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Found 18 results

  1. There has been some discussion of racial politics recently on this site. The existence of a predominantly black underclass affects racial politics. I thought it might be worth posting explicitly about the underclass. I actually posted the following on Rebirth of Reason a little over three years ago. I take the word "underclass" to refer to those people that are entangled in a self-destructive behavior pattern of sexual predation, teenage pregnancy, welfare dependence, crime, and substance abuse. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of them. Once a person is entangled in this, only he or she can get himself or herself out of it. The rest of us may be able to do things to make it easier or harder, but it is ultimately up to the individual. In this country, the underclass is predominantly black. (I gather this is not true in other countries, such as England.) There are undoubtedly historical reasons for this which I will not try to analyze here. This should not be important and certainly does not change what I have already said. Since race looms large in America today, the blackness of the underclass becomes important in various ways. It gives people in the underclass an excuse, if they wish to use it, for not trying to disentangle themselves or not trying very hard. It may not be a very good excuse, but it is an excuse. It leads some people to say that non-blacks, especially whites, should not say anything about the underclass. Such exclusion of people from talking about an issue is not right and may lead to the loss of good ideas. It provides fodder for people who are prejudiced against blacks and are looking for things to support their prejudices. It skews the statistics for blacks. Different people may use these statistics in different ways, but if they do not acknowledge the skewing, they are not being honest.
  2. I have been trying to think of something useful that might come out of the impending election debacle, and realized that it can be a useful self-education experience. So I thought I would share. The superficial question is, of courser, who should I vote for in the presidential race? There are five actions that aren’t utterly beneath consideration: Trump, Biden, Jorgensen, not voting, and write-in (Leonard Peikoff). My specific answer is less interesting, what is more important is how I arrive at the answer. An important contextual fact is that Washington is a deep blue state and there is no question that all of the electoral votes will go to Biden (barring Democratic craziness where the Democratic electors ends up voting for Faith Spotted Eagle). The primary choice is between voting and not voting, so I a principle that favors voting, or favors non-voting. Barring the realization of a more important principle, non-voting would win since it is a self-sacrificial act (waste of time and effort for no value: re-read the first clause of this sentence). If the only issue on the ballot were selection of a president, and if the choices are all only a hair-width separate from voting for death, then there really is no point in voting. However, voting is an all-or-nothing proposition, and it is highly unlikely that all choices on the ballot are “death A vs. death B” (there are plenty of other compelling reasons to vote for or against candidates and propositions here). The degree of self-sacrifice involved in voting for a president is thus microscopic. I need not explain the stupidity of the argument from duty to this audience. The best argument for non-voting is the “I can’t give my sanction to any of these candidates”, and this is a case where “best” doesn’t mean “good”. This is the primary competitor against the “Trump as vote against Biden” comclusion that I reach at the bottom. In the Washington (and some other states), your vote has symbolic value, but not effective value. I know very well that if all of the voters thought that, then nobody would vote etc. even in Washington so my vote would count a lot, but I’m not talking about all or most of the voters. The vast majority of voters do not think, they emote. What then is the symbolic value of the five choices? On the one hand, a huge number of write-in votes for Peikoff could be symbolically useful under a “send a message” theory. In a very few states, such a write-in vote may be counted: in Washington, since Peikoff is not a paid, declared candidate, write-in votes for him are not tallied (this is the norm in the US). Scratch one option. Not voting for president is also not “counted”: there is no count of how many people voted but specifically did not vote for a presidential candidate. Scratch that option. Now we have to make a choice between Biden, Trump and Jorgensen. Again, since a Washington vote is symbolic, what symbolic consequence follows from voting for one of these three candidates? I was inclined to vote for Jorgensen, since she has a philosophy and while I