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Element

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Posts posted by Element

  1. and indeed a democracy is what singapore is not. singapore, a city state i'm rather fascinated with, is the best example of pure unfettered fascism in its traditional sense.

    unlike hong kong which ethnically almost homogeneous and has never been fully sovereign, singapore is the surviving offshoot of british fascism, coupled with chinese master race complex. I am not being provocative here, singapore's ruling family, i mean party, the people's action party, was inspired by the british union of fascists.

    that said, what is so terribly wrong about it, other than the hypocrisy. singapore is an chinese island of wealth and efficient exploitation in a malay sea of hardship and inefficient exploitation. if it werent for its nationalism and even racism, singapore would be just another part of johor. in that sense, a bit of nationalism is justified for matters of self preservation as in another country I like to compare singapore with, israel.

    when i look to the four competing chinese national governments, PRc, Taiwan, singapore and hong kong, I see that they are either communists calling themselves democratic in their official names, or fascists appearing democratic oriented to the western world. the only democracy of the four has never been independent and it's certainly less so now.

    it surely puts things in perspective.

    here some provocative symbolism obsession http://rexcurry.net/peoples-action-party-pap-singapore-socialism.html

    You really think they are fascist? I don't think people know how crazy Mussolini's and Hitlers system was. Hong Kong and Singapore rate really high in the economic freedom index. I would call them "Right Wing Nationalists", (As in right wing economically). I would never associate them with those insane Europeans though.

    Even if they started out as fascists or socialists, its clear that they actually wanted their nation to be great (its weird when they mean it) and they embraced capitalism.

  2. "Democracy" doesn't work because it provides no individual rights - particularly property rights, the necessary base for Capitalism. Democracy refers to the majority (a group) rule over the minority (another group)... but neither the majority nor the minority provide any rights for the individual.

    A group is not a living entity... it is merely a collection of individuals.

    Sidebar: The Founding Fathers tried to escape the tyranny of a "Democacy". Individual Rights was at the core of their philosophy. So in their noble attempt they formed a Republic instead of a Democracy or Monarchy or Oligarchy. America is not a "Democracy" but a Republic.

    If you are talking about a compromise on Capitalism, I think you mean a "mixed economy" of some sort whether it be Fascism, Communism or Socialism. Some would call Singapore an example of Fascism.

    To quote Ayn Rand..

    “Free competition enforced by law” is a grotesque contradiction in terms."

    I am not happy with any compromise on Capitalism for that means some form of tyranny (force at the point of a gun). Yes, I'm a purist. I think we need to openly reject all toxicity, no matter how diluted the arsenic in the big glass of water. . . the drink is still poisonous. We need to advocate the complete separation of the economy and the state.

    Even with rights, democracy still suffers from other problems like the Rational Ignorance problem, or the Technocratic problem. Republics are not exempt from this.

    Rational Ignorance - My vote is worth one vote, and every time their are more votes my vote is worth less. since my vote is worth less, then my incentive to spend it well goes down. (That is, it is easier for people to spend one dollar frivolously than 1 million).

    Technocracy - We need technocrats. People who know what they are doing when they do their job. How is it I, someone who knows nothing about the military, can decide who can control the military? I could spend hours reading books about the military, and investigate potential leader's records, and I am still not sure weather or not I could come a well informed decision about who should control the entire military. Considering our presidents' abilities to miss which countries we should be invading (Iraq and Afghanistan?) I am not entirely sure some IV league graduate, even if he is well intentioned and supporting of capitalism, is capable of controlling such a power.

  3. I think the nationalists and communists get along in their country politicall, seeeing themselves as common leftists but with different goals (internationalism vs pan-slavism).

    Pan-slavism has been the goal of Russian leaders for about 400 years, consider that Stalin and the soviet union was actually the first state to accomplish this goal. A united Slavic people, protected from the predations of the Arabs, Greeks, Austrians, and Germans. If I were a nationalist, I would admire Stalin also.

  4. You're just being obtuse.

    It's not "know everything about Objectivism" or "imply bad things out of ignorance"... That is a false alternative.

    This forum serves a purpose of hashing out ideas.

    Don't put words in my mouth, I never presented such a dichotomy; the original post did imply bad things out of ignorance. That being the worst end of the dichotomy that you presented, you must already know that I am in the right to be just a little weary of that sort of thing.

    All I said was that I suspected him of being a troll to show him that he was way off, and being offensive. Which he was.

