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Al Kufr

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  1. I guess chess is a "good" game to play in your spare time . . . unless its done on a computer! That would be totally irational! Why do Objectivist "newbs"(my guess) tend to go waaaay overboard when they try to apply Objectivism to their life?
  2. While I agree that you would have felt like crap if you had decided to steal and that you would have violated your principles It is not the primary reason for not stealing. I think its important to point out that you dont practice the principle of honesty or productiveness for the sake of upholding the principle, you do it for a reason, a reason that is in your self interest. The "loss" you may expeience by not follwoing these principles(even though it is a loss in itself) is not the fact that you didnt follow the principle, but is a "loss" you can actually point to in reality.
  3. Then I don’t think you understand what holistic means. Like I explained in my post, you have to take everything into account. Your response is the equivalent of a drug user who’s argument for using drugs is "well sure it can kill you but you’re only including the cost in your calculation and you neglected to include the great feelings the drug gives me." My whole argument is that, sure there is a benefit to having a million dollars but the benefit is outweighed by the cost it imposes against the producers and the owners of the property. And in whole, when you take everything into account (including the benefit of the money) you are degrading your own situation. Just like it wouldn’t be in your interest to engage in stealing on a mass scale, by starting a dictatorship and putting all property under your control. If you did this, the high position of your entire society would fall. You’d be rich but you’d be the richest man of a poor backward country. Who would you rather be, a "poor" person in America? Or a rich man in the dark ages? When you choose to steal, even on a small scale, you are taking a step towards the dark ages. If you know who is responcible for the wealth and success of your society why would you choose to attack them? Are the people who have had it better than anyone else in the whole history of the world, Joseph Stalin and all the dictators in the world that have ever lived? If that is the case, would you rather be born as Stalin(since he is better off with all his power) or into an average middle class familly? So you admit that you ARE degrading your situation and that its against your self interest. So whats your argument? The level of degradation is irrelavent, any choice to do somehting that is against yourself interest is destruction for the sake of destruction, there is no reason for it NO MATTER HOW SMALL. There is no reason to steal. I gain nothing from stealing Thomas Edisons, Bill Gates, or the average Joe's property. I am better off with them keeping their own property and letting them produce all the wonderful things they are responsible for. Where would we be without them? I am better off by joining in, and being productive myself to improve my own position in life. We all benefit and together we all move forward together and all gain values in the process.
  4. Every individual human being, no matter where or who he is, has a certain unique position in life. Some are in better positions than others; some may be multi millionaires with big mansions, and may have a great job that they love with a beautiful wife and lots of great friends, and live in a free country with other good rational people. This person, if you look at his situation holistically (that is, taking EVERYTHING into account, his life, society, and world he lives in) is in a great position. And even if this person weren’t rich but was born dirt poor, BUT lived in a free country with the ability to accomplish all his dreams, he would still be in a good position. At the other end of the spectrum, let’s say somebody who may be dirt poor; lives in a slave state, with no chance of him or and nobody he lives with has a chance of rising up. This person is in a terrible position. The point I’m trying to get to is that, everybody has a unique position in life. And when you look at a persons position in life you have to look at EVERYTHING, the entire context; the car he drives, what he believes in, the food he eats, the country he lives in, the people he lives with (and their position also), the politicians who run his country, the social system he’s under, the company he works for, the countries he lives near, etc. And I think it’s clear, that striving to improve your position in life is in your self-interests, and degrading your position is against your interest. Now, here are my questions, in what way can you, or this man himself, degrade his position in life? And in what way can you degrade your own position in life? The Broken Window Fallacy I think its important to keep the broken window fallacy in mind, I’m sure most of you have heard it. If not, here it is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_window_fallacy The site I linked to says something very interesting that drives my whole point about looking at your particular situation holistically. ” The fallacy of the onlookers' argument is that they considered the positive benefits of purchasing a new window, but they ignored the hidden costs to the shopkeeper and others. He was forced to spend his money on a new window, and therefore could not have spent it on something else. Perhaps he was going to buy bread, benefitting the baker, who would then have bought shoes, etc., but instead he was forced to buy a window. Instead of a window and bread, he had only a window. Or perhaps he would have bought a new shirt, benefitting the tailor; in that case the glazier's gain was the tailor's loss, and again the shopkeeper has only a window instead of a window and a shirt. The child did not bring any net benefit to the town. Instead, he made