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JohnS
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First I recognize that forums are many times a refuge of people of that philosophy to hang out with each other and not necessarily deal with 'outsiders'. I don't want to start a debate. Ok I do, but I won't without an explicit invitation. Instead, I just wanted to know what your point of view was on certain types of issues. I was a lightweight Objectivist at one time as a result of reading Terry Goodkind's fantasy books (couched in Ayn Rand philosophy) and later on reading "We the Living". Basically, I know the basic overarching idea but not arrogant enough to act as though I knew everything; if I did, I wouldn't be asking you. Without further ado:

How would an Objectivist view an issue such as global warming. Now this isn't to debate if global warming exists or not, that is immaterial. I think we can all agree that the idea of global warming isn't itself outlandish. I just don't understand how a free market can react. It is most profitable for a money making enterprise to make money without regard to environmental factors. Anyone who does take into environmental impact will be potentially less profitable and therefore less able to survive in a Darwinian business climate. Objectivist may view us as all independent, yet, we all breathe interconnected air and use an interconnected ozone layer. How does anything but direct government intervention from the top down deal with this issue?

Lastly, I hope I chose the right forum area for this.

Thank you for your time,

JohnS

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First I recognize that forums are many times a refuge of people of that philosophy to hang out with each other and not necessarily deal with 'outsiders'. I don't want to start a debate. Ok I do, but I won't without an explicit invitation. Instead, I just wanted to know what your point of view was on certain types of issues. I was a lightweight Objectivist at one time as a result of reading Terry Goodkind's fantasy books (couched in Ayn Rand philosophy) and later on reading "We the Living". Basically, I know the basic overarching idea but not arrogant enough to act as though I knew everything; if I did, I wouldn't be asking you. Without further ado:

How would an Objectivist view an issue such as global warming. Now this isn't to debate if global warming exists or not, that is immaterial. I think we can all agree that the idea of global warming isn't itself outlandish. I just don't understand how a free market can react. It is most profitable for a money making enterprise to make money without regard to environmental factors. Anyone who does take into environmental impact will be potentially less profitable and therefore less able to survive in a Darwinian business climate. Objectivist may view us as all independent, yet, we all breathe interconnected air and use an interconnected ozone layer. How does anything but direct government intervention from the top down deal with this issue?

Lastly, I hope I chose the right forum area for this.

Thank you for your time,

JohnS

HI John, welcome to the forum. You'll find that we do respond well to people who dont' hold objectivism if they come across as earnest and interested in discussion. We also get lots of trolls who just want to cross swords and those people we quickly flush.

There are numerous threads on this so you can also do some topical searches. One Objectivists persepctive is this:

The "collective action is required to halt a global warming catastrophe" narrative is a myth. Doomsday scenarios, the kind that conveniently say that we MUST act now or otherwise global decimation will be unstoppable are highly suspect. They rely on a hint of plausibility, with a big dash of scare mongering. If you can work that back to "global warming is happening" and we have time to understand it, then one can easily make the claim that markets react very quickly on that sort of time frame, and prices would start moving up long before a significant issue took hold, and drive behavior away from it. That includes the idea of flooding of low lying areas, etc. I personally live in Michigan so I'm hedging on tropical lake front property. Bring global warming on!

Re: environmental factors. Single point discharges of known toxins that are commonly known to and actually harm others (I mean hear demonstrable quantifiable harm - not "2nd hand smoke is dangerous" sort) is a violation of rights. Not to be regulated, but to be prosecuted as a form of damage. Such prosecution would drive away large scale commiting of these acts.

Generally unknown risks are more like ignorance as opposed to negligence. Retroactively suing someone for something that no reasonable person at the time knew was a risk is bogus.

"General pollution" such as from millions of point sources has a name: nature. Such pollution is dealt with simply by market forces. You don't like to live in smoggy LA, move. All air is not the same, no matter how interconnected it is.

