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Bold Standard

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  1. Wow, I've never seen that premise expressed that way. But I've seen people act as though they thought like that! In fact, when I am forced to spend a lot of time with a group of people who all share a same point of view which is foreign to me, sometimes it does seem like the whole world is going crazy, or I am, and not just those people (but if I think about it, of course I'm aware that it's only an odd sensation, and that I know it's really just them [edit: as opposed to reality]). How did you come up with that formulation? Very interesting. It didn't sound familiar to me either, so I skimmed around that part of the book to see if I could find what kufa meant. This is the closest part I could find--is this what you're talking about, kufa? If so, I'm very interested in how you think it is related to the current discussion. Not that I think it's not, just that it's not obvious to me how, exactly. I'll admit, when I read "I remember ayn rand saying something to the extent of 'love people for their virtues, not their vices,'" my reaction was, "Love someone for their vices? But why would anyone do that??" I'm glad she explains it. : ) Why do you make this distinction? It seems highly unusual to me--isn't a debate usually considered to be a type of discussion?
  2. ...On the topic of flukey quotes, it didn't take me long from scrolling through that quotes page to find this: "Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.-- Vincent Van Gogh" Oh yeah? First of all, your profession doesn't bring home your paycheck? What does, then, Welfare or crime? Second, who "puts" you on earth to do anything. Third, why would anyone have put Van Gogh on earth to do the squiggly, swirly, scribbly monstrosities he was famous for? Fourth, is it supposed to be the profession, the putter, or the way in which you were put that posseses the passion and intensity? Or is it you? It's an ambiguous and poorly worded several sentences, at best! IMO, anyway. : P
  3. Often, yes. But sometimes, a wacky one will end up in there, like one from Teddy Roosevelt (but not only him), and I wonder things like--is it appropriate for a forum devoted to Objectivism to sport a quote at the top of the page from the first "Progressive" President in the United States? It's much more often that it will be an insightful quote I haven't heard by someone I respect, or a familiar one that gains a new significance and eloquence as an aphorism, separated from its context. Lately, I haven't noticed the quotes, though. Right now, for instance it simply says "Random Quote" with no quote, immediately under that is an underline and then "Login Form Hi, boldstandard." I don't know if something's fluky with my browser or what.
  4. Yes, it does seem ironic. But the rationale behind it is that atheists are willing to rely on their own observations and conclusions alone, instead of "humbly" accepting, on faith, the ideas of other peop-- I mean, the "Word of God." From a Christian's point of view, that makes the atheist seem audaciously, insultingly prideful, in the Luciferian sense of standing on one's own judgment rather than submitting to authority.
  5. If you're looking for insightful self-help material that is to the point and from an Objectivist perspective, I would highly recommend Dr. Ellen Kenner. It's funny, I had almost the opposite experience from you with being mugged. Once, when I was a teenager, I was mugged by someone after an attempt at being a Good Samaritan, which, being religious, I felt it my duty to do. After this experience, it was quite clear to me how disastrously impractical this type of approach to morality was. It was in part my search for a more practical code of ethics that lead me to Objectivism and precipitated my abandoning religion. In my case, it was (in a sense) attempting to escape reality and the practical necessities of life on earth that led to me getting mugged, and afterwards I was eager to be more realistic. Not that I think the bastard who mugged me did me a favor or anything--I wish I hadn't learned the hard way, but I did.
  6. I would love to see this. Does anyone have any idea who it's by or where I could find it?
  7. Lol, damnit.. Even at 5 am I can't type fast enough without getting beat to the punch. ; P That's good though, I like when the forum sees more activity.
  8. There is no such entity as "society as a whole," and if there was, why should its interests matter to us? Society is merely a collection of individuals. That which is inimical to the survival of individuals is evil, period. Greed, as it's used in Atlas Shrugged, means the pursuit of wealth (pg 684). Materials and wealth (private property) are necessary for survival, flourishing, and happiness. Suffering does not follow from a healthy obsession with obtaining happiness. I don't know as much about Buddhism as I do about Western religions. Could you explain what is meant by "emptiness" here? Intuitively, it would seem to be the opposite of "awareness." Not all of them--for example, Jesus taught that one should worship him and believe that he was the son of God (though, not as voraciously as his followers did, especially Paul). Don't read it for the plot?? Wha.. Why not? The plot's fantastic. And following it is essential for grasping the philosophical points being made.
