This is the conclusion of John C. Wright’s Eschaton series. Great far flung trek to the stretches of time and space! I’m not doing a review, so buy the damn books. CRACK! HEE YAW!
I was rereading one of the articles I posted about in the prior post, the one entitled The Ten Commandments Rationally Considered (it was renamed to The Ten Commandments: Not Freedom Friendly).
It would take me days and days to get through all the double-think and make-believe the author goes through to squeeze in his Objectivist narrative of history. But one thing stood out.
Near the end of the article, Cline is quoting Rand (who else doth quote?) and her religion as primitive form of philosophy jig. [Note: this is a core historical assumption of the Objectivist. I merely pass over it, it is a category error – charitably. I don’t think Rand was that obtuse. The two can, obviously, overlap, but they are not the same thing.]
After quoting her view he goes on to make the following incredible assertion:
By way of illustration, religion can be compared with the stick men children first learn to draw; a fully rational philosophy, absent any form of mysticism and reliance on unsupportable assertions, should then lead them to create the likes of Michelangelo’s “David.”
The context is the failure of modern philosophy to provide a rational basis for the proper representation of man (and of this part I still agree with Rand, modern philosophy is a titanic failure in that regard and most else).
If one knows anything about Michelangelo (he was a devout Catholic, even more so as he grew into old age) and about his work in general, one wonders if he is saying Catholicism is a fully rational philosophy? What is he trying to get across here? Who is this David? It is David of the Bible. But it wasn’t a “fully rational philosophy” (not by Objectivism’s definitions) that produced David, neither in subject nor in its creator. No. What produced David is the wooly mysticism and irrationality of the Church to describe it in Objectivist terms.
If you were to ask Mr. Cline to explain how the opposite of rationality, i.e., faith produced the zenith of art, and subsequent, secular philosophy did not, he would have an answer. And it would involve a story about St. Thomas Aquinas reintroducing Aristotle into medieval culture and the subsequent triumph of reason over faith and that the depiction of David in sculpture is the force of reason acting upon subjects of mysticism.
To understand that, one would have to go into the tale of history as told by Rand and most other secularists. It is a false story of course. And it leads men like Mr. Cline to say the absurd as the quote above illustrates.
[This post originally appeared in December of 2013. Time passes and I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I threw Rand overboard. This isn’t a very well written post, but I found I burned out on beating up on Peikoff’s “essay” every year. Although I may beat up on Edward Cline’s (see link below). I hadn’t realized then that the link was to a truncated version of his “essay.” The full “essay” is a tour de stupid of Objectivist thinking.]
First, a belated Merry Christmas to my few readers!
Today, this first day after Christmas, we are going to be visiting two articles by two Popular Objectivists (one is a semi-successful Randian author (and reads like it) the other is the Grand Pooh-Bah of the orthodox Objectivist movement (the orthodox Objectivist movement is the group of Objectivists that dare not contradict the Grand Pooh-Bah)).
The Randian author is Edward Cline and his article is The Ten Commandments Rationally Examined. The Grand Pooh-Bah is Leonard Peikoff and his article “Christmas Should be More Commercial.” I hated this article when I was one of his drones. And that this thing hits the internet every year, one has to wonder a single thing about the article’s title, “how?”
“How could it possibly get more commercial?”
Dr. Peikoff has some ideas about that Continue reading “Post Christmas Rant: Weaving Two Tales of an Objectivist Christmas”
As I try to do every year, it is time to take out Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s ridiculous article “Christmas Should Be More Commercial,” and beat it up a little bit.
Why do I do this every year?
Why do you think? In this day and age where people beat the living shit out of each other over toys, step over ailing fellow citizens, shoot each other over mall parking spaces, and “Black Friday Death Count” will give you enough results for days of readings – it a naive question to ask why.
So let’s dig in with the first paragraph.
Christmas in America is an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life. Yet all of these are castigated as “materialistic”; the real meaning of the holiday, we are told, is assorted Nativity tales and altruist injunctions (e.g., love thy neighbor) that no one takes seriously.
As far as the first sentence is concerned this is not in anyone’s mind for Christmas. First, we can display the first two characteristics at anytime of the year. To take a negative example: if a drunk invites you to his party for Sunday night, you might want to ask what the occasion is since the man drinks all seven days of the week. As for the enjoyment of life it is not the commerciality of Christmas that marks the spirit of Christmas. No Christmas movie I grew up with extolled the enjoyment of life as getting a bunch of shit one morning.
What this is is Peikoff taking a few incidentals and, to makeshift some sort of holiday that fits under his philosophy (as he accuses the Christians of doing later) making them the essentials, the defining essence of the holiday. Note that children do not experience “human ingenuity” and “capitalistic productivity” they think the stuff comes from Santa Clause! A character which, under Objectivist thinking, is on equal par with Jesus or God.
