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Everything posted by sleepyop

  1. Many times I have overestimated people, which is caused by the way I view their characters. I see a few good premises and values in a person who I don't know too well, and then I end up projecting the rest of their character. I usually fill in the gaps with my own premises and values because I assume that if they have a few good fundamentals then they should be consistent. However, as much as I am right about someone, I'm usually just as wrong about them. Once I get to know them better, I begin to see the discrepancies between the way I've viewed them and the way they actually are. Unfortunately, a couple of times, I've become overly enthusiastic about someone, and it takes me many months before I begin to see their true character. Thus, I've become very cautious nowadays about the way I evaluate other people, but accurately evaluating someone is a difficult process. Do you or someone you know have a similar problem as my own? How do you deal with it?
  2. I wasn't raised on religion, but I'm from the bible belt and have been around Christians my entire life. I remember having the impression that Jesus is portrayed as a man of great self-esteem. I know this has to be a contradiction because no one with a great deal of self-esteem would ever sacrifice his life for those he considered "sinners." I assume Jesus had very little self-esteem, but is portrayed as the opposite in order to get people to buy into Christianity. I have only read snippets of the bible, and therefore, I'm not that familiar with it. I would appreciate it if people who are more familiar with Christianity could help me find information on Jesus' level of self-esteem.
  3. John Kerry meets with the Queen of England. He asks her, “Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?” “Well,” says the Queen, “the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.” Kerry frowns. “But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?” The Queen takes a sip of tea. “Oh, that’s easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle.” The Queen pushes a button on her intercom. “Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?” Tony Blair walks into the room. “Yes, my Queen?” The Queen smiles. “Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?” Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answers, “That would be me.” “Yes! Very good,” says the Queen. Kerry goes back home to ask John Edwards, his vice presidential choice the same question. “John, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister. Who is it?” “I’m not sure,” says John Edwards, “Let me get back to you on that one.” Edwards goes to his advisors and asks every one, but none can give him an answer. Finally, he ends up in the men’s room and recognizes Colin Powell’s shoes in the next stall. Edwards shouts, “Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it’s not your brother or your sister. Who is it?” Colin Powell yells back, “That’s easy. It’s me!” Edwards smiles, and says, “Thanks!” Then, Edwards goes back to speak with Kerry. “Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It’s Colin Powell.” Kerry gets up, stomps over to John Edwards and angrily yells into his face, “No, you idiot! It’s Tony Blair!”
  4. I watched the first presidential debate last night, Sept. 30th. A transcript of the debate is available at: http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2004a.html Here are a few observations I've made about the pros and cons of each candidate: Kerry: Con: Kerry continually talked about needing strong alliances in winning the war on terrorism and regaining credibility for America. This is certainly not true. America has enough military strength to take out perhaps the entire Middle East (save for Israel). However, we'd really only need to flatten Tehran, Iran and some other parts of Iran. Consequently, the rest of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East will crumble shortly once America has shown its military might. Then alliances will follow us. But we don't need them to go to war -- especially not the United Nations! We simply don't have the time to persuade other nations and countries to form some "Grand Coalition" to fight terrorism. Pro: Kerry continually talked about his great respect for the U.S. troops. Although it was only implied in his talk, he seems to understand that individual soldiers are sacrificing their lives for nothing. He talked many times about bringing the troops home which I think is quite necessary, and he cited many figures on how many men and women are dying everyday in Iraq. He talked about how many military bases are being formed in Iraq, which denotes that the U.S. military is permanently occupying Iraq. Kerry seemed to offer a more temporary although somewhat flawed plan (mainly training Iraqis to defend themselves) for getting our troops out of Iraq. He even stated that if done his way, then in about six months we could begin to bring troops home from Iraq. Con: Kerry promotes the dissolution of the development of our missile defense system. His claim was that we don't want other countries to develop nuclear weapons, so we shouldn't either, implying that America is being hypocritical. Kerry fails to recognize that having a missile defense system is imperative to the protection and defense of U.S. citizens. Unsure: Kerry's nuclear containment plan. (I don't know if I understand this correctly.) Kerry stated that in four years, he plans to contain nuclear products in Russia where terrorists can get their hands on the nuclear material "floating" throughout the country. Kerry cited that at the rate that Bush is going, this would take 13 years to do. I don't know if nuclear containment is necessary at this point. Of course, Iran and North Korea