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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Good editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Go exposure! WSJ editorial
  2. It might be a good combination in some districts. Certain socially liberal views would go a long way towards attracting voters on the left and center, and good economic and fiscally conservative policies would work for quite a few people in the center and possibly on the (moderate) right. Given that independents are about 40% of the vote nowadays, you'd only need a few people from the other parties to vote for you in order to get elected. And I think it helps that a lot of your views are reality-based. You can also be consistent and I think that would also appeal to many people.
  3. I think that's a pretty good idea. I can contribute some seed money to the organization as well; does anyone know whether we can buy hospitals anywhere and then deploy them? How do the mechanics of that work? If we can find them somewhere else for a bargain we can buy them cheap that way and it'd be a lot easier to pull off, and then just advertise for voluntary donations.
  4. Either way, even if some people value it differently than others, it simply means that the value is optional, NOT subjective. There is a huge difference between the two. Any proper value furthers the life of the valuer in some way, even if not everyone has that value.
  5. Well, the silver lining is that most of the people who voted for it today are still not sold on the actual bill. Lieberman said he would not vote for it if it still contained a public option, so there's still a decent chance it'll get blocked at the vote to close debate and actually vote for the bill. Gotta love procedural hurdles
  6. Theft in that sense is not exactly the same as the invasion of privacy in this case. Yes, the person took something that he didn't earn, but he did not deprive anyone of the original documents, either. And these emails belonged to a public institution, which makes it a different situation than if it were a private individual, or a company. I don't think government institutions really have privacy in the sense that individuals do, except in matters of national security and the like. It is no coincidence that their operating statements are publicly accessible, and that the documents are able to be released when requested. I don't know enough about the specifics to say if it is a crime or not; but it is ludicrous to compare it to breaking into a private company and stealing anything in sight.
  7. Agreed. I mostly hope this may help in capsizing the immediate threats that are both Copenhagen and Cap and Trade. Especially the later, if it gets discredited enough in the minds of moderate democrats that would help a lot in stalling the legislation, and that'd be a major victory.
  8. Really loving someone requires that you know who they are, so I don't think you attain the most profound stage of love the moment you meet them. However, I think falling in love with someone is more of a sense of life issue that is perfectly possible when you meet them, because you can sense their SoL directly. And that is definitely more than just wanting them sexually. But I think it does take time and getting to know them better before that advances beyond the first stage and becomes full out romantic love in the sense where you say: this person is incredibly important to me and they make my life better for being in it.
  9. Yeah, but it's good that they have it out in the open, in their own words. It's a lot harder to explain that compared to just having people who are against AGW talk about it.
  10. I found this a few minutes ago; it's apparently already circulating on a lot of climate change websites and from what I can gather the guy who runs the institute confirmed that the emails are legit. Read it and rejoice =) Global warming gate? =)
  11. But people can knowingly perform immoral acts and not evade that knowledge. At least, in principle. That may not be the case for most people, but certainly some individuals knowingly take actions that are evil, and do not try to make it seem better than it is. i.e. people who are truly just motivated to destroy certain things, and don't try and cover it up with rationalizations. It's not that common, again, but I think it does imply that the irrationality is more fundamental than evasion is.
  12. Wouldn't irrationality be the more primal sin? You can be irrational without evading, after all. The opposite is not true, as you are always irrational if you do evade knowledge. I'd agree that evasion is a very important enabler of irrationality in practice, but it only covers a subset of life-destroying actions and as such I think is a derivative sin (even if very important).
  13. Ostlandet for me, I think My company is still in Svalbard cause it cannot move.
  14. In New Hampshire unemployment dropped last month. I think we're at about 6.8% or something, right now. Unemployment isn't the whole picture, of course, but it is certainly nice that there are a fair amount of jobs available here wherever I go.
  15. The really interesting thing is that Nazism is also just another form of socialism. There really is not much of an essential difference in the social aims and whatnot that were espoused by the Nazis as compared to Communists, for example. I guess the Commies didn't discriminate against one minority group in particular and treated everyone equally horribly, and that makes it better? =)
  16. Penn and Teller did an amazing episode on that where they actually got some Mayan scholars and descendants of that culture to comment on it, and not a single one of them said it was supposed to be a catastrophe. It's pretty scary that our calendars end at the 31st of December, isn't it? I mean, they could go on forever, but they stop? Maybe the calendar makers know something
  17. That's also related to people equivocating between not being able to afford something and not being allowed to buy it. The second would certainly violate someone's rights (in the sense of being forcefully prevented from buying a treatment, say by legislative fiat). I think the problem we have is that a lot of people seem to think that when you are not getting treatment because you can't pay for it, the person is denying you access to something you should have. And that just comes down to the equivocation of rights to act with rights to effects such as healthcare. Ultimately this issue only exists because people are confused about the nature of rights and somehow believe that you have a right to be provided with health care whether you can afford to or not. I just don't know why people are much more rational about this issue when it comes to, say, food or clothing. Not that many people openly advocated that we should provide everyone with as much food and clothing as they want. I think the main difference is that most emergency healthcare related situations seem so much more serious than the ways in which food or clothing or shelter impact your life. Not getting surgery can easily kill you instantly, but not eating for a day generally doesn't have that same impact.
