Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

DonAthos

Moderators
  • Posts

    1776
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    96

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from dream_weaver in What Has the 'Pro-Life' Movement Won?   
    Voluntary sex is not the only way to get pregnant. Not all sex is voluntary.
    (Also, penis-in-vagina is not the only way to get pregnant, for whatever that's worth.)
    I know of no woman bemoaning pregnancy, as such (at least with respect to the current debate). They are desiring to have sexual activity and embrace the potential consequence -- and meet it head on -- by being able to seek a legal abortion after the fact. There's nothing dishonest about it.
    Sex is not trivial. "Just don't have sex" is bunk advice.
    Sex, pleasure, intimacy, and the host of things which accompany it, are the furthest from "trivial" they could possibly be. Pregnancy might be avoided through abstinence (rape notwithstanding), as obesity might be avoided through starvation, but neither "solution" serves our greater goal.
    Birth control is a better approach, but it isn't completely effective. More to the point, creating remedies for undesirable consequences on any level is not "dishonest"; it is capital-h Honest. Human beings mess up. Our actions create further problems we must then deal with. Legal abortion is not a means of avoiding the consequences of one's mistakes: it is the means by which we deal with those consequences.
    Perhaps. But I believe that what more greatly animates the present discussion is not that someone does not "approve of their life choices"; rather that they seek to make their choices illegal.
  2. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Boydstun in What Has the 'Pro-Life' Movement Won?   
    Voluntary sex is not the only way to get pregnant. Not all sex is voluntary.
    (Also, penis-in-vagina is not the only way to get pregnant, for whatever that's worth.)
    I know of no woman bemoaning pregnancy, as such (at least with respect to the current debate). They are desiring to have sexual activity and embrace the potential consequence -- and meet it head on -- by being able to seek a legal abortion after the fact. There's nothing dishonest about it.
    Sex is not trivial. "Just don't have sex" is bunk advice.
    Sex, pleasure, intimacy, and the host of things which accompany it, are the furthest from "trivial" they could possibly be. Pregnancy might be avoided through abstinence (rape notwithstanding), as obesity might be avoided through starvation, but neither "solution" serves our greater goal.
    Birth control is a better approach, but it isn't completely effective. More to the point, creating remedies for undesirable consequences on any level is not "dishonest"; it is capital-h Honest. Human beings mess up. Our actions create further problems we must then deal with. Legal abortion is not a means of avoiding the consequences of one's mistakes: it is the means by which we deal with those consequences.
    Perhaps. But I believe that what more greatly animates the present discussion is not that someone does not "approve of their life choices"; rather that they seek to make their choices illegal.
  3. Like
    DonAthos reacted to EC in Russian invasion of Ukraine/Belief of Mainstream Media Narrative   
    While I'm here, I have been occasionally checking this forum to see how long it would actually take for a discussion on what is likely the beginning of WW3 to start (yeah, I know I could have started it myself, but don't love participating in long ass "discussions" where I have to keep responding to shots from twenty different peeps at a time too much these days).
    But I do have a more meta take on this that is the reason why our Objectivist "movement" had grinded to a near halt and national irrelevance lately: While what's likely to be the most significant event of the early 21st Century is beginning all or most of the folk's on what's supposed to be the premier Objectivist Forum are busy only discussing relatively esoteric subjects. Not that these philosophic subjects shouldn't be discussed (they should, especially on a philosophy forum) but extremely important current events also *need* to be discussed from a clearly Objectivist perspective or, like what has currently happened, we become irrelevant on the national stage.
     
  4. Like
    DonAthos reacted to Eiuol in How exactly does objectivism disprove skepticism at all?   
    If they are not arbitrary, then you have some positive evidence for the claims. Then those claims can be discussed, and argued about. 
    But in your examples, the only evidence for these claims is apparently your ability to imagine them. In that case, you are basically asking "how can I be sure that something I imagine is not true? I can imagine that the government is sending signals from cell phone towers in order to control our computers, how can I be sure that this is not true?" This wouldn't be evidence. 
     
  5. Like
    DonAthos reacted to dream_weaver in How exactly does objectivism disprove skepticism at all?   
    In the progression of knowledge, familiarity with what is right precedes the discovery of the concept of wrong. 
    One of the roots of the concept "simulation" is the "what" that is being simulated. Unless you are going to embark on an infinite regress, ultimately a simulation of reality would have its foundation based on existence.
    Knowledge of reality is a prerequisite to ascertaining what you are dealing with is a facsimile.
    The skeptic has weight of the onus of proof on his shoulders.
     