disagree with some of it, I agree with far more of it than I do with that of Biden or Trump. Jorgensen is the only candidate that I can say anything good about, the others fall into the “at least Y is not X” category). I’m aware that there are declarations that libertarians are the scum of the Earth and that no true Objectivist can vote for one: that’s true of Trump and Biden as well, so the scum-of-the-earth principle would favor not voting at all. Trump is a random loose cannon who has minimal grasp of the concept rule of law, and who is quite an uncivilized barbarian. The greatest danger that Trump poses is First Amendment-related. However, he has installed three more-reasonable SCOTUS justices and has dialed back some of the regulatory over-reach that Congress has allowed previous presidents to impose on especially on business. At first glance, Biden looks a bit more reasonable as a predictable tax-and-spend Democrat. At second and third glance, though, you must factor in the realities of Biden’s “base”. I believe that he will substantially cave in to the radical “progressive” wing of the Democratic party – as proven by his choice of running mate. Which brings us to the spectre of Biden’s future – will he survive one or two terms in office? Will he leave office in the middle of a term and leave us with a radical leftist incumbent president? In other words, Biden goes to the bottom of the list, now it’s a race between Jorgensen vs. Trump. Remember that in Washington, the electoral votes go to Biden, so the question is, which symbolic act is of greatest value. I would be really happy if public discussions included statements like Jorgensen’s, that the government should never determine what a private business should pay employees; government should not be classifying nor prohibiting any form of currency; affirmative action programs are wrong, the government should allow workers to opt out of Social Security; the government should not regulate social media sites to prevent fake news; producers should not be required to label genetically engineered foods – these are Jorgensen positions which are not part of the Trump platform. The problem is, the Secretary of State does count and will eventually report the total number of Jorgensen votes, and that’s as far as it will go. What matters for public discussions is what the media is willing to talk about. The media simply will not talk about irrelevant third-party positions. Some months later, Wikipedia will probably report the vote totals. What is at stake, from the PR perspective, is a simple question: what will the media say about the elections? If (as I conclude is most likely) Biden wins, is there symbolic value to adding a popular vote to Trump’s tally? Would that symbolic value have any practical value, for example if the popular vote were close like it was in the case of Nixon-Kennedy, Trump-Clinton or Bush-Gore; or if there is a landslide like Reagan-Mondale? It is most likely that the media will declare a “mandate” for Biden’s and Harris’ agenda. The practical value of a symbolic vote for Trump is that it makes such a declaration a tiny bit less credible.
  3. Years old, client cancelled before viewing PO-EducationTool+Philosophy.docx.pdf
  4. Hi everyone! First of all, let me tell you guys that my English may not be the best due to it isn't my main language. Having said that, let's get into the topic. Since I've read objectivist point of view about intellectual property, I started to think of when my teachers gave me something to study via blueprints (PDF archives, among others). My doubts is: If I took ideas and rights seriously (which I do), wouldn't be the right thing to do to not study via those blueprints and buying the books instead (or figuring out is they're available in a library)? Thank you
  5. Hi everyone. I haven't been an active poster on this forum since I was younger, but I thought that I could tell everyone about my Objectivist oriented immigration FB page. I started this page because I think that the uniquely Objectivist viewpoint of individualism is missing from immigration discussion. To use some typical examples, the Left talks about some mushy notion of "love" as though it's a winning immigration argument, while the Right talks about "American Jobs" and deterministic qualities like voting demographics and I.Q. tests. If you agree with me that the individual needs more consideration check out my page, thank you https://www.facebook.com/IndividualistsForImmigration/
  6. I am genuinely interested to know what your views are on the future of Objectivism. There are different ways you could go about answering this; as long as it is constructive you can answer it how you choose. For some examples, your focus might be the practical application of the philosophy to how you live your life. It might be more to do with expanding the influence of Objectivism. It might be creating a new community. To what extent do you think its possible in your lifetime?
