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Capitalism Forever

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Everything posted by Capitalism Forever

  1. They get their funding from non-consenting taxpayers, so the use of force has already been initiated, and the "professors" are knowing and willing beneficiaries of the use of force. What's more, they spend their entire carreers advocating the continued use of force. So I don't think we should have any compunctions about answering them with force; in fact, the correct thing to do would be to try these people and throw them in jail, or even to execute those of them who are found guilty of high treason. What keeps this from happening is that Americans don't see why it is immoral to forcibly redistribute wealth and why the knowing and willing beneficiaries of such redistribution deserve to be treated as criminals. So the first step in solving the problem is to make Americans see this fact; once that is accomplished, the rest will come pretty easily. While the proposed legislation was obviously not authored with the above in mind, it has the effect of drawing attention to the existence of a problem. And when people begin to recognize the existence problems, and develop a willingness to solve them, that provides a good opportunity for Objectivists to explain why the problems exist and how they can be eliminated. (There are many similar opportunities nowadays; for example, the Catholic church's lack of moral clarity--to put it mildly--with regard to pedophilia and terrorism is prompting many people to re-examine their moral evaluation of Catholicism.)
  2. LOL If you only look at certain portions of the text, it might be considered an example of romanticism! Kind of like reading about how the United States unwaveringly supports Israel...
  3. Libertarians are simply punks without the communism. Imagine a long-haired, unwashed, rag-clad, cocaine-addicted, raving counter-culturalist from the Sixties who has somehow recognized the fact that Soviet-style communist despotism will not exactly afford him the "freedom" he yearns for--so he decides to pursue the anarchist line of his ideology in preference to the communist one. Then, for a veneer of respectability, he obfuscates the difference between capitalism and anarchy and claims to be for capitalism. Voila, le Libertarian. How is this different from Objectivism? In about every way possible. An Objectivist wants to achieve a successful life; a punk envies successful people and wants to destroy them. An Objectivist uses his mind to arrive at a consistent philosophy to guide his life; a punk is a slave of his feelings. An Objectivist seeks long-term success; a punk goes for whatever makes him feel good for the next few moments. An Objectivist knows the exact meaning of freedom and why he needs it; a punk just wants to be free from the consequences of his actions. An Objectivist understands that freedom means capitalism; a libertarian punk, as I said, just uses his pro-capitalist rhetoric as a veneer of respectability. Now, there are many people with strongly pro-capitalist ideas who describe themselves as "small-ell libertarians," perhaps in order to distinguish themselves from the unprincipled moderates, without knowing anything about what is at the core of the ideology they borrow their self-designation from. This is a rather poor way of telling people where you stand; by the same token, you might as well say that you're a small-eff fascist. If you are for capitalism, don't be shy and tell people you're a pro-capitalist.
  4. This is the classic "Why can't we all just get along?" mentality, which is a hallmark of the idealistic left. It fails to recognize the existence of evil people and ascribes all problems in the world to some unfortunate influence that has been misleading men. For some, this evil influence is the "cycle of violence" ; for others, it is money; for Child, it is government. They believe that people could live in perfect "harmony" etc. if only this evil influence were removed. Then, when they begin advocating the removal of their alleged evil influence and some people disagree, they become angry and condemn those people. And this is where their amusing amok run in self-contradiction begins: Their premise is that all people are good, and this premise is evident in their every utterance by which they advocate their utopia, but at the same they condemn those who want to perpetuate the "evil influence" as evil. The funniest manifestation of this is "hater-hatred" : a thorough, deep-running, visceral hatred felt for anyone who hates anyone. Since Child's bogeyman is government, he doesn't run into such a laughably blatant contradiction, but the premise--and therefore, the contradiction--is nonetheless there in his ideas.
