1049: "Bookshelf"

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J Thomas
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Tue May 01, 2012 12:24 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
HugoSchmidt wrote: Because roberII seems to be under the impression that, because someone wants to get power democratically, he's A-OK. The link was in response to that.
Wait... did you just... did you just Godwin this thread?

You bastard.

EDIT: Also, pretty sure the Nazis weren't very keen on democracy. They were happy to use it as a means to their end, but they did whatever they could to disrupt the process and manipulate the situation. Socialists tend to view democracy less as a means, more as a parallel goal--socialism and democracy go hand-in-hand, whereas Nazism just sees it as one of many routes to power.


Well, let me point out a parallel.

Marx gave a useful explanation about some problems with capitalism. He didn't have the tools to describe feedback systems clearly, so the explanation was pretty muddy, but he did a great job for his time. He did a thoroughly awful job of suggesting solutions. More recently, the problems he described have been partly alleviated by government-managed inflation.

Ayn Rand gave a useful explanation about some problems with democracy. She explained that democracies inevitably devolve into methods to extract wealth from whoever has any, and give it to particular in-groups. We are seeing the correctness of her analysis today. We have problems that cannot be solved by redistributing wealth to military contractors or to unions, and both parties are completely boggled. She basicly has not suggested any solutions, beyond preaching to people that they should individually work to produce wealth and they should try to guilt-trip voters and politicians into letting them keep all the fruits of their labor.

Marx and Rand were both very angry people. The anger leaks through in most of their writing. It's only natural that they did not focus on practical solutions to the problems they saw -- their natural instinct was to get rid of the bad guys. It's easy to think that once we kill off the bad guys that things will automatically be better. And to some small extent it works. Kill off a group of people who have resources, and you can take those resources and distribute them to your friends. You and your friends are a little better off in the short run. Like democracy taken to an extreme. "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch."

You think of democracy as obviously good, like apple pie or motherhood. But Objectivists do not necessarily like apple pie or motherhood, either.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:26 pm UTC

Guess you didn't watch the video.


Did. He emphasises the word "socialist" in the NSDAP's name, and says it's a phenomenon of the left. That's not the same thing as saying it's the equivalent to socialism. Ayn Rand and later Objectivists have always made that distinction very neatly.

Hey Schmidt, when are you going to start apologising for the anarchist objectivists out there? You know, the ones opposed to democracy?


The what now? Anarchism has been condemned and criticised by Objectivism since its founding.

Of course, the fact that I (and most other socialists I've heard of - there are always fringe lunatics) both want to keep democracy going and are for free speech, universal suffrage and all the other nice things we tend to like in the world is apparently irrelevant. We're secretly tiny little Hitlers, just like Obama is secretly just waiting for his second term to bring on the Glorious Bolshevik Revolution.


Please don't put words into my mouth. The statists - those who advocate an increasingly more mixed economy - have been responsible for unconscionable crime and wickedness, but they are not the equivalent of the totalitarians. If you want the argument about the connection between the "mixers", if I may call them that, and the true totalitarians, bother reading Atlas Shrugged.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 12:27 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:You think of democracy as obviously good, like apple pie or motherhood. But Objectivists do not necessarily like apple pie or motherhood, either.
Just to clarify, I don't think of democracy as obviously good; I think of it as kind of a mixed bag. But hell if I got any better ideas.
HugoSchmidt wrote: Did. He emphasises the word "socialist" in the NSDAP's name, and says it's a phenomenon of the left.
Why does the word 'Socialist' in that name matter? What parallel is he trying to draw? What is the importance of that word, and why emphasize it for Glenn Beck and the viewing audience?

Words mean things.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:31 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Why does the word 'Socialist' in that name matter? ?
.


Oh, yes they do. And the fact that the Nazi party used the word "socialist" and advocated many policies that are called socialist, tells you that it drew strongly on the leftist tradition.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:Oh, yes they do. And the fact that the Nazi party used the word "socialist" and advocated many policies that are called socialist, tells you that it drew strongly on the leftist tradition.
I'm asking you to think critically about the words he used. This person emphasized the word 'socialist' in the name, implying that this is evidence that the Nazis were leftists, rather than far righters (a duality I find boorish, but that's for another discussion).

Why? How does carrying the name 'socialist' imply you're a member of the far left? Is this just an attempt to make us go 'socialist... wait... Socialism! The Nazis were socialists!'? If so, is it fair to say either he believes the Nazis were socialists, or wants us to believe that? Therefore, at worst, he's an idiot--and at best, he's assuming we are?

EDIT: Keep in mind, you don't need to prove to me that every Objectivist isn't a moron. I'm just taking issue with your rather blase assumption that moronic Objectivists don't exist.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:37 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
HugoSchmidt wrote:Oh, yes they do. And the fact that the Nazi party used the word "socialist" and advocated many policies that are called socialist, tells you that it drew strongly on the leftist tradition.
I'm asking you to think critically about the words he used. This person emphasized the word 'socialist' in the name, implying that this is evidence that the Nazis were leftists, rather than far righters (a duality I find boorish, but that's for another discussion).

