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Found 15 results

  1. Hypothetical: A very wealthy individual has built an extension on her home which houses an automated factory for the production of flour. The automated factory includes facilities for accepting wheat, grinding it up, doing all the necessary processing and generating flour. Intelligently the factory is arranged so that gasoline, propane, oil, natural gas, or portable electric power, may be supplied to the factory to make it work, and that oil, water, and cleaning supplies may be easily provided to it to ensure proper operation of flour production and self-maintenance and self-cleaning operations. Ingeniously, the premises housing the factory also includes a foundry and various molds, for accepting raw metals and manufacturing of parts, wire, PCBs, computer chips, etc. which form part of the factory which makes the flour. The wealthy individual decides that this automated factory is to be open for business to anyone in her village who wants to produce flour for a fee. The arrangement is first come first serve and the contract involves in exchange for the use of the factory, payment of money and conditions of use: users must supply their own wheat meeting certain conditions to ensure working order of the factory, users must supply the power (gasoline, propane, oil, etc.) required to operate the factory, and other raw operating material such as oils, water, cleaning agents, according to specifications, so that proper self-automated maintenance and cleaning operations may be performed. Part of the deal includes a small deposit of raw materials for part production by the foundry, in anticipation of the need for part replacement, such as iron for main parts, copper for wires, etc. The amount of materials deposited accumulate slowly at a rate designed to cover any replacements for failures of the parts and components of the factory. The deal also requires the user to promise that if something in the factory has broken down, that he is to use the foundry facilities to fashion replacement parts and repair the factory, and to clean up and otherwise put the foundry back to its ready to use state. Replacement instructions and access to broken parts is arranged ingeniously so that no one ever has full access to how the entire flour factory works and the contract prohibits disassembly otherwise. As it turns out the village is full of mechanics working at a nearby (unrelated) aviation factory. Anyone who would be expected to use the flour making facility would likely know someone capable of or be able himself to operate the foundry and take care of the needed repairs to the flour factory. None of the villagers has the knowledge required to build a flour factory, nor are they interested in obtaining it, primarily because, fortunately for all, the price of using the factory to make flour, and all the conditions included, are such that a great many of the villagers voluntarily decide to use the factory rather than buy flour from someone else (its cheaper) and rather than make their own factory. They decide that all things considered it IS in their interest to make flour there. The factory is so well made and automated that the entrance to the facility (which is very well secured) has a computer system for users to obtain information about availability, make reservations, and read and sign any and all contractual agreements. The electronic system is recognized as solemnizing a deal with the wealthy individual (she has "pre-signed"... if you will)... all that is required is agreement by each user to abide by the terms. After 20 years in operation (the factory having paid for itself in the first 3 years), with the wealthy individual only setting foot at the facility a handful of times, very few episodes of down time, only a few attempted security breaches requiring the police, and only two law suits (instituted by the wealthy individual on the basis of breach of terms), a Marxist-Communist and an Objectivist-Capitalist come out of the facility after having gone on a free tour put on by the owner, who happens to love heated philosophical exchanges. The owner looks to both of them and asks with a grin, "What do you think?" Please start the dialogue either as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, stating what you think. Please choose the view which most closely parallels your own view in THIS CONTEXT, and identify yourself as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, and voice your outrage or approval with fervor.
  2. Criteria: must have been payed by private funds has to be amazing I know of one: The Széchenyi Chain Bridge wiki Any other wonders out there ?
  3. Thought i would share this for anyone interested. I don't normally listen to Joe Rogan but i do follow Peter Schiff on the economy. Rogan is the devil's advocate to capitalism in the conversation. http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/peter-schiff
  4. As of late, most conversations about politics have led me to believe there is something severely wrong in the way people think about politics. Most conversations involve two or more people who have spent hours and hours reading material that argues for their narrative or policy. These websites, books, and documentaries present facts and arguments that support their ideas. After having read the material of various groups I have found that a lot of this propaganda is actually very convincing. What I mean by this is not that they are right, but that I could imagine myself writing a character in a novel with those beliefs who was able to represent those beliefs and still seem reasonable. It seems very easy for someone to become convinced of a narrative, and have no idea that there narrative could be wrong. It seems like people are just telling themselves stories and using whatever "information" they get a hold of to fit into their narrative. You may think that the easy response is "well show them counter examples that prove their theory wrong". Somehow this doesn't work though. When people are shown contradictory information, they usually do one of two things. They readjust the narrative without rejecting the original premise or fundamental ideas, or they demonstrate a way in which that information is irrelevant or consistent to that narrative. This makes arguments about politics seem little more than arguments about theology. This has me thinking that I am susceptible to the same bias, While I have a firm belief in some basic political ideas, it seems that mostly what I have are hunches, stories and biases. Mises pointed out this problem in his works Human Action and Theory and History. He argued that what most people would do is that if the data did not correlate with the success of their policy they would just argue that their policy was working, but that other factors caused the data not to change in the correct direction. Making debates about political philosophy pointless. Mises responded to this problem by forming a deductive philosophy that defended capitalism through a rationalism and subjectivism. However Mises really only made an economics system, and deducing political ideas from his works seems unreasonable. I think that his response to this problem and the way Libertarians have used his work is one of the contributing factors to their ideology today. tl:dr Hypothetical Question: If someone brings up Israel and condemns their country for being a racist terror state, do I need to be knowledgeable to correct them and what exactly do I need to know to show that they are wrong?
