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Ayn Rand versus conservatives

Posted by Zenphamy 3 years, 2 months ago to Philosophy
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Since so much of Galt's Gulch Online content has become conservative headline aggregation posting and commentary over the last several months, let's discuss what Ayn Rand thought of conservatives and conservativism. She put forth quite a bit of commentary on the subject, particularly after Atlas Shrugged came out.

To put it bluntly, she considered conservatives as big a danger to this country as she did liberals/progressives, considering both leading the country down a path towards statism, socialism, anti-capitalism, and most importantly-anti-freedom. Following is just one quote, there are a number:

“Conservatives”

Objectivists are not “conservatives.” We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish . . .

Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics—on a theory of man’s nature and of man’s relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice. When, however, men attempt to rush into politics without such a base, the result is that embarrassing conglomeration of impotence, futility, inconsistency and superficiality which is loosely designated today as “conservatism.” . . .

Today’s culture is dominated by the philosophy of mysticism (irrationalism)—altruism—collectivism, the base from which only statism can be derived; the statists (of any brand: communist, fascist or welfare) are merely cashing in on it—while the “conservatives” are scurrying to ride on the enemy’s premises and, somehow, to achieve political freedom by stealth. It can’t be done.

The Objectivist Newsletter

“Choose Your Issues,”
The Objectivist Newsletter, Jan, 1962, 1

So What Do You Think Conservatives


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    Posted by broskjold22 3 years, 2 months ago
    "Unable to resolve a lethal contradiction, the conflict between individualism and altruism, the West is giving up. When men give up reason and freedom, the vacuum is filled by faith and force.

    No social system can stand for long without a moral base. Project a magnificent skyscraper being built on quicksands: while men are struggling upward to add the hundredth and two-hundredth stories, the tenth and twentieth are vanishing, sucked under by the muck. That is the history of capitalism, of its swaying, tottering attempt to stand erect on the foundation of the altruist morality."
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    • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 years, 2 months ago
      The contradiction of individualism and altruism. Is this the question to today's androids (a computer brain without a mind to control it) that causes self destruction?
      My understanding of conservatism is a conservation of principals intended in our constitution.
      Your right, one cannot be altruistically individual.
      One can only make a choice and except the consequences, that's about as "altruistic" as it gets, however, it's still a choice. One with sound mind would never deny self but might chose to take a chance in favor of another.
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    • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
      Are we allowed to reason God exists? If I conclude He does, then does Objectivism force me to deny it?
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      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
        It does not force in the sense of physical force, but the statement that god exists is totally incompatible with reason and therefore objectivism.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
          Depends on what you view as God. Whatever force or power allowed me to exist and think - other than the public schools - is fine with me. For one I have never been afraid of the dark.
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        • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
          Why is reason compatible with reason? Do you not have to have faith in reason to ensure that your reasoning is consistent? If you reasoning isn't consistent, what good is it?
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          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
            "Do you not have to have faith in reason" James you seem to be very confused on what reason is.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              As he is on many words and concepts he tries to use and *'confabulate' all of us with.
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              • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                Sometimes our education blinds us to reality and I simply believe, as you believe in reason being man's ultimate means of perception, that your faith in reason has limits which cannot address much of the metaphysical.

                I simply bring to the table not a formal education in psychology or philosophy but an understanding of reality from a source external to myself.

                I seek to have a dialogue within this forum, which is advocated from my understanding, to understand why your faith in reason as man's ultimate means to perception is valid.

                Yes, confabulate is my objective, if that is what you really mean.
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                • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                  But james, faith in reason is an oxymoron. The two words are opposite in meaning and application.
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                  • -2
                    Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    They are not opposite...one is subordinated to the other, regardless whether you have reasoned such.

                    There is absolutely no means of perception on this earth that doesn't start out with first principles or precepts that must be taken on faith; therefore, with reasoning being a means of perception, its first principles/precepts must be taken on faith. Read the following as my proof of this concerning the theory of evolution.

                    For example, let's assume all Objectivists are atheists and by that they believe man evolved by random means over time. If that is the case, then what you call reason and your conclusions from such a process can change because you have no basis for it not to change since you believe we are evolving via random processes over time. How can you say your reasoning process is valid when you can never say that man will always reason the same way?

                    I am honestly trying to understand.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                      james; It seems that what you think of as reason/faith is opposite to most definitions I can find and certainly, from Objectivism. Reason based on rational perception of reality and performed logically, is man's only tool that enables him to survive and prosper. I can't think of any description that reason is a means of perception. Following are the definitions:

                      "Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.[1] It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature.[2] The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to intuitive reason.[3]

                      Reason or "reasoning" is associated with thinking, cognition, and intellect. Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. For example, it is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad. It is also closely identified with the ability to self-consciously change beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and institutions, and therefore with the capacity for freedom and self-determination"
                      And:
                      "Faith is complete confidence or trust in a person or thing; or a belief not based on proof. It may also refer to a particular system of religious belief.[1] The term 'faith' has numerous connotations and is used in different ways, often depending on context"

                      As to man's evolution being purely a random process or set of random events, I'm not going to get into that quagmire with you. I will only say that your description of evolutionary process is incorrect, based on empirical evidence and experimentation. I fully understand that your definition is largely based on the Biblical--that God created man in his own image. But you can have no idea or concept of what God's image is, since you believe that God is unknowable and unfathomable except as revealed to the writers of your Bible.

                      Essentially, we're going to have a really tough time communicating until we can reach agreement on our language and accepted definitions. Your belief system of knowledge is going to keep butting heads with my fact system of knowledge. That doesn't mean that I won't continue to try, but I would ask that you do a little work on your own in reaching a little more in depth understanding of Objectivism. I was raised in your religion/faith/system until I reached a level of cognitive growth that recognized the contradictions in that system and understand it fully.

                      It's only fair that I ask that you put yourself on an equal footing by studying just a little of what you're arguing against.

                      .
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            • -1
              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              Ok, tell me if you agree with this....do you use faith to learn anything?
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              • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
                No - faith is believing is something you know is not so.
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                • -3
                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Oh, I see...you believe faith is blind, else, there is no need for it correct?

                  I would argue that faith is required at some level for all means of perception, whether it is the laws of nature or God. The problem with faith in the laws of nature is you cannot be sure the laws of nature will not change so your reasoning from one period to the next may be inconsistent.
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      • Posted by blackswan 3 years, 2 months ago
        It's impossible to "reason" about origins. No matter how you address it, you can say that everything "just happened," or you can say that there was some being or force that started everything. In either case, there is no proof for any of it. Our understanding must start with "existence exists," and leave it at that. If we choose to accept a God, or not, it's mere speculation, another term for "faith." Rather than arguing about that, we should focus on what we need to do to live well now, which I think Ayn Rand addressed better than anyone I've come across.
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        • -2
          Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
          You don't believe that something came from nothing do you? There is nothing in science that can show something comes from nothing; therefore, you have to deal with the uncaused cause. If you believe something came from nothing, then that would imply that, sequentially, reason came from nothing, since, in context, we came from nothing.

          Thoughts?
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          • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago
            The premise in your question is that there was a 'before' there was "something" and it was "nothing". How do you know that?
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              Well, it's because he 'believes' it and he has 'faith' that it's true, and because reality interferes with that belief and trust in faith he then conflates 'reason' which is a process of the mind, with something or the lack of something which are ways of describing concepts, and then add in a little bit of time (before), a scientific measurement--if all of that sounds a little confusing, that's his intent. If you are confused then he can answer because God, which by definition is beyond human comprehension, and there you have it. Tah-Dah!'

              Does anyone gain any actual, factual knowledge from that which will help him deal with his life in reality? Well no, but that's kind of the intent, you see. Now you'll be ready to support him so that he can explain all of this again to you on Sunday and maybe vote the way he tells you that God, who you can't comprehend or hear, but he can, told him to instruct you to vote that way, and keep supporting him so he can keep explaining to you how to live so that someday, after you die, and can't call him on it if he lied to you, you'll be able to meet God.

              He's just made you his slave.
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              • -1
                Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                People make themselves slaves. I simply want to understand why you elevate reason as the ultimate means of man's perception and deny that you are using faith in reason to achieve this.
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            • -2
              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              I know that something cannot come from nothing. If you can refute that, I will listen.
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              • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago
                Do you have a direct answer to my question?

                How do you know there was "nothing" before there was "something"? That was your assertion; and I assumed you knew what your were saying, so an explanation should be simple.
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                • -4
                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Yes, I do have a direct answer.

                  Something has always existed and it is either physical or metaphysical; therefore, I do not believe that "nothing" was before the "something" that produced matter.

                  If you believe it is solely physical, then how do you get meaning, value and morals? If metaphysical, and it created the physical, couldn't the metaphysical reveal meaning, value and morals?
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                  • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago
                    The questions you have to be honest with yourself about are related to 'how you know what you assert'.

                    In the absence of objective evidence, your assertions are beliefs (faith) comprised of your subjective presumptions. As a matter of faith, your belief has no more credence than any other assertion without objective evidence to support it.

                    Drill back into your beliefs and, at each level, ask yourself, "how do I know that?" You'll find where you believe just because you want to believe; or, you'll eventually reason your way out of faith's web of false alternatives to ideas that are supported by the evidence of existence.
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                  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                    There is no difference metaphysics pertains to reality that which is solely physical is reality unless you are a Platonic mystic on a 700 club trip.The rest is menudo.
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              • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                How do you know that? I don't know that. I don't think the other Objectivists on this site know that.
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                • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Ok since empiricism is extolled here, I posit that you empirically cannot say that something can come from nothing. Neither of us can go back in time, but we can only inductively seek to understand what remnants of the past show us. Empirically, the physical remnants of the past only show you that something is there and all estimates of what scientists think caused "something" are based on educational guesses (i.e. faith).

                  It takes more faith to say God isn't the cause vs. saying He is because if He isn't the cause, then you are valueless except in your own mind, as a result of evolutionary thinking.

                  If you refuse to address the development of absolute (not cultural or subjective) values, then your philosophy is vapid.
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      • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
        You can do anything you want to do since Objectivism does not incorporate force. But proselytizing and trying to get away with the use of an oxymoron on my postings will usually in a response from me pointing out the fallacies attempted, or a flag.

        Logical, Rational Reason Does Not = God. Only Belief Can = Fairy Dust, Magic Incantations, Ghosts, or Flying Pigs
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        • -1
          Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
          Again, believing reason is the ultimate mechanism for man to arrive at answers requires faith because there is nothing keeping two from reasoning only to arrive at opposing conclusions. If you say they have to follow established rational rules for reasoning, those who established the rules can change them correct?

          Not sure how I am proselytizing. If you know the heart of man, then you are advocating you have abilities akin to an omniscient being, which is not allowed here. Last I checked we are allowed to discuss the tenets of Objectivism, a key point of which is reason, is it not?

          I am sure this forum is not designed for only blind Objectivists.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
            james; The best answer for you was provided by Rand:

            " Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone."

            Bye now.
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            • -2
              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              "Leave them alone" to what?

              Did Ms. Rand just give up?

              I think that she hit a wall in her philosophy and reasoned the unknown (limitations of reason) is unknowable. How unfortunate...
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              • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                That's just a silly analysis of Rand's quote.
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                • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Ok...explain it then.

                  Lastly, you won't find my responses including derogatory terms such as "silly," "stupid," "dumb,", etc... because I intend to explain my position because I know it is valid and I believe if others have a legitimate question (not a question to be pejorative or condescending) I am more than willing to answer it. I am not above it.
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                  • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                    But your answers and explanations are nonsense. I'm not going to waste my time and mental energy trying to explain anymore to you. You're an adult human, supposedly with a mind. Use it.
                    If you're unable to use reason in a logically rational way, you have nothing of value to offer to an Objectivist,
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        • -3
          Posted by jimjamesjames 3 years, 2 months ago
          A "belief" is neither truth nor fact. As such, beliefs are chosen. A rational person chooses their beliefs, knowing they are neither truth nor fact, wisely. I use the term "necessary fictions" for my beliefs and, because they are beliefs, I am under no obligation to defend or explain or rationalize them. My favorite necessary fiction is that I look the same as I did 50 years ago!!! and I maintain that belief by never looking in a mirror.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
            This is called "evasion". It is dishonest. A rational person does not choose "beliefs knowing they are neither truth nor fact". There is no such thing as a "necessary fiction".
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            • -4
              Posted by jimjamesjames 3 years, 2 months ago
              I invented "necessary fictions," so they exist. I use them which validates their value to me. So there!!!

              An example of a necessary fiction of great value, the irrational belief in a God. To paraphrase Napoleon, "Religion keeps the poor from murdering the rich" which is way beneficial for we rich. It is a NECESSARY fiction because it improves my quality of life.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                Cynically dishonest manipulation of both yourself and others is not "necessary" and does not improve life. Please do not associate your ideas with Ayn Rand. They are even worse than Pragmatism.
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                • Posted by jimjamesjames 3 years, 2 months ago
                  After 60+ years of reading AR, being anal retentive about every word she wrote does not improve my quality of life. Maybe yours, but not mine.

