By Amir Alwani | Potent News
During the recent Baltimore protests which reeked of George Soros‘ usual nefarious escapades, and which occasionally resulted in a number of businesses being looted and burned – and also cop cars being suspiciously burned – and which also sparked solidarity protests as far as Ferguson, Oakland, Denver, Minneapolis, Washington DC, New York City, and Seattle, twitter feeds were soaked with comments like “stores can be re-built but Freddie Gray’s spine can never be rebuilt”. Variations of this argument appeared to dominate the twitter-sphere.
In light of this, what can those who use this fallacious argument say when faced with this IJ Review video featuring an interview with a Baltimore pizza shop owner, Essam el Ghannam, who mentioned that a 14 year old girl tried to light him and his vehicle on fire in Baltimore amid the riots? That’s right, teenagers tried to murder an innocent man in one of the most torturous and brutal ways imaginable, by dousing him with lighter fluid and attempting to ignite the flame. The video shows his burnt and looted store, Papa Palace, which the man has owned and operated for 8 years. He said that at the time that this occurred he was watching his 12-year old niece and had to rush her to safety.
What was this teenager thinking? Judging from Ghannam’s reaction, it’s likely she simply wasn’t thinking.
Leonard Peikoff defines “thinking” as identifying. He points out that when you ask yourself “where” an event is happening you are actually asking about the identity of the location – “what is the location”.
When you ask “when” an event is happening you aim to identify the time at which the event occurred – “what is the time interval during which this event occurred”, and so on.
Hence, thinking is the act of identifying. It’s all about the “what”, at the end of the day.
Objectivism holds that value is objective (not intrinsic or subjective); value is based on and derives from the facts of reality (it does not derive from mystic authority or from whim, personal or social). Reality, we hold — along with the decision to remain in it, i.e., to stay alive — dictates and demands an entire code of values. Unlike the lower species, man does not pursue the proper values automatically; he must discover and choose them; but this does not imply subjectivism. Every proper value-judgment is the identification of a fact: a given object or action advances man’s life (it is good): or it threatens man’s life (it is bad or an evil). The good, therefore, is a species of the true; it is a form of recognizing reality. The evil is a species of the false; it is a form of contradicting reality. Or: values are a type of facts; they are facts considered in relation to the choice to live.
Just as there can be no dichotomy between mind and body, so there can be none between the true and the good. Even in regard to metaphysically given facts, cognition and evaluation cannot be sundered. Cognition apart from evaluation is purposeless; it becomes the arbitrary desire for “pure knowledge” as an end in itself. Evaluation apart from cognition is non-objective; it becomes the whim of pursuing an “I wish” not based on any “It is.”
Many seem to mistakenly agree that 2 wrongs make a right. Unfortunately, reality is not merely a product of what we want. It’s not that convenient. Not for you, not for me, and not for those teenagers either. The fact is that one either understands and respects property rights or one does not. We can’t move the goalposts. We can’t have something be wrong one day and then suddenly be right the next.
Have you ever taken a close look at your language? Do you realize that when you got an answer correct in math class when you were growing up your teacher replied with the phrase “that’s right”? Do you think it’s just a coincidence that a synonym for “accurate” is the same exact word used to describe virtuous moral acts and human “rights“? Might that hint that one is not functioning accurately if one is not doing the right thing?
In the same way that 2+2 always equals 4, your basic human rights will not change tomorrow or the next day. Specific words are supposed to mean specific things. They don’t exist for nothing. All words consist of specific sounds and/or visual symbols that pertain to those sounds. That’s why we use them and don’t simply bark random noise at each other (except for maybe in cryptographic situations where the intention is to hide the meaning of the communication itself from any possible outside participants for various legitimate purposes, including but not limited to maintaining privacy). 2+2 will not equal 5 tomorrow or the next day.
