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stephenmallory

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About stephenmallory

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  1. Paying extortion money may seem to be cheaper than letting the "culture war" turn into the civil war it will have to turn into, but the fact that it's reached the point where (ostensibly) serious people are talking about something as absurd as reparations should suggest to you that even if you pay off, they won't give up. They'll just come up with an even more bizarre reason why stealing from you needs to happen. “You who’re depraved enough to believe that you could adjust yourself to a mystic’s dictatorship and could please him by obeying his orders-there is no way to please him; when you obey, he will reverse his orders; he seeks obedience for the sake of obedience and destruction for the sake of destruction. You who are craven enough to believe that you can make terms with a mystic by giving in to his extortions-there is no way to buy him off, the bribe he wants is your life, as slowly or as fast as you are willing to give it.." - John Galt
  2. I have original, well-worn but still perfectly readable, hard copies of the first 6 issues of TOS for sale if anyone is interested. I also have a whole bunch of articles from issues 2.3 through 5.2 printed out. Not every article from those issues, but many of them. Payment through Paypal and mailed via USPS. Make me an offer. Thanks
  3. Your statement was not clouded by your emotions. If anything, it was reinforced by them. Craig24 was just seizing upon an opportunity to demonstrate his rationality - or more precisely, his understanding of a particular concept (freedom of speech) - and in the process mixed apples (what you were talking about) with oranges (what he wanted to believe you were talking about). It was clear, to any intellectually secure person, that you were not using the word "deserve" in a political context, but in a moral one. The precondition in your original post, "I oppose censorship, but..." is more than adequate evidence of this. If life is the standard of moral value, the conservative talk show hosts are immoral. Their immorality lies in the fact that their control of the airwaves prevents the ideals of America from being rationally defended down to their essence - despite the fact that something Leonard Peikoff said about a particular makes Michael Savage's anger burn a little brighter once in awhile. Anything which is immoral does not deserve to exist. Someone who will not feed himself does not deserve to be spared starvation. A security guard who cannot provide security does not deserve his job. A "defender of liberty" who cannot adequately defend liberty does not deserve to be thought of as one. He certainly does not deserve a platform on which to demonstrate it. Your statement was motivated by a love for values, and by a disgust at how they are being wasted and perverted. Reason, freedom, and mass communication are all valuable things which, in part because of the weak, irresponsible, and religiously-derived conservative talk show ideology, are still exposed to the possibility of destruction. If Craig24 believes that your statement - because it concerned the quality and not the legality of the talk show hosts - was innappropriate to this thread, he should have said so. If he wishes to have a discussion about the (incredibly basic) issue of the proper use of government force in the field of ideas, he should have created a stand-alone post or thread about the subject. It saddens me that comments like his are allowed to continue to be made on this forum. It's clear, by the rest of the statement I quoted above, that you understand this distinction. I only seize on the contradiction between it's two parts because, unlike Craig24, I wish to defend actual values (A rational person with rational feelings) instead of pretending to do so by attacking you for the sake of a principle (freedom of speech) which, arguably - considering the conservative's long history of promoting statists of their own - they may not even deserve.
  4. I only wish to analyze the artist, not a particular painting: I think that it's clear, if you click through his galleries, that Kush does not possess a consistent philosophy. I am certain that his sense of life contains the Benevolent Universe Premise, but it is obvious that he has not ever translated those emotions into thoughts. Clearly, he does not see a need to emphasize the distinction between human actions and natural phenomenon; why would he see a need to distinguish between good human action and bad human action? The question for Objectivists then becomes: what makes you capable of enjoying these paintings? Does the juxtaposition of ships in the sky mean that man has been liberated from the "constraints" of reality and definition or does it suggest man's immense, unmatchable power? I suspect that this is the hazard of surrealism, as such. Technical skill and style (of which I think Kush is replete with) aside, what, philosophically, makes man burning inside a candle a celebration of human power rather than an expostion of human suffering? My answer is: Objectivism. Which means: Strictly (and sadly speaking - because I really do love some of them), Kush is a weak artist; even in his most inspiring prints. Especially in his most inspiring prints; the philosophically sophisticated viewer (me) cannot help but wonder if he is sweet, bitter, or bitter-sweet on man's position in the universe. Does he mean that man's glories are only possible in another dimension? Does he mean that they're impossible? Does he mean that they're possible, but only at the expense of one's sanity? That kind of uncertainty is not satisfying for me. I suppose that if he were to destroy, say, 75% of his work I would he shouting his name from the rooftops, but given his panoply, I have to be suspicious. Has anyone ever taken a look at Nick Gaetano's other work - besides his Ayn Rand cover art?
