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  1. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from Easy Truth in Inheritance, Monopoly, Etc   
    Donnywithana had two main problems, based on the premise: An Objectivist society is a meritocracy.

    Problem one: Inheritance conflicts with meritocracy.
    Problem two: Monopolies exists in an Objectivist society - wich conflicts with the idea that this society is a meritocracy.

    Objectivism proposes a society based on individual rights. Primarily, the political system based on individual rights is concerned not with merit, but with justice.

    If all men are rational, this will lead to a meritocracy. But this is secondary, and even merit can be interpreted differently, by different men.

    It is important to note that, once someone acquires property, the sole responsibility for dispensing with that property lies with the owner, whether or not the beneficiary has merit. But merit, in this case, is determined by the benefactor - It is not just to force the benefactor to choose to make decisions regarding the distribution of property after death, using someone else's values. This leaves the benefactor free to make decisions as he sees fit; on non-political, non-economic merit, such as the familial value a father places in a son, if he so chooses. This, I believe, addresses your first problem.

    Your second problem regarding the monopoly, is based on another the false premise: economic pressure is equivalent to political pressure. In other words, business strategies are tantamount to coercion at gunpoint.

    True coercive monopolies exist only by government sanction. The only way a company can use force to expand and control it's market share is with government permission, or through government neglect. In an Objectivist society, coercion is banned from economic activity.

    Example: While one person might be disappointed that he can't sell the best chairs at a high price because of a larger companies business tactics, the consumer will still benefit from cheaper chairs. Isn't a company that sells cheap furniture "getting by on it's merits?" Regardless of how you answer this question, nobody's rights are being violated, and people still have the opportunity to buy higher priced chairs of better quality if they want to.

    I also suggest reading Objectivist material on the nature of market value. I gave a quick scan of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal but I couldn't find it. If anyone could find that reference it could be helpful for Donny.

    -Edited for punctuation and clarity.
  2. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Ilya Startsev in The Objectivist Rhetoric   
    Jacob, you were right. Both "Fiction" and especially "Nonfiction" have a lot of good points on metaphors. Thank you for recommending them to me!
  3. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Gramlich in The Objectivist Rhetoric   
    You could read The Art of Non-Fiction, written by Rand, herself.
  4. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in Ideology and the Rule of Law   
    Black markets are cracks in civilization that propagate barbarism and violent aggression. Legitimize the markets and bleed out the barbarism. In the mean time, I like your suggestion. But this seems too easy; I don't think it was a satisfactory example of my idea, but maybe the examples don't need to be hard.

    After thinking on it a bit, I've come to the conclusion that we're all morally justified in ignoring immoral laws, and there should be an explicitly recognized plea of innocent because the law is immoral. Cops should have a similar defense when and if they decide to defy orders. Taking such a plea should be taken as an admission of committing the act in question to dispense with courtroom procedural shenanigans. Jury nullification amounts to this in fact, but courtrooms often prohibit discussion of it. They should be required to discuss it in every case. On the other hand, we can't convict people in the courts of moral crimes that are not legally prohibited. But that doesn't mean we lack recourse; ostracism comes to mind.
  5. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from tadmjones in Police Militarization / Use of Force   
    I'm sure the arterial choke kills faster. As you said, the brain is deprived of oxygen much sooner. When you deprive the lungs of air there is still a fair amount in the bloodstream. I can personally remain conscious for at least two minutes (probably longer) with a lungful of air, but nobody lasts more than several seconds if their brain is deprived of blood. Either way, neither of these things happened, which is why I maintain that it is flat wrong to say Garner was choked to death.
    I've heard it reported that the coroner referenced the pressure to the neck. I didn't mean to dodge your question. I can't know if the coroner's report was a misrepresentation without access to it, which I don't have. I assume it was quoted accurately, but that people conclude things that don't follow from it. I'd like to see the report if and when it comes out to see exactly how relevant the choke hold was, but I don't think I'll get that opportunity. If it revealed that Garner's windpipe was crushed and could not reopen, that would change the matter. But such an event seems close to impossible given how clearly he can be heard after the choke hold was removed. Either way, the risks that make choke holds more dangerous than other means apparently didn't occur. Garner's brain seemingly was not deprived of blood or his lungs deprived of air, leading to cardiac arrest. It seems that it was the other way around; cardiac arrest leading to blood loss to the brain. More likely what killed him was the extra 200 some pounds on his back that compressed his chest and lungs and put stress on his heart. Either way, let's drop this talk of trying the officer for murder. Murder is intentional, and at worst what we have is a case of manslaughter... Unless you want to do the felony murder rule thing, in which case you've got several officers up for trial, every one of them culpable for murder and racketeering. But again, I don't understand how people who know nothing about the aftermath could watch that video up to the point Garner was released from the hold and conclude that he was about to die. Knowing what I know at the moment, I'd acquit the officer of a manslaughter charge.

