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Capitalism Forever

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Everything posted by Capitalism Forever

  1. Finally, someone who speaks my language! I suppose you take this to be an argument for not accepting the gift from the altruist. My position, however, is that I do deserve the gift, since I receive it in recognition of my "sins," such as rationality, productivity, and pride. Thus, accepting it will in fact strengthen the connection in my mind between acting "sinfully" virtuously and gaining values. If the reason for the gift is that I've been observed to be unproductive, helpless, and "needy," then that would change the picture completely, of course. In that case, accepting the gift would not be the first immoral thing I did.
  2. But what if the terrorists refuse to leave you alone? In that case, you have no choice but to interact with them--and to interact with them by FORCE. When I meet another individual, my first choice is to interact with him as a trader. But a trade takes two traders, and if the person is not one, I cannot interact with him as a trader. This means I have to find what my second best choice is. Usually, my second best choice is to walk away. In the case of the terrorist, my second best choice is to blow him into pieces and then walk away. In the case of the gift-bearing altruist, my second best choice is to take the gift, and then walk away.
  3. Agreed. But how do you define earning? Really, Jake. So the only rational thing to do with terrorists would be to offer to trade with them? You seem to interpret that quote as saying, "if you interact with others in any other way than trade, you are being immoral"--but it is clear to me that Miss Rand cannot have meant that.
  4. Thanks for your response. I agree that depending on sacrifices for your survival would be bad (to put it mildly) for your self-esteem, but if you know you can survive by your own productivity, and do actually produce a lot of wealth, then that will earn you a self-esteem that cannot be affected by an altruist doing something silly that happens to further increase your wealth. As for the gift being undeserved: The altruist does indeed think you don't deserve the gift, but it doesn't matter what the altruist thinks. In objective reality, a rational man is more deserving of any piece of wealth than an altruist, simply by virtue of his being rational. Poverty is a just punishment for those who hate wealth, and if an altruist volunteers to administer justice to himself, the last thing I would want to do is stand in his way.
  5. I would probably want to return the gifts, as a symbolic way of making it clear that I consider the relationship to have been a mistake. If for some reason giving them back is not possible, or I don't find the symbolism important, I would sell them on the market and keep the money.
  6. In what way could it be harmful? That would change the picture completely, of course. The assumption in this thread has been that it is a genuine gift, i.e. no strings attached. Hehe, no, of course not. "Valuing self-sacrifice" is a contradiction in terms: self-sacrifice means precisely that you give up a value without getting a value in exchange. The trader principle is all about mutually beneficial trades, but the altruist's purpose is to make a transaction where you benefit but he loses. Since you receive a value out of the transaction, though, I don't see where the problem is.
  7. That's right, but it doesn't generate unhappiness, either, does it? You didn't earn it, but you have an opportunity to be its rightful owner, so why pass it up? If I am offered a free sample of a product, should I say, "Sorry, cannot take that, I didn't earn it, it wouldn't make me happy" ? If I accepted the gift but instead of keeping it, donated it to the government so it could serve the protection of individual rights, would that change your evaluation?
  8. What I think the OP refers to is this scenario: I possess virtues like productivity, justice, and pride--virtues that the altruist thoroughly despises. The altruist thinks that I am completely evil, and for that precise reason, she decides that I am the most undeserving person to receive her gift--so she gives it to me. OK, that sounds more like your everyday mixed-premises guy rather than a pure altruist(*). I think in this case, I would tell her that my help for the homeless guy was not charity but an investment. I did it strictly for profit, based on a cold calculation. If after this she still wanted to give me the gift, I would take it, under the principles described in my previous post. (*) A pure altruist would hate to see a homeless guy joining the ranks of the "rich." See the quote by Phelps Adams.
  9. You play slot machines for fun, expecting to lose a couple dollars, but you happen to win a huge jackpot. Is it moral to take the money? Yes, if you are going to invest it into productive activities. No, if you are going to spend it on hedonistic debauchery. Is it moral to build a career around the expectation to win money from slot machines? No. It is similar with gifts from altruists. They are in effect windfall income--they do not add to your productive achievement, they are not anything to be proud of or happy about, but they are also not anything to be ashamed of, and they may open up opportunities for you that you may not have had without them. They are like Gail Wynand's earnings from his papers, which eventually served as a "fertilizer" for Roark's buildings. Wynand was not acting morally when he built his career on irrational people paying him for a non-value, but he did act morally when he eventually decided to invest this money into a rational productive enterprise.
