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  1. Vladimir: I think you are missing the essential of Objectivism's view of emotions as well as of ethics. Emotions are not primaries. They are the automatic reaction of your subconscious to what you experience. To say that a thug lives in terror is not a weak and lame attempt to claim that committing murder causes psychological damage. It is to say that a thug must necessarily experience things that cause terror. They are necessary because they are the effects caused by the actions of a murderer. Unfortunatley, I don't have time to go through this step by step, but hopefully I've at least pointed the way. Similarly, Objectivist ethics is not in any way founded on the so-called "good" of society. Objectivism actually holds that the branches of philosophy are strictly hierarchical. Ethics is more fundamental. Politics depends on ethics, not the other way around. Rand argued that one should not sacrifice oneself to others, nor sacrifice others to oneself. This is because it's good for *you* and nothing to do with the notion of a society, which doesn't enter the discussion until the principles of ethics are firmly established. Again, I don't have the time to go all the way through this.
  2. I just want to say "thanks, Tom". You went to surprising length to explain the nature of the matter. I could not have said it better myself.
  3. Ordinarily, I don't respond to thieves in my own living room. But this being a public forum, I assume there are people who don't understand the full context. It's true that I let X lapse due to travel. The analogy would be forgetting to lock my front door. Now that I've returned, I find squatters in my house. But it's ok, it is "mere coincidence" and they are not "hostile". They are "fans of property rights." Some simple /whois commands showed the following azr|el [email protected] * : 0x29A azr|el :@#killjoy @#socialism @#Earthnet +#weed #ufo @#jerkstore @#newswire @#aynrand @#spliff @#SIGArms popeazr|el [email protected] * : alex popeazr|el :@#killjoy @#socialism @#Earthnet @#\m/etal #ufo @#jerkstore @#SouthPark+ @#newswire @#aynrand @#spliff[/code] a username of "anarkhia", a channel operator on #socialism, member of a channel named for a mind-altering drug... I guess "fan of Ayn Rand" is far indeed from "Objectivist." It only begs the question of how one can be a fan of Ayn Rand and yet live in contradiction with all of her principles.
  4. Yes, well, right, *achem*. "All of man's values are chosen--except his sexual values. Those are either nature or nurture." Repeat until true.
  5. Except in this analogy, the LP is digitalis-laced vanilla ice cream with arsenic sprinkles. Anarchism is worse than theocracy, as the Dark Ages were worse than the Middle Ages.
  6. Many years ago on a computer bulletin board system, I first encountered someone who claimed to be an ex-Objectivist. On the board, she advocated every socialist position. I spent some time thinking about this. My final conclusion is that the claim is a lie. I believe that this socialist 15 years ago thought she was an Objectivist. But this is "Objectivist" in the sense of having read Rand's books and, without a real understanding of the concepts, dogmatically spewed them at every opportunity. Inevitably, such people utter things like, "something simply came along and suggested..." I guess it's to be expected that someone who never understands a premise does not ever become certain about it, and is then merely waiting for the next thing to come along and "suggest" something. Hmm, lessee... This tongue-twister provides an example of many points. 1) "No one is in a position to assume that" -- The hallmark of the modern philosopher is an affect based on the assumption of the third-person voice (preferably passive voice, but I guess this case doesn't rise to the occasion) 2) "memetic dynamics of fora" -- that is absitively CLASSIC my dear Watson! 3) "that he or she" -- feminist politically-correct tongue-twisting pandering (say THAT 20 times fast!) 4) "Oism as an important stepping stone" -- the affected false humility was designed to cover this one up: Ayn Rand was a mediocre mind who put forth a set of ideas that I am not mature enough to see are just the start. I HAVE GRADUATED FROM OBJECTIVISM TO SOMETHING HIGHER. MWUHAHAHAHA!! All in one sentence. Truly amazing.
  7. What do people who believe that reality is real have in common with solipsists; rational men have in common with rationalists and mystics; egoists have in common with hedonists, pragmatists, and altruists? "Libertarianism." It can "work" only if you accept that political systems have nothing to do with more fundamental ideas, such as those in the fields of morality, epistemology, and metaphysics.
