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Everything posted by brian0918

  1. I'm not sure who this "one" is - someone who relies on appeals to authority for philosophical guidance?
  2. I see no inherent problem with reciting quotes from fictional characters, whether they be from The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, or The Bible. What matters is not the source of the quotation, but its content.
  3. Assuming Johnson gets the LP nomination, I won't be voting "None of the Above" this year. Finally!
  4. Valid threats of violence should also be considered force. The mafia's "offer you can't refuse" is an example. You are equivocating here. Most people, when referring to "government intervention in the market", are referring to regulations, selective taxation, redistribution of wealth. We are referring only to preventing or prosecuting acts of violence, threat of violence, and fraud. Members of the free market who recognize the value of the government's service will voluntarily donate their money, and help to weed out and boycott freeloaders through networks of trust. To the extent that people are willing to volunteer their money, the government will be able to protect them and keep the market free. To the extent that people are unwilling to volunteer their money, the government will be unable to render its services effectively. The government will be a product of society, which is of course the case in any society under any form of government.
  5. While I was already an atheist before I had heard of him, he was definitely a driving force against the moral relativism/nihilism that I went through years ago. Farewell Hitch!
  6. How does such a survey determine whether or not Objectivism is a cult? You're merely relying on equivocation: utilizing two different standards of morality. According to traditional morality, humans by definition are imperfect, and only other-worldly, supernatural deities are perfect. So if Objectivists tell you that Rand was "morally perfect", and you tell non-Objectivists that fact, they will assume you mean perfection according to their morality, in order to conclude that Objectivism is a cult. On the contrary, so long as one continually strives to be rational in his choice of values and actions within the full context of his knowledge, and with his life as the standard of value, his choices are correct - he is acting perfectly moral.
  7. The easiest way to challenge the "cult" accusation is to point out that in a cult, people must accept conclusions on faith, whereas in Objectivism, to accept anything on faith would be contrary to the philosophy. Insofar as its members are truly practicing Objectivism, the movement is cult-proof. Obviously there will be people in any movement - including the Objectivist movement - who accept conclusions on faith. Such individuals are not following Objectivism.
  8. They may or may not be by certain individuals - that has no relevance to the validity of the rationale presented by her philosophy. I would need to see a specific example. From my experience, Objectivists who seem "intolerant" of a critic are simply responding to the critic's intolerance toward or ignorance of Rand's philosophy. I would call myself a student of Objectivism. I am not familiar enough with Rand's personal life to make such a broad conclusion. See above. I do remember Peikoff getting asked a question like this, but I don't recall his response.
  9. Yes, it's the percent of people who pay federal income taxes.
  10. Welcome from another Ohioan! Depending on where you live, you may be able to check out our occasional meetup groups through the Ohio Objectivist Society, though the group has been pretty quiet lately. You can find us mostly on Facebook and Meetup. I think the most recent meetups have been in Northfield, OH, covering Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. How did you first get interested in Rand, and which branches of philosophy do you like to discuss?
  11. The fact that the Honduran government "approved" these regions means they could easily "unapprove" them later, or decide to tax them once they are successful.
  12. Apparently not. Fiction doesn't just mean "it didn't actually happen". It makes use of dramatization and accentuates certain dilemmas and themes that are important to the author. It is not simply a documentation of events to be objectively examined like a jury listening to a court case. The reader as an omniscient observer is supposed to understand that Dominique has a history of saying one thing and feeling another. This is just as true during the alleged "rape" scene. We are supposed to know that she is experiencing an internal conflict, and Roark understands this as well. None of this could ever stand up in a court of law in a rape case - nor could bombing a building. That is irrelevant to the purpose of the scene.
  13. Apparently you misunderstand the purpose of fiction as an art form. You do realize that willfully blowing up someone else's building is also an immoral act, and that it would likewise be wrong for a jury to find such an individual Not Guilty, correct? Ask yourself why Rand included those scenes - do you believe she actually thought they should be considered moral actions in reality? Or was there possibly another reason for their inclusion?
  14. The problem is the ridiculously convoluted legal system that places obscure precedence and alternative readings of the meaning of "is" above objective evaluation of the evidence. With a legal system that does not favor complexity and obscurity, and which requires the losing party to pay the legal costs of the winning party, one could more effectively represent himself, or hire a good attorney, which will ultimately be paid for by the other party (assuming he is demonstrably in the right).
  15. I know you asked for comments on your writing, but Rossi's Energy Catalyzer really sounds like a scam. The dead giveaway for me is that the reaction produced copper that has the same isotopic characteristics as natural copper found in mines (about 69% Cu-63, 31% Cu-65), and lacked any of the 27 unstable isotopes of copper. There is absolutely no reason this should be true. Why would a reaction that does not initially contain copper just happen to produce the same ratio of copper as was formed in certain past dying stars that happened to eject their material toward the region where our solar system happened to form? And why would it lack any unstable isotopes? It's much more likely that they just bought some copper at a store.
  16. We started a garden this year as well, but planted too much of what we don't use often, and not enough of what we use regularly. Hopefully next year will be better. Also check out the OGardeners mailing list: http://www.olist.com/ogardeners.html
  17. I'm not real clear on how they planned on contacting the donor directly in order to pay them, since the NMDP keeps the information confidential.
  18. I guess it's time to join to the registry and hope some millionaire needs my help.
  19. Ahh, I read your response exactly backwards: that Irwin Schiff was arrested *because* Peter Schiff was running for election.
  20. It had nothing to do with it. Irwin Schiff has been in prison since 2006.
  21. Talk to about the effectiveness of using legal loopholes to avoid taxation. It doesn't matter whether or not the loopholes exist - if your action can be construed as an attempt to avoid taxation, you'll go to jail every time. If you're interested in doing transactions that cannot be tracked, I would recommend looking into something like Bitcoin, which is basically a decentralized, peer-to-peer transaction system. Bitcoins have been plummeting in price lately (after skyrocketing in price), as the folks who initially invested in it for next-to-nothing are now flooding the market with bitcoins. If it survives this unraveling as an investment (which it wasn't intended to be), it could become a long-term means of exchange.
  22. Here's an interview segment where Thomas Sowell explains his problem with the income inequality argument, as mentioned in the original post:
  23. To reason. Note the part in bold from my original reply: "It is invalid to ask why there is order (i.e., why everything acts in accordance with its nature), as any answer must presume what it intends to show." In other words, it is invalid because you are asking "why do things act in accordance with their nature and have a specific identity", since the "why" already presumes that things act in accordance with their nature and have specific identities. The act of questioning existence and identity presumes existence and identity. That is why they are invalid questions. This is not simply an opinion on my part, but a contradiction on yours that you fail to notice. And I am not simply "declaring" that identity is axiomatic. I recognize that any attempt to disprove the validity of identity must necessarily assume identity is valid. If you do not understand this most basic, fundamental point, then you must be very little acquainted with Objectivism. I would recommend the first few chapters of Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
  24. I'm not sure what the purpose is of bringing up the distinction between the metaphysically-given vs. the man-made. Rand made the distinction for metaphysical reasons, not moral reasons. All examples of good or bad things are contextual - they are all good/bad for someone. That's true for both metaphysically-given and man-made circumstances. I cannot find any quote in the Lexicon that claims that the metaphysically-given cannot be considered good or bad, depending on the individual context. The only possible way I can see that this part of your statement can be valid is to say that we can only morally judge the man-made, not the metaphysically given. One could never call a tsunami "evil" for wiping out an island, but one could certainly say it was a bad thing for the islanders.
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