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Everything posted by CapitalistFred

  1. A fellow North Carolinian!!! Welcome. I am a businessman in Wilson, NC. Maybe we will have enough NC Objectivists to get an NC group together.
  2. Capitalism has not failed. Democracy is wholly unsuitable to the governance of anything larger than a smallish city-state. We in the USA live in a (supposedly) constitional republic, not a democracy.... democracy is just another nake for mob rule, and minorities of all sorts tend to fare poorly in any democracy. This idea of an all powerful state enforced meritocracy is immoral as well as being impractical, the state simply has no valid right to confiscate my money after death, I have the right so sell, give away, or bequeath my property at any time, and if I should choose to leave my fortune to my family, then after my passing my family should recieve my goods.
  3. "Not neccesarily approving" is not equivalent to negatively judging. You have to read her comment in the context of the times and of the entire statement - had the newspapers put her statement on the front page in that era, the headline would NOT have been "Rand Doesnt Neccesarily Approve of Homosexuality", it would have been "Laws against Homosexuality are Immoral, says noted Author". Rand supported gay rights in an era when that was NOT politically a popular stance. Trying to repackage that into Rand being homophobic is simply wrongheaded. In an era when it was generally accepted that sex was for procreation, Rand boldly stated that sex is about joy, pleasure, and values. This was a daring and unpopular stance at the time. I know several Objectivists, and I've not met any who are homophobiIc, so my anecdotal experience with objectivists has been rather different than yours. My suspicion is that if one were to do a poll of objectivists worldwide, one would find that they are rather less prone to being judgemental about personal sexual choices than is common in society as a whole.
  4. Rand said that she does not "neccesarily approve of (homosexual) practices" but that all laws against homosexuality should be repealed. How could one be so intolerant as to require anyone to neccesarily approve" of homosexuality? Any individual is free to approve (or not) of any particular behavior, to oppose someone for not "approving" of your choices is ridiculous. Rand bluntly stated that all laws regarding homosexuality should be repealed, which I agree with. You shouldnt be so intolerant as to require my approval for your private behavior, anymore than I will demand your approval for my sexual choices with consenting adults.
  5. An artist is able to burn away all irrelvancies and present a picture that focuses only on what truly matters to the artist. In learning about Reardon, Roark, Dagny Taggart. D'Anconia - these Idealized capitalists are presented as pure examples -it is easy to see the pertinent traits. Reading biographies of the real giants capitalism, one is presented a complex picture of an individual... the important aspects of the person are often buried under many layers of useless personal information. There is value in reading and studying the triumphant caputalists, but one must dig for the timeless truths amid the trivia. Rand's Idealized heroes present none of those challenges. It's like the difference between discovering gems in the jewelry store or in a gem mine - in both instances there are valuable things to be found, but in the former location one must merely recognize them, while in the latter one must dig through quite a bit of worthless material to discover each gem. On the objectivist morality of the trader, once internalized this gave me a framework with which to easily and effectively refute collectivists, socialists, and the merely envious who attempt to push guilt onto achievers. More importantly, it gave me the moral certainty of the righteousness of reaping the rewards of the wealth that I earn as a producer. This moral certainty is priceless, and makes me far more efficacious than I otherwise could be if I were racked with doubts of my own worthiness to produce wealth and keep what I have earned.
  6. While you are clearly well read and educated, I couldn't disagree more with your conclusions. You state that the Phoenicians engaged in mercantilism and that Rome was more capitalistic, gratuitous assertions that seems to me to be without merit. Phoenicians were capitalistic traders and producers, engaged in import/export production, and private individuals were able to enter into trade and production - THAT is capitalism. Was it perfect lassez faire? Probably not, through the mists of time its really hard to get an accurate picture. I can provide a few dozen links and sources for my conclusion that Phoenicians were capitalistic. I have never before encountered any claims that Rome was capitalistic empire. You list some of the (reported) abuses of Carthaginian religion, while leaving out well documented and undisputed Roman atrocities - possibly the fact that Roman atrocities were often committed for entertainment value rather that superstition holds some sway with you, but I find torture, murder, and abuse to be reprehensible whether for religion or entertainment. Militarily it clearly could have gone either way. Hannibal won every battle he ever fought in Rome. His greatest battle was the battle of Cannae, where according to Polybius about 76,000 Romans were killed and another 10,000 were captured by a Carthiginian army of fewer than 50,000. Rome was in dissaray and despair - to their credit, Rome "manned up" and recovered (thanks in large part to Scipio, who learned how to fight from watching Hannibal's tactics. "Never before, while the City itself was still safe, had there been such excitement and panic within its walls. I shall not attempt to describe it, nor will I weaken the reality by going into details... it was not wound upon wound but multiplied disaster that was now announced. For according to the reports two consular armies and two consuls were lost; there was no longer any Roman camp, any general, any single soldier in existence; Apulia, Samnium, almost the whole of Italy lay at Hannibal's feet. Certainly there is no other nation that would not have succumbed beneath such a weight of calamity." -Livy on the Roman defeat at Cannea After the Battle of Cannae, Hanibal collected hundreds of gold rings from the bodies of fallen Roman nobles, and sent them to the Punic Sanate, where they were dumped onto the floor as proof of Hannibal's victory against the largest Roman Army ever seen. Had the Senate sent reinforcements, Rome would have fallen.. This was a close thing. Characters as different as Karl Marx, Janet Abu-Lughod, and Moore and Lewis in their book, The Origins of Globalization all seem to agree with me that Phoenicia had a fundamentally capitalistic economy, so I feel its not out of line to ask for a source for your assertion that the Romans were the more capitalistic society. It is great fun to be debating this with someone who has obviously studied the issue and has a differing view. I am enjoying myself immensely - looking forward to your response and I am learning from this exchange.