  8. I have some additional thoughts on business models. First, to clarify, I thought the original context of the question was that a small business owner could outcompete Wal-Mart on the basis of either being willing to take home less money, or on the basis that he can find odd lots cheaply. I believe I debunked both of those theories. I think the focus of the discussion switched to how such mega-successful companies got started. The premise was that they "obviously" started small. While I think this may have been true for Wal-Mart, I think it's less true for Microsoft, and not true at all for a number of household names today, such as Google. Today, especially in technology industries, there is venture capital available. If the nature of one's business plan requires that one's company begin with national scale, then one simply seeks out a sufficient equity investment to enable this. One may fail, of course, but not due to the economics of scale, or lack thereof. Another thread in the conversation addresses large, inefficient companies. My favorite, of course, are the operators of the telephone network. I agree that size does not grant one immunity to competition, even from startups. Nevertheless, while there are few companies that are both so large and so inefficient as the Bells, I think that a startup would have a very very hard time trying to take them on directly. In fact, several years ago in the bubble years, a number of companies (yes, with venture funding) tried. The CLECs (as they were called "competitive local exchange carriers" and opposed to ILECs "incumbent local exchange carriers") all failed. I do not know of one who succeeded. Today, "Voice Over IP" is a hot sector. The dynamics of the industry are different, and the play is different. These companies are mostly trying to offer a hosted IP service that connects to the telephone system just enough to have a phone number which is callable from regular old phones. They have a sustainable economic advantage over the ILECs, unlike the CLECs of the late 1990's. (They also have a sunset business, which they don't realize yet--but this is a topic for another day). I agree that there are many cases where old companies become fat and lazy and dumb. In such cases, a more able competitor can beat them directly. But I would hesitate to make this the first or primary point in a generalized business discussion that young entrepeneurs may take to heart. The sort of opportunity to take down a Ward's or Ford or IBM is for a team composed of seasoned industry veterans. The take-home for a young, aggressive, smart would-be entrepeneur is to look for a new niche that he can win. Find a place where the existing companies can't go. This may be because it's too small for them (Paper Tiger?), too radical for them (DiamondWare?) or because they just aren't structured to get into the new business. An example of the latter could be based on most companies' desires not to eat their own lunch, such as the railroads not wanting to offer airline service. Don't go and start a word processing company because Microsoft is much fatter and slower than it was 10 years ago. That's true, they are, but you still won't beat Word.
  9. Let's be clear here on what a "right" is, and what it is not. One might argue that one's property right includes sunlight, and that if other property owners built tall buildings that left you at the bottom of a pit, sunwise, that this deprives you of a part of your property. I am not sure if I entirely agree with this (still thinking), but if so, then clearly the adjacent owners can't build over a certain height without purchasing the first owner's sunlight rights. This gets hairy, which is why I am not sure if this whole doctrine is correct. But there is *not* a right to property *values*, i.e. to have someone come along and be willing to pay a particular price. If, in Fred's example, GM offers red, green, blue, and white cars, and this decreases the amount of money that would-be buyers would offer Mr. Ford for his company, oh well. Any lawsuits filed on this doctrine are specious.
  10. Let's just say that I disagree that Maslow is basically a good guy.
  11. QUOTE (Bearster) This is is naive, at best, and it sure looks pretentious. After I said that public education should be repealed, you said no Objectivist would say that. Were you unaware that you issued an insult? Do you feel you know me well enough to pronounce that judgement? This is my assessment of the current culture. It is also the rational view of political philosophy. The prevailing view today is that the government which happens to a country has little or nothing to do with the culture. This is why the basically rational, life-loving people of Iraq had a murderous dictator. All's we need to do is take out the dictator, and the folks in Baghdad will reimplement democracy. Wrong. Except for the case of an occupation army imposed from outside, countries have the governments they deserve. This is a corollary to the principle of the sanction of the victim. The US does not have 299,000,000 rational, independent, proud, honest, just men who happened to have been taken over by Clinton and Bush. It has 299,000,000 petty pragmatists who have elected precisely what they believe is good leadership. At what, exactly, does charity work? Accomplishing the altruist's goal of guaranteeing that unproductive men are paid for their non-production? This statement grants moral sanction to those who do not deserve it. The altruist's first (if not only) concern in designing a social system is to ensure that the unproductive are given as much as the productive. Our concern should be to ensure that no one is looted in order that others can be "given". The altruist wants welfare to exist to support those who aren't able-bodied. They tolerate the fraud because to them, it is immoral to deny welfare to those who "truly" need it.
