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  1. This discussion has been rather far removed from the fundamental principles regarding man’s rights, and has focused instead on notions of aggression, spreading (versus other means), sensory inputs, affecting a person, doing damage to body or property including creating a risk of same. It has included the idea that one can accidentally initiate physical force. The problem has been (for over a half century) that we (not exclusively Objectivists, referring to people who take the concept of “individual rights” to be an essential concept that must be understood) are constantly playing whack-a-mole by invoking a concept like “aggression”, then we get challenged as to what “aggression” is, then we refer “aggression” to something else. Rand has stated the fundamental principle, and in my opinion Schwartz has explicated it nicely. I quote a single sentence from his first page: “This concept of force applies exclusively to actions taken by human beings against human beings”. But it is not just “the unchosen” that we identify when talking about force. Second sentence bottom p. 1: “We thus identify the concept “force” to denote a physical action to which we are subjected against our will”. Finally, he makes the identification that “The concept of force pertains only to the volitional. It pertains only to physical actions taken by a volitional being to neutralize the choice of another volitional being” (emphasis added). Relating this to the mask-mandate, there is no question that the governmental requirement to wear a mask in the locally-mandated circumstances is the initiation of force. It is a particularly egregious initiation of force, since it is in all cases a use of special dictatorial power that is outside the rule of law – it is only justified because it is declared to be an “emergency”. There isn’t even a real law requiring you to wear a mask. Sweeping away the mask orders, the question then should be, what legal consequences should there be if you do not wear a mask? The same as if you walk your dog, drive your car, or grow a tree on your property. If you walk your dog and do not control it, and it eats the neighbor’s cat, you are liable for the damage. There is extensive legal background on this principle (it is millennia old). The government and legal system subsumes these concepts under the “duty of care”, which allows you to not care about another party’s interests up to a point, but you must care when your actions do “harm”. It is obvious that I am not talking about Objectivist theory here, I’m just stating what has always been a legal principle governing social interactions. There are two related challenges for Objectivists on this front. The first is to be able to sort actions which should have legal consequences versus one which should not. Dogs eating cats would be an example of the former. Using the pronoun “he” when the referent prefers to be identified as “she” is an example of the latter. The second is to find a system of reason that relates those identifications to general principles, consistent with Objectivism. Automatically labeling something as “initiation of force” is anti-reason. Presenting a clear line of reasoning from principles to conclusions is what it means to “reason”. So let us reason. The strongest claim that I find at all compatible with Objectivism is that one should not knowingly, willfully transmit a disease to another person without permission. The second strongest claim is that if you negligently cause harm to a person by your actions (or inactions), you bear responsibility for those choices. Masks are about the second kind of case, where the bar is being lowering for a claim of “negligence” (as well as corrupting the concept “cause”). It is always possible at any time that any person has some transmissible disease and does not know it. It cannot be a principle of civilized society that one must self-quarantine if it is possible that one has a transmissible disease (that virtually contradicts the notion of a “civilized society” – we must always self-quarantine; life is not possible). This discussion needs a better principle. What principle underlies the distinction between covid and the common cold? What scientific facts underlie claims about covid versus the cold or the flu? I don’t mean, what do the newspapers say, I mean what are the scientific questions and findings? Then how do those facts relate to a person’s proper choices? That is how I think this discussion should be framed.
    4 points
  2. Boydstun

    Anthem

    Ayn Rand’s novella ANTHEM, published in 1938 and revised in a 1946 edition, is set in a fictitious collectivist community, one smaller and simpler than Kira’s historical setting in WE THE LIVING. Rand’s ANTHEM is presented as a journal kept by her protagonist whose name is Equality 7-2521. He records that he dares to choose, in the secrecy of his own mind, work he hopes to do when leaving the Home of the Students. He loves the Science of Things. He hopes he will be selected to be a scholar, but the authorities appoint him to be a street sweeper. The technology of his isolated community is very primitive in comparison to an earlier lost civilization (ours). His people have candles, but not electricity. He discovers a subway tunnel from the ancient civilization, and he begins to experiment with electricity in secret at night. In his own community, each refers to himself as “we”. Of his secret work at night, he thinks: “We alone, of the thousands who walk this earth, we alone in this hour are doing a work which has no purpose save that we wish to do it” (1946, 23). In his love of the science of things, he is similar to Kira, and to Howard Roark and to John Galt, the principal protagonists of Rand’s later fiction. He is similar to Kira also in her “wanting to learn a work I like only because I like it,” and he is similar to her in standing against society made collectivist. Comes a moment to Equality 7-2521: “This moment is a sacrament which calls us and dedicates our body to the service of some unknown duty we shall know. Old laws are dead. Old tablets have been broken [by me]. A clean, unwritten slate is now lying before our hands [my hands]. Our fingers are to write” (1938, 125–26). The talk of breaking old tablets is an echo of Nietzsche’s “On Old and New Tablets” (Z III). However, the moral principles Equality 7-2521 would replace are the ones he had known in his one and only society, not the ones of wider world and history. He is not on the brink of writing principles entirely different from ones known in the ancient times, the times of the reader. His task of moral philosophy is not the task of the God of Moses nor the task of radical and continual transvaluation and self-overcoming that Zarathustra gives to human creators. Rand wrote ANTHEM (1938) in the summer of 1937. In her manuscript for ANTHEM, she continually tries to suit ideas of Nietzsche to her story, then scratches them out (Milgram 2005; Mayhew 2005). Naturally, I wonder if she was not also, in some of those same strokes of the pen, writing down ideas of Nietzsche that she had seen attractive as truth, or at least promising as truth, then rejecting them as inadequate to her own grasp of the truth. Writing one’s ideas down and reading them helps one think better. Near the end of the fable ANTHEM, our true searcher Equality 7-2521 announces: “And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men have come into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. “This god, this one word: ‘I’.” (1946, 90) In his community of origin, Equality 7-2521 had wanted to know the meaning of things, the meaning of existence. He had wanted to know the secrets of nature, and he had come to suspect there is some important secret of human existence unknown to all. After fleeing his collectivist society, he becomes alone the live-long day. He comes upon an uninhabited fine house and learns from its books many wonders of the advanced science of the ancient civilization. He discovers the word “I”. That is, he discovers that word and attains the concept “I” distinctly and firmly set. He no longer writes “we” or “we alone” or “we alone only” in his journal to refer to himself. A new chapter begins. He writes: “I am. I think. I will” (1946, 86). With this fundamental discovery, Equality 7-2521 has become a Prometheus, whose name he takes for his own. He continues: “What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer. “I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning.” (1946, 86) There is one word “which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory. / The sacred word: EGO” (1946, 98). That last quotation is the close of the story. At the time this story was written (1937), there were no atomic weapons, no nuclear arsenals, and I think it was an ordinary assumption among people not Christian that human kind would continue effectively forever on the earth. Consider too that ANTHEM is a poetic work, and in poetic expression, as in dreams, conjured images condense multiple associations. In the case of poetic expression, the suggested associations are set up by the wider text. To write that the word “ego” and that which it names cannot be eradicated from the earth might be playing on multiple meanings of “earth”. One meaning is the third planet from the sun; another is the dwelling place of mortal men, as distinct from mythological realms of immortal beings; another is the collection of human inhabitants on the planet. Rand’s uses of “earth” with talk of ego in ANTHEM can rightly carry those three meanings simultaneously. I think the most salient of these meanings in Rand’s use here is the second one. She is not only making a statement about the endurance of ego among all possible societies (the third meaning). She is most saliently making a statement about ego in relation to all the earth, to all the abode of human existence. At the core of ANTHEM, her manifesto of individualism, Rand sets a foundational sequence of thoughts: “I am. I think. I will.” Although Rand lists “will” as third in her 1938 foundational sequence, third in sequence of philosophical reflection; she awards “I will” some preeminence over “I am,” which she characterizes as self of truth, and over “I think,” which she characterizes as protector of self (1938, 128–29). Of words, “only three are holy: ‘I will it’” (129). Further: “Where I go, there does my will go before me. My will, which chooses, and orders, and creates. My will, the master which knows no masters. . . . My will, which is the thin flame, still and holy, in the shrine of my body, my