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James I

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Everything posted by James I

  1. According to Peikoff in one of his podcasts there was a reason behind Roark having red hair in the Fountainhead which was that it was distinctive and "she wanted something that people might regard negatively as unconventional and therefore undesirable" because the theme of the book is independence. Episode 18 of Peikoff's podcasts about 15:05 minutes in: "But she made a point of having Dagny get a drink for Rearden to combat (she didn't think of it this way) puritan Objectivists" I was just kidding around when I wrote the second sentence. My thinking is that if Rand put meaning behind things like the above, then she might do the same for homosexuality if she had lived in a culture where being gay was better understood. I'm not really trying to make a super serious point, it just occurred to me that I could see Rearden and Francisco being gay if Rand had written them to be so. Perhaps you are right, it was just a thought.
  2. If Rand had written Atlas Shrugged today do you think she would have included gay characters? I'd say yes, because according to Peikoff it is one of the most common misunderstandings about Objectivism. He also said that Rand included a scene with alcohol as a message to puritan Objectivists, so I take that as a precedent. I think Rearden and Franscisco would've made a good couple! Since Dagny dumped them for Galt it would have tied up their love lives in the absence of any eligible heroines!
  3. I read the original poster's question as asking 'why should we choose to live?' rather than 'what should we do if we choose to live?'. Does Objectivism answer the former with the latter and if so isn't that begging the question? As to my thoughts on the OP question: well, we seem to have a natural attitude for self-preservation, and in evolutionary terms all animals are 'designed' to survive. Man differs from other species because we appear to have free will and the capacity to think, so our 'goal' isn't as clear to us as, say, an ant or a dog which as I understand it have largely automatic values. Human values include pleasure, knowledge, morality etc.
  4. I've always thought that the Protestant work ethic was essential in the evolution of capitalism even if capitalism outgrew it. Their belief in working hard and being productive for the glory of God was a huge improvement on the Catholic ideal of poverty.
  5. But there are many bad neighbourhoods which people don't want to live in but they have to, at least for a while, because they don't have the resources to move out. I meant that the police would limit their operations in areas where people don't pay for their services rather than imprison people in an area. But communities with people who paid for the services of the police would be protected. If the crime rate is low in areas where people pay for police protection then isn't it altruistic to give free services to those who didn't pay for them?
  6. In episode 54 of Leonard Peikoff's podcast he states that people who don't pay towards the upkeep of the government in an Objectivist society have no right/claim to government services, but that the police would work to eliminate crime for non-payers for the sake of those who do pay. What if there was an area made up of poor people who didn't pay taxes; wouldn't it made sense for the police to ignore such an area and isolate it except when their investigations led them there for the sake of the taxpayers, and also providing that crime didn't spill over into taxpayer areas? Isn't it altruistic to give free services to those people who didn't pay for them?
  7. I'm a student of Objectivism and a layperson when it comes to philosophy. I don't disagree with Objectivism but then I don't know a lot about it in depth or the counter-theories which exist. Some questions I have for when I come to read ITOE and OPAR are whether Oism is in harmony with scientific knowledge and whether voluntary taxation would work, and a few other things.
  8. Democracy isn't their only consideration in judging freedom though. They also consider civil liberties and the rule of law, therefore they don't support illiberal democracy:
  9. I read that Ron Paul is a 'free-market environmentalist', do you think that it's wrong to use this term? I skimmed over the wikipedia page and I didn't find any reference to climate change, only how the free market works out environmental problems itself. But then, if you call yourself a free-market environmentalist then people may assume that you automatically believe all of the Al Gore stuff.
  10. I think that part of the reason that Rand didn't like libertarians was because she was suspicious of the elements of anarchism within the movement. The name 'libertarian' was originally a synonym for 'anarchist' and it was first used in it's modern meaning by Murray Rothbard, the founder of anarcho-capitalism and an ally of the New Left. But as you say, these days, due to the influence of people like Rand, libertarianism isn't as far wrong as it used to be.
  11. I agree. I personally know a rather scatterbrained person but she is one of the most moral people I have met. I don't think that being scatterbrained is a choice so such a person wouldn't be inherently immoral. Unless you mean a lazy person who refuses to think and habitually dims his or her consciousness.
  12. Another thing to take into account is that some (perhaps many) libertarians disagree with the Libertarian Party. There's a difference between small 'l' and big 'L'.
  13. I'd say judge each libertarian individually. Some may be honestly mistaken, some may call themselves libertarian rather than Objectivist because even though they're mostly in agreement with Rand, they are undecided, sceptical or they may not agree on some point or points. I wouldn't say that about all libertarians. They may draw their ideas from a broader group of thinkers and ideas but they have some kind of philosophy.
  14. I found his book "The Art of Living Consciously" to be very helpful, especially the sentence completion exercises. I've heard good things about his first book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" but I haven't read it personally.
  15. I'd love to own one of those paintings, I can't afford it but I'd be happy with a poster version!
  16. In the UK right now there is a show called "The Lost World of Communism" which interviews ordinary people who lived beyond the iron curtain about their lives and uses footage taken from their personal video cameras. I'm not sure if it's up on YouTube or the BBC iplayer.
  17. I agree with th3ranger that it's some small consolation that if they are read by someone who understands them they will dissuade that person from stealing again. It would be ironic and hypocritical for a person to profess pro-capitalist ideas while undermining those ideas in action. But then again some people who have read Rand continue to download music illegally, I was one of them for a while.
  18. You might try researching procrastination, here's one theory:
  19. From Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings": Aragorn: What do you fear lady? Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.
  20. Oh dear, it seems like a bad time for me to think about doing an English degree and becoming a writer. Well, perhaps if the electrical grid fails I can sell stories to the plumbers in lieu of TV!
  21. I'm not a US citizen, do you mean that private companies have to pay a fee to transmit radio waves through empty airspace? Where I live people have a saying: "they'll be taxing the air we breathe next", seems like they already are!
  22. I can't speak with any authority on this subject but for some background info you might want to investigate Oliver Cromwell's conquest of Ireland in the 17th century, and Britain under Gladstone and Disraeli in the 19th century.
  23. The person who wrote this seems to say that force is justified to overthrow oppressors and innocent casualties are a regrettable consequence of war. Objectivists would say this is true in the context of wars like the American Revolution and WW2, but obviously the person who wrote the text above believes that it is good in the context of the Cuban Revolution and probably other socialist revolutions. Why are America's founding father's glorified by capitalists and hated by socialists, and why are Cuba's revolutionaries glorified by socialists and hated by capitalists? It's not just one arbitrary faction fighting another; it is a war of ideas. One group fought for individual rights and the other fought for collectivism. The ideas that motivated Che were false and his attempts to put them into action were evil. Why were they evil? Decide for yourself and, to quote the author of the above quotation "read some books".
  24. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I usually read for about 20-40 minutes a few times a week if it's non-fiction, with fiction I can read for hours if it's a good book. I was a bit sceptical about how well that game really works but it looks fun so I think I'll get it. Also, Professor X uses it in the commercial and you can't argue with that.
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