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Then shouldn't you be off serving society as the socialists would have you do, rather than advocating socialism on this forum? If you start posting what you claim is evidence for socialism here, you will probably find it weighed and measured and found wanting.

Oh, come on. I expect better than that in this forum.

I have no such intention and made no such implication. I am, however, pointing to a reality that you, and many others here, seem unwilling to face. That reality is that socialism is kicking capitalism's butt and has been for some time and that while there are relative respites from socialism, the fundamental phenomenon is never extinguished. Do you mean to deny that?

You want, instead, to prove that capitalism is the best economic system but I stipulated that in the beginning so that is not at issue here.

Try again, and this time put some effort into it.

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As to "going Galt", the earlier point of seeing the valley being a resort, a place to withdraw from "getting one's hands dirty", I find this forum to be a place to one can go and interface with like-m

Establishing context, in other words? If so, I would put game theory in there, because its level of specificity may be too much for philosophical inquiry. The topic is specialized enough that while it

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking. To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets

Do you realize that something doesn't need to be permanent to be of value to a person? There's no need for collectivist politics to never, ever, ever make any kind of comeback. What matters as far as we're concerned is what we have to live with in our life time. If we can make our political and economic landscape better in our life time than it otherwise would be, that's enough to make it worth doing. It's ideal that we would get to full capitalism with a rights respecting and protecting government, but the closer to that we get the better off we are even if we don't make it all the way there. As for black markets, being able to operate openly and with government protection > having to act in secret with the potential for getting fines and imprisonment and what not forced upon you by the government.

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Do you realize that something doesn't need to be permanent to be of value to a person? There's no need for collectivist politics to never, ever, ever make any kind of comeback. What matters as far as we're concerned is what we have to live with in our life time. If we can make our political and economic landscape better in our life time than it otherwise would be, that's enough to make it worth doing. It's ideal that we would get to full capitalism with a rights respecting and protecting government, but the closer to that we get the better off we are even if we don't make it all the way there.

Of course, I understand exactly what you mean. I do appreciate the distinciton that you are making here. Unlike others, your view is perfectly compatible with the drubbing that capitalism has received from socialism and even, in fact, with my larger claim that socialism is a natural human tendency across eons. I applaud you for this.

As for black markets, being able to operate openly and with government protection > having to act in secret with the potential for getting fines and imprisonment and what not forced upon you by the government.

Well, yes, that comes with the territory. And obviously that's annoying, at a minimum. But that doesn't rob you of your freedom or your manhood, which was my point.

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This is precisely the argument that I am challenging here. Thanks for stating it so directly so that I may attack it. (I will dispense with your attack on the unmanly socialists since I have no desire to defend them.)

"Freedom allows you..." vs. "In a non-free market, a non-free society you have your self-sustaining actions planned for you..." suggests that someone has taken your manhood from you, has taken away your ability to reason, to make choices, etc. This is plainly wrong.

As we already saw from the example of black markets under communism, men can and do find ways to do commerce under the worst circumstances. And that's just scratching the surface.

To bring this back to the title of the thread which caused you (and perhaps others) some distress, you are saying, in effect, that your manhood depends on the freedoms granted to you by others. That's sissy talk!

It did not cause me distress and I seriously doubt anyone on this board took your approach serious enough to feel anything outside of “WTF”. I only answered since the alternative as presented is something I have been thinking about since the election in some variation (non-man versus anti-man). A person’s self-esteem is not affected by internet talk let alone something as silly as sissy accusations. Pride is a virtue that is earned through self-generating action. If you need others to provide you with your pride then you’ve already lost it and you’re on the wrong road to get it back. Peter Keating says high. Further, if you think that being free to pursue your own values is “weak” but needing the government to give you your values “strong” there is philosophic error at work that is deeper then the subject line.

Since you ignored the essential point I made in favor of some detour into forcing people to live as criminals in a black market scenario, whatever that is supposed too mean, I’ll give you another chance at it: The issue is not one of being masculine for those of us who want to be free to pursue values. We do not think our “manhood” is being removed. We just simply want others to get out of the way so we can go about living. We understand that to live we have to live as man qua man. Those who want to have their life and force another to give it to them does not want to live as man qua man, which equals a non-man. Well, one non-man needing a man to feed him.

If you want to be technical, that is worse since the sissy still wants be human. It is that person you should be talking to since that is the person punting the responsibility of living as a human being.

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I have no such intention and made no such implication. I am, however, pointing to a reality that you, and many others here, seem unwilling to face. That reality is that socialism is kicking capitalism's butt and has been for some time and that while there are relative respites from socialism, the fundamental phenomenon is never extinguished. Do you mean to deny that?

Most of human history has been pretty poor. News at 11. The question is, do you look to the times of light and growth or the Dark Ages and stagnation as a goal to live. Considering man has existed for a fraction of the time the earth has been around and we have already touched the stars we know we can be more than the bloody wars and witch doctors of history. I'll advocate the good for a human future everytime.

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Since you ignored the essential point I made in favor of some detour into forcing people to live as criminals in a black market scenario, whatever that is supposed too mean, I’ll give you another chance at it: The issue is not one of being masculine for those of us who want to be free to pursue values. We do not think our “manhood” is being removed. We just simply want others to get out of the way so we can go about living. We understand that to live we have to live as man qua man. Those who want to have their life and force another to give it to them does not want to live as man qua man, which equals a non-man. Well, one non-man needing a man to feed him.

