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  2. Who owns those Objectivist websites?

    There are tools like https://whois.icann.org/en that might be able to shed some insight by digging into the details provided. Mark Da Cunha comes up for several while http://www.whoisguard.com/ is returned for the others in the list provided.
  3. Have you ever come across any of these sites? http://objectivismaynrand.com http://reasonvsfaith.com/ http://newromanticist.com http://dollarsandcrosses.com/ http://fact4thought.com/ http://abortionisprolife.com http://capitalism.org http://capitalismmagazine.com etc. All those websites are very similar and are linked to each other. They all look like preformatted and somehow poor made. Do you know who is behind those?
  4. Oh yeah, I heard of Stockton before. They made headlines as the largest US city to declare bankruptcy, a few years ago. You'd think that would be a good enough demonstration of the merits of the welfare state, and they would learn from it.
  5. Yesterday
  6. Haha, good luck with that. It's touted as a "demonstration" but of what? How exactly are you supposed to live in Stockton on $500/month or $6000/year or what this income is designed to do. Or who or how the undisclosed number of recipients were selected and on what basis. And are they still given access to other government programs? How does this effect other policies? And given that the seed money for this is privately funded by a private investment company... assuming this works, doesn't this show that a private safety net and charity is more effective than a boondoggle of government programs and perverse welfare incentives?? And given the above, why would you even need the city to be involved at all?? Aren't they just middlemen funneling off costs and creating unnecessary overhead at this point? And aren't you admitting that decades of welfare programs are not only not working but are hurting poor communities and this is precisely why a "radical" private solution is needed??? The cognitive dissonance is deafening in California right now.
  7. Your confidence and bravado about purported abilities you clearly lack is astonishing. Last time I encountered this level of arrogance, a four year old kid was demanding that he be allowed to fly the plane we were on. Since I'm not getting anywhere by explaining why you're wrong, let's try pictures. From further on up the page, here's you quoting the post in question: Can you tell when I posted it now, or am I gonna end up having to start up Paint and draw an arrow?
  8. Stockton, California, is already considering a guaranteed minimum income. See, e.g., http://www.businessinsider.com/stockton-california-launching-the-first-us-experiment-in-basic-income-2017-10
  9. Nietzsche Was Evil; Right?

    Yeah so first of all, reading Nietzsche in the original text is very difficult, I don't recommend it for your introduction to him. One should read commentaries and interpretations first, while studying a biographical approach. It is indeed important to place him in historical context, like many philosophers in order to fully understand what he's talking about. In this segment of BGE, he's commenting on epistemology and culture kind of simultaneously. The specific passage where he's talking about false judgments comes after where he's commented on the nature of truth and what he calls the "will to truth," which is kind of, as I understand it, examining why people in society (priests, artists, scientists, intellectuals, etc.) strive for truth vis a vis what the average man deals with as common sense reality. It is important to understand Nietzsche is a mixed bag. Some ideas are good (he's generally pri-life, pro-this world, pro-reality, individualist, egoistic, and anti-state), and some of his ideas are bad (he's generally anti-reason, pro-emotionalism, and some passages endorsing force in a subjectivist-egoist manner.) He is dealing with a Kantian influenced cultural background in which "reason" is thought of as idealistic and a priori, so even his rejections of "reason" are sometimes correct rejections of bad epistemology, but he is very influenced by Schopenhauer and had a pessimistic view of reason. He is also struggling with his own childhood and upbringing as an extremely devout pietist household, so when he is rejecting "truth" what he means is rejecting what he has been told all his life and reevaluating things. Anyways, back to that passage, and this is basically how I interpret it, Nietzsche does believe that there is objective truth, but what he is questioning is the value of truth. Much of what the theologians are striving for as "truth," or even the scientists, has no value to our lives. And in general, he is skeptical about whether people abandon a belief because it is false, or if they abandon it because it serves no life-affirming purpose. And since N is skeptical about reason, but pro-life and achieving value, truth should indeed ultimately be judged based on its life-affirming purpose and not necessarily to correspondence with objective reality. He's not saying you should go around lying and deceiving people. It is a pragmatic point about how to approach philosophy, that one should not hold to some high theoretical truth if it interferes in your ability to achieve a flourishing life. It's kind of a Humean point, that if the philosophers have destroyed reason by proving it distortive and beyond the common man, then the common man should reject philosophy and just life his life in a common sense way. Again, not exactly a point objectivists would agree with, but kind of understandable given the mileu he was working with.