  5. Sabine has yet to understand certain things about principles. When the Red Army entered Eastern Europe, they took many people away for "malenky robot"--"a little work." Usually, that "little work" turned out to be years of emaciating slave labor somewhere deep inside the Soviet Union, in one of those concentration camps called GULAG. You do not adhere to a principle by only violating it "a little." Once you give politicians the power to institute a "very small welfare component," there is nothing that will stop them from abusing that power to create just the kind of nightmarish bureaucracy that Sabine is currently fighting against. And of course I wish she didn't call herself a libertarian. I suppose she hasn't interacted too much with members of the U.S. Libertarian Party yet. That said, she is pretty much the only ray of hope left for French civilization, so I wish her luck and good hunting.
  6. The solution, of course, is to apply your newly found philosophy to the situation! Remember what Objectivism teaches about love. You do not truly love something unless you love it for a reason, i.e. there is something you value about it. If you still love your friends and family after your change in philosophy, there must be something you appreciate about them, so you could start by letting them know what exactly it is. If your friendship is to continue, it is to continue on the basis of the values you gain from it, so it is important to make clear both to yourself and to your friends what exactly the basis of your friendship is. It is also important to make clear the extent of your friendship, for example by being honest about your disagreements. While most Americans consider themselves religious, many of them pay little more than lip service to their religion. They do not want to call themselves atheists because that term has negative connotations, but it would never occur to them to use religion as the main guide to their lives. For example, the Sermon on the Mount encourages people to be poor and to "love" their enemies, but it hardly ever crosses the mind of a conservative Christian American to "kill two birds with one stone" by donating his air-conditioned home and his SUV to al-Qaeda. I do not see a problem with befriending a person who is nominally religious but otherwise quite selfish. Over time, you might even explain the contradictions of his religion to him and win him over to Objectivism. But you should begin this process by showing him how the principles of his religion are bad for his life ("I just had a conversation with a European guy who thought that Jesus wouldn't like Americans because...") rather than by just declaring, "I don't believe in God and I think anyone who does is irrational." If you bluntly attack an idea he identifies with, you have a lost cause, but if you appeal to his self-interest and he is selfish enough, then you have a good chance of convincing him. You might also have superficial friendships with people who have some limited altruistic tendencies, but such friendships will be just that: superficial--and limited by the extent to which your friend is not altruistic. All value you gain from a friendship qua friendship stems from the self-interest of your friend. If a person doesn't like himself, there is no reason for you to like him, either. (I hardly know anything about the Sikh religion, so I gave Christian examples, but I suppose the underlying ideas are more or less applicable to dealing with all religions.)
  7. No, I sound like someone who prefers good quality capitalist ice cream to the junk that used to be sold in Soviet Block countries and says that anyone who thinks he could never eat the capitalist ice cream, only the commie one, must in a usual context have arrived at this conclusion as a result of an evasion. I inserted "in a usual context" in the sentence above because our preferences regarding food are often influenced by emotions that are valid but unrelated to nutritional issues. For example, a guy who grew up in a Communist country and ate junk ice cream when he first dated his wife but was forced to eat American ice cream when he was tortured would have a very positive emotional reaction to junk ice and a very negative one to American ice. Since the value he gains from remembering his first date with his wife, as opposed to remembering the torture, far outweighs the value he would gain from eating better ice cream, I would not fault him for preferring the junk ice. But while eating the right kind of ice cream is not essential to a successful life, having the right kind of romantic relationship IS--so no such caveats apply there. I'm not a "self-proclaimed Objectivist." I'm a student of Objectivism. I did not "throw it around" ; I made this observation after quite an amount of thought I put into the matter, as demonstrated by the length of the thread and my posts in it. Further, I am not suggesting that such people (i.e. ones completely unattracted to the other sex) should be persecuted or anything--after all, they do not violate anyone's rights--I just noted that I think there is some evasion involved. You might just as well say that it takes courage to tell your commanding officer that you just soiled your pants.
