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Posts posted by iplaydrums24

  1. A friend brought up a pretty interesting point the other day when we were talking about the proper role of government. We have both read the objectivist position regarding government's sole role as protector of individual rights against the use of force and coercion, and how in an ethical society taxes would be completely optional. Yet he mentioned that our government, while it does act in unethical ways, does present distinct advantages. NASA is a perfect example. In an objectivist society, NASA would be impossible. No man or small collection of men would have the manpower, ability and most importantly the money to fund shuttle trips to the moon. Only our current government has the appropriate amount of money to do that. Granted, this is a perfect example of the idea that the end does not justify the means, yet organizations like NASA are essential to human survival. I seriously doubt that anyone could make a logical argument that our species can survive on earth forever, it just isn't possible.

    To be human is to be a society of expanded social reproduction, where sovereign individuals, out of selfish motives, create new tools and methods that improve the labor and as a corollary increase the standard of living for all. Any society where the government or people, such as in fascist or totalitarian states, does not support expanded social reproduction will eventually die out, and are known as societies of negative social reproduction. Mankind cannot survive on the status quo of the quantity and quality of products we have; societies that attempt to do so are entropic and will fail. It is inherently human to progress and advance labor and population. My concern is that an objectivist government may be like that with regards to never getting off the planet. Yes, i understand why taxes are unethical, yet in a society of truly limited government, entities like NASA would not exist, it would not be feasible. I'm concerned that the objectivist view of government is too limited and, at some point, will turn into one of negative social reproduction because it doesn't enable us to leave the planet. Any thoughts?

    edited for grammar

  2. My botany professor has been showing my class a pretty interesting movie regarding the effect of genetically engineered crops on health and society. One of the main topics dealt with the food company Monsanto, who have been producing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and seeds that are resistant to pesticides such as RoundUp. A particular interesting issue that was brought up was that Monsanto tried to patent one of their genetically modified seeds, claiming that because they modified it they in essence created a new product that was their property. The Supreme Court ruled in their favor and declared that seeds could be patented. Since then, Monsanto has begun placing patents on all seeds that do not currently have one. Does Monsanto have the right to do this? Sure, they did technically create a new 'product', but seeds are still living organisms. Can living organisms be owned?

    The video also documented farmers who, unknown to them, had plants growing in their fields that were RoundUp resistant, and featured traits of Monsanto produced GMOs. These seeds were not purchased by the farmers, rather they resulted in cross-breeding between Monsanto seeds from other farms and trucks that were blown into non-GMO fields, creating hybrid plants. Monsanto, finding out about this, sent scientists to test these crops (against the farmers will and knowledge, as no farmer knew testers were on their land until they received a lawsuit, which is highly illegal and unethical) and sued these farmers for patent infringement. Even though the farmers did not intend to or take part in the actual cross-breeding of the seeds, the court still ruled in favor of Monsanto, claiming that the patent for the seeds holds strong in examples of cross-breeding because the traits of the patented seed are present in the new plant. While this is technically legal, is the patent law itself wrong and immoral? How can one patent an organism when the life and outcome of said organism is unpredictable? Plants constantly undergo change and evolution, so does Monsanto have the right to own any byproduct of their patented seed?

    This also raises an interesting precedent regarding designer babies (genetically altered fetuses) and other bio-engineered animals or people. Can a company patent a clone or a result of cell/embryonic research? If the courts rule in favor of patenting plants, what is to stop corporations from patenting people? The precedent has been set that living organisms can be owned.

    For more information regarding the film, here is the website: http://www.thefutureoffood.com/

  3. I'm currently in my second year of college, and I live with by best friend of 14 years. We are both musicians, love the same music and were in a band together all throughout high school. Our band broke up after we graduated high school, as we all left for different colleges (save my friend and I), although my best friend was fortunate to meet a group of students here who are in a band that needed a new vocalist, and they chose him after an audition. I have not been able to find anyone here on campus to play music with, and it is very upsetting for me because I spent four of the best years of my life playing music with the people who became my closest friends.

    The problem I am facing is that despite the rising success of their band, I'm having trouble being supportive. It is really upsetting to me that whenever my buddy talks about his band and all the opportunities they have and the possibility of getting a record deal it makes me jealous, and I act indifferent and unresponsive to him, which sickens me. I should be supportive, and deep down I am, but I have trouble expressing my happiness for him. I think that some part of me is repressing my congratulations because I am jealous that he is getting all of these amazing opportunities that we dreamed about together for years. It isn't like we competed against each other for the one spot and he beat me for it; in that case I could understand if I felt upset, but I would also recognize that he is better than I and earned the spot. I realize that it was luck that he happened to meet the right people who needed the skill that he, and not I, can provide and yet it still angers me to know that he has this amazing opportunity. I guess it would be accurate to say that I am upset and feeling like I'm getting left behind while my best friend is living our dream without me. I didn't write all this to beg for your sympathy or ask for pity, I just wanted to write this out to see if anyone has been in a similar situation or can help me understand why I'm being such an ass and help me with my problem.

