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  1. 2 points
    I meant what I said. In the examples that I gave, his orders clearly violated well-established law, though perhaps you are not happy about with the law on these points. Your response is mostly part directed at a different question, namely whether it is reasonable to ignore the law. Given that the purpose of a president in our republican form of government is to implement the law, Trump is dysfunctional. This is a basic divide within the population of those calling themselves Objectivists: some consider law to be optional, others consider it to be fundamental to living in a civilized society. There’s a really simple explanation for lots of Trump’s behavior: he sees himself as being above the law; the law impedes him getting what he things we need.
  2. 2 points
    A great teacher is not merely a subject-matter expert, but also a good mentor, as we learn from Richard Feynman's correspondence with a former student. Shaun Usher of Letters of Note sets up the context: Image from 1959 Cal Tech yearbook, via Wikimedia, public domain. In 1966, nine years after gaining his Ph.D. with a dissertation titled The Self-Energy of the Scalar Nucleon, physicist Koichi Mano wrote a congratulatory letter to Richard Feynman, the man who had originally taught him at the California Institute of Technology and, more recently, joint-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in quantum electrodynamics. Feynman replied with an enquiry about Mano's current job, to which Mano responded that he was "studying the Coherence theory with some applications to the propagation of electromagnetic waves through turbulent atmosphere [ ... ] a humble and down-to-earth type of problem." Feynman responded with this letter. [links omitted, format edits]What follows is exactly the kind of gentle encouragement and correction Mano needed. Feynman first counsels his former student to take on even simpler problems in the vein of enjoyment, confidence-building, and exploration via delight. Feynman then apologizes for giving "you the problem instead of letting you find your own; and [leaving] you with a wrong idea of what is interesting or pleasant or important to work on." All of this is excellent and worth reading, but what I really like is his closing paragraph:You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office. You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless to yourself -- it is too sad a way to be. Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of your naïve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher's ideals are.Feynman makes the virtue of judging oneself fairly sound obvious, and yet this letter rightly appears on a web site dedicated to "correspondence deserving of a wider audience." But that point isn't obvious: If it were, we'd have all gotten it within our educations and such a letter, from a widely-revered teacher, would never have been needed, much less deemed inspiring. -- CAVLink to Original
  3. 1 point
    If anyone is still interested in the goings on at the Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook has come out strongly in support of Biden for President: Yaron Brook Show The article “Biden is Our Only Hope” comments on this in detail. You can find it by searching on biden yaron "christian right" using Google (Bing and DuckDuckGo won’t work); “christian right” must be in quotes. You will learn that after Brook’s comments it became known that Leonard Peikoff had donated $250 to Trump’s campaign. So far Brook hasn’t commented on having once said that no “Trump apologist” should call himself an Objectivist.
  4. 1 point
    You guys talked about the philosophical motivations of the protesters. This article is about that. It is written by one of the authors of the soon-to-be-released book Critical Theories.
  5. 1 point


