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  1. Today
  2. it would be accurate to say that Communists do not believe individuals have natural rights. Yeah. they aren't nihilists but sometimes its hard to tell the difference.
  3. Yesterday
  4. For Objectivism, the fundamental political starting point is: individual rights. (I know you asked about the moral and political, and this is the political aspect: i.e. what should be okay, legally) Rights are rights to action (in a generic sense that includes the choice not to act). One can get into debates about what actions cross the line where you go from having a right to act, to violating someone else's right by acting. (e.g. swinging your arms in exercise, versus swinging your arm and punching someone in the face). In your example, I can't imagine what argument one could use to say that a person does not have the right to intervene.
  5. I didn't say it was an outlier even. You also know as well as I do that juries are not always rational, or that what usually happens means that the usual is okay. " juries refuse to hold cops to the silly "standard" you want to hold them to. " What is my standard (I want to know if you got it right) and why is it silly? You can't know their reasoning unless you were a juror or you talked to them after. Besides why do you say then that the standard of cop is actually good enough? I asked about your reasoning as to why Yanez had acted properly. I already granted he was perhaps was acting lawfully. That's what led to me to say that the standards are no good. If the standards are good, make a case for it. But: This is not how to have a discussion, Nicky. Really, this sentence is unnecessary. If you think it's that stupid what I write, don't respond. I wrote this out so DW would respond perhaps, but also that you might respond with something useful rather than a put down. I did mean the word "introspect". As in, thinking and reflecting on one's internal states (knowledge being a state). The verb "question" would have been better.
  6. I think your premise is wrong: it hasn't been proven that continuing to burn fossil fuels will cause catastrophic climate change. The only proven fact is that it will cause mild warming, that is in no way catastrophic, and will be harmful to some but beneficial to others (the net effect depends on how people who are affected adapt to the changes). The people predicting catastrophes can't even agree on a single narrative on how and why these catastrophes will occur, let alone prove it.
  7. The second sentence is pretty awkward.
  8. You might want to look into what introspect means. Until you do, just keep it simple: the appropriate verb to use there is think. Better to keep it basic and right than be pretentious and wrong. And no, the issue isn't that people don't think about what cops are supposed to do. The issue is that people have empathy for cops: they don't just think about what the cop was supposed to do in theory, they also think about how difficult it is to be a cop. The reason why this jury didn't find the cop guilty is because they had a long time to think about every aspect of not just the case, but of the dangers and stress a cop is subjected to on a daily bases, and concluded that they themselves might not have handled the job any better either. Couple that with the justified contempt the average American feels for the militant left behind all the protests and anti-cop, anti-white propaganda, and it's easy to see why a thoughtful jury will never deliver a guilty verdict in a case like this.
  9. That would be less laughable if it was just this one jury you disagreed with. But this decision isn't an outlier, it's typical. Case after case, juries refuse to hold cops to the silly "standard" you want to hold them to. And yet, you (along with a small minority of leftist and anarchist leaning loud mouths) seem convinced that you understand American law, and American juries keep delivering the "wrong" verdict one after another because they just can't match your intellect.
  10. Do you mean to say that for a Communist view, there is no form of natural rights? Anyway, at least around here, we wouldn't treat capitalism itself as a fact, or even a "natural" thing (natural as in a drive to trade that's an inborn thing we all naturally strive for). Capitalism is more like a desirable system that depends on protecting individual rights, while allowing individuals to lead their lives as they see fit. Forcing right actions, or forced rational actions, don't in fact result in better society, partly because no one is all-knowing. True, there are impossible situations that arise, like absurd pharma prices, but this can often be attributed to many factors. Mainly, we'd look at non-capitalistic features like the FDA or lobbyists having undue and improper influence on private companies. Private individuals also may use force, which wouldn't be a consequence of capitalism, as the system would be failing to protect rights. This is an issue of mixed economies. We can say the US is more capitalist than not, but this does not mean we excuse all private actions. Capitalism without effective rights protection and/or without an established government might be descriptively capitalist, but normatively, it isn't. Respecting individuals rights is the very thing that makes trade and free exchange of goods possible. I say "we" as in fellow Rand fans who agree with her fundamentally.
