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jimdevine

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  1. I have a different take on this series. I started watching House halfway through the first season by accident, my first reaction was positive and I became an immediate fan of the early characters personality. While I still watch the show my view has changed and I have developed somewhat of a conspiracy theorist view of the shows motivation. The character of House seems to intentionally come across (at least to me) as someone’s, colored and of course flawed notion of how Objectivists can seem to the vanilla culture of emotionalism. There seems to be an intentional plot to “correct” him by the other characters who consider themselves friends and working in his best interest. I have been leaning the past couple seasons toward the notion that the eventual result will be the “salvation” of House as he learns to become more acceptable to others and allows his emotions to take a greater control than his rational mind. However, whenever we see House seeming to waver towards consideration of their arguments and possibly having some internal self doubt as to whether they may be right he always turns out to be a step ahead and rejects the “lesson” or never was really buying in but using it as part of his game of screwing with their heads. While the formulaic style of each episode has become a bit predictable the sub plots keep me interested enough to watch. I definitely suspect that if the show runs long enough and to any conclusion it will be that the character will learn the error of his ways and become more “human”. This "lesson" might be a veiled attack on rationalism if not Objectivism specifically. Then again like I said it is a conspiracy theory. I’ve quite enjoyed the considerable interchange here. To throw in my own very simplistic view: Give everyone the benefit of the doubt upon meeting and always use common courtesy. There is after all a value proposition in common courtesy. An immediate dislike, does not call for broadcast or confrontation and you have no moral obligation to announce your feelings.
  2. I really enjoy these posts, they are very revealing of the level of world knowledge (and lack of it) held even by what one might assume to be well educated and intelligent people. I'll give you some real world insight. My father fought in WWII and was present at the liberation of concentration camps. All concentration camps were used as forced labor for the war effort. It is naive to consider that weapons are the only tools needed in war. Besides being transported to civilian factories (which were profitable businesses and not government industries BTW) to work on weapons systems, concentration camp inmates also made many items used in the war effort like clothing for troops or building military installations, unloading trains, anything where bodies were needed. Russian POW's were also use as slave labor. To my knowledge no concentration camp was intentionally targeted. Legitimate industry targets were though and no doubt many of these inmates died in bombing raids. Their deaths were and are regrettable, though not preventable except by the Nazi party and those German citizens who followed along and did nothing. I have served in 2 branches of the US Military and have 3 Honorable discharges, I have traveled the world as both a member of that military defending the Constitution and as a private citizen and businessman. I can tell you there is not one better alternative to this country including our closest allies and fellow democratic nations. I am not saying perfect, I am stating no better. Yes you could live comfortably in many places, but never have the same level of individual rights and freedom available here. In all this discussion I have only seen the word victim used once. Those living in a region ruled without their consent and enslaved by force are as much victims as those who went to their deaths seat belted in passenger jets on Sept 11. or died in all concentration camps or killing fields ever created. I would like to think that most humans when given the opportunity to fight against an oppressive force would do so, I am however not that naive. We who live our entire lives with the ability to speak our minds have little comprehension of what thousands of years of duty to the state, be it a dictatorial individual or royal family or a cadre of mystics ruling in the name of unseen deities, does to free will. It is naive to believe everyone who lives in a totalitarian or even a free society understands the basic concepts of free will. In order to make informed choices there needs to be an understanding of choice. You can not place an arbitrary guilt on a populace to justify their deaths. In fact you need not bother. The actions of the ruling state are in fact responsible for any defensive retaliation, with them lies the only guilt. Those killed or injured are as much victims of that state as any action the state took against them directly. What's missing here is the understanding that all people do not have the volitional will to comprehend resistance. The points of guilt or innocence are moot since no choice is possible. Though this was the prevalent situation in the world for most of human history, the situation has changed dramatically in the past 200 years. Most countries no matter how closed do get news of the world outside. Concepts like democracy and individual rights are known so the level of personal culpability has risen, it is not however as deeply ingrained as in the relatively few and very recent (on a historical perspective) democracies in the world. So here we have a greater moral imperative to acknowledge when we are rationalizing actions as opposed to acting rationally. This brings me to the level of discussion around "government". There seems to be a general use of the word to describe the current ruling