  8. Ha! That pretty much confirms the suspicion I had about the intentions of this poster when I looked at the report he linked. Although the author of the report attempts to give the impression that he is a pro-capitalist who thinks America is a "good empire," his use of phrases such as: "The US empire is cresting" "Its key alliances are weakening" "The war against Iraq will [result in something negative]" (emphasis mine) projecting US power in the world" "the beginning of the decline of American power" "great civilizations have a way of cresting that is pretty well set in historical stone" "deepening mistrust of the US" "unsustainable living standards" "unilateralism" "oil supplies [...] stretched" "Europe and Japan [...] became stinking rich despite rejecting the empire's economic model" "occupation" "the Iraq war and aftermath will increase Islamic extremism and terrorism" "as Saudi Arabia becomes more unstable and hostile" "This is what the US achieved by naming North Korea as part of the 'axis of evil'" "US policy seems to disregard other democracies" "enflames the issue of US dominance at the level of street politics" "the 'for or against the US' issue" "to blitz Iraq" "when one side has all the firepower, the only response is terrorism" makes his attempt ridiculously transparent.
  9. You believe correctly. It is important to recognize that sexual behavior involves a lot more than just an "orientation." While your breathing and heartbeat are automatic and work perfectly well even if you do absolutely nothing about them consciously, you will not have sex with anyone unless you make some conscious choices and act on them (except if you are raped, but then the person who does the raping makes such conscious choices). There are three kinds of things that make you interested in sex: 1) the automatic responses of your body to sense perceptions; 2) your emotional response to sense perceptions; 3) the emotions you feel towards a person. #1 arises independently of who the person perceived is, or whether it is a person at all; it is just an automatic bodily response to a specific input to one of your senses. The more such inputs your various senses receive, the stronger your bodily response will be. #2 is a result of your previous value-judgments, but still independent of the person in question. If a negative emotion is involved, it can counteract #1 and neutralize or negate it; if a positive emotion is involved, it strengthens #1. The presence of strongly negative emotional responses explains why most people say they "cannot imagine" being sexually attracted to a person of the same sex, a child, a dead body, an animal, etc. #3 is a result of your evaluation of the specific person and your choice of a partner in life. If you have a very negative opinion of somebody, it can neutralize the combined effect of #1 and #2; if you see a lot of virtue in a person, it strengthens the effect. If you have made a strong commitment to a specific person as your exclusive partner in life, the effects of #1 and #2 will disappear or at least diminish to the point of being uninteresting for every other person. Your experience will not be complete unless you have positive reactions at all three levels. Since men and women complement each other, both in the bed and in life in general, heterosexuality is ideal for the purposes of both #1 and #3. This is why a rational person will already have a preference for it at level #2, when deciding what to be "oriented" toward, and will further confirm it at level #3, when deciding whom to spend his life with. It should be noted that the superiority of heterosexuality at level #1 is so obvious that it takes a deliberate act of evasion to be unattracted to the other sex. As I have said before, such value-judgments are probably triggered by cowardice--a fear of the unknown. If a person is attracted to both sexes, that is not necessarily a result of active evasion; it may simply be because of a passive failure to think the matter through.
  10. Please read my previous posts on this thread. What I have already said on this thread.
  11. I would say that people are born asexual : a newborn baby is not sexually interested in anyone. Sexual desires first arise at the age of puberty, triggered by the bodily processes that take place in that age. The object of such desires in each individual depends on the more or less conscious choices the individual makes. The ideal choice is to be interested in the most virtuous person of the other sex that you can find.
  12. In his "Food for Thought," Wolf wants us to "follow the money" and goes on to complain about how much Dr. Peikoff earns, what car he drives, and so on--which is the favorite tactic of Marxist demagogues. In light of this, it is not surprising that he has a so-called "FAQ" entitled "What's REALLY Wrong With Objectivism?" with cynical sixties-style rants and links like "The Fountainhead (parody)." I don't think he's the kind of person any self-respecting Objectivist will take seriously.
  13. If, somewhere in the Universe, there existed a body with the exact same chemical structure as yours, would you be conscious of that body's sense perceptions, emotions, will, and happiness or unhappiness? Of course not. Your consciousness is tied to your body, and to your body only; if another body is created that is exactly like yours, that doesn't change anything about this fact.
