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John Galt

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  1. Frankly, I don't understand your conclusion, based on reading Nietzsche, and the evidence you supplied actually supports the position that N was clearly an advocate of individuality and egoism: "Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose." N called himself "The Immoralist!" "Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual." N was specifically against the herd. "Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire." N was against a happy peaceful dream, he wanted to face truth with all its dangers. "My humanity is a constant self-overcoming." N felt that stasis is death; that man must overcome his limitations and herd instincts at all times. "I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible..." This is an aspect of the will to power, see below. "This world is the will to power, and nothing besides!...And you, yourselves, are also this will to power, and nothing besides!" N felt he discovered the basic motivation of all living creatures, that is to discharge their strength, to effect the environment. That's why he felt that a so-called "self preservation instint" was just a facet of this; he pointed out that there's plenty of times that a man might voluntarily place himself in harms way against his "survival instinct." An easy example is a tiger in a cage. Well fed, totally safe, the animal suffers, it paces, it gnaws the bars... it is desperate to exert its strength against something, to cause an effect somehow. "Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end...Behold, I am a herald of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud; but this lightning is called overman." N felt that individuals could achieve greatness but we were not there yet, he also felt there really is no end in itself but only progress. "Mankind" as a herd needed to be overcome, as are the instincts to pity and resentment toward life that our social upbringing creates in us. Here's two quotes from my first post that agree with your quotes: "At the risk of displeasing innocent ears I propose: egoism belongs to the nature of a noble soul..." Beyond Good and Evil, Section 265 "Here the herd instincts were decisive: nothing is so contrary to this instinct as the sovereignty of the individual." Will to Power Section 786 I'm afraid I just don't see any evidence supporting a conlcusion that N did not advocate individualism or the egoism. If you can agree that he stood against the herd, what are you left with?
  2. Wow! "Lower class?" is that some sort of British Royalty thing going on? Or somehow you judge people's "class" by the money in their wallet? Or if their habits somehow agree with yours? You must be really high class yourself, yah-sure. Besides, cigarettes cost a fortune now, with all the taxes. "Week-willed?" Well, perhaps, but then again, perhaps they proofread their writings, too. Or, in fact, can actually spell. "Unkempt?" smokers are unkempt? Maybe they only bathe once a weak? "Bludgers?" is that like a Blogger who fell down in the mud? Is that why they are unkempt? And you know that mud is attracted to folks of low class status... For real, in a free capitalist society, market forces would take care of the whole issue. Some restaurants would be non-smoking, to get that clientele, some would be smoking, for the others. One of the main driving forces on smoke bans is the employees, who are exposed to "work place hazards" but in a free economy - they could quit if they didn't want to work there! In our mixed economy there is some idea that you are entitled to your job so you couldn't possibly have to make the decision to quit if you thought it was dangerous. Anyway, I figure this is just a joke post, because no real person could possibly be this ignorant and still remember to feed themselves.
  3. Spearmint, thank you for your accurate comments. For those without handy access, here's what Nietzsche said in his "Attempt at a Self-Criticism" about the Birth of Tragedy: "I do not want to suppress entirely how disagreeable it now seems to me..." (Kaufman trans, section 2) "To say it once more: today I find it an impossible book: I consider it badly written, ponderous, embarassing, image-mad, image-confused..." (section 3) Regarding a relationship between objectivism and Nietzsche, I offer this quote from Lesley Chamberlain in her Nietzsche in Turin (p. 103, Picador 1996): "As a self proclaimed immoralist Nietzsche hammered away at moral philosophy too, abjuring selflessness..." Pity, selflessness, the idea that failure or inferiority somehow created a demand or control on the strong and sucessful (herd morality), these were things that Nietzsche fought against. And so I find great commonality with Nietzsche and objectivism. Certainly nothing like total agreement, but great commonality.
