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TruthSeeker946

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Posts posted by TruthSeeker946

  1. 22 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    Morality alone, that's up to the individual. But the rest, that would be whoever makes the laws (and ultimately the justification for that is on what basis a government should be founded).

    It's one and the same.

    The initiation of physical force (between humans) can have a matter of fact dictionary definition or an Objectivist definition.

    The dictionary definition is along the lines of objects colliding between humans or any kind of physical resistance/force between humans, like a playful push or a vaccine injection, or boxing etc.

    The Objectivist definition appears to be 'the type of initiation of physical force which is unjust'.

    Which begs the question. Which types of dictionary definition physical force are just and which types are unjust?

     

  2. 56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    But I was clear that the government doesn't have a duty to intervene per se

    But of course it does. The government's duty is to protect individual rights. The initiation of physical force is a violation of individual rights and it is banned under the law. Therefore, the government has a duty to intervene.

    So if you cannot give away/surrender/trade away your right to life (partially or otherwise), then as long as it is considered a violation of your right to life, the gov would have a duty to intervene.

    Then the only question is determining whether it is or is not an initiation of physical force.

     

    56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    I'm not sure how else to explain it. I was saying that your example has to do with potential damage, not violation of rights. To later be harmed would not be a violation of your right to life, in the sense the damage could not have been known before; it could not have been intentional that you were harmed (or there is no reasonable expectation you would have been harmed). All your means of living your life as you see fit are available for you to use as you wish when you put yourself at risk.

    It's still a violation of your right to life from the POV of the violator. They committed the act of force. 

    Unless you mean the transmission of covid is not an initiation of force or a violation of anyone's rights as long as the person who transmitted it didn't know it? So it comes back to defining the initiation of force.

    56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    To even think about the way your right to life is used or what constitutes its violation depends on having that right to begin with. That right doesn't go away if you ignore it, just as much as your right to life doesn't go away because some totalitarian government ignored your right to life.

    I acknowledged this.

     

    2 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

    The alternative seems to be that:

    "Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene."

     

  3. 1 minute ago, Easy Truth said:

    Before I can move on, can you please elaborate on this?

    Who is giving away their right to claim damages and why?

    It was in reference to the covid example. If the transmission of covid is considered an initiation of physical force then the entrant could enter the property at their own risk i.e giving up their right to claim damages against anyone inside the property who transmits the virus to them causing them harm.

    Of course, if it is not considered an initiation of physical force then the 'enter at your own risk' disclaimer isn't a rights based issue.

    But that leads me to the central issue of my post regarding the definition of the initiation of physical force.

  4. 4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    Suicide is your right (one that does not affect others).

    Assisted suicide may not be depending on how it is done.

    So what is the guiding principle for assessing assisted suicide? That is what I've been getting at. That is a situation where you are consenting to another person killing you.

     

    4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    There are rights you are born with and then there are rights that are contractual.

    The right "not to be murdered" is not the same time as "the right to your car".

    You can trade your car but not your life.

    The fact that you own your life is not contractual.

    3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    What I'm trying to say is that to even make sense of saying you have a right to make choices and bad decisions, depends on a foundation of a right to life first and foremost. If we contradict that, or ignore that, there is no basis to say you have a right to anything in particular.

    It's not correct to say that taking on risk is equivalent to signing away part of your right to life.

    One implicit question is whether anyone should interfere. Just because I say that you can't sign away your right to life even if you wanted to doesn't mean that I want to interfere. If it was some secret island off the coast of Alaska, that wasn't part of the US, I wouldn't care. They can attempt any contradiction they want, and I won't care.

    The second part is if they are violating each other's rights. And they are. One person is murdering another person. It's not a risk of death, it is a guarantee of death. The objective is a deprivation of someone's life.

    When I say 'trade', I didn't mean someone else gains possession of it. You 'surrender' some of your right to life in exchange for some values. So it is a personal trade in that sense.

    You're giving away your right to claim damages from someone who transmits covid to you and harms you as a result.

    Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism?

    The alternative seems to be that:

    "Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene."

    If this is true, it destroys the 'enter at your own risk' argument (which I was/am sympathetic to).

    So are not the ultimate questions here 'who decides what is and is not the (illegal/immoral) initiation of physical force?' and 'how exactly is it to be defined?'?

    3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    so I'm not going to get into discussing what exactly initiation of force means.

    Perhaps it is the crux of the issue though. I think it does need clarifying.

    4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    Force in this context is not a collision of objects.

    Fraud and theft are not a collision of something against your body.

    Involuntary, meaning (not by accident) but being force by another person is the issue.

    Not being forced by a tsunami or your hunger.

    It is "preventing" another from pursuing their life as they would see fit if when they are unfettered by you. (and the same goes for them)

    "preventing" by what means? "unfettered" in what way? And according to who?

    A fist to the face is a collision of objects. That is physical force. Physical force that does not involve the collision of objects is known as indirect physical force i.e fraud. I understand the 'indirect' part to mean that the collision of objects would have or will take place if the victim tried to prevent the crime from taking place or in attempting to reclaim his property.

    How is boxing any different from a more extreme version of a similar game, on a sliding scale from smashing knee caps, acid wars etc all the way up to a hunger games fight to the death?

    What is the principle that separates boxing from the rest? i.e why is it not an initiation of physical force when it comes to boxing but it is with more extreme games?

