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tothemax

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  1. tothemax

    Abortion

    'Socially interacting' and 'rational', respectively. Perhaps 'a dummy' or 'a retard' could substitute 'idiot', if the idiot is still 'rational'. Obviously analogies are not going to work here then, since people just reinterpret as they see fit, and use their reinterpretion as a rebuttal. The analogy was concerning 'location of X does not modify nature or existence of X'. Which still has not been rebutted, by the way, you are all refusing to engage. Also, you have called referred to the fetus as 'property', why is that? Is this because you consider mothers to own their children? Until what age? What rights does this ownership deny of the child? Explain 'potential'. Potential what? Like 'an infant is a potential adult'? I understand rights to be a set of rules, concerning interactions between individuals, of which the purpose is to minimize conflicts and the use of force. I'm sure Objectivists will have a more word-beautiful way of putting this, but thats my jist. I consider the set of people who have them to be: 'people'. This debate concerns what is a person, since I'm sure we all agree, if a fetus is a 'person', killing it is murder. If Objectivists hold that killing certain subsets of people, based on traits only, is legitimate, I will take my leave. Who said property rights are arbitrary? Where did you get that? It is no debate to fabricate statements the opposing side supposedly made, and then rebut them. I am debating that the fetus is not a potential human being, but a human being, for the reasons stated in previous posts. 'Holyness' is jibberish, and not being debated here. As a fan of atlas shrugged and Yaron Brook, I hold Objectivists to a higher standard of reasoning than is being demonstrated here. I am disappointed. I will simply state the question again: Why does the physical location of a body of living human cells (a living human body), modify its status as 'being human' 'being a person' etc. Why is it not the case, that the clearest distinction between a human 'not existing yet' and 'existing', is its transition between a cell count of 0 and 1. There is no magic, no voodoo, no divine intervention, which suddenly applies humanity to a baby when it moves through a vagina. It is a human from instant of physical embodyment, not following some 'special' movement of its body through space.
  2. tothemax

    Abortion

    Then we agree that the debate should come down to 'is the baby distinct from its mother'. In which case, why do you hold that the point of physical initiation as a human (i.e. cell count transition of 0 to 1, or 'DNA recombination', if you will), is not valid, versus 'the baby moves from point A to point B (birth)'. The latter is arbitrary, and would not be used as a standard for declaring initiation of the existence of any other thing. Perhaps an analogy, for fun: A factory is producing cars. An employee, takes a sledge hammer to a car, before it can leave the factory. "Oh no boss, it doesn't exist yet". No, the statement could be equaly applied to socialism and objectivism (if it were true), hence it cannot describe objectivism. Some may be outlawed, this would be a legal technicality. On the last point, I don't know: perhaps you could help, how does the law resolve the following conflict: Two men are in a trap. Each man has a lever. The trap will release them in 5 minutes unless one of them pulls a lever. Man A pulls his lever first. Is this currently classified as murder under common law? Again, this getting ahead, it is a specific situation - where we havent even agreed on the basics. You never seen a happy dog, an angry dog, a fearfull dog? 'Higher-level' is abstract. Is the crow, which waits for traffic lights to change so it can place a nut on the road, to be broken when traffic resumes, forming 'higher-level concepts'? Maybe, maybe not. Is it 'happy' when it succeeds? Probably. Is it afraid of being run over? Likely. Is it not merely the magnitude of the capacity to reason that is changing, animal to human? So I can kill hermits and idiots? Stab again.
  3. tothemax

    Abortion

    OK, so in an objectivist state, if this is the rule, I will be permitted to kill demented people? I will be permitted to kill retarded people? I will be permitted to kill any infant that is not old enough to be independent (i.e. work to live)? I will be permitted to kill the crippled, who depend on the charity of others? Secondly, given that wild animals are independent, why are they not permitted rights? They posess the basic rationality required to live, namely 'keep out of danger, eat, sex, sleep'. Thats better than some humans. [i am not arguing animals should have rights]. 'Viable fetus' is a terrible distinction to use. It will likely be possible (and is definately theoretically possible) in the future to grow a fetus, from first cell, entirely in an artificial womb. No baby, be it in the womb, or outside the womb, can survive without someone (mother or otherwise) deliberately sustaining its life. It is simply easier to see the body of a grown baby die, than it is to see the body of a 3week from conception baby die. Objectism must support the 'very late term abortion' (infanticide) AND abortion, or neither. Should probably be rephrased, given that a socialist could say the same thing.
  4. Kind of what I assumed, i.e. he was thinking of 'the women was naked, and you were naked, and she was grinding her crotch into yours, and saying 'I don't consent'', but he forgot to speak those details out loud. In that situation, yeah its not rape, since it would be akin to saying 'I am not eating' with a mouth full of cake.
  5. tothemax