                  In fact, a new necessary fiction for the season: " I will not gain 10 pounds between T-Giving and the Superbowl."
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                    If after over 60 years of trying to read Ayn Rand you have no better understanding than your previous posts cynically advocating unprincipled manipulation and dishonest "necessary fictions" it's no wonder your "quality of life" is still no better than worrying about gaining 10 lbs. Comprehension and rational thought require something other than "anal retention".
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      • Posted by PURB 3 years, 2 months ago
        Allowed by whom? What an unusual participle--and why here in a discussion on conservatism? I have a batch of old "conservative" pamphlets from the 1960's and earlier. Few mention belief in God as a defining feature, let alone the defining feature, of conservatism.
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
          Having lived through the 1950s and 1960s, I saw firsthand how most conservatives cited religion (predominantly Christianity) as their moral base. Even today, conservative Republican presidential candidates emphasize how their religious beliefs will strongly influence the decisions they will make if elected President.
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          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
            Frankly, I like that a candidate reveals his moral code, faith based or otherwise. Having him or her openly profess his/her beliefs offers me some degree of framework toward how he/she makes a decision. This knowledge, out of their own mouthes, creates an easily recognizable pitfall if/when when they do something out of character. Its the ambiguity of "hope and change" that emphasize the need for such knowledge...at least to me.
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            • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
              When push comes to shove, faith-based candidates will sacrifice your Constitutional rights to the dictates of a "higher power." Current example: "Rubio: ‘God’s rules’ trump Supreme Court decisions."
              http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/p...
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              • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                Does that not make your choice easier? That knowledge. Far better than the phony non-partisan positions for judges, sheriffs and dog catchers.
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                • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                  If I wished to support any R or D candidates, it would make my choice harder, since the candidates at the free-market end of the spectrum are all pandering to the religious right on social and moral issues.

                  Since I plan to once again vote for the Libertarian candidate (which I have done since 1972), my choice is already easy.
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                  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                    The answer to you dilemma is misplacing and misdefining their positions in the political spectrum. Properly defined and placed there is no, are no problem in sorting out a lot of seeming contradictions,

                    As Rand said when you think you have a contradiction check your premises one or more of them will be wrong.

                    First off the center as you were no doubt taught is the center of the left not the true center of political discourse. That would be the Constitution.

                    On the left the Democrats are the left wing of the left and primarily socialist statist/corporatists. the Republicans for the most part including their majority and their leadership are are the right wing OF THE left and primarily socialist corporatist/statists.

                    Both of them believe in control of people by Government.

                    The Constitution is the constant int he center the pivot point - used or not.

                    Opposed to the Republicans and the Democrats who together form what I call the Government party are people who believe

                    Citizens control Government as their temporary servants

                    The two opposites are Government Control and Citizen Control. We have the first and do not have the second. Since since 1913.

                    Your position is somewhere in the middle something like JFK who was an economic conservative and liberal in most other areas.

                    The term used by the left is bi-conceptualism meaning you see and agree with part of one concept and disagree with another. Makes you a target for both. This is where two other terms come up bi-partisanship and cross-partisanship and the notion can't we all get along. No we can't and we shouldn't.

                    But the arrangement is such you think you have only two choices. You don't and are not limited to left or right. I

                    The opposite of your dilemma is since the candidates at the controlled or State Economics end of the spectrum are all all pandering to the religious and secular left on social and moral issues. Neither one of the recognizes your position as valid only as a hunting ground for votes.

                    Now look around and see who or what philosophy might allow you the one thing that's missing in both parts of the Government Coalition.

                    You don't get to think for yourself . No independent thought and conclusions and no freedom of choice.

                    Where might you find that situation. Libertarians? Some of the Splinter parties. discussions here in the Gulch and other forums but you will never find it with the Rino Controlled Republicans nor the Democrats. It isn't allowed don't you know? Not cricket.

                    Last sentence using the above model or construct leads you to where you are at but with less confusion and less chance of being co-opted but what in fact is The Left Government Over People.

                    When in doubt check premises do your research, ask questions. Also For any question another good Rand Quote. There are three answers. Right, Wrong, and Compromise which makes a total of two Wrong and one Right answer.

                    Congratulations you are almost there.

                    I'm not a Libertarian myself I'm a Constitutionalist. Not a party but a belief.
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                    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Sorry to leave part of this hanging. There is no such thing as a free market except perhaps a neighborhood yard sale. The famous laissez faire nous or leave me alone phrase has never existed in in practice. Business is and has always been under control of the Government to one extent or another. That is why it was so easy to fiddle the regulations and put all those small banks out of business in 2008. I have no idea where you could find a free market on the planet? Anyone?
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                    • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                      From the Libertarian Party platform: " The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war."
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                      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Section 9 Article 2 of the Constitution

                        The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require.

                        That particular portion would require an amendment. (OR an Obamative)
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            • Posted by DeanStriker 3 years, 2 months ago
              When "moral code" is based upon Blind Faith, what remains of Reason?
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              • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                blind faith...interesting choice of words, a lack of respect too.
                Why is it so egregious to believe/hope for in an afterlife? Why does it matter to anyone how the teachings of Rand fit into my moral code or anyones?

                Unless I'm pushing what I believe on you or anyone I do not understand why people get so bent each time I mention faith in any context. A moral code doesn't have to be yours or mine, its simply a measure. If a politician is willing to put his neck on the line professing his moral code then its there to be chopped off if he fails to live up to it.

                No skin off my nose.
                If anything, all of us should hope to know as much about a candidate and why he/she makes the decisions he/she does (whether we believe as they do or not). A profession of faith make knowing easier.
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                • Posted by Mitch 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Well said… It’s a personal belief... Objectivism and religion are not mutually exclusive.

                  A few months ago, there was a science article about the possibility of life on an exoplanet. In a casual conversation I brought up with him, his remarks to me were “You don’t really believe in the possibility of life elsewhere do you?” His point of view is a religious point of view where he believes in creation and the whole store right out of the bible. He’s a good guy and I can respect his views without having to incorporate them as my own.

                  Even though it’s a logical fallacy to prove a negative and we do have proof of evaluation, he still believes what he believes. You see, science is never done, it’s never settled and we should always keep an open mind. The vast majority of people on our planet believe in a higher being, which alone is a metric that needs to be included.
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                  • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Re: “Objectivism and religion are not mutually exclusive.” Whichever side of the issue one chooses, Objectivism and religion actually are mutually exclusive when one drills down to core philosophical questions: What is reality? What do we know and how do we know it? How should we act based upon such knowledge? In her writings, Ayn Rand clearly rejected faith both as a legitimate means of gaining knowledge of reality and as a proper foundation for a system of ethics.
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                    • Posted by Mitch 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Maybe said another way…

                      Just because I don’t recognize a property that you do (faith) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I personally don’t sense a higher being but I leave the possibility that said higher being has choosing not to speak with me. If you ask this person if they have proof of their higher being and almost always they will respond “no, I just know”. Sounds illogical but to the vast majority of our population, this is what they sense/believe. As a rational being, how can I rule out the possibility of a higher being given the fact that I’m an extreme minority.

                      If you asked color blind man to describe red, what would he say?

                      I completely believe that you can be rational while believing in a faith. I personally have choosing not to answer this question, I’ve choosing the path of an agnostic.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Of course faith exists. It's a mental state in those who practice it. Its existence as such doesn't make it a source of knowledge. Faith is an attempt to gain knowledge without regard for the five senses. There is no evidence of any sense organ providing knowledge through faith as a 'sixth sense' but we do know that people have the capacity for imagination. Those who claim they "just know" do not know, they feel it as an emotional state and dogmatically insist on it. Fantasy is not a means of cognition.

                        You can reject the supernatural out of hand because it is based on faith, without proof. That is atheist -- a-theist, meaning rejecting theism -- not agnostic. When someone makes arbitrary claims based on his feelings you properly reject it as cognitively irrelevant, not "gee, maybe". Possibility requires evidence.

                        If in addition the claims are contradictory, which they usually are beyond the most vague notions, then you know it can't possibly be true. Whether or not you are in the minority is irrelevant. No majority can tell you as an individual with your own reasoning mind what you must believe is or is possible, insisting that evidence and reason are irrelevant. Intellectual integrity means you do not submit to it.

                        The color blind man lacks the perceptual ability to distinguish colors, just as everyone else lacks the ability to perceive the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is far more than the range of visible light. It's not an argument for faith. A color blind man can't perceive colors the way you do (either entirely or partially) but he can understand the phenomenon abstractly when you explain physics to him.

                        He can in principle understand it conceptually based on reason, just as we understand much of physics today in realms that are not perceived directly -- from atomic and subatomic physics, to light and electromagnetism, to infrared astronomy, all of which are understood conceptually through proper concepts and principles based on observation and experimental confirmation. A physicist who tried to claim he "just knows" without explanation and proof would (or should) properly be dismissed out of hand along with the theists. It's not science. A physicist can and must pursue hypotheses he has some reason to believe may be true, and try to confirm or disconfirm them through experiment, but he cannot make claims to truth based on faith. Attempting to dress up faith with imaginative rationalizations as has been typical in the church and in modern Creationism, is neither reason nor science.

                        A person cannot simultaneously be rational while claiming knowledge from faith. They are opposites. He can try to rationalize his mysticism, but rationalization with floating abstractions to "derive" or claim to "explain" beliefs from faith is not reason -- it's the old religious endorsement of 'reason' as the 'handmaiden of faith'. He can however 'compartmentalize' and behave rationally in some realms but not others. Anyone who rejects reason entirely cannot live. Belief on faith is a constant danger of polluting and destroying rational knowledge, but some people have successfully kept them apart in some realms enough for very successful thinking, including some prominent scientists through history. If they hadn't been able to break away from the mysticism at all to achieve scientific success despite their religion, we would not be where we are today.
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                      • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                        People can be rational about some things and not others.

                        “Red” is primary sensory input. We directly experience it in the presence of light of certain wavelengths. Even sighted, non-color-blind persons can describe it only through examples of objects that emit or reflect such light. “God” is not a sensory input at all, and descriptions given by believers are all over the map.

                        Majorities do not determine truth. Was the earth flat at a time when only an extreme minority believed otherwise?
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                        • Posted by Mitch 3 years, 2 months ago
                          True, and I agree about the sensory input. My point is it is impossible for me to understand their point of view. And I agree with your statement about the majority.

                          I personally would like to see our philosophy become more mainstream, people do not have to agree with everything to be an objectivist, just enough to get the points. We have to be more inclusive!

                          These arguments about objectivism vs. conservatism or is religion “okay” for an objectivist are juvenile. We have enough in common we should be finding common ground and encouraging other to incorporate more aspects of objectivism. If they choose to believe in a higher being, it affects me in no way what so ever.
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                          • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                            Mitch, They vote, and often they vote the way God instructs them to, either through their own 'God Senses' or those of someone else who has allegedly stronger 'God Senses'.
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                    • -1
                      Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                      But you cannot say that she is not exercising faith in reason to "gaining knowledge of reality;" also, ethics are always questionable until an immutable, external source of deriving them is utilized.
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                      • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Reason is a mental tool for understanding and integrating the evidence of our senses. We directly experience and employ reason – no “faith” is required. Ethics are norms of social conduct that can be derived logically, using reason – no “immutable, external source of deriving them” is required. If rational beings did not exist, ethics would not be necessary or even possible.
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                        • -2
                          Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                          Ok, so how are areas of right and wrong defined absolutely within your reasoning system? By what you have said, a culture could "derive" social conduct to ethically support murder, deceit and thievery. If you say that is impossible, then why is it impossible? Additionally, have you considered why rationality exists? Is it because the survival of the fittest were rational to some level resulting in the death of the unfit irrational?
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                          • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                            Rationality exists to keep you out of the Psychiatric Ward.
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                            • -1
                              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                              With all due respect and sincerity, I question the ability for you (or any Objectivist) to live consistent with your philosophy when you make statements like this. It sounds like you are at the end of your ability to discuss the matter.
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                          • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                            Right and wrong are not absolutes, handed down by some deity or other external source. They are derived from a system of ethics which in turn is derived from one or more sets of values.

                            If a person values his or her own life and well-being, and those of others, that person (using reason) will derive one system of ethics that separates “right” from “wrong”. If instead a person’s highest value is obedience to the dictates of some deity or earthly ruler or “society”, that person will derive a different system of ethics and a different conception of “right” and “wrong”.

                            A person’s values are shaped by a complex mixture of genetics (nature), upbringing (nurture) and most of all, the amount of thinking that person chooses to do regarding the nature of the world and his or her place in it. The values that each person adopts lead (through the use of reason) to the system of ethics that he or she adopts.

                            A culture that encourages its members to value life is more “fit” and able to survive and flourish than one that does not.
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                              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                              Ok, so you would give me that a person, who is an Objectivist, could value murder as "right." Correct?

