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If I may say, I find that that is where Ayn Rand's philosophy is lacking... or rather, that's where it left off. There are more 'jobs' today than there are trades - why? Because of businesses began for profit alone, the product itself has taken a second role to marketing.

I can't have a greater respect for the Hank Reardens of this world, but the time of the 'self-deserving businessman' is unfortunately coming to a close. Once a business sells out to the market, or opens itself to share speculation by putting itself on the stock market (of which Rand makes only the vaguest of references), the 'Rearden' can be removed by the votes of the major shareholders (if the business in question is dumb enough to own less than 51% of its shares). That makes a position in any place in the whole system, top to bottom, precarious. Can you imagine being a student with aspirations - in face of that?

I find that Ayn Rand's thinking is incomplete for today's world, and it is for that I began this thread - after finding that her 'heritor' has but applied her words to today's events without any further thought of his own.

One of the biggest questions I have yet to examine is: 'the value of money'. Yet another hole in the Rand philosophical legacy.

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Sorry, the MySQL database got corrupted and deleted this thread when I tried to repair the DB. I re-created it, but forgot the original title.

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Whoever he is, he's not going to win--certainly not in California.

...with people like Bill Gates claiming to be Objectivists, could be anyone. Arnie? Arnold? Willie? Whoops, the orca isn't in the running : )

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...with people like Bill Gates claiming to be Objectivists, could be anyone. Arnie? Arnold? Willie? Whoops, the orca isn't in the running : )

Might as well add to the quote-onion.

Just when the heck did Gates claim to be an Objectivist? Last I heard of his mentioning Rand, he was telling a college audience that in regard to a free-market economy "we don't need to go as far as Ayn Rand".

My opinion of Arnold has gone down somewhat after having read some of the info on his behavior during the Mr. Olympia contests (avail. on mikementzer.com), and having a lot of it corraborated by an old interview recently republished at The Smoking Gun. If he is still *anything* like he was back then, he'd be a pretty problematic politician. He was a staunch hedonist, talked about engaging in casual group sex, and used all sorts of Machiavellian tactics to manipulate his opponents. I doubt he acts like that anymore, but if his principles are at all similar, I'd expect him to be something of a power-luster and a pragmatist.

Harry Binswanger recently suggested that given his past record of thinking long-term (which is true, and is a good thing), there might even be a possibility that he'd push for a constitutional amendment to allow for naturalized citizens to be eligible to run for President. One thing he made clear is that he intends to be at the top in whatever field he's competing in: he was addressing body-building and Hollywood specifically, but the same almost certainly would apply to politics. That's not a bad thing in itself, except that he also made clear that he was willing to do *anything* to get to the top.

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Might as well add to the quote-onion.

Just when the heck did Gates claim to be an Objectivist? Last I heard of his mentioning Rand, he was telling a college audience that in regard to a free-market economy "we don't need to go as far as Ayn Rand".

Hehe, I wonder how big the onion can grow : )

...have a look at Peikoff's site for an answer to that one. Also do a search for - "Bill Gates" Objectivism OR Objectivist - and have a look at this site: http://microsoft.aynrand.org/ - made by the ARI ! Peikoff can't get any more explicit than that.

I can't see anyone who takes Arnold's candidature seriously calling themselves any sort of philosopher - thus my jibe.

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Hehe, I wonder how big the onion can grow : )

...have a look at Peikoff's site for an answer to that one. Also do a search for - "Bill Gates" Objectivism OR Objectivist - and have a look at this site: http://microsoft.aynrand.org/ - made by the ARI ! Peikoff can't get any more explicit than that.

I can't see anyone who takes Arnold's candidature seriously calling themselves any sort of philosopher - thus my jibe.

Despite what I said above, I *do* think that Arnold sounds like the best candidate out of the ones that have a chance.

I looked on Peikoff's site and found no reference to Gates being an Objectivist. I didn't read much on the ARI Microsoft Defense site, but the articles looked like they were intended as a moral defense for a company which has been attacked for its success. That's totally appropriate, and doesn't imply anything about Gates' philosophical views.