  5. First, I'd like to suggest to the mods that this be split into another thread. Certainly, this land you describe belongs to it's owners. It serves a rational puropse: Their enjoyment of it's aesthetic beauty. The only reason why they are able to own it is because they own some other type of property (not necesarily land) which generates profit which they then use to pay the taxes to continue to own the land. The legitimacy of property taxes aside, in order for this land to be protected by the government (from foreign and/or neighborly encroachment) they government needs that many more resources to do so - even if it's just an extra gallon of gas for the local sheriff to drive by it once a week. If someone comes along and wants to build a factory on it, the only way to determine if this is a rational, preferable activity is to consider what the impact of the factory would be on the land owner's life. Suppose he values (and by that I mean, should value) whatever the factory will make more than the enjoyment of the land, then he should sell it. But if the factory is going to make something which isn't valuable to his life, he won't sell it. Obviously, he'd also consider the impact of the money he'd get for it. Also, to address your more fundamental, first question: no, the possible, superior economic performace of one activity over another does not disqualify the owners of the actual, inferior economic performance of another activity from the real estate on which they perform it. What does disqualify them is if they fail to accomplish even a bare minimum of organization and/or material progress that makes it clear that their lives are intimately connected to this, particular tract of land and that it's deserving of legal recognition and protection. The Native "Americans", before the Europeans came, did not conciously decide "well, we could industrialize this area and stop being nomadic - and thus needing more real estate" - they defaulted from the responsibility and left themselves at the mercy of nature. A nomadic lifestyle - that is, being nomadic long-term - is not human nature. It is the irrational, emotional reaction to the fear or death and the pain of starvation which makes people keep moving in search of food instead of stopping and learning how to build a better life. I don't know who would be chosen. How about "Joe"? This isn't a question for philosophy to answer; it's a matter of government policy. How does the government decide any issue of outsourcing? They put out a call for bids and people make their case and the best case wins. Also, I never said that it wouldn't be the government. It could be the government if no one submitts an adequate bid. When I said, in my very first post "this isn't an issue of the individual vs. 'the government'" I put 'the government' in quotes for a specific reason. As I've said a number of times already, and which a few people on this board have been unwilling to understand, the justification for taking this guy's land is the protection of individual rights; including the protection of the individuals who constitue "the government". If every citizen was on Farmer Bob's side, the government would still be justified in taking his uranium, not because I support socialism, but because the individual who, inextricably, make up the government, have a right to defend themselves against foreign aggression. Conversly, if a 3rd private citizen saw the need for Farmer Bob's uranium, appealed to his governmen to seize it, and the government refused - siding with Farmer Bob, that private citizen would have every right to take matters into his own hands for exactly the same reason: His own self-defense against foreign aggression. The key here is the late 18th century. By that time they had been significantly influenced by European political thought. But anyways, I don't know the details of the "Trail of Tears", I just know that people shouldn't be given particular land - as some kind of historical relic or cheap, zoo-like recreation of their "natural environment" - simply because they had been wandering around on it for centuries. Also, yes, the whole concept of dividing people up into even just slightly-autonomous tribes based on nothing except historical accident serves to, sooner or later, completely undermine the concepts individual sovereignity and private property. No treaties should have ever been signed and no reservations should have ever been created - and today, they should all be abolished. These particular tribes, in and amongst themselves, may recognize the property rights of their individual members, but that doesn't change the fact that people from the outside, people who aren't part of the tribe, arent free to buy that property and declare it no longer part of the reservation. At least not with a certain level of unnecessary, race-based complication. Yes, and precisely because it (that is: the people inside the government) are the only ones fighting for, or supporting, a legitimate cause. They have every right to defend themselves, and whatever violations of the right to innocent people (which I use generously since simply laying back and not supporting, or engaging in, the fight against collectivism is pretty contemptible) are on the heads of the foriegn aggressors.
