Hairnet got a reaction from William O in Nihilism
I suppose the whole entire point of me investigating Objectivism was to find a guide to living. I didn't start looking into it because it was a defense of capitalism or atheism or any such thing, but because at first it seemed like the only group of ideas actually meant for practical use in the real world. Even though I have been aware of it for about three years, I have only begun to understand it recently. In the last three years I have made many mistakes intellectually. For the most part, I never really bothered to deal with Objectivism by means of integrating it with the rest of my knowledge.
My general approach was for the most part 1) Find a conclusion 2) Argue for it until I find a conclusion with better arguments. This has caused a great amount of chaos mentally. At this moment I think that this is because I never understood Objectivism, and therefor was never able to argue for it. I have seen so many people make this mistake and it is very troubling. In the context of the internet, I have seen many people who start out as "Objectivists" who then turn into people who say things like "anything goes as long its is within the non-aggression principle", and then they turn into people who say "ethics is magic just like the state and god".
Fundamentally, the source of this is a particular kind of rationalism, which puts importance on argumentation, not knowledge. That knowledge only exists if it can be expressed well. Now while someone who claims to know something should be held to that standard, it is a reversal of cause and effect to say "I think Objectivism is true, I need to start looking for arguments for it". This can't be done, one needs to first spend the time to actually learn an idea and convince one self of it before they can start worrying about how they should be expressing themselves. They want to express themselves first, and be validated by the fact that no one has any retort, then be comforted by the fact that they have knowledge.
This leads to intellectual decay, as one stops thinking about the world, and keeps himself busy with the nuances of debate. An approach to learning based on argument leads exclusively to the upholding of deductive logic over inductive logic. This is extremely problematic because deductive logic isn't sufficient for all cognitive tasks (neither is inductive logic).
An argument based on induction requires a massive dedication of time and energy. This is illustrated by the fact that a good rationalist argument is about a thousand pages of covering one's ass. No one even bothers to prove an idea in fullness with inductive logic. Ayn Rand didn't, and even Peikoff, who organized and elaborated on her views didn't attempt to organize all the information required to validate her views. This isn't a bad thing either, people can only think for themselves, and do not need to be provided with ever aspect of an argument in order to see if it is true or not.
Rand's epistemology is based primarily on induction based on perception, with deduction playing important roles in certain contexts. What follows from this is a view of consciousness that has all aspects of it explained by how someone chooses to think. Do they context drop? Do they reverse hierarchy? Are they emotionalist? These sorts of questions can explain ultimately every aspect of someone's consciousness, including what they value.
Ayn Rand looks at the function of value in nature (what value does for people). The discover that not only do values exist because people are alive, that people are alive because they have values. This allows her to identify values as something cognitive. They are not primarily emotional (subjective, preferences). This allows us to trace all values back to methods of thinking. Values follow the same rules as concepts, because they are concepts, implicit or explicit, conscious or not. They aren't "preferences" that magically appear from no where, or that are left to be explained by Freud or Skinner. They are concepts that are developed by how one thinks. This means they can be analyzed logically.
This conclusion is only possible based on inductive logic. Nihilists are stuck with a given "preferences" with they are completely unable to explain, and have to say "they are just there, maybe it has something to do with how you were raised".
To sum up my points:
1) Many people believe in knowledge through argument.
2) These people in the end rely to heavily on deductive logic, floating abstractions, and arbitrary "givens".
3) This leads them to become incapable of understanding Objectivists ideas unless they put a huge amount of effort into them (like I have).
4) Many people who start with Objectivism, but do not integrate it, treat it as a floating abstraction, usually end up becoming anarchists, and then nihilists (As I have in the past).
As a side note: The idea that one needs to be able to completely prove (I might mean explain here) an idea to hold it as knowledge is bullshit anyways. For instance, there are many concepts and rule in mathematics that I know, use, and manipulate, that I could not prove. The same is with Objectivism. I don't know everything about it, and if put to the task, I could not prove every point of it, but when I apply its ideas, it works. Maybe I am wrong on this, but if you can apply the idea consistently, over time, and get results, it is knowledge.
Hairnet got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in An AnarchObjectivist's Guide to Atlas Shrugged
The destruction of the state in Atlas Shrugged was not a good thing. It wasn't privatized into a bunch of competing firms of anything wacky like that. It fell apart Roman Empire style (Diocletian).
Oh and socialism doesn't work because they can't get anyone to take out the garbage!!!
