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Everything posted by Eiuol

  1. Eiuol

    Rucka Rucka Ali

    How would you interpret the parts about Obama as a Muslim? Most of the joke is making fun of the whole "Obama is a Muslim" absurdity. The only true parts are the asides, the rest is about fear of black people and fear of Muslims. More directly, the original is a list of lies and exaggerations, and the parody is a list of lies and exaggerations (mostly from Obama's critics that are outright fabrications).
  2. ARI is just a think tank, I wouldn't call it part of a movement. In any case, even if it tries to make itself into part of a movement, that's misguided. It doesn't do anything in particular to change things. The most it really is, is an organization that keeps track of Rand's estate and promotes interest in her as a thinker. But the people you're talking about are so loosely connected that we can't call that a movement. If you want to call that a movement, okay, it just lacks anything like political purpose, or social purpose. All we have is some people say something like "hey guys, let's talk about these interesting ideas, maybe I can persuade you to change your mind about some things". The only problem with calling this a movement is that I think it makes one more complacent thinking that their discussion will change something, even though they certainly won't change a thing this way in the culture at large. Since you ultimately care about changing the world, why bother with Tew? Discourse is purely academic, and while it has value for us to determine which values matter, it has no value in terms of bringing about change. So don't worry about a guy who has big problems psychologically. Perhaps the more academic people are in a better position to change things - but it seems safe to say that the people who care about ideas won't (and clearly don't based on his viewership) look to Tew as a beacon of rationality. Christianity isn't a good example. It's extremely broad, and only some variations of it can really be said to change the world. Not to mention that the part of Christianity that did gain power and clout (the Roman Catholic Church) involved a lot of war and extensive political manipulation. We could call that a movement, because there were specific political ends. It wasn't a loose organization of people who share a pretty general ideology and people who discuss philosophy.
  3. I don't think there is a such thing as the Objectivist movement. Or at least, if there is, I don't think any movement so narrowly defined can last. People organized around a set of ideas in either a social or political way makes sense. Supposing you you mean similar minded people, Tew doesn't seem anything but superficially similar. He is filled with anger and minimal benevolence. Maybe he desires to be more positive and feel better about life, but he certainly isn't that way now. What you have is a person who is psychologically unwell. Arguing against him won't help that. Arguing against him won't help the people who will find appeal in his extreme pessimism. There is something deeper going on than what you can change the argumentation or persuasion. How would you change his emotional reaction? Definitely not this way. If you care, for example, about social and political values that are common among people who like Rand, and feel that you can improve things - better to do something more direct. Address drinking and alcoholism, address Tew as an individual with his own experiences. Engaging him or criticizing him at high levels of abstraction avoids and ignores the real problems. I'm just addressing you in most of this Swig. Tew is a pretty tragic case, and I find it pretty masochistic to bother with him. Unfortunately, with people like him, usually the worst happens before they change for the better. It would be better for you to be productive on your own with your own projects, rather than "rescuing" a movement that doesn't exist and a person trapped in his own despair.
  4. Is it really worth the time to analyze Tew's views? Nothing is wrong with discussing the purpose and morality of profanity, but the video seems superficial. It's mainly his impression, without any contention to grab a hold of for us to criticize. There isn't anything there. Sometimes this is fine when you're having a quick conversation with someone, but this is a 15 minute podcast. He doesn't elaborate either, so it ends up being the very profanity that he doesn't like - spewing out words without any particular meaning behind them, dressing words with adjectives that convey anger and frustration. "Nihilistic filth" is just as profane as "motherfucking trash". There is no deep analysis of language here on how curse words become filled with the meaning they have, or all the ways curse words can be used, or getting offended by certain uses of curse words when it's actually a misunderstanding. These videos I find very funny. Even better, they give me more to think about than anything that Tew said.
