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  1. Yesterday
  2. I disagree with the premise that this is the base. It is true that discovery of the nature of rights and morality in a social context is what led Rand to create Objectivism, but the resulting logical framework does not put rights at the base of morality. Existence qua man is the base. Questions of ownership, killing and “can” i.e. deontic principles follow from, and do not lead to, the proper moral foundation. Hence I have obstinately focused on that moral foundation, before moving on to the more legalistic question such as what role the government should have in protecting the rights of an individual. Much closer to the base, IMO, is the concept of responsibility, and the related matter of repudiating responsibility. Of course, we do want to speed ahead to the interesting legal question of the role of proper government in evaluating permissible and impermissible means of repudiating responsibility, and also its role in determining the custodian of the rights of a person who is not fully competent. But before we identify a principle regarding governments, responsibility and rights-custodianship, we should identify a broader principle regarding government and responsibility (because any principle regarding rights-custodianship is controlled by a general principle about responsibility). Therefore, setting aside child education, we also want to know what are the principles governing tort law in a rational society? In the “dine and dash” continuum, when does the “customer” incur an enforceable obligation? What principle says when his responsibility is enforceable, and when is it ignoreable? I argue that it starts when he claims a table, but that’s a concrete example, and not a moral principle.
  3. Last week
  4. Does asking people to back up their claims constitute "playing games"? I never try to play games. What grounds do you have for this accusation?
  5. Life in Russia: 1.5 Years Later, by Setarko, Russia, 27 May 2023 "it's been almost 1.5 years since life in Russia changed dramatically. But today I would like to talk not about the life and prosperity (or decline) of the country, but about the lives of ordinary people in it. There are two points of view. According to the first, people in Russia have lost access to hundreds of services and services, people are leaving the country by the millions, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive. According to the other, the country has only benefited from the special military operation that was launched, the people have rallied, import substitution is in full swing, and the next few years will be OUR years. Well, let me, as a really average resident of Russia, try to describe what has really changed in our lives during this time."
  6. Life in Russia: 1.5 Years Later, by Setarko, Russia, 27 May 2023
  7. Freud “The author's approach emphasizes the philosophical significance of Freud’s fundamental rule–to say whatever comes to mind without censorship or inhibition. This binds psychoanalysis to the philosophical exploration of self-consciousness and truthfulness, as well as opening new paths of inquiry for moral psychology and ethics.” Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis “Expanding on philosophical conceptions of love, nature, and mind, Lear shows that love can cure because it is the force that makes us human.” Wisdom Won from Illness: Essays in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis “Jonathan Lear begins by looking to the ancient Greek philosophers for insight into what constitutes the life well lived. Socrates said the human psyche should be ruled by reason, and much philosophy as well as psychology hangs on what he meant. For Aristotle, reason organized and presided over the harmonious soul; a wise person is someone capable of a full, happy, and healthy existence. Freud, plumbing the depths of unconscious desires and pre-linguistic thoughts, revealed just how unharmonious the psyche could be. Attuned to the stresses of modern existence, he investigated the myriad ways people fall ill and fail to thrive. Yet he inherited from Plato and Aristotle a key insight: that the irrational part of the soul is not simply opposed to reason. It is a different manner of thinking: a creative intelligence that distorts what it seeks to understand. “Can reason absorb the psyche’s nonrational elements into a whole conception of the flourishing, fully realized human being? Without a good answer to that question, Lear says, philosophy is cut from its moorings in human life. Wisdom Won from Illness illuminates the role of literature in shaping ethical thought about nonrational aspects of the mind.” Imagining the End – Mourning and Ethical Life “Imagine the end of the world. Now think about the end―the purpose―of life. They’re different exercises, but in Jonathan Lear’s profound reflection on mourning and meaning, these two kinds of thinking are also connected: related ways of exploring some of our deepest questions about individual and collective values and the enigmatic nature of the good. “Lear is one of the most distinctive intellectual voices in America, a philosopher and psychoanalyst who draws from ancient and modern thought, personal history, and everyday experience to help us think about how we can flourish, or fail to, in a world of flux and finitude that we only weakly control. His range is on full display in Imagining the End as he explores seemingly disparate concerns to challenge how we respond to loss, crisis, and hope. “He considers our bewilderment in the face of planetary catastrophe. He examines the role of the humanities in expanding our imaginative and emotional repertoire. He asks how we might live with the realization that cultures, to which we traditionally turn for solace, are themselves vulnerable. He explores how mourning can help us thrive, the role of moral exemplars in shaping our sense of the good, and the place of gratitude in human life.”
