My Jesse Watch --that is, my Jesse The Body Ventura, Governor elect of Minnesota USA, Watch-- is for those of us (or at an absolute minimum, it is for me...that's right, I am a person) who voted for Jesse and take him at his word when he says he is in a learning mode.
I want to make sure I don't end up being implicated in the "Unleashing of a Rogue Elephant" incident that they might be writing about in tomorrows Headlines.
If Jesse wants to learn then I want to help. I think JESSE THE POLITICIAN should be evaluated and criticized on fundamental grounds, which means on his fundamental, philosophical premises and principles and I base my criticisms on the ones I see presented to me via the media (including the Internet). If the media has distorted something I'd be more than happy to have anyone point this out to me and I will retract anything I say here if it turns out to be in error.
So lets start,
Number one, I like Jesse. I think he is a breath of fresh air and because of his personality he is getting issues about the individual versus the group RaIsed to a level that we all need to think about.
Here Jesse is good.
This is a Jesse watch, however, not to praise him, but to criticize his politics. Since politics comes from ethics and ethics from philosophy it is at the fundamental, philosophical level that he has to be critiqued.
Jesse is trying to get on track for running for President of the United States of America.
The United States of America is the greatest country on the planet because it worships INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
No president of such a country cannot also so worship. He or she may NOT worship at the altar of any of the one or more gods that traditional religions offer us and still get elected. But.
And this is a big But.
But if he or she does not worship at the altar of individual rights and manages to get elected this country is doomed (pack up the hymnals and dismantle the pulpit...it is over...). This is such an important issue that it justifies us in criticizing without praising, something which, for normal, everyday values and virtues should not be done.
So here are my first 3 criticisms and I present them in their order of importance:
THE DATA: 1. "constitutional entitlements" of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see Jesse's State of the State message 3/x/99) 2. he believes in fate (see this past Fall's pre- and post-election quotes and excerpts) 3. he's ok with Skip-a-beat Humphrey's tobacco suit (same as 2) 4. OIATBD (OthersIfAnyToBeDetermined) the meaning: Jesse: 1. doesn't understand concept of man's rights 2. believes in a higher power, one external to self and real, a conscious power higher than the judgement of his own mind.
3. tobacco suit...is ok with: dr branden's description of some tribal chieftain's definition of bad and good: you steal my wife, that's bad, I steal your wife, that's good. Pan nationalism... What's this called? Not objective, but subjective.... Has a subjective STANDARD of good and evil therefore a subjective moral code too (see my Selfishness Sheriff LTE's)3. Has a Subjectivist moral code. 4. next, TBC (ToBeContinued)
If you want to understand The Rights of Man and all this entails --that is, if you want to understand man's rights-- then click here and read my review --posted January 1, 1999-- and/or buy the book and read the appendix (yes, I do belong to Amazon.com's associate program and will get a referral fee if you buy the book but in order for you to circumvent this --that is if you think I am engaging in a conflict of interest here then-- all you have to do is go out and come back from some other path and I will not get any compensation for sending you their way. I would gladly forego the 29 penneys or so and have you read the book and bring yourself up to speed intellectually so that we all can speed up the process of making sure this country continues to worship individual rights).
Since it is typically the case that all candidates believe in some higher power it may not be practical to make this a disqualifying element in being for Jesse. For right now I don't know how to deal with this and am open for suggestions (email me with your best
As to the Subjectivist moral code, please note the capital S. If some of you are thinking, 'duh...', you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see Jesse's a subjectivist I say think again. I think you do have to think about this.
Subjectivist with a capital S is the philosophy that says something is right if I think it is right for me and if I (or someone smarter than me) can't demonstrate it in logic that it's right it doesn't matter. Contrast this with Objective. Objective demonstrates what is right and then says since it is right it is right for me the individual, and for you the individual, which is to say, it is right for everybody, qua individuals.
The Objective is good, the capital S-Subjective is bad.
So, is Jesse Vee who he claims to be?
