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Everything posted by Dikaiosyne

  1. As Far as Subduing the Populace, the best move I found was to Romanize (or Hellenize, for my favorite Faction was the Greek Cities) the City as quickly as Possible. That means replacing all the buildings with the Roman Equivalent, and tearing down the buildings without them (this means Temples and certain faction specific ones, though the happiness faction buildings are generally neutral). Thus planting Roman Temples, (especially the Law and Order Gods, like Jupiter) and bringing running water, that uniquely civilizing feature that reduces squalor and thus unrest, are key to the long term health of the empire. As far as the Garrisons go I would levy a bunch of the population into Peasants, the highest population unit in the game, and they would be enough of a check to keep the city in order, for its "boots on the ground" that matter, not the quality of the soliders. Also queuing more peasants to be built reduces the population thus that makes the city more manageable. Generals with high Influence helped, along with keeping your capitial more or less in the middle of your empire, and not expanding too far from the Mediterranean, for many Barbarian Cities just aren't really economically worth it. I have to admit a few of my offensives stalled when pacifying a huge city I conquered, but with some TLC, it was soon a new shining jewel for the empire, without resorting to Mass Murder. But if the population is too high to begin with that even your army plus a whole suite of peasants cannot keep it under control, you can "Enslave the Populace" that is send half of them in chains back to cities that you have a general in, this both increases their population, and decreases the population on the frontier. And historically, it was a very Roman thing to do, for after some time slaves could be made Roman Citizens, thus assimilating them into the culture. So long story short, Imperialism takes some creativity, and doesn't have to be done via exterimination.
  2. If your paper is near immaculately perfect, then you have a real beef. As long as there is no "legitimate" reason for giving your paper a F, not answering the question, or not following directions, and this is simply a If this "professor" has tenure, I would say don't bother with fighting the system, there is next to nothing you can do. Drop the class if your pride proves unswallowable, or give the guy what he wants, that shouldn't be too hard to figure out. But if he doesn't have tenure, please make as big a stink about this as possible. With your credentials, African-American and a high GPA, there is no "narrative" you could conveniently fit into, for its next to impossible to call you a racist. Revolutions start when the first person says "No." I understand that you may not have the time or energy to deal with this bull, but this could be a golden opportunity to strike a blow for the good guys.
  3. To Quote Pat Robertson, "BIZZARO HELPING, BIZZARO HELPING!"
  4. From the Introduction to "The Fountainhead" Perhaps the best to communicate The Fountainhead's sense of life is by means of the quotation which had stood at the head of my manuscript but which I removed from the final, published book. With this opportunity to explain it, I am glad to bring it back. I removed it, because of my profound disagreement with the philosophy of its author, Friedrich Nietzsche. Philosophically, Nietzsche is a mystic and irrationalist. His metaphysics consist of a somewhat "Byronic" and mystically "malevolent" universe; his epistemology subordinates reason to "will," or feeling or instinct or blood or innate virtues of character. But, as a poet, he projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man's greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual terms. ... "The noble soul has reverence for itself." (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil) (The Bold is Mine)
  5. I just want to say thank you for pointing this out, Its really good stuff. It reminds me in spirit of 2112. Youtube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgUXmiQFHN4
  6. This is second-handedness at its worst, without the great achievement of the composers of the past, these people would have no vehicle for their point of view (it would be far too generous to call it a philosophy.) This reminds me of when the French Impressionists didn't want to have any frames on their canvases, for the fear they would take away from the work itself. When they where forced to comply or not be able to show their work, they used simple wood frames and extended the picture on the canvas to include the frame itself, so the work of art would have only been one person's vision. The frame these people are putting on these operas so distracts from heart of the work of art, that one wishes that the Impressionist's insight could have possibly been extended to opera.
