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Nith last won the day on October 26 2012

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  1. I put myself as Jewish, but I am by no means from a religious household. Thanks to Communism suppressing all religion and my parents being afraid of me (and my sister) falling for religion when we moved to Israel, our house was quite strictly atheist. I did not even know I was Jewish until close to the breakup of USSR (I was about 7 at the time). So to say the least keeping Kosher or the Sabbath was not something my family had ever done. And my father was never circumcised. As such I grew up (and still do) identifying myself as Jewish purely from ethnic perspective. What I would be interested in is how many of the people identify themselves as from atheist/agnostic background in the survey, are actually Jewish (or had one Jewish parent). Just to see if this would confirm or disprove my hypothesis. Since most Objectivists I personally know are Jewish (though most of my friends in general are not Jewish), I would expect a higher percentage of Jewish people to be on O'ist forums than other religious backgrounds, though that would include Jews like me who did not really grow up in a religious household. I am guessing you mean actually celebrate the 'birth' and 'resurrection' of Christ. So obviously I wouldn't. However do I celebrate a holiday that is essentially Christmas but with all the Jesus stuff taken out of it. In USSR, except the orthodox community, no one celebrated Christmas. Instead on New Years we did everything one would do for Christmas. We had a tree (and the star at the top was representing the Soviet) star, we gave presents, and one of my relatives would dress up as Santa (Father Frost in Russian) and give us presents at midnight. So when I moved to a Christian country (England and Canada), I simply switched the date of the Holiday from the 31st to the 25th. I.e. I still get a tree and presents etc. Just no Jesus involved. Also since most of my non Jewish friends are with their families over Christmas I spend time with mine, and on New Years I go out with my friends. Also I grew up painting eggs on Pascha (Russian Orthodox Easter).
  2. It was quite well done (got to see an advanced screening last night). I think the best of the recent ones (the Daniel Craig ones and Pierce Brosnan ones).
  3. Not sure if this has been asked before, but with Sandy around, it brought up a question I've been trying to solve for a while. In true laissez faire capitalism, to what extent should the government be involved. One example is Sandy. To what extent should the government be involved. Should it send the military and the police to help with recovery efforts, should emergency funds be released to help with recovery (then where do those funds come from). What if it was a bigger disaster, something that shook up the whole country, like the Earthquake in Japan. Is there room for a keynesian stimulus to provide a cash flow for recovery. What about an epidemic, should the government be providing emergency medical support. Whenever trying to answer these, I end up with a dichotomy I haven't been able to resolve. Some of what I mentioned above does not sound like it would interfere with individual rights. However in each case there is a need to expand the government (e.g. some minimal public health care, or for a small role remaining for the central bank. Each one of these will lead to a bigger government eventually resulting in what we have today. So I'm interested in what should be the extent of government involvement in a natural disaster, and more important from a philosophical why?
  4. Nith

    Force people to pay

    From my basic understanding of economics, the first question related to a 'fair price'. In a Free Market Economy, the price is determined by supply and demand. However it does not mean that at every transaction the price will always be the 'perfect' price. Some suppliers will charge price x, then someone will come up with a way to produce it at a lower cost and will charge y where y<x, if the two products are exactly equal in quality consumers will switch to the cheaper product. However some consumers will still pay price x and some will pay price y (and with time more will decide to pay price y). However consumers, if acting rationally, will never pay more than they are willing to pay. For example, gasoline. As gas prices go up some consumers who are not willing to pay that price will switch to more economic cars (you can see this effect happening today). Some consumers simply are no longer willing to pay the price at all and switch to public transit or move closer to work. That isn't even a theory anymore. For Ontarians (that's in Canada) this is a reality. Our Provincial Premier created an elaborate Green energy program, combined with a double dipping tax on gasoline, made Ontario the most expensive area in North America. And whats the result, businesses are dying here. Small business cannot compete with the high operational costs, while major corporations are leaving town. And they are not leaving to China or some 3rd world country, they are going to Ohio and Wisconsin. Because it is still cheaper than doing business in Canada.
