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Mod Note: This thread was split from the Congresswoman Giffords thread

Let us say he is a strict constitutionalist or an Objectivist, or a communist, or a member of the Green Party? So what? The guy was psychotic. His political views are irrelevant. That is exactly the point of my earlier post. How does one go from "we should have gold and silver as legal tender" to this current situation? Not by the use of logic, which is clearly not your specialty. (LOL, the book choices "cancel each other out"?)

And by the way, his political views aren't even coherent. His sentences jump from topic to topic indicating his thought is disordered in some way.

Leftist scum are always looking to demonize opposition by guilt by association, package-dealing and smears. That is the point. I suggest your posts are perfect demonstrations of that.

You say he's psychotic but at the same time you admit he can hold political views. How does one go from "we should have gold and silver as legal tender" to shooting people? Denial. Refusing to accept the truth. Trying to erase it. The refusal to accept the failure of ones' accepted ideas.

Look what it has done to you. It has already caused you to break from the polite decorum of this forum and call be me scum, which is the verbal abstraction of violence. I merely, posted my interpretation.

Do I further need to remind you of Ayn Rand's portrayal of James Taggart whom, at the end of AS, she reduced to a virtual psychotic due to his acceptance of false premises and his attempt to deny their failure?

Beyond that, I hope we can maintain a tone of friendly discussion of ideas here but I'm not sure that can be done from your side when the ideas you have accepted about liberals is that we are life killers.

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Not at all. I think most Objectivist are very well meaning people. They are just misinformed and misguided. So your claim that we are just trying to demonize you does not hold true for me. I'm saying

Your response to Eiuol that there is no such thing as “earned” because you can't “earn a person if you kill them” is not an example of the use of logic, because the concept of “earn” has nothing to do

Liberal contradicts this bizarre claim below: "Cooperative sharing of resources is only the sharing of extra resources among a group by a member who does not require those resources to maintain an av

Not that you're all like that but I do think when you accept wrong ideas based on wrong premises they eventually will fail. And when they fail it can push you toward behaviors you wouldn't engage in had you been in possession of other ideas.

Enlighten me on which "wrong premises" I base my beliefs on. And lets not forget, when deep rooted ideas are challenged, its usually the left that turns to violence due to their subjectivity in ethics.

You say he's psychotic but at the same time you admit he can hold political views. How does one go from "we should have gold and silver as legal tender" to shooting people? Denial. Refusing to accept the truth. Trying to erase it. The refusal to accept the failure of ones' accepted ideas.

No, refusal to think in principles other than "whoever has the biggest gun wins" is how one "goes there". I might remind you that far leaning leftists have always based their political philosophy on this premise.

Look what it has done to you. It has already caused you to break from the polite decorum of this forum and call be me scum, which is the verbal abstraction of violence.

Is that how you would justify retaliatory physical violence?

ideas you have accepted about liberals is that we are life killers.

Objectivists are not "conservatives".

Edit: Ill reserve any further analysis untill we actually know what happened. However, my money is on the fact that hes of the same ilk as the morons in europe smashing things up because they want more free stuff. Its tragic no matter what.

Edited by JayR
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You say he's psychotic but at the same time you admit he can hold political views. How does one go from "we should have gold and silver as legal tender" to shooting people? Denial. Refusing to accept the truth. Trying to erase it. The refusal to accept the failure of ones' accepted ideas.

Look what it has done to you. It has already caused you to break from the polite decorum of this forum and call be me scum, which is the verbal abstraction of violence. I merely, posted my interpretation.

Do I further need to remind you of Ayn Rand's portrayal of James Taggart whom, at the end of AS, she reduced to a virtual psychotic due to his acceptance of false premises and his attempt to deny their failure?

Beyond that, I hope we can maintain a tone of friendly discussion of ideas here but I'm not sure that can be done from your side when the ideas you have accepted about liberals is that we are life killers.

Yes, indeed. The ideas I have accepted are that no friendly discussion or exchange of ideas is possible with those who treat feelings as a means of cognition, with those whose idea of proof consists of vague suggestive associations with non-essentials, whose idea of morality consists of comparing political ideologies and weighing them to see which ones cancel out, and with those who proclaim your right to initiate physical force against me. Those people are not “liberal” in any objective meaning that word can possibly hold, despite what they might like to tell themselves, and they certainly are life-killers, i.e. scum, and I think they know it. And if they felt like acting to threaten my life, I would not be merely content to serve them with a “verbal abstraction” of violence, whatever that is supposed to mean. I would treat them like they deserve and make possible themselves, which is to say: like an animal. And if that disrupts “polite decorum” with a person dealing with others on the basis of feelings and force, then so be it.

