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  1. Thanks
    whYNOT reacted to happiness in Have any prominent Objectivists addressed this point II?   
    A virus is an element of nature and an inherent risk of life on Earth, not a weapon that an infected person goes around assaulting people with. If you don’t have symptoms, haven’t tested positive, or knowingly been exposed to an infected person, it’s rational to assume you’re not infected and go about your business. You can’t live if you have to assume you are infected with a deadly virus. 
    Each individual’s health and safety is his own responsibility. The onus to stay home and/or get vaccinated is on those who are at risk.
    Every medical treatment has benefits and risks. If you fear the risks of vaccination more than you fear the virus, you have an absolute right not to get vaccinated. No one has a duty to sacrifice himself by accepting potential bodily harm for the sake of protecting others.
    The ardent anti-vaxxer’s assessment of the risks might be incorrect, but it’s his judgment, and he has a right to act on it, even if others disagree.
  2. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from MisterSwig in Have any prominent Objectivists addressed this point?   
    This exposes the faulty basic premise of all these arguments and public controversy: one is NOT initiating force by transmitting an infection; one does NOT have the right to not be infected. The consequences of trying to uphold and enforce that 'right' would be insane. About a thousand 'rights violations' a day might have occurred during the spread pf this pandemic.
    A business owner however could rightfully disclaim as many have always, that injuries (etc.) on his premises are non-liable. "Enter at your own risk".
  3. Like
    whYNOT reacted to TruthSeeker946 in Have any prominent Objectivists addressed this point?   
    Exactly right. 
    What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy?
    It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former.
    For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. 
    Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.
    Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?
    Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? 
    Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words.
    If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). 
    As necrovore argues, man can “surrender” some of his rights in exchange for other values.
    In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. 
    In the case of covid, when one enters a premise “at their own risk”, they weigh that risk against the values to be gained from entering. By entering they trade away some of their right to life (they’d be losing their right to be free of the initiation of physical force from covid, assuming one considers the transmission of covid an initiation of force). 
    A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. 
    One might object on the basis that the the “surrender” of rights for values, or the “weighing” of force and values must be rational (like receiving a vaccine) and so voluntarily fighting to the death for money is fundamentally anti-life and irrational. 
    But we know from Objectivist literature that one has the right to live the life of a heroin addict which is also fundamentally anti-life and irrational. One has the right to sabotage oneself. 
  4. Like
    whYNOT reacted to Gus Van Horn blog in Reblogged:Self-Interest Conquers Disease. Mellows Harshed.   
    Or: They Won't Admit It, but Some Leftists Hate Private Vaccination Requirements
    Image by Mark Adriane, via Unsplash, license.Not long after I made a similar point, but in what I hope was a somewhat more constructive and positive way despite my exasperation, Hayes Brown of MSNBC chimes in to the effect that it's good business to require employees to be vaccinated.

    (Brown does, alas, call these requirements "mandates," further entrenching the apparently near-universal confusion between business and government in our society.)

    This leftist columnist should be cheering the move, but he can't help sneering the whole way through, and spitting on the "laissez-faire" -- as if, and if only! -- wagon delivering the good news that we're about to get this pandemic right where we want it:Those people. Aren't "othering" in general and phrases like those people supposed to be anathema to the left? More to the point, a small remnant of capitalism is showing us the way out of the pandemic: While it might be appropriate to call out many conservatives for being hypocrites about this, the charge of hypocrisy carries with it a subtext of moral agreement when one is not careful.

    In that respect, Brown is careful: Leftists can be chaste to the point of unintelligibility when it comes to language, except when they disagree with someone, and then it's no holds barred. So, Brown is calling out hypocrisy, but we still know where his moral compass points, as we shall see.

    However, he is like a meticulous navigator steering straight towards a dangerous rock because he is looking at a bad map, but ignoring what he could see through the window next to him.

    Strike that: He just saw it. This move is a glaring refutation of the idea that "we" require the government to order us around, for our own good. That, left to our own devices, we'd all just get sick and die -- or worse.

    Brown oddly and incorrectly accuses the right of advocating laissez-faire, but doing so hypocritically. (The right should advocate capitalism, but generally doesn't, and usually isn't convincing when it does.)

    I'll pass over a tortured analysis of who's hypocritical about what, because here's what I find most interesting about Brown's piece:Here are apt expressions, although Brown is too pissed off to realize it, of the empty evil of altruism, society's dominant moral code, and collectivism, its political expression. It would appear, despite his claim to not see a "downside," that the government's not coercing everyone to get a vaccine is a downside to Brown, who professes to want vaccinations to happen.

