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Everything posted by Brule

  1. I have played GTA4 (and some of 3) along with Saint's Row, etc. I can understand how the sandbox, open gameplay is appealing. You get to do things nobody can in reality. In fact, it is in such contrast to reality that it is absurd and that's the fun. Yet, overall I really don't love playing the games that much, I do seem to have some philosophical qualms. That said I don't see the harm in a mature person enjoying the game as a game. If we play chess we really don't think we're knights and bishops murdering each other.
  2. This has been all over the news and conversations here in Nebraska. Green loving wackos are clearly against it. The Tea Party people seem to often be for it, as are other libertarian and pro-capitalism groups. (though state Republican leaders are not backing it) I certainly don't agree with the environmentalist extremists who think another pipeline is death to our groundwater. In fact, because of efficiency the pipeline would be good for the environment, barring a major, major disaster. My concern is the use of government sanctioned easements forced on private landowners. Trans Canada (the private company that would build the pipeline) hasn't helped their case by, at first, being threatening to some landowners even before it was approved. They're doing a huge public relations move here. Even had giant signs at the state fair. If I was a landowner I'd take the easement cash and say thank you. But I would like the right to say no. Usual political allies don't seem to agree. Any thoughts on this issue? It seems a common issue related to things like eminent domain or building new highways. A popular vote on this forum obviously won't decide for me, but if I am off base I'd welcome reasoned correction. http://en.wikipedia....ystone_Pipeline
  3. This question (a good question at that) reminds me of the often political questions some new members ask. "If the world turned Objectivist tomorrow, wouldn't old people starve and children have no schools?" The world is not turning Objectivist tomorrow. Gradual change would be needed in the political arena. The same sort of change would have to occur in this question. The intellectuals of a culture shape and direct its philosophy. In this way, those would have to be the first people to change. The effect would trickle down affecting every aspect of even a relatively unintelligent person's view of life. If this person grew up in an Objectivist oriented society they would have a very good chance of following the logic involved. After all, they would have been taught from an early age that their mind is important and how to use it. Some basic ethics could be understood by even a simpleton. Out here in the current, real world, I have my doubts for their success. It is certainly possible, (we do have free will and all) but when one is surrounded with intrinsicism and subjectivism from most every angle since birth, it would take some serious force of will to come out of it. Building up knowledge from such a shaky foundation is tough. The best chance would likely come from Objectivist parents who sought out an atmosphere conducive to rationality for their child. I'm curious if there are any case studies of a sort that would test this?
  4. Happiness is not the private reserve of the old, wise, or accomplished. They may have more fulfillment, but I would contend that you can be just as happy at 20 as at 60. It is not a choice to act happy as much as a choice to attain those values that you find important. As long as you are working toward having those values, you can enjoy life. Rand's novels often put the protagonists in epic struggles, only to come out victorious. We often live more murky lives and unless we are Galt we have to obtain the values available, sometimes only in increments. This should not diminish our real life accomplishments in any way. They are still good. It's not right to compare good to some sort of Platonic perfection. Yes I'm happy. Hope to be more so tomorrow.
  5. That is sort of the point. First, there is difference between journalism and the opinionated shows. Fox News, more than the other organizations mentioned, make it more clear as to what is complete opinion and reporting. The liberal bias is sleek and underhanded. MSNBC will report global warming (or climate change, or whatever is the flavor of the month name for it) as if it is fact. Even a CBS news report will assume more leftist viewpoints. Really the only reason Fox News may be so clear in their bias is that almost every other news organization tends toward the opposite. If CBS, ABC, and CNN all were centralist (or right leaning) Fox News may appear similar and MSNBC may appear the more obviously biased.
  6. I don't see the problem. If you are completely 100% clear that you do not believe in their God and never, ever surrender a single view in compromise, there is no problem recommending that book. I would gladly recommend Aquinas to a Christian, while being clear I do not agree with his views on theology. (I'd do the same with an Objectivist with Aquinas)
  7. I do agree with one thing that was said: "too many corporate media reporters present one side and then another as if both are equally valid; sometimes, they're not." This is completely true, though I may leave out the Che-loving "corporate" adjective to reporter. The entire point though is to present your case as it adheres to objective reality, not to your own subjective whims. (or to a nonexistent medium of thought) This report is interesting in showing how some people choose to look at reporting, supposedly a more objective field. And to think I used to think of the news as "pure" as a youth, I think of it as another Santa now.
  8. I think it's important to recognize that, contrary to a popular notion, democracy does not cause freedom. As others have pointed out, whatever the intellectual and political climate, that is what will influence the amount of liberty in a country. This idiotic notion that all we have to do is "spread democracy" somehow still exists. (instead of spreading rationality) I'd rather live under a monarchy of Frederick the Great than a democracy under Hitler. The original question is interesting and important, yet it is secondary to philosophical change. (for an interesting read, I suggest "Democracy in America" by Tocqueville for an enlightenment view)
  9. Considering it is a political question of to best protect rights, I'd say no it would not be a pure democracy. The best form I know of is a Constitutional Republic with a strong, immovable foundation of rights which could not be voted away. In the future another form of government could be created that is better, but until then I'd stick with the form we (should) have now.
