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Azrael Rand

The Case for Open Objectivism

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25 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Other peoples' actions in this way (moving to a neighborhood, for instance -- even when immigrating; taking a job; living their life) does not constitute "an obligatory sacrifice of oneself." It is not a "sacrifice" at all; it is not even your business.

The reasoning you're giving here, whYNOT, is akin to the person who complains when some rival opens up a competitor business across the street. "Shouldn't I be able to stop him?" he asks. "Why should I be forced to sacrifice? Why about my rights?" But that is not a sacrifice, and men do not have the "right" to tell others where they may live, or work, or travel, or etc.

Good analogies, but I wonder how much they hold water in this case. You are apparently assuming on people who are already citizens, in a free-ish country. When there are any forms of state welfare which is clearly an attraction to many, or where immigrants have entered illegally - therefore, law-breakers by definition - or who will take advantage of their new-found liberties to advance their own 'laws' and ideologies (where rule of law is not held firm), etc.etc., - the long term effects would be sacrificial of existing citizens, and ~would~ be their "business".

I don't need mention the obvious risk of hardened criminals who view a wealthy country as a new territory full of fresh prey.

(You won't accept any 'duty' to pay the costs for the business rival or the new neighbor).

For the many self-reliant, potential immigrants who admire and want nothing more than to work in and partake of the values of some nation, the answer seems simple to me  - apply for citizenship through the usual, open channels. Begin on the right foot. For cases deserving of special refugee status, the immigration process can be expedited. 

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5 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Apparently I do not believe men have an *intrinsic* right to cross national borders.

I think this is a fine area of discussion, especially since you aren't arguing for your position in terms of racism. Notice that Azrael is saying we should restrict interactions and immigration based on threats to homogenous group identity in terms of racial divides. We talk about immigration, we are distracted from the implications of justifying this on racist grounds (i.e., the claim that black people by nature are dumber than white people, so we should have different laws and standards that protect society from their negative impact on white people).

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18 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

I still consider myself an Objectivist and that implies a philosophy for man on earth. I do not believe that human nature supports sweeping identity under the rug completely in favor of individualism.

 

You are not an Objectivist, and it makes me sick to my stomach that you would claim to be. You are an evil racist, collectivist, and probably a Nazi.

I personally think it's semi-wrong for anyone to "debate" with you or engage you in discussion. People spouting evil ideas should be ostracized.

Edited by EC

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I think this is a fine area of discussion, especially since you aren't arguing for your position in terms of racism. Notice that Azrael is saying we should restrict interactions and immigration based on threats to homogenous group identity in terms of racial divides. We talk about immigration, we are distracted from the implications of justifying this on racist grounds (i.e., the claim that black people by nature are dumber than white people, so we should have different laws and standards that protect society from their negative impact on white people).

I've heard quite enough talk lately on ethnic intelligence. Though discussion shouldn't scare anyone, this looks to be the vogue in intellectual circles. Some talk has come from a few otherwise reasonable/rational thinkers, who aren't necessarily, or at all, racist. But IQ as *the* determining factor, as they see it, is unacceptable, obviously. The free will, to reason or not, over-rides any 'given' brain capacity of some to think brilliantly, and choose not to or evade or who think corruptly. And too many individuals I've noticed (from several ethnicities), perform and succeed above their (apparent) average- to -lower intelligence, while several others of high IQ have seemed not to do so well or find values. (To the limited extent one can measure anyone's standards of personal achievement and fulfillment).

Immigration, if race-based, we know to be tribalist and collectivist, presuming on an 'ethnic character'. Conversely, if based on a specific individual's high talents and IQ, for the 'good of the country', I think would be a utilitarian - 'social engineering' - approach. Then there is the altruist mentality of very many, which forms a policy based on guilt and others' needs, etc. 

Rather than battle through this thorny thicket, and in a less than completely-individual rights world, I think the best is to open up - controlled -immigration to those outsiders who apply - legally - for admittance. Yes, there will be the bad apples who are passed through. There will also be apparently 'ordinary' people who go on to live good lives, maybe admirably, or extraordinarily. As will their descendants also. In the end, who knows what individuals can do?

Mostly here, I've been reviewing the problem of immigration world-wide, not specifically America. As many of my age group when young, I was taken by the stirring words on the Statue of Liberty. Some good people I am fond of emigrated to the USA, and became fine citizens, living well there. It has taken me a long while and experience, and reading of old accounts by the migrants, and the help of Objectivist principles to understand what "yearning to breathe free" fully means. Those European immigrants (who'd escaped the authoritarianism of classism, ethnic prejudice and of religious repression) entered a country which promised freedom - alone - free, even and especially, from being helped. Literally, they came in and were left to their own devices to make of themselves what they could, without being 'owed' by anyone or owing in return. Things were clearer then.

 

Edited by whYNOT

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Is it my imagination, or did a lame thread about Open Objectivism turn into another analysis of racial IQ?

