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thewarrant

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  1. I'm not huge on anime, but I've always had a soft spot for Cowboy Bebop. I never had a chance to finish the entire series, which I have no good excuse for since there aren't that many episodes, but I find JMeganSnow's comparison to Firefly agreeable. As a side note, I initially thought the dog's name was "Ayn" as opposed to "Ein." If only...
  2. Thank you Mindy for the balanced critique. You've helped me see where I added words and phrases carelessly, believing them innocent, only to see that they've mangled the intended meaning. As for the other issues... For the Advanced Swimming section, I kept envisioning my swim recent class, which was actually Survival Swimming. (I'm very bad with water. ) So in my mind, the "sharking" wasn't happening in the context of an intense lap race, but in a very unrestricted learning environment, where that kind of hazing could happen. Context changes everything, so that was a glaring mistake on my part. Rex is just a classmate. This work was for a school assignment, so I was restricted with my maximum word count. Anyway, even without additional words, I thought it would be assumed that he was just another jerk that the protagonist sees everyday--except of course that there is only day. Hmm. Again, everything else is greatly helpful, and I especially agree about a revised ending. Your suggestions have gotten my mind working. Thanks again.
  3. I'm a bit confused. You say that there's no need for a government, yet you still want the courts and the police. If you'll look at DavidOdden's precise definition of "government," you'll see that the existence of a court system or of a police force necessarily implies the existence of a government, whether you want to call it that or not. That is, unless you mean those publicly funded institutions are somehow not interrelated/exclusive--which means they're ultimately competitors. If you meant an exclusive institution, then your description of voluntary funding for the courts and police is what the Objectivist position entails, yet your first sentence makes it seem like your offering the voluntary funding as an alternative. It seems like you might be using "government" in a very different sense than what we mean. Any clarification? Well, they could stop funding the branch directly, but what's to stop fresh funds from being siphoned away from a thriving branch? Ah, the possibilities of a monopoly on power. Maybe you just don't like to see people suffering, but a voluntarily funded charity branch of the government is very unlikely to do a more effective job than a well-established institution. Again this is all peripheral to the fundamental argument. The expansion is merely an arbitrary one. With no objective basis, where do you draw the line? What if Lady Gaga, and some hip bureaucratic friends, thought it'd be convenient to have a branch dedicated to the spread of her music? Donations could be used to fund her high-budget videos, and fans could submit wacky clothing designs. It may sound silly, but there's nothing to stop it form happening.
  4. An explosion of light and sound shatters the dark nothing of sleep. I squint at the glowing pinpricks of light, at the fuzzy circles drifting like infant planets. After I silence my alarm and put on my glasses, the smudges collide, forming new shapes, and I realize where I am... Earth. I hop from my bunk into the primordial chaos of my room, sidestepping the bubbling puddle of my prokaryotic roommate, Bob. He won’t attend class today. In fact, he won’t do much at all for a while. All he ever wants is sex, which - sadly - is a lone operation in his monocellular book. Needless to say, I won’t be returning to the room until he’s evolved a little. Once in the humid jungle of the quad, I walk by some of the most disgusting insects imaginable. Many of the slimy creatures that I sidestep are carriers of deadly diseases, and you’d swear that they had spent the morning writhing in mud. Others - the ticks and mosquitoes - survive only by leeching money from their parents. I try hard to repress my urge to squash each and every one of them. In Advanced Swimming, the people aren’t much better. Most are naturals, having spent so much of their lives in the water that, when it comes to other sports, they flounder pathetically. A few guys remark on my pasty skin and slim physique and give me the kind nickname, “Worm.” They spend the rest of the period sharking in my wake, tearing out nice chunks of my self-esteem. The dullness in their immense eyes and perpetually gaping mouths is the only thing that consoles me. They’re the people who would fall for any vice—hook, line, and sinker. The ones always up to their gills in alcohol and pills. By Political Science, my mood drops even more. My classmates, though still intellectually unremarkable, are now infinitely more vicious. As our ancient Pterodactyl of a professor explains the meaning of “dictatorship” Vicious Vicky claws eagerly at her desktop. She roars at the mention of raw power and, noticing my worried looks, smiles me that razor smile, pretending that nothing has happened. When the professor squawks at a sleepy Stegosaurus in the back of the class, Rex eyes her ancient leathery breasts. Rex doesn’t really mind that she’s practically prehistoric. To him, women are just pieces of meat to be devoured anyway. Wistfully I imagine an asteroid crashing into his head. After lunch - the memory of Political Science long extinct - I’m in Evolutionary Biology. The class is certainly fascinating, but it somehow seems to drag on for centuries. The experience is only made worse by my Neanderthal classmates. Though they may have something to say, they only grunt and wave their hairy arms furiously when called upon. Some of the lively ones thump a Bible against their chests while they bellow. With peers like this, I sometimes wonder if I’m fit to survive another day at this school. When I return to the room, I’m surprised to find Bob reading in his bed. He looks a great deal wiser with Aristotle in his hands, and when I crawl into my bunk, we begin to wax philosophical on life - on birth, friendship, love, betrayal, virtue. We debate a whole host of isms - feudalism, capitalism, romanticism, solipsism, communism, skepticism. The talk is exhilarating but exhausting, and Bob is soon fast asleep. As I reach to take my glasses off, I feel alright for the first time all day - almost like I’ve got everything figured out. Then, suddenly, my vision blurs, and the solar system of shapes fragments and smears as my entire universe collapses into nothing.
