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Thales- I understand completely that humans are different from insects. I employed the use of a simile (comparing two things using the words 'like' or 'as'). I was not comparing humans and insects, but rather, I was merely musing on the striking similarities between your casual classification of a whole hemisphere of people as primitive savages, and the way that a taxonomist might classify butterflies into species and subspecies. I am not disparaging the fine field of taxonomy, nor am I suggesting that I believe that you are a taxonomist, unless that is actually your occupation.

I knew what you are getting at, I just found it to be preposterous and I don't know if you considered my point about how long all men were at the level of savages for 85,000 years, from the time man first appear as homo sapiens.

David is doing a good job of breaking down the cultural differences between Indians and Europeans.

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DaveOdden- The words themselves were not vague, but what exactly you were refering to was. If you said that their culinary skills were inferior, that is an opinion, and up to considerable debate. However, if f you said that their artillery skills were inferior, since, as far as I know, there was no Native catapults or other forms of artillery, then it is a fact.

Are you saying that upon a culture's adoption of an aspect of another culture, it ceases to exist, becoming, to various degrees, a new, blended culture? If this is indeed, the case, then no culture truly survives for any duration, becoming a new one with each exchange of ideas across the cultures. Do you believe in this concept?

If, for some reason, in a certain culture, writing was never developed, but a different system of recording information had developed (such as sound recording), would you consider that society to be advanced.

Oral tradition and law, and to a certain extent, pictograms, although much less efficient than writing, are still able to preserve multiple values.

And how could no comparable system of philosophy have arisen? No one thinks about nothing.

Roads and art do not require the invention of writing.

Thales- What is your definition of 'savage'?

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Are you saying that upon a culture's adoption of an aspect of another culture, it ceases to exist, becoming, to various degrees, a new, blended culture?
To put it another way, when you claim that Indian culture has produced a great hypothetical philosopher Tonto, but it is only his genetic ancestors that are Indian and his intellect background is Aristotle, Acquinas, and Locke, then it is false to say the Indian culture has produced this -- Western culture, accepted by an Indian, has created this philosopher. When Indians take something from Western culture -- for example when Sequoyah was exposed to the idea of writing and copied that idea in creating the Cherokee alphabet, you can't legitimately say that this alphabet is the creation of Indian culture. It is the creation of Western culture, at the hands of an ethnic Indian.
If, for some reason, in a certain culture, writing was never developed, but a different system of recording information had developed (such as sound recording), would you consider that society to be advanced.
I urge you to dispose of such arbitrary and unrealistic scenarios. It would be impossible for an oral culture to develop the science of sound recordings. Knowledge is hiearchical -- you cannot record sound if you do not know what sound is; you do not know what sound is until you have a very abstract, predictive theory of physics; you cannot have a predictive theory of physics until you can do advanced mathematics. Without a system for permanently recording and disseminating previous knowledge, you will be stuck at the level of constantly re-inventing the wheel, or memorizing the holy texts

It is true that Buddhist monks spend their life memorizing the holy texts, and they are able to memorize a lot of text. But that is all they do: they produce nothing. An oral culture is extremely limited, because new ideas have almost no permanency. Our civilization, on the other hand, advances very rapidly because ideas can be constantly re-evaluated and can be integrated across multiple works.

(Speaking of which, I better get my integrations done)

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DaveOdden- One does not need Aristotle, Aquinas, or Locke to be a philosopher. Philosophy, as with art, is not exclusive to a single group or culture. Tonto here could have begun the way the first Greek philosopher had, by using his brain.

You are correct in stating that Sequoyah drew inspiration for his remarkable syllabary from the West, but it was not entirely of the West. He borrowed many symbols from the English alphabet, but since he did not know their meaning, he devised new meanings for them. His system was designed for the Cherokee language and Cherokee sounds. It is not entirely the product of the West or the Cherokee, but of both, a blend.

One does not need advanced mathematics to know what sound is. We are able to manipulate something, even if we do not completely understand what it is. For example- ancient peoples did not know what fire truly was, but they were able to use it.

What good is your philosophy, or for that matter, thinking at all, if you do not use it by testing it with senarios, arbitrary or not? The question remains: would you consider such a society to be advanced?