That is, is he Presidential material?
If --after experiencing 'President'(?!?) Clinton-- I knew what Presidential material was, I could answer this.
The best I can do for now is to say: "we'ul see".
I didn't expect to be back here so soon. But because of U of M basketball-players / academic cheating scandal the St. Paul Pioneer Press made it otherwise. There is much to be said about that scandal but it's premature now and one should wait until ALL the facts are in. Besides, what I am interested in right now is in expressing my embarassment or rather the embarassment I felt for Jesse V when I heard him in the "instant" replay phone conversation on the Joe Soucheray AM 1500 talk show the other day (either Thursday or Friday of this past week). Even though Joe, I believe, was at a self-imposed disadvantage in this intellectual wrestling match (not because of his stature, quite the contrary, here Jesse was at a disadvantage) because Joe --within 1 or 2 blink-of-the-eye seconds of the opening of the match-- picked Jesse up over his head and slammed him down on the mat so hard you could feel the bounce of it in your car from the loudness of it coming through the car radio. This was the part where Joe responded to Jesse's opening move. Jesse opened with some variation on the idea that the St. Paul Pioneer Press was bad because they made us face one of our hypocricies and if they hadn't a done that we'd not have to face it. Joe saw the vulnerability in this view and responded with a variation on the "caught you in-the-faulty-reasoning" move when he replied in such a way as to imply that Jesse was advocating that Sports is so important that it justifies cheating. This was a good move because it was right on the money and when Jesse's back hit the mat, he too knew it. Then Joe (whether out of pity or out of respect for the Office) fell for the oldest trick in the book. Jesse --laying on his back with Joe towering over him-- reached out his left hand and pointed to outer space and said: "what's that?". Yes, Joe turned and looked and Jesse's right arm swung up and around hitting Joe so hard on the side of his face that it spun him around and before he came to a stop Jesse managed to get up and take the wrestlers pose for the rest of the match. From here on in, however, it was anticlimatic: Joe had had him on the ropes but blew it and the audience even kinda wanted him to because they felt sorry for Jesse. Jesse wants to be Jesse the Mind just like he was Jesse the Body, but it looks like he's got a ways to go before he earns this title. I wish him well and hope he gets some really good training and instruction in the Art of Being, which is to say in the Art of Thinking and Feeling and Acting. If he wants some really good, expert training in these Arts I recommend he NOT turn to the Public School System. Rather, if he is serious about learning, about developing his reasoning capabilities and capacities I strongly recommend he read everything written by Ayn Rand (especially her non-fiction work on Epistemology*) and by Dr. Nathaniel Branden and by Dr. Leonard Peikoff and by all the other Objectivist writers and speakers. If Jesse had 1/10th, ney 1/100th...hell, one-thousandth of their intellectual abilities coupled with his physical toughness he'd be an unstoppable force...for ...Truth, Justice and the American way,* but....wishes do not a reality make.
OPINION August 27, 1999
August 27, 1999
(Submitted to St. Paul Pioneer Press 8/27/99 for publication on Opinion page but not published)
For those of us who did two things: voted for Jesse-The-Body for Governor of all Minnesotans and who freely chose Objectivism as our moral guide through life (though not in this order) we now have to pause and evaluate Jesse-The-Politician. (Though based on the size of Objectivism's following I might be a group of one here if these two "traits" are the only measures.)
"We" can do this in one of two ways: either we can jump on the band wagon and condemn Jesse-the-politician or we can look at some of the hidden un-checked premises in those condemnations and evaluate them.
For a person such as myself who is an Objectivist tempered by Biocentric Psychology, either approach would be experienced as a lot of fun to do. However, the second approach would more than likely be experienced as both fun and informative --personally informative at minimum and with the potential to reveal some universal truths at its best-- so it is the one I will use.
The first hidden premise in the condemnation of Jesse as an un-dignified politician --for his recent foraging into the money meadows of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation)-- is the one that says: American politics is a "dignified" profession.
