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Cato

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About Cato

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    Illinois
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    john floyd
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    St. Johns College 2013
  1. The Boer Republics

    Weber famously attributed revolutionary industrialism in Northern Europe to the "spirit of capitalism" bound up in the "Protestant ethic." In no flavor of Christianity is this ethic more borne out than in the Calvinist; a Calvinist (who believes himself to be one of the Elect) understands his infinite worth as an individual and the worthlessness of impositions upon him by the masses. The Boer Republics, most famously the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, absent their racialism and the redundancies of "faith" against reason, seem to me to be among the greatest examples of human freedom in our history.
  2. http://www.kxmc.com/getArticle.asp?ArticleId=212992 I know that's a dated article, but there was and remains a very real possibility that the Second Amendment would be reconstrued on a federal level as pertaining only to pro-government paramilitaries. The fact that an elected Secretary of State (presumably tacitly supported by the Governor and probably by the state Republican Party as well) would bluntly threaten to secede from the United States over this issue should give us pause; while we may hope to convey a philosophy of liberty to the 300 million people who are claimed as subjects by the federal union, is it not reasonable to expect that within our lifetimes a People's State, claiming itself to be the legitimate American Republic established almost a quarter of a millennium ago, will not be the dominant coercive actor on this continent or planet. Montana is a state whose reverence for a citizen's rights to life, liberty, and property cannot be questioned. Certainly, few Montanans would identify themselves as Objectivists, and there is no practical way to change this; witness the Free State Project's remarkably unserious plot to conquer New Hampshire by invading it with voters. Surely, we can organize Objectivist operations in the state and over time, persuade large numbers of Montanans that Rand was right. But such efforts take time that we may not have if the federal union is seriously considering disarming the citizens of the States, at which point there can be no peace: this country will suffer either the violence of either tyranny or revolution. I propose that Objectivists have much in common with the people of Montana, and that an independent Big Sky Country, with our involvement, could be not only a libertarian haven but the world's first actual Objectivist society. I'm tired of believing in freedom and not having anywhere to be breathing in freedom. Let's party like it's 1776!
  3. I'm not, I'll pick up a copy. I've browsed this thread, and while I now have a clearer idea of what an Objectivist state theoretically looks like, I have concerns about its viability, particularly the notion that "voluntary taxation" could support and sustain an Objectivist state. Government is expensive. It costs a lot of money to catch bad guys and to keep them locked up. It costs even more to maintain an army able to beat back invading foreigners. I can imagine a scenario in which private charity would be unable to pay for police and soldiers, leading to state failure and with it, lost freedom. Conversely, the state could easily come to rely upon the charity of a small number of extraordinarily wealthy private interests; a collusive relationship between business and government that trades wealth for influence would degenerate the Objectivist state into a fascistic, social democratic tyranny.
  4. *** Mod's note: Merged with an existing thread. - sN *** Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that Rand opposed “involuntary” taxation as an initiation of physical force, but I know for a fact that she mistrusted contemporary libertarians because she suspected them of being anarchists. Objectivism presumes the necessity of an armed state with the power to check aggression and defend rights, yet Rand’s proscription of involuntary taxation begs the question of how an actual Objectivist state would pay for itself. I’d like to hear some ideas on this. Georgism in Hong Kong has allowed for an enormously free economy that does not tax exchange or production, merely the occupation of territory. It seems to me that, while perhaps not involuntary, such a tax does not directly interfere with the actual carrying out of non-agricultural market transactions. I suppose that an Objectivist state could constitute nothing more than a militia, with the government paid for by the labor of citizen-soldiers defending their rights. I must say that I cannot see such a militia being able to seriously defend against invasion; the quasi-state in Gaza fares poorly against the Israeli state apparatus. Thoughts? Denunciations?
  5. Any other Mensans?

