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Everything posted by DarkWaters

  1. Thank you for taking the time to publish this articulate and detailed book review. If you have the time, I highly recommend posting a condescend version of your review on Amazon.com. There is presently only one book review so all reviews posted should receive very high visibility.
  2. I definitely would not be too hopeful about these translations. The author has a special section on the webpage for "Nathaniel Branden's Five Essays on Objectivism".
  3. Okay, I see the point you are driving at and I think it is a very good one. Fiction is more important precisely because it can concretize man's widest and most vital abstractions for living a happy, productive and moral life.
  4. Do not worry, I know that you were not. I agree.
  5. I regret to inform you that you still missed my point. My offered advice on viewing the movie was not condition on knowledge, it was conditioned on values. The essence of what is wrote is that if one wants to learn about Ayn Rand, then they should not watch the movie. If one wants to learn about the controversy, then they should. Note that my advice makes absolutely no reference to the intelligence of the reader. I also think that it is highly inappropriate and rude to offer advice conditioned on the viewer's intelligence under the circumstances of this discussion. Of course, the economics
  6. This is wrong. Please note the implied context that college students are presumably first learning about capitalism. Under these circumstances, it is highly inappropriate for students to begin learning about capitalism by studying its fiercest and/or most popular critics. The students do indeed have free will and presumably should not be accepting anything uncritically. However, to be able to refute arguments as influential as Marx's is an enormous intellectual feat for a college freshman. Surely their time is better spent first learning about what capitalism is. After they have that foundatio
  7. I think such a proposition can be extremely ridiculous, depending on the subject matter being recommended and the recommender. Suppose an economics professor gave his classes of incoming freshmen copies of Marxist literature, Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and a bunch of anti-capitalist environmentalist books and then said "now go read these and form your opinion on capitalism." This would be both outrageous and just plain dishonest*. My point is, telling someone to read a book or watch a movie and "judge it for himself" provides no additional context on the content of the media. Barbara
  8. I definitely agree that fiction can do this. I was just commenting on how this is not unique to fiction and that I do not see why fiction is necessarily more important than other genres of reading.
  9. Have you seen this overwhelmingly positive mention of Atlas Shrugged on the UPN sitcom One on One? However, I concede the point that this show is probably not "popular"!
  10. I browsed this book on Amazon.com. A lot of this book, particularly the material on Enron, sounds like it is worth reading. However, the book has an appendix called "The Ayn Rand Problem". In the video, the author indicates that he draws parallels to Ayn Rand destroying "the Objectivist/Libertarian movement" and Ken Lay destroying the energy industry. I suspect that this section invites confusion on both the character and the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I suspect that this section also contains the premise that it is better to have a bigger tent for advocates for laissez-faire capitalism than a st
  11. This is an excellent question. Murray Rothbard is in a special category of dishonesty. Whether it be insisting that the United States was the "most warlike, most interventionist and most imperialist" (i.e., more than Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia) [1] or downplaying the extent of the holocaust to retroactively justify a non-interventionist policy for WWII [2], Rothbard seems capable of deigning to anything so long as he think it helps him promote liberty. That being said, I think we have good reason to believe that he would exaggerate or distort facts about the causes of the Great Depressio
  12. That is horrendous. Either way, I imagine that Barbara Branden nevertheless pretends to be confused as to how Objectivists could honestly find this offensive.
  13. I do not understand how your reasoning leads you to conclude that fiction is more important. Anything that involves lesser-abstractions requires you to form generalizations and integrate them into the total sum of your knowledge. You can make the same argument for reading history, science, economics, psychology or any other subject matter.
