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  1. I think there is more to "man qua man" than people who like to philosophize are willing to dive into. There are certain rational shortcuts and superficial calculus' we like to throw at things like the trolley problem or the definition of a human (recall the story of the throwing of a plucked chicken to ridicule "featherless biped" as the definition of man). IF man WERE cannibals, by nature, by flavor, by urge, by intuition, by evolution, culture, and institution, then what makes a person thrive should probably involve some cannibalism, as well as some virtues for avoiding being supper. BUT our nature is NOT cannibalism. Letting defenceless babies of our own nature, other individuals, other persons, other ends in themselves whose natural life includes parental or adult care, simply die for the want of it... when each and every one of us was provided... had to be provided with it ourselves... offends our very nature. It is not simply emotional... nor outside the realm of rational... it is part of what makes humans what we are. No matter what kinds of rationalizations people bandy about to support dehumanization , or inhuman existence... they imagine we can be anything, but an anything is nothing in particular. We have natures, and the order of nature is in us, we are human, and at the root ARE things like our our innate ability to respond and to care for children. So to be sane, to be healthy, flourishing humans... we are our children's keepers. Parents first, family second, friends and local people, and the rest of us at large if only temporarily, until someone takes over.
    4 points
  2. There are no long term studies on mRNA covid vaccines, none. You are no different than people who place blind faith in institutions. Fear is a mind killer , you are fully boosted , right ?
    2 points
  3. Stephen Boydstun provided the following as an example of the government's attack on the gold standard. “Genuine free banking, as we have noted, exists where entry into the banking business is totally free, where banks are neither subsidized nor controlled, and where at the first sign of failure to redeem in specie, the bank is forced to declare insolvency and close its doors.” Doug, it looks like Murray Rothbard's book The Mystery of Banking is a good resource on this controversy, including the historical record. The book is available online. Pages 197-234 of the book (220-257 in the PDF pagination) look to be exactly the pertinent material, though it is challenging and probably requires some portions earlier in the book to understand it well. (i would suggest starting one page earlier.)
    2 points
  4. In each of the following your friends may have additional questions, so try to be prepared to answer such. "Ayn Rand’s raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, “The Fountainhead.”" "Rand’s hero Roark, in fact, “raged” so much in her novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite." It can help in both these cases to provide context from the novel. Also, make the point that the encounter between Roark and Dominique is an unusual encounter between unusual people, not a guide to ordinary relationships. "Only billionaires should rule the world, Trump has suggested. And he tried to put it into place, installing a billionaire advocate of destroying public schools in charge of public schools, a coal lobbyist representing billionaires in charge of the EPA, an billionaire-funded oil lobbyist in charge of our public lands, and a billionaire described by Forbes as a “grifter” in charge of the Commerce Department. Trump’s chief of staff said that putting children in cages and billionaire-owned privatized concentration camps (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good." No one should rule the world. Such positions should be eliminated, not just filled by someone from a different faction. "Trump’s chief of staff said that putting children in cages and billionaire-owned privatized concentration camps (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good." Neither "illegal" immigrants nor anyone else should be put in cages or concentration camps. Imprisonment should only be for people convicted of serious crimes, which does not include "illegal" immigration, and should be done in a properly thought-out manner, especially if children are involved. Rand's personal life is not relevant to evaluating her philosophy. If anyone insists on digging into her personal life, we need to sort out actual imperfections from smears. " Rand believed that a government working to help out working-class “looters,” instead of solely looking out for rich capitalist “producers,” " The working class are producers, not looters. The looters are politicians who seize people's wealth. Government should not "help" anyone at anyone else's expense. Its sole proper function is to keep physical coercion out of it, leaving everyone free to produce and trade and to enjoy the fruits thereof. Of course Ayn Rand disagrees with the traditional Judaeo-Christian ethic of self-sacrifice, for reasons which she has explained. It might be helpful to explain about metaethics here, for those people that are willing to listen. "Ironically, when she was finally beginning to be taken seriously, Ayn Rand became ill with lung cancer and went on Social Security and Medicare to make it through her last days. She died a “looter” in 1982," Government takes a lot more from us in direct and indirect taxes and reduced economic efficiency than it ever gives back. Anyone who leads a basically productive life and does not vote or advocate for government handouts is entitled to take whatever government is willing to give back to them. Ayn Rand first explained this in "The Question of Scholarships", written long before she got cancer. "over a million dead Americans from Covid" I don't think Ayn Rand would be a vaccine denier or a vaccine skeptic. Lockdowns kill people too. "an epidemic of homelessness, and the collapse of this nation’s working class." This is the result of mixed-economy statism, certainly not of laissez-faire capitalism, which we haven't even approximated for a long time. (Here you may have to persuade people that this is a well-thought=out position, even if they still don't agree.) "the Republican Great Depression" (If people want to argue with the following, you may have to research it.) The gold standard provided a natural discipline which prevented monetary and financial matters from getting too far out of balance. The government sabotaged the gold standard and moved further and further away from it, giving more and more control to the Federal Reserve. In the buildup to the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve loosened money and banking up too much, creating a speculative bubble which had to burst sooner or later, creating a massive dislocation. The specific trigger that burst it was a combination of crop failure and financial panic. Then Herbert Hoover intervened in ways that may have been well-intentioned, but made things worse. He propped up wages and prices, pricing people, goods, and services out of the market. He signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff act, which restricted trade when it needed to be opened up, and provoked retaliatory restrictions from other countries. If Hoover had been a do-nothing President as some people say, the Depression would not have lasted as long or been as bad. "pitting Americans against each other, and literally killing people every day." It is mixed-economy statism that does this, not laissez-faire capitalism. Mixed-economy statism pits people against each other in pressure-group warfare and impairs the functioning of the economy. "get billionaires and their money out of politics" The way to do this is to get away from mixed-economy statism and the resulting pressure-group warfare, and establish laissez-faire capitalism. (Sorry, I can't get rid of the bolding here.)