  4. I guess I'll have to disagree - vehemently. I flipped through some of my Nietzsche books for a few minutes, and confirmed for myself that one of his primary themes is the individual vs the collective, or herd. He is the philospher who saw through collective (herd) conditioning in the conclusions (prejudices) of prior philosphers. His break with Wagner came when Wagner fell back into Christian denigration of the self. No, I really do think that the total works of Nietzsche demonstrate he is the philosopher of the bold and independent individual, bar none (save Ms. Rand!) This first quote, I think, says it all. Unless you think he sided with the slaves. "The ideal slave (the 'good man') - He who cannot posit himself as a goal, not posit any goals for himself whatever, bestows honor upon selflessness..." Will to Power Section 358 A few more examples (all Walter Kaufman translations, all italics in the original, same with the above): "The noble type of man experiences itself as determing values; it does not need approval; it judges 'what is harmful to me is harmful in itself;' it knows itself to be that which first accords honor to things; it is value-creating." Beyond Good and Evil, Section 260 "At the risk of displeasing innocent ears I propose: egoism belongs to the nature of a noble soul..." Beyond Good and Evil, Section 265 "...one thing we know henceforth... that is the nature of the delight that the selfless man, the self denier, the self sacrificer feels from the first: this delight is tied to cruelty. So much for the present about the origin of the moral value of the 'unegoistic,' about the soil from which this value grew: only the bad conscience, only the will to self-maltreatment provided the conditions for the value of the unegoistic." Geneology of Morals, Second Essay, Section 18 "My answer is... he does not deny 'existence.' he rather affirms his existence and only his existence..." Geneology of Morals, Third Essay, Section 7 "The hatred of the average for the exceptional, of the herd for the independent." Will to Power Section 283 "Here the herd instincts were decisive: nothing is so contrary to this instinct as the sovereignty of the individual." Will to Power Section 786 "I have grasped this much: if one had made the rise of great and rare men dependent upon the approval of the many... well, there would never have been a single significant man!" Will to Power Section 885
  5. I'm really surprised to read this. The entire thrust of Nietzsche is the individual, across all of his books. Do you have any textual evidence to demonstrate any glorification or praise of collectivism in Nietzsche?
  6. Does the existence of the Bill of Rights, which is of course part of the constitution, change your mind? What concerns me is how often the Bill of Rights is simply ignored.
  7. I agree completely with the immigration policy outlined in the above quote. This is, of course, the very definition of the legal immigrant. After all, no one could live in the Valley unless he took the Oath (Had to throw an Atlas reference in there ) Can you imagine someone sneaking in and camping out behind Francisco's cabin? They would toss him out so fast... I do see a weakness in your initial essay in that the children of the Founders are not bound by the constitution. Thus, in 120 years, say, no one is bound. Perhaps at 18 everyone should be given a choice - agree, or leave to seek life elsewhere? So we have established that agreement to abide by the constitution of this ideal land is a prerequisite of legal immigration. Does this consider that a failure to abide by the constitution by an immigrant would lead to expulsion? I would believe also (and this may be more controversial) that the number of immigrants may have to be limited. This is because there is a finite amount of available land and resources, so that another entrant may substantially reduce the ability of the established citizens to their lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Could 3 million people live in that little Valley? There wouldn't be room even for food production. Would otherwise worthy people have to be kept out? So here's what I think is a fundamental question: Given the fact that the Objectivist Nation cannot be of infinite size, would or should there be a mechanism restricting immigration based on other policies than simple agreement to abide by the Constitution?
  8. Well.... because this here thread is called "Illegal Immigration & Objectivism," that's why. I'm going to have to go the way of Stephen on this one. I'm not going to try and allege I can report on his position for him; I'm just mostly in agreement with his position, per his prior writings, on this particular issue. And also, on his choice to refrain from further debate when there doesn't seem much point of continued discussion. I was really ready to be refuted, but somehow "taxes are bad" therefore "coming to America and breaking our laws is moral" doesn't wash for me. But I really appreciate all the feedback; I'll never claim to be all knowing and I love to hear other well reasoned opinions.
