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Everything posted by tps_fan

  1. Santiago, (Okay, I'm $^&# late. hahahaha oh well.) Happy Birthday, San! Have a good time at the concert, you two! (It was nice to meet the both of you in Newport Beach last Summer.) Greg
  2. Santiago, I can't currently give you a technical answer about dealing with college administrative people in this regard, but the issue basically comes down to a practical matter which Objectivists can not do an end run around. The (Post-)Modernists hold the keys. They have tenure; they are the ones getting published in journals and editing the journals. (To also partially answer Thomas...) We don't have a choice in this. Either academic Objectivist professionals deal with dept. heads and journal editors et al. in ways that they appreciate and comprehend, or Objectivism doesn't get a hearing in academia. For anyone reading this thread, One of the first things that AR instructed her readers about as far as polemics go is this: (paraphrasing) "It's the the job of people such as Drs. Peikoff and Binswanger to tell others what Objectivism is. It's your job i.e. the readers' to point people to Objectivist resources." I used to study this sort of material when I first went to university, but I wouldn't seriously consider engaging in a technical discussion with non-Objectivist academics without doing my homework. This kind of work is very tedious and time-consuming. One of the main principles in having any fruitful dialogue is for a communicator to consider the personal context of the person(s) he or she is dealing with. A Modernist is not able to properly reconcile Objectivist terminology for similar reasons that an Objectivist would have trouble dealing with Modernist terminology. It's not unlike a Spanish speaker trying to communicate with a Russian speaker. What one is to do when it comes to polemics depends on the goals to be achieved. I agree with West and Atlas on this... There are matters involving best uses of resources, best ways of framing arguments, etc.
  3. Oh, but here's the kicker... THIS IS OLD NEWS! I remember reading about people falling LITERALLY in love with their computers several years ago. This is already past the point of being a trend.... it's now considered a sexual option. :-O _Now_ are you starting to understand why academia needs to be eviscerated and replaced? This is straight-up Post-Modernism in practice. "There are no values... no truth... no certainty.. blah blah blah... Everything is subjective....."
  4. I don't think any of us know nearly enough to be very certain as to what Allison could have or should have done, and really it's no one's business but the company's. Nevertheless, the "not at gunpoint" argument was tested over at Nicholas Provenzo's _Rule of Reason_ blog, and I didn't get the sense that there was much of a consensus there. I hope truth will out, but in the meantime... I'm willing to give Mr. Allison the benefit of the doubt. I think one of the possible various weaknesses in the "not at gunpoint" argument comes in the form of the question-begging fallacy. There is more than one way to skin a Capitalist, and it's not exactly news around here that businesses can and already have been heavily regulated. Maybe Allison took a calculated risk, or maybe the Feds leveled one or several other threats which no one outside of those meetings knows about. I'm willing to bet my life that the government isn't giving the full story; _that_ would be too unlike them to offer full context. Consequently, most any news story is going to amount to speculation. Whether anything of substance can be gleaned from such stories is debatable. On the other hand, it would be better to go to the source, but whether or not Allison or any other BB and T executive is even allowed to be forthcoming in a relevant respect is an open question as well. Of course, even all of the above is rather tangential since the real burden is on the Federal regulators themselves. They have much more to answer for than any business executive ever could. That is, if there has been an actual act of fraud committed by a bank employee, then the SEC or whoever should offer a complete explanation if such charges were to be taken seriously, but then what bank execs are being charged now? Let the SEC et al. go fish or go to Hell. Let's not forget who is doing the "social engineering" here if anyone is.
  5. I'm one of the people that Matthew has in mind when speaking of starting this group. As I indicated to Matthew just tonight, there has been another Objectivist meeting group in Irvine viz. The Orange County Objectivists at meetup.com for well over a year, but I believe that this new group can offer something decidedly different. Those interested might even want to join both groups. I believe that both Matthew and I are particularly interested in focusing some of the group's time on studying Objectivist literature, but I don't think that either of us would be against other ideas such as meeting over dinner or going to a movie. Actually, I'm hoping for the group to engage in a variety of events. I'll leave my take on this idea at that for now.
