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DavidOdden

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  1. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Prometheus88 in Should duels be legal?   
    No, that is not correct. It is not correct to say that because men are ends in themselves, no man may initiate the use of force against another.
  2. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Ben Archer in Abortion   
    It is important to frame this discussion in terms of principles, and the right principles. The "right to life" does not follow immediately from "the ability to reason" whereby losing the ability to reason means that you lose your right to life. How can one make a direct connection between "ability to reason" and "has rights"? I've never seen it done. The connection is more involved -- more steps, but simpler and I would say more solid steps. Very briefly and I admit, not at all complete (but in the form of extracted quotes from VOS), "Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law", "man must act for his own rational self-interest. But his right to do so is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in human life", "The men who attempt to survive, not by means of reason, but by means of force, are attempting to survive by the method of animals", "Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses. It is a faculty that man has to exercise by choice", "men cannot survive by attempting the method of animals", "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others".
    The main points where people seem to have the greatest problems seem to be over the fact that "rights" is a social concept, which pertains to the relationship of others to the individual. There are no concerns about rights when you are dealing with a man on a deserted island. Rights are moral concepts, meaning principles, and not a collection of unrelated concrete instantiations. They have a purpose -- man's survival, given the facts of reality. Especially when combined with the function of government (to protect rights, and use force as required), it is imperative that notions of rights be expressed in objectively stated law that says clearly what a man may and may not do, a law whose reason for existence is objectively proven.

    The ability of men to correctly assess "can reason" is highly variable and IMO highly imperfect at best. (I claim that our knowledge of the faculty of reason is, scientifically, rather primitive and most important we cannot reliably distinguish expressive disorders from an actual lack of rational faculty). On the other hand, there is at least presently no serious question as to what constitutes "man" -- there are no actual man-ape chimeras. Senile adults do not become unclaimed property, there for the harvesting, when their ability to reason seems to be sufficiently compromised, because they are still men, and men have rights. It is possible that a given adult is really brain-damaged enough that they literally have no conceptual consciousness or free will, but that conclusion cannot be validated with certainty, excluding the alternative conclusion that the person does still have conceptual consciousness and free will yet suffers from severe motor impairment or memory dysfunction. Thus the government correctly has laws that limits the ability of one man to treat another as property -- it prohibits it, unconditionally.

    Note, for example, that Shiavo, who was a plausible candidate for "genetic homo sapiens without a rational faculty", was allowed to die -- was not killed, or turned into propery for exploitation. Where the notion of "rights" gets confusing in such cases is that the notion of "rights" has become perverted to mean "entitlement", and extends to such attrocities as "the right to a free education, the right to health care" and in Schiavo's case, "the right to be kept alive though active medical intervention without permission".
  3. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from softwareNerd in Chicago Bans Foie Gras   
    Plunge into a kettle of boiling salted water; cook for 5-10 minutes until the shell is bright red; serve with drawn butter. Evaluate.
  4. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Global Warming   
    Objectivism being Ayn Rand's philosophy, an "official position" would have to come from her writing. The mis-concept "global warming" was invented / promulgated after her death, so she didn't speak of it (as she also had nothing to say about the internets).

    The way an Objectivist should approach the question is to first identify the referent -- what is the referent of "global warming". It's a high-level abstraction, referring to a supposed significant trend for the temperature of Earth to increase, due to the activities of man. There are many reasons to not accept that there is "global warming". First, it has not been reliably demonstrated that there is such a trend of global temperature increase. A difference in average measured temperature from 2006 to 2007 isn't a "trend". Second, and most importantly, it also has not been established (and here I don't even think there has been any attempt to try to establish this) that such a "trend" is due to the actions of man and is not due to natural factors that lead to temperature fluctuation without the aid of man. If you were to graph scientifically-conjectured temperature on Earth over a long period of time (a hundred thousand years or so), you would not be able to discern any difference between the past 50 years and other times in the past when man had not even discovered pants.

