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Everything posted by Devils_Advocate

  1. This is SPARTA!!!! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Yeah, cool bike.
  2. That's on the Friday after Thanksgiving; I think we can have 2 holidays.
  3. I think we need a name for this day; can/should it be officially an "Objectivist Holiday"? At the very least, wishing your friends "Happy Rand Day" does wonders for opening doors to discussions on Objectivism. Someone asked me, "What do Objectivists do on Rand Day?". I said, "Whatever's in their rational self-interest."
  4. Does anyone else out there have a favorite langauge? I've got a penchant for language (I can speak fluent English, decent German and Chinese, and am progressing quickly in my study of Latin), and I was wondering if there's anyone else who finds linguistics a fascinating subject (hobby?). I would love to place my vote for Latin - compact, challenging - but that makes it endlessly more fascinating, a great window into a great culture, and it really shows Language at a pinnacle of sophistication. However, I can't. I'm going to have to vote for Lojban - constructed by a bunch of Linguistic Scholars during the mid - fifties (well, that was Loglan, the predecessor, but they're pretty close). The language is completely unambiguous and logical. I don't speak a word of it, but any language that fits those categories I have to call nearly (if not totally) perfect.
  5. For years, I've thought that these ideas were limited only to intellectuals and Soviet Officials between 1917 and 1950. I have had trouble believing anyone would, in this day and age, say anything as stupid as "Saving up? What makes you think you will be able to save up under communism? I'm afraid that will not be possible, due to the absence of money. There will be no money for you to save." or that remark about "Value." For years, I've thought that Ayn Rand's villains were stereotypes of ideas, not actual people or people who might actually exist. I am completely floored. Someone please, god, please! tell me that these are just Ayn Rand fans sneaking onto a leftist board to try and discredit it! I mean... God, how... where did the-... *st-st-stutter*
  6. I think 10 EST (not 100% sure though). I watched it last night (watching it again right now on tivo), and it was (is) fantastic! I've never seen John Allison before, so that was really cool. He's an excellent spokesman. When I heard the Texan accent, the first thing that came to mind was "Midas Mulligan? You mean the banker who looked like a truck driver - and acted like it too?" (-Lee Hunsacker, I believe. And I loved the little illustrations of the characters that they had. Far, far cries from what I had in my mind, but they still did a great job.
  7. "But that's not how it works! You can't have both! It's one or the other! And - wait a minute, exactly how do you propose to be happy when your entire life is at the disposal of someone else? And furthermore, how do you propose to have a steady source of food, clothing, and housing when it's all at someone else's disposal?"
  8. "...He owed a certain duty to his stockholders, didn't he?" - Lillian Rearden "I own a piece of his god damned newspaper!" - Some pawn of Thooey's Ayn Rand seems very degradational of shareholder's rights, as their called, pinning quotes like the above (as well as a few others I can't remember) to the villains. Can someone explain exactly what her beliefs on this issue were?
  9. Wrote this while watching the (old) "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" movie. Personally, I think it is one of the funniest things I have ever come up with. However, it only is funny if you can remember most of the lines from the poem, movie, and songs from said movie.
  10. It's weird to hear about this, in a house where all I hear about is how the left is making Christianity a crime.
  11. (This doesn't cover everything, but it gets a lot of the major points across) Hong Kong: 1. No minimum wage 2. Average Weighted Tariff rate of 0% (although it does have some non-tariff barriers) 3. Lowest tax rates in the world - highest one is a 17% income tax. No taxes on a bunch of stuff like dividends or capital gains. 4. Government spending is 15.2% of GDP, and they make a real effort to balance a budget. 5. 1.9% inflation 6. No limits on foreign ownership or special approval procedures to set up a foreign firm (except in broadcasting and a few types of legal services) 7. Constitution strongly supports contracts and private property (this differs from America in that they actually follow theirs, to an extent). 8. Flexible hours-of-work regulations 9. No regulation of workplace conditions 10. Significantly less power for labor unions; strikers aren't still legally entitled to their jobs 11. Significantly less corruption in Government 12. People are, in general, a lot less pro-government than they are here. 13. Controversial there means "We'll have a minimum wage law some day, damn it!" 14. Much smaller bailouts (although there were still bailouts, admittedly). Meanwhile, back in the States: 1. 7.50 Minimum wage 2. 1.6% AWT (plus a ton of non-tariff barriers, including the economic atrocity called the "Buy American Provision") 3. Tax rates reaching up to 40% 4. 36.7% of GDP is Gov Spending 5. 3% inflation 6. Foreign investment in banking, mining, defense contracting, certain energy-related industries, fishing, shipping, communications, and aviation is controlled and restricted. 7. While our constitution may say the same thing, ours is mostly a decoration for rednecks who can't read. 8. Minimum of 3-4 hours of work in most states. Flexible between the states; not within. 9. One anagram: OSHA 10. Labor unions are gaining back a lot of power. This leads to the next issue, 11. God, where to begin - Governor Blagojavich or Elliot Spitzer? 12. Has anyone ever heard of "AIG Bonuses"? Oh damn, I think I just heard the mob outside. 13. Controversial here means, "I don't think Wall Street Banks are evil." 14. It's a bailout bananza!!!! Number 12 is the key, though. Hong Kong is changing (unfortunately, they may actually have that minimum wage law). But America is changing faster, and for much worse. When executives and their families are threatened with murder while Barney Frank roles his eyes and plays God, while judges wipe debts clean out, when we question weather or not Roman Polanski should be in jail, when we question retaliation (any, not just the Iraq War) for 9/11, when you take the sum of American ideas, you can see where we're headed. It's ironic that the west is falling to Collectivism, while the East is heading for Capitalism. *Direct quote from Heritage Index of Economic Freedom; great resource, look it up.