  9. [i see that, in the time it's taken me to write this several others have posted--only the one response by Inspector was here when I started. So I'll go on and post this and then read the others to see if I have anything else to add. ] Hello. : ) Many of us (meaning, members of this forum and other, mostly younger Objectivists) started out as libertarians. Objectivists also believe in limited government, and unregulated laissez-faire capitalism. For a brief but very good statement of Ayn Rand's theory of rights, I recommend chapters 12 and 14 from The Virtue of Selfishness, titled "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government." These can be read on their own, as they were originally published as separate essays. Private property is certainly an indispensable right, but Ayn Rand's position (like Locke, but better explained) is that all rights are derived from man's ability to reason. It wouldn't make much sense to derive all rights from private property, since private property is itself a right. Is the right to private property also supposed to be derived from private property? If not, from whence does it derive? Yes, that's what I would mean if I were to say Libertarianism is unprincipled. It means there are no unified, grounded, thoroughly formulated principles which unite Libertarianism into a political philosophy. Anyone who wants to claim they advocate liberty is included, with liberty being left undefined. It's conceivable (if uncommon) that some particular libertarian might be principled, but that's different from saying libertarianism is principled. Yes, it's a long book. But it's oh-so worth the read! By the end, you'll wish it wasn't over yet. Luckily, she has other great books, too. Well, only read it if you like interesting stories with mystery, suspense, romance, beautiful descriptions of larger than life people, places, and events, and challenging insights into philosophy and human nature and relationships. Otherwise, you might be bored. ; ) Correct. There are often similarities, but Objectivism has a principled approach to politics that's integrated with the whole philosophy. Libertarianism starts with politics, which is not a philosophical primary, and so it often unsubstantiated in its claims and assumptions. Many Libertarians advocate things that are the antithesis of Objectivist political philosophy, such as collectivism (e.g. anarchism), suicidal pacifism, and, in various ways depriving the government of its ability to uphold its one legitimate function: protecting individual rights. Well, if you want some specific criticisms from Ayn Rand, there is a selection of quotes from her at the Ayn Rand Institute's website here. Besides the myriad of philosophical disagreements Ayn Rand had with libertarians, it didn't help things that many of the early leaders of the Libertarian movement would come out with the most horrendous and ridiculously unfounded criticisms of Ayn Rand and her philosophy, while at the same time plagiarizing much of her work, without giving her any credit. True. Sometimes we'll call it "rational self interest" to distinguish it from the type of self destructive behavior that is often fallaciously referred to as selfish, by those who don't know better and those who should. True. Altruism is the sacrifice of self to others. Sacrifice is trading a higher value for a lower value or non-value. Objectivism rejects all ethical codes which require sacrificial victims. An Objectivist trades values for values, neither sacrificing others to himself or himself to others. What does this mean? I've never heard those terms spoken by an Objectivist, so I'm not sure what you're getting at. Ego means self. What does it mean to feed one's ego? Nourish and improve one's self? I could go with that. But maybe you mean something else. Just FYI, Ayn Rand specifically came up with the term "Objectivist" because she hated the term "Randist," that some of her followers were beginning to adopt at the time. As she stated in The Objectivist Forum, Vol. 1 No. 1, "I am much too conceited to allow such a use of my name." So if you ever sense hostility from an Objectivist if you use the term "Randian," that's why: knowing her position on the issue, some of AR's less mature opponents intentionally use the term "Randian" derisively. I'll fight to the death for your right to choose to be a self-sacrificing altruist, as long as you don't force the obligation on me, or violate anyone's rights in doing it. The right to act on your own judgment is as indispensable as property rights. And it is possible for it to be in a person's self interest to invest in some particular charity, if it is for a worthy cause that is a legitimate value for the person. If you only want to sacrifice yourself and no one else, I doubt a serious advocate of Objectivism would call you a "leech," because in that case it seems you are the one who is being leeched, not the one doing the leeching. But, he might legitimately accuse you of willingly feeding the leeches, and allowing them to survive and claim more victims. How are you defining "compassion"? Compassion can be perfectly selfish as long as it's directed at those who deserve compassion, and not merely those who "need" it, but haven't done anything to earn it. Well, there's not a movie for Atlas Shrugged yet, although