  5. Ayn Rand has stated explicitly that homosexuality was not normal homo sapien behavior. I support that view. It appears as though, in terms of morality, too many proclaimed Objectivists of this generation take the anarchist/subjectivist approach. This line of reasoning is simply not in line with the philosophy of Objectivism that that Ayn Rand created, Peikoff maybe, but not Ayn Rand. That being said, I don't think she would have an issue with someone choosing to be gay, but she would certainly not endorse it as Objectivist approved morality. The Objectivism of today seems more concerned with a libertarian approach to subjects that Miss Rand stated were contrary to her philosophy. Will the defenders of Rand's work and beliefs please stand up?

    Okay, was there a single assertion in there that you have backed up with either appeals to common sense and knowledge, or actual reasoning and evidence?

    1) There is no reason to care what Ayn Rand would endorse.

    2) Throwing words like "Anarchist", "Subjectivist, and "libertarian" doesn't scare anyone.

    3) As others have pointed out you are just appealing to orthodoxy and authority. Not a bad authority to appeal to, but none the less, on this issue she is wrong.

    4) Objectivism is supposed to be an integrated whole. I don't see how accepting homosexuality as a viable life style is contrary to being an Objectivist. Being gay won't destroy the the system or anything like that.

  6. Having lived in Singapore, I see it is an example of a benevolent dictator, although not completely benevolent. . for it is an oppressive environment where man's mind cannot thrive. No real capitalist society could ever exist under those conditions.

    I think it is unhealthy to promote state controlled "capitalism" of any kind because to me "state capitalism" is an oxymoron.

    Capitalism is not only an economic system, it is a moral social system where all men have the freedom to think and produce unfettered by the ideas of an elitist regime who have the power to impose their few ideas on the rest. Instead we should have the benefit of millions of minds.

    I have often thought we should have a fun discussion of imagining how lassaize faire capitalism would manifest itself if it were to begin tomorrow. What would our world begin to look like? Infrastructure? Schools (maybe cyber schools run by parents?) Health care? etc.

    I think it would begin to bare no resemblance to our world today.

    An elite group probably has a better set of incentives to keep a low taxed, slightly regulated economy (a pretty good thing in comparison today). So the rulers of Hong Kong pretty much do that there, capitalism is exploitable, there for they keep their cow fat and happy, they get to keep milking it. Sadly this only applies enlightened people though. Inevitably a dumbass gets in power and the decay sets in. The cow gets abused, and dies.

    Democracy just doesn't seem to work. There isn't any incentive for presidents to maintains a tax base longer than eight years (let the economic crash happen while I am out the door).

  7. This bizarre of a misunderstanding is way beyond the normal misunderstandings that are annoying. (Objectivism is Naive Realism, Objectivism is Misanthropy, Objectivism is AnCap, Objectivism supports the status quo, etc). Objectisivst are crypto-christians? What?

    When talking about any subject that you want to talk about in a forum, try reading these things first.

    1. Wikipedia

    2. Publications by supporters of the philosophy, especially FAQs, but youtube videos, journal articles, blogs and such are good also.

    3. Specialized encyclopedias are helpful (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for example)

    4. Primary texts are good too, but expensive so I understand if you don't want to go buy them immediately.

  8. Hello All,

    I am a gay man that has started getting interested in objectivism.

    Unfortunately I have come to realize that objectivism and being gay does not really mix well.

    Although most of the logical/rational arugments that I can find (on the internet) cannot prove anything wrong with homosexuality, I have come to realize that most Objectivists (apart from a few exceptions) do not really keep logical beliefs about homosexuality. Most of them are happy to let their personal biases rule over their own reason.

    Homosexuality as I see it is a product of bother nature AND nurture. I find that this view is the best fit whith what we know about homosexuality today.

    I feel dissappointed since I thought this would be a philosophy that I could really accept as an athiest.

    While on facebook I found some "gay objectivists" most of them seem to have a problem with their own sexuality. One very outspoken "gay objectivist" couple I found seemed very suspicious i.e. I do not think they are really gay or even a couple - there were just to many inconsistencies. I wonder what their agenda are.

    I also find it confusioning that most objectivists find Ayn Rand's support of capitalism and limited government more important than her views against religion. I have even found some "christian objectivists" on-online. Please can somebody tell me how that can make any sense at all?

    Is objectivist just another word for conservative (in the closet christians)?

    Perhaps somebody can put some light on this for me.

    Regards,

    Andre

    You really need to figure out what an Objectivist is before you start making claims about the group. I suspect you are a troll.

