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Posts posted by Pericles(MBA)

  1. I recently had a peek into the fresh new world of American BioScience. I took an advanced class on bioinformatics programming taught in Maryland where the biosci community has a large population. I learned that there are many more such biosci communities in New York, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, and of course southern California. BioSci is on the verge of a boom, much like the tech boom of the 1980's-90's. The BioSci boom is poised to change medical care in ways that many people cannot conceive in terms of new treatments for disease, and new ways of thinking about healing, quality of life, and life-span. This boom is in part to a growing market for medical services by a population that wants to live longer and better.

    Compared to our current medical technology (almost dark ages stuff by comparison), these new advances promise things only dreamed in sci-fi fiction. Consider that many of our medical treatments have roots in 50 to 60 year-old practices, and treat symptoms more than provide cures. Imagine treatments that look at preventing diseases that would later cause cancer or heart problems, or dna level treatments that would fix problems for those who already suffer such ailments. Not possible? Consider that AmGen has already developed a drug that grows new lung tissue, new treatments for some serious heart problems promise to lengthen lifespan by double compared to just 10 years ago. Genome mapping has now been reduced in cost so that an average consumer can now afford to have their individual mapping done - which will aid in personally tailored biosci treatments. These are just some of the amazing new things being developed, and new recruits for the biosci schools are at an all time high.

    But the political class has plans to jump into this boom, attempt to feed off it financially, and take credit for the successes. Years ago when I was an undergrad journalism student a government academic came to speak to our college about journalism ethics and the Internet. She complained that one big regret of academics was that the government was not more involved in the tech boom, having more 'input' on home computers, internet providers, and internet content. Those of us who understand the free market know that government involvement would have prevented the tech boom, but these government academics don't know or care. This time the liberals don't want the boom to happen without their consent, and the 'healthcare reform' being debated in Congress is aimed at gaining that control.

    So the focus of the debate is on sharing the measly current state of medical care. Do we have enough flu clinics in poor neighborhoods? What about free drugs for the old people? Do immigrant women have the same level of care as rich suburban women? We will be reduced to spending money on the lowest level of healthcare, and markets for new biosci-based treatments will be left to falter. If national 'health reform' succeeds, then the BioSci boom will never happen.

    Imagine if the government academics had such control over the tech boom. We would be fighting over free public time using old mainframe computers. While we would envy the rich with their Commodore PET and Acorn computers running with DOS 1.1 and 4 meg of ram. The internet would consist of command line text on ill lit green screens that only the wealthy could access for short periods of time. John McCain would refuse to sign the new tech reform bill unless the elderly got new vacuum tubes paid for by their government mandated tech insurance.

    The govt academics must first convince people that the BioSci world is not real, but only the 'here and now' of technology exists. This is the dark end of their philosophy. Ivy Starnes, one of the villans of the novel Atlas Shrugged who turned a free market business into a socialist tool, spent great effort to convince people that advances in technology were not positive. She and her government ilk friends supported the propaganda machine that tried to turn the population into sheep. We see a similar type of mentality now in the popular media where stories on how failing to enact government healthcare will mean poor healthcare for many people, while government control will ensure improvements.

    However if we had an honest news media, we would have more stories that would share some of the new medical advances being considered - because once the public knows what is possible they can embrace it and see it through to reality. People would reject the failed redistribution model in favor of a market model that offers more. Market demand is created by public discussion, so if the only discussion is for government healthcare then that is all that we are going to get.

    See also-





  2. Will John McCain's campaign use the college student vote to jump start

    his campaign?

    His last campaign was very big on attempting to use college campuses as

    springboards for launching his campaign. His message of 'reform'

    against the old generation of corruption strikes home with the college

    student crowd.

    Many college students do not understand more knowledgeable older people

    enough that they can dismiss much of what they do not understand as

    phonyness, as seen by their strong support for John Kerry. The test is

    if they are cynical enough to buy into the McCain campaign fully.

    From talking to some very 'politically astute' college students I met thru interns at work, I noticed that they shared the characteristics of being dismissive of principles, but still confident that their assumptions are correct. Aka, the Wet Nurse mentality.

  3. I had heard that part of the break had to do with a sort of 'primacy of economics' view on Reisman's part.

    I remember reading one of his booklets around 1990 and thinking to myself, "he'll leave the ARI within a few years" and I turned out to be right. It was after he wrote something to the effect that Mises and Rand were the hope for the future. I detect in him a stance I call "primacy of economics," believing like Mises that people hold wrong views not because of flawed epistemological/moral theories but because of a lack of education in economics.

