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Everything posted by Tyco

  1. As with most things, it comes down to - do you respect individual rights, or don't you? Voluntary trade for mutual benefit is the entire basis of capitalism and any time you distort that you undermine someone's livelihood and essentially deny reality. In the case of CDs, downloading from Limewire or PirateBay is a violation because the copyright owners never agreed to that method of distribution. They agreed to let people play songs to their friends, or make backup copies, etc - that's all covered under 'fair use' and such. They may also have agreed to stream the album on MySpace. But they did not agree to distribute it on filesharing networks - and for anyone to do so not only violates their rights of control but undermines other financial enterprises they might pursue - for instance MySpace or Yahoo may have paid a lot of money to provide this free, streaming experience to their viewers, and in turn advertisers may have paid a lot of money to advertise on Yahoo or MySpace based on these popular services. I used to come up with creative excuses for filesharing too. 'Forcing the market to adjust to the digital reality' and stuff like that. There's many others, and they all have one thing in common - they're all just self-serving excuses - and not in a good way. It's the service of whim despite pretensions to the contrary. They fall apart upon any rigorous inspection. A recent development that's quite pathetic is the 'piracy is different from theft' idea, because you're creating a copy not taking the original. I mean, have you ever heard someone use the phrase 'PIRACY of state secrets?' 'PIRACY of trade secrets?' The argument about 1 good single for a 10 song album is clearly absurd. Have you ever heard of these things called reviews?
  2. Most of the songs Oasis made had an individualist, optimistic theme to them. I was thinking just the other day about the optimism of Oasis vs the cynicism of Blur - probably why Oasis were much more popular despite the bands being roughly equal in talent (well, POSSIBLY that's why, could be other factors) Even their pessimistic songs like Cigarettes and Alcohol 'Is it worth the aggrevation, to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth looking for?' 'You could wait for a life time, for your time in the sunshine, so you might as well do the white line...' but when they get to the chorus, they can't help themselves - 'You gotta make it HAPPEN, you gotta, you gotta make it happen...' but they have other songs like Maybe I just want to fly I want to live I don't want to die Maybe I just want to breath Maybe I just don't believe Maybe you're the same as me We see things they'll never see You and I are gonna live forever Maybe I will never be All the things that I want to be But now is not the time to cry Now's the time to find out why I think you're the same as me We see things they'll never see You and I are gonna live forever We're gonna live forever Gonna live forever Live forever Forever ---- hmm but i tend to not think about rock lyrics too much. heck, i even AVOID thinking about them
  3. Surely the respect for the law is synonymous with individual rights (or at least it should be from the Objectivist viewpoint). I agree it might be construed as saying 'it's ok to do that, just not here,' ie. construed as partly sanctioning the activity. But it's not really... it's like if you had a friend who insulted someone gravely, and you said 'if you don't apologize to that person, I can no longer be your friend.' Which is different from saying 'hey, if you're going to insult people, don't do it when I'm around.' Really complete dissociation with someone is ultimately the most disapproving measure you can take.
  4. Two people could find themselves in the deepest, densest jungle and act towards each other in a benevolent, 'civilized' manner, but they are not in civilization. They are not enjoying the advantages/purpose of civilization, namely the practical adaptation of natural resources. All countries have different practical considerations. For the United States, having totally secure borders is virtually impossible. But for a country like, say, Malta - they can easily protect their small coastline from unwarranted landings, and so could expel criminals from their island without worrying about criminals from other countries being shored up. Historically there have been uninhabited places, and in the future maybe there will be again - so it's interesting to put the practical considerations aside (practical from today's perspective) and wonder about the more theoretical aspects of the proposal. Besides, there are definitely islands that could be use from which the chances of self-engineered escape are negligible. Has no one seen Lost??! I think from an Objectivist perspective it appeals because firstly tax money is spent on maintaining prisons - but why should we provide sustenance for our enemies? Secondly it would somewhat absolve the responsibilities of punishing justly without over-punishing (it's always a gray area). Thirdly, most importantly, it prompts an rational analysis of the benefits of civilization and honourable behaviour, which is what a lot of Objectivist literature seeks to do anyway.
