Archive for Ayn Rand

25 July 2013: The Matador, I

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2013 by spinoza1111

Up at 5:30 AM in agonizing pain: essayed to do 100 lowrise steps and 250 supine motions with hand weights. Succeeded. At 2:00 in the afternoon did about 700 movements on the Rackety Rowing Machine. Its hand weight and pulley broken, so I replaced that feature (which was very easy owing to the looseness of he pulley) with rowing and upper body dance movements with “zero” (no) resistance.

I’d learned from Billy Blanks that “zero resistance” is non zero owing to the mass and lifting of the arm/hand or leg. Doing his moves without weights almost as difficult as with the weights. So, I merely mimed running and upper body dance to get a reasonable workout for 20 minutes.

Much pain experienced during the first workout but now, in the Now, at this minute, not feeling any pain AMDG (ad maiorem Dei gloriam), to the greater glory of God: for a workout is beyond a work of conceptual art, it is a sacrifice. Oooohhh there’s a throb of pain, blasting the ass and rear thigh, rolling through like a Midwestern storm: and dark is his face on the wings of the storm.

Kant Study: Here’s a Dollar, Buy a Clue

Finished Rohlfe on Kant and Kant’s view of reason but backing up to the somewhat more critical question: the meaning of what seems to be at once the central and most difficult chapters, “On the Clue to the Discovery of All Pure Concepts of the Understanding”, and, the single most difficult chapter, “On the Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding”.

Kant, in these chapters, seems to me to proceed by a minimalist venture in which, grasping at straws (to find an account of sensation-to-concept) he comes up with straws which we then must grasp. From minimal straws, that is, very thin propositions which are seen to be synthetic apriori by us (because they cannot be anything else in an argument by elimination), he reasons to other SAP truths.

Straw 1 is “apperception is a judgement”. If all that happens in perception, considered as getting from sensation to concept, were to be “I am having this sensation”, that’s something: “I am having this sensation” is a binary proposition, true or false (but never false in actual practice: better said “made or not made”) but always true in practice.

Which is troubling. As Hume had observed, a report of sensation can never be denied although it may be false when the speaker is lying. Such reports as “the balloon to me appears as red”, in contrast to “the balloon is red” can never be denied unless they are lies. Applying the four way taxonomy we know that “the balloon is red” is synthetic aPosteriori. What about “the balloon appears to be red” when we know (through magic) that the user isn’t lying?. Some philosophers of the sort who can guess what I am up to will say that this statement is synthetic in that it extends the concept of “me” to “being thinking that the balloon is red”, but strangely aPriori in that we cannot deny a perception-report, other philosophers, and most ordinary people, will say that the statement is synthetic aPosteriori, true if I see red no matter the “real” colour, false if I lie, and be done with it. As we should.

But again an aside: rather than use italics I will mark out the return to the main question.

When I was at Princeton, a departmental or college secretary, a jolly Chinese matron, said that Saul Kripke of Princeton’s philosophy department “really got the girls”…up to a point. I can affirm that there are philosophy groupies at Princeton.

This was because Kripke found that we need not accept the four-way taxonomy (analytic aPriori, analytic aPosteriori, synthetic aPriori, and synthetic aPosteriori) because it’s never been proven and for that reason can’t be used without proof or at a minimum, thinking.

Analytic aPriori makes perfect sense; the categorization may have been invented to mark out this kind of statement once 17th century mathematicians realized that logic and possibly mathematics were aPriori and not synthetic. But note that while Kant classed logical truths with the analytic aPriori, he did not so categorize mathematical truths such as 7+5=12 because 12 is not inside 7, not inside the plus sign, and not inside 5. Kant didn’t think of the string 7+5 as a singular Concept … not having talked to Godel who’d say it was one, with a Godel number derived from the string 7, plus and five.

Kant didn’t see “7+5” the way a modern logician or compiler developer sees it, as having the same ontological status as 7, 5, 7+5 or 12 (and 1+11, 2+10 and so on), and being just another version of the number 12, something valid as a term in any expression. But not the same ontological status as + or (possibly) 7+5=12 when the programming language tool does not support the equals sign as a test operator returning true or false, or “something like that”.

Synthetic aPosteriori propositions like “the length of that stick they have in Paris is one meter” are analytic aPriori in Kripke’s quondam view. This is surprising but makes sense once we realize that the stick defines one meter. But then Kripke realized that this presented all kinds of problems for the traditional taxonomy which had never been proven to be true although its utility was remarkable.

To end the aside, to return to the main question, then.

The clue is the fact that apperception is judgement. And it is already a complex judgement at least of the form (Ex)[x=Me & hasPerception(x, y)], where “y” is the content of the perception; if we were, say, to write a simulator of the Kantian mechanism, y would be a complex “software object” encoding the perception in as simple or as complex a way as one would want: the Logical Positivist would, I’d hazard, settle for x, y, and z space coordinates, a w time coordinate (when it did happen in World Time), perhaps a d duration, and the shade of red hopefully not reported as a Windows color byte. The Phenomenologist would want precisely all these reports and similar reports for other sensory inputs occurring at the same time.

But as we see in the above paragraph, where we tentatively start to construct apperception as a software object, treating software as Carnap treated his own notation in Der Logische Aufbau der Welt, we find that it’s at a minimum a true-false AND statement: I exist and I see red.

That’s the clue. Kant differs from Descartes in two ways: cogito ergo sum becomes sum ergo sentio: not “I think therefore I am”, instead “I am therefore I perceive”, and I perceive only by way of judgement, starting with the obvious true/false judgement “I am”. It’s never false when made but retains the logical and the syntactical form of judgment.

Judgement is complex all the way down and “simple apperception” was a self-destructive clue that explodes on examination. And even though “I exist and I see red” is already complex, a minimal judgement can always extend to maximal judgement.

“Sensory deprivation” experiments of the 1960s turned out to cause some subjects to create lurid fantasies in place of ordinary sense data and prisoners in isolation, truck drivers, pilots, mariners and other occupations to see colors, shapes, and human figures, with or without sounds, when sensory deprived. This phenomena is called “prisoner’s cinema”. The Clue to use of all categories (for Kant, “the” Categories of the logic of his time) is the judgmental nature of simple Apperception. If we can reason and judge at the simple level, there’s no aPriori obstacle to doing this at a much more complex level.

I claim that the Clue is the “edition one” story of bare naked apperception then seen to be completely extensible in 1787, but still understood by many as bare naked apperception. The Clue is like a spider’s web’s cable tossed across the path which can be thickened without limit as we bring more and more to apperception. Rather than a stepwise, sequential series of independent processes, as I diagrammed in my “Evil Clown” picture in order to get started in a somewhat misleading way, “everything” happens all at once.

But I need to extend and support this reading, based on the text of Kant.

