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aequalsa

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  1. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from Easy Truth in Whose is this life anyway   
    Thompson has the power to kill Galt, but that's not the same as owning his life. Without Galt's acquiescence he cannot force him to design a motor, for example. I Galt's life belongs to Galt because nothing else is metaphysically possible.For a real life example, you'll witness this very same principal every time our statist rulers try to raise taxes. No matter what the rate, they can't yet get more than 24%of the GDP. If they raise taxes on income in a certain bracket, people stop making that income. They can't force productivity and especially they can't force thought.
  2. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from Cadence in The Consumer and the People Next Door   
    I'd take it a good deal further and say that if a company could be shown to be causing a neighbor direct physical harm they should be responsible for any and all costs associated with returning the individual to their original state or compensating them directly when that is not possible. In fact, that is was our legal system does. Of course, you need to actually prove your case against an individual entity. So this is only accomplished in a specific and objective way.

    What you seem more interested in, though, is to avoid the impossible task of tracing actual harm and lump all businesses into one category and label it "damaging to our health." This would affect software companies with 15 employees and virtually no "carbon(or any other) footprint" and large car factories with thousands of employees bunches of smokestacks responsible for this same harm. Doing so, vaguely holding all businesses and wealth producing individuals responsible for every harm that occurs to anyone is capricious and myopic in nature.

    This could be fair, but first you would need to add up all of the values they produce and subtract the cost from them. So for example, the car factory where you purchase your car might be able to be shown to produce enough poisonous fumes to take 5 years off of your average lifespan. So if that was determined to be 100 years based on your healthy lifestyle and long lived grandparents then they would be responsible for compensating you, at least financially for 5% of your life...or roughly $165k in the US plus some reasonably determined amount for the emotional cost of that lost year. But then we would need to factor in your gains from being able to drive a car rather than walk to places which would amount to around 14 years of your life or around $462k. Also we would need to add in the lessened cost of all of the material items you consumed due to the mechanization of jobs over your whole life so, maybe $974k for that. Also some reasonably determined amount for the emotional value gained by having access to so many products and services that would be unavailable without those dirty factories. We can just say that those cancel out, for the sake of argument. So...$1.436 million - $165,000 comes out to $1,271,000 that you would owe to them. You know, if you wanted to be fair.

    As a side note, this myopic-ness is one of the most frustrating things that I routinely come across in interacting with leftists. Opportunity cost is impossible to measure and always massive. So taking 50% out of everyone's pay has a cost that will end in being orders of magnitude higher than those actual dollars because there is no telling what businesses may have gotten started, what ideas could have been pursued, or what technologies invented had that money stayed in the capable, productive hands of them that created it.
  3. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from softwareNerd in Help me with my investment strategy   
    I personally don't believe that the valuation of gold is tied solely to the value of the dollar. In other words, I don't think that it has gone up 30% a year for the last 5 years because our currency has devalued 30% a year. I think the increase is more a result of perceived economic risk by investors and perhaps the increased buying of it by exporting countries like China and Saudi Arabia. With 5 years of increasing stability that perceived risk could dwindle and quite a bit could be sold off, lowering the price for quite some time.

    Eventually, over the long haul, it will probably go up just as a function of inflation, but as an investment, I could see buying in at 1000 per ounce and and sitting on 870 an ounce for many years before getting a inflation+ gain.

    The two things which I see as having the potential to pump it higher are if the economy crashes further for longer, but with the DOW pushing 10k again that's looking unlikely in the medium term to me. The other is if china and others succeed in creating a world wide currency backed by gold and oil. In that case, assuming your gold didn't get nationalized(or world-ized), it would turn out to be a great investment. I don't know how likely it is that the oil/gold currency will happen though, so for me it would be a gamble.
  4. Like
    aequalsa reacted to softwareNerd in Domestic Surveillance / Reasonable search   
    The use of the term "meta-data" is actually a misnomer here. It is used in order to lull people into thinking that data is not being collected. A record of who I call is data, not metadata.

    It is pretty far-fetched to think that the government needs a broad sweep of everyone's call-history in order to detect terrorist activity. It seems pretty clear that this is a huge super-set of what they really need. The congressmen who claim that this huge superset has actually helped foil crimes are being disingenuous. It simply sidesteps the question of why a much smaller sub-set was not used.