body which is but the shrine of my will.” (129) This opposes 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, which would have the body of a righteous individual be temple of the Holy Spirit and would deny self-ownership of one’s body, which has been bought by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Prometheus’ line “Where I go, there does my will go before me” says I go only where I will, but expresses it in echo and in substitution of various King James biblical passages saying God is with one and goes before one to subvert threats or create lights in one’s path. Moses says to Joshua: “And the Lord, he IT IS that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee” (Deut. 31:8). Additional parallels (anti-parallels) between ANTHEM and the Bible are observed in Simental 2013, 100–105. I do not think that the preeminence of “will” in Rand 1938 is a tuning to Schopenhauer or Nietzsche. It looks to be, rather, a bannering of liberty. In her 1946 edit of ANTHEM, Rand posed ego as stay of the earth not because ego is earth’s heart, spirit, and glory, but because ego is the earth’s heart, meaning, and glory. In ATLAS SHRUGGED, Rand would leave off all talk of man or ego as stay, heart, or meaning of the earth. But in her 1946 rendition of ANTHEM, “meaning” opens a new possible interpretation of its closing line. Without a meaning maker, there is not meaning in the world. It is similar to the situation with truth and fact. Without holders of truth, there is fact in the world, but truth is absent. This is actually more than a parallel. Meaning could be taken as a blend of truth and value. With no holders of truth or value in the world, meaning is absent from the world. With no truth, value, or meaning in the world, the world as human abode does not exist. That angle suggests an enhancement to the sense of “earth” as the human abode in the original proclamation. Ego brings heart and spirit to the character of the human abode. Ego brings spirit-life. Ego brings into the world what preciousness, what value, there is in the world. Without spirit-life that comes with human being, the world as human abode does not exist. Earth in the sense of the dwelling place of mortal man is not the only sense of “earth” suggested in Rand’s statement that “ego” is “the word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the spirit [or meaning] and the glory.” Rand drew a picture in ANTHEM, and again in FOUNTAINHEAD, in which individual human being in his or her desiring, thinking, willing self is the final end of the earth in all its components, in all its minerals, seas, and forms of life. This teleological order of things is not portrayed as being there with the earth devoid of man, but as there with man upon the earth, making it his own. Beyond that, the further suggestion that the earth in the plain full sense depends on human ego is a discomfiting line of thought and one to be deflected. That problematic further suggestion in the closing line of ANTHEM points to an inadequacy of Rand’s philosophical foundation put forth in that work. However adequate for the internal context of that fiction, that foundation is inadequate to full philosophy for human life in the actual world, ours today, fully real. “I am” is not necessary to all fact even though it is necessary to all truth. A foundational philosophy aiming to uphold realism and objectivity must take its most basic truths from most basic facts, and “I am” does not fit that bill. “Existence exists,” Rand’s axiom for her mature philosophy (1957), is the better base and necessity. Early Rand and her Kira stood solidly for objectivity, which is attacked in the Red student speech. Rand’s protagonist in ANTHEM is given these lines: “All things come to my judgment, and I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’. Thus is truth born. Such is the root of all Truth and the leaf, such is the fount of all Truth and the ocean, such is the base of all Truth and the summit. I am the beginning of all Truth. I am its end.” (1938, 128) This sounds subjectivist, like the ancient God-sayings it echoes and would replace. It might seem that Rand was climbing down, between 1936 and 1938, into the Nietzschean cavern of subjectivity or at least was stepping down into the Kantian ravine. I think, rather, she is only affirming in this passage that all judgment of truth is individual and that all truth we render from the world is for our own final value. Those lines in ANTHEM (in 1938; excised in ’46) are preceded by these: “It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.” Something is seen, and with the subject, it is rendered beautiful. Something is heard, and with the subject, it is rendered song of existence. Something is given, and with its recognition, it is rendered truth. Rand does not create a superhuman for the meaning of the earth. Does her Prometheus create a meaning of the earth? His namesake does not invent fire. Rand’s protagonist unlocks a type of human that finds the meaning of human existence; not in super-terrestrial personages and their affairs, but in complete human individuals on earth. “I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!” (1946, 87). ANTHEM does not teach humans to create (or to beget) the meaning of the earth, but to discover it. “This spread of naked rock and peaks and moonlight is like a world ready to be born, a world that waits. It seems to us it asks a sign from us, a spark, a first commandment. We cannot know what word we are to give . . . . We are to speak. We are to give its goal, its highest meaning to all this glowing space of rock and sky” (1946, 84). I really do not see Rand setting up some sort of Fichtean or Nietzschean perspective on the relation of ego and world. She is saying that whatever goals there are in inanimate and animate earth, they reach their final end in their crowning glory: the individual human knower of joy and living; the individual judge of truth; the individual will free over his or her ends; in a word “ego”. Notice that at this stage of Rand’s development only sentient living processes, specifically, human ones, can be ends not for the sake of something else. And these final ends are human, not superhuman. In actual development, we begin to use the personal pronouns “I, me” at age two. Knowing one’s proper name and knowing how to use first-person pronouns does not yet include realization of the deep fact “I am an I” or “I am me” or, as Dolf Kohnstamm 2007 puts it, “I am I”. At age two one can construct scenarios with dolls or other figures representing individual persons. One can make up dialogues, not only participate in them. The ability to converse with oneself as if between two characters is a plausible step necessary for coming to the insight “I am I”, where the first “I” is self as patient, actor, and controller, and the second “I” is self as in contrast to any other self (Kohnstamm 2007, 164, 174). Thinking “I am I” importantly includes thinking the identity of those two characters. Rand’s Prometheus accomplishes the same recognition as part of the thought expressed by his newly found word “I” whose meaning is explicated as his unique and uniquely possessed body, shrine of his unique spirit, and explicated by his triplet “I am, I think, I will.” It will be recalled that Equality 7-2521 had been seeking some word and concept that had been excised from his society. People there are missing the personal pronouns “I” and “me” and the possessives “my” and “mine.” Each refers to himself or herself by proper name or as “we” and refers to another individual by proper name or as “they” (or as ”you” taken as plural). The discovery of “I” by Equality 7-2521 is an episode of exhilarating liberation and profound fulfillment, though also overwhelming sorrow for mankind in its state of not knowing “I”. Given the spontaneous, untutored character of the “I am I” episodes in real persons displayed in Kohnstamm’s book, one might wonder whether the absence of the pronoun “I” in the fictional society that was Equality 7-2521’s cradle is really possible. Probably not, though it is a neat ploy to Rand’s purpose of showing the importance, the preciousness of man the individual, as against the collective. For thoughts of Kohnstamm on “I am I” in a couple of actual collectivist societies, see his pages 175–80. Equality 7-2521’s native society is without mirrors. Were we to bring one into their village, they would soon comprehend themselves in it, just as Equality 7-2521 does later in the story, seeing his face in water, and just as each of us did before age two. Earliest comprehension of mirrors and one’s body in them does not entail the comprehension “I am I” (Kohnstamm 2007, chap. 4). Similarly it is in the journey of Equality 7-2521. He has not yet roundly and profoundly grasped “I” and “I am I” when first seeing his reflected face. Equality and his fellows had been trained to deflect awareness from the self and direct attention to the group by saying “we” where we should say “I”. Forbidding the word “I” with its meaning attained in the understanding “I am I” would be idle without currents of the forbidden within subjects under the law. Such currents are on show to the reader in the person of Equality 7-2521. I suggest, however, actually, “we” in the indoctrinated sense of a joint singular life and will and thought of the collective can only have meaning to one who has gotten “I am I.” The author of the fictional adventure knew the reader would come equipped with that grasp. References Kohnstamm, D. 2007. I AM I - SUDDEN FLASHES OF SELF-AWARENESS IN CHILDHOOD. Athena. Mayhew, R. 2005. ANTHEM: ’38 & ’46. In Mayhew, ed., 2005. Mayhew, R., editor, 2005. ESSAYS ON AYN RAND’S Anthem. Lexington. Milgram, S. 2005. ANTHEM in Manuscript: Finding the Words. In Mayhew, ed., 2005. Rand, A. 1938. ANTHEM. Cassell. ——. 1946. ANTHEM. Pamphleteers. Simental, M.J. 2013. The Gospel According to Ayn Rand. THE JOURNAL OF AYN RAND STUDIES 13(2):96-106. In this photo are the lights in Colorado Springs and Pueblo and in the mountains---a bit of our human world lost in the world inherited by Rand's Equality 7-2521. One very beautiful aspect of Rand's story I did not touch on was the love story developed all along the way. There is also a very important philosophical point in this work---a viewpoint carried forward into Rand's mature philosophy---I did not mention. I think that particular stance of hers a profound mistake. I'll try to return to this thread and address that error after the fundamental paper for my own Rand-related philosophy has been published this summer, which framework includes the fix of this error.
