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howardofski

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howardofski last won the day on April 28 2014

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    California
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  • Real Name
    John Howard
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    Copyrighted
  • Experience with Objectivism
    50+ years

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  1. In one of his lectures, Nathaniel Brandon imagined a robot so perfectly made that it physically mimicked the characteristics of a beautiful lover - but you knew it was just a robot, and he asked, would you want it?
  2. "Rights" has become, in modern English, a noun and grammatically an attribute. But all it means is a value judgment: it is right. Expressing value judgments may be a waste of time if you are alone, since there is no one to listen to them, but making value judgments is never a waste of time. Saying "I have a right to..." just means "It is right that I ...." There are those who will claim that "rights" are only a sensible idea in a social context. But that confuses judging what is right with saying what is right.
  3. Diddy lost no value. Ideas cannot be stolen. He could not lose what he did not own, as I've said many times in my empty vague posts. I still don't know what Donkey Kong refers to, but I bet it doesn't matter. Bye now.
  4. I don't know what that means and will wait for you to point to some quote of mine before responding further.
  5. It is bizarre to claim that thinkers need or deserve protection from people who might learn by observation.
  6. 2046, The linguistic erosion I refer to is the word Libertarianism itself, though I see that Sheldon also wants to rename NAP to NAO. I believe this is the essence of Sheldon Richman's position: "...the most robust case for the libertarian philosophy entails commitments not only to the Nonaggression Principle—or what I now call the Nonaggression Obligation—but also to other values that don't directly relate to aggression (for example, opposition to even non-rights-violating forms of racism)." Neither of these linguistic shifts is justified, in my opinion. 1) He seems to be saying that the arguments in favor of the libertarian philosophy will become more "robust" if other issues are packaged along with it. Does more robust mean more true or does it mean more persuasive to more people? It's hard to say what he intends, but adding non-political specifications to the definition of the political philosophy of libertarianism, while advertised by some as a way to enlarge the tent and allow more people in, is instead a way to further limit the potential universality of the message - it shrinks the tent. The longer the list of requirements to be considerd a Libertarian, the shorter the list of individuals that can qualify. I can think of no example where my racial views have or should have anything to do with whether I am a libertarian or not - UNLESS someone wants to redefine the word to mean what it has not meant. In which case, it will be necessary to find a new political term for those who are committed to the NAP and politically disinterested in any other issues (which describes me). But why should we all have to change our common word usage? If Sheldon wants a new political philosophy, why not name it Richmanism or something? Why begin redefining well-known terms unless you're trying to use the good old word as a cover for a bad new idea? 2) The NAP is not an "obligation" if we look at the roots of that word. When we make a rule that we are to avoid doing something to others, we are not claiming to "owe" them anything. Like all good law, the NAP is a prohibition, not a mandate (claiming to have an obligation to not do something is oxymoronic). Linguistically "obligation" is a mandate. This plays into Sheldon's plan to inject into the prohibitive philosophy of Libertarianism, some mandatory (owed) opinions about others. We are not only to leave others in peace, but we are now to hold certain happy opinions about them, the argument being (I guess) that unless we hold the right opinions, we may wander from our commitment to the NAP. On the contrary, I think that adding prohibited thought crimes to the definition of Libertarianism will itself lead to excuses to violate the NAP in the name of enforcing respect for others. Opinions have no place as subjects of law. Law should be only prohibitive rules, not a laundry list of socially friendly opinions.
  7. Coincidently, Lew Rockwell has just (Monday, 5 May) published an article on these "new" libertarians. In my own opinion they are just collectivists stealing a popular term and pasting it on their collectivism the way they did with the term "liberal". People who find endless excuses to violate the NAP need to steadily erode the language. I have read a quote attributed to Lenin, "First, destroy the vocabulary". I keep Orwell high on my list of great thinkers. Lew's article: http://mises.org/daily/6740/The-Future-of-Libertarianism
  8. Your first paragraph above is correct, so long as it is understood that design may very well be why an object is valued - no one is saying that design is irrelevant or without value, merely that it cannot be owned in the abstract. Only the physical objects that incorporate the design are ownable. Your third paragraph seems to take my point too literally. I did not mean that some specific coins or bills were Roofer's property. I merely meant Roofer, by doing the work, became the rightful owner of some amount of money (which he is being deprived of by Homeowner), but money is fungible, and I wasn't intending to say otherwise.
  9. The cost of the frame, canvas and paint might be millions of dollars if it was a Vermeer. If you are suggesting that the anti-IP position is that the value of the art is irrelevant, then you are failing to understand the position.
  10. New Buddha, Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. You can value an idea as you choose. Others will value it as they choose. Passing value judgments is the responsibility of every mind.
  11. This is false and another misinterpretation. I believe exactly the opposite.
  12. Let's see. My little story is basically what the OP is about, so I should try to stick to what the OP is about? Got it. I'll continue to do my best. P.S. The quote of my post included no hyperbole or psychologizing about motives that I can see, but then I'm not an Objective moderator, am I?
  13. I could sign on to the above if it did not include a subtle shift away from my position. If you originate an idea, you most certainly do deserve to decide how it is introduced to others. But this entire thread has to do with what you deserve AFTER you have introduced your idea to others. The anti-IP position is that no one owes you anything unless they contracted for it in advance. So If you want to rewrite that statement, I'll be happy to sign it.
  14. Fraud is generally thought of, by both Objectivists and Libertarians, as an initiation of the use of force. The reason is clear: Examples of fraud will always reduce to a case of someone being forcefully deprived of their rightful property (usually their money). 1) An example would be: homeowner contracts with roofer. Roofer does the work. Homeowner doesn't pay. Where is the force? The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep roofer's money in homeowner's pocket so retaliatory force is justified to remove roofer's money from homeowner's pocket. It is Roofer's money because Roofer complied with the contract by doing the work. 2) Prize committee awards money to Deep Thinker for his anti-IP writing. Shallow thinker claims to be Deep Thinker and collects the money. The fraud is identity fraud. The money is the property of the committee or of the person they choose to award it to. The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep the Committee's money in Shallow Thinker's pocket, so retaliatory force is justified to remove it from his pocket since he has no title (no claim) to it. Everyone is convinced by Deep Thinker and all IP law is eliminated. 3) Deep Thinker then writes a book and on the title page says: I am authorizing only InkblotPrinting to publish my book, so if you care about me, you will only buy copies from them. Signed, Deep Thinker. The firm of SmudgePrint copies the book and puts the same message on the title page, merely changing it to read SmudgePrint instead of InkblotPrinting. They are stopped by force for identity fraud. The jury points out that it is fraud to publish a statement by Deep Thinker that Deep Thinker did not make, since consumers are tricked into buying an unauthorized book when they had only agreed to buy an authorized book. The money remains the consumer's property until he receives an authorized copy. SmudgePrint tries again by shipping copies claiming to be printed by InkblotPrinting. Again they are stopped by force for identity fraud. DiscountBooks copies the book and sells at a reduced price, but their copy has no authorizing statement by Deep Thinker. Most people won't buy it since they prefer to see the author rewarded for his work and so they usually don't buy books without an authorizing statement. Most booksellers won't retail such books. SlumBooks changes a few words and copies the book and credits it to a Shallow Thinker. Some copies are sold, but it is known that Deep Thinker's book hit the market first, and most people arrive at the opinion that both SlumBooks and Shallow Thinker are disreputable plagiarists. They become known for their ShallowSales. Objectivists and various other mercantilists complain that all the guns they bought to enforce IP law are rusting and they demand compensation. They are ignored. Thousands of IP lawyers go hungry.  
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