  5. That's funny, I was just watching this video, this morning. To me polllution, if actually does harm is a criminal offense. If a company dumps its waste into a local water source, thereby poisoning people, they should be fined, but above all the executives (or board of directors) should go to jail. If I put poison in your food it is murder, so if a company through lack of oversight causes environmental damage then yes the law should interfere and hold those responsible to account. In a market failure, no. Market failures as we know today are typically the result of government interference in the first place. (And financial crisis as we think of today is a term defined by Karl Marx). But suppose a market crisis were to happen in a true free market economy, the market failure will correct itself. As Nicky said: But I do make one exception if the market collapse was a result of a major natural disaster. I think there is room for government to apply a Keynesian stimulus, for example like in Japan after the Tsunami, to create sufficient cash flow to rebuild. Edit:grammar
  6. Here is the one thing I do not get about this whole thing. Why now? Agenda 21 has existed for 20 years. Governments at all levels have been signing up to it all along. Why is the Tea Party bringing this up now? Why all of us a sudden, is this an issue (not to say it isn't worth discussion but why not 20 years ago)? I have not heard of Agenda 21 until recent and primarily either through here, or my liberal friends posting anti-Tea Party stories on Facebook. Searching around the interent most of the Agenda 21 stuff I find is from a bunch of conspiracy theory nut bars, referring to UN's Globalist Agenda. So why is the Tea Party picking this up as a cause, and why now?
  7. @[email protected] What you have done in your reasoning, is not just abandon the idea of currency. You abandon all objective reason with regard to the value of your work. First of all how did you become a lawyer, you or your family perhaps with government's assistance. At that point no one raised the question why you should pay a lot of money to become a lawyer. If all peolpe in the world lived like you, unless you come from a very well off background, there is no way you would have got education. So you take something that took effort to produce and reduce its value to nothing by not agreeing to fair trade before providing your service. You talk about capital, but what capital do you have. Can you quantify that 'goodwill' can you ensure that when you're cold and hungry that one of those people who owe you 'goodwill' will repay the favour? You have no place to live an nothing to purchase even the most basic sustanance. What's your capital? If your car, that you used to procure food for you (by driving your friend), who will pay for its prepairs. What if the mechanic does not want your 'goodwill'? Let's say I am a doctor, I invest half my life into finding a cure for lung cancer. And then I find it. A simple pill that kills all lung cancer cells. What would you do with this. In a free market economy this person would become immensly wealthy enjoying the benefits of his hard work. But I am not even sure what a doctor would do in your world. Would he just publish the formula online for all? And have nothing for himself. In such a situation why would ANYONE devote half their life to something that they get nothing in return for it? Wouldn't it be easier to do menial work that does not require your mind? Or would a doctor driven by your philosophy simply treat those he/she wants to? Surely that one doctor cannot treat all patients that would need it. Then how does one objectively choose who to provide care to? What you're proposing is not 'going-Galt.' Galt valued his labour and in the Gulch nothing was for free. Even if one were to offer his services for no cost, no other resident of the Gulch would morally accept such an agreement. Rearden and Dagny were moral in every way. James and Lilian were the antagonists since the very beginning. If you want to claim that fiat currency and taxation are the tools of the looters and live 'off the grid' that would be different. Galt wanted people like Dagny and Rearden out of the system, because they supported it. They were more dangerous because they could produce thereby the worked against Galt's ideas. As such taking them out of the world was a purely selfsihly motivated goal for Galt. He wanted to stop the engine of the world regardless fo who suffered along the way (justified as it was a virtuous cause).Dagny and Rearden though would not cross over until it was in their interests. Galt could not persuade them, and morally could not coerce them (as they were moral themselves). But at every step it was a trade of equal value between both parties. If you provided your services for equal value trade without the use of currency, then you would be closer to what Galt did. However as mentioned before barter system is incredibly inefficient. So to summarize your method of conducting cashless 'business' amount to nothing but pure altruism. Your 'goodwill' is worthless because it cannot be objectively quantified (not money but value). So one day you will either coerce someone to pay back that 'goodwill' or you will encounter a situation of life and death where no one is willing to pay back your 'goodwill'. In the first case you are the immoral in every sense of the word. In the second case you will either be dead or your quality of life will be reduced to nothing. Either case you have given up your will to live the moment you abandned objective value of your product. Read 'We the Living' to see how your altruism turns out on a big scale (hint: it always starts with vouluntary altruism).
