Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ayn Rand On Living Deliberately

"To the extent to which a man is mentally active, i.e., motivated by the desire to know, to understand, his mind works as the programmer of his emotional computer-and his sense of life develops into a bright counterpart of a rational philosophy. To the extent a man evades, the programming of his emotional computer is done by chance influences; by random impressions, associations, imitations, by undigested snatches of environmental bromides, by cultural osmosis. If evasion or lethargy is a man’s predominant method of mental functioning, the result is a sense of life dominated by fear-a soul like a shapeless piece of clay stamped by footprints going in all directions. (In later years, such a man cries that he has lost his sense of identity; the fact is that he never acquired it.)" -Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Peddled outrage

Beware the peddled outrage
Of fear and politics cheap
Beware the prophets of the net
Who spread shallow writings deep
There's a flavor for every variety
And there's a flavor for you
Distract you from true issues
About which you actually can do.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Re: 12 year old censored by Mormon church

I keep seeing this post about the poor brave 12 year old who the horrible Mormon church is censoring. Of course anything pro-LGBT in any way is "courageous" and worth celebrating, but I have some reservations here.

First: She is 12 years old. I don't want to be the one who says "a 12 year old can't have sexual identity" but... think of when you were 12 years old. You had /just graduated elementary school/. Seventh grade. Maybe you had crushes at that point, but you certainly weren't anywhere near developed enough to take stands this way. She is being fed ideas if not lines from somewhere, as I will argue further shortly.

Second: This was obviously a publicity stunt, as they recorded the thing. Video recording in the chapel is against church policy, and you can see that they are holding the phone camera low so as not to attract attention.

Third: Gay people in church is totally chill. Gay people bearing testimony in church is totally chill. Gay people bearing testimony about their gayness, how its influenced them, how it makes their walk with God more difficult, etc, is totally chill. A gay person standing up and telling everyone that the church is wrong and should change and basically praising themselves for being gay, in church? That is out of line. It wasn't a "courageous testimony", it was a prepared speech, which is not what testimony meeting is for. You're allowed to believe whatever you want in this church. You are not allowed to tell other people what to believe. A ward building is not a government-protected free-speech zone, and the Councillor was well within his bounds to ask her to sit down. They do this when people are going over time, and it is not shocking that one would do it when someone is preaching against the church from the pulpit.

Fourth: We're told she prepared it, with help from her parents. Okay. It sounds more like canned LGBT talk points, but if they want us to believe that she did it all by herself without any influence, whatever. But then submitting this to major news outlets afterward? That's pushing an agenda. /the church is not the place for you to push your agenda/. This should cast some serious doubt on the authenticity of the whole thing.

Fifth: This darling is now the star of the week for the LGBT community. She's going to enjoy a bunch of fame, and then they're going to discard her for whatever new controversy comes up like they always do, and I think it is wrong for her parents to embroil her in that. Most left-politics works this way, feeding a frenzy of pathos swooning media articles, but children should not be used as a hammer for your political issues. A sort of political child sacrifice.

Sixth: You can't feel the spirit watching it. The spirit left the chapel when she started her speech. It always does when you try to push your viewpoint down someone's throat, whether you are pushing a correct viewpoint or not.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Thought Prison" by Bruce Charlton

Bruce is a nice fellow over at and, and he wrote a nice book about political correctness, attempting to define the undermining philosophy of the left, though he notes it permeates the political right to a great extent also.  Here are some excepts:

Whence comes the sheer venom of PC?
How is it that people who believe in nothing (or, if they believe in anything, it is supposedly in tolerance, pacifism, ‘relativism’, social constructionism…stuff like that) - how come these people are so vicious?
I think it is because they fear that their own pleasurable distractions – their lifestyle choices - will be constrained or even taken-away by the opponents of PC.
And for the PC, pleasurable distraction is life itself.
I say this without a shred of exaggeration.
If you believe in nothing, if life can have no real objective meaning and all is socially constructed; then pleasure is absolutely necessary as an analgesic, and distraction is the primary philosophical argument.
The politically correct are nihilists, that is reality-deniers, and when there is no reality then the only positive is pleasure.

The venom of the politically correct is the venom of a person faced by the extinction of those pleasurable distractions upon which they rely utterly to keep themselves going:

Since PC is a wave of moral 'progress' which leaves-behind all previous moral standards and behaviours - there can be no accumulation of moral capital.

But the news is not all good for victim group members - because as a PC-indulged victim you lack moral responsibility, which means you are treated as a child or an imbecile.Because by merely existing you are regarded as special - therefore anything that you personally might think or do is automatically invalidated, rendered invisible.

(Patrons expect beneficiaries to be grateful. However, it has commonly been observed that patrons are in fact always hated. Do a man a good turn, and you will have an enemy for life. The patronized will not rest until they have expunged their sense of dependent gratitude in the cleansing act of biting-off the hand that has been stroking and feeding them.)

