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Swerve of Shore

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Everything posted by Swerve of Shore

  1. @Nicky - Sorry I didn't make it clear enough. I meant nobody except you would address the precise question of what the best type of tax would be. Unfortunately, nobody else has ventured an answer even now. Your point that corporations would at times be willing to make voluntary government contributions is well-taken ... it would not necessarily be a breach of fiduciary duty. But, one thing you did not address is my question about whether we could realistically expect foreign investors to pay their fair share (either voluntarily sending payments to our country or by expecting the corporatio
  2. The obvious finally hit me. The fact that you all think Taxation should be voluntary is precisely why you won't address which type of tax is best. So, let me ask the question in a different way: By what standard should people decide whether they (and their neighbors) have voluntarily paid an appropriate amount of tax? There is a very significant, related issue: How should people find out what level of tax their neighbors have paid in order to apply societal pressure? I doubt the Objectivist answer would be for the government to collect and publish information on people's income and volun
  3. Interesting. A sales tax would be for the privilege of buying things? That makes some sense. Should necessities (food, etc.) be excluded. I'm intrigued that you accept, temporarily, a wealth tax (i.e., a property tax) for law enforcement. Does it trouble you that the same wealth is taxed every year (as opposed to an income tax where it is taxed once)? I don't think this is true. In high risk industries (like high-tech), I think you are right because companies are only taxed on income and income varies greatly from firm to firm. But, for relatively routine industries (like cemen
  4. Thanks, Nicky. If I understand correctly, for "right now", you are suggesting a 5% personal income tax (i.e., "peronsal income") plus a 5% corporate tax (i.e., "sales and profits") would be sufficient and not too unreasonable. I am not sure, but I doubt those rates are sufficient ... it is probably closer to 10%. But on a fundamental basis, I prefer an all individual income tax solution because (1) the incidence of the corporate tax is unclear (i.e., whether it is "borne" by shareholders, consumers or employees) and (2) whoever bears it, it is a double tax if the income is again taxed at th
  5. @Nicky, I took all non-military spending out of the equation, as well as all taxes other than the personal income tax, in order to isolate the question of whether a personal income tax at approximately half its current level (it could be one-quarter, the exact number doesn't matter) is the appropriate way to fund the military. But I still haven't heard anyone address this specific question. To rephrase: Everyone agrees we should fund the military. So, what kind of tax is the right kind to fund it? (Oh, and thanks for the links to other threads, @softwareNerd - you may well be right t
  6. I was not lamenting the fact that the thread went off in another direction. It was more like I was apologizing for breaking the rhythm of the thread by returning to my original post. I love your discussion about oranges, luxury and the mafia.
  7. Perhaps nobody cares since this thread has gone off in an entirely different direction, but I wanted to point out that this thread: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=24387 visually illustrates the question I was raising in my OP. ... Oh, yeah, and if we're taking a poll to find out who the casual observer is, put in one vote on the side of appreciating Andy Warhol. BTW, I find defining it as "casual observer from the Italian Renaissance" to be at least as pretentious as anything a proponent of modern art might say.
  8. This thread is specifically on point for the one I was thinking of starting. I have to say I am greatly disappointed with the level of (dis)interest shown by the community. Perhaps, I can spur greater thought and discussion. Based on my calculations, the OP got it about right: funding the military alone would require an income tax at about half the current level. (This assumes no corporate tax, no inheritance tax, no employment taxes, etc.) Personally, I would like to see military spending at about half its current size, but many (most?) of you disagreed when I raised this in a prior po
  9. I do not know if this is true. If you want to explore the concepts more carefully, this is an excellent book: http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Lives-Animals-Dale-Peterson/dp/1608193462/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353897393&sr=8-1&keywords=moral+life+of+animals
  10. postscript: one of Jonathan13's statements in the threads he linked to above seems particularly apt to me. It seems quite contrary to the Objectivist spirit of heroic individualism to say that all Objectivists need to reach the same conclusions about what art is good, and what is bad.
  11. It's an intriguing question similar to the issue of "original intent" in law. In law, there is a doctrine that the "plain meaning" controls even if the original drafter of the law disagrees with the reading. However, this is arguably very different because a law is enacted by a body of legislators and not by the single person (or persons) who drafted it. So, the "original intent" inquiry really shoud try to "get in the minds" of all the legislators (or, I suppose, a majority of them). Where a principle is developed by a single person - i.e., Ayn Rand - it is presumably only her intent that
  12. After my last post, I came up with two keyword searches: Romantic Manifesto and Heroic. Found some good stuff. I was particularly interested in this post: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=22430&#entry281687 where Johnathan13 explains how his painting based on a paint splatter satisfies Rand's aesthetic criteria, including the "heroic" criterion I referred to in my OP. If one agrees that he has properly applied Rand's criteria (which I am inclined to do even as I seriously wonder Rand herself would have), then I am satisfied that Randian aesthetics is quite differen
  13. @hairnet, thanks for the reference to the Romantic Manifesto, I will certainly look it up. My impressions of Rand's views on art are based on very limited references in Atlas Shrugged and the Value of Selfishness. @softwareNerd, I am glad to hear I am not too far offbase, given your comment about Rand's "restrictive views". Can you give me any suggestions of keywords to search for the type of threads you refer to? I thought about it before posting, but came up dry.
