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  1. Because some of the government officials, who made the decision to prosecute Mr. Trump for making false representations on government forms regarding the "hush money" paid to his past extramarital sex partners, are members of the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump and his supporters allege that there was necessarily a Democratic Party conspiracy to charge him with crimes that he (Mr. Trump) either did not commit or which were crimes of such minor significance that in most cases no criminal charges would have been brought. But, beyond the fact that the some of the prosecutorial decision makers were Democrats, there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So, in effect, the allegation is of a Democrat conspiracy is truly just a mystical "conspiracy theory." For a moral and logical person, there can be no legal or moral presumption that ALL members of the Democratic Party are corrupt, and that all their actions are corrupt. Yet that seems to the logical premise of the argument being made by Mr. Trump and by his supporters. A logical comparison seems in order: During his former presidency, Mr. Trump openly admitted to applying financial pressure (in the form of military hardware assistance) to the president of Ukraine in order to get the president of Ukraine to announce that he was opening an investigation into criminal wrongdoing by Joe Biden, who was then expected to be Mr. Trump's main rival in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. So, while there is no evidence of Democrats engaging in corrupt acts to dictate partisan actions by the government of the State of New York, there is plain and abundant evidence of President Trump engaging in a corrupt act in order to dictate partisan actions by the government of Ukraine. Apparently, it was only due the moral integrity of the president of Ukraine that no baseless investigation into Joe Biden in Ukraine was ever announced. Isn't illogical for supporters of Mr. Trump to condemn, without evidence, Democrat officials of the State of New York for supposed partisan corruption of courts of New York, when supporters of Mr. Trump all gave their complete approval of Mr. Trump's well-documented and undeniable attempted partisan corruption of the courts of Ukraine? I don't believe that Ayn Rand would approve of a political double standard in which morals, logic, reason do not apply to all persons equally.
    3 points
  2. Of course not. I am addressing the fact that fascists of both types generally base their entire "argument" on emotion, on declarations that "we don't want X" without any rational basis for opposing X. An immediate personal emotional reaction in response to a murder is to be expected, and it tells you if you didn't already know that that there is something wrong. The problem is when the emotions are the argument there is no accompanying reasons. There are a few fascists who also proffer arguments. his upcoming election season, it will be interesting to observe the actual rational arguments set forth in support of or opposition to either of the two fascists running for POTUS. At that political peak, we would expect to observe the highest standards of rationality and fact-based discourse respected, unlike for example the miserable level of discourse that you observe with city councilmen and county sheriffs. We should come back to that question in a few months once the knives are fully out.
    2 points
  3. David, the OP's general gist is that "we" have a political class in every part which has run out of control. I can't agree more, I noticed this slide in every free-ish country - (my own of course, unmentionable, well beyond the pale). The time of the pandemic solidified their controls. The "double standard" plays an active part, but there's more - It seems they, your/my public servants, now consider themselves an untouchable aristocracy, having assumed for themselves the status of moral-legal rulers of the people, and above censure. While they pay lip service to rights, freedom and "democracy", they are fully in charge through divide and rule ("Identitarian politics": collectivism). And too many fellow citizens surrendered their individual agency and are happy for our ~servants~ to wield that power - for "them", they would wish, against "the others". Double standards. The objective standard, by which tight controls, keen oversight and swift censure are kept on government officials has already been subverted and inverted. It is good to return my mind, if little else, to that standard. From The Nature of Government: "A private individual may do anything except that which is legally *forbidden*; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally *permitted*" Couple of pages on: "...instead of serving as the instrument of ~objectivity~ in human relationships, the government is creating a deadly, subterranean reign of uncertainty and fear, by means of non-objective laws whose interpretation is left to the arbitrary decisions of random bureaucrats; instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating to itself the power of unlimited whim--so that we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: ...the stage where the government is *free* to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by *permission*; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history..." [1967]
    2 points
  4. The Ayn Rand bio actually gives you the answer. As it says there, she had relatives in Chicago meaning that she was a non-quota immigrant (refer to the previous response for the law at that time). There is no reason to believe that “in order to enter the U.S. (1926), and in order to become a lawful permanent resident (1929), and finally in order to become a U.S. citizen (1931), she would have had to write or type answers to questions such as: ‘What is the purpose of your entry into the U.S.?’ and ‘What is your occupation?’”. Any such questions on contemporary immigration forms cannot be assumed to also have existed when the visa system was first instituted – feel free to find evidence that there were such questions required for non-quota immigrants. There is an unsupported accusation that she falsely stated an intent to return to her supposed fiance in Russia, however as the more official and supported bio indicates, that statement was given to the Soviet rulers in order to allow her to leave her captivity (I think no discussion is needed regarding the propriety of that move). The only source cited in that article which incidentally has been re-cited recently (you know how internet lies spread like wildfire), the book by Mimi Gladstein makes no such accusation. Shoshana Milgram in her biographical article on Rand in A companion to Ayn Rand indicates that she traveled to the US via Riga, Berlin and Paris, increasing the number of possible embassy contact points. The burning desire to know if fine, but fabrication and knowledge are not the same thing. In light of the available (gossamer-thin) evidence, the answer is “we do not know, we can only conjecture”.
    2 points
  5. A TEST TO DETECT POORLY REASONED TESTS I propose a thought experiment to detect a poorly reasoned test of anything: Take any proposed proposition that could in principle be predicated of two entities simply replace the name of one entity for whom the proposition is true with the name of an entity for whom it is yet undetermined whether the proposition is true. For example, we can safely say that wood catches on fire, or Joe Biden is president of the US. Then what would be the judgment as to the truth of the propositions “”Harry Binswanger is president of the US” or “Water catches on fire”? I have reached the conclusion that name-substitution is not a valid operation for testing truth. The reason is that names change the identities of referents, and what is true of wood is not necessarily true of water. As applied to moral judgment, it is nutso for the experimenter to decide “Well, the leftist would say X in this case but Y in that case”, for this to be any kind of “test”, you have to actually interrogate the same individual, the one being accused of a double standard, at one time (since people can change opinions, after all, Trump was originally a Democrat).
    2 points
  6. Ayn Rand wrote a little about "power-lust," for example that "Power-lust is a weed that only grows in the abandoned lot of a vacant mind." Power-lust is lust after a specific type of power and not just "potential action" or work divided by time (the physics definition) etc. The specific type of power she had in mind is the power of coercion. This is exactly the type of power that the government has too much of and that the power-lusters lust after. The power-lusters want to be able to use such power whimsically (which makes them tyrants over everyone else). However, they are often willing to cook up complex and sophisticated rationalizations for such usages. These rationalizations can fill volumes and can be the basis of numerous PhD theses and so forth. For example I've read that over 100 PhDs work for the Federal Reserve, determining how to regulate the economy by maintaining price controls on interest rates and other things. (And of course if you want to get rid of such price controls entirely, you are throwing away the hundreds of volumes of books they've written, and saying that their PhDs are worthless, and that all the Federal grants funding them were wrong, so you must be some kind of anti-intellectual.) Power-lust is why the American Founding Fathers wanted to limit the power of government, by saying that government power could be used only for certain specific purposes and no others. Of course nowadays the courts are willing to entertain rationalizations on the grounds that the government sometimes has "interests" in achieving certain goals, so that the limits of government power are "not absolute." That's one reason why the country is in trouble.
    2 points
  7. What bothers me about this thread is the assumption that Objectivists are people to be ordered around, like an army without a general. That's not how it works. If you see an opportunity to help make Objectivism "dominant," and it's legal and moral, then feel free to do it; you will not be stopped. If you blaze a new path, then others may follow. But you cannot just give orders and expect others to do all the work. (Unless I am misinterpreting your intention...)
    2 points
  8. Since Objectivism is a philosophy for man’s existence on earth (not to say that it doesn’t also apply when you are on airplane), we should first focus on the nature of man: a rational animal. Now, what is “the problem” at a social level? It is that men do not always act according to their nature. And why don’t they? One is that they are unwilling to live qua man, they feel better living like an animal. Some extreme cases cannot be remedied, they just have to be isolated. Most other cases involve some form of therapy: I don’t know how on should deal with a person who declares “I just want to party!”, but there are ways to deal with that, at a personal and individual level. There is some role for mass action, viz. role models. The other reason for people not acting according to man’s nature is that they don’t know what man’s nature is (or why it would matter). Knowledge is the cure for ignorance. The specific knowledge that is called for is “epistemology”. You cannot possibly implant Objectivist ethics in a being with a deep-rooted Kantian (or worse) epistemology. The thing that is most important is to create an epistemological change. And, I might add, it is an area where most people do not already have a large and unextractable pre-commitment to an anti-Objectivist theory. It would be an error to focus on rooting out irrationality, because that just leaves a cognitive vacuum. Instead, focus on firmly implanting reason, and let reason naturally obliterate irrationality. Now we are talking about lesson plans.
    1 point
  9. @rohintest I am not asking about clearing up any "confusions". I'm asking you, because of your considerable thought given to the Objectivist movement and because of the title of this thread, a social how-to question: Do you have any ideas on how to get the American people to think in principles? I gather you do not. Without that, I stand by my previous rather pessimistic projection:
    1 point
  10. I would recommend the article "Libertarianism: Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz. It answers similar confusion at a deep level.
