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Everything posted by Jake_Ellison

  1. Jake_Ellison


    What negative? Right, I deduced that from your use of the expression "the vast majority of the time" instead of "always". My question was what are the exceptions? It is a relevant question, since those exceptions are when we should use torture.
  2. No. It has to do with the fact that pregnant women who already feel bad, or suspect something is wrong, are more likely to go to the hospital than those who feel great. It doesn't make not going to the hospital a good idea, it just slants the statistic. If the results are still comparable, despite that, it means not going to the hospital is a terrible idea.
  3. There are. However, that's due to either the sanction of many of their victims (in the case of those who benefit from institutionalized theft), or out of an unusual amount of luck. Either way, it is not true that their chosen morality offers a path to happiness the way an honest, rational morality does. Bringing the few people who are lucky enough to escape the consequences of theft as proof that it leads to happiness is like bringing lottery winners as proof that sitting at home watching TV and playing the lottery is a good way to become a millionaire. In both cases, you are ignoring the overwhelming evidence against your hypothesis (the millions who subscribe to the same Ethics and are failing because of it), in favor of some hand-picked examples. It is not a logical way to generalize (It's called the fallacy of unrepresentative sample).
  4. Jake_Ellison


    Because evil people sometimes have verifiable information that can help us defeat their plans. Why wouldn't we torture them to get that information, if it will lead to preventing a massacre of innocents? Is there a time when it is an effective means of obtaining information? If not, why are you saying "the vast majority of the time"? Why aren't you saying "always"?
  5. You can't directly choose Objectivism, but you can choose to understand and evaluate it (you can do that by choosing to read Atlas Shrugged for instance, and by choosing to pay attention to what you are reading). Obviously, before all that, you must choose to read my post, and you must choose to pay attention to what you are reading as well. Then, you will have understood what I just told you (not because I caused you to understand, but because you chose to understand). Or, you could choose to frustrate me in my efforts and not choose to understand what I just told you. The existence of those two plausible outcomes are enough to prove that indeed I do not have the power to cause you to understand anything, you have a choice in the matter.
  6. Here's how you should look at it: what caused America to elect an altruist is the fact that almost everyone's an altruist. In other words, most of the victims are not only sanctioning the theft, they are demanding it. And they aren't happier for it, in fact the state of the country is a perfectly objective argument against Americans' choice of Ethics (including Obama's). But what caused Obama in particular to become President is not that he's a bigger altruist than everyone else, it's the fact that he's a well spoken altruist (with good timing, a little luck, and probably a pretty good work ethic - although I don't know that for sure). Even in a messed up world, altruism is not enough to cause people to gain anything. The leader of the lunatics still has to have some kind of actual virtues that make him king of the asylum. So Obama is happy because of his abilities (which he had to have worked on), not because of his faulty Ethics which is destroying the country. But of course, his faults will eventually catch up with him, and he will no doubt be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in history. That's not something he will be happy about ten or twenty years from now.
  7. I agree with that. Picking people to root for just because you're at the same school or in the same city is textbook chauvinism. But liking a team (or athlete) based on one's own values, and rooting for it, doesn't make one a second hander. Speaking of which, how great was Mr. Andrew Eugene Pettitte again, last night.
  8. "The ends justify the means" argument is in fact a logical fallacy. (you literally cannot rely on a conclusion to deny a premise it was built on) If you wish to prove Rand wrong in her insistence that the individual (and every single individual) is an end in itself (and that therefor the use of force is immoral, except against those who first use physical force against you), you'll have to do it from the bottom up. Saying "it's wrong because otherwise her Politics would fall apart" assumes her Politics, which was built on a premise you claim is false, is still magically a valid goal one should act to achieve. P.S. Obviously, if you actually were right, and her Politics required taxation to survive in the real world, that would be a valid indictment of her Politics. But it would say nothing about what you are trying to attack: her claim that each individual is an end in himself, and him, his mind or his efforts may not be used by others for any other ends.
