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Everything posted by Seeker

  1. You have not shown how it is internally inconsistent. So does mine. You have not shown in what manner an argument from material causation will not fail on account of context-dropping as I described. I have given you a process for validation by direct experience that there are no dispositive antecedent conditions, the denial of which amounts to evasion.
  2. On the issue of cultural influence, nothing more needs to be said that has not been stated persuasively by others; the nub of the matter is that influences are just that, influences, which man is free to act upon or reject, because he has free will. On the more important issue of accepting the validity of this crucially important attribute of consciousness, let me stress that context is nearly everything. Every instance of persistent confusion about free will (setting aside cases of outright evasion) depends on an error of context-dropping. A good point to remember is not to make this too
  3. For some interesting alternatives it's worth checking out some past versions. I found this one especially striking and fitting. I also liked the last version quite a bit.
  4. I actually prefer dark backgrounds, but apart from that, I think that the new design presents a perceptual blizzard. The use of non-underlined blue for hyperlinks is non-standard and confusing, especially coupled with dark red non-links of the same size; certain items, like "Our current feature: The Corporation, by Yaron Brook" appear to be links but aren't; the menu bar's strange fade-in/out effects are disorienting, as are the varying font sizes; the uneven and non-hierarchical stacking of sections within columns is essentially arbitrary; the grey column at left is mostly wasted space. If I
  5. Maybe the way to think of the right vis-a-vis tyranny is that it's a reserve power that we retain just in case it's ever needed, not that we actually foresee needing it. Constitutional history is replete with such examples. The British monarch hasn't denied the Royal Assent to a bill passed by Parliament since 1708, but retains that power nonetheless. No U.S. President has ever been removed from office by impeachment and conviction, yet that power certainly exists, though its use unforeseen. The point being that in matters of constitutional provisions, some of which account for outlying contin
  6. The answer is that Holmes was wrong. The test of truth is reality, not popularity. As to why Objectivism isn't more popular than it is, I will leave that to others who are better informed (i.e. at all) on the subject; I will simply note that Objectivism is radical, large in scope (i.e. a complete philosophy), and intellectually demanding, none of which comports with the demands of popularity given the present culture.
  7. For a really cogent answer, see Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, pages 30-33. For a much less articulate answer, here I go. There are two answers (depending on the type of god being referred to). Typically, "God" refers to the Judeo-Christian god, which cannot exist because the very concept is self-contradictory. For a thing to exist, it must possess a specific identity. By contrast, the JudeoChristian god is supposedly omniscient, omnipotent, and everywhere all at once, i.e. is without limit, thus possessing no specific identity at all, i.e. is non-existent. At this point you can
  8. As I am rather unfamiliar with the Canadian system, a question I have is how is leadership exercised? In the American separation of powers, the structure of the executive (vested in a single person elected with a separate mandate from the legislature) is one such mechanism, which is typically duplicated at the state and local levels - this is a practical means for exercising leadership through the "bully pulpit". In Westminster systems, that structural advantage is nominally held by the monarch, but is not exercised by her in reality, instead belonging to the prime minister who is chosen by th
  9. Actually, we were encouraged to "think outside the box", which in this context includes considering working within the present system to achieve the desired outcome gradually. Stepwise improvement is a means by which to one day implement a proper government. It enables us to get started making concrete improvements that we know to be correct, while giving time for "a lot of abstract thinking and research that needs to be done in the political science and philosophy of law spaces" so that the best possible government can one day be realized. To reiterate, therefore, and in specific reference to
  10. In the political realm, the order of the day is not achieving an other-worldly perfection; significant improvement is worthwhile enough. It doesn't require genius to do something as simple as eliminate government programs and get the government out of people's way. Yes, there are spaces to work on. There will always be spaces to work on. There will always be plenty of work for the intellectuals to do. Part of their responsibility will be to help the politicians do their jobs properly. It would be a mistake, however, to suggest that discussion of this type is not even minimally worthwhile. The
  11. Agreed. I used it as a convenient shorthand for a government that would adhere to the political philosophy of Objectivism, but "proper government" is perhaps a more appropriate term.
