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Madrayken

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  1. Sorry to resurrect a comment from a while back, but it made me think about something that's been bothering me for a while. "What would Roark do?" I find myself fundamentally disagreeing with Roark on occasion. If you are a large, successful business, you will advertise. A logo is advertising. Reardon plonks his name on everything: branding = advertising. If you do not, you will fail. No modern, successful company refrained from advertising. If they did - how did you find out? I assume you read something somewh... ah... she where I'm going with this? If you still disagree, and decry advertising as an evil, then consider that to follow this through you would have to refrain from mentioning your business in any context. Indeed - if someone asked you: "Do you make buildings?" you would have to remain silent. This is a reductio ad absurdum, but you understand my meaning. Roark isn't always right. When he visits Mallory he smashes one of the artist's soullessly commercial statuettes in a fit of pique. Force + another's property = not cool, Howard. Overall, I don't think one should say: "What would Roark do?" any more than "What would Jesus do?" If everyone here were to do so, there'd be no Objectivists - Roark would no more follow or study Rand's views than anyone else's. So go ahead and show your pride - and try not to smash anyone's stuff up while you're doing it.
  2. That wasn't my point. The individuals involved have presumably signed up for either financial or other personal Value reasons. That is why they 'should' help people. Not because of any concept of force. This is regardless of who owns the company. Objectivism is staying true to those things that are essential to your Values and never giving them up. If you find yourself in a situation where it seems you're giving up a Value, it is going to be: 1) Due to the imposition of force 2) Because you are pursuing another Value 3) Because you have failed to correctly identify your Values As for the statement: "There is no harm in minimal enslavement": as you'll see here quite often you have to ask: Who? Who enforces this? Who decides when this is necessary? Once you drill down into these, you'll quickly see that there are too many cases where it makes no sense. Taking one: can I be impelled to do something to the detriment to my own wellbeing? The argument is untenable - unless your friend refuses to argue with logic. At this point, you can remember my personal favourite quote: "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone."
  3. I am new here. There are many who are better equipped to answer this in an accurately Objectivist manner. However, in lieu of that, I shall take the opportunity to reason this through as far as I am currently able. Starting with Existence leads to Value leads to Virtue. You exist and are able to reason. Value is that which you require for your existence (including any emotional needs) - moving up the chain, you ultimately find all Values are 'Life'. Virtue is acting in a manner designed to gain your Value by reason. As long as you are not depriving another of their Value (ultimately their life) by force, or denying your own right to pursue your own Values (thus denying the value of Life) then you are acting 'morally'. As such, I would conclude that an Objectivist view would be that allowing someone to die or not die is a matter of personal choice. That may sound callous, but consider: If a man has a heart attack, not all onlookers will immediately leap to give him CPR; are those who do not immoral? No. They will make individual decisions based upon their expertise, and - ultimately - their personal view. What if the victim is the man who murdered your spouse? What if he is a thief? What if he is an expert surgeon? What if he is your favourite composer? More interestingly, what if he is known to be a bomber who will detonate immediately on his revival? A single rule on morality fails here. In my own case I would think: - If I believed I had a good chance of saving the person's life my self-esteem might be enhanced by doing so. This is not the same as a sense of duty or social conscience - merely one of Value and utility. (Before you object and mention healthcare workers: even ambulance drivers and nurses are driven by Values; most would give up their jobs if they won the Lottery. Those who would not consider their self-esteem and Values implicitly linked to saving lives. I am grateful they exist, as they are grateful that I exist and can produce entertainment.) - If I considered the victim part of my Value structure (say, my spouse), I would be compelled to act as surely as if I were starving and sought food. If one implicitly believes inaction Immoral, then the victim would implicitly control my volition; unthinkable to an Objectivist view as it goes against the principle of Virtue (pursuit of ones Life/Value). Adding a state compulsion would merely compound the problem. If, however, I had instigated the situation leading to the unfortunate's demise, or led directly to it through negligence, I would conclude that it was an act of force against the fundamental rights of the victim. As such it would be a matter for the state, for law and the penal system. Some believe the right to Life always trumps the right to Comfort. A man banging on my door demanding my food because he is starving does not have a right to it. Need is not right. More interesting to me is whether Objectivists would consider my feeding this man actively Immoral (as I am giving away my Value for another, denying his right to stand on his own two feet... etc). Now for the caveats: I am very new to this way of thinking - I am certain I am guilty of faulty reasoning somewhere in this argument. I thank you for the opportunity to use your case to learn more.
