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Reidy

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Reidy last won the day on March 13

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About Reidy

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    Peter Reidy
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    Aesthete: Bach, Sibelius, Wright, Garbo, Dietrich, Piaf, Coward (as well as the obvious) foremost. Francophile malgré tout.
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    Since high school (1961)
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    Philosophy and classics, UCLA
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    Software test

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  1. This article, about the anti-revolutionary civil war in the Vendée region of France, might interest a Randian audience, because it was the historical background of Hugo's Ninety-Three, for which she wrote an introduction.
  2. The big shockeroo was the revelation that AR had been unfaithful to her husband. People had gossiped, but this was the first time anybody attested to it on the record. Attendant to that was the revelation that she hadn't come clean to her public about the reasons for her break with NB. Just to speculate, I imagine the book was offensive to Peikoff, implying as it did that either he hadn't known this during Rand's lifetime (despite his claims to have been close to her) or that he had (and had cooperated in the deception). He finally admitted, at one of his Ford Hall Forum appearances, that he'd learned about the affair from her journals shortly after her death. That's the worst of both, if you think about it: she never saw fit to tell her self-appointed "intellectual heir" and he kept it a secret once he found out.
  3. The argument here (identity precludes change) first showed up in Parmenides ca 500 BC. From the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: On the former path [i.e. of reason] we convince ourselves that the existent neither has come into being, nor is perishable, and is entirely of one sort, without change and limit, neither past nor future, entirely included in the present. For it is as impossible that it can become and grow out of the existent, as that it could do so out of the non-existent; since the latter, non-existence, is absolutely inconceivable, and the former cannot precede itself; and every coming into existence presupposes a non-existence. His writings give us the first example of an explicit premise-and-conclusion argument. Much of Aristotle's metaphysics amounts to an explanation of what's wrong with that argument.
  4. Yes, forced civilian servitude is as bad as you say, but I don't see any evidence that it's in the offing. The proposal has been knocking around since the Theodore Roosevelt / Woodrow Wilson era, never quite dying but never taking wing either. It had a moment in the years after WW2. Ike instructed his troops to write home supporting the idea, telling them that they would get home sooner if new conscripts replaced them. James Conant, the president of Harvard, talked the proposal up in Look in 1950. His version, like so many, gave people a choice between military and not. It was urgent, he said, because by 1954 the USSR would have bombers capable of reaching New York. Like the Soviet bombing of New York, it didn't happen. It had another moment during the Vietnam war. Robert McNamara, Johnson's Secretary of Defense, floated the idea. Again it didn't happen. The draft (military or civilian) and wage-price controls are two policies that are gone for good.
  5. Can you give us a quote? She said in The Objectivist Ethics that pleasure and pain are the lowest-level signals of whether we are being affected for good or for ill, but I don't recognize the claim you mention. Hunger and satiety are built-in, automatic signals, but they aren't enough to tell us what to eat or how to obtain it.
  6. This isn't very informative, but Nathaniel Branden has spoken well of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
  7. Competition implies that the lesser performers lose market share and revenue (as the USPS has of late). This may even be a tautology (since lesser performance is failure to gain market share and revenue). Competition doesn't entail that they'll go out of business, though. Otherwise we'd have only one TV network or make/model of car. Second- and third- and nth-place performers can still prosper.
  8. The internet has been competing with the feds for mail delivery since the 1990s, and most successfully.
