Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Charles

  1. Software Nerd - Im going to try and address that point within the context of this post in reply to Jennifer's post: I understand what you are saying. You are describing a culture of understanding where people see the results of their actions/inactions because there's no big government to cushion them out. In this hypothetical scenario people would see crime and understand their responsibility in dealing with it. Very much like the Gibbon quote I give below. However... I am an idealist, but I am also a realist - In an ideal world everyone would understand their freedom came with responsibilites, that there are certain indubitable principles in human relations, and thus act accordingly. Such ideals are not going to be approached anytime fast; the actions necessary to create such a culture of thought are seriously long term. In the present I am focusing on low taxes, and would never argue for no taxes - its not workable given the way people currently act - thats not to say you can't change the way a society thinks, or that the idea is inhuman like communism, but that the level of mutual understanding and community required for that to work is almost religious and not political. Its not really useful. See in the UK we had a spate of privatization in the 1980s under Maggie Thatcher, the problem with which was that they were lightning fast and ill thought out. I do not think you can click your fingers and privatize the lot - take railways for example; rather than suddenly annoucing your policy change and immediately putting the entire rail system on the market for the cheapest buyer (any old asset acquirer), you should announce a change in policy and legal changes that would secure potential investors immunity from future re-nationalization, then sit and take offers - refusing the unserious ones. That may sound boring, or unlikely to happen, but its the only way I think free market principles will ever find a way in the long term. When we talk of the last few percent taxation, once health, education and the rest are privatized, I think its no longer political change that can reduce (or eliminate all together) taxation - its cultural changes. Changes in the way people think and act on a massive scale. A gradual scale. If your going to reply to this you may want to follow my line of thinking from my earlier post.
  2. Seriously though: Government has some proper functions such as upholding the law, defence, even democracy costs money. Given these necessary functions of government - necessary for the existence of free society, is it unreasonable that members are asked to pay taxes for them? Now for usage of government services in general the possibility of having personalized bills instead of nationalized taxes seems more desirable. But as regards Justice - should you really have to pay for it? Many people do not have money, not because they are lazy, but because they are investing all they earn in improving their situation be that though education or basic living conditions. Jennifer argues you should not pay for a government service if you get no immediate benefit, and sure - for health, education etc that works. But Justice - surely everyone is getting a benefit out of that all the time? Surely thats the one thing that makes Government, albeit small government, necessary?
  3. Now you've got me thinking of lots of firemen sneaking around setting things on fire and asking for cheques!!!
  4. Judging by comments exchanged over the last few days here in UK, and from newspaper editorials I say Cuba is the current darling. Now my Objectivist inclination would immediately be that they are either a)lying, and having heard it repeated I suspect not, or b.) the Cuban government are getting the money from something undesirable. I wonder what. Anyone know what the deal is with Cuba?
  5. I'd say the technology factor and the 'cynical & jaded with age' factor probably play into it if we take the poll as typical for the online Objectivist community. I think that 1) just goes to show the bright future the scores of young people responsible for intelligent discussion here will go on to lead, and 2) tells us young ones to value the insight of the fewer older members that form this community in particular - there not all that common. I'm certainly learning a great deal from their manner and observations. Incidently, I am 20 yrs old.
  6. I agree - since I've come to Objectivism I've really began to see a great deal of essentially good things going around me. Things that make you stop and think; 'yeah - they know what there doing'. Still, The Government beast ever looms, and my African suggestion doesn't come out of a spirit of desperation or doom-saying, its just a potential way of getting an exclusive new constitution up and running somewhere.
  7. I'm absolutely not suggesting anyone give money to African governments. I'm talking about intervening on the local level and galvanising support - show the necessity of private property laws and responsible governance, of free trade and hard work. The project would be financed and carried out by a small group of people, and yes - it is not watertight - but consider that in much of Africa the borders are merely fictional and there are greater ethnic and tribal tensions as well as war lords hunting resources that carve out real domains of power. I frankly don't know of costs or specific locations - this is a general idea, and is suggested in contrast with the space based exodus idea as a more reasonable iniative. If this was to be done, one could first immerse themselves in the culture of the target community, learning its language and customs, how they think - and then appeal to them in terms they understand. Yes, you are right - the 'horrible state of culture to begin with' invites bad governance. I'm saying it may be easier to do nation building out of different cultures with values that have failed them again and again, than out of 50 states of relatively well-off and happy Americans. There are a number of reasons I object to Debt wiping, African aid on the level our Governments have just agreed to, and generally just throwing money at 'the problem' and hoping it will go away - not least that the people receiving this money, and hence power, have no conception of capitalism, democracy or good governance.
  8. Condi v.s Hilary, about time US had a female to sort things out - never know, Condi could be your Thatcher. And a black Thatcher! thats two fingers to the Christian right! She'd have my vote.
