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  1. Today
  2. gio

    Ayn Rand and the French

    No. As he said (in french) in the lecture with Yaron Brook, it's cheaper to reformulate what the others already wrote than to pay a translator. His book is mostly based on Ayn Rand and the World she Made by Anne C. Heller and The Godess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns.
  3. Reidy

    Ayn Rand and the French

    Thank you for the information. Did Laurent do any new research for his biography?
  4. gio

    Ayn Rand and the French

    They don't think of him. As far as I can tell, he is virtually unknown, except for very few people among those who are interested in Philosophy. I think, Ayn Rand is more known (or rather less unknown) in France than Guyau. You are right about the second one. It's a little summary chapter by chapter, available for free here. The author is a reader of my blog about Objectivism, and since he made that book, I've translated some chapters of The Romantic Manifesto. The first one is supposed to be a biography of Ayn Rand. It was the only book in french about Ayn Rand since recently. The book was written by Alain Laurent, the publisher of Atlas Shrugged in France, who was also last year in a lecture with Yaron Brook. I was in the public, so was the author of the second book The Esthetic Philosophy of Ayn Rand. And I asked a question. Alain Laurent is also the publisher of The Virtue of Selfishness, but he removed most of the chapters, as I say in my video, including the introduction, to publish his own introduction. Because he is the publisher of Ayn Rand and because of that book, Alain Laurent is viewed as the "expert" of Ayn Rand in France, so when the french medias talks about her, they have Alain Laurent as a guest. In my opinion, it's a scam, because Alain Laurent doesn't understand Objectivism at all (It's easy to prove, he disintegrates all ideas), commit some errors and is regulary very critical about Objectivism grounded on his non-understanding and errors. One single example (among plenty): In the book you mentionned, he advocates that Ayn Rand is not a philosopher and that she had never read Kant, and criticize her for never quoting other philosophers. He wrote the same in his introduction of The Virtue of Selfishness, where he also says that Ayn Rand advocate some categorical imperatives. Clearly, he has never read Causality versus Duty. And it's always like that : He regulary sees "contradictions" in Ayn Rand's philosophy...grounded on his own misunderstanging or ignorance. As he is the only French voice, visible in the media, who talks about Ayn Rand. Many French people learn about Ayn Rand through him, i.e. through his errors, his fallacies and his superficial understanding. I think that there is no one who does not harm Objectivism in France any more than he does, though I'm pretty sure he views himself as a fair spreader of Ayn Rand. He is also very critical of the Objectivist movement.
  5. Among news stories covering the sham "reelection" of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela -- many of which broke with the practice established during the financial crisis of never using the word "socialist" -- were two short paragraphs in the Guardian that pretty much tell you all you need to know about that political system: Vote for us or starve. (Image of CLAP box via Wikimedia Commons.)At a campaign rally in the western city of Barquisimeto, Maduro put it this way: "The Fatherland protects you and gives you everything. And you must give the Fatherland political power." But just to make sure, the government has banned the two most popular opposition politicians -- Leopoldo López who is under house arrest for inciting violence and Henrique Capriles who faces trumped-up corruption charges -- from running. [link added for details on "incitement"]Don't be fooled by the lack of a substantial difference among Maduro and his opponents: This is socialism in a nutshell. That said, I still think American admirers of Bernie Sanders should pay a visit or seek employment there. The linked Wikitravel site contains the following warning from the U.S. State Department: WARNING: The US State Department advice [sic] to reconsider travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel to certain neighborhoods of Caracas due to crime. The tourists areas are considered today relatively safe for tourists, however. Read the newest Travel Advisory here (January 10, 2018) Venezuela Travel Advisory[.]Many of these same people will dismiss this as imperialistic propaganda, while both (1) admitting there are problems, which they will blame on the United States and the "big" oil corporations that first developed Venezuela's resources; and (2) working overtime to continue broadening the role of our government well beyond its proper scope. Conservatives might chuckle at such hypocrisy (while often sharing it), but the naiveté worries me. Just for starters: The whole idea that an all-powerful government is a good thing rests on the foolish assumption that it will act in ways one deems beneficial. But what is beneficial and what is the best way to achieve a good goal? Has a supporter of socialism ever been in disagreement with another person about anything? And what happens when the person who disagrees with you has the gun? It is a sobering thought that large numbers of people who fail to ask such obvious questions can visit such horrible consequences on themselves and everyone around them. -- CAV Link to Original
  6. Yesterday
  7. In Deep Work, Cal Newport describes a common problem among modern knowledge workers: Marx's corpus notwithstanding, thinking can be a highly productive activity. (Image via Pixabay.)... They want to prove that they're productive members of the team and are earning their keep, but they're not entirely clear what this goal constitutes. They have no rising h-index or rack of repaired motorcycles to point to as evidence of their worth. To overcome this gap, many seem to be turning back to the last time when productivity was more universally observable: the industrial age. (p. 60) [bold added]Newport goes on to describe the old Efficiency Movement, whose methods of measuring productivity are being misapplied. Newport makes similar points to an article I mentioned some time ago, noting that, for example, metaphors -- like David Allen's "cranking widgets" -- can lead to what Newport calls, "Busyness as a Proxy for Productivity." I have to agree that metaphors must be used carefully, but I cannot help wondering whether the saturation of our culture with Marx's labor theory of value makes the problem much worse than it ought to be. For example, how hard should it be for an academic to understand that "cranking widgets" might, in his case, consist of reading or concentrating on a problem for several uninterrupted hours? Conversely, consider how many people, including some in management, don't think management does any "real work." Work is not just physical activity, and its physical products will not always be bulky or widely appreciated, no matter how revolutionary. Why, then, measure them in the same way one measures factory production? -- CAV Link to Original
  8. Last week
  9. Repairman

