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happiness last won the day on September 12 2021

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  1. So, I have a popular media outlet accompanying me for my upcoming offshore stem cell treatment escapade, this being my third such treatment. It’s going to be on TV. They are going to interview me, and I need to be able to articulate why I can’t get this treatment in my own country. The fact that the FDA is blocking it is easy enough to explain, but I’m struggling more with figuring out how to succinctly explain why they are doing so. There are a combination of political and economic conflicts of interests at work. The economic aspect is easier: trade groups representing incumbent drug companies want to control the trade of stem cell products, so they lobby the government for barriers to entry with the future goal of selling FDA approved stem cell “drugs” at very high prices and with no competition. The political side is a trickier because there are so many aspects of it, and I’m not sure which to emphasize, given that I’ll be answering interview questions and not giving a PowerPoint presentation. Politicians sell themselves to the public by pandering to anti-capitalism and promising to “protect the public” from evil businessmen selling snake oil. Most voters are uneducated enough to go for this, not realizing that the politicians are the bad actors they need protection from, and that regulation is the snake oil that’s taking years off their lives. Thee are health authoritarian types who simply live to control other peoples health decisions. The control is an end itself, and they don’t care what the actual decision is as long as they are the ones making it. These are the bureaucrats, who get their power from the politicians, some of whom are health authoritarians themselves. And then there is egalitarianism. In the West, the idea that everyone should have equal access to medical care is culturally dominant. If the government pays for medical care, or controls access to it, then 1) the government has to decide what treatments it will pay for directly, or allow people to access within the system; and 2) it will be strongly compelled to suppress other forms of medicine outside the public system for the sake of preventing discrepancies. I can’t discuss all these issues at length without sounding too scripted and long-winded. The leitmotif running through the whole thing is the government simply violates individual rights in the name of “the public health.” So I would appreciate any ideas on how to effectively answer the question of why the FDA blocks access to stem cell treatments.
  2. The Family Medical Leave Act forces my employer to let me take up to 12 weeks per year off of work for reasons related to having a medical condition. The company doesn't pay me for this missed time, but the state does, and because they're so incompetent, they pay me significantly more to miss work than I make in a day by actually going in. When I need to take time off for a medical procedure, I could use my normal sick and vacation time, or I could use FMLA time and save the regular allocation of time off for later use. If the company did not want me to use FMLA time, I would not do so, as it's a violation of their rights. This is a huge company whose business model seems set up to absorb the impact of FMLA, and the managers of my outfit don't seem to mind if I use it; in fact, they recommended it to me. But at the end of the day, either my absence hurts the operation, or I'm not providing value to the company, and not really needed. So, as an Objectivist, I am inclined to say that I should not use FMLA. By doing so, I am being evasive and slothful, and failing to advance in my life as much as I could if I did not allow myself to use it. Thoughts?
  3. I haven't studied the Kelley-Peikoff split and don't want to. I know only two things: I have the upmost reverence for Dr. Peikoff, and take anything he says seriously, including his repudiation of Kelley. While I don't consider him infallible or blindly accept everything he says, I do grant him great credence in matters I don't understand. I also know that Kelley's idea of "open Objectivism" is a contradiction on its face. That starts his study of Objectivism—the philosophy of non-contradiction—with a contradiction causes me to regard him with great suspicion.
  4. I would focus less on the meaning of “mandate” and more on the lines along which physical force are directed. The government can protect the individual against physical force initiated by criminals, or it can behave criminally and initiate physical force against the individual. Objectivism is anti-health mandate or anti-mandate in the sense of forcing the individual to act against his own judgement and interest for the sake of the “public health.” Construing “mandate” to include forcing you not to initiate force against others seems like context dropping or equivocation.
  5. The mind is the human tool of survival. If the climate changes adversely, our only chance is to unleash free minds to counteract the threat.
  6. I don’t think RT’s theories are based on rationalism at all. They are induced from facts of nature one can observe, and at least ostensibly vindicated by experience.
  7. Arbitrary: there is an afterlife in Heaven where we will be reunited with our loved ones, or where God will meet our justice. Wild speculation: maybe the huge filaments of galaxies we can see are analogous in scale to what sub atomic particles are to the human brain, tiny fundamental components of some greater superstructure, existing within the universe and still bound by the laws of the nature capable of recording and recreating the fact of an individual human consciousness. Logical conclusion: there is no reason to believe anything other than that your consciousness is extinguished upon your death.
  8. I know little of the background of writing Atlas Shrugged but I would think Rand would have consulted professional physicists for help coming up with a concept of something extremely elusive, but not impossible.
  9. I don’t know enough about physics to know. Not that Ayn Rand’s novels are the standard of truth and falsehood, but would Rand have wanted to base Galt’s motor on a concept so flawed that amateurs know it to be wrong?
  10. If something is impossible in reality, shouldn’t it also be impossible in an Ayn Rand novel?
  11. If the events of Atlas Shrugged are not possible in reality, what is the disconnect between the book and reality?
  12. Not that I am naïve enough to hope to live to see it, but is it possible for a free country to come about by any means other than a multi-generational cultural change that will swallow up the lives of everyone alive at the time of its inception? Could a core group of young Randian geniuses pull off an Atlas Shrugged amidst the chaos?
  13. I’d be more enthused if Musk worked on something like Galt’s motor, Rearden Metal, or life extension technology; something that would enable I and my contemporaries to lead better lives. Of course, he owes me nothing, and I respect his right to work on whatever project he wants. Is Musk’s goal of reaching Mars analogous to Columbus’ activities? The latter wanted to discover better routes for commerce, to make money. I don’t want to constrain a genius like Musk with my own small mind, but I don’t see that he’s Columbus. Is Mars a rational value? Is he going to turn it into a profitable enterprise in his lifetime? Are humans suited to flourish there? Is civilization so irrational that man needs a new planet now that all the good continents are taken? I don’t have the answers to these questions.
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