Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Quotes to Consider

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism

The following two quotes were e-mailed to me by a reader of Rational Nation USA. They were taken from a small southern publication called "Tidbits." I thought perhaps my readers might enjoy them.
"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever
believed in. Some of us just go one further." My take is that all those many
billions of people through out history believed just as firmly in their gods
as many do today. So who is right and who is wrong? It doesn't really make
any difference to me.   Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist

"A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the
first time." Atributed to Alfred Wiggams
As the RN USA reader commented,  "Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between the true conservative and those in public office today who call themselves conservatives." They have a point!
Enjoy your weekend.


  1. I learned quite a few years ago that the truth nearly always lies somewhere near the middle between opposing sides. However, there ARE exceptions even to that simple rule.

  2. I don't think truths reside anywhere between anything. Truths are simply truths. The trouble with truths is that we really don't know many of them. We think we do. But we really don't.


  3. "A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the
    first time."

    to say that is to say the a conservative is a follower and not a leader of men. so, if this be true then who are the leaders?

  4. jersey,
    we found common ground finally. lol the more we learn, the less we know, in other words. :)

  5. Gripper - Yes, you could say that. Somewhere in the following...

    As the RN USA reader commented, "Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between the true conservative and those in public office today who call themselves conservatives."...

    lies the leaders.

  6. Here's a good one, Les. "Conservative - a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a liberal, who wishes to replace them with others." Ambrose Bierce (AKA, Old Gringo)

  7. given what we agree on, Les, and what we may consider those in office are then how could leadership be between them? it would appear that leadership would have to be found outside of conservatism.

    in recognition that compromise defines those in office then leadership cannot be compromised, can it?

  8. Griper - I think the problem is in defining precisely what conservatism is. Same problem with liberalism. the words have actually lost their meaning today.IMHO.

    It is why I consider myself an "independent conservative", or classical liberal if you like. For to me they are one in the same.

    As to leadership, it has many styles, and yes, it can be fit to given circumstances. Leadership is not static.

    My philosophy is to never compromise a higher value or principle to a lesser one. Leadership is the ability to draw others to your values or principles. Which means in essence, somebody is compromising.

    There are times when leaders should not compromise, as in compromising a higher value or principle to a lesser one.

  9. "A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the
    first time." Atributed to Alfred Wiggams

    Well, that answers that....

    The true conservative is one who still lives with his parents even though he is in his 40's and he is still a virgin....

    True conservativism died the day Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge....

    Got it....

  10. now, you have me curious, Les. how do you define the difference between a higher value or principle and a lesser value or principle?

    i've always seen them in term of truthfulness or false. if i am drawn to another's values or principles then it is only because they have shown that mine are false or invalid.

  11. Values have a hierarchy within the context of ones philosophy and life. When a person must make a choice between two values at a given time they will choose the value they perceive the higher of the two.

    An extreme example could be you, your wife and your 30 year old son are are hiking when an avalanche causes serious life threatening injuries to both. You are unhurt. However, all you communication equipment is damaged and therefore you are unable to contact anyone. Your are in good condition and by using your ingenuity determine you can get one of them back to your vehicle is parked 5 miles away to and to a medical facility. You know the possibility exits that you will only be able to possible save one...

    You meet meet a man who has great wealth and power. You are offered a life of opulence and security for yourself. The price... You divorce your wife thus freeing him to pursue her at a later date....

    Your have a choice between security and a life of ease for you and your family living in a repressive tyrannical state. or a life of complete liberty that offers opportunity but will require you work your a** off and use all your mental faculties to succeed...

    These are perhaps extreme examples to illustrate a point. But if you think about it each and every decision in life is usually a trade off usually. A choice between one value as opposed to a competing value if you will.

    The subject we are discussing is one of ethics and morality really. The rational person makes their decisions in life based on rational self interest, or at least they should.

    I leave you with what may have you scratching your head. If I had a decision to make as to whether I or may wife would die, I would decide I would die. The reason... because I hold my wife of equal value with myself. I make the decision therefore not out of a sense of selflessness, but rather out of pure selfishness, or rational self interest. I simply would rather not live without her if forced to make that choice. And she would make the same decisions for the same reasons.

    Hope I gave you some food for thought.

  12. Put another way, in the last example we would both make the decision to place the crushing burden of living without our loved one on the other.

    Selfless, I think not. That would be the truly most defining selfish act one could commit.

