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  1. 5 points

    Race Realism

    As you think about this topic, I suggest that you keep in mind the possibility that “race” is simply a mistaken concept, a mis-identification. It’s not like “gremlin”, “unicorn” of “free lunch”, being purely fictitious, but is is sufficiently detached from reality that it needs to be consigned to the intellectual trash heap that also contains phlogiston and epicycles. In its place would be some concept pertaining to human evolution and genetics. The genetic concept of “haplogroup” is based in objectively measurable fact, and the study of Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups has produced some interesting results pertaining to population genetics. (The reason for these 2 groups is that they do not recombine, so Y-DNA gives you good information about the patrilineal line and mtDNA is about the maternal line). In tracing shared mutations, you can come up with something resembling a “family tree” of humans. There are geographical correlates of haplogroups, where for example haplogroup A appears in parts of Africa especially among the San, who have probably been hanging on in the same spot for tens of thousands of years. Haplogroup A represents the “original situation”, lacking any of the subsequent Y-DNA mutations. And then you start adding mutations, and you check the geographical distribution of that mutation. (Geographical distributions have to be controlled by knowledge of history, for example the Siddi in India were transported from East Africa about 1500 years ago; obviously, Europeans only appeared in the New World a few hundred years ago). There are some surprises there, for example haplogroup B is high frequency in Africa, but also among the Hazaras of Afghanistan, which is surprising since usual racial classifications would have them be Mongoloid. Eventually you will get to haplogroup L-M20 which has high frequency among Tamils and I assume Malayali. It is also frequent (though not as frequent) among Pashtuns. Again, Dravidians can be racially classified in lots of ways, depending on what morphological features you’re attending to; Pashtuns are pretty much standardly classified as Caucasian. So the problem is that there is a physical reality (a genetic fact, which refers to your ancestry) which however doesn’t match well with any extant theory of “race”. The reason is, simply, that the theory of “race” is based on a false premise of absolute and instantaneous separation of humans – as though God split the human race into 6? groups and instantly transported them to their ancestoral homelands. Instead of race, we have a better concept of haplogroup, which is actually related to genetics. There are very many haplogrops: it is a hierarchical concept.
  2. 4 points
    NOW, obviously. Lifespans are the longest ever, people are more civilized, every single life is a zillion times wealthier, leisure time abounds, knowledge only goes up because all past knowledge is instant and free, ice cream only gets more popular so we have like 500 more choices than ever before, and humanity still has its built-in bullshit meter intact. Now, a lot of people just need to realize it's this good not because it always was.
  3. 4 points

