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Everything posted by MisterSwig

  1. Biddle should do a better job fact-checking what Barney's been feeding him. It wasn't until the '70s that Hubbard developed the cross? Hold on. Here's the cover of Ability #147 from March 1963. And, yes, that was the official Scientology publication in America. Hubbard didn't assert the existence of God? Hold on. Here we have the official Scientology creed from the same issue in '63. Yep, there's God being asserted. It's really not hard to fact-check these things. I literally asked Google: "When did Scientology start using the cross?" Try it! She says that they started prominently displaying the cross in 1969 after some bad press. And if you dig deeper you will discover, like I did, that it was prominently displayed to Hubbard's followers much earlier than that. While the old man would no doubt assert the existence of pink elephants if he could make a buck off doing so, it is simply a fact that Scientology presented itself as theistic. Given that Biddle has so easily accepted Barney's misrepresentations of reality, it's a wonder anyone takes him seriously as a publisher of serious articles on philosophy. I certainly would not want him as my editor.
  2. Definitions exist within a context of knowledge. If you don't know what "talking" means, then you're probably not worth talking to.
  3. Public schools in California are partially funded by the California lottery, a voluntary system. So it's not even the case that free lunches for poor schoolkids will necessarily be paid for by involuntary taxes. Thus your straw man is wrong on theory and in practice.
  4. No, I'm not. That's your straw man. I think I've explained my position well enough for now.
  5. No, it wouldn't. The state will garnish your wages or throw you in prison. If there were ever a popular movement against involuntary taxes, then we wouldn't have them, because our leaders would change the Constitution. But you seem to believe that a few people not paying taxes can solve the problem. They can't. You're preaching to the choir here. The issue isn't whether we should have involuntary taxes. We shouldn't. That's a given around here. The issue is whether taxes should be used to feed children who can't afford to buy food.
  6. Refusing to pay taxes and refusing to send your children to public school is going to stop the motor of the world? It's going to spell disaster for America? You realize that Atlas Shrugged is romanticized fiction, right? There is no Galt's Gulch. Petty rebels get thrown in jail, ruined and forgotten in the real world. We need to persuade our leaders to change the system from within the system--or we can start preparing for civil war. Civil disobedience is fine, if that's your thing. But speaking out and protesting and making smart choices at election time is good too. You need to consider whether it's worth going to prison over taxes and food for children.
  7. So, are you in hiding or in prison for resisting statist oppression? Are there warrants for your arrest? What have you done to fight evil?
  8. But you do have a gun to your head. What exactly are you proposing? That parents refuse to pay taxes and refuse to send their children to public school? What will that solve?
  9. You're still under the assumption that my view is similar to Eiuol's. It's not. My view isn't based on reparations or justice. It's based on responsibility and possession. If you forcibly take a child from its parents, then you have to care for that child now, because you possess the child. You're responsible for it. You don't have to feed the child because you stole it from its parents. You have to feed it because children need food to survive. You also need to shelter and clothe them. Reparations is an argument for continuing the cycle of violence. Who's going to pay for the free lunches? The parents whose children are forced into public schools? That's silly.
  10. If you compel parents to surrender their children into your care for the day, then you are responsible for the teaching and feeding of those children. This of course costs money, which the government and public schools acquire through various means, including involuntary taxation.
  11. A radical change in philosophy and behavior is possible, more so in young adults than old. So we aren't doomed, as long as good people stand up against evil. The real social problem isn't spoiled Millennials. It's tolerant, spineless capitalists.
  12. When Styx is right, he's right. Biden just sucks the least. Now that everyone else dropped out, I don't think Sanders can win a brokered convention, if it comes to that--unless Sanders has some really spicy dirt on Biden.
  13. In her theory of concept-formation, Rand uses the idea of an "implicit concept," which is actually a percept with the constituents from which the concept is later formed. In this case we might be dealing with an implicit right, which is actually an action with the constituents from which the right is later formed. For example, an adult has the right to life, meaning generally that he has the freedom to act to preserve his life without interference from others. The core of this right is acting to preserve one's life. (The rest of it requires a social context to be meaningful.) And that core action exists even in a newborn baby, who, among other life-sustaining behaviors, reflexively suckles at the breast for nourishment. The baby, lacking self-awareness and rationality, doesn't yet understand the purpose for its actions, but the constituents of the right are all there: a conscious human, a social unit, the acting, and the life-sustaining from the acting. What's missing is the development of these things into maturity: a rational form of conscious human, a more complex social unit involving not just the mother, voluntary actions instead of involuntary, and a self-awareness and choice of standard for one's actions. So while the constituents exist at birth, they have not developed into the form of an explicit right.
  14. To be clear, my position is that there will be loot until we change the Constitution and repeal the government's power to tax. However, we can still reasonably debate the proper use of taxes, because such government funding would also exist in a voluntary system. Consider how children are compelled to attend public school. This doesn't mean we can't set rules for their behavior at school since we forced them to attend. Rules for behavior would exist at any school, and there is a separate basis for determining what those rules should be that has nothing to do with whether the kids are there voluntarily or not.
