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nochrieaz

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  1. It's starting: http://www.youtube.com/user/Garmoco (If it's any consolation, it's fun to witness the power of the human mind to predict things once their essentials are understood).
  2. Tonight, on CBS nightly news, of the 116 banks which took TARP funds, they singled out BB&T CEO Allison in a report about how - apparently - there has been widespread abuse of what I guess the MSM believes were clearly defined spending guidlines because banks have been buying other banks with the tax money. They broadcast an out of context quote from Allison that was from one of the BB&T's board meetings. It was something to the effect of "... well, this money is a relatively inexpensive way to raise capital." I found it quite frightening that, of all of the allegedly hypocritical capitalists who took this money, they choose to tar and feather the one individual in this whole mess who has been the most effecatious, consistent, and fundamental defender of the economic system advocated by Ayn Rand. They really did paint him as a nefarious, conniving individual. It was a little, but a very disturbing pre-emptive strike. It seems that the high-ups in the liberal media really do have organized Objectivism on their enemies list. As that socialist upstart from Louisiana, Huey Long (well, Sean Penn, at least), once said "Bring Down the Lion and the Rest of the Jungle Will Quake in Fear." It's starting.
  3. House is not a second hander, but he isn't a flawless man stuck in a flawed world either. All that "he" is is a constantly refreshing, never ending personification of the, to use Gina Gorlin's phrase from her article, "reason-emotion dichotomy" message put across by his creators. A real person's life does not play itself in losely connected 60 minute episodes. A real person would never be able to retain his exceptional rationality if he were afflicted with House's emotional disorders for years and years. If the joy he felt (but curiously never shows) from solving a medical question could sustain him emotionally in the same way that art or friendship or love could, then he would exhibit the same disposition towards everything and everyone he encountered. Sure, he would be alone at home, but he would not be affected by it. He would have his work, and not pills, to sustain him through those hours. His personal life would be just like everyone else's, just - alone. Conversly, neither would a real person be able to retain his emotional disorders if he were imbued with House's exceptional rationality. Part of House's medical greatness is his supreme honesty regarding medical questions. In real life, that honesty would inevitably rub off on other parts of his life and cause him to seek out psychological help and philosophical enlightenment. He would resolve his issues and work to become happy. Perhaps that would involve accepting and respecting those around him (even if they're not as smart as he is) or perhaps it would involve rejecting them because he determines that their inferiority comes from evasion. Even if he were without an intellectual/spiritual equal, he would spend his free time seeking one out or at least creating one through artistic expression. But either way, he would be free enough of their influence to be happy enough to be pill, hooker, and sarcasm free. It is simply counter-productive to analyze House in the context of real life; where each "episode" bleeds into the others and determines a person's character. Any attempt to decide if House is or is not a second-hander or a lover of life in the only way possible to such an exceptional individual is pointless. All he is is his creator's attempt to evade taking a deep look at their own faulty philosophical premise. They create elaborate art over years and years, the production of which involves countless details which such suck up a huge chunks of their lives as a means of continuing to evading their confusion; and as a way to make the pain they feel because of it appear metaphysically potent. After all, why deal with it and be inspired to create good (ie: flawless) characters if House pays? They aren't capable of appreciating the damage they do by glamorously perpetuating the myth that reason and emotion are forever at odds.
  4. They're doing exactly the same thing the Kelleyites do, it's just one step removed. I'll repeat: what good is a government run entirely by Objectivists when the culture is still altruist-collectivist? How, exactly, is getting a politician who is already in power to become an Objectivist any different than getting a politician who is trying to get into office to become an Objectivist? And besides, given his *necessary* aversion to principled (even rationalistically held principles) which got him into office, wouldn't it be easier to grow your own candidates? These are honest questions. I want to know. But there is a double-standard here, and a false distinction that relies upon a non-essential and treats it as an essential. Yes, unlike David Kelly, the ARCIR will be philosophically consistent and if they do convert a politician it will be for real... but again, so what? He won't be able to stand up against the culture. Not any more than a libertarian power-seeker, converted to Objectivism by Kelley, will be able to stand up to the politicians (who, in that context, would serve as the cultural resistance). It's a tactical issue. Do you attempt to replace or to change the people in government? But either way, both groups (ARCIR and TAS) are ignoring (and to the extent they're doing this stuff, neglecting) the public. Maybe getting an Objectivist government - the top down approach - will work to change the culture. To employ a sort of "tough love" on the people and to use the media. I don't know. But I do know that both approaches - whatever their minor differences - are top down approaches.
