Don’t Lose Friendships Over Objectivism

Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 6 months ago to Culture
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The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) has an article published September 5, 2016, entitled “Don’t Lose Friendships Over Politics.”

Given much I have seen at the Gulch, I think it also applies to Objectivists. What do you think?
SOURCE URL: https://fee.org/articles/don-t-lose-friendships-over-politics/?mc_cid=f935286c75&mc_eid=07155fd8c2


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  • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 6 months ago
    Hello Esceptico,
    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800
    Respectfully,
    O.A.
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    • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 5 months ago
      OA:
      Jefferson and Adams?
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      • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
        Hello Herb7734,
        Excellent! Yes. Jefferson and Adams were great friends that had a falling out because of such considerations. It is an inconsistency with Jefferson's stated view and his reality. I believe they made up for it and renewed their friendship in their later lives and perhaps these views were a contributing factor. I do know it was Adams that made the first move and wrote Jefferson... Their battle for the presidency was brutal and made them both very bitter. It must have taken considerable time for them to salve their wounds and renew their affections.

        Still, I think the quotation and sentiment, worthy of some weight in the balance of life.
        Regards,
        O.A.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
      BUT, if someone I considered a "friend" tells me he wants to enslave me to pay for some plan that benefits HIM, what kind of friend is that?? I dont need any of those.

      Thomas Jefferson also had hundreds of slaves that he could have released, but didnt.
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      • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
        Hello term2,
        Yes. But, in such a circumstance perhaps it would be prudent to ask if they were ever truly your friend...
        True, Jefferson was a slave holder as were so many of his time. I believe he was trapped between his principles and the practical realities of his time. So many of his time planted the seeds for a future they could only wish for. I'm not sure how that relates to patience, tolerance and friendships. I have always believed it can sometimes be difficult to judge people of a different time by the standards of today.
        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
          Judging people in general is very difficult, and probably none of my business anyway. I can judge how they interact with me. For example, Hillary is likely to take more of my money and my freedoms, so I would judge her to be bad (for me at least). I would try to avoid her and certainly NOT call her a friend.

          I do think that Jefferson thought all men to be created equal, except when it would cost him money. Given that, slavery wasnt so bad.

          Its interesting that you say "he was trapped between his principles and the practical realities of his time". I could say the same thing. I dont think slavery is a good thing, but I do need some help around the house, and it would take care of some some of my "practical realities" to have a slave or two. Isnt that the same argument the bums use to get freebie welfare
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          • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
            It is even more difficult and perhaps unfair to judge people of a different time with our present day mores.
            I cannot condone any slavery in his time or ours. That said: One cannot help but see that Jefferson was a product of his times and in his time a plantation or a household did not have the machinery and labor saving devices we have. His competition had slaves. If he was to exist and see his espoused principles and slavery abolished one day, he had to exist/compete on the same field as others until such time that all would be on equal footing. He did not invent slavery. It was a dark cold reality of his times world wide. One that he was in the unfortunate position of suffering against his better nature, What he could do was write words like "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." knowing they were in contradiction to the conditions for all, yet an aspiration for all the world to change. I cannot and will not justify his or others of his times shortcomings in this regard. It is what it was. However, we can appreciate the fact that he was instrumental in bringing words of enlightenment that were bound to force the issue and one day achieve the abolition. Without people like him and their words that forced people to face the iniquity of their times, slavery which still exists in some parts of the world, might still be a more prevalent condition. The argument was never moral or right. It simply was and needed to change.

            "Throughout his entire life, Thomas Jefferson was a consistent opponent of slavery. Calling it a “moral depravity”1 and a “hideous blot,”2 he believed that slavery presented the greatest threat to the survival of the new American nation.3 Jefferson also thought that slavery was contrary to the laws of nature, which decreed that everyone had a right to personal liberty.4 These views were radical in a world where unfree labor was the norm."
            https://www.monticello.org/site/plant...
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            • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
              Re: "It is even more difficult and perhaps unfair to judge people of a different time with our present day mores." I have no problem judging Hitler, Stalin, the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition and many other historical figures with our present day mores. Deliberate evil has been around for millennia, as have people who recognized and opposed it on the basis of moral standards that we would recognize and agree with today.
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              • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
                Hello CBJ,
                I believe I am speaking of degrees and temporal conditions. It is clear from my above statement that I, as you, have not condoned such treatment and that is from our modern perspective. So in that sense we are both judging. If they were to live today practicing the same way, our condemnation would be joined by most. It would be almost unanimous. It is not that I approve, it is that in his time it was commonplace and it is clear that he desired to have it not so if his time would have allowed it. See ewv's comment below.
                Respectfully,
                O.A.
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
              He also did not hold slaves for economic reasons. In the 1860s he tried to get the VA legislature to allow private citizens to emancipate their own slaves from the slavery system. Jefferson opposed slavery both morally and as economically ineffective.

              In the Declaration of Independence he not only stated the general principles of unalienable rights, in the list of grievances he specifically denounced Britain for introducing the slave trade to America. Others removed it to appease the southern states in a time of war.
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              • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
                Hello ewv,
                Indeed.
                Respectfully,
                O.A.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  You are right that people should be judged in the context of their knowledge and state of affairs at the time. They didn't have Ayn Rand's ethics and may have acted differently in some ways if they had, but they did have the enormous advantage of the Enlightenment and made enormous progress because of it, including establishing the foundation to eliminate slavery.

                  There never was a justification for slavery, morally or economically, but whatever mistakes they made along the way to emancipation, the best of them, including Jefferson, were certainly not "hypocrites" following Marxist-supplied motives as the faddish drumbeat tells us today.
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            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
              I agree he was against slavery. BUT, he put his own self interest ahead of the moral principles he espoused. A lot of people are intellectually conflicted I suppose, even then.
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              • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
                We are all imperfect... Those of us that strive to improve are ahead of the pack. Better to have ideals one cannot meet than to have none to begin with.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  A lot of a-philosophical "libertarians" are still conflicted today. Notice the denunciation of Jefferson for putting "his own self interest ahead of moral principles he espoused", as if there would be a conflict. That is in addition to the fact that he did act to oppose slavery in action.
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          • Posted by EdGoldstein 4 years, 5 months ago
            You speak as if slavery was a thing of the past. It is not. Slavery is widely practiced today in the Islamic world and has no doubt returned to this country with the importation of Islam. India still has a functioning, if not totally legal, caste system that is hereditary slavery. For that matter what would you call the operation of the welfare state in the inner cities, but Democrat's farming their poor ignorant and usually Black crop.
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            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
              I stand corrected. Slavery is indeed alive and well right here in the USA, not to mention in most other places. How about enforced taxation, where we are forced to work for several months of the year for the government and its wealth transfer programs. Its gone, at least temporarily, but the draft was slavery in its worst form- where you are forced to sacrifice your life for some politician's whims.
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              • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                Technically, slavery is still legal in the United States today, as a careful reading of the 13th Amendment shows.
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                • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                  Slavery is ok and legal If the government does it. The draft. Taxation. Even community service. Try freeing yourself from taxation and you will be enslaved in prison. Try freeing yourself from public school. I think you go to juvenile version of jail. It's ok so long as the government does it
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  The 13th amendment "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction" abolished slavery. It does not make slavery "technically legal".
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                  • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                    Sure it does. The "except" clause proves it.
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                    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                      Punishment for crime is not slavery.
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                      • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                        Not at the moment, but the 13th Amendment does permit slavery as a punishment for crime. Therefore slavery has not been made totally illegal (i.e., abolished).
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                        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                          Punishment for a crime is not what is meant by slavery. A better example would be military conscription as involuntary servitude, but that was done in spite of the 13th amendment, not in accordance with it.
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                          • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                            If a federal or state judge were to impose slavery rather than prison as punishment for a crime, it would be constitutional, according to the explicit wording of the 13th Amendment. There are no laws presently that permit such a punishment, but that doesn't mean it is unconstitutional.
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                            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                              The Constitution already prohibited cruel and unusual punishment. There was never any question of putting people into slavery as punishment for a crime. They are two different concepts.

