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Everything posted by NateTheGreat

  1. Socialism is an economic system, Communism is a political system.
  2. I've noticed that whenever anything collectivist is espoused, it's always completely irrelevant to what is being discussed. For example, in our history book it talks of Romanticism when people "discovered the limits of reason." Not when they thought, but when they did. It will also have random graphs of wealth disparity and whatnot. I'm with the other responders, I think that can be cut out totally.
  3. Before seeing the ridiculous regulatory board, I came across this very interesting article. While noting the Fed has done little to help 'unemployment' (Even if this is a good way to measure the health of the economy) he still seems to feel like the Fed has supernatural powers to just save the economy. Very unsettling for an advocate of liberty. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/federal-reserve-to-disclose-more-details-on-plans-for-low-interest-rates/2012/01/23/gIQAp2BHMQ_story.html
  4. A major criticism of Objectivism is that Rand talks a lot about the objective value life, yet fails to recognize (or intentionally leaves out) that production and creation do not follow from this value of "life." Do men need reason to survive? Yes. But if it's necessary to use Rand's philosophy to survive, this premise begs the question of how men survived before Rand came along. I think this argument is flawed in many ways, but it does point to a flaw I feel is in Objectivism. Yes- we need reason to survive. But how does it follow production is a moral virtue? Rand defines virtue as how one acts to attain a value. A value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. If building skyscrapers is something to be admired- why? Why is the person who builds a skyscraper more virtuous than a Transcendentalist who goes to live in a shack in the woods? The problem here, I believe, is the failure of Objectivism to explicitly state a "lemon test" on how and why a certain value would be objective instead of mindlessly self-indulgent. If I wanted money, would this be a legitimate value or not? Would it virtuous for me to become a porn director? What if I value lying in the sun instead of making steel? Why is the Objectivist hero the man that moves the world? What if I feel my happiness can be better served doing nothing? I'm assuming Objectivism's answer to this is that life must be furthered. Just as a lion does not have the leg of a deer and say "I'm done", as a tree doesn't grow 4 feet tall and die, man too must further his life and survival. Steel mills, smokestacks, industry, and skyscrapers are all examples of this. The critic could ask that life would be furthered in what way? How has Objectivism come to the conclusion that the furtherment of life entails industry? Again the question must be asked whether these other things would be valued by Objectivists. It is because man survived by adjusting his background to himself that industry is desirable? What of the men before technology? -- While you're contemplating your answer to that question, I would like to talk about this in terms of the whole Mises economic theory. If I understand it correctly, (Which may or may not be true) Mises held that values were ultimately subjective- that what they value today they may or may not value tomorrow. Additionally, how they act and what they buy today may or may not be the same as tomorrow, and even if they were consistent in simple situations, that does not mean they will be consistent in complex situations. Thus his support for "a-priori" knowledge and opposition to empirical evidence. I'm not exactly sure what the Objectivist take on this would be. Do the values that Mises talks about mean economic values (i.e. Pepsi or Coke), whereas Rand is referring more to abstract, philosophical values? Can they co-exist? Are they in complete opposition? What is the Objectivist view of Emprical Evidence in economics? I know there were *some* threads about this, but none really made sense to me. When talking about the last part, please try to dumb it down please and thanks.
  5. Well, there's certainly "experts" that Objectivists oppose. The experts in economics are the Keynesians, while the "experts" in philosophy are the Kantians. Often, when an expert needs to be quoted, there is a dispute as to what is the reality of the situation. I would say to rationally analyze what each individual has to say and to judge their conclusions based on their merits.
  6. "Fear, guilt and the quest for pity combine to set the trend of art in the same direction, in order to express, justify and rationalize the artists’ own feelings. To justify a chronic fear, one has to portray existence as evil; to escape from guilt and arouse pity, one has to portray man as impotent and innately loathsome. Hence the competition among modern artists to find ever lower levels of depravity and ever higher degrees of mawkishness—a competition to shock the public out of its wits and jerk its tears. Hence the frantic search for misery, the descent from compassionate studies of alcoholism and sexual perversion to dope, incest, psychosis, murder, cannibalism." http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/modern_art.html Thanks to everyone for answering my first question, though I do wonder how incest is wrong (Unfortunately, I couldn't on an easy Google find evidence that Oism opposes polygamy. Should that mean it supports it?