    (And not just games. Anything that involves consenting to physical violence against oneself or initiating against a consenting person).

    Why shouldn't the government intervene the moment the first punch is thrown?

  5. 19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

    The Covid instance of consent was the only one mentioned by the OP, and his concern with that is which clearly motivated his question.

    Exactly right. 

    22 hours ago, whYNOT said:

    one is NOT initiating force by transmitting an infection; one does NOT have the right to not be infected.

    What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy?

    It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former.

    For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. 

    22 hours ago, whYNOT said:

    A business owner however could rightfully disclaim as many have always, that injuries (etc.) on his premises are non-liable. "Enter at your own risk".

    Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.

    Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?

    20 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    Boxing is not an initiation of force.

    It is not an agreement to allow violation of your rights.

    You seem to be equating an agreement that has risk involved as always being a violation of your rights.

    Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? 

    Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words.

    If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). 

    As necrovore argues, man can “surrender” some of his rights in exchange for other values.

    In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. 

    In the case of covid, when one enters a premise “at their own risk”, they weigh that risk against the values to be gained from entering. By entering they trade away some of their right to life (they’d be losing their right to be free of the initiation of physical force from covid, assuming one considers the transmission of covid an initiation of force). 

    A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. 

    One might object on the basis that the the “surrender” of rights for values, or the “weighing” of force and values must be rational (like receiving a vaccine) and so voluntarily fighting to the death for money is fundamentally anti-life and irrational. 

    But we know from Objectivist literature that one has the right to live the life of a heroin addict which is also fundamentally anti-life and irrational. One has the right to sabotage oneself. 

  6. 9 hours ago, necrovore said:

    A rights violation requires that you didn't agree to it.


    As Eiuol pointed out, I’m essentially asking if one can consent to the initiation of physical force against oneself (actual or potential).

    Your response seems to be that yes you can, so long as there is something to be gained (potentially). That is the guiding principle? So, what about the hunger games? And my covid 19 example?

    If you or anyone could post that Rand passage on arbitrary contracts it would be very helpful. I own the book in audio form so it would take a long time tracking down the passage.

     

    17 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    It might be easier to think about distinct cases. Can you consent to being a slave? Can you consent to being killed? Both of these necessarily deprive you of your life, which is the basis to thinking about right in the first place.

    Euthanasia? 
     

    I suppose you wouldn’t be a slave if you consented. It would be voluntary work free of charge.

    But same question to you assuming you approve of the legality of boxing, what is the guiding principle?

    12 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    But the OP seems to ask about a "violation of your rights" that you agree to. You agree to be punched based on some rules as you say. Is that a violation of your rights that you are agreeing to?

     

    Do you oppose boxing then? If not why not, despite the fact that it involves the initiation of physical force? 

  7. Can one give consent to the violation of their own rights, and in doing so provide legal protection to the violator who has received such consent? 
     

    I see no reason why not. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t have the right to their own life. 
     

    An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights. 

  8. 8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Potentially, but IQ is also a double-edged sword in a certain way.

    There are three basic methods of mental functioning: rational, truth-oriented thinking, drifting (or "going with the grain") and evading.  Both the rational and evasive forms of thought are "active" and their effectiveness is at least partially mediated by IQ.  So although it's true that someone with a higher IQ could potentially be more effective at the proper cognitive method (like John Galt) they could also be more effective at evasion and self-delusion (like Robert Stadler).

    Right but you agree that IQ is an example of genetics influencing human behaviour? Do you know of any Objectivist writings on evolutionary psychology? This is a burgeoning field and I think Objectivists are too dismissive of 'hard wired' biological biases in human behaviour. As we've agreed, it doesn't mean incompatibility with Objectivism. Reality is what it is. That is what an Objectivist seeks to know.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Well, we can't just ban everyone on Earth who calls themselves a "Muslim"; as with any other religion there are plenty of "Muslims" who get drunk, have sex with random strangers and simply are not a threat to anything except logical consistency.  If half of the "Muslims" in the UK believe that homosexuality should be illegal then that also means that the other half do not

    It actually doesn't. The study found that 52% disagreed that homosexuality should be legal while only 18% agreed.

    But does it matter? 52% is huge compared to the population at large, which is 5%, the same study found. That is a massive disparity. And the population of British Muslims is rapidly growing in size. Plus, legality is the bare minimum, attitudes on the morality of homosexuality would be even worse, which has its own cultural influence.

    The study also found that 23% support the introduction of Sharia Law and 39% agreed that 'wives should always obey their husbands' compared to 5% of the pop at large.

    The list goes on and on. The bottom line is the rapid expansion of the Muslim population likely means the rapid expansion of these attitudes and the growth of a serious threat to western civlisation (as this is happening across the west).

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Now, it's a different question as to whether or not such people should really count as Muslims, but as long as they don't believe in the parts of Islam that would truly make them dangerous they have the same freedom of movement as anybody else.  What we really want our screening process to look for are basically those individuals who believe that infidels and blasphemers deserve to be murdered.

    Yes I agree we could implement more detailed screening processes. Right now it is political suicide to speak of the drawbacks of the growth of the Muslim population and the need for discriminatory migration policies based on values.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    While I tend to agree with the sentiment I'm really not sure it's as cut-and-dry as that.  What about native Muslims who were born here and wouldn't be willing to personally harm anyone at all, but who would vote for Sharia law if they ever could?  What about Communists, antihumanists or "people" who talk in movie theatres?  What you're proposing is that the government should get involved in policing certain ideas, and although I'm also uncomfortable with the prospect of having neighbors that support Sharia law (or Communism) we should only continue down that line of reasoning with extreme caution.