    1 point
  11. From Anne Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made (2010). By the time she boarded a New York Central train to Chicago, Alice Rosenbaum had chosen a new name: Ayn (pronounced “ein” or “eye-in”) Rand. Because she was determined to move on to Hollywood as soon as she could improve her English, she knew she would need a professional name. A pseudonym would also provide camouflage, if needed, against American immigration officials who, should her visa expire, might try to track her down. The name she picked has stirred the curiosity of readers and fueled speculation among fans for half a century. Not particularly American, or Russian, or Jewish, its clipped, mannish syllables are ethnically hard to place and gender neutral; many of her more casual readers have assumed that she was male. When asked in the 1930s and 1940s about her pseudonym, she offered different explanations, sometimes saying that “Ayn” was a Finnish female name or that she borrowed it from a Finnish writer, and at least once claiming that she made it up herself. As to “Rand,” her second cousin Fern Brown, who was eight years old when the older girl came to live with her family in Chicago, remembered Rand’s lighting on it one afternoon while the two of them sat at the family dining table, gazing at the Remington Rand typewriter Rand had brought with her from St. Petersburg. Rand repeated this story, but it can’t be true; for one thing, the Remington Rand was not yet on the market in 1926. For another, her family seems to have been aware of her new surname before she wrote to them from America. Ten years later, in 1936, she told the New York Evening Post that “Rand” was an abbreviation of her Russian surname, and in 1961 said something similar to The Saturday Evening Post. By the late 1990s, a number of followers believed that they had spotted the word “Rand” in a slightly altered version of the first six letters of the Cyrillic spelling of “Rosenbaum” (Розенбаум) and the word “Ayn” in the last three letters of the name. However, the visual evidence is flimsy, and Rand never claimed to have adapted “Ayn” from “Rosenbaum.” The origin of “Ayn” may be more sentimental—and more ethnic—than the creator of a philosophy based on the self-made soul would be likely to admit. In the 1960s, a habitué of lectures on Randian Objectivism remembered asking her whether her father, like the woman’s own, had ever called his daughter by the pet name “Ayin.” Rand smiled and nodded yes, this admirer recalled. The woman explained that her own father had used “Ayin” as an affectionate Jewish diminutive meaning “bright eyes,” derived from the Hebrew word for “eye.” Adding substance to this theory is a letter from Anna Rosenbaum to Rand in the early 1930s, making fond reference to her eldest daughter’s childhood nickname “Ayinotchka”—a perfect Russian-inflected endearment for a little girl with bright, bold, hypnotizing eyes. If, in facing a new world, she adopted a childhood nickname that was a token of her father’s love, the choice is poignant. The derivation of the surname “Rand” remains a mystery. [ch. 3]
    1 point
  12. So I'm not sure how many in this forum has seen this update. There might be some evidence that suggests that conciousness is created by something called microtubules. At the same time the study shows that the brain uses Quantum Effects that as far as we know are indetermined. This does not prove that we have free will, but it ties a theory between Quantum Mechanics and Metaphysics. Hope this could be interesting for more people here. Here's a video:
    1 point
  13. First, a few technical corrections. Rocks act, in fact recently I saw a rock fall. Second, humans are acted on, as in the case of the man upon whom that rock fell. Your response in terms of “having actions” vs. “being acted on” misses the mark, besides I can’t connect this dichotomy to your definition as “having volition”. That is word substitution, my follow-up question is, what is your definition of “having volition” (don’t kick the can down the road with other words like “voluntary” or “frivillig”). Second, only God is the “prime mover” in the original sense, so even man does not “start a first action” (there is no such thing as a “first action”). Man does act, and things happen in response, but often man acts in response to the metaphysically-given (such as rain washing out dirt and eroding support for a rock). One man may strike another man, because the other man first threatened him with a knife: does that not then mean that the man who strikes is not using “free will”? Third, the idea of cells having free will is not just plausible, although you can construct such a statement. In order to be “plausible”, there has to be some evidence for the claim. Plausibility is the lowest level of rational evidence, even lower is the complete lack of evidence. We could then say that it is plausible that being whipped and burned is the same as not being whipped or burned. We typically do not admit arbitrary statements as evidence for a claim, especially in science. An equally plausible statement is that a virus has free will. Which brings me to the fourth problem. At the beginning of my list I asked for specific examples of existents with unfree will, I didn’t get any in response. Does a virus have free will, or will of any sort? The reason why I say that only man has free will hinges on the stark difference between the cognition of triggering an action, between man and beast. Billions of life-forms “act”, only a fraction of them employ a consciousness to trigger actions. The concept of “consciousness” is therefore the fundamental one required for understanding “free will”. Snakes, birds and dogs have consciousness, plants, bacteria and tardigrades do not. While the actions of cows, dogs and cats are regulated by the consciousness of the animal, the only tool that they have for this is automatic emotional response. Humans have two tools. One is ordinary animal emotional response, the other is the faculty of reason, which is lacking in other animals. A human can set aside reason and act like an animal, except that humans do not have the strong built-in code of responses that animals have, so a purely-emotional response by a human is fairly random. In other words, a being without consciousness cannot use a particular means for initiating an action.
    1 point
  14. The "good" achieved by way of one's choices isn't to be measured or assessed by pragmatic and utilitarian outcomes; and her "monetizing" moral choices is only a metaphor, as has been said. One way of looking at this is from the diametric opposite of the definition of sacrifice. I.e., "to give up a greater value for a lesser (or non) value". I'd take this to indicate that a good life is a constant, over all, process of gaining greater value. Always 'trading up', spiritually and materially, so to speak. (Not always a steady progression, due to the unpredictable - and the interference by others - yet continuously trending upwards and onward). So one's assets and resources - mind, virtues, energy, time, competence - are the tools dedicated to "making a profit". On the other hand, the common drive to material success, especially for rampant power, recognition and esteem in "other" eyes, that's enabled by harmful sacrifices of spirit, knowledge, self-esteem - the surrender of "the self". There, the self-less moral failings that need to be revealed in moral justice (as one equally, moreso, should hail the objective good in others' acts). To which Rand pointed out "no man may be smaller than his money" [but often is]. Related, one verse from the Bible, context removed, an Objectivist could appreciate, "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
    1 point
  15. “Monetizing” is something different, and the term hardly existed when Rand was alive. But it would be fair to say that she was concretizing “value” in terms of a scale that we do understand (money) and applying an analogy to inanimate objects as well as – shocking at the time – morality. Economically speaking, you seem to be conflating “price” and “value”. Average price or “market value” is a social and largely hypothetical number, based on what price people would be typically willing to trade at for an item. This can be objectively computed post hoc given suitable records of past transactions. Value is not a scale, a value is “that which one acts to gain and/or keep”. The concept presupposes “presupposes a standard, a purpose and the necessity of action in the face of an alternative”, and a determination “value to whom and for what?”. The only decent numeric scale for quantifying value is or would be the dollar or ounce of gold: how much would you be willing to pay for the thing? This is far from “what would most people, on average, be willing to pay for similar items?” (“similar” by whose standard?). IMO the first thing necessary to understand morality in Objectivism is. Morality is “a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life”. Morality is about choices, not facts. You can understand the connection to professional competence / excellence in terms of choices made that affect one’s professional conduct, that is, did you choose to be a slug? A person is not morally reprehensible if they don’t make a lot of money, and they are not heroes if they do. I imagine you can fill in the gaps and understand why some moral heroes are not well paid, and the opposite. I would not suggest making fewer comments, instead, start with the reading and focus on some simple point, which then generates some discussion grounding in that reading.
    1 point
  16. Starting from inanimate objects per ¶2, a person is being “objective” if they integrate their knowledge and principles in a logically consistent manner. One man’s trash may be another man’s raw material, which leads to “non-universal” evaluation of inanimate objects. Today’s consignment to the trash pile can be the correct evaluation as new knowledge or objects accumulate (“I haven’t used that in 10 years”, “I now have a better one and need the space”). Your knowledge may also be defective, you may be unaware of defects in the product until you have used it for a while. The differences in values that you name in ¶3 are equally applicable to inanimate objects. Because of my nature, I place higher value on certain attributes compared to how other people value things, a rather commonplace example being preferences for chocolate vs. vanilla. Maybe we can inquire into the cause of such differences, and sometimes we can even say why we prefer A over B. However, sometimes preferences are determined by an irrational ordering of principles in relation to purpose. Cost and reliability tend to be directly correlated yet inversely valued (we love low cost but high reliability). If you are building a (semi-)permanent structure, your higher priority ought to be reliability, but still sometimes people do not correctly grasp the importance of reliable materials. However, if we are talking about a single-use object, then maybe cost should be a higher value. In arranging attractiveness vs. intelligence vs. generosity in a hierarchy, you cannot reasonable treat relations with people by the same rule. You have to also consider, what is my purpose in dealing with this person. It’s all well and fine to say that you want the best of all attributes, in dealing with people, but sometimes you have to evaluate and find the best in a specific set of candidates. If you are hiring a tax accountant, it would be irrational to hire the pretty but stupid one rather than the intelligent but unattractive one. The opposite would be the case for hiring a porn star. One thing that your questions miss is the nature of the evaluation in question. ¶2 is about moral evaluation, not utilitarian evaluation. A person’s moral value is not based on their technical skills or appearance. It is based on their moral code. A person with a heroic moral code is objectively the highest moral value, and a moral scumbag is at the bottom. And there is no individual variation in what constitutes “moral value”. Perhaps the question that you “really” want to ask is, what is that proper moral code such that we all should have it? We know for certain that some people view self-sacrifice as the highest moral principle, but this is universally a perversion of morality in light of man’s nature. So there certainly are errors of moral judgment. You cannot rationally evaluate the moral character of a cat. Superficially, cats seem to be immoral, but actually they are amoral.
    1 point
  17. I've seen some stories; unfortunately I don't have much sourcing. They spent one summer on the Connecticut shore, during which she wrote Anthem. Probably 1937, as pp. 36 - 38 of her Letters establishes that she was in NY for the summer of 36, and the book was published in 38. I don't think it was a regular practice, and I've never heard of any other summer homes. The valley was inspired by Ouray, CO. They drove through during their move from LA to NY in the early 50s (probably summer of 52) but didn't spend much time there. The Fountainhead was only a third written when she sold it, with a very tight, last-chance deadline (end of 1942). She wouldn't have had time to move to a vacation house that year. We don't get much detail on Staunton Institute of Technology and its setting. There was a swimming hole, and it was close enough to Boston to allow driving in for a night on the town. Massachusetts does not lack for college towns. Shoshana Milgram Knapp's in-progress biography is going to tell us everything.
