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mweiss

Border Patrol Agents Get 11 Year Sentence for Doing Their Job

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It's been all over the news, and it reminds me of the cases where our servicemen are being given long sentences for killing the enemy. Here's a summary from Mike Galagher's site:

The wife of jailed border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos had been told by her husband how a group of Hispanic inmates had beaten him bloody a few days earlier. The inmates had watched “America’s Most Wanted” on TV which featured a sympathetic host, John Walsh, telling the tale of the two border patrol agents who shot a low-life drug smuggler in the butt and how those agents wound up with long jail sentences while the drug smuggler was given total immunity and a promise of a few million bucks down the road for his sore fanny.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MikeGal...he_border_guard

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Join the U.S. Border Patrol: because shooting people who just want to make a better life for themselves in the back takes real heroism. Please.

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Join the U.S. Border Patrol: because shooting people who just want to make a better life for themselves in the back takes real heroism. Please.

Two points:

1: This was a violent felon drug smuggler that was shot--a violent criminal.

2. When stating that these are people who just want to make a better life for themselves, you need to ask "at whose expense?"

Yes, America was built largely by immigrants. However, the Italians who immigrated in 1909, vs. the street gangs who immigrate from Mexico today are two totally different groups of people. The former were self-made men who had goals and a sense of personal responsibility. The second group are ferocious animals who are claiming territory and killing everyone who stands in their way.

The first group got here by legal means. The second group got here by trespass.

One final point: a nation is defined by language, borders and culture. When, as you propose, open the borders to all immigrants, regardless of condition, the effect is to annihilate the American nation. If you eliminate borders, why not just unite the US with S. America and then the rest of the world and have one world government? That's what you want, isn't it?

Let's look at what happens when we don't have border control, which discriminates between hoodlums and good, honest people who might want to assimilate into our culture: You end up with Southern California, which is today 52% Hispanic, spreading across the entire US. You end up with Muslim terrorists entering the country (since no border guards are there to stop them from coming in) and the protracted failure to control the borders will result in the slow dissolution of America, for it's defining characteristics, language, culture, ideas, will be replaced by hoodlums and thugs who will get by by cutting your mother's throat for a loaf of bread.

The problem with young so-called "Objectivists" today is that they take certain statements in the philosophy too literally and out of context, which results in absurd notions that we ought to just not have any borders, since it's "freedom", but what that really means is anarchy and anarchy is not freedom because it always decays into feudalism and tribalism, with everyone living in fear of the next tribe.

Objectivism is not lawlessness. Certainly not the kind you propose here by implication with your comments.

The question you need to consider is "does everyone deserve a better life? If so, then at the expense of WHOM?

My sentiments exactly:

Mexicans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4nI-XkeurE...ted&search=

Hey, that could be me, if I had hair! :)

Edited by mweiss

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Well, Mweiss, at least you're consistent. Keeping out "them Mexicans" through anti-immigration laws fits in with keeping out the riff-raff (as you define them) through zoning laws.

Argued through ad hominem, implying that one's age somehow determines the validity of one's arguments.

Yours is not a world I want to live in. That is coming from an "older Objectivist."

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Two points: 1: This was a violent felon drug smuggler that was shot--a violent criminal.
Well, the "drug smuggler" part is hardly a strong political argument to make to us Objectivists. However, in this particular case, the real issue is: should we allow cops to shoot people who are not threatening them, as long as it later turns out that the person who was shot was a felon? Is that the type of power you wish to grant to the cops? Think about this carefully, since you're the one who often talks about responding violently when the cops come to get you!

Yes, America was built largely by immigrants. However, the Italians who immigrated in 1909, vs. the street gangs who immigrate from Mexico today are two totally different groups of people. The former were self-made men who had goals and a sense of personal responsibility. The second group are ferocious animals who are claiming territory and killing everyone who stands in their way.
This is untrue. It is completely false that Mexicans who immigrate are predominantly criminals. As for the Italians -- it's funny you chose that particular group. Would one have said that the mafia who immigrate from Italy are ferocious animals, killing everyone who stands in their way? (Check out Sopranos for some concretes :) )

The gangs, to the extent they exist, are largely a creation of government, in this sense: because the government outlaws legitimate activity (immigration and drug-sales), criminals take up those activities.