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hehe, I'll 'hold the onion' this time.

Did you do that search? You would have found a lot on Gates and Objectivism. True that he doesn't follow much of any philosophy - he doesn't want or need to. Microsoft IS a philosophy for some...

Do you (or anyone else) have any commentary on my thoughts above - especially about the 'holes' I seem to have found in Rand's writings. She covers very well who and what dollars are for... but speaks little of what a dollar is without he who earned it, or what it becomes after it is earned in an illicit way...

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No, I didn't go a Google search. I've found that 90% of the writing on Objectivism online is junk, so I'm not really inclined to sift through it. (Particularly since my time is limited right now, since I'm in the process of packing up for a move.)

I don't know much in detail about corporate charter law, and I'll admit to a sneaking suspicion of the whole thing. But that could be just from lack of info, so I leave it as an open question. As for the issue of dollars, when Rand wrote Francisco's money speech, she was addressing money as a symbol of the trader principle. When it's taken outside of that context, obviously its symbolic value changes. A dollar bill that somehow lands on an asteroid is just a piece of paper without meaning; a dollar bill in the hands of a thief is nothing to be proud of.

What other "holes" do you believe you've found?

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...yes it's along those lines that I'd like to continue this discussion - er, without the 'dollar on an astroid' part, I think we're smarter than that : ) - There is something wrong with the existing system for one base reason: man's rapid accumulation of tools and knowledge over the past two centuries has also contributed to the hights of his inventiveness - and thanks to that we have machines that greatly reduce our workload and even the need for human labour. Now, with that in mind, doesn't logic tell us that, thanks to our machines, because our ability to produce with a high efficiency a lesser need for human labour, that life in general should become at the same time more comfortable and cheaper? The former, surely, but prices for products existing since the beginning of the last century remain the same and a select few are getting richer because of this. A useful business or orginanisation should be successful if the service or product it provides sells, and even more so if it is inventive and useful, thus even more popular; without question, its maker deserves every penny he gets. This latter is Ayn Rand's ideal, the Hank Rearden type.

Rand mentions 'not asking more than a customer is willing to pay' - but for me this thought it rather vague and incomplete. I could even say, for those such as Peikoff who follow Rand's teachings to the letter, it can become, depending on the intentions of he who is 'following the rule', a wide-open door to greed.

Take for example mister Gates. His product has brought the computer back to the comprehensible 'see and use' tool-using habits of humans, but his tool is 1) an invention that is not his own; 2) a tool copied and developed by only a few 'thinker-labourers'; 3) a tool which requires, in comparison to the numbers in which it is distributed, next to no human intervention to reproduce (thanks to human-made machines, granted); and 4) a tool whose price is calculated on, not the cost of making and distributing the product itself, but statistical results of a study on how much an average human is willing and able to pay. This is why Gates is a millionaire - Gates knows much more about finance and human ignorance than he does computers, but that shouldn't be what we pay him for. Gates 'adopted' (to say it in a kind way) Job's concept of a 'humanistic' computer interface without bothering to pursue Job's passion for the computer itself - the hardware was where the majority of production expenses went, and Gates was smart enough to see that. But again, that is in no way being a thinker or inventor. In my mind Steve Jobs fits the Hank Rearden and perhaps even the John Galt characters to a tee - but strangely enough, I can't find a close match for Gates in any of Rand's works.

I have more thoughts on this but this is enough for now... but don't get me wrong, I'm not asking that mister Gates distribute his wealth anywhere; what's his is his and it's too late to go back. Nor do I want to regulate anything, I think that if situations such as the above are exposed and explained for what they are to the public things will pretty much take care of themselves. The problem is that: the public seems to have so 'politically corrected' itself that it can no longer 1) say that the above example is right or wrong and 2) decide for themselves if they're asked to. I think these last two reasons are yet two more to add the the reasons why mister Gates is rich today.