When I say a word and the person I’m speaking to understands the definition of that word, that is a situation whereby it is agreed that the word cannot mean an infinite number of things. Granted, maybe that word exists in a different language and means something completely different in that other language — for example, chai (pronounced “shy”) means tea in Arabic and that same sound can be interpreted as “shy” in English which means something completely different than “tea” — but the issue I am trying to hammer down is that people who speak the same language together obviously have entered into an implicit agreement whereby they both value what is coming into their sensory perception… precisely because if they can agree about – and independently confirm – the shapes of the letters and sounds that they both have access to then they have an opportunity to build upon that agreement.
Teamwork is often fun and human life would be a lot more boring if we were limited to tactile forms of communication (no offense to the blind or deaf). There can be negative connotations added to words over time, there can be fallacious tricks, political language turning reality upside down by sleight of hand, there can even be musical layers of emotional information added onto the raw words by singing them. I’m not saying that the meaning of some words don’t change over time but it’s not ideal for that to happen at such a rapid pace that the population that is using this language actually struggles to update the internal dictionary of each one of its participants. That is not practical. That makes it hard to practice that language. You often also hear the phrase “practice makes perfect”. You can’t get a perfect grasp of language if you don’t get to practice it.
What’s so great about a symbol? It is simple, consistent and recognizable. If a stop sign on a road meant “stop” half the week and “go” the other half, that would waste everyone’s time and cause lots of accidents. Notice how the word “finite” is contained in the word “definition”? A word can’t mean infinite things if it is going to be useful.
Music similarly depends on some level of predictability. A song that has random notes throughout the entire song is rarely good or rarely even a song. Even bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ion Dissonance, and Meshuggah who each have a lot of technical and rapid notes throughout their music, seemingly random, still maintain some level of predictability. That’s largely how you can come to enjoy the song. You get into the groove of the song by gaining practice in identifying the patterns but that can only be done if there are certain elements in the song that are somewhat consistent throughout. To your average listener the bands I listed sound like a wall of noise and all the songs sound the same because people don’t pay attention and hence cannot identify the beautiful parts. I discover that their songs are unique and awesome largely because I know that the identity of the notes they are playing actually matters.
Similarly, we struggle to understand what people mean when there isn’t some level of familiarity there. It really helps when words are consistent.
The attitude of the rioters and those who support them, however, seem like “private property is actually public property when I feel like defining it as public”. Notice that private and public are complete opposites, hence the shift in meaning is immense and inconvenient, to say the least. If you don’t agree then go try to have sex in public and see what happens.
War is not peace. Slavery is not freedom. Ignorance is not strength.
A human right is pretty damn concrete and you don’t get to change the definition of a right just because you are mentally unstable and having a bad day. You are not the center of the universe. Again, reality does not conform to your every wish. Like it or not, there are serious consequences to your actions which you may not always foresee.
Essam el Ghannam’s life does not belong to some 14 year old demon-possessed brat.
Ghannam’s pizza place was his livelihood and he plans to re-open. Now he fears for his life because this type of thing could happen again. America is still repugnantly sick, after all. The police either did not or could not help him. Hence, as IJ Review discovered, following this incident Ghannam plans to get a weapons license and a gun for self-defense, and he also plans to increase security at his pizza place, two things which would go a long way towards ensuring that this individual is empowered to defend himself and his private property from misguided youth who aim to use his body as their own personal playground or camp-fire.
As he succinctly said in the video when he was asked to speculate on the 14-year old youth’s motives, “They’re just doing this for fun”.
Obviously, even before the internet and social media the USrael’s reputation for being the world bully was already established. Let’s be honest. It’s not like people are just now discovering these endless wars.
If this is what teenagers do in response to years or decades of injustice in their own country, what would they do if they ever actually grasped the true weight of how much destruction and war their government was consistently launching across the entire world? For instance, did any of these protestors say the word Yemen recently? I certainly hope so. Indeed, thousands of Yemenis who recently protested the recent USrael-GCC-Saudi aggression on Yemen did… and I’d be surprised if the protesters in Yemen tried to light anyone on fire.
The US is quickly looking like A Clockwork Orange meets Idiocracy. It is sick.
A renewed zeal for consistency and objectivity will hopefully aid in providing fertile ground for solutions so that we can accurately see what is (and has been) in front of their faces this whole time.