Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Previous Fields

  • Country
    Not Specified
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Not Specified
  • Real Name
    Albert Meggers
  • School or University
  • Occupation

Hangnail's Achievements


Novice (2/7)



  1. Here is an interesting story with more info about this group and what happened. Click here to read the article They are essentially Modern Nazi's… but a broader based version that promotes racial purity for all races as an ideal. They seemed to have stolen the word Libertarian in order to gain some credibility for themselves. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to call themselves Libertarians.
  2. Maybe I can contribute something to this conversation… I consider myself to be a mediocre mountaineer. It’s just a hobby, but I’ve managed to do some climbing in Antarctica, Kilimanjaro and some other miscellaneous mountains in the US. I’ve taken smaller risks in order to do this climbing… nothing on par with K2. There is nothing I can compare to the joy of looking down on the world after suffering for days to achieve that one splendid moment. Sometimes though, when I’m walking along a steep drop or standing on ice that could fall apart under my weight, the thought has occurred to me that I’m really not risking my life for anything important… in fact, I’m just risking it for a certain emotional high. If this were true… I’m fairly certain that this hobby wouldn’t be compatible with Objectivism. After much though, I decided that I was taking these risks for a rational reason. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment in doing something that 95% percent of the population could not. I enjoyed the level of physical fitness I have to achieve to succeed. I also enjoy those moments when hard work, careful planning, and a lifetime of acquired skills all add up to a successful climb. To me true mountaineers are the last of the great explorers, they are the same people that mapped the globe and conquered the physical unknown. Unfortunately there isn’t much left to explore these days… but we still get to push the limits of what the human body is capable of. I think the most important issue is if she is approaching this goal with a rational plan that can succeed. Can she put together an effective team that will make the climb plausible? Can she acquire the funding to do this kind of a climb safely with the appropriate safety and evacuation measures in place? Is she willing to extensively prove herself on easier mountains? Is she aware of the current situation in Nepal with the King dissolving the democratic government three months ago? The pro-Chinese communist guerrillas are killing Nepalese police by the thousands out there; they may begin to target civilians or begin to use terrorist kidnapping tactics for funding. My point of view on this is that as long as you use your mind to manage the risks and do everything possible to prevent a disaster, then you are not a mindless “thrill-seeker” you are more like a modern explorer, and there is nothing I can see here that would contradict Objectivism. I would welcome comments though from some of the more experienced members here.
  3. At a Ford Hall Forum in 1973 Miss. Rand made some comments about our relationship to severely retarded people that might be helpful… I had to transcribe this quote from a recording, so the punctuation is my own.
  4. A girl in the UK was fed via a tube for 7 years because they believed she had a rare stomach condition called “Bulbar Palsy.” After a visit to California she was diagnosed with simple swollen tonsils and is eating regular food again. I’m sure there are isolated incidents like this in the US as well… but imagine how terrible it would be if the only alternative to state run healthcare is to raise funds to be seen in another country. Good data point to use an any future discussion on socialized medicine. Click here
  5. As I understand it, Kant was primarily intent on proving the existence of god with philosophy. Up until Kant’s time philosophy had been moving more and more into Atheism and thus Kant was embraced as a Hero who saved religion. Essentially he believed that our senses contributed as much to our understanding of reality as the objects themselves that we sense, therefore a true understanding of the nature of reality is unlikely via our senses. Additionally, he believes that we have access to a world of “a priori” knowledge, or Knowledge that we are born with. This knowledge consists of math & logic. The primary proof of this is that we must use logic to discover everything in our world, however you cannot use logic to discover logic, so we must be born with an understanding of “if this then that” already in our minds. With these two points stated he draws some conclusions that science cannot ever rule out God because we have a limited understanding of reality and that the evidence of “a priori” knowledge is a kind of watermark left by our creator. Personally I really don’t think Kant’s ideas really are as “ingenius” as they are portrayed. I believe that Kant is very often cited as the “greatest philosopher” by other philosophers because some people out there desperately want to believe in a god, and Kant erected the walls around religion that haave successfully protected it from science for many, many years. (perhaps even until today for many people) Needless to say, Ayn Rand wasn’t a fan of any philosophy that saved religion by crippling the human mind.
  6. I have made several errors in the way I pursued this topic. 1. I misspelled Peikoff's name twice, which was a very unfortunate mistake. I know that all of you here don't take this lightly, so I apologize. 2. I began my argument with a statement "Peikoff hates pornography" which is indefensible. He clearly does not hate it, but probably more accurately dislikes or disapproves of it. This was clearly a failure on my part to articulate my premise in an accurate way. 3. I never supported my claims with facts, hoping that they would be accepted and discussed without consideration of their origin. I considered this innocent because I thought I was asserting what I believed to be "common knowledge", however I wasn't and my premise turned out to be wrong. Big a mistake. Lesson learned. I'll return to the subject when I have a printed copy of the material to cite. To those who were offended here... I do sincerely apologize.
