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Minarchist

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  1. One interesting thing to note in the Elder Scrolls is the more metaphysical battle between the elves and the humans. The elves believe that in order to be free of the "Material Prison" they must destroy the spirit of man, and Talos is the symbol of man as god. The humans are fighting for their right to survive. The Imperials are cowards who wished to deal with the Thalmor by concession. What they conceded was the right of man to worship man. The Nords know that this "practical concession" is a devastating spiritual defeat. Perhaps it is largely wishful projection on my part, but the Stormcloaks are some of the most inspiring heroes in video games that I've seen in a long time. Man-worshippers who fight for their right to survive.
  2. I actually posted this elsewhere, but while there it was primarily intended to educate, here the intention is to subject my writing form (and, if a flaw is found, by explanation itself) to critique. Obviously if I teach anyone here something that certainly wouldn't be a downside. So, here it is: Keynesianism has certainly found it's place among academic economists today. No, they might not all call themselves Keynesians, and they might disagree with Keynes on nearly every issue, but not many of them object to what I call "Keynes' fundamental flaw." My purpose here is to expose and destroy this flaw. Keynesianism is the view that "aggregate demand for goods" might, at times, be "insufficient." Insufficient, that is, to meet "aggregate supply." This means, in other words, that sometimes consumers don't want to purchase the goods offered by suppliers at current price levels (in relation to their wealth). In the Keynesian view, nothing is worse than to allow what is inevitable in this case. The businesses, no longer making money because their goods are not being bought, start to close or downsize, unemploying many people and making the problem even worse. These newly unemployed people, having lost their wages, will consume even less, causing more businesses to close or downsize, causing more people to lose their wages, on and on. Keynesianism demands, in such cases, that the government intervene and attempt to increase "aggregate demand." Public works projects and the extension of credit are the two primary means of achieving this end that Keynesians put forth. It should be noted that Keynesians don't always advocate such measures during what they call "general gluts." Sometimes, Keynesians advocate measures to "stabilize" the economy even during times when there is no general glut, but for all intents and purposes both cases are one in the same: The Keynesians wish to "soften" what I call "economic re-calculation." You see, Keynes considered his "point of departure" with "laissez-faire" economics to be his rejection of "Say's Law." Say's Law states that "products are paid for with products." This certainly shouldn't be taken to mean that transactions are always, in fact, barters. As a general rule people pay for goods with money. But why is that money accepted? Simply: Because it can be used to acquire yet more goods. Thus, it is ultimately products that people trade. When you pay me five bucks for a hamburger, you're actually paying me whatever it is that I use that five bucks on. But it is under precisely this point that Say's law is contended. Keynes argues that money IS demanded for it's own sake, rather than for it's value in purchasing goods. "Look at financial experts," say the advocates of his theory, "THEY often buy different currencies on the market for the purpose of preserving their wealth. They demand money for it's own sake." But this is really an incredible failure to recognize the meanings of terms. What does it mean for them to "preserve their wealth" in money? What they are preserving, in fact, is their purchasing power. After all, if that money lost it's purchasing power, they wouldn't have preserved their wealth at all, but lost it. The money, STILL, is valued for what it can purchase, not for it's own sake. The investor bought that particular form of money because he believed that it would better preserve his purchasing power than whatever he traded for it. But how does this relate to the problem of the general glut? Keynes' attack on Say's Law, in fact, turns Say's Law into a strawman, and in so doing makes it helpless to destroy the theories he advocates. Saving, or "hoarding", meaning the act of abstaining from purchasing anything with money acquired, proves that supply does NOT create it's own demand (the negation of his formulation of Say's Law.) It is demand, under this view, that fuels economic growth. It is said that Say's Law would imply that there is never a general glut. In fact, many formulate it that way: "There can never be a general glut." Say himself offers the answer: "a glut can take place only when there are too many means of production applied to one kind of product and not enough to another." And so the strawman is accepted by mainstream economists through and through. But Say's view of a glut might come with a different solution to the problem than Keynesianism, and indeed an explanation as to why the Keynesian solution is counter-productive. A glut means that the current supply is not what is demanded by the consumers, and so they don't consume all of it. Resources have been wasted in a certain field of production. But Keynes' view of the situation is inaccurate, through his use of the term "aggregate" he fails to see the root of the problem. Current production is not in profitable fields, and it is by the profit mechanism that leads production into what might be called "economic" fields of production, those which yield the greatest value for the cost. The Keynesian solution, the increased purchasing power of the consumers, results in consumption being "stuck" in unproductive fields. These fields, as Keynes intended, remain profitable. Those sectors don't shed jobs. This, of course, comes at the cost of future purchasing power, since the two primary means of achieving this are public works projects and the extension of credit. These can happen only be funded by taxation (either immediate or future taxation) or money printing. Taxation obviously takes money out of the economy, the opposite of Keynes intent, so he generally supports future taxation, so the cost is for the future to handle. Money printing will eventually cause price inflation, again meaning that future purchasing power will be less yet. But Say's view of a glut implies something different. There is no use of the term "aggregate" here to hide the root of the issue. The wrong products are being produced. It can be seen, then, that the unemployment and closure of businesses is in fact a necessary medicine. Capital must be shifted from the fields which lack adequete demand, and into fields which lack adequete supply. When the mainstream economists say that they want to soften "the amplitude of the business cycle" what they actually mean is that they want to slow this process of re-calculation. So the Keynesian economic theory causes harm to the economy in the long run, because capital is tied up in uneconomic projects (especially public works projects). I would like, specifically, to pay homage to the various Austrian economists, particularly Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt.
