Hey, Libertarians: If you won’t be my friend, could you please be my enemy?

04/23: Kicked this back to the top of the blog to highlight the irony of it all. Hundreds of people have seen this post, perhaps thousands more by echos and emails. Cum taces, clamas. The silence of Libertarian pundits, bloggers and activists is a concession by default. See the movie-of-the-week to find out what it all means to you. –GSS

 
I swear to god, for the first time in my life I cannot seem to make an enemy on the internet!

As a matter of strategy, this is what Man Alive! seeks:

To disintermediate the ruling class.

Disintermediation means cutting out the middle-man, and, by teaching you a new way of thinking about human nature and about your own unique self, the book puts you in charge of your own philosophical affairs. You no longer have to turn to so-called “thought leaders” — most of whom are frauds anyway — for answers — which answers are almost always contrary to your own interests in any case.

My objectives are precise and concise:

I want to take the claim of justice away from the state, the mantle of epistemic authority away from the academy and the experience of reverence away from the church. I want to put all of those things back where they belong — in your mind. There is no middle-man on truth.

If you didn’t catch all that in the book, you need to read it again. My own practice is to read any serious book at least three times. Like this: 1. What is the argument? 2. What are my questions? 3. How are those addressed?

I don’t much care for the way thoughtless “thought leaders” squeal, squawk and squall when you call “Bullshit!” on ’em, but I thought for sure they would at least rise to the bait challenge I’ve laid down. What do I hear, instead? Crickets.

I know we’ll be hearing from those folks in due course. When they come to notice that the traffic at the door is all one-way, outbound, they will find plenty to hate on these pages.

But I was expecting that the libertarians would be all over Man Alive!

Why? Because it’s the magic bullet. Ayn Rand got very close to these ideas, and it is for this reason that there is a libertarian movement at all. That’s important: Despite what the clipboard jockeys in clip-on ties will claim, it always begins with Ayn Rand. That goes for me, too, and I never fail to acknowledge the debt I owe to that brilliant, bristling battle-axe.

But Man Alive! does what Rand’s moral philosophy failed to do: It defends human nature in ontology, and, hence, demonstrates that the self is necessarily and unavoidably the cardinal value of human life. People who understand this are egoists, with egoism itself being defended rationally for the first time, and egoists are indomitable — they cannot be dominated — and they know it.

Man Alive! is the magic bullet because it finally makes the fundamental argument libertarians have been grailing for these past fifty-five years. No one who has internalized the praxis detailed in the book can ever again be either slave-master or slave, predator or prey, liar or gullible victim.

To the contrary, by demonstrating the true nature of the self, the book shows people how properly to love and honor the self, after which they will be very noble souls indeed. I am not registering voters or enlisting political allies. I am showing free men how and why they have always been free, and how best to express that freedom going forward.

If you were a libertarian ideologue — an academic or a journalist or an activist or a weblogger — doesn’t that sound like a weapon you might like to have in your arsenal?

But what do I hear from the libertarians? Crickets.

Partly this is my own fault. I don’t have much to do with “professional” libertarians, and the intellectual air I breathe is pretty thin for their lungs. And there have been a few exceptions to the overall cacophony of enervating silence: Sunni Maravillosa liked the book, as did Kent McManigal, while John Venlet did not.

But I have been a daily nuisance in a couple-dozen email boxes, so far to almost no avail. I have pestered Kathy Shaidle and Mark Steyn just because I think they are fun writers, possessed of wit, grace and a Menckenesque bring-it-on chutzpah. But I have been a daily door-darkener, too, for Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch and Brian Doherty, all of Reason magazine, and all in the selling-liberty-to-the-masses business.

Whom else have I alerted to the brand new philosophical epoch — the Age of Splendor — that began on Easter Sunday? Lots of folks, among them Mister Army-of-Davids himself, Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, Samizdata, Strike-The-Root, Radley Balko, Lew Rockwell, Vox Day (who has his own section in the book) and everybody’s favorite tax-payer-funded anarcho-statist, David Friedman.

I’ve done everything I could think of to elicit their attention. But what do I hear in response? Crickets.

I’m kvetching because I’m annoyed, but I’m not ranting. For one thing, I will prevail in the long run, no matter what. The ideas in Man Alive! could spread faster if any one of the people I’ve been trying to interest actually woke up and paid attention. But the book changes lives, and the folks whose lives are changed by it will pass it along. This is not a vanity project for me, nor a salve for my own ego. But I can see that the world could be a very different place as soon as next year if only we would get this conversation started in earnest, and I am very eager to see that happen.