parties and their policies. In fact our government, the government of the United States is that which is described by the Constitution of The United States. That document which defines a government of and by the People is the foundation of our freedom and our ability to rule ourselves. The opinions expressed here tend to be about disagreements with the policy of this and recent administrations yet the language does not differentiate between the form of government and its application. If we are to assign or accept any guilt or moral responsibility lets make sure we also accept that we are not victims if we fail to use the power given us as individuals to hold orderly revolutions on a regular basis and vote for that which we believe to be the proper form. Only we who have the birth right to govern ourselves can fail in that obligation. Taxes, are not wrong, the mis-application of taxation is. We have never voted in legislatures who opposed excessive or inappropriate taxation and use of taxes so we as a community live under a legal tax system. Defense is not wrong, but if we vote in an aggressive administration we must deal with the consequences. I am not morally responsible for illegal acts committed by the current authority even if I voted for them. I am only responsible for failing to act on what my conscience says is actionable. States have no brain or will, states reflect the will of those who rule. If our state is not reflecting our will we must move to remove the leadership and try again. We may not agree with the actions of those we replace, but unless those actions are considered illegal we have no associated blame other than that of having put them in a position to commit the act in the first place. Still this is more a regret than real guilt. Anyone who advocates change to the U.S. form of government is at least seditious and at most a traitor. I would like to think that most Americans understand that there is a difference between the elected and appointed officials and our form of government. Many do not see any difference. The "government" that went to war in 1941 and the "government" who decided to go into Iraq (either time) are wholly different, the system that they worked under however is the same. The "government" that decided to illegally prevent the dissolution of the Union was noth the same as the one that initiated the seperation from England in 1776 (under a different system I might ad). When speaking of these things please keep in mind that your Constitutional state is your guarantee of life, liberty and the pursuit of your personal happiness and the "government" is whoever is enforcing or making current policy and law. Speaking against the current powers that be if fine if you have an issue, speaking against the American system is wrong and definitely immoral unless you have a much better way... "Cutting off your nose to spite your face will just make you talk funny, it doesn't make anything actually smell better..."
  3. As to slave labor and building munitions, see "Shindlers List"
  4. I respectfully disagree. To be an Objectivist is to live the philosophy not to worship it or the individual who named it. This is my issue. A philosophy of the individual can not be regulated by any organized group or set of rules. Though I agree she defined Objectivism I disagree Rand is it's creator. One might describe the makeup of an atom or discover a new principle in physics but that does not mean they invented the atom or the principles they find. I think it a very hard concept for some to admit that people may have lived a rational philosophy prior to Rands lifetime. I generally dislike pointing to her fiction for examples as the epistemology generally works better, but it does help to see what she was thinking. Rands Objectivist characters are arch-typical and so are good examples of her though process concerning the philosophy. Roark and Galt were born Objectivist, that is to say they sprung fully formed and nowhere is it even hinted that either character went off to study philosophy to have the rational views they lived by. Therefore it must have been in Rands mind that there were individuals who indeed naturally lived objectively with rational self interest as their philosophy without the aid of a formal organized movement or philosophy professors to open their minds to it. Again these characters are meant to be archetypes and not the norm so I grant that perfect knowledge and execution such as they exhibited would be impossible. As to the "Package Deal" I may be misunderstanding your meaning. Rand would never sanction package deal thinking. Objectivism is indeed a personal philosophy, but it is not just Ayn Rand's personal philosophy. She herself knew that over associating her rather than the tenets of Objectivism was a bad road to follow. I doubt any true practitioner of Objectivist philosophy would ever regard Rand as some Godhead to worship nor her works as some holy word to be followed blindly. The idea of being rational precludes that. Again Objectivism is a philosophy not a religion. The titles Randite or Randian tend to grate and are used by critics and the irrational. So I can and will call myself an Objectivist because it is the best description to externalize my way of life, should it ever be associated with a political party or become more cultlike in it's asperations I would disasociate myself from the term as the definition will have been changed regardless that the actual philosophy is intact. I would rather be what I am than to seem to be something based on titles. Cheers JD
  5. According to the forum rules I may not. Suffice to say though that the two major institutions are the subject of a major and well publicized split in organized Objectivism (if you can really have such a thing). I am not trying to be difficult or intetionally obtuse, as a guest on this board I have an obligation to respect it's stated boundries.