I understood your point previously and skipped over it because I did not attach the importance to the title that you seem to. While there is certainly something more to the distinction between "manly" and "effeminate" worldviews than you seem willing to grant, my point is all the more relevant with your Randian defintion of manhood.

That said, you seemed not only to have avoided my point (which you deride as a "detour") but to have missed it's significant entirely so I will pose the question again in terms of the above: do you believe that you are being prevented from living as man qua man? (Never mind whether the socialists are living life as man qua man.)

If you want to be technical, that is worse since the sissy still wants be human. It is that person you should be talking to since that is the person punting the responsibility of living as a human being.

While we would all undoubtedly appreciate if socialists would convert to capitalism and lear to live as man qua man, I am not talking to them. I'm' talking to you.

Edited by hernan
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"Of course, I understand exactly what you mean. I do appreciate the distinciton that you are making here. Unlike others, your view is perfectly compatible with the drubbing that capitalism has received from socialism and even, in fact, with my larger claim that socialism is a natural human tendency across eons. I applaud you for this."

My position on permanency or lack thereof isn't unique at all though, flattering as it may be to think oneself to be some lone, insightful genius. :P I was trying to state what I'm pretty sure is at least a majority stance around here. As for the commonality of collectivism throughout human history, it took humans a really large proportion of the time we've been around to come up with the philosophic principles behind freedom and individualism and what their benefits are and not until a bit more than a century ago alone before the industrial revolution gave a strong demonstration of what leaps and bounds of progress can be made under conditions of greater freedom and individualism. Combine that with how there are WAY more ways to go wrong than to get things right, that logic isn't automatic, that we need a long time to gather information about the world we aren't born with - it makes sense to me that humanity has a long trail of mucking up government and economy and much more and that one lesson isn't nearly enough to prevent people from repeating these mistakes forever. We can make a lot of progress though on the whole. After all, for a long time people pretty much all thought the world was flat. Now, we haven't gotten everybody to drop such a belief of course, but the vast majority has for generations and the flat earthers are poweless and negligible as far as the rest of our lives are concerned. I'd like to see collectivism go down the same road as the flat eath thing eventually before I croak. You can't force people to think something, there will always be some people who think you are wrong no matter what the topic, but I don't think human nature itself has some built in aversion to learning and acting on what they've learned, not on any topic. A lot of people may be wrong and some pretty surely always will be at any given time, but humans aren't born to be collectivists, it's just easy for us to get things wrong and a lot harder to get them right. That's what is responsible for the prevalance and waxing and waning of collectivism throughout human history and up through to today. So, we'll probably never convince everybody, we'll definitely need to keep teaching and defending freedom and such, we may go through periods of more and less success with this, but we can make a lot of progress on the topic and that progress and increased political and economic freedom when we can get it is worth it for the benefit to our lives.

"Well, yes, that comes with the territory. And obviously that's annoying, at a minimum. But that doesn't rob you of your freedom or your manhood, which was my point."

As for freedom, (seriously asking here,) do you believe a person is free so long as forceful prevention or ceasation isn't completely guaranteed? As for our "manhood", presuming you mean humanity, being oppressed doesn't change what a human is, yeah, but it does impede upon our ability to function accordingly and for that our lives are damaged in proportion to the impedments. Screw just settling for a life of less.

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My position on permanency or lack thereof isn't unique at all though, flattering as it may be to think oneself to be some lone, insightful genius. I was trying to state what I'm pretty sure is at least a majority stance around here.

By "others" I meant those who had posted in this thread so far but I'm perfectly willing to believe that, if they thought it through, most would agree with you. But that only makes your uninque (in this thread) express more troubling: why was it so unique if it represents a majority view (here)?

As for the commonality of collectivism throughout human history, it took humans a really large proportion of the time we've been around to come up with the philosophic principles behind freedom and individualism and what their benefits are and not until a bit more than a century ago alone before the industrial revolution gave a strong demonstration of what leaps and bounds of progress can be made under conditions of greater freedom and individualism. Combine that with how there are WAY more ways to go wrong than to get things right, that logic isn't automatic, that we need a long time to gather information about the world we aren't born with - it makes sense to me that humanity has a long trail of mucking up government and economy and much more and that one lesson isn't nearly enough to prevent people from repeating these mistakes forever. We can make a lot of progress though on the whole. After all, for a long time people pretty much all thought the world was flat. Now, we haven't gotten everybody to drop such a belief of course, but the vast majority has for generations and the flat earthers are poweless and negligible as far as the rest of our lives are concerned. I'd like to see collectivism go down the same road as the flat eath thing eventually before I croak. You can't force people to think something, there will always be some people who think you are wrong no matter what the topic, but I don't think human nature itself has some built in aversion to learning and acting on what they've learned, not on any topic. A lot of people may be wrong and some pretty surely always will be at any given time, but humans aren't born to be collectivists, it's just easy for us to get things wrong and a lot harder to get them right. That's what is responsible for the prevalance and waxing and waning of collectivism throughout human history and up through to today.

I actually do believe in the possibility of human progress on the moral/philosophical level though I think that several here have expressed a rather naive version of it. But this is really only the motivation to pose the question that I did. Taking a more realistic view leads to important questions.

So, we'll probably never convince everybody, we'll definitely need to keep teaching and defending freedom and such, we may go through periods of more and less success with this, but we can make a lot of progress on the topic and that progress and increased political and economic freedom when we can get it is worth it for the benefit to our lives.

