1049: "Bookshelf"

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby iamspen » Tue May 01, 2012 6:49 pm UTC

Mike250 wrote:That is not to say that some Indian tribes were not wrongly dispossessed of the land, but we also need to look at it from the perspective that Native Americans' conceptualization of property rights was essentially non-existent. This obviously made it very difficult for cultures to coexist under such competing views of property, especially when one considers that almost all the land that is now the USA was unclaimed.


So?

"Do you have a permit for that there land? What's that, you say? You ain't got a complicated legal or economic system to govern things like land ownership? Then get off mah property! No? Fellers, we got us some genocidin' ta do!" There isn't much that's rational or objective about that thought process. It should be self-evident that the Native Americans shouldn't have required paperwork to use their land how they wished. I mean, it'd be like if David Cameron called Obama and said, "Hey, man, actually, you guys never filled out the required paperwork to be able to govern yourselves. It's cool, though, the solution is simple: we'll murder three-quarters of your people, and the survivors can live in Omaha and Kansas City."

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

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


If people like you were allowed to have their way and eliminate any socialism from the US government, there would be people starving to death in the streets. As for obesity, it's far more of a symptom of not having proper food than having too much. Prisons may be a net drag for the economy, but they sure provide lots of funds to those who own them. If I could tell you where a black site was, it wouldn't be a black site anymore. Though why bother with such things when police can just gun you down in the street?

As for your last 2 questions, I don't understand where you're getting them from. One thing I am sure of is if you were allowed to have your way, there would be Walmart and Exxon gulags where anyone who wanted to form a union would be sent.

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


If I recall the discussion, we were talking about places of economic distress, not places where a single madman decided to be crazy. Of course, when we have such a madman, we need to look at the conditions that allowed such a personality to flourish in the first place.

It's always the same with your type. You think everything happens in a vacuum. You think if you shoot a gun haphazardly wherever you want, as long as it's on your land, it's fine even if you end up hitting someone or damaging someone else's land. You have no understanding of the situations other people face outside of those you have yourself faced, and think that it's all equal. Your kind thinks if someone dies from corporate malfeasance, it's perfectly fine since the survivors can sue them (at least TECHNICALLY they can, good luck having the resources to actually do it) instead of trying to prevent the death in the first place. ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 01, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

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

Many philosophers from several millennea down through the present day would like to argue with you about whether that is really such a basic, obvious thing.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 7:11 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:One thing I am sure of is if you were allowed to have your way, there would be Walmart and Exxon gulags where anyone who wanted to form a union would be sent.


Capitalism is evil and communism is good because if capitalists were in charge, they'd do exactly what communists have done whenever communists have been in charge. ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES ... And so do delusions.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby HonoreDB » Tue May 01, 2012 7:27 pm UTC

Image

So, I think the main point of the comic was the witty way to comment on a book, not the specific commentary. To that end, I've made a site where you can generate your own version that says whatever you want about whatever book you want.

Enjoy!

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:Capitalism is evil and communism is good because if capitalists were in charge, they'd do exactly what communists have done whenever communists have been in charge. ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES ... And so do delusions.


Sadly, it's been my observation that delusions don't have consequences all that often. If ever a communist government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of capitalist imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a communist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely capitalists societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

HugoSchmidt wrote:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791377?seq=3
Can you give me more context? I can't read this review. Where did this person get the information from? I know there are tons of reports of Stalin's paranoia, but I've never heard the 'crawling under windows to avoid snipers' bit, particularly not near his death. This is pure curiosity on my part, mind.
HugoSchmidt wrote: Take Bernie Madoff. He lived his entire life a lie, his own son committed suicide out of shame for his father's actions (could anyone recover from this?). Here's what Madoff says to an interviewer:

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


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

People who act in this way are miserable, pain-wracked creatures, who really want only their own death. Lying, cheating, stealing - these are not conducive to happiness.
Madoff is a very singular example--and an example of someone who actually got 'caught'. How many people involved in this crisis didn't get 'caught'? Do you think they all secretly feel the same way as Madoff does--do you think they're all pain-wracked creatures who really want their own death?

This is an incredibly narrow perspective on the human condition. It's also very hard to prove, and makes some fundamental assumptions about how our world--and our minds--work. Why would you make those assumptions?
HugoSchmidt wrote:To be sure, living a moral life does not guarantee success - but it is only a moral life that makes it even possible.
Why would you assume this? What's your evidence? What are you basing this on?