    3 points
  3. As America prepares to certify our next President, a large band of hooligans have taken upon themselves to storm the Capitol. This in the name of Freedom? Are these hooligans striving to look for their Fuhrer? As a footnote, something like this happened in fiction- in Atlas Shrugged.
    3 points
  4. A virus is an element of nature and an inherent risk of life on Earth, not a weapon that an infected person goes around assaulting people with. If you don’t have symptoms, haven’t tested positive, or knowingly been exposed to an infected person, it’s rational to assume you’re not infected and go about your business. You can’t live if you have to assume you are infected with a deadly virus. Each individual’s health and safety is his own responsibility. The onus to stay home and/or get vaccinated is on those who are at risk. Every medical treatment has benefits and risks. If you fear the risks of vaccination more than you fear the virus, you have an absolute right not to get vaccinated. No one has a duty to sacrifice himself by accepting potential bodily harm for the sake of protecting others. The ardent anti-vaxxer’s assessment of the risks might be incorrect, but it’s his judgment, and he has a right to act on it, even if others disagree.
    3 points
  5. In The Prince, Machiavelli speaks of how a ruler who needs to do something unpopular can simply get one of his subordinates to do it for him, and then, if worst comes to worst, he can not only deny responsibility, but make a public spectacle of punishing the subordinate. A government can not only use that to wield "unpopular" powers, but also powers that it is not supposed to have in the first place. In the United States, censorship is one of these powers -- and the subordinate in this case is the "privately owned" corporations, who "volunteer" to be subordinates because they have to, because the government wields various carrots and sticks. The government has figured out a way to get the practical effects of censorship while not doing it itself, thus having plausible deniability. This depends on allowing a few big corporations to have their hands in almost all speech -- and then the government "delegates" the power of censorship to them. I think it's actually is proper to call this "censorship," because, when it comes down to it, it is the ruling regime doing it -- indirectly. The corporations aren't really doing it of their own free will. If somebody puts a gun to your head and makes demands, then whether you agree with the demands or not doesn't really make any difference -- although the gunman might tell you that things will go better for you if it seems that you do agree. But it's a little different when the gunman is the government: people who really do agree might not mind the gun at their heads, because they figure, "the bullets in that gun are for other people, people who disagree... but I agree, I co-operate, so I don't have to worry about it." When the corporations become unpopular, the government can make a big spectacle of "trust-busting," and the showmanship on this has actually already begun -- but you'll find in the end that, even if the government theatrically breaks these companies up, it won't make any practical difference. A few new rules will be announced, nobody will go to jail, and if you end up with two or three Facebooks or whatever, they will all toe the same line. In a free market, companies would compete for people's business, and a company that started banning people for their political views would simply drive those people into the arms of the competition. A company in a free market wouldn't ban people for political reasons, because it's suicidal.** So why are companies doing it? Because they're confident that there is no competition for those people to go to. Why are they so confident? Because the government is guaranteeing it. We don't have a free market. Trump has failed to grasp the nature of this problem and thus is proposing incorrect solutions. However, once again we see some people claiming that there isn't really a problem at all, and that if people are being kicked out of the public sphere for their political views, it's just "the free market at work." That isn't true either. (Some Republicans are doing one other thing wrong -- when they see the power being wielded, they don't want to eliminate that power, they want to take it over for their own use. That's not right, either: some powers cannot be used for good, at least, if good is defined as "promoting human survival.") Over the decades, there have been a lot of people complaining, rightly, about smaller "public-private partnerships" than these, and how such partnerships somehow manage to wield government powers while simultaneously not being subject to any constitutional restrictions because "they aren't part of the government, they're privately owned." Well, now we're coming to the culmination of the trend: companies and government are, for all practical purposes, just aspects of the same thing. To save the free market we need to separate these things: the only ultimate solution to this censorship problem is a separation of state and economics, which would include the elimination of all of these powerful regulatory agencies, so that the regime has no way of compelling compliance with its censorship desires. ** This sentence isn't correct as worded. A magazine publisher, for example, is not "suicidal" if he only accepts certain kinds of articles for his magazine. A phone company, on the other hand, would be "suicidal" if it tapped in on people's calls and cancelled their service over their views.
    3 points
  6. The following is from a presentation of the Rand/Branden model of free will, by Onkar Ghate in the Blackwell A Companion to Ayn Rand. “Rand rejects any theory of volition that roots free will in a choice between particular items of mental content: whether to walk or ride the bus to work (selection between envisioned physical actions); whether to order the vanilla cheesecake because one is hungry or the bowl of mixed berries because one is on a diet (selection between desires or motives that will govern one’s physical actions); whether to admire Mother Teresa or Bill Gates (selection of values); whether to accept the psychological theories of Freud or of cognitive psychologists (selection of ideas). For Rand, all such matters are secondary and derivative: at root, free will is the power to activate one’s conceptual faculty and direct its processing or not. ‘All life entails and exhibits self-regulated action’, writes Branden in presenting Rand’s theory.” “An individual becomes both capable and aware of his power of conscious self-regulation as his mind develops. ‘It must be stressed’, Branden writes, ‘that volition pertains, specifically, to the conceptual level of awareness. A child encounters the need of cognitive self-regulation when and as he begins to think, . . . to reason explicitly. . . .” (“The Objectivist Theory of Volition” TO 5(1), 23) Rand and Aristotle remarked that higher animals are able to perceive more in sensory perception and to remember more than are lower animals. In modern psychology, the development of perceptual and memorial competencies in childhood has been greatly illuminated. I’d add to the Rand/Branden idea that the human conscious self-regulation emergences with the onset of conceptual abilities in children, add that: self-regulation of memory is also critical for the distinctly human abilities. “Remember this” we say to ourselves. Since the invention of sticky pads, I riddle my books with little strips of them. “The choice to ‘think or not’ is not man’s only choice, according to Rand: it is his primary choice. This choice sets a mind’s regulating goal. Sub-choices then arise to the extent that there is such a goal, and are the means of implementing it.”
