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Everything posted by Tyco

  1. Rand says the 'country' has no rights/authority but she didn't say the inhabitants lose all their rights - indeed their rights are inalienable. Please recall that Iran has not declared war against the US and indeed is a far cry from from posing any sort of threat to US sovereignty. Where do you stop? Nuke all of Libya because of their suspected involvement with the Lockerbie bombing? What about Bush's invasion of Iraq on the false premise that SH had WMDs. Should American cities be nuked? There is no reason to create special ethical theories for nukes. It's wrong to shoot every civilian man, woman and child in a captured village during war, even more wrong to do it in a city, and still wrong if you use nuclear bombs instead of metal bullets. How willingly you turn from Objectivist to would-be mass exterminator. It sickens me and seriously puts me off visiting this website.
  2. Like from Ayn Rand? You know how she says respect the rights of fellow humans? ie. never initiate force? Well since many people in Tehran, the majority even, are not your enemies but rather victims of your enemies, you have to respect their rights. At the very least, try not to engage in their mass-extermination. Maybe you thought she said 'fellow Americans' when she was talking about the rights of any people, anywhere.
  3. Nuclear weapons simply do not ever fall within this 'legal context' unless a) they're acting as a nuclear deterrent all the enemy military forces are conveniently grouped in an expansive, otherwise unpopulated area, which is very unlikely We don't give the police tools which are inappropriate for their job - eg. artillery Basically 'nuking Tehran,' or any city, should not be on the cards but I get the distinct impression some people here not only advocate the idea but take some perverse pleasure in ethically equivocating such mass-extermination
  4. I read your reply, as you of course expect. Two or three times actually. You said the military should have control of how they achieve the ends given to them by the civilian government. I asked why the police force should not have similar control over what weapons they use to 'achieve the ends' given - you might want to answer that. Proper military conduct involves minimizing collateral damage where possible and nuclear weapons are completely incompatible with this in practice. There is no special ethical theory involved it's just a matter of practical outcomes.
  5. And maybe SWAT teams should be given cruise missiles? Or small tactical nukes? As long as they were tasked with fighting crime (by the civilian government), the means should be up to them, right? The fact is that using nuclear weapons without causing massive collateral damage is next to impossible. Many military operations cause collateral damage anyway but at least their scale, the weapons used, make it avoidable.
  6. A suggestion: accept support from your family but only on the condition that they expect you to repay them at some future point. Maybe even with a formal contract. They might not understand your motives but from your perspective you can then accept their support with a clear conscience. To accept it otherwise is essentially pretending that you don't despise them, making you a pawn to their mistaken impression.
  7. A lot of people on this forum seem to have an unhealthy appetite for 'ethical nuking.'
  8. As far as I remember, the key point to that passage was Roark experiencing the emotion of pity. I wouldn't overstate the importance of what particular thing triggered this emotion - it just happened to be the realisation that Keating had squandered his potential to be a great artist. That's how I interpret Roark's reaction, btw: that as a great artist himself he was able to recognize the great painter that Peter could have been, had he developed sooner. I seriously don't think it had anything to do with Peter's 'soul' like others here are suggesting, just his painting skill. And this was, what, 30 years since Peter had given up painting as a young child? And Roark was still able to detect traces of greatness in the work? By that reckoning, talent is fairly robust - you should be fine.
  9. You could explain how the story foretells a situation very like the credit-crunch, financial crash, banking crisis and bailout situation that's dominated the news for the last couple years. Except in Atlas Shrugged one person was causing it all, deliberately. One individual/group was trying to switch off the motor of the world. That should hook them in!
  10. Tyco

    Google Chrome

    another killer feature of Chrome is its 'Inspect' mode. very useful tools for web developers in there, but it also lets you edit any page your browsing on - so for instance change the background colour, disable annoying widgets and so on
  11. The cult thing is easy to negate. What characterizes a cult? - secrecy/secret-society - closed to outsiders - power over its members - strange rituals - charismatic/manipulative leader Groups that meet those standards are the ones we call cults. Like the Waco folk, the Illuminati, devil-worshippers, Jonestown, Ku-Klux Klan etc. Hence the negative connotations. Objectivism - is a body of writing - available to anyone on the planet - explicitly renounces the idea of 'power' over the lives of others - has no prescribed rituals - has no living 'leader' Anyone calling Objectivism a cult is indulging in severe malapropism. Objectivism is about as un-cultlike as one can get. It's got more in common with open-source software than any cult.
