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Everything posted by stephenmallory

  1. Paying extortion money may seem to be cheaper than letting the "culture war" turn into the civil war it will have to turn into, but the fact that it's reached the point where (ostensibly) serious people are talking about something as absurd as reparations should suggest to you that even if you pay off, they won't give up. They'll just come up with an even more bizarre reason why stealing from you needs to happen. “You who’re depraved enough to believe that you could adjust yourself to a mystic’s dictatorship and could please him by obeying his orders-there is no way to please him; when you obey, he will reverse his orders; he seeks obedience for the sake of obedience and destruction for the sake of destruction. You who are craven enough to believe that you can make terms with a mystic by giving in to his extortions-there is no way to buy him off, the bribe he wants is your life, as slowly or as fast as you are willing to give it.." - John Galt
  2. I have original, well-worn but still perfectly readable, hard copies of the first 6 issues of TOS for sale if anyone is interested. I also have a whole bunch of articles from issues 2.3 through 5.2 printed out. Not every article from those issues, but many of them. Payment through Paypal and mailed via USPS. Make me an offer. Thanks
  3. Your statement was not clouded by your emotions. If anything, it was reinforced by them. Craig24 was just seizing upon an opportunity to demonstrate his rationality - or more precisely, his understanding of a particular concept (freedom of speech) - and in the process mixed apples (what you were talking about) with oranges (what he wanted to believe you were talking about). It was clear, to any intellectually secure person, that you were not using the word "deserve" in a political context, but in a moral one. The precondition in your original post, "I oppose censorship, but..." is more than adequate evidence of this. If life is the standard of moral value, the conservative talk show hosts are immoral. Their immorality lies in the fact that their control of the airwaves prevents the ideals of America from being rationally defended down to their essence - despite the fact that something Leonard Peikoff said about a particular makes Michael Savage's anger burn a little brighter once in awhile. Anything which is immoral does not deserve to exist. Someone who will not feed himself does not deserve to be spared starvation. A security guard who cannot provide security does not deserve his job. A "defender of liberty" who cannot adequately defend liberty does not deserve to be thought of as one. He certainly does not deserve a platform on which to demonstrate it. Your statement was motivated by a love for values, and by a disgust at how they are being wasted and perverted. Reason, freedom, and mass communication are all valuable things which, in part because of the weak, irresponsible, and religiously-derived conservative talk show ideology, are still exposed to the possibility of destruction. If Craig24 believes that your statement - because it concerned the quality and not the legality of the talk show hosts - was innappropriate to this thread, he should have said so. If he wishes to have a discussion about the (incredibly basic) issue of the proper use of government force in the field of ideas, he should have created a stand-alone post or thread about the subject. It saddens me that comments like his are allowed to continue to be made on this forum. It's clear, by the rest of the statement I quoted above, that you understand this distinction. I only seize on the contradiction between it's two parts because, unlike Craig24, I wish to defend actual values (A rational person with rational feelings) instead of pretending to do so by attacking you for the sake of a principle (freedom of speech) which, arguably - considering the conservative's long history of promoting statists of their own - they may not even deserve.
  4. I only wish to analyze the artist, not a particular painting: I think that it's clear, if you click through his galleries, that Kush does not possess a consistent philosophy. I am certain that his sense of life contains the Benevolent Universe Premise, but it is obvious that he has not ever translated those emotions into thoughts. Clearly, he does not see a need to emphasize the distinction between human actions and natural phenomenon; why would he see a need to distinguish between good human action and bad human action? The question for Objectivists then becomes: what makes you capable of enjoying these paintings? Does the juxtaposition of ships in the sky mean that man has been liberated from the "constraints" of reality and definition or does it suggest man's immense, unmatchable power? I suspect that this is the hazard of surrealism, as such. Technical skill and style (of which I think Kush is replete with) aside, what, philosophically, makes man burning inside a candle a celebration of human power rather than an expostion of human suffering? My answer is: Objectivism. Which means: Strictly (and sadly speaking - because I really do love some of them), Kush is a weak artist; even in his most inspiring prints. Especially in his most inspiring prints; the philosophically sophisticated viewer (me) cannot help but wonder if he is sweet, bitter, or bitter-sweet on man's position in the universe. Does he mean that man's glories are only possible in another dimension? Does he mean that they're impossible? Does he mean that they're possible, but only at the expense of one's sanity? That kind of uncertainty is not satisfying for me. I suppose that if he were to destroy, say, 75% of his work I would he shouting his name from the rooftops, but given his panoply, I have to be suspicious. Has anyone ever taken a look at Nick Gaetano's other work - besides his Ayn Rand cover art?
