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Randroid

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Everything posted by Randroid

  1. It's not laws or the Constitution or government agencies that are the problem. The people who have no proper understanding of rights, or who think that rights are subordinate to The Greater Common Good™; the people who think the initiation of force is ever morally justified; the people who deny reality, who insist that A can be non-A - they are the problem. Undoing one law, one Amendment or one agency would be, to paraphrase a German proverb, a drop of water on a hot stone.
  2. Frackin' awesome, thanks for sharing!
  3. I wrote a reply, but then I figured that I might as well use it as a late introductory post, so I posted it in the appropriate forum. Here it is.
  4. This was intented as a reply to this thread, but I like how it turned out and seeing as how I haven't formally introduced myself yet, I'm posting this here. Let's see... I was raised in a Catholic family, indoctrinated in the faith from day one. I swallowed it hook, line and sinker. There was even a phase in my preteen years when I voluntarily went to church. I was very rarely forced to go, though; my family encouraged religion, but is fairly secular. In my neck of the woods, not even Catholics take Catholicism seriously. This is probably why I held on to my religious beliefs for so long: Religion was, in my experience, not atrocious. There was, of course, the concept of Hell; but like most liberal Christians, I believed that Hell was only for other people. Becoming an atheist was thus a slow process that began somewhere in my teens. I began to notice that reason, in the shape of atheists and scientists, always made a better argument than faith. Reality simply made a lot more sense without a god in it. Although I officially left the church at 19, it took me until I was about 27 to openly identifiy as an atheist. Philosophically, I also had a bad start. I came up with scepticism all by myself, sitting in class in second grade, wondering whether my senses could be trusted, whether the world as I knew it was just an illusion. Ideas like that can have a bad psychological impact on a second grader, I'm here to tell you. It wasn't until well into my teens that I finally figured out that, yes, my senses and reason can and must be trusted, because there is nothing else to grasp reality with. I had always been interested in philosophy, but the philosophy classes I took in high school weren't helpful either. We discussed Plato, Descartes (déjà-vu), Peter Singer, Socrates and, of course, the ubiquitous Immanuel Kant. Nice selection, huh? Anyway, I subsequently subscribed to Kant's philosophy. At the time, it seemed to make sense. In retrospect, I can see how this philosophy was pushed on the students. We spent about as much time on Kant as on the other philosophers combined and although the teacher was very subtle about it, he did imply that this was the "right" philosophy. In my mid-twenties, things started to turn around. I had always been fascinated by firearms, pistols in particular. I understood from a very early age that guns make it much more difficult for the strong to deal with the physically weaker by force. I began lurking and posting on various gun boards and was thus exposed to libertarian ideas, which I soaked up rather quickly. Capitalism, the non-aggression principle, the proper role of government, the concept of negative rights, etc. I was able to extrapolate from some these concepts on my own, e.g. the source of rights being the necessity of rights for prosperous life in a social context, but they were still floating abstractions, although I think I wasn't quite aware of it. From the gun boards I migrated to libertarian blogs. After many months (years?) of reading, my favorite blogger, whom I had always liked for being superbly rational and unusually consistent in his views, casually and in passing mentioned being an Objectivist. I did some research into Objectivism and I took to it like a duck to water. I read VoS and the reluctant rejection of religion in favor of reason, my rudimentary epistemology, my rejection of environmentalism as hatred of humanity and all the various libertarian ideas that had been floating around in my head just fell into place and integrated seamlessly. I've only been an Objectivist for a few months now and have yet to read most of Ayn Rand's books, but the changes are already very noticeable. I no longer feel guilty for being selfish, I enjoy my work much more and put more effort into it, and am generally a much happier person than ever. The food tastes better, the sun shines brighter, the grass is greener, broadband is faster, gas is cheaper, I spontaneously break into song and dance... I'm just kidding, of course. I don't dance. Yet.
  5. In our culture, both Christianity, and Immanuel Kant and his disciples. The mystics of the mind are naturally all about forcing their beliefs on others; their story books, their shamans or the voices have told them it's okay. Moderate Christians justify taxation as "giving Caesar what is Caesar's". Mystics of the muscle justify forced altruism with either "duty" as a floating abstraction or with simple mob rule: Majority vote / The Greater Common Good™ trumps all.
  6. That's great, thanks for sharing. This reminds me of Communist Monopoly.
  7. Day By Day: Republican propaganda with a strong libertarian streak. Nemi: Quirky childfree Norwegian woman; unemployed, vegetarian and environmentalist. Still funny, though. Bigger Than Cheeses: Crude humor, mostly based on other comics. Basic Instuctions: A how-to for handling everyday situations. The Chopping Block: Serial killers are people, too. Something Positive: Weapons-grade snark. ETA: Ctrl + Alt + Del: I don't know how to describe this.
  8. If you lost your wallet, wouldn't it be nice if you could go to a police station and pick it up because someone was so courteous as to drop it off there, which is, as Grames pointed out, rather trivial? You are not obliged to do that, but if you expect or even just hope for this sort of behavior from others, it is rational to lead by example.
  9. Wow, that's a gold mine of good stuff right there, from what I can tell after a quick look. Thanks for sharing!
  10. Very nice. A bit of constructive criticism: About the only time I ever see my wallpaper is when I lock my workstation. On Windows systems, this displays a window saying that the workstation is locked and so on, slightly above the center of the screen. I believe other operating systems are similar. Therefore, a really good wallpaper should not use the center of the image as the center of attention. I have one of those weird resolutions (1440 x 900), but I guess that in this instance, the window would cover Miss Rand's forehead and hair.
  11. Randroid