    The Serene Metaphysic

    Two quotes to begin. The first: “In general, it is absurd to make the fact that the things of this earth are observed to change and never to remain in the same state, the basis of our judgment about the truth. For in pursuing the truth one must start from the things that are always in the same state and suffer no change.” - Aristotle, Book 11, from his Metaphysics. Now the second: “Serenity comes from the ability to say ‘Yes’ to existence.” - Ayn Rand, 1973, from her essay “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made”. Any science of first principles rightly supposes that the justificatory structure of our schemas and assertions are terminal. It would seem then that there ought to be a terminus of judgment also, for how is one to judge a thing which can not be justified, even in principle? Justification surely is a form of explanation, namely one which identifies a cause whose identification itself deals in adherence to a kind of normativity appropriate to the production of human knowledge. Aristotle points out that all explanation is in terms of something more fundamental, and nothing is truly capable of explaining itself, for nothing is more fundamental than itself - it simply is itself. It has seemed strange then to philosophers throughout history that those concepts and principles occupying the base of human knowledge, being capable neither of having explanation or justification, should still be the ultimate source of both, hence the perennial quest for and atheological concerns towards an explanation of something like Being as such. This sort of meta-attitude is not confined to metaphysics or what calls itself metaphysics. Indeed in Hume’s infamous passage about the inescapable bifurcation or rather the inexplicable marriage of descriptive and normative statements, we see the presence of an anxious, “something from nothing” worry more familiar to us in the context of discussions about God. We may find this sort of sentiment just as easily in epistemologies also of the last century, where neo-Kantians like Wilfred Sellars marshal the notion of inference as constitutive of the perceiving act so as to escape the undesirable conclusion that the perceptually given could at once be justificatory and non-propositional, i.e., not itself justified or justifiable. The ability of certain things to be a power unto themselves has always been met throughout history with skepticism and derision, especially by philosophers. While this fact may owe some to the prevalence and intuitive attractiveness of a naive necessitarian conception of causality (which itself necessarily invokes a prime mover), where the supposed constant conjunction of motion is appropriated as identifying the form of epistemic relations or ethical systems, I believe the source is more complicated in matter if not in form, and partly social. Namely, that in human interaction we constantly seek the identification of a final cause to explain the behavior of the human agents we interact with. And insofar as these motivations are explicit - as is the case with more noticeable, determined action - the cause can be expressed in propositional form, and we are thus loathe to think that any cause ought not to be able to expressed to one another someway, somehow. Even in relations lacking humans altogether, say perhaps the evolutionary development of an alternative organism, we identify the final cause of species survival and propagation as an explanatory summation of the efficient - and principally chemical - causes responsible for an organism’s biological integrity. We understand our mature language to be capable of reaching all corners of nature, both now, before, and forevermore. We understand and believe then that if there are no reasons to accept something, then there can certainly be no reasons not to reject it. And it is precisely here, in elevating a particularly - and this is key - conceptual mode of grasping existence to legislate what is and is not permissible to treat as existent that all philosophical hell breaks loose. The explicit error is thus: the holding of the man-made, for no conceptual artifact is necessary, to constrain the metaphysically given. That is, the total inversion of epistemological primacy, of treating not perception but conception as cognitively basic. There is really only one tradition in the history of philosophy which explicitly recognizes a kind of metaphysical acquiescence as the source of epistemological accuracy, and that is the Aristotelian one, of which Objectivism is a part. Just as Aristotle refuted logical determinism by affirming the direction of truth to move from the metaphysically given to the man-made, so we may chastise those anti-foundationalist tendencies which make much ado about the fact that those so-called primaries of cognition cannot be explained or justified, yet serve as the source of both; the primaries, insofar as they constitute an identification of the relation of man's necessary formatic apprehension (for to be aware is not merely to be aware of something, but to be aware of something somehow) of existence to existence are not to be judged. The man-made can not arbitrate how the metaphysically given ought to be, or how its epistemic status ought to present itself, indeed the very concept of “ought” is inapplicable. It as arbitrary to assert that because primaries are inexplicable they are somehow invalid or untrustworthy as it is to rule out the concept of “inertia” with Aristotelian physics. In both cases, perception, our primitive and primary contact with and awareness of reality - because it is metaphysically given and the identities of the human, sensory apparatus as well as the existents which act upon them are outside the power of human volition, of human making - vindicates what may be thought of as possible and trustworthy, and no more and no less. You may recall that I mentioned that there can be no reasons given not to reject the metaphysically given, and this is true unless those reasons are tied to some normative conception of what it is thought should be about and what it should serve. Indeed one is always free to ask: “why shouldn't I contradict myself?”. Objectivism has no answer to give this question save: man shall not live on thought alone, and if he is to acquire his bread also, he will need non-contradictory thought and a non-contradictory method to achieve it. Objectivism does not judge the metaphysically-given precisely because its recognition, its identification, is the means of making proper judgments about it, its very precondition. To say “yes” to the metaphysically-given is not to judge it as true or good, but to acknowledge the metaphysically-given fact that correspondence between and conformity of the metaphysically-given to the man-made is good or otherwise conducive to the survival of the man-made, and moreover still that the content of this relation is itself metaphysically-given. Objectivism does not promote an attitude of metaphysical acquiescence as true because it is good, but as good because it is true. Power over nature does not come from asserting man's omnipotence, but from asserting where and indeed how power is possible to him. To paraphrase Bacon: Nature, to be commanded, must not be judged.
  4. 4 points

    Donald Trump

    I'm not sure on what you base your view of the psychology of middle-class Americans. What Trump saw was the the number of whiny whites had grown to a point where they had become a voting bank that nobody was speaking to. He saw that the Democratic party had started ignoring these people, and not been giving them enough hand-outs. These people felt invisible. In the wake of the great recession, they were also scared. For 40 years, ever since early Japanese competition, people have been telling these cohorts that the world is changing and they'd better adapt. Many did. But, too many pouted and refused to adapt. As if the world owed them a living! Japan came, the Asian tigers came,...and there was blowback each time, but net-net the system adjusted. Then the Chinese came -- a billion workers. And these Americans, still competing mostly on their low-skilled labor -- and having not heeded a few decades of warnings -- were finally scared. The great recession was the final straw. These loser Americans were then looking for someone to blame for their folly. Trump saw that. And, trump is a master of blaming others. And truth has no meaning to him, so he was the right person at the right time. Hillary was seen as "status quo", so these unthinking Americans -- clueless about right and wrong political ideas -- wanted to kick out anyone conventional. A bit to his surprise, trump found himself leading. Being the zero-ego that he is, he was expert in reflecting back the emotions of the crowd. A populist in the worst possible sense. He does not represent self-reliance, self-esteem and independence. He won because he pandered to the whining low-middle class white voters who think the world owes them something, and who think any type of intellectualism is just trickery.
  5. 3 points

    Why Read Aristotle Today?

