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Everything posted by DonAthos

  1. We ought to repeal all anti-discrimination laws (those which affect the "private sector," at least) -- and sure, we could have a "Bigot Town" insofar as most of the people who live in a particular community are bigots. But there could be nothing particular about that Bigot Town instituted in law; anyone living there who wished to deal in a non-discriminatory fashion could do so, including selling their property to (for instance) non-whites, or marrying non-whites, or hiring/serving non-whites, etc. Without those sorts of legal barriers to action, I don't know how long a Bigot Town could exist as such, especially given the modern economy, ease of transportation and communication and so forth. Could such a system be more effectively arranged through a complex series of contractual or licensing/leasing agreements? Perhaps. But if it could, to the extent that it could, I expect it would be an utter disaster. And the people who would participate in such a thing would not long be able to sustain themselves or a community (let alone exercise political power in any rational fashion). Such a community would also be ruthlessly ostracized by the rest of society -- and rightly so. Tribal nations within the US are a very particular historical artifact and not something to be emulated for the sake of supporting white nationalist fantasy (or black nationalist fantasy, for that matter, or any other). We aren't giving neo-nazis special permission to run casinos, either. The current creep of fascism/tribalism into even the Objectivist community is... well, probably to be expected, given everything, but still disheartening.
  2. While I agree with Van Horn that there is no "intrinsically good action" -- which obviously includes "being early" -- I find the implicit suggestion interesting that this company looked upon being early as a kindness or a favor. I think it's far more likely (as it dovetails with my own experience) that the company/driver did not care much at all about Van Horn's schedule or request, and that the driver was simply operating at his own convenience. And I am not as confident as Van Horn is, that a late delivery would have automatically triggered either a warning or an apology. I've experienced late deliveries, and early deliveries, and delayed deliveries, and missing deliveries... but I don't know that I've ever had a service (let alone a driver) volunteer an apology. It may be that in a more rational culture, businesses would interact in a certain way with their clients and customers... but in the here and now, I find that many of them are as irrational and unpleasant to deal with as the worst elements of the culture as it stands. Being in business does not appear to convey any particular virtue.
  3. So, I just today finished reading Barbara Branden's biography of Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand, and I have to say, I don't really understand why it caused a furor in the Objectivist community (or so I have been told as I was not around to witness the reception firsthand). Maybe it's a generational thing, belonging to a very specific time and place, but could anyone with the experience I lack help me to understand the nature of the controversy? What was it about Rand's portrayal that was so questionable (for I can only conclude that this must be the issue in some respect), and why was whatever it was so significant? So far as I can tell, there is no aspect to Objectivism that is challenged -- or could be challenged -- by Rand's personality or personal history, so why should I get worked up about such details in the first place?
  4. I don't know the extent to which this is potentially subject-specific, or "compartmentalized," but you are being deeply dishonest. I cannot help you with that. Whatever respect you claim to have for reason should provoke you to reflection.
  5. Alex Jones is worthless, except as a case study of a dying culture. But the discussion in this thread inspires me to recommend two books I've read recently: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan and Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen
  6. People will have pre-developed arguments against the boat/trespass argument, I'd imagine, but I believe you're on the right track. The way I've come to think about this is: imagine, as Boydstun suggests, that in the future, fetuses can grow/develop entirely outside of a mother's body. When we begin, with a fertilized egg, we will not have a human being -- we will not have an entity with rights. That egg will develop, the cells will divide, and it will pass through the various stages, zygote, embryo, blastocyst, fetus. At some point, we will have a human being -- an entity with rights, and presumably entitled to the protections thereof. At the beginning of the process, the fertilized egg is property, and should the mother want it terminated, we would offer neither moral nor legal objection. At some point later, a person will have developed from that fertilized egg and it will no longer be property. This can clearly be seen at, say, three years of age -- the three year old is not property, and should the mother want it terminated (and act in any capacity to achieve this), we would throw her in prison with warranted disgust. So there is a point between the absolute beginning and, say, three years, where we would allow that this is an individual human being. Our question becomes, what is that point? In earlier discussions on this same topic, I believe I've related it to the development of a rational capacity (i.e. the development of the architecture of the brain such that reason is possible to the entity). The broader point is that, how we treat the entity at any stage, in reason, it depends upon what it is, in fact; it is a question to be settled by science. My lay guess is that this point is not precisely forty weeks, but at some point earlier.