  7. For your gold example, there is obviously something that I, as a human, could possibly trade with you for your house and the land under it. Just because I lack it doesn't give me the right to use force. The Point is that the Humans in the Movie couldn't conjure anything the Na'Vi wanted, they wouldn't trade Hometree for all the proverbial tea in China. There is a difference in-between something and anything. At least with a Muslim, since we are both human, we can reasonably get to point where we can trade, this doesn't have anything to do with their culture or their values, but their status as human beings. One of the virtues of capitalism for example is allowing trade between people that would otherwise hate each other. I would think that, although you don't value Muslims in anyway, you still fill up your gas tank from time to time. My Point is that it is next to impossible to trade with something that has a different nature than you. Take a Pet for example, while you may give it food, and it may give you affection, this is not a trade, its more like Animal Management. With an alien species, one with truly alien values and priorities, trade may be realistically impossible. Then given the ability to take what you want by force, the choice comes down to A. I appreciate the aliens enough aesthetically more than taking the gold or the unobtainium or whatever from them (This is more or less an environmentalist argument) or B. Screw them and take what you want.
  8. Thats more or less all you can get from this movie if you truly seriously take the aliens as aliens, instead of Native American Expys. Humans need to live by technology and reason, and its not so obvious that the Na'Vi need to as well. This is why the main character clearly said that there is nothing we can trade with them, and nothing we have that they want. Trade is fundamentally based on having a common ground, where, despite the similarities of intelligence. And since Trade becomes impossible, the next recourse is force, on both sides. So the question of whether or not we should take the unobtaintium by force comes down to more or less an aesthetic one. Would we prefer to have the metal or the Na'Vi's Culture or the ecosystem itself. The "Heroes" decided that the culture itself was more valuable, whereas Weyland-Yutani or whatever the "evil" corporation was decided they prefered the metal. At this point there is no "Agree to Disagree" and the subject comes down to force. Admittedly, had the Na'Vi opened up to more than just one person about the true working of their culture, et cera, this becomes a more reasonable debate across the whole spectrum of those making decisions, instead simply one "hero" forced to act. One can suppose in the future they still have message boards . Of course it makes for a dramatic story, but the Na'Vi are risking annihilation by simply being insular. They are the ones that kicked the Humans out of their anthropological research, which would have revealed all of the "sacred" things in the forest given enough time. The Corp hack runnning the operation has no idea, more the moment of crisis the Na'Vi never said why they where resisting other than simple survival or superstition. So maybe the Aesop of this story is that, if something is valuable to you, make sure you are able to express its value adequately or be prepared to lose it to those that don't understand and have guns. And that is certainly a lesson that can be applied to Objectivism.
  9. The movie is visually stunning as advertised, and there really wasn't a philosophical cringe moment in it. The thing that makes me want to scream though, is as Far as the Plot goes its not horrid, its just stolen. Any Science Fiction Fan that doesn't walk out of that movie, as I just did, and say, I just saw Dune (with elements from the Game Alpha Centauri too no less) is deluding themselves.
  10. This is actually an interesting application of "Goodwin's Law." More or less, the point is that once a conversation has descended to the level of invoking the Nazis, the first person to bring it up automatically loses the argument. So, the silver lining in all of this? We Win! That is, if they play by rules including Goodwin's Law .
  11. I have to say that, on my first read-through of Atlas Shrugged, I did think Dagny was a blond, but that may have just been wishful thinking on my part, and was, I as I later discovered, incorrect. But, as for Rand's heroes, I never really thought of them as very handsome, in particular Hank Rearden gives me the impression of someone who looks like Abraham Lincoln when he first took the presidency. Of course we know the veiled threat in the Aryan comment, that we are no better than Nazis. I guess if you take the most "charitable" impressions of them in B-movies, the cool calculating super-scientists, I can see how someone could make a similar caricature of an Objectivist. But the actual historical Nazis, National Socialists submitting their will to a government, group, and race, could reasonably be described as the absolute opposite of an Objectivist. Indeed one of the key strengths of Rand's philosophy is that it applies to all people at all times, regardless of race or gender or any of the other holy grails of liberal politics. All that matters is the ability to reason, which I am sure that every member of Homo Sapiens can do, and everything follows from that.
