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Everything posted by Trebor

  1. There are two issues, it seems. One is her own well-being and dealing with what happened in a manner so that it does not negatively impact her life, further. The second is a matter of justice for the crimes committed against your friend. I would highly recommend contacting Dr. Michael J. Hurd, a psychologist and fan of Objectivism, and asking his advice on both matters - I don't know (it's doubtful) that he could give you any legal advice, but perhaps he could help you to understand the significance to your friend's well-being of pursuing legal justice after so many years. You can read many of Dr. Hurd's "Daily Dose of Reason" articles which are archived on his site and even read his books to gain some insight into his orientation and approach. He does hold sessions with clients over the phone and even by email, I believe. My bet is that he would have some very good practical advice to offer. Best wishes to you and your friend.
  2. Speaking of a 'handshake' protocol, I've heard it put that the handshake comes from reaching out to another person with one's weapon hand, without one's weapon of course, as a gesture of openness or friendship, etc., of placing oneself in a trusting and defenseless (somewhat) relationship with the other person. A sign or signal of goodwill. The same could be said of the bow or bowing in greeting in cultures where bowing is common - by bowing one puts oneself into a vulnerable position as a show of friendship or friendliness and trust. (Not to be confused with bowing to an enemy in submission.) I don't care much for small talk, but it plays a similar role.
  3. Jennifer, you may find Dr. George Reisman's article, "Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism," to be of some help in understanding the issue. As well, here's an interview of Dr. Reisman: "A Cure for Racism."
  4. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then....
  5. In his podcast, Episode 64, on June 1, 2009, Dr. Peikoff was asked: 03:50: "'Do you see value in having Objectivist churches? By church here I mean an institution that will serve a similar role for Objectivist as traditional churches do for religious adherents in the sense of providing spiritual and emotional fuel to the soul by providing a means to connect in person with others who are also pro-reason.'" Listen here on Dr. Peikoff's site for his response.
  6. Amy Peikoff has announced (February 17, 2012): See the rest of her post on her blog (Don't Let It Go): On Leonard Peikoff’s brief podcast discussion of the Kobe Bryant case Miss Peikoff ends her note with:
  7. Thank you, Mr. Miovas, for posting the link to Checking Premises (I was unaware of the site before you mentioned it), as well as to this latest post by Mr. Joyce, "Subjectivist Objectivists." I, for one, certainly like the idea behind Checking Premises, and I'm grateful to the principals and associates of the site for creating it.
  8. I know that it's hard to believe, but the "UN moves to promote a 'world tax'"
  9. The question, to which Dr. Peikoff replied in his podcast, Episode 202, of February 6, 2012: "Is it rape if you obtain sex through fraudulent means? For example a man does not love a woman but tells her he does so that she will have sex with him. Is this the moral equivalent of rape?" Listen directly on Dr. Peikoff's site here (Duration: 02:45) I've transcribed his answer in full, hopefully without error:
  10. The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights: Happy Birthday Ayn Rand--Why Are You Still So Misunderstood. Thursday, February 2, 2012, by Don Watkins (Fox News Opinion) "On February 2, Ayn Rand's birthday, it's clear that she has helped many people see that something has gone wrong in America. But they haven't yet understood the source of the problem or Rand's radical solution. This was an exclusive article written for Fox News Opinion."
  11. In his podcast, Dr. Peikoff has discussed Miss Rand's definition of "capitalism" a couple of times. His comments might be of some help and interest: Episode 24 - August 04, 2008 (unofficial index): 14:20: "'In Ayn Rand's definition of "capitalism," she says that all property is privately owned. Is that really true? For example, would the buildings and land that house the government, police force, and military be privately owned?'" Listen directly here (on Dr. Peikoff's site). Episode 91 - December 7, 2009 (unofficial index): 13:37: "'Ayn Rand's definition of capitalism is not the same as the conventional one. Conventionally: "An economic and social system in which the means of production are privately owned." Ayn Rand's: "A social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."'" Listen directly here (on Dr. Peikoff's site).
  12. [my bold] In his podcast, Episode 10 — March 10, 2008, Dr. Peikoff responded to the question: 05:14: [A metaphysical question.] "'What is existence? Existence is an attribute possessed by existence, and we directly perceive existence.' (...) 'The fact that I can't define "existence" bothers me. Is "existence" then kind of a misleading concept?'" His response to the first part is especially relevant to what you have said, that existence is a characteristic or property [an attribute] of everything that exists. You can listen to his reply to that question on his website directly here.