  9. There is a lot of talk in the news at the moment about Africa - the impoverished continent. It occurs to me that when Westerners come across depositing vast sums of aid & declaring their solemn duty to help these people they've never met before I expect a number of Africans, having come from a tribal background, have no idea why they are being helped. In many areas Africa is now the bastion of a new Christianity - these suffering people were offered a new hope and stick to it like glue. Now there are enough desperate peoples on this planet that I see no reason why a group of like minded individuals (Objectivists) with a large sum of money and knowledge between them couldn't, of their own private intiative, approach such an area and offer money for reform, for education - essentially breathing life into a near dead society, exchanging value for value. If Africa taught us anything its that when the times are tough people clutch onto the best they can. Surely its easier, on mass level, to 'convert' desperate people rather than well-off, comfortable, fellow Americans?
  10. Succesful it what aspects? As far as special forces go, Britian is still out there, and the US army is by no means the best peacekeeping force. Technologically sure.
  11. Hi, As im sure is the case across most of the UK, and I imagine across the pond, Student Unions are predominantly left wing. When it comes to politics I am an opportunist in so much as I vote for the party that is most likely to sway the status quo in what I consider the right direction. As such I am an active member of the University of London's Conservative society... (The University of London is made up of a number of separate colleges eg. Imperial, Birbeck, UCL etc, and each has its own union. The presiding Union, however, is a cross college one known as ULU) Conservative Society Background: It has grown from a mere 20 members to over 100 and is currently the largest in London, and is privy to lectures with a large number of MPs, Media figures and political circles. Originally our events were exclusively centre right - with such youth organization as TRG (Tory Reform Group) and CF (Conservative Future). Thanks to a few individuals we are now getting actively involved in the Adam Smith Institute and CWF (Conservative Way Forward), which are concerned primarily with economic matters as regards party policy. We are despised by the Union, who are reluctant to give money to us and have had a number of confrontation with various student magazines. Activism: Our former treasurer and several other individuals from other London colleges societies are standing for election in ULU, the main student body in London...the largest Student Body in Europe. There haven't revealed there political inclinations...that would attract to much attention. Given the exceedingly low voter turn out it shouldn't be too hard to get these guys in through votes from our own number and anyone we can persuade. If there is any interest I can point you to these candidates, and information about them/their policies. I appreciate that the Conservatives aren't anything close to true Objectivism, but they do incorporate a diverse range of opinion and are the only party to explicitly advocate lower taxes...and anyone who has lived in the UK over the past eight years will know how much everything has gone up. If there is any place that could do with a change in climate...its the student unions. Thanks. Charles.
  12. "A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother" anon.
  13. Well according to its own sources (quaran etc) Islam spread through the middle east via military campaign under the Emperor, Mohammed. In fact, thats why the Jews lost so much territory. The Christians got into Europe when Roman Emperor Constantine adopted it as the state religion. Really an ingenious way to keep control of the people, in the face of a popular pacifism. At that time I would suggest religion really was the opiate of the people.
  14. Glenn Close would definitely make a good Lillian. On a separate note - any one seen 'Three Colours White'? - Julie Delpy would make the perfect Dominique in The Fountainhead.
  15. I live with a (Chinese) couple from Dalien near the border with North Korea and they report that in the years Wen Jiabao has become premier the Chinese have gone from basic border patrols to wholes divisions of their army stationed along the length of the border. With its internal collapse and starvation North Korea are expecting Chinese help and the new Premier is not as forthcoming as the last. We've long suspected, perhaps even known, the North has Nukes - that they now openly declare it is probably an attempt to extort food aid/financial helps over the table in talks with China/USA. If the US places sanctions on North Korea, it may well force its collapse - which either means Jung Il being overthrown, or uses his power in a final bid. I think the most important thing in this situation is close cooperation with the Chinese - should action need to be taken it should be done in such away to avoid conflict/end relations with China if possible. Nobody wants a nuclear war with China.
  16. Nationalization of the Shoe Industry (everyone needs shoes!) perhaps food... Why not take some extreme conclusions from socialism... NB A quirky idea of Miss Rands in Capitalism the Unknown Ideal
  17. Please elaborate Jennifer (is it Jen, Jenny or Jennifer?), I recall the movie - quite amusing - but I thought they had a form of national service for citizenship in their future world.
  18. There is an element of choice here - you have chosen to join the US military - you have the intellect to judge to what extent the military is used for political or immoral purposes and must draw your own conclusions. My thoughts would be that 'joining up' entails a contract for a period of time - time in which political changes could see you carrying out operations in direct conflict with your prescribed morality. Im pretty sure that the contract you sign obliges you to obey orders regardless and as if you choose to sign it walking away doesn't seem like an option. I suppose a nation of truly freemen would train up men but then ask them if they are ready to commit themselves to a specific operation.
  19. I think that about sums up your scenario. (from tommyedisons link) If there is no choice there is no morality. The one exception to this, which JSnow brings up, is suicide - in a situation where you are being coerced at the point of a gun under an oppressive regime which essentially prohibits personal choice you can make the final decision - to die fighting against it. The same could apply to Volountary Euthanasia - if your incapable of interacting with reality and are merely a burden to someone (one you can't repay) you have the choice, hence arguably the moral obilgation, to end whats left of your existence.