  5. KendallJ, In regards to the part of my second post which you had no idea about, what I did there was to explain (through example) how the distinction you made directly above your quotation of it is false. Yes, David Kelley will compromise his ideas in order to get into power. He's already tried it and fortunately failed. What I'm wondering is how the ARCIR's tactic of getting the right ideas to people in power does not compromise those ideas. Certainly the ideas themselves do not change, and the righteousness of any offical or policy maker working to implement them is without question, but so what? What would be the result of the government taking a radically hard line in favor of Objectivist political goals? How would the altruist-collectivist public react? I'll tell you: in the best case scenario it would be massive backlash at the polls. Those Objectivist politicians would be voted out of office before they could achieve anything. This (from what I can tell small, but still real) part of the ARCIR's mission statement fundamentally conflicts with the rest of it. It burns the candle at both ends. It conflicts with all of the ARI's mission statement. Also, you have misconstrued my statements regarding the value of political activism per se. I never claimed, nor implied, that "it on principle was somewhere that one shouldn't go." I merely reported upon Brook's and Peikoff's (collectively ARI's) well-documented position that any degree of political activism is only proper once a proportional amount of philosophical and cultural change has been achieved. The ARI establishing a permanent physical office in the nation's capital in order to reach out to, and change on the deepest, most personal level possible, elected officials and policy makers within the Federal Government is a far more than a far cry from Diana Hsieh helping to defeat Colorado's Amendment 48. That was a state-level issue and her position already had widely-held (and, compared to other issues, far less irrationally grounded) support. The ARI has not yet succeeded in changing the culture - let alone the politics - of California, or New York, or any other state. In expanding to Washington, the leaders of ARI have not decided to focus on ad hoc issues in the hopes that an elected official, in a rare spark of objectivity, becomes convinced of the rightness of ARCIR's position long enough to cast the correct vote. That has never been the goal of such activities. Until now. Now, (as least this part of) the ARCIR is specifically, permanently committed to going after the whole politician. To remake him from the ground up. But why? What good is he if he is going to be voted out of office (if not personally destroyed) by a morally outraged public? That is exactly the criticism that has been levied against David Kelley and The Atlas Society for nearly twenty years. softwareNerd, I do not object to this segment of activity per se. I am undecided about this extremely complicated issue. I merely find it pitifully hypocritical and underhanded on the part of ARI's leadership. Their words say they're decided; they're actions say the opposite. Also, as a footnote, I would like to point out that ARI op-eds, speeches about current events, et cetera are markedly different than what the ARCIR's mission statement described in regards to elected officials and policy makers. See my reply to KendallJ directly above for an elaboration.
  6. From The Ayn Rand Institutue's website. "About ARI" Section, "Overview" page, Introduction (Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4): The terms "elected officials" and "policy makers" are both conspicuously absent. Assembling a cabal of "elected officials" and "policy makers" to foist Objectivist political principles onto the public with the explanation "because I said so" is somehow less of a seperation of philosophical fundamentals from their resultant values than wrongly and desperately exclaiming that freedom of the press is a self-evident value that can "transcend religious and cultural differences"? Not to imply that I have a decided opinion on such a tactic, but the ability of an ARCIR influenced policy maker to intimidate a politically-active Marxist through something like stepped-up police surveillance is not going to do anything to reshape and then integrate his ill-conceived reverence for reason into a consistent set of philosophical principles. It's certainly not going to do it for those quasi-Marxist, quasi-religious every day altruists who read about it in the newspaper. And don't tell me the ARI is doing this because politicians have the spotlight and the mainstream's attention. That they can influence the moral atmosphere of the culture. David Kelley, before he (I agree) went off the deep end, was open to talking to libertarians, paleo-conservatives, and anyone else of noteriety else for that very same reason. Just as Diana Hsieh, in the first blog post of hers you cited, explained that a culture founded upon anything other than reason and individualism will not tend to, but will produce nothing but superstition, duty and sacrifice, stagnation, violence, and oppression - so will an organization founded upon anything other than a commitment to fight the philosophical (and only the philosophical) war produce nothing but more and more Kelleyites. At least, that's what the powers that be at ARI have been saying since 1989. Until recently, that is. When they created the ARCIR.
  7. Don't confuse omnicience with incompetence. How were you to know how long it would take to perform a task you, nor anyone readily accessible to ask, had performed before. I wouldn't even call it a mistake. Now, if you determine (as it seems you have) that there is no practical (ie: efficient) reason for this extra task to become part of your job description, and yet you fail to ensure that it is kept as part of the warehouse guy's, and assuming your boss is open to reasoned argument, then I would say you were being incompetent. Furthermore, if you attempt all of that and still remain saddled with this task, then you are mistaken in your evaluation of your colleagues; and possibly even your association with the company. And finally, if you determine that your position in the company is dependent upon appeasing incompetence and/or irrationality displayed by your superiors and colleagues, and you fail to act, then you are incompetent in your practice of the virtues of integrity, justice, and possibly productivity.
  8. Yes, he said that. He also said (at least implicitly) that the bank steals from everyone. He said that when he advocated a prohibition on FRB on the basis of it being theft. If the depositors consent to be "stolen" from, then if not them, someone else must be the victim for it to still constitute theft.