Do you really think libertarians "blank out" when they consider the problem of preventing people from using force? This stuff is free at least take the time if you are going to post about it. You come off like a troll when you use Rand's rhetorical devices so casually.
Hairnet got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Determinism seems...silly.
I kind of know where Harrison is coming from.
I have been investigating the following idea. Would like to discuss it.
I noticed Harrison't comment that we can't prove that people could act other than they did. It seems absurd to argue that an action, once taken, could be anything other than it was. One could posit an alternative action, but we would never have evidence that they were capable of anything else. You could only argue that different actions should be taken in the future in order to achieve certain goals. You can only really talk about what comes next.
This doesn't really undermine my ethical or epistemological outlook. I don't really care if someone has an actual choice in their actions. I, and all people have to operate on the premise that they are making choices. If some guy choses to rob me, I don't really care if he couldn't have chosen otherwise in some metaphysical sense. I am analyzing the person't behavior and thoughts in order to preserve my well being and values. I could examine his motivations, reasoning, and circumstances and come to conclusions about what kind of threat he is to me, and what should be done about him, but ultimately it doesn't matter to me if that was the only choice that could have been made.
I think volition is an epistemological concept not a metaphysical one. The precedent in this from Ayn Rand's philosophy is the idea that all of reality is an integrated whole, but that people cannot literally comprehend reality that way and therefor have to isolate and focus on small aspects of it at a time. In the same way people may actually be bound to there circumstances to the point at which they cannot literally do otherwise, but people do think using the premise that they can make choices. They have to, as Rand points out.
It would be similar to the use of imaginary numbers or counterfactual statements. Things that aren't literally true but serve as useful middle steps for our brain comprehending reality in a more sophisticated way. I don't think this undermines reason.
Hairnet reacted to Iudicious in How big of a problem is racism in the USA?
I'm curious how many of the people who say that racism is perpetuated primarily among blacks actually have any significant amount of experience in black culture.
Lol, what? How does having a black president suddenly make the existence of racism an extraordinary claim?
Consider the demographics in the United States. It would be quite easy for a black president to get elected while still having a disproportionately white representation in offices of power, and just as easy for there to be significant institutional racism. Just because a majority vote elected a black president doesn't mean racism doesn't exist or that it's an extraordinary claim to make. Honestly, it speaks to the efficacy of our electoral system that in spite of the existence of racism we still elect a black president.
Holy shit. I'm really curious where you get such an ass backwards view of the world from.
I've lived around black people all my life - the areas I've lived in and gone to school often times have been predominantly black. I've never heard one "bitch and moan" about "not getting a break" or "getting beat down by the white man." I've seen them work just as hard as many of my white friends though, and end up half as far. I've seen them get arrested and get in trouble for possessing minute amounts of drugs while I've walked scott-free in the same situation. I know that I get pulled over for going 20 over the speed limit, the cop will give me a stern talking to - because that's what's happened before - while some blacks I've known won't pass the speed limit because a fine would be the least of their problems if an officer pulled them over. I've heard white people say the most racist things in the presence of other white people, without any awareness of what they were saying, and have everyone around them agree with them. I've been chastised before for pointing out that someone was making a blatantly racist comment in front of a black person.
I'm having a hard time seeing where you're getting your view from here. Even a cursory google search of "racism study" or "racism america study" or even "race in america study" or similar terms brings up nothing but support for the notion that racism and racial inequality are alive and well in America. A broad search of any of the research databases my university has access to brings up similar results: nothing but support for the idea that racism exists and affects minorities significantly. The only way I can conceptualize you having such an ass-backwards view of race is that you've never actually spent more than five minutes talking to a black person, and haven't tried to achieve an understanding of racism on your own.
I'd say that racism is a pretty big deal today, in a multitude of ways. Like many issues, it is not a simple black-white issue: it affects everyone in a variety of ways. Human beings generalize - I'm inclined to think that doing so is part of our nature. And unfortunately, we are not very far removed from a time when it was commonplace to assume blacks and non-whites in general to be lesser. My parents grew up fearful of and prejudiced towards black people, and my grandparents were around before the civil rights movement came into swing, and I know a lot of other people with similar families. I think a lot of people today are raised, not with an outright hatred of blacks and minorities, but with broad misconceptions and poor generalizations of who black people are and how they act. I think those misconceptions and generalizations cause many people to act in ways that they may not even be aware are racist - they may prefer the company of white people, they may actively avoid blacks, and, given the appropriate situation, they may assume the guilt of a black person over the guilt of a white person.
