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Atlas Shrugged-Contradictions Where None Can Exist(VANITY)
dubyagee

Posted on 07/22/2002 4:31:37 PM PDT by dubyagee

Having heard Atlas Shrugged touted often on Free Republic as one of the greats in literature, I recently undertook reading all 1,000 plus pages of this “objectivist bible.” I was suprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and while I agree with much that Ayn Rand preaches (and boy, is she preachy) I find the fact that she denies that God exists quite contradictory to her reason. So from a Christian perspective, I have decided to place some of these contradictions before you, in order that I might be abused by your intellectual snobbery (grin)…

IMHO…

First, Rand makes the mistake of lumping all believers in with “looters.” Were this the case, there would be no believers here at FR decrying big government or taking offense at the fact that the government wants our paychecks each month. The “right wing fundamentalist bigots” would not exist. Christians would be considered left wing lunatics. Clearly, there is a mistake in her presumption that all “supernaturalists” are the same. On a personal level, I have never met a Christian who would presume that the government should take care of those who refuse to take care of themselves, but only Christians who might venture to say, “But by the grace of God, go I…”

Secondly, for someone who professes any form of supernaturalism as contrary to reason, Ayn Rand repeatedly refers to the ugly side of man as “evil.” Rand obviously believes that evil does exist. But if man is only truly alive and good when he is true to himself and his virtue, how can evil exist? Where did it come from? How could this good and wonderful being called man, distort and pervert good to the point that it became evil? What is the source of this evil? Religion, Rand might say. But why would this marvelously intelligent creature pervert what he knows to be true for the sake of destroying his species? In the words of Francisco D’Anconia (I love this character, btw), “Contradictions cannot exist.” Good and evil contradict one another. The presence of both in this world is clearly a contradiction. Reason tells me that there must be a source from which each came. My reason tells me that each is trying to destroy the other, knowing that the two cannot exist indefinitely together.

Third, Rand does not believe that men are made up of nothing more than chemical reactions, but that they have a soul. A soul is supernatural in itself. We cannot see it. We cannot prove that it exists, but there are few who believe that it does not exist. If reason overrides all superstition, how can she make the claim that a man is more than what meets the eye? Does this not contradict the very essence of reason?

Finally, imagine Hank Reardon, creator of a vast empire, watching it be torn apart by those he has aided. The helplessness he felt, knowing that nothing he could say or do would convince them of their own smug self-righteousness. In that smug self-righteousness they desire to kill Reardon because he causes them to think, and therefore to see the evil within themselves. Now, if you would humor me for a moment, imagine the execution of a man named Jesus, who comes to this world He created, in a desire to save it from destruction by “looters.” He is, indeed, killed by smug self-righteous men who fear his logic. But instead of going to the ground, never to return in his greatness, he does return. And he acknowledges those who acknowledged him. And he gives gratitude to those who have shown him gratitude. And to those who did neither, he says simply, “I knew you not.” It is often said by those who belittle the intellectual capabilities of Christians, that the bible is full of contradictions and that a loving God would not turn his face from humans simply because they did not believe. But God, above all, would know, as did Ayn Rand, that evil does exist. The difference is that God would know from whence it came. And if he accepted all humans, regardless of their belief or unbelief, wouldn’t he be aiding the looters in his own destruction and the destruction of those who were “right”? Wouldn’t He be denying that He desired gratitude? Wouldn’t he be denying that he deserved gratitude? Wouldn’t that be a contradiction of all Ayn Rand professed to be right? If God exists, isn’t acknowledgement and gratitude the least he deserves in return for his creation?

If a soul can exist, so too, can God. If, for the sake of argument, God does indeed exist, Rand has brought herself down to the level of the evil “looters.” Her greatest contradiction is her refusal to acknowledge the possibility that God does exist, thereby offering him no acknowledgement and no gratitude for that which she worshipped above all…a great Mind. IMHO, Rand errs in her belief that this great mind that man possesses came from nowhere and from nothing because that in itself in contradictory. My reason tells me that greatness must come from that which is greater. Her denial was for the purpose of pursuing her own code of morality, which she perceived to be superior to that of God. She praises man and ignores the possibility of God, thereby corrupting her own belief system of giving gratitude and adulation to that which is greater than her.

