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Everything posted by Tordmor

  1. If you really understand why it is immoral to download music, movies, and the like, you should be able to answer your own question. So when you apply your understanding to the question, what is it that you feel doesn't "fit"?
  2. While it certainly can and maybe regularly is used as a fallacy, it can be a valid response as well. In the latter case it would mean: "To make a convincing argument would take more effort than I am willing to spend right now, but I believe that you will learn much of this argument anyways over time since it is common knowledge in our society."
  3. What if not eating ends your life? What if jumping off a cliff ends your life? What if not respecting traffic rules ends your life? In each case you did something wrong. Thus it's not respecting rights that ends your life. It's whatever got you into that situation. Imaginary scenarios can sometimes help to clear up a point. However, you must always think about the borders of your scenario. It must be wide enough and detailed enough so that whatever is missing from your scenario or is set as given does not change the results. In your case however it is relevant how you got into the desert without enough water in the first place and why the man refuses to trade you water. Maybe the man himself would face risk of dying should he give enough water to you so that you could survive. Why then should he hold your life more worthy than his own? The border cases of your scenario are what makes a difference here therefore you do not provide enough information to apply the principles. If on the other hand he has enough water to give to you, then why doesn't he want to trade? The "he's just evil" argument doesn't hold because humans aren't "just evil". And even if you assume he were, then whatever answer you get out of your scenario would only hold when dealing with one person who is "just evil". What good would that knowledge bring you in the real world?
  4. You tend to write a lot of text for the few arguments you make. Three problems with those examples: 1.) In both cases you still need energy to create goods and mine or reap and transport raw materials. 2.) To whom will you sell your goods if nobody has anything to offer to you? 3.) Before people starve they could maybe start producing food. So your examples are inconsistent and the conclusions you draw from them are pure fantasy.
  5. And what difference does that make? The difference in your examples is that in one case I take precautions to keep the pollution contained while in the other I do not. The type of pollutant or the mechanism of distribution are irrelevant. To imply that anybody could reasonably consider their claim justified is insulting. And since in this case obviously other people's property has been violated you are just spouting out rewordings of the same argument without any considerations of our answers. This is the very definition of trolling, so if you keep that up, I will refuse to answer. A nuclear bomb is a reasonable threat to other peoples lives since there is no legitimate reason to own one. So government does not need to regulate "don't buy nuclear weapons" but legitimate government will have laws to the effect of "don't threaten other people's lives". In short, there is no need to make special regulations for special cases. It all boils down to the protection of individual rights. Again "best" requires a scale and you have not provided one so you did not specify at what you think the market would fail. "Pareto efficiency" is just a rewording, but since the definition of pareto optimal also depends on the use of the word "best" (or the words "better" "worse"), you still need a scale which you haven't provided. Economists regularly fail at rationality because they just assume such an objective and unaltering scale to exist, which is obviously not the case. So their theories are based on a false assumption and therefore just wrong. Externalities are actions that affect other people's property. Whether other people's property is affected directly or more indirectly doesn't make a difference and requires no special treatment. "Commons" are like joint property. There need to be explicit or implicit contracts on how to use them. Your example however is something different since the actions of Coca Cola affect the property of the farmers since they now have less ground water. So the problem is not the use of a "common" resource but the effect it has on private property. If I burn a house down (I have the right to burn down) and only later discover there was a baby still sleeping in it, I have either neglected to take reasonable precautions or it was an accident. What is "reasonable" in this respect depends on the probability of the potential risks and the severity of the outcome. Anything outside what can be prevented by reasonable precautions is part of the natural risk in life we all have to take anyways (e.g. all humans could die due to a meteor strike, that's just a risk we have to take.) The proper role of government is the protection of individual rights. I define a society to be "free" if that is the case, so in my definition of the word a free society can never stand in the way of individual rights. What is your definition of "free"? If a criminal makes a threat to another person's life it is the job of government to prevent that e.g. by jailing the offender. In that case you still have acquired property that isn't yours. What is the difference between having another person's underwear or having secret documents? Just don't use either and give them back on request. In that case you did nothing wrong. It is the job of those who want to protect information to secure them properly. Of course there will always be black markets, e.g. for stolen goods. That is because your example is fictional and the answer depends on someone's understanding of the words you use. If there is a demonstrable causal connection between CheapGasoline Inc.'s production and harm to other people then they are liable to pay restitution. If however the "harm" is only claimed by some marketing execs or lobbyists of HigherProfitMargins Inc. then they are the evildoers. That is because the distinction is made before goods come into the market in the definition of property. You can buy and sell any legitimate property but not everything that is offered is legitimate property. So government regulates what is property and not what property can be sold or bought.