    Let's take the analogy of walking down the street. it is true that anyone can observe you at any point, including a cop. However, if the government actually did so, by installing camera's every 10 yards, adding facial recognition, etc. that would be unacceptable.
  5. Like
    aequalsa reacted to JASKN in Domestic Surveillance / Reasonable search   
    I think the government should be constantly limited, with repeated checks on those limits, in every way. Government attracts power lusters and is not directly controlled by the people, who have better things to do (getting on with their lives). History shows that government will not regulate itself. I think always erring on the side of skepticism, suspicion, and caution is best. "Safety" is a catch-all that will just be exploited to add controls, as is evident today.

    Of course, if the government was doing its job, terrorists and other criminals would be scared to act against the American people, who would understand the importance of freedom and would only support good government.
  6. Like
    aequalsa reacted to bert in Is the Objectivist view of sex flawed?   
    I don't see a connection between sex between two people and one person eating food. One deals with relationships, judgments of others, and giving and receiving pleasure while the other is purely a physical pleasure.
    Having sex with another is a massive indication of approval - you WANT them. This is why I think its obvious (and Ayn Rand hits on this in Atlas Shrugged) that a lot of casual sex is driven by the need for approval coming from a lack of self-esteem. Its not that "players" find lots of girls they truly, personally want - they just need approval and seek it from this particular form.

    If I don't like someone, I don't want to be near them let alone have sex with them. The only way this would happen would be to withhold any judgement of them while pretending to like them to escalate towards sex. Why put on an act to fake your judgements to be very close and intimate with someone you don't like? I would say the minimum requirements for a beneficial sexual relationships would be for both to know who the other person truly is and for both to truly admire, in some personally important way, the other person. Sex is the physical act that expresses this mutual admiration (or in the best case, love). I'm pretty sure this is in line with the Objectivist view.
  7. Like
    aequalsa reacted to Gus Van Horn blog in Reblogged: Born into Brutality   
    This morning, I came across a link to the life story so far of a North Korean man who describes himself as "a political prisoner at birth". The story sounds like something straight out of an Ayn Rand novel -- not Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, but We the Living or Anthem.

    When it is not describing inhuman brutality, most of the account is very sad, like the below description of one of Shin In-kun's good days.
    Just try to imagine a bad day compared to this. You probably can't, which is why the article is worth reading. You may well be merely lucky not to be able to imagine this. You may want to take luck out of the equation. For example, it might be helpful to start by asking yourself, after reading the whole thing, why our leaders think they can accomplish anything by negotiating with a regime populated by figures such as the ones in this story who make such misery possible.
    The story of Shin In-kun's escape underscores how miserable life under a totalitarian regime can be for anyone who thinks for himself (or happens to be related to someone who does):
    This story appears at the web site of a Japan-based NGO I had never heard of until this morning: Life Funds for North Korean Refugees. I don't know enough about the group to endorse it, but I will say that it has done the world a great service by bringing this story to light,
    -- CAV

    Link to Original
  8. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from Nicky in Stay away from the credit/debt system   
    I'm familiar with comparative advantage. You've mostly just provided an example of what I said...

    That's not empirically testable except in the loosest sense of the term. One can also draw conclusions about free economies being more successful than dictatorships, oranges being cheaper near the equator, or the Pax Americana that occurred after and because of the industrial destruction of world war 2 and the inflationary crutch created byt Bretton-woods agreement. True or not, this derived knowledge does not constitute indisputable scientific fact, otherwise all of the conclusions I have come to about the harms of regulatory burdens or the the massive opportunity costs of all of the government intervention which you support, would be obvious to you in a way which would not require argument. The same holds for what you are advocating. That you find the evidence convincing that a debt based currency is preferable is all well and good, but it is not supportable enough to lend you the pretense of certainty or disdain of those with views less popular in the company of professional economists.
    For the record, I don't share moralists views on debt on a personal level, but having leveraged debt at different times, I can certainly empathize with the peace of not having a stress-ridden nut to crack. As far as the US being better off because of our debt, however, or having lower than expected inflation I certainly take a broader perspective to come to my unscientific opinion and include Bretton-woods, reserve currency status, foreign purchases, and alterations in inflation and monetary measurement.