  8. If you can afford it and have the time, attend as much of the following in Miami as possible. You can meet people and some gay folks will be among them: OCON 2023
  9. A Friday Hodgepodge The author will be commemorating Memorial Day with family. I expect to return here on May 30 or May 31. *** 1. In a post at New Ideal, Ben Bayer draws a brilliant analogy between how he and others have come to reject religion -- and why similar reasoning demands a similar look at morality:I know many who have had the courage to abandon religious belief when they too realized the provincialism of their own religious upbringing. I want to encourage them to take one more step. Too few secular people have thought to extend the same skeptical attitude toward another set of beliefs that is just as crucial to the way we live our lives, even though it is often packaged along with beliefs about deities. I'm referring to our basic beliefs about moral values. It's time that more secular people decided to challenge the moral doctrines they've absorbed from religion along with the rest of its theology.Bayer's mention of a nearly universally-missed alternative to the dominant morality in the West both strengthens this parallel and points to the rest of the way out of being in thrall to religion. 2. From a blog post at How to Be Profitable and Moral, Jaana Woiceshyn shows us that 'pay what you can' is unsustainable (in any rational sense of the term) as a business model:This photo was almost certainly not taken at the Anarchist... (Image by Nathan Dumlao, via Unsplash, license.)The proprietor of the coffee shop has disdained profits, used "pay-what-you-can" pricing for brewed coffee, barred police officers and military personnel, lectured customers about oppression of workers and "genocide" in Canada, and sold apparel and stickers blazoned with slogans "do crime," "all shoplifters go to heaven," and "all cops are bastards"). Despite its 3,000+ followers on Instagram, The Anarchist has not made a profit -- unsurprisingly -and its main supplier, the micro-roastery Pop Coffee Works will stop subsidizing its rent and providing coffee beans at a significant discount. [link omitted]The impending closure was poised to provide a near-comic example of just how important it can be for secular moral theologians like those discussed earlier to Question More as it were -- but for an addendum reporting a bail-out. Sadly, too many people are too invested in anti-capitalism to let it suffer the fate it has earned. So much for "impartiality" ... 3. Writing at Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney draws a distinction between goals and values -- a distinction many of us can use to address productivity problems. Early on, Moroney explains how these related concepts differ:In an article from a couple of years ago on how values form, I explained that they are that which you have acted to gain or keep in the past, because you thought they were good in some way (whether explicitly or implicitly). One's first values are formed in relation to biological needs; more complex values are formed in relation to previously established values. Over the course of your life, you develop thousands and thousands of values. You have people you love, work that you find fascinating, fashions you prefer, exercise that you seek out. Whenever you feel value-oriented emotions such as desire, joy, love, and gratitude, the object of the emotion is a value of yours. By the same token, whenever you feel threat-oriented emotions such as fear, aversion, anger, and despair, the object of the emotion is a threat to some value of yours. ... Your goals are rather different. A goal is an intention you set to achieve a particular outcome. Unlike values, you can and should be able to list all of your goals, and some of them can be a little theoretical. Rather than being a product of past choices (as values are), goals are a choice you make now about how to shape your future. When you set a goal, you use your conceptual knowledge of yourself and the world to project different outcomes that you'd like to create by further intentional action. A goal is a conceptual intention that helps you remember to act differently in the future. The purpose of a goal is always to change the status quo in some way. [emphasis in original, link omitted]Later on, Moroney explains how to use this important distinction to overcome the common problems of " overcommitment, lack of motivation to follow through, and micromanaging with metrics." 4. Recently, Brian Phillips briefly reported that the Pacific Legal foundation scored two big Supreme Court wins.In Sackett v. EPA, the Court significantly narrowed the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act. The ruling will enable many property owners to use their land as they deem best without the arbitrary edicts of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. In Tyler v. Hennepin County, the Court ruled against "equity theft" -- seizing and selling a property to satisfy tax debts and then keeping the excess funds. [links added]This is great news. The interested reader can learn more about these rulings at the links above. -- CAVLink to Original
  10. Azorbz

    Lecture CDs

    I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask, but is there any way to purchase the old CD sets previously available from the Ayn Rand Bookstore? I'm aware that the audio is available on the ARI eStore, and on YouTube, but I was hoping to pick up some of the CDs. In particular, I'm trying to find Objectivism By Induction by Dr Leonard Peikoff. I've managed to pick up a few from other sources (the Ford Hall Forum speeches on eBay, for example), but haven't found much.