    If it is proven that man's actions are causing a temperature increase on Earth, and if it is proven that such a temperature increase is inimical to man's survival (there isn't any substantial argument to that effect), then rational men would diagnose the exact cause of this problem and would make an appropriate choice, based on reason. Objectivists oppose initiating force against men which is based on irrational fear, and that is what "global warming" as a political movement is -- the initiation of force against men of the mind, based on an irrational fear.
  5. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from chuff in Tabula Rasa   
    If you want your argument to be taken seriously, you need to first understand the "tabula rasa" claim, then secondly demonstrate (drawing on Pinker if you want) those scientific facts that refute this tenet of Objectivism. I don't believe that you have done the first, or that you can do the second.
    None of his arguments about language are applicable: they either show a frankly unscientific trend to evangelism in leaping to conclusions not supported by the data (many of his claims about notions of structure, which it turns out are no longer believed by even the most ardent Chomskian nativists), or they are simply inapplicable to the tabula rasa debate -- they pertain to the capacity to learn, not to the prior presence of knowledge. This is the fundamental problem that opponents of tabula rasa fail to grasp -- that the claim is that man is born without specific knowledge of reality; it is not that man is born with no mental ability and must learn how to have mental ability.

    I suggest digging deeper, looking at the actual research literature, to see what these experiments establish, rule out, and simply "hint". What, for example, is there about a baby being surprised at having multiple toys emerging on the other side of the screen that proves that man has genetically-wired knowledge of thenature of the universe? What fact of the experiment establishes that this is not something that children learn, from observation of the world about them? How, by the setup of the experiment, were the children prevented from getting the notion of "motion" before the experiment?

    The fact that brain damage can lead to aphasia in no way establishes any genetic knowledge: it establishess that language is in the brain, not in the foot (in case there is any doubt). So please, look back at your brain-damage argument, and try to understand how that is simply not relevant to the question of tabula rasa. The nativists seem to not understand what the actual claim is -- they are basing their arguments, at best, on long-ago refuted behaviorist notions. So let's see some arguments that actually establish that babies have concrete knowledge of the world which precedes any experience with the fact. Arguments that "language is in the brain" is clearly irrelevant.

    Twin studies, similarly, do nothing to establish knowledge. Objectivism does not hold that your nature, in terms of your consciousness, is entirely independent of your brain. Show me the twin study that establishes actal knowledge prior to experience shared by identical twins.
  6. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from chuff in Painbody Energy Field?   
    Here's a simple way to determine whether a claim should be dismissed without further consideration. Read the page and think carefully about what he says, specifically asking "Is that literally true; does it refer to anything?" and "Is that a sensible factual claim that anyone is aware of"? Every time you find the author saying something that can't be interpreted literally, or which is a substantial claim of fact without necessary evidence, raise a finger on one hand. By the time you have raised 5 fingers (let's call the thumb a finger), then go Google something else and ignore the lunatics.

    So: "This accumulated pain...". A basic fact about English (admittedly not Tolle's native language) is that you can't start with a reference to "This X" without establishing what that referent is. What accumulated pain? 1 finger. Next, "is a negative energy field". Now there is such a thing as an electric field, the space surrounding charged particles, but not an "energy field", and therefore we cannot determine whether such a thing has a net positive or negative charge. 2 fingers. Next, "that occupies your body and mind". Notice the invalid mind / body dichotomy, and the false implication that this "energy field" is conscious (it is in the nature of the verb "occupy" that the occupier be conscious). 3 fingers. "If you look on it as an invisible entity in its own right, you are getting qu(i)te close to the truth". This is a classic bit of primacy of consciousness. Setting aside the gibberishness of "invisible entity in its own right", the act of deciding to believe something about an existent, without having a reason to believe that proposition, fails definitionally at "getting at the truth". The act of arbitrarily accepting a proposition does not constitute grasping reality, any more than random parrot squawking constitutes "speaking the truth". And obviously he does not mean "unseeable; visually transparent" when he says "invisible" -- he means "undetectable, in principle", meaning "non-existent". An existent (entity) that doesn't exist. That's 4. "It's the emotional pain body". And what is his evidence that this invisible non-existent is emotional? How do we know that it has any connection at all to emotion? Maybe it's simply because we haven't adjusted out aluminum foil hats properly.

