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Everything posted by hernan

  1. I now have five completed Objectivist(ish) novelettes available for free download here: www.conquistador.org. (You can also purchase print copies for $5 each.) I am looking for feedback on them and so welcome your opinion.
  2. "Then there was another section of books. Books on free enterprise economics, such as Economics in One Lesson. Roy had tried many times to get him to read it. And, as Michael had always suspected, there was Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal." http://www.conquistador.org/publication?publicationEntityId=152223921604
  3. Sony could pay hackers to counterattack or something like that. But it's not clear to me that Sony should ignore the threat anymore than it might ignore taxation or regulation. If Japan had censored the movie formally would you argue that they should release it anyway?
  4. Why should the US government respond? Why not Japan or the UN? More importantly, how ought Sony respond?
  5. Is there an important philosphical difference between Islamic or NK hackers exercising a veto over movie production and the regulations and taxes from elected governments? One obvious difference is that there is known formal process for obtaining permission from governments whereas the actions of ISIS and NK are something that you just have to hope you don't provoke. On the other hand, given the uneven and politizied application of law, it's not always obvious when you are subject to regulation and when not. Is it rational for movie studios to seek ISIS or NK permission to produce movies that might offend them as they might apply for a license from the government?
  6. hernan


    Let's go with that analogy for a moment. Suppose having kids is like owning a car. Now compare two contexts: A) Living in the city with subways and busses, short commutes, and expensive parking, and Living in the suburbs with no public transportation, long commutes, and free parking. Seems pretty obvious that people in situation A would value car ownership less than those in situation B entirely apart from any hierarchy of values. There is an objective difference in owning a car in each situation. This comparison, though, is not exactly analogous to having children, though. Consider another comparison: C) Cars are a shared resource (i.e. communism). D) Cars are private property (i.e. capitalism). In context C you'd be an idiot to buy and maintain a car since anyone can take it at anytime and you can claim any other car. But you know where that will lead. That's the short term, rational choice. But you can see that, longer term, C is not a stable situation.
  7. hernan


