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Everything posted by aequalsa

  1. I pretty much agree with EC on this. Something else to consider is the dynamic of the relationship that is created when a guy pursues a woman in the fashion that most women will claim they want. The "bring them flowers/buy them dinner/take care of their emotional needs/etc" package is just a bad thing to buy. What these activities all have in common is that YOU are making an investment in the relationship in terms of time, money, effort and emotion, while they just have to show up, when its convenient for them. After a few months of this there is little mutual respect and they have nowhere near the vested interest that you have in the relationship. It creates an imbalance. People should never put more into a relationship then the other is wlling to. And I agree in a sense that there is no reason to play silly games. I just don't think the type of behaviour EC explains is a silly game. You truly should have the self-esteem to honestly believe that you do not need to purchase a womans affections by making any effort to convince her that you are worth having. Let her see what kind of person you are and if she is worthing having, then she'll will be able to recognize your value and will act accordingly. Best regards Gordon
  2. An important difference would be the type of people you generally attract. If all the free lunches that I have to pay for were eliminated the only incentive for coming here would be the oppurtunity to work in a free market which would be perfectly acceptable. Immigrants would have the same cost of living and income requirements of any citizen and would harm me in know way. However, when you can count on free medical care, free schools, free food, and free housing in addition to the oppurtunity to work in a country that is 41% capitalist, 38% fascist, and 21% socialist(yes, I just made those figures up) then you attract another sort of person. The idea isn't to eliminate people coming here. That can cause no damage to current residents. No rational individual would be opposed to immigration, per se. What I and others advocate is having them go through proper legal channels(Like I would have to going anywhere else) and not providing them with anything at my expense.
  3. Conveniently, the quote at the top of the page is very applicable here. "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.--Frederic Bastiat" A lot of times, people seem to refer to rights as something inherent in existence and this is not an accurate view. I believe this mistaken idea comes from the unfortuanate inclusion of the "unalienable" and "endowed by their creator" phrases in the Declaration of Independence. The simple fact of the matter is that they can be taken away. They are taken all the time by criminals and police and judges(no equivocation meant there). In fact the social contract is quite voluntary for everyone. All it really boils down to is that all men of honest disposition and good charactor agree to not trample on the rights of others in return for the same promise. Next these sorts of people form a government to facilitate that end. Anyone who then chooses to not respect the rights of others for all practical purposes makes an enemy of all honest men who are then no longer required to respect the rights said criminal and can incarcerate or execute the individual, through their agents(the police and judges) and at their discretion. So criminals end up being quite outnumbered(until we start electing them, at least ) Practically speaking, being a criminal is a very poor career choice for even shortsighted people. If you are familiar with real life criminals you know that they have very likely been to prison because the likelihood of getting caught is extremely high. People get away with crime all the time, yes, but as a lifestyle you are just playing a numbers game. Sooner or later you will be caught. It is almost guaranteed. Sooner or later you leave a fingerprint or mug somebody tougher then you and the games over. Good criminals have to honestly assess the likely amount they will recieve against the years of the sentence Consider for example, the average bank robber. He walks away with $2000-$20000 and when he's caught he's looking at probably 20 years. Best case scenario, He is making $1000/ year on a single robbery. To make $20,000/ Year he would have to rob 20 banks before getting caught. To make double the anual salary he would have to get away with a bare minimum of 60 bank robberies. (this of course doesn't begin to take into account all of the other costs associated with that kind of "business". He likely has 2 assistents plus a getaway driver helping him if he wishs to be successful(all people who reject the social contract but that he has to trust anyways, btw) which would bring the total to say 160 banks. Then, before he can spend the money he has to get it laundered which in all liklihood is gonna be 50% so now he need to clear 320 bank robberies before getting caught in order to make $60,000/ year. After that he has to throw in the risk of being shot by security gurads or swat teams or overzealous bank managers or his "trusted" accomplices as well as the 14 rapes and 3 marriages to bubba, zed, and bubba's cousin he'll experience while incarcerated. Now this is just the so called practical end of it. For someone with a more principled long term view,it is obvious that, even if he were extraordinarily skilled or lucky, he never does beat the system in any meaningful way. If he gets away with ton's of money and thinks he's is destined for a lifetime of happiness he has to think again. I read recently that upwards of 70% of lottery winners are depressed within the first year. Money is an effect, of productivity...so is happiness. Happiness is not an effect of money. They are truly not related in any other way. Examine any procuror of unearned wealth, inherited or otherwise. See if the money actually makes them happy. If they are happy at all, it is because of something else that they DO. The DOing is the important part, not the end. Happiness is mainly a derivative of pride. Pride only exists as the possession of a virtous individual. To possess the kind of self confidence needed to achieve a significat level of pride it is necessary for the virtous person to be fully aware of their own efficaciousness. Which means they need to know that they can achieve their values no matter who is in their way offering help or harm. In short, they must be productive, independent, honest, just, rational, and integrated. For the criminal this problem is compounded since he realises that, as Megan said, he is fundementally unfit for life. He can only exist because other men are fit to live. He is a parasite dependent on the efforts of productive men and has no capicity to leven exist on his own, let alone, truly live. That's a hard pill to swallow, even for a seasoned evader. So to some up, it is not in your longterm rational self interest to steal because the result is only poor self-esteem and a gang rape or two.