    The moral part though is that goods and services are produced by individuals and, regardless of any perceived overall benefit, the fact is that real wealth(goods and services) are taken out of the economy and transferred to the government through a combination of systemic fraud and force. No increased rate of gdp expansion can justify it.
  9. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from tadmjones in Stay away from the credit/debt system   
    Your faith in this system as well as the difficulty you have in seeing any validity on the other side stem from this mistaken belief that any macroeconomic systems are "empirically testable." By their nature, a controlled, let alone a blind or double blind study is completely impossible. At best you may draw conclusions from similar circumstances in similar countries and at worst you may draw your conclusions from computer simulations, but neither of those imparts anything close to the scientific certainty you pretend at or even attempt to answer for the massive opportunity cost lost in each signature on a US presidents desk.

    You don't lack a 200 level economics class as much as a class on critical thinking or even a decent book. To make the claims about our current economic model(note the word model) as though it were facts that you are dealing out is to equate alchemy with chemistry and religion with philosophy. It's not in the same realm as science. At best it is an art that might one day lead to an actual scientific understanding of economics but it is certainly not that now. This is why Ayn Rand and Objectivists generally do not argue against your paradigm on empirical grounds but only on the moral terms.
  10. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from thenelli01 in Stay away from the credit/debt system   
    Your faith in this system as well as the difficulty you have in seeing any validity on the other side stem from this mistaken belief that any macroeconomic systems are "empirically testable." By their nature, a controlled, let alone a blind or double blind study is completely impossible. At best you may draw conclusions from similar circumstances in similar countries and at worst you may draw your conclusions from computer simulations, but neither of those imparts anything close to the scientific certainty you pretend at or even attempt to answer for the massive opportunity cost lost in each signature on a US presidents desk.

    You don't lack a 200 level economics class as much as a class on critical thinking or even a decent book. To make the claims about our current economic model(note the word model) as though it were facts that you are dealing out is to equate alchemy with chemistry and religion with philosophy. It's not in the same realm as science. At best it is an art that might one day lead to an actual scientific understanding of economics but it is certainly not that now. This is why Ayn Rand and Objectivists generally do not argue against your paradigm on empirical grounds but only on the moral terms.
  11. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from softwareNerd in Stay away from the credit/debt system   
    Your faith in this system as well as the difficulty you have in seeing any validity on the other side stem from this mistaken belief that any macroeconomic systems are "empirically testable." By their nature, a controlled, let alone a blind or double blind study is completely impossible. At best you may draw conclusions from similar circumstances in similar countries and at worst you may draw your conclusions from computer simulations, but neither of those imparts anything close to the scientific certainty you pretend at or even attempt to answer for the massive opportunity cost lost in each signature on a US presidents desk.

    You don't lack a 200 level economics class as much as a class on critical thinking or even a decent book. To make the claims about our current economic model(note the word model) as though it were facts that you are dealing out is to equate alchemy with chemistry and religion with philosophy. It's not in the same realm as science. At best it is an art that might one day lead to an actual scientific understanding of economics but it is certainly not that now. This is why Ayn Rand and Objectivists generally do not argue against your paradigm on empirical grounds but only on the moral terms.
  12. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from mdegges in Why is it fashionable to make new jeans look old and ragged?   
    Purchsaed authenticity? I like to wonder what particular wear marks signify. Worn thighs I have trouble with and can't imagine much besides being drug by a horse. Knees are easy.
  13. Like
    aequalsa reacted to Spiral Architect in Is currency inefficient?   
    Really? I mean... Really? I'm a patient person but... What?



    To get this back on track I give you the history of modern philosophy.



  14. Like
    aequalsa reacted to Leonid in You didn't build it   
  15. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from softwareNerd in Is bribe immoral?   
    I think that the moral ambiguity in bribes that you are speaking of stems from not holding the relevant virtue in context. I made a similar mistake some time ago in a thread on the rule of law. Honesty doesn't demand that you always tell the truth, or that you help with the social engineering of your society. All it requires is that you not try to get something for nothing. So if I were attempting to bribe an official to stay in business(something that I, of right, ought to have been able to do anyways) then I have received no dishonest advantage. If, on the other hand, I bribe an official to put my competitor out of business through the use of corrupt laws and arbitrary enforcement, then I have acting out of accordance with virtue.