    As an economist, I find him overly focused on polemics. But if you're looking for an identification of what's wrong with this or that policy, his books catalogue a lot of that.

  4. Regarding the news of Echinacea not being a valid treatment for the common cold:

    MSNBC: Echinacea fails to treat or prevent colds in study

    The most telling comment was this:

    “Our study ... adds to the accumulating evidence that suggests that the burden of proof should lie with those who advocate this treatment,” wrote Dr. Ronald Turner.

    However I believe people will continue to believe in Echinacea despite evidence, primarily because distrust of scientific evidence is becoming part of popular culture.

  5. Actually, I felt bored to death when I was watching Anakin turning to the dark side. The whole thing is very unconvincing. It presents the viewer with the false dichotomy - either you are a murderer (a Sith) or a suicide (a Jedi). Had he stayed a Jedi, his wife would have died. Turning to the dark side, however, was completely stupid. He succumbs to complete emotionalism and has no longer any regard for what he wanted of the dark side. He wanted to learn, but he became a mindles drone that acts on pure whim (and command). I was appalled by the scene when after turning to the dark side, Anakin walks back into the Jedi temple (and you know what happened there if you saw the movie).

    Many critics pointed out that there was not enough plot regarding Anakin's turn to the dark side. If they had shown more of an internal struggle and more motivations then it would have made more sense. <spoiler alert> Anakin simply choose to become this completely evil person, killing his former Jedi friends and children, based entirely on the single promise from a person he just discovered is a Sith Lord. His complete change in self-identity was too extreme to convince any psychologist or decent script writer. Why would he even believe the Sith would deliver on his promise? He went from hating the Sith to complete obedience to them based on a single promise. "Hey I just realized you are a Sith Lord, and sure I will join you and destroy much of what I once was". That is just not enough. I can think of many ways they might have developed Anakin having a more gradual acceptance of the Sith. <spoiler alert>

    I also thought that the movie could have dealt a bit more with the corruption within the Senate. How does a Republic suddenly become an Empire based on a the evil of a single person? It took Rome hundreds of years and many corrupt generations to destroy that Republic. Why didn't any of the Senators speak out when Palpatine announced the Empire? If they were too corrupt to speak, then what was their corruption? Political corruption presented correctly is actually a very interesting sub-plot in any movie. Take Gladiator or Braveheart, for example.

  6. But is it successful ? Are its services superior to other water services?

    This thread, after all, is not about the size of the U.S. military but its superiority.

    One major thing that might improve the US military is that if Congress and the President did not have to worry about socialist programs like Social Security and Medicaid, they could focus more energy and money on improvements to our military (not to mention winning wars). The fact that Bush is collapsing into socialism will do a great harm to the War on Terror.

  7. Hello,

    this is my first post on this forum, although I have been lurking for a while.

    This is an interesting topic about happiness and Objectivism, because on the whole I have found that many Oists to be excessively negative. It is this excessive negativity that caused me to cancel my subscription to The Intellectual Activist. I don't know if this is due to the disillusionment many find with the world because most of the world is in conflict with Rand and her philosophy, but has anyone else noticed this? Can anyone address this?

    Actually I've noticed that a lot of people that are unhappy are drawn to Objectivism because they think it will make them happy, or they hope it will help them become happier. Sometimes it does. Do you have some philosophy that will make people even happier? Then tell us about it! (It better not involve hitting yourself in the head with a big rubber ball like in 'I Heart Huckabees').

    ...Ditto on the 'sex with the girlfriend' thing that MasterSwig said.

  8. I'm wondering if this kind of person sounds familiar to anyone here:

    They are somewhat educated and intelligent and hold a job that requires a certain level of intelligence.

    They lack ambition.

    They spend a great deal of their time worrying about how their employer, or "transnational conglomerate corporations" are taking advantage of people.

    They become interested in campaigns to sue Microsoft, or efforts to pass employee costs onto corporations, in which they hope to share a small part of the booty.

    They are good with money, and make smart investments.

    They do have some values, and appreciate material goods, but often worry about "living like the Jones's" when they should focus more on their goals.

    They believe in progress and technology on some level, but they are often concrete bound about how such progress occurs (tend toward Marxist ideas about wealth accumulation).

