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Ninth Doctor

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Everything posted by Ninth Doctor

  1. Manichaeism wasn't a Christian heresy, it was a different religion. To say pre-Christian Rome was secular, or even relatively secular is absurd. Same with Greece, though it's Rome that became Christian so that's the one that counts if you're debating a Christian. Bernstein mentions Will Durant's The Age of Faith, I suggest he study the prior volume, Caesar and Christ, and above all, never use Leonard Peikoff as a source for history. My prediction: D'Souza is going to cream him.
  2. Try her FHF talk "Apollo 11 and Dionysus at Woodstock". In the Q&A she talks about being in favor of legalization of heroin, cocaine, the lot. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ar_apollo
  3. Maybe you could give us an example? I’m trying to formulate one along the lines of an organ transplant, but I don’t know enough about that process. I know sometimes people are denied, or are put at the back of the line for one reason or another.
  4. Sometimes you don’t have a choice about whom you deal with. IRS agents and traffic cops come to mind as stark examples. Then there’s people at work. Sure you can find another job, or ditch an important client because one of his underlings is an asshole. But not always, not without a disproportionate sacrifice. This calls to mind one of Nassim Taleb’s phrases, he relates how he got a big bonus while he was working on Wall Street, it was a life changing thing, and he called it “fuck you money”. It empowered him to tell people he didn’t want to deal with where to go. Anyway, I gather you’re not nearly as naïve as I feared, and I agree that one should try to set a good moral tone, and that for the most part it can be done.
  5. He gave a talk at a hospital in Miami in the mid-nineties, a year or two before he started appearing at events with David Kelley’s organization, his return to Objectivism so to speak. There were at least 500 people there, the head of the department gave him a glowing introduction, and the name Ayn Rand wasn’t uttered once. For comparison, when Christopher Hitchens appeared here promoting his memoir in 2010, the turnout was about the same. OTOH when Umberto Eco came the turnout was at least 2,000. So, I’m not sure about ‘spotty success’, or whether NB’s latter day appearances at Objectivist events had any impact on his reputation in the pop psychology/self-help arena, or on his book sales generally. I believe NB appeared on Oprah at some point, I don’t know how many times. But he’s certainly never been as well known as Dr. Phil, FWIW.
  6. Whew. Not my experience at all. In fact, one of my personal phrases, it’s not a quote from anyone though I can’t imagine that the point is original with me: for others to start applying the Golden Rule, sometimes you’re going to have to do unto them as they've done unto you.
  7. If you’re going to read Valliant's opus, it's imperative to have copies of both Nathaniel Branden's memoir and Barbara Branden's biography of AR in hand, to check all quotations against their sources. Placing a word or phrase within quotation marks does not indicate that the word or phrase is even a quotation, verbatim or otherwise. Even if it is a partial quotation, it is not uncommon to reorder the used words within a phrase, so long as the meaning remains intact. The result is not a "misquoatation." http://www.solopassion.com/node/9529#comment-117592 Or you can simply look up Neil Parille’s extensive critiques of the book, where you’ll often find Valliant there on the same thread attempting to defend his distortions of other’s words, how he made them say the opposite of what they wrote via ellipses and reorderings, before skulking off to declare victory elsewhere. Truly disgraceful. Did she really have an affair? Yes, of course, no one disputes it anymore. So what? Does the fact she did it with the 'consent' of her spouse matter? And does it make it better or make it worse? According to Barbara Branden when they were first asked for consent they both emphatically answered 'no'. Shouldn't that answer have been the one that counted? So they both made a bad mistake, were cruel to their loved ones and ultimately to each other. Now decades later some still get all bitter over how different people interpret it. Whether Ayn Rand was morally perfect, or that since, a priori, she was morally perfect, Nathaniel Branden must be a super-villain, not just then but for all time. You'd think this was some damn religion, with a god and a devil. Hell, even the Old Testament god 'repented' once or twice, after getting a good harangue from Moses. Hopefully, once the individuals who have a historical investment in this are dead, the dispute will finally go away.
  8. Rand said the theme of AS is "the role of man's mind in existence", so why would it be surprising that the wrong kind of teachers get some flak? Funny, now I'm imagining the legions of smear-artists latching onto this claiming Rand was for lining teachers up in front of firing squads. Or sending them to gas chambers.
  9. Not counting having his tuition paid at 3 different institutions, with no degree to show for it. Nassim Taleb’s latest book has lots of autobiographical material about how he didn’t let school get in the way of his education, but still he got the degrees. And talk about chutzpah, this is his first post, and he’s asking for money! I know of a person in online O-land who asked for money when he was unexpectedly hard up, but he’s been around for years and people know and respect him. It has to be earned. Oh puhleeze! Not that everyone has to like Harry Potter, but if you can’t recognize and respect that level of achievement, you’re what I’d have to call a hopeless case. How about Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars? Junk?? Here's some free advice, and it might change your life for the better: aim to write equally awful junk.
  10. He was fantastic in Oklahoma! The part from Les Miz in the 60 Minutes piece sounded good to me. He buries the fortune he accumulated as a factory owner in the woods, and taps into it once or twice. In the end he gives it all to Cosette, Hugo gives an accounting of it though I forget the details. How much they lived on, that kind of thing. In Paris he works as a gardener alongside the man he saved earlier, and lives frugally. Later he’s something of a philanthropist, however, so how he comes to have the cash to do that I don’t recall. Which opportunities? When he's a factory owner Javert isn't sure. After that there are some near misses, but until the barricade they don't have a real face to face.
