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DonAthos

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  1. You're talking past everything I actually say, to argue against something I have not said. It is supremely frustrating. While I could engage on you whether Christianity is somehow a "religion of peace" (despite all of its history), better or worse than Islam in that or any other respect, I fear that I could not expect any better behavior in that conversation -- or even for you to agree that it is itself a tangential distraction from the matter we had initially been discussing. You paid me a compliment in another thread, but the far better compliment would be to repay my efforts with
  2. No, those things aren't the "same." And blowing up an abortion clinic isn't the same as "speaking in tongues," either. Or cross burnings (note... literal fire). Or sectarian violence in Ireland, or elsewhere. Since its inception and continuing to present day, Christianity has plenty of blood on its hands; and while mainstream Christianity currently disavows most of that (just as there are Muslims who disavow terrorism and extremism, and wish to banish those things further to the fringe), the root of Christianity is just as anti-reason and anti-life as Islam. It is only less fully implemen
  3. You mean to tell me that, because I recognize the problems with, for instance, Islam, I cannot also identify the problems in Christianity? Because the world lumps itself into "left" versus "right," I must pick a side -- for pragmatic reasons -- and thereafter only find the faults in my supposed opponent? If that's the thrust of your response, I strongly disagree. There is irrationality all around, I'm afraid, and on every side. If we mean to advocate a philosophy of reason, then we must identify that fact without hesitation. Evangelists absolutely belong with, for instance, the jihadists
  4. It's interesting to consider where you would be or I would be, had not Rand felt the need for "activism" -- the spreading of her ideas which required her to work in fiction, research other thinkers, craft arguments, form an institute, engage with others (often hostile), and so on. Whatever Rand may have thought about art and didacticism, I'd dare say that activism describes her life's work. She meant to change the world by changing the minds of others, and she put a lot of effort into making that happen. And perhaps you might think that misses the point -- that Rand had no need to act in
  5. Paraphrasing a quote here, Rand saw herself as primarily a proponent, not of capitalism, but egoism... and not primarily egoism, but reason. I approach my friendships and other relations the same sort of way: I seek people who are fundamentally reasonable. Your mileage may vary, but I've found people who demonstrate varying degrees of reason in every walk of life, and subscribing to most every sort of view -- at the very least, nominally. At the same time, I have met people whose stated beliefs I judge as correct, yet they are not very reasonable in their dealings, in their lives -- and they d
  6. That people put this incident in a racial context is not a failure of objectivity; it's trying to interpret events in the "widest possible context." No, it's not necessarily the case that the officer in this incident was motivated by racism. It can often be hard to determine other peoples' motivations with precision, given the internal nature of consciousness*. But when you examine the history of the United States, specifically with respect to race relations, and modern policing, and any number of these incidents of police brutality, then a pattern emerges. It is not a failure of rational
  7. Yes. I agree with you that there is no "predetermination," and that many individuals have risen above their surroundings, background, environment, and so forth. However, as you indicate, we are also "influenced" by what is around us, and sometimes heavily so. (Which is in part why it is important for us to work to reshape the culture. Culture is powerful.) It is tricky to work out the meaning and extent of this "influence," such that we are still recognizably moral actors and do not succumb to some form of predestination. I won't pretend to have anything like a precise formul
  8. I agree with this. But I have a question, or a series of questions, that I guess coalesces kind of like this: do you think it's possible to move directly from our racist past (meaning things such as slavery, Jim Crow, etc.) to individualism? Or do you think that any "staging" is necessary, like "affirmative action" (which could be undertaken without governmental intervention; a private business owner could take such things into consideration, of his own accord)? And to be clear, I'm not asking by way of disagreeing with your or anything you've said -- this is a real question in my mi
  9. Disagree here. "Retaliatory force" is not sensibly distinguished from "force used in retaliation." There may be legitimate and illegitimate uses of retaliatory force, but "force used in retaliation" is, as grammar would seem to have it, "retaliatory force." And further, vigilantism may not be "legitimate" in the sense of legal, but it may yet be moral depending on context. Our sense of law and legal "legitimacy" comes from pre-legal/extra-legal understandings that retaliatory force may be morally proper, in a given situation. "Initiation of force masquerading as retaliation," is not,
  10. Not to agree or disagree more broadly about this particular act of mob violence, but you're looking at "retaliation" wrong here. The thing that makes for retaliation is not that it is the individual who has had force used against them, replying in kind. If you look at the most widely agreed-upon uses of "retaliatory force" -- namely, law enforcement itself, I think this should be plain to see: When the judge sentences a murderer to jail, that judge was not necessarily there at the time of the attack; neither he, nor the arresting officer, nor the jailer, have been themselves attacked. Yet
  11. I'm going to leave alone re: "analogy" for the moment. There seems to be something missing from your final sentence here, so I'm not entirely certain I understand your point. Regardless, we aren't discussing "epistemic standards," we are discussing the initiation of the use of force. Whether you believe you're comparing some aspect of law enforcement to something found in science, or otherwise relating them in a... somehow non-analogous fashion, you're not addressing the matter at hand. What we're discussing does not apply to science and its "investigation of the unknown." (Unless scient
  12. It boggles me a bit that I'm stopping to address this, but even if the same principles are involved, it would still be an analogy... i.e. "law enforcement is analogous to science in that they share the same epistemic standards," or what have you. As to "epistemic standards" and the best practices of "investigating the unknown" (which is such a broad and saturated phrase as to be practically useless), they must be guided by experts in the field and with great attention to specific context. I am not in the position to prescribe to professional scientists what the best manner of "investigati
  13. I'm not entirely certain how you would ask for documents without some level of "detention," though I have proposed a futuristic scanner that would eliminate the need for any kind of stop at all -- but you're not satisfied with that, either. I don't know if you want some different standard than I do. I have constantly asked you to articulate a standard -- and you have yet to provide one (though in its place you've provided an analogy to science, and you've gestured towards established law/authority, and you've drawn -- and subsequently disavowed -- distinctions between "active" and "ina
  14. You invented an argument to refute -- that I was calling for "infallibility." You did not address my actual argument at all. I don't doubt the value of probable cause (and there is value, too, in a border stop). However, I believe that both probable cause and warrants are susceptible to the same principled critiques offered regarding border stops. As presented, they both "violate rights," yet you endorse one and reject the other. But why should we allow rights violations in the case of a warrant/probable cause? Can you defend that which you advocate? I don't. I think that a bor
  15. But Eiuol, we do start with perception. You see the person approaching the border, you stop them: that starts with perception. You would like some individualized reason to stop a particular person -- but I still do not see why. Your standard of "probable cause" is not the strict use of retaliatory force, not in all cases and probably not in most. "Suspicion," is not a terrifically high hurdle to clear, after all, and when I suggested a higher one (e.g. trial by jury), better designed to avoid violating rights, you rejected it without reason. But the fact remains, you're willing to st
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