I'm sure similar misconceptions and generalizations work in the reverse as well: I know that there are quite a few black people who were raised to be fearful or distrusting of white people, and for good reason, given the environment their parents grew up in. That kind of distrust is harmful to both blacks and whites, minorities and non-minorities. I'm also sure that the situation has improved for blacks and minorities significantly. None of that means that racism doesn't exist in America, or that it's confined to black communities, and I don't think that we can rightfully ignore the evidence that continues to crop up suggesting that racism is still a problem in America.
Growing up where I have and seeing what I have, as a white person, I'd be downright distrustful of anyone who suggested that racism wasn't an issue in America. Because for me, that person would have to be dangerously ignorant or dangerously dishonest to express such a view.
Hairnet reacted to Dante in Family Relations and Objectivism - A Response to Malini Kochhar
The Atlas Society recently published a blog post about Objectivism and the family, in response to a Salon article that referred to Objectivism as anti-family. The salon article can be found here, and the TAS response here. This prompted me to read the original TAS article that the Salon guy linked to, found here. I found the account of Objectivism and family relations highly unsatisfactory, particularly as applied to sibling relationships, and I decided that I wanted to write up the response below.
In her article on family relations and Objectivism, Malini Kochhar attempts to lay out a view of familial relationships based on Ayn Rand's trader principle: "This principle holds that we should interact with people on the basis of the values we can trade with them - values of all sorts, including common interests in art, sports or music, similar philosophical outlooks, political beliefs, sense of life, and more. Trade, in this broad sense, is the only proper basis of any relationship—including relationships with members of our families." However, in her application of the principle, she fails to consider several highly significant sources of value in family relationships. I will focus mainly on critiquing her comments from the perspective of sibling relationships, although many of my comments also apply to the parent-child case. In her article, she states the following:
Thus, in her view, it would be extremely unlikely for one to have the same kind of deep relationship with a sibling that one would have with a very close friend. This is because we cannot choose our siblings the way that we can choose our friends, and therefore it would be mere coincidence if we happened to be close. However, this is emphatically not the only possibly application of the trader principle to sibling relationships, and in fact it is highly rationalistic and ignores the most common factors that create strong bonds between siblings. The core of many sibling relationships, including my own, is shared experiences. Growing up in the same household strongly lends itself to a high level of mutual understanding among siblings. I have two sisters, and we all grew up under the same roof. They've seen some of my worst moments, and some of my best. They've seen my growth, all the way from elementary school to the person that I am today. They understand me like almost no one else does. In Objectivist terms, they provide me with a kind of psychological visibility that only they can. Certainly, as we've moved out of the house and away from each other, we are no longer intimately involved in each others' day to day lives, and there are others who know aspects of me and my life much better than they do. However, their particular understanding of me is extremely important to me. And of course, this understanding runs both ways, with me providing this particular kind of understanding to them as well. Thus, the value provided by this sort of understanding is mutual, as per the trader principle. Despite this understanding of one another and our shared experiences of childhood, we have grown up to be very different people. If you were to list our core values explicitly, you would probably conclude that we don't have many in common. Our adult interests are extremely varied, and even as kids we clashed like only siblings can. We each care about very different things, and even have quite different explicit philosophies (leading to some strong political disagreements). In fact, if I were to walk into an Objectivist convention, I could probably randomly pick someone out of the crowd whose explicit list of 'core values' would be closer to mine than those of my sisters. That kind of similarity is simply not what our sibling relationships are based on. Nevertheless, they completely exemplify Rand's trader principle, in every aspect. Unchosen family obligations play no part whatsoever. This is the problem with clinging to 'shared core values' as the one and only indicator of a true and deep relationship between people. It overemphasizes explicit philosophical convictions and interests over other important aspects of relationships, such as mutual understanding and shared experiences. It allows Kochhar to set up a false dichotomy between a relationship based on shared core values (which he describes as a 'rare coincidence' when it happens to occur among siblings) and a relationship based on familial obligation. It is indeed unlikely that two people who didn't choose to be siblings would share the same explicit philosophical convictions or the same list of core values. If this is the sum of one's measure of an appropriate relationship, then one is forced to describe strong sibling relationships as 'coincidence.' If the relationship does not fit this description, it must then be based on a reification of blood relation and familial obligation. But the value that I get from my relationship with my sisters is not simply a coincidence, and neither is it an expression of duty that we feel. It is precisely because we are siblings who grew up together that we have this sort of bond. It was their role in my childhood, and in my life since then, that is the source of the value that I gain from them, and them from me. Now certainly, none of this is a necessary consequence of being siblings. There are numerous situations where siblings will not have this kind of relationship (most notably, when they don't grow up together). However, the factors that lead to such strong sibling relationships are much more common than Kochhar's 'rare coincidence' type of relationship will allow. The trader principle's application in this case is much broader than he paints it to be. It is sad to me to see Rand's trader approach to human relationships, which I believe to be the correct one, artificially limited by the kind of values that can be traded. Doing so excludes some of the most important relationships in life, and gives credence to the viewpoint that Rand's philosophy as a whole doesn't have room to accommodate these relationships. In my view, it does; when these relationships are healthy, they are indeed based on the trader model, where both people get true value from the relationship. The limitation comes simply from an excessively narrow conception of what kinds of values are in play.