    Abortion

    So my response is, 'read this 43 page essay'. I have skimmed over it (I'm a busy man, and I have summarized my position, not posted a link to an anti-abortion pdf), and it is aweful. If I were opening with a statement 'Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception', I would imediately address 'why conception is less valid a distinction than birth'. Instead it is skips this step, and talks about the negative effects of ascribing 'personhood' to unborn fetuses, and declares the primary force behind 'abortion is wrong' to be the Church. The Church has nothing to do with this. Religion is entirely irrelevant. A fetus, a baby, a human, are all the same physical thing, all that differs is cell count and physical location. The forum will kindly address, directly, why the movement of a human body from inside a womb to outside modifies its rights.
  6. tothemax

    Abortion

    This thread is pretty long, which indicates difficulty on reaching the correct answer. May I put forth my position, and could someone explain to me how it is wrong: The location and size of a human does not modify its rights, assuming it did not, of its own volition, move there itself. Hence, the rights of a human in a womb (created there due to the actions of its mother), do not change as its size (cell count) and location (born or non-born) change. Therefore, abortion is murder. My response to common rebuttals are as follows: It is the right of the woman to choose what to do with her own body. The baby is not 'her body'. If the standard is 'tissue connection', then a born baby with an attached cord is still fair game for murder. So too is a siamese twin to its twin. It is better for a poor woman to abort, than to bring a child into a bad environment. A mother does not gain the right to kill people due to her lower quality of life. A person does not loose the right to live because 'we think its better that way'. It is OK to kill a fetus because 'it is not a rational being'. This is a common Objectivist position, from what I have seen. I can't think of a worse reason. "I shot Bob", "Thats Illegal! Your going to jail!", "No, he was irrational", "Oh, thats OK then". Are we to have 'rationality boards', where Objectivists pass judgement at murder cases as to whether the victim was rational or not? A fetus is not a person. Attempting to declare 'personhood', based on a certain stage of development, is rather silly. It reminds me of Peter Singers "infants are not persons because they are not rational". People are not uniform, how could you possibly work out how many days since conception mean 'the fetus is now a person'. Any attempt to declare a fetus a person at a certain stage after conception is an arbitrary declaration. The only objective way to determine when a person (such as yourself) came into existence is to trace your cell count back to zero. The transition between 0 cells and 1 cell, is 'I then commensed existence'. I look forward to the forums response.
  7. I'm kind of suprised that Objectivists, of all people, are voting only 13-7 in favour of the gold standard. I can't image why this would be. Sure, ultimately Objectivists may wish for eventual 'monetary neutrality', i.e. the government does not efforce the use of any particular thing as being 'money'. But claiming the Gold Standard is 'immoral' is unbelievable. Prior to the (worst president in America's history) FDR, Fed notes were debts denominated in Gold. Prior to the Fed, banks issued debts (bank notes, deposits etc) denominated in gold (or silver), and the 'dollar' was defined as unit weight of gold. Incidently, prior to that, the 'dollar' was defined as a unit of silver (based on the Spanish Milled Dollar). Now, bank notes were, prior to the Fed, debt contracts. When the Fed was established, banks were banned from issuing bank notes, and instead had to use notes issued by the Fed. Those notes, were also, debt contracts (denominated in dollars, which were a unit weight of gold). Now, FDR effectively enforced (in 1933 I believe) a general contractual default - that is, you can no longer demand settlement of your Fed notes (for the gold the indicate you are owed). Not only that, but he made it illegal to own gold. He was pretty much one of the worst men to have found his way into power in America, ever. The logical stance of Objectivism should be to follow the the interventions backwards, to rectify the violations of the contractual obligations and the government interventions in the market, to the greatest extent that can be done. Namely: Return the term 'dollar' to a gold weight based definition Reinstitute the status of Fed notes as demand debts as per (1). Incidently, Fed notes are still counted on the Fed balance sheet as 'liabilities', something I always find amusing. Remove the 'legal tender' status of Fed notes. Annihalate the Fed. The hardest bit would be re-establishing redeemabilty (1 & 2). Obviously $35/oz is impossible, so the government would have to determine a rate which could be reliably redeemed, given the size of the current monetary base, Fed gold reserves, and likely reserve ratios of banks as they started to receive the gold and issuing their own bank notes. Unfortunately, this (final) 'central planning' step would be needed to eradicate the current central planning of the money supply. Thoughts?