  5. As a student, I often find myself arguing with socialists. I have organised many debates with socialists, and am holding conferences in Austrian economics. Doing everything I can with my knowledge, in order to persuade socialists to understand economics, capitalism and rights... I am still young however, so I'm sure there are better methods than I have used to convince people. (i.e. YouTube videos of Friedman, Sowell and Rand) Which tools and methodology (i.e praxeology, natural rights &etc) would you recommend to undertake this task? Thanks for all suggestions, Samuel Marks
  6. There is a lively discussion going on at MarketWatch.com. Capitalism is being attacked, and Ayn Rand is being mis-quoted. After reading the article and all the comments, the main characters appear as if they have just came to life from the pages of Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. These are the people that Ayn Rand warned us about: a Marxist professor and a socialist book critic. Enjoy! Paul B. Farrell Capitalism is killing our morals, our future Commentary: In a Market Society, everything is for sale. (review of the Harvard's Michael Sandel's book “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets”)
  7. Throw your vote away. Always! Never be "practical" or "realistic." Never vote for evil or "the lesser of two evils." Never vote for tyranny. Vote for freedom 100% of the time. Find the most economically capitalist, socially libertarian, and politically pro-freedom candidate you can -- and then loudly, proudly, defiantly, aggressively vote for him! Cast your vote in steel! And be sure to spit in the voting monitor's eye when you do so! Your attitude and philosophy should be: no nonsense, no bullshit, no apology, no surrender, and no retreat. Take care that you don't regret your vote later on; take care that you don't have to rationalize, excuse, and explain it away. Don't ever politically advance and morally sanction slavery. Don't you dare! Always bear in mind that if you vote for the right-wing conservatives, or the left-wing progressives, then they will socio-economically prosper and politically strengthen. No-one will know or care that you secretly favor liberty. How could they? You're casting your vote for welfare statist totalitarianism! However, if you self-assertively vote for individual rights and freedom, everyone will know. The conservatives and progressives will both take note -- and then adjust themselves in a capitalist, libertarian, and freedomist direction. This will happen both after the current election, and during the next campaign. The powers-that-be will work for and actively court the liberty bloc. They'll tailor their positions and beliefs towards you. They'll noticeably alter and uplift their whole legislative behavior. So don't be a traitor to yourself and to mankind. Don't be a communist or fascist monster from hell. But if you do make the decision to perpetrate an act of political raw evil and vote for slavery -- in the pathetic belief that "It's just this one time" or "It's only because this election is so damn important," and you think your one pitiful impotent vote among millions will make a difference -- then recognize that as a result the freedom groups and parties will necessarily decline and the slavery folks will ascend. And who's fault will that be? Your fault! You need to vote for freedom now and forever and always! If not you, who? If not now, when? If you decide to walk into a voting booth, try not to be a complete and total scumbag and retarded monkey from hell. Try not to be a complete and total destroyer of yourself and the world.
  8. What explains the recent radical increase in income inequality in America and the West over the past few generations? Why is the middle class shrinking so rapidly? Why is the upper class becoming so superrich? Why does the upper 2% own the majority of the private wealth in America? What is the standard and accepted Objectivist explanation for all of this? My reading of history indicates that ever since the advent of the nation-state 5000 years ago, about 95% of the populace has been lower class peasants, with maybe 3% middle class tradesmen and skilled laborers, and maybe 2% upper class political and religious leaders who mostly got their money via economic monopoly, inheritance, land seizure, general theft, dictatorship, etc. But once freedom, capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-1700s, the middle class burgeoned in Western Civiliation. Wealth accumulated and grew radically in the middle class for two centuries -- seemingly a social good. (But is it?) And yet, starting in about the 1960s, wealth began to accumulate in the upper class, while the absolute size of the middle class shrank from maybe 80% to 65%, and while the relative wealth of the middle class also declined. The lower class also increased in size, and their relative share of the national wealth also declined. Now, this is a quick summary of Western economics, but I think I'm being fair and accurate. (If not, someone please correct me!) So... Why is all this happening? Why is this new social evil upon us (if it is, based on Thomas Sowell's "cosmic justice") which is so inimical to freedom, and which lends itself so well to pro-Big Brother rhetoric and ideology? Why is the standard nonsensical socialist/communist claim of "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer" suddenly true? Clearly this has something to do with the radical expansion of the welfare state from WWI to the 1960s. But what is the detailed and insightful explanation for this? What is the current best libertarian or Objectivist explanation for it?
