INSULTS AND COMPLIMENTS — WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

sad-girlArticle by Reed.

Syndicated from Eternal Vigilance.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Reed is a Transegoist sympathizer; not a Transegoist — our syndication of his article does not indicate that he endorses the Transegoist philosophy.

When people give insults or compliments they are giving an insight into what they consider to be important.

If someone compliments your looks it’s because they value looks. If someone compliments your honesty it’s because they value honesty. If someone compliments your intelligence it’s because they value intelligence.

If someone calls you ugly it’s because their own looks are important to them. If someone calls you an amateur it’s because their own importance is important to them. If someone says you have a nasal voice it’s because how they sound is important to them. Insults like these come from vanity.

With insults – the more harm the insulter is trying to do the higher the value of insult they will give. That is, the higher value is to the insult giver not necessarily the insult receiver.

So…next time you get insulted don’t just ignore it – consider what it tells you about the giver.  And, more importantly, if you happen to give an insult or a compliment consider what it tells you about yourself.

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DON’T CALL ME DADDY

164482283Editorial by Barbara Proctor.

Syndicated from Barbara Proctor’s personal blog.

Many Christians (substitute «liberal», «conservative», «American», «Muslim», or whatever box you are close to and this whole rant will work just as well) are guilted into believing that by failing to toe the party line and check all the boxes on the policy card handed out by the neo-Christian-conservative political policy makers makes you somehow disloyal to God. It’s like those Facebook memes that say if you don’t share a picture of Jesus on a social website whose sole purpose is to figure out what you want so they can sell it to you, then you don’t love God. It’s rank manipulation. Don’t fall for it.

There are many issues on the ticket. Evolution, blind trust in «authority», gay marriage. But Jesus removed the priesthood from the mix. It is now only Him and The Spirit between you and God. You don’t have to call anybody else «Daddy.»

It’s ok to say that lesbians being married doesn’t hurt you, and it doesn’t threaten your Christianity.

Take a minute to look at the two women featured in this article from The Ticket, then explain to yourself (don’t explain to me, it’s not my business) how letting them have a piece of paper from the courthouse just like you have makes your life any less meaningful, your marriage less valuable, your devotion to God any less real or makes this country any less strong. If you still believe it, then vote your heart. (My heart says, «View with horror and disgust any piece of legislation that attempts to control through mob rule the personal details of individual lives.») But I’m skeptical you can honestly say God wants you to be wrapped around a pole about this.

It’s ok to make up your own mind. There will always be people who will build a box for you to live in so that you will be just like them; I assume it’s so they can feel validated in their opinions. Doesn’t mean you have to get in it.

There will always be people who build a box for you so that you will be exactly like all other people they’ve decided you must be indistinguishable from and demand that you conform to it. I assume it’s so they can feel validated in their distrust for people who aren’t like them.

Still doesn’t mean you have to get in it.

HOW THE CENSUS MESHES WITH BANKRUPT TOTALITARIAN SOCIALISM

wikiriwhi-for-HCC-001Article by Tim Wikiriwhi.

Syndicated from Eternal Vigilance.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Wikiriwhi is a Transegoist sympathizer; not a Transegoist — our syndication of his article does not indicate that he endorses the Transegoist philosophy.

On the reoccurring theme of «What is the proper roll of government?» I submit to you a frank article about the New Zealand census.

Thomas Jefferson wrote “He who governs best governs least.” He penned the American Declaration of Independence, which actually defined what the proper duties of government are: to defend the God given rights of the individual, which is a very limited sphere of operation, which does not include the supply or control of such services as education, hospitals, arts and sports, etc, all of which are the proper sphere of free enterprise and private, voluntary associations.

It is because western society has forgotten such enlightened principles which motivated Jefferson and the founding fathers of America, and instead have adopted a totalitarian socialist conception of government where the prevailing belief is that all of life’s problems have political solutions, as a result of which, Western civilization teeters on the brink of absolute economic collapse and chaos.

Understand the gravity of the situation; the rationale that underpins the so-called justification for having the compulsory census.

tyrannyThe image above is the Cover picture from the Government Facebook page, Census NZ.