need to be stopped from developing nuclear weapons. But Kerry also suggests that in order to stop nuclear proliferation this containment strategy apples to America as well. He takes the situation out of context. Whether a country should contain nuclear weapons or the material to make those weapons depends on the moral status of that country. Bush: Con: Although Bush acted without the U.N.'s approval in going to war, he concedes the premise that we need allies to fight this war to John Kerry. For instance, he cited that Great Britain and Poland are both our allies. Pro: Bush supports the development of a nuclear defense system. Whether he'll ever use it is another question. Con: Bush continually talked about how America needs to spread peace in the Middle East. Afghanis are holding their first presidential election, implying that voting is a fundamental of "democracy" which is a conceptual package-deal in itself. What Afghanistan and Iraq really need at least is a secular representative-democratic government such as America has. However, Bush states that it's up to the Afghani and Iraqi people to decide what kind of government they want. Con: A related point is that Bush thinks that "securing" liberty in Afghanistan and Iraq will provide an example of how freedom and peace can be brought to the Middle East. This is in America's interest and it’s America's duty to do this, as Bush repeatedly said. First of all, Afghanistan and Iraq are not headed towards freedom. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is reorganizing. And I truly believe that Iraq will soon become a theocratic state similar to Iran. And if that happens, then we'll be much worse off than we already are. Con: The most atrocious statement of the entire debate came from Bush when he talked about how he met a woman named Misty while on his campaign trail. Misty has a son and her husband died in Iraq. He says that they cried and laughed a little. (This was just Bush's attempt to be a "compassionate conservative," a concept which I think denigrates the importance having a strong leader. Even worse was that Bush seemed wholly insincere.) Furthermore, Bush told Misty that her husband's sacrifice was noble and Misty agreed. Bush persuaded this woman to believe that her husband died not for the sake of protecting his family but for the sake of bringing and protecting freedom for Iraqi people (i.e. nothing). Con: Iran was only mentioned a few times. It was acknowledged that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Bush erroneously stated that this could be for "peaceful purposes." However, the main bulk of talk about Iran centered on some warlord or mullah or something who's committing genocide. Bush talked about how he was hoping that some African organization would help stop the genocide and how he was sending money for humanitarian aide to Iran. What a terrible idea! This just ends up as another means of funding militant Islamic terrorists! Both: Con: Kerry believes that the central terrorist spot is in Afghanistan. Bush thinks it's in Iraq. They're both wrong. It's in Iran! (As a small side note, at least Kerry did say, “And Iran and Iraq are now more dangerous -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous.”) Con: It was mentioned several times that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons. Bush advocated multilateral talks with N. Korea involving China and four other countries in order to get N. Korea to disarm. Kerry advocated bilateral negotiations with N. Korea, which implies that in order to get N. Korea to give up their nukes; America will give its nukes up as well. Bush and Kerry are both wrong. N. Korea will develop nukes no matter how many countries try to negotiate with them. It's impossible to reason with the irrational! Pro and Con: Kerry was as "presidential" as the president (i.e. his stature and speech are a few aesthetic qualities that made him look like a president.) On the other hand, on the cutaways, Bush looked displeased, dumbfounded, and often seemed to have a smirk on his face. This didn't make a good impression. Pro and Con: It was interesting how the underlying issue in this debate was about epistemology. Bush continually reinforced that Kerry changes his positions on many issues and sends mixed messages which is not an effective way to run this country. Bush stated that a President needs to have certainty. Kerry fired back with what I think is the best statement of this debate: "But this issue of certainty. It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It's another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right." Although this may seem to highlight Kerry's "flip-flopping" on issues, I see this as his greatest strength. This statement implies that Kerry can be reasoned with because he seems to consider the facts of an issue. I sincerely think that Bush cannot be reasoned with. Bush was very vague and continually repeated such statements as "It's a lot of hard work" which is true, but this is an evasion of the fact that many foreign policy initiatives such as fighting terrorism can be handled much more swiftly and effectively. He also claimed that America must always be on the offensive. No, America must always be on the defensive. By saying that America must be on the offensive, Bush concedes the leftist premise that America is the "international police" using force to intervene in many countries regardless of whether it's in our self-interest or not to do so. Yes, it's true that Bush is certain. He's morally certain that it's in America's interest to sacrifice individual American lives, soldiers and citizens, to bring freedom and peace to the Iraqi people. And he's very consistent in advocating the wrong foreign policies. His faith supersedes facts -- that is why I think Bush is much more dangerous than Kerry.
