Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by sanjavalen

  1. I AM NOT A PHYSICS EXPERT. I see it as one of two possibilities. 1) The author of the piece is misrepresenting what the scientists are actually debating; perhaps, in order to make it more understandable to a layman, they put it in those terms, but in terms that the professionals can understand it is actually non-contradictory. I have to say that'd be a poor metaphor though, precisely for the reason that it seems contradictory on the face of it. 2) These particular scientists interviewed have gone bonkers and are actively interpreting data they get in an irrational manner.
  2. It is important not to context-drop, here. Recall what taxation represents: the abogation (in principle) of your right to *any* property whatsoever. To say that the government has the right to any means there is no real principle to refer to, in order to claim it has no right to all of it. The rest is a matter of culture and time, one way or the other - as the history of America has amply demonstrated. Yes, simply from the standpoint of benevolence, it is a shame that not everyone can get a world-class education. But to indulge in such questions while dropping the context of how it is paid for is a terrible mistake, and one of the things statists of all stripes rely on their victims/dupes to do in order to put them in power. To give a child an education is nice, but not if it is paid for by force; an education has no value in the context of a society where the child will grow up a slave to the state, and that is the principle that you embody when you attempt to justify taxation for the alleged 'higher' need of children for a basic semblance of learning. Other peoples' lives (and it is their lives that you take, piece by piece, when you tax them; simply consider how many hours someone must work in order to pay for his taxes, before he can take a cent home to his own bank account, for his own use) are not means to ends. Once that principle is accepted you will fully understand why Objectivism rejects the idea of government run education. It is the best thing, for everyone - for yourself, the potential taxpayer and the child as well, even if he would not get an education at all, or a bare minimum education, without government schools. Far better to be a free illiterate than a mediocrely schooled slave.
  3. The civil war is actually the perfect example of how improper philosophical premises undercut and destroy the good. There were many legitimate grievences that the southern states had with the north. Slavery, of course, was not one of them - and it was that inconsistent stance that undercut and destroyed, in my opinion, both the moral resolve of the south (which was hardly uniform in their pro-slavery sentiment) and their image throughout the world (foreign aid from the British and/or French would have almost certainly helped the south retain its independence - but the fact that the south was adamantly, proudly and loudly pro-slavery made that politically untenable for either country to entertain.) This is why, though, no one remembers the south as principled defenders of individual rights against tariffs and other merchantalist policies; they weren't. One cannot defend individual rights while simultaneously denying them to an entire class of people. This is ultimately the cause of why the south lost.
  4. Typically one doesn't want to "just kill" an animal for the sake of killing an animal, Jake. There are important life-affirming skills developed (fieldcraft for a hunter, identifying targets in the terrain you hunt in, etc.,) and often the target is either delicious to eat, beautiful to behold in the form of a trophy, or a pest that is a nuisance to humans in general (and thus the task accomplishes the first reason while also helping out other humans, which, in a benevolent human, does not take priority in anything but cases of charity, but is still icing on the cake. In addition a hunter seeks to give his prey a quick death with as little pain as his skill is able to deliver. This is not primarily out of consideration for the animal (or you wouldn't be killing it,) but again selfish reasons. Wanton suffering in animals is not a rational goal. If your goal is to kill something, you want it dead as soon as possible. And, of course, a wounded animal that goes down later loses a lot of its taste. I distinguish hunting quite a bit from, say, capturing a squirrel and torturing it for your own amusement, eventually killing it. The former develops life-affirming skills and is a rational goal to pursue, if it interests you. I do not think there is a rational motivation for causing suffering in animals for the sake of causing the suffering; quite the contrary, I think it is a warning sign to other humans that this guy may have a screw or two loose. The above, of course, should not be considered to include many legitimate pursuits that can and do cause pain to animals (medical testing comes to mind.) I do not consider that causing 'wanton suffering.' IE the goal is not the animal's suffering itself but some ancillary benefit that the animal must suffer to receive.
  5. Softwarenerd, wouldn't the effect of defaulting-via-inflation also undermine the ability of the US government to borrow for quite a few years? No one wants to borrow from a guy who will pay them back in monopoly money, even if its technically not breaking the contract, no?
