1049: "Bookshelf"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

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?


A link, yes, and it provides - this is a key point (see AR's Art of Nonfiction) - a place where anyone interested can go look for further evidence.

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 2:07 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
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.


I think no one took them up because they agree with her positions on those issues. Isaac Newton was undoubtedly a great scientist who did many great things. He also believe in Christianity, alchemy, and many other matters of woo. Very few people are all evil or all good, all rational or all insane, or all right or all wrong. For those things that we agree on, we can stand up and fight together and on those where we differ, we must argue, and sometimes we can even agree on the same result but have very different reasons why we think it is the right result, and on this, everyone just seems to get confused on what we should do.

Jamaican Castle
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue May 01, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt 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


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.


This brings up a point regarding the "free" market. At any given point, it's not in the "free market"'s best interest that the market remain free. If you're a multimillion-dollar industry, it's in your best interests to discourage competition, to collude, to bar entry into the market, and in general to muck things up for anyone that might unseat you. (See: any of the industrialist "robber barons".) Therefore, a free market in this sense - one that new entities can enter into and compete in - requires government intervention.

Basically, a market can be free in the sense that it is unrestricted and unregulated, or in the sense that it has a low barrier of entry and fosters competition, but not both.

You could draw an analogy to individual rights - if the right you're most interested in is the right to do whatever you want, that can exist in a vacuum. But if you would prefer, say, the right to walk the streets at night (free from, presumably, all those people who want to do whatever they want), someone is going to have to establish that. (Maybe even the Romans.)

To get back to the quoted points, the war on drugs, if you're going to see it as someone (presumably Big Pharma) "protecting their investments"*, is anti-free-market because it's demolishing competition, and pro-free-market because the market is the one pushing for it. Remember that "the market" is made up of individual corporations, and those corporations of individual leaders, and those people can largely be trusted to do what's best for them, personally.

* I'm more inclined to see it as an issue of public safety: the public wanted less drug violence, and the government thought cracking down on drugs would help with that (it doesn't). However, drug violence went down due to other factors, and now the government's stuck thinking that the "war on drugs" is the cause. Which I guess qualifies the whole thing as a tragic misunderstanding.

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 2:12 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:So, look...I'm happy to answer questions about Objectivist ethics.


Yet I ask a number of direct questions about your Objectivist ethics and receive no response.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:A link, yes, and it provides - this is a key point (see AR's Art of Nonfiction) - a place where anyone interested can go look for further evidence.
Do you also think that 'Social Studies' has anything to do with socialism?

I'm serious, this is a prime example of magical thinking. The core of the Nazi party hated political socialists. Why do you think they picked the name they did? Do you think that the name accurately reflected socialist ideology in the Nazi party?

Doesn't it seem so much more likely that any association between the Nazi party and socialism could happen despite the names? That the name could, in fact, be a false flag--a coincidence, or even a willful attempt to leech voters from the socialist party?

sanjavalen
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:17 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby sanjavalen » Tue May 01, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
sanjavalen wrote:So, look...I'm happy to answer questions about Objectivist ethics.


Yet I ask a number of direct questions about your Objectivist ethics and receive no response.


Sorry; I'm happy to answer honest questions from people who are nice. Not people who's purpose is just to pick a fight, or who call me a monster. I hope its obvious why I'm not interested in that.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:Sorry; I'm happy to answer honest questions from people who are nice. Not people who's purpose is just to pick a fight.
Do Objectivists believe an objective value of 'goodness' exists that can be rationally derived? Or do they understand that all values of 'goodness' are subjective, ownership is an imaginary thing we made up because it's nice to own things, and all moral values and decisions are based on assumptions we make about what is good and what is evil?

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

I'm serious, this is a prime example of magical thinking. The core of the Nazi party hated political socialists. Why do you think they picked the name they did? Do you think that the name accurately reflected socialist ideology in the Nazi party?


Their version thereof. Quasi-socialist economics + the most pathological version of ultranationalism imaginable.

I am getting tired of this argument about whether or not someone expressed themselves 100% well on the bloody Glenn Beck show.

Puppyclaws
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue May 01, 2012 2:30 pm UTC

Jamaican Castle wrote:To get back to the quoted points, the war on drugs, if you're going to see it as someone (presumably Big Pharma) "protecting their investments"*, is anti-free-market because it's demolishing competition, and pro-free-market because the market is the one pushing for it. Remember that "the market" is made up of individual corporations, and those corporations of individual leaders, and those people can largely be trusted to do what's best for them, personally.

* I'm more inclined to see it as an issue of public safety: the public wanted less drug violence, and the government thought cracking down on drugs would help with that (it doesn't). However, drug violence went down due to other factors, and now the government's stuck thinking that the "war on drugs" is the cause. Which I guess qualifies the whole thing as a tragic misunderstanding.


Actually, the campaign against marijuana began with capitalists like Hearst, which is largely what I was referring to. Beyond that, there have been considerable campaigns by business to institute drug testing because they view the use of illegal drugs by employees as not in their interest. I'm more of a fan of the pharmaceutical industry than the average individual, and I doubt the legalization of most illicit chemicals would hurt their bottom line much. As somebody else already pointed out, people involved in enforcement, like the prison industry, are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the war on drugs currently. I don't know that I buy that the public played a major role in turning illicit drug sale and possession into a major criminal offense.

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:Sorry; I'm happy to answer honest questions from people who are nice. Not people who's purpose is just to pick a fight, or who call me a monster. I hope its obvious why I'm not interested in that.


Oh, I get it. Tough questions can't be honest questions? And they have to be wrapped up in a little bow of bullshit to make everything all nice? I find it so comical how people like to refuse to see reason (or argue it) simply because it doesn't come presented to them with flowers and sunshine. No, I'm not nice. I see no reason why I should be and I could give two shits as to whether you're nice or not either. Facts don't care about nice. And when dealing with a person who, from my understanding of his ethics (since you've still refused to define these so-called ethics so I have no choice but to go on the ethics I've heard from other objectivists) cares about no one but himself and those he selects as almost-equals, thinks everyone else has to bow to his whims, and if they don't or can't, they should die, it makes me not really WANT to be nice. One objectivist friend of mine likes to say "if it's on my land, I can do what I want" with absolutely no understanding that what he does on his land affects those around his land. Obviously, "his land" here is both literal and metaphorical. What say you? Again, you keep talking about these high and mighty ethics, but have yet to define them as they pertain to actual situations.