                              Slavery and involuntary servitude can only be supported by ignoring what the Constitution is for. There is no Constitutional authority for enslaving people. The thirteenth amendment nailed that down with a clear prohibition once they didn't have to politically contend with the slave interests.

                              That isn't to say that it can't be or hasn't been ignored, for example, with military conscription. But that is in spite of the Constitution by those who don't care what it was for, not in accordance with it.
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                              • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                                Re: "There was never any question of putting people into slavery as punishment for a crime. " Then why was that "except" phrase put into the 13th Amendment? If there was never any question about the issue, that phrase would not have been put there.
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                                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                                  It was put there so as not in the name of anti-slavery to legally rule out punishment of crimes "whereof the party shall have been duly convicted".
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                                  • CBJ replied 4 years, 5 months ago
      • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 4 years, 5 months ago
        Friends are always won and lost over time. This is a normal progression of our lives.

        As for slave ownership...it was acceptable at the time and I don't think our nation would have thrived as it did, without it.

        I drive vehicles that use fossil fuels, but am told that is not proper. I own multiple semiautomatic firearms, but am told that is not proper. I spanked my children, but am told that is not proper. I hold strong beliefs against same-sex marriage, but am told that is not proper.

        All of these and, yes, slavery, come under the same heading of what is "right or wrong" for today. Because of this, I hold no enmity against those who, ages ago, practiced living in ways that are considered improper in this day and age.

        I also support Columbus Day over Indigenous Peoples Day (what a mouthful).
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        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
          I dont believe in political correctness, which is what I would say drives the issues of what is "proper". Any of the things that you say you ascribe to that are not proper, I would say are none of anyone's business but yours. When it comes to slavery, however, there are real issues of human rights of other people that Jefferson violated just so he could get cheap labor.
          I dont let him off the hook for that.
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          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
            Jefferson did not violate people's rights "just so he could get cheap labor". That is a stock Marxist smear. Jefferson did not create slavery or the society he was born into. He outspokenly opposed slavery despite the political opposition against him.
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            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
              I visited Monticello and it really brings out another side of Jefferson. I think he got political blowback from his opposition to slavery. He sure enjoyed the financial benefits of it though, while other Virginia plantations were freeing their slaves. I am saying he was saying one thing but doing another and most probably because his plantation and home required the cheap labor and he didn't want to give that up
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            • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
              Jefferson did not create slavery, but he participated in it and benefited from it. His deeds failed to match his words, and gave moral cover to several succeeding generations of slaveholders.
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                Jefferson did not give "moral cover" for slavery and he did not believe he was "benefiting" from it. He argued that it was economically destructive. He opposed slavery even when he mistakenly believed that the blacks lacked the mental capacity of others. He had no legal authority to free slaves from the system and tried, unsuccessfully, to get it. He vociferously opposed slavery in spite of his political opponents who used it against him. He did as much as anyone to ensure that it would be eliminated in the future. He succeeded. That is not "moral cover to generations of slave holders".
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                • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago
                  I grew up in the 1950s South, where most members of the political elite identified themselves as "Jeffersonian Democrats" and used their power and the doctrine of "states' rights" to marginalize African-Americans and deny them basic rights to the extent that the federal government would allow. They were the physical and spiritual descendants of slaveholders, many of whom also self-identified as "Jeffersonian Democrats" and likewise used "states' rights" to justify slavery and later secession. Riding on Jefferson's coattails gave their arguments a veneer of moral respectability that they never would have achieved otherwise.
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                  • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                    The racists you grew up with had nothing to do with Jefferson. Stealing his name for the prestige did not change what they were and their clash with Jefferson His ideas and actions were not "moral cover to generations of slave holders".
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          • Posted by EdGoldstein 4 years, 5 months ago
            Until the development of technology, slavery was the base of all civilizations. The first tribe that enslaved its defeated enemies as labor created the excess resources needed to start civilization. Slavery remained necessary until about Jefferson's time. In fact the idea of human rights was a product of Jefferson and his contemporaries.
            .
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
              Slavery was never the "base of all civilization" and was never "necessary". It is the opposite of civilization and everything necessary for a creative, productive economy.
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              • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                Actually, slavery, when first begun, was a revolutionary achievement. Prior to slavery, the captured enemy was eaten.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  That was not an achievement. One was slavery for producing food and the other was slavery for the next meal. Who knows which came first in what parts of the world.
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                  • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                    Technologically and socially, slavery was revolutionary. When a single human could grow, collect or hunt food to feed only one person (basically, animal-like existence), the captured tribes make efficient dinners and are not worth keeping alive. When the technology and the social structure evolved that a single being could feed more than himself, it made slavery an economically viable alternative (to being eaten). How's that not an achievement?
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                    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                      Calling slavery an achievement is disgusting. Primitive brute force among savages was never "revolutionary".

                      Slavery versus each person finding his own food is logically a false alternative. It leaves out division of labor, even if only within a family or small group with minimal trade in a primitive "economy",
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                      • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                        Sorry, they didn't have Universities back 10,000 years ago. No one taught them of better alternatives. What they did for a million years was to eat that guy; some genius figured out that maybe keeping him alive and making him work is a better choice. If they didn't make that advance back then, you and I would likely had been dinner.
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                        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                          You don't need a university to understand that primitive tribalism and cannibalism are not revolutionary efficiencies and that slavery was not an "advancement". We don't expect better of primitives; we do of civilized people in the 21 century telling us that different versions of tribalist brutality were an "advancement". This is a forum for Ayn Rand's ideas, not cultural relativism and pragmatism.
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                          • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                            This is anthropology, not culural relativism. So, you seem to be saying that the neanderthals were perfectably capable of having a republican government, as well as creating and understanding the Bill of Rights? I didn't know that you are a Creationist who believes that humans were hatched in a fully developed state.
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                            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                              I did not say that primitives could understand the "Bill of Rights". Calling slavery a "revolutionary advancement" is not science. If you want further discussion then stop ignoring responses to you with your repetitious pronouncements and sarcastic nonsense.
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            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
              The government has made private slavery illegal, only to be replaced by government enforced slavery in terms of taxation. Although it IS voluntary, credit is a form of slavery too.
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                The moral and legal necessity of paying your debts in not a form of slavery.
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                • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                  Private credit is not strictly slavery. True. But I would call it self imposed slavery. It sure feels like slavery!!

                  As to taxation of income by the government, that is the new slavery
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                  • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                    Private credit has nothing to do with slavery. The necessity of paying your debts is not and does not "feel like" slavery.

