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Everything posted by necrovore

  1. "I can't argue that Newton's Laws are not true because they are just generalizations that Newton made up..." (My point being that what you are saying could be applied to any argument whatever and therefore is a rejection of reasoning as such)
  2. I didn't say "just." Why "nevermind"? A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom (capitalism) and controls (e.g., socialism or fascism), so this does not rule out what I said. If two countries agree that each one will defend the other if attacked, then there is no need for money to change hands, even if the attack actually occurs. It might cost money to honor the agreement, but that money would not need to flow from either country to the other. Maybe after World War II, Europe was too weak to defend itself, and it might have made sense for the US to help it then, but the flow of money continued long after it should have ended, and then it took on a life of its own. What they don't need is free money or loot. They think they can have both, but they are neglecting the former in their pursuit of the latter. On what basis? You're accusing me of saying a lot of things that I didn't even say. Also, whether something is a "narrative" or not is beside the point: what matters is whether or not it's true. I don't think you can argue that it isn't true. Maybe you could argue that it isn't important, or that it leaves important things out, but I think it's important.
  3. I suppose I'm concerned that NATO wouldn't want the war to be settled, because the political class has more money and power when the weapons are flowing than when they are not... and, like bank robbers, they are not good at thinking long-term, or assessing unexpected consequences.
  4. I would argue with this: Although NATO did have the stated purpose of defending Europe from the Soviet Union, it had another purpose. The US paid almost the entire cost of NATO. This meant that the European countries did not have to spend very much money on their own defense at all. This meant that they were free to spend the money on social programs instead. Therefore, NATO had the effect of subsidizing European socialism with US tax dollars. This allowed the Democrats to point to Europe as an example of "successful" socialism, so that they could advocate for it in the United States (even though it costs too much in the US because there is no one to subsidize the US's defense). It also gave socialists in Europe more power than they would have otherwise had. This is the main reason why NATO had to continue to exist even after the fall of the Soviet Union, and why Russia was not allowed to join. Countries such as Germany have welcomed the opportunity to donate their old weapons systems to the cause in Ukraine and get free modern replacement systems from the US through NATO. The Nordic countries didn't have to join NATO at first, because they were able to finance their socialism by selling fossil fuels, but now that those fuels are politically unpopular (because of environmentalism) they are eager to sign up for the free NATO loot. Donald Trump earned enmity from the political class by insisting that several of these beneficiary countries bear more of the cost of their own defenses. Of course that would have helped to reveal the true price of socialism, and it would have disempowered the political class. There is also the likelihood that Biden has personally been getting aid money from the US, intended for Ukraine, diverted to himself or to his favorite political causes. Hunter Biden served on the board of a gas company there and made a lot of money even though the only possible use he would have been to them is political. Trump got in trouble for merely asking for this to be investigated. Biden on the other hand actually got a Ukranian official fired for investigating it, and bragged about that firing later. These facts tend to undercut Journo's argument even if his argument's moral judgment of Putin is completely correct. It's bad guys versus bad guys.
  5. The red flags are more than just "mistakes." I was addressing the idea that "there is no possible reason the FBI would have raided Mar-a-Lago, especially knowing it would have rallied Trump's supporters, unless they knew they were going to find something incriminating Trump," because there are other reasons they could have raided. If anyone did cheat at the election, they would want to make the former look like the latter.
  6. Harry Binswanger's article is wrong in a few ways. There were a lot of red flags around the 2020 election, which I've already discussed on this site. There is no proof that the election was honest or fraudulent... but it looks fishy, and nothing has come up to make it look any more honest. So Trump's objections (and those of his supporters) did not proceed merely from his feelings. It seems like Binswanger is trying to use the the feelings themselves to draw attention away from the evidence that justifies those feelings. Two reasons why the FBI may have proceeded with the raid at Mar-a-Lago, even if they knew it would cause Trump's sympathizers to rally around him, would be: (1) Trump had exculpatory evidence about himself and the FBI wanted to deprive him of it, and (2) Trump had evidence of FBI misconduct, and the FBI wanted to deprive him of it. This is why it's good that Trump's request for a special master was granted, although I don't think the special master is looking specifically for that kind of information. It is possible that some of that sort of information is also protected by executive privilege or somesuch, but I don't know if that's the case (or even if such evidence exists). In some ways these are details rather than big-picture items, but I have read many stories of police seizing exculpatory evidence and then telling courts it doesn't exist, leaving defendants to be convicted of crimes they didn't commit. On rare occasions the police are caught doing this, which is why there are stories to read, but there are doubtless many cases where they are not caught. I also read an article about the seizure of Mike Lindell's phone and the seizure by the FBI of the phones of other people who worked in the Trump campaign. Apparently there are laws against "tampering with election equipment" and something about hacking into "protected computers," and it is the view of the FBI that it is "tampering" for election officials to inspect voting machines after an election to see if the equipment had been altered (or designed) to report inaccurate results. In other words, it's a crime to look for evidence of election fraud, and if people talk about it, it's "conspiracy." This could implicate many states that tried to audit their elections after 2020. It gives me the impression that the new charges are a cover-up. I am not a Republican either, I am fiercely independent, and the main reason I don't support Republicans fully is because of the Republicans' over-attachment to religion. If the Left wants a Communist dictatorship, the Right seems to want a Christian dictatorship. They keep promulgating this notion that Christianity is the only answer to "Godless Communists." If the Right keeps pushing abortion to the forefront and letting it take all the attention away from individual rights and freedoms (which religion doesn't really support anyway), then I might just give up on them... but I oppose dictatorship regardless of which party runs it, and so I won't support one dictatorship to oppose the other.
