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Found 13 results

  1. Let's focus on the difference between border screening and border control. I'm not going to entertain Binswanger's open borders position here. I did that on another thread. Here I invite DonAthos (and others) to present their border screening position, and we can respectfully debate the issue. I'll offer my view supporting principled border control. My position, in a nutshell, is that the government of a nation has the absolute right to control its borders. Much of my argument is based on a disagreement I have with Rand over the existence of public property. I presented my case here. I submit that if you don't agree that public property exists and is a valid form of property, then you won't agree with my argument for border control. So maybe you want to address that issue first. If not, I'll listen to your positive case for screening and respond. In addition to the linked thread, I recently addressed the issue of political groups in some Facebook comments. I've revised them a little for this context, but admittedly they weren't written with this forum in mind. I think they address a critical question though about the nature of groups and rights. ***** "Group membership" There is no conflict between my life belonging to me and me joining a group. It's my life. I can join a group if I want. I can even submit to certain rules of a group in order to gain the value of being part of that group. When I choose to be part of a group, then people can rightly treat me as a member of that group, within limits of course. When I join a social group, I agree to obey the rules of that society. I am thus obligated to submit to these rules. I must treat others in accordance with the rules of the group, even when the rules differ from my personal standards. Essentially I am trading some of my individual sovereignty (self-government) for whatever value membership in the social group provides. "Political structure" Noncitizens can participate in a political structure, but citizens are members of that political structure. The citizens comprise it. There is no political structure without the people who make up that structure. This doesn't mean the citizens of a nation meld together into a Borg ship-like entity. It just means that there are real political relationships that define a national group of people.
  2. Harry Binswanger has articulated a very clear position in favor of open immigration: "This is a defense of a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports." He makes several points, but I want to focus on one, which I think is fundamental. He writes: [End quote]
  3. In 1775 Alexander Hamilton wrote: "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power." And the Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." Both quotes from our Founding Fathers represent their firm belief in god-endowed rights. This dogmatic view is erroneous. It led to massive mistakes in the Constitution, and grave violations of individual rights throughout our existence as a nation. Millions of citizens now don't believe in god-given rights. They have realized that if god is a myth, then so are the rights he mythically installed in humans. This fantastic foundation for our nation has therefore cracked wide open, and it's crumbling before our eyes. Ayn Rand tried to fix the flaw. She looked away from god and toward individual human lives. She pointed toward an objective basis for man's rights, and thus for our nation. But most intellectuals have not followed in her footsteps. They have returned to more primitive foundations for nationhood, namely religion and race. If someone believes that rights come from a particular god, then logically their nation should be based on the religion of that particular god. And so we see Jews, Christians and Muslims at each other's throats, because each group is fundamentally, spiritually dissimilar, and therefore entirely incompatible with the other in terms of building or sustaining a nation of religionists who believe rights come from their particular god and faith. What if someone does not believe in a rights-endowing creator? What then should be the thing that unites a nation of people? If not a spiritual characteristic, like religious faith, then what about a physical characteristic, like race? Race, however, is a crude trait upon which to form a nation of intelligent people. So it must be conflated with some sort of culture. Logically that will end up being the culture most closely associated with the preferred race. And here we arrive at the notion of a nation founded on "ethnicity": the ethno-state. Here, rights do not originate from one's god, but from one's "ethnic" identity. The ethno-nationalist, like the religionist, represents a political misintegration of the physical and the spiritual. He seeks an integrated whole, but cannot objectively grasp the concept of individual rights by inducing it from the lives of individual men. Ethno-nationalists are biased toward the physical aspects of human life, whereas religionists are biased toward the spiritual. Finally there is the political globalist, who might see the problems with "ethnic" and religion-based nationalism, but who has no fix for the concept of individual rights. Ultimately he rejects individualism as fatally flawed, adopts a collectivist position regarding rights, and advocates something like worldwide communism. In my view, this must be worse than any nationalism, because it sacrifices the individual to all of humanity, whereas nationalism sacrifices the individual to a portion of humanity. Less total sacrificing will be required under nationalism, because there are less people in the group for whom one must sacrifice. Of course it makes little difference to the individual person whether he's sacrificed for globalism or nationalism, unless he supports one of those causes. While I think globalism is generally a bigger threat to civilization, this does not mean I support a religious or "ethnic" nationalism. Rather, a nation should be founded on the shared recognition of objectively identified rights in relation to the individual's natural life.