  4. Indeed - CFCs are a good example. Consumer power was the critical factor here. Aerosols changed in a matter of months when people refused to buy any with the offending propellant... ...but CFCs were replaced with HCFCs which are still damaging the ozone layer today; albeit more slowly. It merely pushed the problem into someone else's lifespan. So, for me, the dilemma remains: Long-term vision is rational; it is a more economic method of value retention (in appropriate cases). Long-term vision is difficult for humans to grasp, and thus more difficult to tell your shareholders about while retaining your stock value. If a company is willing to dodge the 'moral' issue of knowingly reducing value (and many have, historically), is the final decision based on a comparison of potential stock-fall (due to loss of reputation) against cost-of-cleanup? I doubt it, somehow. I imagine it is based on 'holding out for as long as possible' (pure speculation, of course). As for consumer-power - I suppose if someone can prove that a company is causing damage in the medium/long-term, then consumers might refuse to purchase the goods. But this only works with single-steps of culpability: would I buy from a company that purchased materials from a company that purchased materials from a company that discards batteries unethically? Probably. Most likely, I'd never know. If we ignore the companies themselves, I think at least a fragment of my original question still stands: Does Objectivism alone offer sufficient incentive for complex issues such as these to be investigated - and perhaps solved - before they become costly and dangerous? If so, given that I don't think consumer power will work in many cases, how? If not, must we not conclude that either: - Companies in a perfect lassez-faire capitalist system would follow Objectivist principles, leading to ethical breaches of this kind. Thus Objectivism is flawed. or - Companies in a perfect lassez-faire capitalist system would not follow Objectivist principles (and value Value) meaning that Objectivist and corporate goals are incompatible. Thus Objectivism is flawed. Bleargh... now I'm feeling ill. I'm sure there's a massive wedge of 'fail' in my reasoning somewhere, but my eyes are now too close to the page.
  5. The fact that this thread is over 5 pages wrong when the initial question challenges the validity of the primary axiom is quite astounding; even... miraculous. What other word would you use to describe something which thrives in an environment inimical to its well-being? It's like the tiny fauna who flock around the boiling waters of undersea geysers.
  6. The rational individual dislikes damage to his or her own health, but humans as a whole are notoriously poor at finding links between action and reaction over any extended period, and worse at acting upon evidence of the causation, even once it has been scientifically established. The 'fuzzy' issue for me is not whether people will act to preserve their health or safety in the even of an immediate and obvious hazard, but whether they see any value in protecting the health of anybody (including themselves!) over the longer term. And it's not just time that muddies causation - distance can also. In the presence of such reticence to understand - or care - businesses will not act in a way I would consider rationally, as they are gambling that someone else will be carrying the cost later on. Again - risk-taking and gambling are perfectly rational in a world where not all outcomes are certain. Your point about force taking many forms is very interesting - I thank you for it. I hadn't considered that simple neglect, thoughtlessness or ineptitude could be considered aggressive actions in themselves. I suppose if we can prove culpability scientifically, then it does become an issue of law. Again thanks - I have to do a little more thinking. :-)
  7. Like many, I have recently read Ayn's two most famous works and found much in them that resonates. I am now in the logical phase that follows: examining the evidence and attempting to reason my way through perceived contradictions. Along the way I have found many contradictions that were illusory. Some still remain. Once such contradiction is that, in a truly free market economy, I see no incentive for companies to refrain from practices that cause long-term damaging effects to health and the environment. To make an example more concrete, let's take the disposal of batteries. After inappropriate disposal they tend to leak into the ground and contaminate it with heavy metals that are toxic. They reduce the value of the areas in which they are disposed of: thus they are rationally immoral. However - it seems to me that people are using rational self-interest to dispose of batteries. They throw them in the bin; their time is more valuable to them than the issues of future generations. Now, sometimes these sorts of problems turn out to be an immediately health/economy threatening and people do react - usually in a manner far more costly than would have been the case with sufficient forethought. But this, surely, means that objectivist principles will usually lead to (costly) reactive behaviour rather than (efficient) predictive behaviour. From a purely reductionist view: 1) I am capable of avoiding areas contaminated to such an extent that they would cause ill effects upon me. 2) Future generations have no effect upon me, and as such are not part of any rational argument. 3) Were I to concern myself with future generations, I could console myself that these unborn children will do as we have all done and fight against the inimical in their own environment with whatever (greater) toolset they might have. See the contradiction? Rationally, we should use foresight to incur lesser costs Rationally, we should think within our own lifespan The contradiction arises from being bothered about long-term efficiency. It seems one must assume long-term efficiency is rational: if I know a dollar today will cost me two dollars tomorrow, I do not take the dollar. Given the lack immediate economic value in any pre-emptive action, how do we ensure someone fixes the problem by promoting proper disposal habits and - indeed - doing the disposal work itself without sufficient economic benefits? Does the objectivist recognise an issue to be solved? I currently do not see a way that does not involve sophistry designed to make the problem seem illusory, or much-loathed coercion by government. Many thanks for any thought you bring to this.
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