Hairnet got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in People keep defriending me for supporting Israel
I would point out to people that Hamas is not interested in protecting the rights of its subjects. Even if we accept the premise that the palestinians are being subjected to racist oppression, their response is insane. Armed conflict against Israel could never be effective in securing the rights of Palestininans. Israel is too heavily armed and because of the actions of Hamas the war effor against Hamas has about 95% of the Israeli Jews supporting the conflict. Jews make up about 75% of Israel's population. Hamas could never in their wildest dream secure the rights of their people through armed force.
A quote from the Hamas Charter shows exactly how they feel about other means of dealing with Israel.
"Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.” From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem. Some accept the idea, others reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the implementation of this or that condition, as a prerequisite for agreeing to convene the Conference or for participating in it. But the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is aware of the [prospective] parties to this conference, and of their past and present positions towards the problems of the Muslims, does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed. "
It is clear that Hamas was not an organization formed to effectively deal with the problem of Jewish oppression of Arabs, but an organization founded to pursue the fantasy of forming a racist theocracy out of thin air. Even if this were a desirable outcome no reasonable person would assume that this was even remotely possible. They spend what little resources the Palestinian people have on weaponry rather than attempting to diplomatically and econmically grow their influence.
I know if I sat one of their leaders down and told them that what they need to do is increase ecnomic oppuruniy. He may tell me that this is impossible because Israel prevents them from doing so. However military conflict with Israel will never be an effective policy, where as commercial integration with Israel can only be made possible by disarming. This either means they are deluded, incompetent, or just want the small ammount of power that comes from running failed state.
Israel is not the greatest country in the world.. In terms of economic freedom they are considered to be in the "modertaley free" tier (Spain is in the same tier) and are rated at a 68.4. This is by the very generous standards of the Heritage Foundation. They have a draft. Also, they appear to struggle with institutional prejudice against Arabs. However the sad fact remains is that Israel while not being Switzerland is stil a government which basically attempts to respect the rights of all its citizens, Arab, Jew, or whoever. The fact is whatever evil things Israel may have done to the palestinians it is still Israel's responsibility to dismantel Hamas while protecting the rights of its citizens.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Israel#Racism_against_Arabs ( I haven't looked into this particular issue too deeply, so I suggest if you are interested to read the studdies cited to make sure the claims were produced under sound methodology).
Hairnet got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in The scientific challenge to rational ethics
People's "intuitions" aren't basless. What I find strange about irrationalists is that their treatment of emotional responses is so mystical. Hume was writing as though desires had no precedent in earlier experience.
There may be the occasional case when someone's desires may be based in a hormonal response. This kind of stuff though is mostly important to psychiatrists who study things like puberty, pregnancy, or even the chemical factors of addiction.
However a moral responses are developed. We know that there aren't "natural" moral responses due to the variety of moral responses that have existed in cultures around the world. Some people are perfectly fine with what we feel to be morally reperehensible. I think it is reasonable to assume that people develope morals though a combination of experience, reflection and upbringing.
Hairnet reacted to Nicky in Jon Stewart: Unfunny Hypocrite and Liar [on Israel & Gaza]
I'm always perplexed by people who accuse successful comedians of being "unfunny". Even the hack ones (which Jon Stewart is not). What are you thinking? It's like calling water dry. You're stating the opposite of something obvious.
"Unfunny" would imply that he lacks the ability to make people laugh. That's a pretty absurd suggestion, don't you think?
I've seen Jon Stewart make people laugh plenty of times. Not just people who agree with him politically, btw. Sure, on his Comedy Central show, his audience is people on the political left, and he makes them laugh with jokes at the expense of political opponents. Those specific jokes wouldn't make you laugh. But he's not trying to make you laugh, he's trying to make his audience laugh. And you're not his audience, at most you watch him looking for fodder for angry blog posts.
