WHAT IN HELL IS WRONG WITH LIBERTARIANISM?

Posted by WDonway 2 months, 1 week ago to Philosophy
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Libertarianism can be based on experience as conservatives do. I do not doubt that if people could observe a libertarian/capitalist regime in practice and compare it with monarchism, socialism, syndicalism, etc., many would see the enormous benefits of freedom and choose Libertarianism. In making arguments for liberty, John Stuart Mill, of course, focused on practical (utilitarianism) arguments that it produced the greatest good for the greatest number and I believe that a libertarian-capitalist regime does that. But one question is: how does a full, working libertarian regime come into existence in the first place? How does on advocate it before it exists and we have experience of its benefits? Also, how to defend it since there always will be intellectuals prepared to argue that there are benefits higher than freedom: for example, eternal salvation of the soul, living a virtuous life, preventing ugly excesses that liberty permits. When Irving Kristol went from communist to capitalist, he wrote "Two Cheers for Capitalism" and, also, an essay, "When Virtue Loses All Her Loveliness." Capitalism worked but it was esthetically hard to take. And then, how to defend liberty against being gnawed away by constant compromises? Sure, liberals would say, today, we need to be free and we love the benefits of "the market," but you can have those and still have a robust welfare state. And you can keep having more intervention while the market is working--until suddenly the market not longer does not "work," liberty is gone, and even advocating it may come under censorship. It is only philosophy, fundamental principles about man's nature, the nature and role of reason that operates volitionally, the connection between reason and innovation and survival that enable one to argue in principle that encroachments on liberty may appear at first to be harmless but in principle you are headed in a wrong and disastrous direction. And Ayn Rand showed us, brilliantly and in detail, because defenders of capitalism could not make a philosophical case against altruism, a Christian society in the end would not tolerate the selfishness that capitalism involved. And the Christians who supported capitalism tried every possible argument from results of capitalism--and kept losing and losing, as we know. So an ethics of selfishness must be defended because capitalism indeed is the politics of pursuit of one's own happiness. And that ethic of selfishness cannot be defended without reference to man's nature, the nature and role of values, and the connection between freedom of judgment and action and achievement of ones highest value: maintaining and fulfilling ones own life. Which only consistent freedom makes possible.
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  • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 months, 1 week ago
    They say that Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $140 billion, although he may have to split it. When the subject of selfishness comes up, the question becomes: why does he NEED $140 billion? Couldn't he live just fine with only 14 billion? I could probably get by on that!

    The reality of wealth is not that someone HAS that many assets, at some point we are not talking about how many assets you have to purchase goods and services, we are talking about what assets you control, what you can manage and invest.

    And that's the essence of capitalism. In capitalism we give control of assets to people who have demonstrated that they can protect and grow them. The idea that these assets would be better placed in the hands of people who have never run so much as a hot dog stand is ludicrous. It's wrapped up in words like "fairness" and "caring", but it's really about who will do the best job of managing assets.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months, 1 week ago
      "why does he NEED"
      I cannot stand arguments that include this unstated premise that the burden is on the person who has something to justify why someone else should not take his stuff. The burden should be on the people wanting to take.

      We hear it most commonly from people wanting to take away people's guns or drugs. "What does anyone really need with..."
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      It's much more than "managing assets". It depends on the creativity of rational thought to create wealth with new ideas, and that depends on the freedom to it in accordance with a rational philosophy of reason and individualism.
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    • Posted by chad 2 months, 1 week ago
      When someone asks why he can't live on $14 billion and give the rest away to someone else it reveals that those who pose the question have no idea of what a business is. Although he may be worth $140 billion that is mostly tied up in assets, capital fixtures etc. Take $136 billion away from him and his company ceases to exist and it would be impossible for it to function.
      A demonstration of why giving people money won't work are the people who win the lotto and become worth millions and sometimes $100 million and within a few years they are broke and working at fast food again. Instead of using the money to invest, invent, build a business they are using the money to have a good time and it runs out. People who are wealthy have an income stream, not a pile of cash they are working their way through. Giving others the money simply gives them the opportunity to get drunk until the supply they were given runs out. Then they will be looking for the next victim to plunder. This works only so long as there is someone who can be plundered, then they all die.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 months, 1 week ago
    One of Ayn Rand's arguments against libertarianism at the time was that she argued that libertarians wanted no government (i.e. anarchy). I have not seen this to be true during my lifetime. Libertarians have advocated for less government, something that I am sure AR would have been happy about. Perhaps the libertarians of AR's time were a bit too extreme for AR, but no Objectvist, nor any libertarian, nor any group of either could ever reduce the size of government down to a level that either would agree with.
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 months, 1 week ago
      I think that one of the problem is that the term "libertarian" is not nearly as well defined as "objectivism" which has a single person as the source. "Libertarians" have a wide range of beliefs, not restricted by the stated philosophy of the Libertarian party any more than the Republican platform defines the opinions of all Republicans.

      It seems to me that objectivists are a subset of libertarians. There is nothing in objectivist beliefs that I have seen that would be considered completely out of bounds of the broad definition, although there are certainly people within that broad definition who are not objectivists.

      And that's really the essence of politics and political organization. As Treebeard says in Lord of the Rings "I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side." Unless we are going to be a party of one, we have to work with people with varying visions that are sufficiently compatible with ours.

      Because in reality, and we are talking about the real world, the mass of people will use force to enforce their will. You can have constitutions and governmental protection but when the right circumstances come up there will be a New Deal and then it doesn't really matter what protections you have built and whether your philosophy gives the state the right to initiate force against you. Reality gives it the ability.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
        I think that one of the primary problems is not only the lack of definitive policy stands, but the contradicting nature of those stands in today's world. On the one hand, Libertarians are fiscally conservative and want a limited government, so the Conservatives will stand with them on those issues while the Progressives oppose them. On the other hand, however, they are also into legalization of drugs and prostitution which sits fine with the Progressives, but not so well with the Conservatives. So they are simultaneously antagonizing and courting the same people at the same time.

        To continue the Treebeard analogy, however, right now the Socialists/Progressives are waging a scorched earth policy a la Saruman and the orcs. As much as they may not want to admit it, Libertarians are either going to have to side with Conservatives in this fight or there will be nothing left.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          No one has to "side with conservatives"regardless of what they stand for, including their demands for religion in politics. Alliances can be and often are made on specific issues -- though the libertarians themselves are known for not being very effective in politics.
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      • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
        Todays Libertarian is an offshoot of Objectivism, not the other way around. Lib.ism is not a philosophy and - as you said - its followers can have very different values and often irrational ones.
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months, 1 week ago
          Today's libertarian is an offshoot of many influences, not just Rand. There were many influential libertarians and near-libertarians in America and elsewhere before Ayn Rand developed her philosophy, they just weren't known as "libertarians" at the time.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      Ayn Rand's biggest argument against a political party formed by legitimate advocates of freedom is that it was (and still is) too soon to expect a consistent individualist political reform to be accepted by the public. That can only be accomplished by first spreading the proper ideas.

      The Libertarian Party -- advertising itself as "the party of principle" -- was even at the beginning a mish-mash of conflicting ideology promoted by publicity seeking in the name of electoral politics, ranging from anarchists to religionists, mixed in with distortions of Ayn Rand.

      The anarchism was such an embarrassment that they mostly stopped talking about it, at first claiming that it was still an "ideal", then dropping that embarrassment, too. There aren't many open anarchists left, though we see a few pop up on this forum out of the fringes from time to time and the same kind of a-philosophical subjectivism still dominates. But anarchism was not the only problem with the Libertarian Party and still isn't, as illustrated by the two confused clowns that publicly led the party in its last presidential election debacle.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 months ago
        You make several excellent points above. I was particularly intrigued by the "was (and still is) too soon to expect a consistent individualist political reform to be accepted by the public." I completely agree. How will we know that a sufficient percentage of the public will be ready to accept the proper ideas? There was a high enough percentage in 18th century America and probably in 19th century America. How realistic is it to expect that any country in any era going forward will ever be ready to accept such an individualistic political reform? The most intriguing aspect of America's founding and one of the more intriguing aspects of Atlas Shrugged was the possibility that people who do not need others could establish a flourishing society based on value for value exchange without the need for others to rule them and without the looting and mooching parasites.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          I suppose the glib answer to 'how will you know?' is that you won't because when (if) that time comes it will be off the other end of your life span so you don't need to worry about it :-(

          But there isn't any single point in time when the culture is ready. As proper ideas spread more becomes possible in rolling back controls and taxes in advance of full reform. "Becomes possible" refers to receptivity in the general population; there is always resistance from the statist establishment that must be overcome politically, but that is secondary. One must assess what is possible at any point in time just like we have to today (with much less possible).

          How realistic is it to expect that any country will ever be ready to accept (fundamental) individualistic political reform? There is no way to know. People have free will so its possible for any ideas to spread. What ideas spread depends on what people who understand them do -- and don't do -- to apply them and spread them. The fringe Libertarian Party that is still a futile fringe party after half a century is an example of what not to do.

          The "intriguing aspect" you describe is the fact that a relatively free entire society did in fact exist as a consequence of the Enlightenment, showing historical evidence of what is possible on a large scale -- not just in the late 18th century but lasting for a century in America before it began to erode under Pragmatism and Progressivism. And even with that erosion much continued to be accomplished in spite of the growing collectivism and wars. The American sense of life continued despite the explicit intellectual assault of the counter-Enlightenment, but has been dying out with no defense.

          But the people of the late 18th century did not simply up and "establish" such a society in a vacuum. They had a stable free society as a consequence of the dominant ideas. It wasn't a matter of suddenly appearing, breaking out of a statist tyranny in an enclave, it evolved out of the settlements of the 16th and 17th centuries across the eastern north American continent, and to a lesser but still great extent in England, as Enlightenment understanding replaced the religious domination of those times. In other words, the rise of America was not like the 'strikers' in Atlas Shrugged who escaped to a utopia in the Valley. It was a general intellectual phenomenon across a continent and to a lesser extent western Europe..
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 months ago
            I will disagree with the last part of this to some extent. Those who came to America prior to 1910 were very much like the strikers in AS who escaped to a place that they could make into their own utopia.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months, 1 week ago
    Altruism is difficult to set aside in a philosophical argument. However, it is unnecessary. The question is not "Is there, or should there be altruism?" The question is should it be instituted in government. This is simple to defend against. All the rest of altruism is irrelevant as voluntary, and we'll find it in everyone.
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    • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
      Not quite! Altruism is an evil morality that most people do not recognize as such. But fortunately, not all people adhere to it. It is certainly NOT in me.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months, 1 week ago
        I suppose you are taking the extreme definition of Altruism, utter selflessness or the greater good first?
        I'm speaking of (perhaps not what we here call altruism), not a morality and a common emotional response to other's needs. It is just a common (normal?) thought process, probably rooted in tribalism. It is one emotional input to consider when making a logical decision.

        I am sure you are not asserting that me going over to my friends house to help him with a giant tree that fell across his driveway uncompensated is immoral.
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        • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
          Altruism is all about sacrificing for others. That is religion. It is certainly not a normal thought process; it is taught everywhere in our culture.

          You clearly misunderstand the concept. Being selfish does not mean not caring for others; it does mean not sacrificing one's values for others, and friends...are of value.
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months, 1 week ago
            This is funny. I don't see "sacrificing for others in any definition of altruism". I understand your point, and was trying to be unargumentative about my point.
            If you just want to argue, then please respond, and I'll waste some more time irritating you about your pin-hole narrow definition, that, among other things, like those of many zealots, completely fails to help convince other open minds of anything except to ignore you.
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            • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
              Looking in Oxford English Dictionary - origin:
              "Devotion to the welfare of others, regard for others, as a principle of action; opposed to egoism or selfishness."

              Opposite of being selfish is sacrifice. Rand has of course fully explained how selfishness must be interpreted. Govt. forces us to sacrifice, religion tells us the same - both in the name of altruism.

              Sorry you think an attempt to properly define terms is a boring argument to you.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months, 1 week ago
                Not an attempt to “properly” define terms. I explained what I meant, but apparently “altruism” carries too much weight to read and listen.

                I agree with what you are saying. If “altruism” can only be used as a negative, then we will have (another) political problem, because supporting the underdog is an inherent trait that the media has fallen on. We (the correct) fail to employ that trait to the world’s collective benefit. However, a massive number of clowns get to be correct at the local spelling bee.
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  Altruism means living for others, not sympathy for an underdog and helping a friend.. As long as altruism is regarded as the meaning of morality it will be enforced in politics. If you are regarded as having a moral duty to sacrifice for others, then you will be forced to do it.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                    I believe in this thread I have noted that tdechaine was right in the specific definition of altruism several times. However, we continue to argue the same point. This is doing nothing to change my mind (since I am not arguing that point), and I bet it does nothing to change the thought of an objective person. Therefore it is a complete waste, unless one are motivated by reading one's own posts.

