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Everything posted by brandonk2009

  1. What you need to understand James, is that the degree of evil is ultimately irrelevant. One should not willingly sanction any degree of evil, no matter how trivial.
  2. I would agree with you that there are degrees of evil, just as there are degrees of virtue. There are degrees of irrationality, just as there are degrees of rationality. Irrationality is the root of all evil, and the root of irrationality is evasion. In Galt's Speech, Rand writes that the source of evil is, "the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment..." "Tolerance", as it is described and explained by Kelley, is not consistent with Objectivism. A crucial aspect of Kelley's view of tolerance is the suspension of judgment when we lack sufficient evidence. This means in effect that one ought to suspend from making judgment on all evidence currently available. David Odden writes the best reply in Post #83: Toleration is the giving of sanction. At every moment in our lives we must not willfully sanction the irrational—we must not sanction evil. This is not a impossible task, in fact, as Rand wrote in Virtue of Selfishness, it's quite easy: "When one deals with irrational persons, where argument is futile, a mere “I don’t agree with you” is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction." If it can be firmly established that Objectivism does not tolerate the sanction of the irrational, then what is left to tolerate? Only the rational. And here we have no problem.
  3. You asked: "Can we deduce (without a doubt) a man's motivation solely by evaluating the results of his actions?" My answer is no, and further that no one here has indicated otherwise. What has been said, and what I will now reiterate, is that harmful consequences are the result of irrational ideas. Does the fact that the consequences were harmful mean absolutely that a person's professed motives were harmful as well? Not necessarily. One may have a very benevolent motive, but if, in fact, their ideas are irrational, they will tragically realize that the consequences were not what they wanted. In other words, their benevolent motives combined with their irrational ideas resulted in harmful consequences. What does this mean? It means that at some point in their formulation of ideas they suffered a misstep and erred. Further analysis of the mistake may show that it was an honest error of knowledge... or it may show that the person willfully evaded the facts of reality. Both do not reflect kindly upon the person. The former implies a certain degree of irrationality within their thought processes; the latter implies a willful dedication to the false and irrational. In regards to moral judgment, you should not regard the former as immoral, but the latter should be judged so. It is important to emphasize here that when one judges a man, one takes the evaluations of actions and ideas, and evaluates them within the total context of a man's life. One does not isolate an action apart from a man's ideas apart from his verbally expressed statements or existentially expressed actions. The crux of the issue here, and the reason why Kelley's entire moral argument is out of sync with Objectivism, is that he maintains throughout his entire discussion on moral judgment a mind-body dichotomy between the moral evaluation of an idea and the moral evaluation of an action. His theory of tolerance only emphasizes his divergence. He writes and explains why a person holding irrational ideas—an expression of evasion to a greater or lesser degree—but who has not yet expressed them in existential actions can be, and many times ought to be, tolerated.
  4. The thing is, is that it's your opinion. lol. I do like a little Radiohead, but not to the same affect as other artists. Furthermore, has your taste in music changed? I used to like Muse, Radioheadish music a lot, but now I'm moving more towards more pop rockish bands.
  5. I have read the first two books and I enjoyed them. Everyone on this thread has seemed to already cover everything I have to say. I have started the third book, however, I have not had the time to finish it. Reading assignments for school, work, and more interesting books have come up. One thing that I did notice in the third book, near the beginning was a very interesting scene on moral judgment (it seemed to fit with the Objectivist method of judging a person). I'll quote the two paragraphs. I don't think this will reveal the plot or ruin any surprise for you, but just in case I'll put up a *SPOILERS* warning. *SPOILERS*
  6. That part gave me shivers. Moore is definitely not friendly to Objectivism, and I expect that Rorschach will be a flawed representation of Objectivism... but at the same time I am excited to see what kind of light the movie sheds on his moral objectivism and absolutism.
  7. Playboy Interview: She obviously supports one free nation attacking a non-free nation, I suppose the leaders of that government ought to make that decision.