Edited by KendallJ
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First, welcome to the forum. Second, you are wrong that most Objectivists wouldn't find global warming "outlandish". Most of us view it as a form of pseudo-science at best and a type of religious fanaticism at worst. The environment has no intrinsic value without humans, since only humans can possess or create values. It is human minds alone that can give the environment any value whatsoever. Therefore, there is no such thing as an "environmental factor" in determining what a man can or can not do. The universe and thus the world and it's environment exist. For it to possess "value" the environment must be exploited by man in order to gain value. If any of this exploitation causes health risks to others than those specific people have the right to sue for having their individual right to life violated. This is the only time where it is moral for the government to intervene--when an individual's rights are violated otherwise the rule is hands off.

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I chose Global Warming specifically because I didn't view it as a doomsday scenario. It takes a while compared to something where in a few hours the world will be changed unalterably (i.e. the old "a terrorist has knowledge of a bomb, do we torture him to find out where it is" example in a torture debate). Now Kendall you said that markets would react. Why would they? Even if everyone realized that it was happening and had negative worldwide consequences, all it takes is one person who doesn't care to have a higher profit margin and undercut competitors who did care. That is how I (still) see it anyway. You say the free market changes; why? Why would you as a business owner want to help the environment? Lastly I felt your comment on L.A. was a bit callous. Not everyone can just move from a city because of smog levels. I'll stop there as I feel my hand reaching for my debating scabbard ;)

Now to address EC: My argument isn't in anyway dependent on global warming itself. It is dependent only on ideas similar in impacts to global warming. Should residents of L.A. be able to sue air polluting companies for the pollution of the air that they are aware takes place? I honestly don't know how you feel on that one, it wasn't rhetorical. If you do feel this way I have no idea how any heavy industry could exist as some air pollution is unavoidable and there will always be someone ready to sue said business for polluting their air. I can also see people suing over speculation (both correct and incorrect). I think I can agree on your view of value and its relation to the environment.

I think the crux of my question is not whether or not global warming exists, but if it (or any other problem that by nature impacts everyone) how does the Objectivist deal with it.

Oh yah, totally unrelated quick question: Why in the forum rules do you distance yourself from libertarians as having a point of view opposed to your own? I thought many libertarians were really into Ayn Rand - they sure reference the literature when I debate them.

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Oh yah, totally unrelated quick question: Why in the forum rules do you distance yourself from libertarians as having a point of view opposed to your own? I thought many libertarians were really into Ayn Rand - they sure reference the literature when I debate them.

Many libertarians really like and admire Objectivism, and in the earlier days of the Libertarian party its predominant influence was something akin to Objectivism. Unfortunately, they did not see the problem that Ayn Rand spotted quite quickly. The libertarians regard "freedom" as a primary value, but it's what AR termed a "floating abstraction"--an abstract concept removed from its context. What is "freedom" and how do you know when someone is violating it? Oh, when someone initiates force he is violating your rights. Okay, define "force." And here is where it falls apart. Libertarians agree you should not initiate force--it's part of the statement of prinicples you must sign to join. But they do NOT agree on what force *is*. Some say things like "I am forced to buy Microsoft's products so...."--leading to the conclusion that Microsoft is using force on them and therefore it is right to have government cudgel Microsoft with anti-trust actions. A viewpoint which is absolutely *not* Objectivist and also disagreed with by the better sorts of Libertarians.

There is also a large anarchist contingent in the Libertarian party. (These folks are generally the ones in the LP who wil condemn Ayn Rand, rather than praise her.) The fact that anarchists and people claiming to be Objectivists are somehow in the same political party is enough to demonstrat that those so-called Objectivists are giving up a little tooooooooo much--they are giving up principle.

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One issue to keep in mind is that we should focus on the world we live in and the reality observable to us. That means that the question "If, in some alternate universe Global Warming existed and was attributable to man, then how would an Objectivist deal with it?" is not valid. Rather than drawing lessons from the imposition of a fictional world with pink unicorns, we should begin with this world. Therefore, the issue does necessarily reduce to: Is Global Warming attributable to man?