  5. Eiuol

    Rucka Rucka Ali

    That parody reminded me of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi7gwX7rjOw There are the more superficial sides of parody that you pointed out. But the nature parity I think tears something apart deeper than what's on the surface - at least if it's good. For the video you linked, I think it's tearing apart some notions of sexuality, especially making fun of absurd rationalizations to claim that you aren't gay or even bi. "It's not gay if it's in a three-way", "it's only gay if our dicks touch". That's already absurd, not to mention that if anyone said that seriously, it's like avoiding anything that remotely seems gay. Rucka highlights that by pushing it even further to say "it's not gay if he doesn't come on me", but then on the other hand, his character accepts that he might not be heterosexual, which would actually wouldn't be a big deal. So it seems only destructive about rationalizing one's behavior, and says nothing negative about being something besides heterosexual.
  6. I've read into this a little bit. From what I've gathered, he has a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol (I hesitate to say alcoholic), a deeply pessimistic attitude, mixed with some pretty bad depression. So it's not drunkenness per se, but the attitude that leads him to drink in the first place. He literally seeks to dull the anger that he feels all the time towards the world. It's a classic reason for people to abuse alcohol. This is not psychologizing, he actually said as much (59:15 for his specific remarks): I'm not pointing out the moral failing of Tew so much as I am pointing out that I find it sad when people seek to blame things outside themselves for deeply psychological problems that originated within themselves.
  7. It sounded like he meant that contradictions are possible (within one's mind as ideas) and that Rand is right that contradictions are impossible (in reality outside of your mind).
  8. Well, true, I looked it up, it is not a pure amphetamine. It might actually be worse, because it combines an upper and a downer, so we can't compare dosages directly - especially since Rand wasn't using it for psychological reasons.
  9. For sure. It might not be a contradiction to Barbara's story though. Both things can be true. Still, Barbara might be reliable for basic facts, but nothing that involves emotionally charged drama like this (events like that are prone to being misremembered, that goes for anyone). To say the least, it shouldn't be controversial to say that Rand was rough around the edges. That's not necessarily a bad thing. So I wonder if amphetamines contributed to that at all, and exaggerated those personality traits. Intelligence has nothing to do with drug use itself, but being intelligent makes it easier to hide drug use. The thing about amphetamines is that they don't necessarily impair rational thought, but they can impair emotional function. About all I know is that she used them at least since 1942, and used them for 30 years. We don't know her dosage, or habits of use. It doesn't matter why they were prescribed, and many doctors at the time had no idea just how bad they were for you. So a "low dose" back then would probably be seen as a high dose nowadays. Using amphetamines for that long is not good psychologically. Do you know any other books that might talk about it?
  10. I must have misread something. I don't know who "the subject" you're referring to is. It sounded like you were saying that Barbara Branden was contradicting herself because she pointed out what she remembered as worth mentioning, while also saying that meeting Rand was so deeply important to her. Either way, I don't put much weight on memoir type biographies. Does either book mention much about Rand's use of amphetamines?
  11. It's not a discredited source for that behavior, although it certainly was disputed (not to mention it isn't a contradiction to say that meeting someone you are critical of was one of the most important things in your life). Actually, you didn't even dispute the behavior. Anyway, it's pretty well known that she did take amphetamines. I just want to hear more. For a moment, let's consider that she might not have been either being a jerk or using legitimate psychological insight that she was approving. Using drugs like amphetamines can screw up your ability to interpret social situations or manage emotions. This isn't bashing Rand, it's looking for more context to her life. Depending on how much of a user she was, it would be a way to verify behavior that doesn't rely on memory.
  12. I wonder, and I'm curious if anyone has more thoughts on this. Might this relate to Rand's use of amphetamines? As far as I heard, she used it for decades. It would only make sense that it would manifest as behavior like this. And I wouldn't be surprised that people may have attributed this behavior to her personality instead, especially in that day and age. I'm only interested in terms of her biography, so I would like to know more.
  13. Did I miss something? I looked at some of his recent videos just today, and I see there's quite a bit of drama involving Tew in the comments of his videos!