    A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

    My favorite dystopian-future was Ideocracy. This, 1984, the above mentioned, Amerika, even Mad Max, these are morality tales warning us of the dire consequences of our present-day trends. In fact, I am about to watch the final episode of The Handmaiden's Tale Season One on DVD, and my opinion so far is that the depiction of America under a brutal Christian theocracy is refreshing. There are too few warnings about the influence of religion in government. Otherwise, it seems a bit slow-paced, and many of the scenes are too dark. By dark, I mean not too well lit. It wouldn't be a dystopian future unless it was dark as in: noir. I like Elizabeth Mose from Mad Men.
  10. whYNOT

    Why follow reason?

    Definitely. The means exist - the O'ist epistemology - the (rewarding)work needs to follow. When one succeeds in creating concepts "from scratch" from one's senses, after to become comfortable applying/implementing the resulting principles back to real things, then one fully owns them and has earned them. This is not a philosophy to learn by rote, nor exclusively by theory, I think.
  11. I like these dystopian/alternate reality shows too (Man in the High Castle, SS-GB, all the way back to Amerika...1987 show with Kris Kristofferson and Sam Neill...I don't know if it still holds up now), but, for some reason, The Handmaid's Tale turned me off after 4-5 episodes. One interesting thing about it was that, as far as I remember, they stuck to the "first person narration" from the book...we only see what the main character sees. I just wish she saw something else from time to time, besides just creative, over the top, unrealistic ways in which women are abused by society. And sure, there was some kind of vague, mysterious plot, but it was moving along very, very slowly, because all the show-makers' focus seemed to be on laying the "message" on as thick as possible. Maybe that changes later, and I just wasn't patient enough for it. But it didn't seem like it would, from the episodes I saw.
  12. DavidOdden

    A theory of "theory"