  3. Absolutely. I can only listen to her recorded speeches and read her books so many times.
  4. I wasn't aware of the distinction. But even if it exists the primary problem here remains the same: I fear that I'm justifying my actions with reference to my emotions rather than reason.
  5. Trying to be an Objectivist is alot of work. It's a hard standard to hold yourself to. So is the justification for having friends "Havings friends makes me happy"? What's bothering me here is that I can't really justify these desires rationally. Let's put it another way: Having a fulfilling romantic relationship based on the virtues of both my partner and myself makes me happy. Is that the justification for it? Given my metaphysical premises it just seems kind of given that I would value such a relationship, but I can't seem to explain why in intellectual terms. Does that make sense at all?
  6. So is emotion (happiness) the standard of value here? If so, am I mistaken for seeing that as a problem?
  7. 2046: Thank you, I'm still thinking. No I didn't. That is most certainly not a summary of the Objectivist ethics, not at all. It's an aspect of the code as it pertains to social relationships, but even then it is only an indication.
  8. The personal views of many (or even most) Objectivists on homosexuality have nothing to do with the validity of the philosophy itself. You should accept or reject the philosophy on it's merits, not the unrelated personal views of it's followers or even it's original philosopher.
  9. I got asked a question today that I wasn't able to answer. I was asked, what precisely is the code an Objectivist must follow? I wasn't asked to prove the Objectivist ethics, I wasn't asked a specific question about a specific scenario, just, "What is the Objectivist code of ethics, summarized?" Let me summarize and we'll see if I have it right so far: An individual man's life qua man is his ultimate standard of value. His nature demands that he adheres strictly to reason, and that he applies it to the problem of survival (which means, he ought to produce.) But it's here that I start to feel incapable of really arguing any further for his other major values. Why should man seek romantic love at all? Friendship? Art? I realize that the question is absurd, I know that man should seek romantic love, friendship, and art. But I can't really explain why with reference to facts beyond my own emotions. My best explanation is the following: Once a man has integrated a rational metaphysics and consequently has benevolent sense of life, certain psychological values just follow, and determine what he should pursue. But this doesn't seem proper. I seem to be saying, in essence: "Once you've integrated a rational worldview, your emotions can guide you." Can anyone help? Am I totally misguided here?
  10. I understand what you're saying, but not how it applies here. In the same manner that all Objectivists are capitalists though most capitalists aren't Objectivists, all Objectivists are libertarians though most libertarians aren't Objectivists. Libertarianism is a set of specific beliefs. As I understand these beliefs, all Objectivists accept them. If a man accepts libertarian beliefs, he is a libertarian.
  11. Diplomacy is a proper means of protecting the rights of the citizens, both by doing what one can to prevent aggression AND to secure free trade. I go a step furter than most Objectivists (as far as I know), and believe that the government should take CAUTIOUS steps to include a larger geographical area under it's authority. Why? Because I think that freedom won't be perfect until there is a single PROPER government. Again, this must be an incredibly cautious process. For obvious reasons, it would be foolish currently for the US to annex China (as an example), even IF it were a plausible task to undertake.
  12. How so? What I'm saying is that I don't see how Objectvists AREN'T libertarians, under this definition. I think Objectivists fit under a number of definitions: Minarchists, libertarians, capitalists. That said, I know that most Objectivists don't believe this. I don't understand why. Before I was explicitly an Objectivist I was incredibly close to it. I accepted the following: Ethics: Man's proper state is that of freedom. Not as consistent as Objectivism (it was a non sequitur in the context of my knowledge). However, Objectivists DO share that particular belief, and in my opinion this makes us libertarians. For whatever reason, most Objectivists disagree, and I'm trying to understand the nature of this disagreement. Metaphysics: Objective reality. Epistemology: Though I admit I hadn't heard the term "epistemology" at the time, I believed that reason is the proper means of cognition. Politics: If man's proper state is freedom, it is necessary that some force ensures this state as well as it can (government). My point here is that I don't understand how Objectivists aren't "libertarians" in the same manner that we're "capitalists". We fit under both definitions, as I understand them. In fact, I've always believed the two to be inseperable, never accepting such ideas as anarchist libertarianism or socialist libertarianism or other such nonsense.
  13. I never really understood the Objectivist attitude towards libertarianism, in some regards. Obviously, I'm very against anarchists and "utilitarian libertarians" (which I believe is a contradiction). See, before I even heard of Objectivism I was a libertarian, and the definition I accepted of the term was "one who believes that every person has an ethical right to be free from coercion". Is this where the split exists? Do most Objectivists not accept this definition?
  14. Simply, what constitutes harassment should be defined in plain language, and free of arbitrary numbers such as these.
  15. Yes... Ayn Rand didn't make the distinction, and neither do I. It's completely useless.
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