0610: "Sheeple"

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brian0918
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Re: Sheeple

Postby brian0918 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:20 pm UTC

rigaTony wrote:I believe the only disagreement we could come across is that you are slightly more Machiavellian in your interpretation of what it means to be human. I see the human mind as being able to overcome prejudice and "compartmentalization," though it is very difficult, where as you see it as next to impossible. Other than that I see us as realists who understand the complex nature of human interpretation and action.

I said "difficult". I wouldn't say next to impossible. It's just easier for people to claim to be consistent than to actually be consistent, thus their prevalence in society. That has no bearing on the actual difficulty in being consistent.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Ronfar » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:21 pm UTC

What's the singular of "sheeple", anyway?
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Re: Sheeple

Postby Ghona » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:31 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:
andrewclunn wrote:Yet another ad-hominem attack against Objectivists... I'd feel bad, but I know that people only do it because there's no REAL argument to be made against Objectivism, so this is the kind of thing I've come to expect.


...except the fact that there is no objective reality, or at least not one that we have direct cognitive access to, so a philosophy based on the assumption of an objective reality is fallacious and unsound.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby chrth » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

Ronfar wrote:What's the singular of "sheeple", anyway?


There isn't one. The purpose of "sheeple" is to designate a group of people as sheep, i.e. possessed of the same (lesser) mindset. Unless the individual in question has mpd, it is contradictory to apply the term to one person.

Oh, I just got the title :oops: ... since they regard others as sheeple, they are actually sheeple ... I think I just broke something

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby bnlband44 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:21 pm UTC

Ronfar wrote:What's the singular of "sheeple", anyway?


I've heard "Sheeperson" but I like chrth's explanation. It's like the movie Airheads where the band name is The Lone Rangers...

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby L33tsaber » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

Apostrophe wrote:Anyone else almost read the comic as "Look at these people; amazing how sheep will show up for the slaughter."?


No-one condemning you, lined up like lemmings you led to the water...


Guilty as charged. Now I'll be obsessively checking XKCDSW until somebody makes it happen.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby dotdotcom » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

The point is that there is no point. The sheeple are the ones who create and defend an ideology instead of just living life to satisfaction.

Being an objectivist can be a life affirming experience though...if you manage to get out. Most people don't care enough to go to the extremes of debate and devotion these people do. Imagine going through a crisis of character and realizing that you were duped. This might create a person who avoids anything that even resembles ideology, someone who is a real asset to society. I assume that very few of them do get out, but they are probably some of the most insightful people around.

I have a feeling that objectivism : society , atheism : religion...in respect to fundamental social conditions during growth necessary to facilitate their conclusions.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

Arguing that self-interest is the foundation of all morality is crap. The need to get along with each other is.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Editer » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

Flewellyn wrote:See, now you're redefining "altruist" behind your back to mean "passive-aggressive manipulator who gets off on a false sense of moral superiority". I hardly consider that a fair definition. In fact, I would say that if your putative "altruist" is consciously planning to hold his "generosity" over the other person later, he is no altruist at all.


But for Randroids, that is the definition of "altruist". Rand, from what I can tell, didn't believe pure altruism was possible.
These days, if you don't have ADD, you not paying close enough attention. -- J.P. Barlow

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Editer » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:38 pm UTC

brian0918 wrote:
Flewellyn wrote:the second child will insist that one piece really is bigger than the other

He may insist that, but what is his evidence to support that claim? Conviction without evidence - faith - has no place in a morality based on rational self-interest. Altruism on the other hand, seems to gravitate toward faith, whether it be faith in God, Church, or State.


Altruism may gravitate toward faith in one or more of those institutions, but I believe that faith in society or in humanity is stronger and more relevant.
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Re: Sheeple

Postby prosfilaes » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

peterchen wrote:One should take apart her message and her storytelling, though she fails on both - aguably on the first, undeniably at the second.