  12. Although it is tempting to save "the best" people, either the smartest or the most attractive, but this is a survival situation, and you need to select people for that first. I would be looking for people from ages 18-40, hopefully as many as possible that are happily married, that are healthy, emotionally stable, industrious, and adaptable. 1. Healthy: Obviously you want people who will last without the benefits of modern medicine, for the first generation will be the foundation for all the rest. The longer these people can last, the more of their practical knowledge can be preserved and passed down. This would also include the subcategory of "Fertile" for obvious reasons. 2. Emotionally Stable: I cannot think of a more stressful situation than starting society again from literally nothing. If anyone gives up or breaks, that would be just as good as death on a New World. 3. Industrious: Everyone has to be willing to work amazingly hard to even survive, this includes the sub-categories of entrepreneurship and sheer stamina. 4. Adaptable: I suppose that intelligence is the major subcategory here, but inventiveness and the ability to come up with new solutions to new problems. From these characteristics you then can start choosing people that have particular skills and knowledge that would be useful, and yes, the most smart and beautiful too.
  13. Just Signed Up, And Frankly I'm Excited to actually play with fellow O'ists. From my experiences with other MMOs, namely WoW, having rational, free-market oriented people is clearly the best way to victory, even if those people wouldn't at first describe themselves that way. Those for "the greater good" fellows are pure cancers, fellows who generally hate themselves, and strangely, generally hate the game too. Hopefully we can get something good going. See ya in Norway!
  14. Big Fish has to be one of the worst for me, specially when he "saves the town."
  15. Dead Fish?! Its a Dead Sea Kitten, get it right http://www.peta.org/sea_kittens/
  16. While it maybe fashionable to blame Socialism and Christianity for the fall of the Roman Empire on an O'ist board, from my studies of the subject, it was a complete political failure, not so much one of culture. Also the complete exporting of the responsibility of defense to the barbarians that the defense was necessary against also greatly contributed. A Patron Client System was the status quo of the empire, crossing all boundaries and classes. Octavian made himself "Imperator" by more or less making the Legions his direct clients. This military power, with the legions sworn directly to the family of Julius Caesar, was what made the emperorship possible. It also made it necessary to keep putting Julio-Claudians on the Throne, to keep the Legions in line. Of course, the end of the line was Caligula, an absolutely disastrous emperor. Once this line was extinct, whomever controlled the legions, controlled the empire. More or Less, the Major political unit of the Empire was the 3 Major Legions, one on the Rhine, one on the Danube, and one on the Euphrates. If a succession crisis came up, each of the generals controlling these legions could take them off the frontier and use it to came the emperorship. This both A. put some leaders of questionable ability on the throne B. Decimated the Legions. The Roman Style of Combat, Close Quarters with Stabbing Sword and Shield, was gruesome and effective, the whole point was to kill the foe, not simply make him flee in the field as in earlier styles, such as the phalanx. To sum up two Legions fighting would be two Meat Grinders eating each other. Neither machine would be the same again. The Romans relied on their veterans to train the new generation of soldiers, and with so many lost, they simply couldn't regeneration themselves and died on the vine. 200 years of intermitant civil war destroyed Rome's ability to natively defend itself, and thus this was "outsourced" to Tribes on the frontier. As an illustration, the Gothic leader that sacked Rome, Alaric, was once a "Roman" commander himself, and more or less invaded the Empire in an attempt to get a job. The plunder though became so good that this was abandoned quickly when it became clear a full sack was possible. Also even 400 years later, the legions where fighting with weapons Julius Caesar would have recognized, showing some of the technological stagnation of the empire as a whole. By the time Rome fell, its technological advantage in combat had long since past, with the barbarians themselves taking the lead with such useful things as the horse archer. In my opinion, had the Roman Empire adopted something similar to the US Constitution, where leaders where chosen not by the legions but by the people or even a small political elite, the disastrous crisis of defense in the 5th and 6th Centuries would not have happened, for the legions would not have been degraded as they where from the civil wars, and the military adventures emperors seeking legitimacy. The resulting outsourcing of defense was disastrous and utterly ruinous for the empire. One can see us learning from history with the articles in the Constitution demanding a citizen militia and civilian control of the armed forces. The Timocracy of Rome was a failure, even the degenerate Democracy of the Welfare State is preferable.
