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Invictus2017 last won the day on October 18

Invictus2017 had the most liked content!

About Invictus2017

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    I move a lot.
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    computers, Objectivism, and starting an Objectivism-based society

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    United States
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  • Experience with Objectivism
    Extensive, since 1983. I've read most, maybe all, of the important books and periodicals published before the mid 90's.

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  1. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    I don't know what would qualify as "evidence" for this Given the more than half century of efforts by Objectivists and other freedom lovers to persuade modern America to embrace freedom, and the dismal failure of those efforts, why should anyone believe that more such efforts, no matter how tweaked from what has been done before, will succeed? There needs to be more than mere hope. There must be something, grounded in reality, that persuades one that the effort can be effective. Otherwise, it's just throwing good money after bad. Acknowledging reality is not fatalism. And, yes, people can change their beliefs, but -- and this is the most important but -- they must change them. When there is good reason to believe that people don't want to change -- and there's 50+ years of such evidence, and never mind my own conclusions on the matter -- it's foolish to base one's course of action on the presumption that they might change. Oh yeah, the world is in a whole lot of trouble! But today's US is in far worse shape than even at the time of the civil war. Then, half the nation would have abandoned its essential principles in order to keep their slave-owning lifestyles intact, but the other half was willing to go to war to preserve those principles (among other reasons). Today, no one but a tiny minority even understand those principles, and the rest run away from them whenever they see them coming. I don't intend to be offensive here, but I have to say that this is one of the stupidest comments I've heard, no matter that I've heard it innumerable times from Objectivists. It mistakes truth for reality. Reality is, if you will, omnipotent -- it wins every time. But truth depends on a human mind to grasp it and to act on it. All the truth in the world will accomplish exactly zip, if no one will listen to it. Unfortunately, there are precious few people today who care about truth. The rest would much rather have their bread and circuses, and leave it to their children to pay for their irresponsibility. With this, I wholeheartedly agree. I agree. But..."If first you don't succeed, try, try, again. If that doesn't work, don't be a damned fool about it, try something different!" I'm not arguing that Objectivists should give up on the world; I'm arguing that they should do something other than what has been tried and found ineffective. But that same technology works for bad ideas...and there are a lot more people sprouting bad ideas than there are of us....Technology is at best neutral in the war of ideas. What we need to do is not simply impart knowledge, but rather to change peoples' fundamental world views. That isn't teaching, it is therapy. And you can't do therapy wholesale. This, ultimately, is why persuasion has been and must be ineffective. This, and many of your other remarks, reflects a basic belief that all change will be incremental. This is something I just don't think is true. As I see it, we can't just keep muddling through as a nation and someday a rational philosophy will rescue us from our foolishness. We are consuming our physical and spiritual capital at an alarming rate and when it's gone, the remainder will be an animated corpse of what was. Even before that, we will have become a starving police state, no fit place for a human to live. It is my contention that a different course of action than incremental persuasion is warranted, if one is to work for the future. It's bedtime, or I'd launch into some of my ideas of that different course of action. Maybe tomorrow when I'm awa..z..zzzzzzzz
  2. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    I can't do video, so I can't comment on what he said. But I will say that the common Objectivist (and libertarian) view that it'll just take a little more effort and then everything will turn out fine seems like mere "optimistic determinism" to me. Frankly, I find the efforts of Objectivists to change things akin to Dagny's efforts to keep her railroad running while it was being systematically destroyed by the looters. Our looters -- plutocrats, politicians, and the public -- are committed to a course of action that can only have one outcome. We should leave them to it and take thought for our own futures, keeping in mind their coming self-destruction.
  3. Is it time, is the hour striking?