    2 points
  5. No, I have never denounced Tony. Where do you get this?
    2 points
  6. Whenever the fetus has become capable of sustained survival outside the womb with or without artificial support, it is a living being worthy of adult protections and support (far beyond such worthiness of one's dog, for example). And adults willing to step up and provide that protection and support should have a right against interference with their project by other adults. As to when an infant or child becomes a person, that is a gradual process. We usually and correctly think of individual rights as belonging to (obtaining between) autonomous human persons and sourced in such personhood. In abortion rights and child rights, the question all along the way is not about rights of the little one not yet autonomous, but about rights of various adults concerning protection and support of the particular little one at all stages of development. Persons not the mother don't have a proper right to control the pregnancy until the fetus is capable of sustained life outside the womb with or without artificial support. It is only then that support-projects by persons not the mother can get underway without impressing the mother into service of their project. In other words, when does the fetus/infant become a person has always been a faulty and distracting way of looking at the rights that are actually in play over Law concerning abortion. Rights between various adults are the whole story.
    2 points
  7. Boydstun

    Guns in America

    "While the shooter, 20-year-old Douglas Sapirman, fired 24 rounds from an AR-15-style rifle, Dicken did not hesitate to use the Glock handgun he was legally carrying. Sapirman was "neutralized" within two minutes, police said." Hero Within that CNN story in the link, is a story of a shooting in Colorado in which police arrived, mistook the private rescuer for shooter and fatally shot him. A thing like that happened in the small country town where my Mom lived her whole life, in southern Oklahoma near the Red River. There had been an armed robbery of the bank going on, a local man wrestled the gun away from the robber and was holding it on the robber when the police arrived from a neighboring, larger town. The police shot the good guy, but fortunately, in this case, it was only a wounded arm, and he lived.
    2 points
  8. necrovore

    Guns in America

    My "conspiracy theory" is that people wrote books hundreds or in some cases thousands of years ago, and then died of old age, but many people today are still following those books, and their actions come out to be coordinated even if they do not communicate with each other at all, because they are following the same books. That may not be true for much longer. The environmentalists are now banning nitrogen fertilizer in places. If this becomes widespread, billions of people will starve, and I think the environmentalists would welcome that as "less of a load on the Earth." (Of course Peikoff quoted one of them as saying "we can only hope that the right virus comes along," and along comes COVID-19...) The selfishness of self-defense is a virtue. (I use "selfishness" here in the Ayn Rand sense, which could be described with redundancy as "selfishness without victims.") There is something in Atlas Shrugged (probably from Ragnar Danneskjold) about the killed attacker achieving the only destruction he has any right to achieve -- his own. And I suppose it's okay to regard it as a sad thing if someone commits suicide, perhaps more so if they do it at your hands, as it were... Technically the Left is correct that they are "more Christian than the Christians," in the sense that they are more consistent about self-sacrifice than the Republicans. The Republicans support both freedom and Christianity, even though consistency would make it an either-or choice. A lot of Republicans are too anti-conceptual to see the contradictions, and they don't want to see them. (They sometimes argue that such inconsistencies prove that reason is inadequate by itself and that religion is necessary, but this argument is circular, because it is religion that creates the inconsistencies in the first place.) In the past I have interacted with atheist groups, but was disappointed that they wanted to be "Good without God" which suggests that if you take God out of the Bible you can get something good. Thomas Jefferson also tried that, writing his own Bible with the miracles edited out, or so I've read. But if you secularize Christianity and make it more consistent, you get Communism, as Ayn Rand observed. Thomas Paine ended up a Communist, if I remember correctly... (I don't recall the chronology around this.) Ayn Rand was right to call selfishness (as she defined it) a virtue. American intellectuals have been unwilling to embrace what she said (or even read it I think), but what is left of the originally American sense of life seems to understand it perfectly (without reading Rand or knowing that she provides a logical basis for it). It is this sense of life that the Left seeks to destroy, and they are trying to use Christianity as a tool with which to do it. I hope this is not successful; I would hope it undermines support for Christianity instead, but far too many people would rather give up consistency.
    2 points
  9. Here is another to complement the Barber: Korngold Violin Concerto
    2 points
  10. And the western propaganda is owned - factually and morally - by the Ukraine Gvt. and military (and so on) - which is party to the conflict. So? The minimum amount of "prudence" would be to follow every source discerningly, but you like to ignore that I've said so. I have been following RT for 4 months. If there were several other Western newspapers which exposed contrasting facts, I'd obviously read and quote those. It is telling that there are not. They all sheepishly copy one another in essence. For propaganda to work, it has to be as universal as possible. All news reports must be initially suspected of a priori bias and subjectivity, until found innocent (rarely). It's useless explaining to you how indoctrinated in one, prepackaged, world-view you are. I understand how oblivious to the bulk of information most people are: They have been prevented from hearing/seeing anything else but an easily-digested, constructed Narrative. In the interests of group-think, mind control. Anyway, all that is 'out there' may disturb their delicate feelings - and force them to think.. You have one standard by which to measure all the News you hear : Reality. Surely, you know this. I see from you a conformist acquiescence to the unquestioning, moral Orthodoxy about this war. Which shows little grasp of "reality" - that which occurs and exists over and above and *despite*- what other people in news outlets inform you. Explaining, therefore, your belief, the ¬revealed knowledge¬ in western propaganda. I keep repeating, it's not only what they tell you, it's what they don't. Did you understand Lawrence's simple but incisive explanation of the propaganda method? In order to fill the 'omission gaps', by one or other media, one would seek out the most opposing sources and eventually, integrate one's knowledge. If you have the courage to face opposing info. It hurts to be disabused of one's pet premises, so for many, don't look!
    1 point
  11. I'm willing to look at the reports but they have to be coherent. The uptick in mortality can be causes by the sudden change in economics and Covid itself, and lock downs and changes in life style so it can be refuted. Reports of undetermined this or that simply means, they are undetermined, until they are determined. You are deciding to be the determiner. It's just not enough. The hold up here is the word "safe". Is the vaccine safe enough for the government to mandate it? No, not even if it were 100 percent safe, there is NO place for government to do that. Safe enough for someone at high risk to take it. Probably yes, including the manipulated media's reporting. The fact is that you are making an assertion based on some news source, or some information source. I am going with the media and my own personal experience and the recommendations of Doctors that I believe care. We could be wrong, but then, you could be wrong by that standard too, so the "you could be wrong" angle is a moot point. For instance, I will grant you that Biden is corrupt, that Ukraine is corrupt, and that the Covid jab has risks involved. But Biden and a Republican congress is better than a Trump with a Republican congress, meaning gridlock is best. That is not based on news sources, just an over all assessment. Ukraine is corrupt, but not corrupt enough for the population to abandon and not fight and die for their country. Again, I don't need a special new source to see that. And with Covid, again, no mandate on principle, but is it as dangerous as ingesting same amounts of arsenic? no it is not.
