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Charles T.

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Everything posted by Charles T.

  1. "This reduces the number of tax returns to about 15 million, drastically lowering overhead costs and drastically increasing the chance that the government will catch a tax-evader." You think that's a GOOD thing?
  2. Someone should merge this thread with the "End of IRS?" thread.
  3. I have little idea of exactly what Kerry would do, except that he would pursue our attackers with far less zeal (and that's not to say I approve of Bush's level of zeal, or his overall strategy - I just think it's better than what Kerry would do.) I do. I don't think anyone could have done much better in Afghanistan, even with "overwhelming" force. In such terrain, I get the impression that preventing significant numbers of terrorists from getting away would be nigh impossible. I think it is likely (perhaps I'm too opimistic) that we are doing things about Iran that cannot be publicized. And making Iraq "free" does actually affect the situation in Iran. I agree that Iraq was not the best target, but it wasn't exactly a waste of time. It shot a large whole right in the Muslim Middle-East's center of mass, so to speak, and over time I think it will help to diminish the sway that Islamism (militant Islam) has in that part of the world. I think that could be accomplished much more quickly by simply bombing several more nations, and invading where necessary, which is the strategy I advocate (and I'm assuming you do, too - correct me if I'm wrong). Perhaps. But I don't think there could even be the hope of Kerry ever okaying such an invasion. And to be honest, if you think Bush would do so, you're even more optimistic than I am. That is indeed a grave mistake. Do you think Kerry would improve on that? I don't. No, that's not his point, actually. That is one of his conclusions, and I agree with it entirely, but Peikoff's primary point is that Bush constitutes a graver threat to this nation than do the terrorists or John Kerry. It is that with which I do not entirely agree. But I admit that my finger is not on the "pulse" of religious fanaticism in this country. I am perfectly aware of the danger of religion and the internal threat that it could one day be to our country, but I don't think our culture has yet degraded quite to that point. Peikoff thinks it has, and he might very well have a better awareness of it than I do. For example, I was not aware that the sales of those "Left Behind" books dwarfed the sales of Rand's books by such a margin. But if there are 12 books in the series as he stated, and 42 million copies have been sold, then that's only about 3.5 million copies per book. It's a lot, but it doesn't indicate that evangelicals are taking over our culture. Am I mis-interpreting the numbers, or is Peikoff? Not only that, but if I recall correctly, those sales numbers were, according to Peikoff, *world-wide*, not just in the U.S. True enough, but the folks in the "heartland" have less influence, I think, on our culture than anyone else in the culture. I don't think we need to worry about religious fundamentalism rising up from the heartland to dominate the nation, at least not at this point. Apparently Peikoff thinks we should be concerned about that right now, but I don't think it's as pressing as he seems to think it is. I don't doubt it, but I must confess I am amazed that more attacks, on any scale, have not occured here yet, and I think the Bush administration deserves a great deal of credit for that fact. Bush might only be "delaying" them, but that's better than if Kerry didn't delay them, or delayed them less, isn't it? It's no accident that terrorists are being killed and apprehended around the world on an almost regular basis these days, and while I don't pretend to be psychic, I don't think it's controversial to assume that terrorist attacks have in fact been prevented since 9/11. Would that continue under Kerry? Probably, but to a lesser extent, is my fear. Fighting them in Iraq and elsewhere, even if it's for the next 20 years, is preferable to letting up the pressure and giving them the time and "leisure" to regroup and come after us again here in the States. I haven't completely learned the DIM terminology yet, so I can't address that, other than to say I think that Bush does better than Kerry would at what is actually supposed to be the President's job: protecting us from threats of force (though I understand that ultimately his initiatives to Christianize the gov't are a form of force themselves). If the problem with Bush is his religious fervor, we can combat that culturally and politically, and there is time. But the problem with Kerry is that he could get a lot of us killed, much more quickly than we would able to protect ourselves from it on our own, by our own actions. There isn't as much time. The terrorist threat is more pressing than the internal religious one. I think that sums up my position.
  4. More agreement here. I have held Tracinski in the highest esteem since I first read his work six or seven years ago when he was just getting started. Few people can explain things more succinctly and lucidly, I find. Joseph Kellard, who writes The American Individualist, is also very good, if not as prolific.