But, in a different setting, he can make a non-liberal audience laugh all the same(and has, he has had a lot of success being funny about topics other than politics, on MTV for instance, in the past). I bet he could even make you laugh, back before you decided to be angry with him.
Hairnet reacted to Eiuol in Is All Knowledge Pragmatic?
Before I make my bigger post, I am wondering, would you agree that even if we're in some simulation like the Matrix, it is still reality that is all around you? There is nothing about a simulation that is "unreal" other than being artificial. Of course even tools are real, even if artificial. Similarly, whether something is tangible is not important for what is real or not. For Objectivism "real" means tied to reality in some manner. Insofar as you perceive, reality is what you perceive - HOW or WHAT you perceive doesn't matter. Existence exists still applies. Even in Plato's Cave, everything in the cave is real: the shadows, the fire, the walls, the chains.
Although a simulated reality is arbitrary to assert, it's not really a fallacy unless you use it as proof of something. Depending on how you imagine it, like all thought experiments, you may reach useful conclusions or ideas.
Hairnet got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in An Argument From Intimidation. How Can I Respond?
Your note was unnecessary. Also, you should say "Rationalistic" or "Rationalist" not Platonist.
Anyways, if they intend on talking about politics with their friends during these coffee breaks then I wouldn't attend. It sounds like they are staging a left-wing echo chamber for themselves. If they can go without talking about politics then I would be fine.
So talking to people. I am not saying I am an exemplar of these virtues but they make sense to me.
Charity: Most people aren't very well read nor are they very good at express their own ideas. If someone says something that sounds really weird or wrong, I tend to give the best interpretation of the argument I can. If someone is clearly too ignorant to be speaking about a subject, just tell them so, and if you think they can improve refer them to some material.
Honesty: Don't pretend you know about things that you don't. If you disagree with an idea, give the reasons or facts that cause you to disagree, but don't ever inflate your understanding of an issue. If they provide you with alternative explanations or point a whole in your idea, its okay to tell them that you will have to think about it. "Winning the Argument" is not important, because people can be wrong and win argument and people can be right and lose arguments.
Politeness: Don't bully others. Let them finish their points as long as they are going somewhere, and try not to interrupt. The main reason most people don't want to talk about politics is because most people interested in politics are bullies who don't have any power in the real world so they attempt to make other people feel bad for disagreeing with their world view. No one will want to talk about bullies if you go into it attempting to punish or humiliate others.
Pride: Have a goal for the conversation, make sure it contributes to your well being. Pride means moral ambition, so make sure that those conversations about important topics are conducted in such a way. Some people will exhibit toxic behavior. They may not be able to handle conflict or they may wish to bring up irrelevant concerns and attempt to intimidate you away from reasonable conclusions. Let your standards be known and shut down the conversation if you have to. If someone is spending time personally attacking you then they aren't interested in discussion but intimidation.
Hairnet got a reaction from Repairman in How do you interact with "normal" people in everyday life?
The Carnegie book isn't that cynical. I don't think its particularly profound though. Dr. Hsieh has a review of it on her podcasts. But from what I recall, it claimed that the ability to sincerely listen to people and show that they are being heard is a decent way to get people to like you. Its a mostly true idea and the one valuable thing I remember from the book. I don't recall it reaching "Pick up Artist" levels of self-delusion and dishonesty though.
Alex, you sound well adjusted. There will be a lot of fakers in your life. Don't ever feel bad about distancing yourself from toxic people. Remember that a lot of people conform not out of character weakness but out of fear, often of actual harm. Abuse, either from peers, faculty, or guardians happens at your age and many of these people are wearing masks to protect themselves. Some of these people do have authentic aspects of their personality that they most likely won't share with others until they feel safe to do so. The best thing you can do is demonstrate that your aren't going to hurt them. This is done by keeping promises and reciprocating values. Maybe they aren't worth the effort at this point in your life, which is fine because that means you can focus on acquiring the skills and resources necessary to open up new social venues for yourself.
Hairnet reacted to thenelli01 in How do you interact with "normal" people in everyday life?
This is so silly.
Hairnet reacted to softwareNerd in Neo-Objectivism
Oh not! Not more of the same re-writing your own version of Objectivism, so that you can convince yourself that you've found some problems that you will now resolve by showing us that market minds can and cannot be lived for and also for others. And if the integration of the many into the dual is sought, then it is possible if only the market were to be slightly redefined into a more complete, robust notion.
