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Everything posted by Daedalus

  1. Would you be in favor of ramping up for an attack on the Empire State Building or the Sears Tower in Chicago? Who's minding the store? Who's making sure people entering our country now (as the 9/11 terrorists did in the previous decade) are not bent on mass destruction?
  2. We won the "Cold" War. The USSR lost -- in fact it's defunct. That's the good of building up our military forces.
  3. I did not add anything. I was simply quoting John Hospers.
  4. Strawman. No one has claimed that an infant without a brain owns its organs. The issue is whether organs are the product of one's efforts. The existence of brainless infants with viable organs is proof that they are not. My teeth arrived in my mouth the same way organs arrived in the body of a brainless infant. It had nothing to do with effort. Strawman number two. Since I never made such a claim, I am not obliged to defend it. I’ll refer you to my posts earlier in this thread. My name, like my body parts, is essential to my survival and thus is mine by right. My name is an essential part of my identity. If someone uses my name in a way that I do not approve of then he has damaged my identity.
  5. I can’t prove it. But then I can’t prove the authenticity of any of Ayn Rand’s posthumously published writings. How does one know that every word in The Journals of Ayn Rand was written by its purported author? So the best way to dissuade suicide bombers is to threaten them with death? How does imposing martial law on St. Louis and Cleveland improve border security? It is the role of the military to keep foreign enemies from attacking us. It is irrelevant as to whether the invaders are being transported in warplanes or in a pickup truck. If we already have sufficient money and personnel sitting around in the Dept. of Defense to secure our borders, then why wasn’t it done years ago? We had it on 9/11 and still were attacked. Just as we nuked the person who sent anthrax-laced letters to NBC and the National Enquirer in 200I? Defense against weapons of mass destruction is both a military and a scientific matter. How do you expect our troops to perform their duty if they are vomiting and running a high fever? Providing them with vaccines is just as essential to the success of their mission as providing them with helmets. Fine. Syria, Iran, or North Korea. Pick the one who gets nuked for the 2001 anthrax attack -- which is not an imaginary scenario. Utterly? In October five years will have passed since a photo editor in Florida died from anthrax mailed to his office. In case you hadn’t noticed, a large part of the nation’s intelligence apparatus is under the command of the military. And even civilian agencies like the CIA may be considered part of our defense. And, yes, there ain’t no such thing as a free intelligence agency.
  6. So if “ramping up” was the rational policy in the 1940s, why isn’t it the rational policy today? Is there any way we can say we’re sorry? And some say we actually blew up the WTC ourselves. If we’re going to fight Russia, we’re going to need a bigger army. I guess that means you’ll have to use a proxy.
  7. So was sitting on our hands not the proper policy? Hmm, would beefing up out miltary not have been in order? Or is there some principle in Objectivism that forbids kicking up military readiness a notch? Oh, I see we provoked the Japanese into bombing us. And I also suppose we provoked bin Laden into using our airliners as missiles against us. Yes, I'm quite familiar with the Blame Us First School. Who's stopping you?
  8. Granted. But I was responding to your claim that "I would definitely consider my teeth a product of my efforts." Given that there are stillborn, brain-dead and brainless infants and fetuses with vital organs, we must question the idea that body parts are a product of the effort of the individual holder of those parts. Very well, then someone other than the brain-dead human owns its body parts. In any case, you have not proven that in all cases "body and body parts [are] the product of [one's] greatest effort" And you have not refuted the argument that my name, which is not the product of my efforts but of my parents’ efforts is still, by their will, my property.
  9. No, the fact that the 9/11 hijackers, who shared a common background in a Islamic jihadist mosque in Hamburg, were let into this country is a testament to just how pathetic our border security/immigration apparatus is. Why the dichotomy? Screening out threats to national security = border security. Really? Then would cutting the budget for the Iraq War in half change anything? After the United States was attacked by Japan in 1941, was it wrong to throw more money at defense? Should we have just gotten by with the same 1.7 percent GDP allotment that the Department of War had in 1940? And after the Soviets stole our A-Bomb technology and exploded their first atomic device in 1949, should we have just gotten by with the same 3.5 percent GDP allotment that we had given defense in 1948? And ignored the fact that the Soviets had the bomb and intended to outpace us in nukes? Question: Is there any stage in a nation’s history where citizens should do more than say to their government, “Just use your existing resources more effectively”?
  10. If calling for government to fulfill its obligation to protect its citizens is fear-mongering, then make the best of it. Dominance of military power does not prevent aggression in every case. The ability of the United States to field the greatest army and navy on earth did not prevent the Japanese pre-emptive attack of Dec. 7, 1941. If our government has the means to build a system of intercepting U.S.-bound missiles (and it does), then refusal to do so is nothing but a confession of cowardice and appeasement. Giving a policeman a good handgun is a deterrent. Giving him a bullet-proof vest is protection for when the deterrent does not work. The same policy applies to missile defense, a rational system consisting of both offensive ICBMs and anti-ballistic missiles. As for the policy of killing suicidal groups first, easier said than done. So you would have opposed any pre-9/11 launches of cruise missiles at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan? And was there any point in our armed forces going into Afghanistan after 9/11? Regardless of any foreknowledge by our government, the fact remains that our potential military might was insufficient to serve as a deterrent against Japanese aggression.