  7. Corporations kowtow because they pretty much owe their existence to the favor of the government. What we need is a separation of state and economics and recognition of the individual right to production and trade.
  8. Yes, but that doesn't make it an initiation of force. An initiation of force has to be a deliberate choice, but lots of other things are also deliberate choices, and that doesn't make them initiations of force.
  9. So for example if the risk of killing someone is 7%, that's okay, but if it rises to 8% then it counts as initiating force? That doesn't make sense. It doesn't matter what the actual percentages are, either. An increase of risk cannot "rise" to the level of physical force. The distinction is not a matter of how much risk it is, but of whether it's a matter of deliberate choice or not. The initiation of force can only be done by deliberate choice. Failure to get vaccinated is not an initiation of force. Forcing someone to get vaccinated, is.
  10. The word "can" denotes a potential. Actually the word "danger" has to do with a potential. There is such a thing as recklessly endangering others, but in order to be reckless you have to do something. It is not enough that you exist and could conceivably contract a contagious virus which others could then catch. The risk if someone leaves a gun lying around is man-made. The risk of a virus is metaphysically given.
  11. You can't "retaliate" against a potentiality, only an actuality. This is why retaliation allows you to lock up a murderer, but not to lock up a "potential murderer." As long as free will exists, everybody is a "potential murderer." No virus is necessary for someone to potentially commit murder, and there is no vaccine to prevent the possibility, either. To use force against the "potentially guilty" is to use force against the actually innocent.
  12. I partially disagree with this. Consciousness has requirements, and if you remove the requirements, the consciousness no longer exists. However, nature does not require consciousness. It does not need anyone to be aware of it. It exists regardless of consciousness. So removing the requirements of consciousness does not destroy nature (or even affect it). For example, nuclear fusion existed (e.g., in the sun) before it was discovered. It existed even though no one was aware of it. If civilization falls and people again become unaware of it, it will still exist. The same thing is true of distant galaxies, neutrinos, and other discoveries.
  13. Or maybe conscious intelligence is part of (but not all of) nature, the way a banana peel is part of (but not all of) a banana...
  14. I've had very little experience with meditation, but what experience I do have makes me think as follows: There is an aspect of consciousness called focus. You can choose what to focus on. You can focus on things around you now, or you can focus on your own body, or memories, or ideas, or hypothetical situations, etc. Peikoff writes about the fact that focus is a choice, and you can choose to drop out of focus entirely, and he compares being out of focus to being drunk. But if you choose to be in focus, you have a choice of what to be in focus on (and you can also focus on that choice, itself). It seems to me that focus is directly linked to consciousness, to the point that, if and to the extent that you drop out of focus, you are not really conscious at that time. And on the other hand, if you are conscious, you have to focus on something. Meditation encourages you to limit your focus, but without giving up control over it. So I don't think it is like being drunk or asleep. It encourages you to remove one thing after another from your mind, and maybe the point is to see what's left after you take away all the objects of focus, or maybe the point is to learn how to control what you focus on. Being able to control what you are in focus on could be a valuable skill. When I try to be creative I often find myself distracted by the slightest things, but later when I get into it, the house could catch fire and I'd be working too intently to notice. On the other hand I have never fully been able to banish all objects of focus from my mind. Instead I flail about trying to find other things to focus on. I'm terrible at meditating. Napoleon said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that his mind was like a chest of drawers, that each open drawer was something he was thinking about, and that if he closed all the drawers, he fell asleep. (As for the "consciousness conscious only of itself," if I recall, that was Aristotle's definition of the Prime Mover which supposedly caused all the world's motion, and Christian philosophers later would say that was God. So I think the intent in Galt's speech was to refute that point, but he couldn't go into depth about it there.)