    “Fact” refers to the existent and not to a proposition, whereas “theory” etc. are epistemological. By “random”, I assume you are referring to the arbitrary, that is, statements having no relationship to knowledge – they have no proper place at the table of epistemological discussion. The difference between hypothesis and theory is not just position on the certainty scale: a theory has wider scope. A theory entails predictions (hypotheses) about innumerable concretes, and when applied to a specific instance, you have a hypothesis. For example I might have a theory of chemical reactions that predicts a foamy mess if I pour this bottle of vinegar into that box of baking soda (it predicts a lot of other things). The theory gives me the conceptual grounds to say that this is a probable outcome, and after I do it, the hypothesis is now confirmed as a certainty, and the theory that generated the hypothesis is advanced in probability. Even when a theory is confirmed beyond reasonable doubt, it generates concrete hypotheses (which can be confirmed, if you want). I’m afraid I don’t get the point you’re making. Are you referring to distance from the directly perceived? For example, “mammal” is perceptually further from perception than “dog” (it is more abstract). The question that I’m raising is not about how most people normally talk about theories (if they talk about theories at all), instead I’m looking into the question of what “theory” refers to. In normal talk, you don’t say “based on the theory of gravity, it is very likely that this will slam against the floor”, partly because you’d have to say “based on Newton’s theory of gravity”, and mostly because 99.9% of people who say that are lying / bloviating, in that they don’t actually know that basis, and really they mean “based on prior experience” (which is not a theory). I think AlexL could legitimately get away with appealing to Newton’s theory; I certainly can’t. If you don’t talk about theory at all when you talk about gravity, that’s okay with me. The Law of Identity would be a theory if and only if it is a system of identifications regarding an existent which allows man to grasp the properties of the existent. Is existence an existent? Are there facts about the composition of existence that determine what existence does? I would say no, and therefore the Law of Identity is not a theory. Axioms (true axioms) are not theories. I don’t frame the theory of theory in terms of “mutability” because I don’t understand what that means. I will say that “mutability” is a desideratum of my metatheory: new knowledge does not automatically invalidate existing concepts, in case we learn that the theory is in error in some way and needs correcting. OTOH I reject the Popperian requirement where it must be possible to disprove a theory (the reasons are complex: it suffices to point to the sloppy modal “can”. If a theory is in fact correct, it cannot be shown to be wrong). Objectivist ethics and epistemology are good examples of non-scientific theories: they are true and in the relevant sense not mutable, but they are not axiomatic.
  13. Invictus2017

    A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

    As a general rule, stories need conflict; there must be something that the protagonist wants to do and something that keeps him from doing it. Dystopias provide a more fertile ground for conflict than utopias. It's just that simple. Also, when the theme of a story involves society, it's almost always necessary to show a malfunctioning society in which to express thematic conflict. E.g., it would have been hard for Rand to have done what she did in Atlas had she set her story in something like Galt's Gulch. Similarly, Atwood's story (I haven't seen the dramatizations) needs its dystopia in order to most effectively make her points. I note that Atwood was hardly the first to see the possibility of a Christian dictatorships in America. E.g., Heinlein did it in 1940, in "If This Goes On".
  14. softwareNerd

    A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

    Setting stories in some dystopian future is way more prevalent than setting them in some utopia. Quite often the ones that look like they're set in a utopia, are trying to show the negatives of that set-up. I'm willing to bet there's a good reason writers favor dystopias. Why do you like these stories?
  15. Easy Truth

    A theory of "theory"