During the Viking era, prior to the introduction of writing, there was the office of Lawspeaker thrughout Scandinavia. A lawspeaker's job, as you may have guessed, was to memorize the law, including new laws, as well as to act as a judge.

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During the Viking era, prior to the introduction of writing, there was the office of Lawspeaker thrughout Scandinavia. A lawspeaker's job, as you may have guessed, was to memorize the law, including new laws, as well as to act as a judge.

Right. And just as they memorized the law and repeated it impartially, never once cheating, someone memorized this story and repeated it from mouth to mouth until it reached whatever 20th century author you read it from.

That is fact, or at least you presented it as such. Now prove it, and then I'll believe you. How do you know this story to be true, if they didn't have writing to leave several independent from each other and detailed accounts of it?

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Right. And just as they memorized the law and repeated it impartially, never once cheating, someone memorized this story and repeated it from mouth to mouth until it reached whatever 20th century author you read it from.

That is fact, or at least you presented it as such. Now prove it, and then I'll believe you. How do you know this story to be true, if they didn't have writing to leave several independent from each other and detailed accounts of it?

The laws and customs of pre-Christian Northern Europe continued well into the 1200's to 1300s. The "Vikings" had a written language - the Runes, as well as men who were literate in Latin. Much has been preserved in the Eddas, in the Sagas, much Skaldic verse and in the histories, genealogies and other writings of Christian monastics. Prior to the dominance of Christian patriarchal beliefs of the Middle-Ages, women had equal rights with men in Northern European society and were highly valued members of the community. You are entirely too dismissive of any culture not of the modern era. Keep in mind that it was advances in technology that have allowed us the leisure to pursue learning and philosophy, that have done away with the daily struggle to feed ourselves, and have allowed us to look with such distain on the "savages" of the past.

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JakeEllison - I know this fact to be true because I do not share your contempt and suspicion of everything that is not the product of the modern United States, and because I also happen to be literate.

They were first written down around the 1200's, not the 2000's. I would assume that cheating may have occured, however, just as cheating occurs in written law. The office of lawspeaker continued to exist after the introduction of writing.

If you wish to get into a fact-proving contest, please prove to me, as you have consistantly claimed, that throughout the entire Western Hemisphere there were only simple tribes, populated by primitive and brutal savages, in spite of my repeated evidence to the contrary. For that matter, prove to me that you are real, and not a figment of my imagination, kept alive by a vast conspiracy. Then I'll believe your existence.

I reccomend a trip to the local (or even regional) library for further evidence of the lawspeakers' existence.

Maximus explains it nicely.

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For that matter, prove to me that you are real, and not a figment of my imagination, kept alive by a vast conspiracy. Then I'll believe your existence.

You have just encouraged all of us to give what you say no consideration whatsoever.

If him typing responses to and directly addressing you does not convince you of his existence, then nothing will. If you give equal weight to the two possibilities that either he exists or that he is a figment, then how do you judge what is true?

You have negated the possibility of proof and all knowledge when you refuse to accept the evidence of your senses.

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I reccomend a trip to the local (or even regional) library for further evidence of the lawspeakers' existence.

That answer will not suffice. Grow up.

The laws and customs of pre-Christian Northern Europe continued well into the 1200's to 1300s. The "Vikings" had a written language - the Runes, as well as men who were literate in Latin. Much has been preserved in the Eddas, in the Sagas, much Skaldic verse and in the histories, genealogies and other writings of Christian monastics. Prior to the dominance of Christian patriarchal beliefs of the Middle-Ages, women had equal rights with men in Northern European society and were highly valued members of the community. You are entirely too dismissive of any culture not of the modern era. Keep in mind that it was advances in technology that have allowed us the leisure to pursue learning and philosophy, that have done away with the daily struggle to feed ourselves, and have allowed us to look with such distain on the "savages" of the past.

I was dismissive of only one specific statement (if asking for evidence is what you'd call dismissive), the one I quoted in my post. You're not addressing it in any way.

