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Everything posted by mustang19

  1. I don't disagree with (most of) your principles, TS. It's just a matter of definitions and reasons why one holds these principles. Any person or any dictionary which holds that self interest and hedonism are synonyms is obviously not a good, Objectivist person or dictionary. That's what the thread comes down to. If Grandma goes off Social Security and ends up unable to find work and impoverished, but losing the guilt of supporting the welfare state is worth it for her, then that's great. But I think she will be a case where one will just have to give up attempting to convince her. A formal proof of Objectivist ethics with a numbered listing of axioms, intermediate steps and a QED would be nice. I don't think there is one out there.
  2. Well TS I was able to find a full copy of Gault's speech via a Google search. So I'll look into it in a week or so once I get off school. And if I come to any revelations I'll get back to you. Thanks regardless.
  3. Not sure of that; Wikipedia at least defines it as "a focus on the needs or desires of oneself" without mention of other people. But if I argue about dictionary definitions anymore I'm going to get banned. I guess the closest term you could come to that is Pareto efficiency, where at least one person is better off and no one else worse off. Don't know if it's in most dictionaries though. Well since you're still feeding the troll I would go with the Wikipedia definition of self interest, since, although it is from Wikipedia, I believe it is one of the more commonly understood definitions of the word and people will usually have a good idea of what I mean when I use it.
  4. If so I'm just going off of the information provided in this thread. Let's break out an actual dictionary. Going off of: http://thesaurus.com/browse/self-indulgence Main Entry: selfishness Part of Speech: noun Definition: self-regard Synonyms: greed, self-centeredness, self-indulgence, self-worship, stinginess Main Entry: enjoyment Part of Speech: noun Definition: delight in something Synonyms: amusement, delectation, diversion, enjoying, entertainment, fruition, fun, gladness, gratification, gusto, happiness, hedonism, indulgence, joy, loving, luxury, pleasure, recreation, rejoicing, relaxation, relish, satisfaction, savor, self-indulgence, sensuality, thrill, triumph, zest Antonyms: displeasure, dissatisfaction, misery, sorrow, unhappiness, woe So just from a brief purview of a crappy online thesaurus it can be seen that selfishness and hedonism are closely related terms if not synonyms. Whether or not psychological egoism or any other theory dealing with self interest is "correct" is irrelevant to my point; the common definition of the word self interest as used in these theories equates self interest with pleasure to some degree or another. I'm getting conflicting answers to my questions in this thread, though, so I should just drop it rather than try to see which one of you is the true voice of Ayn Rand. Sorry if I sounded like a dork there, but I don't see it so much as an issue of me understanding Ayn Rand so much as people in this thread saying words making words out to mean something other than their usual definitions. Now go ahead and give my post 100 down votes like a youtube video of Justin Bieber.
  5. The fact that you're a hedonist doesn't prevent you from thinking long-term either. Deciding to endure painful surgery for more use out of your joints afterwards isn't at all incompatible with hedonism, just as long as whatever use you get out of the joint is worth it. Being a hedonist in no way requires you to be a drug addict either, in fact even a hedonist would probably not want to be one. I really wish you guys would pick a word besides "self interest" if you're talking about something that differs from the accepted definition of the term in important ways. It gets pretty confusing when someone asks you very basic questions about your philosophy and your response is to tell them to read a 2000 page book about how you don't mean what you sound like you mean. Not ones for finding beauty in conciseness are you all? Disclaimer: The previous paragraph was a troll.
  6. Hm, so much for those ARI junkies then. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pleasure_and_pain.html Just going off of the sources it was suggested I look into... But I understand that when you say "the pleasure pain mechanism is the automatic guardian of man's life" you actually mean something else. It still makes Objectivism unnecessarily confusing though since psychological egoism is usually understood to include pleasure in the evaluation of self interest. There are probably more accurate and precise words to describe whatever Rand actually meant by "self interest".
  7. What? Isn't the pleasure-pain mechanism the guardian of one's life, dude?
  8. I just wish there was a way you could justify Objectivism's political arguments with a purely philosophical and positivist approach rather than relying on untestable empirical claims about what is in other people's self interest. That's all. This thread has served it's purpose and can die peacefully now.
