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Jon Southall

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Jon Southall last won the day on June 26 2016

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About Jon Southall

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  1. The Twilight Zone: Syria—2017©(pending?)

    Re the argument above. To simplify, killing using chemical weapons (although emotionally more distasteful) is no different from using conventional arms to kill someone because the end is the same in both cases. People are offended by indiscriminate killing because it is unreasonable and destroys lives that have value to them. The failure to discriminate tends to result in the violation of rights not just in war. Racism is another example of a failure to discriminate. Racism can be caused when people have had bad experiences with people of a certain race and falsely reason that people of that race are all the same. A person then defines the person's race as the driver of the behaviour they dislike. People say racists discriminate against a person's colour for example, but in fact it is a failure to discriminate that causes this position to be held. In war, people feel emotional about indiscriminate attacks causing massive suffering for the same kind of reason that they rationally reject and feel emotional about racism. In the cases of racism and warfare the action is blind to the individual differences of those subjected to attack, whether it is a chemical weapon killing non-combatants, or a racist police officer killing an innocent person at a traffic stop. The dead from war have no point of view. Although I'm sure most people of self esteem would not like to lose their life in a prolonged manner that inflicts great suffering when a quicker less painful alternative is available to them. It is the living witnesses, who are also injured by what has happened to the dead. No moral human being wants to see someone endure a slow agonising death, when this has been caused intentionally and indiscriminately it is an evil act. It is not wrong for those people to seek justice, to argue for such indiscriminate weapons from being banned from war. Just as there is nothing irrational about people calling for an end to racism. However just as it is not racist to arrest a black criminal (for example), it is not an atrocity to shoot and kill a combatant in war. There is no contradiction in saying one accepts bullets & guided bombs but rejects biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. In fact the contradiction is held by those who fail to recognise how unreasonable the use of the latter really is.
  2. The Twilight Zone: Syria—2017©(pending?)

    You are incorrectly struck. The reality is, in my life I am not going to see billions of people switch from a life driven by emotion and dellusion. Interestingly, many Objectivists are the very quickest to assume malevolence, whilst rejecting the same premise. A contradiction with more than a hint of irony.
  3. The Twilight Zone: Syria—2017©(pending?)

    Not to disagree with you, but to explore this further, what do you think the reason for this is? Nation states are recognised as legitimate entities, more so than other entities when it comes to the use of force. They typically command and can deploy more lethal force and more rapidly than other entities can. A role of a nation state is usually disarming its own people and putting as much control over the use of force in the hands of the nation state as possible. A nation state is typically better organised when it comes to warfare than private individuals are, even when they are working collaboratively (e.g. to offer some kind of resistance). When power is harnessed and concentrated in a confined and contained space, when that containment fails, the results will be catastrophic to the extent of the concentration of power. If the USA lost all constraint over the use of its military force, it would be massively more destructive than if a small African state were to. In my view, the initiation of force is directly a result of a failure of peoples to uphold justice objectively, where rights and obligations are not enshrined clearly or are not observed, thus preventing the justice system from resolving disputes peaceably. It is only these elements that stand in the way of the use of force. Whilst there remains numerous different nation states, many acting on the basis of different, irreconcilable value systems, there will inevitably be perceived injustices with no mechanism to resolve them peaceably. Therefore conflict is inevitable until such time that at a fundamental level, those value systems agree on the core elements. Objectivism sets out what those elements are. It is what the world needs if we want the ink to run out on that underscore. But we will never see it, because the world is mostly insane.
  4. Objectivist Conspiracy?

    I happened across this article: http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/14/inside-donald-trumps-secret-ayn-rand-conspiracy/ My initial reaction was one of incredulity. Then laughter. I felt I must share it here as I know you are all secretly Trump lovers.
  5. Future of Objectivism

    Thank you for the discussion so far. I liked reading your reasoning for what might come next. Some have looked at what Objectivism can be attributed with so far; interesting context but would be good to go further and explore where you think it is going. Also in terms of not winning the cultural battle yet, is this something you would like to see happen? What do you think it might take?
  6. Future of Objectivism

    I am genuinely interested to know what your views are on the future of Objectivism. There are different ways you could go about answering this; as long as it is constructive you can answer it how you choose. For some examples, your focus might be the practical application of the philosophy to how you live your life. It might be more to do with expanding the influence of Objectivism. It might be creating a new community. To what extent do you think its possible in your lifetime?
  7. Snerd, could you at least try to be a bit more discriminating before casting aspersions.
  8. Deflating House Price Bubbles