  6. Like
    DonAthos reacted to StrictlyLogical in Moral responsibility of enabler parents   
    The experience of your own reaction is your payment for your understanding or misunderstanding of the world.  Rationality/Justice counsel proportionality, not only for those others whom your sentiments are about, but for your own "experience" of other people, which you put yourself through.
    Hatred is the most vile and extreme sort of emotion which takes a toll on the experiencer which has to be paid for by the benefits of the extreme action it urges one toward... be it elimination of a mortal enemy, or complete disassociation with a thoroughly toxic and irredeemable person in whom no value whatsoever may be found... but make no mistake it does not leave one unscathed, whether any action, appropriate or not, is taken in response.
    Upon reflection, you may find disappointment, sadness, regret, lowering of esteem are more rational for you to subject yourself to as an experience and more Just and proportional a response to others.
    Be rational in your assessment of the whole person, be it your brother or your father.
     
    Also, final responsibility for an adult person of sufficient intelligence lies with that person alone... fault the father a lack of fatherhood as a factor but you cannot negate the son's final responsibility in making his own soul.
  7. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in What do you think of "The Red Pill" worldview?   
    Jesus, this entire thing reads like the screed from the next Elliot Rodger. Hateful trash.
    I mean...
    I recognize that Objectivism has its own unresolved issues with "masculinity" and "femininity" -- and I believe that Rand made many missteps on this issue that have continued to mislead Objectivists (who, imo, often have a hard time disagreeing with Rand with respect to anything) -- so that's why we sometimes countenance these sorts of arguments.
    Still, I would love to have had her response to the idea that a woman "hero worships" due to her PMS, lol. Noble, self-made souls indeed!
    From what perspective is this written, and for what audience? Who needs to hear that "the only possible response is anger"? I'd guess the angry.
    But when I look back at my past relationships, I don't feel anger. And when I consider my present relationship, I feel great joy. How do I manage to do this without buying into the bullshit represented here?
    Has the person who wrote this ever met a woman? What was their experience, I wonder?
    And, taken at all seriously, how could a man ever respect a woman or feel anything other than contempt for the entire gender?  No wonder there's such great anger associated with this perspective. Fortunately for me, I've met women (but I shudder to think what this might have done to me, if I had read and bought into it at a sufficiently tender age). Maybe my wife is some sort of unique creature in this regard? But I doubt it.
    The spelling of feelings here exemplifies the level of seriousness and also briskly conveys the underlying hatred and contempt (for, of all things, the feelings of the woman that you love and have married -- your "highest value"!).
    I'm done here -- I've given it too much attention already, perhaps. What must it be like, to see half the populace in this way, as some sort of inscrutable and irrational alien presence? How demeaning. How poisonous.
  8. Thanks
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    There's a world between starting armed conflict and Trump's actual relationship with not only Kim Jong Un, but Modi, Erdogan, etc., etc. Trump had clear admiration for "strong men" and the liberation that tyranny affords a leader, and this had practical influence on his foreign agenda. But honestly, I wouldn't care so much about his relationship with North Korea if Trump were not so damaging to democracy in America.
  9. Like
    DonAthos reacted to Harrison Danneskjold in What are your biggest issues with Objectivism?   
    But your own philosophy, which you live by every day, certainly is.  And if one must arrive at precisely each conclusion Rand ever put into writing (including, as the OP'er pointed out, homosexuality) then there has only ever been one Objectivist and I doubt there will ever be another one.
     
    On a purely personal note I find the "student of Objectivism" or "admirer of Ayn Rand" terminology extremely self-deprecating and sad.  It's one thing if you can't bring yourself to actually LIVE the philosophy, but if you're doing everything you can to live up to your own ideals then I think you deserve to say so.  As I intend to! 
     
    No.
     
