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Everything posted by LaszloWalrus

  1. I think men's clothes tend to be boring now, but only because the fashion industry has ruined classic men's clothing. I don't think, for example, that a classic tuxedo (not the junk that passes for black tie in Hollywood or at modern weddings) or white tie is boring. While most suits are "boring" today, rather than elegant, I think that's because so few men wear clothes that fit them well or that flatter their complexion. You might try looking at the clothes designed by classic men's sartorialists, viz. Turnbull & Asser, Alan Flusser and so forth, and stay away from the Armani and Nordstrom junk.
  2. You can always have suits altered, or, if you can afford it, have them custom made. It can be relatively inexpensive to have a good suit made, particularly if one orders it from a tailor in say, Hong Kong. Such suits are also far more comfortable generally.
  3. Well, I'm not arguing for or against a trade embargo with Cuba, but their cigars are made with the equivalent of slave labor. Buying them seems to me to be morally in the same league as selling stolen goods.
  4. How is a trade embargo an initiation of force?
  5. Tuxedos used to be considered informal. Even today (if one is pedantic, as I think I might be about this), tuxedos are merely semi-formal. White tie (i.e. a tail coat, low-cut white waistcoat, white piqué bow tie, mother-of-pearl studs, etc.) is formal. In the 1920's-30's, when the tuxedo reached its modern incarnation, it was generally considered appropriate only for entertaining guests at home. Even at the Oscars up through the fifties, many men wore white tie, and those who wore tuxedos wore only the most formal type (peak lapels, low cut waistcoat, etc.). Today, of course, when very few wear white tie, the tuxedo has taken on a kind of ersatz formal status.
  6. I wish suits would come back as general day wear for men (and I wish white tie would make a come back, and that people would stop referring to tuxedos and suits as "formalwear", but that isn't going to happen). Anyway, I do like fedoras, but I think they need to be matched well to the right kind of outfit, or they look strange. Incidentally, Borsalino tends to have what I think are the best looking fedoras: http://www.borsalino.com/
  7. Perhaps, though I think it helps enormously to have the concretes presented in an essentialized manner in a specific, structured way. AS is not enough — life experience by itself is far more valuable than AS by itself — but life experience does not present one with concretes shorn of irrelevancies as AS does.
  8. Holy Rationalism Batman! Atlas Shrugged is essential because one must become acquainted with the specific concretes in order to induce the philosophy from reality. Of course, AS is a work of art, not a philosophy primer, but its value for understanding Objectivism is enormous, and one, unless he has a mind equivalent to Ayn Rand's, cannot, without the guidance provided by the survey of concretes in AS, understand Objectivism in anything approaching a concrete, reality-based manner. The best one could do with merely the nonfiction is understand Objectivism as a rationalistic, floating system.
  9. Yes, it is essential. I think if one reads OPAR, VOS, CUI, ITOE, etc. one can at best understand Objectivism only a floating, rationalistic level. I would go so far as to say that one who reads Atlas and none of the other books has, all else equal, a better understanding of Objectivism as a reality-based system than one who reads all of the other books and not Atlas.
  10. No, that's what GDP is (perhaps it's a misleading name). While GDP and production are related, one is not the other.
  11. I think so. GDP = consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports — imports). My guess is that Hong Kong has low government spending and an unfavorable (by GDP calculation standards) ratio of exports to imports.
  12. I agree with this assessment, though I have to say that many of the fifth season episodes are at least as good as the third season ones, which I found to be generally worth watching.
  13. I think the theme of the show is reason vs. emotion, a false dichotomy, but dramatized wonderfully on the show. House is the rational side, and the patients (generally) act in an emotionalistic fashion — but House's scrupulous use of observation and logic always prevail The show has its ups and downs — the first and second seasons were the best, and the fourth is worst, I think, because the first two seasons focus on the personal value House gets out of practicing medicine, while the fourth (and to a lesser extent the third) focuses on his flaws: drug addiction, rudeness, etc. I like the fifth season so far, except for the Last Resort episode, because the season shows House pursuing other personal values: his friendship with Wilson and his relationship with Cuddy. I definitely recommend downloading from iTunes the episode "Damned if You Do" as an example of the paradigm good House episode.