No author fails at storytelling if they have an listening audience. Sure, you can take apart every author's storytelling, but the goal of most storytelling is fundamentally to get people to listen, and Ayn Rand was very successful at that. 50 years after it was printed, in 2007, Atlas Shrugged sold 185,000 copies; how many authors, 50 years after the publication of their last book, can claim two hundred thousand new copies sold a year? I suspect not one in a thousand. Good, bad, or indifferent, that's the biggest measure of an author's storytelling, if people actually want to read the book.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby brian0918 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:56 pm UTC

Editer wrote:
faith in society or in humanity

What does that even mean? Having "faith" in something means you have a belief or conviction about it - you are convinced of something, albeit without any evidence.

So then, what is your conviction about society?

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Re: Sheeple

Postby brian0918 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:02 pm UTC

prosfilaes wrote: in 2007, Atlas Shrugged sold 185,000 copies


Atlas Shrugged is up to 300,000 copies in just the first half of this year, no doubt due to all the press from mindless conservatives and liberals alike. They don't matter, though - just the people who actually go out and read it with an open mind.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:Arguing that self-interest is the foundation of all morality is crap. The need to get along with each other is.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Oh were you serious? I'm sorry.

Explain how: Utilitarianism, Deontology, Consequentilism, Moral Absolutism, Stoicism, Nihilism, Hedonism, or my personal favorite: Egoism, can be applied to inter-personal relations alone.

We act, and think based on what we know or what we can do, I do not wake up in the morning because someone lives in China, I do spontaneoiusly combust whenever I have a fight with my brother. Ethics and morality are based on individual actions and thought as opposed to those of a group. And even when we apply ethics to a group, we look at individuals within the group. A person can be moral or amoral, a group of people cannot.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby brakos82 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

Randall get out of my head!
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby palam » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:58 pm UTC

I've never posted on these threads before, however I felt compelled to do so this time. I have read most of Rand's works. I've read the Fountainhead four times (that is to say, I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged each once).

Trying to understand morality can be done from the perspective that morality is the underlying values that determine how one should think and make choices to better one's own position. As people are part of groups such as families, countries, societies, humanity... it is important to rate the effectivenss of this moral system from those higher-level perspectives as well. For example, it is assumed that what is good for humanity is good for the individual as the individual is part of humanity.
Humanistic and altruistic moral codes have made it thus far in the natural selection of moral paradigms because they stress the benefits to the group at the sacrifice of the individual. While this has made their group stronger relative to other groups with internecine moral coes, it has attained unity and strength at the cost of maximum group wealth and sustainability.
Rational self interest works on the individual scale and has the capacity to work on larger scales, however limiting the perspective to the individual only creates a zero-sum mentality in which the person feels it is ok to act in one's self-interest even if it hurts others. This is "rational" in the sense that that if the individual does not consider the group of which he is a part, he has not broken his moral code. This dog-eat-dog moral code is what Rational self-interst boils down to if limited to the perspective of individual only. Rational self-interest as a moral code is only competative with altruistic codes if one considers the other groups he is a part of and chooses what is best for him from the broader perspective.
The challenge for Rational self-interest is that it requires as "objective" a perspective as possible. Usually, the more varied perspectives from which one analyzes (think from the perspective of self, family, community, society...), the more "objective" that perspective will be. Here "objective" is not treated as an absolute but a goal towards wich one can strive. While one might never reach objectivity, one can get close enough to claim it (think a mathematical limit).
This "objectivity" requires the whole group to be highly educated. This is a huge drawback when compared to altruistic codes where the intelligence requirements are not as strenuous.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

palam wrote:I've never posted on these threads before, however I felt compelled to do so this time. I have read most of Rand's works. I've read the Fountainhead four times (that is to say, I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged each once).

