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Fred Weiss

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Everything posted by Fred Weiss

  1. I wonder if RSalar thinks any concept can be valid if there is not some authority who can declare what it means. The question then becomes how do we decide who is the authority and by what standard do they acquire that authority? If our own judgment isn't sufficient, then whose is?
  2. No, the different countries are all "monopolies" in a specified geographic region. Within that geographic region they do not allow any competition. So, law most certainly does assume "one all powerful government to enforce it". If a "private agency" assumed the mantle of such a gov't, enforcing its laws in a given region, then that agency will merely have taken on the role of a gov't. Look, in reality, anarchism means rival gangs, tribes, warlords. Each of them does have a given "territory" which they will fight to protect. The difference between anarchism and gov't therefore is not whether there will a "monopoly authority" - since, as I said, if there is law there *must be* - but whether its exercise of power is restrained by objective law. As for your objection against my saying that anarchists steal the concept of "market", I do not say it merely as "a matter of definition". Any market, in order to function, must have a body of rules which govern its operation and some authority must exist to enforce those rules, e.g. to prevent force and fraud. That authority must have *a monopoly* over the operation of that market and its rules must be conducive to the operation of the market (if it is to function as a market). Markets, if they are to exist, require laws and some means of enforcing them, i.e. they presuppose a governing body. I don't care what you want to call it. It still must be a governing body with monopoly authority.
  3. PeteyRimple asks, "1.)How would there be a uniform law under anarchy?" This is a stolen concept. Law presupposes a gov't which enforces it. (Without enforcement there is no law). In other words, if there is law, there isn't anarchy. "2.)How under market anarchism can there be a resolution of competing claims?" "Market anarchism" is a contradiction in terms. If you have anarchism, you can't have a market. A market presupposes the existence of law which presupposes the existence of gov't. Some entity has to enforce the rules of the market. "3.)Under market anarchism won’t “goon squads” prevail?" Of course. That's the very definition of anarchy. It is the absence of law and therefore the rule of gangs. "4.)Under market anarchism doesn’t might just make right?" Anarchism is the rule of might vs. the rule of rights. Continuing to point out that gov'ts have and do violate rights is beside the point. The alternative is not between anarchism and rights-violating gov'ts. The alternative is all the various ways that rights can be violated - which includes anarchism - and the establishment of a gov't based on objective law for the sole purpose of protecting rights.
  4. The fundamental point you are missing is that gov't is subject to restraint. Recognizing the danger of force and the threat it poses to individual rights, an ideal constitutional limited gov't is strictly limited to protecting those rights. Various procedures are implimented to reduce the liklihood that gov't will overstep its proper bounds, e.g. checks and balances, separation of powers, courts, etc. Ours obviously is not ideal, but it is certainly vastly better than Somalia - and the means exist to change it for the better via rational persuasion. What restraint governs private gangs other than "might makes right" and whoever has the most guns wins? Hasn't that in fact been basically the story of history *until the advent of limited gov't*? When was the last war between Vermont and New York or Albany and Utica?
  5. Then so does anyone else in regard to you - and that includes the type of people whom I don't suggest you rub the wrong way and toward whom you had better show proper deference. They are prepared to pay far, far more than you are for "protection and retaliation" services and they are not too concerned with the niceties of civilized legal procedures. Oh, wait, I'm sorry. You said that only you had the right to take the law into your own hands. It doesn't apply to anyone else and not in regard to getting even with you. Is that right?
  6. There is no right to vigilantism - no right to take the law into your own hands, whether you do it yourself or whether you hire a hit man to do it for you. It is you therefore who are initiating force, not the gov't in stopping you. The gov't in this instance would be protecting us against vigilantism and the breakdown in law and order which would ensue as a result of it. The idea of a "rational man" or of a "fully rational company" engaging in vigilantism is therefore a contradiction in terms. No one rational would take it upon himself to be judge, jury and executioner in his own case - and certainly not if a rational legal system exists which is performing that function. If such a system does not exist, rational men will strive to create one - not allow a system to exist where rival gangs replace the law. A mixed system like our present one, even though it violates many of our rights, is far, far better than a state in which gang warfare is the norm - and anarchism is nothing but gang warfare.