Humans are highly complex creatures, both mentally and emotionally--we are designed by a blind process of natural selection to seek prosperity and happiness by a variety of means. Why on earth would you assume that there's only one road to personal fulfillment? Why can't liars and murderers and thieves possibly be just as happy and personally fulfilled as hard, honorable, honest workers? What part of the brain prevents terrible people from living happy, contented lives?

Pfhorrest wrote:Many philosophers from several millennea down through the present day would like to argue with you about whether that is really such a basic, obvious thing.
Yeah, but come on--there are plenty of people who'd like to argue with me about whether or not Jesus road a dinosaur.

If you think 'goodness' can be objectively defined--if you think it's something that exists outside of our heads--you're bad at philosophy. In the same way that a biologist who thinks evolution is a lie is bad at biology.

EDIT: I might be phrasing the above point poorly. What I mean is that the property of 'goodness' is something we make up. Once we've made it up, we can somehow measure it, and make statements like 'this is objectively good' -- but each of these statements comes with a parenthetical addition ("objectively good... by the measure I've created in my head").
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 7:44 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Sadly, it's been my observation that delusions don't have consequences all that often. If ever a communist government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of capitalist imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a communist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely capitalists societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.


If ever a capitalist government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of communist imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a capitalist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely communists societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby endolith » Tue May 01, 2012 7:45 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:"Why do you think that a bunch of evolutionary algorithms finding local optima for their own subsystems will produce a global optimum?"


Makes me think of this:

Let me state here a personal conviction that appears, right now, to be profoundly unfashionable; which is that a planned economy can be more productive - and more morally desirable - than one left to market forces.

The market is a good example of evolution in action; the try-everything-and-see-what- -works approach. This might provide a perfectly morally satisfactory resource-management system so long as there was absolutely no question of any sentient creature ever being treated purely as one of those resources. The market, for all its (profoundly inelegant) complexities, remains a crude and essentially blind system, and is - without the sort of drastic amendments liable to cripple the economic efficacy which is its greatest claimed asset - intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between simple non-use of matter resulting from processal superfluity and the acute, prolonged and wide-spread suffering of conscious beings.

...

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue May 01, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES ... And so do delusions.


I would argue that a delusion that doesn't lead to any actions actually doesn't have any consequences.

For instance, say I labor under the delusion that the Chicago Cubs are, despite evidence to the contrary, the best team in baseball. I don't buy tickets or merchandise, I don't go out of my way to watch their games because of this belief, I don't mention it to anyone. Yet nonetheless, from the bottom of my heart, I believe it. Does it have any consequences to me?

I'll admit, this is mostly a silly point I interjected because I felt like making fun of the Cubs. :roll:

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 01, 2012 7:52 pm UTC

I'm just going to comment here that there is an important distinction between "capitalism" per se and a free market. Free markets have been propounded since before anybody coined the term "capitalism" (which was originally pejorative), and were advocated in opposition primarily to the even-more-capitalist system of mercantilism, which bears more resemblance to the literal definition of fascism (which, as Mussolini himself said, would more properly be called corporatism).

Capitalism is the domination of the market by the property-owners (the capitalists) at the expense of the laborers.

A free market is one in which no participant is systemically favored, where anyone buying or selling anything (be it capital or labor) may do so freely without coercion. "A well-regulated market", verbatim, was advocated by the original proponent of such a system, and the selling point of it was that society as a whole would flourish under such a system, with wealth of various types flowing from those with the greatest ability to produce it to those with the greatest need of it.

To the extent that capitalism per se implies coercion of laborers by property-owners (and I'm not asserting here to what extent that may be), capitalism can actually impede a free market.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 7:54 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:If ever a capitalist government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of communist imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a capitalist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely communists societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.


If ever a cauliflower government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of zucchini imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a cauliflower society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely zucchini societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.

I fail to see how taking a factual statement I made and switching words around to make it non-factual serves any purpose, unless it's some game you want to play to see how absurd a factual statement can be made by replacing words.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I'm just going to comment here that there is an important distinction between "capitalism" per se and a free market. Free markets have been propounded since before anybody coined the term "capitalism" (which was originally pejorative), and were advocated in opposition primarily to the even-more-capitalist system of mercantilism, which bears more resemblance to the literal definition of fascism (which, as Mussolini himself said, would more properly be called corporatism).

Capitalism is the domination of the market by the property-owners (the capitalists) at the expense of the laborers.

A free market is one in which no participant is systemically favored, where anyone buying or selling anything (be it capital or labor) may do so freely without coercion. "A well-regulated market", verbatim, was advocated by the original proponent of such a system, and the selling point of it was that society as a whole would flourish under such a system, with wealth of various types flowing from those with the greatest ability to produce it to those with the greatest need of it.

