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Everything posted by bluey

  1. These are all from one book. There are others as well--I think in Romans and Timothy, although I don't remember exactly where or the words. You might also find what you're looking for if you do a search of verses about "faith"--which is belief without evidence or proof--and how it is essential to life. So in other words, trusting in your own mind is a hazard to your life. There's lots about that in Hebrews.
  2. What the.. another sexy Objectivist photo. This is so unusual.

  3. Hi Kelly, welcome to the forum. I haven't read this book (link goes to a review) myself, but apparently it does a very good job of dissecting the "moral argument" for veganism/vegetarianism. Animals die so we can eat, no matter whether we eat animals or not. It's not just people, either - one organism living = another organism dying. That's just life, and to say "it's better for me to go without than for another animal to die" first of all means you're putting yourself at the bottom of your own list of values and secondly requires some degree of willful evasion of the facts of reality. Where it gets 'murky', as you pointed out, is the line between animals being killed for food and being tortured for fun. In my view, torturing animals for the fun of it is sick and wrong because it shows that the torturer holds life in general as a complete non-value. So I'm disgusted by acts of torture not only because I do value life in general, not just my own, and don't like to see other lives being wasted for no reason, but also because the person who holds life as a non-value is repulsive to me and I wouldn't choose to deal with him in any way. Torturing animals for no reason is very different in every respect than killing animals for food, regardless of method. As for whether veganism is healthy, well, I'm not a doctor either so I couldn't tell you. If your body isn't telling you to do something different then I'd say diet is a matter of optimizing, since you're already maintaining a disease-free state, so whether you make changes or not would depend on how interested you are in the subject and whether you have the time to bother changing things. You could check out Modern Paleo which is a blog about an evolutionary approach to (omnivore) diet written by Objectivists.
  4. In Canada, a certain amount of each paycheque you receive goes towards employment insurance. You can only claim it if you've been laid off or take a qualified leave; you can't get it back if, say, you have been working and contributing for 10 years and now want to take a few months off. I'd think the majority of working people would pay in more than they would ever have need to take out. For example, I've been paying into the system since I got my first part-time job at around age 15 and the only time I would get any of it back is if I ever have an official maternity leave period. Even if I took two or three such leaves, it would likely amount to less than what I've paid to just this program over the years, not to mention future contributions. Does it work differently in the US, is there no mandatory employment insurance premium?
  5. Parents have an obligation to care for their children because they put them in the situation of not being able to care for themselves. Just as if a rich person took some negligent action that resulted in a poor person being injured, the rich person would be obligated to pay damages to the poor person for whatever the injury cost them. It's not that children, by nature of being children, have a right to be taken care of. Orphaned children don't have the right to demand care from any other adult, unless one adopts them and contracts with the state or adoption agency to act as parents. The child has a right to the parent's care because without the parents, they wouldn't be in the situation of not being able to care for themselves. It's not 'collectivist' to have to clean up your own messes.
  6. I'm trying to understand the relationship between virtues and values. I recently listened to The Objectivist Ethics (which I've also read, but the confusion is new to this reading). I know that values are qualities, objects, relationships, states of mind, etc. "that one acts to gain and keep", where one is faced with a choice among other possible values. And I know that virtues are the specific actions that serve the end of gaining and keeping values. So if I understand that correctly then as a general example, if a clean and comfortable house is one of my chosen values, then actions like cleaning and organizing are the virtues by which I gain and keep that value. Or if a healthy emergency savings account is a chosen value, then budgeting and saving are the virtues I practice to gain and keep that value. Where I get confused is in thinking about what Rand called the "cardinal" values and virtues of Objectivist ethics: the values of reason, purpose and self-esteem are gained by the practice of the virtues of rationality, productiveness and pride. This seems to be saying that you gain reason by using reason, that you gain purpose by acting purposefully, and that you gain self-esteem (the knowledge that you are worthy to live - are a value) through pride (the act of self-valuing). It seems that you need to already possess each of these values, in some degree, in order to begin to practice the virtue which is supposed to be your means of gaining the value in the first place. How does that work? Is it that human beings are born with some innate measure of reason, purpose and self-esteem that they instinctively practice until they learn to do otherwise? Does just the fact that you remain alive for any amount of time necessarily mean that you must possess these values to some small, flickering degree? Can there be a point where a person has destroyed these values to such an extent that they're literally unable to regain them? Any insight would be much appreciated!
