How I discovered Ayn Rand and Objectivism – My personal story

Posted by Maphesdus 3 years, 6 months ago to Philosophy
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It's difficult to say for certain when I was first introduced to Ayn Rand. For the longest time, “Atlas Shrugged” had always been one of those famous literary works, like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Catcher in the Rye,” which I knew were considered classics, but which I had never read and didn't know much about. Ayn Rand's magnum opus was among these, and it sort floated around in my subconscious, just below the level of awareness; existing, but in a state which was incorporeal and insubstantial.

One day, I was watching an episode of South Park titled “Chickenlover,” in which the character Officer Barbrady reveals that he is illiterate, but subsequently learns to read, and then reads “Atlas Shrugged” and decides never to read again because of it. This little cameo nudged “Atlas Shrugged” into my consciousness a bit more, and made me decide that perhaps maybe I wanted to possibly read it someday. I didn't know what the story was even about, but if it was getting made fun of on South Park, it had to be kind of a big deal, right? So I made a mental goal to eventually read “Atlas Shrugged” at some unspecified point in the indeterminate future. Then I went about my regular life as usual and soon forgot about it.

In 2009, I took a summer-sales job selling home security systems door-to-door. The company was sending sales-reps out of state, so I got to visit a part of the country I had never been to before. On the way there, during a layover between flights (tickets paid for by the company), I decided to browse the used book store at the airport. On one shelf there happened to be an old hardcover copy of “Atlas Shurgged.” I eagerly picked it up and read the brief synopsis on the back cover, which gave me a glimpse into a world on the brink of economic collapse. It sounded intriguing, and so I began flipping through the pages. Being somewhat impatient, I flipped towards the back of the book to see what state the world would end up in. Had the characters in the book solved the economic problems of their society? Had things fallen apart completely? What did their world look like? By pure chance, I happened to land on what turned out to be one of the most memorable exchanges of dialogue in the entire book:

––––––––––––––––––––––
“Okay, I'll tell you. You want me to be Economic Dictator?”
“Yes!”
“And you'll obey any order I give?”
“Implicitly!”
“Then start by abolishing all income taxes.”
“Oh no!” screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet. “We couldn't do that! That's . . . that's not the field of production. That's the field of distribution. How would we pay government employees?"
“Fire your government employees.”
“Oh, no! That's politics! That's not economics! You can't interfere with politics! You can't have everything!”
––––––––––––––––––––––

So... this was a novel about politics and economics? I smiled. This was in May of 2009, and the country was still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, so the story felt absolutely relevant to the current times. Unfortunately, I was flat broke, and didn't want to spend what little cash I had on a book, even if it did look like it would be a really good one. Looking at my watch, I realized my next plane was going to be departing soon, and I had only about ten minutes or so to get to the terminal. So I put “Atlas Shrugged” back on the shelf and walked out of the bookstore. It would be another three years before I finally picked it up again.

I spent that summer involved in what I had initially thought was going to be just another job to pay the bills, but which, looking back, I now realize taught me some very important life lessons. It was the first sales job I had ever had, and it gave me a totally new perspective on salesmen, business, and money. I admit I didn't do particularly well at the job, as I've always been an extremely shy and introverted person, and had a habit of being a bit submissive (when you're a salesman, these are not good personality traits to have).

Of course I wasn't the only one who was struggling. Many of the other sales reps also found they had significant difficulty in persuading people to buy our product. Taking note of our struggles, our team leader (who had done extremely well with sales in summers past) introduced us to a book which he said would help us overcome our weaknesses. That book was called “The Psychology of Selling,” by Brian Tracy. I didn't know it yet, but this book was going to have a profound impact on my life and my perspective on business and money. It was the first time in my life that I had ever read any self-help book, or any book that dealt directly with the issues of money, sales, and business. It was amazing. Although I admit my skills as a salesman didn't improve much, Brian Tracy's book started me on a journey of financial discovery, a quest to discover the inner workings of business, finance, and eventually, economics.

Following that summer, I started to develop a keen interest in money matters, and I began to actively seek out other self-help books on the subject. Over the next couple of years, I delved into various books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” by Robert Kiyosaki, “Super Rich,” by Russell Simmons, “Think and Grow Rich,” and “The Law of Success,” both by Napoleon Hill, and “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, along with several others. Combined, these books taught me to think about business and money in a totally new light. They taught me that rather than slaving away for a paycheck at some mindless dead-end job where I would have little control over my own life, I could choose a different path – I could choose freedom. These books taught me that personal success, economic prosperity, and true financial independence were simply a matter of having the proper mindset, of understanding how to create and build real value. I still had not yet read “Atlas Shrugged,” but these other books had established in me a value system based on the principles of independence, personal responsibility, humility, productivity, and financial freedom. I was beginning to think like an entrepreneur.

[CONTINUED IN COMMENTS]


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    Posted by iroseland 3 years, 6 months ago
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Actually, objectivism does not mean turning away from this idea. But turning towards it so much that you no longer see groups of people and only see lots of individuals.

    So, the problems with the civil rights act fall into the realm of supposedly protecting one group of individuals by removing the freedoms from another group. The need for this had more to do with broken premises than anything else. It was caused because people had been taught that they are part of groups, instead of teaching people that they are ends in and of themselves. Since people were taught that race matters they acted as if it matters. Things is as far as reality is concerned it really does not matter. Sex only really matters in a few edge cases.. So, amendment or no amendment if you approach hiring rationally you hire the best brains your money can buy. If you stop using that as your measure your money will stop buying the best brains it can find and will throw in some sort of substitute. The end result will be that you are no misspending that money.

    :note: all of this was my understanding.. I could be wildly wrong, but I am pretty confident..
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      Actually, I don't think it's a good idea to only ever look at individuals, as doing so inevitably blinds a person to the way groups operate and interact with each other in society. Judging people by their individual merit is always a good thing, but at the same time, saying that there is no such thing as groups is a denial of reality. Reductionism is important, but so is holism.
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      • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
        When you begin feeling as and acting as a group, you become an animal and have given up your primary advantage in life, a mind that can reason.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          Not at all. Teamwork is the most effective way to accomplish almost any goal. Acting alone allows one to accomplish only so much. Acting together allows all the entire group to achieve much greater heights.

          Which is more profitable? A small mom and pop grocery store that has only one location, or a huge national chain like Wal-Mart? The answer shouldn't be that difficult to figure out...
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 6 months ago
            Your analogy is off, but for a different reason. Wal-Mart is still the product of one man: Sam Walton. The reason Wal-Mart is more effective and efficient than "mom and pop" is because of an economic principle called "economies of scale" - not because of decision by jury.

            Decisions ultimately are individual. When you allow others to make your decisions for you, aside from being a decision, you are forfeiting your individuality. Does that mean that people don't band together to advance common causes? Surely not. But when they are doing so, they believe that the results will ultimately be in their individual favor.

            I like the classical study done way back when they still had video stores. They found that a single individual usually was in and out in under two minutes. When two people went in to select a video, transaction time rose to 10 minutes. With three or more, they rarely came to a decision to rent at all! How many times have we seen that in the boardroom? How many times is a "group" decision really the result of the one or two individuals with the political power?

            Can an individual decision be benefited by more than one point of view? Absolutely. Can a case be made for getting all involved parties to "buy in" to a decision? With a surety. But are the decisions themselves a product of the group? Only very rarely.
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            • -1
              Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
              A fair point, but what do you make of this?

              –––––––––––––––––––––––––
              "The day of combination is here to stay. Individualism has gone, never to return."
              ~ John D. Rockefeller
              –––––––––––––––––––––––––

              Ayn Rand seemed to believe that individualism equaled capitalism, and collectivism equaled communism. But from what I've read about business, that actually doesn't seem to be the case at all. When I read Robert Kiyosaki, essentially the message I got was that individualism is the battle cry of the small business owner and the independent freelancer, while a big business owner operates on the principles of teamwork and organized collective action. Several other authors have supported this view as well, and none of them were communists or socialists. They were all capitalists, and many were even highly successful businessmen. The fact that such men were advocating ideologies which conflicted with Ayn Rand's social theories tells me that her understanding of capitalism was, perhaps, a bit limited. The fact that Ayn Rand never owned or operated her own business also tells me that her theories had no real world experience to support them, and therefore they should be viewed with heavy skepticism. No theory can ever be regarded as reliable until it has first been tested in the real world and, through experimentation and observation, been proven to work. Trumpeting the supposed superiority of an untested and unproven theory was the same mistake that was made by Karl Marx when he laid out the details of communism.

              Anyway, here's some reading material on the subject of big business:

              The Economist – John D. Rockefeller Defended:
              http://www.economist.com/node/160180

              "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr." by Ron Chernow:
              http://www.amazon.com/Titan-Life-John-Ro...

              "The Myth Of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations," by Jeffrey S. Nielsen:
              http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Of-Leadership...

              "The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century," by Thomas L. Friedman:
              http://www.amazon.com/World-Flat-3-0-His...
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 6 months ago
                So it's going to take me a while to go through that list, but to make things short, here's what I would say about business (and I would like to think that my 20+ years and MBA lend some credence to my observations):

                Decision-making is not a group effort in any of the companies I've worked with or for - from Fortune 50 to small or large private firms. There is always a champion attempting to persuade others to follow them.

                Businesses are just exactly that: a champion starts a business in the belief that they can satisfy a market demand better than one's competitors - that is to say they believe they can more closely align with their customers' value assessments of a given transaction. Both parties receive individual benefit from the transaction.

                Then the business grows and multiple people begin to get involved in the transaction. Ultimately, however, each person involved commits to the transaction in their own way because they evaluate their participation in such on an individual level. Sometimes it can merely be the understanding of adverse consequences: "if I don't sell this person that new iPhone, I'll lose my job." The other end of the scale is "if I sell this person that new iPhone, I'll receive a commission". In the end, however, the decision is still personal - not the result of a group.

                "The fact that Ayn Rand never owned or operated her own business also tells me that her theories had no real world experience to support them, and therefore they should be viewed with heavy skepticism."

                The reason we take advice from an experienced individual with more trust that an inexperienced individual is precisely because they have performed the experiment and seen the results, is it not? I think it is healthy to question someone who has no personal experience in the matter, but one must also take caution not to totally dismiss that person's thought just because one has no experience unless there is ample evidence to oppose the theory. That takes us into the realm of prejudice (by very definition) but is a very tough line to walk.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                Maphesdus: "Ayn Rand seemed to believe that individualism equaled capitalism, and collectivism equaled communism.'

                That is not what she wrote or believed. Please stop misrepresenting Ayn Rand based on what you imagine she thought.

                Maphesdus: "a big business owner operates on the principles of teamwork and organized collective action."

                A private organization incorporating many individuals cooperating is not "collectivism", which is the politics and philosophy Ayn Rand rejected. Ayn Rand did not confuse large private organizations with "communism".

                Maphesdus: "The fact that such men were advocating ideologies which conflicted with Ayn Rand's social theories tells me that her understanding of capitalism was, perhaps, a bit limited."

                Your constant misrepresentations of Ayn Rand tell us that your understanding is worse than "a bit limited".

                Maphesdus: "The fact that Ayn Rand never owned or operated her own business also tells me that her theories had no real world experience to support them, and therefore they should be viewed with heavy skepticism."

                Ayn Rand did run private businesses connected with her writing, but that is besides the point. One does not have to be a business owner to have "real world experience" or the experience necessary for philosophy.
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                • -1
                  Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  It depends on which definition of the word "collectivism" we're operating under.

                  From Merriam Webster:
                  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
                  col·lec·tiv·ism – noun:
                  a political or economic system in which the government owns businesses, land, etc.

                  1: a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also: a system marked by such control
                  2: emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity
                  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
                  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionar...

                  The first or primary definition – government ownership of businesses – is what's known as syndicalism, which is the inevitable result of trying to implement communist/socialist theories. Communism itself is actually impossible to achieve, and any attempts to do so are guaranteed to result in syndicalism (this point is established by Ludwig von Mises in his book "Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis").

                  But the second definition – collective action or identity – can simply refer to any endeavor or activity in which a group of people work together to achieve a common goal or interest. This form of collectivism is very different from the first, and in fact is actually a fundamental aspect of capitalism. Barring independent freelancers, every company and corporation is really just a group of people collectively working together as a team to produce a single product (or multiple teams producing multiple products, as is often the case with larger companies).

                  The problem with many of Ayn Rand's arguments against collectivism is that she never clearly distinguished between these two different definitions of the term, and in fact she seemed to be totally unaware that there even was more than one definition. To compound the problem, some of her arguments are so broad sweeping and generalized that she actually attacks both definitions at once, thereby effectively condemning certain essential elements of capitalism in her attack on communism, which is rather ironic.

                  And Ayn Rand did not run a private business. What she had was a fan club. Although a club does certainly involve a group of people, it's not quite the same because no one except her was responsible for producing the product (i.e. her books). Sure, she had occasional co-authors, such as Nathaniel Brandon and Alan Greenspan, but she never had to coordinate or direct a team of people and ensure they were all doing their jobs properly, nor did she have to worry about deadlines or schedules. In short, she was effectively operating as an independent writer, as other people were not particularly necessary for the completion of the books.

                  Also, from what I understand, she actually delegated most of the managerial tasks of the club to Nathaniel Brandon (and then to other people after she cut ties with him), so she was never even really in charge of the club herself, which is important because it shows she never had to develop people management skills.

                  You say that real world experience isn't necessary prior to engaging in and writing about philosophy, and to a certain extent I suppose that's true. If you're simply theorizing about intangible ideas like the meaning of life, the nature of man's soul, and other metaphysical concepts, then no prior experience is necessary. However, when the philosophy in question diverts from such abstract ideas and starts to deal directly with political and economic theory, things which have practical application in the real world, then yes, real world experience actually does start to matter at that point.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Maphesdus: "And Ayn Rand did not run a private business. What she had was a fan club. Although a club does certainly involve a group of people, it's not quite the same because no one except her was responsible for producing the product (i.e. her books). Sure, she had occasional co-authors, such as Nathaniel Brandon and Alan Greenspan, but she never had to coordinate or direct a team of people and ensure they were all doing their jobs properly, nor did she have to worry about deadlines or schedules. In short, she was effectively operating as an independent writer, as other people were not particularly necessary for the completion of the books. Also, from what I understand, she actually delegated most of the managerial tasks of the club to Nathaniel Brandon (and then to other people after she cut ties with him), so she was never even really in charge of the club herself, which is important because it shows she never had to develop people management skills."

                    The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, The Ayn Rand Letter, NBI (run mostly by Branden), and other lecture series were not "fan clubs". There was no "club". If you bothered to look at what they were doing you would see that there were more than "occasional" other authors (not "coauthors") and that she did have to "worry about schedules" and ensure that everyone was doing his job. Stop making things up. Your trashing Ayn Rand with demeaning misrepresentations and mud-slinging from the ignorance of your imagination while pretending to be so knowledgeable about her is a farce.

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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Maphesdus: "It depends on which definition of the word 'collectivism' we're operating under.

                    "From Merriam Webster:
                    col·lec·tiv·ism – noun:
                    a political or economic system in which the government owns businesses, land, etc."

                    "1: a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also: a system marked by such control"
                    "2: emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity"

                    You don't have to lecture us in the manner of analytical philosophy on the various uses of the word. The context is clear. We are talking about Ayn Rand's rejection of collectivism in politics, ethics and epistemology. She did not reject all kinds of group action or businesses with a "group identity" and, properly, did not call that "collectivism". She was a very clear writer and there is no excuse for your misrepresentation as you dance around with word games.

                    Maphesdus: "The first or primary definition – government ownership of businesses – is what's known as syndicalism, which is the inevitable result of trying to implement communist/socialist theories..."

                    Syndicalism -- control of industry by 'workers' -- is one form of collectivism. Pretentious diversion on what you think Mises argued is besides the point. You misrepresented Ayn Rand.

                    Maphesdus: "But the second definition – collective action or identity – can simply refer to any endeavor or activity in which a group of people work together to achieve a common goal or interest. This form of collectivism is very different from the first, and in fact is actually a fundamental aspect of capitalism. Barring independent freelancers, every company and corporation is really just a group of people collectively working together as a team to produce a single product (or multiple teams producing multiple products, as is often the case with larger companies)."

                    That kind of collective action of people working as individuals in a group for a private business is not collectivism and is not what Ayn Rand was talking about, as everyone else can see by reading what she wrote.

                    Maphesdus: "The problem with many of Ayn Rand's arguments against collectivism is that she never clearly distinguished between these two different definitions of the term, and in fact she seemed to be totally unaware that there even was more than one definition. To compound the problem, some of her arguments are so broad sweeping and generalized that she actually attacks both definitions at once, thereby effectively condemning certain essential elements of capitalism in her attack on communism, which is rather ironic."