  14. The society does not need to be unanimous about everything, just about the terms to be put into the agreement, which are likely to be (1) few in number, (2) aimed at the effective protection of the rights of individuals, which all rational people can be expected to agree with. Essentially, the agreement would ban the initiation of force AND provide for ways to enforce that ban. (What good is a ban without a means to enforce it?) The only society where a rational government can be successfully established is a society of rational people. Any attempt to do it with irrational people is bound to fail right at the start. Any attempt to do it without immigration rules that keep irrational people out is bound to fail as soon as enough irrational people immigrate.
  15. The reductio ad absurdum of that argument has already been made on this thread. By the same logic, you could excuse pedophiles, thieves, murderers, dictators, terrorists--anyone--on the basis that maybe there is some peculiarity in their natures that makes them do their respective things. We are all humans, which means that while there are superficial differences in appearance between us, there are no fundamental ones within either sex--i.e., all men function the same way, as do all women. (Yes, there are a few freaks that are neither men nor women, but the homosexuals we are talking about do not belong into that category.) The concept "planet" simply means a large, spherical bulk of matter orbiting around a star. For a planet to be inhabitable by people, a number of other conditions must be fulfilled. The concept "homo sapiens sapiens," however, implies a specific genetic makeup that varies from individual to individual with regard to superficial traits, but whose essence stays the same.
  16. LOL "You're quite positive about your negative, so prove it!" I have seen the same trick used so many times in debates on God: "You're the one asserting that atheism is true, so prove it!" When you speak of "some peculiarity" in a person's nature, your statement isn't credible until you show evidence of a specific peculiarity and also show how exactly it makes homosexuality better for that kind of person's life. But I wouldn't try too hard to find the homo sapiens homosexualis if I were you: I very much doubt that such a subspecies would pass the Darwin test!
  17. "Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death" -- Ayn Rand
  18. Too bad your earlier post on this thread was lost, Michael, but it's nice to see you back in force! This is where I respectfully disagree. If all the inhabitants of, say, an island (who own a part of the island each) agree to form a government, that agreement may very well include restrictions on what kind of guests the landowners are to allow on their properties, and it may also very well specify an amount of money, or specific services, that each of the parties to the agreement must furnish in order to sustain the government. If all parties to this contract agree to it of their unforced free will, it is a perfectly legitimate way of forming a government. If the terms of the agreement are objective and rational to boot--tell me where that island is! 3058, eh? Who told you that pessimism was a virtue?
  19. "You haven't shown that there is no white-bearded old man hiding somewhere in the sky controlling our destinies." "You haven't shown that the value judgments of Osama bin Laden aren't based on some peculiarity of his nature." I thought you knew better than to ask me to prove a negative, Daniel! All humans currently living on earth belong to the same subspecies of the same species: the homo sapiens sapiens. This means there is no fundamental difference between them, other than the fundamental difference between the two sexes. Until you show me evidence of a particular peculiarity in the nature of some people who are homosexuals, I have no reason to believe there is any.
  20. This is what I wrote (emphasis added): "All other things being equal" implies that the cars are offered at equal prices (for example, as company cars, or something like that). I hate to remind you of this, Daniel, but it makes little sense to have a discussion with someone who replies to my posts without trying to understand them. Here, as in your previous post where you asked "Why dismiss the possiblity that this is simply an automatic biological response?" you ignore my argument that emotions are a reflection of your value-judgments. You do not have specific emotions "by nature" ; you have them because of the values you have chosen to pursue. Your need for a romantic relationship is given by your nature, but your love for and attraction to a specific person depends on your choices. To give you an analogy, while you get hungry after not eating for a while by nature, the kind food you like is up to you. If you irrationally decide that the only thing you will eat is toothpaste, you will starve to death pretty soon, no matter how much toothpaste you devour. If you want to live long, your taste in foods should reflect your real needs in life; if you want to have the best possible romantic relationship, so should your "sexual orientation."