  5. John Galt offered the population the choice between 'getting out of his way' or doing without his inventions/services. Accepting the former being a moral step forward for the citizens. This is the population offering the same choice to its enemies. How you got from there to 1984 I've got no idea. I am quite happy to discontinue this conversation with you. From the outset I got the distinct impression you had not read my original post in full before responding, as you made an objection I myself raised nearer the end of the post. You also do not seem to have read the posts where I've been trying my best to address other objections.
  6. Prisons provide food, water, light, heat, clothing, electricity, playing fields, medicine etc. They are part of civilization. Compare this to being out in the wilderness with nothing except what you can fashion from the land.
  7. If you put people in prison you need to pay for their sustenance. If the prison system does not reform them you do not get any value in return (having rational people in your society to cooperate with is a value) If you put them out of reach, you do not need to worry about them, and they have only the life/ethics they chose to blame for their plight
  8. Yes. In the formal sense.
  9. Hmm I think it's disingenuous to call what I proposed the government 'educating' the citizens on morality. There is no program of education here - I'm talking about presenting a simple choice: serve the jail time, or take your chances outside civilization. If they all did the same exact thing, it might be better for everyone (ie. if most criminals did come round to the idea of respecting the law and crime rates dropped)
  10. Hmm but exile seems to suggest a temporary situation. Anyway, being that no other country would accept them, the only option would be a faraway island. The prisoners might escape with difficulty and try and re-enter the country of origin - but we already deal with that sort of problem. Alternatively they might escape to a nearby country, but arguably that is none of our concern.
  11. Of course it's not cost. The advantage is the criminal explicitly admits the value of civilization and willingly undergoes the penalty of breaking the law - making it their re-acceptance into society a much better prospect. At the moment criminals are offered no alternative to the civilization they find themselves in (and it's prison system) so it's not surprising they don't value it or take it for granted. Offering the option would prompt a more rational analysis and therefore ultimately a better morality.
  12. No I have not read that. So are you actually saying that if it could be practically implemented (put the criminals somewhere or someway that stops them coming back), you'd agree?
  13. In my wreckless musings the thought occurred to me that perhaps the most effective justice system (effective as in lowering crime rates, including reoffending) would be to offer criminals a choice: a) serve your jail time or leave our society/country Prison time is often thought of as being 'rehabilitative' anyway, but I think it's clear that many of the inmates will not subscribe to that, or they will not subscribe to that sincerely, or they will just flat out disagree with their incarceration. This leaves a problem for the rest of us, we who can abide by civilized laws - we are forced to deal with others who do not respect those laws. In contrast, if a criminal opts to serve jail time rather than face deportation, it would be a good indicator that they have come to respect and value the law, and are therefore a better prospect to the rest of society upon release. This was my thinking - and then I remembered that deportation/transportation was already practiced by powers like France and Britain. Would anyone be able to shed light on the history of this practice (the optionality is an important point), and any theory or philosophy elucidating its merits and flaws? I realize there are many questions implied by the original premise - isn't it dangerous to release some criminals (terrorists/gangsters), how could we stop them getting back in, where could we send them, etc. I also recall a few science fiction films with the premise of a penal colony/island run by barbaric factions and guarded by state military, which portrayed them as inhumane but of course the prisoners had no choice but to go there and fight for survival. Besides, I think they exaggerated.