    The author is apparently unaware of Rand, but much of what she has to say is of Randian interest. https://aeon.co/essays/what-can-aristotle-teach-us-about-the-routes-to-happiness?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AeonMagazineEssays+(Aeon+Magazine+Essays)
  6. 3 points
    Peter Suderman of Reason Magazine argues that, "Under Trump, Republicans Have Become the Party of No Ideas." Suderman makes some disturbing connections of data with his thesis, such as the following: Ayn Rand's image of the hollow oak seems particularly apt, but this will do. (Image via Pixabay)... Republicans are not merely struggling with difficult vote math, or with converting broad ideas into legislative form. They are abandoning the notion of a policy agenda entirely. That abandonment can be seen in the slew of GOP retirements -- more than two dozen so far, including a large number of committee heads, who have historically taken charge of writing legislation and moving it through the congressional process. In a very real sense, the Republican Party, or at least the party as we have known it, is calling it quits. The most notable of the retirees is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a veteran lawmaker who built his career as a legislative entrepreneur, the closest thing the GOP had to an idea man, pitching a broad policy agenda he at one point dubbed "A Better Way." Even among Republicans, Ryan's ideas, especially on entitlements, were always more popular in theory than in practice, and Ryan's status as a deficit hawk was often overrated. But at the very least his ideas served as a sort of ideological placeholder, a sense of what the party should, or could, aim for in the absence of a more promising program. [bold added]Signs of this were evident during the campaign, as Bret Stephens noted in the Wall Street Journal back in 2016, when he commented on the leadership of the GOP folding like a cheap law chair after Trump became the nominee: What isn't normal is the ease with which so many conservative leaders, political and intellectual, have prostrated themselves before Mr. Trump simply because he won. In July, Dan Senor, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, tweeted that he had once commiserated with a Midwestern governor about how unacceptable Mr. Trump was as the GOP nominee. That governor? Mike Pence. As for conservative thought leaders, the book that comes to mind is Julien Benda's 1927 classic, La Trahison des clercs, "The Treason of the Intellectuals." Benda railed against a new class of European thinkers who specialized in "the intellectual organization of political hatreds," the "desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action," and above all "the cult of success," based on "the teaching that says that when a will is successful that fact alone gives it a moral value, whereas the will which fails is for that reason alone deserving of contempt." [bold added, links omitted, format edits]But lest you think Stephens is some kind of prophet, consider the following words, written over a half-century ago by Ayn Rand: [T]o those of you who do wish to contest [this country's uncontested collapse] -- particularly those of you who are young and are not ready to surrender -- I want to give a warning: nothing is as dead as the stillborn. Nothing is as futile as a movement without goals, or a crusade without ideals, or a battle without ammunition. A bad argument is worse than ineffectual: it lends credence to the arguments of your opponents. A half-battle is worse than none: it does not end in mere defeat -- it helps and hastens the victory of your enemies. At a time when the world is torn by a profound ideological conflict, do not join those who have no ideology -- no ideas, no philosophy -- to offer you. Do not go into battle armed with nothing but stale slogans, pious platitudes, and meaningless generalities. Do not join any so-called "conservative" group, organization, or person that advocates any variant of the arguments from "faith," from "tradition," or from "depravity." Any home-grown sophist in any village debate can refute those arguments and can drive you into evasions in about five minutes. What would happen to you, with such ammunition, on the philosophical battlefield of the world? But you would never reach that battlefield: you would not be heard on it, since you would have nothing to say. It is not by means of evasions that one saves civilization. It is not by means of empty slogans that one saves a world perishing for lack of intellectual leadership. It is not by means of ignoring its causes that one cures a deadly disease. [bold added]This is what Rand said of the conservatives back then, when they still were pretending to offer an alternative to the left. Suderman and Stephens rightly observe the effects of what Rand discussed then, but they don't go far enough. It's not just that the conservatives failed in 2016 or now -- it's that they are no longer even bothering to pretend to be serious opponents of the left. Whether that be because they don't know or don't care what will happen as a result of failing to do so, is as irrelevant as they will prove to be in the long term. As for anyone not wishing for a Bernie Sanders's version of the American dream (as is being realized today in Venezuela), I strongly recommend reading the entirety of Rand's Conservatism: An Obituary. We need ideas, and if Donald Trump has given us anything more than a few random rollbacks to particularly bad regulations, it is this: He has shown -- sooner rather than later -- that the GOP is not the "party of ideas" we need for an actual return of America to the greatness of capitalism. -- CAVLink to Original
  7. 2 points
    It seems like you're pointing to an apparent conflict between the following claims: Full validation only requires reduction and integration. Full validation requires induction. Induction is distinct from both reduction and integration. The solution will require rejecting or modifying one of these three claims somehow (probably the third).
  8. 2 points
    The essence of Randian egoism is a hierarchy of values rooted in that which is necessary for a human being to survive as required by his nature. Each value must, in some way, contribute to that specific form of survival. The virtues are principles that, enacted, result in gaining and/or keeping such values. At this level of abstraction, it would be improper to have, as a beneficiary of one's acts, anyone other than oneself. But as these abstractions are particularized, as one fills in the relevant values and virtues, it becomes apparent that some actions can be taken that also benefit others and, concretely and short-term, benefit others more than oneself. This would be true in relationships, where one might act "altruistically", benefiting others, to satisfy the long-term goals of gaining or keeping appropriate relationships. Or politically, where one might act "altruistically" by putting one's life on the line to protect one's society. Such "altruism" is not justified on the premise that the good is that which benefits others. (Hence the scare quotes.) Rather, it is justified on the premise that to obtain certain values -- a proper relationship, a proper society -- values that benefit oneself -- one must put others' immediate welfare above one's own immediate welfare. If, at this point, one drops the context, ignores the value hierarchy, one can mistakenly see a mother's actions that benefits her child but cost her dearly, or a soldier's putting his life on the line and even losing it, as actions "for others", a sort of altruism that egoism supposedly rejects. But keeping the context, it's clear that the person who chooses motherhood also chooses the emotional bonding that requires that she "sacrifice". But she does so for the long-term benefits of motherhood, as she conceives them. Similarly for the soldier; if he chooses to defend his society, he also chooses the soldierly virtues that go with it, which may involve "sacrificing" his life. Keeping the context, remembering that humans have a nature, and refusing to accept contradictions -- those are how and why Randian egoism, even though it requires that the beneficiary of one's actions be oneself, also permits and even requires acting for others, sometimes even "sacrificing" for others.
  9. 2 points

