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Everything posted by TheNewIntellectual

  1. neverborn, I'd reason that one of two things is true. Either your friend is some hippie liberal whose incredibly delicate sensibilities are offended by Objectivist principles, or he is perhaps an actual rational thinker who has come up against--or has read a lot of material from people who have come up against (dong made a good point about him letting others do his thinking for him)--too many "Objectivist" dogmatics (contradiction in terms, hence the quotes) who discount objectivism (little O intended) in order to mold "their" ideals around things Rand might have said in passing or that some other so-called "Objectivist" improperly misconstrued from her philosophy. The latter is an issue I've had to deal with first hand from participating on this forum. Ask that friend if his problem is with Objectivism, or with the lack of reason of so many who seek to label themselves "Objectivists." If the answer is the latter, tell your friend that he ought not crusade against Objectivism, but against irrationality. Tell him that he might need to read more of Rand's work and judge a little more for himself through reason (one of the fundamental principles of Objectivism). Tell him that true Objectivism is not about "believing" anything per se, but about knowledge through reason. Tell him that many supposed "Objectivists" have an inablity to divorce theory from practice (In other words, a self-labeled "Christian" who practices ritual human sacrifice, covets his neighbor's property, etc. is not much of a Christian, so his actions do not reflect on the religion). The same follows for Objectivism. Tell him that he would be wise not to make this same mistake if he is to make a rational judgement on the philosophy. Objectivism isn't a religion, but it is often treated as such, even by those who say they don't treat it as such. See what he says. Only then do I think you'll really know how to proceed on this matter. Also, I wouldn't mind hearing some of his specific criticisms, myself.
  2. That is exactly the problem. I must say, I know some people who use "these kinds of drugs" (a couple who do so frequently) who do not even begin to drift in that direction, let alone come even remotely close to that level, myself included (granted, I know more that do, but I am never really inclined to talk about people who fit the stereotype). I guess we don't qualify as stoners. We have no obligation to provide any "weird and complicated" context which refutes your position. We could, but you won't hear it anyway. No, we will simply choose not to go back and forth with someone who does not have the firsthand experience or ability to reason to understand the complexities of this issue, and we will be happier for not wasting our valuable time in this fashion: Whitewashed and glorified? "Wink wink, nudge nudge?" I dunno man, this depends entirely upon the circles and the company therein (Ahem, context?). As for the abstraction "culture," perhaps you'd like to expound on the defining characteristics of our "culture." Damn right it is.
  3. I assume you've done enough dope to make this judgement, or listened to enough music on dope. Either way, this is still a personal assessment. I'll be the first to agree that such a context is a somewhat rare occasion, and it is always a matter of debate; that's the point of being objective. However, I think you are a bit too reluctant to concede that a rational, intelligent, grounded-in-reality type of person can use a lot of drugs and still be within the realm of morality, or you are too focused on the lack of this type of individual. I don't want to make any assumptions, but people with your type of argument often strike me as having a hard time relinquishing the societal and/or personal prejudice that plagues the drug issue. You ought to be comfortable with the fact that no one can justify anything that is unjustifiable; one can only attempt to do so through rationalization (which ought to be replaced with a different word, since the process of rationalization often has nothing to do with rationality). What are the defining characteristics of a stoner, anyway?
  4. I don't know if you're being funny, or if you didn't catch that I was referring to listening to Mozart while on dope.
  5. Apparently, you've never heard Mozart on dope.
  6. I figure I left plenty of room for infallibility with "make their most concerted attempt." Simply because we as humans are not perfect does not mean that we ought not try to be. Also, it would sound as though you are suggesting that anyone who is not an Objectivist is equal to scum. I don't recall making any such connections. I think we are both basically referring to the same idea, that philosophy ought to dictate actions. I'm saying that if you agree with the tenets of Objectivism, but act like a Commie, I doubt it would be accurate to call yourself an Objectivist.
  7. Okay, I'll just post this before I read any on the "Who is an Objectivist?" thread. I would think the title of Objectivist ought to be reserved for those who always make their most concerted attempt to apply the principles of Objectivism and (for purposes of this thread) extrapolated Objectivism. Because of certain variables, it is possible that two people could come to different conclusions when applying the same principles. If one person understands the principles more thouroughly than the other, he is most often bound to apply them in a slightly different fashion. I would reason that complexity of the problem at hand would usually dictate just how differently two people might apply these principles. The degree of rationality of either application (assuming a rational philosophy) would depend on the person's ability to properly apply the philosophy.