Trying to understand morality can be done from the perspective that morality is the underlying values that determine how one should think and make choices to better one's own position. As people are part of groups such as families, countries, societies, humanity... it is important to rate the effectivenss of this moral system from those higher-level perspectives as well. For example, it is assumed that what is good for humanity is good for the individual as the individual is part of humanity.
Humanistic and altruistic moral codes have made it thus far in the natural selection of moral paradigms because they stress the benefits to the group at the sacrifice of the individual. While this has made their group stronger relative to other groups with internecine moral coes, it has attained unity and strength at the cost of maximum group wealth and sustainability.
Rational self interest works on the individual scale and has the capacity to work on larger scales, however limiting the perspective to the individual only creates a zero-sum mentality in which the person feels it is ok to act in one's self-interest even if it hurts others. This is "rational" in the sense that that if the individual does not consider the group of which he is a part, he has not broken his moral code. This dog-eat-dog moral code is what Rational self-interst boils down to if limited to the perspective of individual only. Rational self-interest as a moral code is only competative with altruistic codes if one considers the other groups he is a part of and chooses what is best for him from the broader perspective.
The challenge for Rational self-interest is that it requires as "objective" a perspective as possible. Usually, the more varied perspectives from which one analyzes (think from the perspective of self, family, community, society...), the more "objective" that perspective will be. Here "objective" is not treated as an absolute but a goal towards wich one can strive. While one might never reach objectivity, one can get close enough to claim it (think a mathematical limit).
This "objectivity" requires the whole group to be highly educated. This is a huge drawback when compared to altruistic codes where the intelligence requirements are not as strenuous.




Altruistic Paradigms survive because we have laws. If "natural" selection were to take place, those people would all be dead and nothing but hedonists and egoists would remain. Also i would argue that everything you said is complete bullshit hahaha. I mean other than stating this can you provide an actual real life scenario that we would all be aware of which proves you right? Because if not I can think of about 4,000 that prove you wrong.

i.e. Nazi's, Soviets, Jonestown Tragedy, Columbine, VA-Tech Massacre, Armenian Genocide. All of these are examples of when Egoism or Consequentialism outweighed altruism.


Your move.



Oh and I forgot to say: In most cases of Altruism it is one person acting, not a group. Although there are cases, such as Red Cross, in which people work in groups. Even then they are acting not with one another but alone and on an individual level to help. Even the most group based ethical paradigm can be broken down to individual action. Anything less reduces us to a number, or sheeple, in which we act not according to what we believe but what we are told.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby brian0918 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:16 pm UTC

I'm curious if palam used a postmodern essay generator to create his reply. I particularly liked the comparison of striving for objectivity to limits in calculus.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby markfiend » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

brian0918 wrote:
markfiend wrote:See, my problem with Rand is her assertion that total laissez-faire capitalism is a logical result of rational self-interest.


It's not a direct result. Rand starts with morality - rational self-interest. Placed in a social context, this implies the existence of individual rights.

Yes, I get that, and indeed, I agree with it.
brian0918 wrote:The existence of those rights entails that capitalism is the only moral system.
How and why? This is the logical disjunct I just don't get about Rand / objectivism.
brian0918 wrote:You may believe (what's your argument?) that the welfare state is in your self-interest, but because it must invariably violate individual rights, it requires the use of force against individuals, preventing them from rationally pursuing their goals and furthering their values. Maybe they do still further their values, and maybe they - or most of them - don't even notice the effect of this force, but the ends do not justify the means. In other words, no statement affirming the practicality of a system (ie, that "the system works") serves as a moral justification for that system.

OK, on one level, a welfare state is in my interest in that if I (through no fault of my own) lose my job the welfare state is there to support me.
On the next level, the welfare state provides a subsistence-level income for members of society who might otherwise have no income at all, and thereby be tempted towards a criminal lifestyle -- which has a positive effect on my lifestyle in that a small tax burden is easier to bear than the cost of a crime against me or my property.
Furthermore, humanity is a social species, and pace Dawkins, it's very possible for "selfish" genes to tend to produce altruistic phenotypes in this context. What place does "do as you would be done by" in objectivist morality? It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view.

Morality is best understood from a utilitarian viewpoint (with some reservations) IMO -- the greatest good for the greatest number. In this context the "force" -- by which I can only assume you mean taxation -- provides a good for a greater number at a cost to the most affluent few which they can well afford. Contrary to your assertions, the ends do justify the means.

As an aside, I frequently find that Randian objectivism and other forms of libertarianism are basically shorthand for "f*ck you jack I'm OK, and I don't want to pay any taxes."
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

brian0918 wrote:I'm curious if palam used a postmodern essay generator to create his reply. I particularly liked the comparison of striving for objectivity to limits in calculus.