Why? How does carrying the name 'socialist' imply you're a member of the far left? Is this just an attempt to make us go 'socialist... wait... Socialism! The Nazis were socialists!'? If so, is it fair to say either he believes the Nazis were socialists, or wants us to believe that? Therefore, at worst, he's an idiot--and at best, he's assuming we are?


In your case I don't think we need to assume it. He's saying that the Nazis were leftists. He didn't say they were socialists. That was the extent of my point. So, would you like some sauce bernaise with your words?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 01, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

bearnaise

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

EDIT: Keep in mind, you don't need to prove to me that every Objectivist isn't a moron. I'm just taking issue with your rather blase assumption that moronic Objectivists don't exist.


I never claimed that there were not fools who said they were Objectivists. I said that the distinction between socialism/communism and fascism/nazism is a central part of Objectivist thinking, and is routinely observed.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:bearnaise


Thanks :mrgreen:

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 12:41 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote: In your case I don't think we need to assume it. He's saying that the Nazis were leftists. He didn't say they were socialists. That was the extent of my point. So, would you like some sauce bernaise with your words?
Ugh. He implied they were socialists, by emphasizing 'socialist' in the name of the Nazi party. Again, why else would you emphasize that word unless you wanted us to make that connection?

Hell, the fact that it took me all of ten seconds to find an Objectivist drawing that implication after you claimed that no such Objectivist exists...
HugoSchmidt wrote:I never claimed that there were not fools who said they were Objectivists. I said that the distinction between socialism/communism and fascism/nazism is a central part of Objectivist thinking, and is routinely observed.
HugoSchmidt wrote:And, no, neither I nor any Objectivist claims that fascism and socialism are the same.
So if an Objectivist claims that fascism and socialism are the same, they're no longer an Objectivist? Is this some bizarro version of the 'No True Scotsman fallacy'?

For fuck's sake, think critically about these things.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby RoberII » Tue May 01, 2012 12:43 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Why does the word 'Socialist' in that name matter? ?
.


Oh, yes they do. And the fact that the Nazi party used the word "socialist" and advocated many policies that are called socialist, tells you that it drew strongly on the leftist tradition.


Have you been to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea lately? They aren't... They aren't exactly free and democratic is what I'm saying. They don't exactly 'draw on' democratic traditions, either, whatever the fuck you want 'to draw on X tradition' to mean. Hey, does this mean that I can now claim that objectivism draws heavily on the tradition of Nietzsche, and therefore all Objectivists have syphilis? Because apparently 'drawing on a tradition' is all it takes to establish a causal relationship between, say, socialism and vile, abhorrent mass murder.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... cOfTyranny
Last edited by RoberII on Tue May 01, 2012 12:45 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Nylonathatep » Tue May 01, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

Althought I've heard a lot about Ayn Rand's novels, I've never actually read any of his works. All I know is that it carries a bad reputation, especially 'Atlas shrugged'.

After reading this comic... I think I'm going to like Ayn Rand's Novels :)


In other news: Communism is men exploiting men, Capitalism is the other way around :)

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 01, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
Zamfir wrote:bearnaise


Thanks :mrgreen:

I am never sure what to think of such heavy sauces. They can taste good, but they easily make your food taste of sauce. But if you limit the amount of sauce, it's not worth the effort of making it in the first place, compared to just sprinkling some molten butter and herbs on top.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
HugoSchmidt wrote: In your case I don't think we need to assume it. He's saying that the Nazis were leftists. He didn't say they were socialists. That was the extent of my point. So, would you like some sauce bernaise with your words?
Ugh. He implied they were socialists, by emphasizing 'socialist' in the name of the Nazi party. Again, why else would you emphasize that word unless you wanted us to make that connection?

Hell, the fact that it took me all of ten seconds to find an Objectivist drawing that implication after you claimed that no such Objectivist exists...
HugoSchmidt wrote:I never claimed that there were not fools who said they were Objectivists. I said that the distinction between socialism/communism and fascism/nazism is a central part of Objectivist thinking, and is routinely observed.
HugoSchmidt wrote:And, no, neither I nor any Objectivist claims that fascism and socialism are the same.
So if an Objectivist claims that fascism and socialism are the same, they're no longer an Objectivist? Is this some bizarro version of the 'No True Scotsman fallacy'?

For fuck's sake, think critically about these things.


Look, please stop humiliating yourself. The argument is that socialism/communism and fascism/nazism are not the same, but they are related. Does this need further explanation? And that is the extent of Binswager's implication.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 01, 2012 12:50 pm UTC

Well, Ayn Rand's sister was a run-of-the-mill Soviet bureaucrat, so relations are tricky in this respect.

EDIT: She wasn't that keen on family anyway, was she?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:Look, please stop humiliating yourself. The argument is that socialism/communism and fascism/nazism are not the same, but they are related. Does this need further explanation? And that is the extent of Binswager's implication.
"Nazis include the word socialist in their title, this is evidence that they're related to socialism" is a clear example of magical thinking.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:57 pm UTC

I am never sure what to think of such heavy sauces. They can taste good, but they easily make your food taste of sauce. But if you limit the amount of sauce, it's not worth the effort of making it in the first place, compared to just sprinkling some molten butter and herbs on top.


