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Found 9 results

  1. In the April 1964 edition of The Objectivist Newsletter, Ayn Rand published an article called "The Property Status of Airwaves." In it she argues against the idea that radio waves should be public property, and I tend to agree with that basic conclusion. As far as I can tell, the radio waves themselves rightfully belong to the owner of the station broadcasting those waves. Rand, however, makes an important mistake in her argument for that conclusion. She doesn't acknowledge how radio broadcasters infringe on the rights of other property owners. Rand writes: Rand does appear to recognize an important objection to her position: that radio broadcasts use the spaces owned by others. But she doesn't admit that it's a possible violation of rights. Consider that the broadcast station sends out radio waves in all directions. Those waves then travel through the private spaces of every landowner within the range of the broadcast. (A property owner owns the space above his land, sometimes hundreds of feet above it, in the case of skyscrapers.) So Rand is perhaps pre-empting this "unpermitted use" rebuttal by claiming that the medium, or ether, being used on other people's property is "of no practical use or value" to them without the radio station. She therefore denies the property owner's full right to this unidentified medium in his space--on the grounds that he isn't using it. But of course he is using it. He's living in it. The owner should therefore have the right to live in his unidentified medium without being subjected to a constant invasion of radio waves. The broadcast is a potential infringement not only of his land-space rights, but also of his rights as an individual person being constantly penetrated by another's radio waves. Even if such radiation exposure is ultimately proven to be harmless, doesn't the owner of the space have the right to control its use? Rand's error can be seen even more clearly in the example she gives comparing a radio broadcast to a piano concert. She says: First of all, Rand already told us the essential difference between a broadcast and a concert: the type of waves are different. Radio waves don't use the air, sound waves do. But notice the other obvious problem with her analogy: a radio station's broadcast is not contained within the walls of a rented hall or building. To be more accurate, Rand should have considered an open-air venue surrounded by residences, in which case she might have seen the comparable problem of a performer's sound waves intruding on the neighbors' private spaces. In such instances, like with the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, this problem is addressed by local government setting noise curfews and sometimes even regulating objectionable content. (The neighbors of the Greek, for example, once made quite a stink over Snoop Dogg's vulgar rap vocals reaching their children's eardrums.) Failing to appreciate this potential rights violation of sending waves into someone else's private space, Rand instead focuses on attacking the government's position that radio frequencies should be public property; and, in doing so, she unfortunately resorts to denying the existence of public property altogether. She doesn't see how socialists have stolen the concept and repurposed it for violating private property rights. So instead of reclaiming the idea and stripping it of the rights-violating conflation, she entirely forfeits the concept to her enemies. She misidentifies it as a "collectivist fiction," when in reality it's a collectivist conceptual theft. The idea of "public property" depends on the concept of "private property," since the "public" simply refers to private individuals in a social-political group context. Therefore, property claimed by a public group, such as the residents of a city, should not include a violation of private property rights, such as the use of government force to acquire land or property through eminent domain or nationalization. If such rights-violating force is used, then the acquisition is in fact stolen property. Often times a battle will then ensue between the rightful owner and the thief, i.e., the government. And to disguise the theft, the government will slap the "public property" label on whatever they stole. I believe Rand sensed a problem with her argument in this particular article on radio waves. Before republishing it three years later in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, she deleted the section about the "ether/medium" and how it's of no use to anyone but broadcasters. Also, in a couple different lines, she replaced the words "medium" and "ether" with the words "space" and "air" respectively. I think this is strange, given her recognition that radio waves don't use the air, but some "unidentified element in space." Contrary to her "public property is fiction" view, it seems like she actually relies upon the concept to justify a broadcaster's right to use other people's spaces. Unless the medium/space used by radio waves is considered public property, why shouldn't the broadcast be a violation of other people's right to their own spaces? Yet, having explicitly abandoned the concept "public property," Rand has little choice but to utilize fallacious rhetoric to defend her position, in this case colorful ad hominems. I suppose an illiterate share-cropper and a whiskey-brewing hillbilly were the best examples of the public that Rand could imagine. In any case, do their rights depend on their particular abilities to understand radio waves? Would Rand have reversed her position if every member of the public perfectly understood broadcasting? The fact is that when people form a community or society (in our case a city like Los Angeles), these people must agree to share some things which come along with the nature of a properly functioning city. And we have learned, through trial and error, that these things can include publicly claimed lands and spaces. We agree, for example, to use certain lands for public roads. And we accept that certain spaces should be used for public airways. We don't claim that the cars on the roadways are also public property, and we don't claim that the broadcasts on the airways are public property. But we do claim that, since these things use shared lands and spaces, then we the public, the individual residents of the city, have the jointly held right to regulate that usage in a reasonable and democratic fashion. There really is no better way to do it, if we want to have efficient access to physical places across the land, and easy access to information sent through the spaces.