I don’t even care if “profesional” libertarians hate the book and the ideas it illuminates. I know that the future of philosophy is mine, either way, and I just want for ordinary people to know that Man Alive! exists and how to find it.

All of this is funny to me. I live in a constant state of exuberance and indomitability. I wrote a book for which I have set no price, and I am doing everything I can to give away as many copies as I can, as fast as I can — quite literally begging people to save their own lives. And if I am successful in that goal, I will bring down a shit-storm of flatulent rage and sulphurous condemnation on my head. I don’t want that, but it’s baked in the cake. You don’t undermine the state, the academy and the church without blowback.

But I don’t care. I have had enough of being pushed around, and I’m going to put a stop to it.

If the libertarians want to join me in this work, I’m happy to have ’em along. But if they don’t, I wish they would do me — and you — the great big favor of leading the chorus of squealing, squawking and squalling.

And if they don’t do either? Their silence will be a ringing declaration of their actual relevance, won’t it?

In the long run, I win either way. But it would be very nice for everyone involved — everyone on Earth, including me — if we were to get down to business now.

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  • >But I have been a daily nuisance in a couple-dozen email boxes, so far to almost no avail.

    Possibly it’s the economics of politics? If your email was an offer to buy ad space on their websites to promote this book, my guess is it would generate a response of some sort, even if only to direct you to an account manager.

    • > Possibly it’s the economics of politics?

      Perhaps they’re too busy mobbing up on Obama-at-age-eight to discover why running in mobs is self-destructive.

  • Greg. I’ve re-read the words I wrote in the short review at my place, and no where within did I find I wrote I did not like the book.

    I did write, “Say WHAT,” utilizing your own words in that little bit of criticism, in regards to the book being a survival manual for the mind, but those words in no way indicate that I did not like the book.

    Did you consider that possibly “Man Alive!,” at least for myself as an individual searching in large part for the same beauty you are searching for in life, was a work which did not offer me any ideas which I have not contemplated on previously?

    • > no where within did I find I wrote I did not like the book.

      My apologies for under-stating your lack of enthusiasm.

      > Did you consider that possibly “Man Alive!,” at least for myself as an individual searching in large part for the same beauty you are searching for in life, was a work which did not offer me any ideas which I have not contemplated on previously?

      I know it did. Quite a lot, in fact. The book is full of ideas no one has never addressed before. It’s possible that some of them might have been familiar to you from having read my writing, but, even in that circumstance, I elaborated on my past arguments in ways I never have before. No argument in the history of philosophy has done what Man Alive! does — for the simple reason that no one before me thought to reverse the sign.

      Good grief, man! I’ve been bitching at libertarians about these ideas for three decades, and all they could do was tell me how wrong I am. Now I’m old news? That dog won’t hunt.

      The experience of living at first hand is something I share with other people — not enough, for now, but some. The experience of understanding the ideas I have taken up in my life — I don’t think I share that with anyone. I certainly don’t know of anyone who has documented human nature in the way I have. This is not boasting, but there is a bright-line distinction to be made between explicit detailed arguments — proofs — and a sense-of-life.

      And all that notwithstanding, I can’t imagine what you thought your readers would get out of a review that comes down to a misleading, dismissive summary. You’re one up on the Army of Cartmans called out in this post, but not by a lot. If this be praise, it’s praise in muted pastels. Worse, you had a chance to run for a while with the football of history in your arms and you punted instead. This is not about a book, and it’s not about my vanity. This is about human lives — billions of them — and you will never have another opportunity like this.

      Nota bene: You asked. I was nothing but cordial to you in your own comments.

      My take is that you should re-read the book.

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  • “The book is full of ideas no one has never addressed before.”

    Quite the audacious statement. How do you know?

    Your honesty and confidence is refreshing and a relief, by the way.

    • > Quite the audacious statement. How do you know?

      That wants it’s own post, I think. Short answer: I know because, if these ideas had been instantiated before now, we would be living in a very different world. We have looked at everything ass-backwards forever, and the world you see around you is the consequences of all of those accumulated errors.

      > Your honesty and confidence is refreshing and a relief, by the way.