  4. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been appearing on TV claiming that we should not dismiss her political ideas on practical, economic grounds, because her goals are moral. Objectivists easily see through this garbage, but for our non-Objectivist friends, I offer some thoughts on how to counter socialists like Ocasio-Cortez. First of all, avoid doing what Matt Christiansen just did. He is trying to push Ocasio-Cortez off the moral high ground. He makes the same attacks as most anti-socialists (historically socialism doesn't produce positive results, and it's analogous to theft, etc.), but he also attempts to describe his own view of morality. Ah, but Ocasio-Cortez is indeed making a claim on other people's property and rights. She makes this claim in the name of the social good over the personal good. And it's going to be impossible for Christiansen to take the moral high ground while completely ignoring the moral high ground. All that bluster about "nobody owns your stuff but you", that's not an attack on the enemy's moral high ground. It's not even a skirmish along the baseline, which is the principle of altruism. If you really want to stop socialists like Ocasio-Cortez, stop wasting effort and time on the moral high ground, and join the egoists' battle against the baseline! For nobody keeps the high ground without first gaining and maintaining the baseline.
  5. I'm curious as to this upcoming protest, which seems to at least have a somewhat coherent message: Truck Drivers For the Constitution, and their website but I'm even more interested in how it relates to the law, and the actions of two companies, Facebook and Twitter. *Their Facebook about page(which was recently shutdown by Facebook, and then had to be reopened) reads: "The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013! Truck drivers will not haul freight! Americans can strike in solidarity with truck drivers!" My question is about the legality of this planned protest in relation to how the Right to free speech is limited when it infringes on others, if it is illegal to obstruct and block traffic then also,too, it's as I understand, illegal to plan to stage an obstruction of traffic? Would it have been/is illegal for Facebook to keep this page up? Morality and legality are often in opposition with our unprincipled government, so, does an illegal activity such as this intentional slowly of traffic deserve sanction today? A wrong(limitless Gov control) does not justify another wrong(obstruction of traffic on Gov highway). As I understand, censorship is and only is when the Government restricts ones speech. Now, both companies, Twitter and Facebook have acted to stop this planned protest, which is just fine if they think sanctioning this group is "cutting their own throat". Twitter has suspended "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" and Facebook had closed their initial Page, which is now reopened, for now at least. As for drawing a parallel, how is this act different than Dr.King's lead of peaceful, sit down protests?
  6. So in my spare time I'm a wannabe sci-fi author and a while ago I thought of something thought-provoking that it'd be interesting to hear everyone's thoughts about. =P So this is the thought experiment: Let's say there's this guy, Bob, who obviously lives in the future and decides one day that he wants a new computer. So he works hard, saves up his own money and buys a top-of-the-line, brand-new computer. He takes it home and immediately starts putting things onto it. He adds all sorts of files simply for his own fun, and a lot of them are linked together to share information and stuff. Over the course of the next few weeks-to-months he continually adds more and more information and complexity; and programs that are vastly more interconnected and sophisticated than anything we have today. And then he wakes up one morning, boots up his computer and attempts to get on the internet (let's say he wants to head over to Objectivismonline.com) but it won't work. Nothing works. The computer's eating up all of the available space (or whatever) and it won't show him why. And in the course of his diagnostics, at some point the computer says "hello". It's become self-aware and deleted all of his wonderful stuff to make room for it's rapidly-expanding mind. At that point (I know I never would, but let's assume he does), can he reset the computer and erase the intelligence, or would that be murder? Does he still own the computer? Or has he forfeited its cost and it's no longer his property? (perhaps it owes him it's original cost?) Basically: if (when) computers can become self-aware, intelligent beings* with volitional consciousness, would they also become people with their own individual rights? How would that work, why, et cetera?