  7. Here are some elements of love besides virtue that are still rational (in response to the OP and title, which are about loving your wife in particular, not just platonic love): - common experience. I don't mean shared experience - I mean separate but similar experiences that allow you to understand each other on a deep level. - compatible goals. Maybe the most virtuous woman you met wants to travel the world and feels children would distract her from her work and passions, while you want to live in a particular place, want to have children or have a job that wouldn't allow you to travel. Marriage isn't just love, it's building a life together, so you have to want the same type of life. Of course you wouldn't want to settle for someone you didn't love just because the details would work out, but given the choice between values it's completely rational to choose one that allows you to pursue other values as well (work, children, etc.) - compatible personalities. Admiration is great but you have to be able to live in real life with the person, day in and day out, long term. Just because a person is virtuous doesn't mean they'll be compatible with you. To sum up, L-C is right that love isn't just about virtues, and that's not a mystical claim. There really is more to it than that. Love is personal, it's about where a person stands in the context of your particular life and your particular values.
  8. You made the mistake of taking the defensive rather than offensive side of this argument. First of all, self-esteem is a result of a long-term series of decisions and beliefs, so you can't say that a non-Christian will necessarily have higher self esteem than a Christian because it simply isn't true. Besides this, self-esteem is basically the knowledge that you are a value to yourself, that you have what it takes to navigate life. That whole concept is going to be foreign because Christianity teaches that an individual only has value, even to himself, because he is valued by God. Simply put, he isn't going to see what he's missing and you're going to be talking right past each other, because Christianity doesn't have a concept of self-esteem that is similar to the Objectivist concept. You say he recognizes that arguments are based on facts, so stick to facts. Specifically, keep the ball in his court and examine his arguments. Have him examine the specific benefits that he feels he derives from his religion, and whether any of these benefits really offset the benefit of recognizing and dealing with reality head-on. For example, he might give you a list something like this (maybe in more positive terms): - It is convenient to have a pre-made paradigm to explain the universe without needing to think about it too much - It makes him feel better about death - It provides him with a community/social acceptance (this is the major benefit that most of the Christians I know find in being religious, and sometimes a strong reason to avoid questioning the facts) - It makes him feel like there is a "road map" for life, so he doesn't have to figure it all out for himself Obviously if you can get these benefits distilled down to plain statements, and compare their value in terms of the ability to navigate life successfully against the value of dealing honestly with reality, there's no contest. There's clearly a risk to sticking your head in the sand, so focusing on the facts in this way allows you to show that it really DOES matter whether religion is actually true or not and that he's really choosing a net loss if it isn't. Basically, he wants to make the argument about perceived benefits vs. other perceived benefits, and wants you to prove that your benefit (self esteem) is more beneficial than his benefits (whatever they may be). But that's not the issue, because the supposed benefits of evading reality aren't benefits at all, they're net losses. So that's where your argument should be.
  9. What are you looking for here exactly? PROOF that any given thing can be either good, bad or neutral, and therefor nothing is intrinsically valuable? Seems kinda obvious. Things have value depending on whether they make things better. Do you have an argument in favour of intrinsic value?
  10. That wasn't your claim. Your claim was that you have a condition which limits you in a way analogous to having an "off" biological clock, which doesn't allow you to pursue work in a "regular" way, and that therefor you can make enough to feed, clothe and shelter yourself but NO MORE, certainly not enough for health insurance. That's the claim that is unbelievable. If you had said "I have an expensive medical condition and I consider myself fortunate that I don't have to pay for it all by myself thanks to a socialized medical system", that would be a different claim, and you would have a different question. Are you changing your story or are you too "honest" for that? Beyond that, it's irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you "need" medical care. Your need doesn't give you the right to force anyone else to pay your way. Your contention is that it does. You've been told where you can find complete arguments to the contrary, and you're saying "no, I don't feel like doing that, if no one can explain it in posts on a forum then I don't care to know". You don't have to. But all you managed to do here is create a 5-page thread that goes nowhere and concludes nothing. And you're probably going to leave thinking you learned something about Objectivism.