    They are like a more innocent version of Mayor Bascom from Atlas Shrugged.

    The reason I ask this is that I have been coming across quite a few people like this in the past decade. People I have worked with from jobs at Motorola, Boeing, etc. They can be enjoyable to talk to, and even honest as friends on some level. Their lack of ambition is somewhat frustrating, but their ability to invest and save money is inspiring. They are often resistant toward Objectivism because they identify the philosophy as "corporate propoganda".

    I'm convinced I have discovered a missing link in the evolutionary chain.

    I have named them "Guardians of Equality"™ because of the amount of time they spend worrying about corporations taking advantage of employees.

  9. You have summarized the philosophical influences that do not operate in Asia. But, what about the philosophies that have dominated the area for centuries? For example, what is the dominant philosophy of Singapore, for example, or eastern China in general? Are there several competing ones in each area?

    I don't know much about the dominant philosophies, perhaps someone here can help me out with that. I know A. West posted this on Chinese ideas last fall:

    Analysis on China

    I have heard that Singapore has many competing religious and political groups, but all are held in check by a strict government that operates with a mix of Chinese and English law. I know the Chinese do not have respect for Western court traditions that protect the accused, and I am sure that is an element in Singapore. When I wrote, <i><b> the only criticism </i></b> I should have written that more clearly. I was mainly trying to come up with reasons that <b> I </i> would not choose to live there. I'm sure that the loss of Western legal traditions and corrupt officials would also be a criticism.

    The culture itself seems to have a mix of good qualities (admiration of productivity), and bad qualities (acceptance of authority).

    Also, I am not sure what you mean by "non-apologetic Meccas." Is this a reference to radical Islam, or is this a metaphor for "conditions that attract businesses"?

    Radical Islam? Not at all. I just could not come up with a better way to describe the cities as others have described them to me. A former resident of Taiwan described it as "full of energy and activity that is not in US cities". By that he meant that business was the dominant activity in these cities, and that the energy around these business activities was obvious. For Asians "energy" is an important idea that they translate to mean everything from commerce and productivity, to health and physical exercise. There is a certain level of respect for productivity that is inspiring in what I am hearing.

    Last, have any of the ex-pats spoken of the need for bribes -- baksheesh, mordida, palm-greasing or whatever it is called in each country?

    Only a little, and it depends on the city. Taiwan has little bribery, but there is some in Singapore and elsewhere. Corruption is more common than bribery, ie money being diverted for personal uses. As far as bribery in Singapore, some have commented that there are bribes that are so established that they function as business tolls or taxes, and are comparable to our taxes here. Although it would concern me to have unwritten taxes, the Expats said that when you become familiar with them they operate as part of the system.

  10. I've been very curious lately about Americans and Britons who choose to live in Asian countries such as Singapore and Taiwan. I've met some Asians from there and also chatted occasionally online with some Expats living there now. The big selling point seems to be the relatively free markets of Taiwan and Singapore, and their British influenced culture. The downside would be that many services that we take for granted in the West are still expensive and scare there. But lack of services has not stopped American companies from continuing to relocate there.

    From what people from that area have told me, there is an economic boom taking place along the coastal cities in China, comparable to America in the 1800's. Often companies operate across several nations and cross-investment is big.

    Although there is strife between Taiwan and China, Taiwanese companies invest in mainland China, and vice versa. The freer nations in the region benefit from the Chinese growth.

    I wonder how far people think the growth in the region will continue, given that China is still technically Communist? Even though there is no Objectivist influence in Asia, that region is still experiencing the Western influence it inherited from Britian. Also the Kantian influence of Judeo-Christian religions is still minimal, and environmentalists have no political clout. As a result there are non-apologetic Meccas in the former colony cities.

    As I said before, the only criticism I might have of the area is that certain things like medical care, and higher education, are sometimes more expensive or limited, because Asians have not developed infrastructure as much as Western nations have. But I also understand that the developing cities are working quickly to catch up to us in those areas. One of my co-workers that visited Singapore said that citizens take great pride in how efficiently services operate in their city, and the citizens have the intelligence to want foreign businesses to relocate there. Asians are very good at "getting the word out" that our companies being there is a good thing for them. I think about many American cities with their crime, whiney welfare groups, and labor union workers, and I fail to see how they can compete with Asian cities in that respect.

  11. "The Passion of the Koresh"! What a great nick!