But as this is all very irrelevant to the point, now then feel free to respond to the point on the basis of actual logic: What connection does a mentally deranged murderer's political idea to accept gold and silver as legal tender have to reflecting on the truth or falsity of that idea? None whatsoever. But it does have connection to the fact that it has been for decades the strategy of the socialists to use smear tactics and anti-concepts to connote that if an idea is associated with a Really Bad Person™, then it must be invalid on that basis and not debated, named, defined, or disproved with reason. The strategy applied to these types of situations, where some random act of violence has any sort of political association (which happens in this world for any number of reasons, political and non-political, and will happen in the future all the same), is to exploit the occasion to demonize and silence enemies by means of moral insinuation with package-deals and guilt by association. If a murderer accepts the gold standard, then it is invalid. If you accept the gold standard, then you're no better than a murderer, or a potential-murderer, and therefore automatically wrong by moral association. And thus this is the statist strategy to make inroads against inalienable individual rights, namely in this situation, to attack Second Amendment rights, free speech and media, and further advance the Homeland Security police state.

And by the way, a psychotic is a mentally ill individual who has lost the ability to deal with reality and is not committing “denial” or evasion or "trying to erase it" in any manner. He is not morally responsible for his actions, and if that is the case as the Sheriff has stated, then he will not even be competent to stand trial (pending his evaluation by actual psychologists, as opposed to people speculating about his similarities with Jim Taggart on the internet.)

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Enlighten me on which "wrong premises" I base my beliefs on. And lets not forget, when deep rooted ideas are challenged, its usually the left that turns to violence due to their subjectivity in ethics.

No, let's do forget that because that is not true.

As far as premises, there is an inherent conflict of interest in the capitalist model of exchanging work for compensation or, indeed, in attempting to exchange anything of equal value. If the basis of your existence should be your self interest, both sides will want the most for the least they can give the other. It doesn't matter if some are fair, the conflict is always there and it leads to all the issues people have with one another. Number two, Capitalism and Socialism are two sides of the same coin and only differ in method of operation. They both require dependence. They both have their good and bad points but Capitalism is hardly a "superior" system, only different and with its own set of problems. Again, the main one being it perpetuates an unhealthy form of dependence and therefore leaves individuals locked in a perpetual struggle against each other. Incidentally, the free market is only a more evolved version of the principle of "whoever has the biggest gun wins". It's even right in the terminology capitalists freely use themselves: Competition. It's evolved Darwinism, a few steps removed from the combative and territorial existence of the lower animals only the weapons employed are not claws and teeth but access to resources and wealth.

Thirdly, the advancement of humanity has not been primarily related to the individual keeping what they earn themselves but in the broad distribution of resources among its population, regardless of an individual members' direct participation in their acquisition. The gathering of individuals of a species into permanent groups enhanced the survival of the individuals as well as the species and for that to happen, competition between individuals of a species had to be reduced and cooperation increased and cultivated. If only those can who obtain resources by their own effort are entitled to keep all of those resources and are not obligated or refuse to share with a group of other members of their species, that group breaks down and is no longer a group species but a solitary one. In a group species, resources are obtained to advance the group. In a solitary species, resources, excepting pre-natal exchange, advance only the individual. Group species' or species that gather or organize in permanent clusters have more survival value for both the individual and the group.

Notice that a pride of lions is far stronger than a bear because the lions cooperate as a group and the bear does not. That is because the individual lions within a pride have largely overcome their instinct for competition between each other over territory whereas the bear has not. So, this effects the bears' ability to cooperate in groups and therefore its ability to defend itself successfully against a pride of lions who can cooperate for defense. Also notice that the hyena, much smaller than most bears, because of its more advanced group cooperation, is able to challenge and harass lions on the plains.

The underlying principle behind all this is: Competition, in any form, is a danger to the survival of the competitors. Today's advanced economic "competition" or free market is not a form of cooperation, it is the leftover territorial aggressiveness over natural resources.

Edited by liberal
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Yes, indeed. The ideas I have accepted are that no friendly discussion or exchange of ideas is possible with those who treat feelings as a means of cognition, with those whose idea of proof consists of vague suggestive associations with non-essentials, whose idea of morality consists of comparing political ideologies and weighing them to see which ones cancel out, and with those who proclaim your right to initiate physical force against me. Those people are not “liberal” in any objective meaning that word can possibly hold, despite what they might like to tell themselves, and they certainly are life-killers, i.e. scum, and I think they know it. And if they felt like acting to threaten my life, I would not be merely content to serve them with a “verbal abstraction” of violence, whatever that is supposed to mean. I would treat them like they deserve and make possible themselves, which is to say: like an animal.

"Animal" is a very fitting choice of words to describe your reaction because my whole point has been that this competitiveness over resources is animal-like. And it's making you take this aggressive posture.

I don't threaten your right to life because your life and mine doesn't depend on us hogging every single resource we each acquire through our own effort. Try to keep an open mind about this (yes, I know Ayn Rand has a retort for that suggestion too) but think about it: Wouldn't an animal, who could have no knowledge that their loss of a single meal wouldn't necessarily mean their starvation, act aggressive and competitive? That appears to be what's going on here. As if to share with our species means you or I are never going to eat again....and so your view is we must fight tooth and nail to protect our meal?

But where do all of our resources come from? The Earth. For thousands of years the Earth gave humanity these things free. Think about this: There was a time when we picked fruit off trees for free. But today we have been trained to pick it from a shelf in a store and pay for it.