    Fundamentally, each of us has a right to the freedom of movement (including international movement) so long as we're not doing so for any nefarious purpose (such as terrorism).  There are no two ways around that.  And while it's true that we can't simultaneously have open borders and a welfare state, one of these things is already strangling the West to death regardless of WHAT we do with our borders.
    This is neither to say that O'ism is a "closed" system (which I don't believe) nor that anyone who advocates for closed borders automatically ceases to be an O'ist; only that certain tenets of the philosophy are more essential than others, and that Rand's conception of individual rights is a rather core component of it.  If you remove or alter that part then it ceases to be the philosophy of Howard Roark or John Galt and becomes something tangibly different.
    That being said...
    While we should have "open" borders that allow any civilized person to live wherever the Hell they want, it does make sense for us to have some sort of screening process to ensure that potential immigrants are, in fact, civilized people who aren't planning on manufacturing sarin gas or instituting Sharia law as soon as they arrive.  And since we should be trying to constrain the welfare state as much as we possibly can, it seems prudent to also say something like no immigrant can ever qualify for any sort of government handout, for example.  Once we had something like that in place we could then start trying to talk about whether we should really be giving handouts to anyone at all.
    The Objectivist position on borders is that they should be open - within reason.
    Incidentally, I wouldn't say that you can't still call yourself an Objectivist if you disagree with that position - just that you're currently wrong.    But that happens to us all.
    Do we know that, though?
    I once knew an immigrant couple from Nepal who, despite not speaking the best English, acted like some of the most American people I've ever met.  The one time I made the mistake of referring to them as Nepali-Americans I was swiftly told on no uncertain terms that they were full-fledged Americans like myself.  That couple took about two years to become almost entirely integrated (with the exception of some slight accents that I'm sure they've ditched by now).
    I bring them up, not to say that transplantation is quick, but simply to point out that it depends on whom we are talking about transplanting.  Some people drag their feet while others are eager to get it out of the way ASAP.
     
    And those who drag their feet about it, and set up little miniature versions of their respective homelands - do they actually want to BE American (or British)?  If not then what we should really be asking about are their motives for trying to enter our countries in the first place.  I also know a number of Somali immigrants to my area who have no intention of ever integrating, learning English or getting a job; they came to America for the handouts.  Handouts which should not exist in the first place.
    And yet children do not automatically inherit their parents' philosophies (as I am living proof of and suspect that you probably are as well).
    Could you elaborate on what you mean by that?
     
    Objectivism doesn't deny the existence of feelings (including hunger, fear, sexual desire, etc).  All it really has to say about them is that not all are valid (i.e. some feelings are not worth paying any attention to) and that they aren't a method for decision making.  They can be perfectly valid data on which to base your decisions, but the method should consist of rational thought.  So I'm not quite sure what you're trying to point to.
     
     
     
    The majority is lucky to inhabit MY world with me!
     
    PS:
     