    But this defeat pales in comparison to the glimpse of the effectiveness of capitalism and self-interest Brown got and is trying his damnedest to bury: Those greedy corporations making it happen by the marriage of their self interest (called cynical and insinuated as corrupt by the phrase bottom line) and those of their individual workers -- who want to trade with them and freely do so (smeared by a cheap and cowardly analogy to prostitution) -- is proof that self-interest and the system he obviously hates are, in fact, moral and practical.

    There is no joy in Mudville: What people like Brown have been claiming to want -- while supporting numerous tyrannical abuses of government -- is starting to happen thanks to the tiniest slivers of the system, capitalism, that have somehow survived in the weeds of our mixed economy, and despite the boots of the pandemic-emboldened thugs people like him support.

    Brown is right to point out that the conservatives he calls out should be happy, but they're not the only ones. If they should recognize and celebrate business finding a way to get America closer to herd immunity (as a happy byproduct of trying to earn a living!), Brown should ask himself: If I am so concerned about the welfare of others, why am I unhappy to learn that capitalism and self-interest can deliver exactly those things?

    The lack of joy and the dripping bitterness are telling enough. Will anyone notice, or will Brown and his ilk succeed in causing Americans to forget this miracle, and continue, themselves, hiding behind the scoundrel's refuge of a professed concern for others?