To the extent that capitalism per se implies coercion of laborers by property-owners (and I'm not asserting here to what extent that may be), capitalism can actually impede a free market.


Good distinction to point out, though I'd use "free enterprise" rather then "free market" because free market is often seen as one with no regulation/rules. I could be wrong though.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:01 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Of course, implementing a communist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?


On a slightly less snarky note ...

"Death is the solution to all problems - no man, no problem." ~Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:04 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:I fail to see how taking a factual statement I made and switching words around to make it non-factual serves any purpose, unless it's some game you want to play to see how absurd a factual statement can be made by replacing words.


My statement is no less factual than yours. As far as games ... I'm giving you the level of seriousness appropriate for someone who throws around terms like "reich-wing" unironically.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby drakvl » Tue May 01, 2012 8:06 pm UTC

First: For those interested in how to set up such a bookshelf trap, check out http://design.spotcoolstuff.com/house-i ... dden-doors

I was first inspired to pick up Atlas Shrugged thanks to a story arc over at Sluggy Freelance; strangely enough, the copy I got had a leaflet for a local mosque tucked into it. I initially loved it, but that's probably due to how I'd recently seen a traumatically bad Robin Hood movie (could've been Prince of Thieves), and I was digging her demonizing of the folk hero, even though technically, 'ood of the story was doing *exactly* what Dajjeskold claimed was his purpose: taking back money taken unjustly for workers. It was only later that I came to a conclusion similar to Randall's, and came up with a three-step process that seemed to explain the development of beliefs in Objectivism:
1. Start with an obvious truth.
2. Apply bad logic.
3. Deduce the absurd.
I also concluded that the totality of what is worth considering in Atlas Shrugged can be obtained from reading 1984 and Foundation, for an overall smaller word count and more pleasurable reading experience.

And now, an anecdote: a while back, I saw a criticism of AS, which stated that the book is wonderful, except for one scene, described as the gas chamber scene: when the train gets stuck in a tunnel, killing of its parasitic passengers through carbon monoxide. And I watched as the terrible act of offering such a criticism demanded that this individual, otherwise a Rand fan, be eaten by his own, other Objectivists (including someone who, except for this instance, seems to be a pretty cool person) demonizing him for expressing difficulty in wrapping his conscience around what appeared to be a gleeful mass-murdering of fiction characters. The vitriol of their responses to what struck me to be a legitimate question seemed an accurate representation of every other instance I've ever seen of Internet Objectivism.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 8:08 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:Of course, implementing a communist society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?


On a slightly less snarky note ...

"Death is the solution to all problems - no man, no problem." ~Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili


Sad, but true. Always has been and always will be. Whether DEATH is necessary to deal with violent rebels, I can't really say. How would you deal with communist rebels seeking to destroy the NYSE as a political statement?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 8:11 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:
My statement is no less factual than yours.


Yes it is. We've never seen a purely communist society, at least not on a large scale, that had no capitalism influencing them and we have seen purely capitalist societies with no communism influencing them.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:12 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I'm just going to comment here that there is an important distinction between "capitalism" per se and a free market ...


I don't disagree with what you say historically, and you're also right regarding the need to define terms. I disagree with the idea that your posited definition of capitalism is the current preeminent definition. But I will clarify that I support "capitalism" in the sense that I support "a free market". I do not in any sense support "corporatism".

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 8:12 pm UTC

drakvl wrote:I also concluded that the totality of what is worth considering in Atlas Shrugged can be obtained from reading 1984 and Foundation, for an overall smaller word count and more pleasurable reading experience.
Huge fan of both books, more 'Foundation' than anything--not my favorite of Asimov's stuff, but close to it ("Never let morality get in the way of doing what's right" remains my all-time favorite character quote). 1984, too, managed to get under my skin in so many ways that Atlas Shrugged could never accomplish.
drakvl wrote:Internet Objectivism.
I have to wonder if 'Internet Objectivism' is a thing, because fuck if I've ever met a real Objectivist off the internet (one who declared themselves as such), and all the Objectivists I've met online have long baffled me with their suite of assumptions.

It leaves me wondering to what meeting an Objectivist in meatspace would be like. It also makes me wonder--if their morality is designed to maximize their opportunity for prosperity, do they tend to be rich, happy, prosperous people?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:13 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Yes it is. We've never seen a purely communist society, at least not on a large scale, that had no capitalism influencing them and we have seen purely capitalist societies with no communism influencing them.


That's an ideological lie.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 8:16 pm UTC

drakvl wrote: The vitriol of their responses to what struck me to be a legitimate question seemed an accurate representation of every other instance I've ever seen of Internet Objectivism.