  7. I basically have two questions. Often when asking theoretical situations, opponents of Objectivism concoct some absurd hypothetical and impossible situation and the altruist connotation of selfishness to somehow prove it's a bad thing. I have a question today, and I'll be citing a legend that could have actually happened and would like to get your take on it. You're a slave escaping through the Underground Railroad and you're in a group. Unfortunately, a baby is crying and will not stop crying and you fear the people nearby will hear and wonder what is going on. The only way to keep the baby from crying is to kill it. What do you do? Approaching this from what I know of Objectivism, I can see both angles to this. 1: Killing the baby. While the baby is not using force, or even the broader negation of the mind, (lying, fraud are two examples I can think of that don't precisely fit under force) it does fundamentally attack one's highest value: life. Life simply would not be worth living as a slave, which is why Ayn Rand obviously escaped to the United States. Since this baby threatens one's value life and because to keep the baby alive you must sacrifice yourself, it is perfectly moral to kill the baby. Questions arose from this: If you accept this, doesn't it mean that if one stands in the way of your values, you may treat them as simply an obstacle in your way to be hurdled over? Isn't this an example of "sacrificing the individual for the greater good"? How could an Objectivist support this? Objectivism is founded upon the value of life. How can it be appropriate to kill? 2: Not killing the baby. Basically the questions from before. You're using initiating the use of force against the baby, while the baby has done nothing to harm you. Oism also protects individual rights, therefore it's completely inappropriate to kill the baby. Obviously I'm wrong in my thinking on either one of these, so if someone could clear it up for me it'd be appreciated. QUESTION NUMBER 2: How does Objectivism rationally come to the conclusion that polygamy or incest are immoral, while being gay or lesbian is moral?
  8. "Respecting the rights of others never conflicts with your objective self-interest, because whether or not your own rights are to be respected depends on respecting others." I'd like to elaborate slightly on this point. When answering this question, Ayn Rand elaborated that the asker should consider any criminal or dictatorship. In each situation, they gained their short and mindless self-interest, though in the long run they perished because they destroyed the producers of society. Remember, Oism does not revere second handers: the hero in The Fountainhead was Howard Roark, not Peter Keating (or worse, Ellsworth Toohey). The hero in Atlas Shrugged was Dagny Taggart, not James Taggart. Selfish men and women produce, not destroy. If you would like more evidence, Rand (correctly) held that ethics (and more fundamentally, metaphysics and epistemology) will reflect politics. Note that capitalism is based upon selfishness and the non-aggression principle (it's immoral to use force), while socialism is based on altruism and force. Regarding your other examples, Objectivism sees man as a heroic being that is capable of adjusting his background to himself and that pursuing his own interests benefits others. Altruism sees man as a sacrificial animal, that, if interpreted correctly and practiced consistently, is incapable of love. From this ask yourself which would treat his fellow man that he meets on the street with more respect.
  9. Oh yeah I completely understand what you mean. Yesterday I was watching liberalviewer, and he supposedly had read "most of Ayn Rand's work", though later he claimed that he had read AS and the Virtue of Selfishness. I thought the critique would be unbiased and completely reasonable, given he'd had some experience with the philosophy, but I was wrong. He essentially took John Galt's quote way out of context and said it would result in the use of force, etc. etc. How interesting that they claim they oppose selfishness mostly because it would harm other people. Yet they reject that ethics parallels politics, and that capitalism is based upon selfishness and the non-aggression principle, while socialism is based on force and altruism. It seems like most critiques use the "connotation" definition of selfishness, as opposed to the actual one. EDIT: This is my favorite reply: "I would argue that the majority of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants actually have very little control over their careers, where they live, and how much money they make. That statement is laughable. If all it took was an attitude adjustment to rise from poverty, escape conflict, and recover from widespread illness, then we would have 7 billion wealthy, happy, and healthy humans headed to their next yoga class. I’ll take my workout gear without naive freshman-year analysis next time." Question: Why do they actually have very little control over their careers, where they live, and how much money they make? As Ayn Rand would say, "Blank out"
  10. It's in what I'm assuming to be Norwegian, so I don't know what to click. I clicked the red box anyway and hopefully that's done it.
