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  1. Today
  2. You have quite an imagination. I don't donate to political candidates. And I'm certainly not going to believe Trump is a capitalist based on one lame poll. Seriously? I guess you've never been to Trump's website.
  3. Manipulated into believing that Trump is a capitalist, or an ally of capitalism. Manipulated into believing that the questions later have anything to do with capitalism. Because the survey isn't actually about capitalism, but you are manipulated to believe that it is. Then your support hardens because it just feels right after that point. Then you are more likely to donate money. It was phrased to make you imagine giving welfare to illegal immigrants who have not committed any other kind of crime. Or it creates an immediate association with illegal immigration as synonymous with violent crime and fraud. I actually did not know that. Now I do. But I do know that she is in the Democratic Party. At the very most, she is a conflicted socialist (she wouldn't be part of the Democratic Party if she were certain about it) and it's not even a threatening kind of socialism. Where does this survey come from? You do realize that regardless of Trump's involvement, there is good reason that Russia (and other countries who have an active interest in American politics) to affect or psychologically manipulate people, and we know it happens. And if you know that someone from the White House created it, you shouldn't want them to have your information either. If you just want to see the fundraising pitches, I hope you use a secondary email.
  4. That's a laugh. You're talking about the President. I want him to have my email, so I can see what his people are saying in fundraising pitches. I was on Clinton's list for the same reason.
  5. I'm confused. Did I get subtly or not-so-subtly manipulated into favoring capitalism? You realize it's a fundraising tool, right? The woman calls herself a democratic socialist, and I'm the one falling for propaganda? Have you heard of welfare fraud or ID theft?
  6. Some impostors are gathering names for a sucker list. I hope you didn't give them your contact information.
  7. Yesterday
  8. This is propaganda, not a survey. If it were survey, it would try to be objective, and it wouldn't go for subtle psychological manipulation. Caps should only bring clarification, they should not be used for emphasis in a survey. The only question on there that is remotely objective is the first one. But it was done poorly, because it should be a Likert scale. Everything else is trying to induce a certain viewpoint, with a not-so-subtle assumption that any time you answer the second selection, you are a socialist or prefer socialism to capitalism. AOC isn't a socialist, the green new deal is still essentially liberal rather than socialist. Illegal immigrants can't get welfare by definition (to get welfare, you need to be documented, otherwise, no one knows where to send the money). Good surveys don't give a forced choice, they always provide an "I don't know/don't care" option. The lack of one suggests that whoever designed this was trying to bias responses. The survey was designed to create an emotional response. It wasn't designed to gather information. Or rather, the information gathered would be information about how to best create more propaganda in the future. If this convinced you that Trump is superior to any Democrat option, then the propaganda worked on you and you fell for it.
  9. Man is capable of imagining his life in the abstract. He can therefore anticipate effects of his future existence and judge himself for letting them happen or not letting them happen. If the effects are anti-man's life to an intolerable degree, he might be considered virtuous in commiting suicide and preventing them from happening, as a final act. This way his concrete existence can't be used to violate his abstract moral principles. We explored this problem a bit on my thread about spies who commit suicide.
  10. Are you saying that mankind has had a mystical outlook but nevertheless has survived?? It is well known that Altruism is a way of life that cannot be full practiced. It can be preached, it can be claimed as a belief system and a moral direction, but when it comes to putting in action, fully and dogmatically, you get the Pol Pot type outcome. The problem is that people link Altruism to survival, meaning someone else will take care of "me", because they will put me ahead of themselves. At its core, this acceptance is an egoistic motive which also makes altruism meaningless, confusing the issue. Also, a subjective source of knowledge can sometimes intersect with the objective. Sometimes (many times) what we feel does correspond to the truth, that our fear does indicate real danger, that our joy does indicate a life enhancing environment etc. And also when we go overboard, our feelings do help stop the bad behavior. But a spelled out standard of value that is based on "man's life" and yet which incorporates the "right to die" is contradictory on its surface. Something has to separate the two directions or to explain it simply.
