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Skywalker

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  1. It's amazing to me how instantaneously everyone ganged up on the thread starter here. He clearly has an understanding of Objectivist principles, and a desire to implement them properly. If you think he is failing to do so, why not try to explain to him how, since his intentions are obviously good? Why all the hostility toward him simply for questioning? I don't agree with all of what he says, and some of it is clearly inaccurate. But he is obviously trying hard to square Objectivist ethics with reality. How could any Objectivist deny that this is admirable? But I think many Objectivists have a tendency to whitewash American actions. We are not on the level of terrorists - this is self-evident, I believe. But some of the actions of our government have been For example, Andrew Jackson's treatment of the native Americans was genocide. An obvious evil, which killed many more innocents than Osama Bin Laden has managed to so far. But many Objectivists claim this shouldn't be discussed because to do so would be "anti-American." This is silly, and more consistent with the irrational conservatives than supposedly rational Objectivists. Our government, drunk on its own power, has committed actions which are tantamount to terrorism. This does not mean America is an evil nation, or that we are doing these things today. What is so blasphemous about that that statement? How can you contradict it? I also agree with the thread starter's assertion that we do not have the soldiers to take over Iran and Syria. Our only recourse would be to nuke them into oblivion. If that is what you want to advocate, then by all means do so - but don't make the indefensible claim that we could raise WWII-era troop levels without conscription. And be prepared to explain how nuking two countries whose populations oppose their governments is consistent with Ayn Rand's ethics, which says that all individuals have a right to life. I would suggest people try to seriously answer these questions. And while I hate Noam Chomsky, how can you claim that all his statements are lies? I believe he proceeds from real facts; it is his conclusions which are always erroneous.
  2. Kerry is clumsy and uncomfortable discussing his religion. Plus, he's a Catholic, not a "born-again" Christian. At least with Kerry, we know he's only talking about religion to get votes. I don't think his faith is very strong. That line from the book of James is one of the most well known bible quotes, not one of the obscure Old Testament lines Bush quotes to show how intimately he knows scripture. Bush has almost never had a speech where he didn't mention God or Jesus; Kerry only started talking about religion in recent weeks, to get votes. Bad, but not as bad as actually having religion so central to one's life. Simply put, Kerry could never be as bad as Bush on religion. It would pretty much take an Iranian Mullah to top our president in this regard. The other issue is that Bush makes POLICY DECISION based on faith. They went into Iraq because they had "Faith" in outdated intelligence; "faith" that people brainwashed by Islam would want to establish a democratic republic and welcome westerners into their country; "faith" that they had enough troops to secure the country when many military officials disagreed. Faith that a corrupt regime like Pakistan's is a genuine ally in the War on Terror. Faith that North Korea and Iran can be stopped in their nuclear quests through diplomacy and dialogue. The list goes on. You can find plenty of articles on the subject of how many born-agains are in high places within Bush's administration, and how much of a guide "faith" and "gut feelings" are for collection of idiots. People talk about how they like Bush's foreign policy, but if he doesn't have the competence and rationality to implement his ideas within reality, what does it matter?
  3. Nowhere in Dr. Hurd's article is there any evidence that Kerry blamed capitalism for the flu shot shortage. I'm not defending Kerry, just wondering what the heck he's talking about.
  4. Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy ... not only are the characters larger-than-life and the plot very intelligent, the ideas in the book are great. It's pro-individual rights in its condemnations, both implicit and explicit, of slavery and gender inequality; and its pro-free trade stance.
  5. Despite their tactics, is there any validity to the cause of Chechen independence? I'm afraid I can't find much information on that aspect of the situation. From what little I've heard, it sounds like the Russian government under statist Putin oppresses the Chechens, and they have little in common with the rest of Russia. Of course this doesn't justify in any way the actions of the Chechen terrorists ... I'm just curious if the independence would be deserved if it was sought through proper, moral means of resistance.
  6. Why "Teddy Roosevelting" free speech? Bush's speech proposed some serious new spending. With the deficit what it is, I'm extremely wary of such promises to create new government programs. I don't see how Bush is going to keep his tax cuts, continue fighting terrorism abroad, AND spend more on domestic programs. Does anyone agree? At least Kerry admits he'll have to raise taxes somewhat to pay for all of HIS promised spending (not that that makes it more acceptable to tax-and-spend). Also, I still don't think Bush has made a convincing case that Iraq is anything other than altruistic nation-building which has distracted us from the war on terror and even helped the terrorists recruit more angry, hopeless young men to fight us. Since everyone here seems fairly pro-Bush and pro-Republican, I was wondering how you respond to these concerns.
  7. There are two H's in Fahrenheit. I saw the movie with my conservative family; they wanted to poke holes in its arguments, so I tagged along. It occasionally makes a good point - including drawing attention to the Bush administration's pathetic attempt at war in Afghanistan, which didn't ruthlessly eliminate the Taliban and local al-Queda, but instead pussyfooted around and allowed many of our enemies to escape - then botches that point, by making a contradictory statement - in this case, suggesting that Bush failed in Afghanistan because all he cared about was building a gas pipeline, not fighting al-Queda, and that the attack was immoral. The movie has no integrated thesis or argument, it's just "everything Bush has done is bad, including things that contradict each other." I'm no Bush fan, but I can't understand Moore's irrational hatred for the man. Why must he endeavour to prove that the man's every action is evil, when that clearly is not the case?
  8. Here's an interesting article by an Indian writer, attacking the State department's report on terrorism for evading the reality of terrorism in order to court the favor of countries like Pakistan. I'm curious as to people's thoughts on this. I would agree with the author that our government seems intent on focusing on the wrong targets in the fight against terrorism, and conveniently evading the culpability of others for political reasons. Here's the link: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FF16Df03.html
  9. Does anyone think there's hope for former communist countries like Poland and Estonia to become true laizzes-faire free countries? From what I've heard, the people in these countries are fiercely protective of individual rights, especially in the realm of economic freedom.
  10. Kitty Hawk - Inara may use the term "selflessness," but Simon risked his life to save River because of his love for her and her value to him. In Objectivist terms, that is a selfish and noble act. Mal's religion isn't really dwelled upon often, but I think it's clear he's realized believing in God won't help him anymore - it didn't alter the reality of the battle he lost, and he's learned to make his own way instead of putting his faith in "unseen forces" and the like. It's been years since the battle, so I don't think he's just "pouting for a while." However, that is my interpretation and I cannot speak for the writers. It would be annoying if, in the upcoming feature film, Mal "regains his faith," but I don't think it would alter the rugged individualism, bravery, humor and sense of justice that make his character kick so much tail. I'd like to add a little side comment on this issue - My personal opinion is one shouldn't let ideological disagreements ruin one's enjoyment of an otherwise great story (unless of course those disagreements are so great that they eclipse the story's worth; this, however, is not the case with Mal's religion). There are questionable ideas in other great adventures, like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, but that doesn't change the fact that they're both incredible experiences and fantastic stories filled with noble, memorable characters. Oh, also, the Independents aren't really a "society" - they were a coalition of individuals from several worlds, fighting to maintain their own freedom and autonomy in the face of totalitarian Alliance hegemony. If you watch more of the series, especially the episode "Ariel", you'll see just how evil the Alliance can be.
  11. Skywalker