    They used music from Light Rain's 1978 album Dream Dancer.
  6. 1 point


    LIGHT RAIN — Pax de Deux (8.5 min.) dancers — Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino choreographer — Gerald Arpino music — Douglas Adams and Russ Gauthier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8wMMMgHcfk
  7. 1 point
    As a president intent upon ~American self-interests and independence~, free from prior (economic/military) encumbrances, - yes, I think this is evident. He explicitly has advanced this. An "anti-altruist" president, I said and repeat - in practice and by consequence, I did not say by philosophical conviction. I have also remarked that he is squarely in favor of individual American self-responsibility, which I thought evident. He displays few of the flaws of Nanny-ism which pervade most national leaders with highly submissive populations, and which is increasing in the USA. I did NOT state, and do not mean, he is ethically "FOR rational self interest". That's another thing. There has never been such a world leader. You made that leap. Trump's so-called "narcissism" - I think is grandiosity - is a job-requirement for every politician with aspirations for high Office, some just hide it better under a show of humility and modesty, than others. Although I'd have voted for Obama's first term, for instance, it was clear to me that he also had a (subtle) grandiose - "narcissistic" - tendency which didn't initially put me off him. Should I say this simply? Trump has shown he is against a self-sacrificial America. One which the rest of the world has long taken for granted and depended on while also disparaging. When dealing with foreign countries he's also indicated how they could act in their self-interests ("make a good deal") if they choose. Therefore is "anti-altruist". While he has publicly denounced Socialism, right, he might have mixed premises in policy decisions. As have all presidents. But for full-blown Socialism let the Democrats have their way for some terms. Trump represents the block on that outcome. For a while.
  8. 1 point
    Yup, chaotic and erratic, discomfiting at times. Together with the clownishness, he ¬seems¬ to give the impression of not knowing what he's doing, but I think most of it's bluff by Twitter to throw off or tease his virulent media opponents into frenzies. Such as delaying the election and even extending his term, which he retracts later. He does know what he wants to attain for the US in the long run, and it spells greater freedom plus self-responsibility for Americans, not less. The saying is apt: his supporters take him seriously but not literally, his enemies take him literally but not seriously. I'd not be fooled, he is dead serious.
  9. 1 point
    This is a great analysis. Reminds one that an Objectivist institution should stay out of broadcasting their political personae preferences, and, particularly not commanding and speaking for Objectivists at large. ("Sell-outs to Objectivism"?!). Rand could and did give her advisement - and too she allowed for caveats in her judgments. But who has the predictive-conceptual capacity of Rand, or her reckoning of a person's character virtues/flaws, or what she saw in their "sense of life". Especially not her abstractive grasp of the essential nature of America. So why try to imitate her? Is it that ARI's internet exposure needs to be more 'relevant'? And why specifically so anti- Trump? Perhaps, I'll surmise, the 'market' for future Objectivists is perceived to be from among the secularist-atheists, while naturally not from the religious-conservatives (although many are known to have accord with Objectivist political theory). Therefore, in the subject matter and tone of many articles/essays I've read in recent times which are otherwise very good, if predictable, ARI writers have consistently leaned towards the Leftists, at times looked to be pandering to them. Please leave each O'ist to his/her own judgment calls in these matters.
  10. 1 point
    A nation that is of value to a person will be inclusive by him of every other citizen who was born there or equally becomes a legal citizen there, in that sovereign nation. The outsider - the other - needs to go through the same process and would be keen to ... if he/she perceives that value too. I see Trump as extremely embracing of all who do. In essence: That you are "here" indicates your value in America and to America. I have never bought into that xenophopic/racist criticism by people who, in the final analysis don't understand Trump's love for the country and view him with cynicism: he's out for himself. What I also could not help gather over the last 20+ years is the gradual decline in pride in the USA by Americans. It came through most visibly from the (Leftist) media and powerfully too by the (Leftist) movie industry, in the content and themes of many or most of its films. The third leg has been well documented by many commentators, being the Leftist professors and teachers in colleges. With almost complete control of those three areas, it's clear that the Left/Progressives/etc. have dominated many citizens' attitudes and it shows. First came self-doubt (America isn't and wasn't perfect, many mistakes and moral grievances were committed). Then loss of confidence, in even the Constitution. Then cynicism. The shame felt by many for their country became extremely apparent just now, destroying monuments/taking a knee/riots/"systemic racism"- meekly accepted as morally-valid assaults on the country. In the last 10 years the drift I notice has been outwards, towards the Old World and merging the US character/political/cultural nature closer with the (supposedly) 'sophisticated, European elitism'. This sea-change of many Americans' attitudes to the USA, the rhino in the parlor, needs to be acknowledged here in the election debate. This is a crucial turning point, for you and for the world - obviously not "politics as normal". The battle is ideological, for the soul of a nation. And if "Biden is our only hope" - America will succumb one way or other to the self-disgust promoted by some/many Leftist Americans.
  11. 1 point

