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  1. David's right. I believe Ayn Rand once spoke to this directly, saying something to the effect of "proponents of public schooling have no right to use it. Those who oppose it, have." The same applies to government grants, as well.
  2. Oh yes, if a person had done this in the actual world, he would have been its greatest genius ever, I'm sure. It took one of history's greatest thinkers (Newton) to discover differential equations as an adult. So with respect to the actual world, it's tough to say that anyone is Francisco's superior. The reasons that I regard Galt as superior are that Galt's invention of the engine was the greatest productive achievement in the book, and Galt was the first one to realize that they (the creators) were being choked out by the mindless mob, and, more importantly, how to win (strike)!
  3. I believe this point was addressed in Ayn Rand's Journals in the 'To Lorne Dieterling' notes section. She points out that John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, Hank Rearden, and Howard Roark were all variants on an ideal man. Their differences were either things that they could not control (i.e. Galt was arguably the most intelligent of the four) or they were simply optional personality variations. However, when Dagny opts for Galt as opposed to Francisco or Rearden, this was because, while Jon Galt was morally identical to the other two, he was better in uncontrollable ways (his intelligence, if that point is conceeded). Similarly, one could rationally choose a better looking partner in favor of a less attractive one (all more important things being equal), or a more intelligent one in favor of a less intelligent one (provided that they both have the same sense of life). If this means that the theory won't apply 100% of the time or that one will have to still have to use one's mind to apply it, then I agree. Was this what you meant (as opposed to 'relationships aren't causal and can't be generalized?')?
  4. No, I do not believe that I am mistaken. However, if I did make a mistake, I do not wish that to be a reflection of Ayn Rand, and I do not feel qualified to be her spokesperson . It wasn't intended to reflect insecurity, just my profound respect for her and her ideas. Thanks!
  5. I did not say that he did not have 'some control,' I said he did not 'ultimately'. You would be happy if you failed in your life's goal because you didn't get anything undeservedly? I would think that would be a very miserable outcome. Would you care to explain what you mean, because I'm not sure that you wrote what you meant.
  6. First of all, you necessarily desire to achieve a goal before you actually achieve it, or else you would not have taken the actions required to achieve that particular goal. Yes, you can desire specific things, but you must take them in context. In other words, you may like a Farrari, but you may not think that it is a greater value than $200,000. Therefore, you would not rationally desire it. That is to say, that when one has a desire, a practical, rational man finds out how he can acquire it. Desires are dependent on that which is required to fulfill them. When taken out of context, I desire two cars instead of one. When taken in context, I do not desire the second car, because that would require my savings, which is of greater value to me than a second car. A rational man is consistent. He has a consistently integrated value system, and he does not desire to create something now that will wipe out greater values at a later time. In a person with an integrated philosophy, no contradictory desires exist, because they are all in the context of how they contribute to his life. 'The present versus the future,' both out of the context of life as a whole, is a dichotomy experienced only by whim-worshippers. That is, their desires are based not with respect to the person's other values, nor how they would affect each other, but rather, on whim. I trust that you did not read her essay, so here is a short excerpt pertaining to your question: *Bear in mind, that she is the only one that can truly explain what she intended. My explanations are only my best understanding of her intent.
  7. Firstly, I disagree that either man A or man B should properly desire to be 'the best man,' as they have ultimately, no control over this. A rational man places all of his desires in the context of reality, and his desires are things that he can attain through his own effort. That is, a man can only control how good he is at a certain task, but not how good the competing men are. To base one's desires on something that is relative is like basing one's desires on a coin flip (the person does not have ultimate control). Clearly, in the coin flip case, the man would be fraught with disappointment and frustration. Too, are men who desire that other men do worse then them (or worse still, desire that they will be rewarded for being inferior!). If a man holds that objectivity and reason are in his interest, without contradiction, then it will also be in his 'best interests' that a better man gets a job above himself. You can not have you cake and eat it, too. On one hand, you can't say that rationality and objectivity are good, but on the other, say that it is in your self interest for that to be ignored until you get the job over better applicants. In your case of market shares, firstly, the mere fact that a person wants more does not say anything about whether it is in his self-interest or not (since desire is not a tool of cognition). And clearly whomever has 49% has failed to meet the qualifications required to attain 51%. Are you suggesting that it would be in his 'best interests' for those qualifications to make an exception? And if objectivity, in this case, objective qualifications, are in his interests, then his getting 51% is not when he only deserves 49%. Perhaps you're saying that he wishes that he had done better (met the requirements), but this is not a conflict of interests, but simply an added incentive for him to do better. In this case, the apple as a goal is taken out of context. A rational man does not have desires that are out of context, namely, 'What is required of me to get this apple before Fred does?' If you fail in that required action, such as walking over and picking it before taking a nap, then I do not believe it is in your self interest to be given it, because you did not fulfill the requisite actions. A rational man only desires the deserved, and he does not detach an object from his means of attaining it.
  8. The center of this argument is the phrase 'interests'. Now, if someone were incompetent, or simply less competent, is it really in his (or anyone else's) best interests that he is chosen to do a job? And, if he is given a job over someone who is more competent, what has he really won? Two rational men have the same interests when entering applying for a job (or competing in any way): That the best man win. If he does not, then winning and losing no longer have meaning, and no one gains in the sense that no one can feel proud about their work or secure in their abilities. The wrongful loser feels resentment, and the improper winner feels like a thief. I think that this also relies on the fact that rational men do not think of themselves primarily in terms of other men, nor is that how they define their ability. So rational men seek to be great, rather than 'better'. And I know that if someone better applies for a job that I also seek, I feel nothing but good will to find someone more capable, not that he has somehow harmed my life with his competence. For a more conclusive (and perhaps even clearer) explanation of this topic, you should consider reading 'The Virtue of Selfishness', as was quoted above.
  9. The values which Ayn Rand referred to were not fictional. Because Romeo and Juliet are fictional characters, does that imply that love is not 'observable in real life'? The reason that people respond so strongly to such characters is because those values are so evident in real life. Likewise, the reason that people respond so strongly to Rand's characters is because of those value's existence 'in reality'. No one has ever committed suicide to protect ones they love? There have been countless stories from the battlefield in which one person will dive on a grenade to save his platoon. In fact, I can send you links to such reports if you would like. I fail to see the purpose of this 'real life evidence,' but perhaps you will choose a different (and more substantial) argument now that I've indulged you.
  10. This post seems to suggest that no one can morally use their own life (even if it ends in death) for the protection of one's own values. Objectivism uniquivocally disagrees with this premise, however. This suggests that one must maintain one's own life for some superficial reason ('God' is typically used here) even after it is no longer enjoyable to live. If living without rights (here, the right to one's own property) is not worth living (as in Soviet Russia, for instance), then one may morally spend one's life in defiance of this tyranny. The only difference is that in this case, there is no place to escape to, like America was for Soviets such as Rand. Ask yourself what Kira would have done if there were no better place than Soviet Russia in the world.