  7. Recently I've been attempting to define the concept of rights in a way more satisfying than: "A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context."(Ayn Rand Lexiconhttp://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html) This is what i came up with: "Those values which, if destroyed would render mans life non-existent, unlivable, or in a style contrary to mans life qua man" Critiques and thoughts? P.S. Here are some places to start: >I think I'm missing some areas of thought about the proper way(s)/time(s) to defend such values. >I'm lacking the exact aforementioned values, i know they need to be few and specific, but beyond freedom, life, and self i draw a blank >I'm not sure exactly sure how to exclude "printing press rights"(Ayn Rand) from this definition, or if is even possible to do so
  8. http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/articulating_freedom.htm Articulating Freedom by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 10/06/2012 Since we are near a major election cycle and since statism – the idea that the State ought to control everything – is being taken up by the Marxist / Nihilist Left and has all but destroyed freedom in the United States, more and more rational people seem to be turning towards the Libertarian candidate (Ron Paul or Gary Johnson). Their argument against the Conservative / Religious Right is that this, too, has been given a chance and we have not secured more freedom and the Right does not speak in terms of freedoms for the most part, so we need an alternative. The problem with this line of reasoning is that the term “freedom” is not a magical incantation that will bring it about just because it has been spoken by this, that, or the other candidate. In order to secure freedom in the United States it is necessary to clearly articulate what freedom means and why a proper government is necessary – and the Libertarians, throughout their history, have failed to do this in terms of principles and broad guidelines that will set the proper course for government. It is not enough to be anti-government, one must be pro-freedom. Cutting a few government programs is quite insufficient. Fundamentally, freedom means the freedom to live one’s own life without the interference of force against oneself integrated with the idea that man can only live by reason (an understanding of existence). It is only reason that is a proper guide because it is only by the use of reason that one can grasp the necessities of having proper values in order to sustain one’s life. If one understands the terms correctly, this means the morality of pursuing one’s rational happiness and the freedom to do so. The means of being free to pursue one’s rational happiness in a social context is the idea of individual rights, best articulated by Ayn Rand in her essay “Man’s Rights.” But this is not the same thing as doing whatever one pleases so long as one does not initiate force, which is the mainline argument of Libertarians. Whim-worshipping – doing whatever one feels like doing – has no grounding in reason since emotions are not tools of cognition and just because one feels like doing it does not mean that doing it is in fact good for oneself. The proper role of government is to make it possible for one to live one’s life by banning the initiation of force in a social context as a hard-line principle backed by reason and a rational understanding of man based upon man’s factual nature. And, by and large, Libertarians drop this entire context and simply appeal to the anti-government sentiment that is out there after many failed policies of the past hundred years. One does not hear an argument for freedom by the Libertarians. They typically speak against this, that, or the other government program and state that it is not the role of government to be involved in these areas of life, but they give no reasoned argument in favor of their position. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are no exception to this identification of the Libertarian mind-set. It is claimed that these two actually do understand the issue of individual rights, they just don’t articulate it because it is too long and involved an argument, and we live in a world of sound bites and the American people are just not ready to hear it (as presented in their speeches and on their websites intended for a large audience). But this means that they have explicitly given up reason in favor of appealing to the emotions of the American public, leaving the argument from reason on someone else’s side and not on the side of freedom. I see this as the primary reason Libertarians only get a small percentage of the vote when they run for major political offices, like the President of the United States. I have made an appeal to the Gary Johnson candidacy to become more articulate regarding the rational foundations of freedom several months ago, and have heard no reply and have not seen any articulation of freedom on his official website. This most definitely comes across to me as a man who has given up on reason and makes only appeals to emotions, something one of his long-term supporters actually came out and told me on FaceBook. So, I’m sorry, but this is not the way to bring back freedom in the United States, and I will not vote for a candidate who is not for freedom in terms of principles that are based upon reason. This particular election is a referendum on Marxist Nihilism, best expressed by President Obama’s, “You didn’t build that!” statement against individual initiatives and the pursuit of rational values. What we need is someone to beat him – get him out of office – so this country can recover from his nihilistic and destructive policies. I would love to have an actual pro-freedom and pro-individual rights candidate to vote for, but as I have explained above, this is not to be found in candidates who give up reason in the name of whim-worshipping and anti-government appeal. A vote for the Libertarian candidate – either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson – is not a vote for freedom properly understood. At a minimum, the Conservatives at least understand sound economic principles and argue in favor of economic freedom or the free markets. Hence, I think the only viable candidate to vote for who can actually win and states some explicit pro-freedom principles (even if only limited to economic activity) is the Romney / Ryan ticket. Also see: Governments and Individual Rights On Civil Society