  7. Yes, and it was magnificent. Indeed. I don't know how else to square your responses in this thread. Do I really need to recap them? (Technically you should be able to read them over again for yourself, but I don't know that I can trust you to do that honestly, either.) You argued that people should not be allowed to advocate for socialism; I questioned whether that was consistent with Objectivism (or at least with Rand's views), and I provided quotes to demonstrate that Rand supported free speech, specifically including that for communists/socialists. In direct response, you claimed consistency with Rand and that you were not arguing against free speech. The implicit dishonesty involved in such a thing is just staggering. I don't know whether "Orwellian" or "Trumpian" would be more damning, but they both apply -- it is doublethink, pure and simple, on par with 1+1=3. A month on, fresh off of a vacation, and I'm still blown away by it. So I'll put it this way: perhaps it goes too far to say that you have zero respect for reason (how could I possibly know such a thing to such a degree?)... but if you do have any respect for it, that respect will drive you to understand your incredible error, and the disregard for reason and reality it conveys, make amends for it, and try to root it out from all future conversation -- because it is the kind of error that renders all such conversation worse than worthless (to say nothing of what it portends for your thinking).
  8. The country isn't "our property"; property is not owned by a collective. Defense of a "border" only makes sense insofar as it is the defense of individual rights, but there are also ways to "defend the border" which amount to the violation of individual rights. Telling immigrants seeking jobs that they may not cross the border to do so, for instance, is not any defense of right, in reason, but it is the violation of right and the initiation of the use of force. (And because I've had this conversation enough times to know the next tack, yes it is valid to screen at the border for criminals, etc.)
  9. I cannot. There's nothing wrong about debating the nature of threats, of itself. It's a good topic and well worth exploring... but in this context, here and now? It's hard enough to do all of this when everyone is coming from a sincere place, because philosophical disagreements can be supremely difficult to explore; but intellectual dishonesty makes it impossible. It's frankly embarrassing for me to even bring myself to this reply, but when you see something like I'd quoted here: "The communists and the Nazis are merely two variants of the same evil notion: collectivism. But both should be free to speak—evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas," and your response to that is to say that your expressed opinion (that the advocacy of socialism should be illegal) is consistent with hers -- as though she was speaking of socialists and Nazis discussing the weather, perhaps, and not advocating their ideas -- well... to continue as though you have any respect for the spirit of reason that Objectivism rests upon, above all else, would be me being dishonest with myself. I don't know whether the issues are laid out clearly enough for the honest observer, though I've done what I can.
  10. I would take greater pains to disagree with you on this point, but it would mean to delve into the nature of a "threat" and why, for instance, the police would (rightly) take action to defend your property against a burglar who has drawn up plans on breaking into your home, and set a date for it in his calendar, but not some political theorist arguing that such things as burglary ought be permissible, or that private property is immoral, or that A does not in fact equal A. Of course, we can see the underlying philosophical connection between all of these things -- and that connection is both real and meaningful -- yet they are not the same, and cannot be treated the same, in the name of justice. One is the initiation of force (yet still a "threat"; no violence has occurred) and the others are not. Apart from this gesture towards the ensuing argument we might have had, I'm exhausted (which I find happens faster and faster for me, more and more often), so I'll leave it here. Yet can we at least agree at this point that you are at odds with Objectivism (or at least as Ayn Rand understood it)? It is fine to disagree with Rand and/or Objectivism (as I myself sometimes do), but in the event we should endeavor to recognize it. For your consideration: Speaking on pornography in "Censorship: Local and Express": Do you note how the word "any" is italicized. That's not my addition; it's in the original. Why do you suppose she emphasized "any"? What does she mean by it? She was talking about a different topic, granted, but then (from The Objectivist Calendar, 6/78): Now perhaps you have a notion that things today are worse than ever -- worse than Rand could possibly have imagined -- as you'd perhaps suggested when you wrote, "At some point you have to recognize a national emergency and do what needs to be done to right the ship." But it's worth remembering that Rand lived through the rise of Nazism and World War II, (relatively) powerful American Nazi and Communist Parties, the domestic chaos of the 1960s, and so on, not to mention the fact that she herself survived and escaped the Russian Revolution. If she had concluded that men should not be free to advocate for evil ideas, on the basis of all she had personally experienced and witnessed, I would have sympathy and understanding for her position, yet I would continue to disagree with it. But Rand, happily, was better than that, and more consistent in applying her core ideology, writing (in "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion'"): Lest you believe that Rand was "using the libertarian NAP" to "dig her own grave," as you have accused me of doing when I've quoted her elsewhere, I should stress that she was rather explicating her philosophy of Objectivism, wherein we recognize reality and then treat things as they are. The difference she is pointing to, between "an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows," is both real and meaningful. Yet that is the very thing you suggest we ignore, or pretend were not so: in this context, for the sake of denying the rights of immigrants... and eventually, everyone else. And speaking of "context," many people here would do well to better examine the real world context of restrictions against immigration, including the motivations of several current proponents and historical episodes, and their actual, real-world consequences. These sorts of suggestions are never received well; they are always taken as some sort of personal accusation, but I do not mean to accuse anyone of anything (save one or two exceptions, I don't care about anyone in this forum sufficiently to fret about their underlying character, for better or worse). Yet it seems to me that many arguments are made in relative ignorance of the actual context surrounding these matters; matters which are truly life and death for some.