  2. (This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men, The Leading Man.) In her book The Passion of Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden quotes from interviews she recorded with Rand about her life and career. Talking about her years as a teenager in Soviet Russia, Rand spoke of walking with a young man who made an indelible impression on her: "I don't remember the conversation on the way home, we just talked, nothing romantic. But he had a manner of projecting that he's a man and you're a woman and he's aware of it." "By the time I arrived home," Rand said, "I was madly and desperately in love."* (Years later, Rand would name one of the main characters of her novel We the Living — Leo — after him.) If there is a single idea which a man must grasp and master if he is to build a powerful romantic relationship with a woman, it's polarity. Polarity is the recognition of the fact that romance — at least heterosexual romance — is predicated on the existence of two sexes; there is male and female, man and woman, masculine/feminine. To a Leading Man, the fact of sex, and therefore of sexual differences, is an enormously good thing. We do all that we can to positively stress and to celebrate that women and men are not exactly identical in every way. Unfortunately, many men ignore, minimize or attempt to downplay sex differences. In their efforts to be respectful and "modern," they treat a woman they are romantically interested in as a buddy or pal. Instead of torrid passion, these men often find themselves caught in a tepid friendship. Polarity is essential to forming a deeply erotic connection with a woman. In romance, a woman wants & needs to be seen and experienced by a man as a woman — not merely as a person, and definitely not as a sexless neuter. To fall in love with a woman means falling in love with her feminine essence. It means being turned on by the challenge that her femininity poses to you. When polarity weakens in a relationship, things get boring. When it isn't there from the beginning, relationships often don't get off the ground. A sophisticated man is not threatened by sexual differences. He embraces, enjoys and appreciates them. To the man who understands romance, "I'm a man, you're a woman" isn't a put-down, nor does it represent an attempt to return to caveman days. It's a basic fact of reality, one which underlies and makes possible the most exciting kind of relationship between two human beings. *I have a number of misgivings about Ms. Branden, and I do not generally endorse her biography of Ayn Rand. However I have no reason to believe that this quotation is inaccurate. © 2013 Kevin Delaney
  3. I have put a lot of effort into this blog over the last few years: Objectivism for Intellectuals | Exploring the depths of Ayn Rand's revolutionary philosophy. I always strive toward intellectual rigor and creating an understanding of principles' contexts in the reader. Sometimes this means that the writing doesn't flow as smoothly as it might if I were to write in a more casual style. But I hope that intelligent and thoughtful people will appreciate the rigor and perhaps gain some insight from it.
  4. Every Objectivist I've met in real life has been rather homophobic. I was just wondering what (if anything) Ayn Rand said about homosexuality. What is Objectivism's views on gays/gay rights in general?
  5. Hello, I am writing a paper on philosophy and I remember something from Atlas Shrugged to the affect of: Study two things, philosophy to know how the world should be and physics to know how it is. or We study philosophy so that we may know how to think, and we study physics so we may know what to think. Can anybody help me find where the quote comes from? I can't find it anywhere.
  6. I think that the difference between the bad guys in Ayn Rand's books and in reality is that Rand's bad guys are consistent. Unlike many businessman of today who play capitalism while hating it. Well maybe Peter Keating could be an exception since he started thinking at the end. Gail Wynand was a good guy, who started bad and ended worse, but for the most part he was a good guy, but he wasn't consistent. If you think about Hank Rearden a good guy, he was not consistent at the beginning since he applied different morals in his private life and at his job. Or Dominique who had a habit of rational self torture. Of course Roark and Galt were quite consistent all the way.