    Requiring that someone forgo participation in something that they are passionate about because it would adversely affect society is a pretty altruistic request. If you are considering a question where social engineering is properly involved, such as "should bribery be illegal," then the answer is pretty obviously no. if you are asking a personal question about an individual's choice in a given circumstance, then the answer depends wholly on whether or not they received what the earned or should have had anyways. I'd also note that the official accepting the bribe is always immoral and responsible for the social effects of the system. not the unarmed victims living under their rule.

    Galting out to live in a yurt by the river or whatever, is a personal decision that depends on the individuals passion for their purpose, assessment of the reality of success, and conception of the length of time before collapse. I likely have 30 to 60 years left to live. The possibility that the US welfare state will substantially change during that time is pretty remote in my opinion so I would view neglecting something I am passionate about in order to be on an indefinite vacation void of purpose and values would be a sacrifice of the highest order regardless of how shitty things are or where we are heading.
  16. Like
    aequalsa reacted to whYNOT in Is bribe immoral?   
    A generally irrational man would view bribery as completely normal - he would constantly
    need to evade the outcome (the 'justice') of his irrationality by subverting it, one way
    or other: force on others - or bribery. He could indeed deceive himself into believing
    that he is 'successful' in life and business as a result.
    This is apparently Leonid's rationale, and I agree, so far. At least it should not be
    dismissed out of hand, as a strawman.
    My departure from it is based on the fact that in a society that penalizes the moral and
    law-abiding, one must not become a martyr to the System. It is rationally egoistic to
    protect oneself, and future. Income tax is decreed by State at some ridiculously high
    level? Then it is moral to not disclose one's full income: the immorality is the State's.
    Pragmatism? maybe. I'd call it practically moral.
  17. Like
    aequalsa reacted to FeatherFall in Leave George Zimmerman alone!   
    The media frenzy immediately following the incident was full of shameful, awful reporting. Police never told Zimmerman to stop following Martin. The 911 dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following the suspect, Zimmerman said "yes," the dispatcher told him, "you don't need to do that," Zimmerman said, "OK." That's on tape.

    After that, Zimmerman claims he lost sight of Martin while trying to find an address to give to police (he was in what looked to me to be the adjoined back yards of two townhouse complexes, so addresses would have been hard to come by). After Zimmerman gave up on the address hunt and began moving back to his vehicle, he was approached by Martin. Regardless of who approached who, Zimmerman absolutely could have used stand your ground laws if he didn't break any laws himself. According to Zimmerman's account of what happened next, he didn't.

    As Zimmerman tells it, Martin appeared behind Zimmerman as Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle. Martin asked something like, "You got a problem?" Zimmerman turned around and replied in the negative. Martain said something like, "You do now," and punched Zimmerman, breaking his nose and laying him out. After several long moments of fighting in which Zimmerman recounts that his head was smashed against a concrete walkway and it "felt like it was going to explode," he turned to try to push himself out from underneath Martin. This movement exposed his firearm, which Martin attempted to take. Zimmerman drew his weapon and fired.

    This retelling is based on 911 recordings, videotaped police interviews at the location of the incedent and many news reports that I have heard, seen or read. Important things to remember about this case are:
    The only living soul who witnessed the beginning of the altercation (Zimmerman), said he was returning to his vehicle when the altercation started. I have no evidence that this is a lie.

    Zimmerman had multiple injuries to his face and head. The closest witness identified Zimmerman as the man on the bottom screaming for help.

    Martin had what could be offensive wounds on his knuckles. The only other wound I am aware of is the gunshot wound that killed him.

    Martin has a history of burglary or theft related activity, which supports the likelihood that the activity Zimmerman witnessed prior to the altercation was indeed, "suspicious."

