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Posts posted by Cogito

  1. [shea Levy] was an OAC student who dropped out due to the controversy, arguing that "the climate at the ARI will be incompatible with the needs of an academic."

    Just FYI: I dropped out of the OAC at the end of last semester due to having too busy a schedule, before LL was even completed. That being said, had I not dropped out then I would have certainly dropped out by now due to this mess.

  2. Can it be said that energy and matter interact by means of charge?

    This question reflects a fundamental misconception of the concept "energy". Energy is a property, specifically a capacity. It is not an entity, a thing, a material, etc. Energy does not "interact" with matter, matter HAS energy.

  3. To those who questioned the drain of resources apart from welfare arising from illegals here is a study done by an independent think-tank on the matter, just the facts:

    Note that their findings show that even if they were all given amnesty and started paying taxes they would STILL be a drain:


    Quotes from that article:

    "With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school degree, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their legal status or heavy use of most social services."

    So should we also block people from having kids unless they can prove they have a high education? This isn't immigrant-specific.

    "Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion)."

    With the exception of prison and courts (which would not be as costly if it weren't for the drug war), these are all examples of welfare. More importantly, they aren't immigrant specific. Should we ban new children because we have a public school system, or should we get rid of the public school system?

    "Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them."

    So it's not even the immigrants, its the Americans.

    Overall, all this document proves is that the government takes more from the higher income-earners and gives more to the lower income-earners. It demonstrates nothing specific to immigration. The fact is, a large portion of current citizens also get more from government than they put in, but that's not an excuse for curtailing their rights. This is an argument for dismantling the welfare state, not curtailing immigration.

    Immigrants have no moral obligation to have a certain minimum stolen from them by the government, nor are they to blame for the fact that the government spends money on them. Violating the rights of the immigrant doesn't help anyone.

  4. "It is not true that someone's rights are violated every time immigrants come to this country"

    I never said that.

    We are discussing people illegally in this country.

    As already stated an illegal doesn't have to go on welfare to be a drain on resources that are provided by taxes taken from people who are here legally. Morally the equivelent of receiving stolen goods.

    How do "illegals" (a term I don't like to use) drain resources without being on welfare?

    If a house is rotten-such as both our socialized system of entitlements AND our immigration system are then one must start somewhere to fix it.

    I simply don't believe the correct place to start is by giving citizenship to millions of people who are here illegally.

    No one has said anything about citizenship, at least not that I've seen. Refraining from impeding movement and allowing people to vote are very different things.

    If one of the the great problems of our society is that our services are too many and improperly/immorally funded it simply makes sense to temporarily stop a huge influx of people making demands on those services.

    We have a huge influx of people making demands on those services without immigration: birth. Does it make sense to use force to stop that particular influx?

    We have some of the least restrictive immigration policies in the world. I know this, I've been an immigrant.

    New Zealand's laws, despite many, many flaws politically are pretty common sense.

    You must prove you have enough money to support yourself or have someone sign on to take legal responsibility for you.

    Criminal background check

    Basic health check up entrance to be denied based on certain communicable illnesses.

    Then you must provide a full work history proving that you have skills to support yourself with.

    Your entrance is fast-tracked by employer sponsorship.

    Can you truly say that having these common sense rules in place violate someone's rights?

    You shouldn't have to prove anything about supporting yourself to immigrate. If someone is willing to let you stay on their property or willing to sell you property, you should be allowed to go to that property. I've already stipulated that criminal/health checks might be necessary.

  5. Cogito seems to believe that the defensive measure of doing background checks on persons entering the country is an unnecessary intervention.

    Sorry if I haven't been clear here. To state my position clearly:

    The government has a right to set up border checks if they are deemed necessary for the protection of individual rights. If a particular area (let's say Mexico, though I don't know the specifics to say if it's a good example) is overridden with crime and disease, then the government could make a determination that it's necessary to screen those coming in for diseases or known criminal status. However, if those screens don't catch anything, people should be let through. Moreover, such a border check isn't always necessary: the Canada-US border would probably not require pre-emptive checks.