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One does not need Aristotle, Aquinas, or Locke to be a philosopher.
I conclude that you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. Once you've decided what your actual point is, and have decided to focus on that point, then please feel free to set forth your arguments. You are just spewing rhetorical buckshot with no discernible relationship to the main topic or your initial claims. Start by throwing away that damn Diamond book. Follow up by grasping the basic concepts of property, law, and morality set forth in VOS and CUI. Your refusal to recognize the superiority of western culture compared to Indian culture is utterly pointless even from the perspective of the Indian-apologist. You'd be better off focusing on the practically-irrelevant but at least true fact that some Indians had their rights violated by the US government.
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I was dismissive of only one specific statement (if asking for evidence is what you'd call dismissive), the one I quoted in my post. You're not addressing it in any way.

I was providing some information on the fact that there was a written language and quite advanced literature associated with Northern European civilization at the time. I find Iron Age Viking culture and mythology fascinating, but I am just an enthusiast regarding ancient history generally. Absolutely fascinating stuff - better than fiction.

You must admit there has been a generally hostile tone in regards to past cultures, specifically Native American, in this thread.

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I was providing some information on the fact that there was a written language and quite advanced literature associated with Northern European civilization at the time. I find Iron Age Viking culture and mythology fascinating, but I am just an enthusiast regarding ancient history generally. Absolutely fascinating stuff - better than fiction.

You must admit there has been a generally hostile tone in regards to past cultures, specifically Native American, in this thread.

Not from me. I admire positive values in any culture. I think the reason you see it that way is because usually American Indians are brought up in a post-modernist "blame the Europeans" context. If we were to focus on the Indians alone, it would be an entirely different matter and I think far more interesting.

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Jake Ellison - No need to be rude. Will A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones suffice?

DavidOdden - You have reached a false conclusion.

My point was that the first philosoper had no previous philosophers to draw inspiration from. The first Native philosopher (you dubbed him Tonto) would have been able to come about in the same way that the first philosopher in human history had, by asking questions about himself and his world (Why am I here?, Is there a purpose to life?, etc.) and attempting to answer them. In an earlier post, you stated that you did not see how a Native philosopher could have arisen without introduction of Western ideas, and this is my response.

What is it about Jared Diamond books that irritate you? I personally enjoy them. No, they are not my sole resivoirs of knowledge.

What exactly do you mean by Western culture (Irish, German, Canadian, Croatian?) and what aspects of Native culture do you find inferior? (culinary skills?). Perhaps if I knew exactly what you are referencing, I would be able to answer your questions to your satisfaction.

Why do you view the broken treaties between Native groups and the United States as irrelevant?

I have set forth my arguments in this post, from the points that I have set forth in said post, just as I have in every one of my posts in this topic. Each of my questions is a point, and the first sentence adressed to you in this post is a point.

Marc K. - It is my belief (supported by a lack of evidence to the contrary) that my experience is representative of reality. I have seen no evidence that we are part of the Matrix. My point was that Jake Ellison should not have so readily doubted the existence of lawspeakers.

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DaveOdden- One does not need Aristotle, Aquinas, or Locke to be a philosopher. Philosophy, as with art, is not exclusive to a single group or culture. Tonto here could have begun the way the first Greek philosopher had, by using his brain.

Well, considering there is no record of such a philosopher existing in any of the native cultures, and if one had arisen within the native cultures, he/she would not have become such because of the culture he/she grew up in. Just like if an african tribal savage starts using his mind and starts recognizing facts about reality, and creates a somewhat rational philosophy, does not mean that he/she is a "tribal philosopher" or a "savage philosopher".

One does not need advanced mathematics to know what sound is. We are able to manipulate something, even if we do not completely understand what it is. For example- ancient peoples did not know what fire truly was, but they were able to use it.

Please inform me how one could build a sound recorder without understanding in depth what sound is.

My point was that the first philosoper had no previous philosophers to draw inspiration from. The first Native philosopher (you dubbed him Tonto) would have been able to come about in the same way that the first philosopher in human history had, by asking questions about himself and his world (Why am I here?, Is there a purpose to life?, etc.) and attempting to answer them. In an earlier post, you stated that you did not see how a Native philosopher could have arisen without introduction of Western ideas, and this is my response.