                    Even taxation does not reach the level of actual slavery. It depends on how it is imposed to what extent for what purpose. The premise is bad enough without equating it with the all encompassing slavery of the old feudalist south and elsewhere around the world.
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                    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                      There isnt the physical violence involved with slavery now that the government does it. BUT, try not paying the government willingly and see what happens to you. Jail would look a lot like slavery to me.

                      As to credit and its effects on a person, its not physical slavery, and you dont go to jail anymore for not paying up, but it FEELS like being trapped. That was my point. For all practical purposes, you have signed yourself up for years of working for the 'man' to pay off the debts.
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                      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                        Your resentful feelings don't change the facts of what borrowing is in contrast to slavery.

                        Government enforces the tax laws by force. It doesn't make most taxation the same as living like slaves in the old south.
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                        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                          There are serious parallels between physical slavery and what the government does to us today. The government takes about half of what we can make, leaving the rest of it for us to stay alive on. We do have to privately arrange for the details of living, which is different from the plantation owners.

                          But, if we refuse to pay the government, they do imprison us, which is a lot like actual slavery. They feed us and we get to make license plates or work on chain gangs and such.

                          As long as you worked on the plantation and produced, and kissed the hind end of the plantation owner, there was no need to beat you into submission. You got your food and you could rest until the next day.

                          Nowadays, there is 'free speech" up to the point where Obama and his ilk will stop tolerating it. Ask Snowden how far you can go in exposing true Obama evil. If he were here, he would be in prison or executed.

                          My point is that our government has forbidden slavery, but imposed on us instead its own more acceptable version of it. If you make money, dont you feel like they have enslaved you for some months of the year so you can pay what you earn to them against your will?
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                          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                            Having to pay your debts is not slavery, whether or not you resentfully "feel" like it. Neither is today's society with taxation, as bad as it is and based on false and immoral collectivist premises, like the outright slavery of the old south. Please try to show some common sense perspective and adherence to reality.
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                            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                              Paying the debts you owe is not enforced slavery, I agree. But when one engages in debt, there is little difference in the results except that its self inflicted. Perhaps this is only semantics.
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                              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                                No, it isn't semantics. Borrowing money from someone who expects you to pay it back is a different concept than making someone a slave. A slave has no rights. When you borrow money you retain all your rights and agree to abide by property rights to repay the debt. A violation of the contract that could lead to court action is not the same concept as slavery.
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            • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 5 months ago
              Most technology replacing slavery today is based on hydrocarbon energy. Invent an excuse to force society to stop using hydrocarbons, and what will be the result? Yes, slavery, camouflaged as socialism "for the greater good.".
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                Energy from hydrocarbons was not the reason for abolishing slavery and socialist 'morality' does not require stopping its use for them to advocate collectivism.
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                • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 5 months ago
                  I am talking about 21st century slavery, and the tools and methods being used by statists to enslave. Do you think that the attack on hydrocarbon energy via alledged man-made global warming is not such a method? Do you disagree that a return to a world without the energy supplied by hydrocarbons with today's technology will cause a new slavery?
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              • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                Now slavery has been also made obsolete by the advent of robotics and automation.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  Slavery was 'obsolete' before it started.
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                  • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                    It was pretty gruesome , required violence to manage, would only work when everyone did it, and really best suited only to agriculture in sparsely populated areas. It did help build the wealth of the south

                    By the time hitler used it with the Jews it wasn't working so well. Required heavy violence, concentration camps, and produced meager results

                    Today , technology has made slavery obsolete in advanced countries. The menial work which one could get from slavery is available cheaper and without violence from automation. Slavery doesn't produce innovation and thinking
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                    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                      It never "worked" and was not "best suited" for anything. Stealing and oppression are not "building wealth". Technology is not a substitute for slavery.

                      Slavery always required "heavy violence". The German moral atrocity was much worse than Pragmatic assessments of not "working well" and "meager results".
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                      • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                        Well, thats debatable as to it "working". Crops did get harvested. Crops were sold and money was collected by the plantation owners, who built houses and maintained their plantations. There were downsides to slavery of course, apart from the inhuman issues. The plantation owners got brute labor only, no thinking. There was the upkeep of the workers that fell on the plantation owners.

                        It would have been replaced by automation anyway, as automated equipment is cheaper than the maintenance of slaves. Just as machines are cheaper than horses.
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                        • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                          Every aspect of slavery has been "villanized," but in the age when it was accepted, it was not limited to brute force, suffering and no thinking. Throughout history, many societies had very highly placed slaves, some that even ran governments. In the American South, shortly before the Civil War, some slaves were very well off (compared to free laborers) and some were in fairly important and comfortable positions. I am not supporting slavery here; I am being historically accurate, as opposed to historically selective. For reference, read historical accounts written at the time, not about that time.
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                          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                            The bulk of slavery was brute physical labor; anything better was a function of the master, which could not be counted on. Those who worked for men like Jefferson were relatively better off, but Jefferson himself, as well as other abolitionists, sought to end it for good reason.
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                          • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                            I think you are right. I think that even in Americas not so distant past,. There have been husband masters and wife slaves mostly enforced by personality traits of dominance and submissiveness. Call it perhaps voluntary slavery
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                            • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                              There have also been, and continue to be, wife masters and husband slaves. That part of humanity is not about to change anytime soon.
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                              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                                Injustice is not a "part of humanity", somehow inherent. It is the result of irrationalism. Better ideas and rational thinking are a matter of choice. How soon current primitive conditions take to change depends on the spread of the right ideas and the choice to accept them by enough people to stomp out those primitives who don't respect the rights of individuals.
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                                • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                                  Has it ever occurred to you that some people are not capable of the rational thought required to create, live in and sustain the world you're talking about? Take a look at the majority of people in this country - are they capable of rational, logical, unemotional thought, even some of the time? And its even worse in most of the rest of the world.
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                                  • ewv replied 4 years, 5 months ago
                        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                          Slavery does not "work" as an economic system and never did. That some got away with taking what they wanted from others does not mean slavery "worked", anymore than getting away with robbing banks can mean robbery "works" as a system. The feudalist slave system of the old south was stagnant. A slave society does not "work" and cannot for the same reasons it is immoral. Objectivism rejects the Pragmatist, neo-Marxist "analysis" and rewrite of history.
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                          • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                            We can make judgements as to how well slavery worked or not, or that other systems maybe more efficient. But you can't make (and support) a statement that slavery does not work. It worked for 90% of human existence, before other systems were developed and the technology to make them feasible.
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                            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                              If you know anything about Ayn Rand you know why slavery does not work. It is not subjective or a matter of "efficiency", let alone "may be" only "inefficient".

                              It did not "work" for 90% of human existence and technology was not required to make anything else feasible. Humanity remained in stagnation for millennia under primitive beliefs and tribalism. Freedom and the recognition of rational thought made tecnhology possible, not the other way around.
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                              • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 5 months ago
                                Ewv, you seem to be on some kind of a war path. No one is advocating slavery here, so please relax. I am simply acknowledging the fact that slavery was an economic and cultural system that was necessary for human development. Assuming that homo sapiens began from an animal existence, where a fallen enemy is eaten, as most carnivores do, eventual technological progress made slavery feasible and it was a revolution in human development. Most animals remain at low societal development, being able to hunt or graze just enough food to feed themselves and some of their young. Ants have a very high level of societal development, as exemplified by the fact that some of them have slaves. Of course, eventually, slavery became ineffective and was replaced by other systems, although we sometimes fall back to it. Some modern humanoids fall back even further, by eating their fallen enemies. The vilification of a stage of human development is ridiculous; do you vilify chimpanzees who sometimes eat their enemies? Who knows, one day they may learn to vote and create governments - should their cannibalistic stage be castigated?
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                                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                                  Slavery was not "necessary" for human development, did not "work" as a basis for "civilization", was not "efficient", and was not "revolutionary" as already explained. Rejecting your bizarre cultural relativist arguments to the contrary is not a "war path".
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                          • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                            In a short term, slavery will get certain things done, as it did in the south. But long term, it definitely becomes harder and harder to keep going, and eventually fails because it is based on an incorrect view of humanity.
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      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
        Yes, not befriending someone because of his politics is backwards. What do you have in common with someone whose explicit or implicit philosophy leads him to a tyrannical politics?

