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April Comments


“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”
Exhibit One: Interpretation

Museums are managers of consciousness. They give us an interpretation of history, of how to view the world and locate ourselves in it. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions. If you want to put it in negative terms, they are propaganda machines. Hans Haacke

All things are subject to interpretation, whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. Friedrich Nietzsche

What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you'd like it to mean? Antonin Scalia

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that sometimes our assumptions and preconceived notions are wrong, and therefore, our interpretation of events is incorrect. This causes us to overreact, to take things personally, or to judge people unfairly. Elizabeth Thornton

Historically, Islam was hijacked about 20 or 30 years after the Prophet and interpreted in such a way that the ruler has absolute power and is accountable only to God. That, of course, was a very convenient interpretation for whoever was the ruler. Mohamed ElBaradei

Islam will be what Muslims make of it. And it is the sum total of the interpretation that Muslims give to it. Maajid Nawaz

Exhibit Two: Rand reader eviscerates the museum

Rand's concept of "selfishness" is generally misunderstood because it is often taken out of context, or taken as a pejorative, usually on purpose by her critics.

"By Randian thinking every Minuteman should have been a Tory and just continued his life as a safe and secure British citizen."

This is a classic example of it.  Pure projection.

In fact, the Minutemen were acting totally in their perceived self-interest and, therefore, very Randian.

You are very close:  "But the Museum thinks you should decide what is altruistic in life and what its true worth and function in society is."

Here is the part you left out:

"Concern for the welfare of those one loves is a rational part of one’s selfish interests. If a man who is passionately in love with his wife spends a fortune to cure her of a dangerous illness, it would be absurd to claim that he does it as a “sacrifice” for her sake, not his own, and that it makes no difference to him, personally and selfishly, whether she lives or dies.

Any action that a man undertakes for the benefit of those he loves is not a sacrifice if, in the hierarchy of his values, in the total context of the choices open to him, it achieves that which is of greatest personal (and rational) importance to him. In the above example, his wife’s survival is of greater value to the husband than anything else that his money could buy, it is of greatest importance to his own happiness and, therefore, his action is not a sacrifice.

But suppose he let her die in order to spend his money on saving the lives of ten other women, none of whom meant anything to him—as the ethics of altruism would require. That would be a sacrifice. Here the difference between Objectivism and altruism can be seen most clearly: if sacrifice is the moral principle of action, then that husband should sacrifice his wife for the sake of ten other women. What distinguishes the wife from the ten others? Nothing but her value to the husband who has to make the choice—nothing but the fact that his happiness requires her survival.

The Objectivist ethics would tell him: your highest moral purpose is the achievement of your own happiness, your money is yours, use it to save your wife that is your moral right and your rational, moral choice.


“The Ethics of Emergencies,”

The Virtue of Selfishness, 45

Exhibit Three: The Interpretation of Dreams

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind. Sigmund Freud

In the Museums view the Rand Reader has a very libertarian interpretation of Rand and our reading of the texts do not come to that viewpoint. To our point I give you two tweets:
Speaker of the House Ryan (A Rand “fellow traveler”): Florida school shooting shouldn't result in taking away gun rights
— The Hill (@thehill) February 15, 2018
Literally more concerned with the rights of the murderer to buy guns than the victim's right to live. And that tells you everything you need to know about the Right To Life Christian Party.
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) February 15, 2018

The Museum notes that many times it has seen non-Muslims who have read the Koran applying a strident, militarist interpretation to the text, and not without grounding, for this is much the same interpretation that ISIS and other “Radical Islamists” have applied to it themselves. But this interpretation is a minute minority one, and other interpretation, well versed by Shabir Ally and others of the vast majority, are just as valid, and judging by sure volume even more valid than the Radical one. It is indeed pure projection to take one’s interpretation of a text and apply it to the whole and the tweets above are a perfect example. Stonekettle goes after a “whole”, the “the Right To Life Christian Party” on the statement of a one.

Another example of this in primary voting in an Illinois district:

The spending of actual money by the party (GOP) to try to prevent their voters from casting votes for the Nazi was not fully effective: Jones received more than 20,000 Republican votes in his race. Whether this means that the district contains 20,000 actual Nazi sympathizers, or 20,000 Republicans for which anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial isn't a deal-breaker, or 20,000 Republicans who never heard of Jones before despite his perennial candidacy, is unclear. The most charitable interpretation is that there were 20,000 Republicans in the district who didn't give a damn who the Republican candidate in the race was, and didn't make even a cursory attempt to find out, but simply cast their votes for whichever name was under the Republican line, whether that candidate be Nazi, gopher, or root vegetable. Other interpretations may, however, be equally valid.

In the wake of Jones' "victory," the NRCC omitted him entirely from their statement on IL-03; The state party now says they'll support an independent candidate on the ballot in November so that Republican voters have another option, but have yet to choose which one. (Note that the reason Jones ran unopposed to begin with is that the party could find no other district Republican willing to accept the party's requests to appear on the ballot; whoever the party decides to promote next, they won't be under the Republican line.)

All of this expenditure from the party is intended to convince their own voters not to vote for a goddamn Nazi, because left to their own devices Republicans will, apparently, eagerly vote for a goddamn Nazi. Those 20,000 votes suggest that their efforts will be in vain.

What that means about the state of our current democracy is, as always, up for debate

By Hunter: in the Daily Kos
Wednesday Mar 21, 2018 · 1:30 PM CDT
About 63 million people voted for the GOP in 2016. The Museum will AVER that a minute minority of those people are Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, etc. and yet even given the “charitable interpretation” line in the text, the overall thrust of the above statement is clearly a broad brushstroke aimed at the whole GOP. Like the Blues Brothers, the author obviously also hates Illinois Nazis. This is why after every “mass shooting” there is a frantic rush by the “radical” Left and Right, to brand the perpetrator(s) as supporters of the “other side”, to tarnish the whole with the one. Within hours of the Las Vegas shooting there were “reports”  (I saw it on Facebook, it must be true!) of people running through the crowd shouting Allahu Akbar, for this mass shooting just had to be connected with Islam, even though this shooter was a looney rich white American. And so it goes. History teaches us that societies always look for scapegoats. The real problem for all, even Freedom Loving Randian Libertarians is not to fall into that trap.
At the Exit:

New research by Dr. Claudia Kawas of the University of California,
shows that somehow, someway, drinking alcohol over the age of 90 makes you less likely to die. To be exact, drinking two glasses of beer or wine a day improves your chances of living longer by 18 percent. What's more, it has a more positive effect on longevity in people over the age of 90 than exercising daily. Alcohol is good!
By Sarah Rense:  Esquire



Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from missguided souls who disagree.