  9. “ON THE OFFICIAL ESTABLISHMENT OF UNITED STATES SPACE TERRITORY” What new fact will scientists discover about the universe that is as rich as Benjamin Franklin’s discoveries about the nature of electricity? What will be the next invention as rich as Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press? How will such advancements drastically enhance human life? When will humans finally explore, colonize, and terraform Mars and beyond? When will more Americans value exploration, discovery and invention? Once they do, the value of human existence will increase, and as a result we will enjoy a richer economy. Unfortunately communists are in an ideological war against exploration, discovery, and invention. Their tactic is deceptive and relies on lying about the nature of such acts; that they are not individualistic in effort, and thus, no private property exists as a result; only uncooperative, disruptive claims of private property. Everything, the communists claim, exists for the sake of the collective; even your thoughts, for if your thoughts disrupt society’s hypnotic state you are to be condemned and shunned. So long as an individual is altruistic, nothing he or she thinks and produces can be more valuable than anything anyone else thinks and produces. This means a communist economy is mediocre by nature. Note that even the Chinese government knows that pure communism makes for a disastrous economy and thus mixes their economy with a public and private sector. Among the facts which the Chinese government is yet to discover is that a mixed economy is likewise disastrous, and is still communist in nature, and preserves its control of the economy by hypocritical means. If you think the Chinese economy is booming, that is only in contrast to the declining, communizing, American economy which is psychotically obliterating itself with debt (some of which it owes to China). If the American economy was more capitalistic, and more Americans were pioneers, the mediocrity of the Chinese economy would be much more obvious to the superficial observer. Communists know that communist economies are mediocre. They believe in a mediocre economy; they just won’t use the word “mediocre”. Instead, they say they believe in an economy most suitable for the “average worker”; or in Karl Marx’s words: “the proletariat”. President Obama has so fierce a hatred for the individual, and private property, that he led an attempt to force every American to purchase health insurance. His hope was that by forcing everyone to purchase health insurance, they would think there was no time to waste searching for the best possible insurance policy, and would instead rush to a government sponsored policy, which would then cause the price of private insurance policies to skyrocket and repel consumers. He wants Americans to surrender their self-determination, their individuality, and their private property. Obama is even attempting to force Christian institutions to provide birth control as part of their health insurance policies despite their religious opposition to doing so and their first amendment right to act on that opposition. Ultimately, the president is attempting to force us to produce and consume what he wants us to produce and consume. The fact that he has been somewhat successful in his evil ambitions indicates that pioneering, i.e., discovering and/or inventing, in America has declined drastically. Despite what some people may say, the American economy is, in Herman Cain’s words “on life support”. This life support is made possible by the few unrelenting capitalists who vocally and actively oppose communism. Although this life support gives me confidence, so long as there exists a gang of communists supporting president Obama, we are being enslaved, and our economy will weaken. The best solution to this problem is communicating not only the ethical justification of capitalism; it also requires capitalistic action, specifically, actual pioneering, and articulating the value of pioneering and that which is pioneered. If enough people do this, our culture will thrive. In order to pioneer, one must have a rich, ethical value hierarchy. This requires the possession of rational principles, understanding the relationship between principles and values, and understanding the nature of values. The pioneer rationally evaluates his/her surroundings, and then introspects, based on his/her logical hopes and personal ideals, in search of something rational and new to produce. The pioneer is either a scientist or an inventor. The basic source of pioneering is an individual’s logical hopes. A logical hope is a logical, and passionate wish. Unfortunately logical hopes tend to be condemned by the apathetics. Apathetics not only condemn the logical hopes of pioneers, they condemn their own logical hopes. This is evident by how rare logical hope is. That is because logic itself is so widely condemned and incorrectly defined. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. The distinguishing characteristic of the concept “logic” is “non-contradiction”, i.e., identifying facts. Wikipedia, which exists to completely obliterate human intelligence, (and given its popularity is quite successful in doing so) has a disturbing article on logic. Wikipedia defines logic as “the philosophical study of valid reasoning”. What is valid reasoning? Blank out. Eventually the term “non-contradiction” appears but it is not mentioned as a fact. The law of non-contradiction, says Wikipedia, is ambiguous. There is nothing ambiguous about the fact that existence exists and a=a. So long as people surrender their reason to the evil of Wikipedia, logic and its psychological manifestation, logical hope, will remain rare. Actively feeling intense logical hope is the first indication that one is thriving or is on one’s way to thriving. It is one of the best emotional experiences one can have. Twelve years ago I read a novel entitled The Cage, by Ruth Minsky Sender, which is about Sender’s experience in Auschwitz. In the novel, she often repeated to herself, a very valuable mantra: “if there is life, there is hope”. It is worth noting that she survived