    Arrest should be withheld for the most serious of offenses. Most property crimes can probably be resolved without arrest. Just let the person know he'll be tried, give him the opportunity to appear and if he doesn't then you can take restitution when he isn't near his stuff. If a person's crime (including property crime) becomes so serious that he needs to be arrested, he's already assumed all of the risk himself. If resistance is then offered, I don't think I care if choke holds are used. The state is a deadly thing; all laws come with a death threat. If you resist, your only escape is to escalate force up to the point of lethal force. The best we can do is to make sure the laws we enforce are worthy of such an escalation. This case isn't a tragedy because a criminal died; it's a tragedy because an innocent man died.
  6. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in Police Militarization / Use of Force   
    The Garner case seems much more difficult to me. Here are a few issues to consider:

    1) Yes, the definition of choke. If police banned the "choke hold" what kind did they ban? Was it the tracheal choke, which crushes the windpipe and interferes with verbal communication? Or was it the carotid choke ("sleeper hold") which restricts blood flow to the brain? The offending officer didn't appear to have Garner in a tracheal choke. Thanks to anyone who provides a clarifying link.

    2) Garner's health. Despite what many articles were clearly written to convey, Garner was not choked to death. He reportedly suffered heart failure in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. It was reported that one of the reasons he was not given CPR by the police was that he was still breathing while he lay there. I don't know how believable I find this, but I understand this to be the official record.

    3) The felony murder rule is a tradition that holds criminal actors culpable for deaths that happen as a result of the commission serious crimes. New York has such a rule, and I think it is a sound principle. Is the use of a banned (by department standards, not statute) choke hold a serious crime? Probably not. Seeing as how Garner's death was more influenced by his poor health than by unsafe tactics, I don't think this even amounts to a manslaughter charge. I don't think a reasonable person can look at the 13 seconds Garner was in the hold and conclude, "Oh, that's likely to result in his death."

    4) Moral law.  Garner was being arrested for selling untaxed "loosies." A pretty sound case could be made that enforcing such a regulatory code is a moral crime similar to racketeering in severity. If you want moral laws to govern, you want these officers prosecuted by way of that felony murder rule described above. I do. But I would not feel the same way if Garner had committed a real (moral) crime. So I - tentatively - conclude that we shouldn't see these officers prosecuted. But I remain open to contrary persuasion.

    Edit: Isn't it a bitch that when we invoke the "rule of law" we're often protecting codified law at the expense of moral law?
  7. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in Police Militarization / Use of Force   
    I may be beating a dead horse here, but anyone who may think it a good idea to shoot the leg should try the following exercise. Go back to the autopsy sketch of Michael Brown. Realize that Darren Wilson was aiming for center mass (the chest/upper torso). Picture the center mass of the sketch as a kneecap sized circle (actual center mass is either a bit bigger or a single fixed point, but kneecap diameter will work for this exercise). Now imagine that the location of the bullet wounds are fixed relative to that circle. Now move the circle to Brown's right knee. Note that one of the bullets might now be in Brown's arm (if he were charging, that arm is actually closer to center mass and doesn't get hit). Now, move that circle to Brown's left knee. Notice that one of the bullets hit's Brown's hip. Neither of these hits results in certain incapacitation - only the kill shot that resulted from aiming center mass does.

    I realize that bodies in motion offer different pictures than the autopsy sketch. Brown was reported to be falling forward when he was hit on the top of the head, meaning that the killing shot was probably much closer to where Wilson was aiming than the sketch suggests. But I believe the exercise should have some value regardless.
  8. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Plasmatic in Police Militarization / Use of Force   
    At least 8 people I grew up with were at sometime officers. I can tell you that the amount of evidence that would be against officers from having lapel cameras on is at least even with the amount for them. I personally wish that it was required because I know how corrupt they can be. An honest officer would only benefit from having his every encounter recorded.

