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Everything posted by Charles

  1. Is any one UK bound attending the Adam Smith Institute Ayn Rand Seminar, to commemorate her birth 100 years ago, on 2nd February? see http://www.adamsmith.org/ Charlie
  2. Great words of encouragement the_tortured_one! Rather than negating Rational_Ones ideas would any one give my simpler focus some consideration? It can be summed up in my last sentance: "It seems to me that breaking the mould...the predictability of electoral bias can only favour us if we are there to offer an alternative."
  3. I'd like to pick up on this point Tom makes. I believe that IF an objectivist votes for a political candidate it is in the spirit of opportunity. That is - they vote the candidate that is likely to shift the status quo in their direction. However, Im convinced that as a problem of philosophy and not politics the only real way a permanent shift towards Objectivism can be brought to term is through grass-roots movements. Other threads (such as'Could we create Atlantis?') put forth the question of whether creation of a 'Galt's Gulch', or creation of a new nation in the spirit of the founding fathers is a valid vehicle for the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Im doubtful of such fantasy; I think there is neither the cohesion or the means to do it, amongst other considerations. However I think that if there is an opportunity it is through targetted grass roots movements. Why not target those areas considered most firmly blue or red? the yee-hah right and liberal lefty hotbeds? A young, innovative and reasonable [possibly republican] candidate with an economic message, yet a highlighted free thinker on social issues, for blue cities such as Seattle...? Stirring some contention on the social [values] scene in churchyard America...? It seems to me that breaking the mould...the predictability of electoral bias can only favour us if we are there to offer an alternative. Charlie Edit to add: If ever there was a break in the mould, it would be the election of the first female president in 2008 - the first female black president, a republican, a hawk: President Condi Rice. (Discuss!! )
  4. How about targetting blue cities like Seattle with a focus on economic freedom and its benefits and red counties with social freedom with a focus on freewill and responsibility to self. I think that breaking the predictability of voting patterns/stimulating diversity of thought would force a change in the party politics, swaying the status quo in our direction.
  5. Democracy is rule via the collective and thus rule by force - unless a constitution restricts it. Interestingly the word 'tyranny', commonly viewed as the evil alternative to democracy comes from the Latin 'tyrannos' simply meaning 'master'. Throughout history there have been tyrannies, oligarchies and democracies of varying standards. Napoleon is still looked upon as a national hero by many French and Ho Chi Min, the communist dictator, was considered a benevolent dictator by many. Conversely there have been incidences where democracy has spawned terrible atrocity (the election of Adolf Hitler). The point being that these are all forms of governance and it is excessive governance itself that is the essential evil here. However. Within the realm of a well defined constitution, the political mechanism most conducive to selection of leaders is democracy - vote of those standing for election. It stands to reason that a group of men held accountable are less susceptible to ruin a countries institutions than an heir, overlord or dynasty. Diversity of potential governors, within the realm of the constitution, is preferable than ruling parties of a single group/source. It disturbs me to see President Bush proclaim, as he did following his re-election at a press conference with Tony Blair last November, that democracies can't spawn tyrants and that democracies don't like wars. Such view is folly and shows an ignorance of the greatest lessons of 20th century history.
  6. Yes - I cannot wait for the Hitchhikers movie - trailer was promising.
  7. The article is definitely Satire and I dont think it is at all malicious. I think the questions here are: 1) Is it good satire? 2) Does satire have a place within Objectivism - 'its philosophical values, its romantic-realism esthetic, and its image of man as heroic'? ( to quote Mr Lau from another thread on this topic) If not, what does constitute Objectivist humor? 3) If yes, then what is good satire? --- Personally I have been amused by a great deal of satire - is anybody familiar with Douglas Adams and his 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' trilogy? The opening chapter begins with typical dry Brit, Arthur Dent, awaking one Thursday morning to be faced by a demolition crew commisioned by the local council to destroy his house to build a bypass....and ends with an alien fleet of Vogons destroying Earth in order to build an intergalactic highway...shrugging off the world leaders complaints with the incidental "you've had the last 2000 yrs to check your local planning office" ( @ Alpha Centauri!) (edited for grammar)
  8. How many Marxists does it take to change a light bulb? None. Every light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.
