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Everything posted by Antonio

  1. I'm open minded and dead people are, well, dead, so they are no more. But "eater of the dead" is still pretty weird if it refers to humanoids. Granted, those of us who eat animal meat are eating dead flesh - unless there are some who are unspeakably eating animals while they are alive. Avatars say a lot though really. I picked mine for a strong reason. I rather liked the levity of asking about the avatar and username. I didn't think it was an attack, unless I'm misreading Inspector's intentions. Doing what I do for a living, my mind would split if I didn't have levity to deal with it. Now we have it. The real reason they died. Who wants the generic knockoff when you can have the real thing (not the be confused with the Coca-Cola trademark of the 1970s)?
  2. The problem that I and others had with the kind of reply that David made was that it didn't respond to the real-life situation that Mr. Weiss put forth. Yes, most of us here would love a world without the weights of irrational laws and illogical beliefs and limitations on our freedoms. But we live in a world where we have to deal with those annoyances and still manage to make a living and protect our property. I had folks telling me I was wrong for testifying at a county subdivision board meeting where I wanted the panel to make sure issues such as drainage, construction traffic and noise and most importantly compensation for use and care of our private road that the county forces us to maintain as a public easement. All this because the county planning review system is immoral. Perhaps, but it's there and I'm not about to give up without a fight when another property owner tried to use the system to her advantage to profit off of my and other homeowners' investments. That's real life. And I have to exist within it while still being able to sleep at night that I am acting honorably and morally. Such dogmatic responses don't help, rather they distract. They add heat, not light. Another disturbing incidence of this kind took place around election time in the fall when anyone who did not vote Democrat (or did not vote at all) was branded as being immoral, illogical and therefore not an Objectivist nor understanding of Rand's works - this even if one agreed with the premise of Leonard Peikhoff's arguments on the subject, but not the conclusion.
  3. It is probably possible, though it would require a very deep, expansive study by someone of a thorough economics background to do this, to figure out the cost of taxes paid. Sure, it's easy to tally how much payroll taxes like Social Security, state disability, unemployment, income tax, property tax, phone/satellite TV and radio/cable taxes and sales taxes and other government fees because those figures are easy to come by on receipts, etc. What is harder to quantify, but not impossible for an economist in a deep study to figure out, is how much we pay in the form of higher prices caused by taxes paid by businesses and the costs of regulations. As an editor with a staff to oversee, dealing with labor laws takes some of my time and a lot of my company's time (we have a person devoted solely to that here in an enterprise of 220 people and two attorneys in corporate) and money. That's not even counting other regulations that add to the cost of doing business. All those add up, and have been quantified at a macro level by economists. It's tougher for us to do that as individuals, to be sure. But we're all paying the price for government intervention in the economy. Even so, the money spent by the government is still my money and your money too. Whether they like it or not, we're the boss.
  4. Yeah, being willing to put up with it is a serious chore. Just dealing with the bureaucrats that work for social programs is annoying, however well-intended and good-natured most of them I have dealt with are (read - heads in the clouds). At first, I didn't like having to turn over personal financial, asset and income information for my disabled daughter to have Medi-Cal as a backup health insurance. And I even wasted time and energy questioning it and protesting it on the grounds that they didn't need it for eligibility because my daughter, being paraplegic, has an automatic waiver. But they need it anyway because the rules don't make an exception, even at the same time as they specify that it's not eligibility criteria for disabled people (more government illogic). Finally though, I looked at the info this year when I renewed and thought 'screw that' because I'm proud of what I have, and I see no reason why I should be ashamed of it, particularly in front of a bureaucrat reading something I'm mailing back to her. I'm OK with it because it's my money. And I have plenty of options. So much so that this stupid state-run health program hardly gets billed because my private insurance pays 90% of everything and the better doctors and labs, etc. don't take Medi-Cal anyway - and we're one of those picky parents. Indeed. We receive a handful of services for our daughter who has disabilities even when we could just use more of our own money to pay for some of them (though many of these services have been monopolized - dare I say nationalized - by the California government). I'm not waiting until I run out of options. It's my money and in fact, a lot of the services that I do pay for - the lion's share of them - are more expensive BECAUSE OF the state intervention. Like I mentioned before, because you can't buy a wheelchair without a prescription (even a folding-into-a-suitcase travel wheelchair we were looking at), that adds to the price because it's a regulated medical equipment (that insurance, private or state, doesn't pay for). I would gladly see it all go away in exchange for lower prices and more freedom.