In addition to the previous limitations, which you have noticed, I think there is another that you are glossing over here: the ROI on such efforts. An additional reason that foolishness persists is that those who may have managed to lift themselves above it are not necessarily willing to lecture fools, all to often a fool's errand. I'm sure you make exactly such cost/benefit calculations whenever you find yourself in the presence of someone spouting socialist drivel.

As for freedom, (seriously asking here,) do you believe a person is free so long as forceful prevention or ceasation isn't completely guaranteed?

Speaking quite seriously, because this is the point of my thread here, I believe that we enjoy freedom far in excess of what most here have been willing to conceive. What are the limits of our human freedom? People rarely test them. Instead, they tend to cower in fear or march in step. They choose to surrender their freedom. Are Objectivists an exception in this respect? The jury is still out.

As for our "manhood", presuming you mean humanity, being oppressed doesn't change what a human is, yeah, but it does impede upon our ability to function accordingly and for that our lives are damaged in proportion to the impedments. Screw just settling for a life of less.

As I tried explain to Spiral Architect, I meant both. (What I didn't mean by "manhood" was sexual function.) In the Randian sense, we do not lose our humanity merely by being oppressed, however you might define it. Even a slave can still think for himself.

But I also meant it in the sense of masculinity, the willingness to fight for one's rights vs. choosing to surrender to force or the threat of force or depending upon a safe and secure environment. Now to be quite clear, I am not making a comment on gender. I am using gender stereotypes as a metaphor for something more significant. Rand was a woman, after all.

So while I agree that others can threaten or harm our lives, I disagree that oppression impedes our ability to function as humans.

Consider a chess match. Each move by your opponent affects what moves you should make. If you make enough wrong moves you may end up being checkmated. But Objectivists are supposed to be the smart ones, right? So why aren't you wiping the board?

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"By 'others' I meant those who had posted in this thread so far but I'm perfectly willing to believe that, if they thought it through, most would agree with you. But that only makes your uninque (in this thread) express more troubling: why was it so unique if it represents a majority view (here)?"

My post was only at the top of page two. XD It's not that bad. I didn't say something sooner about things not needing to be permanent because it is such a basic, fundamental, early established aspect of Objectivism that all of morality (and therefore politics which stems from there) in this philosophy is concerned with our individual lives and we do not believe in any kind of "after life" or reincarnation or any of that kind of stuff so whatever happens after we die is moot to us because there will be no more us to be impacted at all. I expect similar reasoning is behind why others didn't bring this up first. I think we expected if one has much of any knowledge of Objectivism beyond some sloppy articles by book critics that this would have been well established already.

"I think there is another that you are glossing over here: the ROI on such efforts."

"I'm sure you make exactly such cost/benefit calculations whenever you find yourself in the presence of someone spouting socialist drivel."

I considered mentioning something about this in my last post, but decided not to since it was already getting a little long. When it comes to activism, there's a wide range of types and amounts that one can do. Everybody can and should determine what kind and how much fits best into their own life. ROI is definitely a big concern. Generally, it's not the best use of one's time to try to persistently convince every random person one encounters. The best ROI comes from works that will reach a large audience, thus increasing the odds of reaching one or more people who will be interested in pursuing the ideas further or from more extensive one on one discussion with people who have a substantial impact on one's daily life. The latter though requires additional cost/benefit weighing to decide how much effort to expend according to how much impact that person has on your life in ways which your philosophic differences are relevant to. For example, writing to your government representative, that person may have a lot of impact on your life in ways your political differences are highly relevant to, which would encourage spending more effort trying to persuade them, but then you may also have to balance that against evidence of likely futility of such an effort due to a record of letters getting automated replies and going unread. Or for another example, your mom may have a big impact on your life, but mostly in ways that aren't all that strongly impacted by some of your philosophic differences. So, it probably wouldn't be worth ruining your relationship with your mom over something like a dispute about social security where she isn't budging on her support for it. It also can become more or less worth participating in more activism efforts depending on how good or how bad an issue may be hanging in the balance politically at the moment or depending on how much work is being done how effectively by others at the moment for activism. If there's a bunch of people already flooding the country with writings and such about freedom of speech for example, your own additional contribution to such a topic would probably not give as good of an ROI as it would if there was only a handful of people speaking on this topic presently. When I'm talking about activism on behalf of, say, capitalism and talking about it being worth it if we can make influence changes for the better, I'm just thinking in terms of it being worth it in general for at least some of us to be working toward this end. Who exactly would be doing so and how many people and in what form can vary greatly depending on who has how much to gain from various pro-capitalist changes we may hope to get put in place versus how much they have to gain from doing other things. The fewer the people speaking out on an issue though (when there's few people speaking about something you are more likely to get heard and heard by more people) and the more impact the issue has on your own life will increase how much value there is to participating in activism on some issue, so I don't expect it to ever get to the point where activism of all kinds just ceases to be worth the effort to absolutely everybody. It would only become completely worthless if there was absolutely no way for any of our activism to have any beneficial results at all. Then it wouldn't be worth it to anybody and nobody would do it if they had any sense. I don't know what it would take though to get that kind of situation, so I'm thinking it isn't going to happen, not in any of our life times at least.