  7. I understand that all the choices we have are bad. None of them support non-coercive solutions to this country so voting based on policies is futile for libertarians/objectivists. I know Trump supports some statist policies and says stupid things sometimes. The reason I think libertarians and objectivists need to vote for Trump is because I feel he will shift the political dynamic in ways that will undermine political correctness, the establishment and media propaganda that serve as barriers to freedom. Read my blog post for a more in-depth case about why I think Donald Trump is the best option. I wrote this case for my libertarian readers but this can also apply to objectivists who would like to challenge conventional wisdom and reduce government tyranny. https://vforvoluntary.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/why-libertarians-should-vote-for-donald-trump/
  8. The proper purpose of government is considered by some to be exercising a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. The Government's use of force would be kept in check by a judicial system, which protects individual inalienable rights objectively. The judicial system exists to ensure the use of force by the government is always retaliatory in nature, and directed only at individuals who initiate force. The judicial system would also help to resolve contractural disputes. The government would otherwise remain separate from religion and the economy. Firstly, to what extent is the form of government so described consistent with Objectivism, philosophically speaking? Secondly, observing that there are no governments in the world that meet the above standard, do you think it is possible to introduce such a form of government? Would use of force to bring about regime change from within be legitimate, in order to have it? At the end of Atlas Shrugged, the Objectivists take back the collapsing US from the collectivists, killing them if necessary in order to do so. When would it be morally justified to do this in reality? Finally, how far would the claims of the government extend? Is the extent of the government within reach of everywhere its citizens are, and their property, or would it only apply within the territorial limits its military power can protect; a safe zone? Thanks for your thoughts.
  9. On the next episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I will answer questions on the good in American culture, romance between an atheist and a believer, the limits of humor, and more. This episode of internet radio airs on Sunday morning, 30 December 2012, at 8 PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET in our live studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can listen to the podcast later. This week's questions are: Question 1: The Good in American Culture: How is American culture better today better than people think? I've heard lots of depressing claims about the abysmal state of American culture lately, particularly since Obama won the election. You've disputed that, arguing that America is better in its fundamentals that many people think. What are some of those overlooked but positive American values? How can they be leveraged for cultural and political change? Question 2: Romance Between an Atheist and a Believer: Can a romance between an atheist and a religious believer work? What are the major obstacles? Should the atheist attend church or church socials with his spouse? Should they have a religious wedding ceremony? Should they send their children to religious schools? Do the particular beliefs – or strength of beliefs – of the religious person matter? Question 3: The Limits of Humor: When does humor work against my values? Sometimes I wonder whether my jokes work against what I value. (For example, what's the most selfish sea creature? An Objectifish!) How do I draw the line? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. Again, if you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: 30 December 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives. Be sure to follow Philosopy in Action via our blog, RSS feeds, and Facebook too. P.S. I've started a new thread because the old thread had "webcast" in the title, but I'm now purely on radio.
  10. So, if you like your politics, you can keep your politics. I’m not trying to take it away from you. I’m just saying that I wish good people wouldn’t pour their time and energy down that particular drain—I don’t think it benefits them. Why I Stopped Spending My Time on Politics… And Why I Think You Should Too Discuss.