  7. Furthermore, the existence of private "standards and practices" and a whole host of other private agreements and understandings which govern our various associations is entirely irrelevant to this issue. Most disagreements can of course fortunately be handled without involving the law. If that weren't the case the courts would be even more clogged than they are already, but now with petty disputes. That isn't the issue and it's a smokescreen when anarchists bring it up. The purpose of the law is to govern serious disputes and/or major violations of rights where private resolution is either not possible or not desirable. Its purpose is to avoid vigilantism and/or disputes leading to armed conflict such as, e.g. "blood feuds" which have been known to go on for decades, even centuries.
  8. "Market anarchism" or what anarchists also refer to as a "market in force" is a contradiction in terms and rests on a stolen concept similar to "property is theft". A market is a place where people can *freely* exchange goods and where no participant can force his terms or goods on any one else, e.g. force someone to buy his product vs. someone else's. As soon as force is introduced it is no longer a market. It is extortion. But by definition then there is no market, i.e. no choice. As soon as force becomes a product to be purchased with supposedly competing vendors, the winner becomes the vendor who can force the others out of business. It becomes competing gangs with the eventual victor being the strongest gang, that gang deciding what products can be offered at what price and to whom - and that's assuming they just don't go on a looting spree. So much for the morality of "market anarchism". Force is not some commodity which people can trade or compete over. It is a direct threat to individual rights and in contrast to other "services" it must therefore be put under restraint via carefully defined limitations. That's the purpose of the law. And as far as our rights are concerned, there is nothing to compete over. No one can offer more or less or better free speech. Free speech is a basic right. There aren't "competing brands" of it. The only question is whether a given society will acknowledge, respect, and protect it. There is no basis for choice in the matter, as if I should have the right to choose to censor your speech. So, the whole notion of a "market in force" is absurd on its face.
  9. Actually, asking the question "Am I dreaming?" when you are fully awake makes absolutely no sense. Any evidence you would consider as applying to the question presupposes that you are awake to consider it. There is of course a facetious use of the question, when you experience something highly unusual and unexpected. Hence the expression "pinch me". But that, too, presupposes that you are awake and can tell the difference. The example Jennifer gives of delusions are a special case because they represent an incidence of abnormality or malfunction. The problem is that someone suffering from the condition cannot sometimes (or even often or all the time depending on the severity of the problem) tell the difference between the real and the unreal. But this is similar to the dream question because we have no difficulty knowing when we are not delusional and it is by that standard that we judge when we are.
  10. Hallucinations and dreams can certainly be vivid enough that while one is experiencing them they can seem to be real. But the reverse is not true. except perhaps under highly unusual circumstances. When one is fully awake one knows that one is not dreaming or hallucinating. It is precisely the experience of being awake - and fully in touch with reality - that enables us to distinguish that state from dreams or hallucinations. One *awakes* from a dream. One *realizes* that something we just experienced was an hallucination, i.e. was *not real*. It is clearly wakefulness and alertness which are the standard and not vice versa. However vivid a dream or an hallucination, we can distinguish it from reality. We certainly wouldn't say that the dream or hallucination was real whereas our state of full alertness now is really a dream or an hallucination. Our ability to make this distinction is self-evident. You can't really argue it without simply repeating it and the attempt to deny it is self-refuting - you must assume it while you are questioning or denying it. Incidentally, while dreams and hallucinations are not real, i.e. they are entirely in our heads, illusions are real. Don't let anyone tell you that illusions are proof of the invalidity of the senses. When we perceive an illusion, we are perceiving something real. That stick does in fact look bent in water. It has to because of the refraction of light. That perception gives us important information about the physical world.