    I agree it requires extreme caution but mostly what the government needs to do is simply protect our rights to allow critics to undermine Islam. Hate speech laws are doing just the opposite. But this must be combined with restricting immigration to be more effective, considering the Muslim population is already growing rapidly even without further immigration, due to their birth rates.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    If you're worried about the voting tendencies of immigrants, though - who said they should automatically be given a vote as soon as they arrive?

    Good idea. How long would you leave it?

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Also you misspelled favor.  :P

    Haha I don't think so!

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    If they are a threat.  I suspect they wouldn't bother making the journey to your country if you'd stop giving them all free houses, free money and free reign with your daughters.

    Yes this is an important factor of course. Subsidising their breeding is literally a suicidal policy.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    No.  Free societies originally developed in the West but they've since taken root all over the place.  Were Australia and Hong Kong not free societies until just last year?  Certain people all over the world do actually get it (like the Nepali-American couple I mentioned) and certain others don't.  Responding to the latter by giving up on the very freedoms on which such societies are based (including the freedom of movement) would be like trying to cure COVID by administering drain cleaner.

    Not as much 'taken root' as having been transplanted. You'll notice those British colonies where freedom 'took root' most successfully is actually mostly those colonies that were literal British offshoot societies, meaning the British people themselves physically settled in those colonies, bringing their culture with them. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ in particular.

    An actual transplantation process from one peoples to another is a much slower process, though I agree it is possible. The longer the process is attempted, the more successful it is going to be. Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years. The recent attempts to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East with only a few years of occupation was laughable. It didn't stand a chance.

     

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

     

    Despite such ideas I'm personally quite fond of Jordan Peterson.  Many of his other ideas are correct and a few of them mesh quite nicely with Objectivism.  But despite the fact that chemicals and hierarchies are an aspect of human biology, you can't adequately describe human behavior in those terms; it's like trying to explain how an internal combustion engine works in terms of individual molecules.

    Adequately, no. In the nature vs nurture debate, few would claim it is all nature. But that doesn't mean it isn't significant. And there is a lot of evidence that it is significant. Any philosophy has to account for it:

    Lincoln said:

    "It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot"

    Is it not an aspect of human nature to some degree, originating perhaps in the evolution of power dynamics, that man tends to seek power and tear down those on top? (Again, not saying free will and rational thought cannot overcome this on an individual basis).

    So one justification for the American system of government is that it exists to constrain that tendency through the balance of powers, making it as difficult as possible for that tyrant to surface. That is a rational response to what may be an innate tendency of man.

    That is a political philosophy based on human beings as they tend to behave, as opposed to human beings as we would like them to behave.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

     

    Maybe it won't.  That changes neither the fact that it is the truth nor that every single person would benefit from learning about it.  Shouldn't we advocate for the truth regardless of whether anyone else wants to hear it or not?

    I agree we should, but we should also understand the limitations of that approach and subscribe to a philosophy that takes account of that reality.

    It's all very well for Objectivists to preach about how the world ought to be and how humans ought to behave (and it is a vital service) but someone has to get on with the business of dealing with the world as it is and how humans actually behave, which means confronting the reality of certain 'tendencies' which don't seem to be dissipating any time soon.

  9. 11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

     

    But why? I doubt that it is true, but even if it is, we don't have to suppose that the reason is because they are immigrants. Why would it be that a foreign culture that they are only exposed to at home exerts more cultural pressure than the culture they see everywhere else?

    Because they grow up under the influence of their parents and the surrounding community which is dominated by Islam, and in many cases this includes the Islamic schools they go to. So it isn't just the home, though the home alone is a significant influence.

    Their lives predominantly exist inside these communities, which revolves around the local mosque, which is a significant influence too, local muslim run businesses, restaurants, shisha bars etc which dominate the street and they do it surrounded by fellow Muslims, who also form their friendship groups. Have you ever visited one of these areas? I'd recommend it. It's like entering another world.

    The idea that they are 'only exposed to at home' the Islamic culture and that the world outside that home is western, as if these families are living like isolated islands in westernised streets is very far from the reality of actual migrant settlement.

    11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Like above, I doubt this is true and I don't know how you could simply know that the area was 90% Muslim just by walking by. But even if it is true, you have to ask why it developed into a microcosm, and to what extent the microcosm has adopted or significantly mixed with the local culture. China Towns across the US are a microcosm but they are extremely capitalistic and possibly even more so than the average American. 

    I can assure you 90% is accurate. It was home time so most of the children and their parents were gathered outside in the playground where the children are picked up. I didn't see single white kid/family. Everyone had brown skin and they were all wearing Islamic-style clothing and this was deep inside a Muslim dominated area as described above.

    Why it developed into a microcosm? Because that's just what people do. Maybe it's human nature, maybe it isn't. But the facts are the facts. Immigrants tend to concentrate in areas and set up their own communities, propagating their own culture. That's just what happens. The "local culture" is their own culture, because they create their own local communities. The same phenomenon happened with European migrants to the US, whether Italian or Irish. However, European migrants shared Judeo-Christian roots so the differences are not as pronounced as with Muslim immigrants.