    Huh? The mere fact that an issue is man made does not in any way change its reality. What is, is. What presently is, is a population that is not amenable to persuasion. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be delighted to hear it. So far, all the evidence I've seen, from reading, from decades of my own failures of persuasion, and from my observations of the people I failed to persuade, is that effective persuasion on anything other than a small scale cannot work, and the cause of this is not fundamentally in the persauders, it is in those they would persuade.
  4. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    You'll have to provide evidence that there is something that Objectivists can do about the state of the world; at the moment, all of the evidence is to the contrary. In my view, it's a waste of time trying because, even if some genius were to discover a means of squaring this circle, it takes generations for ideas to work significant change. The old guard must die out, and the new replace them in positions of social power. This takes time. The West simply does not have that time. Long before a new renaissance, there will come the chaos from barbarians within and economic collapse. While Objectivists certainly have their flaws when it comes to presenting their ideas, it is mere codependent thinking to imagine that if only we were somehow better, other people will understand. The libertarians have tried this and, indeed, more people pay attention to them than used to, but they're still not making any real headway with their ideas. The reality is that the responsibility for thought belongs to the thinker, and blaming oneself for another's irresponsibility is self-destructive. Are we including Rand's own efforts in writing essays to describe her philosophy, and etc.? Because as far as I can tell, she designed arguments in order to convince others of what she believed to be true, which is part and parcel to what I consider "proselytization." For what it's worth, that worked for me. From what I see, Rand wasn't exactly a happy person, and her efforts have not significantly affected the direction of history nor the speed of our downhill slide. But never mind. I withdraw what I said in favor of: Proselytizing in the hope of social change is an utter waste of time. Proselytizing for other purposes may be valuable, in that it may sweep up the occasional soul who has not been totally twisted by prevailing ideas. This is precisely what has been tried and found wanting. The problem is not our presentation, even though our presentation could be better; the problem is in the minds of the overwhelming majority of the people we would hope to reach. No improvement in presentation will reach a person who will not listen with his reasoning mind. Just as an aside, I've been using that line for decades without attributing it to Dorothy Parker. I never checked until today. (She apparently was asked to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence. Heh.) If one's goal is simply to reach those relatively few people, that can be a worthwhile goal (though not for me). But if one's goal is to reach those people in order to effect meaningful social change, one will simply waste one's time, just as your predecessors (including me) did.
  5. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    Pretty much. Also, few people are really capable of blanking their minds and, instead, perforce must replace an unwelcome thought with something else.
  6. Is it time, is the hour striking?

    Yes it does. Reasoning people can fill the gap as much as they want, but the plain fact is that people do not listen. Not with their thinking minds. They listen with their emotions, and their emotions tell them that what we have to offer would require them to give up Mommy and Daddy government and to take full responsibility for their past, present, and future. This they will not do. Both theory and experience confirm this, and no amount of wishful thinking will change it. As Objectivists, we must take people as they are, not as we wish or need them to be.
  7. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    "Not thinking" -- failing to think -- is not evasion. Evasion is an active process whereby unwanted thoughts are suppressed. The essence is that there must be something that makes one aware of an upcoming thought and then some action, intentional or an automatized intention, to keep the thought itself out of one's awareness.
  8. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    I don't think this is true. Then you're rejecting the evidence of decades of many attempts by people far more committed and possibly far more capable than you and me. Do we wait until the Gestapo comes knocking at the door before admitting that reasoned persuasion has failed? Or do we acknowledge that doing the same thing that has been done before while expecting a different outcome is not rational? In a word, "compartmentalization". Or, if one prefers, dis-integration. Damaged people can do great things with their rational faculty in one area of their lives while refusing to employ it in others. The commitment to evasion is not found in how people deal with practical matters, it is in how they deal with things that run contrary to their deepest feelings. The person who feels that someone must help them will be totally unswayed by the argument that reducing taxes while keeping the social programs intact -- or growing -- cannot work. And it is that person who literally cannot grasp an argument for freedom, because freedom means that there will not be anyone who must help them. For ourselves, those close to us, and those few who bring their reason to the table. But proselytizing is an utter waste of time that can only produce unhappiness. It for sure won't bring on social change. That way lies codependency. "He'll change, I know he will, if only I just say the right words. He will!" I couldn't tell you how many (mostly women) have tried to change a man -- a man who had every reason to listen to that woman -- and failed. Changing peoples' minds in the face of their deepest held beliefs is a job for a skilled professional in a one-to-one interaction over a long period of tiime. It cannot be done wholesale. And even retail, there is no guarantee of success. You can lead a whore to culture but you cannot make her think, to mangle a phrase....
  9. Is it time, is the hour striking?