    Someone who likes the book Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead is not an Objectivist. Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservatives who like her work are not Objectivists. An Objectivist is basically someone who believes in the Fundamentals of Ayn Rand's philosophy in the five branches of philosophy. A Christian who appreciates the work of Ayn Rand is not an Objectivists. Someone who supports anti-statism is not an Objectivist. Someone who disagrees with Ayn Rand's view of human nature is not an Objectivist so on and so forth.

    There are people who believe in similar philosophies to Objectivism (usually of their own creation). They are not Objectivists.

    I am not an Objectivist.

  9. I have a brother in law who loves doing drugs. He currently is 31 years old (jobless), married (she makes the money in the house), has a 2 year old, and they both live with his parents because they cannot afford to get a house. His family wants him to stop doing drugs because they think,for religious purposes, that that is immoral. He argues that there is nothing immoral about doing drugs. They go in circles about this and get nowhere. He says that drugs allow him to enjoy life and make thinking about life easier.

    I have an argument that I would like to be analyzed for its cogency that I think addresses the real issue at hand.

    1. He must be honest (accept reality as a fact)

    2. He must be productive (we need to create to survive)

    3. By simply "enjoying life" at the exclusion of being productive one is not being honest about reality. Reality dictates that we must be productive first in order to enjoy life" To reverse the order is to evade reality by suggesting that they efect (enjoying life) is possible before the cause (being productive).

    4. By living off of the income of parents, in their house, and using the money that his wife gives him on drugs to enjoy life he is not being honest (evading reality) and not being productive ("translating thought into physical form" Tara Smith)

    Thanks

    Your arguments are good, but if he hasn't tried to get away from this life yet, he won't. He will have to get kicked out of his house and divorced before he changes, then you can explain to him what went wrong, to help him make sense of the pain. I am sorry, but arguments only change the minds of people who want to be convinced or who are dedicated to being right.

  10. The progressive era philosophy isn't really what he is remembered for from I have been told. You can read hundreds of people from the 1900-1950s saying things like that aloud, in writing. The Dewey of today, the one they want us to know about just wanted kids to learn through experience (or something nice like that), something that on its face isn't completely absurd. Just like the progressive era was all supposed to be about workers safety and women's suffrage, which on its face isn't completely absurd.

  11. How would you answer this argument in a society where slavery is still practiced?

    "The ruling class of slave owners ought not to release their slaves because, by relinquishing their power, they risk that another group will gain power in the future, and that they themselves will be enslaved by these people."

    I would tell them they could be wealthier and happier without a slave-based economy.

    A slave based system is made up of two classed that don't want to work. The masters obviously don't want to work, and the slaves usually don't want to work because they aren't gaining from their labor. So what do you think happens to productivity in that country?

  12. The question posed was basically "Why is the initiation of force wrong?" What you are claiming as a reason is a symptom of why it is wrong, not the why itself. Force causes that degredation of morality you correctly cite in the way you say, because it in one form or another denies a man the ability to correctly react to reason, the facts of reality, or his self-interest.

    Are you sure one man's freedom isn't another's as well? The neccessary condition for freedom is essentially the non initiation of force. That holds true for me as much as it does for you. Should someone initiate force does it not negatively impact the freedom of those arround him? Didn't the 9/11 attacks constrict all of our freedom as others reacted/overreacted to the attacks? I live hundreds of miles from New York but every time I encounter barricades around government buildings or fly on an airplane I am being impacted by a gross initiation of force that was perpetrated against others hundreds of miles from where I live.

    Whats the "reason" it is wrong other than the symptoms it causes? I have lots of germs, they aren't bad unless they make me sick (or if they do make me sick later).

    An action against the western world will restrict the freedom of westerners. The main reason this is the case is because we all happen to make use of the same institutions (banks, military). So we are tied together in this way.

    People in the same city can share suffering also by virtue of sharing the same area. If a flood or a hail storm hurts people, they will all suffer. This doesn't indicate a metaphysical unity of interests.

    For instance, if I kick a criminal in the face, I do not suffer even though he is suffering. If I steal from someone, I do not loose freedom, even though he lost it.

  13. How is that obvious?  Is it obvious to the person initiating force against  you?  What happens when the force he or you initiate is met with greater force that overcomes that from the initiator?  What happens when this becomes the standard of dealing with other men?  Life becomes quite difficult.  Life becomes about physical day to day survival, not the flourishing long term life proper for men. I think the problem some people have in grasping this as a principle is that they expect some immediate impact or recognition that their immoral behavior will be highlighted by a bright shining beacon so they can see why it is wrong; some immediate feedback.  I think also that it is far easier for many people to speak theoretically about why is it bad for me to initiate force than it is to go out and, for instance, just murder someone for their money.  It's easy to theoretically detach your conscience, your recognition of your nature in an forum discussion... it's quite another matter to do it in real life, to act on it and assume all the risks inherent with such choices.

