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Posts posted by Grames

  1. On 5/11/2022 at 10:09 AM, EC said:

    I stopped reading when you claimed I get my news from CNN and MSNBC. I don't watch left-wing propaganda stations and when I watch a national news channel it's only FOX News, 

    FOX news is controlled opposition, it props up the false dichotomy Democrat versus Republican.  You won't find anything there that actually conflicts with the establishment narrative in any important way.

  2. On 5/8/2022 at 2:59 PM, Eiuol said:

    I didn't post that link because I was treating it as an argument, but because the rhetorical flair captures how I feel about the matter. Clearly it wasn't meant to be persuasive, so I was posting it to show anyone who might be interested in rhetoric not necessarily aimed at persuading.

    But rhetoric is essentially about persuading.



  3. 8 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    But the subject here is a right to choose to have an abortion even in the first trimester, ...

    I think a more precise identification of the subject is "what has the pro-life movement gained as a consequence of finally getting Roe and Casey overturned?"  What they have gained is the ability to fight fifty more legal and legislative battles to have their way.  The pro-abortion movement gains the same.  Nothing has been settled, nor should pro-abortion side have ever pretended the abortion dispute ever was or could be settled by an arbitrary Supreme Court decision. 

  4. On 4/26/2022 at 4:45 PM, 2046 said:

    In this view, I'm saying honesty is a principled commitment to never distort, fake, evade, misrepresent, or pretend things are other than what they are. I think that's a pretty straightforward reading of what Rand is saying in both the fiction and the non. Call it the knowledge acquisition view of honesty, or aspect of honesty, as opposed to the conventional "don't deceive others" view or aspect.

    What you are describing as "the knowledge acquisition view of honesty" certainly is virtuous and has support by Rand.  But she calls it "intellectual honesty":

    Intellectual honesty [involves] knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one’s knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute.

    “What Can One Do?”
    Philosophy: Who Needs It, 201

    Her case for plain old unmodified honesty is framed in terms of not obtaining values by means of deception, because it makes the deceiver dependent upon and even a slave to the deceived:

    Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee—that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.

    Galt’s Speech,
    For the New Intellectual, 129

  5. On 5/6/2022 at 8:14 PM, Eiuol said:

    But this is a massive disagreement.

    The disagreement is not massive, but the result (fully banning abortion or not) is.  The position of the full abortion ban proponent is merely the fallacious "argument of the beard" applied to the case of the incremental growth of the fetus.  The portion of all Americans in favor of a full abortion ban is less than 20%, so when they cannot be brought to moderate their position by reason they can be safely disregarded.  Most people that favor abortion restrictions are concerned with the second or third trimester, and even Rand allowed that arguments over the last trimester were to be taken seriously rather than dismissed out of hand.

    What cannot be taken seriously is Rand's performance here while seemingly standing on one foot during a question and answer session.  

    Rand first attacks William F. Buckley Jr. because he would "deny the right to abortion" without first establishing that abortion is a right.  Then she attacks the "gratuitous" nature of Buckley's denial, but an attack on the motive of an opponent is the ad hominem fallacy which has no bearing on the validity of the structure of an argument or the ultimate truth of the conclusion.  Then she constructs a theory of the motive of the anti-abortion Buckley and his ilk, that he "obviously" wants to enslave people like farm animals, which is the strawman fallacy.  Then she makes a rhetorical  pathos appeal to those poor Romeos and Juliets out there having sex and getting pregnant involuntarily as if they had no volitional control over themselves.  Then she makes the over generalization that in all such cases the pregnancy is a burden that prevents a budding career by the parents, as if the infant would have no value to the parents and would remain so (and with no budding career of its own in time).  It all adds up to nothing of philosophical significance, but it seems to have personal significance to her based on her vehemence.  It is nothing more than Rand's personal opinion and is not persuasive.

  6. On 5/5/2022 at 5:44 PM, Eiuol said:

    But in this case - regarding both adoption as you mentioned and abortion - the motivation seems to be for the sake of the "family", meaning that the motivation is morally wrong. Maybe you can imagine a potentially rational case, but the people we are talking about in the concrete are not motivated by anything that would resemble a rational case. 

    I disagree.  The concern with the welfare of adopted children and fetuses comes from the same source, and they announce it over and over.  Human life is a value to them.  They count children and fetuses as humans.  Protecting human lives and human rights is not an irrational or ignoble pursuit, even if we here disagree with them on when a fetus should be counted as human.  

  7. 7 hours ago, Boydstun said:

    Child below, wisely listening to 'Granpa Walter and Granpa Stephen', turned out fine.

    Good for him, and you. 

    Bad things can happen to adopted children and biological children, but when they happen to biological children the parents are to blame and no one else.  When the government approves an adoption and it turns out badly the government is partly responsible.  Naturally, that bothers responsible people with an interest in what their government has done.  So more laws and regulations are put in place to mitigate the problem.  One can argue specifics about which laws and regulations would work best but the motivation to do something is not wrong.  

  8. 8 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Can you be more specific?