And let’s not forget, in ObjectivistLand there already is a holiday celebrating capitalistic productivity; namely Thanksgiving. Yes, the nuts actually redefined Thanksgiving to honor Henry Ford. But this one is different because you are supposed to enjoy yourself this time?
Then Peikoff (is this only the first paragraph?) does the usual Objectivist either/or and says these characteristic are castigated as “materialistic.” Well, yes. But let’s note that only Objectivists actually extol this non-existent vision of Christmas. What is castigated is the championing of these characteristics to the exclusion of all others.
In fact, Christmas as we celebrate it today is a 19th-century American invention. The freedom and prosperity of post-Civil War America created the happiest nation in history. The result was the desire to celebrate, to revel in the goods and pleasures of life on earth. Christmas (which was not a federal holiday until 1870) became the leading American outlet for this feeling.
This is true and not true. Christmas as we celebrate it today in America is a 19th-century American invention. However, there were many other parts of the world that had similar festivities that centered around a certain Saint Nicholas, or derivatives from.
18th-century America’s Santa Claus was not the only St. Nicholas-inspired gift-giver to make an appearance at Christmastime. Similar figures were popular all over the world. Christkind or Kris Kringle was believed to deliver presents to well-behaved Swiss and German children. Meaning “Christ child,” Christkind is an angel-like figure often accompanied by St. Nicholas on his holiday missions. In Scandinavia, a jolly elf named Jultomten was thought to deliver gifts in a sleigh drawn by goats. English legend explains that Father Christmas visits each home on Christmas Eve to fill children’s stockings with holiday treats. Pere Noel is responsible for filling the shoes of French children. In Russia, it is believed that an elderly woman named Babouschka purposely gave the wise men wrong directions to Bethlehem so that they couldn’t find Jesus. Later, she felt remorseful, but could not find the men to undo the damage. To this day, on January 5, Babouschka visits Russian children leaving gifts at their bedsides in the hope that one of them is the baby Jesus and she will be forgiven. In Italy, a similar story exists about a woman called La Befana, a kindly witch who rides a broomstick down the chimneys of Italian homes to deliver toys into the stockings of lucky children.
Then Peikoff goes off into sketchy history. I have never read a definitive account of the Christians purposefully taking over the pagan holiday and “faking” the date of Jesus’ birth to stamp out the pagan practice of the winter solstice celebrations. Never mind the derivativeness of the Roman holiday – Romans good! Christians bad!
To Be Continued…
For awhile now I have been seeking to acquire a reading Bible that I could call my own. I say a reading Bible as opposed to the Douay-Rheims & Clementina Vulgata edition, an old 70’s family bible (it has wonderful script in it and art) and the numerous other versions I have through Verbum software. The first two are large sized books and thick. The others are digital and I usually use them for reference. And a couple of them are not even in English.
Part of the search was easy because you can disregard a large number of modern versions that make for terrible reading. And while the KJV (with apocrypha, of course) sounds the most impressive, it is really only because of the arcane language.
I had spent some time trying to find a nice old one with the nice leather but usually those found were from individual churches from Nebraska in 1846 and they usually smelled like mildew. That, and they are usually written in, “To Martha, God Bless.” Well, I’m not Martha.
It turns out the people who published my DR-Clementina Vulgata, Baronius Press, also put out a nice pocket size Douay-Rheims in leather, smythe sewn, head and tail bands, gilded pages, decorative endpages and satin ribbon markers. I chose the burgundy. Because I like it.
Another important feature that I required was the artwork inside. I had bought a pocket sized NAB translation (not my first choice, btw) about a year ago. If it had not been sealed, I would have seen the “artwork” inside and not purchased it. It looked like the hokey artwork I remember from bible camp as a child. It shouldn’t look like those nutty comics that used to circulate in the 70’s for children with the cheesy Jesus in artwork that was borderline cartoon.
I like the black and white sketch work in this one. Here’s a sample. You have to click on it to see (I don’t know why).
That book only cost me $10 and its quality showed. My new one is $40 – and I think it’s a steal.
I had to sacrifice a little. I prefer some wording more than others. I never liked 2 Timothy 4:1 stated “the living and the dead” when “the quick and the dead” is simply better. I mean come on, people, get a dictionary. But the Douay-Rheims is still a good translation.
On the writing front I’ve been revamping my clown story from 2015. Those wascally clowns are going to cause a little more mayhem than we anticipated! The actual writing for that is scheduled for tomorrow.
I also went through all my past unfinished writing projects and came up with ways to get them to the finish line. Funny thing is, almost all of them had potential for further work. If I shrink the amount of time I leave them in the drawer by 7 or 13 years, I could get some regular stuff out the door. However, The Five Deaths of Horace Gumble still has several months to wait in the brine.