But he/she would not have been a "native" philosopher, in the cultural sense, even though he/she probably would have been a "native" ethnically. Just like Ayn Rand is not a "soviet philosopher" in any meaningful sense of the word.

Im not that knowledgeable about the history of the north american tribes, but your points about the achievements of native cultures vs. western cultures, really remind me a passage in "Return of the Primitive" by Rand:

"It is primitive cultures that we are asked to study, to appreciate and to respect - any sort of culture except our own. A piece of pottery copied from generation to generation is held up to us as an achievement - a plastic cup is not. A bearskin is an achievement - synthetic fiber is not. An oxcart is an achievement - an airplane is not. A potion of herbs and snake oil is an achievement - open-heart surgery is not. Stonehenge is an achievement - the Empire State Building is not. Black magic is an achievement - Aristotle's Organon is not. And if there is a more repulsive spectacle than a television broadcast presenting, as news, an two-bit group of pretentious, self-conscious adolescents, out of old vaudeville, performing some Slavonic folk dance on a street corner, in the shadow of New York's skyscrapers - I have not discovered it yet."
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JJJJ - I did not use the words "tribal" or "savage" in my post, and I did not say that a Native philosopher would have arisen as a result of his or her culture.

To build a phonograph, one would first need to understand what sound is. That is true. Physics, however, is not a requirement.

How, in your view, would such a philosopher not have been a Native philosopher, if he/she recieved no inspiration from Europe or Asia?

Appreciating and respecting Native cultures does not require disparaging Western cultures and achievements.

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To build a phonograph, one would first need to understand what sound is. That is true. Physics, however, is not a requirement.

Physics is the science of understanding what things are in nature. The physics of sound is understanding what sound is. If you have no idea whatsoever what sound is, or what physics is (and you clearly don't), why are you still arguing? Why not try and learn instead?

Appreciating and respecting Native cultures does not require disparaging Western cultures and achievements.

And yet you hold that the US is the product of genocide, and we're living on stolen land. That's not disparaging?

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Jake Ellison - It appears that I must be absolutely clear when I talk. Glass-clear will simply not do. A complete understanding of predictive physics pertaining to space and time is not required to build a phonograph. The chain listed by DavidOdden is simply not necessary to build a phonograph.

At no point did I say that the United States is built on genocide and stolen lands. And there have been broken and botched treaties. That is not dispariging, it is sad, but it is a fact. Appreciating and respecting Native cultures still does not require the disparagement or dismissal of the rest of the world.

Was my answer on the lawspeaker topic sufficient?

I invite you to answer my question in the "Who has been Violated?" topic.

DavidOdden - Do you have any answers for my questions? I would like to continue.

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DavidOdden - Do you have any answers for my questions? I would like to continue.
As I indicated here, you lack an integrated approach to knowledge and evaluation, and instead you focus on irrelevant tangents such as the fact (you believe, but can't name and have no first-hand knowledge) that some ethnic Indians are "philosophers". I see no rational purpose to your questions, and until you learn how logical argumentation works, I really don't have the time to waste. I need to see evidence that it's an investment of time, not a waste.
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Jake Ellison - It appears that I must be absolutely clear when I talk. Glass-clear will simply not do. A complete understanding of predictive physics pertaining to space and time is not required to build a phonograph. The chain listed by DavidOdden is simply not necessary to build a phonograph.

You have no idea what is needed to invent the phonograph. You actually seem to be confusing that with building one, without first developing the very complex physics theory needed to invent it, based on someone else's plans. Not that you have any idea how to do that, I'm sure. Just stop pretending already.

Here's Edison's account of inventing the phonograph. I highlighted a few things needed to be invented first, understood and then put to a use that is different from their original purpose, as part of a complex machinery, that the Natives had no concept of, and I'm sure you have no understanding of either. By the way, the reason for Edison's huge effort to spend a lifetime understanding and developing physics and engineering is another thing a Native unfamiliar with Western culture and knowledge would've never dreamed of: profit, in a Capitalist society.