    3 points
  7. https://youtu.be/ssvSsMqTtjo Kibbe on Liberty: Pandemic imprisoning and the culture war. Perspectives from Britain and the USA. Great conversation.
    3 points
  8. whyNOT Many legal born domestic Americans, which are spoiled, entitled, and lazy, are less "American" in the foundational and fundamental ways that matter, than are you. America is an idea, and they have lost it to the vices and weakness of childhood which they have not escaped... associated with the infantalization of the American adult.. leftism is a natural center of gravity for failed adults, manchildren, so the lurch to the left is almost no surprise. In any case you, as indeed Rand herself was, are more American in spirit, than the many unamericans born within America's borders.
    3 points
  9. I launched my blog on 2 January 2011. The title was inspired by Gregory Browne’s Necessary Factual Truths (University Press of America, 2001). I met Dr. Browne at Eastern Michigan University in the fall semester 2007. Waiting for a class in police operations, I was walking the halls and heard him lecturing. It was obviously a philosophy class and he sounded reasonable. I looked in and saw “Ayn Rand” on the blackboard closing an array of philosophers in historical sequence. A couple of weeks later, I heard him actually mention Ayn Rand. So, I introduced myself. And I bought the book format of his doctoral dissertation. It derives from a refutation by Leonard Peikoff of the Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2021/01/ten-years-of-necessary-facts.html
    3 points
  10. Look around your home. Is there anything there that gives you energy? Validates your consciousness? Reminds you of the unique manifestations of your identity? Any song, book, film, tactile object that resonates with the possibility of a goal worth aiming toward? Is there something you could put on your wall that will add a spring to your step, or release the tense confusion of a recent argument because it resonates with a problem solving mindset? As one works toward building a solid foundation in reality, aesthetics is where humanity has a chance to evolve creatively through the contribution of each individual. It takes a great deal of personal resilience to create something that is true, to the epic depths of your mind, regardless of whether another person might recognize some universal appeal.
    3 points
  11. 14 January 2021 We will crush their violence enacted under their feast of self-delusion and contempt for our Constitutional rule of law. The republic will prevail. The citizens on both sides are armed if it should come to that, but I expect the organized force of the American government will succeed in defense and in bringing the violators to commensurate penalty. Tony: Indeed the American citizens overwhelmingly are not so stupid as to buy into Left-tarring of the bulk of Republicans as fascists and white-supremacist. And they are overwhelmingly not so stupid as to buy into the Right-tarring of the bulk of Democrats (and Biden/Harris) as socialists or communists. Many of my relatives and friends voted for Donald Trump in 2020. Most of them have detested his behaviors with regard to the election result. What they had in common with Trump voters who bought and sold the BIG LIE of a purported Trump/Pence win of this national election being STOLEN was only a preference for that ticket over the Democratic one. It is not the case that those who showed up for the fateful Trump rally are representative of the majority of citizens who voted for Mr. Trump. ~American Republic Forever~
    3 points
  12. The interviewer in the preceding is Eiuol.
    2 points
  13. Dealing with radiation: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars
    2 points
  14. I would suggest that instead of a brief, concentrated rite of passage, we need an ongoing process of pointing children in the right direction by precept and example. Bad ideas do a lot to hold people back from the conceptual level. As better ideas spread, we will get better results. To the extent that we also write and talk, we will help the process along.
    2 points
  15. As if saying it enough times will make it so, Dennis Prager has written yet another column asserting that a secular society is -- somehow -- also therefore a less free one. Somehow? you might ask. Well, you tell me:Image by Alex Shu, via Unsplash, license.Here is something any honest person must acknowledge: As America has become more secular, it has become less free. Individuals can differ as to whether these two facts are correlated, but no honest person can deny they are facts. It seems to me indisputable that they are correlated. To deny this, one would have to argue that it is merely coincidental that free speech, the greatest of all freedoms, is more seriously threatened than at any time in American history while a smaller-than-ever percentage of Americans believe in [God] or regularly attend church. [bold added]Does this not seem like an odd way to open an argument about secularity ... Gosh! what is that word? -- necessitating? ... the decline of freedom in our great republic? In case your'e having a hard time putting a finger on why it does, let's consider an uncontroversial phrase that I would have thought was also familiar to almost any educated adult and certainly should be to any intellectual:Correlation does not imply causation.Prager frequently equates the left with what he calls "secularism." I personally think the left looks more and more religious by the day, and "nature" is a strong candidate for one of its gods. Be that as it may, let's run with Prager's assumption for a moment that religion necessarily implies belief in a god of the Judaeo-Christian sort. If so, then I completely agree with him on both counts: America is both less religious (in that sense) and less free, and those facts about our culture are likely correlated. But so, too are US spending on science, space, and technology -- and US suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation, from 1999 to 2009 -- according to the web site, Spurious Correlations. Those numbers are facts and so is the correlation. But I don't think even Dennis Prager would seriously argue that one of these causes the other. Prager's article says not a peep about causation, but that's something we really ought to consider. America has become less free and less observant of traditional Western religions over the past century. Anyone who values freedom would do well to ask that question. Prager, oddly, just assumes -- or seems to want the reader to assume -- that less religion somehow causes less freedom. At least one thinker I am pretty sure Prager has heard of, Ayn Rand, would beg to differ, as her greatest student, Leonard Peikoff, once outlined in some detail in his essay, "Religion vs. America." Within, Peikoff argues in part:Point for point, the Founding Fathers' argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans' argument for dictatorship -- but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being -- not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action, either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man's action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal. [bold added]If the case for liberty is actually secular, then something other than an some woozily-implied causation of less freedom by an absence of Christianity might be causing the two cultural trends Prager brings up, but doesn't seem very serious about understanding. To wit: His "opposition to slavery was based entirely on the Bible," even if true, does not imply that without religion, we would all advocate slavery. As witness the oath of Ayn Rand's most famous character, "I swear by my life ... and my love of it ... that I will never live for the sake of another man ... nor ask another man ... to live ... for mine." As for what might be causing the two trends, my note about the left becoming more quasi-religious should offer a clue, but a more full explanation would come from Rand's and Peikoff's extensive analyses of the baleful influence of Immanual Kant -- whose mission was to save Christian altruism from the Enlightenment -- on our culture over time. In short, our society continued moving away from Christianity, but also, thanks to Kant, began moving towards a duty-based ethos and its anti-freedom political correlate of statism. -- CAVLink to Original
    2 points
  16. To confuse risk of physical force with initiation of physical force is to confuse a potential with an actual. The whole mandatory vaccination position depends on a Parmenidean worldview in which all that exists is fully actual, combined with disregarding the need to obtain sufficient information to blame any one person for anything. It is the same fallacy employed by advocates of anti-immigration, gun control, and environmentalism. Thank you for helping to make that connection.