  15. This thread has been like that long fist fight in John Carpenter's They Live. -- "Put on the damn sunglasses!" -- "No!" Decades of dealing with religious people has taught me that some people get the facts correct but then draw incorrect and sometimes "rigged" conclusions from those facts. The correct solution to this is to throw out their "rigged" conclusions and draw one's own conclusions. It is not correct to say that, since their conclusions are wrong, the facts that led to them must also be wrong. That's not how reasoning works. You can't just say "well X is religious so his facts must be wrong; he is just making them up to support his religion." Often, such people are willing to accept the importance of having evidence, which is a point in their favor if you ask me. They will present correct evidence. But then they are using (some) bad abstractions to weigh that evidence, and they don't understand that it is necessary (and possible) to verify whether the abstractions are based on reality. They take their abstractions as givens. Lower than the people "drawing the wrong conclusions" are people like the "mainstream media," who frequently roll out conclusions -- and repeat them over and over -- but they never show any facts at all that allegedly lead to those conclusions. If you ask for such facts you get an argument from intimidation, like, "you couldn't possibly be one of those people who disbelieves us, could you?" For example, I don't know how many times I've heard the phrase "Trump's false claims about the election." That phrase is an evaluation, but they repeat it over and over, word for word. They repeat "ready-made" evaluations like that for a lot of subjects. Where is the evidence for their evaluations? Well, if you don't already know the evidence, you must be one of those people. They smear Ayn Rand in the same way. They echo a lot of ready-made conclusions about her, but they rarely have the quotes from her to back them up (and when they do they are quoting her out of context, which is enough to fool the kind of people who already wouldn't be caught dead reading one of her books because their minds are already made up.) They do the same thing with Trump's speeches. An unsupported "ready-made" evaluation is arbitrary in and of itself, and forces most thinking people to seek out alternative sources of information. It is possible that some of these alternative sources are lying, but if that were the case, it would be easy to show it, with more facts and context. However, the people presenting this information know this; they understand the importance of getting their facts right, even if their abstractions are wrong. The mainstream media is more like "trust us," which is suspicious. So put on the damn sunglasses. p.s. Mostly I stay out of this Russia stuff because I don't trust either side. I've already discussed the US side, which acts like the "mainstream media" above. However, the Russians, being at war, can lie boldly about facts, and then shoot anybody who threatens to expose the truth. That option is not available to the religious people in the US.
  16. Man is the "rational animal." An animal lives or dies on its own; it is not connected to other animals. So it is with Man. We don't extend the concept of "animal" into "unborn animals" and even a chicken's unhatched egg is not an "animal" yet. It's fine to have compassion and all, but emotions are not tools of cognition. If you choose to bring a child into the world, you have a responsibility to raise him (or her) to the point where he can fend for himself, and these days that includes a requirement for a good education, but you don't have a responsibility (e.g., toward all the millions of needy children all over the world) if you don't have a choice. Abortion makes a choice possible where it otherwise might not have been, and in that sense it is a good thing. Of course, whenever you make a choice possible, you make a wrong choice possible, but in a free country other people's wrong choices are not my problem, and even if they are a problem for "God" or for "society," I disagree with the notion of taking those choices away. That path leads to taking away all choices. -- p.s. if you think it's wrong to murder your children by having abortions, why is it okay to murder them by not having sex? ... ok, that was a joke... I guess it's interesting that in the religious mindset, giving birth is not important, having sex ("conception") is the important thing, and any time you have sex and it does not end in a childbirth, it's a sin, and, in their minds, a crime tantamount to murder... p.p.s. Using taxes to pay for someone else's abortion is a bad thing because it takes away their choice of what to do with their money.