        Differences over politics might be over some judgement of the best policy or candidate otherwise within a proper common framework, or -- more likely today -- a fundamental difference in morality.

        As for Jefferson, he mistakenly believed that the slaves were inherently inferior and incapable of taking care of themselves. He overlooked the reasons why they were in the state he observed, incorrectly inferring a lack of capacity. Later in his life he saw results of education and changed his mind. See I. Bernard Cohen's Science and the Founding Fathers. And where would he have released his slaves to in a region where they had no acknowledged rights in addition to his belief that they were incapable of living on their own? He at least could treat them very well as a kind of protection, which he did.

        He had been mistaken, but it was an understandable error in the circumstances, the opposite of those who consciously want to enslave other human beings knowing fully well what they are (like the statists today), and the opposite of the accusations against him today as being a hypocrite.
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        • Posted by Maritimus 4 years, 5 months ago
          Hello, ewv,
          I think that the error which you point out: failing to recognize the levels of knowledge and general understanding between now and the past is quite common. It is akin, in my mind, to blaming Aristoteles for not knowing nuclear physics, when his greatness is more evident BECAUSE he did not know nuclear physics.
          Best.
          Maritimus
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
          Correction: the account of seeing the results of education demonstrating that blacks had the same mental capacities is about Franklin in the 1760s, not Jefferson. The equivalent for Jefferson was his discovery of a self-educated free black astronomer and mathematician in Maryland. He immediately took up the man's personal cause and used it in his own advocacy of equality.
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        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
          I think you are letting Jefferson off the hook somewhat. He had no problem having sex and children with one or more of them. He could have officially freed them, and offered them the pay that a "free man" would get, and the ability to work at his plantation and be "protected". But he wanted the cheap labor.
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          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
            Jefferson spoke for himself. There is no evidence that he enslaved people because he "wanted cheap labor". That is a Marxist smear.
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            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
              We will never really know. But after a trip to Monticello it was pretty evident 1) he had hundreds of slaves freed only upon his death 2) other plantation owners were known to voluntarily free their slaves but Jefferson didn't 3) Jefferson was land rich but otherwise relatively poor 4) his whole plantation life was heavily dependent on manual labor to raise the food and run the plantation. Those factors lead me to the conclusion that he needed and therefore took advantage of slavery
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                We know what he said about slavery and tried to do about it. Only Rationalism leads to a "conclusion" that he "needed and therefore took advantage of slavery".
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                • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                  Well, he DID take advantage of slavery by NOT freeing his slaves when he COULD have. He chose to keep his plantation going on slave labor. Those are facts, no some conclusion reached by "rationalism" (whatever that is) .

                  It was a long time ago, but the point is that our "founding fathers" were not the great people that we are taught they were. They were good thinkers and talkers, but when it came to acting as they preached, things were different.

                  The history of the USA is like that too. Its not the pristine country that we were taught. There was the routing of the Indians, the civil war itself, the pursuing of the mormons, and a LOT of more modern travesties both domestic and international.
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                  • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                    You know nothing about Jefferson or the people who lived on his plantation or why either did what they did. You know nothing about any desire or ability of the people living there to leave or Jefferson allegedly refusing. You know nothing about what he did to try to free slaves and abolish the institution.

                    The leftist fads you echo attack Jefferson in Marxist terms for "needing" slavery for "economics" and undermine the founders of this country in every way they can. The best of the founders of this country, including Jefferson, achieved greatness because of what they did and thought in the time they lived in. It didn't come from being "good talker" hypocrites. But you would have to learn something about the history to know that, not follow leftist revisionist publicists.

                    "Rationalism", at your level of understanding in contrast to the philosophical roots and meaning, means verbal manipulations in the name of logic while equivocating on and ignoring the meaning of words in relation to facts of reality. It is how you string together arguments to dramatically reach such outlandish conclusions at odds with the facts of history and what historical figures said they believed and why they did what they did.
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                    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                      Actually, I spend a whole day at Monticello museum set up in honor of Jefferson. Lots of information there to be had. You might want to actually go there and see for yourself before you make a further ass out of yourself by claiming I am a Marxist !!. The information is all there to be had, and backed up by a lot of history contained right there in that museum.

                      It has little to do with Marxism. Jefferson was a very practical man, in addition to being a politician and knowing what he could get others to agree to.

                      Its in Charlottesville VA, if you care to go there. Its worth the few bucks admission.
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                      • Posted by Enyway 4 years, 5 months ago
                        If you're really interested in Jefferson you could listen to the Thomas Jefferson Hour on your local PBR station or go to http://jeffersonhour.org You can download any of the shows from Itunes for free. Clay Jenkinson portrays our third president and answers calls from listeners the way Jefferson would answer. Skeptical? Listen to one; you may be surprised.
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                        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                          I might just do that. I had an extra day in Charlottesville when I was visiting my prostate cancer doc, and visiting Monticello is about all there is to do there.... It turned out to be very interesting.
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                          • Posted by Enyway 4 years, 5 months ago
                            If you thought monticello was interesting, then you should love the Thomas Jefferson Hour. I suggest going first to Itunes to see a list of podcasts with the main topic for a heading. Pick the topic on which you would like Jefferson's opinion.
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                      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                        term2: "I spend a whole day at Monticello museum set up in honor of Jefferson. Lots of information there to be had. You might want to actually go there and see for yourself before you make a further ass out of yourself by claiming I am a Marxist !!. The information is all there to be had, and backed up by a lot of history contained right there in that museum."

                        Your day trip seems to have left out the facts you have been ignoring and don't address after they are given to you. If you don't want to be a Marxist then stop echoing Marxist slogans attributed as motives to people you do not understand. If you want to discuss this further then drop your sarcasm and name-calling. Reading about Jefferson instead of taking a day trip does not make one an "ass".
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                        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                          Its not that important, and it was 200+ years ago anyway. My point was that the beginnings of this country were not as pristine and consistent as one might have thought. It was great and it was flawed, as most things are. What I took from the Montiicello visit was that the founding fathers most important thing was to get away from the rule of England and the church of England and the King of England and try to keep from making the same mistakes as the english did in running the US. It was a very difficult goal, and they got farther than anyone else in history.
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                          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                            The founding fathers sought a proper government in principle to protect the rights of the individual. England was certainly on their minds as the latest example of what not to do, but they had positive principled goals far beyond that.

