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  1. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from tadmjones in Regarding the Punishment of Opinions   
    Over the past decade or so it has become much more acceptable to "punish" people because of their opinions -- because they expressed them, or just because they have them.
    It has been pointed out that there is a big difference between the government carrying out this "punishment," such as by throwing people in prison, and private individuals (or groups) carrying it out, such as by denying service at a bar or a bank. In the latter case, property owners are merely exercising their right to their own property, and their right to choose who they associate with, and if somebody were to force them to serve people they don't want to, even if this force is only forcing them to do what is in their actual best interest anyway, then, as Leonard Peikoff puts it, the act of forcing it on them makes it wrong.
    However, in some cases the motivation behind using your own personal property to do something, and using the government to do it, can be the same, and in the case of "punishing" opinions, the motivation is wrong in both cases, even though initiating force is the only thing that should properly be illegal.
    It is proper to address the motivation and expose its incorrectness even if it is not (yet) infringing anyone's rights. By doing so, it may be possible to talk people out of acting on it.
    One can say that, for example, nihilism ought to be legal if you don't infringe anyone's rights, but one can also say that it is still wrong.
    My point is: the motivation for punishing people's opinions contradicts the motivation for having free speech, which means, a person can't consistently support both. When you see more and more people "punishing" opinions, and supporting the punishment of opinions, you can know that the days are numbered for free speech, even if the government itself has not yet begun to act against it.
    The motivation for free speech is confidence in reason (and reality). We can afford to allow people to state falsehoods because we have confidence that reason will expose the falsehoods as such. Free speech also ensures that it's possible for people to speak the truth even when it's controversial, so that the truth can also be exposed.
    This confidence is what allows a store owner to let people he disagrees with walk into his store and buy stuff. He knows that their opinion, even if wrong, is not a threat to him; he knows that reality and reason will prevail in time; he can count on the police to be on his side if they initiate force, so he can just smile and sell them their goods.
    When people have abandoned reason, when they believe they are the exclusive owners of truths that cannot be reached by means of reason (or "reason alone"), when they decide that "unbridled" reason is a threat to their point of view, when they find that reason (and ultimately reality itself) can be "misleading," they do not feel that confidence, and they seek to suppress contrary opinions.
    If they cannot do it through the government, then they can do it through their own private property, but if they don't see the problem doing it with their own property, they will not see the problem with using the government to do it.
    So, in that sense, saying "it isn't really censorship if they're using their own private property" is true, but it's not addressing the root of the problem.
    The real problem is that people have abandoned reason -- and without reason, the distinction between merely using their own property and using government force to go beyond it will be abandoned, too. It's only a matter of time. (Actually it has already been abandoned. The separation between usage of private property [i.e., economics] and government powers [i.e., state] has never been formally recognized and has been on the way out for decades; however, it cannot be upheld unless reason itself is upheld.)
    The notion that "free speech is dangerous," that "free speech corrupts people" and so forth, is coming from both political parties. Because of its widespread popularity, even if you do not see it affecting government policy now, it is going to affect government policy sooner or later, unless it can be exposed as the mistake that it is.
    Exposing the mistake -- and defending free speech as such -- requires a defense of reason.
  2. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in 2020 election   
    They may be able to get the evidence elsewhere.
    Or they may already have it. Or they may have at least seen it so they know what I'm talking about.
    I didn't reach my conclusions by having privileged access to information that no one else could have seen. I reached them by means of information that was available to many people at the time. Other people will have seen the same information.
  3. Thanks
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in 2020 election   
    That's a non-sequitur. I may have seen a judge's ruling but be unable to find it.
    You are free, if you wish, to disagree with me on the basis that I can't find proof, but you are not free to demand that I withdraw my argument merely because I'm unable to prove it to your satisfaction. Someone considering my argument might have better abilities to find the rulings than I have.