  12. - 'mislead consumers' -- 'monitor prices' the implied argument makes the leap from a price being too high to consumer's being actually 'misled.' Because it is only implicit they author doesn't need to construct an argument why pricing can 'mislead' anyone - 'protects the rights of consumers' by using the word 'rights' the author is making a heavily loaded argument. if the proper word had been used - 'consumers interests' - a fairer debate would likely ensue - 'endanger worker safety' -- 'sets safety and environmental standards for industries' Greenspan has some good points about this in C:TUI. He argues that 'bad protection drives out good protection,' and that safety regulations merely create a corruptible process, a shortcut for shady businesses to gain credibility, and a burden for responsible businesses to carry - 'defraud the companies investors' fraud would always be illegal under any proper legal system. presumably this is about insider trading and things like that. the counter-argument is that where (once again) the government does not provide illusory, 'bad', protection, investors will be much more cautious and the chance for reputable companies to swindle will be much smaller - 'regulates collective bargaining power between labor unions and management' not sure what is meant here
  13. I was not trying to point out the problem with altruism, just a problem. Also, there is an end to the selfish good deeds one can commit - you can define it by your own standards and not feel your efforts are inadequate in light of the problem's scale. To practice this the most basic requirement is deciding what an acceptable benefit to achieve would be (the default beneficiaries would simply be the entire human race). Essentially any significant benefit, however, would mean practically endless effort to help all people in need. Even if this was somehow universally achieved, the next logical step would simply be to raise the benefit/standard and start all over again. The morality in its purest form gives you no mandate to say, 'OK, I think I've done enough.'
  14. This is a simple idea which is perhaps already stated quite succinctly in Objectivist literature, but nevertheless one that struck me with a sense of novelty/revelation. This was my line of thought: A fundamental logical problem with altruism is that it's nigh-impossible to put into practice. As many people have observed, there is no end to the selfless good deeds one could commit. In the present world, if one tries to alleviate terrible suffering whenever one finds it, say in some oppressed nation, even upon success in one instance, another gruelling trial would always await you. No one, not even some cross between Mother Theresa and Jack Bauer, can overcome this. Altruism will simply drain away everything. Yet, as Rand observed, altruism is the dominant ethical system of our time. Dominant but simultaneously impossibly impractical - how can this be? The answer, I think, is that most people deploy some sort of collectivist bulkhead against the drain of altruism. In other words, they choose a set of people (usually one they identify with), and limit their altruistic endeavours/convictions to actions/ideas that benefit members of this collective. Eg. Nationalism. They are then able to actually practice altruism within this context (even when it leads to atrocious cruelty towards others, eg. Nazism). Not everyone, I suppose, chooses some such collective - the only rebuttal here is that they are not really applying altruism either, just paying it lip-service (see: your typical Westerner who hates industrialization/capitalism but slyly enjoys all its benefits).
  15. Could you give some examples, Thomas? (other than being able to proudly say you're an egoist... which is more of a meta-example)
  16. Excuse me but what is this mental heavy lifting one needs to do in order to practice Objectivism? I can see that trying to write Atlas Shrugged and make weighted generalisations about reality/society takes incredibly effort on the author's part to stay honest, but just going about day to day life in what way is Objectivism difficult?
  17. I'm no authority but I find that if I've been studying all day there comes a point where nothing more will be gained that day. Unless I have a deadline to meet I might as well go out and socialize after 8pm say. It's like I've reached the mental saturation point for that day. Maybe there's also a mental saturation point for each week or each month, whereby no further days of studying will create progress.
  18. Without getting into the morality of it, the obvious point to make is that hosting a World Cup brings enormous trade benefits to the country through tourism. I read a statistic recently which said every month since Germany last hosted the World Cup (2008), they have taken an additional X million dollars (it was a lot) from tourists, over and above what the previous monthly average was.
