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secondhander

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secondhander last won the day on October 24 2014

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About secondhander

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    United States
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    Florida
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  • Biography/Intro
    I work in print journalism, and still have a job. For now. I have a bachelor's in journalism and a master's of divinity in Christian theology. I became an atheist a couple years after graduating from seminary (protestant). I've held libertarian beliefs during my earlier life, but eventually became more familiar with Objectivism and Ayn Rand.
  • Experience with Objectivism
    From reading Ayn Rand's works and works about Rand.
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    Journalism and writing

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  1. Pride in ancestors

    A person should only take pride (or shame) in their own actions, not those of other people, including ancestors. In my view, knowledge of ancestral background only has one benefit: Appreciation of good things and hard work done by your ancestors that put you in a better starting place in your own life. Note, that's appreciation, not pride. You cannot take pride from other people's actions. That's stealing pride, and false pride. (Perhaps a second benefit is learning from the mistakes and successes of other people, but that's not confined to your ancestors. You can learn from anybody's mistakes or successes.)
  2. I would focus on history, philosophy, and economics, if it were me. I'd only do physics and math(s) if it pertained to my field of work. With history, I'd suggest picking a topic or time period that interests you and start there. As you go, you will come across other issues or time periods that connect. Move on to those areas and read about them. With philosophy, I think it might be a good idea to go through an anthology. I'd suggest Copelston's starting with Vol. 1 and going forward. He's religious, but his work is considered to be a classic, and it's well-done. Then, try to read the primary works of major philosophers after you have a grasp of them from your reading from the anthology.
  3. "did Rand do herself a disservice by redefining what it means to be selfish? " No. People do themselves a disservice by not really caring enough to read and understand what she wrote. I don't see why Rand or us objectivists should take any blame for that. Besides, Rand absolutely used the term "selfish" properly, and also explained exactly how she was using it. She also uses the term altruism properly, and used it according to how it was used by Comte, the guy who coined the term. Most people define selfishness in terms of the emotions associated with a person's decisions. In other words, that when you do what you desire to do, then it's selfish. But every action carries with it the emotions of the actor. Because the actor (the person doing the action) acts according to his values, and emotions are the automatic response of his values. With that understood, the term "selfish" defined in terms of personal emotions loses all real meaning. Rand instead defined "selfishness" in a metaphysical way -- in a realistic way. Are you doing something good for yourself? Then it's "selfish." Are you doing something bad for yourself? Then it's not selfish, it's self-destructive. It has nothing to do with emotions.
  4. The first cause argument

    As a former Christian apologist with a master's degree in Christian theology and philosophy, I can tell you that the most popular version of the cosmological argument these days (and for a while now) is the Kalam cosmological argument, which has received popularity through William Lane Craig's use of it. I think it's a really interesting question, and it poses some questions that we can't yet answer with the knowledge we have so far, but it in now way can be concluded that some mystical and personal force created the universe. So when I encounter this, I simply say, "Yes it would seem that there was a beginning to the universe as we know it, and a beginning to time/space, but there is no reason to conclude that a religious god or mystical force is the ultimate cause. That's just reading in an unwarranted conclusion -- i.e., filling in the gaps of our present knowledge with "god" as the answer for no good reason."
  5. Root of "Rights"

    Because if you love your own life, why destroy the world that you live in? That's what a person does when he violates the rights of others. He degrades the world he lives in, and makes it more difficult for himself to live, and thus damages his own life.
  6. Feminism and porn

    Depends on what kind of feminists. There are sex-positive feminists (I consider myself one) who have been saying what she wrote for a long time.
  7. Feminism and porn

    I think she's right. What about her argument/statements did you disagree with?
  8. Distinction between lying and fraud

    Fraud is a combination of lying and the force of theft. In other words, if I trade with someone, and then realize that I did not get what I was promised, or the terms of the agreement of the trade were not met, than I can go to the other person and say, "Hey something is wrong. This is not what I was promised." And since the agreement wasn't upheld, the money and/or items traded should be returned. But if someone does not fulfill the terms of the agreement and refuses to return the money or traded items, then it is an illegal trade and should be brought before a court. If the person knowingly misled in order to obtain a good, and refused to return the money/traded good, then that person is using force to hold onto my property and will not return it. That is theft. So, lying is a part of fraud, but only a part. The other part is the use of force to hold onto property that is not rightfully owned.
  9. Is an embryo/fetus part of a woman's body?

