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Melissa

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  1. I read from VoS (I think!) about why private police forces / armed forces are a bad idea, and I cannot for the life of me find that essay again. I wonder if I read it in another book? Can you help me locate this essay? Thank you!
  2. In any social situation, other people have influence on an individual's behavior (even on their thoughts). The only ethically accepted way to study this anymore is something like the following: Five people are in a room, only one is a real participant, the real participant thinks that the other four are also participants. Show an obviously green slide, have the four call it blue, and see whether the participant calls it blue as well. The extraordinary situation I have in mind right now is the series of experiments done by Stanley Milgram following WW2, when there was some concern that the "evil" Nazis seemed to be regular people when brought to trial. Here is a breif summary of the original experiment: http://www.cba.uri.edu/Faculty/dellabitta/...nks/Milgram.htm Basically, the participant, if completing the experiment, was made to believe they were electrocuting a nice old man to death (they couldn't see him, but they could hear him screaming... a tape recording of an actor). This was done at a college, and the number of people who did follow through the whole thing blew people away. Milgram took the experiment out to a community, and by changing around experiment conditions (amount of social pressure, "shocked" person was in or outside the room, social modeling, etc) he was able to bring compliance (finishing the experiment) to as high as 90%. Various studies of compliance have been done since then, though ethics are a lot tighter anymore. But in real-world situations, as close to home as mobs ("Mob mentality), the recent Abu Garhib situation, this sort of thing, people who are normally "good" become evildoers. So that is what I meant by high-pressure social situations. In Objectivism, does it basically come down to individual responsibility regardless of the situation? Are the heroes of the stories intentionally representing the handful of people who are able to keep their heads on straight, so to speak? Is this the whole point? Cole, you said: Entirely, to the extent that volition is involved. I am not sure I understand what that means. Could you say it in a different way?
  3. Yep yep. I see what you are all saying. I did note the relationships that the hero characters formed, however they were singularly immune to social influences of others... which may be the point (see the next paragraph). Here is a related question: To what extent is an individual solely responsible for his / her actions? Are the 90% of us who change (dramatically) our behavior when presented with high-pressure social situations intrinsically bad / weak / evil? Are the hero characters of these stories intended to reflect the small minority of people who have (somehow) the ability to do the Right thing regardless of pressure? Capt. Forever: What is ITOE? I used "feeling" and "it seems to me" because I was genuinely unsure of what I was asking, and had nothing to back it up. Burgess, my social life is sparse but satisfying. Thanks for asking.
  4. I've read At. Shrugged, the Fountainhead, Anthem, We t. Living, and VoS. I get the feeling that one of the premises Objectivism is based on is that humans don't NEED interaction with other humans. I can't think of if this is stated anywhere or not, it just seems to me that this is a foundation. Humans can't survive (very well) without social interaction. The independence of Dagny, Hank, Roark, etc. is all well and good... actually that's a bad example, forget that. I'm trying to put my finger on something here- there IS a difference between the Socialist social-interaction or the thought that ALL WE ARE is a creation of our social interactions, and the sort of social interaction that Rand models in her stories with her hero characters. Physically cared for babies will die without social care ( a.k.a. "failure to thrive"), and most humans do need some sort of social group to be happy (even one close friend, or one spouse in a happy marriage). We DO change depending on the situation, some more than others, but the man like Roark, precisely the same in every situation, does not exist. Social forces can result in dramatic changes to a person's behavior. I'm not talking about trading goods and services. I'm talking about just human social exchanges. I have read some, but obviously not everything. Have I missed something?
  5. What about buildings? Seen any stunning buildings lately?
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