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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › On "Those who hold mistaken but not necessarily irrational views"

On "Those who hold mistaken but not necessarily irrational views"

Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 99
In reading the article: "On Moral Sanctions" By Peter Schwartz, I do not understand the following statement:

"... there are those with mixed ideologies, who hold mistaken but not necessarily irrational views, such as various conservative or liberal groups. There may be nothing wrong in cooperating or debating with those who merely hold mistaken views (as long as one makes clear what one disagrees with); there is nothing wrong in implying that they are moral." The entire article is available through the Ayn Rand Institute at: http://www.aynrand.or...­

But what makes "a mistaken view not necessarily irrational" in a political context? More particularly, what makes various conservative or liberal groups merely mistaken, but moral, considering the various mixed religious and statist premises of these groups? For example, is it moral to speak at a Texas Republican Party event or a Texas Democratic Party event? Are these people merely mistaken, such that it is OK to imply that their supporters are moral?

Any thoughtful discussion would be appreciated.
A former member
Post #: 10
Hey Todd,

It's a pleasure to come back and post, even if I don't seem to find among you anyone who seems to enjoy "noise composers" as much as I do. <sniff>

I didn't read the article, but I think that your "clip" contains enough information for me to offer some insight into your confusion about what he means in the article.

I think Rand would probably agree with me when I say that morality is the opposite of criminality, contrary to popular belief. Perhaps when Schwartz says "there is nothing wrong in implying that they are moral" he means that people can be easily, and frequently are, mistaken, without the necessity of being "criminal-minded." I would agree with the implication that most conservatives are not criminal-minded. (Footnote: Recall that regarding "McCarthyism," Rand said that a communist mind is a criminal mind.)

I think that people that I would disagree with are as often, or more often, mistaken rather than irrational. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here because I also think, and would suggest to you as further insight, that irrationality necessarily implies intellectual dishonesty.

Have you ever heard the "stick in the water" experiment? Imagine a stick protruding out of a body of water. You placed the stick there, so you know it's straight. Yet when you look at it, it appears to be "crook'd" at the point that it enters the water. If someone happens along that didn't see you place it there, he may well ask, "how do you know it's straight? It doesn't look straight. I don't think it's straight." He's mistaken, not irrational.

I now pass the stick to you <smile>.
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