    Never read more that the first paragraph: it can be fatal to your faculty of reason.
  7. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from chuff in Formal Logic   
    For starters, there is no example there of helping you be certain that an argument is deductively valid. The formal sequence is one allowed by the rules of deduction, so this is actually a nice case arguing against formal logic, if one wanted to make the case. (It's an argument against inept logic). Arguments are made in natural language, and in order to formally validate an argument, you have to be able to perform a correct translation from natural language. That's what this "argument" didn't do. Let's see how that goes. I'll just take the first two lines of the argument


    1. God knows which outcome situation F will have at time t 1. (premise or hypothesis)2. If God knows which outcome situation F will have at time t 1, then the situation will necessarily have that outcome. (premise)

    I won't pick on their English much (bad use of "have"). By symbol substitution you can represent 1 as 1′: P. You cannot do that with 2 to 2′. Let's reword 2 as 2a:


    2. If God knows which outcome situation F will have at time t 1, then necessarily the situation will have that outcome.
    so by symbol substitution 2a you can get 2′: P→ □Q. I'm just focusing on the formal part. I will henceforth correct the wording. And then you can get by ordinary modus ponens 3. Necessarily the situation will have that outcome, formally □Q.

    Introducing a new assumption 4. If necessarily the situation will have that outcome, then no human in the situation F has free will, we can symbolize that as 4′ □Q→S.

    Now, here is the technical problem. The symbolization of 4 with Q is invalid, since Q is already "taken". Q is actually logically complex, and the Q of 3 is not the same as the Q of 4, because both Q's use two variable, corresponding to natural language "the situation" and "that outcome". It is not guaranteed that these refer to exactly the same things, therefore you cannot translate the two (distinct) propositions into the same letter. The antecedent in 4 must be R, or some other letter.

    In addition, the validity of the axioms of modal logic are (unlike those in first order logic) of dubious truth value. The validity of rules pertaining to "&" derive from the fact that it reflects the semantics of "and"; but that isn't the case for modals.

    So before getting to any Objectivist-type content, we are not seeing any use of formal logic to establish logical validity of an argument (you are seeing a misuse). You are not even seeing proper application of formal logic.

    Now we could turn to the Objectivist content, of course. As you know, false and arbitrary propositions are not possible premises in a deduction; thus the premises must be proven first. Hence this attempt doesn't even get out of the barn.

    To turn to your addendum, your candidates


    I) M(P -> Q)
    II) P -> MQ
    aren't formally well-formed. You can't just ram letters and parentheses together. Eventually you might come up with a system where those are well-formed expressions, but so what, because we still need to relate them to an argument -- which is a linguistic expression. Until you have a proven translation from natural language to formalization, you don't have an object that can be formally evaluated and found valid or invalid.

    So that's a nutshell of the reason why formal logic is not useful for evaluating the validity of an argument. It is neither necessary nor sufficient (in fact, it is not presently possible).
  8. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Grames in Mosque on the Twin Towers ruins   
    Ah, so your strategy is to deny that there even is such a thing as "Islam"? Since Soviet Communism, Chinese Communism and Cuban Communism differ in minute ways, are we to conclude that there is no such thing as Communism? Since Appaloosas, Clydesdales, Arabians, Lipizzan and Mustang are obviously different, do we conclude that there is no such thing as a horse? The fact that you can nit-pick the Islamic cult into innumerable sub-cults does not negate the fact that they have in common the fact of being versions of Islam, just as Catholicism, Orthodoxology and Protestantism are sub-types of Christianity.
    Hezbollah, an Islamist terrorist organization, is Shiite, and as you know, Sunnis and Shiites are about as far apart as you can get in the Islamic world. The fact that 9-11 was implemented by one particular version of Islam does not contradict the broader truth that Islam itself teaches and causes a terrorist-friendly ideology, via the concept of jihad.

