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Everything posted by Repairman

  1. Repairman

    I am a bit confused...

    As an amateur student of history, there are a great many achievements attributed to the Ancient Greeks, not least of which is the tradition of philosophical study. While we may give them credit as originals, the works of many of the best of those original philosophers may have need of revision. Use your own independent judgement as to the meaning of your elders advise. Without any knowledge of your goals, nor the influence your elders have on you, it would be difficult to say any more. I think 2046 stated it quite succinctly. I know from experience that family elders don't always dispense "wisdom" of any value; they might simply be parroting something told to them. And welcome to the forum.
  2. Repairman

    An Ally Emerges

    The rise of Trump has devastated my senses to the point that I thought I would have to forgoes any prognostications with regard American politics. That being said, nothing will surprise me anymore. The religious right-wing seems to suppose Trump no matter how un-Christian his policies may be. Who knows, he may say, "God is Dead," and "it's time to shoot all the drug-dealers on sight," and watch his popularity numbers go wild.
  3. Inasmuch as this is a thread under the title, Does Egoism Lead Ultimately to Socialism, I'm going to keep my comment in that context. And, if possible, offer up some clarity with regard your ideas and their differences to Objectivism. Ayn Rand abhorred Robin Hood and his ilk. Those brave enough to sacrifice their lives in order to fight the injustice of such a system were little more than marauders, dying for nothing, unless their acts of theft were successful, in which cases, they remain little more than thieves. You might consider me to be a "coward," if I joined the mob looting the "rich oppressors," but I would argue that I am presently fighting back with the most effective remaining weapons at my disposal: my mind, my freedom to use it, and my freedom to speak out against an idea, an idea we both consider dangerous, i.e, socialism. As a victim currently sanctioning the flaws of our democracy, I see no reason at this point to resort to armed conflict in any class-struggle, such as you seemed to characterizing as "brave." My retaliation of free speech may indeed be futile, but cowardly, I think not. Aside from your reading of Atlas Shrugged, how much of Ayn Rand's other works are you familiar with? By numerous inferences, you seem to indicate a gross misunderstanding of her works, or perhaps your political leanings are not fully formed, and you're looking for answers. Obviously, you are opposed to socialism, and you can identify historical examples of failed states once led under socialist banners. But I cannot discern any support for laissez faire capitalism from your comments. And, it seems odd that anyone would credit the ideas of two extremely opposing views, such as those of Ayn Rand and Karl Marx, to the fact that they were Jewish. I very much wish to point out that Athenian democracy ended in disaster within a relatively short time-span, the Romes were the earliest and most effective statists, not to mention, slave-holders, and life in medieval Europe under Catholicism was as brutal a period as any. As for the philosophic theories that emerged from any era, they much be measured for their worth on their merit, rather than on the ancestry or racial heritage of the philosopher or theologian. But to say that, a certain period, or a certain collection of people gave us the right to use our own minds independent of church or state, is simply wrong. The right to use one's mind is a natural right, one defended by reason. The fact that I have a life is all the reason I need to have an ego.
  4. Come to think of it, Objectivism was devised by a Jewish mind.
  5. Ariel, welcome to the forum. I could site one example of a communal state that evolved and expanded more into an entrepreneurial nation: Israel. But in general, I agree with you. For a state to flourish and support growing needs, a dynamic economy is necessary, one that protects property rights, and hopefully, individual liberty.
  6. How would it be in one's interest to ignore helpful opinions? If the opinion is informed and evident, it qualifies as having greater value than a less-than-informed opinion, or an opinion based on a faulty principle. It would stand to reason that a PhD in a given field of expertise would have a professional, evidence-based, and therefore valuable opinion, whereas the opinion of a high school drop-out would most likely be of considerably less value. Let me offer an example for your hedonism category: It feels absolutely great having a sexual experience with the love of your life, but others hold to the opinion that there is something wrong with your relationship. Do you weigh the opinions of these "narrow-minded" people, or do you objectively decide for yourself that the affair is in your best interest? The prudes have opinions based on their principles; let's say they have Christian, or Muslim, or some other religious or tribal convictions soundly supported by their sacred scripture. You have objective truth. Without developing an extended short story of our star-crossed lovers, assuming nothing in their relationship other than the opinions of others is harmful to them, how is the opinion of the traditionalist prudes right, and the lovers wrong? The prudes have principles, the lovers have the truth. Someone in this story has a subjective opinion of hedonism, and I would say it's the prudes. Regarding narcissism, one risks the dangers of Hayek's "fatal conceit." One must weigh the risks of any decision, and decide what is in one's rational best interest. Putting thought behind one's decisions, be they large or small decisions, is practicing rational egoism. In the quote you sited from my earlier post, I was quite specific in pointing out that subjective opinions have less value over facts. I'm not sure what the argument is.
  7. The short answer to your question: No. Disregard for opinions is disregard for a subjective analysis, as express by another person. The rational egoism of which I refer to includes reasoning out and/or researching one's own conclusions. As for selfishness, one's must always deliberate and act on the decision that is best for one's self. Perhaps you're siting some semantic argument over the definition of an opinion; there are opinions supported by evidence, and their are opinions that are entirely the product of someone's imagination, or popular belief. Disregard of the latter is rational. Now, if one decides for one's self that giving a fair hearing to the opinions of others is in one's self interest, of course it may be required to do so. I suppose it's nearly impossible to be completely oblivious of the opinions of others, but if those opinions do not serve your best interests, or better stated, if those opinions hold no value to you, it's best to regard such opinions in the same manner one might regard the weather. One's own fact-based judgment -- one's own objective analysis -- overrides the subjective appraisal of anyone else. If the opinion is based on fact, that's what matters. And one may examine the facts closer, depending on how crucial the judgement may be.You'll have to give me some sort of specific example as to how objective analysis of an important decision might qualify as narcissistic or hedonistic.
  8. Repairman