  7. I completely agree with your premise. People have various underlying reasons for their actions. And we can all agree that people do consume porn for self-distructive reasons. My question would be... why assert that all people consume it for these reasons? Perhaps in the lectures you suggested there is more detail than what I found in OPAR. Perhaps I should have asked this question as a hypothetical, as to avoid being the object of the discussion. I guess it's too late now... As a male, I have a set of instinctual desires which act as a force on my mind. Examples of these would be consuming food, copulation, urination, defecating, and breathing. Each of these desires serve my physical bodies needs and are coupled with a pleasurable reward for addressing them. Peikoff very correctly states that human beings get a great deal more joy out of enhancing these experiences of pleasure with contributions from our mind, with his analogy of gnawing on raw meat in a cave vs. eating at a fine restaurant. Therefore he explains that romantic love makes sex so much more than just the primal act of mating. (again, if you guys need direct quotes and page numbers I'll drop the subject and come back when I have them) As a man however, my sexual instincts differ slightly from that of women. Mine encourage me to spread my seed over many partners, which directly contradicts a women's instinct to find a single mate. Because of this I will always have a somewhat contradictory value system with a female mate. Contradictions which are an impediment to the perfectly corresponding values which I need to feel romantic love. Pornography enables me to address the instinct that encourages me to cheat on my girlfriend with attractive women who I share no values with. Therefore, I like pornography because it allows me to indulge an instinct that would have dramatically poor consequences in my life if I obeyed it.
  8. I was hoping I could get away without a page number because others would already be familiar with the passage and we could go from there. Unfortunately I purchased the book as an audio book, which therefore makes it difficult, if not impossible to cite specific pages for reference. Even quoting is made extremely time consuming by the fact that I must fast-forward and rewind the material in order to get to the parts I need. If a page number and direct quote is required to continue the discussion, I will resurface my question when my printed copy of OPAR arrives. I would define porn as entertainment for the sole and exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. I did not mean offense. I generally participate in forums on other subjects that emphasize volume of posts and not quality. I will better learn to adapt to the environment here. I would ask however that you reconsider the phrase "learn to spell words correctly" as it implies that I currently do not posses this knowledge. Because he correlates a desire to view pornography with a lack of self esteem. If a lack of self esteem is a negative character trait, then it would be logical to assume that he would disapprove of the vices cherished by that flaw. Therefore I surmised that Piekov dislikes pornography.
  9. This one has always confused me. But first let me confess my bias. I love porn. It's a wonderful thing. But what's strange is Pekov seems to really hate porn. In OPAR he implies that porn is something frustrated and desperate men turn to and that porn wouldn't exist if men lived forfilling lives. (This is not an exact quote, if my memory is misrepresenting the facts here, please correct me) Common' now. Porn? What could possibly be wrong with porn! I re-read the passage and I couldn't find any observations that supported his claim that porn was somehow unhealthy. He seemed to be trying to dispute an idea that porn would pour into the airwaves if the airwaves weren't regulated by saying that porn would have no value in a free society. Doesn't that seem hard to believe considering porn is a multi-billion dollar industry dispite the fact that it's suppressed by regulation? [bASIC QUESTION MODERATOR'S EDIT: Corrected topic title spelling to "Peikoff."]
  10. Actually, I was thinking the opposite. I was thinking that things which cannot be recreated and things that make our fragile existence possible shouldn't be "ownable" by anyone. Kind of like a "no-man's" land in the game of capitalism. Of course, this is easy to tear apart, because the earth is unqiue and incredibly important to our lives, but obviously we need to be able to divide it up and own it, otherwise property would be impossible. Still... there seems to be an unresolved ethical issue here. The question is, should someone be able to own Yosemite. Let's say the answer is yes, does this person then have the right to destroy his property? An Objectivist would say yes. But doesn't this seem incomplete? Doesn't it seem like something is missing here? Are we all willing to say that if we witnesed the destruction of Yosemite, we would be smilling and say that "morality has prevailed?"
  11. Help me understand... if it is proven by observation that private roads eventually make transportation between places infeasible or significantly less efficient... you would argue that transportation is therefore immoral and that we simply should give up on effective roads and learn to live with our less efficient private ones? Listen, I'm not saying that will happen... I'm a firm believer in the intelligence of individuals seeking their own self interest. But we haven't tested private roads, we have no idea what the outcome might look like. What if it's a disaster? Do we follow that course anyway until our economy collapses like lemmings over a cliff? Here is the thing... we all agree that an Army and a Police force should always be a function of the government. And in order to do this the government has to own boats, planes, guns, etc. We all agree that for various reasons the enterprise of violence needs to be controlled by the government and sanctioned by it. If privatization of roads becomes an economic disaster, why not add one more thing to the extremely small list of things that the government is more fit to do than private enterprise?
