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Maarten

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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Suppose we were to agree that control of nuclear plants should be in government hands, on the grounds that it is too dangerous an instrument for normal people to play around with (because there might be an irrational person there). Wouldn't this make a very arbitrary split in the private ownership case? How are we to determine what is acceptable danger and what isn't? One could argue that oil refineries are also very dangerous, I wouldn't want to live next to one if it explodes due to an emergency, or just mismanagement. I don't see any good grounds for drawing the line somewhere without making it a totally arbitrary decision based on the whim of some bureaucrat or another. I think we all agree that that is not what we want. You can't treat these cases merely on a case-by-case basis, without them having influence on the underlying principles. I still don't see why a nuclear power plant would be safer if the government operated it, the danger will always remain. I think, however, that these days these plants are so safe that there shouldn't be much cause for concern.
  2. (emphasis mine) I don't mean to answer for CF, but I think their point is that it's a derivative from the nature of men/women. That's where their conclusions come from. I am not sure if after thirty pages there has been an agreement on what constitutes femininity and masculinity, though. I get the impression that there isn't one at this point. I think someone very different is more complementary, especially because they possess attributes that you (as a man, or woman) don't possess, and which another man or woman can't possess either. I find it strange that you ask someone to show that his argument is objective, when you talk about people's feelings. Last time I checked, someone feeling something very strongly doesn't mean anything, and it is irrelevant to this whole discussion.
  3. Ah, sorry, I thought you meant that you couldn't refute them when they said that Anyway, there's bound to be something about love in VoS, for example. You could reference them to that?
  4. The chance of you getting hit with lightning is also not zero. Does that mean you should avoid walking outside? I see no reason why a government-run nuclear plant would be safer; as far as I can tell all the arguments you can have speak in favor of private ownership, because the person who owns it actually invests his own money. A government official is merely using someone else's cash, and therefore has a much lower attachment to it operating as safely as it can.
  5. A short answer I can think of is that love depends on values a person has. It is impossible to have one without the other. What unconditional love means is that you should love someone no matter what happens. This is a clear contradiction to the nature of love, because when someone destroys everything about them that is admirable and worth loving, then how can you expect to be loved? It's as irrational as the view of selfless love (I think it's just another instance of the same thing) and can be refuted by almost the same means. Selfless love is love devoid of values, and unconditional love is demanding that a change in someone's values not make a difference; both are an attempt to get hold of the unearned in spirit.
  6. That reminds me of something I read in OPAR, about justice. "The innocent man asks for justice, not mercy. He wants what is coming to him." You might be able to show that it is, in fact, to someone's rational self-interest to testify in such a situation. I agree, if the alternative was choosing between having my rights violated to testify, or the entire judicial system collapsing I would probably choose the first. I am not sure yet if that is the only choice there is, though.
  7. Maarten

