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Everything posted by mweiss

  1. J.S. Bach was in the Baroque Period, not the Classical Period, as defined by the span of time between Beethoven and Mozart, who lived in a much later time period. Addressing the Op's question, and it is a personal opinion, I find both of these composers interesting in different ways and for different reasons. Each one reaches me on a different level, stimulates different emotions than the other. Right now, I am enjoying a piece that was co-authored by Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler, Liebesleid. I recorded it last Saturday, for a client who performed with the symphony here in a major CT city. Perhaps it's the young lady's lilting and uplifting performance and the use of tempo changes and dynamics that makes this particular performance such a joy to listen to, but without the composer having written it, I would not be experiencing the enjoyment now. I seem to recall in the 1960s, that Mary Ann Rukavina gave talks on the philosophical meaning of music, how to identify its motives and what these motives mean, philosophically. I believe too that if one is integrated and has developed listening skills, then it is possible to see why a downward chord progression would be deemed depressing, while generally upward progression would be uplifting. Every melody makes an impression upon us. Music stimulates our emotions most of all, but since emotions are the rapid-fire response to incoming information and are based upon a sum total of our philosophical premises, then we can deduce that music does have objectively-definable attributes. There are so many levels on which this operates--at the gutteral level of a savage, all the way up to the sophisticated allegories of a symphony which intertwines many thematic elements into a cohesive whole. Music doesn't just 'happen' and it doesn't lack some sort of philosophical principles--on the contrary, music is an expression of philosophical ideas and there are specific devices in music that express ideas, purely on an instrumental level. I think most of us, if asked, could identify a piece of music that was pragmatic, vs. a piece that was carefully-integrated. To understand why, may take more than a layman's knowledge in music, but I am quite certain that it can be dissected and analyzed and the components of a piece and it's sum total can be identified down to philosophical motives.
  2. If you think that's so bad, try to imagine what dealing with Jury Duty would be like! I just got summoned this week. Hoo boy, here we go again! I cannot vote to convict a defendant who broke an unjust law. They're not going to like to hear what I have to say about jury nullification. My only beef with Motor Vehicle people is that now they are asking for Social Security numbers. I went through a considerable hassle at my last license renewal because I told them it was none of their business; that SS is between a Subject and the Social Security Administration only. After a 15-minute delay, I got my renewal. What a waste of time, given that illegals can get licenses without having to pass any test--just go to any corrupt DMV official and pay a 'fee'.
  3. At about ten o'clock this morning, I heard Greenspan on the radio (he was participating in some sort of hearing--I caught portions of it while driving) giving his explanation for why the economy is in decline. Essentially, he stated that there was a flaw in the free market model that he had been using and which had "worked well for forty years." So now it becomes clear that this is his official 'swearing off' of Objectivist free market principles. For those of us who suspected that Greenspan had jumped ship from the Objectivist thinking, we can now be free of any doubt.
  4. The following quote from the article: For instance, an astronaut moving faster than it would theoretically arrive at a destination before leaving. is a contradiction in terms. This is either a gross misinterpretation by a naive journalist, or, if it is a correct interpretation of what these two scientists stated, it raises serious questions about the veracity of the rest of their theory. The article was too superficial to draw any conclusion from.
  5. I don't take this as an indictment of sports by Miss Rand, but rather a decision she made that resulted from her determination that sports was irrelevant to the intended purporse of Atlas Shrugged. It would neither enhance nor detract from the story; it would be vestigial, were it to be included.
  6. We already have a system in which people have to pay a lump sum once or twice a year. It's called property taxes, and if you think people in my town would raise a stink over having to write two checks per year for $7500 each, you're in for a surprise. So even if it was income taxes, payable in full on April 15, the majority would consider it a 'moral duty' to pay them, just as they do with local property taxes.
  7. Not rare at all if your job is packing tampons in boxes for 12 hours on a rotating shift, year after year, after year. Your examples are just temporary boredom due to unanticipated idle time. I used to commute 90K miles a year when I was in consulting engineering, and my typical commute lasted over two hours for 'local' work and much longer for 'regional' work. I've done both in the course of my life, and I can tell you that the hopelessly-boring existence of a subsistence wage job, working in a factory environment that is uncomfortable, under pressure to keep up with machinery that is chucking out product at a rate just a little faster than you can keep up with, affords you no time for creative reflection and is a truely hellish boredom. Since I quit the job market, I have never been bored.