  5. First, I'd like to suggest to the mods that this be split into another thread. Certainly, this land you describe belongs to it's owners. It serves a rational puropse: Their enjoyment of it's aesthetic beauty. The only reason why they are able to own it is because they own some other type of property (not necesarily land) which generates profit which they then use to pay the taxes to continue to own the land. The legitimacy of property taxes aside, in order for this land to be protected by the government (from foreign and/or neighborly encroachment) they government needs that many more resources to do so - even if it's just an extra gallon of gas for the local sheriff to drive by it once a week. If someone comes along and wants to build a factory on it, the only way to determine if this is a rational, preferable activity is to consider what the impact of the factory would be on the land owner's life. Suppose he values (and by that I mean, should value) whatever the factory will make more than the enjoyment of the land, then he should sell it. But if the factory is going to make something which isn't valuable to his life, he won't sell it. Obviously, he'd also consider the impact of the money he'd get for it. Also, to address your more fundamental, first question: no, the possible, superior economic performace of one activity over another does not disqualify the owners of the actual, inferior economic performance of another activity from the real estate on which they perform it. What does disqualify them is if they fail to accomplish even a bare minimum of organization and/or material progress that makes it clear that their lives are intimately connected to this, particular tract of land and that it's deserving of legal recognition and protection. The Native "Americans", before the Europeans came, did not conciously decide "well, we could industrialize this area and stop being nomadic - and thus needing more real estate" - they defaulted from the responsibility and left themselves at the mercy of nature. A nomadic lifestyle - that is, being nomadic long-term - is not human nature. It is the irrational, emotional reaction to the fear or death and the pain of starvation which makes people keep moving in search of food instead of stopping and learning how to build a better life. I don't know who would be chosen. How about "Joe"? This isn't a question for philosophy to answer; it's a matter of government policy. How does the government decide any issue of outsourcing? They put out a call for bids and people make their case and the best case wins. Also, I never said that it wouldn't be the government. It could be the government if no one submitts an adequate bid. When I said, in my very first post "this isn't an issue of the individual vs. 'the government'" I put 'the government' in quotes for a specific reason. As I've said a number of times already, and which a few people on this board have been unwilling to understand, the justification for taking this guy's land is the protection of individual rights; including the protection of the individuals who constitue "the government". If every citizen was on Farmer Bob's side, the government would still be justified in taking his uranium, not because I support socialism, but because the individual who, inextricably, make up the government, have a right to defend themselves against foreign aggression. Conversly, if a 3rd private citizen saw the need for Farmer Bob's uranium, appealed to his governmen to seize it, and the government refused - siding with Farmer Bob, that private citizen would have every right to take matters into his own hands for exactly the same reason: His own self-defense against foreign aggression. The key here is the late 18th century. By that time they had been significantly influenced by European political thought. But anyways, I don't know the details of the "Trail of Tears", I just know that people shouldn't be given particular land - as some kind of historical relic or cheap, zoo-like recreation of their "natural environment" - simply because they had been wandering around on it for centuries. Also, yes, the whole concept of dividing people up into even just slightly-autonomous tribes based on nothing except historical accident serves to, sooner or later, completely undermine the concepts individual sovereignity and private property. No treaties should have ever been signed and no reservations should have ever been created - and today, they should all be abolished. These particular tribes, in and amongst themselves, may recognize the property rights of their individual members, but that doesn't change the fact that people from the outside, people who aren't part of the tribe, arent free to buy that property and declare it no longer part of the reservation. At least not with a certain level of unnecessary, race-based complication. Yes, and precisely because it (that is: the people inside the government) are the only ones fighting for, or supporting, a legitimate cause. They have every right to defend themselves, and whatever violations of the right to innocent people (which I use generously since simply laying back and not supporting, or engaging in, the fight against collectivism is pretty contemptible) are on the heads of the foriegn aggressors.