  11. One of the responses to Climate Change that has had increasing attention is the idea of "engineering" the climate. this is still peripheral to discussions of climate change but may become more important as time goes on as a "techno-fix" if we fail to reduce emissions quickly enough to avert catastrophic climate change. It could be argued that by emitting greenhouse gases we are already engaged in an uncontrolled experiment with the Climate, and that climate engineering is simply trying to take control of something we are already doing. Broadly, Climate Engineering technologies divide into two types; solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. it raises a lot of questions about the impacts of using the technology, how its use is governed internationally, the level of uncertainty in manipulating the earth's thermostat, if climate engineering creates a moral hazard so that we won't actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we could and whether this is an emergency measure or is in fact the realisation of an ideal of man's mastery over nature. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_engineering I'm was wondering what people's thoughts are on Climate Engineering and if there are any strong opinions favouring or opposing it?
  12. 1. How old are you? 28 (or at least I will be in a month) 2. Do you currently consider yourself a Communist? That's a hard one because Communists don't "believe" in Communism as an opinion or subjective individual belief. They'd assert it as a "scientific" conception of society built on objectively real and true laws of social development. So the way you ask the question is like "Do you currently consider yourself a Newtonian?" and in terms of how fundamental it is in terms of the pattern of reasoning, you may reply "Is believing in the law of gravity even a choice?" As horrifying as the consequences of the law of gravity are for someone falling off a cliff- does that make the law of gravity immoral or untrue because it contradicts moral truths? Capitalism relies on theories of natural law that came out of Christianity: the belief in free will, human nature, natural rights, etc. these are very useful philosophical principles as a basis for moral objections to Communism, but to a Communist its like saying "the earth is clearly flat- just look at that horizon! the horizon is flat so the earth is flat! the sun moves in the sky- so clearly the sun moves round the earth!". Marxism is a philosophy of history, so its perspective is a lot bigger than individual observations of our finite horizon within our lifetime. human history is bigger than our own individual observations, but that level of abstraction risks huge errors. Marxism does for Social Sciences what Galileo did for Natural Science: he showed that the world doesn't revolve around us and as human beings we aren't "special". the troubling moral implications of Communism are a reflection of coming to terms with the fact we are not the masters of society or even our own nature. we are at the mercy of forces that we do not understand or control- and its from this that the Marxists argue "we need to know society and to control it" with all its totalitarian implications. where I'm at is- assuming that Marxism is in fact a form of scientific knowledge- how do I best use it so that it will ultimately be the greatest good? The problem is, that what ever my intentions, there is no control on who would use that knowledge or what for. so it cannot be made "safe". 3. If so, are you saying you are doubting Communism as a philosophy as a result of your awareness of the outcomes of it in practice? Imagine being present at the detonation of the first atom bomb. the destructive power of the thing as it rips apart the landscape. seeing something (from the safety of a remote location through darkened goggles) as hot as the sun, incinerating everything in its path. then realising that this is going to be used against people and this is your life's work. As Oppenheimer said, "I have become death, the destroyer of worlds". Having read a great deal about Communism's atrocities, I can understand that position as I'm "just a theorist" scribbling away ideas on tonnes of paper thinking its harmless, safely watching this thing explode at a distance, incinerating whole societies in its wake, laying waste to people's lives. I spent years reading, learning and trying to imagine all this stuff so its personal. then you make the "connection" and see yourself as part of this picture and can't get out of it. its like falling through a trap door into the abyss. not pleasant at all. Its less a sense of "doubt", more like "desolation" as I watch moral certainties I once held get burned in the wake of this idea spreading outwards as I realise its implications. I can't ignore that understanding or un-invent the totalitarian state and I'm of the belief that "something" like that could happen again. I might be able to use that understanding for something better and make it right somehow but I don't know what that looks like. you just do what you can.