  6. Necrovore, Not that I think that the end result of your writings might come out very differently given what has been said in this thread, but it would seem to me that what you mean by "activism" really amounts to just straight-forward artistry. There are different aspects to doing artwork. There's making the work just to realize the work, and there's also getting the work to an audience so that the artist can get feedback. There's also another aspect of wanting to show an audience a new way of thinking, and that is as far as I'm concerned very much part of offering an artistic experience. If this is what you are having in mind, then I don't think that you even need to think in terms of activism at all, and I really suspect that that is the case. I think that you just want to do your artwork and reach people, and I think that any sincere artist has those goals in mind as well. Your further comments just reinforce what I've just stated. It's really true: Depicting a scenario via art has a number of consequences. The funny thing is that once the work is done the interpretation is really out of the artist's hands. I've read of a few artists who have been quite concerned with how an audience responds, but truthfully, there's only so much that an artist can do to influence the expectations and interpretations of the work. Naturally, over time, an artist gets better at managing the "feedback cycle" between himself and his patrons, but the basic dynamic never changes. Patrons rarely have the same experience of the work as the artist does. Some artists have let this fact disturb them greatly, so I think it's important to be mindful of this aspect of the nature of artistic interpretation. I think that this also further reinforces the very idea of ego as AR considered it. As Dr. Harry Binswanger said at a UCLA lecture, "_You_ are God." In other words, you are the master of your respective destiny. I mention this because the artist _does_ get to play "God" to other people. If you've read all of _The Romantic Manifesto_, then you already know what I'm getting at. I could go on, but I bet you get my drift.
  7. Necrovore, I think that you are onto a very good idea, and I think there are several ways that you could execute it. One idea is to simply start a Facebook group, and you could introduce the group using an overview similar to what you've just given. Not all of the details have to be worked out when a group is started. You _do_ want to try to get ideas as to what your group's guiding principles are. I have to also say a bit about the idea of "Objectivist fiction". First and very much foremost, keep in mind what AR herself discussed over the years: there's a substantial difference between Realist-Romantic fiction and propaganda. Propaganda is driven mainly by political advocacy. Fiction is primarily concerned with the story. (AR frequently talked about "plot-theme"; don't forget to check out her _Art of Fiction_ book!) I think that there are several reasons why her fiction came before her philosophy. She was driven to depict heroism. She wanted a more interesting career. Her writings in early fiction give little indication of wanting to invoke epistemology, and she didn't have a fully integrated philosophical system until she set to work on _Atlas Shrugged_. She wrote for herself. She wrote her essays as a way of advocating ideas in a direct manner aside from other literary considerations. If you think that you are better at writing fiction than non-fiction, then you should try to work in terms of the requirements of fiction only. By the way, I do think that Galt's radio address belongs in _Atlas..._ because it still involved developing his character as well as the plot-theme, but I doubt that any author would want to use that technique very frequently. If she were to write the content of that address as an aside or in some other manner that broke with the requirements for writing a good story, then a great work of art would have been flawed. In other words, she would have defeated her purpose. Also, keep in mind what Dr. Peikoff said: _Atlas Shrugged_ is an Ayn Rand novel rather than an Objectivist novel. That is, it reflects her personal writing style. In my opinion, it's fair to refer to "Objectivist art" or "Objectivist what-have-you" if those terms are clarified or given stipulations. The terms which I used would have to be used in the way that you used your terms "Objectivist-leaning" or "Objectivism-influenced".