    I grant the possibility that Ahmadiyya is no more Islam that Mormonism is Christian, but that is irrelevant to the valid generalization about what caused 9-11.
  9. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from nakulanb in Roads   
    That's one way to look at it. Or, people pay for roads involuntarily, thruogh the government.It's totally sweet to be able to walk into a grocery store and take all the food you want without having to pay; to fly anywhere in the world without paying; to just walk into a doctor's occice and say "Treat me!" without paying; I just love going to the hardware store and picking up a load of 2-by-4's without having to go through a checkout lane.Privately and voluntarily. You may provide free access, if you wish, assuming you own a road. Try using the search function, to see more specific proposals regarding roads. GC has posts on the topic, for example.
  10. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from chuff in How do you reject Physics Determinism?   
    You should always ignore assertions; it's not possible to apply reason to irrationality. If your friend can change his position to being a conclusion logically connected to fact, then it's possible to address the logic or the facts. You can never logically address an arbitrary assertion.
  11. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Ben Archer in "Libertarian" as a concept   
    I'm very skeptical about the importance of such a classification. I very much doubt that it allows you to find people similar to me in political view (and "allows" implies that I won't be able to find such people if I don't have a special term that covers our similarity). For example, the actual prior existence of a term "Objectivist" does not thereby empower me to find such people, and one of the first people that I ever met who was (in fact) an Objectivist did not know that she was an Objectivist, she just liked the philosophy of Ayn Rand. It's not the label that makes it possible to find people who share your values, it's the existence of a public venue such as OO, a Tea Party event, a public lecture or whatever that brings people with shared values into proximity.
    As for allowing or even facilitating concise and clear discussion, that is exactly why constructing a term to describe a shared superficial outcome (a position on what governments should do) is contrary to the function of conceptualization. It is the brute-force welding of unrelated perspectives, and the implication that there is common ground is very misleading. The union "Objectivists and libertarians" is, like my construct "Q", based on non-essentials. The reason is that once you go past the superficial similarity in how we would characterize our beliefs about government, there is no similarity in the underlying causal principles behind our identifications of the proper role of government. For example, there is no libertarian position on abortion, and while many libertarians seem to support a woman's right to abortion (as do most socialists), the most famous libertarian politician opposes abortion. That means that libertarianism is actually compatible with the initiation of force by the government, which is clearly inconsistent with Objectivism. Another example is the well-known libertarian concept of "free market of force", whereby Tannahelp and any number of other companies are allowed to compete to protect your rights. This is diametrically in opposition to the Objectivist position on the monopoly of force.

    Thus a new construct that refers to agreement with a particular sentence ("The role of government should be restricted to the protection of rights") obscures more than it reveals; it fails to fulfill the cognitive function of concepts, because it omits essential measurements.

