Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moral influence on political parties

Gus Van Horn discusses the impact of those who support a specific issue on mainstream political parties versus their influence when they form their own party:

Forming a third party seems to be one good way to get the major parties to ignore you, thus rendering your effectiveness at creating political change nil.

Van Horn quotes from C. Bradley Thompson's Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader, which I hope to read someday. It looks like it will be an eye-opener.

There currently seems to be a development in Objectivist thought which is based in part on rediscovering the strategies used by great moral movements in the past, such as the abolitionist movement. Much activity these days seems to be centered on identifying strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures in these movements and examining how they might be applied to the promotion of Objectivism.

I'm currently working through "Cultural Movements: Creating Change", a series of lectures given at OCON, and now available for free on the ARC website at The video is currently at the top of the page under "VIDEO & AUDIO".

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rinehart loses

Today was primary election day and Christian-rightist county commissioner Brent Rinehart has lost his.

However, I have seen reports that Oklahoma County District 2 Republican winner (Brian?) Maughan may be just as conservative.

And he got more votes than the winner of the Democratic primary for that post did.

We shall see.

Monday, July 28, 2008

And now for something positive

Virgin Galactic rolled out White Knight Two this morning.

More on the non-value of grace

I think the 'message' of grace also includes: " . . . and accept that you will never be allowed to feel anything but guilt for anything that you do. Accept that you are guilty, and we will allow you to continue to exist . . . "

Grace is your acceptance of a trade: give up your right to determine your own value and you will be allowed to continue to exist as a non-value.

To exist as a non-value is to exist as a non-thing. Since Existence is Identity, to give up one's existence is to give up one's identity, placing one out of the reach of rationality, which is the capacity to identify reality.

Is this the connection between religion - specifically Christianity - and Kant?

The non-value of grace

Since my post earlier today, I've had some further thoughts about a point raised by Bren Smith in his letter. After writing, "His belief that we humans through our reason are innocent and potentially exalted, glorious and heroic demonstrates what the Bible says is sin," Smith says, "The wise repent and glorify the one true living God and accept His gift of grace through His son Jesus Christ."

If wisdom consists of rejecting reason in favor of "grace", what, then, is grace and how is it to be valued higher than reason? Reason is man's tool of survival. This means he will literally die without it. But if we are to accept that man is guilty by nature, we must accept that reason is part of man's sinful nature. If man is evil by definition, reason is one of the things that makes him so.

But if man is evil by nature, he can never be not evil. Nothing can change that without changing man's actual nature. Including grace.

So what, then, is the use of grace?

I submit that if man can never be good, grace gives men permission to continue to be evil. The message, here, is one of control: "Since you can never be good, you can only be allowed to continue to exist by permission. Give up your reasoning mind and your free will", it seems to be saying, "and let some authority direct your life for you for some 'higher' end. As long as you do that, you will be allowed to indulge in whatever viciousness we, the authority's representatives, deem necessary."

This could be a useful form of social control, especially if some men have more grace than others. Those in positions of higher authority will be allowed to indulge in greater viciousness to enforce greater control over those below. Such as Inquisitors, for instance.

For those not allowed to value their own lives, grace seems to serve as a substitute - though false - value.

For the type of false virtue required to uphold this false value, I refer readers to my post Sacrifice in action.

Response to Letters to the editor

Well, The Oklahoman has printed a response to my letter of July 18th. You can read it here: - scroll down to the second letter, under the heading Evil by nature.

Mr. Smith's (Bren Smith, this time) letter is not really worth responding to, though I will note that he seems to expect me to use reason to reject reason in favor of "grace", which, as I see it, is merely another word for authoritarianism.

And even if I wanted to reply, The Oklahoman's rules make it impossible: they won't even consider another letter from me for "28-42 days", according to their "guidelines".

However, I could leave a post in the online comments section, if I wanted to. But that section seems to be dominated lately by one Bert of Henryetta and I think my post would get lost among his trivia. Though, if I thought it was important enough I wouldn't let that stop me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Letters to the editor update

Well, it looks like I gave up too soon: The Oklahoman has printed my letter in today's edition. It is also online at

It looks like they did a minimum of editing: what they printed still conveys the meaning I wanted.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Letters to the editor

I sent a letter to The Oklahoman in response to a letter they ran on July 12th. I haven't seen it yet on their website - - so it looks like they're probably not going to print it.

Here's the letter I sent:

In his letter to the editor which you printed on July 12th, Philip W. Smith upholds Original Sin, which is the idea that all human beings are evil monsters by definition. I reject his view of human nature as I reject his morality, which holds that human beings are both unworthy and incapable of living their lives by virtue of the fact that they are human beings - that is, because they survive by means of reason, which is somehow fatally flawed and thus unable to allow us to comprehend reality accurately. I reject this argument, as I reject all the straw men which have been devised to undermine reason over the millenia. It is not reason which is flawed, but the view of reality of those who seek to undermine it, as well as their motive for doing so, which is, invariably, power-lust. Human beings are eminently capable - by means of reason, which is our tool of survival - of accurately identifying the actual facts of reality and using that capability to successfully live in reality. Far from making human beings monsters, this actually makes us eminently innocent by definition, and thus, potentially exalted, glorious and heroic.

Rob Abiera

This is the letter I was responding to:

As ministers, Scott Jones and Jeni Markham Clewell (Your Views, June 28) express support for "hate crimes” legislation and their desire for a "compassionate” society expressed via our laws. Yet they demonstrate uncompassionate hearts by normalizing homosexuality. They should be ashamed because they ignore the sinfulness of man and denigrate the righteous moral law of God. The very definition of "justice” is exclusive; building a society that rejects immorality is one that exclusively seeks justice. Jesus Himself is quite exclusive: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He said.

True compassion proclaims His truth and law, demonstrating that all of us are sinners and guilty of vast rebellion; this should pierce our hearts, lead to repentance and have us rely upon His grace through faith. Paul stated in Galatians "that the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” This truth is the only remedy to our hate-filled society!

Finally, I don't care if Jones and Clewell think I'm full of "hate.” I will always say that homosexuality is an example of the depravity of man; luring them away from Christ's shed blood is another. Jones and Clewell should stop reforming society through the normalization of unrighteous behavior and start fighting for the truth!

Phillip W. Smith, Oklahoma City