Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by RSalar

  1. Laws are man-made and not always rational. The issue is how to determine which party is retaliating (and morally right). It is impossible to know which party is retaliating unless you are able to identify the initiator. Two individuals, (two families, two tribes, two countries, or two planets–it matters not) – each party to the feud believes he is retaliating (because the feud survives long after the first initiators and first retaliators are dead. The initiator is wrong; the retaliator is right—but no one is able to determine which is which. The feud could go on indefinitely each party retaliating against the other; each party believing he is right.
  2. So what does the fact that men generally are turned on by physically attractive bodies say about their philosophies (in general)?
  3. I am. The difference is that we HAVE to eat. We do not have to ride motorcycles. "I suspect ..." As in "surmise?" meaning: To infer (something) without sufficiently conclusive evidence. ??? Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V., further reproduction and distribution restricted in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.
  4. So ownership is a subjective concept? It is based on the way one "views" it? Come back to reality! I need to know what you have read before I can continue this. I thought you understood the basis of objective concept formation. Have you read, and do you understand, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology"?
  5. When you say, "My personal observations ..." without reference to specific statements, you demonstrate the subjective nature of your analysis. Can you supply the actual language used by these Libertarians that you are using to form you “personal observations”? Where did you come up with the concept you call the, “Libertarian fallacy of imperfection?” Did you just make it up?
  6. Yes, if we are to assume that it is in fact possible to determine a man's philosophy from his sexual desires ... and no, if we assume that it is not. Do you think you are able to determine a man's philosophy from his sexual desires?
  7. Why do you want to make this a race issue? Europe is made up of many races--so what? Stay on topic. As far as land not being owned by the Indians—you can only say that because the Europeans killed them. If the Indians were successful in their efforts to defend themselves (if they had had the might) you would not be able to claim that you own the little piece of ground that you now say you own. Let’s discuss what it means to own something. What gives a person (or a country) the right to say they own something? What is ownership in metaphysical terms? The point is that land and countries have been taken by force since the beginning of time. You have to look beyond the tree to see the forest.
  8. Exactly! I have long held that since there is no limit on the legal tax rate it is possible for the government to set it so high as to make it impossible for the “owner” to pay. The same goes for income tax rates—no legal limit—could go to 100%. We not only have no property rights, we have no right to earn a living. Without these rights we have no rights. And thus the US is not a government that protects citizens rights—except by the whim of the current law makers.
  9. A quick response to the above three posts: 1) If I am jabbing anyone—it is myself. Let’s not be so sensitive that we are unable to look at our own actions and judge them objectively. 2) Risk is a relative thing—some things are in fact more risky than others. Risk also should be measured against the reward one gets by taking the risk. The risk of choking on solid food is real—we could get the same nutritional value from pureed food—so the risk of eating solid food must be worth the value of the feeling we get from chewing and savoring the texture/flavor. Didn’t your Grandmother tell you to chew your steak? That little bit of extra time chewing could save your life. 3) There is no straw man here—I have provided quotes in this thread and in the Productive Career thread. Words have meanings. 4) I am not promoting my theory of ethics—I am reading the actual words put forth by people who claim to be Objectivists. If you don’t agree with them then you are in my camp (actually I am starting to agree more and more as I explore this topic—I think we should enjoy safe activities.) 5) Safe activities verses dangerous ones—I have stated that being objective in terms of a measuring risk and reward is difficult and perhaps impossible. This only adds to my suspicion that Objective Values may be an improper concept—there may not be any such thing. The only means of measuring risk (that I can see) is on a relative scale: X is riskier than Y. The same goes for the emotional reward one receives from the activity. Perhaps a relative measure is an objective measure? (Food for thought.)
  10. It was RB's suggestion that her book might help clear up the issue for me. (It did—but not in the way he thought it would.) You are correct that I believe that we should pursue the things that we enjoy doing (even when they may be risking our health). And yes, I was asking about Objectivist Ethics and how "dangerous" activities are viewed. The way I read the Objectivist pro-life standard, a person (if they want to enjoy objective values) must protect his own life first and foremost. That means eating right, exercising regularly, getting check-ups, going to the dentist, wearing a seat belt, looking both ways before crossing the street, and finding joy only in safe activities. One should not go downhill skiing when one could go x-country skiing instead, for example. I know Ayn Rand enjoyed smoking until her doctor convinced her that it was harming her, at which point she quit. It was not logical for her to enjoy an activity that was harming her. I am sure you know the Objectivist theory of emotions—that they are the result of the way we think—of the premises we hold. So if we enjoy an activity, the joy we experience, is the result of the way we perceive that activity—if we know it is dangerous the knowledge should stop us from experiencing the joy we experienced prior to the knowledge. Then of course there is the whole issue of invasion and rationalization that might allow us to invent reason why the dangerous activity isn’t really that dangerous.
