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Everything posted by determinist

  1. I do not necessarily agree with this video but find it interesting and think that anyone who puts a lot of thought into capitalism will too (even if you disagree).
  2. I was just reading this Wikipedia entry and began to wonder if Objectivism is narcissistic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder Do you think Objectivism is narcissistic but that being narcissistic should not be stigmatized or considered a bad thing? Is Objectivism not narcissistic? If you self-identify as an Objectivist, do you consider yourself narcissistic?
  3. If a person can not afford private school and no public education system is available (or an insufficient number of volunteers), and the individual is consequently illiterate, might he or she be too ignorant to realize why learning is important to compete in a capitalist system?
  4. 1. Are you a self-labeled "Objectivist"? (If yes, the following questions are intended for you.) 2. For secondary education, did you graduate from a public secondary education institution? 3. If you graduated from a private institution for secondary education, did you pay for all of the tuition (or almost all of it) with money you personally earned from your own labor at a job? 4. Did you earn your diploma for secondary education from being home-schooled? If so, what would you have done (with respect to secondary education) if your parents were too uneducated and stupid to home-school you? 5. Who taught you the English language that you understand well enough to read this post? Did you teach yourself?
  5. If you self-identify as an Objectivist, then according to Objectivism, do you believe the existence of private prisons is immoral? Ayn Rand stated that she believes in the complete separation of economics and state. Does the idea of private prisons jibe with that idea of separation?
  6. I intentionally avoided using the phrase "empirical evidence" to allow for any evidence. OK. So what is the philsophic evidence that religion is never in any individual's self-interest? I concede there are plenty of contexts where mentally modeling reality allows an organism to avoid threats to survival. If this is a basis, then whether or not abstract principles are integrated with this basis or not, the argument rests on an empirical/biological argument. As distasteful as I find theists who preach about Hell, there is a related example that challenges the belief that truth is (or even likely is) in the interest of survival; the false belief that someone will go to Hell can (at least in some situtations) clearly drive that individual to strive for survival and consequently lead to a higher likelihood of proagating his or her alleles. Now, you could reasonably object that it is still not in the self-interest of a person because it would make him or her less happy (or otherwise not in the interest of survival yet in the person's interest in another sense). But if you do, I would think you can not have your cake and eat it at the same time. You would be conceding that mere survivial is not your basis for "self-interest." What, specifically, is the argument or evidence that honesty or logic is always in one's self-interest? I do not know about your view, but the self-labeled Objectivists on this forums strike me as having above average intelligence. So check this out if you agree. I read a few of her books. While they have some of the most badass arguments I ever heard, and efinitely shaped my perspective for life, I am left with too much cognitive dissnoance when I try to take every last point seriously. Like Christianity, I am just not capable of believing things without evidence. Faith has never been my thing. Without evidence that true beliefs are always in one's self-interest.
  7. Assuming that socialism itself is not in the person's interest, the act of campaigning itself might be. How can anyone here know that nobody could possibly benefit from it? What evidence is there to back up the assertion that it is never, ever in anyone's self-interest to campaign for socialism? Again, I am not asking for evidence that socialism is not in their self-interest. I am asking for evidence that the act of campaigning is. The odds of a random protester making or breaking the difference between socialism existing is a tiny decimal. If someone just assumes that religion and protesting for socialism is never in the self-interest of anyone, and has no proof, then they have blind faith just like a Christian. What is the evidence? Nathaniel Branden's psychology argument?
  8. The probability of one individual (who is not a politician or great philosopher) actually causing a socialist system to exist is less probable than being struck by lightning. If they experience a pleasant sense of acceptance from participating in the Occupy Movement, I do not see why it is against self-interest. If you honestly believe the myth that never stealing is in everyone's self-interest, or that religion is universally against everyone's self-interest, then why even bother with philosophy? You are more interested in supporting your preconception than logical reasoning. (I am not religious.) I am sorry. I am with people on so much, but I think there is pretending going on with this self-interest thing. I do not believe for one second that it is always in the self-interest of a dictator to step down from power. I have read some great posts on these forums from people who think outside of the box. How can you guys buy into these myths?
  9. If semi-socialist campaigning is a satisfying, healthy, and fulfilling way to live life and have fun, should one campaign for semi-socialism? Is it ethical because it is in an individual's self-interest?
