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Everything posted by softwareNerd

  1. Yeah, let's just ignore the bleeding obvious that is being said to you multiple times and play these games instead. If you have no clue what people are referring to, you clearly are incapable of carrying on a sensible conversation.
  2. Someone had to say it, I guess, breaking the social rule that you resist giving harsh advice unless the person s paying you for the wake up call Anyone who speaks of making 10 million dollars by following some fairly guaranteed business model is deluded. Worse still, you may be a patsy in a scheme being spun by your "friends". It sounds almost like an Amway opening pitch.
  3. There've been a few pekple who tried to secede here and there. They usually figure on the news when the cops surround their homes with military style vehicles and persuade them to come back into their voluntary, consensual citizenship,
  4. Maybe you're thinking of it this way: Premise: citizenship is a consensual contract Conclusion: consent to the laws flows directly from that premise In that case, your premise (as now restated is false). You explicitly said that one should pay taxes. Now, if you come back saying that one is free to leave, and think that you're demonstrating your premise then you've got to think about what freedom really means. People are often "free to leave" as in "your money or your life".
  5. Yes, that's what I said in my last post, with one exception: you aren't arguing, that is simply your premise.
  6. I doubt you expected that, eh? But, at least for me, Epistemologue's position is clearer: he says that he not arguing about the morality of the law, just about whether one should follow it. He says the same would be true of an immoral law on slavery. He's not arguing that one should follow the law because it is practical not to go to jail (as an Objectivist might), but basing it on his fictional concept of an agreement to be a citizen, and also a fictional agreement between countries (e.g. Canada and US) when it comes to foreigners. The argument is the same as saying: "God says you should follow laws, so you should" The formal structure is: "Fictional thing is true" --> therefore --> "False conclusion follows" There's really no way to argue once this structure is revealed, unless someone wants to attempt the impossible task of showing that the fictional premise is fictional.
  7. On the topic of activism and advocacy, I think this is an issue that our grandkids can address. If we can make some headway toward a much lesser end -- reduce government to some core functions -- it would be huge. The rest is gravy anyway.
  8. Let me restate my point this way: Epistem is praising/advocating tax on a certain premise. He supports that premise. That premise can be used -- with very similar arguments -- to support any populist law that violates individual rights. Espistem is rejecting the fundamental building block of Objectivist political theory, but he is going much further too. He is rejecting the entire "natural rights" concept that predates Objectivism and informs the flawed, but better-than-most, US constitution. Not the first time he's rejected natural rights and individual rights in favor of a fuzzy notion of "voluntary agreement"... Which always boils down to populist democracy in practice. Of course he would reject this characterization since he hasn't yet sorted out the contradiction for himself, He seems to ignore it and move on to the next thread, to restate it like it'll become true by repetition!
  9. What do you know of Objectivism? What books or articles have you read?
  10. I only have a vague, mostly second-hand idea of Sam Harris; but, I agree that he differs from Objectivists in pretty fundamental ways. Indeed, a decade ago, most Objectivists who point out his good bits would probably have focused on his bad bits. I think the reason is that one picks one's battles: and, I assume more Objectivists who listen to Harris, link to him, etc. would also acknowledge his flaws. Analogously, the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan took the west from fighting an enemy whose philosophy was based on explicit naturalism and reason (the commies ) to an enemy with a mystical belief in the "uncreated" nature of an ancient scripture.
  11. I agree I don't think Epistem is speaking of the current situation as such or that taxation is voluntary today. The topic of taxation is completely secondary in my perspective when his primary notion of the morality of laws is so flawed.
  12. The core issue here is not taxation as such, but the concept "voluntary". For example, some have argued that taxation is necessary and that if they're only spent on legitimate roles of government and are fair, they are moral even if one must pay them under penalty of force. However, Epistemologue's argument is far broader than that. He says that one must pay them because they are voluntary... based on his concept of a voluntary contract that is implicit in being born in a particular place. This is broader, because it essentially says that laws are moral, just because they exist. Presumably, he limits himself to democracies making laws, but even this is not clear.
