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Posts posted by aequalsa

  1. I think a rule of thumb ought to be: when in doubt (every 4 years?) change parties.

    The good news is the U.S. made it all the way through the 1900s with presidents who were not much better.

    The USSR "made it" through most of the 20th century with Stalin too. Western Europe made it though 1000 years of feudalism. Not really a comfort. Only tolerable because we have no way to measure the massive opportunity cost of our present corruption.

  2. 1) I haven't seen anything that would indicate that Obama is "unamerican".

    You can't be serious, or maybe you're not paying close attention. Do you want a list of the several of the first ten amendments that he's totally obliterated in his first 3 years? Or his previous statements on his opposition to negative liberties? The fact that he hasn't accomplished as much damage as he and other pinkos had hoped is an indication of the genius of the system and has next to nothing to do with his own restraint or moderation. He's every bit as bad as I expected and then some. If you don't feel it now you will later and your children and grandchildren will certainly suffer as a result of his policies.

    That's why the birth issue is a minor detail. It pails in comparison to the amount of heinous precedent this piece of work has set for us. Just wait.

  3. Romney would probably rank a little above the median! Somewhere near Hoover ;)

    At this point I guess we gotta take what we can get, huh? He strikes me as such a non-entity I'm pretty inclined to vote for Obama just to teach republicans a lesson in my own tiny way. Either that or Gary Johnson. Romney just doesn't strike my as genuine enough to believe I know him well enough to think that he would be meaningfully better. Obviously Obama is a guarantee of my life getting worse whereas Mitt is just a strong likelihood, but the difference is splitting hairs as far as I'm concerned.

  4. InfoWars? I don't trust any place associated with Alex Jones. Where in the bill does it in fact say "allows the federal government to revoke passports of Americans accused of owing back taxes"?


    ‘(a) In General- If the Secretary receives certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that any individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport pursuant to section 4 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to regulate the issue and validity of passports, and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926 (22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as the ‘Passport Act of 1926’.

  5. So...bill of attainder, anyone? The number of civil rights that have disappeared in the last couple years alone is becoming breathtaking. As in...making it hard to breath. Not to break the internet rule about Hitler comparisons, but weren't their a few other times in history where you weren't allowed to leave the country if someone in the party decided you couldn't? Might be time to move to a place with freedom....like China maybe...

    ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’, includes a provision that allows the federal government to revoke passports of Americans accused of owing back taxes.


    “There is no requirement that the tax payer be guilty of or even charged with tax evasion, fraud, or any criminal offense — only that the citizen is alleged to owe the IRS back taxes of $50,000 or more,”


  6. Does anyone here, besides Thomas, take this birther stuff seriously?

    Depends what you mean by seriously. I have no way of knowing, but his unwillingness to release info on his past(birth certificate, college transcripts, etc) tell me that he does have something to hide because that's always the case. Whether it's his citizenship, shit for grades, using duel citizenship or foreign citizenship to qualify for scholarships, or something else entirely I have no way of knowing, but I think it's beyond anyone's reasonable doubt to believe that he's not obfuscating something. Smoke therefore fire.

    That said, he's done so much catastrophically bad damage to this country's long term best interests, I don't see this as a significant issue. Not like I needed some extra reason to not vote for this little would be dictator.

    Even though I don't know or care very much, I think chasing after lying politician's lies is a healthy activity though so they should carry on.

  7. the average return of stock investing would go up (due to management fees being eliminated)

    While true in a sense, someone might make the argument that the increased irrationality that the removal of professionals would cause would lead to worse returns. It would be a difficult and probably impossible thing to prove, but it could very likely be true.

  8. Well, as I mentioned in my post, I like this thing: http://opensourceecology.org/ -- we could build it, and start selling either complete products, or organize workshops for other enthusiats to build them.

    Take a look at the list of machines:


    One of them is a Linear Solar Concentrator, which on its own, even without all the others, is very interesting alternative energy for those who need to be off grid (remote areas). I think they have a pontential, because they are really cheap compared to solar panels.

    I'm not 100% stuck here in Vancouver, Canada, I could fly also, if this is gonna be once or twice a year type of thing, is a solid block, like a month each time.


    Well, as I mentioned in my post, I like this thing: http://opensourceecology.org/ -- we could build it, and start selling either complete products, or organize workshops for other enthusiats to build them.

