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Everything posted by MisterSwig

  1. I think the title for this thread represents the dichotomy you've set here. I don't see a clear attempt to integrate anything. Frankly, I find your replies to be unfocused, evasive, and poorly written. I've made a real effort to contribute something, because you're investigating a very tough and fundamental question. But it doesn't seem like you're actually interested in criticism ("gripes"?!). It sounds like you want to rant. So I'll leave you to it.
  2. Maybe the dispute stems from this issue of failing to discriminate the abstraction from the concrete. Do you accept that there are universal standards of value and particular standards of value? Consider what Rand said about ultimate values. On one hand, she talks about "man's life" being "the standard of value." And, on the other hand, she says that "an organism's life is its standard of value." You seem to think that the latter, particular formulation pertains only to plants or unconscious organisms. But that isn't what Rand meant. Because man is a living organism, his own life is his ultimate value, his particular standard of value. But he's also a conceptual organism, and so he's capable of also having an abstract standard of value, which takes into account his knowledge of man in general. He can therefore use both to evaluate his goals and actions. If he does something which makes him sick, he can evaluate that as bad based on his particular life, his sensation of pain. And if he's considering two possible goals or choices for action, he can evaluate them based on his abstract moral standards. Both standards are necessary and reinforcing, but without his particular life he would have no abstract standard. His own life is his primary standard, but it's not the universal standard, since universals are abstractions.
  3. No, I called your argument rationalistic. No, without Rand's evidence and reasoning, I probably couldn't have worked out the principle. But I definitely couldn't have worked it out without my personal experiences and observations which allow me to recognize the validity of her argument. Again, you have it backwards. Values and virtues are not derived from an ethical principle. Your values precede any standard of values. You can't have a standard of something if that something doesn't first exist.
  4. Isn't this a straw man? Nobody is saying that each individual must try out everything for himself. We learn from what other people have done before us and during our lifetime. Just because mommy tells you "don't lie," that doesn't mean lying is always bad for your specific life. If a criminal wants to find your children, should you do "the right thing" and tell him their actual location? No, because the good is not determined by its relationship to an abstract principle. It's determined by its effect on your life. In this case, lying to the criminal would most likely be the good. As humans with memory, imagination, and reason, we collect data about what people have done in particular situations, and what they might have done, and we apply reason to figure out the proper choice in that situation, based on what actually happened and what might have happened. Then we come up with an abstract principle. In this example, we might conclude that lying to oneself is very bad, but lying to others depends on whether you're dealing with a friend or foe. Regarding man's life as the standard of value, how does one arrive at that principle? Did mommy tell you to believe it? Or have you done the data collection and intellectual work to inductively grasp it for yourself? Why shouldn't god's will be the standard? Or the survival of your children or nation? The environment? Of what value is man's life if he disobeys his god, abandons his children, betrays his nation, or destroys his environment in pursuit of his own life?
  5. This strikes me as rationalistic. A chosen action is not good because it measures up to a chosen standard. It is quite the opposite way around. An abstract standard is good because it identifies actions which universally produce good results for individuals who act. Your specific life is not the standard, but it's a life from which the standard is abstracted. You therefore have to figure out what is actually, objectively good for your life, no matter how you interpret some abstract standard. The standard is only a guide, and it might be wrong, or you might be misunderstanding it.
  6. I saw the movie over the weekend. I'm not sure if it is a masterpiece, but it might be. There are certainly very artistic aspects to the film, in addition to the riveting performance of Phoenix. I believe it employs a kind of unreliable, psychotic narrator. Not that there is any crazy voiceover, but that the scenes and dialogue are often composed to reflect a mind that struggles with separating reality from fantasy, like Arthur's. Yet enough clues are provided so that an attentive viewer can probably figure it out. There is also the correlation between Arthur's mental struggle and Gotham's social struggle. A whole book could probably be written about the symbolism in this movie. But at the core it's about why Arthur turns into the Joker and does the things he does. The answer appears to be that his transition is a result of many factors and choices. There's his childhood trauma, his adult beliefs, his psychological condition, his treatment by others, his lack of medicine, his desire to make people happy in a world that wants to kill the rich. It might be that the movie purposely fogs up the Joker's motivations, because who can really say why a crazy person does a crazy thing. In the end, it was just the thing they felt like doing in the moment.
  7. I never said that the invisible sign was tangible. You did. I said it was undetectable without the special glasses. Is tangibility also part of your standard for violating property rights? If the sign were intangible, then it wouldn't violate my property rights? Why does tangibility matter? Let's say I never touch the sign. Must I prove its tangibility before a court could find the socialist guilty of violating my rights?
  8. How so? He hasn't met your criteria for trespassing. And nobody will trip over the "invisible sign," because it's just a metaphor for VHF signals. And the "special glasses" are a TV. Why is the invisible sign considered trespassing, but the invisible signals are not?