    Global Warming

    Meh. I'm still hoping I can get you to do two things: 1. consider how ridiculous the proposition that "20% of all greenhouse emissions on Earth come from cows belching and farting" is. 2. As a result, re-read the articles you posted, to find the disclaimer they buried deep within, where it's explained that the click-bait, simplistic headline is in fact misleading, and they added together a bunch of other emissions that have nothing to do with cows belching or farting, to come up with that estimate of 20%. Had they stuck with just cows belching and farting, it would be a far smaller number, no one would care, no one would click on the article, and then the writer would have to get a real job, that produces some actual value.
  10. 2 points
    Just that Dave Rubin has accumulated quite a history of excellent interviews over the past couple years. Yaron Brook did an outstanding job particularly on his first appearance. Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell (naturally), and Alex Epstein's appearances are particularly worth checking out. https://www.youtube.com/user/RubinReport/videos Rogan is a new name to me.
  11. 2 points
    STEPHEN - Yes, the Berkeley idea seems the same, but in other terms. And a lot of Objectivist types when thinking about the nature of mathematics come down rather like Berkeley. I disagree with them both on the mathematical situation. We do have physical applications of complex numbers. But we did not have any such applications (i.e., physical structures known to coincide with the structure of complex numbers) at the time complex numbers were first thought up. They were never ungrounded in rationally grasped realities, even before physical application was found for them. And there are other things mathematically sensible that to this day we’ve found no physical instantiation of, and perhaps there is no such instantiation. Rand wrote against the idea of a system of free-market private protective agencies replacing government in the primary functions of the latter: “Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately.” Here she seemed to think of floating abstractions as having some weak connection to reality. Although, presumably, that could still leave them of limited use and even detrimental for knowledge. On the NOT side, it occurs to me that I’ve NOT noticed any Objectivist writings taking Platonic Ideas as floating abstractions. The fact that such Ideas have regular relations to concretes may perhaps be enough to save them from being the sleaze of floating abstractions, even though we do not obtain them by abstraction from concretes perceived by the senses. In the 1960’s while articulating Objectivism, together with Rand and others, Barbara Branden gave a lecture series called “Principles of Efficient Thinking.” Therein she spoke in a kind of psychological-type way of persons who characteristically think in terms of floating abstractions. She said they don’t see the trees for the forest. There’s “nothing in his head but floating abstractions—that is, abstractions which he’s unable to concretize, which he believes, without any idea of what they would actually mean in reality. / An example of this kind of thinking is a meeting at which a political candidate declares that he stands for a balanced budget, decreased taxes, and increased government spending; and his audience bursts into applause. No one who understood concretely what these abstractions meant could possibly applaud. / A man who holds floating abstractions understands words not in terms of what they denote, but in terms of what they connote. Words connote things to him. They call up pleasant or unpleasant emotions, associations, memories. They suggest; they do not denote. His abstractions float in space, untied to meanings, to facts, to reality.” (Transcribed on p. 178 of the book THE VISION OF AYN RAND.) In the 1980’s Leonard Peikoff gave a lecture series called “Understanding Objectivism.” I notice there that he thought of Leibniz, and presumably Rationalists more generally as dealing in floating abstractions (which is rather the idea you get of Rand’s view of Rationalism in her “For the New Intellectual” even though she doesn’t use the name ‘floating abstraction’ there so far as I’ve found). Peikoff mentions a type of psychosis “which has some elements of being concrete-bound, and has some elements of floating abstractions (certain schizophrenics will build castles in the air), but still they are crazy, and Leibniz wasn’t.” (Transcribed on p. 265 of the book UNDERSTANDING OBJECTIVISM.) The quotation on floating abstractions you found in Peikoff’s OPAR is helpful. Thanks. There he seems to be back to thinking about persons not very philosophical in their thinking. (Cf. Rand’s ITOE 75-76; also p. 214 of Harry Binswanger’s HOW WE KNOW.) Gregory Salmieri maintains that floating abstractions are one possible result of not taking the dependency relations of concepts into one’s thinking. He seemed to have in mind the dependency chain of concepts ultimately to “first-level concepts” (presumably elementary concepts of kinds of concretes ordinary in perception). “A floating abstraction is a concept that has become detached in one’s mind from its basis in perception and has therefore lost its meaning (Peikoff 1991, 96).” (p. 71 in CONCEPTS AND THEIR ROLE IN KNOWLEDGE – REFLECTIONS ON OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY.)
  12. 2 points

