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Everything posted by blackdiamond

  1. If I may. Isn't this the same way sentencing of a convicted person works? Doesn't the judge come up with the "lenghts" of time for him to serve in prison based on "a grouping of considerations"? (Would you say that such sentencing is therefore not based on any objective principle since it is "left up to the discretion" of judges?)
  2. Hi guys, thought I should tell you about my newly published Kindle book here, and ask for some reviews on Amazon. I'm currently back at the Hoover Institution, Stanford. I wrote this imaginary debate between Barack Obama and Ayn Rand just to help people understand the essential differences between the two thought systems and hopefully to get more students interested in studying some Rand: http://www.amazon.com/BARACK-OBAMA-AYN-RAND-ebook/dp/B00C2BMN46 Please review and share. Thanks.
  3. WSJ seems to be right and Paul wrong on this one. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324128504578344700320290068.html
  4. You visit a friend one day and his two year old child says to you, "it's a warm day today!" And indeed it is truly a warm day today. Impressive kid, right? After visiting your friend for several days, and weeks, you discover that the child actually just says "it's a warm day today" every time someone walks in. The statement is arbitrary -- whether it happens to be a warm day today or not. You might as well replace the kid with a parrot or a tape recorder. Is his statement true or false when you know it is actually not connected to reality (in the way it was processed)? My 2 cents.
  5. I think that knowingly wasting your vote on someone who can not possibly win is irrational, even if it is for symbolic purposes, if you can expend some mental effort to see which of the viable candidates is better (or less bad) for your life. In this case, there is clearly a difference between Obama and Romney/Ryan that anyone can see if they put in a bit of thought without being too rationalistic. The fact is that we live in a real world, whose features include the fact that we don't always get everything we want from a situation. But we still have to act to help produce an outcome that serves us best among the only real inevitable options before us. So, for example, we would all love to work for a company that has all the right values as far as Objectivism goes. But suppose there is only one company that has a leader or philosophy that is quite Objectivist in every sense, and yet this company has no chance of growing very much or even surviving in its market (for any number of reasons) -- say, smart phone manufacturing (competing against Apple etc). Would you join them (even for symbolic purposes) when there are other companies that have a high chance of success, will pay you much better etc, except for a few things they believe in that you don't think are good compared to the "Objectivist" company (maybe they have a "green earth" policy in their manufacturing process or they donate millions to Obama!)? [i think it also sounds a bit irresponsible to say "I know Romney is better than Obama and I know he will win in my red state, so I will vote for someone else or maybe I will just write 'Ayn Rand' in the box -- symbolically." You can't just be dependent on others creating an outcome you prefer if you can do something as well; that just seems dishonest to me. Sounds like a parasite.]
  6. So, if you have a candidate who will put all taxes at 5 percent or less and another who will put the same taxes at 80 percent or more, you will vote for neither candidate since they both believe in taxation (for social programs, etc)?
  7. An interesting blog article in the Jerusalem Post that invokes Ayn Rand's novel. Ends with this sentence: " So I sit with a knot in my stomach as one contemptible ‘human rights visionary’ after another sells Israel the idea that its own suicide is a virtue, and as I contemplate how on earth we have come to adopt such a perverse social order, I, like Atlas, can only shrug."
  8. MarcT, are you being totally honest (to yourself and to us) in all your postings here? If so, why do you think that's so important?
  9. **Mod Note: Merged Thread -Dante** A billionaire is seriously funding this project of creating islands that have full capitalist principles.
  10. It is actually quite irrational not to treat with utmost respect (and politeness) someone you know to be a greater master than yourself in a field in which you have interest, no matter how wrong you think what they are saying is on some particular issue. When you learn this, you have a good chance of actually becoming wise
  11. You have it reversed, Tyco. I don't think it's a very important error, but trading is not capitalism (even if it is free and for mutual benefit). In a capitalist system, you are not just free to trade, you are even free to not trade. Capitalism does not follow when you have a system of protecting individual rights in place. That very system is what capitalism is.