  4. To start, you might try finding new people to hang with. Also spend less time at church. So replace dumb laugh friends witrh people you enjoy the company of more. People who challenge you and make you think. People who share your values to at least some extent. So when Bob the idiot asks you to come over and tell jokes, you can apology for already having plans with John and Francisco the objectivists. No need for a big break. My experience has been that relationships require time and effort and if you stop providing them the relationship will wither away. I havn't tried it with a whole church full of people, but it sounds like fun.
  5. Philosophically I would say no. If by objectivist you mean, someone who is in complete agreement with Rand's philosophic beliefs, then by definition, you could not be one since your views of existence etc incorporate what she considers to be a mistaken notion of the nature of the universe. In that you believe in something which exists outside the realm of the universe(that which exists). Objectivism is based on the notion that we live in an objective universe where things are what they are. Belief in something supernatural is belief in something for which there is no verifiable evidence since these things are by definition, outside of the realm of perception(ie super-natural=beyond what is natural) Practically speaking, we live in the same universe. We contend with the same reality. If you were staring at a tsunami you would have to decide whether to tie yourself to a palm tree or kneel down and pray to god for your survival. If you follow reason you would do the former, if faith is your guide you do the latter. There is no reason I see why you could not do both, as you advocate. Just be sure and tie yourself to the palm tree first, then pray. So in short, you can follow objectivism and reason to whatever extent you wish. If it stops at metaphysics it stops at metaphysics. My guess is that the way you would resolve this without letting go of your supernatural belief is that God made the universe and, ostensibly the rules it runs by. Everything from that point forward is objective and real. So while you are living in this reality that god created, you would do well to abide by the rules he left with it. If objectivism most closely explains how the universe works, then those are gods rules. Kind of a deist approach, but it seems to most closely fit you from what you have said.
  6. A is A is sometimes used as a sort of objectivist slang way of saying that contradictions do not exist. The actual argument against god goes something more like this. The universe is everything that exists. God,a conscious being, if he was the creator of the universe, existed before anything else did. Conciousness is a trait posessed by an entity concious of something. Or in Ayn Rand's terms "consciousness is conscious," Which means concious of something. So if god existed as a creator, he would be a conciousness conscious only of himself which would be a contradiction in terms. In short, to be conscious or aware of something you must be conscious of it as a particular entity as opposed to another entity. This is why to define an object, you must identify it's genus and differentia. In what category is it and how is it different from other things in it's category? With no other objects to compare himself to, he would be unable to identify even himself, let alone create a universe. So there's ITOE in 300 words. If you need me to exand or reexplain any of that let me know. Strangely, that section is what finally gave me an understanding of the problem with Hard determinsim.
  7. aequalsa


    That's a good question. If rationalcop is listening, I would be interested to know your reasons for being an officer. What about your job is rewarding enough to make it worth the risks involved? My thought is that there would be a lot of fulfillment in enforcing justice. When someone is wronged and you can make it right. Granted you can't sell that on ebay but I bet it makes you sleep well when you arrest a rapist or whatever.