    Section 10: Powers Denied to the States

    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

  9. On 5/3/2022 at 8:03 PM, necrovore said:

    I would say that your right to your own body is an unenumerated right, and such rights are protected by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution.

    I am sympathetic. There are also clauses forbidding the use of any money but gold and silver that have never been repealed or altered by amendment.

  10. Stephen, abortion (pro or con) is way down the list of more important issues to consider.   I'm not even anti-abortion so would not support any candidate that was a single-issue lunatic.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was where Kermit Gosnell ran his abortion charnel house, for which he has been given three life sentences with no parole.  I am not threatened by the prospect of some state level regulation of abortion but also see no prospect for a full abortion ban here.  If one did pass it would not last long before the political pendulum swung back the other way.  Neither side of the issue has the numbers and political power to have it all their way once and for all.

    Prohibition of the morning-after pill – No.

    Prohibition of same-sex marriage – No.  But I could see forbidding adoption of children into same-sex marriage households as reasonable.  

  11. 10 hours ago, Boydstun said:

    The mystical metaphysics is with the voters who voted for Republican candidates in state-wide races or for the Presidency in the these last decades because they favored overturning Roe ...

    Yeah, that would be me.  Except my motives were not mystical.  Adherence to some judicial methodology is better than arbitrariness.  What was granted by judicial fiat can be taken away by judicial fiat.  Individual rights that are properly secured against the federal government and the states are to be spelled out in plain language in constitutional amendments.  

  12. 3 hours ago, Boydstun said:

    If you read the draft opinion you will see that the court's reversal on Roe and Casey is based on the legal grounds that those decisions were unsupported by law, precedent, or practice and that what legal history was covered in Roe was irrelevant or simply wrong.  The Supreme Court's assertion of judicial power to attempt to settle the abortion controversy by decree was unconstitutional because the Court has no such authority.  Mystical metaphysics has nothing to do with it.  No metaphysical hypotheses of any kind is offered.  

  13. On 4/27/2022 at 1:52 PM, tadmjones said:

    ... if the role of central banking and currency control are factored in.

    The root all evil ....

    French journalist made a Ukraine documentary in 2016.  53 minutes long, so set aside time for it


  14. 19 hours ago, 2046 said:

    The concept to be placed opposite is seeking correspondence in the appropriate ways as opposed to just having correspondence. I do think there is a concept of seeking correspondence (a long winded way of saying seeking truth) in inappropriate ways. An example might be phlogiston, a substance thought to be released during combustion. They early chemists really were trying to understand something, had various reasons for why they postulated this, and began to abandon the concept after it became clear that there was no such thing and the reasons were methodically bad.

    2046, thank you for the example.  Phlogiston is exactly the kind of theory that was created by early scientists trying to apply rationality, and discarded by later scientists also trying to be rational but with more knowledge.  The degree of correspondence or lack of correspondence of this theory to reality had little to do with honesty or dishonesty.  "Seeking correspondence in the appropriate way" means, in my understanding, applying reason to the best of one's ability but is not a  guarantee of being correct.  From the reverse perspective, being wrong is not proof of irrationality or dishonesty or inappropriateness.

  15. 13 hours ago, 2046 said:

    I mean if we're going by Rand's honesty, that isn't even what she says honesty is. The pivotal feature of Rand's egoistic honesty versus the conventional account is one's relationship to facts, not to the beliefs of others.

    2046, honesty being "one's relationship to facts" is broad enough to encompass simply not being wrong about one's conclusions.  But one can hold a wrong conclusion for any number of reasons that do not involve honesty or dishonesty or evasion.  Being uninformed, making a hasty generalization, making a value judgement on how to spend one's time, methodological errors in calculating - all of those are cured by the commitment to being rational over time which includes rejecting contradictions as one becomes aware of them and always expanding one's knowledge.  Honesty does not prevent error or remedy it.

    The object of actions of honesty or dishonesty is other minds, and presentations or misrepresentations of facts are means to that end.  The objects of the virtuous actions of honesty are other minds, and it is on that basis (the object of the action) that distinguishes honesty from rationality.  The object of actions of rationality is existence/reality.

    For our convenient reference the appropriate Rand quote on honesty is copied below:

    Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee—that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.

    Galt’s Speech,
    For the New Intellectual, 129

  16. Continuing to work things out, lets consider virtues.  From the Lexicon": 

    “Value” is that which one acts to gain and keep, “virtue” is the action by which one gains and keeps it.

    Galt’s Speech,
    For the New Intellectual, 121

    and then further:  

    My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man’s virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.

    Galt’s Speech,
    For the New Intellectual, 128

    The virtues most directly founded in ethics and not requiring others as objects of the virtuous action are rationality, productiveness, and pride.  The other virtues are essentially political virtues.  Independence is not a virtue unless there is possibility of being dependent, which requires some other person.  Honesty is not a virtue unless there is a possibility of deception, which requires some other person to be deceived.  Justice is not a virtue unless there is possibility of being unjust to some other person.  Once one has learned dishonesty or unjustness they can be turned on oneself, but they must be first learned from others. 


    edit:  I forgot integrity.  Upon further consideration it seems redundant.  It seems to be a meta-virtue, a reminder to be virtuous.