    Nor does my inability to find some piece of evidence or other "prove" that I am irrational or even that my argument is. By such a standard, every rational person would be required to maintain a properly indexed library of everything they have ever seen or heard, so that they can provide proof of all their beliefs on demand. That's absurd.
  4. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in 2020 election   
    I have tried to do some basic searches on the Internet and I believe the results are heavily filtered. The thing is, I can't find any information whatever that the "mainstream" media believes to be false, unless the mainstream media is quoting it for the purpose of rebutting it. The only things I can find are things they would deem true.
    It's far too perfect.
    In a free country, or on a free Internet, I would expect to find conflicting points of view, just like I would expect to find books in a bookstore which contradict each other, like Rand and Kant. I used to be able to find such things on the Internet, too. Different groups might argue with each other, but each group would have a place where it could speak for itself, and you could use your own judgment to decide which group was correct (if any was).
    What I'm seeing now is more like when you go into a Christian bookstore and there are no books at all that are critical of Christianity or have anything bad to say about it. They may have disagreements about other issues, but every book says Christianity is great. You wouldn't find atheist authors like Rand in there at all. Somebody who only had access to such bookstores would also have a hard time finding "evidence" that there is anything "wrong" with Christianity. (They might find contradictions, however, either between different pieces of Christian literature, or between the literature and the real world. But they'd have to talk about them in hushed tones, and only with people they could trust.)
    The same thing happens if you go into a bookstore in a Communist country. There are no books that have anything bad to say about Communism or about the regime.
    Maybe that's why I can't find any evidence.
    Paradoxically I'd be more inclined to believe "Trump's claims" were false if I could find them in their original form and find other articles about them that explain why they are false. Instead, all I find is the latter.
    Like I said, it's far too perfect.
  5. Like
    necrovore reacted to Jon Letendre in Reblogged:Ayn Rand on Disney's Bootleg Capitalism   
    The problem is that it is not just a legal entity. Rather, it is a government entity, empowered with government functions and powers, and controlled by a single corporation. That corporation obtained that special privilege in the '60s by corrupting the Florida legislature.
    Let's be clear—Disney is not some free market hero who fought government and improved property rights for all. Rather, they bribed and corrupted a state legislature to gain exemptions from law, special privileges and their own local government, for themselves. That is not capitalism, it is crony-statism.
  6. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in 2020 election   
    There are ample grounds for saying the 2020 election was stolen, but the Democrats keep trying to sweep the evidence under the rug by saying it's "illegitimate" to consider it, and by conducting ad hominem and other attacks against people who do consider it.
    The Democrats frequently object to anti-fraud measures because they equivocate between intimidating people from carrying out legitimate activities and intimidating them from carrying out illegitimate activities. Putting police in a store to prevent shoplifting is "intimidating," but if it's done properly it should only intimidate actual shoplifters, not ordinary customers. Take the police away, though, and shoplifting becomes rampant, as exemplified by Democrat-controlled cities.
    The same thing happens with election fraud. The Democrats oppose any measure that would make such fraud more difficult, such as requiring voters to show ID. That is not intimidation except to people trying to get away with fraud.
    Another example of equivocation is where in Arizona a law against tampering with voting machines was used by Democrats to prevent the inspection of a voting machine after the election to see if it had been tampered with. So instead of preventing fraud, the law was used to abet it.
    Another example is that the reason the Constitution requires election results to be approved by Congress and the Vice President is precisely so that if there are any suspicions of fraud, there is another chance to deal with that fraud. These approvals are not supposed to be mere rubber stamps. Having these procedures (and the courts) be rubber stamps only ensures that people who do commit fraud can be sure of getting away with it.
    Of course, Democrats think they have the right to commit election fraud; every now and then there's another university professor saying so. It's fairly common for Leftist professors to say that sort of thing. Why not take them at their word, at least insofar as believing they believe it?