    But there are strong cultural differences between different areas of the US even within that general Judeo-Christain background. That is the legacy of immigration. It isn't random. The cultural practices and attitudes of particular areas can be traced back directly to the immigrants who settled there, carrying their cultures with them.

    I'd recommend Sowell's culture trilogy for an indepth study of this. It is true that some cultures are more open to influence than others. The more dogmatic, the less open. Islamic culture is of the less open types (of course there are variations within Islamic culture itself), which isn't surprising for anyone who has studied Islam.

    As for the Chinese, they are still very different.

    11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    And for the sake of argument, we could even suppose that the microcosm failed to assimilate, perhaps as far as to advocate for sharia law. I would characterize the situation as the chickens coming home to roost. The problem is not the nature of the immigrants and the nature of the country where the immigrants come from. The problem is the culture of the UK. The culture of the UK always seemed weak to me and doesn't exert much influence. I mean, sure, I like some British TV, and there are some regional quirks that I find funny. But really there isn't much to it. Not to mention even on the level of government, the UK is kind of... Nothing. On top of that, it was heavily imperialistic for so long, so there isn't much people really seek out from the UK. You should hardly be surprised when the UK barely exerts cultural pressure on immigrants. It won't matter how many Muslims you prevent from entering the UK, the societal decline you are concerned about will still be going on.

    If you fix the cultural problems, the rest will follow. 

     

    I agree, the behaviour of the host country can be a significant factor but since we are advocating a free society here, the most a host country can do to change cultural behaviours is to protect freedom of speech and other rights, allowing the Muslim culture to be held under the spotlight in the media and criitcised for its barbaric attitudes and practices, and ensuring the rule of law reigns supreme.

    What do you mean by 'exert culture pressure'? I agree there are more authoritarian measures we could take, including regulating and/or banning mosques and Islamic schools, forcing Muslims to go to schools that aim to westernise them etc.

    But a free society cannot stop immigrants congregating the way they do, nor can you do much to make a culture more open or to stimulate fundamental change within that culture, at least not in the short term without violent conflict, especially when religion is involved. Those things can take hundreds of years. It took that long for Christianity to reform. The larger the Muslim population, the bigger this problem becomes and the harder it is to manage.

    To 'modernise' Islam comes at a great cost. We are essentially importing that problem to the west, the same problem we resolved at great pains, over a long period of time, with Christianity.

    Limiting Muslim immigration is a simple, effective and practical measure to restrict the rapid growth of Muslim communities and therefore the rapid growth of an alien, hostile culture.

  10. On 2/18/2021 at 5:50 PM, MisterSwig said:

    I don't believe Rand's philosophy is mine to revise or expand upon. I have, however, criticized her position regarding public property. And so I think her definition of capitalism is mistaken and partly accounts for some of our rifts when it comes to politics. 

    Thanks. Rand revised and expanded on Aristotle. I'm not saying it necessarily has to still be called Objectivism. It depends how big the changes are.

    19 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    We have the power to choose rationally.  To the extent that instead we let our emotions do our thinking for us, we leave ourselves very vulnerable to the subconscious and/or genetics/biological processes.

    I agree. The problem is very few people choose to think, to be rational, and even among those who attempt it, there is fierce disagreement.

    We know that it takes a deliberate, conscious effort to focus and think rationally, which can be a draining process, and most people simply 'go with the grain' so to speak, meaning to avoid the burden of thinking for oneself in large areas of their lives and having faith in established patterns of thought and action, passed down over generations, essentially allowing them to econmise on the time and effort that goes into thinking everything through rationally on their own.

    But also to 'go with the grain' in the sense of those biological processes we are referring to. Perhaps those processes themselves exert a 'bias' or incentive against thinking too much. An obvious example, which may be just the tip of the iceberg, is the painful sensation one feels when focusing over a prolonged period. Another is IQ. The higher the IQ, the easier it probably is to spend the same amount of time focusing and thinking rationally, so the lower the incentive to 'switch off'.

    15 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    How do you propose to alter human nature? Are you proposing that others need to be managed since self-management mysteriously leads to your rights being severely restricted, as is the current state of affairs?

    I don't propose altering human nature, though in the future this may be possible with new technology, and may be the only way for humans to ever behave on a mass scale in the way Rand had advocated.

    I understood 'manage themselves' to include politics. It's not particularly mysterious why my rights are severely restricted. We live in a democratic system where people can vote away my rights/resources.

    15 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Do we? If you mean first-generation adults, perhaps. If you mean the children of that first-generation, not really, they will assimilate just as well as any other child. Carnegie was born in Scotland by the way, it is not as if some standout Americans that we think of as Americans are never immigrants.

    By the way, the example you gave of ethnic minorities voting for Trump doesn't have anything to do with adapting to a culture. On top of that, not all ethnic minorities are immigrants... 

    What kind of limitation are you thinking of? 

    I suppose we would need to be more specific about what we mean by assimilate and of course it varies depending on the immigrant group.

    In the UK, Muslims are extremely out of step with the average on attitudes toward women and gays. For example, a recent study found that half of all British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. I disagree that the average child of Muslim immigrants will assimilate to British culture just as well as the average child of indigenous Brits.

    The problem is that immigrants tend to concentrate in particular areas so that the area becomes a microcosm of their homeland to an extent. I was in one of those areas recently, which is dominated by Muslims. I walked past a school in the area and it was about 90% Muslim.

