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Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

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14 hours ago, Dupin said:

I think Bobulinski  and Giuliani are telling the truth because they have documentation which can be checked for veracity, because they have no reason to lie about it and risk going to jail, and because of their manner.  Giuliani has a fairly good biography  (I don’t know Bobulinski’s).  The FBI has a long history of corruption –  see the books by Rodney Stich.  It’s no surprise they are dishonest yet again.

Okay. And I think they're not telling the truth.

Is it established for you -- could we at least agree -- that Donald Trump, himself, lies? That he lies regularly? And that he accordingly draws to him people who also lie and especially those who lie in his own (that is, Trump's) defense? Or would it be necessary for me to search for examples? Regardless, the conclusion I've drawn is that Trump and his team lie without compunction or hesitation; that they have no regard whatever for truth, and active disdain for those truths which they perceive to be contra their interests.

I do not believe that a man like Giuliani could be in his position without a willingness to lie, regularly, in service of Trump. In a real sense, I think that's his job.

I don't always know why people take the risks they do, but I believe that the Trump camp has grown increasingly desperate in searching for a means to an election day victory. I can't examine their documentation personally for veracity (and I wouldn't have the expertise to make much of it, anyway), but what I know is that this story was examined and largely rejected by the Wall Street Journal, because they could not vet it. I understand that this is all taken as further evidence of the corruption/bias of the "mainstream media," but I believe that the reason why they've largely avoided this story is because it is fishy; it does not pass journalistic muster. (Could this story continue to evolve, and force me to change my opinion? I'll allow that it could, but I do not expect it.)

Despite the tone of the YouTube comments section (of which I only scratched the very, very surface), and your thoughts regarding the veracity of the documents, Giuliani's manner, etc., I do not expect to see any charges filed regarding these matters -- do you? Reason being, these documents serve a political purpose, but they would not like to see them subjected to the sort of scrutiny that an actual trial would require.

(To be clear, I have no great love for the FBI and would not argue the point that they have a history of corruption. I'm sure we agree about that. But it seems far more likely to me, given everything else, that Giuliani and... uh... Bobulinski, et al., are lying to get Trump re-elected, versus the FBI betraying the country for the sake of the Democrats. It seems to me that the Wall Street Journal and FBI are hardly leftist stalwarts.)

14 hours ago, Dupin said:

An act and a pathetic one.

It may or may not be pathetic, but I guarantee you that it's no act. I've burned through anger about these sorts of things long ago, and (most of) the competitive and performative aspects of debate/discussion well before that, and I'm just left with sadness and disappointment and a sense of loss. It's why I now find it increasingly hard to bring myself to discuss these sorts of matters, or even to return here, generally.

Objectivism should be so much better than it is (better understood, better appreciated, better employed), and so, too, this community. I'm certain you have much better within yourself, as well. While I hold no realistic hope of communicating this to you, the truth is that I sincerely think you're being manipulated by wicked people, people who intend to do so for their own ends, and that it is deeply painful for me to witness it. (And I am certain that you believe the same of me, whatever you may feel about that.) Speaking personally, I wish you nothing but the best.

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I meant what I said. In the examples that I gave, his orders clearly violated well-established law, though perhaps you are not happy about with the law on these points. Your response is mostly part di

I don’t agree with this. Explaining why requires two distinctions. - Dictatorial about government policy versus dictatorial to the USA’s people in general. - A dictator personally versus a d

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DonAthos,

I gave my reasons for thinking that Bobulinski and Giuliani are telling the truth.  Why do you think they are lying?  They have a lot to lose here so calling them liars is a serious charge.

Will charges be filed against the Biden crime family?  The so called Department of Justice is corrupt as hell – again see the work of the late Rodney Stich – so it is very possible this will go nowhere.

The Wall Street Journal article by Andrew Duehren and James Areddy of October 23rd about Bobulinski is behind a paywal but several other media outlets have published a recap which I’ve read.  I’m not impressed.  The salient fact is that Hunter Biden somehow got rich yet in ability and experience he is a total zero.  How did he do it?

I don't trust the WSJ, a Powers-That-Be stalwart.  Big Business is usually on the side of statism.  They are not acting as their own destroyer, they are acting as my destroyer.  

But the crimes of Biden et al might be too much for the WSJ.  On October 28th, five days after the Duehren and Areddy article, their editorial board published a piece beginning (the full editorial is behind a paywall):

Quote

Joe Biden is asking voters to elect him on the strength of his character, honesty and judgment. Which is why Mr. Biden owes a response to new allegations about his son Hunter’s business deals.