  11. Outside of a few individuals I realize this is preaching to the choir, but with new blood rolling through I thought it would be good to once again visit the embarrassing trend of Krugman discrediting himself through blatant dishonesty. I honestly thought I was getting something better when a friend pointed out the following to me. Lesson learned. You can read the full story here from his hit Blog: Here. Here is the meat of the subject: “The blog Social Democracy for the 21st Century has a fascinating post about Austrian patron saint Ludwig von Mises in the Great Depression, and his attempts to make sense of what was happening. It’s a revealing story, because it bears so much resemblance to current right-wing flailing – and also highlights the lessons Keynes tried to teach but so few, economists included, have been willing to learn. First of all, as the blog tells it, von Mises, faced with the reality of depression, basically dropped Austrian business cycle theory, and for the very reason people like me have always had trouble taking it seriously. (Yes, yes, we don’t grasp the depth and profundity of a theory that can never fail, it can only be failed.) ABCT is essentially a story about the excesses of the boom; it offers no clear or plausible story about how that boom leads to a sustained slump. And von Mises was in effect already conceding that point by 1931.” I about fell out of my chair when I read this first part since the dishonesty literally jumped off the page. I’ll take it from the top and ignore the smears he sets up (which is actually the real purpose here): Mises never conceded any point, having both spoken and written on it he continue to support his theories his whole life. Both are documented which leads up to... Austrian theory does offer a theory regarding the Depression as well as why it was extended further than previous recessions/depressions. He was confident in his theories since… He put these theories to practice in Austria post WWI and the economy turned around. He would have no reason to ignore his theories – This is text book knowledge. You can disagree with his ideas but you can’t say he ignored his own theories since he considered them integral to his own history. Speaking of that… Misses did NOT say that excessive wages and trade unions caused the Depression, he said they extended it by not allowing prices and trade agreements to react to market changes. His theory of business cycle goes into why the depression happened. Again, this is documented in speeches and in writing. As to why Krugman is lying to his readers, outside of the usual desire to prop up collectivist Keynesian theories, must be this: “So what was the story? According to vM, it was excessive wages — trade unions were demanding too much, and unemployment benefits were leaving workers insufficiently desperate. Sound familiar? It should — it is, essentially, the current Republican story, in which unemployment is high because we’re being too nice to the unemployed — that, as I like to say, soup kitchens caused the Great Depression.” This hit peace is ignoring basic ideas from Mises so it can serve as political poo tossing that the liberal-conservative monkeys like to throw at each other in place of a real discussion. I haven’t heard the few conservatives I know of say this, incidentally, but perhaps someone has so I’ll reserve judgment on his honesty in their position too. What is sad as that instead of offering up real differences and discussing the economics involved in a meaningful way (the toss in at the end, not included, is incidental and only offers talking points to round out the smear job at the beginning), he white washes facts (again) to score meaningless political points to those who already accept collectivist economic policy. I would have enjoyed a cross discussion. I got errors that I can remember and I haven’t picked up a Mises book in at least 5 years. As a specialist in economics who writes on this theory, he has no excuse. He is either mind numbingly dense or he is being dishonest. Either way, he does propagate the myth however to those who rely on experts to give them truth so they can make informed decisions. I honestly don’t know why I even clicked the link and looked. I should know better that to expect otherwise from Krugman at this point. Thoughts?
  12. As of late, most conversations about politics have led me to believe there is something severely wrong in the way people think about politics. Most conversations involve two or more people who have spent hours and hours reading material that argues for their narrative or policy. These websites, books, and documentaries present facts and arguments that support their ideas. After having read the material of various groups I have found that a lot of this propaganda is actually very convincing. What I mean by this is not that they are right, but that I could imagine myself writing a character in a novel with those beliefs who was able to represent those beliefs and still seem reasonable. It seems very easy for someone to become convinced of a narrative, and have no idea that there narrative could be wrong. It seems like people are just telling themselves stories and using whatever "information" they get a hold of to fit into their narrative. You may think that the easy response is "well show them counter examples that prove their theory wrong". Somehow this doesn't work though. When people are shown contradictory information, they usually do one of two things. They readjust the narrative without rejecting the original premise or fundamental ideas, or they demonstrate a way in which that information is irrelevant or consistent to that narrative. This makes arguments about politics seem little more than arguments about theology. This has me thinking that I am susceptible to the same bias, While I have a firm belief in some basic political ideas, it seems that mostly what I have are hunches, stories and biases. Mises pointed out this problem in his works Human Action and Theory and History. He argued that what most people would do is that if the data did not correlate with the success of their policy they would just argue that their policy was working, but that other factors caused the data not to change in the correct direction. Making debates about political philosophy pointless. Mises responded to this problem by forming a deductive philosophy that defended capitalism through a rationalism and subjectivism. However Mises really only made an economics system, and deducing political ideas from his works seems unreasonable. I think that his response to this problem and the way Libertarians have used his work is one of the contributing factors to their ideology today. tl:dr Hypothetical Question: If someone brings up Israel and condemns their country for being a racist terror state, do I need to be knowledgeable to correct them and what exactly do I need to know to show that they are wrong?