    Ayn Rand and the French

    I just started a Youtube channel. I have a terrible accent and I probably make a lot of mistakes in English. I hope it's understandable. I devoted a video to the following topic: What do the French (in general) think about Ayn Rand? I would be glad to have your feedback.
  13. 2 points

    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.
  14. 2 points
    Hello In parts of the world still today, homosexuals are literally thrown off of roofs to their deaths. Though the US has come leaps and bounds in just a couple of short decades, many homosexual youths still grow up terrified that their social circle will discover their true sexual desires. Personally, the first half of my teen years were spent desperately trying to will myself to be attracted to females, trying to pray the gay away, and finally accepting my inner fate while still deciding I would just have to marry a woman anyway. Though not explained scientifically, there are enough individuals with stories like this to give reason to believe it is not possible to change one's sexual orientation, at least not with today's understanding of the human mind/body. Why would so many people choose a way of life that guarantees that they will be ostracized, or even murdered?
  15. 2 points
    Most people do or believe something that I wish they wouldn’t do or believe, and this includes being irrational even when it doesn’t directly affect me (e.g. people who just can’t stand the color yellow). I would like to live in a world where everybody is as rational as I am. Most of the time, however, it would be irrational for me to rant about other people’s irrationality, primarily because most people don’t actually have the rational response “Oh my God, was I really that irrational!? I’ve gotta change my ways”, when confronted with their irrationality. In other words, getting up in people’s face about their irrationality as a way of encouraging rationality is itself irrational. I am not suggesting that irrationality should be tolerated, instead, particular instances of irrationality have to be judged on their demerits, so you have to decide whether it’s worth getting a divorce because your spouse doesn’t like your favorite musician. “Tolerance” implies a complete lack of judgment, whereas “temperance” means that you have judged and decided that the costs outweigh the benefit (“breaking point” likewise implies a judgment, and in this case the benefit outweighs the cost). Let’s take a clearer case, such as a person publically advocating a racist and statist Nazi agenda: it would be well worth countering this person. How can you counter them? Shooting them, for one: but that’s clearly irrational; so is throwing rotten tomatoes, or threatening their life. So is trying to shout them down. In fact, prancing around with counter-protest signs saying “Say No To Nazis!” is at best a minimally rational response. The rational response is to argue against them, perhaps in the hopes of changing their mind (as though they had somehow been misled by some factual error), or more likely, to persuade someone in the audience who is undecided. Throwing tomatoes might “persuade” a member of the audience, and you don’t want to appeal to such irrrational low-lives, so always take the high road. Strolling in public in the nude, in the hope of offending some person, is not a rational response. It does not appeal to reason, it appeals to emotion, and what you will most likely do is simply anger the anti-nudity person, and possibly embarrass others who might be more or less on your side. It is actually perfectly reasonable to have an ideology about nudity where it is a highly personal and intimate thing, as sex is. If your goal is to educate society, use your mind, and not your naked butt. There is zero debate among Objectivists over whether it is okay to be naked at home (it is), or to be naked at someone else’s home (it is not unless you have permission). The only discussion is over the problematic notion of public nudity, that is, projecting your nakedity at others, against their will, when (a) you’re on a dispassionate third party’s property – a business – and that property owner sets the rules; or (b) when you’re on government property, e.g. a government park. But as you know, the government shouldn’t be running a park service. There is one final problem area, namely the case where A and B have adjacent lots, and A like to prance nude on his property, where B can see him from his porch while enjoying the sunset. If B is offended at seeing A, does B’s interest (in not seeing A nude) create a duty for A to erect a screen? Or should B erect a screen on his property, to shield himself from seeing A. Indeed, what if A is offended at B seeing him? Does A’s offendedness impose a duty on B? Let he who is offended build the screen on his property, in conformity with his values.
  16. 2 points

    Why follow reason?