Edited by Dupin
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3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

It may or may not be pathetic, but I guarantee you that it's no act. I've burned through anger about these sorts of things long ago, and (most of) the competitive and performative aspects of debate/discussion well before that, and I'm just left with sadness and disappointment and a sense of loss.

Why in the world would you feel sad (and loss?) about what random strangers on the internet do? Why would you feel any different about what the cretins are saying here any more than a homeless bum on the street shouting conspiracies that you simply pass by? Only here, moderators can actually remove them. Oi, get ahold of yourself man.

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3 hours ago, 2046 said:

Why in the world would you feel sad (and loss?) about what random strangers on the internet do? Why would you feel any different about what the cretins are saying here any more than a homeless bum on the street shouting conspiracies that you simply pass by? Only here, moderators can actually remove them. Oi, get ahold of yourself man.

There's a lesson somewhere in this I've been (too) long in learning. I remember getting to high school and college and grad school and, each in turn, thinking something along the lines of "this is it?" College especially, I expected to be... more than it was. There's a reverence I've always felt for learning, for reason, for truth, and I've always expected that, in a place surrounded by people who shared these pursuits, I would discover a community characterized by passion and kindness and understanding. Benevolent.

Then, having discovered Rand and Objectivism, I think I transferred some of that meaning and expectation, first at ARI, and then here. I still hold on to this idea, somewhere, that someday the switch will somehow get flipped. That the promise I find in Rand's writings will bear the fruit it should, rather than... what it is, and seems always to have been.

2020 has been rough. I'd like to "get ahold of myself," believe me, lol, but faced with the alternative I actually have, I guess I want to be upfront about who and what I am, for better, for worse. The support I've found here for Trump and right-wing conspiracy is deeply dispiriting. Not entirely surprising, perhaps, but more disappointing for that. It would be cool to be unaffected, maybe, but I'm not unaffected. It sucks.

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4 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

There's a lesson somewhere in this I've been (too) long in learning. I remember getting to high school and college and grad school and, each in turn, thinking something along the lines of "this is it?" College especially, I expected to be... more than it was. There's a reverence I've always felt for learning, for reason, for truth, and I've always expected that, in a place surrounded by people who shared these pursuits, I would discover a community characterized by passion and kindness and understanding. Benevolent.

Then, having discovered Rand and Objectivism, I think I transferred some of that meaning and expectation, first at ARI, and then here. I still hold on to this idea, somewhere, that someday the switch will somehow get flipped. That the promise I find in Rand's writings will bear the fruit it should, rather than... what it is, and seems always to have been.

2020 has been rough. I'd like to "get ahold of myself," believe me, lol, but faced with the alternative I actually have, I guess I want to be upfront about who and what I am, for better, for worse. The support I've found here for Trump and right-wing conspiracy is deeply dispiriting. Not entirely surprising, perhaps, but more disappointing for that. It would be cool to be unaffected, maybe, but I'm not unaffected. It sucks.

What you want is not impossible. But it has to be built. And it requires lots of velvet ropes.

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3 hours ago, 2046 said:

Why in the world would you feel sad (and loss?) about what random strangers on the internet do?

Not speaking for DA of course, but I can relate to what he is saying. I feel something towards random strangers, particularly what they have probably gone through to get to this point of unhinged or conspiratorial thought. Psychologically speaking, it is not a thing that just "happens", they aren't born this way, they were probably at some point pretty reasonable people. Something happens over time, they start to lose sense of reality, and it turns bad. Then they get gradually radicalized. Eventually, terrorism, if they go deep enough. It's sad to think that a person has been "lost" this way. It's quite disheartening.

I think it's worth passing them off as random people on the street shouting conspiracies. These are probably people that hold jobs, basically regular people, and can influence other regular people. Perhaps I shouldn't have yelled at Latendre here, but I'm not sure that going into the details about evidence of Q being an actual person rather than an elaborate prank is going to do anything except lead him to double down and weave more webs of conspiracy.  

It's not the questions per se, the Biden laptop thing isn't completely empty of any evidence of wrongdoing. The issues are patterns of thinking, the types of questions that are asked, the whole approach. Is there nothing we can do?

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23 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Is there nothing we can do?

Nope. There is literally no mind there.

Dismissiveness and contempt is the thing to do, along with keeping such low quality people out of one's life and as far away as possible.