  6. A fair question. My use of the word "sufficiently" was unnecessary and only confused the issue. When I said "... they failed to use their property in a sufficiently rational manner", I should have said "...they failed to use their property in a rational manner." As an aside, on the issue you allude to, I would like to make it clear that I do not advocate a government which directly assists in the "survival of the fittest or the survival of the rationalist." Pun intended. Certainly, towards the Native tribes who, to a limited extent, practiced a loose approximation of law which respected property rights, it would have been irrational for European settlers to interfere with that. Property rights presuppose property (read: productive activity) and so the trading benefit - as meager as it might have been - of leaving these communities intact outweighed the benefit of taking their land; especially in a place with so much of it. I only vaguely know of few, isolated instances of this in history - mostly in the North East. They would leave his real estate once they have retrieved what they needed. Why would they stay? They have a bomb to build and a war to fight. Besides, once the war was over, it would be a waste of tax money to mine uranium for bombs that have no targets. The Constitution prohibits wasteful, extraneous government activity. Who were these? As I've said, there were a few, very isolated instances of this. To some extent, every tribe (and by extention every individual who chose to remain part of their tribe) resisted. Even today, Native "Americans" oppose the laws and policies of The United States by demanding that property be owned tribally instead of individually and that certain laws not apply on that property. The fact that the government caves in to these demands does not make them legitimate. Let alone the fact that many tribes' explicitly, and officially, denied the very concept of private property on religious grounds. If the military exists to protect his life from foreigners who want to kill him, by not helping them he's not helping himself. It's one thing to disagree with the government's claim that their desire to build a base on your land is essential. It's quite another to deny, on principle, that the government has any right to do what is necessary in order to perform it's legitimate functions. There certainly is hope. In the very, very unlikely event that Mike Wallace described. You might think it impossible, but that's another issue entirely. Yes, if it's impossible then it follows that eminent domain is useless as a legal tool, but that is why it should be abolished, not because, theoretically, people have the right to destroy themselves and in the process prevent others from protecting themselves. I'd like to emphasize that I do not think Wallace's scenario is impossible.
  7. Why? If you think that I'm advocating violating rights in any other context besides the one described in the title of this thread, explain to me how I am. I'm not here to participate in surveys or to rehash basic Objectivist concepts. I'm here to discuss topics which I find interesting.
  8. DavidOdden, No one has a right to demand that someone else allow himself to be sacrificed for their sake - and certainly not for the sake of their property. This includes individuals who work for the government; they have every right to self-defense that anyone else does. If, in this hypothetical situation, all that the people in government are acting for is their own sake, it would still be proper to take the uranium. Certainly, no one can properly (read: rightfully) expect the potential payer of a ransom to cooperate with extortion simply because it means that the criminal will be caught, and thus not be able to commit further crimes. However, someone else cannot properly (read: rightfully) be expected to allow the criminal to go free, and to have to live with that threat, simply because he wants to avoid having to violate the payer's "right" to refuse payment. There is no recourse on either side except to determine which outcome is more valuable (or, more accurately, less detrimental). This is done through reason. In the case of the uranium-owning holdout, there is every reason to think that without his uranium, the foreign aggressors will attack - meaning the death of both sides of the disagreement. Property is certainly a value, but it is not as valuable of a value as life is. To treat them as equal is wrong, not right. Also, the question of compensation does not involve the piece of uranium which is destroyed inside a nuclear bomb. That particular uranium cannot be returned to it's original owner any more than the time without the ransom money can be returned. All that can happen is that the original owner be given something of equal value by the formerly aggressive foreign nation. If, for some reason (like, say, nuclear annihilation), the foreigners possess nothing, and assuming they are still some alive, he can benefit from their enslavement (read: payment of war debt) until he has recouped the amount of value he lost. If they are dead, then that's just too bad. He isn't owed anything by any of his rational countrymen; including those who work in government. In fact, he owes them something: his gratitude for having saved his life.