  11. I have nowhere advocated "allowing socialists to take over the government." Yes, no one here likes socialism. Neither do I like the idea that someone may be subject to force on the basis of their "belief." Rather, I believe in retaliatory force. But belief (even belief in socialism) is not the initiation of the use of force. Because socialists are human beings with individual rights. As an Objectivist, I believe in liberty, which here means that I only respond with force when force has been initiated by another. A socialist who has not initiated force against me has every right to live his life. I'm not "using the libertarian NAP"; I am referring to foundational Objectivist principles and quoting Ayn Rand to demonstrate that fact. Also, immigration, or crossing a border generally, is not the same thing at all as "citizenship" (whatever that is held to entail). It is not the same as suffrage or being eligible to run for President or participation in governance, generally. It is possible to have different requirements for immigration versus "citizenship" (and in fact, the US does have different requirements currently). This serves to highlight one of my central contentions: that immigration is a red herring. If advocating for socialism today is the initiation of force, then it doesn't matter whether we're discussing Mexico, the United States, or the border between them; if it is the initiation of the use of force, then it ought to be illegal and it ought to be met with retaliatory force, everywhere. Further -- as sincere philosophical thought often requires drawing careful distinctions -- it must be noted that there is yet a difference between "believing in socialism" (or "being a socialist," generally) and advocating for it, in whatever form that advocacy might take. But no, I cannot agree that advocating for socialism in the present-day United States (e.g. via conducting an essay contest on The Communist Manifesto, as a means of spreading those ideas) constitutes the initiation of physical force. Someone currently advocating for socialism must be dealt with by means of reason and persuasion, not violence. I don't know whether it was particularly "easy" for Rand (I suspect not, actually), but I do believe that's more-or-less precisely what she said (again, from "The Nature of Government"): It is, you're right. It's an abstract idea, a principle -- one of those principles that constitutes Objectivism, and fundamentally so, I would argue. This isn't true only in a democracy, it's true in all forms of government (and also beyond; irrationality is a threat, generally, and if people are ruled by irrational philosophy, they are potentially a grave danger -- so should we consider all forms of irrationality, or their advocacy, to be the initiation of the use of force?). This is why we mean to combat other peoples' bad ideas with our good ideas. But part of that is acting in a manner consistent with our good idea that one may never initiate the use of force. The moment we start making exceptions, we have lost a lot more than whatever it is you believe we have gained.