    The determination of whether or not a particular area needs border checks is highly contextual, particularly dependent on how much work the government would have to do to catch all the criminals it doesn't screen. In the case of Canada, I'd be shocked to hear the claim that criminal Canadians would stream into the US. In the case of Mexico, perhaps such a border is needed.

  6. 1. Would some of you say things like border patrol and the like are within the domain of government action? I would say this is one of many parts of the protection of a citizenry's rights (though done at a higher level than the local governments), however I'm sure some here will disagree.

    Yes, but I don't think it's always necessary. I grant that, in some cases (maybe the Mexican border is such a case), criminal activity is so rampant (or a disease is so widespread) that mandatory screening could be enforced. But such a system wouldn't be necessary at, say, the Canada-US border.

  7. I would say that anyone who believes it should be free of govt intervention is mistaken. One of the only rightful duties of the govt is protection of the lives and rights of its citizens. Background checks on all entrants into the US is part of that. As the govt is the only entity authorized to use force it is necessary for the govt to be the agency to do this.

    So why isn't a background check of all entrants into New Jersey from New York necessary? There are criminals and diseased folks in New York. I've already conceded that it may be necessary in certain particularly bad areas to have such a border check, but why everywhere?

    "Those who hide in the back of trucks with the permission of the truck owner are not trespassing."

    That is a faulty logic. The fact that they are in a truck does not stop them from driving across stretches of private property in their trucks.

    Yes, but those trucks are often driven over public roads. Now, if the roads were privately owned then you could call that trespass, but as it is it's just a driver using the "public" resource (owned by everyone and therefore no one). Moreover, this ignores the fact that many immigrants come over by plane and are still subject to absurd controls.

    What is at issue is- unless we wake up tomorrow in a whole new Galt's Gulch America someone's rights ARE being violated every time illegals come into this country.

    They place disproportionate demands on state and locals services which they do not contribute to in violation of the rights of the people who are taxed to provide these services.

    It is not true that someone's rights are violated every time immigrants come to this country. It is true that every time ANYONE, immigrant or not, goes on welfare they are violating rights. See my post here: previous post

    Of course it is relevent that these services shouldn't exist to begin with. But they do. And they aren't going away anytime soon.

    And they certainly aren't going away if we give the right to vote to millions of people getting a free ride on them.

    This is a lose/lose situation in which there is no ratioanl self interest that does not violate someone's rights.

    If it is in the rational self interest of people to sneak across the border, work under the table paying no taxes. It is also in their rational self interest to have an "anchor child" which most likely they cannot afford. They will then clog up emergency rooms (don't tell me this isn't factually accurate when we lived in an agricultural town with a huge illegal population my wife's job involved tracking services usage) clog up the public schools, cause additional costs be demanding services provided specially to them (again something it was my wife's job to track).


    It is in MY rational self interest to support govt controls to prevent this. It is in MY rational self interest to prefer their "right" to free movement being violated to my own rights being further violated.

    There is no option currently on the table (in the real world of our policy-makers, not online Objectivist wrangling) that does not involve the violation of someone's rights.

    It's very animal kingdom really. What is "fair" to the lion is "unfair" to the gazelle. But that is the nature of a collectivist society- it brings us to the level of animals.

    This argument justifies nearly any action. Hey, you have a right to go down to the welfare office and open fire on everyone there, since, hey, what's "fair" for them is "unfair" for you, and it is your self-interest to do so since they're participating in a situation which involves violation of your rights. If you can violate the rights of someone because they MIGHT join a welfare program, then you certainly can because they HAVE already done so, right?

  8. Excuse me for not clarifying...

    I didn't say anything about taking away their rights, I merely stated that it would be wrong in my book.

    Ok, fair enough. This is a political discussion, so I assumed you meant "wrong" in the sense of "shouldn't be allowed". Sorry for jumping to conclusions.