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They both have their good and bad points but Capitalism is hardly a "superior" system, only different and with its own set of problems

I directly challenge this comment and would like for you to prove this claim or otherwise rescind it. I am not interested in the rest there nor which to engage in that debate, other people more interested in debating those things can do so if they wish.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I directly challenge this comment and would like for you to prove this claim or otherwise rescind it. I am not interested in the rest there, other people more interested in debating those things can do so if they wish.

Firstly, since there is no active, fully capitalistic example, you don't prove these things, the best we can do is infer and observe them from small instances of applications of principles we encounter. Secondly, since any examples of pure socialism that may have existed or exist today have been and are denied full interaction with the world due to pre-existing Western power plus later boycotts and trade embargos, we don't have an example of a socialist model operating in a world without political and socio-economic restraints. Thirdly, nor am I implying socialism is superior to capitalism. I maintain they are both of importance and can contribute, despite their flaws, to advancement toward the next socio-economic system and that they are both weakened, as all past organized socio-economic models have been, by their reliance on an unhealthy form of dependence between their participants.

So I will not rescind it because there is no proof that capitalism IS the superior system.

In addition, if you are implying the collarly that capitalism IS the superior system you'll never prove that. I have not implied that either system was superior to the other.

Edited by liberal
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The strategy applied to these types of situations, where some random act of violence has any sort of political association (which happens in this world for any number of reasons, political and non-political, and will happen in the future all the same), is to exploit the occasion to demonize and silence enemies by means of moral insinuation with package-deals and guilt by association. If a murderer accepts the gold standard, then it is invalid. If you accept the gold standard, then you're no better than a murderer, or a potential-murderer, and therefore automatically wrong by moral association. And thus this is the statist strategy to make inroads against inalienable individual rights, namely in this situation, to attack Second Amendment rights, free speech and media, and further advance the Homeland Security police state.

Not at all. I think most Objectivist are very well meaning people. They are just misinformed and misguided. So your claim that we are just trying to demonize you does not hold true for me. I'm saying when ideas start to fail in practice for someone, even if they are correct ideas, it can push that person, depending on their circumstances, into behaving in erratic ways. For instance, would the killer have shot up all those people if Giffords had lost re-election?

I'm not here to demonize you. I am here to say things Objectivism would interpret as blasphemous and then defend them. I think the basic edifice of Objectivism is based on certain untruths. Namely, that we are all "entitled" to the full results of our

"production" and no other adult is regardless of their situation. There are situations where you or I are NOT entitled to the full production of our "effort" regardless of how much we worked for it or how little others were involved in their acquisition.

I think this practice Objectivists are advocating of proclaiming the totality of everything they acquire from the Earth whether through inheritance or effort as "mine" is ego driven, not reality driven. The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family. Families don't cut others off because they are unable to work (or even unwilling) to exert effort as we are. Work itself, employment by others, is a relatively newly introduced construct to the Earth only to be found in humanity. There is no "employment" in the other animal species and still in some pre-modern human tribes. They all, whether alone or in cooperative groups, just go about collecting what they need for themselves from what is directly provided by their natural environment. Humans are the only species that have corrupted this natural fulfillment of survival needs by introducing a "middle man" (a dependency) between ourselves and the natural world. This practice of going through a "middle man" to obtain what we once could acquire ourselves directly from our environment has overtaken the planet and, whether through corruption of the environment or corruption of our minds, has removed us as individuals further and further from direct contact with our natural supplier, the Earth.

Edited by liberal
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They are just misinformed and misguided.

We aren't the ones still using arguments that were killed off up to 100 years ago, as a broad marker, by economists and political theorists. Like for instance, your reasoning in your last 2 posts regarding Capitalism, which were crushed 60+ years ago at the very latest, and (I would love to be proven wrong)make it seem as if they have never read those critiques. This is quite a serious statement and some specific examples should be made (I have not yet looked at your other posts so I apologize if you have done so in other threads).The suggestions that an analysis cannot be made because the one has always been imperfect and the other has always been stunted from achieving their full development holds no water whatsoever and it has not for a very long time. I think if one is to go about critiquing an entire socio-economic system or its related areas with respect to philosophy they should at least have a comprehensive understands of the basics of each of the key sides in those long-standing debates. So far this is not what seems to be the case here as far as I have interpreted it.

Namely, that we are all "entitled" to the full results of our "production" and no other adult is regardless of their situation. There are situations where you or I are NOT entitled to the full production of our "effort" regardless of how much we worked for it or how little others were involved in their acquisition.
Care to provide examples? Though this thread is getting quite off-track in some respects, maybe this would be better in its own thread. I guess the mods can decide as far as that is concerned. Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Care to provide examples? Though this thread is getting quite off-track in some respects, maybe this would be better in its own thread. I guess the mods can decide as far as that is concerned.

If you really want to start a separate thread, let me know and in what forum and I will.

