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  1. Today
  2. Two law professors warn that insofar as Donald Trump found ways to ignore or work around the law (they call it "law avoision"), Ron DeSantis may be better at doing it. That is to say, DeSantis may combine a similar contempt for the law with being more methodical than Trump and better at getting away with it. This contention parallels my own concern that, while DeSantis often seems like he could be better as a President than Trump (while managing to appeal to his base), he could be worse than Trump, if it turns out he is just a more organized and effective authoritarian. Their concerns about his abuses of power, below, are just a part of their case:Image by Elena Mozhvilo, via Unsplash, license.Even more worrisome is how DeSantis uses the law to attack his enemies. We are concerned by his retaliation against Disney for exercising its First Amendment rights -- and even more alarmed by his undermining law enforcement by suspending prosecutors he doesn't like. They're the very prosecutors who might investigate him or his administration for breaking the law. We should all remember that firing prosecutors was similarly Trump's first line of defense against criminal investigations of himself and his campaign -- even though the use of presidential power to remove a prosecutor and corruptly obstruct investigations is itself criminal. [bold added]Much of the rest concerns flouting campaign finance laws, which are a mixed bag. That said, it is the job of a chief executive to enforce the law until it can be changed (and then not merely, as they argue DeSantis has done, for mere political expediency). Just because someone points to the Defund the Police mob and states the obvious about them does not mean they aren't essentially the same thing or worse in different packaging. -- CAVLink to Original
  3. Yesterday
  4. The final issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies V23(N1,2), July 2023, includes a paper by David Tyson (pp. 154–217) explicitly citing this thread. He argues that "presuppositional foundationalism" is good for describing Rand's form of philosophical foundationalism. He is concerned to distinguish this way of foundationalism from what he calls "deductive foundationalism." He is correct to sweep away much of what is commonly ascribed to the latter, including its ample reliance on inference. Although it is good he sets aside much of what is (alleged of) deductive foundationalism in philosophy, he seems not cognizant of the circumstance that all recognitions of presuppositions are conceptual analyses and that this is part of logic. One oddity of his well-researched study is that he seems not cognizant of how Rand gets from the axiomatic status of the concept existence to the axiomatic status of the concept consciousness. (See ITOE App., 249.) I'd say it is an incorrect correction of the structure of Rand's philosophy to shift all notion of consciousness to be introduced later on, say where Rand/Peikoff introduce the fact of life and character of human life. The character of consciousness as part of life are sensibly located with those later introductions, but not fundamental grasp of the grasp that is consciousness. (At odds with Rand, I introduce, additionally, elementary grasp of the fact of other consciousness and grasp of the basic fact of being alive [self and other] back at the level of axioms and "corollary axioms.")
  5. There is a part-interesting, part-amusing, and entirely predictable battle going on over the meaning of the term woke, as Tauseef Mustafa discusses at Digital Journal before concluding that the politicians don't know what it means:According to The Economist, as the term woke and the #Staywoke hashtag began to spread online, the term "began to signify a progressive outlook on a host of issues as well as on race." But, more recently, among American conservatives, woke has come to be used primarily as an insult. The Republican Party have been increasingly using the term to criticize members of the Democratic Party, while more centrist Democrats use it against more left-leaning members of their own party. [links omitted]Image by Danny Burke, via Unsplash, license.This is in line with what I have been able to glean on the subject, although I bet one could also find examples of populist/fascist conservative types using using the term to insult free market advocates. I have noticed a couple of further things about the conservative adoption of this leftist shibboleth. First, since the term was never precisely defined in the first place, and its use as a shorthand for a certain ideological orientation is inherently imprecise and can easily backfire, as demonstrated by the humiliation of a conservative commentator being asked for a definition and coming up empty. She had just written a book about how she thinks "woke ideology is upending American childhood." Uh-oh. Worse than this, you have the likes of Ron DeSantis saying phrases like "woke capitalism." If something is truly capitalistic, it isn't leftist. And if it isn't, why not call it what it is, like mixed-economy? Second, the term is right up there with one of my old favorites, overreach, as symptomatic of the dependence of today's right on the left: First, absent a positive agenda, the right defines itself only by contrast to and in supposed opposition to the left. Second, because the right holds the same moral premises as the left, it can't really challenge the left in any substantive way. (e.g., "Regulatory overreach" does not challenge the propriety of the government running things, but inherently concedes that regulation is good only complaining of it being in excess whatever excessively good might mean. The phrase "woke capitalism" is interesting in this light. Conservatives are ambivalent about capitalism, but like to pretend to be mostly in favor of it -- unless, as now it seems, it promotes leftist political goals. They have also never liked "unbridled" capitalism. We have been warned. And so, with woke, the right focuses on the left rather than defining and forging ahead with its own positive agenda -- which is what the pro-freedom political revolution we need will require. Instead, we have the right agreeing with the left that the government needs to be in charge of far more than it should be, and differing only in details for what end, which won't be the protection of freedom if they continue on their present course. -- CAV Link to Original