  8. Take into consideration the geographical size and density of population in the United States. A single system may possibly work, but I think a more efficient system would be where there is a division of courts, police, fire control, ambulance, etc. on a local or regional, state, and federal level, similar to the system we have now. Smaller systems are easier to manage, are easier to audit (for corruption control), and are easier to change if need arises. An interesting thing to think about would be funding. I think a good system of funding these systems is through an insurance-like policy where people have the option of paying a monthly fee for fire coverage, police protection, ambulance, etc. If they have an emergency and they do not have the coverage, they ought to be given the option of paying a one-time service charge. With this kind of funding system, what would be the differences between funding on local and federal level? On the federal level, funding is spread out all across America, meaning that coverage would be spread out across high density and low density areas making the services less expensive. This would be an advantage to the low density areas and might be able to make these services affordable to these areas. By reducing the role state gov't plays you would strengthen the national gov't, but by funding and organizing the systems that protect our rights on a local or state level you still have a federal gov't with reduced power and control.
  9. This summer I had the opportunity to go to New York City for a few days with my family on vacation. While we were there, I forced my family to let me explore the Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center is my favorite place for 3 reasons: 1) It was constructed during the Great Depression, a time when no major new buildings, let alone an entire center, were being constructed. It was funded solely by John Rockefeller Jr. and stands as a testament to the ability and ingenuity of that family. 2) It's built in a modern art deco style which blends clean geometric styles with 'modern' technology concepts. Consequently it is very distinct from the messier, classical imitation skyscrapers in NYC. 3) The art program John Rockefeller funded created a some really great artwork and unique interior designs. One of my favorite stories that has to do with the art program is the firing of Diego Rivera. Rivera was hired to paint a fresco in the RCA building that was supposed to represent a man who has put his past behind him and is now facing the problems of the future. Rivera, a socialist, began to paint Man at the Crossroads. The Rockefeller's who saw the work immediately demanded that Rivera change it when they saw Lenin's portrait and Moscow May Day scenes. Rivera refused and left the work as it was. The Rockefeller's, who wanted the building stand as a testament to capitalism and not communism or socialism, paid him for his work and then smashed the fresco. They then hired another artist, José María Sert, to paint the mural instead. Here's some photos I found online: [RCA Building] ['Time' José María Sert, RCA Lobby] ['Dance' Hildreth Meiere, Radio City Music Hall's south facade] And this is the photo of the Atlas statue in front of the International Building: (There are lots more art around there. These are just some of my favorites...)
  10. Meh. Doesn't surprise me too much. Also, how many people did China's government immorally confiscate land from in order to build all of these buildings? Off topic, but "The World is Flat" is a study on economic globalization and while it's been a while since I read it last, Friedman thought that America was behind China and Japan on communication infrastructure in the sense that in almost every single place in Japan, you can access Wi-Fi. And in the newly expanding urban China you see the same as well. There were other examples... It's also important to note that without America's mixed economic system, China wouldn't be the global economic powerhouse it is today. The same applies with socialist India.
  11. That's the only objective way to do it, I think. Set certain criteria that a child has to meet in order to be emancipated and do it through the courts. Many children do not choose to be emancipated, but at least they have that option.