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Firstly, since there is no active, fully capitalistic example, you don't prove these things, the best we can do is infer and observe them from small instances of applications of principles we encounter. Secondly, since any examples of pure socialism that may have existed or exist today have been and are denied full interaction with the world due to pre-existing Western power plus later boycotts and trade embargos, we don't have an example of a socialist model operating in a world without political and socio-economic restraints. Thirdly, nor am I implying socialism is superior to capitalism. I maintain they are both of importance and can contribute, despite their flaws, to advancement toward the next socio-economic system and that they are both weakened, as all past organized socio-economic models have been, by their reliance on an unhealthy form of dependence between their participants.

So I will not rescind it because there is no proof that capitalism IS the superior system.

In addition, if you are implying the collarly that capitalism IS the superior system you'll never prove that. I have not implied that either system was superior to the other.

Wryly amusing that: - if I read you right, socialism hasn't been given a chance because of "political and socio-economic restraints". (!)

You must be aware that firstly, socialism goes hand-in- hand with such restraints and controls - in fact that is a partial definition of socialism.

Second, that free-market advocates and Objectivists say exactly the same as you do, (that it has rarely existed in its pure form) only about capitalism. And, as such, will not accept the mixed economies prevalent today, as capitalistic.

That you laud mixed socialism/capitalism is most pragmatic of you. Without the input from capitalism, socialism cannot last a year.

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Care to provide examples? Though this thread is getting quite off-track in some respects, maybe this would be better in its own thread. I guess the mods can decide as far as that is concerned.

If you really want to start a separate thread, let me know and in what forum and I will. But if your evidence of capitalism's superiority is going to be statistics that shows it is more productive, that is not necessarily a good thing when the destruction of the environment due to the pace of production is the result. So yes, capitalism can be more productive but be completely out of balance with its natural environment. It can be argued that a slightly less productive system (still of capitalism) but one that preserves its balance with the natural world is more desirable. As a small example, we can travel at 60mph in a gasoline vehicle that poisons our air and pollutes our rivers...or we can travel at slightly less speed in an electric vehicle and have clean air and rivers. The same can be applied to different systems: We can let only the lucky and able keep the full results of their production and let the others, less lucky and able, exist in a deprecated state of lack and misery and therefore in disharmony with those of their species that refuse to assist them, effectively living as separate species in competition with each other since all are driven by biology to obtain their survival needs by one means or another. Or we can employ some socialism and recognize that, in a "civilized" species, it is to the survival advantage of the procurer of resources to share regardless of who participated in its acquisition. To not share in this respect is to not recognize these individuals as members of your own species and invite competition. It is more efficient to survival to have less and harmony than have everything and competition. For thousands of years we existed in precarious competition with a certain species of wolf. But in sharing our resources with this separate species we reduced our degree of competition with them and introduced harmony to that part of our environment. What happened? We recognized that species need for a portion of earth's resources regardless of their initial competitive relationship with us. This increased our chances of survival. But beyond that idea that sharing reduces threats to us, there is simply no rational reason to keep for ourselves more than we need to survive with an average degree of comfort. Anything more is driven either by pure ego, material gluttony, envy, misanthropy or all of the above.

In regards to forced taxation, what do you think competitive struggle is in nature? This is the taxation of survival. When one species forcibly attempts to encroach upon the resources of another species, it is because no other means of negotiation for procuring a portion of the resources necessary for its survival are possible to them. The species with the resources is unable to recognize the survival need for a portion of those resources by the species without those resources and so competitive disharmony results necessitating the need for the introduction of force endangering both competitors. It is observable in countless examples that members of different species, especially between humans and other species, that this introduction of force for resources does not occur when one species recognizes the others necessity for a portion of earth's resources.

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That you laud mixed socialism/capitalism is most pragmatic of you. Without the input from capitalism, socialism cannot last a year.

And neither can capitalism without socialism. It reverts into social darwinism and members of the same species stop cooperating to the extent they have and the group fractures back into a solitary species.

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Alright bandit, let us deal with each one of your baseless assertions one by one, until you are either admit you are wrong, are caught in a contradiction, or start evading. My guess is it won't take long.

As far as premises, there is an inherent conflict of interest in the capitalist model of exchanging work for compensation or, indeed, in attempting to exchange anything of equal value.

This is a fallacy originating before the development of economics as a science, dating back to the ancient Greeks and favored out by the mercantilists, where it was assumed that in order for any exchange to take place, some sort of equality of value had to be present. We can easily see that this is false however, because in the very concept of acting, a man is giving up what is less valuable for what is judged to be more valuable, or else he would not act. This is true of one man acting in isolated self-sufficiency as it is in interpersonal exchanges (even Crusoe on his island in acting alone substitutes less satisfactory conditions for more satisfactory conditions.)

Within interpersonal exchanges, there are only two alternatives of relations possible: (1) hegemonic interaction or (2) voluntary interaction.

These are the only alternatives at the base of any social relationship. (1) involves dealing with others by means of physical force, violence, which means one person gains values by using another person as a means (such as a factor of production) to your ends against the latter's will, by compulsion against his rational judgment, otherwise he would not be coerced. (2) involves dealing with others by reason, persuasion, or agreement, which means both parties give value for value to mutual benefit by voluntary agreement.