  11. Here’s a nice inspirational lecture by Kerry O’Quinn from the last Atlas Society conference. He’s the guy who preserved the video of Rand on the Johnny Carson show, and as you’ll hear, has had quite a life:
  12. I just went looking, and I'm almost certain I found where I heard that. I searched for "dictator" on Peikoff's site. http://www.peikoff.com/2012/10/01/would-a-dictator-be-more-or-less-immoral-if-he-imposed-objectivism-on-a-country/ So it's actually not a Rand quote, but comes from Von Mises. And he said "abdicate" instead of resign. Close enough for Jazz.
  13. That rationalization was being progressively undermined, that's history. It calls to mind a great quote from Alexandre Dumas, who was answering some racist critique: “My father was a Creole, his father a Negro, and his father a monkey; my family, it seems, begins where yours left off”. I'm afraid this is all off-topic, but isn't interesting enough for its own thread.
  14. Somewhere or other, I think in a Peikoff podcast, LP tells what Rand's answer was when asked "what would an Objectivist dictator do first". The answer: resign.
  15. Assuming the movie follows the show it’s going to be just as condensed as the Liam Neeson movie. The only difference I can think of is the ending, the Neeson movie ended with Javert’s suicide, the show ends at Valjean’s death bed. I wouldn’t say they “butchered” it, and I felt the leads were well cast and performed well, though for some reason the total only added up to, as I said before, “pretty decent” rather than any species of “wow”. I just saw an absolutely nasty review of the new movie on CNN.com. Time will tell. I’m not in any hurry to go see it, mainly because I don’t care for the music.
  16. I'm afraid this might drift the thread, but you're wrong here. The fact that slaves didn't necessarily have dark skin color is central to the plot of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, and you can find plenty of cases, like that of Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker, from real life. Apparently lighter skin in a female slave was particularly desirable, I think you can do the math on why that would be. There's a scene in Gore Vidal's Lincoln of a slave auction where a light skinned young woman is progressively stripped to get her price up. Whether that ever really happened, well, seems likely huh?
  17. I've always found the music cheesy, but I certainly think highly of the book, and thought the Liam Neeson movie was pretty decent. An odd thing is how Hugo will put in huge digressions, like the section on Waterloo, and just barely bother to integrate it into the plot. Rand puts in speeches, Hugo essays. Hunchback was the same way ("this will kill that"). Anyway, here's a 60 Minutes segment from a few weeks ago.
  18. Concerning Mises and Mussolini: http://archive.mises.org/18257/mises-on-fascism-again/ It's hard to top this claim for mendacity.
  19. They wear crosses, carry bibles, and have bumper stickers and such like. How about banning those things? Not at all. When I wrote “how many”, I was assuming the answer was one.
  20. Thanks, I've seen a few things of him on YouTube, and this isn't the first book by him I've read. I've still got a ways to go, but I keep flying by these brilliant aphorisms, and there's lots of challenging ideas in here. It's kind of like reading Galt's speech for the first time, at least I keep getting that feeling.
  21. Obviously I’m saying it’s not really physical force, and there’s a bogus attempt to equate the two afoot here. Muslims in the US are like Nazi’s in Germany? Come on. Now that I think of it, I recently posted a clip of Christopher Hitchens (on the D’Souza thread) claiming that you can rewrite any history of Fascism in the 20th century by substituting “Catholic right wing” for Fascism, and have an equally valid result. Let’s get back to banning nun’s headgear! “Outrageous record”, in the US? Now I know there have been cases, but how do they stack up to abortion clinic bombings and various other outrages that can be chalked up to Christianity in the US? How many Muslim women swearing on how many stacks of Korans that they choose to wear a veil, that it’s what they want to do, husband or no, would be necessary for banning it to be a violation of rights? How about if we find a widow whose children are all secularized and who even tell her they wish she’d stop wearing a veil, but she keeps on doing it anyway because dammit she regards it as part of her religion? Think there are no such people?
  22. They sure took their sweet time getting around to this. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ari_libertarianism_qa 1. Has ARI changed its position on libertarianism? No. But the meaning of the term “libertarian” has been changing over the decades. Consequently, individuals or organizations that today call themselves “libertarian” may or may not hold the ideas we oppose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuistry In Provincial Letters (1656–7)he scolded the Jesuits for using casuistic reasoning in confession to placate wealthy Church donors, while punishing poor penitents. Pascal charged that aristocratic penitents could confess their sins one day, re-commit the sin the next day, generously donate the following day, then return to re-confess their sins and only receive the lightest punishment; Pascal's criticisms darkened casuistry's reputation.
  23. BTW, would anyone object to banning Catholic nun's habits? Oh wait, there's a difference, nuns choose to become nuns. Sure, some (all?) are brainwashed, but, um, it's different mmmkay? And then if they don't like it, they can leave, it's always easy to leave, get a regular job and so on, no one's ever felt trapped I'm sure. People are usually born to Mormonism or Islam, so maybe we ought to forcibly stop that. No? Ok ok, substitute a soothing euphemism for 'forcibly stop', now are you onboard? I'm afraid that where the phrase "forcible domination by the will of another" is being used above, we ought to substitute "a hungry man is not free". Doesn't it amount to the same thing? Living in the US, if you want to leave a situation where you're being "forced" (or "strongly encouraged", at the risk of being euphemistic) to wear particular clothing, you can do it, but you might lose your meal ticket. Hell, that could happen in a hippie commune, if you're the lone wolf who won't wear Birkenstocks. That's it, I've got the solution, it's been staring us in the face all the time: uniforms! Like in a lot of private schools, and even some public ones, everyone gets a uniform, and that's all anyone's allowed to wear.
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