  8. The primary reason that complete belief is a sticking point is that Rand stated that "Objectivism" is the name she chose to describe her personal philosophy. So if you are "an Objectivist" like she is, then you accept it in whole, by definition. Otherwise, the term "student of Objectivism" might be more accurate. It is my estimation that most people that descibe themselves as objectivists would more accurately be considered students of objectivism. I believe that, since it is a fully integrated set of beliefs, when you study more you either come to accept more and more of it or less and less of it. In your case for example, as you develop a more thorough understanding of objectivist epistomology and metaphysics, you will come to places where you will see that to believe in and live by reason necessarily conflicts with living by faith. When you run into those contradictions you will choose one way or the other, but something will have to be rejected. Which will, of course, move you one way or the other. If you move more towards reason(which I recommend as a general rule) you will find at a certain point that you disagree with precious little and then might qualify for the title, if that's the right word. So it is not so much a matter of excommunication, or inclusion vs. exclusion, as it is accuracy and honesty of term use. From what you have written you seem to be honestly interested in answers to questions about objectivism and are framing your questions fairly. You have some knowledge of objectivism which you accept a lot of and you seem to wish to learn more. I think that you could consider yourself a padawa....err...I mean a student of Objectivism and few if any here would complain. Best Regards, Gordon
  9. And for the really slow, just get them to believe TANSTAAFL. (for non-heinlein fans "There Aint No Such Thing As A free Lunch")
  10. It was interesting. I would think some things could possess alternative explanations. The sudden increase in shorts of the stocks could have been related to the terrorists(rather then dick cheney) investing in them prior to the attack since(if they existed)they would have necessarily had prior knowledge. The parts that were especially disturbing for me were the small sideways blowouts on the towers that predicated the collapse as well as the even fall of the towers. It would seem that the concentration of heat on the one side of the building should cause it to tilt before falling. Also the incinerated pentagon plane bothers me. Titanium requiring such high temperatures to melt and all. If their are any engineers of chemists(or demolition experts for that matter) who watch this I would be interested to hear your take on it. Similiar theories have been applied to pearl harbor. Unfortunately I don't it entirely unbelievable. I am quite certain that we have few if any principled men in power. The main problem I have with this as well as most other conspiracy theories is that most people are not good at keeping secrets. The fact that they would probably need dozens if not hundreds of people to orchestrate this would make the likelihood of keeping the secret that much smaller. Thats by 2 cents. Best Regards and thanks for the link Gordon
  11. Meridian published by the Penguin Group cpoyright 1991 1st meridian printing 1993 375 hudson street NY,NY 10014
  12. I read your essay on why you are a neo objectivist and wondered if you would mind defining what you mean by the phrase "instinctual knowledge"...?
  13. Do I understand right that you would not beat unconcious or kill a person that was in the process of attempting to end your life along with thousands of others because a government run bureaucracy in the country used out dated technology?
  14. Hi Felix, The positive claim is that something exists, since you cannot prove that something does not exist. So if I were to say that elves existed and they made cookies, I would have to provide you with the elf. I could not properly banter back that you have to prove that they do not exist, since that would require a simultaneous check of every nook and cranny in the universe where the little buggers might be hiding. The problem I see in the above example is that it is not broken down enough. When you say animals ought to have rights what you are actually saying is that animals possess conciousness and rationality capable of understanding and respecting the rights of others and as such, have the ability to conciously choose to enter into a social contract with other volitional entities. So the positive claim inherent in your statement is that animals possess the necessary level of rationality. I don't know about everyone else, but if you proved that, I would throw my T-bone on the floor without another bite(to self:"please god, dont let him prove it, please god don't let him prove it....") Best Regards, Gordon
  15. Hello Nxixcxk, You have to keep in mind that Ragnar, as well as Francisco and Galt, viewed Rearden and the other capitalists as extraordinarily moral. They are great producers and their crimes are not that they ask for unearned benefits. They loath them in fact. But rather that Rearden especially, but the other producers as well, accepted unearned guilt. This hurts no one but themselves. Ragnar properly feels no anger towards Rearden for not sorting out an integrated view of existence from scratch while working 16 hours in a coal mine. So my guess is that what Ragnar probably felt was disappointment, primarily in himself. See, he's the philosopher. It is his chosen moral responsibility to provide men with a proper philosophy for living. If he failed at providing a great man such as Rearden with the necessary justification for his life, then it was a failure on his part to a great extent. Obviously he is combating centuries of bad philosophy and I am sure he would realize that you can't fix someone overnight, but it would still feel like a failure to let a great spirit like Rearden toil under the weight of the world for another minute of his life. Ragnar wanted him to shrug. Another emotion that may have influenced his expressionless face may have been admiration. People usually do not shrug until the weight becomes too much to bare. The fact that Rearden refused to shrug for so long is a testament to his great inner strength. That he could carry so much, when many people can't carry themselves has to be inspiring and saddening when they benefit their own destroyers with their effort. Best Regards, Gordon Incidentally, what is it about Rearden that would make you say that you would wish to kill him had you been in Ragnars place? I can understand some frustration, but what had he done that you believe made him worthy of death?