    Take a look at the list of machines:


    One of them is a Linear Solar Concentrator, which on its own, even without all the others, is very interesting alternative energy for those who need to be off grid (remote areas). I think they have a pontential, because they are really cheap compared to solar panels.

    I'm not 100% stuck here in Vancouver, Canada, I could fly also, if this is gonna be once or twice a year type of thing, is a solid block, like a month each time.


    I've seen their stuff. Their neat ideas but some strike me as a little redundant. What I am wondering though is what you are hoping to accomplish. To build something to sell? To build those machines to sell? Just to have a cheap vacation home where you can play with big legos? What's the goal?

  9. As a side note, what school are you at where Kindergarteners are doing algebra?

    Montessori School of Denver, but really any Montessori teacher worth their salt should have 25-50% of their kids to that level by 5 or 6.

    To clarify, they are doing the rudimentary parts. Plotting lines, measuring with exponential units, understanding of squares and cubes, solving the binomial and trinomial cube puzzles and that sort of thing. They are not working out the quadratic equation or anything like that.

  10. I think you would need to choose an area first and then find people within a reasonable distance who would like to participate. I'm in Colorado so Oregon's a little far for it to make sense to me. Likely I wouldn't want to drive for 3 days to build and visit a yurt on cheap land when I could do that a couple hours outside of Denver. Same with the factory building. I have a good deal of construction background but building a "factory" doesn't tell me enough to know whether it is something that would appeal to me or that I could contribute to in any meaningful way. Let alone whether it is likely to succeed or be worth investing in. So, basically, I recommend getting more specific with your idea so that it can be critiqued and be less floaty.

  11. You really don't think we'd see a rise in illiteracy if we abolished public education? Seriously?

    I would agree quite seriously. Consider this http://educationnext.org/privateschoolsforthepoor/

    and keep in mind the dollar a day incomes that are typical in the slums referenced. Of course some children would slip through the cracks but it is a fiction to think that they don't already. The benefits though of having a large percentage of free thinking autodidacts would be immeasurable and make any value lost in the few children whose parents are so bad that they don't teach them to read, inconsequential. And honestly, if the parents are that bad those kids likely have a whole host of other problems which will be keeping them down anyways and would usually not manage very well later in life regardless of the amount of free educations available to them.

  12. Next, I don't understand the criticisms here that, "public education will necessarily lead to socialism". Please read Peikoff's OP again. It's a little bit more complicated than that, and it doesn't explain why our country was founded by and large by graduates from public schools.

    I'm not sure what you're basing this on but it is contradictory to my understanding. Perhaps I misunderstand who you are referring to. Public schools were by and large a product of the mid to late 1800s in the US. There were a few state attempts(Massachusetts mainly) before that, but even in the case of Adams of Franklin from that area, they were privately educated or self-taught. Is there some in particular you are thinking of?

    Are private schools here in the US more oriented towards reason and rights? Catholic schools anybody? :-) I would submit that schools reflect the culture, not the other way around.

    I wholeheartedly disagree. I started a "private" Montessori School recently and tell you that the kind of regulations we have to submit to heavily impact the content and the way we are required to teach. Easily 50% of Montessori pedagogy is against state regulations. On top of and worse than that, the market is 90% controlled by "free" education causing those attempting to provide a free-ish market solution to try to squeeze out a niche inside that 10% which consists largely of people wealthy enough to double pay(since they pay once already in taxes) for their children's education to avoid the catastrophe that is most public schools, or those ideologically committed enough to avoid public schools through providing their own charity and scholarship. Hence the prevalence of catholic schools. Public education eradicates almost all possibility of alternatives from the free markets since we can't, you know, tax people to support us.

    Your fundamental point though is, as pointed out above, something of a non-problem. Most children learn to read between the ages of 4 and 5. In my class it is more common than not that by the end of kindergarten children know how to read at a 4th or 5th grade level, write numerals past 1000, do dynamic division and multiplication and often have understanding of the rudimentary parts of Algebra(slopes, xy plotting, and the like) Literacy alone, the ability to read, could be taught to them by their parents over a summer.

    After that, self-education is possible and preferable to the indoctrination which will inevitably ensue in our system. And it does. Far more than you seem to realize even, and especially at these earlier ages. The entire system, top to bottom is designed to indoctrinate. Sitting in rows obedient to the power figure standing at your front providing you with orders; Performing tasks and operations by rote; Changing design and activity at the sounding of a bell; holding your body still in spite of all the research pointing to movement as a driving force in real learning. These are just a few of the ways in which the minds of Americans are currently being contorted into the shapes necessary for our current socialist state.