    Most of the court cases brought by Trump failed because of judges refusing to look at the evidence on the grounds that it would be "catastrophic" for them to overturn an election -- on any basis. Such a point of view also only serves to ensure that people who commit fraud can be sure of getting away with it. (It would not have been necessary to simply declare Trump the winner; there is plenty of time between early November and January 20 in which to run and tally another election. This would put any fraudsters in the position of having to repeat their crimes while being under greater scrutiny than last time.)
    The "insurrection" on January 6 was basically a Reichstag Fire. My evidence is that (1) the Democrats were the only ones who could have benefited from it, (2) there was never any chance that it could benefit anyone else, and (3) the question of who would benefit would have been evident to the people planning the event before it occurred.
    The original Reichstag Fire was staged by Nazis; the Nazis blamed it on their opposition and used it to consolidate their power. The Democrats have done the same thing with theirs.
    A few gullible Trump supporters were apparently among the participants in January 6th, but although much attention has been drawn to these participants, there has never been any clarity concerning who organized and directed the whole thing, and I think this has been for a reason. I think it's clear that Trump did not organize it. Trump had good reasons for believing he had been cheated out of the election, he didn't know how to prove it, and even if he could get proof, there wasn't a court he could take it to. Still, it wouldn't make sense for him to have asked small groups such as the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys to overthrow the government for him. They are too small; there are not enough of them. (And most of the people who went into the Capitol on January 6th were not members of these groups, and were unarmed and were let in by police, who by the way were under the command, not of the President, but of Nancy Pelosi, since she was Speaker of the House.) Nor did his speech on January 6th constitute a call to the general public to overthrow the government. He just asked people to exercise their First Amendment rights.
    The Democrats have already won the contest, and we do have a nascent dictatorship. That is the problem.
  7. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in 2020 election   
    I saw a post by Dr. Michael Hurd on his web page which summarizes the issues with the 2020 election.
    The post itself is here: https://drhurd.com/2023/04/26/john-roberts-temporary-lapse-of-understanding-the-constitution/
    I'll duplicate the whole thing; it's worth reading.
  8. Thanks
    necrovore got a reaction from tadmjones in 2020 election   
    I saw a post by Dr. Michael Hurd on his web page which summarizes the issues with the 2020 election.
    The post itself is here: https://drhurd.com/2023/04/26/john-roberts-temporary-lapse-of-understanding-the-constitution/
    I'll duplicate the whole thing; it's worth reading.
  9. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Boydstun in Reblogged:DeSantis's Crime-Family 'Values'   
    Such people do exist, and the Republican party does pander to them. I grew up with such people.
    Don't make the mistake of thinking that religious fundamentalism isn't real or that it's a fringe thing. It's real.
    Both political parties have "fundamentalists," and each party's fundamentalists say that freedom leads to the other political party's fundamentalism, and therefore should be blocked. Fundamentalists can't understand why a government should allow someone to make a "wrong" choice; they understand only dictatorship, and the way they see it, it's either their dictatorship, or someone else's, and they'd rather it be theirs.
    Both kinds of fundamentalists want to ban "sins," whether they be abortions or gas stoves.
    Even Ayn Rand observed that the two political parties only grant freedom in areas they don't care about. But when they realize that everything is interconnected, they reject freedom.
    That's like saying that the purpose of ARI's essay contest for The Fountainhead is to facilitate the exposure of high school students to the "rape scene."
    There's a lot more in The Fountainhead than that, but for religious people, if they see one thing they object to, nothing else in the work exists. (And, yes, there are plenty of religious people who don't want their kids exposed to The Fountainhead, even if those kids are 16 or 17... or 18...)
  10. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from tadmjones in Is it moral?   
    I say it isn't moral. I wouldn't want to be the type of person who would do such a thing, or to owe my money to having done such a thing.
  11. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Boydstun in Is it moral?   
    I say it isn't moral. I wouldn't want to be the type of person who would do such a thing, or to owe my money to having done such a thing.