  6. Getting a good, honest broker is probably a big task in and of itself. Like finding a good dentist, doctor or mechanic. Just because they have a title doesn't mean they won't either rip you off or are just plain incompetent. As far as gold investments...I am always wary of potential weimer/doomsday scenarios as justifications for investing in gold. Gold and gold mines seem to be the perfect target to be nationalized/confiscated in such an event, and if things ever get really bad (riots, civil unrest, civil war, whatever - I am not advocating that these would actually happen, but assuming such does,) and the US sees a big hit in production, people will want to barter useable goods - food, water, spices, guns, ammo and the like. So I never thought of the stock market or any investments that aren't both tangible and safely stored in a place I can physically access as worthwhile for preparation of that sort. Regardless, I am glad you are up at this time, David. I hope your strategy works out.
  7. I do not believe the Chinese have any interest in "wrecking" the dollar, since so much of their own reserves are based on the US Dollar. If that tanks, so does their rather extensive treasury. Right now they (and many other foreign govts) continue to buy our debt based on two facts: 1) The US does not look like it will default on its debt yet 2) If the loans stop, the US will definitely default on its debt Putting them in somewhat of a bind. My personal, nonexpert opinion is that they are just hoping "something" happens so that the US' current unsustainable deficeit spending becomes sustainable, "somehow." In the meantime they are doing their best to delay the inevitable.
  8. You also have the right to defend your property from theft. In case there was any confusion about it only being valid when there's a direct, physical threat to your person.
  9. All sectors in the economy have cycles. Due to some faulty assumptions, by itself, that may have caused the home-related industries to slow down for a while as capital reallocated to other industries. This is a normal market "correction" and, in less regulated times, happened fairly regularly and was seen as a good thing. What turned what, by itself, would probably have been a normal market 'correction' into a worldwide crash was, indeed, the government meddling. When governments give breaks in specific areas (home ownership, house building, "subprime" loans, etc.,) it artificially inflates the expected return from those activities. Since there are incentives to do x, such as big tax breaks, more and more people tie themselves into that activity. Government intervention, in effect, masks risks and artificially inflates rates of return, causing a dramatic imbalance in the economy as people rush to where they can get the greatest return for their money. Combine this with the bogus bailouts of banks "too big to fail" and you have a recipie for an extended recession and crash. Economies are complex things, so it really is difficult to track down the "cause" of any particular thing - like the exact source of what tossed this one over the edge. But it can be concluded fairly uncontroversially among learned company that the government exaserbated the problem at best and continues to do so.
  10. You can combine the two purposes without too much effort, and I think it gives a more solid (ie immediately justifiable) weight to their sentence. Before the above (valid) consideration of pickpockets or other minor offenders getting off relatively scott free is brought up, it is worthy to note the actual damages: 1) The thing stolen (candy bar, lets say) 2) The time of the person who needed to bring this matter to court 3) The cost (if any) of the police to track this person down, serve him with papers and/or forcefully put him into custody 4) Cost of holding court, of the judge, balif, jury (if any,) etc As you can see even for a fairly quick trial the costs run up rather impressively. The more severe the case (and the more the alleged criminal disputes it) the more costs are piled up onto your bill. This provides a fairly objective measure as to the punishment's suitability, along with providing a clear, just punishment. More here, thanks to an Objectivist friend who thought this one out regarding some of the details of this: http://lfc.silentcow.com/live/The%20Perfect%20Prison.shtml
  11. The "protestant work ethic" is just an evolution away from strict religiousness. As such it is a step in the right direction and certainly an improvement over strict Catholicism, but the "protestant work ethic" was not "vital" to capitalism. If anything the accompanying baggage of protestantism was a major impediment to capitalism from the word 'go.' The Greek ethos of the past would have been a far better place to start from, philosophically, than the "protestant work ethic."
  12. What is this topic for? The Boer Republics, though admirable in many ways, were not admirable for the "Protestant work ethic," nor is that that the source of capitalism's success.