After all, markets are an epistemological concept and a social concept before they are a moral concept, and none other than Stiglitz has said that though their "...power ... is enormous, ...they have no inherent moral character." So, Objectivists need to understand that the things they think are contradictory, may not be so. Alexander Hamilton said "A national debt, if not excessive, will be a national blessing". Objectivists need to understand the non-linearity in sentiments like this, for the Gods that be did not make a law that all causal relationships must be linear...as every school kid who studies the anomalous expansion of water well understands.
It is vital to understand that communism does not spring from people like Stalin, but from the cry for freedom and rights of men who have been denied their natural right to walk freely on the earth, just like the next guy... with no respect for fake man-made rules like nobility and titles. It flows from the yearning to live as an individual human being, but as an individual within society...since that is how the human animal lives, and prospers by such living. So, clearly we can see that Objectivism with its stress on the individual carefully combined with its championing of the market is a brother-idea to Communism with its stress that we are all equal in rights carefully combined with its championing of the proper role each of us play in our societies. How are they different? they are almost the same!! If Stalin could take such a noble idea and use it to justify his totalitarianism, surely another dictator can start with an Objectivism idea and use it to justify his own tyranny.
Further, both Objectivism and Communism start at the common base of a realistic, naturalistic world-view, free of mysticism and Gods that were invented by ignorant primitives. Upon this base, they both champion reason. And in morality, they focus on this life of man -- here and now -- not on an after-life, not on rituals, not on prayers, not on mother earth. Man's life on earth is the standard that they both share. As eixplained above, in the abstract, their politics are close... pulling down theocracies and monarchies, and calling for the rights of each man, within the market or the commune. Surely it is not too much more than semantics that these two great ideologies arrive at nearly the same principles, with a few words and minor concepts changed. Going further, it is uncanny that even in aesthetics, both seem to think it is okay and good for art to champion their moral and political ideal.
There, you have your integration, though it is completely false.
Hairnet reacted to Harrison Danneskjold in The Error
I believe it.
First of all, that's a false dichotomy. Capitalism, as such, has never and will never lead to poverty.
I know that so long as you are you, you will never accept that. But for the record the very terms you've framed this in are fundamentally wrong.
Second of all there is no such contradiction, between intentions and outcomes, even by the terms you've framed this in.
That's just the thing. Capitalism is not good because it produces the most wealth with the greatest efficiency; it's good because it's the logical application of individual rights.
Even if allowing stock investors the freedom to make their own choices would lead to an irreparable economic depression, it would still be worth doing- because freedom is more important than money.
"Freedom" means the freedom to think for myself, to make my own choices and to act according to my own self-chosen desires, without premeditated interference.
Freedom is the logical application of my own mind to my own life.
And that is a value far beyond any amount of money; it's the very source of money's value, in the first place. So there is no contradiction between intentions and outcomes.
The intention is freedom and through Capitalism, freedom is precisely the outcome.
If you have anything to say about whether Capitalism produces freedom then I will reply to it; the economic details are not worth the time or the stress.
Live long and prosper.
Hairnet got a reaction from JASKN in Reblogged: AGW "Demonstration" Iced
Try reading that blog again.
It doesn't matter to any of us either way if what climate scientists claim is true or not.
What we do know is that the government is the tool of plutocrats and vainglorious politicians who couldn't solve the problem even if they wanted to.
Hairnet got a reaction from softwareNerd in The Error
So now you have gone from arguing one point to an entirely unrelated point.
You were just listing opinions that you agree with and changing the subject to the economic viability of capitalism. Start a new thread about Austrian economics and stick to it if you want to do that, I am not going to be baited into enduring an endless chain of your pretentious rants.
Hairnet got a reaction from softwareNerd in The Error
Well methodological individualism is a major part of Austrian Economics. Although Rand didn't comment on that very much I believe.
Economics is a value free science. What economists argue is that the market meets consumer demand, whatever those demands may be. The market provides people tons of bad things all the time.
As an example, one of the first areas of privatization in our civilization was that of religion. Churches gradually went from being state operated entities to private entities dependent on meeting consumer demand. Many religion preach poisonous and harmful ideas, and have been for hundreds of years in a free market. Another example is fast food or narcotics.
Just because Rand's philosophy has nothing to say on these matter doesn't mean they are excluded from thought. Social sciences do have utility.
As an example one may be concerned about Child Abuse. A Rand influenced libertarian named Stefan Molyneux for example has spent a great deal of time using social sciences to help convince people to not spank their children. He cites the correlations between spanking and all of the problems that it can cause the individual and how these individual problems can explain many of the problems that are common in the West.
