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Marc K.

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Marc K. last won the day on September 29 2014

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  1. Innocents dying, ethics

    Yes, Ayn Rand was very clear on this point. The following quote is perfectly clear and concrete -- not an out of context, floating abstraction.
  2. Owning Land?

    Really??? You mean the only thing we've been debating for 3 pages is the word "the"??? Well, OK, this should be easy then. So you would agree then that men have the right to own THE land that they improve and that no one can remove them from that land if they don't want to go, no matter how much more productive those others might be? And that the land owner can charge whatever rent he decides, while, of course, he can force no one to pay such rent? And, of course, since he owns the land, no one can force him to accept a rent lower than what he has decided to charge. Problem solved.
  3. Owning Land?

    There are many things to say, all of which point to Georgism and Objectivism being completely incompatible, to "economic rent" being some sort of anti-concept, to you confusing government force with voluntary free trade and to your continued belief in some sort of intrinsic value to "land". I may take the time to answer more fully but first I would like an answer to the following two questions. First is the one you promised me a reply to earlier: Second is an explanation for your blatant self-contradiction:
  4. Owning Land?

    Can you sum-up, perhaps in one or two sentences apiece, what the problem is (as it pertains to Ayn Rand's position on private property), what his solution is, and since you disagree with his solution, what your solution is please? I don't quite understand why are you directing us to read his book if you disagree with his solution? Perhaps it would be better to just quote the one or two or three paragraphs you think would be useful. No, I haven't read the book and, I'm sorry to say, I probably will not in the near future. I am confident that I understand the proper basis of property rights and many of its applications. I agree with Ayn Rand on the issue, and until someone brings to my attention a legitimate challenge to this understanding I will not be changing my position. What you have said so far hasn't caused me to question what I know to be true. (No disrespect intended). This is too abstract to comment on, you should ground what you are talking about in a real life hypothetical. What is economic rent? And who "gave rise to it"? Let us just use the concept "rent", with which we are all familiar. "They consider"??? Did someone actually use force or not? If so, that is already illegal. When living in an apartment, if you don't pay the rent you voluntarily agreed to, you are the one using force. This is starting to sound suspiciously similar to the libertarian argument against intellectual property: that it is the government using force against the people who actually created the wealth (those who stole the intellectual property of someone else and copied it). This, of course, is just as backwards as the above, and also conforms to the labor theory of value: that value is created, fundamentally, by the muscles. I don't approve of anyone "making" (i.e., using force against) anyone do anything. Producers only have to pay landowners if they agree voluntarily to do so. If you don't want to pay me for the use of my land, then go get your own. Of course then you'll have to do what I had to do to get land. One cannot get land by doing nothing. In a proper society, you can lay a claim by working the land and registering its extent with the government, or you can do some other kind of work and pay for a piece of property (which has already been registered), both are legitimate (and, by the way, an advantage of a division of labor economy). I don't see the problem. Well then don't worry because these are not Objectivist positions. Please forgive me, but I don't think I did change what you said, because I don't see how what you said can mean anything at all if it doesn't refer to "owning land" -- after all, isn't that the title of this thread, which you created? This conversation is starting to get bizarre, it is floating, like your astronaut. So there would still be an earth and we humans would still be living on it but no one would own the land that comprises the earth. If no one owns the land, then why should anyone be paying rent to anyone? You need to see what kind of strange consequences can come from this view ... oh, you do: Wow, please excuse me, but this truly one of the strangest things I've ever heard. I can own my iphone, but I cannot own the aluminum atoms of which it is comprised? So I can own my iphone and not own it at the same time???? Rights and ownership are two different things. Yes, I have a right to work, to earn money, but nobody owes me a job and they have not violated my rights if they don't hire me. But if I earn the money, then it is mine, I own it. Then I further have the right to trade that money for an iphone, but only if someone voluntarily sells it to me. If they do, then I own it and I own the aluminum atoms of which it is comprised. I can keep them and let them sit unused, I can use them and be productive with them, I can dispose of them by throwing the phone in the ocean, or I can trade them to someone else, and then they will own them. If land and aluminum atoms cannot be owned, then nothing can be owned. We all know what a system of no private property leads to: stagnation and death.
  5. Owning Land?