  13. I don't think there is a rational reason. I suspect they were trying to follow the "letter of the law" without regard for intent of the law, or without regard for how a jury can say "not guilty" even in spite of the law. This is besides wondering about possible irrational biases of jurors... Nicky was saying Yanez was an idiot but said that 10+ years in jail is ridiculous as punishment here. I suspect jurors with Nicky's mentality were sought after, as there are no rational reasons underlying this statement, when no justification is there besides intuition. I don't mean that as a sleight at Nicky - rather, I'm saying that to illustrate how jurors in this manner may be unwilling to present their basis. So then a decision is made with minimal deliberation, or checking for biases. From the video, it is sufficient to say Yanez made a grave error and he is at fault to go as far as he did. The issue I think is too few people introspect on what they think cops are supposed to do, and instead defer to the law as it is. Or perhaps an error like this is seen on the level of an engineer getting numbers wrong and a piece of expensive machinery blows up as a result - stupid, maybe worthy of a lawsuit, but not criminal. But that wouldn't make sense, as the damage here is to human life. I don't think people take seriously that the system of law enforcement we have is prone to life-threatening errors and fails to recognize the psychological fortitude required to use force properly. Perhaps this wasn't known 50 years ago. But now it is known. By the way, Don, I mean pro-law enforcement in principle as in I think it is a system required for any society to function at a high level. My normative standard is there still, so illegitmate use of force is still possible, and some are more illegitmate than others. But yeah, I'm wary as you. My default is "don't trust law enforcement", as even a small risk (say, 5-10%) is too much for me. In another era, it might be different.
  14. Laika said: Laika, there are a few things anyone who takes Objectivism seriously would need to know about your context before engaging in this discussion. How old are you? Do you currently consider yourself a Communist? If so, are you saying you are doubting Communism as a philosophy as a result of your awareness of the outcomes of it in practice? You should note that just because you are getting answers from members here doesnt mean they are Objectivist and, or, are presenting Objectivism in their responses. That is why studying Rand for yourself is the best approach to any questions about Oism.
  15. Laika: In answer to your OP I would offer the following as my take on the most important takeaways from Rand's Objectivism re politics. You and your life belong to you and no one else. Likewise you have no rightful claim to anyone else or their lives. Any initiation of force injected into interactions between men is thus immoral. Force is only moral in retaliation and in the protection of individual rights. There is plenty more believe me but as far as important basics these are the ones which stand out to me.
  16. The American journalist H. L. Mencken said, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." I don't think that many in the U.S. understand how fully the "threat" of Global Warming permeates Western European thought and shapes the direction of politics. Christiana Figueres, at the time, the top UN Climate Change official said: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history", "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 - you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation." She obviously is not advocating Free Market economics, private property, etc. From my perspective, I see people adhering to Global Warming and Environmentalism as a substitute for "religion" in much the same way that previous generations adopted Marx's pseudo-scientific Historical Materialism/Determinism as something inevitable. How much did the "threat" of Global Warming form your ideas? How much was it a part of your educational experience, and education in the UK in general?
  17. There is a class of crimes often times referred to as "victimless crimes" such as the use of an illegal drug (ex. marijuana). Is this what you mean by "no victim, no crime"?
  18. Way I heard it, Objectivism subscribes to the "No victim, no crime" principle. So if there's a victim then there's a crime and people can step in to help the victim, even if they're not authorities, do I understand this correctly?
  19. Laika, Welcome to the Forum; I find your statements above particularly interesting. It would not be the first time I have engaged a self-identifying Communist here, but you seem to be questioning your own rationale regarding Marx. You must understand by now that there is no utopian paradise, nor any process of achieving one, at least in the sense intended by Marx. Objectivism does not promise utopia. Rather, it is a philosophy detailing a path to personal fulfillment and possibly the creation of the most just society possible under a purely capitalist system, separating economic activity from government action. We may never arrive at the later, but you have every opportunity to discover more about the former. I am unable to offer any recommendations with regard to your depression, only to say that in my youth, I could only see the bleak outcome of social and political trends, if carried to their extremes, and it frightened me. I knew nothing about Ayn Rand or her Objectivism, only the absurdity of social, political, and cultural norms. I knew about Marx; I always considered him to have been a fraud, as well as an easy target for Right-Wing pundits and common place conversation. But one of the great contributing factors to the problems of our times is that few if any people question their own notions of right and wrong, let alone seek out a philosophical school of thought. It is apparent from your posts that you have put a great deal of thought into your philosophical outlook. As for your list of six questions opening this thread, I will limit my response to only number six: Gordon Gekko is a fictional character, a caricature created by Oliver Stone. If you look at Stone's body of works, you see many films critical of American militarism, capitalism, and Right-Wing points of view in general with no regard for honesty. Objectivism does not support Right-Wing politics any more than it supports Left-Wing politics. Inasmuch as I hope you will keep examining the works of Ayn Rand, I hope you find the honesty lacking in Marx, and possibly even your happiness.