(added) I've just re-read Peikoff's rather lengthy chapter on 'honesty' but he just re-applies many of Rand's 'Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal' already-applied theories. I'm still trying to narrow my question down... but it's getting towards something like 'technology as a replacement for religion in the common mind' - perhaps a reason why the ignorant pay so blindly. Still thinking.

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JMS is much like the 19th century conservatives who created 'anti-trust' laws. For them, marketing is not part of competition. Marketing is something which stands in opposition to and hinders competition. And competition is god. Why?

Blank out.

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That's a bit easy, redcap. How about trying a bit less to 'pin me down' to something you already know and looking a little more to my still developing line of thought. If you already know better, spill and I'll be informed to the better if what you say fits, but hold the easy criticisms.

I already said above that I don't want to see any 'control system'. I sure would like to see a bit more honesty and 'fair marketing', though - there are so many businesses living off the general ignorance of people, and just as many more keeping them ignorant. Microsoft doesn't teach you how to do anything, it teaches you to become dependant upon what it does. Just for an example.

Education is at the base of everything, in an optimal society - where everyone learns everything about what he wants to do to be most useful to himself thus others instead of being forced through a system (eductational) where he comes out trained to do what's someone else's idea of 'right' - there will be much less ignorance than there is today, but as things are going it's going to take a hell of a long time to get there. Not many are doing anything to change things, just a lot of know-all attitudes and blah blah blah. There's a few out there who live off being 'right' but won't spread the word to anyone who won't pay them. Not very progressive, that's 'eliting' onself to perdition.

So in the meantime we have the gullible sheeplike public being trained to buy products made by intelligent people with a lot of means to make them. Problem is that these modern-day industrialists want the majority of people to stay that way, as sheep. This is normal and 'good'? Even Peikoff had to add 'swindling' to Ayn Rand's evil of 'physically taking property from another' - but that still is not a complete thought.

I said before that I thought that no-one deserved more to be popular and rich than an inventive someone who makes a product of worth. I still don't think underhanded maneuvering or exploiting weaknesses should merit the same rewards.

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Funny--I would think that if Microsoft's products offered no objective value over those products of others from whom they were "stolen", and if the prices they charged for their products were so ridiculously high that only the "ignorant" would "pay blindly" for them, as you claim, then a competitor could have come along and offered a better product for cheaper and taken Microsoft to the cleaners.

And if they haven't, that's Bill Gates's problem why?

You seem to be basically claiming that by being too user-friendly, the very trait of their products that makes them so accessible to the masses, Microsoft is somehow forcing people to "become dependent upon" their product. But there's no force involved here. Only people trading what they judge to be value for value. You have not given any evidence of any actual wrong-doing on Microsoft's part.

And as for your statement that Bill Gates claims to be an Objectivist, apparently based on evidence no better than the fact that ARI has defended them against being raped by the government, that's kind of a leap. Any Objectivist will tell you outright that Bill Gates is disappointing philosophically--but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't support the good things he does.

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...yes, I couldn't resist the tidbit about Gates stealing from Jobs. True. Honestly I don't remember where I saw that Gates claimed to be an objectivist - I really don't think the title, attributed or taken, has much to do with what he's doing. I'm not trying to jump to any conclusions - what would be the point of posting then? I'm not here to show 'my stuff' like some here seem to be.

I think you've skipped the majority of my propos - now that you've had your say about how I say things, how about looking a little further to the thought I'm trying to construct? ...and don't even think about letting on that you 'don't see it' : )

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I'm not so sure about your definition of 'Censorship'. Why does it only apply to the government? Anyone impeding on anyone's right or means to speak qualifies as censorship today. True that the word 'Censor' originates in ancient Roman mastigrates who would 'oversee morals' (as well as taxation : ), but few use have that in mind when they hear the word 'censor'. When we speak of Objectivism, we should speak in common definitions and not just Ayn Rand's... But perhaps I misunderstood your propos.