The last thing that I am doing when I choose to believe in God is abandoning my reason. I am not practicing “Morality of Death” because before I believed in God I still believed in doing what is right. The bible does not contradict this; the bible simply makes it clear that men consistently choose that which is wrong over that which is right. Has history not proven this? Good and evil exist on this earth, of that no one can deny. Good and evil are contradictions in themselves, yet they both exist. Therefore, contradictions do exist. Although, according to my beliefs, one day they will cease to exist. But they will not cease before Atlas(God) shrugs(wink).


TOPICS: Philosophy; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: atlasshrugged; aynrand; christianity; objectivism
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Reasoned opinion only, please. All name-callers please proceed to the nearest CREVO thread.
1 posted on 07/22/2002 4:31:38 PM PDT by dubyagee
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: one_particular_harbour
Oh, I agree that her scenario is far-fetched to say the least. But the world she envisioned as far as the "looters" goes, seems to be drawing closer each day...
3 posted on 07/22/2002 4:36:00 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
Having heard Atlas Shrugged touted often on Free Republic as one of the greats in literature,

Ask any serious philosophers what they think of Ayn Rand (that is if you are lucky enough to know any...)

4 posted on 07/22/2002 4:36:08 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: one_particular_harbour
I would agree with your "utopian" vision of it.
5 posted on 07/22/2002 4:37:33 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Ask any serious philosophers what they think of Ayn Rand (that is if you are lucky enough to know any...)

Must say that I am not lucky enough to know any....

6 posted on 07/22/2002 4:38:48 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
>>All name-callers please proceed to the nearest CREVO thread.<<

In that case, this'll be a pretty short thread. Other than those of us in the choir patting you on the back, the rest don't really have much to say now. 8^>
7 posted on 07/22/2002 4:39:39 PM PDT by RobRoy
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Ask any serious philosophers what they think of Ayn Rand (that is if you are lucky enough to know any...)

For those of us who don't know any what would they say?

9 posted on 07/22/2002 4:42:34 PM PDT by Frapster
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To: RobRoy
In that case, this'll be a pretty short thread.

Hmmm...I hadn't thought about it like that.. ; * )

10 posted on 07/22/2002 4:43:45 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
My reason tells me that greatness must come from that which is greater.

Not only that, but it's common sense. That's putting it mildly, trust me. Nice piece.

11 posted on 07/22/2002 4:45:07 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: dubyagee
The last thing that I am doing when I choose to believe in God is abandoning my reason.

Reason can be used for (what most would consider) great good or great evil. Gandhi and Stalin both employed reason in just about everything they did. Similarly, religious believers do not abandon reason. Christ told his followers to be as wise as serpents.

12 posted on 07/22/2002 4:47:10 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: dubyagee
I know a very professional, ivory tower intellectual, who is at Princeton now after turning down Harvard, who started his journey by reading Rand.

If I asked a serious philosopher about Marx and he DIDN'T laugh, I'd be a bit taken aback. But that's not the way it is. Marx is taken quite seriously by many different areas of scholarship.

13 posted on 07/22/2002 4:47:12 PM PDT by Benrand
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To: rdb3
Thanks. I actually expected to be belittled right away...guess it's the pessimist in me. (Or else too many crevo threads...) 8 * )
14 posted on 07/22/2002 4:47:20 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee; JohnGalt; Hank Rearden
Literature??? I thought it was non-fiction
15 posted on 07/22/2002 4:47:45 PM PDT by evolved_rage
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To: Benrand
Somehow that doesn't surprise me...
16 posted on 07/22/2002 4:49:19 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
But if man is only truly alive and good when he is true to himself and his virtue, how can evil exist?