  8. Three Cuban soccer players defected ahead of game in Toronto Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/three-cuban-soccer-players-defected-ahead-of-game-in-toronto-1.994381#ixzz29VCOpEmu Even their official teams cannot keep it together. When the exist Visas are lifted it will be like the old Soviet states after the collapse of Communisim. Everyone who has a grandma, distant cousin, or whatever will rush out of there. Anyone, who can, whether legally or illegally will move out, leaving only those who cannot leave or those who are 'privilaged' enough not to want to leave
  9. Yes a study hall would work. Assuming the teachers would run it as an independant study time, rather than a socialized Q&A session. But you're right as far as France specifically, Hollande did't say homework doesn't work but it was unfair to the kids that don't get support at home (which is why I previously did not discuss the merits I see in homework but rather the reasoning behind this). My issue with 'the homework doesn't work' statement is due to the reasoning provided later in the article by the so called experts that CBC managed to dig up. Like the one "Homework persists because of lack of understanding about understanding." (to me it might as well read 'A is not A').
  10. In short the importance of homework is because it creates a strctured independant study time, which allows kids (even with a parent/tutor present) to develop their own study habits as well as integrate concepts they learned earlier at school. While not all homeowrk is useful, as too much of it (at least in the physical sciences) is pure memorization through repetition. If done correctly homework should provide the framework for kids to integrate the knowledge they learned to beyond the current semester. The modern classroom model is extermely inefficient, and you can double the class day but you will not get even a mild increase in knowledge retention let alone integration. All you end up with is student regurgitating the knowledge they learned during the final and foget it all during christmas/summer break. You have presented a perfect example how we go from the reasoning I presented above to the progressive ideas. If you assign homework so worthless that it is nothing but an invasion of private time, then conduct studies to measure the effectiveness of homework an lo and beholnd homework doesn't make sense. Further to it, that leads to ideas such as 'nothing you learn beyond the first few years is useful in later life'. Sure I don't use advanced calculus or quantum mechanics on a daily basis. But the concept of what calculus (the idea behind it, and what it represents) is is applicable on so many levels, from more efficient budget planning to claculating the quickest route in a busy supermarket. And sure I don't need to know the concept behind Shrodingers Paradox, in 99% of situations. but my even basic understanding of subatomic phsyics allows me to appreciate the importance of things like confirmation of the Higgs-Boson or the recent proof of Einsteins theory of relativity First of all the standards would go up. And should go up. A teacher in a classroom can realisticly be expected to teach only as fast as the slowest kid can grasp it. If the slowest kid is performing at the same rate as a 'smart' kid nowadays, the class can cover way more material and cover more difficult things. There is already special classes in some schools (though not enough) for those who exceed in math or physical sciences etc. Why can't this be the standard? 'Good enough' is how we get into the problems we have today. I dream to live in a world where nobody has to mop floors. Manual labour is a thing of the past. Even a lot of the manual labour jobs we have today can be automatized but they are not due to government or union control. Trade skills on the other hand is something different. Even with automation many trade skills we have today won't really die out. Instead of blacksmiths we have metallurgical engineers (Rearden would have been a blacksmith had he been born a few centuries earlier), instead of mechanics we have mechanical engineers. Those jobs still require the use of a mind. So yes eventually we would have no need for dishwashers, street spweepers and janitors. However it is unlikely that the janitor or the dishwasher will create that future. Instead that future can only be invented by movers and innovators, and a society that inhibits the development of such will never move beyond thinking about who will mop the floors and rake our leaves. However if we consider what is considered education in universities today, then a society full of university graduates will make us like Cuba (all have their 'free' degrees and none have the jobs they studied for). The proporation of graduates from the various universities should represent roughly the proportion of jobs required out there. In Canada (as I am sure is in the US) we have a huge amount of graduates that get their BA in some humanities topic assuming upon graduation they will be given a $60k a year job in anything they apply. Instead they are working at Starbucks and like to support OWS. Or better yet just read up on the Student protests in Montreal (how they all weren't expelled is still beyond me).
