Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Interesting eBay auction...

Rate this topic


RationalBiker
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...ssPageName=WDVW

What a lot of interesting material!  This is NOT my auction if you are wondering, nor anyone I know.

This is indeed an impressive amount of Objectivism-related material for sale. However, I noticed that the seller has a web site which provides a "step-by-step through the process of cheating public libraries out of their late fees." Personally, I would not choose to have financial dealings with someone who promotes such a notion.

http://www.balph.net/library/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I noticed that the seller has a web site which provides a "step-by-step through the process of cheating public libraries out of their late fees." Personally, I would not choose to have financial dealings with someone who promotes such a notion.

http://www.balph.net/library/

Not only that, but on the right side of the page -- along with links to Amazon.com (with the Amazon Associate ID "studyguidetoitoe") are the following recommended books:

Cheaters Always Prosper by James Brazil

This book is not for the morally upstanding--but if you are looking to 'beat the system' by flouting morality, this book will get you there quickly.

A new wardrobe free from the airport. Free stuff from vending machines. New tires for free. Free delivery food. Yes, a whole world of opportunites awaits those who discard those old-fashioned, impractical notions of morality, consequences, and long-term thinking.

Abandon thy conscience all ye who enter here.

-----

How to Screw the Post Office by Mr. Unzip

Too cheap to pay 34 cents to mail a letter? You're not the only one, brother. Mr. Unzip (get it? Because he's screwing the post office, which uses ZIP codes?) will tell you how to spend more than 34 cents worth of your time to save 34 cents. A fun and informative read.

-----

Beating the Check by Mick Shaw

Oh the fun you'll have and stories you'll tell. Here's a book written by an insider (viz. waiter) about how to get free meals from restaurants. By 'free' of course, I mean 'stolen', but what's the difference? Particularly charming is the section on getting the whole family involved--using your children as pawns in your quest for that elusive free Bloomin' Onion. A fun read, but I don't have the balls or desire to go to jail to actually do this stuff.

-----

How to Steal Food From the Supermarket by J. Andrew Anderson

Did you see or read Les Miserables and want to be like Jean Valjean, running for 30 years from a cunning detective all because you were hungry and stole a loaf of bread? Me neither!

If he'd had this book, he'd have been eating in the lap of luxury (well, I mean sitting in the lap of luxury whilst eating). All the free canned sardines a vagrant could want. He'd be using coupons for products he didn't buy. He'd know how to dress for shoplifting success (they don't teach that on Queer Eye). He'd also know all the crucial rationalizations to justify why it's OK to do all this--all in the convience of a portable 63 page book. Oh sweet mystery of life!

-----

With recommendations like that -- and the fact that his eBay ID (balph-dot-books) reminds me of an Ayn Rand villain -- all I can say about Keith Didion's auction is CAVEAT EMPTOR ("let the buyer beware").

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is indeed an impressive amount of Objectivism-related material for sale. However, I noticed that the seller has a web site which provides a "step-by-step through the process of cheating public libraries out of their late fees." Personally, I would not choose to have financial dealings with someone who promotes such a notion.

http://www.balph.net/library/

I guess it would be too difficult to simply re-check out a book if you can't finish it within the allotted time.

It makes me wonder if he was actually told that he could keep the ARI videos, as he claims.

I have a hard time buying that this guy is having as hard a time parting with his collection as he claims. I suspect he is rather, perhaps, trying to make some cash by selling something for which he didn't pay in the first place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not only that, but on the right side of the page -- along with links to Amazon.com (with the Amazon Associate ID "studyguidetoitoe") are the following recommended books:

[snip examples for the "horror file."]

Yikes! Much worse than even my initial bad impression.

I'll save my money for better transactions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes me wonder if he was actually told that he could keep the ARI videos, as he claims.

Funny, but when I read his claim about the videos (before I saw any of the things which he advocated) I had a similar reaction. It seemed like such a strange remark, that it made me wonder.