  11. Blog Roundup 1. Most educated people know that Ayn Rand advocated capitalism. (Whether they know what capitalism is is another question altogether.) And many even know that Rand advocated selfishness -- also commonly misunderstood. But what about pride? I doubt it, and I'd bet even fewer people know what it actually is than know what capitalism or egoism really are. This thought occurred to me when I read the post "Humility vs. Pride" at the blog of the Texas Institute for Property Rights, which explores why that virtue has an undeserved bad name: In other words, the proud person trusts the judgment of his own mind rather than the arbitrary edicts of God or His earthly spokesmen. And trusting one's own mind, we are to believe, is a bad thing.The above is a re-framing of a religious explanation for the animus against pride, and kicks off a good, short outline of what is wrong with that all-too-common attitude. 2. In her discussion of political opposition to Black Friday in France, business professor Jaana Woicheshyn points out a timely book on the subject of green totalitarianism, and a review of same: Green totalitarianism is not just a vague threat -- it is steadily encroaching, as Belgian philosopher Drieu Godefridi argues in his new book: The Green Reich: Global Warming to the Green Tyranny. You can read Donna Laframboise's review of it here. She reports that in Godefridi's view, environmentalism is more "ambitious in its desire to subdue" humanity "than any previous doctrine," including Marxism. [links in original, format edits]Woicheshyn's further remarks on the folly of corporate appeasement of the greens are also worth your time. 3. At Thinking Directions Jean Moroney has some interesting and useful things to say about some common mystical explanations for subconscious phenomena. Here is a relevant quote regarding the "power of prayer," which many people swear by: What is happening is similar to what happens when you think on paper. When you quiet yourself -- separate yourself from distractions, breathe, let the hurly burly recede for a bit -- you give yourself some free mental space and time to listen to the quiet answers in the back of your mind. Your own quiet answers reflect everything you know about the situation -- your own experience and expertise, your own knowledge of the nitty gritty details, and your own value system. It is no wonder that this self-generated idea is often better advice than you can get from others, who don't understand the situation the way you do.When I was young and still giving religion the benefit of the doubt, I prayed every evening. The ritualism of the prayers themselves aside, the thinking I did at the same time was quite similar to what Moroney describes. I agree completely with her further remark that it is valuable to try to understand what is (or might be) going on, rather than stop at pat explanations: When I read about some popular advice which is justified by a theory I disagree with, I don't immediately assume that the advice is impractical. I go to look at what's involved, how I would explain the process, and why I think it might or might not work. If I think there's a plausible alternate explanation for why so many people find benefit, I experiment with it to see for myself. That is how I have broadened my understanding of how the mind works.Amen, so to speak. 4. Scott Holleran has written what sounds like a fascinating article about Pittsburgh, which is also his home town: Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, via Unsplash, license. In the piece, which may become available online, I focus on the Forties, when Rand wrote her observations of Pittsburgh in her journal, corresponded with an admiring book critic for a Pittsburgh newspaper and prepared for the movie adaptation of her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. All of these tie into each other and relate to an interesting comment by Objectivist scholar Greg Salmieri, whom I interviewed for the article. Dr. Salmieri, who's editing the University of Pittsburgh Press series of books studying Rand's philosophy, gives his opinions on Rand's ideas and how they've been interpreted within the context of today's false left-right political dichotomy. I am delighted that publication of the first article about Rand and my hometown coincides with the first reprinting of my article about Andrew Carnegie in Capitalism Magazine (read it here). Carnegie is one of my first heroes. I became fascinated with him as a boy. As with Ayn Rand, the more I learn and know about this man, the more I admire him. I wrote this piece several years ago as a sidebar to an article I'd been asked to write for a magazine. [link in original, format edits]Here's the last paragraph of the piece on Andrew Carnegie: That the 'Great Egoist', who attached significance to names and put his name on colleges, halls and steel companies, loved his work and lived his life in comfort is abundantly clear. That he did so by making an effort to think, write, and speak as an intellectual businessman is not as widely known. But, today, we are the secondary beneficiaries -- in railroads, bridges, and things made of steel -- in Western Union, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Mellon University, which he created or helped to build -- in places like public libraries, and Carnegie Hall -- of all that Andrew Carnegie thought, wrote, and produced.Here's hoping that the newer piece also becomes available online. -- CAVLink to Original
  12. President Trump is taking a survey on socialism versus capitalism. If he makes this the big issue in 2020, I might have no choice but to vote for him. Obviously, he's not the best spokesman for capitalism, but I don't think I can vote for a Democrat this time around.
  13. Advised by the O'ist standpoint, I've a theory about that. I think mankind so far has largely cruised by on intrinsic ("revealed") value (but not exclusively) and this theory of value hasn't been ~too~ destructive, and has been somewhat beneficent of individual "souls", so that by consequence men haven't "died off". Along with the intrinsicists, it appears there were always some, early rational 'objectivists' who perceived that there is no value without an individual valuer, and they the few, disproportionately moved objectively good ideas along. However, with inroads against intrinsic value in the post-modern era, the greatest pity is more of mankind is turning to subjective value (because I feel like it...) as the only discernible alternative, and that explains where today's ethical-cultural-political battlefield has presently left mankind, stuck with two false theories of value at war..
  14. Would you agree that a person might say he rejects an idea but then ultimately lets it guide his actions? For example, many people say they choose selflessness over selfishness, but then they only give 10% of their income to charity, only devote one of seven days per week to worshipping God (and typically only an hour or two at that), and many cross out most of the miracles in the Bible in order to believe scientific evidence. So while they talk a big talk about having faith and all that jazz, they don't act on it much, because when they do, they die.