    If all of the above is true (I think it probably is), then Martin Zimmerman was doing the right thing. He obviously didn't do the right thing in the best way, but few people do in emergency situations. He has every right to take personal responsibility for his neighborhood's safety - that is a noble conviction. To judge him as a John Wayne wannabe who was looking for trouble is unjust. I have a suspicion that Zimmerman would not have moved into fighting distance had he a choice, but rather followed from a safe distance until police arrived. I believe Martin snuck up to Zimmerman to start a fight, because he was pissed that Zimmerman was following him. I couldn't possibly say this with any certainty, of course.

    Police had the best position to decide with certainty, and they chose not to prosecute - that is, until the rioting began and this became a political shitstorm.
  18. Like
    aequalsa reacted to softwareNerd in What does objectivism have to say about these ideas on taxation?   
    One cannot think of a country and its government this way. Consider this: 100 people live somewhere, 90 of them decide they will form a government that will expropriate a bit of the wealth of the other 10 each year. it is not legitimate for the 90 to say to the 10: "You are free to leave". What gives the majority the right to present a minority with this type of option? Nothing.
    If you are born in some place (like the U.S.) you clearly have a right to be there. If you remain, your neighbors may force you to do certain things. However, this does not make it right. Nor are you consenting by remaining. You might well remain if this is the least bad option available to you.
  19. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from JASKN in Two questions about romantic love   
    So...that would be your age(x) minus seven, times two, I think. So 2(X-7) for for older or 1/2 X+7 for younger.
  20. Like
  21. Like
    aequalsa got a reaction from JASKN in Two questions about romantic love   
    1. No and no but I would recommend doing some serious soul searching on your standards. What reasonable expectations are and whether yours are in alignment with that and more that reality is in alignment with that. I suggest that only because the nature of your question makes me think that there is an embedded premise that there are not a significant number of people with whom you could potentially be happy. The fact that those people who fit with us really well are rare does not imply that they are impossibly rare even though it may feel that way sometimes.

    2. I've always like the "1/2 your age plus 7" standard fore ascertaining significance. So if your 28 then 14+7=21...so 21 and up would be appropriate. Very far outside of that range and it is unlikely that the two would find themselves in similar places in life. A lot more difficulty in being connected with huge differences.
  22. Like
    aequalsa reacted to softwareNerd in Why is it immoral to limit an individuals freedom?   
    If you asked this person whether slavery was okay, they'd say it was not. Why not? Is it because it is not a reasonable restriction...far from it, it is extremely unreasonable. So, the question becomes: what makes a restriction on rights reasonable?
  23. Like
    aequalsa reacted to CICEROSC in Private Equity Firms Want Their Acquisitions To Profit, Not Fold [Inve   
    I would have to go back and reread to go into detail, but I think I can summarize. One of the main issues is a PE tactic of loading up a target company with debt that cannot and knowingly will not be repaid, and then using the proceeds of that debt issue to pay big "management fees" to the Private Equity company. This results in a payoff to the PE owner in excess of the amount "invested." Such a pattern appears fairly commonly, and the point to look for is that these equity extractions are not being made in order to fund new capital, new equipment, new strategies, etc -- the extractions are taken out and paid to the PE as profit with no pretense of "re-investing" them in the operation of the target company.

    This is the problem with the common conception that all PE's are acting as "turnaround specialists" by investing money and knowhow into a failing company with the goal of turning it around and getting it to operate profitably and successfully in the future. Sometimes that is in fact the case. On the other hand, sometimes, as detailed in the Kosman book, the facts are such that no objective observer would conclude that the PE entered the business in order to turn it around. Instead, the financial transactions, to the extent they are public knowledge, evidence the conclusion that the goal from the beginning was to pull out all avalable cash (and even new cash through debt and otherwise) and then send the company into bankrupty.

    The details are all very fact-specific to individual deals. There are indeed many "turnaround" deals that are legitmate in any fair-minded person's book, and those are the ones where the "win some / lose some" argument applies.

