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  1. I had never imagined that this could cause a problem. I thought of it benevolently and enthusiastically as providing a way for people to express their admiration for Rand's ideas and also as a way for people to strike up conversation and to meet other Rand fans, in addition to advertising the philosophy. I have enjoyed working with text and making it attractive ever since I started designing flyers for campus clubs years ago, and when I discovered the opportunity to be able to offer colorful and attractive designs that people would display proudly and that would help raise Objectivism's profile, I was thrilled. However, I understand why this could be a problem and why some may find it offensive, especially if it truly runs counter to Rand's wishes, as I just read in an older forum thread. So, as a matter of principle, I have decided to remove all of it. It is a very difficult undertaking to "murder one's children", but it is done. All of the allegedly offensive images have been deleted from the account. However, upon refreshing this page, sadly, it looks as though some of the processed images might be archived on the Cafepress server, but they are certainly unavailable absent the exact URL to the images and they are no longer available for sale. Hopefully they will get deleted soon. Regarding "A is A" and "Follow Reason" designs, it is difficult to be creative, in terms of words, when your intent is for other people to recognize a phrase and associate it with an interest in a specific subject. That basically limits us to "A is A" (most recognizable), "Follow Reason" (iffy), "Selfishness is a Virtue" (iffy), "Existence Exists" (iffy), "Reason is man's means of survival" (iffy), "Existence Exists" (iffy), "Capitalism is the MORAL Ideal" (iffy). [Edit] I look forward to offering the most colorful and attractive "A is A" and "Follow Reason" designs available, in addition to whatever else I might think of. If anyone has any ideas for phrases that Objectivists might enjoy having on a t-shirt, I'm open to suggestions.
  2. Are spam and telemarketing a violation of individual rights? It might properly be considered a violation as a "trespass to chattels (possessions)". One of the issues is whether or not it is legitimate to say that people have permission, by implication, to call you or e-mail you for certain purposes and that they do not have permission to use your property for other purposes (sales). When someone sends you junk postal mail, it is at their own expense and you can just toss it out. However, when someone makes your telephone ring or imposes a cost on your Internet service provider's servers, they are using someone else's private property. I favor the approach set up by the federal government's "Do Not Call" list. Perhaps the government could establish a "Do not spam e-mail" list. The benefit of having a "Do not contact if your purpose is sales" list is that it explicitly and specifically states that the owner of property denies permission for use of his property for sales purposes. Any thoughts? When you consider that at least e-mail spam imposes a monetary cost on another party (your ISP and you), it does seem that spamming could be regarded as a trespass to chattels once it has been established that an e-mail recipient has explicitly requested not to receive marketing e-mails.
  3. I would love it if our military were ordered to knock off North Korea. However, I wonder what it would cost us and South Korea. Could we do it in such a way that South Korea were not harmed? What would be the reaction from China and would we want to risk a conflict with China? Would nuking PyongYang inflict nuclear fallout on the South Koreans and the Chinese? I'm not a fan of China by any means, but I question whether it is in the nation's selfish interest to risk a war with China. On another note, does anyone know how exactly North Korea acquired nuclear capability? Was it from China or, more likely, from the U.S.?
  4. I saw it once in the theater and enjoyed it enough to purchase a used copy on VHS, which I have not yet watched. I would need to watch it again in order to discuss it philosophically. Was the movie advocating that reality is subjective? I did like the ending where he had to make a huge choice and take a life-threatening risk in order to be able to live in reality.
  5. Are you looking for a T-shirt, hat, or button that will help you meet new friends and kindred spirits who share your values? Want to put a smile on a friend's face with a surprise gift? Then come visit this newly remodeled online shop that offers some of the boldest and most colorful Who is John Galt, A is A, and Follow Reason shirts ever produced along with coffee mugs, buttons, license plate frames, bumper stickers, and more. Introducing the A Sense of Color Shirts shop: http://www.CafePress.com/SenseOfColor You won't find any small, boring black text here. Rather, you'll see upbeat, colorful designs that will call out to others in a crowd. Most of the apparel items have separate designs on both the front and the back. So slip into one of these shirts, don a cap, or pin a button to your jacket and dramatically increase your chances of discovering undercover Objectivists, smiles, and new friends in unexpected places.