    Now, suppose that you decide (as I think you have) that you want to work with anyone who shares certain similarities in politics. If your state is considering a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the recognition of gay marriage, then you could join with the libertarians in working against this amendment. But you can also join with gays and liberals, who will also oppose such an amendment. Thus if you goal is to find those people that you agree with, this new terminology will prevent you from seeing that you have a specific short term goal in common with certain other people. Is there a proposal to raise taxes? It's not just the libertarians who will oppose raising taxes -- go find the conservatives, if you're interested in talking to people who are like you on that point. So again, cooking up a word to make you think that there's a similarity between Objectivists and libertarians will just make it harder for you to realize that you have issue-similarities with other non-libertarian people.
  12. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Alex Bott in Pre-emptive War: e.g. Should we nuke Tehran?   
    Are you asking for an exhaustive list, or a general characterization? I assume you know what "threat" means; then threatening the US is making a threat against the US (in part or in whole). For example, but not limited to, threatening to fly a plane into a building, threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on the US, threatening to blow up buildings, people, livestock, cars.... threatening to release neurotoxins, or biological agents, threatening to EMP the nation into the stone age, threatening to destroy the power grid, or power generating facilities, or blow up petroleum or natural gas pipelines, threatening to destroy our food supply, or our capacity to produce food... I really hope that you don't seriously think that this level of specificity is necessary. All of this is covered under the rubric "initiation of force". I'm saying, don't do it and don't even think of doing it, or we will burn you to a cinder. Although I know that that would violate current US policy.No, that such activity does not constitute a reason to bomb Germany. I take it you did not understand the point about deliberately facilitating terrorism vs. not managing to succeed at stopping terrorism. Do you have a clear idea what part of the distinction eludes you, so that I might try explaining in further detail? This is a really important concept, and since entire nations seem not to get it, I guess it must be strangely difficult to get ahold of.
  13. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Xall in Rand Gets No Respect   
    My first objection is that people should say what they mean, so if Kant meant to state a set of principles relevant only to theft and murder, he should have said that. Second, if we suppose that his version of morality is applicable to only murder and theft, it's clearly inferior to a general theory of morality that applies to all moral issues. The principle underlying eating or stealing peanuts is the same, and Kant didn't seem to get that.This tells me that Kant's formulation is insufficient. It leads to no contradiction, and is one of about 6 billion arbitrary wills that are just sheer acts of willpower and do not derive from the nature of existence (man's existence, in particular).Methinks these texts needeth to be translated into modern English. But furthermore, it doesn't matter to me whether the verb in question entails action or just pure desire -- the point is that the Kantian approach takes desire to be primary. There is no fact of existence that makes my selfishness be a contradiction. I act only with my own existence as my end, and I wish or will not act with the existence of another as my end. Thus I cannot obey the Kantian imperative. I can refrain from murdering, because doing so is a contradication of reality (the nature of man, in particular).I don't buy it. The only valid distinction is between an immediate goal and an ultimate goal. Existence is the ultimate goal. Perhaps rewriting Kant or at least including a set of definitions of "will" and "end" would make his claims seem less incoherent.But this tells me nothing about my relationship to Julie. Who cares if Julie is her own end? I can still say "Julie is her own end; she is a good lay; I'm gonna screw her and leave her". No contradiction there. The question is, can you show me anything in Kant's writings that proves that that would be inconsistent with his imperatives?I'm referring to the suggestion that you shouldn't use people -- that's just not true. You should use people. Did you have an objection to using people (and what is that objection)?No, "nature" is simply "identity". Nature is a fact, not a claim -- in the primacy of consciousness school, I think there isn't any difference between existence and claim, but I'm not talking about metaphysical claims, I'm talking about the actual metaphysical facts. Before there was any apprehension of objects in the universe, e.g. before man existed, there was still a lot of stuff and the things had a nature.Well, what exactly does reason work on? What can you get with pure reason? (Nothing). Why? (Because existence is supreme, and reason is secondary).Your question is not a philosophical one, it's a scientific one. That's a very tough question, which we have a hard answering since this happened quite a long time ago. I propose that (barring the discovery of alien videotapes of human evolution) we may be able to get closer to an answer by (1) a deeper understanding of human brain structure and a good grasp of the mind / body dichotomy, (2) the discovery of other kinds of mind / body dichotomy (laboratory invention, evolution, or alien probe for example). As far as what we can do now, understanding "concepts", "symbolic representation" and the capacity for abstraction would be the most productive use of our time.I agree and disagree. I agree that a focus on Kant is not useful, and personally I find Kant to be incomprehensible. I think that Rand said everything that needs to be said about Kant. I disagree that we should address concerns and problems of the contemporary world, meaning, parochial interests of contemporary academic philosophers or matters that address just contemporary life and death issues -- e.g. is racial profiling at airports morally just. The ancient issues that underly the question are still applicable to matters such as taxation and national defense, and the fact that they have been discussed for millenia doesn't change the fact that taxation and pacifism are both immoral. I don't see any point in spinning your wheels with dedicated irrationalists. Actually, I generally find it pointless to spend a lot of time addressing foolishness, and I find it more productive to only present the truth. Strategically speaking, it can be useful to oppose mistaken ideas but there comes a point at which you can tell that people are no longer using reason on a particular topic, and that is when a rational man should stop addressing the opposition directly. Instead, you can offer the truth, and if there is someone who still uses reason, they will hopefully understand and accept your ideas.
  14. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Sir Andrew in Fact and Value   
    Suppose we have two men, each of whom believes in and advocates contemporary American altruist-socialism (thus hyper-taxing the rich, an extensive welfare state, regulations 'for the same of the people'). Person A has implicitly accepted various general philosophical premises underlying this such position, such as "we need to help those less fortunate", "they have plenty of money, they don't need all that money", but has not intellectually engaged the issues by questioning the logic of the statements, never asking why. Person A is an altruist socialist because "that's what our people have always believed". Person B, in contrast, has actively considered the philosophical underpinnings of altruist socialism, can argue in a persuasive-sounding fashion for the position, and is aware of the opposing arguments.
    Then the question is which is the greater evil. To stumble through life passively, unaware of the sensory evidence that should tell him that his premises are wrong, and in so living his life he supports an evil idea? Or to have an active mind that consciously rejects man's fundamental cognitive tools, actively evading the evidence that altruistic socialism is evil?

