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Everything posted by themadkat

  1. I think you completely missed the point. The negative is the absence of the positive, and it IS true that a thing cannot be said to exist in any meaningful way unless there is some conceivable alternative. How is it nihilistic to say that values presupppose an alternative to life, which is non-life or death? If there is no alternative to being alive then it would actually be true that it doesn't matter what you do. Why is this problematic?
  2. Many states have no state income tax, though you will still have all of your federal liabilities. I currently live in Texas, which has no income tax. I previously lived in New Hampshire, which has no income or sales tax. However, be aware that many states with no tax of one kind will sting you with another. Texas has an 8% sales tax. New Hampshire has incredibly onerous property taxes, to the point that they tried to value a guy's hunting lodge, with no running water or electricity, at 100K because it had "a view".
  3. You're welcome. You know that there's no law you have to read AS to understand Rand. Honestly, if you're interested in the philosophy, her copious amounts of non-fiction might be a better start and you could skip over her fiction entirely if it's not your cup of tea (some people don't care for her style).
  4. I think you have a real fundamental misunderstanding of Objectivism here. Of COURSE it is morally OK to help someone who develops Alzheimers - in fact, if it is someone like your mother or father (assuming they were good parents or even decent parents to you) it's pretty much immoral not to. What Objectivism is against is UNCHOSEN obligation, not freely chosen aid to people you value. It's absolutely moral for me to care for and assist, for example, my autistic sister because she may never be fully independent. I love my sister, I value her, and to fail to help her would be inconsistent wi
  5. It's not true that Rand didn't like gay people (taken as individuals), although she was openly disgusted by whatever she conceived homosexuality to be (who knows?). Her best friend was actually a gay man (her brother-in-law, Nick O'Connor). He wasn't in-your-face about his sexuality but she must have known and not thought it was very important. She was also pretty much the ONLY person to publicly state that no sexual acts should be outlawed by the state so long as they occur between consenting adults, at a time when sodomy laws were rampant on the books in nearly every state. Yes, Rand was
  6. There is absolutely no reason to accuse this guy of being a troll, especially given his subsequent responses in the thread. There's no need for this type of hostility to newcomers. I swear, this is how perfectly good people get turned off. Anyone who comes here, even with a disagreement, should not be assumed to have any ill intentions unless they really start to show that and this fellow did no such thing. Chill out, man. Seriously.
  7. Firehammer is kind of a crazy nut who has a bone to pick with the Brandens and hence SOLO. Most "mainstream" (I guess?) Objectivists just sort of ignore/write off the Brandens by this point and don't worry too much about them. I definitely would not form your assessment of Objectivists based on Firehammer's work. I can think of one or two posters here on this board, tops, who take him seriously.
  8. Did you forget the part where Syndrome was murdering superheroes more or less out of jealousy? Where he was willing to put an entire city's lives at risk in order to glorify himself and be worshipped as a hero? Syndrome is the picture of talent and ambition wasted on a miserable second-hander. He didn't get the love and attention he thought he deserved from Mr. Incredible - boo hoo. Thereafter he just showed his total lack of concern for the rights of others in the interest of self-aggrandizement. There is nothing sympathetic about Syndrome.
  9. I'm going to second this. Being a GOOD teacher is exceptionally hard. The problem is that so many are not good. Is it easy to be a crappy teacher? Probably, just as it is easy to slack at anything else. To put real effort into teaching students, especially when you know most of them don't care and are only in it for a grade, if that even, takes all one's integrity and personal resources. I honestly think good teachers don't get paid enough but that bad teachers are too hard to get rid of.
  10. Probably related to the psychologizing that goes on when we evaluate potential partners. It is probably salient to add that there is unlikely to be ONE standard of sexual selectivity and that different individuals can be more or less selective depending on their individual context (with the standard of good being their psychological health/happiness).
  11. This. Picture a guy who's had only three lifetime sexual partners, but they've all been sloppy-drunk one-night stands. I don't know if I'd call it promiscuous, but it's pretty freakin' sad.