  12. All right. Let me say initially that I don't think there's any inherent conflict between "creating objective rules that protect rights" and "to respond with force against those who initiate it." In terms of "consistency with Objectivism" (which is one measure I'm happy to discuss, for obvious reasons; but the more important measure is accord with reason and reality), I believe that the purpose of government is to eliminate force from society -- via restricting the use of force to retaliation only. "Government" then is that body (or that aspect) charged with that task, and empowered to use retaliatory force -- again for the purpose of eliminating force from society. Thus, this gives us the standard against which we can assess "objective rules that protect rights": those objective rules must be designed and deployed as retaliatory force against those who have initiated it. In fact, that is what it means "to protect rights." Again, for the sake of testing "consistency with Objectivism," here is Rand (from "The Nature of Government"): I think this lines up with what I've said? But to clarify, let's highlight a portion or two: "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships" -- this provides us with our purpose. Our purpose is to bar physical force from social relationships. For instance, if a man in Tijuana wishes to patronize my store in San Diego, we wish to bar those who would use physical force to prevent that man from so doing. And government is proposed as "the means" of doing this, of barring physical force from social relationships. But how can government accomplish this? Also through force, with this key distinction: government's use of force must be retaliatory. Otherwise, government is itself introducing physical force to social relationships. And then, government cannot deploy its retaliatory physical force in any haphazard manner, but it must be "under objective control." So "objectively defined laws/rules" are important, but they must be directed towards the protection of rights and that means the use of retaliatory force against those who initiate it, and only those. Thus, if "a government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control," then yes, I believe "to respond with force against those who initiate it" is something like an accurate shorthand, though it could stand elaboration (though I would expect it to be uncontroversial enough on an Objectivist forum -- if not for the experiences I've already had on Objectivist fora ). The just application of retaliatory force, in reality, requires some sort of procedure. For instance, in our retaliation, we must take steps to ensure that the individual against whom we mean to retaliate has actually initiated force; it would be a tragedy (and very often is, in fact) if we were to "retaliate" against the innocent. This forms the broad justification for governmental/police powers of investigation -- it is the procedure required to apply retaliatory force with justice, against those who have initiated it, and only these. Just as the purpose of government informs our application (in terms of laws, etc.; i.e. that they must be geared to protect rights), so does our purpose of procedure inform our application of that procedure. We may rightly hold people for trial without knowing their innocence or guilt, because such a trial (or whatever our best current methodology allows) is necessary for the purpose of determining innocence or guilt, and thereafter applying retaliatory force with justice. Yet we must only do just that, and endeavor to hold such people only so long as absolutely necessary and warranted in reason. I cannot make these kinds of decisions, because they are technical and wholly context dependent, requiring great expertise; I cannot necessarily tell you what's "too long" in a given case, apart from giving my layman's "sense" of it -- though I feel no less strongly in some cases for it. (For instance, we currently have prisoners at Guantanamo who are apparently being held indefinitely -- in some cases for... seventeen years? Wretched.) And this is the same sort of ground covered by police detaining, search and seizure, etc. We hold people for trial, yet it must be a "speedy trial"; we allow for search and seizure, but they must not be "unreasonable." Violations of these procedural rights and protections is equally as criminal as those initiations of force we otherwise mean to prevent. Indeed, they are the initiation of force. The same holds for the border. It's fine to inspect those who intend to pass and to probe into their history, insofar as we are able, in reason, to determine whether they should be granted passage (either as a tourist or potential resident), and to bar those who are criminal, terrorist, diseased, etc., but our methodology at the border must be guided by the same rights-respecting considerations as the rest of our procedures. No more and no less than that. As far as "more stringent rules for immigrants," it's important to know what specifically we have in mind, to respond appropriately -- but no, having some "belief in socialism," say, is not the initiation of force and does not warrant retaliatory force (e.g. being barred from traveling from Tijuana to San Diego to shop at my store... or buy a condominium). Taking action to subvert democracy and install a socialist dictatorship, however, might: equally on the streets of San Diego, Tijuana, or at the border.
  13. A person is entitled to any beliefs at all, here or anywhere else. It's not a question of beliefs, but activities. One person may violate the rights of another through force or "activity," not "belief." Imagining that Jews are evil is a belief. Not a good belief to hold, but not an illegal one, either; not one that justifies retaliatory force (because: believing that Jews are evil is not, itself, the initiation of the use of force). But the scenario you'd proposed consists not merely of beliefs, but activities -- purported to kill Eiuol/Objectivists within a year. Those activities -- the activities necessary to overthrow a rights-respecting government and install a dictatorship -- ought to be illegal (and what you've described might be construed as a kind of criminal conspiracy). But that's true whether we're talking about people organizing such a thing within the country or outside of it, in the US, New Zealand, or anywhere else. "Immigration" is a red herring. If there was a native-to-the-US movement to spread Nazi-ism and subvert democracy from within, we would have to stop that, too. So perhaps you intend to say nothing about any activities, but then you should -- because that's what we propose to make illegal, or to respond against with force. Not belief. The notion that belief itself should justify retaliatory force is anathema. And neither do I expect Capitalism to be recognized anytime soon, or rights respected generally, but yes -- that's what I argue for as an Objectivist. Perfect. Given the facts (which do not include a state of emergency where International Nazis threaten to overrun us; so far as I can tell, we have struggles enough with the domestic variety), we should screen people at the border against criminals, terrorists, carriers of infectious disease, etc., and otherwise allow people to pass, in recognition of their rights. No double standards. Just individual rights.