It strikes me how similar some Open Objectivists are to idealists. They seem to believe that there is an ideal kind of Objectivism apart from Rand's version. As if Rand's Objectivism were a mere imperfect example of the yet undiscovered ideal form. Instead of applying Objectivism and creating one's own ideas, they argue that we should instead "amend and complete the system," because the first manifestation was flawed and lacking.

Such rhetoric is also applied to segregation. Humanity's first attempt was not ideal, because it was based on skin color alone. What we really need, they argue, is segregation based on race and IQ combined.

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Will near-future AI with superior IQ to any human be allowed to bar humans (with a lower IQ) from some arbitrarily defined geographical area? Why or why not? If not, then why does the imagined principle that allows humans to bar other sub-groupings of other humans based on IQ that supposedly exists now not equally apply to other types of rational entities in the future?  

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3 minutes ago, EC said:

Will near-future AI with superior IQ to any human be allowed to bar humans (with a lower IQ) from some arbitrarily defined geographical area? Why or why not? If not, then why does the imagined principle that allows humans to bar other sub-groupings of other humans based on IQ that supposedly exists now not equally apply to other types of rational entities in the future?  

If they can own private property i.e. real estate, they have a right to exclude human from that defined geographical area... that is ... in a free society that recognizes individual rights of rational AI "individuals", (assuming they have those rights)

That would be no different from the rights private property owners of today would have in a free society...

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59 minutes ago, EC said:

Will near-future AI with superior IQ to any human be allowed to bar humans (with a lower IQ) from some arbitrarily defined geographical area? Why or why not?

As long as the robot self-identifies as a human, I'm sure it would be allowed.

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You guys didn't see the forest for the trees in the above responses. I was trying to generalize past the simple case of humans barring other humans from Nation X because IQ of a sub-grouping of those humans (supposedly) has an average IQ < Y. I'm generalizing that rights would apply to all rational entities and all governments of an arbitrary area (was going to say "geographical" area, but that by definition would only apply to areas on earth, thus not arbitrary) such that average IQ of a sub-group of rational entities is not a proper basis from barring other rational entities from the entire groups borders (wherever they happen to exist), not their private property. I.e., that it is always immoral for one group to bar citizenship to a given groups society based on average IQ of a sub-group of entities.

In other words I'm not asking some weird specific question above, I'm instead making a rhetorical statement against IQ-based racism. And it was specifically aimed at Azrael in order to get him to widen the scope of his thinking in order for him to understand what he is actually implying. He is implying that other rational entities with a greater average IQ than whatever his human racial group supposedly possesses can violate his rights by barring his citizenship.

Edited by EC

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12 hours ago, EC said:

You guys didn't see the forest for the trees in the above responses. I was trying to generalize past the simple case of humans barring other humans from Nation X because IQ of a sub-grouping of those humans (supposedly) has an average IQ < Y. I'm generalizing that rights would apply to all rational entities and all governments of an arbitrary area (was going to say "geographical" area, but that by definition would only apply to areas on earth, thus not arbitrary) such that average IQ of a sub-group of rational entities is not a proper basis from barring other rational entities from the entire groups borders (wherever they happen to exist), not their private property. I.e., that it is always immoral for one group to bar citizenship to a given groups society based on average IQ of a sub-group of entities.

In other words I'm not asking some weird specific question above, I'm instead making a rhetorical statement against IQ-based racism. And it was specifically aimed at Azrael in order to get him to widen the scope of his thinking in order for him to understand what he is actually implying. He is implying that other rational entities with a greater average IQ than whatever his human racial group supposedly possesses can violate his rights by barring his citizenship.

Agreed.

Objectivists recognize that in a free society there would no rational reason to bar any lower IQ group from entry... there simply is no proper ethical principle and no proper political principle which could motivate it.  In fact, efficiently filling in the gaps and holes in the labor/service market left by the "high IQ" people's tendencies/preferences would lead to greater likelihood of each person's flourishing greater.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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14 hours ago, EC said:

I'm generalizing that rights would apply to all rational entities and all governments of an arbitrary area (was going to say "geographical" area, but that by definition would only apply to areas on earth, thus not arbitrary) such that average IQ of a sub-group of rational entities is not a proper basis from barring other rational entities from the entire groups borders (wherever they happen to exist), not their private property. I.e., that it is always immoral for one group to bar citizenship to a given groups society based on average IQ of a sub-group of entities.

The issue I have with your rhetoric is that you assume the existence of racial IQ while attempting to argue against applying it to immigration. You say you want to widen Azrael's thinking, but from my vantage point, it looks like he has narrowed yours instead. Do you truly believe that racial IQ exists?

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For those who think it proper to restrict immigration on the basis of IQ, or because immigrants hold different ideologies, or etc., I'm curious: would it be equally proper to restrict emigration for the same reasons (e.g. refusing exit to someone of a sufficiently high IQ, or who has valuable skills, or who holds the "proper" ideology)?

If it is a matter of right to determine the other members of your society through controlling immigration, I don't know why that shouldn't be true as well for emigration. And, after all, a wall has two sides...