  11. That was a fascinating essay. I am familiar with Stanislovski's approach to acting and the profound influence it has had on American theatre and cinema. I wonder if you have considered the effectiveness of variations of the Method, such as Lee Strasberg's emphasis on affective memory? And what about non-Method techniques in acting, such as the work of Don Richardson?
  12. As a matter of logic, the absence of a particular statement from a author's collected works does not prove that the statement was never made by the author. Ayn Rand made statements to Edwin Newman, Mike Wallace, Phil Donohue and Johnny Carson that are not in her collected writings. I’ve given several examples. But let’s focus on one: what will stop a nuclear-tipped missile from entering U.S. airspace and detonating over a large U.S. city? The 9/11 disaster did not require an invasion. And just how do we know that a truckload of migrant workers from Tijuana does not contain an agent of al Qaeda? And prior to 1941 Pearl Harbor had never been bombed. Really? It is legitimate to protect a population against enemy missiles but not against enemy germs? What country do we bomb with these tens of thousands of megatons if a virus is secretly introduced into our dairy supplies?
  13. D'kian wrote: I respectfully disagree. Clearly, we are only treading water in Iraq and not making significant progress towards shutting down the terrorist groups there that keep that country in a state of perpetual anarchy. Yes, we need more airstrikes (including nukes), and, yes, we need to disregard altruistic disabling concerns about the deaths of "innocents." But airstrikes and blockades won't cure the disease. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. --Dr. Leonard Peikoff, http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2635 Dr. Peikoff was speaking of Iran, but the same considerations apply to Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Once a country is softened by a series of nuclear strikes against its military and urban centers, we will still have to send in a large occupation force to subdue the surviving population and perform the equivalent of a de-Nazification program. Considering that this service will have to be performed in about a half dozen countries in the near future, there is no way that we can avoid an increase in defense spending. As an aside, having a Department of Defense and a Department of Homeland Security is an absurd and costly redundancy. In any case, the steady flood of illegal immigrants and the absence of a credible system to contain and combat biological warfare means that we are as vulnerable to attack today as we were in 1940.
  14. Please note that I never said property rights in one's name is a matter of trademark law. So the question of originality does not come into play here. John Smith, noted author of Making Your Heaven on Earth, does not have the right to regulate the use of the name of John Smith, plumber. But he certainly has a moral right to require that those who mention Author John Smith's name and ideas in public forums obtain permission to do so.
  15. To respond to your second point first, the context was given by Hospers: a complaint by some people at the party that taxes were too high. As for the authenticity of the quotation, Hospers kept notes of his meetings with Ayn Rand. So we cannot easily dismiss it as an instance of poor memory. But for the sake of argument, let us suppose Ayn Rand never made the statement. As Toolboxnj said in the quotation at the top of this thread, Objectivism is not concerned with the particular level of government revenue collection. Objectivism is concerned with the proper role of government, which includes protecting its citizens from foreign invasion. If a government's military is too weak to ensure the continued freedom of its people, then it is neglecting a fundamental responsibility.
  16. Let me see if I understand you. If a human did not make an effort to survive, would he have no body parts? Hardly. Consider that there are babies born without brains but who nonetheless have vital organs that can be transplanted into other infants. (See http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...751C1A961948260 ) We could hardly claim that these organs are the product of the brainless babies’ "efforts."
  17. The source is John Hospers in "An Open Letter to Libertarians," an essay that appeared on several websites during the 2004 election. You should be able to Google it up. Your question presumes that increased military spending means increased inefficiency, which is not a given. In any case, if more waste is an inevitable byproduct of more spending on national security, then it may be viewed as one of the necessary costs of protecting Americans from foreign aggressors. That does not make my post an argument for increased inefficiency any more than calling for more police cars is an argument for increased air pollution. Since I never claimed that America is being invaded (present tense), I am not obliged to defend that position. However, there is considerable evidence that our nation is no safer than it was on 9/11. Our borders are not secure Despite much "Star Wars" R&D during the Reagan era, we are still vulnerable to long range missile attack We lack the means to respond to and contain a biological warfare attack Threats posed by China and terrorist nations (some with the help of Russia -- see http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/000718.html ) remain unchecked Feel free to show how we can have more military strength by spending the same amount of money.