  14. Hmm, interesting question. I think the answer is that the dying person represents someone at their most vulnerable, and if you harm them (ie. violate them somehow even if just by lying), you will suffer a legitimate lack of self-esteem because in future interactions with people you will know just how unworthy of trust/respect you are. If you found out someone else had done the same thing, you would naturally distrust them, so you will therefore naturally have a low opinion of yourself. I do not think this is irrational. However I think there might be some circular logic in there... or rather I suspect... but I'll leave you to find it if you can
  15. Basically power means the ability to violate the rights of others. The man who derives his self-esteem from exercising power (over others) is in fact 'selfless' in the purest sense. The 'value' of power does not originate from his own soul, but rather from the souls of others. If they didn't exist, he would have nothing. Hence the man who seeks power is the greatest second hander of them all. Keating does not desire power - he wants other values like wealth, respect, fame, a beautiful wife, without understanding or earning them. He can fools others into thinking he deserves those values, but he can't fool himself and consequently always suffers from low self-esteem. Put another way, the 2nd hand nature of all the values he supposedly possesses, makes it impossible for him to generate self-esteem on their basis. I don't really think it's a question of who is more evil - the salient point is Wynand's self-esteem is far more fragile than Toohey's. Wynand thinks power is all he needs, but he's catastrophically wrong. Toohey understands Wynand's catastrophe in advance. Toohey understands everything, and uses that knowledge to manipulate people around him. But really Toohey is ultimately the most cursed because Wynand collapses then gets back up and presumably starts to lead an enlightened life - Toohey on the other hand will never be content, because he's too good at manipulation, too entrenched in the game of altruism (if i remember correctly at the end of the novel he moves onto greener pastures and starts up his old tricks). Nobody can crush Toohey... he'll just slowly crush himself over a lifetime. As such I think we need to draw a line between 2nd-handedness and actual evil. It's is immoral to be a dictator even if 'benevolent' but it's EVIL to commit genocide, run a secret police force, etc etc The Fountainhead is not about 'evil' in terms of heinous deeds, it looks at the psychology of altruism and 2nd-handedness. Atlas Shrugged goes on to make that connection between the psychological root cause and the public atrocity.
  16. well his genre - pop - is incredibly popular and Michael Jackson was one of the best pop songwriters i think almost everyone i'd ask would admit to liking a few Michael Jackson hits (not necessarily the same ones), even if they've never investigated further i'm not saying Billie Jean or They Don't Really Care About us are much better than what a typical pop one-hit-wonder might produce, but the point is Jackson generated about 40 such hits, and most of them were written by himself. over a long period. as to why he was more popular than comparable talents like Stevie Wonder (superior talent actually), i'd say that's when you can bring up his stagecraft and his videos and his cult of personality and his promotion machine, but it's not worth worrying about, it's not a popularity contest. just recognize that he was a great pop songwriting talent most 'more talented musicians' could never come close to penning so many classic melodies
  17. I don't think your (self)analysis is accurate. Peter Keating's curse was that Roark helped him throughout his career which gave him success beyond his actual talent, thus saddling him with a load he was unable/unready to bear. This was the cause of his endless unhappiness and disatisfaction with life - NOT those other flaws of character. So, have you been cribbing off some genius to pass your exams, get your jobs and accolades? I didn't see that in your write-up. In other words: stop being so hard on yourself.