    Since you have linked to this page I decided to have a look. I had suspected that there was a deeper issue associated with your want to deny property rights in land and I think I have found it. From the henrygeorge website cited above: Can we call you a Georgist? If so, then our perspectives and philosophies are quite at odds. You believe that we have an "obligation to society" and that forcible taxation is moral and should be legal. Objectivists are individualists. We believe that every individual is an end in themselves and that they have a moral right to the fruits of their labor, and that no one, most particularly the government, has a right to use force against us. We also don't believe in intrinsic value. "Land" has no value until someone designates it a purpose and performs work on it. Apparently, and correct me if I'm wrong, Georgists want to collect on the value created by someone else for the "good" of society. This is wrong, in the view of Objectivists. Not that you have any obligation to answer, and not that the answer should prevent anyone from having a discussion with you, I am just curious: what is your purpose here? My purpose is discuss the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Will you always be arguing against Ayn Rand from a Georgist perspective? If so, can you identify other fundamental views of hers with which you disagree? Property rights are quite fundamental in a political context but there are other principles of ethics, epistemology and metaphysics which are even more fundamental -- I have mentioned a few above. I will go ahead and answer your other post but I'm afraid we will be constantly at loggerheads with regard to this issue if there are even more fundamental disagreements. But we were talking about the "ultimate" source of property and wealth. Man's basic means of survival is reason. Labor, capital, production, and most certainly creation do not exist without reason. Labor is a necessary condition for production but not a sufficient one. Thinking is labor also, in fact it is the most important part of labor, not one's muscles. This is strictly not true. One can labor and create capital morally without owning land. Without reason -- land, labor and capital are impotent. Shall I call this the argument from nature? I thought I had disposed of it with my first post but let me be more explicit. Your original post contained what I thought looked like a syllogistic argument: to wit: - All property and all wealth is man-made. - Land is not man-made. - Therefore Land cannot be property Which I believe contains an equivocation between "land" and "real estate" and to illustrate the point I countered with aluminum atoms are not man-made and yet they can be owned. Thus the argument from nature (or the not man-made) is defeated. Furthermore, "opportunities" do not exist in nature apart from man's mind. Though I suppose if you don't like this formulation, then we could say that a specific opportunity does not exist apart from the mind that thought of it. There are many answers to this question depending on context or the level of fundamentality you seek. Metaphysically, all life is sustained by action, though I suppose this isn't very satisfying since it doesn't deal with man specifically. Epistemologically, "rights" are one concept and all rights pertain only to action. Ethically, if man wants to live, he must take certain actions in order to sustain his life. Politically, rights are moral sanctions to take those actions, and a proper government is created in order to protect those actions from the interference of others. In regard to property, those actions are the right to keep, use and dispose of your property as you see fit. If someone had a right to a thing and wasn't willing to put in the work needed to gain it, then someone else would have to provide it for them. What would Georgists say? That everyone has a right to "land" (a thing)? Or is it just that everyone has a right to demand "rent" (a thing, money or tax) from those that are putting land to productive use?
  6. Owning Land?

    Is this a reply from Jon Southall? If so, why do you have two accounts and why would you reply to me using a different name? Very confusing. As you parenthetically acknowledge, your usage of "ultimately" above is pretty loose. There is one ultimate source of property: the mind (or intelligence as you say). Be that as it may, the point of my post was to suggest that your usage of the term "land" is just as loose. "Land" meaning: natural, pristine, untouched land; is different from real estate, or worked land, so please be clear to which you are referring. "Land" is a natural resource like bauxite is. Are you arguing that natural resources cannot be owned or that real estate cannot be owned?
  7. Owning Land?