    1 point
  12. How did they find the time between kidnapping governors, tracking down grandmas and Epstein’s clients , the IRS should take notice , do more with less!
    1 point
  13. FBI raided Trump , the same FBI that protected the provably corrupt Biden.
    1 point
  14. The manner in which the crimes and corruption of the Biden Crime Family is discussed, is propaganda. Now that's the funniest thing I have seen this year! Thank you for that.
    1 point
  15. As if your examples you used couldn't be propaganda? Anyway, distorted information is a major issue from RT. Also, the Objectivist theory of history is basically that ideas and philosophy shape what the public at large believes. Stopping at modern history being shaped by propaganda is more like a Leftist analysis of history where the powers of capitalism manipulate the average person through false consciousness brought about by large media corporations. You are blaming capitalism centrally (which of course makes the US take the most criticism), including big Pharma ("they want us to think that vaccines are safe!"), political dynamics manufactured by the media, and to top it off, that the West is completely up to no good for just about any conflict or disagreement. All you do that is really different is that you avoid using the word capitalism.
    1 point
  16. "Orderly election process" is the funniest thing I have seen this year. Thank you.
    1 point
  17. I used five examples to show that 'western' , 'main stream media' or 'corporate media' uses propaganda to persuade the public at large to believe their narratives and that the proof is the ridiculous situations that are manifest in the real world. These situations could only come about if enough of the 'public at large' was fed only so much biased distorted information. Biden sold his influence while in office to agents of foreign governments , if not the governments themselves. The 'proof' is in Hunter Biden's personal data that became public. The Biden's have not disputed the authenticity of the data it is prima facie evidence of corruption , it literally could not be more blatant. That information was 'publicly' available prior to November 2019. And yet Biden was elected by the highest popular vote total ever, I think. How did a provably corrupt official garner such popular support? Is Biden a successful demagogue , his soaring rhetoric and personal appeal won over the majority of the voting public ? His political and legislative career was so laudable and impressive that his 'track record' made him the obvious choice even in the face of the proof of his corruption?
    1 point
  18. EC

    Theory of Mind

    1 point
  19. Why not directly to the AI Report ??? Or to a source which is NOT of one of the belligerents ? Russia Today is 100% owned by the Russian government, which is party in the conflict. The minimum level of prudence would suggest to find, for yourself, another source. Towards the readers of OO, the minimum level of honesty would be the same - to refer to a source which is not suspect a priori of bias. But no, for a strange reason, for years you have been taking your info from RT, you have been educated by it, you foolishly trust it. Your views about the West have been at least influenced, if not defined, by RT, despite of the - residual - skepticism you claim having on it.
    1 point
  20. EC

    Theory of Mind

    @dream_weaver Thankfully reality is the final arbiter of truth and not other Objectivists who keep their mind stuck in only one version of Schrödinger's cat box. Even the one's I highly respect 😉
    1 point
  21. You been taken to task for linking nothing but RT articles. If you linked other sources as well, or even compared and contrasted RT articles with articles from others, then I wouldn't have said anything. You haven't joined in on the skeptical analysis of RT articles, as you proposed we do. Worse, when we ask what your point is about linking a particular article, you don't really say. Read a bit more carefully, one notable thing that they have done here is take a quote and then chop it up within the same sentence, not as a simple gap like a pause in what somebody said. This is a way to get it to feel like a paraphrase, but it gives just enough room to exaggerate or minimize a phrase by the words the insert in between. "NATO should still “increase force presence in the east” but focus on “defensive” capabilities and re-evaluate activities such as drills “to avoid creating a false impression of preparation for offensive action,” the researchers said." See how the word focus is put just before defensive? We don't have any context for the word defensive, and the word 'but' is in there even though increasing force presence is not necessarily offensive. It's trying to suggest that NATO is obviously planning an invasion or assault and there's no way it could be defensive. The paragraph here by RT makes you want to believe that increased force presence is the opposite of defensive, and anything that appears defensive is actually an attempt to hide preparation for offensive action which is in the form of increased force presence. I think this kind of quote splitting is always on purpose, it is a pretty good way to notice a subtext. Your first reaction should be to look at the report that it is quoting, did you do that? Here it is: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1971-1.html This isn't some special attention I'm giving to RT because I hate it, I do this thing with any kind of article I read about world events. Democracy Now is not so bad as an information source for this conflict, or at least because it isn't one of the actual participants in the conflict.
    1 point
  22. A trap set for Putin. First I've heard of this notion I ventured, voiced explicitly by any analyst. Short, sweet:
    1 point
  23. How you answer a question probably has to depend to some extent on just what the question is, making it more difficult to give advice. You may wish to consider focusing less on the FDA's motives and more on the basic principles that say the FDA, and government in general, shouldn't have this kind of power. I might be tempted to say that with government agencies, resistance is futile, with the last three words delivered in a Borg tone. (If you don't know what that is, ask a Star Trek fan.)
    1 point
  24. Yup, it would be nice if you did that, I agree.
    1 point
  25. They all indicate possession of something i.e. a "pairing of". But: My country My planet are two that can indicate ownership similar to wife or child. As in "belonging to". This type of ownership has an element of responsibility while the others don't. It's almost ownership of consequences. What you own, you are responsible for i.e. consequences of "it's" actions should have ramification to the owner. If it is profit, the owner profits, if it is loss, they lose. If your child breaks the neighbor's window, you own the problem. It's yours. Not like your eye color, but like standing in front of the judge and pleading your case.