I should also point out that you said you don't want to get mixed up in Objectivist politics. I think by politics, you mean "governing philosophy" since politics, while commonly used to mean that, is something completely different (and quite repugnant). However, I think, and it may just be my opinion, that governing philosophy and ethics go hand in hand: governance is simply the application of your ethics on a non-personal scale. Therefore any discussion on ethics, as it relates to a philosophy that does seek social change, must include discussion of governance.

I don't believe I called you a monster, though it would be dishonest to claim I do not think you to be one or to claim that it is not a fair summary of what I did call you.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 2:35 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:Their version thereof. Quasi-socialist economics + the most pathological version of ultranationalism imaginable.
Is that what you think they were thinking when they put 'Socialist' in their name?
HugoSchmidt wrote:I am getting tired of this argument about whether or not someone expressed themselves 100% well on the bloody Glenn Beck show.
Then you should probably avoid starting a sentence with statements like "neither I nor any Objectivist claims...". I mean, I'm sure all the Objectivists out there appreciate you speaking for them and all, but you might make a slip.

But I'm not the sort of fucker who dismisses everything someone says based on a slip of the tongue or a point of bad reasoning. I mean, you know how even a broken clock is right twice a day? I don't even get that--I think the last time I was right about something was back in '95.

The point here is, and this is really important--when someone says something that's wrong, we call them out on it, try to understand why it was said, and move on.

iamspen
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby iamspen » Tue May 01, 2012 2:40 pm UTC

This entire debate is flawed. I've sloughed through nine pages of bickering and nitpicking and, though I find the debate quite fascinating in itself, I'm no more or less educated about the philosophy of objectivism as I was when I started, which is to say I'm still completely stupid in regards to what that philosophy actually is.

Understanding, of course, that the burden is on me to educate myself on the subject before actually debating it, the fact remains that after literally hundreds of arguments, rebuttals, counter-rebuttals, and accusations, I should at least have some idea of the topic that is being debated, otherwise we're going around in circles.

And since I have yet to gain insight into the philosophy of objectivism, I must also point out that my opinions of that philosophy are the same as they were before I started reading; Randian philosophy is assholery. I say this not because I actually know Rand's writings, but because those who cite her as a primary influence are, present company seemingly excluded, assholes: Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, tea party "libertarians," sociopathic corporate entities, et al. I can make this assumption in the same vein that other can assume fascists and communists tend to be assholes, even without educating themselves on those philosophies first. Because of this, I daresay the burden to disprove these assumptions lies squarely on the backs of the Rand followers, the self-proclaimed Objectivists, because, without having educated myself on Objectivism, but having witnessed those who claim to follow its teachings, I feel safe in my assumption that the philosophy benefits those who wish to mercilessly exploit others for personal gain, and that kind of thinking seems, rather objectively, evil.

sanjavalen
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:17 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby sanjavalen » Tue May 01, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Do Objectivists believe an objective value of 'goodness' exists that can be rationally derived? Or do they understand that all values of 'goodness' are subjective, ownership is an imaginary thing we made up because it's nice to own things, and all moral values and decisions are based on assumptions we make about what is good and what is evil?


Isn't it a bit...presumptuous, to put the "or do they understand..." in there? Its presuming an answer, for one, and comes off as "Here I am, looking for a fight." I don't know if that's your intention, and if its not I apologize for misinterpreting, but that's how it looked to me.

Objectivists believe in objective morality, but there's more to it than that. I'll try to summarize as best I can, but if you're interested in this somewhat technical aspect of philosophy in a serious manner, I'd advise you to go pick up Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff and give it a read through, as this specific question (of objective morality, the whole is/ought problem) is given a very thorough treatment there. I think you might find it interesting, if not find it compelling, if this is a topic of interest to you.

Here's how it works in a high-level summary. Again, if this topic is of interest to you, I urge you to go pick up that book and take a look at it. Its done much better (and with much more substantiation, which I don't have the time/space for) there.

Basically, we can't start with "is morality objective?" We're putting the cart before the horse, here. The questions we should start with are "What is morality?" and "Do humans need morality at all, if they do, why do they need it?"

The answer to the first question, Objectivism defines a moral system as "a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life." I think this is a good definition, because it doesn't presuppose any particular set of values, but just defines it as such.

Moving forward, do people need morality? Well, let's imagine a person who didn't have "a code of values to guide [his] choices and actions." Would he act at all? Would he move, eat? If he had no values - not even "I want to remain alive" what would the point of moving at all be? We say no. Derived from that, the purpose of morality is to guide you in living - the only reason that exists to have a morality.

Quick segue: "living" does not mean "breathing and not dead yet." It means to thrive, to live as a person should (how a person should comes later.) Tara Smith does a great treatment of this idea in her two books, "Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics - The Virtuous Egoist" and "Viable Values." She's a PhD and teaches philosophy in UT, iirc, so if credentials are something that is very important to you, she has them and treats Ayn Rand's stuff with a lot of thoroughness.

More holistically, its hard to find a person and approach them and say - "Hey, do you want to live a happy life or a miserable life?" and expect the latter answer. I think that's an outside indicator of the fact that the purpose of morality - the only reason to have it, as opposed to have none, sit down and wait to die - is if one wishes to live, and live a good, happy life.

Now, you can answer "But why do I have to choose to live?" and if that's the question, well, you can certainly choose to die and we're fine, but so long as you choose to live and to pursue a happy life, Objectivism says you can derive some moral principles to guide your actions in pursuit of that. They are broad (they don't say "become a businessman" or "being a garbageman is evil," but things like "pursue a productive career you enjoy" and "staying in a career you hate for the money is harmful to your long-term happiness) and they have a lot of leeway (there is no "Objectivist" ice cream to like, career to have, love interest or character traits to value - what Objectivism calls "optional values," as in, you may or may not have these or must have some value in this area but it can be many different ones,) but they are both substantial and useful in guiding you to a happy life. I can testify to the usefulness of it - my Objectivist values and friendships and love have guided me successfully through some of the hardest parts of my life, from unemployment and hunger to dealing with a rocky past.

Basically, Objectivism says - if you wish to live, if you wish to thrive as a human being, then yes, there is a particular moral system that objectively serves this goal in a more consistent way than any other.

Anyway, again, I don't have the time and I don't think this is a good place to really put forth a substantive explanation of the Objectivist defense of objective morality. All I've done is give the broadest outline of it, and I don't expect it to constitute a substantive defense of the view. If you're more academic, Tara Smith does a great treatment of it in her works, and I'd encourage you to take a look if this subject is really interesting to you. I hope the approach (which I think is innovative in the realm of ethics, especially in the questions it starts with) are interesting, at least.