  8. It seems that Objectivists are more concerned with righteous statements of how idealy things should be first, rather than addressing physical reality first. I assume it is this reason why my points focussing on the physical aspects of applied Objectivism seem to be being blatently ignored. This reminds me of how the communists rejected outright any explanation as to why economically their system couldn't work, and thought that stating how it would be would be enough to force a physical manifestation thereof. But anyway, I will address your points: That is insufficient. Please take it down to first priniciples as to what exactly you are refering to by 'foreigner', 'US', 'Citizen', 'government'. Yes a foreigner ought to have the same rights, in the nation to which he was born, secured by the government of that nation. Rights by themselves do not need a government to 'create', as though they were a loaf of bread or something, yes that is right. A right is the obligation of the collective to the individual (not vice-versa which is leftist). However, as I have addressed in my previous post, they will not preserve themselves. A focal point of power, a power-monopoly, if you will, is required to preserve the rule of rights. When governments fall, states disintegrate into smaller states, each with a power-monopoly of some sort. Eventually, we reach the gang land. That is reality. If you are saying that a foreigner has the same rights as a US citizen, you are saying that the US borders encompass the world, and since both of these are physical concepts (united states and the world (common term for the earth, or perhaps the surface area of the earth), you are saying US = world, which is 1=2. What is Israel? What is a nation? What is a culture? How big does a police force have to be to fight a nation within the state, which has become beligerant? 5% of the nation? Israel has a choice: it can hold the line, or it can follow the fate of the Afrikaner, and slowly disappear, with everyone morally posturing all the way. Objectivism was first and foremost, born from Rands rejection of leftist economics and philosopy. In Atlas Shrugged, her masterpiece, the book which more than an inch thick devoted how much time to the nature of nations, language, ethnicity, races, states, the physical nature of a human as a species, genes, etc? Objectivism is perfect at its core, but these are the edges where it starts to break down - and it seems that Objectivists consider objectivism (as it was when Rand made it) just as correct when applied to anything, when infact its central concern (Rands central concern when measure as pages of atlas shrugged) was economics and the relationship between men thereof. I have logic, and the records of Communism are my data. Logic insists that voluntary payment for a military, police and judiciary can not work, since (and this is the tragedy of the commons) the individual is better off at the time if he doesn't pay it, since there is no result for him after he does (thats him not putting his sheep on the commons). Now, if he does think long term, but he sees that others aren't paying it (thats the commons being overgrazed bit), he certainly had no reason to pay it, since the state hasn't enough power to repel an attack anyway, so he may as well enjoy his money whilst he is still free. It is the inverted pendulum. Incorrect. It does not, ultimately it is species-collectivist. And specifically, you, as an objectivist, will treat others differently based on their age and their gender. You wouldn't treat a baby as you would an adult, and you wouldn't marry a woman if you are straight. Everyone is decended from an immigrant from Africa, everyone is decended from a non-human. So what? My point is that nations exist so long as they preserve commonality. An open border, almost by its definition, declares the nation invalid. Only a selective and moderated immigration policy is reasonable, anything else is national suicide. There is a difference between a million English immigrants to the US, or a million Chinese immigrants to Singapore, and a million Mexican immigrants to the US, or a million Somali immigrants to singapore. Its called social cohesion. You can't reprogram your immigrants with Objectivistic beliefs. The inverse also applies, but I am following neither (and I am well far from being a collectivist). My capacity to understand the nature of reality by rational process is my philosophical foundation.