    I think that the reduction of IQ into a single component out of two or three subtests is misleading. A few years ago I went through a rough patch in school and my parents paid for a 3-day battery of testing (we already knew my IQ was in the profoundly gifted range, but we wanted more clarity to that categorization) and my individual numbers are unlike any the psychometrist had heard of or that I've seen. With visuospatial, non-linear cognition, I roll in at around the 12th percentile. My ability to do mental calculation quickly and accurately is around the 3rd. But my faculties with mathematical reasoning (and I HATE math) were above the top tenth of the 99th, which shocked me, as did the revelation that I somehow test in that same tenth for understanding social situations, even though I tend to find socializing for its own sake soulnumbing. The whole verbal component of the test was not helpful because the subtest score was over 200, which is pretty meaningless. So on the Weschler scale my IQ, with these ridiculous chasms in internal ability, comes out to 145. On the Miller Analogy Test (MENSA-accepted), it'd be equivalent to a 190, but on a spatial test I'd come across as retarded. IQ is an imperfect image of intelligence, at the most.
  6. Outside of "Romantic Realism"

    I am an objectivist in every sense but in my unwillingness to capitalize that first letter, but I wanted to ask anyone who sees himself as a fully committed Objectivist about the system's aesthetics. I understand that Rand favored art she called "romantic realist" and that much great creative art falls within such a category. However, I would be concerned if the orthdox Objectivist stance is that there can be no aesthetic beauty independent of philosophical rigor and outside of certain prescribed stylings. For example, I find the Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel startlingly beautiful, though I would not call it "realistic" or even Romantically correspondent to legitimate virtues. Hell, I even think some of Pollack's work is cool. Would an Objectivist society define certain artefacts of aesthetic productivity "non-art" because of a failure to coincide with Romantic Realist notions of beauty? Because that sounds strikingly like "degenerate art" under a system against which Objectivism unequivocally stands.
  7. Britain and Ireland

    The best way to erase individual rights is for the occupational state to spend time and energy attempting to douse the nationalist aspirations of a restive people. Every political relationship becomes "us and them," defeating the "you and I" central to any individualism. If a people wants to live in collective squalor, let them, but let them live alone. States of nations that recognize individuals should not feel compelled to enforce individualism on other nations; only when collectivist nations get all up in the grill of capitalist societies must conflict emerge.
  8. How were the mongols able to defeat the chinese?

    Well, the Soviet Union did more to defeat Nazi Germany than the United States did, but that's an aside; two socialist empires that America ultimately overcame. But my point was that, for all of the soldiers who died fighting for the States- well, that's just it, isn't it: they were fighting for their nation and the state, not themselves. If you end up killed, it probably wasn't in your self-interest to be doing it. It's an interesting question.
  9. Giving money to the homeless

    Shall we say that morality cannot make universal declarations about whether or not I myself should give money to the homeless, but that very clearly it is immoral for some hippie tax collector to hand my money over to a civil servant who in turn bestows it upon a hobo?
  10. How were the mongols able to defeat the chinese?

    It should be said, though, that war inherently challenges civilizational- particularly Western- premises of individuality and individualism. When we go to war, we accept that we might die for a cause that will ultimately outlive us but which may require the cessation of our existence to complete. It is a difficult, though obviously necessary, problem of civilized philosophy to justify a war in which men will die in order to prevent the subsumation of the civilization beneath barbarity.
  11. I just got my membership card today. It's given me a very superior attitude. I like it though; it's the ultimate "no girls allowed" sign (not in the sense of gender, but one imagines Mensa as an organizing proclaiming that "this is our club and you can't play with us").
  12. The Israelis are defending their people. They have a rational, defensible argument for their intervention, which is ultimately responsive to a threat against themselves and their homeland. Self-defense is justifiable and justified- it is a corollary of the axiom of non-aggression.
  13. Britain and Ireland

    Well, the simple answer is that any people who, through a freely held plebiscite, declare independence from a larger political entity, have a right to an independent state; denial of the expressed wishes of peoples to be separate inspires, for example, the current Tamil-Sri Lankan war which has killed more than 60,000 people. The difficulty with Ireland is that, while if one were to poll the entire island (including the Republic), then the result would be a decisively anti-British, pro-IRA statement against the political existence of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, is an artificial grouping of six northern counties that are majority-Protestant, and so therefore those counties, in democratic elections, express a desire to remain with the UK. Presumably when you're talking about the IRA you mean the Provisional IRA; the movie you cited is about the original Irish revolution, which was a revolt against an oppressive, racist British presence. The conflict over Northern Ireland is much more morally complex than the original expulsion of British authority from the 26 majority-Catholic counties that comprise the modern Republic.
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