    1 point
  26. I'm not talking chattel or slavery or any absolute right to "them" but a particular right to interact in a certain way. Ownership rights ultimately is a definition of the boundaries between people. How would you differentiate you're wife from the neighbor's? Basically isn't there a message "don't cross this line regarding my wife"? It's unwritten but isn't it there? Ownership of anything indicates an exclusive way of relating to it, that others don't have and shouldn't have. I would argue this type of exclusive relationship between you and to your body exists that should not be violated by others. That is true of a mother of an unborn too.
    1 point
  27. One of the problems that makes the issue extra difficult is that both in Objectivism and in Libertarianism, the role and place of children is not well defined. The other issue that you are making a case for "compassion" which on one hand is a behavioral but also an emotional response. If we go the evolutionary route, we have some monkey traits in us. The natural love of children is one of them. I have seen Christian apologists argue against atheists by saying "If there was no Christian morality, you would eat your children". And yet we don't … and we won't. Because, I would agree, it is not our nature. But why is it not our nature? The answer must be related to evolution. That answer is a "species" survival argument. Most here don't seem to want to follow that line of thinking and emphasize it, but it all seems to fall into that area. We are not ALL cannibals all of the time, because won't survive. We are not all sociopaths because societies can't form in the first place because of the anti social behaviors. So we have a nature that promotes our species to survive. That desire may be inherent like the desire to eat, and the desire to have sex most likely is part of that. But that is simply motivation, i.e. we are motivated to do that by nature. If survival of the species is objectively a human value, then we should take care of children and other humans, every chance we get. Boydstun brought up that Branden had said something positive about preserving one's species. I don't see it as being used as a core argument, while justifying sacrifice for a child may hinge on it. Furthermore, I would put forth the idea that emotions do count in ways that we may not allow (as Objectivists). As in, there is more to do around the question of "where do emotions in fact fit in" within the thought process. Not that we can feel our way to the truth, but our feelings must have a say in the final conclusion of the next steps we will take in our lives. So the current argument is something like: it would be disgusting, heinous, to willingly/on purpose, abandon/walk away from a helpless child. That is not natural. Fine. But if you see many children being abandoned do you have the right to force someone to take care of them is still the question. Even acknowledging our natural tendencies we don't have that right. Children don't have that positive right, just as adults don't have it. But they do have the negative right, as in, that of not being harmed by force. Love should not be legislated, as to make it duty. Love is a natural response and what is loved is in the eyes of the beholder. At the core of liberty is to not love, or to not respond as if you love someone. Meaning there is a right to indifference. It's just not mentioned very often.
    1 point
  28. I see, so it is the law of the land. Meaning, currently, the mother does not have complete control after the viability stage.
    1 point
  29. What exactly is your point with these links - clearly and succinctly ?
    1 point
  30. Right, about as socialist as they come. Which means do not read - ever! You might never recover. Something I've tried to get across, the cover doesn't represent the contents. I advise, read and consider a range of journalists' broader knowledge and deeper understanding in isolation from where you find it, and "who" they are. Within the context of this war and about the actors involved, as these do, at minimum: they are not espousing "socialism" here, but offer a contrarian view based on facts and evidence. Facts and evidence which one can learn from (and triple-check).
    1 point
  31. https://mronline.org/2022/04/19/one-less-traitor/ https://mronline.org/2022/07/22/how-corrupt-is-ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelensky/ https://mronline.org/2022/07/20/russias-campaign-in-ukraine-nearing-an-inflection-point/
    1 point
  32. Here is my original article on the topic (which was in 1983, not 1984).
    1 point
  33. That would be "physically speaking", rather than "philosophically speaking". Viability is purely a physical condition. That there are parties willing to support the viable fetus does not confer the status "viable". It is rather: passing the point of viability, others can take on the project of support without requiring continued pregnancy of the mother. To your question, ET: Yes, just as the volunteered custodian (or the agencies for such possible custodians) has rights in the matter of other people's children in the community. Their right is not over the body of the pregnant woman, but over a part of her body coincident with the whole. Specifically, it is a right over what anyone, including the mother, can do with that entity once it is assessed as viable. A right against the killing of the viable fetus, delivered infant, or young child is not a right those developing little characters hold against all the adults in the community, rather, it is the right of adults in the community against anyone killing those living entities. Admittedly, the right stems from the specialness of the project of making progeny of the human species. (The community would not have a right against our family killing at birth an undesired litter of pups from our dog.) (This way of looking at the abortion issue I have advocated [since first formulating it in 1984] was built around Rand's idea of what a right is, which partly but importantly included the point that rights are coordinating principles under which each person is left, vis-a-vis others, to their autonomous self-activity. Keeping moral obligations to others tied to potentials or actualities of the others making their own life, composed of certain sorts of projects, is also consonant with Rand's ethics. However, if one lets that idea of Rand's I mentioned above, near the end of her essay "Causality versus Duty" that the only rational obligations between people are those by promise, agreement, and contract, run everywhere; then one cannot go the way I have gone on this. With my outlook, of course, contract cannot be the only way under which governments can be legitimate. I'd like to mention, however, that while I have described all this as "my outlook", that cannot be a fully correct ascription. I have my own metaphysics now, and because of a couple of differences in its most basic part with Rand's in its most basic part, it seems likely that if I were to develop a value theory and ethical theory [partly] upon that new base it would differ from what can be drafted from Rand's.)
    1 point
  34. Those conflicting sources are rife. In almost all the mainstream media you get to see, I can be certain. Is it too difficult to entertain other conflicting sources? Something you don't admit to, that there exists, and has for a long while, an indoctrinating and largely Leftist, western reportage - which is for its adherents, generally accepted as Gospel. Sure, no one likes to acknowledge that their minds have been easily influenced. You don't approve of (Russian) government sources - despite many international broadcasters being Gvt. owned - fine and good; it should be simple for you to counter and contrast an (e.g.) Russia Today's report with some from western media. Why haven't you? Instead of negatively hiding behind "prove it" - be proactive, offer some contrary accounts (and definite opinions). I welcome any. I have seen nothing from you showing and linking to ¬msm¬ reports - perhaps too - critically questioning their factual evidence and clear bias. The belief that one side in this conflict alone is evidently, factually honest and the other side deceives all the time, aligns with the a priori belief that moral purity exists on one side - with only evil on the other. Both run against reality and reason, premised upon 'revealed' knowledge - faith. In all, I have simply been the messenger, indicating that there are other facts (or 'non-facts') and other viewpoints available "out there", ones suppressed in the West, not heard of. These ought to be welcomed by rigorous thinkers. Discussions and speeches I put up have not attracted any analysis or debate here. E.g. What merit are Mearsheimer's opinions of NATO and the Russian objections? Not a reply. In closing, I am under no obligation to "prove" anything that comes from media sources. Because - I was not there on the spot, to personally witness events. As nobody here is, therefore we have to painstakingly draw deductions from ¬all¬ we hear. But I take the view that Objectivists are independent thinkers who aren't timid about uncovering reality without fear or favor.