  9. A moderator test? Monthly moderator reviews? Moderator Test Elaboration: - Perhaps a number of example posts and a range of choices of action to take, to be judged by Mr Veksler et al. Edited: - A further idea: People could offer to moderate a smaller forum, or subforum - to start with - just for explicit abuses. Problems in that forum could be addressed to the new moderator, and if the case proved taxing, that moderator could address a higher moderator. A sort of moderator tutor/buddy system. Just an idea.
  10. Im going to throw in my two cent. I don't post a great deal, and when I do it tends to be for a short sustained period - but I do still follow the forum in my busier moments. Of the diverse range of voices and ideas sounding out across this forum the Speicher's contributions have given me the most to think about - whether it be finding new sources, challenging my views or encouraging me, through example, to discipline my arguments. Stephen's posts may account for a full 6.5% of the forum, but I'd argue his effect upon the overall standard and quality of discussion in this forum is substantially greater. I hope this will be resolved.
  11. Apologies to everybody for my earlier post merely quoting Inspector and adding a smiley. He doesn't appear to qualify his statement within a context, but still:- my post was "devoid of intellectual content". Willingly withdrawn.
  12. A decent challenge AisA. Of the few Muslims who are close friends I am certain they condemn terrorism unequivocally. They do, however, vary in their degree of faith - for instance one is from Brunei and the other from Singapore, the latters culture applying the stricter interpretation of Islam. My friend from Brunei has invited me for dinner at his embassy and I shall certainly bring up some of the fatwas you mention. Im also tempted to ask a few of the friendly local muslims in my area what you have proposed. I shall get back to you on it. I do think, however, there is a distinction between endorsing terrorism and endorsing the majority of those fatwas. The irrational dogmas being followed in the latter not warranting actions of a form that should be taken against those endorsing terrorism. (with the exception of shooting Salman Rushdie on sight!) In any case, what we can do, is limited by whether or not they actually attempt to carry out specific fatwas - i.e. agreeing with wife beating may be morally rephrehensible, but only actually carrying out wife beating warrants arrest and trial. Endorsement of Terrorism is tantamount to encouraging it - such people should be monitored closely as they do represent a potential threat and where publically proclaiming it (Abu Hamza anybody?) arrest and trial/deportation are in order. One thing a Muslim acquaintance said to me was that the Quaran commands you to fight the jihad against yourself BEFORE the jihad against the world - meaning until you have proven yourself to be a true muslim/altruist you cannot go about the business of bringing Islam to everyone else. By that count most Muslims dismiss Bin Laden as being anything but a true Muslim.
  13. Thankyou for the advice, I shall get the book and I shall try the stunted study thing.
  14. Hi. I have a massive concentration problem - I have plenty of interest - I flit through interesting leads in areas that grab my attention. I am fairly good at expressing myself, and at writing but my abilitiy to read or write, something academic which is not of the highest interest, for a sustained period of time is awful. I am easily distracted and not focused. I wonder if anyone has had any past experience with this and its causes they'd like to share with me? or any lifestyle/dietary/medical changes that might increase my ability to focus. Thanks. Charles nb. I should say for clarification Im a young student, Im not 'a party animal', I dont smoke Cannabis.
  15. If extremism is a 'rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept' (p. 23, ARL) because it is an emotionally slanted and 'vague/insidious' way of describing 'someone who acts on principle [and] applies that principle consistently' (BurgessLau) then surely fundamentalism is to. EDITED: to add 'and radical too... The percentage of Muslims who are fundamentalists is comparitively few, and even then they are only fundamentally applying an interpretation of the Quaran. When I accuse drdriveby of being an extremist I accuse him of a far too literal application of Objectivist ideology, and at that his own interpretation of it; his logic appears to be on the level of -Islam is an altruistic and thus harmful threat- ergo -destroy it with whatever force is necessary-. A moderate approach would acknowledge that the vast majority of Muslims are just as misguided as the vast majority of Christians and need setting straight; not wiping out.