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 2:52 pm UTC

Is that what you think they were thinking when they put 'Socialist' in their name?


I know it is. It's a central portion of their thought. Socialist economics is all fine and dandy - but just for "aryans" thanks. (in parallel, there was in the US such a thing as 'white socialism', those who thought it was a waste of time to bring American blacks into a socialist world.

hen you should probably avoid starting a sentence with statements like "neither I nor any Objectivist claims...". I mean, I'm sure all the Objectivists out there appreciate you speaking for them and all, but you might make a slip.

Because he didn't claim they were the same, merely related. And what I've been saying is that that is the objectivist position on this.

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
sanjavalen wrote:Sorry; I'm happy to answer honest questions from people who are nice. Not people who's purpose is just to pick a fight, or who call me a monster. I hope its obvious why I'm not interested in that.


Oh, I get it. Tough questions can't be honest questions? And they have to be wrapped up in a little bow of bullshit to make everything all nice? I find it so comical how people like to refuse to see reason (or argue it) simply because it doesn't come presented to them with flowers and sunshine. No, I'm not nice..


Hey, Kaylakaze - you stopped robbing schoolkids yet? Answer yes or no. Come on, answer the tough question.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 3:02 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:I know it is. It's a central portion of their thought. Socialist economics is all fine and dandy - but just for "aryans" thanks. (in parallel, there was in the US such a thing as 'white socialism', those who thought it was a waste of time to bring American blacks into a socialist world.
Communists were also the biggest supporters of universal suffragism in early America--ironically, many of the early communists in 20th century America joined the ACLU, quite possibly one of the most pro-secular, pro-rights, pro-liberty organizations out there. Just saying--the political landscape is full of strange nuance and interesting connections. One of the things I've learned in studying it is that there aren't a lot of bad guys; just lots of interesting people with interesting agendas clashing in battles that lead to interesting (and often terrible) consequences.

Anyway, I just want to confirm--your position is that the Nazis picked 'Socialist' because they wanted to apply socialism to aryans? That's the reason that the word is there?
HugoSchmidt wrote:Because he didn't claim they were the same, merely related. And what I've been saying is that that is the objectivist position on this.
Okay, can I just get some clarification here? When you say "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", do you actually mean "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", or do you mean "Objectivism, as a whole, does not claim"?

Because there is a big difference.
sanjavalen wrote:Isn't it a bit...presumptuous, to put the "or do they understand..." in there? Its presuming an answer, for one, and comes off as "Here I am, looking for a fight."
Would it be presumptuous for me to ask "Do Objectivists believe the sun rotates around the earth, or do they understand that the earth rotates around the sun?" - I mean, this is a really basic thing to understand--that 'goodness' is something we define, that doesn't exist outside of ourselves, that cannot be derived objectively.

The truth is that I don't know if Objectivists believe what I first suggested, and I was asking because I'm genuinely curious if they think otherwise.
sanjavalen wrote:Basically, Objectivism says - if you wish to live, if you wish to thrive as a human being, then yes, there is a particular moral system that objectively serves this goal in a more consistent way than any other.
Is this very accurate, or are you skipping a lot of critical nuance in the interests of simplicity? Because the issue it's addressing (human prosperity, thriving) is far too complex and nuanced to be answered by a single approach.

Stalin wasn't an objectivist, and his moral system seems to have served him enormously well. He died a happy, well-fed tyrant. What am I to take from this--the point of Atlas Shrugged was how society punishes those who live by Ayn Rand's philosophy, wasn't it? So if I want to thrive in such a society, why wouldn't I adopt Stalin's morals--they seem to be the best, most reasonable way for me--as an individual--to thrive. John Galt is a fictional character--there is no Galt's Gulch for me to run away to, and he's probably not going to show up and steal away all the geniuses I might enslave. If I want to prosper, why shouldn't I use Stalin's morals?
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Tue May 01, 2012 3:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

shiki
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:56 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby shiki » Tue May 01, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

you guys must really like to hear yourself type.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

shiki wrote:you guys must really like to hear yourself type.
I've got it set up so that every time I hit a key, it makes a little typewriter click sound. And when I hit return, it does that 'zzzzt... KSHCHING!' sound that typewriters make when you slide the roller-thinamajig down to the next line.

It's so cute!

Oo! It did it again!

And again!

<3

drazen
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:35 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby drazen » Tue May 01, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

National health systems have been shown to be cheaper per user than private insurance. Refusing them because others would be forced to pay even if they don't want insurance is not acting on self-interest.


It would not be rational self-interest as defined by Rand. The general philosophy is that you cannot take something that is not yours, nor can you compel people to do something just because you believe it advances the "public good." A specific question asked by Rand in Atlas Shrugged: "Who is the public, and what exactly does it define as good?" -- or something like that. Your argument is simply Utilitarianism, a philosophy disproved and discredited in any reputable undergraduate freshman Introduction to Philosophy class.

Is it really? Security systems, at least where I live, are expensive and of dubious effectiveness. Not to mention that according to economists, the false positive rate of alarms is more than 90%, costing billions of dollars to the US economy per year.


Again, you are arguing for expediency rather than what is right. Libertarians and Objectivists do NOT advocate expediency; to do so is to simply say that "the ends justify the means." It is what makes people who believe what you do, and advocate for the things you want, no better than murderous tyrants like the Soviets, or Mao, or Castro. Actually, you're worse than them. At least they admitted to what they really were.

Well, according to most people arguing pro-guns, there's no such thing as "simply buying a gun". They tell me that gun owners undergo extensive and regular training/practice, which is time that could be better spent doing something else, in my opinion.

If you have a family - and particularly children - you should also consider the psychological effects, particularly the fear of having a burglar in the home, possibly witnessing the killing, etc. Not to mention that if you're not at home your gun won't be of much use.

Finally, one should consider the possibility of an accidental discharge; after all, there are thousands of gun accidents per year, and while plenty are no doubt caused by the owner's own stupidity, they don't all just "happen to others".


Your value of your time is not the same as my value of my time. The time-consuming regulations and training were instituted by people like you anyway, so that's a circular argument. It could just as easily be done privately growing up (I didn't have a gun and wasn't comfortable around them, but I certainly want a RIGHT to a gun and as many other means of self-defense as possible that is/are more than a vague abstraction).