                    Here is an example, of which there are hundreds, of a person expanding the definition of altruism to describe behaviors I noted earlier.
                    https://www.effectivealtruism.org/art...
                    And in doing so, they affect a good portion of people who consider "caring" a positive individual trait, and fail to understand the fallacy and negativity of instituting individual behavior in government.

                    You and tdechaine are welcome to be right. I am completely sick of our group being right, ignored, and sitting on the porch angry throwing rocks at kids on this forum. We need to figure out how to connect and sway people, or just wait until the next revolution when most of us will be in wheelchairs.

                    With freedom comes responsibility.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      You wrote that "I don't see 'sacrificing for others in any definition of altruism'" and called it a "pinhole definition". Living for others as the standard of the good is the meaning of the ethics of altruism.

                      You called it a "common emotional response to other's needs. It is just a common (normal?) thought process, probably rooted in tribalism. It is one emotional input to consider when making a logical decision."

                      There are no innate ideas. Emotional responses are determined by one's values. The meaning of an emotional response to others' needs depends on that. It may mean benevolence or, if altruism is accepted, a desire to sacrifice one's self. Those are two opposite meanings.

                      Altruism has always been 'package-dealed' with benevolence and kindness in order to put it over, and that has led to widespread confusion. Part of explaining and rejecting altruism requires distinguishing them, and showing why altruistic demands for sacrifice denying the worth of a human being to himself makes benevolence impossible.

                      More broadly it requires understanding the basis of ethics in the requirement to make rational choices in all aspects of one's personal life, and that the province of ethics does not begin and end with relations with other people, let alone the notion that the meaning of morality is sacrificing to others.

                      You also wrote that "Altruism is difficult to set aside in a philosophical argument. However, it is unnecessary. The question is not 'Is there, or should there be altruism?' The question is should it be instituted in government. This is simple to defend against. All the rest of altruism is irrelevant as voluntary, and we'll find it in everyone."

                      All moral theories are "voluntary" in that they state what you should choose to do. They also imply politics that says what you will do. Statism and collectivism cannot be stopped without stopping the underlying morality that is used to justify them.

                      Widespread belief -- which is not automatic in everyone -- that the good consists of sacrificing to others is not irrelevant, it is an essential cause of the problem. That belief, emphasized further with the notion of ethics as duty, is the cause of welfare statism and the more extreme collectivist ideologies. If you have a duty to serve you will be made to do it.

                      Being angry over being right and ignored -- along with whatever the throwing rocks comment meant -- does not justify conceding a major false premise. If you want to connect with and sway people in politics, addressing the moral premises for politics is a necessity.

                      That is why Ayn Rand repeatedly emphasized the need to defend reason and egoism, and rejected the notion that all that is required is political activism. There will be no reform in a society in which a duty to serve is taken for granted as a substitute for moral guidance.

                      If you wait for the 'next revolution in a wheel chair' (which you won't have because they will be rationed) it will be too late. (Maybe they'll let you have one without wheels). Without a philosophy of reason and individualism driving cultural change, the next revolution will be fought over competing versions of more extreme collectivism and statism as the implementations of the ideas already accepted -- in which you will be left in a quandary trying to decide which "side" to support, knowing that none of them are any good or will save us.

                      The vague mantra "with freedom comes responsibility" won't help either. Responsibility does not "come" with freedom, intellectual and moral responsibility are required as a base for political freedom. That means understanding and advocating the proper philosophical ideas required to defend freedom. And that requires defending rational egoism and rejecting altruism.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                        We have a mountain to climb changing people's views. Arguing that everyone should man up and climb straight to the top is likely to enlist precisely no one.
                        Arguing against what people today call compassion and common sense (not asserting they are), and attempting to replace them with individualism, when so few have the skills and balls to support individualism, is DOA.

                        There are almost twice as many people in the US as there were when we were born. There are more people without skills and a lot less gumption. People are significantly "softer. There is MASSIVE support for socialism.

                        We will not win this game in one giant killer move based on intellectual honesty and individualism. People have to be convinced that using the government to fix problems is wrong (inefficient, slow, ineffective, and/or immoral - they only need one of these reasons). This is step number one, not some Vulcan argument for logic over emotion. That must come later.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          No one said to climb straight to the top with no process required in a "giant killer move" by a "Vulcan". Spreading ideas requires work and education, one mind at a time. There is no alternative to intellectual honesty and individualism, but it takes time for ideas to be understood and to spread.

                          Without that, people embracing collectivism and statism cannot be convinced that "using the government to fix problems is wrong". No matter how often socialism fails (by rational standards), they are always ready to try another way because their moral ideals require that.

                          The country is not yet gone; there are still backlashes when the left moves too fast -- some political action holding them back is still possible -- but that does not stop the trend.
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                            I disagree. We are 2-3 votes away from eliminating the Second Amendment.

                            Our arguments need to compel simply. I do not agree at all, that people can not be convinced that government is not the solution, first. This is easy, with overwhelming evidence, unless one is a totalitarian (which virtually all politicians are, but few people support). This is where to start.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              Human life, let alone political policy, requires rational understanding, not simple slogans trying to bypass it while evading its necessity. There are no short cuts.

                              That we are progressively becoming closer to losing the bill of rights is part of the trend resulting from collectivist and altruist premises. The country is not gone yet; it is still possible to make a difference politically in some realms, but without intellectual reform such political action is only temporary, it's potential for even that is shrinking, and it does not reverse the downward trend. If that trend continues, which is likely, the bill of rights and a lot more will be gone.
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                                Asking this nation of ironic union Walmart shoppers to become intellectual to change politics is about as likely as a majority of 15 yr olds rejecting video games.

                                This is not the first step in changing the disgusting course of this ship.
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                • Posted by tdechaine 2 months ago
                  Altruism is not "used" as a negative, it IS a negative. And as EWV noted, it is certainly not supporting an underdog.
                  If you don't define terms correctly, there can be no rational conversation.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                    I believe in this thread I have noted that you are right in the specific definition of altruism several times. However, you continue to argue the same point. This is doing nothing to change my mind, and I bet it does nothing to change the thought of an objective person. Therefore it is a complete waste, unless you are motivated by reading your own posts.

                    Here is an example, of which there are hundreds, of a person expanding the definition of altruism to describe behaviors I noted earlier.
                    https://www.effectivealtruism.org/art...
                    And in doing so, they affect a good portion of people who consider "caring" a positive individual trait, and fail to understand the fallacy and negativity of instituting individual behavior in government.

                    You are welcome to be right. I am completely sick of our group being right, ignored, and sitting on the porch angry throwing rocks at kids on this forum. We need to figure out how to connect and sway people, or just wait until the next revolution when most of us will be in wheelchairs.
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                    • Posted by tdechaine 2 months ago
                      Perhaps you are being mis-read. But if you are saying you want to be able to sway people on the def. of altruism in order to better see the harm done by that morality, then we need to better explain the def. and show how altruism has been applied in our culture, not soften it and allow the true altruists to prevail.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                        I argue the key point to contest is instituting (altruism, charity, love, etc) in government. This is the trick the progressives are using against us for power, and claiming the others (us et al) are (selfish (yes, I know), hateful, and a host of negatively viewed things).

                        It is a simple argument to dispel, rather than an attempt to educate a legion on definitions they don't care about. Few argue government does not act foolishly or with bureaucratic silliness, waste, inefficiency and sloth, including progressives. However, they never talk about this when championing the underdog or defaming the successful.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          When people believe in a moral duty to serve, a duty to serve will be in government. It isn't a progressive "trick", the power seekers are cashing in on it. It is not a "simple argument to dispel"; it is cause and effect. Proper concepts and definitions have never been more important.
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                            No. People do not believe in a moral duty to serve. People believe in supporting the underdog. This is psychologically inherent in people, proven in children.

                            Getting them to understand that the government sucks at fixing this is the key.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              Almost everyone believes that morality consists of serving others and that morality as such means a duty. They believe that because it is what they have been taught to believe from cradle to grave. No one lives that way consistently because it is impossible. Consistent altruists would be dead. That does not prevent their feelings of guilt and support for welfare statism.

                              Altruism is not sympathy for the underdog, nor is it inevitable and universal. It means the standard of living for others as the criterion of moral good. The right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of one's own happiness with one's own goals was and is the opposite of altruism.

                              The intellectual establishment has been pushing altruism, collectivism and statism for over a century against the American independent sense of life. With no intellectual defense, that sense of life has been declining, and is now rapidly declining, which is why there is now an increase in acceptance of socialism on principle.

                              Everyone already knows that "government sucks at fixing". The dominant trend supports more government control despite that. The answer is not demand "voluntary altruism" while claiming altruism and capitalism are compatible. They are not and everyone knows it.
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                                NO. NO THEY DO NOT. Many people do NOT believe that the government sucks at fixing things. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Wrong.

                                This is the first thing that need to be corrected.

                                Beginning with setting aside sympathy is a dead losing argument. DEAD. Does not play.

                                I understand what you are saying. I do. However, there is no chance these stoic, paladin arguments will overcome "You just haven't been given a chance because of the corporate cheaters, rich and/or bigots. Just give me the power and I'll champion you".
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  Popular support for Congress and government is very low. People know it's a mess. They don't know that it has to be that way and why. They are always willing to try collectivist measures again and again no matter the failures because they believe it is the good. They lack an individualist, egoist ethics that used to be implicit in the American sense of life. Being implicit wasn't enough to ward off the assault by the intellectuals.

                                  The intellectual reform required is reason and egoistic individualism, not a shallow "government sucks at fixing" in an appeal to Pragmatism. Pragmatism is a destructive philosophy that has spread everywhere and is big part of the problem. People have stopped asking, 'works by what standard for what purpose?' Conceding to anti-intellectual, unprincipled Pragmatism is not a shortcut around the need for identifying and spreading the proper fundamental ideas.

                                  This has nothing to with opposing "sympathy". Nothing. Altruism is not benevolence, and sympathy for a struggling underdog is not the growing altruistic egalitarian nihilism.

                                  Rational understanding and communication does not mean "stoic" or "paladin" arguments, "pin-head definitions", or any of the other anti-intellectual parodies demeaning the required serious philosophic approach out of Pragmatism and frustration.
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                            Will convince no one. Get your rocking chair and rocks ready.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              What will convince no one? People are not born collectivists and altruists. They have held different philosophical views throughout history and across the globe. Anyone still open to reason is potentially able to understand rational egoism versus altruism.

                              This is not optional. Either the basic ideas accepted by the public change or the country continues to decline (or abruptly collapse) into even more dangerous collectivism and statism. If that happens, which it may very well, then throwing rocks from a wheel chair will not help.
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                                Present your compelling arguments. I have presented two.
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  One "compelling" argument for the role of ideas in human life and society was Atlas Shrugged. Evading the necessity for philosophical reform of the basic ideas driving the country while mischaracterizing it as going straight up a mountain with no means and that definitions don't matter is not a compelling argument. Telling us that altruism is universally inevitable and that it doesn't matter, and that progressives only "trick" us by relying on the philosophical premises that people hold, are not compelling. It is only profoundly anti-intellectual.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
            Taught everywhere is an understatement! It's indoctrinated from cradle to grave. Sacrificing your interests to others is inculcated as the very meaning of morality. That is why it is so entrenched as an emotional response and is why it must be rooted out before political reform getting rid of the welfare state and socialism is possible..
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months, 1 week ago
    I don't know the answers, but it reminds me of the end of Artemis, a 2017 book about a moon colony in the future. One of the characters says societies go through stages. People move to a distant place to be free and then they slowly institute rules and taxes. That leads people who want to be free to move to the next distant free place.
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    • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
      People seem to have a problem with living together without controlling other people. I think this is a basic human thing, We are born into socialism (family), and tend to revert back to it on a societal level.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months ago
        "People seem to have a problem with living together without controlling other people. I think this is a basic human thing, We are born into socialism (family), and tend to revert back to it on a societal level."
        This is so true, and that's such a terse way to say it. I do think people can rise above the desire to extent socialism beyond their immediate family. When I travel abroad, I have no desire to make everyone American. If you travel on the Interstate and stop in Madison, you might see bathrooms labelled men, women, and gender-inclusive. I don't imagine Trump supporters want to make us live as they do. When I drive through KY and people call me "baby doll", I know it's not flirting or meant the wrong way. I don't expect to buy curds, brats, and cheep liquor everywhere. I don't want to make them into WI.