  17. Just a little tidbit along the lines of "My Favorite Bible Stories" for those with either religious friends or an actual historical interest. Done by the same guy who did "youhavebadtasteinmusic.com" he points out contradictions and utter fabrications in the New Testament and generally blows up any claims of a uniform chruch doctrine. Generally, although most knowledgable Christians would probably disown all the hate and confusion of the Old Testament as archaic, they would probably still cling to the New as the "bedrock" of there belief. Although I am sure that this type of thing is old news to most objectivists, it is still very good ammo to have on hand if confronted by the proverbal "Jesus Freak" The Video Clips themselves are rather trippy, but still entertaining and informative. http://www.churchacrossamerica.com/ Church Across America! with Pastor Eman Laerton
  18. Well, since you are begging the question, I guess I will bite. Why do you hate it when people use sports as excellent examples of capitalism? I personally think that sports, particularly professional sports, are a great reflection of the Sense of Life of Americans. While some of the coverage can be banal at times, the games themselves are celebrations of competition and achievement, enjoyed en masse and without any guilt. How is this not a good thing?
  19. This brings up a good point, Vince Carter basicallly went on strike because he felt that the organization wasn't doing enough on its end to be competitive, instead just relying on "Air Canada" to sell tickets. Because this broke more of an unspoken rule, that both the players and the management try to win basketball games, than one described in his contract, he broke the unspoken rule in his contract to play to the best of his ability. Honestly this seems more like poetic justice than anything else. The organization stopped trying to achieve on the basketball court, so he replied in kind. Playing a self-sacrificial best for losers seems like something an Objectivist shouldn't condone, and that is exactly what the Raptors where asking of Vince Carter. He literally choose NOT to play their game, instead he wanted to quit and find employment with a basketball team that did try to win, and because of player movement rules in the NBA and his own contract, the only way to do that is for his team to trade him. So Bravo to Vince Carter too, acting selfishly for his own moral betterment. Of course he was cooked in the national (or I suppose international) media for acting selfishly, because A. They believe that all games should be a fair contest in-between two opponents trying to win (a very good moral judgement) and Vince Carter was publicly undermining that, and B. There is a bias against "acting selfishly" on the Basketball court, that translates to the "Super-Mores" of the game. This has been covered in other threads, but I believe that it was said best as "Acting toward the defeat of your enemy is a very selfish and self-fufilling action, so passing to the open man so he gets a 80% chance to score, instead of your 20% chance to score is one of the most selfish things you can do. In that sense, Steve Nash, lauded as an "unselfish point guard" is probably the most selfish player in the NBA. To complete your quote, in team sports at least sometimes the strength of wolf is the pack. That is why I get so much enjoyment from professional sports in general, there is just so much right about it, giving your all in competition against the best in the world that, even if sometimes the Comentators ramble on the virtues of the sacrifice bunt (Wrong on so many levels.), it a beacon to all that love the human spirit.
  20. Continuing with the Irabu example, your explaination makes it clear that for all of the parties involved, the managament, the media, even the player himself, it is the sense of injustice that drives their misery. So the basis of egoist arguement against accepting Irabu's position would be that the lack of performance to payment, and indeed performing badly pursuing a worthly goal (winning a baseball game) would be morally apprehensible, and thus cause it to be at the very least an uncomfortable position to be in. Thus having a "Just Payment" (for lack of a better phrase) with Irabu's performance directly relating to his compenstation or simply being fired because it was not a profitable situation for either party (as Irabu basically was, banished to Montreal) could make the situation at least inline with morality and reality. And I could care less about what the ancient Church Fathers have to say about a "Just Price." I am more interested in dealing with Ayn Rand's moral system. Roughly, since Man has the right to sustain his life by his own effort, and man should own the means to sustain that life (our mind for most of us, but athletic ability for professional baseball players) or else he is a slave, then it follows that just how much value that effort creates should be the extent that he has the means to sustain that life. Since in a capitalistic society money and value are nearly synonymous, then when value can be measured, by the means of a price system (that is for tickets and TV contracts etc), it stands to reason that the money that player produced belongs to him, and the money he didn't produce doesn't. That is not to say that the players are the only people generating value, of course the league and the owners provide the means for the players to make their living in the first place, but to take more than your "fair share" (which by the very virtue of being fair is not the same for everybody) seems immoral. Indeed it seems that the player with the exorbitant is stealing from the people who did create the value, whether it be the new rookie sensation, or management itself. I know this type of arguement is an old war horse for statists and has been trotted out for at least 2 centuries. My contention is that it is not the government's or strong man's job to even the books, but the personal moral responsibly of individuals, both employer and employee. If people where forced into giving up what is at least nominally their own money, the act would cease to be moral. But if individuals could recongize both the goodness in others and there own imperfections, this system is viable, if idealistic. Now, considering all men are not paragons of virtue, the best solution would be for there to be no long-term contracts and have only limited 1 year contracts for all players in baseball. That would bring the system much closer to an equilibrium, both morally and economically. Considering that year to year performance is generally consistant, this would allow for consistantly great players to get their "fair share" and the Jose Limas and Hideki Irabus of the world there rightful moral spot, kicked to the curb. That is, the system would allow for the drastic changes in player value that can occur from year to year. To look in very recent history such a system definitely worked for Roger Clemens, getting him very very good compensation year to year. Of course this would require a whole restructuring of both the farm system system, the draft system, and the free agent system, but it would be the more moral system. Back to the original point, A-rod has a very good chance of living up to a huge, long term contract, because of his physical gifts, but that is not so for most players, especially pitchers. So if this system was ever put into place, I would ironically expect an increase means to preserve pitcher health, demanded by pitchers for their long term earnings power. Also I would expect an even more competitive game on the field, given already players performances have a positive spike in contract years, that positive spike would be evidenced with players in all years. Again Thoughts...