  8. With regard to your first point, I'm definitely on the same page. What always got me was that many of the "miss Rand says" comments seemed to carry a connotation of "this is all the explanation you need." Perhaps I read a little too much into some of these remarks, but I am usually of the position that such references ought to be supported with rational explanation, and in the case of discussion (such as on this forum), further discourse. I just hate to see anyone's word (even that of such a great thinker as Ayn Rand) taken as gospel, that's all. I suppose I made the mistake of applying too much consideration to those who might not "get it." Because of my nature however, it sometimes seems like an impossibility to disregard someone who might be even remotely close to being a truly rational person, for although the fool will probably never reach the right path, the misguided simply have to see the right direction. Also, you're welcome, Burgess. I refuse to conciously fake reality or play games, and I owe at least the honesty of my position to any other honest, rational person who might be listening. However, I might actually be an Objectivist if certain things Rand said can be differentiated from elements of her philosophy. My mistake. When I said I have found a very few things about Rand's philosophy to be incorrect, I actually meant I have found a very few things she said to be incorrect. I may have construed them as part of her philosophy based on the level of support I've found for them on this forum, but that does not mean they are actually part of Objectivism. Given the fact that people who want to "play" Objectivist abound on this site, I could have been a bit more circumspect on this issue. In any case, David, I've thought about your comment about the name being unimportant, and it's something I should have realized thouroughly before. I have resolved to relinquish all of my focus on the name issue, as it is indeed inconsequential. The problem does not start with this, but rather with the lack of rational thought. Therefore, although I may not be an Objectivist, I am more than content to call myself an objectivist.
  9. Actually, you are correct in this regard. I aplologize, as I do realize these things. My focus is the fact that Objectivism is a closed system. I just had in the back of my mind the myriad of "miss Rand said this" and "miss Rand said that" comments that I've seen on this forum with lack of explanation and rational support. I guess I'm speaking moreso to the originators of such commentary. Don't get me wrong. By and large, I do agree with Objectivist philosophy. I just think the name is wrong, that's all. I will not mention the very few things about Rand's philosophy I have found to be incorrect, simply because I do not wish to enter into a debate regarding issues I have already argued over to excess. In fact, with regard to Objectivism, I am not nearly as concerned with my differences with Rand as with how her ideals are misconstrued, misapplied, improperly extrapolated, or otherwise perverted, or how many so called "rational thinkers" make so many of the same mistakes as the rest of the sheep.
  10. Actually, I think where my problem truly lies is, I consider the term "Objectivism" to be a misnomer. Ayn Rand may have been a strong proponent of objectivity, but she was just as fallible as some of us. It is impossible for a closed philosophy to take account of this. Given that this is my problem, I guess the paramount question ought to be: Did Rand herself establish Objectivism as a closed philosophy?
  11. JMeganSnow, I mean to indicate that one shouldn't adhere exclusively to a closed system. To adhere partially to Objectivism and determine through reason all other truths yourself sounds like a pretty good idea. However, I notice you failed to mention anything about discovering potential falsehoods of Objectivism and dismissing them. I do not mean to indicate that one should accept the unfinished and unproven as a guide to life. In fact, I accept less assertions, make less assumptions, and apply rational thinking more often than anyone I've met to date (so far as others have shown me, anyway).
  12. This was taken from the Objectivism Wiki: My question(s), if this entry is accurate, is(are): If there are philosophical truths which weren't incorporated into Objectivism, and one cannot assume without proof that everything in Objectivism is true, then why follow it? Why adhere to a closed system? Wouldn't such adherance be contrary to objective thinking, which Ayn Rand obviously found so important? I already know where I stand on this matter, but I'd really like to hear from some other perspectives.