    Your comments on Dune are right on. The Lynch movie made it almost impossible to have a Dune Messiah sequel that would not have been contradictory to the benevelent divinity.

    This is one of my pet peeves.  Dune fans have always rabidly attacked Lynch for what they feel is an almost blasphemous misinterpretation of the first book.  What they don't acknowledge is that (and I'm getting my information from Dreamer of Dune) Frank Herbert himself had a lot to do with that movie.  Before it was edited, cut, cut again, he enjoyed it and admired David Lynch's artistry.  What ended up happening was that the movie was continually overhyped, the edits (the original version was a magnificent five hours of story) to make the movie more economical (more run time per day) stole a lot of story, and then critics descended on it, picking it apart like vultures.  To be fair to Lynch himself, he is also disappointed with it.  The only real issues Herbert had with the movie were:

  12. My thoughts..

    The movie was interesting, from a slice of life perspective, in showing how the environmentalists function and rationalize their views. (I know that was not the intention of the movie, and environmentalism is not the theme, but the ideology of the main character and his "pair" and the underlying philosophy beneath environmentalism is the same as that of the movie)

    “All things being connected” is the sort of anti-principle that makes environmentalists believe that people driving SUV’s can cause poverty in Africa and winter storms in the US. (They even had a character that believed this.) The characters did recognize the fact that nihilism is wrong, and had some good criticisms of the nihilist sense of life, but their alternative of semi-religious superstition did not have much to offer.

    BTW, when it comes to illustrating environmentalism “The Day After Tomorrow” was a really boring and stupid movie. This movie at least had an interesting plot and story, even if it was false art.

    Dustin Hoffman’s idiot-guru character and his “blanket” philosophy sounded like an explanation of Plato’s perfect forms. It was the perfect illustration of the fuzzy thinking of many college educated people trying to discover principles. It also illustrated how the left has just as much in the department of religious kooks as the right.

    Overall it was an interesting movie to illustrate the current struggle shared by many young people. However, as some people have commented here, it would have been a better movie with an Objectivist alternative philosophy.

  13. In Arizona government involvement in housing has created an inflation in home prices and at the same time as prices climb the anti-capitalist talk increases. People who bought homes for $80K are now selling them for almost $200K. Land is at a premium with most of the undeveloped land surrounding the Phoenix area belonging to government or preserve land. Also home builders have increased costs due to requirements for public works and other fee increases. This is hidden inflation that Alan Greenspan cannot prevent by holding steady the cost of milk, eggs, and butter. People that are blaming this on greedy land developers need to catch and clue and read "Egalitarianism and Inflation".

    This supports what I have said earlier on this website that despite President Bush's pro-US foreign policy, he continues to allow the socialists to expand their powers internally. Now with his latest idea to increase social security taxes, he risks even more that the free market will be blamed when things go bust. All the more reason for US businesses to consider moving operations overseas. Since employers pay a good chunk of social security taxes anyway, these increases will only encourage employers to do just that.

    Expect expect even more voiciferous socialist propaganda in the next election. With Bush giving them the farm, the socialists in both parties will be emboldened.

  14. Tom-

    Yes, I agree that on some levels there is hope that we are reaching a turning point philosophically. It is especially hopeful that the framework of the education system is changing such that people no longer trust public schools. Also people are starting to see dynamic ways of learning outside the government monopolized higher education system. We may have some hard years politically, upcoming under a McCain presidency, but eventually laissez-faire will triumph.

    However, I personally do not want to live under fascism. I am already frustrated by the limits placed on my life now. I feel a strong dislike of our mixed economy as someone who lives in China and yearns to live in America. I yearn to live in a non-existent free America because I more strongly than ever feel the frustration with the false limits we have in place. I may only have ten years of working time left, and I do not want to spend my most productive years under increasing servitude to the state.

    Betsy can look with hope to the future as she has a child, as do many Objectivists. I have no children, so other than serving as a historian of failed ideas, I have little to comfort me in trying to survive amongst irrationality. Many of my attempts over these past years to live a responsible life have been greeted with punishment by the government. For example, when I had a 401K, and then attempted to transfer it to a new employer the IRS taxed me twice and I have spent the past year with my tax attorney trying to tell the IRS this. The amount of taxes they claim I owe for the 401K, exceeds the 401K! But the IRS guys are stuck on the idea that I am trying to get away with something and won't let it go.