  13. The Supreme Court of the United States of Ameristan has evidently decided that the federal government enjoys unlimited power. Freedom is seemingly irrelevant and nonexistent, and thus here in the People's Republic of America, the government can unconstitutionally do as it wishes, without restriction by law or liberty.
  14. The Rationally Selfish Webcast has a new name and new web site: Philosophy in Action! (The web site won't be available until the morning of the webcast.) Here's this week's announcement. I hope to see you on Sunday morning! — DMH In my live "Philosophy in Action" Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on the morality of working for a minister, giving away unhealthy food, voting for horrible politicians, celebrating holidays, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we'll apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives! What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins When: Sunday, 6 November 2011 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com Here are this week's questions: Question 1: The Morality of Working for a Minister: Is working for a minister giving religion moral sanction? As an atheist, I once worked for an ordained minster who was the owner of a gallery. I became his manager when I made it clear that I was an atheist, but that I was a good framing manager. I don't think I gave him a moral sanction for his irrationality by working for him under those terms. What do you think? Question 2: Giving Away Unhealthy Food: Is it immoral to give away food that you regard as unhealthy? Assuming that one believes (as I do) that candy and sweets are harmful to health (especially in quantity), is it immoral to participate in trick-or-treat by giving children candy when they come to your door? Or, is it immoral to "dispose" of an unwanted gift of, say, a rich chocolate cake by leaving it by the coffee machine at work to be quickly scarfed up by one's co-workers (as an alternative to simply discarding it)? Is the morality of these two cases different because in one case the recipients are children while in the other case they are adults? Question 3: Voting for Horrible Politicians: All the candidates are nearly perfectly horrid, just in different ways. Why should I even bother to vote? Question 4: Celebrating Holidays: What is the value of celebrating holidays? How do you think holidays should or should not be celebrated? Also, what is your favorite holiday and how do you like to celebrate it? After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."
  15. This is to discuss Barack Obama's terrible recent statements, please read the article below. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/build-article-1.1116360?localLinksEnabled=false This shows his ideology. Barack Obama believes that the individual who thinks and does the work of initiation and building, simply, didn't build. This shows very well his collectivist mentality. Please forward this to everyone you can.
  16. The United States is a massively communist and fascist nation. Some of America's main political establishments are: (1) Social Security -- which is communism, (2) Medicare -- which is communism, (3) Medicaid -- which is communism, (4) unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and multitudinous other types of government charity -- which is communism, (5) government roads -- which is communism, and (6) government schools -- which is communism. In addition to these individual-attacking, freedom-destroying, economic schemes and scams, America also has: (7) drug criminalization -- which is fascism, (8) prostitution criminalization -- which is fascism, (9) many types of gambling criminalization -- which is fascism, and (10) censorship of broadcast obscenity on radio and t'v' -- which is fascism. Now, the United States admittedly does enjoy some political liberty -- does have some capitalist and libertarian elements. In economics, America has private, non-government industries like oil, gas, coal, farming, ranching, cars and trucks, most of personal housing, most of business buildings, restaurants, clubs, bars, clothing, shoes, movies, sports, almost all radio, almost all t'v', computer hardware, computer software, etc. So the capitalist sector of America -- albeit hideously regulated, stunted, and demented -- still lives in America. Moreover, in American social and personal lives, much behavior is freely-chosen and private. The people of the United States are politically free to choose their own job, housing, transportation, entertainment, friends, lovers, philosophy, religion, politics, food, dress, music, art, exercise, manners, attitude, clubs, groups, parties, sexuality, and speech. So the libertarian sector of America -- albeit hideously regulated, stunted, and demented -- still lives in America. And yet, the ten evil institutions listed above are central to the American nation and its way of life. These tyrannical aspects of the people and government degrade America's quality of life considerably. The level of popular energy, dynamism, satisfaction, happiness, greatness, hope, and spirit is very inferior to what it could be. And it's worth noting that most of these totalitarian programs and laws did not exist a century ago. As for those that did -- such as collectivist roads and schools, and restrictions on prostitution and gambling -- they cost far less than today, and had far less influence on American lifestyles. In the end, the Stalinist and Hitlerian political institutions cited above pervert the society, debauch the culture, and ravage the American civilization. They need to be terminated immediately. America today is a massively communist and fascist nation -- and that needs to change.