  6. DavidOdden: "The classical, objective-reporting view is decidedly on the decline" I agree. But such an approach had always been greatly compromised. DavidOdden: "The contemporary activist view is that the journalist should promulgates a progressivist viewpoint (or on rare occasion, an anti-progressivist viewpoint)." It is the purpose of any polemicist - progressive, reactionary or moderate - to promulgate a point of view. U.S. media on average is much more polemical and slanted than in previous decades. But most outlets are a mixture in a range from fair to somewhat fair to biased and sometimes to profoundly biased. Also, right-wing and conservative views are not rare in the media. Fox, NY Post, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Boston Herald, Newsmax, The Federalist, American Greatness, Substack and a myriad other outlets. Also some publications such as Newsweek have commentary from both the right and left. And sometimes even liberal media hosts commentary from the right. Moreover, though most of the most powerful outlets are slanted toward a liberal point of view, I wouldn't describe them as predominately progressive. And Real Clear Politics lists its articles virtually always in a back and forth between right and left, so there are equally as many from each. DavidOdden: "The massive destruction of value mandated by the various governments in an attempt to thwart The Apocalypse was significantly under-reported" There was a considerable amount of media discussion about the economic, educational, social and psychological costs from the government actions. Also, the loss of liberties was hardly ignored. But as to such things as social and psychological costs, to report them very well would depend on studies that could only come later. And I don't see that a clear discussion is enhanced by nudging a point of view with tendentious sarcastic rubrics such as 'The Apocalypse'. DavidOdden: "the magnitude of the death and destruction was vastly over-stated." What evidence do you offer for that generalization? Meanwhile, both the Trump administration (including Trump himself) and certain media egregiously tried to minimize the treat. DavidOdden: "the failure of the media to engage the public in basic education about the underlying science" There was a terrible paucity in from both media and health officials of clear, accurate explanation of the science, even granting that so much was unknown at the time. The worst was Fauci saying that masks were not needed, then saying masks were needed and that a cutup T-shirt would work. And health officials never got it right; even after the studies, they never finally properly informed that N95 or KN95 should be the standard. DavidOdden: "Insofar as there was always a respectable scientific view that covid was not the end of the world, why were the nay-sayers disregarded" "End of the world" is strawman exaggeration. It would be a rare media source that claimed that Covid would be the end of the world. In any case, the pandemic was a massive threat (there is still the potential for Covid to mutate so that it is both far deadlier than Delta while also far more transmissible than Omicron). Meanwhile, there were some experts who advocated different approaches to the pandemic, and some of those views were discussed in the media. But there is always this famous question: In a subject requiring expert understanding, if 99 experts say statement P and 1 expert says not-P, does fairness require that the side for not-P be given equal time as the side for P? DavidOdden: "covid sensationalism" What are examples you have in mind of such sensationalism? DavidOdden: "The problem is that The People are suffering, and only proper guidance by The People (via the dictatorship of the proletariat) can alleviate that suffering." You lose credibility, and again, cloud discussion with things like "dictatorship of the proletariat". The federal, state and local governments are not dictatorships of the proletariat. DavidOdden: "their cause was also advanced significantly by the fact that the only visible opposition to the progressivist trend was the moron in the White House." Trump was only vaguely at times opposed to government intervention. For the most part, he favored it, especially in certain profound ways. DavidOdden: "the dominant trend in the media was to encourage fear, and to promote the progressivist agenda." Again, I'd like to see examples of any supposed pattern of common media having the purpose of making people afraid as opposed to advocating that people should recognize the threat and take precautions. Indeed, if there was one general theme, it could be summarized as "Recognize the threat, learn about it, take precautions against it, but don't panic." In fact, though I couldn't dig up cites now, a number of times I had to read the cliche of quoting Roosevelt "There only thing we have to fear is fear itself". As to a "progressivist agenda", (1) The administration itself very much pushed governmental interventions, profoundly so, (2) Many staunchly conservative politicians both in the federal government and in state governments favored government interventions, profoundly so. (3) I don't know exactly what agenda you mean. Staunch conservatives, liberals, progressives and moderates acted for the purpose of ending Covid or at least avoiding the worst consequences or at least to get the country past the stage where the medical infrastructure and available care were overwhelmed, especially to avoid a course in which even more than 1.2 million Americans died (and nearly 8 million worldwide). Whether or not one agrees with the government interventions, I don't see evidence that the goal was more than to end or ameliorate the pandemic.
