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Everything posted by SkyTrooper

  1. Don't work for my happiness, my brothers--show me yours--show me that it is possible--show me your achievement--and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.
  2. Expect to see the left play up the "disaster" our last involvement in Somalia was. Rangers that know their history will point out that the Battle of Mogadishu was a US victory, and the most one-sided fire fight in history. 19 US Soldiers killed compared to thousands of armed somalis killed. Even with a land option as opposed to the better idea of carpet bombing the shore, we could clear out all the ports in a week.
  3. Unrestricted is the key phrase.. no such thing in modern times. The only way to completely solve the problem is to sieze the ports from which the pirates operate (as evidenced in the Barbary Wars, circa. 1800). Given current U.S. involvements and the bad taste left over from our '93 Somalia operation, I doubt anyone would advocate for that.
  4. Actually a POW camp is a "concentration camp" in the proper sense. (def. "A camp where civilians, enemy aliens, political prisoners, and sometimes prisoners of war are detained and confined, typically under harsh conditions.") The use of the term "concentration camp" wrt. Nazi Germany is a euphamism for death camp. But yes, Peikoff should be fully capable of imagining the conditions in a POW camp.
  5. As an American soldier doing what it takes to win a war is not altruistic. Unless of course you don't value your own freedom. Now I don't know what McCain's motivation was, and as an altruist he might very well have had altruistic motives. If I could stand the torture/suffering, I would make the same choice, because I see refusing to cooperate with communist killers as in my self-interest. As I've said before, you can't fault someone for choosing otherwise, because different people have different breaking points. The standard is victory. There are a number of reasons that when Eisenhower issued the Code of Conduct he made escape an imperative yet made parole illegal. Escape is a motivator: it gives the prisoners hope and even if the escapee doesn't get away, the enemy wastes valuable resources hunting him down. Parole is demotivator: it breeds anger between POWs and scores propaganda points for the enemy. Note that the NVA did actually give excellent treatment to a select few of POWs, then release them with only the condition that they tell everyone how well they were treated... these few individuals are the ones who enabled the torture and suffering all the other POWs to continue without protest from the United States. Many POWs credit the Code of Conduct with getting them through their internment with their minds and self-esteem intact. It seems like you are dismissing out of hand a tool with a proven track record. Yes, clearly it can't be held as an absolute, since under torture you are guaranteed to give more information than your name, rank, and SSN. Just the fact that the NVA would go to extremes to get soldiers to violate even the smallest part of the Code of Conduct in hopes of breaking down the self-esteem of their prisoners shows how important it is. Also, I'd dispute that anyone has been prosecuted for violating the code.. I havn't heard of that happening.
  6. First, the point that I and others have tried to make was not that if you arn't a Soldier you can't understand, but rather that no person is in a position to judge another person's decisions while subjected to torture, psychological warfare, and inhuman living conditions. Imagine that a POW is forced to sign statements disloyal to his country, tortured to give up information about his unit, or forced to kill other prisoners. At the barrel of a gun, the whole idea of a "choice" is invalid. Although I would hope I wouldn't do any such things under torture, there are limits to what a man can take, so I won't sit back and casually judge a man who does. As much of a huge debt that I owe Peikoff and as much as I respect him, his decision to judge McCain for choices he made in a death camp is reprehensible (def. "deserving rebuke or censure"), as I said. As for articulating the "principles and contextualness" of the code, I put a link up to it already. The purpose of the code of conduct is pretty simple. It says, in essense, that "Prisoner of War" is not a status, but another mission. Your mission is to continue to harrass the enemy as much as possible. Part of your mission is to attempt to escape. Part of your mission is to try to keep information from your captors. Another part of your mission is not to accept "parole or special favors from the enemy". Ultimately, are you going to be able to keep from giving up information under torture? No. You damn well won't give it up without a fight though. The code is something you memorize in SERE school, not because if you violate it you will get punished (you won't); you memorize it so that in your darkest moment, completely devoid of hope and seperated from your buddies, you have guidance for carrying on the fight. I'm happy to watch a debate that does some calculus wrt. giving-in to captors vs. prospective freedom vs. keeping your oaths, but I just hope you frame it properly. One man might decide to accept an offer from his captors and get out.. he might sign the release agreement in between screams, in a brief moment when they turn down the electric current running through his body. Another man might refuse and say he'd rather die than cooperate on anything. Both men could be right. Whatever choice they've made, all justice demands from us is a "thank you" to those men.
  7. I'm not in a position to say either way, and neither is Peikoff. The guys at the Hanoi Hilton were subjected to extreme forms of torture on a daily basis, seperated from each other and all contact from the outside world, denied medical care, etc, etc. Some of the guys that were brought in there had injuries from their capture: bayonet wounds, broken limbs, disease. Most of the POWs spent the better part of a decade in the worst conditions imaginable with little hope of ever getting out alive. Passing judgement on a man's choices made while under those conditions is just reprehensible. Here is a link to the code of conduct and the relevant paragraph, just so everyone is educated when they are referring to it: "PARAGRAPH III If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy." (Code of Conduct)
  8. .. eg. how does he reconcile accepting TARP funds with his defense of free markets?