  11. Perhaps you can tell me who is the agressor and who is the defender from the folowing list of events (excerpted from: http://www.mideastweb.org/briefhistory.htm) About 61 B.C., Roman troops under Pompei invaded Judea and sacked Jerusalem in support of King Herod. Judea had become a client state of Rome. Initially it was ruled by the client Herodian dynasty. The land was divided into districts of Judea, Galilee, Peraea and a small trans-Jordanian section, each of which eventually came under direct Roman control. During the seventh century (A.D. 600's), Muslim Arab armies moved north from Arabia to conquer most of the Middle East, including Palestine. Jerusalem was conquered about 638 by the Caliph Umar (Omar) who gave his protection to its inhabitants. Muslim powers controlled the region until the early 1900's. The Seljuk Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1071, but their rule in Palestine lasted less than 30 years. Initially they were replaced by the Fatimid rulers of Egypt. The Fatimids took advantage of the Seljuk struggles with the Christian crusaders. They made an alliance with the crusaders in 1098 and captured Jerusalem, Jaffa and other parts of Palestine. The Crusaders, however, broke the alliance and invaded Palestine about a year later. They captured Jaffa and Jerusalem in 1099, slaughtered many Jewish and Muslim defenders and forbade Jews to live in Jerusalem. They held the city until 1187. In that year, the Muslim ruler Saladin conquered Jerusalem. The Crusaders then held a smaller and smaller area along the coast of Palestine, under treaty with Saladin. In the mid-1200's, Mamelukes, originally soldier-slaves of the Arabs based in Egypt, established an empire that in time included the area of Palestine. Arab-speaking Muslims made up most of Palestine's population. Beginning in the late 1300's, Jews from Spain and other Mediterranean lands settled in Jerusalem and other parts of the land. The Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamelukes in 1517, and Palestine became part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1798, Napoleon entered the land. The war with Napoleon and subsequent misadministration by Egyptian and Ottoman rulers, reduced the population of Palestine. Arabs and Jews fled to safer and more prosperous lands. In November 1917, before Britain had conquered Jerusalem and the area to be known as Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. The declaration was a letter addressed to Lord Rothschild, based on a request of the Zionist organization in Great Britain. The declaration stated Britain's support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine, without violating the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities. The Haganah mounted its first full scale operation, Operation Nahshon, using 1,500 troops. It attacked the Arab villages of Qoloniyah and Qastel, occupied by Arab irregular forces after the villagers had fled, on the road to Jerusalem and temporarily broke the siege, allowing convoys of supplies to reach the city. Qastel fell on April 8, and the key Palestinian military commander, Abdel Khader Al-Husseini was killed there. Qoloniyeh fell on April 11. In the north, Fawzi El-Kaukji's "Salvation Army" was beaten back at the battle of Mishmar Haemeq on April 12, 1948 On May 14, 1948, the Jews proclaimed the independent State of Israel, and the British withdrew from Palestine. In the following days and weeks, neighboring Arab nations invaded Palestine and Israel In the summer of 1956, Israel, France and Britain colluded in a plan to reverse the nationalization of the Suez canal. Israel would invade the Sinai and land paratroopers near the Mitla pass. Britain and France would issue an ultimatum, and then land troops ostensibly to separate the sides. The plan was carried out beginning October 29, 1956. Israel swiftly conquered Sinai. The 1967 6-Day war changed the perceived balance of power in the Middle East and created a new reality. Israel had acquired extensive territories - the Sinai desert, the Golan heights and the West Bank, that were several times larger than the 1948 borders. On March 20, 2003, US, British and Australian forces invaded Iraq. The Palestinians had supported Saddam Hussein and his regime had provided payments for families of suicide bombers, as well as sheltering Palestinian militants. US forces entered Baghdad on April 9, and President Bush declared the war over on May 1. The war produced an upheaval in the Middle East and especially affected the Palestinians.
  12. Wrong. Your land deed is filed and protected by law. And law is enforced by and through the use of force. It is a fact that Native Americans originally occupied the land that is now controlled by the United States. Before we controlled it, it had been "claimed" by Europeans. We then fought the revolutionary war and took the land from them by force. The land you now claim you own is yours only to the extent that you (through your government and it’s guns) can defend it from the attacks and claims of others. If for example the US were to be taken over by a foreign power the new government would take the land and redistribute it per it’s will. Your "ownership" would vanish because you would no longer have control and use of that land. Ownership of land is just another way of stating who has control of it. It is the guns behind property laws that ensure the titles are protected—and by force the entire surface of the earth has thus been claimed, divided, and is currently held.