    The aluminum atoms that comprise the body of an iphone were not man-made. What is the origin of an aluminum ownership claim?
  8. You mean as clear as you are here? OK, that was a needle, maybe you are just demonstrating your point, but your point is unclear because of the imprecise wording you use: People are fallible, axioms either describe reality or they don’t, i.e., they are either true or false, ones understanding is either correct or incorrect. The “particular words” you use are important, no matter how much you want to denigrate their usage. So, is this some semantic game I’m playing, as I’m sure you’ll claim, as you have been claiming about Plasmatic? No, it bears directly on the point I was making to ludicious, before you so rudely interrupted. The point is, it makes no sense to talk about “axioms” in general. It is like talking about the shape of the earth. I suppose you would say “well it is probably spherical, though we are fallible, and people did think it was flat for a long time, we must leave room for the possibility that it might be some 5 dimensional shape that we are currently unable to describe.” Being fallible is not a license to be a skeptic. The question is, do the axioms Ayn Rand identified truly describe reality? Even though Ayn Rand was fallible, is she correct in this case? Don’t worry, agreeing with Ayn Rand doesn’t make one dogmatic, nor does it make her a god, you should try it sometime. More equivocation on axioms in general like the “axioms” of Kepler or Descartes, which I suppose allows you to continue to evade the point, even after I had already set the context as Objectivism. The question is, is it possible that the axioms identified by Rand are not axioms? The answer, I’m happy to inform you, is NO!!! It is NOT POSSIBLE!!! There will never be a time that existence doesn’t exist, or that there will be evidence of the non-existence of that same evidence, or that there will be evidence gathered by a consciousness that proves that we are not conscious, or that there will be evidence proving that a thing is itself and not itself at the same time. If Ayn Rand’s axioms are truly axioms, and they are, then even if some later discovery creates a new context in which we know something even more fundamental, that will not invalidate her axioms or their axiomatic nature in this context. You should have learned that from ITOE. It is incorrect and disrespectful to say Isaac Newton was wrong as some skeptics do today. He was right in the context in which he himself described. It is skeptical and unproductive of you to focus so heavily on what Ayn Rand and you might possibly be wrong about in a different Universe since non-knowledge gets you nowhere. Instead, you should spend your time trying to understand the world as it is, and, if you are inclined to Objectivism, to understand and discover what things Ayn Rand got right. Right. So does “existence exists” describe the world as it is? Still no answer from you or ludicious. If everything you know and are certain about depends upon existence existing, it would take the most dogmatic skeptic in the world to deny its certainty. Now you are going to rant and rave and indignantly point out that you said the exact opposite, to wit: But your claims to certainty are contradicted by the other things you write, including in the sentence prior to this one: You don’t even understand what it means to say something is “possible”. To say that the axioms will “probably” never change means that you think it is possible they could. To say that something is “possible” requires at least some evidence, there is NO evidence that the axioms of Objectivism are wrong, NONE. In fact everything we know points to their truth, EVERYTHING. To say that I could be wrong about some unknown isolated fact somewhere is one thing. It is quite another to say that I am wrong about a particular fact. And it is still quite another thing to say that not only am I wrong about everything I think I know, but that everyone is wrong about everything they think they know and that all the gathered knowledge of the ages is wrong. It defies reality and is not true. And no new discoveries or understandings will eradicate any or all past knowledge. That past knowledge will remain true, even if delimited to a restricted context. Which is to say nothing new or provocative, since ALL knowledge is contextual. This is your personal animus toward me showing through again. These phrases, “a priori truth” and “logical necessity” when directed at an Objectivist are insults, which is of course what you meant them to be. Please quote something I said that indicates or even implies that that is what I think? And please be specific. When you are unable to do so I hope you will have the integrity to retract them and apologize. Of course, you left yourself an out by prefacing them with “I’m not sure” and “You seem to be saying”, confirming and hiding behind your skepticism once again. No, it is not possible that I am wrong about the axioms of Objectivism, but I know that is hard for you to accept so leave me out of it, and besides, it is not what I asked. The question is: was Ayn Rand wrong about the axioms? Is her identification of the three axioms correct? Are they true? If so, don’t be afraid, you can be just as certain as she was and I am. Your semi-accusation amounts to a charge of rationalism; that my argument is purely deductive and completely disconnected from reality. Again, I have no idea where you are getting that from. First, I didn’t really make an argument, I mostly asked questions. But, OK, maybe there is some sort of rationalistic implications in my questions. Let’s see, I imply that proper axioms should “describe reality correctly”, I guess that’s not what you are talking about. I ask ludicious if he has “validated [his] knowledge”, which is asking if he has connected his knowledge back to reality, that doesn’t help you. I ask if the axioms “truly describe reality?”, nope, that’s not rationalism. Maybe you are thinking that everyone talks like you, asserting one thing while saying the opposite a little while later as I pointed out above. Perhaps I just assert that things need to be connected to reality but my examples do just the opposite, let’s see: Nope, my example is quite reality based, a slap to the face of a skeptical scientist. How much more real could it get? Maybe that is what you need. Your charge fails on all counts. Moderator indeed, maybe you should moderate yourself. I don’t know where ludicious’s problem is rooted or if he even actually has a problem, perhaps he is mistaken or disagrees with Objectivism or doesn’t understand it. I was busy giving him the benefit of the doubt. Unlike you to me, I was kind to him and not rude in the least. In fact, if you could be bothered to take off your blinders, you would see that I was asking him questions to tease out just these sorts of things; it is called the Socratic method. Letting a person come to a conclusion themselves is one of the most harmless, most beneficent ways of demonstrating a point I know. How is it that you could possibly see the opposite? I know how. Check yourself. And frankly, I find it quite presumptuous of you to be telling other posters how they should argue. That is not your job. It is too bad he has assigned you to be his mouthpiece; he was doing much better on his own. What I would like to know, from either or both of you, is if he still maintains and you endorse his statement that: Is each of the three “points of failure” “equally valid”? In other words, would it be just as logical to start your examination of where the failure is by examining your axioms? Which is what started this whole tete a’ tete.
  9. But they aren't "equally valid", at least not under a completely rational, reality based, fully integrated philosophy. Part of the problem here is talking in generalities. Talking about all "philosophies" and all "axioms" in general, as if they all describe reality correctly and are all equally valid is absurd and obviously untrue. Since we are on an Objectivist forum, why don't we talk about Objectivism. Do you think Ayn Rand's identification of existence, consciousness and identity as the three principle axioms is true? Do you understand her argument? Do you understand why these three are axioms and what the characteristics and identifying features of an axiom are? If so, have you validated this knowledge for yourself? In other words, do you agree and accept that these three are actually axioms and that they truly describe reality? Meaning: there would be no science if existence didn't exist, there would be no science without conscious beings examining what exists, there would be no science if the thing you were examining could be itself and something else at the same time? If so, if you agree with all this, then I don't see how you could accept any evidence that would invalidate that very same evidence. If some "scientist" came up to me claiming to have evidence that I didn't exist, I was not conscious, or that the coffee I was drinking could be a pile of shit, I'm not sure what I would do first, there are too many logical options. I suppose a slap in the face could defeat his entire line of argument quite eloquently. When he protested I would say, protests, slaps, my hand and the two of us don't exist, certainly, neither of us is conscious so we must be dreaming, and anyway, it wasn't actually a slap, it was a kiss.
  10. Art-Deco (Objectivist) paint scheme for a trailer home