  9. That has been repeatedly asserted in this thread. However, no one has been able to prove what exactly is going to happen to Grandma because she supports social security. I have heard Grandma's support of the program is not in her long term best interest. But how? What about wanting to collect a $1000 OASDI check every month is going to cause her to get killed or whatever terrible thing happens to people who support social security?
  10. And when it does and she has to work a few more hours a week to cover the lost income, like she would have to without the program anyway? Assuming the US does become Greece ten or twenty years down the road, she'll still have gained tens of thousands of dollars more than if she had never enrolled in the system. SS has it's own fund anyway separate from the government budget and the current shortfall in projected funding can be made up by pretty minor adjustments to benefits and revenue stream once it stops running a surplus and spends all the trust fund way off in 2040. Not to mention that without SS she would probably be unemployed and penniless given the current economy. Pretty likely considering she's about 70. But speculative arguments about what may be in the self interest of people other than herself are going to be evaluated against the large amount of wealth and leisure time she gains from SS in her determination of self interest, and it's not like she couldn't save and invest in her survivalist gold stash if she saw the collapse of industrial civilization due to one single government program as a realistic concern. Overall she would most likely have somewhat less money- perhaps $50k already- if it wasn't for the existence of social security.
  11. I know that. But I want to know the arguments why. Okay. Now do you believe you have addressed my question of why collecting SS hurts Grandma more than it helps her, and how so? So are you not certain, then, whether or not the existence of a government wealth transfer program, SS, is in Grandma's self interest? Because if Grandma supports Social Security, I myself wouldn't doubt her belief that the program is in her self interest. She's the best judge of that as far as I can tell, and I haven't seen a compelling argument as to why this isn't so.
  12. Oh, I know that religious orphanages might hypothetically do a better job. But as far as I know the government doesn't really interfere with the work of a tax-free charity. I think if you cut government disability programs there are some people that are going to die that otherwise would have lived. Do you think this is so? And do the ones who died all deserve it? I didn't mean this thread to be for debating, though, so those are just meant as questions. Here's another question. Should charities be tax exempt? While we're at it, what types of taxes would an Objectivist state have? Any excise taxes? Are you against the personal income tax? Estate tax?
  13. Yeah, in this case. It's not like there are libertarian vigilantes going around arresting people for collecting SS. And like I said as far as I know she's not wetting her pants or having panic attacks each time she takes the SS check out of the mailbox. I don't have any particular evidence showing that she even feels guilty for collecting SS. Rather as far as I know she feels entitled to it despite not working a real job for a day in her life beforehand. I realize you can say collecting SS turns Grandma into a nervous wreck somehow. But how do you prove this claim about what someone other than yourself is thinking or experiencing?
  14. Taxes. With an SS phaseout young workers would have to be taxed more than they would receive in benefits. Basically my original question: How are you more qualified than Grandma to know what is in her self interest? If she says that she prefers to collect SS, and is not at all interested in voting against SS, how can you jump into her head and know her "real" reasons for doing this? Bank robbers aren't really a useful comparison when you can at least sometimes tell that they're messed up people if they pull guns on bank tellers, while my grandma isn't directly trying to kill or threaten anyone by writing to OASDI and getting a check in the mail.
  15. Whats the Objectivist take on child abuse, neglect, etc? Should there be any social workers allowed by law to take children away from abusive parents? What about foster care?
  16. Okay, that works better. Always have enough cash on hand to pay for a nursing home, otherwise you get Alzheimer's and you're fucked.
  17. I can't "say why" one person's life is more important than another's. But if you are behaving in your self interest your own life is probably going to be more important to you than anyone else's life is. Social security (formally, the OASDI program) is not just for workers. It's also for survivors and the disabled. My grandma has virtually never paid into social security. Before her husband died and she began collecting SS, she had been a housewife all her life. So in her case she's paid in nothing but taking out a lot. Why should my grandma support gradual phaseout? I guess it would make no difference to her if present benefits remained unchanged. However, a phaseout would create other problems- because SS is not a funded system but a pay-as-you-go system, younger workers would have to support retirees with the expectation of being able to take less out than they put in. A phaseout cannot be performed without either breaking promises or exploiting someone. Bank robbers may or may not benefit from stealing. However I don't see Grandma getting arrested or attacked for collecting SS. What other problems might arise for her? Enrolling in SS costs her nothing. It costs her nothing system fails but for the period in which it works she gets free money. My question was, how does Grandma's individual action of enrolling in OASDI (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) and taking their check out of her mailbox every month harm her. If Social Security is going to cause the world to end, Grandma leaving OASDI is not going to save the world. Sure, you could say that Social Security is going to collapse before Grandma collects her allotted benefits or OASDI going to lead to the total collapse of industrial civilization. But unless you prove that it would remain an unsupported assertion. There's that word again! Maybe, but why should she oppose SS?