                              I have asked this multiple times in this forum and for some reason, no one will answer me directly.
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                              • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                                I don’t see how a person who arrives at Objectivist values could attach a positive value to murder. An Objectivist would fall into the category I described above as one in which “a person values his or her own life and well-being, and those of others.” Valuing murder would directly contradict Objectivist values.
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                                • -3
                                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                                  Whether you can see it or not is, with respect, not the issue...it is whether it is possible.

                                  Ok, so if Objectivist value the life of others, whose life has higher value? Can an Objectivist reason to needing to murder someone because they are diminishing your value? If Objectivism doesn't say "You should not murder," then how can one not reason to doing it, in an absolute sense? From where I sit, Objectivism doesn't have an answer to that.

                                  I am not asking this because I like to stir the pot. I am asking because I think Objectivism is inherently flawed and leaves all its followers without extra-anthropic Truth.
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                                  • Zenphamy replied 3 years, 2 months ago
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                  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                    I write sci-fi. I'm constantly thinking what-if. I do have faith. I find the endless possibilities fascinating.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Writing fiction based on imagination is not faith. Fiction is not a claim to knowledge, but knowledge claimed on the basis of faith is fiction.
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                    • -2
                      Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                      We all have faith....the object if our faith is where the weight of merit resides.
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                      • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                        I'm not sure I understand you. Please clarify.
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                        • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                          Faith in core principles or precepts is required in order to utilize any system. The question is what they have faith in, not the faith itself.

                          For example, scientists using the scientific method have faith that certain observed "laws" of nature are immutable, else, they cannot conclude anything absolutely. Since atheists believe we are here by random events over time, then any "law" observed can change at any given time, given enough time.

                          The only way this would not happen is if something outside of the material world is controlling the material world, keeping the identified "laws" from mutating. The question is who or what could that be?
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                • -2
                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  AJ, would you agree that without an external source to have faith in, a moral code is always subjective?
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                  • -1
                    Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Yes, without some external source (divinely provided or man-made, morality is subjective. Man is a neutral creature, very much like fire, who is free to do anything he wishes UNTIL he becomes part of a group. A bound group of individuals seldom respects the individual right of every member of their society without a moral code (laws).
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Morality is primarily required for choices in one's own life, not relations to a "group". Ethical conduct towards others is a consequence of morality, not it's primary purpose as politics. The source of morality is identification of man's nature governing the requirements to live in accordance with his rational mind, not an "external" authority. Morality is objective, like any science, not "subjective". "External" authority is subjective.
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                    • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                      to whoever took the point...sigh...you voluntarily join the group, or are born into it, and therefore honor the rights of the group.
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                      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                        A point for you just for good posting if nothing else . As for divine right it does change. Ask the King of France who had his taken by a certain Madame G
                        uillotine. The term changed somewhat to 'source of power' and for a while on the west shore of the Atlantic it was the idea of citizens over government.

                        Changed once again and now it's one party system of government who get's to define their own center and all the trimmings... way off to the left

                        Isn't that just divine?.
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                    • -1
                      Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                      "Divinely provided"

                      How is a divinely provided morality subjective? Because we do not know if the divinity will change?
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                      • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Law - Ten Commandments. I'm sure other faiths have similar tenants.
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                        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                          All nine of the monotheistic faiths have one in common called by some the Golden Rule. After that it gets varied
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                          • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                            But by Objectivist assessments, the Golden Rule is arrived at subjectively through some type of culturally significant reasoning. Additionally, if you get a person that likes cutting themselves (an aberration and an irrational person within Objectivism I am sure), then they should cut someone else, according to the Golden Rule. If you say that is irrational, isn't it ok as long as the person cutting themselves uses valid reasoning to achieve their decision?
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                        • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                          So how are the Ten Commandments subjective?
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                          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                            Because outside the group which chooses to subscribe, others, in whole or in part, believe differently.
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                            • -1
                              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                              Ok, so there is no true method to reach absolute morals since existence exists, man is man and reason is all man truly has, so he is just going to do the best he can until forever?

                              So if that is the case, then reasoning within a system that doesn't allow absolutes for morality and all assignment of value is subjective, then there truly is no value in anything so Objectivism is absorbed into Nihilism. How can it be otherwise?
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              • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                Why cannot you reason to a moral code?
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                  A proper moral code is based on reason, starting with the observed factual nature of man. That is what Ayn Rand did. Reasoning to develop a moral code is not rationalizing a prior belief on faith.
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                  • -4
                    Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    "A proper moral code is based on reason."

                    So can I reason to murder all people and it be proper? What about reasoning to that would make it improper?

                    Additionally, I am not saying you rationalize faith to get to reason....you have to have faith in reason to see it as man's ultimate/highest means of determining reality.
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                • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Because the individual creates his own morals in the vacuum of self, rationalizing his needs as paramount. A hermit's moral code could make it perfectly rational to accost someone for companionship, hold and rape a that person and force her/him to live in an isolated cabin until the hermit died. In the hermits morality it would be justified because the hermit was lonely or required a second set of hands to split the workload, or his/her physical need overwhelmed his/her desire to be alone. Anyone could justify anything and, because he sees it as his some need that he must have and should not be denied, reason it to be perfectly acceptable (moral).

                  As soon as you interact with others a standard must be in place to normalize interaction between people, to respect each persons rights as human beings. Even here among objectivist's there is a desire to explore every aspect of the code and apply it because a standard is needed.Imagine an Atlantis with a hodgepodge of morality and no common personal thread (philosophy) providing mutual respect; it won't work.
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                  • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago
                    The moral code of your hermit is not rational and contradicts many objective facts. Morality isn't dependent on interaction with others. This is explained elsewhere in this post.
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                    • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                      A hermit is a great example because its the only way morality can be entirely defined by the individual (In Rands Anthem, did not Prometheus leave the group to define his own morality, taking with him only a woman (can't recall her name off the top of my head)), making it subjective, thats my point. A group can have subjective morals (based against another person or group of people) except that their "code" would have to include mainly those things ALL in that group find agreeable and able to liveby.
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                  • -3
                    Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Thanks AJ for the response.

                    The issue I see with all your statements is that it is man developing morals from experience based on his own desires/needs/wants, etc.... If a man seeks to deal with someone else because he has an agenda, then he would seek terms only to achieve the agenda and nothing more. If his agenda is to help that other person, again, setting terms to achieve the agenda would be the goal and nothing more.

                    At the end of the day, man is still setting the terms and those terms can shift just as readily has his desires/needs/wants.

                    In this situation, there is absolutely no absolute morality for man to live by which restricts his desires.

                    This is where Objectivism leaves off and faith begins. Objectivists belief this is how things should work, but there is nothing absolute that they can rely on to be sure, so faith is required. Inputs are necessary for any system of reasoning/rationality; therefore, either the inputs are available by purpose or by accident.

                    This must be solved, else, the holes in the bottom of the Objectivist bucket will never be plugged.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                      What I can't determine is if you just don't like what you read about Objectivism, written in plain English words and grammar, or if you honestly don't understand the language that most of us on this site and in this country use everyday.

                      Objectivists don't develop morals, nor do they set the terms and they certainly don't have beliefs. They rely on objective facts and reality and their choice to utilize reason in a rational and logical manner. Objective facts and reality are what exists outside of your mind and perceptions whether you're there to perceive them or not. They can be observed, measured, tested, and are repeatable by others also using rational and logical reason. And from those facts and reality, knowledge is gained, confirmed, built on, and passed on to others.

                      But reason is at all times volitional and each man must decide for himself whether to subject his perceptions and thoughts to it or not. If he chooses not to reason, then his irrational and illogical meanderings are of no value.
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                    • -1
                      Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Objectivists have faith as well, they have faith in people/each other to understand, receive and respect their view in totality. Unfortunately, faith in man for a definitive right and wrong, particularly based on self interest, is not substantial enough for one reason only, the inevitable human question of "Who the hell are you to tell me...." which is perfectly valid to ask.
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                      • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Conflating 'faith' (belief without or contrary to evidence) with other concepts, like 'confidence', 'understanding', 'respect', or 'trust', is an inaccurate package deal that ignores the meaning of those words.

                        "Objectivists" are not a sect of believers adhering to dogma. They're just people that recognize, understand, and agree with the rationale of Objectivism. As with any 'normal' group of people, there are varied levels of learning and comprehension. Who they are and what they do does not define Objectivism.

                        In response to information about existence, there is a point at which the "inevitable human question" becomes absurd. Reality is the final arbiter.
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                        • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
                          You have faith that in coming her you will find other of like mind and conviction to speak with, no? Perhaps hope would have been a better word choice but the meaning in the way the word was used would lead to the same conclusion. Either-way faith is hope. To deny that you came to this site, supported the movies, and continue to discuss the tenants of Objectivism in order to invite others to the same conclusions that you have (the reason for this site) would be disingenuous.

                          Taking a point for what I said is as petty as it is myopic.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                Blind faith is a self-contradictory concept. It is a strawman argument. Noone has faith in the unknown. There must be some level of attribution or description - however crude. The real question to be answered is whether or not the concept one places their belief in can be logically explained or verified. That is the real question.

                The real tragedy is how many on this forum have repeatedly and often maligned faith without having any real idea of what it is. Faith is the belief that propels one's self to action without a sure knowledge of the future. Faith is the core of the entrepreneur and inventor: they want to believe that something better than what they have is out there, but without the action to step into the unknown - and the risk of failure - they are just like everyone else who prefer the well-lighted room of comfort.

                Reason helps us determine what already happened and why. Reason deals with the past. Faith deals with what may be. Faith deals with the future. They are neither exclusive nor in opposition. Together, they allow one to determine where one has been and chart a course for where one may yet go.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Every religious person has "faith in the unknown". It is belief without regard to reason and proof. Rationalizing with imaginative "descriptions" is not reason.

                  Faith is not "the future" and reason is not the "past". We act on principles established that tell us what will happen. People also act on confidence without full certainty in the real world, based on what they do know. That is not a metaphysical faith in a speculated supernatural. You are equivocating as an apologetic for religion.
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                • Posted by Chappy193 3 years, 2 months ago
                  Well said.
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                  • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    How is it well said when blarman says "Faith is the belief that propels one's self to action without a sure knowledge of the future," when reason is the exact same thing? Cannot you reason to propel yourself to an action when you are not sure of the outcome? Do you not experiment many times in your life? Whether you call it faith or reason, his statement is applicable to both, assuming the object of the faith is as subjective as the reasoning.
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                    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Faith requires no evidence. Reason requires evidence. There is one version that says if what we are doing doesn't work we will bounce off that wall and muddle blunder on to something else. That's called dialectic faith. It didn't work either.
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                      • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                        "Reason requires evidence"

                        Evidence of what? If you need evidence to know reason works, then that is a circular argument to legitimize reason correct?

                        I am simply saying that if you place reason as man's ultimate means for determining reality, then you are taking that on faith, else you are saying I reason to reason and that is no argument for reason at all to have this place in the world of perception.
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                        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                          The two are separate.

                          Faith demands no reason nor any evidence. Therefore it has to be preached and cannot be taught except by repetition of meaningless syllabics all of which can be defined as 'obey' obey obey obey obey obey or in our languages Obeyme.

                          Evidence comes from the senses sight, hearing, touch, taste That rock is heavy, this rock is heavy every rock I pick up has weight. Gradually, if faith enters into it at all one reasons the probability of all rocks having some degree of weight it's a faith in your own inate ability to reason which evolves into I think therefore I am.

                          Those who are into the faith side of the house to the exclusion say the real world is unknown all that i see, touch, hear, taste, smell is but a facade and I shall never know the real world the spiritual world which is forever hidden from me. That is reserved for a special few 'interpreters' who bid me have faith in my interpretation. I am special you are common.

                          Followers of Plato are in two classes. Those that obey and turn their backs on their ability to think and reason and those that prey upon them and use them. The inheritors of the special exempt class who invariably end up with a totalitarian conclusion.

                          Of course the witch doctor approach as codified into some sort of semi, semi, semi science by the Plato lineage lists Philosophers of his line of thinking as the special exempt class and fighting amongst themselves Republicans vs. Democrats are a fine example.

                          Think of the Star Wars state. "Luke, trust your feelings was that exclusive of the first five?" to a follower of Plato and his line yes. To a follower of Aristotle no and the sixth sense is reason the ability to think.

                          Platoists deal with the answer of the moment, if it feels good do it. That sides contracts AIDs and celebrates the passing of the millenium a year early and thorugh its lineage accepts the will of the stern leader or father figure ESPECIALLY the followers of secular progressivism who while told they are in a nuturant non thinking womb are really nothing better than good little goose steppers with der Fuhrer Yoda as their Pied Piper.

                          Even to the point of recognizing and redefining name, and characteristics of their arch enemies as something they are not and refusing to accept as valid any of the in between viewpoints. instead viewing them as potential cannon fodder and baby factories (bi-conceptuals) is their frame, form, universal this time around.

