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Everything posted by Johnrgt

  1. In one of his lectures Dr. Locke dismisses the whole notion of speed reading. The one thing I found useful was to teach myself to minimize the amount of movement I allow my eyes to make. By increasing my periphiral abilities, I'm now able to go through a page mcuh faster without any sacrifice in retention. Johnrgt
  2. By “malleable goo” I mean his intellectual/psychological dishonesty made it easy for him to, eventually, automatize clever ways of stretching Objectivism to justify errors he wasn’t willing to let go of. (If anyone else used similar deceptions, well, he’d discover the gimmick in no time and unleash hell on the perpetrator.) It was only a mater of time before he reduced Objectivism to “some good ideas”, and continued his subjectivist orgy -- just like his therapist. JohnRgt
  3. Hi RationalCop, I apologize for getting your nick wrong in my last post. While the moderators’ workload sounds enormous, the bottom line is that an incredible mind’s posts were edited without his consent or knowledge, and that, apparently, this activity was detected by chance -- not by existing checks and balances. Worse, it was done to a member whose posts carry a lot of weight with a good chunk of the membership. I think the police analogy isn’t valid when discussing my proposal because I’m not asking to tie the moderator’s hands. He can suspend a post he doesn’t like on the spot. He simply needs to inform the writer of the suspension, list the grievance, and wait for the originator to comply. I’d think/hope that 9 out of 10 cases wouldn’t need to go much beyond that. (Not that it’s any of my business but it would be helpful to know the exact nature of what the moderators are up against. How bad are the violations and how frequently do they occur?) I see nothing wrong with asking for the courtesy of notification, a chance to explain one’s thinking, and the assurance that the final version of one’s post meets with one’s approval. If GC can’t handle the appeals load perhaps a second moderator could be asked to mediate a given grievance. I’d even be OK with the first moderator having final say over the appeal. Regardless of how it’s handled, the poster should be notified and should have the right to approve the final version of his post. With all due respect to all who’ve worked so hard to nurture this site to the great forum that it is today, I have to ask: since when is expediency grounds for affording anyone this sort of say over another’s intellectual output without so much as a notification that a post has been altered? I thank all who’ve considered my thoughts on this issue. Since there are many who are far more experienced and involved on this site that I am, I’ll address any comments on this post in private. Regards, JohnRgt
  4. Hi AisA, I’m not sure what a moderator’s workload entails, but if notifying and coordinating an edit with a post’s writer is too much trouble then something is definitely off. I'm not crazy about the analogy you drew. Asking for notification and mutual approval of edits doesn’t erode a moderator’s right to temporarily suspend a suspect post; it simply holds the moderator accountable and educates the membership on what is and isn’t acceptable. JohnRGT
  5. I’m not sure if the software and workload allow for the following suggestion but I’ll post it anyway. I think a moderator should have only one power Re a given post: to suspend it until whatever problem he has with it can be resolved, through private discussion with the writer. Neither the writer nor the moderator should be able to move a post, correct spelling or grammar, delete it, or alter it in any way without the other’s consent. If the two can’t work something out in a reasonable amount of time the mater should be brought to the owner, his ruling being final. This is the only way moderating content can be done honorably. I haven’t been here very long. Even with the little experience I have, however, it’s clear to me that the Speichers are two of the dozen or so pillars of reason on this site. If my suggestion increases moderator workload too much, then I suggest that a list of the best, most knowledgeable posters be created and their posts be treated as I suggest ie, with the respect their abilities command -- the Speichers should definitely be on that short list. On a personal note: I don’t know either Stephen or Betsy personally. I’ve been reading Stephen’s posts on HBL for years. On that forum one sees Stephen having substantial impact on some of Objectivism’s most respected intellectuals, month, after month, after month. (Those who doubt this can sign-up for a free month of HBL.) To those who attack Stephen’s content I say to you respectfully: tread lightly because chances are you’re wrong. To those who attack his character and/or style I say: tread lightly because, chances are, you’re being defensive. Thank you. Johnrgt