the town poorer by the value of one window.” The child not only made the town poorer, he also made himself poorer by breaking the window; this is because he is better off to live in a town with that window than without that window, even if itsnot his own window. But the broken window only explains why you shouldn’t brake windows even if you don’t get caught, it doesn’t answer why stealing, even if you don’t, get caught is wrong. Reductio Ad Claritatem on Stealing Let’s say there are two people on a desert island, person A and person B. Person B finds an apple on the ground (remember, he doesn’t produce it, he just finds it). And person A wants the apple, so person A steals it from person B. If you look at the situation holistically you can see that nothing has changed except who is in possession of the apple. The situation on the whole hasn’t been degraded (materially). But if you look at the situation from the perspective of person B, he is worse of now, because he doesn’t have an apple anymore and A is better off because he does have an apple. So why is stealing wrong again? Now we will change everything. Let’s say there are two people on a desert island, person A and person B. Person B is a producer, and through the use of his rational faculties he discovers a way to produce apples on his own. With this knowledge and skill he becomes a self-sustaining individual able to survive on his own; person B has improved his situation, and this is clearly in his interests. Now, person A sees this, and he steals person B’s apples. Lets look at this situation from person A’s perspective, he has improved his situation because he has stolen B’s apples and has something to eat…for now. So at least in the short term, he has improved his situation (but this is not a net improvement, as I will explain later). Now lets look at person B’s situation, he lost apples for now but he still has the knowledge and skill to produce more apples for himself. So he may have lost some apples but his loss was small and only momentary. He is still an independent and self-sustaintinging individual that doesn’t need anybody else to survive and he can still produce his own apples, but person A is totally dependent on person B. Now lets look at the situation holistically, when person A took the apples from person B he was degrading his situation because he was also attacking the source of values (person B the producer). Even though person B was hurt only a little, it is still hurt him, because the products of his own mind are what he uses to sustain his own life. If you take that away from him how will he survive, and if he dies how will person A survive when the producer of apples is gone? Remember he is dependent on person B! Person A may have improved his situation momentarily but he degraded his situation in a more fundamental way by stealing sustenance from person B. So how is stealing in your interest again? You can apply this to murder also, how do you gain from killing people? How can killing sources of values be in your interests? How could it possibly improve your situation even if you never get caught? Does this mean that killing the unproductive should be allowed? Do you now have the right to go down the street and shoot the useless old homeless man lying on the ground? Again, even if you never get caught. No, it doesn’t. Lets say, for example, you are at a friend’s house and you are all alone. You see a big shinny window and you realize that you could break that window and nobody would ever suspect you of doing it. Why shouldn’t you break it? A better question to ask is, WHY should you break it? Answer: There is no answer, because there is no reason to do it. If you did, it would just be breaking it for the sake of breaking it, destruction for the sake of destruction. Same thing applies to the useless homeless man, just because he’s unproductive and useless doesn’t mean you should kill him, there is no reason to kill him, he’s a nothing. Doing it would mean killing for the sake of killing, it would just be a waste of time. Now you may tell yourself, ok youre right stealing, killing and lying does degrade your situation, but in many cases its only a little.Why shouldnt I kill and steal if its only a little against my interests? My answer is, if you admit that it degrades your situation in life only a little, why would you WANT to degrade your situaion only a little? Why would you want to make your life worse EVEN if its only by alittle. Again, there is no reason to. It would only be destruction for the sake of destruction, destruction of yourself.
  5. When I was younger I had lots of trouble memorizing my mulitplication tables and fell behind many of my other classmates. Many of my classmates could give you the answer to any problem between the tables 1 and 12 when they were asked to answer them in front of the class, but I had lots of trouble. We learned the multiplication tables tables by rote learning. And now I have a little sister who also has trouble with her math and she is also being tought in the same way. So my question is, what is an easier and more correct method of learning the multiplication tables?
  6. Actually, I thought that the "productive high class society" were part of the government, and they were overtaxing the lower classes. So he wasnt really taking money from the rich to give to the poor, he was taking money from the government to give back to the poor.
  7. Well of course, but I still want to understand his ideas. I think you are underestamating his influence, even great war historians such as Victor Davis Hanson sees some value in him http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/Priva...February05.html. Plus I dont think all of his ideas are bad, his idea about "friction" seems true, even though I dont know how he came to it. By Inspector Oops, I thought I put his name,but i guess i didn't, its CLAUSEWITZ AND HIS WORKS by Christopher Bassford . Anyways, BurgessLau and mightyTeuton, thanks for the help.