    If I could teach it might grant me something, but since that is not my degree breaking into the education field is near impossible. I guess I am trying to find where I fit into this in-between time. I need to feel again that I have a personal stake in Objectivism.

    Btw, what sort of catastrophe do you think would prompt immediate reforms? In my view most catastrophes would only serve to allow the statist viewpoint to increase. (See Sept 11th for example.)

    I have not lived here (in the USA) long enough nor have been aware of the state of the culture for a long time as some people here have such that I can easily determine what change in the general culture has happened, whether for better or worse.  But whenever I try to do so, I always get mixed conclusions: in one way (politics especially), the country still seems headed towards fascism; on the other hand, there have been several encouraging and hopeful developments in academia (even in the humanities/social sciences!) that seems to indicate that the country is at a turning point for the better. 

    I'm not certain if my evaluation is correct (my knowledge/cognitive context is too limited for me to make a certain conclusion), but judging by some of the remarks of  Betsy and the like, it seems to be true.  The cultural nadir may have been in the late 1960's to the 1970's.

    Of course, politics is always the last result in a philosophical movement.  It took over a century of Enlightenment before its ideals became widespread in America and before the USA was created by the Founding Fathers.  Likewise, socialism/communism took all of the nineteenth century to take root and grow before finally emerging triumphant in the Russian Revolution in early 1900's.  So even if the positive turning point has come (and very recently), it might take until the end of the 21st century before we see any political-economic reforms towards laissez-faire capitalism! (barring any unforeseen catastrophe that would prompt immediate and fundamental reforms)

  15. I didn't feel like this topic merited posting on the blog, especially since it is likely to be rambling as I am fighting off a cold and other distractions this weekend. However the topic is extremely important to me on a personal level. Also blog postings should be finished articles, and this is something that I would prefer discussion.

    As the war in Iraq continues and the discussion continues on television and in the public I keep returning to my original concerns that I voiced after Sept 11th and America's return to patriotism. I saw then that many statist politicians suddenly became great spokesmen for the defense of America, even if previously their foreign policy ideas had been foolish. My initial thought was: these statists do want to protect America, because they want it safe for their control.

    I had thought that swift victories in the WOT would assure a return of our troops and a boost to our economy, making my fears of statist opportunism invalid. I should say that I am a supporter of Jack Wakeland's idea of cultural colonialism and I see Iraq as a possible victory in that respect.

    However even as we are successful in the war, I am seeing increasing examples of anti-capitalist successes here in the United States that would threaten to make victories in the WOT somewhat lessened. The FDA has succeeded by its twisted partnering with drug companies, in undermining Americans trust in the free market. Do not be surprised if the FDA proposes an extreme clampdown on pharmaceuticals next year, and the majority of Americans support it. The pharmaceuticals that took part in the charade are mostly to blame unfortunately.

    I do admit that personal illness (digestive disorders) is making me frustrated to see reforms more quickly in my lifetime. I do admit that I am personally feeling the financial pinch of government idiocies more now than ever before and that biases my thinking. I do admit that my personal goals are for being able to lead my life as freely as possible now. I don't want to make America safe for statist politicians, I want it safe so I can live and flourish. My biggest fear is that I would become like many with declining health that spend a great deal of time complaining about the government, but not capable of accomplishing other goals. (Not that there is anything wrong with complaining about the govt, I just want energy to do other things).

    When I was enrolled in business school I met many MBA candidates who held strong pragmatist and utilitiarian beliefs about business. How can the business community ever beat back statism when our business leaders keep seeking to partner with the government? Who could be happy employed by one of these fools? Do you know how many major CEO's of Fortune 500 companies are taking part in the presidents Corporate Responsibility campaign?

    In discussions on privatizing social security with co-workers I met a fairly strong opinion that social security was necessary to help the returning GI's by providing them financial support. This is not the first time that I have seen statist policies defended as "necessary for our defense". That is exactly the platform I expect to see John McCain use when he runs for president. McCain is the most talented of the statist opportunists, and I am certain he would be better at deceiving Americans into socialism than Hillary.

    In my search for a better doctor I am coming across the enourmity of support for socialized medical care, and no doctors who are committed to their science. I would not care about them, if I had time to go to medical school and find my own cure. But life is expensive, and becoming more so in a world with many egalitarians. I spend all my time just getting by, so I don't have time for returning to school to become a doctor. I am doing my own personal medical research thru private contacts as time allows.