  14. My impression from reading Ayn Rand on art was that I would be as unmoved by what she finds aesthetically proper as what the Soviet's commissioned as "art". That is, if I understand correctly, Rand believed art must be "heroic". This reminds me of Soviet statues. Or of Maoist plays where the hero must be a worker, peasant or solider. For my part, I particularly love the anti-hero movies of the 1970s, such as Taxi Driver, Godfather and the like. I doubt very much Rand herself would like these. Must you hate them to be a "true" Objectivist?
  15. Wow, this is the best explanation of Objectivist political principles I have seen. Dormin111, did you put this together yourself or is there a source I can consult for further research?
  16. While this is no doubt accurate as a matter of Realpolitik, it is an inaccurate application of Objectivist principles. Application of force itself is not the sort of "self-sustaining action" referred to. Force is reserved to enforce rights acquired by other means: in the discussion here, that would be such things as planting seeds and building houses. If there were agreement between the Euros and the Natives as to what constituted rights in real property and how it was claimed, then arrows and cannons would be equal. Both would be pointed at those who violated this agreement. My original p
  17. Bullet one: Again, Medicaid does not provide funds for abortion, period ... due to GOP-passed laws. So, by withholding Medicaid funds, Obama is not withholding abortion funds. The issue in your citations has to do with Medicaid funding of non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood (PP), so they are irrelevant. Bullet two: I am very pleased to learn that Obama reversed the ban that was put in place under Reagan. This means that foreign PP-like agencies can now receive federal funds for non-abortion services even if they also provide abortions. Again, this is basically irrelevant
  18. Of course, one answer is: it doesn't matter. This line of argument follows from Rand's writings about inheritance. With inherited land, she holds that it is the rights of the deceased to do as he likes with his property, not the rights of the inheritor - who may be a wastral - that matter. If the inheritor is a wastral, however, Rand is confident that the wastral's property will dissipate over time anyway - that is to say, the property will eventually fall into the hands of those who can best use it. So, to return to the original question, even if the title to the land is marred by theft o
  19. Thanks, Nicky. What about the land in the USSR for which the previous owners could not be found (or which the previous owners - perhaps Tsarist officials - could be shown to have stolen themselves)? How do you think it could best be allocated?
  20. While I agree the OP is overly dramatic, these bullet points are factually wrong. Regulate medicaid. Medicare/Medicaid don't provide abortions due to long-standing Republican opposition. Anyway, this bullet is a little odd since, as I understand it, Objectivists are against Medicare/Medicaid altogether.. Affect funding for nonprofits that provide abortions overseas. Obama did not start this practice. Again it was Republican legislators who started it long ago. Obama has not had the power to overturn it. Pass federal abortion regulations (like the partial birth abortion ban act). If I'm not
  21. Here's a quick one ... OK, only quick by my long-winded standards. How is the initial right of ownership in a piece of land rightfully acquired? As I understand it, many Indian tribes did not think you could own land ... any more than you can own the air you breathe. One historical answer is that it is whoever first claims and productively uses the land gets rightful ownership. But the Indians necessarily had to lose out on this game because they don't know how to play it. This works with frontier land, but what about other situations? What would have been the proper way to priva
  22. Thanks 2046 for your wonderfully thorough response. It greatly furthers my understanding of Objectivism. I'll just make a few minor comments. This sounds a bit like those defenders of "true" Communism who say it has never been implemented in real life. My from-each-to-each discussion explains that it can never be implemented in practice because the premises will inevitably lead to results contrary to those intended. I'm not sure how this is different. Yes, I am very interested in ways of harnessing the power of markets to achieve other goals. That's the beauty of "cap
  23. Nothing to add except I'm glad everyone figured out I intended to say Ron Paul, not Rand Paul, in my original post.
  24. Before letting this topic die, one final post. I feel we have gotten off on some interesting tangents, including the one I started on the Galt's Gulch / Utopia angle, but I would like to go basic to my main question. Going back and rereading posts, I found one by 2046 that captures the basic idea I was originally getting at. Let me spell out my original question is further detail. My discussion of the “from each … to each” maxim intended to make this point: the simplicity and naivete of that world view necessarily and inevitably leads to results that are contrary to those intended.
  25. Quick question, Spiral Architect: Wouldn't you consider Galt's speech in AS to be a "work" on the philosophy rather than "art" around it. My sense was that, while obviously not absolutely comprehensive, it was a pretty thorough explanation of the philosophy. So much so that when I read the Virtue of Selfishness, I felt like I was getting very few new ideas out of it that Galt's speech had not already addressed.
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