  5. I received the following in a Forwarded e-mail, which can be summed up as the altruist approach to ethics: > Subject: The Brick > > > The Brick!!! Read It. Read this today and don't delete it if you > are > too busy!! You'll see. > > THE BRICK > > A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood > > street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching > > for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down > > when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children > > appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He > > slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where > > the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the > > car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked > > car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what > > the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw > > is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young > > boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I > > didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick > > because no one else would stop.." With tears dripping down his > > face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a > > parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb > > and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." > > Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you > > please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and > > he's too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to > > swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly > > lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out > > a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A > > quick look told him everything was going to be okay. "Thank you > > and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too > > shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy! push his > > wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. > > It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very > > noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented > > side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: > > "Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick > > at you to get your attention!" God whispers in our souls and > > speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, > > He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not. > > Thought for the Day: > > If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. > > If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. > > He sends you flowers every spring. > > He sends you a sunrise every morning > > Face it, friend - He is crazy about you! > > Send this to every "beautiful person" you wish to bless. > > God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without > > sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, > > comfort for the tears, and light for the way. > > Read this line very slowly and let it sink in... > > If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. > > Pass this message to seven people except you and me. > > You will receive a miracle tomorrow ( just do it)!
  6. I don't want to take the time to read all the other posts in this thread. So, I don't know if any of this has been said or not. In most cases, there are a few exceptions, I don't find it very difficult to discern whether a person is gay or not. Gay women usually have slightly more masculine facial features than heterosexual women and their voice is slightly more masculine as well. I think this is due to an increased level of testosterone. Gay men usually have more feminine mannerisms and usually have a more feminine quality to their voice than do straight men. I think this is due to an increased level of estrogen. (Of course, these are just my observations and are not based on any scientific findings.) That said, I doubt it is possible for these hormonal changes to be caused by one's volitional consciousness. However, it may be possible for them to be caused by one's subconscious, which would put the question of homosexuality out morality and into psychology. I don't know if homosexuality is innate. I think it is probably acquired around the time of puberty, by what means -- I don't know. As a side note, there are homosexual Objectivists who don't seem to be morally hindered by their sexual preference (i.e. they seem quite happy and successful).
  7. sleepyop

    Highest Value

    In Galt's Speech, AR writes, "No value is higher than self-esteem," which, I think is true. You can't live without self-esteem. It's impossible to do so. Yet, when I've heard Objectivists talk about their highest value, they usually say it's their kids or their career. I believe AR was even asked what her "top most value" was and she replied that it was her husband. (This was in an interview with either Tom Snyder or Phil Donahue. I don't exactly remember.) This confuses me a bit. When Objectivists talk about their highest value, do they mean in the context of optional values?
  8. Yeah, when I was in Kindergarten, they didn't let us keep our own damn crayons, glue or scissors!
  9. Amy and Leonard Peikoff once gave a commentary together on the movie Chocolat. It used to be available on DVD from the ARB, but now it seems to have disappeared from their catalog.
