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Everything posted by Seeker

  1. I chose McCain because I would rather have an ineffective leader of the left as opposed to an effective leader of the left. As to the other candidates, none are Objectivists and all will lose, so there is absolutely no advantage to be gained in voting for any of them. I did question at first whether to vote at all; as a resident of California, the outcome is all but certain, except that that begs the question: on principle, not voting because you're certain you'll lose guarantees that very outcome, while were you and others similarly situated to vote on principle, it might actually go your
  2. This is rather like saying that failure is inevitable because success is not guaranteed. As I pointed out, philosophical education must occur in tandem.
  3. I think the effects would become concrete with growth when the town would restrain the usual impulse towards increased taxes, services, and regulations. This of course would require gradually converting non-Objectivists who would join the town, to continue its policies, and assumes a strong potential for growth. Clearly it is not a given that Van Tassel is the best starting point. Other than just low population (chosen for the presumed speed of converting the town and surrounding areas), the location should be selected based on factors such as those already mentioned, such as the degree to
  4. I agree and disagree - I agree that it is essential to educate people philosophically, but I disagree that this cannot occur in tandem with concrete change politically. The Objectivist pioneers must be philosophical educators. They must explain to their neighbors the hows and whys of Objectivist politics; the connection between the advantages in real concrete terms and Objectivist concepts of reality, reason, and rights must be taught explicitly. A basic tenet of the plan is that Objectivism is not to be compromised for political expediency; this will require the spread of Objectivism in its e
  5. In a recent debate on federalism I proposed that Objectivists congregate in a single state for the purpose of establishing a model Objectivist government, to serve as an example to the rest of the country. Because the number of Objectivists is relatively small (in a recent thread it was estimated at 25,000), it is clear that this is presently infeasible. However, the same idea is feasible when applied to smaller political subdivisions. So here is my plan. The smallest state in the United States is Wyoming with an estimated population of 522,830. Its smallest county is Niobrara, with a popu
  6. The question I have with an unlimited right of secession for any group of individuals is whether it could give rise to a continually changing patchwork of governmental jurisdictions that would ultimately challenge the monopoly-on-force principle. It is not a given, for instance, that the territory over which their government would operate would be contiguous with stable boundaries. It is also possible that the secessionist group would itself splinter into subgroups, each declaring its independence from the others, further challenging the requisite order. Once a group purports to create its own
  7. First, your solution fails to provide a foreseeable means by which either would go laissez faire in the first place. Second, the relative difficulties attendant in a reliance on countries to provide the same safeguards as states within a federal system should be obvious. We need only consider the difference between citizens of a single state having to flee versus those of an entire country. As a practical matter, federalism's solution works relatively easily, whereas your solution does not. And why allow the whole of America to revert, when federalism's cure could have prevented the disease fr
  8. I have to disagree. Other countries exist predominately with people whose language and culture vary much more significantly, and the freedom of mobility cannot be presupposed. As a means of preserving liberty within the nation, therefore, I am not persuaded that a resort to different countries would serve that purpose.
  9. The question is, how do we implement the basic principle? At the outset, the federal government and state governments today all reflect the outrageous philosophical premises that predominate in our time. A first step would be to avail ourselves of federalism by congregating in a distinct geographic territory, say, Delaware, and form a majority of the population in support of Objectivist principles (I can see you shaking your head, but bear with me). Even carrying the weight of the federal government's burdens there is no question that the results of objective state law, in prosperity and human
  10. Then we agree on that point. Alright, then I'll use the phrase "government official", i.e. person running government, instead: Now you merely need to ask whether the possibility of corruption is best mitigated by limiting the power of each individual government official which renders cases of corruption manageable by way of checks and balances, versus vesting one government official with the whole power of government, which should he be corrupt would be catastrophic. By "safeguard" I mean a constitutional provision that serves to protect individual rights. I never said that
  11. I apologize for confusion and edited my post to clarify my point. I do not claim to demonstrate that federalism is necessarily beneficial, only that it is one possible means to safeguard liberty. I will address your other points subsequently.
  12. Then you acknowledge the possibility of corrupt rulers, i.e. that a reliance on government always being run by rational people is unrealistic. Good. Now you merely need to ask whether the possibility of corruption is best mitigated by limiting the power of each individual ruler, which renders cases of corruption manageable by way of checks and balances, versus vesting one ruler with the whole power of government, which should he be corrupt would be catastrophic. This is the practical nature of such safeguards; a government that incorporates them is a government for men who live in reality.