  12. First, let me say that I think I'm convinced on the roads subject. Having carfully thought out the subject... I'm realizing that when I buy strawberrys at the store, 1000's of people have to coordinate themselves to show up for work, grow the food, deliver it, open the store, and have strawberries waiting for me at the precise time I walk into the store and pick them up. This is an amazing accomplishment if you think about it. Although you can argue that some people will always be irrational, it appears that they become much more rational as they persue their own self interests. There is no reason to believe that roads would not easily acieve the same level of sophistication. To doubt this is really to doubt the inteligence of humanity as a whole... and based on what we've accomplished in the last 2000 years, I think that would be a dangerous stance to take. So I'm officially now on the private road bandwagan... Since it's never been tried (except in the old west during the plank road boom [by the way, a very interesting subject to learn more about if you're into the idea of private roads]), I would love to see data on a real world test. I wonder though... lets say hypothetically that New Hampshire decided to become the "private roads only state." And 10 years later New Hampshire is a tangled mess of roads that only go to companies that can afford roads (think of a system were all roads lead to wallmart), 10 different toll boths to travel 1 mile of road and poorly maintained roads that are only kept up to minimum standards... not to mention different traffic laws on each road system that require a college course to explain. If this happened, would Objectivism change it's stance on roads because it's been proven to not work in reality? Or in that case would we still stand on our belief that governments shouldn't own anything, even if that does produce in certain extreme examples a lower quality of life for people?
  13. Thanks for the link to that old thread, I read it completely and I found the conversation to yield some interesting perspectives. However, it seemed to get derailed on the subject of what happens if someone buys land all around you and then denies you access to the outside world. This is a very valid point and I believe that irrational people will always exist in the real world, some of those irrational people will be trust fund babies and there will probably be at least one instance of this happening. And even if this only happens once, a valid system of ethics should prevent a stranded man from starving to death on his own property. And I do think that if you can prove that the manner in which someone is disposing of their property violates your right to life, your self defense does supersede their right to do whatever they want with their property. This I believe, also applies to my question about National Parks… what happens when someone threatens a life preserving aspect of nature on their property? Does the right to life supersede property rights? I hope so. I would have to seriously question my acceptance of Objectivism if it didn’t. Also, rather than focusing on the narrow example above, there does seem to be broader examples we can see in everyday life of times when government monopolies provide a very stagnant, unchanging, and poorly operated but necessary service. For example, electrical cables. The government may not own cables anymore, but it does regulate that you only have one going into your house and the cables in the air are organized neatly. This is because we all agreed that 14 different competing power companies competing with criss-crossing cable systems would be disorganized and incredibly ugly.
  14. OMG... that was long. Sorry about that.
  15. Roads and National Parks seem to always be where my discussions with non-objectivists fall apart, I’m standing firm on the facts until I say something like “yes government’s should do nothing but enforce the law and protect it’s citizens. A government shouldn’t own anything, not even a road” and that’s were my argument starts to fall apart. Probably because I’m not convinced myself that this is true. It seems that translating this philosophy of a government not operating the roads or owning land into reality could lead to some disastrous results. And as we all agree... there is not such thing as something that’s good in theory but disastrous in reality. So help me understand why these potentially disastrous consequences wouldn't happen... If the government didn’t own, or at least regulate roads… 1. Wouldn’t there be huge amounts of confusion about how to interconnect roads, where they should go and where they shouldn’t? 2. Wouldn’t competition between road owners require that many redundant roads to exist? So if there is a lot of traffic between a and b, 4 roads would be built to complete with each other when one large road would be a more efficient use of space? 3. If many different road owners existed, wouldn’t the process of paying tolls between a and b require more time than paying taxes and therefore be a less efficient process for transportation than paying taxes? 4. What if road owners dispute each other? Similar to the disputes between Microsoft’s .NET platform and Sun’s Java platform. Two different development environments that programmers must choose between and focus their careers on. What if this happened with roads? What if certain cars only worked on company A’s roads and certain cars only worked on company B’s. Wouldn’t this also be less efficient? And wouldn't this lack of efficiency make our marketplace less effective? (less land to build on because more of it is dedicated to a less efficient road system) Then there is the issue of national parks. What is essentially government owned land for the protection and preservation of “nature.” There is no question that we exist in order to conquer nature and there is no question that if dropped in a jungle with no tools for survival, most likely, you would die a miserable death being eaten alive. Nature is not our friend. However, nature is beautiful to look at (the grand canyon, Yosemite, etc.) and there are incredibly special parts of nature that make all life on earth possible (algae creates most of our oxygen, etc.). These things are very special for the reason that it takes millions or even billions of years to create them. So based on these premises, I ask the following questions… 1. What if a private owner of Yosemite discovered gold beneath the valley floor and because it was more profitable in his lifetime to strip mine the valley and close it to the public, he decided to go ahead with this? I understand that this would be his right to do this with his property, but doesn’t the rest of humanity loose something as a whole when this happens? Something that can never be replaced? Perhaps things that can never be replaced, shouldn't be bought and sold? 2. Isn’t it wise to promote the establishment of national parks in other countries and to lead by example… because our life requires that certain parts of nature continue to exist? (rainforests, oceans, lakes… etc) Wouldn’t it seem to be a wise decision to protect certain bare minimums of nature from clear cutting and development in order to preserve our own lives? 3. And if number 2 is true, then wouldn’t we actually be called upon to defend ourselves with force if, for example, Brazil wanted to clear cut the entire Amazon? I'm really looking forward to talking out these issues...
  • Create New...