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On 10/27/2020 at 1:11 PM, Dupin said:

There has been much debate in the Objectivist movement about immigration.  Your position is that:

Quote

Trump's stance on immigration is deeply immoral and a violation of fundamental rights. He ... continues to initiate the use of force against innocents ...

But I along with many others in Objectivist circles disagree.  Our position is that the alien who illegally crosses our border is the one initiating force against us and violating our rights.  I’m not going into the subject here, just pointing out that the answer to the immigration question isn’t as obvious as you seem to think.

Really, there is probably not much one can say to reason with anyone who is taking their "news" straight from Trump and his team, imagining that Trump is the lone truth-teller and that it is the rest of the world which lies. Trump sought to discredit all sources of news except himself, after all, and for some, clearly that worked. The enormity of it is staggering.

Still, I'd like to take a crack at responding concisely to the above, because unlike the distressing and degrading conspiracy theories we've been discussing, this at least speaks to something meaningful and real. ("Concise" by my standards, at least.)

Immigration has been argued endlessly -- and yeah, I know that there are Objectivists who disagree with me; actually, I think that every other Objectivist disagrees with my stance on immigration... I've taken heat from all sides on this forum, at least. But the one thing I have going in my favor, I believe, is that I'm right and they're wrong. And I do think that the answer to the immigration question is fairly obvious, even if others refuse to take note of it, for whatever reasons they may have. And so:

Imagine two people who live just across a national border from one another. We can imagine John and Juan, if you'd like: John who lives in San Diego and Juan who lives in Tijuana. John operates a Starbucks. They have an opening for a barista and Juan would like to work there; John, similarly would like to hire Juan, and does, and so Juan crosses the border (which need not be more than a posted sign here; an imaginary line in the dirt) to work at this job. In response, Officer Trump arrests Juan and throws him into jail.

Clearly, force has been employed. The question before us is who is it that has initiated the use of force: was it Juan who initiated the use of force, by crossing the border so that he may work at his job? Or Trump, who seeks to prevent him from so doing?

I think it's obviously the latter. I think that there's no honest way of arriving at any other answer. Working at a job is not a use of force. Travelling to that job is not a use of force. Juan is earning money, and acting through voluntary cooperation with John to do so. This is nothing less than an exemplar of Objectivist virtue, all else being equal. It is a direct implementation of the positive Objectivist conception of "right," as in when Rand writes, that man has the freedom "to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life," and that "the right to property means that a man has the right to take the economic actions necessary to earn property." This is what John and Juan both seek to do, and what Trump seeks to prevent them from doing.

Given this, what case can be made that Juan is the initiator of force? Writing of the initiation of the use of force, Rand said that "one man cannot deprive another of his life, nor enslave him, nor forbid him to pursue his happiness, except by using force against him. Whenever a man is made to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent—his right has been violated." So in order to make the case that Juan has initiated the use of force, we need to demonstrate how Juan has made another man "to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent." We must demonstrate how Juan deprives another of his life, or enslaves him, or forbids him to pursue his happiness. In the language of Jefferson, we must show how he picks a pocket or breaks a leg.

The case is sometimes made that Juan is taking an economic opportunity away from someone else, and that this is the "harm" done. But I would not expect such an argument to have any purchase among Objectivists, so let's just observe that quickly that wealth is not zero sum, that no one is entitled to any job, that all economic arrangements must be voluntary/uncoerced, etc., etc., and (hopefully) move on.

We must also reckon with the idea that land is somehow collectively owned by a populace; when someone comes to "our" country, they must have our collective permission to do so, and simply by coming here without our permission, they have done us some kind of an elusive, vague, unspecified and impossible-to-demonstrate species of "harm." Again: I would not expect such an argument to have much sway here. But just in case, writing on the idea of "collective rights," Rand wrote that "a group, as such, has no rights," and that "only an individual man can possess rights." So which other individual is it that is dispossessed when John and Juan exercise their rights on their property, and by what means? Trump? How so?

And with regard to "permission," Rand further writes that "a right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission. [...] If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right."

Anticipating objections, I've heard from Objectivists in the past that my argument will somehow leave our borders unprotected against criminals and terrorists. It is in response to this where I get into trouble with others (including Eiuol, participating in this discussion), because I believe that none of the argument I've made means that a routine border stop is unjustified as a procedural matter: that there still may be passports, paperwork processing, and so forth, as a means of enforcement against criminals seeking to evade local law, maintaining quarantine (which was far more hypothetical, the last time I discussed this), preventing terrorism, and so forth.