  9. No, the Europeans didn't need all of the land that they claimed from the natives, but neither did the natives. Religiously inspired reverence for the environment aside, the vast majority of the North American continent was, for all intents and purposes, wasteland until Europeans made it valuable. Essential to that was the maintenance of a government. The Native "American" example was used analogously in order to show that all values - including the value which is a government created to protect the value which is private property - require certain specific actions to bring them about. The issue of "homesteading" in the case of the uranium-owning holdout isn't essential. The government doesn't need his land, it needs his uranium. The rightful (read: most rational) owner of the uranium should be the person(s) who is both willing to, and capable of, using it in a nuclear bomb with which to destroy the foreign enemy. Also, Marxists, living under an Objectivist government, would in fact be following an objective system of laws, their complaints about them notwithstanding. If they oppose the laws and policies that that government enforces and interfere with it's ability to enforce them, that doesn't change the fact that those laws are necessary and proper. However, until that point comes their rights will not be denied. These questions assume that the choice to protect him or not - once he has denied them the means by which to do so - is still optional. Reality doesn't operate that way, nor should the government. Both reality and a proper government simply follow cause and effect. The government would not be seeking to build an Air Force base on his land, or to mine it for it's uranium, if it wasn't absolutely necessary for the government's - and thus, his - existence. Cooperating with the government in it's legitimate requests is the right (read: rational) thing to do because it is the practical thing to do: Why would someone refuse to testify against a suspected criminal? Because he's afraid of the defendant? What does he think is going to happen when the defendant gets accquitted? Likely, he is going to continue to prey upon the man who he knows is never going to fight back, even in a court of law. Why would someone deny the government use of something which is vital to it's ability to defend the nation? What does he think is going to happen when the government is defeated? Likely, he is going to experience the very denial, by his new government, of his right to private property which, applied rationalistically, brought them to power over him.
  10. "Rightful", in this context, means "what is necessary in order to bring about the best possible outcome." Which means: to protect the lives of the rational (and, incidentally, the irrational) faced with the imminent threat of nuclear destruction. It is "right" to act to protect your life and "wrong" to not do so (or to refuse to assist someone else in doing so). It means that other individuals, some of them acting as law enforcement agents of a self-governing nation, are rightfully acting to protect themselves (and the uranium owner) from destruction. It does not mean that the taking of the uranium is sanctioned or perpetrated by some other hypotheical government within the hypothetical situation which advocates depriving men of their property for purposes other than averting a national emergency. In fact, to protect against this type of government is percisely why the action is taken in the first place. Of course, the uranium-owning holdout, after the crisis had been averted would have the right to seek compensation from the aggresor, foreign nation for the property that was taken and disposed of. In fact, the government (which still exists because of his uranium) would be the means by which to obtain it. But, in this context, he can only seek compensation. "Property", in this discussion, has always meant the uranium. The word has never been used to mean the real estate where it is.