Individuals will only engage in an exchange if they have a reverse valuation of the values according to the law of marginal utility, or else they would not enter into the exchange. For example, if Jones and Smith have certain quantities of units of goods X and Y in their possession, then in order for Jones to trade one unit of X for one unit of Y, the following conditions have to be met: To Jones, the marginal utility of the added unit of Y must be greater than the marginal utility of the unit of X given up; and to Smith, the marginal utility of the added unit of X must be greater than the marginal utility of the unit of Y given up.

Therefore the two things exchange will not be of “equal value,” but rather must be unequal in value as judged by the participants. Particularly there must be a double inequality of value to bring about the exchange in the first place, in which both parties benefit by definition. Therefore all exchange under the second category, the market principle, or dealing by means of reason, there is no conflict of interests unless one party seeks the unearned at the expense of another party.

Thus it is category (1) the hegemonic principle, one party uses physical force gain values at another's expense. All cases of violent initiation of force therefore supply one group or party with benefits at the expense of another group or party. The losing party is coerced into acting against his rational judgment, his very survival instrument, thus an inherent conflict of interest is true whenever the government or any violent intervener uses force to gain at the expense of others who lose.

Therefore we can see that under the capitalist model, there can be no legalized conflict of interests; but under the socialist model, it is legal for one man to gain and illegal for the other to defend his values. What makes peaceful cooperation possible among humans is then the capitalist system, for it removes force from the relationships among men, and allows higher productivity under the division of labor, making for the harmony of interests of all rational and productive men, as opposed to irrationality, force, and fraud. All socialist intervention in the market is based on the initiation of physical force and therefore, by definition, destructive of peaceful cooperation between men.

Shall we go on to the next point?

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Therefore the two things exchange will not be of “equal value,” but rather must be unequal in value as judged by the participants. Particularly there must be a double inequality of value to bring about the exchange in the first place, in which both parties benefit by definition. Therefore all exchange under the second category, the market principle, or dealing by means of reason, there is no conflict of interests unless one party seeks the unearned at the expense of another party.

Okay, tough guy. What is the "earned" and "unearned"?

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Hi liberal,

Your understanding of biology and animal behavior is deeply flawed. There is no "for the good of the species". To the extent that social animals come together (in the so-called "higher" groupings at least, such as mammals), they only do so insofar as it is in their individual interests. The old idea of group selection, where individuals sacrifice to keep the species going, has been dead since the sixties. There may be some group selectionary forces at work in certain instances, but they happen under very specific conditions that we can model - there's nothing magic about it.

Take your lion example. Yes, lions have evolved to be social, since the ancestral behavior in cats is to be solitary. But they do not behave "for the good of the group". Their hunts are not even coordinated as a wolf pack's might be, and some individuals "cheat" - that is, they hang back and do less work, but still eat at the kill. So in reality, this group that you hold up as cohesive actually has an undercurrent of exploitation running through it. Isn't nature a bitch?

To the extent that lionesses in a pride actually do cooperate (and remember that the backbone of a pride is the lionesses - males come and go), it is because they are all closely related to each other - mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins. Kin selection can be powerful, but again there's nothing magic about it. It's a matter of getting your genes out there in the next generation - there is no rule that your genes have to come from YOU. Coming from your sister is just as good, or more specifically it's exactly half as good over the whole genome.

I promise you that you will not find any basis for your political views in evolutionary biology or, for that matter, in anthropology. You're welcome to try.

Kat

Thirdly, the advancement of humanity has not been primarily related to the individual keeping what they earn themselves but in the broad distribution of resources among its population, regardless of an individual members' direct participation in their acquisition. The gathering of individuals of a species into permanent groups enhanced the survival of the individuals as well as the species and for that to happen, competition between individuals of a species had to be reduced and cooperation increased and cultivated. If only those can who obtain resources by their own effort are entitled to keep all of those resources and are not obligated or refuse to share with a group of other members of their species, that group breaks down and is no longer a group species but a solitary one. In a group species, resources are obtained to advance the group. In a solitary species, resources, excepting pre-natal exchange, advance only the individual. Group species' or species that gather or organize in permanent clusters have more survival value for both the individual and the group.

Notice that a pride of lions is far stronger than a bear because the lions cooperate as a group and the bear does not. That is because the individual lions within a pride have largely overcome their instinct for competition between each other over territory whereas the bear has not. So, this effects the bears' ability to cooperate in groups and therefore its ability to defend itself successfully against a pride of lions who can cooperate for defense. Also notice that the hyena, much smaller than most bears, because of its more advanced group cooperation, is able to challenge and harass lions on the plains.

The underlying principle behind all this is: Competition, in any form, is a danger to the survival of the competitors. Today's advanced economic "competition" or free market is not a form of cooperation, it is the leftover territorial aggressiveness over natural resources.

