, march, organize, protest, etc. As has been brought up in these threads multiple times, it’s not working.

      2. Fight against the system. This is obviously a bad idea. Go to war against the government and you will loose. Not only would it be ineffective but it would actually be counterproductive. You will be labeled a terrorist and they will restrict our freedom even further.

      3. Divorce the system. To get completely divorced would require ditching you citizenship and leaving the country. There are actually plenty of countries that are “less evil” than the USA in many ways. See http://www.sovereignman.com/ for more information.

      For me, numbers one and two are out of the question. In my opinion violence is immoral (#2) and voting = violence (#1). I don’t have nearly enough money to expatriate so option three is out of my reach. What I’ve decided to do is to divorce myself to the greatest extent possible. Sure I still pay for their wars with my taxes but there are many ways in which one can reduce their dependence on the state (and related systems).

      -Grow your own food.
      -Live close to work.
      -Educate your own children.
      -Don’t rely on government handouts.
      -Don’t rely on the government for employment.
      -and on and on…

      Many of these things can be done by yourself or in cooperation with your local community in a voluntary way. It won’t end the government but it does a hell of a lot more than voting would. It would also protect you somewhat if the state were to cease to exist.

      In many ways I think the state problem will solve itself. The way they spend money they simply can’t continue to operate like this. Technology is also becoming a decentralizing force. For example, if we could get all of our electricity from cheap, paint on solar we wouldn’t need a huge bureaucracy to provide, distribute and manage it. This is why they’re pushing for nuclear power. It helps justify their existence. I think that’s also the main reason for all of the fear mongering and war. If it weren’t for these perceived enemies people might realize that their existence is not justified and that their roles are completely unnecessary.



  16. darwiniac on July 29, 2011 at 04:48

    I honestly don’t believe Obama is a communist, at least not for any recognizable definition of communism. What are the basic goals of communism?

    1. A classless, stateless society.
    2. The people owning the means of production.
    3. Free access to consumer goods.

    Let’s look at the first. Does Obama seem to want a classless society? It’s debatable, but I think his actions show that he certainly wants at least some stratification into a ruling class and a ruled class. There’s no way in hell you can look at what he’s done and suggest he wants a stateless society, however.

    We could argue about variants of communism; e.g. Marxism-Leninism with its requirement for a Party (read: State) to “lead and protect” the proletariat, but at its core M-Lism is revolutionary, saying the only way to achieve communism is to overthrow the capitalist system. Does anybody think Obama wants a revolution? He IS the government, he IS the system that would be overthrown.

    As for the second, I don’t think he gives a damn about the nominal ownership of the means of production, so long as it ends up accountable to the State.

    Now where confusion creeps in is that all societies that have been called communist aren’t. In fact, there is an old Soviet joke that went “two old Bolsheviks were sitting on a park bench. One turned to the other and said ‘No, my friend we won’t live to see communism, but our children!.. poor children…'” Every society that calls themselves communist ends up being another authoritarian, bloated State.

    Is Obama a socialist? Almost certainly, either that or a social democrat. I think it’s fairly clear that his goals, and the goals of the American Democratic Party at large are a vast government that exerts high control over the economic activity of the nation, and a populace that is dependent on the welfare state that results. Is he a communist? No.

    And the distinction is important. Calling him a communist is pretty much like calling Bush a Nazi: it makes serious debate impossible and makes the accuser look ridiculous.

    • Joseph on July 29, 2011 at 05:43

      There are many kinds of statists (just as there are many kinds of faithful believers in religion), and all statists behave in familiar, similar ways (which they justify with different rhetoric, different music, different party platforms, different uniforms, different hand signals).

