The Case for Kerry: Selected Readings

A letter from Atlasphere member Eric Nolte:

The very persuasive cases made on the Atlasphere for Bush and Badnarik were accompanied by a surprising header, announcing that no one could be found to make a case for Kerry. Now, let’s not stretch the point and say that anyone should actually stand up and cheer for the man, but Dubya is so awful that we should not dismiss voting for Kerry without some serious meditation.

I know of at least two staunch advocates of freedom who are not supporting Bush or Badnarik.

Surely I am not the only member of the Atlasphere who heard Leonard Peikoff tell an audience that Kerry is very much better than Bush?

Peikoff’s case was excerpted from a lecture series on “The DIM Hypothesis.” As I remember it, the thrust of the matter is that Bush stands for theocracy, supported by a frightening, ideologically systematic, and massive base. By contrast, Kerry stands for socialism, but has nothing like a massive ideological base, because there is no credible, ideologically systematic support for socialism left anywhere in the world, not least because the left condemns all efforts to think systematically. (Of course, there is no credible, systematic support for religion either, but the Christian Right is happily deluded to hold its ideology.) In a contest between these two awful groups, the point is that theocracy is much more overtly irrational than democratic socialism.

The compelling point here is on the terrible danger posed by the Christian Right. This group is so big and influential today that another term for Bush might encourage them to become vastly more assertive and oppressive than they are now. There are something like 60 million born-again Christians, not counting fellow travellers, who believe that the Bible is the literal, revealed word of God, and they are out to impose their views on everybody else. This group is overwhelmingly Republican. They hear Bush as speaking for them, and Bush affirms this impression when he said in his first campaign that his favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ. Not even Hillary Clinton, says Dr. Peikoff, poses as great a threat to the ideals of the American project as the Christian Right, and Kerry has no such agenda supported by any such mass base.

Peikoff concludes by saying that those who know history and grasp the importance of philosophy know that an ideology, a systematic philosophy, accompanied by a truly mass base, can make serious inroads into dominating a culture.

How long can intellectual freedom last in the face of massive opposition from the Christian Right, endorsed by a second term for Bush?

In the end, Kerry is enormously bad, says Dr. P, but Bush is “apocalyptically bad.”

Dr. Peikoff’s statement isn’t in print to my knowledge, but you can listen to his 19 minute statement over at his website, listed below. It is a compelling statement.

Now here is another case for Kerry, this one from Lew Rockwell:

Consider that despite the seemingly more libertarian campaign rhetoric of Republicans, and despite the obviously socialist policies advocated by Democrats, the actual result of their policies (as opposed to the ideological planks of mainstream party platforms) is that Democrats may practice more “responsible” government than their colleagues across the aisle. Democrats ardently believe in the grace and sanctity of the Nanny State, and so they are motivated to try to make it work. By contrast, Republicans are even more heedless of the danger of a growing statist power than Democrats! This is the height of irony, but there may be some truth here. I commend you to read this very interesting piece, “The Myth of the Kerry Calamity,” on the Lew Rockwell website.

Dr. Peikoff also recommends an analysis of these matters by John Lewis.

At Lewis’s website, I found a link to a raft of interesting articles of his. I believe the one Peikoff referred to is called, “Opposing Platonic Conservatism: A Matter of Values.”