    This is not to say that I think police shouldn't have good hardware to meet the challenges they face. A question is, at what point does the situation become a national guard issue? If the threat requires certain tools that are usually for "military" applications, where is that line and does meeting that level of threat mean the guard should be involved anyway?

    If this has been addressed, can someone point me to the post?

    Edit: I agree with Nicky in #2 on what is excluded (missiles, tanks, grenades etc.) and with Aleph1 in #3 on the tactics being the most important issue.
  9. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Morality_Today in Tax bothers me so much. How can I deal with it?   
    The most productive people I know are not motivated solely by money. No, we shouldn't condemn people who are, but money is a means to value, not a value in itself. There is intrinsic value in work that cannot be taxed, and it is the intrinsic value that motivates workers who truly enjoy their job. It's unfortunate if you haven't found that yet.
  10. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from JASKN in Intellectual Property: A Thought Experiment   
    Muhuk, your post #91 quoted three parts of the lexicon. They don't really support what you're trying to say - that Rand thought property was only material. To be fair to you I'll address each passage individually, starting with the following two:
    Your use of bold text emphasizes material over "to use and to dispose." Use and disposal include setting conditions by which others may interact with your property - including whether they may use it as a template for reproduction. If I want to stipulate that those who interact with my property refrain from reproducing it, my desire is protected by my right to use and disposal. That you would quote from the lexicon to support your assertion without at least acknowledging the entire entry on patents and copyrights strikes me as dishonest. The relevant section of that entry is:
    You also quoted this passage:
    Quoting this passage in the way you did is a particularly egregious context-drop. That passage is meant to be an argument against any alleged right to have another person produce a value for you... Which is exactly what you advocate when you attempt to deny the right to restrict imitation! If you want to be taken seriously from here on out, I suggest you acknowledge that your position against IP is directly opposed to Rand's. Then, maybe you could quote the lexicon's patents and copyrights section and explain why you disagree.
  11. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from dream_weaver in Reblogged: Set the Bar Low for Immigration but High for Citizenship   
    I don't see that as trouble. It's evidence that Peikoff remains willing to correct his conclusions in light of better evidence. Good for him.

    This whole issue boils down to you accepting the premise that you can protect rights by violating rights. You've been defeated by the oldest method of the statist: create a problem --> convince people to fear the problem more than they should ---> convince people to sanction more self-victimization.
  12. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in Ron Paul: Bitcoin could 'destroy the dollar'   
    Framed as triage, I still think you should re-evaluate where you put the monetary monopoly. The WOD is a heinous and separate problem; if I were to rank it I just might also put it above the monetary monopoly. But before I rank the problems I'd want to make sure I identify each one correctly... And here is where I think you're making an error with regard to taxation. Part of the reason your tax bill is so high is because of spending largess. That largess is made possible by runaway deficit spending, which is itself made sustainable by the monetary monopoly. Sure, the government could accumulate debt without the monopoly, but I doubt they'd rack up a bill as big as they have.

    Edit: Without debt financing they'd have to raise taxes alongside, right on the heels of, or just before new spending measures. People don't stand for largess when they know they have to pay for it (case in point, Obamacare). As it stands, the debt finance shell game buys lawmakers enough time to use the "Budget crises! We're already knee deep in this! Nobody knows how we got here but we'd better raise taxes or the economy will blow up!" excuse to raise taxes.
  13. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Anti science   
    Harrison, I think you're inviting exactly the kind of smears proliferated by Mooney when you discuss the issue this way. When people discuss this issue they rarely define terms, and that works for the fear mongers. There is broad consensus regarding the direct effect of CO2; about 1 degree C per doubling of CO2 - most skeptics agree with this. The trick of vague terms is performed when we start to layer or conflate terms that denote entirely different concepts.