If not at home, security system. New ones have video monitoring you can get right on your smartphone, supposedly. Cooperate with your neighbor, maybe he can check into something if the cops can't get there. And the psychological effects? I'm pretty sure my kid would be more traumatized (maybe even kidnapped or raped) by the burglar hurting them than me shooting a prowler in front of them. If you are worried about accidents, do you drive? Because there's way more car deaths in this country than gun deaths. Maybe you should just live in a bubble if your argument for not doing something is "an accident might happen." You don't even seem to have a real critique here, just your personal emotions of what you WISH the world were like.

The rest of us have a simple critique: your actions are unjustifiably and immorally causing us harm in the pursuit of your own goals, and we will fight you forvever (to varying degrees).

Typical black-and-white view, and completely not appropriated in rational self-interest, which demands pragmatism.

"We don't negotiate" only works when the other party wants to negotiate - like with kidnappers who ask for ransom - because they only gain something if you do negotiate.

Thieves, on the other hand, won't stop robbing just because you refuse to pay them, because they gain from the theft itself. The situation is completely different.


"If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they believe to be their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it - well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act." - Ayn Rand.

There are times I can see where compassion works, but not as a payout. For example, Slate just did a great article about citizens who get swept up in legal dragnets and end up with misdemeanors on their record, which can come back to haunt them later (just Google Slate + Misdemeanor + Article, it should be the first result). So I don't think people should be railroaded by the government - however, I don't think it should be "because they're poor and I feel bad for them" like you, but because I believe everyone should have due process and a presumption of innocence. I don't think anyone should be in jail - a pretty inhumane thing to do to anyone - unless they pose a clear and present danger to society or have committed a very harmful act, but all too often, that isn't what's happening.

But that does NOT mean I give quarter to those who say "Give me stuff or I will be a criminal." Get your own stuff. If you cannot get your own stuff and you try to take mine or someone else's, you deserve the bullet that's coming to you. I don't care about your excuses. Another's needs do not justify your taking anything from them. If you believe that someone can take from others because they need something, want something, or just aren't getting what others are because they don't have the ability to do it for themselves, then by YOUR OWN PHILOSOPHY, you must also believe that rape should be legal. After all, ugly people can't get laid nearly as easily. And that will make them antisocial and depressed and they will cost society money if they don't get some satisfaction. Does that sound ugly? I think it sounds ugly and horrible. But that is exactly the sort of thing you have been arguing for.

Yeah, except accidents happen to young people as well. Disease strikes everyone. As was noted in the Republican primary, the most unlikely to carry insurance are upper-20s lower-30s people. They have not saved enough to survive upon for the rest of their lives. What are you going to do, let them die? Even if you take the compassion out of it, does a society survive when it spends large sums of money to feed and educate someone and then lets them die? Let's put it in a more timely example: You can either force an ambulance to take, and a hospital to treat, everyone who needs it (welfare) or you could insist that everyone prove they have a method of pay beforehand. Ignoring the fact that the poor would obviously revolt over the latter Rand-like choice, how do you practically go about doing it? Everyone with insurance must carry a card? What if they have a heart attack while swimming, or their wallet or purse is lost or burned in a crash? What if you're super rich and self-insure? How do you go about proving that? What if what you think is enough money to self-insure isn't what society or the hospital thinks is enough?


I am not, in any way, legally responsible for young peoples' inability or unwillingness to save. To create a system in which I somehow am, against my will, is an immoral act, and I reject it outright.

The alternative to letting someone die is forcing someone to save them. Now, I think it's lovely that there are people who are noble enough to save others. But it MUST be by choice. I will not surrender that freedom, and so long as I don't have a choice, I refuse to help you or anyone like you. So yes, someone like you, I would let them die. They deserve it for their beliefs.

As far as "treat only the insured," if anyone is responsive and coherent, they can easily show proof of coverage. In a life-saving emergency, it can be handled after the fact. Between technology and being pragmatic, 99% of cases wouldn't even be a problem. The problem with health care is everyone wants the best care money can buy, but that's insanely expensive -- so any socialized system lends itself to rationing and governments dictating what treatments are allowed. So if you're middle class you're double screwed: you lose your ability to get effective treatment, and you have to pay more for the poor.

Here's an example: I take a maintenance medication that's $300/month. If my insurance stops paying, I can still buy it. It would suck, but I could do it. If the government gets involved, they might say I'm not ALLOWED to take it, ruining my quality of life. I do not trust you or them. If there's anything in my life I'm willing to commit immoral acts to keep from happening -- it's that. But people like you are the danger to me, not a corporation that's raking in big profits. Your system is the one in which society would decide what is "enough." It's terrifying, and while it handles BASIC medical care very well, if someone has a serious problem, your system is the one where they are most likely to be told they can fuck off and die unless they're super rich. Your system is me paying more, for less.

Also, if it weren't for many government regulations, health care would be cheaper. Their involvement can only make it more expensive or less effective. There will be no incentive for it to be cheaper and there will be no recourse when they do something wrong (you might only have a 1% chance of beating a corporation, but you have about a 0% chance of beating the government).

Those are certainly options, my question is what happens when it would cost a few hundred dollars to placate a would-be robber versus a few thousand to run a security system. When it becomes rationally smart to just pay because it is cheaper than resist. Another timely example: You are on the street and grabbed and pulled into an alley. "Your money or your life" he says. Now on one hand, a true Randian would be forced to fight, because they don't give in to parasites. But on the other hand, a true Randian is rationally self-interested, and knows that fighting increases your odds of dying greatly. It's self-conflicting. You are absolutely crazy if you think this is not what we do all the time. Not only is it done in our foreign affairs, but even amongst Americans. You just don't think it because you don't view our civil court system as playing a role here, or homeless shelters playing a role here. You don't think it because often the people who stick us up are oil companies and medical establishments. I see I put this phrase largely in the personal crime aspect but I meant corporate crime too.


Well, any libertarian or objectivist is against corporate crime and collusion. We see government agencies as captured by one of two parties: (a) corporations, who write the rules in their favor, or (b) ideologues, who write the rules in order to impose their will on a society of millions. We view both as evil. We're usually more scared of (b) than (a), but we certainly don't approve of either.

Well, a true Randian would rather die than give in to a parasite, especially some low-life criminal. Of course, they'd also have taken practical steps to stop the criminals from having a good chance at hurting them in the first place. And they'd have taken steps to be ready for any lawbreaker who would confront them. If it's a robber and they're not home, they probably bought renter's insurance. So there's nothing self contradicting about this. And while I realize it is done in our foreign policy, often, such as foreign aid, I oppose all such actions on principle. Just because it's being done and is supposedly effective (a claim I doubt), it doesn't make it right.