  5. It depends on whether or not you agree with Peikoff's assessment of the threat that the religious right represents at this time - or rather, if you agree that a sufficiently massive "base" of religious fundamentalists already exists which could facilitate a complete "takeover" by religious fundamentalists like Bush. He cites the number of 25% of the population being *evangelical* Christians. I'm not sure I believe that that is accurate (yet). While I haven't taken any surveys of the general population myself, ALL the religious people I know are neither evangelical nor fundamentalist, even some who actually call themselves "evangelicals". Well, to be accurate, there is one, but that's one out of dozens. Kerry is "normal disgustingly bad", he says, but Bush is "apocolyptic bad". My question would be, what about the immediate terrorist threat? This 19 minute clip only mentions the war once, in a different context. He doesn't talk about the fact that John Kerry would, I think certainly, increase the chances that some of us might die violently if he wins the office. I don't think it's being Pragmatic to say that dealing with an active, immediate, physical threat has to have a very high priority. Further, the war Bush is waging in our defense also has the advantage of beginning the end (or so I hope) of religious regimes in that dark part of the world that has bred so much religious fundamentalism. I don't think four more years of Bush is going to establish a fundamentalist government in this country. As it stands now, I'm going to vote for Bush.
  6. I don't like the idea of instituting a new method of taxation (even if it's called "fair"). I'd rather advocate a steady decrease and the eventual abolition of current tax rates and codes. Even if it is a lower rate and more "streamlined", setting up a new tax system just grants the premise that taxation is proper, and it merely shifts problems to a whole new "can of worms" (who decides what is a "fair" tax rate, for example).
  7. "Cheers" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" were also "imports". It wasn't a very good show overall, but there was a British sci-fi comedy series called "Red Dwarf" that had some funny bits. Smeg!
  8. It's about time! Their work is fantastic.
  9. "The question you have to ask when proposing violent rebellion is whether the existing government is fundamentally rights-respecting." And ours clearly is not. "In a government of laws and not of men, when it is shown that an unjust law has been enforced by agents of the government, the LAW is held responsible and not those sworn to enforce the law." I don't understand that. Any immoral act committed in the name of a law is the result of the decisions of individuals along a chain of command. First, the legislators who enact the law, then the agents who enforce it. All those people commit an immoral act by playing their part, and I hold them all responsible. I once began the process of entering the law enforcement field, but changed my mind while I was waiting on the bureaucracy because I realized that I would not be willing to enforce immoral laws, and there are SO many of them I could not do the job at all. I think that was the responsible choice. And if others had the knowledge and integrity to make the same choice, then the legislators would be forced to revamp the legal system, or they'd have no agents, as they shouldn't. "In a government of laws and not of men, agents and employees of the government must act in accordance with the law and not on their own. " Doesn't this mean they are not responsible for their choices? I think they should quit their jobs before knowingly committing an immoral act in the name of the law. If I had become a cop, I would never have arrested anyone for having drugs, or written anyone a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, for example. I wouldn't have lasted long, so that's why I changed my mind. Why is an individual not accountable for choosing to enforce a law he knows is immoral? (If that's what you're saying. Please correct me if I've misunderstood.)
  10. "Colin Powell?! Yuck." To say the least. I dare say you would find near complete agreement among O'ists that Powell would be a horrible President. However, I might go so far as to say he would be "better" than Kerry (but not as "good" as Bush). How sad is it that these are the people we have to consider for the office?
  11. Check out www.drhurd.com the website of Dr. Michael Hurd, an Objectivist psychotherapist.
  12. That looks like it could be a neat movie. On a sidenote, the musical theme that plays during the older trailer has been used in *at least* four other films. The first time I heard it, and it is probably best known from this, was as the theme to Stargate. I wonder why they keep using the same music over and over for different films. Kind of strange. At least it's good music.
  13. "There's an aphorism that applies in this context: "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good." That's great! Who originally said it?" The first time I heard it, it was attributed to Ronald Reagan, but I have since heard it attributed to at least one person before his time. Can't remember who, though.
  14. "Saying to someone "I can't love you if you're not perfect or X Y Z" or whatever is damaging to a relationship, and ultimately to your ability to find a partner." I agree. There's an aphorism that applies in this context: "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good."