  13. No, we are not discussing honesty as being true to others, and since you insist on equivocating between honesty and telling the truth, evading the distinction, I don't think there's much point in continuing the discussion. Since you think that I am being dishonest, engaged in self-deception, why in the world would you want to continue any discussion at all with me anyway? Regardless, even if you do see such a reason, I do not.
  14. The distinction is valid. The principle is not that lying to an enemy is always good or right or what one should do, nor is the principle that one should never lie to an enemy, that it is always bad or wrong to do so. The principle at issue is honesty, not whether or not one should or should not lie in particular instances. One should, on principle, always be honest, but honesty is not a matter of always telling the truth. The principle of honesty is that one should always be true to reality, or, put negatively, one should never evade relevant facts. When confronted by an enemy, depending on the situation, it may or may not be wise to lie, but one has the moral right to lie to protect oneself, just as one has the right of physical self-defense, such as the use of deadly force in self-defense. Depending on the context, if one thinks it wise to do so, one is acting morally in self-defense if one lies or if one pulls the trigger. How one goes about defending oneself depends on the context, on the particulars, but the principle of honesty is not merely "ususally" true, it is always true (valid). I reject the distinction between trustworthy and untrustworthy extortionists. On principle an extortionist is untrustworthy, untrustworthy to recognize and respect one's rights. Sure, there are differences between one extortionist and another, but the differences are a matter of degree, not principle. One's right to lie to an enemy is a moral right to lie. But again, the principle, the moral principle at issue is the principle of honesty, not lying versus telling the truth. There's no moral principle, no rational moral principle, that holds that lying is always wrong or always right. Okay, I wouldn't, but I don't see that it's really important with respect to the main issue. I'm not equating morality with political rights. When you ask, "I am not questioning morality (see above), only the value of knowledge of rights," are you referring to moral rights (what is morally right or proper), or to political rights? If you mean what is morally right, then the whole point of knowing what is morally right is to enable you to live. If you don't know what's right or wrong, if you have no moral principles to guide you, how do you decide what would be right or wrong to do in any particular situation? If you mean what is legally recognized to be your rights (whether those rights are objective or not), political rights, then it seems obvious why it's important to know what your legally recognized, respected and protected rights are (objective or not). It can mean the difference between freedom or imprisonment.
  15. A differentiation in details, but not in principle. What does (right and) wrong even mean, Objectively speaking? I'm curious, are you very familiar with Objectivism? Is it your view that morality is irrelevant? (I don't get the point of your question.) This all started with your question, I believe, as to whether or not it is moral to lie to an enemy. By saying that one has the moral right to lie, in self-defense, to someone who is acting to violate one's rights, that does not mean that one's only moral option is to lie, nor that one is morally obligated to lie. It just means that one would be in the right, moral, if one decided to lie in such a context. Maybe this is where there is some confusion? I guess it depends upon what you mean by martyrdom. Risking your life and dying in an effort to save someone you love dearly is not what I would call martyrdom. Risking your life to flee Nazi Germany and yet dying in the attempt to escape is not what I would call martyrdom. Would you? For a fictional example, in the movie Braveheart, before Wallace was tortured, the Queen (?), who he had fallen in love with, not wanting to see him suffer, asked him to drink some potion to ease the coming pain. He humored her and "drank" the potion, but then spit it out when she left. While being tortured, asked if he wanted to say something (which might quicken his death and stop the torture), he cried, "Freedom!" and his head was cut off. Martyrdom? This, I do not understand at all. Knowing one's rights can make a life and death difference in one's life as well as in the kind of nation one will have. If it is truly your view that morality is irrelevant and impractical (my words), then I guess we're simply going to have to disagree. But then, why ask questions about morality if you think morality is irrelevant? Baffled
  16. I basically agree with you on this. The same issue (and phenomena) is at play with all sorts of preferences, I believe, such as career choices, for instance, or sports activities that one enjoys, etc. An orientation (of personal preferences) that flows from one's positive and negative life experiences, especially while young, and especially one's thinking and conclusions (correct or not) drawn on those experiences, the significant ones.
  17. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that Miss Rand considered homosexuality to be immoral (your point as to whether she was referring to some innate sexual orientation or to some homosexual acts taken) most likely based upon the psychiatric view (science of the day) that homosexuality was a mental illness? Mental illness equals immorality? Edit: You say, which is perhaps significant to my question, "This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice." What do you mean by "somewhat contradictory"? How is it contradictory, and how not, if you don't mind?
