Didn’t make a “book a week” this year, still. But here’s this year’s list of book conquests (*-indicates unabridged audio book). In brackets, my rating, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 superlative, 5 average, and 1 awful.
Now winter downs the dying of the year, And night is all a settlement of snow; From the soft street the rooms of houses show A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere, Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin And still allows some stirring down within.
I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell And held in ice as dancers in a spell Fluttered all winter long into a lake; Graved on the dark in gestures of descent, They seemed their own most perfect monument.
There was perfection in the death of ferns Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone A million years. Great mammoths overthrown Composedly have made their long sojourns, Like palaces of patience, in the gray And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii
The little dog lay curled and did not rise But slept the deeper as the ashes rose And found the people incomplete, and froze The random hands, the loose unready eyes Of men expecting yet another sun To do the shapely thing they had not done.
These sudden ends of time must give us pause. We fray into the future, rarely wrought Save in the tapestries of afterthought. More time, more time. Barrages of applause Come muffled from a buried radio. The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.
Again. Need it be said that no rational person would ever liken a doctor who performs a volutary sex change operation on a willing patient to a Nazi prison camp torturer?
This comes only very shortly after his blatant intellectual bullying in the case of John McCaskey. One need not have an opinion on the merits of the dispute between Peikoff and McCaskey (I have none) to recognize Peikoff's words--"I hope you still know who I am and what intellectual status I have in Objectivism"--as a particularly clumsy and embarrassing example of "the argument from intimidation." As Rand herself wrote,
The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy. The pattern is always: “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.
It's gratifying that this did not intimidate everyone. In any case, Peikoff's "intellectual status in Objectivism" at this point is simply as an embarrassment.
Update: Tim's First Law of Idiodynamics: The only people who ever say "Do you know who I am?" are asses.
Here's a video we did for the PLF blog that focuses on the moving case I'm working on in Missouri--and features my former client, Adam Sweet. I was particularly proud of how this video came out, so please take a look and pass it on to your friends.
"When I was younger, I believed in libertarianism, but when I got older, I realized that things are more complicated..."
What they mean:
"Now that I'm a grownup, I want to use violence to compel people to do what I want them to do, instead of letting them make their own choices. I now believe that I am superior enough to others that I can force my preferences on them. I am so much more compassionate than others that I have the right to compel unchosen charity from people with the force of the state at my side. I can dictate to others how they can pray, or what they can read, or what jobs they may take, or what they may earn, or buy, or spend, or teach their children. I have learned that the government is a disinterested task master that only wants what's best for us, and can be trusted with authority over us. In spite of the overwhelming evidence that free markets increase wealth, and actually encourage charitable contributions, that free choice has healthy effects on morals, that a heavily regulated society is poorer, dirtier, more violent, and less moral, I've learned to ignore evidence and proven theories. I've learned that other people can't make decisions about their lives as well as I can decide for them. Yes, of course I am a compassionate and capable person who can make my own decisions and aid the underprivileged on my own accord--but that's because I'm better than other people; other people must be forced into charity by the government. It's not so simple as letting people form their own lives, their own relationships, their own beliefs, their own businesses--no, I have so little respect for my fellow humans that I must use the power of the state to compel them to do what I think they ought to do...."
This seems to me a very poor counterfeit of "maturity."
We didn’t reach Jupiter this year, Arthur Clarke. Like children at night, we still fear the dark, And lend the day’s sun to credit the magic Of fakirs in rags and spinning fanatics Who urge us extinguish the curious spark.
Yet I assure you, my dear George Orwell, That we also don’t live in your prophesied hell. Though some channel fear through false-fronted words, Others reach out, and if now they’re unheard, We’ve seen them before pierce apathy’s spell
And shatter the bonds of the earth and the state. Each day we meet at Janus’s gate, Some wearing chains, some cannot read, Some stay afraid, but others are freed. And the best of us step through to plot their own fate.