  16. My posts are not generalized attacks: they are addressed to drdriveby. I dont think so. You can draw your own conclusions, but: All from drdriveby:
  17. Plain insult I have made no claim that the categorizations that exist in Islamic culture are metaphysically or ethically valid. Analogy: There are Catholics and there are Protestants - neither are metaphysically or ethically valid groups, but there remains a distinction in their respective claims. I do not see how that adds anything to your initial refute or in any way deals with anything I said. Saddam Hussein was a secular dictator, a tyrant governing a comparatively moderate Islamic state with many secular elements. Afghanistan was host to the Taliban - a group of religious fundamentalists advocating the use of violence against the West, haboring terrorist training camps and committing gross human rights abuses amongst its own. The Israel-Palestine Issue is concerned with national sovereignty though each sides culture is entrenched in religion. The tenuous linking of Iraq to Palestine and the wider middle eastern/islamic sphere under the slogan ‘War on Terror’ has witnessed thousands of militants drawn to Iraq to engage the American troops - it is, to use the current military parlance, ‘a terrorist hotbed’ , though as a British Commander informed a Conservative defence policy meeting I attended this week - practically every suicide bomber in Iraq to date has originated from outside Iraq. Once more, Plain insult. I took the liberty of checking this up; the methodical execution of the Bani Qureyzah remnants following the siege did occur (only it was the Arab (not Muslim) tribe of Aus under the auspices of Sa’d ibn Mu-adh that was responsible for the execution) .‘the betrothal of Mohammed to the 6 year old Aisha and her subsequent defloration at the age of 9’ is also accurate. I now live in an area of London populated by Muslims, many of whom are decent and friendly people and I grew up with many Christians who are also decent and friendly people. I study within a group of international students, several of the most dedicated and enthusiastic scientists I know are Singaporean Muslims. They may or may not claim to be as such because of their faith, but the metaphysically invalid ideas, backgrounds and cultures they represent alongside their own personal merits do not mark them for your fascist vision of a nuclear holocaust. I took a brief look at your website www.drdriveby.com - quote 'moderates are intimidated by government; radicals intimidate government' The saying 'one man's terrorist is anothers freedom fighter' comes to mind: I expect to win a battle of ideas, by the merit of my ideas, not by enforcing some dogmatic right wing doctrine down the globes collective throat. I shall look it up.
  18. Welcome Jennifer! It funny - I bought Atlas Shrugged, a keen, young and niave teenager interested in philosophy and didnt read it for three years. I thought I needed a firework in my life, some spontaneity after years of institutionalization- so I got a one way ticket to India when I finished school and decided to travel. It drove me near crazy, I found myself sitting on a bus in northern India with no knowledge of where I was going and with the knowledge that I'd had no idea I'd be there the day before. A few months in an American approached me at breakfast in a Himalayan town - "Anybody want somthing to read??, I'll sell these cheap before I giv'em back to the shop...". I reply "What've you got?" , he throws two tattered books across the table, one of which is Atlas Shrugged - I pick it up and say "I know this book, I bought it but never read it", he replies "Oh shes an evil bitch that one" (liberals never the best sales people eh!). I bought it. I consequently came back and am now studying for a degree in Neuroscience.
  19. Acknowledged; I had wanted to set the facts straight without dignifying drdriveby with an answer. But as I have made a formal complaint and see the need for due process I shall concurrently ask drdriveby: Could you please substanstiate your assertion that this 'war was started by a cabal of greasy hoodlums who insist al Quar'an is the word of god' and that Mohammed was 'a mass-murderer and child molesting serial rapist'?