  8. You've raised a number of interesting questions where some would deserve elaborative responses, so I'll only try to give a partial response to your entire post for now. (Just becuase I don't provide an answer to a specific question doesn't necessarily mean that I don't find it interesting or worthy of response.) First, I think that it's important to keep in mind how the most important terms in your discussion are used. You've invoked "Socialism" and "Fascism". Those are very broad terms, and those terms can mean different things to different people. (By the way, I believe that AR gave Socialism as meaning tyranny in theory and practice and Fascism as freedom in theory and tyranny in practice. Using those definitions has helped me avoid a lot of confusion over the years.) Those two terms are distinguishable (but not for the reasons that Liberals normally think!) I believe that while your friend has indicated some misunderstanding of what you have discussed, I suspect that you are a bit offbase as well. It's undoubtedly true that Obama has made remarks that suggest Socialist-oriented thinking. I don't and can't take what I've heard/read so far to be evidence of an interest in forging a _full-blown_ Socialist administration. (Roughly speaking, I suspect that he'll advocate for policies falling somewhere between Clinton's and Carter's policies... "How much will religion play a role in his work?" is, in my mind, the open question of the day.) As a matter of fact, I just re-read much of Dr. Peikoff's Q & A on his website a few minutes ago. One of his responses is worth invoking here. He indicated that while environmentalism will be used to make short-term threats, that philosophy will be overshadowed by religion. My point here is that, I think you would at least want to make a passing remark about that. The overriding problem in America is oriented to the mind-body disconnection where Americans want to practice Capitalism but they still try to observe altruism in one form or another. (See Dr. Andrew Bernstein's early remarks in his book, _The Capitalist Manifesto_ for more of what I mean.)
  9. No foul caused, but that concedes/dovetails with the relevant points which noumenalself made. Let me put it this way, if there was an organized effort to promote the book, and that involved things like press releases, interviews, and the like, then we might be talking... as it is... a spike in sales is, well, a spike in sales.
  10. Bold mine. That may be one aspect of the campaign mentioned here, and that would seem like an honorable reason in a superficial way, but (whether or not people here agree with what noumenalself has stated up to the point of your post) you're begging the question (or maybe several come to think of it.) For one thing, is this "book bomb" campaign the ideal way or even close to the ideal way of promoting the book? For that matter, I wonder if the money spent on the book in this context might be better spent as donations to ARI. I don't know because that last question isn't specific enough, but what I'm getting at is that the nature of this campaign may ultimately be just a distraction from better efforts...
  11. The key factor is that concepts have to be tied down to real existents. The chronolgical order of conceptual link discovery is undoubtedly very important, but that's still less important than making sure that the concretizations are reality-bound. Therefore, there ultimately has to be a basis in observation for concepts. For example, it's unlikely that the development of programming objects would have occurred without the development of programming pointers, but my point is that pointers _had_ to work in theory and in practice first if objects were to be developed in the way which they were. Again, I suppose that someone could have developed the object concept using tables instead of tree hierarchies, but (at least in retrospect) it seems unlikely that that would happen back in the mid-1980's. Interestingly, Lua _is_ table-based, and it's apparently favored by quite a few game designers too. (Gotta love how the semi-free-market allows for new paradigms to be developed! )
  12. Well, for starters, musical evaluation and sense-of-life both involve cumulative interpretations, but those evaluations don't necessarily reflect each other in obvious ways (among other things.) This is a vast subject, but you asked, and I'm giving a terse response in order to offer an honest lead. Try thinking about where your focus of attention is when you think about music versus when you think about life in general... Do those evaluations fall lockstep with each other? --------------------------------------------------- I think that the "universal language" claim often involves context dropping or context missing... not unlike what AR indicated in the referenced quote actually.
  13. O.K., _HONESTLY!!!_... for Greenspan to explicitly say what he said in _that_ quote... He's either a moron or a shill for the state... He didn't know??? What complete bullshit! For someone...ANYONE in Rand's inner circle to make that kind of equivocation is just unforgivable. ...so I suspect that he just sold out, but, I don't know, ...maybe he's a "special" kind of stupid. :dough: For him to have the absolute effrontery to talk about "frameworks" and still maintain that conclusion of his... it's just incredible.
  14. I just got home from taking a 3.5 hour final exam, and that was after, well a lot of other stuff. ... With this in mind, I'm going to be really brief, but I think you've raised a couple of questions that are fair enough. Unfortunately, I don't have the reference at hand, but AR did speak about government programs as far your concern indicates. It may or may not have been in the same article about college loans (among those that are government-sponsored i.e. taxpayer funded.) What I generally recall reading is that she indicated that if the government was going to tax and spend by force, then NASA was as good as any program to spend that money on. Naturally, her advocacy of NASA was not wholesale. (I bet she would have been impressed by Scaled Composites in the Mojave though! ) As I indicated elsewhere, her interview with Playboy was not a wholesale endorsement of that magazine. I would imagine that she wanted to reach a large and new audience which she otherwise would not likely have done. At the time, _Playboy_ had a reputation that reflected appreciation for "the good life". I believe that that interview was conducted by Alvin Toffler. I think that she considered him and the periodical which he was working on behalf of to have held enough value to make the interview worth her while. I think a more general way of responding to your concerns involves pointing out that she was an advocate of independence. She knew that she had to reach a great variety of people if she were to ever get Objectivism a fair hearing. It's true that Objectivist intellectuals have to pick and choose among what communication vehicles are of the hghest priority, but as the saying goes: "you have to work with what you've got". She was a rationally optimistic person, so she apparently long held to the belief that she had a good chance of advocating her ideas if she only worked hard enough.