  13. The theory that libertarians believe what DavidOdden says they believe is new to me. My understanding of why Ayn Rand rejected their philosophy was because it was based on “freedom.” Meaning that the philosophy was wrong because “freedom” quo freedom has no limit. Meaning that free people should be free to do whatever they want. This is a contradiction because one person’s freedom would necessarily impede upon another person freedom. In reality no person has the right to unlimited freedom because no one can have the right to violate another person’s rights. Each person’s freedom therefore is limited by the rights that all men have equally. If I recall correctly Ayn Rand put it thus: One man’s right to punch ends at the other man’s nose. I do not know of any official Libertarian writing that states the position that DavidOdden has presented. Perhaps he is correct, but if so, I think it would be appropriate for him to provide the source material from which he has drawn his conclusions.
  14. What constitutes retaliation? Some countries have been warring for centuries. Which one drew first blood? Which one is defending; which is the aggressor? Does it even matter? Which one is right; which one is wrong? It’s like the Hatfield-McCoy feud—when and how does this cycle of violence stop? Is this a simple case of might is right—with the current nation in power in the right—or does the beaten nation have the right to fight to reclaim it’s nation? This issue is not just about rules of international warfare—it’s about individual rights and the rights of groups (if they even have rights). For example does the American Indian have the right to start a war against the US in order to reclaim their lands? In order that we are able to debate without being charged with getting off topic I want to include the issue of land ownership. It seems to me that all the land on earth was claimed and held by force and that force is the only factor enabling nations to lay claim to the land they claim to “own.”
  15. I was asked to start a new thread to help me understand why the libertarian fallacy of imperfection is a fallacy. I tried doing a search on this site and a complete Internet search using Google to no avail. I didn't even know there was such a thing, never mind why the fallacy is a fallacy. Could someone please A:) tell me what the libertarian fallacy of imperfection is, B:) why it is a fallacy, and C:) what this fallacy has to do with individual rights and/or the right of one nation to protect itself against foreign threats. Thank-you, RSalar
  16. Since all rights depend on property rights, by saying property rights are irrelevant you are saying that all rights are irrelevant. Since anarchy results from the absence of a cohesive principle (which in this case is the principle of individual rights) and since you say property rights are irrelevant, it is you who is arguing for anarchy. The last time I checked Objectivists ethics did not advocate the government's taking of property by force. So how am I rejecting Objectivist ethics by arguing against the US Government's initiation of force against its citizens? I'm not saying a nation does not have the right to protect itself. I am bringing up the point that "protecting yourself" and responding to a prior attack or even a current threat of attack is not the same thing. Just because someone verbally threatens you does not mean you are actually at risk of harm from them. And just because someone (or some nation) had previously initiated force does not mean (by that fact alone) that you are now justified in responding with force. Ayn Rand made the point that it is not unethical to take over a dictator nation because the dictator does not respect individual rights. So let's assume we decide to do that. Our attack on them is not an initiation of force because the dictator initiated the force against his people (this is the basis for her reasoning that it was not unethical for us to kill the American Indians and take over the land that we now control). But to the people of the country who are under the dictator (or to some group of Indians who may have respected the rights of individuals) the attack is the initiation of force. Now they have the right to fight back -- and the war is on – both sides claiming that they are in the right. What if some group of people (who previously were a nation) can trace back 2000 years ago and can prove that they had been taken over by another nation. Do you think they have the right to take their nation back by force? Why or why not?
  17. Perhaps I think you are being a bit too restrictive when you say that "a rights-respecting nation," has this right to... I read that to mean that as an exclusive right that these particular kinds nations have. I disagree with this because 1) the concept is very vague—does the nation have to respect all rights or just some rights? – Does it have to be a “nation” – why? What about other organized groups? What is so special about nations that you single them out? What nation on the planet respects all rights of all individuals? 2) Nations are made up of individual people. You must start at the individual rights area before you can leap to the rights that nations have. A nation nothing but a group of individuals. It is a particular type of group: it claims land ownership—which in most cases it took and keeps by force, and it is organized and run by some kind of government—which has a monopoly on the legalized initiation of force. Nations are established by force and maintained by force. What nation came into existence without the use of force? You say, “well the other guy initiated the force by violating our rights so we used force in retaliation." My point is that there is no way to trace back all of the uses of force to the first person who initiated it. Everyone can claim that someone else has initiated force against them. Do you pay income taxes? Why? Is not the taking of personal property the initiation of force? Then you have the right to fight back. So you fight back and the goverment kills you. I am not commingling issues here—rather I am distilling out the real issues.