  5. Objectively, what gives rise to the necessity of government? In The Virtue of Selfishness, Rand explains: Without such an institution, what occurs? Men, many of whom are sadly driven by whim or the imaginary edicts of divine phantoms, would have no choice but to personally wield the power of force (not unlike a Jedi? ) in the protection of their rights. These men of mixed ideology are practically guaranteed to have different conceptions of "rights" and what constitutes their violation--and that's assuming they even acknowledge their existence. Anarchy would inevitably ensue, bodies pile, and the rights of none would be protected. So we obviously need a government. By very strictly (and objectively) defining its limitations and applications we evade anarchy, as well as abuses of power, especially with the 2nd amendment. Beyond that fundamental sort of answer, I'd also offer that arbitrarily expanding the scope of such a vital institution increases the potentiality for its corruption. As a potentially bad analogy, if you build an elegant but simple tool shed, where everything serves a structural function, and then you decide randomly to toss a dozen gargoyles on the roof, you're creating undue stress and threatening its longevity Best to leave it as it is. And I suppose you could argue that the beauty of the decorations outweighs the damage done. The difference is that government is more important, more powerful, and more lethal than a tool shed. It directly affects everyone, and has no place for arbitrary/optional values. As for this part of your post: I'd imagine that most of these foundations wouldn't need someone to go through a burdensome process to set it up, because private charities already exist in the real world. And if a certain form of charity didn't exist, that's no justification to make it some governmental adjunct.
  6. Observable behavior is a useful standard when judging others. With an egoistic undercurrent for your judgments and actions, observable behavior is a nice measurable means of determining how the person under judgment will affect your life. Still, it's also important to keep in mind that, on some level, advocacy is an observable action, and few people keep their ideas confined within their own head. Mindlessly proselytizing a dangerous idea, however tenuous a grasp you actually have on it, still amounts to urging death into the world, especially if any of your converts are active and consistent evaders. What do we make of this?
  7. Thanks, DavidOdden. The distinction between not working to see versus working not to see was elucidating. As a corollary question, if the evidence tells you that the man under scrutiny is merely a passive accepter, how would you treat him? Initially, I thought to suggest a benefit-of-the-doubt approach, perhaps by conversing with him and offering him reason, but I fear the shroud of passivity may be impenetrable. I suppose the degree of effort (if any) you expend hinges on the full context of your relationship with him, in light of any of his other virtues.
  8. I recently read Peikoff's "Fact and Value" and found it to be a brilliant rebuttal of the travesty of Kelley's positions. Still, I'm having trouble imagining how one would actually apply some of the Peikoff's abstractions. Right away, Peikoff posits that fact and value cannot be sundered: When applied to realm of judging men, this is the principle of justice. A man who holds a true idea is praiseworthy, whereas a man holding a false idea deserves condemnation. In regard to truth and falsity, Peikoff makes mention of a third possibility, an idea embraced whimsically, devoid any process of reasoning: In the preceding quotation, I personally added the underlining because I'm curious how this arbitrary idea should be judged by an external examiner. If I am judging a man with no grounding for his Marxism, a tenet which I know to be false and evil, do I judge him to a lesser degree than I would an academic Marxist? Certainly anyone holding such an arbitrary idea, regardless of its specific content, is automatically morally culpable by virtue of the fact that they're abdicating reality in favor of caprice and faith, but are they evil to the same degree as someone who reasoned his way to the evil position? Is there even any objective basis for degrees of evil? Maybe there's some relevant principle in Peikoff's article that I'm just not grasping. Hopefully someone else can clarify the issue a little bit.
  9. Right now I'm working on a dystopian fantasy, but I don't plan on limiting myself genre-wise. Fantasy would probably be most comfortable, but I also have plans to write a sci-fi novel and a modern thriller. Do you have any work posted here? I'd like to read some sometime.
  10. Thanks for the welcome! I'm sure I'll find a lot of value here. Maybe I'll even post some of my writing at some point.
  11. Hello everyone. My name's Jeffrey, and I wanted to post a personal introduction for anyone that is interested. Intellectually, I've grown tremendously over the last few years. In middle school, I explicitly rejected religion, turning instead towards a misguided skepticism, which after a few years culminated in a miserable nihilism. My senior year of high school,I purchased a used copy of Atlas Shrugged after reading a scathing book review which branded Rand as "the most evil woman on earth." Naturally, I had to have the book. Beyond that, an intelligent acquaintance whom I respected greatly was an Objectivist, furthering sparking my interest. Unfortunately, the size of the text daunted me, and it collected dust for around a year. When I left for college, I became good friends with that Objectivist, and he advised me not to begin my explorations of Objectivism with Atlas Shrugged, so I read The Fountainhead instead. Loving the novel's sense of life, I blazed through Rand's other works. Two years later, I've read all of her fiction, most of her nonfiction, and recently finished Peikoff's OPAR. Reading Rand allowed me to realize the stupidity of my many contradictory convictions, and her systematic destruction of my prior worldview served to enliven me rather than dishearten me. After lurking these forums for a little while, I figured it was time to talk with like-minded individuals and discuss the subtleties of Objectivism's application. So obviously, I'm interested in philosophy. Right now, I'm even considering it as an academic career, so that I can perhaps sway the intellectual tides of the future. I'm also a writer--one with a painful perfectionist streak. I'm working on my first novel at the moment, and I have enough storylines stored in my mind to occupy me for decades. I enjoy music and have an eclectic taste. I play the guitar and love learning about music theory. Time permitting, I also pursue a few peripheral interests: physics, economics, psychology, and language. I think that touches on all of the important points. I look forward to getting to know everyone.
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