  9. Regardless of who said it, and whether or not it’s true, the quote states a matter of profoundest conviction for Rand, and I think it’s a key to the enduring hold she has over her readers. When we meet a character in one of her novels, we get a physical description as we do in just about any novel. We come across Roark immediately in The Fountainhead and James Taggart and Dagny Taggart very early on in Atlas Shrugged. Rand’s descriptions are largely in terms of acquired, character-revealing traits such as facial expression, carriage, posture or eye focus. The impersonal narrator makes these matters of fact like hair color or eye color. On a few occasions we get this indirectly, through the words or thoughts of a character recollecting a first sight (Rearden’s first sight of Dagny Taggart, Galt’s first sight of Rearden). What these descriptions and the many others like them have in common is that they are never wrong. Rand’s characters turn out to be just what they first seemed to be. Sheryl’s first impression of James Taggart doesn’t fit this pattern, and she misjudges him disastrously, but: (a) she sizes him up on the strength of his name, not of his visible air; (b) we first saw him a couple of pages into the book, and he has amply lived up to the expectations that his appearance gave him. In her theory of art Rand spoke of eliminating the inessential: in life, one ignores the unimportant; in art, one omits it. False visual clues are among those forgettable contingencies that have no place in her art. In the Randian universe, our first impressions are correct. People don’t let us down in this respect. This habit spilled over into her personal life. In her obituary for Marilyn Monroe, she says Monroe had “the radiantly benevolent sense of life, which cannot be faked”. Readers have quoted this remark many times over the years, more times, I venture, than Rand expected. Yet I’ve never seen anyone ask why it can’t be faked. Monroe was an actress. Faking what she didn’t feel was her job. Elsewhere in the same column Rand says she “brilliantly talented” at it, but here she says Monroe couldn’t act. She wanted MM to be the person she saw up on the screen, and convinced herself that she was. Rand herself and her biographers have told various stories of how often this acquaintance or that public figure “disappointed” her. She wanted people to live up to her expectations, and their failures to do so were a personal hurt. We’ve all known this feeling, and we’ve all been glad to meet somebody finally who is what we hoped, but it doesn’t loom as large for most of us. Barbara Branden tells a story of Rand’s girlhood once in her 1962 biography and again in 1986. Young Alisa admired a schoolmate and wanted to get to know her. She asked, point-blank, what is the most important thing in the world to you? She replied, My mother, and Rand walked away in disappointment. That was the end of that. In her earlier telling, BB makes this the other girl’s fault for not being was Alisa wanted her to be. In the later version, she says it’s typical of Rand’s failure to consider other people’s context before judging them. This failure on her part, and her idealism, may be closer than we realized.
  10. Your advice is good, but, despite what a lot of sources say, the quote doesn't come from Aristotle. It originated in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up: "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Aristotle says that a good intellect will not require more or less rigor than a topic allows. Nichomachean Ethics I 1 1094b23: "The mark of the educated man is to seek precision insofar as each class allows it, so far as the nature of the subject-matter admits. To accept probable argumentation from a mathematician is like asking a rhetorician for formal proof." I.e. the two are equally absurd. Philosophers other than Rand observe what they call the principle of charity: when in doubt about how to read a text, prefer the interpretation that makes it come out correct.
  11. Like Doug Morris, I'm unsure what you mean by "government charter". Specifically, is the Red Cross the creation of governments or does it simply cooperate with them, as it does in case of floods or earthquakes? You're right that Rand would disapprove of either. This would not make the Red Cross unworthy of support, though, any more than government involvement in schools or roads entails that we shouldn't use them. In the US, at least, it relies largely on voluntary support. Non-coerced and non-sacrificial donation of money, goods or blood would not clash with Rand's advice. In his Playboy interview, Milton Friedman (Objectivist-disapproved, but that's a separate topic) pointed out that the major charitable organizations - Red Cross, SPCA, Shriners, Goodwill, etc. - all date from before the age of welfare statism; what has come along since - labor unions and professional cartels - are organizations devoted to redirecting wealth from society at large toward their own members.
  12. Reidy

    An Ally Emerges

    Rodrigo Duterte, crackpot Philippine dictator, has questioned theism and original sin. I wonder if Trump, a professed admirer of Duterte, will follow his lead.
  13. Two of Rand's inspirations for the character were The Scarlet Pimpernel (novel and movie with Leslie Howard) and the Fairbanks Mark of Zorro. In all three cases, a man passes himself off as a frivolous lightweight while up to a much more serious enterprise. As for Bond, have you tried the novels?
  14. 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)
  15. Thank you for the information. Did Laurent do any new research for his biography?
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