I liked the blatant elitism in the name of altruism.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby brian0918 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
brian0918 wrote:The existence of those rights entails that capitalism is the only moral system.
How and why? This is the logical disjunct I just don't get about Rand / objectivism.

Laissez-faire capitalism is the only system that does not violate individual rights.

I do not have time now to respond to the rest of your post, but will later.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:32 pm UTC

brian0918 wrote:
markfiend wrote:
brian0918 wrote:The existence of those rights entails that capitalism is the only moral system.
How and why? This is the logical disjunct I just don't get about Rand / objectivism.

Laissez-faire capitalism is the only system that does not violate individual rights.

I do not have time now to respond to the rest of your post, but will later.


Capitalism may allow for rights to not be violated, however it is not a moral system. I do whole heartedly agree that it, and only it creates a system in which the people become just as if not more empowered than the Government.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
brian0918 wrote:
markfiend wrote:See, my problem with Rand is her assertion that total laissez-faire capitalism is a logical result of rational self-interest.


It's not a direct result. Rand starts with morality - rational self-interest. Placed in a social context, this implies the existence of individual rights.

Yes, I get that, and indeed, I agree with it.
brian0918 wrote:The existence of those rights entails that capitalism is the only moral system.
How and why? This is the logical disjunct I just don't get about Rand / objectivism.


Two words: Property rights.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Flewellyn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

brian0918 wrote:Laissez-faire capitalism is the only system that does not violate individual rights.


Really? Seriously?

So the whole mess we're seeing now with the deregulation of the economy resulting in a massive collapse, rampant exploitation as a direct result of weakened worker and consumer protections, and a return to "Gilded Age" levels of income inequality and worker abuse, that's somehow not violating individual rights?

WalMart prohibits its employees from even thinking about forming a union on pain of termination, and encourages them to sign up for public benefits so that the company can continue to pay them near-starvation wages, and that's not violating individual rights?

Insurance companies deliberately try to deny benefits to people who get sick with "expensive" diseases, or force them off of their rolls, in order to rake in more profits by letting the sick die rather than receive the insurance coverage that they paid good money for, and this is not violating individual rights?

Just what definition of "individual rights" are you using?

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Flewellyn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

andrewclunn wrote:Two words: Property rights.


Which are only of use to people who own property.

In today's America, that is fewer and fewer people.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby mastered » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:39 pm UTC

Oh, no.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

Flewellyn wrote:
brian0918 wrote:Laissez-faire capitalism is the only system that does not violate individual rights.


Really? Seriously?

So the whole mess we're seeing now with the deregulation of the economy resulting in a massive collapse, rampant exploitation as a direct result of weakened worker and consumer protections, and a return to "Gilded Age" levels of income inequality and worker abuse, that's somehow not violating individual rights?

WalMart prohibits its employees from even thinking about forming a union on pain of termination, and encourages them to sign up for public benefits so that the company can continue to pay them near-starvation wages, and that's not violating individual rights?

Insurance companies deliberately try to deny benefits to people who get sick with "expensive" diseases, or force them off of their rolls, in order to rake in more profits by letting the sick die rather than receive the insurance coverage that they paid good money for, and this is not violating individual rights?

Just what definition of "individual rights" are you using?



That's because the government created a system in which people are unable to fight for their rights. If I was able to throw a brick through the building of my insurance company's CEO every time he fucked me over, or begin a revolution against Wal*Mart I think that they might change their tune. We don't have a Laissez-Faire economic system, that is why these abuses exist.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Ostien » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:43 pm UTC

Someone mentioned Libertarians, and I want to clarify that most all Libertarians agree on social issues (guns, gays, and pot) there are wide disparities in how they handle economics. American Libertarianism has historically been connected with figures like Hayek, Nozick, and more recently Friedman. Rand is also present with many (not all, actually Nozick was very critical of Rand).

However, that American model does not encompass all "libertarian" thought. In Europe if you say you are a Libertarian most will probably get the impression of a leftist Anarchist, as Libertarian is more associated with leftist groups in that vein. Libertarian Socialism for example is a brand of Libertarian thought that rejects the idea that free market Capitalism actually engenders freedom, many LS' would argue that capitalism diminishes liberty. I could go on but that's not the point.