  11. Other individuals, not "the government", become the rightful owners of that property. It's just like the case of the Native "Americans". They lost their "right" to North America because they failed to use their property in a sufficiently rational manner. They refused to recognize the need for an objective system of law, complete with clearly defined property rights. The irrational, uranium-owning holding is guilty of a similar refusal: the need of a non-nuclear fallout saturated area of the world in which he, and his government, can operate. So yes, the irrational, uranium-owning holdout would lose his rights - it's simply a matter of by whom. By the immoral, irrational foreign aggressors or by the moral (ie: desiring to live), rational individuals working for (and supporting) his government. Of course, from the outset this discussion has been centered around an exceptional situation. There will always be some people who oppose the legitimate activities of their government which serve to protect their very right to oppose it. But in the vast majority of contexts their opposition has no effect on the outcome of those activities. Justice exists in the world also; independent of the government's ability to implement it. Does that mean that when some injustice is perpetrated and the government - because the victim refuses to cooperate with it as best he can - fails to correct it that justice hasn't been achieved? Absolutely not. A "victim" who, irrationally, refuses to recognize that government is the best means of protecting his rights gets exactly what he deserves - the victim status he chose. That's reality's justice.
  12. *SPOLIER ALERT* The cover of my copy of "We The Living" has the phrase "They (Kira, Leo, and Andrei) would die to live and love." I suspect that one of the themes, if not the central theme, of that novel is this distinction. The exposition of just how deeply a nation's political system affects the day-to-day, and internal lives, of it's citizens is perhaps merely a vechicle by which to express it. Each one of these characters loses something irreplacable - the early years of their adult lives - and suffers because of it. The freedom that they've been denied (or, in Andrei's case, denied himself) is a supreme value that when lost, to whatever degree, can never be recoverd. Of course, it was possible, and appropriate, to experience pleasure from whatever legitimate values they could while trapped inside Soviet Russia, but without their individual liberty, everything that they experienced was colored in some way - especially their relationships; which unfortunately both came to unhappy endings. I suspect that this is because all three, being who they were, sensed the futility of trying inside the hell they were living. Does this mean that their relationships were not very important? No, but it was obvious throughout the book that none of them were in love with each other. The fact that Kira kept "replacing" Leo with Andrei, and Andrei with Leo; that Leo took that other woman he met in the Crimea; and that, if I remember correctly, Andrei took a Communist girl at some point. If love means the full realization of what is possible, then to lose it is the same as losing one's freedom. It means not achieving - either by calamity or because of circumstance - what is within your capacity, as a human being, to achieve. When Andrei realized that he had lost his integrity and his independence, he had no reason to live and, precisely because of his love for integrity and independence, he took his own life. When Leo realized that he had lost his capacity to judge and his will to live, as his own form of confused rebellion, he condemned himself to the slow, painful death of being a Soviet citizen. And finally, when Kira realized that Andrei deserved to die and that Leo no longer deserved, nor wanted her love, she condemned her country to death by risking (or, judging by her frantic escape attempt, I'd say guaranteeing the loss of) the only thing that could keep any country alive: the extraordinary passion to live that she, and few others like her, possess. Now, political freedom is merely an analogy here. I do not mean to imply that Ayn Rand believed that romantic love, and a sense of that another person is irreplacable, is impossible inside a less than laizzes-faire society. Perhaps she did, but I certainly don't mean to. I don't know the answer to that question, but it's a fascinating one. What I mean to say is that, on an emotional level, no value - freedom, romantic love, not even life itself - are ends in themselves; only happiness is. To paraphrase Rand: That joyous, guiltless, profound sense of happiness that can only come from the certainty that one is deserving of it, and capable of it. If one knows that that highest, most exalted of feelings is not possible, no matter what hope you (or your lover) can inspire, I find it hard to believe that one can get excited about the idea of living happily ever after together. Would it be possible to fall deeply, romantically in love with someone who has a terminal illness? So once lost, can this feeling of "irreplaceable love" be replaced? Well, I think that after a profound grieving process and after some very significant "emotional disintegration" (or geographical relocation) it can be recreated, but the pain that one feels from losing it can never be lost. Even if it only expresses itself in a subtle recollection that this new happiness is not what could have been, but what had to be. I think that that feeling is completely appropriate, no matter how virtuous, admirable, and sexually gratifying your new lover might be. Edit: Last sentence, 2nd paragraph.