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

The issue I have with your rhetoric is that you assume the existence of racial IQ while attempting to argue against applying it to immigration. You say you want to widen Azrael's thinking, but from my vantage point, it looks like he has narrowed yours instead. Do you truly believe that racial IQ exists?

No. I even through in a "supposedly" to imply that I didn't. However, there is a finite number individuals that exist in any arbitrary grouping of select individuals and that arbitrary grouping of individuals is going to possess some "average IQ". I just don't think that it (the average IQ of select individuals in an arbitrary grouping) matters in any way that has to do with rights (or in any other important manner tbh).

Edited by EC

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29 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

For those who think it proper to restrict immigration on the basis of IQ, or because immigrants hold different ideologies, or etc., I'm curious: would it be equally proper to restrict emigration for the same reasons (e.g. refusing exit to someone of a sufficiently high IQ, or who has valuable skills, or who holds the "proper" ideology)?

If it is a matter of right to determine the other members of your society through controlling immigration, I don't know why that shouldn't be true as well for emigration. And, after all, a wall has two sides...

"Different ideologies" brings an interesting element ... and necessitates a very stark distinction.

Moral action as it should be chosen by an individual trying to exert his or her PUNY influence in an improper society is in STARK contrast to what moral action as it should be chosen by an individual living in a proper society.

 

Example:  Contrast a society with pure direct rule by the majority government (referendums for anything and everything constitutes the "law") pure mob Democracy, versus a pure Rule of Law Constitutional Republic which has elections only for deciding who implements and objectively interprets the laws, a pure Republic.

Persons of "different ideologies" can VOTE to wreck society in a mob rule Democracy but could not (assuming proper systems in place) vote to wreck the pure Republic.

An individual's self-interest in the former is advanced by protecting a precarious and flawed system from anti-life ideologies which a person's vote represent, whereas a persons self-interest is advanced in the latter by having members engaged, as part of the free market, in life promoting productive work. 

In the first context, it is moral to support restraints in immigration (until such time that a proper society is set up), while in the second context it is moral to support free immigration.  In the former context a person should vote for stringent immigration checks and criteria, while in the latter context a person should vote for fewer checks if any on immigration (perhaps only criminality).

 

Another Example is the Welfare State...

Certainly acting to dismantle the welfare state is moral, but so long as it exists, acting or advocating suppression of its invocation and use by anyone is moral... refusing entry of persons explicitly planning to use Welfare services are an example...

Absent the welfare state, no such concern would exist.

 

Moral action here too....  depends on context.

 

 

As for emigration... clearly no Objectivist would support any restraints on a person's freedom to leave, unless they are trying to escape justice... they are trying to avoid private obligations or a prison sentence or fine...

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Agreed.

Objectivists recognize that in a free society there would no rational reason to bar any lower IQ group from entry... there simply is no proper ethical principle and no proper political principle which could motivate it.  In fact, efficiently filling in the gaps and holes in the labor/service market left by the "high IQ" people's tendencies/preferences would lead to greater likelihood of each person's flourishing greater.

Agreed also. Of course, a properly free society would be an individualist-capitalist one, with little to no entrance requirements; the government could wield little power to bar anyone, nor have to consent to admit any. The system would rest on one to one agreements between individuals.

As things stand now, we'd say still there would never be cause for a state to question and to discover an immigrant's IQ, and must never be permitted to. Concern over IQ can sometimes be the ploy of covert racists, and again, "social engineers". 

The gaps left in the labor market by high IQ'ers moving up, reminds me of some exceptions, very bright people who chose autonomy over corporate careers and turned to micro business artisans and craftsmen.

Would you say there is social stigma about (so-called) blue collar workers, there in the US? Ironically, here it is the government fat cats who've enriched themselves who look down on 'workers'.

In the reversal of racialist practice, the whites here have been almost entirely cut out from employment or promotion by punitive affirmative action laws. I think it's fair to invoke "a brain drain", and suffice to say there's a growing exodus by many whites and some blacks, too, who have all taken their creative ideas, ability and competence elsewhere. 

Edited by whYNOT

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There might be an argument for restricting immigration based on individual IQ, but not racial IQ. In the future, if we discover that a certain IQ is necessary to understand the political principles of a nation, then perhaps those with insufficient IQ should not be made citizens. (We already kind of do this with a citizenship test.) Also I could concoct emergency situations in which an IQ policy might be of critical importance. For example, if the survival of the country depended on genius-level problem-solving during a war or other crisis, then priority for citizenship should be given to genius-level immigrants.

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Psychologists Go to War

May 22, 2017
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One hundred years ago, on April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I by declaring war on Germany. When American psychologists heard the news, they dispatched Robert M. Yerkes, then president of the American Psychological Association, to Canada to confer with Carl C. Brigham of the Canadian Hospitals Commission to learn about the contributions that Canadian psychologists were already making to the war effort. Yerkes was a comparative psychologist at Harvard University, with a joint appointment as consulting psychologist at Boston State Psychiatric Hospital, where he helped develop a scale of intelligence.

