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Everything posted by Skywalker

  1. It's amazing to me how instantaneously everyone ganged up on the thread starter here. He clearly has an understanding of Objectivist principles, and a desire to implement them properly. If you think he is failing to do so, why not try to explain to him how, since his intentions are obviously good? Why all the hostility toward him simply for questioning? I don't agree with all of what he says, and some of it is clearly inaccurate. But he is obviously trying hard to square Objectivist ethics with reality. How could any Objectivist deny that this is admirable? But I think many Objectivi
  2. Kerry is clumsy and uncomfortable discussing his religion. Plus, he's a Catholic, not a "born-again" Christian. At least with Kerry, we know he's only talking about religion to get votes. I don't think his faith is very strong. That line from the book of James is one of the most well known bible quotes, not one of the obscure Old Testament lines Bush quotes to show how intimately he knows scripture. Bush has almost never had a speech where he didn't mention God or Jesus; Kerry only started talking about religion in recent weeks, to get votes. Bad, but not as bad as actually having religion so
  3. Nowhere in Dr. Hurd's article is there any evidence that Kerry blamed capitalism for the flu shot shortage. I'm not defending Kerry, just wondering what the heck he's talking about.
  4. Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy ... not only are the characters larger-than-life and the plot very intelligent, the ideas in the book are great. It's pro-individual rights in its condemnations, both implicit and explicit, of slavery and gender inequality; and its pro-free trade stance.
  5. Despite their tactics, is there any validity to the cause of Chechen independence? I'm afraid I can't find much information on that aspect of the situation. From what little I've heard, it sounds like the Russian government under statist Putin oppresses the Chechens, and they have little in common with the rest of Russia. Of course this doesn't justify in any way the actions of the Chechen terrorists ... I'm just curious if the independence would be deserved if it was sought through proper, moral means of resistance.
  6. Why "Teddy Roosevelting" free speech? Bush's speech proposed some serious new spending. With the deficit what it is, I'm extremely wary of such promises to create new government programs. I don't see how Bush is going to keep his tax cuts, continue fighting terrorism abroad, AND spend more on domestic programs. Does anyone agree? At least Kerry admits he'll have to raise taxes somewhat to pay for all of HIS promised spending (not that that makes it more acceptable to tax-and-spend). Also, I still don't think Bush has made a convincing case that Iraq is anything other than altruistic nat
  7. There are two H's in Fahrenheit. I saw the movie with my conservative family; they wanted to poke holes in its arguments, so I tagged along. It occasionally makes a good point - including drawing attention to the Bush administration's pathetic attempt at war in Afghanistan, which didn't ruthlessly eliminate the Taliban and local al-Queda, but instead pussyfooted around and allowed many of our enemies to escape - then botches that point, by making a contradictory statement - in this case, suggesting that Bush failed in Afghanistan because all he cared about was building a gas pipeline, not f
  8. Here's an interesting article by an Indian writer, attacking the State department's report on terrorism for evading the reality of terrorism in order to court the favor of countries like Pakistan. I'm curious as to people's thoughts on this. I would agree with the author that our government seems intent on focusing on the wrong targets in the fight against terrorism, and conveniently evading the culpability of others for political reasons. Here's the link: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FF16Df03.html
  9. Does anyone think there's hope for former communist countries like Poland and Estonia to become true laizzes-faire free countries? From what I've heard, the people in these countries are fiercely protective of individual rights, especially in the realm of economic freedom.
  10. Kitty Hawk - Inara may use the term "selflessness," but Simon risked his life to save River because of his love for her and her value to him. In Objectivist terms, that is a selfish and noble act. Mal's religion isn't really dwelled upon often, but I think it's clear he's realized believing in God won't help him anymore - it didn't alter the reality of the battle he lost, and he's learned to make his own way instead of putting his faith in "unseen forces" and the like. It's been years since the battle, so I don't think he's just "pouting for a while." However, that is my interpretation and
  11. AshRyan, thanks for your articulate reply to my questions. I understand your perspective better now, and while I agree that any intentionally degrading sex act is immoral, I maintain that it's difficult to judge such, as different people enjoy different things, and the reasons why are not always clear (this is where science comes in). However, if someone is clearly or explicitly seeking to harm or degrade, this is clearly unethical. (When I say harm, I am including intentional psychological harm under that umbrella.) By the way, I wasn't putting sex on the level of hair combing - I was lo
  12. AshRyan, can you give me an example of a non-physically harmful sexual act that would be immoral, and the reason why? I am referring to something that is outside what you call the "legitimate range of optionality." A couple additional comments - first, I didn't say there's no sexual act that can be psychologically harmful. I said to attempt to deem certain acts mentally harmful (and thus immoral) amounts to psychologizing, because there is not yet an objective standard for doing so. If you can present a satisfactory one to me, I will change my position. But my opinion is that it is a task f
  13. I can't believe everyone's taking this thread so seriously! I thought it was a joke. Who cares if people want to engage in this kind of stuff? It's not "libertarian" to say people can do whatever they want as long as they don't hurt one another, in the privacy of their own bedrooms. No one has made any sort of rational argument to show that any nonviolent sexual practice is immoral. Weird, yes - bukake gives me the creeps - but I don't see how it's evil if it makes people happy, and there's no way to prove that it is. Sex and nutrition are different, because nutrition is a matter of physical h
  14. Hey there. What are you favorite musical artists? Do you like any non-rock music?
  15. Monmouth county, right off sandy hook. I've been down to that area, Cherry Hill is nice, but it's about an hour and a half from here!