                    There is no "problem" with Ayn Rand's arguments against collectivism. All that is "ironic" is your own pretentious attempts to attack her with word games and equivocations. Ayn Rand was very clear what she was talking about.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Maphesdus: "You say that real world experience isn't necessary prior to engaging in and writing about philosophy, and to a certain extent I suppose that's true. "

                    That is not what I wrote and it is not true. Stop making things up. I wrote that "One does not have to be a BUSINESS OWNER to have 'real world experience' or the experience necessary for philosophy".

                    Maphesdus: "If you're simply theorizing about intangible ideas like the meaning of life, the nature of man's soul, and other metaphysical concepts, then no prior experience is necessary. However, when the philosophy in question diverts from such abstract ideas and starts to deal directly with political and economic theory, things which have practical application in the real world, then yes, real world experience actually does start to matter at that point."

                    Only a rationalist could think philosophy about such topics as "the meaning of life" can be done with "no prior experience" -- just like you think you can make pronouncements about Ayn Rand with little or no "prior experience" of bothering to understand what she wrote and did, because you are a rationalist. Philosophy, including such topics as "the meaning of life", is not divorced from experience in reality and does have practical application. Ayn Rand, unlike so many others, did not spin floating abstractions and then only later appeal to "experience" to apply her principles.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      I apologize if I misinterpreted your comment. Rather than spouting off single sentence rebuttals, perhaps you could instead try expressing your thoughts and ideas in a more comprehensive way, maybe by utilizing full paragraphs? The more details you put into your writing, the lower your possibility of being misunderstood. That's just a suggestion, though.

                      You call me a rationalist, but I'm confused, as the tone of your comment indicates that you consider the term to be derogatory. Tell me, is there something wrong with being rational?
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                        You have been given full paragraphs. You didn't "misinterpret" my statement, you misrepresented it as the opposite.

                        Philosophical rationalism, in contrast to philosophical empiricism, does not mean being rational. It is exemplified by Descartes trying to derive reality from inside his head vs Hume trying to understand reality with his anti-conceptual emphasis on percepts. These are classic archetypes of well known trends in the history of philosophy. Modern academic rationalism manipulating ideas divorced from reality through a series of equivocations and context dropping is rampant. The people you have been reading who practically make a 'career' out of attacking Ayn Rand and who you have been relying on rather understanding first hand what she wrote are examples.
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcEOsGvT...

            Your question regarding Wal-mart is fallacious. Check your premises.

            Which is more profitable? Define "profitable"? Having a larger profit *margin*, or having a larger total income?

            Wal-mart today consists of thousands of semi-autonomous stores. More than anything it resembles the U.S. in its structure.

            In my store, there's a minor battle going on.
            Teamwork between a racehorse and a mule achieves nothing. Teamwork alone accomplishes nothing, just as physical effort without the mind accomplishes nothing.
            Wal-mart is loaded with all kinds of "teamwork" rah-rah BS, it papers the walls of the rear hallways. I don't know if the proles who work there buy into it or not; as near as I can tell, they're largely ignored, recognized as meaningless.

            The reality of Wal-mart is that the effectiveness of any given store rely more on the effort and creativity of a small cadre of individuals, while the majority of the labor force are like oxen hitched to a grindstone, mindlessly treading the same path day after day.
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            • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
              wow, well written
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                Since Sunday I've been wearing my "20th Century Motor Corporation" cap to work. Today was the day we changed managers... to the one who's read "Atlas Shrugged"... she knows that I put it on when I'm being asked to do less of a quality job than I want. When I feel that incompetence is being rewarded and competence and ambition are being punished...

                When I explained to her why I put my hat back on, her reaction was between shock and indignation. Perhaps she'll change things. We'll see.

                Unfortunately, when I go back to work Sunday night, I believe she'll be off and I'll be wearing my cap again...
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
        Maphesdus: "I don't think it's a good idea to only ever look at individuals, as doing so inevitably blinds a person to the way groups operate and interact with each other in society... [s]aying that there is no such thing as groups is a denial of reality. Reductionism is important, but so is holism."

        Individualism is not "reductionism". We do not start with the concept of a group and then "reduce" it to individuals. That reduces the logical hierarchy. The concept of a 'group' is dependent on a prior knowledge of individuals and is meaningless without that. Only individuals exist as entities. Groups are abstractions regarding some number of individuals together in accordance with some relation between them. The individuals and the relations between them are real, and there are objective concepts of groups, but to "holistically" regard "groups" as the "real" and individuals as derivative is a reification of an abstraction and is invalid. Recognizing that individuals, not groups, are the unit of reality does not "blind" one to how people interact in society. Collectivist "holism" does.
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        • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 6 months ago
          Reification (also known as concretism, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. [britannica; also a danger zone for computer programming]
          Thank You, ewv, for the new word!!! -- j
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          I don't think I ever said groups were more concrete or more material than the individual. You built a strawman argument there. However, I do see your point. An individual person is comprised of physical matter, whereas a group is simply an abstract concept used to organize individuals who posses shared or similar characteristics. When I made the statement, "saying that there is no such thing as groups is a denial of reality," all I meant was that groups do in fact exist, not that they were material constructs or that they were more real than the individual. The one guilty of reifying that concept is you, not me (thanks for the new word, by the way).

          Ultimately, all I'm saying is that reductionism and holism are both vitally important, and that totally relying on either one to the complete exclusion of the other causes conceptual blindness, and inhibits one's ability to understand the behavior of the system in question.

          As a side note, I find it rather amusing that you would say individualism is not reductionism, but accept that collectivism is holism. Why equate one but not the other? What's the difference?
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
            Maphesdus: "Ultimately, all I'm saying is that reductionism and holism are both vitally important, and that totally relying on either one to the complete exclusion of the other causes conceptual blindness, and inhibits one's ability to understand the behavior of the system in question."

            As a side note, I find it rather amusing that you would say individualism is not reductionism, but accept that collectivism is holism. Why equate one but not the other? What's the difference?

            What "system"? In engineering, "systems" are regarded conceptually as units in their own right without regard to their constituent parts when reference to those parts can be omitted, without denying them, provided that all the relevant attributes of the system are accounted for in relevant interactions. That is not what collectivists do in claiming collectives are prior to or more important than individuals. That ranges from Hegel's notion that we are all appendages of the "Absolute", to Marx's communism, to viros sacrificing people to "ecosystems", to any other kind of moral or political subjugation of individual people to state power or the collective. Individualism is not "reductionism". You know what individuals are before forming concepts of groups; you know what values are to individuals without regard to alleged "higher" values of the collective. Individuals are not known by reduction of groups somehow known prior to individuals.
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            • -1
              Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
              I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You're saying a lot of words, but they don't seem to be forming into coherent ideas or concepts. Those last few sentences were especially incomprehensible.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                It distinguishes between an example commonly used to give credibility to "holism" and the actual role of "holism" to promote invalid collectivism.

                How the concept of a group of individuals logically depends on first knowing what the individuals are has been explained to you several times. Knowledge of individuals in a group is not obtained from "reductionism" starting with the group.

                If you still don't understand that then you should look up the history behind the slogans you keep repeating in the name of some kind of superior knowledge (and learn something about Ayn Rand in particular), rather than toss around vague claims about "reductionism and holism" as "vitally important" in a supposed defense of collectivism.

                Dismissing the responses to you as unintelligible to you with no "coherent ideas or concepts" is a statement of your own limitations, not your presumed superiority. Further details here would be lost on you.




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                • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  One must understand the individual before one can understand the group. Okay, that's fine, I have no problem with that statement. But it doesn't contradict or refute anything I've said.

                  As for the history behind the slogans, what slogans are you talking about? I'm not repeating any slogans, as far as I'm aware.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                    You said that individualism is "reductionism".

                    You have previously claimed that there is "nothing wrong with coming at the issue from the other direction and working down to the individual with the group as the starting point. Both approaches are valid."

                    Both are false.

                    Your vague appeals to "holism" as an alleged defense of your collectivism are nothing slogans.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
            Maphesdus: "I don't think I ever said groups were more concrete or more material than the individual. You built a strawman argument there."

            I didn't say anything about the "material". The strawman is all yours. The fallacy of reifying abstractions can be invoked for any abstraction pertaining to any physical entity, any aspect of consciousness, or any attribute or action of anything. It neglects the hierarchy in which higher level abstractions depend on prior knowledge through lower level concepts. Plato's mystical forms were not claimed to be "material" either, but he used them, fallaciously, as if they had existence on their own, independent of the units referred to by the abstractions.

            You have previously claimed that there is "nothing wrong with coming at the issue from the other direction and working down to the individual with the group as the starting point. Both approaches are valid."
            http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/6a...

            That is not true and the fallacy has nothing to do with what is "material". You have to know what individuals are before you can form an abstraction of a group of them no matter what the individuals are. The concept of a group requires that there be a group of some number of _something_ and is meaningless without that. The concept of the individual logically precedes the concept of the group. The attempt to invert the hierarchy of logical dependency in forming concepts results in subjectivist thinking in floating abstractions disconnected from reality.

            Maphesdus: "However, I do see your point. An individual person is comprised of physical matter, whereas a group is simply an abstract concept used to organize individuals who posses shared or similar characteristics. When I made the statement, 'saying that there is no such thing as groups is a denial of reality,' all I meant was that groups do in fact exist, not that they were material constructs or that they were more real than the individual. The one guilty of reifying that concept is you, not me (thanks for the new word, by the way)."

            You still don't understand it. The act of observing and identifying your own fallacy is not a commission of the fallacy.

            Ayn Rand did not deny that people don't form and act in groups, and that is not "all" you meant. You trashed her for rejecting collectivism. No one denies that there are groups of people. Promoting "holism" in politics and ethics is collectivist, which Ayn Rand rejected for good reason.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
              You seem to like using a lot of philosophical buzzwords. Unfortunately, they're causing more confusion than clarification, and as a result, I'm having difficulty following your meaning. Perhaps you could try fleshing your arguments out a bit more, rather than giving such brief and cryptic responses?
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                It isn't "cryptic". It answers what you wrote. You misrepresented what I wrote in terms of "strawman" and "more concrete or more material" then complain that you don't understand simple explanations dismissed as "buzz words". This isn't the place for the basic education you need. You are very confused and limited in your understanding while pretending to have a superior knowledge and intellect. That is still giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are honest and not deliberately playing a manipulative game, although they are not mutually exclusive.
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                • -1
                  Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  Look, maybe you're not aware of it, but you are in fact expressing yourself in very vague and confusing terms. It's not just me; dbhalling was confused, too. Seriously, you need to work on your communication skills, because the things you say just don't make any sense. Maybe you did answer my question, and maybe you didn't. I can't tell. You've buried your message under so much technical jargon that I can't make any sense of it.

                  If Stephen Hawking can explain the basic principles behind astrophysics in a way that anyone can understand, then surely you can find a way to clearly explain whatever it is you're trying to say.
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    • -3
      Posted by Boborobdos 3 years, 6 months ago
      Posted: "supposedly protecting one group of individuals by removing the freedoms from another group."

      Really? How does allowing all folks to use the same water fountain take from another?

      How does allowing a same sex couple to marry take from another?

      How does me carrying a firearm take from another?

      How does me taking a recreational drug take from another?

      Yes, some of these freedoms are not enumerated in civil rights things, but how does allowing anyone to swing their arms in any way, as long as they don't strike another, take anything away from another?



      I do agree that hiring the best person for a job regardless of race, color, etc. is a good thing. However A business that denies that does so at its own risk.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
        "How does allowing a same sex couple to marry take from another? "

        because, by definition "same sex" and "marry" are contradictory. You're one sex short and one sex too many.

        It requires the normal, sane people to accept an insanity as rational. "Same sex marriage" is not about equality; homosexuals can marry just as anyone else can, provided they find a willing member of the opposite sex. "Same sex marriage" is about legitimizing a mental/emotional illness.

        But the most fallacious of you statements is to translate almost immediately from "... one group" into "me". You go from defining individuals by one of their shared characteristics to acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual.

        Try going from not allowing people of a certain race to use a store's bathrooms... to not allowing non-customers to use a store's bathrooms.

        Try charging for using a bathroom... that certainly denies the use of the bathroom to the indigent. Yet the owner of the bathroom should have a perfect right to charge for its use (after all, its upkeep costs him money), or to deny its use to non-customers, or essentially to offer or deny its use based upon whatever criteria strikes his or her fancy. That's the nice thing about owning property.

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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          A biological condition or genetic trait is not a mental illness. A mental illness can be cured. DNA is fixed and unalterable (at least as far as we know).

          Also, studies have been conducted which show that when a homosexual person tries to "act straight" by marrying a member of the opposite sex, it almost always leads to an unstable and unhappy marriage, and typically ends in divorce. When you insist that homosexuals enter into such relationships for the sake of conforming to your prejudiced opinion of what constitutes "normal" behavior, you're effectively condemning them to a life of unhappiness and misery. To call that equal rights is a mockery of the term.

          Also, a business owner cannot actually deny use of a restroom "based upon whatever criteria strikes his or her fancy." There are regulations which impose limits by defining certain criteria which are not legally permissible. Property rights are important, but they are not always at the top of the hierarchy of values in every circumstance.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
        "Really? How does allowing all folks to use the same water fountain take from another?"

        Clean the bathrooms at Wal-mart some time and I'll explain it to you.
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  • Posted by  $  jimslag 3 years, 6 months ago
    I agree with iroseland about the civil rights act, but we are also seeing it in current legislation about LGBT rights and how it is protecting one group while affecting another, larger group in Christians. Again it is causing people to be grouped and to be antagonistic against each other. I am gladly, a heterosexual male, but I have lots of friends who are part of the LGBT group. We are friends on the basis that I am who I am and they are who they are. We do not not try to convert each other into one way life or the other. We got along great until the administrations latest efforts. Now with all the lawsuits against people who stand on their beliefs has come forth, I have noted a more militaristic attitude that they try to find things where they can claim discrimination and file lawsuits. Not necessarily my friends but others that they associate with. I am a firm believer that you are free to associate with whomever you please to, that is one of our rights that the government keeps trying to take away. But again, it is government putting us in groups and putting us against each other. Race first, then economics, now gender and sexuality. The progressives definitely like those groups.
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    • Posted by RevJay4 3 years, 6 months ago
      Government is in the "divide and conquer" game. As long as they pit us against each other, as groups per our interests, we cannot present a united force against the bureaucrats removing our rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution. They are good at that concept and continue to use it to keep control and power in their hands. When we learn to ignore the particular personal interests and find unity in bringing back the Constitutional government, then they will lose their power over us all.
      Soon I hope.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
      The only reason that the LGBT "community" feels that they need "equal rights" is that we've established "rights" for marriage. Marriage "rights" have no basis in the constitution - if you think that they do, then show me the passage. We need to rip them from law and regulations (chiefly from the IRS). DOMA was UNCONSTITUTIONAL, no matter if I approve of the sentiment. Marriage is a religious act for most, and a contractual act for some, that's all.
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      • Posted by hattrup 3 years, 6 months ago
        Spot on.
        Given the Feds are giving special treatment to a heterosexual pair (sorry, only 2!!), it is hard not to support other types of pairs - or for that matter more that just 2.
        So no special treatment, or special treatment for all.
        Of course logic and fairness will fly in the face of government legislated morality.
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
          You are saying that apples and oranges should be eaten the same way.

          Correction: you are saying that apples and hemlock should be eaten the same way.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
        This is why I'm adamantly opposed to Objectivists. You would cut off your noses to spite your faces. Like socialists, you insist upon only considering ideals, and to hell with the real world.

        What the LGBT "community" feels should be of no concern to an *Objectivist*. After all, Objectivism is all about reason, not emotion.

        As for "marriage rights" in the Constitution... 9th Amendment. And homosexuals share that same right... they can find a willing member of the opposite sex and marry them.

        And if homosexuals can force the rest of us to recognize their mental/emotional illness as legitimizing "same sex marriage"... then I can pick out any number of people to force to marry me so I can exercise my equal right to get married.

        Only I want to redefine marriage as, "Tuesday night pinochle tournaments".
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
    Maph,

    I think you missed the point of the Civil Rights Act and Rand's Opposition. Rand was not against "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights", she was for it. The Civil Rights Act was not about securing the rights of blacks, it was about giving them special rights (actually legal powers). It has been used consistently to force people to associate with other people. This is totally inconsistent with the Declaration of Independence.