Alright, I think the time has come for this. Could you give me what the definition of freedom is that you are working with? I want to make sure we're thinking of the same thing because otherwise we can waste a lot of time miscommunicating. It sounds like you think we believe one should just give up and not resist when things get oppressive legally and this is very much not the case. I think the source of confusion here is in what we each mean when we use the word "freedom." Similarly, maintaining the ability to think I've said basically is something that can't be legislated or threatened away, however, if you can't act on your thoughts then they are useless, as good as not there at all. What we are may not change, but we suffer if we cannot act in accordance with what we are. Yes, we can try to resist and act as we think is best in spite of laws and other matters of force trying to stop us, but at best this leads to conditions which are worse than they otherwise would be and at worst leads to actually being directly forced to not act according to your thoughts. Either way we are made to act in ways which are not the same as they would be were there no such force trying to get in our way, we have to change course in response to the force or threat of such and the result is negative.

Edited by bluecherry
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I see from the website listed in your signature links to an acadamy. Within this acadamy is listed philosophy. On the list of philosophy is both Christianity and Objectivism. On the Blog de Cortes is a short blurb on "Rescuing Altruism".

What moral system is Socialism and Christianity predicated upon? What is the moral system that Capitalism and Objectivism share in common?

What is the relationship between faith and force? What is the relationship between reason and freedom?

Do you suppose it is Socialism and/or Christianity that bring about faith, or that faith lays the foundation for Socialism and/or Christianity?

The analogy to a game of chess is a non-sequitur. Chess requires the use of reason by both players.

In life, reason is not automatic. Most people like to think that they are right in their methods of arriving at their conclusions, even if they have not examined those methods. It is not that Objectivists are "the smart ones". An Objectivist simply seeks to integrate their knowledge using reason rather than some other method. This is something each individual has to do for themself. This is why "the board" can't just be wiped, if you will.

Capitalism will never be implimented by simply arguing its merits. For the system of Capitalism to be built, it is the foundation of faith and altruism that needs to be replaced with reason and a moral code that is structured upon it.

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I wish it were so but I fear you are mistaking the specific for the general.

I would contend that feudalism, or nazism, or any other specific ideology, can indeed be ended but real question is whether the more general phenomenon, of which eash is a specific case, can be. If, for example, you end Wilsonian progressivism only to encounter Obamian progressivism what have you gained for your efforts?

I'm not suggesting that history is a uniform story of man's oppression of man. If we were to look only at free markets, for example, we could easily identify swings for and against. But my claim is that those swings would always be around a long-term mean that simply won't go away because, to put it plainly, if you leave a wallet on the sidewalk someone is going to take it.

1) Obama's form of progressivism is restrained to moderation by our national culture, and thus is much better than the insanity of the Wilson administration or FDR. Compared to the rest of the world the USA is still very right wing. Only as an Objectivist can I view the USA as left.

2) Feudalism wasn't just some bad idea that a president had, it was epochal system that spread across the world after the development of the world relgions. The fact that feudalism was overcome in Europe was monumental and led to all of the great things we have today.

3) I found a purse in a parking lot last night actually, and took it into the store and gave it to the lost and found.

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My post was only at the top of page two. XD It's not that bad. I didn't say something sooner about things not needing to be permanent because it is such a basic, fundamental, early established aspect of Objectivism...

I could pretty easily cite some comments in this thread that are quite contrary to the viewpoint you expressed but that would be cruel. I'll give the benefit of the dobut that they were being sloppy and proceed to the more interesting points. (Also, this is not really about the afterlife but about utopianism in this life, an after-the-revolution-life or whatever.)

ROI is definitely a big concern.

Well, I'm glad you recognize this. I will pass quickly over your further points hopefully without doing a disservice to them because you have demonstrated serious thoughfulness on the matter and that is sufficient for me here.

Alright, I think the time has come for this. Could you give me what the definition of freedom is that you are working with? I want to make sure we're thinking of the same thing because otherwise we can waste a lot of time miscommunicating.

This is what I want to discuss further. This is a worthy question but I don't know that I could give you a satisfying definition in a single go. Instead, let's approach the question gradually.

We can safely say that if you are dead you are not free. You lack the capacity to make choices. Similarly, if I lop off your arm you are no longer free to waive it. I have robbed you of that choice. If I shackle you, you are not free to move about.

On the other hand, I claimed, previously, that slaves are free to think what they wish. More generally, if you are alive you can think freely.

And if you can think freely you can make choices among the options before you.

Now I also noted that the actions of others will affect the value of your choices. If, for example, someone threatens to kill you if you scratch your chin then, to the extent that you believe him, the value of scratching your chin is diminished. But that's a very submissive view because, to the extent that you would otherwise value scratching your chin, killing this fellow, or otherwise preventing him from carrying out his threat, has now become a valueable choice.

That's why I introduced the chess metaphor. Each player's moves affect the value of the other's moves and so on.

What I'm hearing Objectivists saying is, essentially, that they don't like being in the chess game. They resent having to adjust their moves to their opponents. They fear being checkmated by those they deride as irrational and incompetent.

It sounds like you think we believe one should just give up and not resist when things get oppressive legally and this is very much not the case.

Well, I'm hoping that's not the case but I haven't heard much yet to encourage me on this. And I didn't just jump into this on a whim, it reflects a weakness of Objectivism that has troubled me for some time. I've approached this in previous threads.