  18. Yes! I'm glad you realized the mistake. I cringed when I noticed it after I'd made the post. Well remember 'feelings' aka 'emotions' are always in response to a situation, you do not use them to prompt action. Quite simply, you just make sure your premises make logical sense. It doesn't matter if 10 people are pressuring you into doing something illogical/irrational, if you KNOW, if you've CONCLUDED that it doesn't make sense. You've only got your own reason to guide you - but you should listen to other peoples reasoning and evaluate it, and ask yourself if you are letting any subtle bias affect your decisions. If you're unsure, you need to think about it longer/harder, or perhaps refrain from making any commitment. Well achievements come in many forms - even just understanding the world better is an achievement. And sure, you need to consider the context - the end goal might prove impossible, but most likely in pursuing it you took many actions of self-improvement that you can be proud of. Like say you pursue a wonderful woman, so you go to the gym more, you work on your sense of humour, you improve your prospects, you learn how to hold better conversatoins... but in the end she turns you down. That would hurt, but all those things you did along the way, you can draw self-esteem from. Yeah, i didn;t word that part very clearly. Basically they want his attention and approval, yes. It's not just enough that he's helping them (which he does quite a lot actually) - they want him to acknowledge that it's his duty to help them and they deserve to be helped. But he doesn't do that. Well, firstly make sure you really are admiring them only physically, and not for other (good) reasons like the way they conduct themselves, their good nature, the joy they bring to the people around them, their sense of humour, their friendliness... Now, if they fail to possess any/many other truly admirable qualities, then you've just got to think rationally: how would a long term relationship work out? Wouldn't you just be setting yourself up for an uncomfortable situation later on, when you realize you don't really respect the person you've given part of your life to? Isn't that counter-productive AND emotionally damaging? Ayn Rand said the person you love is the embodiment of all your values - so the playboy who lives a frivolous existence will look for superficial women who reflect his lack of values. Once you establish what your values actually ARE, then you can consciously start looking for them in potential partners. Remember humans are the greatest things/beings on this Earth. Look around you at all the wonders of civilization and remember they were made by people. It's sad when you see them act misguidedly, but I tend to think about their achievements and the potential we all have for co-operating for mutual benefit. I tend to think of people as doing well in spite of themselves - ie. their creative faculty and their desire to live is thriving despite the corrupt altruistic ideologies they (vaguely) subscribe to. But I do not owe them anything.
  19. It was not that Roark didn't care what anybody thought... it's that he didn't care what they thought if they knew they were wrong. He had firm convictions and the ability to reason any situation through, and then the will to act accordingly, so he didn't experience any lingering, unpleasant self-doubt even though it seemed at times the whole world was against him. If you feel sure you are not acting on any contradictory premises, then self-consciousness and feelings of inferiority basically just evaporate. Especially when you can identify contradictions in the positions that others are taking. On the job: if you remember, Roark always fulfilled the terms of his employment, he just wasn't willing to sacrifice his artistic integrity for the sake of furthering his career (taking on more responsibilities). He did not operate with any contradictions - and eventually his artistic side had been insulted so much he just went back to brick-laying. You need to fulfill the terms of your employment, plain and simple, but make it clear to your boss what you're not willing to do (and it's up to them whether they continue to employ you or not... but if you lose your job because they cannot respect your values, then the loss will be balanced by a positive sense of 'good riddance.') So it's an immediate contradiction to fail at your job, but bear in mind that it's a long-term contradiction to let a job outlive its usefulness to you (eg. if you want to do bigger and better things but it wont happen at that company). Your self-esteem comes from your achievements. Deciding what an achievement is may involve comparison to others. The point is, you cannot generate self-esteem by comparisons alone - like collectivists who try to generate self-esteem based on the achievements of other individuals of the same group. That's taking credit without earning it (even if you're only trying to convince yourself). Friends are people who you have common values with. It may be you make each other laugh, or you've helped each other out, or you agree about political issues and enjoy talking to each other. The more values you share, the better the friendship. Family are a special case because you don't choose them, but are usually indebted to them for raising you. It's not an unlimited debt but for family you should give them more consideration or more 'benefit of the doubt' than you would normally afford people. For many people, their family are nevertheless their closest friends, because having lived with them for so long you've exchanged so much value. Well for people to 'want' your company is the highest compliment they can pay you, so naturally it makes you feel good. There's lots of things you can do that make you popular and well-liked that do not involve any compromise - like