                          As to religion all of them have one thing in common perhaps two or three. They recognize without evidence (except one) facts in evidence to prove their belief. And I will give you this religion in one of it's many forms is important to those who have no 'faith' in themselves and have consigned themselves to a lifetime of being afraid of the dark. It comforts them in moments of stress (emotional or an overloading of the five senses for they have not prepared themselves to handle reality.)

                          They all have a Father Figure sometimes cast as a female as leader-in-charge who is infallible. Some with Napoleonic complexes delude themselves into that role. For some it' s Comrade Soros or Comrade Lakoff who wear a false mantle as a Mommy but brook no deviation from their dogma just like the Daddy figure they warn against. No problem really as long as they are the Daddy even dressed like a Mommy.

                          They all have their concept of good and bad or acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Too include considering themselves independent of or part of a greater mass and surrendering or not surrendering their ability and their will to think and reason.

                          The sole exception is found primarily in the hard sciences in any abundance who using the six senses and developing extensions of them have determined the current size, shape and make up of what we call the Universe, Direction of expansion and deduced from that point of origin and stated a hypothesis some probable answers - except to the three universal unknowns What started it (source of power to create), Will it stop expanding and then what? (when it runs of energy if at all.)

                          I look it at a bit more simply in a works for me attitude. If the source of power, the void, God or Gods in whatever form or any other description want me to know they or it will invent or cause to exist someone who comes up with the answer. In the meantime using my abilities.

                          I've found out there is no need to be afraid of the dark. I need no amulet nor special dispensation from some poseur who seeks only to control my mind I reject though will test the simplistic solution of the moment and reject those that have proved faulty countless times and continue to examine facts on the ground as an individual thinker who perpetuates the work of others. Without having to think about it i just turn on a light or let my eyes adjust using dark adaptation.

                          Except of course those who whose senses are buried in the ground while they pollute with their gasses the ozone layer. They invariably cower in fear or ruin others night vision by turning on too much light.

                          Conclusion the argument is circular only if you are stuck in a rut and forgot or never learned the purpose of the steering wheel.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Reason is not subjective unless it is misused by a subjectivist employing improper thinking. Of course we use reason to act. Action is always an act in the present that leads to the future.

                      The attempt to claim reason is only for the past and faith is required to act is a profound philosophical skepticism that is self-refuting. It is a consequence of abandoning reason for faith. Faith is not a source of knowledge, leaving one with no way to know, i.e., skepticism. Skepticism also follows an inability to understand how to think, leading some to in turn embrace a leap into faith because they can't find anything else. Either way the consequences are devastating.
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                • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  I would argue that you have faith in reason. The problem with reason is that it is severely limited as an ultimate solution for man's understanding of living because most of what we experience is not anthropogenic and either we discovered empirically or it was revealed to us.

                  Therefore, what is the reason for those things we experience empirically which are not anthropogenic? Are they relegated to non-reason, or irrationality? Is it irrational that trees exhale oxygen and we exhale CO2 in a symbiosis? Cannot non-anthropogenic existence have reason without our deducing it? Is man the ultimate determiner of value in both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic existence? If he is, then one man's value which results in murder is just as equal to another man's value to save a life.

                  Help me understand how reason isn't self-contradictory if two men can reason to opposing positions.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Knowledge is not "revealed" to us. You have to learn how to use your reason to acquire knowledge. That is not faith in reason. You use your faculty of reason to know, including know the nature of your faculty of reason once you know enough to think philosophically and scientifically.

                    The limitations of reason are not a problem. Anything that exists has a specific identity, which limits it to what it is and nothing else. That is not a problem, it's a fundamental fact. If your reason had no identity it wouldn't exist. The "limited" nature of reason is your specific means of knowing anything as the distinctly human form of conscious awareness.

                    Knowledge does not mean omniscience. Being aware of the world does not mean taking everything in a giant mystic insight. Your five senses are limited to the identity of each in the kinds of sense data of which you can be aware. Your are your means of detecting sounds of a particular kind. Your eyes are your means of detecting electromagnetic radiation in a certain part of the spectrum. Your ears don't detect ultra high frequencies and your eyes don't detect electromagnetic radiation outside the range of 'visible light' from red to purple.

                    Your ability to think conceptually allows you to discover much more, from a finite base of knowledge, but always still "limited" to what it is. There is always more to discover and more to learn. If we were not "limited" to something in particular, we wouldn't be anything, i.e., would not exist. Omniscience versus total ignorance is a false alternative and both are impossible. Omniscience means beyond any limit, i.e., no identity, i.e., does not exist. Total ignorance would mean you would have no reasoning power, i.e., would not be human.
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                    • -2
                      Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Ok, boiling this down, let me see if I get your gist. So, you are saying that I can know nothing without reasoning to it correct? If that is the case, whatever I reason to is valid correct, even if no one else reasons to it?
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                      • -3
                        Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                        I find it shame in a forum full of thinkers that none will dare to answer this. Seems like a fair question.

                        If your answer would be that Objectivism doesn't allow just anyone to do whatever they want, then I would say...why not? If the answer there would be, because man must value himself and value others, or things won't work, then how do you value someone else? On what basis? If it an anthropogenic basis, then why cannot a man value another to cannabalism? A philosophy has to be able to deal with this issues else it is just a straw man.
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                        • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                          Objectivist philosophy, in order to be of value to men of the mind and those that choose to live in reality, doesn't need to deal with inanity.
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                          • -1
                            Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                            Again, my answers do not avoid your questions...why do you avoid mine? Calling someone stupid by using a synonym just shows the lack of depth of your thinking. If you think it a waste of time to answer my questions, then I would check your reasoning.
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                  • -2
                    Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                    "I would argue that you have faith in reason."

                    I can't really get behind that statement. I can absolutely assert that there are things I know with almost perfect confidence and that the derivation of such were the result of reason. I can also absolutely assert that there are some things I started out believing first (based on faith) and which subsequent experience and logic confirmed to be true. My children sometimes have to take what I say to be authoritative, like "that hot pan will burn you". Until they touch the pan, they take my statement based on their faith in my position as their caretaker and based on my expressed love for them (reason extrapolated into expectation for future).

                    "Help me understand how reason isn't self-contradictory if two men can reason to opposing positions."

                    I don't assert any conflict between reason and faith. The real question is one of premises. One can have faith that one's self is the greatest thing since sliced bread: see our current President. Because his faith is based on a false premise it is void. Did Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak believe that they had a product that was of such benefit to the rest of the world that it would be commercially viable? Yes. But they had no proof of such until after they founded Apple Computers and were several years into selling their products. They could certainly go back and analyze or use reason to determine that their faith in their own abilities - questionable at first - was sound because they could see the results. But one should contrast this with the vast majority of other entrepreneurs who held similar views of themselves and yet failed. Did this show that faith itself is a false concept? No. Just that their object of faith failed to hold up to scrutiny, ie their premises were flawed.

                    Again, faith is the principle which allows one to build on reason to project into the future and move one to act. It in no way precludes or excludes the exercise of reason. Faith is what allows us to proceed forward based on imperfect information about the future, but it in no way dictates what that future will be. Reason allows us to extrapolate likely results for projection and is in this area exclusive to faith, which must rely on reason's results!
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Nonsense. You're trying to justify faith and belief vs. empirical evidence based knowledge. You're attempting to conflate and combine two incompatible concepts. I can tell you or anyone else that the value of gravity tomorrow will be the same tomorrow or next year as it is today, faith is a crapshoot.
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          • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
            There is no one who has ever existed that would only take future events as their basis for decisions, else they would never make any for no one has ever existed that can provable see the future (according to Objectivism you cannot invoke Jesus Christ as possibly being one of these people, or even another religious pontiff).

            Therefore, if you need to at least take experience as your basis for making decisions, then that is a belief that those experiences will result in predictable results...again, whether you have faith in some religion, or faith in your experience, faith is required.

            I would not be so quick to denounce those using faith...you may be one of them.
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            • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
              The word “faith” has more than one meaning. “Faith in the future” means confidence that it is likely (but not guaranteed) that the future will be better than the past or the present. “Faith in an all-powerful creator” is belief in a conscious supreme being, usually accompanied by some “divine revelation” (which varies with the sect one was born into) that must also be accepted on faith.

              When dealing with philosophical issues, it is important to define the specific meaning of “faith” that is being discussed. One can have confidence in the future and still be an atheist.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                Correct. The difference is in the premises in which one "has faith". They can either be sound, or not.

                The scientific method is a perfect example of the exercise of faith in determining reality. One uses logic to build upon what one knows in order to derive a potential future event and its probability. Then one constructs a test in order to verify the hypothesis. But the construction of the test and its actual performance are based on faith itself. The results only confirm to us whether or not our logic was sound in the first place.
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                • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago
                  I would think that construction of the test would be guided by reason, to resolve uncertainty as to whether the hypothesis is true. The performance of the test would be based upon how the real world works. How are you defining faith in this particular instance?
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Reason does not compel one to action, however. Reason simply states something is (or was) and this is how I know through observation. But future events simply aren't covered by reason - they are speculative in nature. Speculation involves prediction. The proposed accuracy of that prediction may be arrived at by examining past events logically, but all that does is tell us the likelihood of any particular outcome to a choice - it doesn't make the choice. Faith is the leap of action that says "I'm going to choose to follow path X because I want the outcome it predicts."

                    Example: I can reason that because of my experience with my car, if I push down on the gas pedal (and verify that the transmission is set to "Drive") that the engine will engage, fuel will undergo combustion, the explosive force of that combustion will result in the movement of pistons, which connected to my drive shaft will result in my car moving forward. By my logical calculations regarding past behavior, I anticipate this activity. But none of the logic actually pushes down the pedal. I act in faith expecting the outcome logically derived to be a future event to become the reality of the now.

                    Faith becomes an even more pronounced feature of action when dealing with autonomic/sentient actors. We can anticipate to some degree how they will act, but the reality is often frustrating because both parties more than likely are operating on different information and some is likely to be fallacious (I won't go into the often illogical acts).

                    I think one of the things that many people get confused about faith is that they relegate faith only to the realm of actions relating to outcomes which may or may not come following death. Because they envision no method with which to verify any conclusions (and reject existing ones), they are discounted as potentially valid motives. As a result they conclude that faith itself is flawed, rather than there simply being a shortfall in imagining a test of validation.

                    Again, to me, logic is a method of extrapolating from the past what we can expect to happen in the future. Faith is the impetus propelling us to act on that logical derivation. If the action does not result in the desired outcomes, it does not indicate a lack of faith, it indicates a flaw in either our premises or logical derivation.
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              • -3
                Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                I am using the meaning that faith is a means of perception providing assurance of that which is unseen, unheard, but not unreasoned.
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  • Posted by sdesapio 3 years, 2 months ago
    This has probably already been posted here, but...

    Ayn Rand's message to conservatives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpp5E...
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    • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
      Good video, thanks. However, what she said, and perhaps its only my self perception, doesn't reflect my personal conservatism or how I see conservatism as a whole today. I will agree that I've seen elements of those elements in conservatives today but not by an overwhelming preponderance in my experience.

      It should be noted that she never said she was against conservatives only that "many today" approached the argument from those false angles. That was why the video was described as "Rand explains how many conservatives attempt to justify capitalism on fallacious grounds."
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
        'Conservative' and 'liberal' are both imprecise terms with vague uses. She was talking about the dominant means employed by conservatives to defend capitalism and freedom, and we still see it everywhere today. The appeals to a god as an alleged defense and source of rights is a standard conservative slogan. Most conservatives still appeal to altruism and religion as the source of ethics and dare not defend self interest as a fundamental ethical principle.

        We still here repeatedly the Hayek line trying to defend freedom because no one is good enough to be a dictator, and of course the a-philosophical appeals to "tradition" are everywhere. The attempts to defend limited government by appealing to "the founders" because they said it, and to "faith", with no regard for a philosophical basis and explanation, and rarely even a mention of the Enlightenment, are all around us from conservatives. Another form of the "tradition" argument is the Pragmatist version appealing to "experience" of what "works" with no regard of the standard of deciding what works with respect to what goal, as if "experience" is all that must be mentioned as a principle.

        None of that is principled argument against collectivism and the statism required to enforce it, which is why so many conservatives are helpless to argue against the moral case of the left and is why they so often sanction and promote the welfare state themselves.

        Conservatives also argue particular political and economic consequences, but have no defense of the basic moral principles on which they rest their arguments for freedom (when not arguing for statism themselves), and that is what Ayn Rand was talking about.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
        Conservatism dictionary slow to make change and then only by legal means. It' is the home of those well entrenched in power. In their castle behind their moats.

        Liberals want to make change fast by any means needed and why not they are the outsiders.

        So which group are the true conservatives today?