    1 point
  18. Without seeing the "bent stick" and other phenomena: We'd have no perception and conception of light's refraction passing through different media; being moot, the invention of lenses would have passed mankind by. After all, if one cannot directly -see- (and experience) the magnifying/reducing vision through convex/concave lenses, they'd lack all usability.
    1 point
  19. Several leading figures in the Trump-era GOP are touting the anti-American idea of mandatory national service:At least in the past, it was easier to see the barbarity of conscription, which wasn't conceled behind hypocritical appeals to virtue. (Image by Luke Clennell, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon during the chaotic closure of Trump's tenure in Washington, detailed his vision for the ASVAB and a range of other changes as part of Project 2025, the conservative Heritage Foundation's aspirational government-wide game plan should the presumptive Republican nominee return to the White House. Though Trump has not publicly endorsed its policy proposals, Miller is among a cluster of influential former administration officials and GOP lawmakers who have mused aloud about a national service mandate and other measures to remedy what they see as a "crisis" facing the all-volunteer military. ... In an interview, Miller said a national service requirement should be "strongly considered." He described the concept as a common "rite of passage," one that would create a sense of "shared sacrifice" among America's youth. "It reinforces the bonds of civility," Miller said. " ... Why wouldn't we give that a try?" [bold added]How has it come to the leaders of this country -- that fought a bitter war to end slavery -- calling for slavery as a "rite of passage?" Notably, J.D. Vance, who tops speculation as a possible Trump running mate, is even more enthusiastic about this evil idea:Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a potential Trump running mate, said in an interview that he sees a clear need for measures to boost participation. "I like the idea of national service. And I'm not talking about in wartime," he said, calling for more Americans to put "some skin in the game." [bold added]What the hell can Vance even mean by putting skin in the game when he's using this to justify slavery, which is what conscription is? Has he forgotten that American men volunteered to fight for their freedom during the American Revolution, and in other wars where this freedom was clearly at stake? The whole idea is obscene, and it is disturbing that someone like this -- who is doubtless more organized and capable than Trump -- could end up being President. As for the real question Why not?, which is far more serious than Miller seems capable of realizing, Ayn Rand has the answer:Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man's fundamental right -- the right to life -- and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man's life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. Once that principle is accepted, the rest is only a matter of time. If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state's discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom -- then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man's protector any longer. What else is there left to protect? The most immoral contradiction -- in the chaos of today's anti-ideological groups -- is that of the so-called "conservatives," who posture as defenders of individual rights, particularly property rights, but uphold and advocate the draft. By what infernal evasion can they hope to justify the proposition that creatures who have no right to life, have the right to a bank account? ... [bold added] ("The Wreckage of the Consensus," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 226 )I recommend reading the whole thing. All I can add to the above is that, for anyone not paying attention, many of today's Republicans aren't even pretending to advocate rights these days: They straight-out regard the individual as property of the state, and speak of this as if it is a good thing. Good for whom? Rand might have asked. Definitely not for you. Vance's prattling about the government conscripting people "not just in wartime" is, in fact, a declaration of war -- against our freedom. If we do not volunteer to uphold our own freedom against him and his ilk, remember that there will be no draft to stop them. -- CAVLink to Original
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  20. My english looks even worse here with Apple trying to «help» with auto-correct.
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  21. All true. "Why would it even pop up what someone's sexuality is, especially in regard to law?" Certainly. But it does and will for irrational choices made by some. The corollary being, the objective law must equally protect the individual rights of even those who ( with e.g. employment) discriminate against - or favor - preferences based entirely or partly on applicants' sexuality/gender. Else, no one is free.
    1 point
  22. I would assume that was not in the forefront of the original political motivation for the law. Then again Scalia has provided quite cogent arguments against appeal to assumed original intentions or purposes of lawmakers. Indeed, the idea that the 535 individuals who enacted this law shared some common mental state is a dubious assumption. To quote Scalia who approvingly quotes Frankfurter quoting Holmes, “Only a day or two ago-when counsel talked of the intention of a legislature, I was indiscreet enough to say I don’t care what their intention was. I only want to know what the words mean”. There is nothing in the meaning of “sex” that allows two interpretations of whether the concept “homosexual” refers to the concept “sex”. There is nothing in the law that is ambiguous. I allow that perhaps the proponents of the amendment either failed to understand a consequence of their wording, or (more likely) they saw it and decided to not make an issue of it. In a democratic society, when we discover that a previously-written law fails to express that “original intent”, we can remedy it by changing the wording of the law to more clearly match that intention. The majority opinion identified the meaning of the words in the law, the dissent identified a plausible claim that this was an unforeseen consequence of the words, so if Congress is not happy with that outcome, it can write an amendment to the law.
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  23. No, I was talking about Boydstun, who has his own philosophy that rejects rational egoism. And you've seen him randomly smear me in the past. Just don't trust when he randomly posts just weird links as a result. You have to be careful what you click on these days especially with someone that appears untrustworthy.
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  24. CULTURAL IMPACT OF BAD MONETARY POLICIES Going beyond just inflationary impact of money printing policies INTRODUCTION When discussing monetary policies, the focus typically revolves around their direct impact on material goods and services. We often analyse how money printing and interest rates affect the costs and prices of various products. However, in this article, I aim to delve deeper into the cultural implications of how money is managed, particularly by the US Central Bank. I explore how these monetary policies are reshaping our social environment, going beyond the immediate economic effects to understand the broader societal changes at play. INTRODUCTION TO RELEVANT MONETARY POLICIES The economic landscape has experienced significant transformations due to various monetary policies implemented over the years. A key component of these transformations is the practice of money printing, particularly during crises. Notable instances include the 2008 financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the abandonment of the Gold Standard in the US economy. During the 2008 financial crisis, central banks worldwide responded with massive monetary interventions, including large-scale money printing to stabilize financial systems. This practice was repeated during the COVID-19 pandemic to support economies impacted by widespread lockdowns and disruptions. Another pivotal moment in monetary policy history was the removal of the Gold Standard by President Nixon in 1971, which untethered the US dollar from gold and allowed for more flexible adjustments to the money supply. MECHANISM OF DISTRIBUTING PRINTED MONEY Understanding how printed money is distributed is crucial to analyzing its broader impact. During the 2008 financial crisis, central banks injected liquidity into the financial system primarily through low-interest loans to banks. These banks, in turn, extended credit to businesses and individuals to stimulate economic activity. However, this approach had major negative impacts. For instance, some banks were pressured into accepting government funds despite not needing them, under the threat of rigorous Sarbanes-Oxley audits. This coercion was particularly evident with institutions like BB&T, which were strong-armed into participating in bailout programs. (Reasoning being that bailout money should not bring spotlight into badly managed banks). Such measures highlight the complex interplay between government policies and financial institutions in times of economic distress. CORRESPONDING FLOW WHEN GOLD IS BACKED FOR PRINTED CURRENCY Examining the distribution of printed money under a gold-backed system provides a contrasting perspective. When currency is backed by gold, the ability to print money is inherently constrained by the amount of gold reserves. This limitation necessitates more prudent and measured monetary policies. Distribution of Printed Money Under the Gold Standard Under the Gold Standard, the distribution of money involves a more stringent and controlled process. Banks could only issue loans and expand credit based on the gold reserves they held. This system ensures that the money supply grows at a more sustainable rate, reducing the risk of inflation and promoting financial stability. The Gold Standard enforces fiscal discipline on governments and financial institutions alike. The need to maintain sufficient gold reserves prevents excessive borrowing and spending, fostering a more stable and predictable economic environment. This stability, in turn, has cultural implications, promoting a work ethic centered around productivity and value creation rather than speculative financial maneuvers.(As I discuss in the end, other factors are also involved in promoting good work ethic. Focus here however is on monetary policy.) INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION IN COMPANIES RECEIVING LOW-INTEREST LOANS When monetary policies lead to unrestrained money printing and the subsequent distribution of low-interest loans, it often fosters an environment ripe for institutional corruption. Companies that receive these loans, especially during times of economic distress, are frequently incentivized to engage in behaviours that undermine long-term economic health and organizational integrity. This section explores the dynamics of such corruption and its cultural implications. a) Lack of sufficient Incentive to Earn Profits One of the primary issues with easy access to low-interest loans is that it diminishes the imperative for companies to generate sufficient profits through genuine value creation. When financial support is readily available, firms may prioritize maintaining operational continuity over pursuing profitable ventures. This shift in focus can lead to a complacent corporate culture where the goal is merely to sustain operations rather than innovate or improve efficiency. (At a top-level Company might still value profit to some extent, but like Alphabet, many ventures which are not profitable or even potentially profitable come up at the level of Business Unit or Teams within Business Unit. Plus, imperative to optimize is much less as compared to environment of Gold Standard based policies.) For example, during the 2008 financial crisis, many financial institutions received significant bailouts. The money was further lent to various businesses. While these businesses were not directly the cause of this, many of their inefficiencies became visible in the time of major crises. However, this bailout money kept many inefficient people in the system, instead of letting them go or even correctly counselling them. (Though there were significant layoffs, but many bad decision makers or their practices continued). This lack of pressure to be profitable resulted in a stagnant corporate environment where the bare minimum is done to stay afloat. b) No Monetary Incentive to Clean Up Dysfunctional Systems Without the financial imperative to perform, there is little motivation for companies to rectify internal issues or optimize their operations. When the primary incentive becomes merely securing and retaining access to cheap capital, the focus shifts away from internal accountability and efficiency improvements. This environment can lead to a culture where mediocrity is tolerated, and excellence is not sufficiently rewarded. Additionally, when companies are not driven by the need to generate profits, they may neglect essential aspects of their business, such as relevant innovation, customer service, and ethical practices. The absence of monetary pressure can lead to a complacent attitude toward addressing systemic problems, further entrenching inefficiencies and fostering a toxic work culture. c) Personal Incentives Versus Organizational Health In environments where low-interest loans and unrestrained money printing are prevalent, the incentives for individual performance and productivity often become misaligned with the health of the organization. Employees may be motivated by narrow personal gains — such as bonuses tied to superficial targets or the pursuit of job security through compliance with inefficient practices — rather than wider gains by contributing to