  5. Indeed, cheating and lying is immoral even when dealing with government employees who are part of a questionable system of entitlement. The way my wife and I have seen it with regard to benefits for my daughter who uses a wheelchair is that we're trying to take back some of the wealth taken from us to pay for programs and services that shouldn't exist in the first place. One thing I had not even thought of in my last post when I went over the costs of taxes and regulation is how the cost of medical equipment is artificially inflated by the government-sponsored cartel set up by the healthcare-industrial complex. My daughter's wheelchair cost $4,700 and a prescription is required for it because it's a "federally controlled product." That means that a physician had to be paid to review and approve the exact model we wanted, and must approve any changes or additions. We wanted to donate a walker that my daughter outgrew from her toddler years and were warned that it's illegal because we're distributing controlled equipment outside federal oversight. We ended up selling it to some other parents, warned by someone else that's "worse" because it's "trafficking." It's a joke how much money is spent on administration too on all of this. It's an industry not unlike public schooling, government grant administration and nonprofit groups (most of which are government supported). As a footnote, we drop off a timesheet for one of the support services my daughter receives at our local county social services office (being in a rural county fortunately it's not like the urban hellhole offices you've seen described here - it's actually really, really quiet here in de-facto Mayberry). The dozens of parked cars there driven by the employees have leftist bumper stickers plastered all over them, even a couple of Mercedes Benzes (and they weren't even the less-expensive C-Class - what a way to destroy a nice car). They're anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-impeachment, free Tibet, Kerry-Edwards, anti-nuclear, you name it. The know who butters their bread.
  6. Indeed. Add to the funds confiscated outright in payroll deductions, property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and government fees, the price of almost everything we buy is inflated by taxes and regulation, and our incomes are reduced by both. Whether one goes on welfare is immoral depends on one's reasons. If it's to avoid working - bad. If it's as a Band Aid, OK. Not mentioned here is that typically folks who lose jobs get unemployment or disability - both of which are funded with a direct tax withheld from paychecks that most people never, ever collect from. We receive a number of benefits (small as they are) because my daughter uses a wheelchair. In every case I've never sought it out (they practically throw it at us) and I have no problem with it because I'd gladly give it all up if I didn't have to pay the kinds of taxes that I and my family have paid.
  7. I would have to go back to research it and I would if I weren't taking a breather at work and had more time, but what I was referring to was a response to Mark's query that suggested that the hearing on the development Mark was asking about not be held and that the government officials involved in the planning review be prosecuted for violating the developer's rights. And I was referring, and probably should have been more specific, to the frequent scorched-earth type responses some folks make here. An example would be asking for advice on dealing with a problem with something involving one's child in a public school, and getting a response stating that there shouldn't be public schools or that one's child shouldn't be in a public school. Those kinds of responses are unrealistic, which is why I brand them theoretical, because they don't address the situation, but a separate philosophical issue. We pretty much know that public schooling is wrong, even if some public schools or individual teachers are good. But some of us who are forced to pay a huge chunk of the fruits of our labors to the government have kids in public schools for a variety of reasons, whether they're social, practical or financial. I would love to be able to embark on a wholesale reform of the educational system, but that's not the right response someone would be looking for if they're just asking for advice on how to deal with an irrational principal or school official whose philosophy is a polar opposite because of religion or statism. Frankly, a good example of how an objective thinker in an irrational world would be Leonard Peikhoff's rationale for voting Democrat in elections versus voting Republican or not voting at all. Even if I disagree with his conclusion, it is well reasoned and provides a logical way to cope with a political system that runs counter to what most of us here believe. In other words, yeah, the two major parties are bad choices, but Peikhoff explained very well that just because one vote Democrat, one's not selling one's soul to the pits of socialism hell. I wish more folks here thought that way. That's the kind of thinking that even if I disagree with the conclusion, I can respect it and is so genius that I can apply it to other situations in life.