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Hi liberal,

Your understanding of biology and animal behavior is deeply flawed. There is no "for the good of the species". To the extent that social animals come together (in the so-called "higher" groupings at least, such as mammals), they only do so insofar as it is in their individual interests. The old idea of group selection, where individuals sacrifice to keep the species going, has been dead since the sixties. There may be some group selectionary forces at work in certain instances, but they happen under very specific conditions that we can model - there's nothing magic about it.

Take your lion example. Yes, lions have evolved to be social, since the ancestral behavior in cats is to be solitary. But they do not behave "for the good of the group". Their hunts are not even coordinated as a wolf pack's might be, and some individuals "cheat" - that is, they hang back and do less work, but still eat at the kill. So in reality, this group that you hold up as cohesive actually has an undercurrent of exploitation running through it. Isn't nature a bitch?

You are assuming I postulated that animals were conscious that cooperative behavior served the interests of others. I never said that. The fact remains, cooperative behavior benefits both the survival of the individual and the group. I maintain it serves a beings' self interest to be cooperative and share their resources whether they know it or not. To not share resources leads to competition and is a detriment to the self interest and survival of the individual.

Also my request to 2046 to define the "earned" and "unearned" was not a question for myself but for 2046. I know the answer. It has been over an hour since 2046 first responded to me. It seems "it" is taking longer than he expected.

I am not going to exhibit much more patience in regards to refuting anymore very basic and clearly incomplete and misapplied refutations of my positions.

If this debate is going to continue you are going to have to get someone in here who knows how to respond properly to my assertions. I am not going to go on refuting and deconstructing every misapplied challenge based on what is assumed I am saying or where my assertions are assumed to be taken.

It's best not to assume anything with me. Just answer the assertion directly. And don't try to teach. Just answer.

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You are assuming I postulated that animals were conscious that cooperative behavior served the interests of others. I never said that. The fact remains, cooperative behavior benefits both the survival of the individual and the group. I maintain it serves a beings' self interest to be cooperative and share their resources whether they know it or not. To not share resources leads to competition and is a detriment to the self interest and survival of the individual.

It might not always be in one's self-interest, plus you are basically ignoring how humans differ from animals, namely in their ability to reason. Sharing resources is usually a good thing for one's self-interest, except if the person you are sharing resources actively act to make life more difficult. Life is NOT a zero-sum game, humans are often able to end up with MORE than what they originally start with. Group cooperation often makes that "more" possible through trade. Incidentally, benefit through trade helps all people, but only if trade is completely free. Your usage of competitive is very vague. Competition could mean harming the other person before your resources are taken, but the truth of the matter is resources aren't so limited for *humans* that anytime there is a need for resources destruction happens.

The earned is what you get through your own actions, the unearned is what you get through little more than a vague demand of fairness.

Edited by Eiuol
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"The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family."

What do you mean by this? "We are here to..." implies purpose. This could be written as, "We are meant to..." Who or what means for us to do something? Humans are the only species that can attribute meaning to anything or be aware of the meaning behind something. For example, turning a sound into a word by giving it a definition (the former), or deducing the meaning of a hug between two people who care for each other.

So, you see, I'm confused. Are you suggesting that humans, as the only being capable of such a thing, have created this purpose for ourselves? Then how could it be anything but arbitrary? Or, are you suggesting that there is something supernatural that has given us this purpose?

I don't see any point in any further discussion until this issue is addressed, especially because it seems to strike at the core of your entire argument. Your philosophy, so far as I can tell, requires that you answer yes to one of the questions I posed above. Unfortunately for you, you can't possibly provide a logical argument in favor of either position.

Edited by Alexandros
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It might not always be in one's self-interest, plus you are basically ignoring how humans differ from animals, namely in their ability to reason. Sharing resources is usually a good thing for one's self-interest, except if the person you are sharing resources actively act to make life more difficult. Life is NOT a zero-sum game, humans are often able to end up with MORE than what they originally start with. Group cooperation often makes that "more" possible through trade. Incidentally, benefit through trade helps all people, but only if trade is completely free. Your usage of competitive is very vague. Competition could mean harming the other person before your resources are taken, but the truth of the matter is resources aren't so limited for *humans* that anytime there is a need for resources destruction happens.

The earned is what you get through your own actions, the unearned is what you get through little more than a vague demand of fairness.

You're first part doesn't really challenge the facts I've presented. I'm glad you agree cooperative sharing is a good thing because that is very important to understanding, not only why it is in a life forms self interest, but why withholding extra resources when they are needed by others is a detriment to an individual's survival.

The exception you cite wouldn't really be cooperative sharing, but competition.

As for the "earned" and "unearned", my position is you cannot fully earn a resource taken from the Earth. None of us have earned the Earth. None of us have earned the animals we've killed or plants we've harvested anymore than you earn a person when you kill them. When the Earth does not freely give these up to us through natural causes, we engage in competition to acquire these things for our survival. Competition is the unregulated taxation of Nature. Taxation is regulated competition. Because you are not on this planet alone, your effort does not give you a claim upon the whole of your acquired resources if they exceed an amount greater than required for your comfortable survival. If you recognize this and engage in cooperative sharing your survival chances will be increased. If you maintain your acquired extra resources are yours and yours alone, you run the risk of having to defend them in competition. Our axiom being:

Competition, in any form, is a danger to the survival of the competitors.