    Limitations based on values essentially. Discriminatory immigration policies. Perhaps a cap on Muslim immigration to stem the flow. The larger and faster particular immigrant groups grow, the more self-sustaining their culture is and the more resistant to outside influence.

     

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Fundamentally, each of us has a right to the freedom of movement (including international movement) so long as we're not doing so for any nefarious purpose (such as terrorism).  There are no two ways around that.

    I fear you are right.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    While we should have "open" borders that allow any civilized person to live wherever the Hell they want, it does make sense for us to have some sort of screening process to ensure that potential immigrants are, in fact, civilized people who aren't planning on manufacturing sarin gas or instituting Sharia law as soon as they arrive.  And since we should be trying to constrain the welfare state as much as we possibly can, it seems prudent to also say something like no immigrant can ever qualify for any sort of government handout, for example.  Once we had something like that in place we could then start trying to talk about whether we should really be giving handouts to anyone at all.

    I agree so where do we draw the line on this? Perhaps there is a rational case to impose discriminatory immigration policies based on values.

    You say institute Sharia law as soon as they arrive. What about simply being in favour of it? Of wanting to see it in the host country? Such a person is an enemy. There must be a rational case against immigrants who want to come here and violate our rights/don't recognise those rights, pledging allegiance to Allah, the Quran and sharia law etc.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    The Objectivist position on borders is that they should be open - within reason.

    Incidentally, I wouldn't say that you can't still call yourself an Objectivist if you disagree with that position - just that you're currently wrong.  :P  But that happens to us all.

    Do we know that, though?

    I once knew an immigrant couple from Nepal who, despite not speaking the best English, acted like some of the most American people I've ever met.  The one time I made the mistake of referring to them as Nepali-Americans I was swiftly told on no uncertain terms that they were full-fledged Americans like myself.  That couple took about two years to become almost entirely integrated (with the exception of some slight accents that I'm sure they've ditched by now).

    I bring them up, not to say that transplantation is quick, but simply to point out that it depends on whom we are talking about transplanting.  Some people drag their feet while others are eager to get it out of the way ASAP.

    Yes it depends on the people. Ultimately, those who already share similar fundamental values will assimilate quicker than those who don't (but then is it really assimilation?). So those that drag their feet are the ones we ought to limit, if they are a threat to a free society.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

     

    And those who drag their feet about it, and set up little miniature versions of their respective homelands - do they actually want to BE American (or British)?  If not then what we should really be asking about are their motives for trying to enter our countries in the first place.  I also know a number of Somali immigrants to my area who have no intention of ever integrating, learning English or getting a job; they came to America for the handouts.  Handouts which should not exist in the first place.

    Exactly. This is the issue that the west is currently facing. The development of free societies grew out of a small corner of the world by a group of very particular peoples. It has never developed anywhere else. It is surely playing with fire to allow peoples from all over the world to pour in and risk crushing that precious development, on the belief that they will 'get it' and recognise and defend human rights.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by that?

    See my response to Doug above. I will add the question I asked Reidy earlier; what do you make of Peterson's point about human beings tending to form hierarchies and that there are deep biological causes of this which he shows is shared with other animals and therefore has deep evolutionary origins?

    Now I'm not necessarily saying that humans cannot use their freewill and reason to overcome any biological 'bias' toward forming hierarchies but do you think that bias exists, generally speaking? And that there are many other biases at play that 'push' or provide incentives for humans to behave in particular ways which helps explain particular behaviours and trends that we can observe throughout human history, common to all cultures and races?

    I also don't think Objectivism is necessarily incompatible with this stuff. Ultimately we have to take reality as it is. The issue I have is the reality of human nature is far from well understood due to these biological processes that we don't fully understand.

    And surely if we know, or think it is highly likely, that society will never be filled with mostly Objectivists on a mass scale, then the political philosophy of Objectivism is inadequate as a prescription for the world as it is, and more suitable for the world we would like to see, that is, a world where most people subscribe to Objectivism and respect human rights. I want that world but I don't see it happening perhaps ever.

  11. 8 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    If we are talking about immigrants rather than refugees, most immigrants come to the US because they see US society is better than where they came from. They are already open and wanting to gradually change their viewpoint to one consistent with America. And then their children are pretty much as American as anyone else. All that this means is that if the culture is healthy and strong, immigrants will come because they seek that health and strength. If the culture is unhealthy and weak, and the immigrant's culture is by comparison stronger, then of course the immigrant's prior culture will take over instead.

     

    Agreed. There is more than enough evidence to conclude that culture can be transplanted from one people to another, including from one race to another. Thomas Sowell's example of black American ghetto culture originating with white southern rednecks who came from Scotland and Ireland is a good one.

    Another good example is the increase in the ethnic minority vote for Trump.

    On the other hand, we know the transplantation is a very slow process. The ethnic minority vote for Trump was still only a very small percentage of the total ethnic minority vote, despite the increase.

    So, if we know these things, is it possible to create an objective, if not Objectivist, case to limit immigration based on the likelihood that without that limit, our relatively free society will be destroyed?

  12. 30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    You start with yourself and let others manage themselves.

    I appreciate the sentiment but letting others manage themselves means my rights being severely restricted. That is the current state of affairs.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    It would not be an Objectivist case. It would only be an objective case were I so inclined.