    (By the way equal in the Declaration means equal under the law, which is not what the Civil Rights Act was/is about)

    Thomas Sowell shows that the Civil Rights Act has been a disaster for blacks. http://tomwoods.com/blog/the-civil-right...

    It is never moral for the government to tell people who they have to employ, who they have to work for, who they associate with.
    The Civil Rights Act is not civil, it is not logical, it is totalitarian nonsense.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
      now who a business needs to do business with.
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      • -2
        Posted by Boborobdos 3 years, 6 months ago
        The best example is a country club, for this example even a private one, is a venue where deals are made, business folks can entertain, and the prestige of the membership says something.

        Yet for women, blacks, and other minorities that venue is blocked by WASP rules that go back forever.

        Why should someone be denied, if they are otherwise qualified, admittance to a playground where they can forward their business and network with other community movers and shakers?
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    • -1
      Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      I disagree with the sentiment that the Civil Rights Act constituted "special privileges," and I find such a political position to be absolutely abhorrent. Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but that's where I stand.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
        You can disagree all you want, but it is a fact. Affirmative action is a special legal privilege that only applies to certain people.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          I was talking about the Civil Rights Act, not affirmative action. Don't try to pull a bait and switch on me here. Let's keep the the focus of the discussion consistent, okay? A = A
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          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
            The one led to the other. I can decide who I want to associate with the government cannot. The Civil Right Act turned that on its head. It is not about freedom, it is about using the power of government to limit people's freedom.

            The CRA was not necessary to stop desegregation in public places, all that was necessary was what you pointed to in your post "equal under the law."
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            • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
              I think you mean stop segregation, not stop desegregation. We don't want to stop desegregation.

              Also, the Civil Rights Act didn't inhibit freedom of association in any way.
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              • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                Sorry you are right I meant stop segregation.

                There is a difference between what is right at the governmental level and what is right on an ethical level. The government's job is to protect your natural rights, including your right to free association - meaning you (private citizen) can associate or not associate with anyone you want to and the government cannot force you to associate with anyone. However, the government does not have a right to free association, it must treat everyone the same under to the law.

                Ethically, it is irrational to turn away good customers, employees, etc because they are not the right religion, sex, race, etc. However, it is not irrational for me to not associated with terrorists, socialists, environmentalists and others that want to destroy humanity.

                The CRA clearly requires that I work with people I may not want to. For instance, it requires I hire and equal number of men and women even if they are not equally qualified. There are not as many qualified female engineers and male engineers. It just makes sense that if I have an engineering company, I will have more male employees as engineers. As a result, the males will be promoted more than the females - its an engineering company. If I run a company selling christian trinkets it is absurd to force me to hire muslims, jews, or atheists. And that is what the CRA does and it definitely violates my free association and it is evil and its result has been to divide people into pressure groups looking for ever greater legal privileges and goodies.
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                • -2
                  Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  I was with you up until the point where you said environmentalists want to destroy humanity, and that it's therefore perfectly rational to refuse to associate with them. The idea that environmentalism is bad and evil is just absurd. Also, business transactions do not qualify as associations. Besides, it's totally within the proper sphere of government authority to ensure that employers do not abuse their employees. The purpose of government is to protect people from each other, and sometimes employees need protection against their employers. There is nothing wrong with that. This whole line of reasoning just goes right back to whether or not government has the authority to impose regulations on business, to which I say, yes, absolutely it does. Regulation is not anti-capitalism.

                  Oh, and no, the Civil Rights Act does NOT require you to hire an equal number of men and women. That's a quota system, and the CRA does not impose any quotas.
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                  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Maph,

                    You clearly have not looked at the goals of environmentalists. Their stated goal is to kill 5.5 billion people, they have killed over 100 million people and they are proud of it - "there are too many people anyway."

                    Here is just a small selection of the evil anti-human statements by environmentalists

                    “Ultimately, no problem may be more threatening to the Earth’s environment than the proliferation of the human species.”
                    — Anastasia Toufexis, “Overpopulation: Too Many Mouths,” article in Time’s special “Planet of the Year” edition, January 2, 1989. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-di...





                    “Today, life on Earth is disappearing faster than the days when dinosaurs breathed their last, but for a very different reason….Us homo sapiens are turning out to be as destructive a force as any asteroid. Earth’s intricate web of ecosystems thrived for millions of years as natural paradises, until we came along, paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Our assault on nature is killing off the very things we depend on for our own lives….The stark reality is that there are simply too many of us, and we consume way too much, especially here at home….It will take a massive global effort to make things right, but the solutions are not a secret: control population, recycle, reduce consumption, develop green technologies.”
                    — NBC’s Matt Lauer hosting Countdown to Doomsday, a two-hour June 14, 2006 Sci-Fi Channel special. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-di...
                    “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” http://jiminmontana.wordpress.com/2012/0...



                    Dr. Charles Wurster, one of the major opponents of DDT, is reported to have said,



                    “People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this (referring to malaria deaths) is as good a way as any.” http://jiminmontana.wordpress.com/2012/0...



                    “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal,” Turner stated in 1996.[1]



                    A leading environmentalist, Dr. Eric R. Pianka advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth’s population by airborne Ebola in front of few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science who rose to their feet, and gave him a standing ovation.[2] Dr. Pianka attempted to deny this, but the evidence was overwhelming including his student evaluations.





                    Environmentalism is a Religion – and that religion is anti-human
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                    • -2
                      Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Ah, I see the problem here. You think that the opinions of a few crazy people are automatically applicable to anyone who thinks pollution is a legitimate problem.
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                      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                        No, these people are the leaders of the environmentalism. They have duped the public into thinking they are about cute animals and the outdoors. Environmentalism is a anti-human religion.
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                        • -1
                          Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                          Leaders? Are you implying that "environmentalism" is some kind of singular, unified group with an organized, hierarchical structure? Cuz' I was operating under the assumption that it was just an abstract concept.
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                            Well heeled, politically connected pressure group lobbyists, politicians, and activists entrenched in government agencies from the viro movement are imposing restrictive laws and taking private property for their nature preservationism. They are not an "abstract concept". They are real people using force to trample human rights. The viro movement consists of and is led by nature worshiping misanthropic nihilists.

                            See Ron Arnold's "Trashing the Economy: How Runaway Environmentalism is Wrecking America" http://www.amazon.com/Trashing-Economy-R...
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                  • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Notice how all of these equalrights acts came about fast and furiously after the passage of the civil rights act. The cocept of equal opportunity is absurd.
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                    • Posted by RevJay4 3 years, 6 months ago
                      "Equal rights" does not mean "equal opportunity". The "opportunity" comes about via the individual and his/her motivation to succeed or change the circumstances they are presently experiencing. Where there is sufficient motivation, for whatever reason, a person will create the opportunity to reach their goal.
                      Government cannot create the motivation, simply impede it by making it tougher for the individual to succeed via taxes, regulations, etc. Even then, the individual with enough will to succeed will find a way to do so.
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                      • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                        I am referring to "equal Opportunity Employer" the phrase was hijacked to mean if you are a minority, female, LGBT we will give your application preferential status. Because it looks good to boast about our minority %s instead of our overall performance.
                        oh-unless you are asian
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                      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                        I think the point of equal rights is to try and obtain equal treatment within society, not necessarily to establish equal opportunity.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                    No, it's totally proper for a worker who feels that he is being abused to pick up and go to another employer, or to start his own business. You cannot "harm" your workers, but you can ask them to do whatever you want them to do (so long as it doesn't cause harm to them or others). What they choose to do in response is up to them.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      You cannot "harm" your workers, but you can ask them to do whatever you want them to do (so long as it doesn't cause harm to them or others).
                      ---
                      I'm sorry, but this sentence appears to be self-contradictory. How can you refrain from asking your workers to do something that harms them if harming them isn't even possible?
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                        If they are not slaves, they are free to leave, thus you cannot harm them.

                        You can ask them to do whatever you want - but it would be immoral to ask them to do something that would cause them harm or cause harm to others, personal harm.

                        No contradiction.
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                  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Maph,

                    Regulation, properly defined, is definitely not a part of capitalism. Governments exists to protect our natural rights (Declaration of Independence), regulations infringe people's natural rights. For instance, building codes infringe my right to property and my right to contract - both are natural rights. Did you actually read Atlas Shrugged.
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                    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Re: dbhalling,

                      I have been following your ongoing debate with Maph, and find myself mostly in agreement with you. However your last comment regarding building codes infringing on your property rights seem to be a misunderstanding of the obligations of government under the Constitution.

                      Government does have a responsibility to assure the safety and well being of the citizens. A clearly defined building code based on engineering standards and experience in building clearly falls under that responsibility.

                      Furthermore, although I'm not a fan of zoning laws, they are often necessary and under the Constitutions Tenth Amendment states that, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Therefore the states do have the right of legislating building and zoning codes.

                      Fred Speckmann
                      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                        Hi Fred,

                        I disagree. If the government's job is to protect us from harm (safety) then prohibition (alcohol, drugs. FDA, ATF) makes sense, laws against gambling make sense, hell the NSA spying on all of us makes sense no matter how intrusive. The job of government is to protect our natural rights, not to keep us safe.

                        "Those who would trade a little safety for a little freedom, will get neither and deserve neither" roughly Ben Franklin

                        The 10th Amendment was about Natural Rights, not about the ability to trample natural rights. Zoning laws are unconstitutional, a violation of the common law rule of innocent until proven guilty, a violation of property rights, and a violation of your contractual rights.
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                        • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                          Re: dbhalling,
                          I of course agree with ben Franklin's quote, but the constitution clearly leaves powers to the states, as I quoted earlier. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

                          Fred Speckmann
                          commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                            Fred the result of all regulations is to stifle inventiveness, which lowers quality and increases costs. This has proven true in the US where building codes have resulted in substandard and expensive housing. Designs get locked in by the building codes and the largest companies make sure it is their products that are locked in. We are so brain washed in the US, we think it is a good thing that housing prices increase. The reason they are increasing is because of building codes, zoning laws, and inflation.
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                            • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                              Re: dbhalling,
                              I agree with all your points, but you must acknowledge that our building codes are necessary from an engineering standpoint. Without question, our building and engineering codes and principles have allowed us to be on the forefront of building skyscrapers and other engineering marvels that match up or exceed any in the world.

                              I think that we are talking about different types of rules. I'm talking about safety oriented ones and you are talking about inventive ones. We both agree that government should never stand in the way of new materials or engineering for any other purpose than safety. What you build or develop that will reach the public market does affect other people. The fine line begins when you invent a new stove in your house and it blows up my house next door along with yours. Laws of that type should always be written by specialists in each field and not for any competitive reasons as they often are.

                              Fred
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                              • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                                Fred,

                                You are combining two things "our building and engineering codes and principles." Principles are different than codes. Principles are about the science of engineering. Codes are about the law. Codes allow people to you use force to comply, whether they make sense from an engineering point of view or not.

                                If we had the equivalent of building codes in the electronics industry, we would still be using vacuum tubes and punch cards. Clearly there are engineering principles in electronics, but not building codes.

                                The problem with the safety argument, is that it is used by every dictator and crony capitalist since the beginning of time and it is violation of people's natural rights. Common law has rules protecting safety, it just does not allow bureaucrats to tell people what to do unless they have violated someone else's natural rights. For example, guns are potentially dangerous so we should require all gun owners to have gun safes - that is the regulatory state approach. The common law approach requires that you actually cause harm, the government cannot treat you like a criminal unless you have actually caused or threatened to cause someone harm.
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                                • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                                  Re: dbhalling,
                                  It seems impossible to help some people to understand first of all that they are not necessarily the smartest person on earth and that they must do their best to be condescending to others during a debate. Not the best way to be persuasive.

                                  For example to imply that I don't know the difference between engineering principles and building codes is pretty insulting, especially when it is crystal clear that I do know the difference if you made any effort at all to read what is in front of you.

                                  I, unlike you, understand the need for considering engineering principles when writing building codes which are clearly legal and in fact one of the few legislative responsibilities assigned to state legislators by their state constitutions.

                                  I would be willing to wager that the vast majority of the voting public would be in favor of building codes. That there is often insider dealing and corruption in that process there is little doubt. I'm talking about legitimate building codes.

                                  With freedom come responsibilities to the public. Your right to swing your fist, stops at the end of my nose. It is impossible to build anything that does not at one time or another anything built by anyone will be in contact by an innocent bystander.

                                  If you build a coffee pot and invite a neighbor a cup of coffe and the pot blows up and possibly injures your neighbor there is liability. So small or large, when a product is built competent knowledge is necessary.

                                  Fred

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                                  • dbhalling replied 3 years, 6 months ago
                                  • CircuitGuy replied 3 years, 6 months ago
                          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                            You ignore both history and the 9th amendment "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Natural Rights prohibit zoning laws.
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                            • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                              That statement is certainly ripe for debate. For instance, should you be able to build a junkyard in a neighborhood of million dollar houses? that of course is the original purpose of zoning laws which are legal under the constitution of most states. "Natural rights are not absolute" especially when they interfere with my rights. it is one of the few political areas where compromise is legitimate.

                              Fred
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                              • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                                Yes Fred Natural Rights are absolute and there is no such thing as other rights or conflicts between rights. By the nature of reality there cannot be contradictions. AR

                                For instance, there is no such thing as a right to health care, because that means someone has to be a slave to provide it. Do not misuse the word Rights like liberals do.
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                                • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                                  Re: db halling,

                                  Well, you have finally succeeded in attempting to insult me with you calling me a liberal. When the name calling begins, it's a sure sign that you're loosing the argument.

                                  Sir, there are few people out there that could be considered more conservative than I, on the other hand that doesn't mean that I should be blind to reality.

                                  To be blunt, for you to inject “natural rights” into an argument that you should be free to ignore engineering principles, uncorrupted zoning laws, and building codes can be ignored by you is one of the most arrogant statements I've ever read.

                                  How your reference to health care enter into this argument where one group is expected to pay for another group is a puzzle to me. However, it's probably the only point of agreement we will ever reach, at least in this string.

                                  However, as to your claim that I'm misusing the word “rights,” it's another point of proof of your illusions about what natural rights mean.

                                  Fewer insults and more logic and common sense might be of help on your part.

                                  Fred

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                                  • dbhalling replied 3 years, 6 months ago
                              • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                                Fred,

                                Common law has nuisance law and it has covenants running with the land. So your example shows an ignorance of common law, not an argument for zoning laws.

                                What common law does not do is give some bureaucrat the right to decide what I can do with my land or building. Zoning laws unconstitutional, a violation of property rights, and evil.
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                                • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                                  Re: Dbhalling,

                                  Speaking of being ignorant, your sentence, “Common law has nuisance law and it has covenants running with the land,” makes no sense in the English language.

                                  I agree with you about the part that government creating zoning laws is a question not totally resolved. Courts, however, have ruled consistently that zoning laws are legal and if you disagree, you are free to attempt to appeal such laws.

                                  However one of the purposes of zoning laws is to protect the property owners,e.g. residential areas being invaded by industrial buildings next door. It kind of goes with the example I used in a previous post of the right of you to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose.

                                  You continue your condescending attitude instead of addressing the various points offered as counter arguments.

                                  Sadly, when arriving at such a point, it's best to agree to disagree and perhaps let other readers of these post decide.

                                  Fred
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                                  • dbhalling replied 3 years, 6 months ago
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                        • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                          "the common law rule of innocent until proven guilty,"

                          Innocent UNLESS proven guilty. Only one bite at the apple, please...
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                      • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                        What about your private property? If I want to wire MY house all wrong it's MY risk and no one's business.
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                        • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                          Re: LetsShrug,

                          You gave a perfect example where the state has the right to pass laws as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

                          The problem with your example is that if your house were to catch fire, then the local fire department would have to respond and others besides yourself could be exposed to injury or death. I agree that it is a very fine line between total property rights and intrusion of government on those rights. That's were commonsense enters the picture. Perhaps as is the case in some states, if you build a house for yourself and not for a client, then I agree that you should be able to install whatever is needed. As a compromise to that right, as is the case in some states, a requirement for inspection of the work should be completed. The truth of the matter is that few incidents of life only affect one person and not innocent bystanders.

                          Fred speckmann
                          commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                          • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                            I've been trying to correct this with any number of people.

                            I'm going to put it in caps so it stands out:

                            WHEN REFERRING TO A MEMBER REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES, IT IS PROPER TO CAPITALIZE THE WORD "STATE".

                            WHEN REFERRING TO A COUNTRY, NATION OR OTHER SUCH SOCIAL CONSTRUCT, IT IS APPROPRIATE TO USE LOWER CASE FOR THE ENTIRE WORD "state".