This image is case in point as to why the enlightened Kiwi is outraged by the underpinning arguments which Census NZ and the New Zealand government use to vindicate this compulsory violation of our privacy; i.e., that the information gathered will be used to for their «social planning.»

Bread and circuses, anyone?

Notice how this picture appeals to the unthinking: the «Government as the font of all culture; get someone else to pay for it» mentality.  «More drag strips, more skate parks, more gigs and festivals, more sports,» etc., ad nauseum.  Notice that it completely forgets to add: “More taxes, more rates, more debt, more compulsions and property violations, more government poking its nose into things which are not its business to be involved in!»

SCCZEN_A_180410NZHAGV807_460x230Now I like drag strips and concerts as much as anyone, yet I am not so stupid as to believe that these things are only possible via political interventions.  I also know that every time the government or city council builds a stadium or sports facility and events that they always run massively over budget and put us into massive debts, and, ultimately, end up costing rate payers and tax slaves tens of millions of dollars…every…time.

Three examples from my home town of Hamilton will suffice as examples:

The rugby stadium.
The V8 supercars.
The Claudlands event center.

Each of these cost Hamilton ratepayers many tens of millions of dollars over the price the Hamilton city council told ratepayers they would cost!

Via consecutive socialist meddling, the HCC has racked up $500 million in debts!

pigAnd what needs to be appreciated is that this bankrupt situation is the norm across the globe in Western socialist democracies; i.e., socialist politicians are systematically bankrupting their captive populations.  Debts are skyrocketing and rates are going through the roof, yet nobody seems to be waking up to the fact that city councils ought not to be involved in such ventures at all — they are best left to free enterprise and voluntary associations, which are much more realistic about how such things get built and on what scale.  Most importantly, they don’t demand money via compulsory taxations upon the community; i.e., little old ladies living on pensions don’t face rent increases or rates hikes to pay for the white elephants and delusions of grandeur which big mouth, big promising politicians spout at election time to get elected.

If the figures don’t add up, they don’t get built — its as simple as that.  I.e., economic reality prevails; not ridiculous socialist whim.

The sort of people whom support any sort of government involvement in such things are either ignorant, evil, or both.

The ignorant have not figured out that such things will return to haunt them via higher rates, rents, and costs for necessities in goods and services, and the evil don’t give a d@mn [expletive redacted] if people who don’t like rugby, etc., are forced to pay for new stadiums etc.; all they care about is having a flash new place to worship their sporting Gods.  They are too stupid to realize that better stadiums and facilities could be established via legitimate means without the use of draconian powers of compulsion.

Hamilton News points out that the publicly funded Claudland’s Event Center operates under a $1.42 million annual deficit; even as tax payers continue to express outrage of the V8 debacle.

The New Zealand Herald quotes City of Hamilton debt estimates as a result of the V8 debacle as being around $37.4 million, with a total municipal annual debt of around $100 million.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Wikiriwhi is currently running for mayor of the city of Hamilton, NZ, as the Libertarianz Party candidate.

WHEN I GROW UP

Elderly the manArticle by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

How do you explain to a child the important things?

Honor, integrity, courage, faithfulness?

Try explaining to a two year old that he should tell the truth because his actions become his habits, and his habits become his character. Frustration will follow. So you show a child that he must tell the truth because if he doesn’t, he will be punished, and you hope that by forming his habits, the growth of his character will follow.

When he is six, you can explain to him that he should share because if he doesn’t no one will share with him and hope that eventually he builds a generous spirit.

Understanding cannot be given directly, it can only be shown from every angle and then left with the hope that the student eventually absorbs it.

As a child grows, his obedience gives way to character.

Obedience is initially given out of fear: Mommy will unhappy if I don’t obey. Mommy’s displeasure feels like she doesn’t love me. If she doesn’t love me, I will be abandoned. If I am abandoned, I die.

With a little maturity, obedience is given out of direct barter: I either gain advantage or avoid punishment by obedience.

Deeper understanding gives obedience out of trust. Experience has shown the reason Mommy instructed the way she did to begin with is that she understood what was best for me, so therefore if she commands something now it must be that there is something she understands that I do not. I will obey out of trust until I understand.

Further maturity brings obedience out of self image. I feel better if I am consistent with my beliefs in what is «right» and «wrong.»