    Please do share it.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    Consider, too, the role compulsory education contributes as an obstacle going forward.

    Yes, as a temporary step, do you support the 'infiltration' of the education system? If we cannot privatise it currently, the least we can do is wrestle it back off the leftists.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    If you're still intent on changing the world (or even just standing up for America) consider the advice provided in the hidden comment by William McRaven:

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    Great advice. I'm all for self-improvement and I'm a big fan of motivational speakers.

  13. 52 minutes ago, 2046 said:

    That was the best part of Atlas Shrugged when John Galt had to convince the majority before doing what he wanted

    I assume this is sarcasm? Please could you be more specific about the point you are making? I am referring to the politics of entire countries, not a small group of Objectivists practicing Objectivist politics in a valley.

    I cannot do what I want here in the UK. My rights are severely restricted.

  14. 58 minutes ago, Reidy said:

    Empirical psychology is not exactly a part of philosophy, but the Objectivist writings make several assertions in this field without providing more than intuitive or anecdotal evidence:

    Personality predicts sexual attraction.

    Sexual attraction predicts personality.

    Artistic taste predicts personality.

    Personality predicts artistic taste.

    Childhood literary exposure predicts adult character.

    Philosophical training and belief predict intellectual efficacy.

    This is not to say that one couldn't test these claims, only that I haven't seen such tests.

    You've touched on one of my ongoing issues with Objectivism here. I am concerned that the philosophy leaves insufficent room for the complicated nature of psychology and how the subconscious and/or genetics/biological processes affects decision making/human behaviour.

    You may have noticed I posted another question asking for any Objectivist writings on heuristics.

    If my concern is misplaced, please could you or anyone explain why?

    Sexual attraction is a good one. The Objectivist position on this has changed over time. Before, homosexuality was simply a case of holding the wrong premises. Now it is one's nature.

    Even if it is true that ultimately we have free will and we have the final say on our actions, it seems to me that certain biological processes exert a bias on human behaviour; the pain of hunger exerting an incentive to eat food, orgasms to have sex, endorphins influencing behaviour, all the biological processes resulting from evolution and natural selection etc.

    How does Objectivism approach these issues? For exmaple, what do you make of Jordan Peterson's point about the biological determinism, or at least bias, toward the creation of hierarchies?

  15. 51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    Why would the "applicability and practicality of Objectivism" have anything whatever to do with what the "vast majority of people" think or do?

    Because the political application of the philosophy depends on what the majority think.

    51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    It's usually impossible to consider a single political issue in isolation because "controls necessitate further controls." Closed borders will often appear necessary because of other bad government policies, such as welfare statism, or failure to fight wars of self-defense. In order to open the borders, the other bad policies have to be unwound first; then, closed borders would no longer be necessary. I do think it would be suicidal to open the borders without unwinding those bad policies, though.

    I agree. But what about the cultural impact. The anti-freedom mystics are already breeding at a much faster rate than even the consequentialist freedom lovers, let alone the rights based ones. 
    Importing more anti-freedom mystics in their droves gives a free society little chance of survival does it not?

    51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    Anybody can propose a new philosophy, but I don't see the need. I don't think there are any issues with Objectivism.

    There are issues with people, though -- they reject the philosophy for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they accept it for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they advocate it incorrectly, or apply it incorrectly.

    There are also issues that are simply complicated, and it might take a lot of work to apply Objectivism to those issues.

    Which complicated issues come to mind? Perhaps biology related ones?

  16. 1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

    I don't tackle mass immigration or open borders. I can advocate for or against them.

    When it comes to Objectivism, as a philosophy, it is a philosophy for individuals to live by. Fixing the politics is merely a fortunate side-effect that will come from successful implementation of the moral aspects outlined and advocated in your own life. As a living example of being able to successfully deal with the world, identify essential issues from inessential ones, surrounding yourself with what you value leaving no space for what is not a value to you.

    In short, it is a philosophy that has be embraced by those who choose to embrace it. It cannot be imposed on a macro scale. Man's nature forbids it to be imposed.

    The politics will only be fixed though if the moral aspects are successfully implemented by a significant portion of the population. That’s the issue. How do we reach that stage?
     

    Please could you put forward your Objectivist case against open borders? I’d love to hear it. 
     

    My biggest fear regarding open borders is not the welfare state related arguments but the cultural impact and potential instability resulting from a multiracial/cultural society. I do not see how a free society can survive the cultural onslaught that would come from Arab and Asian nations in particular. 

  17. I am semi-convinced by the philosophy and I keep coming back to it because I support its fundamental premises regarding metaphysics and epistemology. 

    Ultimately, all with have is our minds and our senses to know reality. I get that. 

    However, what is an Objectivist to do when the vast majority of people refuse to think, refuse to exercise reason?

    So my problems are more with the applicability and practicality of Objectivism on the macro scale in the real world.

    Take mass immigration and/or open borders. 

    It is obvious that open borders today would destroy western civilisation. Perhaps it is true Objectivism logically leads to the advocacy of open borders but it is also suicidal in the current circumstances. 

    So please share your issues with the philosophy and what you think the solutions are? 

    Clearly I am directing this more toward people who think the philosophy can be revised or at least expanded upon.

  18. The Objectivist definition of a value is “that which one acts to gain and or keep”. 

    However, one must first identify that which one would like to gain before one can act to gain it. 