      Personally, I don’t think the state (in any form) is going away soon, but I would like to make it as irrelevant as possible in my life (since it seems like a bad influence every time we interact). More important than “not voting” in my opinion is figuring out creative ways to use the time and energy you free up when you stop caring about the state (and all the little games it plays to keep you interested and trapped in its dead-end programs). I still vote occasionally (just like I sometimes saunter into a church), but I don’t think of voting (or churching) as “being a responsible citizen.” It’s just a ritual I grew up with, a ritual that has some effect on my life (including even a few positive benefits occasionally), but that is way over-rated as a purveyor of universal salvation (which the faithful conceive very naively). What I really care about is how I interact with other people. My energy and capacity as a human being is not directed toward politics (or organized religion) but toward people and projects whose methods I actually believe in.

      The state is like a giant hospital run by doctors who live and die by the conventional wisdom. Occasionally, one comes down with meningitis or breaks a leg and goes there to get patched up. But it would be idiocy to go there for a cold, let alone for a “disease” that doesn’t even exist yet (but that I am told I have in order to secure more hospital revenues). All the state knows how to do is bail us violently out of a worst-case scenario (i.e. beat acute disease). It has no concept of productive activity (prevention, effective treatment of chronic conditions). Need a building demolished, somebody dead or disabled, or a quick patch on an immediately serious problem? Go to the state. Need a building constructed, somebody revived and put permanently on their feet again, or any kind of long-term solution to social problems? The state has no good answers for you (though they will gladly take your time and faith along with your money, which they get anyway, and give you a place to stand uselessly in endless queues of similarly misguided people).

      People who shut off when they hear our politicians compared to Communists or Nazis need to remember that the Communists and Nazis were “good people” too. They adhered to the (statist) values of their times. They believed fervently in the power of the state “hospital” to save the world. Their belief was dramatically let down by reality. We are not immune to the same misfortune (though we may describe ourselves with different adjectives, have a different mission statement, use different rhetoric to hide the unsightly things we do, and even manage to do less unsightly things than some others have done). What the Commies and the Nazis taught us is the futility of force, even when the agency applying that force has the best intentions (on paper). They showed us the really ugly side of human patriotism, an ugly side that does not magically disappear when you pledge allegiance to the US flag (instead of saluting the Fuehrer or some other Great Leader). The history of the twentieth century is a lesson in the futility of government as a productive enterprise. The lesson is actually pretty simple. If you want to do something productive, stay away from government. If you find yourself in government, try to minimize whatever it is that you are doing; be cheap and efficient and avoid saving the world at all costs.



    • Rick Lucas on July 29, 2011 at 07:01

      Still just splitting hairs, sir. No matter which label is chosen, they demand that I spend the one and only life I’m ever going to have in producing value for others even to the detriment of my own life. And they will have me killed if I don’t. They expect me to do this willingly, with a smile on my face, and singing their praises all the while.

      With regard to ‘serious debate’ I’m not even interested. Like Richard I just want to be left alone to go my own way.



    • Shameer M. on August 21, 2011 at 22:29

      Bush is not a Nazi? Last time I checked his grandfather, Prescott Bush, helped bankroll Adolf Hitler to power. If that’s not being a Nazi I don’t know what is.

      Obama is not a socialist. He’s a fascist posing as a socialist.. As I mentioned in an earlier post, American is or is very quickly turning into a fascist oligarchical state or if you want you can call it a Corporatocracy. The mega financial institutions and mega corporations own and control the money supply, natural resources and the government. It’s definitely not all Obama’s fault as this is a few decades in the making but he’s definitely finishing the job no doubt. That is no conspiracy theory, that is fact. This is a world phenomena

      You’re definitely right about Obama perpetuating the idea of a state based on a the idea of a ruling & ruled class.



  17. doug on July 29, 2011 at 06:12

    I am not a huge fan of Ayn Rand. From what I understand she was a bit of a nut. However, I have probably read Fountainhead a dozen or so times since 2000. As far as I am concerned any person that sees humanity the way she saw it in Fountainhead is a friend of mine.

    Have you ever noticed how similar SOME Christians and statists view humanity?
    Christians: The only thing keeping people from raping and killing each other is fear of hell.
    Statists: The only thing keeping people from raping and killing each other is fear of jail.