        The rest is just yesterday's news and a bit of shopworn history.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      Good find Scott. I've read that speech, maybe a dozen times, but watching and listening to AR with her emphasis, pacing, and passion makes a big difference.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
        It is very similar to her essay "Conservatism: An Obituary" in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, which in turn was based on a lecture she gave at Princeton. The reading in the video may have been the Princeton version.
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  • Posted by straightlinelogic 3 years, 2 months ago
    Thank you for posting this. Objectivism is diametrically opposed to conservatism, as Ayn Rand well knew. So did the leading conservatives of her day, in particular William F. Buckley. The "conservatives" on this site who think they can Chinese menu between conservatism and objectivism are fooling themselves, it's one or the other, especially for those who regard themselves as religious conservatives.

    Rand was right, political freedom cannot be achieved by stealth. Those who fight for it must have a completely consistent philosophy down to its first premises. Ayn Rand has defined that philosophy, and for that those of us who choose to fight owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. Thanks again, Zenphamy, for highlighting an issue that goes to the core of an important philosophical conflict.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
    I'm a conservative. I never said anything other than that here and have explained why at least 5 times. She, and you, all of you, are entitled to your opinions just as I can pick and choose what I value from Rand and my association with her followers. I will still be conservative.

    Consider,
    While Spock could, no doubt, run/Captain the Enterprise that role was best served and executed by Kirk? Odd.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      AJ; I certainly concur that you have consistently and forthrightly maintained your views, and you are admirably involved in many of the more Objectivist discussions than some others, but you are straightforward about your beliefs. But you also don't seem to be as involved in purely conservative 'post swamping' as some. Your commentary is generally well received and I think even appreciated by some of us. You're not a 'wilting daisy' and you seem to be well versed in Objectivism.

      I've seen quite a few episodes in which Kirk has left the bridge to Spock and in which he saved the ship and Kirk. I think I remember one in which, at least a partial explanation of why he wasn't a Captain; having something to do with him not as able as Kirk in thinking out of the box and often unwilling to challenge the odds as Kirk consistently did.
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      • Posted by blackswan 3 years, 2 months ago
        If you're an explorer, by definition, you're going to encounter situations that may not be exactly logical, especially when encountering other sentient beings. In that environment, thinking outside the box can mean the difference between life and death.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
      Yes the portray of Spock as rational is exactly what a conservative or a liberal would do But this does not make is so.
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      • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
        I have wondered how quickly (or if) an Objectivist president would alter his/her philosophy to protect this country? I also wonder if an Objectivist president would be the destruction of this country as he/she allowed its border to erode into non-existence and our national identity (whatever that may be) shifts with the unrestricted open-door influx of a foreign population to decimate our Constitution. Or how quickly we'd burn as we sit and wait for a actual assault (nuke or otherwise) on US soil before we act.

        These things, among others, are some of the items that prevent my full acceptance of objectivism.

        I'll admit, my Star Trek analogy wasn't entirely precise, still it was accurate enough. Spock was logical, he used reason and logic to make his decisions and it hindered his ability to lead.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
          AJ; I can't see the reasoning that implies that an Objectivist would need to alter his philosophy in any manner in order to perform his duties for the country. Within Objectivism, protection of the country from foreign initiation of force is his primary duty. An Objectivist President would have no problem with maintenance of a proper border defining the limits of jurisdiction.

          As to national identity, that seems to be a somewhat nebulous description that has changed numerous times over the last 200+ years, particularly as the 'defender of individual rights and freedom'. And I can't think of a single President in our history that has not abused that description to one extent or the other.
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          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
            The Right to Travel and explained to me via DK would invalidate national borders, invite unrestricted travel by anyone in and out of the country, and facilitate open us up to a variety of problems for this nation. I consider our national identity the Bill of Rights since everyone depends on it and builds their lives from it. We can see that national identity changing as we speak.

            Note in my original posting I said "I have wondered" and that was enough of a catalyst to be shown the door.
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        • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
          I expect that an Objectivist president would dismantle the surveillance state (mainly created by conservatives) including the NSA, TSA, Border Patrol, eliminate the welfare state (supported by conservatives – see GW’s medicare part B), shrink and repurpose the military (mainly supported by conservatives), eliminate civil asset forfeiture (started and supported by conservatives). I expect in his first term an O president would shrink total government expenditures to less than 10% of GDP. The US would have the fastest growing economy in the world and productive, creative people would flow to the US from all over the world.

          In the second term of the O president the US would be well on the way for the US to again be the richest country in the world in terms of per capita GDP. The opportunities for all people who wanted to be productive would be overwhelming and unemployment would be almost unknown. The economic success of the US would result in decreased tensions throughout the world.

          During his term the O president would be attacked by conservative every step of the way. Then when the overwhelming success of his policies were clear to almost everyone, the conservatives would mount a two prong attack. On the one hand they would want to take credit for all the successes and say they were the result of christian values and on the other hand they would complain about the loss of traditional values. The liberals of course would create a new environmental Armageddon and complain about wealth inequality.

          The founding fathers were pretty much O presidents or leaders, including Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison etc. They were not conservatives. Modern conservativism had not been invented and old fashion conservativism was the christian church which had plunged Europe into 1000 years of untold human misery and ignorance. This is exactly what the Founders were fighting against.

          AJ it is clear that you are not exploring objectivism anymore. You are not interested in rational, evidence based discussions, you just want to spread your passionate distaste for Objectvism and reason. I think perhaps it is time that you took a vacation from the gulch
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          • Posted by jsw225 3 years, 2 months ago
            First off, as has been true for most of history, titles and names have been perverted by people looking to subvert their power / success. For example, look how "Progressives" claimed the title "Liberals" in the 1920's, which at the time Liberal was the opposite of Progressive. Yet the name stuck, and we now describe leftists as "Liberals."

            But just as meanings change maliciously, they also evolve naturally. For example, you discuss Conservatives and Liberal Republicans as if they are the same thing. And that just goes to show how little you understand what is happening. Real Conservatives, at the heart of it, are closer to Objectivists than any other political group or denomination. While there are rarely perfect Conservatives, you only need to look to the schism in the Republican party when the likes of Goldwater or Reagan rise to power. And most importantly how Liberal Republicans go far out of their way to put them down (most of the time successfully, I might add).
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            • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
              The Bush wing of the Republican party is real conservative. They are trying to conserve establishment conditions to keep the game going for a while longer, afraid of significant reform and conceding morality to the left and as they drift behind them with "me-too" policies to implement them more slowly. Anyone can see what they are up to, which is why they are so ineffective. The more intellectual conservatives are also real conservatives Some of them advocate more freedom but not consistently and don't know how to defend it when they do support it, relying on implicit but not expressed premises, plus the usual shallow and disastrous faith and family, depravity and tradition arguments that haven't made a dent in the foundation for the left.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              jsw; I don't let leftist self description determine what I call them. I call them socialist/statist/collectivist. The problem I have is that is what I also have to call self described conservatives. It makes no sense to me that we should support or respect anyone who still want to rule, whose only real performance to date has been to support to one degree or the other, restrictions of my actions, ideas, expressions, ability to defend myself, what I put into my body, etc. only claiming to be able to do it better than the other side.

              It often strikes me that there's really only two types of human; those who want others to be controlled and those that can't imagine why anyone else would have the right/authority to control them.
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          • Posted by ycandrea 3 years, 2 months ago
            That sounds real nice, but the President does not have that kind of power. A lot depends on Congress and the Supreme Court too.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              The President is equal to both of those branches in relation to the responsibility to protect individual rights, property, and the nation. He also has the 'bully pulpit' from which influence of public opinion as well as the ability to eliminate a great deal of the bureaucracy and control how it interacts with citizens.
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          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
            Interesting..I'm extolling my distaste for objectivism? Its clear? Seriously?

            Yes, perhaps I've worn out my welcome. I certainly have with you.
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            • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
              I have no problem with being both. First I look at life as it is objectively. Evaluate my range of practical options. Then I apply them to my particular postion of allegiance. Which happens to be neither left nor right but Center . I look at the former rule book or hand book for citizens and invariably find an answer.

              Of course it would help if the rest of the country were not all trying to play left field with a catchers mitt.l
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        • Posted by Technocracy 3 years, 2 months ago
          AJ, what caused Spock much difficulty was the attempt to eliminate emotion and passion. A problem a lot of people have with Objectivism comes from jumping to that same position.

          To wit, the assumption gets made that reason and rational thinking requires the elimination of passion and emotion. This is not true.

          Use your reason to make decisions using all available information. Use your passion to drive you on the course of you decisions.

          Objectivists are not emotionless, neither was Spock.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
            Emotions are very important. Ayn Rand did not deny them, she recognized that emotions are not tools of cognition. And that is not always rejected out of misunderstanding of what she meant.
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          • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
            It was just an example about using reason and logic to make decisions. I wasn't suggesting that Objectivists were emotionless or sought to be emotionless. Besides, I've met a few of you personally - no pointy ears.
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
            I met the actor who played the role of Data a Spock like character in many ways. He explained he role as some one who was not allowed to show emotion ...my answer was "Except through others." "Finally, some gets it!"
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        • Posted by Chappy193 3 years, 2 months ago
          Interesting thoughts.

          Why does it have to be Objectivism or Conservatism?

          Why not take the best from both and meld them together?

          (Granted I have a lot more studying to do about both)
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
            She just explained that in the video, and elsewhere. The conservative arguments from faith, tradition, and depravity are not better than her philosophy of reason and egoism. You can't "meld" a philosophy with its opposite. There are political issues discussed by conservatives, sometimes properly, that Ayn Rand did not address, usually because they were not known at the time in the form they are today, but she did addressed and emphasized fundamental principles. .She used to emphasize that her ideas systematically challenged 2000 years of philosophy.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
            That would be the logical thing to do, yes. ;)

            The problem that one ultimately runs into, however, is that pesky question of the purpose of being. Both Conservatives and Objectivists agree on the notion of existence, but they spar on the origin and purpose of that existence. That fundamental question is the true test of any philosophy/religion.

            We are moving. Time makes it so. Existence in time is to pass through time, moving from one point to another to another. The $64 million question is where we started from and where we perceive we are headed.
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            • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
              I would skip the firs part and stick with "I am then determine the second half. Once I recognized the validity of " I am" the origin of the thought other than my mind didn't matter. I am became the start point." What is my value I learned in book keeping for FFA projects. The instructor said where is the value of your time? "Sir it had no value except on the days indicated for I had nothing else I could have been doing that merited a measurement of value. there for while it may not have been profit it was certainly not a loss."

              I did get an "A" on the book keeping portion and the next year took the elective class and learned double entry but never forgot the lesson of time with no value. From which comes the idea of don't waste time even if it's learning slide rules the year before computers or belt mounted pocket calculators became available.

              But I still am unable to place a value on reading AS except as ' more valuable than whatever else I could have been doing.'

              Conservatively speaking the value of objectivism is 'without measure.'
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                I'm having a hard time deriving your point here. "I am" recognizes one's self as being independent of the rest of the universe, but doesn't really describe one's relationship to the rest of the universe positionally except to identify as being separate. The existence of Time, however, indicates that our position with relation to the rest of the universe is in flux, meaning that we are in fact moving. So the question then becomes are we moving towards any particular goal or end state of our own volition. The whole notion of value is derived solely because we evaluate two positions in relation to a third objective point of reference, valuing the one which gets us closer to the objective as being of more value. Thus identifying that objective or end goal becomes of utmost importance in philosophical endeavors, because it then becomes the measure of value. Thus your statement "I still am unable to place a value on reading AS except as ' more valuable than whatever else I could have been doing.'" only says to me that you believe yourself to be closer to your goal as a result of reading AS yet you do not elaborate on what that end goal is and leave significant doubt to the reader that you know what that goal is. I find that curious.

                "Conservatively speaking the value of objectivism is 'without measure.'"

                What you essentially assert is that you haven't attempted to conceive of any possibility where an alternate view would get you closer to your goal. The curious part of this is that your previous statement admits that you haven't conceived of the actual goal you are pursuing. Personally, I find it difficult to evaluate the value of any particular decision without knowing my end goal. If you have found a way around this, I welcome your input.
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                • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                  I don't accept your first sentence at all. I don't accept your interpretation in the second para at all.
                  I don't accept your redefinitions at all. i'm happy just following the three laws of objectivism I am, Because I am cognizant ( and by choice can think), and the Law of identity. Another part of it is Rand's admonishment to continually test all possibilities and your difficulties are not mine. Mine are not yours. Non applicable.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                    I'd be curious to know what redefinitions you think I am engaging in. Again, I don't dispute the Law of Identity. I merely built onto that the reality that Time exists and thus that Identity is in flux - it is not a constant. This being the case, the transition of past Identity to future Identity is part of Reality. To deny that this transition exists is to deny the ability of Man to acquire knowledge and alter one's behavior accordingly.

                    As to value, I welcome your view on the matter as a check on my premises. If value is not a comparison against an independent standard, what is it?
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                    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                      It is not repetition and it is not liberal logic
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                        In logical terms, all definitions must be positive definitions of what something is, not what something is not (a negative definition). If you have an alternative definition or comprehension of the ideas I have set forth, please present it. If not, I can only assume that lacking alternatives my premises are correct. Thus the arguments speak for themselves.
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        • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 years, 2 months ago
          The fact that expressing these concerns takes a point only underscores my concerns. The long standing ad nauseum conversations I've had here covering those very topics only legitimizes that my concerns are more than partisan ideologue frivolity. C'este la vie..