  15. Quite right. Man's life. I made the same error, in reverse, detaching his "life" from man. As I've been reading from posters who detached "man" from his life. The two are inseparable concepts - the existence and consciousness of man, recognizing mind-body integrity.
  16. Is "man" short for man's life? Is "anti-man" a synonym for "sub-man"? I'm having trouble following your line of thought. The concepts keep changing on me with no warning or explication.
  17. Last week
  18. Can you please elaborate? I ask because if this is true, if it was predominant, wouldn't the species have died off? (or close to it)
  19. Yes longevity meaning what you said. No. was not connecting to procreation. I was just trying to get on the same page. (getting one thing out of the way so it would not confuse me)
  20. I basically agree with the above, if by "longevity" you mean the continuation or perpetuation of life. Are you trying to make a connection to procreation?
  21. Visibly not so. Pick up your daily newspaper, to see how regularly men and women deny and evade "man" as the standard of value. Or, recall those recent periods of history, when whole populaces did the same. Either destructive of their own value or of the values of others (which amounts to the same thing, sacrifice). And very easily, can they "stay alive" and do so, by predating off others (by force, or by others' willing self-sacrifice). I'm rather tickled and surprised by your idea that - as I read you - the default position for mankind, are all those values Objectivists (may) take for granted. How about this exercise. Consider the cardinal values, but reverse them: Anti-reason, purposelessness and self-contempt. Run through the virtues (e.g. dependence, dishonesty, etc.) For the basic virtue, rationality, look at men's obvious, constant irrationality: "...man's basic vice, the source of all his evils...that which is anti-mind, is anti-life". How often do you hear and see signs of these? "Man can only act as man". If only that were true. I'm afraid the common default is for men to act anti-man, first and foremost, against themselves. A sentence in VoS which should take prominence: "Man has to be man by choice - and it is the task of ethics to teach him to live like man".
  22. The thing is, man can't act as subman, just as he can't act as superman. Man can only act as man. He can only act in accordance with his nature. Surviving, for man, means surviving qua man. It doesn't negate values for a man to merely stay alive, because he cannot merely stay alive without values. If he negates them, he dies. Objectivism offers an idea of how to live properly. But, even if Objectivism were 100% accurate, living improperly wouldn't mean negating value. It would mean living less than a morally ideal existence, but still within the limits of life-preserving action qua man.
  23. I would agree that a mature man, an adult human being with volition, is not wholly automatized. He does make his own purpose. (I don't know what "goal-directed purpose" means.) But he must also choose the purpose that he makes and willfully coordinate his movements toward that end. Furthermore, because man has this faculty of creativity and imagination, he might make and choose an impossible purpose, unachievable in reality. His standard of value will be proportionally impossible. Depending on his loyalty to an impossible purpose, he might very well die or kill himself in pursuit of it, because the unreal cannot be gained in the world of the real. A man whose final purpose is reaching the afterlife will value that which ends his present life. A man whose final purpose is keeping his present life will value that which preserves it.
  24. Inform, yes, but not contradict, unless Rand made a philosophical mistake. If she made a philosophical mistake when defining life, then she made a mistake regarding her entire moral theory. You didn't say what biological knowledge she was lacking, so I don't know if you're just talking about a tweak and update to her definition, or a big glaring error and confusion on her part.
  25. In my piece Desire to Live I showed Rand’s ousting, in her mature philosophy, of instinct from human powers. There is a passage in We The Living referring to human instinct. It appeared in the 1936 initial version of the novel, and Rand left it in the edited 1959 version. “She did not have to tell her legs to move any longer. She thought they were running. An instinct was driving her, the instinct of an animal, beating in living creatures, whipping them blindly into the scramble of self-preservation. “She was whispering through frozen lips: ‘You’re a good soldier, Kira Argounova, you’re a good soldier . . .’” (562) I think Rand could pass these words on instinct in humans from ’36 to ’59 by a smooth change of meaning and scope of instinct. It could be also that Rand wanted to preserve as much of her original text as possible, even where it was no longer correct in her mature view of human constitution, provided the old conception was one not utterly revolting in the new. On Rand’s consciously coming to gauging instinct small in human constitution, see her notes from 1945 on pages 252 and 303 of David Harriman’s compilation The Journals of Ayn Rand. Even in notes of 1934, by the way, she was crafting reason over instinct (68, 72-73). In his 1991 book The Ideas of Ayn Rand, Ronald Merrill quoted a note by Rand in her journal from 1934: “It may be considered strange and denying my own supremacy of reason—that I start with a set of ideas—then want to study and derive my ideas from that. But these ideas, to a great extent, are the result of a subconscious instinct, which is a form of unrealized reason. All instincts are reason, essentially, or reason is instincts made conscious. The ‘unreasonable’ instincts are diseased ones.” (23, emphasis added; Ron obtained this note from its publication in The Objectivist Forum). From my ‘Desire to Live’ piece linked above, one can see easily Rand here making use of and modifying a thread running through Nietzsche on instinct and reason. Adam Reed, who had been a long-time friend of Ron’s, recounted Ron in 1966 coming across a 1936 issue of We the Living, in the library stacks at either Tufts or Boston College (Ron and Adam were students at MIT). Ron checked the book out and xeroxed it ("Merrill & the Discovery of Rand's Nietzschean Period" in JARS, Spring 2009). I was able to purchase the 1936 edition via the internet a few years ago, and that is its picture in the post preceding this one. (By the way, before having the fortune of have an original issue of WL come up for sale at a feasible price, I tried to arrange with the Library of Congress for me to come and examine one of their two copies. After searching they concluded that in fact, contrary the catalog, both copies were lost.