I think the source of confusion here is in what we each mean when we use the word "freedom." Similarly, maintaining the ability to think I've said basically is something that can't be legislated or threatened away, however, if you can't act on your thoughts then they are useless, as good as not there at all. What we are may not change, but we suffer if we cannot act in accordance with what we are. Yes, we can try to resist and act as we think is best in spite of laws and other matters of force trying to stop us, but at best this leads to conditions which are worse than they otherwise would be and at worst leads to actually being directly forced to not act according to your thoughts. Either way we are made to act in ways which are not the same as they would be were there no such force trying to get in our way, we have to change course in response to the force or threat of such and the result is negative.

This is, in fact, the distinction I was driving at previously. There are other aspects to this that nobody has touched upon yet (for example, an attachment to the rule of law and the distinciton between how we deal with those we trust and those we do not) but I think we have our hands full already.

How to resist is a very difficult but important question in light of the reality that we both recognize. One that I have not seen treated very seriously in any Objectivist source or forum. Instead, what I see and hear is a lot of wishful thinking and some small measure of activism.

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1) Obama's form of progressivism is restrained to moderation by our national culture, and thus is much better than the insanity of the Wilson administration or FDR. Compared to the rest of the world the USA is still very right wing. Only as an Objectivist can I view the USA as left.

So long as we are all marching toward the socialist future, America may remain simply the least socialist society. Not much consolation.

2) Feudalism wasn't just some bad idea that a president had, it was epochal system that spread across the world after the development of the world relgions. The fact that feudalism was overcome in Europe was monumental and led to all of the great things we have today.

The history of feudalism is much more interesting than that charicature. Feudalism replaced slavery and was a vast improvement upon it. It had little to do with world religions except insofar as Christianity was the driving force for shifting western society from slavery to feudalism. There is an interesting debate among historians as to what led to its demise, most point to the black plagues which decimated the peasantry and thus empowered the survivors to demand more rights from their lords leading, ultimately, to its abolishment though at different times in different countries.

3) I found a purse in a parking lot last night actually, and took it into the store and gave it to the lost and found.

Good for you. But don't remove the locks from your house just yet. The utopian future has been delayed by human nature.

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I see from the website listed in your signature links to an acadamy. Within this acadamy is listed philosophy. On the list of philosophy is both Christianity and Objectivism. On the Blog de Cortes is a short blurb on "Rescuing Altruism".

What moral system is Socialism and Christianity predicated upon? What is the moral system that Capitalism and Objectivism share in common? What is the relationship between faith and force? What is the relationship between reason and freedom? Do you suppose it is Socialism and/or Christianity that bring about faith, or that faith lays the foundation for Socialism and/or Christianity?

These are certainly interesting questions but they don't seem particularly relevant here. If you like, you can start a new thread and I will respond there.

The analogy to a game of chess is a non-sequitur. Chess requires the use of reason by both players.

Well, it requires some minimal reasoning ability to move pieces on the chess board consistent with the rules but beyond that there is no such requirement. You could select your moves by using tarot cards. Now reasoning obviously improves your chances of winning.

In life, reason is not automatic. Most people like to think that they are right in their methods of arriving at their conclusions, even if they have not examined those methods. It is not that Objectivists are "the smart ones". An Objectivist simply seeks to integrate their knowledge using reason rather than some other method. This is something each individual has to do for themself. This is why "the board" can't just be wiped, if you will.

You're being way too literal. But let's go with that for a moment. Are you conceding that socialists are, to use our chess analogy, very good players?

Capitalism will never be implimented by simply arguing its merits. For the system of Capitalism to be built, it is the foundation of faith and altruism that needs to be replaced with reason and a moral code that is structured upon it.

How do you expect that to occur? Or do you?

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Hernan, at first, I was really confused about the title of your thread. Usually people who speak badly of capitalism consider it to be unfair, which Spiral spoke of earlier. After reading the thread up to this point, I think I understand what you mean, so tell me if my understanding is flawed. I may approach further responses of mine in this thread as a devil's advocate, I'll say so if I do that, but this is how I understand you right now:

You say "sissies" in a sense of being weak and unsustainable. Capitalism may sound great, but the reality is, in the form of totally free markets as meant by Objectivism, it's simply not possible. Someone will overtake free markets, because its supporters believe in such a high degree of freedom that there is no barrier stopping collectivism - people are free to be collectivists! That is going to far, and not stopping with force some irrationalities (or even many) is simply weakness. Stand up for what you know to be rational, force if needed. Arrest communists like during the red scare. Take a hard-line attitude, that's the only way to make permanent any positive changes. Even if you don't suggest something like arrest communists, presumably you still mean something aggressive. Supporters of free markets may be too tolerant, by allowing blatant irrationalities. Ultimately, it's allowing others to grant you freedoms while being nice enough to respect that. Progressives, communists, fascists, etc, would easily overtake free markets the moment they decide to stop being nice. Communists took over Russia practically overnight - Russia wasn't a free market to be sure, but the communists were willing to take such a hard-line that they incited revolution.

Furthermore, even with some force, people still have the ability to think. A slave can contemplate escape, secretly learn to read, or any number of activities. Running away is an option. Sure the slave gets shot and killed while running, but that option to run was free to make. Objectivists seem (to you) to be essentially saying "I don't like getting shot, therefore that's not freedom!" To which I could respond: Tough cookies. I don't like losing my bishop, but sometimes I must lose a bishop in order to capture the king. I wasn't 'forced' to lose the bishop, that's simply the best option in terms of cost/benefit. Life is like that, too. Don't be scared to play the game!