Eventually, a child is able to stand on his own feet and be an independent entity, directing his behavior from character.

I used to think this was «maturity.»

But I see that I reasoned from an immature mind.

Is «independence» the final, fully mature state of man?

It used to ignore the later stages of man, seeing them as decayed, something lesser than the man of «independence.»

Ah, the hubris of youth.

In his truly mature form, man is more childlike than in his medium, independent form. That isn’t to say that he is weaker, although he may be physically. That isn’t to say that he gives up his own self, although he may have to soften his will to accommodate limitation.

It is to say that man, in his fully matured form, relies on the providence (or Providence) of the basis established in his early maturity.

When he is truly mature, man trusts, has a mind untroubled by the necessity of production, unmoved by the need to prove, satisfied that what he has done is enough.

When he is mature, man is content to be happy now, much like a child.

When I grow up, I want to be a child.

_____________________________________________

REFERENCES:

«I shall buy satin sandals and say we’ve no money for butter.»

John 21:18 «When you were younger, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.»

«What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?»

EAST OF MAINE

American-MilitaryEditorial by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

The country was in a horribly unpopular war somewhere way far east of Main Street. The President decided to hold a lottery, the first since Shirley Jackson hosted one that nobody wanted to win.

My father was 20-something, had just finished college, had his first «real» job and a pregnant wife when he won the lottery, and won big. There was no possibility of honorably avoiding going to war, and being college-educated and drafted meant being an infantry officer for either the Army or the Marines, the life expectancy of whom was famously 17 minutes. It didn’t matter if the number was accurate. The reality was.

So, he did the only thing that made sense. He applied himself to getting a pilot’s license as quickly as he could, doubling and tripling up on instruction, then presented himself to the Air Force, voluntarily, qualified to be a pilot. He served his tours in Viet Nam, and once the war was over, he decided to make a career in the military.

The military was a place where duty, honor, respect, organization, integrity were rewarded and laziness, irresponsibility, entitlement were not. It was a place where doing one’s duty was expected and shifting of one’s duty was punished swiftly, a place where leaving your fellow soldiers hanging out to dry was dealt with harshly and immediately. It was a place where everyone understood his responsibilities and carried his own weight, where personal achievement was rewarded and effort was made to direct each individual’s talents to the place where they could be best shaped and utilized.

After my father lead the way, 4 out of the six brothers in his family followed in his footsteps and served in the military. And after them innumerable sons and daughters also served and continue to serve. I have family pictures with 15 or more of my immediate family in their uniforms. And it still amazes me how much pride that gives me. The man who shares my bed has served in Iraq and faces another deployment soon to Afghanistan. I always took for granted that I would serve in the military. I looked forward to it. But … there were many forks in the road.

I was born at Ft. Sam Houston Medical Army Hospital. I spent my life in the military community and graduated from a military High School in Germany, where armed MP’s lined the halls, not because drugs or gangs were a problem or violence among the student body was a danger like many of the schools in the States, but because bomb threats were literally a daily occurrence (by my senior year, the buses dropped us off at the soccer field every morning so that we could wait for the dogs to sniff out the truth or lie of the current day’s threat of a fiery death to children). We all knew terrorism’s face long before Al Queda was a household name. We all had friends and family who had suffered terrorism’s wrath.

It makes me smile a little bit that my fellow Americans were able to maintain the illusion that terrorism didn’t exist until September 11, 2001, wrapped in gauze because men like my father were able to give you years of peace more than his own family had.

I watched my father, the most honorable man I’ve ever seen, serving his country, mentoring the men under his command, tending to their families, concerning himself with what was best for the troops, their families and the nation. I watched him pace the halls of our home in the wee hours of the morning preparing himself to deliver the news to mothers and wives that their men would not be coming home. I’ve held friends in my arms, silently, while they cried because their husbands would not see their unborn children. I’ve seen up close the terrors that follow men and women home from war. I’ve listened friends agonize and second-guess themselves for choices they made in a split second whether to live or die. I’ve known and loved these people as a group and as individuals. I’ve seen the best and the brightest, I’ve seen the strong and the broken.