  18. K on July 29, 2011 at 06:39

    Richard, don’t you know that the mere mention of Rand on the internet causes instant troll mouth-frothing and panty-twisting? There are trolls that squat in the deep recesses of the internet just waiting to her name and ZOMG!!AYNRANDIHATEHERSOMUCHZOMGZOMGZOMG!!!

    She got a lot right, and a lot wrong. Its no reason to shit ones self.

    When it comes to Rand, its almost guaranteed that the more one spooges in hatred, the less of her work one has actually read.

    • Josh on July 29, 2011 at 11:07

      “When it comes to Rand, its almost guaranteed that the more one spooges in hatred, the less of her work one has actually read.”

      LOL!!! Ain’t that the truth!!

      I’m no Randroid by any means but when she was right whe was RIGHT!!!



  19. green on July 29, 2011 at 06:44

    “With no government by the people, even as fucked up as it gets, the people with the biggest guns will rule. ”

    “…As if the people with the biggest guns don’t rule…”

    Of course. I don’t see any reason why this should be an issue, evolutionarily speaking. The strongest or The ones with the biggest guns will always rule (as they always have), unless of course the ones with smaller guns can manage by their determination to somehow come out on top. Violence is a perfectly valid method and there can really be no basis for condemning it other than arguments from morality and religion, or self-preserving compromise, and by no means is anyone required to accept any of those arguments. Fear of state force (and it is frightening) or vengeance is what keeps people from using force. It’s just a re-arrangement of the distribution of violence. I’m not sitting around waiting for the system to collapse so I can go around inflicting violence without fear of being punished by the state, but you can be sure I’d have no qualms to use my strength and wits to destroy that which would threaten me with violence, and while the consequences of violence (being destroyed by the state) keep me content to live peacefully with those around me, I understand clearly that there is no universal law or code which can have any authority other than it’s own strength and wits to deter me from any action I choose.

    • Laurie D. on July 29, 2011 at 07:32

      My 23 year old daughter and I were watching a show called Extreme Couponing or something like that. (Don’t ask WHY we were watching it – it was just one of those things we got caught up in at the moment.) The show is about people getting huge amounts of grocery products (almost all junk food) for next to nothing using coupons. All of these families had huge “stockpiles” of groceries in their houses. Apparently, there is a subculture of christians out there who believe the apocalypse is upon us and they will need the stockpiles to survive. My daughter looked at me and said “They can have their 85 boxes of Chex and 100 bottles of aspirin. If it comes down to an apocalypse, I just need my one gun.” It was just for a laugh, but so true. I will feel much safer in that kind of situation if I have a few guns and ammo stockpiled in my house instead of tons of useless junk food. I won’t be depending on the government to save me.



    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 08:51

      You’re right about that, Green. It’s not about whether things turn on the implicit or explicit threat of violence, it’s who, and under what conditions.

      I prefer the notin that a society individually armed to the teeth is likely to be the more peaceful one. Would that at least one person on that island in Norway been armed. And had a bunch been armed and were that known, this would have never happened.



    • Shameer M. on August 21, 2011 at 22:32

      “I prefer the notin that a society individually armed to the teeth is likely to be the more peaceful one.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Thank the Founding Fathers for the 2nd Amendment.



  20. Ryan on July 29, 2011 at 08:44

    Wow. I just read through all this silly bullshit and I am reminded how people love to fight over the stupidest shit.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 09:07

      “stupidest shit?”

      And your read through ALL of it?

      Um, ok.



    • Ryan on July 29, 2011 at 10:42

      See what mean.