Edited by liberal
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"The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family."

What do you mean by this? "We are here to..." implies purpose. This could be written as, "We are meant to..." Who or what means for us to do something? Humans are the only species that can attribute meaning to anything or be aware of the meaning behind something. For example, turning a sound into a word by giving it a definition (the former), or deducing the meaning of a hug between two people who care for each other.

So, you see, I'm confused. Are you suggesting that humans, as the only being capable of such a thing, have created this purpose for ourselves? Then how could it be anything but arbitrary? Or, are you suggesting that there is something supernatural that has given us this purpose?

I don't see any point in any further discussion until this issue is addressed, especially because it seems to strike at the core of your entire argument. Your philosophy, so far as I can tell, requires that you answer yes to one of the questions I posed above. Unfortunately for you, you can't possibly provide a logical argument in favor of either position.

"The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family."

Let me rephrase that because you are partially right here.

A more accurate sentence would be: Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources.

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...the advancement of humanity has not been primarily related to the individual keeping what they earn themselves but in the broad distribution of resources among its population, regardless of an individual members' direct participation in their acquisition.

Actually, by far the largest source of advancement for humanity has been through innovation of production. Remember, before we can even talk about distribution, there must be goods to distribute. The standard of living in America today is so much higher than third world countries not because we distribute it better, but because we are much better at producing, and doing so efficiently. You argue as though we pick things out of nature and then decide how to distribute them, and in so doing you're ignoring the most important step: how we transform those raw materials into forms which are much more valuable to our survival; i.e., production.

The gathering of individuals of a species into permanent groups enhanced the survival of the individuals as well as the species and for that to happen, competition between individuals of a species had to be reduced and cooperation increased and cultivated. If only those can who obtain resources by their own effort are entitled to keep all of those resources and are not obligated or refuse to share with a group of other members of their species, that group breaks down and is no longer a group species but a solitary one. In a group species, resources are obtained to advance the group. In a solitary species, resources, excepting pre-natal exchange, advance only the individual. Group species' or species that gather or organize in permanent clusters have more survival value for both the individual and the group.

This is easily refuted by simply the existence of species which do not cooperate. If cooperation were always and everywhere good for individual survival, there would be no more species which did not cooperate. They would all be extinct. The fact is, different niches make different demands upon the species which fill them. Sometimes cooperation is appropriate in the natural world, and sometimes it is not.

The underlying principle behind all this is: Competition, in any form, is a danger to the survival of the competitors. Today's advanced economic "competition" or free market is not a form of cooperation, it is the leftover territorial aggressiveness over natural resources.

Then why, after billions of years of evolution, does every species not cooperate within itself?

I'd like to note that all of this animal talk is completely irrelevant to discussions about humans. We have a characteristically different method of survival: we are able to create value by using our reason to transform what we find in nature. Thus, the actions of species which cannot do this are irrelevant to any attempt to figure out how we should act.

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I think the basic edifice of Objectivism is based on certain untruths. Namely, that we are all "entitled" to the full results of our

"production" and no other adult is regardless of their situation. There are situations where you or I are NOT entitled to the full production of our "effort" regardless of how much we worked for it or how little others were involved in their acquisition.

I think this practice Objectivists are advocating of proclaiming the totality of everything they acquire from the Earth whether through inheritance or effort as "mine" is ego driven, not reality driven. The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family. Families don't cut others off because they are unable to work (or even unwilling) to exert effort as we are. Work itself, employment by others, is a relatively newly introduced construct to the Earth only to be found in humanity. There is no "employment" in the other animal species and still in some pre-modern human tribes. They all, whether alone or in cooperative groups, just go about collecting what they need for themselves from what is directly provided by their natural environment. Humans are the only species that have corrupted this natural fulfillment of survival needs by introducing a "middle man" (a dependency) between ourselves and the natural world. This practice of going through a "middle man" to obtain what we once could acquire ourselves directly from our environment has overtaken the planet and, whether through corruption of the environment or corruption of our minds, has removed us as individuals further and further from direct contact with our natural supplier, the Earth.

This seems to be the only time you acknowledge the existence of production, and it's in sarcastic quotes. I see no real acknowledgment that humans don't simply pick what we use straight from the Earth without adding value through the use of our minds... but this is the central argument behind the Objectivist defense of full property rights. Our capacity to fulfill our survival needs is vastly superior to what it was just a few hundred years ago, and it's all because of superior methods of production.

Also... so employment is purely a modern human phenomenon. And? Did you never ask yourself why it might have arose in that context, and what problems it might have solved in production? Or is any activity beyond what we can see other animals do automatically suspicious to you? You speak of "corruption" of the natural way of fulfilling survival needs... why? Why is what animals do automatically superior simply because it's what they do? Can you tell me what the life expectancy was for those pre-modern human tribes you reference, and what the life expectancy is for a modern American? Do you honestly think such statistics would support your theory that modern methods of fulfilling survival needs are inferior?