  8. Ah, OK. Sorry. Misunderstood because I thought I saw my name in there. I could see where it might sound like I was in favor of zoning laws because I would use them in my favor to the extent I needed to in order to defend myself against someone using zoning against me or my property. And if I wanted to develop a parcel that was zoned retail and wanted to put houses, I'd certainly have to do through the zoning-change process in order to recoup my investment. Would I prefer a parcel not have zoning. You betcha. Fortunately I haven't had to cross that bridge yet. On a side note on all of this, I've come to accept that having to pay to maintain our street, even if this other property owner would profit from it, is better than having a public road if only because we get to slurry it and make fixes every year. I say we "get to" because we certainly couldn't do that with a county road (probably get arrested or sued if we did). CC&R's I'm wrestling with. I suppose I as a property owner could impose a condition where I sell only under certain terms, and I would think it's my right to do so just as it would be my right to decide who to sell to (though money talks louder than anything else, and I caused horror for some old folks five years ago when I told them we were selling our condo to a black family because they were the highest bidder, and I could care less about race anyway). But then that gets passed along generation after generation.
  9. I never said I agree with zoning laws nor called them "morally correct" as you say I did. In fact, I said the opposite.
  10. Thank you Mark for your comment. I know what it is like to be dogmatic and imagine my own hypothetical world where life is like Galt's Gulch and everyone behaves rationally. Unlike many who are introduced to Rand through her nonfiction, I was introduced through her nonfiction writings, which gave me what amounts to an intellectual rush because they affirmed almost everything that I believed. I dare say I was almost evangelical about my steadfast beliefs in Objectivism, to the degree that my intellectual rush turned into a huge intellectual anger and sometimes even despair. Then after having children, investing, going into business journalism, owning property and other life changes that came with getting older (I'm only 37 so don't push it - I still have a lot to learn), I gradually learned how to live with myself in a world that disagrees with most of what I believe. It's a case of "If only I knew back then what I know now ..." It is not easy. The fact is that I have to interact with a non-Objectivist world without compromising my values. In the example I gave, it meant that at a public county hearing I stated clearly, for what little it was worth, that unlike my neighbors I am not opposed to my neighboring property owner subdividing and developing her land. I merely wanted to ensure that the same laws that grant me some benefits, and take away others, were being applied in a way that was fair and would not harm me. Again, it's not easy. The easy thing for me would have been to throw the baby out with the bathwater and tell my fellow homeowner association members "no thanks," and just rationalize it by arguing that I have no business in this because the government is irrational and immoral. But the fact in this case was that this subdividing property owner was going to profit off of our investment. And I needed to protect it. It was well said that laws protect the rights of some while denying the rights of others. That happened in this case, only the county went further and conferred benefits to this property owner at our expense. I remind the reporters who work for me that it's important we consider that zoning laws create a situation where the government decides who wins and who loses by drawing lines. One loses when one's on the wrong side of the line. Because sacrifice is immoral it's necessary that one ensures he doesn't end up a loser by legislative or regulatory fiat. It is merely defending one's life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness from the initiation of force by others. That's the hallmark of how I apply Objectivism in a practical manner in my life.
  11. Indeed, it can be handled by contract. That would be great. But the point here is that under our system of law is that it is handled by statute. As a result, folks like us who are students of Objectivism have to figure out how to live within those confines and still be able to sleep at night knowing that we are doing the right thing in order to protect our lives and property and investments. We may not like it, but we have to deal with it. We here who understand reality know we just can't wish it away. Our philosophy is not fiat.
  12. Bankruptcy law is a fascinating part of the American legal system because of its complexity. I found bankruptcy proceedings I have observed as a journalist interesting because the trustees, lawyers and judges involved would apply the law purely and in a highly analytical manner rather than based on emotion (no juries involved). To be sure, like many other laws it's possible to apply this kind of law immorally. But it is a highly useful way in a capitalist economy to resolve debts. It is merely another form of having a third party mediate a financial conflict in an orderly manner, albiet of much higher complexity because unlike run-of-the-mill contracts or civil cases, these involve multiple creditors and obligations. Using it to wipe away debts caused by irresponsibility is wrong, but as a way to handle troubled debtors it's essential in civil society. Otherwise a debtor has nothing to lose and would just have a bad credit record and unsatisfied lawsuit judgments. Under bankruptcy a creditor at least gets something by having hard assets liquidated, and future income and revenue for the following several years. In fact, in many cases a creditor or group of creditors can force a debtor in to bankruptcy in order to see that his finances are handled in an orderly fashion. The past couple of posts were spot on as well about changing circumstances and risks. Both borrowers and lenders, like any other investors, assume risks, presumably in exchange for a just reward.