                            The reason why this is important is... 2nd Amendment.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Government is _supposed_ to exist to protect our 'natural rights' as individuals. Today's progressive social controls by bureaucracy impose 'regulations' as dictates on how businesses (and a lot more) can operate without regard to the rights of the owners. That is why conservative complaints of "over regulation" are an improper, anti-conceptual characterization that do not address the problem.
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                      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                        No that is why our government is corrupt. That is socialism and tyranny. Regulations are unconstitutional, anti-property rights and anti-human rights. These are the tools of Socialist dictators as has been proven in the US. For example, the belief by EPA can ignore the 4th and 5th amendment, the IRS belief that they can ignore the all of the bill of rights and that is why the US is headed for dictatorship.
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                        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                          "No" to what? Government does not "exist" to protect our rights; most of them haven't. It is _supposed_ to protect the rights of the individual if it is to be a moral system. Today's progressive social controls are in contrast to the proper, constitutional function of government. The statism today isn't literally socialism or complete tyranny, but it's on its way.

                          We still have a mixed system partly free and partly controlled, progressively becoming worse. As it becomes worse it does so non-uniformly, affecting different people in different circumstances to different degrees before reaching a full fledged tyranny across the board. People who are singled out and persecuted are getting the full works already.

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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Oh, I read Atlas Shrugged. I just didn't agree with everything Ayn Rand said in it.

                      "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
                      ~ Aristotle

                      Ayn Rand's illogical attack on reasonable regulation was perhaps the first flaw I noticed in her philosophy. Saying that building codes violate your property rights is absurd.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                    The civil rights act lead directly to title 9, which did impose quotas based on gender. Please read some history, since you haven't lived it.
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                  • Posted by RevJay4 3 years, 6 months ago
                    "Regulation is not anti-capitalism". Over regulation certainly is, which we are now seeing in this nation, along with high taxes and never ending paperwork to satisfy various agencies of the government that the owner is running their business to the governments satisfaction.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Personally, I don't really like the terms "over regulation" and "under regulation," because they create this dichotomy where we start asking how much regulation do we need, and how much is too much, when really that's not the issue at all. It isn't a matter of having too much or too little regulation, but rather a matter of having the RIGHT regulation.
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              • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                Actually, under your perspective, you DO want to stop desegregation. Most people naturally group themselves with those like them. You would have this undone by use of force.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                  The error is in regarding race as relevant at all in who one regards as "most like" himself. Identifying cultural differences that just happen to correlate with race is not racism, but is accused of being racist by racists who want forced racist quotas and forced associations based on race. That is the opposite of 'civil rights'.
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                  • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Re: ewv,
                    An accurate analysis of what racism really is and how it is often confused with other choices. Of course it is entirely likely that such confusion is on purpose.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                      As a political tactic it certainly is deliberate. Progressives call almost anyone who opposed them "racist" with complete disregard for the meaning of the concept. The broader pattern is their use of many concepts with an inverted meaning (government spending is "investment" [this one from Keynes], taxes are "asking for contributions", tax cuts are "costs to the government", etc.). They don't dare (yet) name explicitly what they are after and use words with inverted meaning to bamboozle their victims who don't stop to think about what they are actually promoting and doing.
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                      • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                        I agree, the simple truth is that for decades our elected politician have become total frauds in their actions and are bordering closely on criminal activity in the so called "pursuit of their claimed duties."

                        It is a true rarity to see an honest politician at work.

                        Fred Speckmann
                        commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                        • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                          Why don't we teach "how to recognize tyranny" in school? (Never mind, I know the answer...but the point is if public schools don't start teaching the importance of freedom and rights and how to retain them we will keep churning out useful idiots.)
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                          • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                            re: LetsShrug,
                            Your question is a good one. We need to have good people stand for school board elections, this becomes even more important with Common core on the near horizon.

                            Fred
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                • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  Uh... I don't think you understand what the word "desegregation" means. If people are being forced to group only with those who are like themselves, that's segregation. If we undo that and put a stop to it, then that's desegregation.

                  Essentially you just said that desegregation stops desegregation, which doesn't make any sense. Desegregation does not stop itself. How can engaging in an action stop that action?
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                    If you look at the inner city schools they are more segregated now than they were in the 60's/70's as a direct consequence of "desegregation." So, in order to achieve better integration, we need to stop "desegregationist" policies. Comes from the law of unintended consequences. As that great philosopher Princess Leia said to Grand Moff Tarkin, "The tighter you grip the more they will slip through your fingers." And the more stringent have been the desegregation policies, the more those who could do so have fled the cities.

                    So, no, if what you want to achieve is more integration then what you need to do is stop desegregation. Like I said before, you need to live a bit more of life in order to see the world as it truly is instead of how you would like it to be.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Actually, I think that's a direct result of the war on drugs, not a direct result of desegregation. Desegregation was having positive effects until the war on drugs kicked in and messed everything up.
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
                        Again, read some history. While the war on drugs certainly accelerated the effects, it was school bussing that started it.
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                        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                          Which history should I read? Depending on the historian who wrote the book in question, the interpretation of the events could change dramatically. If you want me to arrive at the same conclusion as you, you'll need to do more than simply say "go read some history." Give me the name of a specific author or textbook, and then we'll talk.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                Maphesdus: "the Civil Rights Act didn't inhibit freedom of association in any way."

                The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited 'discrimination' on private property as well as in government action. It was openly discussed in such terms before it passed and is what Ayn Rand wrote about at the time. If you read and reread , several times her article denouncing racism and racist policy promoted in the name of a false "civil rights" as you report here that did, you should know that.
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                • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  Oh yes, she denounced racism, but she also denounced the things which would mitigate and counteract racism. Ayn Rand liked to pretend her philosophy was one of perfect logical consistency, but in reality it was anything but.
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  • Posted by Wanderer 3 years, 6 months ago
    Maphesdus;

    I'm fairly new to The Gulch, so don't know much about anyone here but, after trying to read the long thread of sincerely written comments below I am led to ask: so...you've still not actually read Atlas Shrugged?

    Beyond that question (because I must have missed, somewhere in this long thread, your statement that you have actually read the book. Listening to a book on tape while riding your bike through traffic doesn't count.) the thought that sticks in my mind is: what a waste of time! Dozens of well intentioned people composing sincere arguments inclined toward persuading you of the truths of Ayn Rand, all the while you carefully twist and misrepresent those truths, arguing instead (very carefully from behind your curtain (Arlecchino) for totalitarianism and the slavery of communism, rather than personal freedom and capitalism. Your stated sources are closet totalitarians and communists.

    Though truth does not depend on the teller, I'm moved to ask, are you the same person who, on the website "forwardprogressives.com" condemned Republicans as racists? The person who wrote off the party of Lincoln, freedom, and equality could not have any regard for Ayn Rand or the individual.

    I find it remarkable and sad that so many on this site spend time and mental energy responding to you. Life is short and not to be wasted on foolishness.

    I don't know if you're doing this on your own, or if you're a paid shill but, no matter, shill you are.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      I don't think there's any difference between listening to an audio book and reading the book in print. It's literally the exact same material. The only difference is the format. Does the fact that the information is presented to me through my sense of hearing rather than my sense of sight somehow make the information less valid?

      And my stated sources are closet totalitarians and communists? What proof is there of that? Can you provide evidence to support such an accusation?
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
        You were not asked about the difference between a book and an audio-book. You were asked if you read Atlas Shrugged because in your long post entitled "How I discovered Ayn Rand and Objectivism – My personal story" you somehow neglected to mention whether you had ever actually read the book, and because in your stream of trashing Ayn Rand you reveal an obvious ignorance of and lack of concern for what she wrote.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          Actually, I did mention it. I stated very clearly in [PART 2] that I listened to the entire audio book. If you missed that part of the story because it got lost in all the comments, here's a link to it:
          http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/74...

          Also, I think it's rather funny that you keep trying to say I didn't understand Ayn Rand simply because I didn't agree with her. Understanding does not require agreement.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
            And so you did say you listened to it -- in Part 2 Paragraph 3 right after watching a movie and before you "got really into Ayn Rand's philosophy" spending a whole 6 months not noticing that she supports the Declaration of Independence before you threw it all out because she rejected your racist policies -- even though you would have been willing to forgive worshiping a serial killer. In fact you "got really into it" so much that you have been misrepresenting it ever since.

            Maphesdus: "I think it's rather funny that you keep trying to say I didn't understand Ayn Rand simply because I didn't agree with her."

            Your misrepresentations have been explained to you, so don't misrepresent that, too. I didn't "keep saying" that you don't understand it because you disagree with it. I didn't say that even once. Disagreement with Ayn Rand requires first understanding what she said. It doesn't work in both directions. You didn't even understand it in your brief emotional plunge before you decided to disagree with it. This isn't the first time that has happened.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
      Ayn Rand didn't think much of the Republican Party either (or for that matter the Libertarians). The Republicans and Democrats are a false alternative, but Democrats are usually but not always worse. She characterized typical Republicans as 'me too' and urged people to vote for Nixon to stop McGovern only under the banner of "Anti-Nixonites for Nixon".
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      • Posted by Wanderer 3 years, 6 months ago
        EWV;

        You missed my point: Maphesdus is an intentional distraction. He or she isn't here to move the discussion forward. He or she means to muddy the intellectual waters. He or she admits to watching the movie, but either didn't read Atlas Shrugged or purposely misrepresents the book. Whichever, his or her purpose is deception, so he or she is wasting your time. He or she is very good at misrepresentation and distraction, which makes me wonder whether he or she is a paid shill.

        I care nothing for politics, just the truth. Abraham Lincoln and hundreds of thousands of others died making real the words of the Declaration of Independence. Changing history to suit one's prejudices doesn't serve the truth.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
          I understand, but it's also true that you can't equate support or opposition to the Republican Party with Ayn Rand.

          As for Maphesdus, yes it's here to trash Ayn Rand, but you can't conclude it's here to "muddy waters". You have left out the possibility that its mind is so muddy itself that it can't tell the difference. It's analogous to the first rule of conspiracies: "never assume that bizarre falsehoods are due to conspiracy when they are easily explained by simple incompetence". There is a kind of rationalistic arbitrary word-play thinking promoted in academia that is so bad that those who adopt it in the name of a supposed superiority are unlikely to ever understand Ayn Rand and her reality-based thinking process even if they happen to like Atlas Shrugged for sense of life reasons still buried in a corner somewhere. (Robert Nozick was like that.) It is sometimes useful to see how easily their "arguments" are answered despite the assumed appearance of superior intellect by those promoting them, but it's important to not become distracted with the diversions and word plays leading down the rabbit hole.
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          • Posted by Wanderer 3 years, 6 months ago
            EWV;

            Once again, I care nothing for politics and, if you continue focusing on politics the discussion will be over.

            A person using the name Maphesdus, proclaimed the racism of the Republican party on a progressive website. I asked if this Maphesdus is the same person. Their writing is similar, if not the same. Their thoughts are rejections of the truth, focusing instead on politics, a poisonous distraction. If this Maphesdus is that Maphesdus I believe the intellectual distraction is intentional.

            I might not belong here. People in The Gulch seem to assume intellectual honesty. I, on the other hand, find almost all people to be intellectually dishonest and arguing with or teaching them a waste of time. I believe Maphesdus is intentionally wasting your time.
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            • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
              I did not mention politics in the post you responded to, let alone focus on it. You can discuss or not discuss anything you like, but I wouldn't say you don't belong here..

              I don't agree that almost all people are intellectually dishonest, but there are certainly trolls stalking about as agitators deliberately trying to be disruptive, and they certainly are intellectually dishonest. I don't know who this Maphesdus is and where else it posts, though your observation is interesting, but you can see from its posts in this forum alone that it has a record of supporting progressive propaganda and trashing Ayn Rand and individualism, so on those grounds alone your suspicions are warranted. Whatever Maphesdus is, I agree that it would be a waste of time to attempt to educate it, but that is not the only purpose of posting responses to trolls. This one in particular has revealed itself to be in way over its head, having a very poor understanding of Ayn Rand and relying on off the wall slogans, bogus misrepresentations from fringe detractors to spread its poison, and a pretentious, condescending, pseudo intellectual manner talking down at anyone who opposes it -- all trying to undermine anyone who might take Ayn Rand's ideas seriously. Like most such trolls, it has little understanding but a practiced technique of evasiveness for trying to throw its enemies off balance with irrelevant diversions and sudden pretense at concern for precision and objectivity. There is a reason to sometimes respond to a troll, but not to follow it down every evasive rabbit hole.
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              • Posted by Wanderer 3 years, 6 months ago
                EWV;

                Do you think my point about reading Atlas Shrugged is valid? I find it a difficult read. I can't imagine absorbing and understanding it by watching a movie or listening to a book on tape. I can read Cliffs Notes of Dickens and know the narrative, but what I've read isn't Dickens. Hard concepts take hard work.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                  Yes. To begin with he misrepresented your "Listening to a book on tape while riding your bike through traffic doesn't count" as any possible way of listening to an audiobook. He wandered off with an evasion about reading vs audiobooks without saying if he had done either, then wrote later somewhere else in a different part of this page that he had "read" it. He's all over the map with his evasions.

                  I don't find AS difficult to read because Ayn Rand was such a clear writer, but the ideas are not trivial to understand and take some focus, reflection, and thought, especially in some of the 'speeches' where it helps to already understand something of the history of western philosophy to grasp the full meaning, implications, and significance of what she wrote (more so than I think she originally realized). To do that seriously requires sometimes going back and forth between passages, and at the very least stopping to think about the background and the implications before moving on.

                  One can in principle do that with audio, but the mechanics of it are a lot harder and distracting even when not on a bike in traffic. Most people couldn't do it as well cognitively, either, because of the difference in media we are accustomed to. (In principle a blind person used to only hearing with the kind of focus required would have a better chance.) It's more than a matter of the content being the same between a book and an audio, it's a matter of how we process information in a way most conducive to comprehension.

                  However, here we have a case of someone so sloppy and inconsistent in its own thought amongst its own dodging and weaving maneuvers that you have to grant that listening and reading are equivalent. Reading wouldn't help.

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                  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                    I clearly stated in [PART 2] that I had listened to the audio book, so don't you try spout off some stupid nonsense about how I never specified whether I had read it or listened to it. I stated it very clearly. It's not my fault if you can't read.

                    And your claim that reading is an inherently superior method of absorbing information when compared to listening is a totally baseless claim with no evidence to support it.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Maphesdus: "I clearly stated in [PART 2] that I had listened to the audio book, so don't you try spout off some stupid nonsense about how I never specified whether I had read it or listened to it. I stated it very clearly. It's not my fault if you can't read."

                      "Spouting stupid nonsense"? It's buried in a run-on post extending to three long parts with two mixed in with the comments, you repeatedly misstate what Ayn Rand thought, wrote and did, leaving people to wonder if you ever really did read it, and you claim overlooking your "statement" means we "can't read?".

                      This is what I already responded to you:

                      "And so you did say you listened to it -- in Part 2 Paragraph 3 right after watching a movie and before you "got really into Ayn Rand's philosophy" spending a whole 6 months not noticing that she supports the Declaration of Independence before you threw it all out because she rejected your racist policies -- even though you would have been willing to forgive worshiping a serial killer. In fact you "got really into it" so much that you have been misrepresenting it ever since.


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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Maphesdus: "And your claim that reading is an inherently superior method of absorbing information when compared to listening is a totally baseless claim with no evidence to support it. "

                      You are misrepresenting again. This is what I in part wrote:

                      "One can in principle do that with audio, but the mechanics of it are a lot harder and distracting even when not on a bike in traffic. Most people couldn't do it as well cognitively, either, because of the difference in media we are accustomed to. (In principle a blind person used to only hearing with the kind of focus required would have a better chance.) It's more than a matter of the content being the same between a book and an audio, it's a matter of how we process information in a way most conducive to comprehension."

                      "However, here we have a case of someone so sloppy and inconsistent in its own thought amongst its own dodging and weaving maneuvers that you have to grant that listening and reading are equivalent. Reading wouldn't help."