  13. Scott, Thanks for the link. I spent a good deal of last night reading about all of their tests. I especially liked the Level IIIA vest test, where you can see the hydrostatic shock effected upon the modeling clay. I'm not sure if this is the correct term, but it probably ought to be, since while the idea of a projectile moving through soft tissue creating a shock wave has many times been discounted as nonsense, the force transfered through a vest into such tissue is definitely not, as can be seen by the substantial craters in Old_Painless's modeling clay. Of course, with actual flesh the tissue rebounds, and rather than craters, you have considerable bruising (like being hit with an ultra-glorified paintball). Not that I am rejecting the notion of hydrostatic shock myself necessarily by the way, just that many claim that it violates laws of physics. In any case, it's a cool site. I'd love to see more in depth testing done so that we might draw more concrete conclusions about impact ballistics and penetration. Some tests on automobiles and brick or concrete (alone, as is more practical) would have been really nice. I wish he had tested more calibers, too. I would have liked to see the .30 Carbine's effect in all of the tests. I'd also love to see more 7.62x39mm, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, 7.62.54R, .50 BMG, .50 Action Express, .32, .380, and probably most of all 10mm. Oh, thanks for the FBI document as well.
  14. Inspector, Thanks. I'm glad to have been able to provide you with some helpful information. I think psh is steering you in a pretty good direction. Reliability is paramount in a defense situation and for this, a wheelgun cannot be beat. Some autos these days do impeccably well, but with a revolver, I tend to think that a part would have to physically break for it to malfunction (assuming good ammo, of course). Also, fast, high-capacity reloads are good for combat, but in a home defense scenario, if it comes down to deadly force, it is generally over so quick and with so few rounds as to make reloads a relatively unimportant issue. Besides, you can always keep a full speed loader with the gun. Get some practice with one, and you should be quick enough to handle a situation that might otherwise warrant an auto. Finally, regarding variety of ammo, there is definitely the advantage of many revolvers to shoot more than one caliber, let alone different loads, as psh mentioned about the .357. Some revolvers are chambered specifically for pistol rounds such as .45 ACP, too, if you were perhaps inclined to get an auto of the same caliber later. I'm not 100% about its potential for home defense (it would probably fit the bill pretty well, but take a look at this one for variety of ammo: Tarus .45 LC
  15. If this is true on its own, that's pretty sad. Don't get me wrong; by no means do I aim to defend Kant by saying this. I haven't read enough of his philosophy to even consider doing so. However, ought we not base such opinions on our own rational assessments? If most of us are doing so and coming to the same conclusions, excellent. If not, I would reason that some of us might benefit from a little more independent study.
  16. I believe I need to clarify the term "giving up." When I say this, I mean to shrug. I am referring to the idea of the "mind on strike." A better summation of what I'm trying to say would be "I'm hindered in pursuing my values, so I won't pursue those values in an environment of hindrance." I am not talking about giving up on myself, but rather on the rest of the world.
  17. No sir, of course not. My apologies, as I probably should have elaborated further. I was trying to convey that it would be the best choice for me based on my values, feelings, and current assessment of our situation. I included "so-called" just as a reminder that a man who claims he is an Objectivist is not necessarily so. I see how that could easily be a red flag for people. I mean that as many steps that I might take toward total withdrawal, I may not get there because I lack the knowledge, experience, capital, etc. to take certain other steps. I'd imagine what you mean is that no rational person is content (I hope so, anyway). This is true, and we can apply our effort to forming a more rational world. However, determining whether or not we have reached the "point of no return" so to speak is a highly complicated issue, requiring some degree of individual consideration (at least, until such time as it is obvious to all rational people that we should give up). If you are aware of some ways to effect considerable (positive) change upon the world within one's lifetime, I am fully prepared to be convinced that I can make a difference. Otherwise, I would think one is likely to encounter a metric assload of this: Hopefully, no compromise at all would be the smallest degree of compromise possible. Hence, "as few as humanly possible." Living in modern day US may not be a compromise, but it is filled with them. On a site note, I found it humorous to say the least that this quote should appear in the menu bar just as I was about to add this post: There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction. --Ayn Rand