  13. I consider some of the suggestions here theoretical because they call for actions that are so unrealistic, and in some cases outlandish, that they are merely academic in their value. An example of this is a call earlier here for the town hearing process to be reversed so the property owner can do whatever he wants and for planning officials to be prosecuted for violating the property owners rights. That's so outlandish that it borders on the absurd. It's fantasy. I did not suggest that I have a right to force other people to make sure my property value stays a certain value. I have a right to seek enforcement of certain legal provisions that were in place when I acquired my property because those provisions affected the value of my property at the time of acquisition. When I made the reference to investment, it was with regard to what we received in return for the purchase price of our homes. In our case, we are a huddle of 10 homes that are on streets the county would not accept, but nonetheless during the planning review of our development, required (or perhaps the developer agreed to, regardless) that each property give up an easement for public passage along that pavement. The streets in front of each house are owned by each homeowner, but when we bought our homes we did so with restrictions on the use of that pavement in front of house per the CC&Rs (which were imposed by the county). A similar situation exists with regards to a drainage basin. The association, of which each homeowner is a board member, owns the basin and must maintain it. That is the investment I refer to. I have a right to seek that the government that imposed the conditions on my investment (which I acquired from the developer up on acquisition) be enforced because if I have to live up my end of the bargain, so does the government that imposed that bargain. If this were a publicly held road (note I don't say publicly owned) and a publicly held basin, I wouldn't even be having much of this conversation. But I have a right to try to ensure that the government does not approve a development that would send water, debris and other runoff down a slope onto my property for me to clean up.
  14. It's interesting how black-and-white and utterly dogmatic some of the responses here have been in their unrealistic application of objectivist principles to this situation. A lot of the responses address theory, not reality. Others have been good attempts to deal with the expectations that a property owner has based on the terms by which he acquired the property and what he can expect in terms of "quiet enjoyment" of his property. Before I owned property and dealt first-hand with the legalities of property, and the legal/regulatory system (particularly labor law) in general as a supervisor I used to be very dogmatic in the application of my philosophy to real life. Particularly when I was a young journalist and I'd see business owners and homeowners subjected to irrational or immoral limitations, I used to feel a black-and-white outrage and I wondered why they didn't fight back on the simple grounds that whatever the government was doing was just plain wrong, and therefore the city planners/regulators should get off their back. After one deals with these kinds of issues a few times and obtains goods and services under a set of expectations that is defined partially by the realities of our legal system, one learns how to apply objectivism in a practical, rather than theoretical manner. To be sure, most government intervention is immoral or illogical. Even so, if one is going to get what one wants, one has to learn to work within the system, and do so in such a way that one can still sleep at night. Making suggestions like that city planners should be prosecuted for violating a property owner's rights and that scheduled public hearings be canceled on grounds they are irrelevant are a joke because it'll get one laughed right out of the process, and result in one's interests being unrepresented. With regard to zoning and rights to shared benefits such as water, views, etc. it's important to consider that a property owner acquires the property under certain terms. And a property owner has the right to enforce those terms if necessary to defend his investment. It's well and good to say that we don't have a right to this or a right to that, but factors such as zoning, viewshed protections, water rights, etc. have an effect on property values. And one buys into that when one acquires a property - whether one likes it or not. I had to deal with this recently when a subdivision of a roughly 1.7 acre lot was going to be broken up to add two homes that would be across the street from mine. I had no problem with the property owner wanting to build homes or sell the newly created lots to sell for future development, and no problem with her cutting oaks down to do it (this is where I disagreed with some of my neighbors). When this went before my county's subdivision board, I and fellow homeowners attempted to have the government protect our property rights, which to some extent it did, but shafted us in other ways. County planners required her to ensure that drainage from her property does not affect ours or use our retention basin (we'll see how well that works in practice versus theory) and that she widen the street to accommodate the added traffic. We wanted the county to require she join our homeowners association because our handful of houses are on a street that is privately owned and maintained - though there is a public easement allowing anyone to use it, a condition the county imposed on the development. So this lady is profiting from the investment by the developer who built our homes and installed the streets to go with them. That investment became ours when we bought our homes from the developer and accepted the responsibility of maintaining the streets because we own what amounts to shares in our association. Being that the subdivision board is made up of government employees (note I don't call them workers) in planning and other bureaucratic positions, and therefore tending to be mediocre and sub-par for private-sector work, the board totally ignored our demand that the properties be included in our association so that the homeowners could help contribute to the streets they'll use, and that the property owner pay a lump sum to buy in to our association (shares essentially). I wouldn't expect someone who is paid by the government to necessarily understand what an investment is. We'll probably end up having to negotiate with the property owner because the county is requiring her purchasers to drive around the block and not use our street to get to their homes (yeah right), and no doubt she won't want us discouraging home buyers by sharing this and other adverse information with visiting real estate agents and potential buyers. The whole experience and the sheer mediocrity and irrationality of the subdivision board and county staff (they made a legal decision while county counsel was in the bathroom because they didn't want to wait and they were tired of hearing from us) left me outraged and shocked at how stupid and incompetent they were - even though I shouldn't be surprised. Sure, the whole process was lame, illogical and immoral (and I think it's stupid that according to the planning file the property owner had paid the government nearly $10k before even turning a shovel) but I was loathe to summarily dismiss participating in it because I would have left my property defenseless. The price of my property when I bought it, and the market value when I sell it, is based on a certain set of expectations. And I have a right to attempt to see that those expectations are met. By the way, this is in California, where you can't break wind without getting an emissions permit and hiring a consultant to draft an environmental impact report. Meanwhile, you die waiting for permission to pass gas.