    Given the fact that your post was about moral, and not legal, issues, I would take it a step further. For rational, productive folks, it's more than just "nothing wrong" for them to immigrate to a freer place: It is heroic and commendable.

  9. As long as foreigners don't come here to be 'American-haters' and to preach racist/discriminatory doctrines I don't see anything wrong with immigration.

    And if the foreigners do wish to preach racist/discriminatory doctrines? By what right do you get to decide what ideas a man has to accept before being unhindered in his travel over land that is not yours?

  10. Quick distinction:

    For a governmental entity, a border defines jurisdiction: The area over which that particular governmental entity has the right to use retaliatory force in order to protect individual rights.

    For a private entity, a border defines ownership: The area over which the property owner has the right to set all terms of behaviour, interaction, etc.

    I think this issue stems from a conflation of these two types of borders.

  11. I'm confused by the Objectivists here wanting free access to immigration or complaining about the expense associated with immigration.

    Since when do Objectivists demand that anything be free?

    No one is claiming that it needs to be financially free. Immigrants who fly here should have to pay the airlines, etc. We're claiming that it should be free of government intervention, which is a very separate issue.

    Immigration is handled by the government and is a very costly process involving many levels of criminal, background , medical & credit checks. Now the system, being a government system is of course not as effivient as it should be but you also need to factor into the cost of each reasonable, elegible entrant that the costs of all the others who cause stress on a system w/ fake identification, phony marriages and the like.

    Yes, it is currently handled by the government and it is currently very costly. That's our problem! It doesn't need to be! At the very most (and I'm not convinced even this is necessary), immigration would involve a border check running names and faces against databases of known criminals and a blood test screening for known diseases. I can see an argument that the immigrant should pay for such a screening, but that's far different from the ridiculous quota systems and legal barriers in place today.

    Just as a store passes on the costs incurred by shoplifters on to the honest consumer so must immigration pass on the cost of all its bullshit.

    Because we do not live in a capitalist society we are unfortunately in the position of having no one able to have their rights fully respected in this matter.

    The solution is to fight to have everyone's rights fully protected, not to violate the rights of foreigners just because ours are being violated as well.

    Should immigration for hard working, honest, healthy, non criminal individuals be easier? Of course it should.

    But at the same time we live in a nation where a great deal of each working person's income is taken by force to provide social programs attract illegals and which the illegals take from disproportionately. This situation is aggravated by the fact that current immigration law has made having "anchor children" an attractive option to immigrants who cannot afford to have children and cannot properly look after them.

    See my previous post in this thread for a discussion of this type of claim.

    As an Objectivist one must also note that many of the illegals from south of the border gain access to their destinations by trespassing private property.

    So while you may argue that the individual sneaking into the US is not behaving immorally in sneaking into the US because the current immigration set up is unjust you may not rightly ignore the fact that many of them are violating individual's property rights as a means to their ends.

    I argue that anyone willing to trespass my private property to sneak into the US is not someone that should be in this country.

    I'm fairly certain that no one here is claiming that immigrants should have a right to trespass on private property. Those that do so should be properly punished. But many immigrants do not trespass to come cross the border. Those who pay for flights to the US are not trespassing. Those who hide in the back of trucks with the permission of the truck owner are not trespassing.

  12. Now on to the situation as it exists today. We have relatively high quotas based on irrational criteria (relationship to those already here, rather than ability to be productive), and an array of state-provided "services" like welfare, etc., that are available to immigrants (be they legal or illegal). Simply removing all immoral restrictions on immigration in this context would, I think be a disaster, for reasons that Maximus is actually correct in citing (amongst some of his more objectionable comments). Unfortunately in the current political environment it is far likelier that we will ease restrictions on immigration without doing a THING about the "drug war" or the easy availability of welfare to non-citizens (let alone doing what really needs to be done, which is ending it completely).