    Tim Pool and the Media

    So who is doing most of the lying? The mainstream media or this guy? Tim Pool has a few channels on YouTube. He is a moderately left leaning "classical liberalist". But for me he has distinguished himself as a rational commonsense critical thinker who questions the mainstream narrative, and the loud far left Marxist intersectional religious types. The big meta-message from all of his channels points to a panic induced corruption of mainstream media, social media, and the democratic party, and possibly beyond.. all in reaction to or anticipation of the election in November and the drive to stop Trump at all costs. He points out hypocrisy, false reporting, and the insanity of the far left time and time again... if he were to be trusted much of the mainstream media, big data (specially social media), and the democratic party at all levels, have already been irredeemably corrupted. So who is closer to the truth? Tim Pool or the mainstream media? Timcast Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe02lGcO-ahAURWuxAJnjdA Timcast IRL Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLwNTXWEjVd2qIHLcXxQWxA Tim Pool Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/Timcast/featured
  12. 1 point
    I am not assuming that Trump has any principled foundation whatsoever. He's not a capitalist or a socialist, he's a random behavior generator. He's an unprincipled statistical machine that tries something, sees if it works, then tries something else. I don't assume that he will veto the left's press for socialism on principled grounds. I do assume that the alternative candidate tends to support socialist legislation. So the difference could come down to a slightly higher chance of veto with Trump as POTUS. The primary threat, IMO, comes not from what Biden will do, but what his successor will do when the Presidential Succession Act is triggered and ?Kamala Harris is the next president.
  13. 1 point
    That is arguably the most dangerous issue that we are dealing with as a country. To hear that Trump has been talking about removing the two year limit for a President, was terrifying. Then his believe in complete presidential immunity and the fact that he pardoned people convicted of doing his dirty work. I thought this type of thing only happens in third world fascist systems. When Trump recently tried to remove the position of inspector general, the GOP revolted. I admit, I was a Trump fan for a generation, watching the Apprentice and trying to learn something from him and yet, from day one of his presidency, claiming his crowd was bigger than Obama's first inauguration, not acknowledging that it is hard to beat an actual first African American President in the History of the United States was shockingly disappointing. You are assuming that Trump is not a socialist. He wants to create public works like FDR, having the government become the biggest employer. When the Covid first bailout was being negotiated, he wanted the government to have equity in the bailed out companies (even Bernie had not pushed for overt communism). What will Trump Veto?? He claims that Biden has stolen his economic plan. Currently he is exacerbating racial tensions, appealing to a silent majority mob, and acting like he fights the evil that he already embodies. People are worried about a highly unlikely journey to communism with Biden and his Supreme Court nominees, while the worst Americans will tolerate is what it is like in Canada or the UK or Sweden. We are not headed to Communism. But, we are already a crony capitalist, fascist lite country. Full blown fascism is any easy next step. Trump will not stop it, in fact he is opening the door to it (potentially for the next racist leader that actually likes to kill people). The other possibility is civil war. Again, who is best equipped and temperamentally suited to bring factions together?
  14. 1 point
    Basically, if anything goes well, WhyNot will immediately attribute that to Trump enforcing or promoting some good policy and having been right all along, and if anything goes badly, will attribute that to the fact Trump "had to" bow down to consensus. It's a strange way of thinking, because if he wanted to be consistent, and if he thinks that Trump had to bow down, then he should think that Trump is making things worse by not standing by his principles. At which point he'll say your standards are too high. Such is the result of someone using anti-concepts, as you identified. For the sake of the entire thread, don't bother engaging him. You won't learn anything, even if you think you might. You'll get dizzy going in circles. I'm curious about your thoughts on Biden though?
  15. 1 point

    To whom belongs the Nile?