  18. So you believe that Alzheimers, dementia, heritable illnesses, and cancer are always natural consequences of the choices made by a person who gets them? What choices do people make that cause them to get a heritable illness? Should the government do anything to help the person? I didn't think that was the meaning of his post.
  19. Okay, okay. I already admitted I was talking about a misunderstood definition there. Yes. There are things. And there are things to be gained from parasitism too. The balance one way or the other may vary with the situation. It may not have been, although whether or not someone stole food from the cabin doesn't really affect the chance of the food getting stolen again unless it's the same person. However past events weren't something I asked about, only present choices for the hungry person. Yes, she did. They visit and maybe send her money or do yard work from time to time. How should other people's opinion of her influence her decision to collect social security however? I don't really see that following from your previous statement. I still don't get what Grandma looses from collecting SS.
  20. Okay. Well I really don't like reading through Atlas Shrugged but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that Objectivism is for a lot of things. Thank you for your response, though. It cleared things up for me a bit.
  21. So I understand what you said thusly: It is morally okay to help a child who is disabled for the rest of their life. However, if there isn't enough voluntary donations to support the person they should be left to die. What if it's an adult that becomes disabled later in life? Is it morally okay to help someone who develops Alzheimers at age 50? How far does this adult/child distinction go?
  22. Will Marc, Dante, Nate, or whoever wants take this up with me in the debate forum? That's where I originally posted. If so I promise to be less of an ass and have a real debate.
  23. Okay, please explain why this is so. Why does one have to treat others the way they want to be treated in order to be interested in their own welfare? How can you tell that this is true for people other than yourself? Grandma's primary concern is her self interest. Justice, morality and so on are secondary concerns. They matter, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't stay up at night pondering the gross immorality of her taking a social security check out of the mailbox each month. I don't think Grandma feels that way collecting social security. At least any guilt she feels about collecting SS is more than made up for by the comfort of having food on her plate and a roof over her head thanks to an SS check she gets. She could work more perhaps- she already makes a little bit of money working part time- but she much prefers to just collect survivor's insurance and live comfortably. How are you more qualified than Grandma to know what is in her self interest? If she says that she prefers to collect SS, and is not at all interested in voting against SS, how can you jump into her head and know her "real" reasons for doing this? I could do that, but I'm more interested in seeing how an actual Objectivist defends their position. What if I wanted to mount a defense of Objectivism myself some day? Nate, thank you: I'm not clear on what you mean by "negation of the mind". In philosophical logic, negation, or logical complement, is an operation on propositions, truth values, or semantic values. Is the mind a proposition, truth value or semantic value? How so?
  24. Well the dictionary definition isn't precise so if you think Rand uses this definition of "self esteem" then that might work. In that case we're back to the question of whether the life choices she advocates will always advance everyone's self interest. Why exactly should Grandma protest Social Security? TS hasn't gotten back to me yet on that. Okay, I honestly think you're right here. I was going off an understanding of Objectivism based on a few forum posts here, not Rand's work. Now how is Social Security against Grandma's self interest?
  25. It is arbitrary in the sense that anyone could do what Rand did- reframe "self interest" to become something other than its dictionary definition- and change words to mean anything they like. If those principles were logically consistent I would have no problem. As far as I can tell, Rand (I don't know if she shares the views of every Objectivist) achieve this consistency only by redefining terms. It does make it difficult for other people to understand you, though, when your definition of self interest differs from the commonly used dictionary definition of the term. A more accurate and clear way of referring to the value that you call "self interest" would be something like "respect for private property and productiveness". Putting collective values such as respect for law and productiveness above one's self interest would generally be considered altruism by the dictionary definition.
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