  15. I would think that the practical purpose for this kind of innovation is to help people who have neurological problems. For instance, my daughter could use a new brain stem to make up for malfunctioning circuitry that prevents her from walking. There are also applications for brain cancer victims, people with mental illness, etc. Those folks would benefit from transplanting parts of the brain. I can't imagine any other reason to do it. The brain doesn't really wear down, it's our bodies that are supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain that wear down.
  16. Especially Robert Redford in how he looked when he played the Angel of Death in an episode of The Twilight Zone.
  17. No, I didn't mean it that way. I was probably unclear. Refer to Sophia's post a few back for precisely how I feel. She has it right on the dot. If I learned I couldn't stand someone I couldn't be attracted to them. Heck, something like that happened to me recently, where a had found a young woman I know really attractive, then learned after talking to her how she's a naive leftist with no understanding of economics or common sense. I wasn't thinking of sleeping with her, but that's an example where the air got let out of the balloon rather quickly upon further observation.
  18. Rand is a public figure who makes her living by her ideas, so they are subject to public scrutiny. Look for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in New York Times vs. Sullivan. As far as copyright, it's probably owned by the company that produced Donahue's show, unless the rights were sold to another company. Copyrights do expire, but I'm not certain if it has in this case. What is curious is how the courts will rule in intellectual property claims regarding sites like YouTube and Google Video. Some would argue it's fair use because what you see online is far from the original work and could be construed as a form of reporting or journalism. It's not intended as a replacement for the real thing (such as a digitally remastered DVD of the show). There are also rulings allowing "fair use" in some educational contexts. The intro to this series looks like it was put together for a video tape or a classroom showing. Someone will likely argue in court that putting a video or an excerpt on the Net would be the digital equivalent of quoting passages in the newspaper, a book, an interview or an online forum - all of which have been ruled as fair use by the Supreme Court, including the reproduction of photos. On a blog, which has already been ruled a form of journalism protected by the First Amendment, it more likely would be. The modern world, particularly the U.S. and cyberspace, are evolving into a world where the only rights you have left are those you can get away with. The courts will end up having to address this. Regardless of all this, it's up to the copyright holder to protect his copyright.
  19. Freemasonry requires belief in a power higher than man, such as nature or science. The G in the compass and square represents either God or geometry, depending on the bent of a particular lodge. Even in those lodges that have folks who believe in a god, it is highly deist or panatheist in nature, which is why a lot of hardcore Christians feel the Masons are Satanic. For the most part, the goal of Freemasonry, besides being a social network, is to seen enlightenment through knowledge. Case in point on the Christian disdain for Freemasonry, my grandfather was a Knight Templar in Cuba, and was required by the Catholic church to leave the organization in order to marry my grandmother. He ultimately joined the Knights of Columbus, but only for the business networking opportunities and social networking among the affluent members he did business with. I have long been fascinated by Freemasonry and its history and have for years considered joining a lodge, but my lack of a belief in a god has detracted me from that. If I can find a lodge that allows me to join my acknowledging the power of science or nature, then I might consider it. It is heavily based on science, order, reason, geometry, physics and logic. I think ultimately the "higher power" requirement is a ruse to get intellectual men to join and get converted by the power of logic and reason. I wonder if this should split into another thread. It makes a good discussion.
  20. [Mod note: split from this thread. DO] I'm not comparing the two situations, but what was Rand's ultimate justification for her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, and what did Frank O'Conner think of it?