    So clarified. Although you can imagine my confusion since your response was just after mine and I used the word "part" in mine. And I was using the popular definition of semantics, meaning that our argument is the same and we mean the same thing, as you said, but that we used different words to argue for the same thing. "It is often used in ordinary language for denoting a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantics
  10. Is an embryo/fetus part of a woman's body?

    I meant "part" in the same way that a foot or an arm, etc., is a "part" of the body, so I think your argument is the same as mine aside from some semantics.
  11. Is an embryo/fetus part of a woman's body?

    The pregnant woman has the right of autonomy and the right to her own body. Therefore, as long as the fetus/baby is part of her body, she continues to have rights over her body and everything attached to it.
  12. How to Join the Strike!

    Anarcho-Capitalism is closer to Objectivism. ... I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at by asking that. I'm not denying that you could compare (or contrast) the two philosophies. I am saying, however, that certain philosophies have necessary attributes that are contradictory to the necessary attributes of other philosophies, and it is nonsensical then to try to combine the two, because you would be forced to throw out one or more of the necessary attributes from at least one of the philosophies, and you would no longer have that philosophy, because you need all the necessary attributes in order to constitute said philosophy. That's why I brought up the idea of "atheistic-theism." It's nonsensical for the same reason mentioned above. Objectivism has as one of its necessary attributes the idea of a single government for a given society with a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force directed by objectivist-ethics based laws. If you discard that in favor of anarchism, then you discard a necessary attribute of objectivism and no longer have objectivism. I believe the philosophy of objectivism is (or should be if it isn't already) holistic, not piecemeal. It's not as if various ideas were culled from the universe of ideas and then thrown together with no rhyme or reason. There's a reason why objectivism holds to a monopoly on the use of force. It's deducted from the axioms and core principles of objectivism. You can't just remove some pieces and put in others as though they were Legos and still claim to have objectivism.
  13. She Wants a Man With a Slow Hand

    Doh. I was in my super serious robot mode, apparently.
  14. Profound Experiences

    I like this topic, and I was waiting to see other replies first, because I wasn't sure exactly what kinds of examples you were looking for. I feel as though daily I have profound experiences that corroborate objectivism. Or I read examples of them in the news. But I guess it would cease being "profound" if it happens daily. I'll try to think of an experience that stands out and offer it. Give me some time to think. I could offer some profound ideas that have affected me, which have translated into experiences. For example, I realized, shortly after becoming an objectivist, that there is no morally neutral action or moment of time. Every action and moment of time has a moral component to it. Every action you take is either morally positive or morally negative. Even vacation time lying on the beach drinking a Miami Vice with an umbrella in it is morally good or bad depending on certain factors. As a corollary to this truth, I realized that as a human I am always doing something. I never actually pause life or pause the action of life. Even when it comes to sleeping. I used to think of sleeping as taking a break from the action of living. But I have realized that sleeping is not neutral, and it is not taking a break from life. Sleeping is doing something. Sleeping is recharging your body, and there's an optimal amount to get for your health. I used to think of sleeping as either neutral, or even as negative. I used to wish that I didn't need to sleep, so that I could keep doing things. It seemed like such a wasted amount of time. But objectivism helped me to see that I am human qua human, and part of being human means that I biologically need a certain amount of sleep. It is a part of reality, and a part of the reality of being a human, so it shouldn't be viewed as a negative in and of itself. From this, I realized that when I sleep, I am not taking a break from life. Rather, I am doing something -- getting the sleep that I need. This realization helped me to correct my previously horrid sleeping patterns. Now I willingly and gladly go to sleep, knowing that I am doing a good thing by getting my seven or so hours, so that I can be well rested and ready to go on to my other activities. And I realized that getting too much or too little sleep becomes a moral negative.
  15. How to Join the Strike!

    There isn't a "logical integration" of objectivism and anarcho-capitalism. Both are advocates of capitalism, but that's about it. At core, they have differences that cannot be integrated. Anarcho-capitalism views government as evil and wants to do away with any and all government, and put the use of force on the marketplace. And Objectivism believes government is a necessary good. Using the term "anarchobjectivism" is like using the term "athesisttheism." The two are mutually exclusive.
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