  13. http://www.smh.com.au/world/only-7-swine-f...90429-aml1.html Just FYI. Take it for what its worth.
  14. It is worthy to note that, armchair analysis after the fact aside, at the point of impact there is no real way to verify if the person who has broken into your house, apartment, or whatever is attempting to is: 1) Armed (unless they have nothing in their hands and are also naked) 2) Intends only to steal something of minor value, such as something where you may simply call the police and wait for them to apprehend them 3) Does not intend to do you any harm So this talk of specific contexts in which one should only call the police seem, to me, to be a little bit silly. At the very least it'd be an extremely rare circumstance, even within the sample of the already fairly rare assault / home invasion. The proper response to such a thing is to bring the maximum amount of force to bear that you can, without damaging surrounding property (or your own, if you can help it.) In some jurisdictions the police acknowledge that the likelihood of, for example, property being lost forever and compensation or catching the person being difficult, if not impossible (as petty thieves are not known to have large bank accounts and for many crimes people get away with them, at least for a period of time.) In light of this they allow shooting to prevent a subject from fleeing the scene in certain crimes (assault, arson, burglary, and the like) in certain times (usually after dark, where the likelihood of catching the person goes way down.)
  15. sanjavalen


    Stealing something that doesn't belong to you is bad. Taking something you know has been stolen is also bad. I think that summarizes it pretty well.
  16. Everyone's quality of life is improved if there are stringent enforcement of objective laws. Having a "free fire zone" where the police do not enforce laws only creates a place where criminals can fester and eventually spill out into the areas where the police do have clients to protect. Police would prosecute crime everywhere, because there is no effective way short of walling a place in to insure that no criminals from your theoretical (and, I would like to emphasize, highly fantastic) area where no one gives one cent to help with government functions will leave the area and prey on citizens who do.
  17. The theory behind why it is necessary, if I recall correctly, is so that the law can be consistent over time - ie, you do not get two rulings in similar cases which contradict each other. It lends the law an air of permanancy and knowability - ie, if you study past case histories, except in unusual circumstances, you can get a pretty good idea of how the law applies. This is especially important with a govt that can do all sorts of things and which often contain very ambiguous or contradictory language. In a more proper political system the reliance on precident may not be necessary, but I think thats a very specialized question for legal scholars to bat around more than anything.
  18. There are two senses of what you're saying. So you have to be very careful in answering this question if you do not want to risk being taken to say something you did not. First, is it posisble that reality provides data that Objectivist metaphysics or epistemology is incorrect? The answer is "Not by any scientific means" - since the scientific method replies implicitly on Oist metaphysics and epistemology. If the question relates to ethical/political conclusions, the answer is yes, but I have to qualify this very specifically. Objectivist ethics/politics are valid because they describe the best method for your long-term self interest to be protected. To attempt to claim that Objectivism isn't correct from some very narrow statistical analysis would not be correct at all. For example, it could be argued that in a police state, crime is much lower than in a capitalist state, ergo, a police state is "superior" to a capitalist system. As a less extreme example, take the case of gun control. In many states that prohibit or very heavily regulate the ownership and use of firearms, crimes committed with firearms are much lower than in the USA (it is very often followed by a spike in the number of non-firearms related crimes, but this is not a 100% correlation.) Besides all these correlation/causation technical arguments, there is the simple fact that Capitalism's purpose is not simply to minimize crime, but to provide the way of life most conductive to allowing a human being to flourish as much as they are able. To take a small slice of data (crime rates or anything else) and declare that capitalism fails because of this is to miss the point entirely.
  19. Better way to get on: http://www.rizon.net/chat.php Type "/join #objectivism" once you get in.
  20. Chat keeps crashing, eating messages, etc. It seems that oo.net goes down for short periods when this happens so I assume it has something to do with server stability. Until the website has stabilized, I suggest the alternative of using irc. If you have an irc client, simply connect to Rizon and go to #objectivism. If you do not have an irc client, go to www.mibbit.com. To the right of IRC select "Rizon webirc" and next to "channel" type in "#objectivism." That is all. Thanks.
