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Everything posted by secondhander

  1. Some of what you said about the wrong approach to economics is true. But that is not how Objectivists approach economics, nor is what you suggested the right way to approach economics. Objectivists approach economics from an ethical and moral standpoint. It just so happens that the Austrian view happens to be inline the most with the moral approach to economics. And it also happens to be the case that a free market economic approach is the most prosperous and beneficial to a society. But the utilitarianism of the free-market approach is not the reason why Oists accept it, it's just a pleasant result of a free-market approach.
  2. Not really. It seems to me that there's a basic contention between Austrians, who accept Say's Law, and Keynesians, who don't.
  3. Fair. But I think we are in agreement in substance. Maybe it's more correct to say that what AR meant by that character's quote is that there is a need to make a choice, and if you don't make a choice you will face the consequences of the non-choice. Which is what you basically said. And I agree with that.
  4. All choices. For example, you can choose to gather food and eat, or do nothing and starve. But you can't escape the need to choose to do one or the other. By doing nothing, you have chosen one of the options.
  5. I will tell you, Mushroom, that I believe in evolutionary psychology and don't think there is a conflict between it and objectivism. However, I don't support biological essentialism. This relates to the "is-ought" problem, and I think you will find that some objectivists misunderstand Rand's "solution" to the is-ought problem. In short, even if you are able to show that your biology--and the effects of sexual selection on your evolution--affect and influence your desires (and I believe it does), that doesn't mean that those desires are morally "good" (or "evil") just because you can find a natural or evolved explanation for them. The way Rand addressed the is-ought problem, I believe, is that she showed that morality is grounded in our existence as a living being, and that those things that "are" (the "is") that are related to our survival, are related to what is moral or immoral (the "ought"). To illustrate: Man breathes oxygen to survive (the "is"). Therefore, it is good for man to breathe oxygen; it is bad to breathe water (the "ought"). Man must use his mind rationally to find or create shelter, food, and other survival needs. Therefore it is good for man to use his mind rationally; it is bad for man to use his mind irrationally, or to not use his mind at all. However, even though you can show, for example, that humans have evolved in such a way that they are generally more sexually attracted to people of their own race than people of a different race, it means nothing in terms of morality if a person happens to be sexually attracted to someone of a different race, because it has no bearing on one's ability to survive and thrive. There are many other examples that can be given. I don't know if this idea is of interest to you or relates to what you were asking, but if it does, I hope it helps.
  6. Nice going happiness. I like Peter. I wish he were an objectivist rather than a libertarian. And I think his economic advice and investment strategy would be better served by objectivism. But I really like the guy and the work that he's done. I'd love to hear more about how working for him goes.
  7. Welcome. I echo what Buddha said. While there are many topics that I've come to be more in agreement with Ayn Rand's views the more I understood them, there are still a few areas where I think she was a bit off (minor areas. I think she was right on with regard to the big issues). It's good that you think for yourself, and rationality should be your guide, not adherence to any individual person.
  8. Point One: You've created a scenario that is not found in the real world, and never has been. No one, ever, has found themselves in the situation you've described. So, It's almost useless to discuss it. However, what you seem to be investigating with the scenario you've presented is the philosophical underpinnings of morality. You're asking, "What, really, determines morality?" I'll get back to that shortly. Point Two: Embedded in your scenario seems to be an assumption that there is a scarcity of goods on the island -- that if you left the man to live, he would inevitably take away resources that you could have used for yourself. That doesn't happen in the real world. Are you assuming that it would in your scenario? If you allowed him to live, he could easily use resources that would allow him to live without impacting the resources that you use to live. Point Three: As Nicky and others have pointed out, you make judgments based on how people act, not on how you think they might act in the future. If the man lives and then tries to kill you or rob you, then you deal with him accordingly. There is no rational reason to use force on him beforehand on the assumption that he would harm you in the future. Point Four: You shouldn't kill him, because other people make your life better. That's rationally true. Not only for the sake of socializing, but also for the sake of trade. Instead of you going out to gather fish and fruits and animals, and having to gather animal skins, and having to gather firewood, and all the other work, now you have another person in your "society" that can go and gather animal skin, and you can trade him for some fish that you have gathered. That cuts down on the work you would have to do, and improves your life. In other words, other people are a resource. They benefit you. To kill another person is to inflict harm on yourself by destroying a valuable resource, and thus is irrational and immoral. (And since you will never find yourself living on an island with only one other person, and instead will be living in a society with others, killing a person will result in the risk of harm from others in the society, because they rightfully won't feel comfortable with you around, and will either cut off their resources from you, or they will kill you because you are a threat.)