  13. It was equally absurd to consider the possibility that, in reality, a man would never come in contact with another human being, but this did not stop AR from using it to demonstrate the objective, personal need for language. As a philosophical exercise, the question had value precisely because it helped to strenghten, not weaken, core Objectivist principles . I agree with the sentiment expressed that principles should not be derived from exceptions and I sympathize with AR for dismissing Wallace's question as, hyperbolically "absurd", but I do not think think it valueless. Yes, within the terms by which Wallace phrased the question (the "common interest" v. individual rights), Objectivism contradicts itself. But the primary virtue of Objectivism is not independence, it is rationality. That means to recognize reality and to act accordingly - including the recognition that without one's life, one's independence (or private property) is not possible. Thus, assuming that the threat posed by foreign aggression is objectively demonstrable, and assuming that this man's uranium is in fact all is available in the country (or in the time alloted to counter the aggression), the owner of the uranium who refuses to sell (or surrender) it, is not practicing the virtue of independence, but indulging in the vice of irrationality. This is not a question of the "collective" against the individual, as Wallace would have you believe, but a question of the rights of one rational individual against the rights of one irrational individual. A man of virtue (or a million of them) should not be forced to decide between his own life and the life of a man of vice. Of course, the primary blame belongs to the aggressor nation - which is guilty of a far greater irrationality than the stubborn land owner - but that does not absolve the land owner of any blame. He is guilty of abbetting evil - and inviting his own destruction - for the sake of a political right which he would not posses were it not for his government's (read: fellow countrymen's) ability to defend it
  14. I hate to break it to you, but you could be painting yourself into a corner. Or, more accurately, your professor is painting you into a corner. What is unacademic about the ARI? Because it's not run by the government? The ARI runs The Objectivist Academic Center for crying out loud! It seems like your professor, given his liberal basis you mentioned, is trying to make it impossible for you to present the any views on science from an Objectivist perspective.
  15. Yes, use that same spirit in business and you'll cease to be an Objectivist very quickly. Sooner or later, you'll cease to be a business man aswell. Ever heard of Gail Wynand?
  16. Yes, there's definitely something fishy about it, but that wasn't the officer's chief reason for suspicion. He was more suspicious of the kid's alleged swervy driving and turn signal failure. And of course his "lip" and "attitude". Also, if you look around that website some more, you'll find at least one other video from within this kid's car documenting encounters with the police. He has a history of using video camers inside his car. It also discusses the kid's dropped assault charge when he was attacked by a drunken off-duty cop. Of course, the officer in the commuter parking lot couldn't have known these things at the time, but they should allay your "fishy feeling."
  17. Well, aside from the fact that any force used against someone for a curfew violation goes beyond the proper continuum of force from no force to any force whatsoever, when he used the pepper spray there was an obvious change in her arm strength - whatever the reason. So, within the scope of what the officer is responsible for - enforcing the law - I think he acted legitimately. It's a tough one to sell because, aside from maybe one fleeting instance, it's obvious that this girl was not conciously resisting but was just in a state of emotional hysteria. If he had let her go - which he shouldn't do because, emotional hysteria or not, she's responsible for her actions - she likely would have presented no risk to the officer's safety and just fled. Any rational person should buy a defense of his actions.