  7. Last week
  8. Let’s set aside the question of whether “panic” is the correct term, instead, let’s just summarize what “The Media” did, with an eye to what they should do (and why). The classical view of journalism is that the journalist objectively and dispassionately reports the facts. The contemporary activist view is that the journalist should promulgates a progressivist viewpoint (or on rare occasion, an anti-progressivist viewpoint). Any journal has the right to select their stance, however offensive it may be. The classical, objective-reporting view is decidedly on the decline: I have no suggestions as to how the tide might be turned. Coverage of covid was decidedly not balanced and objective. True, you can argue that reporting the ghastly effects of covid is “information”, but information becomes disinformation when it consistently omits equally valid information. The massive destruction of value mandated by the various governments in an attempt to thwart The Apocalypse was significantly under-reported, and the magnitude of the death and destruction was vastly over-stated. Particularly conspicuous was the failure of the media to engage the public in basic education about the underlying science – what do those chart really show, and what is our standard of comparison? Insofar as there was always a respectable scientific view that covid was not the end of the world, why were the nay-sayers disregarded in the daily cycle of covid sensationalism? A simple answer is that covid sensationalism fit nicely into the syllogism of modern progressivist propaganda. The problem is that The People are suffering, and only proper guidance by The People (via the dictatorship of the proletariat) can alleviate that suffering. Of course their cause was also advanced significantly by the fact that the only visible opposition to the progressivist trend was the moron in the White House. I don’t know if van Horn is overstating the retro-panic nature of the unsourced article which I have not seen, my point is simply that the dominant trend in the media was to encourage fear, and to promote the progressivist agenda. The goal was not to objectively present information, the goal was to shape viewpoints. Which is their right.
  9. Then how would you define the requirement to survive to mean? As far as the right to "not" be murdered, that is a requirement of a life worth living. I would rather emphasize that you and I have to figure that out, not objectivism. We have the tools based on objectivist thought, nevertheless, what is true, is what is true. The fundamental issue that I have a problem with is the fact that a right is a freedom of action to survive. Required freedom. But a 4-month-old given that freedom cannot survive. So the freedom to act rationally does not apply to a baby. Therefore a right to life for a baby ends up meaning surviving as long as its lungs and heart etc. work (meaning not interfering with its natural and bodily survival activity). But we want the child to be taken care of. In this case, rights apply to the caretakers or potential caretakers. Most humans will "make it work", pool their resources, or volunteer to help the child survive. Most humans want to protect that child. But that is deeply emotionally motivated. Now, is this an argument for an inherent value in helping the species survive? It sure looks like it. Is it also an argument that in some cases, emotions are in fact a tool of ethical determination i.e. cognition?
  10. There is distinction between an Objectivist consensus on a conclusion and the logic applied to philosophical principles used to reach that conclusion. Since Objectivism bases rights on the rationality of humans, we have to ask: What about humans who have merely potential, or degrees of potentiality, for sufficient rationality? Then: What is the reasoning by which an Objectivist would reach an answer to that question. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches: (1) Take it as a given conclusion that, for whatever reason, children have a right not to be killed. Then, working backwards, adopt axioms that derive that conclusion. That is, one adopts a moral theory to serve as a basis for particular moral judgements one already has. So one may say that no matter what moral theory you posit, it must derive that is it not moral to kill children. That is not Objectivist. (2) Adopt axioms that are regarded as true in any case. Then derive a moral theory that might or might not derive that it is not moral to kill children. That is, one adopts axioms that are true in any case, then one uses reason to find out what those axioms imply. That is Objectivist. Ah, but we can be pretty sure that no Objectivist wants to end up with a moral theory that does not include that it is not moral to kill children and does not include that parents don't have a right to kill their children. So Objectivism has to figure out an argument from the axioms that concludes that is it not moral to kill children despite that children have only degrees of potentiality for sufficient rationality that is the basis of rights. You say that a rabbit has a right not to be killed. That is not Objectivist, so any reasoning about rights of children that yields also that a rabbit has rights is not Objectivist. Objectivism does not hold that people have rights to whatever they happen to need or whatever happens to benefit them and even everyone else. Rights in Objectivism are not simplified that way. So the right not to be killed is reasoned on more than that one wants and/or needs not to be killed.