  11. A form of property can be many things. You can own a house outright, or you can rent it. It is your property in both cases. One is temporary with more restrictions than the other. I am not speaking legally, simply the issue of ownership as in possession, belonging. Your life belongs to you. A consciousness that can create (a suitable life) and requires certain freedoms to do that. That goes for anyone that wants to live, amongst other humans. "Can you dispose of it (kill it) as you wish? ", descriptively (as in not morally), yes you can. You are bigger, stronger and you can abandon. But should you? If you love the child it is not to your benefit. The answer is easily "no". I can argue that the child's right to live is the right of any human to live. In this case, an eventual adult's right. But it is not an adult. So when does a potential adult gain rights? Indeed, a child should not have the right to drive a car at 4 years old. Why? Because it will likely hurt someone (or itself). But the desire to protect a child from hurting itself comes from the love and interest of adults around it. A child has some basic understanding of what rights are in the sense that it knows what belongs to it or not. It might be able to respect boundaries. The right to self-governance is given to it by adults ... slowly. But the fact is that children are cute. One feels empathy, compassion, etc. Some objectivists will bring up the "trader principle" as the reason for their value. I can see that as an attempt to ignore the emotional reasons. But the caretakers are the possessors, the lovers, the protectors... as if protecting their own property—that which is theirs.
  12. Can you saute a carburetor? No, because although it is possible to place a carburetor in a relatively small amount of fat and expose it to heat a carburetor is not a food item and to saute is conceptually a food preparation. At this point in the discussion I think a line between morality and legality has been established to show they are distinct concepts and an epistemological error akin to even attempting an answer to the question of sauteing a carburetor is at play. ps, lol I didn't really answer the question , but I did, my drift will either be gotten or sue me
  13. Let's start from the base first: Morally, can you own a child as property? Can you dispose of it (kill it) as you wish? If you lose it (misplace it or it runs away) do you have a moral claim on it?
  14. As I said in various places above, parental responsibility can be repudiated. It would be highly irrational to do so in response to the discover that infants defecate and need to be taught to use a toilet, but it’s not irrational to cut ties with an evil child Questions of permission, contract and ownership are completely secondary to the fundamental moral question of whether a parent should repudiate their responsibility for some reason. Contract reflect only one tiny part of the concept of responsibility, and we’re not talking about the law right now, we’re talking about personal moral responsibility. But you still interject legal questions about rights and nabbing children who are being beaten. To repeat, moral responsibility and objective law are not the same thing. There do have a relation, but they are not the same thing.