  26. You said they're a terrorist organization planning to obtain a bomb to kill people. You don't have to wait for force to be actualized to defend yourself. Why? Because initiation is a process, a concept of continuum. Planning, funding, obtaining, and organizing is all part of initiation of something. Wouldn't it be a bit silly to go "oh this terrorist organization is trying to obtain a bomb and blow people up, but ah damn it, they haven't actually detonated it yet, so we can't do anything. Guess we'll just sit here until there's a crater in NYC"?
  27. But biologically speaking, survival means some sort of longevity, its existence. That basic alternative does not change. Would you at least agree to that? So survival changes meaning depending on what type of living entity. A human has the capability to go against the basic "bias" toward life. A standard of "man's life" also includes survival or does it mean a choice to die sometimes? Seems contradictory.
  28. The proposed amendment saying that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of trade and production is similar to existing amendments that prohibit Congress from restricting speech or freedom of the press. Laws against fraud and threats exist, even with the First Amendment: that is because the rights recognized in the Constitution exist in a hierarchy. The purpose of government – protection of individual rights – is presumed (mentioned in the preamble), and what follows is a specification of how the government may do that. Most of the Constitution says what the structure of the government is and how laws come into being, but part of it describes the powers and limitations on those powers. Laws against fraud and threatening are minimal limitations on an unfettered right to say anything you want, and to use legal parlance, they pass “strict scrutiny”, meaning that those laws are passed to achieve a compelling government interest (protection of individual rights), it is narrowly tailored to meet that need, and it uses the least restrictive means to achieve that end. The “no trade restriction” amendment is, effectively, the repeal of the Commerce Clause. I disagree with the stance that all weapons should be regulated by the government, but do not hold that the government has no business putting impediments in the way of backyard nukes. The apt question is, what is the most narrowly tailored, least-restrictive means of protecting individual rights? This is a tough question to answer, because it deals in an overly-broad concept “weapon”. One approach (the bad approach IMO) is to define weapon in terms of potential use – anything that can be used to violate the rights of another person. A moment’s thought reveals that you are, at this very moment, surrounded by an arsenal of “potential weapons”. The other approach (better, IMO) is to say specifically what things are prohibited. Shotguns can be made, sold, and used. You cannot shoot a person with one – that’s a separate law. Let us say that an H-bomb has no legitimate use by civilians, though it can be used by a government to protect rights. Then Congress can rightly pass a law that prohibits individual ownership of H-bombs, sale of H-bombs other than to rights-respecting governments (let’s leave asign for a moment who decides that), and manufacture of H-bombs, except for sale to rights-respecting governments. This precludes sales to terrorist organizations. A seeming flaw in the above scheme is that it assumes that we are in a rights-respecting society where use of force is subject to objective law. Obviously, individual rights in the US are frequently violated by the government, but still, the fundamental principle of government protection of individual rights is alive in the US. Even more obviously, individual rights in North Korea, Iran and Syria are massively violated, and it is vastly harder to maintain that the notion of “individual rights” has anything to do with the conduct of those regimes. The Second Amendment was not passed to allow men to have hunting weapons or to shoot home-invaders, it was passed because the previous rights-trampling regime did lawfully seize gunpowder and arms (without a warrant) and prohibited importation of arms into America; these weapons were demonstrably necessary for the colonists to resist infringement on their rights by the British government. Times have temporarily changed (maybe that sounds pessimistic, but I do not believe that the Golden Age will last forever), so surely we do not need to have a supply of weapons in order to throw off the yoke of government oppression. But: backyard nukes would not solve the problem of a North Korean style regime qua US government. Even as a means of protecting against government abuse, they are not a reasonable exercise of one’s right to self-defense.
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