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  3. I really don't know what you mean by "obligated to accept that meaning into our own brains," unless you're trying to describe the process of "understanding"? If so, then yes: to understand what another person means, you are obligated to accept that meaning (i.e. what they intend), with reference to relevant context, into your own brain. That's how you are able to understand another human being. Look, I'm sure you get this with respect to other things... it's like... take "Black Lives Matter." Is it a true statement that "black lives matter"? I'd guess (or hope) that we can all agree that it is. Yet in 2017, in our society, when someone says "black lives matter," they mean more than the simple identification of a true statement. And participating by, say, having a sign on your lawn which reads "black lives matter" is a political act which goes beyond the mere utterance of a true statement. It's not that you have to "use some guy's hateful screams" or have the idea that "black lives matter" redefined for yourself, or whatnot, it's just that you have to... you know, be aware of what's going on around you, and be aware of what you're communicating to others. If you're naive and ignorant, and wear a "Black Lives Matter" shirt because you say to yourself, "well, it's true enough that black lives matter... no harm in saying something true," then that's fine as far as it goes. You'll suffer the consequences you were ignorant of, as you lend support to that movement (even unawares) and as other people (in reason) group you together with that movement. But it is another thing altogether to be aware of what "black lives matter" means in context, and yet argue that the context doesn't matter. That you should be able to wear the shirt, or post the sign, and not care about the real world consequences of your action. That's arguing for the intentional dropping of context, and it is a very bad idea.
  4. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    I recommend Peter Schwartz's 2011 essay "Free Minds and Free Markets", available from the ARI Estore, which provides a detailed analysis of the relationship between force, rights, freedom, voluntary action: the concept “force” denotes a physical action to which we are subjected against our will. Thus the concept of "force" employed by physicists it not the same as the philosophical one that Rand speaks of. A handshake is not the initiation of force; speaking to a person is not the initiation of force.
  5. You might not intend to, but when you use a bromide, you would implicitly support the people who really intend a propaganda message. It's not like saying "it's okay to be black, it's okay to be white, it's okay to be Korean, because none of these things matter a whole lot at all." We aren't talking about snipping quotes that drops all context of a phrase. A meme has no context - if it had one, neo-Nazis know no one like to hear "it's okay to be white because people are defined by their race, it's okay to see my race as superior to me, and your race superior for you." So they drop the context and hope that the literal blank-out isn't filled in. How do you know why an individual says "IOTBW"? There is no way to know, there is nothing to the empty phrase shouted out as a slogan! Us around here wouldn't mean the tribalist phrasing and would say something about the irrationality of tribal identity. That wouldn't really be a meme though if you add context. I'd be glad you confronted the discussion and the irrational ideas. If you don't add context, you allow the neo-Nazi intent to grow. If you plaster it around to offend liberals as a matter of political strategy, you may get laughs, but you allow the neo-Nazi and the racist end of the alt-right to enter the zeitgeist. A neo-Nazi would be glad you campaigned for them even if you didn't realize you did and never wanted to. If you just said "it's okay to be white, because I don't give a damn what your race is", that's fine to me and stands against any racist message. Or if someone refers to your race as if it matters, say "Who cares?" Just don't go using IOTBW as an image or as a meme without context.
  6. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    Fraud A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of their owner. Fraud involves a similarly indirect use of force: it consists of obtaining material values without their owner’s consent, under false pretenses or false promises. This is a perfectly legitimate identification of an indirect use of physical force. A civil mechanism, authorized to use retaliatory force once breach of contract or fraud is established in order to neutralize the indirect force initiated by the perpetrator via refusing to give up physical possession of the material value.
  7. You aren't paying attention. I'm NOT campaigning with anyone. I'm communicating and only if someone pushes their racism. Otherwise there is nothing to say. It's an option. I'm not going to ask anyone for permission to say it if I do. If I decide to say it then I will say it.
  8. Objectivism in Academia

    More recently: ASU - An Advanced Guide --Lester Hunt (2015)
  9. How Nazis Recruit Normie Conservatives For Meme Wars

    When a racist accuses you of having white privilege or inherent bias, you say that it's okay to be white? I think it's better to call a spade a spade. I tell them they are being racist.
  10. That's the thing: it doesn't benefit you to campaign with white nationalists. And that's what you are doing: campaigning, sloganizing. We don't need alt-right sloganizing to beat the SJWs, we need concise argumentation and confrontation of their theories, all of which this fails to do.
  11. It's up to me to decide that. It benefits me to remind a racist that it's ok to be (insert the color he doesn't like) anytime he tries to push his view. Otherwise I will not say a word. I'm not campaigning. I'm communicating.
  12. Thankgiving