That's certainly one for the ages. I quite like them, from time to time. Though in this case I was referencing Bertie Wooster. :D

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 12:58 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
HugoSchmidt wrote:Look, please stop humiliating yourself. The argument is that socialism/communism and fascism/nazism are not the same, but they are related. Does this need further explanation? And that is the extent of Binswager's implication.
"Nazis include the word socialist in their title, this is evidence that they're related to socialism" is a clear example of magical thinking.


From their manifesto:


7 We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.
8 Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.
9 All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.
10 The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.
Therefore we demand:

11 That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.
12 Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13 We demand the nationalization of all trusts.
14 We demand profit-sharing in large industries.
15 We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.
16 We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalisation of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small trades people, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.
17 We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.
18 We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.
19 We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.
20 In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
21 The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centres, by prohibiting juvenile labour, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
22 We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.
23 We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:
(a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.
(b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.
(c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.
Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

24 We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.
The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the principle:
COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD
25 In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.
The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.
The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.



Blow it out your ear, okay?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:EDIT: She wasn't that keen on family anyway, was she?
As I recall, she was mostly just into cigarettes, atheists, and Reasons Why You Are Wrong.

I actually always dug watching her interviews. There was something genuinely fearless about her, even if a lot of her points struck me as absurd.
HugoSchmidt wrote:From their manifesto:
Again: "Nazis include the word socialist in their title, this is evidence that they're related to socialism" is a clear example of magical thinking.

Actual points that demonstrate that Nazis are related to socialists are a whole other bag of cats.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 01, 2012 1:04 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:As I recall, she was mostly just into cigarettes, atheists, and Reasons Why You Are Wrong.

Hmm, perhaps we can get sourmilk to start smoking, and sell him as the Second Coming?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Steroid » Tue May 01, 2012 1:05 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:No, I would have you not be condescending to a wide swath of people just to feel better about yourself. So people insulted your taste in books -- what does insulting their taste in books back at them accomplish? It doesn't make anyone want to side with you, it doesn't make anyone more likely to like the books you like, it doesn't make those people hold their opinion any less, it doesn't make you enjoy your books any more, and it doesn't make them enjoy their books any less. It does, however, make you an asshole (joined by them, also being their own brand of asshole). So we have no net gain, with the net loss of becoming an asshole. If your only interest in joining a discussion is to be an asshole, then, well, congratulations, you've just wasted everybody's time, including your own. If you want to enter a discussion to show the other party is wrong, or to support an argument that you think is right, or something similar, then you should do that, instead of insulting other, uninvolved people. You don't even need to ignore the insult to not be a jackass to other people -- you just need to actually think through what you're saying and articulating it properly. The satellite view of what you were trying to say "I like these kinds and books, and dislike these kinds of books" could have been made without being condescending or disingenuous.

Respectfully, I disagree with this point. When I enter a discussion, I enter it at the tenor that it's being held at. If someone else is being an asshole to me, or assholishly arguing against a point I agree with, you're saying that I should either not enter into the discussion or raise the level to a more rational position. That's not my methodology. Instead, I meet my opponent on the level he has established. In my experience this is the best way to advance your position.

As an example, if a political opponent dug up a story on me about how I allegedly mistreated a pet dog, I could either make a rational case for why it wasn't poor treatment, or I could dig up a story on him about how he ate dog meat. The latter choice is more effective. The former is more noble, and it would be nice if that nobility translated to effectiveness, but in my experience it does not. It merely makes you a victim who happens to have principles.

I'm calmly and rationally arguing this point with you because you're doing the same to me. If you decided to descend into base insults and just bash Rand's ideas and mine, I wouldn't maintain this level of discourse. But if you don't, I will stay rational.

I honestly have no idea where your second part came from here. Nobody is anymore likely to make you a helper because you're being an asshole. You can avoid being an asshole without being a chump. You can even be an asshole and a chump at the same time. You can be somewhere in the middle, you can be both, you can be neither. Is your interpretation of Randism so lacking in shades of grey that you can't see that? Do you seriously need to resort to your philosophy derived from a single person to defend being being intellectually lazy and overly condescending?


Are you content with being wrong? Ignore your opinion on if you think you are being wrong -- I mean that question honestly and generally: are you OK with knowingly and intentionally being wrong? I don't think you are, but your responses are stating otherwise.


I put these two together to best answer your question. Aren't there shades of gray in right and wrong? And carrying from above, if you do what's right and suffer for it, is that really a white shade of right? Contrapositively, if someone does wrong and prospers, is that really a black shade of wrong? So my answer is that I am OK with not adhering to the pure-white standard of right and wrong.

Then those people are also wrong. Being wrong yourself doesn't do anything to make them more wrong -- if anything, your actions are legitimizing their approach. As you see them doing it as justification to do it yourself, they'll see you doing it as sufficient grounds to decide that it's a fair tactic. You don't need to respond to every person in an argument.

And they don't need to make every argument against the book, nor do you need to respond to me. So what is the incentive for me to be the only one to take the high road?