  12. I think to a certain extent this sort of thinking is already in our system today, although with some differences of intent. Child-labor laws are one example that comes to mind. The original intent of these sort of laws were to prevent young children from not only working in dangerous factories and industries, but to prevent young children from working altogether (I disagree with child-labor laws, but that's a different issue). In Montana a "child" can work for their parents for a wage before age 15, however once that child has reached age 15 he may go to other businesses to get a job. This gives the child more options than what he previously had. I know that when I turned 15 I could use my money to go out and buy the things I wanted. In this way I became interested in politics and philosophy, giving me the financial opportunity to buy books that my parents didn't really want to buy me. I remember when I was 11 and I wanted a book by Ann Coulter and my dad (who is left-leaning independent) went nuts and refused to buy it for me. From then on, if I wanted a political book my parents would look it over and decide whether I needed it or not and whether they wanted to buy it for me. I felt that for some reason this was wrong then, and I still think it's wrong now, but it was their money and they could do what they want with it. It was only until I became partially financially independent and got a job that I could buy the things I wanted rather than what my parents preferred me to have. We also have emancipation laws giving certain children, if they are responsible enough, legal adult rights before the age of 18. I think this, coupled with a proper government system, would enable a child to strike out independently and achieve the goals they want without the interference of a parent. If a child wants to leave the care of his parents and strike out on his own, he should be given the legal option to do so, if he is shown to be responsible for his life.
  13. I have really enjoyed Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events, Adverbs). He has a wicked way of using words and it is a great joy of fun to read. Another is David Sedaris. He writes a lot of humor, some of it touching, some of it obscene, most just plain wacky. While I think sometimes he goes over the top, other times he is just plain gruesome, I can appreciate the skill he has in making something funny and ridiculous. Ursula LeGuin has a lot of good writing as well as some essays and speeches. Finally Terry Goodkind.
  14. lol. I don't think we disagree... possibly we just enjoy getting the last word in?
  15. Zoning laws were designed so as to prevent those after-the-fact legal problems from happening. If it is established that zoning is immoral, then how in a society would one deal with the issues that will eventually arise? Instead of zoning, possibly something like a restrictive covenant that runs with the land? I don't really know, I'm not a lawyer or anything. But it seems to me, that if one allows a factory to be built in a residential area or whatnot, that the factory will have to be constructed so as to eliminate all nuisance or harm or whatever you would like to call it, from interfering with its neighbors. That's the only solution I can think of.
  16. How would you deal with the issue of a factory releasing harmful chemicals into the air? Or a factory that is intentionally constructed so as to minimize costs, but increased pollution resulting in negative affects?
  17. Eek! That wasn't what I was advocating at all. Perhaps I should be a bit more clear? I gave a few reasons why one would be for zoning laws, however then I addressed the issue of whether or not they are moral. I don't think they are as they are currently written (I'm not sure if one could create a proper zoning law or something similar, possibly land covenants? ). I never said that the gov't should ban industrial buildings, only that if one chooses to build an industrial building, it is up to that person to ensure that that building does not harm its neighbors. If the owner fails in implementing those safety measures, and harm results because of it, then that owner ought to be held responsible for the damage. I said: ". . .I don't think the developer should morally be stopped from building that factory, however I think that it is his legal and moral responsibility to see that his factory is built in such a manner so as to prevent any pollution from harming the students."
  18. Pollution isn't assault in the same sense as a man taking a bat and beating a poor brute senseless. Really any sort of pollution, whether it is air, land, or water, can have negative affects which ultimately lead to physical harm. Any person or any building that intentionally pollutes (by this I mean a factory with a smokestack willingly putting it's waste into the air, or a factory flushing it's chemicals into a sewer system ending up in a river, and similar cases) ought to be held responsible for the harm that is a result. The students do not need a right to the property of the school in order to sue the factory if the factory gives them, lets say, chemical burns from some sort of leak. It's not going to be the school's responsibility. In Montana there has been numerous cases of certain industries such as rail industry and mining where chemical leaks and/or certain disasters result in harming private or public land and individuals themselves. The owners of the industries have been held responsible, not the land owners whose property ended up being polluted.