Auschwitz. I should like to add to that: if there is logical hope, there is indeed a logical way to get that which is hoped for. When you have a logical hope, you constantly think about and discuss it. This does two things: 1) since you reiterate your logical hope to your subconscious at a higher frequency, you increase the efficiency of your consciousness getting you what you logically hope for. 2) You share your logical hopes with other people, and even if those among you are completely irrational, so long as they are conscious, regardless of whether or not they are receptive to what you suggest to them, their subconscious’s are at least open to your suggestion, i.e., it records your suggestion. If you make the same suggestion persistently enough, people persistently have to reject or accept your suggestion. The postmodern communists understand this and that is why they dominate the media: so they can reiterate the same evil suggestions over, and over, and over again, to an audience ill equipped to reject and refute their suggestions. But if truth, and evidence of truth is communicated more persistently, the postmodern communists will be incapable of countering all of it and will eventually have to either concede and face reality or attempt to evade it so consumingly that their ideological movement will become greatly weakened, if not obsolete. For example, the segregationists of the 1960’s were defeated, and speaking of the 1960’s, today far less people smoke now than they did then. The best illustration of this point is the fact that so many people use technology, i.e., they accept its high value. Why? Because those who promote the use of technology do so more persistently than those who do not. If scientists, i.e., people who believe in reason, are more persistent in arguing in favor of their beliefs than the postmodern communists, it will stimulate the culture and eventually incite a Renaissance. Consider a rational culture of scientists. People would be more productive not only in the sense that they will be busier but in the sense that they will be producing things which they live for, and which are of high value- this as opposed to resentfully producing junk exclusively for the sake of “paying the bills”. This means: a booming economy: everyone producing and consuming out of love for ingenuity. But currently, postmodern communism is the predominant ideology world-wide and continues to gain more traction. As communistic as the country has been throughout the decades, we were actually heading closer towards more capitalism than more communism courtesy of the technological boom that reached its prime and began declining in the early 2000’s. The technological boom was capitalism’s best defense. The technological boom said to all humans, “look what a human can do when a human is free to produce whatever he or she wants and keep his or her profit!”. Even despite the fact that tax rates were higher during the communistic Clinton administration, the 1990’s saw a stunning and beautiful technological boom. That is because the beauty of new technology still trumped the culture’s frustration with unethical high tax rates. Innovation took priority. I am so grateful to have witnessed, as a child, the contrast of life before and after the internet gained popularity and sophistication. The essence of that contrast was representative of the economy in general, which saw a massive leap in human ability, technological advancement and thus a new, rich, stimulating, life enhancing marketplace which included digital cameras, cellphones, websites, laptops, DVDs, video game systems, Viagra, iPods, digital cable with movies on demand, the International Space Station, et cetera. The innovators, however, despite their capitalistic tendencies, clearly had no understanding of complete metaphysical objectivity and thus surrendered their minds to the postmodern communists. I submit to you, lyrics of a song by a top selling music group which indicates the passionate irrationality of top selling producers, and the passionate irrationality of most consumers: “Science has failed our world Science has failed our mother Earth Science fails to recognize the single most potent element of human existence Letting the reigns go to the unfolding Is faith, faith, faith, faith… Spirit-moves-through-all-things” (“Science”; System of a Down; Doran Malakian, Serj Tankian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan) Each person who has bought that song or that belief is indeed part of a system bring down civilization. Science has not failed our world. Science tells you not to eat a poisonous berry and that if you do you will die. Science made possible the technology used by “System of a Down” to produce and sell that unethical song. Science reveals that the single most potent element of human existence is reason. Without reason “System of a Down” would not have words, i.e., names of concepts, to scream out. System of a Down is nothing but a group of psychotics screaming in a psychological mix of extreme anger and deep, thorough confusion; i.e., they are a bunch of men throwing a very disruptive tantrum. (It should not surprise you, by the way, that “System of a Down” is the psychological result of long term Soviet communism. Even though Russia is no longer “officially” a communist country, and Armenia -where the members of “System of a Down” come from- is no longer part of Russia, the psychological ramifications of living under the tyranny of complete communism do not disappear out of thin air.) This hatred of science is extremely dangerous to every aspect of human existence. When a large number of people pay brats to throw tantrums and throw tantrums with them, there is no question that the economy is in a crisis. We need a return to science. Do you notice that science does not make many news headlines today? There is a reason why. Because science is good for the economy and the communists do not want a thriving economy. If the economy is thriving nobody would cling to them for sustenance. Because science is capitalistic by nature, because if the people in the media reported on scientific discoveries, they could