This can also be observed here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F56cfSyWOkI

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:18 pm UTC

drakvl wrote:I was first inspired to pick up Atlas Shrugged thanks to a story arc over at Sluggy Freelance...


I'm blanking here. Which story arc was that?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 8:19 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:That's an ideological lie.


Which part? Both? Are you claiming the capitalism of industrial revolution era London was corrupted by communism? Or are you saying that communist governments, like Cuba, haven't been interfered with by capitalists?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 01, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

drakvl wrote:1. Start with an obvious truth.
2. Apply bad logic.
3. Deduce the absurd.

I agree that there are many people in the generally libertarian/free-market/capitalist/"conservative"/"Objectivist" line of thought follow a process like this. However, I think it equally disheartening that the other half of the false dichotomy argue from the negation of the absurdity to the negation of the obvious truth.

On the one hand, we have:
1. Stealing from people is wrong.
2. ???
.: 3. Fuck you, I got mine!

Then in response, we get:
1. Some people need help!
2. ???
.: 3. It's not stealing if it's for a good cause.

What we need is a dialogue the lines of:
1. Stealing from people is wrong.
2. Some people need help!
.: 3. ???

We need to be working on filling in that last set of "???", instead of continuing trying vainly to bolster the "???"s connecting the premise and conclusion of the first two arguments.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Sad, but true. Always has been and always will be. Whether DEATH is necessary to deal with violent rebels, I can't really say. How would you deal with communist rebels seeking to destroy the NYSE as a political statement?


The assumption being that, roles reversed, I'd be willing to engage in such terrorism? Wow.

"A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping… Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either." ~ Clive Staples Lewis

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Which part? Both? Are you claiming the capitalism of industrial revolution era London was corrupted by communism? Or are you saying that communist governments, like Cuba, haven't been interfered with by capitalists?


The whole "X just hasn't been done pure enough before!" schtick is passe.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 01, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I'm just going to comment here that there is an important distinction between "capitalism" per se and a free market ...


I don't disagree with what you say historically, and you're also right regarding the need to define terms. I disagree with the idea that your posited definition of capitalism is the current preeminent definition. But I will clarify that I support "capitalism" in the sense that I support "a free market". I do not in any sense support "corporatism".

Yes, I just brought it up because of this argument about "we've never seen a pure {capitalist|communist} society".

We have definitely seen purely capitalist societies. I have my doubts about whether we've ever seen a truly free market on any large scale.

We have definitely seen dictatorships 'of the proletariat'. I have my doubts about whether we've ever seen true communism on any large scale.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue May 01, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:Sad, but true. Always has been and always will be. Whether DEATH is necessary to deal with violent rebels, I can't really say. How would you deal with communist rebels seeking to destroy the NYSE as a political statement?


Judging by history, evidently by chasing them down, overthrowing their puppet government, and then getting distracted by their next-door neighbors for the better part of a decade before remembering oh, yeah, we had a mission to do.

I'd personally see what I could do about cutting out that middle section, if I ran the zoo, but I'm not optimistic.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:We need to be working on filling in that last set of "???", instead of continuing trying vainly to bolster the "???"s connecting the premise and conclusion of the first two arguments.
Part of the problem with Objectivism, as I see it, is that it's a belief of no compromises; you can't figure out solutions that help everyone, because Objectivists believe that there's only one solution that can do that--everyone becomes Objectivists.

Solutions that satisfy multiple interests--that rely on reason (actual reason, not this flimsy 'you must subscribe to my morality to be a happy, fulfilled person' bullshit), science, on methods we can measure and test--those are the solutions that interest me. I think they're the solutions that should interest everyone (but then again, maybe I'm falling prey to the same uncompromising tone that the Objectivists seem to fall prey to...).

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 8:37 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:The whole "X just hasn't been done pure enough before!" schtick is passe.


So is being wrong, but you just can't help yourself, can you? You're free to name a communist "regime" that wasn't interfered with by capitalists in general and the United States in particular.

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Karilyn
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Tue May 01, 2012 8:41 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
Karilyn wrote:Discussion about what appears to possibly be corruption in unions in America, and how many of the states within America are modern welfare states appear to be collapsing financially, incapable of supporting themselves.

Wow! A whole block of 100% pure malt bullshit. A total block of complete false reich-wing propaganda.

Do you care to actually discuss your point logically, or just insult me and say it's wrong? If what I said was wrong then debate it. Saying "That is a load of bullshit" in no way proves your point. I was 100% open to debate and discussion about what I wrote, and still am. There is such a concept as rational debate over a subject. I never called you a name. I never called anything you said bullshit. Please hold a similar respect for me.