  11. Blog: "If you thought the media were done trying to make you panic about covid" I haven't thought that news reports, editorials or commentary from major outlets were trying to make me panic. What are some specific examples you have in mind? Some reporting emphasized the ghastliness of many events and situations. But the events and situations were indeed ghastly. Reporting the ghastliness was informational. And much of the media stressed that we were facing an extraordinary emergency. That also was appropriate and constructive. And there were many articles that stressed that we should be concerned and take extraordinary precautions but that we should NOT panic. And even IF some of the reporting was sensationalistic, I don't see a basis to infer that the purpose was to make people panic. On the other hand, there have been a lot of preposterous attempts to minimize the pandemic or even deny that there has been a pandemic or to suggest that its resolution might be as simple as waiting for the summer to heat it away (Trump) or injecting bleach to kill it (Trump), etc. Indeed, we even read the ludicrous illogic that since the virus is a coronavirus it is not worse than the common cold that also is a coronavirus, etc. Blog: "sounds like it could have been written in late 2019 or early 2020, when we knew little about covid, and were still facing a virgin soil pandemic" That is patently false. The very subject of the article is contemporary behaviors while Covid persists. And, as even you recognize, the article acknowledges that the current situation is not as dire as in early 2020. The article mentions the announcement of the end of the public health emergency, long Covid, Paxlovid, current national and worldwide death counts, the falloff of news coverage, at-home testing, the widespread eschewing of masks, and the fact that mandatory masking and stay-at-home orders are of the past. The article couldn't possibly be taken as if it came from late 2019 or early 2020. Blog: "grudgingly admits that we're no longer using refrigerator trucks as makeshift morgues" The article says, "Clearly, these aren’t the apocalyptic days of refrigerated trucks used as makeshift morgues, mass graves for unclaimed or indigent COVID victims, and intensive care units so overwhelmed that some COVID patients were sent to other states. But neither is COVID as far in the rearview as many have convinced themselves it is." There is nothing there that hints at grudgingness. You're reading into the article what is not there. Blog: "missing, readily-available context" The article does not argue by dropping context. The context of the narrative of Covid over the years is well-known. There is no suggestion in the article that the writer is overlooking the history of the pandemic. Blog: "we'd think officials were out of their gourds for declaring the pandemic over" Political officials, such as Biden, have no business declaring the end of any pandemic, especially a pandemic that is still ongoing. Whether or not a pandemic is over is determined by scientists, not politicians. And a cessation of a declaration of a public health emergency is different from a cessation of a pandemic. (By the way, that wasn't the first foolhardy pronouncement by Biden. When the vaccine debuted, Biden declared that it's safe for vaccinated people to shed masks and return to normal life. That was tragically premature. We found out that vaccination is nothing like a silver bullet against infection, sickness, hospitalization or even death, even though it does reduce those. Then came Delta that made all bets off again, and discovery of long Covid, then Omicron with its extraordinary transmissibility, then Omicron variants with their even more extraordinary transmissibility. Biden had no business ignorantly and carelessly popping off that vaccines made it safe for the vaccinated to eschew masks and distancing.) Blog "vaccination reduces [the] risk [of death] by something north of 75%, even without the bivalent booster -- and prior infection is as protective in that regard as vaccination." To be clear, the article does not at all dispute that vaccination and prior infections reduce susceptibility. Indeed, it would be self-defeating for the writer to deny that vaccination reduces susceptibility since the article does convey a suggestion for more vaccinations. Blog: "Common symptoms [of long Covid] include fatigue, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, "brain fog," chest pain, cough, and loss of taste/smell." Those are a few of the symptoms, but not all the consequences, which may include nerve damage (thus excruciating chronic pain) and organ damage. And it should be mentioned that severe shortness of breath may be experienced as a continual, torturous, nightmarish feeling of being suffocated. And brain damage from Covid may be so severe as to make a person effectively non-functional, not just in terms of employability (four million Americans out of work due to long Covid now) but also in terms of coping with everyday tasks, even as basic as filling out online forms or driving. And Covid fatigue may be of severity well beyond even the kind of thorough tiredness one might experience after a few days of considerable exertion. Blog: "vaccination lowers the risk of long covid -- which is already lower (or nonexistent) for the now-dominant omicron-based strains of the virus." I understand you to be saying that with (or even without?) vaccination the risk of long Covid from Omicron might be nonexistent. (And you don't even qualify to lower-risk people.) On what do you base that claim? This recent article mentions 5% to 10% among the vaccinated: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/current-risk-getting-long-covid-rcna73670 Blog: "the piece basically accuses anyone who isn't holed up for the apocalypse or masking in public of evasion" That is patently false and a strawman. The article does not make a claim or even imply that people are evading truth merely by choosing not to stay at home ("hole up"). And