    Too much of a focus on politics is not good for you.  I know it can be very hard to focus on anything other than politics nowadays (I've been struggling with it quite a bit since the start of the COVID era) but the trajectory of your own life is much more important.  If you rationally think that the country you're in will only continue getting worse then you should move.  And (although I don't think you've actually said this I'll just mention) what most people accept as their own philosophy should certainly have ZERO relevance to what you accept as your own.  Furthermore (as in the above music video) the best way to get others interested in your own philosophy is to actually make something of yourself and show them there's something of practical value to it.
    Hyperfocusing on the beliefs of the majority is a path to the dark side.
  10. Like
    DonAthos reacted to Doug Morris in How many masks do you wear?   
    Never.   The fact of danger may itself be sufficient to say that a person has initiated force.  The fact of creating an appearance which can reasonably be interpreted as danger may itself be sufficient to say that a person has initiated force.  The fact of fear never is.
  11. Thanks
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    It seems to me that this kind of thing gets said regularly around here without proper challenge. The idea of "left" versus "right" is mostly a fiction. It's not a distinction that has much real meaning. It's "traditionally right" (in America) to be hostile to certain social freedoms (e.g. abortion, sex, drugs) and "traditionally left" to be hostile to business freedoms, but what they both have in common is that they are both unprincipled and generally destructive to freedom. (I say "traditionally" because, being unprincipled, these things can quickly and easily flip from one side to the other, turn on a dime. The left was pro-free speech until it wasn't; the right valued law and order until the 6th. They aren't really defined by ideals, so much, but tribal affiliation.)
    Distinguishing between "left" and "right" is crucial for understanding modern American politics, it's true, but from the position of the Objectivist Politics? They're better defined, understood -- and rejected -- by their statist commonalities. The difference between Biden and Trump, for instance, isn't that one is pro-rights while the other is anti-rights: they both of them, and their parties, represent mainstream America. Mainstream America is not in a place where it will elect someone pro-rights to high office, or support/sustain them if they somehow managed to get there.
    Neither is it heading in that direction. America does not even understand what's at issue, yet. Insofar as we have taken it upon ourselves to spread the foundations of Capitalism and individual rights -- reason and reality (let alone rational egoism) -- we are utterly failing. Currently, the left is being overwhelmed by identity-politics progressives and the right is failing to fight off a bugnuts-crazy, conspiracy-minded takeover. We are caught between Scylla and Charybdis, and they are growing.
    As for a right or left "lean," it's kind of like saying that one has a slight preference for cyanide over strychnine. I mean, I guess? I've heard it has a sort-of almond thing, going on. But the difference is mostly inconsequential in the long term. In my experience, the left throws better parties and plays better music, for whatever that's worth. (Though I do have a soft spot in my heart for the various fundamentalist Christmas parties and holiday concerts I've attended over the years; it's often wholesome in such an earnest way that it touches that deep-seated It's a Wonderful Life/Charlie Brown Christmas place in me.)
    It mostly accounts to me and where I'm at in my life, Harrison. Since becoming a father, my patience for my daughter's bullshit has gone up dramatically, but my patience for the bullshit of everyone else has gone down by the same measure. But you know, I never quit for long (enough).
  12. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    Truly, as soon as you say such things as "capable of shame," "remorse," "soul-searching," and so forth, my mind goes to Donald Trump and his sons, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Rudy Giuliani, Bill O'Reilly, etc., etc. These are the folks who "go high." The deep introspectors.
    So you're lending support (however you want to cast that support) to an assault on the Capitol, against the results of a democratic election, by a frothing, conspiracy-fueled mob, because... you have concerns about mail-in ballots.
    There is no way for me to respond to that appropriately.
    Here's an article about one of the deaths by natural causes.
    I've found it fascinating to read here that the woman who got shot while trying to break into a location where people were being protected against mob violence didn't "deserve" it, but the people under assault did. But more incredible than that, perhaps, is the notion that people just up-and-died by natural causes during the riot. The discernment on display is breathtaking.
    ___________________________
    I've got to go do better things with my time for a while. This isn't even entertaining or valuable as an exercise. It's just exhausting and sad.
  13. Like
    DonAthos reacted to Doug Morris in How many masks do you wear?   
    The mere existence of germs, poison, fire, etc. does not constitute physical force on anyone's part.  Imposing them on another is physical force.
    Spreading germs can easily do physical damage to a person's body.  Spreading ideas does not do physical damage.  If the ideas play a role in a person's choice to do physical damage, that is the responsibility of the person taking the physical action.
    I considered "physical aggression" to be a reasonable shorthand for the initiation of physical force.  I was substituting "aggression" for "the initiation of force".  I am sorry if this caused any confusion.  One thing that got me into this habit is the idea that in attempting to communicate with non-Objectivists, saying "physical aggression" might make communication easier than saying "the initiation of physical force".