If you want, you may go back and debate my points individually. You are 100% permitted to have differing opinions of mine. You are permitted to argue counterpoints because you have a different position. You are not permitted to say "That was bullshit" because you have a differing opinion. If your position is defendable, then defend it. I know it's defensible, as I have seen many an intelligent person argue in favor of labor unions, and while I disagree with them, I can admit that they were not ignorant. You however, appear to be ignorant of the own positions you try to defend, and since you cannot defend it, like some of the brilliant people I have disagreed with in the past, you instead just say "That's bullshit." Insulting the argument instead of providing a counterpoint makes you look ignorant. If you are sufficiently educated on the subject to defend your position, then do so, like many people before you have done.

linebreak would be a useful feature for this forum wrote:


You started to do this defend your position in favor of unions, but failed to address the idea that unions were initially good within America, but have been heavily corrupted over time to only be interested in lining their own coffers and favor longevity over skill (You also failed to address the collapsing welfare states within America). If a worker who would be paid on the fair market $7 hourly, is because of being a union member, paid $20 hourly, and the Union takes $7-10 of their hourly wage in dues, leaving the worker with only $10-13 dollars, is the union caring about the employee, or their own coffers? To gain an employee a $3-6 dollar increase in income, while giving the union a $7-10 dollar profit. That certainly seems like the unions are taking a disproportionate share of the increased wages they get for employees, while laying the entire burden on the employer to pay this gap of an employee who now has to be paid 3 times as much (times a thousand employees). While simultaneously favoring employee longevity over productivity, insures that employers are paying three times as much, for an employee which doesn't have to work as hard, because their longevity insures that due to the union, they cannot be fired.

This is a distinct aspect of corruption which unions have been engaging in increasingly over time, because they realize they can get away with it. The real people who profit from a union, are not the union workers, but the administrators of the union itself. It's exploitive of the workers, getting them a $3-6 dollar wage increase, while the union makes $7-10 dollars off of that same increase. There's no aspect of a union which justifies them receiving in dues over 50% of the money that they got for the employee. That's a more exploitive share than even most lawyers are willing to take off of their clients!

Unions were at one time a good thing. And in theory they could be a good thing again. But right now, they have become extremely corrupted, much like the corporations they were intended to keep in line.

TL;DR: Unions produce higher average wages among those who are employed, at the cost of significantly lower total employment. In addition, the higher average wage is less significant than it would immediately appear to be because of union dues, and the artificially inflation of the average wage caused by the largest percentage of unemployed people statistically being those who work in low paying jobs which artificially inflates the average wage through their unemployment. The net result? Robbing from the poorest in society (IE the unemployed) to give higher wages to those who are already employed.

It is my opinion that it would be superior to have 3% unemployment with the minimum wage at $10, than 10% unemployment with labor unions negotiating employees up to $13 starting wage (after union dues are subtracted of course). Yes I realize this is positively socialist to suggest; I frankly do not care... It's better everybody is employed at a slightly lower wage than fewer people employed at a slightly higher wage. There's a bigger difference between $10 an hour and $0 an hour, than $10 an hour and $13 an hour.

And yes, you can check the statistics on the 50 United States. There is a strong tendency for states were unions are legal to have significantly higher unemployment. It is also true that they have higher average wages. But is it work sacrificing the unemployed on the alter of unions in order to make life slightly better for union workers? I say I value the welfare of the unemployed far more than those who are already employed, no matter how low the wage of the employed person.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby jpers36 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:52 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:So is being wrong, but you just can't help yourself, can you? You're free to name a communist "regime" that wasn't interfered with by capitalists in general and the United States in particular.


Yep, them evil capitalists, tripping up Stalin all the time. If the USA hadn't existed, he wouldn't have been forced to throw Solzhenitsyn into the gulag. All those purges? Totally Coolidge's fault. Or was it Truman? I forget.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 01, 2012 9:00 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:We need to be working on filling in that last set of "???", instead of continuing trying vainly to bolster the "???"s connecting the premise and conclusion of the first two arguments.
Part of the problem with Objectivism, as I see it, is that it's a belief of no compromises.

I consider that a good feature, for a certain value of 'compromise'. It is right to be principled; and to compromise those principles, even for good ends, is wrong. Terminology carefully chosen here: there is a difference between right/wrong and good/bad, as one refers to means and the other refers to ends. Right means can lead to bad ends and wrong means can lead to good ends, just as an invalid argument can have a true conclusion and a valid argument can have a false conclusion. It is important that an argument not only reach a true conclusion but reach it validly; and it is important not only that an argument be valid but that its conclusion be true. Likewise ends and means.