The second group got here by trespass.
You fail to point out that to the extent that this could be considered trespass, it is only because the law is defining trespass incorrectly and immorally. The vast majority of Mexicans in the US are trading with other people just as native born folk do. The government may impose immigration controls to help identify criminals and keep them out, but it may not legitimately adopt a purpose of keeping anybody else out.

One final point: a nation is defined by language, borders and culture.
"Is" or "ought to be"? Borders, yes... language and culture, obviously not. It is untrue that the state should impose a language and a culture. That is a collectivist idea. What next? a Ministry of Culturally-appropriate song and dance?

When, as you propose, open the borders to all immigrants, regardless of condition, the effect is to annihilate the American nation.
Your statement is a metaphor. Obviously, the nation won't be annihilated. If you drop the hyperbole and re-phrase this with proper concepts, it might be possible to discuss it.

If you eliminate borders, why not just unite the US with S. America and then the rest of the world and have one world government? That's what you want, isn't it?
if Mexico wants to be the 51st state, there's no fundamental moral reason to refuse. I can think of some pros and cons, but the higher number of Spanish speakers and the risk that more white folk will give up Pizzas for Burritos is an extremely poor moral argument. I mean, I can understand it as a personal preference, but that's what rights are all about: as placing limits on where one's personal preferences can be used to tell other people what to do. So, one may boycott the Taco shop, but one may not ask the town to issue a licence only to Pizza shops.

Let's look at what happens when we don't have border control, which discriminates between hoodlums and good, honest people who might want to assimilate into our culture: You end up with Southern California, which is today 52% Hispanic, spreading across the entire US. You end up with Muslim terrorists entering the country (since no border guards are there to stop them from coming in) ...
You use the word "assimilate", a vague word to use, because it could mean a lot of things. If its means trading honestly, then fine; but the vast majority of Mexicans already do that. However, the rest of your post implies that it means following the optional cultural habits of the pre-existing population. Some political philosophies hold that to be the proper role of government; Objectivism does not.

As for the Muslim terrorist part, that's a red herring. If one were really interested in keeping Muslim terrorists and other criminals out, an extremely important step is to de-criminalize immigration by folk who want to work and trade. The government has created a situation where honest millions keep silent about the gangsters in their midst because they need those gangsters now and then to get around illegitimate laws. One has created the situation where a person who is crossing the border illegally is more likely to be honest than a criminal. That fact lies at the root of the "border-control problem". If the rules were changed, and the honest could enter legitimately, the border would be far more secure from criminals. Opening up immigration is an important step toward keeping criminals out.

... America, for it's defining characteristics, language, culture, ideas,...
If one is speaking in the context of immigration law, or any other law, then the defining characteristic of America is not its language or its culture; not even its "ideas" used loosely. In this context, America is a political system. It's defining characteristic is its political system. If someone were to argue that America's political system would be stripped of more rights, because the system is flawed in ways that would allow that to happen, that would be a decent argument. However, there are ways to ensure that that does not happen. It would be interesting to discuss the options with people who accept rights as a starting point. As stated however, I dismiss those concerns as polemical points in favor of rights, being made by people who really aren't interested in rights.

The problem with young so-called "Objectivists" today is that they take certain statements in the philosophy too literally and out of context, which results in absurd notions that we ought to just not have any borders, since it's "freedom", ...
No, it's not about taking philosophy "too literally". Really, it's a statement of an ideal. One can raise objections as to why the we cannot get there in a single leap today; one can make the argument that controls breed controls and that one cannot unwind one set of controls without the other. The point is that one has to start with the goal and then talk about constraints present today. You haven't attempted to do so. Instead, your arguments are about Spanish and burritos.