  16. I don't know about anyone else but due to the effects of makeup, dress, posture, hormones fed to cattle, and personal genetics, I can't consistently tell the difference between a girl of 14 and 22. Are men physically to young, yet reproductively mature, healthy females of the same species? I certainly hope so. If a 22 year old guy see's a 14 year old girl lookin every bit of 22, he ought to be attracted to her(if he's straight that is). If he decides to pursue a relationship with her after gaining the knowledge of her age, then it is another (context dependent)story. The arbitrary nature of age discrimination has always bothered me. It seems like there should be a more precise way to determine at what age(s) rights should be granted. I have always thought that a better way to decide when to make people legal for things was whatever age I happened to be at that time. When I was 10, I thought 10 was a good age of majority, when I was 25, I thought 25 was better. Now that I'm 30 I think 35 would be a good age of legality. Seriously though, in some regards, 18 seems to old, in other cases 35 seems to young. On the one hand, people tend to behave as they are expected to. If you treat 12 year olds like men(as in older societies), they act like them. If you treat 27 year olds like children they do the same. By making 18 a point in time that determines maturity it seems to decrease the likelihood that people will take responsibility for their own lives prior to that point. Which means they'll have no practice at it. On the other, it takes a certain amount of time and experiences to grow to the point that you can have a reasonable expection of making good decisions for yourself whether it is choosing a career or getting married. For most people that point of self knowledge seems to land around 25. Whenever I hear about an 18 year old getting married I shudder a little. It might work out for the best but usually it's just a crap shoot. I think that this might be a justification for various levels of maturity markers, but i am not sure. To me, 16 seems to old for driving,18 is to young for marriage and armed service, 21 is to old for alcohol(especial with armed service at 18), 35 is to young to be the president. If I was picking the numbers I think I would favor 14 to drive, 16 for sex and alcohol, 21 for armed service, 25 for marriage, and 45 for presidency. Anyone else dissatisfied with our current numbers? I'd like to here what you think they should be and why.
  17. I went to a talk by craig biddle some months back where he presented a very interesting idea for encouraging voluntary funding of the government. It was a bit involved and is being dealt with in one of his books in more detail, but the basic idea was that the government could issue vouchers tht would say how much money was donated to the government by a person or more importantly by a business. So a business could hang it on their wall so people could see that they were contributing. If you went to a restaraunt and saw that they were not paying anything you could take your business elsewhere and avoid giving economic benefit to the free riders. Another thing to consider is how much money is voluntarily contributed to charities every year, currently. The numbers are staggering even with the government stealing everything not nailed down. In an economically free country there would be even more discretionary income and people would be even more likely to patriotically support their government if they did not feel as though it were attempting to devour them.