  10. Leave it to the Left to spin the overturning of an unconstitutional law into "providing" something for corporations, as if it were some kind of new right "granted" to them. All the Supreme Court did was restore the status quo ante.
  11. Isn't that exactly the reason why someone would hate himself?
  12. Absolutely. No offense to Ben, but the question was a bit like, "If I moved to a city where all the women looked really gorgeous, wouldn't that mean a loss of variety?"
  13. What would be your standard for determining whether a man's musculature is "excessive" ? I think I might now be getting an idea of what you're asking. "Why are most women, other things being equal, more attracted to stronger men?" Is that it?
  14. Consider the following three kinds of action: 1. an action done with your own benefit in mind; i.e., an egoistic action 2. an action done for the benefit of a stranger: an altruistic action 3. an action you don't expect to benefit anyone at all: a nihilistic action In Kant's time, the dilemma was between #1 and #2: traditional Christian ethics held #2 as the moral ideal, but the ideas of the Enlightenment were beginning to turn the tide in favor of #1. Kant's ethics was all about reversing this and returning to #2, so in this sense he can be called an altruist. However, Kant's ethics was not primarily pro-others but rather anti-self. You are quite correct to point out that he never made doing things for others a virtue; what he made a virtue is not doing things for yourself. This raises the possibility of #3: an action that is not done for yourself--nor for anyone else. In Kant's ethics, this could very well be a completely virtuous action, so with this in mind, we can say that Kant was an ethical nihilist.
  15. OK, no problem, I've got to sign off soon myself. If you get a chance later, though, I'd be interested to hear your full response. I think what we are really disagreeing on is the meaning of Matthews's words, and I'm curious where exactly the disagreement lies.
  16. OK, then let me approach it from this angle: What is your evaluation of what he said? Was he being rational? Was it something you would say yourself? Would you like to hear more people say this?
  17. Sure, anyone can quite him, what I am interested in is your interpretation of his remarks. What do you think the context is that we're missing?
  18. A couple more centuries of devolution and we'll be down to the level of Canada!
  19. I did watch the full video before posting anything on this thread. I think the rest of it makes it even more explicit, e.g. he even mentions tribalism and ethnicity-orientation as things that Obama's charm has finally made him able to overcome.
  20. Sure, everybody is aware of it--you can't help being aware of it, sense perception being automatic. I am aware in the back of my mind that Ayn Rand was a woman, too, every time I hear her name mentioned, see a picture of her, or read anything written by her. But her being a woman is not the primary reason why I admire her and study her philosophy--it has absolutely nothing to do with it. I needn't "forget she was a woman" because I never "remember" it--meaning I don't take it to be an essential attribute of hers which plays a central role in forming my estimate of her ideas, just as an attribute that she happens to have had. Or to give you another analogy: Suppose there was a guy who claimed to be a huge Fred Astaire fan and kept telling everyone how much he adored him--and then, after years of doing this, after one performance he said "I was so enthralled by Fred that, for the first time in my life, I looked at him and saw only a dancer, nothing else. I mean, I completely forgot he was a Jew!" What would you think of such a person?
  21. You've said that you don't find his remark objectionable, but I think the fact that he's been "remembering he's black" all this time does not reflect too well on him, to put it mildly. That's correct, but if you add to it the facts that 1) this is the first time he says he forgot it, and 2) he gushes so enthusiastically about forgetting it (meaning that he finds it very much worth mentioning and would have mentioned it if he had ever forgotten it before) you do get the implication that he was remembering it all the time before.
  22. The problem with the remark is its implication: that ever since Obama has been on the scene, Matthews has been remembering that he was black. You can only forget that which you remember, right? So all this time he's been supporting him, rooting for him, feeling all tingly in his legs when seeing him, etc., he was "remembering he was black."
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