one is supposedly in the works. There is one for The Fountainhead, that's okay as long as you haven't already read the book (to which it doesn't compare, though she did write the screenplay and have some limited control over the making of it). The Fountainhead movie was actually my first encounter with Ayn Rand, and it was enough to make me very interested in her. I think Ayn Rand put it best in the September 1971 issue of The Objectivist: "...I shall say that I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows." I promote selfishness and greed, because I promote life and happiness on earth, and those, properly defined and understood, are the means to obtaining them. Religion is undesirable because faith is undesirable. "Spirituality" isn't necessarily undesirable, but an Objectivist would mean by that something like "that which pertains to consciousness." What makes you so sure that we share a common purpose? The answers to "life" are to be found in ethics, "the universe" to be found in metaphysics, and "everything" to be found in philosophy, which consists of five major branches: metaphysics--the study of the fundamental nature of existence, epistemology--the study of the nature and validity of knowledge, ethics--the study of the proper moral code by which to guide one's actions, politics--the study of proper government, and aesthetics--the study of art. Metaphysics and epistemology are the most fundamental branches, from which ethics is derived, and from those three are derived politics and aesthetics. >>5. What is your honest opinion of Buddhism and Eastern Philosophies?>>Like all religions, I view them as a primitive attempt at philosophy, or an early attempt for people to formulate a comprehensive view of the universe. For the most part, the conclusions of Eastern religion is blatantly and sometimes even proudly irrational and mystical. But they didn't get it all wrong, and there are some wise proverbs and principles that you can dig up, just like with most other religions. But, the religious elements are unnecessary and have no place in the modern world, in my opinion, other than as a way to understand history and the development of thought in various cultures. >>Thank you for your time.>> It wasn't a sacrifice. I enjoyed it! Happy New Years.
  10. The most disturbing letter for me to read was the one from Ben Seidnesticker. His attempt to distinguish dictatorship from extreme socialism is baffling. He also seemed to grasp the book's thesis better than many of his classmates, which makes his conclusion all the more perverse. But even if some of the kids misinterpreted parts of the book, at least most of them seemed to relate to the idea of individualism and freedom being an important value. (Small consolation.) And it is good that ARI is successful in its attempt to get schools reading Ayn Rand.
  11. I'm not sure if that is what it comes down to.. I think it's certainly possible for a person to truly believe a false idea to be true--but I don't think that's necessarily the case for someone suffering from a particular common type of delusion. Also, I'm sure there is a variety of psychological conditions that could lead a person to become a gangster--and they might vary somewhat from culture to culture. It's probably much more likely for a gangster living in a highly corrupt state to have genuine self esteem related to his occupation than in a capitalist country, because that may be his only option. I don't think genuine self-esteem is as subjective as that. This is one subject about which the early writings of Nathaniel Branden are quite insightful. I don't doubt that someone who lives up to his own standards will have higher self esteem than one who doesn't, even if the former man's standards contradict reality. But the self esteem of a man who's standards contradict reality is necessarily thereby limited. Every instance in which he is thwarted by reality is a severe blow to his self esteem. His only way to protect his self esteem in such a case (as far as he knows) is to blame reality, rather than himself and his standards--hence the formation of a malevolent universe premise. I read about topics that interest me--and those are the only ones I write about. I'm a little glad you didn't push for my references, because all I remember about the authors of the articles is that they were by psychologists who were students of or defending the position of Dr. Branden. But I don't remember where I came across them, and it was years ago, so that's not much to go on! Still, curiosity might compel me to look them up later anyway.
  12. Is it your position that, since the gangster allegedly sees using force as a virtue of masculinity, that it is actually is a virtue of masculinity? I ask this, because I can't see why you would say that such a person doesn't lack self-esteem, besides the arrogant claims he makes about himself--which might not be true, and which he might not even believe. I think there is strong evidence that this type of person suffers from some of the lowest self esteem around--and that, in fact, it's the desperation of the low self-esteem (which becomes a malevolent universe premise through psychological projection) that drives him to initiate force. I've read articles on this, long ago, which I can try and look up if you're interested.
