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StrictlyLogical last won the day on May 5

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  1. I think his point was tyranny still exists... because "concentration camps". His particular example is not relevant to his point here... he could point to North Korea for example.
  2. Indeed let us consider conjoined twins. Does either have a right to life? Has life begun for either of them? Common sense says "yes" to both questions. But, clearly they are not separate, and each relies on the other to the point of each being a potential "threat" to life (if one should choose suicide or to drink poison)... Neither has been released from a biological link to become physically independent. Could one use the physical link to argue that the "life" of either has been permanently delayed because of the link and also the dependence each on the other? Not credibly. Clearly there is life, and there are two consciousnesses (one of the most important considerations)... and indeed two human beings with separate rights to life. I think over-essentializing the physical link between beings, and/or level of dependence or independence and/or the threat either may pose to the other, is a very grave, and exceedingly superficial and simplistic mistake, if one's actual aim is to analyze life and rights fully. The corpse of "A plucked chicken", in answer to the slavish wrote adherence to a formal mantra (Plato's of the cuff definition of man was a featherless biped), stands as an appropriate warning to us all, to refrain from parroting word-strings of dogma, in the face of a complex issue requiring much contemplation and soul-searching.
  3. Considering the OP An important meditation of all Objectivists is "What does human flourishing consist of?" Now, consider the entire "Sense of life" surrounding non initiation of force, the trader principle, the dire admonition of systems turning individuals simultaneously into Robbers and Victims on some horrid ladder, the strong sense that no one is to be sacrificed, neither oneself to others nor others to oneself. And recall the comment Rand made about the leash having loops at both ends... And consider the virtues of rationality, justice, independence, and honesty. Even if one were to surmount the extreme adds against its success, becoming a tyrant relies on the vices of others, as well as the vice in oneself, depends on injustice, dependence, dishonesty, irrationality. It requires the repudiation of all that is admirable, and central to the ethics of Objectivism and its sense of life, which I mentioned above... it entails a direct dependence upon unreality, irrationality, and the worst in humanity... it embraces the essentials of what Rand would have identified as evil. Is this what human flourishing consists of? Show that, and perhaps you will sway some Objectivists to the merits of the predatory parasitism which tyranny is... but I suspect it will be a difficult row to hoe with most.
  4. A few thoughts come to mind Sometimes the greatest "action" is to simply "agree" not to perform certain actions. Action "with others" need not be collective positive action but can mostly be collective "negative" action allowing individual human action to proceed in accordance with Ethics of those individuals. The primary conceptual reality of humans is the individual, and that individual human's existence which is why a "value" is defined on that basis. We need to be careful in avoiding the concept of a "collective value" in the same way we must avoid concepts such as "collective will", "collective consciousness" or "collective rights". In a sense, the group can pursue and enshrine what is necessary for individual free-will, individual consciousness, and individual rights, but those are not attributes of the group as a group. A free society is a value to the individuals of the group, we should always be wary to avoid considering what is purported to be of value to the group "as such". Marxist's love to argue that political systems and policies based on freedom "DO nothing", that they are not systems of anything, and achieve nothing... through the lens of a Marxist, which is the mentality of Force, and Authoritarianism, it is as if upon seeing the absence of any rights violations, in the absence of anyone being forced against their will in the name of some alleged goal, then they simply see that nothing is being done... it is as if they need to see the sacrifice of or by someone, to see any value. "Hands off"... FREEDOM itself IS a PROFOUND and necessary value for individual human flourishing.... it is the means by which people flourish, and as such it is one of the goals of a society, pursued "in trust" on behalf of everyone. Being one of the GOALS of society the MEANS much be limited thereby. Refraining from trampling on your rights, your life?...Doing "nothing" indeed. A collectivist simply does not get it, right down to the root of what it means to be human... not by a long shot. Just a few thoughts.
  5. What is love? Is it what you feel for someone? What you do? What you get from someone else? Is it finite? Is it a unique aspect of an individual relationship or a fungible collective quantity shared or dispensed to many at a time? IS love ever conditioned, or is it simply present or absent?
  6. First, application of science to politics does not logically and necessarily lead to utilitarian type systems. Certainly not any application of science in the context of Objectivist Ethics. Second, this answer is not consistent with Objectivist Ethics, so whether or not anyone believes "science" implies it, it cannot be proper. I for one do not believe science is inherently anti-life or evil, so I conclude utilitarianism is simply not what science implies when applied to find solutions consistent with Objectivist Ethics. IMHO, a group of 1000 people, who set out to form a society with politics consistent with Objective Ethics, would not, even using science, conclude "utilitarian" or "greatest benefits to majority" are correct systems, not by any stretch. Any form, of 51% can eat the other 49% is not consistent with Objectivist ethics... and nothing in science could validate or prescribe anything of the sort.
  7. A few things to keep in mind as pertinent to the discussion, either as limiting or informing factors to consider: 1. Metaphysical status of the "individual" versus metaphysical status of a "society" or "collective" (just a group of those individuals). 2. The distinction between the metaphysically given and the manmade, more precisely, "free-will" of the individual (the way things are in current or past societies are manmade in the sense that they were/are chosen). 3. Natural philosophy or special sciences (e.g. economics, social sciences) properly deal with what IS, i.e. description, Ethics and insofar as Politics derives from it, and as a branch of Philosophy, is an investigation into "prescription", what should one do (Ethics), or what kind of society (its nature, attributes and properties) one should try to bring about to live in (Politics), given the nature of Man, the metaphysical significance of the individual, and in consequence of free-will and Ethics (objective morality). Politics as a branch of philosophy and not special sciences, although informed with descrive knowledges, is itself prescriptive.
  8. Hi Boydstun: My gray matter crashes when attempting to process this. I'm curious how can something be "thoroughly individualistic" but not "egoistic"? I know the term "egoistic" (distinguished from egotistic or egotistical) can refer to different concepts when used by different scholars, or more generally, it refers to specific different concepts when used in accordance with a particular philosophical context or framework, culture, history etc. I suspect its particular usage here has not been properly initialized or matched in my gray matter to avoid the crash.
  9. Frank: Perhaps, all crows are black 2046: Everyone knows coal is black. Idiot.
  10. I cannot say what America or its interests are, but America as it could and should be has an interest in free-markets and private ownership by true capitalists (i.e. not engaged in initiation of harm) ), and a further interest not to fund any criminal organization, mob, crime cartel, or government which initiates force of any kind. In a world of private peaceful market entities, all would be perfectly fine, and that IMHO is in America's (as it could and should be) interest. In the context of any valuable and useful material or substance, such a market would guarantees American citizens objectively fair opportunity to purchase as consumers, or to get involved as producers, buy foreign property, plants, organizations etc. When any form of force, corruption, fraud, crime (including particular species tyranny, dictatorship, communism, socialism...) gets injected, the objectively fair opportunity is distorted, the amount of distortion and unfairness, proportional to the levels and types of force used. As such it is not in America's interest (as could and should be) to deal with non-capitalist individuals, groups or regimes. In answer to the original OP, America as it could and should be has an interest in a completely free-market of private entities, however, since certain geographical areas and certain important resources are controlled by Communists and/or Dictators, the particulars of how to deal with them on behalf of American citizens desire for objective fair opportunity with respect to those resources, is distorted and greatly complicated.
  11. As a rebuttal to the claimed arbitrariness of an afterlife/reincarnation you make a very big assumption, namely: that consciousness is in the nature of an "essence" which may be "contained" by an entity. You then hypothesize the possibility that such a container may again be formed and the result is that it "gives you a life as a living being again". There seems to be no evidence from any direct or indirect perceptual data nor any rigorous scientific thought applied to such data, which would imply something as complex as consciousness is an "essence". In fact almost all of our experience in reality leads in the opposite direction. All things act and interact as they do in accordance with their natures, i.e. their attributes, properties. The more complex the structures and configurations of a thing more more complex behaviour and function result from those attributes and properties. But those complexities of interactions are not essences of the entity, and in no way are contained by it. They are an inexorable manifestation of identity, the complex structure, the attributes and properties, and causation. By necessity the entity exhibits the complex functioning which is consciousness. The concept of an "essence", which may be contained, attempts to sneak into the concept of Identity a little taste of "duality"... essence, not a thing in itself, attempts to becomes a sort of rogue property or attribute. After all, a container can be empty of some essence... and a disembodied essence can be awaiting a container to occupy. But this is nonsensical, there are no disembodied attributes and properties. No attributes devoid of those things being which exhibit them (and no things without attributes for that matter). Things are their attributes. All evidence suggests that consciousness is a manifestation (not a separate semi-disembodied essence) of a sufficiently complex brain in full operation doing what the brain does... all evidence shows that nature is identity, and that to act, live, and to think, is to BE. Hence, the only way to live again, is literally to BE again, in all the complexity and nature of you as you are now, with all your structures and chemicals and functioning, all your capacities and limits, all your strengths and flaws, all your memories, all the quirks, growths, and scars of the mind which are what you are and not what someone else, anyone else in the world is, or any one else has ever been. You, not just anyone, not your son or your doppelganger, and not your twin, but YOU, are the only you and utterly unique in the universe. As surely as there will be "life after you", it cannot BE you.
  12. You state in your "About Me", the following:

    I am interested in investigating all these claims fairly and thoroughly.


    Directly in view of that statement I was wondering:

    How many and which of Ayn Rand's works have you read? 

    What about works about Objectivism, e.g. by Leonard Piekoff or Tara Smith etc.?  What level of independent research re. Objectivism have you engaged in, either prior to or concurrently with, your discussions here?

    Just curious.

  13. As you claim... and yes, this I believe is an error. Explain conceptually why it is conceivable? What criteria do you have for "overcome it" and "only way"? If the world had a problem, how many inventive minds, far greater in creativity and ingenuity than the average person, could be brought to bear on it? How many people like Nikola Tesla, Einstein, Edison, the Wright brothers? Even if only 1 percent of the population were such creative geniuses, there would be over a million of them. And you have the confidence to say you can conceive of problems for which the only way to overcome it is socialism? You think the kinds of people who rise to power in socialist systems have the creativity and benevolence of mind so many of these inventive geniuses had? You think a socialist society is the kind to raise people to be more like people who discovered new medicines or more like goosestepping weasels and sheeple? You think a society is best able to meet a challenge when headed by a Stalin or a Reagan? And you, could you advise all the greats of the past of your doubt there is any solution to flying, artificial light, or an electric motor? What other problems would you erroneously deem unsolvable? How many countless situations would the likes of you or some thoughtless leader impose the "only" solution you or they can conceive of? I hope to God that if and when an actual threat rears its head, a flourishing, free, and capitalist society is there with individuals ready to meet it with free and willing minds of great creativity, genius ,and objective virtue, rather than the dull-witted, fear ridden ,"obedient" souls, produced by some spirit crushing Socialist society... I for one fully unshakably believe the highest probability of success against any threat is with the former rather than the latter. You had a question. THAT, is my answer.
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