  9. Crow, I think you're missing part of the point and are being more argumentative than you need to be. People have already made the point, rightly, that while $25 billion is not a big deal to Krugman when compared with the national economy, it's the underlying economic philosophy that Krugman is supporting that is the problem, and people like Krugman would continue saying it's not a big deal even if the problems multiplied. And, the underlying and actual problem would not be addressed -- that we don't have a free market. In this column, just like all his others, he continues to support socialist/collectivist economic policies, and says things like, "for the most part the city was just an innocent victim of market forces." Because, after all, in Krugman's world the government MUST take some of your wages and manage your retirement for you, so that when the population declines and there's not enough tax revenue coming in to support the Ponzi scheme of funding pensions, then you're just the victim of "market forces." He'd never accept that they are actually the victim of government forces, and government force. And that's what people in this thread, I think, are talking about. While you argue about the number $25 billion, and whether it's big in comparison to the economy or not, other people are talking about the overall philosophy Krugman defends in his column. That's where you aren't seeing the forest for the trees.
  10. Here also is a good explanation of Say's Law: https://smilingdavesblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/smiling-dave-on-says-law/ Smiling Dave is seeking to correct the view of Horowitz (the first article I posted), but so far I think they are really in agreement more than disagreement. I haven't finished Smiling Dave's article, but it struck me as a fairly clear explanation as well, so I added the link to it.
  11. Agreed. And it's not surprising to find it in a communist society, even while the people are suffering. It's just that kind of thinking that got the society into that spot in the first place.
  12. I stumbled onto this article today. Say's Law is a little difficult to wrap your head around at first, mostly because most people don't understand it themselves and give you a definition that's not quite right. This is the best explanation of it I've found to date. It's very simple, actually. I wanted to share: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/understanding-says-law-of-markets#axzz2bEeGvME1
  13. If it can go back to its rightful owner, then it should. If there is no way you could identify or prove whom the rightful owner is, then you should keep it, and do with it what you will. This is why I put my name and address on every bill of legal tender I own ...
  14. In what way do you mean? Can you give a specific example? Is there something wrong with a focus on the issue of moral vs. immoral? In what way is the focus on that issue "too much"? This seems like a false dichotomy to me. Is there some conflict between focusing on moral issues, and focusing on truth issues? Can't you do both? I don't see that they are exclusionary. The objectivist position is essentially that they are the same, anyway. Or perhaps more precisely, that they are extremely related. Morality is derived from what is true about the world, and from what sustains your life. How do you know this? Is that statement itself true? What is your justification for knowing it is true? Second, can you explain what you are implying? Just because we don't not have ALL truth at any given time, doesn't mean we have zero truth, or can't be certain of anything. Do you think there will be a time when every human has 100 percent truth? "We should ..." That's a moral claim. What is your justification for this (or any) moral claim? Is your statement ideal forever?
  15. Curi. It just sounds to me that your perspective would lead you to believe that there are no objective truths or objective ideas in the world, because your view is that all ideas and concepts evolve over time. Is that your position?
  16. It did if the major and minor premises are true and valid. That's a good question, and that's exactly what I'm talking about. People seem to pose that question and think that they've defeated the cosmological argument, when all they've done is extend it and pose the very same and interesting question the cosmological argument seeks to address. Here's a version of the Kalam cosmological argument (the one usually used by Christian apologist William Lane Craig): 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Which premise do you think is untrue or invalid, and why? Like I said before, I don't think this argument gets us to a theistic god in any way. The cause may be (and I believe it to be) some aspect of physics or quantum physics that we do not yet fully understand. But the argument above seems sound to me, as far as the knowledge we currently have. There is no evidence, as far as I know, for an oscillating universe. So you if you believe in an oscillating universe, you are merely believing it on faith. http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html#OSC http://www.universetoday.com/38195/oscillating-universe-theory/
  17. I think the cosmological argument (particularly the Kalam version) is a very good argument, and it's a very good question. But it's not a good argument for Christian theism or theism in general. I am an atheist. I Was a former Christian apologist. The cosmological argument does prove (as far as we know) that the universe has a cause. ... So what? There's nothing to say that the cause is mystical or theistic or godlike. We just don't know enough yet about the mechanics (or quantum mechanics) of the "beginning" of the universe. The theist just tries to fill in the gaps with their hopes and assumptions.