Apple Development

This gave me the willies when I tried to restart:

“The MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update will update the EFI firmware on your computer. Your computer’s power cord must be connected to a working power source. When your MacBook Pro restarts, a gray screen will appear [the Gray Screen of Death?] with a status bar [that never moves or worse moves backward as one waits in fear, hoping that power will not be interrupted, the Status Bar of Death] to indicate the progress of the update. It will take several minutes [several hours?] for the update to complete. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your MacBook Pro during the update.”

This should end with:

“Your needs take second place to our incompetent and overly pressured developers.”

In other words, yet more design for the upper middle class that ignores the fact that many users, especially in the cities or rural areas as opposed to suburbs do not have uninterrupted power but experience brown-outs that could very well cause a partial “EFI Firmware Update”…or may simply not be able to boot until they find a clean power source.

Firmware is special and rather secret code that enables the machine to execute new instructions, extending its power. But if firmware gets in any way messed up, for example by a slight interruption in power during the EFI firmware update you have at a minimum a not-fun visit to an Apple store and at worst a nice chunk of aluminum that doesn’t do anything and never will. What say you upgrade to the next gen?

There were many ways to get around this when the firmware was developed, mostly by loading the firmware as a chunk of data, without trying to execute it during startup, and then, once the machine is fully operational, getting the user to approve the firmware update, check the power source for reliability, and then relax and watch the firmware load. A reliable, restartable and safe firmware “up” load that has the full resources of your system.

I can just see me fighting, and usually losing, the battle for this kind of software that acknowledges a real difficulty. My team has the chops to do it but the firmware guys want to keep control and they win by creating the appearance that somehow meeting the user’s needs to avoid problems the user doesn’t fully understand is “too much work”, “too much expensive development” (for profits must be maximized) and, in the most amusing argument, “not filling real users’ needs”.

These are, I think, the problems at a high level of abstraction and as such Apple developers might snarl that I don’t know what I am talking about. But I do, and I do see a potential problem for the 99% user. But ever since 1984, Apple has preferred to deal with affluent users who have clean power, and a considerable amount of time every time they purchase a new device, to get it working…users like the couple in Spielberg’s film A.I. who are given a highly advanced robot child by their company that the (nonworking) wife installs including activation codes.

It’s amazing that I was so gulled by Apple’s PR, which since 1980 has created the illusion that Mac users are intelligent hipsters, that I abandoned HP’s inexpensive and reliable “net book” technology, the HP Mini, available for less than 500 USD and reliable in the sense that non-proprietary technology, as opposed to the Mac’s highly proprietary technology, breaks in more visible ways.

And, there’s not this strange fear of developers, outside Apple’s distortion zones. I had to jump through hoops to get xCode and the “command line tools” for compiling C and C++, whereas Microsoft makes .Net non-enterprise software available to download for one and all. Apple, it appears, came close to requiring a credit card to get software without which you can’t write code, and provided a workaround at the last minute.

Apple’s Microsoft-like arrogance provides a chance for Microsoft to get competitive once again as it was in the .Net glory days (2000-2005). But under Ballmer, Microsoft won’t see that opportunity.

Rawls, Krugman, Yer Granny, Sun Yat Sen and Practically Everybody Now Hates NeoClassical Economics Even When They Don’t Know What It Is

Let’s start by giving NeoClassical Economics what might seem to be a great argument for free. It concerns the justice of any taxation whatsoever and if it’s valid, liberals can no longer tax as a matter of justice at all, and libertatiantards win.

OK? OK. It would seem that progressive taxation or even a flat tax is unjust towards the taxed, for it is a second taking after the first “taking”, in which the taxpayer provided his labor to get the money from his employer or client. It would seem that the taxpayer pays twice, unjustly: in the first labor and then in paying any tax at all.

The Right would love this (and is about to get as we say pimped). We do a job of (presumed) valuable work giving our employer or client x units of pure (reinen) value (Germans, I claim, love this sort of argument and its sort of destructive and divisive effect). Since we’re not in anyway heaven forfend “altruistic” saps who mess things up with their altruism we expect pay at the end of the day and we get it.

End of story: Nozickan justice done. To come ’round and pass the Government hat for taxes, requiring me and the lads to pony up is injustice because the government by cracky gets money it didn’t earn.

But the answer comes from Rawls (Political Liberalism, A Theory of Justice)…and common sense.

First of all, progressive taxation as determined by an exponential function ramps up slowly and is close enough in a representative currency to be zero for low income working people for quite a while as we ramp up her income. Also, we can and have, in all progressive income taxation schemes, inserted points where income below that point is not taxed. Therefore, the “injustice” only kicks in for rich slobs.

The tragedy of the latter day Republican Party? You can’t make a victim out of a perp. Abraham Lincoln said, in a bit of folk wisdom preserved in Irving Copi’s Introduction to Logic for many years, “if I call a tail a leg how many legs does a dog have?”

When Lincoln asked this, his interlocutor, perhaps his hapless Secretary of State Seward, said, “well, five, Mister President?”, knowing he was about to be had, Lincoln replied, “no: callin’ h’it a leg don’t make a limb, a leg, whether for a poppet, a dog, or a human child: the cre-a-ture remains a dog with four legs.”

Likewise, a perp (the Congressman who ends abortion and causes the murder of women seeking some say in the use of their bodies, the enraged white male, the deadbeat Dad) tries to pose as the victim.

But words have to mean something, as Kong Fu Zi (Confucius) “said” in “The Rectification of Names”. Rush Limbaugh’s real insanity, what he babbles, is that Rush actually believes that in a conservative (don’t soak the rich and arm the government) state we can make anything true

The more money you have, the higher value (monetary or otherwise) of civic goods including democratic institutions, no corruption, and rule of law becomes to you. Your money above certain levels can be invested in running for office, and reducing taxation. “Money attracts money” as if money were like gravity. The more you earn, if your income increases in a linear fashion (a=bm where a is next year’s income, b is last years and m is a multiplier) the more benefits you retain in a non-linear fashion.

At 50K you pay your bills and save for a house.

At 500K you have a house. Home equity makes you richer in the form of access to credit and a safety net (two types of wealth).

And, you didn’t lose the house to get “access to credit and a safety net”.

At 500,000 you’re a significant player in real estate.

And, you didn’t lose the house, access to credit or a safety net to become a Player. Did you.

At 500 million you make the market in real estate and print your own money.

And, you didn’t lose the house, access to credit or a safety net to become a Player. Did you.

In terms of Rawlsian, “really real” dollars the rich are not only different from you and me. They are richer than they seem to be. To pastiche Ogden Nash:

You remember how poor Scottie Fitzgerald used to mumble, after several Old Fashioneds “the rich are different from you ‘n me”?
Well, lemme tell ya something pal, and here’s a clue, buddy:
The rich are also richer ‘n you and me, systematically.