  14. You would absolutely stop that migration. Your life depends on it. But this is not primarily an immigration issue. Earlier, when introducing this line of discussion, Nicky, you had drawn some distinction between immigrants and natural-born citizens -- asking whether we should have a "double standard." But we should not. If Nazism at some point (and that point would need to be determined appropriately; I'm probably not the person to assess it, and this probably isn't the forum) constitutes a danger such that they would overthrow some (relatively more rights-respecting) government, then it doesn't matter if their rise comes from immigration or from domestic activities by citizens. Either people do or do not have a right to those activities, inside or outside of the US, immigrant, visitor or born-n-bred Yankee. The crossing of borders is a meaningless detail, except that it probably informs our method of retaliatory force. But that is the central point: we respond to force, with force. Nazism rising to the level you're describing itself constitutes a threat (and you recognize the nature of that threat when you write, "you would be executed within a year"); that's the same threat if that rise of Nazism is domestic, and it should be responded to, with force. So my position with respect to immigration -- and I think it is the only immigration position consistent with the principles of Objectivism (which is to say, with reason and reality) -- is: you may rightly stop people at the border for the same reasons (and only these) that you would rightly detain/fine/imprison, or generally respond with force, domestically. That is, when someone has themselves initiated the use of force (inclusive of threats, which I ought not otherwise need make explicit here, but will do so for clarity's sake).
  15. You're confusing (at least) two completely different things. I expect that this is, in part, because many people (in this thread and elsewhere) purposely conflate those things, but still I suppose it must be stated clearly: Immigration is not the same thing as citizenship or voting rights. If you wanted to make a case that we should restrict participation in governance (whether "citizenship," voting, or other forms, like serving on a bench, etc.) to people who demonstrate that they believe in capitalism/liberty/the rule of law, or etc., I'd be willing to hear you out on the matter. I think there might be something to that. But then, whatsoever we should finally decide is proper, I would also insist that it should apply equally to those born in San Diego. Absolutely. Yes. Our laws (to make them "proper") must be designed for the purpose of protecting individual rights -- those of every individual, to the last. No, people do not have that right. Our ultimate aim (with respect to politics) should be the development of a political system designed to protect itself against just such things. Good. Thank you. I'm doing my best to help you in your effort, as I hope you appreciate. I would roundly describe the actions of the "avowed enemy" you've introduced as a "threat," and criminal in nature. If he had done such a thing domestically -- posted on the web an intention to commit an atrocity -- then I would be in favor of taking action against him, according to the best practices of law enforcement. And yes, you're right: my response with respect to immigration would depend on the specific context, as to whether or not he should be incarcerated, or returned to the country of origin, or etc. But the larger point is that barring his entry to this country represents retaliatory force (and it is further worth mentioning, because again some people confuse these issues, that there is a fundamental difference between such "barring" and an appropriate delay as required for processing): it is only justified in response to the initiation of the use of force. Criminal activity is criminal activity, whether at the border or any other place. If you think that "being a socialist" ought to be illegal, then say that. But otherwise, we have as much right to stop a socialist from crossing the border as we do rounding one up and putting him in prison. All right. Then perhaps, in the interest of "context," it is worth noting that people just such as I've described are currently being refused entry. Those who argue to restrict immigration will further restrict men such as this, and some of those people have in mind, whether they state it explicitly or not, racist ends. There are people in this very thread making explicit racial arguments. That is context, too. Well, fair enough. But then, we are no longer discussing "immigration," per se, but whether or not it is permissible to "be a communist" generally, or to vote for some anti-liberty measure. As I'd indicated earlier, I'm open to the possibility that voting rights, office holding or "citizenship" should be restricted in some way on this basis. But whatever we decide, it should be as much for the people currently living in this country, or born in this country, as those seeking to access it. And of those seeking to access it, we have no right to deny the person I'd described, who wishes to work, to live, from doing so -- not even if he was born in another country. Yet that is precisely what we do and have done, historically; and it is also what we will continue to do, according to the arguments routinely made, and policies implemented, by those who argue against immigration.