  15. Chimps form societies. Are they collectivists? Yes, when you're old and not able to work hard, you'll be thankful that young people accept cash for the food and supplies and labor you need to sustain your life. Fine, but I asked you what should be done with the taxes that are not returned to their rightful owners, and you didn't reply. Your position is akin to throwing up one's hands and saying, "I don't care what we do as long as it's what I want to do." Okay, well, we're not doing what you want to do, so let me know if you want a say in how we spend this loot.
  16. The original question was about universal free lunch for schoolchildren, not feeding orphans for free. Besides, you're not really feeding the orphan for free. You're trading on his actual and potential values. He has value as an individual person, and he has potential value to society as a productive adult. In addition to being a source of companionship and pleasure to other children and the adults now, he will also grow up and one day start paying into the system that raised him. This is why I began by considering the purpose of forming a society. It is the key to understanding such problems as this. We don't form societies in order to let helpless children die.
  17. I'm saying it is unlikely that a child will have no potential for becoming a productive member of society. Whether that potential is achieved is another matter. But unless there is a severe disease present, the potential is the norm. And even in those cases, often they can be corrected or mitigated with advanced medical solutions.
  18. What should be done with the taxes that aren't given back? I think it's understood that taxes should be voluntary. But we're not living in that world right now. I don't think you can do ethics or politics from a focus on the worst case, abnormal, or emergency scenario. The standard is a child with potential for independence and productivity as an adult. If this is not achievable, then you're in the area of emergency or abnormal decision-making.
  19. I think you're mixing up the collection of taxes with the use of taxes. Should a nation not use taxes for the military (or police or courts) because those taxes were collected by force?
  20. I don't think there's such a right. The government has the Constitutional power to tax, but that's different from a right, and it's different from a proper use of taxes, no matter how they're collected. Ownership with restrictions based on the nature of a human child. As the child matures it has the right to gain increasing levels of independence from its parents or guardians. Also, in a social context, society has an interest in the safety of children, as it has an interest in the safety of all members of society. Even if a toddler lacks rights, it still has the potential for acquiring rights, which can be protected. This is, of course, similar to the "potential" argument against late-term abortion. However, a fetus is not yet an individual human being. So there is the problem of it still being a physical part of the mother. That is not an issue with separating a child from the parents after it's born.
  21. I consider the purpose of forming a society in the first place. The purpose is basically to benefit everyone in society, to help people survive and flourish through the advantages that a group has over an individual. There needs to be some understanding, though, that the group won't harm the individual and the individual won't harm the group. An adult who can't support himself is a drain on the group. If there is no hope of recovery, then he's probably going to remain a drain for the rest of his life, and therefore the group has no interest in maintaining his existence. It's up to individuals who care for him personally to give him charity. If none exist, that's a real shame. With children it's different. Children are not mature adults. They can still develop into very productive individuals who will not be a drain on society. Indeed new individuals, if raised right, might be the next leaders and innovators of the group. So there is this great potential, and therefore great reason to help them with the group's or society's pooled resources. In a state that collects involuntary taxes, those resources exist in the form of government welfare programs. It would be different in a society that pools resources voluntarily. We would have to decide how to use the resources, and that, in my opinion, should include taking care of orphans and neglected children, due to their great potential for fulfilling the purpose of forming and maintaining a society.
  22. I'm not sure yet. But I guess he and Klobuchar, who's also dropping out, are announcing their support for Biden tonight at a Biden rally in Texas. Maybe they'll explain more at the rally. My guess is that they fear Sanders will split the party and push away moderate Dems.
  23. I hated Buttigieg the least of the bunch, so I'm not so glad to see him go. While not stated explicitly, he seems to be bailing in order to help stop Sanders and send more votes to Biden on Super Tuesday. He talks about helping the down-ballot Democrats in the general election, and in the last debate he argued that socialist Bernie would be bad for them.
  24. I'm really glad Steyer's out. He basically admits his campaign was a publicity stunt. He was "never in it for the votes." What a goof! I thought Biden was dead, but he won South Carolina. Maybe he'll actually challenge Sanders. Personally I don't see the appeal of Biden. Watching him try to talk makes me wince.
  25. Hi, I think you're capable of expressing your thoughts well enough. If you have social anxiety, maybe you could get professional help with that. If you're just afraid of being ostracized, well, it seems like you're already not part of the crowd, so what do you have to lose? Do these people have power over your employment status? I suggest listening to them first. Really listening. Which one sounds the most calm and reasonable? Which one doesn't talk over and interrupt others? There's usually one or two like that in every group. Approach that person and begin with something light, regarding a common interest that isn't political. Build a relationship before getting into something heavy like philosophy. If you're not interested in the baby-step approach, then you could jump into the political lunch discussions by offering some rock-solid fact that looks bad for their socialist position. You don't have to come right out of the gate championing capitalism. Get them to think about how to defend their beliefs. Most people don't mind critical questions as long as you're nice about it. But I wouldn't try to change the mind of a hardcore socialist, especially the older ones. You might get some practice talking to them though. Maybe ask if there's anything they like about capitalism.
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