  17. Regarding the Wall Street Occupiers, I have written the following essay and have posted it to my website and other places. I didn't see this topic on the masthead under "politics" so I started a new thread. http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/dont_blame_wall_street.htm Don’t Blame Wall Street By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 10/13/2011 There are a lot of people I know via FaceBook and other forums that are falling for the idea that Wall Street caused the Financial Crises by coming up with and speculating on mortgage backed securities. As they put it, Wall Street was on a speculative binge and eventually the bubble burst because they got too greedy and had to be bailed out. This is an incorrect analysis of the situation. What caused the bubble and the speculation was the government forcing banks to deal with uncreditworthy people, who bought homes when they couldn’t afford them or signed deals with a variable interest rate thinking interest rates would remain low. Both thoughts were supposedly backed by the government via Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, semi-government institutions that bought up mortgages to keep people buying houses they couldn’t afford. In other words, what fueled the speculation on the bundling of mortgages into securities was the government forcing there to be a bigger market than would otherwise exist in a free economy. There is nothing wrong with commodity backed securities, and nothing wrong with mortgage backed securities. But the speculation boom and then bust was caused by the government giving false promises of backing up mortgages via Freddie and Fanny. Once the mortgages were not paid back in sufficient numbers, the commodity became devalued and those mortgage backed securities became valueless as an investment tool. But, again, this was caused by the government guaranteeing those mortgages, at least in several statements made by the government, since they were forcing banks to deal with uncreditworthy individuals. Turns out it was an empty promise, so the market crashed when too many people defaulted. So, if you want to blame someone, then don’t blame the banks or Wall Street, but rather governmental interference in the economy – they caused the bubble and they didn’t stand by their promise to back those mortgages or to keep interest rates low. Now, with that said, I do not think either the banks or Wall Street should have been bailed out when the market crashed. But again, this is governmental interference in the economy, and not a free market, so don’t blame capitalism. The closest system to what the government is trying to institute is fascism – where the government tells private businesses what to do at the point of a gun. It is not freedom and will lead to further government induced speculations as the government bails out one then another business that is doing what the government wants them to do. It is a way of the government accruing power over productive individuals. This is what people ought to be against – the regulations and the forced dealing with businesses that should fail due to making wrong decisions. So, don’t blame the banks or Wall Street for the Financial Crises – the blame rests squarely on the government that forced banks to deal with uncreditworthy individuals and then bailed out the banks and Wall Street when the market crashed. The government is in the process of shifting the blame to Wall Street, with some success, but the evil was committed by the government, not the capitalists.
  18. Hello all, The first thing I would like to do as a new member is to inform you that I have recently started an objectivism inspired blog that comments on current events in economics, and politics. Please check it out at... http://theindividualistman.blogspot.com/ ... and feel free to share with me any reactions you may have. Thank you. I am a long term Ayn Rand enthusiast and truly believe that Objectivism is the only logical way to optimize the individual's as well as society's success and well being. I am an economist by education and an entrepreneur in life. I have studied most of Rand's works and have read and re-read, a bunch of times, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountain Head. They are my two absolute favorite books ever. My interests in life are: economics, politics, philosophy, health, chess, Italy (the cuisine, the country, the language), and sports. I am pleased to be part of your online society. Kind regards, Sven
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