    I got to go. I can write more later, but in short I think that you are largely mistaken in your views of what education is and accomplishes, how small a part of it "literacy" is and how self-reinforcing a compulsory system is whether in education or anything else. Think of it as a state sponsored religion, because it is. Then imagine a state sponsored religion reinforced with money from all other religion's confiscated wealth over the course of 8 generations. It becomes what Kleenex is to the tissue paper industry.

  13. Evolutionary psychology is one of those areas rife with "just-so stories".

    I couldn't agree more. When I've read or heard those sorts of explanations, it usually occurs to me that I can think of 3 or several alternate explanations that sound every bit as viable. A have to call bullshit, but still admit that it is often enjoyable to read. Especially Desmond Morris.

    If you enjoy satire, http://faultline.org/site/comments/belief_in_evolutionary_psychology_may_be_hardwired_study_says/

  14. An inherent weakness(and strength) of internet discussions is the lack of non-verbal indicators due to the relative anonymity of the internet. When having a discussion in person with a "snarky 14 year old" I am far less likely to push inconsistencies in his or her thought or require a 60 year old level of wisdom and experience to support his statements. I'll simply take them for what they are. Likewise, I'm not likely to try to change a 60 year old's fundamental outlooks on life, cause what's the point of that?.

    Without a word being said, in person I can ascertain a persons relative age, sex, level of income, and many more things with fairly consistent accuracy while online this isn't the case. For example, say I meet a 47 year old who starts lecturing me on the benefits of a paleo diet. I can tell right away from his immediate access to facts and understanding of the subject that he has a solid grasp of the field. Maybe I inquire and then find he is a nutritionist by trade and has studied and lived by paleo for 7 years and has a flawless physique. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the lecture. Online, he could just as easily be the snarky 14 year old pulling up wikipedia to make an argument on his half-baked notions of dietary nutrition. I have no way of knowing how much weight to place so I'm going to press harder than usual. A benefit of being online is that we are all perceived equally in the valuation of our opinions so ideas aren't as immediately discarded. The downside is that we usually shouldn't be regarded equally because some of our opinions are more valuable than others.

    Not sure that I have any contribution on how to alleviate the problem but to note that the more time I spend online the more often i can get a sense of whether a continued argument is worth having. I feel that I've gotten better at avoiding the continuation of useless conversations...not..you know...a lot...but a bit better.

  15. I understand and accept that we disagree. I've long been convinced that trying to argue to unanimity is a fool's game. Fortunately for us, Peikoff's podcasts are available for anyone who wants to decide for themselves what he meant, and if I otherwise come up with any better way of explaining my position, I'll give it a go.

    Fair enough.

  16. I don't really know how often that happens. I don't think that's what Peikoff is talking about either. But if we can imagine any scenario where a woman changes her mind -- decides against intercourse once it's already begun -- and I don't think that's necessarily a "lifeboat" type of situation... I think that Peikoff has asserted that it's not rape for the man to continue. I think he doesn't believe such a thing to be rape at all.

    I think he's said this clearly. I think he's moved the line from when the woman shows up at the man's hotel room at night to "genital connection," because of the furor his comments initially received. I think he is just as wrong now as he was then. I think the idea that he was speaking in a strictly "legal" context is completely wrong.

    Right after that he says this,

    So, in this sense I do not agree that every time a woman says ‘no’, in any context, no matter whether her husband, no matter what the minor nature of the change, that must be respected. That is simply ridiculous, and can’t be enforced.
    Notice the italics to understand what he's referencing.

    Before that section he laid out a bunch of examples of how the word "no" can NOT imply rape. Requests for other sexual actions, could for example be why she's protesting. He also stated quite clearly, earlier, that in light of evidence of struggle and what not, it could be prosecuted as rape. He's been talking primarily about what would be legally proper. He said at the very beginning how he agreed that a rational man ought not to want sex with a woman who said no and would be immoral to do so.

    Beyond this I don't know what to say(short of diagramming out all of his sentences), except that I disagree that you correctly understand his statements.

  17. It "should not be 'rape,' a legal term"?

    So even if it *were* provable in a court of law that the woman had demanded the man stop, and the man disregarded her (Ninth Doctor supposes a videocamera in his next post), there would be no "crime" here according to the "legal" standard you think Peikoff is proposing?