The point is that the "young Objectivists" are starting with the right principle; now, all they have to figure out is how to apply it. You however, are starting from the entirely wrong "principle" (if one can call it that), and therefore you have no decent argument to offer.

The question you need to consider is "does everyone deserve a better life? If so, then at the expense of WHOM?
No, the question to consider is: is it moral to stand in the way of someone who wants to achieve a better life? This is an old question. For instance, a criminal may say that he wants to achieve a better life by taking my property -- can I stand in his way? A competitor may want to acheive a better life by making a product just like mine, but slightly better, and it drives me out of business -- can I stand in his way? Many people get this mixed up because they aren't clear on the meaning of rights. Clearly, you have them mixed up, with your implicit "right to culture and language".

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I used to agree with mweiss, but was converted to the pro-immigrant stance by DavidOdden, among others. From a legal standpoint, however, I don't think there's much ground to stand on in terms of leaving these guys in jail. But, for reasons already mentioned, I find it difficult to feel a lot of sympathy.

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Where are you guys getting the details of this story? How do you know the agents weren't acting in self-defense? Is there a link I missed?

Personally, I do not advocate open borders. A border patrol is a legitimate job. Also, drug smugglers are scum and I don't have an ounce of sympathy for any of them that get shot or rot in prison. I do recognize that the cause of their existence is the irrational prohibition on drugs and the only way to do away with them is to do away with the prohibition. So I also think at the very least, the idea of giving the drug smuggler a million dollars and a green card is totally unjust; especially to the millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, who have no rotten intent and do not engage in gun battles with US police.

Ultimately, the proper solution is to remove the irrational restrictions on immigration which cause this problem. The current immigration laws state that only so many Mexicans are allowed in. Why? No reason. Immigration policies could, optionally, restrict people from entering the country for reasons of individual merit, criminal screening, and such, (for example, we do have a citizenship test and we should keep it) but restricting based on national quotas? That's completely insane.

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Where are you guys getting the details of this story? How do you know the agents weren't acting in self-defense? Is there a link I missed?

Consider one fact missing from the cyberspace chatter: In the El Paso Border Patrol sector, where Compean and Ramos were assigned, agents have fired their weapons 14 times in the line of duty since 2001 - including four fatal shootings. In one incident, a 19-year-old Mexican immigrant was shot to death by agents after he brandished a metal pipe.

Each of those shootings, except one, was ruled a justifiable use of force, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Antonio - a "good shoot," in Border Patrol parlance.

...

The van came to a stop at the edge of the ditch. Ramos pulled up behind it, followed by Juarez. Compean, having tracked the pursuit on the radio, stuck to the south side of the ditch and parked his truck on the levee road.

The van driver, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, got out and ran for the canal, Mexico in his sights.

"Parate! Parate!" Compean shouted, Spanish for "stop."

Compean pointed his shotgun at Aldrete. The driver raised his hands; they were empty, Compean, Juarez and Aldrete would all agree in statements to investigators and in court testimony.

At least two men - Aldrete and Compean - reported hearing one of the other agents say, "Hit him."

..

Contradicting Juarez's account, Compean insisted he recovered from his fall, chased after Aldrete and tackled him. Aldrete, he said, threw dirt in his face and took off running again. Compean said he started shooting because he thought he saw something in the suspect's hand.

...

Aldrete testified that he never had any gun or anything "shiny" in his hands, and that he ran from Compean because the agent had tried to hit him and "I got scared." More striking were the agents' own conflicting stories and actions - and the statements of other Border Patrol officers who testified against them, including the five agents and two supervisors who showed up on the scene.

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20070218/NEWS/102180053

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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Not to change the topic, but:

Also, drug smugglers are scum and I don't have an ounce of sympathy for any of them that get shot or rot in prison.

Presumably you also wish that bartenders get shot or rot in prison, since alcohol kills dozens of thousands of people every year, whereas there is not a single recorded case of a pot overdose. What about those scumbag tobacco vendors? Smoking tobacco every day is just as irrational.