He was also a born organizer. On his return to the United States, he set up a dozen committees to explore the useful roles that psychologists might play in the war. While most of these committees led nowhere, Yerkes successfully established the Committee on Methods of Psychological Examination for Recruits, which included Henry Goddard and Lewis Terman, two pioneers of intelligence testing in the United States (who had translated the Binet-Simon scale of intelligence into English). The committee had originally planned to implement a variety of tests for recruits, but they eventually restricted themselves to intelligence testing, with the aim of “segregating and eliminating the mentally incompetent”—or, to use the parlance of the day, the “feebleminded.” Their work initiated the largest program of psychological testing that had been attempted to that date, but also provided powerful impetus for two movements that had been developing since the turn of the century: the call for immigration quotas and the sterilization of the feebleminded.

Intelligence testing in the Army

In May 1917, realizing that it would be impractical to test intelligence individually, Yerkes’ committee spent two weeks developing tests that could be administered in groups and conducting trials of these tests at educational institutions and Army bases. Working through the National Research Council, Yerkes proposed group intelligence testing to the Army, which created the Division of Psychology under the Surgeon General. When Yerkes’ plan for the mass intelligence testing of Army recruits—the Army Testing Project—was approved, he commissioned a team of 400 Army personnel to administer group intelligence tests to all Army recruits. This included the Alpha written test for literate soldiers and the Beta pictorial test for those who could not read English. By the end of the war, close to 2 million soldiers had been tested.

One of the striking findings of the Army Testing Project was that around half of the Army recruits tested at or below the level of “moron.”

On the basis of the test results, about 8,000 men were recommended for immediate discharge on grounds of mental incompetence another 19,000 were assigned to labor and noncombat battalions. Psychologists who participated in the Army Testing Project felt they had made a valuable, practical contribution, and found their work an exhilarating contrast to normal academic life. (Yerkes himself regretted that the war did not last longer.) Publications such as Harper’s Magazine andThe New York Times lauded their achievement. However, the Army itself was less than enthusiastic, and discontinued the program shortly after the war ended. (In contrast, the Army judged the other major psychological war committee a great success. Walter Dill Scott’s Committee on the Classification of Personnel in the Army developed scales for officer selection, and in 1918 Scott was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.) Though it was short-lived as part of military efforts, the Army Testing Project had significant consequences in the social sphere.

Fears of a creeping “feeblemindedness”

One of the striking findings of the Army Testing Project was that around half of the Army recruits tested at or below the level of “moron.” The term moron had been introduced by Henry Goddard to classify adults with the mental age of a child between 10 and 12. Individuals judged to have a mental age between 4 and 10 years were classified as low-grade, medium-grade, or high-grade imbeciles; those with a mental age of 3 or under were classified as idiots. These classifications were based on Goddard’s translations of the 1908 and 1909 Binet-Simon intelligence scale, which Terman revised in 1916. Terman’s revision, which was later known as the Stanford-Binet test (after Terman became professor of psychology at Stanford University), became the standard American intelligence test.

In the first decade of the 20th century, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon introduced in France a scale for measuring a child’s intelligence. The scale comprises 54 tests. These were arranged according to appropriate age levels between 3 and 13 years old, calibrated so the average 9-year-old would score at level 9. Binet and Simon used the term “mental level” rather than the later term “mental age” because they believed their scale was a useful means of identifying children in need of remedial education (for whom they devised special educational programs) rather than as a fixed measure of intelligence. However, Goddard and Terman treated the Binet-Simon tests as though they measured genetically determined intelligence.

The disconcerting findings of the Army Testing Project led Yerkes to conclude that “feeblemindedness… is of much greater frequency than had previously been supposed” and caused a moral panic among psychologists, politicians, and the public at large. A number of works that were both alarmist and racist publicized the supposedly dire consequences of allowing immigrants from eastern and southern Europe to displace (and contaminate) the original Nordic (northern and western European) stock. For example, Carl Brigham, who had advised Yerkes on the Canadian war effort and later helped to develop the Alpha intelligence test, claimed in his 1923 book A Study of American Intelligence that the average intelligence of recent immigrants was less than that of native-born Americans. The average intelligence of Americans, he argued, had been declining since 1900.

There were those who critiqued these hysterical responses. The behaviorist John B. Watson and the anthropologist Franz Boas were critical of the hereditarian presumptions of the intelligence testers. Journalist Walter Lippmann, in a scathing series of articles in New Republic, condemned intelligence testing as an “engine of cruelty” based upon the pretentious abuse of the scientific method. Their efforts were to little avail. Before the members of Congress, Harry Laughlin, superintendent of the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Stream Harbor, voiced concerns about the pollution of the national stock. This led in 1924 to the National Origins Act, which restricted immigration to quotas that were based on the 1890 census—a census taken before the 20th century wave of eastern and southern European immigration.