"I was experimenting on an automatic method of recording telegraph messages on a disk of paper laid on a revolving platen, exactly the same as the disk talking-machine of to-day. The platen had a spiral groove on its surface, like the disk. Over this was placed a circular disk of paper; an electromagnet with the embossing point connected to an arm travelled over the disk; and any signals given through the magnets were embossed on the disk of paper. If this disc was removed from the machine and put on a similar machine provided with a contact point, the embossed record would cause the signals to be repeated into another wire. The ordinary speed of telegraphic signals is thirty-five to forty words a minute; but with this machine several hundred words were possible.

"From my experiments on the telephone I knew of how to work a pawl connected to the diaphragm; and this engaging a ratchet-wheel served to give continuous rotation to a pulley. This pulley was connected by a cord to a little paper toy representing a man sawing wood. Hence, if one shouted: ' Mary had a little lamb,' etc., the paper man would start sawing wood. I reached the conclusion that if I could record the movements of the diaphragm properly, I could cause such records to reproduce the original movements imparted to the diaphragm by the voice, and thus succeed in recording and reproducing the human voice.

"Instead of using a disk I designed a little machine using a cylinder provided with grooves around the surface. Over this was to be placed tinfoil, which easily received and recorded the movements of the diaphragm. A sketch was made, and the piece-work price, $18, was marked on the sketch. I was in the habit of marking the price I would pay on each sketch. If the workman lost, I would pay his regular wages; if he made more than the wages, he kept it. The workman who got the sketch was John Kruesi. I didn't have much faith that it would work, expecting that I might possibly hear a word or so that would give hope of a future for the idea. Kruesi, when he had nearly finished it, asked what it was for. I told him I was going to record talking, and then have the machine talk back. He thought it absurd. However, it was finished, the foil was put on; I then shouted 'Mary had a little lamb', etc. I adjusted the reproducer, and the machine reproduced it perfectly. I was never so taken aback in my life. Everybody was astonished. I was always afraid of things that worked the first time. Long experience proved that there were great drawbacks found generally before they could be got commercial; but here was something there was no doubt of."

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You have no idea what is needed to invent the phonograph. You actually seem to be confusing that with building one, without first developing the very complex physics theory needed to invent it, based on someone else's plans. Not that you have any idea how to do that, I'm sure. Just stop pretending already.

Here's Edison's account of inventing the phonograph. I highlighted a few things needed to be invented first, understood and then put to a use that is different from their original purpose, as part of a complex machinery, that the Natives had no concept of, and I'm sure you have no understanding of either. By the way, the reason for Edison's huge effort to spend a lifetime understanding and developing physics and engineering is another thing a Native unfamiliar with Western culture and knowledge would've never dreamed of: profit, in a Capitalist society.

Yes ... I'd like to add more to this picture!

One of Edison's heroes was Michael Faraday. Edison studied Faraday's works quite heavily. Faraday is the discoverer of the law of electromagnetic induction, among other things. Faraday set up experiments and employed Newtonian physics to understand the results. He also used the experimental method. The work of Newton rested on the work of Galileo, who also employed the experimental method. The experimental method came from Roger Bacon, Avicenna, Ibn al-Haytham, et. al. They were influenced by Aristotle. Aristotle was influenced by Plato and Plato by Socrates, all the way back to Thales. :-)

The value of the Greeks here is that they were the first to arrive at a secular view of the world. They tried to explain everything through observation and reason. This is what made Thales famous. In fact, he is also considered to be the father of mathematics, because he came up with the idea of "proof" in mathematics, which gave it its rigor. Furthermore, the epistemological frame work required for the scientific method was of Greek origin. Aristotle believed there is a world out there and that what we get via the senses is the true world. We then reason about that world and can arrive at true or false conclusions. All other cultures had a view of knowledge that it comes from some source, like an oracle or god. I might also add, the Greeks were big on discussing and arguing ideas. This is because they believed one could arrive at understanding this way. The Egyptians, by contrast, were very obedient and believed what they were told.

We Westerners take for granted the Aristotelian approach, because this is what we have been taught, but it is anything but obvious.

To arrive at philosophy, writing had to be invented, so that thoughts could be written down, compared, and thought about over time. People didn't have to continually re-invent the wheel, so to speak.

This whole Western frame work is what was required for Thomas Edison to do what he did. And I could have added a great deal more to that frame work, including the importance of individual rights and the industrial revolution. So this is why Native Americans could not have invented the phonograph. Or, to be precise, it would have required thousands of years for them to get to that point.