  14. If we were to apply this reasoning consistently then we are compelled to conclude that we should view any documentary on Ayn Rand no matter how inaccurate or offensive it is. We should read any book that features her even if the book is a dishonest smear. We should listen to any lecture mocking the ideas and personality of Ayn Rand, no matter how disgusted we are by the content. Needless to say, I disagree with this reasoning. Given finite time, individuals should engage in recreational activities that are of value. You are not evading reality by choosing not to view this movie. Wh
  15. If any of you guys are interested, I reviewed How the Scots Invented the Modern World here. I think the book is definitely worth reading, especially for the sections on Adam Smith and on the productive geniuses of the era. However, the latter has a great amount of overlap with Andrew Bernstein's The Capitalist Manifesto. The negatives of Scots is that it gets a little long-winded at times and the author subscribes to the school of history that perceives Scottish thinkers, such as David Hume and Frances Hutcheson, to be more influential on the American Revolution than John Locke. Tenure a
  16. Hamas was able to ultimately grab power due to the wide sympathy for militant Islam in the Gaza Strip as well as several other widely held irrational ideas such as that Israel is solely to blame for the plight of the Palestinian people. However, the fact that Hamas is heavily armed is definitely a bad thing and their state of being armed was certainly instrumental to their hostile takeover of the Gaza Strip. Needless to say, in a just society, the use of retaliatory force needs to be under objective control. Having an armed dictatorship with a disarmed populace is obviously bad. Likewise, h
  17. Not necessarily. When the Abbas administration lost control of the Gaza Strip, was it a good thing that the pro-Hamas majority was heavily armed? The error is that you replied to my posts on this forum as if you assumed that the package-deal (P) is true. Needless to say, (P) is not true. (P) An individual must have one of the two following positions. Either: I.) One believes that guns alone cannot protect one's freedom AND one is against private gun ownership. OR II.) One believes that guns can ultimately protect one's freedom AND one is for private gun ownership. If y
  18. Rephrased, the issue here is as follows: Do you believe that the essence of the government of the United States and the essence of the government of Zimbabwe are the same? If not, then how can we induce lessons from the current relationship between the people of Zimbabwe and their dictatorial government that we can apply to the relationship between the people of the United States and the U.S. government?
  19. The other thread on the second amendment reminded me that I never got to fully respond to the comments below. Note that the important context here is that the circumstances you described constitute an emergency. That is, a situation when the government, who rightfully should possess a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force, is practically unable to protect your life. This is a legitimate reason for a citizen to own a gun and this corroborates why individuals have a moral right to arms for emergency self-defense. This emoticon suggests that David and I must have been out of to
  20. I hear this argument a lot. Usually, it is to insinuate that any law intended to limit private gun ownership is an early warning sign of dictatorship. While this is not NickS's reasoning (he did indicate that the lawmakers could just be irrational), I nevertheless wanted to identify the non-sequitur in the line of reasoning that I have described. The quoted statement boils down to: Dictatorship implies no right to bear arms. (I) Needless to say, just as A => B does not imply B => A, the statement (I) does not imply that the absence of the right to private gun ownership implies a
  21. Where did he get the idea that either the government elects not to incarcerate rapists so that it may jail marijuana-addicts instead?
  22. How free are Hong Kong (unfortunately now part of China), Dubai (obviously part of UAE) and Ireland in terms of overall freedom? I know that each one enjoys a substantial amount of economic freedom. "Who are the freest nations in the world and why?" is an interesting question that should probably be split into a different thread.
  23. Technically speaking, the scenario you described is not necessarily a Prisoner's Dilemma. It is only a Prisoner's Dilemma if every single driver would rather be on the maximally congested road (possibly resulting in gridlock) as opposed to being the one person to use public transportation. A defining characteristic of a Prisoner's Dilemma game (in terms of mathematics) is that "social welfare" (again, the math term meaning the sum of each individual player's utility function) is maximized if each player rejects his dominating strategy. This is not the case here unless if we have the above
  24. Not explicitly, no. But she explicitly disagreed with my statement that the right to own a gun will not protect any individual from the most significant destructive ideological forces in the United States. The objective of my subsequent commentary was not an insinuation on what I thought K-mac said or what I perceived she was thinking. Instead, it was a corroboration of my initial statement.
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