  10. Awww man. You guys ruined my game plan. Everyone saw my "nation/group pride vs individualism" idea from a mile away.
  11. Are you proud to be an American? (By American, I mean the United States of America rather than North America and South America together.) A yes or no question is preferred, but I understand that things aren't always simple to think about. Stay tuned because I will use your answers as a basis for my follow-up (and the follow-up is the purpose of me asking). Thanks.
  12. I read your response about how a definition is the way to try to express something and it is not a definition itself that makes the philosophy. Yet, Ayn Rand herself heavily pushed taking words for exactly what they say and seeing what follows. So, I was discontent to ignore Ayn Rand's advice from Philosophy: Who Needs It? Just like she suggested her readers do, I want to take the assertions of people literally and see what follows.
  13. CapitalistSwine, I know you are right that Ayn Rand listed those areas of government. I am wondering how all of these things can be consistent with her selected definition of capitalism. Here is her selected definition of capitalism. According to her definition, all property is privately owned in capitalism. So if nuclear bombs are not privately owned, then she was not a capitalist by her own definition; was she?
  14. So, all of the resources the government uses are bought and owned by business owners/employees and individual buyers? And that is considered a separation of economics and state? Also, can anyone freely compete with the buyers, sellers, and/or shareholders of the nuclear bombs if those individuals have not initiated physical force against anyone else? Morality is not the means to an end, right? Therefore, it be wrong to PREEMPTIVELY steal from someone developing a nuclear bomb before he or she actually violated someone else's rights, no?
  15. To introduce this topic, I will begin by introducing how it came up. I quoted Ayn Rand's selected definition of capitalism as follows. Based on this definition, I claimed that Ayn Rand would have to advocate that all property is private to be a capitalist: nuclear bombs, B-52s, and firearms. I questioned whether or not Rand is a capitalist by her own definition. In repsonse, someone posted a link yo a Leonard Peikoff podcast that addresses this very question. Here is what the person posted. The response held me over for a bit but raised new questions as I began thinking about it. If everything, including machine guns (not just some, but all), nuclear bombs, grenades (not just some, but all)... then how is that separation of economics and state? Ayn Rand explicitly stated in this video that she is for the separation of economics and state. If all military equipment and nuclear bombs are privately owned, honestly, do you think that is separation of economics and state?
  16. Well, this did the trick. Peikoff's answer was consistent. It definitely raises many tough questions, but they are separate topics, so I will start threads on them over time. Well, I see what you are saying, but I find it hard to imagine that society would leave a nuclear bomb in the middle of a field or abandoned basement and go about their lives peacefully. I mean, is it realistic for a stockpile of nuclear weapons to be left alone by billions of people?
  17. So far, nobody has been able to contest this. I do not know if this is because it is unable to be refuted or was not seen. Can anyone refute it? By Ayn Rand's selected definition, she was not a capitalist. Here is her chosen definition of capitalism. Quote Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. According to that definition, if all property is not privately owned, then the social system is not capitalism. So, if anyone does not believe in a social system where all property is privately owned, then it is not capitalism according to that definition. So, to my knowledge: All nuclear bombs, B-52s (not just some, but all), firearms (not just some, but all), and the Pentagon would need to be privately owned.
  18. Haha. I did not intend to be testy. I just want to use the best language I can to convey this and get an extra mind cracking at the puzzle. How can Ayn Rand be a capitalist (according to the definition she selected) without believing that all property is private in capitalism, when the definition states that all property is private in capitalism?
  19. I am not claiming myself as the arbiter of who can be properly called a "capitalist." I am merely quoting Ayn Rand and pointing out what the definition of "capitalism" she used truly entails. According to that definition, if all property is not privately owned, then the social system is not capitalism. So, if you do not advocate a system in which all property is privately owned, then it is not capitalism according to that definition. So, to my knowledge: All nuclear bombs, B-52s (not just some, but all), firearms (not just some, but all), and the Pentagon would need to be privately owned. The onus is not on me to reconcile the quoted definition with individual rights (because I am not claiming it as the definition; Ayn Rand did).
