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People who are unemployed don't want to barely survive off of government subsistance and handouts; they want to work, and get ahead. This book makes it look like anyone who is or ever was at a disavantage is demanding some sort of entitlement because of that disadvantage. I thought one of the principles of Objectivism is that man is good by nature...?...

You have obviously not been to Ecuador, then.

One of the points of the book is that man is benevolent and good when embracing the proper, life-affirming philosophy which allows him to flourish and thrive. Socialism is the opposite of that philosophical stance, and the Welfare system is one of its absolute manifestations in the world, and the idea of entitlement which makes those who believe in it demand something for nothing. It's not only a problem in the United States, it's prevalent in Europe and Latin America.

A concrete example that demonstrates the abstract principles at work: My mother found a young woman with a child begging in the streets. (This is Ecuador, BTW, a socialist country espousing "XXI Century Socialism" as its catchphrase) She said she looked like a healthy young woman without any infirmities, and at that point my mother was lacking a cook (you don't have maid/cook/etc employment agencies in Ecuador, most of the time you end up hiring help by word of mouth or recommendation), so she asked this woman if she would like to try out for the job of a cook at our house, with room and board covered.

This woman hissed at my mother and essentially spat upon her, saying "I didn't ask you for a job!, I asked you for money!"

And she acted as if she was honestly insulted. There is but one example of many.

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I think the small government conservatives and tea partiers are simply reveling in the very public and very ironic display of frustration and fecklessness by our big government president who once claimed the election of Him would slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.

Great ARI article on the prescience of Atlas Shrugged (thanks)... I was thinking the same things and even went so far as to search out the part it reminded me of:

"You must do something!" cried James Taggart.

She whirled to face him. "I?"

"It's your job, it's your province, it's your duty!"

"What is?"

"To act. To do."

"To do—what?"

"How should I know? It's your special talent. You're the doer."

She glanced at him: the statement was so oddly perceptive and so incongruously irrelevant. She rose to her feet.

"Is this all, Jim?"

"No! No! I want a discussion!"

"Go ahead."

"But you haven't said anything!"

"You haven't, either."

"But . . . What I mean is, there are practical problems to solve, which ... For instance, what was that matter of our last allocation of new rail vanishing from the storehouse in Pittsburgh?"

"Cuffy Meigs stole it and sold it."

"Can you prove it?" he snapped defensively.

"Have your friends left any means, methods, rules or agencies of proof?"

"Then don't talk about it, don't be theoretical, we've got to deal with facts! We've got to deal with facts as they are today . . . I mean, we've got to be realistic and devise some practical means to protect our supplies under existing conditions, not under unprovable assumptions, which—"

She chuckled. There was the form of the formless, she thought, there was the method of his consciousness: he wanted her to protect him from Cuffy Meigs without acknowledging Meigs' existence, to fight it without admitting its reality, to defeat it without disturbing its game.

"What do you find so damn funny?" he snapped angrily.

"You know it"

Yup. "You know it".

lol%20bumper%20sticker.JPG

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You have obviously not been to Ecuador, then.

One of the points of the book is that man is benevolent and good when embracing the proper, life-affirming philosophy which allows him to flourish and thrive. Socialism is the opposite of that philosophical stance, and the Welfare system is one of its absolute manifestations in the world, and the idea of entitlement which makes those who believe in it demand something for nothing. It's not only a problem in the United States, it's prevalent in Europe and Latin America.

A concrete example that demonstrates the abstract principles at work: My mother found a young woman with a child begging in the streets. (This is Ecuador, BTW, a socialist country espousing "XXI Century Socialism" as its catchphrase) She said she looked like a healthy young woman without any infirmities, and at that point my mother was lacking a cook (you don't have maid/cook/etc employment agencies in Ecuador, most of the time you end up hiring help by word of mouth or recommendation), so she asked this woman if she would like to try out for the job of a cook at our house, with room and board covered.

This woman hissed at my mother and essentially spat upon her, saying "I didn't ask you for a job!, I asked you for money!"

And she acted as if she was honestly insulted. There is but one example of many.

Oh I wanted to say thanks for the sources as well. I liked the one illustrating how BP would have difficulty in a truly fair market economy. I thought I had caught wind of that subject at some point but had failed to consider that perhaps BP isn't a free market firm by Objectivist standards. Government subsidies definitiely prevent a firm from being a true freely competitive firm, although I was taught by a conservative economics department in my MBA program that there's more to farm subsidies (among others) than economics; their local economies are stagnant; the people would otherwise be on welfare, hence (likely an even greater) financial strain on the public payroll anyway.