  9. Value, as a word, cannot stand alone. It therefore seems subjective. My cat values a dead mouse far differently than I will. But Ayn Rand's pointed out that all humans share an identical cause of value creation: man, she said, "is a being of volitional conciousness." This being shared by all men, objective values for men can indeed be determined, based on the seemingly simple (but actually revolutionary) concept of rational self interest. So the question of objective values universally applied to all humans can indeed be answered.
  10. Looking at some of your points, quoted above (I do not understand the multi-quote system people use to address posts point by point... but I'd like to know!) I thought that illegal immigration was the subject of this whole debate! So if you declare the system itself immoral, then no discussion of behavior within that system, vis a vis morality, can be accomplished? Let's say you are arrested and convicted, although innocent, because a corrupt prosecutor is trying to score points somehow. Then while in prison you kill a cellmate to get his cigarettes. Can we discuss the morality of the killing, even though you are the victim of an immoral injustice? I never said anything about a collective tax burden and never discussed any "fair share" concepts at all. I was just pointing out that all that service and infrastructure paid for by tax money does not magically appear. Real money taken from real people pay for it. Again, I thought were were talking about illegal immigration here, not the morality of taxation... Anyway, since it appears that the answer to my contention that illegal aliens immorally consume goods and services paid for by the productive efforts of others is simply "taxes themselves are bad so we can't discuss that," I'll have to give up discussing it that way. I do notice an interesting shift to voluntary vs non-voluntary compliance issues in some of the arguments I'm seeing. So here's an entirely different point, one that has nothing to do with taxes (except in that they are, themselves, laws): our laws do not apply to foreign people. Its only the voluntary decision to sneak across the border that puts them in our country and subject to our laws. So you'ld have a hard time arguing that the illegal immigrant can morally refuse to obey unreasonable laws involuntarily applied to him or her - when they voluntary put themselves under the control of those laws in the first place by free exercise of choice. Are any foreign people forced or required to enter this country illegally? If the answer is based on economics, ie, to make a better life for themselves, is it truly a requirement to come to America and no other country in the world? If there is any choice in residence, is it not... a choice? Having voluntarily chosen to reside here, would it then be moral for the illegal alien to continue to purposefully disobey our laws - laws they voluntarily chose to live under in the first place?
  11. Although in general I have been in agreement with most of your other writings on this site (especially that brief explanation of god and the arbitrary in another thread, I thought it showed real mastery ), I fail to understand your point here. Also, I don't see how the Atlas Shrugged quote supports your point. You seem to be stating that taxation is robbery. If so, then if someone can avoid taxation, that's good. So the tax evader, whether illegal alien or not, is to be admired as someone who avoided being the victim of crime. And all us foolish taxpayers are criminal victims and the goods and services purchased with tax money - and I'll reiterate, because were talking reality here, not principle - fire dept, police dept, public schools, etc - are like the fancy car driven by the drug dealer. Simply stolen goods. So, when an illegal alien or tax evader uses public school for his kids or calls the fire dept when he has a heart attack, he's really super clever because not only did he avoid getting robbed by the tax collectors, he gets to take the advantages bought with those taxes too. Or maybe he's not stealing, because somehow stealing from a thief is not stealing? Do you see why I see ethical conflict in the real world when we're talking about illegal aliens? In this real world of America, we've gone way too far with wealth redistribution and statism. Taxes are way too high. I totally agree with that. In "Government Financing in a Free Society" (in The Virtue of Selfishness) Ayn Rand wrote that "... the proper services of a government - the police, armed services, law courts - are demonstrably needed by individual citizens..." I readily admit she didn't want these services paid for by involuntary taxation. She felt that there should be some way to make the payment for such services voluntary, like insurance. But for my purpose, the point is that she agreed these were in fact necessary services. And, just like car insurance in California, we are legally required to pay for these rather than having the freedom to "opt out." So these services are necessary. And we have to pay for them. But some of us get the advantage of this "insurance" without any payment. That seems unethical to me. Why isn't it? And I certainly don't agree, in reference to a different reaction to my post, that somehow sales and other taxes that are paid by illegals can possibly make up fo getting away with no state or federal income tax. I just haven't seen any rebuttal to my position so far that does not involve an abstract position that since taxes themselves are bad, you can take other people's tax money without any ethical problem. I mean, if we're going abstract, then what if another country hacked into the nations computers and took the nation's entire year's tax receipts? Would that be theft? Or, because taxes are robbery, it would not? On the principle that theft of a dollar is the same as theft of a million, in its moral implications, what's the difference?