the overall success and sustainability of the company. This misalignment can create a work culture where individuals prioritize their narrow misaligned goals over the organization’s long-term requirements. The result is a fragmented corporate environment where true productivity and value creation take a backseat to maintaining the status quo and ensuring misaligned personal gains. Talented individuals, who could drive innovation and efficiency, may find such environments stifling and uninspiring. Consequently, they may choose to leave the company or engage in “quiet quitting,” where they fulfill only the bare minimum requirements of their roles while diverting their energies to more fulfilling pursuits. A notable trend among these disillusioned employees is the shift towards working on open-source projects. This exodus of talent not only diminishes the quality and competitiveness of the company’s products but also destabilizes the market. Companies lose their best minds to more innovative and collaborative endeavors, which in turn accelerates the devaluation of their products and undermines their market position. (I think open source project participation is not a problem, if main projects of the corresponding developers are well aligned.) In this environment, there is no monetary incentive to clean up dysfunctional systems. The only motivation to address inefficiencies and improve processes is a personal desire to be productive and work in a clean, efficient system. This desire often stems from a preference for a professional environment that attracts and retains high-quality talent. However, without financial incentives to support these efforts, systemic issues persist, and the cycle of mediocrity continues. This dynamic not only hinders individual potential but also undermines the organization’s ability to achieve sustainable growth and long-term success. Overall, the unchecked printing of money and the distribution of low-interest loans can significantly impact institutional behaviour and corporate culture. By reducing the imperative to earn profits and clean up dysfunctional systems, these policies can foster an environment where mediocrity is tolerated, and individual incentives are misaligned with organizational health. The long-term cultural and economic ramifications of such policies highlight the need for more disciplined and responsible monetary practices that promote genuine value creation and sustainable growth. CASCADING EFFECT OF A SLOWLY DETERIORATING SYSTEM When unrestrained money printing and the distribution of low-interest loans become commonplace, the resulting institutional corruption can have far-reaching effects on the corporate culture. Over time, these practices can lead to a slow but pervasive deterioration of systems and standards, creating a cascade of negative impacts that ripple through various sectors and industries. This section examines how these effects manifest, particularly focusing on the tech industry, the erosion of innovation and quality, and the consequences of prioritizing short-term gains over long-term value. a) The Erosion of Culture in the Tech Industry The tech industry, known for its rapid innovation and dynamic work culture, is not immune to the adverse effects of bad monetary policies. When companies in this sector have access to easy money, they may become complacent, prioritizing growth through acquisitions and market expansion over genuine technological innovation and quality of service.(Organic and fully thought through mergers and acquisitions are not a problem.) In a scenario where low-interest loans are readily available, tech companies might focus on buying out competitors or entering new markets without a solid strategy for integration and value creation. This approach can dilute the company’s core competencies and erode its innovative culture. The pressure to meet short-term financial targets can overshadow the commitment to research and development, leading to stagnation and a decline in the quality of products and services. b) Innovation and Quality of Service Becoming Secondary As companies become more reliant on easy money, the emphasis on innovation and quality of service diminishes. The pursuit of short-term financial performance, driven by the availability of low-interest loans, often takes precedence over long-term value creation. This shift in priorities can lead to a decline in the overall quality of products and services offered to consumers. For example, tech companies might cut corners in product development, release unfinished or subpar products, or neglect customer service to save costs and meet financial targets. The focus shifts from creating groundbreaking but aligned technologies and delivering exceptional service to maintaining financial stability through superficial measures. This degradation in quality can erode consumer trust and loyalty, ultimately harming the company’s reputation and long-term success. This not only harms the industry but also undermines societal trust in businesses and their ability to deliver meaningful products and services, affecting society as a whole. Additionally, the emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and other similar programs can also contribute to the diversion of resources and attention away from core business functions. Employees and executives may become preoccupied with meeting CSR targets or promoting diversity metrics, potentially at the expense of innovation and service quality. This focus on superficial measures of success can further detract from the company’s ability to deliver exceptional products and services. As a result, the company may lose its competitive edge and struggle to maintain customer satisfaction in the long run. (Agreed, impact of monetary policies is not the only cause here. The decline in major academic institutions like Howard and Columbia is also to blame. However, monetary policy and access to easy money defers the harm of such bad initiatives, until it is too late.) In conclusion, the combination of easy money, short-term financial goals, and the diversion of attention towards peripheral initiatives can lead to a decline in innovation and service quality. Companies must strike a balance between meeting financial targets and prioritizing long-term value creation to ensure sustainable growth and success. c) Passionate Individuals Bringing Good Work Culture as Dispensable In an environment where this misaligned financial stability is prioritized over innovation and quality, passionate individuals who contribute to a positive work culture may be seen as dispensable. Managers focused on maintaining run rates and meeting financial targets may overlook the value of employees who drive innovation, creativity, and a positive organizational culture. This dynamic is evident in the series of acquisitions seen in the tech industry. Each acquisition often brings a new set of priorities and management styles, which may not always align with fostering a culture of innovation and excellence. The emphasis on financial performance through easy money, over cultural and intellectual contributions through genuine profit motive, can lead to the marginalization of talented and passionate individuals, stifling the company’s potential for innovation and growth. Acquisitions driven by cheap loans from printed money exacerbate this issue. When the primary goal is financial consolidation rather than strategic enhancement(though publicly given reasoning is still strategic enhancement, even when not thought through), the resulting organizational changes may not necessarily lead to better management or operational practices. Instead, the focus remains on maintaining financial stability and satisfying short-term objectives, further eroding the company’s ability to innovate and thrive. Overall, the cascading effect of a slowly deteriorating system, driven by bad monetary policies, is profound and far-reaching. In the tech industry, this manifests as an erosion of innovative culture, a decline in the quality of products and services, and the marginalization of passionate individuals who contribute to a positive work environment. The emphasis on short-term financial stability over long-term value creation can stifle innovation, reduce consumer trust, and ultimately harm the company’s, industry’s and society’s prospects for sustainable growth. Addressing these issues requires a re-evaluation of monetary policies and a commitment to fostering a culture of genuine value creation and innovation. THE CULTURAL IMPACT DUE TO BAD MONETARY POLICIES TAKES TIME The cultural impact of bad monetary policies manifests gradually. In countries like Venezuela or Zimbabwe, the immediate effect is runaway inflation, which overshadows any long-term cultural consequences. However, in the US, with its significant global influence and tightly knit corporate network, the adverse cultural impacts are exported far and wide, also affecting practices by collaborating companies globally. a) Managers and Aligned Innovators Managers often listen only to innovators, collaborators, and thinkers who align with their narrow worldview, even if it means sacrificing skills and competencies that would have been non-negotiable in a more disciplined monetary system. This selective attention reinforces existing biases and stifles genuine innovation and diverse thinking, which are critical for sustainable growth and success. b) Reinforcement of Mainstream Ideas The emphasis on aligning with narrow managerial worldviews reinforces mainstream ideas that are more communist in essence, where “ welfare of favoured employees as primary and production as secondary” becomes the norm. This ideology resists any organizational change that contradicts these ethos, even when such changes are necessary for improving efficiency and productivity. c) Companies as Partial Money Laundering Systems Essentially, many companies are becoming partial money laundering systems. With financial performance decoupled from actual productivity and value creation, companies may engage in practices that prioritize financial manipulation over genuine business activities. This behavior erodes the integrity of the corporate sector and fosters a culture of deceit and short-termism. d) Hedonistic Consumer Culture Further, the prevalence of bad monetary policies and the resulting corporate behaviors lead to a hedonistic consumer culture. There is little emphasis on a broad vision aligned with the company’s long-term goals. Instead, the focus shifts to immediate gratification and superficial success measures. This consumer culture, driven by easy access to credit and constant marketing, prioritizes short-term desires over long-term planning and responsibility, ultimately undermining the company’s sustainability and market stability. CONCLUSION The impact of bad monetary policies extends far beyond the immediate economic ramifications, permeating into the very fabric of corporate culture and customer service. The gradual degradation of service quality, driven by a focus on short-term financial performance rather than long-term value creation, is a direct consequence of unrestrained money printing and the availability of low-interest loans. This emphasis on immediate gains leads to a fragmented corporate environment where true productivity and customer satisfaction are sidelined. Moreover, the ripple effects of these policies influence society and culture as a whole, fostering a hedonistic consumer culture and undermining the values of innovation and quality. As companies prioritize superficial financial stability over genuine value creation, they erode not only their own long-term success but also the trust and loyalty of consumers, ultimately damaging societal trust and cultural integrity. However, it is important to recognize that bad monetary policies are not the sole contributors to these issues. Other significant factors, such as flawed ideas in academia and their influence on social environments and management practices, also play a crucial role. The propagation of ideologies that prioritize welfare of favoured employees over production and resist necessary organizational changes exacerbates the situation. While transitioning to more disciplined monetary policies, including a potential return to the gold standard, is a challenging but necessary step, it is not a panacea. These monetary reforms, while difficult, are likely to take much less time than addressing the deeper, more ingrained issues within academia and corporate management. Broader cultural and institutional changes will require sustained and concerted effort over a much longer period. Therefore, moving towards sound monetary practices is a vital and achievable first step that can be implemented relatively quickly, but it must be accompanied by broader systemic reforms to ensure sustainable growth and improved customer service in the long run. This comprehensive approach will help restore integrity and trust within both corporate and societal frameworks, promoting a more robust and resilient economy, society, and world. REFERENCES [1] MONETARY POLICY POST 2008 ECONOMIC CRISIS https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357083832_POLICY_EVALUATION_THE_EMERGENCY_ECONOMIC_STABILIZATION_ACT_OF_2008 [2] MONETARY POLICY POST COVID CRISIS https://mises.org/mises-wire/never-ending-story-bailouts-moral-hazard-and-low-economic-growth [3] TERMINATION OF GOLD STANDARD https://mises.org/mises-wire/end-gold-standard-fifty-years-monetary-insanity [4] ECONOMIC COERSION TO BB&T https://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2306404/posts [5] GOLD STANDARD EXPLANATION https://money.com/what-is-the-gold-standard/ [6] IMPACT OF BAD MONETARY POLICIES ON CORPORATE CULTURE https://econpapers.repec.org/article/kaprevaec/v_3a26_3ay_3a2013_3ai_3a3_3ad_3a10.1007_5fs11138-013-0233-9.htm [7] ANALYSIS OF RECENT BAILOUT PROGRAMS https://prospect.org/economy/repeating-the-mistakes-of-the-2008-bailout/
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  25. And if the stick didn’t bend , there’d be no rainbows .