  6. "best" is a relative term and always requires a scale bad ..... good to place alternatives on. So if you want to know whether a specific way of organizing society yields a better result than any other you first need to specify on what scale. Only human thought can solve anything. Markets are just a way to exchange goods, nothing more nothing less. Nobody has any right to pollute anybody else's property. But you do have a right to pollute yours. If Union Carbide pollutes your property and you get cancer you have all right to press charges against the criminals. "contamination" is a loaded word here. You could say that planting anything anywhere will "contaminate" the surroundings with pollen. Of course if anybody really releases toxins into the environment they are criminals who need to be brought to justice. Genetically modified plants are no special case. To "fail" means to fail at something. It implies a purpose that hadn't been fulfilled. So what is your conceived purpose of the market that you think it wouldn't fulfill? It is the purpose of government to ensure a free market by enforcing property rights and judical procedures. If you call that "regulation" than yes, all else follows naturally from that and requires no special treatment. If you know that the other nation plans to attack than you are collaborating with criminals and therefore share the guilt. If you work for the government and receive secret information it is in your contract that you may not sell it. If you acquire secret information by illegal means you already have broken the law.
  7. There's nothing wrong with charity as long as you understand that you do not sacrifice some of your own value without receiving a greater value in return. For example I value streets that are free from beggars so it would be valuable to me to have a charity that gives to those who have current financial problems. It is not for the beggars that I give the money but for my own value. I receive something that is of more value to me than the money that I give. That the beggars get a value too for which they did nothing is irrelevant. Operating a charity under that principle is no problem even if other people (ab-)use the charity for self-sacrificial purposes.
  8. That is where I see the mistake. Nobody can make a difference in other people's lifes. The life of anybody is his own responsibility. So what the other posters hinted at is this: a rational ruler follows from a rational society not the other way round. Even if for the sake of argument some ruler got to power by whatever means and then realized his mistakes and started to think rational, which I guess might be a possible scenario, he can't make that same desicion for his subjects/citizens. So my advice would be to publicly step down from his office and declare why he does it ("I cannot rule a society which is based on false premises. No leader can live your life for you."). And then either try to advocate reason within his society or get out.
  9. How do you know that? The state of world liberty index seems to suggest something else. Admittedly it seems strange to have Chile on rank 12.
  10. Today 20 years ago the Wall in Berlin fell allowing the citizens of east germany to leave for the west. Now 20 years later it is obvious that the real wall was not made of stone. When both parts of germany reunited, the people of west germany already forgot where their wealth came from if they ever understood it to begin with. This is why they never had a chance to teach the citizens of east germany. Right after the fall of the Berlin wall, the political parties of west germany competed on who would make the most outrageous promises of wealth redistribution from west to east in order to win the first election of the reunited state. To the citizens of west germany this was sold as our "social duty" towards our "brothers" in east germany and as always most west germans bought it. It only took a couple of years until west germans and east germans alike wondered why the redistribution wasn't showing the desired effects. Instead of creating wealth in abundance in east germany like west germany had, west germany actually adapted to the east with a constant loss of wealth. And now, 20 years later, what do people think? Do they think: "Hey, the same methods used in east germany bring about the same results when used in west germany, so why don't we again try the very methods that brought about the wealth of west germany"? Nope. They are asking for more and more redistribution. The political party SED which was responsible for the political prisons and constant spying in east germany became the "newly democratic" party PDS which gets more and more power in both east and west germany. And our chancellor and many high ranking political actors were already politically active in east germany. I don't think there is hope for germany. I think for every person who sees the truth about man's nature and the workings of society at least ten supporters of socialism are born. And that despite the fact that we had a true socialist model right before our eyes. True, none of those who are just old enough to vote ever actually saw it. However, my generation did. And it is this generation that mostly influences public opinion.
  11. You didn't explain, you only gave examples. You give statements without proof. And I fail to see a connection between the standardized tests in the last paragraph and the rest. Short: I don't recognize a central idea from this essay. So I think I have to agree with your professor .
  12. Wrong. Midi is a format which accurately describes what notes are played exactly when and thus an accurate description of music. However it is not an audio format. It does not contain the audio quality of the instruments. Thus the quality of the audio produced from midi files depends on the quality of the instrument samples used. On PCs those samples are normally bad but there are or at least have been pretty good samples too.
  13. As far as I understand objectivism does not suggest any structure of government. Instead it merely gives two principles that must be upheld by any government to be in accordance with objective reality. a) a government has the monopoly over the use of non-defensive force in a clearly defined geographical area. a government will use force to protect the right of each individual to his life, liberty and property, and only for such purpose. Since different people have different cultures obviously the structure of government will vary greatly across the earth. There is no one size fits all. Edit: removed smilie
  14. I don't quite get what your point is. If the birth certificate identifies the person then it is an id card. If not then it cannot be used to confirm the age since it could be anybody's birth certificate.