  8. I’m not sure where to put this because this topic has many implications, on the war on terrorism, foreign policy and just plain ol’ philosophy. One of the most influential books ever written (actually the most influential after Sun Tzu), on military theory is by a Prussian General called Karl von Clausewitz and his book is called "On War". And since I have a big interest in military theory, strategy and foreign policy, I wanted to read this VERY difficult and VERY important book. Now I cant emphasize enough how influential his ideas are, you’ve heard Leonard Peikoff say that all of philosophy is basically a dual between Plato and Aristotle, well in military theory it seems to be that all of military theory is basically a dual between Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. It’s impossible NOT to run into his ideas. From the idea of TOTAL WAR, to friction, he is everywhere. Clausewitz was influenced by a host of philosophers including, Montesquieu, Kant and Hegel. Clausewitz used a dialectical method to construct his argument. Which mean that not only was he influenced by Kant, he is also as IMPOSSIBLE to read as Kant. For example, read this short explanation of Clausewitz approach: One of the main sources of confusion about Clausewitz's approach lies in his dialectical method of presentation. For example, Clausewitz's famous line that "War is merely a continuation of politics," while accurate as far as it goes, was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point—made earlier in the analysis—that "war is nothing but a duel [or wrestling match, a better translation of the German Zweikampf] on a larger scale." His synthesis, which resolves the deficiencies of these two bold statements, says that war is neither "nothing but" an act of brute force nor "merely" a rational act of politics or policy. This synthesis lies in his "fascinating trinity" [wunderliche dreifaltigkeit]: a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation. Now,I dont know anything about dialectics or where to even go to even beguin understanding dialectics. But I do know that I want to understand this book and see if the ideas here are valid and what implications they have on foreign policy. For example, the idea of waging total war which seems to be what many Objectivists advocate in the war on terror. Here is Clausewits dialectical "argument" against total war "It is also important to note that Clausewitz's concept of absolute war is quite distinct from the later concept of "total war." Total war was a prescription for the actual waging of war typified by the ideas of General Erich von Ludendorff, who actually assumed control of the German war effort during World War One. Total war in this sense involved the total subordination of politics to the war effort—an idea Clausewitz emphatically rejected—and the assumption that total victory or total defeat were the only options. Total war involved no suspension of the effects of time and space, as did Clausewitz's concept of the absolute.*19 Having rejected his initial thesis that war is nothing but an act of untrammelled force, Clausewitz turned to the apparently more reasonable notion that war is a purely rational act of state policy. Writing in German, Clausewitz used the word Politik, and his most famous phrase has been variously translated as "War is a continuation of `policy'—or of `politics'—by other means." For the purpose of argument, he assumed that state policy would be rational, that is, aimed at improving the situation of the society it represented. He was quite aware, however, that in reality policy may be driven by very different motives. He also believed along with most Westerners of his era that war was a legitimate means for a state's advancement of its interests. Because his discussion of war as an instrument of policy is usually read in isolation (if at all), Clausewitz is frequently convicted of advocating the resort to war as a routine extension of unilateral state policy. In fact, of course, Clausewitz's famous line is not meant to be an argument in itself. Rather, it is the antithesis to his earlier argument. Like any such dialectical discussion, it exposes contradictions or inadequacies in the given concepts, and tensions between them, which can only be resolved in some synthesis of the two. Clausewitz normally seeks to maintain the tensions—as they are maintained in the world in which we actually operate—rather than to resolve them philosophically. It is nevertheless possible to derive much of Clausewitz's message from the discussion of war as an act of policy (or politics). In fact, the choice of translation for Politik—"policy" or "politics"—indicates differing emphases on the part of the translator, for the two concepts are quite different in English. "Policy" may be defined as rational action, undertaken by a group which already has power, in order to maintain and extend that power. Politics, in contrast, is simply the process (comprising an inchoate mix of rational, irrational, and non-rational elements) by which power is distributed within a given society.*48 (These are my definitions—Clausewitz never defines Politik.) And war is an expression of—not a substitute for—politics. Thus, in calling war a "continuation" of politics, Clausewitz was advocating nothing. In accordance with his belief that theory must be descriptive rather than prescriptive, he was merely recognizing an existing reality. War is an expression of both policy and politics (see relevant cartoon), but "politics" is the interplay of conflicting forces, not the execution of one-sided policy initiatives.