  10. I once had to pee in a compost toilet at Mercer Arboretum. It has absolutely no water! It stunk!
  11. Yes, I think Bush is more of an M1 as well, which is still dangerous in itself. To me, it seems that if Bush were an M2, he wouldn't be as pragmatic as he is. I've never actually read the Bible, but I've heard that it states that Christianity is the only "true" religion. So , if Bush were really an M2, then he would be able to identify Islamic Fundamentalism as our real enemy instead of terrorism. However, the only real grounds I have for this view are as follows: Bush is a longtime friend of Evangelist Billy Graham. Billy Graham was supposed to give the Invocation at Bush's Presidential Inauguration but fell ill and sent his son Franklin instead. Shortly after 9/11, Franklin Graham released the following statement, "The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion." After this statement made its way into the press, Bush began to distance himself from the younger Graham. (Source: http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=337 ) Now, Graham is certainly an M2, but whether this view on Islamic faith is upheld by other M2s is debatable. (It's just an hypothesis. I'll have to do more research on this issue.)
  12. I was very much like Irene in "The Husband I Bought."
  13. The Objectivist running in the California Recall election is Logan Darrow. Visit his website Clements for Governor
  14. But the newspaper editor has not lost his right to free speech; he has only been prevented from expressing certain ideas at a certain time. To call the action taken by the armed individual, "censorship," is to imply that individuals can strip others of their rights, but only the government can take away an individual's rights. (But the real job of the government is to protect individual rights.) The concept of censorship denotes that a government has taken away someone's right to free speech. Under censorship, to speak one's mind is a criminal action. Here are two Op-Eds that I think clarify the issue: Blacklists are Not Censorship Free Speech Protects Profit-Makers, Too
  15. In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal Rand writes: "This has always been attempted by means of a "package-deal" ascribing to private citizens the specific violations constitutionally forbidden to the government, and thus destroying individual rights while freeing the government from any restrictions. The most frequent example of this technique consists of accusing private citizens of practicing "censorship" (a concept applicable only to the government) and thus negating their right to disagree." If as you say, "When we speak of Objectivism, we should speak in common definitions and not just Ayn Rand's," why don't apply this logic to other concepts? We can take altruism to mean benevolence and good will towards others, and we can take selfishness to mean stomping over others, and then we can all hold sacrifice as a moral ideal, accept Jesus as our Savior, and pursue God's Purpose by becoming Christians! Without defining concepts based on what they are in reality, everything becomes arbitrary. Everything is whatever someone wants it to be (primacy of consciousness) instead of what it really is (primacy of existence.)
  16. Tom Rexton writes: "I think a lot of Objectivist want to become philosophy professors and spread the "Word of Ayn Rand" to the world. But what I think we need to see more of are Objectivists who pursue and succeed in careers in other fields such as business, sports, fine arts, sciences and maybe even in politics!" There are Objectivists in many fields and careers (especially business); not all of them are philosophy professors. In fact, at OCON (I wasn't there, but my friend who went told me this) they said that colleges are willing to include Objectivism in philosophy courses, but there aren't enough professors who want to teach it. I think in the next decade or so, we will see many more young Objectivists enter the field of philosophy. Due to the increase in Anthem and The Fountainhead essay contest entries and the establishment of the OAC (Objectivist Academic Center) this seems like a likely prospect. Furthermore, the philosophical battle for rationality will be won in the universities and not in the political arena. Politics is the last link in the chain. Any serious attempt to change the culture primarily through politics will be absolutely futile because ultimately, if the public (i.e. a majority of the people) doesn't accept or understand the ideas of its government, then it will vote out the elected officials. (However, I do know one Objectivist who is running in the California recall election.) J.M.S. writes: "And, mister daniel, I have read elsewhere in this forum that you don't hesitate to censor those who don't agree with you. Getting rid of this thread seems in that light, but trust me, thoughtlessly opting for censorship is counterproductive to any learning, especially to yours." The term censorship only applies to government actions. Ayn Rand describes censorship as "a government edict that forbids the discussion of some specific subjects or ideas... an edict enforced by the government's scrutiny of all forms of communication prior to their public release." An individual cannot censor another individual. The first amendment gives one the right to free speech, but does not say that one has the right to speak his mind wherever he pleases. Therefore, only the government can take away a person's 1st amendment rights which is censorship.
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