I just wanted to throw a wrench into the works on what a Libertarian is. While two people calling themselves Republicans or Democrats may argue with each other, two people calling themselves Libertarians may try and kill each other.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

Flewellyn wrote:
andrewclunn wrote:Two words: Property rights.


Which are only of use to people who own property.

In today's America, that is fewer and fewer people.


Sucks to be them. And governments denying them property rights (for their own good of course :roll: ) will only hurt them more.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby palam » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

This thread is moving fast.
rigaTony wrote:
brian0918 wrote:I'm curious if palam used a postmodern essay generator to create his reply. I particularly liked the comparison of striving for objectivity to limits in calculus.



I liked the blatant elitism in the name of altruism.


If you can get past the fact that you disagree with my viewpoint, you might get a chance to flay it logically, instead of sarcastically.

I am confused as to what you are saying brian. Are you suggesting that my making a comparison to a limit is something that "postmodern" essay generators often do? Have you had experience with "postmodern" essay generators? Or are you also falling for the sarcasm trap that betrays your contempt? We all hold our beliefs dear, but we do disservice to them if we are not willing to deconstruct and assail them vigorously. Only through a trial by fire can we be sure of them; not by silencing all those who threaten our ego-linked belief system.


Altruism is not sustainable (think welfare state) because it surpresses natural selection and puts strain on the people that creating value. Altruism is destined to go through cycles of boom and bust... busting when the value dries up, booming when natural selection (a free market is an example) steps back in after the bust (think communist russia). Altruism works when it has not saturated the mix of moral codes that are destined to exist in any group. If the moral paradigm has become "altruism" for the majority of individuals in a democratic society, then voting for a welfare state is possible. No state can start out as a welfare state as there has to be an intial value created first.

A social safety net is a valueable thing for society to have. However, this only works when that society has a prevailing morality of creating value. Otherwise, the safety net is abused and the correct thing to do from a personal, natural selection stand point is to have other people work for you so you have more time to make babies. Most of those children will adopt the moral code to which they were born into. The people working will have less time to make babies. This is obviously unsustainable.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:16 pm UTC

palam wrote:This thread is moving fast.
rigaTony wrote:
brian0918 wrote:I'm curious if palam used a postmodern essay generator to create his reply. I particularly liked the comparison of striving for objectivity to limits in calculus.



I liked the blatant elitism in the name of altruism.


If you can get past the fact that you disagree with my viewpoint, you might get a chance to flay it logically, instead of sarcastically.

I am confused as to what you are saying brian. Are you suggesting that my making a comparison to a limit is something that "postmodern" essay generators often do? Have you had experience with "postmodern" essay generators? Or are you also falling for the sarcasm trap that betrays your contempt? We all hold our beliefs dear, but we do disservice to them if we are not willing to deconstruct and assail them vigorously. Only through a trial by fire can we be sure of them; not by silencing all those who threaten our ego-linked belief system.

Altruism is not sustainable (think welfare state) because it surpresses natural selection and puts strain on the people that creating value. Altruism is destined to go through cycles of boom and bust... busting when the value dries up, booming when natural selection (a free market is an example) steps back in after the bust (think communist russia). Altruism works when it has not saturated the mix of moral codes that are destined to exist in any group. If the moral paradigm has become "altruism" for the majority of individuals in a democratic society, then voting for a welfare state is possible. No state can start out as a welfare state as there has to be an intial value created first.

A social safety net is a valueable thing for society to have. However, this only works when that society has a prevailing morality of creating value. Otherwise, the safety net is abused and the correct thing to do from a personal, natural selection stand point is to have other people work for you so you have more time to make babies. Most of those children will adopt the moral code to which they were born into. The people working will have less time to make babies. This is obviously unsustainable.