In regards to pollution, the court system has a legitimate function of protecting individual rights where they are demonstrably violated. If, for whatever reason, smoggy skies are an unavoidable byproduct of capitalism, then you, as a citizen, would have to deal with the smog or move. Leonard Peikoff answered this question at the conference this year and said something like (paraphrasing) "If I can either live in a capitalist society with smog until I am 80 or live on an island without smog until I'm 25, I'll choose the smog."

If you are approaching this whole issue from the modern economic "negative externality" concept, you can find various and sundry refutations of it from the Austrian school.

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I chose Global Warming specifically because I didn't view it as a doomsday scenario. It takes a while compared to something where in a few hours the world will be changed unalterably (i.e. the old "a terrorist has knowledge of a bomb, do we torture him to find out where it is" example in a torture debate). Now Kendall you said that markets would react. Why would they? Even if everyone realized that it was happening and had negative worldwide consequences, all it takes is one person who doesn't care to have a higher profit margin and undercut competitors who did care. That is how I (still) see it anyway.

Two things.

Markets reacting to "global warming" as such is an abstract way to think about it. I'll tell you what. You tell me how global warming will actually begin to affect me, and I'll tell you how the market might react to that effect.

My comment may have been a bit crass; however, the market does differentiate just on that sort of basis. If in fact, a lot of people mind the smog, all other things being equal, then I as a real estate developer could count on potentially making more off of a house in the burbs, than an equal house in the downtown, and so would favor meeting that demand. As a result I create the opportunity to let people choose. The idea that I can't choose is true of all sort of things in nature. I didn't choose the circumstances of my birth, only what I do afterward, etc. etc. I am free to act to better my life and be happy. Sometimes it matters more that I go work that job in teh city, than get away from the smog. I have that choice.

But it's based upon what people actually value, as in will demand or pay for. Saying you'd prefer it, but not actually being willing to spend more isn't valuing it. Most of the time regulation overplays or whitewashes risk as if eveyone's values are the same and everyone would value such a thing the same way.

We had this discussion about 2nd hand smoke and non-smoking regs.

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Oh yah, totally unrelated quick question: Why in the forum rules do you distance yourself from libertarians as having a point of view opposed to your own? I thought many libertarians were really into Ayn Rand - they sure reference the literature when I debate them.

I like what Steve had to say. Put another way, libs treat "liberty" as some sort of almost metaphysical or ethical primary. WIthout the underlying Objectivist development in ethics, or epistemology, or even metaphysics. So a lot of times you get subjectivists who won't look at anything from an ethical perspective and just want he govt to leave them alone so they can do whatever the hell they want. I think campaigning for drug legalization as a first principle is not the way to fight any sort of principled political battle.

As Steve said, the principles are important.

That said, I'm certainly happy that there are a lot of "serious" Libertarians out there that Ayn Rand has had an influence one. I just think that it is the fact that some people hold onto principle that allows those ideas to spread. Objectivism is primarily an intellectual movement, whereas Libertarian is really only political in nature. I think the effectiveness of the Lib party shows you what happens when principles are compromised in the name of political expediency. You get, ineffectiveness. So Idoubt you'll see an Objectivist party, (oh wait there is one, but it's founded by a subjective libertarian whose trying to used Rand's brand equity) but you sure are going to see a lot of Objectivist ideas become more mainstream, and that's fine with me.

Edited by KendallJ
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Your Free Market equation is missing something, JohnS, something I have noticed many liberals assign to free markets. In your view, businessmen don't give a crap about anything but themselves, irrationally. In a hypothetical world where man was causing global warming, no businessman would have the intellect or foresight to think 'Hm, if the world ends, I can't do business anymore.' Okay, I'll give you that, just for the sake of the argument. But your postulation is that while some businesses would be busy producing slightly less efficiently but cleanly, others would produce better products more efficiently and with tons of pollution. Let's say this happens, in our hypothetical Oist universe with manmade global warming. In that case, it is up to the -consumer-. If you feel GW is a big problem, instead of going to the government and whining about it and hoping for regulation, which is guaranteed to make businessmen hate you, organize a speaking campaign for a boycott on specific companies that utilize these methods which you view to be damaging to the environment. Ask others who agree with you to speak out to the consumer to buy 'cleaner' products.