If you have a valid argument whose conclusion proves false, what that entails is that you had false premises. Likewise, if acting rightly in accordance with some principles produces bad consequences, that entails that your principles are incorrect. But just as we don't throw out concern for validity when a valid argument arrives at a false conclusion, neither should we result to unprincipled methods when principled methods lead to bad ends. Instead, we need to revisit our principles, and come up with a set of principles which acting rightly in accordance with produces good ends. (This is analogous to how science works: we build a model of how we think the world works, derive conclusions from that model, and if those conclusions don't measure up to reality, we revise the model until conclusions validly drawn from it do measure up. We don't -- or shouldn't, for science well done -- just tack on ad-hoc "except in this case" exceptions to the model.)

And that, I think, is what you probably mean by "compromise", which is more properly termed fallibilism. Admitting that you might be wrong, but still insisting on acting in strict accordance with whatever is right... which may just not be exactly what you thought it was. Where you will find Objectivists and their ilk resistant to to your pleas for "compromise" is that often times such pleas are not an attempt to discuss where and how their principles might be wrong, but just a call to abandon them entirely. That's not a productive way to argue. If they are getting false conclusions from apparently true premises and apparently valid inferences, then you and they need to work out whether it's the premises that are false or the inferences are invalid, and pinpoint exactly where that is so the appropriate modifications can be made, so that we can reach good ends by right means.

It's like debugging code: you don't just scrap the program because it crashes and then guestimate the output by hand all the time; you find out where the bugs are that are causing the crashes and fix them so that you have a functional program to use.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Ghostbear » Tue May 01, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

Steroid wrote:Respectfully, I disagree with this point. When I enter a discussion, I enter it at the tenor that it's being held at. If someone else is being an asshole to me, or assholishly arguing against a point I agree with, you're saying that I should either not enter into the discussion or raise the level to a more rational position. That's not my methodology. Instead, I meet my opponent on the level he has established. In my experience this is the best way to advance your position.

I think I can save us from an ever growing quote war here -- I think I see why you're missing my point. I'm not saying it's wrong in a moral or ethical or respect or whatever sense; I'm saying it's wrong in a factual sense. By taking that approach, you're wrong not because you're being an asshole, but because you're failing to advance your position. You're wrong because the manner in which you have decided to try to advance your position is counterproductive to doing so. That's why it's wrong.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 01, 2012 9:16 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I consider that a good feature, for a certain value of 'compromise'. It is right to be principled; and to compromise those principles, even for good ends, is wrong.
Objectivism, as I understand it, is less about principles and more about a paradigm concerning how the world works--Atlas Shrugged describes consequences of behavior, not ideals that should be embraced. I mean, the ideals are there, but they're a result of understanding how humans work and how we can best maximize human prosperity and happiness.

Communism strikes me as similar--less a set of principles, more a paradigm on how the world works. And therein you have the clash--people arguing about communist ideology versus objectivist ideology aren't going to get anywhere because they've derived those ideologies from completely different paradigms concerning how the world works. It's only when you work your way back to those basic paradigms and start talking about the facts--"X leads to Y"--that you can start to get anywhere.

I'm not very knowledgeable about Objectivism; my understanding consists of having read Atlas Shrugged and a few essays from Ayn Rand, and having listened to a few 'Internet Objectivists'. What little I understand, however, implies that there's a flaw in the paradigm--it makes certain basic, unproven assertions about what humans want, what they need, what is required for their prosperity. In a sense, Objectivism feels very much like a process that worked backwards--Rand probably had some strong ideals ("Justice is good, people have a right to the fruits of their labor, government intervention is bad") and then went backward to build a paradigm based on ideals ("When governments fail to intervene, the result is usually good").

I'm interested in paradigms based on science, reason, and empiricism--not assumptions concerning how humans work. Do you want to talk about what humans need to emotionally prosper? Let's talk to neurologists, or scientists in the field of human behavior--they have far more relevant data to offer than Atlas Shrugged. Do you want to talk about what humans need to build a prosperous economy? Let's talk to economists--again, not Atlas Shrugged, not Objectivism.

For people to prosper, we need to make informed choices--not choices based on paradigms that start with an array of assumptions, but choices based on paradigms that are all about discovering facts about the universe around us. I'm not a scientist, I'm not a philosopher, I'm not even an incredibly smart guy--but I know the difference between people arguing over words and people arguing over facts.