  12. If I've done the quote function correctly, I think you have perfectly isolated the reason why a "good man" like Eddie would not be Valley material. He could not give up on the old world, the old way. It took Dagny till the end to finally have her break with it... but he never did.
  13. I'm interested in the dichotomy between specifics and discussion of abstract principles that I see here. I still stand ready to be convinced that my views are mistaken, but I haven't seen anyone address what I think the real issue is. In the specific case of the illegal immigrant living in America, dealing only in concrete and realistic examples, would this logic chain be accurate, or have I made a mistake? Sorry if it comes off kind of pedantic but I'm trying to be very specific and accurate: If: Living in America, despite anyone's feelings about the legitimacy of taxation, one cannot help but consume goods or services purchased with tax money. Roads for instance, were made by people paid with real dollars taken from those whose real productive labor earned those dollars. Whenever you drive on a non-private road, you are benefitting from this. The same applies to police services, fire departments, etc etc. And if: By definition, the illegal immigrant under discussion is here in America, because that's our subject. And if: Illegal immigrants, also by definition, cannot pay income taxes. You can't get a valid social security number to pay your taxes with if you came here illegally and you are hiding from immigration. If you went about your residency legally, you would be provided with a number to use to pay taxes (yes, I totally agree that there's way too many taxes, but that's not our subject here). And if: Using or consuming real, actual goods or services paid for or purchased by the real money of others without any payment or recompense is defined as theft. Then: illegal immigrants commit theft by the mere fact of their residency in America. And theft is immoral, to me. Leaving the abstract discussion of the morality of taxation aside, does my analysis break down, given the facts of the real world of America today? Or does it hold?
  14. My first was Atlas Shrugged. I had heard of the book forever.... finally I just thought "I have to read it to see why its so famous." And it changed my entire world view. How many books really do that in your life? Not books that impress you, not even ones that inspire you... but ones that teach you an entirely new way of looking at the world, like teaching you a new language...
  15. My "handle" was chosen for one reason only - so that folks would ask "who is John Galt!" I certainly do not pretend to the fictional character's perfection... Your post uses strong language, philosophically speaking. But I beg to differ with your conclusions. I hope I can show you why not paying taxes - if you avail yourself of any of the benefits purchased by taxes - is in fact stealing. To what extent do you, personally, enjoy the benefit of the taxes you pay? Do you obtain benefits by having access to fire depts, police depts, roads, defense forces, and so on? Is it perfectly moral to enjoy the use of these things, these things paid for by the productive labor of others, and not pay anything yourself? If you conclude that it is immoral to pay taxes, and therefore moral to "get away" with not paying them, then you must necessarily conclude that it is immoral to enjoy the benefits purchased with tax money. So for you, personally, it must be immoral to call the police if you are robbed or in danger. Or the fire department if your house is on fire. Because your position is that not paying taxes is perfectly moral. Would you call if you needed help? I would certainly respect the character of a man who had declared that taxes were immoral, refused to pay them, and had the courage to let his house burn down because the fire department is a service paid for by other people's productive effort. If you reflect on how you would act in an emergency, and if honestly, you really would call the fire department for assistance, are you asserting that you, the non-taxpayer, have a moral right to services purchased by others, because you happened to need them? Does this analysis change your opinion? Despite the serious problems with our mixed economy, the reality is that substantial taxes are paid by law abiding citizens and there are substantial services purchased with these taxes and made available thereby. Those who do not pay taxes yet utilize these services are simply taking services purchased by and for others. Isn't that theft?
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