    The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Someone once posited the question of why none of the "heavy Objectivists" (ARI folk?) post here. [heavily paraphrased] While ARI is a non-profit organization, indications from the introduction to Harriman's "The Logical Leap", indicate that money was made available in such a way as to enable him to spend his time writing that particular book. Suffice it to say, we are probably not at the top of the intellectual pyramid. Individual strengths and weaknesses are evaluated by each and every one of us. I look to others for strengths I do not see in myself, while others may see strengths in me that I may not be cognizant of. Perhaps it is embedded in this approach that our ongoing mutual trade is beneficial. In this past year, I have come to grips with the fact that the label "Objectivist" is not as clear cut a term as I had envisioned it. My exposure to Objectivism via radio, a locally now defunct group, ARI (my current leaning) and lastly, a mixture of OO and a few Facebook alliances of individuals approaching Ayn Rand's works with variations on my latest affirmation of her amended position in Ayn Rand's official public notice. On OO, the protagonist and antagonist have not always been as clear cut, to me, as the characters of Atlas Shrugged, nor of her less mature work of The Fountainhead. In part, my understanding of these works underscored my decision this year to provide financial support two distinct organizations this year. WRCJ and the ARI. WRCJ, for the arts—primarily of music, and ARI, for the philosophical. The corporation I work for offers to match, dollar for dollar up to a specific amount. Next year, it is my intention that ARI will receive the full brunt of the company match, while an organization such as WRCJ will have to be allocated on the basis of my "subjective" evaluation of what I get in return. I am not the man at the top of the intellectual pyramid, as near as I can tell. And I know that I am not the man at the bottom of it either. In the movie "Gran Torino", Clint Eastwood waltzed into the final scene unarmed. After producing a cigarette, he announced the desire for a light. He then pronounced that he had a light as he reached into an inner pocket of his jacket. Million Dollar Baby , it was not. Personally, I think think Million Dollar Baby concretized the point slightly better.
  13. The Audit

    I'm curious, does frustration enter into your thought process at all? Perhaps you get frustrated about a certain line of thought, such as why Peikoff would discuss this or that topic, and so you give up pursuing that angle and instead turn to the next line of thought that pops into your head. I'll give you an example that I experience frequently. Sometimes I get frustrated with a forum thread (or it could be an in-person conversation). I don't think I'm making any headway with other participants, and so the frustration kicks in. I have the urge to end the dialogue, abandon the topic and move on. But I've given myself a standing order to re-think what I'm doing when I feel frustration. I'll ask myself something like, why am I frustrated? Are there still unanswered questions? Can I rationally reduce my position to objective reality? Etc. Usually I find that I'm frustrated not because I'm having trouble convincing others, but because I was having trouble convincing myself. Essentially I had forgotten to focus on my own mind, and was focused on other people's minds.
  14. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    I have read that entry -- and the rest of the essay from which it is excerpted. In fact I quoted that very essay in the post from which you quoted. Did you not notice? If you wish to be taken seriously, I suggest that you assume that others have done their homework unless the evidence proves otherwise. If you do think that I have erred, describe the error. Snide suggestions of my incompetence will only damage your reputation.
  15. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    When accusing Rand of an error or omission, it's best to first look at and address the Lexicon entry for that subject. Otherwise, you probably won't be taken seriously.
  16. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    Gobble, gobble. (Hear that faint scream? That's my diet not so quietly expiring....) The argument I made applies to information needed in, for example, trials, because the government by its nature cannot function without such information. There can be no circumstance where the government properly says, "oh forget it, we'll just judge in the absence of information." Moreover, no rational person would want it to do that. As Rand pointed out, "Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action — means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life." But because no rational being would want his government to act without the information that is objectively necessary to render a proper judgment, there can be no right to withhold that information. (Note that this does not mean that the government has carte blanche to demand whatever information it wants. Rather, it must follow objectively validated procedures to determine that it needs the information, which includes the means for the one who has that information to challenge the government's alleged need. I note that this is, in principle, if not in practice, what happens in modern courts.) Making this sort of argument in the case of other government functions is not so easy. For example, a government needs manpower, but it has the option to hire that manpower rather than conscript it. There is therefore no metaphysical necessity for conscription as there is for the information needed for proper judgment, which makes the argument insufficient to justify conscription. There is a metaphysical necessity for sufficient resources to function as a proper government. But this cannot be a claim on particular resources. Thus, it cannot be used to justify eminent domain and the like. It is only in the case where there is a pattern of deprivation so severe that the government cannot function that the government would be permitted to -- and required to -- compel people to provide the necessary resources. In such a case, the argument does apply, because no rational person would want a government that was nonfunctional due to insufficient resources. Taxation is a harder issue. The argument has been made that the functions of government can be funded by user fees and the like. I'm not persuaded either way. What I will say is that, if it is true, taxation would be forbidden. Conversely, if this is not true, taxation would be necessary. (For my proposed city, I'm probably going to sidestep the issue by requiring, as a condition of citizenship, an agreement to contribute to the government by some predetermined formula. Citizens would have rights, such as the right to recover damages, that non-citizens would not have.)
  17. So, there’s nothing we can do. A nazi decides “its ok to be white” means one thing to him, and we’re obligated to accept that meaning into our own brains. This really makes life so much easier... Now, I don’t have to figure anything out myself. I can just use some guy’s hateful screams instead.
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  19. How Nazis Recruit Normie Conservatives For Meme Wars