    A tangled mess of forces, not just a loop. There is no one point where one can make a change and the whole nightmare comes apart. I note that the powers-that-be have a strong interest in this state of affairs. It is very easy to manipulate a person who "thinks" with their emotions, much less so a person who reasons, and nearly impossible a person who lives by reason. You betcha. For the forces of unreason, unfortunately. The best the rest of us can do is try to stay out of the way of falling debris and then pick up once the storm is over. Kinda like the end of Atlas.
  10. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    *snicker* Actually, I did understand. I merely addressed the first point I disagreed with, your contention that Objectivists as a group are sorely lacking in fun. I just don't think it's generally true. That said, I don't personally know the people you discussed and I've largely stayed out of that fight, so I'll take your characterization of those public Objectivists as accurate for the sake of argument....but I must still disagree with you, as I think your other premise is wrong. Fun is a virtue,as you noted. As applied to the people you discussed, I would have to agree -- they need more fun for their own sakes. But you seem to be saying that Objectivists need to be more fun in order more effectively spread Objectivism, presumably to enact the social change that is so sorely needed. In my view, there's not a damned thing that Objectivists can do about the world's merry handbasket ride. Westerners are, as a society and mostly as individuals, committed to evasion and not all the reason -- or fun -- in the world, will change that. Only bitter experience might do so, experience the West will get in a couple of decades or so. (I wrote a much longer screed on that point over in DW's topic.) As to what Objectivists should do instead of attempting the impossible, that's probably off-topic here. But I do intend to write about it sooner or later.
  11. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    Actually, it was a quarter of my life, not the whole thing. Do you suggest that my post didn't say anything important? Do you suggest that I didn't read your post? That I didn't respond to it? Think again. I didn't respond point by point, true. But I thought it pointless to do so, since I believe that your basic premise is wrong. All of the Objectivists of my acquaintance are fun, in appropriate circumstances. Shall I tell you of the time I sang a duet with a well known (in my little part of the world) singer -- with me in drag, singing the woman's part (I'm a countertenor) and she in men's clothes singing the man's part (she did a passable tenor)? Would you care to hear a sample of my awful puns? Ever watched me laughing with a bunch of early grade-schoolers? Back when I had money, one of my favorite activities was dancing, ballroom and on roller skates, and I had a blast with the older women. Would you like a dead parrot? It's turtles all the way down. The answer is 42. And that's my answer to you.
  12. Is it time, is the hour striking?

    "Is it time, is the hour striking?" In a word, no. Nor is it likely to happen in my lifetime. Objectivists and others like to talk about the power of ideas. There is much to be said in favor of that power. But an idea is powerless if it is not accepted. If a people will not listen, it simply does not matter how right an idea is; that idea will not gain wide acceptance. Objectivists and other modern freedom lovers have been trying to spread their ideas for over half a century, without notable success. Sure, this person or that organization has taken up some good ideas, but in the main the trend of thinking has been toward altruism and statism, toward a seemingly inevitable intellectual, moral, and economic collapse. (I know some disagree that things are getting worse. They've committed the error of selective observation. But I'm not going to debate that point.) The question is why these ideas languish. The usual answer is essentially that there is a contest of ideas and that, for now, the bad ideas have the upper hand. The implication is that one need merely try harder in the intellectual struggle and that, because one is right, one will eventually prevail. That answer is simply wrong. People, at least the damaged products of the organized child abuse that is modern education, do not generally accept new ideas because the ideas are right, they do so because the ideas feel right. To the people brought up in a word wherein it is "right" to spend resources on people in Africa while our courts and public defenders (to name just one critically underfunded part of our society) go begging, the ideas of liberty feel wrong. To the person who believes that government must provide for the support of the elderly and the foolish, the idea that a person should live with the consequences of his action (or inaction) is not merely horrifying, it is terrifying. The poem from which I take my nom de guerre still resonates with many Americans, but few really take it seriously. I listen to a lot of NPR and, in the early AM, Garrison Keillor does "The Writer's Almanac", in which he reads a poem. A month or so ago, he did "Invictus", and a less convincing reading could not have been done. Those last couplets should ring out; Keillor practically mumbled them. So it is with peoples' "acceptance" of liberty. Mumbled words, but no soul behind it. The preachers of liberty, Objectivists and others, rouse the occasional "Amen" but then their listeners go off into their unfree lives, telling themselves how free they are. Churchill had it oh so right when he said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." I spent a decade codependently trying to change people. Over and over the same scene repeated itself. As an example: I explained to a woman why the public schools were bad for her children. She agreed with me. Did she remove her kids from the public schools? Nope. It didn't feel right to her, no matter her intellectual agreement, so the idea simply had no effect on her. I eventually realized that I can change a person's mind, but I cannot change their feelings, and it is their feelings that determine what ideas they live by (as opposed to giving lip service to). This is not how healthy human beings should be, but the victims of bad philosophy are not healthy people. In the addiction world it is sometimes said that a true addict must "hit bottom" before he will give up his addiction. This is not always true, but is sure is the way to bet. "Hitting bottom" only occurs when circumstances compel a person to confront a sometimes literal life or death choice, when reality becomes so intrusive that no amount of rationalization or wishful thinking can obscure the fact that physical or spiritual death is right there staring one in the face. So it is with modern society. Today, we can hide -- with increasing difficulty -- from the fact that we're hurtling toward death. And, so long as we can do so, we will do so. We haven't "hit bottom". We can pretend that we're not bankrupt, since we haven't maxed out the social credit cards. We can pretend that we're not a police state, since we still have our little liberties. We can hide from reality. And that is exactly what we are doing. And when some Objectivist or other freedom lover comes along, he is not greeted with open arms -- because to do so would require opening our eyes, not just to the reality we live in but our culpability in creating it. Fear and guilt are why freedom will not win in our society. One day, of course, the dam of evasion will break. Our corrupt society will be destroyed by a flood of reality. Then, and only then, will it be the time, the hour to strike, only then will it be possible for the lovers of liberty to not merely speak, but to be heard.
  13. We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