  12. Other than the prospect of electing Objectivist governments in friendly environments at the local level, there is also the possibility of running for political office against the tide - especially for executive offices - and using the focus of election campaigns as a vehicle to spread Objectivist principles. You'd need time and money to do that so if you have the time and know a few rich folks you could convince to support you, that would be a place to start. The goal is to persuade people and win elections. This is not premature. ARI's Objectivist Academic Center seeks to "help develop th
  13. No, this is not from The Onion. This is being reported by that paragon of objective journalism known as The Associated Press. Everything seemingly is spinning out of control
  14. Newt Gingrich is possibly the greatest Republican disappointment in my lifetime -- a man who could have shut down the government's nonessential functions and made it stick for a while, or at least eliminated some unnecessary departments. Instead he caved to Bill Clinton politically and never made any cogent moves towards reducing the size of government. His Balanced Budget Act of 1997 disastrously claimed to have balanced the budget when in fact, economic growth balanced the budget faster than Congress, with its "Balanced Budget Act", could increase spending. There was never any coherent limit
  15. I am curious, not to mention somewhat baffled, by why you ascribe these problems to privatization as such when they can and do occur with publicly-owned roads. As I see it, it's rather like complaining that a private road might have potholes. Well, sure -- and public roads do have potholes, so what does that prove regarding privatization? Boil it down and you have either the owner responsible to a rational consideration, namely, the willingness of actual customers to pay, or to an irrational consideration, namely, the caprice of bureacrats and the power of pull of politicians. Yet for some rea
  16. Report: Ohio teacher burned cross on kids' arms
  17. Presumably since the purpose of the road is to provide safe passage to motorists, foisting logistical nightmares on them would not be among the owner's needs. Government standardization would not be necessary. A private professional group of civil engineers could provide the necessary standards, and the risk of civil tort damages for negligence would be inducement enough for road owners to follow them.
  18. http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/values.html
  19. It must depend on what the "given area" is. In a small enough area, all that The Anthem has described is well within the right to own property (and thus, in a greater area, is not a monopoly). All that follows is that individuals who cannot afford the price in the given area, cannot use the roads. So what? There's no right to go wherever you please just because you want to. Outside of that area, of course, will be property and roads that the others can afford to use. Not incidentally, the notions of "upper class", "middle class", and "lower class" are, in my view, thoroughly inadmissible i
  20. First we create the problem, then we solve it, eh? Unfortunately, the choice of a president is not merely an example-setting teaching exercise, but has real-world ramifications. The evidence so far suggests that Obama is an ill-educated, ill-prepared, ill-experienced disaster-in-waiting. For example, we know from the feckless approach of Bill Clinton which culminated in the disaster of 9/11, what the tragic consequences of a weak, foolhardy foreign policy would be, and the evidence suggests that Obama would pursue precisely that course once again. I suppose the thousands who died in the 9/1
  21. I think this is actually conflating two very distinct things. An individual is free to not delegate his right of self-defense, but remains answerable to the government should he use force against anyone else (for a cogent explanation of this, see OPAR p. 372). As I see it, this means that a group of anarchists can never properly assert territorial rights to the exclusion of said government; for example, should an anarchist murder a non-seceding member of society within the anarchists' asserted territory, the criminal would remain punishable by the government notwithstanding the territorial as
  22. What limits on secession would you propose to ensure that it would not devolve into anarchy?
  23. I've seen this argument made a few times; as I see it, the Republican aspect is derivative and secondary, which is to say, non-essential, hence the argument is unpersuasive. Let us examine why. If McCain tampers with the economy and causes a problem, it will get blamed on capitalism. If Obama tampers with the economy and causes a problem, it will get blamed on capitalism. Regardless of who causes the problem, it will get blamed on capitalism. The only distinction, which is derivative and non-essential, is whether the occupant of the White House will share in the blame by his association (right
  24. You seem to be confusing McCain with a Republican of the sort that would pose a danger. To the contrary, though he ran as a Republican and managed to win that party's nomination (with Huckabee siphoning away the votes of the Christian right), McCain in my estimate is closer to the Democrats than to the Republicans. In other words, what we really have is Obama-D and McCain-D. The choice is already between two Democrats in essence, so the Peikoff calculus is inapplicable in the special context of this presidential election. In light of that conclusion I choose the weaker candidate, McCain, i.e.
  25. I think people divide themselves into fundamentally two groups by deciding on their basic orientation to reality. This may be conscious or feeling-based. The two are positive (a sense that life is good, that reality is good, that one is efficacious, etc.) and negative (that life is bad, that reality is bad, that one is weak and ineffectual). Their sense of life and convinced judgment about life is fundamentally one or the other. The enviros do not succeed by appealing with either reason or feelings to the positive group. They succeed by appealing to the negative group. In other words, for the
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