It sort of reminded me of the disclaimer made on a legal document by the seller of a house we once purchased. She said she was not sure of the status of the gas pool heater, but she was told that it provided "slow heat." When we looked, the gas line had been removed a long time ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I vaguely know the guy who put up that ad, and from what I know of him, I'd bet on the library page being a joke.  (He has a weird sense of humor -- which you should have guessed from his eBay listing.)  :lol:

Well, based on the details of a prior incident which I have now learned about, I do not think there is much to laugh about.

Almost six years ago this Keith Didion placed an ad on Bob Stubblefield's Objectivism Study Group (OSG). He offered a special discount for an out-of-print book mentioned by Peikoff in his lectures. Didion stated that he was going to reproduce this book and make it available at a special price to those who pre-ordered the book within the following two weeks. Orders were taken, money was sent, and the book was to be delivered in one month.

The delivery date came and went, but no book. An email was sent by Didion to some of those who paid for the book, stating that because he was more busy with his schoolwork than he had anticipated, the publication date was pushed back something more than another month. The book did not arrive at the new publication date, and a month past that a number of messages appeared on OSG, all enquiring about the book. Email requests for explanation were not responded to by Didion.

A few weeks later an OSG member said he had been able to contact Didion by phone, and that Didion said that his computer files were destroyed by a virus and therefore the book would be delayed. Several weeks later Didion posted a message to OSG explaining to all how this nasty computer virus destroyed the book and assured everyone who had paid for it that they would receive it soon. Five weeks later and still no book. Another message on OSG from a disgruntled purchaser, stating the Didion does not respond to his email enquiries.

Five months later another message on OSG asking if anyone knows how to contact Didion since his emails bounce. A final message appeared celebrating the one-year anniversary of the supposed delivery of the book. The poster said he intended to write-off his loss on his taxes. As far as I know, no one ever received the book nor did they receive a refund.

With all of this in mind, the "cheating public libraries," as well as the other "cheating" books Didion links to on amazon.com, does not seem to be anything to laugh about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno, I find the following to be pretty persuasive:

"A statement: I don't advocate stealing or cheating anyone out of anything that is rightfully his. Libraries are typically owned by governments. Their materials are paid for with money taken from you without your consent and spent on items that you wouldn't necessarily buy. Thus, I don't really consider this stealing or cheating. I regard this as a way of getting back something that is rightfully yours, not of "putting one over" on someone. This technique may apply to cetain commerical entities, but it would be immoral and wrong to use it with private business ventures."

And if you really read the reviews, is he *really* saying that these books are ok?

"Yes, a whole world of opportunites awaits those who discard those old-fashioned, impractical notions of morality, consequences, and long-term thinking."

"[This book] will tell you how to spend more than 34 cents worth of your time to save 34 cents."

"Particularly charming is the section on getting the whole family involved--using your children as pawns in your quest for that elusive free Bloomin' Onion."

"He'd also know all the crucial rationalizations to justify why it's OK to do all this--all in the convience of a portable 63 page book."

Sounds pretty dismissive of people who'd read these books. It's subtle, I grant you. Reminds me of those sly articles Dominique Francon wrote, saying one thing superficially but implying another to the careful reader.

Say what you want about the unshipped book thing, but I don't think this library fines article is damning, and I find it all actually pretty funny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I thought the collection of information was interesting. The history of the seller is also quite a drama.

Thanks for all the background guys, I'm glad I didn't bid on this.

VES

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno, I find the following to be pretty persuasive: ...

I see. So, next time I am in the Post Office I can just slip a book of stamps into my pocket and walk out without paying for it. And, this is fine because you "regard this as a way of getting back something that is rightfully yours?" Actually, while I am at it ... I have been forced to pay an enormous amount of money in taxes to the government during the course of my life. So, if I can just figure out a way of breaking into Fort Knox I can recoup all that by just taking enough gold bullion. And, this is okay with you because, afterall, you "regard this as a way of getting back something that is rightfully yours?"

We live in a country governed by laws and, out of respect for the system which still results in the freest place on Earth, we abide by those laws, whether we agree with them or not. The alternative is anarchy, and Objectivists are not wanton libertarians. There are proper ways to protest bad laws, and there are proper ways to change them, but rationalizing away theft is not a proper approach. Ragnar Danneskjold is a fictional character in a great book, not an excuse for practicing immorality.