  14. Objectivists aren't rationalists; your use of the term (which refers to an invalid method of dealing with ideas) makes me question how well you understand Objectivism. The way to change politics is to change the culture intellectually, i.e. by spreading the right ideas or supporting those who, not in fielding candidates who don't understand Objectivism and who wouldn't have any chance at all in today's culture anyway.
  15. Quine is also one of the founders of "naturalized epistemology" which holds variously that epistemology is merely a branch of psychology and is reducible to science. Quine also believes, for example, that all statements can be revised (including statements of logical laws).
  16. I don't thinks so. Here's a Capmag article on Quine: http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3250 And here's perhaps Quine's most influential paper in academic philosophy (heavy slogging): http://www.ditext.com/quine/quine.html
  17. Internet fora in general are not a good way to learn about philosophy. Discussion often devolve into polemics, which tends to foster a rationalistic approach to dealing with issues. (By a "rationalistic approach" I mean an approach that detaches Objectivist ideas from reality, i.e. one that treats ideas as merely relations among other ideas). Remember also that to understand Objectivism really well takes years of study; it is not enough merely to read Ayn Rand's works — one must work actively to connect her ideas to one's own knowledge and to reality and to uproot one's previous bad methodology. I certainly suffered (and suffer) from not having rooted out rationalistic tendencies I have, and I'm sure my experience is not atypical. My suggestion: read those works of Ayn Rand that you haven't read. Then read Leonard Peikoffs Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand. If Objectivism still appeals to you, you should consider either enrolling in the Objectivist Academic Center: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pag..._academic_index or getting Leonard Peikoff's lecture courses Understanding Objectivism and Objectivism Through Induction. They should give you a good reality-based (rather than rationalistic) understanding of Objectivism. http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=LP31M http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=LP53M
  18. It must have been a Kantian plot since I hear the show was phenomenal.
  19. As I remember: The cadet asked about what she thinks of the "genocide" of the American Indians, the enslavement of black people, and the interment of the Japanese. First, Ayn Rand condemned the enslavement of black people and the interment of the Japanese (blaming the latter on the anti-capitalist) FDR. Rand seems to have forgotten about the Indian part of the question, and she is reminded of it. She clearly dismisses the claim that there was some kind of genocide perpetrated against the Indians, saying that the "genocide" is an invention of "racist liberal history" (or something along those lines). You can get as CD of the speech (with the question and answer period) free if you live in the US by filling out the form here: http://aynrandinfo.com/
  20. I understand dislike of FDR and Jackson, but what do you have against Lincoln?
  21. I disagree. Choosing Palin was (politically) a great decision; if not for the financial crisis, I think McCain would have won the election quite easily, in large part due to Palin who took a lot of the media coverage away from Obama and galvanized the Republican base and even quite a number of embittered Hillary supporters.
  22. I don't see how it isn't favorable, given the context. The leftist obviously disagrees with Rand (and probably doesn't understand her ideas on anything other than the most superficial level, if at all). His treatment of her ideas though, is not dismissive, and the application of the ideas is pretty good vis-a-vis analysis of the Republicans, though not of course, vis-a-vis, analysis of Obama.
  23. In no particular order: Casablanca Cyrano de Bergerac (1990 version) The Lives of Others On the Waterfront Lawrence of Arabia 12 Angry Men (I also quite enjoyed Life is Beautiful, but I am hesitant to put it on the list; after reconsidering it, I thought it downplayed Nazi atrocities too much)
  24. I don't think Tibet has the right to secede to form the kind of country most Tibetans would probably like: a return to their feudal theocracy headed by the Lama caste. Ideally, increased liberalization of the PRC will take care of the problem, and make Tibet a free country. Of course, this does not mean that the PRC has the right to occupy Tibet, but I don't think there can be a good resolution to a conflict in which both sides are anti-individual rights. Ideally, perhaps, the ROC would one day have the power to act on its land claims over Tibet.
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