To factor in what Rawls identifies as values that increase as your income increases such as the greater holding power of your political orientation you need to apply a “progressive” multiplier, the value of value as it were, to higher and higher levels of raw dollars…until society becomes polarized, not only into CEOs making thousands of times more dollars than us, and us, but also into us, and CEOs whose overall “taking” is not thousands of times ours but hundreds of thousands.

The result, until recently, for yours truly? Rushing through fancy malls (where I’d never shop except at the chemist and bookstore) to get to the City of Sadness to try to level a playing field between near-native ESL speakers from expensive international schools, and people relegated to service and dead end jobs as soon as they opened their mouths.

What we want, what the founders in the USA (except for Hamilton) wanted, what Sun Yat Sen wanted for China and what #OccupyHongKong wants is a far more egalitarian society in which the rich man would not be able to buy influence and office: where Confucius wouldn’t have to trundle around north China looking, essentially, for “temp” and adjunct positiond with traps like Nan-zi the Courtesan being set in his way. How to get there is through the progressive income tax which by reducing excess wealth that naturally sticks to the already rich man even as kitten wool naturally sticks to his woolen suit.

The ordinary slob, like “Dave Moss” in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, otherwise becomes profoundly cynical and ready at any indication to tear his own society apart. “The rich get richer, it’s the law of the land”, as Moss says when he wearily comes to work. We know we’re being screwed (heck, I deserved a large cash bonus more than once in my career and didn’t get it) but like Caliban in th’old play we must eat our dinner.

Change Record

27 July 2013: Revised and extended section on Rawls (and Practically Everybody With a Clue) vs Libertarianism

27 July 2013: Revised and extended section on “My Dreams Post-Diagnosis”, removed it to make it stand alone.

27 July 2013: Error: the person who says “x appears as red” may be lying. Reworded but the entire passage needs to be revised and re-evaluated for it is horseshit as it stands.

Trying to take Rand Seriously: a Note on Hobbes and Rand

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 12, 2011 by spinoza1111

Hobbes excluded women from his model in which “man” in a “state of nature” lives a life that is “nasty, brutish and short” because Hobbesian “man” never cooperates in a sustainable way, but sooner or later and of necessity comes to blows with his mates.

Hobbes plainly needed to get out more. He never saw real ordinary men take care of their families (if “man” contends with “man” why will I forgive my sons for never talking to me? For I will, goddamnit), nor ladies cooperate in baking a cake or making lasagna.

Hobbes, unlike Rand, did not believe in a “rationality” that would cause men by magic to agree on the most “rational” course of action. Rand thought that labour unions would always see the “rationality” of individual secret contracts with employers and self-dissolve.

Rand’s “rationality” all stems from “self identity”, the proposition what is, is, a=a. Although she never read Kant, and hated him in her ignorant fashion, she actually here reinvented the wheel of “the transcendental unity of apperception” on which, in Kant, our ability to reason is based, for unlike babies before a certain age and alcoholics in a blackout (if you prefer, Bismarck’s “drunks, children and the USA” whom he said “God will protect”), we transcendentally know, as a precondition of ordinary knowledge, that “I experience a manifold of sensations and thoughts based on sensations and those experiences and thoughts are mine, they make up Me”.

That is, in Kant, it is a synthetic apriori that ordinary knowledge, call it k, is preconditioned by transcendental knowledge call it K. K->k.

Rand seems to have believed that only right-wing right-thinkers actually have transcendental unity of apperception and know that a=a, whereas liberals are like Bismarck’s “drunks and children” who enter fugue states and blackouts in which the sense of an “I” only flickers in and out: and in their madness, they pass laws for welfare, unemployment insurance, public libraries and day care centers. The classic case would be the alcoholic in a blackout who’s still apparently functioning (let’s say he’s laying bets in a casino or voting in the Senate) but will have no memory the next morning because he’s burned out or temporarily shut down brain wiring that records events while retaining some brain function.

Old joke: Lincoln got drunk. When he woke up, he said, “I freed what?”

I would note, pace Rand and even Kant, that nobody has complete transcendental unity of apperception because we all forget things. As Shakespeare’s Henry V said upon St Crispin’s day,

Old men forget, yet all men forget
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall their names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Be in their flowing cups, freshly remembered:
Harry the King, Bedford, Exeter, Warwick and Talbot!

This shows that the unified Kantian self is not perfect. If it were, it would forget nothing. While John von Neumann, a mathematician and early computer scientist, observed that “there’s no true forgetting in the human nervous system”, and it is possible to “recover” memories, the Kantian “transcendental unity of apperception” is an ideal and a limit, and Rand seems not to have understood this in the slightest.

Whence, I believe, her “male” contempt for altruism (based on forgetting the Self) and “weakness”. Whence the profoundly irritating habit of CEOs and other thugs of pretending to know and remember everything, and to call their employees or opponents liars when their employees or opponents point out aporias and contradictions in what they say. To “stonewall” as Richard Nixon’s advisers recommended in Watergate, or as SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas stonewalled Anita Hill, admitting not a jot or tittle of fault…not even a grinning confession of having been a badass when younger…after being confronted with her claims that he’d sexually harassed her.

The fact that “Stonewalling” didn’t really exist before Nixon, and that President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara found themselves unable to lie to themselves about Vietnam only four years before Watergate, and its ready usage since Watergate, especially by the members of George W Bush’s administration, shows us that it’s an historical development, a new response, one that may be literally psychotic. The fact is that Tony Blair may now be regarded as a psychopath by the majority of Britons and, whatever your politics, the troubling split between Blair’s own self-opinion and the opinion others have of him, such as the parents of British soldiers whose lives were thrown away by Blair, is very troubling, for it indicates a deep change in human nature…in which Leviathan, the Hobbesian ruler, lives in a state of nature while ordinary people don’t. We have to face facts with Marx’s sober senses: the fucks at the top have become nasty and brutish. A lot of them are short, too, and this started with Napoleon, perhaps the first step in this devolution. But a long digression here must be nipped in the bud.

A society dominated by such legends in their own minds, such would-be uber mensch, such neo-Troglodytes, is one of an eternal self-presence that can never admit it is wrong, that, iike the Bourbons, “learns nothing, forgets nothing” and, in the words of a theorist of organizational dysfunction (Anne Wilson Schaef), is an “addictive system” “which has no memory”: precisely because it insists that it does.

Napoleon’s treatment of General Hoche at Marengo comes to mind, but again, I digress. I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t attached but somehow I remember this. Today’s tendencies organically exist even in the distant past. And note: it never occured to Danton or Robespierre to stonewall or lie: Danton was always pretty forthright about his centrist and pro-bourgeois views while acknowledging the needs of the Mountain, and Robespierre ended up as a target of mockery because of his sincere refusal to do without the concept of a Supreme Being, which, unlike later dictators, admits that the dictator has a Higher Power and therefore unlike a “real” dictator. If you can’t follow this stuff, which is based on the French Revolution, don’t worry about it.