                      The evidence, aside from the description there that everyone can relate to personally, is throughout your posts, as has been explained and illustrated many times.
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              • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                Yes yes and yes. And he favors force.
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                • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                  I don't really "favor" force, I simply recognize that force is a necessary part of any government, whether free or otherwise. A government which does not use force will become incapable of preforming its essential functions, and therefore cease to be a government.
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                  • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
                    The problem I have with your "favor' of force is that you promote increasing it rather than constraining it and in allowing government to define it's own 'essential functions'. As a majority of progressive liberals do, I don't doubt that you personally don't wish to apply the force, but you certainly promote the government doing it for you in support of what you think right.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Not really, no. I recognize that certain limitations on government power are necessary, and that most laws and regulations need to be decided at the local level rather than the national level. I'm just opposed to the idea of anarchy, that's all.
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                  • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                    You. Do.to. you've admitted over and over that you're in favor of forcing business owners to do business with anyone who walks through the door. Don't pretend otherwise and don't twist the use of force up with the law stopping violent criminals where force is necessary to fight evil. NOT the same.
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                    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                      What I support is anti-discrimination legislation. The purpose of government is to protect people's natural rights. I believe people have a natural right to be free from discrimination and persecution. Therefore, government is justified in protecting that right.
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                      • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                        I know...that's what I just said (minus the bogus "persecution" bit.) I think discrimination (in the way of refusing business, not the actual kind) is deserving of force. Essentially you want the gov to MAKE us think a certain way, and not have control over our own lives or businesses...WE GET IT MAPH.
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                        • -2
                          Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                          And you want to abolish all regulation entirely and live in a state of lawless anarchy where there are no guarantees of safety and people have no ability to defend themselves against others. I get it.
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                          • Posted by LetsShrug 3 years, 6 months ago
                            Defend themselves? Oh, I'm ALL for defending myself, but not against a business owner who might not want to do business with me.. And defend against what, Maph? Hurt feelings? Being offended? Waaaa somebody doesn't like me, where's the police?! Business owners have a right to not do business with potential customers. It's their livelihood, they built it and they own it..if they want to refuse service then no one is being threatened or harmed and no one's 'safety is being threatened. I cannot believe you changed the subject and say I'm against others being able to defend themselves. (You must know nothing about me at all.) wtf? Stay on topic. A business owner who refuses to conduct business with someone is not threatening their safety...there is nothing to defend against in that scenario...unless you really are referring to hurt feelings. Grow up! Not only do you want to have your cake and eat it too, you also want to force the chef to bake it to your liking.
                            (FTR, what I want is for business owners to call their own shots... and succeed or fail accordingly, on their own merit. Not because some snot nose comes along and wants to ruin his life's work because he wasn't waited on the way he wanted to be. It is not a criminal act to deny service, no one is harmed, no rights are infringed upon. Business is a value for value exchange, if I think you work against my values I don't want you to benefit from my hard work. And I'm sure you would take the same stance if you had a clue what it takes to own and run a business. It's really very simple.)
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                          • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                            Apparently you do...

                            We have a structure for creating 'regulation'.

                            It is defined in the Constitution.

                            The power to 'regulate' is left to Congress, not the executive branch.
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              • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                I only talk down to people who talk down to me. I've had several engaging and enlightening debates with other people on this forum, even though we don't always agree. This forum is not supposed to be an echo chamber. The admins have clearly stated that they want to encourage people to debate Ayn Rand's ideas, not force everyone to agree with them.

                And I'm not an "it."
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                • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
                  I will admit that the post has generated a very good discussion of AR's ideas and philosophy, If debates what you want to call it, OK. But you do continually mis-state and mis-construe so many of her statements and much of her thinking behind those ideas. I sometimes think that you've studied very diligently, some of the many books that are out there that attempt to dispute her philosophy, not by reason, but by attack, incomplete context, and personality.

                  I would ask, what is your personal philosophical foundation that drives you toward your obvious progressive-liberal and strong statist viewpoints in opposition to AR's philosophy?
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                  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                    I actually don't consider myself a progressive. I identify more as a left-leaning libertarian, or a classical liberal. I've also called myself a consequentialist-libertarian, and khalling has, at different times, referred to me as a bleeding heat libertarian and a social justice libertarian, both of which are labels that I feel are accurate descriptions of my political position. My favorite candidates during the 2012 presidential election were Gary Johnson, followed closely by Ron Paul, though I strongly dislike Rand Paul (yes, I know Rand Paul wasn't running, but I still don't like him; his policies are too different from his father's). I guess you could call me a "liberaltarian," the kind of libertarian that everyone loves to hate. When I'm surrounded by liberals, they tend to think I'm a far-right conservative. When I'm surrounded by conservatives, they tend to think I'm a far-left liberal. I don't change, but the way people interpret my opinions does.

                    I had a philosophy teacher a while ago who said he used to think he was a conservative when he lived in New York, but when he moved to Utah everyone perceived him as being a radical liberal, even though his views and opinions remained exactly the same. What this demonstrates, at least in my opinion, is that the political position which we perceive both ourselves and others to embody is dependent upon our current environment almost as much as it is upon our actual beliefs.

                    I've noticed that many of the other people on this forum seem to be from the south-east, while I'm from the mid-west, so cultural difference could potentially be a contributing factor in the disparity of opinion. Part of it could also be a generational gap, as I've noticed a significant percentage of people here are in their forties, fifties, and even sixties, whereas I'm 28 and still in college. When you take a 49 year old man from the south-east and put him in the same room as a 28 year old guy from the mid-west, the probability that they'll agree with each other is very slim, as have we have seen several times over in my debates with the other people in this forum.

                    You call my perspective "statist," but I prefer to think of it more as "anti-anarchist." I strongly dislike anarchism as a political theory, and a big problem I have with Ayn Rand's philosophy is that she claimed it was supposedly anti-Communist, but really it was just anti-government. As an example of this, consider the situation surrounding the motion picture adaptation of her book "We The Living" in 1942. The film, which was produced without Rand's permission in Fascist Italy during the rule of Mussolini, was initially allowed because the Fascist government at the time thought the film was anti-Communist propaganda. And given how much the Fascists and the Communists hated each other (Black shirts versus Red shirts), a story ridiculing the Soviet Union and its Communist government was thought to be a good thing, and so the Fascists allowed it. But once the movie was released, and the people of Italy started flocking to see it, the government officials realized that it was just as much anti-Fascist as it was anti-Communist (after all, it was critical of all government), and so they pulled it from the theaters and demanded that all copies of the film be burned. Thankfully, the producers of the film decided to save the negatives in a locked box in the basement of one of their homes, and they burned another unimportant film in its place.

                    Now you might be thinking, "Oh, well Fascism and Communism are pretty much the same as each other anyway, so it makes sense that 'We The Living' could simultaneously criticize them both under the guise of criticizing the latter, but that doesn't mean Ayn Rand was critical of ALL government." This may have been a valid argument, were it not for the fact that Ayn Rand also criticized the American government in her first televised interview with Mike Wallace in 1959, during which she made the absurd claim that both parties were socialist. Apparently Ayn Rand believed that "socialism" referred to any government which establishes and enforces laws and regulations. Maybe you'll argue that that's not how Ayn Rand defined socialism, but I think the fact that she advocated a total separation of government and economy (something which has never existed, by the way, not even in 19th century America), along with her obvious belief that regulation never serves any legitimate purpose, reveals that she absolutely would have considered any and all government regulation to be a form of socialism, which is totally absurd. If that's the definition of socialism that we're operating under, then there has never been a non-socialist government in the history of mankind, nor will there ever be one in the future. Ayn Rand's definition of socialism was so broad that it included every possible form of government. In short, she was an anarchist, although she didn't realize it. Ayn Rand claimed to have hated anarchy, but the descriptions she provides of her ideal society (Galt's Gulch) can be called nothing else but an endorsement of anarchism. I don't think she contradicted herself intentionally, but her understanding of business, government, and human nature were all so shallow that she inadvertently did so anyway. That other guy, ewv, has said I just don't understand Ayn Rand, but I don't think that's actually the case. I think I understand her arguments very well, but I also understand the counter-arguments against her, and many of them are incredibly valid. You say that the disputes against Ayn Rand's philosophy are not based on reason, but all that tells me is that you haven't bothered to actually delve into the disputes or attempt to look at things from another perspective. Granted, some arguments do amount to nothing more than ad homonym attacks, but there are many which really are based on reason. Anyone who denies that has obviously not bothered to actually look at the arguments, or they deliberately ignore them.

                    As for where I stand on economic issues, my favorite economic theorist is Ludwig von Mises who, unlike Rand, provided me with what I felt was a logical and scientific explanation as to why Communism doesn't work. Although I agree with Ayn Rand's conclusion that Communism and Socialism are tyrannical and despotic (just look at what's going on in Venezuela), I don't feel that she ever provided a satisfactory argument to support that conclusion, as a vast majority of her arguments typically rely almost entirely on appeals to emotion and argumentation by assertion, neither of which are scientifically valid methods of establishing or proving a point. Many Objectivists don't want to admit that most of Ayn Rand's arguments are based on emotion rather than logic, but if you read the books "Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System," by John W. Robbins, and "Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature," by Greg S. Nyquist, they expose this aspect of her reasoning quite well. And when I compare Ayn Rand's writings against those of Ludwig von Mises, it becomes painfully obvious to me what the difference is between a genuinely logical argument and an emotionally charged one. Even though Rand and Mises both attack Communist/Socialist theory, Mises does it in a way that is calm, cool, and collected, and actually narrows in and focuses on real arguments presented by actual Marxists, whereas Rand tends to simply write long-winded and angry rants about any opinions she dislikes, even if they have nothing to do with Marxism. A significant portion of John Galt's speech at the end of Atlas Shrugged is really more of an attack on Christianity and religion than it is an attack on Marxism. The fact that Ayn Rand considered her ideological enemy to be Immanuel Kant rather than Karl Marx reveals the utter lack of focus and direction in her line of thinking. If you're trying to refute Marxism, it doesn't make sense to attack non-Marxists.

                    I frequently get accused of being a statist and an advocate of totalitarianism, but don't worry, I actually abhor Communism and Fascism just as much as the rest of you – I'm just not an Objectivist. I've noticed that some of the more ardent and enthusiastic proponents of Ayn Rand seem to think that a rejection of Objectivism is automatically an embrace of Communism and Fascism; but I think that looking at the world through such a simplistic lens is misleading, and says more about the person who thinks that way than it does about the person they're accusing.

                    I recently took a philosophy class in which one of the other students was legitimately a full-blown Communist – and I don't mean he was just a progressive liberal, I mean he openly called himself a Communist – and I often liked to poke fun at him for the ridiculous amount of control that he thought government should have over people's personal lives. To illustrate, let me tell you a story: in the philosophy class, each student was required, over the course of the semester, to give a presentation in which they would apply a particular philosophy to a specific case study. And on the day the Communist guy gave his presentation, he chose to address America's problem with obesity, arguing that a Communist government could eliminate obesity by rationing and regulating the amount of food that everyone was allowed to eat, at which point I shouted out, "Yes! People are very skinny in North Korea!" The whole class laughed at that, as immediately prior to his presentation, another girl in the class had also given a presentation on Communism, except that she was against it, and she talked about how the Communist government of North Korea was causing its own citizens to starve to death. So everyone had context, which made the Communist guy's argument appear absurd. I don't think he liked me very much.

                    Anyway, I guess I kind of went overboard on my response there. Does that answer your question regarding my personal philosophical foundation?
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                    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
                      I only read AS and Fountainhead, so I only know what I can glean from the stories. I got the idea she was for people living for themselves, and she thought whenever we say we're doing something for other people, not because we want to help other people but rather completely for others, we give up our lives and paradoxically become evil.

                      The two books I read were light on actual policy suggestions, but conveyed the philosophy that people's lives are special and actions they take and things they make are their own.
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                    • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
                      No, your answer totally avoids answering the question of your personal philosophical foundation, or it expresses your serious lack of understanding of what philosophy is.
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                    • Posted by  $  Maritimus 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Re: Maphesdus

                      I think you wrote an emotional and very superficial piece here. Totally absurd, incredibly valid and similar over the top characterizations do not belong in these discussions. I find offensive your misrepresentations of Ayn Rand's thoughts and writings. It is you that is renting not she. Have you read the "We the Living"? I can tell you that the Italian movie is a very weak sheddow of the novel. Ayn Rand was adamantly and bluntly attacking any oppressive government, no matter which "...ist" or "...ism" is attached to their, ususally imadequate and obfuscating labels. I lived through a communist takeover and murderous establishment of that kind of tiranny. I have never found a better description of it than in that novel of Rand's.
                      As you observed, communists that find it inconvenient to call themselves that, call themselves progressive liberals or variations of that.
                      My impression is that you have a lot of maturing to do and I wish you good luck with that.
                      I saw, in another piece you wrote, call somebody stupid or an expression to that effect. Please try to refrain from that. It diminishes you greatly.
                      By the way, it is called ad hominem and it is a Latin expression, while homonym is a linguistic term.
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                      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                        My point was simply that Ayn Rand seemed to think all government was inherently oppressive. She wasn't just attacking oppressive government – she was attacking all government. Her vehement insistence that any and all government regulations, including safety regulations, are a violation of property rights demonstrates a level of extremism which is both irrational and impractical. The fact that Communism is despotic and tyrannical does not make anarchy workable.

                        And no, I have not read "We The Living." I have only watched the movie. It's a great movie, and I have no doubt that the book is better. That's almost always the case with book-to-film adaptations. I've been meaning to read it, but I got caught up with other reading, and it sort of got pushed to the wayside. I should have time to read it this summer though, and I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

                        You say you lived through a Communist takeover? Which country, exactly?
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                        • Posted by  $  Maritimus 3 years, 6 months ago
                          No, Ayn Rand did not think or say that, as othrs here, much more knowledgeable and articulate than I am, have tried, apparently in vain, to explain to you.
                          Italian movie "We the Living", in my opinion, is not a great movie. The two main actors were beginning to be well known, but never became, even much later, great actor. The screenplay omits several of the most dramatic scenes and thus distorts the message of the novel. Directing is, again, in my opinion, plain vanilla.
                          I was 9 years old when Tito, on the strength of Red Army guns, "liberated" Beograd, capital of Yugoslavia, and proceeded to execute, in the first two weeks, more than 20,000 "enemies of the people". Tito lived way too long and distroyed any chance for the country tp survive. I told my wife in 1979 that there would be a civil war in Yugoslavia. It came 12 years later and the incompetents in the State Department were cought flat-footed. If I had a chance, I would have been honored to assassinate Tito. You can turn me in to your buddies.
                          I was able to leave his "workers' paradise" in 1962 to work and live in Italy and come to this country on Jan. 12, 1967.
                          Does that satisfy your curiosity?
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                    • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                      A left leaning libertarian is a complete contradiction to a classical liberal. Ultimately, you seem to believe that you feelings/emotions are valid epistemology tools. When it comes to your pet issues, no amount of logic and evidence will dissuade you. That makes you more consistent with Kant and Hegel than Rand. and Kant and Hegel were not classical liberals.
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                      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                        I never really liked Kant, but Hegel I know nothing about. I do see Hegel's name mentioned occasionally, but I've never really looked into his ideas or explored any of his writing.

                        As for a left leaning libertarian supposedly being a complete contradiction to a classical liberal, can you explain to me what the difference is between a libertarian and a classical liberal?
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                  You are misrepresenting again. This is about your condescending pseudo-intellectual dismissals while misrepresenting what Ayn Rand wrote. It is not about agreeing with Ayn Rand. Anyone can agree or disagree with anything he chooses. No one is forcing you to agree with anything, unlike your own advocacy of racist policies imposing force on others.
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                  • -1
                    Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                    You know what? I'm done replying to you. Every single response you've written to my arguments essentially amounts to nothing more than, "You don't don't understand Ayn Rand correctly, you're wrong, shut up." You provide no argumentation of your own, and instead only spout off angry denunciation of my own arguments. If you want to debate with me, I'd be more than happy to engage you. I love debate. But please, at least put some thought into what you say, tell me WHY you disagree, and what your own interpretations of Ayn Rand's writings are. Simply asserting that I'm wrong without providing any further explanation is not a valid argument.
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              • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                I understand your frustration but referring to a producer on this site as an "it" pisses me off. You 've made fine arguments move on if you' re bored -ad hominem not necessary
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                  This is in reference to " Whichever, his or her purpose is deception, so he or she is wasting your time. He or she is very good at misrepresentation and distraction, which makes me wonder whether he or she is a paid shill. "

                  There is no ad hominem. This is a discussion with someone else in which the arguments are very clear. Accumulating enough points to be called "producer" does not make a troll worthy of respect and is not what this system was intended to mean.
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                  • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                    "I don't agree that almost all people are intellectually dishonest, but there are certainly trolls stalking about as agitators deliberately trying to be disruptive, and they certainly are intellectually dishonest. I don't know who this Maphesdus is and where else it posts, though your observation is interesting, but you can see from its posts in this forum alone that it has a record of supporting progressive propaganda and trashing Ayn Rand and individualism, so on those grounds alone your suspicions are warranted. Whatever Maphesdus is, I agree that it would be a waste of time to attempt to educate it,"
                    How have I misinterpreted?
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                  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                    You don't become a producer by accumulating points...
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                      Right. That is different than buying it: "$3.95 a month is a nominal membership fee to belong to a site that promotes the ideas of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged and facilitates communication between like-minded individuals". You pay to pretend you are a "like minded individual" who "promotes the ideas of Ayn Rand" so that you can troll to trash and misrepresent Ayn Rand's ideas. The little symbol you bought next to your monicker "does not make a troll worthy of respect and is not what this system was intended to mean."
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                      • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                        Maph is not a troll. First and foremost, what people on this site share is an interest/ enjoyment of the movies. Maph has always been clear that he loves the movies. Second, we have trolls all the time and generally they are quickly down voted into oblivion. Note that Maphesdus is not. In fact, please look at the number of upvotes this very post you are discussing in has. Third, if we all just agreed on everything, what would be the real interest? We encourage lots of debate. With few exceptions, There are plenty of Conservatives on this site who also don't promote certain aspects of Objectivism or Rand . There are some who promote more progressive ideology. The fact is, there's lots of negative stuff about Rand out there, and it is appreciated whenever someone gets the opportunity to set some straight on the mis-information, distortions, outright lies. Thank you for your contribution on this post but Maphesdus is not a troll.
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                        • Posted by Wanderer 3 years, 6 months ago
                          K;

                          Is that what this site is for, people who enjoy movies? I rather thought this site was oriented toward people who have an interest in Ayn Rand. In writing dozens of comments here I've mentioned two movies, but don't remember anyone else commenting on movies. Maybe I haven't explored far enough.