    -- CAVLink to Original
  5. Like
    whYNOT reacted to necrovore in Reblogged:Speech, Property Rights in Trump's Crosshairs   
    In The Prince, Machiavelli speaks of how a ruler who needs to do something unpopular can simply get one of his subordinates to do it for him, and then, if worst comes to worst, he can not only deny responsibility, but make a public spectacle of punishing the subordinate.
    A government can not only use that to wield "unpopular" powers, but also powers that it is not supposed to have in the first place. In the United States, censorship is one of these powers -- and the subordinate in this case is the "privately owned" corporations, who "volunteer" to be subordinates because they have to, because the government wields various carrots and sticks. The government has figured out a way to get the practical effects of censorship while not doing it itself, thus having plausible deniability. This depends on allowing a few big corporations to have their hands in almost all speech -- and then the government "delegates" the power of censorship to them.
    I think it's actually is proper to call this "censorship," because, when it comes down to it, it is the ruling regime doing it -- indirectly.
    The corporations aren't really doing it of their own free will. If somebody puts a gun to your head and makes demands, then whether you agree with the demands or not doesn't really make any difference -- although the gunman might tell you that things will go better for you if it seems that you do agree. But it's a little different when the gunman is the government: people who really do agree might not mind the gun at their heads, because they figure, "the bullets in that gun are for other people, people who disagree... but I agree, I co-operate, so I don't have to worry about it."
    When the corporations become unpopular, the government can make a big spectacle of "trust-busting," and the showmanship on this has actually already begun -- but you'll find in the end that, even if the government theatrically breaks these companies up, it won't make any practical difference. A few new rules will be announced, nobody will go to jail, and if you end up with two or three Facebooks or whatever, they will all toe the same line.
    In a free market, companies would compete for people's business, and a company that started banning people for their political views would simply drive those people into the arms of the competition. A company in a free market wouldn't ban people for political reasons, because it's suicidal.** So why are companies doing it? Because they're confident that there is no competition for those people to go to. Why are they so confident? Because the government is guaranteeing it. We don't have a free market.
    Trump has failed to grasp the nature of this problem and thus is proposing incorrect solutions.
    However, once again we see some people claiming that there isn't really a problem at all, and that if people are being kicked out of the public sphere for their political views, it's just "the free market at work." That isn't true either.
    (Some Republicans are doing one other thing wrong -- when they see the power being wielded, they don't want to eliminate that power, they want to take it over for their own use. That's not right, either: some powers cannot be used for good, at least, if good is defined as "promoting human survival.")
    Over the decades, there have been a lot of people complaining, rightly, about smaller "public-private partnerships" than these, and how such partnerships somehow manage to wield government powers while simultaneously not being subject to any constitutional restrictions because "they aren't part of the government, they're privately owned."
    Well, now we're coming to the culmination of the trend: companies and government are, for all practical purposes, just aspects of the same thing.
    To save the free market we need to separate these things: the only ultimate solution to this censorship problem is a separation of state and economics, which would include the elimination of all of these powerful regulatory agencies, so that the regime has no way of compelling compliance with its censorship desires.
    ** This sentence isn't correct as worded. A magazine publisher, for example, is not "suicidal" if he only accepts certain kinds of articles for his magazine. A phone company, on the other hand, would be "suicidal" if it tapped in on people's calls and cancelled their service over their views.
  6. Like
    whYNOT reacted to Doug Morris in Do animals have volition II?   
    So by "survival instinct" you do not mean an instinct directly to survive, nor any awareness of the issue of survival on the part of the animal.  Rather, you mean an instinct to perform certain particular actions, actions which in fact improve the animal's prospects of survival.
  7. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from MisterSwig in Ayn Rand Fan Club podcast   
    I have heard a conservative acknowledging that the fringe groups on both sides eventually converge at the bottom (when seeing the right and the Left departing in "a circle" instead of a flat line extending out to their extreme ends) and are one as bad as the other. That received my agreement, she was one who can be worked with.
  8. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in The Statue of Liberty Shrugged?   
    What do I know of "QAnon" and right wing conspiracies? Little, thankfully. Only some words and rhetoric.
    What I do know from long familiarity is that that "Fascist right" has been the go-to cause celebre of the MSM and others, in order to by sleight of hand, through misdirection, cover the tracks of the resurgent Socialist Left. 
    And so far, thankfully, the right aren't actively responding, to the disappointment of many, I believe. Anyone can predict the, er, "active" response if the political shoe were on the other foot, mind you.
  9. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Devil's Advocate in The Statue of Liberty Shrugged?   
    "Darker" - because of Trump - or despite him? Not to sing his praises too much, but weren't the shadows already gathering before his time, fully revealing themselves increasingly and disturbingly in only these last few months after his departure?
    That's what I was catching strong hints of from the US, pre-2016.
    And -possibly- perhaps his shock tactics were in a partial measure of calculated opposition to such forces, which even an unintellectual Trump could recognize were dangerous to the nation.
    (Stephen King would say that, being about as Lefty as they come).
    Oh and I have been to some shithole and basket case countries in Africa. It was about time they were (crudely) called out, maybe to take stock of themselves rather than this faking pretense by the delicate diplomatic community that all is fine and dandy on the continent. As long as they keep throwing guilt money at the problems there won't be change.
  10. Sad
    whYNOT got a reaction from merjet in Do animals have volition II?   
    And still, "physical" volition persists (as the argument for animal volition). Which was entirely covered, when one understands her, by self-generated, self-directed action - goal directed action - self-initiated motion - by Rand. 
    The actions to life which every life-form has and must have, by definition.
    So what "volition" is left to mankind, one which distinguishes his nature apart? 
    Using volition for every act by any creature (like a Covid virus attaching itself to a host) devalues the concept of "volition" and makes it mundane. Then:
    'Equality' of all living things, all under equal 'volition'. Which in practice inverts to equal determinism.
    THIS is the form of the concrete-bound, anti-metaphysical assault on man's volitional consciousness, and one effect of growing skepticism, determinism and anti-individualism.
  11. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from Devil's Advocate in The Statue of Liberty Shrugged?   
    Well, not "to shrug". Although I like this telling paraphrase regarding the (con)temporary state of America (as I and many others view it).
    (I had said pre-US elections that coming off a higher base than anywhere in a greying, long-compromised Western world, it would be the ~relative~ drop of liberty/freedom - by her own standard - that would hurt America. There would not be a complete collapse, like in AS. You would never fall to Venezuelan and Zimbabwean levels, as some misleading, alarmist, examples given, but the moral damage would be greater).
    Not to shrug then. But to see this phase through with moral grit and intellectual conviction, with zero or the minimum of sacrifice and self-sacrifice. Never a conflict, that could cause more irreparable harm than would be worth it.
     Atlas Shrugged ends with: "We are going back to the world". Of course, returning to reality after a break and now work to be begun again. You and we all, haven't the opt-out choice the strikers had, one must remain here in the world.
  12. Like
    whYNOT reacted to Devil's Advocate in The Statue of Liberty Shrugged?   
    For the sake of the children,
    If you saw Lady Liberty, the giant who holds the free world on her shoulders, if you saw that she stood, blood running down her chest, her knees buckling, her arms trembling but still trying to hold her torch aloft with the last of her strength, and the greater her effort the heavier the looters and their children bore down upon her shoulders demanding freedom from want - What would you tell her?
    (Ayn Rand's Francisco d'Anconia, paraphrased)
  13. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    HD, Thanks for coming back. As for the wager, forget about it.
  14. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Boydstun in Aristotle's Wheel "Paradox"   
    Stephen, much on board with this, that one can hold both the enjoyment of illusions together with their objective explanations. (The song: "Both Sides Now"?)
    Here are usual (psychological, Ponzo illusion) explanations given for the perception of a larger sun and moon at the horizon. I favor the magnifying, refractive atmosphere theory (not given).
  15. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Boydstun in Aristotle's Wheel "Paradox"   
    A counter-intuitive oddity, a brain-teaser rather than a paradox, imo. Quite something that Plato was then onto "tangential velocity" (the 'rotating' speed of various radii) clear above.
      "tangential velocity is directly proportional to the radius. It increases because tangential velocity is inversely proportional to the radius". Wiki
    In the Paradox as presented, the suggestive, visual red herring is an *inner* wheel 'track' or line, exactly equalling the length of the outer - except - the wheels are different diameter/circumferences!
    Of course, the larger one's circumference singly dictates the distance covered and all inner points of a moving object correspond.
    Paradox explained, I reckon, by the inner wheel turning at a slower (vt) on its 'track' than the larger in order to also complete one identical revolution as the outer rim, and to traverse the identical track distance in the identical time.
    Demonstrating the non-contradictory nature of a wheel's properties, how it's supposed to act and does act.
  16. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Derek Chauvin Trial   
    One can't lose sight of the climate of intimidation outside the trial. The jurors are only human and as much as they likely wanted the verdict be truthful to the evidence could not have not known that their personal lives, families and associates were under very possible threat, and violent acts, egged on or covertly encouraged by pols and the rest would spread through the country at large. At very least they would suffer social and work ostracization from that point on. One has to feel sorry for them being placed in an invidious position, damned if they do .... The facts presented them didn't change what was already a fait accompli. They would have to find him guilty on all charges. Chauvin is guilty of manslaughter with aggravating circumstances. Murderous intent wasn't there, or wasn't obvious - nor was proven. A 10 to 15 sentence fits the crime, probably. This was trial by camera: everyone saw the clip, and the rest was details. Every armchair 'expert' has been swayed by his facial expression and "body language", which was all it needed. That he is a brutal person and a bad policeman has been turned into - and confirms - white men are racist, all police are rotten and racism is entrenched in the system. The verdict is an implicit admission of guilt of these contemptible allegations. There's how street justice gradually gains control over rule of law. Also how policemen will become afraid to act promptly and forcibly in defense of citizens or themselves.
  17. Thanks
    whYNOT reacted to Boydstun in Do animals have volition II?   
    The following is from a presentation of the Rand/Branden model of free will, by Onkar Ghate in the Blackwell A Companion to Ayn Rand.
    “Rand rejects any theory of volition that roots free will in a choice between particular items of mental content: whether to walk or ride the bus to work (selection between envisioned physical actions); whether to order the vanilla cheesecake because one is hungry or the bowl of mixed berries because one is on a diet (selection between desires or motives that will govern one’s physical actions); whether to admire Mother Teresa or Bill Gates (selection of values); whether to accept the psychological theories of Freud or of cognitive psychologists (selection of ideas). For Rand, all such matters are secondary and derivative: at root, free will is the power to activate one’s conceptual faculty and direct its processing or not. ‘All life entails and exhibits self-regulated action’, writes Branden in presenting Rand’s theory.”
    “An individual becomes both capable and aware of his power of conscious self-regulation as his mind develops. ‘It must be stressed’, Branden writes, ‘that volition pertains, specifically, to the conceptual level of awareness. A child encounters the need of cognitive self-regulation when and as he begins to think, . . . to reason explicitly. . . .” (“The Objectivist Theory of Volition” TO 5(1), 23)
    Rand and Aristotle remarked that higher animals are able to perceive more in sensory perception and to remember more than are lower animals. In modern psychology, the development of perceptual and memorial competencies in childhood has been greatly illuminated. I’d add to the Rand/Branden idea that the human conscious self-regulation emergences with the onset of conceptual abilities in children, add that: self-regulation of memory is also critical for the distinctly human abilities. “Remember this” we say to ourselves. Since the invention of sticky pads, I riddle my books with little strips of them.
    “The choice to ‘think or not’ is not man’s only choice, according to Rand: it is his primary choice. This choice sets a mind’s regulating goal. Sub-choices then arise to the extent that there is such a goal, and are the means of implementing it.”
  18. Thanks
    whYNOT reacted to MisterSwig in Derek Chauvin Trial   
    Here is an interview with one of the alternate jurors.