  12. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    They did, with all that phony Russian collusion hoax stuff...
    I can think of a few reasons:
    (1) They objectively have a highly contagious disease which could make our own people severely sick or dead.
    (2) They are murderers escaped from prison and we think they actually got a fair trial and are guilty.
    (3) They are being brought here against their will to be used as slaves or human sacrifices or the like.
    (4) They openly proclaim that they want to come here to rob banks or kill people or do other illegal things.
    If I missed anything, it would have to be just as serious. Maybe some of these things might not count as "immigration" in much the same way that extortion isn't "economic activity."
  13. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    When people are treated unequally under the law, e.g., because of their political views, that threatens the rule of law.
    When laws are "open to interpretation," or when they are prosecuted selectively, that threatens the rule of law.
  14. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from tadmjones in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    I agree. I'll go further and say that even a legitimate grievance doesn't per se make violence the right thing to do.
    A legitimate legal system does not regard itself as infallible, and therefore has built-in protections so that its mistakes can be corrected without having to discard the legal system as such. When these legal mechanisms are available, they should be used.
    However, when a legal system comes to regard itself as infallible and discards those protections (or renders them useless), when it becomes unaccountable, then it is a dictatorship, and there is no way to get rid of a dictatorship while complying with the dictatorship's own laws. That is when force becomes necessary.
    Even then, one has to look at what is proposed to come after it. Changing from one dictatorship to another is not helpful.
  15. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from utabintarbo in Is being anti mandate an accurate description of Objectivists?   
    The purpose of government is (supposed to be) to protect individual rights. The only way to violate individual rights is by initiation or threat of force. Therefore, the government maintains a monopoly on force to ensure that it is only used in retaliation and only against those who initiate or threaten its use.
    As such, the only "mandates" from a proper government are negative obligations, e.g., don't murder people, don't defraud people, don't steal from people, don't extort stuff from people, etc.
    The government can enforce these without ever initiating force.
    Individual rights are not (supposed to be) subject to vote. Unlimited democracies usually end up tyrannical, as mob rule.
    As for vaccine mandates, the issue here is whether one has a right to one's own body. I would say so, and therefore I oppose vaccine mandates on the same grounds that I oppose the forced pregnancy and childbirth that result from abortion bans.
    A vaccine mandate is not the same thing as a vaccine itself, and it's possible to recommend a vaccine without supporting a mandate. I mean, I think everybody should read Atlas Shrugged to "inoculate" themselves against socialism and communism, but I absolutely don't believe that the reading of Atlas Shrugged should be mandated by law.
  16. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Boydstun in Freedom Versus 'Freedom'   
    I still think one of the best ways to make a cultural impact is to produce literature or other dramatic works. Then you can appeal to the American sense of life while also providing the intellectual basis for that feeling. This is what Ayn Rand herself was doing when she wrote Atlas Shrugged -- but there is plenty of room for other works, in a variety of genres and styles, and with a variety of subjects and themes.
  17. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    I have a hunch that this will turn out to be a false-flag operation done by Antifa people, sort of like the attempted kidnapping of that governor a while back. The press went on and on about that, remember? Until when the perpetrators were discovered to be associated with Antifa, at which point the press suddenly fell silent...
    This move was probably designed to intimidate Republicans out of objecting to the electoral votes of states where fraud turned the election. The Democrats are already giving the "shame on you Republicans" speeches, as if the invasion of the Capitol was caused by Republican objections. "See what kind of behavior your objections are encouraging?" they seem to be saying.
    Trump never asked for anyone to do anything like this. There is nothing to protest yet -- the process hasn't even played out yet and, without interference, could conceivably have come out Trump's way. There is no reason for Trump to have interfered with it, or to have encouraged anyone else to -- and there is every reason for the Democrats to have done so.
    And yet, we hear again that "Trump's rhetoric" is to blame. But Trump isn't the one who has been saying "Burn it all down"...