    A necessary condition for something to be physical force is that it do physical harm of some kind.
    No.
    People are responsible for their own actions.
  14. Like
    DonAthos reacted to Easy Truth in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    Gee, not much of contradiction there.
    That's certainly how YOU are proposing it to be done. It's neither moral nor widespread.
    "Likewise"??? And now you're equating taking a handout from an agency that you already paid into vs. using physical violence to get your point across. 
  15. Haha
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    If there's any one thing Rand would've supported, I'm sure it's mob violence in the name of lies at the behest of an authoritarian against democracy...
  16. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Easy Truth in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    If there's any one thing Rand would've supported, I'm sure it's mob violence in the name of lies at the behest of an authoritarian against democracy...
  17. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    I had quoted you as saying that the left has a "de facto monopoly" on media and social media. That conservatives and libertarians are not represented. I point to podcasts and local radio stations and forums and magazines and newspapers and on and on to demonstrate how that is not the case, at all.
    I don't know precisely how to parse "numbers/influence"; how influential are folks like Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones? But I did point to the fact (so far as I know, and I invite correction) that Fox News is the highest-rated cable news network. So how exactly we define "mainstream" (which seems rather besides the point to me, except for your using the term), I don't know, but I think that conservatives are fairly well represented overall. Anyone who wishes it has plenty of access.
    This seems absurd on its face, but all right. I'll ask you to please explain what "Leftist" means here, and how Brook and other Objectivist intellectuals display it?
  18. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Eiuol in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    And you are able to question anything. But you're conflating this with somehow living consequence-free and implicitly denying others their right to assembly.
    A Nazi could style himself as "simply questioning whether Jews are evil baby-eaters," but that doesn't mean that I should be forced to hire him, give him a platform to express his views, befriend him, or whatever. If I don't want to associate myself with him, that is enough: he has the right to question, I have the right to fire. And yes, the people who are continuing to question the validity of this election, at this point, are divergent with reality. Not so much as Nazis, and in ways that might be understandable to a degree (given that they are being lied to constantly by figures they trust; though their mistakes lie earlier in their own personal timelines). But they diverge with reality nonetheless. That's a fair reason not to want to hire someone.
    Haven't they? Hasn't the question been asked multiple times, and answered by scores of people in various departments, and justices of differing political ideology (including Trump appointees)? Trump just hasn't liked any of those answers, and so he continues to "ask the question" as though he hasn't received any. Because of course. Because he was never going to accept any answer that wasn't him remaining President.
    He was always going to call "fraud" in the event of his losing, facts be damned. He'd intimated that he would do as much before the 2016 election, too, and that he would only accept the results if he won. How people can take him seriously in this is beyond me. And yet the courts looked at these claims and gave them a hearing, over months, and found no call for any injunction or further investigation or to rule in his favor in the slightest (despite the fact that Trump's lawyers sought claims far more limited in scope than he or his team were making in press conferences, when it came time to sign their names to documents; there is fraud afoot after all, and they are party to it).
    That's not true. The question will never be "answered" to QAnon satisfaction. It will never go away. The goalposts will always be moved. If you could have your dream investigation, then there would be questions about that: the leadership and membership, and scope of inquiry, and whether or not there was collusion with the Dems, payoffs by Soros, and on and on and on. Then you would want an investigation into the investigation.
    There are sometimes real conspiracies in the world, but conspiracy-thinking is itself a phenomenon that, unfortunately, we must strive to understand with increasing urgency in the modern world. It interprets lack of evidence to prove the initial conspiracy as evidence of a yet-deeper conspiracy, covering up the first.
    Not going to speak for anyone but myself, but of course we ought not evade. We ought to question, consider, investigate, and ultimately -- conclude. And then our conclusions are subject to further evidence, further inquiry, and can be amended or even overturned, but there must be a point at which we are no longer "seeking answers," having found them to our satisfaction. And there are thorny epistemological questions in and among this, I will admit, but we must take care not to fault someone else for having reached the point of conclusion before we have, given that these activities are necessarily individual, and depend upon individual context (in terms of the evidence one has, one's powers of reasoning, etc.).
    In this case, for instance, I watched things play out thus: before the election, it was observed that, due to COVID and the increased role of mail-in ballots, and how Democrats were encouraging mail-in voting while Republicans were downplaying the need for masks, social distancing, etc., it was highly likely that in-person voting would be weighted towards Trump and mail-in voting would be both large, and weighted towards Biden. On the night of the election, that played out exactly as anticipated.