  8. The best hypothetical argument I could dream up for "pro-God's existence" would be the question of how order in the universe came about. Now, Objectivists pretty much agree that a thousand monkeys, typing for a thousand years on a thousand typewriters, could not write Shakespeare's works. It is the nature of random forces not to generate coherent works. Taking that argument loosely, a religionist could argue that, like the monkeys, random events in the universe could not bring about organized and complicated life, ecosystems and the like. It takes an organized consciousness to write prose. It is easy to think that the creation of the universe would be the same.
  9. Actually, this story was first filmed in 1964, under the title The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price in the lead role.
  10. mweiss

    Designer Babies

    Having just watched the Spielberg movie "Artificial Intelligence" about robot children who look, act and love like real children, this topic caught my eye for a few reasons. Assuming one could choose all or most of the attributes of a their children raises some interesting questions: How does this affect the natural balance of genetic traits distribution among the population? Would a large number of parents choosing a certain set of attributes have the effect of reducing the available pool of humans with other genetic attributes by gender, and hence reduce the possibility of certain humans with a preference for the less-chosen genetic attributes, of finding a mate? If nature designs in certain traits for a reason, and we design them out, how does it affect the survivability of the race? In the movie AI, interesting metaphysical and moral questions were raised. One was the issue of self-aware robots that could learn to love and to have empathy. The moral issues of destroying said robots was raised, in the event a set of parents did not want the child robot any longer and after "imprinting" had occured, forever bonding the child robot to its new family. It was quite an interesting flick, a little Kubrickian toward the end with the 2000 year leap in time, but raised a lot of the same issues as talked about here.
  11. I too noticed that I could no longer find my posts in the 'recent' list and did a search, only to find that they were in the Trash folder as well. And they were not spam or links with no text. They were thoughtfully-written comments about things that happened to me. Worse than BroadbandReports.com, ObjectivismOnline's moderators don't even bother to send you a note that you've broken some rule. Instead, one ends up wasting time hunting for a post that no longer exists where it was posted. I know that the board's admin has contempt for me as a person, ever since I pointed out last year that OOL had a problem with popup spam ads. It turned out in the end that the problem was with the board and not my computers. Instead of an apology, I get more of the same belligerant attitude from the admin and, to a lesser extent, the other mods here. You folks are pretty bright here, and closer to the real Objectivist thinking than folks on another board where Barbara Branden hides out, but in terms of personability, you leave something left to be desired. Not to rant, but I think it would be decent and courteous to inform someone that their post was unsuited and being trashcanned. Don't leave us to go hunting for nothing.
  12. Yes, naive of me to even think that they who don't even read constituents' letters can't read a novel.
  13. I've got an idea: Why don't we all sent a copy of Atlas Shrugged to ever congressman and senator? I think that would be more effective.
  14. My wife listens to the radio and all she mentioned was that computer glitch on the Dow-Jones, not this... I found more information on the topic of Cameron's new documentary here: http://www.plastic.com/comments.html;sid=0...13231591;cid=43
  15. This ought to really shake up the religious world: http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/02/25/jesus-...d-in-his-grave/ What if enough of the Bible is exposed to prove that it is nearly all, if not all, fiction? What then will the religionists cling to? Anyway, if there is a movie coming out as this article suggests, then I'm going to be interested in seeing it. Why isn't this all over the major news media? Has anyone else heard of this discovery?
  16. In answer to this very question at a lecture I attended of Ayn Rand's sometime in the late '60s, someone from the audience asked this question, in general terms. Her very general answer was this: "The system is already there. Use it."