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I think there's a high correlation between drug dealing and scumittude, but the causation works the other way around: Drug dealers are scum because drug dealing is illegal. If drug dealing were legal, drug dealers wouldn't resort to scummy tactics (like murder, theft and violating immigration laws), and instead would use more legitimate tactics (like making contracts, enforcing them in the courts, and reporting crimes against them to the police) and thus be less scum-tastic.

The impropriety of drug laws doesn't excuse scummy behavior (murder, et al.), and a drug dealer who kills deserves (at a minimum) hard jail time, but for the murder, not the drug dealing.

-Q

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In all fairness, I don't think drug-dealers are the type of people who would be nice if drugs were legalized. They would probably give up on the drug trade and turn their attention towards some other illegal activity. 1920's gangsters didn't become law-abiding citizens after Prohibition ended.

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You're probably right. On the other hand, it's just as likely that the victim in this story was some poor schmuck trying to make a living. It's not his fault his country is a socialistic welfare state which nationalized all the legitimate jobs. My dad had a samogon (moonshine device) for friends back in Ukraine, and he seems like a nice guy.

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You're probably right. On the other hand, it's just as likely that the victim in this story was some poor schmuck

It's possible, but I'm a bit hardened to such things because I've seen so many true scumbags in the profession. Qwertz and Moose pretty much gave the same answers I was going to. It's very different in repressive countries like Ukraine since there isn't (wasn't?) the opportunity there to be in legitimate professions like there is here.

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You're probably right. On the other hand, it's just as likely that the victim in this story was some poor schmuck trying to make a living. It's not his fault his country is a socialistic welfare state which nationalized all the legitimate jobs. My dad had a samogon (moonshine device) for friends back in Ukraine, and he seems like a nice guy.

I haven't paid enough attention to the story to know whether or not the guy really was a scumbag. But, assuming that he was one, I don't feel any sympathy for him. Then again, I still don't support the mission of the border patrol. This is one of those situations where there's not really a good guy.

As for your dad...well, I never suggested that all drug-dealers/bootleggers are scumbags. But illegal trafficking seems to attract the kind of people who would be scumbags, no matter what the rules of society may be. And if your dad was just using it to make moonshine for friends, that hardly makes him a trafficker.

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Well, Mweiss, at least you're consistent. Keeping out "them Mexicans" through anti-immigration laws fits in with keeping out the riff-raff (as you define them) through zoning laws.

Argued through ad hominem, implying that one's age somehow determines the validity of one's arguments.

Yours is not a world I want to live in. That is coming from an "older Objectivist."

There are right ways and wrong ways to enter a country. If the Mexicans are invading by coming over the border in droves, then they are short-circuiting the acceptable means of entry. My parents escaped Germany in the run up to Hitler's regime and they came through Ellis Island and it took months, but they did it by the law and respected the new country's laws. I myself brought my immigrant wife here from Asia and I went by the laws and didn't try to smuggle her in, despite the hardship those laws created for me due to my low income. But I am glad we have a screening process, however defficient it may be--for it's better than no screening and letting in of diseased, criminal-minded and philosophically dangerous persons, in addition to the many who just want a better life.

As for zoning, it's not keeping out riff-raff--it's expecting the town to keep its end of the agreement. We complied and they said 'screw you' we're going to give this developer privilages you never had.' That's what we object to.

I see a lot of young folks here who, like myself in 1962, were/are idealists with lofty moral ideals that exist in a vacuum. That is NOT how Objectivism was taught, certainly not at the lectures in Manhattan, and not in Rand's essays and novels. When I was new to Objectivism, I was rabidly idealist and a crusader of ideas. But as I got older and more experienced with the fuller context of life, the workings and necessities of society, and the practical application of Objective ideas, I realized that there is a framework which Objectivism fits into but cannot replace. It is a philosophy for living on earth, but Rand only went so far with her concepts. The rest, have to be derived and some of the derivations I have seen lately may be in the letter of Objectivism, but not in the spirit of Objectivism. There is a difference between getting bogged down in mechanics of ethics and being ethical. Young people haven't fully integrated ideas--they are still discovering and lack the experience. When you've been around for eight decades, you start to see more, look beyond the simple black and white hypothetical concepts and into the application of social science. Young people may be smart, but they lack wisdom. And Wisdom, my friend, comes with experience and age.