  20. . In the preceding post, I had written that “there is some recognition that existence is identity in Aristotle: ‘If all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one . . . . And thus we get the doctrine of Anaxagoras, that all things are mixed together; so that nothing exists’” (1007b19–26). The translation I had quoted was by Ross. I made an error in my transcription. It should read ‘. . . so that nothing really exists.” That translation of 1007b26 very possibly should be otherwise. These other ways squash the suggestion that here Aristotle is virtually stating Rand’s “Existence is Identity.” The translations of Kirwan 1993 and of Reeve 2016 do not say “. . . so that nothing really exists.” Rather, they say “. . . so that nothing is truly one” and “. . . so that there is nothing that is truly one.” If these later translations are truer to Aristotle’s text here, then the connection between existence and identity is here rather more indirect, turning on rigid attachment of oneness to existence and depending on the fullness of Rand’s Identity being covered by the variety of Aristotle’s ways of oneness. New Reference Reeve, C. D. C., translator, 2016. Aristotle, METAPHYSICS. Hackett. http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/metaphysics/
  21. Four Things 1. The Supreme Court's unanimous decision to uphold freedom of speech in a recent trademark case is great news: Ruling against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's determination that the name Slants had violated its "disparagement clause," Justice Samuel Alito's decision for the court was written with the rare clarity of a declarative sentence in the active voice: "This provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend." This is hardly the end of a war currently being waged against freedom of speech, but it is a most welcome victory. 2. As both an appreciative Linux user and someone interested in unorthodox career paths, I admire Linus Torvalds, who created and maintains the open-source operating system. Here is an excerpt from an article on how his hobby-career still surprises and motivates him after 25 years: ... a prime principle was that you should be able to fork and go off on your own and do something on your own. If you have forks that are friendly -- the type that prove me wrong and do something interesting that improves the kernel -- in that situation, someone can come back and say they actually improved the kernel and there are no bad feelings. I'll take your improved code and merge it back. That's why you should encourage forks. You also want to make it easy to take back the good ones.It is refreshing to see someone with this attitude towards differences in professional opinion. I look forward to learning more from the entire, thirty-minute source interview. 3. Hooray for technology, part eleventy-squintillion: Watching the kids during a big game doesn't mean you miss seeing excellence. I checked my soccer app shortly after the recent U.S.-Mexico game started at Azteca Stadium. Lo, and behold, we were in the lead on a goal scored by midfielder Michael Bradley at something like five minutes in. It was around their bedtime, so I'd have to see the game later, which I did, of course. Let me say that I could loop this video clip of that goal all day. (As a bonus, it reminds me of my own favorite goal, which I scored from about the same position after I'd noticed the opposing goalkeeper insulting my team by sitting down next to his goal post.) 4. A dining critic reviews Nutraloaf, the meal fed to misbehaving prisoners: [T]he funny thing about Nutraloaf is the taste. It's not awful, nor is it especially good. I kept trying to detect any individual element -- carrot? egg? -- and failing. Nutraloaf tastes blank, as though someone physically removed all hints of flavor. "That's the goal," says Mike Anderson, Aramark's district manager. "Not to make it taste bad but to make it taste neutral." By those standards, Nutraloaf is a culinary triumph; any recipe that renders all 13 of its ingredients completely mute is some kind of miracle.I'll take his word for it. -- CAV Link to Original
  22. p.s. People talk about "Cultural Marxism" nowadays and whilst the influence of Western Marxism and the Frankfurt School is pretty pervasive on university campuses and in the media, it doesn't compare with the "hard stuff" in Marxism-Leninism that came out of Russia. they are like distant cousins intellectually with common ancestry but very little else in common. it maybe like comparing cannabis with cocaine because they're both illegal substances but ignoring how differently they effect people; Western Marxism slow you down, depresses you, fills you with guilt and makes you paranoid, Marxism-Leninism makes you feel indestructible, that you could conquer the world and care about nothing other than the cause because the buzz feels that good. I think you may see what I'm getting at. At a guess, Cultural Marxism is more a by-product of Liberalism insistence on egalitarianism than on anything arising out of Revolutionary Marxism itself. its sort of weird to find myself turning against "Marxism" as its becoming fashionable again. I hope I just know better but I can't be sure.