    On the other hand, if you do the research you will see that there are deals where the overwhelming circumstances do not point to a good faith effort to turn around a company. Now in those cases one can argue (correctly) that the activities of a vulture in scavenging what's left of a dead body serve a legitimate purpose. The real issue becomes when a PE firm goes in with the representation to all concerned that it is acting to achieve a turnaround, when it's real purpose is to extract all available equity, obtain new debt under "false pretenses", and then bankrupt a company that would otherwise have continued to survive at least for some period of time. Many types of ethical issues are raised in this fact pattern in addition to the deception that is involved. I do not think that it violates objectivist principles to be concerned about the effect on long-term employees of such a company who have themselves operated under the representation that the owners intended that it remain a going concern. I would think that Nat Taggart inspired his workers to their own best efforts by his clear determination to build the best railroad he possibly could, and that his employees made decisions in their personal lives based on those representations.

    Again, I do not want to be perceived as bashing the main article. The point it makes applies to many cases and maybe even a majority. But I do want to make a point to those who might find themselves debating this issue, perhaps even live in a political or other debate, that there are intricacies to certain deals which can be difficult to defend.
  24. Like
    aequalsa reacted to Jackethan in Objectivism and homosexuality?   
    Heya Superman123, another gay Oist here. Same to the OP, hello! Welcome to the forum.

    In response to your recent point, Superman: In a free market system all minorities would be in the same boat. However, there's an important part of Ayn Rand's view of -how- a free market system becomes adopted. Ayn Rand believed that in order for the government to change fundamentally to become more capitalist the general attitude of individuals' personal views on morality and politics would have to change. If a dictator ran in and suddenly abolished taxes, regulations, social programs, and left the perfect framework for a capitalist government with individual rights, it would immediately topple. You can't force people to believe in a philosophical system, and such a system is a necessary part of how a government style arises.

    The general trend is that individualism is more compatible with atheism and (classical) liberalism than it is with religion and theocracy. Those fundamentalist religious types who are such 'ardent' supporters of individual rights are simply compartmentalizing their metaphysical and moral beliefs away from their political beliefs. When it comes right down to it Jesus was a dirty hippie who hated family and wanted people to pay their taxes and support the poor, hungry, and bereaved. The association with religion and capitalism has been a recent development in America, and in my opinion it is not a strong bond. There is a ticking timebomb in America's culture war, which ends with the marriage of fundamentalist religion and mystical altruism. Already the two parties are nearly identical ideologically on every important issue, and argue mostly on the most practical way to implement altruism.

    So the idea here is that if and when a free market system arises in America it will be to a whole new moral zeitgeist (which the ARI is trying to start) that will necessarily have to include individual rights for all human beings. So you're right, nothing will stop a single shopkeeper from putting up a sign what says "Keep out the gays." And similarly, nothing will stop the majority of people from simply not patronizing such businesses. Any business which unfairly and irrationally denies itself customers is doomed to failure in a capitalist economic system, besides being irrational and immoral to discriminate based on such criteria, it is also not good business sense.

    That is a fundamental part of Objectivism: That all real principles must also be practical. There is no dichotomy between theory and practice, because if your principles do not work in practice, they were not good principles in the first place.

    Also another thing I am surprised no one has brought up here: Ayn Rand had a very close friend who was gay, her husband's brother. She remained friends with him her entire life. No, she was not a homophobe, and no her recorded comments about gays do not constitute a necessary part of this philosophy. Peikoff is recorded in his podcasts saying that Objectivism does not count homosexuality as immoral and that he personally believes the theory Louie put forth earlier that it may be the sum of a number of choices. This view of his is not a result or tenet of Objectivism.

    Objectivism has been the most amazing force for positive change in my life. I know many Objectivist gays and many Objectivists with gay friends. So stick around, Queer Capitalist, and Superman123. We would be happy to have you, and don't let any small minds get you down.

    <3
  25. Like
    aequalsa reacted to franked in Achieving redemption after betraying best friend   
    Thanks for the help guys.

    An update to my situation: before I even told her Francis about Julie, she berated me for being a horrible friend, saying I just want her pain, that I frequently lie to her. I asked for examples of that, but she didn't give me any. When I told her about Julie, she said "whatever, I like don't hate her, not that it's your business". She said she doesn't want someone like me anymore in her life and don't want to be friends. Summarizing, she treated me horribly, and I ended the conversation telling her to remember our great times together and that whenever she changed her mind, I was open to being friends again.

    Regarding Julie, I am getting more attracted to her (both her beauty and niceness) by the day. We're going out on Friday.
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