Subsidies have been an issue for some time and I imagine will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

A company should definitely be allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits, and I would even allow for government loans. Why not?

The problem is when private loans are allowed to be securitized, and sold off, totally disconnectingt he lendor from any risk associated with that transaction. That was obviously part of what got us into the 08/09 mess.

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Oh I wanted to say thanks for the sources as well. I liked the one illustrating how BP would have difficulty in a truly fair market economy. I thought I had caught wind of that subject at some point but had failed to consider that perhaps BP isn't a free market firm by Objectivist standards. Government subsidies definitiely prevent a firm from being a true freely competitive firm, although I was taught by a conservative economics department in my MBA program that there's more to farm subsidies (among others) than economics; their local economies are stagnant; the people would otherwise be on welfare, hence (likely an even greater) financial strain on the public payroll anyway.

Subsidies have been an issue for some time and I imagine will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

A company should definitely be allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits, and I would even allow for government loans. Why not?

The problem is when private loans are allowed to be securitized, and sold off, totally disconnectingt he lendor from any risk associated with that transaction. That was obviously part of what got us into the 08/09 mess.

See, this is the kind of stuff that concerns me. My fellow conservatives mysteriously fall silent on many issues, and I struggle with reconciling this. Many are from families of privilege, yet preach: "If we can do it, anyone can."

This is obviously my first brush with real Objectivism in practice, but I can't help but just utilize the momentum of this thread rather than migrate elsewhere; these issues very much run together.

Case-in-point: The same friend who recommended I read Atlus Shrugged is Cuban-American (Father immigrated, American mother) and we've grown apart over the past few months because of differences such as this. I'm often regarded as unbearably conservative by many, yet I consider him to be one who has drank the Koolaid. He contends that any homeless person on the street could go somewhere, write a business plan, get investors, and start a company the next day in this country.

Cuban Americans are one of the most prosperous ethnic minority groups in the US, much like Asians, in many cases, and Jewish people as well, depending on what you consider an ethnicity.

This friend contends that since his father came here with only the clothes on his back and what little the Cuban government allowed him to stuff into a suitcase, and now has a net worth in the millions, that there's no excuse for anyone to complain about career or financial hardships in this country.

NEVERMIND, that he came here, having been the owner of five hotels and 7 restaurants in Cuba. Many of the Cubans that came here in the Bay of Pigs simply came here with the skills to succeed.

The same applies to many Asian Americans; a friend of mine, and University Professor in California exaplained to me a concept of an "ethnic niche" that many fall into, and are simply successful, because again, they came here with the skills to succeed.

That's why you're seeing "Asian" start to drop off of those pre-employment ethnicity-screening documents that many companies use when taking employment applications. Asians on average make more money than white people. Their wealthy/upper-middle-class to middle class ratio of members is dramatically higher than it is for whites. What else would you expect?

I've never identified with what is known in this country as the "black plight", but I imagine that I feel similar to how many African Americans do when I'm having this discussion with my friend who just doesn't seem to get it, because he's been prepared for everything throughout his life.

This is a guy preaching personal responsibility, yet graduated from college free-and-clear, financially, conceding, "Well, that's different, me and my parents agreed this is important because it's education."

I left with college with $10's of thousands in dept. and the Dept. of Ed. wanted a very steep monthly repayment amount even with my meager college-grad salary that I was able to secure, after four months of job-searching.

His response, in a contemptuous tone to this objection of mine was, "Why didn't they have the money to pay for your college?" (as if they were expected to, like his did) "Who the heck is he to ask something like this?" I thought.

I answered, "Man, I just don't know, it wasn't my place to ask. I was 17. They said, 'Son, we just don't have the money; you're gonna have to take out loans.'"

He got in with a great company that paid for his MBA, almost completely. I'm footing every dime of the $50K bill for this.

He's still on his parents cell phone account at 28! ...yet preaches about "paying your own way."

Sometimes I think there's just a disconnect here.

Am I wrong to assume that many that find objectivism appealing are from upper-echelon families where they have a lot of property to protect?

Is it not unusual that the five students from my high school grduating class who got into the Univeristy of Virginia (The best and most prestigious Univeristy in the Commonwealth of Virginia) were from the five richest families in my community, lived in the biggest houses in the most exclusive neighborhood in our town, and didn't have to work through high school or college, having all expenses satisfied by their parents? Is it not unusual that they were sent off to these SAT camps, the likes of which most of us had never heard.

I was attracted to objectivism because of the accusations I take from time to time of being an "unfeeling, capitalist conservative."