 

 

State-sanctioned eugenics

Several years earlier, fears about degeneracy in the general population had led Charles Davenport, author of Eugenics: The Science of Human Improvement by Better Breeding, to found in 1910 the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Stream Harbor, Long Island, an office dedicated to research on the inheritance of psychological traits, including intelligence and feeblemindedness. The British hereditarian Francis Galton had previously coined the term eugenics (from the Greek for “well-born”) to describe his suggested program for improving the national “stock.” Galton, like many of his contemporaries, had recognized that one of the implications of his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was that human progress was not inevitable: humankind, if left to its own devices, was just as likely to degenerate as to progress. This concern was seemingly confirmed by rising crime, alcoholism, tuberculosis, and feeblemindedness among the Victorian lower classes.

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime…society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Galton originally recommended programs of positive eugenics. In these programs, the “highly-gifted” (assessed via Galton’s own measures of human intelligence) should be encouraged through generous financial government incentives to breed and to breed often. However, the Boer War, in South Africa, shifted Galton’s view. The war lasted from 1899 to 1902, far from the quick and decisive victory that many expected when the British Empire was pitched against a nation of farmers. Galton and his protégé Karl Pearson fretted that reduced levels of “national efficiency” were in fact a threat to national survival. They suggested programs of negative eugenics, through which the state would institutionalize and sterilize those deemed mentally defective.

In 1914, before working on the Army Testing Project, Yerkes and Goddard had served on the Committee to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means of Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the American Population, a research committee that had been commissioned by the American Breeders Association. After considering the options of life segregation (compulsory institutionalization), restrictive marriage laws, eugenic education (to encourage educable defectives to voluntarily decline to propagate their kind), general environmental betterment (to improve social conditions), and euthanasia, they recommended segregation and sterilization as the “most feasible and effective in cutting off from the human population the supply of defectives.”

State legislatures quickly adopted their recommendation. By 1930, around 30 states had sterilization laws on their books, and within five years approximately 35,000 individuals had been sterilized. Harry Laughlin, who had promoted the National Origins Act in Congress, published in 1922 a Model Eugenical Sterilization Law, which became the template for most state laws. The law targeted those persons “who, because of degenerate or defective hereditary qualities, are potential parents of socially inadequate offspring,” and its stated aim was to “prevent certain degenerate human stock from reproducing its kind.”

Once again there was opposition, but again it came to naught. In 1927 the Supreme Court heard the case of Buck v. Bell. At question was the right of the State of Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, who along with her mother and illegitimate daughter, Vivian, had been classified as feebleminded. (Vivian’s illegitimacy was taken as evidence of Carrie’s feeblemindedness; in fact, Carrie had been raped by a nephew of the foster parents who committed her.) The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Virginia, and Carrie Buck was sterilized. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., writing in favor of the majority, claimed:

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

This movement had international appeal. Laughlin’s Model Eugenical Sterilization Law also formed the legal basis of Germany’s 1933 Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, which sanctioned the sterilization of 350,000 “hereditarily diseased” persons, including anyone deemed mentally deficient, schizophrenic, manic-depressive, or epileptic, as well as anyone who happened to be congenitally blind, deaf, or severely deformed.

Enthusiasm for the sterilization of the feebleminded waned in the United States after Nazi Germany extended eugenic programs to wholesale extermination programs. By the 1930s many psychologists had recanted their earlier positions. Carl Brigham, for one, dismissed his earlier claims about inheritance and degeneracy as “without foundation.” Nonetheless, the practice continued in the United States into the 1960s, by which time around 65,000 individuals had been sterilized. The last sterilization law was only removed in 1981.

The Army Testing Project had one other consequence of social significance. After the war, Carl Brigham joined the psychology faculty at Princeton University, where in 1925 he devised a college admissions test based upon the Army Alpha test, which he had helped to create. The following year, Brigham developed his test into the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) for the College Board. Once again, he had a change of heart, later condemning the use of the SAT and opposing the creation of the Educational Testing Service. By then, of course, that train had long since left the station.

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18 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"Different ideologies" brings an interesting element ... and necessitates a very stark distinction.

Moral action as it should be chosen by an individual trying to exert his or her PUNY influence in an improper society is in STARK contrast to what moral action as it should be chosen by an individual living in a proper society.

Moral action depends on context, but this is no blank check on action in an "improper society." The question before us resolves into whether there is a right to restrict immigration. If there is no right to do it -- if, in fact, restricting immigration is the initiation of the use of force -- then that is immoral equally in a "proper society" or otherwise.

18 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

In the first context, it is moral to support restraints in immigration (until such time that a proper society is set up), while in the second context it is moral to support free immigration.  In the former context a person should vote for stringent immigration checks and criteria, while in the latter context a person should vote for fewer checks if any on immigration (perhaps only criminality).

The proper time to protect peoples' individual rights is immediately and always: not when "a proper society is set up," which we currently have scheduled for... well, sometime in the distant future, I continue to allow myself to hope.

The checks you mention with respect to immigration? I agree that some sort of "checks and criteria" is warranted, and that action/restriction can happen there, too, according to the same criteria with which we would countenance retaliatory force domestically. Meaning: if we would rightly restrict the liberty of a US citizen for some reason, then we could rightly restrict border entry for that same reason. But otherwise, no. Otherwise, there's nothing special -- with respect to our recognition of individual rights -- to being born in Tijuana as opposed to San Diego.