Look at "President" Clinton.
And I repeat: says who?
Another hidden premise is, Jesse is selfish and that explains why he is a bad guy and explains why his true colors are coming out now as he practices explicitly the un-dignified behaviors that characterize a not insignificant number of American politicians. And what are these so called (un-dignified) behaviors? Saying one thing and doing another, which is to say the un-dignity of hypocrisy. Mastering the political art of telling (some) people what they want to hear without really believing it yourself, which is to say the un-dignity of political deception. And last but not least, the un-dignity of "throwing the baby out with the bath water" by looking at the cultures status quo intellectuals and concluding that "anti-intellectualism" should be an aspired to virtue sought by all.
Or rephrased in a nutshell, the un-dignity of giving selfishness a bad name.
Aside from 70-80-90% of the population, what non-ad hominem factor says selfishness is bad?
Jesse-the-running-to-get-elected politician spoke to me when he suggested that he was going to see to it that our mutual-selfish political interests of protecting the individual from the group --regardless of which group-- and other to-be-identified individual-versus-group political problems were going to be taken care of once and for all by Jesse-the-body if I'd just vote for him.
Since I am in my early 50's, the real hidden and false premise here is that wishful thinking and naiveté are the providence of youth only.
So, in an attempt to redeem myself for voting for Jesse Vee let me say that now that I think about it, isn't it also naive of me to think that a political system such as our current one that worships polls and statistics and averages drawn on averages is capable of anything but un-dignity? The hidden premise here is that "politicians" are against the WWF when the truth is: "they" are jealous of it. They wished they had as large a devoted and loyal following as does the WWF. Perhaps the politicians should adopt some of the WWF's pragmatism. That is, if they the politicians want to also have a large, un-thinking group of zombies who are stuck in the metaphysics of nine-year-old boys following them around like so many loyal lapdogs then they too have to promote the myth that real men, strong men, truly real strong men are the ones who succeed the most in… are the best at… reach the highest in …pain denial.
And more, if the whole world is hell-bent on fulfilling their philosophy of anti-self(ishness) who am I to set them straight. Ayn Rand --one of the worlds greatest thinkers-- has not succeeded yet in doing it, by what conceivable means other than naiveté do I think I can have any impact on the thinking of my fellow man?
So it appears that my choice to vote for Jesse has reduced me once and for all to a pile of rubble. A rubble made up of the little stones of naiveté and wishful thinking.
Oh well, it was (some) fun while it lasted and it did remind me of the time when I was 9 years old and I thought that Farmer Marlin was the best wrestler in the world. I used his drop kick technique on more than one occasion to protect my self from aspiring bullies. But, I think that by the time I was a teenager, I started to see that maybe Aristotle was a better hero to worship.
I dare you Jesse, no I double dare you to run for President and try to pull the wool over the eyes of the real Adult Americans out there beyond the state of Minnesota who will be casting their votes.
Casting them that is for a hoped for serious contender who does take politics seriously and sees it as a potentially dignified profession that can see to it that Gary Deering's individual --selfish individual-- rights to life and property will be preserved and protected from those real and imagined "groups" who would love to take them away from him and others like him who are naive enough to think that they have an inalienable right to their own life and property.
And more, that a true politician, a dignified politician is one who knows that he or she cannot give Gary his inalienable right to life and property unless he or she first forcibly takes them away from him.
And finally. Gary Deering will let no one take away his right to life and property. No one, not even Jesse-the-master-wool-puller-over-my-eyes Ventura.
Private citizen possessor of inalienable rights
City, State, zip
COMMENTARY October 2, 1999
October 2, 1999
(Submitted to the Minneapolis Star Tribune
10/4/99 for publication on Commentary page ___ published)*
Dear Op Ed Editor:
If other people's comments cause one to be "mind-full" -- that is to think about things-- then I have to re-evaluate my earlier conclusion that Jesse the Body will never ever never make it to the level of Jesse the Mind.