Do you really think there is no connection between a person who for six years has not returned the money he took from innocent people, and with his advocacy of cheating on his web page, along with recommendations for other books on cheating? Feel free to treat that as a rhetorical question.

Say what you want about the unshipped book thing, but I don't think this library fines article is damning, and I find it all actually pretty funny.

I wonder how many people who have been cheated out of their money are laughing quite as much as you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry. I just don't buy that those remarks about those books are recommendations. The more I read them, the more I am convinced that they are subtly mocking people who think those methods are ok. Doesn't the whole tone belie that? I think so. Is subtlety lost on you people?

And I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that Objectivists are morally obligated to resign themselves to the structures of the mixed economy without a little self-serving subversion. It is *moral* to recieve restitution--even if the current political system make laws to protect its self-perpetuation. Avoiding library fines isn't violence, and it isn't the initiation of physical force or fraud. Any more than evading taxes is. It might not be the wisest thing in the world--the potential punishment, for example--but is it out and out immoral? I have a hard time seeing that. Does respecting the rule of law mean you can't go over the speed limit, or drink some wine under the legal age, or take a tax deduction you can't document? Life is for the living, not for kowtowing to the arbitrary demands of a mixed-economy welfare state that is hell-bent on staying that way.

I'm not defending the book thing of course. People should get what they deserve. But I don't think some humorous mocking article is evidence of immorality.

My .02.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is subtlety lost on you people?

Perhaps less than honesty is lost on some.

And I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that Objectivists are morally obligated to resign themselves to the structures of the mixed economy ...

Certainly Objectivists do not have to "resign themselves": As I said, there are proper and appropiate ways to deal with laws that you do not like. Cheating is not one of those ways. And cheating is no less immoral just because you use the words "structures of the mixed econcomy" in place of rule by law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is subtlety lost on you people?

One of the best defenses is to say, "I was only joking."

It is *moral* to recieve restitution
"Receiving" implies that someone is giving. You mean "taking" don't you?

...the initiation of physical force or fraud.

The initiation of force is a broader concept than simply the use of physical force.

Life is for the living...

What does that mean? Living life is justification for whatever action follows in it's pursuit? I think not.

VES

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is it 'cheating' someone to take back your stuff from people who are cheating you?

First, we are not even talking about "people who are cheating you." We are talking about institutions sanctioned by and operating under law. You do not have to like the law -- and, indeed, as I keep saying but am apparently not being heard, there are proper means of protesting such laws -- but to live in a civilized society means to accept the rule of law. We place retaliatory force under control of the government, not in the hands of some special few who happen to feel they want to take what they think they deserve. The issue is anarchy vs. the rule of law.

Second, regarding "people who are cheating you," the proper response is, once again, the law. We have laws to protect you from being cheated and a police force to apprehend and help bring the cheaters to justice. The proper response is not to cheat the cheaters back.

A personal question, if I may. Are you an Objectivist, or a Libertarian?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is funny.  I can tell that many of those people posting haven't a clue as to what Objectivism is about.

Yes. At least two different users that I noticed while skimming through the thread used the word "solipsism" to describe Objectivism. The second user was probably just parroting the first, and as to the latter's use of the word, it can only be explained in one of the following ways, so far as I can figure: (1) he doesn't know what that word means; (2) he doesn't know anything about Objectivism; or (3) he's purposely misrepresenting Objectivism. Worst case, he's dishonest. Best case, stupid. And I think this was the person who was the main "refuter."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Worst case, [. . .] dishonest. Best case, stupid. "

lol

This sums up my feelings about so many people.

:)

Well, that guy was the most extreme case on there. I think most people are significantly better than that. (Although no one on that thread was exactly the pinnacle of rationality.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In case anyone's interested, I left a note on the blog of the guy who put up that eBay auction, telling him of the accusations made here and telling him he might want to speak up if he had anything to say.  My comment was deleted. :)

Understandably. While all this was going on in this forum, I exchanged a half-dozen or so private emails with him. The arguments he made in his own defense were even more damning than the fraud he inacted on the innocent people on OSG, parting them from their money with nothing in return. I did not buy his routine privately, and would not be afraid to say so again publicly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...