    2 points
  17. The experience of your own reaction is your payment for your understanding or misunderstanding of the world. Rationality/Justice counsel proportionality, not only for those others whom your sentiments are about, but for your own "experience" of other people, which you put yourself through. Hatred is the most vile and extreme sort of emotion which takes a toll on the experiencer which has to be paid for by the benefits of the extreme action it urges one toward... be it elimination of a mortal enemy, or complete disassociation with a thoroughly toxic and irredeemable person in whom no value whatsoever may be found... but make no mistake it does not leave one unscathed, whether any action, appropriate or not, is taken in response. Upon reflection, you may find disappointment, sadness, regret, lowering of esteem are more rational for you to subject yourself to as an experience and more Just and proportional a response to others. Be rational in your assessment of the whole person, be it your brother or your father. Also, final responsibility for an adult person of sufficient intelligence lies with that person alone... fault the father a lack of fatherhood as a factor but you cannot negate the son's final responsibility in making his own soul.
    2 points
  18. I also recently heard some more arguments: 1. There are other societies that had even more slavery like Haiti or Brazil that did not do as well as the United States in their economy. 2. To say there was zero labor cost is false. The "owners" had to give a minimum standard of living to have viable workers. That included lodging, food and southern government had to spend a lot to maintain the system i.e. catch runaways. This expense was constant 24 hours a day even when there was no "work" to be done. 3. The fact that the slave could not go looking for job meant the areas of the economy that needed the most labor could never attract the labor, therefore never achieving maximal efficiency. 4. Slavery in general serviced the wishes of the owner, as in the pyramids which were built by slaves, and pyramids don't do much for an economy.
    2 points
  19. Similar history here. I heard the story as gossip and found it too weird to believe, so I didn't until BB's book came out years later. The two published In Reply to Ayn Rand a and sent it to the Objectivist subscriber list. He said that what finally, irrevocably broke them up was his telling her that the age difference was "an insurmountable barrier to a romantic relationship". We took it to mean that she wanted to start it, not revive it. The text used to be at his website and perhaps in one of his books.
    2 points
  20. Boydstun

    Existence, We

    My paper Existence, We which I worked on from 2014 to 2019 is now published.
    2 points
  21. Boydstun

    Brainworks

    On Human Perception of a Starry Sky "For millennia, humans have looked to the night sky and chosen star groups to name. But why does Centaurus comprise that specific set of stars rather than some other? We hypothesize that the perception of star groups (constellations) can be explained by a simple model of eye movements taking a random walk along a network of star-to-star transition probabilities. The walk is biased by angular distances between stars, preferred angular distances of human eye movements (also known as saccades), and stars’ apparent magnitudes. To derive predicted constellations from the random walk, we employ a free energy model of mental calculations that maximizes the accuracy of perception while minimizing computational complexity. The model transforms the true transition probability matrix among stars into a perceived matrix, in which star clusters are evident. We show that the statistics of the perceived star clusters naturally align with the boundaries between true constellations. Our findings offer a simple explanation for the identities of the 88 standard constellations."
    2 points
  22. In July 1986, I was with my first life-partner Jerry (d. 1990) sitting in the bleachers that had been set up in Manhattan along the Hudson. We were watching the Tall Ships sailing by. In the evening, the President would throw a switch, sending a laser beam across the river to activate the illumination of Liberty, which was reopening after a long refurbishment. The night sky would be filling with glorious fireworks on and on as if an umbrella over Manhattan. That afternoon was sunny, as the ships sailed by. There were smiles and friendliness all around. Behind us a woman wore a classy T-shirt with a stylized line drawing of the Statue of Liberty, with only the word Forever. A day or two before, the US Supreme Court had handed down their decision affirming the constitutionality of States criminalizing same-sex sex acts. Oklahoma, for example. That was one of the reasons we had moved from our native Oklahoma to Illinois (where Jerry became an attorney), where we were legal. That sunny day with the ships was so sad to me. The photo below is from 2002 (photo by native New Yorker, my husband Walter). In another year, the Supreme Court would reverse, and thereby make same-sex love-making legal throughout the land. I always remember that I learned of the 2003 decision while I was at Logan in Boston, learned from a newspaper headline. And I always remember my first thought was of Jerry and me that day with the Tall Ships. Tomorrow belonged to me, these todays, each a “smiling day to be free to kiss in the sunlight and say to the sky ‘behold and believe what you see, behold how my lover loves me.’”
    2 points
  23. Thank you Boydstun & StrictlyLogical for clarifying this. Here is my summarized understanding after having read both your replies. The assumed context here is that man survives by a particular method of thought and action.You cannot evaluate an object when it is obtained by irrational action because it is moral principle that sets the context (a commensurable standard) for evaluating that object in relation to your other values. You can evaluate the method as good or bad, i.e., this is for my life or against my life, but not the object. Similarly, in epistemology, a proposition accepted on faith cannot in some sense be evaluated on its own, but in terms of method. An example with StrictlyLogical's breakfast: If I obtained the breakfast by cheating a shop keeper and he later hits me with a rock does it make sense to say the breakfast was good because I enjoyed it while it lasted? Or what about if I suffered no immediately perceivable consequences but began obtaining more things in the future through fraud? In either case I can't really make sense of the situation by looking just at the breakfast (evaluating the object in terms of my other values) but only by looking at how I obtained it (against moral principle, bad when evaluated in terms of action or method).
    2 points
  24. Boydstun

    Form v. Matter

    George Walsh - “If you talk about the glass merely in terms of the macroscopic level, then don’t you need some concept of ‘dispositions’?” Rand - “In what way? How?” Walsh - “Because the glass is not acting now, it’s not breaking into pieces.” Peikoff - “Well, what’s wrong with the Aristotelian concept of ‘potentiality’? An entity has the capacity to act because of its nature.” Walsh - “Well, the reason I was bringing this up was because I thought you rejected the concept of ‘potentiality’.” Rand - “No. . . .” Walsh - “I have memory or a misremembrance of someone saying that Objectivism does not accept the Aristotelian concept of ‘potentiality’.” Rand - “Specifically, that wasn’t me. Unless it was in some context of what Aristotle makes of it, as in regard to his matter-form dichotomy.” ITOE Appendix 285-86 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ A good help on the Aristotelian metaphysical distinction in being between matter and form is here.
    2 points
  25. MisterSwig

    Derek Chauvin Trial

    This trial was televised. I watched every second of it. I have a better claim than the jury. One, the jury had to remember testimony, they weren't given transcripts, whereas I could watch the testimony repeatedly on YouTube and also pause it to facilitate copious note taking. And two, statistically I'm probably more intelligent than most of those jurors, though I don't put much weight in statistics, so mostly my objective advantage comes from point one.
    2 points
  26. I, too, am disappointed in the guilty verdict. Providing the epistemic justification requires being able identify and guide others through judicial landscape presented. Thanks for providing the summation. It was nice having it in one place, unfolding as you presented it.
    2 points
  27. I saw it now. I assume some Prager people will have to integrate the fact that they are supporting an atheist with the fact that "Even though atheists have a bad record". It was very politically correct, no mention of selfishness or knowledge without God. It's nice that it was published and some may be swayed. But I see a trojan horse in this project. I hope it belongs to Objectivism. But yes, provided by a generous donation from "The Objective Standard Institute". Who knows, the next ally of Objectivism may be the church of Scientology. They believe in Capitalism too and they may sway some people too.