  10. Four Things 1. Would you believe that there is now an anti-straw movement? Unsurprisingly, it is making legislative headway in California: The majority leader of California's state Assembly has introduced legislation that would impose a fine of up to $1,000 on any waiter or waitress who offers a plastic drinking straw to a customer without being asked. The Washington Post notes that this is part of a growing anti-straw movement, which is driven by alarm over the 500 million straws that are used every single day -- which is almost certainly a fake number, seeing as how it is based on an unconfirmed phone survey by a 9-year-old boy. (Yes, really.) [links omitted]I happen to dislike straws and live in a blue state. On the outside chance someone sees me in a restaurant and speaks to me as a fellow traveler, I will enjoy the chance to speak up for the freedom of others to use as many straws as they wish. 2. On news of the demise of Billy Graham, I thought it interesting to see what, if anything, Ayn Rand might have had to say about him. I was not ... erm ... disappointed: "We live," says Mr. Graham, "in a society that is too often dominated by selfish interests and expediency. The time is overdue for Americans to engage in some deep soul-searching about the underpinnings of our society and our goals as a nation .... No, it is not too late, but time is rapidly running out if American democracy based on Judeo-Christian tradition is to survive. First, we need a national and pervasive awakening that includes repentance for our individual and corporate sins .... Let's face it -- we need supernatural help! American leaders were driven to God for help at crisis periods such as the Revolutionary War, the Constitutional Convention, and the Civil War!...[The media] could render constructive service to the nation at this critical moment of history if they joined hands with the churches and synagogues and used their vast powers to fan the dying embers of the moral and spiritual life of the nation .... Watergate can teach us that we need to take the law of Moses and the Sermon on the Mount seriously .... The moral laws expressed in these two great documents could form the moral guidelines for every American." In view of an intellectual spokesman or defender of this kind, do you wonder why the political Right loses every battle -- and why the Left can batter rightists with impunity? Mr. Graham is not the worst of his kind. Other representatives of the Right may have a more sophisticated literary style, but, philosophically, they have nothing more to offer than the passage quoted above. (from The Ayn Rand Letter, vol. II, no. 14, pp. 189-190) [italics added]Good riddance. 3. An article about industrial nitrogen fixation quotes the following interesting fact: Due to its dramatic impact on the human ability to grow food, the Haber process served as the "detonator of the population explosion", enabling the global population to increase from 1.6 billion in 1900 to today's 7 billion. Nearly 50% of the nitrogen found in human tissues originated from the Haber-Bosch process.Fritz's Haber's legacy is mixed: He is also known as "the father of chemical warfare." Carl Bosch, on the other hand, opposed many Nazi policies and was gradually removed from his high positions after the rise of Adolf Hitler. 4. A young woman enjoys a "planet killer combo." (Photo by Alexa Suter on Unsplash)I started with some absurd news and I'll end with some more. But I'll re-frame this one: Which sandwich requires the most ingenuity -- with fossil fuel consumption as a proxy -- for humanity to enjoy? Believe it or not, some British researchers have spent valuable time and money answering this question and found that "premade, prepackaged, all-day-breakfast sandwiches" had the biggest "carbon [sic] footprint." There was no word on my favorite, the mighty mufuletta. (I'm sure they didn't need to hear that to say, "more study is needed" at some point.) That said, I am sure I could at least make things respectable by ordering the olive salad online. That, and using a straw with my drink. -- CAV Link to Original
  11. The NYT posted the story on Monday the 12th, you (Nicky) posted the link here on Monday the 12th, the correction is dated on the 13th. So the original link when you posted it did have an error in it, a big one which was in fact the leading fact and essence of the story. You claim "The article hasn't been altered in any way since I first posted it." Well, okay then.
  12. Hypocrisy. The Objectivist position on freedom of speech is to meet lies, propaganda and bad reasoning with more speech not censorship or indictments.
  13. Mueller's Comic Book Indictment: How to Prosecute A Great Big Nothingburger - By David Stockman. Posted On Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
  14. Flush your browser cache, Mr. IT professional. Or just try incognito mode if you use Google's Chrome browser.
  15. Last week
  16. Nietzsche Was Evil; Right?

    From what I recall, Nietzsche accepts Kant's doctrine of "the categories," but thinks that this doctrine is more consistent with skepticism than with Kant's qualified defense of science. So, when he says that the falsest judgments are the most indispensable, he means that we can't think without employing categories like causality and substance that are derived from our own mental constitution rather than from reality. Eioul is the resident Nietzsche expert, so he will likely have a better explanation. Regardless, dismissing a major philosopher before you understand him properly is a bad idea.