  11. So it seems the People's State of France has started it march done the intelectual oblivion: http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/10/should-canada-follow-frances-lead-and-ditch-homework.html I posted this particular editorial for more than just the news itself but also the what is being said in this story as well as which news agency it came from. First of on the proposed education reform first. When I first heard about Hollande's education reform plans I had no words. In fact it took me a whole day to even try to comprehend how this can happen. I am not going to present the merits of homework here. I would hope that in an O'ist forum it should be fairly self evident (though I will if someone wishes to question it). My problem is with the reasoning. So essentially because some parents do not see fit to help their kids with structured homework activities they are somehow at blame for the failure of the other kids? How is not giving students homework is going to help those kids that are already falling behind? Ah I see now. Somehow educating other people's kids is my responsibility, and apperently society is only as strong as its weakest link. Just the simple reasoning here should give people alarm. Not only I am already taxed to pay for other kids education from all day kindergarden with fully qualified Early Childhood Education specialists (I live in Ontario, Canada), all the way through university (2/3 of the tuition fees in Ontario are subsidized by the government, and a large proprtion of students is on some sort of government assistance or 0% interest loans). But should this type of thinking come to Canada I am also somehow reponsible for other the success of other people's children. I guess the people of France have already gave up their personal property rights. Hopefully in Canada we have a little bit more brains left. What this article also doesn't mention is also some of the other reform points which are not that much easier to swollow: Increasing the number of teachers (which goes along with his idea of a longer school day) - If you cannot justify paying teachers more money, lets invent reasons. I'm sure that will solve it. I wonder how teachers feel about having to work longer days and teach what they used to have kids to themselves. This is a move that is probably supported by the Teacher's Unions but probably hated by many teachers, especially the talented ones Reducing the number of students held back each year - If the kids are to dumb to pass a class, lets just lower the bar. God forbid we hurt their little feelings. Ontario sort of did this by setting a goal to increase pass rates. The result was that the goal was met through lower standards as indepant standardized testing scores continued to decline while more students were passing Incentives for teachers to work in low-income areas - I have no opinions for either or, don't think it is the right way to raise kid's scores in low income areas The other problem I had with this particular article was the rest of the reasoning brought forth, by the so called 'experts' Yes it is homework that makes kids depressed, cause ADD/ADHD and breaks up families. That's right we solved it, homework. It's like I'm reading some horrible charater in one of Rand's novels. I don't even want to justify this with a reasonable argument why this is bad. Yep, there is that typical Progressive school thinking. Kids must socialize rather than study. I mean you will use picnic benches a lot in your life, but hey who ever used time-tables for anything practical, right. This tyes this to my third point. This article comes from the CBC, Canada's version of the PBS. Which is running costing the government over a billion dollars a year. CBC is not most left wing newspaper in Canada (take a look at Toronto Star). But it is still paid by my taxes and my hard work. And yet when Harper even raised the idea of getting rid of the CBC people were protesting and saying portraying him as some evil Dictator trying to control the media and destroy the public sector. Notice this article is isn't even a regular news article but a some kind of Community Blog, which somehow made its way onto the World headlines section. You guys think you have it bad in US with Obama trying to legistlate public health care, try coming to Canada for a few months, you will be thankful Obama is the worst of your trouble. Canada's official opposition (i.e. the second biggest party in parliament) is composed of socialists, communists, anarchists, and fundemental islamists (all quite open about it as well). And even though our current party holds a majority mandate, they are spending as if they are US Democrats (though they are doing some things right on international free trade front and foreign policy).