  6. A fair question. My use of the word "sufficiently" was unnecessary and only confused the issue. When I said "... they failed to use their property in a sufficiently rational manner", I should have said "...they failed to use their property in a rational manner." As an aside, on the issue you allude to, I would like to make it clear that I do not advocate a government which directly assists in the "survival of the fittest or the survival of the rationalist." Pun intended. Certainly, towards the Native tribes who, to a limited extent, practiced a loose approximation of law which respected property rights, it would have been irrational for European settlers to interfere with that. Property rights presuppose property (read: productive activity) and so the trading benefit - as meager as it might have been - of leaving these communities intact outweighed the benefit of taking their land; especially in a place with so much of it. I only vaguely know of few, isolated instances of this in history - mostly in the North East. They would leave his real estate once they have retrieved what they needed. Why would they stay? They have a bomb to build and a war to fight. Besides, once the war was over, it would be a waste of tax money to mine uranium for bombs that have no targets. The Constitution prohibits wasteful, extraneous government activity. Who were these? As I've said, there were a few, very isolated instances of this. To some extent, every tribe (and by extention every individual who chose to remain part of their tribe) resisted. Even today, Native "Americans" oppose the laws and policies of The United States by demanding that property be owned tribally instead of individually and that certain laws not apply on that property. The fact that the government caves in to these demands does not make them legitimate. Let alone the fact that many tribes' explicitly, and officially, denied the very concept of private property on religious grounds. If the military exists to protect his life from foreigners who want to kill him, by not helping them he's not helping himself. It's one thing to disagree with the government's claim that their desire to build a base on your land is essential. It's quite another to deny, on principle, that the government has any right to do what is necessary in order to perform it's legitimate functions. There certainly is hope. In the very, very unlikely event that Mike Wallace described. You might think it impossible, but that's another issue entirely. Yes, if it's impossible then it follows that eminent domain is useless as a legal tool, but that is why it should be abolished, not because, theoretically, people have the right to destroy themselves and in the process prevent others from protecting themselves. I'd like to emphasize that I do not think Wallace's scenario is impossible.
  7. Why? If you think that I'm advocating violating rights in any other context besides the one described in the title of this thread, explain to me how I am. I'm not here to participate in surveys or to rehash basic Objectivist concepts. I'm here to discuss topics which I find interesting.
  8. DavidOdden, No one has a right to demand that someone else allow himself to be sacrificed for their sake - and certainly not for the sake of their property. This includes individuals who work for the government; they have every right to self-defense that anyone else does. If, in this hypothetical situation, all that the people in government are acting for is their own sake, it would still be proper to take the uranium. Certainly, no one can properly (read: rightfully) expect the potential payer of a ransom to cooperate with extortion simply because it means that the criminal will be caught, and thus not be able to commit further crimes. However, someone else cannot properly (read: rightfully) be expected to allow the criminal to go free, and to have to live with that threat, simply because he wants to avoid having to violate the payer's "right" to refuse payment. There is no recourse on either side except to determine which outcome is more valuable (or, more accurately, less detrimental). This is done through reason. In the case of the uranium-owning holdout, there is every reason to think that without his uranium, the foreign aggressors will attack - meaning the death of both sides of the disagreement. Property is certainly a value, but it is not as valuable of a value as life is. To treat them as equal is wrong, not right. Also, the question of compensation does not involve the piece of uranium which is destroyed inside a nuclear bomb. That particular uranium cannot be returned to it's original owner any more than the time without the ransom money can be returned. All that can happen is that the original owner be given something of equal value by the formerly aggressive foreign nation. If, for some reason (like, say, nuclear annihilation), the foreigners possess nothing, and assuming they are still some alive, he can benefit from their enslavement (read: payment of war debt) until he has recouped the amount of value he lost. If they are dead, then that's just too bad. He isn't owed anything by any of his rational countrymen; including those who work in government. In fact, he owes them something: his gratitude for having saved his life.