  17. Nietzsche Was Evil; Right?

    I've started reading Friedrich Nietzsche, and I can't help but be confused anyone took him seriously. The man seems to advocate for ideas that ultimately imply a kind of evil, and I'm wondering if I'm missing historical context that helps explain some of his more ridiculous statements. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche writes: "For us, the falsity of a judgment is still no objection to that judgment -- that's where our new way of speaking sounds perhaps most strange. The question is the extent to which it makes demands on life, sustains life, maintains the species, perhaps even creates species. And as a matter of principle we are ready to assert that the falsest judgments (to which a priori synthetic judgments belong) are the most indispensable to us, (emphasis mine) that without our allowing logical fictions to count, without a way of measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world through numbers, human beings could not live -- that if we managed to give up false judgments, it would amount to a renunciation of life, a denial of life." Isn't the advocacy of falsehoods as "most indispensable" implying that one should engage in falsehoods as often as they can, that fictions are the true preferred content of one's mind and thoughts? I could understand how he could say that falsehoods were "indispensable," with his subsequent argument, but I can't understand how he would say they're "the most indispensable." Obviously, if a person was entirely contained with falsehoods, none of their words would count. They would have to admit that they're not seeking truth, and we have no reason to assume that the words they write and speak are expected to be truth. It all seems self-contradictory, and I would expect someone to assume that Nietzsche is simply a charlatan trying to manipulate people for some alternative, personal purpose. Yet, people seem to think he's a great philosopher, so I'm wondering if I'm missing historical context or whether the speech of the times lent itself to peculiar wording.
  18. In a recent column, Walter Williams demolishes an economic fallacy that helps altruists rationalize both protectionism and universal welfare: Just imagine how many people we could employ to transport hay if we got rid of those job-stealing tractors! (Original Photo by Gozha Net on Unsplash)People always want more of something that will create a job for someone. To suggest that there are a finite number of jobs commits an error known as the "lump of labor fallacy." That fallacy suggests that when automation or technology eliminates a job, there's nothing that people want that would create employment for the person displaced by the automation. In other words, all human wants have been satisfied. Let's look at a few examples. In 1790, farmers were 90 percent of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our workers were employed in agriculture. Today less than 3 percent of Americans are employed in agriculture. And it's a good thing. If 90 percent or 41 percent of our labor force were still employed in agriculture, where in the world would we find the workforce to produce all those goods and services that weren't around in 1790 or 1900, such as cars, aircraft, TVs, computers, aircraft carriers, etc.? Indeed, if technology had not destroyed all of those agricultural jobs, we would be a much, much poorer nation.And, yes, in case you were wondering, Wiliams does talk about how technology affects manufacturing jobs. -- CAV Link to Original
  19. Straw man. The Objectivist position in favor of free immigration doesn't mean allowing enemy agents to operate on a capitalist country's soil.
  20. Again: there are no editing errors in the article I posted. There weren't any when I posted it, and there aren't any now. The article hasn't been altered in any way since I first posted it. It's really not that difficult to figure this out.
  21. Over at Investor's Business Daily is an editorial arguing against a British proposal to tax major technology companies in order to fund welfare for everyone, aka "Universal Basic Income." Insofar as their argument goes, they are on the right track, economically, but some mention of the right of someone to keep his own earnings would have been helpful. Why? Because this idea is even more contemptible than it is absurd. You may have to ponder that point, though, because the welfare state has normalized massive theft from the productive for decades. In any event, the editorial provides the following warning just a wee bit too late: Yet, this is how the far-left thinks. Money is magic. All you have to do is imagine a need, and you can take whatever you want from producers to satisfy that need. And don't worry: Like all bad ideas, this one will jump the pond and soon be discussed by the economically illiterate far-left in the U.S. as an "answer" to our welfare problems.This idea has actually already "jumped the pond." Admittedly, he is a fringe candidate, but one Andrew Yang has already thrown his hat into the 2020 Democrat presidential ring on a platform of technophobic demagoguery cum goodies-for-all: Robots will make life easier, but not to the point we can quit working altogether. (Photo by Franck Veschi on Unsplash)That candidate is Andrew Yang, a well-connected New York businessman who is mounting a longer-than-long-shot bid for the White House. Mr. Yang, a former tech executive who started the nonprofit organization Venture for America, believes that automation and advanced artificial intelligence will soon make millions of jobs obsolete -- yours, mine, those of our accountants and radiologists and grocery store cashiers. He says America needs to take radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown, including handing out trillions of dollars in cash. [link omitted]This may be, as IBD put it, "an absurd idea" (just like robots wiping out all our jobs), but it has indeed arrived. Yang himself may be a long-shot, but I am sure his stronger competitors will seriously consider whether his idea -- like your money -- is worth stealing. -- CAV Link to Original