  15. Fellow travelers will already know about a phrase that I hope to help popularize: crow space. (If not, the link gives a good explanation, although it is not crucial to getting the author's point below.) They and most others will also be quite familiar with the concept of division of labor. That said, many people do not have a firm grasp or appreciation of the concept of division of intellectual labor, which can and does include creative workers trading with less-skilled or more manual-type workers, in addition to each other. This morning, I ran into a great, short summary of how important such a division of labor is to thought workers, who often underappreciate the economic concept and just about as often haven't paid much attention to the interpersonal skills necessary to profit from applying it. The below is from a short blog post on the importance of surrounding oneself with the right people:No. Not that kind of trifle! (Image by Annie Spratt, via via Unsplash, license.)If you're working hard on really complicated and important stuff, stuff that require that your brain is "on" in an almost endless stream of thought, such that you cannot take a shower, or a walk, or even go to the toilet without thinking about some of the problems you're trying to solve, you cannot at the same time be bothered with all the "tiny trifles" of life. It's not that all the "tiny trifles" aren't important too, it's just that you cannot do both. Either you're busy, trying to solve difficult and important problems, and someone else helps you with all the "tiny trifles", or you deal with all the trifles yourself, but then you simply cannot, no matter how much you wish you could, deal with the brain twisting work too. You need to surround yourself with just the right people, whether it's a business partner, or a spouse, or someone else. If each person is not carrying their part of the load, even if it's something as simple as cooking dinner, then you're doomed to failure. It's even worse if the importance of what you're doing isn't understood by such people. Then they will, when you're busy and working hard, disturb you with all the things which they are supposed to handle. [bold added]Re-read that last paragraph, because that's where choosing poorly is worse than trying to do it all. I pride myself on hiring well, but that last paragraph really hit me for some reason. I remembered examples of past problems I had, with people around me distracting me by things that wouldn't even be on the radar if they weren't around. They weren't my hires in the sense that I myself was paying them to do a job, but they were in the sense that I wasn't taking more comprehensive care of whom I was working with. I'm still reflecting on that paragraph, and am glad I found it. I suspect it might help me detect a blind spot I need to account for... And if it helps passers-by to the same, or profit in some other way, so much the better. -- CAVLink to Original
  16. David, When I enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in 1966, it was known around the state as a hotbed of communism. I was already a democratic socialist. None of that mattered. I wanted to study physics, and I did, and soft stuff paled into nothingness by comparison. I didn't become a communist. I didn't attend a football game. I studied physics and mathematics mainly. It was not for economic advancement. It was for love of the field and the good of my soul. I was woke, by the way, to the history of racism in the US against Black people. From our own family and the generation before, whom I knew. Racist, racist, racist—that was and is part of America. But in that era, we raised consciousness (to borrow a phrase of Marx, if I remember correctly) and together brought about a cultural and legal revolution in racial equality before the law and in inter-racial relations in America. I approve of that woke. I said I didn't become a communist. I had become a socialist on my own, not by any knowledge of economics, but from the simple fact that the institution of private property allowed people to be selfish, and I thought that behavior to be morally wrong. My moral views were not without contradictions, and I had not really thought through the abolition of private property which I favored. That is where I was, when: there in college, underground, on my own, I read Ayn Rand. That changed my moral and social views, putting it mildly. I'm confident there are still plenty of state Universities and other Universities in which a young person can get a good education in physics, mathematics, and the many other marvelous areas of knowledge I was exposed to. And in Business too, which I was not exposed to. The day-to-day of what goes on there in learning and research, I'm pretty sure, is not the stuff that political interests in the wider society strive to highlight in their tidings of the doom of civilization due to colleges. When I went to college, I spent my life savings from past jobs very soon. I was able to make some money from what was called the work-study program. I worked in the machine shop of he physics department. I was not eligible for a government-insured bank loan, because my father's income was above the cut-off level for the program. I had been raised by my father and his second wife; he was the sole bread-winner of that family. When came the time I needed his financial assistance to continue, he did not come through. (And unfortunately in those days, if you were not in college, you were eligible for the draft for Vietnam.) In a while, I had to drop out due to lack of funds. I was able to have a roof and buy food and cigarettes by monitoring alarms for a detective agency in the college town. Being out of college did not stop my studies, of course, just as today. I incline to agree with your first paragraph, David, notwithstanding the rough spot I got into with respect to my dream and young efforts for some previous years to get my own money to pay for it. My parents had been divorced when I was two years old. My mother, whom I had met briefly in late high school, learned of my situation and offered to help. In the years since they had divorced, she had learned to drive, got an education degree in a town near the little country town where she and my father had become high school sweethearts in the 1930's, and gotten a job as an elementary school teacher across the Red River in Texas. Without her assistance, I'd not been able to go to college and get a sound start on my way to the mind I have today. She was not under any legal obligation, and I should say she was not under any moral responsibility outside the opportunity for seeing me flourish to do what she did for me. She simply responded to my plight and potential and was a very good heart.