only give you the facts and rational commentary, which they do not want to do. Science must return to the news headlines. And by science I do not mean subjective speculations and bogus hypotheses. I mean logically proven facts and following the leads of the timeless pioneers; pioneers such as Aristotle, Johannes Guttenberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Iassac Newton, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, John Locke, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John D. Rockefeller, Anne Sullivan, Maria Montessori Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Ayn Rand, Steve Jobs, Robert Zubrin, et cetera. We must study them, their curiosities, their methods, their efforts, and their ideals. You will note that even despite their ideological disparities, despite sometimes only being selectively rational, they were all, to extreme degrees, scientific. They were cultural leaders, and the amassers of tremendous wealth. A major consequence of the widespread rejection of science is the widespread belief in the lie that we have somehow drained all of our resources, or that we are severely limited in resources. Even if they do not say it, the fact that our economy is so poor is evidence that they believe it. Scientists and inventors know there are more resources in the universe than each of us could evaluate in a lifetime. There is only one basic resource and only one basic tool in existence: the universe, and reason. The universe is the domain of existence. That means anything that exists, exists in the universe. The nature of the universe is slightly comparable to how mystics regarded their mythological “God” in that it is to be worshipped however, worship is not engagement in a passive state of oblivious awe. To the contrary: to worship is to understand and optimize the use of. To worship the universe we must explore it, study it, and use it for the sake of thriving. Our knowledge of the universe is primitive. We do not know its magnitude. Many people speculate but they do so with a microscopic speck of evidence that is far too limiting. Given how ignorant we are about the universe, and how little of it we have had a glance at, it is illogical to assume that there are no useful resources hidden in rare Earth-like oases. It is furthermore, irrational not to at least search for them. Likewise, it is irrational to assume aliens do not exist, and even if they do not, it is irrational not to search for them, and then rationally conclude that Earth is the only planet in the universe which hosts life. If we explore, understand, and optimize the universe for human use, we will continually thrive, which is our ultimate value; our chief purpose. How do we know this? Our basic tool, reason, confirms it. For a brief elaboration on reason, I shall quote John Galt from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged: “Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason; his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind. All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob of color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object, he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells; that the cells consist of molecules, and that the molecules consist of atoms. All through this process, the work of his mind consists of answers to a single question: what is it? His means to establish the truth of his answers is logic and logic rests on the axiom that existence exists. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict one’s self from the realm of reality. “Reality is that which exists. The unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth”. (p. 930) One of the universe’s basic properties is space, and it is within space which all aspects of the universe exist. There are three major types of space: outer space, mind, and media. Outer space is obviously the primary type of space. It is physical space, and consists of matter and energy. It is therefore, the content of human consciousness. Just like lungs need oxygen in order for a human to breathe, the mind needs to perceive physical space in order to think. The mind cannot advance if we do not further explore outer space. Instead, it will atrophy via depreciation. The mind consists of consciousness and subconsciousness. It operates via thought. A thought navigates the mind’s attention and the body’s actions. In order for one’s mind, and moreover, one’s self to thrive it must rationally evaluate outer space. Since no human is omniscient, in order to maximize one’s intelligence, one must trade evaluations via media. Media is published space, and consists of information. (I say information as opposed to knowledge because not everything in the media, in fact, much of the media, is not true. Information is distinct from knowledge or fact because information can be true or false and thus is defined as communicated, published thought.) The internet is the ultimate form of media since it is the most efficient network of mass communication. It is by evaluating contemporary media that we may evaluate our culture. Since most of contemporary media evades science it is extremely impoverished. Unless people rationally reevaluate outer space- the subject of science- their minds, and thus our media will continually atrophy. People must invest- in whatever way rationally suits themselves- more thought, action, and money in outer space. Specifically, the time has come to revive space exploration and begin space colonization and terraforming. To do this, we need a vision for the future. In the words of Robert Zubrin, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (The Case For Mars ;p. xvi) Robert Zubrin’s vision of the future takes us all the way to Mars! A terraformed Mars! He writes, “There are real and vital reasons why we should venture to Mars. It is the key to unlocking the secret life of the universe. It is the challenge to adventure that will inspire millions of young people to enter science and engineering, and whose acceptance will reaffirm the nature of our society as a society of pioneers. It is the door to an open future, a new frontier on a new world, a planet that can be settled, the beginning of humanity’s career as space faring species with no limits to its resources or aspirations as it continues to push outward into the infinite universe beyond.” (p.xvi) While Robert Zubrin sees a path to Mars, he does not, in his book The Case For Mars, identify how the United States government should be involved in the matter. He proposes several ways the government could be involved, however he is not committed to any single proposal. Furthermore, he makes no mention of property rights.... (to read the rest of the essay, visit http://seanoconnorliterature.com/2012/06/04/on-the-official-establishment-of-u-s-space-territory/ )