  11. The only pathology in this story is Michael Prescott's, since he blatantly distorts Ayn Rand's journal entries concerning Hickman and seems to take obsessive (and entirely gratuitous) interest in the excrutiating details of the mutilation of one of Hickman's victims. Prescott is clearly on a mission (which has been going on for some years) and he will clearly use whatever means he thinks he can get away with to smear Ayn Rand and Objectivism. One important thing to note is that he never actually bothered to read AR's journal entries for himself. He bases his smear entirely on *another author's smear of Ayn Rand*. So, let's look at the *actual* comments in the book: First, from the editor's preparatory notes: "Hickman served as a model for Danny only in strictly limited respects, which AR names in her notes. Danny does commit a crime in the story, but it is nothing like Hickman's. To guard against any misinterpretation, I quote her own statement regarding the relationship between her hero and Hickman: [My hero is] very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. Much deeper and much more. A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me." However, it clearly doesn't really matter to Prescott what AR actually said. He is so virulently opposed to Objectivism that he will use the flimsiest, out-of-context comments (such as this one) to attack it. He is not the first and he won't be the last. Incidentally, for him as for most of the others, their primary objection to Objectivism is *its commitment to reason*. Prescott, for example, is an avowed mystic. Enough said.
  12. I was wondering about Hong Kong. Used to be the flow was all - or predominantly - one way: to Hong Kong from Red China. Now with China booming I assume the flow has stopped - or possibly even reversed. Plus, with Hong Kong now under the control of China, I assume freedom has lessened reducing the appeal of that element of the former Hong Kong also. Does anyone know?
  13. Yeah, I wonder how many S. Koreans are clamoring to get into N. Korea. Probably about as many as W. Germans tried to scale the wall to get into E. Germany.
  14. Daniel, in the way in which you seem to be viewing it, anything we say to you in response to your question would interfere with your "freedom"! You're mixing up the psychological meaning of the word with the political meaning. There are even other meanings, such as financial freedom, so you have to be clear what you mean in the question you are posing.
  15. Our only point is that it is not anything "paranormal" and that there are good explanations for it. Nonetheless I wouldn't for that reason denigrate the experience. It does suggest that you two are very much "in sync" and I would guess that it manifests itself in other ways.
  16. That's a good observation and may also be part of the explanation for what "Moose" is experiencing. There was a book written on this subject some years ago, but unfortunately I forgot the title. I recall the author also mentioning how amazed people are when they run across old friends they haven't seen in years at, e.g. Disneyland. He points out that given the number of people at Disneyland at any given time and that you are walking around looking at all the attractions, the odds are actually pretty good that you would run into an old friend.
  17. I'll bet you also frequently call each other at different times. In fact I'd bet that if you actually kept track you would notice that you far more often call each other at different times. That's not something you would particularly notice. On the other hand when you do happen to coincedently call each other at the same time, you notice it. If you are calling each other often - significantly increasing the odds - it will happen what seems like "frequently" but actually isn't. Or people will say when a friend calls, "Wow, I was just thinking of you. Must be ESP." And...err...how many times have friends, including this friend, called and you weren't thinking of them? Or people report how they wake up in a cold sweat and think that a friend has been injured - and sure enough that friend was just injured. Would you bother noticing or telling anyone about the *hundreds* of other times you think about friends and nothing special happens to them? When was the last time someone told you, "Gee, I had a dream about Joe - and nothing particularly noteworthy happened to Joe. Oh well, the ol' ESP wasn't working then." Or how about, "Joe was injured last night. And guess what? I didn't dream about him."
  18. That the candidate got a grand total of 274 votes. You're missing the more important point that he raises which is that it associates Objectivism (if god forbid that is dragged into it) or freedom (if it is "Libertarian") with *crackpot-ism*. We are trying to get Objectivism recognized as a serious philosophy and Ayn Rand as an important author. That message is undercut when it is associated with futile and Quixotic political campaigns - which btw vastly underestimates our growing influence.