  15. This is nonsense. No one (not even an executive) is under some compulsory moral obligation or even a legal compulsion _to agree with_ the justification for a right in order to benefit from the relevant rights-protection, and this is leaving aside whether or not Cuban really is or is not in some professed alignment of a given legal or moral principle. If we were to hold society to that standard, then I'd imagine that an overwhelming faction of a given society would be headed for the courtrooms already. (Please understand that I'm not and wouldn't consider invoking some bizarre "lifeboat" scenario in order to context-switch; the point I'm making remains the same: The government is only obligated to protect rights, and this condition does not add additional restrictions, in turn, to the people to be protected.) By the way, it occurred to me that someone could bring up the whole angle involving that "ignorance of a law doesn't bestow said person with exoneration of guilt". The related moral factor for this proposition is itself wrong-headed since, the legal burden should be on the gov't i.e. the force initiator in such cases. Unfortunately, given the thoroughly altruist nature of modern governments, most people think otherwise. That is, altruists tend to consider "guilt before innocence" in this respect at least. That moral tendency absolutely does dovetail with the motivation for this current SEC case. (I could read Chris Cox the riot act as well given his past...) From what little I've gathered over the years as concerning Mark Cuban's career development, he's attempted to make an honest living through various enterprises. If someone wants to accuse him of harboring or exhibiting some eccentricities, then that may be another matter worth considering. Still, questionable behavior that doesn't violate individual rights is to be of no governmental concern, and that is precisely the point of the press release Kendall linked to.
  16. That's unfortunate. I didn't think he was a full-blown Objectivist, but I thought that given his past comments, he had a basic sense of what AR had written about. Apparently, he's lacking in the ability to "lock down" philosophical concepts. Hi there, my name is God. Cuban got rich by co-developing the RealAudio format back around 1997-98. (Apparently, sports radio is big business!)
  17. Ahhh, so you are afraid that there will be a "guilt by association"-type of fallout? Do people normally think of Ayn Rand as "that gal that fraternized with Johnny Carson"? Was AR some sort of a sellout for deigning to be interviewed by _Playboy_ magazine? I wouldn't use the term sanction since I don't take ARC to be endorsing Liddy. I think ARC is willing to trust or figure upon the notion that Liddy can deliver a nationally syndicated radio broadcast which will give them a fair shake at further exposing AR's ideas to a wider audience. Don't conservatives constitute a substantial portion of the audience that ARI and ARC (and we!) want to reach? Oh, and let's not forget that ARI staff have gone on "Air America", so no, they aren't simply focusing on one part of their audience or one type of radio broadcast. Just consider the scope and context of the event, and you might reconsider....
  18. IchorFigure, Nice work! I honestly don't think you could have written that letter much shorter and still maintained the content and context which you did. The Republican Party needs to hear about the basic distinctions which you made; otherwise, they have no reason to change course.
  19. It could well be that a good day is on the way.... :-D When I joined a certain Facebook group before tonight's class, there were about 59,000 members. When I came home a few hours later and checked the webpage, there were not quite 90,000 members. (As of now there are well over 91,000 members.) Prop 8, you're going down, baby!
  20. The more fundamental issue is licensing _in general_. ...and aside from _possible_ weapons-oriented issues or the like, I can't see how any gov't agency has any business getting involved with any licensing at all, period. Again, if someone wants to take issue with how weapons are sold or otherwise handled, then I'm fine with that being discussed (and that discussion being taken seriously). At least, that involves and invokes actual governmental purpose. If you want to stop idiocy such as Prop. 8, then (also) go to the root source of the problem. It goes back to the whole "thinking in essentials" business once again.... (By the way, I voted against the proposition, naturally.)