    Funny how calling out fraud and trying to investigate it allegedly destroys democracy and undermines the system -- but committing the fraud in the first place is apparently OK. Obviously the honorable thing for the Republicans to do is to drop all their objections and allow the Democrats to get away with it (sarcasm).
  18. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from tadmjones in Shameful Display of Anarchy and Violence   
    "You have the right to speak, and to pay the price" does away with the entire concept of rights. By that standard, you'd have all your rights in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, too, since you also have the right to speak there, and to "pay the price." You would also have a "right" to commit murder and to "pay the price" for it.
    The talk now is that they're going to require companies to fire any people who have anti-Leftist views. They will say that this is not infringing your rights, since even under Capitalism you do not have a "right" to a job, and the requirement to fire people applies to the companies and not to you. Then again, maybe it won't be a formal requirement; maybe it will simply be explained to the companies that, if they cooperate, they will have an easier time with the IRS and with regulators. Do you still have freedom of speech in such a case?
    The same thing applies when they make it illegal (or very unpleasant) for banks and other businesses to do business with anti-Leftists -- and they are already doing that to some extent. Even under Capitalism you don't have a "right" to a bank account. You don't have a "right" to food, so I guess they can prevent you from buying that, too. Physical cash will be illegalized and "digital cash" can be "turned off."
    They can say your "rights" are not being infringed, but that you have to face the "consequences" of your speech.
    Such consequences being, whatever the Left wishes to impose. I mean, the Constitution prevents them from throwing you in prison for speech as such, but they know there are other ways to get you into prison, or at least ruin your life. The "hate speech" laws increase the penalties on other crimes, if you have engaged in speech they don't like, so they can make "jaywalking" or "loitering" into 20-year prison sentences. All they have to do is cut you off from any legal form of trade -- which they can do, because it is not a "right" -- and wait for you to either commit a crime or die.
    Once you've lost your job and your home and everything, there are homeless encampments full of unsavory people, and they aren't exactly going to welcome you, either, and it's likely that if you get involved in a "dispute" in such a place, it'll be deemed to be your fault, because you're the one with the "hate speech" record.
    I am aware that the things I described above haven't happened yet, but they are certainly on the way. There is nothing to stop them -- except a good argument, not like "they aren't going to happen, that's just fantasy" but like "here's why those would actually be immoral infringements of people's rights." (Edit: Even better if it continues, "Here's the kind of law that would stop that sort of thing without infringing anybody's rights." Other than a Constitutional separation of state and economics, though, I'm not sure what to suggest here, myself.)
    You might say that I'm "storytelling" but there's a moral to this story and the moral is that the "speech has consequences" line of thinking has some serious consequences of its own, and they are not good. It's easy to foresee the problems of that approach and I think it's arbitrary to claim that, because these problems are foreseen, none of them will happen in reality.
    It is not improper to reason in the absence of complete information. You can't require omniscience. There is enough information to get a clear picture. Ayn Rand wasn't actually at the Berkeley student protests, but she was able to identify their philosophy and its consequences. That kind of thing can be done here, too.
    I think that ARI has done some real damage to people's understanding of epistemology and Objectivism by permitting Trump Derangement Syndrome to supersede valid epistemological requirements. I see people's reasoning ability breaking down; they're saying, "well... we can't prove that our government is Fascist... we can't prove that the election was stolen... we can't prove that the Democrats won't be voted out later... we can't prove that anything bad will happen, because it hasn't happened yet... the only thing we can do is... keep spreading Objectivism... even though Objectivism can't prove anything is wrong... there is nothing wrong... it's just stories being told by Trump supporters... because Trump is evil... Trump makes the same gestures as Hitler during speeches, so he must be evil... there's not enough evidence to prove anything bad about the Democrats..."
    However, maybe there is some good in this. As long as Objectivism can't solve anything, the Leftists will allow it. Until the wrong quote goes viral, I guess.