18 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Another Example is the Welfare State...

Certainly acting to dismantle the welfare state is moral, but so long as it exists, acting or advocating suppression of its invocation and use by anyone is moral... refusing entry of persons explicitly planning to use Welfare services are an example...

Absent the welfare state, no such concern would exist.

If immigrants plan on using the welfare state, that's the welfare state's problem, not mine. (And I have less than zero interest in restricting immigration so that the welfare state may better survive.) It doesn't warrant my telling someone that he may not move to a certain city, buy a certain house, take a certain job, etc. I believe in liberty, and more to the point that I do not have the right to initiate the use of force.

Let's talk about this in concrete detail for a moment. You have a man in Tijuana who wishes to move to San Diego, to get a job there and rent an apartment, so that he and his family may have a better life. You're telling me that an Objectivist such as yourself believes you have the right to tell him that he may not do these things -- in the name of self defense?

18 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

As for emigration... clearly no Objectivist would support any restraints on a person's freedom to leave, unless they are trying to escape justice... they are trying to avoid private obligations or a prison sentence or fine...

Well, why not? If we apply the principles given, I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't support restraints on a person's freedom to leave. If the people who believe in freedom choose to leave the US, that might leave me just as poorly off as allowing an influx from countries with some poorer culture, right? So if I can restrict people and their actions on the one hand, so that I may have a more favorable political culture, why not on the other?

(For what it's worth, I don't know that a person like Trump -- though quite far from an Objectivist -- is expert at drawing these sorts of distinctions. If he had his druthers, do you suppose he would make it illegal for certain businesses to leave the US and build their factories elsewhere? I do. So even if we're going to approach this from some "realpolitik"/pragmatic angle, I think there are good reasons for mistrusting walls, generally.)

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Is it right to deny an immigrant entry, if it can be shown they are against capitalism and would vote in an election to put in place "government" officials who would greatly reduce and/or abolish capitalism from the country in which you live?

By what standard?  Your flourishing.

 

Seems like your flourishing depends upon capitalism... and if it does not exist now... depends upon moving toward (rather than way from) capitalism...

but then your flourishing also depends upon equal application of proper laws as well...

but then if there exists improper laws currently (with perhaps  few proper ones), is equal application of the current law in your long term interests for flourishing? 

 

Then again does ANYONE have the "right" to vote for erosion of your freedoms (better put... your continual enslavement to your "brother")...  does the "right" to "vote" convey the right to put in place ANY system of governance and ANY set of "laws" (like those of a mixed economy which are unjust, immoral, and inimical to life)?

 

Is your long term self-interest served by sanctioning the "right" of the Federal Communist party to get government funding (your tax money) to ACT in ways which erode freedom and capitalism?

 

I'm trying to understand your perspective in this context, of rational self interest and the fact that you can either act towards the proper political system, laissez-faire capitalism in a Constitutional Republic where government role is only to protect individual rights, or against it.

 

2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

no blank check on action in an "improper society."

Of course not.

 

2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

resolves into whether there is a right to restrict immigration

Not quite.  "Is it immoral to lie?"  Don't forget CONTEXT.  It is wrong to lie to obtain a value you have no right to, and it is right to lie to protect your values from one who has no right to it.

"immigration"

and

"restrict immigration"

ARE contextual.

2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

If there is no right to do it -- if, in fact, restricting immigration is the initiation of the use of force -- then that is immoral equally in a "proper society" or otherwise.

It can be moral for you to pursue restriction of immigration ... in context.   Consider an individual is an avowed enemy of the west and has posted on the web an intention to commit an atrocity... now governments do not have "rights"... but certainly it has a proper role to protect you and your rights and hence bar entry to that person.

 

2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I agree that some sort of "checks and criteria" is warranted, and that action/restriction can happen there, too, according to the same criteria with which we would countenance retaliatory force domestically. Meaning: if we would rightly restrict the liberty of a US citizen for some reason, then we could rightly restrict border entry for that same reason. But otherwise, no. Otherwise, there's nothing special -- with respect to our recognition of individual rights -- to being born in Tijuana as opposed to San Diego.

Again... prevention of entry is not ALWAYS initiation of force nor NEVER initiation of force, it is contextual.

3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

If immigrants plan on using the welfare state, that's the welfare state's problem, not mine.

Really???  Acting in accordance with proper morality implies your complete ignorance and tacit approval of the nature of the state in which you live?

3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I believe in liberty, and more to the point that I do not have the right to initiate the use of force.

Sure.  But what does liberty consist in?  There are those who equate the right of free speech to the right to violate property rights (demonstrate) and right to restrict the free movement of others (block traffic)... does curtailing these actions constitute "initiation" of force?... Why? (or why not)

Someone is running across the room towards you with an axe... can you make a peremtory strike... what about preventing a Gee Had ist from immigrating?  What about a communist?  What about someone who explicitly declared he wants to be a leech in the welfare state?