If other people's comments cause you to question yourself then they are causing you to be mindful, that is, to think. To think, is good.
Jesse's Playboy interview comments about religion (and the "worlds" reaction to it) have caused me to ask myself and to answer no fewer than 6 questions.
Honesty is as described and defined by Ayn Rand and given in The Ayn Rand Lexicon page 204 (paperback, New American Library, 1986, Edited Dr. Harry Binswanger):
Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud---that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness becomes the enemies you have to dread and flee---that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling---that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others."Intellectual honesty [quoting the same Lexicon further p. 205] (involves) knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one's knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute."
Then the applying of all this to myself "answer", by asking a simple question (or two):
Am I the fool (referred to in the first definition above) for voting for Jesse because I believe he is an honest guy and he is proving it in the political realm, a place where traditionally "honesty" is a liability (see Barry Goldwater's lost 1964 Presidential election and virtually every won-an-election-politician since then). Maybe "we" are changing and/or have already changed: that is maybe we do value honesty once again or if not once again then maybe for the first time. (Wouldn't that be something just wonderful?)
So, since I am no longer a pro-religion person (being FOR Objectivism entails being anti-faith) I cannot "empathize" here with those who are still pro-faith.
However, being in a culture that --allegedly-- is interested in empathizing with each other inspite of our differences I ask myself WHAT would Jesse have to say "honestly" in order for me to be so upset with him that I'd reject him totally and completely, once and for all and forever?
Once I asked myself this question the answer came to mind immediately: if he said he "honestly" agreed with those neo-nazi types who believe and assert that the holocaust is a myth, well...
...IF this, then... goodbye you know who forever.
So if --religious people-- you feel the same way about Jesse's religion comments then I now know how you feel. You must feel betrayed and if additionally you voted for Jesse you must feel like you are the fool referred to in the Ayn Rand definition.
If so you have my sincere condolences, feeling the fool is really a hard thing to not evade but if you are honest you'll face it and say such is life's risks and not be too hard on yourself and get on with your life.
(political)Life entails the risk of being taken in. Such is its nature.
But, it's like Ayn Rand said (somewhere): "...you shouldn't damn yourself for not knowing yesterday what you learned today...".
Webmaster of (among other things) "The Jesse Watch" /www.gdeering.com /POLITICS VENN /pink-boa colored center line in the road to unknown political futures/
City, State, zip
Also remember, feelings are not tools of cognition. Just because --religious people-- your feelings have been hurt it doesn't follow that you have addressed the issue. The issue is --if you read Mr. Ventura's comments in context-- the issue is, is the religious mentality in us all responsible for the fact that INDIVIDUAL rights are not worshipped? And if it is, then religion is wrong --organized or otherwise-- and feelings, like Rush Limbaugh who is one of your own has said on more than one occasion, feelings don't determine an opinions right or wrongness: reason does.
Out of concern for my own anti-fool protections can someone (preferably a Jesse supporter) please explain to me --in non-contradictory terms-- how Jesse can be for the Minnesota tobacco suit and also for the self-sufficiency virtues inherent in a free-market, laissez-faire capitalistic system? If self-sufficiency means earning an honest buck or if not this then at minimum of earning a buck honestly how can "Minnesota" take a tobacco company's money? What did Minnesota do to EARN it?
I just discovered last night (10/3/99) on TV that Jesse per Jesse believes in god. That his "religion" is private, very private. He can practice it at the lake or while eating cake or trying to bake --that is, his is a Dr. Seuss type of religion. Shit Jesse by your own words you have reconfirmed that my opening statement is true not false. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and to defend your aspiring to the new "the mind" moniker but by your own words you made it the falsehood that it is. The truth is, ultimately ALL aspirants to the higher reaches of mind come to a fork in the road and they must choose which way to go. Both forks look like they go up but in reality only one does, the other one leads back down to the bottom -- how bottom depends on many things way beyond the scope of this Commentary. The road to the top is the one marked: reason, not the one marked faith.