    If anybody tried to present Objectivism as a solution, in a legislature or a court for example, I'm sure a bunch of thugs would show up wearing Ayn Rand T-shirts and trash the place, and then of course Objectivism would be blamed for it, and everybody would agree that Ayn Rand "incites violence" and her works would be banned.
  19. Like
    necrovore reacted to whYNOT in The Golden Mean, or All Things in Moderation   
  20. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Boydstun in How is causality self-evident?   
    True. I'm just saying that the operation of the senses is deterministic, just like a rock rolling down a hill, so the operation of the senses cannot "err" any more than the rock can.
    What matters is how we interpret what the senses are telling us. In many cases the naïve interpretation is actually fine, which is why our species is still around, but there are some cases (such as illusions) where the actual situation is not what it looks like.
  21. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from whYNOT in About the Russian aggression of Ukraine   
    Here's another interesting article:
  22. Haha
    necrovore got a reaction from AlexL in The Golden Mean, or All Things in Moderation   
    There is, if and to the extent that the forum's owners and moderators allow it.
  23. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Jon Letendre in The Golden Mean, or All Things in Moderation   
    That is incorrect. A fact is a fact regardless of whether it has "emerged" or not, regardless of whether it has become generally known or not. Our consciousness of the facts -- or our lack of consciousness of them -- doesn't determine what they actually are. (Thinking that it does is a primacy-of-consciousness viewpoint.)
  24. Like
    necrovore reacted to Grames in The Golden Mean, or All Things in Moderation   
    Holy hell, don't go down that road of censoring messages or users.  Dividing people up into ever smaller bubbles that only are permitted to agree with each other is unethical and impractical.  Fobbing thread moderation off onto the thread originator is giving power to the people who are the least objective about the thread.  The topic of the Ukraine war is of broad enough interest that no matter who made it there would a lot of posts, AlexL has no control over that aspect and shouldn't be held responsible for it.  
    If you did follow through on this there would be multiple threads on the same topic with contrary editorial and censoring policies.  If you want duplicate threads on every controversy, then do this because that is how you get duplicate threads.
  25. Like
    necrovore got a reaction from Boydstun in Reflections of an elderly former student of Objectivism   
    I would like to welcome you to the forum, but beware. Ayn Rand says, "A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war." And, boy, are you in for it.
    Did you know the best book about Objectivism (in my opinion) didn't come out until 1991? I myself didn't discover it until 1998. It is Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR). It gathers up the essentials of her philosophy into a single book -- and it might be the reason that some of what you are saying in your essays doesn't jive with the Objectivism I know.
    I think OPAR's coverage of epistemology, though correct, was somewhat weak, but that's because the big breakthrough didn't come until later, when Peikoff collaborated with David Harriman to produce Induction in Physics and Philosophy. Peikoff delivered this as a lecture course and Harriman wrote the book. It provides a solution to what philosophers call the "problem of induction" along with several examples from the history of science. As you are a scientist, it might be of interest to you.
    You say that Ayn Rand rejects evolution, but that is not my impression. She did say she wasn't a student of evolution, but I think she was pleading ignorance rather than rejecting it. Another Objectivist philosopher, Harry Binswanger, has written a book about epistemology called How We Know which works out an understanding of the senses and how they grasp reality, and his work is explicitly compatible with evolution. (Rand did reject the notion that "survival of the fittest" requires humans to kill each other like animals, which is the way some other philosophers interpreted Darwin's discoveries.)
    I have never regarded Objectivism as a "guide for my life." It isn't specific enough for that. Rather, I regard it as a set of tools for figuring out reality, staying consistent with it, and avoiding certain dangerous errors. (Whether I myself am successful in using those tools correctly is beside the point of this post: they are the best tools, as far as I can tell.)
    I don't think Objectivism needs to be "improved," but people's understanding of it does, and that includes clearing up a lot of misconceptions about it -- to the extent this is possible...
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