  20. In reference to the post of drdriveby, for purposes of factual clarification to others following this thread; -Muslims do believe the Quran is the word of God -However, most Muslims follow a particular school of thought or 'fiqh' (eg figh-e-hanafi, figh-e-shafii, fiqh-e-hanbali etc). Furthermore, today there are shariah and non-shariah, liberal muslims. The fundamentalists responsible for the events of 911 practiced wahabism, an extreme perversion of the Quran that calls for global subversion to a form of 7th century islam. -Al Queda literally means 'the base', beyond the training camps in Afghanistan, which no longer exist, it is no more than an idea. My point being that all that is required is the transmission of the call to arms, the jihad and independant cells can (and have) spring up anywhere. Also I would observe that from the outset the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine were to a degree separate and required independant solutions. The phrase 'War on Terror' and its blanket use by the Bush administration has given Islamic Fundamentalism an unprecedented level of recognition and appeal with disaffected youth across the globe. The single failure to indentify the roots of fundamentalism at an early stage and dispel it for what it is has given rise to a popular anti-americanism, uniting groups of otherwise diverse interest in a common cause. --- I would suggest that misleading extremists, driven by such blind hatred, as drdriveby be banned from the forum. This 'war', if it is that, is a war of ideas - and it cannot be truly won unless its leaders offer something beyond evangelical Christianity.
  21. What are your thoughts on the war in iraq? --- As for your point on democracy - I agree with you, or Peikoff rather. The fact that one has a vote for a single party of two (three in UK) does not make a country a true democracy. A true democracy would be where every policy and decision of government would be made by the majority (presumably through some centralized computer voter system) A constitutional republic, whilst by no means perfect, is the preferable system of government. As small of possible as course --- -No - obviously change won't happen overnight in any circumstance - What makes you so sure a country in 80% GDP debt is going to turn down debt relief in return for alternate sources of payment (agreement to treaties, constitutional and military reforms etc)? - However, I agree with you that this does not seem to be the current motivation behind debt relief - it is altruism of sorts. (I'd suggest an undeveloped continent of violence, disease with access to weapons is not in any countries interests - but you can't just throw money at this problem)
  22. I imagine Delta is referring to, and commending, the huge private relief effort. -------------------- There is one power that the British government is now implementing and that is the freezing and eventual cancellation of debt for affected countries, as well as a larger debt cancellation program for third world countries. Those are two levels of debt cancellation and might be addressed independently, I may start a new topic on it if people are interested. There are some spurious arguments made that developed nations, particularly Britain, owes its ex-colonies large sums of money for goods removed, slavery etc. I refute this; but our empire building did knock out a crucial stage in development (though it can be argued it would have never happened) in, particularly, our African colonies. That they were subjugated to British imperialism cost them their national identity and developing societal structures. The consequent attempts to create independant states have been marred with chaos. Perhap then, for those third world nations not a threat to national security, a program of debt relief for democracy is a possible way forward? A way out?
  23. No, I did not mean whining; I meant whinging - phonetically win-gin-g. Though yes, you are right - I did use the wrong tense of the verb 'to defend'. I really must take more care in future Vern. --- As for my previous comments and tenuous analogy, I realise I have explained myself badly - I should have made my point about Zoso's post before trying to address the issue. My views are not clear on the issue - it is obviously a question of weighing up human life and individual sovereignty - on a massive scale in each case. I should have given it more thought before commenting. ---
  24. Ive already posted this as part of another thread, but it seems relevant - a form of yoga that is extremely effective, costs money and has no psychological/spiritual strings attached. I just found out the male teacher I had on Sunday is in fact a district attorney/judge!! For the last two weeks I have been doing Bikram Yoga at 6.45 each morning whcih requires getting up at 5.45, although I have been going to bed earlier at 23.00 I have found it increase alertness throughout the day, decreased my appetite aswell as obvious benefits to flexibility and strength. This form of yoga is patented by Bikram Choudury, and is a series of 26 postures done over 1.30hrs in a 40C dry heated room. Its become quite popular in the City and I gather Richard Nixon actually practiced with Bikram. check out http://www.bikramyoganyc.com/ Americans and www.bikramyoga.co.uk/ English - they seem to be springing up in a lot of international cities.
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