  6. Hi Dominique, You wrote, "...and it was really distressing, how easily they gave up." I don't think they gave-up. They had nothing to give-up. No matter what they claimed Re their viewpoints, both to you and to themselves, they never actually held the ideas they condemn as naive. One of my closest friends, we were best buds for about 15 years, studied everything AR wrote over a period of about five years. "What a mind." "How clear." "How did I not see that?" "How have these bastards been getting away with it all for centuries?" "Well, all we have to do is spread the word." He'd quote AR, Objectivist intellectuals, and hit everyone he could over the head with perfectly valid arguments that he adjusted on the spot to the topic and the conversation's "flavor." He knew the philosophy very, very well, and was able to defend it, explain it, and clarify the most intricate "details" to anyone interested in such discussions. Sounds good, right? Well, we attended a lecture/book promotion by one Nathaniel Branden (I had only read AR's fiction at the time, and had heard a few ARB lectures while driving. I knew NB had a romance with AR that ended badly, but knew nothing more about him.) I laughed at too many of Branden's claims at that lecture -- to myself and out loud. My friend, however, read Branden's books and signed-up for weekly sessions at ~$200 per, some time later. Within months of starting these sessions my friend was renouncing Objectivism as cult-like, thought the whole thing was a silly, convenient construct, and caught up with the rationalist/skeptic/subjectivist approach that defined him in high school (his valid assessment of his thinking prior to studying AR.) Did he give-up on Objectivism? No. Looking back I now see that his mind made a kind of endlessly malleable goo out of Objectivism -- I now see that he did this with everything he claimed to believe and love. He knew the philosophy backwards and forwards, claimed to believe it was valid, was passionate about it, yet he never really held it. The ominous difference between how he pulled back from Objectivism, versus how he pulled back from other ideas he ended up rejecting, was that when he attacked aspects of Objectivism he ENJOYED IT!!!! He seemed as relieved as Mr. Thompson would have been if he had been assured that indeed, "it wasn't real." (His attacks, BTW, were constructed to come in as far under the radar as possible. He had made too big an issue of his admiration of Objectivism and AR to categorically reject either. Still, if you knew how to read him, his eyes, it was clear that he loved thinking Objectivism was no more valid than anything else. He was FREE AT LAST!!) I don't make agreement with my views a prereq for friendship. Most of the people I enjoy simply have a sense of life I respond to. As long as they're not militant collectivists, have some respect for reason, are honest enough to not take advantage of my kindness, and they're fun to be with (not repressed), I can relate to them. My friend, however, quickly showed what was brewing inside of him all this time. When this ugliness started coming out (think of the Hoover damn collapsing in an instant), he became a horrible, manipulative, intolerable supeman (Nietzsche) I had to move on. Claiming to be a radical for freedom and knowing the related arguments backwards and forwards, doesn't mean one has actually integrated these beliefs into one's thinking in a meaningful way -- too many people these days allow their "convictions" to go "only so deep." Any comments would be appreciated. Johnrgt JH
  7. Hi Linda, My guess is that the interest/demand for this piece will make a glicee print the more prudent choice for me; hopefully, they'll be offered at full-size. I can't wait to see the completed work! Johnrgt
  8. Hi Linda, Any idea what the asking price of this painting will be? I'd guess the demand will bo so high that Cordair considers an auction. Congrats to all involved. Johnrgt
  9. Hi TE, I’m trying to do research on the Consumption Tax. Time being finite, this will be my final post on this unless something spectacular develops. I must have phrased badly Re Frontline’s comments on Russia. Frontline reported that the Russian military is being downsized; I didn’t infer that from Russia’s explicit warning (to China, no doubt) that Russia will retaliate with nuclear weapons if her sovereignty is challenged. The feel, if not stated outright (memory), was that Russia had better things to spend her limited moneys on. (You can probably watch the episode on pbs.org) (I think Russia is spending like 80% of her shrunken military budget on nukes.) Further, since when was the USSR military much to worry about? The closed societies of the Eastern Block made it easy for the Soviets to fake us out, but we can now confirm what Objectivist intellectuals were thinking all along – they were nothing. Equipment didn’t and doesn’t work. Soldiers would disappear from their posts for weeks. Ships were rusting apart. Etc, etc. Just think of the ineptitude and resulting poverty in We The Living, and you’ll have a good parallel to all I’ve read/heard Re the Soviet military. Our CIA was held back in the USSR because it was a closed society. (Same in Iraq, BTW.) While the KGB had unbelievable capabilities, our openness made things easier for them here than things were for us there. When did the US threaten Muslim nations with nukes, explicitly or otherwise? This “war” should’ve ended on the night of 9/11. Instead, we’re too afraid to send in too many troops, too afraid to kill civilians, too afraid to damage holly sites, etc. I have a hard time believing that we’ve