What you say would be true, if human beings were trainable animals. You seem to be implying that culture creates people, yet people have often rebelled against their culture, and often not in chaotic ways, but in a way that stated, "What you believe is crap, because it doesn't make sense." Because human beings are capable of rational thought, many are able to break free of subjectively derived moral codes that society attempts to force upon them. What you're saying will be taken as offensive to Objectivists because you are basically implying something akin to the moral equivalent of, "You are what you eat." An Objectivist would insist that no, they decide what they will eat, and not the other way around, and human beings are more than playback machines who will mindlessly repeat what they are told. That is the whole reason why this comic is so offensive, because as an Objectivist I want everyone to question the views they were raised with. I want everyone to think for themselves and to not feel constrained by artificial social constructs, so to insinuate that an Objectivist would take pride in seeing another person act against their own best interest because they have been trained to... It's like telling a grade school teacher that the only reason they chose their position is because they hate adults.

EDIT - I let myself get a bit emotionally driven here, and my post suffered as a consequence. To be more clear, when some one says that Religion is BS, some intellectuals applaud them and characterize them as trying to enlighten people. When Objectivists state that the humanistic / altruistic morality conveyed by modern religions is BS, many of those same people characterize us as elitist pricks, in much the same way that religious leaders characterize them when they attack religion.
Last edited by andrewclunn on Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:27 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:21 pm UTC

palam wrote:If you can get past the fact that you disagree with my viewpoint, you might get a chance to flay it logically, instead of sarcastically.


I did that, it was in a previous post.

I am confused as to what you are saying brian. Are you suggesting that my making a comparison to a limit is something that "postmodern" essay generators often do? Have you had experience with "postmodern" essay generators? Or are you also falling for the sarcasm trap that betrays your contempt? We all hold our beliefs dear, but we do disservice to them if we are not willing to deconstruct and assail them vigorously. Only through a trial by fire can we be sure of them; not by silencing all those who threaten our ego-linked belief system.


He agreed with what you said and called it interesting. You are far too verbose. Being esoteric in an attempt to confuse others or make yourself seem more intelligent only succeeds in proving my point. Also add being a martyr to a list of my "sarcastic" remarks.


Altruism is not sustainable (think welfare state) because it surpresses natural selection and puts strain on the people that creating value. Altruism is destined to go through cycles of boom and bust... busting when the value dries up, booming when natural selection (a free market is an example) steps back in after the bust (think communist russia). Altruism works when it has not saturated the mix of moral codes that are destined to exist in any group. If the moral paradigm has become "altruism" for the majority of individuals in a democratic society, then voting for a welfare state is possible. No state can start out as a welfare state as there has to be an intial value created first.


Altruism isn't a moral code, instead it exists inside other moral codes. Simply "helping people" does not make sense unless you are able to define what "helping" means. For example a negative utilitarian would say elimination of the proletariat, in an attempt to minimize suffering would be "Altruistic."

A social safety net is a valueable thing for society to have. However, this only works when that society has a prevailing morality of creating value. Otherwise, the safety net is abused and the correct thing to do from a personal, natural selection stand point is to have other people work for you so you have more time to make babies. Most of those children will adopt the moral code to which they were born into. The people working will have less time to make babies. This is obviously unsustainable.


.... I'll ignore that

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Brace » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:27 pm UTC

I believe he is referencing only economic value. IE, a simpler way to express it would be that wealth is not zero-sum, that it can and must be created. Altruism tends to favor redistribution, something which cannot actually create wealth in itself. Therefore some form of production is required, and this is typically (but not inherently) motivated by egoism. (this last part is my own addition). Egoism seems to be the most efficient incentive for production.

I don't think he is being too verbose. Certainly not in comparison to a postmodern essay generator. The problem of which isn't so much the verbosity, but the fact it gives all the appearence of actually being a postmodern essay despite being written by a computer program which essentially takes certain key words and randomly assigns them a syntax.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby palam » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:27 pm UTC

rigaTony wrote:
palam wrote:I've never posted on these threads before, however I felt compelled to do so this time. I have read most of Rand's works. I've read the Fountainhead four times (that is to say, I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged each once).

