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PossiblyParanoid

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  1. Sounds to me more like a biological than a chemical agent, and something we'd better stop talking about.
  2. So are you saying then that the government acts absolutely independently from you ? What happens if you get elected to an office, or take a government job ? I don't hold all government officials and employees morally responsible for government oppression. Nor do I hold myself responsible for this. I am not my own enemy. The morally responsible parties are those who hold, support, and contribute to implementing the wrong ideas. (I think I should have said "of the people and by the people".)
  3. Nope. This is only true of a "democracy", and even then, only indirectly. It's the intellectually active leaders who ultimately create governments, by supporting and dissemating the ideas that are considered "acceptable" - most notibly the ideas about what's acceptable: ethics. And it's philosophers (philosophers in fact, not necessarily in name) who lead the intellectuals.
  4. If the government is "by the people and for the people", and you're one of the people, then calling this government the enemy makes you your own enemy, not to mention the rest of the people. The point being, a political solution to this government going wrong can only come after there is a change in the culture. Products produced by slave labor have an unfair - illegal, actually - price advantage over products produced in freedom. These products are being fraudulently offered as "legitimate", and government officials are looking the other way and failing to stop this fraud. Protecting us from fraud is the "government's work". If it were possible to organize a widespread boycott of Chinese goods, it would also be possible to get the people to demand that the government enforce the anti-slavery laws.
  5. Check your premises. A couple fined $94,000 for one-child rule lapse in China
  6. Golitsyn, having worked in the KGB, expertly outlines the propaganda strategies of the Soviets, and shows how they haven't changed substantially, but how their tactics have improved. He also laments that the strategy of disinformation is difficult for Westerner intelligence agents to imagine, let alone effectively identify and track, due to our familiarity with and expectation of an environment of free speech. We'll have to see how Putin proceeds with his new "war on terror". And justly.
  7. I recommend you take a look at Harry Wu's Laogai Research Foundation (Laogai is the vast network of Chinese Communist re-education camps) and see some of the clever ways that Chinese "businessmen" set up front companies through which to "launder" goods obtained from the 4-6 million prisoners of these camps. Do you trust people today (like the former execs at Enron) to have the integrity to diligently examine their Chinese business partner's possible connections to Laogai ? Intelligence experts, such as Anatoliy Golitsyn (see New Lies for Old, and The Perestroika Deception) hold that the Soviet Union has never fallen - that the "fall" was a well executed propaganda ploy, along the lines of the "New Economic Policy" of the 1920's, to entice heavy Western investment, only to eventually nationalize it all. Did any else see the story about the 25 advanced Russian Mig-25 Foxbat fighters that our troops found buried in the sand - cached - around the Iraqi desert ? Who are we really fighting in Iraq ? I guess you can trust Dan Rather to answer that.
  8. If he's not resisting it, what is he doing ? Going to work and earning money ? Who benefits from his work ? Who is providing the currency system ? Who is providing all the infrastructure that makes life possible to him ? I think taking these benefits without doing anything to fight against the dictatorship is clearly sanctioning it.
  9. I was shocked by Brook's talk. I've had to listen to it a few times to see the connections. I think what I was missing that made this seem so shocking was any personal military experience, and a paucity of thought about the whole issue of war and it's nature. Have you given much thought to how you would eliminate the threat of an enemy nation ? How do nations come into existence anyway, and how could an enemy one be eliminated as a threat ? Brook has military experience, so he's had more time to integrate this. War approaches one of those "lifeboat" emergency scenarios, where morality starts to distort and gets unthinkable. I think Rand once said that the proper approach to emergency situations is to end the emergency as soon as possible. I think that's what Brook is getting at - that the context of war is not the same as in peacetime, and the roles and players change, so the wife of the drafted soldier becomes an enemy, regardless of her choice. I think you need to look at the situation not as a case of soldiers acting as judges, juries, and executioners who punish the guilty, but as a nation, a whole society, economy, and culture, coming to the horrible state of total distrust, of seeking the destruction of an enemy society, economy, and culture. We're talking about ending an entire "way of life" - not just a few criminals. This at first seems blatantly collectivist, but the fact is that the only way people actually cooperate is to organize in specific ways, and when such an organization itself becomes a threat to the organization you're part of, your organization has to defend itself, and this organized defense is the job of the military. Our physical interdependence (not to be confused with ethical independence) on others in our nation is a fact, and so it is with the enemy.
  10. While it may not be the civilians' fault that his government has threatened us, it's not our soldiers fault either. If civilians are getting in our sodiers way in the effort to remove the threat, and it becomes a choice between their lives and our soldiers' lives, our soldiers should choose to survive. It's sad that they are being oppressed by this dictator, and sadder that they get harmed in our efforts to defeat the dictator, but the purpose of our going to war is not to free the dictator's victims; it's for national self-defense. I'm amazed that anyone would seriously suggest that dictators can be magically removed from power without harming their means of support. So if the leader that wins attacks a free country, and in defense that free country sends in soldiers, would you expect them to spare you because you wave your spoiled ballot in the air ?
  11. I have found that the most interesting aspects of media presentations is what relevent material is completely omitted. The next most interesting are the ideas and stories that are smeared and marginalized. Rand and Objectivism are frequently in one of these two catagories.
  12. Brook seems pretty clear on his support for a "strong hand" approach. He uses the examples from WWII to show that while it may not engender much support from the local population, it soundly defeats any opposition and insurgency. I don't want to downplay the significance of military theory, but from a big-picture perspective, it looks to me like all this terminology about "soft hand", "fourth generation", "assymetrical", "low-intensity", etc. is just a fancy way to try to recommend waging war without waging war; like having your cake and eating it, too.
  13. I keep reminding myself of the way John Galt describes conspiracies, that the random thugs of the moment who cash in on peoples' demise, are just chance scum riding the torrent... It's difficult sometimes. Those scum can look awfully organized and powerful. But you have to ask yourself - where would they be in a rational society ? and is it worth struggling against them but not the underlying source of any power they may have - bad philosophy ? Shouldn't we instead focus our efforts on rebuilding the dam and stopping the torrent ?
  14. Yes, but you have to be careful about definitions here. For example, fraud is an initiation of force, so when gov agents arrest the perpetrator of fraud it may look like the gov is the initiator, when it fact it was the perpetrator of the fraud who initiated force. Also the threat of force is the initiation of force. If you walk into a bank with a note that says "I have a bomb in this suitcase and I'll set it off if you don't give me X dollars", you've initiatied force. Yes. This is the most common form of it, and the one that makes rational government so necessary. Yes, taxation does imply the initiation of force. I've yet to find anything to be true of all objectivists, but it's clear to me that according to the Objectivist philosophy, taxation is wrong and should be stopped. Taxation has been a traditional part of governments to date, but that doesn't make it inherent. Before we solve the problem of how to fund the government without taxation, we need first to establish that taxation is wrong. Something isn't "right" just because it's "always been there". Look at slavery, the prohibition on women's sufferage, etc. The difference is that corporations are formed to organize productive activity, but government is created to provide the necessary environment in which to perform productive activity. Part of providing the necessary environment is that everyone involved needs to agree to the government's role.
  15. I'd like to echo BurgessLau's "thanks" for posting this. In the context of the talk and years of study of Ayn Rand this statement is clear and profoundly true. But how can we possibly convince the average person of it's truth ? It seems that we should not begin with the above quote. But then again, it might shock them into a discussion ?
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