  10. Last night (August 28, 2012) New Jersey governor Chris Christie gave the Keynote Address to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Gov. Christie didn't mention or praise: freedom, liberty, individual rights, justice, capitalism, libertarianism, laissez-faire, free enterprise, or free trade. So too: Ayn Rand, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Locke, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, or Friedrich Hayek. He also didn't mention or condemn: slavery, tyranny, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, communism, socialism, fascism, welfare statism, Big Gov't, or Big Brother. So too: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, Saul Alinsky, Joseph Stiglitz, or Paul Krugman. He did, however, praise his mother for saying people have to "choose between being loved and being respected." And he noted that you the voter should "fight for your principles." His best line was about the need for America to "cut federal spending and reduce the size of gov't." But Christie also praised New Jerseyians who "shared in the sacrifice"; and he condemned those who were "selfish," and believed in "every man for himself," and who think "self-interest will always trump common sense." What an advocate of self-sacrifice, and what enemy of political liberty! People who vote for Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan and the Republicans this year are truly attackers of freedom and destroyers of America!
  11. Induction and Anarchism as an Ideal By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 06/02/2012 I’ve come to a realization recently after having discussions with several anarchists, and the realization is that some of them are not being rationalistic (thinking of principles divorced from the facts), but rather they are making an inductive generalization based upon their own experience of dealing with various governments who insist on getting in their way of leading their lives in a rational, independent, and productive manner. What generally happens is that they seek to do something – like opening up a business in a convenient location – and the government steps in and tells them they cannot do that without specific permission from the government (local, regional, or national). For example, I once had a boss who decided to move his picture framing gallery across the street to a smaller venue. No problem getting the lease and the business name and signage and all that stuff, but the trouble was that the venue did not have a rear entrance to be used in case of emergencies, so the local government would not let him move in until they had an investigation. Said investigation took over eight months to come up with a legal solution, so he lost revenue for all of that time. Fortunately for him, he had a second location that was doing OK, but can you imagine not getting paid for eight months due to a government technicality? I’ve heard of similar stories, and while not all of the victims turn to anarchism, some definitely do, stating that it would be better if we had no government at all, which they think would solve the problem. According to The Logical Leap by David Harriman, it does not take a lot of the same types of facts to be aware of to come to an inductive generalization. Turning on several light switches in a house can get even a young child to come up with the generalization, “Flipping the light switch will turn on the lights.” So, even a few times of dealing with a government can lead one to realize the generalization that, “The government is preventing me from living my life!” Is this a valid generalization? One based on the facts in terms of causation? And what should one do about it? An Objectivist would say to advocate for better government based upon upholding individual rights in such a way that the individual is free to live his life as he sees fit so long as he does not initiate force against others. To many people who turn towards anarchism (no government), this seems like a very far-fetched way of getting rid of entrenched governments who violate individual rights. However, a contextual research into the early decades of the United States (the first 150 years) will show that just such a government did indeed exist (sans slavery and taxes). That is, a government geared towards an extension of self-defense in an institutionalized manner did exist, and was lost over the years. But what made that loss possible; and, indeed, what made the United States possible in the first place? Basically, it was the ideas of The Enlightenment that made such a free country possible, as the individual became sovereign in all walks of life due to the rational influence of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, who advocated that each man’s individual mind was capable of knowing reality unaided by Divine Intervention or government edicts. Prior to that, with the possible exception of Ancient Athens, there was a top-down approach to government whereby the government would set the terms for the life of the individual in that society – of the individual being the servant of the State instead of the opposite idea that the government ought to be the servant / protector of the individual. It was the Founding Fathers of the United States and the political theories they understood and advocated that led to the individual protection type of government. Unfortunately, these ideas really required a more philosophical approach – basically a new rational