  18. The answer to your question lies in a quick glance at what it takes to amass vast personal wealth in today's economy. While the vast majority of exceptionally wealthy people implicitly accept many Objectivists principles and ideas, it is only to a point. Usually, this point is somewhere within the field of ethics. There are a few broad practices that every successful company, and the individuals who own and operate them, must engage in to experience success in today's global marketplace. Firstly, in every country, even the in most free, being the object of political favoritism is essential. Usually, this occurs by paying lobbyists to convince lawmakers that whatever it is that your company provides is essential to the "national-interest" and persuading them to establish things like favorable trade policies, direct subsidies, contracts to produce the results of socialistic or hegemonic government programs, or exemptions from regulations that the company's would-be competitors must abide by. Another glaring example is the ridiculous growth of industries such as the legal profession, law enforcement, and military related activities that are directly dependent upon the bloated size of government. Next, on an even more general level and to secure the first, a successful company must be popular with the public at large. This means appealing to it's popular sentiments through an emphasis on charity work, environmental concern, portrayal of the company as a servant of the consumer, or exploiting it's most basic, most hedonistic tendencies. To do this, a company must be extremely pragmatic philosophically and it's leaders extrememly compartmentalized psychologically. Think of the anti-personal responsibility, anti-big business, nihilistic trash that passes for mainstream entertainment or intellectual discourse nowadays. Or, just watch televsion for a few minutes before you come across the advertising campaign of some multinational corporation emphasizing some sort of altruistic or collectivist policy it follows. And lastly, as a result of the economic climate climate created by these first two ethoses (sp?), most new, truly radical innovation and exponential wealth-accumulation occurs outside of the status quo through entirely new ways of doing things and thinking about the world. While unfortunately both of these fields are also riddled with a high degree of extraneous superficiality and posses their fair share of pragmatic, regulation-exploiting niches, the bedrock of the high tech and financial services sectors has become the most fertile ground for unadulterated innovation in the modern economy. Contrary to what many Objectivists, who have an understandable love for and interest in the cutting-edge, might believe, this sort of development isn't the result of simple economic progress as much as it is the forcibly-prevented growth and maturation of older, less complex industries who are bogged down in mazes of regulation, political enmeshment, and backwards thinking about ethics and public relations. Unfortunately, it is simply impossible in every country of the world to be an active, open, consistent Objectivist and still retain the freedom to operate one's business, the good will of the general public, and a profit margin. It is impossible to calculate the true costs that statism has levied against overall human progress, but it would be safe to assume that there are literally thousands of rational, intelligent, talented people who have become anti-philosophical, pragmatic, pseudo-altruists all for the sake of quicker, shakier fortunes.
  19. Could it be that foreign drugs are kept out of the US because those drugs are produced by government-owned or government-subsidized pharmaceutical companies? Why should an independent US company have to compete with socialism or quasi-socialism? I don't know much about this industry.
  20. It's probably true that had the driver run the guy over, he/she would have been treated like a criminal, but it's far better to risk your future in a court of law than on the street against a maniac smashing your windows with an iron bar.
  21. Taco Bell. Did you know that they sell burritos and quesadillas also? I didn't until I went there for tacos. KFC. Did you know that they sell deserts and salads too? I didn't until I went there for fried chicken.
  22. The initially plagarized and later heavily edited six year old cover letter of my resume follows: I have elected to precede me resume with a brief explanation of the factors that have heavily influenced, and continue to refine, the nature of my life. I believe that providing a potential employer with a deeper explanation of who I am and what I believe is necessary to hightlight the illumination of my skilly set, work experience, and education on the pages that follow. I have organized every aspect of my life around certain principles because I hold my life, and the happiness that makes it worth living, as my highest values. Like my life and my happiness, I believe that these principles are indispensalbe and non-negotiable since adhearance to them is ultimately what makes these those values possible. Therefore, I am committed to living as rationally as my ability allows and I attribute great importance to possessing the virtues that doing so requires. I am committed to my independing by relying upon my own judgment, yet consistently verifying my conclusions against the facts of the situation. I am committed to having purpose throughout my life by constantly creating values for myself in all areas including work, education, hobbies, and personal relationships. I am committed to complete honesty with myself and others as I realize that I have nothing to gain from deception except guilt from within and scorn from without. I recognize that in order to achieve values of any kind, I must practice these virtues as well as nurture the relationships that contribute to their creation. Logically, this means that I must respect my own limitations of knowledge and ability, and to respect and appreciate the information and talents possessed by others. I have incorporated all of these principles in my attitude towards employment. In observing my own independence, the independence of other individuals becomes apparent. Just as I have the choice to select whom I wish to work for, so does my employer have the choice of granting me the priviledge of working for him. I realize that a proper relationship of any type consists of an ongoing reaffirmation of independent choice, and that any deviation from principle, responsibility, or agreement puts the relationship in jeapordy. I believe that a relationship created for the purpose of production and profit is one of the most noble human relationships possible, and I am eager to take part in one. Incongruently, I am not embellishing when I say that, aside from a job scooping ice cream during high school, I have used this document when applying to every job I have held.