  17. At the level of college education, your moral responsibilities have very little to do with children. There is nothing resembling a principle “you should pay for your child’s college education”. Perhaps the child needs a life lesson in finding their own means of survival; perhaps a college education would not be beneficial to the particular child; perhaps shouldering the cost would be self-sacrificial; perhaps the child will foreseeably become the next John Galt or Hank Reardon given an advanced education. Parents have to engage in a long-term cost-benefit analysis to determine what role they should play in their child’s higher education. As for the dangers of woke Marxist propaganda, it is short-sighted to declare that you will never send a child of yours to such an institution. The alternative of sending them to Bible school is even worse, and there are slim pickin’s when it comes to Objectivist universities. If you feel that you have done a bad job of teaching your child to disregard irrational propaganda, that makes your balancing analysis harder. The analysis can be made easier if the child is dead set on a degree in social justice and community activism, and a career in destroying civilization.
  18. And 1. My child implies ownership. Not yours, not ours, but "mine", belonging to me. That is the property right I am talking about. It exists in every culture. When the communists went against that, that your children do not belong to you, they lost a lot of support. 2. As to deliberateness, I wanted the child, I created it, I love it, so I will do everything in my power to help it grow, etc. No duty, just love, and desire. I assume the case you are talking about is they wanted ... and then they changed their mind. This is certainly "bad" for the child. The implication is "You wanted it, you are responsible for it". But descriptively, we walk away from things. It is only in the case of breach of contract or fraud that it is when this action( walking away) is "not allowed". So I tend to think that proponents of this responsibility see a sort of contract in place. Now, I would be empathetically hurt since I would not want to be in the place of that child. That kind of pain should not exist in this world. I would be disgusted at parents who do that. But let us say, I see a couple that does not want the child, starve it, beat it, while I love the child, do I have the right to grab the child and run? I think in a certain way ... I do. I can't define it yet, but where there are no police, I would take the kid and run and explain myself when I absolutely have to. This is where I say it's emotional. And I am okay with the fact that my reasoning is emotional.
  19. The Democrats are doing it dishonestly in this case. They represent ERIC to the states as non-partisan, but that isn't true.
  20. "If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty." Ayn Rand I suggest we read between the lines and remember what kinds of values Ms. Rand deemed to be valid, and just how human Ms. Rand actually was.
  21. It depends on what colleges are available, how much real knowledge they teach, how much Marxist indoctrination they push etc. It may be worth the money to self learn, hire persons with knowledge, private tutors, mentors etc. Good parents do everything in their power to launch their children as high and as far as they wish to go, sometimes that is something more spiritual than economic, like a small business, or career in art... it depends greatly on the context of the child's wants and needs and realistic dreams, and the means of the parents, good people work this out and do their best. Rationalizing falling short of this is usually confined to people who really would rather have the "hat" than feed the child...[paraphrasing] but really that was one of THE wisest things Rand ever said in her writings.
  22. I suggest that moral responsibility for training and education of children lies firstly with the child's parents, although not as part of a package of responsibility attaching merely to having caused the child's existence. That Objectivist position focussing on causal relationship, down from the era of N. Branden in the 1960's, was off the mark. Moral responsibility for training and educating the child lies firstly with the child's parents, I suggest, because of the moral goodness of responsiveness to persons and the potential person they may become, responsiveness to persons as persons. That responsiveness is, I say, the core of moral relations among people (and indeed, differently, relations of a self to itself). That is the preciousness that is the moral in a social setting. This position is a cashing out of the concept of moral justice, treating a thing as the kind of thing it is—that moral virtue. What a thing is includes its internal systems, but as well its distinctive external relations, actual and potential. The relations of responsiveness to persons as persons have a specially intense and distinctive character in the relation between the persons who are parent and child (natural parent most strongly, of course, but strong with adoptive parents as well). Additionally, there is a moral goodness in the benevolent protectiveness—that responsiveness—between any adult and any child. That such responsiveness fosters continuance of the species human as human may well be the underlying biological reason for this responsiveness. But that is not the reason the responsiveness of parent or other adult to the child and responsiveness of the child to them as persons is moral. Rather, the nature of value in the life of individual humans together, which is their best situation in the world, is the source of the moral goodness of such responsiveness to persons as persons.