the article doesn't claim that masking is called for in all public situations. And the article doesn't claim an impending catastrophe of apocalyptic import. Indeed, the article explicitly says the situation is NOT "apocalyptic". And even IF the writer believes that anyone not staying at home is evading truth, she didn't write that in the article, so to avoid strawmanning would require first asking her. Globe article: "It's as if there was an agreement that COVID would disappear if only we stopped talking and thinking about it." If 'disappear' is taken as 'end', then the above sentence is clearly non justified. There is no basis to say that there is any kind of consensus in favor of the ridiculous belief that Covid will magically end if people ignore that it exists. The writer egregiously overstated in that sentence. But this is true: Globe article: "this nation has largely resigned itself to the terrible fact that thousands will die from the virus this year and perhaps for years to come." Blog: "Guess what else kills hundreds each week in the US? The flu". Yes, that's a fact. What inference do you propose from that fact? Is the inference that therefore it is irrational to be more concerned about Covid? If it is, then it's a non sequitur. That there is a previous and concurrent health danger is not a basis to reduce concern with Covid or decrease precautions against it. In general, it is a non sequitur to argue that if there is a previous and concurrent problem then there should not be more response to, or urgency about, a new problem. Moreover: (1) Even with vaccination, there are more deaths from Covid than from flu. (2) Even with vaccination, the death/infection rate is higher for Covid than for flu. (3) Even though flu may be deadly and dire when not deadly, there is a panoply of dire consequences from Covid that are not consequences of the flu. (4) The combination of cases of Covid and RSV is still greatly over-stressing health-care in certain locales. And Covid is still over-stressing health care and the economy in general. (5) Flu is a deadly bane, but its mutations have been handled for many decades now through established research protocols for regular vaccine updates. Flu has not mutated so wildly that we haven't been able to keep its infection and death rates somewhat stable. On the other hand, Covid has been remarkably volatile in its short history. We don't know what lies ahead in terms of mutations such as Delta (that was shockingly more deadly than original Covid) or Omicron (that was shockingly more transmissible (though less deadly) than original Covid or Delta) or later Omicron variants (that are remarkably even more transmissible than original Omicron). So it is still rational to be vigilant about Covid. (6) Precautions and research regarding Covid benefit health and disease prevention and improve health generally. When people take more precautions, even as basic as more hand washing and more conscientiousness in public hygiene, we benefit. Fewer colds and less flu. So, again, even though Covid infections, hospitalizations and deaths are lower now, it is still rational to be vigilant about Covid. Indeed, since precautions for Covid have resulted in less flu, the rationality of concern about Covid is increased, not decreased, by the fact that flu is a public health danger too. Blog: "my plan for covid is the same as for the flu: I'll get a jab in the fall and avoid being around people who I know have it, unless they're in my immediate family and need my care." (I would surmise that hand washing, refraining from touching mouth/nose/eyes, and general home and public hygiene are also included.) Note that the article doesn't insist on any particular set of precautions. Meanwhile, that you deem your plan sufficient for yourself and for public health does not imply that it is irrational for other people to take greater precautions for themselves or to advocate that greater precautions are needed at large too. Blog: "It is not evasion to take into account changing conditions when assessing what to do about a virus at either the governmental level or the personal level." Of course, and the article doesn't say it disagrees. Blog "The virus is endemic now" That depends on the definition of 'endemic' and on which among the conflicting expert opinions we accept. If 'endemic' means merely that infections have been greatly reduced, then some experts argue that we are now in an endemic phase. But if 'endemic' means (as it commonly does) also that infections are now only in certain regions, then Covid is not endemic now. Meanwhile, science organizations continue to classify Covid as pandemic. Blog: "we have blunted its effects through vaccination and treatments we didn't have in 2019; It should be treated like the flu or any other serious respiratory disease." That ignores the differences between the flu and Covid. And I understand you to be claiming that at the personal level Covid should be regarded with no more concern or precautions than for the flu ca. 2019. But I would think that each person, even a non-high-risk person, would evaluate her own situation and make her own determination about both personal and public health consequences, without having to take your word for it that we should revert to pre-pandemic behaviors. Though, you do recognize that high-risk people should be more vigilant: Blog: "Since the government is no longer facing an emergency, this means that at-risk individuals have to be more vigilant than others regarding covid. Period." No, not "Period". There are varying complex objective circumstances and widely different personal circumstances, and gradation in degrees of risk. That is, regarding "at-risk", everyone is at risk - ranging from death to hospitalization to long Covid to severe temporary sickness to mild sickness to undetected infection that has the terribly unfortunate consequence of potentially infecting other people. It is not helpful to reduce people's decisions and advocacy for precautions to such a simplification as you urge. Why would anyone even want to make such a categorical declaration? Indeed, it is not a given that lower-risk people should not take more precautions against transmissible diseases than they did before Covid: (1) Even lower-risk people may get quite severely sick, or hospitalized (and even some of the more routine at home bouts have been described by people as "the worst" thing they've ever endured, even if only about a week long), or incur long Covid (which can DESTROY a person's life - medically, psychologically, economically and socially), or die.