Now, the problem with the sissies bit is that I think it's applicable only to anarchists. There is no official rule of law in anarchy. They wouldn't want to get "mean" because that'd infringe upon a person's right to do whatever the other person wants. Murder is bad... but there should be no ultimate arbiter to decide. But Objectivism is different, and involves force as retaliation, including by government. Murder is bad, and there is a law of the land to decide that. If you don't like that, boo hoo, you're going to jail anyway if you murder someone. That's a more obvious example. Then we can go towards military scale. If Iran is hellbent on nuking a government's jurisdiction, then a response you may expect from me is stop them with the necessary force, regardless of a 'right' of Iran to make nukes. Now, we can discuss what "necessary" is (war, bombs, espionage? etc), but it's certainly not a response of "well, maybe if we hold hands and talk about rational behavior, the threat will go away". My reasoning mostly involves a principle of how to respond to force because it stops freedom of thinking, a fundamental means of survival. Force can't be met with reason, so I'd retaliate with force. As an analogy, I can think of times a person (or me!) may seem to be a "lightweight" and seem even very tolerant, but if anyone keeps going far enough to cross the line, it's like a nuclear explosion went off.

What you seem to imply on force is problematic. One position on freedom is that *anything* in the way is the opposite of freedom. Tree fell on the road? I'm forced to drive around it. Another position is that unless you *completely* lose your ability to think, you are free. Except for being dead, you'll always be free. Held in a jail cell? You're free to think whatever you like. You seem to take this latter position. Objectivism isn't really either - I'm are free unless force is being used. If someone grabs my arm and twists it, they can force me arm to move regardless of what I think. The point is ultimately that it is impossible to plan long-range under such conditions, and is thus force. There are also arguments about how force in this way actually paralyzes a mind to some degree, but I'm not the person for that argument. "Moral Rights and Political Freedom" by Tara Smith discusses both points; it's a good read anyway.

The permanency of capitalism doesn't matter so much as a principle, there probably will always be historical movements, defeats, and so on. But trying to get things to last as long as possible is plenty fine. Anything else on that point has already been said.

"Instead, what I see and hear is a lot of wishful thinking and some small measure of activism. "

Personally, I see activism as a temporary measure at best. That is an interesting side-discussion.

Edited by Eiuol
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Hernan, at first, I was really confused about the title of your thread. Usually people who speak badly of capitalism consider it to be unfair, which Spiral spoke of earlier. After reading the thread up to this point, I think I understand what you mean, so tell me if my understanding is flawed. I may approach further responses of mine in this thread as a devil's advocate, I'll say so if I do that, but this is how I understand you right now:

You say "sissies" in a sense of being weak and unsustainable. Capitalism may sound great, but the reality is, in the form of totally free markets as meant by Objectivism, it's simply not possible. Someone will overtake free markets, because its supporters believe in such a high degree of freedom that there is no barrier stopping collectivism - people are free to be collectivists! That is going to far, and not stopping with force some irrationalities (or even many) is simply weakness. Stand up for what you know to be rational, force if needed. Arrest communists like during the red scare. Take a hard-line attitude, that's the only way to make permanent any positive changes. Even if you don't suggest something like arrest communists, presumably you still mean something aggressive. Supporters of free markets may be too tolerant, by allowing blatant irrationalities. Ultimately, it's allowing others to grant you freedoms while being nice enough to respect that. Progressives, communists, fascists, etc, would easily overtake free markets the moment they decide to stop being nice. Communists took over Russia practically overnight - Russia wasn't a free market to be sure, but the communists were willing to take such a hard-line that they incited revolution.

That is close enough. I have intentionally avoided making any particular recomendations preferring instead to speak in generalities. Also, all your examples relate to lawful collective action (e.g. arrests) but we previously discussed black markets which are anything but. Also, I don't mean to suggest that tollerance has no place in the equation. And I hesitate to characterize what I see as tolerance so much as submission.

Furthermore, even with some force, people still have the ability to think. A slave can contemplate escape, secretly learn to read, or any number of activities. Running away is an option. Sure the slave gets shot and killed while running, but that option to run was free to make. Objectivists seem (to you) to be essentially saying "I don't like getting shot, therefore that's not freedom!" To which I could respond: Tough cookies. I don't like losing my bishop, but sometimes I must lose a bishop in order to capture the king. I wasn't 'forced' to lose the bishop, that's simply the best option in terms of cost/benefit. Life is like that, too. Don't be scared to play the game!

Yes, this is much more accurate to my point. I can't find anything to disagree with here.

Now, the problem with the sissies bit is that I think it's applicable only to anarchists. There is no official rule of law in anarchy. They wouldn't want to get "mean" because that'd infringe upon a person's right to do whatever the other person wants. Murder is bad... but there should be no ultimate arbiter to decide. But Objectivism is different, and involves force as retaliation, including by government. Murder is bad, and there is a law of the land to decide that. If you don't like that, boo hoo, you're going to jail anyway if you murder someone. That's a more obvious example. Then we can go towards military scale. If Iran is hellbent on nuking a government's jurisdiction, then a response you may expect from me is stop them with the necessary force, regardless of a 'right' of Iran to make nukes. Now, we can discuss what "necessary" is (war, bombs, espionage? etc), but it's certainly not a response of "well, maybe if we hold hands and talk about rational behavior, the threat will go away". My reasoning mostly involves a principle of how to respond to force because it stops freedom of thinking, a fundamental means of survival. Force can't be met with reason, so I'd retaliate with force. As an analogy, I can think of times a person (or me!) may seem to be a "lightweight" and seem even very tolerant, but if anyone keeps going far enough to cross the line, it's like a nuclear explosion went off.