  16. Moral action depends on context, but this is no blank check on action in an "improper society." The question before us resolves into whether there is a right to restrict immigration. If there is no right to do it -- if, in fact, restricting immigration is the initiation of the use of force -- then that is immoral equally in a "proper society" or otherwise. The proper time to protect peoples' individual rights is immediately and always: not when "a proper society is set up," which we currently have scheduled for... well, sometime in the distant future, I continue to allow myself to hope. The checks you mention with respect to immigration? I agree that some sort of "checks and criteria" is warranted, and that action/restriction can happen there, too, according to the same criteria with which we would countenance retaliatory force domestically. Meaning: if we would rightly restrict the liberty of a US citizen for some reason, then we could rightly restrict border entry for that same reason. But otherwise, no. Otherwise, there's nothing special -- with respect to our recognition of individual rights -- to being born in Tijuana as opposed to San Diego. If immigrants plan on using the welfare state, that's the welfare state's problem, not mine. (And I have less than zero interest in restricting immigration so that the welfare state may better survive.) It doesn't warrant my telling someone that he may not move to a certain city, buy a certain house, take a certain job, etc. I believe in liberty, and more to the point that I do not have the right to initiate the use of force. Let's talk about this in concrete detail for a moment. You have a man in Tijuana who wishes to move to San Diego, to get a job there and rent an apartment, so that he and his family may have a better life. You're telling me that an Objectivist such as yourself believes you have the right to tell him that he may not do these things -- in the name of self defense? Well, why not? If we apply the principles given, I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't support restraints on a person's freedom to leave. If the people who believe in freedom choose to leave the US, that might leave me just as poorly off as allowing an influx from countries with some poorer culture, right? So if I can restrict people and their actions on the one hand, so that I may have a more favorable political culture, why not on the other? (For what it's worth, I don't know that a person like Trump -- though quite far from an Objectivist -- is expert at drawing these sorts of distinctions. If he had his druthers, do you suppose he would make it illegal for certain businesses to leave the US and build their factories elsewhere? I do. So even if we're going to approach this from some "realpolitik"/pragmatic angle, I think there are good reasons for mistrusting walls, generally.)
  17. For those who think it proper to restrict immigration on the basis of IQ, or because immigrants hold different ideologies, or etc., I'm curious: would it be equally proper to restrict emigration for the same reasons (e.g. refusing exit to someone of a sufficiently high IQ, or who has valuable skills, or who holds the "proper" ideology)? If it is a matter of right to determine the other members of your society through controlling immigration, I don't know why that shouldn't be true as well for emigration. And, after all, a wall has two sides...
  18. Other peoples' actions in this way (moving to a neighborhood, for instance -- even when immigrating; taking a job; living their life) does not constitute "an obligatory sacrifice of oneself." It is not a "sacrifice" at all; it is not even your business. The reasoning you're giving here, whYNOT, is akin to the person who complains when some rival opens up a competitor business across the street. "Shouldn't I be able to stop him?" he asks. "Why should I be forced to sacrifice? Why about my rights?" But that is not a sacrifice, and men do not have the "right" to tell others where they may live, or work, or travel, or etc.
  19. Yes, that's right. That's how stores work. And also capitalism. And liberty. That's why it makes sense. If you have stores, but people aren't allowed to shop in them, you've not only taken away my "gain" (and presumably the gain of the shopper), but also you've made stores into rather poor investments/uses of time. And, as suggested above, you've compromised both capitalism and liberty. See? It should make sense to you, too. Staying in the country "illegally" is as smoking weed illegally, wherever that is still illegal: neither should be a crime. People who commit actual crimes (meaning: initiating the use of force) -- in this country or any other, and whatever their origin -- ought to be stopped/penalized. Suppose I were to propose that any family members of Azrael Rand ought to be strung up by their heels, and you were to offer some argument against that according to, oh I don't know, some theory of "individual rights." But then I ask: ah, but what happens if one of your family members commits a crime? Will you assume full legal and financial liability for their actions? Would that sort of "argument" warrant an earnest response from you? No, you would not use those words to describe your position. It would lay things out too clearly, possibly even for yourself. Are you aware of the Objectivist position on politics, generally? Take for instance Rand writing, "Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion." The Mexican who means to come to my store -- you propose to physically remove him from the country, or possibly prevent him from ever entering. You mean to stop him, physically, from doing business with me. How do you imagine that squares with "the absence of physical coercion"?
  20. No, it makes sense. I have a store and someone wishes to come to my store to make a purchase -- it makes sense that he should be able to do so. What doesn't make sense is your idea that you have some authority to tell him that he cannot, because my store is in "your" country, and he was born somewhere else. Or because you think your "way of life" is somehow threatened by his very presence. If the maintenance of your way of life requires controlling other peoples' business -- let alone on the basis of race/ethnicity -- then your way of life is not worth saving. What makes less sense still is the idea that you give yourself the authority to tell others where they may live, work, shop, etc., and yet you believe yourself somehow on the side of freedom/"liberty." Yes, I understand: you support "freedom" as a rhetorical tactic so long as you think it serves your ends, but you're willing to throw it out just as soon as it proves inconvenient to those ends. And you further recognize that your arguments eventually resolve into "might makes right." I'm not entirely certain why you're so dismissive of human_murda's comparison to the Nazis; just based on the things you've argued, I'd guess that if this were the 30s, you'd be happily arguing (as many at the time did) that Hitler made a lot of sense.