The Free Market isn't about a bunch of rich guys dictating how and what everyone else must buy, that stigma is a result of the current mixed economy. In the Objectivist view, it is not by force (AKA government) that one may communicate ideals, but by reasonable persuasion.

Fortunately, as previously stated, there is no real scientific evidence to back that the current trend of global warming is manmade, and I'd encourage you to read opposing theories to see why.

Final note: I hope I didn't come across as disrespectful to your views, I don't view you as a troll, and I hope you don't view me as one.

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I think the crux of my question is not whether or not global warming exists, but if it (or any other problem that by nature impacts everyone) how does the Objectivist deal with it.

For those who are fervently opposed to industrial society I would simply ask which air would you rather breathe: the air of a caveman's existence and all that entails or the air of industrial society and all that entails?

Sure, caveman air was probably a little cleaner but they died at 20 or 30 while performing backbreaking labor, hunting, planting and gathering all day, everyday with a toothache and lions chasing you.

Or would you rather breathe some small amount of pollution that actually seems to have some benefits. You live to the age of 70 or 80, you live a comfortable lifestyle and you get to travel all over the globe to see all of the beauty that nature has to offer.

Seems like an easy answer to me, but for those that truly want to live like a caveman, there are still places on earth where that can be done.

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but for those that truly want to live like a caveman, there are still places on earth where that can be done.

Sounds like a T-shirt idea to me...

Environmentalism:

So easy, a caveman could do it.

Cavemen.jpg

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Easy there guys. we don't want to get into a fist o cuffs with the liberal.

Mark's comments I think echo adrock's. The reason we're here to care so much about whether it's smoggy or not, is because we don't have to worry about yellow fever, measles, getting enough to eat, and the basic everyday microbial infection. Objectivism sees those innovatoins as having specific causes, in principle, i.e. capitalism and the free unfettered intellect. I don't deny that smog exists. However, man by definition has limited capacity to address everything simultaneously, and the free market is proven at allocating resources to solve problems. My personal take is that we've got other much more pressing problems to be working on.

Regulation, and or diversion of capital through taxation and redistribution certainly can be said to accomplish something. However, the key is the opporutnity forgone form which resources were diverted. By definition it exists, and most times when we point at one problem we don't want to admit that we're taking away from other problems (and it's sometimes difficult to tell what we're taking away from - but that doesnt' mean that we arent)

Edited by KendallJ
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I see some great responses here and they are heterogenous. First you aren't going to scare me off. I love debate and it takes a great deal to get to me. I'm an atheist who was the 2nd highest poster on an apologetics board. I think that some of the responses simply make me sure I chose the right philosophy. The only board to 'scare' me off was Protest Warriors; anarcho-capitalists do not like liberals (or to them, communists who intend to destroy the last hope of freedom on the planet).

I think that the choice of island life or smoggy civilization is a false dillema which can be broken by Big Bro..er...proper government action. ;)As a liberal I'm the first to admit that there is a definite tradeoff between liberty and collectivization. A lot of liberals want to act as if this trade off doesn't exist and it most certainly does. In spite of this, I still endorse a liberal position. I call this the "Stalin Got Shit Done" argument. :P Obviously a flippant and provocative title but its a fun argument to spring on a libertarian. Its really fun to sell it to the "spectators" of the debate (i.e. the other college roomates) and watch the liberatarian's eyes widen in horror as it goes over; but I digress.

Would I be correct in saying that government regulation of pollution, the artificial 'ceiling' imposed heavy-handedly from above, is something you oppose of in principle only? Do you also think it simply wouldn't work? I would guess it offends you in a princpled 'moral' way, but I'm not sure if you maintain it would be ineffective or if its effectiveness mattered in your position.