  9. Okay, now imagine a hypothetical where this socialist invents an invisible, floating sign with his same message. He floats it one inch above my lawn. It's undetectable unless you wear the special glasses that let you see invisible signs. I ask the socialist to remove the sign. He refuses. It's not touching my lawn, but it's in my air space. Has the socialist violated my property rights?
  10. How do you define "harm"? And at what point does harm constitute a violation of property rights? If a socialist stands on my lawn with a sign that says "Make Socialism Great Again," and then refuses to leave when I ask, has he violated my property rights, even though he hasn't physically harmed me or my property? All he's doing is standing there with a sign.
  11. It sounds like you're saying that harm is caused by force and force is caused by harm, which is circular reasoning. I assume you mean undetectable without special equipment. If that is your standard for trespass, why should one broadcaster be stopped from using the same frequency as another in the same area? He can't be trespassing on the other's property, since the properties involved are undetectable.
  12. Are you saying that EM radiation is not an objective, physical force? Or perhaps that its force doesn't rise to the level of physical harm? I mean, I could lightly poke you in the belly nonstop 24/7, and I wouldn't be physically harming you. But it's still an objective, physical force.
  13. Here's the difference. She's claiming personal injury, and so it really has nothing to do with the EM waves passing through her property. If the waves make her sick, the broadcaster is responsible no matter where the woman exists. She could be a bum living on the streets and make the same claim of personal injury. My argument is about the right to the use of property. If the same spaces are being used by the broadcaster and the homeowners, then some agreement must be made between the two. This agreement has historically come in the form of government regulation of the broadcaster, I think in recognition that the homeowners have primary rights to their spaces. Unfortunately, we've let socialists misuse the concept of public property to claim ownership over the broadcaster's product, rather than limit regulation to the use of that product on other people's property.
  14. What exactly do you understand the claim to be? Because I'm not entirely sure I grasp it. What, for example, is meant by "physical harm"? And is that being offered as the standard for violating property rights? How does one "physically harm" someone's space? I don't think it matters whether the owner, himself, is physically damaged. What matters is that his space is being invaded. If someone has a right to send harmless EM waves into your space, why doesn't he also have the right to walk around your land when you're not home? He's not physically harming you, and you would need fancy electronic gizmos (surveillance equipment) to even know he was doing it while you're away.
  15. In this fourth episode we talk about Buddhism and meditation. We ask if there is value to be had from studying Buddhism and practicing meditation. I tell a couple stories about Buddha and Pindola, and Eiuol discusses the epistemological aspects to Buddhist thought and a meditative practice called Satipatthana that focuses on mindfulness.
  16. Well, it got me thinking, so I'm glad you brought it up. I didn't recall that thread.
  17. Other than Rand novels? The Iliad Toilers of the Sea The Stranger Old Man and the Sea Of Mice and Men Lord of the Rings 1984 Lord of the Flies The Moon is a Harsh Mistress The Shining Let the Right One In
  18. No. The sun is not a member of society, nor can it be reasoned with or defeated in war. It looks like Jon focused too hard on the metaphysical versus man-made distinction and dropped the moral and social context of property rights. Let's take the example of the hunter-gatherers. They are members of a tribe. What is the purpose of a tribe? It's similar to that of a town. Both are social-political groups formed in order to benefit and protect the members of that group. Some tribesmen go hunting to feed the group, some go gathering, some do various tasks around the camp or village to keep the place functioning properly. It's a primitive division of labor. The wise chieftain hears complaints and dictates justice. Warriors train to protect the tribe or raid others for needed supplies. Elders tell stories to pass on knowledge and entertain. Women have children and make clothes and baskets. So when the hunter catches a deer, he recognizes that, in a sense, it's his deer, but also that the rest of the tribe has a certain claim to it, since he is part of a group working to survive together. Their claim is not one of primary (personal, private) ownership. They did not personally kill the deer and carry it back to the village. Their claim is one of secondary (social, public) ownership. They can say that, yes, the hunter caught the deer, but as his fellow tribesmen, we have been raising his children, weaving baskets for him, protecting his family from enemies, dispensing tribal justice and keeping thieves away from his possessions, and entertaining him with stories at night. Doesn't he owe us some of the food that he caught today? Isn't it wrong of him to take from us without giving something in exchange? That sort of claim does not originate from the tribal premise that "wealth belongs to the tribe or to society as a whole." Rather, its source is the trader principle applied to a social context. Part of the nature of a primitive village or a civilized town is the sharing and trading of values. To function properly, however, the villagers or townsfolk must draw a reasonable and just line between primary-private ownership and secondary-public ownership of the things that comprise the village or town. The individual and his personal space and possessions must be respected, and the integrity and proper functioning of the village or town must be maintained. This is the political problem that divides socialists and capitalists. Socialists say "private property" is a fiction, and capitalists say "public property" is a fiction. Neither one is a fiction, but one does have primacy over the other. Without the individual, the