  13. @Jersey: I don't think truths reside anywhere between anything. Truths are simply truths. The trouble with truths is that we really don't know many of them. We think we do. But we really don't.

    OK, I must be going crazy. That made sense and I agree with Jersey.

    "The truth lies somewhere in the middle" is a trite sop to phony consensus and contributes nothing to actually finding the truth.

    "Clarity over agreement," as Dennis Prager is fond of saying.

  14. Les,
    in your example i see conditions imposed upon that family due to a natural force of life but i see nothing to indicate any hierarchy of principles or values.

    the most i see is a choice of values which in the choosing of one declares the other valueless thus irrelevant for considering as a value.

  15. we both may be crazy, fiddlefoot for what jersey said made sense to me also. lol

  16. Griper - Well, I for some reason suspected this would be your response. I won't go into why it was so predictable because in the final analysis neither you or I will be influenced to change. And as we are both individuals of principle that is as it should be.

    I rest my case.

  17. What JMJ said makes perfect sense in so long as we allow anything to go "because we don't know the truth."

    This defies, reason, logic, rationality, and the world as science is capable of perceiving it.
    It allows for the supernatural and mysticism to enter the equation and ultimately gain the upper hand. Just as it did during the Dark Ages

    Just one man's opinion, yet likely that of millions of Obectivists.

  18. Thanks guys. Like I always say, we really aren't all that different.

    And Les, we know some truths. And some we glean them from the Golden Rule. Rand doesn't. That's my problem with her.


  19. Oh, and Les, the "truths" Objectivists believe are not proven by anything. They are theories, hypotheses, and opinions. Not truths.

    If they were truths, I'd believe them.

    I am an utterly skeptical, logical, atheistic cynic. I know truth when I see it, because I scrutinize it to the 'nth. If it is not obviously truth, then it is something less. Nothing wrong with "something else" per se, but it's not truth.

    By your very admission, you really don't believe in truths. You can't. Because you believe that each man finds his own truths. That may be true and good most of the time, but total relativism is anarchy, unteneble, self-destructive, self-reductive, for it reduces us to common omnivorous animals.

    And you know what else - Objectivism is just plain evil. I know that sounds harsh, and it's not directed at you personally, but don't know how else to say about it. Objectivism defies the Golden Rule, and the Golden Rule is TRUTH.

    And that's from a truly skeptical, logical, atheistic cynic. You should move away from that bunch. You strike me as waaaaaaay too good for them. It's all well and fine to find some common ground with them, heck, even I do, but don't buy into the whole of Objectivism. Please. Besides, you don't have to. ;)


  20. JMJ...

    First, I am not a relativist

    Second, Ojectivism is NOT evil. And if you believe it is you are totally closed minded.

    And you insult me by insinuating I have to buy into anything. I buy into what I choose to by into following rational, logical, and independent analysis.


    Where are you going to vattempt to take it from here my fiend?

  21. Friend rather than fiend at end of last sentence above! ;)

  22. Les,

    Objectivism makes some leaps that I just can't take - and I've jumped off cliffs for laughs.

    There is such a thing as altrusim. It is a manifestation of the Golden Rule.

    Please, man. Argue with that.


  23. JMJ - Objectivism acknowledges altruism, never said it doesn't exist. Just finds it self destructive.

    I suggest you read a bit more rather than listening to BS about Objectivism. I leave it to you to decide what exactly you need to educate yourself in.

    I had to find it6 out for myself.

  24. Les, first, if you think I'm not familiar with Objectivism, then you need to brush up on your judgement skills. I have made my knowledge of it very clear.

    I'm sorry, but to find altruism simply "self-destructive" is to completely misunderstand altruism. "Altruism" is just another word for "being a stand-up guy," or "doing the right thing," or "civic mindedness." It could even be argued that there is no such a thing as altrusim, and Rand did make that argument more than once. In a way, everything we freely decide to do we do for our own pleasure. But there are many things we do that seem contrary to that rule.

    While altrism can theoretically sometimes be self-destructive (and that's usually a very subjective judgement), so can anything else we decide to do, and there're many more thinge we do that are self-destructive, and far more so, than altruism.

    These are yet more things that bother me about Objectivism. It assumes "truths" that aren't even coherent hypotheses.


  25. JMJ - I acknowledge you are "familiar with Objectivism." I also am quite certain your understanding or it is merely a cursory one. Beyond this comment it is of further concern to me.

    Evasion obviously remains a clear and present practice among progressive of th modern age.


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