    The direct effect of CO2 is just one part of the "Greenhouse effect." But, because CO2 is the chemical that man seems to have the most control over, the phrase, "greenhouse effect," is used as a substitute for, "the direct effect of CO2." Terms are further obfuscated by use of the phrase, "global warming," to include the idea that that the greenhouse effect (and therefore CO2), is driving the temperature instead of simply being a contributing factor. "Climate change" is the final switch that smuggles in the idea that the globe is not just warming, but warming in a very bad, probably catastrophic way - such as the idea that feedback mechanisms triple the direct effect of CO2. Fearmongers work very hard to carry the consensus about the "greenhouse" effect over two steps thereby conjuring up a consensus about any peripheral and catastrophic claim made by climate researchers.

    Claiming there is no consensus plays into their hands. You'd do better to identify the common ground and embrace it so others can't steal it to support something else entirely. This has the added benefit of focusing the discussion on the science instead of the chearleading, so that each side can exchange information in a meaningful way.
  14. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Ninth Doctor in Slapping N. Branden   
    I presented an abbreviated version of the facts only to rebut the claim that Branden used fraud to get sex. Actually, he lied to avoid sex, and the (attempted) fraud, if any, was in trying to hide the truth long enough for his book to come out with her introductory essay and endorsement.
    I think for purposes of this thread, the topic being the slapping incident, it suffices that Rand was at her emotional limit, whether she was right to be or not, and the farthest she went in the actual use of violence was a few slaps. If challenged on it she may very well have explained herself on terms like "this far but no further", and even referenced the Rearden/Francisco scene. I'm not going to try defending this as a principle, however.
  15. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to CrowEpistemologist in GOPers: Let go of Rand?   
    Don't share. :-)
    Seriously, while politics might try to force you to pick some group to associate with, you should resist that. Don't support politicians or political parties. In this day and age you will only be compromising with evil every single time by definition. If a politician gets elected, that means they are not even remotely rational in their views. If they were, they wouldn't get elected.
    This sucks, but this is reality ladies and gentlemen. Objectivists can only expect a (rare) victory on some point issue. Forget about a sweeping change and forget about having "the right candidate" in office since there is no such thing. If you let your emotions get in the way on this you'll end up with another Paul Ryan or Rand Paul--politicians who tell people, Objectivists included, what they want to hear in order to get elected.
    Again, support an issue and make that issue a popular one, in your case getting rid of certain liquor laws. Invite both parties to cease upon your issue and exploit it for their own gain. Etc.
  16. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from Jake in I have never seen boobs before and am thinking about hiring an escort   
    The implicit assumption is that sex with the woman he's falling in love with is cheapened after sex with the bookstore freak. While it could be, especially in the case of an ongoing romance, I don't think this is necessarily true. There is no betrayal to cheapen the experience if he hasn't met his sweetheart yet.
  17. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to Grames in Initiation of the Use of Physical Force   
    Following this thread.
    Stephen Boydstun is correct that physical force in the context of individual rights means more than it does in physics.  Defeating the free will of a person is the necessary context that makes the application of physical force immoral.
    Of course, initiation is also a criterion.  The use of physical force in self defense is always moral.
  18. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to softwareNerd in Obama-Democrats won't hesitate to shut down the government   
    If they come to an impasse, I suspect the President will ignore the Congress.
    He'll probably go on T.V. and say that Congress and the law is asking him to attempt a contradiction. He is just the executive. On the one hand, Congress says how much tax he must take. On the other, Congress tells him what he must pay out. Congress has not given him any discretion. It has not said that he must only pay out unemployment checks if he can collect enough taxes. If one looks at the laws passed by Congress without looking at the debt-ceiling law, there is an implicit command to take on debt. Then, we have the debt-ceiling law, which says that he must not take on more than a certain amount of debt.

    The only way to resolve this contradiction, he could say, is for Congress to ask for tax and spending changes when the debt-ceiling nears. This was the intent of the debt-ceiling. It is Congress that must decide, not he. When the debt-ceiling is approached, it is the task of Congress to avoid pushing the president into a contradiction, where he has to disobey one of the two contradictory laws from Congress.

    In such a situation, having exhausted all other possibilities and having waited till the last moment, he can say that he is choosing to uphold all the laws passed and ignore the one, now contradictory, debt-ceiling law. He could say that he will not stop paying Social Security checks, stop old people getting Medicare, and stop paying our soldiers abroad just because Congress cannot resolves its own contradiction.