  9. It's probably somewhere else too. "The New Left" is out of print but I think most of the essays from it are in "The Return of the Primitive" which I don't have a copy of yet.
  10. From the essay "The Anti-Industrial Revolution": "There are three major reasons why you, and most people do not protest [the enviornmentalist attempt to reduce you to a primitive state]. (1) You take technology--and its magnificent contributions to your life-- for granted, almost as if it were a fact of nature, which will always be there. But it is not and will not. (2) As an American, you are likely to be very benevolent and enormously innocent about the nature of evil. You are unable to believe that some people can advocate man's destruction for the sake of man's destruction--and when you hear them, you think they they don't mean it. But they do. (3) Your education--by that same kind of people--has hampered your ability to translate an abstract idea into its actual, practical meaning and, therefore, has made you indifferent to and contemptuous of ideas. This is the real American tragedy." (The New Left, pp. 133)
  11. Genghis Kahn was a strategic genius, the Chinese states were divided, and Chinese culture was rotting. It was the same reason he was able to crush the Persians. A good demenstration of the power of philosophy is that although the horde was an extremely effective military unit, since all of the mongols were illiterate they won militarily but lost culturally. In the middle east, the comparatively invidualist beliefs of the mongols were quickly abandoned in favor of Islam. The combination of Mongol military tradition and Islam resulted in one of the worst villians in ancient history: Timur (a man who stacked his enemies skulls into piles and constructed walls out of his living captives and mortar.) I'd also disagree that civilization makes for "soft" armies. Imagine trying to argue that with George Patton and the 5th Army.
  12. Yea hasn't freedom obviously failed? I think the principles of engineering have failed too because I saw this dude build a bridge and it collapsed.. although come to think of it he didn't really use any math or calculations or anything, mostly just this voodo witch doctor stuff.. but he said he was an engineer. Anyway the case is definitely closed on freedom though and we should really just give the whole thing up. I mean everyone in the media agrees that freedom caused the financial crisis! Can I nominate myself for Fuhrer?
  13. Well actually the parties in danger are your child, the person you are thinking of stealing the medicine from, and the other child that won't get the medicine because you steal it. Would the whole world have to be in danger for it to constitue a lifeboat scenario? Even in the model "lifeboat" situation the only people in danger are you and the other person. By your critera, being in a lifeboat would not be a lifeboat scenario. If you are in a lifeboat and you kill the other person in the lifeboat in order to survive, won't that guys family find out eventually? Or the coast guard will arrest you when they rescue you? Once again, you are inventing non-essential critera for something to constitute a lifeboat scenario. An emergency where the only means of survival is the violation of another man's rights is a lifeboat scenario. Period.
  14. I don't really have time to cross-reference the news with page numbers out of AS, but the recent meeting between the Fed and the heads of all the major banks certainly seemed like a scene straight out of Atlas Shrugged (Henry Paulson=Wesley Mooch?):
  15. I've enjoyed the reaction I've gotten from certain "bring out the vote" types when I tell them I will probably be voting "abstain" for the presidential election. Even if you tell a hardcore Obama supporter you are voting for McCain it won't upset them as much as saying that both canidates are fundamentally identical and you won't vote for either. Refusing to vote for either canidate attacks some type of premise that I havn't fully identified yet, but I think whatever it is it is important, and this reinforces my planned decision to vote "abstain".
  16. Normal illness is not an emergency. I contend that the advent of a rare, deadly, fast acting illness for which there is only one dose of an extremely-expensive cure in existence would be an "unchosen, unexpected event, limited in time, that creates conditions under which human survival is impossible" if such an illness were possible. I'm sure if you were in that situation you'd think it was too. What, you might ask, is the difference between this case and the type of "illness" that we are all familiar with and Miss Rand was referring to in your quote? First, I can't name any real disease in existence where the treatment (if it exists) can't be afforded somehow. For example, I've heard of poor families with kids with lukeimia that appealed to charity to pay for treatment.. raising enough money to pay to get cured. Secondly, there are no medicines that are in such limited supply that the treatment of one man prevents the treatment of another. Curing myself of tuberculosis does not cause a stranger to die from it. We must consider the facts as they are posed in the scenario which are metaphysically different than those posed by a normal illness. As "illness" is used in this scenario this could just as easily be "two men are given poison and there is only one antidote" or "two men are on stranded in the andes and there is only food for one" or "two men are in a lifeboat that can only fit one." As the question is posed this is an emergency, is a lifeboat scenario, and must be treated as such.