  13. Well, besides mature fetishes, which are an established market for that sort of thing, not everyone likes the type of women who are selected for modeling anyway. Personally, young models (with interest in philosophy and literature and who have moral integrity) are just fine for me, though.. If you meet any you can send them my way. But if you want to buy me a calender, I'd rather one with skyscrapers, cats, Vermeers, or renaissance sculptures.
  14. In The Fountainhead, Dominique Francon was fairly well known in her city, even at that early stage of the novel, being the daughter of the famous architect Guy Francon, and the author of a popular newspaper article in The Banner. Since we can be confident that the sculptor was a realist, and since, as I recall, it was a full body sculpture, I think it's safe to conclude that anyone who saw it, and knew who Dominique was, would be able to identify that it was a statue of her. Here is an excerpt from an interesting conversation between Dominique and her father over the statue: Skimming through, I couldn't find a reference that explicitly states that it was a full bodied statue, but this description of the making of the statue gives me the impression that it was: Also, there is this statement from the description of Scarret's crusade against the temple: The statement that the model's name was "omitted" suggests that it was no secret who the model was. That being said, I doubt this calender is anything resembling a work of art. Daaaaamn. That's cold.
  15. Hi, Mercury. Other people's responses are more specific to your situation, but if you want inspiration on the topic of love letters, you might enjoy Edmund Rostand's play, Cyrano de Bergerac. Love letters are a big part of it, and it's a great work of art. Also, there is a movie for which Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay called "Love Letters," but I haven't seen it yet so I don't know if that would be useful or not. I think that's one thing that really makes a great writer. Provide all the information necessary for the audience to draw the conclusion you want--but don't do it for them, let them come to it on their own (or not). Charlotte, what premise do people hold that tempts them to beg the audience to draw the desired conclusion? At first, it seems like laziness, but then it seems more than that--it's like skipping the joke and going straight for the punchline; or even skipping that and simply saying, "please laugh at me." I know the feeling you're talking about.. The anxiety of wanting a certain reaction--but what motivates a person to want to say, in effect, "react this way" instead of trying to say something that will inspire that reaction? (I hope you can make sense out of that question--I'm relying on the premise that you've probably thought more about this than I have, since you're a great writer and seem to capably avoid that mistake [edit: whereas, I'm not sure I've thought about it even enough to formulate the question I'm trying to ask intelligibly].)
  16. Reading over this, I realized this sounds a little rude. Just to emphasize what I meant, I was only attempting to criticizing the argument, not the arguer. So nothing personal, y_feldblum. ; )
  17. Thanks. : ) As to trolls, eh, I don't write primarily for my audience anyway. ; P Ack, I wish you hadn't chosen those words, after I worked so hard defining legal "rights." Just so that no one's confused--everyone has a legal right to say whatever they want [edit: with the exception of words that are actually an initiation of force, such as a threat or an order to have someone attacked, or famous yelling "fire" in a theater scenario, etc], since the right to free speech is a derivative of the right to liberty. As to this sentence, which uses the word "right" in a quite different context and meaning, I agree that only Objectivism can properly call it's theory of values "objective"--by the Objectivist definition of "objective." But, supposing that Utilitarianism could call its theory of values objective according to its definition (which really, it ultimately failed to do, which is one reason it ended up collapsing into something that could advocate socialism) it could be possible for both to do so at the same time, since they do not accept the other's definition for "objective." And the reasons for that are not derived directly from their theory of values (i.e., their ethics), but primarily from their theories of knowledge (epistemology; and also their metaphysics, theory of the nature of reality). According to Objectivism, "objective" doesn't mean "disinterested." According to Utilitarianism, "objective" doesn't mean "corresponds to objective reality." But it's not an arbitrary semantic decision; in order to determine which definition is correct, the premises that give rise to the definitions must be checked (which is more complicated a task than I have time to elaborate on this morning). I haven't gotten a chance to buy and read it yet, so thanks for the quote! I'm looking forward to reading it eventually.