Arguing for or against the merits of various tastes can be a valid discussion, while it'll certainly always have the fact that, in the end, individual taste differs and you can't prove an individual's taste right or wrong, you can go over things that give a greater tenancy towards quality. You can discuss things that make it more enjoyable, combinations work well, or don't work well, together. You can even go over what makes something good within those individual tastes, or why that is. You haven't done that though, all you've done is made an incredibly intellectually lazy deconstructionism of what they like and used it to handwave the opinion of anyone who likes them away. It's the literary equivalent of the people who call those who want to raise (or lower) taxes as "freedom haters", or calling people that don't vote for a security measure (PATRIOT Act, CISPA, whatever) as "not real patriots" or someone that doesn't support a video game sale regulation as "not caring about the safety of our children", or calling out whoever is in the 'opposite' party as "not believing in the constitution". In all those cases, it's painting an extremist, intellectually lazy view of them, and all it helps to do is cause everyone to be jackasses to each other without discussing things. It is factually wrong and does not help induce intelligent discussion; in fact, it actively discourages it. And that is exactly what you did with your "difficult, dull, depressing" analysis. There could have been an intelligent discussion on the merits of specific literary methods and styles, but you helped make sure it wouldn't happen.

Yes, I helped, but if I hadn't, then the discussion would have been held on my opponents' terms. The first post I quoted used emotionally charged language--"terrible taste," "horrible writer," "cardboard cutout characters," "completely ridiculous plots" and "they [orcs] have more character and depth than Rand's mouthpieces."

If I had ignored this, the thread becomes red meat for Rand-haters. If I posted and just said, "You're being insulting, raise the level of the dialogue and defend your positions," rather than find intelligence I would expect more insults like, "Why? You can't understand it." If I just said, "Well, I like Rand, that's my taste," then I'm opening myself up to "So, what you're saying is that you *like* horrible writing, cardboard characters, and ridiculous plots."

Again, by taking the high road, what's in it for *me*? I'm not an altruist or a collectivist, you can't convince me to raise the level of the discussion for the discussion's sake, or for the sake of those who disagree with me. Why do you say that, from my perspective, I shouldn't have made my three-d point?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Tue May 01, 2012 1:07 pm UTC

willpellmn wrote:
Karilyn wrote:Cause in terms of "people being assholes," which seems to be the main criticism of objectivism, every objectivist in this thread has been polite and friendly, while the majority of the detractors have been total assholes.
You can afford to be polite and friendly to someone who is tied to a chair and gagged, while you hold a gun ready to blow their brains out if they even try to escape, and you have nothing better to do than sit there forever being polite and friendly while watching them starve.
Fact. You aren't tied to a chair and gagged.
Fact. Nobody on this forum has a gun to your head.
Fact. Sanjavalen is not watching you starve and has likely never met you in your life, and possibly doesn't even live in the same country.

And thus any claim that you, and others, are justified in behaving as "assholes" because the above statements are true, is utterly absurd. A metaphorical gun is not a real gun by any stretch of the imagination, and because it is not a physical gun (and the metaphorical gun is even of dubious existence), it cannot possibly justify Ayn Rand's detractors' behavior.

RoberII wrote:And, you know, socialism did bring you the modern welfare state, unions, social democracy. All of those are Good Things.
I strongly disagree with this. I cannot comment on many of the international nations that you know, as I do not know many of their economies in enough depth to view. But I can comment on it for the various states within the United States. Heavy union states like Michegan are being completely torn apart by the unions. They are bankrupting companies, and the companies are having to beg for bailouts from the national government (Remind you of Greece begging for a bailout from the European Union?), and then falling into bankruptcy again because they simply cannot afford to pay $20 an hour to a low end worker who's only worth a third of that (Especially when a third of that $20 is going to pay union dues, and isn't even taken home by the worker.)

Perhaps even worse, unions favor longevity over skill and productivity of an employee. When the only metric that determines if an employee is valuable is the amount of time they have spent with the group, this encourages long time employees to work less (despite getting paid more), and discourages the success rate of new hires. This concept of favoring longevity over effectiveness is particularly damaging through teacher's unions, which by their very nature, insure that we will not have the most skilled teachers teaching our children, just the ones who've been around the longest.

Likewise, there are several states, such as California, which are indeed modern welfare states. They are collapsing under their own debt, and are charging it up on a credit card, with no conceivable way of paying it off. They are taking care of people now, fully aware that it won't be many a decade before they are incapable of continuing to offer what they are offering now. These people are essentially putting their children in debt, and not giving a crap, because who cares if their children suffer under back-breaking government debt, which will cause them to neither have jobs available, nor welfare available? After all, you're getting the welfare now, and screw those who come after you.

And to the best of my knowledge, the nations that you held up as bastions of socialism... such as Sweden, are all suffering from the same problem. An unsustainable system which will leave your children and/or grandchildren without welfare or employment.

I remember there was a time where parents went out of their way to save up for their children, to pay for their college education, so that their children could live better than they did. I guess that exact same generation went on to become parents who now steal from their children, because it's their right to get things without work. And their children have become the same thing. We've created at least two generations of selfish people that doesn't care what happens to those who follow them, as long as they get it the best that they can now.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby sanjavalen » Tue May 01, 2012 1:08 pm UTC

kenright wrote:Hehe, it didn't even get one page without devolving into philosophical discussion.