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Many libertarians really like and admire Objectivism, and in the earlier days of the Libertarian party its predominant influence was something akin to Objectivism. Unfortunately, they did not see the problem that Ayn Rand spotted quite quickly. The libertarians regard "freedom" as a primary value, but it's what AR termed a "floating abstraction"--an abstract concept removed from its context. What is "freedom" and how do you know when someone is violating it?

Which libertarians do this? Robert Nozick's "Anarchism, State, and Utopia" is probably the most important book on libertarian political theory published in the last 40 years, and I dont recall him asserting that freedom should be considered a primary value in it. Different libertarians will have different reasons for supporting minarchism, theres no unified libertarian position.

Edited by eriatarka
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Ineffective at what? Forcing some to work for what they don't value so others can have (at their expense) what they do? That's the principle of the thing.

Sure, Stalin got shit done. The problem is that he had to kill tens of millions of people to do it. That's my beef. You can't divorce the two aspects. They are in integrated whole. They flow from the same principle, and that makes the principle highly relevant and practical. Just as you can't divorce the idea that capitalism created for you the standard of living to let you come and complain about the smog.

The ceiling imposed by "society", "the state", or any other necessarily leads to rights violations, and when men are not free to use their minds to pursue their values, the general quality of life goes down - that's the lesson of the Stalin plan. Coersion is the antithesis of survival and progress. If you tax a drug company so you can resdistribute their wealth, you rob people of their lives because of hte innovations that don't show up as a result. Yes, it may be measured in minutes or months or years, but you are stealing their lives.

You (the general you) are nothing more than a "kind hearted" Stalin to let me live, at your leisure, and only steal a year of my life so I can produce something for someone else. That's the "gulag" of regluation. The basis for your reason that it "affects us all" is nothing more than saying "the good of the state" (or your brother) should be your concern. ("and we're going to force you to live up to it.")

The other point is that while some view it as a "trade-off", one needs only look at history to see where it leads. Controls necessarily breed more controls. A small amoutn of coersion necessarily breeds larger amounts. In the mid 1800's the small amount of confiscatory income taxation that was originally proposed was debated heatedly as a right violation. Today, such a level is hardly even viewed as unjust. Society makes progress but only to the extent that it is still free.

Edited by KendallJ
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I see nothing of true Liberalism in your position, JohnS. Thomas Jefferson was a Liberal. Liberalism reflects the values of the Enlightenment, i.e., freedom of the individual. What you seem to be expousing is Statism, which translates to slavery.

Edited for spelling.

Edited by Maximus
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JohnS: besides the rights violations that occur with government manipulation of the economy, there is the basic argument that can be used for any government intervention: it breeds corruption. All your suggestions may be good in theory, but can't work in practice. As soon as a force-backed entity is capable of telling people what they can and cannot buy or sell, a huge incentive emerges for bribes to get favorable legislation, and politicians gladly accept these bribes and pass laws to further manipulate the economy. Thus, the definition of "common good" is constantly up for auction. This manipulation of the market will always exist as long as the government puts its fingers in the economy.

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Regardless of whether Global warming is hapening or not, certain sectors of the market are already reacting. Hell, the environmental business' you see sprouting up all over the place are a direct response to environmentalism. Yup they might be run by smelly hippies, but they're smelly hippies with an eye on the bottom line.

If you look at any big comany's website you will most likely see a few pages dedicated to how well they are resonding to environmental pressures. I would argue that many of these companies are doing more than they are asked to by the government in order to stave off more irrational or impossibe government legislation with regard to the problem.

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< I just typed a 15 minute post and accidentally deleted it. Argh! >

First I don't want to get into a debate over what I am, I get it: a classical liberal I am not. I don't think Jefferson was either (I didn't know presidents could just buy huge tracts of land on their own volition). I had this fruitless debate about semantics and labels at Protest Warrior and I don't want to revisit it. I am flexible but I won't acquiesce to being called a Communist, Marxist, or Socialist. I really don't want to have to type left of center secular humanist pragmatist everytime I want to self-identify. The point of language is to convey meaning. You know what I meant and that was the point.