Youth is wasted on the young.

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I see a lot of young folks here who, like myself in 1962, were/are idealists with lofty moral ideals that exist in a vacuum. That is NOT how Objectivism was taught, certainly not at the lectures in Manhattan, and not in Rand's essays and novels. When I was new to Objectivism, I was rabidly idealist and a crusader of ideas. But as I got older and more experienced with the fuller context of life, the workings and necessities of society, and the practical application of Objective ideas, I realized that there is a framework which Objectivism fits into but cannot replace. It is a philosophy for living on earth, but Rand only went so far with her concepts. The rest, have to be derived and some of the derivations I have seen lately may be in the letter of Objectivism, but not in the spirit of Objectivism. There is a difference between getting bogged down in mechanics of ethics and being ethical. Young people haven't fully integrated ideas--they are still discovering and lack the experience. When you've been around for eight decades, you start to see more, look beyond the simple black and white hypothetical concepts and into the application of social science. Young people may be smart, but they lack wisdom. And Wisdom, my friend, comes with experience and age.

Youth is wasted on the young.

This is an argument from intimidation. What does "in the letter of Objectivism, but not in the spirit of Objectivism mean."

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I myself brought my immigrant wife here from Asia and I went by the laws and didn't try to smuggle her in, despite the hardship those laws created for me due to my low income.
That isn't a good example, because the laws are unjust. The law is different for you and for someone else. I've been through an extremely tiresome and frustrating immigration process myself, so I know what it's like -- but, the bottom line is that I got in because the laws are written to favor people in my particular circumstance. However, I cannot say the everyone should follow my route, because I know the law is set up to discriminate against them. It would be like a white South African saying, "I don't know why these blacks are complaining about apartheid, for all it's inconveniences, it never stopped me".

The point you need to address is not whether a government may control people who enter it's territory. I believe that certain, limited control and monitoring are perfectly fine. The issue is: what may those controls be, in principle.

The limits a government may impose must always flow from the principle of the protection of individual rights. One does not have a right to a job. One does not have a right to make people speak the language one prefers. Of course the government may protect people against criminals. However, from your posts that appears to be "one of many things" you want the government to do, including protecting you from the "philosophically dangerous". Surely you see that, in the opinion of the current government, you -- someone who talks about sitting with a gun and waiting for the cops -- would be considered "philosophically dangerous", to say the least. So, not only is such a wish wrong and the opposite of what Objectivism would lead one to, it is also personally suicidal.

And, for my piece de resistance argument: I'm over 40 years old :lol:

Edited by softwareNerd

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It would be like a white South African saying, "I don't know why these blacks are complaining about apartheid, for all it's inconveniences, it never stopped me".
This is a important point about the rule of law: respect for law is not a moral absolute. When a law is fundamentally immoral, it deserves to be disrespected since it is an affront to the concept of law.

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When you've been around for eight decades, you start to see more, look beyond the simple black and white hypothetical concepts and into the application of social science. Young people may be smart, but they lack wisdom. And Wisdom, my friend, comes with experience and age.

Youth is wasted on the young.

This is a little off subject, but I feel compelled to add that 80 years is not really a fair requirement for wisdom since it is longer then most people tend to live. If I rememeber right it was Peikoff who said that philosophic maturity could not be expected before 35. So 40 or 50 would be a more realisitic age requirement for being taken seriously. Something else that should not be discounted is that with extreme old age also often comes dementia of various types.

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There are right ways and wrong ways to enter a country. If the Mexicans are invading by coming over the border in droves, then they are short-circuiting the acceptable means of entry. My parents escaped Germany in the run up to Hitler's regime and they came through Ellis Island and it took months, but they did it by the law and respected the new country's laws. I myself brought my immigrant wife here from Asia and I went by the laws and didn't try to smuggle her in, despite the hardship those laws created for me due to my low income.