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  26. Rand 1957: “An animal is equipped for sustaining its life; its senses provide it with an automatic code of action.” “Reason is the faculty that perceives [broad sense of the term], identifies and integrates the material provided by his [man's] senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.” “The mystics of spirit declare that they possess an extra sense you lack: this special sense consists of contradicting the whole of your five. The mystics of muscle do not bother to assert any claim to extrasensory perception: they merely declare that your senses are not valid, and that their wisdom consists of perceiving your blindness . . . .” (emphasis added) “The day when he [e.g. a two-year old child] grasps that the reflection he sees in a mirror is not a delusion, that it is real, but it is not himself, that the mirage he [say, age three or beyond] sees in a desert is not a delusion, that the air and the light rays that cause it are real, but it is not a city, it is a city’s reflection—the day when he grasps . . . that his senses do not provide him with automatic knowledge in separate snatches independent of context, but only with the material of knowledge, which his mind must integrate—the day when he grasps that his senses cannot deceive him, . . . that his organs of perception are physical and have no volition, no power to invent . . . that is the day of his birth as a thinker and scientist.” Rand thought, correctly, that there is some automatic integration of sensory receptions: importantly, integration of sensory receptions into percepts. “Sensations are integrated into perceptions automatically, by the brain of a man or of an animal” (FNI). She thought that developmentally, in early childhood, one had consciousness of mere sensations that one learned to integrate into percepts, and in time the integration became automatized. That sort of developmental picture had been set out in James’s famous Principles of Psychology (1890), including processes of automatization. Rand expressed also her view (in GS and in “The Comprachicos”) that at the level of thoughts, there is also a sort of automatic integration that goes on when one has gone idle in one's active, controlling, logical thought, and that automatic integration is inept and, really, I’d say, little better than integrations one experiences in a dream while dreaming. I think it would be incorrect to think that in perceptions with percepts, one needs to wait on integration by thought to get any identification of what a perceived thing is. Some amount of “what” is already in one’s perception of a bowl of oatmeal as that and a spoon as that. And a lot of perception of “what” is at work before acquisition of language and aids in that acquisition and works ever after to buoy thought in language. Kant had it that we cannot have errant perception because (i) error requires judgment and (ii) perception, of itself, does not judge at all. I think (i) is slightly overstated. Judgments affirm in language what is the case of something. Classical philosophers from Descartes to Kant were blind to thought without language and to the powers of prelinguistic identifications in early childhood of what is the case. They exaggerate verbal instruction for knowledge acquired by the child, important as that mode of learning truly is. In that final quotation I gave from GS, Rand used the word “delusion” twice. That term suggests something “just in the head” (or as children say nowadays “just in the brain”) or something wrong with the mind or brain. To learn of mirror reflection that reflected objects are not in the space on the other side of the mirror would not seem, I say, to be learning that the reflection is not a delusion, but to be learning (perhaps namelessly) that there are such things as illusions and that that space seen in the mirror as lying on the other side of the mirror is an illusion. I have never seen a mirage. I’ve heard that people in too much heat too long can hallucinate, which is not mirage. I gather that experience of mirage, such as Rand described, is an illusion. Someone suffering a heat hallucination would be an episode rightly described as a delusion in perception. I have suffered hallucinations a couple of days due not to heat in a desert, but due to an encephalopathy due ultimately to bladder blockage. Hallucinations can be fantastical plays off of receptions of elements that would normally go into veridical perceptions. But hallucinations are not illusions. And delusions are not illusions. It seems Rand garbled the English here. “The validity of the senses.” What are the various cases that had been made for “the invalidity of the senses”? Salient to the early Objectivist philosophers were probably the various forms ancient and Renaissance, but especially those in early modern philosophy. That would be a good project: compile the variety of alleged invalidity of perception and argue against each, thence showing variety of meaning “validity of the senses”. Rand indicated that all forms of arguing the senses to be invalid run into a general problem that there is not meaning in the possibility of invalidity in all sensory episodes without there being meaning and actual occasion in the world for validity of the senses, that is without there being some occasions of valid perception. Good wide point. My additional proposal has been that natural instrumentation in animals for taking in the environment is teleological. There are dedicated targets for the sensory systems, where the structure of those systems have been selected in the course of evolution. Instruments we design for detections and measurements have a dedicated object (which I shall designate by all-caps TARGET). We can manipulate and adjust the instrument to capture just that object for presentation to our senses. We could design a camera with the purpose of imaging a straight stick partially in water such that the camera system compensates for difference in the indices of refraction of air and water. A sensor in the air and a sensor in the water feeding information ultimately to the camera would likely be required, and this information processed in an automatic way in the camera recorder. The camera would show a straight stick because we had made the instrument system an indicator of our information purpose, our TARGET: straightness present in objects it detects. Design of the instrumentation systems that are our natural sensory systems are the result of natural processes of evolution and individual development employing living processes in an environment having whatever material resources are locally available at the time. Mere typical success in detecting or measuring the target (lower case) of the sensory system regularly associated with objects, motions, or media pertinent to life of the animal gives enough probability for preservation and reproduction of the animal. I mentioned the TARGET of an instrument we design. There is another sort of target of an artificial instrument, which is also at work in our natural, perceptual instruments. Advantage in animal species evolution or in survival of the individual animal is not the TARGET of a natural perceptual instrument. Nature is not a designer, though it yields designs, and there are no TARGETS for natural perceptual systems. There is a target (lower-case) of an instrument which is in the detailed constitution and operation of the instrument. Our modern motion-detecting devices have as their target: alterations in level of light being received by their sensors, which has some fair correlation with objects moving in the field. Our purpose, our TARGET—detection of moving objects—is not the target we put into the design of the instrument. I maintain that this is the way to view natural sensory systems, from thermal contact systems to visual systems having a distal stimulus. Veridical perception, I say, is neuronal system indicating in consciousness things as they are. Illusions are neuronal system indicating in consciousness things in some ways as they are not. I say percepts are leaders to reality, due to our constitution. Percepts not only present. They indicate due to our constitution. Their character of automatically indicating in consciousness is what makes percepts components in empirical cognition. The proverbial straight stick partially in air and partially in water indicates a bent stick. Understanding how it comes to look bent does nothing to change the circumstance that the perceptual presentation is misleading (contra Branden c. 1968, 47–48; Kelley 1986, 88, 93; Peikoff 1991, 40; Binswanger 2014, 72–84; Salamieri 2013, 49–52; 2016, 281–82). Kelley and other Objectivist philosophers ignore the leading I attribute to perceptual presentations prior to any perceptual judgment. That is a mistake. The quality in perceptual presentations that I have called leading, and the importance of that quality, should be recognized and put to work in a realist philosophy of perception.
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  27. Doug Morris

    Zero-Sum Reasoning

    A zero-sum game is one where whatever one person gains, another loses. The gains and losses, summed across all participants, net out to zero. You and your coworkers must be getting a net gain from your catering job or you wouldn't stay in the job. The guests, their organizers, and your bosses are also getting a net gain. Everyone gains, nobody loses. The situation is positive sum, and not only that, but positive for each participant. When you compare your net gain from the catering job to what you could have gained if you had taken your college years more seriously, the former may seem very small, and difficult to distinguish from zero. But it is positive, not zero. Everyone who does productive work from which other people benefit because of market exchange is a "server". Everyone who benefits from the productive work of others is "served". There is nothing wrong with this.
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  28. Although I was just addressing the supposed test for double standard, I’m willing to consider a modification of the proposal, implicitly assuming as you suggest that the subjects which would be tested this way are only government agents (current government agents). Under point 6, the proposal explicitly includes leftist activists as targets for this purity test, and the aforementioned “Mr. Trump” is a mere private citizen seeking public office. Furthermore, I would suppose that you want the test to be applied to government agents acting as government agents (i.e. you don’t propose a gag rule on citizens working for the government). Even then – or should I say especially then – it is essential that the government agent operate on the basis of the relevant facts, where the law defines what are the relevant facts. They must do this regardless of whether they agree with the law or find the law to be offensive to their ideology. The problem is that the collection of extant laws are so wide-ranging and incoherent that non-contradictory identification is impossible. I do entirely agree that emotion has replaced reason in political discourse, and that this disease is ubiquitous. It is an unavoidable consequence of a system that places highest value on “democracy” (mob rule, with the mob being somewhat controlled by an elite council). So while it is correct that a private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden and a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted, no law explicitly allows a government official to eat breakfast, and yet they do so. The reason for this “exception” is that the official eating breakfast is acting not as a government agent, he is exercising his individual right to exist. It is also painfully true and clear that the majority of people want the government to control others in a manner that is totally inconsistent with the concept of “rights”. The gist of your response (since we are engaged in gist-detection) is that moral censure does not apply to individuals, but that is plainly false. Right-wing fascists and left-wing fascists of all walks of life deserve moral censure. And why? Because they advocate the abandonment of reason, to be replaced with emotion. The proposed name-substitution test contradicts Rand’s answer to the question “How, then, is he to arrive at the right judgment? By basing it exclusively on the factual evidence and by considering all the relevant evidence available”. By setting aside “all of the relevant evidence available” and substituting “replace one name with another”, the concept of objective judgment is corrupted. The remedy that I propose to the problem that does exist is to boldly adhere to and exemplify reason, a central component of which is non-contradictory identification. There are two parts to that: identification, and non-contradiction. Judgment without any actual identifications is not reason, it is simply unreasonably accepting arbitrary propositions because you “want” it.
