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About jimmay

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    Jim May
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    3D Artist
  1. If capitalism is defined as the only form of society that is based on the recognition of individual rights, that means that any activity where no coercion is involved, is capitalistic by nature. That even extends to communes, which might be seen as anti-capitalist in spirit, but not in fact so long as individuals are not being coerced. That's the contradiction at the heart of all "communes" in free societies. If that condition is met, it's just a question of what makes the most economic sense, and in that domain I don't see how the concept of "anti-capitalist" can apply, assuming the context of a free society. It's all just means to ends at that point, and the moral questions simply pertain to the question of whether the chosen activity serves the relevant interests of the particular individuals involved. If those "interests" are altruistic, as appears to be the case with Mondragon, then you've got an issue, but that seems to be a problem with the stated ends for which a particular co-operative is formed, rather than the means chosen for those ends, which is the co-operative. It has always been my conviction that a truly capitalist society would give birth to many different forms of economic associations in addition to the normal ones we now take for granted. And many of them would not be "profit-driven" in the normal sense of monetary gain, simply because "gain", or purpose, is by no means limited to the monetary form in a capitalist society.
  2. Perhaps Thermopylae could be seen as a Doolittle raid... having its effect more by means of inspiration, of galvanizing moral conviction, rather than imparting any strictly strategic advantage.
  3. Which is more dangerous, the left hand of a mugger that has already wounded you heavily but is currently away from you -- or his right hand, which now suddenly holds the knife, scant inches from your neck? I remain unable to understand statements to the effect that the left as such is more dangerous than the right, or vice-versa. At the basic level we have got to stop making these distinctions, because we are still in essence dealing with a single enemy. By that I don't mean simply to recognize that they all come from the same philosophical source, I mean that we need to realize that these many manifestations of the same enemy, can interact and play off one another. If another major terrorist act precipitates the US Government into major advances towards totalitarianism, it will be due to the interaction between it and said encroaching statism. The pattern is there for all to see in 1930's Germany, as the terroristic brownshirts pushed the Weimar government into further and further acts of tyranny itself in attempting to combat Hitler. The problem is that our mugger, the philosophical Left, has two hands. The other one is their artificial opponent, the conservatives. Those guys have been galvanized by 9/11. They are the bomb to which terrorism is the fuse. They are the authors of the Patriot Act, don't forget. In three short years, 9/11 has precipitated the political equivalent of a quick feint, switching the knife from left to right hand. Are you going to stay fixated on the left? The political left has been slowed down quite a bit since the 1960's and 1970's, their last major period of advance. Today, while they still are making progress in a number of areas, in particular the assault on private property via the envirocult, they have been slowed down, stopped and even in a few cases reversed a bit (gun control). Some of the better secular-ish conservatives do a relatively good job of fighting on that front, and that might even be debatably attributed to some influence of Ayn Rand here and there. The last major leftist advance can be considered parried, if just barely. Because of that, the timescale of that danger is still measurable in decades. But Patriot Act II, III etc. can happen in a matter of months, weeks even, after another terrorist attack (or two). I believe that our efforts are best spent here, on two interrelated fronts: demanding military action against the remaining terrorists-supporting nations, and attacking the Patriot Act as not only destructive of freedom, but as bad military strategy. Knock out the supporting states, and the terrorists become no more dangerous than ordinary criminals -- which the existing enforcement structures and legal process can handle. The conservatives are therefore our most urgent target -- for support on terrorism (which means voting for Bush at this time) and for attack on Patriot. But this focus is not because the right is more or less dangerous than the left; it is because that's the situation we find ourselves at this moment in the fight for freedom. If we are going to win this, we have to deal with immediate threats as quickly and dynamically as they arise, but without forgetting that we fight one enemy. Follow the knife, not the hands. Parry the right, watch the left, and mind the enemy!