telling good stories or good jokes or giving good advice. Then there's things like charity or achievement which may generate fame/reputation - but that popularity is only good so long as your proud of the achievement/charity (ie. not doing something you object to, or helping someone you despise, just because it will gain you admiration from others). I think you can change work to 'creative activity' which basically means 'using your mind.' So it could involve bringing up children, or developing skills (like playing musical instruments), or gaining knowledge, or other things that someone is not going to 'pay' you for. Having said that, you career, ie. your employment, is a lifelong project, whereas even children eventually fly the nest leaving you with a lot of unoccupied time. So understandably a lot of objectivists think career should be the central focus. I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but Roark made people feel like they weren't there because he didn't cater to their need. He was only interested in what people could offer/exchange with them, he didn't view their shortcomings as a claim on his time. Characters like Keating were riddled with self-doubt and Roark was not going to sanction their contradictory ways... which made them think he was inconsiderate and unconscious of them, but in fact sanctioning peoples shortcomings only makes things worse for them in the long run. Reason was his paradigm, not emotion. You've got to remember 2 things a) Roark is like one of the 'cardinal vowels' - he is an extreme that you would probably never encounter in real life. He is a genius with a fully integrated sense of morality and you are unlikely to find anyone that perfect. Other people cannot BE Roark. Roark's solitude is not being portrayed as ideal, rather his solitude is the burden that a corrupt society has forced upon him. It's because the world is so twisted, that a great being like Roark could not establish himself in society. That's what Rand is showing. So yes, it is lonely (esp. for Roark as he's such an extreme), but loneliness is not being promoted here. As to the love/lust question - Physical attraction is when you find someone appealing to your senses, the way they look, the way the sound, the way the move or whatever, and is probably reinforced by your 'sense of life' (ie. your subconscoius integration of emotions and rational values) which could mean any number of things like they remind you of a relative or they look like they're 'unconquered' by life's trials. Love operates on actual value judgements. Physical attraction is just the first step - you then need to find out what you ADMIRE about this person's life/being. To love someone is to admire them more than any others. Lust doesn't involve rational value judgements. It implies you don't admire the person at all, except physically, which in the end is quite a sad thing if this is who you choose to sleep with ('give your highest value to')
  20. i don't understand why anyone persists in throwing about the child abuse allegations (because you have not read up on the matter is not a good excuse, because in that case you shouldn't comment on an issue like this) any objective look at the situation is pretty exonerating here is a good break-down of the facts http://floacist.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/g...-jackson-framed there is some speculation (a somewhat farfetched hypothesis about a hypnotic drug at one point) but if you just look at the facts, you'd be hard pressed to believe there was an ounce of truth to the allegations Jackson's life has been subject to constant media sensationalism - just the other day a british tabloid ran the headline 'It was murder' - in italics a lot of things are easily explained his skin was white - he had lupus and that other disease (begins with v) he had plastic surgery on his nose - he broke his nose in an accident on stage, when he had plastic surgery to fix it, the first job was botched. on top of that, his abusive father constantly teased him about his facial features he used drugs - he sustained a number of bad injuries and used painkillers to get over them those things do not explain away his volition/rationality, but they make the man much easier to understand what was that thing Rand wrote about the talented being the most vulnerable and the quickest to perish in a collectivist world? you could compare him to the alcoholic sculptor in The Fountainhead whatever else you think of him, Jackson had enormous productive ability and was a great philanthropist. we should respect that at least but also, given the mistreatment afforded to him by the public, his family, the media, the state, his beneficiaries - he's possibly history's no.1 argument against altruism
  21. He contributed an awful lot to the world, and hardly got any peace. It's a shame
  22. A few months ago I read this article on a mathematical formula used by financiers to assess the risk of investments. The authors argued this formula was so widely used, so prevalent, that its flaws/limitations were the cause of the economic bubble. 'The Formula that Killed Wall Street' http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant (summary: the formula looks at insurance quotes, rather than 'real' data, to gauge the value of disparate elements in diverse collectivized debt obligations, producing a correlation figure for risk that anyone (ie. CEOs) can understand and act upon, even if the finer details are far beyond their level of understanding and should be left to experts) This differs from the reasoning I've encountered on this forum - ie. government meddling with interest rates and homeownership. I am far from knowledgeable on any of these subjects, but I wondered if anyone would care to comment on the above article.
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