  19. The text has a valid point. Unfortunately the argument that god created the universe still begs the question, what created God? The only appealing answer to the cosmological argument I've read was one posted on here a few months ago (then royally poo-pooed by most replies in the thread). The argument goes: if you have nothing, then nothing can become of nothing but in that case you don't really have 'nothing,' because you still have the rule 'nothing can become of nothing' if you remove that rule, so that you have total, ruleless nothingness, then it is no longer true to say 'there is nothing, and nothing can become of nothing' (second part is wrong) hence the ultimate state of nothingness implies 'something can become of nothing.' from there the universe could begin, but randomly, and only blossom into the current universe when the rules generated form a non-contradictory whole, like some sort of recursive algorithm (this could take an almost endless number of steps but it doesn't matter because nobody would be around to watch) some people made the argument that the idea that rules formally exist is a misunderstanding, but i think you can re-structure the argument to account for 'properties of existents' rather than rules it would be interesting to debate the existence of God in light of this explanation (since it explains how God could be created) my biggest problem with Theists is not their belief in God per se, it's the beliefs/morals they form around it
  20. Hmm, on the other hand EMP bombs are incredibly easy to make - just some plastic explosive stuffed in a pipe with a few other details - and could take out the electronics of an entire city. That hasn't happened yet either (... that we know of).
  21. Last I read, 'dirty bombs' had been debunked as pretty useless weapons - unlikely to kill or injure even a single person (beyond what the kinetic/explosive force itself can do).
  22. 1. I wanted on before they'd even been announced or speculated over. Basically the first time I sat down with my iPhone I thought, 'I'd also like a bigger one of these.' 2. Don't think I've ever been so keen to get my hands on a device based on its usefulness - this thing's going to make absorbing information and getting work done on the move (or on the sofa) so much easier. In fact, soon as I get it loaded up with one of the Wikipedia site dump applications (ie. for offline reading), I'll consider its expense recouped. Side note: don't think I'll bother with the 3G one cause it will be just another bill plus i already have access to o2 wifi 'hotspots' around the country through my iPhone account, but more crucially, someone pointed out I could always just buy one of those 'Mi-Fi' devices instead and get 3G access that way. Also, I'm sure the iPad will do much better than people are generally anticipating, there's so much potential there
  23. Yeah, tough question. The best answer I can think of is that loving is not a case of just evaluation - it's exchange of values. There's what someone does, then there's what someone does with/for/to me. To elaborate, I suppose you could say that when you personally are the recipient of a value, it tends to accelerate your 'liking' of said value. You could read about a fantastic new foodstuff, with millions of people saying it's delicious and extolling its nutritious value, but until you get to try it you're not really going to LIKE the stuff, just hold it as an abstract value.
  24. May I recommend reading Rand's 'An Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology' - it's only about 70 pages long (although you need to concentrate more than usual when reading it). It's her explanation of how all knowledge is gained, without getting into the details of any specific debate. There's nothing really contentious about it, it gives you a grounding that makes many of Rand's counter-intuitive opinion's from other works easier to accept. *I say counter-intuitive meaning from the perspective of someone raised on socialist/altruistic ideology... which is almost everyone
  25. Has anybody else been watching this? I've only seen 3 episodes so far but it's been excellent. The show is part court-room drama and part family drama. The main character, Alicia, is a lawyer, mother of two and wife of a politician who was disgraced over a sex-scandal and then jailed for related issues (though apparently he's innocent). The law cases are typically resolved after a stroke of ingenuity from Alicia. What I find refreshing about this show is that most of the characters are portrayed in heroic or at least noble/principled manner. Of course there are crimes and criminals involved, but The Good Wife does not dwell on those like so many other crime dramas. Some of the characters have a hint of manipulation about them but this is balanced by otherwise good qualities like mutual respect, admiration, team work and skill. Good professionals. There are a few vultures/villains but they are minor characters and the heroes usually defeat them without losing integrity. The complexity and credibility of the characters is probably the show's strongest point, although most other aspects of the production are high quality. Basically there is a healthy sense of value, a non-malevolent world, and rational self-interest displayed in a positive light. There's themes like forgiveness, reconciliation, integrity, hard work all handled intelligently. I'm not saying it's totally non-altruistic (I've only seen the first few eps) but so far so good. There's always a good 'hook' for each episode when the mysteries of a case are solved.
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