  10. For this case, assume the FDA was eliminated tomorrow. I could see, almost immediately, several new groups would emerge to do its job better. I always think of Consumer Reports when this question is asked. Major pharmaceutical companies would want a trusted stamp of approval to put on their drugs. They make enough money from legit drugs that they would want to protect the public's trust in their drug safety. Of course patients and doctors would have to make their own decisions and not accept things as blindly as they often do now. But if your doctor says the drug is the best for your condition and it has the seal of approval from both an industry funded non-profit testing agency and a for-profit commercial testing agency (both agencies with established testing procedures) I'd feel more comfortable taking that drug then I would now. (with an FDA full of red tape and with often subjective motives)
  11. I'll tag along and say I personally love Christmas time. I don't surround myself with strangers who I don't value, I am around those people I tend to value the most. It's a proper celebration of those relationships that embody the "good" in life. I even find many Christmas songs beautiful. Of course Jesus is not the focus of my celebration, but showing goodwill toward people in general and affection for those I love certainly makes my life better.
  12. Are not many of these conditions somewhat arbitrary? I think they are good guidelines but not necessary. Once any government starts using force against its citizens, a more moral government would have the right to displace that government. That "better" government could be internal or external. Of course for a just revolution, peaceful or otherwise, to succeed it requires that a large proportion of the population would be in disagreement with the government. These discussions are interesting but until there is a revolution of thought among intellectuals and the citizenry it is not a real life scenario. If a drastic change for the better occurs on the philosophical level, political change would be easy. (likely by ballot box and not armed rebellion)
  13. I see what you're trying to say but still I just can't understand that definition. I've felt different levels of fear in my past. If I see someone else in a state of fear similar to what I have felt, I can "put myself in their shoes" in an intellectual way without having to experience that fearful emotion again. Do people who can not feel empathy, like some serial killers, not make that intellectual link or do they just not experience that emotion briefly? Ah, the joy of definitions.
  14. I agree with the above assessment concerning that definition of empathy. To me empathy is understanding the emotional state of another person. You mention in particular the emotion of fear that Galt could or couldn't empathize with. I see no reason why he could not. His ability to understand that fear was essential when he makes his speech. Understanding what irrationality caused that fear was necessary so he could target that irrationality for change.
  15. In a general sense, reaction to force with force in self defense is "moral" in the sense of relations between men. The real question is whether it is appropriate and good for one's life, and I hate to use this word but, in a pragmatic sense. Running around killing Nazis in in 1943 Germany would have accomplished little, except one's own death. Revolution, being either peaceful or (gasp! for the Libertarians) violent, depends on your ability to succeed. Galt waited for a tipping point where he could succeed and did so.
  16. To be clear I'm in agreement at this time that fire departments should be private. I am playing devil's advocate and looking at it from another angle to test that belief. If someone else finds the idea interesting please respond. The following is just a situation that could cause trouble in that world. The police often provide protection before before a crime occurs, such as guarding protesters when there is a high probability of violence. If someone owns a house (or it could be 2000 acres of forest) that catches on fire and does not have proper protection by private means, they could endanger other homes nearby. It would be crazy to wait until that fire passes to other homes and then try to put it out, never touching the fire on the land of the dysfunctional land owner. To end the threat the fire poses to everyone close by, the fire at its base would have to be put out. Now a private company would have no right to trespass. Only someone like the police could enter that land to eliminate the threat. Should police contract out a private force to go in and eliminate that fire, under the authority of the police? I could think of other, less extreme situations when firefighters would gain a great advantage by being able to access private land.
  17. I should preface this post by saying I'm a huge fan of Tool. I own all their albums, seen them in concert, and read most interviews available. There is a definite progression in their music. Much of their older stuff is much more angry and cynical, but I still find value in it. Vicarious deals with the desire to see suffering in other people, which the lyrics are against. Keenan is a mystic and a bit of a pacifist when it comes to violence, the song was dealing with his feelings of disgust. Aenima was written about what Keenan thought was the cesspool of LA. He's stated since then that he does not actually want to literally see a giant flood, but it was a metaphor to cleanse the filth away. Things he mentions in the song include ganstas, fake actresses, junkies, and L. Ron Hubbard. I see some positive parts in some other songs, such as the following in Parabola. The band is very, very mystical. They are also very anti-organized religion. (See Eulogy , so good) Musically I find them absolutely amazing and the lyrics are intelligent, if not always right. The origin of their name is something they love to play games with, as they like to do with many things.
  18. This topic got me thinking. Could there be a case where fire fighters were acting in a police fashion? For example, putting out a fire created by arson or another situation where a fire is created by carelessness and jumps property? I was looking at this in a similar way that the CDC might act to prevent epidemics as part of the military. That subject is related but may require it's own topic.