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DavidOdden - A simple 'no' would have done just as well. Could you plaese elaborate, so that I may be able to answer and reply to your satisfaction. I would appreciate it very much.

Jake Ellison - Take a deep breath, and we can continue without either of us regressing to the petty and sarcastic tones of an 8 year old.

I was not confusing building the phonograph with inventing it.

Natives had certainly heard of profit. Trade couldn't have been conducted if they did not understand profit.

Am I correct in abandoning all hope of a reply in the 'Who has been Violated' topic?

Other than that, thank you for the explanation, Messrs. Edison and Ellison.

Thales - Thank you for your elaboration, and now I see that the phonograph needed much more to be invented than I had originally thought. My bad. ;)

I too am a fan of Faraday.

Althogh the Greeks were pioneers in the secular world view, there were plenty of Greeks who used myth to explain their world.

However, my question was not whether Native Americans could have built the phonograph, but whether if a society had invented any non-writing system of recordind informaton, would that society be considered advanced? For example - If the Inca quipu had indeed been used to store verbal information or ideas (I am aware of the fact that there is no evidence for this), or if similar invention to store verbal info. or ideas was used by another society.

Now that that mess is behind us, what do you define as 'savage'?

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Ok I've been debating with my coworkers about the native Americans. Specifically were the white men justified in running them off their land. I've argued that to run someone off of their land those being run off would have to have a concept of property rights. Does anyone disagree? I'd like to hear rational arguments not emotional appeals which is all I get at work

Predictably, this became a pretty emotional debate. It follows, though, because death is a subject which naturally elicts strong emotions and I'm certainly not opposed to constructive exchange. However, on or around the 4th page it got rather tiring because tempers were flaring, we were way off topic, and if there's one thing I can't stand it's smiling replies from a person who's not really smiling. It's OK to have emotions, just don't let them get out of control.

That said, I think your question is a good one. It looks like you think that whitey was justified in running the natives off the land. This practice has been happening for thousands of years all over the world and is certainly not new. If you subscribe to the current thinking about how modern humans started somewhere in Africa/the Middle East and migrated east, then you would accept that the only thing original about the native American displacement was its scale. It was much larger than anywhere else so far. This is strictly because of the size of the landmass, the number of people it supported, and its relative geographic isolation from colonial Europe.

I disagree with your argument because it attempts to fit a square peg into a round hole. Native Americans can't be held to the same standards as colonial Europeans. Well, not rationally, anyway. American and European cultures at the time differed in technological development, social stratification, religious life, artistic expression, value significance, physical activity, and natural environment just to name a few. Whether or not you read Mr. Diamond's book (which I think was very well-written and a comprehensive place to start), anyone who gives it a few minutes of thought will realize these two groups of people were vastly different, regardless of the reasons why.

Saying that it's OK to take land from people who have no concept of property rights is like saying it's OK to kidnap an infant because it has no real concept of who its parents are. In both cases you're stealing something for your own gain that directly affects a number of other human beings negatively under the guise that they have no concept of its value. Their concept of its value is not the same as YOUR concept of its value, but with the exception of established currency, value judgement is subjective. There's that word again that makes objectivists cringe. Obviously any object or piece of land can be assigned a dollar value based on any number of factors (rarity, ability to grow food, oil speculation, etc). However, humans can attach inherent value to something independent of dollar value and do so in a completely rational manner. Consider the example of the person who doesn't want to sell his small seaside house to a developer for several million dollars because he has lived there for 40 years and to him, the view is priceless. You can always make the argument that those millions of dollars are worth far more than the house, but if he doesn't RECOGNIZE that value, they become worthless. That doesn't make him an irrational human being, it just makes his concept of value different that yours. The justification for the money's value is that you can do a lot with several million dollars. The justification for him refusing it IS the sentimental value of the house and the fact that he thinks the view is pretty. That's it. Many of us have possessions or experiences that have little or no monetary value, but are among the most valuable possessions we have. There are truly things on which you can't put a price tag that are just as valid as those you can. It goes back to the old point that productivity is not exclusively a precursor to money.

