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Everything posted by West

  1. Colorado is #3 on the list; it's definitely among the most free states.
  2. Our own Eric Daniels has contributed (writing chapter one and some parts of chapter three) to a new study published by PRI and Forbes magazine. From the press release: San Francisco – The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, today released the U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2008 Report, a ranking of economic freedom in the 50 states. Published in association with Forbes, the Index scores states based on 143 variables, including regulatory and fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents. http://liberty.pacificresearch.org/publica...x-2008-report-2 The study is in PDF form at the bottom of the article. Guess who's #1?
  3. The Objectivist Tree (Always makes me laugh): http://bp1.blogger.com/_qgOv8ZUJDC0/RoKc6H...1600-h/tree.jpg edit: fixed link.
  4. I'll second this. It was the point of the entire article, that fundamentally, McCain and Obama are indistinguishable. Voting really doesn't count for much in this election, and we aren't going to see a change in types of candidates until philosophical changes occur in the culture, hence his push for intellectual activism. The "I'll always vote" notion is intrinsicist in nature, because there are contexts when it's pointless or unadvisable. From Ayn Rand Answers, pg. 69:
  5. Though you select a total non-essential to compare the two candidates, you are correct in assuming they are fundamentally the same. Craig Biddle authored an article recently that makes the case: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues...-vs-america.asp
  6. The Fall 2008 issue of the Objective Standard is coming soon, with a stellar lineup of articles that include: McBama vs. America (accessible for free) Craig Biddle Surveys the promises of John McCain and Barack Obama, shows that these intentions are at odds with the American ideal of individual rights, demonstrates that the cause of such political aims is a particular moral philosophy (shared by McCain and Obama), and calls for Americans to repudiate that morality and to embrace instead a morality that supports the American ideal. Read the article. The Resurgence of Big Government Yaron Brook Identifies the cause of America’s two-decade swing to the right, explains why this cause was philosophically insufficient to sustain the movement toward capitalism, and indicates what Americans must understand if we want to resume the trek toward freedom, armed with the means to sustain it. (Accessible online to subscribers beginning September 20.) The Mystical Ethics of the New Atheists (accessible for free) Alan Germani Examines the moral ideas of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins, exposes some curious truths about their ethics, and provides sound advice for theists and atheists alike who wish to discover and uphold a rational, secular morality. Read the article. Mandatory Health Insurance: Wrong for Massachusetts, Wrong for America Paul Hsieh Identifies the theory behind the Massachusetts mandatory health insurance program, exposes the program as a fiasco, explains why the theory had to fail in practice, and sheds light on the only genuine, rights-respecting means to affordable, accessible health care for Americans. (Accessible online to subscribers beginning September 20.) Deeper Than Kelo: The Roots of the Property Rights Crisis Eric Daniels Surveys the pivotal historic events that paved the way for today’s flagrant violations of property rights in America, documents the United States Supreme Court’s indifference to and complicity in the crimes in question, and indicates the solution to the crisis. (Accessible online to subscribers beginning September 20.) The Menace of Pragmatism Tara Smith Examines the nature of this widely-accepted philosophy, identifies its remarkable "essence," surveys its disastrous implications, and provides pointers for effectively opposing this persistent philosophical problem. (Accessible online to subscribers beginning September 20.) How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders Health Stella Daily Surveys the history, nature, and consequences of this behemoth government agency; shows that it is impractical and immoral; and indicates how, in the absence of the FDA, the free market could provide the highest possible level of drug safety and efficacy. (Accessible online to subscribers beginning September 20.) BOOK REVIEWS Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions, by John Agresto Elan Journo Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein Eric Daniels The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack, by Ronald Kessler Joe Kroeger The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want, by Joel Waldfogel Eric Daniels First into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War, by George Weller John David Lewis http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/
  7. It was Allison, absolutely. The CEO is the one most likely to make that kind of decision in a company, but for proof, look no further than this podcast where he explains his choice a bit: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2007/05/a...on_on_stra.html edit: fixed link.
  8. This may help put things into perspective; watch the "Cultural Movements: Creating Change" videos: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_new
  9. holy cow, I might have to drive 5 hours to see it.
  10. Oops, you're absolutely right. Where I said 'existent', I actually meant 'entity'. edit: Unable to edit my previous post, so consider this as my amendment.
  11. Where'd you get the idea that concepts or forces don't have an identity? If the concepts of electricity, light, and gravity did not have an identity, you would not be able to use them--they wouldn't mean anything. "Cold" has an identity ('cold' and 'hot' are not the same thing), yet it is not an existent, or a "thing". Concepts have meaning because they have an identity, which is derived from the existents (or attributes of existents, or relationships between existents) that subsume them.
  12. No other name comes to mind quicker than Ed Cline. Sparrowhawk. Buy it, read it, love it.
  13. Athena and I got into Newport Beach a few hours ago. If anyone got here early like we did (and want to get dinner or hang out), PM one of us your cell phone number. If you aren't here yet, well, we look forward to meeting you on Saturday and Sunday
  14. I really liked the film as well. I place it above Iron Man though, due to the actions of Banner being completely selfish, with no lines of altruism to wince at the entire film. I had few criticisms of The Incredible Hulk, which involve very minor details about the plot, but I had a great many for Iron Man.
  15. Athena and I get out of our last session at 4:15pm, so we'd definitely be up for an early dinner, or a later outing even. Let us know what it looks like, we'd love to meet up.
  16. The way I see it, in terms of concretes, Obama and McCain are essentially the same. They both call for the destruction of Capitalism in various ways. While the Democratic party explicitly rejects Capitalism, the Republican party does it while claiming to represent free markets, principles and individual rights, effectively destroying the concepts at the root. This is something that Obama and the rest of the Socialists are incapable of doing. This makes it much harder for any party who actually does represent the defense of Capitalism to be effective politically any time in the future. To vote for a party because you will see less taxation for a few years or something similar is to vote for pragmatic reasons, not principled ones. Leonard Peikoff and Diana Hsieh provide a great deal of arguments and examples that help concretize this to anyone else who's interested. Here's a start: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2006/10/wy...-democrats.html edit: I'm shocked at the alarming number of people voting for Bob Barr.
  17. The goal that you are trying to accomplish dictate the actions that are required to accomplish it (don't misconstrue this as the "end justifies the means," but instead the context, which includes the end, determines the proper means to accomplish said end). I'd question your choice to be involved in a team sport if your primary goal is to "gain enjoyment from seeing how far you can hit a ball." You will necessarily be up to bat less than if you were to be in your own backyard, swinging away at balls all day.
  18. Would you say that working for a steel corporation is nothing more than a symbol of collectivism, brute force, and mindless repetition? Pouring steel, as well as all of the other actions taken to produce certain results, produce nothing that is a value in and of itself. Would you then say that people project some vague values all over those activities and postulate some meaning out of it? Wow Mammon. I knew you didn't like sports, but I didn't think you'd ever make a 'criticism' like this. You say that there isn't any place in sports for Objectivism by giving your observation that there's a lack of "rational thinking". What do you think qualifies as a volitional act of cognition, much less an act of reason? In any endeavor where you are working within a team (corporations, sports, non-profit organizations, etc.), actions are taken (this implicitly requires a process of thinking to determine the best course of action to take) to ensure the success of the team, not at the sacrifice of the individual, but to the ultimate benefit to each individual with a stake in the venture. This relates to the 'harmony of interests' principle. When you see Steve Nash drive down the court, observe that there's an opening he can exploit, and does a fancy pass to a teammate, is he sacrificing himself? No--he's providing a means by which he'll accomplish the ultimate goal, which is winning the game (Entertainment is the service he provides and is paid for--winning is a part of that). There's one example--how am I "rationalizing and projecting"? edit: reduced what I saw as being a little too ad hominem.
  19. In my post above, I didn't consider Kant to be in a separate category than the three I listed. In the Objectivism Through Induction series (lecture 3-4, the egoism one), Peikoff places Kant in the 'altruism' camp, naming him as the most consistent one in fact. Kant states that an action is moral only when one has absolutely no interest in it whatever. The text I've read on duty ethics would lead me to believe that he is an altruist in principle as well. I'll have to check out the Objective Communication lectures to see what Peikoff says, as I'm getting two different messages.
  20. I'm not going to make a long post as I don't like responding to these types of threads typically, but what the book presents is a false alternative. Both Rand and Peikoff make numerous examples of a third case not mentioned in the quotes you give: Moral agnosticism. For ethical theories, there are only three alternatives (remember when considering ethics, we consider only that which is volitionally chosen; where there's no choice, morality does not come into play): the principle that you are the proper beneficiary of your actions (egoism or selfishness), the principle that someone else is the proper beneficiary of your actions (altruism), and the principle that there's no proper beneficiary and ethics is an arbitrary construct (moral agnosticism). There is no middle ground in principle between any of these--there are only mixed people whose actions are not consistent in regards to the principles.
  21. West