    From Hellenistic History and Culture: The reapers in Idyll 10 are a gruff, perhaps elderly workman called Milon, given to coarse rustic proverbs, and a lovestruck young man, Boukaïos, whose name suggests a cowman and his song: in the Iliad Hector uses it as an insult to Ajax, as Antinoös does to Iros in the Odyssey. Homer says βουγάïος, not βουκάïος, and the two citations confirm one another, but the difference of spelling is nothing. It is typical of the freakish pedantry of the Alexandrians to use a Homeric word in a corrected form. Bougaïos or Boukaïos has fallen for the girl from Hippokion's farm, the daughter of Polybotas, who must be a farm slave if not a wage laborer. She plays the flute for the reapers, and Milon's advice about her is “Take what you want and pay for it.” Boukaïos sings a song about love: If the translation of Milon's advice is accurate, it provides a source of the citation of greater antiquity than the 1920's. To know how or why, or even if, this is true, is hardly axiomatic. As was pointed out in Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology "reason" is "a complex, derivative concept." This translation of the Tenth Idyll of The Idylls of Theokritus provides Milon as having said: "God finds out the guilty. You've been asking for it."
  17. 2 points

    Why follow reason?

    Formally, it is redundant to ask "why be rational", since the question assumes it is.
  18. 2 points
    There's a bunch of odd similarities between them, for one they were both in open relationships, the both wrote novels to convey philosophy, they both used amphetamines, were heavy smokers and died of lung disease. According to Nathaniel Branden, early in her career (perhaps owing to her earlier Nietzchean influences) she one considered naming her philosophy existentialism, but decided against it. They both have a very minimalist ontology, limited to a few broad descriptive categories. They both uphold the primacy of existence and a kind of conscious intentionality, that is, that consciousness is awareness of objects, and not simply awareness of itself, and both reject the prior certainty of consciousness and the cogito. Sartre, however, is a phenomenalist in the tradition of Hegel and Heusserl and so upholds a kind of Kantian thing vs thing in itself distinction, though he does believe in the validity of sense perception, although sorta kinda, because the fact that sense perception is limited and fallible counts against them for him and not for Rand. Plus Sartre days a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish like, "consciousness is nothingness," which Rand denies the possibility of. Apart from that they both stridently believe in free will, but Sartre's is a kind of indeterminist and acausal agency that overrides and literally cancels out the causal reality that underlies it("nihilation".) Rand's is compatible with the law of causality and is a naturalistic faculty at one with biological identity. They both also draw different conclusions, for Rand volition is the startig point of human value achievement, and so undergirds her heroic and optimistic ethical egoism, whereas Sartre pessimistically laments free will, which "condemns" us to make choices and face suffering and failure and navigate a nauseous array of subjective values. Sartre, in general agrees that reason and science are valid and efficacious, but are cold impersonal, only giving us formal knowledge, but not meaning and purpose in life. But they're both atheists and are searching for meaning and purpose and want to substitute a kind of secular humanism in the place of religion. Sartre has a lot (more) to say about psychology as well, but I'll cut it short there.
  19. 2 points
    The key lesson Objectivism gives me is that I should prioritize creating a better life for myself much higher than creating a better world. And, creating a better world is a priority only to the extent that it creates a better life for myself. The "mystics and collectivists" create the laws and culture. So, of course it has an impact on us. Nevertheless, certain aspects impact certain people. A law denying a person access to try a new drug (the topic of the OP) impacts that person, but does not impact many others in the same, direct way. I should be concerned too, because I could need some such medicine tomorrow; but, I cannot be concerned in the same way as someone who is actually suffering from some illness. The impact on their life is way more than it is on mine. One needs a hierarchy of concerns. Of all the bad cultural and legal things in our world, some are more direct concerns while others are more remote. Of the direct ones, some may be annoyances, while others may be major. Some may cost you a bit of extra time and money, others may cost you a lot. How do you live in a irrational world? You start by understanding that hierarchy of concerns and figuring out what's really important to you. Then, you come up with plans to manage around the high impact ones. Sometimes, that's not possible. For example, if you're thrown in jail under some bad law, you may not have any good solution. Or if, like the OP, you are denied an important treatment, you may have to spend a lot of time and money flying abroad to get it. So, yes: sometimes the bad culture or laws will be a huge barrier. There are so many girls in Saudi Arabia who would love to be free to get out of the situation they find themselves in: about to be married to a cousin who is a strict Muslim, while they themselves are not; to someone who will not allow them to work or drive -- and the law won't give them recourse. Where they will be stopped at the airport if they try to leave and other countries won;t accept them if they manage to get out anyway. A whole lot of people, all over the world, face huge constraints on their freedom of action. Still, if one lives in any of the relatively modern countries in Europe or Asia, one has a lot of freedom of action, unless one hits a specific situation like the OP did.
  20. 2 points
    The various state laws are at risk because they attempt to override federal law, which is unconstitutional (Supremacy Clause). What the federal bill would have done is allow state to, individually, override federal rules on this subject matter, as long as the device etc. “is authorized by, and in accordance with, State law”. If your state has no such law, you’re out of luck. If it does, the federal law says “we won’t interfere”.
  21. 2 points
    Hot off the presses, boys. Yaron's forum talk with the liberal YouTuber Sargon of Akkad at the King's Libertarian Society, when ironically they were literally in the middle of denouncing the Alt Right and discussing the objectivist critique of fascism, the thugs burst in the room to shut down the forbidden wrongthink. Looks like they were more interested in Sargon than Yaron, but they seem to have held their own against the masked effeminate commies, even though security was rather inept at removing them. Yaron posted a follow up video afterwards. Some good comments on there. Yaron heroically stomping on the captured Antifa flag, just warms my heart. ❤️
  22. 2 points