I’ve seen what the US military produces: pride, joy, anger, frustration, community, belonging, alienation, hope, despair, ambition, patriotism, duty, honor, obedience, insubordination, victory and loss.

What I’ve never seen in the US military, even once, was a man whose individuality was destroyed to the point that he «follows orders without question» nor have I ever met a man whose goal in life or training prepared him to «kill civilians and destroy cultures.»

And it makes me smile that, even this far down the road, impossible as it may seem, we have a nation where we still have the luxury to think of bombs and mortars, pogroms and atrocities as things that happen «over there.» Wherever «there» is.

Somewhere.

Way east of Main Street.

AN UNFORTUNATE ENCOUNTER WITH OBJECTIVIST DR. DIANA HSIEH

0Article by Mark I Rasskazov, editor in chief.

UPDATE (2347 26 MARCH 2013): I offered the olive branch to Dr. Hsieh, but it seems we have irreconcilable differences.  Such is life.  We all live in glass houses.  Those who throw stones at mine tend to find it’s made of thicker glass than most.

TENTATIVE RETRACTION (1717 15 MARCH 2013): Dr. Hsieh has explained her response, and it seems reasonable, so my comments about her character may be false.  Also, her lack of comments may be more a function of the fact that her attention is taken elsewhere, than a reflection on her personality.  My comments about her career; some scholars pursue academics; others pursue activism.  Perhaps she is the latter.  My comments about the nature of Objectivism, I stand by; I’ve read most of the main items written by Ayn Rand, and have given them a lot of thought.  My comments about Rand’s personality, I stand by; I’ve met a lot of elderly Russian women, and based on video clips, her writing style, and accounts about her behavior, I would say that she was very much a Russian woman of her time and place in many ways.

NOTE: This is a tough love piece.  I am not down on Objectivists in general like so many out there are.  If there are Objectivists reading this, please have the intellectual courage to read it in its entirety and judge it objectively.

Dr. Diana Hsieh is one of the top figures within the current Objectivist movement.  My perception is that there’s Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Dr. Yaron Brooke, and Dr. Diana Hsieh — in that order.  She’s pretty high up on the Objectivist totem pole.

Now, I like Objectivism as a philosophy.  I don’t agree with it 100% — but I would say that I do agree with it about 90%.  Their politics are usually on point.  Their ethics are usually very close to the truth (if a little narrow, at times).  Their epistemological system is nearly flawless — although I have not encountered any Objectivist writings on cognitive philosophy.  The fundamentals of their metaphysics are sound (things are what they are), with the exception that they don’t seem to have a satisfactory answer to the mind-dualism problem.  Their Aesthetic is like a shot-gun blast — not very subtle, and not very accurate, but it gets the job done (their conclusions are on the right track, although they need to take a closer look at their premises in this field).

All of that having been said, I did encounter Dr. Hsieh online, and I am sorry to say it did not go well.

Now, Dr. Hsieh has a radio show podcast, and she has a blog.  I visited her blog, «Noodlefood.»  What I find interesting is that, whereas she is very prominent in the world of Objectivism, and whereas her blog has over 6,000 posts, intellectual interactions on her site are very sparse.  I commented on her second most recent blog post.  There are 8 posts between that one and the next one with any comments (2 comments — one of them hers — on that one; followed by two more posts with empty comment sections).  Now, the value of a blog’s content is not necessarily measured in the number of comments it generates, however, if a blog has been around as long and as prolifically as that one has, one would expect a little more interest in the content.

To give you an idea, this WordPress powered online newspaper and philosophy forum (the TDJ, that is), which has been around for about month gets comments almost every post, now; sometimes 6-7 comments per post.  Compared to Dr. Hsieh, I am a nobody.  How am I able to generate so much more interest in my writings than she is?

That’s not the only thing.

On her blog, she’s always asking for handouts; «tip your philosopher,» etc., whereas, I don’t see any advertising on her site.  Now, I am not, in principle, opposed to asking for donations, but I would expect a proponent of Capitalism to be just a little more savvy.  Why would she ask for donations?  She’s a prominent Objectivist.  It’s embarrassing!  How about providing a product for peoples’ money instead of trying to guilt them into donations?  WWJGD (What Would John Galt Do)?  I’m betting he’d sell t-shirts, coffee mugs, and books, and get sponsors — not grovel and guilt-trip for donations.  Jussayin.

