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Everything posted by Tabitha

  1. No. A person "shouldn't" have to do anything, just because they can. I "can" take up ceramics, afford to donate 20% of my income to a third world country, and adopt 4 more cats. But I don't want to do any of these things. Why should I if I don't want to? "Can" does not imply "should." I never understood this, either. Nor do I understand it when people say they want part of themselves to "live on." The harsh reality is that no one cares and life is going to go on without you once you're gone (as it should). Quick! Name all 8 of your great-grandparents. Most people can't even get that far down the ancestral line. Also, from an Objectivist POV, this mindset really doesn't make sense. We only have one life, and should be making the most of it. Having children can be rationally selfish and virtuous, insofar as doing so enhances your life.
  2. True, but one could just as well argue that spending time parenting is highly unproductive. Changing diapers, wasting hours in the car driving people to and fro, not to mention all the extra cleaning and laundry, don't exactly scream "productivity" to me. I'm not saying that parenting isn't a virtue. In fact, I think nurturing another life is a wonderful thing, and if more parents were Objectivists, we would all be better off. I just have a hard time seeing link between parenting and "productivity." Or, maybe I'm just operating on a different definition of productivity. Obviously people with Objectivists leanings tend to have kids for good reasons; unfortunately they are the minority of parents out there. I'm just looking around and seeing that 90% of people I come into contact seem to be having kids for the wrong reasons. Like they're doing it out of boredom, or because it's easier "start over" and focus on a new life than it is to further develop their own skills and lives.
  3. I am a licensed social worker. I came to Objectivism in my mid-20s, which was after I had already completed my degree and was working for some time. Had I been exposed to Objectivism at a younger age, I can't say I would have made the same decision. Up until recently, this contradiction I'm living with bothered me. How can someone as pro-capitalist as I am be in one of the most altruistic fields imaginable?! I have come to decide that what I do does not conflict with Objectivism in the slightest. I'm one the "direct service" end of social work, which means I provide straight counseling. (As opposed to advocating for "welfare rights" and the like.) I work with people to understand the link between thoughts and feelings; a lot of cognitive-behavioral stuff. I'm adding rationality to the world (at least I try to!), not fighthing against it. But most importantly, I do what I do because *I* like it, not because I'm "giving back to society," as most people assume. *I* enjoy what I do and find it a challenge. I don't belong to my professional organization (which seeks to expand government), nor do I give them any money. Yes, Objectivist social workers are rare... but possible. Don't lose hope just yet. Also, consider that in graduate school, she was likely spoonfed TONS of altruistic propoganda. For myself, it took a few years and a great amount of exposure to writers like Rand and Peikoff undo all this. ETA: It is true that Rand did not hold a high opinion of social workers. However, consider that in Rand's time, social work = government expansion. Today, the two are not necessarily related (as I just described).
  4. Tabitha


    Over the years I've become less and less hung up on who's an Objectivist and who isn't. My friendships for the most part are based on passion for life (I would say "sense of life, but I'm not sure it would be accurate to apply that term here). I have several friends who are as leftist as they come, but if they are out and doing things and living life to the fullest, that's enough for me. One friend in particular describes herself as a feminist and is philosophically different from me in other ways, but she's not sitting at home obsessing over these matters. She's excited to get up everyday, for her research, for her music, for her life. (This of course is barring activities that involve expanding the state or otherwise eroding the individual -- that I have a problem with.) On the flip side, I know some Objectivists who seem to live for little more than hanging out online and policing people in their personal lives. These people I could take or leave as potential friends. Mind you, these people I describe are not close friends. But they're friends, nonetheless. Sure, I would rather climb a mountain or pursue another stimulating activity with a fellow Objectivist (it would make for much deeper conversation, in my opinion) -- but there are so few of us out there. But, I would take a non-Objectivist with a good sense of humor and who's out there "doing stuff" over an anxious, less passionate Objectivist any day.
  5. Mine's my beagle, of course....
  6. My main gripe with feminism, aside from the collectivism which you pointed out, is that it dismisses the reality that women are agents who choose to act. Feminists gripe about women being treated as sex objects and not earning as much as men... yet, women are choosing to put themselves in positions to be viewed as sex objects. (Not all women all the time, obviously - I'm referring to strippers, women who dress and act in certain ways, etc.). Women who stay at home with their children are choosing to do so. Talking to some feminists, you'd think they believe that men plant some type of microchip into women's brains that makes us unable to think. As a woman myself, I can't think of anything more infantalizing than feminism. But, yes, I would have to say the collectivism aspect of it bothers me a great deal. I want nothing to do with many women (just as I want nothing to do with many men, or people who fit into other "groups), but feminism assumes I do, "just because."