        I do have a fantasy of the US being bound mostly by a well-regulated militia of people coming from all places, races, and walks of life with their own guns and medical/repair kits, agreeing only on the US Constitution and to defend US if someone bothers us. I know this fantasy is not compatible with the modern world, but IMHO it should be a goal, a concept car we strive for.

        BTW, we try not to have too much socialism in our house. I think we created a debt by having kids. If we teach them to take care of themselves, the debt will be paid. We try to be overly generous about giving them money for work and letting them spend it in ways we disagree with, just to set the idea that you if you want live free you have to provide services to others so they provide things to you. They're 8 and 10. I steel myself for when they're teens and move on to bigger mistakes.
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        • Posted by term2 2 months ago
          That was a very reasoned response. Cool. I remover that by the time I was like 16. I was somehow desirous of being on my own more and more. By 17 and living in a dorm at college it was getting to be the new normal. I had my own jobs in the summers and at school. Once graduated I got a job in engineering 3000 miles from where my parents lived, rented an apartment and was off and running. Within a few years I had a business of my own. Somehow there was no desire for socialism at all. I don’t know what my parents did to help this transformation, but it certainly worked !!
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  • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
    A lot is wrong with Libertarianism, but I think you are confusing that with Capitalism; they are not fully compatible.
    So if you asked what is wrong with Capitalism, I would say nothing if you truly make it laissez-faire with separation of State and economics / State and religion.
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  • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
    Rather than extoll the advantages of capitalism, which doesnt really exist today anymore, another approach is to extoll the failures of socialism, fascism, and other forms of collectivism.

    Venezuela is what we are headed to become. THAT should be the picture to combat Cortez, Sanders, O'Rourke, and the other socialists. Its the poor people who are wanting the freebies today and vote for these people who are DESTITUTE in Venezuela. The rich have left, after being looted.
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  • Posted by 2 months, 1 week ago
    I am making ONE point about libertarianism: If it is not part of an integrated philosophical system able to address moral premises and questions about human nature, then, however "practical" it is, it cannot be sustained intellectually and is a vulnerable political philosophy of capitalism.

    Really, that is the argument of this brief piece. And its is an exposition of the fundamental objection that Ayn Rand had to litertarianism. Later, when the theory flirted with anarchy, it no longer was worth discussing.
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    • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months, 1 week ago
      Libertarianism is no more “vulnerable” than any other political philosophy. Politics is a subset of philosophy dealing with the proper role of government in relation to individuals under its jurisdiction. Libertarian political views can be and are held by several “integrated philosophical systems able to address moral premises and questions about human nature.” A political philosophy is not defective just because its advocates have diverse viewpoints regarding other areas of philosophy..
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
        Every political system presupposes an ethics and every ethics presupposes an epistemology. Subjectivist, a-philosophical libertarians ignore that political freedom requires a rational philosophy. Politics is not just another branch of philosophy. There is a hierarchical dependency.
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
          Most libertarians are neither subjectivist nor a-philosophical. And subjectivism is in fact a philosophy, so the two terms are mutually exclusive. Wikipedia defines subjectivism as “the doctrine that ‘our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience’, instead of shared or communal, and that there is no external or objective truth.” Dictionary . com defines subjectivism as ”Epistimology - the doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences by the self, and that transcendent knowledge is impossible,” and “Ethics - any of various theories maintaining that moral judgments are statements concerning the emotional or mental reactions of the individual or the community”, and “any of several theories holding that certain states of thought or feeling are the highest good.” Political freedom can arise and has arisen from many philosophical schools of thought that were not fully rational in other respects. It did not begin with Objectivism.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
            Subjectivism and a-philosophical are not "mutually exclusive". Acting on feelings need not be an articulated technical philosophical position.

            The Libertarian Party is both subjectivist and a-philosophical in its plunging into politics, seeking fundamental political reform without regard for philosophical principles driving the culture. Those who openly ridicule and reject the importance of philosophy are the worst.

            Libertarians who ignore the necessity to base their political views philosophically, starting with with some equivalent of 'non-initiation of force' as their subjectivist premise, are subjectivists. Those who are 'hippies of the right', obsessed with drug rights and hedonism, are subjectivists.

            Those, such as many in the 'tea party', who want freedom in the sense of classical liberalism and the natural rights tradition, often do not understand how to defend it and have adopted subjective premises without realizing it even though the are responsible individuals whose lives are not characterized as subjectivist. Many of them think of themselves as articulating a philosophical position, but one that is simply wrong and has subjectivist components, such as religionists with a crude faith in "freedom". That one of course also applies to many conservatives.

            The founding fathers were much more intellectual and philosophical. They did not embrace subjectivism, even though there were errors and incompleteness in Enlightenment thinking. Unlike today, individualism and respect for reason could be taken for granted then.
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            • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
              Really? “individualism and respect for reason could be taken for granted then”? That would have been news to the 500,000 slaves (about 20% of the population) present at the time of the American Revolution, and women of all races who were considered inferior in the ability to reason (and whose ability to own property and participate in the political process ranged from limited to nonexistent).

              And non-initiation of force is hardly a “subjectivist premise”. It is a common principle uniting libertarians, and a centerpiece of Galt’s speech: “Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate—do you hear me? no man may start—the use of physical force against others.”

              In The Virtue of Selfishness Ayn Rand states: “The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others.” To attack libertarians as “subjectivists” for upholding this principle makes no sense, especially considering the “principles” that guide all the other participants in the political process.
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              • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                Please do not lecture us on slavery as a diversion. The Enlightenment was in fact based on reason and individualism, the country was founded on that, the slavery in this country preceded it, and slavery was abolished because of it.

                A "common principle uniting libertarians" is not the meaning of objectivity. It is typically subjectively accepted and parroted by libertarians with no basis, as if it were axiomatic. That is the subjectivism.

                In quoting Ayn Rand you left out that the principle of non-initiation of force is a political principle based on her ethics, which preceded it in both Galt's speech and Ayn Rand's essay on her ethics. It is a consequence of reason and egoism. Your ignoring that is an illustration of why libertarians are rejected for ignoring it.
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                • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                  I quoted Ayn Rand as follows: “The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others.” How in the world is that leaving out that the principle of non-initiation of force is a political principle based on her ethics? Do you actually read my posts?

                  The country was founded on reason and individualism for white males and few others, and slavery took decades to abolish because reason and individualism were far from being “taken for granted” during the American Revolution.

                  You accuse libertarians of being “subjectivists” with no basis, as if it were axiomatic. Any perusal of serious libertarian writing and discussion would refute that accusation.
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                  • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                    You left out that politics is based on ethics. The basic political principle of her ethics -- "so long as men desire to live together" -- is not the basic principle of ethics or the entirety of her ethics. Politics is not the starting point. Ethics concerns the standards for choices made in all aspects of your life. It does not consist of or start with relations with other people, let alone politics. You quoted Ayn Rand by jumping into the middle as if her basic political principle were the starting point. It is not.

                    The country was founded on the Enlightenment principles of reason and individualism. Those principles were not formulated for "white males and a few others". The Declaration referred to "all men". Those founding principles made it possible to abolish the slavery, mostly in the feudalist south, that began with the pre-Enlightenment British slave trade. That is in contrast to the Marxist revisionist history obsessed with trashing the founders of the country as operating for upper class economic class interests requiring slavery.

                    Enlightenment principles taken for granted by the founders in establishing a limited government means that they did not have to formulate and spread a new philosophy, in contrast with today. Your apologia for the Libertarian Party repeatedly ignores the required philosophical basis of politics both then and now, as if the non-initiation of force political principle were axiomatic, and goes out of its way to trash the founding of this country in sympathy with the far left.

                    That is also how the Libertarian Party operates in trying change politics without regard for the more fundamental ideas on which politics depends. It is not the only observed a-philosophical, subjectivist behavior for its half century of failure remaining a fringe party, right up to the two clowns leading it in the last presidential election, who were anything but "serious".
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                    • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                      Read the Libertarian Party platform ( http://lp.org/platform/ ) and show me where “the Libertarian Party repeatedly ignores the required philosophical basis of politics both then and now.”

                      Early on the platform states, “We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.”

                      I’m willing to compare the political philosophy of the Libertarian Party with that of any party that exists or has ever existed in the United States. It is not 100% Objectivist, but neither is any other party. Do you apply the same standards to the Republican Party that you do to the LP? If so, is it therefore immoral for Objectivists to engage in partisan politics at all?
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                      • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                        "Respect for individual rights" is not philosophy. You repeat the same omission, showing over and over that you do not understand what philosophy is, let alone why it determines the course of a country. The Libertarian Party is a hopeless joke, not a source of reform.
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                        • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                          "Respect for individual rights" is a philosophical position within the branch of politics. And you haven't answered my questions.
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                          • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                            As you have been told before but ignore, it is moral to vote for one of the two candidates who will win when there is a meaningful difference between them. Morality concerns making choices possible in the real world, not 'virtue signaling' by throwing a vote away for the Libertarian Party, especially when it means support for the likes of the two Libertarian clowns Johnson and Weld who ran in the last national election.
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                            • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                              In every presidential election, people are told that they are “wasting their vote” if they vote for the Libertarian candidate. But the exact opposite is true. Voting for one’s principles has far more impact than allowing the two “establishment” parties to dictate one’s choices.

                              No matter how one has voted for President in the past, his or her individual vote has never made a difference in the outcome. Nor will it do so in the future, even in a “swing state”.

                              So why vote at all? The reason is that the establishment parties pay close attention when a significant number of voters break with the two-party system, and they will often modify their stands on certain issues to protect their base and prevent further defections.

                              On the other hand, voting for the “lesser of two evils” is saying in effect, “I am okay with the two-party system, and I’m not interested in supporting candidates from other parties, even if they have ideas that I agree with. I don’t like either of the two establishment party candidates, but I will vote for Establishment Party Candidate X because he is not quite as bad as Establishment Party Candidate Y.” This truly is a waste of one’s vote, and does nothing to advance the cause of freedom.
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                          • Posted by  $  Solver 2 months ago
                            How does the Libertarian party define this thing called, “individual rights”?
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                            • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                              From the LP platform ( lp.org/platform/ ):

                              " (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation."
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                              • Posted by  $  Solver 2 months ago
                                Are those stated the only individual rights there are?
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  They also support groups like The Nature Conservancy and other land trusts that collaborate with government land acquisition. TNC in particular acts as a real estate front for government acquisition buying and flipping land to government agencies.
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                                • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                                  The list is not exhaustive. As part of a political party platform, these enumerated rights allow voters to better understand the LP’s positions on specific matters of public policy.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months, 1 week ago
    Individual liberty requires a capitalist economy. But a capitalist economy does not always lead to individual liberty. There are dozens of ways, good and bad, that a capitalist system can emerge and function within a nation and a culture. Private ownership of the means of production is a vital component of a free market economy, but it becomes a tool of oppression if its legal structure is defective. Libertarians and conservatives cannot successfully promote economic freedom by attempting to defend the institutions and practices that, over time, have come to be associated with today’s form of capitalism. Winning the hearts and minds of voters is possible only if we make it clear that we support capitalism only within the wider framework of a free market economy, and that we strongly oppose all policies of today’s “capitalist” nations that violate individual rights.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      A capitalist economy does not "lead to" individual liberty at all. It is freedom. A capitalist economy requires individual liberty. A social system based on private property, with a government instituted to protect the rights of the individual, including private property, is a consequence of reason and individualism.

      Attempting to appeal to "hearts and minds of voters" for free markets without regard to that understanding is futile. 'Capitalist nations that violate individual rights' is a contradiction in terms. Capitalism is not "within the wider framework of a free market economy", it is freedom, based on reason and individualism. "Capitalism" that is in fact a mixed system, part free and part controlled based on collectivist premises, should not be identified as "capitalism" at all. The free aspects show what capitalism is capable of to the extent it is allowed.
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      • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
        In that case, the United States is not - and never was - a capitalist nation. The dictionary . com definition of capitalism is ”an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” That’s the generally accepted meaning of the term, and the reason why the United States and other Western nations are identified as capitalist. Ayn Rand used the term laissez-faire capitalism to distinguish it from other forms of capitalism.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          Ayn Rand advocated and defined capitalism as "a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned". She stressed that in the 19th century the US was predominantly capitalist, but not fully. This is in contrast to the countries today that are mixed economies or worse but called capitalist.

