November 12, 2012

Liberty on the Rocks

Looks like another superb presentation:

Join us on Monday, November 12th, where your special guest speaker will be Mr. Craig Biddle, editor of the Objectivist Standard, who will be discussing the philosophy of Objectivism. After Mr. Biddle's presentation there will be short Q&A, followed by the opportunity to network with other local liberty supporters. Come for the event, stay for the food and networking - you're guaranteed a great evening no matter what!

This event is open to the public, bring your friends!

At Millers' Grille in Lafayette. 6:00 - 9:00. Alas and alack, the lovely bride and I are snowed in. (No, you needn't send FEMA to Erie, but a small snowstorm has left an inch of ice in the shady path out of le condo d'Amour.)

Posted by John Kranz at November 12, 2012 3:55 PM

Drove right by le condo de amour on my way to LOTR. If I'd had some rock salt I'd have done my sandman skit.

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2012 9:23 PM

Mr. Biddle is being quite hard on today's password: "faith." :)

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2012 9:25 PM

He should watch Angel, or season seven. She finds redemption.

Posted by: Jk at November 12, 2012 9:51 PM

Home already, having left during the Q&A with three children ready for a pillow. When the video of tonight's talk is posted you may notice them in the background. They'll be the barrel of monkeys.

I give Mr. Biddle's talk a solid A. To summarize Rand's theory of individual rights in less than an hour is an accomplishment to be admired. He did so well, and in a compelling manner. Thought he could have done better when challenged by a man who wanted to dispute his claim that there is "no evidence for the existence of God." The "evidence" offered was the big-bang and creationism theory. There was a short back-and-forth about something from nothing, something expanding into nothing, etc. I would have said a couple of things: Rand never claimed that man did or could know everything about reality, but however reality came into being it exists as we know it. (I'm paraphrasing. Her explaination is more rigorous.) The creation of the universe can be explained by a theoretical omnipotent deity, but it does not prove the existence of such. It is a thoroughly assailable theory whose chief pillar is "faith." Craig did say that if one's theory holds that nothing exists without being created then what created the creator?

The question I had but did not get a chance to ask related to Craig's hypothetical, "How successful can a liberty movement be if it is based on a provable theory of individual rights?" The question was, "How does one convince those who deny the existence of reason?" I thought better not to ask in this audience, however, as it included many prominent Republicans of the faith persuasion. I seemed to me they received the Rand tutorial without skepticism. The questions asked indicated an effort to integrate with their worldview rather than to dismiss. Any detraction from that on my part at this fragile stage would have been careless on my part.

All told, a great night. (And the Miller's Grille blackened blue burger was delicious, as usual.) P.S. Millers' owner pledged 10% of the evening's proceeds to LOTR Flatirons. Bravo! A candidate for future blog gatherings, to be sure.

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2012 11:34 PM

Another day, a less misconstruable password.

Thanks for the review and I look forward to video -- I'm guessing Ari Armstrong filmed it?

Blog events at Griller's Mill sounds great. I was going to do a 30 second talk and ask if LOTR (still makes me think of Mr Tolkien) folks would like to add a speakerless night for open round table.

Posted by: Jk at November 13, 2012 8:09 AM

Me thinks that you and Mr. Biddle have demoted God into a caricature, similar to how Mr. Romney became the caricature of the evil greedy rich white bastard of a Republican.

At the same while that he is suggesting that God the creator doesn't exist and yet everything existed forever and we must just live with that because that's all we know, somehow we are to retrain the masses into accepting Rand's objectivism as the better route of governance without first descending into utter destruction.

The objective reality is - we will not be going there. There will not be a time with this population, in this world, that will allow total deregulation or even now the freedom to live without health care services.

His talk was interesting and I hope that Dagny managed to pick out some helpful hints from him on how to talk to the everyday folk, but we are not going to be living in a country where we voluntarily pay for borders. To be fair, Mr. Biddle did say it would take a lot of re-training. For that what you will need is an unstoppable force of objectivist people who's burning desire is to be a teacher.