Also, throwing this out there: if you say that Objectivism is a responsible, moral code of ethics, I can pretty much say you're wrong.
For instance, with regards to Mr. I have a successful business and am a nice, moral person: Your wife is preggers, right? You have a newborn on the way? I pose this simple moral dilemma: your wife has stumbled on something, a rock near a train crossing, and has found herself in the path of a rapidly approaching train. The only possible way to save her would be to push her out of the way of the train, replacing her with yourself as the object in the train's path. Sure, unlikely scenario, but A) it can happen and B) if Objectivism is a complete, moral, responsible code of ethics then it can provide you with a satisfactory action in this scenario.
The problem is, that Objectivism dictates, by the very foundation of its code, that you watch your wife and future child die. This is because (according to the very words of Rand herself) the highest, and sole moral good is self-interest, which naturally arises out of the rational nature of the concept of human life. Life, your own, not your wife's, not your children's, not your neighbor's or your workers, is the sole source of right and wrong, and to act in self-interest is the only way to go. To sacrifice your life, for any reason whatsoever, is to violate the most basic precept of your ethical code. Valuing the life of another human being, any human being, above your own, is against the nature of your belief system. Do you agree with this?

That is your objectivism, reduced to a simple scenario. Either you are an objectivist, and sacrifice those whom you love for your own personal interest, or you sacrifice objectivism on the altar of the basic biological precepts of empathy and altruism.


Its amusing because you don't know Objectivism. There's a bit in Atlas Shrugged where Rand's "ideal man" (Galt) is speaking with the female lead who he is in love with and is afraid she is going to be tortured to get something from him. He says, without hesitation, that if he thinks they get the idea that it will get them what they want, he will immediately just kill himself and cut that line of reasoning off.

As for what I would do...well, put simply, there would not be any values left for me if I had to live with the idea of having not saved my wife and child. So if its a choice between death and a life worse than death, I'm not going to be happy about it but I know what I'd do. Objectivism does distinguish between "continued breathing" and "life" in an interesting way, and I think a lot of people would find that distinction really fruitful in their day to day lives - I know I do, certainly a lot more than the answer to this question.

So, look...I'm happy to answer questions about Objectivist ethics. But people should really hesitate before they speak up and say "Objectivism is wrong because of such and such position," when they don't actually know what Objectivism says on any issue. Its impolite to me, for one, but for another it shows an astounding lack of seriousness on this topic. I wouldn't presume to tell you what you believe; I would at least do you the courtesy of asking. Surely its not unreasonable to ask

So, there's a long discussion we could have about values and what it means to be selfish, especially in a romantic situation.

But I have a bit of a deeper criticism, here; namely, that this scenario (that is often touted in ethical discussions) is so pointless to peoples' lives. What does that tell you about how to live your life? What does it tell you about what will make you happy and prosperous in day to day living? Well, nothing really. Its a fun game to play, I suppose, in the parlor when you have nothing else to do - but as an ethical question that's relevant to a person's life, its a non-starter. Ethics should be the most useful part of philosophy. The fact that the only ethical question I've been asked is something so out there and silly makes me a little sad.

Why doesn't someone ask me a real question about Objectivist ethics? I'd be happy to answer, and who knows - the answer may surprise you.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Hmm, perhaps we can get sourmilk to start smoking, and sell him as the Second Coming?
He'd have to write a sequel to Atlas Shrugged, and I don't think the world is ready for that. Not yet.

...

Not ever.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Tue May 01, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
I don't understand why HugoSchmidt would say that she did not fervently advocate capitalism when she did.


Oh great, now people cannot even cite me correctly, let alone Miss Rand. I said she was not primarily an advocate of capitalism. I never said she didn't advocate it.


Why are you mincing words about this? She advocated traditional capitalism quite strongly. You say that she was primarily advocating something else, but so what?

Now take the other side of it. Somebody says, say, "Rand said nobody should ever be altruistic". The various Randites immediately say "Rand didn't say that, you don't understand Rand."


Actually, no objectivist would say anything of the sort. Rand's genius was to show that every major horror in history has relied on the altruist morality.


What the hell? The conquests of the Mongols and Timurlane were due to altruist morality? The US occupation of the Philippines? (I guess I could buy that one a little bit, we did talk about civilizing them until they were ready for democracy. "And beneath the starry flag, civilize them with a Krag...." But surely hardly anybody actually believed it!) The Holocaust was because of altruists? What the hell?

OK, it was fun being boggled for a little while, but I'm over it now. I think I understand. Since everything is connected to everything else, it isn't that hard to pick one thing at random and find ways to connect it to everything you consider bad. It's like Starbuck's Pebbles. Not so amazing when I've seen it done repeatedly.

Still, you talk like you've been completely captured by this silly idea. I mean, what the hell?

And you can't point to a place in the world where the Randites have eliminated altruism. The Objectivist social movement has accomplished nothing whatsoever anywhere, yet. Anything that might be considered an accomplishment, they deny is theirs.