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  29. LB, For highlighting of my hardcopy books, I just use strips of sticky notes, pressed onto the beginning of a passage I need to absorb or return to. Libraries don't allow that. But for my personal library, its fine by me. Years later, it allows me to open a book first to my sequence of stickies to get back on track about what's in the book for me. And sometimes, sadly, the existence of stickies in a book tell me I've read the book before, whereas I thought I had not. For cut-and-past from my books, we have a scanner, which puts the section into a digital photo, which can be kept for personal use or even posted at some places such as Facebook or here. Usually, I just type out the passage for posting. An e-book (only 33 pages) of my poetry is to be issued soon, along with an audio book. It is alright with me if you cut-and-paste poems out of there if the publishers allow it, provided you mention in any posting of a poem that I created it and warn that it may be hazardous to your brain. A scan from East of Eden:
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  30. CYNICISM & PRAGMATISM VS. IDEALISM & THE DISCIPLINE OF REASON The problem of the political double standard regarding moral standards and moral judgements is a problem and concern only to those persons who take seriously philosophy, reason, logic, thinking, morals, and ethics, and who think that one's entire life should be shaped, guided, disciplined, motivated, and inspired by philosophy, reason, logic, thinking, morals, and ethics. Ayn Rand is someone notable in history for taking seriously philosophy, reason, logic, thinking, morals, and ethics. Some ill-informed people image that because Ayn Rand promoted Capitalism so strongly that she must be a promoter of Social Darwinism (an ethics of cutthroat competition for scarce resources; an ethics of survival of the fittest). But that wrong conclusion comes to their mind only because they think Capitalism is inescapably a Social Darwinian system, and that capitalists are inevitably cynics and immoralists. But if such ill-informed people would just study Ayn Rand's writings, they would discover that Ayn Rand was a profound idealist and a rigorous moralist. Ayn Rand is the opposite of a cynic or Machiavellian. But I think most politicians and most voters are cynics and pragmatists. I believe it is correct to say that the vast majority of politicians and voters (all across the political spectrum, left, right, and middle) do NOT take seriously philosophy, reason, logic, thinking, morals, and ethics. I believe it is correct to say that the vast majority of politicians and voters (all across the political spectrum, left, right, and middle) prioritize winning, by any means that will work. Yet, all is not lost. For those who wish, they can study the best of philosophy and live their life according to reason and according to profound, empowering, fulfilling, liberating ethical principles. Ayn Rand: "The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it."
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  31. Preplanned without any doubt. What will happen when you attack a country a thousand times stronger than yours? Brutalize the people and steal hostages? A country that has a reputation for greatly valuing its citizens' lives, and others'? Exactly. Simple causation. Hamas knew a huge reprisal would happen (but didn't anticipate how resolute Israel would be and are now getting desperate, as they are steadily eliminated. ). I pointed out from the get-go, having Gazan civilians killed was Hamas' central psy-ops, political and military strategy; I've learned the sequence from several episodes of violent provocation inside Israel by Hamas since 2005, Israeli counter-measures in Gaza, followed by a co-ordinated propaganda campaign, then World "humanitarian" outcry and Israel being pressured to withdraw with a tarnished image. The sympathy money pours in, moral support for the Islamist-Palestinian cause grows and Hamas survives to repeat the process. I don't think any believed me. Hamas deliberately inciting the IDF to (inadvertently) kill women and children as sacrificial animals offends the public's noble perception of Hamas, the gallant freedom fighters. Even when Sinwar comes out and blatantly states it, I think it will be brushed over by the vile Owen Jones-types .
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  32. Government taxation is theft and theft is a moral issue and is evil. Governments can only obtain funds via voluntary donation or fees for specific services.
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  33. @HowardRoarkSpaceDetective – I have a curiosity question and a communication, which may be worthless, of how utterly alien to me is what you are going through and a few quick thoughts on your remarks about perception. My question(s) is: Have you ever taken a course in physics (maybe the electromagnetism or optics part) or a physics lab? Have you ever taken a course in chemistry and with a lab attached to it? Have you ever taken a course in geology, and did it get you out in the field to witness the items of the subject matter? I mean at the introductory college course level (which in the decades since my time with those might now be put into high school – I don't know). One is learning some methods to knowledge mankind has won in those areas in such courses, however much or little the course material self-reflects on its methods and the forms of the attained knowledge. I was eighteen when I read Rand's fiction, which was ten years after Atlas Shrugged appeared. I never would have expected a philosophy to make me happy or show me how to be happy. As it turned out, philosophy was itself one of my pleasures. And in the case of Rand's philosophy, it was a sweet thing to see the insights into the relationship between happiness to pleasure and to rationality and the relationship of happiness to morality. But no, happiness was my individual pursuits in learning and creating and in romantic love. Very hands-on, experimental, and individual is happiness, and hot-iron in passion and determination in realization. Just me. Just you. I've had specific winnings of happiness in these fifty-seven years since first reading Rand, and they have been indeed concordant with the general virtues Rand highlighted and defined (but I with seldom a thought in my specific pursuits to that frame being needed for directions; rather, a concordance as natural as waking in the morning). Tragedy, immense tragedy is all too likely. It came to my life, and when I could really no longer remember what happiness was, really was, Rand's proposed standard Life, not the purpose Happiness, was part of my rescue and my slowly coming back to pursuing happiness again. And for us all, there are our own limitations of ability (as you noted) and the fact stated by Spinoza: "All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare." Our perceptions (and those of other high animals) have been interlaced with attentions and actions from the day we are born. Water is around one in the tub, and one finds things about it before language and instructed learning. Instruction is the usual route to knowing the ice on the ground in winter is made from water. Still higher instruction for coming to know that there are molecules and what is water vapor and steam. Our modern advantage from knowing about molecules and components of them is marvelous, but there is sturdy knowledge possible before that: Aristotle and his contemporaries knew that water evaporates and forms the clouds from which we get rain. Archimedes knew still more about water. And power from water was brought into service of the mill and time-keeping before H2O was known. Knowledge of illusions comes after a lot of veridical perceptions and the regular value of them, even though illusions were mixed in with them. Knowledge of how we feel something as cool or as warm comes after acquaintance with those feelings. The Greek skeptics using those feelings for concluding non-objectivity of those feelings have now been exposed as fallacious, now that we know enough of what our sensors are detecting.* Most of our knowledge of illusions is from instruction. But illusions as well as veridical perception are real. It was common to Kant, Russell, and Rand-Branden-Kelley that perceptions do not err; only perceptual judgments can err. That is incorrect. For the higher animals—ones with enough memory powers (as Aristotle and Rand correctly correlated with animals having percepts)—in many situations, perceptions are leaders for actions, and that goes for some illusory perceptions also. Visual perception of a stick in the grass I'm picking up to be out of the mower path is leading the hand to location for picking up in the air medium in which the human animal and his ancestors evolved. The fact that we can explain why a straight stick partially submerged in water looks bent does nothing to change the fact that how it looks is misleading of action (until joined with reflective thought and retraining motor action for the special circumstance). Some illusions are not remediable, and beneficial illusions should not be remediated anyway. One is going to see the moon or the sun when near the horizon as larger than when they are higher in the sky. I don't think we yet know how this illusion arises in our visual system, but when we do learn how it works, it will not cease to be in operation unless we implement some compensatory component into our natural visual instrumentation. Most of us will opt for the purely natural way and continue to enjoy the harvest moon. Until we are told that the "moon illusion" is an illusion and given the reasons for judging it to be an illusion, many of us (myself included) would never have noticed that there was anything illusory about it. An example of a beneficial perceptual illusion is the Mach Band* effect. The eye of an animal such as we, having a certain circuit arrangement in the retina, will have in visual experience change in grayness of a surface at its edges. A highlighting of edges can increase our safety and our effectiveness in footing and manipulations. We have developed methods for how to distinguish the illusory among our perceptions. We have come a long way in knowing the neurology of receptions and processing of our various sensory receptions. (The Greeks did not know that nerves were involved.) It is not necessary or appropriate to walk around worried always if support will be there for the next foot to land. The common-experience worries and adult-to-child instruction on that is appropriate basis for any such worry. The inculcated contrived worries of early modern philosophy from Descartes, Berkeley, and Hume are at high level in the head, and these can indeed be jettisoned in the course of rationality, our rationality today. Much is known now about brain processes engaged in processing of sensations and the distinct processing that is the occasion of a percept. Before that advance in neuroscience, Rand-Branden-Peikoff correctly held to the percept, not sensation, for the beginning of knowledge of entities and motions. The beginning at nerve receptors is not the beginning of our knowledge even though the sensory receptions were the beginning of the physiological process producing that with which our knowledge begins. C.S. Peirce, American philosopher in the late 19th century and early 20th had some words of enduring value for us. He stressed that sense impressions (today, let's say instead the Triesman sensory elements in preattentive perception) are not first in our knowledge. We are not shut out from the external world, "informed only by sense impressions. Not at all! Few things are more completely hidden from observation than those hypothetical elements of thought which the psychologist finds reason to pronounce "immediate," in his sense. But the starting point of all our reasoning is not in those sense impressions, but in our percepts. When we first wake up to the fact that we are thinking beings and can exercise some control over our reasonings, we have to set out upon our intellectual travels from home where we already find ourselves. Now, this home is the parish of percepts." (1901, 62) Peirce, C.S. 1901. Pearson's Grammar of Science. In Houser 1998. Houser, N., editor, 1998. The Essential Peirce. Volume 2. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
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  34. One of the less-appreciated benefits of the Clinton administration was his recognition that deficit spending was not a good thing, which is fairly shocking and revolutionary given that he was a Democrat. In his reign, we actually had a short period of non-deficit government spending. One positive sign w.r.t. Milei’s administration is that in his first three months there was a consecutive monthly surplus for the first time in a dozen years. The step of devaluing the currency by fiat is a highly-improper choice – this is basically a matter for the market to determine. However, reduction of government spending is a good thing, though spending is not per se the greater evil, taxation is, and there doesn’t seem to be any mention of a “reduction in force” in that realm. Although taxation is fundamental evil, spending is the fundamental problem. There was a similar event in Kenya, which they elected a seemingly more business-oriented president. An independent problem there was that they have a huge international debt, and because of highly-reasonable fears that they would default on a payment (on a government bond) which comes due this summer, so the currency lost value massively on the currency markets. This guy Ruto negotiated a huge bond to cover the upcoming payment, and suddenly the currency recovered – investors now believe he will pay the debt. The magic recovery was not just due to kicking the can down the road, it was substantially due to an obscure detail, that the bond that they issued is very valuable. The big 10-year bond had a return of over 18%. Comparable-length US government bonds are in the neighborhood of 4.5%, Pakistan is in the area of 14%, Kenya is promising a bit less than a few countries (Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia), the almost-highest being Turkey at 28%, however Argentina wins the prize for highest return at 40% for a 1-year bond. These are obviously ludicrous rates – debts that can never be paid. Kenya, Nigeria and Argentina are doomed, they have contracted an uncurable terminal disease. The cause of this terminal disease is not understanding the proper role of government. It is not “taking care of the people”, such thinking is utterly deleterious to the welfare of the people.