  9. Nation refers to a collective of people, in the same way as 'race' or 'gender' does, and these each have a physical basis. Nations vary in the clarity of the distinction, but it includes common language, common descent, common culture, and to some extent common beliefs (e.g. religous societies). They almost always have a state associated with them, and definately had one associated with them at some point in the past, since these things are required to preserve the commonalities. The most sure way (and perhaps only way) to for such a collective (the nation) to destroy itself is to open its borders, presuming the quality of life within that state is superior to its neighbours. In the 'etc etc', the Arabs, offering a lower labour price than the Israelis (since Israel is better, average wages are higher for everything than they are in the Arab states) migrate into Israel at the request of the greedy Israeli employers. Since there is always a larger number of the lower-paid jobs than the higher ones, this constitutes a large migration in percentage terms. You now have a large number of Arabs, who came from an Arab culture, nation, etc, present in Israel. If for any reason they should become beligerant, nationalistic, and wish to 'reclaim' things, the Israelis have lost the only effective device with which they could defend themselves and continue national existence - a border, which they could stop people crossing. Israel is the Jewish state, a state founded by the Jews for the Jews, that is the reality. Should this demography cease, it shall return to being Arabia. And what possesses one to think that each of these Arabs suddenly sheds all of his beliefs the moment he crosses the border, and becomes an Objectivist? He need only be concerned with his self-interest at the time he crosses the border. Believing in memetics or not, one must see that this causes a demographic-idealogical recession of an Objectivist state, an the expansion of the neighbours who are not. I would prefer to opposite - an expanding objectivist state, where objectivists emmigrate continuously, making neighbour states more objectivist. You said it yourself, the immigrants aren't citizens, and thus don't have rights in the destination state. A market must be preserved from force by a force-producing entity strong enough to repel it, namely, a Government + military. A market with no government shall become a battle-ground, not because of philosophical deficiencies in the individuals, but because individuals can not defend themselves from gangs, and thus the purely individualist system is unstable. Since the market is a collective of freely-trading individuals, it must be paid for collectively, namely, with a tax. There is no other way, Objectivism must be grounded in its metaphysics first and foremost: reality. The immigrant is not within the government's jurisdiction, and thus does not have rights prior to stepping over the border, regardless of the citizen who wants to sell to him. You are saying that he need only place his foot down on the otherside of the border and then he has the rights. I say this means the border doesn't exist, since it is entirely artificial. What makes the border 'be there'? How about the US simply draw its border out into the Atlantic and around Africa? Why not? It takes only a pen and a map, the straight lines of the African states can tell you that. That would give all of those people full individual rights, and we can then go there and start blowing up all the bad guys who violate the rights.
  10. If you say so. I can choose to leave the city and live in the wilderness, or I can choose not to trade and die. There is no voluntary exchange of any sort if there is no state apparatus to protect it from bad men. An opt-in taxation scheme will suffer the tragedy of the commons. You can't say 'you will want to', communists said that in their tragedy of the commons. Donating money to the state will look just the same to the individual in an Objectivist utopia as in a Communist one - you are out of pocket and the resulting change isn't immediately obvious. The intent of the immigrant (individual) is to increase his position, the effect of migration collectively is to modify the content and nature of a nation. Depends on the price of basic labour. Someone from an inferior country is always willing to provide a lower price. So I take it that objectivism believes that a world in which there is a constant immigration stream from inferior nations to superior ones, constantly, changing only when relative superiority changes, and that this would cause progression rather than regression of mankind? Or, dare I ask, is it the standpoint of objectivism that all men are equal, save only the thoughts in their heads? And why would the arabs be criminals? People are not criminal because they are arab. Arabs could simply steadily move across the border (thereby nullifying its existence), offer a lower price for their labour, etc etc, and render Israel non-existent. What is Israel? Why do people in this forum speak of nations as though they belief in them as valid concepts, whilst simultaneously rejecting the concept? Why not refer to the US, Israel, as 'Areas' rather than states. You do not actually believe in the concept of states plural, you believe in a one-world state. Objectivia if you will, where there is one nation, one ethnic group, and one culture. A homogenous goo , much like the communists wanted (or 'Amorphous mass' as Brook put it). This is all very good when taken