    1 point
  35. That what is going on between Russia and Ukraine is that an independent and sovereign country was military attacked and an attempt is made to suppress dissolve it or at least continue to dismember it and incorporate the pieces. Crimea was already swallowed (in 2014), and parts of Donbas were already detached from Ukraine. With the second stage of the war, which started 5 months ago, the process continues with a much higher intensity. It is unique in that it takes place in the 21 century, in Europe, in violation of a dozen of treaties regarding the independency and territorial integrity of post-soviet countries. It is a textbook case of naked, cynical, perfidious aggression, similar to Nazi Germany (and Russia’s) aggression of Poland in 1939, which started WWII. For an Objectivism forum it is important as an opportunity to discuss the responses of USA and Europe to this war , from the point of view of Ethics and Political Philosophy PS: About In fact, - the problem is that Tony is NOT providing conflicting sources, he mainly and consistently provides information, and supports his claims, from governmental sources of one of the warring parties; - he is also not simply “missing the point”, he supplies “facts” he cannot (and is not willing) to validate.
    1 point
  36. 🤣🤣🤣 1. Look Tony, this is not a site where people post their works of fiction. Not in this section, anyway. I don’t think you got a license from this site’s owners which grants you the extraordinary privilege to be dispensed from the burden of grounding your assertions in FACT ! When asked for proof, you say that it is not available, that it is hidden from truth-tellers and truth-seekers because it is suppressed by powerful Forces. And thus we have a full circle – so typical of conspiracy theories. But, curiously, it is available to you through such notorious truth-seekers and truth-tellers as the Putinist Russia state-owned agencies like Russia Today, RIA Novosti, TASS and other Dimitri Simes’es. 2. I asked you to specify clearly if you agree about the following point of principle – about about legitimate sources for facts: «During a war it is useless to get the facts from the government-related sources of the warring parties: one knows they do engage in propaganda and, thus, one cannot a priori know which clams are true. I explained this before, but you did not comment. Therefore, “facts” (and, consequently also opinions) coming from these sources should have no place in our debate» You did nothing.
    1 point
  37. Oh please! This looks like a big giant dodge to me. If you think there's been ongoing persecution against those pesky Russo-Ukrainians just prove it already.
    1 point
  38. The social and legal persecution of Russian-speakers and ethnic Russians in Ukraine is a well-documented fact. The civil war over Donbas can be researched, while not much was publicized back then (or now). I don't see "a genocide" of the locals as Putin stated, and as little do I accept the "genocidal" motive of Russia's assault on Ukrainians. Not the slightest evidence for this, mere scare-mongering. The opposite, trying to avoid civilian casualties, is closer to true. However, civilians were certainly killed in the Donbas by Kyiv's indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas**, totaling combatant and non-combatant deaths above 22,000. If AI, the UN, and any organizations voiced concerns about that long civil war, I have not seen where they actively did a single thing to end it. That should raise suspicion by itself. Maybe, I speculate, they were told to butt out. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi0mpSYhoz5AhXEolwKHUdtDuYQFnoECBoQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FCasualties_of_the_Russo-Ukrainian_War&usg=AOvVaw2vgfH37WVebSyjea27Kdhz **exactly as Kyiv is once again doing recently.
    1 point
  39. I asked myself a similar question: if Russia knew that Russian-speaking Ukrainians were persecuted and murdered since at least 2014, did they do the usual minimum in such circumstances, which is alerting the relevant international organizations? Indeed, Putin's Russia invoked persecutions and genocide when annexing Crimea and during all the Donbass conflict (2014-2022). During the Donbass war and to this day, Putin's propaganda accuses Ukraine of genocide of civilians. The first to be alerted should have been the UN Security Council, where the Russian Federation is an important and powerful member. Accordingly, I examined, on the UN SC site, the list of projects of resolution, or other documents, introduced by RF concerning Ukraine. I found none. None whatsoever! (I found some introduced by Ukraine against RF concerning Crimea and Donbass which were vetoed by RF). The first project of resolution by Russia concerning Ukraine was introduced shortly after the February 24, 2022 invasion and dealt with an alleged development of bio-weapons by Ukraine in collaboration with US/NATO. RF seem to have withdrawn it, because it was never heard of again... On the other hand, the situation in Donbass was permanently monitored, since March 2014, by a "OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine". (OSCE is the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.) It found no major violations of the Laws of war, for example an unusually high proportion of the civilians. This mission was mandated by the 50+ participating countries and the mandate was extended every year by consensus. RF always voted for the extension, which means it had no major objections regarding a lack of objectivity. The Mission was stopped at the end of March 2022 because Russia voted against a new extension. The conclusion seems to be that in fact the alleged systematic persecutions and murdering / genocide did not occur and was just another excuse to justify the invasion, along with an alleged imminent attack by Ukraine in Donbass, and many other excuses which were invoked during the 5 months of war but never proved. Putin's real motivation seem to be a completely different one.
    1 point
  40. OMG, are you making fun of me? I asked you what did Stoltenberg exactly say. And you give me an article from... Russia Today (an a priory dubious publication, as it is by a governmental agency of one of the parties in conflict) with, supposedly, a quote from him, but also with a lot of many other irrelevant claims - I didn't even read. As if RT the only place it can be found! Couldn't you give me just the quote? Or you believe that if you refer me to RT, I would be more convinced of its authenticity?😁😁 I don't dispute the quote you gave: it happens😁 to be correct. Here it is, for reference: It is taken from where you should have quoted it, from the NATO site (see here). Instead, you took it from RT, together with the lying title "NATO's chief lets the cat out of the bag: US-led bloc has ‘been preparing since 2014’ for proxy conflict with Russia" plus other comments... Now, you implied that NATO had a plan to perpetrate provocations to induce Putin to invade. Two questions: a). How did you infer, from that quote, that NATO had a plan etc.? (b). Otherwise, on what other basis do you arrive at that conclusion?