          Once again you ignored that a capitalist social system depends on more basic principles of reason and individualism. It is not a matter of capitalism "leading to individual liberty".
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          • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
            And once again you ignored that a capitalist economic system can arise from a philosophical base other than Objectivism. Calvinism, for example, and certain strains of medieval Christianity, both of which predated the industrial revolution by several centuries.

            Ayn Rand qualified her definition of capitalism by stressing, “When I say ‘capitalism’, I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism . . . “ So she was aware that other definitions existed, and that it was important to distinguish her definition from the others.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
              No one ignored that capitalism historically arose before Objectivism. Please stop making things up; but that is typical of the subjectivism of the Libertarian Party. Capitalism does not, however, come from "Calvinism". That people traded does not mean that Christianity led to or was compatible with capitalism. Medieval theocracy was not a "form of capitalism", and not just a "different definition". Valid concepts require true definitions. This is more of the kind of nonsense to be expected from the Libertarian Party and its half century history of predicted failure.
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              • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                511,277 registered Libertarians.
                4,489,233 votes in 2016 presidential election.
                (A 250% increase from 2012.)
                168 Libertarians holding elected office.
                Not bad for a "failure".
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  The Libertarian Party is a fringe political party and has been for half a century. We all know that fact. The "250% increase" was 3% of the vote for those two clowns even against the likes of Clinton and Trump. Yes it's a failure. It's a fringe party. Stop pretending. The rationalizations including selected 'big numbers' while leaving out their comparative meaning in order to buttress the pretense are a delusional joke and not honest. The constant repetitive circling and rationalizations are not serious discussion.
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                  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                    "We all know" is the type of statement that Ayn Rand rightly rejected as an "argument from intimidation". The Libertarian Party has done much more to advance the cause of liberty than critics who so far have not offered any useful political alternative.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      As you have been told before about your false accusations of logical fallacies, we know that the Libertarian Party has been a fringe party for half a century because it is observed fact that has been a fringe party. "We know" is fact, not a fallacy. It is based on observation, not a fallacy of arguing for a conclusion by "intimidation". Facts are not "intimidation". This has been explained to you previously and you continue to repeat it as if nothing had been said. Please stop invoking Ayn Rand in support of your repetitive rationalizations. She emphatically rejected the Libertarian Party for good reasons.

                      The fringe Libertarian Party has not "done more to advance the cause of liberty". Sensible people, who do far more than the Libertarian Party, know better than to run futile and flawed "candidates" and then claim to have "done more" as they cite misleading statistics to sell themselves as being significant.
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                      • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                        “Sensible people know better” is also a variant of what Ayn Rand described as an “argument from intimidation”. Regardless of whether the conclusion is factual or not, the mode of argument is not valid, as Ayn Rand pointed out. It’s similar to the type of argument used by our opponents when they say things like, “Sensible people know that global warming is real and we have to do something about it.”

                        As for the “fringe” Libertarian Party, here again is a partial list of people and publications that endorsed Johnson and Weld in the 2016 election, according to Wikipedia:
                        Newspapers: Chicago Tribune, The Detroit News, New Hampshire Union Leader, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Winston-Salem Journal.
                        Performers: Drew Carey, Penn and Teller, Melissa Joan Hart, Joe Rogan.
                        Directors/screenwriters: Heywood Gould, David Lynch.
                        Scholars: Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Jeffrey Miron, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Harvard University economics department, Director of Economic Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, former Department of Economics chair at Boston University; Michael Munger, professor of political science and economics and former chair of Political Science department at Duke University.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          "The fringe Libertarian Party has not 'done more to advance the cause of liberty'. Sensible people, who do far more than the Libertarian Party, know better than to run futile and flawed 'candidates' and then claim to have 'done more' as they cite misleading statistics to sell themselves as being significant" is not an "argument from intimidation".

                          It contrasts the Libertarian Party with sensible people making a real contribution, contrary to your claim that the "Libertarian Party" "does more" by running losing candidates.

                          Half a century. 3%. Fringe party. Observable fact, not "intimidation". Please stop the name-dropping and other evasive copy and paste rationalizations. It is not serious discussion.
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                          • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                            Half a century. Republicans and Democrats. 95% of the votes of “sensible people” making a “real contribution”. How’s that working out for the country? At least the Libertarian Party gives people a chance to vote their convictions instead of enabling power-seekers and looters.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              Half a century 3% fringe party that is not elected accomplishes nothing for the country. Voting is for affecting public policy when there is a difference between two candidates who can win. Here in reality. Voting is not for fringe party virtue signaling in its fantasy world. Fantasy voting for clowns like Johnson and Weld is not even related to "convictions", let alone politics in the real world.

                              Candidates who do not win do not "do more for the cause of liberty" than sensible people who engage in activism that in areas where it is still possible does influence public policy. But that requires knowledge and action that Libertarian Party fantasizers know nothing about.
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  • Posted by 2 months, 1 week ago
    Of course, in mentioning Utilitarianism, I was listing some ways to try to argue for liberty, or defend it, and I end by saying that you must have an integrated philosophical system like Objectivism. No one read that far?
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    • Posted by j_IR1776wg 2 months, 1 week ago
      Ayn Rand on John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

      "Religious influences are not the only villain behind the censorship legislation; there is another one: the social school of morality, exemplified by John Stuart Mill. Mill rejected the concept of individual rights and replaced it with the notion that the “public good” is the sole justification of individual freedom. (Society, he argued, has the power to enslave or destroy its exceptional men, but it should permit them to be free, because it benefits from their efforts.) Among the many defaults of the conservatives in the past hundred years, the most shameful one, perhaps, is the fact that they accepted John Stuart Mill as a defender of capitalism."
      http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/mil...

      Rand and Mill were polar opposites as are individual rights and the public good. Why are you using Mill and his Utilitarianism to argue for liberty?
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months, 1 week ago
      "No one read that far?"
      I have no problem pointing out that libertarianism works from a utilitarian standpoint. That's not the same as supporting utilitarianism.

      Regarding the end, I agree with it, and after reading The Virtue of Selishness I don't understand why anyone, including Christians, won't abide selfishness. Do they try to take advantage of their friends and neighbors, getting them to help with projects, childcare, lending things and then try not to reciprocate? Do they want g/fs or b/fs to go out with them out of pity? Do they what their boss or clients to keep them b/c they feel sorry for them? It seems like selfishness should be easy to accept.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
        It is easy to accept once rationally understood, but that requires overcoming 2000 years of emotional indoctrination for a mentality of duty to sacrifice one's own interests as the very meaning of morality.

        That mentality is outside the realm of rational understanding. It includes collectivists as well as the religious mystics who have been indoctrinated to believe a duty to sacrifice is required to save their own souls in the supernatural realm. It's not rational behavior, but most people think of ethics in emotional terms and do not naturally gravitate towards a scientific, fact-based approach like you accept. A consistent dedication to reason is presupposed by rational ethics.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
        I think that has to do with Rand's co-opting of the word "selfishness". Christians have a very different notion of selfishness than the self-interest Rand advocates but calls "selfishness". The problem is that when an Objectivist say "selfishness" to a Christian they are thinking of selfishness according to Christ. And so what you get into is an argument of authority which Rand can not possibly win (because in order to do so the Christian must renounce his very religion).

        I still argue that this was Rand's greatest tactical mistake: to try to re-brand a word with known connotations and definitions to suit her own interests. (Woodrow Wilson was able to do it with "liberal", but he had half the country behind him in that effort and it still took more than sixty years.)
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        • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
          She did not "rebrand" or "co-op" the word.
          Selfishness has always meant acting in one's own interest. Christianity simply assumed that meant acting against the well-being of others.
          Acting selflessly can only lead to personal destruction.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
            Yes, Ayn Rand used the common definition of "selfish" and showed what is in fact in one's self interest and why it is proper. Contrary to Blarman, that does not involve an "argument of authority" that she "can not possibly win", and contrary to Blarman correct philosophical principles and valid concepts are not a "tactic" -- they are fundamental to understanding.

            For entrenched religionists who reject reason, no communication or understanding is possible. That doesn't imply that explanation and proper use of valid concepts should be abandoned -- either outright or through contradictory 'compromises' seeking 'common ground' with the irrational -- out of fear that understanding requires that an emotionalist "must renounce his very religion". We communicate with those who, partially religious or not, do use reason and who want to understand.

            That requires valid concepts and definitions, not subservience to belief in the supernatural. Ayn Rand looked at the requirements of human life here in reality and proceeded to formulate her ethics accordingly in rational terms. Understanding cannot be bent to accommodate the irrational for 'pragmatic', 'tactical' purposes destroying the understanding. Pragmatism "does not work".
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
            Which definition has been around longer? That's the one with historical precedent and generally-accepted meaning. It doesn't mean Rand can't make her case, but as I was taught in my freshman-level marketing class, first impressions are very difficult to overcome. If the first thing someone sees about your product (and ideas are products of the mind, are they not?) is contrary to how they have historically viewed the world, you have an uphill battle to educate that person and persuade them to agree with you. And there is no more uphill battle than when dealing with closely held convictions like religion. (I could point to any number of "holy" wars which have occurred in human history.)

            There is almost no case-in-point more obvious than the last election. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had almost universal name recognition and with that came negative (and positive) associations largely dependent upon which side of the aisle one was on. This is very rare in politics because it meant that the debates were largely a formality - not a public perception changer like they were for say Romney vs Obama in 2012. As a result, the tactics for both individuals were to capitalize on the other candidate's perceived flaws rather than on what they, themselves would do.

            Marketers have a very difficult task. They have to include just enough of that which is familiar with just enough of the unknown. The familiar is there as the hook to get the potential customer to learn more. The unknown is there to provide an avenue for the marketer to influence or educate on. From a purely marketing perspective, Rand's choice to title her book The Virtue of Selfishness didn't score her many points on the marketing interest scale other than as a provocateur.

            (As an aside, Christians don't attribute selfishness to acting against the well-being of others nearly as much as acting to please the emotional/short-term at the expense of the spiritual/long-term. I don't think Ayn Rand understood that she was taking an antagonistic stand when in reality there was very little real difference between her own use and that of Christians.)
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            • Posted by tdechaine 2 months, 1 week ago
              Rand certainly understood - and understood the immense difference. Self-sacrifice and the altruistic morality is all through religious teachings.

              The origin of "selfishness" is as I said: Christianity attached the "sacrifice for others" to "selfishness".
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
                "Self-sacrifice and the altruistic morality is all through religious teachings."

                We're getting into a debate on theology now, which is going to be quite pointless because it all depends on a fundamental point of view regarding what follows this life. If you believe that there is no life after this, then you will interpret Christian dogma as you say - worthless. For the Christian who believes in a life following this, then the "self-sacrifice" you claim is more appropriately a deferred investment in a future to come. It all comes down to whether or not "sacrifice" means living for someone else, or living for one's self on a wholly different timeline.

                To get back to the primary topic of the thread, I think this plays out very pointedly in the Libertarian social views. If one does not believe in God or an afterlife, everything becomes for the moment - thus the tendency of Libertarians to side with Progressives on things like abortion, prostitution, and drug use. Without an afterlife, the morality of those items becomes much more questionable and hard to defend intellectually because one can not argue dollars and cents.
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  This is not a "debate on theology". Rational debate over theological dogmas is not possible. They can only be rejected as of no value or worse, not discussed and argued as if faith in dogmas had any legitimate basis.. Rational debate does not allow a premise of subjective belief in the supernatural as a "fundamental point of view" to be intellectually accepted as valid..

                  Self sacrifice and altruism have in fact been "all through religious teachings". Duties to sacrifice one's life on earth as an imagined "investment" in an imagined supernatural are in fact duties to sacrifice one's life here on earth during our finite lifespans, which is the context of ethics in which one makes choices in life. An "egoism" for irrational claims to an "afterlife" in the supernatural is not egoist ethics. An alleged duty to sacrifice our lives to the supernatural contradicts an ethics of rational egoism.

                  Rejecting faith in a supernatural does not mean "everything becomes for the moment". Life is not a "moment". Principles for flourishing over the span of a lifetime are not hedonism for "the moment". Religious duty versus hedonism are two sides of the same irrational coin: a false alternative.

                  The morality of exercising the right of abortion is not even in the same category as the right of "drug use and prostitution". For a rational person the choice to not have a child one does not choose to commit to is moral, for one's life over decades, not "for the moment". The destruction of hedonistic indulgence in drug and sex abuse is not. The political freedom to choose any of them is not subject to religious duty and its theocratic prohibitions under law denying the right of the individual to think for himself in choosing his own goals and actions over any time span.