    I like art deco but I don't think there is such a thing as "Objectivist style" or an "Objectivist paint scheme". While color is always important, to me, art deco is more about textures, patterns and designs. I would concentrate on assembling some details or accents of art deco style that you like, and then match the final paint scheme to the details. In addition, I would try to gather inspiration from other things art deco, like: buildings (the Chrysler Building), bridges (the Golden Gate), diners, posters, trains, campers (the airstream I think it is called), lamps, ceramic tiles, ceiling tiles, stained glass ... Do a google search on all of these terms and "art deco" and you will see thousands of images and websites. Some art deco details I like: - Check out these beautiful ceramic tiles - I absolutely love tin ceilings, check these ceiling tiles out - Here are some images of house numbers - There are art deco light fixtures - There are art deco planters on ebay To be more specific, when I think of art deco and a building of your scale, I think of a sleek, stainless steel diner. Now, obviously, you don't want your home to look like a diner, but you can take some cues from that design esthetic. I would do something with the ceiling tiles from above (they come in many different finishes, if you click on one and scroll down you'll find them like on this page). I thought of putting them on the bottom of your trailer, and that probably could be done if you found a pattern in the right scale, but I suspect it would be too busy. So then I thought of just plain stainless steel sheets; maybe 1' x 2' laid out like bricks in a running bond pattern; maybe even with pvc moulding in between to simulate "grout". If that is too expensive then perhaps you can find a salvage yard in your closest city with salvaged stainless siding from an old diner. I do think the ceiling tiles would go really well on the upper part "roofline" of your trailer. I might put a 3 or 4 inch black framing around your windows and doors (you should either match doors or get rid of the second door). Then, perhaps, I would pick a nice ceramic tile from above (or again salvage) and apply them to the corners of the framing. Or maybe you just save it to go around the door. Some nice wrought iron step from the salvage yard would look nice. Then choose an art deco color like a muted green or blue for the main body. Your yard should be immaculate with shaped plantings and nice planters. There is much more to say. Have fun.
  11. Here is an article from the past week essentially saying that some scientists have evidence that free will is an illusion, that free will doesn't exist. Do you think that such a thing could ever be proven? Let us say that some "scientists" do "prove" that free will is an illusion. Should we take them seriously? Why or why not?
  12. The Golden Rule as a basis for rights