PC altruism can therefore be seen as objectification of Christian ‘charity’. Charity is an individual, chosen expression of Love; by contrast PC altruism is a coercive, measurable, procedural transfer of quantifiable ‘goods’.)

Whatever state of affairs existed in the past or currently exists in the absence of an abstract system of allocation is regarded by PC as intrinsically unjust on principle, and without need for evidence of injustice. So, actual, real world equality of outcome is a matter of near indifference to political correctness; except as ‘evidence’ of the need for PC systems of allocation.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Shy the Allegro

"For example: most men have inner conflicts of values; these conflicts, in most lives, take the form of small irrationalities, petty inconsistencies, mean little evasions, shabby little acts of cowardice, with no crucial moments of choice, no vital issues or great, decisive battles--and they add up to the stagnant, wasted life of a man who has betrayed all his values by the method of a leaking faucet." -Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto
It is always interesting to me when people's first comment about Ayn Rand is that she is "immoral".

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Orson Scott Card's Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Orson Scott Card, Author of Ender's Game, gives his testimony of the Book of Mormon. Along with pointing out lots of interesting cultural things to Nephite Society, he gives insight as a fiction writer into where, if Joseph Smith was writing a work of fiction, he falls incredibly short. Very good read, lots of things you haven't thought of.

"Furthermore, when we do find social classes in the Book of Mormon, political divisions, they seem to reflect alien to anything Joseph Smith was familiar with. To Joseph Smith, social classes were based entirely on money, which was displayed in the form of property. Where money is the basis of social distinction in the Book of Mormon, it is never associated with land, but rather with fine clothing. This is entirely consistent with Meso-America, but hardly a pattern Joseph Smith would have known."
"In fact, the very lack of exotic names supports the genuineness of Joseph Smith's translation. Science fiction writers and critics are quite aware of a long tradition of what James Blish called "shmeerps." Blish pointed out how silly it was that most science fiction writers, when trying to show an alien fauna, would produce a creature that looked like a rabbit and acted like a rabbit and was treated like a rabbit, and yet it was called a "shmeerp." This is ludicrous, of course. People migrating to a new land with strange plants and animals will use familiar names for the new creatures. Thus the English immigrants to America called the bison "buffaloes" and referred to maize as "Indian corn" and finally just "corn," even though in England that word had been a generic term for grain. The English felt no need to come up with new names for items that were "close enough."
Surely the Nephites followed the same pattern, using old words for new objects. Thus, if in fact there were no horses in America at the time of the Book of Mormon, the Hebrew wordfor horse could still quite readily be applied to some other animal that functioned like a horse. Furthermore, the language Mormon wrote in may well have been an ideographic language, in which case it would hardly matter what the spoken word for a particular animal was, as long as Nephite writers had agreed to use the old "horse" ideograph to refer to that animal. Thus it is no more surprising that the word "horse" appears in the Book of Mormon than that the word "buffalo" was used in a nation where there were no buffaloes, but only bison."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spiritual Beggars

We notice that there is a group of (260?) people who vote opposed in conference.  From their Facebook group, it sounds like their main issue is the CES letter, which means their vote really has nothing to do with concerns and more that they're just kinda hoping some apostle will get up in conference and be like "dang CES letter, I guess God really isn't speaking to us.  sorry."

I lean strongly Libertarian, and am a fair follower of Ayn Rand (I own more of her works than just Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead), and remember that often she was accused of being greedy, selfish, psychopathic, etc. For advocating her ideas.  She was not:

"Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal." -Ayn Rand
In similar vein, I say that addressing the faithless' doubts and concerns is not the issue; the issue is whether the beggars of faith in apostasy have a right to personal, on-demand attention from the leadership.  Whether the 'old ship zion' must buy leave for its activities from every doubter in spiritual poverty that might wish for it to stop and let them examine it.  These are not generating "wealth" (faith).  Following Ayn Rand's philosophy: if we choose give of our attention to those in poverty, great.  This is good.  But they have no /right/ to our attention.  They have no right to pick apart our testimonies just because they "have questions".

Its not that we don't care about the struggling, nor that we shouldn't help them, but especially in conference, the church's duty is first to its own.  A pleading mother is seeking revelation, through conference, of what she needs to do about a wayward child.  A missionary is praying that an apostle will speak to his investigator who reluctantly agreed to come to conference.  Millions of people, in similar situations, seeking aid from God, which one doubter seeks to disrupt to get personal attention.  Similarly to how we do not give to every beggar who approaches us, we are not called on to engage with Korihor.  We may or may not, but there is a time and a place.  In the end, each is responsible to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.  God won't count peanut-gallery faith-potshots as acceptable.  This is the problem with sign-seeking; its shifting the burden of investigation on another, which will never give one the light a testimony earned through fire and tears will.

Its better to be forthright about one's lack of oil, than to let the person believe they have oil until the bridegroom calls.