    It is obvious to me that it is evil TO ME.

    I never got detached (inferred that you meant me), in fact I was trying to offer a decent explanation why a life style based on force would be bad.

    Risk isn't a reason not to do something btw. Otherwise we could many occupations and lifestyles immoral. Don't be a soldier, you could get killed!

  14. The reason to not live like a thug is that it is wrong for all the reasons others have listed above, (A negation of freedom, thought and action) not for the fact that living like a thug will make you live like a thug even more...

    Police use retaliatory force (or ought to) in the accomplishment of their duties which is not the same as initiating force.

    Why is negating freedom a bad thing for me if it is not my freedom? Why is the negation of someone's thoughts bad, when they are not mine?

    You can't just call one's freedom another persons freedom. You might as well join Land Buddhists and call my suffering part of all of our suffering. Its is absurd. A value only exists in relation to a valuer.

    Its obvious that someone initiating force against me is evil. It is not obvious that the initiator actually suffers any dis-benefit from this, that it is evil for him to do so to others. Consider that history appears to be riddled with men who became materially successful by initiating force against other men and women.

    What needs to be demonstrated is why in principal another freedom is of value to me. My thoughts were that negating the freedom of others must cause a decay in virtue (productivity mainly) and a negative change in lifestyle.

  15. The thomas jefferson argument. Right.

    1) Learning is ultimately done by the individual. Educators can only facilitate and aid this process in students. At worse they can impede this (which is what I expect is done by our current system). Given this it is up to a mixture of life circumstances and individual choice as to whether or he or she learns. One can not guarantee the the electorate will be "educated" for this reason.

    2) Mises demonstrated the calculation problem, central planning doesn't work. So you can't guarantee the populace will be educated.

    3)A state school has no incentive to teach kids about freedom, only to support the state (even if it is liberal at first).

    4) There isn't any evidence that state ran educational institutions correlate in anyway to political or economic freedom. Plenty of dictatorships have public schools.

  16. Using force can be harmful to you because of the fact that the more you behave like a thug, the more your life will become like the life of a thug's. A demonstration of why this is undesirable would be The Godfather trilogy.

    "He who lives by the sword dies by the sword" is the Christian simplification of this, and it is basically true as far as I know.

    There are a whole bunch of degrees to this though, there are a lot of live styles dependent on using force for a living. I think there are dangers to being a police officer (mental and physical), but it isn't inherently irrational. Business men are particularly good at sheltering themselves from the consequences of using political force. Where as a common thug is likely to have a life span lasting no longer than 30 years.

  17. What I know about ancient china is its philisophical texts. These texts were produced in the "warring states period", or the "period of a thousand schools". It has been compared to renissance Italy, which had many city states that patronized intellectuals and artists for various reasons.

    However the Warring States period was a time of extreme chaos, and it was followed by one of the worst dynasties to take power in that time period. That dynasty was driven by legalist principles and attempted to bend all humans to the will of the state through totalitarian measures, in the end they intentionally destroyed the many advancements made by philosophers during the spring-autumm period and the warring states period. (Book burnings, destroying schools and temples).

    This dynasty was destroyed in rebellion and replaced with a more conservative dynasty that attempted to recover the works of the earlier periods, but sadly much of the "hundred schools" philosophy was lost. What was recovered was Confucianism and Taoism, which later became Neo-Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.

    China was a great civilization by many measures, but its golden age I think was too short lived and was conciously destroyed by human evil. There was probably a lot of valuable work created in that era, but so much of it was not allowed to be passed on to newer generations, thus setting the culture behind.

  18. I think there are two issues, one is revolution and the other is the issue of how to maintain a good government (which collective decision making tools are the best).

    The revolution idea has been dealt with. So for achieving a society with rights protection we have three decision making tools.

    Monarchy or Oligarchy - We have an organization that is above everyone who acts as the executor and creator of law. Since they collect revenue or profits from doing their job, the organization has a long term incentive to maintain their countries. Monarchy has numerous problems.

    Monopoly - Although a rational dictator (one who knew that rights = prosperity for everyone) has an incentive to maintain law and order, he doesn't have as much as an incentive as if he had (through markets or elections) competitors.

    Succession -Even if the state was good at first there is the issue of choosing the organization choosing the next leaders. This is a huge problem for hereditary monarchs because their children are often completely unfit. It may be that the organization is not based in heredity, but it still can suffer from nepotism. There isn't enough internal meritocracy.