    CriticalThinker: Your last several posts on this subject (innocents in war) are in complete accord with Objectivist principles and doctrine. I am in complete agreement with your answers, characterizations and examples. However, I think you do your argument a disservice by introducing the concept of the "emergency situation", to wit: From the Lexicon: Certainly war creates conditions under which human survival is impossible. However, it isn't unchosen (by the aggressor) and thus not unexpected, nor is it limited in time. The point is that one has a choice about whether to be aggressive or not. And the fact that an aggressor is objectively wrong is what gives your moral argument all of its weight. The lifeboat is an amoral situation, meaning, there is no right answer, no right or wrong, any action you take might be appropriate. You have the right to defend yourself, but so do the others in the boat. In war, as you have been properly arguing, there is a right answer, a universal principle: DO NOT INITIATE FORCE. If someone has initiated force against you, you have the right to defend yourself, to use force in retaliation against those who initiated it. The guys who initiated the use of force have no right to defend themselves, they have forfeited their rights. Their only option is to stop initiating force and surrender immediately. Anyway, continue on, you are doing a great job, just leave out emergencies, you don't need them.
  13. In other words, the individual doesn't matter, only the collective does?
  14. Critique of voluntary taxation

    Interesting how when given a choice between two descriptions you chose the one labeling yourself as evasive. Thank you for acknowledging the truth. Besides, you admitted defeat before the moderators got involved. First with your childish tantrum and then with this: Essentially saying: "I don't know what I'm talking about so read this other person's post, I agree with them even though I don't understand it."
  15. Critique of voluntary taxation

    It is good to finally hear you acknowledge that you think the government should be allowed to initiate force against its citizens. But now you want to pretend that that was Ayn Rand's position? No matter how many times she explicitly said no to that proposition? It would be far too kind of me to call an evasion of that magnitude chutzpah. Here is Ayn Rand's actual position: "[...] But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his." -- Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, pg. 183 -- From the Lexicon Oh, and for your edification, she wrote the last sentence in that quote just for you: it is the definition of anarchy. No one here is advocating anarchy except you. Ignored? Yes, ignored and evaded. What a pathetically weak response. I will take it as your acknowledgment that: - You are ok with treating everyone like a criminal. - You are ok with putting a rational, hard working person in jail for doing nothing. - You want to abrogate rational, objective thought and outlaw independent thought altogether. Can you please settle the argument and tell us which you are: an anarchist or a communist? Well, Ayn Rand wasn't eight years old either so she would never write what you have written here. Nor would she call an argument "self-evident". In fact she said: "Nothing is self-evident except the material of sensory perception." [from the Lexicon]. Ayn Rand wasn't an anarchist because every principle she ever discovered pointed away from it. You, however cannot say the same thing. I could say that in principle you support and defend anarchism and in a sense I'd be correct, though inaccurate. Because here, as everywhere else on this forum, you show an inability (or unwillingness) to think in principles. All you have to say about anarchism is that it is "unworkable". Meaning that if it was workable you'd be for it. In other words you have no principled objection to anarchism, but whether that is because you are an anarchist or a pragmatist is up for debate. Everyone can see what you are doing here, it is called: avoid, deflect, evade. There is no logical way you for you to defend your position that objective laws require the government to initiate force or that individual rights can be protected only by violating them. These positions are self-contradictory!!! So what you do is pretend that those of us standing on the principle that civilized society requires the initiation of force to be outlawed are somehow advocating the opposite. I'll call it the argument from defeat and it is reprehensible and as childish as pretending someone said something they didn't and then arguing against it by calling it "retarded". What a joke. I was going to recommend that you give up while you still have a shred of integrity left but it is too late for that.
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