  9. Mr. McKeever's main complaint against private FRB is that by issuing currency which does not represent actual wealth, that bank is stealing the wealth of everyone else in the nation (via inflation). What he fails to realize is that he is looking at the issue through a very contemporary lens. One in which the inflation of the money supply - by a government run central bank - does constitute theft. However, in a free economy - one in which banks issue their own currency - it quite literally is none of my business what two other people (the banker and his creditor) do. If I do not hold currency issued by that bank, the wealth which I possess (possibly in the form of currency issued by another bank) is not affected in the least. To me, that seems to be most obvious flaw in his argument. I like Mr. McKeever and I wanted to agree with him as I so often do. But unfortunately on this issue I cannot.
  10. From The Center's new website (bold mine): Elected officials? Policy makers? Why would people like Yaron Brook and Leonard Peikoff - who have for years been saying that to engage in any form of Objectivism-promoting activism beyond the intellectual kind is counter-productive and even dangerous - put their names behind this new wing of the ARI? Why put this center in Washington, DC? Isn't this tantamount to doing what David Kelly and his ilk have been doing for years now, albeit in a far more begrudged, drawn out, and subtle way? Is the leadership of the ARI finally taking Kelly's advice: talking to people who have (or are actively trying to attain) the power to wield force, in order to get them to wield it properly; regardless of any previous understanding or consent from the general public?
  11. What to say about this piece? The New York Times said that it made too big of a deal out of September 11th.
  12. The Founding Fathers believed heavily in what they called "natural law." That is: identity and causality. That A is A and there's no getting around it. The purpose of the entire Constitution is a means of "regulating" the government. Of keeping it bound by natural law - one of these laws being the individual's "God given rights." That these rights, on a metaphysical level, can never be taken away - that they are a part of him. That it is "right" for a man to be free. It is "right" for a man to own property, etc. They can be violated, sure, but by violating them a wrong is not made a right. The word "militia" was synonomous with the words "military" or "army" at the time of the country's founding. After all, America's military was born out of a bunch of militias. The Minutemen, for example. Therefore, the use of the word "militia" in the 2nd Ammendment refers to the government run military. Volunteer, conscripted, full time, ad hoc - which ever. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..." means: The military - and by extension the government - of a free (state of) people must be afraid ("well regulated") of it's citizens in order to maintain the state's identity as a free one (aka: in order to preserve the rights of the citizens). The Founders then merely went on to point out that possessing weaponry was the best means by which the people could keep the government afraid of them. Or, at least, revolt against a government which was no longer afraid.
  13. The appropriate (read: egoist) way to approach this question is to ask yourself which is more important to you: a book or law and order? By never returning the book you have declared, implicitly and by precedent, war against the government. Now, logic would tell us that if a government is so out of control that guerilla warfare is a man's only recourse, there are certainly more important governmental targets than a book inside a library. Taking that book and never returning it violates a rational man's hierarchy of values. Like I said, it places some minor, incidental knowledge above (albeit some minor, incidental amount of) law and order. Unless the book we're talking about is the last known copy of Atlas Shrugged left in existence, law and order is clearly a more broadly applicable, and thus more important, value. But more importantly than law and order even, assuming one understands and agrees with the above, by taking the book out of some duty to the "principle" of private property, one is sacrificing his rationality for a lesser value. He is giving up his understanding of the hierarchical nature of philosophical principles for the sake of whatever emotional pleasure he will get because of his fidelity to private property. At that point, he is not following principles; he's following rules.
  14. I agree with the environmentalists in this thread that the Earth has a natural balance. That's precisely why I'm not worried about anything humans are doing. If even the most dire predictions by environmentalists about the effects of unregulated production are correct, what will that mean for humanity? Well, frankly, mass death. First the sky will fall and the seas will boil. Then the plants and animals will die out. Then people will die from new diseases and starvation. When that happens, there will be fewer people producing as much as they possibly can; but not threatening the environment any more. How is this any different than more people right now - because of environmental regulations - not producing as much as they possibly can? Furthermore, if the reason why there are so many people today is because in the past people, free of regulation, were able to produce as much as they possibly could, what makes environmentalists think that once the regulations take effect, eventually that technology, because it will not longer be profitable, will be abandoned and forgotten; thus making civilization once again less able to support as many people as it does now?
  15. The guy is basically saying "Don't expose to me the essence of what I am advocating. Help me pretend that duty-oriented ethics is the just as respectable as value-oriented ethics by giving it your 'consent'" Like John Galt explained, some times the best way to defeat evil is to comply with it fully. The quote you provided would be funny if you hadn't informed me that he is putting over this trick on young, impressionable minds who won't know that all of his empty rhetoric about independent thought is just that; rhetoric.
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