    Certainly the explosion of mortgage lending injected a lot of money into economy and helped fuel it. Of course increasing the supply ought to reduce prices, but that assumes there aren't also shifts in demand that are pushing prices back up. Certainly changes in lending criteria unleashed additional demand. I doubt the cost of building condominiums rose significantly in the run up to the bubble bursting, but the land value did. Economic rents were therefore rising. This drove up poverty and undermined entrepreneurism to the extent there was a massive recession. George's relationship is: 1. Production = Labour + Capital + Land 2. Wealth = Wages + Interest + Economic Rent 3. Wealth - Economic Rent = Wages + Interest. As economic rents rose, it necessarily reduced the share of production which is enjoyed by workers and entrepreneurs - despite the truth that all production was a consequence of them. When interest (meaning here return to capital) and wages moved towards levels of subsistence living or below, economic activity started to collapse. A land value tax diminishes the demand for economic rents, consequently land value increases won't be fuelled by customers having a greater disposable income. The existence of a land value tax doesn't mean the house prices would not have had a tendency to rise under increasing demand, but it would have reduced the costs faced by property developers as well as incentivising rapid development and land use optimisation. Also those developers would have retained more of the revenues from putting up condos. Under a free market this would have attracted more developers to supply more, so meeting rising demand without prices becoming unaffordable for home buyers or developers alike. The land value tax has to hit as much of the economic rents as possible but without taxing any property.
  9. Deflating House Price Bubbles

    According to this article, there is a realisation that property tax rises can be used to dampen the effects of house price inflation: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-11/property-tax-rise-could-reduce-house-price-booms-and-busts/8018790 I disagree with this article because it is not precise. In application, a "property" tax applies to the value of land and the value of property. To the extent it falls on land value alone, the tax will reduce the likelihood of house price booms, but the efficacy will depend on the tax rate relative to the value of land. A fixed property tax rate for example may reduce house price inflation in Medway but have no real impact in London, because the relative value of land is unequal. The problem with a property tax is that it is too indiscriminate. If they tax just the land value, there will be no adverse economic impacts and indeed it will reduce house price inflation. They need to isolate that the tax needs to be less than or equal to the economic rent in order to have its desired effect.
  10. Trump

    Take it up with Mr Swig. In his judgement, Gary Johnson is the closest to an Objectivist candidate in the USA. I had no reason to suspect his judgement was wrong - and he may wish to defend his evaluation. Whether it is Gary Johnson or not, the point is it ought to be a candidate who best represents what your values are. Does Clinton or Trump even come close to that? Not in my estimation.
  11. Trump

    Yes, I see the problem. To get an Objectivist elected as president, or at least someone sharing key values like Gary Johnson, will take a lot of work and it won't of course happen in this election, or possibly a few to come. However we have to take a long term view and start now. It's like Brexit in the UK. It's a long term game.
  12. Trump

    No it is meaningful Nicky. You just haven't got it, but it is ok. In order to win an election, a candidate needs to garner support, ultimately from voters. A candidate's chances of winning are elevated the more support they get. If you want a particular candidate to win, the only way you can directly influence the chance of that happening is by voting for them. If you think they will need more support and backing and you care enough about it, then donate, campaign with them etc. There is loads you can do. You won't get them elected perhaps, but what they stand for, their programme of change rises in prominence. The greater the support for this, the more likely it will become mainstream until the point it is possible that a deserving candidate can be elected as president. I don't want DT to win, but he's not a politician, just a rich businessman. He has destroyed the other Republican nominees and is depending on the polls very close to Clinton, a career politician backed by just about everyone. Yes its remotely possible he will win, but given his character and background, that he has come so close is truly remarkable. Who would have taken that seriously as a prospect from the outset? But why are you & I even discussing this. You value Clinton, you want her to be president - not even as the lesser of two evils. I'm not appealing to your "reason".
  13. Trump

    For the record I never said Stein was my preferred candidate. I simply agreed with what she said in the video about voting for what you want. I don't support the Green party either. I would not vote for Stein. As I'm UK based its not worth me researching it in depth, I admitted not knowing a lot about her. However if you know of a decent candidate (not DT or HC) then go for who you judge to be best.
  14. Trump

    Some thinking points for you to enrich this discussion. The probability that your vote will be decisive might currently be between 1 in 10 million to 1 in 60 million. It can be as low as 1 in a billion: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/Papers/vote.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwi0-tOrupPQAhUCahoKHYRRA_MQFggfMAE&usg=AFQjCNH77EB5T--coUgb_V0PhMwcbmS74g&sig2=gfKKtxE8bbihApKu4ME3_Q The odds are similar to taking part in a lottery. The thinking that your individual vote will be decisive in electing Trump or Clinton is irrational. The odds that it will do are close to zero in all cases, but greatest in swing states. Your reason for voting should therefore reflect your preferences, and not who you think may or may not win. Strategic voting is also a cause of preference intransitivity (e.g. where the candidate you vote for isn't your first preference, you are therefore ranking a lesser value over a higher one - resulting in a individually irrational intransitive ordering e.g. you vote for Clinton over McMullin but you prefer McMullin to Clinton and Trump). According to Downs's theory, if you are future orientated and rational, you will vote for your preferred candidate/party even if they have no chance of winning the current election. The reason is to grow support for them to expand the set of alternatives in the future, and also to possibly prompt the current parties/candidates to alter their platforms in order to attract more support.
  15. Trump

    We will see.
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