  18. I refuse to waste any time regarding need or legality (debate on such issues usually makes me sick), and am just going to reply regarding the original question. I would also recommend a shotgun first and foremost (probably 20 gauge or larger preferably). I think the issues of ricochet would be highly dependent on the amount of hard surface area in your home. Certainly brick walls provide a higher risk of ricochet, but even a hard floor means that the shot is still traveling away from you. The only thing I would be even remotely worried about with ricochet is my eyeballs. Also, a pistol round still has that potential to bounce around. I really don't think you can go wrong with a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. An 8+1 capacity (2 3/4" shells 12 gauge) Mossberg 'cruiser' (pistol grip only) can be had for as little as about $225-$230 (after tax and background check). You might go somewhat more practical and get the stock right off the bat, but you can always add a stock (and foregrip if you so desire) later. Hogue and Knoxx Industries seem to make some quality products, and Knoxx has a couple of shottie stocks that they claim reduce felt recoil enough to fire 3" magnum shells one handed (assuming your arm is strong enough to hold the gun up in the first place), and even have demo videos on the website (www.knoxx.com). If you didn't mind spending quite a bit more, I know I'd love to have an FN Tactical, HK/Fabarm, or Benelli M1. If you insist on a pistol, one can be just as effective in the right hands. However, I'm of the position that the only reason to go with a smaller round would be the inability to handle more recoil (which is somewhat moot in a defense situation due to the adrenaline, but you need to be able to get proficient with the weapon). Therefore, I'd go at least .40 S&W, but would prefer something like .45 ACP. Glocks are a lot of gun for your money, and strictly business. They make plenty of full size and compact models in quite a few different calibers (9x19, .357 Sig, .380, .40, 10mm, .45 ACP & GAP), though I've only fired a 9x19mm G17. It was an older generation and I still liked it quite a bit. Only problem was that it threw brass into my forehead a lot. The new ones are pretty sharp, though, and I don't think this is a consistent problem with Glock. I have also fired a Sig P229 in .40 S&W, and I absolutely loved it. Light, compact, and I put every round exactly where I wanted to (though I only fired a few). Plus, typical to Sig, everything is right where your fingers can get to it without changing your grip. My friend had a Ruger P90 in .45 that I was able to shoot a few times and it was a pretty decent gun. Rugers are renowned for ruggedness and reliability, but I never liked the fact that I was always fully conscious of the slide's movement when firing. As far as H&K goes, if I could afford it, I would not hesitate to buy a USP .40 or .45, or even a Mark23 (though they cost about $1800-$2200 and are about the size of a Desert Eagle). Although I haven't used HK, I imagine they're probably worth every penny. It's just a lot of pennies. Finally, never discount the 1911. With all the different manufacturers, sizes, and features, you're bound to be able to find one you like (that is, unless you are entirely averse to the design). In the long run, the most important thing about choosing a pistol is how it fits you: your hand, your wallet, your situation, your ability. I would recommend checking out some gun shows/shops and just holding some pistols and trying out the functions (see how it feels in your hand and see if you can easily reach slide/magazine release, safety, decocker [if present], etc.). The more research you do beforehand, the more satisfied you are likely to be with the end result.
  19. I really can't claim to know whether people should give up and shrug (or probably more correctly, to what extent they should do so). I do know however, that I should, to the fullest extent of my ability. I'm not at all surprised to know that many (so-called) Objectivists don't think it's bad enough in this country for withdrawal to be warranted, but I have not been so convinced. The biggest problem for me at present is the feasibility of giving up totally. As far as I can tell, this will most likely be the case for the rest of my time in this life. However, I plan to continue to work toward an existence where I no longer am required to compromise my values at the point of a gun. I am not content to suffer the risk of fine or imprisonment for possessing or synthesizing any substance of my choice if I have not violated the rights of another in so doing. I am not content to suffer the risk of fine or imprisonment for possessing or manufacturing any arm I see fit if I have not violated the rights of another in so doing. I am not content to be forced to have insurance so that I might operate a motor vehicle for the sake of my livelihood and my enjoyment. I am not content to be taxed in order to fund anything which I do not use or support. I am not content to live in a house on land I rent from a corrupt government, knowing that at any time it may be confiscated to fulfill the "greater good," something we all know to be an abstraction. "Fair market value" does not take into account my assessment of value (the only one that matters if it is my property and I had every intention of keeping it). These are only a few examples of infringements upon my freedom that I will not continue to abide for the rest of my life. If I must create my own little Galt's Gulch, so be it. I guarantee that I can find joiners, even if only a few. I guarantee that we can make the risk of men's infringement on our lives marginal, even if it takes a great amount of ongoing work. I am content to put in this work. I am content to endure this risk. I am content to fight and die for my own free existence. I do not wish to accept any limitations on my life except those imposed by nature. Nor to I wish to expend my effort without due return in the form of some value. This does not apply only to economic and technological contributions, but to everything I do. Maybe many of you don't mind making some compromises, but my ultimate goal is to make as few as humanly possible. I'd like to get to that point within this lifetime.