[qupte]That's right, so the question is: What keeps these people from picking up their ball and going home? You have a system that, when it is working perfectly, prevents 4-5% of the population from holding the one thing that keeps them alive. You cannot systematically rotate these people (that destroys the system) so what do you do to the ones that are chronically not chosen for work? Ignoring the simple fairness that since your system is screwing them over it probably ought to take care of them, how do you propose to keep them in the game? If they were to quit looking, turn to crime, or die, the rest of the system would fall apart, and yet those are the most likely outcomes. Put yourself in the position of the chronically unemployed. The system needs you. Without you the lower rungs don't work hard. If they don't work hard the middle rungs don't work hard. The whole system fails. And yet, some would say these people get nothing. What is your incentive to keep looking for work rather than say, stealing? If you steal and succeed, yay money. If you lose, yay food and shelter. (Or are you suggesting we do away with prisons and just kill everyone guilty of any crime?) What is in his rational self-interest? What is his carrot to keep playing, and who pays for it?[/quote]

I think you misunderstood my point. I was talking about how some industries die and new ones rise up. You don't want the same 4-5% unemployed all the time. Yes, there are problems: our uneducated factory workers are obsolete, and there's nowhere for them to go. It was more profitable for them to collect 99 weeks of unemployment than to take a pay cut. The standards most companies have for hiring have become absurd - not even considering the unemployed? Even I find that completely fucked up and can't explain it. It's not even in THEIR interests to do that, because they're creating a permanent underclass with deep resentment against them. This is one thing that I admit has me utterly baffled, because it makes no sense. I'd love to hire the unemployed. For one thing, I bet they'd be cheaper, and maybe out to prove something (rather than a job-hopper who's only seeking a payday and advancement).

But a pro-growth policy gives them (and everyone) somewhere to go. The alternatives to capitalism remove any incentive to work hard at all. If no matter how hard I work, my life never gets better, why should I work at all?

Governments have not done very well at setting and enforcing the rules for economies, so far. But that is not an argument for playing with no rules, or for letting cabals of businessmen create and enforce the rules. We need something new and better.


I think plenty of us has criticized regulatory capture. The existence of the government apparatus itself is what allows big corporations to skew the rules in their favor. When they aren't running the show, ideologues tend not to distinguish between huge corporations and the little guy, and drive up costs which stagnates growth, killing the golden goose that funds all the things that they want to use the government to do.

If I made a regulatory change, here's one idea: I'd change the FDA from banning things to rating them for their safety. And your product is only as safe as its least safe product. So if Cheerios had lead paint in them, they'd be a zero. That way if someone wanted to take a risk with a new drug, they could -- but they'd be the one choosing the level of acceptable risk. To say "it has costs to others" because you favor a socialized system is a circular argument that misses the point; the people taking the risks should be the ones incurring the losses. I'd prefer that these ratings be done privately, but the FDA's power to ban effectively makes them an agency that picks winners and losers.

Here's another one: base the capital gains tax on the length of time an investment is held. You could kill short-term speculation overnight. Hold a stock/investment a day? Bang, 99% tax on profits. I can be reasonable when it's something like hedge funds, who are basically just gambling with society's money and well-being, and not contributing anything at all, while profiting from it -- and then getting bailouts when they screw up. I completely agree that situation is ridiculous. However, nobody is approaching the problem in the right way - Obama's "drive up the marginal tax rates" isn't going to do anything, and the marginal rate will eventually hit the middle class due to inflation. So we need smarter solutions, rather than things that make people feel good, but have little practical value relative to our severe problems (the entire assets of every millionaire in America would only fund the government for something like 47 days -- so, yeah, it's definitely a spending problem, not a tax problem).

Anyway, I'm not even a pure Objectivist. I'm mostly libertarian, and more strongly a civil libertarian/individual liberty advocate than anything. For me, I do not believe others have the moral right to compel me to act the way they want, merely for existing. I will gladly pay tax on resources, but I consider a tax on personal income from labor to be corrupt and immoral. And I definitely don't owe socialistic people a damn thing just because they want to get their way at my expense. They have a home; it's called Europe. I'd rather simply pay for their one-way plane tickets than for their social safety net. Now there's some rational self-interest for ya. It sure as hell would be a LOT cheaper.

rbarm
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:10 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby rbarm » Tue May 01, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:I think you're a parasite. If nothing else you're making money off the lives of the people who work for you. But I don't think that's the sole point. I don't believe for 1 second you were poor. You don't get to fail over and over again at running a business if you're poor in this country. Also, even if everything you're saying is true, you're STILL a parasite because it's the work of others that provide you the security you need to be so condescending, others that you think are beneath you. People like you make me sick. You think because you're good at something an idiot market values means you're worth more as a person than someone who's just as good, if not better, at something the market doesn't value. As for your friends, it's been my observation that assholes enjoy the company of other assholes.

(Edited to make it not so harsh)


This is amazing! What other news do you bring from 1848? Is your pal Karl doing alright?
Last edited by rbarm on Tue May 01, 2012 3:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

jpers36
Posts: 234
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:47 pm UTC
Location: The 3-manifold described by Red and Blue

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:reich-wing


Self-marginalizing apoplexy.

(I'm not an Objectivist)

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Tue May 01, 2012 3:45 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.


Here's a start.
http://www.bjs.gov/content/dcf/correct.cfm
This is not completely up to date, maybe because it's an official government organization trying to collect statistics on government actions.
At the end of 2007, 27% of the 4.3 million adults on probation were for drug offenses.
In 2002, 25% of jail inmates were for drug offenses. 156,000 of them.
In 2005, 20% of inmates in state prisons were for drug offenses. 253,000.
At the end of 2007, 53% of sentenced federal prisoners were for drug offenses. 95,400.

This particular link does not cover people waiting trial. About 60% of drug offenders were held without bail, and then the large majority of them are released on probation. This fits the Obama halfway measure -- they are currently pushing for fewer drug prisoners and more drug treatment. They claim to now be spending more money on treatment for drug offenders than on incarceration.

Maybe these statistics were cherrypicked by the BJS. Maybe you can find better sources.