Man is a rational animal. When he is no longer rational he becomes evil.

"To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality." - Ayn Rand.

17 posted on 07/22/2002 4:49:31 PM PDT by Lev
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To: Lev
Man is a rational animal. When he is no longer rational he becomes evil.

What causes man to become irrational?

18 posted on 07/22/2002 4:52:31 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
But if man is only truly alive and good when he is true to himself and his virtue, how can evil exist?
Evil exists as it is the opposite of advancing man's life. For example, socialism is evil as it forces me to work for the good of the whole. That came from man's mind and not from a religious standpoint, to answer your question where it came from.
In the words of Francisco D’Anconia (I love this character, btw), “Contradictions cannot exist.” Good and evil contradict one another. The presence of both in this world is clearly a contradiction.
As we are all individuals (you are all individuals! -- MP) you have the ability to be good or evil. I can't see the actions of the individuals being a contradiction.
I think what Francisco was getting at was that you, as a robber, can't pretend to live in a free and virtuous society.
19 posted on 07/22/2002 4:54:38 PM PDT by lelio
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To: lelio
For example, socialism is evil as it forces me to work for the good of the whole.

So goodness is about selfishness (not working for the good of the whole)?

20 posted on 07/22/2002 4:55:47 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: Lev
Man is a rational animal. When he is no longer rational he becomes evil.

Stalin, Mao and Lex Luther were all perfectly rational (but for most, evil) people.

21 posted on 07/22/2002 4:57:00 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Could you name a few of today's "serious philosophers"? How does one become a "serious philosopher"?
22 posted on 07/22/2002 4:57:07 PM PDT by shempy
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Ask any serious philosophers what they think of Ayn Rand
Let me guess: they hate her as she explains her philosophy in a sound and rational way. No mysticism. No circular reasoning. No depending on twisted logic.
If the 'serious philosophers' can't keep their world a secret cloaked in words that no one can understand they'll soon be out of a job. Perhaps that's why they dislike her.
23 posted on 07/22/2002 4:57:43 PM PDT by lelio
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To: yendu bwam
So goodness is about selfishness (not working for the good of the whole)?

That's the way Rand saw it. Anything else was merely a facade.

24 posted on 07/22/2002 4:58:09 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
Rand has some good ideas, but since she's an atheist it lowers my opinion of her. Her personal life was a mess, she really needed God in her life.

Another criticism was how she portrayed that perpetual motion machine in her book. Being a enthusiast of such psuedo-science, I found it laughable Dagny Taggart could just look at Galt's machine and know what it does instantly. It was also laughable such a sophisticated woman as Mrs. Taggart would believe claims of infinite energy without question.

25 posted on 07/22/2002 4:58:11 PM PDT by Brett66
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To: Lev
When he is no longer rational he becomes evil.

So, there have been no evil men who were entirely rational? I don't think so Lev.

Its obvious that the antithesis of evil is good. Why fight it?

26 posted on 07/22/2002 4:58:26 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: yendu bwam
If you think Stalin, Mao and Lex Luther were perfectly rational, you need a new definition of perfect.
27 posted on 07/22/2002 4:59:13 PM PDT by shempy
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To: dubyagee
I have Atlas Shrugged, started reading the first 100 pages of the book. Questions like: Who is John Galt? and the Taggarts situation with regards to the railroad business started to confuse me, as I kept reading it, I eventually put it down. But now I think I'll starting where I left off and try to understand what Ayn Rand is trying to say.
28 posted on 07/22/2002 4:59:28 PM PDT by Barbie Doll
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To: Frapster
Having heard Atlas Shrugged touted often on Free Republic as one of the greats in literature,

That the above is nonsense.