Yes, and President Roosevelt was also just enforcing the immigration laws:

The Voyage of the Damned

The St. Louis sailed out of Hamburg into the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 1939 carrying over 950 Jewish refugees, mostly wealthy, seeking asylum from Nazi persecution just before World War II.

After seeking asylum in Cuba and being refused, the ship headed to Florida, where, on 4 June 1939, it was also refused permission to unload on orders of President Roosevelt. It then tried to enter Canada but was refused once more. The ship sailed back to Germany, whereupon various European nations each agreed to admit a small number of its passengers, the vast majority of whom ended up perishing in the Holocaust as most of the host countries came under Nazi occupation at some point during World War II, which started only a few weeks after the ship's return to Hamburg.

But I am glad we have a screening process, however defficient it may be--for it's better than no screening and letting in of diseased, criminal-minded and philosophically dangerous persons, in addition to the many who just want a better life.

That's a red herring argument if I've ever seen one. Were those in the above ship "diseased, criminal-minded..."? Were you, your parents or your wife? No one is against keeping out criminals. That is not the purpose of today's immigration laws.

As for zoning, it's not keeping out riff-raff--it's expecting the town to keep its end of the agreement. We complied and they said 'screw you' we're going to give this developer privilages you never had.' That's what we object to.

You don't have the right to tell other property owners what they can do with their property. Any "agreement" between the town and you over someone else's right to property is invalid. If you want to control what they do with their property, buy it.

Your position is contrary to the right to property, an essential tenet of Objectivism. You are not an Objectivist. That is not meant as ad hominem, but a simple statement of fact. Why don't you acknowledge that? Instead, you want to have your cake and eat it too, by claiming that you are an Objectivist, while denying essential elements of the philosophy.

All so that you can live on your mountaintop? It's time to climb down from the mountain, brother.

When you've been around for eight decades, you start to see more, look beyond the simple black and white hypothetical concepts and into the application of social science. Young people may be smart, but they lack wisdom. And Wisdom, my friend, comes with experience and age.

Youth is wasted on the young.

That is a non-argument, both from intimidation (as someone points out above) and ad hominem. Do you see that? Perhaps that is acceptable to you.

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So 40 or 50 would be a more realisitic age requirement for being taken seriously.

Hmm... I guess I'll just be leaving then...

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This is an argument from intimidation. What does "in the letter of Objectivism, but not in the spirit of Objectivism mean."

Not only is it an argument from intimidation, it's just plain false. I know of at least one "older Objectivist" who is an advocate of open borders. Maybe he just hasn't gained enough "wisdom" to see those Mexicans for the "ferocious animals" they truly are, eh mweiss?

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Hmm... I guess I'll just be leaving then...

I apologize..., I(and I assume,Dr. Peikoff) did not mean that in a general(or insulting) sense, but in the intellectual sense. In the world of, say, philosophy, 19 year old undergrads should be unsurprised if they don't make waves in their field right away. In any field of study, the gaining of the field's knowledge as well as the subsequent and necessary integrations, realistically take some time to master. This is not to say that learning stops at that point or that no ideas had before that point are of value. Typically, though, it is the case that an individual will have a "great new idea" and find later that it has already been investigated by 14 predecessors in the field.

Thorough knowledge of what is already known is sort of a beginning step which must be taken. The condecension sometimes recieved from people older and/or more advanced in a field is the result of an unwillingness or inability to try to explain a difficult idea without the predicating knowlege set. I would not take it too personally as it is typically just indicative of them not understanding the subject in question, thoroughly enough to concretize it to a laymen's level.

To be especially clear, I do not mean to equivocate age with wisdom. Age is a necessary but not sufficient requirment. If you don't agree, consider whether you think you personally will be wiser when you are twice your current age. More time equals more oppurtunity for observation and introspection. That's all it means. It does not mean that an individual will actually utilize that oppurtunity or that a person could not put more effort into his self-creation and get there a bit sooner then average.

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