    This argument is flawed on three grounds:

    1. Laws enacted under Clinton restrict the type of welfare available to immigrants.

    2. It punishes all would-be immigrants for the potential future actions of a sub-set thereof.

    3. Nothing about it is limited to immigrants. By your logic, we should limit childbirth too since some of those children could end up on welfare. We should limit inter-state migration because some migrants might end up on welfare programs. If we have a right to limit the movement, living conditions, and working conditions of foreigners because they might take illegitimate money, then we have a right to limit the movement, living conditions, and working conditions of locals as well.

    You have every right to be angry at immigrants who come here and end up on welfare, but only for the same reasons you have a right to be angry at citizens who end up on welfare. The solution is to end welfare, not restrict immigration.

  13. What I am getting out of this:

    According to Objectivism, America should greatly ease (but not completely remove) restrictions on immigration--allowing anyone not a criminal, contagious, or terrorist in. But this implies enacting border security to keep those still-illegal elements out. It also implies requiring everyone who wants to enter to at least check in and let a background check and bloodwork be run, to make sure he isn't a criminal, contagious, or a terrorist. Failing to check in as one crosses the border would then have to be a crime, and.... voila, there is still such a thing as illegal immigration--failing to check in (i.e., sneaking in) or being one of those classes that everyone here seems to agree should not be allowed in. Even in the ideal Objectivist state.

    I'm not sure this is necessarily the case. All of these issues apply to inter-state boundaries (criminals, contagious folks, and terrorists are bad and should be kept out), but a border patrol isn't necessary. If there was a particluarly crime-ridden area, like some claim is the case for Mexico, I could see an argument being made for having a border patrol around it, but there's no need for a border guard along, for example, the Canada-US border. Not everyone would need to check in.

  14. I don't have to answer them, as they are irrelevant regarding the question of legal entry. I will do so as a courtesy:

    1) Yes. Irrelevant as to legal entry.

    2) Yes. Again, irrelevant as to legal entry.

    Ok, let's take a real-life example. My good friend Rory wants to immigrate to the US. The airlines are willing to sell him a ticket, I am willing to pick him up from the airport, I am willing to allow him to sleep on my couch and share my food, my boss is willing to offer him a job, I am willing to drive him to and from work, the bank is willing to allow him to open an account, and my apartment complex is willing to rent him an apartment once he has enough money. Should he be stopped from doing all of these? Under current immigration law, he cannot. At what point in the above chain would Rory be violating someone's rights?

    This case is similar to a large portion of immigrants (legal or illegal) and would-be immigrants. People come across the Mexican border, find somewhere to stay, find someone willing to hire them, save up money and spend it in open, willing transactions. By what right do you claim you can stop them from doing so? Do you own the United States?

    Now I'll ask you, do we have the right, as a nation, to ensure that we do not allow individuals with communicable diseases into the country? People with criminal backgrounds? Known terrorists?

    Nations qua groups do not have rights. People have rights. You have a right not to have to interact with people with communicable diseases, so if someone's disease is threatening you you have a right to have them held away from you, possibly in quarantine if the disease is bad enough. It doesn't matter if that person was born in Mexico or in Wisconsin. Similarly, those with criminal backgrounds legitimately have limited rights, and one of those restrictions might legitimately include limited movement across borders. Such people should be stopped, but it should not be assumed that everyone crossing a border is a criminal. Again, there are criminals in the state next to you just as there are criminals in the country next to you, and it doesn't matter where they come from. Finally, known terrorists should be targeted militarily regardless of where they live or come from. No one is saying we should let criminals run roughshod over us.

    Let's apply your argument to states: Does the people of New Jersey have a right to avoid people with communicable diseases, criminals, and terrorists? Yes, absolutely. Are there criminals, people with communicable diseases, and terrorists in New York? Absolutely. Do there need to be quotas, lengthy screening processes, border guards, etc. making entry from NY to NJ harder? No. Those with diseases can be quarantined, criminals and terrorists can be pursued, and in many cases people can be extradited back to their original states. The same can apply to countries. But I'll even grant you that it might make sense to have a border check, due to the scale of crime/illness abroad. That check would properly only screen for illnesses and known criminals, and let all else in, though.