Well, the Ayn Rand Centre stuck up for freedom of expression when few others were willing to do so. Just sayin'.


I looked up the Ayn Rand Center. I noticed that they tend to be outraged about a lot of the same things I get outraged about. I like that. Then it looked like they advocated some silly things. I didn't like that so much. Still, I like it that they dislike a lot of the same things I do. That's some common ground anyway. I kind of like them so far.

So OK, when they stuck up for freedom of expression when few others were willing to, did they win? I think it's fascinating when somebody stands up against the government and the media with hardly anybody else on his side, and wins. An example of that would be worth very careful study.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 1:18 pm UTC

Man, what would the sequel to Atlas Shrugged even be?

Atlas Took a Nap
Atlas Enjoyed a Good Movie
Atlas Goes to Hawaii
Oh Shit Guys Who The Fuck Is Going To Clean Our Toilets Now Not Me I Mean Fuck I've Got A Ph. D. In Theoretical Physics I'm Not Going In There It's Like A Shit-olocaust

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Nylonathatep » Tue May 01, 2012 1:24 pm UTC

Steroid wrote:Respectfully, I disagree with this point. When I enter a discussion, I enter it at the tenor that it's being held at. If someone else is being an asshole to me, or assholishly arguing against a point I agree with, you're saying that I should either not enter into the discussion or raise the level to a more rational position. That's not my methodology. Instead, I meet my opponent on the level he has established. In my experience this is the best way to advance your position.

As an example, if a political opponent dug up a story on me about how I allegedly mistreated a pet dog, I could either make a rational case for why it wasn't poor treatment, or I could dig up a story on him about how he ate dog meat. The latter choice is more effective. The former is more noble, and it would be nice if that nobility translated to effectiveness, but in my experience it does not. It merely makes you a victim who happens to have principles.


"Do not argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” Mark Twain


The Great Hippo wrote:Man, what would the sequel to Atlas Shrugged even be?

Atlas Took a Nap
Atlas Enjoyed a Good Movie
Atlas Goes to Hawaii
Oh Shit Guys Who The Fuck Is Going To Clean Our Toilets Now Not Me I Mean Fuck I've Got A Ph. D. In Theoretical Physics I'm Not Going In There It's Like A Shit-olocaust



Sorry to disappoint you Great Hippo. Atlas Shrugged is the last Novel in the series. Can't get enough of Ayn Rand, can't you? :wink:
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Tue May 01, 2012 1:26 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Capitalism relies on deprivations, prisons, and death camps. Do you not know the US has the highest imprisonment rate per capita in the entire "civilized" world? Can you turn on your TV and NOT see capitalist based depravity?
The highest imprisonment rate per capita is due to the idiotic war on drugs. An overwhelming majority of the people in our prison systems are non-violent drug users. I believe the number is somewhere around 80%, though I do not have a citation for that, and could find it if you want. It's absolutely absurd, because putting people in jail is not and does not work for controlling drug usage. It has nothing to do with capitalism. In fact, if drugs like were handled by by the government in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco are handled currently, our imprisonment rate would plummet.

I am perfectly willing to excuse you not being aware of this, as it's a fairly minor detail of American politics which would fail to be conveyed by simple statistics like the number of people imprisoned. You were uneducated previously, and there's no shame in that; nobody can know everything in the world. Just don't be willfully ignorant by claiming the same thing a second time.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Tue May 01, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:There's a bit in Atlas Shrugged where Rand's "ideal man" (Galt) is speaking with the female lead who he is in love with and is afraid she is going to be tortured to get something from him. He says, without hesitation, that if he thinks they get the idea that it will get them what they want, he will immediately just kill himself and cut that line of reasoning off.


In general, this is the sort of situation where he should probably try to maximize his opponents' uncertainty. Threatening to kill himself might be good if his opponents believe he has a second-in-command who would be more ruthless and more effective than he is. Otherwise not; they are likely to do their best to get word to him. "We are torturing your lady love -- here are some tapes of her screaming -- and we'll stop as soon as we find out you've killed yourself!"

But even if it's a bad strategy, it isn't a bad lie to tell to a woman who's afraid she'll be tortured. It makes him seem heroic and noble when she's the one who has the prospect of torture ahead of her, because of him.

He should give them the impression there are things he can do that they don't want, that he probably won't do unless they torture her. But make it unpredictable. It's easier for people to do things with known bad results than things where they simply don't know what to expect.

Anyway, I remember this from _Atlas Shrugged_. Lots of grand sweeping romantic gestures that didn't really make logical sense. I expect they'd grab the emotions of people who were susceptible to that, though.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 1:32 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote: Well, the Ayn Rand Centre stuck up for freedom of expression when few others were willing to do so. Just sayin'.


Fred Phelps fought against racism. That doesn't mean he's not an asshat when it comes to homosexuals. One has no bearing on the other. Just sayin'.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 1:33 pm UTC

Nylonathatep wrote:Sorry to disappoint you Great Hippo. Atlas Shrugged is the last Novel in the series. Can't get enough of Ayn Rand, can't you? :wink:
I was holding out for Atlas Shrugged and the Deathly Hallows--where John Galt learns the power of magic, friendship, wizards, and laissez faire economics.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue May 01, 2012 1:35 pm UTC

I'm not sure what I love most about this thread; "Nazis are socialists" (not true) being therefore turned into "socialists are (like) Nazis" (logically unsound even if the premise were true), or the massive tone argument.