  4. My friend and I have been discussing free will. He argues that man has no actual choice in his decisions because on a molecular level, man will always act the same way and therefore has no free will. He views men as robots, whose personalities and decisions are wired on a bio chemical level. Thus, he states that even with the absence of a God, each individual man will act in a set way, even when presented with a choice. What would the objectivist response to this be? I argue that man does have free will because we are volitional, and when presented with a choice we can choose to think rationally or irrationally, or to not even think at all, without any being having foreknowledge. He counters that because man is wired a certain way, there can never be true choice. I say that yes, the molecules that compose my brain will always tell me to think rationally and logically, but I still have free will. We both agree that there is no higher power with foreknowledge about what action we will choose.

    edited for grammar

  5. The only alternative path that I can see is to consider the woman's possible obligation to confess. Kat's point about her attempting to gain value under false pretenses is basically in the right direction, if their relationship is indeed contingent on withholding this information. She potentially has a moral obligation. However, there is no absolute duty to confess, and it could be that confession would be an irrational sacrifice.

    Like Kat said, isn't the continuing friendship now based on false pretenses? Is it not unfair to him to believe that their relationship has mutual trust and is strong, when in reality it is a facade? Shouldn't the woman, who wishes to continue to be friends, admit to her mistake? I see the act of cheating as the irrational sacrifice, the potential sacrifice of a relationship, rather than the admittance being an irrational sacrifice. Wouldn't the admittance be the woman owning up to her mistake, and admitting the truth in order to show her ex that she can be honest and make amends? The sacrifice was when she cheated on him. If admitting is a sacrifice, than what is the point of ever admitting to anything if it just has the potential to ruin things? If one didn't want to ruin something, one shouldn't commit to making a mistake, like cheating.

    Edit: I am only referring to her moral obligation to tell him. I don't feel like it is my place to tell him, especially considering I don't like him at all.

  6. Are you asking either "Does he have an obligation to be told, even if it's against his will", or "Do I have an obligation to break my promise to not tell"? Well, clearly he is under no obligation to be informed of this situation (what would be the source of this supposed obligation?), and as far as I know, you did not promise the girlfriend to keep this secret to begin with, and secondly I cannot imagine what kind of contract you would have gotten yourself involved in where you would gain some obligation to break such a promise.


    It does not seem to me that you would be violating anybody's rights by telling or by keeping silent...The more rational solution would be to simply have nothing further to do with him, but perhaps if he is threatening others in some way, I could remotely see the point of revenge. Can you further justify an urge for payback?

    I have no desire to tell him, as I feel that if he is going to find out, my friend should be the one to tell him because she was the one who committed the act. I do not care for him as a person, and I have no desire to exact revenge upon him or to ruin his day. I agree that I should have nothing to do with him, and I don't, yet despite my lack of respect for him, I feel that the obligation for him to know what happened comes from my friend, the one who cheated one him, continuing to be good friends with him, and with him having feelings for her.

  7. If he is now her ex I don't see why he needs to know. If he wants to be close friends or perhaps get back together with him then it is dishonest for her to say nothing because she would be trying to earn his affection under false pretenses.

    perhaps i should clarify: they are still close friends, and he wants to get together with her, but from what I've heard the feeling isn't mutual. Ironically, he cheated on his next girlfriend with her. He is the definition of a scumbag, but despite the fact that I dislike him, I still think he has a right to know.

  8. A friend of mine (I know how often in movies when a character says 'a friend of mine did...' they are actually referring to themselves. I assure you this is not the case) cheated on her boyfriend just under a year ago, and to date has never told him. When I asked her why, and told her that I believe he has a right to know that his trust was violated, she told me that she will never bring it up with him because she doesn't want to bring up mistakes that happened a long time ago. Regardless of when it happened, doesn't the boyfriend - who is now her ex for different reasons - have a right to know?

    It bothers me that she can be so nonchalant about keeping something of that nature a secret from him.

  9. I was reading through The Virtue of Selfishness, and I decided to look up Nathaniel Branden to learn some more about him after reading his articles. To my surprise, I learned that he and Rand had an longstanding affair while they were both married to other people. I was shocked to learn this, and even more surprised to learn that Rand terminated her friendship with Branden when she learned that he was with another women (after divorcing his wife and ending his relationship with Rand) against her wishes.