    Because it benefits your life. What is good about the IOTBW meme? It pisses off Leftists? Why not embrace all of the memes that piss off Leftists, if that's your standard? It's not a racist statement? Why not embrace all of the non-racist memes? It literally recognizes a universal truth about reality? What truth is that: that you shouldn't judge people by their skin color? That's not what the words literally mean. It's a figurative meaning you've drawn from your own subjective context.
  20. Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    This won't be a substantive critique, both because I don't think I understand your thesis well enough yet, and also because the turkey is almost done... But out of curiosity, how would you apply your ideas to conscription? What would happen if people could arbitrarily deprive the government of the manpower it needs to defend its territory or citizens? Or what of compulsory taxation? What would happen if people could arbitrarily deprive the government of the funds it requires... or eminent domain, where people arbitrarily deprive the government of facilities/infrastructure, or etc.
  21. Thankgiving

    Yes. But we can go back to before the Pilgrims and root it in pagan harvest festivals. The Pilgrims helped Christianize it. That's all I'm saying. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And thanks for producing so much content on this forum for our intellectual consumption.
  22. Because there is no such thing as reality without context, and being ignorant of reality is just dumb.
  23. "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." -- J.R.R. Tolkien and not Ayn Rand, of course, though I should mention that I believe I've also seen this quote from time to time on the site front page. It's not somehow better or more moral to leave things out, to ignore context, to pretend that we don't know something, or act as though something weren't true. "Full context" is just that -- full context. And you may not give a crap about the neo-Nazis, but it might well be the case that they have plans for you; given what I know about them, probably best not to support their efforts, if you can help it. Because this is how language and communication works. If someone invites you to "Netflix and chill," you're better off knowing what they mean, in context, rather than taking it literally on some principle and intentionally blinding yourself to their actual communication. All communication exists in some context, and that context is vital for understanding the meaning. If someone invites you to an "it's okay to be white" rally, probably you should pack a tiki torch.
  24. I was working on an essay about immigration, and realized that I had to first deal with an error in Objectivism. So here is what I ran into. (All quotes are from Rand.) "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others." ("The Objectivist Ethics".) And, "In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use." ("The Nature of Government".) These statements are false. To explain why, I need to go back to first (political) principles. A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action — means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. ("Man's Rights".) So, the determination of what constitutes a right requires an analysis of what actions the nature of a rational being require in a social context. From "The Nature of Government" (all further quotes are from there): Man's rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment. This is not true. Fraud, for example, violates rights, but no physical force is used. Rand gets around this by asserting that fraud involves "indirect force", but this is silly — if there is any physical force involved in fraud, it is in the retrieval of that which was taken by the fraud, not in the fraud itself. Moreover, Rand nowhere explains how one determines what constitutes indirect force. What force, fraud, and certain other categories of action have in common is that, by their nature, they are incompatible with their object's actions to further his own life. Force necessarily deprives a person of the ability to act on his own will. Fraud necessarily deprives a person of the information needed to engage in voluntary trade. Rand observed that, "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships — thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement." Rand's error here is not in her conclusion, but only in how she arrived at it. Fraud, e.g., must be banned, not because it is a species of "indirect force", but because it is inconsistent with "voluntary, uncoerced agreement" which, in turn, makes it inconsistent with a person's acting to further his own life in a social context. Why is my way better? Because it allows one to solve other problems that would otherwise have to be dealt with ad hoc, by asserting that they involve some species of "indirect force". So, for example, if I invite you into my property and then forbid you to use its exits, I may not be using any sort of physical force, but I am preventing you from furthering your own life. Such an action would therefore violate your rights. So what to make of the "nonaggression principle" I started out with? It must be taken as a mere approximation, to be clarified later. (It's not really germane here, but I should note that Rand's critique of libertarianism — that it takes the nonaggression principle as an axiom when it is anything but — misses the real problem, which is that the nonaggression principle is simply false.) So what is it an approximation to? The essential point Rand makes is that society is a value because it enables one to obtain knowledge from and to trade with others in the service of one's life. What must be