  4. I have always seen the right of a child as being the same as those of adults, with the difference that some of them are "nascent" and must be activated somehow. The metaphysical grounds of this are simply that a child has the rights of a human because they are humans, but are temporarily unable to exercise them due to conditions of nature beyond their control. I'd be interested in seeing some further enumeration of these nascent rights; for myself, these consist of the right to sustenance, and the right of contract. First, I don't see food, shelter etc. as a "right" in the same manner as the right to life, but are instead an obligation incurred by the parents when they performed a certain, legally defined act called "having a child". (At this time that doesn't address the question of orphans, stepchildren etc.) Second, the current test by which nascent rights are "activated" is an age of majority. I wonder whether it might be a good idea to make possible a test whereby a child can claim such rights earlier if he so chooses. The consequence of exercising the right of contract would be releasing the legal bonds of parent to child; the child is no longer subject to parental authority and the parents are freed of their sustenance obligations (i.e. the legally defined act of having this child is completed).
  5. I've been thinking of writing one myself. The current document's primary flaws in my eyes: 1. No definitions (with one such omission meriting its own entry below). 2. No direct codification of the purpose of government, referenced and reinforced in the "default" clause (that's the "any powers not hereby delegated" clause, which catches all unforseen possibilities... this is currently the Ninth and Tenth Amendments) 3. No "Consent of the Governed" clause dealing with the delegation of the right of retaliatory force, and the circumstances delineating the limits of the Government's moral authority to wield force. Here would be codified the inalienable rights of the sovereign individual, the moral authority by which the new Government is formed, and just as importantly, the principles and tests by which the Government can be considered forfeit of said authority. This is the "secession" clause some thought should have been written into the original Constitution, but geared to the secession of the individual rather than the states. 4. The failure to define "the people". From what I've read so far, the Founders did not see the necessity for defining exactly who "the people" are. I ascribe this to the limitations of the state of the political art in 1776. At the cusp of the Enlightenment, they could not anticipate the coming of the Left and their introduction of fundamental collectivism. With our added two centuries of history to draw upon, it is all too clear why "the people" as a collective and "the people" meaning the sovereign individual MUST be sharply distinguished, by use of specific terms if necessary. Related to this is the nasty conflation of "the people" with the states, the most egregious example being the Tenth Amendment, which sets the states and the people on one side versus the federal government on the other. The rational Constitution would only distinguish between all governments on one side and the sovereign individual on the other, with the division of powers handled in derivative clauses further downstream. While this is in part due to the particular historical circumstances surrounding the establishment of the United States, the idea of federation needs to be more tightly subordinated to the recognition of individual sovereignty.
  6. If America becomes a police state, it is destroyed by all the measures that matter. It would be just another empire in that case, commanding no loyalty from me. If there are any Tooheys in the Islamist movements, they know this. I know the core Left does.
  7. It has been said around this thread that Christians/the Bible say "turn the other cheek", or "Christianity doesn't give them a cause to fight for", or "The Christians are the uncertain, hesitant and malleable side." Forgotten Rome, the Crusades and Dark Ages already? Religion is plastic; it works just as well to rationalize violence and war as it does to rationalize pacifism. Before focussing so narrowly on Christianity's soft side, you guys need to examine their tough side. I suggest firearms forums. Here's two: Glock Talk Packing.org By all indications, the religionists are getting much more assertive, taking advantage of the vacuum obligingly created for them by the Left. And why shouldn't they? They have the Left's example, *as a secular faith*, to draw upon in their own assault against their enemy. And don't be fooled into thinking that enemy is the Left. Check your history -- religion's old nemesis is the Enlightenment. And where is it today? Betsy S. wrote: Hooboy, Betsy, you should read what I'm reading... Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind" (7th revised ed.) which illustrates how tenuous that retention really is. This book has been recommended as a definitive reference by quite a few conservatives I know. I hereby submit a few passages. Most of these are from Chapter 3, entitled "Romantics and Utilitarians", which is primarily concerned with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom Kirk upholds as one of conservatism's defining thinkers. As for conservatism's grasp of the Amerian Ideal, I submit these items: Notice that while modern conservatives rail against the hippies and tree-huggers, one of their definitive thinkers claims the philosophical fathers of the enviro-cult as part of conservatism's philosophical heritage? And I'm only three chapters in! This stuff isn't confined to Kirk, either. Modern conservatives are chanting "Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion", and attempting to twist the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment as not specifying the separation of church and state. Individual conservatives might love America, but conservatism itself is *essentially* anti-Enlightenment and thusly, anti-American. Given that philosophic base, any conflict between religious and free-market conservatives will be won by the most consistent side -- the religionists. It is they who are untaming Christianity, resurrecting it "after its drubbing at the hands of eighteenth century rationalism" (Ibid. p136). Had I the vote, I'd also go for Bush, on the grounds Betsy cited... but fully mindful of how much a contradictory veneer is some conservatives' "respect for Enlightenment ideals". That being said, those contradictory elements do mean that dissent and independent thought might still be occasionally found amongst conservatives, unlike the monolithic Left. Besides, if the conservatives insist on borrowing from us, by all means assist them. Maybe, just maybe, we'll philosophically co-opt them from within just as the Left did to liberalism. If we do, then "conservative" will be transmuted to its opposite in this century, just as "liberal" was in the last. But that hasn't happened yet, and certainly won't by November.
  8. The purposes of "perfect reproduction" and "make it sound *good*" are not the same. That means that at some point, they will diverge. The recent resurgence in tube amps shows that all too well. So the answer to your question depends on whether the engineer seeks mathematical perfection, or want to sell a lot of amps. With the degree of precision now possible, the remaining variables all pertain to personal preferences.
  9. Here's an article by Lech Walesa regarding President Reagan, that I think is a good read -- especially the section towards the end about "cowboys". The Polish people, hungry for justice, preferred "cowboys" over Communists. "When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989. Poles fought for their freedom for so many years that they hold in special esteem those who backed them in their struggle. Support was the test of friendship. President Reagan was such a friend. His policy of aiding democratic movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the dark days of the Cold War meant a lot to us. We knew he believed in a few simple principles such as human rights, democracy and civil society. He was someone who was convinced that the citizen is not for the state, but vice-versa, and that freedom is an innate right." -- Lech Walesa
  10. No he wouldn't. He'd start it as some sort of informal discussion group and nurture it to prominence, but he'd never head it up. Run it, yes, but always the cat, never the cat's paw.
  11. jimmay


    Well, that would shoot down was I was about to write, i.e. that non-citizens can't be drafted. I've never heard of such a provision anywhere in my various dealings with U.S. immigration, but I was 29 when I first came here. Moreover, I thought that the U.S. military was treated like any other employer from the standpoint of immigration law, i.e. that foreigners would need a visa to enlist.
  12. Since when? You, sir, just flunked Americanism 101. Individual rights are not contingent upon citizenship. At this point, the proper policy to follow is the same as that for criminals, citizen or not: if you honestly believe you recognized one of them, call the FBI. "Informers", like anyone else, should be evaluated by context; ratting out Jews to the SS is the moral opposite of informing the Air Force where bin Laden is hiding.
  13. I've always experienced deja vu as ZiggyKD describes... I always pursue it, but it never goes anywhere. I'm inclined to see it as some sort of false recognition echo... not half-recollected but falsely recollected. That would explain why attempts to consciously pursue it never bear fruit... because unlike ordinary memories, this "recollection" bears no associational connections to the rest of your knowledge... it's literally context-free. I also wouldn't doubt its connection to sleep deprivation. Once, I tried to do two all-nighters in a row to complete a project. In the wee hours of the second night, I started to experience the reverse of deja-vu... recognition failures and misfires. Examples included mistaking a flag waving for a giant hand with a handkerchief, and a car for an upside down boat. The last straw was forgetting where in the universe I was. I had the spooky feeling that there was "nowhere" beyond my range of vision. I had to consciously "rebuild" my sense of place -- and once that was done, I took the hint and hit the sack.
  14. "Now there's a man with an open mind - you can feel the breeze from here! " -- Groucho Marx
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