                          I'm not sure what a troll is, or is meant to do, but using an aging term for someone meant to distract or deceive the public, I believe Maphesdus is a shill, defeated simply and easily by ignoring him. No loss. There are plenty of interesting people on this site with ideas worth reading.
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                          • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                            This site is for people who enjoyed the Atlas Shrugged movies, and would like to discuss and debate the philosophies of Ayn Rand. It also serves the purpose of being a promotional platform for the films, and provides an outlet for internet marketing.

                            And if I was a shill, who would I be a shill for, and what possible motive could I have? Please tell me all about the wild and fantastic conspiracy theories you've imagined about me. I would love to hear them. :)
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                            • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
                              I bet it's somehow related to Common Core.

                              Maybe they sent you here to undermine Rand's vision of everyone following a group's catechism of beliefs.

                              Sorry for the snark. I have this crazy fear that one day I'll discover Common Core actually was a complex conspiracy and annoying worksheets were just the beginning.
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                        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
                          This has nothing to do with "agreeing on everything", and repeated misrepresentation is not "disagreement" or "debate". A lot of people like Atlas Shrugged while not agreeing with "everything" or "certain aspects". That is not the same as constantly misrepresenting it and Ayn Rand, while trashing Ayn Rand's knowledge and ability and promoting collectivism, very rarely mentioning liking the movie in a large volume of commentary. The Gulch website can take money from whom ever it pleases, but Maphesdus paying a "$3.95 a month ... membership fee" is not to "belong to a site that promotes the ideas of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged and facilitates communication between like-minded individuals".
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                          • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                            I don't think we have a clear understanding that Maph has read Atlas Shrugged, along with many others on this site.
                            I look at trolls like this. Are they disrupting the site? Are they purposely antagonizing people trying to get them into fights. ex: using ad hominem etc?. Maph, for the most part, is extremely civil and respectful. Are they trying to get off on side issues in every post? This is Maph's post, he's not taking it over. He's got a major issue that he likes to stick on, which is irritating at times-but trolls tend to go off on many issues and posts and are always negative and misrepresenting. Trolls are very disrespectful. People get to a point where they won't engage anymore. Trolls do not offer original content. Most commenters on this site have engaged with Maph, in heated debates and otherwise. He creates original content. Maph, you are being particularly obstinate on your own post here, and have crossed over into emotional realm which means in order to keep the argument going you are mis characterizing and so therefore you have lost some influence. Ultimately, Maph's points do give him some cred on the site. If the site administrators thought he was a troll, they would not put his posts in the Daily Digest. I can assure you. Maph makes the daily with some regularity.
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                            • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                              "Maph, you are being particularly obstinate on your own post here, and have crossed over into emotional realm which means in order to keep the argument going you are mis characterizing and so therefore you have lost some influence."
                              ---
                              Is this sentence directed at me or ewv?

                              Also, I've stated a couple times now that I listened to Atlas Shrugged as an audio book, which I do not believe is any different from reading it as a physical book. It's literally the exact same material. The only difference is whether I'm receiving the information through my sense of hearing or my sense of sight. If I learned to read braille and then found a braille version of the book, I could even potentially receive the information through my sense of touch (I can't read braille, that's just a hypothetical, but you get the idea). As long as the information enters my mind and is interpreted as cognitive imagery, does it really matter which of my sensory organs it came through?
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                              • Posted by khalling 3 years, 6 months ago
                                sorry. it did go off onto a we're discussing maph on his own post. you need to read the book. don't let's get off on some braille bs, you have all your faculties and the philosophy laid out in written word is the best way to examine it. you have formulated opinions and you stick to them...regardless of whether they are logical. I can only conclude you have an emotional barrier in place. I am not asking you to accept anything. but you refuse to start with first principles in outlining your personal philosophy. let's start there. your first principles. what are they?
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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 3 years, 6 months ago
    Hello Mephesdus,
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    There are many detractors who misinterpret both intentionally and unintentionally many of Rand's positions. You have mentioned several. The case: "Ames accused Ayn Rand of worshiping the 1920s serial killer William Hickman." is a prime example. There is a difference between admiration, interest in the psychology, how it might be useful and sanction of the actions this man chose to undertake. She did have appreciation for the notion that one should live for their own sake without obligation to others with one glaring caveat! One cannot initiate force and is obliged to allow others to live for their own sake also, if one is to expect reciprocity. This contradicts any sanction for the monstrous actions. Full context is essential. The notion that because she did not support civil rights because she did not support a particular law is also a distortion. An in depth analysis shows she found it to have poison pills contained within. That was her objection. These attacks are all common misunderstandings and foment consequent misrepresentations. One thing I would like to re-enforce that has been mentioned, is the contrary position to the notion that objectivism has as one of its objects to destroy equality as understood by our founding. This is unfounded. One must appreciate the difference between equality under the law (rights and opportunity) and equality in outcomes, material wealth, or natural abilities. The Founders were not fools they understood this as well as Rand.
    Always stimulating. :)
    Respectfully,
    O.A.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      Right, I understand that as well. I don't advocate equal outcomes, equal wealth, or any of that other socialist nonsense. What I advocate is equal rights under the law and equal treatment in society.
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      • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 3 years, 6 months ago
        Hello Maphesdus,
        We may achieve equal rights under the law, but as long as man is imperfect, we will never achieve equal treatment in society, at least not by all of our fellow citizens. Nor should we expect it. People in this nation still have the right to be stupid. Otherwise we would imprison far more. They have the right to free association and to say unpopular and un-PC things. The first amendment is not to protect agreeable speech, or agreeable people. It would be superfluous. Some people will always be prejudice and we will have to walk away from them. If they wrong us physically or materially, in the eyes of the law, we have legal recourse. The best we can hope for is equal treatment by our government. It is guaranteed to us by our Constitution. That is something we should demand. There are partisans such as those in the IRS, that are not living up to this and we deserve better from our government.
        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
    Thank you for sharing your story. I agree AS is not a manual for business. What I take away from it is that everyone owns their own lives must should explore it for themselves and never live for others' approval, reaction, attention, respect, etc. It shows how people following what they personally understand to be right and seeking their own wants powers the world. People arguing you must set aside your own thoughts, beliefs, wants for a greater cause are a threat to the world. We should trust that each of us finding our own way, without pressure from human institutions telling us what to think, will lead to a positive outcome. Some people who ask us to conform do it for their own needs. Maybe someone hurt them, and they are threatened by success. Maybe deep down they feel some inadequacy and they want to be sure everyone's inadequate too. Rand condemns this behavior. She says we should leave each other alone and only interact in fair exchanges that all parties in the exchange agree to. The other choice is do interact with people out of guilt, and that leads to a path of people using force on one another, which leads to an environment in which humanity does not thrive.
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  • Posted by BeVeryAware 3 years, 6 months ago
    The guy that wrote this:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Was an individual who thought it would was right to challenge those who thought differently at the time.
    He and others of like minded thought and heart wrote these words to create the greatest country mankind has known up this point. They knew the costs and proceeded anyway knowing full well their way was better for those that followed.
    Atlas Shrugged, in story form, provokes the thoughts of those who desire a better life for themselves and those that chose to follow....
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  • Posted by squareone 3 years, 6 months ago
    I read "How To Win Friends And Influence People" and then took the Dale Carnegie Course followed by serving as a teaching assistant. I have read "Atlas Shrugged" three times. The conversation with Mr. Thompson became real with me when I abolished my income taxes in 1983.
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  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
    [PART 2]

    Some time later, shortly after the first “Atlas Shrugged” movie hit theaters, I read an online article by Mark Ames on AlterNet.org in which Ames accused Ayn Rand of worshiping the 1920s serial killer William Hickman. I still hadn't read “Atlas Shrugged” at this point, and I confess, the article did color my view of the book and Ayn Rand for several months, the positive notions I had felt back in the bookstore three years ago totally overwritten with Ames' graphic depictions of the gruesome homicide committed by Hickman. In fact, it wasn't until the second Atlas Shrugged movie was already in theaters that I finally decided to see for myself what the book was really about. Still under the influence of Ames' article, however, I was unsure if I wanted to give any of my money to the people behind such a work. But I also wanted to see for myself what it was actually about. After all, although I admit I may be influenced by other people from time to time, I'm not one to base my opinion of anything solely on what someone else thinks. So I torrented the first movie over the internet and watched it on my computer. Before I was even halfway through the film, my prejudice against it had evaporated completely. Screw Mark Ames and his stupid article! Who the hell cared what Ayn Rand thought about William Hickman? This movie was amazing!

    Though after the film ended, I was struck with the sensation that it espoused the value system of a small businessman rather than a large one, a distinction which I was able to make thanks to Robert Kiyosaki. But that was a relatively inconsequential matter, and not worth trifling over. The film was still incredible. I can't recall ever seeing any other movie that actually made big business owners into the heroes (even if it did give them the mentalities small business owners). To see the values of entrepreneurship and business so boldly celebrated in a film was a totally unique experience, as such values were mysteriously absent from other major Hollywood productions.

    Since the second film was, as I said, already in theaters at this point, I went to see it just a few days later. Any previous qualms I had about giving money to the producers behind it were totally gone. Soon afterwords, I bought an audiobook version of “Atlas Shrugged” and listened to the whole thing. I also went online to the Gulch Store and purchased the BluRay version of the first movie and pre-ordered the BluRay version of the second. While browsing the online store, I also noticed the special edition DVD for “We The Living,” so I bought that as well. Later I also shared the movies with my mother, who loved them, and my sister, who claimed she didn't understand them and that they were too political for her. A few months ago I also went online to Amazon.com and purchased a copy of the movie version of “The Fountainhead,” as well as Barbara Brandon's “The Passion of Ayn Rand” (both the movie and the biography).

    After watching the two movies and listening to the entire audiobook, I went through a period of about six months where I got really into Ayn Rand's philosophy, and I almost became an Objectivist. But then I decided to pick up a copy of “The Virtue of Selfishness,” which I noticed had an entire chapter devoted to racism. I skipped ahead to that chapter and read it first (in fact, I probably read that chapter five or six times before I even touched the rest of the book), and that's where I found out about Ayn Rand's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that stopped me. I could forgive or overlook worshiping a serial killer, but political opposition to the Civil Rights Act was a deal breaker for me. I'm a very big supporter and advocate of civil rights, and I strongly believe in what our Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If becoming an Objectivist meant I would have to turn away from that principle, then I would never be an Objectivist.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
      Maphesdus: "I'm a very big supporter and advocate of civil rights, and I strongly believe in what our Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, saying, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' If becoming an Objectivist meant I would have to turn away from that principle, then I would never be an Objectivist."

      You can become whatever you want for whatever reasons you want, but if you had read and understood Ayn Rand you would know that she did not "turn away" legitimate "civil rights", let alone "inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." You are misrepresenting her.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
      Maphesdus: "I pick[ed] up a copy of 'The Virtue of Selfishness,' which I noticed had an entire chapter devoted to racism... and that's where I found out about Ayn Rand's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that stopped me. I could forgive or overlook worshiping a serial killer, but political opposition to the Civil Rights Act was a deal breaker for me."

      You have left out that Ayn Rand opposed racism in all forms, including the racism that you endorse. In your referring only to a "chapter devoted to racism" and "opposition to the Civil Rights Act" without mentioning why, you are insinuating the utterly false misrepresentation that Ayn Rand opposed civil rights on grounds of racism, without mentioning that she strongly opposed racism in all forms and supported actual civil rights: "The policy of the Southern states toward Negroes was and is a shameful contradiction of this country's basic principles. Racial discrimination, imposed and enforced by law, is so blatantly inexcusable an infringement of individual rights that the racist statutes of the South should have been declared unconstitutional long ago..."

      She consistently objected to "the demand for racial quotas in schools, with the proposal that hundreds of children, white and Negro, be forced to attend school in distant neighborhoods—for the purpose of 'racial balance.' Again, this is pure racism. As opponents of this demand have pointed out, to assign children to certain schools by reason of their race, is equally evil whether one does it for purposes of segregation or integration..."

      "The 'civil rights' bill, now under consideration in Congress, is another example of a gross infringement of individual rights. It is proper to forbid all discrimination in government-owned facilities and establishments: the government has no right to discriminate against any citizens. And by the very same principle, the government has no right to discriminate for some citizens at the expense of others. It has no right to violate the right of private property by forbidding discrimination in privately owned establishments."

      If you want to reject Ayn Rand's denunciation of racism and her support of private property rights, the right of freedom of association on private property, and other legitimate civil rights then please tell your readers what it is that you are objecting to on grounds of your own 'holistic' racism rather than falsely insinuating that she supported racism and segregation and rejected actual civil rights.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: Maphesdus,
      You wrote, "...but political opposition to the Civil Rights Act was a deal breaker for me." Has it occurred to you that there is a great difference between being against civil rights and being against the Civil Rights Act? To understand ayn rand it requires to read her works in total and in context. I frankly have never come across a statement by Ayn Rand that would cause me to think of her as a racist. My personal definition of a racist is someone who hates an individual for his race alone. I would prefer to think as all of us being a member of the human race. within that human race I also reserve the right to choose among the people based on their conduct. I dislike a rude white man as much as a rude black man or Asian. It's always a question of conduct of an individual that determines whether I choose to associate with him or not.

      Fred Speckmann
      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com

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      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
        I don't think of her as racist, either. I simply recognize that she didn't understand racism well enough to know what was actually necessary to effectively counteract it.
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        • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
          What. And you think you do?

          The most corrupt, evil action ever taken in this country against the black race was the granting of special rights through the civil rights laws and teaching them that they were victims. Race relations throughout most of the country were in better shape prior to those laws and actions than after. They've destroyed the black family structure and any degree of pride in self and accomplishment.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
            That is true but I wouldn't say it's the single _most_ corrupt, evil action against blacks in this country, which was slavery, the anti-individualist mentality condoning it, and the brutality enforcing it.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
            The black family structure was destroyed by the war on drugs, not the Civil Rights Act.
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            • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
              You really don't think that moving everyone into government housing projects and rewarding the birth of a child, with the father away from the home, with more money, furniture allowance, appliances, etc. didn't have something to do with it?
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              • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                That's the war on poverty, not the Civil Rights Act.

                If you want to say that the war on poverty has had negative effects, despite it's good intentions, you may have a legitimate argument. However, that's still something entirely separate from the Civil Rights Act.
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                • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years, 6 months ago
                  And where do you propose that the War on Poverty gained it's support from if not the Civil Rights mania? Hell, that even gave the reparation argument momentum and foundation.

                  I don't think from your arguments, that you lived through that time.
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                  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
                    While the Civil Rights Act and the war on poverty may have been closely connected at the time of their passage, let's not jump to the conclusion that they were both bad simply because the latter of the two produced results which were counter-productive to its initial goal. Though a connection does exist, a divorce is possible.
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                    • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                      The later produced results precisely and completely productive to its initial goal. The goal was always dependency.

                      It didn't go wrong, it went very, very right.
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            • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
              So black people are inherently drug addicts. What racist nonsense.