  12. I also want to come out in favor of a person's standards given certain contexts as opposed to just numbers. I think four is a ridiculous cutoff for calling someone "promiscuous" or thinking of them as such, and this comes from someone who hasn't even reached four (or two for that matter). Some people end up having more partners just for the simple reason that they travel more, that they change life circumstances more often and thus don't get to stay near the people they either value highly or were coming to value. I'm thinking of a very common progression here: high school, college, graduat
  13. Your beliefs are only relevant insofar as I see a lot of people telling you "If you read XYZ..." and I was trying to explain to them that you are pretty familiar with Objectivism already. I thought you had previously described yourself as a Christian. If that is not the case, my apologies. A slightly related question - what do you believe a universe in which there was no God would look like?
  14. Hey Paeter, I'm not going to comment on this thread too extensively because I have done so in other threads, but I just want to mention that if you are going to rely heavily on the "science" of evolutionary psych you may want to re-evaluate your argument. Much of it is garbage. I am making a career in evolutionary biology (among other things) and actually consider myself a sociobiologist, but a lot of the research that has been done in evolutionary psych is just sloppy crap and doesn't hold up in light of alternative explanations. For example, your claim that variation in sexual desire i
  15. General note: if I recall correctly, ctrl y is a fellow who used to be an Objectivist and now considers himself Christian. The only reason I mention this is because some people seem to think he is not familiar with Oist principles and I believe it is the case that he is very familiar with them and disagrees anyway. I don't know if this affects how people choose to engage in this argument, but it might.
  16. The mistake you are making is to posit a dichotomy between self-interest and a free market. What everyone is trying to tell you in various different ways is that it is in NO ONE's self-interest to support legislation that initiates force in the markets. This is the Objectivist position (since you asked). The interests of rational individuals do not conflict. You are approaching this from the standpoint of a situation where there must be winners and losers in the marketplace (and life generally) and everybody better just hope they can get a big enough gang together to get the government
  17. It appeared to me that this was not the author's interpretation of Rand's message but the one that found its way into the American Value Network's ad (which makes sense since they are fundie nutters). So that is the Christian take on Rand, not the POV of the article.
  18. NewEdit makes a lot of good points. I'm happy to say that many of them do not apply to my case, at least, although I know many other graduate students are not so fortunate. Research can be an unhealthy lifestyle, but my research involves tromping about in the mountains like some kind of special forces mission, except tracking monkeys instead of men. It may be physically dangerous but it would actually be beneficial to fitness, or at least wouldn't harm it. My mentor knows that I have been powerlifting and that I do other things such as sing and play bass. I think I may have also menti
  19. Haven't posted a new topic in a long, long, time, and I don't know if this one will take off or not, but I thought it might be fun. Now, yes, this topic is a bit cheeky. On its face the answer to this question seems to be, "Well duh, yes." But there are so, so many graduate students who are not, including many people I care deeply about because they are my "comrades" in all this, so to speak. It's easy to say, "well, those people are just weak/can't hack it," and in many cases that might be true. But I know that I wrestled with a lot of very hard, painful motivational issues and hey, ye
  20. All right, who all was surprised to find this out? <crickets chirping>
  21. The parody is way funnier than the original, unsurprisingly.
  22. Hey Ferris, It's great to have heroes, both real and fictional, people you recognize as exceptional and worthy of admiration. Roark is high on my list too. But you need to figure out how to be your (best) self, not how to be Roark or anyone else. I think I am echoing a lot of posters here in some regard but I really want to make the point that people are different. They are individuals. I think the fact is often lost, but even several supremely rational people will be very different from each other due to personal preferences, life experiences, optional values, etc. This is a GOOD THI
  23. It's not, but neither is anarchy. You seem to be rejecting the rule of law. That is not acceptable.
  24. No, NOT anything to avoid scenario 1. You are making a mistake here. Where is your concept of justice? Why should anyone produce anything at all if it is subject to seizure by another with (supposedly) greater need who has done nothing? What do you think will happen to production over time? You equating scenario 2 and 3 is like saying it is equally good to hack off your leg or take antivenom if you have been bitten by a snake on your foot. Both solve the problem, so they are interchangeable, right? I'll use another animal example, since you seem to like them and since I think it is el
  25. In the context of humans, you should recognize that in scenario 1 A is acting completely immorally and that B has the right to stop A by any means up to and including killing him (I'm assuming we're talking a state-of-nature type thing here with no civil society). Scenario 2 is a false alternative. You're basically saying that it's acceptable for A to run a sort of protection racket to get access to B's resources. Then again I suppose you do believe that's all right because you want government to do this on behalf of people with less, under threat of force. What about Scenario 3: A has be
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