  7. I owe everyone on this forum an apology. I hope you will consider forgiving me for a mistake I made. I failed to fully appreciate the fact that you are all here- or claim to be here- to discuss Objectivism which is quite admirable. I am very happy that this forum exists not only because it is devoted to discussing logical principles, but because also, there is far, far too little discussion of logical principles and philosophy elsewhere in the universe today. (I say Universe because people live on the International Space Station [i.S.S.] and their premises in fact are quite illogical since the context in which the I.S.S. presently exists is illogical; communistic ((you may refer to my essay "On The Official Establishment of U.S. Space Territory" if you want a further explanation of that assertion))) This forum is very valuable and expressing that judgement should have been in my first post, not my sixth! I am sorry. Now, because I failed to explicitly identify my value-judgement of this forum my first post "A Letter To Readers" was presented to you out of context, and it was in fact, an implicit insult to you. I shall explain what I mean by "implicit insult". I wrote "A Letter To Readers" to everyone who reads at present and anyone who ever will in the future. Most readers however are neither Objectivist nor advocates of any particular, fundamental principle of Objectivism. The implicit insult here is that I implied, when I posted "A Letter To Readers" here, that you ought to be regarded as just "anyone who reads" since you absolutely are not! As I said, this is a very valuable forum and thus it should be treated as such. I should have expressed my appreciation for this forum, properly introduced myself to you, and told you what I hoped to achieve here, at which point it would then have been logical to share "A Letter To Readers With You". Again, I am very sorry and I most certainly hope you will forgive me. With that now on record, I would like to formally introduce myself to you. My name is Sean O'Connor. I am a 26 year old philosopher and writer. (I write mostly essays, and on occasion I write a story). I have five priorities as a philosopher: 1) To discover as much as possible about meaning in general and the meaning of essential particulars. 2) To improve and clarify as many definitions as possible 3) To discover as much about the optimal navigation of the mind as possible 4) To present philosophy as a field of science and change the way it is taught, understood, and applied 5) To be one of the best essayists in history I have been writing since I was eight or nine. I have been studying literature (poetry, prose, and philosophical essays) since I was 18. I self published a book of short stories and word collages (that I now condemn) when I was 23. Last April I wrote the first essay I was proud of. It is called "In Condemnation of Apathy". After writing five essays I took a break and kept a study journal. (That didn't last long). I then began blogging and strictly on politics, and considered running for political office. I was not satisfied with the idea of being confined to potlics and experimented with photography and film. That didn't last long however. I then kept a daily philosophical video blog entitled "Thrive!". I didn't like blogging every day as I wanted more time to prepare my thoughts and visions and present them as clearly and thouroughly as possible so I began outling ideas, and taking my time. I wrote two short stories and then I began writing a third however I got an idea for an essay! That idea was unfortunately interuppted when I realized that I needed to find a new room to live in as the lease for the one I am currently living in has expired. Since I was low on cash, and was worried that I might not find a room, I decided to ask readers for help- specifically readership and promotion. (It is true that I said I was "open to donations or sponsorship" but readership matters to me much more than money and the fundamental task of the essay was not to raise money, but rather to discuss the issue of poverty, the relationship between ideology, psychology and circumstances how the relationship between those three concepts relates to our present economic disaster, to promote the ideals of independence, capitalism, responsibility, rationality, to discuss self investment, present my philosophical discoveries, and explain my literature). There are five things I want to achieve on this forum. 1) I want to share my discoveries and ideas with you. 2) I want to help you understand my discoveries and ideas and indeed inspire discussion/debate. (You might think I have contradicted myself somewhere and if you do, that's okay. To quote my hero, Dr. Nathaniel Branden, "I'm open to learning. But let's be clear about what I have said and not said" (I am presently completing an epistle to Dr. Branden which I shall share with you very soon). The only thing I don't tolerate, or entertain is an insult. 