              The Civil Rights Act empowered the race hustlers to herd black Americans, whose culture was little different than white American's culture, into the plantation of "black culture", which subsequently destroyed the black family structure.

              It wasn't the war on drugs that withdrew the stigmas from infidelity, out-of-wedlock motherhood, and non-productivity. After the Civil Rights Act, "victimhood" as an excuse for these was institutionalized.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
          Ayn Rand knew that the antidote necessary to oppose racism and other forms of collectivism is an individualist philosophy of reason, not more political impositions of statism and collectivism such as overtly racist policies of forced associations through racial herding, quotas, and 'affirmative action' based on race. She knew that fundamental ideas drive a culture, and that, contrary to the anti-intellectuals, ideas cannot be either imposed or opposed by government force. One does not protect the rights of the individual by trampling them, but the progressives are not concerned with the rights of the individual.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
            She didn't KNOW that was the antidote, she simply assumed it was. She developed a theory, but it was never tested, and there is a lot of evidence against it.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
      Maphesdus: "Some time later, shortly after the first 'Atlas Shrugged' movie hit theaters, I read an online article by Mark Ames on AlterNet.org in which Ames accused Ayn Rand of worshiping the 1920s serial killer William Hickman..."

      "Still under the influence of Ames' article, however, I was unsure if I wanted to give any of my money to the people behind such a work... I'm not one to base my opinion of anything solely on what someone else thinks... Before I was even halfway through the film, my prejudice against it had evaporated completely. Screw Mark Ames and his stupid article! Who the hell cared what Ayn Rand thought about William Hickman? This movie was amazing!..."

      "I could forgive or overlook worshiping a serial killer, but political opposition to the Civil Rights Act was a deal breaker for me."

      Ayn Rand never "worshiped" any "serial killer", and it makes absolutely no sense that "the people behind" a very expensive production of Atlas Shrugged would do so for such a motive or harbor any such "worshiping". Common sense alone should have told you at the outset to be more skeptical of these attacks.

      The Ames myth in particular is based on a slimy, dishonest distortion of notes in Ayn Rand's personal journals kept for the purpose of ideas for future works of fiction, when she was very young, had just come to this country, and still didn't know English very well. She was interested in newspaper stories depicting a popular early reaction to Hickman without regard to actual "serial killing" or proof that he had done it. Her notes had nothing to do with endorsing, let alone "worshiping", serial killers. Yet detractors like Ames leap at the opportunity to misrepresent her.

      If you are "not one to base my opinion of anything solely on what someone else thinks" then you should have spent more time understanding what Ayn Rand did think rather than dwelling on and repeating misrepresentations from fringe hacks who don't dare try to rebut her on her actual reasoning that they hate but can't refute.

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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 3 years, 6 months ago
    Whew! Maphesdus, some of your ideas scare me. Of particular concern are you feelings about the Civil Rights Act and your embracing of group think.
    Ron Paul said the Civil Rights Act did little to help change racial prejudice. In fact, he said it gave the government more control and did little to change what would ultimately end prejudice - the mind of the individual. In fact, for a hard core bigot, it might have made him more entrenched. It led to employment laws which made it harder for small business owners, especially immigrants, to staff their businesses. Many minorities have for years depended on the help of family to staff their start ups. In comes government and says they must hire other minorities, often less familiar with the job, and with less vested interest. No one wins.
    I have several Black friends who hate affirmative action. They are people who want to make it on their on talents and drive, and they discourage their children from being part of it as well. They do not want to be grouped, and know it is about individuals.
    As to group think, does anyone remember the good ole TQM (total quality management), which was set up as a group thinks project, but actually was to make employees THINK they were helping run the show. The roots for this now abandoned business school favorite can be found in the pages of Mao's little red book.
    Then there is the cult/religion of group thinking environmentalism. The rank and file usually have little scientific education, rather they spout the talking points put out for their use. No common sense involved. The movement is about control, not saving the planet. Have you noticed that those who promote getting rid of millions to save the planet, also promote sending mosquito nets to Africa to save lives? Those who want to sell helpful vaccines, also claim it is the best way to wipe out whole populations.
    You are reading, and that is fantastic. How about taking the AS book to bed and reading a bit each night, for yourself. You may find yourself reading and rereading certain passages, because they are so true to what we see in today's life. However, beware of your book choices. Google the authors, find out what their agenda is, and where they really stand. Of course, they want you to buy their book, so they can make money, but what are their qualifications?
    Since you like environmentalism, may I suggest:
    "UN Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy" by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, a woman, who like Rand, knows communism firsthand.
    Please, do not come back and tell me the UN is all Pooh bears.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: Stomi,

      Your sentence, "However, beware of your book choices. Google the authors, find out what their agenda is, and where they really stand." is the best advice for people. I would add that should also be done for any author, radio and TV personality and authors of newspaper and magazine articles.

      Just like the authors of the books that Maphesdus mentioned that were critical of Ayn Rand had an agenda to piggy back on Ayn Rand's philosophy, many other authors will attack well known personalities in order to profit.

      Fred Speckmann
      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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      • Posted by  $  Stormi 3 years, 6 months ago
        Actually, in the early days of Obama's primary campaign, already informed about Hillary, he seemed an interesting choice - for about a minute.
        I began searching everything I could find online - knowing the mainstream media would never give details of value. It was that research that netted the Alinsky connection, and more, like the Chicago gay lifestyle connection. I tried to get O'Reilly to take on the Alinsky issue, but he did not, until AFTER the election for President was over! Thus, the mainstream media kept much truth from the public. We are on our own when it comes to vetting writers, politicians, you name it.
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        • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
          Re: Stormi,

          If we could only get every voter to do as you did, we would all be better off in our lives. Thank you for sharing those experiences with us.

          Fred
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      "Have you noticed that those who promote getting rid of millions to save the planet, also promote sending mosquito nets to Africa to save lives? Those who want to sell helpful vaccines, also claim it is the best way to wipe out whole populations."
      ---
      I haven't heard anything about mosquito nets, but in regards to vaccines, I do know that some fear mongering conspiracy theorists have taken the words of Bill Gates and twisted them around to make it sound like he was advocating genocide, when he really wasn't. Is that what you're referring to?
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      • Posted by  $  Stormi 3 years, 6 months ago
        Bill Gates, speaking before a group of like thinking people, which was on video, expressed how he would not be satisfied until CO2 emissions were at zero growth. He said it would require a reduction of, I forget the exact number of milllions, of people to make that happen. I do remember it was in the same ballpark as the figure Prince Phillip throws out there in public talks.Gates stated that, "Vaccines are the way to go." Now, he could have meant wiping out segments of the population, or birth control via vaccines. The latter being a slower march to that goal, but just as unexpected by those vaccinated. He also happens to have a large holding in a vaccine company. As to the mosquito nets, it is the current liberal goal, get mosquito nets to Africans. My question is always, why do they think mosquitoes only bite at night, the don't. Meanwhile, their heroes, are the same bunch who want to reduce population to acceptable and "manageable" levels, as in a number they can safely control. Bill Gates is also one of the main ones pushing the awful Common Core, which will dumb down our schools. He did good with computers, but seems to have developed a God complex when it comes to making decisions for the world.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
    Business books:
    Financial Peace: Restoring Financial Hope to You and Your Family by Dave Ramsey - This is my favorite book on personal finance. I read some later ones by him, but they weren't as good. In this one he's still somewhat fresh out of bankruptcy and I could feel the emotion of him having been knocked on his bottom and having climbed out of it by hard work.
    Rich Dad, Poor Dad - I did not care for this book. It had a lot of needless dialog and an almost supernatural suggestion that owning a business solves all problems.
    The Innovators Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution - My favorite books. They tell the story of constant commoditization / de-commoditization
    The Lean Startup - Talks about how in the past we knew what wanted to produce and had to find efficient ways to produce it. Now the challenge is to work out what to produce.
    The Long Tail - It's about how we can sell to niche markets products that would not justify shelf space at a national chain.
    Drive - It's about motivating employees.
    The Better Angles of Our Nature - Not a business book, but the positive outlook toward the arc of human history is nice-- maybe helpful in business.
    Linchpin - It's by Seth Godin. I liked it better than his most famous book Tribes.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
      Dave Ramsey is too simplistic. Destroy your credit cards - what hogwash, instead get as high a credit limit as you can, charge no more than 25% of that limit per month, and PAY IT OFF. You'll increase your credit score, and if you have a card like mine, get a great refund at the end of the year without paying any interest (since I travel extensively I get nearly $2000 each year in free cash).
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 6 months ago
        The principle you are espousing is the same, however: don't get into debt. You use credit cards like I do: for the rewards. Like you, I also pay off my entire balance every month.

        What doesn't get included is that there is an unspoken assumption that could be very dangerous: that the means by which I can terminate that monthly obligation will always be there. The principle Dave is espousing is simply to NEVER pay with borrowed money. He is taking the 100% safe road.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
          But the way that our system is set up, without a history of not abusing credit - using it responsibly - you are penalized. Not having credit cards, or having them but not using them, is worse than using them responsibly. With a recent credit score of 809, I think that I'm in a position to speak with some authority on the subject (and I'll stack my credit score up against anyone following Ramsey's advice any day).

          Yes, you need to be responsible. And no, if the income to pay that off were to suddenly dry up (and it has done so twice over the past 10 years), then I certainly wouldn't be charging luxuries and discretionary items.

          I've taught my children to do the same. They are just starting to fly on their own, but I've told them that when they have expenses that are greater than what they can pay off on a monthly basis, that it will be better for them to get a loan from the "bank of daddy" than elsewhere. Of course, an auto loan and a mortgage are still good things for your credit report, so those they should take out on their own.

          That said, the rewards (in my case with Discover and Amex it is cash) are great, but I use my cards the way that I do for the benefit to my credit score. That garners me far more "rewards" in lower interest rates on my mortgage and auto loans than what I get from the cards themselves - and makes me far better off than if I followed the Ramsey approach. Since I'm capable of paying off my bills monthly, I could not use my cards at all (as Ramsey advises), and my credit score would be 100 to 150 pts lower and cost me significantly more in interest or likely get me rejected for a mortgage or auto loan. Instead of his simplistic advice, he should give people practical advise - use your credit like I've described, have some discipline and pay off your cards monthly, if you can't afford to do that, then you probably don't need whatever you are salivating over.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 6 months ago
            I'm not disagreeing with you, just simply pointing out the difference: acceptable risk levels. Dave's acceptable risk level for personal debt is zero. Everyone has to choose, but should be cognizant of what risk they are willing to take with their finances.

            I also don't disagree with your assessment that the credit score one amasses by use of credit scores directly affects other financing opportunities. The while system is set up to encourage people to borrow money and the financiers equate the lack of a borrowing history (for better or for worse) as a ding on one's credit.

            Also, one should keep in mind that the people calling in to Dave's program are rarely the people who are responsible about paying off their debts. ;) For them, a zero-tolerance policy may be the best idea.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
            It's fine to use cash rewards IMHO but I reject the banks scoring system. It's a secret formula that determines how much they like you as a customer. I could create a secret formula to determine which customers I prefer, but I don't expect them to clamor to be a preferred customer. I understand struggling to be a preferred vendor of a company with deep pockets but not a preferred customer.
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      • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
        Re: Robbie53024,

        Good point, but Ramsey is usually talking to people without financial discipline and the only way to keep them from charging more is to eliminate the ability to do so.

        Fred Speckmann
        commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
          That's addressing the symptoms instead of the root cause. Once they are not being watched, they will get more cards and begin charging again. Better to teach delayed gratification and discipline. Plus, like I said, it costs you more in the long run not to have a good credit history.
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          • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
            I totally agree with you, I was just pointing out the primary reason that Ramsey goes to such an extreme solution as he sees it. that doesn't disagree with your point.

            Fred
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      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
        The advice depends on the person. Some people, if they're irresponsible and incapable of doing what you said, probably would be better off just getting rid of their credit cards entirely. Your suggestion is the wiser course of action, and has superior results in the long term, but it requires a higher level of discipline and self-control, which not everyone has.

        (By the way, your suggestion is essentially identical to what Robert Kiyosaki advises in his books.)
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
      The Goal by Eli Goldratt: A novelized business book about how to identify the constraint in your business and what to do about it. You'll love Herbie.
      Six Sigma by Richard Schroeder and some other hack: Once you've identified your source of unacceptable variation, here's the foolproof way to achieve breakthrough improvements.
      The Tao of Pooh by Ben Hoff: While not a business process book per se, it offers insights in to people and life which are helpful in all aspects of life including business.
      Oh, and I'd be remiss if I forgot Necessary but not Sufficient by Eli Goldratt: For anyone looking to implement SAP - read this book first and you'll understand why an ERP is necessary, but not sufficient to improve your business. While it doesn't specifically state this is about SAP, I've been through enough implementations to see that it was clearly meant with them in mind.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      "Drive - It's about motivating employees."
      ----
      Are you referring to "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," by Daniel H. Pink? If so, that's a good book, too, and is another example of a genuine businessman saying something that contradicts Ayn Rand, as Dan Pink said money isn't actually very good as a motivator for most people.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuF...

      Anyway, thanks for the list. :)
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Fred, it is not and never has been my intention to insult you. I have no doubt you are conservative. That is not the same thing as being Lockean or Objectivist. This country was founded on Natural Rights. I have just followed your logic about safety.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      True, but has it ever occurred to you that not everyone interprets natural rights the same way. I for instance have a natural right to have my government protect me from your malfeasance. That is of course if we had an honest government which is open to question.

      Fred
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      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
        Natural Rights are like geometry. You start from the premise that you own yourself. There are no multiple interpretations of euclidean geometry and there are no multiple interpretations of natural rights.

        Because you own yourself, you own what you create. There is no room for I get to tell you what you can do with your property when you have not violated any one else's natural rights.
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        • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
          Re: dbhalling,

          Here you go again, you can't seem to grasp the concept that your understanding of natural rights and mine are different. therefore you are once again simply wrong about there not being multiple interpretations of natural rights. that;s also why dictionaries give multiple definitions for certain words.

          Geometry is based on certain mathematical principles of which there can only be one answer.

          the bottom line is that you are simply incorrect in your belief that you can build anything you want because your building will have an effect on other people within the concept of a society. there's a difference between what you want to build on an island that you own and the lot next door to mine.

          Fred
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          • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
            There is only one answer to Natural Rights
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            • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
              Except for the conundrum of me thinking you don't understand natural rights and you believing that I don't. Kind of an interesting paradox isn't it? The only solution is seems to be that you start your own country, I don't have to since I believe that most people would understand and agree with my point of view, at least as far as building codes are concerned.

              Fred
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              • Posted by  $  Maritimus 3 years, 6 months ago
                Just as DB probably does not have the right to build anything he wants anywhere he wants, I think that the government does not have the right to impose aything they want in my house and on my property. I recently built a new house and the government enforced their "rule" to decorate all my ceilings with sprinkler heads. There are 12 of them in our bedroom. That is tyranny by bureaucracy to any reasonable human being. Don't you think?
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                • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
                  Re: Maritimus,

                  I'm having a slight problem believing that you were required by any building code to install 12 sprinklers in one bedroom. I'm not saying you're lying, but perhaps exaggerating a little. A picture would help. If you send me your city name, I would love to talk to the building permit office to get the lowdown on the requirement you are describing.

                  I agree that imposing "anything" would be going too far except for the safety of others than the owners. Therein however lies the problem, other people than your own family do on occasion visit your home and public safety within reason is a reasonable cause for building codes. I would however say that 12 sprinklers in one room goes beyond reasonable. I've never seen more than one sprinkler in a public use hotel room.
                  there is a fine balance between private property rights and laws passed by municipalities within the realm of legislative responsibilities of the government body in whatever jurisdiction you live. If you don't like the ;aws appeal to your local court system or run for office.