    "Natalism (also called pronatalism or the pro-birth position) is a belief that promotes human reproduction." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalism What is the Objectivist take on this? One the one hand, you could do a cost-benefit analysis to determine the optimal number of children that would provide happiness and fulfillment. On the other hand, it seems like a pretty basic application of the virtue of productivity. On the other hand, the modern welfare state has pretty much rendered children a tragedy of the commons. (Taxes support the aged.) What are your thoughts.
  8. One way to look at it is to ask: what is my return on investment for my involvement in politics? It's certainly hard to see that coming out positive for the most politically active among us. What did you get for that donation exactly? And some people are emotionally devastated when their faction fails regardless of the consequences otherwise. But there is another way to look at it: politics as entertainment or as charity. As entertainment, it's certainly competitive with Kim Kardashian. As charity, there is also some reasonableness to it. For most activities, such as voting, the costs are negligible. Giving a small donation to a candidate you like or a political organization you think is doing good is emotionally rewarding.
  9. So, if you like your politics, you can keep your politics. I’m not trying to take it away from you. I’m just saying that I wish good people wouldn’t pour their time and energy down that particular drain—I don’t think it benefits them. Why I Stopped Spending My Time on Politics… And Why I Think You Should Too Discuss.
  10. This indicatesthat she came late to the idea of productivity. Very interesting. I did manage to get a discussion on the virtue of productivity here: The Virtue of Productivity
  11. There is defintely something to this. Although I don't think it's the prevaling motivation for hatred, it certainly applies to professional philosophers and others who hold themselves up as gatekeepers of what is legitimate for the public to discuss and know.
  12. All true, but I think the point is that egalitarians view egalitarian as the historical solution to class and caste (not to mention racism), and anything that threatens egalitarianism as the same as, or as bad as, those. For many income or asset inequality is as bad as a caste system, mobility notwithstanding. Of course, they cannot defend egalitarianism objectively. Instead, they defend it tribally. If you are not an egalitarian you are an outsider, you are a danger to the tribe. You are a legitimate target of hate.
  13. What is interesing about this is that she is equally hated by those who are otherwise at each others' throats. (I think the misrepresentation is, first, and effect and not an explanation. People misrepresent that which they hate. The hate comes first at least for the intellectuals who do the original study.)
  14. This is an interesting point. I do often argue agains egalitarianism and I'm sure you can imagine the squeling this induces. But it is probably more accurate to say that Objectivism is the last remaining opposition to egalitarianism. If you go back in history you will find plenty of non-egalitarian worldviews including, most obiously, caste and class systems. In their view, Objectivists are just holdouts gainst modernity or, worse, counterrevolutionaries trying to turn back the clock. Note also that eglitarianism is more general than collectivism though, in practice, it seeme the former always tends toward the later.
  15. One thing I have noticed is that Objectivists seem much more interested in Rand's ideas on rationality and politics. There is not a whole lot of discussion of the virtue of productivity, although it is essential to her philosophy and arguably critical to her fiction. Why is that?
  16. A good list. It's hard for me to tell if this is a serious criticism or a thinly veiled putdown.
  17. Yes, the "Randroid" thing. I've encountered this in another form: people get very upset at my confidence in the truth of my own beliefs. This rubs against the prevailing realtivist view. So I'm not so much accused of being against emotions as seeming arrogant for not relying upon them.
  18. I agree on egalitarianism, that is a strong current in modern culture. But emotionalism is usually rooted in something. People are certainly reacting emotionally to Rand but it's too consistent to be random. And I don't think everyone is so obsessed with egalitarianism though most intellectuals are.
  19. I'm looking for feedback both on the particular story and on the general format. Carl Flores Thanks in advance.
  20. The vitriol that I encounter bogels the mind. People who are otherwise pretty level headed will straight up say: "I hate Ayn Rand." While I do not consider myself an Objectivist I am always happy to defend Ayn Rand against the most common objections. But rarely do I get a serious debate. The hatred of Rand seems almost visceral. Why? What it is about Rand that so offends? What makes her taboo among intellectuals? I'll offer what I suspect is a partial answer: There is a long tradition, tracing back at least to Plato, that practical concerns are vulgar and unworthy of serious thought and discussion. Rand stood that on its head validating the pragmatic concerns of ordinary life over the moral preening of those who claim a higher calling. Perhaps that is unforgivable. What is your assessment? What explanations have you heard for hatred of Ayn Rand?
  21. I rather like Rand's naturalist approach tough I am not as allergic to religion as she was. I do agree that she was onto something more than mere economic productivity. She did talk about purpose in much the same was as you describe. But my impression is that theologians, like philosophers, tend to regard economic concerns as vulgar and, so, devalue them whereas Rand's concept of productivity was both grand and vulgar at the same time. Men are productive both to feed themselves and to create grand projects such as the Hoover dam or product great works of art. I posted the question to Philosophy Forums and got a bit of a discussion there: The Virtue of Productivity
  22. Those are great pointers, thank you. I will research these. I agree that pragmatism is pretty close to productivity. But it still seems to me that Rand had a pretty unique grasp on this most comparable only to non-philosophers (e.g. industry titans who don't apologize for their great accomplishments).
  23. That's a great distinction. I do like the eastern tradition of workmanship but it is more craft ritual than genuine productiveness.
  24. I have a question now: I've been researching virtues and Rand obviously borrows a lot from Aristotle and other ancients (she also mentions St. Thomas somewhere). Her philosophy is unique in two major respects: 1) the central and explicit role of selfishness (which she defines as "concern with one's own interests") and 2) productivity. She is generally given credit (and criticism) for #1 but #2 is hardly discussed. Yet it is at least as interesting. The only other thinker (like Rand, not a "philosopher" by profession) I've found who included something like that on his list of virtues was Benjamin Franklin (his term was "industriousness"). By extension, we might include the "protestant work ethic". But this is not, generally speaking, a popular virtue among professional philosophers before or since. Am I right or am I overlooking anyone?
  25. It's interesting that, aside from the book title, we don't find Rand calling selfishness a virtue.
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