    I see your point. Fair enough, all representations are epistemological. And I would suppose that “a system of identifications” is obviously epistemological. I should have specified true/accurate representations rather than “attempted”. Isn’t the continuum to go from random to a hypothesis, to theory, to fact? You would agree that there are epistemological “things” that are closer to reality and other epistemological “things” that are far from real. I have trouble with the idea of defining “theory”, omitting the continuum that Invictus mentioned. Doesn’t a hypothesis basically contain “more doubt” than a theory (as a distinguishing characteristic) but similar in the fact that they are both probable truths? I probably would say “gravity will slam this (object) against the floor” or "I feel the pull of gravity". Not “based on the theory of gravity, it is very likely that this will slam against the floor” Obviously, some theories are treated like “the truth” even though the particular truth is based on a theory. A fundamental distinguishing factor seems to be that a time-tested theory is a kind of “mutable” truth. Unlike something like the law of identity which is immutable. An absolute (system of identifications) is NOT like a theory that at some point is susceptible to some phenomena or experiment that can prove it wrong. Which brings up a question: is the law of identity a theory? (Per your definition, isn’t it a system of identification that helps grasping …) And then what about Axioms? Are the rules of logic theoretical?
  16. I'm a sucker for apocalyptic stories, and this one delivers, in both seasons so far. I've heard "liberals" compare it to present-day US, but that's crazy - and I don't get that viewpoint from the show, either. However, I think the show's representation of the US transitioned into a violent Christian dictatorship is convincing. Opinions, thoughts, analysis?
  17. Your first year at college can be intimidating. Especially since most high school students in the US have not been explicitly taught to excel at a collegiate level. More often than not, high schoolers are simply not equipped with the tools, mentality or skills to make the smooth transition from 12th grade to their freshman yr at their University of choice. However, with effort, focus and some determination... anyone can do well in their preferred fields, get their full credits and pass their classes with a solid understanding of the material that they are expected to have learned. This short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37X_CEzG-xY) is designed to give you a blueprint of what to expect in college and how to tackle each course, and hopefully will leave you feeling optimistic regarding your studies in such Universities. Please watch the full video as I will outline some important information you should know and give you a "basics" 101 video of what to expect and how to apply yourself and study effectively at college. You must know first that college consists of lectures. (alas, on line) Generally your professor will be teaching his/her student's the most important information and facts relative to the subject of study. Don't be confused and think that you will be reading large manuals and texts that cover the entire subject from A-z. Actually the most important material will be what the teacher transmits to her students. It's important to be perceptive of what the teacher is explicitly highlighting or writing on her chalk board during class. Taking notes is important. But remember again that the most important information is what the professor directly feeds from the front of the classroom, in to the minds of his students. Taking notes is simple enough. But some people can not keep up with their professors. This is why they abbreviate words that their professor seems to stream out endlessly without pause. One tip for students, is to paraphrase the notes into something easily digestible while retaining the general sentiment and facts. Not only does writing it in your own words make it an easily understood reference. But rephrasing in your own words, will enforce it into long term memory. This is important to know as your notes will increase in size. Dumbing over excerpts in your notes that you do not understand or remember writing will just send you in the wrong direction. Put it in your own words. What you must know is that studying time, varies among student's. Some may need more time, others may study faster. Do not compare yourself to other students. Everyone is unique and their study times will varry. No worries there. Pay attention to terms and concepts that are addressed during class. Most of this in class material usually ends up on a test or final exam. It's important to remember that study time will include reading essays, papers or otherwise daunting chapters of various texts. One thing you must be aware of, and expect... is the complex discourse or syntax that college texts utilize. This means that material that you are required to read, may seem very difficult at first. But there are effective ways to power through this, even for someone with average or weak reading skills. The more you read, the easier it is to read. So make sure you read a lot especially related texts to your field of study. If something read does not make sense, but is of importance to your overall understanding, don't hesitate to reread the section several or more times. Often reciting and re-reading is a big part of college. Some texts will require your attentiveness, patience. Sound it out like a baby reading dr suess, slow and steady, repeat repeat repeat. This pays off in big ways. There is something called previewing. This is a very affective way of conquering long texts or full chapters. Before reading a chapter it is ideal to skim the entire chapter page by page . Making note of the titles, sub headings, highlighted words, introductory and ending paragraphs. Plus underlined or otherwise emphasized words or concepts. By skimming the entire chapter (briefly flipping through all pages). Your brain will make inferences and give you an idea of what to expect or clue you in to the main line of argument and supporting details. Organization is important. For each subject, you should have a separate note book, or folder. Also several writing utensils. College is a fun and rewarding experience. Generally you will find that college essentially creates fine minds capable of learning and expanding their possibilities, collaborative skills are obtained and you are left with a well rounded individual.
  18. DavidOdden

    A theory of "theory"