    It was also supposed by many -- and I assumed, knowing the character of politics generally and Trump quite specifically -- that if Trump had a lead in certain swing states on election night, that he would attempt to claim "victory" in those states, despite mail-in ballots not being fully counted. That he would then put up a fight to either shut down further vote counting or to minimize the results of that counting. And that played out exactly as anticipated, too.
    Thus, that Biden made up ground and then surpassed Trump in several areas as counting went on was not, to me, suggestive of any fraud, but exactly what was expected. But to others, they "went to bed with Trump in the lead" and woke up to find that Biden had overtaken him, and they were primed and encouraged to think that this was evidence of some kind of conspiracy. To join in an effort to "stop the steal," by which it was meant to throw out the votes of fellow Americans and overturn the results of an election that has been judged fair, by every individual and agency empowered to make such a determination.
    That's the bloodless version, of course. In reality, it was sickening to watch our democracy undermined in such fashion, anticipated though it was -- and it's only gotten worse. But I'm never going to convince you of this. Because that's how it goes: as soon as I tell you that "lizard men aren't real," you'll see that as evidence that I must be one of the lizard men. It's either that, or admit that your worldview is deeply corrupted -- and that, to put it mildly, is not an easy feat.
  19. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Repairman in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    I have enough superstition about me not to want to declare that we've survived this, just yet. But despite everything, it looks better to me today than it did yesterday, and it's the first time in a while I've been able to say that. That said, we are far, far from anything approaching good, and we could lurch towards the worse at any moment. Or towards the worst.
    Trump is an authoritarian and a statist. He has been searching for a way to overturn the election for months, and the only way we have yet preserved our system is because other people (to varying degrees) have frustrated him in his efforts. The fascistic assault on the Capitol was a logical and predictable result of everything Trump has said and done, for years. He made it possible, incited it, encouraged it (and, I am certain, applauded it in private) -- but he did not do this alone. The people who have supported Trump share in that guilt in varying measures. They support, wittingly or otherwise, what he represents, which includes a hostility towards democracy and the liberal virtues which make it possible. They have blood on their hands. And they have deeply wounded our country which, with all of its flaws (and they are many), remains the best extant guardian of individual liberty. Their support for Trump is thus in itself an assault against liberty. Objectivists who support Trump have profoundly lost their way, and work in direct opposition to their stated interests.
    It troubles me greatly -- as it should trouble everyone else here -- to witness the degree and depth of conspiracy theory-type thinking which has infected this site (and the country). Objectivism proclaims support for Reason and Reality and is supported by them. To sunder this primary relationship in either direction is to leave Objectivism entirely untethered, to turn it into a mockery. Trump has displayed a consistent and utter disdain for truth, and he has embraced and promulgated a litany of lies in support of his power-lust. Lying has flourished around him accordingly, and I do not fault individuals who have been deceived, per se. But it is time, and past time, and far past time to wake up to the reality of the situation. Rand once remarked (in my memory of it, at least; I am open to correction) that once it was perhaps respectable or understandable to have an honest interest in socialism, but that following the horrors of the 20th century, the evidence was too overwhelming. The evidence is in on Trump. He is a would-be dictator. And those who continue to support him should find the courage to admit who and what he is, and by extension, who and what they are, too.
  20. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from Boydstun in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    I have enough superstition about me not to want to declare that we've survived this, just yet. But despite everything, it looks better to me today than it did yesterday, and it's the first time in a while I've been able to say that. That said, we are far, far from anything approaching good, and we could lurch towards the worse at any moment. Or towards the worst.
    Trump is an authoritarian and a statist. He has been searching for a way to overturn the election for months, and the only way we have yet preserved our system is because other people (to varying degrees) have frustrated him in his efforts. The fascistic assault on the Capitol was a logical and predictable result of everything Trump has said and done, for years. He made it possible, incited it, encouraged it (and, I am certain, applauded it in private) -- but he did not do this alone. The people who have supported Trump share in that guilt in varying measures. They support, wittingly or otherwise, what he represents, which includes a hostility towards democracy and the liberal virtues which make it possible. They have blood on their hands. And they have deeply wounded our country which, with all of its flaws (and they are many), remains the best extant guardian of individual liberty. Their support for Trump is thus in itself an assault against liberty. Objectivists who support Trump have profoundly lost their way, and work in direct opposition to their stated interests.