    Of course it could be rape, but even with a video, the simple usage of the word "no" does not necessitate that fact. A jury would make that determination..

    I don't know if you recall the partial birth abortion debate, but pro-life folks were making a pretty big fuss over late term abortions. Once you had taken out all of the medically necessitated abortions that saved the life of the mother, the number of voluntary abortions in the 3rd trimester were ridiculously small. They were reaching, almost to the point of lifeboats, to try to get a toe in the political door.

    This conversation strikes me the same way. How often is it that a woman voluntarily chooses to begin having sex with a man, on camara, changes her mind midway, makes that really clear verbally to him, and has him forcefully and violently continue against her will? One out of a billion or so sexual encounters? If he was a rapist, how often would he have waited for her voluntary consent in the first place? It's such a bizarre tangent that I can't imagine for a second that that is what Peikoff is referencing. He's commenting on usual human sexual interaction. Things like the above are fine for a thought experiment, but do you get from his statements that if the above was video captured he would deny it as a rape? We could even add him confessing to raping her. If he also confesses that he raped her against her will, using clever pain causes techniques that leave no scars, do you think Peikoff would deny him his jail time on moral grounds? Or probably, since most hookups with strangers don't involve a video, and since he said that it would be rape if there was physical marks to help indicate it, he was criticizing the he said/she said dynamic as a legal construct from a philosophers point of view.

  18. The legal aspect was always redundant, to my mind. It evokes consequentialism,

    a pragmatic "If you get away with it, great". By present laws.

    I agree with that, and think it's a great point, but the legal aspect is not without relevance to the total moral decision. If we were discussing whether one ought to pay income tax, we might fairly conclude, "No" if we disregard the subsequent prison time as an affecting aspect of reality. It is an element of reality, so when making a personal moral decision you must take it into consideration or you risk not making your life better.

    Likewise, when deciding whether to take someone to bed, the possible legal ramifications should be weighed. Currently, a man has to make a character decision about the woman as to whether or not she is likely to ruin his life and have him sent to prison at her whim. If the legal definition of rape was moved to "the point of genital contact," then it would be the woman's responsibility to ascertain before hand whether or not the man is sensitive enough to stop mid coitus upon request before she let's him engage in the sex act. So, in effect, Peikoff is saying that, yes, morally, a man ought to stop when requested, but no, it should not be "rape," a legal term, since to classify it as such creates a hugely one sided and irrational legal circumstance that's untenable. It's only purpose, really, is to allow women to have sex with men whom they don't know very well or just met. The cost of this privileged is paid by uncareful men with ruined reputations and 20 year prison terms. With Peikoff's alternative, women can predict with a fair amount of certainty whether a guy is the type to stop on request, if they take the time to get to know him before inviting them to bed. I don't think that's an unreasonable requirement and don't think it's much of an issue, honestly. In my life, I can count on one finger the number of times a woman has asked me to stop. So anyway, I see no inherent contradiction in it being a morally correct action to stop upon request while denying that it is a crime that can be proven by a woman's claim alone.

  19. To restate in an abbreviated way: previously Peikoff said that if a woman goes to a man’s room, she can no longer withdraw consent for sex. Now he’s saying that once penetration has occurred, she can no longer withdraw consent for sex. I’m not going to go through all the nuances again right now, please read the last couple pages of the thread.

    I've kept up with it. Mostly barbs and indirect attacks with an ad hominem flavoring. No need to repeat all that. What I was wondering though, since you seem to feel entitled to a retraction by everyone who was in disagreement with you(myself being one), was if you could be so kind as to specify who made mistakes in their reasoning and which ones, so that they might be reasonably and specifically addressed, rather than laying a blanket accusation designed to poison the well upon all of our collective shoulders.

    Regarding Peikoff, if your take away point from those 15 minutes is that he thinks that it's morally acceptable to rape a woman once you get it inside, than I'd not bother trying to explain anything further to you. That is very clearly not what his explanation was about and any further explanations would be falling on deaf ears. I don't intend any of this in a mean way, but I'm truly mystified as to how you can think that what you wrote is what he actually thinks or that what he said in his retraction justifies in any way the last 10 pages of your attacks on his moral character and mental capacity in response to what is at worst an error of knowledge, but mostly an error of semantics and his presentation and clarity of context.

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