                  Ayn Rand's rational egoism is not the utilitarian standard of "dollars and cents" and is not "much more questionable and hard to defend intellectually" "without an afterlife". The subjectivism of faith in "an afterlife" is not a standard for anything, let alone intellectual defense of moral principles.
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                • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 1 week ago
                  There is so much wrong with this, where to start?
                  Well just one aspect- what is religion?
                  blarman says- it is belief in life after this, there is also belief in the supernatural. Then, if you do not believe, everything is for the moment. Obviously wrong, that is just ignorance of how others think or an insult.
                  But religion is more than that, it is any form of belief. A belief without evidence is religion.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
                    Look, if you really want to get into theological questions, the first thing is that you can't try to superimpose your understanding of someone else's beliefs on them. You wouldn't allow an Christian - or a Muslim, or a Sikh, or a Buddhist, or a Jew, et al - to try to tell an Objectivist what he or she believes (shall we start with the definition of selfishness?). Extend the same courtesy to those of faith. Ask THEM what they believe and then listen. Then when your turn comes they'll do the same.

                    (Aside: people on this forum question why Objectivism hasn't become the force to rule the world. This is a great example of it. It isn't effective to attempt to convert people to your way of thinking by assaulting their beliefs. Though you may not recognize it, this is the very coercion that Objectivists claim to abhor. Secondly, people don't change their minds simply because you tell them to. They have to be persuaded. Persuasion takes patience and building upon common ground - not scorched earth tactics.

                    That's one of the things I really appreciated about Atlas Shrugged. Galt could have simply hauled Dagny off to the Gulch. She recognized the beauty of the place while there as an interloper. But they both knew that the decision had to come from Dagny to be there. So Galt patiently waited for her to get tired of trying to save the world and then offered another solution.)

                    "blarman says- it is belief in life after this, there is also belief in the supernatural. Then, if you do not believe, everything is for the moment. Obviously wrong, that is just ignorance of how others think or an insult. "

                    Not wrong, a matter of perspective. What is the incidence of a human life on the time scale of a star? It is an eyeblink - a moment. If one believes that the soul is eternal, it changes the entirety of the way one looks at things. That does not mean that our choices here are not important. That is not the case. Simply that one begins to look at cost/benefit according to a wholly different set of scales. It is a paradox shift in thinking.

                    "But religion is more than that, it is any form of belief. A belief without evidence is religion."

                    A useless point of contention. Atheism is also a religion as there is no proof to support it. It is a difference without a distinction. As anyone schooled in logical thought will tell you, you can not assert a negative, which is what atheism does. If you want to take issue with the absurdity of a particular construct of god, that's reasonable because you are comparing what could be. It is the blanket assertion of nihilism which is a road to nowhere - literally.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      Rejecting the irrational is not "coercion" and Ayn Rand's ideas are not based on "assaulting beliefs" and "scorched earth tactics". Ayn Rand gave reasons for her principles and concepts; she did not base them on rejecting the irrational. She did not not regard religious faith as intellectually important at all.

                      Either people are open to reason in order to understand or they are not. Those who militantly insist on respect and openness to faith are not. That is not a "useless distinction". There is no "common ground" between reason and its opposite in which we "take turns" uttering "beliefs".

                      Atheism is not a "religion" and not the basis of Ayn Rand's philosophy. Atheism, rejection of belief in a supernatural, is a consequence of a rational philosophy, not its foundation. That rejection does not require "proof". When assertions are meaningless and/or pushed with no evidence then the rational approach is to reject them out of hand, not to try to "prove" a negative. The positive values of Ayn Rand's philosophy are not "nihilism" and not a "road to nowhere" for rejecting the irrational.
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                    • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 1 week ago
                      A debate on theology" "quite pointless
                      Agreed. (But, I cannot resist temptation, Oscar Wilde)

                      if you really want to get into theological questions
                      When I think of a bird's nest, a beaver building a dam, or a dog burying a bone, I do not bother to name the religion of the animal concerned. Their actions have worth in the future, better explanations are found in training, genetics, and natural selection, rather than a sacrifice to avoid hell.

                      abortion, prostitution, and drug use
                      Attitudes to these can be classed as
                      -Conservatism- the leadership knows what is good for all.
                      -Old religion- conservatism and as prescribed by the sacred texts.
                      -Libertarianism- I don't know and I don't care.
                      -Environmentalism- whatever wipes out humanity soonest to preserve Gaia.
                      -Objectivism- as libertarianism but while you may care you are not your brother's keeper, you act from knowledge to protect yourself.

                      The word courtesy is used, courtesy is important, so is liberty. Those of 'faith' shall not interfere with me nor tell me what to do or believe. I do not want or need to ask them what they believe, I have been subjected to that stuff from toddler age. I do not seek a 'turn' at them.

                      Atheism is also a religion
                      No. An absence of something is not a type of that something.

                      logical thought will tell you, you can not assert a negative
                      That allows belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster which can be seen only by believers. A logic that allows worthless statements that are not falsifiable is not logic.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
                        Any real debate begins with an agreement on terms and an openness to listen to what the other person has to say. When one has already made up their mind to disallow anything but their own prejudices and definitions, one has already stuffed cotton and wax into the ears. Thus such a conversation is pointless not because the topic has no merit but because the participant has no interest in actually having an open conversation about the matter.

                        "Their actions have worth in the future, better explanations are found in training, genetics, and natural selection, rather than a sacrifice to avoid hell."

                        Animals are ruled by instinct and have no rational capacity. They can not comprehend an afterlife let alone worry about it. Only humans have the necessary thought capacity to consider their own mortality and what they are going to do with it. Shakespeare's immortal soliloquy - as voiced by Hamlet - is a tribute to man's consciousness and the struggle of what to do with one's self. To me, it is one of the most beautiful and profound pieces of poetry ever written.

                        As to what actually constitutes "hell", I could go into great detail about why the common perception of many Christians regarding hell is not only ignorant, but ridiculous (Dante's Inferno). If you are interested, we can move that topic to a private thread.

                        "The word courtesy is used, courtesy is important, so is liberty."

                        Liberty and courtesy are intertwined. Tyranny starts when you seek to deny others a chance to voice their opinions. It is also tyranny to attempt to define for someone else what they believe. (That goes both ways of course.) Liberty does not exist without courtesy and courtesy begins with the recognition of the inherent worth of the individual.

                        "No. An absence of something is not a type of that something."

                        You stated that religions were based on an unproven belief. According to your own definition, therefore, atheism is a religion - as no one has proven it. There's a slight problem there, however: the only way one could prove atheism would be to become the very thing of which is denied an existence. Hmmmm....

                        "A logic that allows worthless statements that are not falsifiable is not logic."

                        I totally agree with you. See above.

                        A better argument is to postulate what kind of supernatural could exist and then go look for it. Confirmation then supports your argument while absence tells you that you have a faulty hypothesis. Simple. Logical. Actionable.

                        BTW, I don't define religion the way you do. Religion is merely the set of principles by which one lives their life. This is congruent with the Supreme Court's rulings which defined atheism as a religion in order that their rights might be protected under the First Amendment.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          No "real debate", i.e., rational discussion, begins with an agreement on irrational, invalid concepts and an "openness to listen to what the other person has to say" no matter how irrational and endless. Rejecting faith in the irrational does not mean "disallowing anything but one's own prejudices". Rationality is not a "prejudice". Likewise, insisting on proper definitions of valid concepts does not mean "one has already stuffed cotton and wax into the ears". One cannot think, let alone rationally communicate, in terms of invalid concepts, and rejecting mysticism is not "stuffing cotton and wax into the ears".

                          Religion is not "merely the set of principles by which one lives their life". Religion requires faith, in opposition to reason. And as a primitive form of philosophy it takes positions on much more than ethical principles in the form of duties for living life, such as belief in the supernatural to begin with.

                          Including non-belief in the supernatural under the first amendment does not make atheism a religion. Appeal to that fallacy is a crude attempt by religionists claiming an equal intellectual status for their faith. Faith and reason, including reason's rejection of faith, are different concepts. They are opposites.

                          So are 'liberty' and 'courtesy' different concepts. Liberty is a political concept concerning government coercion. It does not "require courtesy". Courtesy is a form of personal interaction towards those who deserve it or who still have the benefit of the doubt. Lack of courtesy, properly or not, is not a violation of rights. Neither 'liberty' nor 'courtesy' are based on a vague "inherent worth of the individual". Every individual has the same rights by the nature of human being; not an "inherent worth" to everyone else regardless of what he is or may be There is no "inherent worth" of belief on faith.

                          There is no evidence that a supernatural "could exist". Assertions of possibility require proof of the possibility. Speculating whatever one feels like that a "kind of supernatural" "could exist", and then "looking for evidence" claimed to be "found", is crude rationalism for the arbitrary, not "logical". It is what creationists do when they insist that their rationalizations are science as they demand to be taken seriously.
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                        • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 1 week ago
                          The US Supreme Court has "defined atheism as a religion".
                          There is an often used legal contrivance of words -' for the purpose of the Act'.
                          It means, not that A=B, but that A is to be regarded as B for this Act only.
                          As stated, the court found that a constitutional right belonged to followers of all religions but recognizing possible doubt about those of no religion applied the usual wording to clarify the ambiguity.
                          To claim this as proof that at least in US law atheism is a religion is to show ignorance of legal conventions.

                          By this, err, logic,
                          if I do not believe that the moon is made of green cheese, then I belong to groups who believe the moon is composed of (various other) food;
                          and if non-religion is a religion, then death is a type of life, Christianity is part of Islam, apostates retain religion ..

                          The call for proof- if you cannot prove it then ..
                          This is a rhetorical device, certain descriptions are not propositions but statements about thinking, to attack that is telling others what they think. Saying atheism is unproven belief is up-side-down, atheism is the state of not having unproven belief.

                          I am diverting too much from the theme of the thread, but I was under attack for not being able to plan as not having religion, and then for having religion, so will not continue here thus leaving the last word open.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 1 week ago
                            "The US Supreme Court ..."

                            I completely agree with you here. I gave you the definition I use and why. I simply pointed out that the definition you are using is a straw man because it leads to the nonsense equivalencies you bring up. Though you may not see it, the absurdities you bring up are the result of a fallacious definition. We actually agree on much more than you might think.

                            "certain descriptions are not propositions but statements about thinking"

                            Nonsense. If you are going to assert atheism and make the entire dismissal of "religion" hinge on an assertion of a lack of proof, you render your entire argument moot (and more than a little bit hypocritical) if you can not then prove your own assertion withstands argument reflection. This is why asserting a negative is a failing technique in a logical debate. As soon as your opponent turns your own assertion around on you, you lose.

                            That's why I find it a much easier and logically consistent plan of attack to mimic Plato in The Republic. In that work, Plato (and his mentor Socrates) criticizes the notion of the Greek Pantheon by pointing out the inconsistencies of the "capricious" wielder of such enormous power as that supposedly held by Zeus et al. Plato did not deny that some form of higher power could not exist, but that the description posited by the ancient Greeks regarding the Pantheon (which literally translated means "all gods" or "the encompassing supernatural") violated basic logical tenets upon closer inspection.

                            The last point I would make is that you take it for granted that there is no proof when in fact the opposite is true. Probability itself is one such evidence. If you wish me to explain more, I will do so in a private thread as we are in agreement that this conversation is veering away from the thread topic.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              There is no "probability" of the supernatural and the arbitrary claims for it are not "evidence". Atheism means rejection of belief in the supernatural; refusing to believe or to take seriously assertions made on faith does not require proof of a negative.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
              Ayn Rand did use the common definition of selfishness, but identified and defended what is in fact in one's self interest as the good. Clinging to historical precedent for invalid concepts like Christian ethical standards would not have been possible for rational understanding.

              Spreading better ideas is not done through "marketing" slogans as a "hook" "scoring points". Ayn Rand did not seek to appeal to mystics. Ignoring the mystics, Ayn Rand appealed to the sense of life of her readers -- whatever their background or prior indoctrination -- of the novels, who then had endless questions as they sought more understanding in non-fiction terms, not slogans and duties.

              Contrary to Blarman, her standard of ethics is not anything like that of Christianity and she did in fact understand that, exemplified by her "challenging two thousand years of philosophy". The irrational 'egoism' of the "spiritual/long term" in the supernatural requiring sacrifice of one's life here in reality is the opposite of Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand advocated a "philosophy for living on earth" with ethical standards for rationally choosing in pursuit of happiness, not following duties to sacrifice in the hope of supernatural rewards.
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 2 months, 1 week ago
    "...In making arguments for liberty, John Stuart Mill, of course, focused on practical (utilitarianism) arguments that it produced the greatest good for the greatest number and I believe that a libertarian-capitalist regime does that..."