  15. Hi all,

    I used to post here very frequently, but I haven't been around in quite some time. It's possible that I'm making this up, but I seem to remember a thread from back then in which the main poster proposed a system of intellectual property without term limits. The poster disagreed with Rand's view that a patent held in perpetuity would imply parasitism on frozen value, and made a good case for the idea that continued work and innovation would be needed to protect the value of the patent. I seem to remember the example of the caveman who invented the wheel being an instrumental example. At the time, I wasn't ready in my understanding of politics to consider the issues, but now I'm very interested in revisiting the arguments being made. Unfortunately, I can't find the thread anywhere, and my searches are coming up nil. Does anyone remember this thread? Can anyone point me in the right direction?



  16. Maximus:

    If I am a landowner, do I have the right to allow someone to buy or rent space on my land to live? Does it matter whether that person currently lives next door or across the world?

    If I am a business owner, do I have a right to offer a job to someone? Does it matter if that someone has to commute from across the street, or across the border, to get to the workplace?

    Those are the questions you have to answer. I don't think anyone here is advocating that immigrants be allowed to come in and steal a place to live, or take welfare money, or live on the streets. Many immigrants live in places with the permission of the owner and work jobs with the permission of the employer. That is the kind of immigration that Objectivism claims should be open. Yes, there are criminals and scum across the border, but there are also criminals and scum across the street. The way to deal with those is to prosecute crimes when they happen. If the police have a reason to suspect that a given person is a criminal, they should take investigative action and punish them accordingly, regardless of whether or not the person is an immigrant or a local (the only difference here may be that IF a person is determined to be a criminal, the local should be put in local jails whereas it might be legitimate to send the immigrant back home). The question of whether or not there should be border checks is a logistical one that is secondary to the fact that those who have not yet committed any crime have every right to engage in a contractual transaction in order to purchase a home, rent an apartment, sleep on someone's couch, mow someone's lawn, etc. The fact that they may be uneducated is irrelevant: me letting an uneducated jerk sleep on my couch and eat my food is none of your business, legally. The fact that they speak a different language is irrelevant: if they want to hamper their lives here by not learning the dominant language, that is their choice. If they can find interactions that they like in the language they prefer, more power to them.

  17. The hammer meets the head of the nail square on. There is an entire religion whose name means, in English, "submission".

    Completely off-topic: The amazon context link for "nail square" was The War Against Toenail Fungus (Paperback) by Dwight Thomas.

  18. Higer education is always a good thing, if not for the things you learn in the classroom, but for the things you learn outside of it as well.

    Ah! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! :(

    Now that I've gotten the incoherent ranting out of the way... The purpose of higher education is to learn at a higher level. Not to party, not to "experiment", not to meet cool people in your dorm, not to waste four years of your life doing something you don't love so you can get a good job. Sure, some of that can happen anyway, but only as an aside. It bothers me to no end that I will have to deal with people who don't even want to learn when the only reason I'm at college is to learn as much as I can. Sadly, there are more of the type of person that don't belong at college than there are of those that do, and they skew the entire system, starting with high school.

  19. Actually the fundamental concepts will remain undefined. To avoid infinite regress or circularity of definition one must stop somewhere (going downward) and where we stop are the rock bottom terms. It is similar to mathematics. You have certain terms which are undefined, such as set, element, etc. Definitions and postulates are built on these undefined terms.

    Bob Kolker

    That's close, but not completely right. The fundemental concepts are not undefined, they are simply not explicitly defined. They do have definitions, but they are all ostensive (i.e. "By blue I mean this, by existence I mean all of that")

  20. As an example of why there are no a-priori truths, consider the following statement: Either this xanpha is thit, or this xanpha isn't thit. From an a-priori standpoint, the previous statement is true (assuming you start with A is A). The problem is that xanpha and thit aren't actual concepts, derived from reality, so the statement has no meaning and thus isn't a statement at all, so it can't be true. If you substitute real concepts (a noun and an adjective, respectively), then the statement becomes true, but only after you form the concept from observation, thus not a-priori.

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