I suggest we keep it real.
JK's discussion on the Kardashians make a lot more sense on 'how to get the right votes' than did this talk. NOT because he insulted anyone's faith. He didn't.
Rights coming from being human vs from God is a fine concept, but I believe people are voting not on these rights which are being taken at every turn, but on expediency and the all to human concept that change is bad.

Posted by: Terri at November 13, 2012 10:09 AM

Bravo Terri! I appreciate your engagement and the chance to be more specific in certain areas. I'll wait for my lunch hour but until then I want to lay a foundation that reality is whatever it is, despite what any majority or minority human opinion says it is.

Nobody can predict the future. However, it took less than two thousand years to train humanity to believe in something without evidence so I'm confident in predicting that can be unlearned in less time when the alternative does have evidence.

Maybe I'm wrong. It's possible. Let's discuss it.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2012 11:50 AM

Blog sister Terri has compelled me to recall an important point that Craig Biddle made last night, at least partially: The question is not the existence or non-existence of God, rather the existence of a moral basis for individual rights that is independent of God. A theological basis for individual rights can be undermined by denying the existence of the omniscient deity - to undermine a rational basis for individual rights requires, instead, denying the existence of reason. Which is easier to defend, and which is likely to have more widespread acceptance both now and in the future?

Previously I suggested that a religious worldview could be "unlearned" by humanity. While that may be true, Terri's observation that the masses will not soon be retrained is an accurate one. Especially not in the three to four election cycles that Craig suggested is necessary for reform. What is needed is a "box lunch" version of Objectivism that presents the moral (based on survival and self-direction) case for individual rights in a way that is compatible with the major religious traditions. I think this is what Craig is working toward. The beauty of it is that no re-education is required - simply further education.

Does this "all of the above" approach seem more workable to everyone?

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2012 3:23 PM

I was going to just watch this one. That lasted...hours!

I really like "the existence of a moral basis for individual rights that is independent of God." That is perfect and powerful.

As some recent exposure has driven me toward an acceptance of a "purer" objectivism, I am overwhelmed at the task of propagation. You and I have had this talk a hundred times, but you have never had me so solidly accepting the importance of the "further education" you describe.

I laugh at the left's statist beliefs that we can reprogram people to work "for the community" (each according to his need). Yet if saving freedom requires converting the populace to atheism -- and then replacing their entire social cannon of altruism, and then replacing the love of intuition with pure reason, then we are -- not to put too fine a point on it -- completely hosed. Are we not?

Posted by: jk at November 13, 2012 4:02 PM

In a word: YES. Therein lies the evil of democracy.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2012 4:27 PM

Why, yes yes you would be hosed if that were the quest. I understood John to be suggesting NOT that we convert the populist to atheism, but instead that you make the argument for liberty because we as reasonable beings can only act reasonably when free. Keep God out of it.

That's all well and good if a) you can do that and b) it spreads to the masses and then c)everyone votes their philosophy.

I don't believe that's how people vote. And I don't believe that it will work in a half/half country.

This election included a lot of "eh - things aren't too bad, I am not going to switch horses now as there is enough uncertainty and I don't really relate to Romney".

We need the narrative, we need the (to bring religion back into it) savior who can bring the enthusiasm and the plain unapologetic talk back. AND frankly the GOP needs a minority. Yes Rubio would be awesome and Martinez, the combo player. Though of course neither have been around long enough for true vetting, but hopefully they are getting the right pushes from the party gang.

But even as a religious person I do not object to a better definition of individual rights than that God gave them. It fits well for anyone of faith as God would be the, as Biddle would say, scaffolding of our reason.

Use it, teach it, spread it and set aside the abortion question for a bit because that's a whole subject that can go either way whether you're religious or not and frankly the GOP needs the religious right or it will become just another Libertarian non event of a party.

Posted by: Terri at November 13, 2012 4:36 PM | What do you think? [11]