Karilyn wrote:The highest imprisonment rate per capita is due to the idiotic war on drugs. An overwhelming majority of the people in our prison systems are non-violent drug users. I believe the number is somewhere around 80%, though I do not have a citation for that, and could find it if you want. It's absolutely absurd, because putting people in jail is not and does not work for controlling drug usage. It has nothing to do with capitalism. In fact, if drugs like were handled by by the government in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco are handled currently, our imprisonment rate would plummet.

I am perfectly willing to excuse you not being aware of this, as it's a fairly minor detail of American politics which would fail to be conveyed by simple statistics like the number of people imprisoned. You were uneducated previously, and there's no shame in that; nobody can know everything in the world. Just don't be willfully ignorant by claiming the same thing a second time.


The war on drugs is an outcropping of capitalists protecting their investments. There, now you're informed. Just don't be willfully ignorant like that again. :D

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

The hippo has devolved into "not their name nor their manifesto nor their policies nor their actions can possibly put them on the left even when these are all in the left tradition. nurnurninurnur. Iiim not listening to you..." Troll off somewhere else.


What the hell? The conquests of the Mongols and Timurlane were due to altruist morality? The US occupation of the Philippines? (I guess I could buy that one a little bit, we did talk about civilizing them until they were ready for democracy. "And beneath the starry flag, civilize them with a Krag...." But surely hardly anybody actually believed it!) The Holocaust was because of altruists? What the hell?


Think a little bit harder on what "altruism" means. It's not benevolence or kindliness. It's the idea that an action is virtuous if it is done for some "greater" purpose, for some good not your own. From The Fountainhead

“The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing for themselves. But observe the results.


The Nazis absolutely were altruists - they believed entirely in self-sacrifice and service. The Holocaust was authorised for some "higher" end (the pure race, etc.). Though on a lesser scale, the hideous crime of America's involvement in Vietnam was justified explicitly on altruist grounds "to protect the self-determination of the people of south Vietnam".

So OK, when they stuck up for freedom of expression when few others were willing to, did they win? I


They won that one, but the struggle goes on. I'm referring to the Muhammad cartoon affairs. When not a single damn newspaper in the US had the guts to reprint the cartoons in solidarity, when people were being murdered and students jailed for showing the cartoons, the ARI had the guts to go around from campus to campus and display them. To say: "We're not going to be shut up."

EDIT

Why are you mincing words about this? She advocated traditional capitalism quite strongly. You say that she was primarily advocating something else, but so what?


Because it matters. The fight is fundamentally about reason; preserve that and human liberty is ultimately assured. Abandon reason and there is no way to defend it. Which is why religious conservatives have been useless in defending capitalism.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 1:40 pm UTC

The war on drugs is an outcropping of capitalists protecting their investments. There, now you're informed. Just don't be willfully ignorant like that again. :D


The war on drugs is by definition an anti-capitalist, anti-free market one. Which is why it's opposed by all libertarians and Objectivists. Wilful ignorance? Heal thyself.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 1:42 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
HugoSchmidt wrote: Well, the Ayn Rand Centre stuck up for freedom of expression when few others were willing to do so. Just sayin'.


Fred Phelps fought against racism. That doesn't mean he's not an asshat when it comes to homosexuals. One has no bearing on the other. Just sayin'.


Perhaps, but Any Rand and other Objectivist's record of being right on the major moral questions is one that can't be matched by anyone else. Which is why no one on this thread has had the nerve to take me up on her positions, as I noted at the start.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 1:46 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:The hippo has devolved into "not their name nor their manifesto nor their policies nor their actions can possibly put them on the left even when these are all in the left tradition. nurnurninurnur. Iiim not listening to you..." Troll off somewhere else.
What are you talking about? I'm willing to accept that Nazis and Socialists might be related movements (I have strong doubts, but I'm not convinced either way--obviously, Nazis aren't socialists), but the interview I linked contains no evidence to that effect, and my point was that the statement--'Nazis have 'socialist' in their name, this is evidence that they're related'--is magical thinking. Can you understand how and why this is magical thinking?
Puppyclaws wrote:The war on drugs is an outcropping of capitalists protecting their investments. There, now you're informed. Just don't be willfully ignorant like that again. :D
One of the fascinating problems of pure capitalism is that it calls upon its adherents to be idealists while simultaneously encouraging them to be pragmatists.

"Government regulation is evil", we're told--even while the person telling us this lobbies for greater government regulation to restrict their competition and control the market. This was a huge problem for me as a kid when I read about the early bouts between American Unions and industrialists throughout the early 1900s--you had this incredible hypocrisy, where the industrialists were demanding no regulation on one hand, yet asking the government for help on the other.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 1:49 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:But I can comment on it for the various states within the United States. Heavy union states like Michegan are being completely torn apart by the unions. They are bankrupting companies, and the companies are having to beg for bailouts from the national government (Remind you of Greece begging for a bailout from the European Union?), and then falling into bankruptcy again because they simply cannot afford to pay $20 an hour to a low end worker who's only worth a third of that (Especially when a third of that $20 is going to pay union dues, and isn't even taken home by the worker.)