3) I want more and more people to appreciate philosophy in general- to think about it, and talk about it. I will, from time to time, promote discussions here on Facebook as part of an effort to achieve this goal. 4) I want to build an audience; I want to get enough people reading and talking about what I have written as to have evidence for an ambitious, virtuous book publisher to know for certain that my literature is marketable. 5) I want to convince you that my assertions and judgements are logical. I shall tell you a little more about myself because learning about someone's personality enhances our idea of him or her; it adds meaning to everything else he or she tells us. I live in East Windsor, New Jersey. I hate living here and for two reasons: the geography does not match my sense of life. (The tropics do) 2)Despite a "Republican" governnor, NJ is heavily Socialist and it is quite depressing. I want to live instead, on the U.S. Virgin Island: St. John- because I love the Caribbean and it is a politically free (or semi-free) American Island. Regarding my education: I have decided to write an essay on it because I take a lot of pride in it so I shall confine myself here to writers and philosophers I have studied (some in greater depth than others) in chronological order, as to provide you with a bit more context; an idea of "where I am coming from" so to speak; an indication, based on my interests and decisions of who I studied, of how I have evolved ideologically and what I have learned. I have studied The Bee Gees (yes I studied them) and other pop-music lyricists (They're not worth naming here) Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Hume, William James, John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, Schopenhauer, Dostoevsky, Fitzsgerald, Hemmingway, Henry Miller, The Bible, Kant, Napoleon Hill (and other writers on "The Law of Attraction"), James Joyce, Ayn Rand, Aristotle, Leonard Peikoff, Karl Marx, Obama, Hitler, and Nathanial Branden. (my education does extend beyond literature but I shall discuss that in my essay) I am still educating myself. My top hobby is watching movies and television shows. My favorite movies are "Atlas Shrugged Part 2", "Die Another Day" , "Atlas Shrugged Part 1", "Moonraker", "Phenomenon", and "Limitless". My favorite television programs are "Star Trek", "The West Wing" (not for its politics, but for its glimpse inside the West Wing, as I am interested in politics and how the government functions in general) and "The Glenn Beck Program" (despite his metaphysical and epistemological mistakes). My favorite musicians are "Vivaldi" and "Bach". Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for taking the time to read my introduction. I look foreword to having valuable discussions with you and I wish you achieved ideals, Sean O'Connor
  8. I've decided to start my own local Objectivist oriented study group and perhaps get involved in intellectual activism, but mostly to meet local Ayn Rand enthusiasts. Pittsburgh Ayn Rand Society I may permit non-locals to participate on the Meetup forum for the group, depending on how it goes; but mostly looking for local participation. I do have to wonder, though, if I can use the title that I have chosen. There is an Ayn Rand Society centered in the Pittsburgh area run by Dr. Allan Gotthelf, but it is a professional organization connected with various universities (which we would not be associated with). Also, I realize "Ayn Rand" is a registered trade mark of ARI, so I'm not sure I can use that name or not in the title of my organization. I guess I will find out if I get any feedback from them saying I can't use it.
  9. In an interview Ayn Rand said that she regards alturism evil. While I don't disagree what she meant by that I do disagree about semantics. As far as I can tell there are two kinds of wrongdoings: Self sacrifice and the unjustifiable violation of someone else's rights. I believe that these two are not equally bad even though both of them are wrong. Self sacrifice is more of a mistake than a crime. That is why the government protects us against criminals and not against mistakes. At least not mistakes inflicted upon ourselves (there is no such thing as a victimless crime right?). On the other hand government trying to protect people from themselves is more than a mistake. It is a violation of fundamental human rights. Therefore I believe that since there are two kinds of incorrect behaviour of man we should label their moral worthiness differently. So... Self sacrifice is wrong (or bad) Hurting others is evil (i.e. violating someone's rights) Of course everything that is evil is also wrong (or bad), but not everything that is wrong is evil. I also think this is why we have two separate words to describe the same thing. Almost the same... Therefore in my opinion Rand was a bit harsh in the interview. Because neither altruism nor the peaceful indoctrination of children to believe in altruism violates human rights. Peace
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