  19. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Doug Morris in Ayn Rand Fan Club podcast   
    William and Scott: A contribution to get the ball rolling. Harking back to earlier days, and how much has changed and hasn't. One could start at the 25min mark if time-constrained.
  20. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from MisterSwig in Ayn Rand Fan Club podcast   
    William and Scott: A contribution to get the ball rolling. Harking back to earlier days, and how much has changed and hasn't. One could start at the 25min mark if time-constrained.
  21. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Boydstun in Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest   
    Stephen, quoting from your post in RoR:
    "In 1984 I wrote an essay titled "The Moral Value of Liberty" which was published in Nomos. I need to quote something I wrote therein:

    This is an expression of what I think of as conveyance of the primacy of existence into human values in a radical way. This is primacy of existence running more deeply in human values than in any egoistic theory of ethics.

    The idea that external things need to be valuable to oneself in order for oneself to be valuable to oneself is not entirely foreign to Rand's writings on ethics. She has an essay called "Selfishness without a Self" that touches on this. She drafts her Howard Roark as oriented to external things and constructions he values; he is only secondarily oriented to himself as valuer of those things.

    Ethical egoism is the view that all moral values and virtues can be based purely on consideration of the agent's self-interest. I have watched attempts to set ethics purely on self-interest from Protagoras and Socrates to Plato and Aristotle to Spinoza and Rand and Mack to my colleague Irfan Khawaja. I don't buy them. They all fail. They fudge sooner or later. There is truth and value in these attempts, and I will keep on watching their latest editions".
    I wonder at your high level thinking in the statement, but whether this 'meta-ethical egoism' (for want of a better term ) can and must always reduce to Rand's ethical egoism? If one wanted to, one couldn't escape moral self-interest, I sense. Putting doubts aside, yours is a radical line of thought.
    For me, first I had to understand things clearly as they are "out there", before I could place value (or otherwise) in them -- and before I could find objective value in myself. Valuing and rational selfishness wasn't automatic or 'given' and took me longest to appreciate.
    (Couldn't one achieve self-value existing in a Gulag all one's life, knowing only the bad?; conversely, we may see a free person who had all the advantages of perceiving valuable "external things" quite often fail to know self-value).
  22. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Boydstun in Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest   
    Both or any rational people take reality as their final arbiter, and so it may be said that their specific purpose/goals - and "interest"- can't and won't clash, in the final analysis. Two individuals apply for the same position or contract; or suitors vie for the one woman - they'll understand that the acceptance of their rival was due to a rational judgment (the one's abilities/experience/etc. were more suitable to an employer, or the girl placed higher value/love in the other guy) and so no conflict and animus is possible to them. Neither, in rational justice, would want or could tolerate the unearned - if they 'won' by other, irrational or underhanded means.
    Much like that vilified and scorned "Capitalist competition" as appraised by Rand (which one sees to be as true): saying something like, competition of capitalist markets isn't the main goal but instead the byproduct of productive individuals.
    We don't essentially try to beat each other, our products of our minds and a free market decide who will do better.
    In reality there is more than only one fine woman and the market is infinitely expansive for all to enter and do well, no conflict.
  23. Like
    whYNOT got a reaction from Boydstun in Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest   
    It's helpful to concentrate on the positive and affirmative, which sets a measure for the NON-conflict of interests to be compared against. Where one has ascertained that the other is committed to rationality and places his reasoning above all, I think the rest follows. Medium and long term he is acting on reality and for his own self-interest - as you are. He must also be the beneficiary of his moral actions, which you'd not withhold from him identically as you'd not deny yourself and your own. There is recognition of your partner in rationality being of high value in himself, in his own right - as well as to you and your ends. Independence, productiveness, integrity and justice are the key virtues in a rational partnership and initiative.
    Anyway, that's the standard as I see it.
  24. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in This "ideology of emptiness"   
  25. Thanks
    whYNOT got a reaction from merjet in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies   
    ***Split from Correspondence and Coherence***

    Most upbeat. What's to stop bitcoin crashing in a year or two? There's no inherent or objective value/standard that I can see, and the huge fluctuations seen in its value point to its obvious attraction for speculators, well above the individual freedom and practicality the writer justifies. Does one want to own a speculative cryptocurrency which can soar or crash, the value varying by market demand day by day? Could make one nervous.
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