  12. Betsy, the context was quite clear. I was talking about what happens *after* a catastrophic, cataclysmic, terrorist holocaust. I was talking about America in the aftermath of a terrorist nuclear strike against the largest US cities in the same instant. Your cite isn't relevant--and you know it. I don't believe that you lost track of the context I was addressing. You cited Rand by rote, because who could argue with Ayn Rand herself, right? The fact is, Rand was talking about the US in the what, 1960's? That was a different culture than what will be if the terrorists nuke 100,000,000 Americans. Don't you agree?
  13. The socialist theory of corporation is that capitalists take home "rents" (unearned money). Their moral code drives them to the idea of non-for-profit companies, but their economics reinforces the notion. If people get rich by "rents", then a more efficient system is one devoid of profit. This theory should not need to be debunked again in an Objectivist forum, so I will address it further. If this theory is false, then one can see that the idea that a company could lower prices simply because its owners are willing to work for less (or no) money. Aside from the fact that very few people want to work, much less own a business, for little or no money, this is a simpel corollary of the idea that "rents" cause high prices. Wal-Mart operates on margins so thin, that a mere razor is a poor analogy. You can't beat them on margin, you can't beat them by reducing or eliminating "rents", so how can you beat them? You can't. Not if you want to fight them head-on. As I understand the Wal-Mart story (and I haven't really studied it), for a long time, Wal-Mart avoided towns that had a K-Mart, Aimes, etc. They found a niche, and in this comparative shelter, developed the organization, process, supply chain, know-how, merchandising principles ... etc ... to be a world-class retailer. Today, Wards is done and K-Mart is close--no company can compete against Wal-Mart head-on. I know a lot more about the Microsoft story. They simply did not take IBM, Control Data, Honeywell, or the others head-on. They found a completely new space in which there was no dominant player, and aggressively pursued it. They obviously had brilliance, skill, hard work, etc. They also had a rarified opportunity. Most opportunities are not as big as the PC software business. Today, a company like mine does not seek to fight Microsoft directly. Developing an operating system, word process, web browser, or compiler would be financial suicide. What are we doing? You can read a little about it at www.dw.com. Fred, your company isn't taking Borders or Amazon.com on directly, is it? Aren't you specializing in a niche that those companies can't or won't address? So long as we have freedom, there will always be opportunities. But those opportunities are not only different in size, but they are scattered unevenly and in areas that most people don't see until the opportunity is gone. That is part of what makes it an opportunity. Microsoft had an opportunity to win in the operating system business around 1981 with the IBM PC (and they've since been carrying this ball without significant fumble). DiamondWare, or Paper Tiger, or anyone does not have the operating system opportunity.
  14. I understand what you were trying to say, but "self-actualization" is a modern psycho-babble term. It is the anti-concept that is somewhat similar to the concept* of independent. *Most of the popular anti-concepts are similar to legitemate concepts. Think of duty being similar to responsibility.
  15. It was intended to kill upwards of 100,000 people. It could have done that. Given the rate of their increase in scale, and this is not to be discounted. They've demonstrated a vicious hatred combined with the ability to coordinate multiple teams. They have access to nukes, from Pakistan, the Russian Black Market, and others. If they nuke NY, LA, DC, Atlanta, and Chicago then the United States of America would not survive. Sure, there would be many people left alive. But there would be two problems. First, food and other basic necessities. Such an attack would wreck our economy. Second, a dictatorship would emerge. People would not understand the cause of their woes, and a slick-talking Hitler type of man would emerge with strong rhetoric.
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