    How do you define "the greatest good for the greatest number" ? How do Individual Rights figure into this formulation?

    Would it require a philosopher-king to make that determination? or a poll?

    Freedom, in America, was defined by those rights enumerated in the first ten amendments of our Constitution.

    How would you integrate "the greatest good etc" and Individual Rights?
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    • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
      Greatest good is meaningless and impossible to define. Freedom means that each person gets to enjoy what HE or SHE makes of innate abilities and the world around them. No guarantees.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    No, you did not, but Progressives, some Conservatives and others regularly do to demean obvious and attractive platform of Libertarianism ... precisely like asserting that I have "ridiculed thinking."
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      You wrote "You asserting that I have ridiculed thinking is misleading, very much like the the inappropriate statements made equating Libertarians with anarchists."

      That assertion is not true. Your posts here have repeatedly ridiculed serious thinking and the role of fundamental ideas, as demonstrated in the long list of snide quotes repeatedly characterizing your own posts https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

      No one here has "equated" libertarians with anarchists, nor is there any connection between the two false assertions directed at me personally.

      The long history of anarchism within the libertarian movement since the 1960s is one of the reasons that movement was rejected. Another is the kind of pervasive a-philosophical subjectivism that has characterized the movement and which led so much of it to embrace anarchism. That it also has embraced some correct ideas, mostly taken from Ayn Rand, in the inconsistent mish mash did not save it.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
        Since twice you misinterpreted my statement, apparently you need a lesson in how to read a simile, a metaphor using the words "like" or "as".

        "Killing a person is morally wrong, like the guy that raped a person"

        The meaning does not include an assertion that the first person or audience raped someone. Similarly, I never suggested you or anyone here said Libertarians were anarchists. Understand now?

        I suspect you similarly refuse to actually read and understand other things I wrote.

        There is not one reference in your collection of Thor-quotes that ridicules serious thinking. Not one. There are however, many examples of my demeaning serious, long logical argument to gain the attention of and compel a large population of people directly.

        Even Ayn agreed, and wrote Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to compliment her logic. ... sounds familiar ... did one of us suggest something like this?
        Why yes! It was such a good idea, someone had already thought of it.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          Your false, unrelated assertions were directed at me personally. Polemical "similes" employing false statements are non-responsive.

          Your repetitious stream of snide ridicule is there for all to see, summarized by the quotes at https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
            Point specifically to the false statement. What false statement did I make?

            You are not reading and understanding, just snapping responses back to me that demonstrate you didn't read. I gave you a specific example just now.

            You and I agree on almost everything. Yet, this may be the most aggressive argument I've ever had in this site.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
              "You wrote 'You asserting that I have ridiculed thinking is misleading, very much like the the inappropriate statements made equating Libertarians with anarchists.'

              "That assertion is not true. Your posts here have repeatedly ridiculed serious thinking and the role of fundamental ideas, as demonstrated in the long list of snide quotes repeatedly characterizing your own posts https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

              "No one here has 'equated' libertarians with anarchists, nor is there any connection between the two false assertions directed at me personally."

              I am not "snapping responses back". I carefully read your posts and thoughtfully respond to address the content, which you do not seem to be interested in or following. The importance of philosophical ideas to the life of an individual and to the course of the culture was central to Ayn Rand's approach, and is essential to understanding and dealing with the current decline of this country.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I am still waiting for something to compel a centrist. That sure isn't it.

    Compelling me is preaching to the choir.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      "Centrist" is a political position compromising freedom and statism. It doesn't pop out of a vacuum. It is a consequence of ethical confusion. Centrists can't be "compelled" to think. When they are willing to then explain the ethics. Politics follows ethics.

      "So an ethics of selfishness must be defended because capitalism indeed is the politics of pursuit of one's own happiness. And that ethic of selfishness cannot be defended without reference to man's nature, the nature and role of values, and the connection between freedom of judgment and action and achievement of ones highest value: maintaining and fulfilling ones own life. Which only consistent freedom makes possible."
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
        So we play this on Fox or CNN?
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          You don't "play" the conclusion of the article on anything. It was directed at those who already understand and appreciate something of the importance of Ayn Rand, not people who know nothing about it. This isn't about mindlessly repeating out of context slogans. Understand it and act accordingly, giving appropriate explanation.

          Spreading the fundamental ideas of reason and individualism as referred to on this forum does not mean walking up to strangers on the street and parroting "replace your irrationalism and altruism with reason and egoism". First understand yourself, then think and explain in terms appropriate to the context.
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
            Ok, I am getting irritated.

            I presented a perfectly logical argument demonstrating that this must begin with public opinion.

            Show me how public opinion will be moved with your reason and intellect argument. Explain your plan. Do not respond with another professorial sermon. I have work to do, and this is no longer an interesting distraction. PragerU understands what I'm talking about.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
              "Public opinion" is a result of what people think. Slogans and Pragmatism are not a substitute. Disparaging explanation as "pin-head definitions" and "sermons" is an example of what not to do. The purpose of serious discussion is not "distraction".
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                Good luck with serious discussion. Please do let me know how it goes.
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  Serious discussion is how we got the Enlightenment and the founding of this country. It is required for understanding and spreading proper ideas.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                    It required people being sick of tyranny, guns and a lot of lives. Then...people started thinking.

                    It did not happen to a population of comfortable, overfed, overpaid, TV/video game junkies.

                    There is no parallel here.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      The parallel is the role of ideas in the course of a culture. People in the 18th century did not suddenly become sick of tyranny that had reigned for well over a millennium. Intellectuals of the Dark and Middle Ages had been thinking -- the wrong ideas of mysticism and irrationalism. The ideas of John Locke and other thinkers, beginning with the Renaissance made the difference. The ideas of the counter Enlightenment also made the difference for reversal. Anti-intellectual, ridiculing contempt for both ideas and people to be manipulated by slogans is not a solution to anything.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                        No, they became sick of royalty which was no longer needed for them to succeed. Then democracy was spawned in the US and France.

                        Now we have even more stuff, we are fat and comfortable. Why not just keep throwing alms to the poor, medical care for all, and free college? Who of these people wants individualism? Not many.

                        A significant reduction in standard of living (probably in the works), is what is required to anger people now. Then the socialist-totalitarians will says we need more, more, more, and the only way out is another revolution (Gulching or shooting).

                        Thinkers, long-winded logical arguments and diatribes are not going to reverse this. However, demonstration of one or more successful applications of freedom and private industry can start getting attention. Then, some logic may get people thinking and change the trend. Without a modern, recent, significant example, it is just boring reference to Milton Friedman or massively negatively viewed reference to Ayn.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          The Enlightenment began in England and also influenced that country to be more free. It led to the Industrial Revolution there. The American colonies already had freedom as a result. The American Revolution was to keep the freedom they were accustomed to and accepted as natural after Britain began taking it away. The founding documents, from the Declaration to the Constitution, were based on Enlightenment principles, not emotional anger lashing out at whoever happened to be in charge.

                          France rebelled against its tyranny, too, and got the tyranny of the French Revolution out of its "fraternity" substituting for Enlightenment individualism.

                          A couple of centuries of American success already show what is possible. It got the attention of the whole world. The observed comparison doesn't change the march to collectivism because collectivism is increasingly accepted as the good. A few 'demonstration' projects will not change that.

                          Start another revolution today out of anger with no understanding and you will get the slaughter of worse collectivism and statism. Keep denouncing and ridiculing thinking and you will get it sooner.
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                            You have made many assertions about what won't work, but supported them in logical argument none at all. Neither have you described an alternate plan, other than reeducating the population.

                            We are just going to agree to disagree again.

                            Mao Zedong is alive and training everyone in the US. For the moment we can argue against it. You reeducate the country. I am going to find other people that want to see some successful measure attempted, and grow that seed.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              Assertions about the role of ideas in directing the course of a culture most certainly are made with logic. It is seen throughout history. It's not exactly a new idea. Neither is the 'strategy' of slogans intended to manipulate the public in politics without understanding and without regard to the basic beliefs that people already hold. The repetitious demeaning and ridicule of thinking is an embarrassment, especially on an Ayn Rand forum.. You are more intelligent than that.
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                                I have NOT ridiculed thinking, Jesus Christ!

                                I am completely tired of us all being undermined with clever lies, and sound bites. I have not asserted that we return with lies. I have asserted we respond with clever, tangible, graspable, clear, concepts that can generate evidence that freedom will provide more efficiency and a greater good.

                                The concept that people must be responsible for the consequences of their actions for the freedoms they enjoy, has been rejected by precisely zero people (except you because you will not get off an inappropriate definition of responsibility). It has generated endorsement from conservatives, liberals and socialists. It gets thinking started, where people, particularly dogmatic, stubborn people would start shouting or otherwise stop listening. Then the discussion goes to what freedoms, and what consequent responsibility and why we should all pay for it through a government program. This concept is not a slogan. It is simplicity and obvious. We want marijuana legalized, yes, great. However, if one uses it, drives and causes an accident, one must take responsibility. Obvious, argued against by virtually no one. People followed Washington, Jefferson, Franklin (in particular) and the rest because he made clear statements they could grasp and support. The whole of the US that revolted was not "enlightened". Today we are faced with an additional problem that people's attention spans are much shorter. Gone are the days when reading a newspaper was almost the nicest distraction from the mundane. What we do for work today is generally more fun that what the Revolutionaries did for pleasure.

                                I am demeaning, again, the concept of convincing people without simplicity and clarity, and beginning with fundamental ideology, rather than an incremental step from where we are. There is nothing illogical or irrational or deceitful about this. I have NEVER seen anyone on the fence convinced by and argument starting with fundamentals of human rights or behavior. That just goes to a Scientific American Mind article where you are wrong.

                                You asserting that I have ridiculed thinking is misleading, very much like the the inappropriate statements made equating Libertarians with anarchists.

                                You again have offered nothing tangible as an alternative (and at this point, I suspect you can not in less than ten pages). Neither have you explained with any clear logical argument where my suggestions will fail. I suspect you can not, because they are simply followed up with an explanation for why the policies succeed, which brings the discussion back to fundamentals.
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  No one here "equated Libertarians with anarchists". The significant presence and role of subjectivism and anarchism, specifically "free market defense agencies", in the libertarian movement since the 1960s is well known. It doesn't mean that all libertarians have been anarchists.
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  You are promoting "messaging" with a list of ambiguous and misleading slogans in the name of the "incremental", now misrepresented as "clear concepts". That is not a "tangible plan" and is not new as a substitute for serious ideas.

                                  You reject the importance of fundamental ideas required to replace bad premises such as altruism, -- which fundamental ideas you smear as "irrelevant", "without simplicity and clarity" and "beginning with fundamental ideology", as if explanation were unclear rationalistic deduction from arbitrary axioms in what you call an attempted "killer move".

                                  In your Pragmatist, anti-intellectual 'marketing plan' for political reform as "efficiency" and a collectivist "greater good" in the name of the "tangible" you seem to have no idea at all of the role of Enlightenment ideas in the founding of this country in contrast to emotional "sick of royalty", let alone what Ayn Rand was talking about. We could have discussed how to approach the application and communication of fundamental ideas, but could not because you dismissed them out of hand.

                                  Anti-intellectual, demeaning, snide, ridicule of ideas and explanation required to replace false premises such as altruism are all through your posts:

                                  "Altruism is difficult to set aside in a philosophical argument. However, it is unnecessary. The question is not 'Is there, or should there be altruism?' The question is should it be instituted in government. This is simple to defend against. All the rest of altruism is irrelevant as voluntary, and we'll find it in everyone."

                                  "This is funny. I don't see 'sacrificing for others in any definition of altruism'. I understand your point, and was trying to be unargumentative about my point.If you just want to argue, then please respond, and I'll waste some more time irritating you about your pin-hole narrow definition, that, among other things, like those of many zealots, completely fails to help convince other open minds of anything except to ignore you"

                                  "We will not win this game in one giant killer move based on intellectual honesty and individualism. People have to be convinced that using the government to fix problems is wrong (inefficient, slow, ineffective, and/or immoral - they only need one of these reasons). This is step number one, not some Vulcan argument for logic over emotion."

                                  "Asking this nation of ironic union Walmart shoppers to become intellectual to change politics is about as likely as a majority of 15 yr olds rejecting video games. "

                                  "there is no chance these stoic, paladin arguments will overcome"

                                  "Will convince no one. Get your rocking chair and rocks ready. "

                                  "Overwhelming evidence demonstrates public opinion is not cerebral."