    There are crimes against capitalism happening here that will have repercussions in our culture and politics (and effect me now). I would rather this stuff happen after my lifetime, not during. I don't have time to speak out in defense of capitalism and continue my personal medical research.

    On a personal level, I am now feeling more isolated from like minds than I ever have before. This forum is the one of the few connections I have with people with whom I feel a common bond. (And even on here I only really feel close to a few). Seeing how cynical many Americans are, I have doubts about whether many would ever accept Objectivism. I completely sympathize with Dr Peikoff for beggining to feel that public lectures do not grant him enough like minds to make it enjoyable, because I feel the a similar sense of frustration.

  16. labrat -

    Thank you for your response.

    I meant no offense to people who emigrate from China. I have met a few people from China and Taiwan, and I am very impressed with the work ethic and values they have. I have noticed that people who immigrate from less free nations often value the United States much more highly than the native born. (Ayn Rand was a good example of that).

    I'm glad you discovered Ayn Rand. Your English is actually pretty good. Best luck with your classes.

    A. West-

    Thanks for the information. I was not aware of your earlier article.

  17. I am Chinese. Born and raised in mainland China under Communism. I am now a US citizen and value Ayn Rand's philosophy very much.

    Has any of Rand's fictions been translated and published in China?


    This topic has been something of interest to me lately. What would you say is the view of the average Chinese person toward the United States? Do you have an opinion on the likelihood for reform in China within the next 20 years?

    I am curious because I see the govt of mainland China as becoming increasingly at odds with the United States, approaching another Cold War. China's president Hu Jintao and v.p. Zeng Qinghong were covered in an article in (Newsweek?) last year where they are undergoing efforts to convince the Chinese people that Communism is basically just historical Chinese culture translated into politics.

    Add on the recent consolidations of power within the Jintao government, and China's cozy dealings with Mexico and Canada, and you have reasons for American concern.

    I have also seen a disturbing trend among American progressives becoming vocal apologists for China. One socialist acquaintance of mine told me that he likes China because it does not suffer the effects of the failures of capitalism, (such as welfare bums and ghettos) :) . China seems to be becoming the most favored nation for Americans that hate their own country.

  18. I don't disagree that Roark was about creating his vision.

    I was trying to frame a response to the criticism that the Fountainhead heroes are not interested in making money.

    How does what Roark wants to do correspond to refusal to make money? See the original question by the first poster for the false dichotomy.

    Also, in what sense of the term would you say that Keating is an architect?

    As far as whether Bill Gates is true to standards or has a vision, it depends on what you want to accomplish. In many respects Bill Gates has created the standards in the IT world where none existed before. Many who criticize him do so by using the very standards he has created to find fault with him. Bill Gates is Roarkian in that respect.

    I think you're a little confused here, Pericles.  Roark doesn't want to be "an architect" if that were true building any building would be enough for him, as you seem to state.  That's not what he wants.  He wants to build HIS buildings.  He wants to create what he sees in HIS mind.


    Keating initially enjoys financial success in the book because he is willing to pander to people that have no concept of what really constitutes beauty and functionality in architecture, or in anything else for that matter.  He was trained to do this by his mother, by his school, by everyone that surrounded him, he generates no thoughts of his own, possesses no ideas of his own; his ego hardly exists at all.

    Roark, on the other hand, is possessed of spectacular ego.  He will not act against his principles (i.e. that the building should look like THIS) in order to acquire a short term gain.  He knows that such short term gains would destroy anything in him that was worthwhile and heroic.

    This is eventually what happens to Keating.  In gaining unearned fame and fortune by copying from his betters, Keating is eventually only ABLE to maintain his fame and fortune by copying from Roark, which Roark permits because he thinks to enjoy the creation of one of HIS buildings by proxy.  He was wrong, though, and he discovers his error when he sees what the commitee did to his buildings.  So, he corrects his error in the only manner available to him: dynamites the buildings.

    Roark's entire attitude towards financial success is summed up in single quote: "I don't intend to build in order to have customers.  I intend to have customers in order to build."


    Objectivists generally admire wealth because we know that wealth can only be created through the reasoned activity of man's mind.  There are other ways to acquire wealth, however . . . the slimy, vile methods of panderers, looters, moochers and thugs.  Anyone that creates wealth is due some admiration, for to that extent they have acknowledged reason and used the power of their rational mind.