    Heirs to dictatorships

    I suppose you could say we're bothered by the same hazardous economic and social trends. I would point out that the power is not at present concentrate under the seat of any singular authority. Individual rights are under attack, but not as of yet subdued. I would check the credibility of anyone claiming to be both an Objectivist and supporter of Pinochet. In any case, we're not there yet, but the institutions of liberty in the USA make the Road to Serfdom a much longer trek. As a matter of agreement, I have express my concerns of a dystopian outcome: American citizens being treated as children by their government? Of course, most of them always have been. But I often see signs of rationality among a minority of "commoners," giving me cause for optimism. I don't think you can make a case at this time that America is a dictatorship, but check back in another decade.
  9. Repairman

    Heirs to dictatorships

    Are you inferring that the United States is a dictatorship?
  10. Repairman

    Greetings from New York

    Welcome to the forum, ethanscott. At some point, I hope you move beyond the "guess" and the "feel" you relate to Objectivism, and independently determine the philosophy of Ayn Rand to be the key to the path of morality and justice. Fountainhead is fictional, the best by my standards, but will you be reading some of Rand's non-fiction for a more thorough understanding?
  11. Repairman

    A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

    My favorite dystopian-future was Ideocracy. This, 1984, the above mentioned, Amerika, even Mad Max, these are morality tales warning us of the dire consequences of our present-day trends. In fact, I am about to watch the final episode of The Handmaiden's Tale Season One on DVD, and my opinion so far is that the depiction of America under a brutal Christian theocracy is refreshing. There are too few warnings about the influence of religion in government. Otherwise, it seems a bit slow-paced, and many of the scenes are too dark. By dark, I mean not too well lit. It wouldn't be a dystopian future unless it was dark as in: noir. I like Elizabeth Mose from Mad Men.
  12. Repairman