Here's a possible way you might have gotten that 80% number.
http://www.homehealthtesting.com/blog/2 ... -drug-use/
These guys claim that more than 80% of prisoners use drugs. Some of them were using drugs when they committed violent or other crimes. If we count up all the prisoners with any known drug involvement, we can get it to 80% or more. But it isn't that 80% of prisoners are there for nonviolent drug use.

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 have a suggestive statistic that around half of some group of drug prisoners were for trafficking. And probably a large fraction of the ones for possession were plea-bargained etc down to that. If it's true that most prisoners are in fact dealers, could that suggest to you that perhaps capitalism has something to do with it after all? Ideal duke-of-queensbury ethical capitalists would not dynamite their competitors' factories or try to get their competitors jailed. But not all real capitalists are so fastidious. Also, lots of business owners prefer that their employees not have access to drugs that can make their employees less effective on the job. Caffeine is fine, nicotine maybe, but not much more. They don't want their employees jailed, they want their employees' dealers jailed. And that's what happens.

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.


I made a start at finding those simple statistics. Maybe you'll carry on and get the right numbers? I saw various claims that the big increase has not been drugs (which has stayed steady around 50% of federal prisoners for a long time) but "public order" crimes -- notably guns and immigrants.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue May 01, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:More holistically, its hard to find a person and approach them and say - "Hey, do you want to live a happy life or a miserable life?" and expect the latter answer. I think that's an outside indicator of the fact that the purpose of morality - the only reason to have it, as opposed to have none, sit down and wait to die - is if one wishes to live, and live a good, happy life.

Why do you think that's a reason for that conclusion?
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

Communists were also the biggest supporters of universal suffragism in early America--ironically, many of the early communists in 20th century America joined the ACLU, quite possibly one of the most pro-secular, pro-rights, pro-liberty organizations out there


Oh, I know - it's a point I've brought up before in arguments. But the tradition is still there. Take Upton Sinclair, the famous socialist who wrote "The Jungle". Here are his views on the dusky skinned Chicago underclass:

‘The ancestors of these black people had been savages in Africa, and since then they had been chattel slaves, or had been held down by a community ruled by the traditions of slavery. Now for the first time they were free – free to gratify every passion, free to wreck themselves.



Anyway, I just want to confirm--your position is that the Nazis picked 'Socialist' because they wanted to apply socialism to aryans? That's the reason that the word is there?


Pretty much.

HugoSchmidt wrote:Because he didn't claim they were the same, merely related. And what I've been saying is that that is the objectivist position on this.
Okay, can I just get some clarification here? When you say "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", do you actually mean "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", or do you mean "Objectivism, as a whole, does not claim"?


Yes, if it will get us off this ludicrous carousel.

sanjavalen wrote:Basically, Objectivism says - if you wish to live, if you wish to thrive as a human being, then yes, there is a particular moral system that objectively serves this goal in a more consistent way than any other.
Is this very accurate, or are you skipping a lot of critical nuance in the interests of simplicity?

That's pretty accurate. As Yaron Brook Says, being selfish is genuinely hard work.

Stalin wasn't an objectivist, and his moral system seems to have served him enormously well. He died a happy, well-fed tyrant.


Actually, Stalin died a terrified, tortured neurotic. He crept on hands and feet between different rooms because he was afraid of being shot through the windows. He had an utterly miserable life.

The central insight of Ayn Rand's morality is that honesty, productiveness, justice, integrity etc. are absolutely essential for a happy, flourishing life.

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 4:01 pm UTC

sanjavalen wrote:-bunch of paragraphs-


A lot of paragraphs to not say much. And definitely nothing specific. Although I concede that that may be a function of space and time available, I think if you put that much time and space into saying what you did, you could have done a better job of addressing the question, and if not addressing the question, at least explaining your position. The only thing out of all these paragraphs that I can identify as a possible objectivist value is "Do what you enjoy, not just what makes you money" which is something I can agree with. It's also something that's completely counter to capitalism. It's also not always possible. What do you do if you CAN'T get work doing what you enjoy? What do you do if what you enjoy doesn't pay enough to live? Start your own business (that's what I always here from Libertarians when posed with those questions)? What if you, like me, can think of few things worse than running a business as a career? What if you, like me, don't really get along well with people and know that your personality would lead you to being a failure at running a business?

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:
sanjavalen wrote:Sorry; I'm happy to answer honest questions from people who are nice. Not people who's purpose is just to pick a fight, or who call me a monster. I hope its obvious why I'm not interested in that.


Oh, I get it. Tough questions can't be honest questions? And they have to be wrapped up in a little bow of bullshit to make everything all nice? I find it so comical how people like to refuse to see reason (or argue it) simply because it doesn't come presented to them with flowers and sunshine. No, I'm not nice..


Hey, Kaylakaze - you stopped robbing schoolkids yet? Answer yes or no. Come on, answer the tough question.


That doesn't even make sense. The questions I asked of him were in no way like that. They were laid out as "Here's a situation. What do your ethics say about it?" I don't see how someone can pretend that that's anything like what you imply.

JudeMorrigan
Posts: 1266
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue May 01, 2012 4:16 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.

*boggle*

And I suppose the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are totally about democracy and republicanism.

Kaylakaze
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

drazen wrote:The rest of us have a simple critique: your actions are unjustifiably and immorally causing us harm in the pursuit of your own goals, and we will fight you forvever (to varying degrees).


And I say the same to you.


drazen wrote:But that does NOT mean I give quarter to those who say "Give me stuff or I will be a criminal." Get your own stuff. If you cannot get your own stuff and you try to take mine or someone else's, you deserve the bullet that's coming to you.


Would that not BE getting my own stuff? Its yours only be the virtue of you having it. Once I take it from you, it then becomes mine. You claim you earned whatever it is you had, but it's a lie. You took it. It may have gone through a long chain of takers and changed form to a lesser or greater degree, but ultimately, it was taken to begin with, no different than what you would now claim to be theft.

drazen wrote:I am not, in any way, legally responsible for young peoples' inability or unwillingness to save. To create a system in which I somehow am, against my will, is an immoral act, and I reject it outright.


Which is why you are both a monster and an asshole.

And the rest is just more foolish asshatery.

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 4:26 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan 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.

*boggle*

And I suppose the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are totally about democracy and republicanism.


It's not that you make crap, cliched arguments. It's that you make crap, cliched arguments that have already been resolved on this thread.