  21. As I've studied Computer Science formally off and on across a quarter of a century or so, I can tell you that people in the field don't really try to tackle issues of volition in a productive way. Robots become more sophisticated. Languages become more user-oriented i.e. better for programmers, but at the end of the day... none of that has much anything to do with human volition...., and I suspect that that will be the case for quite some time. All of the gear has to be originated by one or more human minds. The tech is oriented towards human usage and understanding. Those things are human tools i.e. things used by humans; they are not things that emulate humans. First, you would have to have a whole battery of engineers who even have so much of a clue about Rand's theory of concepts... these days... FAT CHANCE! ...so future tech is relegated to a certain sphere which _does not in any way_ eschew the need for human minds (in the least!) i.e. There ain't gonna be a HAL-type system in our lifetimes. Believe it.
  22. Obama _all_ the way. (I've already given my reasons here and elsewhere... several times over...) This poll (as is the case with some other polls) is boring and dumb, honestly. We're all going to move on to other things come 2009. At least, reciprocate...
  23. Insofar as you have explicitly suggested with your post, I think it's best to reiterate what Ayn Rand stated when a reporter asked her to, "give me Objectivism while standing on one foot" (or words to that effect.) She summarized the basic premises or tenets of her philosophy: 1) Reality exists as it is. There's no "man behind the curtain pulling levers" i.e. no God. At the same time, there _is_ a universe that exists, and it's identifiable by human senses. "Seeing is believing" as far as this issue is concerned. 2) Reason is the sole legitimate means to actual knowledge. Even though there isn't a God, in any case praying or otherwise resorting to emotions as a primary source of information for guidance is out. Emotions are of a reactionary nature under any circumstances. They can provide useful feedback if the person in question has his wits about him, but ultimately he still has to use logic to draw conclusions based on what he's gathered from sensory perception. His mind is his "motor", and logic is his core "operating system kernel" so to speak. 3) An individual is the sole ends and means to and for his life ultimately. That is, he is neither to sacrifice himself to others nor sacrifice others to himself. Charity can be legitimate, but it's never a raison d'etre. He is to utilize his resources to further his life via rational means. 4) An individual is a trader of values for values. Since laissez-faire Capitalism is the one and only political system that condones and thrives on rational ethics, it is Capitalism that must be used to govern a nation-state provided that as Ben Franklin said, "...if you can keep it." Just as a man must live for his own life, his country must be overwhelmingly concerned with the protection of the individual rights of citizens who reside there. There must be a Constitutional Republican form of government as indicated by The Charters of Freedom for example documents; otherwise, the citizenry will be subject to abuses of power. Now, that's the bare minimum for even attempting to be an Objectivist (or as far as I'm concerned even for being an American!) Nevertheless, Objectivism requires extensive study as any serious philosophy would. Fortunately, Miss Rand's system is integrated in a cohesive manner such that people can come at it from different entry points and still get the gist of it or even comprehensively understand it and put it into practice. It is NOT necessary to immediately understand or even agree with every detail of Objectivism to learn about it and make some use of it. Still, as she has stated, if someone has been presented with her philosophy in full, and that person takes exception with certain specific critical aspects of her system e.g. her views on virtue, or her theory of concepts, then that person shouldn't consider himself to be in line with Objectivism. People have struggled with names and terms in attempting to come up with qualified identifications. I tend to think that someone who agrees with the essentials i.e. the "standing on one foot" tenets is a proto-Objectivist i.e. a potential adherent. On the other hand, I think that if someone does have serious misgivings or engages in what AR called "flights of fancy", then that person would simply do well to study and consider more of her ideas before being so concerned about whether he's an Objectivist or not. Many people refer themselves as "students of Objectivism" even instead of "Objectivists" simply because it puts the focus on their interests rather than on some burden of proving their consistency.
  24. Thanks for keeping it together admin. God. Have a good one.
  25. "There's nothing more naive than a cynic." - Ayn Rand. Likewise, you may contest the fact, but considering that people from all over the world have been breaking their necks to get into America, I would say that this country's revolutionaries were productive successes... as well as being quite popular to boot.
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