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    Otto Von Bismark was a national-socialist, not a Nazi. A Nazi, by definition, must be a national-socialist, a national-socialist need not be a Nazi. I am unwilling to label Trump a Nazi, although his style of strongman leadership does trouble me. It sets a bad precedent. I hope we can stay on point. I think we're in agreement that an exclusively Objectivist society would not be desirable; freedom to choose one's beliefs must be protected. Some people will hold on to their beliefs regardless as how discredited those beliefs may be. But the majority would have to make the connection between the Constitution's prohibition on religious tests for holding public office and the integration of reason, so essential to Objectivism. The majority need to understand the benefits of secularism, over religion, when constructing new laws. Presently, winning a seat in Washington is nearly impossible for anyone openly atheist, (unless their district is in California.) If the voters aren't opposed to atheism, they insist on socialist, bent on expanding the social welfare-state, egalitarianism, and waging an anti-industrial revolution. I believe this broad generalization sizes up the battle over America's future. Back to the "President Galt" scenario, there would need to be a substantial number of voters familiar with the larger scope of the ideas and philosophy of Ayn Rand. To site an example, my congressman, Paul Ryan often spoke very openly of the influence Atlas Shrugged had on him, until someone pointed out that Ayn Rand was atheist, and he immediately did a reversal on AS. America is in one big shouting match. Substance and reason are boring. Argument by intimidation works very well in today's anti-intellectual climate. While I have ideas as to how to change this, I don't see the proper changes happening very soon. I'm sure the change will need to bring with it an elevation of civility and objectivity in the public polemic. Civility and objectivity need not be boring. Benjamin Franklin: "A republic, if you can keep it."
  13. Repairman

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    whYNOT: In general, I think we have common ground for agreement, but I have to question your commentary hi-lighted in bold above. If I read it as I believe it intended, you seem to suggest that this objectively principled president could rise to the presidency without the requisite majority. I would assert that the exceptional leader need not be a political leader, but rather a high-profile spokesperson with a great deal of "buzz." Nothing personal against the current leadership at ARI, but I don't see those 18-to-30s flocking to see Yaron Brook. If a pop-culture celebrity were to emerge, and some how effectively convey Objectivism to the larger and younger audience, others might follow. Don't think it will be Kanye. (By "follow", I mean that they would take on the challenge of questioning the anti-intellectual norms of our times, and learn to think for themselves.) A vast number of young Americans supported Bernie Sanders, a socialist. Many others continue to support President Trump, a national-socialist. This does not bode well for their future. Nor the future of the world. Trying my best to stay on topic, "America at its best," is a concept that can be only fleshed out after one identifies "what is best." Democracy, rule by the majority, is not a great system, especially if the majority are ignorant and angry. On the other hand, we're not having sectarian violence, such as the early settlers of the Colonial age. We're not committing national resources to the sort of destruction that led to African-American emancipation, as in the Civil War. And the threat of transforming the US into a full-fledged communist state has never been a real concern since the Great Depression. Our First Amendment is largely intact, as are the rest, (excepting for #18). It's not too late to turn this in another direction. But just as Woodrow Wilson was ushered in with the aid of so many "progressive" journalists and literary authors, our future "President Galt" will need to be proceeded by an Objectivist vanguard. dadmonson: I'm not sure what prompted this statement. I made no references to diversity. If it helps to understand the shifts in party platforms, allow me to explain a bit about "progressive" President Wilson: He was a racist Southerner, opposed to women's suffrage, very anti-immigration, and based on that, the leader of the Democrats had little if any concerned for diversity. But that was "progressive" then, and this is now; if that helps any.
  14. Repairman

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    Yes, I could image a President Galt. Of course, this would be utter impossible under our current situation, where the majority support socialism, religion, and in general, altruistic solutions to complex problems. We live in very anti-intellectual times. While I may admire Barak Obama for his intellect, I wholly disagree with his conclusions. While I might recoil in confusion at the success of President Trump, I have to admire his understanding of the anti-intellectual collective that makes his success as our national leader possible. Leadership toward a more Objectivist America would need to begin with a shift in consumption of more Objectivist intellectual products. We would need to see more Objectivist themes in our movies and TV shows. Presently, we have a crisis of literacy in the US. This results in the identity politics, the tribalism, and the worst aspects of democracy, which the Founders wished to avoid. One of the worst presidents (in my opinion) in American history, Woodrow Wilson, succeeded with his "progressive" agenda, because universities, newspapers, and other literary periodicals supported his "progressive" solutions long before the common man had ever heard of Woodrow Wilson. Education and the media lay the groundwork. After perhaps a generation or more of emphasizing the Objectivist values of individualism, capitalism, and reason, the "imperial presidency" may diminish. Taking this fantasy a step further, perhaps the rest of the world may seek to emulate the "new" American paradigm. I doubt if I will live long enough to see this transformation, but the idea of an American president leading almost entirely as the ideological leader is certainly possible, if a bit improbable. He/she would lead less as the commander-in-chief, or the temporal spiritual guide of Americans, which is what our current crop of Americans seem to favor ( as well as a power-drunk congress gorging on political pork.) Perhaps only then would a majority of enlightened Americans favor a President Galt, who would be the celebrity of the cerebral, the chief administrator of justice, and the one who spends the most time playing golf with other global leaders of a competitive and free global economic system. Wouldn't that be a great story to tell your great-great-great grand children.
  15. Repairman