    This distinction is addressed in OPAR ch. 2, as the contrast between the mentality that is passive and stagnant, the man who does not work to see, versus the active mind that works to not see. As Peikoff (p. 62) says of evasion, "Morally, it is the essence of evil. According to Objectivism, evasion is the vice that underlies all other vices".

    To answer the question in any specific case, then, I would look to determine whether the evidence tells me that the person is a passive accepter, or an active evader.
  15. Downvote
    DavidOdden got a reaction from The Wrath in Mosque on the Twin Towers ruins   
    Ah, so your strategy is to deny that there even is such a thing as "Islam"? Since Soviet Communism, Chinese Communism and Cuban Communism differ in minute ways, are we to conclude that there is no such thing as Communism? Since Appaloosas, Clydesdales, Arabians, Lipizzan and Mustang are obviously different, do we conclude that there is no such thing as a horse? The fact that you can nit-pick the Islamic cult into innumerable sub-cults does not negate the fact that they have in common the fact of being versions of Islam, just as Catholicism, Orthodoxology and Protestantism are sub-types of Christianity.
    Hezbollah, an Islamist terrorist organization, is Shiite, and as you know, Sunnis and Shiites are about as far apart as you can get in the Islamic world. The fact that 9-11 was implemented by one particular version of Islam does not contradict the broader truth that Islam itself teaches and causes a terrorist-friendly ideology, via the concept of jihad.

    I grant the possibility that Ahmadiyya is no more Islam that Mormonism is Christian, but that is irrelevant to the valid generalization about what caused 9-11.
  16. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from freestyle in How does one practice morality in a mixed economy?   
    I assume you meant that you live there, not that you are property. I understand how, living in India, at least old style, you might say "belong to" .

    But did you know that it was wrong to attend a state school? Was it a fundamental principle of life which you acknowledged, that it was absolutely wrong to accept anything from the government other than protection of rights? If so, and you went to the state school, then to be brutal I would say you were being immoral (moral remenption is always possible). But people often do not really grasp these subtleties until they are much older (Fred used to be a commie!). The basic question is whether you knew that you were doing wrong, and consciously sought the unearned. Failure to consistently integrate all of your knowledge at age 18 is not the worst crime in the world.
    I would suggest concentrating more on choices, rather than actions as absolutes.

    Volition really should be conceptually separated from force, though they aren't totally unrelated. Force is where a volitional being uses (or threatens to use) violence against you. Force is relevant to choice because it presents a metaphysically non-obligatory alternative between life and death. By "metapysically non-obligatory" I mean that reality itself does not necessitate a choice -- the man-made is not metaphysically necessitated. Volition simply refers to the fact that our choices are free -- they are not metaphysically given.

    Yup. I decided to be brief there.
    Yes, it is a volitional choice, but that's not the real issue. What does that choice represent, when you make the choice? Are you implicitly claiming a right to the lives of other people, or are you simply recognising that because of the massive incursions of th state into what should be the domain of free enterprise, the plausible options for you are (1) stay at home, forever -- i.e. curl up and die; (2) somehow overthrow the socialist state and sell the roads (good luck) or (3) deal with the probem that the state has used force to preempt human rights, handing you a contaminated deck of cards.