  18. Oh, okay. Here's my best attempt to sum it up in a few words--A right can be seen as essentially a moral claim to be left alone. The right to life means freedom from having one's life taken. The right to liberty means freedom from having one's actions forcibly limited (upon threat of violence). The right to property means freedom from having one's possessions stolen, or vandalized. The right to the pursuit of happiness means freedom from being compelled to act towards one's own destruction. How can one's life be taken? How can one's actions be controlled? How can one's property be taken? How can one be made to act towards one's own destruction? The answer is: Only through force and fraud. Freedom is freedom from force and fraud. Political freedom means the banishment of the initiation of force and fraud from human relationships. Stated in the positive, political freedom means the upholding of individual rights. The upholding of individual rights means the banishment of the initiation of force and fraud from human relationships. The political system which is based on the principle of upholding individual rights is called: laissez-faire capitalism. For a more detailed and eloquent explanation, see Ayn Rand's essays "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government" in The Virtue of Selfishness (they can be read on their own apart from the rest of the book, although the whole book is helpful for understanding these issues).
  19. When an Objectivist says that his politics is based on an "objective" ethical theory, by "objective" he means, "corresponding to objective reality." When a Utilitarian says his politics is based on an objective ethical theory, he means, "disinterested; applies to everyone." So there is a definitional issue of what it means to be "objective," that goes deeper than ethics--relying on the answers to epistemological (and metaphysical) questions. That's another reason that giving the kind of sound-byte type point-by-point answers this thread seems to be seeking is quite difficult.
  20. Would you agree that "outlaws the initiation of force" is simply another way of saying "upholds individual rights"?
  21. Have you read We the Living? This part of the conversation reminds me of Kira's suspension bridge--with no banks to build it on. But I guess there are some careers one could pursue satisfactorily on a desert island. Fishing, or coconut farming..
  22. "Objectivism" is the name of the philosophy defined by Ayn Rand. An "Objectivist" is someone who agrees with Ayn Rand's philosophy in its essentials. Ayn Rand's philosophy was systematic, incorporating all major branches of philosophy--epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and politics. Her political philosophy was laissez-faire capitalism; because it is, as she said, the only moral political system in history, the only system to subordinate "might" to "right," and the only system to consistently uphold individual rights. [Reference: The Virtue of Selfishness pg. 109] Why do you put "Economics book" in scare quotes? The most essential argument for laissez-faire is that it upholds individual rights--the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, to which every individual has a moral claim, by virtue of being a rational animal. Every other system violates these rights, arguing that individuals should be sacrificed for the good of the whole--much like ancient savages sacrificed individuals into the volcano to please the gods. Although Utilitarianism claims to be an objective approach to morality, it is not Objectivism--it is not, nor is it consistent with, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. You see, Objectivism is a systematic philosophy. Its politics are derived from its ethics, which are derived from its metaphysics and epistemology. It is a rather complex conceptual chain which is necessary to explain the full justification for capitalism, according to Objectivism. It can be done, but it would take the course of a whole book to do adequately and comprehensively. Objectivists are not conservatives. We care about individual rights, not "normal situations." In fact, we value the exceptional people over the "normal" ones. Restrictions on restrictions? I believe you mean restrictions on freedom and prosperity? But these are a violation of the rights of those individuals being restricted. [edit: fixed punctuation. edit 2: added reference for AR's moral justification for capitalism, from essay "Man's Rights" in VOS.]
  23. Well, I didn't say that it's only to the party--just that, since "libertarian" with a lower-case "l" is so vague, Objectivist criticisms of libertarianism can usually be assumed to be directed at the party (or, I should add, a type of ideology essentially similar to that of the LP). Murray Rothbard was involved in the Libertarian Party (from 1974 to 1989, according to them).
  24. I think I saw that quote attributed to her character in the movie version of The Passion of Ayn Rand. So I'm highly skeptical as to whether she actually said it.
  25. This one would have been funnier if the voice on the other side had said that it was Soviet Russia! I didn't get this one. There were some great jokes in that post, though, D'kian. : D
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