      Thanks. Tell your friends. I link liberally, too, if that matters, and I do-follow as a matter of policy.

      • How do you know your projected consequences are in fact what you derived that they are?

        • > How do you know your projected consequences are in fact what you derived that they are?

          I live it from the inside. I always have, but I’m better at it for having explicated the essence of my thinking.

          It’s not my place to advise people in particulars, but this would be my advice for anyone: Internalize the praxis outlined in Man Alive!, implement it in your life and track your results.

          This syllogism — 1 > 0 > –1 — is excruciatingly obvious, but once you start to deploy it in your thinking, in real-time in existential reality, it will change your life forever for the good.

          It goes for me, too. I’m a better man than I was a month ago. My plan for today is to be a better man than I was yesterday.

          No bullshit, ever, I promise. It works. Try it and see for yourself.

          • How do you know the correlation between the praxis and your results isn’t a coincidence? Or perhaps the causation goes the other direction?

            Returning to my original question, how do you know that writing about the praxis should in fact cause these results in the readers of the tract?

            • > how do you know that writing about the praxis should in fact cause these results in the readers of the tract?

              Because they tell me what is changing in their lives as the result of reading the book.

              I don’t want to play philosophy games. It’s wasteful. Life is for living. Read the book, two or three times if that’s needful, then let’s talk.

            • You think this is a game?

              Can you give me some examples of readers and what changed?

            • > Can you give me some examples of readers and what changed?

              Other than me, no. That’s their business to disclose, not mine.

              The book is free. Read it if you like, don’t if you don’t.

              > You think this is a game?

              Very much the contrary. Forgive me if I have misread your motives.

            • Easily forgiven. Doubtless it was mainly my fault.

              However, most of my questions stand unanswered. If you intend to answer them in the post about the first one, I am content to wait.

              Do you know what not answering these questions means?

            • > Do you know what not answering these questions means?

              Apparently it means I am delaying you from reading the book.

              I don’t see any profit in having a discussion where only one of us is informed about the topic. Let’s talk again once you have read Man Alive! I’ll make that easy for you by making this my last reply to you in this exchange.

              I am not evading you, and I sincerely hope you are not trying to go one up on me with some grad-school mind-game. I am not the last word on anything, but I am the first word on the subject of the fully-human life. If you want to know what I know, the place to start is with the book. After you read it, you won’t need to ask anyone anything.

  • I can’t imagine what you thought your readers would get out of a review that comes down to a misleading, dismissive summary.

    Greg, your words indicate that you evidently would have preferred I wrote a rather more constructive critical review, or a destructive critical review; (“Hey, libertarians: If you won’t be my friend, could you please be my enemy?”); rather than dismissive review. Fair enough, but I when I wrote the review, at your request, I applied that most important of philosophical questions, “What should I do?”, and I did it.

    Nota bene: You asked. I was nothing but cordial to you in your own comments.

    Why the Nota bene on cordiality? Am I not being cordial, or you?

    • > Am I not being cordial, or you?

      No, I’m being a prick, and I apologize for that. You have always been good to me, John, and I should always have been better to you.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and review Man Alive! You have my vow that I will do everything I can think of to do better by you, going forward.

  • Thank you for taking the time to read and review Man Alive!

    You are welcome, Greg.

    You have my vow that I will do everything I can think of to do better by you,…

    Greg, you do not have to do better by me, be better for yourself.

    Best to you.

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  • Jim Klein

    “How do you know your projected consequences are in fact what you derived that they are?”

    and

    “How do you know the correlation between the praxis and your results isn’t a coincidence?”

    and

    “Or perhaps the causation goes the other direction?”

    and more.

    Congratulations, Alrenous. You managed to hook Greg into discussing this, and even defending what he wrote, and I know that’s not easy.

    One of the overriding points of the book is that this is NOT a causative derivation. It is an identification of the nature of the beast. Sure, anything can be turned from one into the other as an epistemic matter—“That ball is blue. It is blue because it is composed of material that reflects light waves of a particular wavelength that are then sensed by the eye and brain.” That’s a “causative explanation” of sorts, but it’s also not the point.

    What’s the point? That the damn ball is blue, that’s all. You see, one of the major points of the book is our tendency to replace the nature of the object with our representations of the nature of the object, thereby allowing us to go off in the weeds with those “maps,” forgetting that it’s the territory that we’re talking about.