  18. Yes, I think you should wait until you are annihilated before defending yourself. What did you eat some spoiled food or something? You say: “Yes: if you know of an example where you are legally allowed to use force to defend yourself against the legal application of force, do please give us the citation.” Dictators can pass any law they want. They can say (and make it law) that it is illegal for another country to resist their invasion. When your country resists invasion you are breaking their law--but not your laws. Any person, any country, any group of people can make laws—laws, per se, say nothing about what is right or wrong.
  19. I think that rooting for the home team regardless of their virtues (not saying that you are) is like loving your parents regardless of what kind of people they are. There is no objectivity in that decision. You should be able to identify the qualities that you admire and those qualities should be objectively good qualities. (According to Objectivist ethics as I understand it.)
  20. It's an objective fact that some people enjoy doing dangerous things--that does not make those things objective values. What if a person said to you that they love the taste of rat poison? They sprinkle some on their eggnog because it makes it taste better. That's an objective fact—but so what? Noting the objective facts about what you enjoy does not automatically lead you to seek objective values. If your goal is to live long and prosper then you should enjoy only those things that are objectively pro-life.
  21. The choices of what types of food we eat definitely effects our survival chances and are therefore important ethical considerations. Being overweight and out of shape is not pro-life. RB gave you the statistics of the relative danger on riding motorcycles verses driving automobiles. I thinks it’s absurd to try to argue that riding a bike is as safe as driving a car—it’s like saying that downhill skiing is as safe as walking. If this is the only way of defending the activity as being an objective value I think the argument is lost at the outset. You have to do as RB attempted—show that the value gained is worth the risk taken. I still do not know how you do that objectively—especially in light of the vague concept of what actually makes a life worth living. I can say that about almost any activity: “Base-jumping is so much fun that without it life would not be worth living.” That to me is pure subjectivism. And listing the reasons that you base-jump does nothing to remove the subjective nature of the decision. The fact is that base-jumping is a dangerous past time and as such is not pro-life.
  22. Maybe I missed something ... I thought we were discussing Objectivism.
  23. Based on this observed difference what does it say about the difference in the philosophies held by males compared to the philosophies held by females? What can you tell me about his philosophy of life based on the fact that he finds physical features important? “Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life”?
  24. What if you remove the word "intrinsically" and just said, "motorcycle riding, because of the risk of bodily harm, regardless of how much joy one gets, is not pro-life"? That seems to be a true statement. The only argument that one could raise (and RB has) is that “life” is more than just survival. I have addressed this aspect of the, “motor-cycle riding is pro-life because it makes my life worth living” argument by pointing out that the things that make life worth living must also be pro-survival if they are in fact real authentic values. (A value can not be an authentic value if it is harming you or likely to harm you.) The favorite color analogy does not hold water because a person’s choice of a favorite color has no impact on his chances of survival (unless he insist on wearing a black suit while jogging at night on busy rural roads—saying,” I am only happy when I jog in a black suit.”). The things that make us happy should also be consistent with or physical survival needs. I don’t see any relation between my choice of a favorite color, my choice of Pepsi over Coke, or whether or not I like nutmeg on my eggnog, and real life and death risk decisions. Some decisions do in FACT affect my likelihood of survival. I hold firm that riding a motorcycle decreases ones chances of survival. The question here should be how does one determine when the risk is objectively too great relative to the resulting objective positive outcomes. We need an objective standard to assess objective risk verses reward as it pertains to our goal to flourish as human beings. Until we have that, objectivity in this matter is impossible.
  25. I think that the things we decide will allow us to flourish (achieve happiness) must be objectively chosen. It can't be a matter of "it feels good" because that is the basic premise behind hedonism and just because an activity provides an "emotional recharge" does not make that activity an objective value for the same reason. There has to be a real value, an objective value, a measurable value that can be proved. It seems to me that you are directing your argument towards the issue of what constitutes an objective value—this is what I want to discuss. Thank-you. Tara Smith, in her book "Viable Values" has a section on "flourishing," where she tries to make the point that, "we must not equate positive feelings with the activity of authentic flourishing, however." On page 147 she continues: "Flourishing is a process that consists of living in a pro-life way. Since objective standards determine what is pro-life, objective standards determine what constitutes living in a pro-life way. This is the heart of flourishing's objectivity. Nature sets the terms for objective flourishing just as it sets the terms for surviving." We might want to focus on this quote ... but I want you to note that positive feelings must not be equated with authentic flourishing. And wouldn't you call an “emotion recharge” a positive feeling?
  • Create New...