Trying to understand morality can be done from the perspective that morality is the underlying values that determine how one should think and make choices to better one's own position. As people are part of groups such as families, countries, societies, humanity... it is important to rate the effectivenss of this moral system from those higher-level perspectives as well. For example, it is assumed that what is good for humanity is good for the individual as the individual is part of humanity.
Humanistic and altruistic moral codes have made it thus far in the natural selection of moral paradigms because they stress the benefits to the group at the sacrifice of the individual. While this has made their group stronger relative to other groups with internecine moral coes, it has attained unity and strength at the cost of maximum group wealth and sustainability.
Rational self interest works on the individual scale and has the capacity to work on larger scales, however limiting the perspective to the individual only creates a zero-sum mentality in which the person feels it is ok to act in one's self-interest even if it hurts others. This is "rational" in the sense that that if the individual does not consider the group of which he is a part, he has not broken his moral code. This dog-eat-dog moral code is what Rational self-interst boils down to if limited to the perspective of individual only. Rational self-interest as a moral code is only competative with altruistic codes if one considers the other groups he is a part of and chooses what is best for him from the broader perspective.
The challenge for Rational self-interest is that it requires as "objective" a perspective as possible. Usually, the more varied perspectives from which one analyzes (think from the perspective of self, family, community, society...), the more "objective" that perspective will be. Here "objective" is not treated as an absolute but a goal towards wich one can strive. While one might never reach objectivity, one can get close enough to claim it (think a mathematical limit).
This "objectivity" requires the whole group to be highly educated. This is a huge drawback when compared to altruistic codes where the intelligence requirements are not as strenuous.




Altruistic Paradigms survive because we have laws. If "natural" selection were to take place, those people would all be dead and nothing but hedonists and egoists would remain. Also i would argue that everything you said is complete bullshit hahaha. I mean other than stating this can you provide an actual real life scenario that we would all be aware of which proves you right? Because if not I can think of about 4,000 that prove you wrong.

i.e. Nazi's, Soviets, Jonestown Tragedy, Columbine, VA-Tech Massacre, Armenian Genocide. All of these are examples of when Egoism or Consequentialism outweighed altruism.


Your move.



Oh and I forgot to say: In most cases of Altruism it is one person acting, not a group. Although there are cases, such as Red Cross, in which people work in groups. Even then they are acting not with one another but alone and on an individual level to help. Even the most group based ethical paradigm can be broken down to individual action. Anything less reduces us to a number, or sheeple, in which we act not according to what we believe but what we are told.



We have laws because it is it is in the best interest of society (a large group of people, larger than community and family) to work as a group, not against each other in pure self-interest fashion.
Altruists remain, as I said earlier, because they make their group stronger than those groups of the hedonists and egoists.
You did not in fact argue that my whole argument was bullshit, you merely stated it.
I am sure that you can think of 4000 that prove me wrong because you have failed to demonstrate understanding of what I was arguing.
You make parallels between altruism and not killing people. Columbine and Va-Tech massacre were both situations of disturbed individuals deciding to get revenge. I fail to see how you can say their actions were in their best interest when they killed themselves after their rampages ended. If you are not saying that their actions were in their best interest, then you missed the point of "rational self-interest."
The Jonestown Tragedy was their leader acting in self-interest at the expense of his group. However, it can be argued that his "group" was realy only an extension of his own, individual self-interest in the form of self aggrandizement. again, self interest without the perspective of the group can lead to tragedy. This is one of my arguments.
Nazis and Soviets were political parties with a wide range of views and actions... too difficult to deconstruct without you first explaining specifically what it is that you are referring to.
The Armenian Genocide, if parallels can be made to other genocides, is one subgroup terminating another subgroup so that the whole group takes on only the characteristics of the subgroup doing the killing. Groups of different moral codes (Arm. gen. is a case of many differences, the most obvious being Muslim vs. Christian) are bound to have conflict. Natural selection and its violence can not be denied. Those who do not play the game end up getting burned. The Jews know this, as do the Armenians. Now each has their own nation state with a strong military that has seen huge military success. They are back in the game and ascribe to the rules of natural selection better than most other groups now.

Natural selection and violence are the two things to which all others are held to (in judgement) in the end. They trump other values when allowed to. Accepting this allows one to remain in touch with reality. Denying this fact is the thing that leads to tragedies such as genocide.
Last edited by palam on Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:34 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Brace » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

Ok, now you've segued into BS territory. Evolution has no such direct consequences on behavior.
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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Flewellyn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

rigaTony wrote:That's because the government created a system in which people are unable to fight for their rights. If I was able to throw a brick through the building of my insurance company's CEO every time he fucked me over, or begin a revolution against Wal*Mart I think that they might change their tune. We don't have a Laissez-Faire economic system, that is why these abuses exist.