  17. On 4/21/2022 at 4:47 PM, Doug Morris said:

    If we are to have an objective context for Objectivist political theory, we probably need both an objective definition of politics and an objective definition of government.

    I agree.  Rand gives a good starting point for an objective definition.   This presumes a definition for institution.

    A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area.

    “The Nature of Government,”
    The Virtue of Selfishness, 107

  18. 20 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    Then is "an inherent political action" an interaction as in  a human interaction?

    It seems it has to be a "rules based" agreement of some sort.

    The problem I run into is "An individual makes up a society", but "an individual is not a society". 2 or more people makes up a society and also is a society. Now is a political entity a subspecies of society?

    Non-human actors are encompassed by the term "actors", so it doesn't have to be a human interaction.   The coordination of that action is significant, so there are principles and rules involved but not necessarily agreement as much political action is informal and to some degree involuntary such as in one's assigned place in a social pecking order.  Social hierarchies are found in most social species.  Some political principles of social hierarchies can inferred by studying non-human social species, such as in The Politics of Chimpanzees by Frans de Waal.

    Politics is a branch of philosophy but 'society' is the single word used as a noun to refer to several individuals as a political unit.  Society is defined as "an organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity" but also has a usage referring to the whole "aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community."   "Political entity" and "society" are synonyms or nearly so, but "society" has the advantage of being a word and not a noun phrase.

  19. 11 hours ago, Boydstun said:

    Rand inverted the concept of justice and of honesty in order to make them at root purely individual egoist virtues in an easy way. That is, her definitions of them fail to notice that they are firstly concepts for social contexts and only reflectively and analogically virtues such as are needed by a solitary person on a deserted island. 

    "Coordinated action by two or more actors" may be the fundamental setup for there being rights, justice, and honesty as pertinent moral concepts and the distinctively moral concepts arising together with the political in a broad sense. 

    Is lying and learning to lie an inherently political action, requiring the presence of another person and mind? I think so now.  Would a hypothetic child that somehow had language and the ability to think but never had the opportunity to learn about lying to others or be lied to by others have any comprehension of or use for the virtue of honesty?  I think not.

  20. 16 hours ago, 2046 said:

    I mean this talk of a "basic political unit" what does it mean? What problem is it solving? There is a question about the foundation of politics and there is a question about the basic political unit. Are those the same thing? What work is the basic unit doing?

    Proper definitions are important for clear thinking.  For politics as philosophy the genus we already knew as human action, a.k.a. ethics.  What I seek to add is an objective differentia.   The definition I propose makes clear that politics is much broader than government or power relations, and has interesting consequences for some of the Objectivist virtues as Stephen Boydstun points out.  There is also the original post at the head of the thread posing the problem in terms of objectivity.

  21. Here's my take on it.  

    The big open ended question of ethics is "What should one do?" Rand starts her talk/essay Philosophy: Who Needs It with a science fiction scenario of an astronaut crash landed on an unknown planet and show how the astronaut needs and in fact acts out some philosophy whatever he does or doesn't do.  She affirms elsewhere that one needs ethics stranded alone on a desert island.  Ethics is about "what should one do?".

    To make progress toward a rational answer Rand creates some conceptual handles on the problem.  The question is about action, and action has objects and actors.  Only living things need to act.  Living things need to act to gain certain things to continue to live and act further.  She defines value as "that which one acts to gain or keep", with the "one" encompassing any single living organism not just people.  The objective basis of ethics is values.

    Ethics is a necessity for people because of their conceptual faculty and volition, but not for plants or animals.  Ethical philosophy is essentially which values are chosen, what standard is used to choose them,  and how they are ordered and organized.

    Politics isn't any different from ethics in its objects, by which I mean politics is still about values.  Values are still that which one acts to gain or keep, never a collective.  Politics differs from ethics in its method: more than one individual is acting toward the same value.  Values are still necessarily selfish/egoistic even when working with others to achieve them.  

    The ethical standard of value, selection of values, hierarchy of values, in fact the entire code of values stays the same and doesn't change for politics.  There is no separate political code of values just a political means of obtaining them.

    All human action comes within the scope of ethics because all action will have some result gained or kept.  Only action taken with others is within the scope of politics.  Politics is a subset of ethics in this way, and is also conceptually dependent upon ethics via the reuse of the concept of value.

    "Acting with others" is sufficiently value-free to qualify as an objective basis to defining the scope of politics.  It encompasses everything from robbery, murder and slavery (the other need not be voluntarily cooperating, this is about your values not the other guy's) to family, trading, and voting.  This definition can apply to animals when they act together because the definition is about acting not philosophizing.  

    Economics is "acting with others for material values".  Trading, robbery and slavery are within economics as well as politics and ethics.  

    The basic political unit is coordinated action by two or more actors.  

  22. 3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    A people who are consciously and deliberately deciding they do not want to be governed by the people around them? Sounds organized even if not formalized on the face of it.

    And should a roving gang of thugs rise in their midst, what then? 

    Some systems are weaker than others.  That doesn't make it not a system.

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