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Everything posted by Tyco

  1. Are the people who made the movie Objectivists or at least interested in philsopophy? I'd hate to think this movie is just a quick cash-in on a work with millions of existing fans. Anyway I don't know if I'll get a chance to see it - I'm still trying to get hold of The Fountainhead from 1948!
  2. Not having a Facebook account in 2011 is a bit like not having an email account in 1999. You don't need one but it's hardly some passing fad.
  3. I would say... there is no such thing as 'the' capitalist economy. You can have 'a' capitalist economy, which is essentially an instantiation of the concept of capitalism, so it wouldn't make sense to say I'm talking about one and not the other. It'd be like saying 'you're talking about funk records, not funk proper.'
  4. You know the phrase, 'honest people don't need governing?' It's true: if you started with a small island community, and people understood the logic of recognizing each other's rights, then you wouldn't need anything else for capitalism (see: Galt's Gulch, although they did have a judge/magistrate but he was never called for). It would just happen, assuming people were interested in creating and trading. The necessary conditions are in place. When you add more and more people, it's likely that some will be dishonest and/or irrational, so then you need a governing force to protect rights. When you have thousands, millions of citizens then you need the governing/legal system to grow proportionally to cope with the load of crime and the messy disputes. Of course, it's possible that by dismantling parts of government/state you might no longer have the ability to preserve rights in the society you currently exist in. But basically you focus on preserving individual rights/freedom, as society grows, and the rest (capitalism) emerges naturally.
  5. OK she said it was a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, she did not say it was those individual rights. Capitalism it the trading part, or rather the type of trading people will (probably) do when they have those protected rights. And the rights (or the laws to support them) are implemented because they are the only logical application of 'freedom' - other systems may result if you have an invalid conception of freedom or unsound application. You don't implement those rights so that you can have capitalism - you implement them because they are just. Capitalism is an emergent system, not one that gets 'implemented.' True, you need quite complicated apparatus for an advanced capitalist economy, but those things (the courts etc.) are developed to support justice in the face of chaos/anarchy, not to support capitalism. Furthermore, capitalism happens in spite of counter-productive laws or foolish attempts to interfere with it - because at heart it is the phenomenon/activity resulting from the profit motive.
  6. Blackdiamond, as far as i recall, Rand defined capitalism as free trade for mutual benefit. Therefore if people are free to trade (ie. Their rights are protected and no force is involved), then capitalism follows. On an individual level people have to take the initiative and actually trade, but that is virtually guaranteed. Capitalism is what you get when you logically apply the principle of freedom when writing the laws of the land and creating property rights. Other things like socialism or communism have to be planned and implemented by the government, with instructions on how individuals must act for the system to work. To have a capitalist state you don't need to instruct anybody, people just do it. I don't know what you had in mind.
  7. Well... The government 'puts in place' or preserves the freedom required, but beyond that there's nothing smart or complicated about 'implementing capitalism', it just happens. I suppose there are some advanced things like intellectual property but capitalism will still take place in some form.
  8. I'm thinking capitalism works out because it's the default system that emerges when people are free to trade for mutual benefit. It's not something the government or even the businesses consciously 'put in place.' It's a natural phenomenon. As soon as a bunch of wiseguys get together and work on ways to improve 'our system', trouble is bound to follow.
  9. Dante, yes that's where I read the thing myself, but I only found it because I browse this forum frequently. And until I found that article I had many doubts and questions and bad feelings about the whole issue myself. However, that article is not easily found. You can get it on google books too, but only in the USA. What I'm suggesting is that an AR site host it, then people can find it (because it will show up in the google results near the top). No need to address the smearers directly, but at least just make the source material available so people can judge for themselves.
  10. this very topic was discussed on Hacker News recently http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2456296 I think one of the major AR/O'ism sites on the net should just host the Hickman/Little-street chapter of Rand's diary in its full text for all to see. This issue will keep cropping up as bloggers get hold of the book, cherry pick quotes from it and play on it for shock value. People then have nothing to check their claims against, and then spread links to said blogs about the internet. We should petition Peikoff or whomever it may concern to licence the text for online display. Just put a disclaimer before it saying something like And let people make their own mind up. To me, Rand found something off about the 'public' reaction to the case - although outrage was appropriate, to some extent 'the mob' was the same beast as ever, and she wanted to get a close look. Rand was starting to pinpoint the collectivist tendencies/mindsets that she saw as detrimental to broader life. She admits that Hickman really is a 'monster,' and that any sympathy she felt for him was 'involuntary,' and that he probably lacked the qualities she supposd he might have had (based on his 'what's good for me is right' statement), but the question of how the same mob (specifically the people attending the court case, and people who commented on the case publically) would treat an innocent man was worth pondering. Other readers might come to different conclusions, but it's better than these partisan bloggers monopolizing the topic.