  22. This is old, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in: Rand worked with, or supported a lot of people that we'd consider libertarian: Mises, Hazlitt, Goldwater etc. Often times when she proclaimed her support or recommended their works, she was quick to point out that she thought these people's works were useful, but that she was often opposed to them on philosophical grounds. So as Rand saw, and I think most objectivists should see, that we can work with libertarians. For the most part though, I still don't see much for objectivists to gain when dealing with libertarians in the grand scheme of things - objectivists would have to be working on the libertarians . Ayn Rand thought the problem with the Classical Liberal tradition and it's derivatives was the lack of a strong philosophical base on which Capitalism was founded and defended. Libertarianism doesn't really have a focus or interest on the issue. There is very little talk or interest in issues pertaining to metaphysics and epistemology. Since those foundations are often weak in libertarianism and non-existent, moral debates and arguments are almost always deduced from political arguments or history. Thus if a libertarian wants to defend Capitalism, he often finds himself defending capitalism in opposition to say communism, rather than an objectivist that defends capitalism based on the nature of knowledge and reason. I generally like Libertarians, but I do see what Rand saw, that they were too eager to rush into politics, rather than to address philosophical issues, which is ironic, since among conservatives, they are often considered the most abstract-minded and intellectual. That said, it shows what seems to be the major problem with the right, which is a lack of faith in the mind's ability to solve political and institutional issues (which has been the case since Burke - so no surprises there), and thus the desire to default to tradition and faith when such problems present themselves. Alas, this is why in 2018, we have Trump dominating the Republican party.
  23. That's exactly what I said in my discussion. I told that people who are influenced by advertising, somehow choose to be influenced: they don't care, or they accept it in a way. But this has not been heard or understood either. I was told it was not a choice, people did not have the capabilities.
  24. There is little doubt about the Russians meddling in American affairs, especially the 2016 election. However, there were many other factors that contributed to Trump's win. His bromides about immigration and how immigrants took jobs away from those in Middle America, his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants, his diatribes about law and order, and even his slogan "Make America Great Again"- these had broad appeal to those outside the Northeast and West Coast. I'm not so sure about the dangers that the Russians pose as much as the Trump government with its staunch defense of weapon rights, it's racist policies, etc. His real slogan should have been "Make America Toxic."
  25. Neuromarketing and choice

    To be fair, it takes a very active mind to be always on guard against various advertising persuasion techniques and to deliberately disregard them after identifying them. Some are hard to resist even after identifying them. As most people aren't that mentally active and no one is on guard at all times then advertising can have some dependable level of success with a large number of exposures. My point is that it is possible for people to have free will and choose to not exercise it at all times.
  26. Once again we are reminded how terrible it is when foreigners posing as citizens do jobs only Americans should be doing.
  27. You haven't felt a need to click your own link again? The NYT put a correction on the bottom of the article.
  28. After learning the latest on Barnes and Noble, one might imagine that the accountant I mentioned in last week's blog post had somehow taken over the struggling chain: Fortunately for me, I'm more of an Amazon or Half Price Books guy... (Image via Pixabay.)... Following the "how to slit your own business throat in one easy lesson" plan, it is laying off head cashiers, digital leads and others in their stores who are 1) full-time employees and 2) have the experience and knowledge that helps a store run smoothly. The company says it will save them tens of millions of dollars a year. Which it might, on a protected profit and loss sheet. What those projections don't show are the number of customers and individual transactions that will be lost because customers can't get help when needed, can't get their questions answered and can't find the books they want because they haven't been unloaded from their boxes yet.Oh, and that's not all. Employee morale and training opportunities, a valuable part of any business, apparently didn't factor in to the decision making, either: ... The remaining employees have just seen a huge round of layoffs and wonder if they're going to be next. Moreover, they don't have the experience to do the jobs of those let go. Is it any wonder they are feeling worried and depressed about their work situation?The only rational explanation I can come up with for this is that those in charge see a very short time horizon. I suppose I could be wrong since I am not a businessman. Nevertheless it looks to me like if they had a chance to return to viability before, they just blew it. -- CAV Link to Original
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