  18. The issue is one of principle. One can trust the taxman (or the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer) only to the extent they do what they say they will do. With the taxman, sure, he is controlled by law, but in principle, and in time if the principle is not rejected, what he demands by force will grow, legally. It's the issue about a mixed economy breeding more and more controls as it is not a stable economy, because of the principles that have been accepted and rejected. Individual rights have been rejected in lieu of some other primary, and although there may still remain areas of de facto respect for and protection of rights, those areas do not exist on the basis of the principle of individual rights, but rather, perhaps, on the basis of majority rule, the common good, the whim of the dictator, etc. Nothing that one can hang one's hat one in the hope of respect for rights. Principles guide you in determining what to do in different contexts, sure, and in different contexts, you'll have to do different things. The important thing is to know that you, as an individual, do in fact have rights, by your nature, not by permission of anyone else. This doesn't mean that in every case in which one is confronted by a mugger, for example, one should rush him in attack and hope that one can disarm him simply because you know that he is wrong and you are right. In some cases one might judge that one could easily do so, and then do so, but in other cases, one may judge the risk to be too great. Still, even if one complies with the mugger's demands, one knows that he is wrong. If one can't do anything immediately, knowing that he is wrong means that one will be motivated to do what one can, when and if one can. So, one complies and later calls the police, etc. I saw a TV talk show once in which the guest was an ex-policeman discussing various strategies in dealing with bad guys. One case sticks out as relevant (if I understand your questions). His advice to any woman confronted by a man with a gun telling her to get into his car was: Never ever do it! The reason they want you to get into their car is so that they can take you to a place where you'll have less of a chance of survival. His advice was to flee or fight, but do not get into the car, and he pointed out that even though the man has a gun and even if he fires it, the odds are that you can escape with your life, even if you are wounded. The odds are not in your favor if you get into his car. His advice makes sense, but even then there's room for judgement by the woman. I agree. And one can make a calculated decision in the case of the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer as well. The important thing is to understand where rights are, that individual rights are inalienable, not gifts or grants from the state, God, society, etc. The fact that you may have to obey bad laws does not make them good. Knowing they are bad is important to challenging them or deciding to escape a country, etc. If, however, one has accepted the idea that one's rights are but privileges, one may well give up hope for either a better government or escape. (Socrates chose to drink the hemlock. I think it was Aristotle who said that he would not let men sin against philosophy twice.) To me, it all depends on the context. I could imagine situations in which you wouldn't even want to reveal who your enemies are to your friends, and situations in which you would want their understanding and perhaps help in dealing with an enemy. Regardless, it's good to know just who is a friend and who is an enemy, and by what standard, meaning just who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. (Bad guys have enemies too, but that's good.) What is the point you are trying to make? It seems that we're just going back and forth without direction, so I thought I'd ask.
  19. "Trustworthy extortionist"? Isn't that an oxymoron? "[O]ut to make an easy buck at your expense" is a form of destruction of your life and values, incidental or not. The taxman, the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer are acting by choice, not by accident, against your life and values. The man who claims a right to take anything from you by initiating force, in principles claims the right to take everything from you. Is it ethical to treat someone as a enemy without telling them? Why do you ask? The answer, in my view, would depend on the context.
  20. I don't understand why you think that they are different, in the relevant sense. Sure, pay your taxes ("the taxman can be bought off at the demanded ransom") or comply with the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer (the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer can be bought off at their demanded price). What's the relevant difference? Why not "dump the taxman and a extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer into the same bucket"? An enemy is someone who is actively out to destroy one's life or values, including one's pursuit of one's values.
  21. Okay, thank you, I'll look it up. Out of curiosity, can you say that it does answer my questions as to the criteria and evidence on homosexuality as/as not a mental illness?
  22. If it was a matter of science, I would be interested to know just what the scientific evidence and criteria was for having held that homosexuality was a mental illness and what the scientific evidence and criteria was for the change of view.
  23. Saw this mentioned by Timothy Sandefur ("Freespace") as "Now, this really is straight out of Atlas Shrugged": "Dems propose 'Reasonable Profits Board' to regulate oil company profits" By Pete Kasperowicz - 01/19/12 10:20 AM ET But of course the Democrats are worried about higher gas prices!
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