  15. This is not so much about my conclusion but about whether I got my reasoning straight. Of course if I did we would have to accept the conclusion. a) We need to have an objective law because otherwise the life of most men would depend on the judgement of those who interprete the law. Since children are born with tabula rasa they cannot consent to some things because they have no means of judging the impact on their lifes yet. c) from a and b follows that there needs to be an objective criteria for when an adolescent can be considered to be able to consent to those things. Until someone comes up with some better idea we have to assume this is an age of consent set by government. d) Since no one can measure the age of someone there needs to be an objective criteria on how to determine the age which would be some means of identifying the adolescent and connecting them with their birth date. I.e. an id card. e) Since this id card must follow objective standards it is the governments job to provide such id. No person can be forced to id themselves but without id if the age is not obviously above the age of consent one would have to assume it is below. Therefore it is a propper role of an objectivist government to provide id cards. Edit: removed accidential emoticon.
  16. Not so much an alternative but maybe a complement to government. I am currently thinking about whether government must have a monopoly on the use of force or would it suffice if they had the monopoly on the sanctioning of the use of force with the actual use of force "outsourced" to private enterprise? A security firm on behalf of their client could then obtain an arrest warrant from a judge which would allow them to "kick in the door" and arrest that person. What would stand against that?
  17. As can be seen in the last posted picture the camera is high enough that it does see beyond measures of protection that would be safe from normal passers-by. So the google van does circumvent measures of protection of private properties. I think that could be an issue.
  18. What? Look at the outstreched roof calling to the passers by or the large glass front. What is not inviting there? The whole design draws your attention to the house and onwards inside it. This is an awesome house for extrovert people. I love it.
  19. All your base (and acid) are belong to us.
  20. I started as a good pietist christian which culminated in enrolling in a theological seminar in order to become a professional preacher. Luckily I already was a strong individualist which is why I couldn't fit in, so I quit. My next attempt was at politics which probably comes closest to being a preacher. Being an individualist I joined the german "freedom party". It was in this party that I got hold of a book by Ludwig von Mises which they distributed. My initial reaction was: "this guy is nuts". However I couldn't deny his reasoning so I came to appreciate his insights and soon the so called "freedom" party wasn't enough pro freedom for me, so I quit. I then looked to the von Mises Institute and came across Murray Rothbard so I became an anarcho-capitalist and I found the freestate project which I joined. However one thing kept bugging me. That anarcho-capitalists would use the non-aggression principle as their moral framework. They would usually say: "no one may use force except in defense against initiation of force. Aaaaaaand of course fraud is initiation of force." I realized that this principle was useless without a definition of property and of force. And I realized that the freestate project was missing a principle, so I quit. Then I was looking for such a principle to complement the non-aggression-principle and I searched for related pro-liberty philosophies. I remembered that Murray Rothbard was once thinking of Ayn Rand as a potential allay but rejected her for some reason so I looked at Ayn Rand. And that is where I currently stand.
  21. 3. What does that mean? I understand the proposition made but I can't imagine how to act accordingly. Maybe there's a better phrasing, maybe it's just because I'm not a native english speaker. 8. "Never help others" is just wrong. "Never harm others" is probably meant by nr. 9. Maybe formulate "Never let the needs of others be a motive for action." 9. That strikes me as too abstract to be used as a guideline for action. Maybe formulate: Never harm others, never take what is not yours. 10. Same as 3. I don't get it. Edit: The other points look good to me.
  22. During a birthday party of a friend yesterday I realized that each year we celebrate probably the only thing about our lives that we had absolutely nothing to do with. I think instead we should celebrate the day we left our parent's house or our first self earned money or some such thing. Only I don't remember when that was.
  23. Tordmor


    Don't make it too easy. There is a hidden argument: "it's fine if it's older video games that would be difficult to play legally". If someone abandons property the finder may keep it. It's not stealing. If someone once invented a video game but no longer makes it available. Hasn't he practically "abandoned" his idea? There once was a ruling on the nylon trademark that you have to actively defend your trademark. The holder of nylon failed to do so and people started using it. Later it was ruled that the term became public property because the trademark holder had practically abandoned it by failing to defend it.
  24. reason is the application of logic to one's perception of the real world. Like engineering is the application of physics.
  25. I have only read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Both books are full of people "who don't have a passion or aren't interested in finding one". So whatever made Baker (whoever that is) utter such nonsense it was clearly not a rational thought about Rand's work. I think you can use drugs for recreational purposes. However a psychedelic "experience" is some state of mind that is not accessible to your rational faculty. I guess it's the purpose that makes the difference. If your purpose is this state of irrationality then it's probably bad. But if your purpose is a newly refreshed clear mind after the drug wears off, then you probably use it for recreational purposes which would be fine.
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