Shall you encourage these on the basis of your long term flourishing ?? 

 

3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Let's talk about this in concrete detail for a moment. You have a man in Tijuana who wishes to move to San Diego, to get a job there and rent an apartment, so that he and his family may have a better life. You're telling me that an Objectivist such as yourself believes you have the right to tell him that he may not do these things -- in the name of self defense?

Nope.  Nothing in this context warrants refusing the man entry.  His freedom to work and produce can only increase your flourishing.

3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Well, why not? If we apply the principles given, I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't support restraints on a person's freedom to leave. If the people who believe in freedom choose to leave the US, that might leave me just as poorly off as allowing an influx from countries with some poorer culture, right? So if I can restrict people and their actions on the one hand, so that I may have a more favorable political culture, why not on the other?

The choices and the actions are not symmetrical in the same way withholding a benefit or a positive is not the same as delivering a harm or removing a positive.  A bystander to a negative act he is not party to, is under no positive duty to intervene, whereas as actor being the author of the negative act is responsible for the harm or threat of harm.

The absence of the person who would have provided a positive vote, or a positive influence on the society is under no obligation to do so and the intent or the act of withholding such a positive is NOT initiation of force...  a person acting to violate your rights, EVEN only by acting to vote.. is no less responsible than a thug voting for his mob boss to target your estate next...

Now... is it your self interest to kidnap a Communist next time there is a vote?  Most certainly in context.. NO.

Is it in your self interest to chat him up about your new book or engross him with a debate over Marx so that he forgets to vote... probably yes

Is it in your self interest to support a new law (by referendum) outlawing communist parties running for office in a free country by voting for it... possibly, if the law was motivated by and couched according to proper principles...

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To summarize, immigration is not simply a process whereby some disconnected individual becomes your neighbor, and a benign participant in a free market, whom you are free to avoid or befriend, in the CURRENT CONTEXT of a mixed economy "democracy' (with some lip service to a constitution), every immigrant you invite is a person who shall literally wield partial power to RULE over you. 

To IGNORE what kind of people you let in is to BLINDLY invite unknown Rules by unknown RULERS, and the creation of an unknown state to which you shall be beholden... at your peril, and very possibly to the detriment of your long range flourishing.

Given the current context, choosing whom to accept as immigrants seems quite rational.

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10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Is it right to deny an immigrant entry, if it can be shown they are against capitalism and would vote in an election to put in place "government" officials who would greatly reduce and/or abolish capitalism from the country in which you live?

You're confusing (at least) two completely different things. I expect that this is, in part, because many people (in this thread and elsewhere) purposely conflate those things, but still I suppose it must be stated clearly:

Immigration is not the same thing as citizenship or voting rights.

If you wanted to make a case that we should restrict participation in governance (whether "citizenship," voting, or other forms, like serving on a bench, etc.) to people who demonstrate that they believe in capitalism/liberty/the rule of law, or etc., I'd be willing to hear you out on the matter. I think there might be something to that.

But then, whatsoever we should finally decide is proper, I would also insist that it should apply equally to those born in San Diego.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Seems like your flourishing depends upon capitalism... and if it does not exist now... depends upon moving toward (rather than way from) capitalism...

Absolutely.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

but then your flourishing also depends upon equal application of proper laws as well...

Yes. Our laws (to make them "proper") must be designed for the purpose of protecting individual rights -- those of every individual, to the last.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Then again does ANYONE have the "right" to vote for erosion of your freedoms (better put... your continual enslavement to your "brother")...  does the "right" to "vote" convey the right to put in place ANY system of governance and ANY set of "laws" (like those of a mixed economy which are unjust, immoral, and inimical to life)?

No, people do not have that right. Our ultimate aim (with respect to politics) should be the development of a political system designed to protect itself against just such things.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I'm trying to understand your perspective...

Good. Thank you. I'm doing my best to help you in your effort, as I hope you appreciate.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

It can be moral for you to pursue restriction of immigration ... in context.   Consider an individual is an avowed enemy of the west and has posted on the web an intention to commit an atrocity... now governments do not have "rights"... but certainly it has a proper role to protect you and your rights and hence bar entry to that person.

I would roundly describe the actions of the "avowed enemy" you've introduced as a "threat," and criminal in nature. If he had done such a thing domestically -- posted on the web an intention to commit an atrocity -- then I would be in favor of taking action against him, according to the best practices of law enforcement.

And yes, you're right: my response with respect to immigration would depend on the specific context, as to whether or not he should be incarcerated, or returned to the country of origin, or etc. But the larger point is that barring his entry to this country represents retaliatory force (and it is further worth mentioning, because again some people confuse these issues, that there is a fundamental difference between such "barring" and an appropriate delay as required for processing): it is only justified in response to the initiation of the use of force.

Criminal activity is criminal activity, whether at the border or any other place. If you think that "being a socialist" ought to be illegal, then say that. But otherwise, we have as much right to stop a socialist from crossing the border as we do rounding one up and putting him in prison.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Nope.  Nothing in this context warrants refusing the man entry.