Neiman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Neiman » Tue May 01, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

I always saw Rand's philosophy as a lovely thought, but highly impractical. Sort of like how I felt about communism. What I always wanted to know was why she called it Objectivism, and how exactly motherhood played into the whole philosophy? Objectivism I assume refers to things being objective? That never seemed like the "point" of Rand's little ethical code, unless she was laying it out as gospel and saying "I've gathered it all up for you, this is what is objectively true." Still doesn't seem like what she really meant.

But for the second point, how does an Objectivist raise children? I know Rand didn't have any. How do you view something which not only spends 9 months literally being sort of parasitic - and then requires constant care and maintenance. An immediate drain on resources which will eventually be paid off. But it won't be really? Assuming you raise the child to be a good Objectivist, he would never support you once you got old, nor demand anything from you, but you have to get him to that stage. What's the Objectivist reason to send the child to college? Since the parent is looking out for his own best interest, but would consider himself a parasite to take or somehow be a drain on his child's resources, do they just part ways at 18? Younger or older even I suppose, whenever the child has nothing to gain from the parent?

This is the question that baffles me about Rand, the one really Rand-oriented person I knew just said "I would never have kids these days, it's just selfish" which raised only MORE questions...

iamspen
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby iamspen » Tue May 01, 2012 4:30 pm UTC

drazen wrote:
I am not, in any way, legally responsible for young peoples' inability or unwillingness to save. To create a system in which I somehow am, against my will, is an immoral act, and I reject it outright.


Perhaps you're not legally responsible, but if you're an employer, and pay your young employees, through no fault of their own, less than a living wage (or, for college graduates, value them less than they value their studies which they are using to your direct benefit), or otherwise support a system in which these practices are tolerated, you are ethically responsible for such things, are you not? And if something violates the ethics of society at large, it takes a rather crass individual to say, "Meh, whatever, it's not like it's illegal."

capefeather
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby capefeather » Tue May 01, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:This entire debate is flawed. I've sloughed through nine pages of bickering and nitpicking and, though I find the debate quite fascinating in itself, I'm no more or less educated about the philosophy of objectivism as I was when I started, which is to say I'm still completely stupid in regards to what that philosophy actually is. etc. etc.


Quoting this because I think clarity is more relevant here than anything else. Am I right, then, in skipping all the posts here, not bothering to try to find a simple explanation of Rand? I've always felt that if you can't explain it simply, you're doing it wrong, and I highly suspect from the quoted post that Rand has not been explained simply thus far. Referring to books really should not have a point. I likely do not have the time/motivation/resources to go out and buy all of the books that have been thrown around. The "unenlightened" party should be given the core principles and the tools to derive the moral philosophy of Rand.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:
Anyway, I just want to confirm--your position is that the Nazis picked 'Socialist' because they wanted to apply socialism to aryans? That's the reason that the word is there?


Pretty much.
So, I actually got off my ass and looked it up; as far as I can tell, you're pretty much right--at least, if it wasn't the initial explanation for the name, it became the 'official explanation' later on. One of Nazi Germany's policies was apparently called 'Volkisch equality', wherein the plan was to set up a welfare state for 'suitable Aryans'. So consider my point retracted--'socialist' in the name is actually a reference to a very specific type of racially-driven socialism.
HugoSchmidt wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Okay, can I just get some clarification here? When you say "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", do you actually mean "Neither I nor any Objectivist claims", or do you mean "Objectivism, as a whole, does not claim"?


Yes, if it will get us off this ludicrous carousel.
"Are you saying X, or are you saying Y?" -- "YES."

GOD DAMMIT WHAT THE HELL.
HugoSchmidt wrote:Actually, Stalin died a terrified, tortured neurotic. He crept on hands and feet between different rooms because he was afraid of being shot through the windows. He had an utterly miserable life.
I... what? Can you cite a source for this? There are shitloads of anecdotes about Stalin's death, most of them are bullshit. The basic line I've heard was 'nothing particularly remarkable, dude had a stroke, guards were afraid to do anything because they didn't want to get their asses purged, doctors were afraid to do anything because they didn't want to get their asses purged'.

And even assuming this was true, what about Pol Pot? Same situation--I mean, he didn't die in luxury, but he definitely didn't 'face the music'. History is full of absolute bastards who live happy, content, uninterrupted lives. Christ, you want an example-- how about the recent financial crisis? How negatively has it impacted the people who engaged in dishonest business practices?
HugoSchmidt wrote:The central insight of Ayn Rand's morality is that honesty, productiveness, justice, integrity etc. are absolutely essential for a happy, flourishing life.
So wait--the central insight is that the world is constructed in such a way that honesty and productiveness produce the best results?

Why? Why the hell would anyone assume this about the universe? It's not the mold evolution follows--it's not what science implies--it's not what any moderate application of reason tells us. It's just an assumption, pulled out of our butts, unverified by anything more than a bunch of fluffy anecdotal evidence and a fistful of 'nuh-uhs'.

The universe does not necessarily reward goodness. The universe is not assembled in such a way that if we are honest, and sincere, and strong, and productive, and just, we should expect to receive what we 'deserve'. The universe is indifferent, and it's possible--perhaps even likely--that it's structured in such a way that life is ultimately a self-destructive enterprise--we could exist in a universe filled with dead planets resulting from the inevitable cycle of technological escalation leading to ultimately an act of inescapable self-destruction. I mean, that's a pretty fucking grim picture, but it's a possible one.

Why would you assume to know anything about the way this thing works? And then how would you have the balls to call that set of assumptions 'rational'?

iamspen
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby iamspen » Tue May 01, 2012 4:47 pm UTC

capefeather wrote:Quoting this because I think clarity is more relevant here than anything else. Am I right, then, in skipping all the posts here, not bothering to try to find a simple explanation of Rand? I've always felt that if you can't explain it simply, you're doing it wrong, and I highly suspect from the quoted post that Rand has not been explained simply thus far. Referring to books really should not have a point. I likely do not have the time/motivation/resources to go out and buy all of the books that have been thrown around. The "unenlightened" party should be given the core principles and the tools to derive the moral philosophy of Rand.


If you're interested in the debate and are also expecting the various arguments to construct sort of a primer on Randian/Objectivist philosophical theory, you'll be profoundly disappointed. But if you're more interested in a good debate because of the debate and have the critical thinking abilities to pick up on various nuances and put them together to, at the very least, be able to form an opinion on the consequences of the philosophy, if not the philosophy itself, it's worth the read.

rbarm
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:10 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby rbarm » Tue May 01, 2012 4:56 pm UTC

So far, in this thread, I've read people say that:

1. Comparing North Korea to South Korea is nonsense (although they did share the same culture, history and economic situation up to the point of division), while comparing Somalia to the USA is perfectly logical (although their histories, cultures and economic situations have never had absolutely nothing in common);

2. Marxism gets along really well with democracy (although what came to be known as Leninism is recognized as the logical result of Marxism since long before Leninism was actually developed - and Leninism is a perfectly good example of authoritarianism);

3. Capitalism is the greatest of all evils (although it does allow us to discuss it and even reject it without being thrown in a forced labour camp in Siberia).