  19. What does Cuba have to trade? The only way it would make any difference is if they opened their markets and allowed greater economic freedom - as they have in China. China, though, is a troubling counter-example to the notion that freer trade will promote greater political freedom - at least so far. If anything, the Chinese seem to be cracking down even more, e.g. in regard to the Internet. They bizarrely continue to pay homage to communism, despite the fact that they have largely abandoned it. (I would describe China today as a fascist dictatorship).
  20. We'd better be clear here otherwise we're going to talk past each other. I'm using "name" in the sense of "proper name". In this sense it is a word that designates a specific and singular object, i.e. it is a kind of word. For example "Mars" is a name, not a concept, whereas "planet" is the word for the concept of which it is an example. So, Objectivism is not a concept. It is a proper name, designating Ayn Rand's philosophy. As for whether you can have an idea without a word for it. Sure, but you likely won't have it for long and until you do. That's the purpose of words.
  21. Actually, it does have a name - "thigamajig" or "that-thing-you-just-invented". Not very elegant perhaps, but you both know very specifically what you are referring to. What you *don't* have yet is a concept, which is suggested by the fact that you can't come up with a good name for it yet. And even with a name, unless it represents some new category of invention which deserves it, it still wouldn't necessarily be a concept. It would just be a certain object which you've given a name. As another example, when you name your baby, you're just naming it, not creating a new concept. Have you yet read ITOE?
  22. I thought it might help clarify certain aspects of this discussion if I quoted AR on the subject. This is from the Appendix of ITOE. The example given here is the concept "seven" but I think the principle would be the same for "inch": "Prof. J: What measurements are omitted in forming concepts of particular numbers, for example, the concept of "seven"? AR: In a certain sense the measurements omitted from the concept of numbers are the easiest to perceive. What you omit are the measurements of any existents which you count. The concept "number" pertains to a relationship of existents viewed as units—that is, existents which have certain similarities and which you classify as members of one group. So when you form the concept of a number, you form an abstraction which you implicitly declare to be applicable to any existents which you care to consider as units. It can be actual existents, or it can be parts of an existent, as an inch is a part of a certain length. You can measure things by regarding certain attributes as broken up into units—of length, for instance, or of weight. Or you can count entities. You can count ten oranges, ten bananas, ten automobiles, or ten men; the abstraction "ten" remains the same, denoting a certain number of entities viewed as members of a certain group according to certain similarities. Therefore, what is it that you retain? The relationship. What do you omit? All the measurements of whichever units you are denoting or counting by means of the concept of any given number. Here the omission of measurements is perceived almost at its clearest. And I even give the example in the book—it's an expression I have heard, I did not originate it—that an animal can perceive two oranges and two potatoes but cannot conceive of the concept "two." And right there you can see what the mechanics are: the abstraction retains the numerical relationship, but omits the measurements of the particulars, of the kind of entities which you are counting." The example I thought of was viewing 10 very diverse objects lying on a table, e.g. a piece of candy, a paper clip, etc., and all having only one thing in common: that they are an inch long, which btw would be very noticeable, especially if they were lined up next to each other. That would be similar to AR's example of 10 oranges, 10 men, etc. where the abstraction is "ten".
  23. There are many examples to illustrate your point such as the recent presidential election when the "liberals" outspent the Republicans, financed by wealthy individuals such as George Soros, in groups like MoveOn.org Also, why assume the spending will be all one way? If the issue is important enough the opposing groups will be able to raise large sums from their supporters. Even if it is not equal and even if one side spends more than the other, that won't necessarily counter-balance the most effectively presented argument. You just need to be heard and you don't necessarily need vast sums to accomplish that. I don't think it matters anyway - and it may even be a turn-off - if you barrage your audience with your message.
  24. That's true of all attributes. "Hardness" doesn't exist either (by itself). Only objects which are hard exist. As for what is omitted when we form the concept "inch", you were very close to answering the question yourself when you said, "When we form the concept, "inch" we retain the only attribute that it has--the fact that an inch is specific distance between to points--that distance being an inch." Now just add the following "It can be ANY two points" and you have your answer. You may want to add as you noted that it has to be a straight line.
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