                  Fred Speckmann
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Fred, I never argued whether the courts said they were legal. The IRS is legal according to the courts and so is the NSA. There has to be a standard by which you decided they are right and under Natural Rights which this country was founded on they are not right, moral, or constitutional.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: dbhalling,

      Nevertheless, we are a a nation of laws and if you disagree with those laws as I do in some cases decided by the Supreme Court, we have an obligation to persuade our legislators to pass constitutional laws to change things. I too often wonder whether our Congress has ever read the constitution and for that matter I wonder the same about the supreme court at times. However that doesn't change the fact that we must either obey the law or institute a revolution. Not quite what I would suggest at this moment in time.
      Fred
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago in reply to this comment.
    @airfredd
    Your comments on engineering codes are interesting. Here are some random thoughts I have about them:
    1. I know people who do electrical engineering work requiring licensure (specifying wire gauge in a building, for example) and they earn more money than similar work not requiring licensure. Work on medical products requires the business to get regulatory approval, but not the engineer, and this makes the pay a little lower IMHO than it would be if the engineer were putting her/his stamp on the docs.
    2. Products like coffee pots are usually UL listed, which is a painful non-gov't regulatory procedure. I've never been asked to comply with the national electric code (NEC) on a consumer product, only industrial. I do not know why.
    3. Many years ago I negotiated a cheap price on getting an A/C unit put in my house in FL. The regulatory inspector rejected the installation b/c it wasn't elevated enough to handle the water accumulation of the heavy rainstroms there. The gov't made the guy come fix it. It's one time I at least thought gov't regulation worked in my favor.
    4. My gut feeling about EE licensure is that some of the reason for it is rent-seeking by engineers. We do a lousy job (this is a good thing) at rent seeking through the gov't, so most projects are covered by the industrial exemption and don't require licensure.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: Circuit Guy,

      A very interesting story, I am not sure I understand the reference to "rent seeking" does it refer to inspectors trying to be bribed or what?

      Thanks,

      Fred
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Fred, it was not my intent to be insulting. I was just pointing out the differences. Absolutely competent knowledge is necessary. In fact freedom is based on reason or science. But not based on preemptive attempts to control people because of safety or anything else.

    I disagree with the statement that with freedom come responsibilities at least on the governmental/political level. On the ethical level certainly you must act responsibly for your own rational self interest. But on the political level that statement is meant to say that you have free speech, expect when someone deems it irresponsible. It is the same argument used by those who want politically correct speech codes.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: dbhalling,

      I must say that I have never quite seen the mixing of principles, laws or presumed rights as I do in your writings. If you didn't intend to be insulting, then I must congratulate you on your accidental abilities. For that matter, sometimes you write sentences that leave their meaning unclear. For example, “I disagree with the statement that with freedom come responsibilities at least on the governmental/political level.”

      Are you referring to the fact that politicians have no understanding or regard for that principle? If so, then I agree. To me, free speech is absolute, with the exception of yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire.

      It all boils down to the fact that you are arguing about an indefensible position that zoning and building codes are unconstitutional.

      Fred
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      • Posted by  $  Marty_Swinney 2 years, 10 months ago
        Consider than "yelling fire in a crowded theater" is a form of fraud: it is intended to deprive the rightful owner (the ticket-purchaser) of a performance of the enjoyment of that performance, by means of falsehood. Whether done as a perverse kind of joke by an immature person, or as a way to inflict pain and suffering upon others through the ensuing panic. The act creates a monetary loss even without the emotional components of fear and panic. Therefore, yelling fire in a crowded theater should not be considered as a form of speech but rather as a form of theft and fraud.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 6 months ago
        I am sorry Fred. Would you care to elaborate? The zoning and building codes are unconstitutional. They interfere with my right to contract and my right to property. These were well understood by the founders. There was no such thing as building codes or zoning laws at the founding of this country and the founders would have considered them abhorrent to liberty.
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        • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
          The fact that you and I think that some laws may very well be unconstitutional doesn't make it so.
          for that matter your example of not having building and zoning codes at the time of the founders neglects to mention that at that time we didn't build buildings 100 stories high.

          Fred
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
            Me thinking some laws are unConstitutional DOES make it so; because I know the Constitution, I know history, and I know English.

            Whether the government ceases to pass/enforce such laws is another matter.

            Okay, if 100 stories tall buildings is the trigger for having building codes... how come we have building codes for single-story ranch-style houses?
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            • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
              Re: Hiraghm,
              We seem to be in agreement somewhat, but I didn't use 100 stories as a trigger only as an extreme example. as to building codes for a one story ranch style house, if not built on sound principles, the house could collapse and any injured non-insured occupant will be treated on my dime. that would be against my natural rights to not be required to pay someone elses bill through my taxes.

              Fred
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 3 years, 6 months ago
                Check your premises...

                " any injured non-insured occupant will be treated on my dime."

                Why would this be?

                Oh, yes, laws requiring hospitals to treat the injured who cannot pay.

                Well, then let them die in the streets.

                Oh... your conscience won't let you do that?

                Then don't use your conscience to enslave others because it requires you to spend your money.

                This is the worst kind of bootstrapping.


                And building codes don't ensure that ranch style houses don't fall down. Bureaucrats are not noted for their expertise in home-building. In my experience, neither are architects, but that's another discussion...

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  • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
    [PART 3]

    Something I've noticed is that a lot of people in Objectivist and Libertarian circles (though to a lesser degree in the latter) seem to think that equality is automatically bad for no other reason than because it's a concept which is part of Communist/Socialist philosophy. But equality is part of Democracy as well, and Democracy was very much a part of our nation's foundational principles. Something that really worries me is the possibility of people, both politicians and regular citizens, becoming so obsessed with destroying Communism that they end up also destroying the values of our Founding Fathers in the process, thus transforming our nation into an oligarchy or plutocracy. Because of this, I think we ought to be very careful that when we attack Communism and Socialism, we do not inadvertently attack Democracy in the process. A clear and careful distinction needs to be made, and we should proceed with reasoned caution, without letting our emotions drive us to illogical and harmful actions.

    After I found out about Ayn Rand's opposition to the Civil Rights Act, I began to seek out other authors who could potentially refute her arguments. This lead me to two very important books, the first one being “Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System,” by John W. Robbins, which was praised by 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul, who said that John Robbins' book should be read by “everyone who wants to advocate freedom with arguments that cannot be refuted.” The second book I read refuting Objectivist ideology was “Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature,” by Greg S. Nyquist. These two books essentially obliterated Ayn Rand's philosophy in my mind, as they did an incredibly thorough job of pointing out all the logical contradictions, inconsistencies, and simple absurdities of Ayn Rand's arguments. Like Jerry Andrus' Impossible Box, what had initially appeared to be a beautiful philosophical construct of perfect logical consistency was revealed to be nothing more than an illusion – a total sham.

    This also made me question whether it was a good idea to accept business advice from someone who had never owned or operated a business. After thinking it over, I had to conclude that abstract theory was totally useless if it had never been tested and proven in the real world. “Look at the life they live before you heed the advice they give,” became my motto. And after watching “The Passion of Ayn Rand,” I decided that a life like hers was really not what I wanted for myself. So I dismissed Ayn Rand's philosophy, and reverted back to the more practical and reasonable positions advocated by the actual business gurus I had read previously (Robert Kiyosaki, Brian Tracy, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, etc.). I'll always view Ayn Rand as an excellent storyteller, but I prefer to get my financial, political, economic, and business advice from other sources.
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    • Posted by iroseland 3 years, 6 months ago
      "Something I've noticed is that a lot of people in Objectivist and Libertarian circles (though to a lesser degree in the latter) seem to think that equality is automatically bad for no other reason than because it's a concept which is part of Communist/Socialist philosophy."
      I think we might need you to give us a definition of equality. If we could understand this we could have a more meaningful discussion. Also, I have to agree I would not take Rands business advice, as she doesn't really provide much. She does however provide us with philosophy, which is quite a bit different from suggesting which stocks to short over the next 6 months or how to get the best ROI at your hamburger stand.
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
        Equality under the laws is the only equality anyone should expect. There is no equality of ability, there is no equality of heritage, there is no equality of opportunity (opportunity does not knock on everyone's door at the same time), and there certainly is not equality of outcome.
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      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
        Ayn Rand often wrote about how to interact and deal with other people, which is something that's very applicable to the world of business. And the advice she gave is often in direct conflict with the things actual businessmen have said.

        For example:

        "Successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'"
        ~ Brian Tracy

        http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/1b...
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    • Posted by  $  Flootus5 3 years, 6 months ago
      I enjoyed Maph's 3 part dissertation on how he/she was introduced to Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, and Objectivism. What a choppy road - quite different from my own experience. I was introduced to Ayn Rand back in the 60's when I was a kid - the CRA had just been passed in a blizzard of controversy, AS itself was only 8 years old, Alan Greenspan's article on the gold standard had been printed in Ayn Rand's "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal", and we had just removed silver from our coinage. I subscribed to Ayn Rand's newsletter through the late 60's and early 70's. The principles of individualism and self-determination had been ingrained into me from youth. I have watched the federal and global governments never ending encroachments into a once free society with all the attendant effects we live with today. I would say that many, many principles of Ayn Rand are illustrating the problems of today with complete real world affirmation.

      She taught me to think - rationally and critically - to the point I did not necessarily agree with her on everything. What a wonderful gift!

      There are numerous sub-themes to this posting. Some take umbrage to calling environmentalism evil. I remember when that word was not even part of the vocabulary. However, people were becoming aware of certain problems that needed solutions - correct solutions through Constitutional government, not the rampant unconstitutional federal nationalization of property and resources we ended up with. That is the evil lurking in what is called environmentalism - watermelon communism in raw form. It has long been shown that private property owners are the best stewards of the environment than flocks of unaccountable bureaucrats hiding behind alphabet soup agencies promulgating and enforcing "Administrative Law".

      Oh, and one more subpoint to discuss. The American form of government as constructed by the Founders was not a democracy. It was a Constitutional Republic where certain governmental bodies had enumerated powers through the separation of powers - both horizontally and vertically - not just the simple tyranny of majority that a democracy is. Remember, when 3 wolves and one sheep vote on whats for dinner.........
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      • Posted by Kittyhawk 3 years, 6 months ago
        This is a fantastic statement of Ayn Rand's influence: "She taught me to think - rationally and critically - to the point I did not necessarily agree with her on everything. What a wonderful gift!" It summarizes my own response to her works, also.
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    • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
      You keep mentioning Robert Kiyosaki. You do realize he is a charlatan. His books are full of unproven assertions about his own life and successes as well as advice that is morally questionable and legally dubious.

      Here is an excellent review of his works. I know the author of this article. He is passionate and reasonable. A graduate of Harvard Business School and West Point. And a successful writer in his own right.

      http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.html

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      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
        I've actually seen that site before, and read through most of it. Although I think John T. Reed does bring up some legitimate criticisms, he also brings up some faulty ones, such as complaining about Robert Kiyosaki's imprecise and inconsistent wording. Seriously, who cares if Robert Kiyosaki changes his mind about who the number one influence in his life has been? Then there are some criticisms that actually just make John Reed look like an ass, such as his bringing up the fact that Robert Kiyosaki used to be fat, or that Robert went by the name Bob when he was younger (which is actually incredibly common for people named Robert to do). John Reed raises some good points, but he raises a lot of bad ones, too.
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        • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
          Yes but the illegal advice, the refusal to back up his claims about his real estate prowess, the outright lies about his investments (took companies public, major shareholder), the misleading and poor advice concerning education (from a college graduate nonetheless), and the display of a lack of understanding of basic real estate investing terminology clearly demonstrate Kiyosaki to be a fraud.

          And I disagree with the inconsistencies comment to a certain extent. It shows that the Robert/Bob is trying to tell people whatever he thinks they want to hear regardless of the truth. And he deserted the Marine Corps out of a sense of conscience about the war - when he really just missed the boat. In fact, with a military background to some degree similar to John Reed's, I question how anyone who had actually been in the Marines could tell some of the stories Kiyosaki tells unless he is a complete sociopath. Inconsistencies like bankrupt in 85 when there is no bankruptcy court record of it? Or how about that nobody can actually find the "rich dad" and he appears to be a creation of the Robert/Bob's imagination. Actually even the Robert/Bob inconsistency, in the context of Reed's article, is there to show that this guy basically is building a personality cult based on lies and that he is full of himself.

          In a war of words between an ass and a liar, I'll take the ass every time.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
            However, I know John and don't think he's an ass. He does have a tendency to "pile on" in these articles and not all of the evidence is of equal value. But that is mostly the result of the way that he puts them together - over time and based largely on specific questions or responses he gets. After pointing out so many falsehoods and inconsistencies, why should he take the time to create a well polished article that then lays out the evidence in a more logical fashion. There is nothing in it for him.

            He was actually sued by one of Kiyosaki's partners in crime for a similar critical article - he won.
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
              I've never read Kiyosaki, but one take away from excerpts that I've seen that does ring true is that you'll never get "rich" working for someone else. You can live a very good lifestyle working for others (as I have), but if being rich is your objective you need to work for yourself. Just don't expect that doing so will guarantee you riches - far more independent business people go broke/stay poor than get rich.
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              • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
                True. J. Paul Getty says the same thing in his book How To Be Rich. Much better advice in his book. Of course, unlike Kiyosaki, he earned his fortunes before writing the book. Kiyosaki only appears to have actually been financially successful BY writing his books.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
              If he's going to just "pile on" arguments over time, he should at least have some kind of filter and not bring up irrelevant information like what Robert's preferred name was, or that he used to be fat and then lost the weight. Bringing up things like that just undermines his own arguments.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
            The most likely reason why there are supposedly no records of Robert Kiyosaki's property or bankruptcy is because he probably put the property in the name of a small company (most likely an LLC), rather than his own personal name. I don't own any real estate myself, but I've talked to a professional business consultant who does, and he's told me there are ways where you can make it so your own name is never attached to any of your properties. That way, if people happen to search your name in a database, you show up as owning nothing. It's a tactic that more savvy real estate investors use to protect their assets. Robert Kiyosaki says essentially the same thing in one of his books, "Own nothing, control everything."
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            • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
              Sorry but if you file personal bankruptcy, you cannot do so under an LLC. Kiyosaki claims he was bankrupt. Not that some LLC he created to purchase a property went bankrupt.

              BTW, in terms of that advice, John argues in his work over and over that corporations do not actually shield you from liability. Your sole ownership of the corporation or LLC is a matter of public record and anyone that is going to sue your LLC or corporation is going to name you in the lawsuit as well. And for small, petty nuisances, in some states corporations and LLCs have to hire attorneys and cannot represent themselves even in small claims courts - thus adding an extra layer of expenses.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 6 months ago
      If you think those authors have demolished Ayn Rand's ideas then you don't understand what Ayn Rand was talking about. Neither -- to give them the benefit of the doubt -- did those authors. Their absurd rationalistic manipulation of words through context dropping and equivocation is not a "thorough job" of anything logical.
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    • Posted by airfredd22 3 years, 6 months ago
      Re: Maphesdus,

      I will never accept business advice from anyone that has never met a payroll. That of course eliminates almost every business and economics professor at any business school.

      On the other hand, blindly accepting criticism by one author commenting on another authors meaning is just as dangerous.
      Above everything else, Atlas Shrugged is a love story between people and a love story about their relationship with their businesses.

      It deals with many of the aspects of our government under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and most of all under President Obama. With the exception of Carter, neither of the other two presidents ever met a payroll, so there is distinct proof of how little they know about business or economics. President Carter had many flaws of his own, but did run a family business so he had at least a basic understanding of the difficulties involved.

      You need also to remember that Ayn Rand was incorporating her philosophy into a love story and was not writing a manual on how to start a business, but she understood much more about the subject than our present administration.

      A philosopher is not always 100% correct in her or his beliefs, those beliefs must be taken in total context and it requires occasional benefit of the doubt. In the end the final judgment on what the author means is up to your own understanding. It is clear from your post that upon seeing the movies and reading the book, you thought that she made sense. Then you wrote about other books you read and all of a sudden found fault with Ayn rand's books. It seems that you tend to always conclude the last piece you read to be correct.

      Trust your own judgment.

      Fred Speckmann
      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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      • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
        Makes sense. I would refuse to be treated by any oncologist that has never had cancer too.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years, 6 months ago
          Hmmm. May be a bit too harsh here. Medical science is a bit more straightforward than business, which often requires trade-off analysis and risk assessment about unknowns. Someone who has successfully navigated those issues has something to convey that a "book learned only" person cannot convey. I'll take business advice from the owner of the corner grocery store that has a track record over the likes of Krugman or Marx any day.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years, 6 months ago
            Sure. And don't study aeronautics from anybody but a pilot. And never let your football team be coached by anyone who was not a football superstar himself. Of course, most of the greatest theorists of military strategy were not themselves generals. In fact, the Prussian/German general staff system recognized that the two sets of abilities were not necessarily found in the same person.

            The fact is that outsiders to a certain function, who have spent signficant time studying that function, often know more than the people who do the same thing year in and year out. The issue of do you have 20 years experience or one year of experience repeated 20 times.

            I consult on projects. Were I to have acted as a project manager on projects of this size, I would have seen 6-10 in a 20 year career. Instead, I've seen dozens if not scores of projects from all angles and with access to data and documentation to those projects that most project managers never see. Do they know some things that I don't? Probably. Would they be wise to follow the above argument and take no advice from me? Probably not.
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