  19. I grew up where volunteer firefighters were the norm. They also put on some great dances/music/beer gardens to help raise funds. Police cannot be privatized as they hold the government monopoly on force though I'm sure some anarcho-capitalist would disagree. Roads are constructed by contracting out private companies. A privately owned system of roads is much more complex than private firefighters and worth its own topic. I'd guess there would be a mixture of groups to replace government firefighters. Non-profit, volunteer agencies could provide protection for many communities. A mixture of insurance and private firefighters would provide a paid alternative. Insurance companies like to protect their investments and would have a strong motivation to minimize damage and injuries.
  20. The agnostic vs atheist debate always reminds me of the conversation between Toohey and Roark in "The Fountainhead" when Toohey asks Roark what Roark thinks of him. Roark's classic answer is "But I don't think of you." When asked about God I prefer a similar response. The decision to "be atheist" is not an important decision in my life. That is because I don't go around making lists of opinions of things without proof. I am atheist only in the textbook definition as "someone who denies the existence of god." ( http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=atheist ) To live as a human being one must make decisions and take stances or one is lost to futile doubt. Even in order to maintain a simple survival one must make judgments constantly, if not a nonjudgmental person could equate poison and food. This ability to judge does not end only at physical survival. As one "lives" beyond that, one must continue to make rational value judgments based on evidence and reason. So if confronted with the theory of a god or no god, one must make a choice. If one concludes there is a god then they should act accordingly. If one concludes there is not a god, then too they should act accordingly. An agnostic is often an atheist who just is too skeptical to know better. If one believes anything is knowable or that knowledge exists, one cannot let the concept of god be a special exception. To quote Ayn Rand from "The New Intellectual"
  21. I'd love to go to a paradise when I die, maybe see once again people close to me who have already died. But my mind can't believe something I have no evidence of. Hope can be a strong emotion, but the overwhelming emotion that drives people to believe in an afterlife is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of death, a fear of eternal damnation can take a rational person and scare him into a cowering mystic. I'd ask yourself why you are so intent on not making a logical decision on these issues if it is not out of fear. Once again, you cannot prove a negative. The burden is to prove a positive. In this case that is impossible because there is no evidence of life after death, or God to get back to the original topic.
  22. Benjamin Netenyahu delivered one of the most amazing speeches of the last 50 years to Congress in late September 2001. While not an Objectivist, he has a sharp mind, great insight, and first hand experience with the Islamic extremism that threatens his country daily. He has written other solid speeches as well, but this one really hits the nail on the head. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/531335/posts This speech may not spell out perfect ethical reasoning concerning the situation, but at the very least it spotlights the psychology of those who would gladly kill me or my family if given the chance. I don't know for sure, but it could me an error of knowledge and not of logic that would lead to the conclusion that Iran is a kid throwing stones as opposed to a murderer.
  23. Well welcome to the forum! There's a forum for introductions that works wonders in letting people know a bit more about your background (what you have read) and motive in being here. It's also a good place to receive suggestions on good reading material. FYI, the word "Objectivism" is usually capitalized as a proper noun as it refers to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The search feature also comes in handy as there is oodles of information on this forum. Back on topic, the main problem with state sponsored schooling is that it requires taxation, which is acquired by the state using force. Taxing the rich to educate the poor is not charity and actually destroys many charitable desires. While education is extremely important (I personally will never have children until I'm able to provide them an education I think they require) not everyone needs the same level of schooling. State run education is simply not capable of properly dealing with the unique educational needs of every child. Within any sized group, from a society down to a family down to an individual, respect for education and a desire to learn will take a person much further in their learning than our vanilla, cookie cutter "public" schools of today.
  24. There was a good discussion not long ago on this subject. Public Education To start with, parents should not have children unless they can properly provide for them and that includes some sort of basic education. But this would not be as difficult as many people would choose to believe. Right now somebody has to pay for that education. Imagine the increase in real income if taxes were slashed that now pay for bloated, inefficient state run schools. Imagine how the private sector could do twice the job with half the money. There would likely still be some children who would need some help, but that's what charity or scholarships are for. Think how truly charitable people could and would be if they were not jaded by altruistic sacrifices demanded of them at every turn.
  25. Then you cannot make any conclusions concerning anything. I *know* that God doesn't exist the same way I *know* that gravity does exist. Now theoretically there could be some force in the universe which would hit Earth in 5 minutes which would destroy gravity and we'd all go flying into space. Of course there's no reason to believe this. I have no knowledge or evidence of "mystery force X" and it would be insane to try to understand it. If one says that God's existence is unknowable then why not gravity? How do you know for sure that it will exist tomorrow as mystery force X may exisit? Do we really know anything then? To debate and deal with these concepts is futile, pointless, and attacks the very nature of knowledge. How would an agnostic, in ANY way, act any differently than an atheist, unless they are considering something as insane as Pascal's wager? When you have no proof of something and can no nothing of its (supposed?) nature, how can a proper concept be formed? Now, just because I am an atheist that doesn't mean if a Christian/polytheist/Viking god appeared tomorrow providing proof of its existence that I would put my fingers in my ears and run away. In view of new information I could change my beliefs. Yet, that fanciful possibility does not change one bit my confidence in my beliefs right now as I put value in knowledge.
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