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  35. BB notes that Rand got an entry visa at the US embassy in Riga, Latvia, in part by stating (falsely) that she was engaged to a man in the USSR and planned to come home and marry him after a short visit the US.
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  36. Aristotle: “All men by nature desire to know.” (Metaphysics, book by Aristotle) Furthermore, given Ayn Rand's importance as a philosopher, I think every word she ever wrote is of interest. When she filled out U.S. government immigration forms, in order to enter the U.S. (1926), and in order to become a lawful permanent resident (1929), and finally in order to become a U.S. citizen (1931), she would have had to write or type answers to questions such as: "What is the purpose of your entry into the U.S.?" and "What is your occupation?" I think many people would find it interesting to see what Ayn Rand wrote in response to those and other questions on those forms. Also, it would be interesting to see if Ayn Rand faced any difficulties with the severe limitations established on the number of Russian immigrants allowed by the 1924 Immigration Act. Ayn Rand is world historic figure. Everything about her is of interest, I think. How she went from being a citizen of Russia and the USSR to becoming an American citizen is perhaps a little story in and of itself, and I think it could be interesting. But I would agree that the most important thing is for people to study the philosophy of reason and then strive to live a reasonable life.
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  37. I think we have entered a period of American history in which the practice of unreason (via the practice of a political double standard regarding moral principles) is almost universally viewed as bold, ballsy, courageous, hip, & cool. The "heroic" thing now is to be willing to, in a manly manner, forcefully bust through all boundaries (moral, legal, logical, factual, and physical boundaries). The new political ideal is represented by the Viking marauders and the NFL lineman who engages in illegal holding every time he thinks he can get away with it. But here's what Ayn Rand said: “In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard.” (from The Virtue of Selfishness) “Courage and confidence are practical necessities . . . courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to truth, and confidence is the practical form of being true to one’s own consciousness.” (from Galt’s Speech) “Reason is man’s only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge—and, therefore, the rejection of reason means that men should act regardless of and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality.” (Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution) “Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. The act of focusing one’s consciousness is volitional. (from The Virtue of Selfishness) When will this feverous period of unreason end and the reign of reason resume?
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  38. BLM started in response to the Trayvon Martin case , after George Zimmerman's acquittal, by self described activists trained in Marxist activism.
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  39. An NY court awarded a judgement against Trump for $80+ million in a defamation suit that ultimately was orchestrated by changing statute of limitations by the state legislature, a legislative change that came about by lobbying efforts of the 'winner' of the defamation suit. They opened a window allowing sexual assault victims to bring suits after statute of limitations had passed , but allowed for the window to expire with in a year. A ranking member of the DoJ left their position and 'ended' up in Bragg's office as lead prosecutor in the 'government form case', a novel prosecution to say the least. NDA's aren't illegal, but somehow you can make them felonies, the 34 felonies were for each record of the accounting in Trump's books , ie 1 charge for one check, 1 charge for that stub and another for the entry in a ledger ect ect to add up to 34. NY AG brought a case against Trump for which there was no victim. A private company decided to loan Trump money the loan was repaid. The court found Trump guilty of fraud and then proceeded to level an unconstitutional penalty. Biden withheld $1 billion in direct aid to Ukraine until they fired a government official , an official that even Obama's administration, aside from Biden personally, did not consider to be in need of removal. But he was removed and the funds were released. Trump was impeached for trying to bring that to light.
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  40. One would think the objective case for Israel was a slam-dunk, both for what it and its people represent and have achieved - and only then, by sharp contrast with the lack of freedom of other countries around it. There are also rough parallels with early America, those once repressed by class and religion etc. in Europe who exemplified the transformation which individual liberty enables. Remember, it is for its "selfishness" - to survive first as a people and personally do well - that Israel is still being unjustly condemned. This ought to ring a bell among skeptical O'ists. Of course such a morality does not find purchase at large, yet here it should. A telling Fact: For whatever 'they' (the pro-Palestine pseudo-intellectuals and many Press) have tried to tell us since the early '70's, Israel has without exception wanted peace, never once begun hostilities* but has always fought defensive wars - and won (and mostly relinquished for conciliatory reasons) territories in consequence. As is fitting to an industrious people, they shun conflicts. Wars and "occupation" cost lives, money and energy. And Gaza was relinquished too, for all the good that accomplished... I suggest one not expect a "true Objectivist". Reason being a process, not a final state, each must/should look to his-her own premises - especially the basic factual evidence, distorted by many years of ideological disinformation or falsehoods about Israel - and re-think. (*Eg. They tried to propagandize that the '67 war was set off by Israel (for conquest - obviously), neglecting to mention Israel's pre-emptive defence against the Arab armies massing on several sides. A cousin was killed in that one).
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  41. I know every argument and they all can simply be dismissed out of hand because they are a combination of false, evil, and/or arbitrary. Arguing, or discussing them simply lend undue credence to these extremely old ideas that have been refuted by rational ideas, principles, and facts of reality countless times over the past two centuries. The only appropriate answer is to show the them the refutations and correct answers and not waste one's time past that nor attempt to "reword" perfectly understandable sources pointlessly for the "benefit" of people incapable of reading, listening, understanding, and integrating because they have chosen to evade reality and the responsibility of rational thinking.
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  42. I found some stuff about the spinal chord in Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious (1869). "The independence of the spinal cord on the brain is likewise proved by many beautiful physiological experiments. A hen, from which Flourens had removed the entire cerebrum, sat indeed motionless as a rule; but on going to sleep it tucked its head under its wings; on waking, it shook itself and preened its feathers. When pushed, it ran forward in a straight line; when thrown into the air, it flew. It did not eat spontaneously, but only swallowed the food thrust into its bill. Voit repeated these experiments with pigeons. They first fell into a deep sleep, from which they only awoke after a few weeks; then, however, they flew and moved of their own accord, and comported themselves in such a manner as to leave no doubt of the existence of their sensations; only intelligence was lacking, and they did not spontaneously take food. Thus a pigeon, having thrust its beak against a suspended wooden pendulum, caused it to swing for upwards of an hour till Voit’s return, so that the pendent spool over and over again struck its beak. On the other hand, such a brainless pigeon endeavors to evade a hand trying to grasp it, to carefully avoid obstacles in its flight, and can settle cleverly on narrow supports. Rabbits and guinea-pigs, whose cerebrum has been removed, run freely about after the operation; the behavior of a decapitated frog has been already mentioned. All these movements, as the preening of its feathers by the hen the leaping of rabbits and frogs, take place without noticeable external stimulus, and are so like the same movements in uninjured animals that it is impossible to assume a difference in the underlying principle in the two cases: in the one case as in the other, there is a manifestation of will. Now we know that the higher animal consciousness is conditional on the integrity of the cerebrum (see Chap. ii. C.), and when this is destroyed, it is said these animals are without consciousness, and accordingly act and will unconsciously. But the cerebral consciousness is by no means the sole, but merely the highest consciousness of the animal, the only one which in higher animals and in man attains to self-consciousness, to the ego, therefore also the only one which I can call my consciousness. That, however, the subordinate nerve-centers must also have a consciousness, if of a vaguer description, plainly follows from the continuity of the animal series, and a comparison of the ganglionic consciousness of the Invertebrata with that of the independent ganglia and central parts of the spinal cord of the higher animals. It is beyond a doubt that a mammal deprived of its brain is always capable of clearer feeling than an uninjured insect, because the consciousness of its spinal cord stands in any case higher than that of the ganglia of the insect. Accordingly this will, which gives evidence of itself in the independent functions of the spinal cord and the ganglia, is by no means to be at once declared to be in itself unconscious; we must rather provisionally assume that for the nerve-centers from which it proceeds it certainly may become more or less clearly conscious. On the other hand, compared with the cerebral consciousness which a man exclusively recognizes as his consciousness, it is certainly unconscious, and it is accordingly shown that there exists in us an unconscious will, since these nerve-centers are all contained in our corporeal organism, therefore in us." (The Unconscious Will in the Independent Functions of the Spinal Cord and Ganglia)
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  43. Michael Levin at Tufts University is recently talking about his work with planaria and other biologic agents eg his zenobots. They have trained planaria to find food in a maze removed the head/brain and after regeneration of a new 'head' the same worm will remember/know the solution to the maze. They have also found that other biologics, I think skin cells of amphibians, when exposed to novel chemical threats , will develop the capacity to ameliorate the damage and that subsequent cell lines will then 'remember' the threat and react on first encounter, I think those studies were done with boron as the threat.