  12. Tyco, I think you probably might want to study the meaning of capitalism from an Objectivist perspective a little more. It's not something that "happens," and it certainly is not something that "just happens." It's not some phenomenon. It's a social system you put in place. Capitalism is not wealth creation.
  13. Look at it this way. There are many people in America who, when they hear liberal intellectuals hating or demonizing someone so much, they simply become interested in that person: they will google that person or buy any book she's written just to know why she's got so many liberals ticked off (that's one big way Sarah Palin became so popular). There's a very huge number of people that distrusts liberal intellectuals that way (and their googling might just lead them to this forum!). So I think it's kind of a good thing when they attack her in any way really.
  14. Well, you're partly right, but I think you do have to put it in place, as a government. That means you have to structure all your laws with the exclusive aim of protecting individual (property) rights. Isn't that "consciously put(ting) in place" a system?
  15. In this short discussion about the future of capitalism (mostly consisting of totally unqualified experts), Arianna Huffington says American capitalism has been "reduced" to Ayn Rand's virtue-of-selfishness capitalism, instead of having a moral foundation! (I'm just glad Ayn Rand has attained such a place of influence, at least in intellectuals' minds, even if misconstrued.)
  16. The basic problem in this community is collectivism. When the lady said, “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives,” she was basically saying they won't be normal members of her community, and that's a logical concern for someone who values her "community" above the individual. Obviously the girl won't be normal either, but in this lady's mind, there is greater concern for the bigger number (the rapists) of community members because that's a bigger loss for the community. In short, her primary concern is not even for these boys as individuals, but only as slaves of the community. The full sentence in that report was: “It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
  17. Do we know for a fact that more immigrants means higher taxes, even under current welfare state conditions? Doesn't that depend on the empirical question of whether or not the immigrants create more wealth than they consume from welfare state? Isn't it possible that open immigration might lead to lower taxes for everyone, in short? (Or has someone already done the math?)
  18. Can you point to ONE person who said this? Just one. (I haven't read through the whole thread.)
  19. I have just spoken this text through my google nexus 1 phone! Seriously.
  20. Primitive societies are free? This tells me that we will never agree on this subject, our premises are just too different. So I have to quietly bow out of this one. But thanks all for your interesting deconstructions of the movie.
  21. Oh, and for your last point on Persians. Are you saying the reason we say they were evil was because the Greeks thought anyone who would enslave them has to be evil? So our judgment would have to be different if the Greeks also thought slavery was OK?
  22. OK, let me tone this down. And I will take your points one at a time so that we don't lose ourselves. I address only your first point. 1. So I guess if you go to Iran and asked their leaders "are Iranians slaves?" you expect they will reply "yes, of course"? Or the Iranians themselves will say they are slaves and treated as such? If, on the other hand, what you mean is that they are essentially slaves according to YOUR objective judgment, then that applies to those uncivilized tribal societies too, no? Iranians might explicitly believe that they should submit to Allah through their powerful spiritual leader who will dictate Allah's orders to them; the tribe might believe they must submit to their dead ancestors or some divine tree through their chosen powerful leader(s) who will dictate its orders to them. [And of course for the Soviets, the leader dictates on behalf of "the community"]. Why is the tribe to be excepted from your judgment as a dictatorship? Why does it matter whether the dictatorship comes from Marxism or "Tree-ism" or Allahism? [i will not at this stage discuss your mass murder point and whether it applied to all dictatorships before they could be judged as evil. I will also not ask you whether you think a person can be judged as evil from his ideas alone even if he has not murdered anyone, which seems to be the source of our difference. Nor will I address your interesting statement that we are discussing what THEY themselves considered evil... ...but I guess I have!]
  23. Well, not really. One man's steaming pile of elephant dung is another man's steaming cup of tea!
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