    Your comments are great examples. Surprisingly, Greg’s answers dealt with how he came to know this, and by extension how he knows what he’s talking about. That’s interesting enough, but it’s history and not about the object itself. When it comes to the object itself, it just is as it is. You could maybe declare that he has identified it incorrectly, but you won’t be able to defend that because he hasn’t. The ball is blue and the person is as Greg says he is—these are both matters of FACT and all the “arguments” in the world can’t change either one.

    If the ball is rubber, then it will bounce on Earth. This is neither “coincidence” nor is it “derived.” Again, our knowledge of this might be derived in a sense, but that knowledge is quite a separate matter from what it is. Whatever it is, is an instance of a fact; this includes what it does. A human being is another object, and whatever it is and does, is likewise a matter of fact.

    Or, try this. You’ve got it backwards. The nature of an object is the controlling factor in the causative derivations of its actions. You’re looking for a series of causative derivations to infer the nature of the object. That’s not an invalid approach or anything, especially with regard to the “scientific method” and such. But it’s rather pointless when the identification has already been made. It’s quite possible–and indeed was the case–to know that the ball is blue without knowing anything at all about the retina.

    • Greg didn’t answer my questions.
      I would try to explain to you why this is important, but I can safely conclude it would be a waste of time. You indeed addressed the point – with a false argument against it. But I should check.

      So you’re saying I’m trying to argue about the words that describe humans, rather than humans themselves, is that correct?

      You’re saying whether Greg’s argument as to the the nature of humans is sound or not is irrelevant, because it is in fact sound – human nature really is that way. Is that correct?

      As to a specific example, you’re saying rubber bounces. Rubber bouncing is part of being rubber. Is that correct?

      You’re saying I’m looking for the cause of a human being human, rather than the effects of a human being human. Is that correct?

      • Jim Klein

        “You indeed addressed the point – with a false argument against it. But I should check.”

        You should. In your world, there’s no such thing as a “false argument.” Yet somehow I came up with one, according to you.

        “So you’re saying I’m trying to argue about the words that describe humans, rather than humans themselves, is that correct?”

        Yes, basically that’s correct. Being the charitable guy I am, I’d say you’re arguing about the concepts.

        “You’re saying whether Greg’s argument as to the the nature of humans is sound or not is irrelevant, because it is in fact sound – human nature really is that way. Is that correct?”

        With regard to the nature of humans, yes that’s correct. With regard to whether or not Greg has correctly identified it, perhaps not.

        But all of that is pointless, because you believe there is a difference between validity and soundness, when the truth is that a thing is as it is; c’est tout. This is one of the more fatal ideas your “thought leaders” taught you, even as Greg didn’t address it specifically in his book.

        “As to a specific example, you’re saying rubber bounces. Rubber bouncing is part of being rubber. Is that correct?”

        Uh, no. This is just an instantiation of the above error. Being blue or bouncing are not respective “parts” of the ball. They are attributes that you have integrated distinctly. In that respect, they may be “part” of you, but in no way are they “part” of the ball. If you cut the ball through, only then will you have part of the ball.

        You seem interested in this stuff, so I’d suggest you understand that before you try to tackle anything else.

        “You’re saying I’m looking for the cause of a human being human, rather than the effects of a human being human. Is that correct?”

        Partly, but that’s rather derivative and indicative of the way you’re approaching all of this. Begin at the beginning—a thing is as it is, and humans are as Greg says they are. If you believe he has misidentified something, then just set it out and we can take a look.

        Once you get that down, then we can take a look at the causative history or the anticipated effects, if that’s really of interest to you. But that’s sort of silly without nailing down the nature of the object, which Greg has gracefully and gratuitously done for you.

        IOW, as Greg might suggest, do it like a five-year-old. Know what the hell you’re looking at, and then argue about it. You wanna argue about whether what we’re looking at is as it is, and you wanna do that by appealing to our conceptualizations of it, rather than it itself.

        Little wonder you find yourself arguing in circles, since those conceptualizations ARE the “it itself” in this case. This is a major point of the book, the identification of the nature of the self in the first place.

        I’ll grant you that it’s a bit confusing, when the conceptualization of something is the thing being conceptualized, but it really is possible to surmount that problem without yielding to solipsism, which ultimately is what your “thought leaders” taught you, even as they called it anything but.

  • I have nothing further to say, so I’ll just confirm I in fact read the comment.

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