  23. excellent. Both my parents were teachers working in public sector and were Socialists. They were involved in the Labour Party and were pro-Blair and New Labour. My dad had a strong environmental/green bent (as he was also in the Green Party at an earlier age). So I really couldn't escape politics growing up with a lot of discussions going on (and in retrospect it was really unhealthy). Communism came up in a history textbook and I just read about it and it stuck by marrying my interest in history and science. Later on I went to University and did a year studying economics and it was quite a big shock to realise how out of sync I was with the "conventional wisdom". it gets more complicated from here because I fell in love with a flat mate and have spent the past nine years coming out as bisexual and dealing with depression. I left university in october 2008, so the financial crisis just gave me an extra push to walk away knowing the course was not in touch with reality as I understood it. Communism happened at that moment of vulnerability when I felt really lost and needed answers as depression started. After my crush from Uni visited Cambodia, I had a moment of honesty and read up about the atrocities in the black book of Communism. Within a month I was reading Freidmann's Capitalism and Freedom and read Hayek's the Road to Serfdom from cover to cover as it scared me that much. its taken years to unpick marxist ideology then at the start of the year, after Trump got elected, I got caught up in the liberal hysteria and wondered if I should go join a Stalinist party in the UK; emotionally, sorting through what I feel as part of dealing with depression has made me come out strongly against the idea. On paper, there is the rationale for it (just about), but in practice- hell no. not a chance. somethings really wrong with the world to make that seem even plausible. the media aren't helping by sensationalising everything out of proportion. There may be some truth in Marxism but overall I've become aware of how abstract it is, how poorly thought out it is when it comes to asking the really important questions about truth and ethics and how crucial violence is in the ideology which has just sucked the soul and joy out of it. I'm still a Communist by force of habit as I haven't escaped its influence and in certain ways helped with the depression making me feel more empowered but I'm looking to move on just for the sake of being happy so I can put depression behind me if I can. the unhealthy and destructive side has become more obvious as time has gone on. I think a fascination with Marxist ideas is not uncommon amongst students in the UK, but statistically the far left has never got more than 0.5-1% of the vote in elections. far left politics is divided between the very old (who can't escape old habits) and the very young- but amongst the general population there is little appetite for Communism. its possible it may just die out within a few decades if it doesn't renew itself. that being said, it's not accurate to say that most communists or Marxists actually have much understanding of what they are saying or doing; the ideas just produce an intoxicating and persuasive high of thinking you know everything and are important enough to "change the world". For most people that doesn't last beyond 30 or 40 at most and only a tiny minority keep going. the far left in the UK simply hasn't recovered since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War- they're just stuck in being sectarian and can't do anything useful or productive. So if Communism has a future- we're talking miracles at this point. Being depressed, vulnerable, pretty smart and deluded enough to think that means I can find all the answers means Communism has burnt brighter and longer than it does for most people but that's definitely not the norm.
  24. Yes, I am quite capable of rephrasing my question. Why do you think the jury acquitted Jeronimo Yanez?
  25. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/opinion/kamala-harris-islamism-senate-hearing.html Excerpts: When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation. Sitting before the senators that day were two women of color: Ayaan is from Somalia; Asra is from India. Both of us were born into deeply conservative Muslim families. Ayaan is a survivor of female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Asra defied Shariah by having a baby while unmarried. And we have both been threatened with death by jihadists for things we have said and done. Ayaan cannot appear in public without armed guards. In other words, when we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political. That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam. There is a real discomfort among progressives on the left with calling out Islamic extremism. Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures? This is extreme moral relativism disguised as cultural sensitivity. And it leads good people to make excuses for the inexcusable. The silence of the Democratic senators is a reflection of contemporary cultural pressures. Call it identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness — it is shortsighted, dangerous and, ultimately, a betrayal of liberal values.
  26. There is nothing within the guidelines preventing an open, intelligent discussion of Communism on this forum. It does become apparent when someone is just "trolling", but it's pretty clear that you are not doing that. By exploring the differences between Marx and Rand, many insights can be gained. I'd go so far as to say that one can't really claim to have a detailed understanding of Objectivism without also having a detailed understanding of Marxism/Communism. What led you to originally lean towards Communism? It would be interesting to hear from someone in the UK. Is it common?
  27. With others responding to legal/moral issues, I just want to clarify that, per my understanding of Objectivism, what you describe would not be the "initiation of the use of force" in the sense that Rand means when she employs those terms. Rather, force would already have been initiated by your aggressor in beating someone else; if you employ force to stop him, that would be viewed in the vein of retaliatory/self-defensive action, which is moral per Objectivism.
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