group can't exist. Likewise, without private property, there can be no public property. The purpose of public property is to add value to private property, thereby adding value to the town or nation as a whole. Even primitive villagers (with only the concepts of "his" versus "ours") must first recognize the deer as belonging to the hunter, before they can then make a claim to some of it based on the trader principle in that social context. And if the hunter should refuse to trade, keeping the whole deer for himself, then he would be setting himself up against the very notion of the trader principle and the social situation that maintains his standard of life. The chieftain would be very reasonable to confiscate part of the deer for tribal use, and possibly to exile the anti-social hunter, if he could not be convinced to change his behavior. Now, how does all that relate to the ownership of land and space? Well, land and space are very much like the deer, in that they are values needed by everyone in a tribe or town. People must have land and space to use--so they can live and work to produce food and tools, or to make things they can trade for food and tools. A metaphysically given thing, such as an unworked piece of land or an unoccupied region of space, is itself a value to people, whether that value is recognized or not. Its value is objectively relational to man. It's not created by our mind or labor. We discover that metaphysically given value and then later use it to create other things of value from it. We see that an empty field has value as a suitable place to plant seeds, which have value as potential plants, which have value as something to eat. The chain of values begins with the metaphysically given (the land and space), and it continues with the things man makes from the land and in the space. Within a social context the value-chain still begins with the metaphysically given, but now one's claim to a value must be understood within the new context of the village or town. An individual resident has primary ownership over his allotment of land and space, and also the things he produces from that land and in that space, but the other residents have a secondary claim based on the trader principle that governs the proper functioning of the village or town. It is the objective value of land and space which establishes a man's moral right to use and hold such property to survive. And it's the trader principle that recognizes and regulates his political right in a social context. By the law of causality he has primary ownership of any production he causes, including the land and space of his production. And by the same law of causality, he must accept that his fellow townsfolk hold a secondary claim over his land and space, which he owes to them on account of the trader principle applied to his social context. Without the benefits and protections of living in a civilized town, his life and possessions would be vulnerable to any common thug or gang. He therefore must contribute to the overall integrity and health of the town, which means possibly granting easements or property to the public right of ways and infrastructure.
  19. Do you see how this leads to the opposite of Rand's conclusion? If I mix my labor and my production with the space above my parcel of land, if I construct a house in that space, if I grow trees that occupy that space, if I put my car and my furniture and my food in that space, if I live in that space, then I own it, and the broadcaster has no right to use it without my permission--by a production theory of property rights.
  20. Oh, just Windows Live Movie Maker for video editing. Picasa for photos. I record myself with the Lexus Audio Editor app on my phone. Eiuol records on his desktop mic, I think. And now we're using Skype to record a phone chat segment.
  21. Radio stations can still sell their station with the frequency license. So, in practice, the process functions much like they have a deed. But in theory they could lose the license at renewal time, if, for example, they've upset the public and receive lots of complaints. I'm not sure if a deed or license is more proper for radio waves. They aren't like land, in that they are impermanent creations that travel over an area. I do agree, however, that some sort of title should be recognized. They shouldn't be considered public property. The license shouldn't be for owning a station and frequency. It should be for broadcasting throughout a city or area.
  22. I think the entire transmission (or electromagnetic radiation) should be private property. Frequency is just one way to measure the waves in a transmission. I found this NASA article to be very helpful. Because it's the frequency that causes interference with different transmissions on the same frequency, it makes sense to require a license to broadcast particular frequencies in particular areas. Otherwise, there will be chaos. In this regard, the government should simply act as a traffic cop, making sure radio traffic moves in a safe and orderly manner.
  23. What exactly is this "something" to which you refer? I have not made such a claim. The resident owns his space, not the radio waves. He obviously knows that he owns the space, even if he has no clue about the waves.
  24. Not unless you plant something on it, like a crop of corn. Otherwise it's only a parcel. There's nothing man-made on it. All you've done is survey and measure it. Is that enough to claim some land as your own?
  25. Why would I say that? Prometheus wanted to start a better city, based on egoism and individualism. With Gaea and his children he planned to build a mountain fortress and attract followers to his cause of liberating the enslaved cities around the world. He was a city-builder and people-liberator, not an enemy of such concepts. Which is it: they don't own it because they don't know that they own it, or because they don't know how to make value from it? Are you saying that a human living in his space is not making a value from the space in which he lives? If that's the case, then neither is sending radio waves through space making value from it. These would merely be two things passing through space. They wouldn't require it to exist and function.
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