  11. How specifically do you feel its being misrepresented? That an Objectivist would show up at an Occupy protest so selflessly (He has nothing- no values, to gain at an Occupy Protest) just to get off on saying "Who is John Galt?" That was just my assumption, which is why I'm asking.
  12. D'oh. And I totally forgot about the possibilities of lotteries or 'fees' to enforce contracts, which is one example Ayn Rand thought up in "Voluntary Government Financing in a Free Society". Do you really believe that it was the taxation system that caused the government's problems, and not simply the limited powers or otherwise, or were you adjusting your answer to fit the charge?
  13. Sorry if this is too short, but it really doesn't need to be elaborated on. What would you say to the person that states the fallibility of the Articles of Confederation is a perfect example of limited government that cannot collect taxes?
  14. Schools If I understand laissez-faire capitalism correctly, under such a government there would not be public schools. By this, I don’t simply mean no public schools and simply vouchers, but that there would be no government funding of education period, federal, state, or local. My concern lies with the fact that under such a system, the poor would likely not have access to education, ruining the “American Dream” for these individuals. Can any of you address this concern? Roads If roads were privatized, wouldn’t there be a lot of suing the road owner since it was “unsafe”, just as Friedman claims the government is doing today? If this is the case, it wouldn’t be a worthwhile investment and thus we would have no roads. Also, I have a question on this quote: "In Austrian theory, the rapidly expanding money stock artificially lowers interest rates, signaling businesses to invest more in longer-term and more capital-intensive projects."I understand the first part, but why do lower interest rates cause businesses to invest in the longer term and more capital-intensive projects?“Definition Regulations” I feel that at times it is necessary for the government to intervene and establish what I like to call “definition regulations”. These are regulations that make suppliers of food meet certain requirements to call something by a certain name. The most prevalent example of this would be meats: without the government, how would a shopper discriminate between a porterhouse and another piece of meat? Shouldn’t a supplier of food have to have a certain amount ratio of beef-to-fat for something to be considered ground beef? Business Information Would businesses have to release certain information under a laissez-faire society? For example, if Google is tracking what I’m searching to supply me with certain advertisements, don’t I have the right to know? Would businesses have to show records of how much, say, mercury they are putting in water that leads to other people’s housing? Courts This leads me to my next point. Under a laissez-faire government, individuals claiming property damage or food poisoning would have to file a suit in the court of law. Why is this preferable to safety regulations? Licenses Under a laissez-faire government, roads would be privatized and the road owners could require drivers to be approved by a private safety agency. 1: Would individuals be able to sue the road owner if he failed to require this? 2: Could the government require road owners do this proactively while still maintaining its "Laissez-faire government" tag? 3: How would this apply to the air? Would I have to be licensed to get in a plane, or are we privatizing the air too? Who would require that I get a license if I were flying?
  15. Hey guys! I have a couple questions that I believe I have a fundamental understanding, but not an in-depth or grounded understanding of. If you guys could help, that would be appreciated. Also, I may not respond but that doesn't mean I haven't read responses, so don't be discouraged. In The Virtue of Selfishness on page 95 under the essay “Collectivized Ethics” Rand discusses Medicare. She was quoting the altruist’s claim that the rich “indulge in profligate material luxury on the premise of ‘price is no object’” then stated that “the social progress brought by today’s collectivized mentalities consists of indulging in altruistic political planning on the premise of “human lives no object.” She states that out of context, certain public goals sound good: the ends. But these advocates must keep a very foggy cloud around the means: human lives. She then goes on to state that Medicare is a perfect example of this. She states this fog “hides such facts as the enslavement and, therefore, the destruction of all medical science, the regimentation and disintegration of all medical practice, and the sacrifice of the professional integrity, the freedom, the careers, the ambitions, the happiness, the lives of the very men who are to provide that “desirable” goal- the doctors.” My question is: How does Medicare harm medical practice or doctors? My second question is why she stated how this impacted doctors instead of the taxpayers or the younger generation. Something that Ayn Rand must frequently argue is that any selfish man will not use force, meaning he will not destroy the man using reason to further his own and other’s lives, because without them we would all be dead. She argues that even a small breach of principles means the government can simply take advantage of the hole and expand it (How can we be sure 9-9-9 won’t turn into 15-15-15?), which I would probably have to agree with. However, it must be mentioned that most often this downward spiral happens slowly, not quickly. The farmer collecting subsidies may eventually have all of his property taken, since to collect a subsidy is to abandon property rights, but this need to confiscate property will probably come years down the road- probably even after he is dead. What is you guys’ take on this? Much, if not all, of Rand’s arguments stem from the value life. Rand reasons that because man does not have an automatic means of survival and because life is preserved and furthered through material possessions, man has the right to property and should be self-interested. However, a non-Objectivist could very likely argue that life is sustained and fathered because of society. While an Objectivist may point to a survival show as evidence of man’s use of reason to survive, his opponent may point to it as evidence of what happens when society disappears. My question is this: How would an Objectivist tackle someone using the social contract theory?