          (not sure who took the point, but thanks)
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  • Posted by editormichael 3 years, 2 months ago
    Thank you for this. I've been wondering about the presence of so many apparent Gulchers but who seemed to have missed the point: Rand was NOT a conservative. She was, though she denied it, a libertarian: She advocated liberty, a minimal state, and the basic premise non-aggression.
    By definition, therefore, she was not a conservative.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      Many that have commented on the topic, other than herself--she preferred 'radical for capitalism, have described her as a 'classical liberal'.
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      • Posted by DeanStriker 3 years, 2 months ago
        Yet she expressed being at odds with libertarians, yet we're pretty much classical liberal". The myriad of definitions of such stuff drives me nutso!
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
          Ayn Rand distinguished herself from the libertarians because of their attempt to start with politics divorced from a philosophical foundation and because of the prevalence of anarchism among libertarians of the time. She recognized that terms like "liberal" and "conservative" were very imprecise and did not want her philosophy associated with either a vague jumble or its opposite. She characterized the libertarians as part plagiarizing her ideas and part contradicting them.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
          Dean; that's why I've come down on the side of 'radical for capitalism' (laissez faire free market) as Rand did. In the end, you're either for individual freedom or you're not.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
            But today the word "capitalism" is even more smeared than it was 50 years ago. You have to more careful than ever to explain what you are talking about and that is not crony fascism.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              ewv; you're right. This continual battle of definitions, sophistry, and what Rand called 'semantic pretzels' (I love that phrase) is really quite tiring. But there are concepts behind each definition that are often more easily explainable and sometimes even better for discussions.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                Yes you need a word. Without that there is no concept and nothing to think in terms of when dealing with principles. Descriptions that never land on the mental concrete of a word to symbolize the idea are not concepts. Much of the battle is in the formulation of valid concepts in terms of essentials, not the arbitrary package deals, floating abstractions and other fallacies intended to prevent rational thought by obscuring essentials and their relation to reality.
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  • Posted by  $  edweaver 3 years, 2 months ago
    The way I see it, a conservative's general claim is fiscally responsible and socially progressive. I believe it's not possible to be fiscally conservative while supporting social programs because those programs cost money and it lead to cronyism. Therefore I believe a conservative is not Objectivist nor capitalist in nature. Of course only my thoughts.
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  • Comment deleted.
    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      Thanks for the response Salty. I don't know enough, in depth, about Stoicism. But my limited understanding is that it rejects 'passions' or negative emotion, even wants, as a virtuous path to happiness; while AR rejected acting based on emotion without first subjecting the emotion to reason.

      I can understand some of the attraction of self described conservatives to Objectivism, but I think they miss the point of the philosophy and completely ignore the antipathy of Objectivist to them. They simply don't have any consistency in their philosophies and seriously mistake the principles of individual rights, freedom, and laissez faire capitalism.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
      Comes from describing others by first looking in a mirror. If you were James Carville and using your reflection to describe the opposition what other word would come to mind?
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Objectivism’s highest political/social principle is that no person has the right to initiate force against another person. Murder is initiation of force, the most serious one that can exist. Therefore, Objectivism is opposed to murder. Simple as that. No “extra-anthropic truth” (whatever that is) needed.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 years, 2 months ago
    See previously "Ayn Rand versus Conservatives" two years ago
    https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...
    and it was voted down to Zero and garnered a mere 8 comments.
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    • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 2 months ago
      Mike, I was a brand-new member of the gulch when this was posted,
      and now find it quite interesting. . there is one glaring problem, though.
      Rand didn't say that it was appropriate for government
      to know who has guns. . considering her history, it seems
      very unlikely. . this conclusion puzzles me. -- j
      .
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 years, 2 months ago
        Indeed, it was her personal history of living through the Russian Civil War that informed her views on armed gangs running around resisting the government. Have you read about the night when she was 12 years old and the train she was on was stopped by an armed gang? Red or White, it made no difference at the moment.

        Rand said that the problem was not particularly important to her. She also said that she had no way to balance your right to self-defense with the licensing of handguns. As a philosopher, she would not just stand on the Second Amendment. She would have needed reasoning from first principles supported by facts. But she did say quite clearly: "Forbidding guns or registering them is not going to stop criminals from having them; nor is it a great threat to the private, non-criminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun."
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
          She did say in many ways under government such things as 'a government holds a legal monopoly on the physical use of force.' Then in many ways concludes most if not all of those comments 'under an objective code of rules' and then goes on...

          A government which uses that monopoly against it's citizens or refuses to protect them 'switches roles to that of a criminal.'

          Which leads one to the reason for two other conditions The Second Amendment and the oath of office of the Military.

          Assuming an ability (State Militia formations, free and uncontrolled voting rights, to protect citizens against a criminal government.) to implement.

          And also by switching roles they signal 'the biggest gang on the block is in control.'

          There is no right to license at the Federal Level. That is a State function if allowed by the people of that state. The crack in that wall was the Gun Control act which excluded certain weapons and that occurred with the advent of a socialist government 1913 to present.

          Same applies to much else.

          But with a government that uses the economic version of a cycle (or circle) of repression and refuses to honor it's legal functions and worse moves to ensure citizens cannot honor their legal functions such a government is no longer valid...

          How it's replaced is another discussion. No way I can see through the present political system EXCEPT at that bottom and ONLY by not supporting the left which means Democrats and no Republicans.

          The other choice is learn how to click your heels when the students become the next SS/KGB as they have done before.

          (Of course the first place they 'controlled' were the ranks of college professors so if history repeats their is a certain justice...)
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        • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 2 months ago
          registration of guns is like registration of sex offenders,
          in my book -- it can only lead to control of those registered
          which tends to violate the 2nd amendment's claim that
          we are free to arm ourselves. -- j
          .
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          • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
            john; This an issue, or a couple of issues in which I find a lot of disagreement with your positions.
            First of all, the Constitution as well as the Objectivist view of the right of self defense are quite clear not permitting any 'infringement' of the 'right to bear arms and the associated right to self defense.

            What the Hell that has to do with the right to privacy of a sex offender is beyond me. While we may wish to afford a sex offender privacy after he's paid his debt to society, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the right to bear arms and the right to self defense.
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  • Posted by Abaco 3 years, 2 months ago
    This is why I think the country is truly finished. Both parties in power are statist. It appears to me that the addled masses in 'Merika are ready to be subject to a whole lot of force. That's good, because that's what they're going to get.

    People really are looking to this current political race, as always, expecting to be saved - expecting to turn the country around. Not going to happen. The oppressive boot will start increasing its downward pressure on their faces more and more as time goes by. At least they seem to like it. So, that's good.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
      Ab -- it's not because both parties in power are statist (as they become worse), but that both are based on the same wrong philosophy. Spread the right ideas and the parties will follow. The hard part is spreading the right ideas, but there are no shortcuts. In politics all we can do is oppose the worst in all realms for as long as it lasts at all. Whether the right ideas can be spread in time is an open question, as is how much can be tolerated in the meantime, but the right ideas required are much more than political philosophy and policy.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
      The party in power is statist made up of a mix of statist corporatists and corporatist statists and a few odd after thought union leaders. They are hardly parties plural when the share the exact same major beliefs.
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
    Zen,
    The Conservative movement (philosophically) traces its roots to David Hume and Edmund Burke. David Hume is best known for his attack on causation, induction, and his "is ought" attack on ethics. Burke also attacked reason, because he thought the French Revolution was the logical result of unrestrained reason. F.A. Hayek picked up on the idea of Hume and Burke and created his idea of cultural evolution, which is also an attack on reason. The modern day conservative movement includes Austrian Economics, many libertarians, and of course the religious right. Conservativism is fundamentally an attack on reason, which is why it attracts so many religious people. Objectivism and Conservativism are fundamentally incompatible (something I have shown by exposing the irrational foundations of Austrian Economics) and any nominal agreement that both want a smaller government is coincidental.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      I'm just not sure that conservatives really want a smaller government in the same terms of Objectivism. It strikes me that conservative arguments for 'smaller gov't' are more about efficiency rather than limiting gov't involvement and intrusions into the daily, normal activities of humans. A good example is the idea of block grants to the states for welfare, education, etc. put forth by Cruz. In order to get the money to be able to 'block grant', they still have to tax which still is an imposition of force and they also get to determine which state get's how much money under what rules, reg's, etc

      That's not pro-liberty, Objective, or even constitutional..
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      • -2
        Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
        The block grant idea is politically a whole lot more feasible and achievable. It's a lot better than doing nothing and a whole heck of a lot more than increasing the burden of welfare and socialism. It's a step in the right direction we should recognize and applaud. We didn't adopt social welfare policies all in one fell swoop - they've been the camel's nose in the tent since Woodrow Wilson 100 years ago. It's just not realistic to expect that the political establishment is going to go "cold turkey" with respect to their entitlement addiction.

        Let's at least get moving in the right direction. The ideal is off on the horizon behind us. Right now we need to be more concerned with the cliff dead ahead.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
          We've been sold that route a few times before. Remember Newt and the 'Welfare to Work' program. Let's see, that lasted till Bush and then was totally destroyed under Obama. No one even thinks of that anymore.

          So sure, let's take the crumbs that are offered and just keep on losing more individual freedom.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
            But what really happened in those cases? The electorate was persuaded that a change in course was necessary and instead of hanging onto the principles that were moving us in a positive direction (even though a far cry from being perfect) they elected representatives espousing and acting on principles moving us toward tyranny. You seem to have the opinion that no government will ever be able to do anything right even in the short term because after a period of time those people will be replaced by those of different ideas that then careened us off in the wrong direction. But is that really the problem with the government, or is it really the people who elect them?

            We aren't going to get there in one day. The alternatives are to do things one day at a time, or to go to the extreme of starting completely over and living through all that pain and bloodshed. I will freely admit that the economics of our current situation lead me to believe that there is an imminent reef ahead and incremental changes now may not provide enough of a course correction to avoid the reef. It may also be that an attempt at such a radical course change will result in capsizing the boat and a result not much different than striking the reef.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              It's time to hide you as well. You obviously refuse to use your mind in a rational, logically, reasoning manner.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 2 months ago
                I'm trying to be polite, but that's BS. I used my logic and came to a different conclusion. I pointed out the real causes of the situation you mention, and yet you want to brush them off because they are inconvenient and don't fit with your narrative.

                If you want to use that excuse to hide me, that's your own rationalization speaking - not logic. The other option is simply to say you disagree and leave it at that.
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    • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
      Any what part of Conservatism attacks reason/rationality?
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      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
        Conservativism is based on Hume, Burke, and Hayek - all three attacked reason. For instance, here is a quote from an article I wrote on point:


        What is perhaps less well known is David Hume’s influence on U.S. conservatives and Friedrich Hayek. The blog The American Conservative calls Hume “The First Conservative” and the First Principles, a conservative philosophical journal agrees. Hume gave us the problem of induction, denied that causality exists, and most importantly for this article, he rejected Locke’s natural rights and the idea of ethics based on reason. Locke’s natural rights are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, form the basis for the Bill of Rights, and was the foundation of most of common law at the time. Ultimately, Hume attacks reason and science in order to make room for religion and tradition.

        Hayek was highly influenced by Hume. This paper entitled, Hayek on the Role of Reason in Human Affairs, Linda C. Raeder, Palm Beach Atlantic University, explains:

        For Hayek, the rules of morality and justice are the same as they were for David Hume: conventions that have emerged and endured because they smooth the coordination of human affairs and are indispensable, given the nature of reality and the circumstances of human existence, to the effective functioning of society. For Hayek as for Hume the rules of morality and justice are not the products of reason and they cannot be rationally justified in the way demanded by constructivist thinkers. And since our moral traditions cannot be rationally justified in accordance with the demands of reason or the canons of science, we must be content with the more modest effort of “rational reconstruction,” a “natural-historical” investigation of how our institutions came into being, which can enable us to understand the needs they serve.

        http://hallingblog.com/2015/08/17/the...
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        • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
          But they used reason to attack reason didn't they? Perhaps their definition of reason is different than mine.