    Running naked through the park: Yes you've identified a crucial problem with "public property," that is, property that has no clear owner, there is no way to regulate conflicts regarding its use without resort to arbitrary solutions. Now, Rand describes a free society in which all property is privately owned. But let's make an allowance here for some sort of land as you stipulate. Private property has its foundations in the Lockean homesteading principle, that which is unowned and I mix my labor with becomes my private property. Note that this doesn't mean all property has one single individual owner, that would be the fallacy of composition. There are of course "group owned" properties and corporate entities allow for a legal method to deal with this. Legal doctrine has traditionally allowed for some sort of "commons" area or such associated with small towns or villages. A village is built, and there is a small space in the center reserved as a "town square" that people agree is available for general use. Or consider a fishing village near a lake, in the early days of the community it was hard to get to the lake because of all the brush and debris, but the path was slowly cleared over the years and not by any one single effort, but by the combined effort of walking through the path over time. I think there's also records in England of private roads that were built during the 19th Century and then donated to public use (the builders had businesses alongside.) So there's a public space in each of these, but what is the sense in which it is "public?" Surely it isn't truly "unowned," the village or townsfolk own it. And surely it isn't "government owned," or "owned collectively by the human race" or some such nonsense. It would simply be corporately owned by the actual village and they can set the community standards for their space. Surely I, as an outsider, cannot just come to their square or path and block it off for my own personal use, nor can I start streaking. As to how they go about decision making? They can vote, they can set up a board, they can have meetings, they can take disputes to arbitrators, they can form a homeowners association. They can leave rules real loose, or they can really get down and dirty and decide who the real owners are: Sam, he didn't really clear any brush, and Jones, he was lifting fallen branches every day, Sam gets a single share, but Jones gets a 20% share, whatever. You get the point. On the last point, pollution: certainly you have to provide proof of harm. And certainly our understanding of what is harmful changes over time. That's why issues are solved through tort law, not legislative law. This specific person harmed this specific person. And multiply it many times for class action suit, even for hypothetical massive cases. Objectivists accordingly view these issues like climate change as scientific issues, not political ones. One looks at scientific evidence, in a court of law, and if the plaintiff proves their case, then the court stops the pollution. Environmental crusaders are always looking for problems to solve, instead of becoming lobbyists and trying to buy influence from politicians, their efforts would be better served in a more Randian society as litigators for the aggrieved. But what Rand was truly opposed to was the ones that claim humanity must subordinate itself to instrinsic value of nature, or that civilization's progress must be stopped.
  23. 2 points
    "How do I live in a country…" …This translates (to me) to mean, how do you manage your frustration with things you think are never going to get better? Universal Health Care is a scam. The people pushing it know its never going to work. The more they push it the worse it gets. Which intern insights delusional people to scream louder for it. The terror of death is what keeps it going. Everyone wants to live forever and they will give their last dime, their home, any legacy they have for their families future, and get themselves in hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical debt. Just to stay alive as a guinea pig for another couple years. This is what they want the government nanny state to pay for. Cry SAFETY!! The ultimate tool of stagnation. No one is safer than the man is a straight jacket in a padded cell. Death is so horrifying for most mystics that they will buy any snake oil that promises eternal life. The safest sounding prescriptions from the oldest biggest churches. All hail big FDarma. It is difficult for a person who doesn’t want “power over another person” to understand, communicate with, or come to an agreement with a person who does want power and does want control over others. They want so much control and power, that they perceive your refusing their power or control as another power/control tactic. “Attention whore control freak” is a label that pops into my head more and more as I contemplate the problems in the world that my mind can’t seem to turn away form. Every mystic who stands in front on the pulpit is desperate to keep their audience attention. Their focus is not on quality, but on quantity. They get people to listen by playing to their weakness and telling them what they want to hear. Every decision in an irrational person’s life seems to be rooted in fear. They are so saturated with fear that telling them they do not have to live a life of fear causes them panic and terror. As though you are taking away their only protection, their only lifeline. The alternative you offer them seems impossible for their atrophied mind to grasp, the amount of mental effort to get themselves to a better place is alien. They can not see the context of the better place, they only see the loss of their traditions, and their feelings of belonging. Are you offering them anything better really? Does your approach reflect how ‘good’ your own system is? It seems so much easier to be a forgiven sheep, than it is to stand up as a man. Calling them evil is making yourself a target. JudaeoChristian values have survived for 5000 years, as countless others have fallen or been absorbed. The Bible is full of the ample examples of physical and psychological warfare they have engaged in. Have you ever read the Bible? Do you even know who your enemy is? They are masters of war, and your cries of despair fuel their fire. Darwin states that it isn’t the strongest or the smartest that survive, but the most adaptable to change. The Judaeo/Christian movement has certainly adapted. How long will your own personal movement last? Are there paths that will help mystics adapt to greater and greater rationality?
  24. 2 points
    In the objectivist view, conflict over the use of goods is solved by adherence to strict private property rights. The function of government is to organize a body of law based on that principle. 1. Pollution is the export of harmful particles onto someone else's physical body or property. Just as if I came and dumped my garbage on your lawn, if I am exporting harmful air onto your property I can be made to stop via a legal injunction, and sued for the damages. Indeed, historically this was the legal tradition, the problems involving pollution have been caused by the governments failure to live up to this role and to allow certain producers to export pollution in the name of the "public good." 2 and 3. Again, in a free society people will always have conflicting values. Differing opinions regarding the use of scarce resources is part of human nature. I want to do this on some property, you want to do that, who decides? Private property rights involves a kind of meta-ethical space in which people can seek their interests without coming into physical confrontation. In a market economy, individual choices and tastes prevail. Not all members of society will approve of the choices of others. But, by and large, the mass of the consumer choices will determine the way in which resources are used. Ifa library or retail store started allowing dress (or non-dress) far out of line with cultural value systems of the mainstream, consumers will be quick to express dissatisfaction with these management decisions. Same in education services. Some prefer Catholic schools, creationism, others a liberal arts education, or progressive education. Who decides what the schools should do? There is not one monopoly decision. Parents, as consumers, decide with their money, and the owners pay the price of their decision in terms of profit or loss. That is the beauty of the market system, when there is not one single monopoly decision. Let a million different flowers bloom, as the Maoists say.
  25. 2 points