Objectivists have similarly worried that, if Juan is "allowed" to work at Starbucks, how will we defend our border against a hostile army? It seems absurd on its face to me, but in the interest of the kind of generosity which I believe ought to characterize discussion, I'll stipulate that we would continue to distinguish between people coming into the country for work, like Juan, and tanks. With that, I do believe the case to be both made, and yes, quite frankly, obvious.

Of course, immigration has a thousand threads on this forum, and counting. But I put this here, because it's salient to my larger point, which is: Trump does not care at all about individual rights. For all that Biden is a Democrat and believes in the things that all Democrats routinely believe in (including taxation and government spending and regulation), I think that Trump's hostility to individual rights, to liberty, is both more clear and more dangerous. His stance on immigration and the economic protectionism which, in part, animates it, is but one piece of that puzzle -- yet it is an important piece.

I have also before provided evidence that Trump is happy to try to order "private" businesses to do his bidding, and threaten them with reprisal if they do not. In fact, it's unclear to me that Trump even sees any clear distinction to "private," in this sense; I think his understanding is fascist in nature, or more generally statist, in that he believes that all business operates at the pleasure of the state, for the good of the state (and accounting to Trump's particular nature, for his own, personal good). Whatever Trump's stated position regarding the individual mandate of Obamacare, and whatever my speculation as to his underlying psychology (because I think it's more to do with "Obama" than anything else), I hope that no one is further fooled into thinking that Trump has any care or concern (or perhaps even understanding) for anything like liberty or individual right.

What I had written originally was true: Trump's stance on immigration is deeply immoral and a violation of fundamental rights. He has previously and routinely continues to initiate the use of force against innocents, as a matter of both policy and pride.

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7 hours ago, DonAthos said:

The question before us is who is it that has initiated the use of force: was it Juan who initiated the use of force, by crossing the border so that he may work at his job? Or Trump, who seeks to prevent him from so doing?

I think it's obviously the latter. I think that there's no honest way of arriving at any other answer.

I'm not going to revisit the border control debate here. There are already a few threads devoted to that issue. But I think it's a serious mistake to begin with the view that your opponents are dishonest. Political questions involve very advanced ideas and are not easy to answer. There is much room for honest disagreement. 

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3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:
Quote

The question before us is who is it that has initiated the use of force: was it Juan who initiated the use of force, by crossing the border so that he may work at his job? Or Trump, who seeks to prevent him from so doing?

I think it's obviously the latter. I think that there's no honest way of arriving at any other answer.

I'm not going to revisit the border control debate here. There are already a few threads devoted to that issue. But I think it's a serious mistake to begin with the view that your opponents are dishonest. Political questions involve very advanced ideas and are not easy to answer. There is much room for honest disagreement. 

I don't begin with any assumption that anyone is dishonest, in general or in specific. But for an Objectivist to reach the conclusion that someone who takes a job at a barista at Starbucks has thereby initiated the use of force? No, I don't think that conclusion can be reached honestly.

Which is not to say that coming to such a conclusion makes one a dishonest person. Because we have a term for "evasion," and hopefully some measure of understanding of it (though I suspect we do not yet have all that much), that doesn't make us immune to it. I think we all evade at times, to greater or lesser extents. I think we all reach certain conclusions dishonestly, by which I mean evading one or more details, not allowing ourselves to see or to understand that which we otherwise could, and generally allowing ourselves a certain sloppiness of thought. (It is not merely the sloppiness itself, but it is the internal grant, the allowance.) If I understood these phenomena better, perhaps I could describe them with greater specificity or exactitude, but that's where I'm at, at present.

And while I agree with you that political questions are not always easy to answer, there are also times when we're able to resolve apparent complexity into something which is relatively easy to understand and (yes) easy to answer. None of what Rand accomplished in laying out her philosophy was "easy," for instance (which I think goes some way in explaining why it took so bloody long for someone to do it) -- and she was a genius for doing what she did -- but now, having done, it allows many other people (including some non-geniuses, perhaps) to trod those same, or similar paths, with much greater ease and requiring far less effort.

An Objectivist (and by that I don't mean just some high school kid who has read The Fountainhead, you dig?) will have reflected on the nature of matters like the initiation of the use of force, and the fact that the creation of wealth is not zero-sum, etc. For such a person to come to the conclusion that Juan taking a job at Starbucks has initiated the use of force...? No. I mean, I've seen the threads devoted to the issue; I've participated in several of them; and I yet do not think that such a conclusion can be reached honestly, given that context.