  17. Define emergency. I can't think of any lifeboat scenario that doesn't fit the definition of emergency "a serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action" but perhaps you have a different understanding of the concept? Also, as I have said I am assuming as the scenario assumes that you have no other options. If it is possible for you to pay for the medicine even if it takes selling youself into lifelong debt, that is the better option. I will quote Ayn Rand on lifeboat scenarios, because as I said before this is clearly a lifeboat scenario, "Personally, I would say the man is immoral if he takes an innocent life. But formally, as a moral philosopher, I'd say that in such emergency situations, no one could prescribe what action is appropriate. That's my answer to all lifeboat questions. Moral rules cannot be prescribed for these situations, because only life is the basis on which to establish a moral code. Whatever a man chooses in such cases is right-- subjectively. Two men could make opposite choices. I don't think I could kill an innocent bystander if my life was in danger; I think I could kill ten if my husband's life was in danger." (Ayn Rand Answers, pp.114)
  18. I disagree. Assuming you don't read in anything into the scenario (eg. the kid can get well on his own or you are Alexander Flemming and you can engineer your own cure), there are only two options: 1) You steal the rare medicine thereby saving your dying child, violating the property rights of the medicine's manufacturer, and killing an unknown child. 2) You don't steal the medicine, thereby allowing another child to live (whose family can afford the medicine) and preserving the property rights of the medicine's manufacturer. The clause about killing a stranger absolutely makes this a lifeboat scenario. I'm assuming of course that as a parent your child would be an irreplaceable value, more important than even your own life, and not just some other important value like your car, etc.
  19. If life was like a big life boat scenario, where you had to kill other men in order to survive, than you would be right to apply your choices in a life boat scenario to the wider context of the entire nation or the world. As it happens, life is not lived in a life boat: violating the rights of others is not neccesary for your survival. This is the dangerous switch that those who pose such scenarios often try to pull. Real-life life boat scenarios are extremely rare. In this case, for example, why is this medicine so rare that only one dose is in existence? Why couldn't you take out a loan to pay for the medicine or appeal for charity to pay to save your child? Luckily, these types of problems are usually only thought experiments.
  20. When discussing lifeboat scenarios Rand said that she would not be willing to kill a stranger to save herself, but would kill several to save her husband. Kevin is right to note this as constituting a lifeboat scenario since it is the life of your child that is at risk. Theft in this scenario is certainly moral, murder would come down to subjective choice.
  21. I disagree with the idea that automatically placing more value on your close family is somehow "religious intinsicsm". My family has watched me grow up, has shared many of my experiences, sheltered and protected me before I was able to do so for myself (my dad even saved me from drowning in the ocean once as a kid), and helped finance my education. This means that family serves as both an enormous potential value and as the source of many of my current values. As such, family deserves more consideration and more energy to understand and change their bad ideas than any random stranger. To do otherwise and dismiss members of my family just because they believe irrational things which I don't feel like attempting to correct would be a violation of Justice. In addition, there is no significant cost to me.. its not as if debating with my sister is going to turn me into an enviornmentalist. As long as she doesn't turn into an eco-terrorist I see no reason to even consider cutting her off.
  22. Wait... seriously? I've distanced myself from old friends, but I've always given them the benefit of at least objecting when they did/said something that was oppossed to my values, so anyone that isn't friends with me anymore knows why. I've told my enviornmentalist sister she is wasting her life using her engineering degree to work making computer models of "sustainable" 3rd world communities, and thats distanced us a lot. However, the idea of cuting off members of my immediate family because of their beliefs is shocking to me. I hope your grandparents were on the level of Ellsworth Toohey otherwise that sounds like a big mistake. Just thinking of my own family, I know my parents made a lot of mistakes raising me. I also know they only wanted what was best for me growing up and did the best they could based on what they knew.
  23. When I selected "not voting" I meant I am writing "abstain" on my absentee ballot. I think any other course of action constitutes supporting my destroyers. I still need to think this one over a bit but that is my current thinking.
  24. For good people, evil is hard to fathom. As Ayn Rand wrote in The Anti-Industrial Revolution, "As an American, you are likely to be very benevolent and enormously innocent about the nature of evil. You are unable to believe that some people can advocate man's destruction for the sake of man's destruction-- and when you hear them, you think they don't mean it. But they do."
  25. I guess we can assume you meant that in addition he really likes it in the room or something so won't help you open the door? In that case no I don't think you are justified in threatening him with a gun, at least not until you begin to starve to death. You have about 3 weeks before you starve that you can reason with him... and really if he wants to stay in the room so bad there might be a good cause for it that you should talk over (ie. maybe there are velociraptors outside). As for the analogy there is a difference between someone who professes not to care about individual rights and a country that actively violates individual rights such as Iran. A government that actively violates individual rights is an inversion of a proper form of government and as such is illegitamite, so can be overthrown by any free country if it is seen as in her best interest to do so. In common usage when it is said "X person doesn't respect individual rights" it means he votes for universal health care, shoplifts, etc., whereas when it is said "X country doesn't respect individual rights" it means that there are torture chambers and death camps... so although I see what you were trying to get at your analogy fails. And no, I see neo-con Republicans, new-left Democrats, and pro-Caliphate Muslims as all equally retarded... with maybe a slight bias towards the Islamofacists since those other two groups havn't tried to bomb anyone I know lately.
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