In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal Rand writes: "This has always been attempted by means of a "package-deal" ascribing to private citizens the specific violations constitutionally forbidden to the government, and thus destroying individual rights while freeing the government from any restrictions. The most frequent example of this technique consists of accusing private citizens of practicing "censorship" (a concept applicable only to the government) and thus negating their right to disagree."

If as you say, "When we speak of Objectivism, we should speak in common definitions and not just Ayn Rand's," why don't apply this logic to other concepts? We can take altruism to mean benevolence and good will towards others, and we can take selfishness to mean stomping over others, and then we can all hold sacrifice as a moral ideal, accept Jesus as our Savior, and pursue God's Purpose by becoming Christians!

Without defining concepts based on what they are in reality, everything becomes arbitrary. Everything is whatever someone wants it to be (primacy of consciousness) instead of what it really is (primacy of existence.)

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There are some cases where you might be able to apply the concept "censorship" to a non-governmental matter. The essential of censorship is the use of force to cease or control the expression of ideas. If you are a newspaper editor and a man walks in with a gun demanding that you do not print an editorial he dislikes, is there any good reason not to call that censorship? (I'll grant it's an unusual case, and it wouldn't be the word I'd pick, but I don't see a real problem with it.)

The package deal consists of lumping cases involving force with cases involving uncoerced choice. It's like if somebody made a concept to replace "trade" that lumped muggers with retailers, claiming that they are essentially the same thing. They're not.

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There are some cases where you might be able to apply ithe concept "censorship" to a non-governmental matter.  The essential of censorship is the use of force to cease or control the expression of ideas.  If you are a newspaper editor and a man walks in with a gun demanding that you do not print an editorial he dislikes, is there any good reason not to call that censorship?  (I'll grant it's an unusual case, and it wouldn't be the word I'd pick, but I don't see a real problem with it.)

But the newspaper editor has not lost his right to free speech; he has only been prevented from expressing certain ideas at a certain time. To call the action taken by the armed individual, "censorship," is to imply that individuals can strip others of their rights, but only the government can take away an individual's rights. (But the real job of the government is to protect individual rights.) The concept of censorship denotes that a government has taken away someone's right to free speech. Under censorship, to speak one's mind is a criminal action.

Here are two Op-Eds that I think clarify the issue: Blacklists are Not Censorship

Free Speech Protects Profit-Makers, Too

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If as you say, "When we speak of Objectivism, we should speak in common definitions and not just Ayn Rand's," why don't apply this logic to other concepts? We can take altruism to mean benevolence and good will towards others, and we can take selfishness to mean stomping over others, and then we can all hold sacrifice as a moral ideal, accept Jesus as our Savior, and pursue God's Purpose by becoming Christians!

...whoa. Now we're getting lost in the 'definitions' game. Cencorship, as I see it, is limiting or eliminating someone else's right to express himself. That's it. Where did you get the above? Again I see a lot of trying to apply someone's propos to an existing and titled theory; giving a square peg and a round hole the same title won't make them fit : )

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Hee, I'd vote for him! Where do I sign up to become a California citizen ? ; P

(added) so nice to see that someone wants to apply Objectivism - but the hardest part is getting it into office. I wish him luck.

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Guest Tom Rexton

Objectivism has yet to build a recognizable presence in the philosophy department of colleges, how does Clements expect to win the gubernatorial race if the battle for the ivory tower has barely begun? Only when it is won by Objectivists can success reasonably follow in politics. Sadly, I don't think there's any luck for him. ;)

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...yes, it will be a sad thing to see - the reaction to his speeches, I mean: opposition heckling seems to be a national election pasttime.

True that you need to convince the voters before any Objectivist will get into office. University teaching is not enough - I hate to see Objectivism almost segregated (and sometimes even by those meant to propegate it) the way it is today. Every working Joe should at least know the fundementals of Objectivism - but to me the funniest part about this is that the major part of Objectivism is the stressing of natural human priorities - If we can somehow bypass the contaminators (religion, dependance on state subsidies, etc) with ONE generation, the battle would be almost won. How to do that? Not by playing 'philosopher's circle', that's for sure ; )

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