* *Yes, with Omicron now, the chance of a person under 65 dying is small. But since 2020 approximately 24% of U.S. Covid deaths have been under age 65, That is, approximately 1/1000 of Americans under 65 died from Covid, which is hardly a trivial rate. Approximately 3.5/1000 Americans have died from Covid (shamefully, drastically above the approximately 8.9/10000 worldwide). To appreciate the graveness of the pandemic in the U.S., imagine 100,000 people in the stands of a football stadium in 2019 and that the ages of the people are distributed as in the overall population; then imagine that 350 of the people in that stadium are now dead from Covid. And that is just death, not including all the rest of the massive, horrible physical and psychological suffering. I mention this to emphasize that the pandemic should have been alarming to everyone, including people under 65, including lower risk people, and that it is wise to have our guard up, especially given the possibility of more deadly mutations. (2) Even lower-risk people may wish to avoid an infection even without symptoms, since being infected (especially non-symptomatically, thus without staying at home) can result in infecting other people who can infect other people. (3) Even lower-risk people may recognize that precautions greater than pre-pandemic hygiene habits result in more personal and public health. So it is not at all reasonable to simplistically, sweepingly, indeed categorically, assert [paraphrase] "Non-high-risk people ought to go back to pre-pandemic behavior. Period." Blog: "treating this virus like the flu is a reasonable balancing of risk and reward to me." Your personal balancing may be fine for you. But it doesn't imply that people in general should go back to pre-pandemic behavior or that an article is incorrect to advocate that in general people not dismiss the importance of precautions. Blog: "it is ridiculous to chide others for not making the same assessments we do, esepcially [sic] when their individual situations are not the same." Yes, and the article did not chide anyone for making different assessments. Saying that the article "chided" anyone is a strawman since the article did not scold anyone for not choosing a particular set of precautions. The gravamen of the article is that it would behoove us not to let our guard down. Also the article as much as suggests that people should vaccinate, mask in certain circumstances, and that information (such as rates and studies) should not sink in prominence of media coverage. Also, though not stated explicitly, presumably the writer favors more hygiene; social distancing in certain situations; testing; conscientiousness to isolate when positive, more and better dissemination of information about the disease; research on vaccines, prophylactics and therapeutics; improvements to the health care system and the health insurance industry; and much better preparedness in case of an overwhelmingly dangerous mutation or another disease. And, personally, I would add the importance of stressing that pandemics (even by definition) are not partitioned by national boundaries; Policies in one country affect all other countries, and statistics need to be looked at not just locally or nationally (to inform local or national behaviors) but globally too. Whether the writer would also favor governmentally mandated masking or stay-at-home orders is not known from the article. In any case, she recognizes that it is not politically feasible now anyway. To recapitulate: / Claim: The media (a broad brush itself) sought to induce panic. False. / Claim: The article elides the context of the history of the disease up to the present. False and strawman. / Claim: The article only grudgingly admits that the situation is not as horrific now as it was in the spring of 2020. False and strawman. / Implicit: It would be incorrect to challenge politicians for saying the pandemic is over. False. / Claim: The article suggests that anyone who doesn't now stay at home or mask is evading truth. False and strawman. / Claim: The article suggests that Covid will be apocalyptic. False and strawman. / Claim: It might be the case that there is no chance of long Covid with Omicron (even among high-risk people and even without vaccination?). False. / Unstated inference?: Like Covid, flu kills a lot of people. If the inference is that therefore Covid should be no more concerning than flu or that Covid shouldn't be more concerning than many people now take it to be, then that is a poor inference indeed. / Claim: It is not evasion to take into account changing circumstances. That is true, but the article does not suggest that it is evasion to take into account changing circumstances. It would be false and a strawman to claim that the article suggests that it is evasion to take into account changing circumstances. / Claim: Only "at-risk" people should take precautions beyond those one would take for flu prior to the Covid pandemic ("Period"). Such a sweeping, categorical simplification is terribly ill-founded. / Claim: Covid is endemic now. That depends on the definition of 'endemic' and which expert opinions we accept. / Claim: Treating Covid like the flu is satisfactory for the blogger himself. That's fine, but there are good reasons that many other people (including those with lower risk) have for not sharing the blogger's own personal decision. / Claim: The article chides people for making different assessments. False and a strawman.