  7. Rand's moral defense of capitalism has indeed been key for me. After reading Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal as a teen, I was immune to anti- business jabs and the unearned guilt that collectivists try to heap upon "greedy businessmen". Unearned guilt and self doubt have sabotaged many a promising career, and secure in the moral rightness of my cause, I have been immune to these things. Even more beneficial to me though, was the heroic exanple set by (fictional) people like Hank Rearden, Francisco D'anconia, Dagny Taggart, Howard Roark, John Galt, etc. Long before I knew anything about Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, John D Rockefeller, Al Davis, or John Paul Getty, Rand's heroes were real to me and exemplified the traits that I would need to nurture in order to be the man I wished to be. Still. to this day, Rand's heroes are more real to me in many ways than their historical counterparts. I believe this is, in part, due to the fact that her characters are pure in a way that is difficult for real flesh and blood people to be pure. The examples set by her heroic characters, and later by real heroic businessmen, have given me hieghts to strive for, and my internalizing of her moral defense of capitalism have given me immunity to unearned guilt and self doubt about the rightness of my cause.
  8. Well, the story isnt over yet! I am working hard to grow my business still further. If I am being honest. though, I am more Hank Rearden than I am John Galt.... more a man of action than true philosopher.
  9. I read everything that Rand wrote during my high school years and internalized the lessons and philosophy. Coming from an enterpreneurial background, I was already aware that capitalism was the most practical and effictive economic system, what Objectivism gave me was the knowledge that capitalism was the only moral way for men to deal together, and some idealized characters who epitomized capitalist values. I opened my first business when I was in my early 20s and made a few dollars. Over the next 15 years I opened several different businesses, all did well for a time, but I made some bad decisions and ended up dead broke at 38. No car, no busines, no home, and living in my parents guest room. At that point, everyone told me to lower my expectations and just get a job. I considered it, but as I have always wanted to be heroic, at least in my own eyes, and as creating a successful business (like Hank Reardon) is my favored form of heroism, I opted to make another attempt to open a successful business. I went to work for a company that had a business model that I admired, worked for them for 2 years as a manager, and then moved and opened my own store, using what I had learned from them and adding some of my own twists. The busines struggled for months, and then began to prosper, and now, at 47, I own a successful chain of 9 retail stores and employ about 150 people. My family enjoys a comfortable lifestyle, and my investors have all profited from their affiliation with me. Without Rand's writings, I dont know that I would have had the courage to go back into business after my earlier failure. I am now doing what I love, and making a handsome living by doing so. Thanks Ayn!
  10. Bribes, dishonesty, and violence all can exist in a free society. In a free society, judges would be as likely to be bribed as they are in our mixed economy. The fact that government would be much smaller and disempowered in a free society, however, would mena that dishonest government officials could do far less harm.
  11. I dont know that the Romans were in any way superior to Carthage, the Romans were a militaristic, hyperorganized society, while the Phoenicans were enterpreneurial and comparitively individualistic. There was really only one family in all of Carthage that was interested in military matters, the Barcas, and Hamilcar Barca conquered Spain in order to have a place tp raise an army with which to destroy the evil Romans - a dream which his som Hannibal nearly achieved. It could have turned out either way, Hannibal's Carthaginians ransacked Italy for YEARS and beat EVERY army the Romans sent against them. The Phoenicians were NEARLY as good at military affais as the warlike Romans, and war was not even the Phoenician's area of greatness. Phoenicians were in many senses, the first Capitalists.