  17. One can probably argue that it may be 'immoral' to single out those less physically gifted, but then it depends on the criteria. If it were Miss America pagents, where the objective criteria were based on appearance, physical proportions, weight, etc., then the concept of "moral" would be in conflict with the objectives of the pagent. However, in a scholastic environment, I would find it more difficult to defend a decision which eliminates people based on given physical appearance. But it is a microcosm of the macrocosm. Being born ugly DOES limit your job opportunities, ability to sell yourself if you're in business for yourself, and affects your overall social relationships with everyone from the clerk at the department store to how law enforcement treats you. Believe me, it's much harder for the big, fat, bald man to get justice in a courtroom than for the man who looks like Gary Cooper. Throughout life, these overweight dames will probably grow resentful of men in general and some will be destined for miserable and lonely lives, while others will deal with it as best they can and get on with their lives to whatever extent they can manage. Personally, I don't think that these clubs have any important role or value in academia and should be no longer officially promoted or supported by universities. Too much crazy behavior goes on as a result.
  18. I don't understand your absurd comparison. What the Seastead project is attempting is a free society outside of the many tolatiarian nations' control and since there isn't anymore land available, the new fronteir is the ocean.
  19. And here's a modern alternative to Galt's Gulch: Seasteading: http://www.seastead.org http://www.seastead.org/commented/paper/faq.html
  20. This site is very interesting. If the wealthy are leaving the US to escape rising taxes on the wealthy, then we may be seeing a version of "Atlas Shrugging" going on right now. This article has facts, figures and links to specific US code to back it's statements. Poor and middle class could be paying over 300% more in income taxes once the top wealth earners leave the US. A fascinating read: http://www.actionamerica.org/taxecon/tickfast.shtml
  21. It appears that the Ludwig von Mises Institute supports Ed Brown: http://blog.mises.org/archives/006190.asp
  22. There are right ways and wrong ways to enter a country. If the Mexicans are invading by coming over the border in droves, then they are short-circuiting the acceptable means of entry. My parents escaped Germany in the run up to Hitler's regime and they came through Ellis Island and it took months, but they did it by the law and respected the new country's laws. I myself brought my immigrant wife here from Asia and I went by the laws and didn't try to smuggle her in, despite the hardship those laws created for me due to my low income. But I am glad we have a screening process, however defficient it may be--for it's better than no screening and letting in of diseased, criminal-minded and philosophically dangerous persons, in addition to the many who just want a better life. As for zoning, it's not keeping out riff-raff--it's expecting the town to keep its end of the agreement. We complied and they said 'screw you' we're going to give this developer privilages you never had.' That's what we object to. I see a lot of young folks here who, like myself in 1962, were/are idealists with lofty moral ideals that exist in a vacuum. That is NOT how Objectivism was taught, certainly not at the lectures in Manhattan, and not in Rand's essays and novels. When I was new to Objectivism, I was rabidly idealist and a crusader of ideas. But as I got older and more experienced with the fuller context of life, the workings and necessities of society, and the practical application of Objective ideas, I realized that there is a framework which Objectivism fits into but cannot replace. It is a philosophy for living on earth, but Rand only went so far with her concepts. The rest, have to be derived and some of the derivations I have seen lately may be in the letter of Objectivism, but not in the spirit of Objectivism. There is a difference between getting bogged down in mechanics of ethics and being ethical. Young people haven't fully integrated ideas--they are still discovering and lack the experience. When you've been around for eight decades, you start to see more, look beyond the simple black and white hypothetical concepts and into the application of social science. Young people may be smart, but they lack wisdom. And Wisdom, my friend, comes with experience and age. Youth is wasted on the young.