  11. It probably varies widely. I think for people who are intelligent enough to think through the consequences of an ethical framework, the result is a sort of mild depression, a sinking feeling that the world is not fair and you are part of the problem because you are not big (selfless) enough to stand up to the unfairness. This leads to categorising most other people as stupid, or like yourself, complicit in the problem. Of course it helps being able to blame an impersonal system (capitalism) for WHY you can't be fair to your fellow men. And also these feelings are not ever present, I mean you are going to forget them at times and just enjoy life, perhaps even enjoy some cooperative endeavours in the name of the collective, but always those thoughts will come back to haunt you.
  12. Jazz is a huge genre, maybe you could say the term is a floating abstraction, even. Some jazz I think is brilliant, but other jazz I find suspicious. Like in the same way I find a lot of 'modern art' suspicious. Like I don't enjoy it, I'm not sure if I even 'get' it, and I'm not sure if the emperor is wearing any clothes. Jazz puts an emphasis on sponteneity/improvisation (usually), which you could say is problematic because it contradicts the principle of practice makes perfect. Ie. any thing they play could surely be improved through rehearsal. but then, some of their solos are so long it would actually be quite impractical to 'learn' them. but then, maybe that's the problem with a lot of jazz, too many long indulgent solos...
  13. Like I said, the George Bush, Genius email was most likely a joke (do a google search, it appears to be a frequently used sarcastic phrase). Bush's malapropisms used to make great mailing list fodder. The dinner table remark is perhaps also not portrayed accurately: it seems most likely to me that her father was objecting to her use of the word 'selfish' in a negative context, rather than supporting her brother's irrational greed. That's the sort of thing parents do - question how their children use certain words to express themselves. Look at it objectively. Her father is a lawyer, runs a firm dealing in intellectual property. We can assume he's reasonably intelligent. Meanwhile he not only read Rand, but attends the conferences, reads the newsletters, etc. That he is some sort of pseudo-Objectivist seems extremely unlikely to me. You can bury your head in the sand and decry 'this man was obvioulsy not a true Objectivist!' everytime someone makes errors while trying to live by Rand's philosophy (just remember to let Christians, Marxists etc. use the same excuse when one of 'them' goes off the rails); or you can admit that there is no Royal Road for raising children as Objectivist, honest people can make big mistakes, and such things will always be fraught with difficulty especially in our current societies.
  14. Well here's is what is presumably her biological father's law firm http://www.bbpatent.com/ Ayn Rand quote on the page. Strange thing about the article is Objectivism isn't capitalized. I'm guessing that's due to an ignorant sub-editor and not the author. The tenuous bits of the article are the George Bush, Genius part (most likely it was a piece of satire, but seems she's out to mislead and draw sympathy from liberal readers), and that dinner table part. Like surely she would have realized and known very well the difference between a selfish action and plain rudeness in O'ist terms, but chooses not to explain to the reader. Having said that, I guess it's just a datapoint on the act of raising children as Objectivists. Can't expect everyone to be a perfect Objectivist, nor for things to work out perfectly in all cases.
  15. I've been thinking about a few related things lately: 1) an article which said 'voluntourism' whereby Westerners pay a few thousand pounds to an organization which sets up a trip for them to go to somewhere in the southern hemisphere and do volunteer work in poor communities (building schools, orphanages, re-painting shelters, low skilled stuff) for a few weeks/months. The article claimed that doing this is counterproductive to the (foreign) economies and prevents the locals from being employed to do these things and earn a living at the same time 2) another article which complained about the UK Conservative party auctioning off 'summer internship' positions to the highest bidding students/graudates, and keeping the cash. the article claimed this was very elitist as only rich kids could afford to spend several thousand pounds for a little CV padding (the actual internship was only a 3 weeks) and the better employment prospects it brings 3) in general the practice of having interns who work for free, is exclusionary to the people who can't afford to work for free 4) the idea that somebody getting a job because they have some personal connection is unfair, and that the job should always be advertised and opened to all potential applicants 5) advertising jobs but requesting only people who are currently in employment, thus denying the unemployed a chance to get back into work Now obviously as far as Objectivism goes, if it's a business/employment contract between consenting adults, there is no ethical problem whatsoever, the whole point is moot. But most people one talks to don't know anything about Objectivism, HOWEVER I suspect that even on their own terms, or by the principles of economics, there concerns are illogical. For the first point, it just seems daft - voluntourism simply injects value into these poor economies, the costs incurred by the volunteers themselves, and any expenditure saved can go towards employing a local person for something else. The second point and third points though, are more intuitive. The immediate defence is just that if you don't let companies do what they want in terms of hiring, you're going to screw up the economy anyway, and further that any hiring process which downplays talent will ultimately be detrimental, so competitive companies will abandon it. Maybe there's more arguments though. The fourth idea, I was thinking, really it doesn't matter how a job is filled, in the end you're going to have exactly the same number of jobs and applicants. And the last point, if you only employ people already in work, then when that person leaves their current company, a new position will become available there, so the net effect is the same. I just wanted to ask if you guys had any observations on these things. Anything I've not considered, or the people who hold those views have not considered.