    2 points
  28. "[Reality] is something that humans actively participate in producing when their minds interact with their environments." That's 11 minutes in just about. It wouldn't be so insane if he meant something like "the society people live in is shaped by the way minds interact with the environment". That would be true, but obviously that doesn't mean each society is literally a different reality... It's like he forgot that when people say "ancient people lived in a different world" they don't literally mean a whole separate reality. My conclusion: Never go full subjectivist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wVagQ_LVd4 I find that he really was attempting to give a basis to say that indigenous people deserve respect. In a way, he sees the indigenous people (especially those exterminated by the Spanish) as offering worthless ideas and were thoroughly primitive, so the only way he could offer any value for them is to say that they lived in a literally different reality. They are so worthless to him that he has to create a whole separate reality for them. The truth is, people like the Inca had great ideas as well as bad ideas even compared to Europeans. He doesn't have to dismantle objective reality: If he actually cared about indigenous people, he would be telling us about what they got right about reality, especially the things that Europeans could not figure out.
    2 points
  29. I highly recommend this paper by Tara Smith. It is as an argument about anything we've discussed here, it's a paper about a conceptual cleanup regarding terms used when discussing freedom of speech. The Free Speech Vernacular: Conceptual Confusions in the Way We Speak About Speech
    2 points
  30. People interested in how a leading religious (Jewish) conservative thinks can watch Dennis Prager chat with Craig Biddle. They cover some hard topics and find common ground. I hope more Objectivists get on more conservative shows like this.
    2 points
  31. I took my girlfriend to the mountains to see Neowise. We saw it with the naked eye and through binoculars. She even got a decent photo of it with her phone's camera. Sometimes I watch Bob the Science Guy on YouTube. He does amateur astronomy and posted an educational video on Neowise. He even mentions the sort of professional-amateur collaboration that was done with data from the NEOWISE space telescope to find new objects and create maps.
    2 points
  32. I selected a Bushnell 18-1561 as a gift option for 10 years of service. Shortly after receiving it, Jupiter and Saturn were available for viewing prior to midnight's. After considerable effort, the telescope was aligned to take in my first personal sight of 4 of the moons of Jupiter. My disappointment came shortly thereafter with the need to re-align the instrument every 2 minutes to maintain an active view. Not long thereafter, Saturn was available for viewing. The "smudge" I was rewarded with came with the realization that to pursue the activity in any meaningful way would require a better telescope equipped with tracking capacity. I tried sighting the recent comet NEOWISE by heading a bit north to a darkened vantage point. I had not brought the telescope, being informed that I would be able to see it by the unaided eye. Alas, it was not to be for me. I treasure having seen the moons of Jupiter. After reading of Galileo's memoirs of the same, it gave his report substantially more body, having shared the experience.
    2 points
  33. The mere existence of germs, poison, fire, etc. does not constitute physical force on anyone's part. Imposing them on another is physical force. Spreading germs can easily do physical damage to a person's body. Spreading ideas does not do physical damage. If the ideas play a role in a person's choice to do physical damage, that is the responsibility of the person taking the physical action. I considered "physical aggression" to be a reasonable shorthand for the initiation of physical force. I was substituting "aggression" for "the initiation of force". I am sorry if this caused any confusion. One thing that got me into this habit is the idea that in attempting to communicate with non-Objectivists, saying "physical aggression" might make communication easier than saying "the initiation of physical force". A necessary condition for something to be physical force is that it do physical harm of some kind. No. People are responsible for their own actions.
    2 points
  34. If there's any one thing Rand would've supported, I'm sure it's mob violence in the name of lies at the behest of an authoritarian against democracy...
    2 points
  35. Hermes

    Light Pollution

    I serve as vice president of our local astronomy club. We received a general inquiry from a reporter for a culture magazine. My comrades on the executive committee were all in favor of taking this opportunity to speak out against light pollution. I started a reply, but did not send it because there was nothing I could gain from the engagement. However, the questions are worth considering. ------------------------- We do not have the same perceptions with light that we do with sound. You can close your eyes. You cannot close your ears. So, we have laws against noise. We do need a rational theory of law to address noisy light. But not all light is pollution, any more than all noise is bad. After all, most people enjoy the sound of children playing and most so-called “light pollution” is equally benign. Moreover, you can see a lot from the city if you know where to look. I live in the city of Austin, one mile from South Park Meadows, a major shopping center. From my backyard, I can show you the Andromeda Galaxy. On hobbyist discussion boards, I have shared my views of binary stars. This is an endeavor that many hobbyists pursue, seeking out stars that look like single points to the naked eye, but which a modest telescope will reveal to be two or even four. We backyard astronomers know the book, Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Ph.D. He had a doctorate from Harvard and taught at MIT, but never knew the sky the way an amateur does until a friend showed him the stunning yellow-blue double star known as Albireo at the head of The Swan (or the Foot of the Cross). His friend did that with a small portable telescope from within the glare of New York City in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Turn Left at Orion was written for the urban or suburban hobbyist. One of our local leaders is a sun-watcher. With a special telescope costing four times more than a nice hobbyist instrument and ten times more than an entry-level telescope, he views our Sun, the closest star, and a very average star. Viewing in broad daylight, he never worries about light pollution. Astronomers also complain about “constellations” of artificial satellites, clusters and strings launched by private companies for communications, natural resource monitoring, economic research, and disaster response. When disaster strikes, we all want our cellphones to bring the responders to our exact locations by GPS. That convenience comes with a cost. Apart from the hobby, serious astronomy has been carried out for 50 to 70 years with radio telescopes, or “dishes.” First investigated by amateurs just before World War II, radio telescopes receive wavelengths that are not blocked by light pollution (or rain). Today, radio astronomy continues to be a pursuit for some amateurs. It is a spin-off of ham radio. Other leading edge research in astronomy is performed from orbiting platforms such as the Hubble and Hipparcos satellites. As enthusiasts of space exploration, the backyard astronomers do not complain about the consequences of building giant rockets to carry giant telescopes into orbit. It is true that amateur astronomers collaborate with professionals. One way is by reviewing the data in computerized “warehouses” of numbers and images. We have more data than university professors can analyze. So, they turn to amateurs. Those hobbyists work from the comfort of their homes, consuming electrical power, and other resources, that also create light pollution. Amateurs also build their own remote-controlled observatories and monitor the views on high-definition video screens. Those installations are hundreds of miles from their homes where the amateurs enjoy the benefits of civilization. Even deeper into the wilderness, some impassioned hobbyists travel to the darkest skies at state and national parks for their star parties. There, many of the instruments are custom-built, huge, complex telescopes, some of which need their own trailers to be hauled to the campsite. At those events, deep sky stargazers pursue “faint fuzzies” the galaxies and nebulas at the limits of viewing. For them, the planet Jupiter is light pollution. At a dark sky site, with no other competition, our solar system’s largest planet is bright enough to cast shadows. In the large “light buckets” built to gather the faintest glows from the farthest objects, the glare of Jupiter washes out the sky. So, one astronomer’s target is another astronomer’s light pollution. The same is true of the Moon. Some hobbyists do study it. It is not a dead world. But generally speaking most suburban hobbyists consider the Moon to be light pollution. I am not insensitive to the problem. I believe that a correct political analysis begins with considerations of property rights. A couple of years ago, I wanted to arrange the loan of a large hobby telescope to a co-worker who recently moved into a rural area. Sadly, he declined the offer because his neighbor had just installed a security light, a mercury-vapor spotlight that illuminated her land, his, and much else. If the light waves were sound waves, she would be blasting rock ‘n’ roll at 2:00 AM. That is a problem that is easy to understand and any number of local ordinances (if not common sense and common courtesy) would put a stop to it. We all want clear dark skies full of beautiful bright stars. Backyard astronomers also want telescopes, which are mass-production manufactured items, mostly from China. Even custom-made hobbyist telescopes two feet in diameter costing near $10,000 are built from precision glassware made in China. Backyard astronomers here do not mind if China's skies are polluted. I admit that it was at the Austin Astronomical Society's dark sky site 80 miles away from Austin that I first saw the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. It was worth the drive. There is no shortage of dark sky for anyone willing to make an effort, invest resources, and put up with some minor inconveniences. That being so, absent the amenities of civilization, daily life 80 miles from a Level One trauma center could be precarious should you break your arm or have a heart attack. Like telescopes, modern hospitals are another product of our industrial economy. What formal logic calls the law of the excluded middle is commonly expressed as, “You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.