  18. That's exactly why I'd love to see Yaron Brook on his show to explain a better position. Adam, for any of his faults, does seem like a nice guy who will at least dialogue with people. It just seems like you are jumping around from topic to topic, from criticizing Russia Today to Adam Kokesh, without really addressing the idea posted in the OP, of having someone like Brook appear on his show. I guess your position is that Adam Kokesh and his show (and Russia Today) are all too vile for an objectivist to appear on and voice objectivist ideas. And I guess I just disagree with you. I'd be far less likely to appear on a Phil Donahue show than Adam Kokesh's show.
  19. Well, he could just appear on the Adam Vs. The Man youtube channel, not the RT show (I'm not even sure if it still appears on RT anymore anyway). So focusing on Russia Today is a bit of a sidetrack from the main topic in the OP. Anyway, I spread an "anti-American" message to the extent that current American policy and law is anti-freedom and anti-Objectivism. I hope you don't unblinkingly defend and support American policy no matter what laws or politics or policy our leaders produce, do you? And like I said, I don't watch RT very much at all, but the little I have watched has been very pro libertarian and pro-American in the sense of supporting smaller government views. I mean look at Adam vs. The Man as an example. Here's a show hosted by a guy who is an anarcho-capitalist, who doesn't even want any kind of government at all except what can be had on a free market. He definitely isn't giving out pro Russian or pro Putin propaganda. But once again, focusing on RT is aside from the point here, and not even necessary since he has a youtube channel apart from RT anyway.
  20. Even though I am no longer religious, I think the saying "don't cast your pearls before swine" comes to mind. In other words, don't waste your time giving out valuable wisdom and knowledge to those who don't even have the capacity of understanding its value and would just stomp all over it. About the frustration of those who refuse to use their minds, I think it might be good to learn how to turn your frustration into laughing at their inability to engage their brains. When you figure out how to do that, let me know. I know the frustration. I often feel like I am trapped in a giant zoo cage run by apes, who keep themselves trapped in the cage as well, and who believe that all the other captives are just as ape-like as them, and that they collectively own the lives all all the captives. Other than wanting to say, "keep away from me, you damn, dirty apes," I don't know how else to manage with it other than laughing and staying away from the worst of them as best as I can.
  21. The your mystic friend didn't understand how to argue the cosmological argument very well. Usually, the Kalam version of the argument is offered, whereby it's said that everything that began to exist has a cause. And as the thinking goes, God didn't begin to exist, and therefore doesn't require a cause, and that God exists outside the time/space realm. The Kalam argument really focuses on the creation of the universe itself, as in the Big Bang. Also your answer to your friend might confuse him, but it doesn't solve the problem he's posing to you, which is, "How do you deal with the problem of infinite regression without a first cause of some sort?" Have you answered that question? You've only extended the problem, not solved for it.
  22. Sounds like a baby and bathwater problem. Russia Today has given voice to many libertarian and other similar viewpoints. Though while not perfect in its structure and funding, I don't see a problem with Brook going on the Adam Vs. the Man Show to discuss objectivism. Hell, he's gone to speak at government funded universities before.
  23. Right, but he seemed to be saying something else, or something more, in the sentence I quoted: "You and I are part of everyone. Let that sink in." Makes me wonder if he has an underlying, or very subconscious, collectivist worldview. As though, maybe he thinks that we should be doing this criticism task together as a collective society to collectively make our society better.
  24. I got stuck on this part: What do you mean by this? Last I checked, I'm not part of anyone else. Also, as others have said: Criticism can't create ALL knowledge, because you would have to know that something needs to be criticized first before you could criticize it.
  25. Well, Don. I think you've gone too far in your response to Alfa, and with your position. I do think there are general differences between the sexes in terms of what stimulates sexual attraction. My position was never that there weren't those differences. And it can be backed up by scientific data. Where I still agree with you, and have myself stated consistently, is that regardless of what generalities you can make via abstraction, that men and women are human first, and individuals first, and that you should not turn a description of a generality (even one explained by the process of sexual selection and evolution) into a prescription for people, or a defense of sexist social dating conventions.
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