  9. No, the Europeans didn't need all of the land that they claimed from the natives, but neither did the natives. Religiously inspired reverence for the environment aside, the vast majority of the North American continent was, for all intents and purposes, wasteland until Europeans made it valuable. Essential to that was the maintenance of a government. The Native "American" example was used analogously in order to show that all values - including the value which is a government created to protect the value which is private property - require certain specific actions to bring them about. The issue of "homesteading" in the case of the uranium-owning holdout isn't essential. The government doesn't need his land, it needs his uranium. The rightful (read: most rational) owner of the uranium should be the person(s) who is both willing to, and capable of, using it in a nuclear bomb with which to destroy the foreign enemy. Also, Marxists, living under an Objectivist government, would in fact be following an objective system of laws, their complaints about them notwithstanding. If they oppose the laws and policies that that government enforces and interfere with it's ability to enforce them, that doesn't change the fact that those laws are necessary and proper. However, until that point comes their rights will not be denied. These questions assume that the choice to protect him or not - once he has denied them the means by which to do so - is still optional. Reality doesn't operate that way, nor should the government. Both reality and a proper government simply follow cause and effect. The government would not be seeking to build an Air Force base on his land, or to mine it for it's uranium, if it wasn't absolutely necessary for the government's - and thus, his - existence. Cooperating with the government in it's legitimate requests is the right (read: rational) thing to do because it is the practical thing to do: Why would someone refuse to testify against a suspected criminal? Because he's afraid of the defendant? What does he think is going to happen when the defendant gets accquitted? Likely, he is going to continue to prey upon the man who he knows is never going to fight back, even in a court of law. Why would someone deny the government use of something which is vital to it's ability to defend the nation? What does he think is going to happen when the government is defeated? Likely, he is going to experience the very denial, by his new government, of his right to private property which, applied rationalistically, brought them to power over him.
  10. "Rightful", in this context, means "what is necessary in order to bring about the best possible outcome." Which means: to protect the lives of the rational (and, incidentally, the irrational) faced with the imminent threat of nuclear destruction. It is "right" to act to protect your life and "wrong" to not do so (or to refuse to assist someone else in doing so). It means that other individuals, some of them acting as law enforcement agents of a self-governing nation, are rightfully acting to protect themselves (and the uranium owner) from destruction. It does not mean that the taking of the uranium is sanctioned or perpetrated by some other hypotheical government within the hypothetical situation which advocates depriving men of their property for purposes other than averting a national emergency. In fact, to protect against this type of government is percisely why the action is taken in the first place. Of course, the uranium-owning holdout, after the crisis had been averted would have the right to seek compensation from the aggresor, foreign nation for the property that was taken and disposed of. In fact, the government (which still exists because of his uranium) would be the means by which to obtain it. But, in this context, he can only seek compensation. "Property", in this discussion, has always meant the uranium. The word has never been used to mean the real estate where it is.
  11. Other individuals, not "the government", become the rightful owners of that property. It's just like the case of the Native "Americans". They lost their "right" to North America because they failed to use their property in a sufficiently rational manner. They refused to recognize the need for an objective system of law, complete with clearly defined property rights. The irrational, uranium-owning holding is guilty of a similar refusal: the need of a non-nuclear fallout saturated area of the world in which he, and his government, can operate. So yes, the irrational, uranium-owning holdout would lose his rights - it's simply a matter of by whom. By the immoral, irrational foreign aggressors or by the moral (ie: desiring to live), rational individuals working for (and supporting) his government. Of course, from the outset this discussion has been centered around an exceptional situation. There will always be some people who oppose the legitimate activities of their government which serve to protect their very right to oppose it. But in the vast majority of contexts their opposition has no effect on the outcome of those activities. Justice exists in the world also; independent of the government's ability to implement it. Does that mean that when some injustice is perpetrated and the government - because the victim refuses to cooperate with it as best he can - fails to correct it that justice hasn't been achieved? Absolutely not. A "victim" who, irrationally, refuses to recognize that government is the best means of protecting his rights gets exactly what he deserves - the victim status he chose. That's reality's justice.