  19. I found a post by Paul Hsieh on NoodleFood today that seems to relate to some of the issues of this thread. It deals with the distinction between "conditional property" and property with certain contractual restrictions. Is There Such A Thing As Conditional Property? Here is my own thinking on this. Zoning has a variety of uses. Mainly, it keeps harmful buildings such as factories and other heavy industries, loud and annoying commercial buildings, and residential buildings separated. I can see the argument for this sort of separation. It can keep pollution from harming people in their own homes, it can keep noise and other potentially negative affects separate from where people live and exist, etc. However, pragmatic considerations set aside, is it moral? Let's take an example of a school existing on one piece of land, a neighboring plot is empty and it is bought by an industrial developer. The developer would like to build a factory next to the school, however the factory will produce pollution which could potentially violate the health of the students. In this case, I don't think the developer should morally be stopped from building that factory, however I think that it is his legal and moral responsibility to see that his factory is built in such a manner so as to prevent any pollution from harming the students. The reason for this is that the pollution is an initiation of force and it is in violation of the students' rights. I suppose the general principle here is that you can build and develop however you please as long as you do not violate someone's rights. But in the case of a brothel next to a school, or a building that diminishes your property rights (developments which do not initiate force), I think that while those circumstances are unfortunate, I don't think one has a moral leg to stand on to close down or prevent those new developments. The reason for this is that a person does not have a right to high property values or ideal business locations.
  20. Just to clarify my vote, I think art is of less importance in regards to the other branches of philosophy because it is a derivative of those other branches. However, it is powerful in the way Adrock writes and he shares my view on art exactly.
  21. haha. I like that answer. I don't really have a single song that is representative to me. Currently though, I have really related to "Listen" a song from Dream Girls. Beyonce's version is alright, but I found a better version on youtube sung by a male singer from Brazil that I like much more. Here are some lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/listen-lyrics-b...ce-knowles.html
  22. I read all that was up on the website and I must say, I was appreciative of the Les Miserables lyrics. Even though I'm in Montana and there's a good chance I'll be one of the only ones from Montana for some time, I'll consider joining. Have you ever heard of, or contacted Freedom Party International? I think that it has a similar goal of creating an Objectivist political party as well. Perhaps a collaboration? Here's a link: http://www.freedomparty.org
  23. That is, in my opinion, an unfair summary of Kelley's theory. While his moral theory is not Objectivist in anyway, the difference is a lot more subtle than what you make it out to be. Kelley concedes that ideas can be judged, but within his moral theory, ideological moral judgment is complicated and thus leads Kelley into a discussion on how, in most cases, one must not judge a person based on his ideas because there is too much room for error or arbitrary judgment. Kelley makes an attempt to morally judge a man's ideas and his actions (he places more emphasis on actions, since an idea that is not explicitly acted upon has less of an effect). The problem lies in the fact that once he cuts a man's ideas/motives (intentions)/mind) from his actions/consequences/body, he accepts a dichotomy between a mental cause and a physical effect--between an intention and a consequence--between the mind and body. Every action is united with an idea behind it, every effect has a cause. What would be an action done without some sort of mental idea, motive or intention? It would be causeless--in direct violation of cause and effect. What would be an idea that is kept within one's self, without any sort of action promoting it? This is an impossibility. One's (explicit and implicit) philosophical principles and ideas impact and influence one's every action. When one morally judges a person, one ought to judge him for his ideas and actions, his motives and his consequences, his mind and his body. He should not separate one's ideas/motives/mind into one category and his actions/consequences/body into another and then try to assign equal weight. This is the Objectivist moral theory and Kelley does not share it.
  24. Has anyone ever read "The Romantic Manifesto" by Ayn Rand? If one is searching for the Objectivist take on music and art in general, go ahead, find it, buy it, read it. It's $7.99. I'll give a summary (using quotes), although it will not substitute "The Romantic Manifesto" by any means. Music is art because a composer selects certain "sounds produced by the periodic vibrations of a sonorous body, and evokes man’s sense-of-life emotions" (from TRM), he concretizes man's fundamental view of himself and of existence. Rand distinguished art from other art forms (Literature, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture) in this way: Music concretizes man's emotions into a perceptual form--similar to how literature, painting, sculpture concretizes abstractions into a perceptual form. So in a way... Literature, painting, sculpture is the more intellectual side of man, whereas music is more the emotional side...
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