  12. I feel significantly more respect for Hong Kong's government than my own; I certainly don't begrudge you liking a foreign football team. A country is a locality with certain traditions, customs, civil organizations, leaders, heroes, and a history of them. You are a citizen of a country if you feel loyalty, admiration, and respect for most (though certainly not all) of the above. If you feel a deep admiration for the principles Germany was founded on (Unity, Productivity, National Strength, Patriotism), it's current culture and government, Bismarck, Einstein, Wagner, West Berlin, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and more than any other country, than it is certainly acceptable to be loyal and proud of Germany. There are problems with it's history, primarily Naziism, but you did not perpetrate them, condone them, accept them, let them pass, or commit any act that could further the cause. Thus, you should not allow it to weigh too heavily on your judgment of the country. Had this been constant throughout German History, and especially if it continued today, than it would simply be too much to overlook. Ever since the AIG Bonus Scandal, I've lost almost every iota of American Patriotism I once had. Every successive act of government has made it worse and worse. The America of 1804, when Thomas Jefferson was elected President, is about as real today as Ancient Rome. I feel more loyal to the Government of Hong Kong today than I do to the government of America (it's far, far from the Objectivist ideal of free, but it beats America by a long shot).
  13. I've always found the double standards of Marxism, Socialism, Fascism, etc. etc. fascinating. They need a period of transition, in which a full dictatorship of the workers must be established and blood must flow! Only after peace (defined by Karl Marx as the absence of opposition to socialism) is achieved, will the state wither away (I thought the state was just the interests of the ruling class, how is it supposed to wither away?). However, Capitalism must have full perfection immediately, and must work no matter what level of government interference is present. If the market doesn't immediately solve all the problems of human existence, it must be destroyed in an orgy of rebellion and war and replaced with a class dictatorship. A WORKER'S UTOPIA!!! PEACE, LAND, BREAD!!! Frankly, I'd rather take the meat factory.
  14. My first trip to Wall Street was this summer. I've always idolized Wall Street as this amazing center of human civilization, a place where commerce, exchange, development, the things that make humanity move forward, this place where all of it is centralized on one street and concertized in the Bull or in the Pillars of the New York Stock Exchange. I certainly did treat my first visit as a pilgrimage. Got up early, dressed in my best clothes, watched Wall Street the night before, got all psyched. Took a deep breath and tried to absorb all the awesomeness as I stepped onto the street I had dreamed of visiting for many years. I kept telling all of my friends "The Muslims go to Mecca, the Catholics go to Rome, and Thadius Bruce Main II goes to Wall Street." If you have the resources, you cannot go through life without seeing it. It's a truly magical (you know what I mean) experience. But I think that's why the book (and Atlas Shrugged) spoke to me so much. My treatment of a visit to Wall Street was not born of Objectivism, it existed long before I had ever heard of Ayn Rand.
  15. http://www.mcall.com/business/all-a20_over...0,4363369.story This is beyond ridiculous. I mean, really? I keep waiting for someone, ANYONE, in Washington to stand up, point a finger at me, laugh, and say "Ah, we we're just screwin' with you, we know that's insane." I feel like it would be sacrilegious to economics to explain why this is so wrong. Can anyone tell me why on earth - economically - anyone would even being to consider something like giving the government the power to dismantle a fine company? There's got to be more of this I don't know (PS: I saw this on Cavuto the other day, it's not just publicly traded companies even, it's any company). Please, let me know there's something else going on here, some evil scheme to destroy the US, some big joke I'm left out on, but please don't tell me people actually think this is sound, right, moral, etc. etc. Please?... Anyone?...