          Seems akin to a philosophic allergy.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
            They used sophistry, not reason, to attack reason. It's still Plato versus Aristotle. See this response elsewhere on this same page https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...
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            • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              Oh ok...I for some reason thought sophistry was a type of reasoning, even if to deceive the listener. Reason doesn't imply benevolence of the one reasoning does it?
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                Reason is a faculty of the mind for using concepts based in reality. A conniver can employ reason for his devious ends, but rationalism and sophistry are not valid thinking processes as a way to obtain or defend knowledge. It's not so much a matter of "benevolence" as objectivity in thought. You can think rationally without regard to being benevolent in your ends, and a rationalist can employ his invalid habitual verbal manipulations with or without intending to deceive.
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                • -2
                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  I guess this whole idea of rationality, the way I am seeing you use it, implies some objectivity, but objectivity is impossible for man without an external source directing his thinking to avoid his subjectivity. Even if man follows a law, that law can be subjective with the end to skew the results in his or a group's favor.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Objectivity does not mean following a law regardless of what it is, does not mean rationalization manipulating ideas without regard to facts and the meaning of the concepts employed, and does not mean relying on mystic insights of the supernatural. Objectivity means thinking based on the facts in accordance with logical method, i.e., non-contradiction. The "external source" is reality, the object of thought, not a supernatural consciousness as an authority telling us what to think.

                    Only individuals have minds and only individuals can think. There is no group thought or supernatural thought, which is mysticism. The question is how to do it, i.e., how does the individual properly think, not what mystic or group authority to rely on. That only individuals can think does not make all thought "subjective". One can think objectively or not -- through subjective imagination cut off from reality and/or employing non-logical methods.

                    Here we are talking about the "objective" as epistemological, not metaphysical as reality apart from people. The objective is in contrast to both subjective and intrinsic (mysticism). Ayn Rand wrote a whole book on concepts in objective thought: Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and Leonard Peikoff devoted an entire chapter to "Objectivity" in his comprehensive book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
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          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
            nope they used language, but not reason. There are not different types of reason. Just like there is one Euclidean geometry.
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            • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              I thought language was a means and not an end. Reason implies an end...at least that is what ewv above seems to imply by his statement that they used sophistry in lieu of reason.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                Language is not an end in itself, it is (properly) employed as a means to represent knowledge. It is primarily for cognition and secondarily for communication. "Cognition precedes communication". You can't think, let alone communicate thoughts, without a way to symbolize ideas in a concrete mental form. That is the function of language. Language misused with invalid concepts and false or misleading statements can be either mistaken or dishonest. Using it to attack reason is too big a 'mistake' to be innocent.
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                • -3
                  Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                  "Language misused.....can be either mistaken or dishonest."

                  This concept of dishonesty is interesting within an Objectivist discussion. How can one be dishonest in Objectivism if one can reason to any end and it be valid for the reasoner?
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                    You cannot honestly reason to "any end" whatsoever; that is rationalization. The resulting falsehoods are not "valid for the (alleged) reasoner". Honesty begins at home: upstairs in your own head. It precludes evasion and flights of fantasy claimed as knowledge. The virtue of honesty is primarily individual in not faking reality to oneself. Sophistry employed to manipulate and mislead people goes beyond that into the social realm of deliberate misrepresentation to other people through clever devices rationalizing through equivocation and context dropping.
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              • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
                I'll give you an example. A Conservative originally one who is power or part of the group in power wants to make change if at all slowly always adhering to the letter of the law of the time..

                They entrench and fortify and defend much as the liberals are doing now for they are liberal in one sense but the NEW Neo conservatives in the other.

                Once entrenched with such protections as controlling who can be a candidate on a ballot and how votes are measured and counted they are smug, dumb and happy.

                Along comes someone of more liberal view than their present law or voting regulations and says. Let's emulate the Army and the Air Force who will ask after a target evaluation. "Are they fortified and entrenched or just clustered in a target rich environment fire sack - Feursach and is it the schwerpunkt the center of their defenses.. If I have the German correctly spelt? How best may we attack?"

                We then ask what is our equivalent of a fuel Air bomb. After some thought the outsiders realize they have built their own in house destruction of an IED FAE (love those initials) and named the Hillary Mark II. The only question is how to set it off?

                Which answers itself. Just ask it questions.

                The bomb explodes and the well entrenched fortified group in power safe and snug in their fire sack existence are no more. The schwerpunk is a vacuum the teeter and the totter collapse.

                Then it's a race as to who takes over and typicall they guess what. Fill the fire sack for yet another go round destruction.

                Reasoning that out after being cognizant of the facts in evidence or facts on the ground cut my problem solving to a find a fuze and light it.

                Now I have real faith in my abilities.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
            Semantic pretzels. I knew I'd get a chance to use that one, just not this soon.
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            • -1
              Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
              What semantics are we using again? Semantics implies equivalent terms. What terms are we using in the context which are equivalent?
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              • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                No, semantics does not imply equivalence and sophistry is not just a different way of reasoning. I'm beginning to think you might be English language challenged.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                  I think he's struggling to make sense of these epistemological issues despite a damaging education. Recovery does not come easily and not everyone has spent years studying Ayn Rand's epistemology.
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                  • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Fair point, And even the study of her epistemology will still encounter the stiffness of some belief systems, and the emotional challenge of the recognition that there is a belief system there that's filtering evidence.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Having seen what else he has written I no longer give him the benefit of the doubt as trying to understand. He's pushing "innocent" sounding questions he thinks cannot be answered, hoping to undermine and cause confusion amongst the "infidels" led by the nose. He ran into serious answers he can't handle and the mask slipped with snarky comments and religious dogmatism.
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                  • -3
                    Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    I am really struggling to understand why you cannot see that you have to have faith in your assumption that reason is man's highest means for determining reality. There are things you will never be able to know simply through reason because they have to first be revealed to you where you then use other means of perception to gain knowledge. Reason can only be pure in your world if you are wiling to accept any conclusions derived from it, which I would venture to say you are not. Are you willing to accept me reasoning that reason is not man's highest means of determining reality? If not, then you have faulty logic within this entire discussion. On the other hand, if I have faith that I can obtain knowledge of reality through other means of perception over reason, then reason doesn't become a limiting factor for my ability to gain knowledge.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Identifying reason as man's distinct means of knowing and living is not an act of faith. This has been discussed here previously. Faith is belief despite or contrary to reason and proof. It is the opposite of reason, not the basis for it.

                      That our thinking is not infallible is why we need proper methods of thinking, employed through the most careful focus and effort as any scientist. It is not a matter of "purity" (whatever that means), leading to acceptance of anything you dream up, imagine, or rationalize claimed to be "reasoning".

                      There are no other means of perception beyond the five senses on which our faculty of reason is based. All perception is through known sense organs. No "sixth sense" has ever been discovered accounting for faith or revelations, but we do know that people have the capacity for imagination and fantasy, mentally reconstructing aspects of reality, such as in cartoons. Imagination, fantasy, revelation, cartoons, etc. are not a means to knowledge. Not "limiting" yourself to reason does not give you additional knowledge. The fantasies confused with infallible knowledge corrupt your thinking and further limit and destroy what you can know.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 3 years, 2 months ago
    Conservative: One who wants to conserve his life, liberty and property and never initiate force or fraud.

    Liberal: One who wants to be liberal with others' life, liberty and property by initiating force and fraud, exacted by the state.
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  • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
    Instead of using Ayn Rand's reasoning, shouldn't we reason for ourselves? Isn't that what she taught? So the question really is, "What came first, reason or Ayn Rand?"
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      Reason is a volitional activity of one's mind. Since the philosophy of Objectivism is by definition Egoistic and provides the moral argument for 'rational self interest', I would think that it's very obvious that we don't advocate 'using Ayn Rand's reasoning'. But at the same time, we do use and appreciate AR's work, writings, and discoveries as we do the same of Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Darwin, etc.

      It's obvious from your comment that you really haven't made the effort to understand the philosophy or the concept of reason.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
      Neither preceding Rand was Taylor Caldwell and before that should you go back far enough Aristotle
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      • Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
        But wasn't reason around before Aristotle? He didn't define reason did he?
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
          Reason is a faculty of the human mind. It is not rationalizing and is not synonymous with 'logic' or 'deduction', even when those are performed properly. Reason is "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses" (Ayn Rand's definition). The means by which we do this is concepts.

          To the extent that man, as he evolved from the earliest times, used his conceptual faculty to understand the world, he used reason, and in that sense it has always "been around before Aristotle", whether or not used properly.

          Plato was the first philosopher to systematize philosophy, and he formulated most of the basic questions. But Aristotle was the first to systematically identify and uphold the validity of reason as the means of knowing within the role of consciousness as grasping existence, and the purpose of personal happiness in this world as the ideal -- in contrast to Plato's mysticism and sacrifice, and his misuse of conceptual thought to rationalize both.

          The intellectual battle ever since has been a duel between Plato and Aristotle.
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            Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
            I understand about Plato and Aristotle and the universals vs the particulars. The problem is that they are trying to tie the physical with the metaphysical and have no consistent system to do it because they exclude anything they cannot reason to.

            Man by his reason alone cannot get to why he is here in the first place, but you have to deal with that. Existence exists is a copout, I'm afraid because origins has a bearing on everything. If start off with just our ability to reason without knowing how we have the ability to do so in the first place, then there is nothing to keep reason from being surmounted by another means of perception in the future because you cannot know it will not be.
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            • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
              The 'metaphysical', in any rational philosophy, pertains to the nature of reality in general, not mysticism. Plato employed a mystical realm to account for universals in concept formation. Aristotle claimed that universals are inherent in the particulars of this world. Both are intrinsicist in the realm of concept formation, but Aristotle emphasized reason, individualism and this world reality in contrast to Plato's mysticism and collectivism.

              Ayn Rand identified the 'problem of universals' as epistemological, not metaphysical, and explained the mental integrations in terms of similarities in accordance with commensurate measurements differing only in degree. She provided an objective account in contrast to the intrinsicists and the subjective nominalists with their arbitrary grouping. There is no need to "tie" anything to the mystical and the attempt to do so is destructive.

              Man understands, by reason alone, "how we got here" in the same way we understand everything we know through science, in this case biology and evolution. Supernatural fantasies explain nothing.

              We start out using our ability to reason because it is the faculty we are born with. Perceptions and elementary integrations of the simplest concepts are automatic. We are born with the faculty but not the cognitive content, which is learned. We don't need to understand how it works in order to begin thinking any more than we need to know how the digestive system works to begin eating and digesting food.

              We learn over time to think in ever increasing complexity of abstractions and method, using our reasoning ability to do so as in any science. Reason is not "surmounted" by faith, and not knowing what is not yet objectively discovered and known, about cognitive methods or anything else, does not prevent us from knowing and progressing in what we do know. Substituting faith and mysticism is corrosive and destructive. Starting with recognition of existence and living in it is not a "cop out".
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        • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
          james; I think Heinlein said it best (paraphrased):
          "Most people can't think, those that try mostly don't do it well, but the very few that can, they are the only ones that count."
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        • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 2 months ago
          Aristotle laid out many of the principles of deductive logic (how many were original to him I don't think anyone knows). However, the ancient greeks never worked out how induction works, although Aristotle certainly understood some of the ideas behind the scientific method which he used in his biology.

          The enlightenment worked on the epistemology of reason and made some good progress, but ultimately failed to solve some problems that were exploited by David Hume and Kant. Many people are still working on the epistemology of reason, including David Kelley who wrote the book Evidence of the Senses. Like the sciences of physics, chemistry, etc. it is likely that there will always more to be learned about reason and how it works.
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          • -2
            Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
            Is seeking the function of reason akin to the evanescence of understanding conscience? Did they reason that conscience exists? In comparing the study of reason/rationality to a science, then I take it that its investigation is governed by the scientific method.
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            • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
              What is "seeking the function of reason" and what is "evanescence of understanding conscience"? Aristotle discovered the function of reason a long time ago. His conceptualizations and formulations of method didn't come from a "seeking" of something apart from what he was already doing and capable of doing. It has no relation to an alleged fading of a sense of right and wrong. Aristotle's discussion of morality recognized that it makes a difference to human life what choices we make but he only observed what most people accepted as ethical behavior (which did not include ascetic life of sacrifice for the supernatural).
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            • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
              james; I think you're mixing things up here. You seem to be comparing 'seeking the function of reason' which I look at as man's only ability to survive, to the 'fading away' of understanding 'determining right or wrong or a feeling of guilt.'
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              • -1
                Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                No mix up....

                I am asking whether the understanding of conscience (not the little guy on your shoulder whispering ethical advice, but a quality of being aware you exist) is worthy of the same scientific investigation you are suggesting for reason.

                Do you believe we have conscience? If not, then how do you reason anything? They are related, are they not?
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                  What does a "quality of being aware you exist" mean? Most of us are simply aware that we exist. There is no "little guy whispering".

                  If by conscience you mean a sense of right and wrong, most people absorb principles of right and wrong, often bad principles, from what they are told and absorb from the culture around them, which was inherited from common beliefs and confused philosophy for millennia, just as they acquire all other basic philosophical ideas and their sense of life without systematic thought. See Ayn Rand's "Philosophy and Sense of Life" in her book The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature. All branches of philosophy should be pursued as a science, systematically and objectively and based on the nature of man and reality, not tradition of mysticism. See the opening chapter "The Objectivist Ethics" in Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism, and Leonard Peikoff's comprehensive Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
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                • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                  There's a big difference between 'the conscious' and 'a conscience'.