KendallJ: I would say ineffective/effective in regards to reducing pollution below levels of toxcicity or highly undesirable. As a left of center secular humanist pragmatist (dammit) I have no problem with some amount of arbitraryness to these decisions. How much arbitraryness? Well its arbitrary :P I see what you're saying about the government "stealing" production and obviously that is a fundamental disagreement of philosophy. I've got my debate points and you've got yours but I'm here on the selfish idea of educating myself on how you feel; not why I think you're wrong on the points I do understand. I guess you could say it's in my rational self interest to learn about major philosophies :lol: As a left of center secular humanist pragmatist (dammit) I want to balance between too much state power, and too much individual power. That is not the way I would frame it if I debated in public but that's most likely how you see it and it isn't fundamentally incorrect. Your last paragraph I feel is a slippery slope argument :\ I don't want to go too far in any direction; maybe you feel we are doomed to constantly fall after making a fatal choice; I think we can balance. Again, fundamental disagreement but at least I'm learning.

Brian: Some really good points. I'll admit I wasn't event thinking of corruption in this discussion. As government gets more pervasive obviously corruption is more of a problem. Still, even in a bare bones government an arms dealer could bribe the government to "steer" towards a war. Then again maybe you have a fully fleshed out vision on how an Objectivist government / society deals with corruption. Interesting stuff.

I want to quickly mention I'm not avoiding the overarching point of government coercion is bad. I get that, it's a fundamental thing that is hard to discuss without going to debate.

In my original typing of this post I made the same argument as Brian does in response to zip. It is in the self interest of these companies for people to believe they are acting green. If they can do so without actually doing it or get more "marketing play" while doing something very small and insignificant then they win and the green cause doesn't. As a left of center secular humanist pragmatist (dammit) I concur with many other left of center secular humanist pragmatists (dammit) that corporations' overtures of altruism are highly suspect.

Lastly, another question. Let us assume a man named Bob. Bob Bobberson. Bob is not all that smart, but he recognzies this. Bob knows that he doesn't have the Darwinian fitness to achieve the quality of life he would desire. Eureka! Bob realizes that there are many more people like him, than there are with said Darwinian fitness. Isn't it in rational self interest of Bob (and all the Bobs) to team up and subjugate the elites. The Bobs don't want to destroy the elites as they produce really great stuff. They decide to let the elites (let's humanize them to; the Tom's) keep the majority of the fruits of their production, but take through force enough for themselves. In return, the Bobs are available as the people who make the grand designs of the Toms come to fruition. An "analogy of this analogy" is hyenas vs. lions. A lion is better at hunting than a hyena. Hyenas, however, team up. Or....should the Bobs, despite knowing their probably failure to achieve their desires, attempt to compete individually anyway, and accept their results as this is the only moral option?

This question is hard to pose (hence all the time typing it) and it is very intersting to me. I find it quite disconcerting that I rarely meet an average Objectivist. Most people it seems who are Objectivists are those that would succeed under an Objectivist system. Are the lefties of the world, the collectivists, simply acting in their own rational self interest the same way the Objectivists are?

Edited by JohnS
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KendallJ: I would say ineffective/effective in regards to reducing pollution below levels of toxcicity or highly undesirable. As a left of center secular humanist pragmatist (dammit) I have no problem with some amount of arbitraryness to these decisions. How much arbitraryness? Well its arbitrary :P

It's the pragmatist part of you that'll be the end of you. Its the one that lets you toss out my ideas as mere "debate points".