  15. I heard a fellow on the radio say he bought a ticket for a different movie and "accidentally" went into the theater where F9/11 was playing. Good way to avoid giving your money to Moore, I must say. From the previews and reviews I've seen, it's glaringly clear that the film does not remotely resemble a "documentary", yet that is what it is being called, and I'm sure that's the award it will win at next year's Oscars: Best Documentary. What a big joke it is. With Moore laughing all the way to the bank, I'm sure.
  16. Best headline I've seen about the flight: "Starship Private Enterprise", Washington Post
  17. "I wonder if you could take the time to recommend some specific books to read. I have only had two semesters of General Physics and have read a few books such as Shroedinger's Cats, and Alice in Quantum Land. I would really appreciate any suggestions you might have." This recommendation might not apply to someone who has read the books you mention, but for anyone interested in a very general introduction to the history of the physical sciences, try "A Short History of Nearly Everything", by Bill Bryson. This is one of those books written by a non-scientist "popularizer", and he avoids getting very technical in his language. It goes over the history of Chemistry, Biology, Paleantology, Physics, Geology, Astronomy, and many other fields, summarizing all of the "big" theories, and including some biographical details of many of the scientists involved. The author doesn't try to push any mysticism in the book, though the notions of God, Creation, and Providence do get mentioned a few times, as they inevitably must be when quoting scientists of old (and these days too, no doubt). Nor does any extreme Environmentalism ever come through. I recommend it to anyone who has little prior knowledge of the physical sciences, because it is sufficiently detailed and well-written to inspire an appreciation for the vastness and complexity of the universe on both the macro and micro scales, and admiration for the brilliance and fortitude of those who try to figure out how it all works. It's about 450 pages.
  18. "I think my concept of rising above nature is where I am going wrong...." I think you're right. It seems you are confusing "rising above nature" with "improving" our ability to do what it is we do that makes us what we are. In other words, our essential trait, the ability to interact with and modify reality the way we do, can be improved so that we can do it even more efficiently and effectively, but we will still be doing the same thing. If our actual nature ever changed, then we would no longer be "mankind", we'd be something essentially different. That help? [edited a typo]
  19. "Ridiculous as it is all of this, it seems to be the driving force for Bush's actions. " I agree. He is extremely dedicated to his religion, and determined to spread its influence. A perfect illustration by him of what might be called Christian "turning the other cheek" was illustrated today when he so disgustingly KISSED BILL CLINTON'S ASS at the unveiling of the Clintons' portraits at the White House. It was revolting, the way he *showered* that despicable man with praise and compliments.
  20. "I think you should rename the title of this thread" That's not a bad idea. Or is it too soon to be thinking of advertising?
  21. Here's a self-portrait: Notice the big eyes, Betsy. Though sometimes I look more like this: "Instead of the darkness in a lot of series, I want this to be a brightly lit place." Good call. Speaking of bright and colorful art, check out this guy's work. I really like it: http://alexanderchen.com/ You can tell the artist loves to see people enjoying themselves, and admires architecture.
  22. "What we are getting is a skewed, biased view of the isues where opposing views are marginalized." I couldn't agree more. The views you refer to are skewed and biased toward rationality and scientific reasoning, by people who are interested in advancing their, and thereby mankind's, knowledge of reality, from which untold numbers of us will almost certainly benefit someday. Exactly the kind of bias we need more of, I think. Too bad the views of anti-science and/or irrational people aren't "marginalized" more often.
  23. "It seems to me that without limits the commensurate range of integrity appliance may become unnecessarily strained, and thus may lose the predictability that is so in tune with our basic natures as specific beings with a subset of intransigent qualities..." No no no, erandor, you have it all wrong. The commensurate range of integrity appliance (CRAI) is an unbounded set of criteria established not by comparative inference, but rather by explicit non-deviational analysis of strictly defined, yet widely debated, standards of behavioral norms. Whereas you refer to our intransigent qualities, the CRAI represents only those behaviors left open to manipulation by our conscious self-awareness (as opposed to our subconscious unawareness). But this all merely scratches the surface of the subject. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to teaching my ethics class.
  24. Outstanding. Thanks for the update.
  25. " I'm getting more and more curious: what does it mean to "go through the temple"? Is it some horrible ceremony or "rite"?" Since no one answered me, I did a little research. All I can say is, you ex-mormons must be SO HAPPY to be rid of all that. Good for you.
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