  14. The value is something you hold psychologically. That's why we would say you need a code of values, rather than finding true values. At least by Oism, values are to be selected and decided upon. I remember Peikoff explaining something about this. As far as I remember, he was saying we begin with inducing the concept of value from all kinds of observations of people desiring or wanting things, then acting to gain those things. So we can talk about values on the one hand as the general psychological phenomena, and we can also talk about values according to the Objectivist standard and deny that something is of value. But we aren't talking about a narrow understanding of value specific to our code of values. If people prefer nonobjective information, that is still there value, and they will seek it out, and they should have the freedom to do so. The important question I think is not so much what Google is doing (because people actually value what they provide, even if it is not objective information), but how to get people to care about objective information. Google is not the cause, it's just a consequence of people caring less about objective information anymore. Also, part of the reason lying and fraud is bad is because with false information, you can't fairly or accurately determine your values according to how reality is. But either way, you still wanted the fake painting, so you valued the fake painting.
  15. "But the unifying social cruelty, the full deference to the wealthiest as the most deserving of tax breaks, the representation of the poor and of immigrants as unworthy and undeserving of any kind of assistance, the opposition to unions, to universal health care, to minimum wages — that is pure Rand." This is pretty weird. At least the stuff earlier in the article were things Rand actually talked about. But tax breaks? Never heard Rand even mention them, let alone people deserving them or not. The poor as unworthy? John Galt was a working class guy, not to mention all the positive portrayals of working-class people in all her books. I never even heard Rand talking about immigrants negatively. (So sure, she didn't think they were deserving of government assistance, but she didn't think anyone did actually.)
  16. Yeah, that's where we began the conversation... You and I were talking about the morality of late-term abortions. Until you started saying that it was a violation of the fetus's rights.
  17. It isn't fair or sensible to just state what people might possibly think, not as a part to your discussion. Your "even if" is pointless, except to say that you see something patently immoral about women who get late-term abortions. At no point did you ever say "not all women who get late-term abortions are acting immorally". Throughout the entire thread, you have been talking about how it is always immoral. Are you now conceding that at least some women get late-term abortions for rational reasons? If you don't concede that, then what does it matter that hearing details about the procedure put some women off of getting them? Yuckiness is not a valid justification, and you know as well as I do that intuitions aren't proof of good thinking. So, forget assumptions, it's more like conspiratorial thinking. You know, coming up with scenarios that would justify an ad hoc theory of why the world doesn't line up with your intuitions. Yes, because it doesn't possess rights. I would of course criticize (even demonize) if a woman got abortions for immoral reasons - the examples you gave were not cases that I thought were immoral, or completely fictionalized such that no such women might exist. But I'm not going to discuss that further, it comes across that you completely forgot about that part of our discussion and starting from the beginning again. I'm tired of that. Ask questions about my previous posts if you genuinely don't understand my position. And stop mentioning fetal pain. Even you said that it's not part of your argument. Wow. You did it again. You rephrased what you wrote so many times already, without making a case for why this is immoral.
  18. Seriously, this is where I see you going from presenting your case, to then expressing incredulity of how a woman would have a late abortion and assume their ambivalence. What evidence do you even have that they are ambivalent about life, and are ignoring what's happening to their body? All you did is give me a reason based on some assumption of what it feels like to be pregnant, and demonize a subset of women because their experience doesn't conform to your expectation of what being pregnant is like. Have you extensively studied embryology? Have you gone to med school to study how to give abortions?
  19. I've repeatedly made the case that "waiting a while" isn't even a moral error (especially because we don't know the circumstances). I can't have low expectations if my expectation is that when people do make this decision, it's usually a moral one.