In such a society, to admit any forgetfulness, where a is not a, is to be femininized. If you’re a woman, this is to be relegated to historical status as baby factory. If you’re a man, you’re part of an underclass. New Men lie without compunction, steal ideas and will take all the credit and your girl, as did Napoleon to Hoche (Josephine de Beauharnais was actually Hoche’s bint: but I digress, for the last time).

Carpet Bombing Pamela Geller

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 7, 2010 by spinoza1111

When I learned about this insane rich woman, a new Anne Coulter, and her “Atlas Shrugs” blog, I went in low and slow with snake and nape, posting several anti-Geller essays and original poetry before being blocked based on IP address, name and email. These are collected at the bottom of this post.

This is considered bad behavior even by “liberals” and “nice” people.

But it has been my experience in office and general politics that if unprincipled psychotics are not confronted, good people get hurt.

I’m tired of the emasculation of the so-called left. And I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

I remark as you can see at Geller’s blog, that it is said that the poetry was a cut and paste job when it is clearly for the occasion. But I find it easy, when replying to the insane, to use poetry. Whereas the problem is that even before 9-11 most Americans labored to put the simplest independent thoughts or genuine feelings into words. When life was fat this didn’t matter much, but now we can expect precisely the sort of explosions I had to witness in my own family of origin, and that I visited on my former wife in the 1970s, that are caused by the inability to access one’s feelings through language.

TV has long normalized what can be said and what cannot be said in the USA. Pam Geller found in the 1980s that no matter how “tough” women think they are, they still can’t cut the mustard in New York journalism, a boy’s game, and, enraged, she decided to play the Anne Coulter Fascist Bitch card, starting with YouTube videos of her so-so bod in a bikini. The rest was history, or perhaps her-story, or then again it may have been mystery as seen in Dostoevsky’s tale of the Grand Inquisitor.

Pam Geller is in fact the monstrous return of the mid (20th) century liberal like Susan Sontag who, after the collapse of American socialism and communism courtesy of Joe McCarthy, used fashion and the image to advance what were ideas of course superior to Geller’s “ideas” or more precisely, ideation (as in mental illness diagnostic language). Born rich, Geller will do anything to stay rich when it is so clear that the only way to do justice to the Earth and its Wretched is for the rich to get less rich…far less rich, in fact.

The gesture is to acquire millions of deluded followers by proclaiming that you are one tough cookie, undeluded, self-interested (Randroid, usually) and good in the sack. Even the Jewish left of the USA in the beginning (roughly, the 1930s) shared this overall approach.

A Note on the Failure of a Coalition

Pre WWI, the Jewish left was also the German-American left, because pre WWI, a critical number of educated Jews were still German. The younger generation of East European Jews were busy working to advance themselves out of the lower East Side, but hadn’t taken control.

It was therefore natural before 1917 for German-origin Jews to ally themselves with German American gentiles, in fact it was a fulfillment of the German Jews’ vain hope that Wilhelmine Germany, the first welfare state, would outgrow the vicious anti-Semitism of the German peasant. Gustav Mahler fled Vienna for New York in 1912 in hopes of finding this aufhebung.

But, tragically, it was not to be. German-American Gentiles, who were before WWI left-wing, were brutally persecuted during the run-up to America’s entry into the war, being in some cases lynched alongside blacks. This silenced them and made them use their physical racial characteristics to subsequently become just “American” like my uncles and aunt born starting in 1915. It made them authoritarian and willing to focus, apolitically, on careers in engineering and business-friendly law.

And, understandably, the “new” (born approximately 1915) generation of Jews wanted little to do with the Germans. US social mechanisms and history itself destroyed the pre-WWI coalition between German American gentiles and Jews in somewhat the same way as the 1960s destroyed the black and Jewish alliance.

This made Jewish-American culture superficial and overinvested in the image even by Susan Sontag’s time. Herbert Marcuse was coded as “verbose”, which is usually a name for the lack of flashy images whereas the culture of style (image) remained popular, and is now used by Geller. And it is for this reason that Paul Krugman can warn repeatedly that Obama hasn’t been Keynesian enough without being heard by policy makers: in talking about a negative, Krugman cannot give the policy maker an image.

We the Undeluded

In a caricature of Enlightenment, the adept proclaims that she’s undeluded, but not, as in Enlightenment, by nature’s appearance, but by a vast conspiracy. And of course, Pam Geller’s conspiracy thinking is an isomorph of anti-Semitism.

Ah Bartelby: ah humanity. In such a society, in which such fame exists, fame’s inverse, which can no longer be criminal notoriety (which has become just more fame), but is instead my situation right here, is honor. My situation right here is low traffic and the occasional hate-filled comment based on my sexuality and that is just fine. One simply does not want the mob to approve of one for this would mean that one is evil and a dumbass to boot.

The Woman, Aristotle, and the Beast

And the woman angle must at last be addressed, for let us not speak falsely now the hour is much too late.

Around the time of the Reformation, a popular theme in cheap prints and as here knick-knacks was the theme of “the woman riding Aristotle”.

For Martin Luther’s 1519 “theses” triggered not reform of the Church as he had hoped but explosions of popular anger including peasant Jacqueries which Luther worked with German princes to suppress, fearing the consequences of his own rebellion.

One such Jacquerie was the time out of mind irritation women feel with men.

But what is little realized about the Reformation, studied by half-literate “specialists” moronized by graduate school, is its relationship with the Renaissance.

Let’s see. Reformation up here, in Germany. Renaissance down there in Italy. Ver-y good, it becomes “unfocused” to link the two phenomena, especially because Luther and his followers did not read Erasmus and were in fact uninfluenced by them.

However, Benedetto Croce found the two movements related after all. You see, Croce felt that the Renaissance was the upper class theory and the Reformation the practice on the ground. The Reformation was overtly for Luther a response to Church practices that had nothing on the face of it to do with the Renaissance, even though scholars concur that there was indeed a “Renaissance Catholicism” constituted in Pope Julius’ building and artistic patronage, the use of the sale of indulgences for financial needs which were in turn caused by the primitive capitalism of the Italian and Flemish bankers, and the new interest in ancient learning.

The problem was that this was a closed book to Luther and even more so his followers, but they wanted to get in on the fun. So instead of the reforming, new thought, proto-Enlightenment of the Renaissance we have its proto and Ur-Fascist mockery, the woman riding Aristotle (or the Beast), the Reformation. Luther’s vicious anti-Semitism and his mockery of celibates, his suspicion that in all or most cases, celibacy hides perversion, a meme which persists today (Catholic male priests falling under suspicion but not nuns).

This dual structure is astonishingly repeated in the way Fascism aped and perfected Left gestures including political satire and revolutionary violence.