    Many natural resources are necessary for sustaining life, so of course you should have the right to access many natural resources. In this particular case, the issue is not whether the Ethiopia dam deprives Egyptians (and Sudanese) of their right to mother nature’s bounty, it is whether Ethiopia can take an action which impinges somewhat on the right of Egyptians, viewed collectively, to access water in a fashion that the Egyptian government sees fit. Egypt itself dams the Nile river for five primary purposes: drinking water, agricultural water, water to bathe with, flood control and hydroelectric. If the government of Egypt has the right to impound a river for hydroelectric purposes, the government of Ethiopia likewise has a right to impound a tributary of that river for hydroelectric purposes. Perhaps your position is that “necessity for sustaining life” is limited to drinking and agriculture. The governments have been quasi-negotiating over the filling of the dam for a decade, however Egypt demands that construction cease before negotiations can proceed. There are competing claims as to whether construction of the dam will effect water reaching the Aswan dam positively or negatively. (It now appear that Sudan, the third party in the matter, supports the Ethiopia dam). The problem with analogies to private water company regulations is (1) that the regulations differ according to jurisdiction and (2) there is no government that runs the world (or, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt). While water companies extract a small fraction of the water from a source which they do not entirely own, these dams impound (but do not extract) all of the water. Whether or not people who receive water piped directly to their houses are charged a fee for that service is really up to the owner of those water rights. It is quite true that the governing body that dispenses your right to your property can and does impose legal requirements on you, w.r.t. your property. Different governments allows e.g. that you can camp on a person’s property, a suitable distance from the house; you have the right to walk a traditional path; you may or may not restrict walking access to the beach in front of your house. We have “wetlands regulations” which require you to “compensate the environment” if you drain a swamp. There is clearly no limit to what limits governments can impose on your property rights. Within the context of actions in a single legal jurisdiction, the matter is resolved trivially: follow the law. There are competing theories of these “public goods” such as air, water, sunlight and wildlife. A general first-cut rule of riparian rights is that the public’s right to travel is paramount, so you cannot block a navigable river (on which count, the Aswan dam is an infringement of rights). But the state has the power to override such rights, in support of some other public good. It’s then a matter of politics to determine whose interest is superior: is my interest in a productive fish-filled river running through my property superior to your interest in impeding the river for water, electricity or irrigation? What purposes constitute “sustaining life?”. Remember, life is an active process, it is not just morgue-avoidance. A hydroelectric dam supports life, just as a drinking-water dam supports life. While we may abstractly agree that all of the people living along the Nile and its tributaries have the right to enjoy the benefits of these rivers, we still don’t have a unified framework for allocating this finite resource. Some solution can be devised which equally protects the rights of all of these people, but it requires codification and enforcement by… the United Nations, as the existing One World Government, I suppose. But then, we are clearly outside the realm of “rational, rights-respecting governments”.
  16. 1 point

    Rand and the Greeks

    One of the points made in Peikoff's History of Philosophy was the need of a strong ethic in order to draw a popular following, made in reference to the question of why Aristotle had not caught on, and rather the decline of philosophy into the Hellenistic period. My summary from that lecture, in notes of Epicurus of Samus, identified the following: Epicurian Swerves - deterministic, non-causal. As in art, the artist communicates their more often implicit philosophy into their respective mediums, so it would seem that the philosophers, too, may reveal via selection and omission, beyond the content of their works.
  17. 1 point
    The passage you quoted sounds like he was describing a bottom up process, where stimuli are gradually processed by afferent neurons in the nerve signals are sent to your spinal cord, up the brainstem, then spread out to the cerebellum and the rest of your brain. This isn't controversial, and very easy to observe by any neuroscientist when they look at neurons directly. By the sound of it, what he terms emotion is bottom up. As I recall, Damasio makes a distinction between feelings and emotions. It doesn't say anything about top-down processes, which undoubtedly exist, where signals are sent the opposite direction, through efferent neurons at the very end. Any cognitive psychologist like Damasio believes in top-down processes. You would be right if he was claiming that all brain processing is bottom up. That would be the thinking of a radical behaviorist probably, who effectively thinks everything is the result of bottom-up processing.
  18. 1 point
    They would be misinterpreting him. Damasio means that emotions precede reason in terms of neural development, and psychological development beginning as an infant. This isn't an epistemological claim about how one ought to think, as if we must depend upon emotions as a means to knowledge before we begin reasoning. Although a system of reasoning requires a system of emotions in terms of how the brain functions, it doesn't follow that emotions are of primary importance (and Damasio doesn't say that emotions are primary). The link you gave shows this basically. I don't think he's making any deeper claim than "emotions should not be ignored!". As a psychologist I disagree with some of his theory on the level of details, but his general idea is good.
  19. 1 point
    It's been many years since I read a few of Gerald Edelman's books, so my memory of their content has faded. Anyway, he made a similar distinction between primary consciousness and higher consciousness. An Amazon search on his name will give a longer list of the books he wrote.
  20. 1 point
    For anyone interested in these issues, I'd encourage getting in hand Damasio's layout of core/extended consciousness and core/extended self in The Feeling of What Happens. For introduction it is easy to view Antonio Damasio on his book Self Comes to Mind, especially 4, 5, 7.
  21. 1 point
    Hey there Bill, I know exactly what you mean. I look at my earlier permissiveness and assumption of good intent from other people as an automatic given, with depression.
  22. 1 point

    Feynman And Ayn Rand

    Definitions exist within a context of knowledge. If you don't know what "talking" means, then you're probably not worth talking to.
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