    I’m going to say “no” (to adding to the theory of theory), for three reasons. First, that is not part of the definition of “theory”, i.e. it is not crucial to distinguishing “theory” from other things. Taking the definition of “man” to be the classical example of the definition of a concept, the facts that man can talk and freely make choices are true of man, but that is not part of the definition. Second, the description “attempted epistemological representation” is problematic. All representations are epistemological; and I don’t see what “attempted” buys you – so, why not just “a representation”? Third, the connection to epistemology is via the fact that a theory “allows man to grasp”, which directly says “Hey guys, this is something epistemological” – there is no need to further say “Also, this is an aspect of epistemology”. The underlying principles of cognitive economy are part of the general Objectivist epistemology: and I grant that if you take extract the two line theory of theory and deposit it in a neo-Kantian epistemological framework, questions will arise. But burdening the theory of theory with stuff that contradicts the theory (“too much non-essential verbiage”) poisons the theory.
  19. Easy Truth

    A theory of "theory"

    I don't disagree with you, but philosophically speaking isn't "Force" epistemological. Change is directly perceptible. Force is derived conceptually. Motion is also perceptible. But "state of motion?" i.e. category of motion? What I'm getting at is shouldn't any definition of "Theory" include the fact that it is an attempted epistemological representation of an aspect of existence? (or maybe that is obvious) Some will say that a "theory" exists.
  20. The underlying theory behind this head tax is (as always) that by taxing the rich, we can solve the homeless problem, or any other problem. As for this particular issue, I propose, first, that people do a bit of critical thinking about how to determine that there actually is a problem. (Hint: it isn’t by monitoring the media to detect an uptick in homelessness claims). People familiar with social science research will recognize the underlying problem: what fact is purportedly being quantified? To what extent is the “problem” a by-product of changing definitions? If we assume that there is a problem, then we have to ask, what causes it? Superficially, it appears that (a) there are more people with mental problems in the area, and one of their problems is that they don’t deal with their housing issues, plus (b) non-mental-problem people can’t afford housing because it costs too much. I think these two issues are in fact related. Problem (a) has plagued Seattle for more than a half a century: I don’t know if there is any research that substantiates this, but one theory is that since we don’t get killer freezes, it’s actually possible to live under the bridge as a lifestyle. At any rate, there is not a general belief here that the problem is due to a surplus of people with mental problems, though it is likely that that is the main cause of the problem. Which reduces the issue to “affordable housing”. Housing is affordable if you make enough money to get housing. There are very many places which I cannot afford to live in, and a few which I really would like to live in, but can’t. How can this affordability problem be solved? One solution would be that I should be paid more money, so that I could afford that house (that solution was been implemented some years ago with a massive spike in the minimum wage). Another is that some clever person comes up with a way for me to get a place in a house in an area that I’d like to live in, but it would somehow be cheaper. I do favor that approach, though there are issues to be addressed. The third solution, which is not discussed as a solution, or, if discussed, is seen to be part of the problem, is that we recognise a basic fact that nobody has a fundamental right to live in a particular neighborhood. If you cannot afford to live in Queen Anne, you have the right to live in Skyway (lower rent, less trendy). Or, ultimately, you have the right to live in a less expensive county. There is no question that property costs a lot in the Seattle area. But there is no law requiring you to live in Seattle. The connection between mental problems and affordable housing is this: if you can’t afford to live in Seattle, chose to live elsewhere. If you can’t make that decision, there is a mental problem, that you don’t understand how you do have free will, and you have to have a hierarchy of values. Is it more important to live indoors, or is it more important to live in Seattle? Of course, this cannot be part of the public “conversation” on homelessness – the actual right to live in Seattle (if you can manage it) has gotten corrupted into an entitlement to a domicile in the area of your choosing, even if you can’t afford it. And therefore if you cannot actually afford to live here, rather than this being a personal problem where you have to move to a cheaper area (on the premise that you don’t have job skills that garmer more than the local inflated minimum wage), this is a public problem where the city must provide housing for you, so that you don’t have to move away. As a sound bite, it is correct that zoning laws are a substantial part of the availability problem. Pointing to the Redfin blog post on the other hand is utterly the wrong thing to do. Note that that they support “zoning for more affordable housing, and higher taxes on corporate income or high personal income to fund subsidized housing and homeless services”. They are not opposed to zoning laws and they are not