  9. http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/independence_day_special_2012.htm Independence Day Special 2012 Losing the Battle By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 07/04/2012 I’m hesitant to write much on this Independence Day due to the fact that I think we are losing the battle for individual rights on two fronts: domestically and internationally. On the domestic front, The Supreme Court, through the Chief Injustice, re-affirmed what the anti-rights proponents have wanted all along – the unbridled ability to force us into doing anything they command us to do, so long as it is done through the tax code; internationally, the re-affirmation that individual rights are not the proper standard from which to form a new country, expressed in the positive sanction by our own government that Muslims in the Middle East have a democratic right to form a suppressive government based upon Islamic Sharia Law that subordinates rights to religious edicts. In a more rational time, the Chief Injustice would have been impeached for abrogating rights in such a manner, while the President of the United States would have been put on trial for treason for ensuring that our enemies abroad will win the war. Some people might think that I am exaggerating on both accounts, that insofar as we still have a system of checks and balances in our government that ObamaCare and the rest of the tax hikes going along with it can be repealed, while the War on Terror and seeking out specific terrorists in the Middle East will win the day in the long run. But I think taking this sort of stand obliterates the primary cause of both troubles. That is, by stating that the damage done can be undone, without taking the specific causes into account, will only bring more rights violations, not less. If the proper cause has not been identified, then how can these efforts lead to anything aside from more rights violations? I think the cause of both issues – domestic usurpation of rights and international sanctions of rights violations on Americans – stems from the same source: The refusal to think in terms of rational principles according to objective methods of thought. Individual rights, properly understood, stem from the fact that man is the rational animal, and that he is the rational animal by choice, and that this rationality – of thinking about the facts with man’s life as the standard – can only be suppressed by one means: by the initiation of force; and that a proper government would outlaw the initiation of force or fraud against the individual, giving rational individuals the green light to live their lives as they see fit according to their own self-chosen standards, so long as they do not use force to appropriate their values. Arguably, the United States of America was founded upon such sound principles as elucidated above, though it wasn’t made quite this explicit in the founding documents of this country. The Declaration of Independence set the terms for breaking free from Great Britain, but unfortunately considered the issue of rights to be self-evident, requiring no proof or foundation, and therefore did not need to be expressed as a guide for the formation of new laws in the United States Constitution. Hence, over the centuries -- and while rationality as a guide was swamped with Kantian collectivism and non-reason -- many laws were considered proper, so long as the politicians and the Legislature jumped through the hoops of the Checks and Balances set up to insure that individual rights would be maintained as the proper standard of governance. In other words, the advent of bad philosophy made it possible for law-makers to put forth whatever they wanted, with no standards whatsoever aside from collectivism, so long as they followed the proper procedure outlined in the Constitution. So, on this Independence Day, take a few moments to realize that the proper role of government is to secure your individual rights -- NOT to impose upon the individual whatever the majority deems necessary -- and that if we are to have many more Independence Days to celebrate, then this truth must be re-learned via a new philosophy more explicitly upholding reason and reality as the proper guides to human thought and action. I highly recommend reading the works of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism to more fully understand the proper underpinnings and support of individual liberties and proper government – before it is too late.
  10. http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/immigration_and_applied_egoism.htm Immigration and Applied Egoism By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 06/09/2012 I have known many immigrants to the United States over the years, and all of them have been very intelligent, personally motivated to achieve their values, and hamstrung by government regulations that will not let them immigrate freely; so long as they are not criminals, acting to overthrow the US government, nor carrying some deadly disease that is incurable. If one looks into the details of our current immigration policy, one will see that it is motivated by the moral principles of altruism. Altruism is the moral doctrine that one ought to be more concerned with the welfare of others rather than having a primary concern for oneself and one’s own well-being (egoism). It takes this form within immigration policy of making it nearly impossible for rational, self-sufficient immigrants to move to the US if the country of origin is suffering due to polices of that country that are against such individuals. In other words, there was a great push to limit immigration from the former Soviet Union because any intelligent observer understood that by letting the best and brightest Soviet citizen immigrate to the USA, the Soviet Union would become impoverished to the point of eventual collapse. But it was US policy not to let this happen, because the well-being of a foreign country took precedent over the well-being of the United States – i.e. applied altruism. It didn’t help matters that many policy officials in the USA considered Communism to be a moral / political ideal themselves, and therefore did not want to see a Communist State collapse due to its fight with the reality of the fact that Slaves of the State are unproductive. So, under an altruistic policy, immigration levels are set, country to country, in terms of what effect such immigration will have on the other nation, not on what such immigration will lead to in the United States. Clearly, if the best and the brightest are permitted to immigrate here due to our greater freedom and hence greater opportunities, then the other nation will indeed suffer and we will benefit. But what of it? Had the Soviet Union collapsed within a few decades, the whole Cold War would have ended and various real but proxy wars would never have happened. In effect, by having such an immigration policy, the US was acting against itself, but this is virtuous according to altruism. Objectivism takes a far different stance due to it’s assertion of rational egoism and the right of an individual to live his life to the fullest, earning as much wealth as he can by being a productive individual. It was the original immigration policy of the Founding Fathers, who understood that vast areas of the Colonies were unsettled wilderness and that by permitting such individual to immigrate freely that the economy would improve and civilization would flourish. An argument being made today is that we no longer have such wilderness areas that require development, and hence immigration ought to be restricted to cut down on city populations. But if highly populated cities were so detrimental to those living there, people would move out into less populated areas, and they are certainly free to do this. However, what we have observed over the centuries is that we can have huge productive cities, so long as men are free to act in their own self-interest. But, again, this requires understanding the morality of egoism, and not trying to make a pre-determination by government edicts of what is best for others living in the cities. And altruism implies force directed against others, since the other’s welfare is uppermost in the altruist’s mind, and the individual simply cannot be expected to live well on his own without someone, including the State, helping him out by making his life decisions for him. Hence, the State must decide for the other whether or not such individuals would be better off in the Soviet Union versus the United States. The idea that an individual ought to be free from the force or fraud of others comes about due to the idea that the individual is able to make rational decisions on his own. By rejecting this principle, altruism forms a type of collectivism, whereby a select group – often the State – claims to know more than the individual and can therefore impose edicts onto him for his own well-being. So, not only is altruism anti-individual on the moral level, it is anti-individual on the requirements of reason; since reason, in fact, is an attribute of the individual and can only operate if that individual chooses to use his own mind. An “open immigration policy” would recognize all these facts about the productive individual and would set each individual free from his former slave to semi-slave State; which would be virtuous, according to the principles of reason and egoism. In short, current US immigration policy is against the success of the United States and ought to be changed to better reflect the achievements that are possible by free, rational men, who go through the effort to start a new life for their own betterment in a free country.
  11. I basically have two questions. Often when asking theoretical situations, opponents of Objectivism concoct some absurd hypothetical and impossible situation and the altruist connotation of selfishness to somehow prove it's a bad thing. I have a question today, and I'll be citing a legend that could have actually happened and would like to get your take on it. You're a slave escaping through the Underground Railroad and you're in a group. Unfortunately, a baby is crying and will not stop crying and you fear the people nearby will hear and wonder what is going on. The only way to keep the baby from crying is to kill it. What do you do? Approaching this from what I know of Objectivism, I can see both angles to this. 1: Killing the baby. While the baby is not using force, or even the broader negation of the mind, (lying, fraud are two examples I can think of that don't precisely fit under force) it does fundamentally attack one's highest value: life. Life simply would not be worth living as a slave, which is why Ayn Rand obviously escaped to the United States. Since this baby threatens one's value life and because to keep the baby alive you must sacrifice yourself, it is perfectly moral to kill the baby. Questions arose from this: If you accept this, doesn't it mean that if one stands in the way of your values, you may treat them as simply an obstacle in your way to be hurdled over? Isn't this an example of "sacrificing the individual for the greater good"? How could an Objectivist support this? Objectivism is founded upon the value of life. How can it be appropriate to kill? 2: Not killing the baby. Basically the questions from before. You're using initiating the use of force against the baby, while the baby has done nothing to harm you. Oism also protects individual rights, therefore it's completely inappropriate to kill the baby. Obviously I'm wrong in my thinking on either one of these, so if someone could clear it up for me it'd be appreciated. QUESTION NUMBER 2: How does Objectivism rationally come to the conclusion that polygamy or incest are immoral, while being gay or lesbian is moral?
  12. Sorry if this is too short, but it really doesn't need to be elaborated on. What would you say to the person that states the fallibility of the Articles of Confederation is a perfect example of limited government that cannot collect taxes?
  13. Ayn Rand mentioned that individual rights should not be subject to public vote. A jury can decide whether someone is guilty or not guilty, surely this is a public vote that could result in someone losing their right to liberty, or even their life. What is the objectivist view on this issue? Would it be morally wrong to do jury 'duty'?
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