  16. maybe i'm 'acting blind' or something i never understand how people rush to damning judgement of the acting in many films. i mean especially just from a 2 minute trailer. can people seriously tell that the acting is 'terrible' just from that? the trailer looked pretty good. of course the film could still be rubbish
  17. The point of Roark is to show that a truly rational man can never be destroyed no matter his circumstances: all the bad things that happen to him with respect to friendship, romance and career are bad, it's just that they can't defeat him. Don't mistake the Roark's heroism for his unfortunate situation. I think Rand exaggerates the negative aspects of his situation (loneliness/peerlessness, public derision, etc.) to highlight the evil things in this world. It would be possible for most real people to take after Roark but still have lots of friends, parties, promotions etc (although promiscuity is another matter; but to each his/her own)
  18. That Roark has unique values was my point. His unique values of course stem form his identity: genius architect. Most people are not in an equivalent position. I'm pretty sure I got the point of the novel. Roark's actions are logical however his identity and circumstances are unusual, which is what makes him an 'extreme' case. Fiction pushes things to extremes to make more clearly defined points.
  19. Most of Rand's characters I think of as theoretical extremes, made a certain way in order to make/support a point. I wouldn't expect anyone in real life to act quite like them, not the more prominent ones anyway. I think of them as being like the 'cardinal vowels' - which are sounds we can make by articulating from the edges of our voice box, but which you don't hear in natural speech. But knowing of their existence helps us understand the normal vowel sounds and put them in perspective. For instance Roark's refusal to allow changes to the front of the large office building he's designed, and thus losing out on the contract. And then going into a sort of personal recession. That shows that for a great artist, it's possible for them to value their art above almost everything else, and even when people penalize them for it, it's possible for him to go back to 'nothing' (working as construction labour) and not be 'destroyed' by the incident, because his self-esteem is intact/indestructible. For most of us though, we're not genius artists, even if we were we might not necessary hold those matters as such high values, or we might have other values to weigh up before making a decision like that (Roark was basically aloof from everything else - no family etc). You don't have to act like Roark all the time to have integrity.
  20. Apparently the civil war / unrest in Tunisia kicked off after a man set himself on fire (later died in hospital), in despair/protest of the government's effect on his life, namely his unemployment. He had been selling fruit and vegetables from a cart in the street, when gov officers confiscated his business wares for not having a license. While this would probably happen in the UK too... when living conditions are already that poor, it seems extra perverse.
  21. That's weird, for the past few days I've been thinking about the state of being 'trans-human' but I had no idea about the movement Transhumanism or that someone else had coined the term. What I was thinking was along the lines of - many things in our nature are essentially side-effects of evolution, not things we'd necessarily choose to embrace if we had a choice - for instance death. i keep seeing news stories about scientist making progress on the understanding of ageing, though - or from a different slant, things like sleep - but also things we like, like sex drive, but which are really driven by hormones for evolutionary reasons the thing is lots of people define themselves by the limitations of being a human, rather than by the immense freedom the rationality of being human affords us
  22. I refer to it as quantitative stealing.
  23. One thing I've learnt in life is that isolation almost inevitably leads to depressive tendencies. For instance right now I am fine, but for the next few months I'm working on an MSc project, mostly by myself. Sometimes I feel down, but it passes, and I remind myself of that simple fact. It probably wouldn't matter how great or accomplished an individual I was, if I spend too much time alone depressive thoughts will follow. So simple root cause analysis tells me: to avoid depression, don't spend too much time alone. The thing about it is, like a frog will sit and boil to death in a gradually heated pot of water, you think you're doing just fine on your own... until it hits you like a ton of bricks.
  24. What would make someone dogmatic if you ask me would be ignoring facts/evidence that are presented to them when it contradicts their firmly held views. Like insisting the Sun revolves around the Earth even after being shown the logical problems of that model. Rand did not do this to my knowledge. I did hear Bioishock designer Ken Levine say she ignored evidence about the genocide of native Americans, specifically as detailed in that book that has lots of Ayn Rand interviews (not Objectively Speaking, the other one), because it contradicted some belief about civilisations. But I don't have that book so I can't verify that personally.
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