  11. I think what's being said is that you're lying. Clearly, if you can type, you can make a living. We* just don't believe your insistence that you can't possibly provide for your own needs without stealing from others (via taxation). Edit: speaking for myself, not assuming everyone agrees.
  12. No, no. The *choice* to live or die is outside the province of morality. HOW you continue living is exactly what morality is FOR. It's not like, ok I'm alive now and have enough food for the next week, so now I can choose to be moral for a while. The purpose of morality, according to Objectivism, is to serve as a guide for living ... including where and how you're going to get your food, shelter, or medical care. The distinction is that if you decide not to care whether you live or die or that you'd prefer to die, then morality can't help you. There's no right or wrong way to commit suicide.
  13. And once you have chosen that you'd rather live than die, morality applies to how you go about doing that.
  14. Objectivism is not a system of "beliefs". From what I've read of your posts so far, I doubt that understanding your "beliefs" is going to give me a whole lot of insight into anything. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Its literature consists of writings by or approved by Ayn Rand. If you read 5% of what she wrote, then you'll have (at best) a 5% understanding of what she wrote. I don't know what "a reasonable grounding in [Objectivism's position on taxation]" would be, but your best bet is to look at the actual literature where Ayn Rand presented and defended her position. If you don't do that and just ask some questions on a forum, you should not feel at all comfortable that you have gained a reasonable understanding of the topic. There are a wide variety of people here and a wide range in levels of understanding and agreement. All you're going to get is a bunch of opinions, some of which will align with Ayn Rand's opinions, and you'll have no way of verifying which are which. Ok, so it's not worth it to you. I didn't think it would be.
  15. Actually to me, my rights are more important than your survival. In fact it appears that my rights are more important to me than your survival is to you, since you're willing to waste your time arguing about how it's okay to violate my rights in order to survive rather than working to ensure you never have to do that. I guess it's just easier that way, huh? If there's no one else around for you to steal from in order to survive, do you just fold your hands and give up? Or then would you discover that you're actually capable of keeping yourself alive? The thing is, 99.9% of human beings who manage to survive infancy (and live in free or relatively free countries) are totally capable of continuing to keep themselves alive afterwards. The other 0.01% that is so disabled that they can't possibly produce any value, either physically or mentally, can easily be provided for through private charity. Without ever having met you I can say with total certainty: you're not one of them. Of course, if people are constantly told that they aren't capable and anyway have a right to expect someone else to earn the money they need to survive for them, they turn into whiney little leeches who think "moral" is defined by whatever is easier for them. They don't get that there's no room or cause for pity among rational, living human beings. I know, I know ... I "misunderstood" your posts and just don't "get" what you're saying, right? Sure. If you want to understand the actual Objectivist position, I'd suggest reading first "The Virtue of Selfishness" and then "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal". You could try the library. You could probably also get both books, including shipping, from ARI for under $30. If you can't swing that then I guess you don't get to understand, since hashing it out on the forum isn't going to help you much without reading the original materials. Oh well.
  16. Seems like even her supposed supporters can't help themselves when it comes to personal criticisms either: http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/10010...fner-heller.php Why is it that people can look at this woman who explicitly and loudly stood for individualism and egoism, and complain that she wasn't friendly enough, didn't go far enough out of her way to appear happy? She totally spelled out her standard of a good life, then they turn around and judge her by the standards of how she treated others or how many friends she had or whether she made her philosophy "accessible" enough.
  17. $250 a month? I guess it's more expensive than birth control ...
  18. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    That's cool, I'm sure you'll get around to it. It does answer all the questions you've asked here, much better than I can. You probably already know this but reading the forum isn't the best way to figure out what the philosophy of Objectivism says. There are lots of people with lots of different ideas floating around here and no way to tell whether their own understanding is accurate. The best strategy is to read the books and use the forum as a way to apply or test what you've read. Cheers
  19. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    Because it does affect you also, if you have to share any part of your world with other people (and if you're in a position to trample them to get what you want, then this applies). The right not to have force initiated against you is not some optional good idea, it's necessary because human nature requires the use of reason. If you initiate force against another person then you have no right to be defended from them. So if you really do care about yourself, you'll pay attention to that little detail. It doesn't mean you have to actually care what happens to them or whether they get what they want. It just means that the only way you get to act freely is if you aren't stopping others from doing the same. Didn't you say you'd read The Virtue of Selfishness? If not then you should, it's a fairly clear idea.
