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Everything posted by Randroid

  1. Whoa, easy. I'm on your side! Don't shoot! And stop sharpening that axe, you're making me nervous. I understand this and I agree with this. What I'm looking for is a short, concise and easy to understand (possibly based on appeal to emotion) way to explain this to a collectivist(-leaning) person, who would argue that "some reasonable limitations on individual liberty" do not negate an individuals ability to live, as evidenced by basically everyone in Western society. No one is completely free to do as he pleases, we all live with taxes and many, many laws that say what we must not do, even when we want to; and what we must do, even when we don't. I'd have to agree that it is quite possible to live under these conditions, and, at least in Western nations, even quite comfortably. In extreme cases, one might even argue that "life" is quite possible even for slaves. I know that life is more than morgue avoidance, but I'm looking for a way to explain this in a few sentences to someone for whom things like "life qua man" and "self-esteem" (in the Objectivist sense) mean very little.
  2. Randroid

    In Time

    So, I was thinking about watching the movie In Time (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/). Pros: Amanda Seyfried. Cons: I fear it will be nothing but a vehicle for criticism of capitalism as collectivists understand it, with all the subtlety of a brick to the face. Has anyone seen this movie? Does it have any merit, plot-wise, or should I just watch it with the sound muted?
  3. Randroid


    Conjoined twins and fetuses are not the same. You could not murder them because they are independent entities from you. If the life of your aunt is a greater value to you than the resources she consumes, no. But you have no duty to keep her alive. That would make you her slave. But you still can't murder her because, unlike a fetus, your aunt will not necessarily die if cut off from your resources.
  4. Randroid


    Only if early delivery incurs equal or less cost (e.g. financially) and equal or less physical (and emotional, but that is difficult to quantify) trauma on the mother.
  5. Randroid


    The people who make this kind of argument are effectively saying that a fetus is an unborn human with an inalienable right to life if the mother had voluntary sex, but that the fetus' alleged right to life does not apply or disappears if she was raped. Given how transparently inconsistent this "logic" is, it's obvious that the underlying intention is to "punish" women with pregnancy and child-rearing for the audacity to have sex for fun, while making exceptions for women who didn't have fun. I've never heard a "pro-lifer" make an exception for users of birth control, though. Probably because it's way too easy to just say the condom failed a few weeks later, when the stick turns blue.
  6. Randroid


    Perhaps you misunderstood. I do not deny that fetuses are not self-aware, volitional beings. I just think that this justification, while perfectly valid, is easy to argue against. An opponent will ask you why a newborn has rights today, but did not have them yesterday, when it was still in the womb. Your model alone, without amendment, cannot offer an objective, reality-based solution for this problem - at least none that I can see.
  7. Randroid


    Yes, but this conclusion was based solely on the premise that a fetus has "no volitional conciousness, no recognition of the self, nor any way in which the 'self' could develop". This is correct for at least the early stages of a pregnancy; but it is also vulnerable to slippery slope arguments.
  8. Randroid


    The model is flawed because it does not take into account the rights of the woman. Even if, hypothetically, the fetus was a fully conscious, self-aware, volitional being, it still could not impose a duty to sustain its life on anyone.
  9. On a scale of zero to infinity, how often would you as a consumer fall for that trick? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice...
  10. That is my understanding. Prisons are a legitimate function of government.
  11. I can't add much more to what has already been said, except that Germany does not have a single-payer system.
  12. I concur with the others. 12-steppers are mystics. If taking the medication objectively improves your life, it is moral.
  13. How can a community own land when one man cannot? Collective rights do not exists, there are only individual rights. There is no magic that can make an action moral for a mob when the same action is immoral for one man. This is very much relevant to the moral issue, because whatever the implementation is, it will involve the initiation of force, which can never be moral. That distinction does not exist. There is only one factor of production: Man. Only man's effort turns useless dirt into valuable farmland. Only man's effort turns wheat into bread.
  14. Even though he did not create the 'original growing powers of the wheat'? You mean he has to buy it from someone who doesn't own it, either? Does not compute.
  15. You claim that since man does not create land by his own effort, he cannot own it, according to you. A man does not create gold by his own effort, either, but he can own it. Where is the difference? Edited to fix typo.
  16. And yet you believe that man can own gold, which he does not create out of thin air, either. How do you reconcile this contradiction?
  17. There is no rational reason for that. The people who make this complaint simply love government and hate business. The more powerful (power corrupts) government is, the more they love it and the bigger the business is, the more they hate it. That is why government is never at fault (except for not being big enough) and why business always is, reality be damned. What's really amusing (or not) is that the same people would say that the villains in Atlas Shrugged are caricatures.
  18. I agree that the choice of words (as you present it, I'm too tired to look up how Ayn Rand worded it) is somewhat unfortunate. What O'ists actually mean is "a legitimate monopoly on the retaliatory use of force."
  19. The point is moot because the first use of land predates the very concept of individual rights, including property rights. It also predates recorded history, so there is no way to establish who the first rightful owner of any given patch of land was. And even if that was somehow possible, any attempt to find the rightful heir of that land (the person who'd own it today if it never had been taken by force by anyone) is a completely pointless and futile exercise in "what might have been".
  20. I rated it 5 stars, but I'd still like to address some issues that you could do better in your next video: The speaker sounds distant, like he was recorded from the back of the room. The voice-over is too quiet, sometimes the music drowns him out. The speaker reads his text waaay too fast. The images are very powerful, well-chosen and well-timed, though. ETA: Thanks for sharing!
  21. The Mexican government is hardly a proper one, though. What I described is what would happen in a laissez-faire capitalist society.
  22. "Supplied". You seem to think that The Great Goddess Gaia, Blessed Be, has created the Mother Earth for all Her Children to share. This is not the case. Fertile land is nothing more than some dirt lying around. Just like gold, which is some metal lying around between some rocks somewhere, it has no value until someone does something with it. I know, you think that someone must invest some human effort to get to the gold, but human effort is also necessary to get to the fertile land. If it's fertile, there's already something growing on it that one needs to get rid of before the land can be used for farming. There is no difference between gold and land as far as property rights are concerned. First, the right to life is a misnomer. It is actually the right to live. If you don't have and can't create the means to do that, that still does not give you the right to initiate force against other men. Second, you do not need to own land to live. Many millions of productive people do not own land, yet do just fine. You are truly a master of suspense.
  23. An inefficient government will not run out of money. It will be replaced by a better one. The people who work for the government do not hold their positions by birthright. They are either elected directly or hired by elected officials. By the time the government would theoretically suffer from lack of money, the situation would have long been remedied at the polls.
  24. A proper government does not exist for its own sake. It does not need "a certain 'quality' of citizen", or even citizens at all. It is the citizens who need a government, as an objective and impartial protector of individual rights. Without citizens, there would be no (proper) government, because there is no need for one.
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