I'm going to stick to my principles, yes--but I'm not going to base my paradigm on those principles. My paradigm is based on what can be accurately measured--nothing more, nothing less. X leads to Y only if you have sufficient evidence that demonstrates such. The universe is not a moral entity; my morality does not exist as an extension of it--it exists in spite of it. The crucial fallacy of Objectivism seems to be that it starts with moral principles, then assumes that reality is structured in such a way that these moral principles will lead to the best results.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Tue May 01, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Karilyn wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:Capitalism relies on deprivations, prisons, and death camps. Do you not know the US has the highest imprisonment rate per capita in the entire "civilized" world? Can you turn on your TV and NOT see capitalist based depravity?
The highest imprisonment rate per capita is due to the idiotic war on drugs. An overwhelming majority of the people in our prison systems are non-violent drug users. I believe the number is somewhere around 80%, though I do not have a citation for that, and could find it if you want.
This particular link does not cover people waiting trial. About 60% of drug offenders were held without bail, and then the large majority of them are released on probation. This fits the Obama halfway measure -- they are currently pushing for fewer drug prisoners and more drug treatment. They claim to now be spending more money on treatment for drug offenders than on incarceration.
My number may be inaccurate. It was intended to be the percentage of all people incarcerated during the course of a year, including those jailed and released over a brief period of time. Not the specific percentage at any one time. If, for example, the average jailtime for a person who was found in possession of drugs was 1 month, then this would mean that the actual number of all people who were incarcerated for drug usage during the course of a year is actually about 10-12 times higher (slightly lower than 12, due to repeat offenders not being counted twice ideally) than would be seen at any specific point in time. If only only look at one point in time, you are failing to count the majority of inmates.

I want to let you know I appreciate the statistics you gave me. <3

J Thomas wrote:I have a suggestive statistic that around half of some group of drug prisoners were for trafficking. And probably a large fraction of the ones for possession were plea-bargained etc down to that. If it's true that most prisoners are in fact dealers, could that suggest to you that perhaps capitalism has something to do with it after all? Ideal duke-of-queensbury ethical capitalists would not dynamite their competitors' factories or try to get their competitors jailed. But not all real capitalists are so fastidious.
While I agree with that concept in principle, might I propose an alternate model? I would propose that drug trafficking is primarily caused by the artificial inflation of the value of drugs due to their illegal status, and as their value is artificially inflated, this encourages violence to occur around it since there is very large sums of money at stake.

Furthermore, if drugs were legal, and produced for recreational use by companies like tobacco and alcohol, this would utterly devastate the value of drugs, and bring the more in line with legal substances. Marajuana (according to a quick google search) sells between $100 to $600 per ounce, and it is one of the most inexpensive illegal drugs. A similar google search indicates that tobacco sells for between $1 to $2.50 per ounce. The price of marijuana, if not illegal, and permitted to function according to normal laws of supply and demand, would likely plummet to a price comparable to tobacco, and other more expensive drugs, would still probably fall under $10 per whatever unit that drug is measured in.

That would cause the illegal drug trafficking market to crash almost overnight, and greatly reduce the violence surrounding these drugs, so that not only do we stop incarcerating non-violent drug offenders, but there are also there also virtually no violent drug offenders remaining, meaning the only people who are incarcerated are those who are "driving under the influence" in the same manner that a person drinking alcohol would be.

J Thomas wrote:Also, lots of business owners prefer that their employees not have access to drugs that can make their employees less effective on the job. Caffeine is fine, nicotine maybe, but not much more. They don't want their employees jailed, they want their employees' dealers jailed. And that's what happens.
I would propose that it is better that this is handled on the private level as opposed to the public level. Already it is legal for an employer to refuse to hire someone who fails an alcohol blood test while on the job, or to fire an employee for drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco while on the job. I see absolutely no reason why other recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine could not and should not be handled the same way. Why does marijuana and cocaine need to be illegal when an employer can simply fire the person if it's against company policy for the person to be under the influence of those drugs while on the clock?

J Thomas wrote:I made a start at finding those simple statistics. Maybe you'll carry on and get the right numbers?
And oh my fucking god I am so fucking tired, I just spent the past two hours transcribing numbers into a spreadsheet. I'm so tired, that I'm close to tears. Please don't make me find sources right now. I fully acknowledge my number may be inaccurate, however, even your 25% number would significantly reduce the number of inmates per capita in the United States.