The “woman riding Aristotle” is the woman, like Anne Coulter or Pam Geller who genuinely feels abused by male intellect and male power, and uses her sexuality as a Final Solution, for Aristotle, who so foolishly thought that the end of “man” is to know, like Erasmus, must learn in the domestic economy that his real end within the domestic sphere is to beg for pussy.

That’s brutal. That’s harsh. The truth usually is. Pamela Geller is in fact enacting a family drama in order to further her pathetic search for money and fame. It is the game of

Buster, all of your high-falutin thought is clearly for nought
Now get outa here and get me some money too

Saul Bellow’s Torah-based response was “woman, what art thou too me?”

The Posts at Gelller’s Hideous Sight

Here are the posts at Geller’s site, so you don’t have to give her traffic.


Sorry, lady, but the USA is a “liberal” country all the way back. You see, in order to avoid the sectarian wars that had torn Europe apart especially in the Thirty Years War, the founders (many of whom were Deists or non-practicing Christians) instinctively developed a political philosophy that can be separated from other political philosophies such as Islamic sha’aria and Catholicism’s political philosophy.

This form of enlightenment liberalism is free-standing and necessarily unlinked to any other political philosophy. It seeks an overlapping consensus between the major world religions that is the way in which they think some sort of tolerance is a virtue, and most of them do because their founders (including Mohammed) believed that forced conversion as a result of intolerance is not conversion at all.

This liberalism need not compete with any other world view because it’s necessary to any multi-confessional society. That it works is proven by the existence of multi-confessional societies such as the USA, in which your silly ideas have usually been laughed at.

You see, a form of your silly ideas, a striking parallel, was the “Know-Nothing” movement of the 1830s. These early Tea Bags believed as you do that there was a world religion, preaching intolerance, that was stealthily building places of worship in sacred spots, sacred that is to the one “true” religion of Protestantism, and that the sinister leadership of this world religion planned to dominate zee verld.

And this religion was, of course, Roman Catholicism.

In other words, lady, you don’t really give a fuck because you do not know shit. When you were a nobody, you found that by mythologizing your rage and making your personal problems the fault of a world conspiracy you got attention and started to get traffic, which earns you as I can see ad revenue right here. So you’re riding the tiger and you will do so until you fall off and go boom.

There is of course not the slightest chance that Muslim hordes will conquer the USA and impose Sha’aria law. For one thing, the incoming Moslems gotta go through TSA. For another, it’s always been a fantasy that another country could mount an amphibious invasion of the USA. For another, converts to Islam will forever be in a minority.

The various lawsuits by Moslems for their ability to practice their faith are nothing more than their exercise of their Constitutional rights. For example, the First Amendment to the Constitution means that the moderate Moslem who seeks to open a Moslem centre near (not at) the World Trade center need only satisfy secular city codes and the criminal law. The Fourteenth or “equal protection of the laws” amendment means that no separate test may be applied to his religion.

If that religion preached child molestation or murder, then of course it would fall outside the liberal’s overlapping consensus, but not as a religion. Instead, it would fall under state laws applicable to the Mafia or Tony Soprano (criminal activity and criminal conspiracy).

Now, I know I’ve used a lotta big words and complex sentence structure. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Maddened by false promises and soured by true miseries, people regress and become inarticulate, and start throwing temper tantrums.

“With hearts grown brutal we have fed ourselves with fantasies” – WB Yeats

“We don’t say much but we say it loud: o come see the boiling cloud” – Edward G. Nilges


Conservative Islam preaches tolerance of “people of the book” which are Christians and Jews. The Bible, preaches violence against masturbators (Onan) and ethnic cleansing against unfortunate people like Ham who accidentally see their nude father and seek out their brothers for help. If the God of the Old Testament is a role model, then the Christian can slay not only pagans (which Muslims are commanded to do in a text not considered acceptable by non-conservative Muslims in a religion where there is no final authority, only the interpretations of *Imams*) but fellow Christians if they disagree (on the nature of the Trinity, on the “real presence” of God in the Eucharist, on abortion, and so on).

The Moslem leader who wants to create the cultural center near Ground Zero is a moderate Moslem who like a moderate and liberal Christian, does not interpret all texts of Qu’ran literally: cf.

I’d also suggest that you read Hans Kung’s history of Islam. Even the Know Nothings of the 1830s had a point, for the Vatican, their enemy, does have a centralized *magisterium* and in that centralized *magisterium* the state is required to enforce what the Vatican considers the natural law, which Catholic theology considers applicable to Catholics and non-Catholics. Therefore Spain prior to 1975 and Ireland until the 1990s had a form a sha’aria including bans not only on abortion but also on birth control.

In 1870, the Vatican defined “modernism and *Americanism*” as heresies, where the latter was the belief by US Catholics including some bishops that the church in the USA should reconcile itself to the USA’s failure to enforce what Catholics thought the natural law, and should stop praying and working for the conversion of the USA and the world to Roman Catholicism.

Whereas precisely because Islam doesn’t have a Vatican, Islamic countries vary considerably in their interpretation of Qu’ran, from Morocco and Turkey (quite flexible) to the US ally and client Saudi Arabia (the preservation of whose monarchy is a key US goal). They do so far more than did France before 1789, Spain before 1975, or Ireland before the 1990s.

Get off the Internet and go to the public library. Read the Qu’ran, read Hans Kung, read Edward Said or even Bernard Williams, who is anti-Islamic. Even he would not substantiate your wild claims.


People who do not read newspapers or books are typically deceived by something that is obvious to many software technicians, which is what I was (Princeton, Bell Northern Research).

It is that if a Web site “cites” another Web site, which “cites” a third, and so on, one usually never finds a reference to a primary or secondary source outside the Web. Often, the last cite will cite the first in a magnificent self-referential loop.

Slobs and the truly insane are completely unfamiliar with the real tasks of editing and production of intellectual content, and typically unaware of the historian’s distinction between levels of sources for claims.

One so often finds that references to paper sites completely distort the material at the paper site.

Even if Rauf has made statements at variance with his pronounced moderate views, this only means that he’s changed and/or is willing to live with USA laws and mores. The same laws that protect his practice of his freedom of religion (which allow him to create an Islamic center as long as it is conformant to city and state codes applicable to any church or shop) also prevent him from imposing sha’aria except in the (extremely unlikely) event Moslems became a majority in Congress (ROTFFLMFAO) or got elected President.

To do so under the Constitution, a Moslem government would have of course to repeal the First Amendment. The only way to do this would be by way of two super-majorities (2/3), in Congress and amongst the states.

