Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

08 November 2008

57 States and Africa

Could it be that the unattributed claim that Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country was simply made up by Democrats in an attempt to counterbalance Barack Obama's thought that there were 57 or more states? Of course, even if Sarah had thought any such thing and I doubt she did, I cannot understand how this would actually counterbalance Obama's mistake. After all, she was trying to be Vice President of the United States and he was aiming to be President. While knowing that Africa is a continent is pretty important, it is even more important that the President should know how many states are in the United States. If the Vice President were not to know this, the Vice President would at least have time to learn it on the job as Vice President. Apparently, the Governor of the 50th state of Alaska already knew this! And she has executive experience too!


Joe said...

I was amazed by the criticism of Palin. She had more executive experience than Obama and Biden put together yet they attacked her experience and ignored Obama's lack of experience. Personally, I am more interested in a person's character and integrity than experience. Any intelligent person can memorize a bunch of facts. Their philosophy and ability to make rational decisions is far more important than experience.

Charles R. Anderson said...

Hi Joe,

They got away with that only because the MSM was in the tank with Obama and Biden. Personally, I would like a President of great moral character and intelligence, who has a joyous and benevolent sense of life, who thinks for himself and has acquired some wisdom, and who has an understanding that other people are too complex and too capable for him to try to manage their lives. Since a person with these characteristics almost never runs for the presidency, I would settle reasonably happily for someone who had an understanding that other people are complex and capable of running their own lives. If we could add to that someone who thinks for himself/herself and has acquired some wisdom and who has a joyous and benevolent sense of life, I would be nearly ecstatic.

Instead we get style and education exulted over wisdom. We get megalomania praised as confidence and leadership. We get the presumptuousness of Obama and Biden that they can manage the life of Joe and Charles better than they can and thereby lead Peggy the Moocher and the CEOs of GM, Bear Stearns, PNC Bank, and AIG into a life of utter corruption and dependence.

Jim said...

"Any intelligent person can memorize a bunch of facts."

7 facts. One in which involves lots of US military and money.

"Their philosophy"

Yet even Objectivists would admit that the GOP does not reflect their ideals. So why so much defense of Palin & Co., when they represent very similar economic positions as democrats (when compared to objectivist ideology)?
Why aren't Objectivists pushing a 3rd party candidate that upholds their ideals?

"who thinks for himself/herself and has acquired some wisdom and who has a joyous and benevolent sense of life"

and how do you measure this? how do you compare one to another in this category?

"education exulted"

And what is so wrong with education? I find it strange anyone would ever include such a word when speaking negatively about any group.

"CEOs of GM, Bear Stearns, PNC Bank, and AIG into a life of utter corruption and dependence."

They don't need to be led there, they found it on their own.
And last I checked it was not Biden nor Obama that gave the bailouts, nor their fault the situation even occurred. Last I checked, even the McCain/Palin camp supported the AiG bailout.

Charles R. Anderson said...


The 7 facts comment is not clear enough to me for me to comment on it. Is this someone's enumeration of Palin errors in a debate or something?

You may note that I have not been praising McCain so much as I have been critical of Obama. McCain is socialism light and Obama represents the pure stuff. So, given that the central issue of our time is individualism versus collectivism, usually in the form of socialism in the developed world, my principal criticisms are delivered to the principal socialist.

Objectivists voted for third party candidates, particularly for Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, for McCain, and for Obama. Those who voted for Barr did vote for a third party candidate. Those who voted for McCain did so thinking he was the lesser of the two evils who had a chance to win the election. Those who voted for Obama seemed to think that he was less dangerous because they view religion as the chief threat of our time and because they think that Bush's Patriot Act is a great threat to our liberties. I would have voted for McCain if he had been close in Maryland, but since he was not, I voted for Barr. I did this as a statement that my domestic issue beliefs are libertarian and despite my evaluation of the Libertarian Party defense and many foreign policy stances are naive.

It is common for people to carry the indoctrination they get in socialism from the public schools and colleges for a very long time without critically evaluating it. Basically, anyone thinking for themselves will see the childish nature of and understand the dependency that comes with socialism. Not everyone who rejects socialism is thinking for themselves, but I do not think anyone who allies themselves with it is. Education, if it were dedicated to developing critical thinking skills directed toward understanding reality, would be wholly wonderful. As it is, I do value self-education generally, but I have severe reservations about an education in propaganda which strips an individual of the thinking skills needed to maintain independent life and thought.

The CEOs who have been led astray live in an environment in which government has been so expanded in scope that a moral businessman simply becomes the prey of politicians offering to tax and regulate business to provide the goodies they use to bribe large numbers of voters into giving them power. As this process progresses, many businessmen will give up on moral behavior since they cannot afford to become victims. Many decide to try to use government themselves to become predators. Morality does not fare well in any society which decides that the extensive use of force is OK. Government is the most effective agency for marshaling force and subjecting individuals to it. Government is the problem once there is enough government to overcome the anarchy of brigands and gangs.

Indeed, both the Republicans and the Democrats have the wrong response to the financial crisis. It was brought on largely by government meddling with the economy, especially with respect to housing. I have previously discussed this issue, but the problem is largely of local government origins due to limitations on home building by communities, most strongly supported commonly by Democrats. It is also due to excessive federal land holdings in some western states, again most strongly supported by Democrats. It was aided also by Democrats at the Congressional level mostly pushing financial institutions to lend to subprime mortgage borrowers, including Obama. It was also furthered by the Community Reinvestment Act requirements, again a pet of Democrats in Congress. Then it was further pushed forward by easy money from the Federal Reserve, always pushed for by Democrats and lately usually by Republicans too.

Economic issues are not the only issues of importance to Objectivists. A huge portion of the hours of our lives are put into our attempts at productive labor. The reason for this is that we are trying to make our lives richer and more secure through this labor. When this aspect of our lives is under relentless attack, it is a big deal.

However, it is also important that we retain the freedom to make individual decisions about managing our own lives in other things also. It is important that we have freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, and freedom from involuntary servitude, all of which are clearly protected by the Bill of Rights. These freedoms fare fairly well in our society, with the exception of involuntary servitude. Those freedoms secured by the 9th Amendment of the Constitution are not well-treated. These include the rights to property, privacy, sexual self-expression, our bodies, entertainment and many more rights which our government does commonly interfere with. These are important to me as an individualist. I discussed many of these issues in my early blog posts, but I am sure I will revisit them before long.

Of course, these are the thoughts of one person committed to reality and reason as our means of knowing reality, to my life as my ultimate value, to productive work as my means of securing an independent life, to voluntary rather than forced interactions and trade with others, and to the pursuit of my happiness, while wishing others success in pursuing theirs. I believe this makes me an Objectivist, but there are those who have said that I am no such thing.