Yes, I understand this. But again you are retreating to collective, lawful actions. The question of how to deal with murderers and thieves is realtively easy compared to the question of how to deal with socialism which carries rule of law with it.

What you seem to imply on force is problematic. One position on freedom is that *anything* in the way is the opposite of freedom. Tree fell on the road? I'm forced to drive around it. Another position is that unless you *completely* lose your ability to think, you are free. Except for being dead, you'll always be free. Held in a jail cell? You're free to think whatever you like. You seem to take this latter position. Objectivism isn't really either - I'm are free unless force is being used. If someone grabs my arm and twists it, they can force me arm to move regardless of what I think. The point is ultimately that it is impossible to plan long-range under such conditions, and is thus force. There are also arguments about how force in this way actually paralyzes a mind to some degree, but I'm not the person for that argument. "Moral Rights and Political Freedom" by Tara Smith discusses both points; it's a good read anyway.

You are almost shifting the discussion where I was waiting to take it. Setting aside the above problem of how to deal with socialism, we have also the question of what it really means to be free and when we really lose our freedom as opposed to merely having to deal with the choices that others make. Framing this as a loss of freedom is a mistake. Instead it should be framed as a violation of rights. If someone breaks into my home to rape my wife and steal my stuff he has not take away my freedom, he has violated my rights. I have the ability to respond (hopefully) to that invasion. The problem arises, and this is why I used the word "sissies", if I am squimish about dealing with this threat. Then, instead of taking appropriate countermeasures, I simply allow myself to be victimized.

The permanency of capitalism doesn't matter so much as a principle, there probably will always be historical movements, defeats, and so on. But trying to get things to last as long as possible is plenty fine. Anything else on that point has already been said.

It matters, though, in the sense that the threat of socialism is eternal. And therefore anyone serious about capitalism must take that into account. If you have a plan for how capitalism will work when socialisim goes away that's utopian.

"Instead, what I see and hear is a lot of wishful thinking and some small measure of activism. "

Personally, I see activism as a temporary measure at best. That is an interesting side-discussion.

I believe it is an essential element of genuine toleration to at least make an honest attempt at defending capitalism by logic and reason, by argument and exposition. But I an not so naieve as to expect that to have any great impact.

Anyway, thanks for joining the thread with such a thoughtful contribution.

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So long as we are all marching toward the socialist future, America may remain simply the least socialist society. Not much consolation.

The history of feudalism is much more interesting than that charicature. Feudalism replaced slavery and was a vast improvement upon it. It had little to do with world religions except insofar as Christianity was the driving force for shifting western society from slavery to feudalism. There is an interesting debate among historians as to what led to its demise, most point to the black plagues which decimated the peasantry and thus empowered the survivors to demand more rights from their lords leading, ultimately, to its abolishment though at different times in different countries.

1) In what way are we marching towards a socialist future? Do you have any evidence of this?

2) So in otherwords you think that philosophy has no role to play in history. No wonder you are so pessimistic about socialism you are basically following Marx's theory of history.

IN ADDITION, EDIT.

I originally your post as being just pessmism, but after reading yours and Eiuol's exchange, I am not sure. If you are advocating some alternative policy in the face that there will always be some base instinct towards collectivism, I think you share that idea. I have suggested a military junta before, and that didn't go over well, and terrorism is immoral.

Edited by Hairnet
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1) In what way are we marching towards a socialist future? Do you have any evidence of this?

I don't want to go off on this tangent. Suffice it to say that this is my belief and I am not alone.

2) So in otherwords you think that philosophy has no role to play in history. No wonder you are so pessimistic about socialism you are basically following Marx's theory of history.

I think that Objectivists overvalue philosphy as a tool for advancing ideas. I'm a big fan of philosophy as a means of getting your own thinking straight.

I originally your post as being just pessmism, but after reading yours and Eiuol's exchange, I am not sure. If you are advocating some alternative policy in the face that there will always be some base instinct towards collectivism, I think you share that idea. I have suggested a military junta before, and that didn't go over well, and terrorism is immoral.

I'm pessimistic that there is any ultimate solution to the socialist tendency in the sense of a final resolution any more than I believe that medical science will ever conquer death. I am not so pessimistic as to believe that we must endure it uniformly or that it must always increase or that there are no counteractions. At a minimum, I think there are very many opportunties to show genuine defiance.

I'm not endorsing any specific actions, only trying to determine if Objectivists are able to reason about this problem.

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I don't want to go off on this tangent. Suffice it to say that this is my belief and I am not alone.

I think that Objectivists overvalue philosphy as a tool for advancing ideas. I'm a big fan of philosophy as a means of getting your own thinking straight.

I'm pessimistic that there is any ultimate solution to the socialist tendency in the sense of a final resolution any more than I believe that medical science will ever conquer death. I am not so pessimistic as to believe that we must endure it uniformly or that it must always increase or that there are no counteractions. At a minimum, I think there are very many opportunties to show genuine defiance.

I'm not endorsing any specific actions, only trying to determine if Objectivists are able to reason about this problem.

Objectivists believe men are driven by their ideas, and thus so are societies and history. I also do not think that mankind is inclined towards collectivism. Given that the trend has been in the opposite direction for the last 10,000 years, I am not sure why you think this at all.

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Objectivists believe men are driven by their ideas, and thus so are societies and history.