  21. Ryan on July 29, 2011 at 10:42

    *I

  22. […] Subscribe ← Look How Ignorant […]

  23. Chris on July 30, 2011 at 21:48

    Good god…I am a bit tipsy and have read through only half of the comments. I have read both The Fountainhead and Atals Shrugged and m’eh. I could take it or leave it. I have been called an anarchist by most and a conservitive by my wife. The person that I have learned most about how to live my life is my daughter. My wife laughs every time I tell her that my daughter is a small dog testing the fence at every chance. That is what I want to be. Never backing off and relentless. I envy my daugheter very much in her determination and will. It was beaten out of me a long time ago and I work every day to get it back. It is something that I will never take away from her and some day everyone here will know her name because of her dogged tenacity. I got another on the way and the simple minded are going to be on their heels when she hits the ground.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2011 at 07:17

      Chris. Outrageous. Are you saying that children don’t need fixing? 😉



  24. William on July 30, 2011 at 14:37

    Same old class warfare bullshit! most of these whiny, hate the rich fools are from pretty damn decent surroundings. As for me, moving up the ladder during my childhood meant moving from a ten wide, to a twelve wide; SANS EXPANDO LIVING ROOM! I’ve been dirt poor, and well to do. I’ll take well to do anytime!

    Piss on collectivism, and piss on those brain dead dolts who dream of an egalitarian society… a society where everyone is piss poor, except for the elites who brainwashed these idiots who live in perennial infantilism. Fuck ’em!

  25. noa on July 31, 2011 at 07:29

    I dunno Richard. I am kind of split on this. On one hand I like you have anarchist sympathies, and in a political chart I would probably score in the neighbourhood of anarcho-capitalism. But I also have a sense that the way resource is divided today is wrong. I dont care what good luck these people had, there is something wrong with them owning 95% of the planet surface when their numbers are measured in the thousands.

    I heard someone suggest what is essentially a “level cap”. Totalt freedom to create and compete, but once you have gathered X much shit, you can compete for fun only. It should obviously be reasonable. Do anyone need more than 10-50 billion dollars worth of shit to call their own to be happy?

    I told him that I think it needs work but that in a way I like the spirit of it. Perhaps we could give people a unique hat that show they reached end level. A hat that display that they are outstanding benefactors of our society (or greedy filthy pigs who knew their way to other peoples money by governement or plain swindle). Either way, they would have the “boss cap” to show for it. And they would have to make room for up and commers instead of clogging up the system untill they are carried out.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2011 at 15:11

      Noa:

      I don’t see the mass accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few as anything but a consequence of state. Bedfellows, especially when talking about mass corporations.

      Beyond that, anarchism is simply a state of mind, for me, and I try to never go around pondering or suggestion what might work best for everyone else. I simply try to deal with the state as little as I possibly can while enjoying my life. In fact, ignoring the state as much as I can is a big part of my enjoyment of life.



  26. Jeremy Voluntaryist on August 1, 2011 at 14:02

    Now seems like a good time to plug the philosophy site – The books are free via pdf or audio and the author goes into depths on some possible ways that a society free of a central government could flourish.

    “could” because no one knows for sure how things would work exactly. We just know that what the US has, and what every other country has tried, has never worked for very long.

    For another read, try http://voluntaryist.com/
    Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends.

  27. Chris on August 5, 2011 at 12:31

    The problem is that everyone discusses relative luck, not absolute luck, as if it is the only kind. If you win a $5 scratch-off and I win the $5 million lottery, you will bemoan your luck. But is it so? I may be relatively more lucky, but that does not make you unlucky. You won a prize! You had the money to buy that ticket. Because they sell tickets in stores, I assume you had clothes on, and shoes. You were able to get to the store somehow, so you have transportation or the ability to move yourself. If you had the ability to get there, it’s probably because you had enough energy to do so, so food and drink doesn’t appear to be a major problem. And those are just the tangibles. You HOPED you would win, and hope is such an amazing thing to have. Maybe you have hope because you want to provide for your family better, so maybe you have LOVE and JOY. I could go on, but I hope my point has been made clear.

    If you think you don’t have it good, try the following:
    1. Walk up a flight of stairs
    2. Take a drink of clean water
    3. Eat a piece of food

    Were you able to do those things? If so, than shut the fuck up, cause there’s people out there who can’t walk, don’t have clean water, and go starving every day.

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