If anyone would care to provide feedback, negative (not personal insults) or constructive, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Best,

Rob

Edited by Rob-H
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Rob,

Whether or not your friend came into the world under more favorable circumstances than you, he (or any other man) does not owe you (or anyone else) any part of his life to 'level the playing field'. Each man is still responsible for his own life. I would say that your friend may not be right about any particular homeless person's business acumen, but that really isn't pertinent to the issue anyway. Even if the homeless guy will never be able to earn a penny, no one else owes that homeless man any part of their life beyond which they willfully choose to offer him something in furtherance of their values.

When you say families of 'privilege', you seem to imply that the wealth they possess fell from the heavens or came by way of a lotto. What's more likely is that one or more people in that family worked hard (and/or smart) to EARN that money thereby gaining the right to dispose of it in the manner they choose. If that means paying for their son's cellphone, so be it. No one has a right to have their life, or any part of it, provided for them at anyone else's expense. To suggest otherwise is to support the concept of slavery - making one man's life or property a means to another man's end against his will. Objectivism is not okay with slavery to any degree though by all appearances both of the major US political parties are just fine with it.

Edited by RationalBiker
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That wasn't the issue being discussed. The issue was whether "we" should preserve some resource or environment. And since it is specifically the lack of property rights in the ocean and waterways that is creating the political problem, then anyone who wants to help go clean the birds and ducks or pick up the sludge from the shoreline is free to do so. The issue has nothing to do with being 'easy' but with the principles guiding one's actions. The price of seafood may indeed rise, but if I don't eat seafood, it doesn't affect me.

Yes, but you made the point about the ocean naturally cleaning up the spill in connection with the political question, presumably to say that there is no problem in need of being solved. The material you just posted does describe a mechanism for the gradual disappearance of the oil, but it doesn't specify the time frame. How many months or years of fishing will have to be destroyed before the ocean takes care of this naturally?

In any case, I agree that in a free society, there would be no collective government response to this problem. But you're still maintaining an unrealistic stance about whether or not this will affect you. You don't have to eat seafood to be affected economically by a disaster for this many other people.

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If anyone would care to provide feedback, negative (not personal insults) or constructive, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Best,

Rob

My quick answer would be: Yes, not everyone 'can' be a billionaire business tycoon at age 25, and your parents financial situation does make a difference. However, this has nothing to do with homeless peopel/beggars etc. in western countries. There are no excuses for a person with a functioning adult mind to be in that kind of a financial situation. Your point would be valid if someone claimed that everyone should be a millionaire by age 22, or something.

Also, the lack of money growing up is not the reason that makes a lot of these people fail in life. It's the philosophy they've been brought up with. It's no surprise that most of the "poor kids" who have made a success of themselves in later life, have had a good, stable upbringing, even though they may have lacked material stuff. The ones that fail, usually have had a pretty rotten upbringing.

Even if you don't have a dime to your name, but have a sound philosophy, you will succeed if you want to. If you want to go to college, but can't afford it, you can always take a loan or work a few years. Sure, you may not get it as easy as someone else, but your life shouldn't be about comparing yourself to others, and you should instead focus on what it is you want. It's self-defeating to think about "how easy" some people have it, and instead focus on the things you can do to change your situation. If you do this, there is NO way you can end up homeless or begging at the streetcorner.

Also, your friend doesn't really seem like the best "guide" to objectivism, at least the way you describe him.

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These comments worry me (as they are valid) as I am wondering if the government will try to take BP over after this is all over. They are already trying to pull some shit with the news industry:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/...--95196309.html

Well, I don't know if BP will actually go bankrupt or not, but they have definitely been damaged by the problem that they caused. Everything that is occurring to them is being caused by the accident that they are responsible for. What worries me are people worried about the survival of a corporation when it should be being held responsible--if they go bankrupt footing the bill that they are responsible for, so be it. Additionally, if they go bankrupt and have to be liquidated to pay for the damages, that is justice as well.

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Yeah I really don't understand why supposed "small government" conservatives are jumping all over Obama for his "slow response" to the oil spill, as if Barack is going to wade into the water and pop a cork into the pipe. If the government can stop the oil aggression onto private property with its resources available then it should do so (obviously it can't in this situation), otherwise the only place for the government is investigators, detectives, and courts, everything else from stopping the oil to the clean up should take place at private initiative, with BP under the obligation to pay for it.

:lol: This reminds me of a drunken argument I had with one of those people a couple of weeks ago. As usual, the oil spill was being downplayed by him and his friends--and the news network that they love to defend--and they started complaining about how president Obama was handling the situation. I told them that they were funny people but they couldn't have it both ways: one can't constantly play down the situation while at the same time blame the president for a "Katrina."