  20. Greetings A.A. I hope you find this forum useful; I certainly have. Have you ever been to the US or travelled outside of Israel? ---- btw ,Voluntaryist, I googled John Lilburne - Im getting a Puritan leader of the Levellers from 17th century?? Who is this guy - how is he relevant/heroic?
  21. Toolboxnj, I agree - George W Bush certainly appears to be an advocate of DPT. Check out transcipt or video of this post-relection conference with UK Primeminister Tony Blair: whitehouse.gov to quote some of the press questions dialogue: PRESIDENT BUSH: Let's see here. Cochran. John? Q I'm totally shocked. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT BUSH: That's why I called on you. (Laughter.) Q You know, you talk about democracy being so necessary. There are those who would say there is sometimes a harsh peace of a dictator. What if the Palestinian state comes up with somebody who is not a democrat, but is willing to have peace with the Israelis? And let me transfer that to the Iraqis, as well. What if the Iraqis come up with somebody who's not friendly to the United States, is not a democrat, but it's peaceful, is this something you can live with? PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first of all, if there's an election, the Iraqis will have come up with somebody who is duly-elected. In other words, democracy will have spoken. And that person is going to have to listen to the people, not to the whims of a dictator, not to their own desires -- personal desires. The great thing about democracy is you actually go out and ask the people for a vote, as you might have noticed recently. And the people get to decide, and they get to decide the course of their future. And so it's a contradiction in terms to say a dictator gets elected. The person who gets elected is chosen by the people. And so I don't -- I'm not -- Q You can be elected and be a tyrant. PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can be elected and then be a strong man, and then you get voted out, so long as you end up honoring democracy. But if you're true to democracy, you'll listen to the people, not to your own desires. If you're true to democracy, you'll do what the people want you to do. That's the difference between democracy and a tyrant..........And the reason why I'm so strong on democracy is democracies don't go to war with each other. ----- (Anybody remember Adolf Hitler? Elected leader of the Weimar republic 1933. Proprietor of WW2.) (edited to capitalize Weimar!)
  22. It was Kant who was famous for formalizing the hypothetical imperatives (IF X THEN Y) and categorical imperatives (X is - no questions)! But Im guessing you already knew that... hehehe On a more serious note - are you sure freewill cannot be understood in rational terms? As a Neuroscience student I'm led to think otherwise.
  23. As to the question of Nazi Germany's 'inevitable exhaustion' - let us not forget that in Soviet Russia the landowners and businessmen were openly denounced from the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution. Hitler, however, had not only entered government democratically, but had done so with the support of most of Germany's greatest industrial magnates. This is the wonder of the Nazi propaganda machine that managed to harness the opportunism of the right and the class struggle of the left under one nationalistic tyranny. Always be skeptical of flags! Not to mention the evidence that if it hadn't been for D-Day the Nazi's own A-bomb project may have come to fruition, its first target known to have been New York.
  24. Intelligence isn't a reflection of morality and morality isn't necessarily a reflection of intelligence. I think of Ellsworth Toohey - very intelligent/completely immoral. In fact a high level of intelligence is often required to evade on the level so many government officials or postmodern 'philosophers' do. Like repression/supression, intellectulization is one extremely efficient tool of evasion. --- In regards to the dictionary definition supplied by Jennifer; consider the variety of forms of knowledge - there is sensual knowledge, abstract knowledge and even innate knowledge. Ill give an example - imagine a red car passing by on a road. The knowledge that the car is 1) red 2) moving 3) in a direction relative to the road 4) is a mercedes 5) is a mercedes you recognize as your uncles etc are all interpreted in different parts of the brain. Consider the effects of damage to the color perceiving area of the brain, or the motion sensing area of the brain or indeed the pathway connecting the two. (eg: There are medical cases where individuals have lost the ability to perceive motion and see the world in frame clicks). That you can interpret any of these features from variations of light wavelength/intensity at all is the result of assumptions about the world, physically (i.e. genetically) built into your hardware (brain/eyes). An example of the latter is the assumption that light illuminating an area generally comes from one or few sources. My point is that intelligence isn't in data aquisition, or even in recognition of data - its in the processing and integration of the facts you do have (rather than the extent to which you can acquire facts). Of course that accounts for logic too as we can deduce further facts and predict future events through consideration of those we have. In relation to IQ tests I think the subjects must be aware of the facts involved in the questions - i.e. you cannot tell anything about a persons intelligence from the fruit question listed earlier unless you know what each type of fruit is. Im open to ideas. ---- Edited to add idea: On this basis I'd consider freewill in terms of the extent to which one allows their ideas/processing to willfully reflect reality. Through choice we have the power to create our own contextual/subjective reality that suits our circumstances - eg. the failure of a religious boy to challenge the rationally unacceptable doctrines of the community he lives in for the sake of fitting in.
  • Create New...