    Debitism

    In a proper economy money is backed by wealth, i.e. by physical goods that improve the life of man. It is to the extent that they do that that they have value to someone. If you enter a voluntary agreement with someone to trade your work for his money then there is no one being taken advantage of. I think your mistake is in assuming that money has an inherent value, but it doesn't. Your money would be totally worthless if there were no goods backing it, because in a way it is note saying you're owed a certain value in goods. To trade this note for the goods in question does not harm either person's interests. If you divorce money from what's behind it, then your theory would be correct (as far as I can see). This is not the case, however, and there is not a static amount of wealth in the world, simply because by means of work you can improve a certain product's value, and because a lot of things aren't included in our wealth (Like natural resources we haven't yet accessed). As long as there is a way to improve upon existing processes and innovate there will be more wealth being produced, and everyone will profit.
  8. From that article: I didn't know ARI was doing so well spreading Objectivism that they're already mentioning it in a disapproving manner
  9. What's a little practical hurdle to stop you from realizing your dreams, though? Anarchism can work, because they want it to real badly. Isn't that worthy of our undying approval?
  10. I disagree, if you just read some summaries of her philosophy then you have a bunch of unvalidated conclusions. It takes quite a lot of effort to integrate it all into one consistent whole. You should live as long as possible because Life is the standard of value. Without life there can be no happiness, nor can something be good or evil for you. Sure, if you had to choose between a short, meaningful life, and a long life without values then the first would be better, but this is a false alternative. Your life is the standard by which to judge right or wrong, and it means life proper to a rational being through the whole of his lifespan (which is generally around 80? years for a human these days).
  11. Clawg, if what you meant was that you act on a range-of-the-moment impulse, then I wouldn't call that moral even if the results happened to be good. The method used to get to the end you arrived at is extremely important. It's not just about results.
  12. If in a certain situation you have no specific arguments to say that there is a good chance of an accident happening, then arguing that it could happen is completely arbitrary, and should be regarded as such. If someone builds a nuclear plant of a certain type, and you can prove there is a flaw, or you can prove that someone is intentionally disregarding normal procedures then you have a good case, otherwise it's just hot air being thrown around.
  13. If you can demonstrate that there are more advantages, as it were, to a heterosexual relationship then wouldn't that mean that it is the only option if you want the best? I think this is part of what CF is talking about in one of his earlier posts (If he said that, I'm starting to lose track of who said what, it's too big!) Then you could say that in general, if you want the best possible relationship, it is the heterosexual one you should pursue. Given the premise, is the rest of my reasoning sound here? If it is, then you pretty much just need to answer whether or not it is objectively demonstrable that either of the types of relationships is better, or more completely fulfilling, than the other.
  14. But then I think it is not a valid assumption to make that if we do not compel witnesses there would be no help going on, and criminals would go free. So this is really not a very good argument against prohibiting the use of force against innocents in these situations. I disagree with you, Daedalus, that the situations you described are similar. In the case of compelling a witness the crime has already happened, and your life at that point is no longer directly in danger. This is a very long way from someone directly threatening you, and forcing you to act.
  15. I've read a bunch of the earlier pages and I understand the various positions more clearly now, I think. This may have been thoroughly refuted, but I wanted to add that the claim that homosexuality is not open to choice is a form of determinism. If we don't accept that environmental influences make someone poor without any element of choice on his part, then I find it equally unlikely that environmental (or genetic) factors make some gay, thereby placing it outside the realm of morality. I think CF has made a very convincing case so far. I have to consider this some more before I make up my mind. I do know that my earlier opinion about this was actually not rationally derived, as I have not really considered it at length before. RC, I think that was indirectly a reply to my statement, as I was talking about 'demanding'. *If men and women differ in their nature, then it would follow that they should act in accordance with it. If I understand it correctly this difference is the difference between masculinity and femininity. Basically, it comes down to showing what does and what does not fall under the concept of these two concepts. Do we have an agreement at this moment about feminity being hero-worship in essence, and masculinity being heroic in essence, or is that still being contested? I think Ayn Rand portrays this quite clearly in Atlas Shrugged, for example. If you look at the way she writes about sex in that book, then I think the way CF is defining both concepts is consistent with that. For me that was a totally different way of looking at the whole phenomena of relationships, and my hesitation on this subject to fully accept that might very well be the result of holding earlier (irrational) ideas about it, derived from different sources.*
  16. Hmm, that depends on the proper context. I remember reading somewhere that Ayn Rand said that you aren't obligated to sacrifice yourself if voicing disapproval would get you killed by the police. In that scenario I don't think the people who do all that they could are responsible. But then again, you don't know in advance whether or not someone is like that. I can think of multiple scenarios related to war where you wouldn't have time to find out if the civilian in question was responsible for his situation or not. Personally speaking, I would not care to live like that. I am not sure if there are proper grounds to condemn them as sanctioning evil, and thereby being immoral, though.
  17. Erm, I should have been more clear. I was talking about the admiration one has for someone's character. And like Eternal said, it would be absurd to argue that being attracted to blondes is immoral; same goes for being attracted to more muscular women or any other physical trait you might wish to name. This is because they don't make anyone any less human, or do anything to destroy someone's life (which is their standard for judging good or evil) qua man. Men, for example, are attracted to a vast array of differently looking women. You have to remember that attraction is both physical and spiritual, the physical aspect mostly being that they embody the values you seek in your ideal partner. I do not see the connection between these things and demanding that people should be heterosexual. We have to apply reduction to the concepts to see if they can be traced back to something that is grounded in reality.
  18. Isn't this a little bit like those arguments other people make that in an Objectivist society all poor people would die because no one would help them? Why do we assume that, when it is in everyone's actual interest to do so, individuals would consequently refuse to help? They are hurting their own situation immensely. The only difference being that in that situation there aren't any rights being violated, but I am not sure if sketching doom scenarios makes a valid point here.
  19. My msn is the same as my email address ([email protected]). Feel free to add me
  20. The end does not justify the means. You're violating someone's rights when you do what you do (albeit in a somewhat minor way), and you can't make some sort of addition sum and say: well, they profited, so it's okay!
  21. So, to sum up your position, you think it's always wrong for the government to coerce someone to testify?
  22. (bold mine) I see no reason why this merely applies to productivity. If you extend this principle to other parts then I don't think you have any basis to claim that some behaviour is only appropriate if a man (or a woman) does it. I think most of the things mentioned that either should do to initiate a relationship (for example) are not specific to either gender. I think most of that is simply due to what our society sees as the proper roles that men and women should take. I would argue that everything that is admirable in a man is admirable in a woman as well. Every major virtue (and all major values they hold) applies equally to both, and it is on the basis of that that you choose someone to pursue.
  23. I think I have to change my stance on this. It would be very bad to let criminals go free in these situations. If the government would hesitate to use force in those situations where it is required you are basically encouraging criminals.
  24. If the crime could be solved without using the witness that would be infinitely preferable, though. This may not always be the case, but as technology advances we might very well advance to the point where they can use other methods of proving that someone did it. Your position sounds reasonable, if you properly define when they can use this, and when they cannot (to prevent abuse).
  25. I think this is essentially correct, but you have to be very careful not to make happiness the standard of value. I think the ultimate goal (as a reward) is happiness, but that doesn't mean that if something makes you happy, it is therefore good. (that is a subjectivist approach) I disagree, there are most certainly objective grounds for deciding if something is good or evil, so to speak. Someone should be judged on the basis of how many of the virtues they practice, and therefore how many objectively good values they can reach. You're basically proclaiming: Who am I to judge? which is the start of moral agnosticism. Because man's life is the standard of value, and you need to gain and keep values in order to survive qua man, i.e. to live your life as a rational being. Because reason is the means of survival (as a rational being) you should use reason to determine what is good for you and what is not. Productive work as a virtue is essentially man's main activity, the one that gives him a long term goal. That's why it's regarded as the main pillar holding your life together, and that's why all other things (like recreation and relationships) are secondary. Think about it, could you truly value someone who never bothered to do anything, and just sat around all day? Without productive work to give meaning to your life, in the sense that it allows you to create and improve upon your own character, you will not reach nearly the same heights of success in life as someone who is productive in that sense.
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