    I don't know if Microsoft or Bill Gates qualifies entirely for this accolade, but the actions of the government and litigation-crazy competitors are despicable.  That is why Objectivists defend Microsoft.

  19. Here we have continued operation within our government of a welfare state, with affirmative action and lots of people calling for taxation and laws that favor their pressure group. On the Blog we had a recent article by Mr Veksler on this subject Could racist hiring policies be America's undoing? Having seen firsthand how racist policies undermind our military, I have my own concerns that such policies may lead to deaths.

    So the President gets up on MLK Day and says "Great causes require Great Sacrifices", meaning everything and nothing. His words have just enough vaguary to justify a dictatorship, if you want to read that into it. His words could also be an insult to a minority with an ounce of self-esteem, because it signifies that minorities require sacrifices to help them succeed. That doesn't sound like equal opportunity. Bush is talking guaranteed success for racial minorities, at a heavy cost to us all.

    How come Bush is capable of making "eloquent" speeches when he really should keep his mouth shut, but has nothing to say but childish phrases when Donald Rumsfeld is under attack by the media?

  20. If the New Yorker is writing this then the audience is horrified liberals that view conflict with Iran as the product of American aggression. These kind of stories may surface to help the anti-Bush crowd prove that it was wrong to elect him as president, and that he is a secretive warmonger.

    I would be excited if these kind of articles came out from newspapers that favor war against terrorism.

    BTW, Fox had a breaking news story today on Egyptian immigrants in New Jersey that were stabbed to death. Their relatives claim they were killed by Muslims who were offended by their lack of loyalty. Slain NJ Family

    Reminds me of the girl in Texas who was killed by her Muslim father for going against the faith. Someone needs to catalog these kinds of stories.

    This article claims "U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran."

    From the article:

    "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."

    One former high-level intelligence official told The New Yorker, "This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign."

    Boy oh boy how I hope this is true...

  21. That's a great idea!

    There is a lot of Objectivist material out there, and purchasing it can get pretty expensive. That kind of feedback could be pretty helpful to someone on a tight budget or with limited study time.

    I would like to see a corner on this website where users could go for reviews, questions and comments in regard to recorded Objectivist lectures (and other products that might be of interest to students of Objectivism).

    The Ayn Rand Bookstore carries alot of such material, but they don't seem to have any user review and/or rating system (such as Amazon.com).

    I think that such a feature on the site would add more traffic and also attract more attention from serious students of Objectivism.

    What do you think?

  22. I like Google Groups because of the search features they offer. And because they archive Usenet posts from at least a decade back. I learned a lot of Objectivism by reading Tony Donadio, and Betsy Speicher in the early 90's.

    BTW, 'search' is also a function I value highly on this forum. I also hope you keep the older posts available as this forum grows.

    Are there any other online forums you like – on Objectivism or any other topic? 


    On a related note, are there any aspects of other forums you like that this one lacks?

  23. Is the colonial approach to fighting Islamism is a self-sacrificial policy for the United States?

    Is punitive war against Islamism the proper way for an egoist to fight?

    What about a combination of the two? Since we have some nations under our control, why not push for greater American influence in Iraq and among our allies in Turkey, UAE, and Kuwait? We could do a sort of colonialism-by-proxy.

    At the same time we could do increasing bombing on military targets in Iran and Syria. Give the ultimatum of "join us or die"

    At an individual level, those who are killed in the process of making war are usually from among those charged with taking the actions needed to accomplish it.  And nearly all of those who benefit are from among the population who accepted no significant risk in the adventure.

    ........ Outside their own little team of 10 or 20 men, the demands of battle cause the soldier to become totally indifferent to the deaths of others, including his own countrymen.  Of all the things soldiers don't want to tell civilians, this is their greatest secret.

    It is a natural emotion for people to become closer to those immediately around them, and more hostile to outsiders in time of war. I think it happens off the battlefield as well.

    I do have issues with these young men dying. Many of them are more rational about politics than many of their contemporaries. To lose someone like that in a war, when lazy anti-American scum live safely to pout in public, is almost intolerable. I start to lose reason on that subject. To see some of my "fellow Americans" that get the benefit of victory...

    That is why it is particularly important that these issues be discussed and that the public get a full hearing on our options. That Bush is so lacking in speaking ability is unfortunate. Rumsfeld is good, when he speaks, but still more is needed.