    If one wants to live, one must eat food. The food must be recognised as valuable before action is taken to gain it. 

    But the Objectivist definition implies the food only becomes valuable during the action and not before.

    If this is the case, what motivates the initial action if the food is not perceived as valuable prior to action taken to gain it?

  19. 23 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    You said "as opposed to his nature", so I'm saying that how his ideas shape the world and himself (which of course relate to how these ideas come to form, which relates to how this occurs neuroscientifically and biologically) is the same as asking how his nature affects these things. I'm not sure why you even phrase it this way, Rand talks about man's nature so often. Psychological limitations are perfectly fine to talk about. Same with biological limitations. The problem is that the way you talk about these things is vague enough that they sound like objections without saying anything about how they prevent, deny, or stand against rational thinking. Before I explain how psychological biases can be used properly and reason doesn't have to falter, I want to see what you think about this part first.

    My apologies, you’re right, it was unnecessarily confusing. 

    I’m in agreement here, though I would say the psychological limitations are ultimately biological limitations and I want to stress that my concern here is the expression of these limitations as an average since these limitations will be different for different people.

    Quote

    There isn't any research of biological bias towards accepting premises.

    Not only that, what even is a biological bias?

    There are psychological biases, sure, but they aren't deterministic (lacking cognitive influence).

    Psychological biases are more like common errors that are easy to fall into because of the way the mind works, rather than mental events that you can't help from occurring that helplessly result in an action.

    I'm fine if you call them biological factors. You'd be hard-pressed to find any evidence that the biology alone biases your action, partly because you're talking about complex decisions that require deliberate conscious thought for them to even occur. 

     

    Quote


    Yes, there are known genetic factors to homosexuality, and sure this probably creates a tendency toward certain actions (because who knows, maybe it influences the way neurotransmitters are released), but says nothing at all about decision-making. 

    Yes ultimately the homosexual has to take action on the sexual desires himself so his decision has the final say. 

    But the decision to act or not to act is affected by the biological factors in the sense that the homosexual desires are acting as a pressure toward the decision to act, even if he can overrule those pressures. By overrule I mean ignore them/suppress them. Or more broadly, we can apply this to everyone’s desire to have sex. 

    In other words, as you say, “biological factors create a tendency toward certain actions”. 

    And this is what I mean by a “biological bias”. Or another way of describing that is “temptations” 

    Now you might say “yes we can use reason to not only ignore the desires/temptations and resist acting on them but ALSO to actually eliminate them or change them.”

    And this is clearly the case BUT to different degrees of ease for different people for different desires ranging from easy to impossible. With sexual desire for basically everyone it’s either extremely difficult or impossible. Which essentially means the human species has an innate tendency toward having sex. 

    But with other things like the desire for nicotine/the act of smoking, it’s slightly easier. I did it myself from reading Allen Carrs brilliant book “the easy way to stop smoking” and I’m not just resisting the temptation, I’ve actually eliminated it. 

    Quote

    The limits of reason as a method for dealing with curing addicts isn't to say all we are left with is brutishness or lying. 

    So what are the limits of reason in changing human behaviour? How effective could reason be in maintaining law and order if we removed punishments? 

    As far as I’m aware there’s been tons of study regarding biological bias toward action. (And perhaps this is what I need to study in depth) Jordan Peterson famously compared lobsters to humans in arguing that humans are essentially hardwired to organise themselves into hierarchies. 

    So perhaps you could pick out what you’d like to respond to and then expand on your conception of psychological limitations. 

    And remember the wider context here is that our opinion on the existence or extent of existence of the biological bias toward a variety is human behaviours, or more extreme, hardwiring (determinism) of human nature, fundamentally shapes our philosophy and our politics, and it is a deep understanding of this area that I think Objectivism lacks, and consequently places too much emphasis on the power of reason leading to an overly optimistic view of man. 

    And perhaps Rand knew this with the fatalism she expressed (as quoted earlier):  

    It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning and it is those few that I’ve always sought to address. The rest are of no concern of mine. It is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray, it is their own souls”

  20. 15 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

    The upward trajectory, in the most general terms, is what you say. Which doesn't predict anything about mankind's immediate prospects. 

    It's like the arguments for how much we've progressed due to technology. Such hi-tech can be applied to our downfall as much as to our upliftment. 

    Which leads straight back to the original question. How much influence can this philosophy wield over those who refuse a rational, individualist philosophy? 

    Good point about technology and thank you - I’m glad someone else here appreciates this issue.

  21. 9 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    To borrow, and paraphrase from the subject matter of your dissertation here:

    Those who're making an effort to fail to understand [Ayn Rand] are not a concern of mine.

    While you might yet demonstrate error on my behalf to this point, so far, you are only underscoring this tactic to me.

     

    Suit yourself. I’m not going to try to persuade you to engage with the arguments. I’ve put them forward and they stand on their own merit. If you change your mind, I’ll engage with your responses. 

    9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Don't interpret that as I have nothing to say. 

    Fair enough. 

    Quote

    There is no difference here. It is man's nature to operate by his ideas, regardless of how bad those ideas are, and biological and psychological mechanisms are the means in which this happens.

    What do you mean there is no difference? I’m searching for the limits of our nature. I agree these things ultimately manifest themselves psychologically. 