threatened anyone with the bomb. I also have a hard time believing that the President who would order such an attack would survive the order – that’s if the super-educated-in-the-humanities Pentagon brass don’t refuse the order to begin with. You wrote: “And how do you know that the Russians hadn't built those unworkable nuclear arms specifically for that purpose - to make it appear that its nukes didn't work.” You can’t be serious. This is my initiation puzzle to this site, right? (Let’s not forget what Newton said about those who entertain the arbitrary.) You wrote: “That is why US should regard Russia very suspiciously. Who knows they might even be funding the terrorists.” I agree with you. Like we’ve already said, a regime collapse doesn’t mean Russia isn’t Russia anymore. We have to keep an eye open. It is amazing how much of the potential threat you’re concerned with was enabled by stupid US policy – feed them when they’re starving; help them beat Hitler; legitimize them by allowing them a huge sphere of influence; let them in to the UN. Russia certainly supports the terrorists indirectly, by trading with and helping Iran with her nuclear program, and through other activity. All the best to you, TE. I appreciate your efforts Re this thread. JohnRGT
  10. I agree that Russia is still Russia and that its so called democracy is unstable. I just don't agree that everything post ~1989 is part of a plan to trick the West into something. According to Frontline, Putin's administrtation is the first to try to curtail military costs by making it clear that Russia will retaliate against aggressors with nuclear weapons -- apparently, their armies aren't what they were. Further, there's no political will to sustain the military that typified the USSR. Nor do they have the moneys to do much more than build a nuclear arsenal, a relatively cost effective weapon. They've had the physics and the will to sell nuclear arms/tech for some time now. Don't forget that all too many of their nukes simply didn't work when inspected during disarmament, so I don't see a Russian build-up as indicative of a plan for world domination. I appreciate the quotes you offered. I just don't see how the feelings of communists, and Europe's love of conspiracy theories, show that all post '89 Russian activity is part of a Plan. You said it best: "Conspiracy or not, the way Russia is behaving, it seems it is heading towards Communism" Objectivists have never assumed that a regime collapse in Russia indicates a significant, longterm change in Russian culture/politics. All the best to you TE. Johnrgt
  11. Hi TE, I'm not big on conspiracies, but since you were kind enough to respond to my post, here are some thoughts: <<Even though most of the preditions of Golitsyn were true, nobody takes him seriously.>> Think of all that would have to predicted, planned, and executed. All from people that have stolen every piece of innovation they've ever claimed as their own, and who couldn't figure out how to feed themselves for 60 years. TEven now, they can't tap into some of the greatest deposits of natural riches on the planet in their backyard. I don't believe there's a plan afoot. <<Before 9/11, one could have thought that a plan to bomb WTC would leak out. But it didn't.>> We weren't listening. Millionsif not billions, werer spent by the FedGov on experts who kept warning that terroists would hit the US sooner or later. We ignored them. (I remember such talk from the early 80s on.) Further, al Qaeda is a small organization that conspired for a dramatic event that required relatively little. (We can't go by the events and impact of 9/11 in this conversation -- only what it would take to bring it about.) What you're talking about would require coordination that goes far, far beyond anything ever undertaken historically. <<And it is not only Golitsyn who has written about this. Jan Sejna (Soviet defector) too spoke about a plan to fake collapse of Warsaw pact in his book "We will bury you">> More of the same doesn't a conspiracy make. For starters, how do these folks know about it? Why aren't they, their famillies, their friends, their publishers and marketers dead? How are these leaks any less predictable than many aspects of The Plan? I've lived in and have family in Europe. The conspiracies that dominate conversation and news coverage there are shocking by US standards. (Didn't a French "journalist" write a book or two about how Israel actually coordinated and exectured 9/11 to get the US involved in the Middle East? Wasn't it/they on the French besteseller list for an eternity?) All the best, TE. JohnRgt
  12. 1) The Survival Value of Great (Though Philosophically False) Art Dr. Peikoff uses many examples to teach how to mine less than ideal works of art, vastly broadening the artworks Objectivists can enjoy. 2) The Leonard Peokoff Show Program#1 – November 12, 1995 Subject: The Virtue of Selfishness This is the first broadcast of The Leonard Peikoff Show. The tape is full of great techniques that enable one to quickly demonstrate: 1) Philosophy is at the core of all human behavior. 2) That rational selfishness is a key virtue. For more info on this set and transaction details: http://tinyurl.com/574vq Regards, Johnrgt [MODERATOR EDIT to correct misspelling in the title.]