  24. Actually I have not seen a really good Objectivist answer to this one before.

    There are lots of starving artist-types that claim they have nobility because they do not bow to the marketplace. That is not the kind of person that Roark is.

    For people raised religiously this can also be confusing, because religious people are taught that the only way to make money is to be unethical pragmatists. To be virtuous, they are taught, they must be like the starving artists.

    The way I would best explain Roark's actions is that he wants to be an architect, not a badmitton player or professional smoozer. If Roark wanted to be a salesman, I suppose he might do more of the Keating-type things. There is a marketplace for those skills, but that is not what Roark wants to do. Some people, notably architects, engineers, and inventors, are only happy when they are creating things. That is why Roark is happy even performing manual labor, because that is closer to creating buildings than smoozing. Notice how Roark sleeps well at night when he is working in the quarry. Rand did not mention this, but I bet that a real Keating would be an insomniac.

    So there is no dichotomy between making money, and doing what he wants for Roark.

    Keating is a financial success because he uses sales skills in the field of architecture. He is a depressed and miserable failure as a person because sales or achitecture is not what he wants to do in life.

    Read to the end of the book and see what happens to Roark.

    BTW, Bill Gates is a salesman, and a programmer. He seems to enjoy doing both.

    As far as your paintball. It sounds like fun, but nobody will pay you to do it. That's what hobbies are for.

    I was wondering why companies like Microsoft always get defended by Objectivists.

    I mean I was reading how Bill Gates bought the code for his first operating system, modified it slightly and sold it to IBM. This reminds me of Peter Keating and not of Howard Roark. I mean it was Apple who invented the idea of having windows on the screen and again Bill Gates copied it.

    I think Bill Gates and Microsoft are motivated primarily by money. They love the stuff as it allows them to do what they want with their lives.

    I completely agree with them. I would never do what Roark did and sacrifice a commission because what the client wanted wasn't what I wanted to provide. These are the kinds of things you can do once you are rich.

    I suppose it comes down to what you are passionate about. If I was really that passionate about something then I might not change it in order to market it to a customer.

    But what if you are not passionate about anything? This is something which I have been struggling with. I enjoy doing certain things. And I can get really excited about doing them. But sooner or later I will get bored and move on to something else.

    One example is paintball. I love it. I would love to own a paintball site. I would design it, play on it, compete and basically have a great time. Now if I was really obscessed I would make a career out of it and life would be great. But I am not obscessed - eventualy I would get bored. There are other things I want to do in my life. For example, another thing I would love is to own a plane and fly it.

    So to do all of these things I need primarily to make money. Which means I need to satisfy customers. I need to be practical. In other words I need to be a Keating or a Bill Gates. Balls to any ideals, money is the goal in order to satisfy all of my desires.

    I know that this probably disgusts a lot of people on this board. But, this is what I am talking about. To make it in business your love must be money. This is how it is for most successful businessmen I think. What do you guys think?


    Please no references to TFH in your replies! I am half way through it and would hate it to be spoiled. Its such a good book! At the moment, Keating is getting all of the business and the money and is proving my point. I hope that Roark triumphs in the end though!

  25. I think it is fair to say Zoso did peg an emotion here.

    He is paying attention to the news, which is sometimes hard to do and not develop an ulcer.

    It is strange that there is so much coverage on how we need to help these people, given that Bush had quickly pledged a good amount of our tax money to do so.

    We can be sure that even if there were no tax money lots of generous Americans would have sent money. But when it is an issue of our taxes, and after just having gone thru the "Season of Sharing", it is hard not to sympathize with a certain level of burnout on hearing about someone in need. Sometimes the way the media phrases these things is enough to make people start hating babies and puppies, to paraphrase a Rand quote.

    BTW, isn't this just the eternal political pretzel? People see something on TV that makes them feel guilty and want the president to fix it. But when tax time comes around they get mad at the president because he taxes them instead of their neighbors or employer.

    I will just add to BurgessLau's comment.  Why do you find this act particularly disconcerting?  The U.S. gives $2 billion a year to Egypt, several hundreds of millions to the Palestinian Authority, and who knows how many millions to corrupt African dictatorships.  Not to speak of the money spent on the bureaucracy at home.  Why whould this act, which is not the fault of the victims nor perpetuates the anti-capitalist mentality which the above do, be particularly offensive to you?  I find that quite heartless of you.

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