suggesting eliminating zoning laws; they are not saying we should let the market solve the problem. The main failure of the Zillow blog is that it fails to show concretely how or even that existing zoning laws have the effect of reducing available housing. By not specifically identifying the cause-effect relationship, and by not identifying the specific cure, we are left with a vague idea that it’s “about zoning”, and we simply need to change zoning laws to require all new construction to be low-cost mega-multi-family storage units. Ultimately, the head tax will have the result desired (by the proponents). Businesses will leave, there will be a substantial crash in real estate values, and more housing will become affordable. Property taxes contribute to homelessness (average house property taxes in the city are around $8K a year, and will be increasing as the scope of local government increases). That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change, which obviously contributes to rents and the possibility of owning a home. Driving big business out of the city will eliminate many of those 6-figure employees who create demand for housing (balanced by supplier’s increase demand for compensation in exchange for a house); when demand crashes, prices will drop, assessed values will drop, and we’ll get a bit of property tax relief. So I guess the head tax might result in “more affordable housing”, in a cynical way.
  21. Can you elaborate on the difference? Also, Is disposition, or desire, or inclination or tendency, to be identified by the resulting action?
  22. Blog Roundup With today's post, I bring back the once-weekly blog roundup. You can expect to see these on occasional Fridays. Enjoy. 1. The blog of the Texas Institute for Property Rights recently marked May Day by taking up John Lennon's musical invitation to "Imagine". An excerpt from a chapter of Brian Phillips's new book, Principles and Property Rights, serves as an aid: There's no need to "imagine" in Venezuela. (Image via Wikipedia.)While history provides us with untold examples of this principle, over the past several decades two nations -- Venezuela and China -- have demonstrated it in different ways. One nation has slowly rejected Lennon's vision and enacted greater protections for property rights. The other nation has rejected property rights and moved closer to Lennon's ideal of a society with no possessions -- private property. The well-being of the citizens of the two countries reflects these trends.Having enjoyed two other books by Phillips, I expect I'll end up reading this one, too. The rest of the chapter is available for free from a link at the end of the post. 2. The Ayn Rand Institute has a new blog by the name of New Ideal. One recent post calls out "The UN's Unscrupulous Attacks on Israel": Let's begin with [the] member states [of the UN Human Rights Council]. Which of these six countries -- (a) Saudi Arabia, (b) Iran, (c) Egypt, (d) Libya, (e) Cuba, (f) Russia -- has served on the Human Rights Council? The correct answer: "All of the above." But these nations are all egregious violators of individual rights, and many have literally murdered their own citizens in the streets. That fact alone should have disqualified them from membership in the Human Rights Council. Take a moment to think about that -- it's like putting the mafia in charge of the police force.Journo, too, is the author of a recently-released book, What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 3. Writing at The New Romanticist, Scott Holleran takes on Black Panther, the latest Disney comic book movie. I really enjoyed this review after also finding the film exhausting: Boseman's ripped king gets tricked out with James Bond gadgets, Euro-electronica ala Bourne Identity accompanies an elaborate car chase, and a trip to South Korea (does every action movie have to have an Asian connection? Is South America off limits?) goes awry. Fast-cutting fights are disorienting. Drumbeats pummel the audience. Subplots turn over and over. This onslaught slips into sameness and gets stale. The plot spins and spins, lulling the audience into a bit of a slumber. In Marvel's universe of wise-cracking white men gussied up in industrial gear and snapping lines to one another, a movie about a mythical African nation and its aristocratic superhero ought to achieve a distinctive quality or uniqueness, no? Does no one in Wakanda listen to jazz? The men go around shirtless, why not the women? Is no one in Wakanda gay? Not a single Wakandan apparently watches television, goes swimming or grooves to Lou Rawls, Sade or Johnny Mathis. Does every Wakandan have to be a 24/7 'badass'?I expected the social justice subtext, which permeates practically everything from Hollywood these days, but thought the movie might have a bit more entertainment value than it did. Even setting aside that and my normal reservations about the whole idea of superheroes, I ended up in a similar place. 4. From a Thinking Directions blog post a few years back comes some great advice on making New Year's resolutions, or making any major change for that matter: If you're not mentally ready to make your resolution on January 1, I suggest starting a New Year's Campaign to learn how to achieve that important goal: what concrete, specific form it will take, what doable steps will lead you to it, and what less important activity it will replace. You can always set a mid-year resolution once you know your goal is clear, doable, and important.If you don't need that advice, head on over and consider the preceding three steps. -- CAV Link to Original
  23. Tenderlysharp

    Why follow reason?