  13. I just put this incredible lecture on ebay. For course descriptions and transaction details, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/6mfo6 Regards, John RGT
  14. I've put a copy of this incredible course on ebay. For more info on the course, and transaction related details, please go to ebay: http://tinyurl.com/42p9y JohnRgt [MODERATOR EDIT for spelling errors the title]
  15. One wonders why people wit the power to coordinate and execute such elaborte, secretive plans would need to do so. JohnRGT
  16. Hi Jedymastyr, I agree with you 100% Re the Salsman lecture. I've always found RS's views and supporting arguments extremely helpful, so I too would love to hear his views on CTs. Regards, John
  17. I don’t think we should infer that because ARB sells a given lecture, ARI agrees with any and all views expressed in that lecture. There was a time when SRB's catalog made it plain that the fact that Dr. Peikoff's material was listed in the catalog did not mean that Dr Peikoff endorsed all viewpoints expressed in all the material in the catalog. John
  18. Hi Hopeful, Let me say it again: I started this thread becasue I was looking for more literature on CTs. I am not a proponent of CTs yet, though I like what I see so far. I don't want ANY other revenue source for the FedGov outside a CT. Archer's plan, however, seems like a good place to start. He calls for the replacement of three seperate taxes with a CT. Aren't two of the three the bread and butter of poltiics? According to Archer's numbers, only a 15% CT was necessasy to bring in the same revenue generated by the three taxes he was looking to repeal back in the late 90s. Let's say that the CT number ends-up being 20% or more in the current economy. That's that much more government expense shifted away from industry, ie, that much more opportunity for industry to soar. Let's say that the midle and lower classes find that number overwhelming. If it's reduced, the governmnet's budget goes down as people have more money to spend/invest. CTs are not the way the truly free fund their government, but it's looking a whole lot better than the present system. Another source to look into: Archer on LPRS: "Dale Jargenson, Economics Professor at Harvard testified that if we did this [CT thing], we could see real national economic growth that would increase as much as eight percent per year above what it would otherwise be.” (Lets not take this quote apart, debating over "as much as", what he means by 8%, etc. Rather, lets see if one of us can find out what Jargenson's points are and how he supports them -- assuming he's still pro CTs, that is...;-) ) Take care, Hopeful. My thanks to all who've participated. Regards, John
  19. Lets look at the Consumption Tax proposal of Congressman Archer in the late 90s. His thrust was to replace the Individual Income Tax, plus the Corporate Tax, plus the Estate Tax with a Consumption Tax. Archer, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said any number of times that he would not allow a CT on the scene unless the other three were eliminated. As stated, I think I see great advantages of this plan over the current scheme. 1) No more social engineering and “favors” through tax exemptions. 2) No more graduate tax rates that punish productivity. 3) The elimination of the IRS; no more financial records of every American in DC; a reduction of government payroll; no more audits; no more accounting fees; etc. 4) Unburdening industry of the cost of government, making US business much more competitive (Archer anticipated that a 15% sales tax would provide the revenues generated by the tax mechanisms he would trade-in for the CT. It’s not fantasy to think that with such a drastic reduction of the cost of doing business, the whole economy would boom. Further, since they wouldn’t have to pay for government expenses, American corporations would be more competitive on the international scene. Such a dramatic increase in productivity will increase everyone’s buying power.) 5) The “option” of structuring one’s expenditures to decide when and how one will pay one’s taxes. I see thses advantages as very benficial to all. Further, it wouldn't be the first time that industry, taking advantage of a tiny improovement, improoved all our lives by entire orders of magnitude. As for Hopeful’s other points in his last post: Why would you call detached-from-reality-pontificators economists? I think dealing with a CT several times a day is more likely to make the magnitude of government burden clear to everyone past the age of ten. While the huge amounts due on tax returns should be shocking, it’s a once a year issue – worse, too many get “refunds” or a cushioning of the “shock” because withholdings were never repealed after WWII. I don’t see why a political will to establish a CT as the only source of government revenue means that there’s a will to reduce taxes overall, or to do away with taxes altogether. Re flat tax, I qoute Archer from the LPRS inteview: BA: “Exactly…Let me give you a good example [of how quickly the flat tax starts resembling the current system]: Steve Forbes, [who ran for the Republican Presidential Nomination twice on a strict flat tax], went in to see [Republican presidential candidate,] Bob Dole, and when he came out he said that Dole should recommended a two-rate system. <Then> Phil Graham realized that home mortgage interest was a sacred cow politically, and that charitable deductions were sacred, so he recommended that those two things be deductible [in a flat tax system.] Then, of course, the rate goes-up. The tree’s already growing before it even starts.” If you could, Hopeful, please guide me to the articles, surveys, stats, theories that discouraged you Re CT. All the best. John