    If the president wants, he could try a gimmick -- like the trillion-dollar coin or some special arrangement with the Fed. The essence would be to create money of some type. The debt ceiling is a debt ceiling, not a money ceiling. However, I think it is quite likely that the SCOTUS would buy an "acting in face of a contradiction" argument and say that the President may exercise discretion when faced with impossibly contradictory commands. If that happens, the debt-ceiling will forever be truly useless.

    I think the GOP understands that people will blame them if we hit a crisis. I think they also understand that pushing their luck might empower the president to do what he wills. Instead, they would rather keep the threat on the table, by agreeing to a few months extension. This way, we can have some entertainment in Jan.

    Seriously, while I understand the anti-Obamacare angst, i think the GOP did not prepare people for it. I think they'd be better served putting something else on the table: asking for some reductions to spending every time we hit the debt-ceiling.
  19. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to CrowEpistemologist in Obama-Democrats won't hesitate to shut down the government   
    I told you a million times to stop exaggerating.
  20. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Obama-Democrats won't hesitate to shut down the government   
    Holy crap, I didn't realize the government was going to blow up... Does the Democratic agitprop apparatchik who found out about this plot have any tips for law enforcement, so we can catch these terrorists?
  21. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from JASKN in Obama-Democrats won't hesitate to shut down the government   
    This relies on the assumption that Republicans knew the Democrats wouldn't fund the rest of the government if there was no funding for the ACA. How many times will we navigate this circle?

    Both sides appear willing to shut down the government over this. To lay the blame entirely on one side is sports-fan politics. How a given person feels about this issue seems to depend entirely on his or her view of the healthcare law. But have no fear; I think I've found a solution to these debt limit/government funding antics: Don't pass laws on slim majorities that are likely to be so hated that they will not be funded 2 years later.
  22. Like
    FeatherFall reacted to CrowEpistemologist in Dr. Peikoff on which party to vote for: GOP or Democrat   
    I hope so. I mentioned the other day here that immigration was excellent low hanging fruit for Objectivists to insert a more principled stance into the political discussion. Individual Rights are universal, based on logic and reason and a scientific study of the nature of man, etc. A stance on open immigration is way to underscore this principle. On a practical level, it's a big problem that needs to be solved.
    --> Come to think of it, I recall saying that a principled stance on immigration would be an excellent way for the Republicans to have a shot at the Whitehouse again, as they can reverse the demographic bleeding on Hispanics take Texas out of play and even put CA back in play if they get a strong candidate there.
  23. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from JASKN in Modern Art or Toddler Art?   
    9/11. Full disclosure: I feed and water my own toddler daily.
  24. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in The Butler   
    Like it or not, Obama's election is a huge milestone representing civil rights progress. It's not that something changed on election night. Large numbers of people became comfortable with the idea of a black president long before one was elected. But his election offers, among other things, clear proof that people are comfortable voting for a black president. It is normal and good to feel some sense relief or elation because of that. One can experience those feelings while also recognizing that Obama is an awful president, partly because his justice department promotes racism. See the NBPP voter intimidation case, George Zimmerman's civil rights investigation, or the "poll tax" smeering of voter ID laws.
  25. Like
    FeatherFall got a reaction from softwareNerd in Reblogged: Ted Cruz and Atlas Shrugged Against ObamaCare   
    Crow, what do you think "Anti-Objectivist" means? I understand it as an attack or honest criticism of Objectivism. Saying a policy is anti-Objectivist only makes sense if it meaningfully singles out and targets Objectivists. You are not writing anything controversial when you write that each healthcare system (pre and post Obamacare) isn't what we'd see in a society lead by Objectivists, I'm in agreement if this is your point stripped of hyperbole. But none of this explains your vitriol for Cruz. The way you react when presented with a Republican is really strange.
    The pre-Obamacare system was better than the post-Obamacare system. So if Cruz was advocating returning to the old system, yes, that would be bad. But it would be better than what we're currently heading for. Couple that with the prospect that some of the recent Republican proposals actually are measures that protect individual rights, and your denunciation of Cruz becomes all the more strange. A person doesn't have to be an unfailingly consistent advocate of Objectivism to quote Rand for good effect every now and then. If that were the case, neither of us would have a leg to stand on. You're kidding yourself if you think Rand can have broad cultural influence without some people using her ideas a la carte now and then.
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