    Reality Bites

    I guess I'm the tough critic on this one. To be perfectly honest, the first thing that came to mind was the Gallant Gallstone. I don't know if you intended this or not, but the story's theme is the corruption of youthful benevolence. I think you'd find that the story would be better if you reversed the order in which the children say things, with the first child (the benevolent one) "triumphing"--of course then, you wouldn't be ending with "reality bites," but "reality just is--you bite" or something to that effect. If you wanted it to be humorous, the first child could imagine a cloud to be a pillow and proceed to smother the second child, along with his malevolence, but perhaps that's a bit too surreal.
  22. Good stuff--thank you for sharing! One thing that made me laugh was the fact that Jeff attributes his success to his hard work and dedication to his goals, while the other individual, Kiprono, gives credit for her success to "the Lord". Big pat on the back for your little bro!
  23. West


    I agree completely with your post--I think the exact same thing when I hear people call Kobe Bryant selfish because he monopolizes the ball and scores a great deal, while Steve Nash is unselfish because he distributes the ball and sets up great plays. They don't realize that both players (as being part of their respective teams) fulfill different functions and have different strategies for achieving the same goal (winning).
  24. While government intervention does have an effect on the price of oil (restricting companies from drilling offshore, etc.), I think the primary reason for the high price of oil is due to the industrialization (and thus rising demand of oil) of countries like Brazil, India and China. Environmentalists like to attribute the rise in price to speculators and transportation (making statements like "We're driving our big ass SUVs" and such) but I think it's more properly attributed to manufacturing and industrial processes, especially with the growth of these countries.
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