Perhaps even worse, unions favor longevity over skill and productivity of an employee. When the only metric that determines if an employee is valuable is the amount of time they have spent with the group, this encourages long time employees to work less (despite getting paid more), and discourages the success rate of new hires. This concept of favoring longevity over effectiveness is particularly damaging through teacher's unions, which by their very nature, insure that we will not have the most skilled teachers teaching our children, just the ones who've been around the longest.

Likewise, there are several states, such as California, which are indeed modern welfare states. They are collapsing under their own debt, and are charging it up on a credit card, with no conceivable way of paying it off. They are taking care of people now, fully aware that it won't be many a decade before they are incapable of continuing to offer what they are offering now. These people are essentially putting their children in debt, and not giving a crap, because who cares if their children suffer under back-breaking government debt, which will cause them to neither have jobs available, nor welfare available? After all, you're getting the welfare now, and screw those who come after you.

And to the best of my knowledge, the nations that you held up as bastions of socialism... such as Sweden, are all suffering from the same problem. An unsustainable system which will leave your children and/or grandchildren without welfare or employment.

I remember there was a time where parents went out of their way to save up for their children, to pay for their college education, so that their children could live better than they did. I guess that exact same generation went on to become parents who now steal from their children, because it's their right to get things without work. And their children have become the same thing. We've created at least two generations of selfish people that doesn't care what happens to those who follow them, as long as they get it the best that they can now.


Wow! A whole block of 100% pure malt bullshit. A total block of complete false reich-wing propaganda. The right loves to prove government doesn't work by taking it over and then doing their best to destroy it. Spoken by someone who was taught economics at the knee of Fox News.

Do you know when that time was that parents went out of their way to save up for their children was? It was when the top tax bracket was 90%. It was when unions ensured all Americans earned a fair wage and it was when the government of the United States knew that the best way to serve its people was to serve its people, not hand off the duty to the lowest bidder. How do you expect parents to save up for their children when they can barely afford to feed their children? When they never even get to SEE their children because they're working all the time?

Edit: the part in bold, I realize on consideration is in fact false. Unions quite often did not help minorities or women earn a fair wage. It was an error in rhetorical device. The general point, however, I think it a fair one and I feel can still be understood despite the inaccuracy of the statement, especially since it was government, not private capital, that sought to correct such injustice.
Last edited by Kaylakaze on Tue May 01, 2012 2:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

What are you talking about? I'm willing to accept that Nazis and Socialists might be related movements


Thank you. That's what I wanted to see conceded. Now that link may not have the evidence in question - but please bear in mind that that is the Glenn Beck show. Not exactly the Aeropagitica. Maybe Binswager isn't making it clear then, but I know what the Objectivist line on this is, I could point you to all the texts and arguments that say this, and I know what he's trying to say because of that.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 1:56 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:Capitalism relies on deprivations, prisons, and death camps. Do you not know the US has the highest imprisonment rate per capita in the entire "civilized" world? Can you turn on your TV and NOT see capitalist based depravity?
The highest imprisonment rate per capita is due to the idiotic war on drugs. An overwhelming majority of the people in our prison systems are non-violent drug users. I believe the number is somewhere around 80%, though I do not have a citation for that, and could find it if you want. It's absolutely absurd, because putting people in jail is not and does not work for controlling drug usage. It has nothing to do with capitalism. In fact, if drugs like were handled by by the government in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco are handled currently, our imprisonment rate would plummet.

I am perfectly willing to excuse you not being aware of this, as it's a fairly minor detail of American politics which would fail to be conveyed by simple statistics like the number of people imprisoned. You were uneducated previously, and there's no shame in that; nobody can know everything in the world. Just don't be willfully ignorant by claiming the same thing a second time.


Actually, I'm quite aware of the reasons people are in prison and agree with you that they're bullshit and that currently illegal drugs should be handled like drugs that are currently legal. However, you failed to take into account that these prisons are PRIVATELY OWNED cogs of the capitalist machine. Not only do companies get paid a hefty sum for every person incarcerated, but they get labor that is only 1 step above slavery. There's money in keeping them in prison and it's these people that profit from it that fight to keep their cash cow.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:Thank you. That's what I wanted to see conceded.
Then why didn't you say "But surely, Hippo, you'll concede that the two could possibly be related?"
HugoSchmidt wrote:Now that link may not have the evidence in question - but please bear in mind that that is the Glenn Beck show. Not exactly the Aeropagitica. Maybe Binswager isn't making it clear then, but I know what the Objectivist line on this is, I could point you to all the texts and arguments that say this, and I know what he's trying to say because of that.
So exactly what was Binswager's point when he emphasized 'socialist' in that name? Do you think that having 'socialist' in their name is relevant evidence toward Nazis having a link toward socialism? Can you understand how thinking it is represents an example of magical thinking?


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