    I always believed that someone who considers themselves to be an Objectivist, especially the founder herself, would be morally against adultery. Yes, I understand that Rand believed Branden to be her, for lack of a better term, soul mate, but by cheating on her husband, isn't that disrespectful to her husband and herself? Not to mention, I assume that Rand had to believe that, until she met Branden, her sould mate was her current husband otherwise she wouldn't of married him. If she chose to be married to her husband, does he not deserve the right to be informed of an affair? How could he be convinced to go along with it? Not to mention, it seems hypocritical of Rand to cut Branden out of her life when she learned of his relationship with another woman after her. For all she knew, Branden could have thought the third women was his soul mate, more so than Rand. Shoudn't Rand respect his decision?

  10. Before I actually describe the problem at hand, I think it is imperative that I provide a little backstory to help make things clear.

    My senior year in high school, I had a steady girlfriend. It started off great; she was gorgeous, strong willed and very individualistic, and she is the only girl I have ever truly been in love with. The relationship went downhill as it progressed: she cheated on me a few times, would go through periods where she didn't know how she felt for me, and would ignore me and insult me at parties or when we were with friends (ditched me at my senior prom, for instance). She ended our relationship because she didn't want to be dating me when I would be in school two hours away from her, because she knew she would cheat on me, and she also said that if we stayed in a relationship, she would end up hating me, and she didn't want that: she'd much rather remain good friends. I agreed, because I didn't want to lose her.

    We talked every now and then when I was at school, and hooked up occasionally when I came home from breaks. I justified hooking up with her because before and after each time, she told me she still had feelings for me, and I was hoping our physical relations would bring us back together. Even though I reminded myself that she took advantage of me, used me and at times treated me like shit, there were many amazing times as well. She was almost like two different people: when we were alone, together, she was perfect. We got along great and were very happy together. The other side was when we were with groups of people, where she would ignore me and walk away if I tried talking to her. There were also times when I came home when she told me she was falling for me again, and even at one point tearfully admitted that she was sorry for taking me for granted and ruining our relationship. Basically, she is very bipolar. When it was good, it was very good and when it was bad, it was shitty.

    Now, one year later, I can officially say that I am no longer in love with her, nor do I harbor any feelings that can be classified as more than just friends. I can also fully admit that she is, by today's definition, a "slut". She lost her virginity to me, which she was glad about because she wanted to lose it to someone she loved, but since then she has had sex with two random guys, both times when she first met them and has told me that to her, sex has no special meaning. She cheated on me, cheated on her next boyfriend, just recently cheated on her current boyfriend with her ex-boyfriend, and will often hook up with random guys when single. She will also make up excuses and deny cheating.

    When I was away at school I was happy because I had distance from her. Now that I am home, she wants to hang out with me, as she still views me as a close friend. To be honest, I don't really want to but at the same time I do because I am still very, very attracted to her in a purely sexual way. This is my dilemma: I am physically attracted to this girl, who is both horrid and amazing at the same time, and I hate myself for it. I have a huge desire to sleep with her, just one more time and it somewhat sickens me because I know now how sexually promiscuous she is with other guys. I feel that, by sleeping with her, I will conquer not her, but the injustices she has done to me. All of the shit she has put me through will go away if I sleep with her. I don't know why, I just feel like that will give me one last sense of ownership, something I haven't felt over her in a long time. On the other hand, I also want to because I feel like if we sleep together, we will connect like we used to, even if only for one more time. Deep down I still care about her, so sleeping with her will fulfill both needs. At least, I think so.

    As I said she wants to hang out. Part of me doesn't because I am to good for her, and am sick of putting up with her. Part of me does because I know that she is attracted to me, and if I really want to we will sleep together. Part of me also wants to explain all this to her, although I doubt she'll comprehend it all, and the last thing I want is her to misinterpret my feelings. Are any of my feelings rational or moral, or I am just mixed up from everything I've been through? By sleeping with her again, would I just be degrading myself and my one sense of self worth?

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but thank you to those of you who read it. Figuring this out is very important to me.

  11. My philosophy professor brought up a really interesting, albeit highly unlikely, situation and asked what we would do. Here is the situation:

    Imagine a man has strapped a bomb with a timer to an infant, and if it goes off it will kill thousands of people. It is possible to defuse the bomb, but only if it is removed from the baby. If the bomb is removed, however, the baby will die. It is your decision what to do with the bomb.

    In this situation, wouldn't the only ethical thing to do would be to do nothing at all? By allowing the bomb to explode, thousands will die, but removing the bomb means you assisted in taking a life. Wouldn't it be unethical to allow for the bomb to go off or to diffuse it, because that would mean you are the means to someone else's end? It isn't your responsibility, as the man who armed the bomb is the unethical one who is putting innocent lives in danger. I thought it was pretty interesting to think about.

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