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"The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family."

Let me rephrase that because you are partially right here.

A more accurate sentence would be: Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources.

If this is what you mean, then talk of lions and cavemen is useless. You should be able to, without mentioning others species or time periods, provide logical argument for why it is in our best interests to 'cooperatively share'. Anecdote and history is fine for making your arguments more effective, but are not arguments themselves. So far, you've provided nothing more than "we once picked apples off trees for free" and "lions are awesome". This can hardly be considered argument, as you are dropping all context to relate different time periods and different species.

So, in all of this, you have only really said one thing: "Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources." And you have provided no argument to support that claim.

I'm surprised you've been taken so seriously here, and by some members who I have much respect for.

Edited by Alexandros
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Alright bandit, let us deal with each one of your baseless assertions one by one, until you are either admit you are wrong, are caught in a contradiction, or start evading. My guess is it won't take long.

This is a fallacy originating before the development of economics as a science, dating back to the ancient Greeks and favored out by the mercantilists, where it was assumed that in order for any exchange to take place, some sort of equality of value had to be present. We can easily see that this is false however, because in the very concept of acting, a man is giving up what is less valuable for what is judged to be more valuable, or else he would not act. This is true of one man acting in isolated self-sufficiency as it is in interpersonal exchanges (even Crusoe on his island in acting alone substitutes less satisfactory conditions for more satisfactory conditions.)

Within interpersonal exchanges, there are only two alternatives of relations possible: (1) hegemonic interaction or (2) voluntary interaction.

These are the only alternatives at the base of any social relationship. (1) involves dealing with others by means of physical force, violence, which means one person gains values by using another person as a means (such as a factor of production) to your ends against the latter's will, by compulsion against his rational judgment, otherwise he would not be coerced. (2) involves dealing with others by reason, persuasion, or agreement, which means both parties give value for value to mutual benefit by voluntary agreement.

Individuals will only engage in an exchange if they have a reverse valuation of the values according to the law of marginal utility, or else they would not enter into the exchange. For example, if Jones and Smith have certain quantities of units of goods X and Y in their possession, then in order for Jones to trade one unit of X for one unit of Y, the following conditions have to be met: To Jones, the marginal utility of the added unit of Y must be greater than the marginal utility of the unit of X given up; and to Smith, the marginal utility of the added unit of X must be greater than the marginal utility of the unit of Y given up.

Therefore the two things exchange will not be of “equal value,” but rather must be unequal in value as judged by the participants. Particularly there must be a double inequality of value to bring about the exchange in the first place, in which both parties benefit by definition. Therefore all exchange under the second category, the market principle, or dealing by means of reason, there is no conflict of interests unless one party seeks the unearned at the expense of another party.

Thus it is category (1) the hegemonic principle, one party uses physical force gain values at another's expense. All cases of violent initiation of force therefore supply one group or party with benefits at the expense of another group or party. The losing party is coerced into acting against his rational judgment, his very survival instrument, thus an inherent conflict of interest is true whenever the government or any violent intervener uses force to gain at the expense of others who lose.

Therefore we can see that under the capitalist model, there can be no legalized conflict of interests; but under the socialist model, it is legal for one man to gain and illegal for the other to defend his values. What makes peaceful cooperation possible among humans is then the capitalist system, for it removes force from the relationships among men, and allows higher productivity under the division of labor, making for the harmony of interests of all rational and productive men, as opposed to irrationality, force, and fraud. All socialist intervention in the market is based on the initiation of physical force and therefore, by definition, destructive of peaceful cooperation between men.

Shall we go on to the next point?

Are you waiting for further clarification of my points? My question to you regarding the "earned" and "unearned" was serious and I was waiting for your answer so we could proceed.

But to address your main point, an inherent conflict of interest in the free market does indeed exist and is on active display all around us. I do not need to point out to you that millions of people work full time jobs with salaries that amount to nowhere near a living wage in the current industrialized environment. A living wage being an amount of compensation enough for an individual to provide for themselves the basic necessities for functional survival in the current industrialized modern environment without the need for outside assistance or combining salaries. Millions of people work 8 hours a day 5 days a week and still cannot support themselves alone. Is THIS the "exchange" you claim to be in their self interest? But the employers have no shame in accepting such an exchange because it is in their self interest to pay their employees as little as they possibly can. Just enough that they can come into work every day and be robbed of their time and effort without the dignity of a roof of their own over their head, day in day out.

It seems to me it would be in an employees' self interest and expected of them to be able to fully support themselves, without assistance, after 8 hours of work a day 5 days a week. With these kind of "exchanges" we are better off in the wild.

Imagine if you hunted 8 hours a day 5 days a week in the wild. Do you think you'd be able to support your own existence? The Native Americans worked far less hours than the typical American and they at least had the dignity of their work fully supporting their existence even if at a lower level technology.

This "voluntary interaction" of the modern industrialized free market system is nothing short of a crime against humanity.

Edited by liberal
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