  12. Today, a story about a "ban" on smart phones for children in Ireland caught my eye. Interestingly enough, like so many other words that appear in headlines, an often-misused word is sprinkled throughout:Image by Tim Gouw, via Unsplash, license.Parents' associations across the district's eight primary schools, where kids range from about 4 to 12 years old, can opt into the ban, The Guardian reported. It is meant to be enforced not only at school, but also at home. Area schools already banned or restricted cell phone usage, but the effects of social media remained present, according to the report. "If everyone does it across the board you don't feel like you're the odd one out. It makes it so much easier to say no," Laura Bourne, whose child is in primary school, told The Guardian. "The longer we can preserve their innocence the better." Not all parents have chosen to partake, but Rachel Harper, a primary school principal who led the initiative, told the publication that enough parents have opted in to make a meaningful difference. [bold added]Contrast this with the more common (and perhaps modern) use of the term later in the same story:Meanwhile, a town in India has banned smartphone usage for all under the age of 18, according to the Times of India. Those who are found using a smartphone will face a small financial penalty. Another village in India is imposing an evening "digital detox," the Times noted, with all smartphone users — children and adults alike — barred from engaging with the devices between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily. [bold added]The story from Ireland sounds almost quaint, with the idea of individual parents making decisions for themselves, free from government threats or extortion perhaps enough to make one reread the piece. Most such stories would employ the word ban -- with approval -- to mean that a government is meddling in the lives of individuals, as it is plainly doing in India. This reminds me of the widespread misuse of quarantine during the pandemic to mean universal, indefinite home detention, rather than its older (and more appropriate sense) of forcibly isolating contagious individuals who negligently or deliberately put others at risk of infection; and mandate, which is usually now taken to mean that the government is forcibly making people do things, rather than preventing them from doing so. It is worth noting that a major presidential candidate is happy to capitalize on the confusion by selectively banning mandates by businesses that they should absolutely be free to impose on their employees and customers by extension of their rights to property and free association. -- CAVLink to Original
  13. Human Pangenome Reference Consortium
  14. It may or may not be. The only position that I have seen is that "In a general sense, Objectivists hold that children should be legally protected from abuse and from extremes of parental neglect. There is agreement also that by and large children should have more freedom to make choices as they grow up. " https://www.atlassociety.org/post/childrens-rights-ii#:~:text=Answer%3A In a general sense,choices as they grow up. But that does not go into the philosophical basis. That's your empathy basis. Suppose a parent were not empathetic with the child. Presumably the child still has a right not to be killed by the parent. So we ask: What are the bases of that right? Presumably, they should have that right. But then, any living thing may have that right. A rabbit for instance. But a child is a potential rational being. But more importantly, it will break one's heart for it to be some other way. .The murderer would have bad outcomes and being murdered is not what I want. My moral right stems from the fact that the "right" is beneficial to me and ALL like me. All who want to flourish. (not the suicidal ones). Having a right not to be murdered or stolen from or physically harmed stems from the fact that I need that "safety". And so do you, and so does everyone else.
  15. FYI. This lecture was announced at the time of the conference, and ARI has made it publicly available on YouTube.
  16. NYA, things-in-themselves taken as things not in relation to any things not themselves are non-existent (ITOE 39). If one is thinking of things-in-themselves as not what the name says on its face, but as things as they are independent of any consciousness of them, then one has taken things-in-themselves as saying things-as-they-are-independently-of-mind. That last thing exists. But we should call it what I called it there and not call it things-in-themselves. Kant's talk of things-in-themselves smuggles things as existing independently of mind, which is a legitimate conception, and mixes it together with the idea of things as they are, out of all relation to other things. Were there things existing out all relation to to other things, then naturally they could not stand in the known-knowing relation with consciousness. But as Rand argued, no such thing-in-itself exists. All existents have identity, and all stand in some relations to existents not themselves. I concur. Kant contrasted the phenomenal world and appearances composing it with his things-in-themselves, but in his outlook, that is not a contrast between the illusory and what truly exists. For Kant the phenomenal world is a reality and one worth caring about and learning more about. An analogy would be with Locke's view of material substance, which he took to exist and to support the traits of the material world, though he thought that only those traits are knowable. He thought that the substances cannot be known by the human mind. Leibniz took issue with Locke's view on that, and the history of science since then vindicated Leibniz and has ground Locke's view into dust. The point of the analogy between Kant and Locke is that just as Locke held both substance and its traits to be real, so too did Kant hold both the phenomenal world and the noumenal world (and things-in-themselves) to be real. "Still less may appearances {Erscheinung} and illusion {Schein} be regarded as being the same. For truth and illusion are not in the object insofar as it is intuited, but are in the judgment made about the object insofar as it is thought. Hence although it is correct to say that the senses do not err, this is so not because they always judge correctly but because they do not judge at all." (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason A293/B349-50; see also B70. Against the idea that Kant’s “appearances” are illusions, see Anja Jauernig, The World According to Kant [New York: Oxford University Press, 2021], pp. 248–57 and 267.)