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  41. Yes, when it was about me justifying my own claims, I did. I even accepted to reverse the onus of proof and I examined (and refuted) your claim (it was something about Minsk, see below). No. It doesn’t work that way. I made no claims regarding facts (except the two mentioned below, which I proved). I mainly disputed your „facts”. It is up to you, but not simply to source (one can find sources for anything), but to prove. AlexL: You ignored my points. Again. Yes, you did it, again! My main point was that during a war it is useless and stupid to expect objective information from sources of the warring sides. This is because one expects them to disseminate propaganda. And I noted that you (seem to) rely systematically on Russian sources belonging to government or related to it. Now about the Minsk agreements. I would like to take them off the table once and for all. We had in fact two distinct Minsk-related subjects. One was about Putin having signed it (or one of them). The second was about Putin having mentioned the Ukrainian non-compliance as one of the reasons of the February 24, 2022 attack. 1. Did Putin sign one of the agreements? Your initial claim was exactly this: “Minsk deal ... which Putin co-signed, btw”. I commented: “(BTW, Putin did NOT co-sign either of the two Minsk agreements; it took me less than 5 minutes to check...)” You did not acknowledge your error. It was a secondary point, but now you claim „You already made one wrongful accusation, which I verified from Wiki concerning Putin's presence at Minsk”, as if the dispute was about Putin's presence at Minsk (see here). 2. Did Putin invoke the Ukrainian non-compliance as one of the reasons of the February attack? You correctly assumed that the Minsk Agreements were important for Putin. From this you - wrongly - assumed that he signed them himself – see #1. To stress their importance for Putin, you claim that he was “using Minsk's failure as (one) justification to invade.” You even brought some references to support this, but the proved only that maybe in his head the Minsk non-compliance may have been one of his reasons of the February attack. Then I did what I was not legitimately expected to do: I DIS-proved your claim (see here). Putin listed the reasons for his „Special Operation” in his speech broadcasted the early morning of the February 24 invasion. I found the very official transcript of his speech on the very official Kremlin site, both in Russian and in English. The words “Minsk”, “accords” or “agreement” are absent... You never addressed this point from that comment of mine, or any other point… This seems to be a pattern of behavior, a telling one… PS: Besides, about Minsk agreements you made a lot of inexact claims. One of them: “Yelensky… the Minsk treaties he signed” (see here). This is not the moment to mention more of them, but in this Ukraine thread they abound… But you write: “I can't be bothered to validate every trivial detail.” Yeah, detail, right! A flood of unverified “details”… from RT, or RIA Novosti, or from memory failures. If you disagree, just tell me, and I will bring some more examples. But I guess you won’t… But I might do it regardless 😉 And please address all my points.
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  42. It's like you can't conceive that someone would say unequivocally that Russia is significantly worse than the Ukraine and is responsible for great moral fault. You have rationalized that by saying you have lower standards for Russia than the West morally speaking, refusing to engage many questions unless you can blame NATO or the Ukraine for irritating Putin (you don't bother answering questions about what you think), and your only source for any claim is RT. I already went over before how one story was not putting forth facts and statements, but using adjectives and descriptions that directly distort factual information. Adopting an official language was portrayed as banning the Russian language. If you don't notice this, you aren't paying attention. Why should he bother? You aren't going to bother responding, you don't typically respond to people breaking down arguments. Did you literally not understand what I said about the difference between something being authoritarian by nature by its very functioning, and something being authoritarian as merely an individual act? But hey, if you think you are really living in an authoritarian dictatorship, and Russia is no better, I guess enjoy your fantasy? Jon Letendre is enjoying his with his qanon LARP campaign. You didn't verify it and present the evidence to us (I looked) and it was a big part of your claim for Putin's justification for invasion (you never did say Russia's invasion was moral, explicitly, but defense of justifications indicates moral defense). It doesn't help when your only source is RT.
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  43. "A new season of war". Why do I report "Russian propaganda"? Because no one hears the "other story", as here, the background events glossed over, hidden, indeed suspiciously stifled, in the West's media - out of sight out of mind, like a falling tree which did not make a sound. This conflict supposedly started on 24 Feb? If you were living there, in eastern Ukraine, not quite. [edited for brevity] 17 Jul, 2022 14:38 "A view from Donbass: Ukraine has treated the people of this region as sub-humans, this made peace impossible" How Kiev has tried to dehumanize people in its former East – first domestically, then everywhere By Vladislav Ugolny, a Russian journalist based in Donetsk: "The military conflict in Ukraine, which began on February 24, was preceded by a long war in Donbass. Over the course of eight years, it claimed the lives of at least 14,200 people (according to the OHCHR), over 37,000 were wounded, hundreds of thousands became refugees or had their homes destroyed. A de-escalation was achieved in February 2015, as both sides realized that a bad peace was better than a good war, and attempted to find a political resolution on the basis of the Minsk agreements. That, however, failed to bring peace to Donbass, which instead faced eight long years of economic and legal blockade, compounded by chaotic shelling of areas near the frontlines. They were eight hard years, which involved rebuilding bombed schools, hospitals, and houses, a rather humiliating dependence of formerly well-to-do people on humanitarian aid, an economic slump due to the economic blockade imposed by the Ukrainian government, restricted access to pensions, and the risk of being wounded or killed for those who lived in urbanized frontline areas. People who voted for the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the referendum in May 2014 could never have imagined living in this endless terror. They were forced to wait for that terror to stop until February 2022, when Russia recognized the independence of Donbass and then deployed its military to, among other things, protect it and liberate territory occupied by Ukrainian forces since 2014. It hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park, but the people of Donbass now know that war will soon be over for them. The people’s militias of both republics are doing everything in their power to achieve victory as soon as possible. It may