  20. I think any research into the paranormal ought to be funded solely by those who support its undertaking. I'm not down with NASA using taxpayer dollars to study something that generally provides so little empirical evidence. However, I'd be the last to make fun of anyone who actually apllies the tried and true scientific method and reason to research of the paranormal. The kind of 'coincidences' that Moose mentioned happen to me all the time, in many different forms. I also used to get Deja Vu a lot, and sometimes still get it every now and then. I haven't done much research on this, but it is difficult for me to believe that some chemical reaction or strange function of my brain can actually cause me to conciously realize that I've experienced every minute detail of a certain situation before. I've seen far too many crazy things in my life to believe that there isn't something out there (or in there) that we are currently not able to see. Unfortunately, I haven't even enough of my own experience to take the first step of making any hypothesis on the issue. Therefore, if anyone thinks he/she can research paranormal phenomenon scientifically, more power to you. Just don't talk to me about funding. I'd rather spend my money on drugs or something.
  21. 1. Ayn Rand (100%) 2. Aquinas (97%) 3. Aristotle (90%) 4. John Stuart Mill (90%) 5. Epicureans (85%) 6. Kant (83%) 7. Stoics (78%) 8. Jean-Paul Sartre (75%) 9. Spinoza (70%) 10. Jeremy Bentham (68%) 11. Prescriptivism (67%) 12. Ockham (66%) 13. St. Augustine (48%) 14. Cynics (47%) 15. Nietzsche (46%) 16. Plato (44%) 17. Thomas Hobbes (39%) 18. David Hume (31%) 19. Nel Noddings (26%) 1. a High 2. b High 3. f High 4. c High 5. d Medium 6. b High 7. b High 8. d Medium 9. e High 10. b High 11. c Medium 12. d High This has surely been covered in another thread (probably more than once), but what is the source of the seemingly extreme distaste of Kant? I am not necessarily put off by any of my results, because I take the percentages to mean the portion of that philosophy that yours is most likely concurrent with, and because this is really a thinking quiz. I imagine if someone takes the quiz multiple times, refining his or her answers based on his or her actual beliefs (rather than what he or she might think a particular philosopher would say), that person's evaluation might change to more accurately reflect his or her actual position. Mine could potentially be slightly different next time around. And, after all, it is only an Internet quiz.
  22. I feel the need to interject at this point, as I don't believe that one is necessarily a non-Objectivist because one claims to subscribe to agnosticism. This person is probably just applying too broad a definition for agnosticism, not realizing that true agnosticism does not permit the application of reason and logic because it assumes that ultimate knowledge is unattainable. Even if such knowledge is unavailable to the human race as it presently exists, to assume that this knowledge can never be attained is simply ludicrous. Given my understanding of atheism, I think the same mistake can be made in this case. While a more rational doctrine than any theism I am aware of, atheism seems to fall short by denying any claim of supreme knowledge and assuming that our current level of awareness is enough to determine that there is no god. Because of this, I choose not to label myself an agnostic or an atheist. Much of the argument on this thread seems to be dependent on a particular definition of god. This is taken from Merriam-Webster Online: Main Entry: 1god Pronunciation: 'gäd also 'god Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German got god 1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind 2 : a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality 3 : a person or thing of supreme value 4 : a powerful ruler An Objectivist would pretty much be able to dismiss 1 and 2 right off the bat (though, oddly enough, the Cristian Science definition kind of sounds like a potential for "God" under Objectivist philosophy). Number 4 is vague enough to describe any number of people, even perhaps every person on the planet, and under number 3, there should be a god according to the totality of our knowledge, even if we could not agree on what it was. Therefore, I don't believe it is possible for God to exist, but that god or gods can and do. Personally, I like ds1973's response from "Atheism, The name bugs me": "Truth is my god and reason the means of attaining it.... "
  23. It would seem to me that the question of paramount importance is, are things in such a state today that we should "give up" and let evil destroy itself? If not, what would make it necessary? I for one, am not interested in leveling mountains, unless great Roark-eusqe buildings or something of the sort are being built in their place.
  24. This is perhaps my favorite picture. There's no Objectivist theme per se, but it is interesting to see the incredible amount of detail, both above and underwater. http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?vev1id=5826 I would recommend the 2400x1200. You can also find it elsewhere on the internet, in various resolutions. I had it stretched at 1600x1200 (looked great) before I had this one centered: http://awgibbs.com/money.html This might not be a bad one, either. http://openscroll.org/snaps/ny/ny-1-7-0.html BTW, since you were the last poster, thanks for the quote James.
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