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My quick answer would be: Yes, not everyone 'can' be a billionaire business tycoon at age 25, and your parents financial situation does make a difference. However, this has nothing to do with homeless peopel/beggars etc. in western countries. There are no excuses for a person with a functioning adult mind to be in that kind of a financial situation. Your point would be valid if someone claimed that everyone should be a millionaire by age 22, or something.

Also, the lack of money growing up is not the reason that makes a lot of these people fail in life. It's the philosophy they've been brought up with. It's no surprise that most of the "poor kids" who have made a success of themselves in later life, have had a good, stable upbringing, even though they may have lacked material stuff. The ones that fail, usually have had a pretty rotten upbringing.

Even if you don't have a dime to your name, but have a sound philosophy, you will succeed if you want to. If you want to go to college, but can't afford it, you can always take a loan or work a few years. Sure, you may not get it as easy as someone else, but your life shouldn't be about comparing yourself to others, and you should instead focus on what it is you want. It's self-defeating to think about "how easy" some people have it, and instead focus on the things you can do to change your situation. If you do this, there is NO way you can end up homeless or begging at the streetcorner.

Also, your friend doesn't really seem like the best "guide" to objectivism, at least the way you describe him.

It totally agree with both of you. I don't feel that anyone who had it better than me owes me anything, simply in consideration of that. I've lived my life too long carrying my own weight.

But those who had to work far less because of their disposition, and made it farther than I have at the same time, then go around claiming that their success is solely a result of

their personal perserverance and philosophy on life, simply do

not help matters.

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I'll make my detour from the thread topic quick.

I just finished Atlas Shrugged, per the recommendation of a friend, and had trouble seeing how the BP oil spill would fit in in such a Randyan universe, where everyone is so neatly pigeonholed into "Large business-owning hero", "Looter" or "Villain."

I keep being surprised by this sentiment. There are lots of characters in the "Randian Universe" that don't fit those roles. To name a few: Eddie Willers, "The Wet Nurse", Gail Wynand, Andrei Taganov, Cheryl Taggart. Even the heroes in Atlas Shrugged had their own struggles - consider how long it took Dagny Taggart to join the strike. If you really think all of her characters are so black and white, I think you missed the point.

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It totally agree with both of you. I don't feel that anyone who had it better than me owes me anything, simply in consideration of that. I've lived my life too long carrying my own weight.

But those who had to work far less because of their disposition, and made it farther than I have at the same time, then go around claiming that their success is solely a result of

their personal perserverance and philosophy on life, simply do

not help matters.

Are you referring to "born on third thinks he hit a triple"?

I know what you're talking about. Look, a lot of people say a lot of stupid things, and being rich (especially born rich) is no guarantee of being insightful or disciplined in thought. In fact I often find big differences in character between people who "made it" themselves and people who have always had nice things but never really saw how those nice things came about (this is of course a generalization).

I think one thing you might want to consider is that making a moral judgment about someone is not just about what or how much they produce. A person's worth is not literally measured by how much money they have. Ayn Rand never advocated that and Objectivism is not about that. I agree with you that a lot of advantaged and privileged people use a given philosophy, including something that superficially resembles Objectivism, to justify why they have so much more than everyone else when they may or may not have earned it and may or may not be of good character otherwise. It is important to remember, and I think this is what RationalBiker was getting at, is that in the grand scheme of things what other people have doesn't and shouldn't matter to you. But this does not keep you from making a moral evaluation of someone that he doesn't "get it", because you're probably correct.

Here's some other food for thought, though. A lot of the privileged don't preach personal responsibility. Instead they dedicate their lives to making sure everyone else is "taken care of" even as they stack the business environment in favor of the status quo, which clearly benefits them, using government policy. These people often fall on the so-called "progressive" side of the spectrum, although a certain breed of conservative do it too.

For myself, I'm somewhere in the middle. My parents paid for college at Dartmouth which was not cheap, but I also left with some loans which I have since paid off completely, partly through working and partly with my grandmother's help. I am now completely self-supported and am working my way through a PhD program with my funding in jeopardy due to budget cuts. So I have had a bit of a push but I am now completely on my own and proud of it. I wonder at how proud your friend must be of himself with his parents footing his cell bill at age 28. My personal opinion is that he ought to be more independent than that and graciously tell his parents, "I really appreciate what you've done for me but I need to start standing on my own two feet." That he hasn't says something about his character to me.

Edited by themadkat
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