Could an Objectivist believe that Juan must be screened at the border before crossing, to ensure that he is not Al Qaeda, for instance? Yes -- and that is also my position. Could another Objectivist have some honest disagreement as to the extent or nature of this procedural implementation? I believe so. So to that extent an Objectivist could be cast as pro- or anti- "open borders," more or less hostile to immigration, or what have you, and an honest debate could exist regarding those details. But the essence of the matter, represented in my hypothetical, which you quoted and to which you were ostensibly responding? No. It's like suggesting that an Objectivist could have an honest disagreement on whether Hitler's Holocaust was justified policy, because political matters are complex (which, okay, is extreme to the nth degree -- but I mean to make my point). I just don't believe it could happen.

Now, to bring us back to the thread, here's a subject about which there is ample complexity and thus could be genuine confusion: Trump's actual immigration policy. Does he merely mean to keep us safe from terrorists and plague-carriers? Or does he mean to keep Juan out of San Diego in the name of economic protectionism -- to specifically and purposefully prevent Juan from working at Starbucks, so that John is forced to hire someone else (i.e. an American)? I agree that the former could provide "much room for honest disagreement" among Objectivists; but the latter? Nope. I cannot see how any Objectivist would support policies designed to coerce individuals to act against their own economic interests, their own judgement, their own life. It is clearly the initiation of the use of force, the abrogation of individual right, and wrong.

To that, Trump supported the "RAISE Act." RAISE stands for "Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy." In announcing the act, the press release from its sponsoring senators said that it would "spur economic growth and raise working Americans' wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration by half." Which is to say, it means to keep Juan from working at Starbucks. Of the act, Trump is quoted, saying, "This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first." The first red flag ought to be "compassion" (though Trump deserves some credit for knowing the word). But yes, this is economic protectionism. It is the initiation of the use of force. The abrogation of individual right. And it is wrong.

_______________________________

Incidentally, finally today I got to see the much ballyhooed Giuliani scene of the Borat sequel. He's clearly tucking his shirt, and I don't get anything salacious from it otherwise, so "fake news" fits that media firestorm pretty well.

But he also seems to be clear in saying that China intentionally manufactured and spread Covid, so... he's still a dishonest wretch, is what I'm saying.

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I wasn't involved in the past debates about immigration on OO, nor have I thought about the topic a lot. Regardless, using Juan seeking a job at Starbucks as the only example oversimplifies. Some immigrants may not have such laudable motives. What if X plans to join a criminal gang? What if X is a dependent and the motive is to exploit the USA's welfare system? 

Edited by merjet
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8 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I think we all evade at times, to greater or lesser extents. I think we all reach certain conclusions dishonestly, by which I mean evading one or more details, not allowing ourselves to see or to understand that which we otherwise could, and generally allowing ourselves a certain sloppiness of thought.

I thought that it was fairly clear that Swig was talking about calling an opponent dishonest when it comes to a specific context (that regarding a specific position, someone is being dishonest, but nothing necessarily to do with honesty outside that position). If you state that somebody arrived at a conclusion dishonestly, you have said that the person has been dishonest. You aren't calling the idea itself dishonest in the way that we call ideas incorrect or evil or good. If you say that somebody has arrived at an idea by being honest, you are saying that the person has been honest. This is what you're describing for the most part, so I do think you're saying that coming to such a conclusion makes one a dishonest person, just not as widely as you interpreted it. I could go on to say that "I don't think that anyone could arrive at DA's conclusion without being dishonest", but I can think of so many ways that you perhaps neglected to mention something, or you didn't articulate as well as you could, or needed to think about it more to iron it out, that is quite easy to see that you're not necessarily being dishonest.

Of course, especially severe errors of rationality in a discussion can be attributed to dishonesty. People in the QAnon movement make such a severe error that we can say that they are dishonest people (when it comes to the variety of related beliefs). So when you say that nobody could arrive at a certain conclusion about immigration honestly, I see you are saying that the error is at that level severity. At the level of severity of defending the murder of millions of people in the Holocaust as a good policy. At the level of saying that George Bush did 9/11. As true as it might be, you don't get anywhere in the conversation with them by saying they are being dishonest, which is fine. You don't need to get anywhere with them. 

If you're only referring to Dupin, fine, I'd probably agree. But you're talking about the very general "anti-immigration" position which all sorts of people hold for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes that reason is outright racism. I'm more surprised that you can't think of any honest reason someone would hold such a position.