                            You don't have to read much to see that the whole process deteriorated. See Arthur Erkirch's The Decline of American Liberalism in particular. I remember the deterioration jumping out at me, though without the understanding I have now, in high school history where it all seemed to go down hill after the Battle of Lexington and Concord, with none of the history living up to the ideal we had been lead to expect. I kept waiting for the good part but it never came. Ayn Rand explained why and what is required to get back on the right track.
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                            • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                              I agree actually. Perhaps it was that to reach the consensus needed to start a new country, the biggest unifying issue was just independence from England- leaving the lofty goals of individual freedom as secondary
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                              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                                The fundamental unifying issue was freedom of the individual. It came with their Enlightenment background and they didn't have to argue about it. The Declaration called it self-evident. That is why most of the debate was about how to keep the government under control. When they were doing that that they were already independent of England.
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                                • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
                                  I think there was a very substantial hatred of England and a desire to never let them take over the government again. Hence things like the second amendment to protect the citizens FROM another oppressive government. Religious freedom as a big deal too, although not for the Mormons. It looked to me like they wanted to get rid of the Church of England's oppressive control primarily. But not every other religion was OK. There was a very big desire to take over land, at the expense of the very rights that were mentioned in the Constitution.

                                  There wasnt a distinct protection of private property in the constitution, as far as I can see. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (whatever that is?) seems to be the main points.

                                  The lack of specific private property in the list of what is to be protected seems to have led us to many wealth transfer programs of our government over the years. Too bad too.

                                  Later, when the south wanted to secede from the union, that could not be allowed in order to "protect" the union by force and killing.

                                  My point is that the history of the USA is not as pristine as portrayed. There were some great things that came out of disgust with the English rule and a desire to be free that have done us all very well for the last 200+ years. There is a basic respect for humanity that didnt exist before that, and I applaud that.

                                  But we should accept that there were contradictions in our history that should be accepted. They were there and wont go away.
                                  There was slavery, persecution of the indigenous indian population, dubious wars with Mexico, the running off of the Mormons, not to mention in modern times the many "wars" that the US has been engaged in- both international and domestic. Most all of which are unconstitutional, and/or are not purely defensive in nature.

                                  Thats why I mentioned that I was disappointed in Johnson's less than consistent application of libertarian principles. I dont expect Trump or Hillary to come anywhere close to that, but Johnson was going to be our hope for a return to individual rights. I can understand why he caved on a number of things, however. He would get NO traction in todays culture if he were consistent. Look what happened to Ron Paul or even Ted Cruz.

                                  I think Johnson, or his successor, should BE consistent on principles, but NOT run for president at the same time in some sort of popularity contest like its become. However, he should slowly and consistently be a voice for individual rights over a period of years before he would attempt to mount a campaign. The people must be ready, and they are certainly NOT at this point.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      Perhaps Objectivists should be more Jeffersonian. What do you think?
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      • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
        Some of us are and are willing to bring others into the fold in their own time. Others are less patient. The problem arises when one feels as if their patience is wasted and they are communicating with a troll or an implacable person of a philosophic belief anathema to Objectivism, like Berkely's Idealism, or Marxism. Those that will not accept metaphysical facts, their own senses, that existence exists- that A is A, even after many civil attempts to reason with them, pose a danger to themselves and others. Some see this as a threat and an attack on the mind. The age of enlightenment is being dismantled and this brings fear that we are returning to dark times. Today's political divisions/factions and the associated vitriol feed this narrative and resulting emotions. Many rightly see the invasive nature of these philosophies as corrosive to the founding principles of our nation and the demise of same.

        I guess it depends upon your estimation of the threat and whether one feels our course is rectifiable, or if it is too late. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? I keep trying, so I must be more optimistic than some. :)
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        • Posted by IndianaGary 4 years, 5 months ago
          Sometimes that sense of optimism is wasted on a lost cause. I recently divested myself of a so-called "friend" after over a year of trying to interact with him. Of course, politics came up: he is a a socialist but doesn't believe in labels. He had such a toxic personality that I finally had to say goodbye. We met because we both love cats, but that was about all we had in common. His poison rhetoric, eternal pessimism, and looter mentality made friendship impossible. Sometimes what you see is really all that there is. Life is too short to waste time on such people.
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          • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
            Hello
            IndianaGary,
            I will pose the same question as I did for term2. Were they ever really your friend?
            And again: "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." - Ayn Rand
            Sometimes it is best to move on. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes time to discover the truth. Once one faces the reality and moves on, life can be so much better. :)
            Regards,
            O.A.
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            • Posted by IndianaGary 4 years, 5 months ago
              Yes, I agree. There are many who prey on others who purport to be friends but are not. The person I referenced was never a friend. And, I have moved on, although it does rankle a bit that I was taken in; but not for long.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 4 years, 5 months ago
    If they are good kind people, okay. Over a period of six months of political discussions, I have been able to supple a friend with enough facts, that he has now said he cannot vote for Hillary. However, one lady friend I had to cut ties with was not open to discussion, was a college grad dumber than a box of rocks. This was during Obama's election. She said it was time for the "benevolent dictator". I told her there was no such thing, she would not believe the Federal Reserve was a private, not government, agency, and it was just one thing after another. she was in a shell and wanted to stay there. Sadly, such people vote, and have the ability to radically transform our rights and financial security, wile remaining ignorant of the truths. Some people enjoy a rousing discussion, an exchange of information, others want to hide under some rock and not do the work of being a free person.
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  • Posted by tdechaine 4 years, 5 months ago
    I have found over many years that it is worth being reasonably selective re friends (not mere acquaintances). If you are self-confident and rationally selfish, you should not need many friends, and certainly not those who fundamentally disagree with you. However, they don't have to be Objectivists: they just need to be compatible with enough areas in your life to make the friendship meaningful.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
      With friends, its all about what you get out of the relationship with them, and what they get out of the relationship with you. The problem with intellectually conflicted friends is that you never know how they will react to unusual situations. Maybe they are ok with you now, but what if you decide to dabble in bisexuality for example- they may turn on you.
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  • Posted by khalling 4 years, 5 months ago
    "given much I have seen in the Gulch" sorry, but this is vague. Can you be more specific?
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      Personal attacks and tirades by participants.
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      • Posted by khalling 4 years, 5 months ago
        you are somewhat anti-Rand. this site is supposed to be a place to explore Objectivism, not tear it apart.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
          You conclusion is in error. I am not anti-Rand, I am objective about Rand. When she says things I believe are correct, I say so. When she does not, I also say so. She said many things well, and she said many things that are 100% in error. Fortunately, she did more of the former than the latter or I would not call myself an Objectivist. In "a place to explore Objectivism" errors must also be pointed out, or else you have dogma --- as I see at ARI. There are benefits and dangers in Objectivism, both of which I have witnessed, enjoyed and suffered from.
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          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
            The nihilistic anti-Ayn Rand polemicist Michael Shermer is not a credible source of "objectivity" and neither are Esceptico's own subjectivist personal accusations and misrepresentations.
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            • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
              If one exposes there is arsenic in Kool Aid, it does not mean the person is against Kool Aid. The same is true with regard to any other subject, including Rand and Objectivism.