So let me pose you an interesting, pragmatic question. Since you're ok with arbitrariness (and an arbitrary level of it to boot!), how do you reasonably defend a woman's right to an abortion, the right to love whoever you wish, I mean, a heck of a lot of people say that abortion hurts "us all", that believing in God is good improves society. That society is demonstrably impacted by all of these actions and as such we have a right to control them. It all seem not much different than what you're advocating, arbitrarily speaking, of course. :lol:

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I hate to leave all the unanswered questions of my previous post behind but this is quick. I think you're absolutely right. If 90% of Americans were against abortion or for slavery, then those things would be borne out. Thankfully, most people find those ideas as backwards as we do. Again, it is all about attempting to balance it out. Yes, my liberal...er....left of center secular humanist pragmatist (dammit) views can go into a repressive fascism. I see no problem with having a 'static' point. We shall go here, and no further. I think that is possible. I think it is possible to have an adaptive view of politics. I don't blame George Washington for not recognizing gay relationships as equal to hetereosexual ones. I likewise have no problem saying that police, fire, and yes healthcare should be socialized...but Red Lobster dinners don't. Arbitraryness is easily punctured by the principled (you) but so far it is the only point of view flexible enough to deal with political situations as they arrive. Herbert Hoover was principled. FDR wasn't. I'll take FDR over Hoover any day.

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Sure, Stalin got shit done. The problem is that he had to kill tens of millions of people to do it.

As the joke goes:

"How many people does Stalin have to kill to screw in a light bulb?

None, he just likes doing it that way." :lol:

Lastly, another question. Let us assume a man named Bob. Bob Bobberson. Bob is not all that smart, but he recognzies this. Bob knows that he doesn't have the Darwinian fitness to achieve the quality of life he would desire. Eureka! Bob realizes that there are many more people like him, than there are with said Darwinian fitness. Isn't it in rational self interest of Bob (and all the Bobs) to team up and subjugate the elites. The Bobs don't want to destroy the elites as they produce really great stuff. They decide to let the elites (let's humanize them to; the Tom's) keep the majority of the fruits of their production, but take through force enough for themselves. In return, the Bobs are available as the people who make the grand designs of the Toms come to fruition. An "analogy of this analogy" is hyenas vs. lions. A lion is better at hunting than a hyena. Hyenas, however, team up. Or....should the Bobs, despite knowing their probably failure to achieve their desires, attempt to compete individually anyway, and accept their results as this is the only moral option?

Have you read Atlas Shrugged yet? :P

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No I have not. I know I should. I've read a lot about it from various sources. My hunch is it glorifies the "Atlas" people and acts like the average of the world couldn't find their asses with both hands and a flashlight. If I'm right, Atlas Shrugged makes the mirror image mistake of communism. Communism acts as though all are equal and we don't need the elites to make the world move. This is wrong, we absolutely do. Ayn Rand, I fear, acts as though we don't need the average to make the world move. This is also wrong. There seems to be some inherent judgement of quality over quantity. You need both. There are simply not enough elite innovators to actually do all of the great things they come up with. We as a species, if we wish to advance, need the ideas of the innovators and the muscle of the average. As a liberal I think we are a bit too favorable to the innovators and not enough to the muscle. If we went significantly left, I would hold the opposite view. The trick is to take from the elites, without taking so much they feel listless and have no incentive to do what they do. That may offend you morally, but it doesn't me and I think it works. Basically, we shouldn't push the elites into an Atlas Shrugged situation where they just up and quit (I think that's the plot, right?).

Too many edits, sorry. This was written on the fly.

Edited by JohnS
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No I have not. I know I should. I've read a lot about it from various sources. My hunch is it glorifies the "Atlas" people and acts like the average of the world couldn't find their asses with both hands and a flashlight. If I'm right, Atlas Shrugged make the mirror image mistake of communism. Communism acts as though all are equal and we don't need the elites to make the world move. This is wrong, we absolutely do. Ayn Rand, I fear, acts as though we don't need the average to make the world move. This is also wrong. There seems to be some inherent judgement of quality over quantity. You need both.

Wrong. Rand never said that we don't need the average to move the world. Who the hell is going to pick up my garbage? But, more so, they need the producers. We could always build a machine to do that work. That's why they don't destroy the Producers. The same way Plantation owners circa 1850 did not destroy the slaves; they took all of their production. (Not that I am comparing what you call the 'proletariat' :P to a slave nor advocating slaver)

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