Keep up the good work.

Cranica
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Cranica » Tue May 01, 2012 4:59 pm UTC

I've been hurting my head trying to read the last few pages. Might I suggest that those of you interested in ethics debate ethics directly, and not what Rand thought or what Objectivism is? Definitions, especially composite ones, are a nebulous business.

Jamaican Castle
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue May 01, 2012 5:02 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.


Okay, then, what "many" policies did they enact that "are called" Socialist?
As mentioned above, the assertion that because they use the word "socialist" in the party name, they follow the doctrine of socialism is absurd. Obviously there are a wide variety of charming dictatorial "People's Republics of Wherever" to point at, but there are more prosaic examples. I sincerely doubt the US Democratic Party wants to return to direct voting on issues a la classical Athenian democracy, for example.

I'll tell you what they did do - they taxed the crap out of people. To cover for not raising the taxes on most people unduly (although I'm sure they did that, too, what with the war going on), they effectively taxed some people 100%, by seizing their businesses and assets, sending them off to camps, and forcing them into slave labor. Which isn't to say that it was morally equivalent to a particularly stringent tax, of course, but from an economic perspective that's what it was.

Now, you're saying, raising taxes is a liberal, socialist thing to do, which it is. But what did they do with that tax revenue? In the classic socialist state (say, Sweden), you'd be looking at a variety of social welfare programs like public healthcare, unemployment benefits, and so on, plus a healthy dose of education and maybe some infrastructure projects (on top of all the usual junk governments have to pay for, of course).

In Nazi Germany, you were mostly looking at the military. They underwent massive industrialization and militarization efforts prior to the war that sparked a variety of conferences and sternly-worded letters and Neville Chamberlain, and they only ramped up as they actually went to war and didn't have to bother with treaties on production any more. This is how they were able to wipe the floor with Continental Europe - they'd built their economy around war years in advance.

So instead of tax revenues going to schools, hospitals, and roads, they were going towards guns, tanks, ginormous battleships, more guns, and running concentration camps. Bit of a difference, wouldn't you think?

(Yes, I'm aware that the Soviets also spent a lot of their revenue on excessive military projects. But the fact of the matter is, the Soviet leaders were mostly bad communists, and bad people (except Gorby, I suppose). And even they gave lip service to the idea of providing for their common people, they just contrived to never follow through.)

(I'm also aware that a lot of countries, the US included, pay quite a bit for their militaries. But that regularly provokes heated comments from socialists too, so however you slice it militarism is not one of their values.)

(I'm also also aware that I shouldn't parenthesize whole paragraphs like this, and will shut up now.)

HugoSchmidt
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HugoSchmidt » Tue May 01, 2012 5:05 pm UTC

One of Nazi Germany's policies was apparently called 'Volkisch equality', wherein the plan was to set up a welfare state for 'suitable Aryans'. So consider my point retracted--'socialist' in the name is actually a reference to a very specific type of racially-driven socialism.


Correct. Hence the idea that they are not the same, but are kin.

I... what? Can you cite a source for this?

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791377?seq=3

Christ, you want an example-- how about the recent financial crisis? H


Take Bernie Madoff. He lived his entire life a lie, his own son committed suicide out of shame for his father's actions (could anyone recover from this?). Here's what Madoff says to an interviewer:

“It was a nightmare for me,” he told investigators, using the word over and over, as if he were the real victim. “I wish they caught me six years ago, eight years ago.”


http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/10 ... madoff.php

People who act in this way are miserable, pain-wracked creatures, who really want only their own death. Lying, cheating, stealing - these are not conducive to happiness.

The universe does not necessarily reward goodness. T


To be sure, living a moral life does not guarantee success - but it is only a moral life that makes it even possible. There are people who have endured the worst horrors imaginable, because they never gave up their individual minds.

JonT
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 6:56 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby JonT » Tue May 01, 2012 6:22 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? Have you heard of Guantanamo Bay and the phrase "black site"? Or "death row"?


Are you familiar with the definition of "rely"? I'm talking widespread deprivations where groups or classes are left to starve to death. If you look at the poor here, the problem of obesity is far greater than starvation. And prisons are a net DRAG on the economy. As for Death Camps - can you tell me where I can find one of this gulags? Where does Walmart send its political prisoners? Do they cost-share with Exxon?

Kaylakaze wrote:Also, none of the locations you mentioned exist in a vacuum. They have all been the victims of capitalist imperialism.


Help me out here - which capitalist country's imperialism compelled Stalin to massacre millions? I missed that in history class, even in Cambridge.

Kaylakaze wrote:And if you think Capitalism finishes a distant third, you need to study the history of the industrial revolution in the US and England. The story of the little match girl wasn't made up out of whole cloth.


Might I suggest you study math to find your error.

Mike250
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 8:36 am UTC

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Mike250 » Tue May 01, 2012 6:29 pm UTC

The end of the quote from Ayn Rand Answers states: "...they didn't have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using." (pg 103). Since Rand stated the Indians "were not using", I cannot imagine that she would not grant rights where they were using property consistent with Western culture property standards.

By and large, I think she is correct in her answer. The general conception and use before European settlement was as I stated previously. Rand's answer was aimed at that point. She was arguing against those who claim that Native Americans have "rights" outside this context (i.e. existing in the state of the "noble savage"), and any settlement by Europeans was therefore invalid. This was the main thrust of her point, and I think the point is valid. She probably wasn't aware of the full history and some tribes assimilating and so forth, and, again, I cannot imagine she would be against that. The Founding Fathers were not against that.

George Washington and much of subsequent US policy encouraged assimilation to civilized culture. Forced removal was actually against official policy in most circumstances (to my knowledge), it was just that some, mostly in the South, disobeyed the policy. That is not to say that some Indian tribes were not wrongly dispossessed of the land, but we also need to look at it from the perspective that Native Americans' conceptualization of property rights was essentially non-existent. This obviously made it very difficult for cultures to coexist under such competing views of property, especially when one considers that almost all the land that is now the USA was unclaimed.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 47 guests