    "We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!" Uh...speak for yourself, brother. I rather doubt that we know one another well enough to know whether "we" are fun people. As for me, I came to this forum for unfunny reasons, so I'm mostly very serious. That says nothing about whether I am, or have, fun in other parts of my life.
  14. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Do you mean to include every moral code in that? If so then I have some churches to show you. Or was that just an oversight? Yes, it was an oversight. "flavor of Objectivist ethics".
  15. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    OK, I see that I must clear something up, a bit of sloppiness that I am as guilty of as anyone else. Otherwise, this discussion is just not going to go anywhere. The Objectivist ethics comprises a set of conditional statements, each of which is of the form, "If I choose to exist, X." Existence not being a floating abstraction, to exist is to exist as something. So those conditionals really mean, "If I choose to exist as a human being, X." One attribute of humans is that they die. Dying is as much a metaphysical fact as breathing (and I don't need to be told that technology might change this. But for now....) Choosing existence is necessarily to choose that one will die. What matters in the Objectivist ethics is not that one dies -- that is not open to choice -- but how one dies. The contrary to the Objectivist ethics is not choosing to die. It is choosing to live in a way that is not proper to a human being. So, the death question confronting an Objectivist is not whether he will die, but whether he will die as is proper to a human being, or not. The relevant consequence here is that, if a person abandons life as a human being, none of those conditionals imposes a "should" on him. So there are no validly reasoned ethical conclusions that apply to him. But this applies to abandoning life as a human being. Not to choosing the manner of one's death. The person who decides that his values are best served by his own death is still choosing existence as a human being, albeit a shorter one than his biology would have allowed. His actions therefore do satisfy the conditionals of the Objectivist ethics. The contrary is a bit more complicated. It is hard to imagine a person consciously choosing against his own values in order that he die. His is not the case that really matters, though. Instead, it is the person who chooses a value that is contra-life (his life) that is said to have chosen death. I think this is an unfortunate wording, as it simply doesn't reflect reality. If I'm brought up Christian and follow its morality, I have chosen an anti-life morality, but I haven't rejected life itself; I have no idea that my morality is anti-life. To the contrary, I would believe myself to have chosen life, the life promised by my religion. Not only that, I probably only give lip service to the worst aspects of what I assent to, implicitly choosing life in doing so. My point here is that I think it would be a good idea to drop the whole "choosing life/death" thing. Whatever rhetorical value it may have (and I think it has little), it causes immense intellectual confusion.