  21. One thing about Irabu, "Infirate the fans too much?" that seems like something based on feeling more than reason. And for the Yankees it didn't turn out half bad, trading him for Ted Lilly and Jake Westbrook. They turned into decent starting pitchers, but they also dealt away for limited long-term gain, so it seems to be a wash. But back to the topic I think the point of my question is this, it is moral, immoral, or nonmoral to make an unfair deal. 1. The intention/knowledge of both sides matter, Full intention (trading value for value) full knowledge (each part of the trade is indeed a value), seems to be the ideal of a "moral deal" where as a trading value for non-value in either case seems to be immoral, that is either tricking a person into trading value for non-value by deceiving them or lacking knowledge that the non-value is indeed a non-value. Where it gets tricky is where the knowledge is incomplete on each side. It seems that any idea involving future performance seems to be necessarally a case of incomplete knowledge, for exact knowledge of the future is impossible. So it is up to each side to make their best guess. My contention is that, once the knowledge of the future has been obtained, it can be judged not only to be a good deal or a bad deal, but indeed a good deal or an evil deal. And with two sides engaging in a contintual relationship, it should be possible to even the books so to speak. Stock purchases and sellings are almost always impersonal, a one-time deal, to evening the books would be next to impossible. But with a continuing relationship in between say a player and a team manager, such an evening seems to become reasonable. And there are advanced metrics, such as Baseball Prospectus' MORP, to determine exactly how much value a player contributed to his team. Given it seems to be just and moral to receive exactly one contributes to any endeavor, accepting or paying too much money seems to become an immoral act. So Gil Meche should probably not be paid $11 million dollars, but Miguel Cabrera also shouldn't be paid $300,000. Thoughts on this?
  22. I don't think any rational management would willingly pay for past performance, except in terms of promised bonuses and other such things. These teams expected a continuation of previous performance, and thus where signed for that money to continue that level of performance. My question is, is it immoral to take all of that money when that performance level is dimishing, or nonexistant?
  23. I would like to say Bravo Alex Rodrigiuez for opting out of his record-setting contract and seeking an even bigger one. That really shows amazing courage, to see an even bigger profit for using his amazing baseball talents, and not worrying about people talking about excessive greed or lack of loyalty. But this excellent example of capitialism led me to another question. It is pretty certain that A-rod deserves his money, and I applaud him for not settling, even with the biggest contract ever, but what about the players that don't live up to their paychecks. Is it immoral of them to accept them? I am thinking of Jose Lima, the guy who set records for worst ERA in both the American and National Leagues, and Mo Vaughn who signed a huge contract and was injured for most of it. While these players had a contract, and the teams where legally required to play, was it immoral of them to accept money for poor performance. Of course, most people in a free society would be fired for at least Lima's level of incompetance, but on a larger level, it is immoral to accept contractually guaranteed money for any poor performance? And if not immoral, does accepting the money damage one's self respect?
  24. The Milton Friedman Choir! Nobel Economics Laurate sings Pop Songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFQWnRiXYws Anyone who plays a MMORPG should relate
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