Now, here is how she describes herself on her site:

«Dr. Diana Hsieh is a philosopher specializing in practical ethics. She received her Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. Her dissertation argued that Thomas Nagel’s «problem of moral luck» can be resolved by an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility. She began podcasting in 2009, then webcasting in 2010. She switched to internet radio in 2012.

Diana blogs at NoodleFood and podcasts at NoodleCast. Her other active projects include Explore Atlas Shrugged, Modern Paleo, and OList.com. She also contributes to Front Range Objectivism, the Coalition for Secular Government, and Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine. Diana lives with her husband Paul Hsieh and a small menagerie of beasts in Sedalia, Colorado.»

No books?  No teaching career?  Her major accomplishment as a philosopher is a dissertation about another philosopher’s work?  Kinda thin resume, considering her status in the Objectivist world.

This is Dr. Diana Hsieh.  Now, all of this having been said, I don’t judge someone on the basis of tokens of accomplishment — the substance of one’s work matters far more than the generation of tokens of accomplishment, and I did not make any premature judgments about this person prior to talking to her — in fact, I was hoping to establish a friendly, collegial relationship with her — I do not ascribe to the philosophy of Objectivism, but I do have a lot of respect for it.  I am an «Objectivist sympathizer,»  As Dr. Peikoff has put it, in the past.  However, while I approached her with an open mind, hoping for a meeting of the minds, I say all of this to point out that an accomplished thinker will usually have more to show for himself/herself than what has been described above.

The exchange that took place between us can be seen here, and is republished below:

Rasskazivats (me): Huh!  I published an article by Barbara Cornell about a «regretful parent» myself, recently: [http://transegoism.us/snake-mom].  Cheers!

Diana Hsieh: Playing (annoying) music automatically on opening a web page?!? AUGH. I can’t imagine any better way to drive people away from a web site.

NOTE: It is in poor taste to address someone you’ve never even spoke to before, and who is approaching you in a friendly, professional manner in this way.  However, rather express offense at this, I chose to remain friendly and professional by providing her with an alternate means of reading my content, without having to endure the «annoying» music on my site.

Rasskazivats: Here’s my RSS feed: [http://transegoism.us/feed/].

Dr. Hsieh has not condescended to resume our conversation.  The only thing I can figure is that she is offended that I did not immediately apologize to her for not running my site in such a way that she finds tasteful, and immediately complying with her tastes.  Now, that music was created by a good friend of mine.  I enjoy it.  I’ve received compliments elsewhere about it.  Beyond that, if it really were in bad taste to have music playing automatically, there’s a right way and a wrong way to bring that up.  Insulting me at a first encounter when I am projecting a friendly demeanor, is the wrong way.  I didn’t ask her what she thought about my site, yet I did provide her with a music-free alternative — and for the record, my month old site seems to be doing substantially better than hers.  With a personality as charming as her’s I can’t imagine why.

NOTE: A passage from The Fountainhead comes to mind; when Peter Keating asks Howard Roark for advice on his work, Roark, at first, balks, and says something to the effect of «Why would you even ask for my advice?»  Dr. Hsieh, with respect, I did not ask for your advice.

Which brings me to another point — Ayn Rand was a brilliant philosopher, but a flawed person.  Her main fault (so far as I can tell from reading about her) was that she was an extremely abrasive person.  Now, people seem to think that her abrasiveness is somehow a necessary function of her philosophy.  Her personality surely influenced the presentation of her work, although I think it has little to do with the content.  What most people don’t understand is that abrasiveness is a personality trait that is very common among Russian women — particularly women of her age (women who survived one or both of the world wars, and/or the Russian civil war).  People view her personality as being an integral aspect of her beliefs, whereas it has more to do with the Russian culture (which is not at all Objectivist, by and large) than with the belief system she created.  Yet, unfortunately, she managed to impress the worst aspects of her personality upon everyone who was associated with her — to a lesser or greater extent.

Dr. Hsieh, I find it to be a sign of weakness that you have failed to develop your own personality and have adopted the worst aspects of Rand’s character.

I am disappointed.