  18. From an earlier thread: Ayn Rand once said, "Accept 80% taxation if you have to, in order to preserve a free society." It is clear to many who are concerned about keeping America safe that we are not doing enough. (See, for example http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm ) Even if we eliminated all waste in the Department of Defense, we would still need dramatic increases in our military budget to ensure our freedom in the future. We have not secured our borders, built a shield against missile attack, taken adequate measures towards ending the many states that sponsor terrorism, nor countered the growing threat from China. Fiscal Year Military spending as percent of GDP 1940 1.7 1941 5.6 1942 17.8 1943 37.0 1944 37.8 1945 37.5 1946 19.2 1947 5.5 1948 3.5 1949 4.8 1950 5.0 1951 7.4 1952 13.2 1953 14.2 1954 13.1 1955 10.8 1956 10.0 1957 10.1 1958 10.2 1959 10.0 1960 9.3 1961 9.4 1962 9.2 1963 8.9 1964 8.5 1965 7.4 1966 7.7 1967 8.8 1968 9.4 1969 8.7 1970 8.1 1971 7.3 1972 6.7 1973 5.8 1974 5.5 1975 5.5 1976 5.2 1977 4.9 1978 4.7 1979 4.6 1980 4.9 1981 5.1 1982 5.7 1983 6.1 1984 5.9 1985 6.1 1986 6.2 1987 6.1 1988 5.8 1989 5.6 1990 5.2 1991 4.6 1992 4.8 1993 4.4 1994 4.0 1995 3.7 1996 3.5 1997 3.3 1998 3.1 1999 3.0 2000 3.0 2001 3.0 2002 3.4 2003 3.7 Source: http://www.truthandpolitics.org/display-su...php?topicId=400 As you can see from the chart, in terms of our wealth today we are spending only a fraction of what we spent on the military during the last world war. In 1945 we spent 37.5% of our GDP on defense. In recent years we have spent only about 4%. Imagine the kind of weaponry and fighting forces we could have if we were spending $3 trillion per year instead of $400 billion! I'm all in favor of dismantling the welfare state and instituting a system of voluntary taxation. But we must first make sure that the United States stays around long enough for those reforms to be enacted.
  19. No, because (as you seem to recognize below) it is not a unique name. Similarly, "The dog barked" is not a unique combination of words in the way that the text of Atlas Shrugged is. Private conversations are entirely different than public forums. You can read Atlas Shrugged aloud to your children without the copyright holder’s permission. However, reading it over the airwaves requires prior consent. I can call myself John Smith of 435 West 34th St., New York, NY to distinguish myself from others with the same name. Furthermore, if I become a best-selling author, those who wish to discuss John Smith and his book Making Your Heaven on Earth in print or in a public forum would have to obtain my permission first. After all, they are not discussing the words of John Smith the bartender of Brooklyn Heights. Agreed. We can discuss "the junior senator from New York" without violating her property right in her name.
  20. Nothing is wrong with complimenting (or criticizing) a person's arms and legs. In doing so, you are not using that person's limbs. However, when you write "Ayn Rand," you are using words that belong to someone else. Using "Ayn Rand" without the rightful owner's permission is the same kind of rights violation as staging Night of January 16th without the copyright holder’s permission.
  21. You could also sit there and broadcast songs over your radio station without paying the songwriters a penny in royalties. And what would be wrong with that? The songs are not a part of the songwriters, are they? Can’t we then say that use of a song without permission or compensation involves no coercion? So you say. In China movies and CDs are regularly duplicated and sold without the permission of or compensation to the companies that hold the copyright. The fact that this piracy occurs with the consent of law enforcement authorities in China does not mean that no moral law is being broken. Similarly, the fact that some publications, such as The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, are permitted to use Ayn Rand’s name in the most disgraceful ways does not means that they are acting morally. My effort did not create the teeth in my mouth. They are nonetheless a value to me and one that should be protected by the legal code. The same is true for one’s name. Morally, you can only use my name with my permission. Saying that requiring you to get my permission is the same as vetoing speech is no different than saying that having to get Mel Brooks’s permission to stage The Producers is a veto of free speech.
  22. By that criterion we would have to rule out the human body as belonging to the individual who inhabits it. How does one earn the teeth in one's mouth, the hair on one’s head? We would also have to exclude hereditary wealth from the category of legitimate property. How did the Kennedy children earn their fortunes? To state that one has ownership over both his name and reputation is not to conflate the two concepts. But it is obvious that if a writer associates my name with immoral activities or absurd beliefs, my reputation will suffer. The arbitrariness of my parents' name selection is irrelevant to my ownership of that name. By comparison, it is arbitrary that I was given a red rather than a blue bicycle on my eighth birthday. The choice of color has no bearing on my ownership of the bike. See my earlier post: by the same means by which one acquires ownership of one's arms and legs. Not at all. Do we say we have no free speech today because we are prohibited from reproducing novels and plays without the authors' permission? Furthermore, there is no reason why forums such as this one couldn’t require participants to waive proprietary rights to their name during the course of discussion. Similarly, academic journals might require scholars submitting articles to permit free use of their name and writings by respondents to their opinions.
  23. According to David Harriman, editor of The Journals of Ayn Rand, "Ellsworth Toohey's manner of combining architectural criticism with collectivist propaganda was taken in part from the writings of Lewis Mumford and Bruno Taut." (p. 118) As for Toohey's appearance and style, British socialist Harold Laski, was the model. She said in a 1961 interview, "Laski was the soul of Ellsworth Toohey in the flesh. . . I drew a sketch during the lecture, with the narrow cadaverous face and glasses and big ears, and I gave it all to Toohey." (p. 113)
  24. Hmm, no distinction made between homosexuals and heterosexuals? Would that make it a bi-sexual country?
  25. I give up. I can't think of any countries, Western or otherwise, that could be described as "non-heterosexual." What's the national population growth rate there?
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