    The thing with depression is that physiological causes are rarely ever the whole story. There is also some amount of one's position in the social world, or some deeper things besides strictly how your brain is working. It's difficult at times to keep up a motivated outlook. Sometimes, physiology makes it more difficult than for other people. Personally for me, there is a mix of all this that leads me to show symptoms of depression. Objectivism has had an important role for me so that while at times depression is there, it helps me to prevent things like self-hate, or beating myself up as a bad person. I don't feel that, and I attribute it to a few principles of Objectivism. Some Nietzsche, too, but my opinion on him is complex. 1) Benevolent Universe Premise No, this doesn't mean the universe "wants" you to be happy. Rather, it's a belief that evil doesn't win out over the good, that is, if one acts justly and acts virtuously, evil cannot last. This isn't to say tragedies don't happen - after all, Rand wrote "We The Living", which is really good at making the point that on a wider scale, the triumph of good is affected by things like respect for individual rights. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolent_universe_premise.html 2) Art fuels one's passions Rand wrote this, I recommend reading all of The Romantic Manifesto: "Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process—and the higher the values, the harder the struggle—he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world." http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/art.html 3) Celebrate the good Perhaps this is obvious, but it is important to see the good in the world and celebrate it. Some people are truly jealous of success, seeing happiness as zero-sum, and think a successful billionaire is inherently bad. This is what Rand pointed to as hating the good for its good qualities. At times, a depressed person may want to wallow and blame others. If you go out of your way to admire the good, you'll have an easier time recognizing that it is possible to achieve your goals by your own efforts. It's a sense of self-responsibility.