There is a tremendous difference between saying that a man is driven by his own ideas and one man can be driven by the ideas of another arbitrary person. Claiming that men are driven by the ideas of society falls somewhere in between: people tend to follow the ideas of the majority which gives history a great intertia that is occassionly, but not often, overcome.

I also do not think that mankind is inclined towards collectivism. Given that the trend has been in the opposite direction for the last 10,000 years, I am not sure why you think this at all.

I don't think the historical record is so straightforward as that nor that the general socialistic tendency can be adequately represented as collectivism.

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Incidentally, Ayn Rand had obviously thought about this problem. Atlas Shrugged is proof of that. But her "solution" involved fictional devices that allowed her characters to avoid getting their hands dirty. Don't hold your breath waiting for an invitation to Galt's Gulch.

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Galt's Gultch was a retreat. It was a place to come and get away from where the fictional characters where getting their hands dirty. Atlas Shrugged concretized what could happen if the obstacles to a full implementation and realization of socialism were removed. America for decades was a "Galt's Gultch". As countries around the world tightened their embrace to socialism, the "men of the mind" fled to America in what is referred to as the "brain drain". It remains to be seen if the American sense of life is going to be pushed to the point that it reasserts the role of the government must play with respect to the governed. To do so, however, it must be perceived as the clear, moral, and just course to pursue.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Yes, I understand this. But again you are retreating to collective, lawful actions. The question of how to deal with murderers and thieves is relatively easy compared to the question of how to deal with socialism which carries rule of law with it.

I hope you've seen Game of Thrones or at least know some details about it, because my reply involves examples from it. I'll explain anyway.

In GoT, you've got various different kingdoms, who are all ruled by one king, but each kingdom basically has autonomy. The one kingdom of particular interest is where the Stark family comes from, Winterfell. In my estimation, they as a family express many virtues compatible with Objectivism, so they're a good analog for what I'm getting at. To me, Winterfell is a nice place to be compared to other kingdoms, although it's quite wintery as you can imagine the name implies. The Stark's work on their own lives and don't take any particular dominance over their people beyond law and order. In some sense, Winterfell can be easily overrun in terms of size, and they don't need a massive army to initiate force like other kingdoms would do more regularly. It's a lot like the free market you try to describe, because Winterfell isn't forceful in assuring their virtue takes hold in every other kingdom.

The Stark's don't need to promise that they'll last "forever", they just aim to live their lives well as long as possible. Their slogan is "Winter is coming" implying they understand that what you have must be fought for, although it's still not the "power" you talk about. With winter comes a swarm of undead creatures from up further north, which I'll compare to a rise of socialism. The threat of winter is eternal, and no matter how awesome Winterfell is, the threat won't go away. It must be fought. The undead will be out for blood, with no thinking involved. Perhaps that's the point you're making - of course you must fight. But it's not really any normal type of threat, because it's not disagreement we're speaking of in this example, but an invasion with force that can't be met with reason in any capacity. How to deal with such a threat? A concerted effort of minds among all the kingdoms, respecting rights and fighting against total destruction. The trouble is, without a rational basis like rights or anything equivalent, the kingdoms are fragmented over initiating force and can't combat the undead. No one realizes that the undead are coming, so part of the whole conflict in the story is that the viewer can imagine the possible repercussions of a-rational mentalities ahead of time.

I actually think you need to give some better evidence that being forceful accomplishes *better* than respecting rights in the laissez faire sense. For the type of life it brings, LFC appears to be better, even if it is possible for people to change their minds and move towards statism. Everyone loses with force, but the only great chance for the best in life is through capitalism. Perhaps socialism could make itself permanent, like in 1984. The issue is, it'd be terrible to live there. The idea is quality of life, not "power" to sustain an ideology.

Edited by Eiuol
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I hope you've seen Game of Thrones or at least know some details about it, because my reply involves examples from it. I'll explain anyway.

An interesting fictional situation. The problem with ficition, though, is that it is so easy to invent circumstances. This is the problem I also have with reliance upon AS as a model. Fiction can be useful for illuminating possibilities but more than that is suspect.

But, in any case, I think you have fallen away from the main issue. You want to compare a situation where there is there is a "concerted effort of minds among all the kingdoms, respecting rights and fighting against total destruction" vs. one at war with itself. But that is not the choice in the non-ficitonal world. The choice in the non-ficitonal world is closer to that faced by the AS characters: what to do in a world gone mad.

I actually think you need to give some better evidence that being forceful accomplishes *better* than respecting rights in the laissez faire sense. For the type of life it brings, LFC appears to be better, even if it is possible for people to change their minds and move towards statism. Everyone loses with force, but the only great chance for the best in life is through capitalism. Perhaps socialism could make itself permanent, like in 1984. The issue is, it'd be terrible to live there. The idea is quality of life, not "power" to sustain an ideology.

So even setting aside my above concern, I am more than a little puzzled at your turn of the discussion. Speaking strictly within your GoT metaphor, the Starks are not trying to reason with the undead. As you say, that is impossible. I have no idea how this fight is conducted, not being familiar with the storyline, but I'm guessing it probably involves some force perhaps? What we have, in fact, is a classic case of differentiating friend and enemy and responding differently to each.

Now returning to the real world, the best running example we've seen so far, black markets, does not in fact entail force even against the socialist oppressors. They are merely surreptitious. While I hesitate to get into specifics, I prefer to argue here in vague generalities, I suspect that "concerted effort of minds among all the [rational] kingdoms" toward some action is what is required.

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