    It troubles me greatly -- as it should trouble everyone else here -- to witness the degree and depth of conspiracy theory-type thinking which has infected this site (and the country). Objectivism proclaims support for Reason and Reality and is supported by them. To sunder this primary relationship in either direction is to leave Objectivism entirely untethered, to turn it into a mockery. Trump has displayed a consistent and utter disdain for truth, and he has embraced and promulgated a litany of lies in support of his power-lust. Lying has flourished around him accordingly, and I do not fault individuals who have been deceived, per se. But it is time, and past time, and far past time to wake up to the reality of the situation. Rand once remarked (in my memory of it, at least; I am open to correction) that once it was perhaps respectable or understandable to have an honest interest in socialism, but that following the horrors of the 20th century, the evidence was too overwhelming. The evidence is in on Trump. He is a would-be dictator. And those who continue to support him should find the courage to admit who and what he is, and by extension, who and what they are, too.
  21. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from dream_weaver in Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook   
    There's a lesson somewhere in this I've been (too) long in learning. I remember getting to high school and college and grad school and, each in turn, thinking something along the lines of "this is it?" College especially, I expected to be... more than it was. There's a reverence I've always felt for learning, for reason, for truth, and I've always expected that, in a place surrounded by people who shared these pursuits, I would discover a community characterized by passion and kindness and understanding. Benevolent.
    Then, having discovered Rand and Objectivism, I think I transferred some of that meaning and expectation, first at ARI, and then here. I still hold on to this idea, somewhere, that someday the switch will somehow get flipped. That the promise I find in Rand's writings will bear the fruit it should, rather than... what it is, and seems always to have been.
    2020 has been rough. I'd like to "get ahold of myself," believe me, lol, but faced with the alternative I actually have, I guess I want to be upfront about who and what I am, for better, for worse. The support I've found here for Trump and right-wing conspiracy is deeply dispiriting. Not entirely surprising, perhaps, but more disappointing for that. It would be cool to be unaffected, maybe, but I'm not unaffected. It sucks.
  22. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in I became an apostate -- tempus fugit   
    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 your interest or my own, but only in her own interest. But why do we take it that Rand's activism wasn't in her selfish interest, or that she did not judge it so? How is an individual's interest not generally served in working to help others to find truth and reason?
    You're right that life isn't about preaching to others... but preaching to others might well be an important part of one's life. So while I agree that there's a limit, in reason, to trying to drag the recalcitrant from their errors, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater: we shouldn't abandon efforts to spread good ideas in the culture, or to fight against the bad ones. And we might consider whether and how we might do so even more effectively.
    People have the capacity for reason, and I believe that most people will tend to respond to a good argument, all else being equal. Argument itself is something of a science and something of an art, and it has to be learned and worked on and continually revised in the face of failure and opposition -- and I believe that there's a lot of frustration in the Objectivist community because, perhaps implicitly, we believe that The One True Argument has already been made, one size fits all, done and dusted. But no, the work of spreading these ideas has only just begun -- if I can even fairly describe it as having been "begun."
    The ideological battle you reference is real, and I fear we are losing it, in part because we are too often content to surrender the battlefield without a fight. To act as though we shouldn't need to show up in the first place, as though any ideological movement in the history of mankind has ever spread without people actively working to make that happen.
    Do you know who doesn't share that notion (both literally and its tenor more broadly)? The evangelists, the socialists, the jihadists, among many others. And because they commit themselves wholeheartedly to spreading their ideas, and to finding the most effective means for so doing, they typically succeed in spreading them far better than we do. Unfortunately, their ideas are poisonous for society, and unfortunately for us, we live in society and tend to suffer directly when that poison spreads.
    If it were the case that a man could simply say, "Well, that's none of my responsibility; I'll leave them to it and enjoy my life unimpaired," and retreat to Galt's Gulch, I'd say more power to him. But I don't believe that he can enjoy his life unimpaired. I don't believe that Galt's Gulch exists outside of Atlas Shrugged, and if it did, I don't think it would be allowed to last. I believe that the condition of the world has a direct bearing on our individuals lives, and so yes, we must take some measure of responsibility for addressing that condition -- not out of altruism, but selfishly, so we can live.
  23. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Seeking advice: Friends with opposing political and philosophical values   
    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 don't make for great friends.
    This fundamental orientation to reason can show up in many ways, from hobbies and activities, to career pursuits and romantic involvements, discussions/arguments and so forth. The more reasonable they are, in this basic sense, the more apt we are to get along... even where and when we disagree. The people who are less fundamentally reasonable, though we may agree on everything else (howsoever superficially), the smallest disagreement could wind up being an unmanageable obstacle.