  16. As long as I can remember, I've looked up to Donald Trump as an amazing example of what I had always wanted to be. Brazen, bold, powerful, an egoist in an extreme sense, and rich enough ... well, okay, maybe he's not really as rich as he makes it out to be, but he's certainly not wanting. I suppose what I had always admired most was his whole "brash honesty" thing (You're fired!) When I was younger, I never understood it when people said he was cruel or mean. I just thought, "He's honest, and that's not something many people are these days". I really looked up to him for that. Speaking philosophically, like KendallJ said, he's a mixed bag. I've never taken a whole lot of stock in his political opinions ... hell, I've never even taken a whole lot of stock in his financial opinions, I've just always thought he was amazingly cool. I won't say he's perfect - his war with Rossie O'Donell ended up going a little too far at some points, and he can be a little obnoxious. I think if someone had given him OPAR during his twenties (or even his 30s), we could have had an amazing ally.
  17. Is water scarce? In other words, is it infinite? If not - and it isn't - then it must be economized. How are things best economized? Private ownership and distribution. Simple as that.
  18. You can certainly hail "God Save the Queen" without believing in God, in the same way that you can say "Thank God", "Oh My God", "In God we Trust", "God Bless You", etc. etc. God does not always have a spiritual connotation. I think Ayn Rand wrote something on this once, but I'm not sure... I think she had said that God can be a term for a generalized ideal, or highest ideal ... something like that... can anyone double check that for me? Meanwhile, on the monarchy issue, that one is much harder. If you are opposed, unilaterally, to any system of monarchy, regardless of the degree of the monarch's power, than I don't think so. Unless "God Save the Queen" is seen more as an expression of British loyalty and culture, in which case, I imagine so. After the british royalty are deposed, for lack of a better word, I doubt they'll stop playing it. Personally, I always preferred "Hail Britannia".
  19. Does anyone know of any speeches, quotes, snippets, toasts - some statement by a Soviet head of state which explicitly defends altruism?
  20. Agh! I was going to use that! I love this - absolutely hysterical! First time I saw it, I was laughing so hard I ... I don't know, fell down, cried, something dramatic ... you get the point, I trust?
  21. http://features.csmonitor.com/economyrebui...sri-lanka-case/ I have a few questions about this man's mind. How on earth could a hedge fund investor, who ran Galleon Group (a hedge fund), and who was willing to act on a free-market principle, betray all of that by supporting loads of democrats and a Socialist Guerilla group? Now I can understand a man like Warren Buffet; he supports democrats, yes, but he also has managed to keep in line with regulations and has been pretty compliant with the government. He hasn't caused much major trouble, and is more moderate-democrat than Nancy Pelosi liberal. But how can someone who commits insider trading support the very people who are most opposed to it - liberal politicians and socilaist guerillas? How? That's insanely illogical, I don't see how that can work! The man ran a hedge fund, not a subsidy seeking factory plant! He catered to enormous investors, he acted in defiance of government regulation and in favor of a very free market ideal by doing insider trading, and yet he supports left-wingers?
  22. Mr. Brown, preparing to eat the sun. NO!!!! Someone's already gotten to it! Now he will never be able to unite the forces of Japan's First Lady, Tom Cruise, and L. Ron Hubbard save the planet from Global Warming!
  23. Fascists and communists are both brands of collectivism, and are essentially two sides of the same coin. The reason they hated each other so much is because they each fought for a different collective; the fascists fight for the collective of the nation (weather it be specified by culture - Mussolini - or race - Hitler), while the Communists fight for the collective of the class. The reason they are constantly at each other's throats is because they recognize that they are so close. They both appeal to the same group of people (poor to middle class workers and the unemployed), and a fascist makes an easy convert to communism, and visa versa. In order to make sure that they get everyone who might become a communist (or visa versa), they need to paint communism as the enemy of fascism (visa versa). God help us when they realize they're more alike than different. "Doctor, Doctor, give me the news ... I've got a bad case of killing jews."
  24. Is Objectivism a sub-culture? First, and predominantly, it is a philosophy, of course. But, I'm going to make the argument that it can also be considered a sub-culture. We have our own way of life (guided by reason, values), our own political ideals, our own literature, our own music - Romantic Classical (we don't all like it, true, but I have trouble believing all hippies liked Led Zeppelin), our own art, our own religious beliefs (not believing in something is still a belief about something) we even have our own symbology ($). We actively seek to change the culture. Admittedly, we didn't come up with all of this ourselves, but we're synthesizing it all in our own lifestyle, which is independent of the mainstream culture or cultural ideals. However, this is something I've recently come up with, and am fully prepared to see my argument destroyed. What do you think? Is Objectivism a sub-culture?
  25. I take a 24 hour break from news, and this is what happens? This is just ridiculous ... the entire world is becoming some sort of sick, humorless joke. TheEgoist got it right, the Onion's becoming a leading source of news. I seriously thought this was a joke when my dad told me about it. *Sigh* ... I'm going back to my stock charts. If anyone needs me, I'm in the house with the lights that say "Please John Galt get me out of here".
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