  12. I'll put my little soviet spin on this. First of all as others mentioned above, the A-bombs have more likely prevented more civilian deaths than the alternatives. The bombs caused Japan's immediate surrender and stoppped the war in its tracks. Can you imagine the civilian causalities if the US did sustained bombing of Tokyo instead of dropping the A-bombs? However there is another factor at play. The great Red Communist land not far beyond Japan's borders. Stalin had no intention of stopping at Berlin. Soviet troops were preparing to march straight to the Channel, and were training paratroopers en masse. Recall the ultimate goal of Soviet era was to unite all proleteriat of the world. However with US displaying the power of their new toy, USSR had to stop and make peace (at least until they stole the technology).
  13. We aren't too much better this side of the pond: Teacher fired for giving zeroes ‘Zhe’ & ‘Hir’: Toronto School Board guidelines on gender identity allow for non-masculine/feminine pronouns
  14. HI there, new to this forum (or any other Objectivism forum). So figure probably best to post here before I starting some debate on another forum as this post is intended to set some premises about me, my exprience with O'ism and how I found Ayn Rand's Writing. My background is Russian Jewish (Ukrianian Jewish to be precise but I speak Russian not Ukranian). Shortly after the break up of the USSR my family immigrated to Israel, and from there we moved to England and subsequently Canada. When I identify myself as Jewish it is purely ethnical not religious (as on would identify himself as Irish, Italian, Persian or Korean), but this is for a completely different post. My first encounter with Ayn Rand's writing was while I was working as a mover as a summer job during university. When moving one house I found The Fountainhead lying on top of the bed. Considering that everything else was packed (including the bedsheets) I do wonder now whether it was left there on purpose. Having both heard of the title and the author somewhere but couldn't place where I read the back cover, and was intrigued. However never seemed to be able to get up to reading it (I believe some new Dune books came out (the Butlerian Jihad ones) and I was too busy with school/work. A few years later my best friend game me her copy. She lived in New York for a few years so we haven't discussed the book at all, she just thought it would be a book I love. And sure enough I did. I read it while working in a states on a really boring QA job, took me just a few days. My first words about it were - ' I've never read a book so long, that simply could not have been written any shorter.' However I recognized something in the book that was truly familiar, something that I knew all my life but never been able to acknowledge it.It took me a while to finish Atlas Shrugged (I read primarily on my commute to/from work and I cannot read if I am driving). However with that booked there was no going back. It was like reading Jules Verne who was able to concieve of a rocket to the moon way before any space travel research. The way the world was at the beginning of Atlas shrugged seems like just a few years away from what we will have now. Since then I have read Anthem, and We the Living and working my way through Back to the Primitive and will read everything else. I must preface that I do not consider myself a philosopher, my background is in Computer Science, however I made a decision during university to not work as a programmer, and went into Analytics (QA, BA, currently Leading a team of Reporting Analysts). Both my parents are also Computer Engineers, (and combine with being born and raised under communism), as such philosophy or politics were never much of a discussion in my house. So my experience in proper Philosophy is quite limited (forewarning if I make crappy arguments). I consider Objectivism simply the only right way to live, and something that I have known since way before reading her books, just never had a way to frame it in words or coherent ideas. So right now I do still feel a bit of a noob in terms Objectivism. But what makes me want to go beyond simply reading books though is in part fear of the world in Atlas Shrugged, in part trying to answer the many Whys? Why do I believe in the necessity to vote, yet there is no political party that represents what I want. Why do people of my generation want to spend their days freezing their assess off instead of working hard to have a better future. Why when the government does purely socialistic moves does capitalism get the blame. Why does not one think it is wrong how at the RNC they can talk about freedom and then have mass prayer a few moment later. Etc Etc etc. I've been reading these forums for a few days now and really like the community. I feel there is a very good array of rational people here which will make for interesting discussions.
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