                  The conscious generally means the 'I', the ego, self awareness. Reasoning is a process of the mind. Rational, logical, reasoning is that process, performed in a disciplined, systemized method to reach a truth, and tied to the reality we live in, and communicable to others. And yes, the study of consciousness is not only worth of scientific investigation, and has been subjected to that investigation for several decades and is ongoing.
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                  • -1
                    Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                    Ok but you still didn't answer the question....is consciousness (sorry, should have used this vs conscience) related to reason? Do you not need consciousness to be able to reason? If you do, where does consciousness come from?
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                      That is not what you asked. If you want an answer to a question you have to state the question. Consciousness is the faculty of awareness of existence. Of course you have to be aware in order to reason. The faculty of reason based on the senses and in the form of conceptual thought is the distinctive human consciousness. It is physically located in the nervous system, especially the brain that processes sensory input and processes of thought.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
                      Reasoning is a developed or learned, structured discipline of a conscious mind. The exact definition and characteristics of consciousness and the conditions, components, combinations, etc. from which it arises are all subjects of intense study today in several disciplines--particularly as we've entered into the fringes of artificial intelligence in our computing systems.
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                      • -2
                        Posted by james464 3 years, 2 months ago
                        Ok then where does the conscious mind come from? If you say it evolved, then reason is just another term for identifying how the chemicals in our brains yield particular thoughts and actions and nothing less, leaving out any basis for existence whatsoever.

                        Is that the hand you are willing to play?
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                        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
                          This isn't a game playing "hands". The conscious mind in fact comes from the nervous system, which has in fact evolved. Conscious awareness through some kind of sensory experience is pervasive throughout the animal kingdom. Reason is our faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by our senses. It is the human, conceptual form of awareness, i.e., the more advanced form of consciousness that permits integrating abstractions into concepts based on perception. Our conceptual ability, and our dependence on it for survival, is unique in the known animal world. It is a natural process, not mystical.

                          That the form of our consciousness has evolved to be what it is does not mean that it's "just another term for identifying how chemicals" do anything. Consciousness and its relation to existence as awareness of existence is an axiomatic concept, not chemistry. The actions of the nervous system are how it works, to the extent it is now known, not a reductionist replacement for the fundamental fact of awareness of reality, which is more, not "nothing less" (whatever that is supposed to mean) than "chemicals yielding thoughts and actions".

                          James' wild leap from a physical brain as the center of conscious awareness to "leaving out any basis for existence whatsoever" is bizarre. Existence is everything that is. It requires no "basis". Our consciousness is awareness of it in the particular human form. Consciousness is not a means to create existence out of alleged metaphysical nothingness, which does not exist. Recognizing that is not "playing a hand". If you think that this forum is to be exploited by endless sophistry intended to rationalistically manipulate people into a game of satisfying religious faith in the guise of honest questions you are sadly mistaken. This is a serious forum for the discussion of Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason and egoism. We do not "play hands" here.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
          Goes back further to Socrates but the Aristotle champion of reason and thinking and the first to write treatises on the subject. Prior to that he was a pupil of Plato dean of the mystics refusing reason and thinking and embracing faith.

          Thus

          reason vs faith, objective vs. subjective, practical vs pragmatic split took place in those times. It seemed far enough for the purpose.

          This may help.

          " Plato was a typical playboy from a wealthy, connected Athenian family until he met a man named Socrates, who taught him that the surest path to wisdom was rational contemplation, and that being a “lover of wisdom” or philosopher was the highest form of life.

          http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by...

          the article continues I just gave the beginning

          Plato taught his students that all of us want to be part of something higher, a transcendent reality of which the world we see is only a small part, and which unites everything into a single harmonious whole. All of us, he said, want to crawl out of the cave of darkness and ignorance, and walk in the light of truth.

          “There is no other road to happiness,” Plato concluded, “either for society or the individual.”

          Plato’s most brilliant pupil, however, arrived at a very different view. Growing up in a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. We don’t live in a cave, was his reply to Plato; we live in the real world. “Facts are the starting point” of all knowledge, Aristotle wrote. So instead of accepting his teacher’s belief in pure contemplation, Aristotle said our path to knowledge comes through logical, methodical discovery of the world around us–and the facts that make it up.

          Aristotle asks: “How does it work?” Plato asks: “Why does it exist at all?”

          Plato asks, “What do you want your world to be?” Aristotle asks, “How do you fit into the world that already exists?”

          Plato asks, “What’s your dream?” Aristotle replies, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”

          Two different world-views; one great debate. And here are five important lessons we can learn from both of them.

          A second source introduces Epicurus who varied with Aristotle in application covering metaphysics and epistemology...but besides the sample below better to it for yourself

          "
          Aristotle never really did use the term "metaphysics," but he did call the area of that particular subject matter as first philosophy or the study of being qua being. Like Ayn Rand, Aristotle believes in an external objective world that is set apart from any man's consciousness. When he means is that "A is A," everything is an objective reality and our minds can only perceive reality, not create it. Although everything is set in an objective standard, each and every human being can perceive objects in many different ways. The world is made up of independent entities that nothing exist separately from and that all else depends on.

          Aristotle believes that there are axioms used in all reasoning. Axioms, to Aristotle, are the most fundamental principles that he uses before explaining what substance and essence entail. These axioms are self-evident laws that do not need proof. Therefore, he also states that we must be concerned with the principle of non-contradiction. This principle means that one thing cannot at the same time be and not be, nor can an attribute at the same time belong and not belong to the same object in the same respect. This is his first principle and, therefore, it is not derived from anything else."

          The article continues ...

          http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/W...

          Aristotle was one of the first to look back to how reason might have begun and subscribes reason as the major difference between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom (who are instinctive in nature.)
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  • Posted by broskjold22 3 years, 2 months ago
    Thanks for posting. It can get tiring to read and re-read stances on abortion, gun ownership, etc. when it is more or less clear in the lexicon how and - more importantly - why Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger and many others take the Objective side of the argument with the Conservatives. It is the entire reason this book was published: http://www.amazon.com/Neoconservatism...
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    • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago
      Thanks broskjold; I've not yet read the book you reference. My knowledge of neo-conservatism is simply observational from the Clinton and Bush years as well as reading many of their essays and commentaries during those years. The one thing that has always stuck out to me is that within a matter of 2 or 3 weeks after 9/11, that the Patriot Act was there illustrating that it had been sitting in someone's desk drawer just waiting and that the NSA had so much of their infrastructure and systems (years of development) already in existence at the time.
      But all else aside, I do count the neo-cons as evil to liberty and the door openers to Obama and his cohorts.
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      • Posted by broskjold22 3 years, 2 months ago
        Irving Kristol is widely credited as the father of neoconservative thought. That school has the distinct flavor of the nation-building polemics of the Bush-era conquests. Indeed, the book goes through some of the neoconservative's common fallacies in favor of Objectivism.
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  • Posted by conscious1978 3 years, 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    The "truth" is...that you assert conclusions you've made regarding Objectivism when it's clear, from your remarks, that you haven't researched it. It comes off like someone trying to explain and criticize multiplication only using subtraction.

    Rather than try to lecture on a subject you've inadequately grasped, you could just try to explain your own beliefs and see where that goes.
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  • Posted by 3 years, 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Yes james; Objectivists, though in no way followers, totally reject the idea that there exists such a thing as extra-anthropic truth whatever that is in your life view, other than there is an objective reality which exists outside of your perception and your subjective beliefs.

    All I can see in your comments is you attempting to be rhetorically clever and trying to play sophist games. We all know exactly where you're trying to direct the discussion in asking Objectivists to give you some type of concrete, absolute answer to the simplistic question you try to pose.

    Provide your definition and description of what you mean by murder.
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  • Posted by jdg 3 years, 2 months ago
    Objectivists may not be "conservatives" as the word was used in 1962, but I submit that most of them are as it's used now, largely because the "social conservative agenda" (mostly meaning the anti-gay and pro-life views, not specifically religion) has lost so irreversibly that most people calling themselves "conservative" have now abandoned it. I include the Conservative Parties of Britain, Canada, and Australia. In effect, conservative now means libertarian. And using the word conservative makes us seem much more mainstream.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 2 months ago
    It's the old rock and a hard place.
    I'm not sure of her later years, but for a while, Ms. Rand was quite active in politics. In doing so, she had to choose sides, and she fought hard for those whom she supported. Today's choices are not quite as clear-cut as Roosevelt versus Wilke, what with myriad of Republicans vying for the nomination. The sure-to-be Democrat Candidate is Ms. Clinton, guaranteed to be Obama's third term. Leading the Republican pack is a Crypto Conservative businessman, followed by a religious zealot, followed by Marco the giant killer. Every one brags of their Conservative credentials. What to do? To paraphrase, "Of two weasels, pick the lesser." Meaning, the one who'll do the least damage. If you can't wrap your head around that, then drop out. If you do and the greater weasel-evil gets in, then you are partly responsible.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
      It turned out that Wilke was no better and she was sorry for her support of him. Often she did not vote, but there have been 'clear-cut' choices, even though neither was good, like keeping McGovern out under her phrase "anti-Nixonites for Nixon".
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 2 months ago
        All I meant to point out is that the Roosevelt VS Wilke contest was more clear-cut than today's mish-mash. The last truly clear-cut election was of George Washington. He was exactly what he said he was. One thing you can rely on about elections is that even the most brilliant of us can be fooled.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 2 months ago
          Roosevelt vs Wilke turned out not to be as clear cut as what had appeared. Wilke turned out to be a me-tooer. Ayn Rand learned her lesson. Today's politicians usually count on how many they can fool without ever committing themselves. It's an art form.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
      If you choose evil in any form you are wholly responsible. choosing evil is an individual choice and you have no one to blame but yourself for you are self confessed and already delivered a verdict of guilty - upon yourself. The rest is just seeking absolution or a lighter sentence from the rest of us. I will not give it.That is yours and yours alone as a supporter of evil it should be an easy choice.
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 2 months ago
        Then you opt out and don't fight against evil. Like Churchill said (paraphrase) you can't win if you don't get into the arena. The choices are never easy, but you are still living here and if you are out, others are making the choices for you. I've been fighting leftist shit most of my life and I'm not about to stop now. I think I am as informed as a private citizen can be and I am working for a just cause. The ship of state cannot make a right turn, like an ocean liner it takes a long, swinging wide arc.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
          How does not voting for either of two left wing candidates from the same party become opting out and and not fighting against evil. You might want to rephrase that one. Choices are 1. Register and vote for evil 2. Register and vote for local measures only excluding judges with no opponents and non partisan candidates. (this means no write in's for the top two spots Pres and Vice Pres or similar situations State and Local. that are strictly party controlled. 3. Don't register.

          The result is raising the amount of people who refuse to accept the candidates offered by a single party system of two faces both of whom are similar in political beliefs.

          It's also the only morally acceptable way to go.

          I don't vote for evil period. Someone else can take the blame next time. Since no candidates are running that are not either Left wing statist corporatist fascist or left wing corporatists statists which is the definition of Democrats and Republicans or Dinos and Rinos the only choice is to not play their game especially when they keep strengthening their defenses against ever having free and honest elections.

          I'm far from opting out. Down to and including reminding the military of their oath of office. And I don't have to violate my moral values to take those options.

          In this case the game is rigged so never mind getting in the arena even buying a ticket to the fight gives aid and comfort to the wrong side. the only way to win is by NOT participating and thankfully we still have that provision in whats left of the Constitution.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
          I don't consider it opting out. Increasing the number of people who register and vote on everything else except these 'selected for me none of the above candidates ' is an expression of no confidence. By listing no one else they accrue zero winner take all. i'd like to see that number get up to 70 plus % of no register and register no vote when the only choices are two candidates from the same party and the same leftist viewpoint.

          I don't vote the openly leftists at all and it's a way of punishing the Republicans for going left and turning traitor to the nation and he Constitution

          Meanwhile I will probably vote no on every tax increase and every measure that is antithetical to freedom and independence. Another blank space is judges that run unopposed and non-partisan candidates on the local level. No such thing as non partisan.

          The other three options are don't vote at all, don't register and especially not for Republicans or Democrats and three wait for the military to uphold their oath of office.

          But voting for any form of left wing socialist fascism isn't going to happen. I'm a Constitutionalist not a traitor.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 2 months ago
    I agree with all the quotes.

    To get votes, politicians need breadth of support, not depth. So we can candidates that feel like the lesser of two evils. We get an industry of commentators struggling for attention by saying, "OMG, President Bush/Obama will destroy the country." (Who am I kidding about them using the proper title, "President"? They're more likely to call them childish names.)

    If we cannot elect Rand Paul or someone like him, the rational thing to do is to lobby the politicians for policies that favor liberty and ignore the histrionics.

    I think you're right that politics "leads a path towards statism, socialism, anti-capitalism, and most importantly-anti-freedom." At first I thought that was a famous Ayn Rand quote, and then I realized you wrote.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 2 months ago
      in the end it's an individual choice when you punch, press, mark, push or whatever your ballot. It used to be a secret ballot but apparently not any more.
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