Even if ALL Moslems resident in the USA were to vote to change the Constitution (highly unlikely) the USA would have to be 2/3 Moslem for this to happen. Now, I know that people who feed on garbage (horseshit Internet sites like this one, junk food, drugs, alcohol and trashy fiction) can be so dazed, so drugged, so out of it as to be preyed upon by bunkum-steerers, patent medicine men, real estate agents, and here Pam Geller. But a USA that has turned towards Allah is one for the loony bin.


The Know Nothing movement of the 1830s means that if you were to eradicate Islam, you’d then turn (using Samuel FB Huntington’s ravings as your text) on Catholicism for it too, in the last analysis, is a religion that seeks to convert all nations and has a secular legal programme (such as the prohibitions on abortion and birth control that used to be in force in Ireland and are being reintroduced by right wing parties in Poland). A sha’aria, if you will.

Then you might turn on the Jews, and their plan for world domination. Or, the remaining Protestant sects and perhaps the Randroid fundamentalists might turn upon each other even as New England Congregationalists would not tolerate Quakers or Roger Williams.

Even as today’s “Jew” is the Palestinian, and even as, as Sartre pointed out, haters like you don’t really know much about the target of their hatred. This is logical enough, for if Islam makes you puke, it would take the strength of an Heydrich (the Nazi *gauletier* who studied Yiddish) to learn Arabic or read the Qu’ran. The important point for your followers is to have somebody to hate as opposed to doing anything constructive about the reality of economic and environmental breakdown such as getting to know their neighbors or starting to grow their own food. That way your followers can continue leading their meaningless lives, ’cause it’s someone else’s fault.

The important point for you is ad revenue and speaker’s fees which funds your lifestyle, your lie.


And so it comes to pass
That my head is up my ass?
Well, I ain’t no spring chicken,
And I wasn’t born yesterday,
And I know what you will do
When you do not have a clue,
Nor have read a book
Stuck inside your internet nook:
You will turn to the Nazi and the fecal,
Start making threats to have my job,
Hurl abuse, seek to wound, seek to harm
In the time honored way of the Internet slob.
Seethe o seethe with hatred
Drink tobacco dust and the entrails of a bird
Vomit forth all you have
Because in the beginning was the word,
And that word is called the truth,
And it is well known from Esther to Ruth,
That the truth is on the side of the powerless unfree
Whom you persecute in a vain attempt to alleviate your own misery,
Mock and scorn the Moslems here in this the alien corn
Single them out, cast the first stone,
Make yourself carrion, the truth will be born.
Congress shall make no law
Respecting an establishment of religion
So dry up and blow away
You shall not have your evil day.


What is this ‘self-importance’ of which you speak? Using complete sentences and appropriate references? You wish to seriously change the policy of the United States to target a religious group but you don’t wanna do your homework. That is Fascism.


Oh there is a blogger named Jane
Who may be clinically insane
She is foaming at the mouth
And is clearly heading south
That uninformed blogger named Jane.


Your poetry sucks I give it the bird
“Bilges” may rhyme. Trouble is, it’s not a word.
And as to being a Misogynist
I gleefully confess to being, Miss, your antagonist.

Of course you can play that bimbo card with me
I’m a “misogynist” because I do not agree with thee:
But you better call it down and ring, you better pawn it, babe,
That shit is long past its sell-by date, it’s older than Methelusa was, or Abe.

And wherever I roam, wherever I go,
I’m labeled a nutcase, let it be so,
By the ignorant enraged the subhuman and the Troglodyte
Who would call Night, Day, and Day, the darkest Night.
Who move their lips when reading which is almost never
And out of their ignorance the crawl in a fever
With a hair up their ass ’bout someone to blame
For their stupidity, darkness, brutality and shame.


No, when Naziism first appeared in Germany, at the time of Hitler and Ludendorff’s failed “beer hall Putsch” in the early 1920s, nobody (and I mean nobody) described it as the New Islam. After the collapse of Turkey’s decadent Caliphate in World War I, Islam was not considered a threat. Most Islamic countries were part of British and French empires and their mandates.

Hitler rather admired the more warlike Islamic societies when he thought about them, which was almost never, because he hoped they would be his allies in his struggle against the Jews. As it happened, in a world that was far less global than it is today, his territorial ambitions only went as far into Islamic lands as the Moslem Soviet republics around Baku, and this because of oil.

Hitler enlisted Bosnian Moslems in his struggle as a racially segregated SS unit primarily to fight the Serbs.

But basically, to Hitler, Moslems were inferior and brown. The admiration rather more extended from certain Moslems towards Hitler, notably from the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was anti-Semitic and felt betrayed, simultaneously, by the Balfour Declaration (a promise to give Moslem land to Jews) and the Sykes-Picot agreement (in which Britain undertook to ban further immigration of Jews into Palestine, where they were basically legally stealing Moslem land).

But it’s all realpolitik and “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” rather than any closeness of ideology.

Islam is one of the most RACIALLY tolerant religions: Christianity less so, Judaism, even less. When Malcolm X broke with Louis Farrakhan’s demi and relatively insignificantly in context Fascism and became a “real” Muslim, Malcolm X made the *Haji* to Mecca and was struck, as one who’d endured the vicious racial prejudice of Christians, by the unity in diversity of Islam.

There were Moslems of ALL races and religions. Islam may be more religiously intolerant than, say, modern Anglicanism (and these ultra tolerant religions lose the name of religion eventually becoming strictly social-eleemosynary). But it’s always been the case, since at least the 9th century, that the original equation Arab=Islam has been erased by Islam. Anyone can become a Muslim.

Nothing less like Naziism can be imagined.


Did someone say Fascism?
Did someone say the F word?
In fact I did, and you’re a fascist
One that is ass-kissed,
If your hatred and stupidity
Can be so marshalled by Pam Geller’s cupidity
To lead you so Satanically
To beliefs of such utter falsity.

Stripped in the stockade,
The unveiled one who studied in Paris,
Must endure the humiliation parade
As you jeer at her. Stones do not miss
As you howl that what you do is right
Night is day and day is night
This is my ass and that is a hole in the ground
She falls to the earth and she makes no sound,
A sacrifice to your ignorance
This is your grand Remonstrance.

Her last thought is the sort of thought that comes when pain is too much to bear as the body’s last line of defense. She remembers when you welcomed her to Starbuck’s when you had that job and complimented her on her veil, before September 11 and before you lost that job and your house. Her last thought was that was this too much to ask for, this moment of grace.

Then darkness.


Sarai, I would remark that the slaughter to which you refer was not the act of a government any more than the Manson murders or the post 9-11 murders of Sikhs who were thought to be Muslims. It was the act of a group that had been empowered by the illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Prior to that invasion, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, was a Christian. Both Judaism and Christianity are tolerated and practiced not only in Iraq but all over the Muslim world. More than that, Hindus (which are considered not “people of the book” but pagans by conservative Muslims) are tolerated and practice in the Islamic state of Pakistan.