philosophy and a rational morality – to ideally translate into a politics that would stand the test of time and not become eroded as reason and individualism wavered due to bad philosophies (primarily Kant and his collectivism). Without that fully rational basis, the Founders presented the case of rights as being self-evident – as it states in The Declaration of Independence – whereas the concept of individual rights does require a whole host of more fundamental ideas to be completely validated. Lacking such a base, the political ideals of the Founders became chipped away almost from the beginning, but especially after the ideas of Kant swamped the field of philosophy. And I think it is because the ideas of individual rights and proper government are not self-evident that collectivism on the one hand or anarchism on the other hand begin to take precedent in people’s mind. They tend to think that we need either more government (total socialism) or get rid of government altogether (anarchism) to solve the current problems. I have written elsewhere why I do not think that anarchism or competing governments will work, but I do think the anarchists just cannot conceive of a proper government or say that it has been tried and has always failed. Due to this, I think their initial inductive generalization is a false one, that the alternative is not Socialism versus Anarchism, but rather upholding individual rights in a fully institutionalized manner (Constitutional Republic) or dispensing with them in fully institutionalized manner (Communism). The idea of institutionalized protection for the individual is very difficult for the confirmed anarchist to accept, as individualist as some of them are, but anarchism is not the solution. A government dedicating to protecting the legitimate rights of the individual would leave one free to live one’s own life according to one’s own ideals while preventing others from interfering with said decisions with force (as this would be illegal and punishable by law). Anarchism, on the other hand, would not provide for such protection. Some anarchist claim to have thought it all through and have come up with solutions based on market principles, but I have yet to see a worked out solution that would not eventually lead to outright violence in the streets as one segment of individuals attempts to protect themselves from other individuals in an effort to protect their rights, which they claim were violated (real or imagined). With a Constitutional Republic and institutionalized systems of protecting the individual (police force, military, and courts for resolving disputes peacefully), I don’t see how one can protect oneself for large-scale enterprises, like a corporation that exists, say, in all states of the United States; nor for one’s own individual life as these competing agencies of force vie for protecting the individual without any sort of institutionalized system of resolving disputes (the court system). So, both myself and fellow Objectivists are for a clearly limited Constitutional Republic rather than anarchy.
  12. Aren’t all Businesses Coercive Monopolies in Today’s World? The title of Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal holds a profound meaning. I think she was an extraordinary visionary who understood the world we live in now would have absolutely no resemblance to a different world in which government had never intervened in the economy. I share her vision. Maybe we wouldn’t even be driving cars on roads! According to Ayn Rand, “A coercive monopoly is a business concern that can set its prices and production policies independent of the market, with immunity from competition, from the law of supply and demand.” I accept the premise that interference with force by government is the direct cause of coercive monopolies. By force, the government imposes controls on all business today, large and small, hindering their ability to act completely on their own behalf with licensing, subsidies, incentives, regulation, etc. Even the relatively less unfettered businesses must buy a license and are subject to restrictions on zoning, safety, etc. There would be no coercive monopolies, only healthy beneficial ones, in a completely free market economy. That is the point I’m having trouble with because I also hear from ARI that it is possible to compete fairly and do business morally in today’s economy. But how can that be so in light of the fact all business today is controlled in one way or another with force by government? Doesn’t that make all business, regardless of its nature or size, inherently a coercive monopoly in some way? For example, in Canada, the system is so corrupt that many government friendly businesses who have accepted an incentive, for example, to use the Maple Leaf in their logo or add the phrase “Proudly Made in Canada” in their store window or another example, to incorporate a green message into the business logo, or ad, etc. The businesses who take up the incentive are then favored, i.e., they may be privy to a preferred location with, for example, easy access of traffic flow (i.e., merge lanes into that mall instead of left hand turning light or a preferred location like a government registries office or the post office). Would that not give those businesses a coercive advantage over other businesses who chose not to take the same incentive? If some businesses have advantages over others due to government intervention, doesn’t that make the whole economy inherently corrupt and more difficult for other potential businesses to enter the market and to compete fairly. Wouldn’t that mean all existing business are coercive monopolies? It seems impossible for a true level playing field to exist now in our mixed economies and that all businesses who currently exist have an unfair advantage over those potential new innovations and businesses. If there weren’t any government involvement, I believe there would be so many more businesses competing. I agree completely with ARI in striving for the Ideal which Ayn Rand articulates. However, my concern is the way ARI frames the message. Currently it appears to be somewhat confusing.