    The one note of caution I want to append to Eran Dror's Rand quote is that the fact that you've paid taxes which support the state should not amount to a universal entitlement card. If the government taxes you and offers free education, free medicine, free daycare, free vacations, free transportation, free water, free phones, free electricity, free food... (oh, plus some occasional police protection), the fact of paying taxes should not be taken to be an automatic "anything from the government is my right, I'm a taxpayer!" immunity. There has to be a point at which a moral person says "I will not accept this handout from the state".
  17. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from AlexL in Who should we be supporting Israel or the Palestinians   
    You've basically fallen for the libertarian fallacy of imperfection: that any element of rights-violation renders a government indistinguishable from a fascist dictatorship. Thus we are really living in North Korea. It is right for you to complain about taxes, laws against gay marriage, restrictions on business, drug laws, etc. in the US; or Canada. The draft in Israel, or Norway, is clearly wrong. And yet it's not really that hard to distinguish free nations like Israel, the US and France from slave states or anarchy, like North Korea, Somalia and Burma.
    So get back to the fundamental question: existence, or non-existence. The choice that you must make is to either support the survival of Israel, or support the death of Israel. Similarly, we must choose between the survival of North Korea, or the death of North Korea. Death to North Korea; Life to Israel. I take it you disagree, without being able to accept what the death of Israel means. You cannot both have and eat that cake.
  18. Downvote
    DavidOdden got a reaction from 0096 2251 2110 8105 in Hiring Moderators   
    This forum has had moderators for all of the 6+ years that I have participated here, thus the word "advent" is factually wrong.Then you will have established, for all to see, that you are a conceptual savage, living at a purely concrete level, incapable of concept-formation or any other form of generalization. You are simply wrong, in an embarassing fashion, about the import of my suggestion that your unorganized bullet points should be about something.You ought to work on your reasoning and reading skills. (Note to self: I wonder if he will misinterpret this as another threat against his inalienable right to freedom of pointless speech?).
  19. Like
    DavidOdden reacted to RationalBiker in Hiring Moderators   
    The critical distinction missing here is what you are intending to keep is on someone else's property. As such, if a person intended to keep their car on my front lawn, I would not respect their wishes if I didnt' think it served the purpose of my front lawn.

    One of the limitations of posting on another person's property is that it is subject to being removed at the wishes of the owner or designee.
  20. Downvote
    DavidOdden reacted to Mindy in Hiring Moderators   
    Do you moderators consider yourself editors? Or almost? That's not a satisfactory arrangement to me. Isn't it a violation of copyright for you to do editing on people's posts?

    Secondly, (with disregard for my prime project of enamoring myself with the powers that be...) Your parallel between deleted posts and "trash around the house" lacks one critical basis, which is that the trash can in your kitchen contains whatever has been deliberately thrown away. You, as a moderator, on the other hand, are trashing what someone intended to keep, and which they value. The resulting error your metaphor reveals, from this, bears an odor of officiousness that offends me.

    Mindy
  21. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Nate T. in What are the requirements for moral voting?   
    Rule one is that you will get lots of very helpful and contradictory responses. The reason is that all of the real alternatives suck one way or the other, so your question reduces to wondering "what sucks the least".

    In my opinion, it is pointless to give any level of support to a candidate who sucks and has no chance of winning. Since you are using "support" in a broader sense (not just "will vote for" which implies that you live there), I would ask what the actual alternatives are. For example, you may determine that you have $1,000 that you can give to causes, so should you give it to Peter Schiff, or Rand Paul, or John McCain? These are not your only alternatives: you could also give the money to ARI; you could purchase copies of Rand's books and donate them to your local library -- etc. I would do one of the latter two things, rather than give money to a political candidate. You could also spend some time, let's say 200 hours, working for something (distributing literature, making phone calls, writing letters to the editor, etc). Should you dedicate your free time to Peter Schiff? Or should you dedicate your free time writing an article for The Objective Standard, or hanging out at an Objectivist table at a tea party event? I'd go for the latter, myself.

    There's a weaker sense of support, not involving money or time, simply giving "moral support", for example publicly advocating -- when the question arises -- a particular candidate. So if someone asks "Do you support Rand Paul", you could say "Yes" as opposed to "No". But a better option, if it works in the conversation, is to change the conversation to something about why certain ideas are good and worthy of supporting, and why other ideas are bad and need opposition.