  16. I was reading "Philosophy: Who Needs It" yesterday and I came across an essay that showed she had only contempt for the idea of "duty." I can understand it when she places it in a Kant perspective, but I have a bit of a harder time when placed in another perspective. What would be the Oist answer someone who said "We have a duty not to leave our kids with a massive debt", or the libertarian that says "It's our duty not to use force" or Thomas Paine, who says "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."? Thanks for answers!
  17. *** Mod's note: Merged topics. - sN *** Typically, I believe in the tragedy of the commons. If we all own something instead of only one person owning it, we're more likely to mismanage or abuse that resource than if only one person owned it. I've heard it equated with a massive orange juice pitcher as opposed if we each had our own glass of orange juice. If we each have our own, we can drink it at our leisure. If we all own it, then we will try to drink as fast as possible since other people are drinking it. However, if someone owns a lake and works in nuclear energy and there are no environmental regulations, what is to stop him from dumping radioactive waste into the lake, or into his 'share' of the ocean? Another question: studies have shown that when houses are in poor condition, housing around it also lose value. Should there be laws passed requiring owners of houses to upkeep their quality?
  18. One thing I had a mediocre time grappling with for a while is the idea that at some point, you become large enough to buy the government. Therefore, there should be caps on how much corporations can make and how much CEOs can make and/or we should increase taxes on the rich. After all, they say, many of the rich earned that money illegitimately. However, the thing they miss is that even if you do increase regulations, increase taxes, and get the government more involved, this will only encourage the corporation's desire to be in bed with the government and to eliminate its competition. So when they suggest more government to 'balance' it, all they're doing is lining the pockets of the looters and knocking out the guys who play fair. They also miss that regulations and increased taxes encourages an otherwise productive and non-aggressive company to play dirty. If the government becomes too involved, they can't make profits and may have to get in bed to protect their existence and to knock out competition. Essentially, the point I'm trying to make is that the government is going to protect its interests. For that reason, I suggest we get it as small as we can. In fact, I don't think it would be unreasonable to say that the lower taxes you have, the more prosperous and less leech-like corporations would be. I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but I thought of it and wanted to tell some listening ears.
  19. Scenario 1: I get on the road, and accidentally get in a car wreck and kill someone. Whether I have desired to or not, I have used force. I have negated not only their mind, but their entire existence. Scenario 2: I get on the road with the intent to kill someone. The result is the same, but the intent is different. Under an Objectivist legal code, would the sentence for Scenario 1 be lesser if there is any at all, or would they both be the same? If possible, I would desire you to use an Ayn Rand quote or Objectivist principle in your answer. I have a feeling, though, the answer will be subjective and that most of you will believe Sc. 1 should deserve a lesser sentence. Still, I'm curious.
  20. Instead of forcing people to defend our country, we should create a country that is worth defending.
  21. Thanks for the answers everyone. I was told the other day that without the government, we would be nowhere in space travel. They additionally suggested another place for the government to put its money would be into deep-sea traveling. I had no answer for them.
  22. If someone has questions, answer them. If someone seems like they can be persuaded, attempt such. If someone is adamant in their ignorance, leave them.
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