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About whig

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  1. What do you think of this individualist view of It's a Wonderful Life from the Atlas Society? I think it has some merits. Individualism isn't always about praising big businessmen, though the economy would be nowhere without them, there's also the element of ordinary people, like George Bailey, making the most for themselves and not just giving in to circumstance. I liked TWBB, though I dont particularly think it's Objectivist. I dont think it's mainly anti-capitalist either, even if the novel was. I havent read the novel, but from what I've read about it, it's quite different, from the perspective of the son, and he gets involved in socialist groups.
  2. I joined this forum recently, and thought I'd introduce myself before the new year. I'm from Ireland, a member of the liberal party here, the Progressive Democrats. Don't be deceived by the name if you're American (tho I would support the Democrats over the Republicans in the US), we're considered the most free-market-based economically. As of this year, since our seats were reduced from eight to two, our influence in government had greatly decreased. Personally, I came across Ayn Rand through my interest in liberal philosophy, she listed as one of the philosophers on Liberal International. I read a bit about her on the internet, what work of hers I could find there and from other Objectivists. Then at the party conference in February, I met someone and we talked for a long time about a lot things, including philosophy, in terms of a personal outlook on life, and she recommended that I read Ayn Rand, starting with The Fountainhead. I loved it, having described myself as an individualist before, as I did Atlas Shrugged when I read it not too long after. I've also since read both Anthem and We the Living, and they're both quite good too. I don't think the latter particularly gets the credit due to it. Having said that, and while her philosophy certainly appealed to me, and I'd be conscious of it when making decisions about my life, I wouldn't describe myself as an Objectivist. I still see it as one example of liberal Enlightenment philosophy, taking bits from different philosophers that make sense to me. I particularly like the Objectivist stance on religion and the reality of the universe, but do not agree entirely with the view of how humans fit with the rest of life on the world. I see some aspects of society as objective and organic facts, not necessarily imposed, and would favor a safety net in social policy. I've read a few essays in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and would hope to get through all of her work eventually, but no sooner hers than other philosophers and other writings on humanity and politics. I am more favourable than not to most of Objectivism, so quite interested but not a devoted fan. I was recently responsible for bringing Yaron Brook to Trinity College, Dublin. I organize the debates for the debating society in college, and had one on free trade, which he spoke at. He also wanted to speak to philosophy students about Objectivism the day before. These are still listed on his website.
  3. Well, I have enough knowledge of evolution through popular science books, and a rough idea from geneticists I know that there isn't really a controversy among scientists, they all accept the theory of evolution. Those interested in it shd read Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene, and Matt Ridley's The Red Queen and The Origin of Virtue. When I met Yaron Brook, and there was an hour for questions, I got mine in near the end. Where most before me concentrated on the political philosophy of Objectivism, I asked about evolution. One of the concepts of hers I disagree with is the tabula rasa, and I don't think Objectivism takes enough account of evolutionary causes of humans' psychological makeup. I said that I thought there was too much an appeal to the Aristotelian notions of the divisions in nature between plants, animals and humans in her writing. I was satisfied enough with Yaron's answer, that our genes affect us, but we're not determined by them, much as evolutionary biologists would say, tho I'm still not so sure that Rand would quite be of the same opinion.
  4. Has anyone else here seen The Man in the White Suit, and what do you make of it from an individualist perspective? Here's the plot, and I won't bother with spoiler tags, as it's not as such the type of film that lives or dies on plot, but if you get a bit through my description and don't want to read the ending, fair enough. It's set in the linen mills of industrial England, and a lone scientist, Sidney Stratton, moves from factory to factory working on the perfect fibre, that repels dirt and doesn't break. In each factory, he works on his project without telling anyone else, and is fired when they realize how much money he's spending. Like Roark, after being rejected a few times, he doesn't mind working in a job of lower skill than he should, working as a labourer in a factory, as Roark did in the quarry, in Stratton's case so that he can work without any authorization in the laboratory. Eventually, one factory owner takes a chance on him and it works. When the other industrialists and the factory labourers hear about the invention respectively, they rise up against it, as they fear that it will damage their livelihoods, the head industrialist assuring the unions that "capital and labor are hand in hand in this". Stratton, at great risk to himself, refuses to surrender the patent, allowing it to be suppressed, and escapes from them with the help of the daughter of his current employer. She's a bit of a Randian heroine, who leaves her Keatingesque fiancé for Stratton. Eventually, however, as a conclusion, it turns out the fabric is not as long-lasting as it first seemed. In the final scene, tho, there is hope, as he looks in his notebook and thinks he know what he did wrong. I liked this film before I was particularly interested in political philosophy, but even then saw that everyone bar him was standing in the way of progress. I asked Yaron Brook what he thought of it, and he said that it was mostly good, but that had Rand written it, it wouldn't have failed in the end, and she would have explained that the absence of the linen industry would have opened up a whole new avenue of industry, increasing the country's overall output. But I think that overall it is quite in line with the individualism extolled by Ayn Rand.
  5. I've been looking through this thread, and one particular director springs to mind, M. Night Shyamalan. I don't know how I managed to watch three of his films, not having learnt my lesson with The Sixth Sense. Apart from the irrational concept, it's as if there couldn't be a good ghost film, tho I can't say that I've seen one, it was just terrible, with a poor premise. I had heard the ending from someone else before watching it, and with that knowledge, it seemed ridiculous and entirely implausible. Maybe if you start with that premise, anything is allowed, but seriously, the boy should have worked out that no one else saw his doctor. The other two I saw were Signs and The Village. Signs was too religious, and the ending was a ridiculous attempt to copy The War of the Worlds, but with a difference. Spoiler of WotW: . The Village was just ridiculous. Something The Sixth Sense had in common with two other 1999 films, The Matrix and Fight Club was an anti-empiricism, that things may not be as our senses tell us. I find this particularly annoying in the case of The Matrix because of the number of philosophical conversations since where people have said, "How do you know we're not getting all our sensory perceptions from machines like in The Matrix?"
  6. Loath as I am to quote Chomsky in my first post to this forum, his example of a perfectly grammatical but meaningless sentence, "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" is worth mentioning. A sentence only requires correct syntax. There is also a difference is the form of meaninglessness in his example and "This sentence is false", his meaningless, the other perhaps invalid, but I'm not quite sure of how to term it.
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