  21. Absolutely right. Yes, although: a person can be more or less rational, in selecting a standard of value, in evaluating particular things or actions against that standard of value, etc. Moral action is a bit more, perhaps, than refraining from sacrificing others. A drug addict, for instance, who burns through a miserable, short existence (while only in this example destroying himself in the process, however unlikely that might be in reality) generally cannot be said to be "valuing their own life," either acting rationally or morally. (Might there be a proper context for this sort of behavior? There well might, though it would require a bit of invention to conjure. And other people may rightly use drugs with more or less reason in many contexts; in fact we classify an entire group of them as "medicine.") Yes, what someone chooses to do with their life is up to them, but that doesn't mean we look upon all possible choices equally. I enjoyed his show, too. And what little I knew about the man, I just liked him generally. And while I agree that, so long as Irwin is not sacrificing others what he wants to do is up to him, again, I think that there's more to discuss. It seems to satisfy a political requirement, but with respect to morality we can yet ask, was Irwin right to pursue a dangerous career? IMO, it's nearly impossible to answer this without being Steve Irwin, or at least without knowing him well. Values such as these are deeply personal. In part, that's what I'm pushing back against: this undercurrent among certain Objectivists that these sorts of choices (like one's degree of "healthy living") may be judged out of context. I think this typically comes from a too narrow conception of what "life" means, when considering "life as the standard of value." The thinking seems to go something like: 1) life is the standard of value; 2) a dangerous career stands to shorten one's lifespan; 3) a dangerous career is a disvalue. Thus, Steve Irwin must be immoral for knowingly pursuing a dangerous career. But life is more than longevity, and based on what I do know about Irwin, and what I've observed, I'd say that his choice appears rational -- or at least that it might be. He certainly seems to have gotten a lot out of his vocation, in the time he had to do so. As perhaps a shorthand for all of this, imagine a loved one. If that loved one was spiraling down a path of drug abuse, you might be concerned; in fact, you might try to intervene to some greater or lesser extent (even while recognizing that they are well within their "political right" to act as they do). Push come to shove, you might be motivated to some more drastic choice, like cutting ties, or etc., but altogether this would be a distressing and negative situation for all involved. Now imagine that a loved one was a burgeoning Steve Irwin. You might experience some large measure of concern, here, too, watching your loved one travel paths most would dread -- but would you want to stop the next Irwin from emerging, for the sake of their "safety"? What is the heroic and the anti-heroic, here? Indeed, I can rather imagine such a person pursuing accounting because they have been convinced (in error, I argue) that "longevity is the standard of value." That seems to me to be the sort of error that might plague a Randian hero in the first half of the book. And that I would hold to be the mistake -- that choice that might be argued against, that might call for some degree of intervention from friends and loved ones. Because knowing who they are, an extended career in accounting would be like a slow, agonizing, living death; the more moral choice for that person, perhaps ironically, may well be the more exciting-yet-dangerous path -- even if that would predictably lead to an earlier actual death. I also value my life and I believe that there is nothing after this life. However, "living as long as possible" is not my standard of value. There are choices I have made, and will continue to make, which are geared towards putting my experience of life, my enjoyment of it, it's "fullness," etc., above its actual span. In largely the same way (though coming from a somewhat different direction, perhaps), I also pursue "diet and exercise" -- in moderation, with the occasional binge. Agreed; I'm not Steve Irwin, either. Chocodiles > Crocodiles. Deal. Let me know when you're in the PNW. (We have good salmon.)