  23. I think it was quite clear as to whom Antonio was referring to in his comments about dogmatic application of Objectivism. This is a beef I have with the college students who read a couple of Ayn Rand books and right away proclaim themselves to be Objectivists. They, unlike Miss Rand, as I knew her in the 1960s, are arrogant and so sure of their opinions as being "Objectivist". As I comb through the Internet in the present day, I find there are "factions" of people who claim to be "the true Objectivists" and the major camps are divided between the Brandens and ARI, and in each camp are subdivisions which each proclaim certain things as absolute truths, when in fact, they are dogmatic applications of principles, taken in a "sterile" hypothetical application. Back in my day, we who studied Objectivism referred to ourselves as "students of Objectivism". That is, we always considered oruselves to be learning. The masters of that time were Rand and Branden, though Branden made an error in one lecture in the late '60s and Rand interrupted him in front of the audience and corrected him. But we always kept the attitude that we were learning and they were the teachers of this philosophy. The arrogance I see here among a few of the contributors on this particular forum is somewhat disturbing. Indeed, there are practical applications of Objectivism. I never believed it to be an anarchist's philosophy, as some of the preposterous comments here have implied. In a society, there are laws designed so that large groups of people can live in close proximity with the least amount of friction. One is free to live in society or to choose to live out in the boondocks. Of course, when society starts to spread into the boondocks, a few of use 'old timers' start to find good reasons to object. In a rational society, it is nice to believe that your neighbor is not goind to build a coal mine next door, or build a tire shop or other noisy industrial operation in an area that is being used as a purely residentical community. For the 'wise guys' here, I would like to play the devil's advocate and see how you feel about living next to Section 8 housing, or a polluting rubber factory that pops up next to your lovely dream home. And while you're scraping together the cash to hire an attorney to start suiing the rubber factory owner, a grain elevator is built on the lot opposite you and is blocking out your afternoon sun. Now you have to sue that owner as well. And now you're broke and you've been distracted from your primary activities as a producer of your own wealth because you've had to administer law ex post facto instead of going with a community that respects laws based on prior restraint. In a zoned society, it is understood that certain activities are detrimental to residential living and as such are proscribed ahead of time. You buy land and build a home with that understanding, if the land is part of an established community with posted regulations out in the open with no surprises. This is better than anarchy where you buy land, and a year later some new landowner next to you decides to do something disruptive to your well being and you have to invest time, money and energy to fight him in court. That nearly amounts to feudalism, but with the battles taking place in courtrooms. Absurd. People, realize this: Objectivism is not anarchy!
  24. Two points: 1: This was a violent felon drug smuggler that was shot--a violent criminal. 2. When stating that these are people who just want to make a better life for themselves, you need to ask "at whose expense?" Yes, America was built largely by immigrants. However, the Italians who immigrated in 1909, vs. the street gangs who immigrate from Mexico today are two totally different groups of people. The former were self-made men who had goals and a sense of personal responsibility. The second group are ferocious animals who are claiming territory and killing everyone who stands in their way. The first group got here by legal means. The second group got here by trespass. One final point: a nation is defined by language, borders and culture. When, as you propose, open the borders to all immigrants, regardless of condition, the effect is to annihilate the American nation. If you eliminate borders, why not just unite the US with S. America and then the rest of the world and have one world government? That's what you want, isn't it? Let's look at what happens when we don't have border control, which discriminates between hoodlums and good, honest people who might want to assimilate into our culture: You end up with Southern California, which is today 52% Hispanic, spreading across the entire US. You end up with Muslim terrorists entering the country (since no border guards are there to stop them from coming in) and the protracted failure to control the borders will result in the slow dissolution of America, for it's defining characteristics, language, culture, ideas, will be replaced by hoodlums and thugs who will get by by cutting your mother's throat for a loaf of bread. The problem with young so-called "Objectivists" today is that they take certain statements in the philosophy too literally and out of context, which results in absurd notions that we ought to just not have any borders, since it's "freedom", but what that really means is anarchy and anarchy is not freedom because it always decays into feudalism and tribalism, with everyone living in fear of the next tribe. Objectivism is not lawlessness. Certainly not the kind you propose here by implication with your comments. The question you need to consider is "does everyone deserve a better life? If so, then at the expense of WHOM? My sentiments exactly: Mexicans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4nI-XkeurE...ted&search= Hey, that could be me, if I had hair!
  25. It's been all over the news, and it reminds me of the cases where our servicemen are being given long sentences for killing the enemy. Here's a summary from Mike Galagher's site: The wife of jailed border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos had been told by her husband how a group of Hispanic inmates had beaten him bloody a few days earlier. The inmates had watched “America’s Most Wanted” on TV which featured a sympathetic host, John Walsh, telling the tale of the two border patrol agents who shot a low-life drug smuggler in the butt and how those agents wound up with long jail sentences while the drug smuggler was given total immunity and a promise of a few million bucks down the road for his sore fanny. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MikeGal...he_border_guard
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