  21. Thank you to those folks who characterized my prior sexual relationship situation as one where I found value - her company, her appearance, her beauty - even if we mutually saw no desire to make it a permanent romantic relationship. I always viewed it that way, even if under conventional thinking a lot of folks wouldn't argue that I found value in her. I had brought it up because when I saw the name of the thread, my relationship with her instantly came to mind as an example where we used each other for sex. In fact, I recently got back in touch with a mutual friend of mine and that girl's, and she characterized my relationship with her as one where the two of us just used each other for sex. That's pretty much what it was, and the only reason that we stayed in touch with each other sparsely for the course of about three years. So to twist this thread a little. Did we use each other? I think we did, and that there was nothing wrong with it because it was mutual. Is the issue here that "using" someone has a negative connotation because of society's puritanical double standards? Or is it that using someone is neither right nor wrong, but wrong only if one of the parties was misled into the sex on a false pretense, such as lying that one loves the other? In such a case, is it not more accurate to characterize it as "misleading" someone into sex?
  22. I have tried to make sure I've read through all the voluminous posts on this thread, but I think something huge is missing in this repeated comparison of vaginal sex to hand masturbation. Sex involves all five senses. Unless I have missed something, I have not heard references to oral sex and the various stimuli involved, such as taste and smell and touch. I've seen a few references to appearance, and I can relate an experience that to this day I can say was very fulfilling. For about four years I used to have sex once in a while with a beautiful girl whose company I enjoyed, but we both knew that a deep romantic relationship would not work. But both found one another attractive and found sex fun. We were friends, but once in a while felt like having sex. In a sense, we were "using" each other for sex. We both enjoyed it and though we have not talked in 11 years, I still look back and recall how good it was. There's no way that compares to any form of auto-eroticism, but it would fit the definition of "using" someone for sex.
  23. The best source of investor information for individual investing is Investors Business Daily. Take a look at Bill O'Neill's "How to Make Money in Stocks" and his other books too. O'Neill started one of the first, if not the first, computer database of of stock market activity. He has analyzed patterns of stock prices and volume (reflective on charts) and fundamentals (earnings and revenue) to find what are the historical patterns that are triggered by price moves brought on by high-volume institutional buying. It's called the CAN SLIM method. Look it up. His methods are totally objective, based on numbers *not emotions*. He has rules that force you to cut losses at 6-8% so you have money to invest another day, and so that you can be wrong twice and right once and still come out ahead. It takes time, discipline and study of how markets work and reading of a lot of charts and examining company earnings. The tools available at Investors.com and in the IBD newspaper are great with their proprietary ratings. And the tools at online brokers are good too. I use E-Trade and they're great. So is their service. Like everything else that is worth doing, it's worth it not because it's easy, but because it's hard. It's fascinating and interesting, especially if you have an appreciation for economics and the role of prices as a signal of forward-looking market activity. And it works. Why? Because it's objective. No pundit junk, no CNBC and Money Honeys. Just the facts, and an emphasis on success - successful companies, successful executives and successful investing. You won't get rich quick though. That's a trick that never works. Penny stocks (there is a reason why they are penny stocks), options, leveraging through margin are best reserved for seasoned traders. And yes, to trade, my understanding is that to trade on NYSE or major markets you have to have a seat on an exchange or be licensed.
  24. I have only seen the first part of it, so I won't make a judgment on the full video. But I agree with Jimbean on the second point about money. Ideally, it is in a fixed form that could not be tinkered with, such as pegging a currency to gold. But given a choice, it's better to have the value of money in the hands of banks versus government. Government can create inflation (the monetary, not the price kind - though that does result sometimes from the former), where it's not in the interest of a bank to do that because it curbs profit. A banker has to make rational decisions in his best interest as to the value of money, and that includes a necessity to keep an economy healthy so folks borrow and put money in his bank. Government is not restrained by the logic of the free market in either spending or money creation. Plus, most banks are publicly traded, which means we either own shares directly, or through our pension funds or 401(k). In these cases the people own the means of production.
  25. That was an excellent essay. Unfortunately things have not panned out as Peikoff had called for. But that's to be expected. That's true about the Democrats. Their biggest problem is their promotion of moral equivalency among the cultures and values of the United States and those of other nations. These folks are aiding and abetting passively, out of naivete or ignorance. But the weakness eschewed by Peikoff in his essay can be blamed on both parties, with Republicans wanting to be "sensitive" about how the war is carried out.
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