*49 The actual word Clausewitz used in his famous formulation is Fortsetzung—literally a "setting forth." Translating this word as "continuation," while technically correct, evidently implies to many that politics changes its essential nature when it metamorphoses into war.*50 This impression is contrary to Clausewitz's argument. War remains politics in all its complexity, with the added element of violence. The irrational and non-rational forces that affect and often drive politics have the same impact on war. On the side of rationality, it is true that Clausewitz argued that a party resorting to war should do so with a clear idea as to what it means to accomplish and how it intends to proceed toward that goal. The connection of war to rational political goals meant that wars could not be made to follow some fixed pattern. Rather, the conduct of wars would have to vary in accordance with their political purposes. His definition of "strategy"—that it was "the use of combats for the purpose of the war"—has been criticized for overemphasizing the need for bloody battle, but its key point is "the [political] purpose of the war." If war was to be an extension of policy, that is, a tool of policy, then military leaders must be subordinate to political leaders and strategy must be subordinate to policy. As the Moltke-Bismarck clash demonstrated, this poses practical organizational problems. Like many of Clausewitz's teachings, his solution was not a simple prescription but a dualism: The military instrument must be subordinated to the political leadership, but political leaders must understand its nature and limitations. Politicians must not attempt to use the instrument of war to achieve purposes for which it is unsuited. It is the responsibility of military leaders to ensure that the political leadership understands the character and limitations of the military instrument. " I know this is quite complicated, and I know most of you don't know or care to know who Clausewitz is, so if I can get any help in any area can it be in understanding what dialectics is. If you want more information on Clausewitz, here is a good link to start with. CLAUSEWITZ FOR BEGINNERS http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchro...j89/cannon.html
  9. Does anybody know if the Leonard Peikoff at West Point video is the same lecture called America Vs. Americans? Or is it a different lecture? Because the sample video for the West Point lecture seems to show Peikoff giving the same lecture he gave called America Vs. Americans. I want to know before I buy it, so does anyone have it?
  10. They may not just be preparing to attack the U.S. but they also think they can win . . . Now Iran has given the U.S. evey reason to attack them even this horrifing one. The scary thing is that the scenerio presented here is very plausible, and the fact that they think they can win is another example of the contempt that they have for the U.S. They think they can win because we have given them every reason to think that, as you will see here. http://artofwarplus.com/wordpress/?p=577 IRAN READYING FOR CONFLICT WITH US by Amir Taheri http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/18347
  11. It doesn't matter that they are Mexican, what matters is that they have no ideological allegience to the U.S and are mostly Catholic, the type that actually listen to the Pope, so say bye bye to abortion in America. . .
  12. All the leftist are screaming about the Bush administration not responding to Cstros offer to send these doctors, of course. I know that this is a prapaganda victory for Cuba wheather or not we accept the offer,thats why I think Castro made the offer to start with, but should the U.S. accept those doctors? http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/americas/09/...cuba/index.html
  13. Here is the story, http://www.breitbart.com/news/na/D8CF5FL00.html I know that our own government is to cowardly to do anything about this, but here's my question: Would a proper government prosecute the people at Yahoo responsible for cooperating with a statist government and helping that government violate their own citizens rights.
  14. I think this has to do more with how people view ALL IDEAS in general , and the possibility of achieving certainty. People don't seem to think that we can form TRUE broud priniciples and apply them CONSISTENTLY to reality. How can any idea be SO right? They seem to tell themselves, "that persons theory couldnt possibly be true and work in all those instances, you have to mix it in with other ideas."A little bit of socialism mixed with capitalism, a little whole language mixed with phonix, etc. To understant what I mean, just look at the way our modern education establishment treats teaching math and reading. http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...ws_iv_ctrl=1069 The Dept. of Education said that "eclectic compromise" is the best approach, mixing a little whole language and phonix, because " reading is such a complex and multifaceted activity," "no single method is the answer." I've notice the exact same thing in military theory, our current military tries to mix together a whole bunch of different fighting methods(maneuver, attrition) to try to form a single doctrine. I see this everywhere. All those attacks on LF seem to be a product of skepticism to me, they just arent willing to take that "leap" and say that any idea or a theory is totally true.
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