    When it comes time to pull an actual lever, though, the question before you is a stark dichotomy: either Rand Paul will be the Senator, or Jack Conway will be the senator. Which one would be a worse senator. Both are dangerous candidates, but one of them will win. Which is the greater threat to our existence, creeping socialism, or theocracy? The answer to that question could push you a particular way. Another more fundamental question is whether it is more dangerous to have a well-defined enemy in government, or an apparent friend who will betray the principles that you support and sully the reputation of those principles. In my opinion, it would do more long-term harm to have a fake capitalist in office than a socialist. One can point to the catastrophe of communist nations as an existence proof that communism is not a proper political system for humans. We do not need a catastrophe perpetrated in the name of capitalism.[Rand had a very appropriate comment on supporting false friends, in CUI, which I cannot find now -- maybe someone out there know what I mean].
  22. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from 2046 in What are the requirements for moral voting?   
    Rule one is that you will get lots of very helpful and contradictory responses. The reason is that all of the real alternatives suck one way or the other, so your question reduces to wondering "what sucks the least".

    In my opinion, it is pointless to give any level of support to a candidate who sucks and has no chance of winning. Since you are using "support" in a broader sense (not just "will vote for" which implies that you live there), I would ask what the actual alternatives are. For example, you may determine that you have $1,000 that you can give to causes, so should you give it to Peter Schiff, or Rand Paul, or John McCain? These are not your only alternatives: you could also give the money to ARI; you could purchase copies of Rand's books and donate them to your local library -- etc. I would do one of the latter two things, rather than give money to a political candidate. You could also spend some time, let's say 200 hours, working for something (distributing literature, making phone calls, writing letters to the editor, etc). Should you dedicate your free time to Peter Schiff? Or should you dedicate your free time writing an article for The Objective Standard, or hanging out at an Objectivist table at a tea party event? I'd go for the latter, myself.

    There's a weaker sense of support, not involving money or time, simply giving "moral support", for example publicly advocating -- when the question arises -- a particular candidate. So if someone asks "Do you support Rand Paul", you could say "Yes" as opposed to "No". But a better option, if it works in the conversation, is to change the conversation to something about why certain ideas are good and worthy of supporting, and why other ideas are bad and need opposition.

    When it comes time to pull an actual lever, though, the question before you is a stark dichotomy: either Rand Paul will be the Senator, or Jack Conway will be the senator. Which one would be a worse senator. Both are dangerous candidates, but one of them will win. Which is the greater threat to our existence, creeping socialism, or theocracy? The answer to that question could push you a particular way. Another more fundamental question is whether it is more dangerous to have a well-defined enemy in government, or an apparent friend who will betray the principles that you support and sully the reputation of those principles. In my opinion, it would do more long-term harm to have a fake capitalist in office than a socialist. One can point to the catastrophe of communist nations as an existence proof that communism is not a proper political system for humans. We do not need a catastrophe perpetrated in the name of capitalism.[Rand had a very appropriate comment on supporting false friends, in CUI, which I cannot find now -- maybe someone out there know what I mean].
  23. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from 2046 in Prop 8 Ruling CA - Bad from O-ist POV   
    Despite the extremely verbose and wide-ranging post on zillions of topics of law and modern politics, I do not see a shred of evidence to support this assertion. Not a single statement quoted from the decision to support your conclusion. Why is that?
  24. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from chuff in Is it immoral to keep getting refunds for books you've bought?   
    I think this well-characterizes your misunderstanding of Objectivism. Objectivism is a philosophy, whereby one applies logic to knowledge of facts and reaches conclusions. But you seem to see Objectivism as a collection of emotions. You have stated your opinion as though it is a self-evident truth that has some relevance to morality -- it does not. Your opinion is of no importance. What would be important is a statement of the facts and logic that lead you to a particular conclusion.
    It is also irrelevant what our opinion is on the matter. You will learn absolutely nothing about Objectivism if you persist in asking people's opinions. You need to learn how to reason, so that you will not be totally dependent on the voices of others so that you can survive in the world.
  25. Downvote
    DavidOdden got a reaction from rebelconservative in Prop 8 Ruling CA - Bad from O-ist POV   
    Despite the extremely verbose and wide-ranging post on zillions of topics of law and modern politics, I do not see a shred of evidence to support this assertion. Not a single statement quoted from the decision to support your conclusion. Why is that?
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