29 posted on 07/22/2002 5:00:08 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: dubyagee
Her denial was for the purpose of pursuing her own code of morality, which she perceived to be superior to that of God.
Could you explain what the "morality of God" is? How are you supposed to know what it is?
30 posted on 07/22/2002 5:00:38 PM PDT by lelio
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To: Brett66
I found the fact that she basically lumped people into only two different categories hard to accept. Things just aren't that simple. But the book was a good read even as preachy as it was.
31 posted on 07/22/2002 5:02:20 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
That the above is nonsense.

I have seen this book as recommended reading on this forum probably more than any other...besides the bible of course...

32 posted on 07/22/2002 5:04:24 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: Lev
"To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality." - Ayn Rand.

This is the biggest piece of Randish poppycock (and not incidentally, the centerpiece of her 'rational' thought)! First, to know one's desires has nothing to do with rationality. A pedophile likes to have sex with kids. He knows his desires just fine. A selfish person likes not to share his toys with others. He knows his desires just fine. Neither needs to emply rationality to understand those desires. And as for rationality being the highest virtue - Rand exposes herself here. If you have some scale of virtue that you can measure rationality with, you then have some morality outside of rationality. Finally, rationality can be used for good or for evil. It is neutral to good and evil. Rand desperately wants there to be no good or evil that can't be discerned through the use of reason, and she tries (in vain) to use reason to prove her point. It's like trying to prove the fourth dimension can't exist using only three.

33 posted on 07/22/2002 5:05:45 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: Barbie Doll
Honestly, it is a bizarre scenario, one that could never take place. But I do recommend it. I could hardly put it down once I started reading it.
34 posted on 07/22/2002 5:06:09 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
First, there are some very serious scientists that question God as he is portrayed in the Bible, however, I must refer you to a quote by Dr. Robert Goddard (I might have this slightly wrong, forgive me if I do) he said "People say that God does not exist, because science has not proved he does, however, must one light a candle in order to see the sun?" Second, see my home page. Third, Ayn got a lot of things right, but she swung and missed when it came to God.

I may be attributing the above quote to the wrong person. Hopefully, if I did, someone can post the correction.

35 posted on 07/22/2002 5:06:29 PM PDT by stylin_geek
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To: dubyagee
Can I ask how old you are?...see, either of Rand's two novels can have a stupendous impression on a 16 year old..which was my age when I first read them.....and all my friends were reading "Catcher in the Rye"..which is a much, much shorter book.....Rand makes you think, she overwhelms you, especially at that age..makes you question a lot of what you've been taught to date.......
36 posted on 07/22/2002 5:06:58 PM PDT by ken5050
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To: dubyagee
I found that a little difficult to accept to until I read an essay that said "Why didn't you show Galt tying his shoes or sitting on the toliet?" and her response was that she's trying to show the ideal (wo)man and didn't have time to show the minor trivalities of life and had a story to tell.
Could you imagine how many more pages would be added if she included the shades of gray that we all have? We're talking bowling ball weight.
37 posted on 07/22/2002 5:06:59 PM PDT by lelio
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Thank you - I thought that's what you were saying but I wanted to be sure.
38 posted on 07/22/2002 5:07:00 PM PDT by Frapster
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To: yendu bwam
So goodness is about selfishness (not working for the good of the whole)?

There is a difference between working out of selfishness, and working in our own self interest. I think that goodness is about working in our own self interest...JFK

39 posted on 07/22/2002 5:07:20 PM PDT by BADROTOFINGER
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To: lelio
Could you explain what the "morality of God" is? How are you supposed to know what it is?

Well, Christians believe God's morality is summed up in the 10 Commandments and in the teachings of Jesus. If you're interested - check out Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. That'll give you a pretty good idea.

40 posted on 07/22/2002 5:07:25 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: dubyagee
I got mad at Dagny for leaving poor old Eddie Willers out there in the slop the way she did. What a b*tch! parsy the kind-hearted.
41 posted on 07/22/2002 5:07:31 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: one_particular_harbour; dubyagee
What is utopian about Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead (the only 2 Rand books I have read)?...JFK
42 posted on 07/22/2002 5:08:30 PM PDT by BADROTOFINGER
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To: BADROTOFINGER
I think that goodness is about working in our own self interest...JFK

Well, you're entitled to your belief. But everyone defines self-interest differently. Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot defined it very differently from Gandhi and Mother Teresa. So in the end, does your definition mean anything?