  17. My "conspiracy theory" is that people wrote books hundreds or in some cases thousands of years ago, and then died of old age, but many people today are still following those books, and their actions come out to be coordinated even if they do not communicate with each other at all, because they are following the same books. That may not be true for much longer. The environmentalists are now banning nitrogen fertilizer in places. If this becomes widespread, billions of people will starve, and I think the environmentalists would welcome that as "less of a load on the Earth." (Of course Peikoff quoted one of them as saying "we can only hope that the right virus comes along," and along comes COVID-19...) The selfishness of self-defense is a virtue. (I use "selfishness" here in the Ayn Rand sense, which could be described with redundancy as "selfishness without victims.") There is something in Atlas Shrugged (probably from Ragnar Danneskjold) about the killed attacker achieving the only destruction he has any right to achieve -- his own. And I suppose it's okay to regard it as a sad thing if someone commits suicide, perhaps more so if they do it at your hands, as it were... Technically the Left is correct that they are "more Christian than the Christians," in the sense that they are more consistent about self-sacrifice than the Republicans. The Republicans support both freedom and Christianity, even though consistency would make it an either-or choice. A lot of Republicans are too anti-conceptual to see the contradictions, and they don't want to see them. (They sometimes argue that such inconsistencies prove that reason is inadequate by itself and that religion is necessary, but this argument is circular, because it is religion that creates the inconsistencies in the first place.) In the past I have interacted with atheist groups, but was disappointed that they wanted to be "Good without God" which suggests that if you take God out of the Bible you can get something good. Thomas Jefferson also tried that, writing his own Bible with the miracles edited out, or so I've read. But if you secularize Christianity and make it more consistent, you get Communism, as Ayn Rand observed. Thomas Paine ended up a Communist, if I remember correctly... (I don't recall the chronology around this.) Ayn Rand was right to call selfishness (as she defined it) a virtue. American intellectuals have been unwilling to embrace what she said (or even read it I think), but what is left of the originally American sense of life seems to understand it perfectly (without reading Rand or knowing that she provides a logical basis for it). It is this sense of life that the Left seeks to destroy, and they are trying to use Christianity as a tool with which to do it. I hope this is not successful; I would hope it undermines support for Christianity instead, but far too many people would rather give up consistency.
  18. Seems like the Left is running with "we're more Christian than the Christians" by claiming that self-defense is wrong because it's selfish. Apparently Jesus would have turned the other cheek. The DA in New York finally did drop charges against the bodega worker who defended himself (or so I read today), but probably due to public outcry.
  19. Yes, my mistake, I should have said some actions that altruists hold as "selfish."
  20. I think Ayn Rand's point was that, first, whether something is in your self-interest or not is a question of fact, not of one's desires, whims, or feelings, and second, that sacrificing others to oneself is never in one's self-interest -- not if one wants the life appropriate to a rational being. Therefore, there is no package deal to be teased apart here. Actions that altruists hold as "selfish" are actually self-sacrificial, while actions that are actually "selfish" don't hurt anybody else.
  21. Robert Frost used to say that writing poetry without rhyme and meter was like playing tennis without the net. However, I think a poem can succeed well without rhyme and meter -- if, on other measures, it excels enough to make up for it. I used to love poetry when I was in high school -- reading it and writing it -- and I liked some poems that had rhyme and meter, and some poems that did not have it. But I drifted away from it because I didn't really know where to find new poetry. There were only the textbooks, and you could find books by those authors in the library, but nothing else. I didn't know about Poetry magazine so thanks for that. Maybe I can rediscover poetry... Do they allow rhymed and metered poetry, or do they dismiss it without further consideration? ... I think it should be allowed, but I suppose there's also a possible dispute about whether a poem that has to bend grammar rules, and give up on the ideal choice of words, in order to achieve rhyme and meter, is still a good poem. I mean, should it get "points" for achieving rhyme and meter, or is there a judgment that the cost to meaning isn't "worth it"?
  22. I'm guessing that it sorts threads by date of last activity, descending, and then shows the first post in each thread.
  23. If a woman has a right to her own body, then an abortion can be self-defense, regardless of whether the embryo is a "human being" or not. The debate has never really been about whether the embryo is a human being or not. That is a sideshow. The religionists don't actually seem to believe that every miscarriage should be investigated as a possible manslaughter (which would be logically required if an embryo is considered a human being). They don't believe in celebrating every successful conception as if it were a birth, they don't believe in issuing "conception certificates" instead of birth certificates, they don't believe in signing up the unborn for Social Security numbers and such... or even giving every miscarriage a proper funeral and burial! Who owns your body is the real issue. Always has been. As far as religionists are concerned, your body belongs to God, and Congress shall have power to enforce this through appropriate legislation. This is also why religionists support things like drug prohibition (and many would even still support alcohol prohibition), and they want to ban tattoos and body piercing and such, because "your body is God's temple." This is also why they don't believe in investigating miscarriages as possible manslaughter -- because if a miscarriage occurs, it's "God's will." Whereas the Democrats believe your body should belong to the state. They only support abortion as a "women's right," i.e., a collective right -- if they can figure out what a woman is...
  24. I found out later that what I was getting at is called the Cantillon effect and has been known since the 18th century. (I had read descriptions of it before but I didn't know or didn't remember what it was called.) I have not seen anyone saying what I said, which was that the Cantillon effect can affect the culture, too. Actually it can get deeper than publishers by affecting universities...
  25. Maybe because this is a case of bad guys vs. bad guys, like two groups of gangsters in a gang war. Sure, one of them had to start it, and that one (Russia) was wrong for starting it, but that doesn't make the other group of gangsters "good guys." p.s. I do not know if my position here matches that of anybody else in this thread. I just saw that one statement and wanted to respond to it.
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