Another example of how social sciences can be used is by Social Entrepreneurs. These people are paid to solve problems by people who care about specific issues. Our society has becomes so wealthy that now when the average person thinks "This problem sucks and I hate that it exists", he can pay someone to do something about it. This is preferable than just sitting there frustrated about how the world is. Social sciences can help those Entrepreneurs find creative ways of eliminating those problems.
A third example is organizational sociology. Ford had a sociology department for example which was meant to study productivity in his firm. Perhaps a resort company in Mexico needs to hire criminologists to study security issues and figure out how to best deal with crime. A private city could hire a sociologist to figure out the best norms for a community.
What social sciences should not be used for is assuming that the State can somehow manage society into prosperity. We aren't cogs in some machine to be pieced together into a perfect society, we are individual people with our own lives.
Hairnet got a reaction from softwareNerd in The Error
Its an argument from dependence. If you are dependent on something you can't argue with it. Its a basic method of abuse. Its horrible when done in non-coercive settings like work or romance. Its even worse when done in the context of the state or family where one rarely has any choice in the matter at all.
The fact is that there are many immoral acts that in some indirect sense led to my existence and prosperity. Our hominid ancestors broke off from chimps five million years ago. Do you think every woman in your bloodline gave birth due to consensual sex? We are still against rape though. It doesn't matter if the American system used taxation, slavery, and irrational wars to become what it is today. Just because I benefit from it now doesn't mean that I endorse in anyway those actions.
His argument relies on the idea that if you value infrastructure and education, then you must value government infrastructure and education. It is absurd. Medieval guilds, aristocrats, and churches made the same arguments to the first advocates of free markets. If a stone mason is educated by a guild no liberal today would argue that it validates the guild system. If aristocrats build infrastructure with the spoils of war no liberal today would argue that war is a proper way to fund infrastructure. Just because the Church provided social safety nets and ways for people organize would not convince liberals today to support the Church.
It is quite obvious that people are educated and are aided by other individuals. That is the achievement of those individuals for sure but they are compensated for it.The actions required to generate wealth cannot be done by those educators though. The individual who possesses those capacities is ultimately responsible for using them and maintaining them. Great teachers can't be blamed for the failings of their students nor can they be credited for their success. Bosses don't call up professors when their new employees screw up. People don't tip road workers for the pizza deliveries they have gotten. People don't credit war and strife when they date refugees and immigrants from terrible countries.
Hairnet reacted to softwareNerd in Integrating Wealth and Health
Sometimes people in favor of capitalism complain that we've never really seen anything near an extremely free economy. Meanwhile, on the other side, the commies complain that communism has never really been given a proper chance. So, they both will continue to argue for their theory while saying that it has never been tried in real life, but is sure to work if anyone ever gave it a chance.
Of course we know that economies that have generally been termed capitalist have been far more successful than those that have been generally termed communist. For a while, economists thought it was birth pangs. They praised all sorts of things about the so-called communist countries and said that it was clear that they would overtake the so-called capitalist ones. Even bailing out starving Russians from their self-imposed famine did not seem to have an impact; surely, said many western intellectuals, this is the temporary and necessary adjustment of the factors of production and social consciousness. All the way to the 1980s, western intellectuals were claiming that the soviet economy was growing faster than the U.S. economy, and would clearly surpass it sometime in the future. Reality should not come in the way of good theory, heh?
Meanwhile, the so-called communist countries would adopt some small bourgeois mechanism, like Lenin's N.E.P., and the Chinese Schenzen zone. Of course, while so many in the the west could not see the reality, folks in the so-called communist countries could see it too clearly. In some, they revolted and adopted all sorts of "capitalistic" institutions. They also adopted all sorts of bourgeois values. In other such countries, the leaders held on and continued to call their countries "communist" while doing all the things that the so-called "capitalists" did.
Here's the funny thing that is not so funny: success does not come from the label, but from the reality. And, it does not take purity to create success. We live in a real world, not in some kind of argument that collapses flat with a single contradiction. We live in a world where a person can be free to eat beef, but not to eat pork; where he can be free to set up a store and borrow from his family and to take on partners, but not to pay interest on a conventional loan. Another person, across the border, may be allowed to borrow money, but may not be allowed to build his factory with it unless he obeys all sorts of rules that make his cost double that of the guy who had to take an expensive loan (they both abstain from pork). It is virtually impossible to come up with a single standard objective unit with which to measure the degree of freedom along all the various axes, and combine them in a way that is indisputable.