Since the US invasion, which was the CAUSE of today’s non-state *jihadis* including the men who attacked Christians, Iraq has alternated between Sunni and Shi’ite and as a result of the United States’ failure to install martial law in May 2003, its disbanding of the Iraqi army and police, radical *jihadis*, who are not led by *imams* but by warlords, and who are less interested in religion than in lining their own pockets in the US-created chaos, have attacked mostly their brother Moslems, not Christians and not Jews, both of which groups continue to practice in Iraq mostly unmolested: had this not been the case there would have been no Christian church to attack.

In the United States, Emmett Till was brutally mutilated and murdered for whistling at a white woman. Lynching continued until 1983 and symbolic lynchings continue on college campuses. A black CHRISTIAN church in Birmingham was fire bombed with CHILDREN inside of it by CHRISTIANS who believed that racial integration was against God’s law.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.


That’s as good as it gets. “Toleration” is in fact a beautiful virtue, like Portia’s “mercy” in the Merchant of Venice. You think it’s weak tea because you want madder music and stronger wine, having fed yourself with fantasies. You’re intolerant to a Fascist level of the Muslim getting, in the United States, his human rights under the Constitution. You want to deny human rights to the Muslim because his religion shares precisely the same goal as most other world religions including Christianity: the elimination of other religious world views and the support of the favored religion by the state.

Roman Catholics pray for the conversion of the world to Catholic “sha’aria” and when a majority as in Spain until 1975 and Ireland until the 1990s, Roman Catholic sha’aria was the law in those countries.

Protestants want free-market capitalism and its sha’aria extended to Latin America and on their behalf the United States has intervened many times militarily to reduce the influence of Catholicism (especially liberation theology) and support Protestant ways in Protestant religion.

Israeli politicians define first class citizenship of Israel as being Jewish ethnically and religiously in violation of human rights as commonly understood.

However, decent Catholic politicians like John F. Kennedy and Mario Cuomo have realized that Christ’s command to love one another means active toleration of other faiths and that they could expect to be actively tolerated, the issue of their religion not made a campaign issue. Individual Protestants other than fundamentalists practice active toleration. Individual Israelis protest their own government.

Real toleration of Muslims happens to entail allowing them access to courts when sent vile emails, to create churches and to enforce their family laws as long as they don’t conflict (as did Mormon polygamy until the 1880s when the Mormons agreed to end that practice) with basic rights and freedoms.


I’m not a troll. That’s a person who posts things he does not believe. I happen to believe that Pam Geller is a fascist thug and you are deluded fools.

My latest update to the Ayn Rand wikipedia article

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 23, 2010 by spinoza1111

I am very serious about these updates, which are always canceled. Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is absurd enough to be an order of magnitude more distant from actual philosophy than the philosophy of Carnap was to Heidegger, and it is tragic that American “tea party” members are reacting to a real impoverishment at the hands of computer thugs, gangster politicians of the right, and financial swindlers by reading Rand.

Ayn Rand was an exclusively self-proclaimed philosopher in her lifetime. Subsequent to that her work has been “re-examined” only in consequence of corporate takeovers of universities, for her philosophy is ersatz criticism of actual power relations.

Her work does not bear examination as philosophy. She makes elemental mistakes:

* Refusal to read or dialog with the tradition
* The logical fallacy of attempting to derive a synthetic apriori from the analytic apriori statement that (x)[x=x]
* A cult-like and polemic style that treats dialog as dissent from unquestioned truths

Citations of her work are of no more significance than citations by philosophers of Mein Kampf, or Zizek’s citations of American movies. It is true that at one place within his own work, the respected Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek does admit that Randroidism has more truth content than the liberal’s attempt to reconcile global capitalism with freedom, but this is nothing more than saying that Naziism was an alternative to Stalinism, and nothing in Fascism or Naziism bears philosophical scrutiny.

Ayn Rand is no philosopher, merely a justification for the impoverishment of the middle classes by computer thugs and tax cheats like Jimmy Wales who have a stunning contempt for followers who, in the name of anti-altruism, altruistically have donated their time to creating wikipedia, only to be driven out by convenience store clerks so that its content may be privatized and ultimately used for profit.

It is true that Marching Morons of the Tea Party movement are waving her book, but all this means is that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American booboisie”. Indeed, the fact that her thought is part of this Fascist reaction to the very genuine expropriation of the American middle class by the thugs of politics and business is nothing more than a mass madness on the order of “the great fear” of the French revolution and the Cultural Revolution in China.

Selfishness is in fact not any more logically prior than altruism. Even Marx got it wrong: sure, there was “primitive accumulation”, but there is also primitive altruism and cooperation and Mom. My own late Mom gave her life to her family and was treated like furniture: almost like Brutus’ Calpurnia, who swallowed fire, my Mom swallowed smoke for fifty years, and it killed her because she didn’t dare talk back: she got drunk in preference to standing up to the neighborhood bully. She gave and gave and got nothing in return for approximately the same reason I get screamed at by my sister for asking help in contacting my kids, but civilization is based on people like her. Ayn Rand shits on her memory. But I shit on Ayn Rand, saying, we have no rights, only responsibilities.

Edward G. Nilges, Hong Kong 23 Feb 2010

Posted at the Ayn Rand site on wikipedia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 14, 2010 by spinoza1111

Since I allowed a person using the email, who is apparently Jimmy Wales, to comment the preceding (next) post in this blog, I have posted the following at the Ayn Rand article’s Talk page in wikipedia.

Ayn Rand is not a philosopher: please leave this statement alone

Note: Mr Jimmy Wales has (it appears) posted several comments at my own blog (; the email source was and I believe this to be from a genuine source at this time.

I consider the comments of this “Wales apparent” person harassment, since despite the fact that he posted five separate comments, at no time did he make anything like a serious attempt to address my serious concerns about racist bullying on wikipedia.

Essentially, Mr Wales-presumptive dully and in the fashion of a cult leader repeatedly said that my view of the transformation of my name from Nilges to niggler was a private and unconfirmed view despite the obvious linguistic and literary linkages between Anglo Saxon insults and the enthusiastic adoption, by 17th century English sailors, of a Romance language word. He seems completely, almost deliberately, blind to recent research by respected Internet figures including Jaron Lanier (“You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto” (Knopf 2010)) which shows the reality of cyberbullying on wikipedia and other sites.

This was harassment far more serious than my inviting a person who’s damaging my reputation and standing to take a look at the origins of Fascism in the behavior of the lower middle class white collar clerisy of the 20th century, or read Adorno, or go fuck themselves, because Mr. Wales-apparent acted as if I did not deserve dialogue.

Therefore I request that the following statement remain at this edit page.

Ayn Rand is not a serious philosopher for two reasons. Many well-known philosophers including Sidney Hook (in the New York Times in a 1962 review of ”Notes for the New Intellectual”) have pointed out elementary philosophical blunders of the sort that would not earn her a passing grade in a philosophy class, including elementary logical fallacies and not even reading the texts she purports to criticise.