  18. Agreed. That is certainly a huge concern. I mostly responded the way I did because there are a lot of people saying this is somehow a violation of women's rights, and that is simply not true. I agree that the motivations and precedents are probably bad in certain ways because it's a success for the anti-abortion crowd, but this action by itself is a good thing. And not, as many democrats suggest, a horrible crime against women. Ultimately, it can only work in our favor to make this a purely personal issue. Because if the government is involved in paying for it, that makes it much more easy to argue they should also be able to tell you when you can have it. That delineation is much clearer when the two are separated. At least, that's the way I see this in principle.
  19. The amendment only banned federal funding of abortions, though. The government shouldn't be involved in that, anyway, so why exactly is this a violation of women's rights? The only reason this is an issue is because there is already so much government involvement, but I am not sure if I really grasp why this is such a bad thing. Don't we want the government out of funding these things? In some ways it might actually be better if there is a more direct payment method for abortions, because there is no distortion through third party payers. I agree that the government has no business restricting access to abortions by banning it in various situations, but refusing to subsidize it is not a violation of women's rights, because there is no right to have your medical procedures paid for by others. Yeah, this will probably make it harder to pay for abortions, but many other things that are not generally covered by insurance ended up getting cheaper and better (many cosmetic things, laser eye surgery), so wouldn't that also possibly happen with abortion techniques?
  20. Hey guys, I'm sorry I've been kind of inactive. I see we have our own party now, so that's cool I added my candidacy to the list of potential congress members. I think if we get about 4-5 votes per person we could probably elect quite a few people; only some people end up voting in the country and certain members get a lot of votes, so that means that it's quite easy to get a substantial minority =) I'll make sure to be more active in the next few months, my school was a little insane lately.
  21. You mean happiness and the pursuit of happiness are not the same thing? Darn it, I guess I have to actually do something to achieve that =(
  22. Yeah, I think in many cases you would need a lot of patience before it started paying off. For most types of businesses, for example, you couldn't really make a living just selling to 20 or 100 people, total. And it'd take a while before enough outsiders know about the town and how there are really awesome X there that are better or cheaper or whatever than elsewhere, for them to come there. All that probably makes for a fairly significant initial investment. I guess it'd depend on how bad the current place you're living is, to see if it's worth it. For example, close to where I live right now there's a small village that doesn't have zoning or really any kind of regulations. There's a bunch of libertarians living there right now, and I think they're pretty close to having a majority in the town meetings and stuff. But then again, in a lot of those places the current inhabitants are pretty skeptical about outsiders moving in and planning to change things drastically. Usually that doesn't go over very well, and especially in smaller towns that can really hurt you. I think if you did it more as a development thing that might go over better, but you're still subject to county regulations and taxes and you wouldn't have the population to really make a difference there in terms of votes. Over here the small towns get totally outvoted on anything because of the larger college towns that are much more liberal. So in these areas on the county level it doesn't make much of a difference. Now perhaps in some western states there are counties that are virtually empty; but then you have the issue of living in the middle of nowhere, which doesn't exactly help a good life.
  23. Does that mean that if the burglar stealing your TV leaves something of equal value it is no longer a crime? That's a cool concept... I didn't know about that =) That guy's point is not even that the government doesn't force you to pay it, but that you get something in return. However, the problem with that is that you did not choose what you get in return so it cannot be seen as a trade. It's a forced exchange, at gunpoint. Just as a robber taking something that's yours but leaving something random behind. Yes, some people may even profit from that but that's not the point; you were still robbed and it is still a violation of rights.
  24. I think for example here in New Hampshire we have very small towns that have virtually no property taxes (or much less anyway), and no zoning laws. To a fairly large extent the tax burden is determined by local governments, although I think part of it is state level and you couldn't avoid that. But it would give you a fairly good place to live, especially if it's still within 30 minutes or something of a decent size town where you can buy a lot of things. However, you still need a ton of resources for this. If you want to start businesses and everything in the area; that costs a lot of money, and you would only be able to sell to the other people in the town at first. At least until it becomes well-known enough that outside people start coming there to buy, too.
  25. Still, I don't really see the issue. ARI has several old appearances on the Thom Hartman show (I believe) by Objectivist Intellectuals, and I doubt anyone would claim that they sanctioned the host's views by appearing there? I think it would potentially be different if the Objectivist spoke at, say, a fund raising party for a Neoconservative... but I don't see that.
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