              To attack me and Shermer as you do here, is to commit most of the fallacies David Kelley lists in his book “Art of Reasoning.” As Kelley explains: “An ad hominem argument rejects or dismisses another person’s statement by attacking the person rather than the statement itself. As we will see, there are many different forms of this fallacy, but all of them involve some attempt to avoid dealing with a statement logically, and in each case the method is to attempt to discredit the speaker by citing some negative trait. An ad hominem argument has the form:

              (X says p) + (X has some negative trait)
              Therefore
              p is false

              “This is a fallacy because the truth or falsity of the statement itself, or the strength of an argument for it, has nothing to do with the character, motives, or any other trait of the person who makes the statement or argument.
              This principle is true even when we are concerned with testimonial evidence, but we have to keep a certain distinction in mind. If someone defends a position by citing an authority, as we have seen, then it is legitimate to consider evidence regarding the authority's competence and objectivity. In a trial where the jury is asked to accept the testimony of a witness, it is certainly legitimate for the opposing side to introduce evidence that the witness is dishonest or biased. But discrediting witnesses or authorities does not provide evidence that what they say is actually false; it merely eliminates any reason for thinking that, what they say is true. So we go back to square one: we are left with no evidence one way or the other. In other contexts, where there is no issue of relying on authorities, the use of discrediting evidence about the person is always fallacious. If someone offers an argument for his position, then it doesn't matter how rotten or stupid lie is. We have to evaluate the argument on its merits.

              “In its crudest form, the ad hominem fallacy involves nothing more than insults calling one's opponent an idiot, slob, lowlife, airhead, fascist, pinko, nerd, fairy, bleeding heart, wimp, Neanderthal, and so on through the rich vocabulary of abuse our language offers. Unlike the other fallacies, moreover, this one is committed fairly often in its crude form. In personal disputes, disagreement often breeds anger, and angry people hit below the belt. In politics, ad hominem arguments are a common technique of propaganda and a common device of politicians who try to enlist support by attacking their enemies. But the fallacy can also take more sophisticated forms. Let's look at a few.”

              I categorize your words in the “crudest form” designation.
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                Esceptico has a record of personally smearing Ayn Rand and others here with the most strained rationalizations and outrageous misrepresentations. He appeals to nihilist rationalistic polemics like Michael Shermer's and the Branden's feuding, invents motives for people he knows nothing about, attacks people with sweeping nastiness and personal insults, and misrepresents Ayn Rand and her ideas. When called on it he tries to peddle it all as "objective", along with disconnected pretentious lectures on "logic" from which he claims to arrive, with dramatic pronouncements at the end of the rationalism, at such venomous nonsense as "I categorize your words in the 'crudest form' designation." When rejected for the nonsense this is, he accuses others of "ad hominem arguments". He has a record. It's a pattern of rationalistic nastiness and dramatic pronouncements posturing as objectivity.
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                • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
                  To smear is damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations; slander. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/.... I have never done that and you cannot point to one time that I did. I do thank you for confirming my conclusion when I categorized your words in the “crudest form” designation described by Kelley.
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                  • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                    Please take your personal hostility and dramatically pronounced insults somewhere else. This isn't the place for it. You have in fact misrepresented and smeared Ayn Rand and others here repeatedly in your obsessive negativity and hostility.
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                    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
                      I have asked you to point out where I did that. But all I get from you are more nasty comments. I do not take this personally in as much as I see you are also unpleasant with others in the Gulch.

                      Once the forms of civility are violated by discussion participants resorting to name-calling there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency. Your ad hominem attacks upon me are impolite, but consistent with the attacks I have received on this post. I suggest you learn to wag more and bark less.
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                      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                        Esceptico did not ask anything. He made more false assertions. He has been called on this before and responds with more vacuous personal attacks. He has a record, like gratuitously calling Leonard Peikoff a "lap dog", denouncing Ayn Rand for "evasion" for not writing about an irrelevant topic he would prefer, and much more. Reject his overt hostility and he thinks he has answered by calling the rejection an "ad hominem". He has no kindness and decency to return to. His repeated hostility is nothing to "wag" about and anyone can read his posts to see it.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 4 years, 5 months ago
    if objectivism drives a friend away, so be it. -- j
    .
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      Certainly Rand did drove a lot of people away. Which is not generally a good technique to grow the philosophy.
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      • Posted by johnpe1 4 years, 5 months ago
        I try to be considerate and gentle, like the way I work
        with people here in the gulch ... but the core of my life
        is stuck on AR and her view of rationality. . can't help it;;;
        she "got me" when I was 15. -- j
        .
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        • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
          “the core of my life is stuck on AR and her view of rationality. . can't help it” Sounds like the “I was just brought up to believe in X” fallacy David Kelley discusses in his book “The Art of Reasoning.” Am I wrong?
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          • Posted by johnpe1 4 years, 5 months ago
            I adopted her view of life back then and have found
            no reason to leave. . I test my anchoring regularly
            and have added branches which she did not envision,
            yet I am still there. . it's only natural for a human bean. -- j
            .
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  • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 5 months ago
    Really, you still be friends with Hillary Clinton or Stalin or someone who knowingly supports killing off 95% of the human race? Or it it that you would have never been friends with them in the first place?
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  • Posted by galentol 4 years, 5 months ago
    I would find it difficult to maintain a friendship with one whose irrational views are contrary and inimical to my own. For instance, I could in no way respect a person sold on Obamacare or one OK with open borders whereby our national security may be threatened by unvetted entrants, viz., terrorists. And am definitely not OK with Muslims, as some purportedly maintain, insisting that shariac (sic) dictums supersede our traditional values, however broad their presence may be or how limited their scope. And how about those that have no problems whatsoever with people subsisting solely on welfare having the right to vote? What about the concept of welfare itself? No skin in the game whatsoever, just reaching into your pocket book and voting in droves for even more largesse, one generation after another. Is this what Ayn Rand and our founding fathers had in mind?
    On the other hand, I have no problem maintaining friendship with one at sea regarding objective truth—some are at least willing to listen and ultimately may come around to a rational viewpoint after earnest, patient and persevering discourse. But the Tooheyites and their camp followers? Shun them.
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  • Posted by $ prof611 4 years, 5 months ago
    OK. I have read all the comments so far, and nobody has really defined the word "friend". Come on ... this forum is a place where we expect logical thinking. How can you discuss a word without previously having defined it?
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
    Interesting. As I've become more apolitical I have grown stronger in my core beliefs. This has tainted a couple of my relationships and ended one. We all have our line in the sand. Mine happen to coincide with Objectivism.

    Objectivists (including myself) can, and do often, fall into a couple traps. We can behave as though we must win an argument no matter what. This mistake plagues people of all beliefs. The second trap is when we confuse some neo-con position as Objectivist, in conflict with Objectivism. I've observed these plenty. It can gum up a forum like this one. But, I think this is a pretty good place...
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
      Harry Browne has it right- concentrate on yourself and let others be as they want to be and dont waste time trying to "change" them. It will just wear you down and probably not have much effect on them anyway.
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      • Posted by khalling 4 years, 5 months ago
        although the forum goals are to promote the ideas of AR and Objectivism, it's just accepting newcomers. That is why you see lots of conservtive posting and criticism of conservatism. It is by far the best site to bring these like minds together. IMO. and I am always right. :)
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 5 months ago
      I have to wonder how it's being applied. All it is is a system of evaluating the worth of something. If i worry about losing friends over that it was a pretty poor friendship to begin with and perhaps those who have trouble with it should go study objectivism again. The false premise would seem to be with one's evaluation of one's own self vis a vis the value of friendship versus one's own principles. So far I have had no trouble walking away .
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  • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 5 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Do you have any references for that statement? Since white people had been imprisoned or otherwise punished for crimes long before the Civil War, it makes no sense that people of that time would have confused imprisonment or other criminal punishment with slavery.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
      Yes it makes no sense that they would have confused slavery with punishment for crimes so they made it clear in the amendment that it wasn't about banning punishment for crimes and that banning "involuntary servitude" as slavery could not be used for that. The history of why the amendment was passed is well known.
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I have been reading lately about great advances in robot technology including some robots that can observe and learn on their own- like human babies do.