  21. Assumptions: That you know the metaphysical and epistemological base of Objectivism, as well as at least a smattering of the ethics. Man has a right to his own life. If he does, he has a right to the things he has produced - or the things he has agreed to take in compensation for what he produces. For example, I have a right to 100% of my paycheck - I work for someone in an agreement with a person who pays me money for it. Private land is included under that, but the application of the principle is slightly different, and should answer all your subsequent questions. Since you have the right to keep what you produce, if you make improvements to land (ie build a house on it, make an oil field, grade a road,) you have the right to that land. The extent to which you have a right to it is dependent on the exact context (deals with current landowners, homesteading, etc.) Specifically with regards to unclaimed land, once you improve a plot of land it is yours, but defining what a "plot of land" is, is a complex legal question to which there are many viable answers. You could define it by the amount of property you fence in to keep wandering animals/people out. The Supreme Court, I believe, in the old homestead acts simply picked a number of acres around your improvement based on figures of how much land a man could reasonably use in a ranching/farming situation. Both of these seem like acceptable standards to me. The land is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. You're going to have to clearly define this term before anyone can answer that question.
  22. I agree that it was good, but it was standing ovation almost throughout the performance good? I don't think so...as I said, she is not phenominal in that sense. However, she is good and it is proper to enjoy her talent for what it is, but I took more pleasure from the justice of the situation (I don't have much appreciation for the song, even if she did it very well.)
  23. Your job is difficult because a lot of kids establish comfortable patterns of how to respond to learning, logic, etc., by that age. The old jesuit saying of "give me a child for his first seven years and I will give you the man" isn't too far off the mark. Human beings have free will, of course, but the encouraging and tolerance of vice in anyone, let alone someone at such a delicate stage of development, will get a whole lot of people to consider those vices practical. As for positive advice...when I was 14, I was driven, just not in school or most of the normal subjects. Perhaps it would be best to find out what her passion is and show her how proper thinking methods, the reality-first approach, etc., will help her with that passion.
  24. The value in the clip, as Jack and SN illustrated, wasn't how good she was (she was definitely pleasant to listen to, but not on the level of professionals - context, however, dictates polite applause for what skill she has cultivated and I hope she gets more formal training and practice, because she seems to have potential.) It was the upsetting of unjust expectations on the part of the audience and judges. Justice is a very powerful motivator in a proper, moral, person, and to see someone judge a person on some topic (say, singing ability) by some completely unrelated criteria (say, physical appearance) is an extremely unjust way of going about things. Frankly it is disgusting. To see that unjust mode of operation exposed for the fraud that it is, is what has caused (in myself at least) such strong positive emotions. The performance, justly listened to and critiqued (by both judges and audience,) would not (I think) cause most of the people here to respond in such a positive manner (though I would like to emphasize that she is pleasant to listen to, the performance was not phenominal.) It is just that the immoral standards of the Simon, the judges and the audience were exposed, and that is an intensely pleasant example of the truth and practicality of the virtue of justice. Edit: It is further pleasing that both the judges and what elements in the audience seemed to be "against" the contestant, for lack of a better word, recognized that their criteria was unjust and reversed their opinions immediately. Though psychological analysis of strangers is always suspect, I would venture a guess that it was the reason the applause came so quick to start and burst out so often in the song.
  25. There's no issue with making a symbol for yourself or your Objectivist organization. But you can't make a symbol and claim that its "the Objectivist symbol" any more than you can make a symbol and retroactively claim it represents aristotleanism. As I said, I have no problem with an Objectivisty-symbol, I just think its silly to try to popularize it as an "Objectivist" symbol as opposed to the symbol of some Objectivist Organization. For one, I think only Ayn Rand could really declare something an "official" Objectivist symbol (this is not to say she had the last word on everything, but it does mean that her philosophy is free-standing and authored by her.) Second, I don't think there's anything thats very compelling as an "Objectivist" symbol, since its such a broad philosophy. Christians have the fish thing, along with crosses, which are central to their beliefs, but to an Objectivist reality is central to our beliefs. Far better (and simpler, and possible,) then, to come up with a symbol which can be made to stand for some particular application of reason to reality.
  • Create New...