  16. Hi everyone, I've been discussing things on this forum for a while, but I've never formally introduced myself. Time to remedy that. I'm a college student (soon to be a graduate student) from New Jersey, with interests in music, literature, politics and philosophy. My introduction to Ayn Rand came in my last year of High school when I read the Fountainhead to enter ARI's essay contest (in which I achieved second place out of many applicants). Since then I have, over a large period of time, read most of her other material, fiction and non. While I am not an Objectivist, I am looking to lea
  17. asia, you say about Kerry: "His web site even includes a promise to shrink the size of the federal government and reign in out of control spending." I think this is a good thing. Why do you think it's not? That money being spent is our money, taken through taxes and pumped into Medicare and faith-based programs. And those government officials are the ones deciding what to do with our money, based on pull and popularity. Sound like Atlas Shrugged? I don't understand how an Objectivist could take issue with decreasing government spending and government size.
  18. Black Sabbath, you are right in pointing out that the cultures of the Middle East seem to share an obsession with death and the mystical. However, this doesn't refute the Sailor's point. While it does not justify 9/11 or any other form of terrorist retaliation, I think America's foreign policy in the region was, and for the most part still is, hugely unprincipled. We did fund the militaries of both Saddam and the Iranians during their war - the morally proper thing to do would have been to stay out of a conflict between two evil regimes, not fund and arm both, especially when we know how willi
  19. The sci-fi television series Firefly, favorably reviewed elsewhere on this site, is in my opinion the best TV series to come along in a while and a great example of romanticized storytelling. It's a shame that it was cancelled, but fantastic that the DVDs are selling well and a full length film is now being made. There's so many good things about it - I particularly like its anti-authoritarian government, and the writers' deft ability to borrow elements from classics like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Dune, while retaining an original, modern plot. The acting is great too! So has anyone else exper
  20. So I read the Norquist article a couple posts back, and it seems like a lot of Orwellian doublespeak to me. "Tired of crazy government spending? Here's the solution: re-elect the guy who's doing the spending!" Most of the article only serves to cite examples of Bush's crazy spending and debunk the myth that a national debt is a "Good thing" because it's just "money we owe ourselves." It adds at the end that Bush is pushing a whole bunch of reforms that will reduce the debt, but I don't buy it. Our money is not his to use for funding charities and building schools in Iraq. The man has spent mor
  21. Kerry is definitely an expert at making his positions palatable to various opposing groups. But he's a politician, and yes, a smart one - much more intelligent than Bush, who can't get through a speech without maiming the English language. While I do not have any particular plans to vote for Kerry, I think an argument can be made for his superiority over Bush. The main reason people on this forum claim Bush is better centers around one thing: his "willingness to defend America." Yet look at his record. He invaded AFghanistan - something which, given the overwhelming amount of popular suppo
  22. I have add a bit of support to JC's position. There is a strangle pro-right slant to this forum which I don't usually see in Objectivists. It's not that I expected libertarian left-leaning, but a lot of people here seem pro-Bush simply because he attacked Iraq. I also don't feel comfortable with a born-again in charge of the country. I think part of the reason he doesn't seem to care too much about protecting American troops - in Yaron Brook's words his "immoral approach to war (which) wantonly sacrifices the lives of (our) soldiers" - is because of his "turn the other cheek" Christianity, and
  23. So Robert Tracinski DOESN'T believe gays have the right to get married? I haven't read this article, but I fail to see how marriage IS anything but a subjective, human-created category of relationship. It's a contract between two individuals and there's no reason it extends merely to heterosexuals. Perhaps if you are interested in defending this position, you could explain the article, as I do not receive The Intellectual Activist. The main difference between Bush and Kerry is that Kerry is a smart but unprincipled politician who'll knowingly contradict himself to appeal to multiple fa
  24. Ok, I don't buy the idea of a "right" judgement about music, unless you mean "what the composer intended"? Even so I'd say such terminology is incorrect, but I'd like to discuss it more to see what you mean. What'd be an example of a "Right" judgement about, say, Beethoven's 9th? Mozart or Verdi or Berlioz's Requiem? Or, something different - Britney Spears? Country-western? New age relaxation music? Miles Davis? Heavy metal? What are the "meaning" of such sounds, to use your terminology?
  25. "Remember, no dictator can long hold his power without the sanction of the people." ??? That simply doesn't make sense. A dictator can't hold on to power without the sanction of his ARMY. If he keeps the people in a tight enough stranglehold, there's nothing they can do to remove him. In Iran, every time there's a massive student protest, the mullahs unleash their thugs to beat and jail some of the dissenters. Just because a regime is still in power doesn't mean the people like it, it means it has enough military might to crush any civilian uprising. With such constant protests and the rec
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