J Thomas wrote:I saw various claims that the big increase has not been drugs (which has stayed steady around 50% of federal prisoners for a long time) but "public order" crimes -- notably guns and immigrants.
I would not be entirely disinclined to doubt that. But ugh don't get me started on the immigrants thing. I had a friend last year who was a 100% legal immigrant, and was on the path to citizenship, and had been working in this country regularly for 8 years legally. He was stopped for a minor traffic violation, and for some reason was unable to locate his green card. He was arrested and deported, and it took him over a month to prove his identity and get back into the country to his family and his job. It was utter bullshit, and shows how broken the system is right now when it comes to handling immigration. Luckily his employer was understanding and didn't fire him, and he was able to resume his job when he got back.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Tue May 01, 2012 9:29 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:Do you care to actually discuss your point logically, or just insult me and say it's wrong? If what I said was wrong then debate it. Saying "That is a load of bullshit" in no way proves your point. I was 100% open to debate and discussion about what I wrote, and still am. There is such a concept as rational debate over a subject. I never called you a name. I never called anything you said bullshit. Please hold a similar respect for me.


I apologize. However, when someone makes such a large post and every single thing they say is incorrect, it's difficult to find another word for it. It's fractally wrong. It's a Gish Gallop of right-wing propaganda falsity. It would take a book to refute them all and I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to educate someone enough on the subject that they could even see the flaws.

I failed to address such things because there is no truth to them. It would be akin to addressing a claim on fiscal policy that accepted that leprechauns are running the Fed as an assumed starting premise. As someone who once worked in a unionized company, I can tell you that union dues were less than 10%. It's comical to even suggest the union is taking half. Where do you even come up with this stuff? IF there was a union like that, then yes, the union is corrupt and needs to be fixed by its members. The same way a union gets there in the first place. That doesn't mean all unions are bad, just like bad government regulation doesn't mean all government regulation is bad. And the inverse is also true: good unions don't mean all unions are good and good regulation doesn't mean all regulation is good. Things need to be FIXED not REMOVED.

Apart from that, every single thing you've said about unions is factually incorrect. THAT is why a reasonable discussion can't be had. The moon is NOT made of cheese so how can I reasonably discuss with you what flavor?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue May 01, 2012 9:32 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:You're free to name a communist "regime" that wasn't interfered with by capitalists in general and the United States in particular.


What did the US ever do to the People's Republic of China? (Preventing them from taking over Taiwan notwithstanding.)

I mean, we (and by "we" I mean "MacArthur") did threaten to invade during the Korean War, but since their response was "bring it" I don't think that had much influence on the prevailing thought over there.

If you're referring to a more general sense that it developed in a world full of capitalism and is therefore indelibly marked by it (which it is), well, that's life. We don't know what the world would have been like if communism became the widespread economic system and then capitalism sprouted from within it, but since that's not the world we've got, such musings aren't of much practical use.

</ramble>

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Tue May 01, 2012 9:36 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
drazen wrote:But that does NOT mean I give quarter to those who say "Give me stuff or I will be a criminal." Get your own stuff. If you cannot get your own stuff and you try to take mine or someone else's, you deserve the bullet that's coming to you.
Would that not BE getting my own stuff? Its yours only be the virtue of you having it. Once I take it from you, it then becomes mine. You claim you earned whatever it is you had, but it's a lie. You took it. It may have gone through a long chain of takers and changed form to a lesser or greater degree, but ultimately, it was taken to begin with, no different than what you would now claim to be theft.
Not sure if trolling or if genuinely believes what he is saying.

Someone's stuff is their stuff due to the virtue of them having exchanged goods or services for the stuff. Typically, as our culture uses printed paper known as money as a (reasonably) universal object of equivalent exchange for goods or services, we are able to provide services (IE work) in order to receive money, which we then exchange the money for goods. The money is a middleman in the process of exchanging goods for services and/or services for goods in order to make the system more convenient.

Possession alone does not indicate ownership. If you take someone's stuff, without an agreed upon value of exchange of either goods or services, then it is not your stuff, and still belongs to the previous owner despite being in your possession. That is the basis of the concept of theft within civilized society, and has been that way for thousands of years.

EDIT: Oh wait...

Kaylakaze wrote:If ever a cauliflower government had been allowed to form without the oppressive thumb of zucchini imperialism getting involved, then maybe we could see what the results would be. Of course, implementing a cauliflower society in an environment where people like you exist WOULD require harsh measures. Do you deny that violent rebels must be dealt with, regardless of the economic system?

We HAVE seen purely zucchini societies, unhindered by outside forces and have seen the pain they bring.

I fail to see how taking a factual statement I made and switching words around to make it non-factual serves any purpose, unless it's some game you want to play to see how absurd a factual statement can be made by replacing words.

I guess you are trolling. Carry on world.
Last edited by Karilyn on Tue May 01, 2012 10:09 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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