  20. 1. Because tobacco is a product people want, taxed in such a way that it is treated substantially different than any other product. I don't think that reasoning applies to taxes pertaining to sales or the supply chain, because no good or service is treated uniquely. Taxes meant to regulate behavior are different. This would not be a consequence of UBI or VAT. 2. I don't think you can claim that black market is merely arise from higher taxes. There probably would need to be a threshold (isn't the US taxed and regulated to less of a degree than most of Europe?), and from what I know, necessarily involves a regulated product or service. VAT isn't a product or service regulation. You could argue that all taxes are regulations on trade, but if you do that, you still should recognize that it is still not a regulation on a specific product or service (as is the case for drugs, firearms, sex services, and things like that). 3. Deal with what problem? A black market isn't necessarily an issue, at least if it doesn't involve potentially dangerous situations. There are certainly black markets that happen all the time, especially involving food, like lemonade stands. But that's a nonissue, because force isn't at stake really. The government probably isn't happy about that, but still doesn't seem particularly vigilant about it. A black market for prostitution though can be very dangerous, because sexual assault is a risk, since sex workers can't go to law enforcement without putting themselves in danger of getting arrested. In any case, you might be right that VAT may require additional administration for no other reason than because it's an additional program. Anyway, I'm not really arguing that VAT is a good idea (and I don't know enough about economics to make the case that VAT is worth its price in bureaucracy), just that I think UBI wouldn't have these consequences. Do you mind if I split the thread so we can talk about UBI specifically? Yang is less my concern personally.
  21. The point of those articles are regulations pertaining to the government controlling how products can and should be used usually only results in a black market. I don't see how it follows. If anything, existing welfare programs encourage people to hide what they make (no one can realistically live off welfare, they need to work), and that creates an underground economy. If you get a flat amount each month, then you don't need to worry about whether the government approves of what you spend your money on, or if you're creative enough to find more sources of money for yourself. If you want to talk about UBI in general, not specific to Yang, I'd probably split the thread. Makes it easier to focus our discussion.
  22. That's what I used to think. Sure, on the one hand, it is creating a permanent safety net, which will include both those who need it and those who don't need it. But the reasons to get it - if it's based on citizenship - aren't really different than how generally the US government and basically any other government treats the society we live in as a social contract. I don't think I need to get into why this isn't good. But we still need to consider that there is a different norm being introduced here, which is freedom to decide on your own needs, and for you to decide on your own how to spend your own money. I find it much more damaging when the government assert any right to decide things for you on an individual level. That is, although we get a stable and simple program that might be harder to get rid of eventually than existing welfare programs, there is an explicit assertion that the government will stand out of your way. Pretty big change in the right direction if you ask me. You're right that this is basically "better poison", which I think is actually the most good that can come out of the political system in terms of gradual changes through Congress, the president, or the Supreme Court. Poison is bad for you no matter how you look at it. But it's the best you'll get. This is why I think more radical changes must come from outside the formal political system. Direct action and protest, things like that, are the only thing that would make a difference in the long run. Concession (more like Machiavellian pragmatism is how I would describe it) for better poisons is sensible enough, as long as you also support direct actions against the wholly poisonous parts. That's the line of thinking I would use to decide on any candidate. Split from this thread:
  23. And then revenue from a VAT, and any reduction in spending. Then the amount of economic benefit from the people on welfare programs being able to spend money as they wish. But further economic calculation is really difficult. It would probably work well enough if UBI or reduced to $500 per month. It's just too bad that Yang isn't demonstrating much economic intellect.
  24. I wouldn't say deceptive, but I agree, it's probably not his intention (his main objective). As I said, I'm not trying to support him philosophically, I only much care about candidates in a consequentialist way for the most part. I like the concept of UBI, so if Yang is talking about it without trying to -expand- the welfare state, that's fine to me. Take this from his website: "Current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally – most would prefer cash with no restriction." So, you couldn't take it on top of existing federal welfare programs. On the individual level, it would replace other welfare programs if you choose it. This at least minimizes outright paternalism, and it necessarily eliminates bureaucratic costs. Most people would choose UBI, even if they would get less money. Then we have to consider the positive effects of spending money in any manner you wish. But did he work it out further than this? I don't know. He doesn't strike me as trying very hard. It's more like a hot take on how he would do it. That's part of why he is not a viable candidate at all. I prefer him but... That's not saying much. What do you mean? The fund is business revenue, to make up for the fact that robots don't pay taxes, to name one reason. I mean, if someone considers the economy in a collectivist way - which Yang does - it makes sense to consider this a dividend.
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