  17. @Boydstun Thank you very much for the answer Stephen, After reflecting more deeply on what you wrote and doing some more research in this forum and other places, I came to conclude the following: LIFE AS THE ULTIMATE VALUE I imagine that the fact that one's life is the standard of value does not mean that life is one's highest value in all circumstances. Being true that once you give up your life your existence stops and there is nothing to be valued, it is still possible to hold other person's life (or other values such as freedom) higher in your hierarchy of values than even your own. SELFISHNESS Your own sacrifice is still something that falls under one's best interest, as the father is not acting to protect a stranger or somebody he does not care about, but he is acting for something that for him is of the upmost value. In your own hierarchy it may not be worth living knowing that you did not act to preserve your child's life, even if that entailed losing yours. You still are the beneficiary of your pursue (along with your child) as not protecting your child will cause you more pain than even your death. CHOICE OF VALUES/HIERARCHY Your life seems to be the standard to evaluate that which is good or bad for yourself. Nevertheless, by the use of your own reason you get to choose your values. Exceptionally, for people you love the most in your life, (and I would say that this is particularly true for your kids when they are your responsibility, and to foster them may be one of the purposes, and therefore a value of your life in itself) it is moral to give one's life in a very extreme (and probably unlikely) situation. It is moral as long as you are following your hierarchy of values and you do not betray it. This makes your action neither a sacrifice nor an act of altruism. I still have a lot to read and learn as I am just starting, but objectivism is helping me to structure my thinking much better. If somebody finds this to be flawed I will be glad to read other opinions (English is my 2nd language, sorry for misspelings and grammar errors)
  18. The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece is exceptional in its recognition that Aristotle was right, as demonstrated by the success of the independent Greek city states, when he posited that humans "are distinctive among social animals in our natural capacities to use reason and our ability to communicate complex ideas and information through language." (p 54)
  19. What motivates people to behave in certain ways is not ostensibly an answer to what are the bases of rights. Whether a person is motivated to behave toward me in a certain way does not determine what my rights are. You seem stuck in conflating two different things: The personal reasons people have for acting morally versus the bases for determining what acts are moral or immoral. That's your empathy basis. Suppose a parent were not empathetic with the child. Presumably the child still has a right not to be killed by the parent. So we ask: What are the bases of that right? That is a quite peculiar notion of rights. Now in addition to your empathy basis, your notion is that the core of the right not to be killed is that the potential killer would suffer bad consequences, but not a notion that the basis is that the victim would suffer bad consequences. It would be very peculiar indeed to say "My moral right not to be murdered is that the murderer would have bad outcomes" rather than to say "My moral right not to be murdered involves the imposition of a bad outcome on me, namely that I would be dead". I also asked whether you think your view on this subject derives from Objectivism.
  20. Things-in-themselves exist in the phenomenal world. The real world is the phenomenal world that we know through our senses & it's the only world that actually exists. Kant was a mystic who recycled Plato's 2 world theory. In order to save religion from philosophy, Plato & Kant posit that we live in a mere world of appearances (Kant's phenomenal world or Plato's cave shadows) and are therefore unable to experience the real world (noumenal world where things-in-themselves exist) without the help of mystics to guide us and tell us what they believe our duties should be.
  21. Yes, it's arbitrary. There is no evidence for it so it's a waste of time to even discuss it. When your brain dies so does your consciousness.
  22. That's more or less a fact, but it's not a moral principle. You haven't answered the question: What bases other than empathy make it morally wrong for a parent to kill his child? That's irrelevant to the question: What are the bases that morally disallow a parent from killing his child? Claiming that there may be extraordinary circumstances by which a parent may have a moral right to kill his child doesn't supply a bases on which, without such extraordinary circumstances, it is morally wrong for a parent to kill his child. I'm beginning to get the feeling that you're logically confused.
  23. Proper governance, or morality, is actually of benefit. If we say murder is wrong, and then turn around and say "But in this case" it would benefit, something is not making sense. Why would murder be of benefit? Short term, it may remove an annoyance. But here we have to include a hierarchy of values that you brought up in another thread. Murder may not be a good example to support your argument. To kill without any defensive purpose is to lose opportunities with that person and to lose connection with trustable loving people. Who would want to be around a person that could kill without provocation? Any example brought of a "murder" that benefits is going to be contradictory. I would argue that morality is consequentialist in every case. In fact, it has to be. A morality that is not consequentialist is by definition ... purposeless.
  24. A simple example is lying in order to keep the goodwill of another person. It is immoral, and I presume it’s unnecessary (at least right now) to argue for that conclusion. It should not be a crime to lie – except in specific limited circumstances (e.g. perjury, fraud). Rudeness like willfully leaving dog poo in front of a neighbor’s house is likewise immoral (ignore some convoluted “payback” scenario), but is not properly addressed by the law. Focusing on the question of personal moral responsibility, taking responsibility means recognizing that you caused some fact, and it would be immoral – evasion of reality – to deny that relation and the corollary action that constitutes justice in regard to your actions towards others. I don’t deny that most people think of morality from a consequentialist perspective, but that doesn’t make that view correct. Murder if you can get away with it is still contrary to a rational moral code. My claim is, very simply, that there are no contradictions. You cannot claim to be rational while disclaiming the very meaning of “being rational”.
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