  7. Thank you all so much for the suggestions! I will check each of these out. Regarding these two, do you know if/when they'll be available on itunes?
  8. I commute several hours a week to work and have recently taken up listening to podcasts to pass the time. There are two great ones out there - Peikoff's questions and answers and one called "Talk Objectivism" - but I'm looking for more. They don't have to be Objectivst per se, but recommendations having to do with philosophy / critical thinking would be greatly appreciated. What do you listen to?
  9. This was my status update yesterday: "No one should die because of zombies if they cannot afford a shotgun, or even just a machete, and no one should be turned into a vampire if they get bit by one--or a werewolf for that matter. If you agree, post this as your status for the rest of the day." I didn't make that up myself (I copied and reposted it from another friend). Not sure if I'd consider it the most Objectivist/philosophical response, but it's a response nonetheless....
  10. I LIVE in Taxachusetts, and I actually know people who went to his wake! One person said, "I waited in line for only 3 1/2 hours." All I could think of is, well, that's 3 1/2 hours of your life that you'll never get back.... I once saw a bumper sticker that said, "my gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car."
  11. Rand's characters can better be described as "asocial," not "anti-social." If you're anti-social, you've got some real problems, as being anti-social involves doing heinous things and feeling no remorse. Murderers are anti-social. Roark and other characters are asocial, or indifferent to others when it comes to "being social" for the sake of being social because it's the "nice thing to do." The two are totally different concepts. The first one is deplorable, the second is a value.
  12. Yeah... those are all good points. If their multiples "just happened," that's a different story. Though it is a shame many of them were born at low weights with poor vision, it's not the parents' fault; especially if aborting was not a safe medical option. It's just odd to me that this culture reveres multiple births the way it does (given the number of shows there are).
  13. But that's just it. Have you seen the show? Everyone is just so miserable. This isn't to say their physical needs aren't being met, but the more "tuplets" one has, the less likely everyone is getting what they need. Or if they are getting their physical needs met, there's no energy leftover for the emotional. Yes, each child gets a "special day" with the parents once every other month or whatever it is... but so what? Seven "turns" at this later, the kid is all but back to the drawing board with the parent. In the meantime he's living the horrors of forced sharing and other nightmares of collectivist child-rearing. It's not so much about "undivided attention" as it is having adequate physical and emotional reserve to get to know this new being you brought into the world... not to mention protecting him from a flood of constant irrationality. The problem with this family is that the 6 children are the same age. Children of toddler age need exposure to adults and older children to help guide them. Being surrounded by other screaming babies just as confused and developing as they are does nothing for their cognitive development. They might as well be living in a day care 24/7 with no escape. This sort of reminds me of "A Brave New World" in a creepy way. I dunno, maybe I'd think differently if the family (ie: the KIDS) wasn't so miserable the majority of the time. One starts screaming, they all start screaming... and the cycle continues. How is this healthy?
  14. I don't agree that the current children need to give consent, necessarily. If a set of parents wants a couple of children spaced by two years, a two year old cannot "consent" to his parents having more children. Nor should he be asked. It's up to the adults to have enough sense to not have and raise a bunch of children in a self-sacrificial heap, which you so aptly describe. I'm reminded of Montessori's description of the problem with modern education. But can you honestly argue that it isn't significantly more ideal to be a "set" of one or two? The pregnancy itself happened through in vitro, but they still chose to bring them into the world. At least these other large families have enough sense to space their children apart. Octomom didn't plan for 8 kids, either. (Or did she? My facts might be rusty on that one.) Regardless, the difference between Jon & Kate and Octomom is that the former got lucky and got a reality show. Without that, where would they be and how would they be living? I'm not saying they would most definitely end up on welfare, but those kids wouldn't be living without some strain, to say the least. Yes... stress she put on herself.
  15. I agree that the Duggars seem to be the most solid of the bunch. The kids come off as grounded / calm in a sense, and I'm a fan of home schooling. However, I chalk their relative centered-ness up to their lack of television and video games (which I think is great), as opposed to their 'moral' upbringing. My gripe with the Duggars in particular is that I have a huge problem with children being forced into caregiving roles that go beyond the occasional babysitting. My observation of the Duggars is that the older ones are expected to all but rear the younger ones. I mean, they didn't ask for that. Teenagers should be encouraged to develop themselves through productive work that benefits them... not spend much of their day "counting the troops" and preparing meals for legions. To me, this reaks of collectivism, and I don't think it's healthy for their developing psyches. It's one thing to expect children to clean up after themselves and pitch in with reasonable tasks, but there's a line between giving children simple, age-appropriate chores... and expecting children to bathe, feed, and clothe other children on a daily basis. YOU (parents) chose to bring all these kids into the world, YOU raise them yourselves. As for expecting others to pay, to my knowledge none of these families do. They get so much money through their TV show, which in the Duggars' case is hypocrasy because they're supposidely against capitalism / marketing / media.