  13. No, because my argument does not actually lead to the conclusion that "in order to limit abuse of power, the only government should be a strongly circumscribed federal one". In federalism, power is circumscribed because it is divided between two levels of government and among several states, each assigned various matters to deal with in its jurisdiction. That division of power among multiple actors is a means of curtailing the potential for abuse by any one of them. When you say "a state government with vastly expanded power", this suggests a concentration of power that would defeat the s
  14. For example, the legislature of New York has no jurisdiction in New Jersey; the governor of New Jersey has no executive power in Maryland; and so forth. The federal Congress has power over the entire country, but only with respect to those limited subjects of legislation expressly authorized by the U.S. Constitution, Article I (provided that the constitition is followed in this respect - but see my disclaimer about widespread philosophical agreement for the limitation of this limitation). This is what I mean by circumscribing the domain of various government actors to curtail the potential fo
  15. Federalism, like separation-of-powers, serves to curtail the potential for abuse by circumscribing the domain of various government actors. It is not a primary in the political context in the sense that the concept of freedom is, but an implementation detail, one of many practical measures for dealing with the reality that men are not perfect and that various means of constraining their potential for abuse must be devised to keep the government operating within rational bounds as much as possible. As with any constitutional safeguard, its effectiveness is not absolute; no safeguard can ultimat
  16. Unless the Democrats win many more Senate seats, which (together with liberal Republicans) could render the filibuster a nullity. That's the other train wreck waiting to happen.
  17. Obama is the tooth fairy. He's real if you believe in him. There hasn't been a major party candidate in my lifetime that so perfectly exemplifies so many bad philosophical ideas, from epistemology (feelings trump reason) to ethics (let's all give selflessly) to politics (to hell with capitalism). McCain may be an intellectual empty sack, but at least the sack exists and has some semblance, however inconsistent, of pro-capitalist principles every once in a while. What, pray tell, is Obama? At best he is an orator in slick packaging who says nothing, and does it very well. At worst he is the
  18. I merely copied the opening of the article that I linked to, but I should have used quotes to make that clear.
  19. Global Warming Skeptics Plot Carbon Belch Day Conservative grassroots group Grassfire.org wants people to waste as much energy as possible on June 12 by "hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars." The point: the group wants to "help Americans break free from the 'carbon footprint guilt' being imposed by Climate Alarmists."
  20. I didn't say that. Indeed, to the extent that enviros are constraining future supply, not only are speculators driving up the price, but they ought to be driving up the price. Just how else will future constraints in supply, in the context of rising global demand, be managed if so-called "speculators" didn't drive up the price? The problem is in not placing the proximate responsibility where it belongs with the emphasis on "speculators". I'm all for blaming the enviros for making things worse, but then let's pin the blame where it belongs, not on free market participants who are merely acting
  21. First, who says we're in a "mess"? So prices are up. Prices should be as high as the market will bear, suppliers should be maximizing their profits, and some consumers (namely, the insufficiently productive among us) should be unable to afford it; so if prices go up, hooray. There is no "fire". Second, so-called "speculators" are just traders, perfoming a service by managing scarcity through predictions about future supply and demand; they either turn a profit or lose their shirts based on their performance. Such predictions will always be made by someone in the trading chain. Now of
  22. Seeker, I love reading your posts. They are always intelligent, to the point, and show thorough thinking. Yey Seeker! o/

  23. There were certain ideas that Rand needed to hit on the head and slavery-by-bloodline was one on them. Nowhere else than family is the evil of emotional guilt so pervasively used to control others. I've seen it in my own and countless other families. Particularly when times are close to the bone, or when survival-by-trade seems uncertain, people see making claims on family as a means of sustaining their lives. Farm families for example, were traditionally large for a reason - the parents felt entitled to the labors of their offspring to support them in their old age. Indeed socialism could be
  24. A bit of a side musing here ... In U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence there has been, since the New Deal, a "double standard" wherein certain rights (such as free speech and the right to vote) are deemed "fundamental", while economic rights are not so protected. What's interesting is the logical connection between the two sides of that double standard: the non-right of the producers to keep their property, and the corresponding right of the non-producers to take it from them at the ballot box (and with the help of a supportive leftist media). The double standard is the legal basis of socialis
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