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  44. That’s what’s known as context-dropping. The context of the discussion is the video that you didn’t watch, where a number of essential factual observations were made a propos Israel’s defense of its existence (and the anti-Israeli propaganda war). The cat predictably responded (since the posting of the video was directed against her and her ilk as partisans in this propaganda war), but didn’t respond at all productively, instead just making false counter-claims – purporting to disprove major factual claims of the original video, but really just pointing to a huge propaganda document and declaring “The truth is there, you just have to believe!”. I then requested even one concrete instantiation of a case from the document where the law of Israel treats Jews and Arabs differently. That is the context that defines what is relevant. Your quote, which also lacks substantiation (or source) has no bearing on the question of whether the law of Israel treats Jews and Arabs differently (which, again, it does not). Your quote, if it were true, might be relevant to a different question, for example “Is it the case that all existing government have acted immorally?”. We can stipulate that all governments have failed to implement the ideal of rights-protection as the proper function of government, that much has never need in doubt. Because that fact is so self-evident, it needs not be discussed, except as an instantiation of the concept “self-evident”. Taxes and trade restrictions, I rest my case. Palestine is not yet a nation, because it is unwilling to do what is required for existence as a nation. The primary difference between Palestine and Nazi Germany or contemporary Russia is that the latter two have better-organized armies and are better able to carry out wars of aggression against their neighbors. The Palestinians are much more overt in their declaration of an intent to drive the Jews into the sea, compared to Russia versus former and current colonies that they are trying to retake.
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  45. One thing you can say is, what is one single real example of a law of Israel that discriminates between Arabs and Jews? 280 pages of unsubstantiated generalized propaganda proves nothing, but surely you can point to a page and copy in come actual text. Give it your best shot.
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  46. Not only that, but he seems to restrict contingency to humans, hence the Objectivist distinction between "metaphysical [i.e. necessary] facts" and "man-made facts", with nothing in-between. Supposedly, events brought about by cats and dogs etc. belong to the side of "metaphysical facts." I agree. I think Peikoff is unconsciously equating the Law of Identity with some version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which states that for every fact F, there must be a sufficient reason why F is the case. For example, according to the PSR there must be some explanation for why an atom decayed precisely when it did, and not at some other point in time. But as per standard interpretations of quantum mechanics, radioactive decay is totally random: we can never determine ahead of time if an atom will decay in the next second or not. To this, an advocate of the PSR might say: "An event isn't random just because we can't predict it. If we knew all of the factors involved, we'd be able to predict radioactive decay with perfect accuracy". At first glance, human free will is compatible with the PSR. After all, volition does have a sufficient explanation. What that explanation is, we don't know yet, but it might be brain related. Either way, following OPAR, let's say that the identity of my brain and consciousness is such that I am forced to make a primary decision: to focus, or not to focus. What the choice will be is totally up to me, of course. And suppose that the choice I end up making is: to focus. Why did I make precisely that choice, and not the opposite choice? If I am to be consistent with the principle of human freedom, I have to reply: "I was forced to make a choice between focusing and not focusing, but I was not forced to choose that particular option. I chose it because I chose it", or "I picked that option simply because I picked it". Now, if we restate this in terms of the PSR, the fact to be explained is: "I chose X" and the explanation for that fact is: "because I chose X". That's like saying that atoms decay because atoms decay, or that trees grow because trees grow. We are no longer dealing with the PSR, because the ground of the event (choice) is you, yourself, not some externally-imposed law such as the PSR. You are your own law, so to speak. Plopping a PSR-free phenomenon (i.e. making an absolutely free choice) on top of a PSR-respecting explanation (the physico-psychical source of volition) does not suddenly make freedom compatible with the PSR. It's like asking "How is God able to read everyone's minds?" and someone replies "Through biochemical guplockin combustion". Free Will and the PSR are mutually-opposing frameworks. As humans, we are intimately acquainted with contingency, because we routinely bring about events into existence (e.g. the event of thinking, of choosing etc) simply through acts of will. There is something deeply spiritual about contingency, and I suspect this is why Peikoff "portrays contingency as only something with a consciousness giving rise to it." He denies contingency to Nature, but gladly grants it to man, the possessor of volitional consciousness.
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  47. Or they could just take out Iran in one shot and then warn the rest of the terrorist "nations" that they are next if they even sneeze wrong, but that would be too easy and quick, and moral.
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  48. So the deciding factor is what was in Trump's head... which makes this thoughtcrime. Rationally, it would be a tough case to prove, which is why I don't think the approach they have in mind is to prove Trump guilty by rational means. Life is lived first-draft and by successive approximation. Further, one's opinion can change as evidence comes in, and as people's statements come in and sometimes are not properly evaluated until later (where somebody might say something, and you might believe it at first, and then you think about it, and decide they are wrong). It's one thing to have reached a conclusion and another to have thoughts in progress, and an active mind usually is more like the latter, so that even conclusions that have been reached can be tentative and subject to revision if more information comes in. Information about the election continued to come in over a long period of time. So Trump could easily have been listening to a lot of people, and there was no shortage of people around him on both sides of the issue, and so he could have been going back and forth about whether he should believe this or that statement and whether he was cheated out of victory or not. There may have been times that he leaned toward thinking he had lost the election fairly. Even if they have him on tape saying something, it's hard to say that he knew that what he was saying was absolutely true. He may have been considering it possibly true at the time, he may have been seeing if he could get used to the idea. Sometimes you "try out" an idea to see if you have any subconscious doubts. When I'm editing posts like this, I frequently put sentences in, then decide they are wrong, and take them back out. I cannot know before I put the sentence in that it is wrong. I have to write at least part of the sentence before I can judge it. In speech it is not possible to delete sentences. I'd end up saying wrong sentences and then having to contradict them later. It would be easy to play a tape of those wrong sentences and then say that I "knew" something that I later decided wasn't true at all. There are also cases such as sarcasm where what you say isn't what you believe. I don't know if that applies here but it might. Further, Trump didn't seem to know what options were legally available to him, which might lead to conversations like "Can we try X? Can we try Y?" and maybe X is illegal and Y is debatable. Since he's not a lawyer, he has no way to find this stuff out except to ask. Further, in a case where you don't know if the election is fraudulent or not, and you are going back and forth about it, it might still be legitimate to see if there are ways of winning. (Lawyers also are known to look for ways to try to win cases for their clients even when their clients are guilty, and that by itself is not fraud.) Ayn Rand also wrote about the danger of psychologizing, where you attack a person's subconscious instead of addressing their conscious mind. This is particularly pernicious when the person is still thinking and working out conclusions about events that are still in progress. Of course that's a non-sequitur; one does not have to be delusional to question the credibility of statements made by DoJ officials. (I am not sure you meant it that way.) I think the impression of Trump as a maniac has been manufactured by the media. In the media's opinion, the Democrats are always right about everything, they have science on their side, and the only way you can disagree with them is to be delusional. The more you disagree, the more delusional you are. This applies not only to Trump himself but to everyone who thinks independently (i.e., without Leftist guidance). The Left (especially in the media and such) uses ad hominem attacks and social pressures and intimidation. Not so much rationality. If the election was not affected by fraud, then people who believe it was affected may be rational but mistaken. However, there is a certain specific proper way to address a rational but mistaken mind, and this is not it. The Left's approach to disagreement is very alienating, and as for me, it makes me more likely to believe that the election was stolen. Their approach is less like "Here's how you can see the election wasn't stolen," and more like "You can't prove I did it because you'll never find the body." I am not the only person alienated in that way. So if the election really wasn't stolen, they aren't doing themselves any favors. (Even though it's true that I can't find the body.) This prosecution makes that situation even worse. It's saying that "deep down, everybody knows that Leftism is true (or that the election was fair), including people who claim to deny it, in which case, they're lying to themselves and defrauding everybody else." Which seems like a religious argument.
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  49. I speculate that adherents to Objectivism would rather that Objectivism not be classified and placed in a taxonomy of Western philosophy because adherents of Objectivism view Objectivism as "sui generis," as being in a class by itself, as being the one and only true philosophy, as the "final philosophy," with all other philosophies being defective, incomplete, irrelevant, and destructive. I suppose that is the issue at stake, as I see it. I see great value in studying and applying Objectivism. Objectivism is one of the great and important systems within Western Philosophy. Objectivism helps present-day people avoid being seduced by systems like Marxism and Fascism. I would like to see leaders such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Pope Francis, the Dalia Lama, and Vladimir Putin study Objectivism in a thorough and fulsome way. Objectivism has focused my mind on the crucial conflict between ethical Egoism and ethical Altruism. I see great value in examining how Egoism and Altruism play out in terms of phenomenon like self-esteem, self-reliance, personal initiative, resentment, romantic love, child rearing, enjoyment of living, business success and failure, general societal economic and political well-being, tyranny vs. liberty, war and peace, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, anthropogenic changes to the global biosphere, and so on. Objectivism is true philosophy. Reading Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff is a true joy, and always rewarding. But, to me, the idea of there ever being a "final philosophy" is anathema to the very idea of philosophy, humanity, and liberty. Ayn Rand wrote and spoke about various errors of Aristotle, errors that she says that she corrected in her system of philosophy. I do acknowledge that Ayn Rand's system, while being largely built on the "chassis" of Aristotelianism, does contain many innovations that are not found in Aristotle's original system or in other later forms of Aristotelianism. Ayn Rand was a brilliant, creative, innovative thinker. But Ayn Rand, as I understand it, never permitted her students to even consider the possibility that there might be errors in her system of philosophy that would need to be corrected by future or contemporary philosophers. This, as I understand it, is why Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's designated philosophical heir, has declared that Objectivism is a "closed system." I personally, at the present time, see no way to justify the view that philosophy was an open system from the time of ancient Greece up until 1982, and then became a closed system forever after that time. And so, while I study Objectivism for the aim of learning more about reality and for correcting my misunderstandings and misperceptions, and while I even think every American student in high school and college would benefit from a study of Objectivism, given that Objectivism is one of the great and important systems within Western Philosophy, I also believe that I and others will benefit the most from learning the entire history of Western Philosophy, and leaning to identify the various "schools" and "traditions" within that history and seeing how they relate and connect and compare and contrast. And I think we all benefit from not ruling out that future progress in Philosophy is still possible, probably needed, and even likely.
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