                                  "So we play this on Fox or CNN? "

                                  "Do not respond with another professorial sermon. I have work to do, and this is no longer an interesting distraction. "

                                  "Good luck with serious discussion. Please do let me know how it goes. "

                                  "Thinkers, long-winded logical arguments and diatribes are not going to reverse this."

                                  "You again have offered nothing tangible as an alternative (and at thin point, I suspect you can not in less than ten pages)."

                                  That was your own "ten pages" of "diatribe".

                                  Those who are serious about what is intellectually required can read Ayn Rand's essays directly on this topic: "What Can One Do?" and "Don't Let it Go" in her anthology *Philosophy: Who Needs It", which have been discussed here previously. They, too, are not "sermons" and "diatribe'.
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  • Posted by  $  Solver 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    That is a problem. When a political party talks about something so critically important like individual rights, they should be able to describe more objectively what they mean by that. Else, the “individual right” to housing or healthcare is right around the corner.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Here is another snide one for you: Nice job with the quotes. How about a clear logical argument?

    You say "You (me) are promoting "messaging" with a list of ambiguous and misleading slogans in the name of the "incremental", now misrepresented as "clear concepts". That is not a "tangible plan" and is not new as a substitute for serious ideas."

    Prove it! Show why this will fail. While you are at it, show why my proposals are ambiguous (maybe) and misleading (not a chance). I laid out the simplest logic showing why Public Opinion must come first. You disagree, but have presented no logical argument against it. (This might be the 3rd or 4th time I've asked)

    You stand on valiant principles that you assert can not be compromised to achieve success, but all year you pay far more than on-half your taxes to support public altruism. Is the next step in this mess a massive uncompromising new set of laws we institute on January 1, 2xxx, or do we gain endorsement of people a little at a time. If so, then the only question is "How to persuade people?"
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      The reasons why ambiguous and misleading marketing slogans are not a replacement for fundamental ideas at the base of and cause of public opinion have already been given but were ignored by you. You don't seem to have any idea what the significance of fundamental ideas means, either now or in history. It does not mean the various strawmen you have used to ridicule it.

      The superficial slogan approach has been invoked and failed for years as the country continues to decline. That approach is not new. Frustration over high taxes does not make an anti-intellectual short cut possible.

      Attempts to explain and describe this to you are ignored as "sermons" and "diatribes". It isn't possible to explain to you in a "compelling" one-liner slogan, let alone one that you can also parrot unchanged as "compelling" to a different audience of what you call the masses of "morons". The discussion here requires following a train of thought across multiple sentences and paragraphs.

      It's not that campaign slogans have no role in politics, but rather the necessity of the proper fundamental ideas being widely accepted before a proper politics can succeed. Slogans are not a short cut around that. That is why even if the Libertarian Party were consistent it would be too soon and would still remain a fringe party. That is the principle. Understanding it requires understanding the nature of and role of philosophical ideas and their history -- the role of the mind in human life and society as illustrated in Atlas Shrugged. It's not a one-liner.

      The most that can be expected today is to appeal on some issues to a large enough portion of the population that still has a decent sense of life, which is all that has prevented the country from fully following the progressives at even faster pace.

      As an example of the role of slogans and public opinion, the meaning of "give me liberty or give me death" was well understood near the end of the 18th century in terms of Enlightenment principles. Run around saying that today and you would get in the name of liberty 'single payer' government health control and death.

      Tell people the conservative slogan "with freedom comes responsibility" and you don't get an embracing of the principle of individual moral responsibility for one's own life as a principle prior to politics, but rather -- as has been discussed here previously -- government holding your freedom hostage to its government-assigned "responsibilities" in exchange for what is left of your freedom -- which is exactly what the conservatives intended when they used that slogan to argue for military conscription and the rest of their version of statism, and which is the meaning assumed by today's collectivism.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
        One can not make a logical argument for why something is "misleading" and/or "ambiguous" by starting with the label "misleading" and "ambiguous".

        There is no argument of "government-assigned "responsibilities"" in my statement. That is a completely inappropriate fabrication you created.
        Further, the freedom you assert is hostage, is already hostage.

        You have some bizarre issue with Conservative statements about responsibility, but no one has suggested a responsibility to government. It is responsibility for the consequences of ones own actions, which presently doesn't exist. I even gave you an example, which you ignore. This is fundamental to individual morality and freedom.

        No one is suggesting that clear simple messages ("slogans" belittled in ewv vernacular) do not arise from logical debate of the fundamentals. However, logical debate is not the method of bringing around the masses. Clear, simple messages (slogans if you like) and success are.

        "Who is John Galt" is a slogan, and it works.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          Your "messaging" slogans intended to avoid "logical debate" in public are in fact ambiguous and misleading. That is an observation of fact, not a circular argument.

          The conservatives (as well as liberals) have in fact employed the notion of freedom requiring responsibility on behalf of military conscription and other statism to their liking. I don't have "bizarre issues"; it's what they have in fact done.

          You did write yourself that "The problem is we don't assign responsibility to the freedoms we have". That is not a "fabrication".

          But tweeking the slogan to be more ambiguous does not stop those with or leaning towards altruist/collectivist premises from understanding "responsibility" in accordance with their own premises. Making a slogan more ambiguous in an attempt to be appealing by avoiding controversy over individualist principles does not change the ideas that people already hold.

          I did not say that your slogan "argued" for government-assigned responsibilities. You avoid mentioning your individualist morality by employing ambiguity in an attempt to be emotionally appealing, without regard for how others will resolve the ambiguity in terms of their own premises. It make the more "popular" slogan worse than useless as you are perceived by others as endorsing their beliefs. That is not the way to advance better ideas.
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
            Who is avoiding logical debate? Not me. I just don't want to debate 250,000 people at the same time, and hate 249,999 walk away after 5-10 minutes. Happy to debate individually or in small groups. Nowhere in what I wrote does it set aside logical argument, debate or discussion.

            I just assert, for the 75th time, that this is not the way to influence large groups. Every advertising company in the world agrees. Obama, for all his faults, is a great orator, and he get this. The people that don't get it are first Libertarians, perhaps because they are disorganized, and fight everything rather than focus, and second conservatives, because they don't know what the internet is.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
              You wrote: "logical debate is not the method of bringing around the masses. Clear, simple messages (slogans if you like) and success are." That is avoiding logical debate by substituting slogans.

              Slogans don't explain or convince anyone beyond what they already think. They appeal to what they already think. Explaining basic ideas on contemporary issues, such as Ayn Rand did in her Los Angeles Times column, which was very popular, is not marketing toothpaste. Advertising company expertise in emotional manipulation is the last place to go for advice on communicating rational ideas contrary to mainstream bromides.

              Obama didn't have to sell his collectivism. He relied on large numbers, including the intellectuals, already wanting it, and used his golden tongue to try misrepresent himself to the rest as not doing what he was doing. Once in a while he slipped, but the media covered for him and didn't let it become a damaging major controversy. The left doesn't have to debate fundamentals because their's are already widely accepted as not controversial. All they have to do is lie about and evade the negative effects on people. That they do with slogans.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                "You wrote: "logical debate is not the method of bringing around the masses. Clear, simple messages (slogans if you like) and success are." That is avoiding logical debate by substituting slogans."

                No it is not. Absolutely not. If this is what you are basing the assertion that I disdain logic argument, it is wrong. Stop this characterization.
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  It's your own words. The "masses" are people with brains. They are the ones, across the country, whose ideas constitute the culture. "Bringing around" means understanding. They can only understand with logic. There is no other way. Everything else is temporizing and manipulation. Fundamental ideas and understanding are what we are talking about, not that you would avoid logic everywhere.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                    Let's just start right there. How do you get the attention of a plumber in Minneapolis, or a bus driver in OK, or a teacher (at least one fed up with the system)?

                    Certainly not with a page, or 10 pages. you do it with a clear concise message that gets them thinking about the next thing, why is isn't in the D platform, or anything. A small success also goes a long way.

                    Look (appeal to the expert). I have a very long, successful history convincing people (the Navy, shipyards, government labs, etc) to adopt significant technologies/plans. I convinced the Navy that electric propulsion was feasible and the right answer for the Columbia Class submarine while at GD. Then I won every major component of the system in 7 separate competitions, while in my present role. I convinced the Navy to adopt hybrid electric drive. I convinced the Korean Navy to adopt hybrid electric drive.

                    Every one of these campaigns takes significant effort. It is grounded in technical and economic "right", with significant logic. However, what opened the door with admirals, SES's, executives and congressmen were clear, simple painfully brief messages following the bouncing ball that are are part of a larger logical plan or a benefit of that plan. The minute it gets complicated, people turn right off.

                    No, zero, none of these began with an education of the masses or leaders in these environments. They began with a simple message, that open a dialog, then more broader discussion, with more lower level people, and then the logic develops a life of its own. Years from now, few are going to learn of care about the complicated logical foundation (e.g. why vacuum circuit breakers enable higher frequency power distribution because they came from the RF industry). Some will, but not the masses.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      Influencing business decisions under a common purpose is not changing fundamental ideas on the purpose of government. Influencing enough people on some specific issue like a tax or some aspect of health care has resulted in minor corrections and temporary backlashes superimposed on a net downward trend towards more and more collectivism. That trend is what is at issue. Temporarily 'fixing' little pieces, or appearing to, does nothing to change the fundamental premises driving the trend.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                        Those are a convenient set of assertions, but 1) unsupported and 2) wrong.

                        Influencing all decisions requires understanding who the decision makers are, who the influencers are, who the implementers are and what the gaps are in between their position and the decision you want. This is true for all decisions.

                        Advertisers and psychologists will reaffirm several effective means to affect people's opinions or though process. Trillions of dollars are spent on this, and where there are trillions of dollars spent competitively, effective, arguably optimally effective, methods are established, optimal being limited by technology.

                        What is needed is:
                        a. A logical, consistent position, which we largely have.
                        b. A solid evaluation of where various factions and positions stand.
                        c. A long-term strategy to affect change, and how fast to affect change in each area.
                        d. A tactical plan for each immediate period and each area.

                        You have been talking about a. (I think). I think this is relatively well-established. I am talking about c and/or d, which I think we Libertarians do about as well as adolescent boys do on their first date.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          Psychological marketing manipulations, factions, and political tactics are not understanding of basic principles. Marketeers wouldn't know an Enlightenment if it it them in the face, and neither would Pragmatist political operatives.

                          Libertarians do not understand how philosophical views such as altruism motivate people and why after half a century the Libertarian Party is still on the 3% fringe. Having an alleged consistent political position contrary to the basic premises of voters and range of the moment tactics would not win them elections making fundamental change. It is too soon for that kind of politics even if the Libertarian Party could make consistent sense.

                          In terms of having some influence on policy changes in legislation and agencies what you said about the Libertarian Party on "d" is notoriously true.
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                            "Psychological marketing manipulations, factions, and political tactics are not understanding of basic principles. Marketeers wouldn't know an Enlightenment if it it them in the face, and neither would Pragmatist political operatives."
                            True, but irrelevant. We are not asking our gardeners to like what we ask them to plant.

                            "Libertarians do not understand how philosophical views such as altruism motivate people and why after half a century the Libertarian Party is still on the 3% fringe. Having an alleged consistent political position contrary to the basic premises of voters and range of the moment tactics would not win them elections making fundamental change. It is too soon for that kind of politics even if the Libertarian Party could make consistent sense."
                            That may be so. I don't doubt it. If we don't understand what is motivating people for what they support today, we have no chance of influencing them to proper policies.
                            Most people do not think that much about it. This is why a majority of people vote along the lines of their parents/families/friends. In the case of altruism specifically, the term is twisted from its original meaning to mean we should have sympathy and some charity for "others" lesser well-off. Then the rich are defiled. The combination makes the majority believe they are the "others", thus they support these policies. There isn't much thinking.

                            In terms of having some influence on policy changes in legislation and agencies what you said about the Libertarian Party on "d" is notoriously true.
                            Precisely my issue. Exactly. Why can we not affect people when the philosophy is so simple?
                            In my job, engineers are smart. They develop technology. However, they are traditionally terrible communicators. They don't have the understanding of people, good written and oral skills, or the ability to watch body language and influence people. Therefore we use others (business development (BD) people) for this. Often these people were engineers that weren't that good at it, but can communicate. Sometimes, not technical at all.
                            I believe the Libertarian Party is full of intellectuals, because that is what is required to wade through the bombardment of crap being thrown, real information and set aside wrong for correct, logical approaches. This type of person is statistically predisposed to be less extraverted and communicative. I believe the Libertariam Party is very much like a company made up entirely of engineers, wondering why everybody doesn't buy their obviously superior products, when if they just painted them blue and round instead of brown and angular, they'd sell like hotcakes.