    "You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. "-Ayn Rand, For The New Intellectual A living person is to parrot someone who has died... for a philosophy of life? I don't believe any living Objectivist claims to be Ayn Rand. Only you can direct the action you take to quote her. If it were all quotes it would be like she was just here talking to herself...
  24. Perception is the non propositional “base” of justification....I do realize that causality is identified explicitly, conceptually...
  25. Rand called that genus validation not verification. You may be confusing her with Positivism....
  26. There are several fundamental structural problems with the current set arrangement of democratic structures around the World. One case in point is the current conflict between the city of Seattle Washington and the large businesses that are headquartered in the city. Fundamental Problems with democracy Government leaders do not share in profits so have the incentive to seem compassionate and not to maximize growth in population or revenue Leaders in a democracy change frequently so that no one’s reputation or brand is on the line when they change the rules. The key costs like taxes are not nailed down contractually for long periods of time (decades or more) But they could be in a corporate federation The municipality and the state is too large and there are large costs associated with moving the long distance from one jurisdiction to another One of the problems with democratic governments at the state and municipal level is their ability to arbitrarily change the rules of the game at any time. It becomes excruciatingly difficult to engage in the kind of long-term planning that large-scale businesses need to engage in when you have a substantial line item on the cost side of your ledger that is subject to change with little or no notice. One example of this kind of short notice rule changing is currently taking place in Seattle Washington. The City counsel of Seattle recently floated the idea of imposing a 26 cent per man hour worked per employee on any company with a gross revenue of more than $20 million. This comes out to about $540 per employee per year. This included companies who are headquartered in the city like Starbuck’s and Amazon. Amazon was in the midst of building an office tower capable of housing approximately 7,000 additional employees. This would be in addition to the 40,000 employees that Amazon already employs in the city. This means that the new tax would cost $20 million in new taxes even without the additional expansion. Amazon had already sunk several million dollars into the new tower but stopped construction in response to the city counsel’s proposed employee head tax on large companies. When the counsel later reduced the proposed tax increase to $275 per employee Amazon resumed construction. Amazon’s Vice President Drew Herdener warned that Amazon remains, "very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.” The interesting thing about this particular situation is that this “head tax” is being justified to solve a homelessness problem that is largely the result of other Seattle government policy relating to zoning. "Normally, higher prices would induce more construction, but zoning laws prevent that," Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin Corp. wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. The Seattle-based real estate company did not sign on to a widely circulated petition opposing the tax, but Kelman did argue that it would ultimately fall short. "The amount of housing the city can build with a head tax, or any tax, is nominal," he wrote. While homelessness is driven by many factors, including the nationwide opioid epidemic and the state’s meager mental health resources, new research indicates the city’s rising housing costs corresponds to increases in the number of people without shelter. A pro bono report that McKinsey & Co. produced for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce found a “96 percent statistical correlation between the region’s rent increases and the increase in homelessness,” according to the Seattle Times. These two data points taken together make it clear that the solution here is for the city to make it a priority to prove private sector expansion of housing and transportation infrastructure. This is a supply and demand problem that the private sector is more than capable of solving by streamlining the approval process for housing. High rents and high market sales prices are extremely attractive to developers but the city is not allowing them to proceed with plans that would be tremendously profitable to developers and immensely valuable to the employees of the companies that are flocking to the Seattle area for the AI software developer talent. How to Solve the Fundamental Problems: First to solve the problem of government leaders not having an incentive to facilitate growth in population and revenue flip government completely upside-down. I talk about this in detail on my youtube channel UncommonSenseUSA and will elaborate in my upcoming book but here are the essential elements of radical reform that could fundamentally solve the problems prevalent in all democratic governments. The solution is a completely new form of governmental organization that flips the relationship between companies and governments on its head. Here are the bullet points in a nutshell. They will seem shocking and ridiculous at first. All new ideas do, so buckle up. 1. All property in a given area should be owned by a single company. Private ownership means the non-government owner has skin in the game and wants the area to prosper so that they can maximize revenue. They are also held accountable because if they fail to govern well they will lose customers (citizens) and will not attract new citizens or businesses. 