21 hours ago, DonAthos said:

It is in response to this where I get into trouble with others (including Eiuol, participating in this discussion), because I believe that none of the argument I've made means that a routine border stop is unjustified as a procedural matter: that there still may be passports, paperwork processing, and so forth, as a means of enforcement against criminals seeking to evade local law, maintaining quarantine (which was far more hypothetical, the last time I discussed this), preventing terrorism, and so forth.

Of course you would get into trouble here, from me in particular! I could easily say that you arrived at the conclusion that routine border stops are just a procedural matter can only be arrived at dishonestly. You're just waving away the parts of your thinking that you don't like, it's not any rational decision, its impulse because you don't want to be wrong! I don't think that though, nor at the time did I engage you in a way to suggest that you were being dishonest at the time. Yes, you said you agree that disagreeing over procedural matters can be honest. But I don't think it's just a procedural matter at all. Should I start saying that you could only arrive at your position dishonestly? 

I feel like we are agreeing, but also that you're throwing out a lot of text because you are still figuring out.

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7 hours ago, merjet said:

Regardless, using Juan seeking a job at Starbucks as the only example oversimplifies. Some immigrants may not have such laudable motives

I don't think he's doing that. He never said that was "the only example." I think he's using it as a paradigmatic case. If you don't agree with that as a case in the first place, as nationalists don't, then appeal to non-laudable cases is dishonest. And treating the non-laudable cases "X joining a gang/doing some crime/bad thing" as if it either were the paradigmatic case, or as if opposition to the bad thing constituted a reason for opposition to the paradigmatic case is an intentional conflation of a dishonest mind that has already reached its conclusion.

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7 hours ago, merjet said:

Regardless, using Juan seeking a job at Starbucks as the only example oversimplifies.

Endless are the opportunities for disagreement and discussion -- aren't they? When we reheat leftover pizza (though sometimes I eat it cold), my wife says that I like my pizza "too hot." But that's not how it seems to me. I like my pizza "hot," not "too hot." She likes hers too cold.

I think my example simplifies exactly as much as necessary. That's why I constructed it in the manner I have.

Quote

Some immigrants may not have such laudable motives.

That's true. But Juan does have such a motive, and his rights need to be respected, not violated. Do you doubt that there are many "Juans" in the world -- immigrants who just want the opportunity to work, to make a better life?

We Objectivists sometimes throw around things like "initiation of the use of force" and "evil" and such as though these are terms without actual meaning, just variables to plug into various equations. For the sake of what? Winning arguments? Proving our prodigious intellect? But we're talking about actual human lives, and the reality that the word "evil" is meant to signify. We're talking about initiating the use of force against real individuals -- using force against those who have not themselves employed it, and who do not deserve it, which is to say, injustice. We're talking about committing evil, on a systemic, ongoing, daily basis. We're talking about destroying the lives of innocent people.

Perhaps you feel that, because some immigrants may not have "such laudable motives" as Juan, it is permissible to initiate the use of force against the lot of them, Juan included (perhaps because you do not know how to distinguish between them, or etc.)? But when we quote Rand saying, for instance, that "no man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man" and that "if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong" and that "the end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others" -- well, do we mean these things, or do we not?

Quote

What if X plans to join a criminal gang? What if X is a dependent and the motive is to exploit the USA's welfare system? 

My answer is two-fold:

1) If you have some effective means of discriminating, and some just standard by which to discriminate, then by all means, employ it. Again: I do not say that we should let Al Qaeda pass our border, only Juan. Yes, we should seek to prevent terrorism; no, we should not seek to prevent immigrants from working -- not even if we "have compassion for struggling American families."

2) Keep in mind that we're still discussing the use of force. In the interest of not being evil, and the preservation of "individual rights" and such, we'd like to restrict our own use of force to retaliatory force. So what characterizes "retaliatory force"? Rand (as Galt) writes, "It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its use." Note the language "the man who starts its use." Now again, here (emphasis in original): "men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use."

So the question I guess I would put to you is whether you would determine either of your proposed examples to have initiated the use of force? A good rule of thumb might be: suppose these things were true of a citizen. Would they justify force-in-response? Ought they be subject to arrest and incarceration? If so, then I think you're justified in stopping them at the border, too. If not? Then not.

(And briefly, with respect to the welfare system, the fundamental issue is that we must eliminate the welfare system.)

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

I thought that it was fairly clear that Swig was talking about calling an opponent dishonest when it comes to a specific context (that regarding a specific position, someone is being dishonest, but nothing necessarily to do with honesty outside that position).