    Abortion

    There is nothing arbitrary about that. A human is an individual. That is man's nature. Man does not exist as a part of another human. A being that exists as part of another being is therefore not human. It may become human when it is no longer part of another organism, but a potential is not an actual. Maybe I took your question ("when does one become human?") too literally, I apologize for that. To be fully human means being volitional and having a rational faculty. However, as both you and I have pointed out, this is difficult to ascertain. Therefore, protection by the law must start when we can no longer be certain that a being is not human, i.e. birth. Because you have yet to show why a woman has any obligation to a life she accidentally created. Yes, she knew that this might happen. So what? Why does that necessarily mean she has to carry it to term? There is no way that any action can form a contract with a being that does not exist during the time the action takes place. Keep in mind that to cause harm to an existing life (one with actual rights) is something entirely different from creating a new life (even one with the potential to have rights). Surely you don't really think that making babies is the same as shooting your neighbor in the leg? If you do, I hope that you don't have kids, for your neighbor's sake. A mother is obligated to care for her child if she chooses to give birth to it and does not give it up for adoption, i.e. if she volunteers. Would you let a child starve to death because its mother is unwilling to care for it? If not, problem solved. If yes, why should any other non-volunteer take care of it? The woman (and anyone else) should be free to pursue her rational self-interest. That means she mustn't be forced to have a C-section and she mustn't be forced to carry to term. Viability is irrelevant. That a being could live on its own does not constitute a right to do so at the cost of others. If a fetus needs the woman to undergo a C-section or continued gestation in order to live, and she is unwilling, the fetus has no right to initiate force against the woman - and neither do you. Ah, there's the problem: If you really think that a single-cell organism could possibly have rights, that suggests that your concept of rights is either a floating abstraction or based on mysticism. (Not sure if there's really a distinction between the two.)
  12. Randroid

    Abortion

    As soon as one becomes both rational and volitional, so actually much later than birth. However, that point varies from individual to individual, so it is more practical to assume one becomes human at birth. Why then? Because after birth, the baby exists as an independent being. It still needs to be provided for, but after birth anyone can do that. It is no longer dependent on one single person who would have to be enslaved were she unwilling to share her body with it. Birth is the moment when volunteers can take over. Is that also your proposed punishment for IVF, in which only a few fertilized eggs are implanted and the rest are discarded?
  13. Randroid

    Abortion

    Wrong. If she was actively trying to conceive, that is the equivalent of an invitation. I won't respond to the rest of your post, because it is all based on the yet unproven assumption above, namely that having sex is equal to trying to conceive.
  14. You mean initiate force against other people to make them not do something they would choose to do if they were free to decide rationally? Let me think about that... No.
  15. Randroid

    Abortion

    This "implied consent" theory of yours doesn't hold water. If I leave my front door unlocked or even open, I know that a possible consequence is that someone might enter my house. That is, however, not an invitation, regardless of how careless I was or whether I knew about this possible consequence. There is no way to accidentally or carelessly invite someone. If I ever want you to be my guest, there will be no doubt or ambiguity about it. If you enter my house without my invitation, I may welcome you or (more likely) kick you out. My decision and mine alone. You have no right to be in my home unless I give you my explicit permission. To hell with the door. I could build a house completely without doors, just big holes in the walls, and you'd have no right to enter. By the way, thanks for admitting that fetuses don't have a right to life, because you apparently don't have a problem with killing fetuses created through non-consensual sex. If they had a right to life, the circumstances of their conception wouldn't matter, would they? If the circumstances do matter, can I kill a grown man who is the child of a rapist? Why not? You don't mean to say that the right to life kicks in at some "arbitrary" point after conception, do you?
  16. So, I'm supposed to just assume I'm insane, just to be on the safe side? If so, why should I assume that the "majority view" is not also a figment of my imagination? Your senses and your mind are all you have to go on. Might as well. I once had a philosophical discussion with a friend, years ago, and I made the exact same argument your friend did. He may come to reason.
  17. It is neither objective nor is it correct that a collective has rights its individuals do not have. Government derives its powers from the rights of its individual citizens. If A (Hamas) attacks B (Israeli citizen), B has the right to kill A, even if it is inevitable to kill C in the process. B can confer this right on D, permitting D to kill A (and, sadly, C) on behalf of B. Whether D is a random individual bystander, a hired bodyguard, a private security company, A's government or another nation's government does not matter at all. D derives his authority directly from B's rights.
  18. "I am irrational and believe in the supernatural, but I invented my own flavor of superstition and do not subscribe to any of the existing religions" is also included in that.
  19. A poll would be good for this. Anyway, lonely objectivist here.
  20. Since it's free and intended for the public, is there any chance this debate might end up on YouTube?
  21. I have the same problem with threads I manually subscribed to, so it's unlikely to be a problem with your settings.
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