  6. After having borrowed it in cassette form from a friend many moons ago, I purchased a CD off of eBay titled "Voice of Reason" by a band called "The Fountainhead'. Somehow, I doubt that the names are coincidental although nothing in the lyrics explicitly makes reference to Ayn Rand or Objectivism. It is fairly mellow, pleasant rock music and I enjoy it. I have not listened to it for two or three months and I do not remember enough about the lyrics to say whether or not they have Objectivist themes. The one aspect that I do remember is that the lyrics seemed to convey the impression that values should be taken seriously and pursued, or that at least certain things in life are very important. Out of curiousity, I just checked eBay and found a CD currently available for a buy it now price of $4.99. (Just search for "Voice of Reason Fountainhead" and it should pop right up.)
  7. I am a fan of Black Isle's/Bioware's Baldur's Gate games, and I am wondering, has anyone here tried Planescape: Torment, which was produced by the same group? I have read numerous reviews and comments written by general gamers, and it is supposed to have an exceptionally well-developed story for a computer RPG. One of the most heralded aspects of the game is that how you play the game affects your character's alignment and I have come across some reviews which seemed to suggest that the game touched on philosophical issues in some way or another. (I only remember vague details on this last part, so I cannot elaborate any further.) I have not yet purchased the game nor played it, and I am wondering if any Objectivists had played it, and if so, what they thought about it.
  8. My thoughts exactly. The notion that we can expect people to exercise their minds for a function as crucially important as ascertaining the facts in a trial while under compulsion is perverse. It is not difficult to imagine jurors becoming complacent and losing interest simply because they legitimately want a week long trial containing complicated, possibly technical issues to be over so that they can return to their lives. Sadly, our society does not take the attainment of justice seriously. If it did, the government would provide much greater compensation to jurors, at least putting them back in the place they would have been in but for their having been called to jury duty, the government would employ more judges to adjudicate a large backlog of civil cases, prosecutors would not be pressured to try to obtain convictions at any cost (my impression of how it works; I could be wrong), and we would invest more in providing effective assistance of counsel (public defenders) to help ensure that innocent people are not convicted (which is a tremendous societal expense). It might also be easier for judges to overturn jury verdicts in cases where it is blatantly obvious that the jury's decision was arbitrary (jurors admittedly high on cocaine during the trial, etc.). (As I understand it, it is extremely difficult, if not practically impossible to overturn a jury verdict unless jury tampering or the like can be shown.) This is a very interesting issue, and I have not yet settled on a model for an ideal jury system. Every model I have thought of has negative aspects. However, I am unsatisfied with our current system and I am highly skeptical that it produces as high of a percentage of just results as is reasonably possible given the fact that humans are not omniscient.
  9. Nuts. Does anyone know the size of the tax? David, were you speculating that the tax might be 6% or reporting that it is 6%? Six percent could be sizeable enough to convince some people to leave the state for the surgery. (6% of $20,000 is $1200.)
  10. I thought the Chicago Tribune review was pretty decent and probably encouraged people to go out and get the book.
  11. I am hoping that an Atlas Shrugged movie will not be made. It's an incomparable novel and a movie will not do it justice, especially one produced by Hollywood.
  12. I doubt that Bush will order the military to invade Iran. In fact, I suspect he's hoping to find a way to get out of Iraq. As I see it, an invasion of Iran is not politically practicable for the Republicans right now. The time to have done it, along with an invasion of Iraq and Syria, would have been in the months following the September 11 attacks when the wound was still fresh. However, I don't think his ordering a bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities is out of the question.
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