  18. Ok...here's an excellent question to decide whether or not we have grounds for meaningful communication. Is there anything I can say or do that will make you stop believing in what I, and most here, believe is no more then a fairy tale? In fairness, my answer to the question is, yes. Simply have god show up at my front door and perform some miracles for me. If I am sufficiently impressed, I will contact a friend of mine at the James Randy Foundation who will conduct a battery of tests if necessary to verify his supernaturality. After that we could include some scientists in the mix to attempt to account for his alleged powers. And no, I am not willing to devote 7 years of my life toward depravation and self-loathing in order to find this "truth" of yours. It is truly doubtful if after that much time spent with the philosophic outlook you describe, I would be in any kind of mental state to know the difference between reality and my delusions anyways. If you have no criteria of evidence which would cause you to doubt your belief and cannot provide the evidence I and any other rational person would require then there is really nothing for us to talk about. If that is in fact, the case, my advice is that you wrap this up with a quick farewell before I and everyone else get annoyed enough to actually sit down and tear apart your post point by point and then illustrate the large number of fallacies inherent in your commentary with all the sarasm that we can muster. edit: to everyone else of more rational bent; an interesting illustration. Notice the "I am not run of the mill or ordinary" comment? That is direct from the witchdoctor's wardrobe, folks. In other words, "I am special and can see things you can't so you must take my word for it that it exists and do as I "suggest"." It also doubles as the escape route for him. If you don't see it it is cause your not believing hard enough and when that ploy stops working we can always fall back on, "god, works in mysterious ways....who knows why he chose me and not you...?"
  19. Are those prices per barrel? Because if so, everything on that list except biodiesel is already viable.
  20. Regarding the oil from shale, Last year while working near grand junction I quite a few Halliburton drilling rigs set up in several different locations. Apparentely they are thinking the same thing.
  21. Hi Tsuru, welcome to the forum. I agree they are a bit tricky. I think it is important to make a distinction between reality being objective and the infallibility of our senses. As an example, think of the appearance of a stick under water. Visually it appears to bend. More careful analysis(touching it while it is in the water) would reveal that it does not actually bend. Several centuries of good science later and we realize that water refacts the light due to a difference of density between it and the air. So all along, the reality was objective, our knowledge about it that we derived from our senses was never incorrect, only incomplete. So if I were to make an objective statement about reality in this circumstance I would initially say "the stick appears to bend when under water", which would be correct. Later I would say "the stick does not bend under water but it visually appears to do so", which would also be correct. Much, much later I would say, "The stick appears to bend under water due to the refraction of light caused by the increased density of water" which would be correct. The problem only comes when you deduce or induce incorrectly due to a lack of knowledge or poor perception. If I were to say that "the stick bends in the water" for example. The same is true of someone who is neurotic or near sighted or whatever. The fact is objective regardless of how they view it. This is why the scientific method was of such paramount importance. It systemetizes the way in which sensory data is accumulated and then understood. Additionally, any new experiment announced is quickly repeated by others usually 1000's of times. This increases the likelihood of our understanding being closer to the objective truth. Hope that helps. Best Regards, Gordon This has always been an annoyance to me. Maybe half a dozen times in my life I have been having perfectly enjoyable dreams and asked myself in the dream if it was one or not. to my chagrin I always knew that it was and would wake up that moment. It always has the feel of losing an out of print victor hugo novel 73 pages before the end. Very frustrating. As I understand it, Lazlo is closest to the objectivist answer to the question. Conciousness is considered an axiom and the validity of the senses is a necessary corollary. So as an axiomatic concept, you cannot deny it's existence without using it.
  22. Ok...I figured you meant something like that. Thanks for the clarification. I have known people like that as well. Typically, the seem to not have financial needs; that is, they have someone else paying for their existence and lack the motivation that the real world provides. I agree completely that the more they enjoy their jobs the more productive they will be at them.
  23. Hi Jmegansnow, I disagree with this statement if you mean it absolutely. Otherwise all of the people who bartend to work their way through college to be an engineer,etc can't actually exist. I do agree that it is usually easier to make money at a job you enjoy and the more you like it the easier it is, which certainly increases your chances for success. However, that does not mean that you cannot make money at something you don't enjoy. Career choices for most people are relative in that they could be happy at a number of things but try to do that which makes them happiest. I think that would apply if you were doing something you hated, but not if you simply did not enjoy it as much. For most people that follow this route with their longterm goals, they enjoy their earlier jobs because they are stepping stones to the later values they desire. I suspect that roark didn't enjoy working in the quarry(Or more applicably, the construction jobs that he did before school.) as much as drawing but he did not resent it in any way and was in all liklihood good at them. Best regards, Gordon
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