    2 points
  36. Simply, dark moods happen. As with anyone experiencing periods of deep introspect, it's personal. But, as it relates to the arts, certain music is appropriate in such moments. Some authors are more appropriate. When I read Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, it is helpful to find a virtual friend in shared experience. Nietzsche, as I understand him, was a guide to those who recognize the more frustrating aspects of modern life. His "man going under" is the man who is only able to rise above man, to becoming the "superman." Well, if one is going to be exhausted or depressed as times, one may as well rise above it stronger for the experience. I think there is a great body of works in our times that channel the introspective individual downward, but not necessarily guide him back to focus on any constructive purpose. I'm too old to appreciate Goth culture, but I understand the appeal. I only hope for the sake of such individuals who stare into the abyss that they find the strength to rise again. That's why I read Ayn Rand.
    2 points
  37. I wish this were hyperbole, but ev'ry word is most assured. The drooling beast has been released. It circles 'round our hallowed ground, awaiting weak and fearful fools. They bleat and squeal before they kneel, before the beast begins to feast.
    2 points
  38. The one error I have to point out in your comment is that anarchism does not ignore the concept of government, it misunderstands the concept. The anarchist position denies the validity of government, but has not resolved the problem of thieves under anarchy. One view is that anarchy is a utopian ideal, which can exist only when no person would ever use force – it’s a Platonic form towards which we might strive, but it is excruciatingly unlikely that it will ever exist. A closely related next-most surreal form of anarchism, sour grapes anarchism, declares that anyone using force has ipso facto become a government. If you steal my stuff, you have become a taxing government. The third circle of anarchism, more familiar to us because it is widely held in libertarian anarcho-capitalist circles, maintains that there is no special entity, government, which has a rightful monopoly on the use of force. Instead, anyone can rightfully use force, as long as they do not initiate use of force. The point about wielding force “autonomously” is obscured by the unmodified use of the word “force”. The problem is that if some jackass threatens me with a knife, I have to act autonomously right then and there, and will not roll over and get stabbed to death because I don’t have the right to use force on the premise that only the government can use force. It is very important that we not suggest that the Objectivist ethics requires you to roll over and die when attacked (Objectivism is not pacifism). Rather, the use of force is to be put under the control of objective law. Objective law mandates that force only be chosen by certain agents of the government who compare the facts and the law to see if force is justified, but it also provides an exception for life-threatening emergencies, where you can defend yourself if attacked. I know that interjecting law as an intermediary complicates the computation of rightful use of force, but it is an essential complication. Force is to be under the control of objective law. The government states what that law is. A proper philosophy is necessary for the government to devise proper laws.
    2 points
  39. Riots break out over the country, zones were even created in some parts to accommodate rioters while apologists tried to veil it as free-speech and dismiss the looting as not directly injurious to the life of the looted. A riot breaks out in Washington DC and it is escalated to an insurrection.
    2 points
  40. Repairman

    National Conservatism

    I read the article. It's great. I've been witnessing this transition toward integrating Church and state for years. Back in the day, I was willing to ignore it. I considered the evil of a leftist/socialist agenda to be the greater threat to American prosperity and stability. The left-wing agenda continues to be a monstrous threat. In 1980 and 84, I cast my votes to Ronald Reagan, believing that his support from the Moral Majority would not escalate to the threat to individualism and reason that it is today. The radical Christian conservative agenda now stands as large and menacing as a rival monster, eye to eye with the mystic monster of the Left. For this reason, I have abandoned my support for nearly all Republicans who exploits Christian value voters. My rejection of Trump doesn't mean that I support Biden. I vote with my conscience, and any third party candidate that presents no threat to individual liberty is fine by me. I show up at the polls, the respectable candidates have not. The American crisis of confidence has only radicalized the semi-literate electorate, playing on their fear and other emotions. Obama was a perfect example. I think very important issues were addressed in the past four years; some of Trump's policies were helpful. Some of his suggestions, (particularly his muted criticism against revisionist history in public schools), may yet have long term positive results. But overall, the recklessness of his language and management, his open displays of intimidation, his preference for authoritarian world leaders, I think the good does not outweigh the bad. It's quite unfortunate. Some good might come from all of this. I can only wait and see.
    2 points
  41. When I was able to get both planets in the same view with my telescopes, I drew proportional sketches of the conjunction. With a field-of-view, for example, of 2.42 degrees, I used circles of 2.4 and 4.8 cm. I developed a personal technique of being able to view with both eyes open so that I can hold a centimeter scale at a convenient distance to guage separations. I have used this for binary stars, also. ' Images are reversed right and left. Saturn was to the West (Left) of Jupiter. That is an artifact of the refracting telescopes. We correct that with prisms for binoculars ("field glasses"). With astronomical objects it is not that critical and we often just indicated N-W or whatever is convenient. On the night of closest conjunction, the sky was overcast. I could make out the planets because I knew what they were, but nothiing was distinct. I could not see the rings of Saturn or the moons of Jupiter that night. As for the annotations. Consider the notes added to the image directly above. 70mm is the diameter of the objective lens. F/10 means that the focal length is 700 mm. The viewing power is found from the focal length of the eyepiece (17 mm) divided into the focal length of the objective: 700/17 = 41+. In addition, I used a 2x Barlow lens, which effectlvely halves the focal length of the eyepiece, doubling the magnification to 82X. The field-of-view (FOV) is just under 1 degree: 52m 34s. That is based on the standard ("Ploessl") eyepiece field of view of 50 degrees at the higher power. (Georg Ploessl was a 19th century maker of optical instruments. His designs for eyepieces became popular in the late 20th century when the hobby of astronomy exploded in response to the US-USSR "space race.")
    2 points
  42. Also there's an argument to the effect that, well look, the representatives in Congress deserve this. While, strictly speaking, this is correct, it doesn't follow merely from that fact that this is the right thing to do. Every member of Congress deserves to be huddled in their home in fear, as they would have the rest of us do the past few months. But part of a virtuous action is that it is done in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. Consider someone performing some courageous act to impress an onlooker. Such an action isn't merely "doing the right thing for the wrong reason," it's literally not doing the right thing. This is an aspect of all agent-centered virtue ethics. The agent has to be in a certain state while performing the action. They cannot be counted as virtuous someone who does something by accident, in the same way consulting tea leaves and guessing the correct thing doesn't make some belief knowledge. See Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics II.4 for details. So it's possible to believe that the "demand side" if you will, the "getting what you deserve" might be good in some small way. I mean it certainly is funny to see the viking at Pelosi's desk. However, the "supply side" if you will, is people yearning for a dictatorship and indulging in epistemic vice. The "demand side" wasn't even substantial enough to change anything about lockdowns other than, people now screaming about "sedition" and "insurrection." Expect more bipartisan surveillance, policing, internet censorship.