  16. I'm talking about "John & Kate Plus Eight," "18 Kids and Counting," "Table for Twelve" and the many other shows on TLC and Discovery Health, not to mention the attitude in this culture at large, that champion and reward people who have children in litters. Am I the only person on the planet that finds these shows, more specifically the philosophy behind them, borderline evil? These poor kids don't stand a chance. They will never know what it's like to have a parent's undivided attention, the financial means to pursue hobbies and tastes individually, and the pride of ownership. Instead, they are thrown into a heap of constant screaming madness, bitting and hitting for the first three + years of their lives. It makes me sick to my stomach, almost. Don't get me wrong. By no means am I saying that choosing to have a large family can never be a value. But there is something to be said for having a mother's (or father's) undivided attention during critical periods of one's life; from say at least birth to five. Twins and even triplets are a reasonable acception... but eight?! I wish I could ask these parents, honestly, how would you like to be one of eight? What kills me is that these parents get heralded as "self-less." Yeah, I'll say!
  17. This is because the two are linked. Let's not forget that many people go into mental health care for altruistic ("social welfare") reasons. This is the crux of the mental health problem. My experience has been that it's both. People are attracted to the mental health field because of their altrusitic bents. Adding insult to injury, many people want to study psychology to "work through" their own issues. Once in the field, they are exposed to more and more rubbish and their altruism becomes further ingrained. I am a fine example of this. I went to social work school before I had any knowledge of Objectivism. I don't know how I did it - given the ideas I was exposed to, I sometimes think that if I can find Objectivism, anyone can.... Anyway, the problem is that these programs stress altruism. But, if you think about it, how can you teach self-esteem to people when deep down, you abhor self-esteem? Years later, after discovering Objectivism, I still work in mental health. My philosophical leanings make this quite difficult as they run against so much of what my peers purport. Some examples: 1) I don't buy into the "disease" model of alcoholism. Cancer is a disease, picking up a bottle is not. 2) Modern psychology seems fixated on the false concept that "the rich are unhappy." If this is true, we need to solve the problem that the rich are wrongly guilted for their productivity. The solution is to value productivity and purpose, not debase yourself and give part of yourself over to the unearned. 3) I don't believe that ADD and depression are "diseases." 4) No one should be seeing the same therapist for years and years. If you had a medical problem and your doctor was not fixing it, would you stay with that doctor? Contrary to what many think, "the relationship" should not be the primary focus of therapy. If you've been with the same therapist for more than a few months and you aren't getting better, GET OUT FAST. Additionally, rational therapy is cognitive in nature, not "psychoanalytic." Michael Hurd, an Objectivist psychologist, has written a couple great books on this topic. Anyway, the point is, it is possible for Objectivists to work in the mental health field. It's rare, for the reasons I've stated above... but we are out there.
  18. How so? I saw the movie and didn't find that at all.
  19. I don't think social networking is inherently a bad thing. After all, we live on planet earth. There's no getting around the fact that we live in a "social" world. So I don't think abhoring social networking for its own sake is rational. You still have to live in the world. Unless you grow your own food and live in a bubble, there's no avoiding it. Buying your coffee this morning and walking through the door at work involve mild forms of "social networking." That said, we have choices as to how far we take social networking, and with whom we employ it. I personally don't derive any "social benefit" from spending time looking at complete strangers' vacation pictures (because let's face it; most Facebook "friends" are really more aquaintences). However, I DO benefit from Facebook in that it allows me to learn the nuances of the people I do care about and who serve some rational purpose in my life. As for your observation of people using Facebook to show off or otherwise make themselves look cool, that is most likely an age thing. I'm 30, and the majority of my Facebook "friends" are my age or older. So I don't see many "drunken party pics" in my newsfeed as maybe the younger crowd. Rather, I see a lot of wedding and travel pics. The people I associate with aren't ones to do these things just to make a statement. In fact, I'd wager that most people don't. They're simply living their lives. Buying homes, being successful at work, being a good parent, and producing artwork and good poetry are things to be proud of. Why not show off productive things to those who matter to you? Take weddings, for instance. By this "anti-social networking" logic, people shouldn't have even weddings or wedding photographers because the process involves other people looking at them and potentially comparing them to other weddings. But that's life. There are always going to be people who are going to be comparing you, and to be frank, you can't get around comparing other people, just for the simple fact that we compartmentalize as part of our psychologies. But so what? Does that mean you should never do anything or share your life with anyone? If drunken party pics are of no value to you, why not simply delete the people who clog your newsfeed with them and focus on the people whose activities you value? I did that once. Not because of party pics, but because this girl was taking upwards of 50 headshots of herself every day and keeping them in the newsfeed. I didn't see the point of this, and I got sick of looking at her. So DELETE. She isn't someone I knew well, and the people I'm close with don't do those things anyway... so there's no point in keeping her on my friend list and looking at her every 2 minutes. That's the beauty of online networking; it's easier to get rid of the "riff raff." ETA: As an aside, I get a lot of enjoyment out of the Facebook "chat" feature. I have never been a "phone person," and in many ways I find the chat feature is a time saver, cuts out the small talk, and is otherwise more efficient.