The same goes for the value of property rights. Property rights are based on monetary value ONLY, which is set by whatever system of government created the property rights laws. It's actually pretty irrational to attempt to define value as strictly monetary to a people who have no monetary policy. It's rushing way ahead in the educational process. It's like teaching a first-grader calculus and wondering why they don't understand it. Indians didn't have a national flag, either. Europeans did. By planting that flag in the soil, they forever claimed an arbitrarily huge amount of land that had not even been explored, for a power thousands of miles away who would most likely never see it. Are you REALLY going to attempt to justify that as a balanced, reciprocal property claim law? Were they kidding?

Americans had been living on roughly the same land for centuries, through many generations, creating both personal experiences and using the land productively to grow crops, build dwellings, hunt food, for recreation/education, etc. Though not on the industrial (and, admittedly, less sustainable) level that Europeans used it, the idea that natives were not "using the land" is totally incorrect. Maybe they weren't using it as intensely as the Europeans and could not extract as much MONEY out of it (in the short term), but by that logic, you should flatten your house and turn it into farmland or a slaughterhouse or a factory.

There is no objective definition of how much land someone deserves. You get what you earn or what was left to you (which, I might add, is a western idea - free land for no work). Using monetary value (even as an objectivist) is just as arbitrary as using sentimental or asthetic value because the definition of each is different and lies in the eye of the beholder. You can't rationalize "better" use of land if the person whose land it is doesn't agree with you. Then it's just a matter of opinion, which can be neither right nor wrong, and whoever has the gun wins. You may be fine with that approach, but someday you may be the one without the gun.

One more point...Nowhere in any objectivist literature I have read does it say that it's OK to profit off of the suffering of others. You're not allowed to steal to enhance your own personal wealth nor are you allowed to "corner" a free market in such a way that competition ceases. Not because "it wouldn't be fair" to the other competitors, but because it creates that red-headed stepchild of objectivism, that thorn in the side of pure capitalism: The Monopoly. Monopolies from a capitalist view are great, but from an objectivist view they cannot be permitted. Power corrupts, and there has not been a monopoly anywhere in western democratic civilization that did not take advantage of its customers (anyone familiar with AT&T prior to 1984 will understand what I mean). Upon no longer offering a fair price for a product or service, you are no longer entitled to provide that product or service. Stealing is the same whether its done to a primitive culture, a convenience store cash register, a rich uncle, or on corporate accounting books.

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Saying that it's OK to take land from people who have no concept of property rights is like saying it's OK to kidnap an infant because it has no real concept of who its parents are.

Wow, a long dissertation on how we shouldn't mix apples and oranges (compare whites and Indians because they are soooo different), and then you go ahead and compare an Indian to a newborn. As always, people who use analogies do it because they have no real arguments.

Property is not inherent, handed down to us from the Gods. We created a society in which individuals have property rights. Since the Natives didn't even have a concept of property, or rights, they did not own the land in any sense that is relevant to Objectivism and Capitalism-the political system advocated for by Objectivism. Individual Natives had the capacity to own land (unlike a newborn!!!), as soon as Europeans came over and explained to them what it was, and set up the society that made that possible. At that point, the land was up for grabs for individuals: if an individual of Native origin decided to buid a nice house for himself, on an onowned piece of land, and whites came over and took it, that was an injustice. If some tribe leader decided the land between two rives and that big rock where the buffalo lives is all his tribe's territory, and the white man should get off of it, there was no injustice in going to war with that tribe.

As for newborns, their right to life is the responsibility of people who caused them to be in this World: their parents. (and it is their privilege to hold that responsibility, if able to) Why? -Because, while unable to fend for themselves, or live as independent members of society, children still have the same capacity to do so in the future. So, their rights are different from those of adults-they have a right to be taken care of, but they have fewer freedoms as well.

Indians are nothing like newborns because they had the capacity to understand and live by the rules of a free, Capitalist society, then and there. They just mostly chose not to, thus making any such society imossible for everyone. At that point, the moral thing to do, for the Europeans, was to take the necessary steps to protect their own civilization, and establish their own society of laws. No one says they did perfectly, but it turned out quite well in the end: the US is the best country that ever existed.

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