This is becoming increasingly tangential and technical. I've already responded as fully as I could as to my intended meaning, and one of the lessons I've learned here over the years is to try to avoid repeating myself -- because that's typically when frustration gets the best of me.

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If you're only referring to Dupin, fine, I'd probably agree.

To be as clear as possible on this point, even at the risk of repetition and frustration, I did not mean to say that anyone (here or elsewhere) is a dishonest person; only that there are some conclusions which I believe cannot be reached honestly (and this is a very specific conclusion to which we're referring in a very specific context: a discussion on an Objectivist board among fellow Objectivists).

I don't know Dupin hardly at all, and while I'm all for passing judgements, I don't like to do so lightly or casually. It does seem to me that Dupin is, as I have said, being manipulated (by evil people, who intend to do it, who calculate and plot and use the means at their disposal to achieve it) -- but that's as far as I have gone or feel proper, at present.

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Of course you would get into trouble here, from me in particular! I could easily say that you arrived at the conclusion that routine border stops are just a procedural matter can only be arrived at dishonestly.

LOL, of course you could say such a thing! :) You'd be wrong (and maybe even disingenuous), but, you know, if you provided your rationale, I would hear you out -- and maybe I would wind up agreeing with you? (Or, if you also opened yourself to a full consideration of my own proffered rationale, perhaps you would be the one to change your mind?)

The conclusions you draw as to the nature of my error don't matter to me so much as your demonstration of that error; I'm more committed than you are to rectifying my own mistakes, and believing what I do about evasion, I don't believe that I'm above making them. I do not hold that all the rest of the world evades and errs, but I am the lone exception; while I aspire to always be honest, I do not believe that I always succeed. So what are we talking about? Don't speculate as to what you might do to show me my mistakes and correct me -- you are heartily invited (in this thread or that, publicly or privately, on a train or in the rain, on a boat or with a goat) to show me my error and benefit us both.

Edited by DonAthos
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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

I did not mean to say that anyone (here or elsewhere) is a dishonest person; only that there are some conclusions which I believe cannot be reached honestly (and this is a very specific conclusion to which we're referring in a very specific context: a discussion on an Objectivist board among fellow Objectivists).

I know that you didn't want to, but I explained how you did. Not the entirety of their being, but as far as the topic. You can't call reaching some conclusions dishonest without saying that a person is being dishonest. I mean, I guess it is better than saying that a person is dishonest to the core?  

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

and one of the lessons I've learned here over the years is to try to avoid repeating myself -- because that's typically when frustration gets the best of me.

That's how every discussion is in the world. Teachers repeat themselves frequently. If you're arguing with someone, you should expect that you need them to repeat themselves for you, not just that you unfortunately need to repeat yourself. If I missed something, then point it out. 

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

You'd be wrong (and maybe even disingenuous), but, you know, if you provided your rationale, I would hear you out

Of course I would be disingenuous if I said that, because as I said, I don't believe that you have reached the conclusion dishonestly. 

Why do I continue about this in a thread about Biden? Because it involves hyperbolic and even exaggerated disagreement. Even to such a degree that is easy to slip up and fail to be rational at all (I'm talking about in general, with anyone you disagree with in the world), or miss important information when disagreeing. 

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19 hours ago, DonAthos said:

But for an Objectivist to reach the conclusion that someone who takes a job at a barista at Starbucks has thereby initiated the use of force?

You narrowed the context. Originally it involved someone crossing the border, presumably illegally, in order to take a job, also presumably illegally. Once you start including real world details, the question becomes more and more complex as the example becomes more and more true to reality, and I believe honest Objectivists can disagree on whether violating certain laws is an initiation of force, because the question of rights is not completely settled, not even within Objectivism. If it were, we wouldn't be having this sort of debate.

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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

That's how every discussion is in the world. Teachers repeat themselves frequently. If you're arguing with someone...

No, Eiuol. That's not how this discussion is. We're not arguing, I'm not your teacher (Go potentially notwithstanding; we'll arrange a schedule shortly ;)), and I'm not repeating myself further on this issue.

2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

You narrowed the context. Originally it involved someone crossing the border, presumably illegally, in order to take a job, also presumably illegally.

The illegality of crossing the border is itself predicated on the intention to keep Juan from working at Starbucks. Remember our struggling American families? Or don't you share Trump's compassion for them?