    You might find https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8Yjv... interesting to see how far robotics has gotten already.

    The articles I have been reading in WIRED magazine and TECHNOLOGY REVIEW are starting to talk about the neural network designs that autonomously learn on their own. There is even some discussion about how that could be a bad thing, in that the robot can turn into something that wasnt desired at all- all by itself.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
      Robots do not observe or autonomously learn on their own. They are programmed to react to signals from sensors. Neural nets are "trained", not autonomous.
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      • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 4 years, 5 months ago
        The word "autonomously" is rather hazy here. If by it you mean they spontaneously started learning without human input, no they didn't. However they can continue to do so without further guidance.

        To a degree we are "programmed to react to signals from sensors".

        It's relatively easy to get a computer algorithm so complex that it does things that surprise the programmer.
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
          Robots do not choose on their own, i.e., with our volitional capacity. They do only what they are programmed to do, including "learning". They don't have their own motives or purpose. Their "continuing to learn" means following programmed instructions on how to continue modifying their own internal state defining what limited discrete decisions are made in accordance with the program.

          Functioning of a program that surprises its programmer is a common "bug" :-( A program that modifies its own instructions can go haywire but at 'random', not evolving into purposeful conscious creatures. No one knows what it would take to make an artificial human, let alone how to program it, or build something that could stumble onto it on its own. Robots doing that on their own from today's limited technology is science fiction.
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          • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 4 years, 5 months ago
            An accounting program that surprises you is definitely a bug. A chess playing program is not -- at least unless it's a bad mistake. While the idea of computers being programmed for specific algorithms is the essence of programming, when you move into the realm of heuristic programming you no longer as saying if this than that -- at least at the level that you can predict the final outcome.

            I guess the issue depends on how you view man's reason. If it is the product of our nervous system and the mechanisms that it entails, it is inevitable that we will be able to develop hardware and software to duplicate the functionality. Only if we move into mysticism and says that the mind exists outside of the biological construct is it possible that we will never succeed for lack of being able to create a soul.

            I believe we are mechanistic.

            I would argue that if a robot were to be constructed in such a manner that you would be unable to distinguish it from another human (the Turing Test), then it is performing the same function and has the same capability. Of course the volitional capacity of humans has been a subject of much debate.
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
              A heuristic program is a deterministic program in which criteria uncertain with respect to the application are employed for the deterministic program decisions. It does not change the nature of the program itself to be something other than deterministic.

              AI does not depend on "how you view man's reason". Man's reason is what it is and so is the nature of programming. Neither changes in accordance with a "view". That the nervous system is part of how the brain works is well known. No one has explained how it results in and works in conjunction with what we know as the axiomatic fact of consciousness. That has nothing to do with mysticism and alleged souls. Mechanistic versus mystic is a false alternative.

              The philosophical materialist claim that all phenomena of life, including consciousness, can be accounted for by reductionism from the physics of the inanimate, let alone the mechanistic, is a fallacy with no grounding in science or logic. A science, including biology, is determined by the nature of its subject matter, not what anyone decides to believe what mechanistic physics must be able to do, without regard for the nature and role of consciousness, which physics does not study or explain.

              For a full discussion of the fallacy of reductionism in biology see Robert Efron's "Biology without Consciousness" in The Objectivist Vol 7, nos 2-4, Feb-May, 1968, reprinted from Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol II, No. 1, Autumn 1967, pp 9-36.

              The Turing test is a fallacy based in Logical Positivism. That someone can or cannot distinguish effects of a human versus a machine says nothing about the nature of either or what else it can or will do, and explains nothing.
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              • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 4 years, 5 months ago
                A complex heuristic algorithm may be theoretically deterministic but require so much analysis that practically speaking only no human can determine what it will do. Once you start interacting with the world then you come up against the fact that sensors are physical objects with precision errors which introduce randomness. Given a known signal (if you could exactly reproduce one) you still have a variety of readings you could get based on the precision of the sensor. With the input into the algorithm changed, even slightly, the result of complex calculations will result in different choices and you no longer have a deterministic system unless you specify the inputs to higher precision than is possible.

                As I suggested, whether humans are deterministic or not has long been a debatable issue. Whether our "free will" is real or an illusion is a long-standing argument.

                As you say, no one has explained how consciousness works, but that does not mean that it is not an algorithm running in "the background". While I am typing this message, my PC is currently running 113 processes.

                As to the Turing Test, if A is not distinguishable from B, then aren't they the same?
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                  A heuristic algorithm is not more inherently complex than any other algorithm and precision of sensors does not make algorithms random. A method is either stable or it isn't.

                  There is no credible argument against free will. Denying it is contradictory.

                  Biological reductionism is a fallacy for the reasons cited. The number of processes running on your pc is irrelevant.

                  The Touring test does not say that A and B are not distinguishable. It redefines distinguishable to be limited observation with no understanding, misapplied to declare whether or not the source is human.

                  You don't seem to understand much about either the theory of computers and programming or philosophy, in particular Objectivism. All of this has been answered long before now.
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                  • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 4 years, 5 months ago
                    The introduction of randomness into an algorithm is a long standing way of making a method non-deterministic. Most artificial random number generators don't really break determinism, just make the result virtually impossible for a human to determine, although the choice of a seed, if hardware based can break that. The precision of sensors necessary to deal with the real world does introduce that randomness. Run it over and over again and you will get different answers.

                    I have been programming computers for over 45 years and have personally written well over a million lines of code. I can tell you from personal experience that it's relatively easy to write a chess playing algorithm that requires you to stop trying to "determine" what the program is going to do and start playing chess.

                    I admit to not being an expert in Objectivism.

                    As to biological reductionism and free will we are moving into the realm of faith. Since we do not understand the nature of consciousness, we cannot definitively determine whether it is mechanistic.

                    We also seem to be moving into the area of "Jane, you ignorant slut", so perhaps we are done.
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                    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
                      A stable algorithm is a mathematical concept that means small changes in input do not cause large changes in output. It does not become random or pseudo random. Most algorithms, including algorithms for heuristics, do not use seeds for pseudo random effects. A heuristic algorithm is uncertain with respect to the application; it is not non-deterministic or inherently pseudo random or more complex. Counting lines of code written is not the principles and concepts of computer and programming theory.

                      The arbitrary claim of biological reductionism was yours. Mechanistic versus mysticism is a false alternative. That you are conscious and your consciousness has a nature subject to scientific study is not mysticism. Belief in explaining life, including consciousness, as mechanistic is faith, not science.

                      You don't have to be an "expert in Objectivism" to avoid basic fallacies. Basic understanding of Objectivism is not too much to suggest on an Ayn Rand forum. The "ignorant slut" "we are done" platitudes are your own.
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      • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
        Autonomy is coming to robots. Thats one fear the designers have. At some point the robots may be making their own decisions based on their experiences in "growing up"
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
          Robots are not conscious beings who think and conspire. The danger of an out of control robot is the same as any other out of control machine. Keep the off switch nearby.
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          • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
            Or out of control human. The cops have the off switch for them.