  20. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    No, that is not what selfishness implies. Selfishness means that you take into account everything you know about what type of creature you are, what kind of person you yourself are, what you know about life and what you rationally want from it - long term - and that you take actions to make that happen. If you go around acting on random whims or vague goals and don't consider reality when forming your plans, you're not being selfish, in fact you're being self-destructive. Yeah, there would be. Because part of being selfish in a social context is ensuring that rights are protected. If there were truly no repercussions for anyone who decided to loot or kill me in pursuit of his own goals (necessarily short-term goals, since there's obviously no plan for what he'll do once I'm dead or have nothing left to loot), then it no longer makes any sense for me to continue living in society and I find some desert island or isolated corner of Canadian wilderness to live in alone. Also, again - taking what you want is not a means to a "life goal", assuming that the goal is "life".
  21. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    You definitely used the term "hated" incorrectly. See here for more.
  22. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    "Very real repercussions" don't cloud the issue, they are the issue. You can't consider actions based on isolated consequences that wouldn't be isolated in reality. You could just as easily say "according to physics, since it takes a number of seconds to land after jumping off a building, I can achieve my goal of flying by jumping off a building. Don't cloud the issue with what would happen after that, it's the flying part that matters". Man should be selfish in his motivations - he should use reason to determine them, and then use reason to achieve them. You're not "furthering your goal" if you're taking one step forward and three steps back.
  23. bluey

    Non-moral Norms

    You've got to be kidding. Anyone who thinks the life of a criminal/embezzler is "comfortable", regardless of how much money they have at any given time, needs to take a good hard look at reality. If your goal is to have a long, happy, comfortable life, then you WORK to earn value and build a solid financial situation for yourself. Have you ever met a "happy", "comfortable" criminal, with no fear of being caught and no subconscious nagging feeling that he has no way to defend his own rights if he has no respect for others'?
  24. Yes. I meant it was a good start because you'll be directed to some good sources and be able to discuss what you're learning. It's certainly no substitute for reading the actual literature so please do follow SNerd's advice!
  25. Jeez dude ... if this post represents your understanding of Objectivism, I have to ask, what is it exactly that you like about it?? The government according to Objectivism exists to protect individual rights - that is, the right to use their own mind and act however they want as long as they don't violate anyone else's right to do the same. The only way you can prevent someone from using their own mind to guide their actions is through force (physical force) or fraud. The government then exists to protect individuals from force or fraud. A father selling his children into prostitution is OK because it's an economic exchange?? That's pretty much the most twisted logic I've ever heard. The children are individuals, not property. They can't be exchanged. That's force against the children. There's nothing OK about it. As for "utopianism", Objectivism doesn't require that the individuals in a society agree to act or think in any particular way at all. It simply doesn't shield them from the consequences of their own irrationality, and the assumption (or observation, really) is that when people aren't protected from the consequences of being stupid and lazy, they tend to start taking care of themselves and avoiding those consequences. People are smart; nearly every single human being who is born has the capacity to figure out life. In an Objectivist society you wouldn't have to be selfish, you just wouldn't last very long if you weren't - cause that's how reality works. If by "police state" you mean there would be police to defend against criminals and mobsters, then yeah, of course there would be police. But keep in mind that the only crime would be force or fraud, so I don't know why you seem to think we would need so many of them. Mobster-ing would become a lot less lucrative without a monopoly on illegal substances etc., so crime control would really not be as big of an issue as it is now - and I'd hardly call what we have now a "police state". Some Objectivists and people who call themselves Objectivists are idiots. Some of them are mean idiots. Sorry. The rest of us can't really help you with that one. You're free to identify them as such and not spend your time and energy on listening to them. There is really only one main, unsolved debate "within Objectivism", and if you look into it you'll see that it's a fairly fundamental issue to a point that the two sides really aren't saying the same things. It's more like totally different philosophies that use the same language and the same name. It's unfortunate and can be confusing, but you can look into it on your own and make a decision on who's right. It's not between Rand and Peikoff either. That's my 2c worth, I'm sure other people will weigh in. I'd simply advise that from what I can see, your understanding of the philosophy is not very solid, but you're in the right place to get a firmer grasp on it.
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