seem to an outside observer that some citizens of Ukraine backed by the Russian military are fighting other citizens of Ukraine backed by NATO. This description, however, would satisfy neither side of the conflict. Donbass residents no longer consider themselves citizens of Ukraine, while the Ukrainian government and society at large deny their sovereignty and dismiss them as collaborators and mercenaries for Russia. Both are wrong. In reality, it was precisely this denial of sovereignty that led Donbass to renounce everything having to do with Ukraine, and it started way before 2014. Let me add here that what was said above applies to the whole southeastern region of Ukraine, also known as Novorossiya; however, the case of Donbass was the most dramatic and revealing manifestation. It all began with dehumanization. After gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine was too big to be uniform. The enthusiasm of Galicia in the west to build a nation-state was mixed with depression in the southeast over the loss of a shared economic space with Russia. Machine building in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, and Zaporozhye declined, Odessa’s Black Sea shipping operations were shut down. The country survived thanks to metallurgy and coal mining. Both industries were centered around Donbass. [...] Children were killed in Donbass. Nobody gave a damn, except Russia and the repressed Russians in the rest of Ukraine.... All of this convinced Donbass it had the moral high ground, which allowed it to stand tall and weather eight years of incredible hardship. The Ukrainians were granted the chance to reach a political settlement with the Minsk agreements, if they agreed to treat Donbass as a sovereign region within Ukraine. Had they done this, Donbass would have lost interest in politics, returned to its industrial roots, and left policymaking in the hands of western Ukraine again in a few years’ time. But they wouldn’t do this, even for the sake of stopping the war. Recognizing the sovereignty of Donbass was a red line for Ukraine, and so was dialogue with Donbass. The Ukrainian leadership stuck to those red lines even after Russia said it was going to put an end to the ongoing slaughter at its doorstep. So, what we now have is a new season of war, which has been going on for Donbass since 2014. The two people’s republics’ armies are storming Ukrainian fortifications as the Ukrainian military continues to bomb residential areas in Donetsk. People in Donbass stopped wondering “what they are capable of.” Now they know that the Ukrainian army and government are capable of anything – bombing cities, torturing people, and trying to pass off Donetsk people that they killed for Kiev residents, supposedly killed by Russian missile strikes. The only thing they can’t do is admit that the citizens of Donbass are people just like them, people who have their own interests and are prepared to fight for them until they win or die in battle". https://www.rt.com/russia/559061-children-donbass-world-not-care/
    1 point
  44. Boydstun

    Theory of Mind

    KyaryPamyu, You added “+ things it comes in contact with actually exist.” That is on the correct line, meaning line to truth, I say. From our science we know that lines, their orientations, and object shapes are actually in the distal stimulus that results in the proximate stimulus—the photo-receptors at the retina, whose stimulations get processed at LGN and visual cortex with all their interconnections. No concepts are needed for the integral shape of a baseball in one's hand to be discerned by hand and by vision. No economization by unit-economies or set-memberships are in necessary play at that perception of shape. In Kan’t mine/not-mine view of sensory perception, he had the matter or content of the sensation be the matter or the content of the “sensible intuition,” be the not-mine component, and the spatial form such as line, configuration, and shape be the mine component, even though in experience, we do not have a sense of it as mine, but as not mine. His arguments that spatial forms are really mine rather than not-mine are really aimed at explaining how Euclidean geometry, true of the empirical world as we experience it, is possible, given the methods we actually use in Euclid and the universality and necessity we arrive at in truths of geometry. His explanation of how it is possible—that space and its Euclidean relations are form contributed by the faculty of sensible intuition—is false and fantastical. But Rand and her intellectual comrades failed at refuting or displacing Kant’s explanation, wrong and (to modern heads) laughable as that explanation might be. Talking about perceptual form in a sophisticated modern, realist theory of perception, and talking about theory of concepts in which set- and unit-ways of looking at things subsumed under concepts do nothing to explain how the method used in geometry (synthetic geometry, not analytic geometry) is successful in attaining truths with the character of necessity and generality they possess come about, indeed how they are possible. Rand should have opposed Kant’s tenet that all formality is necessarily the product of the subject in episodes of perception. There is elementary form—such as the betweenness-relations (my right index finger is between my right thumb and right middle finger), a right-hand glove is an inversion of a left-hand glove, and so forth—belonging to concrete particulars and belonging to them as particulars and independently of our perception or any overt cognitive process concerning them. Kant’s notion that formalities in our perceptions and understanding do and must bar our discernment of mind-independent reality then dissolves. The betweenness-relations among my fingers may require some conceptualization to fully firm in mind, but like some similarities and magnitude-relations, which Rand did notice (ITOE App. 217, 199–200, 278–79), those betweenness-relations are physical relations lying in the physical, extra-mental world. Hilbert lifted betweenness-relations to the honor of primitive relations useful for a rigorous Euclidean geometry. Their residence, I notice, is not only as elements of an abstract geometry but in given physical reality. Rand understood that some similarities and comparative degrees of similarity found in perception lead the formation of concepts tuned to the world given by perception. However, Rand’s theory is an account suitable to only concepts of kinds of things and their contrasts and their taxonomic hierarchies. It is not an account aiming to account for our conceptual knowledge of spatial relationships or adequate to account for conceptual geometric knowledge. How from sensory experience do we learn that two points determine a line? Randian empirical abstraction from sensory experience to the concept line (straight line) together with the concept points will not yield the certain truth that any two points determine a unique straight line containing them (cf. A25 B39–40). And we do not come to know definitively such a thing by empirical testing such as eventually we came to know the existence of atoms. Kant innovated a theory of how we have such conceptual geometric knowledge (B40–41), a horribly mistaken one, needing outright detailed replacement, which is not to be found in Rand (directly).