2. The company needs to allow people groups with to charter very small government authorities within the land that they own. These mini-governments or “townships” should be no more than one square mile or so or 5,000 to 15,000 people. Small size of each township is important because it allows each individual to move from one township to another without having to move a great distance from their job, family, or geographic areas they want to live close to. This forces townships to compete for citizens but allows each one to be unique and actor to religious or philosophical niches that a larger government could never accommodate. 3. Taxes should be a two-way negotiation and put down in a contract that is guaranteed to remain unchanged for a specified number of years. This would be like a long-term lease or a cell phone contract or a mortgage. By entering into a tax contract with a private corporation you don’t have to work about your taxes changing during the agreed time frame. Then when the contract is up you are free to shop around and find another jurisdiction or to renegotiate a better deal. If we really want to see a day where the government does not act the way governments act, we need to totally rethink the idea of government and design a power structure that flips everything upside-down. Host of UncommonSenseUSA: Michael Conn https://www.facebook.com/Uncommon-Sense-USA-1222350231143031/?ref=bookmarks https://twitter.com/TwoUncommon https://www.youtube.com/user/UncommonSenseUSA Amazon fight with Seattle is one Example of How Democracy Fundimentally Doesnt Work.pages Amazon fight with Seattle is one Example of How Democracy Fundimentally Doesnt Work.docx
  27. Writing at Quillette, Coleman Hughes considers what he calls the "racism treadmill." In the process, Hughes goes a long way towards (1) explaining why the left seems oblivious to the great progress American society has made against racism, and (2) why that obliviousness is a bad thing. The article is lengthy -- but only about 3500 words, so don't let the scroll bar scare you off! -- and I think it's a worthy complement to Shelby Steele's "Why the Left Can't Let Go of Racism." A couple of Hughes's closing paragraphs should serve to illustrate his main points and how he approaches them: Those who say we have made no progress might keep us from crossing the finish line. (Image via Pixabay.)The War on Racism, though intended to be won by those prosecuting it, will, in practice, continue indefinitely. This is because the stated goals of progressives, however sincerely held, are so apocalyptic, so vague, and so total as to guarantee that they will never be met. One often hears calls to "end white supremacy," for instance. But what "ending white supremacy" would look like in a country where whites are already out-earned by several dark-skinned ethnic groups (Indian-Americans top the list by a large margin) is never explained. I would not be the first to point out the parallels between progressive goals and religious eschatology. [Ta-Nehsis] Coates, for instance, professes to be an atheist, but tweak a few details and the Rapture becomes Reparations -- which he has said will lead to a "spiritual renewal" and a "revolution of the American consciousness."14 Staying on the Racism Treadmill means denying progress and stoking ethnic tensions. It means, as Thomas Sowell once warned, moving towards a society in which "a new born baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day."[15] Worse still, it means shutting down the one conversation that stands the greatest chance of improving outcomes for blacks: the conversation about culture. [notes and links in original, bold added]If Hughes errs in his essay, it is on the side of being generous to some who appear to have ulterior motives in keeping us on that treadmill. But if so, he more than makes up for it by explaining in a way almost anyone can grasp how it is that a lack of racial progress can sound so plausible to so many. -- CAV Link to Original
  28. Reidy

    Ayn Rand and the French

    In another, little-trafficked corner of OO I asked a question that got not response but that I'm still curious about: A search turned up two full-length books, in French, that I'd never heard of. Is anybody here familiar with them? Ayn Rand or The Passion of Rational Self-Interest: an Intellectual Biography The Esthetic Philosophy of Ayn Rand The second seems to be a synopsis of The Romantic Manifesto, enabling readers to get familiar with its ideas while no French translation is available. Reminds me of the way ancient authors were preserved and disseminated before the invention of printing.
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