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    The answer to your question would need to be qualified, of course, by a specific standard of "good." Using the early 1960s as a standard is reasonable, based on domestic conditions, but on the international scene, there were problems most people would choose to ignore. The economy was flourishing and it was very common for any white man who was willing to get a job could easily find one, and that job would allow him to support a family of two or more children, while the wife managed the household without going out to work. Idealizing the 1950s/1960s, of the "Leave It to Beaver", "Mayberry," and "Camelot" facade, often overlooks the tragic shortcomings of a society unwilling to shed its racist and sexist norms. Less obvious were the costs of the Cold War, the secret international adventurism of the Cold War, conscription into military service, and all of the rest of the anxiety caused by the Cold War. I'm inclined to agree with JASKN. It seems so easy to see only the problems in the present, and to romanticize the past. History ranks among my favorite interests. I'm rarely surprised to find the grim truth about the past, no matter how the popular legend portrays it.
  16. Repairman

    Greetings from New York

    Welcome to the forum. I read the other posts you made in the psychology category. I look forward to more. Aside from The Fountainhead, what other works of Ayn Rand have you read?
  17. Repairman

    Technology changing the models of doing business

    Sonic & Knuckles, You're covering a lot of topics; you might consider breaking it down a little, or searching for threads related to each of these areas of discussion. Nonetheless, I'll take a few of your questions and try to answer briefly. work is generally being replaced by machines. Yes, labor intense work is often replaced by machines. Machines increase productivity. Increased productivity results in greater output at a lower cost. Net result: More people will be able to afford the goods and services that, at present, only the higher income market can afford. Services made more efficient through high-speed communications are another improvement. So many jobs are going to be gone in the next decade. I think this is going to make the distortions and socio-economic gaps we already have in society much worse. What you are describing has been a concern since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, especially in mass manufacturing. The blacksmiths and candlestick makers were taking a terrible beating back then, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. You are right to be concerned about being "left behind." I think every young person, (and for that matter, middle-aged people stuck in jobs of the aging industries) ought to seriously plan for the reality of mechanization in the Digital-Age. Objectivist ethics requires one to face the facts, and to deal with them accordingly. As for society getting worse, I think the worst will affect those at the economic bottom, as it always has. The changing ways of doing business like watching a movie or shopping, and the effects of business like concentration of ownership of media with newspapers and (formerly) locally-managed TV/radio stations is creating a scenario in the private market that can be analogous to centralization or Communism in many ways. If the media outlets are privately owned, it certainly wouldn't qualify as Communism, which means that the media are a monopoly owned and operated by the government; so long as the internet stays relatively unregulated, centralization of information is unlikely. I would say the greater problem is the reaction of the general public to hysteria inflamed by the media. As long as there is a market for entertainment and information products, be they physical or digital on-demand, those products will be produced. Ask anyone with a vinyl record collection. As for your neurological condition, I have no comments. I hope the best for your improvement, and by all means, spend some time reading some of the works of Ayn Rand.
  18. Repairman