  23. fletch, I didn't intend to suggest that you thought there was no virtue in minding one's own business. I realize that you aren't convinced either way. What I meant to suggest was that there is no either way - no categorically right or categorically wrong policy that one must always follow in every situation where the opportunity to pronounce moral judgement exists. My point in even addressing your hypothetical about spousal abuse was to demonstrate that implicitly. Especially when it comes to other people's marriages, more often than not, it is best to mind one's own business and, as I said, to protect oneself from it becoming his business. My reasons here are two-fold. Primarily, as long as your boss' behavior (and personality that gives rise to it) isn't so over the top that it's likely to affect his every waking moment (albeit physical abuse is a very good candidate for this), it's not going to affect his relationship with you - especially if you make it clear to him that you won't tolerate it. Secondly, as I said, personal relationships are highly complex, contextual subjects and even if you were to intervene, to do the subject adequate justice would probably require much more effort than it is worth to you. But then again, your boss could be more than just your boss. He could be a close personal friend. Again, the situation is highly contextual. I think that's about as far as we can go until you fabricate more detail into your hypothetical situation. This topic is a perfect example of the differences between the nature of principles and the nature of rules. If one is guided by principle (eg: self-interest), all one has to do is to determine which action is better for him. Often, when dealing with other people, the best course of action means minding your own business because you lack sufficient knowledge to explain their behavior. Now, if you wish to be guided by rules, that's fine, but you must be prepared to compile and automate a laundry list of responses to a multitude of situations. Of course, it's possible and advisable to do such a thing to a certain extent, but this involves sifting through mountains of evidence from a number of scientific fields that, frankly, doesn't seem worth it to answer a hypothetical question extremely lacking in detail.
  24. The issue at stake in experiencing your boss abuse his wife is not that he is doing so, but that he is exposing you to it. It is beyond the bounds of a professional relationship and negatively impacts that relationship. It would be appropriate to confront your boss and express your desire for him to keep his personal life personal. If he reacts negatively to that, which is far less understandable than reacting negatively to the idea that one shouldn't abuse his spouse, then you have an adequate basis for determining how your working environment will be affected by this individual. However, barring extenuating circumstances, it would be inappropriate to intervene in the matter of spousal abuse directly. Regardless of my tendency to think that physical abuse qualifies, what exactly those extenuating circumstances are is a highly complex, and highly contextual, question. In "How Does One Lead A Rational Life In An Irrational Society" Ayn Rand's central point is to "never fail to pronounce moral judgement." Nowhere in the essay, however, does she disqualify the decision to mind one's own business as a moral judgement. I delete spam from my inbox in a daily basis. Does this make me a coward because I don't take the time to forward it to the authorities even though it might, or even very, very indirectly does, affect me? There's no basis to the claim that minding one's own business conditions cowardice any more than there is a basis to the claim that opening your mouth at every opportunity conditions moral heroism. Morality is a personal asset, not a social responsibility. As such, the reprecussions of any decision to defend another has to be weighed against those of the decision not to.
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