  20. First, I need to make clear that I am not fully convinced of the advantages of a CT scheme – that’s why I started this thread. Since everything is something one tax scheme has to be better than another. While I obviously believe that taxation is destructive and that a lot of the talk about improving the tax code is rhetoric, I have no problem with the claim that one system can be far less harmful than others. Rate-reduction is built into the Consumption Tax. Further, simply reducing the rates of the current scheme would do nothing to alleviate the disproportionate tax burden the current scheme places on the backs of the most able – an altruistic policy that ends-up hurting everyone, especially those it pretends to want to help. You make it sound as if your grandfather’s savings wouldn’t increase in value by the dramatic increases in both productivity and the size of the economy said to be inherent in a Consumption Tax. Further, just as eliminating Social Security will require continued compensation to those already retired after SS withholding is eliminated, I would think that a reasonable “buy out” program can be devised for switching to a CT scheme. One of the main advantages of a CT, if implemented correctly and the road kept clear, is that the FedGov wouldn’t have other sources of income. Thus, all the hidden costs of government would be made obvious at every purchase. That can only be a good thing. John
  21. I think a new tax scheme only needs be better than the system it replaces to make implementing it logical. Further, isn’t the battle for the abolishment of taxes a separate debate, one that can be moved in the right direction by implementing a CT intelligently? John
  22. Mr. Odden wrote: "You need to pay closer attention to what I actually said and not try to twist the meaning. I denied that the state has an obligation to make such payments (when there is no tort)." I have not twisted what you've written, Mr. Odden. You leave compensation as an option of the populus. I don't see how a government, local or larger can have an option of this sort. Mr Odden: "If you are sufficiently uncomfortable with that particular plan of government, but the majority of citizens in your jurisdiction see wisdom in such compensation, then you can simply vote with your feet or wallet, depending on how much it upsets you to see the state doing something to right an accidental wrong. Your approval is not required." Are you not advocating democracy in the above? My rights cannot be limited to protesting the majority's views, as they tax me to step outside the purvue of government. Defining "rights" in this way negates the concept "rights". If any, most, or almost all of the citizens in my district want to help a wrongly imprissoned man get his life in order, they are free to do so by going into their own wallet and/or by hitting the pavement to bring attention to the case. What they cannot do in a free nation is collect taxes in order to compensate for a tragic mishap -- a mishap that had nothing to do with initiation of force. Regards, JH
  23. Mr. Odden wrote: "But this is possible (the unjust curtailment of rights) is only possile because of the power of the sttate." My point is that since the error we're discussing is "honest", I don't see how it can be described as "initiation of force." What's brought about the scenario we're discussing in this thread is an incredible fluke or coincidence -- not the government's pursuit of justice. Mr. Odden: "You need to make a distinction between morally obligatory acts and optional acts: I'm saying that in lieu of a tort, the state may compenste the victim of unjust punishment." I'm not familiar with the concept of "optional acts" as it pertains to governments. If someone can point me to the relelvant Objectivist material I would appreciate it. As I hold things presently, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of a government either undertaking, or having the option of undertaking, a financial obligation where there's no government wrong-doing -- irrespective of the severity of the tragedy. Regards, JohnRgt
  24. Mr. Odden wrote: "Because the state used its awsome power to deprive a person of his rights, when the accused has done nothing to deserve such a deprivation." But the state didn't focus its awsome power to deprive a citizen of his rights. In the pursuit of justice, even with all the safety-nets in place, an innocent error was made. Mr Odden writes, further on: " The state has no business using force against innocent citizens, but it is inevitable that the state will do some things that it has no business doing in a very narrow sense." I agree but if an innocent man is imprissoned as in our scenario, the state hasn't innitiated force to achieve ends "it has no business" persuing. If it can be shown that the wrongful conviction resulted from government neglegence or corruption, then the victim is due compensation. Irrelevant to the main point: Even in today's culutre, I believe that an organization can be set-up to help those imprissomed in error -- in a perfect, more selfsh world, it may even be possible to make a profit at it. All the best, JohnRGT
  25. I just heard LP’s interview of Congressman Bill Archer (_The Leonard Peikoff Show_, June 17, 1996) Does anyone know of studies, surveys, articles, etc., which offer insight into the advantages and/or disadvantages of replacing the current income tax system with a consumption tax (federal sales tax)? Thanking you all in advance, JohnRGT
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