  21. The point you guys seem to miss is that I am not talking about merely having a "good" romantic relationship. I am talking about having THE BEST POSSIBLE. And I am not saying that any given heterosexual relationship is inherently better than any given homosexual relationship; what I am saying is that if you want the best love possible, you'll be looking out for someone special who belongs to the opposite sex. Yes, homosexuals can have sex too. Yes, a Yugo is a car too; it might even be a pleasure to drive it. But if you are given a choice between a Yugo and a Rolls Royce, all other things being equal, you would be a damn fool to choose the Yugo. Of course, each of us has to make his own value-judgments regarding cars as well as romance. But if someone comes up with the answer that a Yugo is just as good as a Rolls ("You can use both to get where you want, so what's the difference?" etc.) you'll forgive me if I conclude that the person is evading reality.
  22. I am suggesting just what I wrote in my previous post to you: that you consciously and rationally revisit your value-judgments. As long as you "don't know" why you feel this way or the other, your life is guided by your emotions, not by your reason. As I wrote, I know the "cause" of my heterosexuality. I should mention that in my teenage years I used to have a rather strange "sexual orientation": I used to get excited when I thought of fat people. I remember the exact moment in my early childhood that gave rise to the emotions that led to this "orientation." As I grew up and planned my life, making value-judgments about what kinds of traits I wanted in my partner in life, my "orientation" gradually disappeared and was completely replaced by an interest in women with an attractive figure. Now I just laugh at that odd preference I used to have. BTW you mentioned your Catholic upbringing. I think it might be part of the problem: Catholic doctrine suggests that romantic intimacy (or as they call it, "bodily pleasures") is an untidy activity that ranks somewhere right next to going to the toilet. That's plain wrong; it's an expression of love and consequently it only works when there is love to express in the first place. No wonder you couldn't change by merely dating a girl; you were putting the cart before the horse. (And so is everyone who enters a relationship looking just for sex; if you want a happy, successful, rewarding, and lasting marriage, you should look for virtues that you can love, and you should have virtues that will allow your spouse to love you back--and the rest will come very naturally.)
  23. I think you misunderstood GC's "templates." They do not prescribe anything, they are just proposed standards, which can be voluntarily adopted if both parties so wish, perhaps with the addition of certain extensions, amendments, etc. In a free society, anyone can propose standards for voluntary adoption, provided that they do not violate anyone's rights in the process. (Obviously, that implies that no funds can be used for such a purpose without the consent of the donor, and that no attempt must be made to forcibly obtain a monopoly on the creation of such standards.) If all the citizens consent, the government could rightfully issue some document with proposed standards. (I wouldn't consent, though, so if you want your free society to include me, the point is moot.) But another, more interesting question is whether we ought to have laws clarifying the meaning of certain words, such as "marriage." If for any reason I asked a person if he was married, I would want to know the exact meaning of his answer without having to refer him to a detailed definition of the term. (Or, if I had to, then at least I wouldn't want him to come back later and say he misunderstood it because he didn't know the meaning of the word "is" ...)
  24. Why do I have to repeat myself? Why do I have to tell you again that a man would consider his life a miserable failure if he were so incapable of creating material wealth that he had to live off a woman?
  25. Yes, that's what I had in mind. Of course, merely having an attractive body--which is shaped by her genes, not by her choices--does not count as earning anything. But most of a woman's beauty and attractiveness comes from her volitional behavior: the clothes she wears, her hairstlye, her nutritional habits, her demeanor, her smiles, her gait, her intonation, her sense of humor, the look in her eyes--and so on. Her body is just the raw material; what she turns it into is completely up to her. Also, she needs to recognize the virtues that allow a man to create wealth and she needs to value those virtues by finding a man who has those virtues and sticking to him even when he is not wealthy yet or when he is in temporary financial troubles. By finding a virtuous man, standing by him, encouraging him, helping him in his work, and being woman enough to win and keep his heart, I would say that a woman has pretty much earned whatever portion of his wealth the man thinks she deserves.
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