    Fetishes

    AshRyan, thanks for your articulate reply to my questions. I understand your perspective better now, and while I agree that any intentionally degrading sex act is immoral, I maintain that it's difficult to judge such, as different people enjoy different things, and the reasons why are not always clear (this is where science comes in). However, if someone is clearly or explicitly seeking to harm or degrade, this is clearly unethical. (When I say harm, I am including intentional psychological harm under that umbrella.) By the way, I wasn't putting sex on the level of hair combing - I was looking for an everyday, frivolous issue with which to question your contention about every act being analogous to nutrition. If sex was as commonplace and trivial as hair combing, the world would be a very different (and less interesting!) place.
  12. Skywalker

    Fetishes

    AshRyan, can you give me an example of a non-physically harmful sexual act that would be immoral, and the reason why? I am referring to something that is outside what you call the "legitimate range of optionality." A couple additional comments - first, I didn't say there's no sexual act that can be psychologically harmful. I said to attempt to deem certain acts mentally harmful (and thus immoral) amounts to psychologizing, because there is not yet an objective standard for doing so. If you can present a satisfactory one to me, I will change my position. But my opinion is that it is a task for the science of biopsychology, not philosophy. One would have to fully understand why certain things make certain people sexually excited, and be certain that one has complete volitional control over these things. This understanding requires scientific proof. Second, in a tangentially related topic, I didn't say that not every action has an effect on one's life. What I meant to say was - many actions have a NEGLIGIBLE effect. Combing one's hair, for example, cannot be compared to nutrition - its effect on one's being is not worth noting. It is an overstatement to say EVERY action has a significant enough effect on one's well-being to be comparable to proper or improper nutrition. In this context, I see the difference in effect on one's well-being between standard missionary sex, and menage a trois, or a foot fetish, as negligable. Homosexual sex is a broader topic with more issues to consider, but if one looks at the thread concerning it on this site, one will see not a single argument proving it is immoral or psychologically damaging. If you can offer one, I would like to hear it. As for the nutrition issue - Is it immoral to eat a poor diet? What if someone loves hamburgers and french fries? He could make the conscious decision that, because he derives so much pleasure from eating them, he would rather continue eating them and risk heart disease, because his life would be significantly less pleasurable without them. This constitues choosing his own values, and setting his own terms for life. Is it irrational? Perhaps it is immoral to eat carelessly, without regard for one's health, but if one chooses to enjoy a shorter life by eating tasty junk food, rather than living a long life of despised tofu and veggies, that is a rational decision, is it not? Sorry for the long post, AshRyan, but I've respected your opinion on other threads and would fully understand your disagreement with me here.
  13. Skywalker

    Fetishes

    I can't believe everyone's taking this thread so seriously! I thought it was a joke. Who cares if people want to engage in this kind of stuff? It's not "libertarian" to say people can do whatever they want as long as they don't hurt one another, in the privacy of their own bedrooms. No one has made any sort of rational argument to show that any nonviolent sexual practice is immoral. Weird, yes - bukake gives me the creeps - but I don't see how it's evil if it makes people happy, and there's no way to prove that it is. Sex and nutrition are different, because nutrition is a matter of physical health. Eating feces will kill you. Licking someone's feet will not. Sex is too complex to try to place into convenient moral categories. We don't yet understand enough about the biopsychological mechanisms that cause people to like certain things. Any attempt to morally judge nonviolent sexual practices amounts to what Rand called "psychologizing."
  14. Hey there. What are you favorite musical artists? Do you like any non-rock music?
  15. Monmouth county, right off sandy hook. I've been down to that area, Cherry Hill is nice, but it's about an hour and a half from here!
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