  9. It doesn't. The sense the authors of the Constitution use the word speech in is "the act of communicating information or ideas". Ordering someone's murder, or yelling "Fire" in a theater are clearly not regarded as a form of speech, but rather action through speech. The act of yelling fire isn't the problem (a person can yell fire all he wants, if it doesn't lead to people taking action), the action it causes is the problem. Suggesting that the First Amendment is wrong in guaranteeing freedom of speech because yelling fire is a form of speech is just an equivocation on the word "speech". Suggesting that the word speech in the First Amendment really means "political speech" is also baseless. It means every form of communicating ideas, but it does not mean the initiation of physical force through the act of speaking. That is a distinction consistent with everything in the Constitution, as well as other documents from the era, which declare the rights to life, liberty and property (or the pursuit of happiness, in the case of the DOI) inalienable. Some definitely are, others aren't. I think I remember reading David Odden give a good explanation on which forms of slander initiate force (and are therefor not just speech, but a form of criminal fraud), and which don't, in a thread about that subject. (I'm not 100% sure it was David, but I am 100% sure that the thread and the explanation both exist. No idea what it's called and how old it is, but it exists.) Either way, the claim is obviously true. I quoted the US Constitution explicitly stating that the freedom of speech cannot be "abridged" (abridged is used to mean curtailed/infringed upon, not the other meaning) by Congress (or, by extension, any other government entity). The Constitution is the supreme law of the US, so there really aren't any "if"s about the legality of legislative acts curtailing speech.
  10. That's not true. The US Constitution guarantees all speech exactly the same way, no matter what its subject: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (USC, First Amendment)
  11. I don't think there is a need to answer that question, to resolve this issue. All we need to determine is what isn't harassment: standing on a sidewalk with signs and chanting slogans, to protest something. That is something being done across America, thousands of times a year. Just to make it very clear what we're talking about, here's a picture of "Friends" stars Lisa Kudrow and Mathew Perry doing it, during the LA writers' strike a few years ago, on public property outside one of the studios: Does that constitute harassment? (keep in mind that I am deeply offended by the stupid expression on his face)
  12. Protecting the right to be a moral relativist isn't moral relativism. In fact an objective law is one that acknowledges everyone's right to their own morality, and prevents everyone from imposing any kind of morality (objective or otherwise) on others. The state didn't impose any values on the father, it prevented him from imposing his values (through the only way it can be done, through initiation of force) on another human being. That is precisely Ayn Rand's argument against any and all initiations of force: it can only be an attempt to impose one's values on others. You are seeking to initiate force against others, in the name of a greater good. Ayn Rand would've dismissed that because she was an individualist, who saw the independent individual as the greatest good. I'm dismissing it for the same reason. It is not true that the individual's independence and a Capitalist society cannot both exist at the same time, in the long term. But if your argument had credence, I would take the chance of losing a war against an imaginary evil superpower that can out-borrow us, before I signed away my individualism.
  13. I have the right to my property. If you refuse to provide for the protection of that right (either for free or, in the case of these bureaucratic procedures, in exchange for an objectively established one-time fee), I have the right to defend my rights myself (with everything that entails, including retaliation), right here in this country, I don't need to leave. Actively preventing me from holding all those types of property (because I chose to not submit to your scheme) would be a violation of my rights, just as simply threatening to shoot me because "choices have consequences" would be. Appealing to the notion hat the government has monopoly on force would be illogical: Ayn Rand's rationale for that was that the right to defend ourselves was delegated to the government. It's not delegated when the government is not defending some of those rights. I can, by not paying them (or, in the case of stores which pay them without consulting their customers, by having a store that isn't paying them, right next door - you read about economic incentives, which business model do you think would take off, of the two?).
  14. There aren't any anti-harassment laws per se in the US (because of the ambiguity of the word), but there are various laws covering types of harassment. There are laws against issuing threats, stalking, sexual harassment in the workplace, etc. The UK does of course have anti harassment laws, because it doesn't concern itself with protecting freedom of speech much. Indeed, the legislation has been mostly used against peaceful protesters. Back to our American lunatics, they weren't charged with any crimes against forms of harassment, because all those crimes are well defined and have well established precedent on the conditions under which they are prosecuted. You're not going to be able to use them to get a professional lawyer who is doing her best to obey the law, to break them. What you need is exactly what these people used: ambiguous accusations in a civil shakedown, which can be used against anyone expressing unpopular opinions, just enough to convince a clueless group of jurors. That is why the appellate court dismissed the case, and that is why the Supreme Court will dismiss it too.
  15. They aren't being accused of noise pollution. I'm sure if there was a reasonable attempt on the part of the local authorities to enforce local laws regarding noise levels, the Church would have agreed to keep the noise down to whatever levels are considered acceptable in the areas they protest in. They have an excellent track record of obeying all laws.