  20. That's a productive way to go about it. But to play devil's advocate, what if they respond with something like, "well, if you're against all force, are you saying kids shouldn't be forced to go to school in the first place?" Though, to that, I suppose I could respond by arguing for private education... wherein parents and students wouldn't be forced into anything.
  21. I work at a public high school (... which could be a whole other problem/thread in and of itself). One of my co-workers started a community service club, and has once said that she thinks community service should be a graduation requirement for all students. I disagreed outright, stating that this mindset will only breed resentment in the kids. However, the deeper issue is - and I didn't quite know how to get into this without going on a longwinded spiel re: Objectivism and why education should be privatized - is that individuals don't owe "society" their time or anything else. Furthermore, the truth is that few, if any, students are interested in community service for its own sake. The most active group members are only doing it because colleges like to see it on applications. Anyway, this thread is really more of a rant than anything else. Have others had similar experiences?
  22. Tabitha


    The "it's OK in cases of rape or incest" argument is inconsistent. Either it is a life, or it's not. You can't have it both ways. Saying that embryos that were conceived via rape/incest are "less of a life" than those that were conceived for other reasons is shooting this part of the pro-life argument in the foot.
  23. I agree with the religion argument, but am no longer convinced that it's a scrooge of the Republican party alone. Obama, for example, is highly religious. Even in my personal life, I know just as many religious liberals as I do religious conservatives. (Though, granted - religous liberals tend not to fight for religious-based policies.)
  24. I know this is 'old hat' to many, but I'm still curious about the Objectivist argument for voting for Obama/Democrat. My understanding is that by voting for Obama/Democrat, you're voting for "honesty" in the sense that liberals are upfront about wanting socialistic policies; whereas the Republican party is dishonest for misrepresenting capitalism, which it is supposed to champion. While I see merit in this logic, the problem I have is that this thinking does little to further the cause of Objectivism. For instance, say a slew of Objectivists went out and voted for Obama, and he ended up winning (which he did). The average person, unfamiliar with Objectivism, is not going to make the connection. The world is not going to say, "Obama most likely got that extra push from the Objectivists, who were trying to make a point against those who purport to espouse capitialism but in fact don't." The reality is that most people don't even know what Objectivism is, and they sure as hell aren't going to take Obama's winning as a chance to get out there and educate themselves about Objectivism. Nor will they be likely to turn steadfast to Ayn Rand years and years from now when this socialism fails. Rather, the world is chalking up his success to there being more liberals in the populace. And in the meantime, all we'll have is more deeply leftist-entrenched thought to deal with as Objectivism drifts from the mainstream each day. I don't see how in the long term (or even the short term for that matter), this sort of thing is supposed to further Objectivism. The Republicans are certainly by no means advocates of a pure-free market, but it's hard to argue that they're not at least closer to capitalism than Democrats, even if not by much nowadays... but at least closer. (Again, I posted this here because this is the most recent Obama thread, but if it's a problem I could take this discussion elsewhere as to not divert the thread from the inauguration itself.)
  25. What drives me bananas most is this emphasis on instilling "hope." Hope for what, exactly? Blank out. (To quote Ayn Rand.) Rational people don't walk around with a floating feeling of "hopelessness." People who do are those who obsess over "saving the world" and other collectivist pursuits. If you just go about your business, make good decisions, and focus on your own life, you won't feel "hopeless." Sure, being struck with terminial illness and other things that happen beyond one's immediate control can render one "hopeless," but I don't think that's the kind of "hope" this campaign's talking about. A more secondary pet-peeve of mine is the gay/lesbian community's over Rick Warren. People, YOU voted Obama in! YOU voted in someone who was openly against gay marriage, YOU voted in someone who for the life of him cannot separate church and state. You've made your bed.
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