    Democracy - Democracy, representative or direct, could work. Some may fear a tyranny of a majority, but in reality a rights respecting society needs to have most people being in favor of respecting rights (like at least 75%). "People are stupid" is not an argument against democracy. Democracy does suffer from some fundamental problems though.

    Rational Ignorance - Because a man only has one vote, there is a cap to how much they can be incentivized to care and invest in an issue. Compared to markets where a someone who has a lot of money (like corporations) think very carefully about who they are going to buy from (they even hire people analyze for them). Also, as more and more people enter into the democratic system, one's decision making power is lessened, and therefor the opportunity for investment.

    Technocracy - Democracy doesn't take into mind that some people probably shouldn't be voting on decisions that they are not qualified to make decisions about. Imagine people voting on the decisions of a oil corporation (where to drill, who to sell for etc), the workers in that corporation do not know how to make those decisions and probably do not even know who is qualified to make those decisions.

    For instance there is a woman at my work that I really do not like personally. She has bad manners. However I have no idea if she does her jobs well or not. Imagine if there was an election to see if she could stay or not, if I hadn't recognized my own ignorance I might have to fire here based on my negative but unrelated experience with her.

    How the hell would I know if someone is going to make a good commander in chief? To control the military, police, and intelligence agencies in such a way that they protect our lives? I am not some industry expert from a human resources department who can make this decision, all I see are smiles, big talk, polished "resumes" (ads).

    Markets/Polycentric Law - So markets, they do lots of things well. Essentially markets are just people interacting under a certain set of rules (trade, no force or fraud).

    Concept stealing - Markets can not handle government because markets require government. Markets are people interacting under a certain set of rules, non-coercion, can markets enforce the very rules that they are dependent upon?

    Choice isn't always good - Maybe specializing and personalizing law isn't a good thing. The societies that did exist with Polycentric law had debt-slavery and other injustices. They didn't exactly look like libertarian societies.

    Another aspect of this is that it is difficult for law to be Objective in a society where laws are formed by "markets". They won't be consistent, and some will be contradicting within the same geography. I would not assume that any of the big laws would contradict one another (such as murder), but procedural issues and military actions.

    Essentially the problem is that the production of law and security is an industry that requires a monopoly. It is just the nature of the industry.

  19. I do it occasionaly. Like once a month, and only when I don't have anything else going on. The physical sensation is akin (to me) to that feeling you get when you just woke up from like the best sleep ever where you just want to lay around in bed.

  20. Some time ago I read about a situation where a criminal had assaulted a pregnant woman which caused the child to die. There was some bit of hoopla over whether or not he ought to be tried for murder and assault or just assault. This has always troubled me for a bit and I am looking for some input about the ethics involved.

    Seems like, if an fetus is not considered a child prior to birth, then that would include the case above, but this doesn't sit well with me.

    One alternative, the mother's intention to bring the pregnancy to term seems to reduce to a primacy of consciousness issue, while the other, viewing the fetus as a child leads to the illegality of abortion.

    Any thoughts?

    Considering intentionality doesn't reduce to primacy of consciousness because intentionality is considered in court cases all the time. Simply we are determining what exactly was lost when this woman the fetus died. If the woman intended to bring this fetus into the world, then a human was lost, if there never was such an intention then nothing was lost other than the mother.

    However loosing a potential human shouldn't be considered the same thing as loosing an actual human. For instance, if a fetus was lost in a car accident, but everyone else was alive and was going to recover, would the person at fault be charged with manslaughter? I am not entirely sure that would be correct, even though the woman did loose something of great value.

    I think we need a new crime like "Destruction of potential life" or something like that, I am not good with names right now.

  21. Nihiism = He thinks Western civilization is evil and just wants to smash it. He doesn't want to smash it in order to replace it with something else, he just wants to smash it.

    Egalitarian = smashing it to bring all countries down to the same level, so the US is no longer better than other countries, e.g. African ones.

    Is there any actual proof that he hates it or wants to doesn't want to replace it with anything?

    The guy just seems like another politician, I think he values reelection. I present his willingness to change from left to center randomly on various issues when it is politically convenient, such as on the issue of Libya and that pro-business speech he gave awhile back.

  22. Eh barely anyone understand Objectivism. Those people probably liked read the Fountain Head, liked it, read the wikipedia article on Objectivism. After that they read some article about how Ayn Rand was a fan of a serial killer and cheated on her husband. Then they abandon thinking about it at all.

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