Very funny.

If you were able to act out violently against those who displeased, they would be able to do the same to you. And in such a system, whoever has the most guns makes the rules for everyone else, so you would rapidly lose what freedom you had.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Flewellyn » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

andrewclunn wrote:Sucks to be them. And governments denying them property rights (for their own good of course :roll: ) will only hurt them more.


Do you not understand that it isn't the government denying the large mass of people who do not have any property, but the big property holders?

Are you seriously so focused on blaming the government for everything that you can't see how private power can be abused to create these inequalities?

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby rigaTony » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

palam wrote:
If natural selection is allowing those ideas and things that are organized well to replicate faster than those that are organized less well.

We have laws because it is it is in the best interest of society (a large group of people, larger than community and family) to work as a group, not against each other in pure self-interest fashion.
Altruists remain, as I said earlier, because they make their group stronger than those groups of the hedonists and egoists. You did not in fact argue that my whole argument was bullshit, you merely stated it.
I am sure that you can think of 4000 that prove me wrong because you have failed to demonstrate understanding of what I was arguing.
You make parallels between altruism and not killing people. Columbine and Va-Tech massacre were both situations of disturbed individuals deciding to get revenge. I fail to see how you can say their actions were in their best interest when they killed themselves after their rampages ended. If you are not saying that their actions were in their best interest, then you missed the point of "rational self-interest."
The Jonestown Tragedy was their leader acting in self-interest at the expense of his group. However, it can be argued that his "group" was realy only an extension of his own, individual self-interest in the form of self aggrandizement. again, self interest without the perspective of the group can lead to tragedy. This is one of my arguments.
Nazis and Soviets were political parties with a wide range of views and actions... too difficult to deconstruct without you first explaining specifically what it is that you are referring to.
The Armenian Genocide, if parallels can be made to other genocides, is one subgroup terminating another subgroup so that the whole group takes on only the characteristics of the subgroup doing the killing. Groups of different moral codes (Arm. gen. is a case of many differences, the most obvious being Muslim vs. Christian) are bound to have conflict. Natural selection and its violence can not be denied. Those who do not play the game end up getting burned. The Jews know this, as do the Armenians. Now each has their own nation state with a strong military that has seen huge military success. They are back in the game and ascribe to the rules of natural selection better than most other groups now.

Natural selection and violence are the two things to which all others are held to (in judgement) in the end. They trump other values when allowed to. Accepting this allows one to remain in touch with reality. Denying this fact is the thing that leads to tragedies such as genocide.



My attempt was to prove that altruism is not the prevailing moral system. And it is not. You have failed to prove how everyone is altruistic or even give one case in which altruism trumped another moral system. Then you claim laws exist to protect the people? Then why did we have the Black Codes?, or the Nuremberg Laws? Yeah it's nice to think that everyone does what is best for the group but they don't. Give someone an opportunity to cut in line at their local supermarket and they will. Give them the chance to take $5,000 off the street and not turn it in, and they will. People act selfishly it happens trillions of times each day. If you can prove to me that Altruism, which as I said before doesn't exist without an actual moral paradigm to guide it, is the prevailing system, which it cannot be because it is not a system, then I will concede.


Flewellyn wrote:Very funny.

If you were able to act out violently against those who displeased, they would be able to do the same to you. And in such a system, whoever has the most guns makes the rules for everyone else, so you would rapidly lose what freedom you had.


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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby Ferahgo » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

I think that evolution and genetics has a lot of influence over behavior.

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Re: "Sheeple" Discussion

Postby athelas » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

I'm curious. What part of the Idiocracy comic do you think is factually incorrect?
Don't want to hijack this thread, but I posted over in that thread evidence that the intelligent, upper class DID indeed outbreed the poor, and this trend has since reversed. If you're interested in economic history (Hari Seldon-style) you could also read A Farewell to Alms by Gregory Clark.


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