    Quote

    Having a wrong premise does not necessarily mean that reasoning with them is the correction. Fixing drug addiction can't be done with reasoning, and requires more hands-on manipulation of emotional triggers that an addict sees. Yet the addictive behaviors still originate from that premises ("I can just use a little bit of cocaine and I'll be perfectly fine" his Harley sensible and can be exacerbated by poor ways of thinking as in bad premises). But you aren't being careful enough. The things you're talking about are still psychology. Innate inclinations is a psychological explanation. In other words, you don't know what you're talking about.

    I don’t deny they manifest themselves psychologically. Ultimately one has to mentally process the action of lying, stealing, killing etc before they do it. 

    The point is to what extent are there deterministic elements in man’s nature, or at least a biological bias toward, certain behaviours that then manifest themselves psychologically with the desire to lie, steal, be irrational, choose mysticism etc? And to what extent is reason alone an antidote to these tendencies? 

    Yes the addict says “just a little more, I’ll be fine” and acts on that belief but is there a biological bias toward accepting that premise over other premises? 

    A homosexual ultimately has to make the decision to take part in homosexual activity but there is a biological bias which manifests itself in a desire to take part in those acts. 

    Also could you expand on your explanation about the limits of reason to deal with addicts?. And also to what extent, therefore, is reason alone an effective method for changing human behaviour?

    Quote

    I don't believe that realpolitik is compromise. It's a version of pragmatic considerations to attain desirable policy goals. If that's not what you mean by realpolitik, then forget I said that. But this is what I'm referring to. By work with, I mean finding if there is any common political ground, without expectation that in the long run they will remain political allies. 

    RealPolitik is definitely about compromise.     But once you find there is common political ground, what ought you do to? I’ll have to see if I can find Rand’s response to this question. 

    7 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

    No, you're not. You're speaking from your general ignorance. History shows mankind, over time, becoming more objective and scientific, more rational and logical, more selfish and good, and more capitalistic and successful. There are periods of terrible mistakes and mass death, but generally we've learned from those dark times and have progressed as a species. We've gone from the cave to outer space, and from grunting to singing our thoughts. And here you proclaim man to be generally irrational. What nonsense!

    In the home of the enlightenment and capitalism, the western world, the 20th century experienced a staggering expansion in the size of government.

    The 80s enjoyed a brief resistance to that trend but it didn’t reverse it. We remain a highly statist world and the 19th century remains the high point for capitalism.

    Of course technology will keep progressing in a semi-free society but imagine where we’d be had we retained the small state of the 1800s. The idea we’re more capitalistic is absurd, certainly for the west. 

    Also religion is growing worldwide and in the west. The more rational part of the human species is dying off, currently being outbred by the more irrational. 

    6 hours ago, 2046 said:

    Umm what? You do realize that Sowell passage is affirming the same point Rand is making about political philosophers premises leading to certain conclusions?

    Yes and there’s nothing wrong with the idea that conclusions derive from premises. But to what extent are we predisposed to favour certain premises? 

    Why do we so often choose short term activities that are harmful in the long run, even though we know it’s harmful? Reason may account for some of this behaviour, but all of it? 

    The passage is pointing out that our conception of the nature of man is fundamental to our conclusions. 

    And I don’t think Objectivism has a strong enough understanding of the nature of man. 

    This can be expressed in two ways:

    1. It has the wrong premises 

    2. It has ignored crucial premises. 

    Consider the following two premises: 

    1. Reason alone is an effective method for changing human behaviour. 

    2. Reason alone is not an effective method for changing human behaviour. 

    These two premises lead to radically different conclusions about how society ought to be run and what philosophy one should advocate. 

    So what’s your view?

    Why do people continually not choose reason, preferring to act on whim and emotion?

    Are temptations to some degree innate? 

    How effective is reason in convincing them to change course?

    Is there a biological bias toward Nietsche’s will to power which manifests itself to different degrees in different people? 

    Sowell also says: 

    “It would be good to be able to say that we should dispense with visions entirely, and deal only with reality. But that may be the most utopian vision of all. Reality is far too complex to be comprehended by any given mind. Visions are like maps that guide us through a tangle of bewildering complexities. Like maps, visions have to leave out many concrete features in order to enable us to focus on a few key paths to our goals. Visions are indispensable—but dangerous, precisely to the extent that we confuse them with reality itself. What has been deliberately neglected may not in fact turn out to be negligible in its effect on the results. That has to be tested against evidence. A vision has been described as a “pre-analytic cognitive act.” It is what we sense or feel before we have constructed any systematic reasoning that could be called a theory, much less deduced any specific consequences as hypotheses to be tested against evidence. A vision is our sense of how the world works.” 

    And:

    “No matter what vision we build on, it will never account for “every sparrow’s fall.” Social visions especially must leave many important phenomena unexplained, or explained only in ad hoc fashion, or by inconsistent assumptions that derive from more than one vision. The purest vision may not be the basis of the most impressive theories, much less the most valid ones. Yet purer visions may be more revealing as to unspoken premises than are the more complex theories.”

    And: 

    “A vision, as the term is used here, is not a dream, a hope, a prophecy, or a moral imperative, though any of these things may ultimately derive from some particular vision. Here a vision is a sense of causation. It is more like a hunch or a “gut feeling” than it is like an exercise in logic or factual verification. These things come later, and feed on the raw material provided by the vision. If causation proceeds as our vision conceives it to, then certain other consequences follow, and theory is the working out of what those consequences are.”

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