    1 point
  45. Tony, when you said "here", did you mean specifically South Africa? Or are the news sources there pretty much the same as in Europe? We stopped watching TV for news a couple of years ago. The flow of information in talking is much slower than in reading. In the US, you never have to listen to a President giving an address or news conference; you can just look up the text later at Whitehouse.gov. I've never relied on social media (cauldrons for relished vicious big lies between its participants every day) for news. It is easy to discern biases in media, from the newspapers of past decades and centuries to CNN today. The prejudice of CNN television favoring H. Clintion leading up to the 2016 election was pretty darn obvious. In recent years, I read online news at BBC, CNN, and NYT. That last is by subscription; I had originally subscribed to get access to their digital archive of NYT in previous years, and that has proven very good for me: from the 1961 exchange between Sidney Hook and Nathaniel Branden over Rand's philosophy, to the 1957-58 coverage of the Asian Flu pandemic, to the public-intellectual responses concerning influences of German philosophy on German aggression in WWI. I wouldn't be surprised but what somewhere someone has opined, even hollered, that Germany was not the aggressor in WWI. I'm gonna go with the usual reports and textbooks that nail Germany as the agressor (and the loser), whatever its motivations and however prejudiced the anglophile element in America that eventually got America into the war on the side against Germany. The US was the agressor in Iraq (2003). Sadaam was the aggressor in Kuwait (1990). Russia was the aggressor in the Ukraine (2022). Has any of your sifting of news sources refuted any of that? Motives do not change who is the aggressor; aggression is not turned from wrong to right nor mitigated one iota by sympathetic motives such as benevolence or self-protection against possible future aggressions. I do think it is self-injury to approach all individuals and all media outlets with priority on building a circumstantial ad hominem case (that variety of informal-logic invalid case) against whatever they are reporting or arguing. That is, going around cooking up stories, top priority, of "Well of course so-and-so would say such-and-such given the circumstances of their life." And of course, I think it is self-deluding to pass off every view contrary one's own as being the result of biased media or education. You are probably familiar with that sort of distorting lens among Marxists, in which they would discount views opposing theirs as being the result of the economic class of their opponent. Self-blinding. Two things I've sifted from this war is that Putin has in the West an abundance of apologists for his aggression, and US Defense has a lot of information on Russian military manuevers and vulnerabilities, such as US ability to track Russian generals and US knowledge of a design weakness in Russian tanks. Think it through three times, Mr. Putin, before going nuclear.
    1 point
  46. Samuel Barber's violin concerto, first movement
    1 point
  47. Boydstun

    Atlas Shrugged

    I’ve followed up on the last paragraph of the preceding post. My American Heritage dictionary defines volition as: An act of willing, choosing, or deciding. A conscious choice; decision. The power or capability of choosing; the will. On their surface, one might slide into thinking those definitions come to free will. The debates over free will/determinism/compatibilism, however, are about whether and what sorts of freedom are behind willings, choices, and decisions. So in common usage volition is not equivalent to free will in a full-bodied sense. That is, volition does not mean free volition, but leaves open the controversy of whether and which volitions are free. When one looks in the index of The Virtue of Selfishness or of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand for free will, one is simply directed to see volition. Peikoff speaks of free will in OPAR (55), but clearly volition (meaning free volition) is his preferred term of art in expressing Rand’s theory. He remarks at the end of his discussion (55–72) that Rand’s layout of (free) volition, joining it inalienably to the conceptual power, fits this fundamental sort of freedom smoothly into the natural world and removes it from its modern refuge in constructs supernatural. Because of its common residence in distinctly religious frameworks, one might think it better to shift its name from free will to (free) volition in shifting the thing itself from its religious sanctuary into the light of plain day. Rand and subsequent Objectivists have used the term volition idiosyncratically in taking it to mean always free volition. Some of us, when young, first learned the term volition from writings of Rand and Branden and were not awakened to its meaning in the wider educated culture until we opened the dictionary on the term. This disparity is no great problem, I’d say. Blackwell’s A Companion to Ayn Rand (2016) indexes free will, and under volition the Index simply directs one to free will and to the subsidiary volitional under the entry reason. In his Chapter “A Being of Self-Made Soul,” Onkar Ghate has a subsection titled “Free Will” (107–12) with an endnote 9 in which he states: “Rand uses the terms ‘free will’ and ‘volition’ interchangeably, and I will follow suit.” (I see that incorrect conjugation of the verb to be, first person, simple future, in many scholarly books from some high class presses these days. Still, if you would like to avoid irritating some of the elderly, please use I shall and we shall for simple future tense when writing formally.) Ghate’s presentation is good (107–12), and he relies on and quotes from the Rand and Branden compositions that are included among the Objectivist references on free will that he lists in that endnote 9. Among those references, Rand, Peikoff, and Binswanger, had stuck with volition in preference to free will. Branden had traded expressly in free will all along. The Rand references are to Galt’s Speech and “The Objectivist Ethics,” and the Peikoff is OPAR. The Branden references are four articles in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist journal. The Binswanger reference is to a 1991 monograph in which he redrafted those Branden contributions and made some additions and cast all in a nicely biocentric way. Branden’s compositions were incorporated into his The Psychology of Self-Esteem – A New Concept of Man’s Psychological Nature (1969). That book indexes volition, and has for free will: see volition. Binswanger’s monograph treatment is incorporated into the “Free Will” chapter of his How We Know – Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation (2014). That book simply indexes free will/volition. (Binswanger’s monograph and book and Peikoff’s OPAR never write the name Branden, but with the Blackwell book, that dark public stamp of personal animosities in major Objectivist scholarly work has been dispelled with honest light.)
    1 point
  48. I only have a copy of The Ayn Rand Lexicon but I believe the essay is in CUI. Thinking of it another way: a copyright or a patent or a trademark (intellectual property) is the result of a contract between you and the government in which you say, "I've created this <something that constitutes intellectual property> and I would dearly love to publish it, however, I need some sort of guarantee that I will be ABLE to profit on it before I will do so." The government says, "That's great, and we recognize that intellectual property rights are absolutely necessary for the furtherance of a society, so we will recognize your right to this <something> for <this duration>." No government on earth (or anywhere else) could guarantee those rights FOREVER. It can't be done. And what, precisely, is the nature of a contract where one party claims they will do something that is, in fact, physically impossible? I'd call that fraud. As for the converse, if the government doesn't respect your intellectual property for a duration that you consider tenable: don't engage in the contract. No one FORCES anyone to file a patent, copyright, or trademark. This is one circumstance where the government is acting simply as the guarantor of a contract. However, unless your invention (and I'm going to dismiss copyrights and trademarks because those are so easy to copy it's not even funny) is so revolutionary that you could not reasonably expect someone to figure out how to reproduce it even through reverse engineering you'd quickly discover why the government MUST act as the guarantor in these situations.
    1 point
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