  6. I understand the German economy has been stagnant of late, but I have seen nothing to indicate it will fail. The ongoing failure of socialism is to be expected with all the associated pain it will cause. My question would be: Are the common misconceptions, ignorance and perceptions that allowed the introduction of the Nazi party the exception or the rule in modern Germany? Would the outcry for intensified socialism lead to a hardline government which would return to an East German style rule? Or would the overgrowth of socialism simply lead to a breakdown and failure of the goverment and economy needing a bailout from the EU and America? If it happens soon Lee Iococa might be able to be the spokesman for the bailout! He has become very active with Chrystler again... Sorry couldn't resist.
  7. I've been an acknowledged Objectivist for 31 of my 47 years, prior to that I still accept I was an Objectivist in nature if not in name. My becoming an Objectivist predates most Objectivist organizations and publications (excluding Rand's collective and publishing/speaking efforts). I have never thought of my Objectivism as belonging to any group, religion or subset of my society. The philosophy stands on it's own regardless of it's namer and most effective champion. I truly believe Objectivism is an individual way of living and not an organized group, religion or political party. I truly believe that among the earliest primates to one day become homosapiens that there were those who lived rationally and were more than likely the first to harness fire or figure out the creation of tools. In all this time I have never understood how a philosophy based on individual self interest could spawn religion style groups, institutes or centers that behave like the very institutions they would point to as a catalyst for unreasoned selfless abandon of reality and gang up on each other in similar quests for power over others minds. Though it is named and described in the 20th century Objectivism was neither created from the dust or formed fully from a single thought. To attribute any divine inference to the author is to degrade the message. I've been posting to BBS and Web based chats for over 20 years now so I understand that you find many diverse and critical even hateful personalities as well as honest and rational thinkers. My visits to sites claiming to be Objectivist in nature are few and far between as they generally end up tearing themselves apart or disappearing for lack of interest or funding or I find a lot of those confused people who mistake Rand's fiction for a guide to their own lives. So my question and my possible rational for reviewing and participating on this site: Is Objectivism a personal philosophy or an organized belief system? Do we have the free will to rationalize for ourselves or are we bound in biblical style to the words of the author? My personal stance is that not all can be known of living objectively because not all is known of life. We must use reason to adapt to change. We must never deny reality especially if reality changes. If open and free exchange is our capital then we can never devalue the currency by restricting when, how or what can be traded.
  8. I am not surprised most chose to question the question rather than just answer it. I will, despite the obvious fact that ValJean is simply looking for an excuse for denial. I will answer and base my answer on the assumptions made that in this case religion = a spiritual belief system including a Deity. and that the individual in question has an understanding of rational self determination. No: It is never rational to follow a course that is harmful. In order to follow "some religion" one must accede to its dictates. In order to do that one must be willing to deny the rational over the assumed. To the extent that other forms of happiness are jeopardized. Denial of rational truth over assumed truth would lead to conflict, and conflict is not conducive to happiness, therefore simple belief may give some level of comfort but that comfort would then be denigrated by reality. Happiness (taken here to mean a state of mind) is not a steady state of being and reality is, so the continual flux would eventually force a psychological break wherein the mind would need to rationalize (in the worst sense of the word) the contradictions and would retreat to a state of denial, in effect establishing a fantasy to explain away truth and reality. Granted this state of denial might generate the allusion of a happy state but delusion of happiness is counterintuitive to reason and you established that the subject is a rational being. In essence your example is simply that of another rational person who lacking the courage to live on their own terms as an individual seeks the solace of the crowd and accepts the torture of conformity over the freedom of purpose. Now my question is "is it rational a man should eat mass quantities of Little Debbie Fudge Rounds simply because they make him happy...???"
  9. There is a definite Objectivist influence on the writing for House. The character played by Chi McBride is a very Gail Wynand type of characterization. He portrays a person who has scarified his self for power. He tries to break House because he recognizes aspects of House's ethics and personality that he feels are impossible for anyone to maintain. He does not believe anyone is capable of being ethical and takes pleasure in proving it. Unlike the Wynand character though Vogler is not drawn to House as a symbol of how he could be. This is because House unlike Rands characters is not meant to be a symbol what she determines to be the best in man. House is heroic but not 100% sure of himself. This is the appeal. many will watch in rapt expectation that House will somehow be "saved" from his selfish hell. I think those who expect that House is a tortured soul in need of salvation will be disappointed. I for one am glad to see that people are still drawn to rational shows that make you think, unfortunately the track record is that shows of this type while initially popular get yanked once TV executives think the audience is being expected to use their grey matter too much.
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