  12. *SPOLIER ALERT* The cover of my copy of "We The Living" has the phrase "They (Kira, Leo, and Andrei) would die to live and love." I suspect that one of the themes, if not the central theme, of that novel is this distinction. The exposition of just how deeply a nation's political system affects the day-to-day, and internal lives, of it's citizens is perhaps merely a vechicle by which to express it. Each one of these characters loses something irreplacable - the early years of their adult lives - and suffers because of it. The freedom that they've been denied (or, in Andrei's case, denied himself) is a supreme value that when lost, to whatever degree, can never be recoverd. Of course, it was possible, and appropriate, to experience pleasure from whatever legitimate values they could while trapped inside Soviet Russia, but without their individual liberty, everything that they experienced was colored in some way - especially their relationships; which unfortunately both came to unhappy endings. I suspect that this is because all three, being who they were, sensed the futility of trying inside the hell they were living. Does this mean that their relationships were not very important? No, but it was obvious throughout the book that none of them were in love with each other. The fact that Kira kept "replacing" Leo with Andrei, and Andrei with Leo; that Leo took that other woman he met in the Crimea; and that, if I remember correctly, Andrei took a Communist girl at some point. If love means the full realization of what is possible, then to lose it is the same as losing one's freedom. It means not achieving - either by calamity or because of circumstance - what is within your capacity, as a human being, to achieve. When Andrei realized that he had lost his integrity and his independence, he had no reason to live and, precisely because of his love for integrity and independence, he took his own life. When Leo realized that he had lost his capacity to judge and his will to live, as his own form of confused rebellion, he condemned himself to the slow, painful death of being a Soviet citizen. And finally, when Kira realized that Andrei deserved to die and that Leo no longer deserved, nor wanted her love, she condemned her country to death by risking (or, judging by her frantic escape attempt, I'd say guaranteeing the loss of) the only thing that could keep any country alive: the extraordinary passion to live that she, and few others like her, possess. Now, political freedom is merely an analogy here. I do not mean to imply that Ayn Rand believed that romantic love, and a sense of that another person is irreplacable, is impossible inside a less than laizzes-faire society. Perhaps she did, but I certainly don't mean to. I don't know the answer to that question, but it's a fascinating one. What I mean to say is that, on an emotional level, no value - freedom, romantic love, not even life itself - are ends in themselves; only happiness is. To paraphrase Rand: That joyous, guiltless, profound sense of happiness that can only come from the certainty that one is deserving of it, and capable of it. If one knows that that highest, most exalted of feelings is not possible, no matter what hope you (or your lover) can inspire, I find it hard to believe that one can get excited about the idea of living happily ever after together. Would it be possible to fall deeply, romantically in love with someone who has a terminal illness? So once lost, can this feeling of "irreplaceable love" be replaced? Well, I think that after a profound grieving process and after some very significant "emotional disintegration" (or geographical relocation) it can be recreated, but the pain that one feels from losing it can never be lost. Even if it only expresses itself in a subtle recollection that this new happiness is not what could have been, but what had to be. I think that that feeling is completely appropriate, no matter how virtuous, admirable, and sexually gratifying your new lover might be. Edit: Last sentence, 2nd paragraph.
  13. It was equally absurd to consider the possibility that, in reality, a man would never come in contact with another human being, but this did not stop AR from using it to demonstrate the objective, personal need for language. As a philosophical exercise, the question had value precisely because it helped to strenghten, not weaken, core Objectivist principles . I agree with the sentiment expressed that principles should not be derived from exceptions and I sympathize with AR for dismissing Wallace's question as, hyperbolically "absurd", but I do not think think it valueless. Yes, within the terms by which Wallace phrased the question (the "common interest" v. individual rights), Objectivism contradicts itself. But the primary virtue of Objectivism is not independence, it is rationality. That means to recognize reality and to act accordingly - including the recognition that without one's life, one's independence (or private property) is not possible. Thus, assuming that the threat posed by foreign aggression is objectively demonstrable, and assuming that this man's uranium is in fact all is available in the country (or in the time alloted to counter the aggression), the owner of the uranium who refuses to sell (or surrender) it, is not practicing the virtue of independence, but indulging in the vice of irrationality. This is not a question of the "collective" against the individual, as Wallace would have you believe, but a question of the rights of one rational individual against the rights of one irrational individual. A man of virtue (or a million of them) should not be forced to decide between his own life and the life of a man of vice. Of course, the primary blame belongs to the aggressor nation - which is guilty of a far greater irrationality than the stubborn land owner - but that does not absolve the land owner of any blame. He is guilty of abbetting evil - and inviting his own destruction - for the sake of a political right which he would not posses were it not for his government's (read: fellow countrymen's) ability to defend it
  14. I hate to break it to you, but you could be painting yourself into a corner. Or, more accurately, your professor is painting you into a corner. What is unacademic about the ARI? Because it's not run by the government? The ARI runs The Objectivist Academic Center for crying out loud! It seems like your professor, given his liberal basis you mentioned, is trying to make it impossible for you to present the any views on science from an Objectivist perspective.
  15. Yes, use that same spirit in business and you'll cease to be an Objectivist very quickly. Sooner or later, you'll cease to be a business man aswell. Ever heard of Gail Wynand?
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