  20. In the first part of my post, I said capitalism has flaws. In the latter portion of my post, I said that a free market has flaws. I should have known better than to use them interchangeably. The argument can be made that capitalism is an abstract idea that is used as a model to base behavior from, so I guess I would not win on semantics there and should have chosen my words more carefully. However, I did claim there are problems with a free market. A market, by definition, includes both buyers and sellers. And considering that readers have already conceded there are problems with the buyers, I see that as settled. Here are some ideas that were inspired by posts in this thread. Think them over and have fun commenting. Alan Greenspan had a chapter about the gold standard in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" and ended up as a Fed chairman after that book was written. Maybe he became corrupt. Or maybe, like a good scientist who is constantly willing to embrace new evidence, he came to believe that his ideas about laissez-faire economics in that book are obsolete. After all, its first edition was published in 1966, not 2011 or 2012. I really hope you are have spent at least a couple hundred hours reading Keynes and comparing his arguments to other economists before making your mind up. Investors have gotten rich by basing predictions on his models and his models can not be understood from a few pages. Sure, this would only be a consequentialist point anyways and you may reject consequentialist morality, but you can not reasonably conclude laissez-faire capitalism wins from an economic perspective without delving into economics. Value is subjective. I think the Austrian school economists proved this long ago. If you like Pepsi more and I like Coca-Cola more, then a value of these sodas is subjective. This is a big reason why people can mutually benefit from free trade, whether paper bank notes or another intermediate medium are used. Do you disagree? If so, what is the rebuttal? By Ayn Rand's own definition, she was not a capitalist. Here is her definition of capitalism. According to that definition, all property would be privately owned. I do not see how the Pentagon is privately owned. I see no evidence that she believed in private protection agencies being allowed to compete with the centralized governmental monopoly on defense. Instead, she asked what would happen if private protection agencies had a dispute and suggested it would be a bloody battle. She did not look at it from the perspective of never violating anyone's rights unless they did so first; rather, preemptive arrests to prevent something before anyone actually initiated force to violate the rights of others. In other words, she saw morality as a means to an end: the means being a violation of rights of private protection agency employees, and the ends being the avoidance of a battle.
  21. Capitalism faces similar problems that a direct democracy does because it is impacted by a "democracy" of spenders. A store purchase is a vote in the market. Many people are irrationally impatient, impulsive, uninformed, and/or more convinced by fashion and cheesy advertisements than reason. This is why you can walk into Walmart is see huge, tall shelves packed with Captain Crunch, candy, sugary soda, and junk food. The prevalence of those products is a reflection of what people tend to spend money (vote) on. It is one reason (but certainly not the only reason) why McDonald's is so successful. I am not saying that government is a good alternative. But I think it is a bit utopianist if wasteful advertisement is the only market imperfection you have conceived of. There are tons of problems with the free market (and any system). I think the free market economist Thomas Sowell said it well when he said that the world is flawed all you have to work with are trade-offs.
  22. Never start a conversation with a self-labeled "theist" before asking he or she to define "god" with as highly specific of a description as possible. If "supernatural" is in the definition, ask the person to define precisely what that means. If you do not do this, you set your opponent up with a beautiful opportunity to run rampant with endless quibbles.
  23. The Constitution leaves many powers up to the states that are not specifically designated to apply to the whole country. Does this means abortion rights, the right to smoke marijuana, and the right to commit suicide are all fair game for the states to trample on?
  24. I was talking about Objectivism rather than self-labeled Objectivists. I consider "Objectivism" the philosophy that Ayn Rand explained and claims to have discovered in her books (along with her co-authors). To me, that philosophy seems optimistic because it asserts that individuals have massive power to alter their well-being for the better and happiness is attainable (to those who understand Objectivism, adopts its values, and behave accordingly). Whether or not it is true, I think that specific part of the philosophy has a very hopeful ring to it. Of course, if Objectivism if it is overly optimistic (as I believe it is), then I would expect it to be possible for self-labeled Objectivists to seem unhappy (as you believe your observations suggest).
  25. Avila, I have to defend Objectivism on this one. I am not an Objectivist but I can tell you as a naturalist that it is the most optimistic (naturalist) philosophy I know of. A sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence really does make me happiest at the times I experience. And a philosophy that preaches that as the engine of happiness seems to have at least part of the picture right. But, unfortunately, I reject it as overly optimistic because of its idea about causality. I believe our genetic construct and environmental history are what make the difference between a person who has relentless drive to achieve and a someone who does not. For some people, it is a small hill to overcome when motivating themselves. For really depressed people with an unfortunate brain make-up, it can feel exhausting to do absolutely anything. Nathaniel Branden's chapter "The Psychology of Pleasure" talks about the neurotic who finds pleasure in nothing because he has not made work his central focus. This is a very clear example of why I reject Objectvism. Branden does not really do justice in making sense. He does not even mention the possibility that the person doesn't have passion in work because the person finds interest in nothing. It is too much of a "simple as that" approach. To get back to the original point of this post, I actually think Objectivism is super-optimistic. It asserts that you can be truly happy in life if you become independent and use your mind to its fullest.
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