                            The last sentence of the center paragraph bothers me greatly.
                            "It is too soon for that kind of politics even if the Libertarian Party could make consistent sense."
                            Waiting can be a strategy/tactic. However, it is based on:
                            1. expecting your opponent making a mistake.
                            2. you being disadvantaged presently, but some change will readvantage you.
                            The first sentence of that paragraph asserts "Libertarians don't understand..." I do not share the view, at least for myself and some others. Perhaps a majority do not. However, based on that assertion, the reason to delay is #2.

                            What would change (#2) to readvantage us?
                            A revolution, economic mess? Maybe. It could go the other way too. We study, evaluate understand and communicate among Libertarians what the motivations are, however inappropriate.
                            Ok, I'm in. Let do that. You bet your ass the D's and P's do it. I think I got it already understand, but fine. More Libertarians may need to come along. Let's get going.

                            The world is not full of cerebral people. It is just not. People have an attention span of a couple of minute to capture, and various (if they stay interested) a few more to listen. That is it. That isn't changing, unless we eliminate technology and go back to poverty and boredom. Today, boredom is eliminated. There is nothing to escape, so messages must be interesting.

                            The world is a herd mentality, clearly. The unstated process is that is enough people believe something, then it must be right, and it avoids me having to read all that stuff. We must reach enough people to be relevant. Then the logic, freedom and economic success will take root, and we'll have another enlightenment. Waiting, just makes the task harder, and path longer.
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                            • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                              This has nothing to do with gardening and other such trivialities. The course of a nation is determined by the fundamental philosophical ideas believed by the populace, not technical manipulations and sound bites.

                              Current fundamental philosophical beliefs include the morality of altruism, the belief that the moral good consists in sacrificing to others. That is not "twisted" from the original meaning of the term. It is the original meaning -- from Auguste Comte, the French Positivist philosopher who coined the term "altruism" in the middle of the 19th century to mean living for others. It has been widely accepted as the good as promoted by the counter-Enlightenment, based on thousands of years of religious demands for sacrifice as a moral duty, including sacrifice to the supernatural but not consistently a call for living for others. The philosophy of altruism does not mean "sympathy".

                              Most people do not try to consistently live in accordance with that because it would be impossible, and because it is not the original tradition of Americanism from the Enlightenment. The constant appeals to altruism undermine what is left of an implicit American individualism, which has been left defenseless against the barrage from the intellectuals from education to the media. Watch how people squirm with guilt when they want lower taxes but can't defend eliminating the entitlement programs of the welfare state.

                              Libertariansm, in its various contradictory forms, is a political position, not a "simple philosophy". It is not a philosophy at all. It is simplistic in its ignoring the role of philosophy at the base of a politics and ignoring that the prevailing basic beliefs conflict with a politics of individualism. That is why you "can not affect people when the [political] philosophy is so simple". "Non-initiation of force" is a principle derived from a proper egoistic ethics. It conflicts with altruism. There is no "simple" way to avoid that.

                              No amount of evasion substituting "sympathy" for the meaning of altruism while appealing for better "oral skills" of marketeers and a vague notion of "reaching people" changes that. Ignoring the role of fundamental ideas in human existence, as if this were no more than a matter of marketing gimmicks to "reach people" in politics, is profoundly anti-intellectual and hopeless. If you don't know what people have to be "reached" for, it doesn't matter what the marketeers do to "reach" them. Nor are marketeers and their slogans a substitute for understanding.

                              To say that it is too soon for a fundamental individualistic political reform because it requires wide acceptance of a proper philosophy of reason and egoism is not a "strategy" of "waiting". It is a fact. There are no shortcuts. Plunging into politics without regard for the intellectual prerequisites is hopeless. The "libertarians", in particular, let alone the fringe Libertarian Party, are mostly hopeless to effect any policy changes even where that is still possible.
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                                Ok. That’s it. I present logically supported statements. You respond by demeaning them, with assertions, and then just make more unsupported assertions. Not even worth arguing.

                                I have no idea what you think you are going to to to affect change in the world with the time you have left. I cared to listen, but no longer.

                                I am not arguing with you anymore. I will pursue what I know can work in the actual world with people that want to discuss reality, with other real people.

                                Go waste someone else’s time.
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                                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                                  Repeatedly ignoring the role of fundamental ideas and evading explanation as "demeaning" "unsupported assertion" is not a logical argument and not an excuse for insults and angrily demeaning anyone as not a "real" person. Your statements about altruism have been factually incorrect.
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            • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
              RE: "The people that don't get it are first Libertarians, perhaps because they are disorganized, and fight everything rather than focus . . . " That’s too broad an accusation when it comes to Libertarians. Many of us are very organized and very focused. LP, Cato, Reason magazine and website for starters. Influential in several free market think tanks. Increasing public acceptance of our policy positions. Any sufficiently large group will likely have members who are disorganized and unfocused, but Libertarians in general have been very effective over the last several decades in building public recognition and support for our beliefs.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
                If that is so, and I hope it is, Libertarians should start taking some real positions in Washington. The fundamentals are endorsed by so many individually...soooo many.

                Gary Johnson mentioning marijuana in every speech, and purveying bizarre positions:
                "We are going to have ti inhabit other planets"
                "What is Aleppo?" (perhaps forgivable)
                "In the future the sun is going to expand and encompass the Earth, so we'll have to live with global warming"

                If he was attempting humor, it failed. Libertarians need to put up a moderate candidate the supports the social freedom everyone is clamoring about (but want to achieve by force = problem), and clear fiscal freedom. The welfare state is not going away in a term. A process to get people off and self sufficient has to be the transition.
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                • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                  A politically credible political party has to take positions on all the current major controversies and problems. If they ever began to become seriously viable by being "moderate", the major campaigns would openly challenge them and raise a lot of questions.

                  If they then tried to be consistently individualist they would lose because there is almost no political support for that; it is far too soon.

                  If they were not consistent in order to try to be viable they would become like the conservatives -- half not viable and half not believable -- while still retaining the practical problems of any minority third party.

                  Clowns like Johnson and Weld were not a path to anywhere.

                  As it stands now, "taking some real positions in Washington" would be meaningless because no one in Washington take the Libertarian Party seriously. In matters of practical politics influencing policy, libertarians are known for "not operating in the real world".
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                  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                    RE: “no one in Washington takes the Libertarian Party seriously.” Romney does. He seriously considered voting Libertarian in the 2016 election, and said he would have likely done so if Weld had been at the top of the ticket. Hillary does. In her recent book she said the LP might have affected the outcome of the election. The Republican Party does. It has gone to great lengths to make it difficult for the LP to achieve ballot status in numerous states, and many of their more blatant efforts have been overturned by the courts.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                      People active in Washington "in matters of practical politics influencing policy" do not take libertarians seriously as effective. Hillary's paranoid book blaming everyone in sight for her loss is irrelevant. So is whoever Romney might vote for in his obsession with Trump. Republicans blocking access to dark horse "spoilers" is the usual paranoid dirty politics of election battles. None of this has anything to do with effecting policy in Washington.
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                      • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago
                        Senator Rand Paul has close ties with the Libertarian Party, is an occasional advisor to President Trump, and was instrumental in persuading Trump to sign an executive order directing cabinet members to draft regulations allowing the sale of health insurance across state lines. Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash is considering a run for the LP presidential nomination in 2020. Economist Stephen Moore, who was affiliated with the libertarian Cato Institute for many years, is an advisor to Trump. So is Myron Ebell, a policy director at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. Policy advocates from both Cato and CEI testify frequently before congressional committees. Contrary to your assertions, people active in Washington "in matters of practical politics influencing policy" in fact do take libertarians very seriously.
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                        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
                          Name dropping "ties" as rationalization does not save the Libertarian Policy from its fringe status. The few such as Myron who know what they are doing are not the Libertarian Party, and for all the good they have done it is not changing the long term trend. Those very few like Myron have had an impact on current policy that most libertarians can't even dream of, but are not reversing the overall trend towards collectivism.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Not sure how many times I say this; however, what you are presenting resonates with me, but there is no sentence in what you wrote above that will compel anyone that doesn't already agree to change their mind.

    I have provided several messages, that may/may not be compelling, but they will get people thinking and probably a few moving over:

    "Freedom requires responsibility" - So simple. We all agree, in wide spread freedom. However, these freedoms require people to take responsibility for the consequences, otherwise we are children and society breaks down. (I know you hate this, but you refuse to understand what I mean, and what everyone else will hear). Next obvious statement is "no government rules increase freedom, they only limit some people's freedom."

    "Government is inefficient" - Therefore government action is not the way to provide services.

    "Being charitable is great individually, but should not be instituted in government." Charitable and altruistic are equated in many leftist diatribes, which is how this stupid argument started.

    These themes can get people's attention, get them thinking and take away the strength of the "Give a man a fish. Get his vote" Progressive campaign.

    If I were running, I'd run on a platform of getting people off welfare, by letting them volunteer for a different program, where we hire private companies to get them on there feet, incentivized by modest term (3-5 years) of not receiving welfare. So easy to accomplish. So easy to dare Progressives to try it. What are they afraid of.
    Of course this is not in line with our utopia, but 1) taking people off welfare and 2) demonstrating the capability of private companies, and 3) getting people understanding that handouts solve nothing, are GREAT steps.

    I am completely sick of Libertarianism, which most people actually endorse when it isn't being misrepresented by the R's or D's, can not get any traction. Marajuana legalization and diatribes is all they have.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Politicians are motivated by votes. Votes come from public opinion. Swaying politicians is not possible without swaying public opinion. Overwhelming evidence demonstrates public opinion is not cerebral.

    Therefore, starting with this dry message will fail, like most before it.

    We must find a way to connect to the mainstream. Then after some success, begin the process of asking for logic and thinking.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      You won't connect with anyone with the premise that they aren't "cerebral". "Some success" in a vague, unspecified "connection" does not precede "asking for logic and thinking".

      No one advocating "starting with this dry message" when speaking to others.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 months ago
        You are misquoting me. I never said that as a message.
        The message are provided elsewhere.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
          You wrote "starting with this dry message will fail". No one advocated "starting with this dry message" when speaking to others. He is speaking to us (and not dryly), not providing a script to be used out of context. He was discussing the meaning of what is required as a moral base for capitalism, not providing scripts of slogans.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Who are “they”? There’s nothing at all about the Nature Conservancy on the Libertarian Party website. Many libertarians are critical of the Nature Conservancy, others (mistakenly, in my view) support it. Most have no strong opinions about it. I’ve been to many LP conventions and have never heard it mentioned.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      The Libertarian Party supported organizations like TNC in the last presidential election. The support seemed to be in ignorance, not necessarily deliberate, in an attempt to be seen supporting something 'mainstream' politically correct. It was discussed on this forum at the time.

      Among libertarians, CEI seems to know better because of a couple of very knowledgeable individuals there. Others, like PERC, are a big problem.
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  • Posted by chad 2 months, 1 week ago
    I used to think that there needed to be a structure of government but it needed to be very minimal. The constitution of the United States was an attempt to constrain the government. It was abused by the first president of the United States and every one since growing into the communist democracy America is today. Not enough people understand that the constitution was to control the government not the people. Then even the people grew to demand that it enslave which it does quite well now and very efficiently. Anarchy, the denial of a ruling class, may be the only way to achieve the ability for the individual to remain free.
    How do you teach those who would be slaves that enslavement is a bad idea? You can reason with them, they will deny reality and construe arguments that will convince most of the others who would be slaves. If an individual is still left free and could live free the difference would then become obvious to the slaves but they still would not like you for it and they would find irrational reasons to enslave the freeman. If violence can be used against the freeman then his only remaining choice is to surrender as little of his property as possible and continue to live as a slave or die at the hands of the enslavers.
    When I have presented this offer to let me prove my arguments by letting me be free the socialists always reply; 'We couldn't do that, our system wouldn't work if we let people voluntarily leave!' Which is an admission that they do understand that their system can only 'work' if it can enslave.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months ago
      Anarchy is the opposite of freedom. The freedom to use your own mind to choose and pursue your own goals, secure in your property, is denied by the chaotic use of force in anarchy. It isn't a system at all.

      As for the socialists admitting that socialism can work only if they enslave is an understatement. Enslavement is built in from the beginning -- the moment the individual is subordinated to the collective. It is intended to enslave; that is what they mean by "works".
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