            Why do you think an android cannot exist with the same self awareness as a biological human. It's not that far off actually
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago
              If you're asking if an artificial human can ever be created, no one knows. There is too much still unknown about how we work. We do know that today's programmed machines and "artificial intelligence" are nothing like man the rational animal, and that there is no evidence that it is anything but far off. There are still more than enough problems getting AI to do what it is being sold as even in limited functions.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 5 months ago
    Also, there are family members, whom it would be
    just as well not to cut off.--In some cases, there
    are just persons with whom you cannot discuss
    certain things.

    I had a good friend (now deceased) with whom I worked in a restaurant commissary. She
    was black, but she never showed any prejudice
    against me for being white (unlike some other
    people there). But, in a friendly way, she once
    told me that she always preferred to vote for the
    liberal Democrat. Well, I quietly told her wherein
    I disagreed. We didn't get nasty with each other.
    Later she "retired" (somewhat; she still occas-
    ionally returned to work); later, I left, due to un-
    fortunately believing another employer would
    hire me (had been given a starting date, but they
    still backed out after I had given notice and been
    replace, on grounds of my seizure disorder, though the fact had been on my job application
    and I had even pointed it out); I still called her
    on the phone sometimes and sometimes went
    to see her. But she eventually had a heart attack; at least I think so; it was sudden. And I
    went to see her lying in state.
    But sometimes you can have a friend by
    appreciating the good things about the person,
    and who says he has to be perfect?
    Also, the standards for a friend may be dif-
    ferent than the standards for a spouse.
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  • Posted by rbroberg 4 years, 5 months ago
    Interesting post. When I was subscribing to an online dating service, a woman's profile indicated that Trump supporters need not apply. At the same time, I have seen families argue over Trump versus Hillary and remain in good standing with each other. Argument can augment relationships at least as much as it hinders them.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 5 months ago
    I am willing to continue friendship with people I disagree with, even wildly, if they have a compelling basis for their beliefs that I have not presented adequate evidence to reverse. If they are logical, thoughtful and open-minded, they are redeemable...generally. However, the dumb ones, simply steeped in political-religion are not valuable. When identified, these can be politely dispensed with or ignored.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 5 months ago
    Friendships in my case, fall into 3 categories. There are those I can argue with and we'll still be friends and in some cases have love for one another, there those who, for the most part agree with me, and there are those who get happy just to argue. Those who get angry with me are generally not my friends.I have lots of east coast lib cousins. Some of them refuse to answer my emails and have cut me off. Not friends. There are some who argue unsuccessfully but remain friends and even close. I will never lose friendships over Objectivism, but through their actions may lose me.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 5 months ago
    A friend is someone who considers the relationship more important than the politics or viewpoint. They aren't friends if they allow their opinions to control their relationships.
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    • Posted by IndianaGary 4 years, 5 months ago
      But "relationships" are NOT more important than principles. Suborn your principles often enough and you won't have any left.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 5 months ago
        True. Your assumption is however that in order for friendship to exist that all principles must coincide. I disagree. Friendship and bonding form because of similarities, but they do not necessitate perfect imitation. The second inference you present is that in order to be friends you must agree on things. I'm still friends with my brothers, but we disagree on a LOT. One of my brothers is very much an advocate of social welfare policies. We have pretty serious discussions about that from time-to-time. It doesn't make me disown him, however. And it doesn't mean that either one of us suborn our principles. I simply advocate patience in the hopes that he will eventually come around. That's what a friend will do - they will tolerate your failings and disagreements because the relationship (the other similarities you share) are important enough that some dissimilarities can still exist.
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        • Posted by IndianaGary 4 years, 5 months ago
          There is a difference between seeking similarities and agreeing on basic principles. Patience is a virtue but has a "best if used by" date. In your example, should your brother who advocates social welfare remain obstinate regardless of rational arguments against such policies, there would be a limit to my willingness to continue beating my head against the wall. Love, friendship, and respect must all be earned.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 5 months ago
            "there would be a limit to my willingness to continue"

            But there again you are allowing a single policy issue to overshadow everything else you have done with that person. In my case: family reunions, personal events, and much more. This is precisely the crux of the article: are you going to allow policy differences to prevent you from forming or maintaining personal relationships with others?

            "Love, friendship, and respect must all be earned."

            Respect, yes. The others? No. Friendship is mutually developed through common goals, interests, and achievements. Love exists regardless of merit. Infants have done nothing to merit the affection they so readily attract, yet you will find few as protective and loving as a mother for her child!

            What is interesting to me is that love is actually a terribly confusing word in the English language. The Greeks have it proper because they separate love into three separate elements (and I wish I knew how to actually get the Greek characters in here): eros - romantic/physical love, filia - friendly love, and agape - selfless love. So friendship is a form of love. If your definition of friendship is constrained by analogy to business transactions, you are missing out on the true definition of friendship. I would even dare say friendship dabbles in what some may call altruism.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
      But, how is that done really. If they are really into socialism, how can they be a "friend" to you when they are willing to have the government reach into your pocket and take whats yours?
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      • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 5 months ago
        I would ask what else they are willing to do for you. Is this someone where if an emergency came up you'd be able to call on them for help? Is this someone who you could ask to mow your lawn when you take a week off for vacation? Is this someone who you invite over to your house to watch a football game?

        Friendship is more than agreement on politics. To be a friend, one must invest in the relationship one has with another. In that investment, will there eventually be a harmonization on major philosophical matters? Indubitably. But this is a process - not an instantaneous event.
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        • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
          I will agree, it doesnt happen instantaneously. People are complex and are usually intellectually compromised in many ways. So it takes awhile to figure out what they really think, and how important it is to the relationship
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 5 months ago
    I don't think I know it's not worth the effort. except to make me take a second hard objective look at my friends and wonder what I saw in them.
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  • Posted by ewv 4 years, 5 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Every normal human being is capable of using his rational mind. Degree of intelligence is not the issue. The culture we see around us is the result of the spread of wrong ideas, not inherent incapability of rational thought. There is no excuse for slavery as some kind of determined inherited mental trait.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 6 months ago
    "One of the great tragedies of politics is that it can take people who in real life would be peaceful and loyal and loving friends and turn them into bitter enemies."
    There's an industry of people who do this for a living. They can take something as mundane as needing a different set of rules for things in the countryside vs a dense urban center and some of those people hating one another.

    "with the alt-right and alt-left (who oddly agree on so much) battling it out on social media."
    I won't be surprised if they join forces within the next decade-- a coaltion of Trump and Sanders volters who want gov't to fix the problems with America.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 5 months ago
      As Francisco says in AS- "Its a war and we must take sides". Doesnt mean we need to fight any and all battles. Just the ones that are important and we can win.
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      • -1
        Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
        One of Francisco's errors, he committed the Fallacy of the False Alternative. The old "you're either with us, or against us" rally to arms. I think it is an error to try to interpret clear statements in AS or the bible. They are what they are, and in AS this was an error.
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        • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 5 months ago
          I did a search of AS and do not see he made any such statement and I do not remember Francisco making such a statement. Please quote the statement you are referring to and the location in kindle format if possible
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          • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
            I assumed ;the truth of the quotation when I made my post. Good lesson for me: always check first to see if the quotation exists and is accurate. I figured no Objectivist would say Francisco said something Francisco did not say. I just did a search for "we must take sides" in AS and did not find anything.
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