  23. Arguendo "wanting" to have or keep raising children MEANS being prepared for, and earnestly and genuinely loving and caring for another person who starts out deeply dependent. Whether it fits any philosophical standard, humans DO literally need love to grow into a sane and moral adult.. it is not a psychological luxury, it is a deep human necessity. Perhaps it is only moral to "have" and/or be the guardian of anyone, if and only if you actually WANT to be one, with everything that entails, and ALL that it means. Summary: Have a kid you don't want and/or cannot care for? Just f#@&ing give it up for adoption as soon/early as you know, so someone else can do so. Our world would be a MUCH better place, and so many people SO much better off, if everyone followed this.
  24. At Reason magazine, Stephanie Slade observes that a faction of the conservative movement has been smearing classical liberals while also calling for leftist policies. The new smear? Right-liberal, which is intended to demonize classical liberals as leftists:Liberal in this context means classically liberal, the political outlook that emphasizes individual rights, limited government, and the rule of law. But the writers who deploy this supposedly disparaging sobriquet hope that rank-and-file conservatives will hear liberal and assume a leftist orientation. "America is an idea," scoffed Newsweek Opinion Editor Josh Hammer in a recent tweet. He attributed that sentiment to "every right-liberal and left-liberal platitude-regurgitator ever." Note the facile elision of any difference between the two groups: To be a "right-liberal," in Hammer's formulation, is no better than to be a Democrat.Slade has hit the hammer on the head, and comes close again when she notes who the real leftists actually are:[T]he invocation of "right-liberalism" is ironic as well as facile, because the post-liberals who disparage it are unapologetic proponents of actual left-wing policies, such as tariffs, industrial subsidies, and aggressive antitrust action, even against companies that don't meet the traditional definition of monopolies. It would be no exaggeration to designate this cohort right-progressives. And just about the only thing that makes them right is that they hope to use their power, once attained, to enforce aspects of traditional religious morality rather than left-wing identity politics.Close, Gus? You might say. Yes. Close: There is nothing ironic about a political faction that is becoming more and more like the left adopting the tactics (like smearing) as well as the policies of the left. This only looks ironic because the people doing it are calling themselves conservative, which many ordinary people wrongly think vaguely means capitalist. (This, too, apes the left, which first ushered in the name liberal for itself for the sake of the unearned good will a similar mental association with the original meaning of that term could get.) Furthermore, there is nothing ironic about altruist-collectivists recognizing individualist-capitalists as enemies and attempting to discredit them. Indeed, if there is any irony, it is that it hasn't happened much sooner, given that each group operates from the same moral premises. I thank Slade for the observation, although I wish she had also given the name right-progressives most often apply to themselves: national conservative. -- CAV P.S. Given that today's political milieu much more resembles a turf war between socialists and theocrats, let me take this obvious opportunity to recommend (once again) an excellent discussion of the situation by Harry Binswanger and Gregory Salmieri. Within, the latter analogizes the two major parties to gangs warring in a battle between two unworthy sides. Its title is, "Left and Right: Codependent Foes.," and it is embedded above.Link to Original
  25. In the present era, do parents have a moral responsibility to finance a child's college education? How much college? Is it morally irresponsible to have children if one is not assuming responsibility for financing the child's future college education, in the event that the child turns out to be college material?
  26. It is the Republicans' responsibility to get out the Republican vote. If the Democrats did a better job, this does not make a stolen election.
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