  12. What was it about Isabel Patterson's writings or the possibility that the Phoenicians landed in the new world that made you change your mind? I am not as familiar with Patterson's philosophocal writings as I could be, so perhaps I am being obtuse.
  13. THAT is exciting. I know that I sound like a cliche, but as a businessman, I am extremely busy and have not made time to read and study as much as I would like to.... This will be a great way to overcome that with some formal courses on a topic that is both fascinating and useful.
  14. Bah! This topic has been up for years.... literally. Folks using a convenient shorthand does NOT make Objectivism into a religion, regardless of who may have said otherwise. Quoting others and using the argument from authority, however DOES attempt to make Objectivism into a religion.
  15. Oops! I had partaken in a few beers and evidently wasnt paying enough attention to my list - Newton was meant to be a good guy.
  16. Negative: Mohammed St Paul Jesus Marx Plato Stalin Kant Isaac Newton Buddha Constantine Positive: Aristotle Thomas Jefferson Darwin Ben Franklin Adam Smith Locke Churchill Voltaire Gutenberg Columbus Just off the top of my head and as a jumping off point for dioscussion. I must note that Abraham Linmcoln nearly made it onto my list as a NEGATIVE influence - the man suspended habeas corpus, inprisoned protestors, instituted a draft, and was the closest thing the US has ever had to a dictator, but in the end I couldnt really defend his placement in the top 10, he would be in the top 20 I think.
  17. Pythagoras was born in Samos, but was born to a Phoenician mechant who had moved to Samos. Pythagoras's father, Mnesarchus was a merchant who came from Tyre, and there is a story that he brought corn to Samos at a time of famine and was granted citizenship of Samos as a mark of gratitude. As a child Pythagoras spent his early years in Samos but travelled widely with his father. There are accounts of Mnesarchus returning to Tyre with Pythagoras and that he was taught there by the Chaldaeans and the learned men of Phoenicia and was initiated into the 'Ancient Mysteries' of the Phoenicians c. 548 B.C. and studied for about 3 years in the temples of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. As to doubts about Moschus, records are scarce, but according to Strabo, Moshus of Sidon was the originator of ancient atomism. As no earlier claims exist, the only argument against Moschus having originated atomism is that records of that era are scarce. Seems to me that there exists a strong case for Moschus. As for the argument that Greeks of antiquity had a "philosophy like ours" I would disagree. Greeks were collectivists. Aristotle was an exception, but the rule was collectivism and a warlike tribalism based on the city-state. The individual was NOTHING in ancient Greek society, only the collective had importance. The Phoenicians, on the other hand were an enterpreneurial nation that valued achievement, profit, mathematics, and exploration - and they turned all of that into generation of capitalistic profits. Ancient Phoenicians undeniably exemplified a philosophy closer to objectivism and capitalism than did any of the other listed ancient societies.
  18. Splitting of hairs. Music or lyrics that espouse an objectivist philosophical pov or an objectivist friendly sense of life could be described as "music that espouses an objectivist point of view", or one could just shorten it to "objectivist music". The latter is less unweildly and only slightly less accurate. Quibbling over minor semantics issues is a waste of time and energy.
  19. Five Finger Death Punch is my current favorite - they are unabashedly pro-achievement and pro-capitalist, and their music just kicks ASS! Their latest album, American Capitalist, is their best yet. The music is fast and hard, and the lyrics are inspirational. They are the most objectivist band since Oingo Boingo. Four tracks in particular, The Pride, American Capitalist,Menace, and Under and Over it really get my blood pumping.
  20. How does one go about making cold brewed coffee?
  21. The intergenerational discord and blame, "The kids of today dont know anything about hard work or respect - etc etc" is as old as Humankind. The kids of today are no better or worse than my generation, as far as I can tell. The OW gang does NOT represent any 99%, their approval ratings are somewhere around 21% and no one much likes them except a few marxist commentators. This is a "movement" made up of a few leftist-collectivist agitators and a LOT of useful idiots who are easily led, including mush headed college kids, drug addicts, and urban outdoorsmen (the so called "homeless). They are anti-achievement, anti-capitalist zeros. Who exemplify the vice of covetousness and envy - they want what others have earned, without having any of the virtues required to create the wealth that they covet.
  22. I was responding to the premise of the argument itself, a fact which unfotunately was not made evident in my post.
  23. This looks interesting to me. I have signed up for the mailing list, but have not, as of yet, joined. I like the idea and will likely join. Anyone have any further intel?
  24. Good turkish coffee is my favorite, but it's hard to find. For home brewing, I am a HUGE fan of the single cup machines, especially the Tassimo. My kids are too young to drink coffee, and my wife abstains, so 1 cup at a time works. If I am in need of a pick me up, I will do 6 shots of espresso over ice at my local Starbucks.
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