Nevertheless, beyond all this ambiguity and whirls within whirls the general principle is so clear that only a professor in an ivory tower can deny it and theorize some dream-world of fiction where things will actually be pure and better, the principle is so clear that even the die hard opponents see it and hope to co-opt it, the principle is that wealth is broadly proportional with the degree to which individuals are allowed to pursue that highest calling of man without impediment from priest or politician: the greed for values.
Hairnet reacted to abott1776 in Jerry Seinfeld fights back against multiculturalism/PC
On Yahoo news I found this article:
In it he says about people complaining that his comedy lacks diversity:
"People think it's the census or something? Does this [have to] represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world I live in. If you're funny, I'm interested. If you're not funny, I'm not interested. And I have no interest in race or gender or anything like that."
Go Jerry!, Go!
Hairnet reacted to dianahsieh in Reblogged: Acting Badly Does Not Equal Being Bad Person
Too often, when I say something like, “Mr. X acted unjustly toward Ms. Y” or “Mr. X, I think that you were not honest with Ms. Y,” the reaction of Mr. X (and defenders of Mr. X) is something like , “SO YOU THINK THAT MR. X IS AN UNJUST PERSON!” or “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A LIAR!” (Yes, they’re often angry and yelling.)
Alas, such inferences are wholly unwarranted. The simple fact is that a person might act wrongly — even perhaps violating the basic demands of a virtue — without being a terrible or corrupt or vicious person. Perhaps the person acted in haste, without sufficient forethought. Perhaps the person acted on a mistaken principle. Perhaps the person didn’t see the full effects or implications of his actions. Perhaps the person misunderstands the proper application of the principle. Perhaps the person was ignorant of certain facts about the situation. Perhaps the person thought the principle didn’t apply in that case. And so on.
Basically, a person can act wrongly — meaning, in a way harmful to self or others — without intending to do so. A person might act contrary to a virtue, yet do so honestly.
That’s part of why moral judgments of persons for their actions need to be distinguished from moral judgments of persons for their characters. These are two different kinds of judgments, and they serve two distinct purposes. (That’s a critical point for my case against moral luck.) Of course, these two kinds of judgments are related: judgments of actions are the basis for judgments of character. Nonetheless, a single bad action does not a bad character make — just as a single good action does not a good character make.
Aristotle makes a similar point in Book 5, Chapter 8 of the The Nicomachean Ethics. (Note that to act by “choice” means that the person deliberates beforehand about his best course of action.)
When [a man] acts with knowledge but not after deliberation, it is an act of injustice — e.g. the acts due to anger or to other passions necessary or natural to man; for when men do such harmful and mistaken acts they act unjustly, and the acts are acts of injustice, but this does not imply that the doers are unjust or wicked; for the injury is not due to vice. But when a man acts from choice, he is an unjust man and a vicious man.
Now, I make more allowances than Aristotle does here. Deliberation can go awry for many reasons, even in good people. Still, I agree with Aristotle that a person’s chosen actions reveal his character more clearly than do his hasty, impulsive, or rote actions. Often, when a person deliberates, he ought to know better, and he ought to have acted differently.
As for the people who assume that any moral criticism means an accusation of vice… well, that kind of defensiveness suggests that they damn well intended to do what they did — or, in any case, they’re sure as heck not going to admit that they were wrong. I’d consider that a major red flag in a person.
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Hairnet reacted to Gus Van Horn blog in Reblogged: Where the Experts Aren't
A long time back, I encountered a thread on a discussion board I occasionally browse. The original post asked why there weren't any higher-profile participants in the discussion. Although the discussion board in question isn't about software, a post about the same phenomenon occurring on software discussion boards shed some light on why there might be a dearth of expert opinion in many online discussions.
The post also raises some issues regarding what might be missing from such discussions:
That we're unable to learn from the silent majority of experts casts an unusual light upon online discussions. Just because looking down your nose at C++ or Perl is the popular opinion doesn't mean that those languages aren't being used by very smart folks to build amazing, finely crafted software. An appealing theory that gets frantically upvoted may have well-understood but non-obvious drawbacks. All we're seeing is an intersection of the people working on interesting things and who like to write about it--and that's not the whole story. And this is for a topic about which it can be relatively easy to lay out one's reasoning. On more complex topics, it can take even more time to address a question, meaning there is much more territory for a potential author to cover: More time and less enjoyment, at least for those who aren't interested in rehashing basics.
Needless to say, rudeness or trolling, or even the impression that, say, most of the participants in a discussion are non-objective, will often further discourage expert participation.
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