  16. Well, there's no law against it. Should there be one? Is there a general reason for not allowing foreign governments to bring evidence or to appeal to a justice system in another country? As for his case, as far as I can discern Jan Brewer's only argument is that listening to what Mexico has to say is offensive to her and many citizens. My reply would be that I don't care about her feelings, and neither should the Court. Obviously, if these countries really have nothing to add, there's no reason to listen to them, but I can think of plenty of relevant information they might be able to bring to the table. Their citizens are being accused of being criminals, of destroying our society, etc.(those are the reasons given for this attempt at targeting them) Couldn't the governments they used to be subject to have some relevant information on whether that is true?
  17. They aren't trespassing on private property, they're only demonstrating on 'publicly owned land'. And yes, they have the right to do so, their actions don't violate anyone's property rights. (those charges listed in the previous ruling are all abusive, there is no right to not get your feelings hurt) Obviously, in a fully free society, they would have fewer opportunities to stage these protests, since there would be a lot less 'publicly owned land', and it's unlikely that many private road or land owners would allow them to get close to these funerals. But, on the rare occasion that they could get it done with the permission of nearby property owners, there would still be nothing the families could do.
  18. As far as I'm concerned, my only quibble with you is that you failed to distinguish between "hostile reception" and "ban", and therefor the thread title is misleading. No amount of hostile reception amounts to a ban. The French are in fact still free to purchase, read and discuss the book in a variety of ways. They just don't seem to want to. That means it hasn't been banned.
  19. I wouldn't sign anything like that (because it doesn't sound like a contract, with specific moneys and services being exchanged, nor does it contain reasonable time limits after which I can change my mind about any kind of arrangement). Does that mean you would refrain from initiating force against me, or are you still hellbent on disregarding my rational mind, and using my life as a means to your political ends? Also (if your answer to the first question is that my decision matters), what happens next? May I turn to someone else for a similar service, or will I be left defenseless, with your "government" denying me my right to self defense? Without choice, there is no morality. The sacrifice is the greatest imaginable, the thing being sacrificed is your victim's spiritual independence (and with it, his rational mind): “Sacrifice” is the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue. Thus, altruism gauges a man’s virtue by the degree to which he surrenders, renounces or betrays his values (since help to a stranger or an enemy is regarded as more virtuous, less “selfish,” than help to those one loves). The rational principle of conduct is the exact opposite: always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values, and never sacrifice a greater value to a lesser one. This applies to all choices, including one’s actions toward other men. It requires that one possess a defined hierarchy of rational values (values chosen and validated by a rational standard). Without such a hierarchy, neither rational conduct nor considered value judgments nor moral choices are possible.
  20. Out of those three, only websites could possibly be said to have banned a book (specifically, websites which sell books). Forums and media outlets don't publish books (especially copyrighted ones). So, can you name a specific website that refused to sell the book for political reasons? Also, is there any reason why the French can't just order it online?
  21. The difference between taxation and voluntary contributions is the absence of consent. If you are in favor of taxation, you are not looking for consent. If you are looking for a signed contract from every individual you plan on collecting money from, that is not taxation, that is contract enforcement. Which is it? Are you saying individuals may only be forced to pay any money if they have consented to doing so, by signing a contract, or are you saying no consent is necessary for the government to collect money from an individual? There is no third option. There is no such thing as an implicit or inherent contract, nor is there such a thing as voluntary agreement through democratic elections. Voluntary agreement is the prerogative of an individual, a majority cannot agree to something for any individuals.
  22. Ayn Rand is very clear on what she means by retaliatory force: "The principle of using force only in retaliation against those who initiate its use, is the principle of subordinating might to right." Retaliatory force is force used against those who initiate it. Taxing me by force is not retaliatory force. Presenting the concept of retaliatory force as if it entails "paying for it" is misleading to those who may not be very familiar with Objectivism. Another thing Ayn Rand is very clear on is when the use of force is permitted (only in retaliation, against someone who is initiating the use of force): "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man—or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use." Claiming otherwise is contrary to Objectivism. You are of course free to believe whatever you wish, but for the sake of not misleading people, you should make the Objectivist position, and your departure from it, clear.
  23. The Hickman nonsense: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=16917&hl=hickman For the Nietzsche question, you'll just have to read both Rand and Nietzsche, understand them both, and then you'll know for yourself. Nietzsche might be a bit tricky, so you might want to rely on some reputable English language authors to help you figure him out, but Rand's works are widely available, easy to read and they describe her philosophy well. Why are you reading obscure second hand accounts of what her philosophy is, instead? It's a waste of time.
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