North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Peikoff on the election

Peikoff on the election

A former member
Post #: 56
The following is a statement by Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff:

http://www.peikoff.co...­

Peikoff on the coming election (October 19, 2006)

Q: In view of the constant parade of jackassery which is Washington, is
there any point in voting for candidates of either entrenched party?
Throwing out the incumbents "for a change" is to me an idea based on the
philosophy that my head will stop hurting if I bang it on the opposite wall.

A: How you cast your vote in the coming election is important, even if
the two parties are both rotten. In essence, the Democrats stand for
socialism, or at least some ambling steps in its direction; the Republicans
stand for religion, particularly evangelical Christianity, and are taking
ambitious strides to give it political power.

Socialism - a fad of the last few centuries - has had its day; it has been
almost universally rejected for decades. Leftists are no longer the
passionate collectivists of the 30s, but usually avowed anti-ideologists,
who bewail the futility of all systems. Religion, by contrast - the destroyer
of man since time immemorial - is not fading; on the contrary, it is now the
only philosophic movement rapidly and righteously rising to take over the
government.

Given the choice between a rotten, enfeebled, despairing killer, and a
rotten, ever stronger, and ambitious killer, it is immoral to vote for the
latter, and equally immoral to refrain from voting at all because "both are
bad."

The survival of this country will not be determined by the degree to which the government, simply by inertia, imposes taxes, entitlements, controls, etc., although such impositions will be harmful (and all of them and worse will be embraced or pioneered by conservatives, as Bush has shown). What does determine the survival of this country is not political concretes, but fundamental philosophy. And in this area the only real threat to the country now, the only political evil comparable to or even greater than the threat once posed by Soviet Communism, is religion and the Party which is its home and sponsor.

The most urgent political task now is to topple the Republicans from power, if possible in the House and the Senate. This entails voting consistently Democratic, even if the opponent is a "good" Republican.

In my judgment, anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election has no understanding of the practical role of philosophy in man's actual life - which means that he does not understand the philosophy of Objectivism, except perhaps as a rationalistic system detached from the world.

If you hate the Left so much that you feel more comfortable with the Right, you are unwittingly helping to push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner.


The above statement may be reproduced or disseminated at will, without any requirement to consult or inform Dr. Peikoff.
A former member
Post #: 16
Sounds like Peikoff forgot his medication before giving this interview.


edit:
I'm referring, for the most part, to this statement:
"In my judgment, anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election has no understanding of the practical role of philosophy in man's actual life - which means that he does not understand the philosophy of Objectivism, except perhaps as a rationalistic system detached from the world."
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 204
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and equally immoral to refrain from voting at all because "both are
bad."
Wow, I like this man.

I don't really agree with not voting for a "good" republican though, with some republicans it's hard to tell they aren't democrats. I'd rather take each one into account by themselves and see what their stances are.

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 69
Peikoff is wrong. In a choice between Tom Coburn and Nancy Pelosi, there is no doubt of who is more evil.
A former member
Post #: 17
http://www.realclearp...­
Robert Tracinski says vote Republican. He must not understand Objectivism or its practical application in man's life.

Compare Peikoff's bizarre claim that voting Republican, or abstaining from voting, in this election makes a man irrational or a detached objectivist--with Tracinski's argument to vote Republican. Notice the differences in logical form. Notice the concretes tied to abstract principles in Tracinski's piece, compared to Peikoff's vague definitions (e.g. he never states clearly the "essence" of the Left) or his unfounded assertions (e.g. theocracy is near! vote republican or you're not an objective thinker!).

And then notice this, if you haven't already:
6. "You should sacrifice because only an evil person would challenge this established fact." This kind of claim assumes that you regard others' opinions of you as more important than your own judgment of truth. It is also an example of what Ayn Rand called "the argument from intimidation": the attempt to substitute psychological pressure for rational argument. Like the personal attack, it is an attempt to avoid having to present a rational case for a position for which no rational case can be made.
(Craig Biddle, on various arguments used by altruists, from this)
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 290
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I think this is a great of example of how many Objectivists don't agree on everything.

My vote goes to the individual candidate, and sometimes (usually) that does seem to mean voting for the lessor evil. I don't agree with Dr. Peikoff on voting Democratic to the point of letting a less rational person replace a more rational one.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 205
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But if your local House and Senate candidates are unexceptional--and too many of them are--then your vote is really about which party should have the power to appoint committee chairmen, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and steer the nation's legislative debate.
I think this is a rather nice point out of Tracinski's piece and probably what Peikoff was trying to get at. It just don't agree with his assessment that religion is the biggest of the evils between the two parties. The republicans controlled both the legislative and executive and changed the court alignment and I see no theocracy, there is too much a constitutional objection to it. I see a much larger government trying to take as many rights in the name of security as it can.

or abstaining from voting, in this election makes a man irrational
I know a lot of you hold that elections are too dangerous to use, or that your vote doesn't count and is insignificant in any case, but when a rational man knows without a doubt that one of a couple of people are going to be sent to the government as his representative, is the more rational man the one who does what he can to make sure the person who is the least threat (or maybe the most benefit) to his way of life goes in? Or is it the one that says forget, it's useless, I'm insignificant, and lets others make that decision for him?

- Travis

[edit for clarity]
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 291
Send an Email You are unable to greet this member
Bottom line is that doing NOTHING gets NOTHING done.
That is why I vote. I would rather be trying to do something than just do nothing.
A former member
Post #: 57
First of all, I don't agree that Peikoff is asking for a sacrifice.

Secondly, I think it is ironic that you should mention Craig Biddle in this regard, when Mr Biddle himself advocated voting for John Kerry: http://www.craigbiddl...­

Perhaps someone could ask Mr Biddle himself what he thinks of Mr Peikoff's statement during his visit on Nov 4th.
A former member
Post #: 99
[Chad Merritt said]
Sounds like Peikoff forgot his medication before giving this interview.


Can you be more respectful of Dr. Peikoff even if you disagree with him? Because this is an outrageous statement to make regarding the top Objectivist intellectual alive today.

If you want to read an interesting on-line debate over this particular issue, I recommend the debate of The Forums for Ayn Rand Fans, that has a lot of respectful disagreements with his statements.

I think that if you take philosophy seriously, and especially the ideology of what the government ought to be, then Dr. Peikoff's statement deserves serious attention.

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Philosophic essays based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand

www.appliedphilosophyonline.com­

Applied Philosophy Online .com

Where Ideas Are Brought Down to Earth!

tmiovas@appliedphilosophyonline.com

All rights reserved 2006 by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

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