And yes, precisely, the idea that it should be illegal for Juan to work at Starbucks is the very immorality against which I argue. Preventing Juan from working at Starbucks against his will is evil. (Declaring it to be illegal for Juan to exercise his rights, in service of his own life, and then further holding Juan to "initiate the use of force" if he violates those laws, is a second hypocrisy atop the first.)

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... I believe honest Objectivists can disagree on whether violating certain laws is an initiation of force, because the question of rights is not completely settled, not even within Objectivism.

No, the question of whether or not someone like Trump (or anyone else) should be able to force Juan not to take a job at Starbucks is completely settled within Objectivism, regardless of whether or not it is settled in your mind (or the mind of any other Objectivist). You have no right to tell him not to; the people have no right to vote for any such prohibition; Juan has every right to work with John just as John has every right to work with Juan. To prevent them from so doing is evil.

But to bring us back around just a bit, Trump's support (and perhaps even passion) for this bit of immorality is just one part of the overall picture, described elsewhere and at length. The totality is a man who does not care at all for individual rights and is happy to violate them, whenever he believes it suits his interest. Is Biden better in this regard, despite the ways in which he is also deficient? Perhaps by some measure, but if that were the only difference between them, I wouldn't take all that much interest. (Though it is worth considering Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court, and the impact that may have on abortion law, and other matters ancillary to religion.)

What sets Trump apart is his disdain for our institutions, for our norms, for our democratic system, for truth itself -- and the ways in which he undermines them, accordingly. I don't know whether electing Biden is our "only hope," but I think that's possible, and I certainly believe it is the far better option. Biden is what we've always gotten, which isn't great, but is survivable. I think another four years of Trump would be an unparalleled disaster for our country.

This will be my last participation for a while, I think. I expect the next week or two to be rough, and I need to salvage my sanity. I hope I'm wrong about that. I further hope I'm wrong about Trump; I'd rather him not be the danger, the dictator-in-waiting that I believe he truly is. But I currently expect this to get worse before it gets better, if indeed it does get better. So, good luck to us all.

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16 hours ago, 2046 said:

I don't think he's doing that. He never said that was "the only example." I think he's using it as a paradigmatic case. If you don't agree with that as a case in the first place, as nationalists don't, then appeal to non-laudable cases is dishonest. And treating the non-laudable cases "X joining a gang/doing some crime/bad thing" as if it either were the paradigmatic case, or as if opposition to the bad thing constituted a reason for opposition to the paradigmatic case is an intentional conflation of a dishonest mind that has already reached its conclusion.

So what? It was the only example he gave.

I didn’t label any examples as paradigmatic or non-paradigmatic. You dishonestly alleged dishonesty.

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16 hours ago, DonAthos said:

So the question I guess I would put to you is whether you would determine either of your proposed examples to have initiated the use of force?

Why is the initiation of force the only permissible criteria? Suppose X does intend to join a criminal gang but lies about it, i.e. he commits fraud.

16 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Perhaps you feel that, because some immigrants may not have "such laudable motives" as Juan, it is permissible to initiate the use of force against the lot of them, Juan included

I said nothing even remotely similar.

16 hours ago, DonAthos said:

But when we quote Rand saying, for instance, that "no man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man"

Rand did not limit wrongs to the initiation of physical force. She also included “indirect physical force” such as fraud and extortion.

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5 hours ago, merjet said:

Why is the initiation of force the only permissible criteria? Suppose X does intend to join a criminal gang but lies about it, i.e. he commits fraud.

 

5 hours ago, merjet said:

Rand did not limit wrongs to the initiation of physical force. She also included “indirect physical force” such as fraud and extortion.

 

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Is every Objectivist activist of 30+ years who posts here immediately invited to get the hell out or go to hell or asked why they are even here in the first place, as I was?

Is it routine to question their mental health, as was perpetrated against myself?

Edited by Jon Letendre
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3 hours ago, Jon Letendre said:

Is every Objectivist activist of 30+ years who posts here immediately invited to get the hell out or go to hell or asked why they are even here in the first place, as I was?

No, but you will be if you are a conspiracy theorist who is part of the QAnon movement. We've had fringe people before, but usually they were people understood to be arguing against Oism even on fundamentals and stuck to their own thread without branching out. Why they were here was quite transparent (and not as remotely as unhinged as the QAnon movement). 

3 hours ago, Jon Letendre said:

Is it routine to question their mental health, as was perpetrated against myself?

Nah, but I don't know where this was done, except to say you at risk of being or have been radicalized (from the cultural conditions around you), which isn't about your mental health. 

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