All right. Then perhaps, in the interest of "context," it is worth noting that people just such as I've described are currently being refused entry. Those who argue to restrict immigration will further restrict men such as this, and some of those people have in mind, whether they state it explicitly or not, racist ends. There are people in this very thread making explicit racial arguments. That is context, too.

10 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The choices and the actions are not symmetrical in the same way withholding a benefit or a positive is not the same as delivering a harm or removing a positive.  A bystander to a negative act he is not party to, is under no positive duty to intervene, whereas as actor being the author of the negative act is responsible for the harm or threat of harm.

The absence of the person who would have provided a positive vote, or a positive influence on the society is under no obligation to do so and the intent or the act of withholding such a positive is NOT initiation of force...  a person acting to violate your rights, EVEN only by acting to vote.. is no less responsible than a thug voting for his mob boss to target your estate next...

Now... is it your self interest to kidnap a Communist next time there is a vote?  Most certainly in context.. NO.

Is it in your self interest to chat him up about your new book or engross him with a debate over Marx so that he forgets to vote... probably yes

Is it in your self interest to support a new law (by referendum) outlawing communist parties running for office in a free country by voting for it... possibly, if the law was motivated by and couched according to proper principles...

Well, fair enough. But then, we are no longer discussing "immigration," per se, but whether or not it is permissible to "be a communist" generally, or to vote for some anti-liberty measure. As I'd indicated earlier, I'm open to the possibility that voting rights, office holding or "citizenship" should be restricted in some way on this basis.

But whatever we decide, it should be as much for the people currently living in this country, or born in this country, as those seeking to access it. And of those seeking to access it, we have no right to deny the person I'd described, who wishes to work, to live, from doing so -- not even if he was born in another country. Yet that is precisely what we do and have done, historically; and it is also what we will continue to do, according to the arguments routinely made, and policies implemented, by those who argue against immigration.

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Restricting immigration can be compared to restricting visitors or occupants of your house. If you value your life and your valuable things, you should keep out people with contagious diseases, people who believe what's yours is theirs, and people who are so dumb that they can't be trusted with sharp objects and matches. Letting in such people, especially without any protective measures in place, is immoral, because you are not only irrationally endangering your own life, you are also unnecessarily putting your family members' lives at risk. This right to secure and protect one's own life and home is what we extend to the government, in allowing them to secure our nation and its borders. And if we don't like the immigration policy our current representatives support, then we need to replace them with representatives more aligned with our views on security.

Edited by MisterSwig

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25 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Restricting immigration can be compared to restricting visitors or occupants of your house. If you value your life and your valuable things, you should keep out people with contagious diseases, people who believe what's yours is theirs, and people who are so dumb that they can't be trusted with sharp objects and matches. Letting in such people, especially without any protective measures in place, is immoral, because you are not only irrationally endangering your own life, you are also unnecessarily putting your family members' lives at risk. This right to secure and protect one's own life and home is what we extend to the government, in allowing them to secure our nation and its borders. And if we don't like the immigration policy our current representatives support, then we need to replace them with representatives more aligned with our views on security.

This analogy only works if the entire country is like one big "house" that the government owns. Since it is not, what this would have to mean is that you claim the power to restrict visitors that I have judged to be of value to me from visiting my house because you don't like their views (or really what you perceive their views might be.) Restrict your own visitors from your own "house" at your own expense.

Edited by 2046

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

If you wanted to make a case that we should restrict participation in governance (whether "citizenship," voting, or other forms, like serving on a bench, etc.) to people who demonstrate that they believe in capitalism/liberty/the rule of law, or etc., I'd be willing to hear you out on the matter. I think there might be something to that.

Sigh... in the context of our discussion I was defining immigration with the kind which confers citizenship... not merely temporary status, tourism, work visas etc. i.e. one which confers rights to voting in the rulers, participating in government, law enforcement, etc

I am trying to keep It civil and I maintain the above assumption I made (right or wrong) in the context of this discussion to be obvious.

 

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

All right. Then perhaps, in the interest of "context," it is worth noting that people just such as I've described are currently being refused entry. Those who argue to restrict immigration will further restrict men such as this, and some of those people have in mind, whether they state it explicitly or not, racist ends. There are people in this very thread making explicit racial arguments. That is context, too.

 Blanket support for something which might be construed as support for evil is ineffective and immoral, THIS is why I provided reasons.  Note also that so to, blanket support for something which is in part evil, is ineffective and immoral.

The point of restrictions (as I had intended them to be understood) are to identify the kinds of people eligible to participate fully in the country including voting in the rulers, participating in government, law enforcement, etc.

 

I appreciate your seeing the thrust of my reasons, however the following smacks of ad hominem...

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

by those who argue against immigration

 

There is an answer to the issue of citizenship and its intersection with immigration, and it is not blindness, nor is it irrational racism, groupizm, tribalism, nationalism, or collectivism of ANY kind.  If I have not SUFFICIENTLY COMMUNICATED this or IF it is objectively incorrect, I apologize.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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