banned is not force, or even the initiation of force, but whatever, by its nature, is inconsistent with those values (which includes the initiation of force). Such things necessarily violate rights and it is proper to use force (or fraud or any other species of otherwise rights-violating action) to protect against them or to vindicate rights violated by their use. There is no short phrase for these things, so I am going to use the phrase "violative force" — with scare quotes — from hereon to refer to these things. (If you will, my "violative force" comprises physical force plus what Rand called "indirect force", except that my definition allows one to use reason to determine what constitutes "violative force".) The proper formulation of the nonaggression principle is that no person may use "violative force" against another. But this principle is not sufficient to for the needs of society. There are situations where it is proper to take actions that would otherwise constitute "violative force" to defend or vindicate one's rights. Such actions, "defensive force" and "retaliatory "force" (again, I'll keep the scare quotes), are not only permissible, they are necessary to a proper society. As necessary as they may be, society cannot function if their use is left to the judgment of each person. There must be an organization, the government, that constrains the use of all three sorts of "force". This constraint operates in two ways. The use of "defensive force" in exigent situations cannot, by its nature, be delegated to the government. If you have a burglar in your home, it's too late to call the police — your rights are being violated and only you (or others right there) can put an end to the violation. The government's function is, first, to define such situations and what constitutes "defensive force" in those situations and, second, to review each use of "force" to see whether it is "defensive" or "violative". You get to shoot the burglar, if that is your chosen method of self-defense, but you will be required to show that his actions were "violative force", thereby permitting you the use of "defensive force". Non-exigent uses of "defensive force" and all uses of "retaliatory force" must be left to the government, but the government must be utterly rule-bound, constrained to act objectively, as Rand noted: The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Consider, however, what would happen if people could arbitrarily deprive the government of facts it needs to make proper use of "force". Its procedures would then necessarily lack the objectivity that a government must have, and would therefore be inconsistent with the rights of the governed. It follows then that no person may arbitrarily deprive the government of the information it needs to properly employ "force", that doing so is in itself a violation of the rights of the governed. Note here that, under Rand's formulation, a refusal to respond to a subpoena would have to be classified as indirect force, but it is anything but obvious that such a refusal is any kind of force, or even that it violates anyone's rights. It was this conclusion that led me to rethink the formulation of the nature of force. Under my formulation, such a refusal is clearly "violative force" because it is demonstrably inconsistent with the requirements of life in society, just as much as non-defensive physical force, fraud, etc., is. But, to return to the point with which I began this essay, it is simply not true that, "In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use." Only by twisting the word force into a hyperpretzel is it possible to consider, for example, a refusal to answer a subpoena as an initiation of force justifying retaliatory force. This proposition needs to simply be excised from Objectivism, replaced with a more accurate description of what sort of actions are forbidden and when an action that would ordinarily violate rights is legitimate.
  25. I don’t give a crap what Neonazis think or do to further whatever goals they may have, and likewise I don’t give a crap about people who believe those ideas or help to further those goals. Why would I accept or care about some idiotic new meaning given to normal English phrases by this group? What is the standard for accepting their “context”/meaning over common understanding? Is it a majority group of the US population? Isn’t this implicitly siding with “groupthink”?
  26. Yes absolutely. Especially if someone comes out with a trivially true statement like that, it would be doltish to not go "hmm, who started this, what's their agenda," and indeed if there was an "air is good" campaign and it turned out to be a Clinton cap and trade scheme, they themselves admit they would look into the context of the group. Can we imagine them going "but air is good! Don't doublethink! Don't question the agenda! Genetic fallacy!" Who knew there'd be objectivists against contextual, nuanced thinking.
  27. There's no doublethink involved, JASKN. It's not doublethink to understand that "it's okay to be white" (in the proper context) and to believe that one should simultaneously not participate in a neo-Nazi meme. Understanding that the meaning changes in different contexts is not doublethink -- just regular old think.
  28. How Nazis Recruit Normie Conservatives For Meme Wars

    Would you argue against "anti-fascist" memes by saying "it's okay to be a fascist"? I mean, it's legal to be a fascist, right? And in response to "anti-Kantian" memes, is it "okay to be a Kantian"? He never physically hurt anyone. How are you arguing against anti-white racism by saying "it's okay to be white"? That's not an argument. It's an arbitrary assertion.
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