from an individualist perspective. But most russians were not like Rand. Had the US opened its borders and had the USSR not had closed-borders, it wouldn't be the US. It would be Russia-US. Why should a nation have to sacrafice its existence because another nation went insane? Why should a nation sacrafice its existence because another nation produces less and its citizens see that yours produces more? Which brings me to my next question: since individualism is the primary basis of Objectivist arguments, how far does Objectivism go as to what can be an individual? Saying 'only humans' is inherently species-collectivist. Only those entities that are rational you say? Then what is the standpoint of objectivism on retarded people, insane people, animals which demonstrate rationality, a rational computer etc? If you include these things into the collection of 'individuals', what then is the purpose of rationality? If you do not, why the species-collectivism? Thankyou for you this debate, TTM
  11. OK, Neither of you two nice gentlemen actually addressed my issues over the two points, you merely reiterated the standpoints I am questioning. Could you please directly address the specifics of the points? This statement appears circular. "One's country" seems to imply an ownership of sorts, perhaps you actually mean "the section of the earth in which one's person resides". Which is my issue: what is the objectivist standpoint on nations. Does objectivism object to the US being demographically seceeded to mexico or not? According to what I perceive to be your current ethical standpoint, it is perfectly reasonable for the entire population of africa, central asia, west asia, and south asia to migrate into, say, east asia and europe. Does this, on its face, seem rationally good? I disagree that it is that clear-cut. If there were only a sales tax, taxation could be viewed in the same way one views a spread in currency trading - paying for the use of the market. The market has costs - namely the state apparatus I described, which are necessary for the market to actually exist. You remove the judicary and the police and the men with the biggest guns control property ownership - not free trade. You remove the military and you are automatically at the whim of any non-individualist nation nearby. These things are real. You can't simply opt-out by refusing to pay tax - since every trade you do is part of this market. You can only opt out by not trading at all (and thus probably die), or if you like you can go and live somewhere desolate that is not under state control (where there is no such market). Thankyou both for your responses TTM
  12. Hi all, Just have some things I would like to clarify about the beliefs of objectivists. As a newby to this forum I guess Ill introduce my self a bit. My exposure to Ayn Rand 'Atlas Shrugged' novel was through a route that seems quite different to that I have heard others describe (read it at school, recommended by a friend etc). I more or less purchased the book off amazon.com when I read the description, for the purpose of mental relief, if you will. When I read the book, rather than it 'changing my life' as many have described, it simply struck me as a beautiful expression of what I already believed in - namely, the primacy of rationality, the insanity of the left, and the stupidity of religon. As someone who rejected religon more or less instantly in my youth (despite religous schooling), by simply observing that they were talking complete jibberish and nonsense, and having rejected socialism as clearly being an evil enterprise of theft and death, I enjoyed the book immensly. However: I fail to understand Ayn Rands concept of taxation, which seems to be: "none; never". I looked a bit on google, and it doesn't seem that she really ever addressed this that thoroughly. The concept of no-tax seems simply and fundamentally impossible to me. Taxes are required to support the state apparatus - namely, cops, judges, troops and the government. These must exist to protect a national system of individual rights. I see this tax as simply being a purchase of these services... I also fail to understand how objectivists, especially Mr Brook (saw him on youtube), can consider open-immigration as an ideal. The idea of open-immigration is abhorrent to me. On this issue, objectivism seems to be matching communism with regards to the question of nations and races. The nature of a nation, the average lifestyle and level of civilisation it enjoys etc, depends upon the nature of the men who comprise it. Immigration is of course, mostly from bad to good countries, and thus open-immigration favours civil degeneration. Mr Brook confuses me immensly because he talks about how Israel is good, he is pro-israel etc, but he also believes in open-immigration. To what exactly is he referring, when he speaks of "Israel"? If it opened its borders, it would be demographically annihalated as quick as you can say 'democracy'. If someone could clarify these two points for me I would be very thankful. Cheers, TTM
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