43 posted on 07/22/2002 5:09:05 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: All
Try the Critique of Pure Reason by Immanual Kant. It's a tough read but worth it.

Sac

44 posted on 07/22/2002 5:10:11 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: lelio
Could you explain what the "morality of God" is? How are you supposed to know what it is?

The same way we know what Rand's ideas are - they are communicated to us.

45 posted on 07/22/2002 5:10:24 PM PDT by Frapster
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To: Sacajaweau
There you go. Now you are talking about serious philosophy.
46 posted on 07/22/2002 5:10:59 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: ken5050
Rand makes you think, she overwhelms you, especially at that age..makes you question a lot of what you've been taught to date.......

I agree! I would not recommend my children read this at their age. I'm old enough to know better! (35). My opinions are formed and can only be sharpened at this point...

47 posted on 07/22/2002 5:11:23 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: dubyagee
Indeed many contradictions exist in Ayn Rand's Philosophy.

Having said that, a great deal of what she portrays in her novel has truly come to pass. Remember that this novel was originally published in the mid 1950's, and since that time much of the conditions she portrayed have come to pass. We do have the "looters" today, those that think they are entitled to the fruits of someone elses productivity. Witness the outcry when attempts have been made to eliminate lifetime "Welfare Clients". Witness also the professional "Bleeding Hearts" who would have us provide cradle to grave care for those too lazy to work, or those who offer no productivity to society.

Consider the fact that since Atlas Shrugged was published, our tax burden has increased to a figure approaching 50% of what we earn for the fruits of our labor. I do not have figures handy for the 1950's but if my memory serves me correctly our tax burden then was only about 25%, perhaps less.

Consider also, that in the time since Atlas Shrugged was written and published in the 50's we have lost more of our liberty and feedoms than in any period since this country was founded. Indeed,in the last year and a half we have lost more of our freedoms than in any 10 years in the history of this country.

I, like you, do not agree with Rand as far as religous philosophy is concerned. But if you read the novel for the deep lying philosophy as to the direction this country is taking with it's "Diversity" and PC attitudes, you will realize that Ayn Rand was pretty good at forecasting the future.

The underlying warning as I see it is, as I have said many times, "We have more to fear from our own government than we have to fear from any 'Terrorists' from the outside". Our worst enemies are esconced in Washington, DC, in the White House, The Capitol Building and the SCOTUS Building.
Our freedoms are under attack from all of these sources, and, unless the trend is reversed in the next few years, this country has not long to survive as a World Power.

I make a case for neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, there are a very few politicians in either party whose actions are really determined by what is good for the Country. Most of our current Politicians are dishonest, concerned only in their own power and prestige, and, if scrutinized closely would be considered Traitors according to the Constitutional definition of Treason.

I suggest that you take what is good from Ayn Rand's philosophy and discard the rest. That is what I have done.

That's my opinion
48 posted on 07/22/2002 5:11:30 PM PDT by Old philosopher
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To: ken5050
Ah yes, the Catcher in the Rye, the most over-hyped piece of twaddle ever passed of as literature. Ellsworth Toohey would have been proud of this Gallant Gallstone of a modern classic.
49 posted on 07/22/2002 5:11:56 PM PDT by stylin_geek
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To: yendu bwam
A pedophile likes to have sex with kids.... Neither needs to emply rationality to understand those desires
I think you missed out on some of the quote that you put up, mainly:
"To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality."
What's the cost of a man having sex with a child? The child's life is ruined. The man doesn't grow emotionally.
What's the meaning that the pedophile is missing? That he can't relate to the opposite (or same) sex and has to use his physical force to impose his desires on others.
50 posted on 07/22/2002 5:12:03 PM PDT by lelio
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