    2 points
  43. Arbitrary. You need some kind of evidence here. The best you have is that "one time, there was an attempted kidnapping, it turned out they were antifa type people". That's not evidence for your claim. What you said amounts to "it's possible!" Because of that, anything else you say is storytelling. I have some wild and fantastical ideas as well that would really expand on what we saw today. I'm not going to pretend they are anything other than flights of fancy. They aren't hunches, they are fantasies. You are definitely one of the more rational minded I've interacted with here, so I'm especially confused as to why you are trying to present an arbitrary theory as to why the events happened today. You are forcing facts into a theory, rather than creating a theory based on the facts and events. At least with your post about the election results, you cited evidence and facts. Here you cited a hunch...? What are you trying to accomplish? Give the evidence, don't say "they had every reason" without giving one reason. Here's a reason they wouldn't: Biden won the election fairly (or at least as fairly as any other election the past 20 years), they didn't need to encourage or manipulate anything. Not enough people were going to call into question the electors. Here is a reason that Trump would: he claims that he won the election in a landslide, and when the protest started in full force by breaking into the building, he didn't Tweet a single thing to condemn what happened. You know, condemned the way he has other things like antifa. He has never been shy before, he would not be shy now. Here's an unambiguous statement that he could have given: the people who broke into the capitol are guilty of treason.
    2 points
  44. I wear one when required, out of respect for the fact that a private business is required to enforce the mandate. I never decided on a consistent policy to use in situations where I have a choice. I go for walks in a public park and don't wear one, even though it's required as far as I know, because no one is around to enforce. I'm not interested in wearing one without having a good medical reason to believe they actually work. If this premise were somehow proven, and this was communicated through a source I respect, I would be more interested in wearing one, but right now I feel like this is subjugation with unproven quackery at the hands of health authoritarians.
    2 points
  45. This mask (etc...) debacle has ironically made me friendlier to the general populace. I wear a mask begrudgingly only as required by businesses, but I find myself being nicer and smiling genuinely more to people, whether they're wearing the muzzles themselves or not. I think friendliness is very important right now. However, I have no tolerance or sympathy for tattlers or do-gooders, and if they stop me they get a sharp dismissive reply.
    2 points
  46. Just the one when it's required to enter a store or something.
    2 points
  47. Although not quite a "sense of connection" with those, I agree it makes for an insight into their cynicism or nihilism or "ressentiment" and quite valuable for one's understanding of general trends, moral and artistic. My opinion is one needs to look at the dark side in art too. One emerges stronger and more certain for the experience I think (like one's intellectual, artistic "immune system" is enhanced from the exposure). Naturalism, that broad category, holds merits, often technical and stylistic, and at least as a foil to romantic realism. Best put, maybe, that one comes to finely discern the light from the darkness, while noting/appreciating the shades between them. The art content and presentation by extremely capable artists or authors will usually hold several enjoyable take-aways which, if nothing else, heighten the capability to *see* (and conceptualize). E.g. Any well-crafted novel but the most boring, naturalist, ones always has a prominent and often absorbing individual character, typifying individualism, but - he/she may be the doomed-Byronic type, having volition "in regard to consciousness, but not to existence"; or on the other Classical Romantic side, he succeeds in his ambitions but does so without an expressed reason: possessing volition "with regard to existence, but not to consciousness". Then rarely, one finds the authors and their characters who combine both elements, in greatly refreshing romanticism-heroism for one's spirit. I advise to read and view them all and find out/identify/enjoy for oneself. An art 'echo chamber' is needlessly self-constrictive and limiting.
    2 points
  48. Well, even if we fully buy into the "good provider" theory, that is an evolutionary theory. In other words, it deals in men as they lived before specialization (as hunter gatherers, where you proved you are a good provider and protector through behavior, rather than any achievement or possession. And it was a very specific set of behaviors, because there was only one way to be a good provider and protector: be strong, fit, assertive, but also loving, open and honest. Specifically, EMOTIONALLY honest. This is what the "Red Pill" crowd fails to understand: being honest, being willing to put yourself out there (not being guarded, but rather being willing to take the risk of being hurt), being caring and genuinely curious about a woman's deepest emotions and experiences, etc. is just as attractive as being confident, strong and decisive...and to be attractive beyond a first few short encounters requires you to be both, and be so genuinely. Not play the role of the "nice friend who listens to her boyfriend problems", but be genuinely interested, and know how to make her comfortable to share those things with you. Also, you gotta know WHO to become genuinely interested in. If you're gonna insist on chasing after someone who rejected you, that's not "alpha male" behavior (I'm using it in quotes because it's a stupid term, I prefer to call it "selfish, confident man"), that's the very definition of a needy man who can't handle the rejection and must validate himself by changing this woman's opinion of him. An alpha male actually wants a woman to make her own decisions (by putting his honest self and his honest intentions, without any stupid tricks and games), and happily respects her decision, whichever way it goes. As for the reason why so called "good providers" get dumped: it's because they're only good providers materially. Not emotionally, not intellectually, and not sexually. They just bring home the bacon, and think that's good enough. So when the, again so called, alpha male comes around and knows how to make a woman feel sexually desired (which is a HUUUGE turn-on for women, probably the biggest), has interesting stories about people, travel, adventures, AND in general is a guy willing to take risks emotionally and connect on an emotional level, he's everything the bacon bringer-homer is not, in all the ways that actually count. Also (according to the theory), women aren't specifically attracted to a "good provider", but rather to a "potential good provider". Someone who proves that they have the ability to be good providers. Let's take two identical twins, who were separated at birth, and are now both age 20: The first one, Mr. A, is a billionaire CEO. He wears the same T-shirt and jeans everywhere he goes, he has a bland haircut, he spends 14 hours a day working, has a very serious demeanor, he hates talking about his personal life or his emotions to anyone except maybe his therapist or one or two of his closest friends. And he gets embarrassed any time someone openly talks about sex...especially if there are women present. He speaks well, but softly, and prefers to stick with a few of his favorite subjects, mostly work, politics, technology and his wood carving hobby. The second one, Mr. B, is a college kid who lives in a dorm, and has no material possessions or marketable skills. He has the same haircut as the dude from Vikings, he has cool tattoos, a leather jacket and clean but torn jeans, a V-neck Queens of the Stone Age T-shirt, dogtags and rings, and a big smile on his face. He's loud but friendly, gets along with people despite the fact that he never tries to cater to anyone's needs unsolicited. He'll help you out if you ask, but only if he likes you, and only if you have something to give back. He loves talking about himself, he's open about his emotional and sex life. Annoyingly open. He also doesn't take himself particularly seriously, he's actually a little dismissive about his own problems...he mentions them, but not to complain. Just as a matter of fact. Guess who is perceived as the "potentially good provider" by women. That's right, mr. B. Because 100,000 years ago, Mr A would've been a terrible provider and protector, while mr. B would've been excellent. Also, not much changed in 100,000 years. Mr. A has a lot of learning to do before he could be a truly good provider, even with billions in the bank. Because money is not enough, if you're not emotionally and physically available to your family. Meanwhile, Mr. B would do fine, if he decided to settle down and have a family. He doesn't want to do that, but that doesn't change the fact that he could if he wanted to...so he's attractive to women.
    2 points
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