    Greetings from Rust Belt Hell, USA

    You're free to choose "junk food," or something more nutritious. I can't see what the contradiction is there. Now, if it's a matter of allowing people to eat nothing but food that meets with your approval, you are lording over the choices of others. Such authority over others interferes with their happiness, and by Objectivist ethics, it's wrong. If a man chooses to harm himself, that's his own affair. From what I see here, you're merely acknowledging reality, the fact that problems have plagued the human race since time in memorial. Indeed, the world is a mess. And no God or super-conscious force is going to correct the problems people have made for themselves. They will not cure their diseases by petitioning any God or government. People, societies, I might even suggest, democracies, are the only ones who can turn their world for the better. It begins with the individual. The individual is the ultimate minority, and when the individual's rights are jeopardized by the "greater good," that is the point at which the minority must take a stand for his rights. As for the agnostic/atheist/kinda-believe-sort-of thing, you will have to come to your own understanding of existence. I've found that it makes the whole messy world more easy to understand as an unapologetic atheist.
  19. Repairman

    Greetings from Rust Belt Hell, USA

    Sonic & Knuckles, I am an old guy who was born too late to appreciate video games. No regrets about that. To the point, I have spent my life in the Rust Belt Zone between Chicago and Milwaukee. I've been watching this thing happen for decades. I've survived many plant-shutdowns. I've visited other towns in the region. The manufacturing industry of yesterday is not coming back, but manufacturing is very likely to make a comeback with the industry of the future, i.e. robotics, biomedical/pharmaceutical, and digital industries. As you explore more of the works of Ayn Rand, you may consider looking into the economic theories supporting free markets. You can find many Youtube videos featuring Milton Friedman, if you don't find the time to read. Don't be frustrated with our current state. Reading Ayn Rand is an excellent decision. Welcome to the forum, and best of luck.
  20. Repairman