  13. The crux of your argument is that citizenship can be renounced. It is unclear whether you mean in the way one can do so today or something different. For instance, today, a Canadian citizen in the U.S. is protected by U.S. law and subject to U.S. tax. Given that you argue being born in the U.S. somehow enters a person into a contract which he never gets to see, read...and in fact does not exist, I assume you will argue -- analogously -- that a Canadian coming to the U.S. is subject to whatever taxes the U.S. imposes. If so, you should make it clear in your argument that you're saying that anyone born in the U.S. who does not want to pay tax, should actually leave. Is that what you mean? Also, taxes are just one part of the law -- not even the most important part -- so, I presume you think this applies to all laws? The implication would be that if a majority of U.S. citizens want to bring back slavery, this is moral and legitimate? If this mis-states your position, then how?
  14. The implication of ceasing to be a citizen is that one should be able to choose a different government. That's the true Netflix analogy. Are you for multiple competing governments? if not, ceasing to be a citizen is a meaningless phrase.
  15. Your ARI watch site is swill. You shouldn't be spamming the forum with your links.
  16. It is also relevant that the focus on purpose is not unique to Objectivism. Evangelist Rick Warren speaks of purpose as a primary we should drive toward. In his concretes, and in his justification, he might be totally opposite of what an Objectivist might say. Yet, these popular evangelists are worth learning from -- as arepop-writer advising people how to be happy. Most are hitting at a certain core need that we have as humans. Here.s a quote: "The three grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. — Alexander Chalmers
  17. Consider just this snippet, and let us assume it is true. What makes this person happy? It is not the dividend payments as such. Those are the enablers that allow him to do XYZ, and that XYZ -- in turn -- makes him happy. Can raising kids be a happy pursuit? Ask yourself that before making the leap to "is it moral"? Suppose you answer "yes", it can make on happy to spend one's time raising kids, or plants, or chickens. The next question would be: why? What aspect of it makes you happy? We're not speaking of some occasional laugh you get along the way. Rather: what is it about that pursuit that gives the person that deeper sense of happiness? Very often you'll find yourself answering something very close to: purpose. "Seeing a young person develop", or "helping a young person discover the world". The implication of Rand's ethics is that seeking purpose is an important -- indeed primary -- source of enduring and deep happiness.
  18. You are so full of crap! (That's more polite and far more accurate than your post.)
  19. Many fairly independent people end up getting sucked in by one side or the other, for all sorts of reasons. So, good for you: keep up the good fight and bash both while putting forward a positive vision, based on individual rights.
  20. Are you a contributor or promoter on that site?
  21. Yup, he's a white Obama in some senses, but he's also an anti-Obama in others. Maybe it is at different "levels of philosophy".
  22. But, there is no "problem" to solve. Just because Adam Smith and Marx put out a labor theory of value, does not mean we have to find a way to justify it. Also, talking about price does not remove the issue of value, because value is a factor in price. But, let's say we can ignore value for now. Even that does not change things: price is not driven by input, labor or otherwise. Input is one factor, value is another, and there are additional factors as well.
  23. What's the bottom line though? I mean, everything takes labor. However, the labor theory of value says that value of an output is based on the quantity of the labor input. A casual observer would point out that that is false if one uses the terms in a normal way. Most adults know two workers who can take the same amount of time, one producing a lot of value, and the other less than half of the former. To get around this, an economist has to define "labor" in some special way. However, that special way becomes begging the question: the idea itself has no explanatory value if the term is being morphed to fit a previous explanation. And, even with those contortions, a casual observer would kill the theory by pointing out that the value of the very same thing can change over time, with zero additional labor applied to it. To counter this, Adam Smith or Marx (both of whom backed the labor theory of value) have to redefine value to mean something other than value to a valuer. They have to treat value as some intrinsic fact about (say) a horse-whip, with no relationship to the context in which it exists and the purpose it serves.
  24. The current revolution in Ukraine has taken a turn away from Russia and toward Europe, with the President fleeing the capital and being voted out by parliament. Russia could still use its army to squash the rebels, but with much less legitimacy, except by claiming to protect the ethnic Russians in eastern half of Ukraine. The President did come to power via a democratic election, but the political split of the country is pretty obvious in this map showing which parties won in different areas. So, perhaps the most practical resolution is for the country to split into two, while allowing free movement of citizens and property across the two newly-formed countries. I'd be happy to see the whole country spin out of Putin's grasp, but if a split will save lives that's better. perhaps Russia will keep its army out if it can retain a buffer-state, albeit a thinner one, between it and Europe.
  25. What does this mean? Are people supposed to leave if they don't like it? Why? Why don't the taxers leave instead?