    Consequently, I've maintained friends among Christians, Hindus, Atheists, Buddhists, and politically on the left, right and in the "middle." The more zealous socialists I've known can be trying, at times, and not least because -- to the extent they adhere to their own professed beliefs -- they often feel required not to be friends with someone who believes as I do. Yet even with one or two of these, I have found that I can identify sufficiently with their virtues to overcome other deficits (like intelligence and taking ideas seriously).
    My closest friend in the world (apart from my wife) is a Methodist. He's sincere in his religious beliefs, but not very dogmatic. We made peace about our diverging views very long ago, and though we still argue them from time to time in one form or another, we understand that our bonds are based on fundamental things that, perhaps, aren't completely captured or expressed in our stated philosophies. We do not fear disagreement.
  24. Like
    DonAthos reacted to dream_weaver in I became an apostate -- tempus fugit   
    Hi Rob,
    You may just be touching base after a dozen years. Objectivism is a philosophy for individuals to live on earth. When one remains true to one's self, if they cross paths with the philosophy, it is likely to resonate with them. From your description, it is your understandings that have evolved over the years, not Rand's philosophy. So long as you don't abandon your cause, the label of an apostate can be foregone.
  25. Like
    DonAthos got a reaction from dream_weaver in What have George Floyd, Micheal Brown and Malice Green in common?   
    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, on the other hand, retaliatory force, by definition.
    I disagree that "right of retaliation" exists only in the "victim." If someone attacks my wife or my child, I reserve full right of redress/retaliation. Delegation of that to some other authority, like government, is often a fine strategy to better effect justice. But in some given context (like in a place where government's reach is poor or nonexistent, or where government is corrupt), I may have to act myself in the name of justice -- on their behalf. Or on the behalf of my friend or neighbor. Or on the behalf of someone I've never met. Ultimately, I receive an attack on an innocent anywhere as an attack against myself, insofar as I am likewise innocent of the initiation of the use of force.
    This is really where this "governmental power" comes from. There's no formal delegation or surrender of power, or of the "right of retaliation." But the idea of this "delegation" is a general acknowledgement that retaliatory force is proper, in certain situations, and need not be carried out by the victim (and may in fact be better served when not carried out by the victim). The use is "legitimated," thus, by virtue of being proper and correct -- by being a redress of wrongs against the guilty, in the name of the innocent. When the government acts improperly, it is illegitimate, and anything considered initially "delegated" may be taken back by the individual. I have no moral duty to surrender anything to government, or anyone else, if that does not actually serve my individual interests.
    When a police officer is kneeling on your neck, killing you in fact, you have no moral obligation to allow it. If you witness an officer doing this to another, you have no moral obligation to permit it -- and perhaps quite the opposite.
    Yet there are institutions, and we do recognize that they may be to blame for various crimes or actions -- do we not? This is how and why we recognize a street gang, or the mafia, for what it is, its criminal character, arising out of yet distinct from a particular accounting of the individual crimes of its members. And when we take down the mob, we take down the mob.
    It is clear to me that there is a failure at some point: in the present controversy (though how many others are there?), for instance, of the four officers present someone ought to have intervened; it should not be left to the civilians to tell the officers to relent, to let the man up as he's dying under their weight, and to be ignored. People are outraged rightly, because it is outrageous.
    As to where that failure lies...? Perhaps it is in initial screening, perhaps in training, perhaps it accounts in part to the individual... or likely, actually, it is all of these things -- the problems we're facing are many and deep, and yes: the institution itself is in part the initiator of force.
    I know that most Objectivists don't like speaking (or thinking?) in these terms, but I find it helpful to remember that US law initiates the use of force constantly and regularly against its own citizenry, and that the police are individuals who have signed up to assist in that effort. They commit themselves personally to using force against innocents on a routine basis; this is how they make their livelihoods. They have opted in, and they continue to make this choice, again and again. It should not be a surprise that there are "bad apples" among the bunch. Actually, it should be surprising to find someone moral in such a role -- and I have long believed that the truly moral would not be able to stomach such a thing for very long. The most committed to truth and justice, to fighting against the evil in society, would be the first to be sickened and enervated by the reality of his situation. I don't think he could last.
    But you should ponder why persons arrive at their conclusions, at length and to the best of your ability: if you mean to do something, anything to benefit society, then understanding other people is essential.
    In any event, the correct conclusion is, in part, that our policing needs to be overhauled. The culture of silence and mutual protectionism must be dismantled, and measures need to be installed to give greater civilian oversight and transparency. We should work to demilitarize (which includes a change in law and priority, too, like ending the "war on drugs") and de-escalate, so that the police can work with their communities again, instead of as an occupying force. We must commit ourselves to rooting out the remnants of racism and other cultural detritus, and upholding personal accountability so that no one may act with impunity (from the President down).
    Until these sorts of fundamental changes are begun, we can expect these same essential results, again and again and again.
×
×
  • Create New...