    Elon Musk

    It is because of individuals, such as Elon Musk, that I remain an optimist, albeit a cautious optimist. The innovations of today are the conventional and common-place of tomorrow. Modern marvels, such as the 3D printer and genomic mapping, might be enough to persuade any skeptic as to the possibilities of a world such as envisioned in The Jetsons and Star Trek. The fantastic doesn't seem so much like fantasy anymore. Nonetheless, it would only take a misguided movement, or even one psychotic individual to take humanity in the wrong philosophical/ideological direction, and into reverse rather than real progress. One day, there may be more humans living in outer-Terrestrial habitats than on Earth, or the human race could revert to a new dark age, and once again on the verge of extinction. "If men grasp the source of their destruction-if they dedicate themselves to the greatest of all crusades: a crusade for the absolutism of reason-the twenty-first century will have a chance once more."--Ayn Rand from Philosophy: Who Needs It. (p. 111).
  21. Rubal Sher, If I interpret your argument as: There are so many subjective, religious, and in some cases, radically irrational people in the world making it impossible for even the smallest minority of Objectivist to flourish, well I would agree. I hope by now we have the understanding that America is not an Objectivist society, anymore than is India. (I should point out that prostitution is illegal the US, although there is the State of Nevada, where there are only the minimum restrictions, and I understand Canada has decriminalized prostitution.) On the other hand, if you are arguing that chaos would ensue if society were to pursue a body of governmental laws based purely on objective reality, I do not agree. The philosophy of nature, science, can and is a philosophy that not only improved the material standard of living for society in the West, it has also been the bane of religion. Religion is the traditional obstacle impeding the integration of knowledge. There are more modern forms of mysticism, such as socialism, but to the point, Objectivism is as far from socialism and religion as one can get. Through objective research, evidence, and a well-presented argument based on solid evidence, you can prove the the Earth is not the center of the universe, or that microbes exist, or any other absolute truth you deem worthy of governance. With regard to "offensiveness," I believe the others are addressing that question. Also, I believe it is worth mentioning that objectivity does not necessarily equal Objectivism. One may hold a body of evidence, objective evidence, and yet, not arrive at the objective or complete truth. You may closer to it than before the discovery of solid evidence, but Objectivism is a philosophy, presupposing a process by which one lives.
  22. Honestly, I have no opinion with regards to the thread on the subject of nudity. With regards to government, as I've said before, there would be government, albeit, a little as necessary. Citing your example of using the courts as the primary form of government, (a method I would not trust to remain free of corruption), court rulings would serve the same function as legislators passing laws. In any case, it would not in my best interest, nor anyone's best interest to get rid of government. It would be a good idea to read some of Ayn Rand's non-fiction, particularly The Virtue of Selfishness, or Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal. Both of these collections of essays have a chapter describing the Proper Role of Government. I'd rather not take up specifics, such as the argument over nudity, although I think nude beaches are great to visit, as long as I'm allowed to wear my choice of modesty garment. And "Gentlemen's Clubs" are a perfect affirmation that some form of freedom still endures to these United States. But Rubal Sher, I strongly recommend doing some study into the finer points of the teachings of Ayn Rand before you jump to any conclusions.
  23. You may have overlooked the part about physical force used by government to enforce laws the are unjust. Rubal Sher, which books authored by Ayn Rand have you finished reading?
  24. Rubal Sher, Objectivism may not be a solution to anything such as that could change a nation of over a billion people, especially a nation of people fiercely defensive of their many various religions. Objectivism is a philosophy; it is a comprehensive philosophy, and I might add that you would be hard pressed to find a philosophy more radical than Objectivism. With generations of secular law holding back the forces of Christian fanaticism in America, it is with certainty that the United States is not an Objectivist nation. In fact, I would conjecture that the self-identifying Objectivist society in America is an insignificant minority. I will never live to see the day when an admitted atheist will ever receive the nomination for the office of president, unless the political party were neither Republican or Democrat. A woman president, perhaps, but not an atheist. As long as such institutions as religion guide the moral direction of a society, Objectivism will remain a curiosity to some, a life-style for the few who understand it. If I may take this example: "an Islamic Objectivist world." Simply put, these two terms contradict each other. Such a world would be impossible. As would a Christian-Objectivist world, or a Jewish, or Buddhist, Jain, you may hyphenate any faith you choose, but Objectivism holds no faith, only reality as an absolute. As it relates to government, Objectivism rejects such notions as "a brotherhood of man," or the "common good," or "redistribution of wealth." Certainly, there would be government, but its primary function would be the protection of the rights of the individual, rather than the collective, "the masses," or a term most favored in America politics, "the people." No singular set of cultural values would take precedent over justice for the individual in an Objectivist society. The fact of the reality is that all nations, Western, Eastern, or otherwise, have cultural norms that may trace their origins back more than 10,000 years. (For example: marriage and family.) To overcome such institutions as those that prevent you from conducting normal daily activities in the nude, I really don't know what to tell you, other than, if it should ever come to pass, I would recommend you wear some sort of footwear for the protection of your feet. It would be in your self-interest. Edit: I want to make clear that we, in America, have a faction of religious force at work in our democracy. I substituted "religious" for "Christian" in my post for clarification, as Christian-fundamentalism as a form fanaticism specific to American politics, more so than any other creed. I highlighted to edit. Rubal Sher, we have irrational people here as well.
  25. Rubal Sher, First, welcome to the forum. It's very encouraging the know that Objectivism is gaining interest internationally. Your preceding post covers many topics indeed. I only wish to comment on your interpretation of "self interest" where it relates to government. Ideally, government would hold the monopoly on force, and exert force in the protection of the rights of the individual. Whether theological or ideological, any political system runs the risk of gravitating toward tyranny without the protection of individual rights. The people, or even the ideas that govern society, are not individuals, as they are acting in the interest of society, and not their own interest. While it is true that some people enter public life in democratic systems with the claim that they champion the rights of "the people" and in fact they only wish to gain unearned wealth through a corrupt institution, many in government truly believe they are acting without self interest, rather they believe that it is for the benefit of the people that they force women to wear burqsa and men wear beards and all of the other traditional tyranny. These men in government, whether they govern in the West or the East, lack any legitimate purpose by Objectivist standards; they are living for control over others, and measure their success by the impression they make on others, or for that matter, their impression on history. As I see it, Adolph Hitler truly believed in his mission to lead the Germanic race to "greatness," and vanquish any threat to his cause. Even in the United States, we have politicians that truly believe that they are doing the American people a favor by destroying freedom.