  13. Governments and Individual Rights Capitalism Requires a Strong Government Copyright 2011 by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 12/03/2011 Some of my FaceBook friends and others I know via the Internet seem to think that if only we didn’t have a government, then people would get along and no rights would be violated. Hence, they are for what they call “anarcho-capitalism” – a type of freedom from force that would occur if there were no governments. I think this is an incorrect assessment of what would happen if there were no government or no agency of force to protect oneself from criminals. Basically, individual rights are a moral concept – it means that it is morally right for individuals to lead their lives as they see fit, so long as they do not use force or fraud against others. The recognition of individual rights is required for one to have the moral stance that one ought to be left alone to be able to act on the decisions of one’s own mind. The individual mind is paramount, since man has no automatic code of action and must think things through to find out what is beneficial to his life and what is detrimental to his life. It is morally right for a man to live according to his own judgment, because the human mind is the source of his survival qua man and qua individual. The mind is individual, and hence each man has to be free to use his own mind to live his own life. The only way to violate individual rights is through force or fraud (an indirect use of force) – otherwise a man would be free to live his life according to his own standards without interference from others. And the only way to defend oneself from the initiation of force is via protective force – force used against those who would take away one’s property, one’s freedom, or one’s rights. Force is necessary for self-defense, and its only moral justification is for self-defense against those who would use force against oneself. Hence, there is a need to be able to protect oneself from the forcers in order to have freedom to act according to ones own judgment. So, unless one wants to spend a lot of time defending oneself against one’s attackers, some agency of force or counter-force is necessary. And this is the role of a proper government. Those who don’t want a government would still need some agency of force to defend themselves against attackers, they just don’t want it to be some official agency with that sole power of using force legitimately. But in this state of affairs, with each person choosing their own agency of force, there would be no overriding agency to control the use of force or counter-force, leading to gang warfare – of one private agency of force acting against others, leading to no objective control over the use of force. So, a carefully controlled agency of force is necessary for a society not to break down into gang warfare. This is the role of the government, with clearly defined areas of operation and carefully controlled operations, generally via a constitution specifically spelling out what the government is permitted to do. Some wonder how this control over the government would operate, and the basic answer is that the people would have to know their rights and have a stance of eternal vigilance against a force welder running amuck and violating rights instead of defending them. In other words, the government requires the consent of the governed, and it is the governed who have to be ever-watchful that the agency of force is not violating rights, but is defending them. The original constitution of the United States was a great document spelling out the role of the government, but it did have some flaws and was not entirely consistent in the defense of rights, and when the concept of rights began to waiver due to the influence of bad (irrational) philosophy, that agency of force began to violate rights instead of defending them. As I’ve said before, the only solution is eternal vigilance and for the people with the right ideas of rights to control the government, primarily by speaking out against the rights violators and voting rights violators out of office. I don’t think there is any other solution to this problem, but I certainly think that getting rid of government is the wrong approach and will lead to gang warfare.
  14. There is a new internet pyramid scheme called MMM-2011. The website is e-mmm.com and it is appears to be completely in Russian with no English option. I know Russian so I could read it. Here it is in a nutshell. People deposit money expecting a return of 20% to 60% percent per year. It is working while new members join, since there is a large inflow of money into the system. It is the same thing as a bank, only it is structured as a pyramid, where each person begins to be a new bank branch. The system can grow until it will take all of the people in the world. In 9 month since its inception it has 5 million people and large sums of money. The money is distributed, and not stored in a central account. It can not be shut down. The previous attempt was in 1994, where in half a year MMM had 15 million people. It was shut down by the government because all the money was in a central location. The creator claims that we already live in a pyramid, the pyramid of ever increasing credit. We pay old debts by taking a larger credit at a lower percentage. His goal is to destroy the financial market as it is today, by launching his pyramid against the current one. According to the modern definition of money -- anonymous tokens -- a pyramid seems to make clear a paradox inherent in its definition. Such pyramid will destroy both corruption as well as means to have a proper capitalist society, since it is destroying money. I have translated some of the arguments found on e-mmm.com site from Russian to English, on my blog: http://rarden.blogsp...apocalypse.html Will MMM take over the world? If yes, what will happen afterwards. How could we define money to stop pyramids from being created again?
  15. Is it right to regulation fish to prevent over fish? What's the capitalist view on this?