In addition, wikipedia, in order to be anything like a serious philosophical resource and not the Bolshoi or Great Soviet Encyclopedia of the New Idiocracy, needs collectively to do some elementary applied philosophy in creating articles about philosophy. This would have been obvious to Denis Diderot or the editors of the 1913 Encyclopedia Britannica, but apparently, in some sort of return of the Dark Ages as seen in the persecution of philosophical writers in the late Roman empire including Boethius, wikipedians believe that one can be “objective” in the manner of the presumption-free, slack-jawed, drool streaked, modal and median white American male…even as minor early Christian fathers such as Tertullian regarded Christ’s message as a license for anti-philosophy.

I have repeatedly proposed, and I here propose, a simple “recursive” definition of the set “philosopher” that is independent of institutions but based on the work of Habermas. It is membership in a human community over time in which already-recognized members of the set willingly engage applicants in invitational dialogue between equals, free of Habermas’ “instrumental reason” (self-seeking reason), in which the goal is agreement on truth.

Rand failed this test egregiously, since on the strength of financial success as a Hollywood hack and the writer of prolix and trashy books, she appeared on a talk show in 1961 and ”said” she was a philosopher. This was not taken seriously at the time but subsequently began to be taken seriously when corporations and banks in the USA saw her philosophy as a way to discipline their growing ranks of technical clerisy. The banks who funded Rand also brought us to 2008’s “credit crisis” and today, the same bankers, as applied Randroids, are demanding fat bonuses while outside their executive precincts their former technical clerisy is in many cases, dying in the streets.

Therefore, I ask, again, that the designation of “philosopher” be removed from the article on Ayn Rand. I am not a troll, nor am I a vandal. I was instead asked in 2004 to “be bold” by editors whose own intellectual production (a thing of far more value than intellectual property) was stolen and who have left wikipedia in disgust, and I contributed a great deal of content, which, I now believe, is on the way to being transformed into the Holy Private Property of Mr. Wales and his thug slaveowner racist pals. I believe this is why Hitler Youth and convenience store clerks including amerindianarts and many others started their little ”Kulturkampf” against knowledgeable contributors in 2006.

Please leave this edit alone. Since I don’t think you will accede to this request, it shall also be placed at my blog, at I have left the Wales-apparent’s comments stand: do me that courtesy in return.

Edward G. Nilges 14 Jan 2009

Rand is not relevant

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 15, 2009 by spinoza1111

Is Rand relevant, asks the Wall Street Journal?

Here’s my comment as submitted to the Journal.

It’s news to me that planning for one’s survival and flourishing is anything more than a human instinct, not a virtue, since what we ordinarily understand to be a virtue (cf. Kant) is always in excess of the pursuit of our self-interest, no matter what planning horizon is selected.

The only reason why planning for one’s survival and flourishing is virtuous is that it is virtuous to try not to burden others.

I am well aware that Rand professed to dislike Kant. The problem was that she may never have made the considerable effort that is required to understand Kant, and in fact anticipated a contemporary gesture of the CEO: a fashionable anti-intellectualism and contempt for writing that makes “unreadability” an argument against a text, convenient if you Kant read the text in the class.

I submitted careful and detailed status reports while wasting my spirit in an expense of shame in 1981, working for a “consulting” firm in Chicago in a building on Ohio street where porno films were also being made: but because I was young and thin and rather “cute”, I was by definition unimportant in data processing, where then and now horrible fat men have more technical authority. My status reports were termed “verbose” by a manager who operated on Randroid principles, destroying anyone who got in her way. It was here I wised up on how people learn, especially in graduate skewl, how to operate in the “real world”.

Rand anticipated today’s contemptible culture of self-reproducing celebrity, since she professed to be a philosopher while being bone ignorant of actual philosophical method: as a real philosopher, Sydney Hook, showed in an excessively gentlemanly review of Notes for a New Intellectual in 1962, Rand made an absurd substantive (“synthetic apriori” inference) from an “analytic apriori” axiom, to wit, a=a.

This wasn’t a matter of philosophical opinion. It was a matter of logic.

However, in today’s contemptible culture of self-reproducing celebrity, if you have money and media attention already, you get more. Rand had a knack for producing reams of the sort of trash people read at the beach, and it sold in the 1950s. Therefore, she was able to announce to a talk show host, in 1960, that she rilly wuz a filosofer or something.

Banks (!) have funded various thinktanks which promote her thought as part of a kulturkampf against the New Left which started in the 1970s.

As a result, a generation of Yuppies was unleashed on the economy which preferred “self-interest”: at the Princeton P-Rade in 1989, an annual ritual of that school’s alumni and graduating class, drunk members of the graduating class carried a sign reading “The Nation in Princeton’s Service: Wall Street here we come!”.

At Wall Street, those students and others pursued Holy Self Interest 24/7. They created overelaborate financial instruments using rocket science which have become today’s toxic mess, and graduates of deVry and Roosevelt University, not Princeton graduates, are paying the price.

It’s in Jack Welch’s self-interest (on the front page of Financial Times for 14 March) to write now that he was just kidding about “shareholder value and nothing else” in 1981, but it wasn’t in Bernie Madoff’s self-interest to admit wrong in a court of law.

But Bernie Madoff is the *mensch*. Jack Welch and Ayn Rand are role models only for the *schlemiel* and the *putz*.

Ode to Kruschschev in Love

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 10, 2009 by spinoza1111

An ode inspired by this post.

There is a young blogger named Krushschev in Love
Who thought to give Teddy Adorno a shove:
And thought it a joke to give him a poke.
Alas and alack, if you don’t do your homework
You’re apt to look like no end of a jerk:
And censorship, as well as the hardy perennial
“I Kant understand it: it is somebunny else’s fault, and stuff, and all”
Scarcely credit your case
And tend to blow up in your face.
Ayn Rand (brain of sand) invented this riposte:
It’s quite the thing to tell the talk show host:
Professor x is a bum, and he’s much too verbose.
The past is another country.
And in terms of le temps postmoderne
Galileo and Descartes were primitives,
And as far from being au fait
As Kaiser Wilhelm, or Jules Verne.
We do not look for fashionable views
In these arondissements, or these ancient mews:
Thus Adorno may have indeed shrunk from the homo,
Especially the queer who seeks to install fear
By being a jackbooted thug:
Teddy and Harvey Milk, and other queers of that latter-day ilk
Never encountered each other, not even in the dark, or in the queer park.
Therefore, argal, qed and in fine
We might say, whilst wearily sighin’,
Next time some sitzfleisch might behoove
That anonymous blogger, Krushschev in love.

10 March 2009 Edward G. Nilges. Moral rights done be assert, so be everybody be cool this is an original ode.