  22. Of course; you're underestimating how good ice cream is, as we speak. Perhaps it is, sometimes, but 1) you shouldn't presume to speak for others and their values, and 2) you shouldn't act as though there's necessarily no value to "routine and comfort." It sounds like you're describing a form of Stockholm Syndrome. But seriously, you realize I have had broccoli before, right? And salmon. And burgers. I like all of those things just fine. (Though, all else being equal, if I'm having a burger it will be a burger -- and if I'm having salmon, it will be salmon. While I'm certain just about anything could be enjoyable if prepared correctly, a "salmon burger" sounds like an intrinsically poorer proposition than either of its basic constituents.) I don't think you could possibly have taken me to mean that I only consume ice cream? But typically, no, when I eat ice cream, sautéed broccoli with garlic would not be a fitting substitute. And before you reply with something slightly dessert-ier like sliced apples, ultimately we have to realize that things are what they are. There's no 1-to-1: it's a matter of valuing things for what they are and choosing among them accordingly. I'm fully capable of weighing ice cream versus broccoli, or any other thing, according to my experience and information and as against my own standards. There are times and places where I prefer ice cream, and in those times and places, I choose it. But the overarching point -- that which bedevils us across threads and years -- is that my standard of value is not longevity. Longevity is not a full accounting of "life." IMO, a rational person may select values which are actively and knowingly detrimental to longevity -- which bring on either an earlier death or some greater risk of an earlier death. "Ice cream" is a fairly superficial (though true-to-life and hopefully relatable) way for me to describe this, but it can run much deeper. Consider Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter." He pursued a very dangerous vocation. It was reasonable for him to assume all throughout that he might well die far earlier than otherwise, for the fact of pursuing it. And of course, he did die quite early, at 44. But for that, I don't think his choices were irrational. And while I know there are those who would try to extract some argument that, somehow, Irwin's choices could be interpreted as being somehow pro-longevity, I think it's an attempt to avoid the obvious: his choice of career made early death far, far likelier, and the results were not particularly surprising. But that choice of career was not in pursuit of the longest life, but the fullest (and what I would accordingly describe as the "best"). "Ice cream," though also a literal thing I am often happy to consume, is really more a stand-in for this basic approach -- pursing the fullest/best life, even at the potential cost of its length. The opposite, sacrificing the fullness of life for the sake of extending its length, ironically smells of death to me. But I don't know -- would you have tried to convince Steve Irwin to be an accountant, instead, Eiuol? That "over time, these less-risky occupations grow to be even more appealing than the adventurous ones"?
  23. "Citizenship" is not the same as "access." But yes, Americans do not have a right to restrict access to their country, as such (apart from the sort of background check EC mentions and that which is required procedurally). There is no "will of the people" in this sense. There may be a majority vote, perhaps. But if I have property in the US -- let us say a store -- and if a Mexican wishes to come to my store, you and your majority vote have no right to tell that Mexican he may not come to my store, and no right to restrict my access to his patronage. (And furthermore, no right to restrict home sales in my neighborhood, etc.) This is so even if you believe yourself to represent the fictitious "will of the people." (Since you have taken aim at "logical consistency," you might not care, but what you're proposing here runs directly counter to the "freedom of association" that elsewhere you seem to think important.)
  24. This is something like what I was alluding to earlier, with the "curious line of thought" that "great people cannot do bad things -- and bad people cannot do good." But I don't think our only choices are to regard them as either heroes or Nazis. Were there aspects of the conquistadors which were heroic (and maybe more pronounced in certain individuals)? Undoubtedly. Exploration required it. Did they commit moral atrocities? Yes. Lol, you guys, are we just going to pass over the bizarreness of Roman Catholicism? As just one minor belief (among many many), they suppose that, during ritual, wine and wafer transform into blood and flesh... which they then consume, because of course. And we're talking about times around and during the Inquisition, I do believe (though you probably were not expecting it)... so that flying serpent sounds better to me by the minute. (To clarify, I do not advocate the worship of flying serpents, human sacrifice, or whatever else the Mesoamericans might have been getting themselves up to; only I'm not going to ridicule religious belief if the standard of comparison is the goddamned Catholic Church.)
  25. Life-extension methods? Certainly. I eat, breathe, sleep... most of those daily. More generally, I think, I learn, I produce, I consume. All of those either aim to extend my life, in part, or do so as a happy byproduct. Most of what you mention I only engage in incidentally, like drinking coffee/tea -- not for the sake of "extending my life," per se; and I would consume them if there were not the current scientific link you mention; and i would consume them, most likely, if they had slightly deleterious effects. Your questions get at the root of ethics, a question I've tried to address on this forum several times, though rarely to anyone's satisfaction. I suspect I sit somewhere in the "excluded middle." I give some amount of thought to diet and exercise (and sometimes I even take action in the same direction), so that's a kind of "provision for long-term health," I believe, along with medical check-ups, etc. But I do not let my actions be dictated by long-term health concerns; to continue to use my long-running (or long-suffering) example, I yet eat ice cream on a semi-regular basis, and I plan to do so to the grave. I do so because my primary interest is not in forestalling or avoiding death, but living life.
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